Thursday, September 29, 2005

Range closing

The Surprise Sportsman's Club (formerly known as the Peoria Rod and Gun Club) has shut down. The following is a complete cut and paste from the September 28th issue of Surprise Today. I'm pasting the entire thing because it's not very easy to read on their website. My comments are below.

Shooting range closes for now

By PATRICK O’GRADY Surprise Today

A private shooting range in Surprise has locked its gate and may not reopen, the result of concerns from the county about bullets leaving the facility and the coming end of its lease on the land.

Domenick Iacovelli, president of the Surprise Sportsman’s Club, said Saturday’s closure of the range that serves about 1,200 club members was a precaution as they look at causes and potential solutions for why bullets and shotgun pellets were found on McMicken Dam, one of the county’s concerns with the facility.

"We’re going to address these issues and whatever we can to make it safer," he said.

Making it safer, however, does not mean the club will reopen. Its lease on land owned by the Flood Control District of Maricopa County ends in 2007, and Supervisor Max Wilson has met with the group and told them they would not be offered a renewal.

"We’ve got houses that have moved in there, and houses and a shooting range are not a good combination," Wilson said.

It’s also not a good combination for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shooting range located next to the club’s. Its lease also expires in 2007 and land has already been purchased for its relocation.

Shooting in the area near the dam — which has long been attractive to hunters, particularly those seeking dove and rabbit — has drawn criticism from Sun City Grand residents. As the development has grown closer to the dam, more residents have complained about shooting noises and pointed to the two ranges.

In meeting with Wilson, club members said they were told bullets and shotgun pellets from their range were found on the dam and workers with the Flood Control District were concerned about their safety.

Larry Timmerman, a member of the club’s board of directors, said club members have heard the complaints and tried to work with local police whenever they heard or saw people shooting illegally in the area.

"A couple of weeks ago, when dove hunting season started, we were constantly calling police because we didn’t want people to think it was us," he said.

The range also has strict protocols for shooting when there are people working on or near the dam in order to keep them safe, Timmerman said.

Club members have operated the range continuously since 1953, first as the Peoria Rod and Gun Club before recently changing its name. They have leased the land from the Flood Control District since 1960.

Timmerman said they learned of the potential for closure about 1 1 /2 months ago from people at the MCSO range. They had received official word that range would be relocating to an area about 5 miles south of Buckeye. When the county failed to contact the club, members started making inquiries, specifically to see what improvements they should make should the 10-year lease be renewed.

Club members and Wilson met last Tuesday and that was the first time they learned of problems with spent ammunition on the dam. They went out to the site and found pellets and some bullets on Wednesday and Thursday, then sent a notice to members that because of liability concerns they were, at least temporarily, closing down, Timmerman said.

The problem is club officials don’t know if the pellets in the area were from the range or not. The area is still a prime spot for hunters despite a Surprise ordinance banning hunting or shooting within city limits. Found along with some ammunition were shell casings that could not have come from the range, Iacovelli said.

"People shoot on the other side of that berm," he said. "They ride SUVs out there and shoot dove."

Just the presence of bullets and pellets in the area, however, was enough of a concern to the club to shut down operations because they would rather find out for sure if the ammunition is from the range and what the club can do to make it safer, Iacovelli said.

With costs in the tens of thousands to install steel backstops, it may be difficult to reopen the range, Timmerman said.

"There’s a possibility that the range may not reopen again," he said.

Wilson said he would like to see the club’s range remain open and locate with the MCSO range in a phased development that would open it to public and law enforcement use.

"That’s one thing we’re talking about," he said.

