Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Honorable Mister Hervey Chittendon Calkins

Hervey Chittendon Calkins was born 23 March 1828 in Malden, Ulster County, New York.  He was a US Representative 1869-1870. The Honorable Mr. Calkins is my 2nd cousin 5x removed and a fellow descendant of George Richtmeyer. He married Violetta Adeline Brant and they had 2 children the youngest, Mary V., died when she was 7-years old. His son, Freeman Brant, married Clara Palmer Haines and they had 6 children. I know of no direct descendants of his to be still living.

I mention him here, my first in this series of posts, only because we share a birthday. It is unlikely anyone else remembers him today, but we will.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Allen Frederick Leland

Born as Allen Frederick Leland but known throughout his life as Frederick Allen or just "Fred", he was the son of Melvin Amos (1877-1959) and Grace Velma (Emery) (1888-1977) Leland. The Leland's had a total of 9 sons serve in the U.S. military, two of whom were killed in service. One was Fred and the other was his younger brother, TSGT Warren Francis Leland. Fred was serving with the 66th Armored Regiment, 2d Armored Division when he was killed 2 Mar 1945. He is buried in Margarten, the Netherlands. I am trying to find out more about his service. He is my 8th cousin twice removed.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Spring is sprung...

Spring apparently has sprung, although we saw signs earlier, with the beggars at the road intersections. In my youth I was a pretty soft touch but numerous experiences with those who are daily at "their" spot and whose vehicle (better than any I've had) is parked fairly close by, has hardened my heart. There are so many agencies now which will help, there isn't any need to do this. However, I have been told by various trusted sources that one can "earn" $200-300 or more each day doing this. While I'll allow that you can choose not to work, I think I've got the right to choose not to support you anymore than the government forces me to.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Today is my son's 39th birthday AND the anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Our 2X great-grandfather Barney Alonzo Parslow enlisted in D Company 134th New York Volunteer Infantry, reportedly with the stated purpose of ending slavery. He was one of the first in his community to do so. He was soon promoted to First Sergeant of the company, probably because he could read and write and do the math necessary to do the company reports. He later received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant. He was at Gettysburg. The 134th faced the 21st North Carolina at the brickyard on the first day. Barney was shot 2-inches above the right nipple and the "ball" (minie bullet or actual ball is unclear) exited just below the right shoulder blade. He was captured, carried across the creek there and laid out with the other captured, wounded and lay there until 5 July. The family story is that the burial detail grabbed him to take for burial and he cussed them out proving he was still alive. He was treated (that the ball missed bone probably saved his life) and sent to D.C. where he was assigned to the Invalid Corps until he recovered and was sent back to his unit, now in the western theater of operations. He was present for the battle of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. This was too much for him so far as his health was concerned and he resigned his commission and returned home. He married, opened a store in Breakabeen and farmed (or as the story goes, his wife and children did all the work) and lived there until he died in 1920 age 79. He attended the 1913 Gettysburg reunion. He did so because, as with veterans of all wars, he was connected to the place by the men he knew, the men who had died there. He understood the sacrifice and, I've been told, he had forgiven his enemies. This is just one of our connections to Gettysburg.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ruger 10/22 M1 Carbine Look-Alike

Well, I took the Ruger 10-22 set up to look like the Carbine U.S. M1 .30 cal to the range. Sighted it in with the 30 year old Winchester High Velocity 40gr. RNs. Needed to use shotgun shell body shim under the rear sight to bring the sight up enough to zero at 25 yards (and, so it turns out, at 50 yards). The rear sight also needed some movement to the left. That took only 3 tries. I was very surprised to find that the gun will easily hit a golf ball at 50-yards. That's pretty darn good with the provided peep sights even from a supported position. Now, off-hand that is a challenge. The combination of very light weight and much rougher trigger (compared to the Kingston Armory 10/22 "copy") made it a real challenge.

I was also surprised to find that very similar loads (weight and velocity) shot close enough to the same point of aim to give one a very good chance at the golf ball.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Offhand shooting and the M1-22 Kingston Armory Rifle

Several people have asked me how well the Kingston Armory M1-22 rifle shoots. As anyone with any experience knows, choice of ammo and the eye's (mine) ability to distinguish sights and target will have some small influence on the results. So...

I have been shooting a lot of Winchester High Velocity 40 gr. RN stuff purchased about 1986 and stored inside in U.S. Army ammo cans. I had several bricks of it. Some I had used in rimfire silhouette but when that went away I quit shooting it in preference for Power Points of SGB modified Dynapoints for hunting. I also shot a quantity of Golden Bullets (Remington) hollow points. So, when I got this rifle I thought semi-auto+hivel ammo=fault free function. That's been mostly true, until I got the gun dirty enough to hiccup now and then. So this old Winchester ammo is what I used to shoot the rifle and provide some idea of its capabilities.
The sights. They are GI, literally. I think they use either new old stock (or parts therefrom) or new manufacture replacements. The rear sight base is made just for the 10-22 receiver profile. That means you have a peep rear and a thick post front sight. Some people need to learn to shoot these, I've been shooting them for years.

