Unexpected Christmas Gifts

I'd planned on going shooting with some of my family on Christmas Eve.  After an unsuccessful duck hunt I gathered up my son, my brother, and my soon to be cousin-in-law and headed to the shooting spot by the dump.  We shot the AR-15, the 15-22, and for the first time that I've owned it the Mosin Nagant.

In order to be accurate, the bayonet was affixed.  The fact that some previous shooters had left a rather large and only slightly shot SpongeBob was an unexpected early Christmas gift.  After poking several 7.62 mm holes in SB, my son was given the honor of finishing the poor sponge off.

One would think he'd been hanging out with Jay G


Gun Gifts

There's an interesting poll up at MSNBC of all places asking about thoughts on giving guns as Christmas gifts.  The results are somewhat predictable.  After all, guns are one of my favorite gifts to give or receive.


The Best Beer I've Made

Among my many hobbies is beer making.  I may be a jack of all trades and master of none, but in my own not so humble opinion I make some good dark beers.  The best beer I've made to date however, wasn't dark and was mostly an accident.  It goes like this:

  • 6 lb Light DME
  • 2 lb Wheat
  • 0.50 oz. G. Northern-Brewer Hops - Boiling hops (60 mins)
  • 0.50 oz. Cascade Hops - Finishing hops (15 mins)
  • 1.25 oz. Hallertau Hops - Finishing hops (15 mins)
  • 0.50 oz. G. Northern-Brewer Hops - dry hopped
  • 0.75 oz. Hallertau Hops - dry hopped
  • 1 tsp. Irish Moss
  • dry ale or kolsch yeast
The hops bill will likely change depending on what I can find (which is how I ended up with the above).  The original recipe was for a Kolsch, but this beer is much more wheaty.  The original called for only 1/4 lb of wheat.

The procedure is to crack the wheat, place in a grain bag, and steep for around 10 minutes at about 165 degrees F. Remove the wheat and add the DME and the boiling hops.  At around 45 to 50 minutes add the finishing hops and the Irish moss (this helps to clear the beer a bit).  After the wort cools add the yeast.  I used a dry ale yeast as the brewery supply store I was at didn't have a kolsch yeast.  After primary fermentation has slowed add the dry hops.  Rack at around two weeks and then bottle (or in my case keg) after two or three more.

The beer is full without being heavy, hoppy without being overbearing, and sweet without the typical citrus of a wheat beer.  This is a beer I will be making again and again and again.


The Only Thing Better Than A Night At The Range

I've been out tromping around the woods all last week looking for elk.  Right before I headed to go hunting I got a package containing some 380 ammo.  This wasn't any 380 ammo however, this was free 380 ammo.  The fine folks at LuckyGunner.com were kind enough to send me a box of Magtech to run through my wife's Beretta.

Figuring asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission, I swiped the Beretta out of the safe and headed over to my new favorite range, BluCore Shooting Center.  While I was there I figured it was a 380 Auto type of night and rented a S&W Bodyguard 380.

I started the night with the Beretta and the free Magtech ammo.  I figured shooting a pistol I was comfortable with and using ammo someone else payed for was a great way to start off the night.

After a few mags through the Beretta it was time to switch over to the Bodyguard.  Unfortunately, I had to use range ammo through the rental gun.  Even more unfortunate was that the laser was not working on the Bodyguard, so no fun with lights.  I really didn't like the Bodyguard.  It didn't fit my hand well and was in need of a cleaning as it was having FTE's every 5th round or so.  The nice thing about BluCore's rental program is that one fee gets you as many guns as you want to shoot.  I traded the Bodyguard out for a Kahr P380.

The Kahr fit my hand much better and was much more accurate for me.  I improved from pie plate at 5 yards accuracy with the Bodyguard to silver dollar at 5 yards with the Kahr.  I've been looking at various pocket pistols and the Kahr 380 definitely moved up the list during this trip despite the higher than average price tag.

By this time my fingers and nose were getting cold due to the BluCore state of the art ventilation system bringing in outside air at a fairly rapid rate.  I decided to load up the rest of the sweet sweet free (did I mention free...thanks again LuckyGunner.com) ammo and see what my accuracy looked like at 7 yards.