The range that is referred to as being "an area about 5 miles south of Buckeye" is the Buckeye Hills Shooting Range ........the range where I teach and shoot. We've known that the MCSO was coming for years and these guys are just now figuring it out? Didn't they notice the houses being built directly in their line of fire? Hellooooo. The time to start doing something about it was 10 years ago. Before the houses went in. It was obvious to me years ago that this club was doomed....that's why I never joined. Now that the doors have been closed they will never open again, even without the expiring lease. Their eagerness to avoid any hint of trouble and their desire to appear to be "the good guys" in the public eye by shutting down at the drop of a hat is going to be the final nail in their coffin. Now it's not up to someone else to prove that they are dangerous, it's up to them to prove that they are safe. Ain't gonna happen. Not with strict protocols for shooting when there are people working on or near the dam in order to keep them safe. The very fact that they felt the need to have strict protocols indicates that they had prior knowledge of danger. Case closed. As much as I hate to see any range closed, this one probably does need to go. According to Google Earth, there is a house 1.2 miles away, directly in line with the firing positions.

That's not good.

That house never should have been built, but now that it has been built the range is screwed. The club should have been involved with the town planners to see what was coming and to try to guide the plans to benefit everyone. Even if they couldn't change the plans, they would have gotten a glimpse of what was coming. Hell, they could just look out the window and see what was coming. They were a shooting range in the middle of one of the fastest growing cities in the country. How could they not know what was coming?

They got too comfortable. Now they don't have a place to shoot.

It could happen to you.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

SCTP - firing up

Opening day. Most people have some event that they associate with that phrase. It could be the first day of quail season, the first day of deer season, the first day of football, the first day of Christmas shopping........lots of things. Around our house 'opening day' means the first day of the new SCTP season.

Our club begins this year on October 1st with our orientation and sign up day. My available 'blogging time' will probably be rather thin for the first few weeks of classes, but I'll be around.

The Arizona SCTP program is sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and is open to anyone between the ages of 9 to 18......or 5th grade through 12th grade if you prefer to think of it that way. No experience is required. We provide the guns, ammo, targets, eye protection, ear protection, and instruction. The cost is $25 per year, per student.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating, there are programs available at the Red Mountain Trap and Skeet Club, the Chandler Rod and Gun Club, the White Mountain Trap and Skeet Club, the Ben Avery Clay Target Center, the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club, the Buckeye Sportsman Club (where I teach), and several others around the state the I haven't been able to find links for. If you still have trouble locating a program, contact me via email at shotguncoach AT yahoo DOT com and I will do my best to hook you up with the right people.

Any help spreading the word would be appreciated. It is absolutely imperative that we begin educating the next generation of shooters and voters now. The future of our sport and our right to keep and bear arms depends on it. Remember, our rights will not be taken away - they will be voted away.


Sunday, September 25, 2005


No...not that kind of retention. I'm talking holsters. I've seen many different "tests" for holster retention, ranging from jumping jacks to cartwheels, but I don't think anybody has tried my latest test: the Mosh Pit.

My musical tastes are quite diverse and eclectic. I like a little bit of everything.....opera, country, celtic, jazz, big band, rock, even a little bit of hip hop, but my default favorite music has always been speed metal. Yes, I know that a 36 year old father of two is not the typical metal head, but I enjoy it. The last concert I attended was Iced Earth, Evergrey, and Children of Bodom. This led to some interesting conversations at the t-shirt booth ("What's yer story, man? Yer way to f*ucking old to be here!) as most of the concert goers apparently thought I was either a cop or part of the venue staff.

Humph. I was banging to Judas Priest and Black Sabbath when these punks weren't even an itch in their daddies pants yet. Posers.

But I digress...........

Last night my family and I attended a wedding. The husband-to-be works for the same company that my wife and I work for, but not directly for either of us. "Dotted line reporting" is the term for those of you who also play the corporate game. This was a "young people" wedding, and my wife and I were in a small minority of people who weren't 'age group friends' of the bride and groom and who weren't 'old people' like the parents, grandparents, aunts, etc that always show up for weddings. I guess the gray hair and conservatively cut 3 piece suit made them assume that I was just another old fart.

