22 April 2014

Happy Urf Day!

Looks like I'll be driving the 'stang in to work tonight...

20 April 2014

Have A Happy Easter!

Your Sith overlords command it...

19 April 2014

Keep Alive Posting

Happy Easter everyone!

The first rule of blogging is to post every day, and this month I have shattered that rule into so many fragments that I will never find all of them. So, in an effort to at least partly make up for my long silence, I offer the following:

I finally got the chance to take the Mossberg out and sighted it in and even with me behind the trigger it will shoot Minute of Bambi groups at 100 yards, so I think I'm ready for North American Hoofed Rat season. It's not a precision shooter, but then again neither am I so it all works out.

The Mustang 50th Anniversary bash is happening in Charlotte, three hours from me, but I didn't go. I had to work the first two days of the festivities and I really didn't want to deal with the crowds and the traffic. I have friends in Charlotte who are reporting in regularly so I'm getting a good idea of everything going on. The new 2015 is reportedly even better in person than in pictures, so it might be a good thing I didn't go. I'm talking myself out of a 2015 base model GT coupe with Brembos, I don't really need it and I really don't want a car payment.

The Mustang I do have needs a windshield washer pump. I have it in hand, and one day when the weather clears up I'll pull the front bumper cover off and put it in. While I have it off I'll take it over to my body guy and see if he can't fix the dog damage on it. I didn't notice it at the time, but when the bumper cover hit the bumper it put a small split in a place where it can be seen.

It also split behind the front valence, but it can't be seen there so I haven't worried about it. I noticed the visible split when I was cleaning the car up for Lenoir. Since I have it off anyway this will be a good time to get it fixed in both places. If he can't get to it right away I'll have to put it back on with the split and get it done another day, it has to be done fairly quickly so it will be ready for a road trip next month.

It looks like I'll be making another Midwest trip then, my niece is graduating high school (we hope) and her sister who is in college in Winchester VA is going to split the gas with me to go out and attend. Of course we are taking the convertible, so hopefully I'll be able to get that bumper cover fixed before then. I'll have to take my dog this trip because there won't be anyone at home to take care of him.

Middle Daughter, Son In Law and Youngest Grandson are moving back to Florida on the 3rd of next month, they are excited to be going. Son In Law's mother lives in Jacksonville (I call her Grandma In Law) so they will be staying with her until they get settled. They've been here for 3 years, so it might be a while before they get settled. GIL doesn't seem to mind, though.

Youngest Son's birthday is tomorrow, but we did all his birthday stuff yesterday. He got his sisters old Droid X, she got my old Droid Razr and I got a new HTC and then we went skating that night - or rather he went skating while I sat in the corner with the laptop. He's happy with his phone, and Dad pays the bill so it all works out. Unfortunately it wasn't a perfect day for him.

To mar his perfect day, tragedy has struck close to home. My youngest son's teacher, who I call Sis because she is close enough to be family, lost a grandson late last Thursday night. He was at some girls house, pissed her off, she called someone and when that someone knocked on the door told him to answer it. He did and got a chest-full of 9mm for his troubles. He was 22. Youngest Son was his little buddy, so he isn't taking it well. The funeral is next Thursday so I'm taking Youngest Son to it.

And that's the news from the Refuge.

06 April 2014

Thought Of The Day

Sure, them furrin cars are pretty and all, but pound for pound us Yanks have, in my opinion, produced the best and most beautiful cars on the planet. For sheer sex appeal I'll put a Duesenberg Model J up against any Jaguar ever produced (even the ones made by Ford that don't sit underneath the oak trees looking pretty cause that's as far as they can drive without breaking down) and I'd rather own my Mustang than any BMW you could bring me.

Brony

Having never seen so much as a single episode of the show, I can't say I'm a fan. However, Erin Palette is, and when we went shooting last month she was wearing a shirt that had a Firebird logo, but instead of the bird there was a pony in the middle.

She oh-so casually mentioned that there was one for Mustangs as well, and if I had one would I wear it? I told her I didn't watch the show, but since I like MY little Pony I'd not only wear it, I'd have a picture taken and put it on the blog.


