Monday, April 30, 2007

Interesting Range in France

French Range on Top of A Mountain

While checking out Manfred's blog "Armes Et Tir Passion" I came across an interesting range in Nice, France. Shooters being somewhat ingenious by nature, when they wanted to set up a range, they took land that was available, but in this case it was on the top of a mountain. In fact, possibley the highest mountain in the vicinity, judging by the antenna tower on the top of the mountain along side of the range.

Now my French is limited to ""Chevrolet" and "Rendezvous" and I barely speak English, speaking American instead, but it was interesting cruising around their site looking at the pictures. The main page has a slide show part way down the page with a lot more pictures of their facility.

....... and they shoot pins, too!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wrens in the Carport

FEED ME ! ! !

In a previous post I mentioned that I had discovered a wren's nest in the carport in a cardboard box stacked next to the garbage can, and underneath several other boxes. I was afraid that I might have disturbed it when I moved a couple of the boxes. I put everything back as close to "As Was" as possible, and crossed my fingers that momma bird would return, as there were several small pinkish eggs in the nest.

I checked today and sure enough, the eggs have hatched and there are now at least three little wren chicks in the nest, maybe more. I can't get very close to the nest to take a good picture, but I did the best I could.

I know that they mature really quickly, but I wonder how long it takes from hatching to being able to fly for wrens. Anybody know?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Natchez Shooter's Supply To Sponsor GBR-II

I have just received word from Natchez Shooter's Supply that they will be generously supporting this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous through the donation of gift certificates, and possibly some hats and shirts.

Natchez is another company with whom I have dealt with in the past, and have always found them to be courteous and helpful. If you don't have a Natchez catalog, give them a call at 1-800-251-7839 and get one on the way. They have a huge amount of stuff, and while you're at it, thank them for their support of ther Gun Blogger Rendezvous. It never hurts to say "Thanks!"

The Rendezvous greatly appreciates their generous support! Thanks, guys!!


Washington Legislative Report - Wrap Up

I just concluded the final Olympia Lawmakers/Bloggers Conference Call for this session of Washington state legislature, and it was a bit depressing. With the Republicans outnumbered roughly two to one, it was just about impossible for any Republican ideas to make any headway at all.

At the start of the session, the Republicans identified four main categories of legislation that needed some action; Tax Relief and Spending restraint, Transportation, Health care, and Education.

Tax Relief: No tax reform legislation passed. Legislation to establish property tax growth as had been approved by the voters but overturned in court was not allowed to even be voted upon.

Spending Restraint: The new budget will not only wipe out the 2 billion dollar surplus, it will put us roughly 2 billion dollars in debt, and not one penny of the surplus will be returned to the taxpayers. Voted in the largest budget increase in history for this state.

Transportation: No legislation to resolve the Alaskan Way Viaduct problem in Seattle, although they DID talk about it a bit. Voted to borrow a lot more money to pay for cost over-runs on current transportation projects.

Education: They voted to spend more money on the State Colleges, while still allowing in-state tuition for illegal aliens. We now have a standardized curriculum for sex education for our schools, although there is no standardized curriculum for math, English, history, or any other subject. No action was taken on standardized testing in K through 12 education to see if the students are actually learning anything, but a study group was formed to study the issue. I believe this is the 18th. study group to address this issue.......

And finally, a Global Climate Change Task Force was created by this year's legislature. Perhaps they should just pass a law outlawing global climate change?

Was there any good news? Not very much. The law to restrict private gun sales at gun shows died in committee, which is good, but it should have never been in the legislature in the first place.

It must be incredibly frustrating to be a Republican legislator in this state............


Thursday, April 26, 2007

e-Postal Match #2 - "GOLF"

Azreel at Freespiritmind is known for his creative and often difficult target designs in the e-Postal matches, and this month's e-Postal match lives up to his reputation.

There are lots of different classes, and it involves both off-hand and supported shooting modes to give you plenty of challenge. There are no limits to the number of shots you can take, but you have to hit the hole, just like golf. Oh, there are also penalties assessed for hitting sand traps, going out of bounds, and hitting the water hazard, too!

Here's the link to the post with the rules, and the link to download the target is also there in the post.

F O R E ! ! ! !


Idol Gives Back - My Thoughts

I watched the American Idol "Idol Gives Back" telethon last night, and I commend them on their concern with the death and poverty in Africa. Unfortunately, they missed the point by a mile when they skipped/overlooked/ignored the real root causes of the problems in Africa, and failed to address those problems. Now don't get me wrong, any humanitarian efforts to help these people that can actually have an effect should be done, if at all possible and feasible.

Lets take a quick look at the three main issues; malaria, AIDS, and poverty. Malaria, as we all know, is transmitted by mosquitoes. Kill off the mosquitoes carrying the disease, and malaria pretty much disappears. There are two basic actions to get rid of the mosquitoes, pesticides, and draining the swampy areas that are the mosquito breeding grounds. Draining swamps often requires heavy equipment, not always available in the African outback. Spraying with pesticides, however, can be done easily, cheaply, and effectively, using DDT. According to Africa Fighting Malaria's website, only two countries in Africa are using DDT to control malaria, South Africa and Zambia, and both are having spectacular results.

From AfricaFightingMalaria's website:
"But international political pressure against DDT deployment is undermining wider use. There is even a United Nations treaty--the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants--which restricts DDT production, trade, and use, making it more expensive. In effect, disease control is being sacrificed for the sake of an international environmentalist agenda. Worse still, aid agencies, especially the U.S. Agency for International Development, have pressured countries not to use DDT, implicitly conditioning even non-malarial aid on halting DDT use."

"Environmental ideology ought not to be driving malaria control strategies. Developing countries need to be able to use technologies that are appropriate to their levels of development. The anti-DDT eco-imperialism actively pursued by the WHO, the Global Fund, and USAID shuts off a number of development options for these countries, keeping them poor and unhealthy."
You should go read the entire article on their site. You will come away with a completely different view of the malaria problem in Africa. Idol Gives Back wants to send them medicine for treating malaria once they have contracted it, and mosquito netting to keep them from getting bit by the mosquitoes. Netting won't keep you from getting bit, it just reduces the number of times you DO get bit. Just about anyone from Alaska can tell you that.

AIDS is killing millions in Africa. I suspect very few of those got AIDS from shooting up with dirty hypodermic needles. That leaves one other method of getting AIDS. Idol Give Back could buy a lot of condoms with all that money they collected last night. Will they buy any at all? I have my doubts, but we'll see....

Lastly, poverty. This is almost entirely the fault of the governments of the individual countries. When you start out with huge natural resources as Africa has, you almost have to work at it to fail and remain a third world country. Even if you have very little for natural resources, you can still have a high standard of living, as Japan has so clearly shown.

Have you noticed that there don't seem to be very many communist governed countries that have a high standard of living? Not too common under iron fist dictatorships, either. For the most part, the keys to economic success and a high standard of living seems to be capitalism and basic freedoms, as then there is an incentive for people to figure out a way to succeed.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the Idol Gives Back telethon will do a little bit to help a relatively small number of people currently suffering and dying in Africa, but by not addressing the root problems, there will be little change in the grand scheme of things, which is a shame, as their efforts are certainly well-intended........

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

High Five Target

Since I turned in a "High Fives" e-Postal Match score of 98, I figured I better post a picture of it so you'all would believe me! Now, hitting the 1/2" center with a .22 with a red dot sight from a bench rest at 27 feet isn't all that hard, primarily it's a matter of not rushing what you are doing and let the gun do it's job. Offhand, however, is another story. This was an amazingly lucky target. I doubt I could match it again in ten tries!

I fired three or four shots from the bench, and a couple off-hand just to loosen up, then shot the target. This was my first try at the target, and as I said, a whole lot of luck went into this one. Sometimes things just fall into place and you shoot better than you really can shoot.

Where was that luck last weekend at the pin shoot when I couldn't have hit the berm with a shovel?


High Five Target

Since I turned in a "High Fives" e-Postal Match score of 98, I figured I better post a picture of it so you'all would believe me! Now, hitting the 1/2" center with a .22 with a red dot sight from a bench rest at 27 feet isn't all that hard, primarily it's a matter of not rushing what you are doing and let the gun do it's job. Offhand, however, is another story. This was an amazingly lucky target. I doubt I could match it again in ten tries!

I fired three or four shots from the bench, and a couple off-hand just to loosen up, then shot the target. This was my first try at the target, and as I said, a whole lot of luck went into this one. Sometimes things just fall into place and you shoot better than you really can shoot.

Where was that luck last weekend at the pin shoot when I couldn't have hit the berm with a shovel?


Gun Blogger Rendezvous Reservations Info

Things are cruising right along in preparation for this year's Rendezvous. We have now received the group code from Circus Circus so you can book your rooms and get the discount group rates. This year we set it up so you can get special rates for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Several folks last year didn't head home until Monday, so the Sunday night rate will prove handy this year.

The room rates for Thursday, October 11th., and Sunday, October 14th. are $49 per night. The rate for Friday October 12th., and Saturday, October 13th. are $89 per night. All room rates also have an additional tax added to the price. Included in the room rate is free wireless internet (usually an extra $10 per day) and a package of coupons for some freebies and discounts. The room rate also covers the hospitality rooms for us for all four nights, so we have a common meeting location for our group.

To book your accommodations, telephone Circus Circus reservations at 1-800-648-5010 and give them the group code of


If you have any problem with getting your room reserved, let me know, but you shouldn't have any trouble. JimmyB, The Conservative UAW Guy has already got his reservations in and it went smoothly.

When you get your reservations in, please send me an email at

b l o g (at) w h i d b e y (dot) c o m

And let me know so I can put your name on the list, and get you mentioned on the blog as planning to attend.

You will also need to register each person attending the Rendezvous to cover the Saturday dinner. I will have the Rendezvous registration information posted in a few days.

As last year, any money raised by the Rendezvous beyond immediate expenses will go to help others in need. Last year we helped Dan McKown.

Remember, the Gun Blogger Rendezvous is not just for Gun and Mil Bloggers. Anyone with interest in shooting sports, blog readers, and anyone else who would like to meet and hang out with a bunch of right wing gun totin' wackos bloggers with similar interests, go for it! We'd love to see you there.

Keep checking in for more information as it becomes available.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

e-Postal Match "High Fives" Results

Class I - Rimfire Iron Sight

Name Score Caliber Handgun Type
1 Ahab 93 .22WMR EAA Bounty Hunter
2 CrebralFix 93 .22 Ruger 22/45
3 Ahab 91 .22 Walther P22
4 Mr. Completely 89 .22 High Standard SC 106
5 Kim DuToit 85 .22 Colt Officer's Match Rev.
6 US Citizen 84 .22 Ruger MK-III
7 Davebo 76 .22 Ruger MK-II
8 Fodder 75 .22 Colt SAFrontier Scout
9 Mr. Completely 65 .22 JC Higgins Mod 88 Rev.
10 Merle 59 .22Mag Ruger SSS 9 1/2"
11 US Citizen 51 .22 Ruger MK-I
12 Davebo 41 .22 Ruger MK-I

Class II - Rimfire Optic Sight

1 Mr. Completely 98 .22 High Standard SC 106
2 JimmyB 94 .22 Ruger MK-II
3 KeeWee 87 .22 High Standard SK 103
4 US Citizen 78 .22 Smith & Wesson 22A
5 Merle 60 .22 Ruger MK-II

Class III - Centerfire Iron Sight

1 Ahab 86 .38 Ruger GP 100
2 Sailor Curt 84 .45ACP Ruger P97
3 Ahab 83 .38 Taurus Tracker
4 Ahab 81 .32ACP 1935 Beretta
5 Kim DuToit 75 .45ACP Springfield 1911
6 US Citizen 74 .45ACP Kimber Pro Carry
7 JimmyB 64 .45ACP Norinco 1911
8 Fodder 63 .45ACP Colt 1911A1
9 JimmyB 50 9mm Glock 19
10 Merle 40 38/200 Enfield No. 2 Mk. I
11 Merle 39 .45ACP Colt Combat Commander
12 Merle 30 9mm. Walther P38
13 Merle 22 9mm. FN Lightweight Hi Power
14 Merle 19 7.62x25 CZ-52

Class IV - Centerfire Optic Sight

1 JimmyB 85 .45ACP Colt Series 80 Gold Cup 1911
2 Mr. Completely 84 .38 Taurus 66 Revolver
3 Mr. Completely 78 .480 Ruger Super Red Hawk
4 Mr. Completely 65 9mm. Taurus PT-92

All Entries by Score

1 Mr. Completely 98 .22 High Standard SC 106
2 JimmyB 94 .22 Ruger MK-II
3 Ahab 93 .22WMR EAA Bounty Hunter
4 CrebralFix 93 .22 Ruger 22/45
5 Ahab 91 .22 Walther P22
6 Mr. Completely 89 .22 High Standard SC 106
7 KeeWee 87 .22 High Standard SK103
8 Ahab 86 .38 Ruger GP 100
9 Kim DuToit 85 .22 Colt Officer's Match Rev.
10 JimmyB 85 .45ACP Colt Series 80 Gold Cup 1911
11 US Citizen 84 .22 Ruger MK-III
12 Sailor Curt 84 .45ACP Ruger P97
13 Mr. Completely 84 .38 Taurus 66 Revolver
14 Ahab 83 .38 Taurus Tracker
15 Ahab 81 .32ACP 1935 Beretta
16 US Citizen 78 .22 Smith & Wesson 22A
17 Mr. Completely 78 .480 Ruger Super Red Hawk
18 Davebo 76 .22 Ruger MK-II
19 Fodder 75 .22 Colt SAFrontier Scout
20 Kim DuToit 75 .45ACP Springfield 1911
22 US Citizen 74 .45ACP Kimber Pro Carry
23 Mr. Completely 65 .22 JC Higgins Model 88 Rev.
24 Mr. Completely 65 9mm. Taurus PT-92
25 JimmyB 64 .45ACP Norinco 1911
26 Fodder 63 .45ACP Colt 1911A1
27 Merle 60 .22 Ruger MK-II
28 Merle 59 .22Mag Ruger SSS 9 1/2"
29 US Citizen 51 .22 Ruger MK-I
30 JimmyB 50 9mm Glock 19
31 Davebo 41 .22 Ruger MK-I
32 Merle 40 38/200 Enfield No. 2 Mk. I
33 Merle 39 .45ACP Colt Combat Commander
34 Merle 30 9mm. Walther P38
35 Merle 22 9mm. FN Lightweight Hi Power
36 Merle 19 7.62x25 CZ-52

The entries are now in and the scores are entered, and here's the results of "High Fives", the first e-Postal handgun match of the year. We had a great turnout for the first match of the season. We had a lot of very close scores, and the Rimfire Iron Sight class ended up tied between Ahab and Crebralfix, each with 93 out of 100. The tie was broken by going to the highest score for each shooter's worst five shots, and it was still almost a tie, but Ahab squeaked out the win by only one point on the tie breaker! That's close,

If winning was based on who has the most fun, and if who ever shoots the most and enters the most has the most fun, then Merle is clearly the winner, but Ahab wasn't far behind!

Scanning down the list of handguns used, you see there was a wide variety, it looks like a little bit of everything got dragged out of the safe for some limbering up! That's what these matches are all about. Bring out all of those guns you haven't shot for a while, head out to the range, and have some fun. There's no money on the line, just the pure enjoyment of sending a little (or a LOT) of lead down range.

Special credit goes to JimmyB for how well he shot, considering he had to shoot with his back to the target and wear a bucket over his head while shooting........

We also want to welcome new e-Postal match shooters Davebo, and Kim DuToit. Glad you guys got the chance to shoot some entries, it sounds like you had a good time.

The number of excuses submitted this match was exceptional, and I'll share some of the best ones in a future post for everyone's enjoyment. Some were brilliant!

Thanks to everyone who entered. The next match will be announced shortly.

Stay tuned!!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

CWSA PIN Shoot 04/21/2007

When KeeWee and I headed out the door to drive to the Central Whidbey Sportsman's range for the bowling pin shoot, the weather was kinda gray and not too promising, but as the day wore on, it steadily improved.

I decided to shoot several classes; Centerfire Optic, Revolver, Big Bore Revolver, Rimfire Optic (two guns entered) and Rimfire iron sight. Needless to say, I was kept pretty busy reloading magazines and getting gear ready to go for the next class.

Some shooters came down from Custer, too, so it was a multi-club meet. We all shot four tables of pins against the clock, and our slowest time was thrown out. Our first round opponent was determined by our times. Gerald from Custer set a new CWSA record on one table with a time of 2.47 seconds! WOW, that's fast! His combined time for three tables was under 8 seconds.

Here's a video of Gerald shooting a sub-three second qualifying table:

He's not only hitting them quickly, he's hitting every one in exactly the same place. It's amazing to watch.

Once the qualifying times were added up, it turned out that Gerald with his 38 Super had posted the fastest time, and his time with his .45 was second. Unless someone would to switch with him, he would have to retire one of his guns and not get to shoot it in the match. No one wanted to meet Gerald in the first round, particularly as fast as he shoots, as it would be just about guaranteed that you would be knocked out in the first round.

