Saturday, June 14, 2003

I've been asked a lot of questions in my life. Everything from "How's it hanging?" to "Does this safety work?" (that was on a loaded M202 Flash!). Life can be pretty interesting. I thought I'd better record some of my answers to some of the questions I've answered on the net, so here goes...

What do you tell people when they find out you hunt?
I'm now married for the second time. My first wife did not like that I hunted, not so much because I was hunting but because I wasn't doing whatever she might have "needed" me to do. My second wife comes from a hunting and farming family. HOWEVER, the women (with one exception) don't hunt or even shoot. At least she's tried shooting and doesn't give me too much grief over the time spent. She will not knowingly eat anything but venison ("deer meat" where she comes from).

In between wives and before the first I did date and had some interesting experiences. Also, I used to get the same sort of response to revealing that I was a career infantryman as I did when I revealed I was a hunter. Sort of a "war for oil" type of response. In every situation I now respond with a BIG smile, the facts and just a hint of "try arguing with me, I know the answers" in my tone. Always keep the smile going!

To be frank, the only reason I give a crap what some of these mental midget, butter brained, swimmers of the shallow end of the gene pool think is that some actually get up on election day and go vote. Hence the big smile and ready facts to refute any misconceptions they might have.

Actually, I apply this approach to just about everything.

How did you get started with black powder?
Whoah, that's a question with a loooong answer. My interest in black powder (BP) shooting was initiated by the confluence of several factors. Those were my interest in history, particularly in the period 1700-1890, my interest in shooting, my interest in hunting, my parent's friends who shot BP (when BP wasn't cool) and my lack of interest in being cool. However, the availability of money kept me from participating with my own firearms until after I joined the US Army and had an income which could do a bit more than handle the few women in my life.

Soon after entering service I bought a Lyman .44 caliber Model 1858 Remington New Model Army revolver reproduction. I now know that it is mis-named and not all that accurate but it is well made, shoots accurately and has been a fun piece to have. That Christmas Dad gave me a Thompson Center Seneca, caliber .36. However, assignment to Korea and my subsequent marriage and assignments to California and back to Korea (for 3 years 9 months!) kinda put the lid on that interest. I did hunt and shoot some in California, but not nearly enough. After returning from Korea, transferring to the National Guard (after 8 years active duty) and moving "home" to the Shenandoah valley, eating was more a priority than more guns. Those guns I had were quickly turned to supplementing our protein supply. Shooting, hunting, and anything not directly in support of her interests was abhored by that first wife who quickly found somebody else, left me and the kids and discovered that her new husband (and father of the next 2 children) also hunted, fished and, well she's not married to him either, now!

My children and I moved on as well. We went fishing, I took them squirrel hunting with me and eventually I remarried. Now this lady at least supports me in my interests. So I soon had a .45 barrel for the Seneca so that I could deer hunt with the gun in Virginia. Then, I got a .54 New Englander. The Seneca and New Englander have both been very good to me and brought home a lot of good eats.

When my dad died he left me a bit of money. Before passing he told me that he wanted me to enjoy the money and not just put it in the family account (I will always put my family first). So, I took a portion of it and bought a Dixie Gun Works "Indian Gun" which is really just a Pedersoli 2nd Model (Short Land) Brown Bess Carbine. Sure fire, this gun is a lot of fun and a certain education.

Along the way, I've been tasked by many friends to help them with their BP guns due to my "extensive" knowledge. That has helped me to truly have a knowledge of the various BP (or should we now say "muzzleloading") firearms, how they work and their effectiveness.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

After shooting the 75 gr. VMAX load some more yesterday, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in MY performance. Clearly, the load will group (albeit 6" or more too high to be usefull) sometimes shooting tight cloverleafs at 50 yards. However, I didn't seem to be up to the load having some very bad problems with trigger control and having many called flyers. Putting a single shot in the right place is easy enough but running strings of 5 shots inevitably resulted in the groups opening up from .5" for the first 3 to 1" or MORE with the remaining 2 shots. It got so bad that I got up and went brass scrounging for a while to clear my head.

It really seems that I'll have to be happy with the 117 gr. Hornady RN in this chambering. My only other alternative seems to be the 86 gr. Remington FP intended for the .25-20.

Now that bullet is interesting. It comes with 2 cannelures. The cannelure closest the nose is CLEARLY intended for the .25-20 cartridge but there is another cannelure about one-half a caliber from the base of the bullet. This works well for establishing a seating depth in the .25-35. Loading this bullet to about 2300 fps should be a mild recoiling, mild report, WACKER for groundhogs and coyotes.

I've no problems with the barrel itself. It isn't picking up a lot of fouling so it must be fairly well finished. This is a custom shop barrel, 21" long with the standard carbine taper and the high lustre finish. I've got a Swift 1.5-4.5x scope mounted in Weaver mounts on a Weaver base. This arrangement is satisfactory EXCEPT that it doesn't have enough range of adjustment to permit use of the above mentioned 75 gr. VMAX load which goes about 500-700 fps faster than the factory 117 gr. RN loads.

Other than this the only shooting related activities I've been involved in is reloading the .218 Bee (and I'm having problems finding another pound of L'ilGun) and polishing brass and packing that away for this winter's reloading festival.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Yesterday I went to the range to test the .25-35 load using CCI 200, 27 gr. BL-C(2) and the 117 gr. Hornady RN .257 bullet. I also shot some more of the load using CCI 200, 34 gr. BL-C(2) and the 75 gr. Hornady .257 VMAX as well as the factory S&B 6.5x52R for comparison of both trajectory with the sights set for the 117 gr. RN load and group sizes out to 150 yards.

Interestingly, the average velocity of the new load (.25-35/117 RN/27 BLC(2)/200) was 2282 fps for 1353 fpe. This is some 200 fps faster than the S&B 6.5x52R load and the sights had to be adjusted to bring the POI to just 2" high at 50. This put this load right on at 100. What is really interesting is that the S&B load is right on at 50 AND 100 with this sight setting! Must have something to do with the dwell time. The much faster .25-35/75 VMAX/34 BLC(2)/200 load (2832 fps for 1336 fpe) still impacts the target 6" higher at 50 yards and 4" higher at 150 (it didn't even hit the target backing at 100 so I couldn't measure how high it was there). Groups at 100 were 1½" for the 117 RN handload and 2-3" for the S&B factory load. The 117 RN handload fell into even tighter groups at 150 (maybe I was just holding better?) and the 75 gr. VMAX kept right up with it for grouping ability.

There is virtually no "kick" with these loads, generating about 4-4½ ft lbs recoil in this 6 lb rifle.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

So much shooting to do and so little time! Sorry, but I've been so busy that shooting has taken a back seat for the time being. I've also got a huge backload in reloading and am now pushing through a lot of brass polishing (and counting into usable lot sizes).

One thing I've come up with a lot of is .30 Carbine brass. Now, how would that do out of a Contender carbine barrel with the Hornady 110 gr. VMAX going about 2000 fps?

I did pick up a Williams FPRS for the "Enfield" M1917 action (aka Remington M30). So in true gun crank style, I'm now looking for an action to build a rifle around the sight...