Wile, Wit, Wisdom & Weaponry

Ruminations, Opinions & Debate about the world as I see it and the toys that make it bearable!

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Location: TEXAS, United States

-Defender of the Second Amendment, the "little guy", free market system, liberty and freedom from government!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Forget 9mm's for Self-Defense!

Please read this CNN post from today's headlines:


Any more questions about why the 9mm is not the caliber of choice for most state, local and government law enforcement, military & security agencies worldwide toting weapons?

1) Weak Penetration
2) Small Diameter
3) Low Mass
4) Usually takes multiple hits to disable threat

'Nuff said. Glad the kid is still alive, but if the prosecutor can't make a case as is without removing the bullet- he's not much of a lawyer to begin with....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Baghdad or DC- Which Is Safer?

Those talking heads in the news can’t seem to get enough about the casualty/fatality rate in Iraq these days. Many critics of the war have cited that because of safety reasons, we should withdraw our troops immediately because of the high death toll sustained since March of 2003. I’ve often wondered what our troops in the field think when they hear this number batted around incessantly - night after night? What of the families here at home that have received the dreaded news that their loved one was killed? What about the children old enough to hear this on the evening television who no longer have a Mom or Dad at home because the parent gave their life for their country?

While war is never pleasant, sometimes it is unfortunately necessary to secure individual and national protection from those who mean to do harm, evil or both. Is Iraq out of control when it comes to our troops who are stationed there? Let’s take a look at some interesting statistics that I’ve gleaned from researching the Web.

- In 2004, Washington DC had a population of 550,521 and experienced 196 homicides.

- For every 100,000 people, the 2004 homicide rate in Washington, DC was 35.63.

- Total troop deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (as of 12/18/06) are 2,936.

- The estimated population of Baghdad, Iraq is around 7,000,000.

- For every 100,000 people in Baghdad the war’s death rate in any given year is 11.98.

What does this mean?

It means that if you are a US soldier, you are 3 times more likely to die as a result of walking the streets in downtown Washington, DC than you are in downtown Baghdad, Iraq. (Remember, DC is not in the middle of a war zone- this is the average homicide rate in any given year in our nation’s capital!)

Forget about pulling troops out of Iraq - let’s pull ‘em out of Washington, DC!

Sources: Department of Defense Casualty/Fatality Rates:
Metropolitan Crime Statistics for Washington, DC (by precinct):
Population of Baghdad, Iraq:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dirty .30 meets 'Gomer' !

If you read the previous post about my VERY lucky hunting trip to Coleman County you will soon realize why this latest post is eyebrow raising!

The day before I left for my hunting trip I decided to do some low end maintenance on my (.30-’06) Mauser’s action to ensure that the bolt’s travel would be unimpeded by crud from the previous outing. No, I had not cleaned my gun immediately following the last use. This particular barrel loves to be dirty while at the same time maintaining what I consider very good accuracy for a hunting rig. (A freshly cleaned barrel with a couple of drops of oil tend to send my first shot high and to the right by about 3-4”.)

So out came the gun on the kitchen table along with my gun cleaning kit. First up, a good soaking of the bolt with a clean cloth dipped in Hoppe’s #9. (Best smell in the world if you ask me!) Setting aside the bolt to dry before oiling, I reached in for the only cleaning rod I have in .30 caliber- a three piece number made of aluminum that is very flimsy- even after being screwed together. As I put the rod together I considered whether to tip it with a bronze brush soaked with Hoppe’s or to go straight to the 100% cotton cloth patch soaked in same. I decided, “Nah, let’s scrub that sucker good then go in with a cloth patch. Better yet, let’s wrap the brush with a thin piece of cloth so that the bristles will scrub the cotton into the very bottom of the grooves thus saving you time.”

Yeah right, saving time- NOT! Word to the wise- don’t ever contemplate saving time while attempting to properly clean a firearm. The two usually don’t mix, and in my case, can be hazardous to your mental health…read on.