I had qualified down around 5th or 6th, with a 13.39 second total time, with my 9mm. Taurus Econo Race Gun. I have always enjoyed shooting against Gerald, although the results were usually the same every time. None the less, it's always fun to go up against the "Big Dog", so I volunteered to shoot against Gerald and his 38 Super in the first round. He had driven a long ways to get to our match, and it would be a shame not to get to shoot both of his guns.

Gerald on the left, with Mr. C. on the right, LouG running the timer.

The first table I shot absolutely the fastest centerfire time of my life, 5 pins, 5 shots, and not much over 3 seconds. WHAT FUN! Did I lose the table, well, yeah, but not by very much! Had Gerald knocked just one pin over and required a second shot I would have got him! WHOOOEEEEE!

The second table was also close, as you can see in KeeWee's picture above. It was also very close. Unfortunately I was now knocked out of the Centerfire Optic class, since it's a single elimination format.

Revolver class was a similar outcome. Evil Al pretty much dominates the revolver class the way Gerald does in centerfire. No one wants to shoot against Al in the first round, so sometimes other shooters don't shoot quite as good of qualifying times as maybe they could have done (was that tactful?) so they get to shoot against slower shooters in the early rounds. Even though I shoot my revolver single action, I still ended up with the second fastest qualifying time and got to shoot against Al in the first round. I shot the best I could, but Al was just a bit too fast for me. I didn't get clobbered, but I wasn't close to winning, either!

We only had two big bore revolvers on hand, so LouG and I duked it out three out of five just for the fun of it. Lou with his S&W .44 Magnum, and I with my Ruger Super Red Hawk .480. It turned out to be the only tables I won all day......

Rimfire Optic sight pin top class only had four shooters, five entries since I entered two guns, my long barreled High Standard, and a S&W model 422. By now it had been a long day, and most of the other shooters had gone home. KeeWee beat Lou, Al beat me twice (I couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a 2x4, ugly, very ugly.....), which put KeeWee against Al in the final. Although Al won the final, KeeWee was right there, and wasn't far away from the win. It was close.

It was a long day, and on paper I didn't do very well overall, but for a very brief time I was shooting almost on a level with Gerald, and that was great fun!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Big Shootin' Weekend

Shootin' season is now upon us, and this weekend KeeWee and I are off to the CWSA range on Saturday for a bowling pin shoot. Sunday we're back to CWSA again for a hanging plate match, unless it's pouring down rain, then it will be a falling plate match instead, so we can stay under the shelters on the pin range. Either way, we've got lots of shootin' in store this weekend!!

Full reports when we get back..............

Squirrely Visitor

We looked out the den window this morning and there, trying to figure out how to get to the bird feeder, was this squirrel. We see chipmunks every so often, but squirrels are much less common. I watched him for about ten minutes until he finally gave up and scampered off.

You just never know what you are going to see in the yard!

Iraq Patton Doctrine

This one's for Rivrdog!

Thanks to MaryS for the heads-up!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Smith & Wesson Model 22A

Now that my BAG Day purchase has arrived, and I've had a chance to play with it a bit, I figure it's about time to get a post up on it.

Smith & Wesson Model 22A .22 Caliber Semi-Automatic Pistol.

I ordered the model with the 7" barrel. A full length sight rail is standard, along with target sights. There are not very many cross slots machined in the sight rail, so mounting a red dot sight may require having one additional slot machined in the rail. I machined the slot with a milling machine, then re-blackened the aluminum with Brownell's Aluma-black, which did the job and kept it from looking like a "Bubba Job."

The barrel is removable with the push of a button, almost exactly the same as on the later push button take-down High Standards. It works well.

Barrel removal push button.

The slide and barrel are steel, and the frame appears to be an aluminum casting. The model 22S is very similar to the 22A, but the frame is stainless steel, rather than aluminum. The rubber grip feels a little boxy in your hand, but not bad at all. The adjustable rear target sight is better than average.

Field stripping the 22A is easy, so regular cleaning doesn't require a lot of fooling around to get it back together. To strip it, you remove the magazine, lock the slide back and verify the chamber is empty, push the barrel retention button, lift the front of the barrel a few inches, and lift it off the frame. The slide and spring can then be lifted off, and you are ready for cleaning. Reassembly is also straight-forward. Reinstall the slide and spring. There is a small hook on the bottom rear of the sight rail that engages the top of the frame near the rear of the slide. Hook that into place, then lower the barrel down, push in the barrel retention button, and lower the barrel the rest of the way onto the frame. If it's fully seated, the barrel retention button should be back out to it's normal position. Release the slide and let it drop against the barrel a couple of times to be sure everything is seated, and you're finished!

Magazine release button in the front of the grip.

The magazine release location is somewhat unusual. It's in the front of the grip, the same as on the Models 622, 422, and 22S. Once I got used to the location, I really started to like it, as it's easy to find with the tip of your middle finger, and you can push the button without releasing much of your grip. When you push in a magazine, it pushes against a spring loaded pin that allows the disconnector to engage the sear. When the magazine is out of the gun, this makes it unable to fire. A side benefit of this is that when you push the mag release, the spring loaded pin launches the magazine out of the frame very nicely.

One of the first things I did was take it apart, look inside, and see what I could do to improve it. Mass produced products in the lower price ranges often don't have the fit and finish one would expect from a more expensive product, but that doesn't keep you from doing a little polishing and fitting yourself. Sometimes the results can be amazing from just a little attention to detail, making a pistol have a completely different nature and feel.

A rough (pun intended) rule of thumb is that there isn't much inside a pistol that works better rough rather than smooth, particularly with parts that slide against each other. There are places where sharp edges are important, such as the hammer and sear, so don't go rounding stuff off unless you know what you are doing. In fact, if you aren't pretty sure of what you are doing, talk to a gunsmith before doing anything. You should also keep in mind that any polishing you do may, and probably will, void any warrantee, and the factory will probably refuse to work on it if it needs repair.

