Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pigs....now snakes.

Same old invasive species stories. At Clarksville this last weekend we were covered up with pig sign but two of us hunting four multi-hour hunts each didn't see a live pig. We also did a couple of nighttime sweeps with night-vision gear at one of the big fields: no pigs. Hunting will probably be too labor intensive. Have to turn loose pigs infected with some pig-specific virus perhaps.

Would be nice to be able to send up small drones with thermal imaging capability that would beam back to your laptop. Find out which stands have the animals close. Locate the pigs during the daytime. Pretty hard to regulate pigs with shooting these days, same with the pythons in the everglades, though loosing restrictions, letting the fishermen carry shotguns and giving a bounty for dead snakes and pigs would be a good idea, IMHO.

WWII Liberator Pistol

Little informative piece. Wish I could get my hands on one for the TSRA Calendar shoot.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doe Tagging

Once more to Clarksville to shoot doetags at my very generous friends ranch. Wornderful country up there. Dark nights and quite a spread. This trip we had it all to ourselves, ourselves being Dr. Sneed, Katie and I. Packed the dog along for good measure. I took my Remington 700 in .308, an AR15 carbine with night vision capability and a .22 cal scoped Remington 40X for a little fun plinking. The first evening Katie and I got into one of the great, new and comfortable towers and had 15 deer, does and fawns swarming around about 30 minutes later. Our cellphones work so we were surfing the net and texting friends while we spotted. Lucie was along and went to the blind. She doesn't mind where she is as long as she has us. I sorted out the several largest does and headshot one as they edged around the field toward the feeder. I'm shooting Sierra 130 GameKings with 44 grains of Varget under them in LC Match Cases. That's the low and slow end of the loading chart. Just need a little 200 yard gun at the most. Headshooting to make the butchering simple. It worked. We loaded it up and headed in. Dr. Sneed was hunting a few shot fields over but got skunked. Nice 108 live weight doe. Lucie was very excited about seeing a big dead animal but not very tolerant of Dr. Sneed around it. Usually she naps with him, so go figure.

Venison Chili the hard way.

We had a 39 degree night so I let her hang after field-dressing.

The next morning we were out early. I had turkeys, five toms and then eight hens on the feeder. Got quite a turkeyfest going as the toms began strutting and fanning their feathers. I jumped deer going in, seven in all, but didn't see any after it got light. Sneed sat where we had been covered up the night before and didn't see one thing. Typical deerhunting. The five toms were on the feeder when Katie and Lucie hiked down to get us. After lunch we shot a bit with the .22 just to get a little trigger time. I had an unzeroed scope on a Remington 40X, (CMP rifle). Shot pretty well with some S&B .22 that I just bought for blasting and kid shooting. I've shot it with metallic sights in prone matches with Wolf Match target and it shoots even better. Put a cheap BSA Platinum 8-32 scope, (four stars in Midway reviews, 100 bucks.), and got it dialed in at 97 yards on some paper. Perfect weather.

Sneed had been slightly poisoned by the downtown italian place in Clarksville the night before so we had dinner at Cowboy and Captains, kind of a roadside/garage sale/antique/gourmet/retro/mud lunch/fish/BBQ/steak place. Two thumbs.

The Good Doctor Sneed with a death grip on my 40X.

Katie and Lucie in the stand.

Saturday evening we went out and Katie, Lucie and I got in the White Oak Stand, a little box sitting on the side of a ranch road. Five turkey toms came out and Katie got to watch them. Two dogs walked down the road behind us. The dogs never saw the toms but the toms saw the dogs and went into their head-up alert status, then beat it for cover. The feeder went off and we were just about to get disappointed when we heard Sneed shoot once. We loaded up to go assist as the light was dropping off. Sneed had a nice doe down.

Boxed doe.

Sneed and I dragged his deer up and Lucie bit him the whole way. For some reason, she thinks she owns all the dead deer. Lots of cutting and hacking ensued and then we went to dinner in Clarksville.

This morning we all sat out and watched a bit. 26 degrees and the fields were frosty. Everyone saw deer but we weren't shooting, though a real cull buck came through where we were: big heavy crab-claw antlers, four points only. Needed shooting. Katie and Lucie and I got to see a real crowd, about 17 deer milling through. The big does were sorting out their pecking order and everyone else was staying out of their way. All the little ones were keeping an eye on the bucks that came through. Fun to watch.

