Drillin’ not Grillin’

I need to make up some loading blocks for the Cowboy Action shootin’ and I honestly don’t know why it took so long to get to this, every home shop needs one – and this is about as cheap inexpensive a piece of offshore tooling as they come while still being useful.
Also it was heavier than the others (Sears, Home Depot, WalMart),and so more stable (one hopes), and had a useful low-speed setting for metal or sanding (belts and pullys in the tray above).
Plus I had a few $10-off TrueValue coupons from being a “rewards” member, so it came in under a hundred bucks. Now I need a clamp for the worktable…

My Cup Runneth Over

IMGP0626_x800On a gray rainy day it’s good to fiddle with organizing the re-loading bench while the rain-barrels spill water out the tops. The two left-side drawers of the Harbor Freight bench that did not fully open on the cheap Chinese drawer-slides finally had to go, at least now the lower shelf is more readily available. Also now there’s room for another press (the RS-3) and the upper cabinet can be used as tool storage as God intended.

Meanwhile as the rain pelted-down in a steady pour, I went out on a ladder up on the deck to check a corner downspout because it was overflowing at the roof-line, backed-up vertically almost twenty-five feet. Cleared some pine-needles at the top-end and then went down by the understory and I yanked the diverter hose to the big-barrel so the water flowed freely, but a closer inspection and clean-out will have to wait.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t last long. The rain is coming in waves, and you can see the wet clouds streamin water as they approach, coming across the ridge at us, blanketing and hiding the ridge behind – and the water was backed-up again to the roof. In a few minutes I was back down there with the DeWalt drill and removing the diverter. As I removed one screw, a stream of water poured out as if from a hose, then the next, and finally a huge spray of water surged up and hosed me down with blockage: dirt, pine-needles, and sand from the composition asphalt shingles… But now it’s REALLY flowing freely.

Ghost Ring

Got the Factory sight-kit the other evening, and after fiddling around managed to get the rear installed. The front requires silver-soldering and I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna be able to get that done with a soldering pencil. Anyhow it’s looking pretty decent; klicken zum Vergrößerung.
While other photo weenies have returned to the Glories of the Past, I guess I had enough of that. And at the time and having been forcibly moved-on there’s not much un-spent baggage left strewn about the lawn. I am enjoying the abilities of this modest little (albeit obsolete already) camera – but/and as in the not-so-glorious past, I really seriously hate the whole, “it needs batteries” thing. That didn’t fly in the 3rd World where electricity was scarce and weird, and batteries became unglued and weep nasty poop on everything. My old ’67 Nikon-F didn’t even have the (ugly and bulky) Photomic metering-viewfinder, it was all mechanical – like a 12-guage.

Detail Work

Close-up of the new Vang-Comp button. It works well and is larger than the stock Mossberg unit, so somewhat easier to manipulate. It’s just the installation process requires a three-handed grip, with the pinkie reaching up into the receiver cavity – or at least that’s how I did it.

Meanwhile we’re draining the rain-barrels onto the trees as we await a wet weekend with up to three-inches of rain. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Getting organized

Monday was a BIG day, with the sofa-sleeper arriving in the AM that was too big to fit down the hall and had to go through the Office window on its back. Finally the room is mostly complete, with the vintage Macouillard Matson-Line menus on the wall and the Guatemala masks above the closet, there is now a guest-room that actual guests can stay-in.
After all that we made a Costco (beer-run!) supply-trip where I discovered the answer to my gun-room prayers; a large but not too-large metal locking cabinet that can house my books and reloading manuals and amateur gunsmithing nick-nacks and the stacks of empty brass and lead and junk that was stored in mu7ltiple boxes and strewn around the room. All neatly out of sight under lock and key- and I wonder if I should get a second one…. Phew! More bathroom hardware went on to replace the outdated finishes of the previous hardware and there are still a couple of lights to take-down and replace with new ones. And I ordered a fresh and new bar-sink and faucet to replace the old and worn units – so, ready for some upcoming plumbing work…

Reloading WorkbenchUPDATE: I’m still not really that sure-about or sold-on the Harbor Freight reloading bench. Once built it’s plenty sturdy, perhaps a bit long – but the holes in the top for the wood-working bench-dogs are a bit too frequent, and in order to mount the press where I want it (on the end) I neglected to mount the wood-vise, so they’re really not all that useful – unless I can find or rig a Y-fork rifle-holder and use some pair of holes as a cleaning station… If I mounted the press on the face of the bench then half the drawers will be compromised and unable to open, and while the multiple drawers are swell they don’t open fully, even though they are on full-extension “type” slides/glides, so some of the space is not very accessible – maybe it’s fine for a woodworker but it’s starting to piss me off just a leetle beet…

Adventures in Forestry

 Motion translation arrangement for limiting the rate of lever arm convergence in an exercise machine United States Patent 6682466 Inventors: Ellis, Patrick D. (Milwaukee, WI)

Motion translation arrangement for limiting the rate of lever arm convergence in an exercise machine United States Patent 6682466 Inventors: Ellis, Patrick D. (Milwaukee, WI)

Yesterday we got busy with our New Year’s Fitness Training Regimen (not really, if you know me!), and I did a bunch of upper-body reps by yanking on the cord of a pole trimmer, while the Retired Adjutant General applied a Chest Butterfly Machine type motion to a pair of large loping shears. We set to and began decimating the canopy of the fruitless purple plum tree in the front yard. By decimating I mean the proper usage of the term: one-in-ten branches were attacked. Ultimately we whacked-it good approaching a double-decimation (two-in-ten) of the many spidery “waterspouts” that were sent up – and then we did more arm-work today in two AM/PM sessions on the level of a triple-decimation – giving it a serious haircut. It’s good to get out in the fresh air and work up a sweat, and temps were in the upper Sixties and clear on the granite outcropping. Little planes flew in overhead as they lined-up over the garage on the glide path.
Since it’s prior-lifestyle and previous-owner’s trimming directions (or lack of direction), the tree does nothing but present a round red lollipop to passers-by. It was trimmed into an arboreal afro, and the low branches offer no useful shade in the summer and actually very little screening since the nearby divided-road is a good twenty feet below, and the other, opposite direction passes even further away. Anybody who seeks a view must crane their necks upwards, which is unlikely in a car anyhow. Following its afro-haircut, the subsequent growth was a thickly intertwined bramble of large twisted branches that shot across in every direction criss-crossing each other, and with some leaning on each other, weighted by a vertical mass of up-shoots – that had to stop. Besides, it was starting to obscure the wonderful views off into the distance and the bright red sunsets. This is a hard pruning.

After today’s AM workout we dropped-off donations of various sorts at Snowline Hospice and then went for a drive in The Country. We followed North Shingle Road to a jog onto Green Valley, and then continued onto winding Lotus Road until we passed Sutter’s Mill School at Gold Hill Road. About five minutes later we reached Highway 49 in Coloma and the digging site of Sutter’s Mill – the gold-discovery state-park. Highway 49 is an awesome-easy roller-coaster road from one end to the other, from the north-end high up at Vinton and Highway 70 (the awesome Feather River Canyon run), all the way down to Oakhurst in the Southern Sierra foothills – and we’re going to have some great rides after the bike-shopping is done…

Careful. there's a cliff back there.

Careful. there’s a cliff back there.

Anyhow, we followed 49 back into Hangtown, and then got on the freeway (Hwy 50) to home, where I passed a deep-purple Lamborghini Murciélago that merged beside us. Nice ride, limited view of other people’s ankles out the low windows I can only imagine. As a kid returning from India, when we drove the VW Microbus through the Alps in ’69, I will ALWAYS remember seeing a sexy gorgeous yellow Miura on the French side, and have a distant/distinct fondness for the brand – but the new offerings don’t really trip my buzz-meter any more.

UPDATE: Oww-oww! Oww-oww! Ibupriofen is my old, under-utilized muscles’ friend. Cut and sawed s’more in the AM before it gets hot, and then after lunch loaded up the truck and covered it in a cargo-net.

Cam Wire & The Whirligig of Doom

This could be about Cam Edwards and his radio-show but its not. It’s about the non-moving gizmo on the Whirligig-of-Doom that moves the wheel on primer-feeding “transfer-bar” contraption as it rises and falls, and on the up-stroke seats a fresh one in the brass case that was just de-primed on the earlier rotation’s down-stroke. And it’s supposed to have a specific bend in it, besides a small circlip that has a tendency to fly into orbit and hide in the carpet.
After a few weeks (OK, a month) of waiting patiently by the mailbox, I called RCBS again (3rd time) to inquire about the status of my “order.” Their call-center is open from Monday thru Thursday from 6:00AM for the East Coast guys until it shuts down at 4:00PM out West here. The needed parts I lacked were on-file and awaiting to be filled – some time in May when they get time to run-off some bearing-bushings, a part I had briefly complained about (since the operation of the Whirligig is anything but smooth) but didn’t exactly require. What I really need(ed) and explained to the nice but harried lady, was (#16) the Cam-Wire. I have one but it’s the wrong one – it’s about 7-1/2″ long and is for another Press-product, the now discontinued AmmoMaster. It’s too long, but it does-has “the bend.”
Finally today the Cam Wire arrived, notched precisely for the ever-disappearing circlip, but straight as an arrow.
I think I can get my High-Master shootin’ buddy Google-machinist to give me a hand and impart the proper angular coefficient to the dead-straight rod, but the label prominently marked with ATK on the package from RCBS reminded me of what Louis Awerbuck warned in Pistol I and II class, when he said much of the ammo (the ammo you CAN’T GET) that has been coming out from a certain cartridge-company umbrella-ownership group (= ATK) has been lacking a certain Q.C. je ne sais quoi – the stuff is bad. Bullets that are not at all crimped tie-up guns (this I have seen), OAL is sloppy, upsidown primers have been noted, backwards bullets too.
Judging from my earlier telephonic conversations with the very friendly, super-knowledgeable and more polite than they need-to-be RCBS staff, I think the people trying to do business there are amazingly overworked and stressed. Perhaps it is the dumbrella Über-company corporate-ownership that is spinning lazily like the angry man in Zapruder’s film, or an ineffective overhead ceiling-fan on a hot day that is providing the source of conflict and anxiety. I hope things improve for them and that some time this year I get this thing ammo-construction device operational, before I have some kind of cardiac event.

The Infernal Device!

Need to get the “cam wire” figured out, but I managed to figure out how to set the shoulder back on a case using this infernal whirling contraption, and measure it with my headspace comparator gauge-thing!
Sorta. That is I cheated and compared it to an actual round, and then made adjustments screwing the die-down until it matched, which is a way of overcoming my near complete math illiteracy.
So now it goes up and down and around and around – albeit somewhat jerkily as any Steampunk device ought-to, and Piggyback is an appropriate name, but you could call it Hunchback too, from the condition I’ll develop, bending over and fiddling with it…
It’s bit of a kludge, like RCBS never threw anything away, they just rearranged the configurations. It’s one presssitting on top of another, the rams are joined by a link that fits like a male-female case-holder.
UPDATE: Hold on, let me reorient this:
Here’s the new superstructure mounted atop the old RS-3 press. It’s semi-manual, so you pop-in a case and then another and then another and it rotates and goes up and down and when one comes around finallly for a bullet you place the bullet on top and press it up, meanwhile another case is being de-primed and another is being primed, and one is loaded with powder, etc.
The Upside is the shell-plates are the same as the Pro200 and now I have a bunch.
Downside is the arbor height and ram-stroke only accommodates cartridges 2.260″ tall so .30-06/.308 etc. is out – it’s .223 and pistols for me with this baby (and the v.3 is a shorty also). :
And this is the bottom half.
And it’s held together and operated by this ram connector.
Fully functional and a good idea, engineeringwise…but it’s definitely not super-smooth in operation though that effect can’t be attributed to this link, it’s just an overall design issue.
The term Steampunk fits I think? There should be a whistle attached somewhere and a bevel-drive gizmo-something running off the side, and sections wrapped in crocodile skin.
The top die-head is shared with the earlier RCBS progressive press, the “Ammomaster”, and it is changeable but not that easily – it would be a bit like removing your tires to change the transmission, or visa versa…
I don’t have a powder measure rigged-up and have to buy one, so I don’t know if it throws everything onto the floor…

Meanwhile I’m looking for primer tubes and a powder measure…

Quickie case-trimmer

Just to illustrate an old post, here’s the Lee cutter mated to a case-length stop and affixed to position #1 on my RCBS Trim Mate. After de-priming and re-sizing in the press, the brass can be directly inserted over the gauge and trimmed to length. Voila.
And Mil-Crimp Remover:
Mil-Crimp Remover