Monday, October 31, 2005

A happy Halloween story

This was a very happy Halloween at my house - more so than usual. Nathan had fun trick-or-treating dressed as a 4 foot diameter Oreo cookie. Kathy had fun handing out candy and flirting with all the cute boys. However, the best part was a family reunion brought about by the local teenage grapevine.

Last night around midnight I was sitting in the garage priming some .223 brass (yes, I still do it the old fashioned way) when I heard my dogs and the neighbor's dogs start the "intruder in the yard" bark. If you have dogs you'll understand what I mean. If you don't you won't. Get a dog. Get three. They're cool.

Anyway, the dogs were seriously trying to tell me that something was out there and were doing their best to tear down the wrought iron fence, so I grabbed my Surefire and my Kimber and went out for a look. As I was pie'ing my way around the corner to look into the driveway the intruders made themselves running up and licking my legs. It's too bad there wasn't a camera on me, because I did the most beautiful "flinch so bad you almost fall down" shot refusal I've ever imagined. You know what I mean: a fast moving target has presented itself and the "Front Sight, Press" sequence has begun, but suddenly the brain intercedes and says STOP, causing you to come off the target in a motion that looks somewhat like an epileptic gorilla trying to perform the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.

Two black Lab puppies, maybe 6 to 8 weeks old, and an adult male black Lab had come for a visit.

The dogs were very obviously friendly and utterly exhausted. I opened the garage up and they all promptly came in and flopped down. Water, food, and a soft, safe place to lie down (the traditional gifts to wandering canines) were provided, and within a few minutes the garage looked like Doggie Jonestown.

All of the dogs were well groomed, appeared healthy, and weren't scared of people at all. These were somebody's pets, not strays. I could see where the adult had worn a collar at one time, but he didn't have it on now. I checked for tatoos and microchips, but no clues as to where the dogs belonged became evident. Now what?

Animals are always welcome at our house, but these dogs had a house and a family of their own. After a meal, a short nap, lots of belly rubbing and scratching behind the ears (on the dogs, not me), and a reminder from my wife that this was how we ended up with 8 cats, 3 dogs, 2 turtles, a fish and a frog, it was time to see if they knew their way home. I opened the garage door and stood back to give them a clear exit. The adult walked out into the driveway and proceeded to cast about in a complete circle, both by sight and by smell, and after a moments hesitation turned and came back into the garage and sat down. He was lost. Time for plan B. I closed up the garage, put out some more food, and let them sleep for the night.

Today we started a muliti-level information blitz in an attempt to locate the missing family. The kids spread the word at school and posted 'found' notices around the neighborhood, while I posted a 'found' notice at the local Petsmart and on Pet 911. As usual, the most effective idea came from my wife. She suggested that we put a 'found' sign in the driveway where all of the trick-or-treaters would see it. Simply masterful. Within 45 minutes of passing out our first candy we started hearing people referring to us as "the people with the dogs." The word was spreading. An hour and a half later, a young man read the sign and informed us that there were people on the next street over asking trick-or-treaters to look for their 3 lost dogs. This fine young citizen was given an extra handful of candy and asked to go back and tell the people that we might have their dogs.

Within 10 minutes a truck pulled up in front of the house. A man bailed out of the passenger door before the truck stopped moving and said "I hear that you may have my babies! Are they here?" He was able to describe the dogs perfectly, so I led him into the garage and witnessed a reunion that only a true dog lover can appreciate. The poor guy was in tears as he was mobbed by the ecstatic dogs. In between barks and sniffles he explained that someone had left a gate open during a party at his house two days ago. He tried to offer me money for taking care of the dogs, but I couldn't take it from him. As an explanation for my refusal to accept his money I took him into the backyard and introduced him to my dogs. He understood.

Lucky, Diamond, and Osita ("little bear") are home. Happy Halloween.