After dipping the cloth covered brush into my Hoppe’s I slowly pushed the rod from the breach end of the action into the throat area of the barrel. I knew right away the fit was tighter than it should have been. Did I immediately pull it out? No. I thought I could muscle it all the way down the length of the barrel. (Idiot, idiot, idiot!) I got that cleaning rod to advance about 6 inches and it stuck. I don’t mean it slowly came to a halt I mean it stopped like a large cork in a thin necked bottle! Try as I might, I could not get the thing to advance or retreat. I set the gun down on the table and tried to get my thoughts in order on how to proceed. I remembered getting a rod stuck in a smaller bore rifle two years ago. I dripped oil from the muzzle end and let it soak into the trouble area in an attempt to lubricate the problem area thus freeing the rod. The previous attempt worked. This time- it didn’t work at all. I let the oil soak for a good 5 minutes and that rod still wouldn’t budge.

My wife, now observing this dilemma asked what I was going to do. I said aloud, “I wish I had a solid, blunt faced rod of similar size to gently tap into the muzzle in order to get that rod to back out through the breach.” Wanting desperately to assuage my building anguish, she offered one of her wooden dowel rods she uses in sewing/knitting. I tried it in the muzzle end and it was a perfect (loose) fit and slid easily into the barrel. It was approximately 18 inches long. It mated with the rod tip and I began to slowly tap the exposed end with my hammer. I felt the wooden dowel sharply give. Looking towards the butt end of the rifle I hoped to see some increased length of exposed rod- but it appeared unchanged. What I had done was split the wood dowel rod like a saxophone reed and it wedged on either side of the rod tip and buried itself into the stiff metal bristles of the brush! Realizing what I had just done, there was no way to push that wood rod forward without making it worse, and I couldn’t back the metal rod out from the breach. Reaching for a pair of pliers I grasped the dowel rod firmly in an attempt to pull it backwards. A sharp crack at the muzzle confirmed my worst nightmare. The rod snapped a quarter of an inch outside the barrel leaving the wood dowel in its new (permanent?) home. I had committed the worst ‘GOMER’ ever! Not only was I extremely mad at myself for doing this I was most vexed about how to solve the problem within the next 18 hours before going on this hunt. A small voice entered my head: “Go to someone smarter than you, fella- like a gunsmith, and see if their use of proper tools and techniques will save your butt!”

Best advice my conscience has ever delivered in a clutch situation. I didn’t call to see if anyone was open I just gathered the rifle and headed down to my local shooting supply store downtown. (The two older gentlemen working at this store periodically worked on customer guns – both repairs and in customization.)

Arriving at the shop hoping for one -or at the most two – car(s) to be present so as to hide my asinine predicament I noticed no less than 6 vehicles parked out front. I thought, “Great, now everyone will know what I did today and have a great laugh at my expense!” The men standing around the counter glanced to see who came in the door but didn’t see my rifle with the rods sticking out each end as I briskly walked to the back of the store with the gun firmly planted against the length of my leg. (No sense in making it easy for them to see, right?) Soon after striking up a conversation with the gunsmith and explaining what I had done he took the entire rig from my hands and headed to his work bench with me in tow.

Putting the gun in the horizontal position he clamped it up firmly in his very large machine vise with the muzzle to my left and the buttstock to my right. After listening to each step I took in my attempt to rectify the problem and checking how tight the metal rod was stuck, he simply growled, “Boy, you’ll be lucky if we can get this rod out with your barrel’s rifling intact.” My heart melted. If his prediction came true, and we were able to remove the rods only to find mangled rifling (the part of the barrel that engages the projectile on it’s delicate, twisting journey), I knew there was no way I could go on my trip as the barrel would have to be reamed again (cut the rifling back to original specs with a new reamer) or worse, order a new barrel and have it installed on the existing action. Either way, it couldn’t be done in an hour and a half. The store closed at 5PM. It was now 3:30PM. (Besides, the gunsmith hadn’t planned on working on my gun today, he was reordering stock before I showed up and begged him for help.)

