Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mapo Dofu

With white rice this is the best meal...

Mapo Doufu / Mapo Tofu
Adapted from Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop

Serves 4 to 5 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 to 3 as the main entree

1 block soft tofu (about 1 pound), drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons peanut oil
6 ounces ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 leeks, thinly sliced at an angle (or a handful of scallions can be substituted)
2 1/2 tablespoons chili bean paste
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
2 teaspoons ground Sichuan pepper
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons cold water

Optional garnish: 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed roasted Sichuan peppercorn

Heat peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add pork and stir-fry until crispy and starting to brown but not yet dry. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and leeks and stir-fry until fragrant. Add chili bean paste, black beans, and ground Sichuan pepper, and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until the oil is a rich red color.

Pour in the stock and stir well. Mix in the drained tofu gently by pushing the back of your ladle or wok scoop gently from the edges to the center of the wok or pan; don't stir or the tofu may break up. Season with the sugar, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing the tofu has absorb the flavors of the sauce. Then add the cornstarch mixture in 2 or 3 stages, mixing well, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Don't add more than you need). Serve while still hot in a deep plate or wide bowl. Garnish with optional scallions or crushed Sichuan peppercorn.

I almost always have this at my favorite Chinese restaurant which is run by ethnic Chinese from Vietnam using a Mexican cook... Yeah, lots of those out there by the way. I like the chopped scallions on mine and put it on a plate over steamed rice. I have to admit to a gluttonous urge here as I can often eat all of this!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Old Friends

Remembering back to our lives in West Virginia 47 years ago, I was reminded of one of Mom's college friends with whom she was reunited our second time in Elkins, WV.

We were living at 200 2nd street. My mother heard that her old college chum (the word was still in use then) Elli was living across town and her husband, Walt Lesser, was working in the same building as my father. We came to think of the Lessers as our second family. They are wonderful people and I learned a lot at their house and from them.

This photo of Walt isn't ours and I found it on the internet. Taken about 1972 or 1973, it shows Walt as I remember him, dog included. There were always setters! Great dogs, every one of them. I don't know if he is still involved with Alder Run Kennels but I wouldn't be surprised if he was.

Walt hunted his dogs. I remember that he'd drive his old Dodge "hunting car" station wagon and come home late at night with some good stories. Once they had to drive all the way home in second gear.

At that time all the dogs were kept inside. They were always around and that helped give me an appreciation for the breed even though I was too young and small to actually go hunting with them.

Walt is a game biologist and one of the first things I remember observing at his house was his project of trapping and banding Evening Grosbeaks in the back yard. I don't know if that is the reason but Grosbeaks are still one of my favorite birds. Dad liked Grosbeaks for their color and fed sunflower seed all winter in hopes they'd come to his feeders. He was always pleased when they did.

I was about 7 or 8 at this time and we played all over Elkins. From River Street all the way over to Boundary Avenue, through the park and on the Davis and Elkins campus.

Hunter had a crow. At least it was a crow his family took care of that followed Hunter around town. We ran up and down the hills and through the graveyard with Hunter's crow doing aerial recon for us. Unfortunately, I also learned that air support could be used by the enemy to pinpoint your position. The "enemy" managed to flank us and drive us back to Hunter's house. A lot of fun at the time.

I remember fox hunting behind their house on Chenowith Creek Road. I can't quite remember when they moved but it was in the late '60s early '70s. I was invited to sit with them while they used a state of the art electronic caller (it was a battery operated phonograph!) to call fox. And it worked! I was surprised, so surprised that when I saw the fox I didn't shoot. He saw us too and took off. I think Walt was preturbed but aside from a mild rebuke and some remorse on my part it was a good time.

Hunter is now an archaeologist and published author. He's written three books, two of which have been published. They are "Battle at Corricks Ford" and "Rebels at the Gate". Both are excellent. I understand that the third book is at the publisher but beyond that I can only wait for its release.

Hunter was always interested in this sort of stuff. I remember that he had some health issues as a kid, maybe it was just the normal stuff, but he'd be flat on his back and if you asked him how he was he'd say, "I'm fine." Everything was good with him. He's really been blessed to have a dad that loves fly fishing and hunting and took him with him all the time.