Folded up the baggage, swept the house and headed back to Tyler.

Impatient dog waiting on more deer.

New roadside shrine at Annona.

I did get to shoot my rifle a bit.

Cousin Wallace shoots M1 Carbines

More from Cousin Wallace:

Loaded up 4 different loads and grabbed 3 different carbines and sallied forth to the range this afternoon. Set up the chronograph and stapled three targets up @ 100 meters. ( would have prefered 100 yards but it was still a good test).

Temp was about 45F but the winds were light so it was a tolerable day. Skies were mostly overcast which was idea for chronograph use. The chrono never missed a shot and worked to perfection. All 3 carbines were also 100% in function which is a rare occurrance. Each was fired from the bench for 5-shot groups, fed from the magazine.

All the carbines shot like......carbines. They will never impress with accuracy but they served their intended purpose and that was to enable a soldier to have a light weight weapon easier to hit with than a .45 calibre pistol. Smallest 5-shot group was 3.5" and the largest just over 9". A couple of the carbines averaged just over 5" utilizing all 4 loads, the third carbine was around 7". Though that doesnt sound impressive, all did stay on the paper and would have hit a jap in the chest provided the shooter did his part.

Best accuracy ( and consistency according to the chronograph ) came from a surplus ball powder ( WC820 ) which I have also discovered works wonderfully well in .44 Magnum loads. H2400 and IMR4227 were also tried and functioned well but neither delivered as good accuracy as the WC820. IMR4227 was more erratic with wider velocity spreads and the worst accuracy. All loads used Wolf small rifle magnum primers but cases were of mixed headstamps. I really dont think mixing cases makes a heck of a lot of difference in accuracy in these carbines....certainly wouldnt hurt though. I just had some that I wanted to use up and will separate headstamps when I get around to loading a batch at a later date.

Since the carbine case headspaces on the mouth of the case, trimming all of the cases to a tad below max length ensures they will chamber fully. Let the cases get past max length and you can expect failures of the bolt to fully lock into battery. I check all cases after sizing and before flaring the case mouths. If they do exceed max length, I only trim they no more than .005" below max. I hate trimming cases but it is a necessary step.

Anyhow, carbines are fun to plink with, just dont expect too many "X's" on the target range!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Killer Joe Piro.

Bought this image off Ebay out of a newpaper archive. Nine bucks or so. I used it in a lecture yesterday to get my intermediate photo class started. It was taken in June of 1942 and at the time it was a state of the art image-making and distribution. Shot by a news service for distribution and sales to newspapers, et. I used it for the historical information about the process and also talked at length about the image.

Turns out, the guy in the Navy uniform is "Killer Joe" Piro who went on to become a famous and constantly relevant dance instructor on the East Coast. He's listed in Wikipedia, for goodness sakes. He was the model for the part played by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Travolta isn't born yet but Killer Joe already has his dance move down. He invented a dance to go with a Smirmoff Vodka drink called the Mule. Help the dance moves in "Mad Monster Party." Was photographed by Avedon.

I just thought I was buying a photo of a drunk Coast Guardsman dancing with a hefty blonde at a USO. What a world.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tyler Gunshow, January 2012.

When I drove around the corner into the fairgrounds I thought that Obama had declared martial law and I had just missed it. The parking lot, which is considered crowded when it is half full, was nearly full to capacity. Today set a record for the folks who run the gunshow.
Inside it was the same. Shuffling room only. I wasn't really looking for anything, just going for the heck of it. It was heck.
Took a few bits and pieces back to sell through my friend Alan Bain. I need to sell a few rifles just so I can squeeze into my rifle space but I didn't take anything out.
What a crowd. I think Texans sense that the country is in real trouble and it is expressed in moments like this.

TSRA was running a booth. First time ever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Big Gun.


Friday, January 13, 2012

CSS Hunley.

Yes I know, this is a machine of war used by racist haters. That aside, it's a really neat project on a legendary submarine long lost. There is at least one more Confederate submarine somewhere in Lake Ponchatrain.

More CSS Hunley. I always wondered where it was. Too bad they didn't find it earlier. Remarkable project.

USS Monitor. Another famous ship, now found and mostly lifted from the bottom.

Account of the battle of the Merrimac attacking ships in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Calvin Broadus gets it.

