Internet Cleaning…

DO NOT CONNECT TO THE INTERNET FROM 12:01 AM GMT ON APR. 1 TO 12:01 AM GMT, APR. 2 !!

*** Attention ***
It's that time again!

As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead email, inactive ftp and www sites, and empty USENET groups, allows for a better working and faster Internet.

This year, the cleaning process will take place from 12:01 a.m. GMT on April 1 until 12:01 a.m. GMT on April 2 (the time least likely to interfere with ongoing work). During that 24-hour period, five powerful Internet search engines situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any data that they find.

In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:

1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.

2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet.

3. Disconnect all disks and hard drives from any connections to the Internet.

4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way.

We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologize. However, we are certain that any inconveniences will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotsam and jetsam.

We thank you for your cooperation.

Kim Dereksen
Interconnected Network Maintenance staff,
Main branch,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sysops and others: Since the last Internet cleaning, the number of Internet users has grown dramatically. Please assist us in alerting the public of the upcoming Internet cleaning by posting this message where your users will be able to read it. Please pass this message on to other sysops and Internet users as well.

Thank you.

Hey, it’s an oldie but a goody okay… Besides, I’m on the road again…

The Grey Man- A short story…

This one didn’t make it in the book, but I thought a few of y’all might get a laugh out of it…

Petty Tyrants

The old man grumbled to himself about why he’d let Aaron and Jesse talk him into dressing up as they called it just to shoot in an old west match. Well, technically I guess it’s this Single Action Shooting Society thingie the old man thought.

He’d decided that if he was going to do it, he’d do it right, but he admitted to himself he might have gone a tad overboard. He’d gotten Toad to freshen up a pair of 1892 Colt Frontier Sixes that were in the back of the safe, and the ’73 Winchester and he’d pulled out along with great grandpa’s old Sharps Buffalo gun with the Malcolm scope on it.

Now he was trying to decide between shotguns. The Colt was nicer, but it wasn’t legal apparently, even though it was a real stage coach gun, since the barrels were only fourteen inches. Hell, it was even stamped W.F.& Co. and numbered. It’d come out of El Paso probably around 1890. He finally settled on the Remington side by side 12 gauge with eighteen inch barrels, figuring nobody could complain about it. Toad had even reloaded some of the old brass rounds for it, along with reloading the turn of the century WCC rounds for the 44-40s and 45-70. The old man laughed as he thought about Toad’s idea to use the old ammo and original boxes.

The next question was holsters. He had found his grandfather’s Sunday go to meeting El Paso Saddlery single loop holsters and belt, but the belt was a ‘bit’ short. His grandpa had been a big man for the 1890’s but he wasn’t a fat man by any means. The old man had called up to Kenny Rowe in Hope, Arkansas and Kenny agreed to do his best to make a new belt, and said he’d try to antique it to match the holsters. Knowing Kenny’s work, the old man figured a try would be better than most others, and it would be so close it wouldn’t be noticeable.

The old man chuckled as he rooted through the old trunks, thinking Not many people have three or four generations of stuff sitting in the attic or the barn, at least not over here. Raul said his family had only lived in their house for what had he said? Five hundred years, but that was in Seville, Spain. God, I wonder what he’s got in the attic? Swords? Armor?

He’d already pulled out the chaps and a vest and put neatsfoot oil on them for the last couple of weeks to get them pliable enough to wear. In a different trunk he found a pair of patched jeans and a well patched white shirt that was a close enough fit. The jeans were a little tight and a little short, but they would be tucked in the boots, old style. He debated but finally decided what the hell and went out to the barn and pulled his Kelly spurs out of the tack room. They had been a gift from his grandpa when he got his own horse and had learned how to care for it. Bouncing them in his hand, he walked across the back yard to the kitchen whistling softly.

As he walked into the kitchen he glanced up at the clock and saw that the rifle side matches were going to start in about fifteen minutes. Looking regretfully at the coffee pot, he carried the spurs in and dropped them on his bed with the rest of what he was now thinking of as the outfit. He stopped in the office long enough to swing his gunbelt around his hips, pick up the Sharps and a box of ammo and put on his hat. Telling Yogi to stay, watch, he walked out the front door and down toward the south pasture with the rifle over his shoulder and a box of rounds in his back pocket. He was surprised to see a large number of cars already in the parking area, and he looked up, checking the sky. It was what they called a blue bird day, not a cloud in the sky. It was going to be a beautiful day for shooting. As he walked down to the pasture, he saw that most of the folks were already in what they called costumes.