The worst thing is that I haven't seen him since I was 17 or so. We just went in separate directions. Having lived 3 hours apart for several years probably contributed to that.

When we left Elkins the second time, 1963, we moved to the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Living first in Winchester and then outside of Frenchburg at the Job Corps camp where Dad worked, we had a pretty good time while there. The photo is of the big slope from the staff housing area down to the main entry road into the camp. The February (I think) of 1964 there was a huge snowfall that closed the schools for two weeks. We were on that slope most of every day for those two weeks. It is a long, long slope and you could get up some real speed. A couple of us went over the road and down the slope below that into the trees. It is a wonder nobody was seriously hurt. Great fun. I think that's my sister coming down the slope in center frame.

Dad was one of the first administrators at this camp. A lot of things were new when we moved in. They were still doing the hyrdostatic seeding of the yards. That was neat! Ok, so we were easily entertained. They also paved the roads while we were there. I was one of two kids my age/grade there. The other was Rayna S______. While they got there the same time we did they moved out earlier, about 6-9 months before we left in December 1964. I did a lot of wandering around the woods on my own. Never told my folks where I'd been. However, I had my bow, a all-fiberglass Bear 25lb recurve. I carried it all over and did a lot of stump shooting. THAT was great fun and a wonderful opportunity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Coffin Rock

Dillon Precision has printed the series in their Blue Press magazine/catalog:

Part I, "Sundown at Coffin Rock"
Page 42 & 43 April 2009 issue, Dillon Precision's "The Blue Press" catalog/magazine

Part II, "Sunrise at Coffin Rock"
Page 42 & 43 May 2009 issue, Dillon Precision's "The Blue Press" catalog/magazine

But if these "go away" the author has them in PDF format at his site.

You might not think it can happen "here". It seems there are many gun owners/shooters who don't believe that the government could ever take away our guns or other weapons such as knives, bows, etc. But they can and do. (As an aside, I wonder why the 2nd Amendment has not been linked to knives and other edged weapons.)

If you liked the Coffin Rock duo, you might like "Lights Out" as well...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Navajo Weapon - The Navajo Code Talkers by Sally McClain

It is more than appropriate for me to mention this book, Navajo Weapon - The Navajo Code Talkers by Sally McClain, and the men it honors in connection with Memorial Day. My oldest daughter was out west for the annual balloon rodeo and happened upon and met with the code talkers at some event. She knew I'd be interested and bought this book for me. She told them about my military service and they gathered around and signed it for me. I can't tell you what an honor it is to have this connection to these men.

For those that don't know, a program proposed by Philip Johnston (this was his main contribution to the effort) to the U.S. Marine Corps to use Native Americans speaking their language(s) as code was utilized during WWII. Those of us who have worked with code and coding systems know just how simple this system is to use (albeit requiring extensive training and intense attention to detail and self-discipline by the "talkers"). Now, technology has been used to eliminate the need for this while permitting radio users to speak without code words, i.e. "in the clear". Then, that was not possible and technology required a number of burdensome methods that either didn't work (as with the Japanese Purple code, the German Enigma machine or the U.S. shackle codes) well or quickly or without risk of compromise. Having worked to intercept communications and break codes myself, I can fully appreciate how difficult it was for the Japanese to deal with this system of code talking. It is all the more amazing that they had a partial key in the form of a captured Navajo but were unable to exploit it.

This book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in military history, Native American history, codes/ciphers, military intelligence, U.S. Marine Corps history, and/or WWII.

You may have seen a dramatization of these men's service in the movie "Windtalkers". There is also a documentary on the subject, "NAVAJO CODE TALKERS - America's Secret Weapon in World War II"

- Navajo Code Talkers

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remington Model 51

One of the coolest little .380 ACPs is the Remington Model 51. It FEELS good in the hand. I've shot one, once, a long time ago, but as I remember it it felt good in shooting. It looks modern but it is made with old time attention to detail. I think I read once that it undersold the Colt of that time (the 1908) by $5.00. That was a lot of money in 1930-something!  These guns were also made in .32 ACP. 

