Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And.... More Rifle Pictures

You know, I just can't let it go. I am so pleased with the way my 10/22's shot last Friday. I've been in shop, cleaning up the mess, stowing all the parts floating around on the bench, thinking about whatever. I have to say I am feeling satisfied with these two builds. The choices in parts seem to work well and the things, later in the season, I started to wish I had done differently with the squirrel rifle all just came together to make the next one that much nicer.

My gear, all unloaded and ready

Of course, as a result I am going to have to buy another scope like that weaver for Blackie... Yeah, I named them. Just sad I know but it is hard to type the long versions of these out so I started thinking of them in these terms and it just stuck. The older of the two, pictured in the foreground here, has become just Blackie.
The Ruger Girls, posing for a pic

The one in the back there and the newer of the two hasn't really got a name that sticks yet. It is just 'the new one' for right now. I am sure something will stick in my head someday and the name will be forever. For all of the issues I had shooting the scoped rifle hunting the Nikon scope is still very nice. I was able to do some fine shooting with it and the blazers performed as they always seem to. It's a shooter and it'll see at least 50% of the woods time this year.

Blackie and a target with the scope dialed in...

Here's an example of what I am talking about with the Weaver scope. This is with it cranked up to about 2.5x magnification. It's that easy to view with both eyes open. It is really amazing. Target acc testing at the range showed it to be very much faster than the regular 4x Nikon on the other rifle. Just a good choice here. I am anxious to get out and give it a go.

You know, I know I am just biased as hell about this but I like looking at it at the range so much here are a couple more shots just in case you do to.

My one glaring disappointment for the whole project? The thing appears to really dislike subsonic ammo... Remington at least. Man, what a mess. I was glad I had the box of GB's with me. On an up note, after the first 500 rounds were in the books, the new guy really seemed to like the S&K. Just like the girls I guess. If it costs more they like it because they get to see that look on my face. It gives them joy.... ugh.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Rifle Range Friday!! Bestest Day Ever!!

The Firing Line and My Ruger girls, ready to go...

So, I finally got there. I could not stand it any more. The last time a had fired my rifle was Jan 30 and the subsequent pile of office work and snow and cold and yuck just made it next to impossible. I know. There are some indoor ranges here in Columbus that allow rimfire but just between you and me, they suck. Shooting indoors is just not my thing and I hate blowing my nose for a week and having grey and black powder residue still attached to me. No way that is healthy... When the work thing finally eased off for me and I had a chance to review the weather forecast I decided today was the day. Trip to the rifle range or bust was sort of the unspoken motto. I didn't bust...
Here's where we begin. How cool is it that the happy hunting ground also has a happy shooting spot? I have to say it ranks pretty damned high on my list of heaven-like places.

What's better, I had the whole place to myself for most of today. You just can't get that on the weekend. When I arrived the game wardens were there burning garbage and cleaning up but were soon gone. A couple of fellow shooters were there and disappeared right before noon. The full auto fire that started right after the wardens left seems to have eaten their ammo pretty quickly. ;-)

I was particularly excited by the prospect of getting finally fire my newest build. (See this previous post for some details) I have been doing some parts shuffling and evals prior to today and the final config shapes up as follows:

  • Stock Ruger 10/22 Carbine
  • Green Mountain Aero Barrel (Black)
  • Bell & Carlson Premier Thumbhole (OD Green with Black Webbing)
  • Tactical Solutions Picatiny Rail. (Receiver Mounted)
  • Houge Picatiny Extreme Low Rings
  • Weaver 1 to 3 by 20 Classic V Scope
  • Rimfire Tech Drop-in trigger (Black)
  • Rimfire Tech Magazine Release (Helical Fluted, Black)
  • Volquartsen Target Hammer
  • Power Custom Pre-travel adjust able sear
  • Power Custom extended bolt release.
  • Power Custom Bolt Handle and Rod
  • David Tubb Bolt Guide spring
  • CPC Bolt
  • Volquartsen Edge Extractor
  • Shooter's Ridge Bi-Pod

The lone remaining component to install is a Rimfire Tech bolt handle and guide rod assembly. It is on order and should be here next week. I stole the power custom one out of one of my target builds. It works well but doesn't like the hotter loads as well... Even with that missing, boys let me tell you, this thing is a shooter.

When I started the day the barrel had had zero rounds fired so a full 500 round break-in was the order of business for this rifle. The first 50 or so were rough going. Stopping every 10 rounds to wet and dry patch can get tiresome and the rifle just did not want to group. I kept after it though. This was an all too common sight today. I bet I used 100 patches.

