VOLUME 67-----------JANUARY 2008
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
January 11, 2008
Hey folks, it's a new year, and I'm gettin' slower. I suspect that either the Holiday season has kept everyone busy or nobody's readin' this stuff anyway, since I ain't heard too much bitchin'!
I have been busy, believe it or not. January 5th and 6th was our annual 'enrollment weekend' for 2008 Hunter Education classes at the Spokane Sportsman's Warehouse. Getting paperwork, enrollment forms, and materials ready for that event is a madhouse in itself. Then, along with the rest of our instructor team, I spent most of the weekend enrolling students.
We've scheduled classes for February, March, May, June, July, and August, with 20 to 25 students per class. By the end of our shift on Sunday, all classes were full except July and August. The customer service people at the store will continue the enrollment until all classes are filled. In past years, classes were full by the end of January.
I ended last month's newsletter talking about my brother Ed's hunting cabin back in Missouri, and included his email about the deer taken the first few days of hunting season. I was going to include some pictures of the deer described in Ed's email this month, but it didn't work out. I believed that the pictures were taken by, and belonged to my nephew Jason, but apparently that isn't the case. I guess the pictures were taken by one of the guest hunters, and they are stored on something called Flickr.com. In order to see the pics I would have to enroll in Flickr, put my email address on record, and I just decided not to do that. Maybe Jase will email me some pictures directly, and I can put them in later.
Y'all can stop readin' or skip ahead now if you want to, but this sparks an irresistible compulsion to get on my soapbox again for a minute!
There are those who may say I'm old fashioned. There are those who may say I'm cantankerous, opinionated, and an old fart. There are those who might even refer to me as a curmudgeon. They would all be right in all respects!
Be that as it may, I have a pet peeve about all the marketing ploys, demographic information gathering, and other attempts to figure out who I am, where I am, what my interests are, what sex I am, how old I am, and what I had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
How about the newspaper article you want to read online, and when you follow the link you're directed to a page that requires you to 'register' before you can read the article? All in the interest of 'serving you better!' Well gosh, it's even free!
Don't you just love that? I've been known to seek out the home page of the entity requesting registration, in order to send them an email politely explaining how and why I refuse to register to view anything on their site or anyone else's. Heck, the page you wanted to see will be 80% - 90% advertisements anyway. (If more of us would object to this ploy, they'd stop that 'registration' crap! Remember they really want you to look at all those ads you didn't see!)
Another little hook I've been seeing lately, is to put a news item on two or more pages, and when you click to go to part 2, they divert you to a registration page before you can view the rest of the story. Most of those can be defeated if they have a link for a 'printer friendly' or 'print this story' version. Just go back to page one, click the print link, and you'll be able to read the full story. (You'll be able to cancel the print function and not really have to print the stuff either.) In most cases you won't even have to sort through the advertising!
Ever taken an item to a customer service counter to check out, and hear, "May I have your zip code, please?" I thought so. Hey, just say NO! Ya' think they ain't gonna' sell ya' whatever ya' carried up there?
Well, enough of that. You young folks who grew up in this 'information age' probably don't feel as I do about this stuff. That's OK, and I don't care, and that's the curmudgeon part!
I told some of you readers several months ago that I was putting you on the mailing list to receive copies of Outlook Magazine, the local free publication that I was writing for. Well, ya ain't got no magazine have ya? Truth is, there has been no magazine since March of last year, so while my intentions were good my timing sucked.
While I'm not at liberty to go into detail, the owner of the magazine has had some health issues, and been unable to publish. I spoke with Joe a few days ago and he tells me he intends to bring the magazine back at some point, but when or in what form is not clear at this time.
With that said, I'm going to finish this newsletter with a 'how to' piece on mounting a telescopic sight that otherwise would have probably appeared in the magazine. The article is pretty photo intensive, but now that I have the Wildblue satellite internet it should upload in something less than the week it would have taken with my old dial up connection.
Do It Yourself Scope Mounting
After many months, or maybe even years, youíve finally saved the cash to buy that new rifle and scope. Youíve worn out the pages of nearly every makerís catalogs, and pestered the help at the gun stores until theyíve begun hiding when you hit the door.
Youíve compared features, prices and calibers. Youíve nearly memorized the ballistics tables for 27 different cartridges. Youíve even received the reluctant blessing of the better half, who thinks you already have too many guns!
The decision is made. Itís going to be the new RemChester bolt action with the walnut stock, in the newly introduced .300 Snortwhizzer short, fat, super magnum! The scope will be one of those European variables thatíll gather light when there ainít none, with an objective lens the size of a three pound coffee can! Hot Dang, it donít get betterín this!
So you do the deed, plunk down the cash, and when itís over, you ask, ďCan you guys mount the scope and bore sight Ďer for me?Ē
ďYou bet,Ē theyíll say.
Similar scenes are played out at gun counters all over the country, and usually with few problems.
My experience has been that most gun store folks who mount scopes for customers are competent, conscientious, and well meaning. But why not just do it yourself?
Chances are, if you have the scope mounted, youíll find something youíll want to change later anyway. Move it back. Move it forward. Get higher or lower rings. You know what I mean.
Truth is the same thing will probably happen even if you do mount the scope yourself, but at least youíll know how to make the changes. Besides, properly mounting a scope isnít all that difficult and for me it adds to the overall satisfaction of the experience.
Letís go through the process of scoping a new Kimber 84M bolt action.
First make sure the rifle is unloaded, and remove the bolt. Then you need a solid base to work from. In Photo One, I have the rifle firmly secured in a Tipton Gun Vise. You can improvise on this of course, but the real gun vise is usually more solid.
In photo two, Iíve removed the plug screws from the pre-tapped mounting holes in the receiver, and am 'chasing' the threads with a thread cutting tap. This is a step that is rarely done in a gun store, but I do it to remove any burrs or irregularities in the threads and provide better seating for the screws.
Kimber drills and taps their receivers for the larger #8 X 40 base screws rather than the #6 X 48ís that have been standard for many years, so you need to be sure the tap matches the screw size and thread count.
Next you need to choose the proper bases and rings, to fit both rifle and scope. In this case Iím mounting a Leupold fixed four power scope with Leupold bases and rings. The bases are standard dovetail front with windage adjustable rear.
In Photo Three Iím using denatured alcohol to degrease the surfaces of the receiver where the bases will sit. The bases get the same treatment. The bases are then placed on the receiver and the screws are snugged up.
A word of caution here; three of the four mounting holes in most bolt action rifles are ďthrough holes,Ē while the front one is usually 'blind' and stops at the barrel threads. In either case, the screws must be short enough to not protrude through the 'through holes,' and cause the bolt to bind, nor to bottom out in the 'blind' hole. Usually the screws furnished with the bases will be of correct length, but occasionally will need to be ground shorter.
Photo Four shows the bases in place and final tightening being done with a torque screwdriver. You can find endless arguments about how tight mounting screws should be. Some gunsmiths and other 'experts' advocate tightening by feel until the screws 'feel' tight. Iíve done that with a bit of extra exuberance and 'felt' the screw twist off flush with the hole. (Itís not that hard to do with the Torx head screws that are being used now.) At that point, unless you have the correct tools and expertise, youíve given yourself an expensive visit with a gunsmith!
While there are not a lot of standards and specifications for torque values out there, you can find some if you look hard enough. Try Brownellís or Leupoldís websites. I tightened the base screws to 24 inch pounds. (When using standard #6 X 48 base screws, I stop at 20 inch pounds.)
I do not use thread locking compound on any of my mounting screws. I may have the same scope on three or four different rifles in its lifetime, and thread locker makes switching them around a major pain. In over forty years of shooting scoped rifles, Iíve never had a mount shoot loose, and that includes some pretty snappy kickers. Until that occurs Iíll stay away from the thread locking compounds.