Today, a retired Virginia State Trooper brought one into the shop to see if we could get it apart for cleaning. It took a bit. We pushed the pin out the side then it was a free for all. Seems to me it takes both hands and a monkey to get the thing apart. You have to grasp the barrel AND slide and pull them apart and at the same time lift them from the frame. Must be a trick I don't know. At least I didn't know it until actually seeing the manual.  When in doubt, read the directions. Taking out the breech block is another push and lift exercise. THEN, to get the barrel out one has to get the timing of lifting the breech end of the barrel out while compressing the action spring. I think. Like I said it was a free for all.

The Remington Society is doing research on these pistols and has a research form. If you own one you might consider adding to the body of knowledge on these guns buy letting them know some details about yours. They also have a manual on the 51.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Bible

I don't often post about religious subjects. I am a Christian though and I often get neat things from friends on the subject. This is the neatest. It enables us to share our message of salvation through Jesus Christ with anyone with a computer and internet access. What is it? Try also, E-Sword - the sword of the Lord with an electronic edge...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ruger Announces SR-556

Oh baby, a Ruger made, piston operated AR-15. That's essentially what the SR-556 is. Much good said about this product by people I trust like Jeff Quinn at Despite an MSRP of $1995 look for them to move in the $1800 range, at least for the time being and IF you can get one.

If you ask me, this will beat the Mini-14 all hollow as you will be able to get magazines all over the place whereas the Mini-14 of any capacity at all are hard to find in quantity.

.44 Special No Good?

Read Venturino's article "bashing" the .44 Special in the July/August 2009 issue of American Handgunner. No offense intended, but I felt it was a whole lot of nothing. Mike showed off some guns he'd had and didn't like (apparently). ALSO in the issue was Mike touting the .44 Russian in the S&W #3. I'm sorry, but I found that to be an odd juxtaposition of positions...

You guys, some or many of you, are the real experts. I'd be interested in knowing what you think (or don't think) about this rather unimportant brooha.

For what little its worth I think that the .44 Special can perform quite adequately. I think that we all have a capacity for developing an affinity for certain things including particular cartridges just as we do for certain people. Just as with people, that like or dislike doesn't have to be logical. I.e. I really like the .45 Colt. Not certain why, just do. So much so that I'd get a new model flattop in .45 Colt even though I have 2 in .44 Special.

One thing for certain, the "controversy" sold at least one copy of American Handgunner.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, LLC

I bought the July/August 2009 (dang, that's early isn't it?) issue of American Handgunner for another article but I thought a blurb on page 105 was interesting.

What it addressed was a creation of Marty and Gila Hayes, the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, LLC. A self-described "self-help group" the advisory board includes Massad Ayoob, Dennis Tueller, Tom Givens and John Farnam. Direct from the home page (just follow that link!)
The Network’s goal is to prevent miscarriages of justice through—

o Educating members about the legalities of using deadly force for self-defense and how to interact with the criminal justice system after a shooting.
o Creating a nationwide network of attorneys and legal experts which the member can draw upon in the event of a self-defense shooting.
o Granting financial assistance from a separate non-profit foundation to members who are facing unmeritorious prosecution or civil action after a self-defense incident.

If you possess a gun for defense of yourself and your family, we urge you to seriously consider joining the Network. Preparation to survive the second attack—the legal aftermath of a justifiable defense shooting—is a vital element in your defense preparations. Ignore it at your own peril.

NRA-ILA Sweepstakes Prizes

Raffles/sweepstakes are an old means by which organizations can raise money or encourage contributions. The NRA-ILA does this. I was looking at the various prizes and thinking which of those would I buy if I were to buy one (or more) of them... Which would I not sell if I were to win, even though I might not actually spend my own money to buy them...

Which would I buy?
- Ruger SP-101 .357 Mag because this would actually be useful and I might give it to my step-daughter for her HD gun.
- Beretta M92 9mm because this would be an example of what I carried, like my 1991A1, in service, something to show the grandkids. Better get magazines now though!
- Eton FR1000 Voicelink Survival Radio Transmitter because this could be useful. I need a no battery receiver and a transciever is just a bonus. I bet you expected a gun but survival is about more than guns.