While I had the 22A apart I smoothed up a lot of sliding contact areas. I also did a bit of trigger work to get the trigger pull down a bit. The hammer, hammer strut, and hammer strut spring can be a pain to re-install unless you have some sort of a strut spring compressor tool. I would recommend not removing those parts unless absolutely necessary.

After I got it all reassembled, I headed to the range to see how it shoots. The 22A has a reputation for being picky as to ammo, so I brought a good assortment of brands to try. I discovered that 22A's do not like hollow points, or more specifically, any squared off bullet nose, as it will catch in the little square holes in the front of the magazine where the magazine retention button engages the magazine, and the bullet will not come up past that point. It usually seemed to happen most often when you start with a full magazine, and after the first round was fired, the stack would fail to feed from there. If you load only eight or nine rounds, it seemed to feed OK, but would still jam once in a while. I tried it with five different magazines and they all had the same problem.

More rounded nose bullets, such as CCI Blazers, Mini-Mags, and CCI Standard Velocity all worked well, with the Mini-Mags and CCI Standard Velocity ammo working the best of what I tested.

Magazine retention button engagement holes in the magazine.

As you can see in the picture, the more squared off bullets like the two on the left gave most of the feeding problems. The one on the right gave no problem at all. Ideally you want a long taper on the nose of the bullet with a small diameter radius on the tip.

Regular jamming in the magazine with the two on the left.

Once I figured out the ammo, I could get down to some shooting. The stock trigger wasn't all that bad, but it did respond to a little bit of a trigger job. Accuracy was decent, and far better than just about all of the shooters out there. In close to 500 rounds of ammo fired, there was not a single stove-pipe. If it chambered it, it fired it, and it ejected the casing without problem.

The Smith & Wesson Model 22A is a very reasonably priced .22 pistol, and it gives you a lot for your money. A little investment of time and gunsmithing expertise can make it noticeably better, without having to by any aftermarket parts. The red dot scope makes a nice addition, particularly for those of us without eyes like eagles, and the feel and balance with the red dot in place is good.

With the exception of the hollow point magazine feeding problem, I was very satisfied with the 22A, and would recommend it as a good plinker/club level match pistol for anyone. It is one of the least expensive .22 auto pistols on the market, and gives you a lot of value for the money.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced .22 pistol, you should definitely give the 22A a hard look. It might be just what you're looking for......


e-Postal Match "High Fives" Reminder

Midnight Monday night, April 23rd. is the close of the first e-Postal Handgun match of 2007. So far only one shooter has submitted entries, excluding myself. This is the last weekend for you to get your entries shot and entered, so when you head out to the range this weekend (you ARE going to the range this weekend, aren't you?) be sure to take along a stack of High Fives targets and as many handguns as you can pack with you!

To get the rules and download the targets, click this:

Have fun!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

Our prayers and condolences go out to the families in Virginia, right now. It's a terrible tragedy.

As there are lots of folks out there in the blogosphere analyzing yesterday's shooting, I'm not going to go over all the same ground. I do, however, have a couple of observations.

1. If gun control laws actually worked, this would not have happened.

2. We are now hearing the same old arguments for tighter gun control laws. If they would only remove the word "gun" from their arguments and substitute "Student Visa" they'd have a lot stronger argument.

3. A bill authorizing concealed carry in Virginia just died in committee in the Virginia legislature. How ironic.

4. It's easy to second guess the campus cops. Wait until the facts are in first.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

KRRC Fun Steel Match - 04/14/2007

5:30am comes awfully early for someone who's a night person to start with, but when the alarm went off I dragged myself out of bed and made an attempt to become one of the living. Not exactly 100% successful, but I did the best I could! Anyhow, if I was going to catch the 7:15 ferry from Whidbey Island over to Port Townsend, and make it to the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club's monthly Fun Steel match, it had to be done.

I loaded up the guns, gear, and coffee, and headed out the door for the ferry dock, a 20 minute drive away. The ferries often have more cars waiting than what the boat will carry, so you have to be there at least 30 minutes early, sometimes even earlier. I managed to get on the 7:15 boat, and 30 minutes later drove off the boat into Port Townsend. From there I drove South, then headed back East across the Hood Canal Floating bridge to get to the Kitsap Peninsula. From there it was perhaps another 30 minutes to the KRRC range, near Bremerton, Washington. I arrived at the range just about 9am, as planned.

JohnD, our Match Director, loading some magazines.

Shortly after I arrived I met JohnD, the match director, whom I had met last year here at the KRRC range. We got signed up, had a shooter's meeting, and split up into two squads. Our squad consisted of JohnD, JohnM, and myself, but since each of us were shooting two classes, in effect we had a squad of six shooters. One squad started on stage one, and we started on stage four. The stages were all unique, and none were hard to shoot, if you shoot slowly, but of course this match is scored on time, so the stages got a bunch harder when you hurry. There were a total of six stages, and you shot each stage five times against the clock ,with your slowest time thrown out. That means I shot each stage five times with my High Standard .22, then five more times with the Taurus PT92 9mm. Econo Race Gun. Total runs came to sixty for me for the day. That's a fair amount of shooting!

Stage four (?), put one shot on each target as fast as you can!

As we walked to the far end of the lower range area, it was raining lightly, but as we started shooting the rain stopped, and the weather started getting better. Even the sun was starting to peek through. By stage five it was getting downright pleasant, and by stage six jackets were taken off.

On this stage you have to shoot each round target twice, and the square one once, in whatever order you prefer.

By now the weather was getting downright balmy, and it was T-Shirt weather. As we walked from stages 4, 5, and 6 to the upper range area for stages 1, 2, and 3, we passed the parking lot, so I dropped off my heavy jacket, since I didn't figure I needed it. BIG MISTAKE!

Hit any five rimfire, or knock over any five for centerfire. This is a regular falling plate rack.

