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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 114-----------DECEMBER 2011

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

December 11, 2011

My Brother Ed already dinged me via email on December 7th, about the lack of a current newsletter, saying, "Serious writers never take a holiday."

The term 'serious writer' if referring to me, reminds me of an old story about a substitute piano player enlisted to play for church services when the regular pianist unexpectedly fell ill.

The Pastor announced that the opening hymn would be number 234.  The piano player tugged on the pastor's coat sleeve and whispered something in his ear.

The Pastor then said, "The piano player doesn't know hymn 234, so turn to hymn number 168."

Again the piano player tugged on the pastor's sleeve and whispered, "I don't know number 168."

Looking a bit chagrined, the pastor was forced to announce, "The piano player doesn't know hymn number 168 either."

Before the pastor could select another alternative, someone in the congregation, in a quiet but distinct voice, declared, "The piano player's a dumb-a$$!"

The pastor nearly went into apoplexy!  He quickly transitioned into 'sermon mode' and informed the congregation that such behavior is unacceptable, uncalled for, and must be corrected by apology!

Pastor shouted, "Would the person who called the piano player a dumb-a$$, please rise?"

No one stood!

"Well," the pastor declared, "Will the person next to the person who called the piano player a dumb-a$$, please rise?"

Still no one stood!

"Would the person next to the person who is next to the person that called the piano player a dumb-
a$$, please rise.

No takers!

After a long pause, a little wizened man in bib overalls arose.

He said, "Preacher, I ain't any of the ones you've asked to stand, but I do have a question.  What I wanta' know, is who's the dumb-a$$ that called this guy a piano player!"

I again have a good excuse for being late!  I've been doing some very valuable social research, so when I provide my take on this social phenomenon, I'll be forgiven, right?  I thought so.

My research has involved virtual visitation of the various Occupy Wall Street protest sites in Washington, DC, Portland, Oakland, Seattle, Boston, New York, Spokane and many other U.S. cities.  By 'virtual visitation' I mean reading newspaper accounts, televised news reports, and various internet news sources and forums .  (One thing I've noticed about the network television coverage is that the concept of 'smellivision' has apparently been perfected.  During the coverage of the protesters' camps that have been occupied for more than a few days, I could detect a strong essence of urine, feces, and toxic armpit and crotch smells seeping through the pores of my flatscreen TV!)

OK, OK!  I really couldn't smell that stuff, but you know it has to be pretty odiferous in those encampments!

Don't get me wrong here.  I sympathize and agree with the 'Occupiers' in much of what they are protesting, at least when I can understand what they say they want.  (I find some of the 'wants' rather nebulous and difficult to understand.)

The undue influence of the almighty dollar when it comes to the decisions made by our elected representatives is, has been, and will continue to be a threat to the well being of our country unless we change the way this business is done.

The concept of major manufacturing companies moving their operations offshore, raking in billions in profits, and then snaking through our elected representative's legislatively designed loopholes to avoid paying ANY taxes on those profits is wrong.

The fact that many of our elected officials expend most of their energy campaigning for re-election, fundraising, and enriching their own financial portfolio instead of representing their constituencies is wrong and immoral.

Where I begin to move away from agreeing with the 'Occupiers' is one of those more nebulous things they seem to be leaning toward.  Without really making it clear enough for me to understand, it seems that if a 1 percenter has lots, and a 99 percenter has little, the 1 percenter is supposed to share his or her 'lots' with a bunch of those 99 percenters' who have 'little.'

There are a few things that I would be interested in knowing before agreeing to this concept.  First, with respect to the 1 percenter:

bulletDid the 1 percenter obtain his or her 'lots' in a legal manner or was this piece of 'lots' obtained illegally?
bulletHas President Obama or one of his close 'progressive' advisors declared that the 1 percenter has more than enough of his or her 'lots' and should therefore be more than willing to give some away?  (OK, I threw that one in to try and get a laugh!)

Then, how about the 99 percenters:

bulletHave all the 99 percenters being considered for this largess, taken advantage of all the free public schooling available to them and then 'worked' their way through at least some higher education?
bulletHave the 99 percenters ever had an actual job or even looked for honest work?
bulletDo the 99 percenters buy, sell or use illegal drugs?
bulletAre the 99 percenters registered voters, and do they actually vote?
bulletIs the 99 percenter in this country legally?

Yes, I'm being facetious here, but it's pretty clear that the populace is fed up with the current crop of politicians in our nation's capital and their apparent fixation on doing nothing but trying to get re-elected.  This clearly needs attention.  Seems to me that this could be best addressed by un-electing a bunch of those jokers!  Is this most likely to occur by voting at the polling place or by defecating in public on the hood of a police car?

Hey, Occupiers!  Do you really want to make a difference in a major gap between some of the haves and have nots?  I'll join you in this one.  Let's stop doing things or spending money on anything that supports the lavish lifestyles of movie stars, professional athletes, illegal drug dealers, TV personalities, and recording stars.  (I started to use the word 'artists' or 'musicians' here but that would be bastardizing the terms in many cases.)

Don't go to movies and buy or rent DVDs.

Don't buy and use illegal drugs.

Don't go to professional athletic events or watch them on television.

Don't buy or listen to music performed by 'big name' recording stars.

Oh Yeah, like that's gonna happen!

Enough of that stuff!  Time to turn to other things such as our recently ended firearms whitetail deer season.  Last month I reported that my tag was the only one to be notched at the time of that writing.  Unfortunately, that remains the case as I write this.