They are so wrong. I am not just another old fart. I am an exceptional old fart. The jaws started dropping when my wife and I were doing the bump and grind on the dance floor, but when the DJ switched to heavy metal I threw myself (coat, tie and all) into the pit and really flipped everybody out.

Now, at this point in my life I am 5' 10" tall, have a 32" waist, and weigh 210 pounds. The kid getting married is about 5' 8" and weighs maybe 125 soaking wet with rocks in his pockets. He didn't stand a chance. Two other big guys slammed him in a sandwich and I hit him just afterward, popping him out of the pit and into the crowd like a cork from a champagne bottle. It was the most fun I've had in a long time.

Some of you may be asking why I didn't at least take off my coat before all of this. The answer is rather simple: the coat was my cover garment for the evening. I was wearing my Series I (yes, I'm a snob) Kimber Compact CDP, a spare mag, and a Surefire 6P on my belt and needed the coat to keep from scaring the sheep......which leads back to the entire reason for this post: Retention.

I carry all of my Kimbers in variations of the Bruce Nelson belt scabbard. My Series I Classic rides in an Alessi ACP, my Series II Classic rides in a Dillon LTD, and my CDP rides around in a Forward Drop Scabbard from Josh Bulman. The pictures show the Bulman FDS with an extra flap of leather that acts as a shirt protector. I had Josh make my holster without that flap so that the top was clear...just like my other two carry holsters. All three holsters ride in the same belt position and use the same draw stroke. This means that no matter what I'm carrying the act of drawing the pistol is the same every time.

The Alessi and Dillon holsters have served me well in competition, combat shooting classes, and daily carry, so I know that they will keep the pistol where it needs to be. I've carried the CDP in the Bulman FDS for about 6 months now and last night was its' first real test.

It performed beautifully. Not only did it keep the pistol in place, the holster itself stayed exactly in place without any flopping or front-to-back movement. I highly recommend Josh Bulman's products. The holster is on the same quality level as my Alessi pieces, costs slightly less than the Alessi's, and only took 8 weeks from the initial email describing my needs to the finished product arriving at my door. I believe the current wait time for the "big name" holster makers is running 8 months or more for their catalog items. Custom work might be ready in a year if you're lucky. Josh is fast, honest, a true artist in leather, and you actually get to talk to HIM when you place your order.

A far cry from Gwa45's latest shopping experience.

Friday, September 23, 2005


As much as I hate to link to the Maricopa Democrats, I just couldn't let this one go.

Go to the link shown above and check the page header....all the way at the top. It says:

Maricopa Democrats - Arizona - 4th largest COUNTY in the United States

Cool. The 4th largest county.

Ok, now go to the page of Shirley McAllister, the Maricopa Democrats Secretary. This page has a neat little animation that says:
Maricopa County
The 5th largest county in the US

Wait....I thought it was the 4th largest county. Hmmmmmm. Let's go check the official Maricopa County website.

And the official word is:

Maricopa County has a land area of 9,226 square miles, of which 1,441 square miles are incorporated (15.6 percent) and 7,785 square miles are unincorporated (84.4 percent). It is the fifth largest of Arizona's 15 counties, and the 14th largest county in the United States. Maricopa County is larger than seven states and the District of Columbia. The county measures 132 miles from east to west and 103 miles from north to south. Twenty-four cities and towns are located within Maricopa County's outer boundaries.

Wow. I feel exponentially dumber for having visited those two pages.


One a month....

I really am trying, but this 'one gun a month' thing is hard to keep up with. Here it is September 23rd and I'm still two behind! Ohhh...the shame.

The most recent new friend came home tonight. A 1948 edition of the Short Magazine Lee Enfield No. 1, Mk III in .303 British. Pics to follow when I have time.


blogroll additions

New additions to the blogroll.....thanks for the links!

Cogito Ergo Geek
Cinomed's Tower
David and Cherie's New Freedom Blog
Lay Lines
Random Nuclear Strikes
Go check out their stuff. It's all good..................