He tugged on the metal rod. He tried to grab what was left of the wooden dowel in the muzzle end and extract it- no go on either end. He decided, with my urgent coaxing, to take the last third of the 3-piece rod off leaving about 6 inches exposed out the breach end of the action. Then he took a rather large, rubber mallet and slowly began to tap on the rod. After four quick taps, my eyes fixated on the muzzle, I saw a slight movement to the left! I coached him to keep going. He tapped a little more and the dowel began to reappear as if by magic (the God of Nimrod was smiling down on me after all). With 4-5 successive blows he had that dowel rod out and the metal rod pushed through enough to grasp it with pliers and pull it clear of the muzzle. (WHEW!)

I asked him if he had a bore light so we could look at the lands and grooves of the rifling. “No, I got sumthin’ better than that,” he said. He walked over to his tool chest and pulled out the coolest toy I ever got to play with- a Hawkeye Bore Scope! I had read about these for years, but the steep price always prevented me from purchasing such a fancy rig. (They start around $800.) The scope basically looks like a cleaning rod with one notable exception. It has a large eyepiece on one end set at a 90-degree angle to the axis of the length of the rod (and therefore the barrel that it slides into). The eyepiece is not unlike what you look through when using a binocular. On the tip end of the rod is a brightly lit window milled into the metal made of glass (or crystal?) that exposes an intense, lighted fiber optic wire contained in the rod. In front of this light is a mirror set at a 45-degree angle so that whatever is exposed by the light through the window bounces back down the long axis of the scope and is bounced upward through the eye piece by another corresponding 45-degree mirror. The eyepiece magnifies what the user sees into a much larger version of what the “tip” is exposed to inside the barrel. (Think of it as a miniature version of a submarine’s periscope and you have the general idea.)

After moving the scope the entire length of the barrel my new (now close) friend announced that: “Well, you have some pitting in this barrel and a hell of a lot of jacket buildup. There’s copper everywhere in here. Here, take a look.” He handed the eyepiece over to me and allowed me a close-up glimpse of my barrel. Sure enough, I saw the dark areas he referred to as pitting (erosion of the metal due to lackluster maintenance and subsequent rusting) and a bright flaky substance that looked like copper flakes that had been hammered into the deep grooves of the bore. There was a LOT of jacket fouling. While I played with his scope he said casually, “Son, you are very lucky. I don’t see any problems with that rifling whatsoever. Those ‘ol military guns were made for abuse and you got your hands on one of the toughest I seen. That brush should have mangled that rifling.” I nearly wept for joy right in front of the guy!! My rifle was intact and ready for my big hunt…I thanked the man profusely.

Leaving the work area walking back into the store he adamantly preached to me that segmented rods (especially aluminum rods) were the worst thing anyone could subject a rifle’s barrel to- especially if the rifleman was serious about accuracy. He led me over to the wall holding Tipton's one piece cleaning rods made of carbon fiber. These are extremely light weight, with no joints to catch on the lands when sliding into the barrel. The carbon fiber is coated and very slick so that it slides across the metal like smooth glass. On top of purchasing this $35 rod (which is a good investment) I also bought a new brush. The other was trashed after it came out of the barrel. (Bent and horribly mangled.) The gunsmith admonished me for using bronze brushes. “Never, never use bronze brushes in a gun that you want to remain accurate. It can shave a tiny piece of the barrel every time you scrub with it- always use nylon. Nylon won’t interfere with the barrel and cleans just as good with the proper chemicals. Speaking of chemicals, you have a choice to make on getting that jacket fouling out of those rifling grooves.” I had forgotten about the jacket fouling since my elation over the intact rifling. He led me over to a small kiosk with a myriad of solvents, cleaners and specialty items. He handed over a small bottle with 2 ounces of clear liquid called Barnes CR-10. (Click on this name and you will be taken to a website with a picture.) This is an ammonia based solvent that works incredibly well on copper jacket fouling. When you run a soaked patch through your barrel it comes out dark as the chemicals react to the copper agent turning the white patch a dirty blue color. He told me to follow the instructions exactly as they appear on the label and keep using the stuff until a patch came out completely white- with no traces of blue. He says, “That’s when you know you got all the fouling out.”

