Jul 31, 2011


As mentioned, I went and shot the Pull! for Patriots benefit yesterday. The organizer had made his best effort to spread the word - he hit at least three online forums that I know of, and sent event information to every media outlet in the area - but pre-registrations were very low. (They limited attendance to 125; he told me there were 12 pre-registered.) Numbers did increase as the day went along; I think about 20 shooters went through the morning rotation. No idea on the afternoon as I had to head out and work at BBHIS.

Fortunately, they're not going to give up on this event due to a first-year low attendance - the organizer is already thinking about next year and how he can increase attendance. He's definitely counting on some word-of-mouth for it, I think - and I know I'll be there if my schedule allows it any way.

I. Had. A. Blast.

I'd never shot sporting clays before yesterday. I shot some skeet and trap in college - using a borrowed gun and a grouchy old fart as an instructor. I shot an occasional round of trap after I got my first shotgun, but the club I was going to wasn't real welcoming to new shooters and I faded away pretty quickly. I shot five-stand once a few years ago, and that may have been the last time I shot any clays.

Not one to be deterred by inexperience, and particularly since this was for a good cause, I got up early yesterday and tossed the 1100 and 870 in the car along with a half-case of shells. I got to the range right on time, registered, had breakfast, chatted with some of the other shooters, was assigned to a pick-up squad, and we headed out to the course a little after 9. We were the first group through, so there were some technical issues along the way, but nothing major and all solved in a cheerful manner.

I can't begin to describe all the stations - there were 16 of them, for a total of 100 targets - but they were creative, varying, and above all, fun. Rabbits, straight-outs, floaters, crossers, and one godawful steel squirrel that ran up a post. Singles, report doubles, following doubles, true doubles... variety!

I made some newbie mistakes - I'd forget to take a second shot at a missed single, or forget that a report double had a second bird coming - but the guys on my squad were good about it. I got some very good pointers, busted some tough birds, missed some easy birds, and generally made an acceptable showing - 61/100 birds. (The top score on our squad was an 84, two guys were in the 70s, a 69, and me.)

The 1100 ran like a top, with zero failures of ANY kind, using Remington bulk-pack sport loads (1-1/8oz #8). It was the "cheap" gun of our squad too; the next least-expensive was a Beretta O/U with beautiful wood. (One guy in another squad was going to shoot his new gun that he won at a state shoot - a Blaser O/U. MSRP? $16,000. Holy crap.)

Overall, it was a beautiful walk in the woods with a good bunch of guys, and I will definitely go shoot their course again from time to time. It's an hour away, but they shoot clays once a month with breakfast prior. Definitely worth the trip!


I will admit to being glad I had the gas-run 1100 instead of needing the 870. Not only would the 870 make true-doubles a challenge, it would have beat my shoulder up even more. As it was, there's a purple mark there now:


Jul 29, 2011

Saturday Morning...

MrsZ is heading out of town for a derby bout, so I'm a bachelor for a couple nights. Again.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to be up and out bright and early to go to a range about an hour away to shoot the Pull! for Patriots event - a benefit for Wounded Warrior Project.

I haven't *ever* shot sporting clays. I've shot dozens of rounds of trap (several hundred birds, in other words), a few rounds of five-stand, but never the walk-in-the-woods of sporting clays. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm going to take the 1100, with the 870 as a backup, and hope that I don't embarass myself too much - but even if I run 0/100, I'm going to have fun and the money is going to a great cause.

Maxin', Relaxin'...

Apparently I'm not the only one who decided to take advantage of some nice weather.

I got out of Day Job around 3, went home, took care of critters, read for a little bit, then decided that even though it was overcast and a little breezy it was a good day for a paddle. I tossed the Wart on the truck along with a fishing rod and headed to Small Lake.

I got there just after five, geared up and got out, then dropped anchor (the lake max depth is a little over 25') and fished for a bit. A couple nibbles but nothing hit, so I moved, and repeated the process... several times.

