Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bullet Bouquets

Note: this is a completely unsolicited review - I saw the product and fell in love.

While waiting for the Garth Brooks concert to start a couple of weeks ago, I was flipping through Facebook and saw the coolest thing ever. A flower pot with beautiful flowers that would never wilt or die, made by Bullet Bouquets.

Photo cred: Bullet Bouquet's FB page
I had to have one of these bouquets, so I told Jay that's what he needed to get me for our anniversary next month.  But I just couldn't let it go - I mean, look at how cute that is!  The .22 brass "soil" and perfectly "bloomed" copper jacketed hollow points.  It's perfect.

Because I couldn't let it go, I placed an order to give to a friend.  You know, to just see if I liked it in person as much as in the picture before I told Jay that he really, really needed to get me some of these flowers that will never wilt.

I literally placed the order on my way home from the Garth Brooks concert.  I couldn't even wait until the next morning to place the order, I was that impatient.

I placed the order early, early on Wednesday morning and had it by Monday.  I probably got lucky in the quick shipping because they are a Colorado company, so the distance was pretty short.

Even though I bought it as a gift I had to open it.  You know, just to make sure it wasn't damaged in shipping.  They had it packaged carefully in bubble-wrap, with the "dirt" in its own little bag to add after the flowerpot was unpacked.  I shouldn't have worried about the packing, because these bouquets are actually very sturdy.

I assembled it by pouring the "dirt" into the pot and let it sit on my desk for a couple of days.  When I started to think that maybe the present I'd gotten for someone else looked really good on my work desk, I packed it back up so as not to give into the temptation of keeping it.

I gave it to Tara to keep on her desk as she's writing and she was every bit as delighted with it as I was.

The quality was great, it wasn't flimsy at all, and I got it in a timely manner.  I definitely recommend this company to anyone who wants to give a great gift to the shooter in their lives.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kitchen Adventures with GunDiva

While at SHOT Show, Mez and I talked to the folks from Multiple Impact Bullets.  I was intrigued.  Having been in medicine for the better part of my life, I wanted to know what on earth the tethered fragments would do to a body.  I had seen videos of people shooting paper targets with them, and the targets always ended up with a neat little Y-incision like in an autopsy.  I wanted to know what it would do to tissue, only I didn't want to know badly enough to get shot with one.

I considered testing them on a pig body, but came to my senses when I priced what a pig would cost.  Same with a side of beef.  Way too much money for something I wasn't going to be able to eat when I was finished with the testing.  That left ballistic gel.  Ideally, and in a perfect world, I would have bought one of these, but I'm pretty sure that if a dead pig or cow was out of my budget these would be too.

That left me with making my own ballistic gel, as the blocks you can buy weren't big enough to do what I wanted to.  The spread of the Multiple Impact bullet in a .45 ACP is 12", and out of a 12 ga shotgun is 24".  The 6"x6"x16" FBI blocks weren't going to be big enough to catch the spread, and at over $100 a piece I wasn't willing to buy enough to stack to make a big enough block.

So to the Google I went and found this recipe.  It look simple enough, and I had some time on my hands.  I wasn't worried about the depth of penetration of the rounds, I wanted to see how or if the tethers tore through the soft tissue.

I bought enough of the ingredients to make four gallons of the stuff, to be divided into pans that were 19"x11.5"x3".  I figured I could stand them side-by-side and it would almost be big enough.

All the mixing bowls I could find - and I still didn't have enough!


My fridge was taken over by the blooming gelatin.

After allowing the gelatin to bloom for two hours, it needed to be reheated to be poured.
Four gallons only filled two of my pans.  I was hoping for more, but glad to get what I did.

Back in the fridge for thirty-six hours.

Oops, I broke one.
I did not adequately plan for the amount of fridge space that making so much gel would require and condensed all of my food to one small shelf and the crisper drawers.

It was a fun experiment and if I ever decide to do it again, I'll decrease the amount of liquid in the gel to firm it up a bit more and use a better size form.  I think it would have been more stable in a block rather than a sheet.  It mostly served its purpose and we were able to get some video and pics (which will be posted later, as I have a lot of footage to edit and I'm very slow at it.).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Freedom


I've been absent from writing for close to two years now, and my New Year's Resolution was to break that streak.  I will ask for your patience, and forgiveness, as I try to remember the English language, grammar, and attempt to keep my resolution.

