Aug 31, 2012

Range report

Last night's intended trip got cancelled due to an issue Shootin' Dame had come up. I went today instead, and as intended, played for accuracy at 100yd.

I took the MkII, 93R17, and the DF AR.

Step one: check zero. Ouch.

I had swapped ammo in the MkII, from Federal bulk to Eley Sport SV - so I expected a zero shift there. And that rifle is zeroed for 25yd. A couple clicks of windage and a lot of clicks of elevation (about 7MOA) brought it to where it needed to be.

The .17 was shooting about 3MOA high and a minute or two left, so I clicked that around to what seemed right.

The AR was about 6MOA high, which wasn't shocking as it has a 25-300 battlesight zero with the EoTech. Unkindly, they do not put the per-click adjustment on the sight, so I had to think hard. It's 1/2MOA per click.

I replaced my big sight-in targets with this (print on 8.5x11) and got off the bench to vertical support. The wind was playing games with me, starting at full-value 9:00 and then clocking around to 11 midway through the string and back again. When I walked down to pull targets I found out just how bad it was - midway down the range (30-75yd or so) the wind was hard and gusty from the left. Around 75yd it changed with the terrain and was coming straight down the range.

These are the targets I knocked out:
Savage 93R17-GV, .17HMR, with a Bushnell Banner 3-9x40 on top, firing Hornady 17gr VMax. You can see what the wind did to those little tiny pills. Three shots weren't even on paper.

The Delicate Flower AR. Stag 3H upper on a York lower. Unmagnified EOTech 512, shooting 55gr Tula FMJ. I still lost one shot completely - and knew it when the shot broke.

The Savage MkII-BTVS. Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40, loaded with Eley Sport standard-velocity LRN. I hadn't ever shot this for groups, and I'm thinking I need to. It's pretty bad on the target above, but I suspect a lot of that is the wind wreaking havoc on slow-moving 40gr bullets, combined with my own lack of followthrough on the shots. It also smells weird, but that's irrelevant.

Go figure: my best target was the bull-barreled .22 with the best glass. ;-)

Aug 30, 2012

Range trip pending

Guns are packed and ready. Ammo is in a bag with magazines. Waiting for Shootin' Dame to arrive so we can head out.

It's going to be a precision-ish day for me. I'm taking the .17HMR (which I haven't shot in a year-plus), the MkII (with bipod), and the DF AR. I'm planning to push the rimfires out to at least 100yd, possibly further for the .17.

Pistols are staying home.

I need to run my eye over the gun safe and make some decisions. Some things (like the .17) just don't get use and would be better-served turned into something I will use. Others (like my .270) are plain old utilitarian guns that don't get much use but I won't give up anyway.

And then there's the Ithaca 37 and Remington 1100. They're both gorgeous guns in their own ways (the Ithaca is showing 50-odd years of life), but neither one gets out much. I'd toyed with the idea of putting the 1100 on the block until I took it out of its sock today.

Not a chance.


Northcoast, look out

Looks like version 3 of Northcoast is happening... and this year, it looks like schedules will align to allow attendance - with MrsZ as well. :-)

Making loose plans already.

Aug 29, 2012

Hand over your permit, Cletus...

... I'm revoking it.

If you are a legal gun owner in the state of Florida and you suspect someone on Election Day is committing voter fraud you can shoot him or her with your licensed weapon and not be charged with a crime.

ProtectThePolls has this on their "What is PTP?" page. (I'm not linking their site, if you're a smart cookie you'll find it.)

Screen-capped below in case this makes the memory hole. I can only hope this is someone's insane idea of a false-flag; the domain registry is through a service.

Double guns... re-made

For a long time, Savage made the Model 24, a .22/.410 over-under arrangement. I've handled a couple but never shot one. My father remembers them being the absolute cat's ass when he was younger. Lots of kids had .22s, some had .410s, but the combo? That was the best. They were discontinued some time ago.

Well, Savage is bringing them back, as the polymer-stocked Model 42. .22LR or .22WMR over .410 with a list price of $459. I suspect you'll see them on shelves for $399 or so.

As a utility small game-getter, that's a tough gun to beat. Rabbits, squirrels, squab, and the like better look out. I'd like to get my hands on one.

I'd like to see it in something like .223/20ga. Rossi makes a "Matched Pair" in that particular combo, but that's single-shot interchangeable barrels, not a double gun.

Aug 28, 2012

Truck notes

I've been driving an '07 Frontier for five and a half years now; got it brand new in March '07.

It's been a pretty good truck overall; but I wanted to make a note for anyone else out there driving something on a similar chassis. (That'd be the Frontier, XTerra, Titan, and possibly the Pathfinder.)

FIX YOUR REAR AXLE BREATHER. Take out the piece of junk $20 part that Nissan put in and move the vent to somewhere that it's not going to get corroded and/or plugged.

It's a $25-and-half-an-hour fix. Excellent directions here.

What's the problem with a corroded breather, you ask?

The rear differential builds up pressure with changes in temperature and altitude, and eventually will force oil around the axle seals, destroying those in the process.

Replacing axle seals means tearing apart most of the back end. Doing it yourself is an all-day (all-weekend) job; having a shop do it is several hours of labor plus a few hundred in parts (regardless of who does the work).

Maintenance time

Going through my safe the other day and pulled out my 21-4. It only comes out a couple weeks a year, during deer season, and then gets wiped down and put back in the safe.

I checked the cylinder, closed it up, and tried to dry-fire it. Somehow in the last eight months the trigger weight went to north of 20lb.

Looked at things a bit more closely, and it seems the cylinder isn't turning freely. I suspect there's some oil that gummed up on the crane. Tonight's project: detail strip and scrub.

Aug 25, 2012

Weerd's Hog is a Threeper

Whoda thunk?

State Fair

MrsZ and I hit the Great New York State Fair yesterday. We spent the vast majority of the day (six hours or so) wandering the livestock barns and admiring the cows, goats, and llamas... until concert time.

Keith Urban played an excellent show. Phenomenal energy, enthusiastic crowd, and he got the crowd into the show. He took his guitar out into the crowd for a couple songs, brought a few people from the crowd up on stage to sing the chorus from "Kiss A Girl" ... and then towards the end of the night gave his guitar to someone in the crowd. (Talk about an excited fan!)

It was a very long day, but well worth it. My feet still hurt, and I'm trying to decide if the red blotch on my ankle is a rash or a spot I missed sunscreening. :-)

Also, Weerd, they had a poster dedicated to you; I'll be downloading it from the phone and posting it here shortly. ;-)

Aug 23, 2012

Right message, wrong way?

Just nuts, or making some valid points in a questionable way? Discuss.

Judge warns of civil war

Guess for a giveaway

(I know, Phssthpok, I still owe you some kind of bag of crap!)

I was digging in my safe today trying to find a particular piece of paper, and realized I had an inordinate amount of loose ammo rolling around. So I gathered it up into one container. Then I decided I'd make a game of it, and put a prize on the game.

How many rounds of ammo are in this bowl??

Here's the picture:

For a sense of scale, those are quart jars in the background, and the semi-wadcutter in the very back of the container is a .44Spl. Calibers within range from .22LR to 12ga.

Put your guess in comments. One guess per person - if you guess a second time, it doesn't count.

I'll let this run for the rest of the month.

And the prize, by the by, is an Aimpoint. Not a knockoff, a real (yes, and functional) Aimpoint. So be willing to share your shipping address with me.

Ready? Go. (Link it out, please - and have fun!)
ETA: Pediem asked me to clarify. It is closest, over or under. If the number was 10 and the guesses were 8 and 11, 11 wins. If two (or more) people guess the same, I'll roll a die or flip a coin or something.

Group Hunt 2012

Planning in progress here.

The dates are set for November 28-December 1 (Wednesday to Saturday).

Location is private land about 45 minutes south of Rochester, NY.

I've got three "yes" and a "maybe" locally, with one outstanding invite.

We're renting a small cabin nearby which is "rustic" ... it has electricity, but the bathroom and shower are down the trail. At this point, I'm comfortable saying we'll have room for two more.

If you're interested, email me.

Aug 22, 2012

Shiny receivers

Got an email from Wally at York Arms this morning. Seems he just cut a new batch of lowers and had some pictures taken.

My, those are purty. :-)

I've been playing this a bit close to the chest because York really is Wally's baby, and wanted his OK before I said anything... but I am Wally's "man behind the curtain" on the custom engraving. (A few of the folks in #GBC knew about it, and some of you at blogshoot...)

Many of the pictures on that page (EGA, US Eagle, the various animal tracks (including DaddyBear), and the Gadsden Rattler) came out of my fingers. It's been a learning curve, undeniably, but we've ironed out a lot of kinks and I'm having a blast with it.

So, you'll see a new link in the sidebar for York Arms. If you need a custom receiver - serials, selector markings, or magwell engraving - please talk to Wally about it. If you've got art that needs conversion, talk to Wally. We'll make something happen*. (Keep in mind that fine detail tends to be lost; the engravable space on an AR magwell is about 1.3" square and the cutter has a line width of .030". I'll finagle things as close as I can, but the best comparison I can give you is drawing on a 10-inch square with the blunt end of a crayon. Some things just don't translate well.)

I will note that I've also been cranking out some stock images for Wally to work with; among them are:
- Gadsden Flag
- Gonzalez Flag
- Ft Moultrie Flag
- US Flag
- Philmont Scout Ranch Arrowhead
- Rosie the Riveter
- Molon Labe (as inscribed on the Leonidas Monument, with or without a Spartan helmet in the background)
- Uncle Sam "I Want You"

And this one that I dredged from my own brain:

(Also available in 3-0-8 and 7-6-2 pending the arrival of AR-10s!)

* For an example of "make something happen", here's what Rosie looks like:


"One at a time"

About thirty minutes long, but VERY cool and worth the watch if you like guns.

Found over at ENDO.

Aug 21, 2012

Stupid yellowjackets!

Got stung by a bee (actually, a yellowjacket) the other day. I'm not allergic, so it just hurt. Dab of cream of tartar paste and wash it off; nothing more to do.

Day two was the usual - it itched. A LOT.

Day three (yesterday) it had turned pretty colors, was rock-hard, swollen, and hot to the touch.

I spent the evening putting up peaches with MrsZ (we've got something like 25 quarts of halves, preserves, and jelly canned, plus several more quarts frozen, and I'm making leather tonight), took a Benadryl and went to bed.

As of now, this is what it looks like (the sting was at the very left edge of that purple blob):

Pretty, huh?

I'm declaring war on the bees, too. Stopping at BBHIS for spray on the way home.

Unfortunately, I've noticed an increasing sensitivity to bee stings as I've gotten older and been stung more often. When I was a teen, getting stung by a bee was no big deal; it'd itch the next day and then done.

A few years ago I got stung on the back of my neck, and it was tender for a bit.

Last year I got one on the hand and it looked like a Popeye paw ...

Now this. :-\

Aug 17, 2012


One loaf Beck's Cheddar bread, split lengthwise:

A good handful of more cheddar:


More cheddar:

Oven, 350:

And wait.

Deal alert

As I'm sure most of you know, we're well along the path to another rush on AR-pattern rifles and parts. I've been nattering back and forth with Wally about finding pieces, and grabbing what I need here and there.

The Pale Horse is going to need an upper, of course, and I found that Palmetto State Armory has their house brand flat-top uppers (blemished) for $60.
In their words:
Blemished upper receivers may have cosmetic blemishes in the finish (This may include some discoloration) or scratches. Some of these uppers will be T-Marked some will not have any T-Marks. All blemishes will be cosmetic only and will not affect fit or function of the upper. Perfect for a coated receiver project.
Tack on the forward assist kit ($13) and dust cover ($6) and you've got an upper waiting for barrel and bolt for under a hundred bucks shipped. Very tough to beat that price.

Aug 15, 2012

Pale Horse engraving

I mentioned that Wally had cut me a sample (btw, this was a one-time favor, not a standard production thing, if you're wondering) of the Pale Horse image. Figured I'd share it for giggles:

Yes, there are some oddities in the image that are apparent at this size. Keep in mind that it's being engraved inside a 1.3-inch square. I won't lie ... I'm pretty proud of this one.

(OK, Sitemeter has gone nuts since Larry Correia linked this, so I'm going to take advantage of that and throw some extra details in. This lower is being cut by York Arms, when they have another batch of forgings to work with. They can do custom art, selectors, serials, caliber, etc. This particular rifle is going to be an 18" 300BLK rig for midrange varminting and medium game, and will get a complete custom DuraCoat job by yours truly before it's done.)

I'm convinced...

... the gun community is its own worst enemy. We are in love with the What-If game and argue that incessantly, instead of actually looking at what's right in front of us.

Aug 14, 2012

Next rifle, continued

I asked for help with selector markings on this build last week. I've decided on "JUDGE / AVENGE" for the markings (Rev. 6:10), and a standard "cal: multi". Serial TBD.

Wally cut me a sample of the magwell image (seen in the previous post) and it looks freakin' amazing. It's right at the limit of detail for his cutter, which is a good piece of information to have.

I've been playing with specs and options otherwise, and this is what I've come up with. I'm open to suggestions, though I may well ignore them, and all of this is subject to change pending my discussions with York Arms.

Caliber: 300Blackout
Barrel: 18" x .750 stainless, 1/8 twist, fluted in front of the gas block, stepped target crown
Handguard: Samson EVO free float
Standard flat-top upper and BCG
MAGS-EFX stock (twin to MrsZ's)

Some kind of magnified optic, toying with something like a Nikon 3-9x50.

Purpose? Midrange varminting to medium game. Should be pretty sweet.

Aug 13, 2012

Home again

Back in NY with another Northeast Blogshoot over and done.

New toys, old toys, pretty guns, ugly guns, fun targets, good conversations, good cigars, and weather that worked perfectly. Cannon. Full auto. Handgonne. Time chatting with Wally about potential projects.

I never even took my camera out of the car - there was too much going on and I know Jay and Cher were both snapping away.

It's always a good time, wonderful to see old friends, and meet some new ones. The driving, however, is getting old.

The first time I went, I drove up the day before, stayed the night at Castle Frostbite, and headed home after shooting. That was insane and I realized it.

The second year, I drove up the day before, stayed in a motel about 45 minutes from the shoot, and drove home the day after. Much easier.

Last year and this year I carpooled with Bubblehead Les and we stayed in a motel about 40-45 minutes from the shoot (as close as we can really get), driving up the day before and home the day after...

... and I'm wiped out. I'm coming up with about 17-18 hours of seat time in the past three days, with a full day on the range in the middle of it.

We have a family place up on the Maine coast, which isn't CLOSE to the shoot, but it's a whole lot closer than 7+ hours from home... I'm thinking next year I have to make plans to put a few days up there on either side of the shoot.

Aug 10, 2012

Blogshoot prep time...

... rattling around trying to figure out what-all I need to get packed/stacked/organized. Thus far I've got ammo in a box, and liquor in a box, and cigars in my bag. So I've hit the trifecta, but I'm missing other critical things like clothes.

Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps.

Aug 9, 2012

Total Recall (Reboot)

Not a bad flick. I was occasionally distracted by the "wait, that's not how it was when..." process, but I still enjoyed. Big booms, and a three-breasted chick. All good.

Lots of guns. Strong appearances by the Rhino series, LOTS of Kriss SBRs, a tarted-up M9, and a polymer auto I couldn't identify - thinking XD but not sure. Minor distraction - firing one of the Kriss setups and seeing falling brass and thinking, "Huh, Kriss in .357Sig? Bottlenecked brass? ... oh, right, blanks."

Safe to rent, theater not essential.

Next rifle: help!

I just put another lower into York Arms' build queue. I've got the image done for the mag well, with thanks to Larry Correia for the use of the inverted caduceus:

(It's in the glossary of "Hard Magic", if you're wondering. The text is from Revelations 6:8, and the layout is all me.)

What I'm lacking, unfortunately, is ideas for selector markings, and I'd appreciate suggestions. Vaguely biblical is fine (hm ... safe/fire/brimstone?), otherwise apropos is good. Ready? Go!

Aug 7, 2012

Holy smokes

The Eotech riser I was waiting on arrived today (used via Arfcom) and I popped it on MrsZ's rifle. Eotech on top, and off to the range. Unfortunately, the range bag I had with me only had a few boxes of TulAmmo 55gr ... not known for precision.