I paid for my new cleaning rod, brush and solvent to the tune of $45. No charge for the removal of the stuck cleaning rod! (This guy just found a customer for life!)

After getting all this stuff home, I proceeded to clean the barrel and action of my rifle. Following the directions outlined on the label of the Barnes CR-10, I noticed there were several steps involved- six to be exact. I went through all six steps a total of three times before my last patch came out completely white and clean. I COULD NOT BELIEVE THE SHINY INTERIOR OF THE BARREL once I turned the gun to the light and looked down the full length of the bore. That barrel looked like what I imagined it did when the original reaming job got through cutting the lands- everything was in sharp contrast and shone with the brilliance of a new nickel! It was obviously the first time I had seen that barrel totally cleaned down to the bare metal. I thought I had cleaned it well enough before with my brushes and regular solvent, but nothing really touched that jacket fouling like this Barnes product. I remain amazed even as I type this report. I will never clean another gun without using this stuff to remove jacket material- it is very hardy stuff and cheap! One bottle cost me $3.50 and a few drops go a long way.

Well, gotta run. I’m off to buy new Tipton carbon fiber rods for my 6mm and .22 caliber guns!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Patriots Revealed

Some have asked who created the quotes in my last post, Of Patriots and Heroes.
Here are the answers in order of appearance:

A) Nathan Hale- attributed to his last words before being hung from the gallows by the British.
B) Thomas Jefferson- penning the immortal words in our Declaration of Independence.
C) Abraham Lincoln- a letter to the mother of 5 sons who died in battle during the Civil War.
D) Winston Churchill- the only 'foreigner' in the list, speaking of Britain's defense before Hitler.
E) General George Washington
F) General Dwight D. Eisenhower- AEF Commander, Order of the day, June 6, 1944 (D-Day).
G) Benjamin Franklin
H) Thomas Jefferson
I) Thomas Jefferson
J) John Quincy Adams
K) John Hancock- after signing the Declaration of Independence in rather large script.
L) Samuel Adams
M) James Madison- Speech in the Virginia Convention, June 16, 1788.
N) Patrick Henry- letter to George Washington, March 23, 1775.
O) George Washington
P) Thomas Jefferson
Q) Thomas Jefferson

This is, as they say, is only the "tip of the iceberg" in quotes that are both noteworthy as well as important to the sacred history of this great nation (Churchill's withstanding). It's not great men who quote greatly, its men of valor, passion and honor who see beyond and vocalize so eloquently and ardently.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Of Patriots and Heroes

This time of year I'm continually reminded of how blessed we are as a country, as a people, as a free and liberty loving citizenry. There are men and women in our United States military who are serving abroad, holding a weapon, sleeping under the stars and eating cold MRE's while we complain about long lines at Wal-mart chasing down that perfect gift for someone's Christmas stocking. It's really about the materialism in this Country. It's really about me, me, me. It's about not wanting to be inconvenienced when challenged to do so. It's about giving up and not forging ahead. Families should be huddled around the fireplace drinking eggnog instead of sowing the seeds of liberty to those who've never tasted freedom in their lifetimes, right?

Some of my favorite quotes from the days when public education placed a premium on History instead of half-baked standardized tests conjured up by state level bureaucrats and teachers' unions are listed below. See how many you can accurately attribute to their original author.

  • A) I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.

  • B) We hold these truths to be self evident.

  • C) I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine that would attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming but I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of Freedom.

  • D) You ask what is our policy?...It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us...That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim?...Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be...

  • E) My ardent desire is, and my aim has been, to comply strictly with all our engagements, foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country, to see them independent of all and under the influence of none.

  • F) Soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you...Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely...

  • G) He that lives upon hope will die fasting.

  • H) The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny in government.

  • I) Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have...The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.

  • J) America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well- wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vidicator only of her own.

  • K) There, I guess King George will be able to read that.

  • L) Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.

  • M) I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

  • N) Give me liberty or give me death!

  • O) Guard against the postures of pretended patriotism.

  • P) The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

  • Q) Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

These statements stand as a testimony to those who prefer tempestuous seas in the name of liberty, freedom and justice. They are in stark contrast to the complacency - those who prefer warm hideouts in buildings of marble and glass constructed by real patriots - of those who pretend to know the difference and who are accustomed to retreat and unwilling to hold the sabre.

Fight on brave warriors!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

3 Shots...3 Kills

Three shots…three kills. Thus began my best hunting outing to date this past Saturday. If you remember reading my last post about hunting in Coleman County here, you will recall it was an adventure in survival from a manic, attention starved know-it-all who saw fit to ruin the entire weekend for the rest of us who truly enjoy the outdoors and the SOLITUDE that comes with communing with nature and her four-footed wards.

But this weekend my two companions were great, optimistic and knew when to speak and speak appropriately, and with practiced brevity that can only be had by experiencing life in a ‘real world’ social setting- not working with animals.

The morning broke windless, crisp, clean and bitterly cold (for West Texas). Though none of us had a thermometer we guessed it to be around 20 degrees. Fortunately for me, as I was using an exposed tripod stand from which to hunt, there was no wind to add insult to the injurious cold. As I walked from the drop off point to the stand I was immediately struck by the wonderful, dark blanket thrown overhead and littered with what had to be millions of stars. Every constellation was in stark contrast and seemed to be in 3-D. I had a hard time watching my steps in the dark while gazing upward. When I reached the ten foot tall tripod stand and climbed the ladder to set up in the chair, I glanced up in time to see a spectacular meteor race directly overhead from behind and in front of me- West to East. It was a good sign for the day. With that little tip of the hat from the Man upstairs I began my hunt.

The first strands of daylight broke evenly on the horizon at 6:45AM. I had been in the stand about 45 minutes listening intently. Since all the surrounding countryside was bathed in a shimmering cloth of ice crystals, anything moving would have been heard for hundreds of feet as the frozen countryside shattered beneath its movements. At about 7:20 I saw my first doe walking around the transition area towards the feeding area. She didn’t stand still long enough for me to get a clean shot. At 7:30, two does walked out together, but something spooked them and they took off with tails pointed straight up like periscopes. Something was agitating them and I hoped it was a big male coming in for his breakfast. I turned to my left from watching this scene in front of me and noticed not one but two figures near a feeder. Sure enough, one of them had antlers. Raising my binoculars, I saw a nice bodied 4-pt. with a smallish, but equally beautiful doe. Raising my .30-’06 into position I drew down on the buck first, wanting to make sure if I only bagged one deer, that it would be one worth butchering and cleaning! I squeezed off my shot and he fell where he stood, pole axed. Quickly chambering a fresh round, I looked through the scope and the little doe just stood there as if she hadn’t heard what just happened. I quickly drew a bead on her and squeezed off another round which took out her spine and she dropped where she stood. Two deer in under 10 seconds! (This was a first for me in a single day, let alone a single hunting trip.)

