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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 35-----------MAY 2005

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

May 1st.

Here we are, 15 days into turkey season, and I ain't even heard a turkey, let alone seen any.  Opening day found me out, bright and early, setting up those newly purchased decoys, with anticipation at a near critical high.

So much for anticipation, although I wasn't all that surprised.  As I reported last month, this was my first, ever Spring season turkey hunting effort, and the turkeys really just acted as expected.  I know those dang things read the paper regularly, 'else how do they know when to disappear?

Just days before the opener, there were 4 gobblers Southeast of the house, that I could have hit with a rock from the shop door!  Last year at this time, when I wasn't huntin' 'em, I could stir up a shock gobble, nearly any day, by blowing a coyote howler from the back deck.  I could also stand there with a box call, and get answering gobbles, sometimes from 2 or 3 directions.

I even left the decoys out for several days where we could watch them from the kitchen windows.  Even though I parked the decoys in an area where we have observed turkeys of all ages and both sexes, feeding, dusting, and strutting, I can now find nary a track!

I did talk the Little Heifer into taking my picture in my 'full camouflage' turkey huntin' outfit, but heck, my camo was so good you can't even see me in the picture!  I'll try to get her to take another picture with me waving so you can see me, and post it in next month's newsletter!

I guess I could go hunt someplace else, but my attitude about deer and turkeys, (sometimes called laziness)  continues to be:  "If it don't poop on our place, I ain't shootin' it!"

It's 15 more days before the season closes, so I suppose I could still get lucky and find an incredibly stupid gobbler looking for romance in the front yard, as some have done in the past.

Some months ago I unearthed an old Black and Decker Workmate® that hadn't seen much use for a while.  It was folded up in the corner of the shop building along with some of my other valuable possessions!  (Often referred to by a certain female of the species, as JUNK)

I had some projects in mind that could make use of this item, so it was moved to the basement garage in the house.  I should also point out the basement garage is no longer a garage, and is now used for Ann's laundry room and my reloading and gunsmithing projects.

The Workmate is a Model 400, which is one of those with the double screw clamping feature.  The adjustable side of the clamp also unlocks and swivels to an upright position for use as a hold down fixture.  (I know I'm screwin' up this description, so here's a picture of the dang thing)

Black and Decker Workmate

As I utilized some of the features of this contraption on other projects, an idea was born.  It began while using the clamping feature to hold my Tipton® Gun Cradle in a solid position for scope mounting or bore cleaning.  Even though the cradle has rubber feet, it still wants to slide around on the bench when applying pressure to a cleaning rod.

The idea was to somehow use the tilt up feature of the clamping mechanism to position the cleaning cradle at a steep angle, so solvents drain out the muzzle instead of back into the action and/or magazine.

I use first class cleaning rod guides made by Stoney Point®, when cleaning bolt action rifles.  These guides have a locking collar, secured by a set screw that fits into the bolt handle notch.  This allows the chamber insert to be locked tightly into the chamber to minimize solvents leaking back.  Still, some of the 'gunk' always seems to run back on me when the cradle is on a level surface.

Here is a picture of one of the guides I use.  Note the 'solvent window' in the end of the guide.  This allows patches or brushes to be aligned with the window when the cleaning rod is inserted, to apply solvent with a minimum of runs and drips.

Stoney Point Cleaning Rod Guide

My first step was to cut a piece of 1 " by 12 " pine board, slightly longer than the cleaning cradle.  Holes were drilled in the board, flange nuts inserted, and fastened in place.  This enabled me to bolt the board solidly to the table top, through existing holes, using 5/16th bolts.

Next, the Tipton cradle was screwed to the 1 x 12 board, utilizing the existing screw holes for the cradle legs.  When it all goes together, it looks like this:

Cleaning Cradle Horizontal

By sliding out the wide part of the table top, and releasing the tilt locks, the end of the cradle can be tilted down to rest solidly against the cross brace:  (Note the coffee can used to catch drips and soiled patches)

Cleaning Cradle Tilted

In this position, there is no way that solvent, dirt, or other undesirables can run back into action or magazine!   A word of caution here:  Don't do this with a cleaning cradle that lacks a positive clamping mechanism to hold the rifle.  A rifle and scope meeting a concrete floor from table top height, often results in less than desirable consequences!

This is a closer view, with a J. Dewey® cleaning rod inserted and ready to go.

Tilted Cradle With Cleaning Rod and Rod Guide

I'd like to tell you that having this new arrangement has made gun cleaning a really enjoyable chore, but that would be a lie.  Cleaning guns still has to be one of the most hated jobs on the planet!  But, one does what one has to do!

If you want to try a project such as this, and could use further information, just send me an email and I'll try to help out.  As with many of my projects, this one was a lot easier to do than describe!

As soon as this newsletter is finished tonight, my next chore is to sort out some brass to reload for Ann's 7mm-08.  This rifle, as I have described before, is a 'youth size' Remington Model 7, with a 20 inch barrel.  (This is the rifle pictured in the previous cleaning cradle story)  This little Remington just hasn't shot the  kind of groups I like to see from the bench.  I guess you could still call it a 'minute of whitetail' shooter though, since Ann has made one shot kills with it, in each of the last two years!

Only two loads have been shot in this rifle; a Federal factory load with 140 grain Nosler Partition bullets, and handloads with 139 grain Hornady SST's.  Both loads have taken deer cleanly, but 3 to 4 inch, 3 shot groups are about the norm for either load at 100 yards.

I was doing a bullet inventory the other day, and found an unopened box of Sierra 160 grain Boattails in this bore size.  This bullet has grouped uncommonly well in my Remington Model 700 in 7mm Mag, so I want to try a few of these in the Model 7 before we start messing with bedding or other 'accurizing' options.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

This month's hillbilly wisdom is just a personal observation:

We'd all be better off if people didn't keep trying to pass new laws that would make it illegal for you and me to do anything they don't agree with.

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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