Fall is in the air and last week we had a bit of local event-stuff at our Neighbor’s ranch. Out by the pond there’s a Bunkhouse and a Saloon built by Ed from local-cut timber, and we were invited for a Veteran’s Celebration pot-luck, which was a nice way to meet folks since we’re the newbies.
There were a variety of dishes including ground-elk cabbage rolls and our coleslaw.
Before dinner we had a Pledge of Allegiance, and after dinner Ed had a brief talk about his friend Buck who was a firearms instructor, and much-much more – who had passed away recently. As a half-Cherokee they held a ceremony for Buck atop a mountain overlooking the back-country of Lake Tahoe where his ashes were spread. There were a couple remembrances and stories told about him.
Basically the whole night was given over to veterans telling stories of their experiences, and it started with this: Ed’s first story revolved around the deceased’s participation as a US adviser training troops in a southern nation to the south in the mid-1980’s. Apparently a group of advisers he was leading on a bus was stopped by a group of “banditos”… Apparently they set up an ambush and flanked each side of the bus. Big mistake. After an attempt to communicate and resolve the issue (whatever it was) failed, the order was given and the guys inside the bus rolled out each side and took out the ambush. None of the “banditos” survived.
A petite female vet who must have been in her late 60’s (remember, never ask a woman’s age) recounted her time in Germany after Desert Storm when she had re-upped, where she met a German Chaplain with a German Shepard who went on marathon runs together with her unit, and who she ran into again in Georgia on runs when she was stationed there.
She also knew Ed and Buck from attending the one-room schoolhouse down in Pleasant Valley, while he went to the fancy there-room one further up the road, and her school beating them in Baseball. She was part Native American too and Buck used-to call her, “His Little Comanche.” Annie Oakley would have gotten a run for her money from her!
A third guy talked a bunch about being a Tunnel-Rat in Vietnam, the various equipment they used and later things…
Another Vietnam Vet brought his 94-year old father-in-law who had been a Marine artilleryman in the Pacific WWII, fighting from Peleliu to Iwo Jima – and who watched the flag(s) go up on Mount Suribachi, on Iwo Jima. He didn’t want to talk about that much and said he only survived because he was in the artillery. I got the distinct feeling he still was frustrated at the conditions and difficulties of supporting his forward Marines, against the Japanese redoubts and coral caves, but he was as fit and spry today as any 70-yr old – and more than most 60+yr old corporate-cubicle rats. Amazing.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to the crew-member from the USS Pueblo and congratulate him on his survival and sacrifice, but I hope I will get-to at another event. People these days just don’t seem to understand that Service IS Sacrifice, and how far it goes.
Reno Guns and Range has grown considerably since last year when we went to try-out the simulation exercises, and has moved to a huge and spacious building near the Harley dealership. The range walls are .50BMG capable and there is superior ventilation, so much so that being indoors at their location was preferable to being outdoors, especially when the fire-smoke hung in the air and occluded visibility. Rangemaster Kevin Crawford also had some very pertinent advice re: carry – “If you carry one of these (pointing to belt), you should carry one off these (pointing to tourniquet).” While I arrived in Reno there was a big, state-funeral being held for Officer Carl Howell who had been killed a week ago in Carson City, responding to a domestic – the first time a Carson City sheriff’s deputy has been shot and killed on duty since 1963. The suspect emerged shooting and they exchanged gunfire, and while the Officer reportedly killed the suspect, before medical attention could arrive he bled-out from an aortal leg wound and died. So now I am looking for a SOF® Wide Tactical Tourniquet (SOFTT-W) and some Z-Pak, and I’m all for a class offering instruction on the use of these too. So maybe next year we’ll get some hands-on training? If not, I will before then.
I suppose I had the benefit of a fat wallet since this is my main charitable event each year, so I was disposed to paying full-retail on the Raffle, and with the extra tickets was able to score a number of fine items including the one AR receiver that was available, and so in that sense I Won the Gun. Also a couple very nice Sig ball-caps, some Blackhawk! Aviator Flight Ops Gloves that fit well and will be a splendid accoutrement to the Gentleman’s Express this summer as we coast over the high-mountain passes, an AP Custom 3×3 shot-shell belt holder for Three-gun, and a pair of MOA Beast collapsible target stands from Mitch Gerlinger, the owner and designer of MOA Targets.
The sun rises later over the Prairie and I get up out of bed later – like 6:30. The smoke from the fires all around has dissipated today. There’s a coolness in the morning air that has been missing since May, and I could run the mower if I felt like it,, and the shelves at Walmart are denuded of archery equipment as the hunting season is about to begin – it’s not Cabela’s but it’s a good barometer of the seasons and that Fall is around the corner.
And the Gunblogger Rendezvous was a smash-hit for me. I got to meet several people who’s blogs I have only read, and others who actually read mine! I got to re-unite with old friends and meet new ones. The trip to Scheel’s was interesting and overwhelming as usual. I never know what to buy there and just don’t. Almost bought a box of .243 Hornady but managed to overcome the excitement.