Not too bad for frozen fingers.  As has always been my experience with Magtech 380, the entire box ran through the Beretta flawlessly and was far more accurate than I am.  It is a good choice at a reasonable price, with LuckyGunner.com offering it for $0.31 per round.


Young And Unskilled?

I've been working in the field running a turnaround on a small production plant.  As the week has gone on something struck me.  All the senior field guys are over 50.  All the skilled laborers, the welders, the foremen, the operators are all over 50.  It doesn't seem to be an issue of the older guys simply refusing to retire either.  The younger guys in general do not have the skill set to do these jobs.

The younger guys in general have a tendency to take their time starting work and knock off early even if the job is not yet complete.  If something isn't working they will keep on trying it instead of looking for a better solution.

I am not sure what happens when the 60 year old skilled workers have all retired.  What happens when all the kids that should be working with a wrench or screwdriver or welding torch don't know which end to hold because they've all been told that college is the answer.  Instead of a rewarding career building, making, and fixing they are sitting at home trying to figure out what to do with a business or liberal arts degree.  What happens when we figure out that we can't outsource these jobs to China?  What happens when there aren't enough Americans that know how?


Keep Your Hands Off My Ballot

I got an interesting text last night.  It was from Jefferson County Students First, who are kindly offering to hand deliver my ballot if it didn't make it into the mailbox.

I have a hard enough time trusting my mailman to get my ballot in to get counted, a complete stranger with and agenda not a chance.


Send It In

If you live in Colorado, the time to mail in your ballot is now.

I'm not going to suggest how anyone vote, but I'll give you one guess on how I voted on the tax increases in Prop. 103.  When they tell me it's for the kids, well I've heard that one before.


Zombie Targets

At the range today I neglected to bring targets.  My range of choice was well stocked with Birchwood Casey Zombie targets.  I figured why not and added one to the stack.  What I learned is that even knowing that it's a zombie, it may be tough to break the habit of aiming for the boilermaker.

Evil Corporations

This post by Dave Ramsey captures a lot of what I feel about the Occupy Wall Street folks (HT to the Pantsless One).  The one thing Dave doesn't really cover that has struck me as I've read various stories and laughed at some of the signs is that there seems to be a lack of understanding on what a corporation is and does.  Mostly this has been addressed with the type of sarcasm shown in the linked picture above.

What I would like to do is to discuss what a corporation is and some of my personal experiences with "evil" corporations.  A corporation is simply a legal entity that provides a group of individuals personal protection from legal and financial liability.  If a corporation goes bankrupt or is accused of a crime the individuals making up the corporation don't automatically end up bankrupt or in jail.

My younger brother is a chiropractor.  He is also the sole owner of a corporation.  His corporation of one is not uncommon.  It allows him to practice medicine with a lower financial risk.   Many of his patients have no idea he is also a corporation.  As an individual and a doctor, he treats them, but he bills them as a corporation.  Is he rich?  Far from it  Since opening his own practice he is barely breaking even, and most months puts almost all of his profit back into his business.  This is the "evil" of a corporation.  Healing people with his own two hands.

I've worked for a couple of corporations.  One was the type most folks think of when they hear corporation.  It was (and is) a multinational corporation with manufacturing in the United States, China, Italy, India, and Switzerland to name a few.  Their sales offices are all across the world.  This evil corporation payed me a good salary, trained me, and sent me to their manufacturing facilities in Switzerland and Italy for further training.  I got to ride a train through the alps thanks to an evil corporation.  I also got to become a much better engineer.  I was also personally involved in supplying parts so that a hospital, a water treatment plant, a geothermal power plant, and many other industries and facilities could either be built or continue to operate.  We made money, but I don't remember having to fulfill our evil quotient.

One of the other corporations I worked for even had the evil word in its name.  When I started there we had four full time employees and three part time employees.  This corporation gave me my first job.  The pay wasn't great, but the experience was invaluable.  Working at a corporation of 7 forced me to wear many hats, and gave me an understanding of business and engineering that many of my peers do not have because they haven't been exposed to it.

