Monday, November 29, 2010

Mr. C's New Business Venture

Over the last few weeks I've been really busy putting together a new business, and although it's not yet ready to "Turn on the lights", it's getting there. It will be an on line shooting supplies, accessories, and stuff store, catering primarily to recreational and sports shooters. It will also be the initial retail outlet for a very cool shooting sports item from Europe. I will be the exclusive US importer and distributor for this item, or more accurately, line of items. Since we are still in contract negotiations with the factory and the contract is not yet signed, I can't announce much more than what I've already said, but the full announcement should come soon.

I am also looking for other products to carry in the store. I am looking for good quality and value items, not  readily available elsewhere, or new to the market. If you have and ideas or suggestions, or if you know someone with a new product they are trying to get to market, have them get in touch.

I have the basic store site up and running, and a few test products and specs are loaded, but it's still  to early to send out the URL for the site, but soon. About all I can say for the moment is that if all goes according to plan, I should have two very big announcements in the next few weeks.

Still a lot of work between now and the announcements, though.......

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2011 Gun Blogger Rendezvous Announced

Great news! The contract with the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno has been negotiated and signed,  and the dates for next year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous have been set. The 2011 Gun Blogger Rendezvous will be held on September 8th., 9th., 10th., and 11th. That's Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The hotel room rates are exactly the same as last year, and for those coming in on Wednesday or departing on Monday, there are also group rates for Wednesday and Sunday nights. The plan is for the 2011 Rendezvous to very closely follow the 2010 event as far as major activities and outings, with some new smaller events thrown in. If you have never attended the Rendezvous, or haven't been there for a few years, have a look at last year's schedule and you'll get a pretty good idea of what to expect at GBR-VI.

The money we raise at the Rendezvous will go to Project Valour-IT,  like last year.

I can pretty much guarantee you that the attendees to GBR-VI will not get enough sleep, eat more than they should, meet some amazing people, and be able to set off the TSA's gunpowder residue detector from 100 yards away!

You should put the dates on your calendar right now, before you forget. For those of you planning on flying to Reno, I would suggest setting up your travel dates on one of the online airfare watch services like Kayak, and follow the air fares closely. When you start monitoring the airfares well in advance, you can usually get the best prices available.

See You in Reno next September!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A TSA Prediction

I'm going to go out on a limb, but I predict that sometime in the next several weeks the TSA security folks at one of our airports are going to catch some evil person carrying something bad trying to get through their security screening. Will they catch him with an "enhanced" pat down, or with their nude photo machine? Maybe both? I predict it will be all over the news, and will conclusively prove that they are doing a great job. Watch for it!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Bleh -- Pt. 2

KeeWee and I are still hacking and coughing with this stubborn bronchitis we picked up a couple of weeks ago. The good news is that we are both feeling better, and aren't nearly as miserable as we were this time last week. We both decided we were still way to sick to get to the Kitsap steel match last Saturday, which is a shame since it's such a lot of fun shooting there. Hopefully by next Sunday we'll be up to speed and we can head South to the Paul Bunyan club's steel match in Puyallup. That's also a really good place to shoot, and I don't want to miss any more matches than necessary. I've also got to get some blog posts put together and a magazine article to write, but I just haven't had the energy.

We should be over this crud soon, though.....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Someone Explain This For Me?

Hmmmm...... If each piece is the same size, and the overall triangles are the same size, where does the "hole" come from?

Image stolen from Dave Smock's blog!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Nov. 10, 1975

Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
Music and lyrics ©1976 by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.

"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,

(*2010 lyric change: At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said,)

"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quick Cal Injured in Fall

Quick Cal
I just heard from Damiphino that Quick Cal Eilrich, the head of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and Gun Blogger Rendezvous Intergalactic Gun Blogger  Fast Draw Championship, has suffered a nasty fall at home a few days ago.

I don't have all the details, but the good news is he should end up none the worse for wear after he recuperates. From what I heard, Cal fell and hit his head on a half wall in his home, giving himself a nasty cut on his head that required a trip to the emergency room and thirteen stitches.

As they were stitching him up his neck was bothering him, so they decided to do an X-ray and check it out. The X-ray revealed two cracked vertebra in his neck. No wonder it hurt! Cal is now wearing one of those halo rigs to stabilize his neck until he heals up. I'm sure it's very uncomfortable, but at least they found out about the vertebra and are taking care of getting him healed up properly.

For those of you who had the pleasure of meeting Cal at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, or have met him elsewhere, or just want to wish him well, you can email him and wish him a speedy recovery.

Cal's email is

Get well quick, Cal!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Visiting The Ruger Factory in Prescott, AZ.

The Ruger factory in Prescott, Arizona is the source of manufacture for all of the Ruger semi-Auto pistols, excluding the Ruger charger, which is based the Ruger 10/22 rifle. The Prescott facility is also where a lot of Ruger product development and design takes place, so KeeWee and I had to sign a form that we promised not to let any cats out of the bag, so to speak. We also were very careful to ask first before taking any pictures. When I asked if I could go over and look in a particular machine, I was politely told No! Needless to say, we saw neither cats nor bags, so to speak! Do they have some new things in the development process? Yes. Do I have any idea what it (they) might be from our tour? Nope. Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it will be one, cool, and two, I'll want one!

