Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sotomayor - BIG NO.

"A wise, hispanic woman should make better decisions than a white man, because he hasn't lived that life"

"The Court of Appeals is where policy is made"

Those are from memory, so don't consider them actual quotes, but that's what Sotomayor has said in the past.

She's a racist, sexist bigot, and thinks Justices should be activists and set policy rather than apply the rule of law. That makes her a no-go in my book, and I'll be telling John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison exactly that, and for those reasons.

Cross-posted as a comment at Rivrdog's place.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I spent too much time, and too many beers, collecting what I want to write for Memorial Day.

The best I have to say is this - when I raised the flag at the shop (aka Dad's Garage), Alex put his feet together, and put his hand on his chest while I hoisted the flag. He's not quite two years old, but he stood to attention for the flag.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some shit just makes me angry.

Joe's quote of the day, while I agree with it, points out a problem in the current gun debate.

Badasses DO NOT NEED GUNS. Hand-to-hand, fist-to-jaw, if I'm trying to protect my wife and son, I'd probably do around 50%.

Hand-to-hand, fist-to-jaw, Lisa might do 10%. Alex would do 0% - casualty or hostage.

Muzzle-to-home intruder, I'd probably do better than 95%; Lisa would probably do better than 90%. Alex would probably be safe under those circumstances.

We're winning the debate, but we need to keep the pressure on. Keep asking the question (thanks to Joe), "Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?"

That's a correct quote, copied from his site. But it's the Question To Ask, or as Joe calls it, "Just One Question".

Keep asking it, keep pushing. We're winning, for now, don't let up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Well, I'll try to help.

Joe says gunbloggers are having an impact.

I certainly met several, in the past few weeks, who have a lot to say.

I'm not a big dog on this porch - but I'll throw my few ounces in anyway. Every little bit helps, I guess?

Fair warning - don't try to take any of my rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. If you want to try, bring a lunch - you're gonna be here all day, and then some.

And that's about as polite as I'm going to be on this topic.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Boomershoot - More Good Folks

For me, one of the best parts of Boomershoot was the people I met, and the people I'd previously met, and got to see again.

This is a repost, but one of my favorites: That's Rivrdog, who I've blogged and written back and forth with for several years. He came to visit my family and I last spring, and we had a GRAND time. We camped together in the trailer in the picture... a little bit better than tent camping, and we had a great time. I'll spare you pictures of either of us in our longjohns (it was below freezing EVERY night); I'd like to keep at least one or two of my new readers.

Gene Econ and his crew did an AMAZING job teaching us dummies how to adjust for range and windage. This knowledge was the main reason I drove nearly 2000 miles each way. Bill's son, who works for a cell phone company, calls this pic the "more bars in more places Econ group" - I'd say that's not altogether inappropriate :) ALL OF THESE GUYS ARE GREAT. Left to Right, Monte Milanuk, Instructor, Member US National Team FT/R, Member Team Savage. Bill Waites, Grunt, (and graciously patient spotter/trainer). Rob Waites, Young Grunt. Major Gene Econ, Owner/Head Instructor Econ Training, Retired Special Forces (and REALLY nice guy, and also very patient and gracious spotter/trainer). John, who is still actively defending our country and may have another trip to the sandbox, so that's all the identification he needs publicized. But he also gets a big HOOYAA and a heartfelt thanks for his service.

And then there were the guys from Random Nuclear Strikes - I didn't take notes as well as I meant to, so forgive (or, preferably, correct) me if I'm wrong here - that's me, JD, Derek, and Troy (I think). That's part of the RNS Crew.

Full Crew:
Troy, JD, Dave, David, and Derek - I think. Again, please correct me if I got guys out of order; 2+ weeks after the fact, my notes make less sense than they did the day I wrote them down.

I really hope I got the right links to the right guys, but I don't have a lot of confidence that I did. If I messed any of them up, please comment and/or email me and I'll correct them.

I also got interviewed for a TV show - "The Gunmen", I think it's to be called - targeted to the Outdoor Channel. I got to talk a bit about why I drove so far to Boomershoot, and how shooting and gun safety are universal, not regional.
If my notes are correct (questionable), that would be Justin, Nate (the host), Adam, and Nick (kneeling). The website Nate gave me to look for the upcoming show is mediajungle.tv.