Once we got set up and underway on stage one, the blue sky disappeared, the clouds turned dark, and it began to rain. Everyone, and everything, got drenched. Shooting a red dot sight with water running down the glass is a challenge, to say the least! Everything got wet and slippery. I went to pick up the plastic ammo box with my rimfire ammo and magazines inside, and the oil on it mixed with the water made it slippery, and it slipped out of my hand, dumping my magazines and ammo into the mud and sand. OH JOY! I cleaned up everything as best as possible, and we sloshed our way through the final two stages. Just as we finished the final stage, the rain let up and turned into a light drizzle.

Range box and gun case, covered in mud and water.
(Click for enbigalizing)

I loaded everything back into the van, Grabbed a cup of coffee from the thermos, and turned on the heater to dry out a bit. JohnD, DebbieK, and I headed down to the 19th. Hole pub (must be a golf course nearby?) to add up the scores and get something to eat.

We had a chance to visit, swap stories, and just have a pleasant "wind-down" period. What a great way to wind up a match!

As the saying goes, "Time, tide, and the Washington State Ferries wait for no man" so I climbed into the van and re-traced my patch North up the Kitsap peninsula, West across the Hood Canal bridge, and North to Port Townsend. I arrived at the ferry dock a half an hour before the 5:15 boat, but it was already full, so I had to sit in the van until 6:45 for the next ferry. Bummer!

Eventually I did manage to get back onto Whidbey Island and home.

But wait, I have a case full of water-logged guns to clean. Again, OH JOY! I filled a plastic pan with Hoppe's and submerged and sloshed all the magazines to displace to water. I field stripped the pistols and gave then a good cleaning and oiling. by then my eyes were starting to cross from fatigue, so I took a hot shower and hit the sack.

Went out like a light.......


Friday, April 13, 2007

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

I'm not nearly as rabid about flowers and gardening as KeeWee, but I do appreciate all the colors and landscaping that gets done. Here in Western Washington, and specifically the Skagit river valley North of Seattle, is world famous for tulips. LOTS of tulips, millions and zillions of tulips in colors and shapes you've never seen before.

Every Spring the local growers put on a tulip festival, and KeeWee spent the day checking it out a couple of days ago.

She brought back 87 pictures, and a bunch of tulip catalogs. It's going to take several posts to show the best pictures from her tulip trip, but you can see the first post and some of the pictures here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 15th = Buy a Gun (BAG) Day

Smith &Wesson Model 22A with the 7" Barrel.

April 15, notorious for other reasons, also has a good side, as currently being promoted by Cowboy Blob. The idea is that on April 15th. you should go out and buy yourself a gun. Not a bad idea, provided you continue to buy the guns you normally would have purchased anyway. For pete's sake don't hold off your purchase until the 15th., though! BUY ANOTHER GUN just to celebrate BAG day!

If anyone asks, "Why are you buying ANOTHER GUN?", the best reply I've ever heard is "Because I can!". Think about that for a moment. Consider just how many places in the world there are that you CAN'T go out and buy a gun.

My BAG day purchase (it should arrive just about on the 15th.) is a brand new Smith & Wesson Model 22A .22 caliber pistol with a 7" barrel, along with five magazines. I have been working with several new shooters, and they have been looking around for a good mid-priced .22 to use in pin and plate matches. The basic parameters I was looking for were as follows:

7" Barrel
Weaver type sight rail for red dot sight mounting
Iron sights
Ease of disassembly for cleaning
Parts Availability
Price under $400 with four magazines.

There are a lot of good .22 pistols out there with decent reliability and accuracy, but after doing some research, it narrowed down to the Browning Buckmark Hunter and the Smith & Wesson 22A. Both designs draw heavily on the High Standard design, which, of course, traces back to the original Browning .22 auto pistol. Removal of the barrel on the Buckmark requires removing two allen screws holding the sight rail. Field stripping the 22A requires only pushing the barrel retaining button, lifting off the barrel, and removing the slide. With a little polishing and tuning, either the Buckmark or the 22A should fill the bill nicely as an entry level/mid-level rimfire race gun.
After I get a chance to break it in and dial it in a bit, I'll get a post up on how it turns out.......


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wren Nest in the Car Port

When I went out to the car port to cut up some cardboard boxes for the garbage, I had a surprise. I had a pile of boxes piled up behind the garbage can, and I had cut up two or three boxes when I noticed a bird nest in the corner of one of the boxes.

At first I thought it might have been an old swallow nest that had fallen from the rafters, but when I looked a little closer I could see a bunch of tiny pink eggs in the nest. I carefully took a couple of pictures, then did my best to put some of the boxes back roughly where they had been covering the view of the nest.

Both KeeWee and I have been rattling around in the car port from time to time with garden stuff, garbage for the garbage can, and other disturbances, so perhaps this disturbance will be ignored too. Fortunately the box and the nest weren't touched or moved, so it should be OK. I did not know that wrens have pink eggs.

UPDATE: Momma wren is back sitting on the eggs, so I didn't disturb her. I'll see if I can get some pictures of the chicks when they hatch.......

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kitsap Fun Steel Match Saturday, I Hope!

Last year at the Kitsap Fun Steel Match.

Man, has it been an entire year since I got over to the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver club for one of their Fun Steel matches? Apparently it has, as here's the post from last Spring's trip. The Kitsap bunch put on a great match and keep everything fairly easy and informal, so it's an excellent match for newer shooters, while still being plenty challenging for the faster folks.

Since last year's appearance at Kitsap, I've made two unsuccessful attempts to return for their matches. One trip was foiled by the fog shutting down the car ferry until it was to late to get there in time to enter, and the second attempt was stymied by too many cars trying to make the same ferry, and I was too far back in the line, so I missed the boat, literally!

This Saturday I will make another attempt, and KeeWee has to work, so if there are any of you local shooters in my neighborhood that would like a ride, let me know. I've got room for about three more shooters in my van.

I'm looking forward to the trip!


