Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ridin' Shotgun

Obligatory Weather Whine: Yes, it's STILL hot and humid here with temperatures in the low to mid 90's and heat indices in the 110°+ range. I can take the hot better than the hot temperatures plus high humidity. And actually, the temperature would be just fine, high 80's, low 90's with a few mid 90's thrown in. For more than three weeks that's where the daytime temperatures have been and we'd be used to it and it wouldn't be so bad. BUT, coupled with high humidity it's not a fun summer outside.

The knitting is banging along. Not any progress on anything to notice other than a few rows here and there.

I have FINALLY finished the third Dr Who Scarf. As you recall, the only things I needed to do was make and attach the tassels. I did that last week so now I just need to connect with the recipient.

Sunday there was an IDPA match at Corndodger Station, a private outdoor range. A few months ago, our club acquired a working vehicle (it runs, barely) which we can use for Fighting From a Vehicle CoF's. Several of us have taken this course by SRT Group and it makes for good practice, shooting through the open windows, exiting the vehicle, shooting from the V between the door and frame and shooting around and under it. The only thing we don't do is shoot through the windshield.

I liked shooting under the vehicle. In that particular CoF, you started out on the side of the vehicle at the hood and shot two threat targets over the hood then dropped down so you could shoot under the vehicle. On the other side was a threat target. You had to shoot the leg of the threat target which would drop down a cardboard target that you had to shoot twice. The joke of the day was that the leg should have been the size of some of our heftier shooters instead of the slimmer ones.

Some folks chose to lie on their stomachs and shoot and others, me included, chose to lie on their sides. Some folks, on their sides, chose to hold their gun upright while others, me included, chose to turn it sideways so I could see through the sites. I can't point shoot worth a darn. I have to aim. Every. Single. Time.

The other interesting CoF involved four large poppers and a Mossberg 12 ga pump shotgun. I am not a shotgunner. I can work the action and shoot it but it's not my favorite. We have a semi-auto Baretta and the kick is a bit less but I've never shot it five times in a row. Usually we bring it to the indoor range to finish off a target with bird shot. Occasionally, Mr WK will take it to the outdoor range and shoot a rifled slug at a 100 yard target. I'll shoot it once or twice with a hour or so between shots. Not five shots in a row.

But that's what I did. You had to put down four large poppers, two of which when they fell would pop up another threat target. When all four poppers were down (there were sev
en rounds in the shotgun) you set the shotgun down and drew your pistol to take down the two that popped up and other threat targets while moving. The shotgun was large; long barrel and long stock and I could just barely put a full stroke into it but I managed and never short stroked it. I did have to shoot in a bladed stance rather than the progressively aggressive stance I prefer so I could have enough arm to pump it. So all the recoil went into that one shoulder. It did take me five shots to put down all four poppers but that was about average overall. I can't tell you how much I did not want to take shots three, four and five.

Overall, it was fun. It always it. And although this IS a game I always take something away from it.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Death Wore White by Jim Kelly (a Peter Shaw and George Valentine mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head"
from Summer in the City sung by The Lovin' Spoonful

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Makin' Stuff

Well the weather was just fine for about 16 hours. The sky darkened, rain fell—over 3" in four hours—and the temperatures and the humidity dropped. It was wonderful. At sunset the sky was beautiful and the lightening and thunder were grand. But now we're pretty much back where we were for the next two or three days. Temps in the low to mid 90's and heat indices in the 110°+ range. It's supposed to be better on Saturday and Sunday.

I sure am gettin' some knittin' and readin' time in. Length-wise the Red Flemish Lace Scarf is just over 37" long, slightly stretched. My goal is 60" unblocked so the recipient will have plenty to wrap around her head and/or neck. I've got 260 rows out of a projected 560 complete so I'm just under half done when you look at it that way. Either way, when I "deem" it long enough I'll stop.

Since we ran down (a bit) our .223 stash with the carbine class a week and a half ago, Mr WK and I have counted, polished, deprimed, polished, case gauged, counted, trimmed, deburred and champhored several hundred pieces of .223 brass. A time consuming process but relaxing in it's own way. Prepping necked rifle cases for loading is almost a hobby in itself. Most of what we pick up is our own brass and doesn't need any resizing. After being case gauged it's ready to go. The rest gets worked in and bits and pieces, often as a team effort. We have two .223 case gauges so we both do that. [That was the result of us losing misplacing the case gauge long enough for us to order another one and it come in the mail the morning we find the first one.] Mr WK runs the trimmer and I
deburr and champhor the trimmed cases.

