Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Does this make sense to anyone?

Apparently, legally owning and just having these ...

  ... or these, in your possession will get you 7 years in prison if you live in New Jersey!

I'm sure glad that I live in the Bluegrass state.  Kentucky isn't a perfect Commonwealth to live in, but I don't think anyone has has gone to prison for owning some hollerpoints or magazines that'll hold more bullets than most of us hillbillies have teeth! ;-)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday and the .308

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving.  My family ate around 1:00 pm yesterday afternoon.  It was the only meal that I ate all day, and I am still not very hungry.
Does this mess look familiar?
My wife left with some friends about 1:00 am this morning to get to the big post-Thanksgiving day shopping craziness. They have been gone for almost 14 hours now.  I hope our bank account can take it!  If it was up to me, all of the shopping would be done cyber-style with all the stuff delivered straight to the front door.

As the men in the family sat together in the man-cave yesterday, talking about deer and rabbit season, good hunting dogs, and the latest firearms purchases, I began to think about something that is obvious, but not really expanded on much today... the .308 Winchester as a wildcatters platform.  My dad and uncle both deer hunt with .243 Winchester rifles.  My granddad was a great fan of this caliber and has used it on many successful hunts, even taking a Canadian black bear with one.  I recently posted on the Browning BLR in .358 Winchester that I have enjoyed shooting and reloading for, and I also own a nice Weatherby SVM in 7mm-08 that I have been trying to develop a pet load for, but haven't had the opportunity to fully flesh out.  So, what does this have to do with my sudden epiphany?  Well, I was wondering about the .308 family of calibers that have been created and how successful that all seem to be (within reason considering the .358 and possibly 7mm-08) and why other calibers haven't been brought to the public as an actual chambered caliber.  Now, I am certainly no firearms/reloading/shooting expert, and I know that there is nothing new under the sun.  I simply wonder why some calibers that seem to make sense haven't become popular to the shooting public.

Let's look at the .308 family of calibers, you have, by my humble estimation, the following:

  1. .308 Winchester (original chambering)
  2. .358 Winchester
  3. .338 Federal
  4. 7mm-08 Remington
  5. .260 Remington
  6. .243 Winchester
All awesome calibers that can be fit into most shooter/hunters arsenal to take most all North American game. I guess my big question is this, what about a .308 based cartridge using the .270, .25, or .22 caliber bullets?

Again, I'm not foolish enough to believe they haven't been tried.  In my brief internet searches last night, I even found a guy who had created a .22-.50 cal round.  It took a lot of shimming to make it work, and I don't know if it has ever been fired, or why it was even done other than he just wanted to see if he could do it.

I may even answer my own question in suggesting that there isn't enough of a difference in ballistics to create .25 or .270 caliber round when we already have a .264 and 7mm round out there being mass produced by major manufacturers.  But what about the .22 caliber?  Is it too overbore to be practical? I could see that being the case with small 45 - 55 grain bullets.  What about the bigger 62 - 80 grain bullets?  Couldn't these bigger bullets and the .308 case be used to make a round that most shooters are familiar with and have a history with already?  Has this already been done using the new super short calibers?

Just a little deep thinking on a cold November day.  Am I delusional from a turkey/tryptophan overload, or do I have a valid point?  Tell me what you think.

Blue Steel

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Remember, tomorrow is the big shopping day so get lots of rest.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What I want for Christmas!

Somewhere, in a musty old chest, there are some picture albums with hundreds of pictures in them.  One of those albums has many 70's era polaroid pictures of me sitting on Santa Claus' lap and telling him all the cool stuff that I wanted.  I remember one year that I asked for a stretch armstrong, hungry hungry hippos, and matchbox cars.  I think I got gloves, socks, underwear, and baseball glove and baseball.  I enjoyed the underwear more than the baseball stuff if that tells you anything about my personality!

So yesterday, my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year.  Now, I believe that I am a very easy person to buy gifts for.  I like anything shooting/firearms related.  That doesn't mean I expect my wife to have a new Benelli Vinci all wrapped with a bow under the tree for me Christmas morning (though I would be a very grateful husband :-).  I would be satisfied with a box of bullets, bag of brass, can of Wipe-out bore cleaner, set of cleaning jags and bag of cotton patches, or most anything in that line.

Actually, several years back, my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I just happened to have a list ready (printed on a Midway order form).  I have got more use from my gifts that year than I can remember.  I got a brass tumbler, 1000 pieces of .45 ACP brass, some Hornaday A-MAX bullets, and a set of reloading dies.