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Look around

My family is attending a wedding this coming weekend, so Nathan and I went to get our hair cut last Sunday afternoon. On our way to the barber, we stopped at the local park to drop some clothes in the donation box for a local charity. Nathan was watching the kids playing basketball and was rather surprised when we came to a screeching halt halfway through the lot.....and even more surprised when the Obliviot in the SUV pulled out of a parking place into the exact spot we would have been in if I hadn't stopped.

"How did you know to stop like that?" he asked.

At work I have been known to answer questions such as this one with the phrase "It's FM." This always leads to the second question: "What's FM?"

"What's FM? It's F*cking Magic, that's what it is."

I didn't feel like doing that to Nate at the moment, (not that I haven't done it in the past) so I explained how I knew to stop. "As we were driving up to his parking place, I noticed that his back up lights were on. That meant that his truck was in reverse. I looked at his head and saw that he wasn't looking in our direction. When his brake lights went out, I knew that he was probably going to back up without looking. I stopped because I didn't think he knew we were here. I made a bet with myself that he was an oblivious idiot (Obliviot) turns out that I was right."

This led to a lengthy discussion about situational awareness and color codes. We talked all the way to the barber shop, talked while we waited, continued talking while we had lunch at the Subway next door, and finally finished somewhere around the WallyWorld parking lot. I used several examples: the Obliviot in the parking lot, his sister dumping a bucket of ice water on him while he was in the shower, and finally, the parking lot altercation I was involved in last year.

By the time we were done we had made a game out of the yellow-orange-yellow transitions that are normal occurances in city driving. The real comprehension test will come the next time Kathy decides that he needs some ice water to go with his shampoo.

As my old man used to say, "The name of the game never changes. It's always 'Look around, Leroy."


Good little sheep

I've been spending a lot of time talking with my kids lately. Perhaps the old man is becoming garrolous in his old age, or perhaps it's my upcoming birthday that is reminding me that my time on this Earth is finite. I know that I may not have the opportunity to teach the kids everything I know, so the next best thing I can do is to teach them how to think, question, and learn.

Kathy and I were sitting on the back porch last night reading the newspaper together. I found something that I wasn't very happy with, so I asked Kathy a few questions:

"If you knew that a hurricane was coming that would put the entire city under 10 feed of water, and you knew that not all of the people would be able to get out, what would you do before the hurricane arrived to help the people afterwards?"

Kathy thought for a moment, then said that she would buy food, water, clothes, blankets, and pillows to give to the people after the hurricane left. ( I guess she doesn't like wet pillows.)

"Where would you keep all your stuff? The city is going to be full of water."

This didn't require any thought at all. "I'd put it someplace outside of the city where it would be safe."

Next question: "Ok, if the storm is 300 miles in diameter and Phoenix is at the center, how far away would your stuff need to be in order for it to be safe?"

Kathy has always hated word problems (don't we all?), but this one was easy. "It would have to be at least 150 miles away to be safe. Or maybe up in the mountains, but it would be hard to put it all there."

Moving right along, my next question was "Ok, if your stuff is 150 miles away and the storm has blown down all the trees, broken up the roads, covered everything with mud and water, and knocked out all the power lines for stoplights, how long will it take for your stuff to get where it needs to go?"

Kathy has spent a considerable amount of time traveling the backcountry with me in my Jeep, so she has a good idea of how long it takes to travel when there are no real roads to follow. She replied that "It would probably take a couple of days to get it all here."

Ok.....time to set the hook.

"In all your calculations about how much stuff to buy, where to keep it, and how long it will take to move everything, how did you account for the skin color of the people living in the town?"

At this point Kathy looked at me like I had lost my mind and made perhaps the most profound comment I've heard yet regarding hurricane relief: "That's stupid. It doesn't matter what color their skin is. Everything is still going to be wet."

Out of the mouths of babes.