The water was a great temperature, just an occasional bit of chop (it's tough to get big waves on a lake that's 2 x 0.5 miles and not deep), and mostly gentle rollers that were only a foot or two high. Sure, two-foot-swells are no big deal in a 18- or 20-foot Whaler, but they look a little more impressive when you're riding them with your hips at surface level. (Note - they LOOK impressive, these were nice gentle waves and no big deal.) Paddling into the wind gave me quite a bit of spray over the bow and into the cockpit, but that was easier than trying to paddle crosswind to change shores.

The Pamlico is ridiculously stable, even broadside to the chop, and I quickly learned it's easier to unconsciously roll with the waves and not make it a thought-out process.

After several locations with no luck, I finally wrapped it up and paddled back to the launch to go home and grab some dinner. No fresh bass, so I had to make do with linguine alfredo and sausage.

So, kayak fishing: great big yes. I'll be doing this on a regular basis.

Jul 28, 2011


Arrangements have been made and I will be at bloggershoot after all.

I am relieved.

Tremendous thanks to everyone who offered me lodging etc; the generosity is touching and overwhelming.

I'm starting to get excited. :-)

Edit to add: I've changed my lodging from Brattleboro, VT to Nashua, NH. Longer initial drive but shorter on the interim days.

Jul 26, 2011


Thanks to some unexpected costs associated with critters, I'm questioning the wisdom of attending blogshoot. It's a couple hundred bucks that could probably be better spent in other places...

Stay tuned.

Jul 24, 2011

Jay Prono

Some days, the hits just write themselves...



One of the things I've already noticed about boating in general, and kayaking/canoeing in particular, is that there is a welcoming mentality to the participants, much like that of the shooting sports. When you pass another boater on the water, a wave, smile, and, "Howyadoin'?" is the custom, not the exception.

I expect I'll soon toss an advert up on the local craigslist looking for a paddling partner (and I mean that in the entirely platonic, boating-related way), and will probably get a few takers (along with a few suggesting the other kind).

Kayaking is not a hard skill to learn, although mastery is another process entirely; wet exits, eskimo rolls, etc. The tricky part is knowing WHERE to go to paddle. There are plenty of guidebooks out there - and I grabbed one yesterday, Take a Paddle: Western New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks. Some of these can be one-person trips, others need a car parked at each end of a river.

Even though these are well-published routes, there is still an air of adventure as you float down a quiet creek or river. When I went a few hundred yards up the inlet of the small lake I saw a beaver mound, plenty of birds, and lots of sign of land animals coming down for a drink... it's all there, you just have to look for it.

I guess I've got a list of places to check off now.

Sunday Country

Usually Borepatch is the one to post up classic country songs, but I'm going to steal his thunder. Caught all three of these in a row on the drive in to work this morning:

If that don't get your toe tappin', check your pulse - you're dead.

Jul 23, 2011

In the wild...

I didn't think this was supposed to be out until next week. Seen (and bought) at my local B&N.

Edited to add: there's a name I recognize on page 1. :-D

Phonin' it in

I'm exhausted. My last pay period had 138 hours of paid time between Day Job and BBHIS. Plus commuting time, plus (unpaid) meal breaks at BBHIS. This one is shaping up similar, and MrsZ was out of town for nine days - meaning I was doing all of the home stuff on top of the standard workload.

She's home now and I'm sure the dog appreciates it.

One of the cats, however, seems to have a UTI. Need to try to reach the vet today and see if this requires an office visit or if she'll just take our word on symptoms and write the 'scrip.

Stupid has been strong lately. To the customer who wanted a tub faucet: starting your conversation with, "Well I hope you can help me, because no one in this store knows anything!" is not likely to get you optimal customer service.

Jul 22, 2011

Paddling, quick notes

I took the kayak to my parents' place and tossed it in the pond on Monday afternoon. Dad (who does a fair bit of kayaking, usually with Mom, but not always) was around to give me some pointers, which were much appreciated.