More KaBoom

I've been receiving quite a few emails and comments asking for more information about the KaBoom described below. I don't know the cause of the kaboom. I can guess, but that's all it is.....a guess. I did some quick checking on the Vihtavouri website, and IF the powder and charge weights written on the shells are correct it would seem that all of the loads were in the normal "safe" range. That's a big IF, though. It's possible that the reloader mixed up his powders and may have used N160 instead of N560, or something of the sort. I don't know. I wasn't there when the ammo was loaded.

My opinion? I think that is was a SEE - a secondary explosion effect. This is just a guess, though. The crystal ball is cloudy today. I've been told that the rifle is being sent to Browning for analysis. If I get any more info, I'll post it.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Kaboom - the story

I've gotten several emails (and one comment) about the KaBoom pictures below. Here is what I know:

The rifle is (used to be) a Browning A-bolt in .300 Winchester Magnum. I was not present when the explosion occurred....I was at the other end of the range preparing to teach a shotgun class. The situation was well in hand by the time I arrived on the scene. The firing line had been shut down and made safe, all shooters except the injured parties had been escorted off of the range and were waiting in the parking lot, an RSO and a shooter had gone to the highway to flag down the ambulance and guide them to the range, another RSO was working crowd control, and two more RSO's were administering first aid to the shooter and his partner. I secured my section of the range and started working the crowd in the parking lot.

This happened at about 8am, just as parents were arriving to drop their kids off for my shotgun class. Yet again I was (and still am) very happy to teach in a rural farming community. In "the big city" there probably would have been parents turning around and leaving as soon as they saw the ambulances in the parking lot. Out in the sticks the response was quite different - they understand that sometimes bad things happen no matter how careful you are. One father told me "Show them the blood. That'll teach 'em that this is serious shit."

With the kind permission of the injured shooter, my assistant brought the safety glasses and some pieces of the rifle over for a quick show-and-tell with our students.

The safety glasses are particularly interesting:

You'll note that there is no right earpiece. When the barrel thread/locking lug area of the action let go, the bolt came back and struck the right lens of the shooting glasses with enough force to crack the lenses, tear the earpiece off, and knock the glasses completely off the shooter's head. The shooter had some minor cuts where the glasses had been forced back into his face, but the alternative would have been a rifle bolt where his right eye used to be.

You might want to think about that the next time one of us "range nazis" tells you that you cannot be on the range without safety glasses. As I said below, the shooter and his partner walked away with only minor injuries.


Running deer shoot

Years ago, some ingenious individual was looking at a couple of steel I beams, a bicycle, a few hundred feet of steel cable, and a few pulleys and said, "Hey Bubba! We could make a cool moving target setup out of all this stuff!".......and a legend was born: the annual Buckeye Running Deer Shoot.

Each year we set up this ancient contraption, attach full size silhouette targets of (what else?) a running deer to it, and shoot at it as the target frame moves between our 100 yard berms. All shooting is done offhand with rifles and pistols that are legal for big game hunting in Arizona. The target is exposed for 10 to 15 seconds, depending on how tired the guys cranking on the bicycle are......or how much your buddies have slipped them to give you an "impossible" target. Five shots cost $3. Ten shooters compete in a "round." The target is scored after each shooter has his or her turn, with the high score receiving $10, second place receiving $5, and the club keeping the other $15. This event has been our clubs #1 fundraiser for many years.

The non-Kaboom pictures below were all taken at the Running Deer Shoot. IIRC, I took second in one event with the beat up old Marlin in the picture, won another event with my crusty old .357 Smith & Wesson, and won another event with my Savage 10FP bolt gun. Nathan held right in with the big boys and took second place in two different rounds. Kathy would have dropped several deer if the targets had been real, but unfortunately the hits didn't add up to a winning score for the groups she was shooting against.

The day always ends with a jackpot round: $3 buy in, 5 shots at a standard smallbore bullseye target at 100 yards, offhand, with a 1 minute time limit. Pot split 50-30-20 between the top 3 scores. I won last year, but this year I pulled my 4th shot completely off the paper and ended up in a 3 way tie for third place. The kids didn't finish in the money, but they both shot well enough that they were in the middle of the pack. That's pretty good considering that they were shooting against adults, most of whom have been shooting longer than the kids have been alive.