It was time to show her what pissed me off in the first place. I opened the Monday, September 19, 2005 edition of The Arizona Repulsive to page B3, showed her the section titled 'News to Use - A clear, concise current events feature for young readers' and pointed out the section of the article which dealt with the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The article quotes the well known social commentator Kanye West as if his statements are factual and not opinions.

".....relief efforts were set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."

The newspaper also presents the following statement as if it were fact, not a question open for discussion:

Most of those trapped in New Orleans were trapped because they were black and poor.
Oddly enough, this section of the paper does not appear on the AZ Repulsive website. There is a Newspapers in Education section, but the lesson plan displayed on the web page does not match what appeared in the print edition.

Kathy was not very happy when she read the article......and even less happy when she realized that it was intended to be a classroom aid for teachers. She threw down the paper and asked, "Why would they do that? They're not telling the whole story. You can't decide something like that without knowing the whole story."

I answered her question the best way I knew how. I looked her right in the eye and said,

Baa ram ewe
Baa ram ewe
To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true
Sheep be true
Baa ram ewe

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The bitch girls

LOL.....I was just checking my site meter referral page and noticed that I was getting hits from The Bitch Girls. I popped open their site to see what it was all about just as my wife happened to walk up to my desk. She saw the "Bitch Girls" title on the minimized page and slapped me upside the head!

"What the hell are you looking at?"

"Really honey, it's just a blog. Here look!"

Actually, The Bitch Girls have quite a fine political gun blog. Go check it's worth the time.


Saturday, September 17, 2005


Cary over at It's Obvious has a put up a long post covering his feelings about The Sheep, the Sheepdogs, and the Wolves . I posted this in the comment section and thought I would expand on it a bit here.....

A very long time ago, my father had a talk with me that was similar to the one I had with my daughter recently. He didn't use the sheep/sheepdog/wolf example to explain how sheeple treat those who really protect them, though. His story was a bit more earthy. I was very young at the time and it didn't really make sense then, so my memory may not truly do it justice.

He told me that most people look down on the true warriors most of the time, they hate the warrior, despise the warrior, don't want the warrior around them or their children, and generally pile sh*t on the warrior until he is completely buried. But then something bad happens, and the pile of sh*t begins to shake, and the warriors emerge to the cheers of the people.....until the danger is gone. Then the people start building the pile again.

Kipling's "Tommy" echoes the same sentiments from a time long ago:

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.

Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

My only worry is that when the time comes again (and it will), that there won't be enough of us left to stop the wolves. During my talk with Kathy I explained to her that the Second American Revolution will be fought by her, or her children, or her grandchildren. But, before that happens, there will be a short, very bloody battle (or a series of short, bloody battles) where the sheepdogs of the day try in vain to hold back the wolves. In my vision, there won't be enough sheepdogs to stop the wolves and they (we, most likely) will all be killed. There will follow a period of domination of the sheep by the wolves, then a new generation of sheepdogs will emerge to throw off the yoke of oppression.

Do I want it to happen this way? No. Do I think it will? Probably.


Welcome GWa.45 readers

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. Feel free to stay awhile and poke around.

This is Liberty hall, you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard.


Hurricane relief

If you haven't read it yet, go read this account of one man's efforts in the aftermath of Katrina:

Duece and a half

As Kevin at The Smallest Minority so aptly said, it is an honor to share the planet with this man.
Go read. Now.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Patterning methodology

I'll start this post by saying that I am not an expert on patterning shotguns. If you want expertise, buy Bob Brister's excellent book "Shotgunning: The Art and the Science." Bob literally shot and analyzed hundreds of patterns, and even talked his wife into towing a 16 foot long target board with the family car while he shot at it to better understand the effects of shot stringing.

I'm not that dedicated. (And neither is my wife)

In my opinion, the only way to really tell how any given load will perform in any given shotgun is to shoot that particular load in that particular shotgun a lot. Patterning, to me, is simply a shortcut that allows me to get a quick snapshot of how a load might perform. Patterns should not be used as the only tool to decide what load to use for a given situation........unless that situation happens to be shooting at paper targets with circles on them from a fixed position. Unless you can convince your wife to tow a target frame behind the ol' family truckster for you, patterning is done in a static environment. Shotgunning is dynamic, not static, therefore testing in a static environment does not tell the whole story. It gives you an indication of what might happen, but nothing more. To really understand what will happen, you need to actually use the load in question in its' actual application under a wide array of conditions. Having said that, I still think that patterning is very necessary simply because it will help you narrow the field of choices down to a select few that have the most potential.

My testing procedure has three phases: chronograph testing, patterning, and long term evaluation. The results of the chronograph testing on the first four loads I tested (there are 12 more waiting to be run over the chrono) were posted a little while back. The chronograph answers three questions for me: 1 - Is the load in the velocity range I want? 2 - Is it consistent? 3 - Is the load safe for continued testing? Of the first 4 loads, only 3 of them passed the test. Load #3 was below the lower velocity limit for my purposes, so it was eliminated from further testing.

The patterning method I use is a little different from what you see everywhere else. The "commonly accepted" method of patterning is to shoot at a great big piece of paper at a distance of 40 yards, draw a 30" circle around the area of the pattern where the pellet strikes are the most dense, count the number of pellet strikes in that circle and divide that number by the estimated number of pellets in the original load. I have several issues with this method:

First and foremost, I don't shoot at 40 yards. I could care less what the pattern looks like at 40 yards. I want to know what is happening at the distances I shoot at. I shoot very quickly, so my shots on singles targets are usually in the area of 32 yards or so. My current handicap is 26 1/2 yards, so shooting at the same speed results in a typical handicap shot of around 42 yards. Two yards may not seem like much, but as I'll show later it makes a huge difference.

Second, the common method is based on percentages. Percentages don't break targets or bring down birds....pellet strikes do that. The percent measurement will give you an idea of how efficient a load is, but it has little to do with the real world performance.

Third, the common method allows you to draw the 30" circle wherever you want after the shot is made. Sorry....I can't move the target into the pattern after I take the shot, so this method doesn't work for me. I want to know exactly where the point of impact is in relation to the point of aim and the distribution of pellets below, above, and to the sides of the point of aim. Some folks may not have thought about it before, but velocity affects point of impact in shotguns just like it does in rifles and pistols.

Here is how I do it: First off, I don't use a 30 inch circle. I use a 28" square. Why a 28" square? Because that is the size of a 200 yard rapid fire rifle target, which is readily available at my range. Yes, the area of a 28" square is more that that of a 30" circle, but please remember that I'm not working on a doctoral thesis here....I'm looking for hints and indications. If the pattern isn't good on a 28" square, it probably won't be good on a 30" circle either. I start by shooting 5 shots into the berm to warm up the barrel of the shotgun. My particular shotgun always throws the first shot or two about 40 fps slower than all the rest. Once it's warmed up it stays consistent, but I know that the first one will be slow. After the 5 into the berm, I run 5 shells from each test bath over the chronograph at a distance of 10 feet. Don't lecture me about needing a larger data set to get accurate measurements....I know all that. Please remember the "hints and indications" rule. Five is enough to get an idea of how the load will perform. After the 5 chrono shots, I place a target frame at a measured 32 yards and fire one shot from a rest. Point of aim at 32 yards is a 6 o'clock hold on the black portion of the aforementioned 200 yard rapid fire target, simply because I know that my gun throws high at that range. (It's supposed to do allows me to shoot rising targets without having to cover them with the barrel) I then take down the target, write the load information in the lower right corner, staple up another target and proceed to the next load. After all "short range" loads have been patterned, I move the target frame out to a measured 42 yards and repeat, this time with the point of aim at 6 o'clock inside the black area.