At the firing line, he slipped the rifle carefully in the rack and joined the people grouped around a short rotund man in a high crowned cowboy hat with a feather sticking up. He heard him say genially, “Okay folks, Mel Bristow for my sins as the regional match director, I get to come in early and run the side matches. This is the buffalo gun side match. This match will be offhand.” Some of the competitors groaned at this as he continued, “The usual rules, ten shots, two hundred yards, ten minutes, we’ve got two streamers one at one hundred yards and one at one seventy-five. Names in the hat, and I’ll draw the shooting order. Anybody with a new rifle or that hasn’t shot here before?”

The old man raised his hand, “New shooter.”

Bristow said, “Okay, I’ll get with you in just a couple of minutes.” Passing around a pad of sticky notes and a pen he continued, “Name and rifle, and drop it in the hat please.” Taking off his hat to reveal a mostly bald head, he dropped it on the bench crown up and walked over to the old man.

Noting the badge, holstered pistol and lack of costume he stuck out his hand, “Mel Bristow sir. I take it you’re a first time shooter?”

The old man laughed as he shook hands, “John Cronin. First time at trying this SASS stuff. I’ve shot a time or two. My granddaughter talked me into this and I figured why not.”

Bristow asked, “Which rifle are you shooting? I need to do a quick safety check.”

The old man turned to the rack and pulled out the ’74 Sharps, making sure the breech was open, he handed it across. Bristow took it and stepped to the firing table, whistling as he examined the rifle, “This isn’t a copy. And I’ll be damned if that isn’t an original Malcom scope!” Taking a pen light out, he positioned it in the breech and checked the bore, “Wow, this things still got good rifling. That’s amazing!” Putting the pen light away, he carefully closed the breech, cocked the hammer and gently pulled the trigger as he guarded the hammer. Handing it back to the old man he said, “That Sharps is in great shape. And the trigger isn’t a hair trigger. Seems like a lot of the old ones that were shot a lot tended to wear the sear down to damn near nothing. I take it you’re already sighted in?”

The old man took the rifle and set it back in the rack, “Yeah, I put a couple of test rounds through it. This is a family gun that’s lived in the safe for a lot of years. My grandfather only did one season shooting buffaloes before he came back to the ranch.”

Bristow said, “Well, welcome. Get your name in the hat and lets get shooting!”

There was a general shuffle as people dropped their names in the hat, and Bristow did the drawing. He scribbled out a list then said, “Okay, here we go, Hartshorn and Jessup you’re up. Eyes and ears. Let’s clear the firing line and get this show on the road. Range is hot.”

The old man was up eighth in line, and from what he could observe there were some damn good shots as most of the shots he heard the gongs ringing. The only real delay was when Bristow and the shooters had to go mark the targets and put up new ones for each subsequent relay. It was finally his turn, and he picked up the rifle and walked to the line. Sitting the cartridge box on the corner of the bench, he nodded to the lady shooting against him as Bristow said, “Shooters ready?”

The old man replied, “Shooter ready.” The lady did the same and Bristow beeped the timer. The old man took a deep breath and methodically loaded the old buffalo gun, settled into his shooting stance and put the first round down range. Hearing a clang, he smiled and did the same thing nine more times. After the tenth round, he safed the rifle and stepped back from the line then put the rifle back in the rack.

Bristow said, “That was quick! You got off ten rounds in a hair over five minutes, and all of them were hits. It’s going to take Lacy a few more minutes to finish. She usually uses every minute allowed.”

The old man shrugged, “No problem. I ain’t going anywhere.”

After everyone had shot, Bristow compiled the scores and said, “Well, looks like we’ve got a shoot off. Mister Cronin and Mister Jessup both went ten for ten in the ten ring. We’ll do five shots, five minutes, lather, rinse and repeat until one of them comes out on top. Cronin and Jessup back to the line please.”

The old man picked up his rifle and walked back to the line, told Jessup good luck and settled in. At the beep he loaded and fired, a corner of his mind noting the wind was gusting just a bit. Shots two, three and four went downrange with no problem, but the fifth shot he felt a push from the wind just as he fired. He heard the clang, but knew that one was a flyer. Turning to Bristow he said, “Well, I just lost it. That one’s a flyer.”

Bristow looked at him sharply, “You’re calling a flyer and saying you lost?”

The old man nodded, “Yep, wind gust, that’s probably a nine ring, maybe an eight.” The old man racked his rifle and waited as Jessup methodically put the last round down range. As they walked to the target, the chatted about Jessup’s costume and the old man found out Jessup had researched it up in Wyoming, and made sure it was period correct, down to the Buckskin coat and even the beading on it. Jessup admitted he was and engineers out at the tire track and the old man chuckled, “No wonder I lost, I’m up against a damn engineer. Ya can’t beat ‘em”

Jessup and Bristow both laughed, and Bristow looked at the old man as they reached the target, “You were right. Last round was a nine.” Turning to Jessup he said, “Well you did it again. Congratulations!” Bristow and the old man shook hands with Jessup and they walked back to the firing line where Bristow announced the winner for the third time in three meets.

Shouldering the rifle, the old man walked back to the house, put the rifle back in the gun safe and made a beeline for the kitchen. Getting a cup of coffee, he fed Yogi and grabbed a couple of biscuits, buttered them, dribbled some molasses on them, then sat down and relaxed. Jesse breezed in wearing a faded sun dress, a Cheyenne rig holster belted on with her great great grandma’s Single Action Army riding in the holster. She was cheerfully twirling a bonnet in her hand, “How’d you do Papa?”

The old man laughed, “Got beat by a young whippersnapper engineer. How much time before the regular shoot starts?”

Jesse looked at the clock and said, “A half hour. Are you still going to try it Papa? Please?”

The old man replied, “I’ll do it. I guess I need to change. Can’t look too modern, guess I need to look like a real cowboy.”

Jesse laughed and pirouetted, “I found one of great grandma’s sun dresses that fit. And I think this was her gunbelt too!

Looking closer he said, “Yeah, I think I remember that get up from one of the tintypes. Grandpa always said she was a pistol in more ways than one.”

Jesse headed out the door and the old man finished his coffee, put the cup in the sink, and walked slowly back to his room. Changing into the shirt and pants, he picked up the chaps, vest and spurs and walked back to the office. Laying the vest aside, he strapped the chaps on, then pulled the gunbelt from the safe along with the pistols, rifle and shotgun. He started to slip the vest on, then stopped. Looking at the bookcase, he walked over and picked up his grandfather’s Texas Ranger badge and pinned it to the vest. Looking closely, he could tell it wasn’t the first time it had been pinned on there. Slipping on the vest, he settled his hat on his head, picked up the rifle, shotgun and possibles bag with the ammunition in it. Taking a deep breath, he steeled himself and walked slowly out of the house.

Walking back down to the pasture, he saw that the parking was full and there were probably a hundred or more people milling around. He went to the gun rack and secured both the long guns, making sure to mark where he’d placed them, then wandered over where folks seemed to be gathering. He saw Bristow climb on top of a step stool and he walked closer.

Bristow welcomed everyone, introduced the range safety officers, and gave an overview of the planned activities. He was about to step down, when a dour woman standing next to him said something and he said, “Oh yeah, since this is considered a regional meet. There will be people checking costuming today. Please remain in your costumes between events. Lunch will be at noon, some good Texas BBQ and I’m already drooling.”

That prompted a few raucous comments, which he waved off while the dour woman glared at the commenters. The old man caught up with Bristow and asked, “I’m still a new shooter, do you want to safety check my other guns?”

Bristow replied, “Nah, when you get ready to shoot a stage, let the RSO know. They’ll safety check them at that time. I must say you look quite a bit different than you did earlier this morning.”

The old man chuckled, “Well, blame the granddaughter again.”

Bristow smiled, “Well enjoy yourself. We try to make these fun. And after seeing you shoot this morning, I hope you shoot as well the rest of the day.”

The old man was seeded to shoot in the third relay, so he had a little time and spent it watching what was happening at each stage. He helped reset targets and had stepped back to the concession area for a cup of coffee when he heard a sniff and a soto voice comment, “Here’s another one that can’t make up their mind what costume they want to wear.”

He turned to see the dour faced woman that had spoken to Bristow earlier standing there and he said politely, “Excuse me?”

She walked closer, two other women in tow, one with a clipboard. Looking him up and down she said, “What are you supposed to be?”

The old man asked, “What do you mean?”

She sniffed, “You’re supposed to be in character for whatever your class is. You look like you just found the cheapest stuff you could and piled it all on.” Stepping closer she flicked the badge, “This isn’t even the right badge. What is that, some cheap copy? You should have your SASS badge displayed where I can see your number.”

Stepping back she continued, “And those clothes. Try to buy stuff that is at least made here. That cheap Chinese knockoff crap not only looks bad, it won’t last through two events. Those holsters don’t look safe either. What’d you do? Run over them with a truck trying to make them look old?” She snorted a horse laugh as the other women dutifully laughed, then she turned to the one with the clipboard, “Find out who he is and write him up for inappropriate costume.”