Which would I keep (other than the above)?
- S&W M&P pistol .40 S&W because it fits my hand better than any other polymer pistol. I wouldn't keep a Glock.
- Taurus 1911 .45 ACP because it is a .45 ACP and takes standard 1911 magazines.
- S&W Carry Comp Revolver .38 Special just because it would be interesting to see if I could find fault with the damnable lock. If not I'd give it to my step-daughter for a HD gun.

Isn't a lot I'd take from the 30-40 items, is there? I'm sorry, but there isn't the bird hunting we used to have and there are a lot of shotguns. I'm not a modern bolt action rifle guy either. In-line muzzleloaders, blah... and so forth. Still, it is a pretty good cross section of current firearms trends. I wish them luck.

Oh, yes, I donated. I hope you do, too. We've got to fight the socialist/statist assaults on our liberties.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Lipsey's .44 Special Flattops

As I've previously noted, Lipsey's managed to convince Ruger to produce 2000 New Model Blackhawk Flattops in .44 Special. These are built on the same frame as the 50th Anniversary .357 Magnum Flattop Blackhawk. I've wanted one for a long time and it is beyond me why Ruger was so slow to produce this gun when all the parts are readily produced with minimal tooling changes. Dittos for a .45 Colt version (which I will also buy should they become available).

This frame is what some refer to as the "medium" frame which is more the size of the Colt Single Action and noticeably smaller than the .44 Magnum frame. Closely approximating the original flattop frame the revolvers now use the "new model" lockwork which utilizes a transfer bar and permits safe carry of six rounds in the six chamber cylinder. Also, the steel (rather than aluminum as with the original flattops) grip frame is of the old XR3 shape and makes the the gun feel more like the Colt Single Action (note the new grip frame also contains a lock which you can ignore). Many, myself included, prefer this grip frame. I also like the black composite/plastic stocks. You might notice that Ruger is abandoning the long time use of wood for this type stock on many of the Blackhawk models. At least 1000 each of the 4-5/8" and 5-1/2" barreled guns will be produced and marketed through Lipsey's. After that who knows but I bet that if there is demonstrable demand there will be product to satisfy that demand.

Brian Pearce recently had an article published in Handloader magazine (#260) and in that article we learn that he and Lipsey's had been trying since 2005 to get Ruger to produce these guns. I have no doubt that John Taffin put in his two cents worth as well! Announced in late 2008, I immediately put in my order, as did many others. While these guns began shipping in mid-January 2009 many enthusiasts have had difficulty getting "theirs". Ruger announced in their first-quarter 2009 stockholder's report that they are/were 455,000+ units back ordered. Likely some of those guns are the Lipsey's flattops. Interestingly, some are resting unnoticed on dealers shelves. Look around, you might find one languishing forgotten in a dealer's display case.

That was my experience. Harassing my boss/employer starting as soon as I knew about the guns resulted in Lipsey's shipping a 5-1/2" gun (rather than the requested 4-5/8" gun). I immediately reordered and strongly reiterated that I wanted a 4-5/8" gun. It took awhile but another dealer, Jim Engel of the Great Outdoors Gun Shop in Atwood, KS, came through with a 4-5/8" gun before Lipsey's could ship. Despite the slightly higher cost to me, I was thrilled to get the second gun.

I knew, too, that quality holsters would be necessary to carry these fine revolvers in the field. I felt that they should be a Tom Threepersons type and since I didn't have any by El Paso Saddlery I ordered matching holsters for these two revolvers. Although the estimated wait was 8 weeks both holsters arrived together a mere 3 weeks after I placed my order.

Both holsters are beautiful. Lined and with border tooling they both perfectly fit their respective guns. To my mind this is about the best way to carry a revolver in the field.

Ammunition was not a problem despite the current ammunition shortages. I'd laid in some brass and bullets as well as powder and primers in anticipation of the release of these revolvers. I quickly loaded over 200 of the old Skeeter Skelton load of 7.5 gr. Unique under the 250 gr. Keith bullet from Mount Baldy Bullets. I expect that a wide range of bullets could be used, but one must ensure that the cartridge overall length doesn't exceed about 16.30". Brian Pearce says no longer than 1.637". This is due to the non-counterbored cylinder's 1.6120" length and allows for some bullet slippage or creep due to recoil. Additionally, Tim Sundles of Buffalo Bore Ammunition kindly sent me a box of his carefully crafted .44 Special item 14B. Buffalo Bore produces some mighty fine ammo and I carry is item 20C in my Colt Cobra. I know I can count on Buffalo Bore ammunition.

It has been difficult lately for me to find the time to go shooting. However, I was so excited that I did some impromptu shooting with these guns at my Mom's place. The targets were some discarded 8" cinderblock which had been painted white on one face. Used now to inhibit erosion on the bank above our farm pond, the white faces provided high contrast targets at 80 yards. After some off the cuff sight adjustments (neither gun came with the rear sight blade centered), I preceded to make little pieces of the big blocks. The guns were fun to shoot and recoil was not objectionable.

I'd like to note that I have no desire to shoot jacketed bullets in these revolvers. I see these as my personal means for a trip to the shooting past and experiencing what Elmer Keith experienced in using .44 Special guns. At least, in as much as I can given today's limitations, that is what I'll do.

Handloads for the .44 Special (as always the reader is responsible for the proper use of this data and I assume no responsibility for the actions of others. These loads are safe in my revolvers.)
250 gr. KeithW2316.0 gr.850 fps
250 gr. KeithUnique7.5 gr.950 fps
250 gr. KeithPower Pistol9.0 gr.1100 fps
250 gr. Keith240016.5 gr.1200 fps

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Blacksmithing and Envy

For 40 years metalsmithing has fascinated me. When in high school, even before, I would go to the library and check out every book on the subject. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn't let me set up a forge in the back yard. I'm not sure why. It may have been the combination of my youth, fire, and the tools to forge sharp things that put them off. As a sop to my interest I was allowed to take "machine shop" in my senior year. This was partly because I'd met all the other requirements for graduation!

Immediately after high school I went into the service. Let's face it, there's no room for anvils, forges and all the other stuff in any army barracks and most landlords don't want such in their apartments either. I found no exceptions to these "rules".

So, after all these years, I've been thinking, still, how I might get the stuff together to set myself up a blacksmithy. Today, a regular customer comes into the shop. What does he brag on? Why, his new-to-him anvil, forge and tools. He got them all together for one money just the other day.

I'm going to tell you I AM a bit envious. Oh, I do realize that my dream just might not be meant to be (sort of like my singing). Mom's place has a flue in the garage which could be used for a forge... I guess we'll see.

The Art of Blacksmithing is one book on the subject that I actually bought many years ago. There are others...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thoughts on Long Ago

As you know, I've dabbled a bit in genealogy. I'm not looking for kings or queens in my tree but for the stories about the successful (obviously) struggles for survival by family members. There are many. Recently I came on new-to-me letters from my mother to her parents early in my life. Covering the period of 1954 through 1961 (so far), these letters paint a picture of a life now mostly faded from my memory. Oh, I remember some things. Snatches of toys, houses, nice people, haircuts, family visits, etc, but the details are missing.

Of course these aren't things that I could remember as most of this takes place in the first 6 years of my life and mostly in the first 3 years. The letters talk about experiences with the father-in-law's cows and frustrating waits for replies to job applications. They shed a new light on my mother's relationship with her parents. I think they might explain my acceptance of mild cuss words! So, what are the things I learned?

Like most people, my mother and father started life without much money. Both had just graduated college, I was already there, and Dad didn't yet have a job. A forester, he applied to both private firms and the government. When he got his job they moved blind to Dad's new job on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. They drove south from Fly Creek, NY to Bartow, WV in Dad's 1955 Plymouth station wagon. Mom mentions stopping at a motel just north of Altoona and paying $8.00 for the night (with pay-as-you-go TV!).

We often say that Mom never met a stranger and her letters show that she quickly made friends among the other Forest Service families and the locals. She had no problem entrusting me to various ladies and apparently I got on well with them, too. She didn't like the cold in Durbin and Bartow and mentions it every time she describes a new house. She also mentions having to scrub down every house into which we moved (the coal dust?). She didn't like cleaning up the coal dust (I remember that).