If I could push a magic button and turn the top 200,000 workers in the Mexican drug cartels into Catholic Nuns....how long do you think it would be before the drug trade resumed? Three months? Six months? A year? Is there anyone who thinks it would NOT rebuild itself?

Obama admits selling drugs in his books. Or the books someone wrote for him. You would think that would give him a perspective on the problem. (Isn't it cute in retrospect how Clinton couldn't even admit to inhaling? Oh my, the innocence of those years!)

It's way past time to end the drug war. We've tried it for 50 years and gotten...what? We've destroyed the Bill of Rights and created a police state. We've destroyed several countries around the world including Mexico. We've wiped out the legitimacy of our law enforcement agencies. We've spent a fortune and packed the jails, splintering families and tearing apart the lower income class and culture in America. On the plus side.......anyone?......anyone?

Veracruz fires their whole police force.

BAFTE and Justice department ship guns into Mexico, lander money and escort drugs into the US.

Snoop Dogg wants to puff up a big bong in the White House with the One!

The Taliban and Al-Queda are financed with the profits from the sales of __________.

I'm not even hitting the high points. Listen, I know it seems a little counter-intuitive, (The Children!!!!), and believe me, the budget and "fun" factor in the drug war for the LEO culture..I understand. (It IS fun! Big fun!) But it doesn't work. Isn't doing the same thing over and over and over the definition of insanity?

Update: Calvin gets BUSTED!!!

Send ten Bucks to a cute blonde with a gun.

Here's a good idea!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Leopard attacks folks in house.

Thank goodness nobody had a gun or this endangered animal could have been hurt!

Panola County Gun Club January 2011 Highpower Rifle Match.

Looking downrange across scenic Lake Sepaugh at the 500 yard line.

27 folks and a good mix of people young and old, experienced and beginner. Perfect weather for refining no-wind zeros. Hardly any drift at all and it never picked a direction. What mirage there was at 600 just flowed back and forth without much interest. The overcast light made for good vision, though it was the 50 round match we shoot this time of year instead of a longer 80 round. New berm wall and bench were installed plus the 500 yard berm has been extended across the range.

The new pit wall and berm.

Justin Utley won it with a 494X24. Half of his rounds went in the X ring. He fired his match rifle. Seemed to work pretty well. I shot a pedestrian 488X14 and was second so it wasn't close. Tommy Laing shot a 1903A3 30-06 with some reloads. It was an OK 1903 Springfield and fun to watch HIM shoot it. He's got a Louis Lamareux front thick front blade on it. Ron Leraas fired his Garand for the first time since the 60s. I hope they both got it out of their systems.

Dave Wilson called the match and Roger and Karl helped on the line. All in all a good start to the year. Panola hosts a mid-range match tomorrow.

Evan Hess and Justin Utley in the pits.

Robertson. Geneva brought the family dog, a fresh Chihuahua named Smokey who doubled his mileage walking back from 600 yards.

Match Director Dave Wilson giving the results.

The Hoggs.

The Former Marines are as cranky as ever, with good cause.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Start of the long season....

First rifle match of the year and the first shot fired in competition for me since the TSRA Garand/Springfield/Vintage/Pistol Leg match in October. I hunt deer through the fall and take a break. Ready to roll but it's a long trail with a lotta Sierra MatchKings sent downrange through NEXT October.

Season kind of runs from here,(with a trip to Houston for the NRA Regional weekend), to the Mid-Range Championship at Camp Swift in March, then the Highpower Rifle Championship in April, Panola in Early May, slight break with a lot of communication, work and practice until Camp Perry for 10 days, then the Service Rifle Championship back at Swift and finishing with the October TSRA Garand/Vintage weekend. Panola matches every month. TSRA Convention weekend in February.

I'll shoot Match Rifle through the High Power Championship, then switch to AR15 for the run-up to Camp Perry and the CMP National Matches. I've been loading 69 Sierra and have 500 rounds ready to go. Still working on LR ammo, so might be a little tweaking to be done. Changing to Bergers...probably, maybe.

Big treat tomorrow to have Evan Hess at the range with us. Get to catch up on his trip to Afganistan, Georgia news, wife and the girls, et.

Going to really miss Rick Crawford this year.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hawk-killed and eaten squirrel.

Inside-out squirrel.

This morning a hawk, probably a Red-tail adult, sat in the top of a Sweet Gum tree across the street. The yard and that particular tree was full of squirrels. He was craning his neck around watching. There were at least 10 fox squirrels in circulation. I think he waited until he saw a squirrel on the ground digging and preocuppied, then attacked from overhead.