Those of you who are still reading may have noticed that I only shot 1 pattern with each load and are getting ready to lecture me about data sets again. Don't bother. Hints and indications, remember? If the pattern looks really ragged or if I pulled the shot off center I'll shoot another one. This is a guide. A snapshot. Don't be so uptight.

After all the loads have been patterned for the day, I take the targets home, open a cold beverage, and start counting itty bitty holes. The 200 yard rifle targets have these really handy hash marks that divide the target area into quarters, so I count the pellet strikes one quarter of the page at a time, marking the "quarter count" in the corner of the quarter. Add them up when I'm done and I've got the total pellet strikes on the 28" square. Divide the total strikes by the area of the target (784 square inches) to get pellets per square inch. Multiply that number by the area of a standard clay target (14.19 square inches) and you get a rough measurement of pellets per target. I say "rough" because the distribution of pellets within the target area is not uniform. Hints and indications.

I've never seen anyone else work with "pellets per target" but it seems like a good idea to me. It also removes any of the percentage confusion that can arise when switching between shot charges and sizes. Which is better, 54% of 1 1/8 ounces of #8 or 73% of 1 ounce of #7.5? They're actually within 3 pellets of each other. Pellets per target gives me a quick way to measure possible effectiveness without having to mess around with percentages.

After all the itty bitty holes are counted it's a simple matter to enter all the data into a spreadsheet and let Mr. Excel do the math for me. Standard deviation, max and min velocity, pellets per target, all the good stuff. Loads are ranked high to low by pellets per target at each distance and that information is bounced off of the chrono data for velocity and consistency.

All this just points me in a doesn't tell me how far the road goes. The top contenders from the previous testing are then put into the rotation for long term testing. By long term I mean at least 1000 shots fired at actual targets in registered competition. The scores are then averaged and the load with the highest average wins. I should have the final answer sometime next year.

Pattern data coming up next..........


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Truth in advertising

At least this guy is honest about what he has for sale.

Excellent looking Intratec Tec-22 pistol that jams and malfunctions constantly (that’s the last time I’ll use the word “excellent” in this description). Chambered for the ever popular .22lr cartridge, this fine example of a piece of s**t is sure to disappoint even the least discriminating shooter. Configured to look like an evil a-salt gun, it’s able to rip off or “spray” 2 to maybe 3 rounds before jamming in some of the most extraordinary ways yet seen by man. If a round can get into the chamber it usually fires (20% of the time). It’s really the coming out that’s the problem. The empties get lost inside the ejection port and float around screwing up the works....on purpose! Not really a problem, though, if you’re used to slowly firing and loading muzzle loaders. Just a little more pickin’ around to get the elusive, deformed empty out.

There's more, including pics of the gun on a toilet seat. Go check it out before the auction is pulled down.


The ultimate shotgun

Ok....I'm done messing around with my puny little 12 gauge. I want one of these.

Imagine a 120 mm cannon firing a 50 pound shot charge!

"Target identified. Al-Queda truck, range 100 yards. Canister up! Pull!"


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The slippery food slope

The benevolent government of the People's Republic of Chicago has taken a break from their gun control agenda to address another pressing issue: foie gras control.

But Illinois Restaurant Association President Colleen McShane remains opposed to a ban, either at the state or city level.

"What about chicken. Is chicken next? Will they ban the sale of lamb and veal? If you start, where do you stop?" McShane said. "When you open this door, will it ever close?

Does any of this sound familiar? If you don't see the comparison, replace Illinois Restaurant Association with National Rifle Association, and replace chicken, lamb, and veal with rifles, pistols, and shotguns.


The Pledge

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United states of America,
and to the Republic, for which it stands,
one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Screw you, Michael Newdow and U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton.


