VOLUME 84-----------JUNE 2009
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
June 7, 2009
Hello again everyone. Wow! What a busy month!
Our Wheelin' Elks RV Club held its first roundup at the Elks Lodge campground on May 1, 2, and 3. The Saturday 'coin box' dinner was a benefit for the Elks Therapy program, which provides therapy for disabled children in families who could not otherwise afford such care. The evening dress code was western, so hats, boots, and fancy shirts were in abundance. Most of the RV club regulars were in attendance and a good time was had by all.
On May 9th Jennifer's middle school band participated in the Jr. Lilac Parade in downtown Spokane, known locally as the 'Lilac City.' This is part of a week long festival that honors our Military Forces and welcomes the arrival of spring to the inland northwest.
Jennifer playing saxophone (Notice how the 3 drummers directly behind her in the first picture are all out of step)
May was also a busy month for track meets for Jennifer. Her events were throwing javelin and running the 1600 meter. I learned the 1600 meter is the modern version of what was the mile run when we were in school. If you do the math you'll find 1600 meters is about 30 feet shy of a mile. We were very proud of Jennifer's efforts. In the Valley regional meet she finished 16th out of a field of 25 to 30 runners in the 1600, with a time of 6 minutes, 48 seconds. Pretty darn good for a 12 year old! We look forward to next year for that event.
Rick turned 46 years old on May 31st. We made our traditional trek to Wolf Lodge Steakhouse near Coeur d'Alene, ID for his birthday dinner on the 30th. Ice cream cake was shared at our house on the 31st.
Jennifer and Rick
Our Spring Turkey season ended on May 31st. What was only a 2 week spring season a few years ago has now expanded to a month and a half, with a 3 turkey limit, depending upon the area hunted. The planned fall general season this year will allow the harvesting of two beardless turkeys. All this in response to an overabundance of birds, causing complaints from agricultural interests and home owners who don't like turkey poop on their patios.
Some of us 'non-biologist' hunters are also of the opinion that the turkeys are having an adverse effect on our forest grouse populations by taking over grouse habitat. The Fish and Wildlife people are neither confirming nor denying our theory at this time.
We take photos of our resident turkeys and other wildlife when we have opportunities, and some of these are shared with students in our Hunter Education Classes. After seeing pictures of turkeys in full strut in front of the target stand on my shooting range, some students and parents make inquiries such as, "Can I come to your place and hunt?"
While we don't necessarily object to that, I do have to explain our dilemma. You see, we have many opportunities for wildlife photos, but these birds and animals don't live on our little 20 acres full time! We see them because Little Heifer and I are retired and we DO live here full time!
Many of the critters and their kinfolk, seen in our pictures, may only appear here every few days, few weeks, few months, or longer. So, I must make this clear: "You ain't bunkin' in with us until the next turkey comes passin' through!"
I was personally able to take advantage of a turkey opportunity the morning of May 11th. A decent Tom was romancing a couple of hens around the remnants of a burnt slash pile southwest of the house. I cranked up the telephoto lens on my old Sony digital and snapped a couple of pictures from the kitchen door. Here's a sample.
I know it's unseemly to take advantage of a feller with lovin' on his mind, but I did manage to circle through the trees, and by moving only when his strutting took Mr. Turkey behind a tree, managed to sneak within about 30 yards. This is the result.
20 lbs with an 8 inch beard
I bought a second tag, but had no more opportunities before the season closed. That's OK though, because the tag is still good for the fall season and the hens are more tender and better eatin' anyway! Ann carried one of the little 20 gauges around as she hunted for mushrooms, but saw no turkeys.
The morel mushroom crop was better than 2008, but not as good as we've seen in other years. The ones Ann found were mostly small, and never very many in one spot. Neighbor Larry called one morning and asked, "Is it the mushrooms that look like sponges that you guys eat?"
My answer in the affirmative brought this response, "I'll be back there in a few minutes." Larry soon arrived with a plastic baggie containing several of the largest morels we had seen all year! He had been running the weed whacker, and chopped up several before he realized what was hiding along the fence row he was trimming.
Our year's crop has been fried up and now resides in the freezer. Larry's addition to the hoard will make the annual New Year's Day morel snack with Rick, Christi, and Jennifer, more filling than it would have been otherwise. I think Ann told me she ended up with 96 mushroom halves in her freezer container.
We completed our fourth of six scheduled 2009 Hunter Education Classes yesterday with a live fire session at Center Target Sports in Post Falls, Idaho. Our classroom sessions are held at the former Spokane Sportsman's Warehouse store. This store was one of 15 in the Northwest that were sold to a Canadian Co-op called United Farmers of Alberta a few months ago.
Even though UFA has licensing rights to the Sportsman's Warehouse name for a couple of years, they quickly elected to change the name of their stores in light of Sportsman's Warehouse's recent bankruptcy declaration. The UFA stores are now called 'Wholesale Sports,' and are re-signed as such.
Sportsman's Warehouse was a good host for our classes, and very generously donated the ammunition for our live fire sessions. UFA has kept all the existing staff, will continue to host our classroom sessions, but at present are not donating our ammunition. We're hoping for a decision to resume that practice in the near future.