As we load, whomever is running press handle checks each piece one final time. Mostly that involves checking the primer pocket to see if it has a piece of corn cob media in it or if it had a crimped primer in it. That's when the few pieces that need it get swaged. Unless we shoot with or get brass from our active Army friend we don't see much anymore.

We've taken a page from Tam's blog (mainly point #2) and every time we're in a place that has them I pick up one (or two) .223 magazine(s). My personal goal is to have a at least at two or three of the metal ammo cans packed with loaded 30 and some 20 round .223 magazines. At this point all the extra ammo is on stripper clips.

Am I going for metal or plastic? There are advantages and disadvantages to each. On the metal ones the lips at the top get bent out just enough so that the rounds don't feed properly into the chamber and in a fight is not time to find that out. With a plastic one, they don't bend, they break off or crack. And, drop a plastic mag on the ground, full of ammo and it's most likely history while if you drop a metal mag on the ground, fully loaded, pick it back up and continue on. With both, the springs eventually die even if you never load them to capacity and again you never know until it won't work. So we're trying to stick with a 50/50 or so mix.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson (a Walt Longmire mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "What Do Flat Earthers and Gun Control Advocates Have in Common?
I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but being for gun control has gone from a legitimate political viewpoint to mental illness." ~ Frank Fleming
good article by the way

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's the Humidity!!!

It's too hot and humid to shoot at the outdoor range. We tried twice and I was on the verge of heat exhaustion both times. The weather is supposed to break Tuesday evening so we'll see. The forecast calls for temps in the mid to high '80's with much less humidity. So meanwhile, I'm knitting, reading ... and practicing my CQB moves on the carpet inside in the air conditioning with a fan blowing on me.

The Spring Flower Sock, which is my travel sock got a little closer to completion this past weekend. We had a wedding reception on Saturday afternoon in Wamgeo, KS and I knit all the way there and half the way back. The leg is done and the heel flap is around 1/3 complete with ten rows down. It seems that once the entire heel is done, the gusset stitches picked up and foot stitches re-established the foot just flies. So maybe I'd better be lookin' at yarn and patterns after all. A few more an hour here and back and an hour and a half there and back and I'll be looking at the toe decreases. And they really move.

As far as the Flemish Red Lace Scarf, it's moving ahead again. It's officially (based on a 560 row finished length) 43% complete with 240 rows done—which translates to 15 16 row pattern repeats. Unless I really, really get jiggy with it, I won't have it done by the end of August, my soft deadline. My hard deadline is Thanksgiving. That being said, I really don't have a deadline as the recipient has no idea she's getting it but I want to get it done so I can start on a pair of Monkey Socks for my SIL. I have the yarn and the pattern so I just need to cast on and start.

On the way back from the wedding reception we stopped at the outdoor range to shoot. Big. Mistake. True, we had the entire range to ourselves but it was 95° with a 115°+ heat index. No wonder we were the only ones there! Not fun or comfortable. We stayed about an hour and I soaked myself down with cold well water three or four times. It helped some, but it was miserable. I was even too wrung out to knit until we were halfway home and I'd perked up some in the air conditioned car.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Cover Her Face by P D James (an Adam Dalgliesh mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "The ruling class is threatened by the private sector. They couldn't compete with the average successful person in the private sector, and what's maddening about this is that they have the audacity and the gall to portray themselves as better than us." ~ Rush Limbaugh ~ from today's show

"Would you trust Barack Obama to run anything in your personal life? Would you trust him to run your business? Would you trust Barney Frank? Would you trust Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd? Of course you would not! Who's running the show, nevertheless?" ~ Rush Limbaugh, from today's show

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Post #800

Although I've been blogging for almost five years now and the yearly, monthly and weekly post count has slowed some and the content has changed some (no work posts, as I'm not working but still knitting, and lots of guns, ammo and shooting posts) I'm still here. At post #800. Never thought I'd go this far this long. As long as I have something to say I'm gonna say it.