This is all that remains. He turned the skin inside out and ate the squirrel. The bones coming out the legs are the HIP bones. (Notice the ball and joint sockets on the end.) The feet are inside. Same with the tail- we are looking at the stump of the tail sticking out. The whole squirrel tail is inside. Looks like he ate it all. Just the skin, tail and leg bones left.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blackfork's Real Top-10 New Years Resolutions.

I'll straighten this out for all you youngsters given my lofty status as a double-distinguished shooter of doetags and a certified veteran of 60 years of riding the planet around the Sun. Kids, this is what your resolutions for 2012 OUGHT to be. Period.

For 2012, in order.

1. Resolution # Uno: Live through the year. Everything else hinges on this. Come cancer, heartbreak, diabetes, death of sig/other, peasantry, shingles, et. Buckle that seat belt, put extra mags and a water bottle in the car and be determined to live through the year. You can't tell WHEN exactly but there will be a test.

2. Notice: Just notice what is happening in front of your face as well as inside you, in your imagination, in your mind-talk. Notice. Otherwise you are a piece of furniture.

3. Pay your own way: Nobody does it for you, you have to do it for yourself.

4. Let go: Give stuff away or sell it. DON'T buy something on purpose. Reduce the pile of American stuff. Let people go as well to be as they are. Shake free of some of those attachments. Like the fellow giving Breda an M1 Carbine, give someone an unexpected gift.

5. Don't let go: Love your old knife, old rifle, stack of books, internet, photo of yourself in the first grade. Love the stuff of life that you DON'T let go. Love your job, your hunting blind, your cutting board in your lovely kitchen. Reality and the universe is MADE of stuff. Love and relish the sensation of the fabric of life from flowers to the skin of your significant other.

5. Do something: Pick out a goal and actually DO it. Might be time to run that 10K or Marathon. Anything worth doing is worth doing...even badly. Make a list of difficult stuff and check it twice.

6. Care about something besides your own appetite. Even if it's the dog, have some direct fondness and responsibility for someone else.

7. Buy a piece of art that costs more than 200.00. Put it in your living space as a reflector of your creative self and imagination. If it doesn't resonate enough, sell it and buy one that does.

8. Have a real friend. At least one person with whom you can let the mask come off completely. I'm talking audible gas. You aren't in the universe alone.

9. Prepare for the end: Nobody gets out alive so don't count on number Uno up above. Write a will and realize the clock is ticking.

Have a HAPPY 2012......if the lord lets you live! If he doesn't, well, there's always that.

Updated: Yes I know there are only nine of the top ten. You've got a secret, don't you? Fill in the blank.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tough, ugly doe tags.

Behind the shoulder. Ears still ringing.

Between the eyes. Much easier to process out.

A grisly business shooting doe tags up at Clarksville. Used my Remington 700 and M852.One behind the shoulder shot and one between the eyes. 102 and 122 lbs live weight. That's healthy down here. The 122 is the top for this season. Taking her apart, even her bones were more solid and heavy. Saw several bucks, lots of little deer, some turkeys, shot a pig in the gloaming and found it the next day when we spooked two coyotes off the carcass back in the brush. Most of the time was spent skinning and butchering deer. Lots of knife work with vintage knives and a little fruit pickers folding knife I fancy. Seems like Dr. Sneed and I were busy every second from dawn until dusk. Perfect hunting weather and very good to let the does hang.

Crazy experience- the glare backed me up in the blind on the first deer. I had to put a foot up in my chair and brace my knee on my elbow to get the scope out of the sunlight and glare I was looking into. Inadvertently got the muzzle of the Remington 700 inside the blind with me. When the trigger broke I thought the gun had blown up. All-fiberglass stand. Sound was probably the loudest thing I had ever heard. No ear protection. Usually it isn't an issue with one shot and the rifle out the window. Still recovering.

Update: Frank Cirillo, NYC stake-out team leader who was in more modern gunfights than anyone else said he looked for three things when recruiting team members: They had to shoot competition, reload ammo and have hunted and killed big game. When he found someone who did that he had found his guy.

Update II: It's a little known fact that deer are actually vegetables. They are also free-range, organic and low-salt. These are harvested with traditional methods and wise land-use practices. So there.