Monday, April 09, 2007

LTC Guy Lofaro's After Dinner Speech

This transcript of an address by LTC Guy Lofaro is a bit longer than I usually post, but every word is worth reading............

Dining-in speech at U.S. Military Academy by LTC Guy Lofaro:

"Let me say before beginning that it has been my pleasure to attend several dinings-in here at West Point and hence I have some basis for comparison. You people have done a fine job and you ought to congratulate yourselves. In fact, why don't we take this time to have the persons who were responsible for this event stand so we can acknowledge them publicly.

I guess I am honored with these invitations because there exists this rumor that I can tell a story. Cadets who I have had in class sometimes approach me beforehand and request that, during my speech, I tell some of the stories I've told them in class. For the longest time I have resisted this. I simply didn't think this the right forum for story-telling, so I tried instead, with varying degrees of success, to use this time to impart some higher lesson - some thought that would perhaps stay with one or two of you a little longer than the 10 or 15 minutes I will be standing here. I tried this again last week at another dining in and I bombed. Big time. Of course, the cadets didn't say that. They said all the polite things- "Thank you, sir, for those inspiring words" - "You've provided us much food for thought" - "We all certainly learned something from you tonight, sir." And I'm thinking - yeah - you learned something all right. You learned never to invite that SOB to be a dining in speaker again.

So in the interim I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about what I would say to you to night. What can I say that will stay with you? And as I reflected on this I turned it on myself - what stays with me? What makes a mark on me? What do I remember, and why? How have I learned the higher lessons I so desperately want to impart to you? Well - I've learned those higher lessons through experience. And as I thought further, I realized that there's only one way to relate experience -that is to tell some stories. So I'm going to try something new here this evening. I'm going to give you your stories and attempt to relate what I've learned by living them. I'm going to let you crawl inside my eye-sockets and see some of the things I've seen these past 18 years.

Imagine you are a brand new second lieutenant on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula. You are less than a year out of West Point, and only a few weeks out of the basic course. You are standing at a strict position of attention in front of your battalion commander, a man you will come to realize was one of the finest soldiers with whom you've ever served, and you are being questioned about a mistake - a big mistake - that you've made. You see, your platoon lost some live ammo. Oh sure, it was eventually found, but for a few hours you had the entire battalion scrambling. Your battalion commander is not yelling at you though, he's not demeaning you, he's simply taking this opportunity to ensure you learn from the experience. And you do- you learn that people make mistakes, that those mistakes do not usually result in the end of the world, and that such occasions are valuable opportunities to impart some higher lessons. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see your platoon sergeant emerge from behind a building. He's an old soldier - a fine soldier though - whose knees have seen a few too many airborne operations. He sees you and the colonel - and he takes off at a run. You see him approaching from behind the colonel and the next thing you see is the back of your platoon sergeant's head. He is now standing between you and your battalion commander - the two are eyeball to eyeball. Your platoon sergeant says, a touch of indignance in his voice "Leave my lieutenant alone, sir. He didn't lose the ammo, I did. I was the one who miscounted. You want someone's ass, you take mine." And you learn another lesson - you learn about loyalty.

It's a few months later and you are one of two soldiers left on a hot PZ on some Caribbean island. There's been another foul up - not yours this time, but you're going to pay for it. It's you and your RTO, a nineteen-year-old surfer from Florida who can quote Shakespeare because his Mom was a high school literature teacher and who joined the army because his Dad was a WWII Ranger. The last UH-60 has taken off on an air assault and someone is supposed to come back and get you guys. But the fire is getting heavy, and you're not sure anything can get down there without getting shot up. You're taking fire from some heavily forested hills. At least two machineguns, maybe three, maybe more, and quite a few AKs, but you can't make out anything else. You and your RTO are in a hole, hunkered down as the bad guys are peppering your hole with small arms fire. Your RTO is trying to get some help - another bird to come get you, some artillery, some attack helicopters - anything. But there are other firefights happening elsewhere on this island involving much larger numbers. So as the cosmos unfold at; that particular moment, in that particular place, you and that RTO are well down the order of merit list. You feel a tug at your pants leg. Ketch, that's what you call him, Ketch tells you he got a "wait, out" when he asked for help. The radio is jammed with calls for fire and requests for support from other parts of the island. "What we gonna do, sir?' he asks. And all of a sudden, you're learning another lesson. You're learning about the weightiness of command, because it's not just you in that hole, it's this kid you've spent every day with for the last five months. This kid you've come to love like a kid brother. There is only one way out and that's through the bad guys. You see, you are on a peninsula that rises about 100 feet from the sea. The inland side is where the bad guys are. You figure you are safe in this hole, so long as they don't bring in any indirect fire stuff, but if they come down off those hills, onto the peninsula, then you're going to have to fight it out. And that's what you tell your RTO. We either get help or, if the bad guys come for us, we fight. He looks at you. You don't know how long. And he says only four words. Two sentences. "Roger, sir. Let's rock." Appropriate coming from a surfer. Then he slithers back down to the bottom of the hole. Staying on the radio, your lifeline, trying to get some help. You are peering over the edge of the hole, careful not to make too big a target. You're thinking about your wife and that little month-old baby you left a few days ago. It was two o'clock in the morning when you got the call. "Pack your gear and get in here." You kissed them both and told them to watch the news. Hell, you didn't know where here you were going or why, but you were told to go, and you went.