Earlier today I read an interesting proposition regarding our firearms freedoms.   Why shouldn't all prospective gun owners be forced to submit to a mental health screening and firearms safety classes?  The writer of the comment had allowances for the poorer among us so they wouldn't be left out.  There were many responses to this inquiry, all of which were civil and well reasoned.   I was a late arrival to that thread, but the big blaring, missing argument was freedom.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom

noun
1.
the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint:
He won his freedom after a retrial.
2.
exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3.
the power to determine action without restraint.
4.
political or national independence.
5.
personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery:
a slave who bought his freedom.
6.
exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed byfrom):
freedom from fear.
7.
the absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.

Freedom is a simple word with a very powerful meaning. I am particularly fond of the 2nd definition. "Exempt from external control, interference, regulation, etc."  As gun lovers,  the definition of freedom should become our first and foremost argument when confronting the Anti gun argument.   However, when we use this explanation it can't be with the simplistic "Because I'm free".  That argument would be correct, but falls short of educating the public about the rights reaffirmed by the Constitution, and not granted by it.  
First common  mistake - the bill of rights are not granted by the Constitution, but reaffirmed by it. The Constitution prevents our own Government from taking away these liberties, but it does not keep the politician from trying.
"The Power to determine action without restraint." If I am free, how do I reconcile freedom of firearms ownership with seeking permission from the Government to purchase a firearm?  Why is the Government qualified to determine what guns I can and cannot own.  Why is the Government qualified to tell me what accessories I can or cannot have?
Have you ever looked at the ballot for an election, any election, and looked at all the amendments and ballot measures and thought to yourself that too many people want to save you from yourself?  I understand protecting the young, the immature, the elderly and those that cannot protect themselves, but have ever thought of this as the public execution of your freedom?   
 "The state of being free or at liberty rather than confinement or under physical restraint" 
You are undoubtedly familiar with the phrase "Freedom is not free".   We usually associate that saying with the lives of our troops lost in battle.  However, I believe it also ties directly to the lives lost when criminals use guns to break the law, or when drunks drive on suspended licenses...for the 3rd time.  Furthermore, it is a price we pay for living in an open society where offensive speech is protected, where under the guise of religious freedoms organizations display hatred and protest the lives of our fallen heroes and rant about the sexual orientation of other citizens.  Freedom does come with a steep price, but the cost of loosing freedom is steeper still.
Tomorrow - Live Free!  
The day after that....buy a 30 round AR Magazine just because.   You know where you can get them.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Presbyopia

I had a very rare free night last week that enabled me to go blow off a little steam at the range. It had been a while since I had had a chance to play with my Ruger 22/45. Several months, in fact. I had upgraded the sights to the fiber optic front/v-notch rear sights that come standard on the Mark III Hunter sometime since the last range trip, and I was anxious to get it zeroed and see how they performed.

More importantly, I was anxious to see how I would perform. And not just because of the cobwebs that accumulate on the skills from lack of use either. The reason for the anxiousness (and the upgraded sights) is that my eyesight has been slowly getting worse, and I needed to see if the new sights would help or make things worse.

After reveling in perfect to near perfect eyesight all my life, I was slightly dismayed a few years ago to get the verdict from the eye doc that I was now farsighted with 20/25 vision. Okay, that's not the end of the world and well short of being legally blind. What he didn't tell me (or, perhaps, I didn't hear) was that presbyopia comes with the aging process.

Why is this important to shooters, you might ask? (you really should be asking, by the way)

For those not yet initiated or familiar with this "harmless" condition, presbyopia "is a condition associated with aging in which the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects." (source Wikipedia) See where this is going yet (no pun intended)? Yep, for me, everything inside of arm's length (and I've got a pretty generous wingspan), more or less, is a blur. That includes the front sight on most weapons.

Yes, my love affair with parentheticals marches on gleefully unabated (I would seek therapy, but where's the fun in that?)

Anywho, the sight upgrade was an experiment to see if the fiber optic front sight would stand out better to my, now less capable, eyes than the standard black front blade sight since focusing on the front sight is one of the cornerstones of proper marksmanship fundamentals.

And the short answer is...not so much.

In fact, if anything, the bright red front fiber optic sight was BLURRIER than the standard, black, front blade sight. Of course, that could just be my perception/memory from the last range trip many moons ago.

The blurriness made sighting in a chore until I bowed to the inevitable and put my cheater readers on under my safety glasses. It was a little awkward, but man was that front sight SHARP with the cheaters on. Of course, with the cheaters on, there was no distinguishing the point of aim at the target except in the most general sense of the word. There was a target shaped blob down range. Beyond that, it was put the front sight in the general middle and hope for the best.

So, no, there will be no photos of targets today.

