Saturday, April 28, 2007

More Homemade 10mm Fun!

So I rolled some more 10mm last week when I was off, and today I took it out to see how it'd do -- same load I took out last week. For the record:

155-gr. Hornady XTP
14.3 gr. Accurate Arms No. 9
1.250" OAL

I did, however, have a better setup for the chrony this week, namely a little tripod from Walmart to mount it on further out from where I was shooting.
I got out there, got the chronograph set up initially about 8 ft. from the muzzle, loaded the mags and started blasting away at the 7-yard mark -- one ragged hole, with a couple of stray shots here and there. Muzzle velocities from 8 feet, in feet per second:


Average:1,343.9 fps
ES: 34 fps

I was a little suspicious still, though, considering Accurate rates my load at 1244 fps. So, I moved the Shooting Chrony back a couple of feet, diffusers in place, and reeled off some more.

Velocities @ 10 ft:

Average: 1350.5 fps
ES: 63 fps

Velocities @ 20 feet:

Average: 1339.8 fps
ES: 86 fps

I don't know how the extreme spread got wider as I moved the Chrony back; it might have something to do with premature unlocking on some shots, maybe a stiffer recoil spring might help, I don't know. In any event, though, I found the XTPs quite manageable even at those velocities -- if indeed they were accurate. Perhaps a stiffer spring might help with diagnosis. In any event, it was yet another successful outing. I think I'm getting the hang of this handloading thing. ;-)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dan Simpson, American Nazi

There is no more appropriate appellation for him, after reading this frightening proposal in the Toledo Blade...

Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.
Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

I have never actually read anything that made me physically ill, but after I read these words, from a member of the editorial board of two fragging major American newspapers, a fragging former ambassador under previous American presidential administrations, I can say that I came very, very close. Some might think it's a stretch to call this cretin a Nazi, but considering his plan to disarm the American people calls for no less than the evisceration of about 90% of the Bill of Rights, (just about the only amendment left alone being No. 3), then there's just really no better name for him. It sickens, saddens and frightens me that such opinions are held by those who would call themselves Americans, let alone that such evil men are and have been in positions of power and influence. Once again, Bill Whittle:

The inability of external reality to become perfect is a profound disappointment for people who live in their own fantasy worlds where everything is perfect. Such people expect the external world, the world beyond the boundaries of our Sanctuary, to behave like a celebrity awards show dinner or a faculty lounge. Of course, only very, very small areas of the world behave like a celebrity award show dinner or a faculty lounge. But when enough people experience nothing else, and when those pampered, bored, hollow and guilty elites control the way information is reported, run the schools and universities in which reality-free theories are taught, and hold the keys to the manufacture of a society’s myths and stories and culture – well, then the disconnect between the Civilization and reality becomes so acute that the wing stalls and what was once a soaring airplane becomes a few tons of metal plummeting earthward.
God help us if that disconnect, as personified by Dan Simpson, ever spreads...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Morning Levity

...or, some Cowboy Blob-style photoblogging (phlogging?)
Seen on the door of a Southeast Texas pawn shop:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

First Handloads Downrange...

...and both my Kimber Stainless Target II and I are in one piece, and I for one am raring to go again!
As mentioned earlier, I made some 10mm ammunition early last week on my RCBS turret press, and yesterday and this morning I sat down and made some more. Specs once again, for the record:

Bullet: 155-grain Hornady XTP
Load: 14.3 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9
Primer: CCI 300 Large Pistol
OAL: 1.250"

I checked the weight of the charge and the OAL several times before I went out to the range with my ammo, but still I was nervous, wondering: Would I have a misfire? What if I had a bullet seated too deep? Or an excessive charge? Maybe that's normal for first-timers, but in any case I need not have worried. The gun ran like a champ, ate every last one of them. Granted, I only took about 40 rounds, but I was still worried -- at first. I got to the range, put a round in the mag, put it in the gun, thought, here goes nothin'.
Ok, that wasn't so bad, gun and I are still in one piece, let's try it again...and again! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Just like any other day at the range, hey, not so bad, and the gun's still more accurate than I am.
I wasn't so much testing for accuracy today, though; I just wanted to see how the gun would run with my homemade ammo, and what kind of speeds I was getting. Which is where things got interesting.
The load was the minimum according to the Accurate data, rated at 1244 fps. But the chronograph told quite a different tale. I clocked several shots, and here's what I got (all in fps):


The readings above 1500 fps are suspect, I would think, as is the 1337 fps reading, as all the rest were fairly close to one another -- from 1451 to 1483 fps, that seems fairly consistent, but we'll see what happens on the next range trip. I am thinking it's pretty accurate because I didn't have too much light -- in fact, I got error messages on a few shots because it was saying I was using the diffusers on a cloudy day -- and the diffusers weren't installed.
In any event, it was a smashing success. I can't wait to load and shoot some more.