Then all of a sudden it gets real loud, and things are flying all around and then there's a shadow that passes over you. You look up and find yourself staring at the bottom of a Blackhawk, about 15 feet over the deck, flying fast and low, and as it passes over your hole you see the door gunner dealing death and destruction on the bad guys in those hills. It sets down about 25 meters from your hole, as close as it can get. You look up and see the crew chief kneeling inside, waving frantically to you, the door gunner still dealing with it, trying to keep the bad guys' heads down, who have now switched their fire to the bird, a much bigger, and better, target. You look at Ketch and then you're off - and you run 25 meters faster than 25 meters have ever been run since humans began to walk upright. And you dive through the open doors onto the floor of the Blackhawk. There are no seats in the bird since this is combat and we don't use them in the real deal. And you are hugging your RTO, face-to-face, like a lover, and shouting at him "You OKAY? You OKAY? You OKAY?" but he doesn't tell you he's OKAY since he's yelling the same thing at you -- "You OKAY? You OKAY? You OKAY?" And then the pilot pulls pitch and executes a violent and steep ascent out of there and had you not been holding on to the d-rings in the floor and the crew chief not been holding your legs you might have fallen out. Then you're over the water, you're safe, and the bird levels out, and you roll over to your back and close your eyes - and you think you fall asleep. But then you feel a hand on your blouse, and you open your eyes and see the crew chief kneeling over you with a head set in his hand. He wants you to put it on so you do. And the first thing you hear is "I-Beamer, buddy boy. I Beamer." You were in I-4 while a cadet, and that was your rallying cry. And you look up to where the pilots sit and you see a head sticking out from behind one of the seats. He's looking at you and it's his voice you hear, but you can't make out who it is because his visor is down. Then he lifts it, and you see the face of a man who was 2 years ahead of you in your company. He tells you that he knew you were there and he wasn't going to leave an I-Beamer like that. And you learn about courage, and camaraderie. And friendship that never dies.

It's a few years later and you've already had your company command. You're in grad school, studying at Michigan. You get a phone call one night, one of the sergeants from your company. He tells you Harvey Moore is dead, killed in a training accident when his Blackhawk flew into the ground. Harvey Moore. Two time winner of the Best Ranger Competition. Great soldier. Got drunk one night after his wife left him and took his son. You see, staff sergeants don't make as much money as lawyers, so she left with the lawyer. He got stinking drunk, though it didn't take much since he didn't drink at all before this, and got into his car. Then had an accident. Then got a DUI. He was an E-6 promotable when this happened, and the SOP was a general-officer article 15 and a reduction one grade, which would really be two for him because he was on the promotion list. But Harvey Moore is a good soldier, and it's time to go to bat for a guy who, if your company command was any sort of a success, played a significant part in making it so. And you go with your battalion commander to see the CG, and you stand at attention in front of the CG's desk for 20 minutes convincing him that Harvey Moore deserves a break. You win. Harvey Moore never drinks again. He makes E-7. And when you change command, he grabs your arm, with tears in his eyes, and thanks you for all you've done. Then the phone call. And you learn about grief.

And then you're a major and you're back in the 82d - your home. And one day some SOB having a bad week decides it's time to take it out on the world and he shoots up a PT formation. Takes out 20 guys. You're one of them. 5.56 tracer round right to the gut. Range about 10 meters. And you're dead for a little while, but it's not your time yet - there are still too many lessons to learn. And you wake up after 5 surgeries and 45 days in a coma. And you look down at your body and you don't recognize it - it has become a receptacle for hospital tubing and electronic monitoring devices. You have a tracheotomy, so there's a huge tube going down your throat and you can't talk, but that thing is making sure you breathe. And there's a tube in your nose that goes down into your stomach - that's how you eat. And there are four IVs - one in each arm and two in the veins in the top of your feet. There is a tube through your right clavicle - that's where they inject the high-powered antibiotics that turns your hair white and makes you see things. But disease is the enemy now and it's gotta be done. And there are three tubes emerging from three separate holes in your stomach. They are there to drain the liquids from your stomach cavity. It drains into some bags hanging on the right;side of your bed. And they've shaved your chest and attached countless electrodes to monitor your heartbeat, blood pressure, and anything else they can measure. They have these things stuck all over your head as well, and on your wrists and ankles. And your family gathers around, and they are like rocks, and they pull you through. But there's also a guy, dressed in BDUs, with a maroon beret in his and, who stands quietly in the corner. Never says anything. Just smiles. And looks at you. He's there every day. Not every hour of every day, but he comes every day. Sometimes he's there when you wake up. Sometimes he's there when you go to sleep. He comes during his lunch break. He stays an hour, or two, or three. And just stands in the corner. And smiles. No one told him to be there. But he made it his place of duty. His guard post. You see, it's your sergeant major, and his ranger buddy is down, and a ranger never leaves a fallen comrade. And you learn, through this man, the value of a creed.

And every four hours two huge male nurses come in and gently roll you on your side. The bullet exited through your left buttock and made a hole the size of a softball. The bandages need to be changed. Take the soiled wads out and put clean ones in. And a second lieutenant comes in. She seems to be there all the time. She's the one changing the bandages. And it hurts like hell, but she, too, is smiling, and talking to you, and she's gentle. And you know you've seen her before, but you can't talk - you still have that tube in your throat. But she knows. And she tells you that you taught her Military Art History, that now it's her turn to take care of you, that she's in charge of you and the team of nurses assigned to you, and she won't let you down. And you learn about compassion.

And then it's months later and you're still recovering. Most of the tubes are gone but it's time for another round of major surgeries. And you go into one of the last, this one about 9 hours long. And they put you back together. And you wake up in the ICU one more time. Only one IV this time. And when you open your eyes, there's a huge figure standing over your bed. BDUs. Green beret in his hand. Bigger than God. And he's smiling. "It's about damn time you woke up you lazy bastard" he says. And you know it's your friend and former commander and you've got to come back with something quick - something good. He's the deputy Delta Force commander, soon to be the commander. And you say "Don't you have someplace else to be? Don't you have something more important to do?" And without skipping a beat, without losing that smile he says "Right now, I am doing what I consider the most important thing in the world." And you learn about leadership.

So there you have them. Some stories. I've tried to let you see the world as I've seen it a various points in time these 18 years. I hope you've learned something. I certainly have."
Thanks to Rufus for the transcript.


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