As she started to turn away she saw Jesse coming and said, “Oh here’s another one. You’d think-“

The old man said quietly, “Who are you and what makes you think you have any say in the way I dress?”

The woman snapped around raised her voice and said, “I am Edna Bristow and I responsible for making sure people are in the correct costume. My husband is the regional match director!” That got people’s attention and the crowd in the concession area started paying attention to the confrontation.

The old man took a sip of coffee and asked, “And?”

The woman reached in her bag, pulled out a rule book and shook it at him saying, “This is what gives me the authority!”

The old man looked over at Jesse, “Go up to the old house and get the tintype off the fireplace please.” Jesse took one look at him and took off for the house as the old man continued, “So is this one of those double secret rule books that the average peon is not allowed to see?”

That prompted some laughter and a few titters from the women as Edna started turning red. She glared at him and said, “Well, somebody has to enforce the rules around here. And since my husband-”

The old man interrupted her, “So is this an appointed job, or an assumed one?” Prompting more laughter.

She sputtered, “What is your SASS number, I am going to get you disqualified!”

The old man saw Jesse coming back and stared at her until Jesse came back with the tintype. She handed it to him, he turned it around and stepped into Edna’s personal space, “You want to be precise about my costume do you?” Pushing the photo out, he said, “This is my grandfather. This picture was taken in 1898. Notice the shirt and pants?” He pulled on the shirt sleeve, “These are the same.” He pulled on the vest, “Same vest. And this badge you called a fake? It’s not. My grandfather was a Texas Ranger between 1895 and 1899. This was his badge.”

He handed the tintype back to Jesse and put his hand up as Edna started to interrupt, “I’m not done. Same holsters. Same guns. Same chaps. The only things that aren’t original 1898 are me, my underwear, boots and hat! I actually read the rule book. There aren’t any rules about costumes per se its two pages of generic stuff. The rules are more about safety and shooting.”

Edna sputtered again and the old man went on relentlessly, “Now if you want a true critique, let’s look at your costume. You look like a cross between a Mexican hooker and a storekeeper. That belt is what hookers wore back in those days to keep their money on them. They sewed the silver pesos on the belt, did you know that? I’m betting those aren’t real silver Conchos either. The blouse is wrong too. And that Buscadero rig? It’s a border rig from the 1920s, but what you’re wearing was actually designed by John Bianchi in the 1940s. And they didn’t have wrist watches in the early 1900s.”

Edna pursed her lips, glared at him and yelled, “You’re disqualified. Get out of here.” Then turned and scuttled away as the other two women stood open mouthed staring at the old man. A middle aged man stepped up beside the old man and said, “Thank you! She’s been a PITA ever since her hubby, who is actually a great guy, got selected as the regional match director.”

The old man turned to him, “Ah, I probably should have kept my mouth shut. After all, I’m not a member and this is my first time to attend one of these, so I don’t think she can disqualify me.”

The man said, “Oh she’ll try but probably not. Her hubby is going to catch and earful though. That needed to happen. I’m Jake Thorne by the way. Can I see that tintype?”

Jesse handed the tintype to him as the old man said, “John Cronin. And that picture was taken in front of the house at the top of the hill there.” Pointing at Jesse he said, “Jesse’s wearing her great great grandmother’s sundress, holster and gun.”

Thorne handed the tintype back, “Yeah, kinda hard to argue with that. Are those the actual guns?”

The old man nodded, “Yep, and the Winchester in the picture is sitting over in the gun rack.”

Thorn asked, “You’re going to shoot them? They’re not just for show?”

The old man laughed, “Oh hell yes I’m going to shoot them. They’re tools, and tools need to get exercised occasionally. These haven’t been.” Looking over at the firing line, he said, “And it looks like my relay is up. Excuse me, and nice to meet you.” With a wave, the old man trotted over to the firing line.

After the relay brief, he took his place in line, the RSO safety checked his weapons and was getting ready to shoot when Edna strode up and told the RSO, “That man,” pointing at the old man, “Is disqualified. I’ve already told him to leave. I’m going to call the police and get him escorted off the property. Do not let him shoot.”

The RSO looked at the old man and said, “What’s going on?”

The old man laughed, “Apparently I questioned her authority and she didn’t like it.”

The RSO said, “I need to talk to the match director-”

The old man interrupted, “Yes, lets. I believe that’s a mister Bristow? Please get him over here. I’ll wait right here.”

Moments later, Mel Bristow came hurrying over closely followed by Edna. There was a hurried conference off to the side as Jesse came up with the old man’s radio saying, “Papa, its dispatch. They want to talk to you.”

