Borrowing a chronograph?

If anyone in the Tucson area happens to have a chronograph lying around, would it be possible for me to borrow it for a range session or two? I want to get some data for my reloads, but I lack a chrony.

It doesn’t need to be fancy, and I’d be willing to provide some sort of reasonable collateral against my accidentally shooting it.

If so, please contact me by email. Thanks!

Customer Service

Nine days ago, I made a post where I cursed my foolishness when I ended up washing (and thus destroying) a Bookmans credit slip, thus being out $45. All that was left were a few small scrappy pieces of orange paper.

Of course, this was completely my fault, and I completely understand when one of the staff at the local store said “Well, without the amount actually printed on the small bits of papercredit slip, we can’t replace it.” If I were in their position, I’d probably do the same — I’d be concerned about frauds and liars.

Imagine my surprise when a few days later, the self-described Web Monkey at Bookmans posts a comment asking for my address, and saying she has something to send me. After doing some basic checking to ensure she was, in fact, a Bookmans employee, I provided my address. Today, I received her envelope: it contained a $50 (!) credit slip (with a handwritten note on it saying “Warning: not laundry proof!”) and a few bumper stickers.

Now, over the years, I’ve dealt with good and bad customer service. Some have offered what I would consider to be excellent customer service, while others have offered customer “service” in much the same way that a bull “services” a cow. Bookmans just blew them all out of the water. Not only did they proactively seek out my issue (when I called to ask, I had done so without giving my name or number, the only record of the question was here on the blog), but they took my word on the amount I had accidentally destroyed, and even gave me $5 more. They did all this even though I was completely to blame, and I didn’t expect even the slightest bit of reimbursement for my own foolishness.

Never have I seen customer service quite so incredible. Truly, my hat is off to them.

They even have a highly competent Web Monkey, who evidently regularly reviews her server logs. Always a good thing. (Hey Heather, if you’re reading this, there’s a new version of Google Analytics code that you should replace the existing urchin.js with. Just FYI.)

If I wasn’t already a loyal Bookmans customer (both for their excellent prices, selection, locations, and people, but also for their unwavering support and defense of the First Amendment), I would certainly have been converted as of today.

At the risk of sounding like some sort of commercial shill (which I most certainly am not), if you’re in an area with a nearby Bookmans, I strongly encourage you to check them out.

Photos

I recently discovered the fantastic program called Autostitch that will “stitch” together pictures into a panorama. Obviously, the pictures need to be taken from the same position and at differing angles, but Autostitch does all the hard work.

Here’s one of my better ones from today:

(click to enlarge)

There’s some obvious blurring and visual artifacts due to several factors: people/vehicles moving around between each frame, the photos were taken through glass at different (occasionally shallow) angles, and I moved the camera between two positions about 5 feet apart (different panes of glass, with different angles). Even so, it turned out reasonably well.

For those who are curious, the large, white-roofed building in the center is the Physics & Atmospheric Sciences building at the University of Arizona, which is where I spend most of my waking hours. The red-roofed, horseshoe-shaped building across the street from it is the Yavapai dormitory. In the lower-right-hand corner, there are four tall palm trees; barely visible between the heads of those trees is a weather research station. In the distance, slightly to the right of center is the university’s football stadium. The picture was taken from the 10th floor of the Gould-Simpson building on campus.

I should really see about getting more panoramic photos of various interesting places, like the local range. Taking pictures on campus is a pain, as there’s always people moving about.

On a similar note, is anyone aware of a flash or Java-based viewer for panoramic images? Displaying them in 2D creates a lot of distortions.

Concealment Holsters

As spring is rapidly approaching here in Tucson (it’s alternating between rainy and sunny and getting into the low 70s), I’ve been looking at options for concealed carry in the warmer (read: freakishly hot) seasons. My main concern is not immediate access (e.g. on my person), but rather total concealment (e.g. no chance of “flashing”, dropping the gun, etc.).

Since I’m often found with a backpack (how else can one carry stuff whilst on a two-wheeled vehicle without saddlebags), and mine is getting a bit long in the tooth (it’s my old army “assault pack” backpack, which has all sorts of straps and buckles), I’ve been looking at getting a new backpack or messenger bag with a concealment compartment — one of my friends has a purse from Galco with a concealment compartment, and she’s been extremely satisfied, so I figured a backpack would work well for me.

Ideally, the bag would also have a padded spot for a laptop (mine has a 15.4″ screen).

Galco seems to have women’s handbags, but nothing that I can find seems appropriate for a mid-20s male student-type.

Any ideas?

Glock Cleaning

I’ve been too lazy and too busy to clean my Glock 19 in several months. During this time period, it’s probably fired about 600 rounds of Miwall 9mm reloads without fail.

Anyone want to make a wager to see how long I can go without cleaning it?

Question of the Day

The university has a post office (contract unit) in the student union. In addition to being able to buy stamps and ship parcels, one can also rent post office boxes[1].

Now, it’s perfectly legal to ship firearms in the mail (handguns must be shipped by an FFL through the mail, mere mortals can only ship long guns) so long as certain rules are obeyed. Parcels, including firearms, which are too large to fit into a box are held for the box holder to collect over the counter.

Now, it’s legal to mail firearms, and it’s legal to receive firearms (say, being returned from the manufacturer for service, or from a gunsmith). It’s legal to possess firearms just about anywhere in Tucson, but it is against the law to possess firearms on the university campus without the express permission of the university police department (good luck getting such permission).

Assuming one were to have a PO box at the on-campus post office, and one was to receive a firearm…would it be legal to transport that firearm (unloaded, cased, locked, etc.) from the on-campus post office to an off-campus location by the most immediate means available (e.g. walking off-campus, to a waiting car, etc.)? It seems like there’s some sort of “island of legality” within the confines of the post office, but one cannot actually transport the firearm from the post office to an off-campus location without crossing through the no-guns-allowed region of the campus itself.

Any thoughts or pointers? I could call the university police department, but I figured I’d ask here first.

[1] Which reminds me of a cool label I saw affixed to a liquid nitrogen dewar (like a big thermos) today: it was made by some nuclear division of the Union Carbide Company, and had “Post Office Box X” in some city. How cool is that? “Box X” sounds very mysterious indeed, particularly when relating to nuclear stuff.

Notice

This blog originally started with the URL http://azrifleman.heypete.com/

After a few weeks, I bought a domain for it, and it now resides at http://www.arizonarifleman.com/

I’ve kept the old URL around for historical reasons, but I’m going to be discontinuing the old URL on Sunday, January 25th 2008 at noon Mountain Standard Time (GMT -0700). If you link to the old site (thanks for linking!) or have the URL bookmarked in your browser, please update your records to reflect the current URL.

Thank you!

Bloody Hell…

My friend Louis just got me an RCBS bullet puller today, as I have been pining for one for some time.

I can’t get the bloody thing to work. I popped the tar seal on some old Wolf ammo I had lying around, put the cartridge in the puller in the prescribed manner, and pounded the snot out of it to no avail. Even following excellent instructions such as this, I’ve been unsuccessful. (Note: I lack a piece of firewood, but I do have a 2×4 clamped to my desk to which my reloading press is attached, and I pounded the puller on the wood, as well as my lightly-carpeted floor.)

Same thing with my non-sealed, not-heavily-crimped reloads.

Any suggestions?

Perhaps a collet-puller would have been a better idea?

That Time Of Year

The state of Arizona just mailed me my vehicle registration renewal form for my Camry.

Total damage for two years of registration: $427.49, which includes $50 for my Veteran’s plate (the money goes to help various veteran-related organizations, which I support).

While the $365.82 for a “vehicle license tax” is a bit steep, what irks me is that they charge me $0.42 for postage to mail me the bill. You’d think that’d be considered a “cost of doing business” for the state, and they wouldn’t pass it along to the taxpayer so blatantly. That said, it is nice that they show it as a line-item, so I know exactly what my costs are.

They list what percentage of my vehicle license tax goes to various purposes — highways, roads, and general funds for the county and city. Oddly enough, more money goes to the county and city general funds than it goes to county and city roads. That’s annoying, considering how many [expletive] potholes Tucson has.

Also strange is that they list how to compute the tax savings for having an “alternative fuel vehicle”: multiply the existing VLT by 0.02381, which would bring my tax to $8.71 if I had an alternative-fuel vehicle. Paying less than $9 for two years of registration and taxes certainly is appealing, but there’s no places around here for refuelling an alternative-fuel vehicle. Maybe I could get a natural gas hookup if I had my own house, but otherwise it’s a no-go. It seems really strange that the tax would be essentially negligible for owning such a vehicle, particularly when alternative-fuel vehicles cause the same wear-and-tear of roads that gas/diesel vehicles do. Go figure.

I also find it really odd that they have a section where one can consent to release personal information contained in my driver license and vehicle record, and that such consent “applies to all requests from any and all individuals or organicationz for any purpose, until revoked…in writing”. The form provided makes no mention of the fact that such consent is completely optional, and that the default state is “keep my information private”. The online form for renewal has the same section, but mentions that it’s optional. Why would they even put such a section? Why would anyone willingly consent to releasing their license and vehicle records to the general public, with no restrictions?