Since I didn’t have to track these two, and had plenty of hunting morning left, I waited for something else to appear. All the hunters had permission to fill all their tags if they were so inclined (and lucky enough to do so). So, I waited and waited and waited. Sure enough, around 8:15 a pair of does walked out to the other feeder in front of me. One was noticeably bigger than the other but she wouldn’t cooperate with my sights moving behind a large bush and browsing on the tender, frozen grass and eating the tips of the evergreen bush along with her free faire of corn. The smaller doe stepped directly in front of me and put her head down. I moved my gun from left to in front of me and settled down behind the scope. As I moved the safety to the “off” position, her head came up and she looked directly towards me. It was now or never. My heart leapt at the chance for another double. Two “doubles” in one day had never been achieved by myself and I later found out it had never been done on this property although some had tried. (Three was the record.) I squeezed the trigger and…the deer jumped straight up and ran right to left disappearing into the brush! I was crushed. (The shot was only 65 yards- how in the world could I have missed?) Quickly chambering my fourth round I waited for the 4th doe to come back around. She didn’t come. I waited another 30 minutes and nothing appeared. By now it was nearing 9 o’clock. Full sun was streaming in and setting the countryside on fire and turning everything frozen into diamond-encrusted flora. It was beautiful, but I remained worried about my last shot and wondering if I had indeed missed- or worse- nicked the poor doe to go off and die a horrible death. About the time I made the decision to get off the stand and go check, I heard a quick rushing sound off to my immediate right and noticed a lot of movement at my 3 o’clock. A large buck was quartering away from my front and to my left. When I checked his rack with the binoculars he slowed down enough and gave me a brief glimpse of a beautiful head! But he wouldn’t stop and I had no call or antlers with which to get his attention. Besides, the wonderfully sleek doe accompanying him had his full attention. His nose rarely left the ground as he sauntered away- a full 200/250 yards away with at least as many obstacles between them and myself. (Coleman County is a 2-buck county. It would have been perfectly legal for me to take him.)

Waiting another 30 minutes brought the time to 9:30AM. This was the prearranged time for my hunting partner to come after me if he didn’t score an animal. I walked to the feeder in front of me and immediately spied a very small bit of blood- droplets pointing in the direction of travel when I last spotted the (now wounded) doe heading into the woods. As I slowly watched the ground tell its tale of escape I marveled at how straight the trail led. This deer was not in evasive mode; it was in survival mode and made to put as much distance between herself and whatever slapped her. Jumping a small fence about 15 yards from point of impact, the doe had gone another 5 yards and rounded to the right away from a large mesquite tree with low, sprawling branches and slumped over. She too, was hit high but missed the spine catching her in the lungs. She had a gaping hole on her right side where the bullet passed completely through. Three deer with three shots! I was thrilled and would have been a little happier if the poor thing had not suffered but dropped in her tracks like her two cousins.

For me, it was a great day! A first for me personally, and tying the record for most deer taken in a single day on this particular ranch (that we knew of anyway). You would think I would be satisfied, overly satisfied with the blessing of having harvested three beautiful animals, even if one turned out to be a 4-pt instead of the 6-pt I thought I spotted through the scope! No, I was already thinking about my return to see if that monster that raced away would give me another chance, a chance to bag him as well. After a couple of hours, I told my host, “There is no need to stay out here until evening for another hunt, it would just be pure greed on my part and there is no sense in that. Let’s leave and come back another time.” My host was a little taken aback but agreed and my other companion had not fared as well as I had that day- he was going home empty-handed. I was a little embarrassed at my largesse when he drove up with nothing to show for his efforts that morning.

So what did I learn yesterday morning, out in the cold trying my best to stay warm while attempting to enjoy the solitude and the frozen beauty of a West Texas countryside in early December? I learned that patience pays off when incorporated faithfully and consistently and that the hunting gods do smile on you once in awhile- even if you get a little too greedy to pay proper homage.

PS Total weight of all three deer field dressed was a little under three hundred pounds. I had the buck tagged for total processing and the two does I tagged for the Hunter Harvester Program which allows hunters to pay a nominal $25 fee for each animal donated for processing and distribution to local shelters and non-profit agencies needing foods for their charitable activities. The hunter gets to keep the backstrap and tenderloins, the rest of the meat goes to the charities.