The old man keyed the radio, “Dispatch go for Cronin.” As he did so, Bristow, his wife and the RSO came over.

Dispatch replied, “Captain, we got a call from a female named Bristow that there were some problems with a crazy man out there that needed to be removed from the property. Can you handle it or do we need to send a unit?”

Edna turned dead white and her husband looked at her in amazement, “You didn’t say that did you?” He asked. The RSO took a step back, trying to distance himself as Bristow grabbed his wife by the arm and pulled her off to the side.

The old man keyed the radio and said, “Ah, Dispatch, situation is under control. Minor misunderstanding. No need to respond a unit.”  Handing the radio back to Jesse he said to the RSO, “Now I believe I’m up?”

The RSO looked over at the Bristows, gulped and said, “Shooter ready?”

The old man shot the stage clean, but didn’t run between the rifle, pistol and shotgun portions, which caused him to lose time, but he didn’t care. It was all about giving the tools a workout and getting a chance to do a fun and challenging shoot. When his time was called, he was four seconds slower than the fastest time he’d heard, so he figured that put him about mid-pack. But the guns functioned flawlessly. Not bad for four guns over a hundred years old being shot by an old man.

The old man eased out of the crush of people and carried the rifle, shotgun and his possibles bag back toward the house after Jesse had her turn, getting a lot of friendly nods and thank you’s along the way. He couldn’t figure out why until later in the afternoon when the plaques were handed out. Mel Bristow was nowhere to be found, and neither was Edna. Apparently they’d left early and Hartshorn a shooter he remembered from the side match this morning was acting as the MC.

The old man was even more surprised to hear his name called, and he walked curiously to the firing line to hear, “Mister John Cronin. The fastest Senior Silver shooter.” Hartshorn presented the old man with a small plaque and stopped him as he started to walk off, “Would Mrs. Jesse Miller come up here now.”

Hartshorn clicked the mic off as they waited for Jesse to wind her way through the crowd. He leaned over and said, “Heard about what you did to Edna. Glad you did it. She works as a DMV supervisor over in New Mexico and has been on a power trip ever since Mel took over as regional match director. Mel told me he’s going to resign and he’ll write you a formal apology for what happened today. Maybe it’ll teach Edna a lesson, she sure as hell needed one. Nobody wanted to question her authority and risk pissing off Mel.

Jesse finally made it to the line and Hartshorn clicked the mic back on, “By popular acclimation, Mister Cronin and Mrs. Miller win for the most authentic costumes. And I think they win for the most authentic weapons too.” Everybody cheered at that, and Hartshorn asked, “Just out of curiousity sir, what’s the newest thing you shot today?”

The old man looked at Jesse who just smiled. He took the mic and said, “Well I guess it was the ammo. It was made in nineteen oh six.” Another round of laughter followed and he continued, “The newest gun was probably Jesse’s it’s a nineteen oh three SAA. The rifle we both shot is an eighteen seventy-six model seventy-three, and the shotgun was an eighteen ninety Remington side by side.”

He handed the mic back and he and Jesse moved slowly through the crowd. All in all, it’d been a pretty good day. He thought grandpa would probably have approved. Now he was looking forward to a piece of pie and a cup of coffee.

Note: This isn’t meant as a dig as SASS per se, but it fit the story line of the books. I have talked to friends who are SASS shooters, including Bill Froelich, who’ve had numerous funny stories about costumes and EOT.

Husar’s Laws, Part 12…

  • I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
  • Every day I beat my own previous record for the number of consecutive days I’ve stayed alive.
  • No one ever says “It’s only a game!” when their team is winning.
  • Ever notice that people who spend money on beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets are always complaining about being broke and not feeling well?
  • How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.
  • Marriage changes passion… suddenly you’re in bed with a relative.
  • Why is it that most nudist are people you don’t want to see naked?
  • Every time I walk into a singles bar I can hear Mom’s wise words: “don’t pick that up; you don’t know where it’s been!”
  • My name is laxative, I make crap happen.
  • The only reason a person hides things is because they have something to hide.
  • My wife and I had words, but I didn’t get to use mine.
  • The irony of life is that by the time you’re old enough to know your way around, you’re not going anywhere.
  • Every morning is the dawn of a new error.
  • I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
  • Aspire to inspire before you expire.
  • You can either agree with me or be wrong.
  • All generalizations are false.
  • Learn from your parents’ mistakes – use birth control.
  • Rehab is for quitters.
  • I get enough exercise just pushing my luck.

YGTBSM!!!

By direction, the Pentagon declassified information on the Israeli nuclear program last week…

It didn’t get a lot of play in the MSM here, but other places it got a LOT of play…

One link HERE.

It’s time BO stopped acting like a three year old and throwing tantrums, when he doesn’t get his way! Things like this release WILL upset the balance of power, not only in the middle east, but world wide if our partner nations believe (with good cause) their secrets are only a tantrum away from being made public.

Of particular interest, ONLY the Israeli data was declassified, not the other NATO nations.

Another thing this does is, IMHO, remove ANY mitigating influence the US might have had with Israel going forward, and I think the first time we’re going to know when Israel decides to strike will be the glow of the explosions and fires.

And I also believe it will cause other allies to step further away from us, and reduce their intel/data sharing with us. This will leave America blind and dumb as the terrorists (radical Islamic and otherwise) continue to ramp up threats/attacks against Americans and America. We have been luckier than the law allows, considering that only 9/11 has truly been a measure of success for them. We haven’t seen the suicide bombers in the malls, or attacks on the water supply or grid or transportation.

But without that ‘leading’ intel, it gets much harder to stop it. If/when it happens, I believe the blame should lie at BO’s feet because of what he and his administration have done.

Okay, I’m done…

morning after 3

Finished the first draft of The Grey Man- Changes last night…

Now comes the ‘fun’ part (yeah, right)… Editing…

Just shoot me now!

Thanks to those I’ve bugged for technical support, questions, and what ifs…

Now I’m going to actually read it (scary thought isn’t it), and get it out to the alpha readers, probably early next week.

Once I get that feedback, and make all those corrections, it will be off to the professional editor for a month or so.

Then it will go to the beta readers, and another round of editing.

Preliminary discussions are underway for the cover, and it will be as good as both of the previous  ones! :-)

I’m thinking it will probably be a June release, if I can get my act together.

Thanks to all of you who’ve purchased, read and reviewed the two previous books. Hopefully this one will meet your expectations too!

Sighting in a scope…

I got an email asking about this, and hadn’t posted anything gun related in a while. I think I originally posted this back in 2010… Anyhoo…

Tips, tricks and lessons learned…

Sighting in rifles is always interesting, even more with scopes.  Here’s what I’ve learned over (mumble) years of screwups, multiple tries, and lots of help from people that actually KNOW what they are doing…

1st assumption- You have already bore sighted, laser sighted, used a collimator to get the sights/scope pretty close to on…

2nd assumption- You have reviewed your ballistics tables for the round you are going to zero/hunt with (and it’s the same round).  You’ve recorded the altitude, weather (temp, humidity, etc.).  This becomes the base for the ‘dope’ for that rifle/scope/round combo.  If you know you are zeroing at/near sea level, and know you will be hunting at 4-6000 feet of altitude, you will know what corrections you will need when you get on site to re-zero the rifle.

Set up-

Target- Use a target that has the 1 inch blocks printed on the target, makes it MUCH easier to determine how far off one is…

Spotting scope- Nice to have, or you’re gonna be doing a LOT of walking back and forth…

Rifle Rest-  If you are using something like a Caldwell’s Lead Sled (which are NICE, but pricey), don’t exceed 25 lbs of weight on the sled. You DO want the rifle to be able to recoil at least a little bit. If you put too much weight on it, you risk damaging the stock due to the action and recoil lug slamming back into the stock with NO movement (remember, most rifles are NOT fully bedded so only screws and the recoil lug are the only thing holding them in the stock).  You want the front arm to hold the rifle as near the barrel end of the scope as possible, and seated as well as possible in the pad; for the butt, place it firmly into the pad and rest your shooting hand on the rifle, use the other hand to manipulate the front arm to get the proper height and aimpoint for the rifle.

If you use a bipod for the front, you are stuck with its position on the forward end of the stock.  if you use a tripod /rifle rest/sandbag  for the front, position it at the barrel end of the scope, or just forward of the receiver group at the thickest part of the stock (this should also be just forward of the balance point of the rifle).   For the butt, use your choice of bags, but here is where it gets interesting…

Use the bags to get the proper aim point WITHOUT having to squeeze the bags.  What you want to get in either case is a STABLE, REPEATABLE position for the rifle.  Trust me, you can’t do that if you’re sitting there trying to squeeze a bag up, or pressing down to try to ‘flatten’ one out to get your aim point.