An interesting story about the coal. People then didn't always buy from a regular supplier but apparently from some free-lancers who must have given a better price. This one fellow would drive along until he found an exposed seam of coal (and presumably exploited it as long as possible) and would simply chop out what he could. He then sold the coal in about 15 lb chunks. The user was the one who broke it up into using size. Mom says it either came in chunks or dust. I have heated my house with wood and know the effort it takes to manage a manually fed heating system. Imagine having to bust up a quantity of coal every week and then feed it to a furnace to have heat. Mom complained in one letter about the ground in dirt in the floor along the usual traffic paths inside her house. I imagine they were tracking the bituminous coal dust everywhere.

I believe this is that first rental house in Durbin (photo to the left and from which the first photo was taken). You can see Dad's Plymouth station wagon in the photo. It seems that snow was a recurrent theme in Mom (or Dad's) photos.

She also talks about being able to get bookcases (which she still has) and shipping furniture via Railway Express (REA) vs the "moving man". More about furniture, it was apparently difficult to find some things. Her parents dug into their attic stash and brought her some things. Among them is a bed still in her bedroom! Before the stuff arrived, 3-4 months after we had arrived, they apparently lived a very minimalist lifestyle!

Furniture wasn't the only thing difficult to get. My parents had a garden everywhere they could. Both were raised on farms in the northeast U.S. and I guess there were some expectations. In WV, they found they had to travel a ways to Elkins or Charleston to get meat and some other groceries.

One doesn't see this much anymore but when they first moved to West Virginia (WV) they got all their mail delivered through the Forest Service office. They apparently found a house in Durbin ("As you enter Durbin from the east we are the second street on the right and the second house on the left beyond the first T street on that one.") but they had a Forest Service paid phone on the premises.

I was surprised to discover that they had a rabbit for a while. However, the rabbit didn't move with us. It was apparent in the letters that Dad "won" that argument as Mom wanted to cart the rabbit along to the new house.

Mom talks about the various towns in which they lived. Richwood in 1958 was apparently a wonderful place (and I do remember some things). We lived at 21 Williams Avenue and then 20 Hill street. The two addresses aren't very far apart but apparently, as I mentioned earlier, the second house was much the warmer! If I'm remembering correctly, Mom was very comfortable here and I ran around outside fairly freely even though I was only 3 at the time. It seemed a wide open space to me then! Richwood seemed a big town to me I guess because I still remember a couple of things about the town. One is going to the shoe store and getting Red Goose shoes with the egg full of "stuff" kids like.

I seem to remember most of the stores being on main street. That was nifty because Richwood is partially on a hill side. On the uphill side you have a retaining wall about as high as the roof of a car and on the downhill side you can look down about 4 feet to the sidewalk and see most of the store fronts even over people walking by. One iconic Christmas memory I have is of the Western Auto store and its Christmas electric train display in the front window.

After that we moved to 216 First Street, Elkins. Then to Huntersville, WV and back to Elkins, this time at 200 Second Street. The view here is out the front door at the house on First Street in 1959. That's me and you can see our Rambler under that snow. Across the street the white house faces the cross street and is where our friends, the Blankenships, lived. I liked the boy, then, but can't remember his name. His sister is my age and Karen was a cute girl. Later, they moved to Blacksburg where Mr. Blankenship was postmaster (if I remember correctly). We saw them again when I was about 15. Karen was cuter to my mind then. The bad thing about moving so much is that, while you meet many wonderful people, you don't always get to know them or see them as often as you like.

There are sometimes little notes of interest to historians:
- On 3 February 1956, it was necessary to dynamite an ice jam at the Bartow bridge. Apparently it was "just in time" as the river level rose 1 foot from 8-4 on the 5th.