However, my eyesight can be a problem. I've worn glasses since I was 6, bifocals since I was 55, and have known I had cataracts for 2 years. Sometimes I can't focus on anything much less see the target after focusing on the front sight.

Let's not talk about physical conditioning. I am NOT the infantry stud I might have been (in my mind) some 15-18 years ago! When I first stepped to the line with the rifle I thought I must be standing on jello everything was weaving around so much. Things have improved.
Why shoot the gun off-hand (standing, unsupported)? Because we are going to have a golf ball shoot under those conditions (no slings either). Also, because we should be able to shoot this way and might need to.

So how well does it shoot with me behind the butt? I can pretty consistently shoot 30% on a golf ball at 50 yards. I did 70-80% on a 4" diameter disk this past Thursday. Off the bench it is practically a sure thing on the golf ball at 50 yards. I own every miss. It is all me.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Reports from the range...

The Stonewall Rifle and Pistol Club had a "Varmint" shoot this Sunday. Actually a centerfire benchrest competition with rifles shooting targets from 100 to 300 yards distant and pistols firing at targets at 50 and 100 yards, this competition brought out 23 competitors and 29 entries in the various classes.

I only shoot the pistol class using a 10" .223 Remington barrel with a Burris scope set at 9-power (the allowable limit according to the rules). My current load is the Hornady flat base 53 grain match bullet (discontinued) over 20 grains of H4198 lit by CCI small rifle primers in Hornady brass. It is really challenging to see the targets even at 100 yards so that one can correctly place the bullets for maximum score. I was very pleased to increase my score by 25 points from the last match. However, I was not very close to the #1 and 2 in the match.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New website for Nuckols Gun Works

As you know I have a hobby "job" at Nuckols Gun Works in Staunton, VA. They now have a new/updated web site (you can click on the link in the first sentence). You can see in real time what guns are available and what prices we have. Also, you can get BETTER prices from the website AND participate in our gun giveaway as well as get coupons for discounts on ammunition. The whole staff is dedicated to service to all our customers. I really like working there for that reason.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Kingston Army M1 Garand .22

After more than a 1½-year wait we've got our Kingston Armory M1 Garand .22 rifles. Built on an all -steel version of the 10-22 that uses 10-22 magazines. The issue mag has a base-plate attached that makes the gun look more like an M1 rifle. It does have M1 sights, and the stock is amazingly like an M1 rifle stock. Looks pretty good so far but we have not shot them as we got them today. I will probably not get to shoot mine before Thursday. The other will likely be shot on Sunday. Serial numbers? 0044 (mine) and 0076.

LOA is 41", barrel is about 23", overall it is about 2" shorter than an M1 rifle. It weighs about as much, but not quite (I haven't weighed it yet). They have scaled it very well to the 10/22 action while maintaining the feel of the full-sized .30 cal M1 rifle.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Notes from the range...

This past Sunday I shot a varmint pistol course at Stonewall Rifle Pistol Club. This is some sort of pistol, no more than 9-power telescopic sight, off a rest, at 50 and 100 yards. It was interesting in that:
- I did not prepare but used some loads that I'd loaded for the 21" Contender barrel some years ago
- I was able be zeroed at 50-yards in 4-shots.
- I was hanging in there after the first card at 50-yards
- I was not adequately careful with my 10" barrel on the rest and let it come back too far and it opened up the bag on which the forearm was resting. That shot was a zero and the deconstructed bag probably cost me placing in the match.
- I have already come up with a better rest solution that will prevent a repeat of this act.

If you are open to learning every experience can offer a lesson to learn. I learned something here.

On Monday Nana said I should go to the range so I did. I am going to reiterate that one has to experiment with rimfire guns to find ammunition that is reliable AND accurate. The SIG Sauer 938-22 greatly preferred the Winchester bulk hollow-points that you find in the 333 and 555 boxes to the Federal round-nose equivalent.

Monday, May 16, 2016

.22 Benchrest

I started a couple of years ago. Wasn't really interested, didn't have an appropriate firearm but Nana "made" me do it. Got a 1955 produced Winchester 52C, mounted a Weaver 36X and got some moderately priced (relatively) .22 LR target/match ammunition, and a rest. I've had some success, in other words I've improved. Then again, I am just in the middle of the pack, an average shooter. Some of it is equipment, I don't have a one piece rest, don't use the most expensive ammo, haven't tweaked the rifle, etc. Some is me, my eyesight, my technique, my level of interest/commitment. However, I still enjoy it. Good people, a problem to solve without any more pressure to solve it than I choose to put on myself, time away from life's concerns, all good to me. The game isn't particularly physically challenging either. With planning and enough interest to get adaptive equipment a person who was confined to a wheelchair, missing limbs, and having who knows how many other physical challenges can participate. Gender is absolutely not an issue. Turns out to be great fun.