Clean barrel or fouling shots-

You can clean your barrel with acetone to remove the light oil you (hopefully) put in the rifle the last time you cleaned it.  One patch with acetone should remove the oil and allow a ‘clean’ shot on the first shot.  If you choose fouling shots, run a clean patch through the bore before you start, then 2-3 fouling shots (don’t look at this as a group, because they may be flyers).

Wait 20 minutes…  Why?  Give the rifle time to cool down. You want to shoot what are effectively cold bore shots out of any rifle that doesn’t have a heavy barrel (heavy barreled rifles have a different procedure).

If you’re bored, go google rifle barrel harmonics- Harmonics and barrel flex are real, and play a significant part in rifle accuracy (more on that later).  Also, heat weakens the barrel and allows more flex/harmonics (e.g. wider pattern of flyers).  It may be that your rifle doesn’t ‘like’ a particular load, so it is always advisable to have at least a couple of different weight bullets available to check grouping  (for example, my rifle does not like 168gr bullets, but does like 173-175 gr bullets (to the tune of about ½ inch tighter groups; while a friend with the identical rifle is just the opposite).

Body position-

Get into a comfortable, stable shooting position, minimizing tension on the body (preferably similar to the shooting position you will use in the field).  Confirm your sight picture is correct or adjust as required (no squeezing the bag)…

Do NOT put your off hand on the weapon anywhere, put it flat on the shooting bench or curled under your shooting hand.  WITH THE CHAMBER EMPTY, assume the position, get a good cheek weld, put your shooting hand on the weapon such that your palm is touching the stock in the proper position to place your finger on the trigger, DO NOT wrap your thumb over the top of the stock.  Re-confirm your sight picture is correct or adjust as required (no squeezing the bag), (some people use mnemonics to confirm position, breathing, trigger pull), continue pulling the trigger until you get a surprise break on the dry fire (the sight picture should NOT change).  Look at the sight picture again, if it is off to either side, you are not getting a straight pull back on the trigger and your rounds are NOT going to go where you think you’re aiming.

Lather, rinse, repeat until you get the correct finger position that does not move the rifle/change the sight picture during the trigger squeeze.  Once you have done that, fire three rounds using exactly the same sight picture, hold, mnemonic, and trigger pull.

Note- you don’t need to do this fast, as you want the barrel to stay at/near ambient.

If you shoot a called flyer, shoot one more to get a good three shot group.

Once you have that group, look at the error (hopefully a fairly small one).  Let’s say you are 2 in high and 1 in left.  Make the BIGGER correction first, and shoot three more rounds (using the techniques above).  Confirm that correcting ‘worked’, then make the smaller correction and repeat.  At this point you ‘should’ be on target.  If your scope is a ¼ min/click you can further refine if you desire, if it’s 1min/click, you’re done, same if it’s iron sights.

I know people claim they can zero a rifle in 2 shots, but honestly I’ve never been able to do that… Guess I’m just a dummy…

If you need to zero for 200x and only have a 100x range, look at your ballistics curve for the ammo you are shooting, look at your 200x zero and it will give you the ‘over’ at 100x (usually around an inch with most ammo).

Very carefully loosen the caps on your scope and readjust to the new zero position and re-tighten as necessary.  If you have a BDC cap, I’d recommend another three shot group with a different range to check zero (e.g. select 300x BDC and the rounds should be appx 2-3 inches high depending on ballistics table).

If you have standard caps, I’d recommend zero of 200x for hunting as anything between 100x and 300x will hit within about +/-3 inches of aim point across those ranges with most ammunition.

The next thing is to shoot the gun in the position I will be using it in the field. I’ll usually take three shots to confirm my zero.

NOTE: If your zero is significantly off, you may need to rezero using your shooting position instead of a bench position! I have seen this happen once, with a gent that put the front rest all the way out at the end of the forestock on a Winchester.

At this point, I’m done; I don’t clean the rifle again until hunting is complete for the year.  I also will always do at least one cold bore shot at 100x before I go into the field to hunt, just to make sure nothing got knocked loose in transit!

Disclaimer- There are tons of how to sight rifle links on the net, and plenty of forums and blogs that detail this also.  These happen to be mine, based on MY experiences.  YMMV, INAL, etc… :-)

Shoot em good folks!

TBT…

Skool days

When I went to elementary school in Louisiana, these WERE the desks we had…

School desks

And how many people remember this stuff… It usually stuck to everything EXCEPT what you were actually trying to glue together…

School glue

I remember these things hanging over the blackboard and us trying to learn to write cursive. I think it was around third grade.

School wall

And last but not least… Crayons! :-)  All eight of them… If I remember correctly, Mrs. Nixon our teacher passed out one box to each of us the first day of school.