It's just a shame I didn't have it earlier yesterday, I would have worn it to Lenoir NC for the first cruise-in of the month.










The sign made its first public appearance, and it was well received, in fact the cruise-in staff has asked me to bring it back next time and let them put it at the end of the street that is designated Mustang Alley.


I started the day at the shooting range where I got the Mossberg sighted in for 100 yards yesterday morning and got the new magazines for the High Standard dialed in as well, so it was a good day all the way through.

03 April 2014

Handy Man






And now I'm all ready for Lenoir on Saturday.

April Showers

Yesterday the weatherman said it was going to be warm and sunny today, but it is decidedly cool and overcast instead and these water drops falling down look suspiciously like the rain that wasn't supposed to be here until tomorrow.

Today the weatherman says we are going to get some rain showers and tomorrow is going to be the sunny and warm day. Saturday and Sunday are going to be cooler and partly to mostly sunny, which is fine because Saturday the new Mossberg 30-06 is supposed to get its inaugural run.

Today is also Middle Daughter and Son-In-Law's fourth anniversary.

And also, since it is a new month...


April's redhead, Lydia Hearst, is brought to you courtesy of Maxim Magazine.

02 April 2014

All's Well

Eldest Son's birthday is today.

To celebrate, he came over and helped me finish the Subaru up and then I cooked burgers on the grill for him. I also let him take one of the TV's home that never gets watched, so it was a good day for both of us.

01 April 2014

Mixed Bag

The plan today was to change the right side drive axle on the Subaru because it's making a bit of noise and then go enjoy this 80 degree day with the top down to celebrate my little Firefly's fourth birthday (she rolled off the line at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant on April 1, 2010; daughter thought the cake and ice cream was a bit much but she ate it anyway).

The reality was two bad axles and two bad ball joints.

I already had one drive axle, but of course I didn't have the ball joints or the other axle. Off to the parts store I went (at least I got to ride for a little while with the top down) to get another drive axle and the ball joints. They had the axle, but we had to order the ball joints.

Back to the house with the drive shaft and the disassembly began. The right ball joint separated from the control arm just fine, but it was rusted into the steering knuckle. Son In Law and I managed to get it out after much cursing, sweating, pounding, prying and PB'laster. We then got the drive shaft installed (sans ball joint, which will have to wait until Thursday cause I have stuff to do tomorrow) and went over to the left side.

We were running out of daylight and the ball joint had barely budged, so we called it a day and went inside. After a quick shower I tried out my bacon cheddar broccoli soup recipe.

It must have been good, because it's all gone now.

6 slices bacon
1/2 of a medium Vidalia (sweet) onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream)
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread Bowls

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat fry the bacon crisp. Remove the bacon and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are tender. Stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the bacon grease is absorbed. Continue cooking until the flour has browned slightly, then transfer everything to a stew pot. Crumble the bacon and add it as well.

Slowly add the half and half and chicken stock, stir until smooth. Add the nutmeg and bay leaves and cook on medium low until thickened.

Reduce heat. Add the carrot and broccoli and simmer until tender. Discard the bay leaves. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve in bread bowls.

28 March 2014

Finished With Main Engines

Home again, home again.

We gave the printed out info to Pop, he said he knew all about it but I have a feeling he didn't know the extent of it. At any rate, he's informed and that's all we can do.

The trip home was uneventful, and the pony is in the corral.

Back to work tomorrow, and my homework still has not done itself.

But for now I'm going to go see what my own bed feels like.

27 March 2014

That's Better

Somewhat.

I slept in late, then went to lunch with a bunch of morons, then went and put some holes in things with some goth chick.

Yes, I got to shoot The Mosin.

Tomorrow I get to go tell Pop what I know about his new friends, and then I imagine he won't want to talk to me for a while. Since I can't do anything else, my hope is that he will decide to act on the information I give him and get himself away from these people.

And then I get to make the long drive back home and get back to work.

Microsuck

I can't sign into my Hotmail account because they want me to put in a security code.


They want to text or email me that code, but I don't want to give them my phone number or any other email address.


Windows 8 requires me to sign in using my Windows Live (hotmail) account...so I can't delete it.

I'm tempted to wipe both these computers and load something else on them instead. Then I'll close my Hotmail account and microsloth can go right to hell.

Only problem is...I don't want to work hard enough for Linux, and that's about the only alternative for an OS.

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

25 March 2014

That Hollow Sound

is me smashing my head against the brick wall otherwise known as Pop.

His new pals both have arrest records, but he assures me that they are "good kids".

I've finalized plans to go put some holes in something. Lord knows I need the distraction.

Something non-organic, that is. No bail required.

yet...

23 March 2014

Hellfire and Damnation

is far too good for the bottom feeding scum sucking parasitical whoresons and toadlickers who prey on the elderly in the wane of their days.

By that I mean I'm heading off to Florida for an undetermined time to help Eldest Daughter un-snarl the tangle that has become of Pop's affairs since he became too sick to do these things for themselves.

I blame myself, at least in part, because I should have been keeping closer contact with him. I dread this trip because I know that the time is drawing nigh where I will have to do it at least one more time again.

I'm glad that Mom and Dad have my siblings close by.

And now off to the road.

Interludes

I have been playing hookey from work the past couple of days, taking vacation instead of applying healthy doses of grindstone to my proboscis.

I have been rewarded by three days in which the lack of precipitation was blessedly made up for in the increase of temperature. I have therefore spent my days riding around with the convertible top down rather than applying myself to my schoolwork.

Both gainful employment and dismal weather make their return upon the morrow, and to make it worse it seems as if my mother is still correct. I just opened my schoolbooks and found that my homework is steadfast in its dogged determination not to do itself.

I hear that grindstone spinning up to speed.

20 March 2014

Freddy's Dead

I wonder if the Patriot Guard Riders will ride at the funeral?

UPDATE: I guess not.

Trepidation

Middle Daughter texted me a while ago saying the VA was trying to get in contact with me because I'm listed as the point-of-contact for Pop. They didn't say what they wanted. I called the number they gave her but all I got was the answering machine, so I'm waiting for a call back.

Pop is not in great health, he's been having some circulatory issues and he's too damn stubborn to call either me or Eldest Daughter who only lives an hour to the east of him when he needs something. The fact that the VA is calling instead of him has me worried.

I'll hope for the best and plan for the worst, my schedule can be as fluid as I need it to be so if I have to travel I can do so. It's only 500 miles to Florida so I can be there in less than a day.

The waiting, as always, is the hardest part.

UPDATE: He checked in to the VA because he was weak and constantly falling down, they have sent him to hospice for short-term rehab. Eldest Daughter has been informed and is now on her way to give Grand-pop hell for making her worry.

I almost feel sorry for him...but I do hope he gets better soon.

14 March 2014

Happy Pi Day!

And to commemorate the occasion, I would like to announce that this recipe works just as well with peaches. Just substitute peaches for apples and add a half teaspoon of ground nutmeg in with the flour and cinnamon and prepare as per the recipe.

I've got part of one sitting on the kitchen counter, but if I don't have an empty pie plate by this evening I'll be very surprised.

Adventures in Literature

Someone that you know...or someone who knows someone you know...has written a book.

You should go check it out.

13 March 2014

A Question

Do we, as free American citizens, have the right to defend ourselves against criminal actions by invaders of our own homes?

What if those doing the invading have the sanction of the State?

I am watching these shenanigans happening in Connecticut and now they are happening in a couple of other places as well (New York, for example).

(Note: It would serve lawmakers well to remember that the American Revolution started in the New England states over government attempts to seize privately owned weaponry, and while such sentiments seem to have been squashed out of most of the residents there it doesn't appear to be gone altogether. This pleases me.)

I am hopeful that calmer and cooler heads will recognize that, much like the 55 mph speed limit, Americans will ignore laws they don't feel are good ones.

I fear, however, that the point will have to be made by bloodshed.

Lawmakers would do well to recognize that "don't want to" doesn't mean "won't" but given their amazing ability to ignore every bit of evidence around them I'm not sanguine about the prospect.



Value

Heroditus Huxley has a post up about car values that got me curious to see how mine are holding up. So, I did a little research.