My shooting neighbors, on position 49, were Bob and Greg: Really friendly guys, and they extended their shelter over my shooting position, which helped keep some of the cold, biting wind off me. Much appreciated :)

I really look forward to seeing all of these folks again in the future - they're ALL worth spending more time with, and that's about the highest compliment I pay anybody.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thanks, JD

JD at Ballistic Deanimation linked to this.

Some of the more amusing examples:

(301): Woke up this morning at my parent's house. No idea how I got here... what happened last night? Was it bad?
(443): We using my standards or yours?

(434): why are there goldfish crackers all over my bed?
(540): you decided you wanted to name them & keep them as pets.

(207): I woke up at 7am naked in my bathtub with the shower running. My apartment was so full of steam that my ceiling was dripping. Who thought it would be okay for me to get my own place, anyway?

(406): When you only buy popcorn and condoms at the grocery store they know whats up.

(214): I'm saving my limes so I'll know how many drinks I've had.
(972): I do the same thing, but I use ice cubes.

(917): I feel miserable, can't drink that much when I go out
(1-917): We've been saying that since '98

(214): dude. I'm so drunk.
(972): pete, this is bryce's mom
(214): I can't wait to have my cock in your ass
(972): pete, this is still bryce's mom

...and that's enough wasted time for tonight.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boomershoot - Ponderings and People

Ponderings One:

I'm really starting to think I want a new scope. I can't even remember what my current scope is, off the top of my head, and I'm not about to go wake Lisa to get it out and look. It's part of a combo that came with my Tikka T3 Lite back when Lisa got the rifle for my birthday.

It's a basic, lightweight hunting rifle, with a basic, simple 3-9x scope.

The rifle rocks (especially against the shoulder) - Tikka guarantees sub-MOA out of the box, and mine is easily 1/4 to 1/3 that.

But I'm thinking I want a scope with finger-adjustable turrets, markings to determine at least mechanical zero, if not what current windage & elevation are, and reticle markings showing additional holdover and windage holds on the crosshairs.

Is there a scope like that? Preferably with max magnification around 12x or so? Or am I now talking about a mil-dot scope? Scopes aren't something I've studied much; I'd appreciate some input.

Rivrdog had a scope with a range-compensating reticle - that's kind of the beginning of what I'd like.

Ponderings Two:

I did ok, IMO, hitting Boomers - this was my first Boomershoot, and my first time shooting at targets more than 200 yards away. I repeat - Gene Econ and his staff are incredible; I learned LOTS from them, and was, in short order, able to hit small targets at 380-625 yards with a crosswind. Additionally, Gene, Bill, and George are all good spotters - I couldn't hit those targets without spotters calling me in.

I got several hits from 380 to (estimated)625 yards - but only set off one large boomer at 380 at the end of the rifle clinic.

Now, here's my pondering - any readers (especially Joe Huffman) please feel free to weigh in on this.

Back when I was testing my rifle at relatively short ranges (200 yards max), I found several 150gr to 180gr ballistic-tipped bullets to be the most consistently accurate (ie, smallest groups off a solid benchrest). So that's what I was shooting at Boomershoot (actually, they were all 180gr ballistic-tipped, the 150gr pills no longer being available as loaded cartridges). What I'm wondering, is if the plastic ballistic tips (basically, pointy plastic tips on hollowpoint bullets) might have been allowing my shots to "drill through" the boomers, without really doing much energy transfer? As I understand it, kinetic energy is what sets off boomers - if a round "drills through" and carries most of its kinetic energy out with it, due to an extremely aerodynamic shape, could that be what caused the failures to get "booms"?

Just some random pondering - I know I got good, solid hits on many boomers that didn't "boom", and .308 180gr should have had enough energy to do the job - definately at the tree line, and I'd expect probably at the base of the hill, but I had almost completely uniform failures, which makes me wonder about my ammo, and those ballistic tips.


Well, this lighting's not ideal, but this is my shot of Joe Huffman doing the initial briefing - long story short, stay safe. Unfortunately, for some people, that short story needs to be made long, thus Joe standing on the berm with a loudspeaker.