Yesterday I shot at our club. The wind was whipping with gusts of 45-50 mph but mostly at 15-25 mph and the temperature never got over 56°F. Challenging. I was still able to shoot better than I did at the season's first shoot a month ago. A good day all around.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Youth shoot 2016

Our club does a "youth shoot" every year to encourage young people who are interested in shooting. All sorts of kids come out for the shoot, age 11-18, male and female, with and without familial shooting backgrounds and they all have a good time. This year was physically challenging as the temperature was down in the 30s and the wind was generally 20 mph with gust far exceeding that. We instructed in crossbow, air rifle, rimfire rifle and shotgun, fed them a lunch and handed out a number of door prizes including a crossbow. Very happy to have my grandson participate this year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Firearms sales and politics...

We recently had a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA and the POTUS almost immediately called for gun control despite the fact that the attackers and their supporters had broken many laws (aside from murder) concerning the firearms to use those firearms, laws that already existed and which they ignored. What good would it do to have more laws that they would ignore?

Meanwhile, it is estimated that Americans commit 3 felonies each and every day, mostly in complete ignorance, because we have criminalized so much behavior. Just how does that help anyone? Does it make us safer? Healthier?

Recently, the Governor of Virginia, in an apparent bid to repay favors given him in his run for the governorship, issued an executive order to "ban" firearms from state offices including rest stops. That this "ban" is unenforceable or that for the time being the only charge could be trespassing, matters not one bit. Only the law abiding will be affected. Then the Attorney General for Virginia unilaterally decided to negate concealed handgun permit reciprocity with 30 other states. In one act he abrogated the rights of citizens of those 30 states as well as Virginians who acquired their Concealed Handgun Permits with the understanding that there would be reciprocity. Again, this affects only law-abiding citizens who have passed background checks to purchase and again to carry concealed those firearms. Meanwhile, criminals are under no restraints. How does this actually help anyone other than the criminal?

The truth is that gun control is an act of political control. Control over one's personal security is the ultimate act of control. So what happened as a result of each of these acts?

Sales of firearms. After each act there was an increase in sales in excess of what we would expect given the holiday season. Sales weren't just to rednecks, they weren't just to hobbyists, they weren't just to activists, those sales were to men and women and couples (of all kinds) who had never owned a gun, have never before carried concealed (but were signing up in droves for the required classes), and who were absolutely opposed to these restrictions. It was reported that on "black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving, over 187,000 firearms were sold. Based on this year's trends 40%+ or about 75,000 of those firearms went to first time buyers. Based on what I've seen these new buyers are not the politically disconnected or inactive, these are voters.

Friday, December 04, 2015

The world as it is, not as we wish it to be...

Things have changed. Compared to what we have today even the Vietnam War period seems idyllic. For the first time since the submarine attacks directly off our shores in WWII we are being attacked by our enemies. They are few in numbers but great in their effect. This state of affairs will not change in the foreseeable future. Some politicians (let's face it, politicians see themselves as separate from the rest of us) are willing to allow us to defend ourselves others are not but nearly all of this class are attempting to find personal advantage in our collective disadvantage. We can not permit this nor can we permit ourselves to be disarmed at home or at work. We need to work with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, customers, service providers, and community officials. We need to be prepared for the worst.

As I began to write this we were hearing of yet another "mass shooting" this time in San Bernardino, CA. Due to the modi operandi we expected one sort of perpetrator but we got another. The norm has changed yet again. A successful man of mid-eastern descent who made $70K+ working for the government, was married and had a 6-month old child apparently also had a bombs in his home and was assisted by his wife in the attack. They were both killed. CAIR immediately trotted out his brother-in-law to say that Islam was a religion of peace and the perp would never have done this and that he just can't understand... Interestingly, the argument he supposedly had with a co-worker was about Islam being a religion of peace (or not). Doesn't anyone else see the irony in this?

The reporting has generally been abysmal with most reporters rushing to push their agenda on the subject of "mass shootings" by attributing the shooting to various groups, blaming a lack of gun control (in California of all places), and being absolutely clueless about any of the applicable terminology. If I were their professor in journalism school judging this as a class assignment they'd have all gotten an "F".

Let's look at what we do know about certain technical aspects that might contain teaching points.
- While they apparently purchased the AR-15s they used in the attack legally, they illegally removed the "bullet button" and illegally possessed magazines with a greater than 10-round capacity.
- They were illegally making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in their home with neighbors on either side of them.
- They tried to deploy one of those devices at the attack site and it did not work.
- They booby-trapped their home but we do not know whether or not those devices were set up correctly.
- They did not try to flee (although it was supposed that they had successfully done so).
- They had body armor (or not, perhaps only tactical load bearing vests).
- They had a reported 2500 rounds of .223 ammunition and 2000 rounds of 9mm ammunition as well as some .22 Long rifle.
- They had GoPro cameras to record their attack.