Friday, December 30, 2011

Some folks we can hardly stand to lose...

We've had some losses among our circle of friends this past year. All were about more than we could bear. Yes, we know that we'll see them in the sweet by and by but... and then somebody brought up this song by Johnny Cash...


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Government Managed Health Care

Again, politics are not the intended subject of this venue but this is a story and subject important enough to mention.  I only hope that I can adequately communicate the lessons to be learned...

My dear deceased friend, Mike Mays, has a tetraplegic son, Jason.  Jason has never been cared for by other than his immediate family, particularly his parents and sister.  Consequently, despite his 35+ years in this condition he is in genuinely good health with no tubes, staph infections, etc.  Prior to Mike's untimely passing Jason's medical costs were covered by the military benefits that Mike had pre and post retirement.  However, since Mike's death, Jason or rather his mother has had an unending battle with the bureaucrats to continue his benefits.  There have been more twists and turns than I could possibly recount even if I knew them all.

The latest is that Jason will lose, or has lost, his Medicaid/Medicare (you might better understand which is which here) benefits because he has no medical need.  Why no medical need?  Because he has no tubes, infections, need for catheters, etc.  Never mind that he can not walk, move, wash, eat, ANYTHING without his caregiver doing it for him.  Jason can not even speak (at least as you and I speak) to communicate his needs.  Of course should he lose those caregivers his situation would almost immediately change.  In any institution he would be immediately tubed up with a catheter (at the very least).

So, what's my point.  Well, it is simply this.  What the "system" would like to do to Jason is what they would do to any one of us in a similar situation.  Set us up to fail and die.  Remember when Sarah Palin said that the Obama health care plan would establish "death panels".  Apparently she was wrong but only because the death "panel" apparently consists of whichever individual happens to be handling your paperwork.  Further, this non-medical person is going to be making those decisions based on an imperfect understanding of both medical practice AND the patients' circumstances.  I'm sure you think you could appeal any of these bureaucratic decisions.  Think again.

Jason's mom has tried to use the appeal process.  Despite her use of highly skilled lawyers those appeals have been repeatedly denied.  Why?  Because, in part, they aren't allowed to know by which "rule" (not law but bureaucratically crafted regulation) they were judged in any particular instance.  Why not?  "Because we don't have to tell you."  Government arrogance.  Do you think that "they" won't do that to you, your parents, YOUR children?  Really?

In my view, Jason is the sort of person we as a society, via the organization of our government, might well help.  He can do nothing for himself.  Nothing.  But that isn't how it is.  What we do is give people who could work, should be working, a standard of living unmatched by the middle class in much of the rest of the world.  We mandate that insurance companies pay for pre-existing conditions, abortions, various elective surgeries, and so forth.  This while Jason is denied help.  Makes no sense to me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Hodgdon Annual Manual is in stores...

Hodgdon started something with the Annual Manual.  For those of us who no longer need the basic how-tos of reloading the data in these is a valuable and useful resource and the new articles, some hyping and informative about Hodgdon's new powders are useful, too.  This year the new powder is CFE i.e. Copper Fouling Eraser.  Whatever.  It seems that it might be a seller.  Also in this years manual was a great article on the .300 AAC Blackout.  More on this cartridge later but it might be what I'm looking for in a Virginia legal cartridge for the AR-15 (the .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO isn't legal for deer as I write this).  I found my copy at a grocery store.  Get 'em where and when you can, these are well worth the rather modest cost.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Another busy day.  We didn't sell any guns but did a land-rush business in ammo and accessories.  Had two different guys come in looking for .348 Winchester ammo, brass and bullets.  That's a bit unusual.  Busy all day long, well, right up to about 4:30.  Business fell off precipitously right after that.

No surprise that there are some good guns resting the the racks.  Among those are a Ruger #1 in .418 Remington, a Ruger Scout rifle, a Ruger SP101 .22 (this one much better than the last), a Ruger .22 LR LCR, and a Winchester 1885 in .45-70 (modern make) with tang peep. 

Need to say a prayer for the boss and his family right now.  They will be burying his wife's maternal grandfather tomorrow.  That he died during the holiday season has been rough on the whole family. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas

Nana and I had a wonderful day with our grandchildren.  I spent much of it helping Kirk and the other grandparents assemble Lego space ships.  Of course my oldest daughter was there as well Kirk and Madeline's parents.  Margaret made the now traditional kalbi (돼지 갈비) for Christmas dinner.  I think she makes it better than her mother ever did.  Madeline was going full-speed the whole day.  I'm sometimes amazed at how well she reads, never mind that she's only 4½ but then again I started reading at a young age, too.  Both have an eye for detail that has to be experienced to be believed.

I was a bit sad to learn that their Pug had gotten out of the yard and been killed, apparently by a coyote.  The Border Collies, Grace and Camille, would have protected him had he not strayed.  However, that is life.

Margaret sent me home with more ribs to cook this evening.  I can't wait!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in the Trenches





God Bless our young servicemen and servicewomen everywhere.


If you don't know to which the song refers, watch this...


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Christmas Rifle by Ryan B. Anderson

"Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving...

It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible...

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for
Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what...

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on...

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd s pent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what? Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked. Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern...

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp...

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out...

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak...

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people...

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it...

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes...

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I stil l had mine...

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away...

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children...