When we pulled into the parking lot in front of the Ruger plant, two things instantly caught our eye. First, the American flag and the Ruger flag flying proudly in front of the factory. 

"An Honest Day's Work" by Fred Fellows
 The second thing you notice is the life size bronze statue of a cowboy on a bucking horse. The bronze plaque in front of the statue says it all:

"In the vast reaches of the American West, the work ethic still exists. The man who makes his living on horses that are bound to buck earns his pay. A good hand is loyal to his outfit, meets a challenge, and takes pride in an honest day's work."

Our "Tour Guide" was Jim Elliott, the plant manager. Jim is not only the plant manager, he is also a journeyman tool and die maker and a Cowboy Action Shooter.

Jim Elliott and one of the Ruger machinists in front of one of their machines. It was the day before Halloween. Can you tell?
The Ruger factory is very efficient, and the parts move quickly  from one machine to the next, and on down the line, with little or no time wasted in between.The section of the factory manufacturing the Ruger .380 LCP has a sign hanging over it calling it "LCP Alley".

The machine starts with a chunk of shaft, and ends up with the LCP barrel!

Ruger LCP Slides, almost complete.
As I mentioned, there were a lot of times that I refrained from taking pictures, and I've mostly confined the few I did take to small and specific details, rather than wide angle shots of their manufacturing lines. As I mentioned to Jim, though, being the machine junkie I am, if I lived in Prescott I'd probably pay Ruger just to work there so I could play with all of the neat machines!

How many times have you heard that when you buy a new gun you need to fully strip it, clean it, degrease it, re-lube it, and then put it back together before heading out to the range? No so with the Ruger Semi-autos. There is no shipping grease, assembly oil,  cosmoline, or anything like that used when they are assembled. They are lubed at the factory with the right stuff, and you don't need to clean them until you get them dirty!

Someone on the Internet (sadly, a Gun Blogger) stripped and cleaned a brand new Ruger pistol, and then failed to properly re-lube it before assembly. He had degreased it pretty well, and the dry metal on metal now produced a poor trigger feel. (DUH!) He then complained about what a poor trigger the Ruger had. I'll bet with a bit of the right lube it smoothed right out. As gun bloggers we have a responsibility to make sure our reviews are as accurate as possible, and to clearly separate personal preferences from actual deficiencies. There are a lot of readers that look to us for our opinion, and we owe it to our readers to be as accurate and unbiased as possible.

I did take a couple of pictures of their trigger pull gauge machine.The machine actually plots the trigger pull on the screen of a laptop computer. It looks to me like it even shows how smooth and linear the pull happens to be. I want one!

Trigger Pull machine.

The Trigger Pull graph.

After the pistols are assembled and checked, they go into the test area where they are test fired. We donned hearing protectors and entered the area to watch the testing. I watched as the tester would slip a full magazine into the LCP and then rapid fire the gun until empty. Do they baby them? Nope! The also have a "Brass Catcher" so they can collect one round of brass, put it in an envelope, and ship it with the new pistol. The casing comes out of the pistol, into the brass catcher, and slides out the bottom chute into a waiting envelope.

It seemed like we had just started out tour, and suddenly it was lunch time. As we were walking back to the front of the plant and to the reception area, a number of thoughts crossed my mind. I think I can sum it up in two words, Pride, and Quality. The folks out in the plant, in the front office, and everywhere in between definitely gave you the impression that they were proud to be part of an American company building American firearms, and building them to be the best they can be.

With out a doubt, the Ruger facility in Prescott, Arizona is one of the things that's still right about America!

Here's KeeWee's post on the Ruger facility

Disclaimer: KeeWee and I were not hired or paid to write this post. I call 'em like I see 'em, and I was impressed.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

TSA Fondling Women and Children?

I find this video really disturbing. I fly to matches several times a year, both internationally and domestically, and since I am traveling with firearms, it can get particularly troublesome.

Do we have a right to fly? No, of course not. The airlines can set whatever restrictions they want. You aren't forced to travel on their airline. You can choose a different form of transport, or choose not to travel.

I'm not sure which troubles me the most, though, the fact that high resolution pictures are being taken of travelers by TSA, the fact that passengers, particularly women and children who opt out of the nude photography are being fondled by the TSA agents, or by the fact that if I opt out of the nude photography on my next trip I may end up on one of their "Do not allow to fly" lists, identified as a gun carrying troublemaker.

To give credit where it's due, my contacts in the past with TSA concerning traveling by air with firearms has been positive. Those TSA folks, however, seem to be a different group entirely from the ones running the passenger "Screening" lines.

The whole thing reeks much more of unneeded government control rather than any logical attempt to increase air travel security.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bleh .........

It seems like every time I fly somewhere, a week later I end up with a cold, the flu, or some sort of respiratory infection. Once again, that's the case. Hopefully some bed rest, lots of liquids, and cough and cold stuff will get me over this fairly quickly.

I've got lots of stuff to blog about from our trip to Arizona, the Ruger factory tour, and the Arizona Steel Challenge championships, but at the moment I just feel like going back to bed.

As I said, "Bleh....."

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