I found out that:
- it's a nice stable boat
- when it's empty, reboarding is awkward but possible
- when there's water on board, reboarding is impossible without pumping
- a paddle float makes reboarding much easier

Accordingly, I went back to EMS and picked up a bilge pump and a paddle float. (Dad's advice on the pump: "I think it's easier to swim to shore and beach it than pump one out." I disagree, given that the midline of our nearest large lake is about 3/4mi from shore.)

Tuesday evening I got out of work and went to a very nearby small lake (2 miles long and a half-mile wide) to play. I put in at the DEC fishing access ramp and paddled east to the inlet, up the inlet until the deer flies drove me back out to open water, then a bit down the lake, back across, floated around in some lily pads and watched the fish jump for a bit, and then back to the ramp.

Wednesday morning the heat was starting to crank up, but I met a friend and former co-worker at the public docks on the large lake inlet, and we paddled around for a while - up the inlet, up a creek, and then hovered mid-channel under one of the highway bridges just to get some shade and chat.

So, far from being an experienced kayaker, these are my quick notes:
- the Pamlico 120 was a good bet for a first kayak. It's wide and stable, tracks well, and even with the relatively flat bottom is still a quick boat.
- the 230cm paddle I got (the longest at EMS short of getting into $300+ unobtainiums) is actually not bad for me. A 240 would be a *hair* better but isn't critical.)
- getting the boat on and off the truck is not difficult. That said, I'd like to pick up a Thule Goalpost at some point, if only to make the truck bed functional when kayaking - and to make room for two boats.
- a spray skirt may well be a good idea, if only to keep my legs from sunburning.
- a waterproof digital camera is definitely on the wish list.

So far so good, and more testing is indicated. ;-)

Jul 19, 2011

Country Livin'

One of the things that I like about living out in the boonies is that we have wildlife. Deer are a common sight in the fields across the street, hawks and vultures circle on the thermals above us regularly, there are at least two dens of red foxes within a mile of the house, and most nights I can hear coyotes singing in the valley.

I tend to take a "live and let live" approach with the critters. I don't mind having them in the yard, wandering by, building nests in my garage (although the polka-dot effect on the truck gets old), or just standing there looking tasty. I like watching deer (and envisioning proper shot placement) and always get a chuckle out of fox kits wrestling in the grass.

Where I draw the line, however, is when "wildlife" changes to "nuisance wildlife". When they start causing damage to property (and crapping on the truck is not damage, just annoying), they need to go.

There's been a growing hole under the shed for a few weeks thanks to a woodchuck (gopher, groundhog) that has successfully avoided me so far. I've spotted it out on the lawn several times, and grabbed the .22, but it's always made it back to the hole before I got a sight picture. The shed holds our lawn tractor and assorted other implements, and having the floor collapse would be a Bad Thing. Woodchuck needs to go.

A coworker suggested cheap bubblegum as a good way to get rid of them - apparently it will block up the GI tract and eventually kill them. I chucked a handful of Double-Bubble down the hole a few days ago, and the gum disappeared.

This morning as I was getting ready to leave for work (just before 6am) I looked out the kitchen window and saw the 'chuck sitting right at the mouth of the hole, chewing bubble gum and kicking ass, except he was all out of ... wait, no. Wrong movie, sorry.

The 'chuck was sitting there, noshing on green something-or-other (likely a strawberry plant from the bed next to the shed) and looking sleepy. I opened the safe and grabbed the .22 in the front row (my Savage target gun*), and quietly slipped onto the deck. Instead of going to the rail and trying for a shot that way, I just took the shot from the door, between the balusters, and watched the woodchuck look surprised and then fall over backwards.

I finished getting ready for work, put my stuff in the truck, grabbed a pair of gloves, and heaved the carcass over a nearby embankment. The foxes, 'yotes, crows, and vultures will enjoy it.

And at 6am in the country ... no one calls in a gunshot.

* - A Savage MarkII BTVS, with Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40 scope, and usually loaded with Federal bulk-pack 36gr HVHP. It's a great 'chuck gun, Appleseed gun, and bench gun. Not so much for plinking because it's a heavy sumbitch.