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Parslow in the United States

I've done some extensive research on the Parslow family in the United States.  I started with just my ancestors and then was encouraged by Henry Parslow (author of "Who the Heck are We?") to pursue other Parslows.  In finding descendants from my own Parslow line I've run across several other Parslow lines.  I imagine that many of us have a common ancestor somewhere but that person isn't in this country.  So, I've kinda categorized them as follows with the earliest known progenitor in the U.S. and in which state they initially settled.

"Irish" Parslows - This family is descendant from an ancestor who immigrated from Ireland...
- John F. Parslow 1857-unknown, Massachusetts
- Nicholas Parslow 1824-Abt 1880-unknown, New York City (he disappears while family is at Five Points Mission)

"Late English" Parslows - These families are descendant from an ancestor who immigrated after the American Revolution
- Alfred Howard Parslow 1852-1905, Florida
- Charles Edward Parslow 1872-bef 1930, New Jersey
- Charles James Parslow 1824-1891, Minnesota (brother of Septimus)
- Cornelius Henry Parslow 1842-????, New Hampshire
- George Parslow 1860-????, Massachusetts
- John Samuel "Jack" Parslow 1903-1983, New York
- Septimus Parslow 1816-1900, Minnesota (brother of Charles James)
- William A. Parslow 1875-????, New Hampshire


Canadian Parslows - These families are descendant from an ancestor who immigrated from Canada.  Some might be closely related to one another but I haven't pursued that.
- Charles E. Parslow (Sr), Massachusetts
- Samuel Robert Parslow 1872-1951, Minnesota
- William Harold Parslow 1904-1973, Michigan
- William Thomas Parslow 1896-1965, California

There is one William Parslow/Parclow in Plymouth Colony but he only had two daughters and so the Parslow side of the line ends there.  Charles James and Septimus Parslow had a sister, Ann, who also immigrated with her husband Henry Ghostley.

Of course "our" family is descendant from Henrik "Henry" Parslow born about 1740 who lived in Ulster County, New York.  Many of these families seem to point back to Buckinghamshire, England.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Colt Officers' Lightweight...

The new to me gun...
While there is some disagreement on what the correct nomenclature is, this newest acquisition is the lightweight version of the Colt Officers' ACP model introduced in 1985.  These are all MK IV Series 80 guns (although the lower price point 1991A1 was called something else).  There have been several configurations of blued, parkerized, and stainless with various grips. 

For a long time I was dead set against these guns because previous experience led me to believe that the short barrel just didn't work with the old Browning mechanism.  Lately, however, a couple of friends have demonstrated that their guns are dependable.  So, I wanted one but I wanted to go all the way on the concealment theme and get a lightweight.  This has proved to be a problem. 

I'd been following them on Gunbroker.com and when I finally ran across one with the box for a reasonable to me starting bid I jumped in.  Anticipating its momentary arrival, I've ordered some coco-bolo stocks and spare magazines.  The wood is pretty indeed and I think it does much more for the gun than the rubber.  As you can see, I got more than the basic Lightweight Officers' ACP and this one is the enhanced model with the cut-out behind the trigger guard so that you can grip it just a bit higher. 

With new stocks and lanyard loop
As I said, I didn't need to go crazy customizing the gun as the previous owner had been to work on it.  First, it came with 2 Wilson Combat magazines (47,OX), a Wilson Combat full-length guide rod (25CO), and a Wilson Combat Ultralight Match Trigger (190).  I think the grip safety has also been replaced but I'm not sure it is the Wilson unit.  I will be wanting to replace the main spring housing (MSH) with a metal unit.  I kinda wish they made one with an integral lanyard ring but Smith and Alexander does for $51.95 delivered.

I've got a Milt Sparks Summer Special (which I've now been told won't be here before 1 July) and a Simply Rugged Cuda holster ordered for this gun.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

What a day. 20 background checks, 24 guns sold, and no time to sit. There are going to be some very happy kids this Christmas! Oh, and if this is an indication of the economy, we're back to Christmas 2007. So what sort of special things happened?

- Saw another example of Ruger's .22 LR SP101. This one was spot on gorgeous, everything was right on this gun.
- FINALLY handled a S&W SW9M and the only words I have for those folks is "Why?" You need a punch and a manual to strip it to clean!
- Saw a fair example of a Colt Police Positive Special .32-20. Fair finish but great mechanically and already sold since it came in the door on Saturday (saved me some money).

I should note that Virginia had approved about 610 transfers by 5:30 this afternoon. If others have about 1/3 of all applicants delayed as we do, that means they had about 300+ applications that had to be manually searched (or whatever they call it) by an actual person. No wonder they are running behind with some from Saturday still delayed.

P.S. I just wanted to add that 2 days later there are STILL 12 delayed background checks awaiting "clearance".  Word is that some of the paper pushers had quit.  Certainly some are always out sick or on leave.  Add to that the huge sales (just our shop had done around 65 sales in the last 4 work days) with 1/3 of those being delayed and you are probably looking at around 450-500 background checks needing individual attention just this week.  Who knows how many are held over from before the weekend.  I have to suggest that this delay is actually a denial of civil rights for those awaiting clearance.  It isn't right and it isn't reasonable.  Rights should trump risk every day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All the different reticules...

There seem to be an infinite number of reticules.  What do we call them?  Maybe this chart will help.

One chart of reticules for reference...
The most common & useful reticules...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Boy, did this day start off with a "bang"!  I walked in at 8:55 and sold a gun by 9:15 and it didn't slow down until about 1:00.  Busy, busy, busy.  Lots of "stuff" went out the door as well.  Christmas buying is in high gear and a number of people are buying big ticket, i.e. $100+, gifts.  I know some boys who are getting some great presents this year.