After Thursday night dinner with Mike, Kiwi, Kevin, Billl, and Paula I hit the sack early. The drive-up was an interesting drive-variation with a route over Kingsbury Grade on the Nevada side of South Tahoe that I had not driven in thirty-three years. The view out over the high desert farmland is spectacular and the little town of Genoa down on the valley’s edge was Nevada’s first settlement – or something.
Friday morning was an early wake-up at 5:00 to get ready and meet Kevin and his Giant Truck, and go get the Gardner Gun in Gardnerville. Once again suppressor-maker and De Lisle carbine-guy Richard at Special Interest Arms had something interesting for Show-and-Tell, and it was good to see him again and get to know him better. His knowledge of the gun is encyclopedic and he probably wrote the Wiki on it, that is if he did such things.
The smoke was very evident in the high desert valley morning, and a huge orb of the sun rose red over the hills, then grew smaller and more faint as it got higher. I remarked that visibility sucked and the 900-yard targets might be hard to reach today.
We got back to Breakfast late but there were some crumbs and fruit remaining – and coffee!
Met-up with Kevin’s spotter-buddy Rusty who I remember from last year, old pal Dutch-Oven Jeff, and new Nevada resident and commenter-friend Pat who has made quite an impression here. And then I got to meet Clayton Cramer and his irrepressible wife Rhonda — then it was back upstairs, grab the guns, and off to the most EXCELLENT and friendly staff at the Washoe County range…
I brought the little .22WRF Model 90 Winchester, the Ruger Vaquero, the S&W Model 19-3, and my carry Ed Brown Kobra. OBSERVATION: It was interesting to carry in Nevada and its something (carry) that I am adjusting-to. I learned that my Galco OWB “Fletch” holster, while very slimming and non-printing, prevented me from reaching into my hip pocket where my wallet normally resides, and it was finally easier to extricate my wallet and move it to the left than re-adjust the holster – after that I used the Milt Sparks Summer Special instead.
At the range The Gardner Gun occupied the full-auto space at the end and Richard was there with an assortment of full-auto suppressed rifles as well, including the “Trecenti,” Latin for 300 which is his new flagship-gun, the integrally suppressed 300 BLK AR-15. Also and again his friend and business partner (?) Brian was there as he was at last year’s event.
I shot Pat’s .450 Lott and I’m glad it was just a deer-load. The Model 19-3 should have been cleaned (my bad, but I didn’t) and a diet of .38Spl illustrated how residue build-up can affect the chambers of a .357Mag as primers showed evidence of flow and cratering, and locked-up the gun until Pat managed to open it. I put the magnum loads aside and shot .38Spl instead and it proved very accurate. The .44-40 was also accurate and with hunting loads not any worse for handling or feel – it soaked ’em up and kept poking holes in paper. The little .22WRF trombone also zipped to POA, and if I had brought my spotting scope I could have seen the group better (or at-all), but during a cease-fire I got a close look and was impressed. Maybe I’ll get a .22Mag pistol and have a shared-round companion gun for the rifle…
Hunter Ed. class Tuesday night, Gun-club picnic tomorrow and we’re bringing a salad (cloweslaw), and the raffle tickets for a S&W Shield 9mm. Which got me to thinking about the poly-stock black scoped hunting rifles the guys in the lane next-over from me were shooting.
Q: Is a scope necessary for ethical hunting and shot-placement?
My only scope is a Nikon .223 point-blank reticle on the Ninja-AR. I won a scope-mount section of rail for a SMLE at the last Gunblogger Rendezvous – it’s a Enfield No.1 low-mount picatinny scope base from GBR repeat-attendee Richard at Special Interest Arms, but I am seriously lothe to drill-and-tap either of my Ishapore rifles.
I can hit pretty well at 100-yards with the .308 NATO, and the Krag, and probably the .303 too – but is it well-and-proper enough for hunting, where a miss that is not a kill allows the wounded animal to flee and die in pain?
I know there are makers of good but inexpensive hunting rifles, which also come scope-equipped. The Savage Club-rifles we had for the Junior Shooters had great accuracy and a very nice triggers. Mossberg also makes a combo-kit hunting rifle as does Ruger and Howa. Maybe I should get something specific for the hunt? September is a ways off and there are also many used rifles in the gun-cases at local shops looking for a good home. Hmmm…
I think I’ll got for a ride on the Gentleman’s Express and check it out…
It was time to wring-out the Krag and the NATO Ishapore, and learn my local Club’s protocols and intricacies. Dan was the RO at the rifle-range and explained, “no rifles in cases.” It seems a while back too many hunters had showed up with cased, loaded weapons – and they did not exhibit good muzzle discipline handling them at the bench. So now the rule is bring them in singly and rack them.
My neighbors in the other lanes were Bud and Hunter, a grandfather-grandson duo who were prepping for hunt season with scoped, black-polymer stocked rifles, and Roy. Roy had an SKS, a Mosin, a Waffenamt-stamped 8mm Mauser, and a bull-barrel Ruger 10//22 – and he lives down my road in “a big old barn” as he called it. Hey Neighbor! People couldn’t be more friendly.
