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VOLUME 45-----------MARCH 2006

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

March 1, 2006

Where does the time go?  Seems like only yesterday we were gearing up for deer season, and today it's almost time for spring turkey!  I guess that's the one good thing about getting older, and experiencing that 'time goes faster' thing:  Huntin' seasons seem to come along quicker!

My turkey hunting may be abbreviated this year.  The traditional season opener is April 15th, and I'm scheduled for arthroscopic shoulder surgery on the 10th.  The prognosis is that I'll be in a sling for a couple of weeks, and then another six weeks of limited use before unrestricted activity.  Hmm, I guess that turns abbreviated into non existent, don't it?

No Way!  I'm sure I can shoot a 12 gauge off a bipod with one arm!

I did ask the Doc if this shoulder surgery would let me play golf OK, after my recuperation.

He said, "Oh yes, you'll be able to play golf just fine!"

I responded, "Well, you're a miracle worker then, 'cause I couldn't play golf worth a cuss before my shoulder got sick!"

The first Sportsman's Warehouse 2006 hunter education class is now history.  We had 19 successful graduates.  For more details and a class picture, navigate to the Hunter Education page.  (Not now, you idjit, read the rest of this page first!)

Our annual BIG HORN SHOW runs March 16th through 19th this year at the Spokane Interstate Fair Grounds.  This event is sponsored by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council and the next edition of OUTLOOK MAGAZINE will be the official 'show guide' again this year.

Outlook is the regional magazine that has been publishing some of my writings in recent months.  I should have a story about the Washington State Hunter Education Program in this edition.  The story about replacing the factory trigger on Ann's Ruger rifle that I alluded to in last month's newsletter, is now scheduled for publication in a later issue.

In addition to the traditional trophy antlers and horns, there will be lots of exhibits, demonstrations, seminars, and contests going on throughout the show.  If you have any outdoor interests at all, you should easily find something that suits your fancy.

You will find links to complete show schedules and major sponsors on the OUTLOOK MAGAZINE website at: www.spokaneoutlook.com  A downloadable version of recent editions of the magazine are also available on the site.

I haven't been doing any shooting lately.  I guess I've turned into a fair weather shooter, 'cause I don't enjoy sitting at the bench in rain, snow, wind, and cold any more!  I do have some test loads ready for Ann's 7mm-08 that we need to chronograph, but I think we'll wait 'till it gets a little warmer and drier.

Those who have followed my ramblings in past months, know I have been frustrated by my inability to get Ann's Remington Model 7 to shoot groups as tight as I'd like.  She's killed deer with the little 7mm-08 every year for the past 3 seasons, and wonders why I continue to mess with it.

This is her latest, on November 16, 2005

I haven't shot a buck that nice in several years, so I understand how she might think the rifle works fine!

Anyway, I want to test the rounds I've loaded with Ramshot's "Big Game" powder and see if that works better than the Hodgdon's H414 I was using behind the Sierra 160 grain bullets.  Besides, this will be my first opportunity to field test the new PACT chronograph I got for Christmas.

My other reloading related Christmas gift was also a PACT product; the upgraded version of their powder dispenser and scale.  While I have not used this combo to actually load ammunition, I did test drive it the other day to figure out how it works.

PACT Dispenser and Digital Scale Combo

The test drive was a little rough!  After nearly an hour, I was about ready to send the dang thing back or trash can it!

I first set up the dispenser and scale according to the instructions, and made sure the digital scale was calibrated and communicating with the dispenser via the infrared port.  The next step is to let the dispenser calibrate itself to the chosen powder.

Since the most difficult powder type to dispense properly from any kind of measure is the extruded or tubular numbers like IMR or Hogdon 4350 and 4831, I decided to start in that arena.  I filled the hopper about a third full with H4350.

The manual says that the calibration may take several minutes, and the dispenser may start and stop a number of times while this all takes place.  A substantial amount of powder will be dispensed into the pan on the scale during this process.

After pressing the various buttons, as directed, the dispenser disgorged a few grains of powder and stopped.  Momentarily it started again, with a somewhat different sound, and ran, and ran, and ran; well, you get the picture.  I finally stopped the process, and started over from the beginning, only to have the same thing happen!  Time for diagnostic observation!  (That's a polite term for cussin'!)

After figuring out what the dang machine was supposed to be doing, I discovered that the 'fast discharge' tube leading from the reservoir was working fine, but the 'trickle' tube wasn't feeding powder at all.  It appeared that a combination of 'bridging' by those long powder granules and perhaps some sticky substance, had the 'trickle' tube completely clogged up!

Breaking up the clog, and cleaning the tubes with denatured alcohol, finally cured the problem and everything worked as advertised.  (I think I'll buy the 'short cut' version of Hodgdon's H4350 next time.  It shouldn't bridge and clog as easily as the original stuff.)

After the calibration was completed, keying the desired charge weight into the dispenser resulted in powder in the pan within one tenth of a grain of the desired charge.  The 'fast discharge' tube would quickly dispense powder to within a grain or so of the called for setting, and the 'trickle' tube would then take over to top off the charge.

This is gonna' be great for load development duties.  When I need four or five different charge weights as I work up loads, this will be much more efficient than dipping and trickling by hand.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from another one of those internet stories that get emailed all over the world.  Normally those things leave me cold, but this one was too good to pass up:

My wife told me we had to cut back on expenses, and I had to give up drinking beer.  I was not a big drinker maybe a 12 pack on weekends. Anyway, I gave it up but the other day she came home from grocery shopping and when I looked at the receipt, saw $45 in makeup.

I said, "Wait a minute I've given up beer and you haven't given up anything!"

She said, "I buy that makeup for you, so I can look pretty for you."

I told her, "Hell, that's what the beer was for!"

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
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