Interesting guns?  Well, we were busy today but we did have an Erma made DSM34 Deutsche Sportmodell come into the shop.  These are really neat single-shot .22 LR guns built in NAZI Germany, mostly before 1939, for training.  Used by many organizations, they are pretty accurate, very well made and lots of fun.  They now bring pretty good money as well.  Unfortunately, the busy work day precluded photo taking so I grabbed this one from icollector.com.  It sold for $2390.00 (including the buyer's premium). See Philip Beekley's page for more info...

Erma DSM-34 with ZF-41 Scope (very unusual)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is the TSA killing air travel?


Oleg Volk asks the question,
"I wonder if the depredations of TSA reduce cross-regional cooperation in favor of more local, driving-distance business ties…and if that shift would eventually contribute to entire regions becoming de facto independent."

I myself have avoided/delayed/cancelled trips requiring flight and opted for driving instead.  Indeed, I'll be going to the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis this next April in the seat of my Grand Cherokee rather than subject myself to the kind ministrations of the Neu Gestapo aka TSA.  There are certainly going to be limits to this sort of travel based on time and/or money.  For instance, I won't be taking a hunting trip to Alaska any time in the forseeable future.

I long ago made the determination that for me to fly less than 1,000 miles my total committed time for the travel would be the same or less if I drove.  Having to get to the airport, be there early enough to clear security, then to fly with the inevitable delays, get out of the airport and then to my destination would equal the time just climbing into the car and driving.  The cost in dollars was very close to the same as well and much less in many instances.  Additionally, I had my own vehicle to drive around at the other end of the journey with no need or expense of a car rental.

Now, with the absolute silliness imposed on travelers through restrictions on carry-on items of all sorts there is a degree of simplification in packing for road travel that may be considered a bit subjective but still must be weighed against the benefits to time saved in traveling distances greater than 1,000 miles.  In other words, how much do you value the convenience of not worrying whether or not you've cleared every last loaded round out of your baggage or have clothing and/or bags with gun shot residue (GSR) that might get you strip searched?  I value such a carefree aspect to travel very highly.

You see, I don't like travel very much.  I've done it all before.  I've been to Europe (Britain and France), Korea, Japan, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, and all over the USofA.  I own my home for a reason, it has all my stuff in it.  The only reason I want to travel now is to see family and to go hunting or do something associated with shooting.  Of course I go with Nana but only because Nana is Nana and not because I'd want to go there.  She probably feels the same way about some of my shooting trips, few as they are.  I like my home and if I was to travel all the time, there's really no need for one.

So, the question is, can my predilections for and against travel be extended to apply to others?  Will the various impositions of government epitomized by the TSA's depredations be enough to inhibit travel by others?

No matter what sort of socialist dogma the current administration might support the fact is that the capitalist model applies.  Make it costly enough and people will quit traveling or shorten the distances traveled and this applies to movement of goods and services.  Cost isn't limited to dollars and cents it also can be expressed in time (wasted) and inconveniences (imposed such as through unnecessary, humiliating searches) and the risk of loss of personal property due to leaving one's stuff unguarded.  Every person will stop and ask themselves, "is this trip worth the cost and risk of additional cost?"

Let's say that the critical, tipping-point number of people not wishing to travel for business or pleasure is reached.  Is the effect of that lack of travel the isolation of their region?  Are they considered isolated if they continue to "import" goods and services via those who see a business opportunity in filling the vacuum by moving goods and services across greater distances?

We've seen this before.  Appalachian people in this country were considered isolated because they lived in a relatively inaccessible part of the country but they were still able to enjoy the benefits of modern (for the time) technology through companies such as Sears Roebuck who took advantage of the market demand and found a way to move goods to the consumers at a profit.  Why won't it happen again?

This is actually occurring right now with the relatively highly centralized production of firearms and ammunition (as well as components for reloading) with a rather highly evolved if complicated network for the distribution/transportation of firearms and ammunition all across the country.  I don't think this makes any given region all that independent.

If one was to look at the cattle business, big cattle raising areas are going to forever be tied to the big cities.  Those raising cattle are going to need a place to sell them and those in the cities are going to be looking for food they can't raise.  That can hardly be construed as any sort of independence.  I think we can leave the question right there...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sportsman Eyewear

I am intrigued.  For years, for many reasons, I was not all that much excited about recording my life through photography, etc.  However, for several reasons, I'm much more interested in having both still photographs and video.   How does one video something in which one is participating such as hunting, canoing, bike riding or shooting?  There's an answer of course.

Sportsman Eyewear was at a recent local gun show.  Basically a camera and video recorder in a pair of glasses, the concept is pretty darn neat.  It would make a darn nice Christmas present!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Speaking of smoke and parties...

Nana had it in her head to have a party for her friends to celebrate the Christmas season.  She's got their gift bags set up and we've been working every night to prep plenty of treats for her guests.  Yes, I know I live here too but it is NANA's friends that are invited.  Anyway, there were a multitude of decorations the display of which was left to me.  That took up a lot of my time.  I worked an extra day this week and then it rained.  And rained.  And rained some more.  So, I wasn't crying about missing hunting days, just disappointed.

Meanwhile, Nana has been adhering to her Atkinsesque anti-diabetes diet which is 99.9% protein meaning meat and cheese.  Word next Tuesday as to whether it has worked to reduce her blood sugar levels or not.  She started out losing weight but that has stopped so she's concerned that it won't affect blood sugar levels either.