Now that our June class is behind us, I can devote some time to preparing for the Reolading Seminar coming up on June 16th. The seminar will be held in one of the classrooms at Center Target Sports in Post Falls, Idaho. The turnout for this class is expected to be better than the one I did for them several months ago.
I fired a few rounds from the bench rest a few days ago to provide some material for the seminar. One project had been on hold for a couple of years and nearly forgotten. After loading a 50 round box of .25-06 ammo, I measured the 'runout' of the bullets with an RCBS Casemaster. 'Runout' in this case, refers to whether the bullet is seated in the case crookedly or off center, and if so, by how much.
The cartridges were then sorted according to the measured 'runout' into two groups. The groups consisted of those with more than .003 of an inch runout, and those with .003 or less. The question is whether the cartridges with less runout are more accurate.
My testing wasn't extensive enough to pass muster with a statistician, but I fired 12 rounds into four, three shot groups. Shooting was from 100 yards, using a Caldwell shooting cradle. The rifle is a Ruger Number 1 single shot, shooting 75 grain Hornady V-Max bullets ahead of an appropriate charge of H4350 powder. These loads chronograph at just over 3700 feet per second. Here are some pictures of the targets.
Cartridges for groups 1 and 4 on the left, had runout of .003 of an inch or less. Groups 2 and 3 ranged from .004 to .006
So what did I learn? Group 3, in the upper left of the right hand target is clearly larger than any of the others. Group 2 on the same target is smallest of the bunch. Yet, both were fired with the cartridges with the most runout. Was the wider dispersion in Group 3 caused by crooked bullets or operator error?
Groups 1 and 2 were fired using the center of the grid for the aiming point, which provides the large marks at the 4 compass points to help position the scope's crosshairs. Did using the small squares for aiming points for Groups 3 and 4, prevent me from holding as precisely?
Provided I do my part, does this simply mean that this rifle will shoot one inch groups with this load, irrespective of runout?
It will likely require more shooting to provide better statistical evidence to answer these questions. Don't you just hate it when you must do more shooting?
I changed rifles for the next trial. I brought out the old Remington Model 760 Pump in .280 Remington. The purpose here was to test fire some ammunition that I had loaded many years ago to demonstrate that properly stored ammo will last almost indefinitely. Some were dated 1982 and some were loaded as far back as the late 1960's! All contained the same charge of H4831 behind Sierra 160 grain boat tail bullets. I shot 6 rounds and they all went bang when I pulled the trigger. Here's a picture of the target I shot.
This old relic was my first centerfire rifle, and still shoots those 2 - 2½ inch hundred yard groups, just like it did when new.
While I was working on this newsletter, Ann was scrounging around in some old boxes and came upon a booklet of typewritten material entitled "PROSE and POEMS by AMY KARIS LESAN PARMAN" Neither Ann nor I can remember where or when we obtained this, nor can we remember even reading it before. Still a mystery, but it was likely in some boxes of pictures and other stuff my mother gave us a few years ago.
Amy was my paternal grandmother, and quite a remarkable woman. She was afflicted by severe arthritis at a fairly young age and at a time when medical science couldn't do much for it. My very earliest memories of Amy were of her being able to walk with crutches, but beyond those early recollections, she was confined to a wheelchair.
Grandma's wheelchair wasn't the kind you propel with hands and arms. It was a 4 legged affair with a swivel wheel on each leg. She moved around the house by pushing or pulling herself with her feet.
Her left elbow joint was almost completely frozen in place at a slight angle and would neither straighten nor bend. Her hands were misshapen and inflexible. Yet, she managed to cook, clean, make beds, and do most all the housework as did other women of her time.
She even did some machine sewing! She had an old Singer that she could no longer use because her ankles wouldn't flex enough to run the treadle. One day she asked me to help her fasten an empty thread spool to the wheel on the machine head so she could turn it by hand. A long machine screw and some pliers did the trick, and she ran the machine that way for a long time afterward.
Amy was always cheerful and upbeat in spite of physical challenges and constant pain, and was eager for any kind of table or board games with her grandkids. Since our family lived close by for several years, I was the recipient of much of her time and patience. We played Scrabble, Rook, Clue, Flinch, Checkers and did crosswords by the hundreds.
I'm not sure how much formal education Grandma had, but I do believe she was one of the most intelligent persons I've ever known. She was well read and I would put her Scrabble and crossword skills on par with the best! Looking back, I'm sure that any Scrabble game I ever won was by virtue of her allowing it to happen. I'm guessing she could have broken the bank at Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune!
I do not remember Grandma writing stories or poetry. She did have an old manual typewriter that she would peck away on with the eraser end of a pencil, but I do not recall reading anything that she wrote.
I don't know if the love of writing is a genetically inherited trait, but I'm gonna believe that Grandma passed along the 'love' to me, even though her eloquence with the written word somehow drowned in the journey through the gene pool.
Next month I'll share some of Grandma's writings and, if I can ratchet up the courage to bear the ridicule, may even post some of my efforts at poetic meandering.
This month's hillbilly wisdom comes in the form of a quote from writer Edna Buchanan:
"True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway."
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!