Thursday, January 01, 2009

And for the first post of the new year...

Let's talk about guns and shooting. I would like to say that we started out the New Year with a bang, but that would be untrue. New Year's Day was a chilly 37o and sunny, which is a bit much for my Dad to be out in at his tender age. Instead, after looking at the weather forecast, we went Tuesday, which was 67o and sunny (Yes, I know those of you in the cooler climes are swearing at me right now. I can hear you.) Since the trip was actually an "interruption" of my Christmas Vacation Home Remodeling Marathon, it's just taken me a few days to get around to blogging it.

This was a pistol trip. We (me, Son, Dad and Old Friend) took my new-to-me Smith & Wesson Model 65, my Dad's new Charter Arms Undercover in .38 Special with the trick Crimson Trace Lasergrips and Leroy the Pimp Gun. Our stated purpose was to familiarize ourselves with the new toys. This was especially important for my Dad, who is going to be using the Undercover as his new self-defense gun. (Eventually. More on that in a bit.)

Out of the box, the Charter Arms Undercover is a very nice gun. The trigger pull is longish but not overly heavy, and accuracy with the iron sights at typical self-defense ranges is quite acceptable. While the gun isn't heavy, recoil is easily manageable, even for an 85 year old man who grip is getting weaker.

The Crimson Trace Lasergrips, once dialed in, offer an extra level of aiming confidence. There are two caveats. First, the activation button is centered at the top of the grip facing forward, and all 4 of us found it awkward to use. I finally was able to come up with a grip that allowed me to control the gun during recoil while still getting my middle finger on the button in such a way as to activate it. This grip takes conscious thought, and I'm not fond of that in a self-defense gun.

For my Dad, with his weakened grip (arthritis is a bitch), it's even worse. Eventually he was able to work it out, but I'm not sure that the grips were money well-spent for him. We're planning another trip for him to work on it some more. His lack of strength in his hands makes shooting a revolver something of a chore, and he can't run though round after round like I can.

However, after a few cylinders, he was putting 5 of 5 into a torso size target at 10 yards by dint of simply ignoring the laser or lack thereof. Bad guys, beware. This Old Guy is not going to be a pushover if you try to rob him.

The second issue with the Crimson Trace grips is the location of the laser. For a right-handed shooter, when laying your trigger finger along the side of the frame, you will cover the laser. You have to modify your grip so that your trigger finger is held at a sharp downward angle, but still off the trigger. Why they didn't put the laser emitter on the left side of the frame is beyond me.

So, the short version is that we all loved the gun, but no one was very thrilled with the laser. I'd like to try one on another gun by way of further testing, but I'm not going to be putting my hard-earned into it for the test. I'll wait until I can borrow a gun with Lasergrips from someone.

Next up was the Smith. A relatively large and heavy gun, recoil with .38 Specials is negligible. The trigger, while lo-o-ng (by my inexperienced with revolver standards), is very smooth. Accuracy is also quite good.

Shooting .357 Magnum loads is a different experience. The gun recoils considerably harder, (I know--"Well, duh!") to the point where the stock wood grips didn't cut it either for me or Old Friend. We could both feel the gun torquing in our grip, no matter how firmly it was grasped. Before the next trip, the Hogues go on.

Even with that issue, accuracy was still good, as this video of Old Friend shooting from 15 yards shows:

The observant among you are probably wondering where Son and Leroy were during all this. Trust me, neither was left out of the fun. Son tried both wheel guns with .38s, but wisely declined to try the .357s. Between rounds with the revolvers, he and Leroy were out shooting up the steel.

I wish I had pictures (or video), but the Bane of the Christmas Season (dead batteries) struck down my camera right after the above video was shot. Since Mr. Scott wasn't available to rig a connection between the car battery and the camera, we had to spend the extra time shooting.

We tried the Smith at 50 and 100 yard targets. Of 5 rounds at the 50, I got one hit and 4 close misses, and scored 5 misses at 100. Gotta work on that before the Shade of Keith comes for a visit.

At any rate, we all had fun, and that's the real name of the game, isn't it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For my last post of the year

(Via WorldNet Daily)

I'm going out on a positive note:

In this sleepy country town, which sprang up around a railroad junction and the start of the Chisholm trail, folks give out their phone numbers by the last four digits, the annual Tom-Tom festival culminates with the crowning of the Tomato King and Queen, and everybody knows Doc Watson.

This is a piece of America that is pretty much gone. I remember my doctor making housecalls when I was a kid--I'd hate to try and find one now who would.

Catching a clue?

(Via WorldNet Daily)

Republican Party officials say they will try next month to pass a resolution accusing President Bush and congressional Republican leaders of embracing "socialism," underscoring deep dissension within the party at the end of Mr. Bush's administration.

This almost makes you wonder if the cluebat has finally made an impact. While I doubt that the resolution is actually passed, just the fact that it's been introduced is encouraging.

A road well-traveled

(Via the Drudge Report)

The Wall Street Journal has some thought on the current Minnesota Senate election:

Sorry Minnesota, but the sequel is never as good as the original.

For those who watched the Washington State governor's race recounts in 2004, the ongoing recount drama in Minnesota is just another rehash of the same script -- albeit for a U.S. Senate seat that might put Democrats one vote away from a filibuster-proof majority.

The article goes on to draw a number of parallels between the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election and this year's Minnesota Senate race, some of which have to make you wonder if someone is following a script too well--after all, what's the likelihood of the magic number of 133 votes recurring in two races, four years and half a country apart?

I'm still surprised that the people of Minnesota aren't raising hell about this. Maybe it's too cold to go outside?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quick and dirty log cabin

(I've had this open in a browser tab for a few days' and I don't recall where I found it. If you're the originator, let me know.)

The Alaska Trappers Association has a good short video on log cabin building. It seems that chainsaws make it go much faster. :-) A shed rood rather than gable roof would save time if you were in a hurry, and if you had access to a brace and bit or a drill, you could use pegs and omit the spikes.

Of course, there are a lot of gaps in the video where I suppose they go into details about squaring without a square, doors and windows and so on. I'd love to see how they handle these. Here's hoping they put the full course on-line in the future.

Be careful what you ask for

(Via the Drudge Report)

It seems that President-elect Big O is not happy with the confines of his new gilded cage. Let's hope he gets used to this Change in his life. The rest of us will have to.