So when I see signs protesting the evils of the corporation, understand why I might have a tendency to point laugh and shake my head in disgust.  Corporations have allowed me to feed and clothe my family.  Corporations have provided me training and allowed me to grow as a professional.  Corporations have allowed me to be where and what I am today, and I'm not the only one.


Snipe Hunt

I went looking for ducks and ended up on an honest to goodness snipe hunt.  I brought back two Wilson's Snipe.  Just enough for lunch.

Cleaning them is accomplished much like cleaning doves.  Cooking them is fairly simple as well.  We got a box of fancy rice, situated the cleaned snipe in the rice, added water, covered, and threw in the oven for 45 minutes at 400.

The result was delicious.  If you've never had snipe (I'd never had them before today) I highly recommend it.


A Winner Is Me

Apparently #29 is my new lucky number and I will soon have a box of happiness heading my way.  My number was drawn for two AR-15 magazines topped off with Carteach .223.  When I sent my donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, I did it with every expectation of winning nothing more than the knowledge that the money would be put to good use.

Pictures will be posted of the aforementioned box of happiness when it arrives.  A big thanks to Carteach for running this fundraiser and opening up wallets across the country to the tune of $2300+.  I guess I can no longer say, "I never win these things."


Concealed Confusion

Tonight I attended the monthly meeting of a local 4WD club that I'm thinking of joining.  There has been a good deal of discussion within the club recently surrounding changing their bylaws.

Before tonight their club banned firearms at all club sponsored events.  I've been told this was to combat the stereotype of guys getting liquored up, driving down a trail (and beside a trail and making their own trails), and shooting up signs and anything else.  The other reason is that the club is "family friendly".

With concealed carry becoming ever more popular, some folks took issue with the bylaws and looked to have them changed.  The online vote they conducted apparently had over 70% for changing the bylaws to allow concealed (and only concealed) carry at club events with 20% opposed.  The vote during the meeting was much the same.  From that standpoint it was a good meeting.

The disappointing thing was the amount of disinformation being passed around by both those for and those against changing the bylaws.  Some of the misconceptions/misstatements included:
  • Places where an individual with a concealed carry permit is not allowed to carry
  • The legality of drinking while carrying concealed (in Colorado drinking is legal, being intoxicated while armed is not)
  • How reciprocity with other states (Utah in particular) works
  • The legality of open carry in Colorado (with the exception of a few cities, perfectly legal in CO)
  • What brandishing a firearm is
The disappointing thing is that some of the misinformation was coming from the club's resident gun expert.  No matter the state you live in, no matter if you carry or not, if you are a gun owner you should know the laws and how they apply to you.  I first utilized the excellent local resource provided by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.  If your state doesn't have something similar, the NRA-ILA is a good source.  When you move or travel to another state, you've got homework to do if your guns are coming with you.  Don't end up like the gun expert in the meeting, and don't end up in jail like this guy.


I was discussing Labor Day with my wife this morning and we came up with this truism.

To hell with unions...unless they want to invite me in.

I figure that covers around 90% of Americans' attitudes.


Good Excuses

If you've ever needed a good excuse to donate to an awesome cause, look no further.  Carteach has put together a fund raiser with some really nice goodies.  All proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.  If you haven't yet sent some money their way, now is as good a time as any.


No Kidding

Dear Colorado Government,

I'd like you to see what my shocked face looks like after hearing that you've been forced to scale back Medicaid coverage after grossly underestimating the costs.

Get used to this face as you'll likely be seeing it a lot when 2014 rolls around and Obamacare kicks in.

A Horse Thief


Camp Hale Weekend

I spent this weekend down near Camp Hale.  Camp Hale was a training location for the 10th Mountain Division during 1940's.  It is amazing country with spectacular views.

While there we got on some back country roads and found some mushrooms and some of these:

I also stumbled across some metal discs.

Upon closer inspection these appear to be the metal caps that went on the fiber tubes containing a 75mm shell and hand grenades respectively.  Pretty cool to stumble across a small piece of WWII history right here in Colorado.


Maybe He Wore Dark Desert

Gadhafi gathered up his special forces and SWAT teams and made a tactical retreat. Everything these days is tactical.