According to Kelly Blue Book, the Mustang is worth about half what I paid for it, but of course I bought it brand-spanking new and I've put more than the average number of miles on it. The Baja, on the other hand, is worth about 4K less than I paid for it, but I bought it used. I've had it almost 4 years and once again I've put more than the average number of miles on it.

The depreciation on the Mustang is more due to the fact that I went from brand-new zero mileage value to four years old and higher than average mileage value, and the Baja would be worth another thousand dollars if it had the average number of miles on it rather than the 40K extra that it has. And as much as I love my Mustang, I think I would miss the Baja more if for some reason I lost both of them. I could always find another Mustang convertible, but they don't make Bajas any more (and didn't make a whole lot of them to begin with).

Side note, apropos of nothing I suppose, the Baja regularly gets slammed by automotive journalists and internet pundits mostly for the fairly outrageous Pontiac style plastic cladding along the bottom and the short bed, but they are extremely popular among those who own them. KBB has an owner appreciation rating of 9.1 out of 10.

In either case, the enjoyment I've gotten out of not having to put a wrench to either one of them (much, in the case of the Baja, and not at all in case of the Mustang) for other than routine maintenance and desired modifications has far outstripped the value lost on either of them as measured by Kelly Blue Book.

12 March 2014

The Way It Ought To Be

Yesterday was a perfect day.

I would have taken pictures or something but I was too busy enjoying it.

11 March 2014

Directions

Reading this article leads me to the conclusion that my dog is magnetically challenged.

Either that or he's pushing out a Frontiers in Zoology journalist.

It could be either one.

08 March 2014

What A Difference A Day Makes



Yesterday, cold and rainy with highs in the middle 30s.

Today, warm and sunny with highs in the low 70's.

Yep, gotta love the weather in Dixie. Too bad I have to waste it on work.

07 March 2014

Ice Ice Baby

Freezing rain today, it started at noon yesterday and is forecast to continue on through the day with temperatures only climbing to the high 30's. I get to drive to work in it, oh joy.

The power just went out about fifteen minutes ago, no doubt due to ice on the lines. I have a lantern for light and the phone has internet and communication, not to mention Kindle to keep me amused.

Shame it can't do laundry.

PS. I am thoroughly sick of winter now.

UPDATE: I decided round about six thirty that I wanted some coffee. However, with the power out the stove doesn't work. No problems, I have a camp stove and a camp stove coffeepot! So I go out to the shed and pull it out of the loft...and then realize without electricity the water pump doesn't work, either...

So off I go to get some water, and perhaps some other needful things, and Krispy Kreme has coffee and donuts...and when I got back the power was back on and so the collapse of civilization as we know it has been put on temporary hiatus.

Oh well, I needed some emergency water stores anyway, and the ice is very pretty when it's not knocking out your power.

06 March 2014

Heartbreak

I haven't been cruising my links lately so I completely and utterly missed this.

Fair winds and following seas to the most loved black lab on the internets, and heartfelt condolences to those left behind.

I have to go walk with my dog now. It's gotten kind of dusty in here.

Musical Interlude


Chowdah

I woke up this morning with a hankering for chicken corn chowder. To the internet I went to find a recipe, none of which I really liked so well, but by mixing and matching I came up with something that filled the bill.

First, you have to make some chicken broth:

Chicken Broth

Ingredients 

1 large (approximately 6 pounds) chicken
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme (1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Kosher salt

Directions

Combine the chicken, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, pepper and a tablespoon of salt in a large pot. Add water to cover, at least 3 quarts. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat, skimming occasionally as necessary. Add more water as needed to keep the chicken covered and continue to gently simmer until the chicken is fully cooked (the juices from the thigh will run clear), about 40 minutes. Drain the chicken, reserving the broth. Makes approximately 3 quarts.

Shred the chicken, discarding the bones. Now that you have both chicken and broth, you can make the chowder.


Crock Pot Chicken Chowder

Ingredients:

4-6 slices thick bacon, diced (you can never have too much bacon)
1 teaspoon bacon grease or extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium sweet onion, chopped coarse
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth, divided
1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
2 potatoes, diced
1 lb chicken, shredded
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Directions: 

Heat the bacon and bacon grease or olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bacon fat is rendered and the meat firming but not yet crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes.