Also this week, my friend Dwayne L___'s father died.  I'd been working on a family tree for Dwayne without any input/info from the family.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover, via his father's obituary, that I was right in all respects about the tree.  It also concerns me a bit that all that info is so easily available on the internet.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas Train

Nana and I like trains.  She wanted a Christmas train, i.e. a train to run under/around the Christmas tree.  I got her a Lionel set.  This year I broke it out (ironic term alert) to set up and the transformer (CW-80) whistle button is stuck in the on position.  Great fun to have the train run with a continually running whistle (unless one removes the tender and runs only the engine, the whistle is in the tender).  So, I thought I'd repair this bit of fun technology from China but it uses tamper proof screws requiring a screwdriver with a triangular tip (I just read that a TORX #10 will work, will try that).  No go there.  Dated 0604, June 2004, this also puts it outside the repair or replace window for Lionel.  Made in 2004, bought in 2006, run only at Christmas in 2006-2010 (4 years) and the transformer is toes up.  Good deal.  A replacement CW-80 is $60 and shipping.  We'll see.

Fortunately our friend Steve H_____ has an extra power and control unit he will try and set up to run the train for Nana's party on Saturday.  Maybe no whistle but we will have smoke.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

I worked a second day in a row today.  Notable events?  Well, we did twice the business today as yesterday.  We bought a .416 Rem Mag Ruger No. 1 together with a Stoeger pump shotgun and 3 air-soft guns.  All will be for sale (the No. 1 is available for $775.00!). 

We were so busy that not so much happened of the interesting, I get to talk about it variety but there is a bit of a story concerning the seller of the above guns.  I can not and will not "name names" but this family is deeply grieving the loss of their son.  Apparently he was ill and chose to end things on his own terms.  Consequently, the family is choosing to remove those things that they blame for his peremptory passing.  I find that particularly sad but completely understandable.  Certainly, in such situations, survivors often feel responsible but of course, they don't want to.  It is human nature to find someone or something to blame for misfortune and/or sadness and to whom/to which to pass that guilt.

However, my dear grandchildren, what you do, or do NOT do, is solely YOUR responsibility.  Nobody makes you do anything.  Even if they try to force you by threats, intimidation, even physical coercion, you still have some degree of ability to choose.    

Monday, December 05, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Sales weren't all that bad or that great but there were a lot of people doing Christmas shopping and ordering.  We did get to see another interesting old shotgun.  German, 12 gauge, underlever, dolls-head, striker fired, nitro proof, barrels prominently marked Krupp steel...  Can you identify it?

Appears to read "W. Napp Plau_n" perhaps Plauen, Saxony, Germany


Clearly striker fired, double triggers, underlever
Here you can see watertable with marks and fences...
And here, the barrel marks...
And a bit better view of marks at the breech... proofed in 1910?
View of rear of the breech... "DRGM"=Patent (sort of)
A good representative view of the engraving...

Saturday, December 03, 2011

More Travel...

Nana and I just returned from a trip to Strasburg, PA and New York City.  Her idea, not mine.  I've never had a desire to go to THE city as my Grandfather Flint referred to it.  He worked there for many years.  Many in my family were born, lived their lives and died there.  They are buried there.  My cousin lives in Queens and works in Manhattan.  Other first cousins once removed live in Greenwich Village and elsewhere in the city.  No thank you.  Even Staunton wears on me some days.  But, we went.

First, on Thursday we left home early and we went to Strasburg/Ronk, PA to the Millenium Theater to see "The Miracle of Christmas".  It was a pretty good show and Nana and our friends really enjoyed it.  We then went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord for dinner.  Great food, we were back there this morning for breakfast.  Oh, yeah, we ate too much.  It is always very good.  We had stayed the night at the Clarion.  Nice hotel and VERY nice staff. 

On Friday morning we met busses at the National Toy Train Museum.  It isn't far from the Rail Road Museum of Pennsylvania and next door to the Red Caboose Motel.  Boarding the bus, we were soon on our way to Patterson, New Jersey and the New Jersey Hi-Railers model railroading club to see their huge layout.  We had a light lunch there and then off to New York City.

video

First, we went to Macy's to see the Santaland train in a tree.  They actually made a purpose built tree to support the load of O-gauge trains running around it at different levels.  It is part of an elaborate show meant to entertain people waiting to see Santa.  Yes, two bus-loads of 50+ year olds in line to see a train...  Of course, we had to see the rest of Macy's as well and Nana had to buy something.

Nana's happy to have shopped in Macy's!
Then we got bussed down to Rockefeller Center, well it was SUPPOSED to be to Rockefeller Center but we got dropped at Broadway and 51st Street.  So, Nana and I had some food at the McDonalds, used the can and then walked down to One Times Square and back up 7th Avenue to 51st and back across to our pick-up point at the McDonalds.  So many people.  I was not amused.  Nana loved it.  We walked 21 blocks.  We wanted to go to Rockefeller Plaza but were given the wrong directions by the bus driver (not a good sign).  Just FYI, but the plaza is really on 6th Avenue, i.e. between 49th and 50th.  If we'd only gone two blocks northeast.  Oh, well.

At 7:10 we were back on the bus and on the way back to Strasburg, PA.  I was relieved.  Nana was tired.  We got back to the motel at about 10:30 and slept in until 7:45.  Then we got up and went back to the Shady Maple for breakfast and from there home.  I was very glad to pick Bailey up from the boarder's/vet's.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

L. L. Bean Hunting Shoes back and resoled...

I'm sure you're wondering why I might mention this.  Life in the army taught me that a good pair of boots, appropriate to the terrain and weather, can make or break a man living and working in the outdoors.  I've found that, for hunting in Virginia, the L. L. Bean hunting "shoe" is the best.  It is comfortable, keeps my feet dry, is easy to clean to bring back in the house if you step in something and is adequately durable.  One can adapt the uninsulated boots to local weather by wearing different socks.  My dad wore them for years in his work for the U.S. Forest Service in West Virginia, Kentucky and here in Virginia.  He did have all leather boots but didn't wear them when there was rain or snow.  I think he had the soles replaced at least 4 or 5 times on his pair.

I like them so much that I bought a new pair and waited until they arrived before sending the old pair back for resoling.  It cost $39 and took L. L. Bean about 2 weeks including shipping time to and from.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

We had a good, busy day yesterday.  Did 4 transfers, sold a couple of guns via GunBroker.com, received payment for a couple of others, and saw some interesting guns come through the door.  However, we need prayers for Dwayne's father who was picked up by ambulance yesterday morning and transported to UVA.  He has some form of leukemia and was so severely dehydrated that his kidneys shut down.  Also, Lewis could use some prayer cover.  He left work soon after getting there.

A very nice Marlin Model 93 .30-30 rifle came in with 3/4 magazine and light, round tapered barrel was in there for transfer to a customer.  We bought a 1911 made Winchester 1894 SRC, also in .30 WCF.  Aside from the dirty bore and varnish on the stock, it was pretty nice.  Somebody had tried to remove the saddle ring, unsuccessfully, so there was a bit of a spread there.  Otherwise an interesting gun.  But that wasn't all as we'd bought 8 guns before 11:00 AM.

View of the water table...
One that I'm not fully knowledgeable on was a P. Webley & Sons, side-by-side, hammer, top-lever, damascus barreled 12 gauge shotgun.  Very nice condition.  Dating it seems to be problematic.  It must at the least pre-date 1897 as Webley merged with W & C Scott to become Webley and Scott in 1897.  It is marked P. Webley & Sons, St. James London on the rib.  I understand that the spurious St. James address went away in 1870 or so.  As you can see the water table has the Webley Scott trademark that was in use in 1922.  The SN is 24186.  I think it has the 2¼" chambers but didn't have the opportunity to measure them.  I'd like to find more information on these guns.  Prices seem to run from $250 to $3500 and I'm not sure how to decide how to price the gun.  Perhaps the question hinges on how the barrels are marked...

Barrel marks...
Now, these marks will look a bit different stamped in steel than as shown in the books but I believe we have the Birmingham definitive proofs for BP.  We also have the Webley and Scott trademark.  Now, why would that appear on a gun with supposedly pre-1870 marks (the P. Webley & Sons)?  The "choke" and "not for ball" marks would seem to date the gun post 1904.  There is so much additional info, after the "P. Webley & Sons" mark that I'm thinking this was a restoration done by Webley Scott.

P.S. A local expert in the field has determined that this gun is probably worth $3000-5000.  A similar gun listed on a website is asking $4500 but it is a 10-gauge and the condition doesn't seem to be as nice as this one. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My own Sunday Dawg...

Dennis does a Sunday Morning Dawg thing.  Fun to see.  We tried to get Bailey to pose for a photo Aunt Deanna but all she wants is the treat...

video

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a very happy Thanksgiving Day today.  While we didn't get to see David or the grand-kids and their family we did get to visit with Deanna and eat too much.  We were warm and dry and have many years decades of blessings for which to express our thanks to God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hunting, still...

Today began with preparation for Thanksgiving.  Aunt Deanna will be visiting us for the holiday.  She's supposed to be here tonight and go home on Sunday afternoon.  We picked up some things for tomorrow's meal, got the dog groomed, picked up some around the house and then, after eating some REALLY good macaroni and cheese, I went hunting.

Didn't do so well at that.  It was very windy today.  The squirrels were out and about.  The wind doesn't bother them much.  However, the deer, not being so many were apparently either elsewhere or securely bedded down where they could see anyone who approached (or couldn't help but here them, i.e. in the REALLY thick stuff).  I toughed it out until dark but I had to admit defeat and leave when I couldn't see my sights well enough to shoot.

Fortunately, Nana is making fried catfish tonight.  I'm fine with that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hunting, of sorts, continues...

Where Grandpa was hunting today
Went out to Mom's to hunt today.  I thought the rain was tapering off, and it had since early morning, but as soon as I was about half way across the pasture it picked right up.  Made it nice and quite and nobody else was in the woods.  Walked right up on several squirrels which were out on the ground.  Found a new rub.  I have heard that the rut is over and the males are in their hidey holes but it seems a couple are out and moving about looking for their lady love.  Unfortunately, I didn't see a one, not even a doe today.  Just got wet.  Then...