Jul 17, 2011

My truck...

... she grew a giant orange wart.


It's a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 120.

All the reviews I've found have been complimentary with a couple minor quibbles. Eastern Mountain Sports had them on sale and I finagled my side job income enough to pick one up yesterday.

I've been toying with the idea of a kayak for several years - in fact, MrsZ and I went kayaking on a half-day guided trip on the Maine coast the day after we got engaged. I debated a 10' boat and everything I found suggested I probably wouldn't be real happy with it in the long run, as far as maneuverability and tracking, not to mention speed.

There's a public ramp for a small lake two miles from my house, and innumerable easy-ins for a kayak to all the Fingerlakes.

Now to find some free time to see how it works.

Jul 15, 2011

Range notes

Aside from the ammo testing I did, I also test-fired the Remington 1100 and the Ithaca 37.

I used standard low-brass bulk-pack trap loads, both of them cycled perfectly, and both booted my shoulder pretty hard - I've been spoiled by the R3 pad on the 870. (Not to mention the weight of a 3.5"-receiver pumpgun.) The 37 slamfires just like it's supposed to, and the trigger is still heavy. I'll swing it by Diamond Gunsmith one of these days to see if Les can clean it up some. The 1100 is a dream - swings smooth, trigger breaks clean, and cycles perfectly - and I only tried to pump the gun once. I expect I'll invest in a lace-on leather recoil pad for both guns as well.


Once the long guns were put up, I ran a few magazines through the M&P9, and it functioned perfectly. Unfortunately, the LaserLyte RSL didn't do so well. The spring in the switch is apparently weak enough that recoil from a 9mm will change modes (from off to on, steady to pulse, and pulse back to off), and the set screw doesn't hold the sight in place - I wondered why my group was walking left until I changed mags and noticed the whole assembly had shift a few 16ths of an inch left.

Burned through the carry ammo I'd had in the Kahr since last fall, and headed home, gunpowder-lust sated for a while.

Ammo Spam, round up

Over at WallsOfTheCity, Linoge wrote a short piece a few days back hypothesizing that several ammunition storefronts (LuckyGunner.com, BulkAmmo.com, GunsForSale.com, and Ammo.net), were actually one and the same. He had some pretty solid information but nothing that conclusively proved it.

Now, I can't hate a business for marketing. I can understand why they would do something like this - if customer service over at Site A pisses off a customer it's entirely possible that they will now buy from Site B, which is the same company with a different front end. It gives multiple possible end locations for a search on a generic term, increasing their likelihood of being the click-through. On the flip side, it also provides for some brand dilution - there is only one MidwayUSA, only one Brownell's, and they have long-standing name recognition.

What it's really coming down to is Search Engine Optimization. I don't even necessarily dislike them for this. If LuckyGunner can build some good relations with the bloggers for the cost of a few boxes of ammo and get some linkage out of it, that's marketing. Nothing more, nothing less.

And truth be told, I wouldn't be upset about this at all except for one thing...

Last fall, I got some spam from BulkAmmo. And I posted about it. They had asked for free links "just because", essentially. A few days later, they sent the same request, and I ignored the email but posted another blog entry. Spam is spam; the delete key is easy, and BulkAmmo went on my "don't do business with them" list.

Now I've found out that all the above companies are one and the same, and I'm pretty angry. I'm feeling like I was taken advantage of. LuckyGunner was making some good inroads with the blogging community, and I have a feeling they may have burned a lot of those bridges.

My last post was a review of ammo that they provided - and it has the links back to them that I agreed to. You'll notice that their name isn't linked anywhere in this post. There's a reason for that. I sold a link to Sportsman's Guide last winter - it's over there in the sidebar - and that was a clear and honest trade. They paid me, I put up a link worded how they wanted it, for a set period of time. Easy.

LuckyGunner.com, BulkAmmo.com, Ammo.net, and GunsForSale.com have tried to sidestep this process. I've made a decision based on this:

http://zercool.blogspot.com, http://www.zercool.com, "Plumbum et Circenses", etc, will no longer take advertising of any kind. I'll still do product reviews, but it's going to be on products that I buy with my own money. When the sidebar link I sold expires, it's not going back up.

I'm blogging because I enjoy it, because I like spewing my thoughts to a small corner of the internet, and oddly enough, because at least a few of you seem to enjoy reading what I write. Somehow I'd slipped away from that. The ammo review I just posted has been stressing me out more than I realized, and having it done feels like a weight is off my shoulders.

I may not get to review the shiny goodness of lasers and lights that Jay enjoys, or the new hardware that others get to play with - or at least not for free - but I'm okay with that. I'm doing this for me, not you.

Ammo Review: .223

Back at the NRA Annual Meeting in May, LuckyGunner hosted a nice little cocktail reception for a bunch of us on Thursday evening. One of their guys chatted with me a bit and asked if I could do some ammo reviews at some point. Free ammo? You bet.

They got a list of calibers I'd be interested in reviewing and a few weeks later I had a box of three different .223 loads sitting on my front porch. There was one box each of Remington UMC 55gr MC, PMC Bronze 55gr FMJBT, and Sellier&Bellot 55gr JSPBT.

Life got busy for a while (in truth, it's still busy), but I finally had a confluence of time, weather, and health sufficient to get to the range to take care of this.

I added a box of my own plinking ammo - American Eagle (Federal) 55gr FMJBT - just for comparison's sake.

All testing was done with my AR-pattern rifle, which is a 20" A2, stainless 1/8" HBAR, with a (tight) .223 chamber, with a rough battle zero (0-300 with no adjustment). I used a front rest only and shot from the bench. It was approximately 11am, temps were in the upper 70s, and wind was varying 5-to-15mph, gusting slightly higher, from about 10-11 o'clock.


I started by running one short magazine (5 rounds) of 45gr JHP at 25m to check zero and foul the barrel. This was the result:
Two inches low (8MOA) from center and 1/2" left (2MOA), 3MOA group. As a battle zero, this is quite acceptable and the group met my standards. (Which are low, but I do have them!)

Following that, I ran five rounds from each box through, at a rifleman's cadence, and allowed a few minutes between each group for the barrel to cool. This was how things came out (again, 25m):
Aim points were the *outside* corners of the large black square, and groups are located accordingly.
Top right: American Eagle, 4MOA left, 12MOA low, 7MOA group.
Top left: PMC Bronze, center windage, 6MOA low, 6MOA group.
Bottom left: Sellier & Bellot, center windage, 4MOA low, 5MOA group.
Bottom right: Remington UMC, 4MOA left, 4MOA low, 4MOA group.

I *should* have made a windage adjustment to my sights and gone about 3-4MOA right, but chose to not fiddle with it.

From there, I moved the target back to 100m and swapped to shoot'n'see targets (which are something of a misnomer, cuz I can't see hits at 100m). I shot ten rounds at each target, at cadence.
Top right: American Eagle, 3MOA left, 1MOA high, 6MOA group. (Possible breathing issue, the group is 3MOA wide and 6MOA tall.)
Top left: PMC Bronze, 2MOA left, zero elevation, 4MOA group.
Bottom left: Sellier & Bellot, 2.5MOA left, 2MOA high, 6MOA group. (Again, possible breathing issue?)
Bottom right: Remington UMC, 4MOA left, 3MOA high, 4MOA group.

From *there*, I had five rounds of each type left and decided to stretch out a little bit. My club has an 18" steel at the far end of the range - 250m and slightly uphill. It's visible in the top left corner of this picture:

I found that my front sight (a KNS hooded reticle) completely obscures the plate at 250m, but good hits were entirely possible by simply making sure the target was hidden.
American Eagle: 2/5
PMC Bronze: 3/5
Sellier & Bellot: 1/5
Remington UMC: 2/5

There were no failures of any kind from any of the ammo - good feeding, ejection, and ignition on everything. If there were going to be issues, this would be the rifle to show them. It's ripped the rim off steel-cased stuff more than once (requiring a dammit stick to remove the spent case) and has blown primers when I unintentionally put in a magazine of 5.56x45.