Stir flour into mixture to make a paste; cook until lightly browned and flour gives off a slightly toasted smell, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, flour burns easily. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside to cool, about 15 minutes.

Whisk in 1 cup chicken broth until thoroughly combined. Pour bacon and vegetable mixture into crock pot. Add corn, chicken, remaining 2 cups broth, thyme, cream and nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine ingredients, cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

04 March 2014

Bambi Stew

I'm cooking this up for tomorrow. The good thing about crock pot cooking is you set it and forget it, then later you just come back and eat. I heartily approve.

This particular recipe comes in two stages, so you do the first part the night before and let it cook overnight, then you do the second part and go to work. When you come back supper is ready! Or, if you don't feel like waiting that long you can crank the old crock pot up to high and have it done in eight hours instead.

And without further ado:

Venison Stew

4 slices bacon
2 lbs venison, cubed
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small sweet onion
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup carrots cut in 2" lengths
3 cups boiling water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium frying pan fry the bacon crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add the venison, garlic and onions to the bacon grease. Stir fry just long enough to brown the venison.
3. Place the venison, garlic and onions into the crock pot. Add the potatoes, mushrooms and carrots. Crumble the bacon and add it, too.
4. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 3 cups boiling water (or just use 3 cups beef broth). Add to crock pot.
5. Add Italian seasoning and mix all ingredients well. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours until the venison is cooked all the way through.
6. Stir the flour into 1 cup cold water and blend until smooth. Add to crock pot, add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
7. Cook on low an additional 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high until the stew is thickened.

02 March 2014

dammit

My external hard drive, where all of my pictures were stored, has crashed. It just sits there and clicks.

I can't figure out how it happened, it was working just fine and then all of a sudden...

$150 just to have it looked at, general ballpark estimate between $500 and $600 to recover the data.

All my pictures of Laura. That's the thing that bothers me the most, and that's the reason I'll pay the bill.

01 March 2014

March ROTM


I have no idea who she is. Perhaps one of you do.

Apple Pie




Glazed Apple Cream Pie
Ingredients
Original recipe makes 1 - 9 inch pie
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (15 ounce) package pastry for double-crust pie
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream, and 1/4 cup butter. Heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons milk, and vanilla; stir into saucepan. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a medium bowl, combine the apples, flour, and cinnamon. Mix well.
Line a 9 inch pie pan with pie dough. Pour thickened filling mixture into pastry-lined pie pan. Arrange apple mixture evenly over filling. Top with second crust, seal and flute the edges. Cut slits in top crust.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
In small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon softened butter. Blend until smooth; pour evenly over warm pie. Refrigerate for AT LEAST 1 1/2 hours before serving (longer is better).  Served with a scoop of ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce will win instant approval from the most discerning of palates.


(PSA note...don't try the advice in the video with a redhead...unless suicide was the intended result. Of course, the redheads I hang out with would probably be the ones demanding the pie. ;) )

27 February 2014

The Voyage Continues

The new Maxwell Saga book is out.

This Bayou Renaissance Man is quite the author, for a blogger. You should really check the whole series out if you haven't already. And if you haven't...why not?

26 February 2014

Impulse Buy

I went back out to the Merchant of Death to get some small rifle primers and a couple of cartridge boxes for reloaded .223 and, as is my wont, looked through the rifle rack they have there (mostly in a futile search for a Mosin Nagant M38).

I found a Mosin 91/30 for $179.99 (Reduced!) that I passed on, two Brit bolt actions in .303 (like I need another oddball military caliber that I can't find ammo for), some sort of Yugoslavian Mauser clone (?) a couple of Ruger Americans, one very pretty walnut stocked Mossberg 4x4, a Marlin X7, a Remington 770... and then I saw a Mossberg 100ATR in 30-06 for less than $300 that caught my eye.

The last few deer-slaying trips I've been on I have taken bolt action rifles, but they were both in calibers that you can't just walk down to the local MoD and buy ammo for. I was looking for something that wouldn't break the bank in a caliber that is carried by local gun shops and Marts of Walls, and this one seemed to fit the bill.