Anyhow, after the first 50 or so the rifle really started feeding better and by 200 it was consistent enough to adjust the scope and see how it was doing.

Once I dialed it in, the thing would consistently hold a quarter sized group at 25 yards. I was just completely impressed. Add to that the ammo I brought because I just figured what we were really after was some seasoning and not accuracy... I have a pile of Remington Golden Bullet ammo around for assorted reasons not the least of which is that it is cheap. I figured it would be perfect for a day of just getting the rounds down-range. It turned out that rifle just loved the stuff. In my final 20 round test I was firing at fractured bit of clay pigeon at 100 yards and consistently powdering them.... with Golden Freaking Bullet ammo. I was shocked but not at all displeased. Really good showing from this one today. All totalled I fired 650 rounds through it and as long as I did my part to keep things clean every 100 rounds or so, it worked flawlessly. I am excited to get back to the range with it for ammo testing.

Also along for the ride was The Ultimate Squirrel Rifle, Part Deuce (see here for previous posts) As I think I posted earlier, I had several good shots this past season that I just missed. I decided I like that picatiny base on the new rifle so well I decided to stick one on the this one too. With that is needed to be re-sighted and I would get a chance to test things out.

The new config on this one shakes out like this:

  • Stock Ruger 10/22 Carbine
  • Tactical Solutions OD Green Barrel
  • Tactical Solutions OD Green Mag Release
  • Tactical Solutions Picatiny Rail (reciever mount)
  • Houge Picatiny Extreem Low Rings
  • Bell & Carlson Premier Thumbhole Black on Black
  • Nikon 4x32 Rimfire Classic
  • Volquartsen Drop-in Target Hammer
  • Volquartsen Drop-in Target Triger
  • Power Custom Bolt Handle and Rod
  • David Tubb Bolt Guide spring
  • Power Custom Claw Extractor
  • Shooter's Ridge Bi-pod
I only had to use about 200 CCI Subsonics to feel good about how this one will shoot. Once I got her dialed in she was all business culminating in a 5 shot, 1 hole group at 25 yards. It was somewhere between a dime and nickle sized hole. I guess I have to say that if I am missing them this coming season, it's all me and not the equipment... Check it out. The 5 to right there are all me, dialing in the scope. The 5 in the center are the ones that make all happy inside.

What else is there to say but what a great day? I just to shoot for literally hours on end using rifles as nice as any I have ever held, spending time in the happy hunting ground in a place to which I am bonded by history and practice... Just what a day. It gets no better except, now what is waiting on me at home is something even better and more amazing.... Some how I bet there is a picture of her here somewhere...... Hmmmm...

Ah. There she is. Yeah, I know. Mow the grass before you go play... Basic Dad rule.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lone Survivor - Just in case you haven't heard of it...

So, I am late to the game on this one. I had not heard of this book until just after Christmas and did not get it on my reserve list at the library until about two weeks ago. Man was I missing out. If you haven't read this one, you are too. (Missing out...) I should warn you though, if you're going after this one looking for a feel good read, you've got the wrong book. Neither the good guys or the bad guys win. Most of both wind up paying a heavy, very ultimate price for the loyalty they feel towards each other and their respective senses of duty to cause and country.

My first impression, with out exception, can be summarized in one word: Respect. (I've typed this next bit here four times and am just not able to capture all that I intend to with the skills I have for writing. So, let's go at it like this...) In a world where our entertainment, our lives, and our media are increasingly focused on what is abhorrent and low and all that is represented by the overweight, single mother of 12 who is unclear who are the fathers of her children but has defrauded 24 men for child support, my hope was that out there in the world beyond corporate life and beyond the TV induced haze of the isolated American home, there were heroes at work in the world. Men and women who represent the very best a human can be in some of the worst possible circumstances. This is a story of a group of these people and they deserve your attention and respect. (See? There it is. Keep count. You'll see that word a few more times here...)

I'm not going to run over the plot here. It's everywhere online and any summary I did here would not do it justice. Instead, let's imagine a situation and see what we find out. Actually, let's do two situations:

The first and probably easiest to place yourself in goes like this: A group of your team members is in real trouble, life or death, holy hell those are real bullets trouble, and they call you and say as much and ask for your help. What do you do? Now if you're like me you say you would do whatever you could as fast as you could do it. So what if you knew that you and who ever went with you may or may not ever go home again? Do you run into the burning building? Do you step in front of the armed robber facing your friends? Do you load your rifle, muster all available men to arms, and race to the aid of your team? I don't know what I would do but I do know what the men of Team 10 did when faced with this situation and for that (what they did when faced with this), these men are all heroes. Forever. I thank them all, everyday by remembering who they were and what they did. Absolute respect.