Individuals mentioned in the letters include:
- Henry Schermerhorn of Ausable Chasm, NY, Asst Ranger.
- Dick Feaster
- Pete Kincaid (next door neighbor), teletype operator for C&O Railroad
- Curt Moore
- "Lute" Mullenax, Forest Service scaler (WWI veteran)"Lute" Mullenax is one of the veterans on the Monongahela, having worked intermittently on the Greenbrier District, since its beginning.
- Ted Mullenax, "Lute"'s brother and logger
- Mabel Wilmouth, as a Sunday school teacher
- Ken Sutherland, Asst. Ranger
- Link Oldaker
- Peachy Banton
- Lula Shiflett
- Dr. Pittman
- Jerry Finney
- Bob and Fran (Bronda, Braunda?) Gammons
- Dr. Hull (at whose funeral Mom played the organ)
- Sadie Gum
- Dr. Burner
- Mrs. Gragg, Judy and George Gragg her children
- Bob Deemer
- Barbara and Tim O'Keefe
- Donna Dorsey
- Ralph Smoot
- Roy Hipple
- Bill Arnold, Ranger White Sulphur District
- women's names Fraconia, Wawa, Robertine, Dallas...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Working in a Gun Shop - Lessons Learned

I've been working in a gun shop since December 2008. I've learned a few things (it is good to learn something every day). I'm going to try and keep a list...

- There are lots of people just as obsessed as I am about guns, even more so. They buy more guns than I ever did and they are in the shop more than I am.

- Lots of "customers" are there for companionship and trade guns only to have something to do.

- There are gun "groupies".

- There are men who shop for guns WITH their wives! I found that astonishing. There are women who DON'T shop for guns with anyone, even their husbands. Not quite so astonishing.

- Men who buy guns for self defense want to "stop" the bad guys. Women who buy guns for self defense want to "hurt" the bad guys.

- Most of the guns I've sold have gone to "white" people. About 1/4 of those go to women. This doesn't mean that other races don't own guns or that women of other races don't buy guns.

- Lots of my friends buy guns. I see them in the store all the time!

- Lots of people know me, at least they know my face.

- A gun shop is busy all day long.

- Many, many people have no idea what gun and/or cartridge their gun uses.

- There are quite a few immigrants who exercise their gun rights here just as soon as they can.

- Many gun owners don't understand gun law as it exists or as it is proposed.

- Young shooters like the polymers and synthetics much more than the older shooters.

- People can't follow simply assembly and disassembly instructions (we put a lot of guns back together or repair them due to improper assembly or disassembly).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Second Amendment March

I would like all of you to take a minute or two and visit the Second Amendment March site. The goal of the organization is to have a march on Washington D.C. in support of our gun rights and to do so in the spring of 2010. Much of the next 350 days is needed to enlist marchers, raise money to support the march and to organize the transportation for the marchers to the march.

The organization is not right or left, Republican or Democrat, but it is PRO-GUN RIGHTS. If the RKBA is important to you please visit the site. Share this with your friends and family who shoot. Share this with your friends and family who believe in liberty.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Primer Information

Due to our shortage of primers I thought this collection of links to information which might be germane to primer manufacture would interest some. I'll update this as I find new links. I do not endorse the idea of home manufacture of explosives of any kind for any purpose. Anything the reader might choose to do is at their own risk. That said...

- Making lead azide.

Friday, May 01, 2009

WWII Infantry Weapons

Storing Powder

Now here's a bugaboo that worries all serious handloaders/reloaders. To load you've got to have powder and primers as well as the more inert brass and bullets. It is easy to accumulate quantities of both simply trying different loads or loading a wide variety of cartridges. Get a lot of powder and/or primers in one spot and one can make many people very nervous.

Smokeless powders are less dangerous to store than primers and don't create the shockwaves of explosives when burned in relatively open conditions. A cabinet of 1" solid wood with blow-away sides should be used to store 20-50 lbs of smokeless powder. Beyond that the basic rules of handling include 1-Don't smoke or use open flame around the powder and 2-Don't store near flammable liquids. See the links for more details...

Black Powder is more problematic. It IS an explosive. It is easier to ignite (has a lower ignition temperature). It is also more tightly regulated than smokeless powders (at least for now). A magazine (storage container) outside of your home would be ideal storage. One would only need to keep it dry.

Primers contain explosives used to start powders by means of the percussive (normally) action of the firing pin or hammer of the gun. So, it is obvious that along with other caveats regarding explosive storage one not remove them from their containers and one should prevent them from being struck.

- The Reload Bench, "Powder Storage"
- Smokeless Powder & Primer Storage :: By Marshall Stanton on 2005-08-27