Came home to find Nana insistent on taking a couple of dead limbs out of one of the maples by the parking area.  Sigh.  Got out the pole saw.  Moved the truck to where I could get a good angle by standing on the tailgate and still not drop the limb, about 200+ lbs total, on the truck.  Dropped it on the neighbors fence instead.  Took out two rails.  This despite trying to saw it such that it would fold down and miss the fence.  Apparently Murphy was helping today.  Cleaned that up and then started on the other one.  Got a rope on this one from the get go so that we'd have some control.  Made Nana hold the rope so that it would be clear of the saw.  It took about 25 minutes of sawing to cut through that limb.  I am not in shape to do this.  Nana was not happy about standing in the parking space holding the rope.  Got that down and in the back of the truck.  I'll take it out to Mom's tomorrow when I go out to hunt.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Well, today was interesting.  I got to work and it had already started.  We had an irate customer who wanted to trade in a gun he told us didn't work.  We had a gun that had just been returned from the manufacturer which still didn't work (different manufacturer).  We had a know-it-all who tried to influence the decisions of every customer who came into the shop while he was there.  Things did improve from there.

We sold the Winchester 9422M to a fellow from North Carolina.  I also sold 4 other guns.  We helped identify an old damascus side-by-side shotgun (just a Belgian guild gun) and prevent an eager 13-year old from using 3" magnums in it.  We got to help solve some last minute regular firearms season equipment problems.  We sold a lot of ammo.

I like being busy.  The day went quickly.  Unfortunately, there were no really unusual firearms.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity...

This might be a moot point some day but for now this interactive map could be a boon for CHP holders...  http://www.usacarry.com/concealed_carry_permit_reciprocity_maps.html

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Third day straight of hunting...

...but not all day by any means.  I got up, ate breakfast, dressed and went out to hunt.  Nana was making some noise about snow and I didn't believe it.  Was 41° in town when I left and 36° out at Parnassus.  There was some rain in town but the roads were dry by the time I turned down Bunker Hill Road.  However, once I got out of the truck and the gun capped and ready to give fire the wind was blowing and it was spitting the occasional snowflake.  Not enough of them to get a photo but enough to let you know that it was colder than it has been.  I should have worn my wool pants.  Walked down to the woods to watch the trails and sat down.  15 minutes later and I felt blue from the cold.  Ok, so 36° isn't all that cold but darn, it was cutting through those pants and my toes always get cold quick.  Guess I should have worn the boot socks instead of wool hiking socks.  I was not happy.  Nothing was moving.  So, I packed it in and came home.  I am still warming up!  The next 3 hunting days are work days for me but I'll be out Tuesday with a cartridge rifle and we'll see. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another day hunting...

Leading Ridge Road with a view of the food plots
Out again today.  More rain to start and then it stopped, at least where I was, before picking up again with a vengeance.

Today I went up above Todd Lake, off Leading Ridge Road to the food plots (well, they were originally) which show as the light green fields in this satellite photo.  I didn't see much but there may have been a hunter along the ridge on the upper right corner of the photo hunting grouse.  There were only two shots, they sounded like a shotgun, and if it had been squirrels he was after he'd have found more than two.  I found quite a bit of mast, acorns, on the ground and no deer prints.  I did find a bit of scat. 

More scat, this near Leading Ridge Road...
Yep, more scat.  Does this describe my hunting?  So, what animal do you think left this?  Is that hair in that scat?  This was dropped right in the middle of the logging road at the bottom edge of that lowest field in the satellite photo.  This is what the field looked like from where the scat was...


I don't think they've planted anything, but it does appear to have been mowed. 

Ok, so I don't know quite where to go tomorrow.  The forecast is for rain showers and colder temperatures.  The deer might be moving a bit as it will be raining all night (and has been).   Bucks only, so, I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finally hunting...

Finally got out today.  Wandered out to Mom's place and moseyed around with a bit of a sit-down to watch and wait and see what was going on. 

Rifle capped and ready to go...

Then a little red-head paid me a visit...

Would they come this way?

A bit of a dreary day, it soon started to rain.  I was doing ok where I was sitting for a while as I was beneath a large white pine but as the shower continued I started to get a bit wetter and wetter.  That's not so bad in and of itself but I really didn't want to get water into my charge.  Oh, yes, battles were fought with muzzle-loaders in driving rainstorms but not many and for a reason.  So, at about 12:30 I decided to leave.

On the way out I came across a couple of things.  The first, a deer stand I didn't know about...

Deer stand at the foot of Doe Hollow



Then I came across some fresh scat on the tractor lane along Mom and Dad's pasture.  Can you tell what its from?

Fresh scat!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

Today was busy with lots of folks getting ready for gun season start this coming Saturday, the current muzzle-loader season and general stuff for the non-hunting shooters.  We had a bunch of guns come into the store including one notable lot that included TWO Winchester 9422s (one a LR NIB and one a Magnum with only a single small scratch but no box), a Marlin 39M Octagonal from 1973, a Henry .22 LR (scoped) and a 10 gauge L.C. Smith with hammers and Damascus barrels in wonderful condition.  I love the old guns.  Agonized over but decided to forgo all the .22s.

I almost forgot to mention that we had one fellow who came in looking for a replacement (OEM) buttpad for his TC Omega.  His had apparently fallen off while dragging his deer back to his vehicle.  I looked at the stock and one couldn't see any damage where he might have scrubbed the pad off.  The pillars inside the stock didn't seem to be damaged as they might be if the screws were pulled out (which makes me think there were no screws holding the pad on the stock.  I had never thought to examine how those buttpads are attached and we didn't have a new Omega to look at yesterday having sold them all.  

We only did 3 background checks today.  We had some friends wander in, although that's hardly news nowadays.  It was a good day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nessmuk

Many years ago my favorite aunt, Aunt Virginia Dawn Parslow Partridge gave me a copy of "Woodcaft" by Nessmuk and I was smitten by a severe case of wanderlust.  I can't tell you how often I read that book. 

George Washington Sears (b. December 2, 1821 – d. May 1, 1890) was a "correspondent" for Forest and Stream magazine in the 1880s and an early conservationist.Writing under the name "Nessmuk" he popularized self-guided canoe camping tours of the Adirondack lakes in open, lightweight solo canoes and what we call ultralight camping.


Typical canoe trips of the time used expert guides and heavy canoes. Sears, who was 5' 3" tall and weighed 103 pounds had a 9-foot-long, 10-1⁄2-pound solo canoe built by J. Henry Rushton of Canton, New York. He named it the Sairy Gamp used it to take a 266-mile trip through the central Adirondacks. He was 62 years old and in frail health (tuberculosis and asthma) when he did this. The Sairy Gamp is now owned by the Smithsonian Institution andon loan to the Adirondack Museum.


The eldest of ten children in South Oxford (now Webster), Massachusetts, he took his pen name from an American Indian who had befriended him in early childhood. His family had a few books about Indians and Nessmuk was fascinated and left with an abiding interest in forest life and adventure. His experience as a child working in a factory left him with a fondness for the writing of Charles Dickens. At age twelve he started working in a commercial fishing fleet based on Cape Cod and at nineteen he shipped out on a three-year whaling voyage in the South Pacific; this was 1841, the same year that Herman Melville shipped out of the same port bound for the same whaling grounds. On his return, his family moved to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania where he was to live for the rest of his life. However, he continued traveling for adventure, from the upper Midwest and Ontario to an Amazon tributary in Brazil (in 1867 and again in 1870).


Sears wrote "Woodcraft", a book on camping, in 1884, that has remained in print ever since. A book of poems, Forest Runes, appeared in 1887. He died at his home in Pennsylvania seven years later. Mount Nessmuk, in northern Pennsylvania, is named after him.
At the time I read "Woodcraft" I couldn't fully comprehend the extent of the disability Nessmuk endured. When I could understand the debilitating effects of tuberculosis I was fairly amazed by what he accomplished. I'm not the only one.

Today there are any number of cutlers offering their version of Nessmuk's knife and hatchet design. Boat/canoe builders are building modern, kevlar versions of his various canoes including Sairy Gamp. His books are still in print and in demand.  Most telling of all, there are any number of adherents who annually attempt to emulate a man who, while struggling with physical limitations, managed to live a full and adventuresome life.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Measuring reloading powders...

Over the years I've been reloading I've read a lot on the subject and heard many adherents of the hobby describe their favored techniques. However, until the internet I'd never heard some of the inane and ridiculous ideas that now, due to the pervasiveness of the digital word, have been widely spread. Subtract actual knowledge of the subject and a person can be truly confused. We get those in the gun shop every day. Yesterday I had one fellow walk in and ask for 2 lbs of "pistol powder". My attempt at a tactful interrogation designed to give him what he wanted that wouldn't result in a liability lawsuit for the store resulted in the realization by this fellow that he knew nothing about the subject.

While reloaders/handloaders will go on and on about various minutiae concerning the hobby the truth is that the one thing that gets more reloaders in trouble is the powder. It is critical that one use an appropriate powder for the cartridge and for the bullet you're going to be using in that cartridge and, in some cases (no pun intended), for the particular firearm in which the resulting cartridge is to be fired. Use the wrong powder or use the wrong amount of powder and you might have a "kaboom" resulting in the immediate and catastrophically spontaneous dis-assembly of the firearm. Using the correct amount of any given powder is critical and the subject upon which I'd like to pontificate today.

In the old days the dark lord of powders was the one and only BLACK POWDER, as it is known now. Back then it was simply "gun powder". It was corned and sorted by screens into various granulations or sizes. One had to use the correct granulation to get the best results but only in extreme circumstances would mis-measuring powder result in a "kaboom". Gun powder was measured by volume but often there was a concept, at the very least, of how much the nominal weight of that volume of powder was. We continue that today in using black powder and have formulated black powder substitutes with the goal of using them, volume for volume, interchangeably with black powder.

However, gun powder (as we knew it then) was messy and smoky. Smoky was bad because it gave your position away, bad because you couldn't see through the smoke it produced, and undesirable because these two attributes made it problematic for use in fully automatic arms (i.e. machineguns). Being the inventive people we are "smokeless" powders were invented. It was soon discovered that one couldn't handle these with the same cavalier attitude with which the "old-fashioned" black powder had been used. Misapplication of the early smokeless powders quickly showed that these powders could create pressures that could easily defeat their containers, i.e. firearms. One of the results of this was the promulgation of the common sense admonition to weigh smokeless powder charges.

Of course this would never do to support the necessarily high production levels of commercial and military ammunition production. Mass production demanded measuring powder by volume. The safeguards used were many (and yet they sometimes fail) but all involved extensive testing of each car load of powder and checking the volumetric measuring systems to ensure they inserted the correct amount of powder by weight. Since it was clear that with such safeguards volumetric measuring of some powders in some rounds/loads was acceptable over the years any number of volumetric measuring devices have been developed. However, reloaders using these measuring devices, be they dippers or what all, have always been cautioned to check that they are getting the correct weight. For that, one needs a scale.

However, the now widespread use of progressive loading machines, once priced out of reach of the average shooter, have made volumetric measuring of the charges for thousands of rounds without weight checking seemingly common. Because familiarity truly does breed contempt there are now reloaders who believe that they need only measure by volume and that at least some of the volumetric measuring systems are infallible. Some have taken to promulgating the idea that they can just chuck the scale in favor of one of these devices.

There are some problems with this idea.

- Powders change - over time powders change. They pick up moisture. They change at least in some small way from lot to lot.  They might even come from different production facilities.
- Adjustable volumetric measuring devices change - the effects of vibration/shock endured in use will cause the devices to go out of adjustment (so we check against the scales).  Powders have to flow consistently into the device to maintain consistent weights (which requires a certain level of skill by the user).  Changes in charges require comparison with a known quantity (a scale). 
- Non-adjustable volumetric measuring devices also require skill in use - to get consistent powder flow and fills of the non-adjustable devices also requires a certain skill level.  Further, since they aren't adjustable one is limited to certain charges.  For safety's sake these should be the minimum charge levels where both the highest and the lowest possible charge weights are proven to be safe.  This isn't possible with some powders.

The biggest problem is human nature.  I've seen it before.  The new reloader starts cautiously, carefully adhering to all warnings but then he wants more.  More power, more velocity and consequently closer to the edge of safety.  Does he stop and get a scale?  No.  Comfortable with the system and confident in his own ability to "read" or operate the device or he tries to do what is impossible with such methods, create precisely measured charges of powders at the edge of safe pressures.  Most often he blows a primer or creates another immediately recognizable sign of excessive pressures and re-examines his methodology.  Unfortunately, sometimes, he ignores the obvious signs he's exceeded safe parameters and drives on to destroy his firearm or worse. 

So, just as it has been for about 100 years, it is best to at least double check your powder measures with a scale.  Oh, and check the scale with a set of check weights. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Notes from the gun shop...

I stewed quite a bit over whether or not to bother to write something about yesterday's stint in the gun shop. Clearly business is picking up most of it being for the now in progress early muzzleloading season. There were some gun sales and we did sell one Parker crossbow as a Christmas present. We didn't have a moment of free time in the morning but things slowed down a lot after 12:30. Still had customers, just didn't have to rush from one to the other. All this is very good. However, there is nothing truly interesting to report.

Had a couple of old friends from my National Guard service come in as well. That is also good. But, again, nothing really interesting.

PS - Today was election day. Grandpa and Nana vote EVERY election day. Now that the socialists have taken over the Democrat party we never vote for them, not even for dog catcher or city ditch inspector. Next year there will be another election. You don't need to wonder how we're going to vote.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Christian Science Monitor 2nd Amendment Quiz - My Results


Your results

QuestionYour ResponseCorrect AnswerScore
Which right is protected by the Second Amendment?
Keep and bear arms
Keep and bear arms 
Which is the correct text of the Second Amendment?
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 
Constitutional scholars have long debated whether the Second Amendment protects the private possession of firearms or only the possession of firearms in the context of a well-regulated militia. The US Supreme Court examined the question in a 2008 case. What was the name of that landmark decision?
District of Columbia v. Heller
District of Columbia v. Heller 
What issue was at stake in the 2008 Heller case?
All of the above.
All of the above. 
What did the Supreme Court decide in the 2008 case?
Residents of a federal enclave, like Washington, D.C., have a constitutional right to possess handguns and other commonly available firearms for personal protection in their homes.
Residents of a federal enclave, like Washington, D.C., have a constitutional right to possess handguns and other commonly available firearms for personal protection in their homes. 
Prior to 2008, the US Supreme Court last decided a case involving the Second Amendment in 1939. The case, US v. Miller, was a challenge to the constitutionality of the National Firearms Act of 1934. What did that federal law require?
Registration of machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and other “gangster weapons” carried across state lines.
Registration of machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and other “gangster weapons” carried across state lines. 
What prompted Congress to pass the National Firearms Act of 1934?
The use of two Thompson submachine guns in Chicago’s 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre.
The use of two Thompson submachine guns in Chicago’s 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre. 
In the 1939 case, US v. Miller, two men were caught with an unlicensed sawed-off, double-barrel shotgun that they had transported from Oklahoma to Arkansas. They claimed the federal license requirement violated their Second Amendment rights. What did the court decide?
A shotgun with a barrel of less than 18 inches lacks any reasonable relationship to a well regulated militia. Since the weapon would not be useful to a militia, it was beyond the protection of the Second Amendment.
A shotgun with a barrel of less than 18 inches lacks any reasonable relationship to a well regulated militia. Since the weapon would not be useful to a militia, it was beyond the protection of the Second Amendment. 
In 2010, the Supreme Court took up another landmark Second Amendment case, McDonald v. Chicago. What was the issue the high court decided?
Whether the court’s 2008 ruling establishing a constitutional right to possess handguns in Washington, D.C., would also apply to all state and local governments across the country.
Whether the court’s 2008 ruling establishing a constitutional right to possess handguns in Washington, D.C., would also apply to all state and local governments across the country. 
Does the Second Amendment guarantee a personal right to own assault rifles, machine guns, and perhaps even shoulder-fired missiles?
Yes.
Probably not. 
In 1994, Congress passed a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. How was Jared Loughner, the accused gunman in the shooting spree involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, able to purchase 30-round magazines for his pistol?
The 1994 federal assault weapons ban and restrictions on large capacity magazines expired in 2004 and have not been renewed by Congress.
The 1994 federal assault weapons ban and restrictions on large capacity magazines expired in 2004 and have not been renewed by Congress. 
According to the National Rifle Association, how many privately-owned guns are currently in the United States?
More than 250 million
More than 250 million