In Belated Honor Of San Jacinto Day

Yes, I did it again, but better late than never.
I could think of few better written tributes to our state than this, from Orange native Bum Phillips. I've seen it around the Web and don't know where it originated, or even if Bum really wrote it. But no matter the author, no matter if it was written in honor of Texas Independence Day, it rang true yesterday, it rings true every March 6, indeed, every day of the year. God Bless Texas and everyone who lives here, or wishes that they did.


Being Texan by Bum Phillips

Dear Friends,
Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I'd wrote and I didn't have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can't even begin to do it justice. Lemme let you in on my short list.
It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Granddad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between. Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew over the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call "home" as the best little part of the best state.
So I got to thinkin about it, and here's what I really want to say. Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin' about where I've been and what I've done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.
You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn't ever been, and didn't too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about "the time they went to Europe." So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they'd ever met me. "Hey cowboy, we love Texas." I guess the hat tipped em off. But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn't even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they'd never met one.
That's when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know why every time I cross the border I say, "Lord, please don't let me die in _____"?
Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid? I can tell you that right quick. You. The same spirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis' plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stenciled ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago?
What would make my friend Elizabeth say, "I don't know if I can marry a man who doesn't love Texas like I do?" Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what used to be a nation that is now a state? Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to every one of us.
You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is, is alive in all of us, even if we can't stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it's our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a "Native Texan" or an "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast a could" sticker on his car understands. Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean.
My Dad's buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that's what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire.
To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, "what the Hell is that?" when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn't the shape, it isn't the state, it's the state of mind. You're what makes Texas.
The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that's what Texas means to you, that's what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, "Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway."
When was the last time you went to a person's house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can't.
But I bet my ass you can't drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven't done business with someone called All Tex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn't lived here for too long.
When you ask a man from New York what he is, he'll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she'll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say "I'm a republican," or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, "I'm a Methodist," or "I'm a lawyer," or "I'm a Smith," they tell you they're a Texan. I got nothin' against all those other places, and Lord knows they've probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.
So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it's for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn't be here enjoying this if it weren't for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn't know the story, tell them.
When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren't your average every day men.
Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that's why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there's no mountain that we can't climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas.
It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we're Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something. So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It's true because we believe it's true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I'm talking about, this ain't for you.
But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you're the reason I wrote this tonight, and this is for you. So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. But, rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Regards From Texas

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

VT Shootings, One thing to say...

This, friends and neighbors, is what happens when good people are robbed of the proper tools and mindset to defend themselves.
This, friends and neighbors, is what happens when good people are conditioned to think they can roll over on evil and wait for good to ride to the scene in the form of a white car with blue lights and other people with self-defense tools.
Will we as a society ever learn?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First Rounds

So I spent all day yesterday, well, most of the afternoon anyway, tinkering with my turret press to figure it out. Made some dry runs with the primer feeding system seating dead primers back in to get a feel for how it worked, got the powder dispenser set up, and at about 5:15 yesterday afternoon, I made my first five rounds.

155-grain Hornady XTPs, loaded behind 14.3 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 and a CCI large pistol primer for a muzzle velocity of 1,244 fps. I don't have a chrony yet, but I am going to take care of that this week.
I suppose some people might have called it work, but I thought it was fun. I gotta admit, it really gave me a sense of pride that I could do that. I can't wait to shoot's gonna have to wait, though, because I have work all this week, and I'd rather get a chronograph first so I can drive them across it and see how my handiwork is. There was only one deviation from the Accurate info, a CCI primer instead of Winchester. I'll be going out Sunday or Monday, probably. More info to come.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Baby Steps

Hey, I figure I'd be better served by taking it a little at a time here...better to screw up earlier than later. ;-)
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been slowly but surely wading into the reloading pool, and little by little I've been finding out that it seems pretty straightforward. Last weekend I tumbled & de-primed about 200 cases, then day before yesterday I tumbled them again to see how effective that ground walnut would be at cleaning the primer pockets. It actually worked pretty well, but those little granules get stuck in the primer pocket sometimes and they're a real pain in the arse to get out. I've pretty much gotten the priming and sizing figured out as well, and the case mouth expansion. I did pretty good on that one, only screwed up one casing. ;-) I had the die too far in, and well, you know what happens with that. Yesterday I was on THR and saw a post there that said you could seat the bullet without belling the case mouth, so I am gonna try that and see how it works with the crimp. I should have some loaded by this afternoon. Stay tuned, more to come...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Whittle Alert!