Now the second scenario here is a bit tougher to imagine. If you had to choose between killing a person not known to be guilty of anything on the chance that 200 of his friends might return and try kill you or allowing him to go free and addressing the consequences of a massive assault on its own terms, brought on by spared innocent, what would you do? I know what the men of this squad did knowing that it would ultimately cost them dearly. The point here I think is that you are who you are and the courage to be that being no matter what and in full knowledge of probable consequences speaks to a level of character seldom witness in today's society. I can't say what I would have done in the same spot. I can't even speculate. I know that I hope I show the resolution of my convictions the way these men did. Absolute respect.

See what I mean? There is no escaping the feeling that we owe these men and women and all those like them such a debt and have no hope of repaying them. So many have willingly paid such an awful price. I try not to forget that while I work in my climate controlled office each day and spend my lunch, eating chicken wings and arguing over infinitesimally small matters of systems design or the best breasts in the Victoria's Secret catalog, others are doing what they were born to do and without their very able hands and minds watching my back in some far away land, I would be having a much worse day. Again, and I think it's time for everyone to agree on this, these guys deserve your unquestioned and unwavering respect. Read this book. You deserve to know what happened and you owe it to these guys to pay attention long enough to find out.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Concept Rifles and Other Ways to Spend Money

So, I've been good. What can I say? I haven't so much as chambered a round since January 31. But now it's April... It's spring. I have to tell you I am itching to get into something. Whenever I see the krokus and daffodils in the flower beds start hopping up, I start to get all happy about the changing weather. Spring is here... A time of birth and shaking off the winter months... and shooting... lots of shooting.

So right now, I have the new hunter-carbine-shootey thing all built and ready for a range day. Wanna see? I already have some pics out here. It's got a Weaver 1 to 3 X 20 mounted on it now. Fantastic scope. Spent a few days getting things lined up and so forth. It's the first shooter I have ever put together that I sight with both eyes open and feel comfortable. Really amazing. I am hopeful once broken in, it shoots like a true squirrely killer. (And maybe punches paper well enough to squelch some of my younger friends' criticisms of the old man and his bifocals... yes, I got bifocals this year. I am fu&*ing old. Accept it...) Here. I'll even post a new pic with scope on it, sitting on the same messy bench with the same bad lighting. ;-)

Here's a sort of decent shot of the sight picture through the scope. I just love this. I wish I had considered this option sooner. (The black thing in the bottom of the view is the barrell. I love this thing...) I would have done this with the other one of these I built after destroying my first ever creation. (See first post ever on this blog. Funny read...)

Sitting here tonight the rusty and sometimes trouble causing wheels of my mind began to turn and I thought, "Hey, let's just build a nice shooter to go with these two and the third one nobody knows about... err... Let's just build one. There's no third. It's just dream... these are not the 10/22's you are looking for."

I've decided to start with the trigger group first. I have never built one and have always just modified the factory one to shoot well enough to hunt tree rats. This time, I will do something original. I will build from component parts using factory stuff where I need to and see what I can make. Who knows? Maybe I will just build trigger groups from now on. One thing is for sure though. Mrs. Hunter will not be pleased by the arrival of two new boxes from MidwayUSA next week. That is for certain. We'll have to show price tags so she feels better about them all (almost) being cheaper parts.

You know, I am thinking about builds and I think this will be my last before I have to sell something. Four of the same rifle configured in different ways just does not cut it in my mind, let alone in the mind of she who must be obeyed. I guess I will be going to gun shows this fall. However until then, game on. My last thought for the day, being of unsound mind and less than robust body, is that the Internet, a credit card, and OCD about building rifles of any kind is just a bad mix. Maybe we need to start some kind of Rifle Builders and Tweaker's Anonymous thing or something. "Hello, my name is Mr. Hunter and I am bat-shit crazy over building things that go bang with lots of moving parts and bullets." Something like that. Maybe she will let me off the couch when I show that kind of progress.... Mean time, I'll provide updates and pics when I have them. Concept Quatro is underway and the committee of voices in my head is in agreement that this is good.