Not one to be deterred, I put a piece of paper out at 25yd and put three rounds in a magazine. From a front rest, they were 6" left and a hair low. Dialed around the knobs and shot three more. A hair left and good elevation. A few more clicks to the right, and I was knocking the center out of the target (final five shots were into a space the size of my thumbnail).

My range has a steel plate out at 150yd. I put the center dot right on it - and the shot went just over. A little hold-under rewarded me with a solid THWACK on the second shot.

Just for giggles, I put the dot on the 250yd plate and shot the remaining eight rounds in the magazine... Seven good THWACKs.

I loaded up one more magazine of ten (the last ten I had), set up the camera to record, and shot all ten at the 250yd plate. Nine for ten, and the miss was a called miss - my shoulder twitched as I broke the shot. I did film it, but the truth is ... it's boring. It's a fuzzy/grainy shot (max digital zoom) of a white square, interspersed with BOOM(dust)THWACK.

Maybe next time I'll put the camera out near the plate to see what it looks like.

I'll just reiterate, though: crappy ammo, 16" M4-profile chrome-lined barrel, non-floated handguards, unmagnified Eotech 512, front rest only: 9/10 on an 18" steel at 250yd. I am not displeased with these results AT ALL.

Unforunately, this sight is on the DF rifle ... I have to find the scratch to put one on my own!

In all seriousness, I've never really spent time behind decent glass - the Nikons I have are my best scopes (until now). It's worth it.

Snow camo: done!

I scrubbed the whole thing with green Scotchbrite, then hit it with Brakleen (including the wood) and laid down a base coat: 6cc of white with a few drops of tactical grey to take the edge off. Once that had dried for a day I sprayed on the "brush" using the grey; just barely opened the needle on the brush and nearly 30psi working pressure.

Initially I was going to cut stencils for the camo, but decided that'd be WAY too much cutting and detail work, so I tried freehanding it. It's not real pretty - definitely a learning curve to that - but I think it'll work fine. I do wish I had a bit of dark green and even some red or orange, but the rabbits don't care.

You can see the vague guidelines I was using for pattern in the background here. I took a picture I had of some berry bushes under the snow and highlighted the branches and printed that out to get the basic shapes. A few evergreen branches to add some depth, and most of the white areas got a very thin overspray of gray.

 Assembled final product. I intentionally didn't coat the hinge and buttplate; no particular reason beyond "I didn't want to".

I can absolutely understand why pros go to double-action airbrushes now. The level of control that allows is needed for the detail work.

Aug 2, 2012

Next Project

I've got a fair bit of DuraCoat left over from doing MrsZ's rifle. My intention is to put a snow camo pattern on a single-shot 20ga I've had kicking around, but I'm trying to decide how best to do it:
- white base coat and then stencil on twigs
- grey base coat and then paint around twigs

I'll keep you posted.

Aug 1, 2012

The "want" list...

Interesting to see how my taste in guns has evolved over time. Initially it was purely function and price, but now it's become a question of not only aesthetics, but niche roles, and desires.

The very first gun I got was a Remington 597 - their answer to the 10/22. It was cheap and I tortured a whole lot of tin cans with it.

I started hunting and bought a Remington 870, because it could do essentially everything I needed - and was relatively inexpensive.

Now I've got bolts and semis, pumps and autos, round-guns and bottom-feeders... My definition of "affordable" has moved up quite a bit but I still make the buffalo squeal.

And the corollary to that is this: what I want in a gun - in fact, what I will spend my money on - has become far more particular. I've filled most of the "function" holes in the safe. I just put a good optic on MrsZ's rifle - even used, twice as much as I've ever spent on glass.

There's not a whole lot left that I feel a burning urge to get. I'd like a bolt-action .223, and a bolt-action .308. Another auto shotgun (the Remington VersaMax has my attention). And something ... bigger. A .338LapMag or similar. Why? Because FUCK YOU, that's why.

There aren't any handguns screaming my name, although the Ithaca 1911 remains the grail. I've got a vague desire for an SP101 snub in .327FM, but ... vague.

Edit to add: While I was banging this out, Oleg went and put up some amazing photos (duh) of a Barrett 98B... MSRP? $6300.