This is my camping-, shooting-, and allaroundgood- buddy Rivrdog, with his .243 set to start blowing boomers regularly.

I don't know if Rivrdog and the eponymous Dad would have disliked each other or been best friends - very different life experiences, but very similar life outlooks. If I were a betting man, I'd bet they'd spend night after night drinking and talking until all hours.

Mike was Rivrdog's neighbor down on the far right end of the line. Mike's apparently an accomplished benchrester; his equipment and skill impressed me. Somewhat of an understated fellow...

Last one for tonight is the one that made me laugh out loud the best at Boomershoot - Josh, of Ballistic Deanimation, had gotten NEARLY dialed in on one of the "dingleberries" 'way out past Fort Mudge - in other words, the mobile targets at 700 yards. This was VERY late in the day Sunday, nearing time for the end of shooting, and a cease-fire was called. Josh BOUNCED up off his shooting stool, with round in hand, and started yelling, "NO! NO! ONE MORE, PLEASE, JUST THIS ONE!" holding up the round he had ALMOST gotten into his rifle's chamber. Turned out that cease-fire was just a vehicle going by, and that "Just One More" turned out to be about a box before he got what Ry called an "Asshole Target".

I've got a few more things to post about Boomershoot, but again, I'm pretty much out of gas for tonight... and I suspect I'm going to have to edit this post to get things to line up right.

More later :)

[EDIT] Yep, I had a few edits to do to fix fonts and pictures. Blogspot is SOOOOO easy to use... unless you mean to actually use it.

Grrr... sometimes I think hand-coding HTML would be easier... come to think of it, I DO THAT, AND IT IS EASIER. Feel free to take a few hours enjoying the stories there - that's one of my best friends, and somebody I hope to get to Boomershoot the next time I get to go :)

Happy Mother's Day

Ok, first, up, I'm not a REALLY bad son - I managed to leave a message on Mom's phone, but didn't reach her to tell her in person.

I probably suck more as a grandson/nephew, because by the time I had Alex put to bed and Lisa's dinner ready, it was too late to call decent people (ie, my grandmothers and aunts).

Spent more of my day on Lisa - took Alex out shopping, where we picked up some art supplies to make nested casts of our hands (still waiting for those to harden) to decorate for Lisa, and Alex picked out all the flowers for a bouquet, and a talking balloon, for "Hay Mama Dee!" I must say, it's a pretty eclectic mix of flowers.

For those of you who don't speak Toddler, that would be his pronunciation of "Happy Mama's Day".

And then made Steak au Poivre. I have to say, that turned out very well, even though I had to substitute white wine for the cognac (I doubled the amount, as congac's basically a very specific, distilled, white wine) and then had to cook it down to get the consistency right.

It's basically a very, very tender, nice cut of meat, with cracked peppercorns as the primary spice, plus a pan sauce made from what's left from cooking the steaks, also quite peppery. Boy, they turned out melt-in-your mouth tender, and SUPER tasty with the peppery kick, creamy sauce, and naturally delicious cuts of meat. I'm pretty proud I pulled that off so well, and Lisa seemed to like it as well as I did.

Of course, by the time I was through with that, it was too late to call folks, as I said, so I'll be playing catch-up and apologizing tomorrow.

But still - Hay Mama Dee to all you Mothers out there; hope you had a good day.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Boomershoot - More Good Stuff

Well, I've written about the Journey - long and tiring, but beautiful. I've written about learning to get hits on very small targets at long range - very satisfying, and knowledge worth the trip.

This is about the whole Boomershoot trip, 'cause it's best taken as a whole:

Worst part of the trip: Leaving home. I carried this pic with me; it's Alex getting so excited he started tickling HIMSELF:

I found out that there are, in fact, Hardee's fast food joints west of the Mississippi - great news, since they make the best grilled sourdough burgers on the planet, and I DID avail myself.

I also got my truck and trailer frozen while driving through Montana - who knew it would come a snowstorm 'way up north in late April? Bleh - I do NOT like snow, but it didn't keep me from getting to Boomershoot. Just made a mess out of my truck and trailer.

That's about all I've got gas for to do tonight; more will follow.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Boomershoot - the good stuff

Well, as I said before, I arrived onsite at Boomershoot Friday late afternoon - early enough to set up the trailer, watch the Friday afternoon cleanup, and get some brisket and beans ready for dinner for Rivrdog and I. Good stuff.