 

crayola

I can still remember that smell… Takes me back to being an 8 year old kid…

That was the year Crayola came out with the first 64 pack of colors. But they were EXPENSIVE… I think they were a dollar…

It’s all about the money…

Talking with a friend at lunch yesterday, I found out he’s retiring early. It seems his company lost the contract for support to another company that underbid them by a considerable amount, even though they’ve been the incumbents for 15 years, and done an outstanding job.

Said company apparently has no footprint in the area, and is ‘offering’ to keep some of the folks on for a ‘minor’ pay cut of 30%…

This is yet another fallout of sequestration that isn’t apparent to folks outside government, but it’s costing people their jobs and in some cases ending long term relationships with various governmental organizations.

He’s in the ‘know’ so to speak, and said the direction from the powers that be was money was the driving force in the selection process. NOTHING else! Apparently said company was judged to be minimally qualified in all areas, where his company was rated outstanding in all areas… But MONEY!!!

Some fairly significant programs have effectively been shut down by this logic, as people who can do the jobs required are apparently not willing to take the pay cuts, nor or they willing to ‘extend’ for a month or two to train their replacements (who apparently in some cases have NO experience).

I’m also hearing the government is now apparently capping pay individuals can earn as contractors/consultants at the equivalent of a fully-loaded GS-15, ($170835) which seems like a lot until you start figuring out the various rates/calculations that go into contracted labor rates.  Pretty much a standard multiplier is 2.0-2.5% so dividing by .23 yields a rate of $74276, which is significantly less than the $130000 range most of the very senior/experienced PHD contractors make. I can’t think of many folks who are willing to take an almost 50% pay cut to continue to work in these highly stressful jobs. I’ve also heard of at least six PHDs that I personally know that have left government to return to academia sighting the pressures and ‘unrealistic’ expectations of management in the last two years.

If you really want to get down in the weeds, HERE is a Project on Government Oversight (POGO) report from 2013.

Much of the contracting lies at the feet of Bill Clinton, who ‘cut’ the size of the federal government by cutting positions (inside the government), which were immediately turned into contractor positions at 1.5-2.0 times the salary in the next weeks.

Realistically, due to the cuts in active duty military personnel, and reductions in workforce structure inside the government to ‘try’ to comply with personnel costs, there is no workable path forward for the Defense Department to functionally manage the levels of complexity today. We’ve all seen the cost over-runs, the contracting nightmares, etc. Why do they occur?

Simple- When you only pay for a mid-grade contracts specialist, and an even lower grade analyst, you don’t get the quality of personnel to actually MANAGE large, sometimes multi-billion dollar projects. And when you only have three or four people to ‘monitor’ two-four projects that large, what do you think happens?

The contractors have entire TEAMS of accountants and lawyers doing that billing and oversight. They’re going to bill everything allowable under the contract to the benefit of the contractor.

Of course all this is happening at the same time as entitlements continue to rise, and there doesn’t seem to be any ‘controls’ in place on that side of the contracting…

Funny isn’t it???

I really need to make notes…

You know how you tend to misplace and/or forget things?

Yeah, that feeling…

Well, I got a package in the mail, had no idea what it was. Hauled it in the house, finally got around to opening it, and NOW I remember…

Hint- It’s the one on top…

knives 1

It’s the big brother to the one I bought last year from Gordon Graham.knives 2

And here’s a close up of the two blades. Both are Damascus. The Bowie is in what is called ladder style, the lower in tiled style.

IMG_2134Fantastic work, and believe it or not, these are working knives.

I really need to keep better track of things… sigh…

Husar’s Laws, Part 11…

  • Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $4500 per month.
  • My grandpa starting walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he’s 97 and we have no idea where the hell he is.
  • I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
  • I have to walk early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
  • If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
  • We all get heavier when we get older because we have more information in our heads. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. It is easier to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.
  • Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.
  • The things that come to those who wait may be the things left by those who got there first.
  • I finally got my head together and now my body is falling apart
  • A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.
  • Wisdom is divided into two part: (a) having a great deal to say, and (b) not saying it.
  • There are two sides to every divorce: yours and shithead’s
  • The closest I ever got to a 4.0 in college was my blood alcohol level.
  • I live in my own little world but it’s OK, everyone knows me here.
  • Money can’t buy happiness but it sure make misery easier to live with.
  • I got a sweater for Christmas. I really wanted a screamer or a moaner.
  • If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the “terminal”?
  • I don’t approve of political jokes. I’ve seen too many of them get elected and re-elected.
  • If life deals you lemons, make lemonade. If life deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Mary’s.