Saturday, September 10, 2005


Earlier today, my daughter asked me what I thought about the New Orleans gun confiscations. I was in a chatty mood, and I'm afraid that she got a little more than she bargained for. I spoke for almost 3 hours. I spoke of the slippery slope, of sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. I spoke of bread and circuses, and the Dream That Was Rome. I spoke of how those that are in power do not work for the good of the people, they work to remain in power. I spoke of Ruby Ridge and Waco, gulags and concentration camps. I spoke of jihad and the Crusades. I spoke of Leonidas of Sparta and Horatio at the bridge. I spoke of Patriots and Tyrants, of states' rights, federalism and barbarism. I spoke of the birth of the United States and of how I see it dying. I had her get copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights....and compare them to today's newspaper.

Then she asked why she wasn't being taught any of this in school, and I began speaking again..........


Tribes and sheepdogs

Before you read anything else on my blog, you need to go read Bill Whittle's latest essay: Tribes.

Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back.

I'm proud to say that I consider myself to be a member of Bill's Tribe. Perhaps a junior member, but I definitely consider myself to be a grey sheepdog........with one limitation: I am my family's sheepdog first. I will gladly help any person that I can, provided that my family is not in need of help also. If my family needs me, well then everyone else can wait. If you think less of me for that, so be it.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Impressions from the first hunt

The weekend is over and the kids first hunt is finished. I can usually judge how good a time I had by how many pictures I've taken. Lot's of pictures means I was bored. If you've looked at the last two posts, you've seen all the pictures from the last two days. It was a good weekend.

This wasn't just a normal weekend hunt. Each year the Chandler Rod and Gun Club and the Arizona Game and Fish Department sponsor a 2 day, youth only season in an area closed to all other hunters. Some pics from last years event are here. I'll post the link to the pics from this year as soon as it is available.

It was a weekend of firsts and one that I hope will stay with the kids as long as it will with me. I didn't fire a shot all weekend.....they did all the work. I was the guide, the packmule, the teacher, the retriever, and once, the paramedic. I walked my ass off, was bitten by bugs, was scratched by every frickin' thorn on every frickin' bush that I had to reach into to retrieve a bird, had very little sleep.....and loved every minute of it.

A few things that stand out:

Other than the scrapes and cuts on the retrievers (myself and Charlie, Bryce's dad), we only had one injury. Today Kathy wanted to try hunting with one of the 20 gauge 1100's instead of her Citori to see if she could reduce the doveburger effect that her gun produces on close shots. Early in the morning she didn't quite have her fingers out of the way when she closed the action and closed the bolt on her pinky, taking a chunk of skin out of the pad of the finger. A cleansing wipe, some Neosporin, and two bandaids later she was back in the game.

An excellent weekend. The patterning post can wait. I have to get up at 4am so that I can be in the field when the sun rises tomorrow. Good night!


Another excuse

Yet another excuse for not finishing the patterning series.........

Today the kids took their first small game.....a trio of rabbits. The third rabbit was already in the cooler when this picture was taken. It's hard to see against her shirt, but Kathy is holding a dove that she dropped while Nathan and Bryce were field dressing their bunnies.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Excuse of the day

And today's excuse for not finishing the series on patterning is:

Kathy and Nathan's first dove hunt. The young man in the middle is named Bryce....he was our hunting partner for the day.

And what were you doing today?


Thursday, September 01, 2005


I know that my reader (Hi Cary!) is waiting for the series on patterning to continue, but I just finished a 4 hour meeting with our SCTP state director and the other lead instructors. I'm not sure if "meeting" or "cage match" is a better description. It's going to be a good season, but there are lots of changes coming. Mine is not to reason why..........

While you're waiting for me to translate the pattern data from 3 pages of pencil scribbling into a coherent blog post, I suggest that you go to Storymania and do some reading. I know some of you will flip out at the idea of downloading a self extracting Word document, but unpucker yourselves and just do it. If you like science fiction written by someone who actually understands the science, you'll like "Johnny Reb."

If you just can't bear to open that .exe document, you can go here and grab the .pdf file of "The Consultant." If you are a computer geek who likes guns you simply have to read this one. I will warn you though, the last chapter is missing from this link. I have it somewhere around here, so if you need it just drop me a line.



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