There were a few things of note, aside from the shooting characteristics. Remington tends to wildly over-package their ammo, in a rack that holds each round separate and immobile. Probably overkill for plinking ammo, but the racks are great if you handload precision rounds and want to keep them from rattling around. S&B and Federal both use a small plastic divider to keep rounds lined up, which works well but may allow minor contact between cartridges.

PMC doesn't use any divider, which results in things like this, which is what I saw when I opened the box:
19 rounds. Where's 20? Buried sideways between the rows of bullets.

Of particular note on the Sellier & Bellot: the box is labelled .223, but the brass is headstamped 5.56x45.
I decided to shoot the ammo anyway, and checked the brass for pressure signs after the first few rounds. The primers appeared to be on the verge of cratering, but otherwise there were no signs of issues - no blown primer, no pierced primer, nothing.
I pulled out a few pieces of the S&B brass and a couple pieces of known .223 when I got home and checked water capacity; they were all within a tenth or two of 30gr water capacity. I can only assume the brass isn't stamped properly and wouldn't hesitate to use it again.

As far as accuracy goes, any of these would be perfectly acceptable as a plinking or practice round, with a slight nod to the Remington UMC or PMC Bronze. There is some question about the effectiveness of lighter rounds (namely, the 45gr I started with) in higher-twist-rate barrels. At least at the 25m I started at, that doesn't appear to be an issue - although some would argue that a 1/8" rate is not a faster rate.

Your best bet for finding a good practice ammo, of course, is to buy a few boxes and test it out.

Jul 12, 2011

The Right Way

Cybrus takes his boy camping.

This is raising a boy (or girl, I'll be fair) the Right Way. See the grin attached to a new knife? That's because (A) knives are cool, and (B) that's a young man who knows what an adult's trust is.

Keep it up, Cybrus - and one of these years, bring him along for the hunt.


But remember, it's only dangerous in California...


(Seen on ... a sheet of plywood.)

You can't make this shit up.

Jul 11, 2011

IDPA and you (er, me)

Lissa just went and shot herself an IDPA match.

First and foremost, bully for her. I realize many of you are gregarious social butterflies; I am not. Walking in to a group setting where everyone knows what's going on (or seems to) and I'm clueless (and there's no paycheck involved) is nerve-racking. Her experience with this match mirrored my first one - people were welcoming and happy to help a newbie learn the ropes.

I haven't shot a match in far too long - nearly two years at this point; since we bought the house and the trip to the club changed from 20 minutes to over an hour. I should see about correcting that before the summer is up, and probably change classes as well (from CDP/1911s to SSP/ESP/9mm).

Now, I'm not Caleb. I don't shoot competitively. I shoot for fun, and I like to see the results, but I don't care a whit if I'm at the top of the stack or dead-last. The only person I'm shooting against is myself, and the time doesn't matter as much as my confidence and proficiency. (Doubly so because the stages are never the same from month to month; there is no baseline outside the classifier, which the club does once or twice a year.)

IDPA has a large rulebook. This isn't a bad thing per se, but like any game involving a lot of rules, there will be competitors who insist on following the rules to the exact letter, instead of playing the game to the spirit of the rules.

This drives me NUTS.

IDPA has a few kinds of reloads - tactical, with retention, and emergency/slide-lock. The last is pretty clear, the difference between the first two is whether you drop the magazine before or after you pull your fresh magazine. Doing it in the wrong order (or dropping an empty magazine while there's still one in the chamber) yields you a "procedural" and 20-second penalty.

Beyond that there is the vague catch-all penalty of "Failure to Do Right". FDR's are, as I understand, really meant for "unsportsmanlike" behavior - but there are Range Officers who will toss them left and right if they don't agree with how you stepped, or moved, and so forth. (Those RO's don't get asked to RO much.)