Another fun day at the range.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Probably the only picture of me that you will ever see here......


The "just my size" rifle.......

Future boyfriends take note.........

A happy young lady with her .308


* Not my rifle.......this happened last Saturday. The shooter walked away with only a few scratches and cuts. The "worst" injury was the area where his safety glasses were pushed back into his face by the bolt.

The $5 glasses saved his eye - and possibly his life.


Kaboom 2

Kaboom 3

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not gone....just busy

Don't worry folks. I haven't been shut down......I've just been busier than a man with one leg at an ass kicking contest.

I'll be back later in the week.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005


In my opinion, this might be a picture of a flower:

In my opinion, this might be a picture of chocolate cookies:

Disclaimer: Any and all opinions and/or views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the opinions and/or views of any other person or legal entity.

Complaints will be answered in the order they are received.



Hello, my name is Len and I'm an insensitive prick.

I think I'll start introducing myself that way. It seems that I upset the nice folks at the Surprise Sportsman's Club by expressing my opinions in this post about their range closing. This is what prompted the disclaimer posted below. The rant in question was intended to be a warning to other clubs not to become complacent. Naturally, the rant is what got everyone's attention and not the warning. I was pretty damn hard on them, but the anti's are closing enough ranges as it is without us helping them.

Everything posted on this site (unless otherwise attributed) is MY OPINION. MINE. ALL MINE. I don't pull punches and I don't sugarcoat anything. I call it like I see it. Some people may not like or agree with my opinions and I'm just fine with that. I won't go back and edit my posts to remove things that piss people off. If you disagree with what I have to say, more power to you. Leave a comment. If I'm proven to be wrong I will say so.

In fact, I'm going to give the folks at the Surprise Sportsman's Club an opportunity to set the record straight and prove that I'm an idiot. I will allow any or all of the executive committee of the Surprise Sportsman's Club to log in and post directly to my blog. You will be required to prove your identity before posting to keep the riffraff out. Let's bring it all out in public so that there is no "he said, she said" BS going on. I give my word as a gentleman that your posts will remain un-edited and in their original form. I will reply in another post without ever removing or changing what you have to say.

Please prove me wrong. I am looking in from the outside and giving my opinion based on what the general, non-member public has to work with. Yes, I was harsh on your club. As I said before, I call them like I see them. This isn't the first time I've criticized another club. In my opinion (just mine, not belonging to any legal entity or other person), we as shooters absolutely must be safe at all times. Period. The anti's come up with enough fuzzy statistics, out of context comments, and one-sided "news" stories on their own without us giving them more ammunition, so to speak.

If bullets were in fact leaving the confines of the range in Surprise, then the club management was correct in closing the range until the situation was corrected. In my earlier post I criticized the club for closing due to unproven allegations. I didn't have all the information and my statement regarding that decision was unjustly critical of the club management. There. See how easy that was? Of course this brings up the whole "what did they know and when did they know it?" question, but it would be insensitive of me to ask that.

I think the club is going in the right direction now.

Let me say that again: I think the club is going in the right direction now.

I am very much aware that bitching at the present management about past decisions will not change the current situation. The members of the Surprise club are doing all that they can at this point to open their range again.....looking forward and being pro-active may keep your club from facing the same issues.


Monday, October 03, 2005

One man's opinion....

For the record.......

Any and all views and opinions expressed up to this point in time on this website are those of the author, Len Sullivan, and do not in any way reflect the views of the Buckeye Sportsman Club, its' elected officials, or its' general membership.

Explanation to follow................


Sporting Clays Instruction

A message from Jennifer at the Red Mountain Trap and Skeet Club:


Red Mountain is hosting a NSCA Level 1 instructor course next weekend – October 8th and 9th. We are in need of some volunteers to come out and be instructed by the coaches. The AZ Game and Fish will be providing shells and the targets, so the cost is free for you. If you or your kids would like to come out either or both days, please let me know. We will be needing shooters all day, both days from 9am-4pm. You don’t necessarily need to attend all day if you don’t want to. If you have any questions, please let me know.