Well, there is some knitting but not much. The cotton Spring Flower Socks for me are coasting along. I'm on the second sock. I finally got all the ends woven in on the first one. The leg on the second sock is abound 10 rows from being complete. I need to be thinking about the next travel sock, but not too hard. There is still a lot of knitting ahead. I do know it will be for me (most likely) and that it will be wool.

I'm making a little progress on the Flemish Red Lace Scarf....well I was, until I messed up eight rows past a lifeline. Oh, well. At least the lifeline was in there and I did make an attempt before I pulled it out. It's all back on the needles just waiting for me to pick it up again. I've knit 208 rows, which based on a 560 finished row count it's just under 40% complete.

What we've been doing is shooting. After the shooty Independence Day weekend, we laid low for a few days then had IDPA on the eighth. I did about as well as I always do, which is terrible. But I had a good time and SO'd a lot. I always learn something from every CoF.

On the tenth we had another carbine class. We had one last October and this was with the same instructor. This one covered the same things, all CQB oriented, that we learned last time as there were some folks in the class that didn't take it the last time. The review was good for those of us that were in the first class. We spent more time on reload drills; we learned the index, which is similar to what we use during a handgun reload, the L magazine reload and the beer can. The L is the easiest for me to use as I have small hands. But it's going to take some practice and I want to be able to have all of them in my "toolbox".

The instructor switched up some of the live fire drills, which was nice. Now we have more drills to practice when we can.
We also worked on transitioning from your rifle to your pistol. We also spent some time on alternative shooting positions, such as prone, kneeling and sitting. Some of the guys were already familiar with some of these but not all. We have several combat prone positions, one being getting as low as you can on your stomach. If any of you watch any of the gun shows you're bound to have seen the one featuring Aaron Roberts in an ad for maybe Star rifles "your rifle, your way" and he gets down on the ground and shoots under a vehicle. The first position he gets in, on his stomach is the low position we learned, the second is kind of a modified curbs position where he uses his arm to support the rifle as he shoots.

We also learned the best way to support the rifle when you're kneeling or sitting, place your shooting elbow on the knee on the same side of your body, making bone to bone contact. Your forearm and lower leg should be in a straight line. Also, the bone to bone contact is important. If you place your elbow on the muscle behind your knee, it's wobbly, where as the elbow to knee position is more stable. The good thing is that all of those positions can be practiced dry at home, in the air conditioning on the carpet until we can get to the range.

We had a blast, learned a lot and went through several hundred rounds. We had a bunch of frangibles we'd loaded when we first began to reload and those are all gone now. The Strip Lula I'd picked up several months ago came in very handy. I practice with it a lot and I'm pretty good with it, much to the amazement of some of the guys there. The other day we picked up a Mag Lula and I am a convert. It's great for loose rounds not in a stripper clip. The best part is the unload feature. You can unload a 30 round magazine in seconds. So I have the Up Lula, the Strip Lula and now the Mag Lula.

Lots to practice and drill. Will I ever need ANY of this. EVER? I hope not. But if it comes to the bad guy or me, I aim to be more prepared, more skilled and more aware than the bad guy and come out on top and alive. The bad guy will not be expecting his victim to fight back in that way. The bad guy will not expect his victim to turn the tables on him and force him/her to react to me instead of the other way around. By forcing the bad guy to react to me I take control of the situation and then have a better chance of stayin' alive, and uninjured ... even with something as simple as a cuppa joe.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: God in Concord by Jane Langton (a Homer Kelly mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And Still She Goes On

Finally got some order into the house after the shooting weekend. As it rained all over our gun stuff the house was layered in drying shooting paraphernalia. And it really didn't get very wet. The ammo cans and the very large Rubbermaid container that usually holds [full to the brim] the non-sock yarn part of my yarn stash was temporarily re-purposed to hold the range bag, assorted rifle rests and other can't do without items, got wet. The long guns and pistols were in their various padded and hard cases and wrapped in the ubiquitous blue tarp so nothing important was WET but damp was in the air.

Every thing's back where it's supposed to be, more or less. The rudder and still unattached new tiller are still propped against the legs of the dining room table. The reloading press is still set up on the kitchen table and the table is randomly littered with reloading detritus; an open (almost empty) box of 9mm bullets, an empty gallon size plastic bag that used to hold clean 9mm brass, an almost empty bottle of HP-38, the RCBS balance beam scale box with the scale in it, a large yellow funnel with a wide neck and a small gray translucent funnel with a narrow neck and the large stainless steel mixing bowl that normally sits below the media sifter pan (which is presently upside down over the tumbler in the garage). Well, it looks normal to me!