I don't get hung up on the rules - and I picked up more than a couple procedurals and such along the way because of it. Occasionally it was an RO not paying attention - I was shooting a GI 1911 with GI 7-round mags, and he gave me procedurals for improper reloads when I was actually at slide-lock. I corrected when possible but didn't always catch it.

IDPA was (and I hope will be again) a fun game for me. More than that, it was a good chance to practice drawing from a concealment holster, shooting and moving, making use of cover, and shooting from odd positions. One bay at the range has a zip-line target that moves diagonally back and across the range, tripping the release starts it around 5yd and it moves - quickly - to 15+ yards distant. Two hits to neutralize...

Another stage involved a barrier with three small cutouts - one at chest height, one at waist height, and a third at ankle height. Multiple shots had to be taken from each hole - so you were squatting, kneeling, and then lying prone.

Defensive gunfights don't happen at 7 yards standing square to your target - they can happen at bad-breath distance or you might be popping zombies at 20-25 yards. You may only have a car bumper to hide behind, or you might in the wide-open and have to keep moving to keep the distance up. You may get knocked down and have to shoot from prone or supine.

Drawing once from a holster and shooting 8, 10, or 15 rounds quick-fire is a great way to turn money into noise - and it's fun! But it's not the kind of practice that builds the muscle memory of a good smooth draw, and that's what will serve you in the long run.

My final gripe about IDPA: my usual carry gun doesn't really work for competition. I usually carry a Kahr PM9 or S&W 642, with one reload dropped in a pocket. IDPA wants a full- or duty-size gun with two spare magazines, all in proper holsters.

My suggestion: try out IDPA. Or IPSC. Or any of the other shooting games. Have fun with it. Learn from it. But always keep in mind that it is a game, and don't get hung up on the scores. When the range is two-way, there's only one winner.

Jul 10, 2011

At long last...

I teased y'all a few times with this one, and believe me, the wait was harder for me than you.

I had seen this go through the classifieds on the S&W Forum for a few weeks with a few price drops and no nibbles. I sent the seller a trade offer which he declined, but he also asked if I was really interested and wanted to work something out. I decided to take him up on the offer and made two payments on the gun. He shipped it earlier this week, and my FFL emailed me to let me know it had arrived yesterday.

I stopped out after work, dropped the transfer fee on the table, filled out the 4473, and brought this beautiful piece of history home:


That's a 1968-vintage Remington 1100. The seller's father bought it new, fired a few hundred rounds, then cleaned it and put it away - and it looks it. There are a few tiny marks on the barrel ring (which hides under the fore end), but other than that it looks like it's new out of the box. The wood has beautiful figure for a field-grade gun, and the balance and trigger are just magic.

It's a 2-3/4" chamber, so no heavy loads, but it will be wonderful for clays and birds. The barrel is 26" plain (no rib), single bead, with a fixed Improved Cylinder choke (according to seller; I couldn't find a marking). As it sits the gun is not a rarity or collectible (Remington still makes 1100s and has since the early 60s; there are millions in circulation), so I will probably send the barrel to Briley at some point for a set of interchangeable chokes.

The other thing that was in the box with the gun - and the seller hadn't mentioned - was this:

A slightly yellowed original instruction manual.

With price list.

(Receiver Assembly, (includes Action Spring Tube, Barrel Lock, Interceptor Latch Spring, Interceptor Latch Stud, Magazine Tube Assembly, Receiver)...$32.90)

I can't wait to get this honey to the range.

Jul 9, 2011

Ooh, a box!

New acquisition has arrived. 4473 and associated probulating are complete. Pics tomorrow...
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Jul 7, 2011

Adding to the safe...

At a time in life when I have trouble scraping up two free hours to go to the range, it seems odd to add things to the safe - but I'm fortunate enough to have a second job to provide some play money and acquire a few things I've wanted. On the plus side, guns don't go bad, so they'll be there for me to enjoy as time does permit.

I just got notice from a seller that the latest acquisition has been shipped.