More Reality Gun Shop

I learned that Red Jacket will soon have some competition in the reality Gun Shop arena.  A local to me establishment, Gunsmoke, has apparently been filming for their very own reality series.  I've taken a gun or two over there to be worked on, and every time they've done a good job for a reasonable price.  I hope Discovery shows them in a good light.


Econ 101 Must Have Been Harder Than I Remember

Reading the comments on several of the S&P downgrade stories has me shaking my head and checking my store of colander and cement helmets.


Screaming, "I HAVE A GUN!"

Stories like the one coming out of Ohio are why I am grateful that in Colorado there is no requirement to notify.  I'm not even going to comment on the rest of the B.S. in the linked video.


Happy Birthday To Me

So, I've had a lower in need of an upper for quite some time.

Yesterday was my birthday, and my most amazing wife decided to get me this.

It's a 16" DPMS Sportical upper purchased from MidwayUSA.  Hopefully the snow/sleet/rain will stop soon so I can take it on a test drive.  I'm already thinking about changing out the handguard.  Any suggestions are appreciated.

ETA: Turns out that when iron sights are installed after several birthday beers the chances of getting them on backwards goes up by 78%.


I Didn't BAG....I BAT

I didn't make a gun purchase on Buy A Gun Day.  Instead I B.A.T.

It's got some rust issues, some in need of paint issues, and some needs the brakes adjusted issues (which I'm in the middle of right now), but it should be a fun project.

I also made a batch of non alcohol taxable homebrew.

It's a dry hopped wheat beer, should be interesting.


Policy Revision

Well that didn't take long.  The new range owners down the road got tired of hearing about their customers' dislike of their ammo policy and revised it.

Hurray for owners who listen to their customer base and respond accordingly.


Full Auto BBs

No tax stamp required...for now.

They look to be on backorder, but for only $299 I could afford a bunch of BBs.


How To Lose Customers Before You Open

I had been rather excited about the "new" shooting range opening literally a couple of blocks away from my house.  I had used the location rather frequently when the place was under previous ownership.  The place is now called BluCore Shooting Center and is run by some guys that had previously been offering training courses and decided to run a range instead of borrowing someone else's.

As details about their membership pricing and new lane configurations started showing up on their website, I was pretty excited about the possibilities.  Then they posted their ammo policy.  It requires purchase of range ammo for the most common rifle and pistol calibers.  I quickly became significantly less excited, as did many others.  When the owners started to spin this as anything other than a way to stay profitable, I became even further ambivalent about exchanging cash for goods and services.

I'll probably still use the place from time to time, but for now I'll still be looking around for a better local spot to shoot at.


Dear Amazon

Amazon, I like you and all, but can you please stop sending me e-mails with the latest deals on flat screen TVs?  I was only looking as a backup if my amateur TV repairman efforts failed.  As it turns out, all I needed to do was swap out some boards and everything was just peachy.  I knew exactly what I was doing thanks to the magic of the internet.

So no more TV e-mails, okay?  Now if you've got suggestions on what to buy for Buy A Gun Day, I'm all ears.


Bound Book

Back in January, after having read all I could find and being egged on by this blog post, I sent in my 03 FFL license application.  I wanted me some Curios and Relics.  About a week ago, my license arrived in the mail.  I wasted no time making copies and scanning the original as well as a signed copy.

I sent this scan and my credit card number into AIM Surplus and earlier this week they sent me this:

It is a 1891/30 Russian Mosin Nagant with a hex receiver.  Poking around 7.62x54r.net, I found out that it was produced in Izhevsk in 1931.  It is also a MO stamped rifle with two extra date marks.  After cleaning the bajezzus out of it, it is a nice looking rifle.  My wife already has the 2x4 ordered so that we can successfully operate the bolt.

This is definitely the first of many C&R purchases.  Likely, I should burn my credit cards now.  If you don't have a C&R license, look into getting one.  They are well worth the time and effort.


Comedy Gold

Over at Unc's place...the internet has finally been won.  Not the post, but the comments containing Red Coats, Nazis, Wookies, Wisconsin Democrats, Hillary Clinton, ATF agents, Orcs, and so much more.

I know you didn't ask to have a half hour of your day taken up by reading comments to a 101 work post, but seriously what else were you going to do at work on a Friday?