The bolt cycles nice and smooth, there is an easy usable safety right next to the bolt and it comes out with a simple press of the bolt release for easy cleaning. The trigger is adjustable (if I want to take the action out of the stock) and feels pretty good to me, but then again I'm no trigger snob; I think the one on the Mosin is just fine cause the bang happens and the lead slings out the far end ever time I activate it, so I probably wouldn't know the difference anyway. Plus, Boyds has a nice looking wood stock for it, if I want to go that route...and I'm thinking about it, I've always been a fan of blued steel and American walnut.

Topped with a Redfield Revenge 3-9x42 scope it cost me right at 500USD out the door, not a bad price considering. I have a play date range session scheduled next month so I'll put it through its paces then and see what I've got.


For what it's worth, I did an online review check of the rifle (after the fact, of course) and found mention of three lawsuits that were filed regarding the bolts on these rifles, but never did find any details except on the first one. Seems like Cletus took his bolt apart and put it together wrong, called his neighbor who said "It's put together wrong, don't shoot it" and in an alcohol induced rage installed the bolt anyway with the judicious application of hammer and nearby wall, and then was surprised when the bolt blew back in his face.

Of the other two I haven't been able to find anything except online exhortations on various gun forums to "Google Mossberg ATR lawsuits!" which results in return after return of various gun forums saying "Google Mossberg ATR lawsuits!" and precious little else.

So, going by the experience that happy people don't complain and the axiom that you get what you pay for, I'm expecting commensurate results out of my inexpensive 30-06 lead-slinger, IE I'm expecting to be able to consistently and decisively engage Bambi at ranges up to and maybe slightly exceeding 100 yards without being able to knock down Tally Beans at a mile plus...which is as much a function of skill set as equipment anyway, of which I have neither...but I do know people...

I did get the primers, too, by the way.

24 February 2014

Egon Crosses the Streams

and the world is a less funny place.

Thanks for everything Harold, say hello to Elvis.

22 February 2014

Mailbag

I received two new magazines for Grand-dad's High Standard yesterday, cycling ammo through it without actually firing suggests that they should work just as well as the original. I also got two 555 round boxes of .22LR to go along with them, for which I was glad to pay the once-outrageous price of 15.5 cents per round, shipped.

My loading bench efforts netted me 100 rounds of 115gr JHP 9x19 over 6.3 grains of PowerPistol powder, now I need to take them to the range and see how they compare with factory loads. I was not able to load any .223 because I don't have small rifle primers, but I did find 15 new pieces of 6.5x50 and fifteen 129 grain Hornady SST projectiles to go along with them, so I now have fifteen loads using 36 grains of IMR 4064 powder. I'm curious to see how it stacks up against the old H380 loads.

I have a range session scheduled for next month, so I should be able to take the new toys out to exercise them fully and get a good idea of what I want to do as far as loads in the future. I need to load some more 6.5x50 though because the only projectiles I was able to find this time were 123 grain instead of my customary 129 grain, so I need to see how they do.

Most of my brass is clean and deprimed, so I have that to play with next session. I need to get back out to the MoD and get some .223 cartridge boxes and small magnum rifle primers, and while I'm there I might just eyeball one of those 7mm Magnum deerslayers again...and then I may need another set of dies.

They also have pretty good deals going on M-4geries now that the panic is over, and there was that 7.62 Saiga for a pretty decent price as well, so maybe there would be room for another Evil Black Rifle, too. Of course with the Saiga I'd have to get all the pieces parts to move the trigger, but having done it once it should go OK a second time. It would then need a dogleg rail, a collapsible stock with pistol grip, a new set of foregrips...maybe I could duplicate the 4 rail system that's on the .223...and then I'd have to start looking for a Saiga-12 to go along with the collection...

I'm regretting not getting a bigger safe now, though, I'm beginning to run out of room for ammo.

Health Nazis

My place of employ has Decreed that We the Unwilling, henceforth to be known as Serfs...eh, that is, Employees, shall participate in a Wellness Programme I'm order to qualify for low rates on the Company sponsored Health Insurance Scam...pardon me, Policy.

This has been met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth by we Employees, as you might imagine.
There are two Parts to said Programme, the first being a Screening followed by a Remediation, as required. Did I mention that spouses must also participate? It's probably better that I don't have one any more because I have absolutely no doubts what she would say about it.

The screening consists of five parts; blood sugar (good the last time it was checked), cholesterol (OK the last time it was checked) blood pressure (good the last time it was checked), negative blood teat for tobacco use (there's a blood test for that??? Good thing I quit three and a half years ago) and BMI (what are you laughing about???)

It is required to pass three of the five to qualify for the low rates. I should be able to do this, we will see, but if not...well, I guess I'll get to pay a little extra.

One more reason on the list of why it's about time to move on down the road, I guess.

20 February 2014

Reload

I got some new toys in today.

In anticipation of the new toys I went out to get powder. I usually use H380 for the Arisaka 6.5x50, but since I was going to reload .223 for the Saiga with my new toys (one set of them anyway) I decided to use H335 since it can be used for both calibers.

Off to the Merchant of Death I went...only to find that they did not have H380 or H335.

One of the boons to living in this modern age is having the internet at my fingertips, so a little online researching and I found that H322, which according to their display they did have, was also suitable for both calibers.

Except they were sold out of that, too.

I ended up with IMR 4064 for the Arisaka (I had to find load data for that online since the insert that came with my dies didn't have it listed...and the online reference doesn't have 123 grain projectiles, either, so I had to calculate the load using the data for 120 grain and 129 grain...but I digress) and IMR 4198 for the Saiga. I don't really like the idea of having two different powders, but who knows, I might like the results.

I also did some drooling over a Saiga in 7.62, but couldn't talk myself into the asking price, although the asking price was pretty darn reasonable. They also had a Ruger American in 7mm Magnum that looked pretty good to me as well.  Choices, choices...oh well, I have to head back there tomorrow. Seems as if I have no cartridge cases for .223...

I left with just the powder (although there is always tomorrow...), and no powder for the handguns (I use Alliant Power Pistol in the .45 and plan to use it for the 9mm as well) since they were out. Good thing I still have most of a pound left.

When I got home I took all my new toys out to the reloading shed...with the exception of the .223 dies that I could not for the life of me find anywhere. I searched the gun safe, I searched the computer desk, I searched the counters, I searched the reloading bench and surrounding areas, no dies. I scratched holes in my head for a while and then went to do something else, and then of course I found them. (Note to self: order the factory crimp die.)

So now I have projectiles in .224, .264 (6.5mm), 9mm and .45 and brass for all of the above, I have primers and I have powder, and I have the dies for everything. I anticipate a fun-filled reloading session or a dozen in my very near future.

To that end I am tumbling 9mm brass. My last range session netted me more brass than I had come with, so I have almost 300 rounds to clean, which I do in 100 round lots. Out of curiosity I went online to see how long everyone tumbles their brass. Seems that "until clean" is the preferred answer, with times ranging from a half hour to overnight. Most were variations on the "until I remember to turn off the tumbler" theme.

The way I usually do it is, when I get home from the range I sort everything into Ziploc bags, 100 rounds at a time for pistol and 40 rounds (two boxes) for rifle, and store them in an ammo can. When I reload I dump that dirty brass into the cleaner as I reload the brass that I already have clean from the last session. When I'm done for the session I take whatever brass that just went through the cleaner, dump it into my strainer, shake it a few times and bag the medium back up for the next time. The cleaned brass goes into another ziploc bag which stays in the strainer (which stays on top of the bucket) until next time.

When I start I take that clean hundred rounds of whatever caliber it happens to be, resize and deprime, clean the primer holes, prime, and put the cleaned and primed brass into my reloading tray if I want to load that particular caliber, into boxes for later reloading if I don't. That takes about an hour, all of this time another 100 rounds of pistol or 40 rounds of rifle has been running in the tumbler. That goes into my strainer and another batch goes in the cleaner.