Check it out.

The Evidence Was Right There On The Cover...

...and still, a disgruntled Jimmy Buffett fan had this to say about Live At Texas Stadium...

I was really looking forward to this album after hearing all the hype about it on Radio Margaritaville. I ran out to buy it the first day it was available and have tried hard to like it ever since. I must say that I feel it was a complete waste of my money. I think the old saw about trying to be a "jack of all trades but master of none" is fitting here.

Many people are fans of pure "country music". I am not. The hype leading up to the release didn't say who was singing what. I was under the impression that all three artists were performing all the songs on the album. I liked the collaboration that Jimmy and Alan did on 5 O'clock and enjoyed the License to Chill CD release and expected this release to be similar. It certainly was not. I think I enjoyed License to Chill because Jimmy had a few new gems of his own sprinkled in. Nothing new here however.

...This whole event is akin to "litte Jimmy goes to space camp"...

The hype leading up to the release might well not have said who was singing what, but all the information on the cd was out there for anyone with the intelligence and inquisitiveness to type Live At Texas Stadium into their favorite search engine. There was even a website dedicated solely to the project; in fact, it's the third result on the Google search for Live At Texas Stadium. And to boot, it even had a song list complete with who was singing the songs.
If you're not a fan of pure country music, well, considering two-thirds of the cd was from the "pure country" artists on the bill that day, well, I think a detective might call that a clue that you would not like it. And I don't mean any offense here, but what kind of music fan buys something largely based on the hype anyway? I remember well the hype leading up to -- just as an example -- the last couple of releases from Shania Twain, but when the release dates came, I left them on the shelf. Why? Because I can't stand Shania Twain as an artist. That was the beginning and the end of it. Every now and then I get the feeling that some people bitch just for the sake of bitching. This is one of those times.
Incidentally, if you're a fan of those three gentlemen, it's worth every penny. Would I recommend it? Yes, indeed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

More Reading: Funny But True!

Just for grins when I was over at David Codrea's place, I clicked through the other posts that linked to his guest editorial from Mike Vanderboegh, and at ...a republic if you can keep it, I found this gem (from "Amazing Beliefs" author Michael Z. Williamson). Another snippet:

The GLOCK is feared by liberals. It's called "plastic" and "ceramic" and "capable of going through airport metal detectors." If this were true, it would be the coolest gun on Earth. But these things are total lies, and serve to point out that liberals are not men, and have no honor. The GLOCK has a plastic frame molded over a kilogram of metal (84% of the weight is metal), and will in fact, show up on any metal detector. So will the dense plastic.

Yes, the correct spelling is GLOCK. GLOCK insists so. As they are men and wish to loudly announce themselves, this should always be respected.
Funny stuff. Read it all! And yes, the 1911 ranked higher. ;-)

Brilliant Reading Material

Via David Codrea, we have this from Mike Vanderboegh, a personal email to "scholar" Benjamin Wittes in response to his call in The New Republic to repeal the Second Amendment. A snippet:

I have no doubt, Ben, that you have been inundated with all manner of disputatious email, some likely obscene and/or incoherent with anger. The passion this issue excites is understandable, touching as it does upon the bedrock of the Founder's Republic and the future of our children's liberty. But beyond the sneering and the anger, no matter how contemptible and silly it may seem to you, these people, MY people, the people who believe in the Founder's Republic and the plain language of the Constitution, ARE willing to die for their principles. And a man who is willing to die for his country is most often willing to kill for it too.
Read it all, every word, for it's pure brilliance. And while you're at it, also take a look at Vanderboegh's excellent essay "The Window War." I read this some time ago but had forgotten about it until David mentioned it. It's also worth every moment of your time.

Random Thought on a Saturday Morning: Doonesbury and Mitt Romney

Yes, God help me, I actually read that horrid strip now and then...Garry Trudeau's work is just like a car wreck, in that you just can't help but look on occasion. This week he's poking fun at Mitt Romney for his flip-flops on certain issues, and I'm sure he's grinding his teeth as he's drawing those strips, because what he's saying mirrors the beefs that more than a few conservatives have with him. Bad as I hate to say it, Trudeau actually gets it right for once, but I guess that's basically the broken clock being right twice a day. The smart money says he's doing it just because Mr. Romney's one of those mentioned as a favorite to win the GOP nomination. I really don't see him holding somebody like Ron Paul up as an example to be set, though Dr. Paul is arguably the most principled individual to walk the halls of Congress in I don't know how long.
For what has to be the best takedown of Trudeau I've ever seen, though, click here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Get Referrals

So I was looking at ye olde Site Meter a few moments ago and found someone was sent this way by a search for Springfield Armory Parkerized care.
Once upon a time I wondered about that as well, if it needed specialized care compared to other types of finishes. I asked my friendly local FFL if it needed any kind of different care compared to a stainless finish and he told me it didn't, so each time after I shoot my parkerized pistols, I strip them down and clean them just as I would any of my other guns, topping it all off with a good rubdown of oil, and the finish has held up very well, so well I would go so far as to say the finishes on my two parkerized 1911s are as good as they were the day I got them. Granted, they're range guns more than anything else, but Xavier had an interesting post on the maintenance of parked pistols here. I don't know how much of the oil and such has been stripped from my guns, considering I do use Hoppe's on it but re-apply oil after I am done cleaning, but as I say, the finishes have held up well. If I were to carry a parked pistol the way he describes, in the coastal Texas humidity, though, I would not hesitate to apply the treatment he lays out. No doubt I will before it's all said and done.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weekend Gun Fun

It rained like the proverbial cow leaking on the flat rock most of yesterday, and sprinkled a bit this morning, but I finally got out to the range later this morning with my Kimber 10mm Stainless Target II and 100 rounds of 180-grain American Eagle full-metal-jacket. I did it more than anything to get more brass for the upcoming venture into reloading, but I hadn't taken the Kimber out in a while and thought it'd be fun to pull her out and see how she was doing. Granted, the AE is a real pussycat of a load at 1060 fps, but still I wouldn't want to get hit with it, and the Kimber handles it like a champ. I was doing failure drills more than anything else to get a feel again for how she handled with that load, and I was quite amazed at how fast I was getting the sights lined back seems a little harder to do with the .45 than the 10mm, though the real tale is going to be told as I work up warmer loads and start driving them through her. I guess it was more of a time-killer than anything else, but I had a blast. The Federal AE makes for a fine plinking load, though to be honest I'd rather they load it a little hotter -- what the hell's the use of making 10mm ammo if you're gonna load it down to .40Short&Weak levels? I wanted some more of the Remington UMC in the green & white box (same bullet slightly hotter @ 1150 fps), but they didn't have any of that at Gander Mountain...and the Federal was $25 a box! One of the reasons I am getting into reloading...I bet I could shoot those same 180-grain bullets at about 1200-1250 fps all day long with a 20-lb. recoil spring and a Shok-Buff.
Went back to Gander Mountain today to see what all they had in the way of reloading supplies, and it didn't look like much...I saw bullets, lots of them, but mostly they were hollow-points, and the only thing they had in the way of propellant was blackpowder. I guess I'll be off to the gun show they have every month in Pasadena to see what they have, or off to one of the local Kimber master dealers in Mid-County someone was telling me about that could get powder for me. I'd love to get my hands on some 800X or AA #9 to see what that 10mm feels like when it's loaded to its potential.
And last, but not least...while I was at Gander Mountain, at the counter in the gun department I ran into one of the guys who worked at Shooters Supply before it closed down. I never made it back up there before it closed to find out what was going on, but I got to chew the fat with him for a few and asked him what happened. He said the shop was doing fine, that it wasn't the competition from GM that got was the shop owner's decision to sell the business and retire. I suppose he earned it, but still I was sad to see them go...they had some good people up there in my experience. Counter guy at Gander Mountain was the only one from Shooters who stayed in the gun business; I was surprised to see that. I figured they'd all have gone into other gun stores around the area, but I guess there are only so many gun-store jobs to go around. Whatever they're doing, I hope they're well...