This seemed to be an unusual year with respect to not seeing many big bucks here at the ranch, with either our eyes or the trail-cam lens.  Neither did we observe the running and chasing behavior between estrous does and their suitors as we have in the past.  One factor may have been that we were away from the house more than in past years.  Jennifer had cross country meets that took us away periodically and I continued to spend time at the Elks Lodge nearly every day.

I had hoped to have a report and post some pictures of the 2011 deer hunt out of brother Ed's Missouri hunting cabin, but haven't received anything on that yet.  Guess it's my turn to ding him about being tardy!

November 11th was the Northwest Sportsman's Club's annual fundraiser and banquet.  We bought a table for 10 and it was filled by Rick, Christi, Jennifer, Jennifer's friend Morgan, Jim and Darlene VanSlyke, Chuck and Phyllis Porter, and Ann and I.  Jim and Chuck were two of the Elks members who helped us with the gun handling instruction at our Hunter Ed classes this year.

The fundraiser was a success, which pleases us greatly because the Sportsman's Club sponsors our Hunter Ed classes and buys the materials, equipment, and supplies we use throughout the year.  Speaking of Hunter Education, our class schedule for 2012 should be finalized within the next few days, so check the Hunter Education page later this month.

I purchased several tickets to the various raffles and drawings that were offering firearms as prizes.  While I didn't win a darn thing, Rick did come away with a new gun.  The 'buy a shot glass, win a gun' drawing was for a Kel Tec Sub 16 in .223 Remington caliber.  This is a semi auto with folding stock and built in bipod.  Should be a lot of fun to shoot, but could easily burn up a lot of ammo.

Kel Tec Sub 16 in .223 Remington Caliber

My reloading project for the Weatherby Vanguard continues to languish at the end of the case preparation step.  Well that's not quite true, as I did do some research in my reloading manuals for load data that I want to try.  As I said before, I want to use some Sierra 160 grain bullets and have decided upon Ramshot Magnum powder to send them on their way.

Ramshot Magnum

Ramshot is a product of Western Powders headquartered in Miles City, Montana.  It is a spherical powder, manufactured in Belgium, and developed for medium to large capacity 'magnum' rifle cartridges.  www.ramshot.com

The data I've decided upon comes from Sierra's fifth edition reloading manual.  As per my policy, I'm not going to print actual powder charges here for fear of making a typo that provides a powder charge that someone might use and hurt themselves or their firearm.  I will describe the steps I will follow as I proceed with loading test loads.

Sierra lists their data in increments of 50 or 100 fps velocity.  For example, their data for the 7MM Remington Magnum and the 160 grain Sierra bullet, provides powder charges of Ramshot Magnum that obtained velocities of 2,900, 2,950, 3,000, 3,050, and 3,100 feet per second from their test firearm.

At this point it is critical that one keep accurate records of what goes into the test loads that you are developing.  When I began reloading as a 20 something, I thought I could remember everything about each load I was using.  WRONG!  Finding it necessary to pull bullets and discard powder because you can't remember what went into that box several months ago tends to disabuse one of that notion!

As technology develops, so do my methods of record keeping.  I designed a Word document template for a fillable form that makes it easy for me to keep track of where I am with my reloads.  In addition to detailed information about the firearm and the components being used, there is a color coded section that allows for up to five different powder charges with a space to record the velocities as each load is fired.  Here's a .tif image of the form I use.  (If you are interested in the actual template for your own use, let me know and I'll email it to you.)

Load Workup Sheet

With the actual form, you simply tab through the data entry spaces, typing in the information as you go.  Save the document and print, and you have a permanent record.  I just fold the printed copy and place it in the box with the test loads.  When I fire the rounds, I write the average velocity for each load in the appropriate space.  The worksheet is placed in a three ring binder when I'm finished.

For the Weatherby, I'll charge three rounds each of the five different powder charges listed in the manual.  To make the charging easy, and error free I'll use the PACT powder dispenser.  This piece of equipment is first set up and calibrated with my chosen powder, and then automatically dispenses the exact keyed in charge weight into the scale pan.

PACT Powder Dispenser and Scale

My method of marking these test loads is to use a Sharpie felt tip marker matching the color on the workup sheet to color the case heads.  Use 'permanent' markers for this chore, otherwise it will easily rub off as you handle the cases.  I have the press set up to seat bullets to my chosen depth as I charge each set of three cases.  (After firing the test loads, the 'permanent' marker can be removed from the case head with a quick swipe of a cloth and rubbing alcohol.)

After charging and seating bullets in my five sets of test loads, it's time to head to the shooting bench for the test firing.  I'll fire the loads over the Oehler 35P chronograph at a 100 yard target.  (See the May 2011 newsletter for operation of the Oehler chronograph.)

As each load is fired I'll compare the velocities I'm getting to the velocities of the same powder charges in the Sierra Manual.  This is the best and safest way for those of us without access to sophisticated pressure testing equipment, to make sure our reloads are operating within safe pressure limits.  Since the test firearm used by Sierra in developing the data has a 26 inch barrel and the Weatherby a 24 inch, I'll be expecting velocities from 50 to 100 fps slower than listed in the manual.

Even though three shots with each test load is not statistically reliable for evaluating best accuracy, I will be looking at the group sizes for each load.  This is often an indicator of the velocity range that will give the best accuracy from a particular rifle.  From that point, additional rounds can be loaded and tested until a combination that provides the accuracy and velocity needed for the intended purpose is found.

This month's hillbilly wisdom may not really be wisdom, but it sounds like fun!  This comes from a book of witticisms for people (like some of us) who refuse to grow old gracefully:

When I am an old coot:  "I will carry a bucket of paint in the back of my pickup truck and create handicap-parking spaces wherever I think they should be."

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

THE OL' HILLBILLY
Copyright 2002 - 2011 - All Rights Reserved

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