Either I reload what I've already deprimed and cleaned or I deprime and clean the primer holes on the new rounds and put that into my reloading tray. That takes about an hour...more if I'm reloading as I go...and the cycle repeats until either I'm out of materials or I'm tired of reloading. At the end, the tumbled rounds go into the bag, the bag into the strainer, the strainer into the bucket, the media goes into the container, and everything goes on the shelf ready for the next reloading session.

So what's your preferred method?

12 February 2014

Snowpalooza 2014


The snow is falling in Raleigh for the third time this year.

Al Gore needs to be kicked in the crotch until his eyes bleed.

UPDATE: The snow has turned into freezing rain. Daughter came home early from work, Son In Law took the Scoobytruck to get her so we just went to get her car. The snow is about 3" deep and has not yet gotten a great deal of ice accumulation. Hopefully it stays that way. The roads were snow covered but not horribly slick. All in all, it's a good day to stay inside.

10 February 2014

Mixed Bag

Wintery mix forecast for today and tomorrow.

I have to work tonight.

I have a cold.

I'm tired of winter.

But on the plus side of the ledger, I got these in today.



08 February 2014

And It Means Nothing

I've gotten two emails in the past week that should have had pitchforks hoisted and torches lit. The fires should be burning merrily under bubbling vats of tar and the feathers should be stacked in neat bundles next to the piles of rails. But besides those directly involved in the proceedings nothing is being said by anybody, particularly anybody in the news (insert shocked face here).

The first email was a GRNC alert regarding Operation Something Bruin, in which N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission agents in collaboration with U.S. Forest Service personnel engaged in the usual tactics (entrapment, midnight "no knock" raids, etc) ostensibly to catch bear poachers, although very few convictions have resulted from the 4 year $2 million operation.

Even though I am a hunter and a shooter, I heard nothing at all about this operation until I got the GRNC alert. I'm not in the mountains, but you would have thought that such a thing would have gotten some attention at least, on the gun boards if nothing else. But there was nothing.

The second email was about yet another congressional "investigation", this one regarding the IRS targeting conservative groups, most notably True the Vote in Texas. Last week TTV President Catherine Engelbrecht provided testimony before Congress detailing the entire affair.

From the Email: "Catherine, her husband, her company and her nonprofit, have been repeatedly targeted, first in frivolous lawsuits by the Texas Democratic Party (which the Democrats lost, every single one, but they didn’t care, because it cost about $1 million for Catherine to defend – money fortunately provided by others as they are not rich), then outrageous, unprecedented demands from the FBI, the IRS and the ATF. Watch her testimony and share it. If you are a Democrat, don’t smirk. You are just as capable of being targeted as anyone if you defy any aspect of Obama’s despotic agenda. And sooner or later you will be forced to, because it IS despotic."

This one of course I have heard about, as has anyone else who has been paying attention, but there again, outside of a few mentions on Fox News the media has been strangely silent...one might almost say, complicit.

Two completely unrelated cases except for this: in both cases members of federal agencies engaged in tactics that they themselves would call terroristic if it wasn't them doing it. In both cases the enormous power of the federal government was brought to bear in order to intimidate, harass and terrify. And in both cases the agencies involved patted themselves on the back for a job well done, and no federal agents are going to jail for breaking the very laws they are supposed to be upholding and shredding the very Constitution that they have taken an oath to defend.

Gunwalker. Bengazi. Pigford. Solyndra. Voter intimidation and failure to prosecute even though there was clear evidence. ACORN. Blatant abuses of power. The list goes on and on and on.

And until someone holding a federal ID goes to PMITA prison, it doesn't mean a damn thing.

Got It...

So I went the "responsible adult" route with my bonus and put a windshield in the Baja instead of buying reloading supplies. It really needed a windshield, it had a chunk of glass out of it right behind the rear view mirror button; the button was actually mounted over the hole. Two cracks had radiated from that hole, one to the left and one to the right, and the one to the left neatly bisected the drivers FOV.

A little over 2 bills later and the crack was magically gone, but there was something...different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I won't say I obsessed over it, but it did kind of niggle the back of the mind every time I got in the trucklet. So this morning I got in and reached up to pull the sunshade down and it hit me...the new windshield does not have the tinted strip across the top like the old one did.

And now, that mystery is solved.