Guesses are welcome, with the following hints:
1) It's a long gun.
2) It's previously-loved.
3) It was made in NY.
4) It's not *quite* C&R-eligible.

Those who saw the info go by on #GBC, behave. ;-)

Hello, Langley

Say hi to Mr. Clark for me, would ya?


Jul 5, 2011

Blogshoot Booze 2011

I made this offer last year, and I'll do it again this year.

If anyone coming to blogshoot would like a bottle of something from the Fingerlakes area of NY, email me - zercool at gmail dot com - and let me know.

I highly recommend most anything from Fingerlakes Distilling - their rye, bourbon, gin, and maplejack all grace my cabinets - and there are lots of good wineries around as well.

I'm not in a position to float purchases this year, but there's a month 'til the shoot and thus plenty of time to get funding arranged as necessary.

Marty asked about pricing in comments. I don't have exact numbers, but if memory serves, the bourbon and rye are both about $50/750mL, the gin is about $30/750mL, and maplejack is around $30/375mL. I'll get hard numbers in the next few days and post them up.

Edit to clarify: this is the NorthEAST Blogshoot, not NorthCOAST Blogshoot. Much as I'd like to make Northcoast, my time and finances make that nigh-impossible. Sorry for any confusion!

Jul 4, 2011

"Faux Pas" Doesn't Cover It

This is a bit of dissonance on our nation's birthday, but it needs attention. Have you seen it mentioned on CNN? MSNBC? Anywhere?

Our Dear Leader, who so loves the Marine Corpse, has stuck his foot in it again. (And lower leg, knee, and... oh, hell, he's pretty much chewing his own sack right now.)

Our commander in chief, in full campaign mode, stopped by Fort Drum in upstate New York to address the troops from the 10th Mountain Division, which had recently completed deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama said: "First time I saw 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn't receiving it posthumously."

The soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division listened in stunned obedience.

It was actually Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta of the 173rd Airborne who last year became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor to have fought in Afghanistan, and the first living recipient since the Vietnam War. Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti of the 10th Mountain Division was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006 and awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2009 by President Obama.

Read the full article.


Jul 3, 2011

Ice cream!

... Yeah, I kid. The machine has been on the fritz for a while as my hours at BBHIS have been increasing (30+ hours a week). Next week I'll be back down to a sane 20-25 hours a week there, and might have some time to take care of several pending things.

Jul 1, 2011

Barn, windows, birds

Somehow it slipped my mind to make some updates about the barn. We left town a few days after the last barn update, spent a week in North Dakota, and I got sick shortly after we got home. The ice cream machine has been on the fritz, kids.

In any case, before we left, I had managed to get the windows and door in:



The long windows are simple - I got a sheet of lexan from BBHIS, had it cut to 1x3 strips, cut out appropriate-size holes in the sheathing, put some blocking on the inside, a bead of liquid nails around the edge, and then 1x2 cedar trim on the outside. They don't move, they don't tilt, they just let light in - and they do it just fine.

The door didn't go quite so well; it was a slightly-damaged model from BBHIS, and the only apparent damage was a missing piece of brickmold. Turns out it was just a tiny bit out of square. (or my opening was...) It was sticking pretty badly after being installed, but a few days seems to have settled it in. It's still not perfect, but it's perfect enough for a barn.

The chickens got moved out there shortly after the windows went in, where they insisted they were Not Amused by the change:

Yesterday I finally made time (and felt well enough) to get a small door cut in the wall so they can free-range a little. For the time being, they're in the same pasture as the goats, and their door is not trimmed, but they can get out.

The scene for the remainder of the day was something like this:

"Holy crap! Big blue room! ... HOLYSHITAGOAT!RUN!"

When I left for work this morning one of the bar rock hens was cautiously poking around outside in the grass, so I have some hopes that they're not completely retarded.

As you can see, the barn still isn't done. I need to put in the last few pieces of sheathing on the gable ends, and I've got two more windows, the soffits, and some trim work to do. But it's getting there.