They Do Exist

In case anyone was wondering, Magpul really did finally get around to making iPhone cases.  I ordered mine from Midway USA about a year ago.  When I ordered it I still had a 3g iPhone instead of the 4g I have now.  I also had a different expiration date on my credit card.  I actually had to call the fine folks at Midway to give them my new card info.

Luckily, my wife still has a 3g iPhone and it happened to be in need of a case.  Other than it feeling like she has a grenade in her pocket, she seems to really like it.  It appears to be a sturdy product that will perform its intended function well.


Home Improvement Scope Creep

I've haven't been posting lately because I've been knee deep in home improvement projects.  Initially we were going to add cabinets and a work surface to the wall of our office to provide for more storage and give our two kids a quiet place to do homework and other projects.

A week ago we had finally gotten to the point where it was time to cut the carpet in order to expose the subfloor that the base cabinets would be mounted on.  Out came the carpet knife, up came the carpet and the carpet pad, but the subfloor did not appear.  Instead, we found 3/4" thick oak hardwood floors.  My wife has always wanted wood floors.

We pulled all the furniture out of the room, and once the carpet was gone, the carpet pad removed, the staples used to hold the carpet pad pulled, and the tack strips carefully ripped out, we were left with this:

I still had to remove the 20 or so 1" long (remember where I said it was 3/4" hardwood) screws used to "stop the floor from squeaking".

Last Friday, with the room all prepped, I rented an orbital floor sander and edger.  Total cost including sandpaper was about $125.  I also picked up some water based polyurethane, Varathane brand with nanotechnology.  I picked the water based stuff for two reasons.  I was hoping to avoid the yellowing of the finish that the old oil based polyurethane had developed.  I was also hoping to avoid having my whole family high off of fumes.  Doing this in the winter makes airing out the house an unattractive option.

The orbital sander did a great job and was relatively easy to use.  It really is just a giant version of the hand held orbital sander I have in the garage.  A little scraping was required to remove the white paint spots the previous owners of the house so thoughtfully applied to the floor prior to covering it with carpet.  We started with 36 grit for the rough cut, used 60 grit for the intermediate, and 80 grit for the final sanding.

After extensive cleanup involving brooms, vacuum cleaners, and cotton shirts, we had a clean bare floor.  By Saturday afternoon we were applying the first coat of water based poly.  I'm not sure what the nanotech did, but by Sunday at 11 AM we had a bunch of sore muscles and a floor that looked like this:



I made bacon french toast this morning.  If you have not yet tried it, I urge you to go cook now.  No pictures as it was gone before I even thought to dig out the camera.


Flashbacks to Fifth Grade

For some reason, this whole "let's sit together at the Sate of the Union" thing the Colorado delegation is proposing strikes me as a bit juvenile.  It reminds me of fifth grade when one of the popular girls would feel sorry for snot nose Johnny and get all of her friends to sit with him at lunch.

The thing of it is, there's a good chance that Johnny doesn't really like the popular crowd.  He'd just like to finish his lunch and go finish reading the last three chapters of his book.

Hopefully guys like Rep. Mike Coffman are like SNJ and are serious about getting back to work after lunch is over.  From Mr. Coffman via the Denver Post:
"Now that we have the seating arrangements ironed out, we can get back to the real task at hand, which is getting our economy back on the right track."


CCI Tactical

I was browsing the latest Cabela's catalog this evening and learned something new.  Apparently it is possible to have tactical .22lr ammunition.  I'm hoping it is all black and comes with lots of pockets.


Not So International Expo

I was thinking about spending $30 and taking my family to the International Sportsmen's Expo.  Then I realized that I'd spend most of my time oogling things I'd never own or really need.

Instead, I ended up taking the family a little further down the road to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  Seventy dollars per year gets me into every state park in Colorado.  I got to show my son tracks made by various animals and spend time with my family in the Colorado Rockies.

I think I made the better choice and got the better deal, even if we didn't bring home rabbit for dinner.


Tron: Legacy

Jeff Bridges fights computer Jeff Bridges, on a bridge man.  On a bridge!


From the Mouth of Babes

My son just asked me if I have any friends in New Mexico.  I responded in the affirmative.

"They should move."