Saturday morning started the REALLY good stuff though - especially as we'd made it through a VERY cold night comfortably; the camper keeps heat in well, and the Mr. Heater Big Buddy did a great job keeping us comfortable.

Gene Econ rocks - as do his assistants. My rifle is easily sub-MOA; I'd determined that back right after Lisa got it for me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. But that was off a rock-solid bench, with no wind. My goal for Boomershoot was to learn to use that rifle properly, at long range, with wind being a problem to solve.

Gene Econ, and his assistants, taught me to do just that.

I also learned how to be a decent spotter - which is just as challenging a task as being a good shooter. VERY good information and instruction.

I was, after a bit of practice (and renewed self-discipline - get over the "buck" or "boomer" fever and settle down) able to nail dead-center 3 inch targets at 380 yards, out to 5 inch targets at 625 yards. That's something I'm damn proud of.

And that's with a very lightweight rifle, that's capable of taking pretty much any game in North America - a Tikka T3 Lite; without scope, it weighs only about six pounds, and fires a .308 Winchester cartridge.

Overall, I'm REALLY happy with my trip to Boomershoot. I have a lot more skill and confidence than I had before; as far as I'm concerned, that was worth the trip from Texas to Idaho.

Next up, I'll post some more pictures, and some stuff about the great people I met at Boomershoot.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Boomershoot - the Journey

A few people drove farther than I did to get to Boomershoot '09 - but not many.

I was chased up the mountain to the site by somebody from out of state (Idaho requires front plates, the Chevy duallie following me had none). They had two people in the truck, and I figured they could drive and navigate better than I could solo, so I waved them around, and saw Louisiana plates on the back bumper. Ok, they covered more miles than I did. Someone else drove from Virginia - now THAT's a road trip! And he's apparently done it more than once. (Incidentally, I was right behind him for a little bit on US 12 Monday morning heading out of Idaho, until I pulled off to get a couple of Cokes out of my cooler.)

Anyway, I started Boomershoot '09, after sorting out electrical problems with my trailer lights the day before (when I was supposed to leave), at 7am Central, Wednesday 22 April. I was setting out on the longest road trip (especially longest solo) of my life, and it was quite eventful :)

(All times are Central Time Zone, unless otherwise noted)

Driving from 7am until 3:45pm got me out of Texas. Yes, Texas is THAT big. I'm just glad I didn't start from Houston or somewhere in East Texas.

5:30 saw me into Colorado - I just cut the Northeast corner of New Mexico on US 87, heading to Interstate 25 and a long drive North. This is where I started learning about driving in mountains - it can take a LOT of throttle to maintain speed; altitude hurts horsepower, and once you're out of Texas, the gas sucks. Here at home, regular unleaded is 87 octane. Away from home, I was finding 85.5, and sometimes even 85 octane.

Lower octane means gasoline will detonate, rather than burn - this is what causes a "knocking" engine. Modern, computer-controlled engines have knock sensors, as detonation will destroy an engine very quickly. When the sensors detect a knock, the computer retards the spark timing, thus eliminating the detonation - AND POWER. Combine that with thin air (compared to home), and suddenly my truck was having a hard time getting out of its own way on uphill grades. Not fun, until I finally noticed what octane gas was being sold, and started buying mid-grade to get back to the quality of gas my truck and I are used to. What really got my goat was that the crappy gas on my trip was as expensive as mid-grade here at home; mid-grade on the trip was like buying premium here. Anyway...

I felt pretty good going up through Colorado, but started getting tired of the seat somewhere around Colorado Springs (I think), when I spotted a Gander Mountain just off I-25. Gander Mountain is an outdoorsman's place I've never been, so I stopped to stretch my legs a bit and do some browsing/shopping. I bought a few things I'd meant to get at Cabella's in Fort Worth that morning, except I got to Cabella's on my way out of town 1.5 hours before they opened, and I wasn't about to waste that much road time waiting around.