I don't want Jennifer to be bombed with email, so please send me a message at shotguncoach AT yahoo DOT com if you're interested.


Sunday, October 02, 2005


If you've been reading for a while, you've probably figured out that I carry a 1911. I have several revolvers and don't feel "undergunned" with any of them, but if I had to pick one type of handgun to bet my life on it would be a 1911.

Mandatory tupperware insult: People who carry, carry Glocks. People who shoot carry 1911's.

Springs are vital to the proper operation of a semi-automatic pistol. The gun rags have done a reasonable job of convincing the general shooting public that recoil springs wear out and need to be changed once in a while. IMHO, a worn out recoil spring in a 1911 will usually still will just beat the hell out of your gun while it does it. For my money, the most important spring in a 1911 is the magazine spring. I've spent a lot of time shooting 1911's and watching other people shoot 1911's at the range. I've never seen a malfunction from a worn out recoil spring. That doesn't mean it can't happen, it just means that I've never seen it happen.

The two most common reasons for the malfunctions I've seen are not enough extractor tension and weak magazine springs. When I see someone at the range that is having trouble with their 1911, the first thing I do is to hand them one of my magazines. That usually fixes the feeding problems. Not every time, but well over 80%. In my guns, the first sign of a weak magazine spring is a failure to feed of the last round in the mag. There are no gimme' feeding malfunction and I replace the spring.

I also completely disassemble all of my mags once a year and inspect the springs even if they haven't been causing trouble. Since my birthday was this weekend, it was time to strip everything down. I have a dozen 8 round Chip McCormick mags, six 10 round Chip McCormick mags, and a dozen generic mil-spec 7 round mags. The 7 and 10-rounders are mainly used at the range and not for carry purposes, so their springs don't go bad as often as the 8 rounders. The 8's are my primary mags for carry purposes, so half of them are always loaded. Each month I rotate my carry ammunition (by shooting it, of course) and load the other 6 mags when I'm done. That way each set of 6 mags is loaded for a month, then unloaded for a month. At the end of the year each magazine has been fully loaded for 6 months.

I know a lot of engineers who say that it is the number of compression cycles that determines the wear rate on a coil spring. That's fine. Engineer all you want. With 3 of us in the family shooting the several hundred rounds through the 1911's at least twice a month, all of the mags experience a lot of compression cycles. It's the ones that stay loaded all the time that wear out, thank you very much. The ones that get "cycled" and then put away unloaded don't wear out nearly as fast.

This year's inspection revealed 5 springs that were shorter than spec but weren't causing any feeding problems yet. A few minutes online at Chip McCormick's website and 6 new springs are on their way. At $4 each with free shipping it's cheap insurance. The short springs will go in the tool box for emergency spares.

When was the last time you checked your springs?


more chronograph data

Additional chronograph testing........

Winchester AA hull
16.1 gr 700x
Winchester WAA12SL wad
1 oz #8
Remington 209PSTS primer
avg velocity: 1166 fps
std deviation: 15.82

Remington STS hull
19.0 gr Green Dot
Winchester WAA12 wad
1 1/8 oz #8
Remington 209PSTS primer
avg velocity: 1147 fps
std deviation: 6.83

Remington STS hull
19.6 gr Green Dot
Winchester WAA12 wad
1 1/8 oz #8
Remington 209PSTS primer
avg velocity: 1172 fps
std deviation: 14.94

Remington STS hull
20.3 gr Green Dot
Winchester WAA12 wad
1 1/8 oz #8
Remington 209PSTS primer
avg velocity: 1187 fps
std deviation: 28.59

Remington STS hull
21.0 gr Green Dot
Winchester WAA12 wad
1 1/8 oz #8
Remington 209PSTS primer
avg velocity: 1215 fps
std deviation: 12.63


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Getting old

Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
I think I'll go to the range,
And shoot my new .303


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