Can you tell that I am probably like most men and am totally satisfied with practical gifts that I can use for my hobbies or for stuff around the house.  I still get socks and underwear, but I'm actually glad to get them now.  My wife, on the other hand, is very difficult to buy gifts for.  She never asks for anything specific.  She doesn't have any particular hobby that I can buy stuff for.  She doesn't wear or ask for any specific kind of jewelry or cosmetics or clothing.  There is one thing that my wife is almost compulsive about and I decided to play on that as a method of gifting her.  She is a button pusher!  She loves electronic gadgets and equipment that she can push buttons on, work through and figure out.  So, I decided what a better gift for her than an iPod.  If it is possible to wear out an iPod, she has worn it out.  I had to upgrade it for her on her birthday and get her one with more memory to hold all the pictures, videos, movies and junk that she had on the thing.  She was happy.  Now, I'm faced with the problem of how I can top that gift.  I hope I can come up with something she will enjoy as much as that stinking iPod.

Back to what I want for Christmas.  My requests are short, simple, and practical once again. And I'm going back to the well once again (thank you, Midway).  I want NEED two lower parts kits for a couple AR-15 lower receivers that I bought back this summer.  A year and a half ago, I started build an AR-15 in 5.56 like I wanted.  I decided to build it like Johnny Cash's Cadillac, one piece at a time, until I finished it out.  I finished it last spring.

As you can tell in the above picture, my AR is ready to go, and with a little range time to get it sighted in, I should have a .223 shucking machine that the coyotes better watch out for.  My next project will be a something new with these lowers.  I want to build one in 5.56 for my dad, but the other...

I'm thinking something in a 6.8 for use on bigger game.  

I hope Santa is listening, I'm way too big to sit on his lap now!

Blue Steel

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

I have had a busy week at work.  Tomorrow is going to be a wasted day with not much getting accomplished.  My usual daily routine will change tomorrow, and I don't like that!  So, I'm sitting here on the couch and just kind of vegging out.

I don't feel like cooking much or washing dishes, so supper tonight is a delicious southern meal known as fried bologna.  I liked mine, slightly browned 2-3 minutes on each side, served between two slices of white bread with a generous amount of yellow mustard.  Of course this fine samich is served and eaten directly from a piece of paper towel for practical purposes and easy clean-up afterwards.  For all of you out there who don't know about this fine southern cuisine, you are missing out.  I used to get these for lunch at a local store where they would slice you a piece of bologna about 3/8"-1/2" thick and fry it up just how you like.  It was awesome! :-)  I doubt you'll see the Food Network using this recipe on Iron Chef, but you just might see Paula Deen make 'em one day.

As I'm sitting here on the couch typing this quick post, enjoying my bologna and washing it down with a glass of tea, I'm also watching the Police Women of Dallas.  Now, as I read what I'm writing, I start to form a picture in my mind of what those of you who do read this little blog are thinking about me and social regression tonight.  Then I wondered what kind of picture you have in your minds about how this dude looks as he eats fried bologna and watches reality tv.

Does it look something like this?

"Life's a garden, dig it."  "You can't have no in your heart."  "Ya gotta keep on keppin' on."

Ya'll have a great Friday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deer Season 2010

Well, it's deer season here in the Bluegrass state.  People from all walks of life have picked up their latest and greatest super-duper magnum monster deer rifle that they probably spent a month salary on, then topped with the cheapest scope they could buy.  Then they more than likely took it to someone else to sight in for them "because it just kicks too damn hard!"  Of course they need the rifle to shoot 1" groups out to 600 yards, but they only want it sighted in hitting about an inch above zero at 100 yards cause that's good enough.  If they see a monster buck out too far, they will be able to hold right on him and hit exactly where they're aiming.

I used to enjoy deer hunting when I was younger.  I had a great place to hunt with no pressure from outsiders to mess up a hunt.  I stopped hunting deer when my dad decided he could save money on groceries through the winter by stocking up on venison.  He worked with a bunch of guys who liked to hunt but didn't like to eat deer.  So dad volunteered to take any deer that they shot and if they wanted to keep the head as a trophy that was fine with him, he just wanted the meat.  There was a sweat gum tree right beside our house, and on opening day of deer season, I would come home and dad would have 2-3 deer hanging in the tree to dressed and processed for the freezer.  As the season would progress, and more guys would tag out, there would be more deer hanging for me to help clean.
This is about how many deer I would have to help process every couple of days during our 11 day season.