I will, gratefully, tell you that all rounds found the target. I could manage a quarter sized hole at 3 yards. At 7 yards, the dispersion was not hideous with some rounds touching and others at least in the same zip code. At 15 yards, things were starting to really open up a bit (though not quite to shotgun pattern status), and I didn't press my luck at 20 yards.

That brings us to the $64,000 question of what do I (or anyone else with a similar problem) do about it.

The most expensive option is Lasik surgery. Not in the cards for me right now.

Next up is eyewear. Progressive (i.e. bifocals and no line bifocals) lenses are supposedly a viable workaround for the problem. I will be discussing this with my eye doc the next time I see which will be after I get a full time job again with the associated health and vision coverage.

Another option is to go with optics. The 22/45 has a rail on it which Ruger thoughtfully included in the box. I have a cheap red dot that I bought for it. Let's just say I was underwhelmed (perhaps I need to revisit it again with a renewed interest).

Red dots have their pluses and minuses like any other system. All but the best can be prone to washing out in bright sunlight. They require batteries (unless you want to drop over $1000 on an ACOG). Depending on the dot size, they are less precise than scopes. On the plus side, they put the target and the reticle on more or less the same focal plane which is where they become of interest to me. For a competition or bedside gun, this may not be a bad option.

Since this is not a home defense or low light gun, a handgun scope may be a better solution for this particular gun. Scopes are great for precision. Speed...not so much. Perhaps with practice, speed would improve. Then again, perhaps speed is overrated since the objective is to put rounds on target with precision.

Bottomline, if you are middle aged or getting there as fast as you can, it's probably a good idea to start thinking about how your eyesight is going to change as you age and how it will impact your ability to shoot. There are solutions, but you need to think about which will be the best for you for each application.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Podcast with Molon Labe Forum

Molon Labe Forum - Powered by vBulletin

Mez and I were lucky enough to spend some time talking with the gents from Molon Labe Forum.  One of my favorite things about SHOT Show is that we're surrounded by friendly, like-minded people.  Making that trip every year is like attending a family reunion.

If you're interested, and have a bit of time to eavesdrop in our conversation, click here.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

SHOT Show 2015: Various new items

This post will be a broad catchall for various manufacturers.  I do not have many pictures, if at all, due to the fact the resident photographer was not able to attend due to work commitments, not due to my laziness to take them.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

That being said, Most of the major manufacturers were disappointing in they had little that was new or revolutionary some of it was down right crap catering to tacti-cool instead of practical and useful.  Most of the new, innovative products came from small shops that will be highlighted in other posts.
In light of that, here are some cool items from various manufacturers.


Browning: (www.browning.com)

Browning introduced a new 1911.  The 1911 - .380.  It is a 2/3 size 1911 chambered in .380.   This is a re-chambering of their 2/3 size .22 that has been out for years.
This is a neat product I want to check out in more detail myself.  It sits well in the hand, it a little larger than the standard pocket .380, but smaller than a full size gun.
I think it will do well as a concealed carry gun or as a fun range toy, even as training gun for new shooters who may not be able to hold onto a fullsize 1911 in .45.

Check it out, it is a cute little gun and I have high hopes for it.


Ruger: (www.Ruger.com)

Ruger came out with a long list of new items for 2015.  Some items are very interesting.

1. BX-25 trigger assembly for the 10/22 rifles.  One of the big problems with the standard 10/22 rifle is the trigger.  It sucks.  Normally you call Volquartsen and buy one of their custom triggers, but those are $250 dollars and not very cost effective unless you are building a custom precision 10/22.  In comes the BX-25 trigger.  This is a factory produced trigger that gives  you a 2.5 - 3.5 pound trigger with a crisp, clean break.  All for $90.  Much better value than Volquartsen.
I look forward to checking this out for my 10/22.

2. Trigger for the AR-15 rifle.  Ruger has introduced their own trigger for the AR15 rifle.  The sample I tried was very nice.  If you are looking for a trigger upgrade for your AR, Ruger now gives you an option.

3. 10/22 Charger pistol.  Ruger has brought the Charger 10/22 pistol back but in a take-down version.  Combine this with the new BX-25 trigger assembly and you have a nice little .22 pistol that breaks down and is very back-packable.

4. LCR revolver now in 9mm.  Normally this polymer frame snub-nose revolver comes in .38 special and .357.  Now Ruger has chambered it in the popular 9mm cartridge.
It uses a moon clip to allow the cases to be easily ejected.
If you already shoot a 9mm pistol and want to try a snub-nose revolver but don't want to buy/reload for a different caliber, now's your chance.  Check out the LCR in 9mm.