I left Gander Mountain about 9pm, gassed up in Fort Collins about 10pm, made Wyoming about 10:45, and pulled over at a rest stop in Chugwater about 11:45. 7:00am to 11:45pm driving, I was kinda beat and wanted to catch a couple hours' rest - but the rest stop said "No Overnight Camping", so I reclined the driver's seat and tried to just nap a bit.

No dice - I'd been in the truck so long, I had "ghost vibrations" all through my body - basically, I was feeling the road vibrations in my feet, hands, and my butt even when sitting still. Combine that with plenty of caffeine, and the (very regular) noisy truck idling past me, and a nap was just a dream. So after an hour of (non)rest, I continued north, to a little town whose name I can't remember and didn't write down - where there was a power plant undergoing annual maintenance, and therefore was full of temp workers. No motel rooms available for 60 miles. Fortunately for me, this nice little town had free camping in their town park.

So I set up the trailer (partially) in mid-50 degree temps, and 30-40mph winds, kicked off my boots, and rolled a sleeping bag around me after a few beers to decaffinate myself and get rid of the ghost vibes. Slept WELL, except for when my socked feet stuck out of the rolled, not zipped sleeping bag and got cold. But the trailer kept the brutal winds off me, and I was mostly ok.

I got everything closed back up and put away, and was back on the road at 10am - made Caspar, WY at noon for gas, and hit Montana at 3pm. Billings at about 4:45 for more gas, and shortly after that...


Now, I'm a born & raised Texan. I think I was six years old before I ever saw snow. I'm NOT practiced at driving in it; in Texas, snow is rare, but ice is fairly common. Non-liquid precipitation usually means "Stay the hell home".

But in Montana, everybody just keeps going about their business. If they stopped for snow, they'd have about a 3- or 4-month year, I guess. So I took the right lane and slowed down - and got slushy snow sprayed ALL OVER my truck and trailer by the natives (especially 18 wheelers) who kept doing 75 IN THE SNOW as they passed me. I stopped in Bozeman to crack the ice off my windshield wipers, then crossed the Continental Divide (my first time) at 6393 feet elevation, and got a motel room in Butte at 10pm, just about dark - I couldn't have opened the camper even if I'd wanted to camp in 24 degree temps; it was encrusted by a good foot of ice all over.

Lack of sleep caught up with me in the warm room with a nice bed; it was 11:15am before I was back on the road. Missoula at 1:25pm (with a full-service gas station that I wouldn't let be full-service; I'll check my own stuff, thanks); Idaho at 2:15pm, Orofino at 5:15 after an exhausting drive down US 12 with a mountain on one shoulder, and a river on the other - very twisty road, but I did think "Daddy would would be wishing to take his old bike down this road".

In fact, I stopped at a small town for another Coke not far from Orofino, and the lady at the counter said they often get bikers from Sturgis - and they arrive physically exhausted. I don't doubt it; I was tired from all the narrow switchbacks, and I was in a truck, not on a bike.

6pm Central, 4pm Pacific, Friday, I finally arrived at the Boomershoot site. Rivrdog had picked out the most flat and level spot to set up the trailer; we spent the rest of our daylight setting up, watching the high-intensity end of Friday's Clinic day, and getting together dinner of Texas' Best BBQ Brisket and baked beans with extra bacon. Friday evening was also when I first met Ry and his Dad - great folks.

Saturday morning saw the beginning of my participation of the Precision Rifle Clinic, and my shooting part of Boomershoot. That'll be the next post :)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Some Boomershoot stuff

First up - Ry Jones, his Dad, and his Daughters are some great people. Ry Senior's dog is a pretty pleasant pup, as well. I wanted to get a pic of the whole family, but logistics broke down, and I didn't get a chance before they headed home.

Another missing pic - Gene Econ, and one of his assistants, I think his name was Bill - who spotted for me during the rifle clinic, as I didn't have a partner for that part of Boomershoot. I wanted a pic of them, but they bugged out before I got off my butt and I missed the chance. Those guys ROCK; they're the reason I now understand how to handle wind, work with a spotter (or be a spotter working with a shooter) and hit sub-MOA targets at long ranges.

More to follow - I've been busy unpacking from the trip, the garden needs a lot of work, and 1 May was my 5th anniversary of my marriage to Lisa - been a bit busy. Stay tuned, though - many more thoughts and pics to come.