We picked up a bottle of Benchmark powder and a box of Nosler 50 gn bullets with ballistic tips. We've got a lot of .223 brass to process; now if I can just find where I put the case gauge

I've been getting in some knitting. I've been making steady progress on the Flemish Red Lace Scarf for my SIL's friend. Slightly stretched it's around 30" long now. Blocked it would probably be over a yard long. Unblocked, I'm thinking 60" long. It will be too long blocked but the scarf is so light and airy, being knit from lace weight merino wool that I want her to be able to wrap it around her neck a few times or over her head and around her neck. Anyway, I'm almost halfway there. I bought two 100 gram hanks and although I'm holding it double, I don't think I'll use any of the second hank. I bought it almost a year ago so there's no returning it but I can always use it for another project.

The leg on the second Spring Flower Sock is almost halfway done. I've started to weave in the ends on the first sock but I've not got very far. The sock is getting some more time as I'm not haulin' around any Dr Who Scarves to be knit upon. I'm going to have to start thinking about my next travel sock. I'm done with cotton for a while and am ready to knit some wool socks. The good thing about cotton socks is that I can wear them year round. These will be for me. The Monkey Socks for my SIL will be started after the red scarf is done as the pattern is not conducive to travel knitting. I'll dig around in the stash and look at some simple ribs and see where I end up.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: The ring of Death by Sally Spencer (a DCI Monika Paniatowski mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Accurate Rifles Are Also Fun

Unlike life, it seems that when things hobby-wise heat up in one area they wane in another. These past few days have been all about the shooting, long guns in particular and not so much about the knitting. Prior to that it was all about the knitting. Sometimes they intersect a bit, mostly when I'm knitting while Mr WK drives us to and from the shooting. But this time, I was doing all the driving as Mr WK was takin' a break from drivin' to and fro, up and down I-70. And, it seems, even the type of shooting goes one way then another. According to the shooting diary we keep, for the 2½ months prior to mid-June it was all about the handguns with an occasional long gun afternoon poked in there now and again. But since the middle of June, it's been all long guns all the time. We've taken the handguns twice but never took them out.

My CQB skills with my carbine are still progressing. When there is no one else at the high-power range and Mr WK is aware of what's goin' on, I step over the firing line and work on movin' and shootin' my carbine. Not as many on the paper when I'm movin' but I'm sure I'm scarin' 'em! And ALWAYS scannin' for the midget. You fight how you train.

Sunday, Mr WK and I along with a fellow we'd met at the range some months ago that can hit pretty much anything he wants to (I'll call him the Sharpshooter for simplicity's sake) spent some time finding the PERFECT projectile and powder for my carbine from what we both had to annihilate hedge apples. The Sharpshooter knows of a tree in a "secret location" that is loaded and is already dropping fruit. Set up on the top of the 100 yard target supports they are great reactive targets. The best thing is someone doesn't have to go downrange and pick up water bottles and milk carton carcasses when you're finished.

As I mentioned in a previous post you do need projectiles with ballistic tips otherwise the projectile will pass through whatever you're shooting and the result will be rather unimpressive. After some trial and error, we all concurred that the Nosler 50 gn ballistic tip varmint bullets with around 24 gn of Benchmark powder was the best for my rifle at this time. At 100 yards, I was shooting 1/4-1/8" groups, with the rifle completely bench-rested. When we tried Hornady V-Max varmint bullets the groups were 1½-2". I was very surprised that the bullet made that much difference. And it's the shape of the bullet not necessarily that it had a
ballistic tip. The type of powder made somewhat of a difference at 100 yards and a half a grain one way or the other of the Benchmark didn't seem to matter. The things you learn.

So am I going to eventually replace all the ammo I have loaded with Hornady 55 gn fmj bt with the Nosler bullets? Not at just under 16¢ per bullet (not loaded ammo) for the Nosler when I can get the Hornady bullets at just under 8
¢ each. I will get a box or two and keep 15 or 20 stripper clips of it in the .223 "range" ammo can (aka as the to-go box) for hedge apples and other assorted water-filled targets.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Original Sin by P D James (an Adam Dalgliesh mystery)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: