Sunday, August 30, 2009

Walking it.

In June and July the redhead and I walked about an hour every couple of days. Got me in shape for Camp Perry and glad to have the exercise. You don't want to be dragging at Perry.

I injured myself at Camp Perry......blogging. The computer table at Springfield Armory is very narrow and I sat with one knee outside the leg a few days before we came home. When I got up, I had a little hitch in my get-a-long on that hip socket. After sitting in the truck for two days coming home it was worse. Driving my 4-runner 30 miles from Rick's house in Kilgore was about level 3 pain. Nearly nauseous. I hadn't mentioned it to the redhead until I was close. It was all I could do to get to bed and start downloading the advil.

As an aside: really hard to stay enlightened when you are in pain. Yanks the chain for attention, that pain thing. Quite an experience, even for a short transit like this one. The last experience like this was a gall bladder attack while deerhunting at Clarksville. I thought it was a heart attack. Barely made it to the hospital here in Tyler and I remember the exact moment when they had finished tests and hit me with a little painkiller. I was making a disciplined effort to be polite and lucid, staying in the moment, but it was a hell of a lot easier when the morphine kicked in.

So we didn't walk for a week. Then the semester started. Then this, then that.

Tonight was the first day in a month that we walked. Fine for the last 10 days really.

The weather, (knock on sunspots), feels like it has broken for the summer. Pleasant out. Cats laying in every yard.

We walked our normal route over the hill to the Angelina watershed. There is a house where the storm drain is exposed as part of a yardscape. It's got a frog colony that usually is busy croaking away at each other. They live at the tip end of a completely different ecosystem than our house on Blackfork Creek ten blocks away. (drains to the Neches River system.) These frogs are isolated from downstream by enclosed culvert. They might wash down but I doubt any frog is going to swim 500 yards of upstream darkness to join them.

Quite the merry band. I worry that someone might inadvertently poison them with fertilizer or insecticide but so good. Ga-rumhp!

Daily Deercam

Mature doe and fawn at the lake.

Let's just sit on it.

Mom staying alert.

Nice stretch before leaving.

Across the creek, another mature doe, but verrrwy suspiscious....

About time to get to the lake cams. Bucks will be showing up soon. I think. Lotta limbs down on the trails. Got snorted at crossing the creek. Big Texas Rat Snake on the road. Just saw his long tail with a reddish tip as he disappeared into the treeline.

Big road project just across the way. Going to be an interesting hunt.

Looks like they are going to let us shoot two does between Thanksgiving and the following Sunday. I don't know about that. Probably enough other folks blasting does out there without me taking one of the girls.

Team News and publicity.

My friend Steve Knight, the outdoors editor for the Tyler Morning News ran a nice story on the TSRA National Match Team.

Very satisfying to be able to go around realizing I helped win the Soldier of Marathon Trophy for the state of Texas.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Daytime raccoons

Not a deer on the cam as I made a late photo trip to the TMA property. Strange. I put out more corn. Nothing on the card but a daytime raccoon asking to be supressed. Corn pile dug up. Coons probably. Does are coming and going, currently gone.
Young kit raccoon hiding in grass next to a tree across the street. He'd been injured somehow and green flies were laying clumps of eggs in his fur. The neighbors called animal control who came and I am sure..controlled him.

Tough out there.

Freedom of speech in the bathos!

Can't we be free...or are we going to look for insults under every syllable?

Link fixed. I love a good presentation. I like plain talking. I'm against evil. I think equal status for all is the basis of morality.

Others disagree. You're a racist! And a disfunctional historian!

Aw hell. Let's have a drink and joke about the dead!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Them chickens jackin' my style.

Post turtle again. And if you grok the title of the post, here's a salute!

That's right. I'm so 3008. You're so 2000 and late.

Dark Deer

Growing like mad. This is a critical time in the growth of a fawn. This one ought to be getting a nutritional diet. Range conditions pretty good up here.

Mom getting a little ribby due to nursing.

Look at the color difference. I thought it was a buck at first, even an antlerless buck.

We had little cloudbursts the past couple of days but I don't think this is a wet deer.

Update: Big turtle drag-marks over the sand-bar, but I couldn't locate the monster in the rain-muddied water. More tracks tomorrow I betcha.

Broadcasting into space.

This is a bad idea. (scroll down to exoplanet post.) Our government hasn't learned to read the bills they vote on and we are going to broadcast our stupidity across interstellar space? I'd send this.

If we were being realistic we would send a couple thousand pages from the Stimulus, the Democratic budget bill from this year, Bush's TARP idiocy and the assorted health care bills currently floating around. The aliens would know not to expect us for a few thousand more years.

We aren't going anywhere with folks like this running things.

Ghosts in Suburbia

The redhead and I have a friend who lives in a fairly new modern house with her dog, children and husband here in Tyler.
They are convinced the house is haunted.
The dog (a little Chihuahua), stares at corners and closed doors and barks at darkened rooms. The youngest kid talks about "the children" who follow her around. The husband and wife have both seen young children crossing the room or going down the hall. Several times one of them has asked the other if the kids are back in bed yet when the kids ARE in bed because they saw them wandering. It's gotten routine.
This sounds a little nuts. On the other hand, I've spent a time at Shiprock and have personal experiences that don't have rational explanations, so you never know. They are not church people but the adults are asking around trying to find someone to....make this stop.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 27th, 1949

My older brother's birthday today. He'd be 60, except for the inconvenient fact that he volunteered for the 173rd Abn and was killed at Bong Son, Republic of South Vietnam, May 3, 1968.
He was just an 18 year old kid. National Honor Society. D.A.R.E award. Bronze Star with a V and a Purple Heart.
Lotta water under the bridge since that day and government, as good as it was back then, has only gotten better and better.
Kennedy. Lyndon. McNamara. I'm having a drink in honor of the honorable dead. These other folks can kiss my cat.

Daily Deercam

The Younger doe and her fawn. Fawn getting big.

Noticd the difference in color on the two does.

They certainly seem alert.

No coons are hitting the corn pile, though just a few feet away the creek sandbars are heavily tracked by coons.

They are back as of last night, though a few minutes ago I couldn't see tracks. Coming and going across the leaves. Big corn pile at this point. Missing one doe and her fawn and seemed to have picked up another big fawnless doe. When I quit feeding during my Camp Perry weeks they moved as is healthy and smart. Mortality rate on fawns has got to be about 1/3.

Going to see a buck in a month as they start circulating.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


He had a lock on a Senate seat because of his family name. Just like the founders envisioned. He inherited a fortune so he never worked or pretended to.

His basic character was revealed when he left a young woman behind as he swam out of a car he had driven into water. For this he was never arrested, charged, tried or held to account.

As a family man he was a failure and fraud. He was an unreformed alcoholic.

He coarsened the confirmation process for the country when he lied and smeared Judge Bork, a coarsening that has only gotten worse, once started.

Ted Kennedy is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with politics in our Republic.

The accolades are flowing like good scotch.

Udate: He liked a good joke about Chappaquidick. HELL of a guy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Camping at Perry: A time of innocence and bliss!

Couple of weeks ago all I had to to was call the wind and focus on the front sight. What a life!

Story coming up this weekend in the Tyler Paper and the TSRA magazine piece has been written by TSRA Captain and Highpower Director Ken Gaby. Will link when it's up.

What days to live! Shoot. Sleep. Ride the trolley and go shoot some more.

Update: Added a video featuring the Drill Sgts from Ft Leonard Wood who came up to shoot. Great bunch of folks who MAKE soldiers. Gotta respect that.


  Bill Whittle is an American treasure.  You oughta go listen and watch THIS.

Today is the first day of the rest of the semester.

Day one of a couple of classes I teach at Tyler Junior College today. Photography. Half film and half digital. Takes up half the day on Monday and Wednesday.
Who knows what wonders and terrors await? Better go look at my class lists....

Update: Intro done. I've seen all their faces and asked their names. The potential and dramas shining forth and hanging on them like chains. It's going to be fun!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Snake shy snake

Checking the town deer but not a hoofprint to be seen. The birds and coons reduce the corn pile very slowly. I guess those does WERE sucking down most of the corn. I walked 50 yards upstream to check sign and saw the tail of my buddy the moccasin hanging out of his old rootball in midstream. When he saw me he fled. In the spring he never bothered. Glad to have terrified poisonous snakes rather than bold ones.

Cam batteries on the Moultrie were down to 25%. I just had two fresh batts...put them in and the indicator now reads 55%. Good to know.

Fall air

The Redhead I walked out to go eat our Sunday brunch and the air is 75 degrees. Unheard of in Texas for mid-August. Feels like Camp Perry. Probably a sign from God that I need to be mowing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Darkroom Tonight

Some of the exhibition in color...

The rest in Black and White.

I don't mention it often here, but I'm working on an exhibition for the Tyler Museum of Art. Trying to wrap up the prints by the first of Sept. Tonight was darkroom work making prints on 20X24 paper. Certainly fun to see the images come up. Nice big negatives. First prints of the series. Darkroom is as good as ever, or better, though I had to toss some unmixed Zone VI paper developer left too many years. Being careful with wash water- tap is running about 92 degrees on the cold side. The trick I use is to run the hot water with the water heater turned off for a couple weeks. It makes a nice cool vat of water at the temp of the central air.

I'm a genius at photographing where there is nothing notable or scenic.

Can't wait to see them in the morning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Respecting America

ANOTHER terrorist freed to go home.

Obama waves at him as he goes by.

I thought electing the One was going to bring stability, respect and harmony to our reputation on the world stage? Obama doesn't seem to have any influence with the Scots, the Brits, the Libyans. So far, they seem to be thumbing their noses at our hippest and coolest President evah.

Nike must be pleased that the mass-murdering terrorist chose their hat and logo to wear as he made his exit. No publicity is bad publicity, right? Maybe that's what the One is thinking.

The Quds force, now this guy. Manson should get his walking papers any time now!

Remember Obama promising, (sorry, sorry......reset your irony meters.), to follow Osama bin Laden into his cave and kill him, even if he had to invade Pakistan? When is that tough guy, (blaming Bush and threatening Israel don't count), going to show up?

Update: I'm just a simple fellow who would just as soon be loading deercam photos than following politics. Hard not to notice Obama going on vacation for the rest of the month. Martha's Vinyard. As he left the Whitehouse released new figures.....9 TRILLION in debt, a few trillion more than they said the day before.
Hope he has a nice restful vacation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lost deer

Little Grey Fox.

Gone for two weeks and the town does moved their territories to look for fresh food. I poured corn two days ago and nobody has touched it, though there was a track at the time on the sandbank. I knew the corn pile was holding them- the museum land isn't big enough on it's own without it. Counting until the first day they show back up.

Even the squirrels and crows seem to have taken a break.

Observation platform guys are long gone. Woods to myself again.

Film photography marches on.

With a Hasselblad. Go for it, guys. Hope there is digital video somewhere.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Remember the Iranian Quds force?

The couple hundred Quds force Iranians that were finally rounded up during the surge, effectively ending the Iraq war because the Iranians were the only ones driving it with their snipers, car bombs and manufactured IEDs? The ones Obama sent back to a heroes welcome in Iran?

They're back.

Update: Another hero sprung from prison, returns to a tumultuous welcome home.

Mars view

I make a few short videos but I'm not making them on Mars. Quite a photographic feat to pan around in this photo. Looks like several deserts I have visited.

Instead of mucking around destroying the economy and civil life government ought to be doing more of this kind of thing. We need to get off the planet, not just on mission-specific trips to one planet while burning all the resources of the spacecraft, but something that can go anywhere in the solar system, dispatch shuttles to the surface, bring them back and go somewhere else.

One of the incredible Mars Rovers is currently stuck in the sand, but still alive far past it's expiration date. Good chance it will get out. Rover Opportunity found a big meteorite the other day. Hope it finds and arrowhead or bison skull next.

Where is the Gallactica or the Enterprise?

Update: Good news! Seems unrelated but Senate Ethics panel has cleared Senator Dodd of all charges that he received preferential treatment from Countryside Mortgage, who his committee oversaw and he received campaign contributions from. You think we humans are going to make progress with this political class?


Update: Or science like this. I'm ashamed to admit I used to belong to Greenpeace, way back when, and admired them for their commitment to preserving the environment. They've rotted.

Soldier of Marathon video

Video up on the Blackfork6 Channel. A little bit of video I shot of the team while we were firing the National Trophy Rifle Team match. The TSRA team won the Soldier of Marathon Trophy as the highest scoring civilian team. We were forth overall with a score of 2895X79. Texas hadn't won the trophy since the early 1960s.

I've shot on eight of these teams. (since 2001) We usually are in the top six or so with some really talented shooters. This year everything just kind of flowed. Very proud for the TSRA, Coach Curry, Directors Ken Gaby and Crawford and happy and proud for my fellow team members.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Army of one or two

Better to be 100 than one or three, though of course the aol story omits a photo showing that it was a well -dressed black man with an AR carbine. (Nice gun for a stroll). Doesn't fit the narrative that gun owners are angry white rednecks in Nascar T-shirts.

Surprised the guy didn't get a ride downtown. Certainly wasn't because police didn't think he had committed a crime. That rarely restrains them these days does it?

I'm not enthused about this, but I'm not so sacred that I have to be happy all the time. I see the media trying to get traction and surely the anti gun folks are looking for a toe hold. Wonder if the police reaction was a response to Obama's dumb remarks and intervention in the Professor Henry Gates/Officer Crowley disaster? Or perhaps the Secret Service had pissed off the locals. Never underestimate turf wars in the LEO community.

We live in interesting times.

The President, hip and buff, has never looked better!

Update: If you want a good yuck, just watch the CNN story imbedded in the aol story. The reporters are SO curious and have so MANY questions about why this guy would carry a rifle....but they are very careful NEVER to actually, you know.....ASK him. They go to an interview....but there is zero sound of conversation, then back to the studio for more questioning and wondering.


Update: The blogosphere does the job the press won't do! The black man denied a voice by CNN....he speaks! He's a libertarian! He's funny! Bonus points for Obama/Joker masks as well!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Daily Deercam

Fawn getting big.

Nice healthy deer. I think you get better fawns out of experienced does.

This stuff always cracks me up.

Is someone watching....or what?

Hungry deer. I'm a sucker for those close ups. I think they see the little flashing red light. Have checked the town deer only, not the lake cams.

Still digging out.

I'm normally a quick unpack. Taking a little longer to get things re-arranged here, though I have flea-combed the cat. When you take your life apart to put it on the road you move every little thing you are used to having to a new spot. This morning the food bag and empty ammo boxes, plus brass and shooting classes still in the cart. Joe Wyatt's sticker so I could call him and tell him the video is up. Money. Pens and brass in every corner. Now if I could get my phone to work all the time.

Still summer here as well. Should have stayed another couple of weeks.

Joe Wyatt Video up

Joe Wyatt is a Distinguished Rifleman and established the Wyatt Trophy given to the top Naval competitor firing the LEG match at Camp Perry. New video up here.

Also a video on how to set up your paster boxes. They are designed as dispensers but you have to set them up to dispense!

Update: Link fixed and I found Joe's home phone number via the internet and alerted him. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if everything worked as well as computers and the internet?
Thanks, NFO.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

National Match photos


Billy Atkins and Daniel Atkins after the Springfield M1A match.

Robert Vangene, Minnesotan

National Civilian Team onstage at the awards. Ken Gaby and Dick Curry are the coaches since the TSRA Team won. Rick Crawford standing next to them.

The Texas State Rifle Association National Match Team, 2009

TRSA Junior Team member Ben Wright firing on Team Day. Coach Stan Jaroz is behind him.

Wallace McDaniel his ownself.

Ben Wright and R.Lee Ermey

The last pair standing, Keith Stephens on the left and Justin Utley on the right at 200 yardline on Team day. Dick Curry is standing and Ken Gaby sitting.

This won't do. This non posting of photos from the National Matches. Next year I'll have to take a notebook mac up and download as I shoot along. I understand.

And no, I don't have a photo of Julie Coggshall, though there should be some around. I was eating!

Movies coming, including one on how to set up your paster box.

I need to thank my unwitting host, Springfield Armory on Commercial Row for letting me blog from the computers they bring so that folks can go online during the matches. They also broadcast a wifi field, along with popcorn and gatorade. Now they just need pens to steal. Great hosts.

Update: many more photos here, including Julie Coggshall shooting long range.

300 threadcount

And then, like a miracle, I'm home. I've got a girlfriend. I've got a cat. I've got a new hardwood floor. The yard needs mowing. Dan, the neighbor was sweating at the window of my 4-Runner before I turned off the key. He wanted to know how much an AK-47 costs. I hope he isn't going on a murderous spree up and down the paradise of Lindsey Lane. I wonder if he noticed I was gone for two weeks.

Rick and I were loaded and gassed up before the last day. One quick peek at a depleted Commercial Row, a trip through the CMP store to snag a late Garand and crate of ammo and we hit the road.

I did manage to maximize my CMP North Store time and score about 14 pens. Or maybe it was 20. I'd been deficient in pen stealing since Rock River secured their stash this year, but now the scales are leveled.

First leg of the trip was all the way down to Effingham, Illinois through the middle of flyover country. I'd never been in Indiana. It's nice. Farms and big grey deer in the treelines at dusk.

Reading the emaciated newspapers on the way down for stories of local governments scaling back and worrying about their cash flow and paychecks, citizens reaming out politicians at town halls, (though Senator Durbin from Illinois is going to skip public meetings, says they're counter-productive), and looking at the faces in the cars beside us. Culture shock, as per usual at unarmed people everywhere, and un-squared away people. Sloppy, fat, unconscious, casually dressed with kind of a wandering look in their eyes. They aren't in a competition mindset. Appropriate, but two weeks with alert armed folks intent on their goals will spoil you.

I need to relax, put on an XXXL T-shirt that says "Bassannany Extravaganza Plus XXIX, Lake Skoggins, Minnesota" and have a 62 oz diet coke.

Got a kick out of folks travelling with dogs in their car. Little chihuahuas sitting in their owners laps, big happy labs slobbering down the side of pickups.

And the farmland stretched to the horizon. Corn, soybeans, rice. It's a miracle of work and planning. God blessed America, mostly with hardworking Americans.

The last day someone named Frank didn't show on target 86 and I shot the day by myself. The two juniors went to the pits and I shot and was scored by volunteer John Meecham, American Indian. Meecham is straight out of central casting. A REAL Amerind. He even had feathers in his straw hat and a knife on his belt. I shot my best day yet at the matches, 194X4 standing at 200 yards, nothing out of the black, followed by a pair of 99 point strings to make 198 at 300 yards prone and then the same old 192X5 I've shot at 600 yards every time. The rifle ran well and the targets were gorgeous, a little dark on the target face early in the morning but it didn't seem to matter. I finished with a 2333X56, (77th place out of 450), for the aggregate of the three 80-shot 800-point matches. A perfect score would have been 2400. Not great but not bad and very consistant day to day. Dropped 67 points.

These scores wouldn't have cracked the top three at Panola.

Funny thing happened in the pits. Even with a partner I tend to get things organized, because it's less work. By myself I had things laid out the way I needed them. I set up the paster boxes so they would dispense pasters one at a time, (the way the box is designed) and all my golf tees, extra shot and value markers, water, food, camera, all squared away. In the middle of firing a string the team next to me ran out of white pasters and one of the guys frantically jumped over to my point trying to find one.

I find it interesting, informative and the source of much meditation when I panic. Getting to watch someone else transit a full-blown white-noise state is as interesting. Guy dug through my box, ignoring all order, picked up three or four different items he didn't need and looked at them, finally found the dispenser of white pasters and TORE IT TO SHREDS TO GET AT THEM. He even dropped the twisted up box pieces at my feet.

At the end of the string I picked up the box pieces and unravelled roll of pasters and kind of held it up in front of him and said "dude!"

He kind of avoided looking over at me for a while after that though I made a point to gently get them talking a little after a bit. I had an empty paster box in the bottom of my can so I rebuilt the white paster dispenser.

People, people, people.

People, of course, are the fun part. 85 year youngster Robert Vangene from Minnesota. Richard Robinson, heli pilot, (ret) from Alabama and his wife. Zach, going to the IDF. Mike and Breda. Joe Wyatt of the Wyatt trophy. Billy Atkins. The California Grizzly juniors. AMU's Lance Dement. My teammates and fellow Texans. You get to be with people at the National Matches in a very special way. We are all intent on a shared goal and have come through the same kinds of experiences to get here. Time slows down. You spend all day after day with folks. It's quite a crucible to share.

And, as I said before, THOUSANDS of folks armed to the teeth, (I had five rifles and appropriate ammunition), shooting months of matches with firearms some folks say civilians shouldn't be allowed to touch. Zero injuries or fatalities.

I'm not giving up my human rights because someone is in a panic. I'll fight.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I miss them already

When it was over I went to the main tower, hugged Jenny Boyd and said nice things about her legendary dad, D.I Boyd. Then I hit the Blue Bunny cart.

This morning I resisted the urge to video Rick Crawford snoring. It was.....visual as well as auditory. He didn't wake up on his alarm and I rattled, ran water, closed doors, clomped around and finally turned on the light a few times. Every other morning of the world he is up first, so I'll never see this opportunity again in my lifetime.

I expect credit in Heaven for my good works.

I had a 200 yard shadow from the rising sun this morning rolling out on Rodriegez for day three. Astride the range like a collossus. Seagulls standing around in the blooming purple clover. Wonderful time of the year up here.

On the line Tobie Tomlinson (AMU shooter) was on the same side again. I was paired with Richard Robinson, a retired helicopter pilot and Warrant officer from Ft Rucker, Alabama. He flew rotary and fixed wing aircraft for the army for 20 years. Vietnam with a lift company hauling soldiers.

Trouble at 300. Sticking cases caused an alibi. Had to refire and lost two Xs and two points. Shooting OK, but not great. Going to average about 775 for the three 80 shot matches that make up the aggregate. At 300 they held the shootoff between David Tubb and Sherri Galagher. Tubb won by an X. They were both shooting Tubb bolt guns. They fired the single prone rapid string. Sherri shot 100X7 and he shot 100X8. Amazing gun handling and shooting. All iron sights, of course.

While I'm on the subject, can we hear it for the M16A2? Everyone up here is shooting an AR15 or a variant or a design influenced by the Stoner blueprint. It's a fun and accurate rifle to shoot. Our forces have carried into battle all around the globe now for 40 years. I've had more fun out of my AR than any other piece of sporting equipment that I own. Great American Rifle. Anyone who doesn't celebrate it should be considered a little suspect in Red-Blooded Americanism.

Last night we sat 20 Texans and some aussies down to dinner at the Pizza Hut Bistro. The last supper. Julie Coggshall was there, invited by David Waters. Julie is young, blonde and always stylishly dressed. She's such an attractive young woman that its a little dangerous to look directly at her. You have to watch her reflection in your shield, like Odyssus watching Medusa. David is a confidant guy.

Julie has been on nearly every National Junior Team since she started coming, won a couple of Whistler Boy Trophies. Great gun-shooting American girl from Conneticutt. She and her girl teammate put a tutu on the Whistler Boy trophy the times they won it. Her brother was a couple of targets down from me today. He's joined the National Guard or Reserve and was pulling targets with an 80 year old who told stories about Tunisia, North Africa, Scicily and Italy in WWII. He was shooting his Garand for the his last National Matches, he said.

There's someone like that about every ten target points up here.

This may be the end. We are hitting the dusty trail for Texas tomorrow as soon as the last shot goes down range. I'll be lucky to snatch a Blue Bunny Bar, though the kid has taken to recognizing me as soon as I walk up. Good tipping gets you noticed in expensive places.

Viale Range tomorrow for the last time. Standing in the dark on relay one, prone rapid at 300 and one last string of 20 shots at 600.

Hard to believe we are at the end. Once again, thousands of folks came together, fired their firearms, both small and large, pistols and assault rifles...........and nothing happened.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Breda and Mike travelling roadshow!

Free dinner at Nicks Roadhouse and rifle bar, which was full of marines shooting pool and fondling the waitresses. There isn't a girlfriend when spelling "TEAM" I don't think. We toured Camp Perry and I told them everything I know, plus a little more. Then I left a big tip at Nicks and we came back to walk out on the Camp Perry pier and watch a museum grade sunset over the nuke plant. Really was something. Canada geese in a raft near the beach. Beautful colors. I'd bought a new Dewey rod, chamber brush and patches which drove off to Cleveland with them. Glad to be able to spend a little face time, though at Nicks I did notice that I had a whole Nick Burger left on my plate as they were finishing. Talked too much.

Dinner tonight with some fellow Texans and Panola county folks, the last men standing up here.

Randy Nash just came by with word of a freebie at Armalite, just a door or two down commercial row. I'm there.

Later, you patriots.

Nurturing your Inner A

Can't swing a cat, (which I haven't seen in Ohio, by the way) without hitting an NRA Volunteer or official. Pretty amazing job they are doing with a mix of paid and volunteer folks. Hard to believe it but we are really busy here at the matches from dawn til dusk. Their job, I can't imagine. Just today, after nearly two weeks here, I managed to walk over to see the NRA Blog folks. Two young people with macs sitting in a dark room. Third building I had looked for them in.

Up here the locals call the NRA the "innerA." I wasn't sure what the heck they were talking about at first. (is there an outerA?) Texans, being articulate and careful of diction and prounciation say IN ARE A. Just like it actually is meant by God, your mom and everybody to be spoken. Inner A. Join the inner A!

I've been to Viale on a cart with no name.

And since you ask, it IS pretty good to be out of the rain. Monet-quality sunrises nearly every morning with a mix of seagulls and Canada Geese circling overhead. This morning was the continuation of the Navy Cup, the Coast Artillery Cup and the Army Mulepack Double Saber Big Gulp cup. Hard to keep up with. Every match has many sub-matches inside.

In the pits first with Joe E. Wyatt. He donated the Wyatt Trophy, a CMP National Trophy given to the top Navy shooter in the EIC/Leg match. It's a silver cup given to his dad, a Navy Captian (Naval Academy, '38) who had a long and distinguised career. Joe is another interesting guy, high school physics teacher and MBA with an interest in psycology. He and his son are both Distinguished Riflemen who got most of their points with the same M14 from the state association of New Jersey.

Stuck cases on the line. The Marine armorer, who seems to have only a hat and a cleaning rod came down to punch them out. Jon Gett, another Distinguished Rifle and shipbuilder, (nuke subs, carriers) gave me a fresh extractor and I installed it on the spot. Didn't help but I got through the sitting rapid with a 199X6. Pushed one out the top.

At 600 I shot next to Tobie Tomlinson, the AMU shooter. I was shooting along on the downwind side of the ten ring when a ten came up on the UPwind side. I noticed Tomlinson was in his scope. Turns out we were on the edge of the first of two reversals. (wind quits blowing from one side and blows from the other) I waited until Tobie had fired another ten before I began shooting. 192X7 with a very unfortunate seven out the bottom. Must have crawled up into the peepsight. Ruined a nice score. Finished with two Xs in a row.

Glad to see the Blue Bunny Bar kid at the back of Viale.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Panola, Ohio

Saw Randy Nash when I was rolling off the range and we traded scores. He said I was shooting good but I wrinkled my nose. These scores wouldn't help you at Panola.

They got us on and off the range without suffering a drop. Thank God for computers, radar, doppler, weather sattilites......and good luck.

The grass was actually dry when Zach and I came out of the pits to shoot 300. Amazing. It had been a frog-drowner.

The T-Shirts of Camp Perry

About every ten minutes someone gives you a shirt around here. I've been knocking them off daily. Today in the morning I was Mr. Garand Match and this evening (just showered) I'm Mr. Vintage rifle. M1A is in waiting and Springfield is getting dog-waller level mildew in the bottom of the dirty clothes bag.

Dinner with Texas

I haven't had time to mention it and now it's fading into memory and a dream....

On Thursday night, a lifetime and 500 rounds ago, all Texans were invited to Mon Ami, a swanky, fancy-schmancy joint out near Mar-lu for dinner on Charlie Wallis. Funny thing, Charlie doesn't LOOK rich but entries average about 28 bucks. You can't even wave at the waiter for less than 18.00 with a glass of water. It's a hell of a thing.

Many Texans there. Miltary folks, individuals, volunteers, team folks, juniors. Must have been 70 people sitting down to dinner. I had a vodka martini, up, with olive juice and after that......I can't quite remember what I had. I did caution the folks around me not to let me operate heavy machinery.

I usually get up to make a few remarks, starting always with an obituary of the beloved and revered team coach, Dick Curry. This year he was killed outside a WalMart by a woman in an Obama t-shirt who strangled him to death with a pair of queen-sized panty hose. His last words were, "Lady, you're making ANOTHER big-assed mistake!"

After that we call Curry up, sit him down and swear in all the first year folks who put their hands on his head and repeat after me, blah, blah, blah.

Usually a few foreigners sneak in, this years notabley David Waters, the first Austrailian Distinguished Rifle Badge who legged out with us at Camp Swift during the Service Rifle Championship. We're a state of immigrants, more a state of mind than anything else so we were proud to have him.

When David went on stage to get his distinguished medal during the awards ceremony, he wore a Texas Team shirt.

There might be a video later. Karl Schultz ran my camera. He was swilling down a saucy little chardonnet so there might be operator error.

Sure is lonesome without those team folks. And roomy. You can park at the back of the range. Randy Nash and John Rynard showed up. John Zuback still here. Glenn Edgaard, Clint Greenwood. Heard there were about 400 folks shooting the NRA Championship.

Can't load photos from here at Springfield Armory and wouldn't dare try. Gotta get a laptop. (Until then you are going to have to visualize. Use your higher power settings.)

Waiting out the second cell of rain. Flooded outside again. My gear made it through the first round in the stat shack without a drop. My rear was here. Dry as well.

Update: Wearing my absolutely worn out boots that I love to shoot standing in. They got soaked on Garand Springfield day and are fixing to get soaked again. Holy boots. You can see the water flow in and out.

Rain delay with the IDF

On Rodreigez this morning for Day One of the NRA Highpower Rifle Championships. Three 80 shot matches spread over four days. I am on a firing point (79) with a cool hip kind of young man from California. Zach. He's one of the Cal Junior Team Grizzlies, so he handles himself well and shoots OK. I shot a 188X4 standing and a 199X6 sitting. Not bad, though it wouldn't win at Panola. Stood up there and shot a seven like a nut. A gun nut, but a nut nonetheless.

Best shooting conditions yet at Camp Perry. No wind for offhand. Should have shot better.

We shot standing and sitting at 200 and went to the pits. In the pits we had Robert Gore, and old hand and volunteer from Amherst, NY. Mr. Gore has been coming since 88 to help at the matches. "They took my field phone back in the 90s", he complained. "You could HEAR on a field phone! And you don't get a break for lunch since the messhall blew down." He's a 2nd Infantry vet of the Korean Campaign. Wearing his old campaign hat.

The famous Camp Curry Mess hall was destroyed by a tornado sometime before 2001. Used to have two serving lines and lunch was 1.75. The old cook stood at the door and knocked the hat off anyone who stepped over his threshold. No hats on in the house.

Zach, besides travelling with the California Team had been to the Ukraine and Israel with his grandfather this summer. He said it was a most excellent trip. "Israel is the most beautiful place in the world."

I'm a hawk on Israel, but Zach is going a step beyond. Wants to join the IDF. He's working on his citizenship now and making preparations. We were out-hawking each other for a while, but our bottom line is that Israel is a special non-negotiable presence in the world. It would be awfully exciting to have a chance to go to Israel and join the IDF. Katelyn Braithwaite, one of the Texas Juniors is over there presently, I believe.

Neither of us have any confidence in the Obama administration and their stance on Israel.

It's a bad idea to feed a junior but Zach seems like an exception. I tried him out on the cashew crackers, Lara bars, olives, jerky and breadsticks. Reloaded the food bag last night at Krogers. We went out to eat at Nicks Roadhouse. Burger night when you get a burger for 3.95....fixed the cooks way. Only. Pretty damn good. Finally bought a pocket comb. Before I left I buzzed my beard down to skin level but I'm beginning to look like Gabby Hayes after a week away from a trim.

Rain delay: one hour. We came out of Rodreigez pits and parked our carts in the stat shack. Mike and Breda are coming over to take me to dinner this evening, but first I get to shoot 300 rapid with Zach.

Update: Blogging from Springfield Armory. Rain just started pounding on the roof. Just in time.

Update: Amazing the way the rain poured down....then cut off and band of sunlight began to shine through. One more cell coming so they delayed us until 2:00. Ohio.

Update: Zach and I went back out to pull targets for relays 3 & 4 and by the time we came out to fire the grass was dry. He shot some nice scores and I fired some very nice groups inside the 10-ring but out of the X-ring ending up with 197X2 for my 300 yard score. The wind changed between my first string of ten and my second string and I took some off. Shooting OK.

Standing: 188X4
Sitting Rapid: 199X6
300 Prone rapid: 197X2

Zach handles his rifle very well for a young fellow (or anyone). The IDF would be lucky to get him.

On to dinner with Breda and Mike and in bed for tomorrow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Camp Perry Moments

Rumbold four-man team match today. We planned on shooting a four-man team with Randy Nash and John Rhynard and wipe the floor with the other club teams. The connection didn't get made and Rick Crawford and I were standing at the range tower, just us two, as the pits were ready to seal. I spotted two figures far across the Viale range rolling away with their equipment. An NRA range official loaned me his golf cart and I ran them down. Turned out I had A.J. Gully from Tennesee and Scott Franzke from North Dakota. They met at Camp Perry in 1994 and have hutted together ever since. I hauled them back, Rick headed to the pits and we got unlimbered to fire the match.

It's a treat to be with the incomperable Rick Crawford who can do it and teach it so these guys were in for a treat. I think they got their Panola County Gun Club dollar value, especially since they shot on our scorecard for free. I coached them as well as I could standing and in the rapids at 200 and 300 and then Rick came out and he and I shot across the course. I finished with a 477X13 or so. The team shot 1848 or something like that. At 600 Rick was watching the mirage, the flags, the spotter in the target and the treetops upwind. The scorer from the next team over was listening to him call for an X at nine oclock or a ten at three oclock and hearing me call the shot back after I made it. " "I could tell there was something to be learned" he said.

Dang straight there is.

I went to the pits and he worked with AJ and Scott.

Thank Gaia for the blue Bunny ice cream kid at the back corner of Viale after we rolled off the range this afternoon. I've been paying double, two bucks a bar instead of one. Worth it.

Katie and I have been walking an hour every evening for a couple of months. Good thing. I was wasted coming out of the pits and I was pouring water in all day. (I have a terrific girlfriend and fiance for which I am MOST thankful.)

Food bag getting eaten through. I have a few breadsticks and some olives left, gone tomorrow. Zero apricots.

The CMP folks are gone and the rhythm changes a bit. This crowd is older and the excitement of the state CMP teams is gone. Not so many soldiers either. Fewer folks by about a third. Some of Commercial Row is packing up and leaving.

My friend Robert Vangene, the 85 year old shooter who loaned me his rifle to shoot the M1A match with told a funny story: Robert is an old marathon runner (26.2 miles) so he hydrates and monitors himself closely. He was trying to squeeze in one more visit to the little rolling green houses when the kid came with the tractor, hitched it up and took off. He just had to hold on for dear life until they got to the next stop.

Another rumor. Can't be true. I've heard that Jenny Boyd who runs Rodriegez range won't be invited back next year. Jenny is the daughter of the beloved, respected and unfortunately late D.I Boyd, the famous rifle coach and last man to win the NRA Championship with a service rifle. Jenny's voice is THE voice of the range for many of us and her range is famous for finishing any match about a relay before anyone else. I never come to the matches without dropping by to say hello and get a hug. Let's hope this isn't true.

Texas team all home now. Clay Heffner, our first-timer left a .45 and two loaded clips here. We got 'em. Clay is a pure Texan who walked around Camp Perry in a big straw cowboy hat. You definately aren't missing any monkeys out of your barrel when you have Clay along, though we did take turns sitting on the barrel to contain his enthusiasm slighly. He liked Perry. To quote him: "If it had more cold beer and titties I'd never go home."

So there you go.

Back home I'll probably come out of the pits to find my shooting cart on fire or something....early in the week I put three pieces of brass in Justin Utleys trailmix inside his food bag. Never heard one word. Beware a silent enemy.

Time to do laundry. I don't just drink but pour water down my neck on the range. Needed it today. As Wallace McDaniel would say, "Better get to the laundry before dogs start coming by to waller on you."

4th in the Springfield 1903 Match. 40th in the M1A match with Robert Vangenes rifle. Missed shooting the Vintage. Somewhere in the gold medal scores with my Garand. (25th) I've killed deer with all my old rifles as well.

Mix of accents along the line. New Yorkers, Kansas, California. Some guy on the pits radio during a scoring challenge said "Ahh done plugged them holes and ahm headin down to check target 43 raht now."

With a banjo on his knee.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

M1s for Vets

The week is full of moments. Had one yesterday after the Garand and Vintage matches. As soon as we quit shooting the sun came out, the wind stopped blowing, (hmmmmm...maybe SHOOTING causes this...) and we gathered at Petrarca Range house for the awards. Gary Anderson, the Director of Civilian Marksmanship presided and gave away Garand, Springfield, Carbine and Vintage trophies. Justin Utley won the Vintage Match with one of the K31s we bought. 290. When Justin was shooting his 290 I was on the next firing point shooting a 289 for fourth place in the Springfield match and Rick Crawford was on the NEXT firing point shooting a 287....with a saved round (minus ten points). If Rick hadn't saved a round he would have easily set a new National Springfield record. 293 won the match.
At the end of the awards they brought out the M1s-for-Vets group. This group tries to match donated M1 Garands with disabled vets. About 12 of them came and shot this year at the matches. They got up front, two in wheelchairs, a couple with canes, one guy missing a hand. Young men in their 20s. They introduced them and the crowd stood up whooping and hollering and clapping and WOULDN'T sit down or stop. It rolled on and on and on. Nearly everyone had tears rolling down their cheeks, both the young men and the crowd.
These young men belong to the American gun culture. Think about Henry Gates and Officer Crowley. You think Gates, the highly paid Harvard professor KNOWS a soldier, or anyone with a soldier in the family? I doubt it. Officer Crowley on the other hand probably doesn't know anyone who wasn't a soldier, has a kid in the Marines or Army. I'll go a little farther: Gates knows victims. And he knows the rest of us are racists.
These young men who have all suffered as only soldiers suffer and lost things important to any human, THEY aren't victims. Or racists, I would bet.
These young men got it yesterday. Some of them looked embarrassed or confused, many were having trouble controlling their faces as the crowd poured out their love for them cheering and clapping. On and on and on. I think they got it.
There's a Camp Perry moment for you.

The Curse of Curry

Coach Curry loans me his M1A to shoot the Springfield Armory M1A match with each year. Very least that's what I thought at first.
First year we were shooting in a pouring rain. Texans, like sensible sorts, go INSIDE when it starts raining and watch the corn grow. Nearly washed us away.
The next year Coach Curry sold me some 7.62 ammo to shoot at the match. Supposed to be M852 Match ammo. The case necks cracked off nearly every round when you fired it. Wiped out my rapid scores. This year, (you would think I would learn but third time is always the charm), it wouldn't chamber a round. Of course you don't FIND OUT that it won't chamber a round until you are through the prep and the targets up with the clock running.
Luckily, I had a curse breaker: Robert Vangene an 85-year old youngster from Minnesota was scoring me. After we had stomped around on Coach Curry's rifle for a bit I asked if I could borrow his M1A, switched slings and away we went.
Vangene is a boisterous raucous sort, like many Minnesotans. When I shot a nine he would sympathize: "Oh Gee." If I shot an eight he would say: "Oh my!" The girlfriend of some Marine was sunbathing on the ready line behind us in darkhaired bootilicious glory, a low cut top and some micro shorts and after we walked by Robert commented, " That's a nice tan."
He was a builder and remodler in Minnesota, (via Norway), where he and his wife Jean live, winters in Arizona and has won a couple of Senior Smallbore Championships. Last year he had a rough go with meningitus and had to go through physical therapy to learn to walk again. Still weak but is regaining some strength. He a former marathoner so he knows a lot about long runs. I was instantly glad to meet him on the firing point and get to spend a little time. One of his former careers was as a policeman in Oslo. I asked what sidearm they carried and he just laughed. They had rubber batons though the Swedish police carried swords with big cutout slots over the pommel so they could draw them.
Great Americans on every firing point here at Camp Perry. I shot a 459X 4 or so. 40th place in preliminary results. Get a medal. Rick Crawford was 12th with a 469. Wallace McDaniel was at 460. He informed me in the parking lot that my ass was beat! He's right. Just takes a point or an X.
Gunny Ermery was along shooting down the line but the most impressive sight I saw was Billy Atkins, (the Atkins trophy, look it up), walking up the road with his M14 and shooting stool slung over his shoulder.
NRA news was in the Petrarca Rangehouse during the late lunch they serve after the match. I inserted myself in the political debate and got interviewed about Camp Perry, shooting and politics. When we finished I told the young lady I hoped they had something they could use. She said they would use it all.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Soldier of Marathon

It's a proud thing to be sitting in the theatre waiting for them to get to your trophy presentation so you can go up on the stage in front of a bunch of really great shooters and get a National Trophy. We were a happy row of Texans.

I'd spent the day shooting Infantry Trophy with the team and then switching to the old reliable Springfield 1903A3 for the CMP "games" match. Infantry Trophy team was me on the left end shooting two targets, Justin Utley, Gregg Foster, Keith Stephens, Jeff Lin, then Rick Crawford shooting the swing on the other end. It's a team match: do your job, listen to instructions and keep the chat to a minimum. No questions. People have thoughts to be thinking and work to be doing. Do yours.

I wrote my target numbers on the back on my hand and the fireplan on my palm. The back said 60-61. The palm said 11-11, 13-13, 9-5. That's 11 in both targets at 600, 13 in both targets at 500 yards and nine on the outside and five on the inside at 300. I missed one hit at 600, (when I looked at the scorecard later), none at 500 and none at 300. Actually Utley and I had an argument about who might have missed a shot on the inside target at 300 since he shot at it also, but I'm sure it was him.

In the pits we were followed by a team that shot hell out of the targets with a perfect wind call, the followed up doing the same at every yardline as they came down the range. Turns out it was the winning Junior Team from California who won the whole match. Overall. Unprecedented for anyone but a military team to win the match, and especially for a JUNIOR team to win. With a couple of girls on it. The Marines and the Army practice and practice shooting this match with a pick of the best shooters in the world, then get blind sided by some kids from the land of fruits and nuts. There are going to be some asses chewed at the Army Marksmanship Team and the USMC. We had some problem down the line somewhere with some groups hanging half off the targets at 600, but we win or lose as a team. Coach Curry's wind call was accurate.

Children with assault rifles from California are well-coached and can SHOOT.

Next up was the Springfield. Mike, of Breda and Mike came over to watch me shoot. I shot a 99 prone and then cleaned prone rapid with the old bolt action. It liked the issued ammo. I shot a very average 10 shots standing and finished with a 290X6 or so. Rick Crawford saved a round at the prone rapid, (shooting a bolt action left handed, which is a difficult thing to watch) and then shot 98 standing, finishing with a 287. He would have won the entire match walking away and set a National record if he hadn't lost that 10 points.

I'd keep that bullet. He was second a couple years ago.

I'm assuming Mike was impressed. It was some damn fine shooting. Utley shot a 290 with his K31, I shot 290 and Rick shot 287 with a saved round, all in a row.

The awards ceremony was pretty good, but we were wiped out from all day on the range. Got there just as it started and it takes two hours. They gave us plaques with a photo of a dying greek on them. He's unarmed and has an oak leaf covering his wedding tackle. Soldier of Marathon.

Garands this morning in a rain. Mike and Breda showed up, Mike and I shot my Garand. I shot a 284X4. I cleaned (100X2) the prone, lost four out the top, barely in a mist shooting rapid prone and didn't shoot very well standing. You had to look between the water drops on your glasses and through one in the peep with a wet front sight. Mike handled himself in his first competitive match ever. No misses and really not even any bad shots. I think he hit 244. I kept feeding him information in a flow, patting him on the shoulder like a big dog and reminding him to breathe. Anyone can do this, but it's a lot of stimulation coming at you at once until you have a little experience. We got our T-shirts and they hit the road in the rain.

The NRA Highpower Championship is rolling in and the crowd is changing. We got our packets which came in a very chic blue tote. I have to take off my CMP nametag pinned on my hat and put on the NRA tag. Very emotional. Everyone puts a sticker on the back of your tag showing your firing point, relay and range so I've looked at my tag about 20 times a day. (I save all these old tags, running down the arm of an old shooting jacket covered with medals. Katie makes me keep it in the closet.) When I walked off the NRA pavillion I could see CMP folks shooting vintage rifles on the rain. Poor bastards. I'm with the NRA now. I got tote.

The teams are leaving. Our group left hauling off our trailer of equipment. Schutlz, Utley, Heffner, Liang, Lin. It's lonesome already. On the other hand, Rick and I are about halfway through our shooting spree and the weather is supposed to be good.

We moved into a module near commercial row, rolling in the wet carts and turning up the AC to dry things out. I unloaded my cart, hanging wet equipment all around and found a ziplock of olives that escaped from my now picked-over foodbag. Just the snack for a soldier of Marathon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I peed with R. LEE Ermery

  I was laying on the 600 yardline pondering the inescapable reality of the present moment during a boat-in-the-impact-area ceasefire this afternoon.  A month ago I tried to remember what it was like to be at Camp Perry, thinking about how the experience felt and remembered and I couldn't quite grasp it.  Now here I was, rifle slung up, clover moving in the breeze and Rick Crawford sweating through his hat on a mat on the other side of the team scope.  The present moment is the present moment and everything else a worry or a fading memory.
  From the middle of Viale the earth and sky stretch away to the horizon in the four directions letting you know you are at the center.  Time stands still until they call the line as hot and you start working through your box of Sierra 80s.  There isn't anything except the wind and mirage and the sound of rifles crackling through your plugs and earmuffs.  You forget about all previous or possible future lives and just shoot.  The team is your family.
  We were on point 108.  Target numbers alternate black and white.  I find white target numbers auspicious.  Our juniors were a few points over and Virginia on one side and Colorado on the other.  When the targets come up you see the granules of sight black on your front post and then press the trigger straight back.  The brass flies off to one side and the target, 600 yards away, slides down behind the berm. 
  I used to be a runner so I am pouring the sunblock on and the water in.  A gallon a match.  I was in the port--john line behind R. Lee Ermery who was shooting two points down.  Garands.  With the Hornady team.  We talked about Garands while waiting at the little green houses, entered at the same time and came back out picking up the conversation where we had left off.  They BRING your restroom to you here in the center of the earth.  On wheels.  More data that we are in an important place.
  The team was shooting well but not really better than the first six scores at any match at Panola.  The last pair of shooters was firing 600 when the word came that we were the first civilian team score up to that point.  Justin Utley and Keith Stephens were the final pair.  Both of them have won the Texas Service Rifle Championship recently.  I figured our final pair would outshoot anyone elses final pair, since the usual practice is to put the worst shooters last.  Sure enough they did.  We won.
   Texas has won the Soldier of Marathon Trophy twice before, in 1954 and the early 60s.  Rick Crawford has brought team after talented team up, 21 years worth, but never won it.  I'm happiest about the win for him as much as anything.  We were the fourth team overall, behind the Army Marksmanship Team, the National Guard and the Army Reserve.  Many great shooters along on those teams:  Dave Wilson, Alonda Roy, The Rosts, Mont Barling, Gary Shannon, Jose Niera, Richard Schultz, Col Manuel Daniels.  I hope we made them proud.
  First civilian team.  Soldier of Marathon.  It's a proud thing to be in Ohio at the National Matches as a Texan.  I was very happy laying on the grass at the 600 yardline with a good rifle and the correct windage with Rick, Utley, Keith, Jeff Lin and Wallace McDaniel while Ken Gaby and Dick Curry coached.  I might not be able to exactly remember the experience tomorrow like it was today, with the sun shining and the sweat making its way around my right eyebrow, but tomorrow will have its own reality.  Tomorrow is Infantry Trophy and the Springfield 1903 match.

Update:  Our score was 2895X76.  Six shooters firing a 50 shot 500 point National Match course.  We averaged 482 1/2 points each.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Garand Old Time

  The newest team guy is a burly kid from Pittsburg, Texas, Clay Heffner.  He's more Texan than the rest of us put together, and that's saying something.  He was wearing his cowboy hat today when he walked up to R Lee Ermey on Viale Range and told him he had a bone to pick with him about his "steers and queers from Texas" comment in the movie Full Metal Jacket.  They both had a good laugh out of it.  Two tough guys.  

  Clay is having a good Camp Perry and shooting better every day.  Hope we get him for several years to come.

  Clay bought an M1 Garand today in the CMP North Store.  (I haven't made it inside yet.)  Was posting when he was making the deal.  Justin Utley helped him pick out a special service grade rifle.  It's a five million numbered Springfield Armory with a new CMP stock.  When it got back to the Mar-lu resort it got a trigger job, the gas system spines peened to tighten up and a thorough cleaning.  Clay just walked out on the lawn where I am and sprayed the mainspring down with Break Free.  It smells worse than the cologne Coach Curry has taken to wearing in his declining years and that stuff will tear up your eyes.

  Clay is going to shoot his Garand in the match on Friday.  We are going to center the windage, raise the elevation to six clicks up and watch the bullet trace.

  Mike and Breda are coming over Friday as well.  Mike's going to shoot the Garand Match.

  I put a new sear in my 1903 Springfield bolt action.  I bought one at Fulton Armory on Commercial Row but it wouldn't fit.  Used the one I bought from Numrich.  The trigger isn't nearly as good as it was but makes weight.  Still a lot of cosmoline in the odd crevice and crack in that old rifle.  Second trip to Camp Perry for it.  Its a 1943 Remington that spend the post-war years in Greece.  Shot a doe with it last year and the year before.

  Nobody had any shining moments in the Hearst Doubles.  Wind spoiled some standing strings.  600 was tougher than it looked though my wind plot in my book shows an absolute horizontal line of shots from the seven ring to the eight ring on the upwind side.  The string of shots is as thick as the X ring and goes from side to side.  I held perfect elevation but couldn't call the wind.  Shot a 91X2.

  OK, Wallace McDaniel our friendly policeman from Abilene, shot 100X3 at 600.  Greg and I shot 99s.  Some of the juniors shot well on the next range over shooting the National Junior Team Match.  That's the new CMP match that replaced the Whistler Boy Match.  Whistler Boy is an NRA match.  It is a famous match, now moved to oblivion.  It is or was a two man junior team match.  Girl teams won it a couple of years and the trophy sported a tutu.  There's a little turf war that simmers between the NRA and CMP that you can catch a glimpse of every now and then.  Two big dogs on one rifle range up here.

  Had another Rock River hot dog.  Not bad.

  One more note:  Speaking of dogs, Rock River has a good looking shop dog along for the matches.  I'll post a photo later.  Every time I see that dog I think about Rachel Lucas.
  Blogging off Justin Utley's macbook, by the way, on the Mar-lu wireless connection.

The Hearst Doubles.

Sounds easy, like everything does when you haven't done it. 30 rounds. 10 standing at 200, 10 rapid fire prone at 300 and finish with a lousy 10 rounds prone slow fire at 600. Two guys. Add the scores together. No problem

I was paired with Gregg Foster who is the Webster definition of a decent guy. Temple Inland manager from Lufkin or therabouts. Never a discouraging word. Beside us we had some Oklahomans, (Dan Arnold who made the top 20 for the shootoff in the Presidents 100 Monday). On the other side were four US by-God Army drill sergeants from Ft Leonard Wood who were here for the first time with rack M16s. Not nice ones either. The recruits had been swordfighting with them, it looked like. The Sgts were game though, and plunged in shooting very well for new people with light battle-grade rifles. The M16 really IS a miracle, though it never gets respect because it doesn't have a wood stock. The Sgts shot some Xs, even at 600.
I think they were shooting 75 Hornadys.

Mark it: NRA assault rifle rednecks? The people the political elite despise? The first discouraging word I have heard all week was when one of the drill sgts swore. It was the FEMALE Drill sgt, which probably has some lesson buried in the experience. I did notice they started talking more.....correctly...after we all got to chatting. Peer group.

We tried to spoil them with our fancy optics and shooting. Then we hired them at extravagant rates to pull targets.

It was windy this morning and it didn't help our shooting at 200 yards. At 300 we burned it up shooting 99s. Foster and I went to the pits to pull targets with the Drill Sgts and came out to shoot 600. Looked easy, bright, blue-sky day, 72 degrees with the wind down to a few puffs, eagles out over the lake. Turned out those puffs had 3 1/2 to 4 Minutes of wind in them. Pushed me around on an X-ring thick line from the seven ring on one side to the eight ring on the other. 553X9 is our final aggregate score. Oh well.

Shoot better.

Tomorrow is the real reason we came. Team Day. Six of us per team on two teams. The Drill sgts got hired on to pull targets much to their delight (100 bucks each). Its a pretty good teams this year we think. Gotta shoot the team you bring.

We had a team meeting and now are enjoying retail therapy on Commercial Row. I'm blogging from the OTHER computer at Springfield Armory. Before I came in I snagged a free Rock River hot dog. You think that ain't are livin'? You ain't livin' unless you are here in the center of the gun universe this month with God's heavily armed people.

Going to post this and go get another hot dog. They used to come with 1000 hot dogs. This week they brought 4000.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Legging around on Viale Range.

National Trophy Individual Rifle Match today on both ranges, but I'm living my whole life, (in Camp Perry years), on Viale, the 1000 yard range. I have to walk 800 yards to get to the 200 yardline this morning, and was promply sent to the pits with the rest of relay 6 to pull targets.

Brooke someone was in the pits with me. Good guy from Hampton Roads, Va who spent most of his life in Alaska. Lotta hunting stories worth hearing. He raises poultry for a hobby and does IT for a living. Funny. You meet a lot of those kind of Americans on rifle ranges.

Today was the Excellence in Competiton (EIC/LEG) match. Lots of folks shooting for points toward their Distinguished Rifleman Badge. I'm badge number 1639, so my adrenaline level was what it usually is when I have to shoot standing in a gusty wind. At 200 yards. At a little black circle with X, 10 and 9 rings on it.

Billy Atkins came by to chat for a bit. Famous Georgia Rifle coach. His two boys, Daniel and CJ were on the range somewhere. Great folks. Billy about shooting standing in the wind: "Forget about the wind and just shoot."

93 standing with some Xs, cleaned sitting rapid with 100X1, 98X3 at 300 prone rapid. By the time we got to 600 the wind had come around and up to about 5 1/2 minutes of wind in hazy conditions. I lost a lot to elevation in the light and haze and hung out upwind most of my string.
Tough shooting for a 186X3. Finished at 477X9, which is neither good nor bad. On the bubble going both ways.

When you put 5 3/4s MOA of windage on your rear's WAY over to the side. This ain't the wind tunnel at Panola.

Betsy shot well and the ammo load seems to be right.

Scored at 300 and 600 for the rest of the folks on the firing point. Heather Banning, a Navy linguist, (arabic), Edwin Torres, another Distinguished Rifle. Wallace McDaniel who is always good for a story or three was close. Evan Hess was two points down. His wife Amy is up for the week. First trip away from their daughter Emma who is being passed among the grandparents back in Texas. Justin Utley was up the line a bit. He and Hess shot 484s, a decent score.

Rodreigez Range finished about an hour before Viale. Happens all the time. Viale time just runs slower and by the end of the day they are long gone and you are still shooting.

Stashed my cart in the trailer where Rick Crawford and Dick Curry were totalling up the scores. A wingnut is holding my cart frame together. No problems today.

Sitting in Springfield Armory on Commercial Row. Had to run some junior playing games off the computer. Texans and others are coming and going for the free gatorade and popcorn. I hope to have a Rock River free hotdog in a minute. If the whole world could be Camp Perry, peace and love would reign forever and ever.

Texas team is having a splendid time.

Tomorrow Gregg Foster and I are shooting the Hearst Doubles. On Viale.

Monday, August 3, 2009

God's People

Couple of thousand assault rifle shooters on the two ranges at Camp Perry today. Windy, but a wonderful day. God's people.

The oldest of God's people, according to Sommer Wood, (a college student and CMP photographer), is 85. The youngest is good-looking, tall, 12-year-old Allison Otto on the Virginia Junior Team. Sommer, the photographer and art student seems like a smart and quick young lady and Allison must be capable enough or they wouldn't have brought her. The 85 year old guy? Who wants to talk to him?

Wood is a Florida student. She's been working for the CMP all summer coaching air rifle clinics. She had a Nikon digital and a Seagull twin lens reflex film camera. I said she seemed smart.

I was on Viale Range with lots of company. Texas connections all over through folks who have lived there, shot there or blame us for something. Saw Dave Watters, the first, (we think) Austrailian Distinguished Rifle. He legged out at Camp Swift. If Obama wants to rid our great nation of this terrible scourge of gun nuts, just let Texas secede.


The top 20 shooters in the President's 100 get into a 10 shot 600 yard shootoff to determine the winner. We don't have a shooter this year. I'm sure they are getting ready to shoot about now.

I was in the pits twice, once with Terri Chubb, a trama surgery nurse from Instapundit company, (Knoxville, Tenn) and then with Brandon Buz*****something, a young junior from Illinois. Terris is married to John Chubb, the famous highpower shooter who actually won the Presidents 100 once and Brandon is a kid who says "HUH?" to any comment or question. I enjoyed both equally and a lot.

Chubb is a conservative kind of nurse from Knoxville, but had never heard of Glenn Reynolds and Instapundit. Or SayUncle. Needs to get out more.

Long day on the range. I only shot well for 70 seconds when I cleaned the 300 yard target with a 100X2. Otherwise, I got worked. The Presidents 100 is granted to the top 100 scores of the match. I'll be sitting and applauding them.

The team has a trailer on the edge of the gravelled parking lot. That's where all the carts and scopes go at night. I just reloaded my mags and stashed my stuff. Oklahoma coach Gary Stephens gave me a beer out of sympathy and I headed for Commercial row and this computer.

Just gave 100 bucks to an Illinois Junior to go get change so I could buy a lottery ticket for five bucks. That's where I am. Heaven. Let a kid walk off with 100 bucks with the absolute certainty that he is coming back. I didn't even look up. Camp Perry is paradise, full of God's heavily armed people.

Opened up my rain gear sack to wrap up my cart and found 5 CMP pens I stole last year and forgot about. Reminds me: Steal Pens.

When the wheels come off they really come off. My cart threw a nut on the long roll off Viale Range and started disassembling itself. Might be a sign from God to his children, but I'm going to burn the ammo anyway.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Finally, shooting, but not real shooting.

Squadded practice today. It didn't break 80 degrees (dude!) but it was a bit windy. Takes all day to shoot the practice. First the Marine clinic is overtime getting finished and off the range in front of us, then the range folks are learning their jobs. Supposed to start at 11:00. First round went off after 12:20. I'm back now, but the last relay is still firing. Rick is watching Katie and Gregg and Carl is hanging with them. Justin and Clay in the pits.

Just takes time. Someone ran over a Canada Goose carcass with the mower and blew feathers all over Rodriegez. Something I don't see every day. Plus Eagles turning far out over the lake beyond the targets.

Camp Perry has a constant tug of gotta, gotta, gotta. We gotta get squadding tickets. We gotta get breakfast. We gotta move gear. We gotta have a team meeting. We gotta get to commercial row. We gotta get to dinner. We gotta look at Garands at the CMP store. I gotta buy stuff for folks who call with shopping requests. Meanwhile, of course, you have to SHOOT. That just means watching the front sight and pressing the trigger straight back. I had a new load at 600 to find the zero on, then an attack of salty eyes at 200, plus wind, wind, wind. Blowing the bullets around and blowing me around while I shot standing.

Gotta remember to breathe deep.

Wallace, Rick, Keith, Katie Foster. Gregg. Dave Guthrie. Great folks to be on the range with plus we met people. Gun people. Rick got recognized off a Blackfork6 Channel Video and I got my first groupies. Unfortunately, they were 55 year old men from Kansas. That's the breaks.

I gotta get a wedge for my AR lower and remember my bandanas for eye wipes.

Gotta gotta gotta. And I gotta go. Springfield Armory is trying to close.

Day Three: Roommates that don't snore

I've got Jeff Lin, the heart surgeon. As anyone knows, heart surgeons are without flaw. He didn't make any more noise than a vampire in a gold coffin so I didn't bat an eye until Rick turned on the light at 6:30.

Today is a practice day. We are set for squadded practice on Rodreigez range as soon as the Marine junior clinic finishes. We had time so we walked over to commercial row.

Weighed triggers this morning. Last night everything passed during a big session at Mar-Lu. This morning at the CMP trailer, nothing passed the 4 1/2 lb weight test. We walked next door to the National Guard trailer and, mysteriously, their weights worked. My Springfield 1903 doesn't pass yet but I have a spare rough sear stuffed in the buttstock cleaning kit hole. It will.

Raining this morning, now perfect weather. Feels like air conditioning out there. I wouldn't want to be here in February but it's awfully nice now.

Team sorting out. Shaking out equipment, moving in. All the usual routine. Not a knothead in amongst the exas Team. Everyone happy to be here, heavily armed.

My cart, two rifles, scope, food, water, jacket, et all parked under the maples at the back of Rodreigez. Safer than in my yard at home. Folks walking around with assault rifles slung. Juniors shooting at 600 yards right now. On my cart I have about 200+ rounds of carefully made match ammo. Still waiting for the shootouts to start and the blood to start flowing. Gotta happen, right? NRA, assault rifles, away from home, kids with guns..........

Crickets from the anti-gunners. Doesn't fit the narrative.