Leupold does recommend a drop of oil on the threads of base screws, claiming it helps make them tighten more evenly.
In Photo Five, Iím turning the scope ring into the front, dovetail base using Leupoldís ring wrench. A dab of grease on the mating surfaces makes this chore go more smoothly.
Important; do not use the scope as a lever to twist the ring in place! These things are made to fit tight and require enough force to bend or damage your scope. Use a wrench, wooden dowel, or metal rod of the correct size to perform this task.
It is also recommended that the top and bottom ring halves remain paired and oriented exactly as they come in the package. They are supposed to be matched sets. I will admit to the fact that Iíve dropped a package of rings on the floor occasionally, and gotten them mixed up. With the accuracy of todayís computer controlled machining equipment I havenít found this issue to be a big deal.
Photo Six shows the rings in place with a set of alignment rods clamped in. The purpose here is to make sure the rings are aligned properly in order to prevent distortion of the scope when the rings are tightened.
Twist the dovetail ring and adjust the rear windage screws until the rods are in a straight line with the pointy ends meeting in the middle.
At this point the ring tops are removed and both halves of the rings and the scope body are degreased with the alcohol. The scope is then set into the rings and the ring screws firmed up.
Since Little Heifer is the right handed shooter in the house, I had her shoulder the rifle and set the eye relief (distance from ocular lens to eye) for her way of holding the gun. As you can see in Photo Seven, the scope is as far back in the rings as the objective bell will allow. Most manufacturers make extension rings that can provide further rearward (or forward) adjustment if needed.
The next step is to make sure the scope is turned so the reticle is horizontal and plumb. You can do this by 'eye' but there are several gadgets on the market that make the chore easier and more accurate. Photo Eight shows one such tool. The rear bubble level has a magnetic base that fits flat on the receiver rails of most bolt actions, allowing the rifle to be leveled side to side in the cradle. The other level sits atop the elevation adjustment turret cover. With the rifle level, turning the scope until that bubble is centered will place the reticle in proper orientation.
Now Iím ready to use the torque screwdriver to tighten the rings to securely hold the scope. Here the concept of ďtoo tightĒ is even more important than with the base screws. Scope rings are made to have a small gap between the edges of the top and bottom when properly tightened. If you over tighten you risk distorting or denting the scope tube. Besides being ugly, this can interfere with the windage and elevation adjustments, depending upon where the rings are situated on the tube.
Itís also important to tighten each screw a little at a time, alternating among screws and visually maintaining about equal gaps on both sides of the rings. This will prevent twisting the scope tube as the final tightening is accomplished. I finished my ring screws at 18 inch pounds of torque.
All that remains is bore sighting to get the scope adjusted close to point of aim before going to the range for final sighting in.
Photo Nine shows a LaserLyte bore sighter, one of several types on the market. This device fits snuggly into the barrel with an adjustable spud, and projects a laser beam downrange. Iíve found that projecting the beam on my shop wall at about 45 feet and adjusting the reticle to about one inch above the beam will put me 'on the paper' at 100 yards.
Have fun with your next scope mounting project.
This month's hillbilly wisdom requires a bit of explanation. During the last few years of my career as a Commissioner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a frequent speaker at our Agency conferences was a man named Gordon Graham.
While he is now the owner of a successful consulting firm providing leadership training and teaching individuals and organizations how to better understand and deal with change, Gordon spent his youth and early adult years as a professional criminal!
In his book, THE ONE-EYED MAN IS KING, Gordy tells the story of his life and how he changed from, in his words, "being introduced as Gordon Graham, convict #28203, consumer of correctional services," to "Gordon Graham, author, lecturer, educator, founder and president of the Human Development Training Institute."
Thank you, Gordon for these words:
"In the land of the blind, THE ONE-EYED MAN IS KING; in a world where people refuse to see that change is possible, the visionary is seen as a threat. If you have the kind of courage and commitment it takes to produce change, you are only a stone's throw from claiming the kingdom of inner peace and prosperity that is yours for the taking."
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!