5. LCP .380 pistol with improved trigger and better sites.  One of the problems with the LCP pistol is the uncomfortable trigger and crappy sights.  Ruger has now fixed these issues.
You might want to reconsider the Ruger LCP with these upgrades.

6. LC9 pistol - Now the favorite LC9 pistol comes with the option of a manual safety.

7. Synthetic stock for the Ruger Scout rifle.  This less expensive polymer stock replaces the heavier wood laminate stock but also lowers the cost of the rifle.

8. Wood laminate stock with adjustable length of pull now available in the 77 series bolt action rifles.
The length of pull is adjusted through the use of spacers.  Similar to what is used on the Scout rifle.

9. Bearcat .22 revolver now has optional adjustable sights.


Mossberg: www.mossberg.com

1. Chassis system for the MVP line of bolt action rifles.  This was a common theme for SHOT 2015, many manufacturers were putting their bolt action rifles into chassis systems and this included Mossberg.  This is good for target shooters as you can choose your grip and buttstock to semi-customize the rifle to fit you.  And get the benefits of a fully free-floated barrel and the ability to add tacti-dodads such as lights or other optics such as night vision.

2. Fiber optic peep sight for their shotguns.  Very need and easy to see sights if you are looking for better sights for your shotgun.


IWI: The makers of the Tavor. (www.IWI.us)

1. IWI has reintroduced the Galil rifle.  The Galil Ace.  For those who don't know what a Galil is, it is an Israeli designed/built AK-47 rifle.  So whats the big deal, it's just another AK right?  Nope, the Galil is an AK-47 built right.  The Galil Ace now fixes many of the ergonomic short comings of the original Galil without sacrificing  quality or accuracy.
If you love the AK platform of rifles and want something that has better ergonomics and ability to attach optics and lights and other tacti-dodads, look at the IWI Galil.  It just may be what you are looking for.


Cimarron:  www.cimarron-firearms.com

1. Short stroke hammer system on cowboy revolvers.  This system is primarily designed for the mounted cowboy shooters who need to hold onto their guns while riding.  The hammer is shorter and wider and the cocking stroke has been reduced to make it easier to cock the gun.
It does eliminate the safety notch, but this is not a problem as competitors only load 5 rounds in the gun anyway.

2. Possible octagon barrel on their revolvers.  This is not officially in the catalog, but it should be.  Please pester Cimarron to add this to the lineup.  The octagon barrel is very sexy.





Winchester Ammunition:  www.winchester.com

1. .17 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum)

A couple of years ago, Winchester introduced a new rimfire cartridge aimed at giving varmint hunters closer to centerfire performance while still using the rimfire package. 
In comes the 17 WSM.  It fires a 20 grain bullet at 3000 feet per second or a 25 grain bullet at 2600 feet per second.  Think of it as a 17 HMR on steroids.  
This additional velocity should extend your effective range to 200-300 yards with a flatter trajectory and more energy (400 Ft-Lbs at muzzle, 200 Ft-Lbs at 200 yards) than the standard 17 HMR or .22 Magnum cartridges.  

If you are looking for more power out of your rimfire, then take a look at the 17 WSM.
I am now seeing the ammunition show up in stores.  Pricing is approximately $16-$20 per box of 50 rounds.  Not outrageous giving the power and performance.  If you want more performance you are stuck going to a centerfire round.  





By: Mez
02/08/2015

SHOT Show 2015: Unique-ARs - making your AR personal and sexy


The AR15 rifle is one of the most popular and most sold rifles in America today.  One of the problems with the AR is it is made of Aluminum and Polymer parts.  It is very difficult to customize these materials unlike a fine piece of wood. 
You can Cerakote your AR rifle almost any color or colors you want but that is basically the extent to beautify your rifle. 

Now with Unique-ARs (www.Unique-ARs.com) you can truly make your AR rifle your own.  Unique-ARs makes handguards with various designs for your rifle.
Choose from an off the shelf pattern or have your own design made into your handguard.  They can even drill and tap your handguard if you need to add picatinny rails for additional accessories. 

If you don’t like the basic black they can anodize or Cerakote your handguard and rifle to your liking.

Pricing will start at approximately $175 and goes up depending on the complexity of the design.  But this is on par with any other freefloat handguard you will buy on the market.  As comparison the new keymod handguards by BCM or Midwest Industries are $260 and $230 respectively.  Unique-ARs is very cost competitive especially since you are getting a custom handguard. 

Below are some samples of what Unique-ARs can do for you and your rifle. 
Who says Aluminum and plastic has to be dull and boring?










By: Mez
02/08/2015