With all this venison in the freezer, here is what our typical menu would be:

  • Fried tenderloin (awesome) with mashed taters and gravy, biscuits, mac'n cheese.
  • Venison soup - venison ham or shoulder cubed and browned cooked in with typical soup ingredients (taters,beans,corn,onion,tomaters).
  • BBQ venison shoulder
  • Smoked venison ham
  • Roasted venison (ham,shoulder, or neck roast)
  • Summer sausage
Now, this was all good the first time it was prepared and served.  However, this was the only meat in our diet, and I kind of missed stuff like hamburgers, pork chops, or most anything else that would break up the monotony of venison 4-5 nights a week.  This is also about the time my wife and I started dating.  She was almost a vegetarian by choice, as she couldn't stand the idea of eating a cute little deer that was just skipping through the woods minding its own business when a mean awful hunter shot it dead.  22 years later, she has overcome her issues with being a meat-eater and loves typical store-bought and processed  meat, but will not eat wild game of any kind.  Since she refuses to eat venison, and I am still burned-out on it, I have no reason to go after a mucho-grande buck.  I wouldn't mind having a little fried tenderloin, but it's just not worth the work involved to get it.

.358 Winchester
.358 Winchester (l to r) 225 gr Nosler AccuBond, 250 gr Nosler Partition, 180 gr Hornaday XTP, 158 gr Remington semi-jacketed lead point.

Because of my interest in firearms, and the fact that I might muster the desire to deer hunt again, I have a rifle that I have wanted for a while that fits the bill for hunting whitetails here in my area.  I had some interest in the .358 Winchester for a good while.  I liked the tradition of the caliber itself.  It was designed as a short-medium range caliber with enough power and density from the .35 caliber bullet to take all North American game from elk to groundhogs depending on how it was loaded.  I also like the fact that a person who reloads can load this round very easily and with a wide range of bullet selections.  The .35 caliber is nowhere near as popular as a .30 caliber in having a many bullet choices for reloading, bu there are so many bullet makers on the market, plus the fact that .357 caliber pistol bullets can also be loaded for the .358 Winchester, makes the round quite versatile.

Browning BLR '81

The rifle I found in this caliber was the Browning BLR.  I am no fan-boy of Browning, but I do like this particular rifle.

The only other lever action that I have owned was an old model 94 Winchester in .30-.30.  I never shot the 94 very much, and a .30-.30 has the ballistics of a flying brick.  The .358 in a BLR allows the reloader to use spire pointed bullets for better velocities and ballistics because the rounds are loaded from a box magazine in the bottom of the receiver.  A few bolt rifle were also chamber for this round, but are quite rare to find, but they also allow the shooter to use pointed bullets.

I liked the short and fast aiming of the BLR.  One advantage of the BLR design is the trigger and trigger guard all move with the lever when cycling the action.  This prevents unintended pinches and also allows the shooter to work the action quite fast.  My rifle is equipped with sights, but I attached a Leupold Vari-X III 1.5X5 power scope on it for quick target acquisition and ease of aiming.  With the scope on the 1.5 power setting, I can see the tip of the front sight, but the field of view is large and clear, and there is no parallax to have to adjust.

I haven't shot a deer with this rifle, but a friend of mine decided to try a wild hog hunt down in Tenneessee a couple of years ago, and this is the rifle I took on the hunt.  I had just bought the rifle about 2 months prior to the hunt and had been working up various loads.  I decided to take a load using the Nosler 250 grain Partition bullet as I had always heard a how tough wild hogs are to kill and the Nosler Partition bullet has a great reputation for taking tough game.  I got a shot on a 260 pound boar at about 75 yards.  I don't know if the .358/partition bullet combination is exceptionally deadly, or if wild hogs aren't as tough as their reputation, but one shot at the hog quartering away from me took him down instantly!  The bullet entered just behind his right-front shoulder and exited through the upper left chest.  I know that old boar hit the ground hard and never even twitched one time.  When the processor cleaned the hog, he told me the bullet passed through and did lots of damage in the process.  That confirms the reliability of the partition bullet for me.  Especially since a bunch of yankees from Minnesota was hunting another section of the same property as we were and got a shot at their hog with a 20 gauge slug.  The shot was bad and they decided to drive the hog and get another shot at it.  By the time all the shooting was done, that poor old hog had been run all over the country and had 7 slugs in him.

If you like old calibers and like having a round that can be loaded with a diverse number of bullets, try out the .358 Winchester.  I know you'll like it.