Saturday’s shooty goodness, in photos

On Saturday, several friends of mine from the physics and astronomy departments decided to go out to the range for some shooty goodness — the last few weeks have been rather busy and ultimately rather trying of our collective sanity.
As seems to be normal for the group, we invited a friend (“T” — in the interest of privacy, I’ll refer to people by their initial) and his fianc?e (“S”), neither of whom had been shooting before. S is a rather jumpy person, and often gets moderately alarmed at new things. She was a little uncomfortable with the idea of going to the range, but several of our mutual friends (including “R”, a female who’s been shooting with our group for some time, and has been integral in getting other women shooters to come to the range) got her to agree to come. In the event that she didn’t enjoy shooting, she brought some work to do in the car as a “plan B”. T had wanted to come with for some time, and so needed no encouragement.
As is our custom, we arrived at the Tucson Rifle Club, paid our dues to the rangemaster (a man with…er…substantial eyebrows), and set up our targets. We had covered range etiquette safety earlier in the day. Even though it was a glorious day, the winds were whipping from left-to-right across the range, which resulted in the paper targets blowing off the wood-and-cardboard frames, and the frames themselves blowing over:

(Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)
Continue reading “Saturday’s shooty goodness, in photos”

Followup: Reduced-recoil ammo works

Just got back from the shooty goodness this afternoon (pics and a write-up to come later).
Remington’s marketing department isn’t lying: reduced recoil 12ga shotshells (both slugs and 00 buckshot) are much more pleasant to shoot.
Sure, full-power loads are great, but for recreational, closer-range shooting, the reduced-recoil rounds make it much more fun. Now, if only they were less expensive…

Midway Order

I’m going to be putting in an order for some AR magazines from Midway in the next week, and was wondering if anyone else local in Tucson wanted to get in on a group order.
As a C&R holder, I get dealer pricing from Midway, so you can save a goodly amount of money on high-margin things like optics. Ammo and other low-margin stuff doesn’t usually get much savings at all.
I don’t really charge a markup, but if you want to buy me a beer or throw in a box of ammo as a tip, I won’t object. 🙂
If you’re interested, send me an email.

Tucson Shooty Goodness

For any readers in the Tucson area, myself and several other folks from the physics and astronomy departments will be at the Tucson Rifle Club on Saturday probably from about 1pm-5pm. Afterwards, we’ll probably retire back to a pizzeria near the university for tasty foodage.
If you want to meet us at the range, feel free to stop by. You’ll likely recognize us due to our extreme paleness.
If you want more details, send me an email.
(To those not in the area, there will be pictures posted.)

Jesus likes gunpowder?

Today I discovered that Hodgdon Powder Company, manufacturer of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders, includes a blurb on their main page saying that their “purpose is to bring credit to our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Evidently Jesus likes gunpowder. That’s sort of neat.
Personally, I’m a bit put-off by a major powder manufacturer openly proclaiming their religious beliefs on their main website. I’m a very private person, and I consider religious beliefs to be a very personal topic, sort of like one’s finances, sex life, etc. It’s something one might discuss in the company of good friends on certain occasions, but not with the world at large.
On a somewhat related note, I noticed that most (all?) IMR powders are made in Canada and packaged in the US. Hodgdon-brand powders are made in Australia and packaged in the US. I’m not sure about Winchester ones. Last time I checked, neither Australia nor Canada are terribly gun-friendly nations (compared to the US, at least). As such, I’m curious why major powder-manufacturing operations are being run from these countries…particularly Australia, as it’s a very long way away, and so shipping costs would be a not-insignificant factor.
One would think that the US, a major producer of arms and ammunition for the domestic and international market, would have more powder-manufacturing plants in the US.

Need bullets? Get them from River Valley Ordnance Works.

I’m not a fanboy, and so don’t usually give unsolicited endorsements of commercial vendors, but in this particular case I’m going to make an exception: for plinking-at-the-range bullets, it’s hard to beat the folks at River Valley Ordnance Works.
I was recently looking for some .223 Rem. bullets for plinking. Price, not high accuracy, was the main concern. All I could find with my regular sources (Midway, some local shops, etc.) was new-production bullets, which are reasonably priced, but still more expensive than I’d like.
A year or two ago, I stumbled across the RVOW site, was seriously tempted by their USGI surplus bullets and cases, but was short on money as so didn’t place an order. However, I bookmarked their site, and made a note to come back later when I wanted to order.
A month ago, I placed an order for 2,000 “light marks” machine-pulled M855 5.56mm bullets. It just arrived today, and a friend and I loaded 420 rounds* in a few hours on my single-stage press**.
Normally, I’d be peeved about it taking a month for an order to arrive, and I called once or twice to politely inquire as to the status of my order. They explained that they were quite busy shipping orders, mostly due to the upcoming election (that’s the reason most customers gave them for ordering), and apologized profusely for the delay. When my box arrived, there was a handwritten note inside apologizing for the delay, and explaining that they’re a bit short-handed due to the proprietor’s husband recently passing away from cancer — my frustration evaporated at once.
In normal situations, a month delay would be greatly annoying…but I can absolutely forgive a delay due to such tragic circumstances. My sincerest condolences go out to the friends and family of the proprietress’ husband.
If you do end up ordering from RVOW, there’s just a couple things to be aware of:

  • Call them instead of emailing them. I made a few inquiries by email, but they were never answered. I’m not sure if Tom, the person listed as the point of contact, is the recently-deceased husband, but it would make explain why emails weren’t being answered.
  • When you do call, you’ll likely get their voicemail. Leave your name, number, and a message briefly explaining what you wish to order, and they’ll get back to you in a day or so.
  • Their prices are different than what are listed on their website, as the site hasn’t been updated for a while. Call for the most up to date prices. For example, their site lists “small marks” M855 bullets as $35.00/1,000, but they’re selling now for $45/1,000.

I quite like supporting small businesses, particularly those involved with the shooting sports, and RVOW will definitely be getting some more orders for M855 and M2 Ball ammo from me in the future. I’m going to give them a quick call tomorrow to offer my condolences, and to offer my services (at no cost, of course) to help revamp their website to be a bit easier to navigate and have updated prices.
I have no connection with RVOW other than being a satisfied customer. I highly recommend them, as they’re good folks selling good products at good prices. What more could one ask for?
* That fills all of my AR-15 magazines. Clearly, I need more mags.
** Note to self: a primer pocket swager would be a fine investment, as my thumbs are killing me from using a deburring tool to try to remove military crimps on most of my once-fired brass.

Money Management

This really makes me wish I wasn’t set on remaining debt free*. It’s only twice the price of my girlfriend’s condo.
* Other than my scooter loan, on which I’m making double payments and should have paid off shortly. After that, the only debt I foresee in the future would be an ordinary mortgage.

Thought of the Day

Does anyone know what happened to this gun?

I wonder if it was destroyed or somehow escaped back into the market.
If the latter, I’d find it amusing to buy it, pose like that (only with my finger off the trigger), and send a photo to Dianne Feinstein. Preferably with a few dozen other people standing around me with similar guns, in similar poses.


Fark recently showed a headline about how the NRA just endorsed C-rated McCain over F-rated Obama, and the submitter worked in some bias implying that the NRA is basically a republican tool.
As is usual for Fark threads relating to political issues discussions on the internet, a whole bunch of crap started flying around the comment threads almost immediately.
Some choice bits, paraphrased:

  • The AHSA opposes the NRA. Since the tiny AHSA represents ordinary people (only they don’t -AZR), as opposed to the 4+ million-strong NRA, this clearly means the NRA is a bunch of extremists.
  • Scary looking guns (“assault weapons”) = machine guns.
  • References to male reproductive organs, mostly related to relative size as a function of number of guns owned.
  • Claims that Obama is pro-gun, has always-been pro-gun, and supports the right to keep and bear arms.
  • Claims that the VPC is actually better than the NRA, as the VPC wants to prevent gun violence.

While there’s a lot of partisan mud-slinging in the thread, a bunch of outright falsehoods, and so forth, there’s also a remarkable number of people who are calmly providing facts, references, and citations showing that the NRA has a long history of endorsing any reasonably-electable candidate (i.e. Democrats or Republicans, except in small elections) that is pro-gun, regardless of the letter that comes after their name.
I find it rather amusing that for anti-gun people, the NRA is some sort of extremist boogeyman, a tool of the republican party, and someone who wants to arm anyone, anywhere, anytime, with any gun.
For pro-gun people, the NRA seems to be considered to not be doing enough, too willing to make compromises, and while generally doing the right thing (promoting gun safety, helping range operations, etc.), not being pro-gun enough.
It’s more troubling that the AHSA is being quoted in media as being representative of moderate gun owners, rather than being a front for anti-gun groups. At least the NRA and other pro-gun organizations are clear about who they are and what they stand for. The media should be widely denouncing the AHSA for being devious and sneaky.
In this particular case, there’s no conspiracy involved: the NRA is concerned with guns, and McCain is more pro-gun than Obama. Thus, it makes sense that the NRA would endorse McCain. The fact that the NRA endorses more republicans than democrats is more a reflection of the fact that republicans tend to be more pro-gun than democrats, rather than any sort of political bias with the NRA.
In short, nothing to see here, move along.

Dear Congress

Dear Congress,
Want to know a little secret? You suck.
The majority of Americans disapprove of the way you’re running the country. If you were the Board of Directors for any company, the shareholders would have thrown you out long ago. The only reason that We, The People haven’t done so yet is because:

  • Your opposition, for the most part, sucks more.
  • While you suck, you don’t suck enough to justify us shooting you. (I’m channeling Claire Wolfe‘s “awkward stage” quote here.)

Personally, I’m of the opinion that essentially all members of Congress should be clapped in irons, taken out to the National Mall, placed into stocks, and have the citizenry directly petition their Congressmen for the redress of grievances. Hot tar and feathers will be sold by vendors for a nominal price.
Recall the response from the citizenry regarding the financial bailout bill? Surely you must –? the influx of emails crippled the House of Representatives email system. I was unable to submit an email, telephone call, or fax for two days due to the huge volume of inbound messages…the majority of which were strongly against the bill. What did you do? You voted for the damned thing. While my representative voted against the bill, he did so because the bill didn’t do enough. What the hell is wrong with you people?
Democrats, you’ve held the majority in the House and Senate for the last few years. What have you accomplished that differs significantly from the oft-maligned Republicans? As far as I can tell, nothing. Quit saying you’re for “change” when you’ve done nothing, even when you’re able to do so.
Republicans, until recently, you’ve held the majority in the Legislature, as well as having Republicans in key positions (the president, for example) in the Executive Branch for nearly a decade. What have you done over the last 8 years? Squandered huge amounts of money (yet you claim the Democrats are the “tax and spend” party), invaded the privacy of American citizens, and generally screwed things up. The only good thing I can recall you doing is letting the “assault weapons ban” expire in 2004…and that was mostly because nobody actually did anything except wait for it to expire. It’s pretty bad when you accomplish more good things by being apathetic than when you’re actually trying to be productive.
The federal government is now over $10.2 trillion dollars in debt…a number so great that the National Debt Clock had to add an extra digit to accomodate your fiscal irresponsibility. The annual budget of the federal government exceeds $3 trillion dollars. What the hell are you spending it all on? That’s a lot of hookers and blow.
In short, you all suck.
Get your collective heads out of your collective asses,
P.S. Your roadside campaign signs, postal mailings, and telephone calls annoy me. That is, it makes me dislike you more.
P.P.S. Any candidate, ballot initiative, or other entity sending me unsolicited email immediately and permanently loses my vote. I may or may not vote for your opponent, but I certainly won’t be voting for you. My email box is mine, it exists for person-to-person and solicited bulk mail, and you need to ask for permission before using it to market to me.
P.P.P.S. I’ve already voted. Even if I wanted to change my vote, I can’t. Quit calling me and mailing me crap.