The max distance was 100-yards. The Krag struck the top of the 10-ring of the SR-1 target, and then gathered its shots around the left in the 8-9 ring-area, and then variously elsewhere on the left out to the 7-ring. Nothing to the right. I made adjustments but they stayed to the left.
Then I brought out the NATO Ishapore and fired on an old Washoe Range target from the last GBR, stapled-up sideways, and hit some in the 10-ring too. When I put on my shooting glasses and brought the front sight into sharp focus I did a better and kept in an even quadrant from 10’oclock high to 5:o’clock low on the right, out to the 7-ring.
So fine. Beautiful break in the heat, with temps in the mid 80’s only. Gorgeous day.
Club-guy Malcolm is running a Hunter Education Course next Tuesday up Pleasant Valley Road, out at the Grange. I’m there.
So… After yesterday plunking a chunk down on the ’70 Smith Model-19 and buying some WallyWorld .357 loads (and a plastic Plano “can” of its own), I awoke and went on-line, and saw on the Gun-Club Calendar that there was a “Tea Party Shoot!” 9:00AM – 12:00PM – and FINALLY got my sh*t together.
Being a revolver-happy guy at the moment, I packed the ammo for the two big revolvers – each in its own can of .45 Colt, and .44-40 WCF – and drove out to the range. Just eight minutes and four miles from garage-to-gate. Seriously I’ve never had it this good.
The folks were very pleasant and the atmosphere casual and firm but not overbearing. As long as you exhibit proper procedure and protocol, and ESPECIALLY MUZZLE DISCIPLINE, everything is smooth – BUT people with too much attitude and too-casual regard for safety get moved on real quick.
I shot the Colt M1909 for familiarity first. Not knowing what to expect of the Ruger .44-40 I wanted a baseline. And so I shot low and to the left and a couple flyers off the black – Doh! Another cylinder rectified that, then the Colt and its ammo went away, and .44-40 came out — and after shooting .45Colt loads (and not Cowboy loads) it was like shooting a slightly hot .38 Special. What a fun gun! Except for unloading. The SAA ejector rod that pushes-out cases is uncomfortable close to the muzzle and that was just weird. Also the loading process feels a bit stilted and formal – but I suppose that’s a good thing. So I went trading back and forth every couple cylinders – only one caliber at a time on-station – and had some fun. The SAA is a trip, but thumbing back the hammer with the support hand is very fast. Woot!
Awoke to overcast, and mid-coffee it actually rained. Lunch at Bricks and then a visit with our favorite Darling-of-Retail at the Western shoppe – who’s quitting! Fortunately we’ll see her again soon at the Gun-Club Picnic, since her grandfather is Treasurer.
Trying to reach a contractor to get a bid on a quick mud & tape job for the garage and the phone glitches and blurps and I’m in some kind of cellphone dead-zone. So I tried another avenue, and it worked with the guy who’s got experience here already – and I’d rather pay local than a guy living out on the 80-corridor in Roseville. But local guy is in the middle of a flip, on his hands and knees laying tile, so the project might have to wait a while. Oh well, carpet is coming and there’s paint to do at the other house.
So off to the new Gunshop in town to meet the guy – Jeff – then to Wally where they had this which I had not seen in ages. And JHP too.
At 7:00AM I took a rake and some clippers and drove the mower and little dump-trailer out under the biggest oak and gathered dead-fall and debris. I managed to fill the trailer with an assortment of crap and dumped it onto the now-forbidden burn-pile, making a nice nest for rats and other crawly field creatures . Maybe the owls will feast upon them.
By the time I was done I needed another shower. It’s 100-degrees in the shade out there, so rather than contiunue with yardwork I decided to indoorize myself and organize my closet-full of shooty ammo stacked in the various metal lock-boxes.
The older brown Homak box now contains all my Gauge-stuff, plus an assortment of what little (and ancient) .22 I have.
The green Stack-On next to it has all the riflery boolitz; from 5.56 NATO, to .30cal M2-Ball in en-bloc clips and bandoleers, to some recent 7.62 NATO, to .303 British, to .30-40 Krag.
The other green Stack-On has the various pistolery-types, all beginning with a “Four” as directed, commanded, and recommended by so many warrior-ninja magazineers: .45acp, .45Colt, and .44-40 together, with the exception of some of that wimpy FBI-load 158gr. old-school .38Special crap since it’s all handgunnery.
None of that .40S&W stuff and I have no 9mm, but the Gun-Club Picnic is coming up and maybe I’ll win a modern shootin’ iron of a strange and European caliber. Then I might have to expand.
Out the window the breeze in the aspen trees looks pleasantly warm.
Marko’s book came in the mail Sunday on a special delivery from Amazon, but it took me until Monday to crack the cover. It’s a honkin’ good read, lots of the characters I seem to know already. I am at chapter 23 and stayed up past my usual bedtime to get there – it’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see/read what happens next – and what the next book will be like.
Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos