Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

The management and staff of the Bombshell would like to extend the warmest Christmas Wishes to our entire readership..
In all seriousness, I wish all my regulars and those who find their way here by accident a very Merry Christmas... Mat the Peace and Warmth of the Season find it's way to your homes and families...

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Goodbye Gus

I'm sure that many of our legion of readers will recall my ramblings about Gus, the Jack Russell Terrier, the black and white on the left in the photo, who's adventures I've told of on these pages more than once.
He succumbed to a number of maladies and just general old age, but he never gave up! He suffered in later years from the effects of a dislocated hip, which made him walk like a fiddler crab, and a nasty cough from his bad heart.
Gus served a number of useful functions around the barn and kennels, from keeping vermin in check to being the first to know when a bitch was coming in heat, a very useful friend to have around. He also kept two legged intruders at bay, and anyone who dared jump the fence with bad intentions paid a price for it.
So, here's to Gus... A dog who's heart belied his diminutive size. I'm sure he's in JRT heaven, where rats and vermin abound, and his beloved balogna is always on the menu.
But, as is usually the case, there's a bright side to every sad story. I met the replacement, Millie, a little female to keep Jackie company and carry on Gus' duties. She's a sweet little JRT, and thrives on attention. She'd much rather spend the morning being carried around by me than even getting treats. She's a sponge for attention, and I think she'll get some from me... But, in the meantime...

I'll never forget you, Gussie...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nice dog alert..

Crossposted.. Please do the same.

Due to the untimely passing of Mr. John Yates, his widow, Donna is offering for sale some very nice birddogs. The dogs are located in NW Pennsylvania, and priced to move. Here is an excellent opportunity for some lucky individuals to get a nice little gundog..
Mr. Yates has done alot to help the owners of Sporting Dogs through the The American Sporting Dog Alliance, which he founded and built into a force to be reckoned with.

For more information, please go directly to the website.. Eagle Rock Kennel.

Thanks for looking, and please pass the word.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

True to form, today was the day for the annual Christmas unpleasantries.. The annual hanging of the most hated Christmas lights.
The festivities include much cussin' and swearin', mostly aimed at GE and their Asian partners who produce these lights that never seem to work, or blow fuses in the sleet, or just generally perform poorly. Half a set out? No problem! Buy two new sets, because one will never find the bulb that is causing the outage!
It must cause Chinese factory workers great glee on the weeks leading up to Christmas. They don't have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, but enraged Americans tearing lights off from the places they have been hung after checking them three times, only to find them unworkable after being placed upon the tree or home.
Why can't we return to the days of my youth, when a burned out bulb only meant replacing that one errant unit, instead of attacking bthe entire set with a multi-meter... all to no avail..

Unfortunately, the Christmas spirit has only just entered me, and there are more good times to come... The tree has yet to be put up...

To reprise an old tune from The Carpenters... "We've only just begun"...

God, give me strength...

Monday, November 30, 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends..

Regular readers may recall my post about the downrange DR-16 wad and my troubles in getting good crimps from it. The center section appears too soft, with not enough stiffness to offer good crimps once the compression area "breaks".
Well, thanks to the efforts of two online friends, who are very accomplished reloaders and students of the art, my fat is once again pulled from the fire.
The hull is the el-cheapo Remington Game Load (black hull), the powder Green Dot with a mild primer (Win 209) and the aforementioned DR-16 wad with 3/4 ounce of lead.
Factory perfect crimps are the norm with the wad just seated on the powder, and is this load ever a sweetheart to shoot for practice in the 7 pound RBL..

The DR-16's are once again down off the shelf where I feared they would reside for the hereafter..

So, to these two fellas, and if they read this they will know who they are... I thank you, my wallet thanks you... and my "achy breaky" shoulder thanks you!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Images for the Mind and Spirit

For today, we have somethinmg a little different, and focuses upon a gentleman who's work I have admired for a long time. That gentelman is Carl Heilman II, and his website resides at Carl Heilman Photography.
Mr. Heilman's has been a featured part of Adirondack Life Magazine for years, and I've always enjoyed his work because his favored subject is my beloved Adirondack Mountains.
Carl has a wealth of information, images and free screensavers on his website, and I encourage everyone to visit often and spend some time enjoying some of the oldest, and most beautiful mountains on earth..

I've also added Carl Heilman Photography to the Art Department on the sidebar.

Enjoy perusing Mr. Heilman's site... and have an enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some days 'ya shouldn't get outta' bed!

Went out to the gun club yesterday, as is my habit, for a few rounds of clay targets and to try out a new Green Dot load for the Sixteen. I was immediately made conscious of yet another "new rule." You know, the ones that pop up with sickening regularity that no one ever pays any attention to (and often with good reason).
We always hung the release cord over the gun racks... Been that way for eons. Never been a rule... just what everyone did.
Yesterday, I went to hang the release over the gunrack.. As I've done a thousand times in the past... "We don't do that anymore," I was informed, "New rule. You have to hang the button in the garbage can from now on." Possessing the inquisitive mind that I do, always seeking knowledge, I had the audacity to question why this new edict was passed down to us by the ruling class. After all, we had been doing things the same way for decades. Seemed like it made sense. The cord was out of the way where people couldn't trip over it. Putting it in the garbage can meant laying the wire across the entrance to the field. Seemed counterintuitive to me, but I admit I often am closed minded, and don't see the "big picture" that those with much more intelligence than I seem to see with regularity!
Well, it seems that while grabbing the pull cord to shoot another round, a member of the club's "intelligencia" tore a fella's K-80 off the rack onto the concrete. A bad day I'm sure for the K gun's owner, and the cord puller himself in a mad rush to shoot another round.
Sounds like a new rule is in order to me! A rule to make idiots less able to foist their idiocy amongst those unable to defend themselves from said idiocy...
What a stroke of genius! From now on we'll hang the release cord in the garbage can! Problem solved! Careless individuals will no longer be able to pull fine target guns off the rack... A vision from on high!

But, what happens when a guy yanks the cord and dumps the garbage??? Sounds like me might have another "new rule" in store..
In the meantime, in the immortal words of Ebenezer Scrooge, and in keeping with the season... I'll retire to bedlam!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving... And watch your K-80!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Upon the loss of a friend....

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.

All is well.

Death is Nothing at All
by Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral

sometimes referred to as 'What is Death?'


I received some very sad news this morning. My neighbor and old friend in the Adirondacks passed away serenely this morning.
I always called him by his "nickname," Lum. I consider it one of life's privileges to have known him for as long as I did. He was 81 years at his passing, and I considered more like an older brother than just a friend. He taught me alot in the time we were friends... The meaning of working hard, living a clean life, accepting people for who they are, and not having any pretentious airs.
He was one of those unforgettable characters that appear in one's life only rarely, but leave an impression larger than life itself.
He was a product of his time, growing to manhood in an era in the mountains when life was much more difficult in a harsh environment. Skidding logs out of the woods with a team of horses in the bitter cold, and getting that team rigged up and into the woods long before the sun came up. He was self sufficient and relied upon himself... Why I respected him so.
He knew everything about his area of the Adirondack Mountains, and taught me unselfishly some of the things I needed to know. I was a Flatlander, but he tutored me as if I was family.
He would have done anything to help me, and his mere presence when I was working on something I was not sure of was reassuring.
He told me stories of the old days, and I was always mesmerized... How he ran the town plow with his "wingman" in brutally heavy snowfalls... Of the characters he worked amongst and came to know along the way, such as "Whalebone."
I guess in recent months, I knew this day was coming, but I didn't think so soon. Lum didn't like the long, cold and dark winters in recent years, so in a small way, I'm thankful my friend was not forced to endure another when he was not well.
But, I'll miss him... His family will miss him... The mountains will miss him. A chapter in the book of the early Adirondacks has drawn to a close.
They say that we do not grieve for the deceased, but for the loss of companionship we feel when that special person departs. I suppose that's true, because the old Mountains will never quite be the same for me without the presence of my friend. Something has been lost... Something that can never be again. We accept these losses and move on, as we must. But this winter will be just a wee bit darker and colder.. The next spring just a wee bit rainier, and the summer jut a bit more humid and unbearable.

My friend has finished his journey... There is no more pain and suffering, and for that I am thankful.

To my friend Lum... until we meet again.....

My foray into Organization

Some people say I'm highly disorganized! However, if those same people (they know who they are)would keep their hands off my stuff, I'd be able to lay my hands on anything I own in short order!
Truth be told, I am a little messy, but I'm trying to get my act together and get organized.. Particularly my dog, hunting and gun related equipment.
To that end, I just noticed that Tri-Tronics has a new equipment bag for transmitters and other small parts easily misplaced.
I figure that I can put transmitter, receivers, antennae and all my spare parts in there and get it out of my dog equipment bag that is overflowing with Vet Wrap, .22 & .32 caliber blanks, whistles, lanyards, beepers, bells, ID tags, collars... Well, you get the idea. All the TT electronics will now be together, provided the ghost in the house that manages to move things doesn't have her way...

George Carlin would be proud of me... I'm organizing my stuff, so I'll have room for.... MORE STUFF!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shotguns and rationalization...

I need another shotgun! A .410 for messin' with the dogs... I don't really need it, but that inner voice that talks to us, has been telling me for so long that I need a .410 for working puppies that I have myself convinced.
A little explanation is in order. Back in the mid seventies, I crossed paths with a beautiful little Remington 11-48 Skeet gun in .410. It was in perfect condition, and every time I stopped in for a visit, I asked to have it handed to me from the rack to fondle it. The proprietor always obliged, because he could see in my eyes that he was within a hair's breadth of a sale.. But, it was not to be! Finances and a youngish family prevented it. But I never forgot the call of that siren.. And she still calls to this day.
While perusing Gunbroker recently, I spied a beautiful little .410 11-48 in pristine condition. I weighed entering the fray, but didn't, and the little Remington went for over $800.
Eventually I'll come across a little .410 auto to mess with, and maybe the siren song will stop replaying in my head....
Or, maybe it won't!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quote of the day...

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” ...
There is, however, another type of fool, more dangerous and sure of himself,
who says in his heart and proclaims it to all the world,
“There is no God but mine.”

Giordano Bruno, Dominican friar and philosopher,
burned at the stake in Rome as a heretic, February 17, 1600

Think about it..

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From the "Can't teach an old dog new tricks" Dept.

I've embarked upon a journey... A trek that may well last the rest of my natural life, and if possible, into the hereafter.
My mother spoke fluent Welsh. My cousins and I are from the era when the English tried to stamp out Welsh culture and the language, and nearly successfully. But, there has been a tremendous resurgence in all things Welsh, and the native people never ceded their traditions or language. My nieces, now with children of their own, went to Welsh school, and learned the language properly, and with minds easily molded. Young, fresh and easily able to accept new teachings.
So, finally having the time to invest in an endeavor I've always wanted to engage, I'm starting to learn the language of my homeland. Welsh is an exceedingly difficult language, and one of the oldest in Europe. But, time is no obstacle, and I'm working my way through the lessons, but it does not come easily!
I can say some phrases in Welsh, and if any relatives come for a visit, they will certainly be surprised to hear me speak the native tongue, I'm sure. There may be a little difficulty understanding me, but I'll get my point across.

For those that would like to hear some Welsh.. a language almost sung like a song, there is a great website where one can hear it spoken, and learn some phrases. The site is called "say something in Welsh," and it's truly great! I was pleasantly surprised to see that Rosetta Stone also offers it's method in Welsh.

They say as we age that learning new things such as language can prevent, or delay the onset of Alzheimers by keeping one's brain supple.. Now, I've been accused of being both "soft in the head," and hardheaded, so I don't know what this means to me, but I'm tryin'....

Dw i 'n trio siarad Cymraeg...

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Joy of Music.. and other random thoughts

Now, I'll preface my comments by stating openly that I'm about as far removed from Catholicism as one can get. I'm don't practice traditional religion at all, although I try to live a decent life. I'm probably closer in practice to a Wiccan like my dear departed Mom than a true Christian, although I try my best to adhere to Christian values.
It's odd then that I should find anything on the cable channel aimed at Catholics, of much interest. But lately, I have once again found "The Joy of Music" with Diane Bish.
Diane Bish is an accomplished organist, and tours different cathedrals throughout the World, and plays powerful, awe inspiring hymns of the organs housed there.
Some of these instruments are as huge and dominating as the wonderful music that Diane Bish coaxes from them.
What strikes me is the way this talented musician can play multiple levels of keyboards with both hands, and also have both feet working pedals. It amazes me almost as much as her music inspires me..

I do believe that the combination of Diane Bish's hymns on the organ, and fire and brimstone coming down from the pulpit, could even make a sinner such as I repent!

Look at the schedule for Diane Bish on her website, and try to catch an airing of "The Joy of Music"... And see if you don't enjoy it as much as I do...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Black & Tan... The more sinister side.

It appears that everything deemed good in the Universe, also possesses a counterpart in evil. Just another one of the juxtapositions of life, I suppose... Yet another reminder of the constant battle between the light and the darkness..
The term Black & Tan, I recently came to learn, is no exception!
The ubiquitous internet, coincidentally, another force of yin and yang, good and evil, has allowed me to do much research and study about my own Welsh heritage, something I take great pride in. But my Father was Irish, although born in the U.S. The only English in me is from my dear Grandfather.. an Englishman living in Wales and married to a Welsh woman.
So, how do I reconcile the harm done to the Irish people by the Black & Tan's, at the behest of the English? Is it just another example of Man's prodigious use of inhumanity toward his fellow man? Can any question such as this ever be reconciled?
Homosapiens are extremely complex creatures, seemingly mired in our own hatreds and lust for power and control..
As many aspects of a life that seems more and more complex as I age, I have no answers... I just wonder why?
I suppose I still tenuously hold onto Rousseau's beliefs that Man is basically good over Hobbes' mantra to the contrary, but the more I see of the world, the more I could be swayed..
To read what harm the Irish endured at the hands of their brethren, "The Black and Tans," click the link, or do some research on the internet..

What Wikipedia has to say about The Black & Tans...

There is plenty to read, and much to be sad for...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's that time of year again...

I like things that are real. I like things that are traditional. Wool garments and gundog accoutrements made from real leather spring to mind immediately.
It's always nice to have things that are unique.. Things that not every other gunner in the woods has. Things that have meaning in their quality and care of manufacture. Things that are still made one at a time by a true artisan.
And, one of those things that meets and surpasses the criteria is a whistle lanyard from Larry Smith, The Knotsmith. These are true handmade articles, and are custom made to order in one's choice of colors and a myriad of other options... Enough choices to satisfy even the most jaded gunner.
I'm not on Mr. Smith's payroll. I do not receive a discount or any other consideration for my endorsement. Only itens that really work ever get that here! My only motivation is to see upland types with a piece of art to hang their whistles off.. Something of value that can be passed on through generations.

So, for those that have a signifigant other of any gender that spends time tramping the uplands with dogs, I can think of no gift that would be more appreciated.. And pay particular attention to the new flat T-2's, the T-2FN.. I've been admiring these lanyards since they were introduced... Hint.. Hint...

Christmas is only around the corner, so get your order in to The Knotsmith early for that special person in your life!

Pictured is a flat T-2 in the motif of an English Setter with orange ticking. Quite beautiful!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Melrose Gordon Setters

Melrose Kennels, at long last has their own place on the web, other than the old BDARN area.
It's pretty nice, and those into Gordons should have a look.

Add it to your list of favorites..

Melrose Gordon Setters

Monday, November 9, 2009

For the Dogman who has everything...

And that would be a beautiful bronze from Stan Bentall... Master gundog sculptor.
I've read that he has done a bronze of the great Gordon, Melrose Tad, but I can't confirm if one of the dogs on his website is Tad..
For those that would like to see the work of Stan Bentall how it relates to Gordons, please click here.

To see more of Stan Bentall's work, ond for other breeds, go to Stan Bentall's website..

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shotguns and Adjustments.. Too much of a good thing?

The fit of a firearm with a front bead only.. Where the eye is the rear sight, creates a conundrum, and no end to problems for target shooters and hunters alike..
The ideal situation is for the shotgun to fit properly to begin with, but this can be as elusive as the search for the Holy Grail..
Hence, the advent of adjustable combs, adjustable rigs, devices to adjust length of pull, pitch, cant and even sliding triggers. Complete buttstocks made up of aluminum tubing, springs, rods and enough Allen setscrews to make the fitter resort to a 20 page manual.
For dedicated clay target guns, a case could be made for the usefulness, weight and complexity of these add-ons, although a properly fitted gun should negate the plusses. In the field however, I just see it all as so much nonsense.
Once a shooter finds the "sweet spot" on his adjustable stock, the settings should be left alone.. And here enters the rub, and where too many variables are just too much!
The shooter is going along fine with his whiz-bang adjustable stock.. He's found the dimensions that suit him, and is breaking his targets with authority! Everything is well... Or is it?? What about the day that shooter misses a target he always kills?? He starts to think, ride birds, and measure.. The wheels are falling off rapidly! Perhaps that stock the he thought was right, is NOT right after all! Maybe a little tweak is in order to put things right again?? Maybe an extra 1/8 inch of LOP will save the day?? Maybe a little off the comb?? The problems start, and start to compound!
I witnessed this very scenario recently, as a well intentioned shooter attempted to help a fellow club member regain his usual target killing ability.. Out came the rusty pliers and Allen wrenches to alter the metallic maze of a buttstock that probably cost more that some of the guns in my cabinet.. Making minute changes that don't mean a hill o' beans in the first place! All I could do is look on in amazement.. and horror at the rusty pliers!
When it comes to field guns, the adjustments might be fewer, but in my opinion, the end result is worse. What field gun needs more weight in the butt? In my experience, it's quite the opposite. But I see adjustable combs and LOP systems showing up in the field. Wouldn't a classic stock that actually fit in the first place be so much better?? Wouldn't 95% of shooters in general be better served by a gun fitting than a myriad of screws and sliding combs?

When will we ever learn that we're human and not machines? When will we learn that a missed target is due more to the loss of concentration, rather than mechanical failure?

Maybe I'm getting older and more accepting of my shortcomings.. Or maybe I've just gotten wise enough to know that a change of 1/8 inch in any dimension just doesn't amount to the proverbial hill of beans, and is not going to change us from an also-ran to a champion... On the range, or in the field..

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stress management for dogs..

Purina seems to have entered the Veterinary diet market, once the almost exclusive domain of Hill's Veterinary diets, in a huge way, producing specialized diets to help manage everything from overweight, to kidney function, to geriatric difficulties. I wasn't aware of this new departure until seeing an ad in "Field Trial Magazine" for a new supplement, apparently aimed toward the gundog market called FortiFlora.
This is a probiotic supplement for intestinal health in highly stressed dogs that I assume are prone to diahrrea. Whether it will be picked up on by the average gundog owner looking for any edge will be the subject of speculation, but I would not be surprised to see it be put to use whether medically called for or not.
I've had dogs get so excited the day of a hunt that they spend a fair amount of the morning trying to rid their bodies of loose stools.. In a dog that suffers this, maybe a product like this would be helpful.
In any case, it's always wise to be proactive and ahead of the curve when it comes to the health of our gundogs..
Is anything more important??

For those with an interest, and a few more questions, there is a list of FAQ here..

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gordons are THIEVES!

Is this the face of a criminal??

Was enjoying a nice dinner a few nights ago. I made a big pot of chili, and my wife had bought a block of aged provalone to go along with it..
The cheese was on a cutting board on the table. My wife and I, and the dogs of course, all cheese lovers BTW, consumed about half the block. I was looking forward to a slice here and there as a snack for days to come, but it was not to be..
The cheese was inadvertentely left on the table after dinner.. I passed through the kitchen a couple of times, and noticed the cutting board empty, but I thought my wife had returned it to the refrigerator..
After a while, my wife asked if I had put the cheese away.. Since I sometimes have trouble with my ears, or selective hearing difficulties, I ignored the query until a few minutes when she asked if I had finished the cheese. I knew that didn't happen, so the search was on for the missing "half block" of nice aged provalone.. The piece I was looking so forward to savoring in bits and pieces over the next couple of days. It was becoming painfully obvious what happened to it!
Sandy, the English Setter, is far too much of a little lady to steal off the table... Holly, the Gordon, on the other hand, sees things in a completely different light! Like all her Gordon predecessors, she feels that any food left on the table must have been left for her personal enjoyment.. and subsequent consumption! The humans just forgot to offer it to her in person..
It must be a genetic thing, as all of our Gordons go back ultimatly to similar places on the family tree... Or, they all went to the same school!

Either way, the cheese I was so counting on ended up "in the belly of the beast!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out on The Rock

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a comment the other day from my old friend Dan, a Newfoundlander and fellow Gordon lover. I always enjoyed Dan's pictures and accounts of his wild adventures, mostly solitary as I recall, on "The Rock," as he affectionately refers to his homeland of Newfoundland.
Dan has started his own blog called "Out on The Rock". The views and accounts of the exploits of Dan and his dogs is stunning, and gives an inside look at one of the world's truly wild places.
You're doing yourself an extreme disservice if you don't visit Dan's blog and witness for yourself what he has to offer.
I'm glad my old friend found us, and we'll once again be treated to his exploits and view from the wilds of Newfoundland..

Visit Dan's blog here, watch the videos and read the posts.. It's time well spent!

Dan's blog will sit at the top of the blogroll for a spell, until everyone is aware of it and visits to see what it's all about.. Congratulations to Dan on I blog I'll visit often!

Friday, October 16, 2009

If I were King...

and the changes I'd make!

Not in how I'd rule the serfs, but in how I'd produce the RBL-16 I've come to like pretty well..

There's not much I would change. The gun has been about as reliable as a Swiss watch with reloads and factories.. Now, where is that block of wood?? But there are some improvements I would make to make an already nice shotgun just a little bit nicer.
First and formost, I'd add a touch of scallop to the rear of the receiver where it meets the cheeks of the stock.. SKB did a nice job of this, but I'd reverse the pattern so as not to create a stock splitting steel wedge as SKB did.. Other makers have carried this off well also, such as the Upland Extra from Poli, pictured here, that I've always admired.. A little bit of enhancement in this area would have made an already pretty gun much more attractive.. but obviously, at a cost!
The fixed choke, 29 inch platform lump barrels are just perfect as-is.. Except, I would substitute a nickle silver or ivory front bead, and add a matching mid bead. Now, beads in an of themselves are completely superfluous on a shotgun, and completely unneccessary for a tool that fits, but tradition demands them, and they do look good..
Next, I would ditch some of the laser engraving.. A small amount of tasteful scroll is far preferable, in my humble opinion, to poorly rendered dogs or game scenes.. A Setter on point that looks like a dreaded "Pointing Lab" is the height of poor taste!

I guess it's no secret why these changes are not part of the RBL package. It's a production gun made to a price, and every little nicety adds to the cost. When you're trying to buld a gun for everyman, sometimes we need to cut corners.. But, not in my kingdom!

Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

RBL's are TOUGH!

Had the RBL-16 out at a local range this past week. Met, and enjoyed the pleasure of shooting with a gentleman I've gotten to know fairly well over the past couple of years. Obviously a very experienced guy around guns and clay targets in general, and as we discussed on numerous previous outings, the proud owner of an early RBL Launch Edition.
He was shooting reloads, as was I... I don't have a gun in the cabinet that has not been fed a steady diet of reloads.. Shooting "factories" only to obtain usable hulls when none are available for scrounging!
Well, this gent had a round that wouldn't fully chamber, and consequently the RBL wouldn't close. No amount of opening and slamming shut would cause the gun to go into battery and latch shut! And numerous attempts were made! All I could do was stand behind and cringe at every attempt..
The gun was taken down with thoughts of a return trip to CSMC for repairs. I looked at the receiver and all appeared normal.. What else could cause the gun to keep from closing completely?? I picked up the barrels, looked under the ejectors and sure enough, a sliver of brass from a broken head on a AA-20, probably from a previous trip through an autoloader... Doubled over onto itself, no less as if a single thickness would not have been bad enough.. Upon removal and closer inspection, the two plies of brass looked as if they had been squeezed in a vise, obviously hammered with some force.
The gun was re-assembled and finished the round flawlessly!
I don't know how many other guns would have taken that abuse without damaging an ejector.. A testament to the toughness that Connecticut Shotgun has engineered into the design of the RBL..

The RBL design, in spite of all the polarizing reports by the all-knowing on the ubiquitous "innanet," earned my respect that day...

Friday, October 2, 2009

A hard winter in store??

According to reports, it could be, and that's good news in my book!
I like the cold... I like the snow. What I don't like is purchasing warmth in the form of foreign oil, but, at least for the time being, that's a necessary evil.
I've noticed the caterpillars are pretty hairy and the grey squirrels busy burying acorns... All signs I look for.
For a more scientific explanation, read here about the mild "El Nino" and it's effect on the weather here in the Northeast..

Pray for snow!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More about "Big Bad"

This confirms what my Adirondack neighbors have been relating to me for the past few years, that the ADK coyotes are bigger and badder than they once were... Not to mention the fact that they are becoming bolder and more brazen by the day, taking unsuspecting hapless housecats, and succulent small dogs at will from their yards.
There's a pretty interesting write-up here at the Adirondack Almanac, that explains the evolution of the coy-wolf.

It's certainly food for thought, and I suppose should put to rest the controversy on whether wolves should be reintroduced to the Adirondacks where they once reigned. Of course, for those that love conspiracy theories, wolves could have been reintroduced surrepticiously, and what we're now seeing is the fruits of that labor..

I do know that I saw a canine out on the Blue Ridge Road beyond the road to Tahawus that looked stunningly wolf-like... Little on this earth that can send a chill up one's spine like that..

Am I happy or upset about this new development??

I guess I just can't answer that yet... But I'm will to give it a chance... very cautiously!

Read more about the coy-wolf hybrid here..

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carryin' the torch..

Harry Connick Jr. has a new album out entitled "Your Songs." It's a compilation of old standards, many of which are old "torch" songs that I have a great affinity for. While I'm not a great fan of "Junior" personally, he's undeniably a pretty talented and entertaining guy, and I'll probably pick up the CD just because I like the music so much..
While we're on the subject, I like Diana Krall for the same reasons musically. Her music is sultry, sexy and alluring, and when the artist is likewise, the combination is just magic!
On another note, I've been a Beatles fan my entire life. The group broke onto the music scene when I was in my "coming of age" years, and they spoke to me. The magic has never died for me, and I still find myself often listening to the old albums, although now on CD.
Much of the old catalog has been remixed and remastered using modern technology, but not cleaned up to the point where any of the true recording was lost. All the warts are still there.. I'll probably treat myself to the package as a Christmas presewnt to myself..
I still often listen to Orff's Carmina Burana and the Symphony From the New World by Dvorak, so I'm guessing my tastes are a bit eclectic, but that suits my inconsistent personality!

Don't forget your speakers for the links...


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Early Fall

Days that are still sometimes too warm and humid... Too many leaves still on the trees to make looking for birds very effective, but still quite beautiful...
Warm enough to hunt in a tee shirt, but not enough clothing to protect my neck from a game vest laden with too much unnecessary junk.
Humid enough to fog up shooting glasses with the slightest amount of exertion... Shooting glasses being a necessary evil to prevent cross-firing due to a God-given gift of a dominant right hand and a dominant left eye.
Warm and humid enough to promote the dreaded mouth breathing of the dog I depend on to find game..

But then, every once in a while the Red Gods smile on me and provide me a morning as pictured here, clear and cool with a hint of chill in the air... Colors beginning their mystical appearance on the sidehills.. Dogwork that once again restores my faith that things actually are right with the universe, and that the hours spent really are worth it.

We had, all in all, a beautiful opening week, made all the better by the visit of another thoughtful and inspired kindred spirit. The kind of folk that restores faith in humanity to a somewhat jaded psyche.

A more than successful start to another season...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A 16 gauge score...

The guys around the gun club are getting to know me as the guy who shoots the Sixteen gauge.. Probably the only guy around amongst all the Perazzi and K-80 12 ga. clay target shooters.
It's good in a way, because it makes me different from the crowd, which I always enjoy.. It's not so good in another, because there are no 16 ga. hulls around any of the club ramges to pick up for free.
Now that all the guys are aware of my affair with the Sixteen, whomever wants to clear out their basement of oddball shells they'll never shoot again, seeks me out. My wife calls it junk! I call it treasure!
The top picture, of some old 16 ga. ACTIV's just might make the cut as hunting loads this season. They're quality loads, and shoot reasonably softly at 1165 feet per second. In my favored #8 shot, they'll work out well for me on grouse and woodcock.
I never thought much of ACTIV when they were in production, and never bought a single box of them. I might have shot a few from a squadmates pocket if I was in a stand and needed a shell or two to finish my targets, but that would be about it! Now, realizing the dearth of quality 16 ga. loads, these shells are much coveted, and much appreciated from their donor.
The lower image shows another load of castoffs. Kind of a mixed bag of shells from yesteryear. Some papers, some early heat sealed plastics, some roll crimps... All valued by myself, in spite of the fact that some of the #4's may never be shot at a winged target. The 6's will probably get used eventually, but some will be saved just for the sake of nostalgia... and much to my wife's dismay..

So, once again I lucked out by swinning against the tide, by marching to the beat of a different drummer.. by just being an oddball!

Diversity seems to be my only saving grace, but not in it's politically correct meaning!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thumbs up for Garmin

Well, I received not a repaired unit, but a brand new dc-30 collar from Garmin for my Astro unit.
It seems that Garmin has made quite a few improvements along the way also!
The aluminum plate that fastens the gps unit to the collar is now flattened on both ends, presumably to protect the dog's neck from abrasions and sharp edges.
The nylon collar material itself is thinner, making it much easier to thread through the buckle... Something that can give a handler fits when trying to apply it to an excited, squirming dog.
The ON/OFF button is slightly raised, and a bit more pronounced.

So, other than being a bit more user friendly, and acquiring satellites a bit faster, it's still the tool we've come to know and love..
The tool of choice for location fast moving, and big running gundogs..

The Astro system receives the "Black and Tan Bombshell Seal of Approval," for producing a great product and standing behind it. For those that don't have the system, you owe it to yourself to try it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gary Larson knew the truth

This cartoon, from The Far Side, by Gary Larson should need no explanation for anyone that reads "The Bombshell"..
It's true now, and it seems it will also be true in the future! One can only hope..

Click on the pic to enlarge...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall leaves

I've yet to meet the person that does not wax nostalgic on the beautiful scenery of Fall. And what more beautiful place to immerse oneself the color than New York's beautiful Adirondacks?
According to this website, the Adirondacks of New York are rated #1, as well they should be!

If you can get some time to get away, plan on a trip to New York's North Country.. As a bonus, bird season opens on September 20th...

Just stay out of my coverts! LOL

Pictured... Looking Northwest to "Big Blue," Blue Mountain from my garage... Past peak.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Astro's on it's way..

A couple of posts back, I wrote about my troubles with the dc-30 collar unit.. I heard from Garmin, the complete innards have been replaced, received a UPS tracking number, and it will be here on Monday the 14th.. 13 days aftyer I shipped it out!
I call that pretty good service!

For those that have not tried the Garmin Astro system, I can recommend it highly.. It's about the greatest thing since sliced breasd for those that own dogs that can tear it up!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I saw a great quote over on Maggie's Farm today...

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."

Ain't it the truth!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Maiden Voyage

of the good ship RBL.. And I have to say that it was a complete success!
I don't know if I've ever shot a gun straight out of the box as well. I only dropped a pair of targets out of a couple rounds of low gun skeet.. That's pretty good for me!
The ammo was an ounce of 7 1/2's in Remington Game Loads... This junk promo load provides one of the premier junk hulls for sixteen gauge reloading. A couple of rounds shooting these loads left me longing for my light reloads, but that will come soon enough.
I must say that the RBL-16 is very impressive. It comes to my shoulder beautifully, and swings and points naturally. I looks good, and functioned flawlessly! It also can draw a crowd for the Kreighoff and Perazzi shooters who have never heard of Antony Galazan or CSMC..
Now, this is not my first rodeo, and I'm not naive enough to believe that this blissful Niagara Falls honeymoon will automatically turn into a lifelong happy marriage with no effort on my part, but it does bode well for the future...
I did cheat a little, in calling for a Low 1 for my first target out to assure a dead bird on the grand opening, especially since High 1 has been giving me fits lately from a low gun hold... Other than that, we went by the book..

So, all in all, at this point in time, I'm still enjoying the afterglow. But, success can be fleeting..

Check back next week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Astro troubles

I bought into the Garmin astro system when it first came out. The unit with the old dc-20 collar had some functional problems, but it worked well. When the new dc-30 collar unit came out, it was the answer to a prayer.. It was finally designed properly, for the most part, for a Pointing Dog.
I upgraded to the dc-30 collar unit when they first came out, and it has been working flawlessly since. It takes that knot in the pit of your stomach away when running a big running dog.
Lately, the dc-30 has been giving me a bit of trouble. One of the charging LED's went out, and the other works intermittently. It's hard to know if the collar unit is accepting a charge or not. I have also been losing communication with the dc-30 from time to time. I believe the rechargeable batteries are the problem, so back to Garmin it went for an overhaul.
Now, the boys that run Setters out west and on the Midwest prairies may call a birddog only out 900 to 1,000 yards a boot licker, and they may be right. But, I'm here to tell you that a dog out a thousand yards, that's a half mile to you and me, in the thick cover of the Northeast is running big! Bigger than I'd like, and I don't care how often the dog checks in. Further, there are enough pitfalls in the Big Woods to befall a dog that I get a bit of angst when a dog gets out well beyond even beeper range. Without some type of tracking device, I get out of my comfort zone, so to speak.

So, hopefully the dc-30 will be back before September 20, when our grouse season opens.. If not, we might be picking up a spare dc-30 collar..

Oh, the joys of running Pointing Dogs..

I'll post the final resolution..

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The RBL-16 has arrived!

And I'm about as pleased as I can be with it!
The laser engraving is far superior in hand than it appears in pictures or advertising. Same goes for the laser checkering. If I didn't know that it was applied by laser, I wouldn't have guessed. The slight darkening adds to the appearance, in my opinion.
I ordered 4X wood, was prepared to be disappointed, but was pleasantly surprised. The "money side" for a righty is better than the side showing in the case.. Both sides nice and smoky.
Chokes have been opened to Skeet/Light Modified and the abominable auto safety converted to manual, which is far safer where I come from! Onme applies the safety as habit, without coming to depend on a mechanical assembly to do it for us.. Anything mechanical is subject to wear and failure, so I'd much rather attend to this important detail myself to be sure it's done!
The stock was ordered pistol grip, with a splinter forend. The RBL splinter is rather large for a true splinter anyway, so I thought it a good choice over the more bulbous, but very attractive beavertail..
The new shotgun has only been here a few hours, so I still in the "fondling stage.." There will be more pictures and updates to come as I go over the new edition with a fine tooth comb, and soon put it through it's paces..

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's been a long time comin'...

But I finally got the call I've been waiting over 9 months for, and I can finally type the words I've been waiting so long to type.. For those that are not into "RBLspeak," those infamous words are "Carol called!" Every soul who has waited and waited on a CSMC RBL will recognize that phrase.
I got the call about 2:30 yesterday afternoon. My wife, who answered the phone, stuck her head oput the door and said "Connecticut Shotgun is on the phone.."
Now, I may be a bit arthritic, but those words got me movin' in pretty good shape!

So, the long awaited RBL-16 will be here next week, and at the moment, I feel like a kid in a candy store... Let's hope the 16 gauige RBL leads me to shotgunning nirvava..

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Special Treat

The following article has impressed me immeasurably over the years. It's one of the funniest pieces of gundog related literature I have ever read, and whenever I think that dog out there in front of me should do everything right, in spite of the fact that when it becomes my turn to perform, I can't, I try to remember this article. I get a laugh all over again, and it puts the whole reason we're out in the field with a dog into perspective once again!
My thanks go out to the author, Mr. Joel Vance, for his kind permission to reprint the article here, in it's entirety..
I know our readers will get just as much from it as I have every time I've reread it over the last 20 plus years..

So, without further adieu..

Guff's Bad Day

By Joel M. Vance

They say every dog has his day, but when Guff had his, planets collided and stars rocked in the firmament.
Now, there are good days and bad days. This was a bad day. Well, saying it was a bad day was like saying an encounter with the guillotine is "a little owie."
You must understand, Guff is my pride, my talented child, the kid who just spelled "anopheles" in the Spelling Bee finals.
Guff is a dog.
Not just any dog, you know, but a French Brittany who has enough Gallic blue blood in his background to out-do the house of Burgoyne. His grampa was a champ and his daddy was a champ. Most of his uncles and aunts win field and bench shows nationally and internationally. They look on Westminster as "that silly little American show."
Guff is short for "McGuffin" which is what Alfred Hitchcock called the gimmick in all his movies that all the good guys and the bad guys sought. The McGuffin is what everyone wants.
McGuffin is an ardent hunter who will come out of a sound sleep if someone murmers "birrrrrd!" He is broadchested with the typical butt-sprung gait of Brittainies. He has several bird seasons under his orange and white hide which have included just about every game bird in North America-ruffed grouse, sharptailed grouse, woodcock, pheasant, quail. He has worked them all, growing as reliable as Mr. Goodwrench.
Guff has a cute little freckled nose that makes cute little freckled girls gush over him, so I take him to a lot of places where there are many cute little freckled women.
He loves attention, thrives on affection, does adorable things that make you just want to hug him. God! I envy him!
Large men in brush pants no doubt are gagging at the thought of hugging a bird dog unless you're trying to squeeze some sense into it, but I love my dogs and we share pretty much everything.
For example, I buy a sack of caramels every time we come north to the pine woods to hunt ruffed grouse and woodcock. Some are for me, some are for Guff, most for the family dentist who enjoys replacing my fillings and taking his own vacations in more southern climes. But the caramels keep our energy up as we stumble through God-forsaken swamp edges where the footing is somewhat like break-dancing on a pool table covered with ball bearings.
Because Guff is first a quail dog, he has trouble with grouse. Since he only sees them once a year, he tends to forget they aren't just big quail who will sit right under a French Brit's black nose as if skewered there with a dirk.
Instead, grouse are stupid birds, brainless and indecisive. Anything foreign in their environment throws them into a mindless confusion that usually leads to movement-they either walk off or fly up in a tree where they can be taken in what one of our hunters euphemistically refers to as "the pre-flight position."
A French Brittany creeping forward like a roan cat definitely qualifies as "foreign" and Guff has trouble realizing that he must instantly freeze at the merest whiff of grouse stink, no matter the direction, that he must not try to locate that smell or make it grow stronger. He must learn that a bird spotted on the ground walking around is not crippled and will fly if you try to catch it.
So, it is understandable that he has the occasional bad day. But this bad day was the Johnstown Flood compared to an overflowing toilet.
Guff started it by falling off his bed. He'd sneaked up on the overstuffed chair in the old cabin where we stay, and probably dreaming of cute little freckled ladies, rolled over and onto the floor with a thump that woke everyone up.
We all thrashed around in bed, grumbled a bit, and went back to troubled, interrupted sleep. God knows what Guff dreamed about, but no matter how wild his reverie, it couldn't have approached the reality that was fast approaching him.
I was expansive at breakfast, telling a disbelieving audience in the log cabin where we shuck civilization that I had reformed.
"No more screaming at the dog," I said and they smirked. "No," I protested, "I mean it. Just not worth the hassle. Besides, the dogs have settled down and I just don't need to run them down and speak long and earnestly at them. We're both mature now." I smiled paternally at Guff. Me and my doggie, finding grouse, shooting them, a scene to warm the cold, revered shade of Burton Spiller.
I spoke the words and believed them. Ah, the words with barbed wire wrapped around them, the toughest kind to digest when you have to eat them.
"Zen dog training," Ted Lundrigan said. "I'll swallow that when I see it."
Ted and I walked the edge of a doghair popple stand which crowded a pasture. I searched the thick saplings in vain for the noble sight of my dog, descendant of champions, as he coursed the covert. Then a movement caught my eye, in the field beyond.
There was my noble dog snacking on a cowpie, his shoulder drooped and twitching, like Charles Laughton in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," ready to roll in what he didn't eat.
It may come as a shock to new dog owners to think that their endearing companions would eagerly snack on bovine biscuits, but life with bird dogs is filled with such taut moments of unhappy discovery.
My Zen calm went out the window when I roared ancient Anglo Saxon while Ted tried to pretend he was hunting alone.
I lost it again after the third point Guff busted. Zen went the way of my resolve never to touch Scotch and Water again, never to buy another shotgun, never to lie about my shooting.
I laid curses on Guff that you couldn't cancel with an exorcism. I held him by the cheeks while I explained in dog language what I expected. Dog language is sheer, roaring filth that even the most inane creature comprehends.
Perhaps Guff pointed a grouse that day, but if so it was done while I wasn't with him. I do know that he busted at least a half dozen birds, most of which had been nailed by Ted's setter, Salty, until Guff came along like a derailed cattle car.
You can steal a man's children, corrupt his wife, ruin his business, even insult his baseball team-but let your bird dog bust up a point that his bird dog has made and you've really ticked him off.
Ted began to look at Guff as if he were head lice, then looked at me as if I were the head.
I muttered about "competition" and "doesn't realize you can't lean on grouse" and Ted muttered something about "take that dog's head off with a two-by-four."
Salty was becoming jittery, Ted was becoming, well, homicidal is the word that springs to mind. Fortunately, the sun took pity on me and started to go down.
We headed back to Pine River. Guff, of course, had to assistant-drive, his face between us, panting a fog of recycled manure.
Back in the cabin I regaled a bored audience with tales of Guff's misbehavior. "He was disgraceful," I said. "He made every mistake in the book and invented some new ones. He was terrible." As I spoke, Dave Mackey's face grew alarmed and I thought it was with horrified sympathy. It wasn't.
"Watch out!" Mackey exclaimed. "He's sick!"
Guff threw up on the carpet behind me, a slurry of awfulness that took an hour to clean. Clearly this was a dog beset by devils, a victim of black magic or a curse. The Red Gods were playing dodge-ball with my dog and me.
Guff looked at me with a sick apology and suddenly I felt sorry for the little guy and tried to consider the big picture. After all, for every bad day, he'd given me so many good ones. For every point he'd busted, he'd made a dozen good ones in the past.
I tried to correlate the day's experience in human terms and the television set helped me. The St. Louis Cardinals had just won their way into a tie with the San Francisco Giants behind shutout pitching by ace John Tudor. Tudor had pitched like a Little League dropout his previous game; couldn't do anything right.
Obviously, even the best have their off days.
So, I relented and petted the little dog and he sighed heavily and pouted off to a corner to lie atop Dave Mackey's hunting pants, which were draped over his box of ammo and gun cleaning gear.
We watched "The Equalizer," whose methods of correction (throw them through brick walls, etc.) were close to those what I'd considered all day long for Guff.
Dave picked his pants up the next morning and they were dripping with WD-40. Guff had laid on the nozzle of the full spray can and emptied it.

His bad day was complete...


My thoughts..
I first encounted this great little story in 1988, in the September/October issue of Gundog magazine. It made a great impression on me, and I've often thought about it over the past 20+ years. Any person who cruises the glorious uplands with a dog must surely be able to relate to this story.. If not, you've had better luck than I , or just have not spent enough time with gundogs as of yet!
What also is obvious from the story is the great bond that existed between Guff (pictured above) and his partner, Mr. Vance.
Once again, I'd like to express my thanks to Mr. Joel M. Vance for his permission in allowing me to reprint "Guff's Bad Day" here.

Mr. Vance has many more books that should be of interest to readers here. On Conservation, and his lifelong love affair with the uplands and French Brits.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An odd turn

Due to the dearth of 16 gauge reloading supplies, I've taken a direction that I never thought I would take, and one that flies in the face of everything I thought I once knew about reloading shotshells. But, part of the mystique of the "Queen of the Uplands" is finding new solutions and exploring new avenues. The Sixteen makes it a near necessity.
Upon the recommendation of a couple of savvy reloaders who's opinions I trust without question, I picked up some Gualandi 2025 20 ga. wads from Precision Reloading for use in the Remington Game Load hulls that I've yet to empty.
I have heard about using 20 ga wads in 16 ga hulls for some time, and there is data to support it's use on the Low Pressure Reloading Group's site, but it just never sounded right to me.
But, I've since learned that the black RGL hull has a small internal diameter, and the Italian wads seem to have a relatively large skirt diameter.. Hence, not a bad fit in 16 ga. hulls like the black Remmie..
So, it's yet another 16 gauge adventure to explore while awaiting the somewhat tardy, and let me add maddening, arrival of the RBL-16..

BTW, stay tuned in the next couple of days for a little story that I think many will find amusing, and well worth the wait..

And, for some cool little video of some Red Dawgs workin' birds on the North Dakota prairies, pay a visit to our friends at A Piece of the Purest Challenge. Click the links and watch some stylish broke Red Setters in action.. Great stuff!

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And if you need more proof...

Well, here it is!
I've been harping on this subject of animal, and canine in particular, intelligence for a long time. And it appears that mainstream Science is starting to come around to my way of thinking, and giving the dog his just due for reasoning.
Now, I not only prefer spending time with my dogs on an emotional level, I also appreciate the intellectual stimulation..

Read all about it here, at Science Daily...

Friday, July 31, 2009

The banes of summer...

And another one has befallen us... Hotspots.
Sandy, our smallish English Setter, is currently suffering from them. She's been shaved in the problem areas, and currently looks like a patchwork quilt!
She previously had a minor spot on the ear. After a 4 day trip to the Adks, with free running and it's concommitment wetness and small skin lesions, many hotspots took hold in the matter of about a day.
An elevated temperature followed, so once again, it was off to the Vet's office for antibiotics and topical meds. She's looking a good bit better already, but she also needs another Lyme treatment also, so more antibiotics..
Summer never was my favorite time of year, but this just makes me despise it even more..
Next year, it's a complete shavedown for this little girl before the "dog days" strike!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's new?

No, I'm not talking about the old Linda Ronstadt torch song, but a new blog devoted to the Field Gordon Setter by my old friends the Thomasons of Montana. I recently received an e-mail from Dan with the announcement.
The new blog is called Gordon Setter Crossing. It will be very informative because there are not many folks as well versed in the Field Gordon as Dan and Karen Thomason. Many will remember their great old Gordon Peat, who was written up in so many National magazines.
So, check the new blog out, and as is my custom, it will get top billing for a time in the blog roll...

Now, go listen to some old Linda Ronstadt!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Answer to an age old problem

Dogs have had fleas for, well, as long as there have been dogs. It's a problem that has dogged the dog, and it's human companions for millenia.
The latest crop of systemic topicals like Frontline and Advantix have virtually wiped out the scourge, and made living with pets in the home much more pleasant, but I've found that their powers against ticks less than spectacular.
All that may be changing, and dosing made a bit easier thanks to a new pill being studied. Once a month... Down the throat 'ya go! What's easier than that? and hopefully, with enhanced effectiveness to fight ticks, which would certainly be good news!
You can read all about it in Science Daily...
And thanks to our friends at A Piece of the Purest Challenge for bringing it to our attention.

Monday, July 20, 2009

An abuser's sentence ending

Michael Vick, the onetime football star and convicted animal abuser is soon to be released from prison. In my opinion, faaaaar too soon for the atrocities visited upon helpless animals by this sadist.
It's no secret that I have little use for anyone that could commit such acts, and my hope is that no NFL team will pick him up and once again the lavish lifestyle that the NFL can afford a person.
Any team considering picking him up will hear from me, and hopefully everyone who believes in giving animals the respect they deserve.

Rant over...

Enjoy your Monday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fancy wood, and its appropriate use

I'll be the first to admit it.. I'm a sucker for a fancy piece of walnut!
That said, pretty wood never grassed a bird, but I've yet to meet anyone that doesn't drool when they see it..
But, should wood be commensurate with the relative value of the gun it's applied to?
I think it should! In my opinion, a shotgun marketed to the serfs, like myself, looks a bit out of place wearing the highest grades of walnut. I often prefer a more subdued stick.. Something that looks like a working gun instead of a showpiece.
Can wood be too fancy? I think it can! A friend once had a Beretta ASE with fantastic wood. I shot that gun well the first, and only, time I picked up, and marveled at the figure in the buttstock. The figure was so pronounced and beautiful, that it almost did not look real... Like a piece of plastic!
Some of the wood that is today marketed as "high grade" also shows flaws that would have never passed muster in years past. Knots, and areas that were obviously the remnants of the start of branches. But, as full figured walnut becomes more and more scarce, and more in demand, second quality pieces will also get the nod on the guns of some folks.

So, I like nice wood. But I also like wood with pleasing figure, but an understated elegance..

We'll soon see what shows up on a new gun!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another celebrity passes ..

And this one, also very famous!

This celebrity has touched many lives, and taught us about strength and stoicism..

Read about it here....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Confucius say...

“He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

From the great teacher... Think about it and enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What day do you bathe?

I study and follow some ancient Celtic traditions. I don't know if it helps in any way, but I figure it sure can't hurt!
I won't bore everyone here with my bathing practices, but I thought that some might find the old Celtic notions of some value.
This is taken from the website Celtic Callings..

Bathing Rituals:
Bathing is popular magick because it is a reunion with the element of water. Baths can be effective in helping the ill to recover. To purify the body, mind & soul add some salt or bath salts to the tub and soak. The salt neutralizes the negativity. Salt also aids in healing. Silver Coins placed in the bath insure money in the future. Collect the first snow of the Winter and add it to your bath. Helps to keep you healthy. Bathing Hours: Morning - increases beauty. Afternoon - luck and fortune. Night - enhances psychic awareness. Bathing Dates: Mondays - just prior to sleep - increases prophetic dreams Tuesdays - Increases passion. Wednesdays - strengthens intellect. Thursdays - brings money. Fridays - helps find love. Saturdays - brings patience. Sundays - brings strength and health. Winter Solstice or Beltane - bath with a penny wrapped in a washcloth -brings good fortune. Add herbs to the bath to help with medicinal or ritual purposes.

Give it a try for any mystical powers you'd like to enhance...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boredom... And the clay target shooter

There's no question in my mind that clay target games, as with most games in general, are infinitely more fun when one is shooting well. If a person is not breaking many targets, interest can be lost pretty quickly... But, can interest and committment also be lost when one is breaking virtually every target?
Now, I'm certainly the last guy that can lay claim to breaking every target that's been thrown for me, or even close to it, but when I used to shoot lot's of skeet, I could run hundreds with sub-guage tube sets. I don't consider that feat enough to consider myself a gifted shotgunner, since I always opined that I could have a chimp shooting straights before a human given a goodly supply of bananas! Why?? The chimp wouldn't overthink his targets, and he'd be unafraid to miss. Hence, none of the "between the ears" foibles that we humans are often prone to.
So, is an easy game like Skeet still fun when you're breaking all your targets? Where is the incentive to improve? What is the next goal?
I've often marveled at dedicated Skeet shooters for their committment and dedication... pounding away at the same targets day after week, after agonizing year! I've pretty well documented how I suffered from "Skeet burnout," and how many years it took me to be able to shoot the occasional game again and get a little bit of satisfaction from it.
Maybe I'm easily bored, but I guess the answer for me is the ability to break enough targets to remain interested, and not too many to get bored. Thus far, Sporting has allowed me that, although even there, there is nothing new under the sun. But at least the presentations can be broken up a little..

My point?? Maybe I don't really have one, and I'm just offering food for thought on yet another rainy Wednesday....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Making a mark

How does an animal as commonplace as a dog leave it's mark on the fabric of the Universe? What could be done to possibly make a difference in the great scheme of things? How can one dog touch a life and leave an indelible impression? What could possibly be done for that one dog's pawprints to leave imprints on the ages?

Field Trial placements?? It could be one way, but they're soon superceded and forgotten, except for a handful of great ones, and even those are soon surpassed. No, I'm convinced that a dog make's it's mark on time by how much it is loved by it's human family. How much of a difference it has made to the lives of it's human companions. How much the gentle temperament of a dog has allowed it to integrate itself into a family, and how that dog has become an important part of a family..

Dogs don't last long. It's a cruel joke that God has played on man, giving the man seventy years or more, and the dog only ten.... If I made the rules, it would be the first thing I would change... So, we have to make the most of the time allotted.

Sandy came to us at about a year old. She was mishandled as a pup, and given away. She had already made a few stops in her young life. When we met, she was being kenneled and was profoundly unhappy. She'd eat enough to keep herself alive, and no more! Everyone could plainly see that something was wrong with this little 30 pound Setter, but no one could understand what it could be. All the other kennel dogs were happy and animated. I was asked if I could find a home for her... She would not make it as a FT performer because of her headstrong ways, but she had genes that folks would like to tap into, so the proviso was the right to breed her.
I thought and thought for a long time as to where she could be placed, and always came up blank. I soon realized it was because I wanted to help this sensitive little dog myself. So, Sandy had already touched me in a small way.

We took Sandy and never looked back! She won't do her birdwork the way I want her to do it! She does it her way! That doesn't always please me, but she atones in so many other ways.
When I call her into me, she comes with a look of total adoration in her eyes and a little wiggle! I know she would do anything for me, and I for her! She's touched my life in ways that are both strange and wonderful.. My life has been enriched by being afforded the opportunity to enrich hers.

So, to me it's quite simple... A dog make it's presence felt for all of time by how much it is loved, and how much that love is returned. And by those criteria, no champion could ever make a stronger statement than my little English Setter... Sandy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Smarter than your average bear..

and that's pretty darned smart!

This story reminds me of my youth when we used to vacation in Long Lake, N.Y., and the Saturday night fun was going to the local dump to watch the antics of the resident black bears. They never failed to put on a great show, and it was better than sitting in a Drive In movie watching a somewhat boring flick!

Check out the Adirondack Explorer blog for the story of a highly intelligent black bear, and prepare to be amazed!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Ancient Relationship

The relationship between Native Americans and wolves is one that has existed before recorded time, and has persisted and remained strong throught the millenia.
A wolf/dog hybrid was recently trapped on the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation near St. Regis in upstate New York, hard on the Canadian Border. The incident has caused some cultural differences to once again be felt.
I'm not a proponent of caging wild animals, even for educational purposes such as in zoos.. Were I one of these animals, I'd prefer euthanasia to a life caged..

Here's an audio clip from North Country Public Radio, an NPR outlet, that offers some insight into the complex relationship between Indians and the wolf..

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Product Endorsement

The staff at "The Bombshell" is specifically prohibited from accepting gratuities, or perks of any kind for product endorsements, chiefly because we consider it inappropriate, and in reality, because no one has come forward and offered us anything. But, there are exceptions to every rule, and this will be one.
A plug for Canon, the folks that bring you great camera gear... I've got an old A-85 P&S from Canon... My first digital camera, and it's probably six years old. Just last week, in shooting mode, the screen displayed purple and green lines.. akin to static on a TV from the old days..
A quick look through google turned up the fact that this is not an uncommon problem with this series camera, and that Canon had an ongoing program to fix these cameras.
A call to Canon confirmed that the repair, and even shipping is free to install a new sensor. The technician explained that the camera was essentially going "blind," and that after the repair, it would, in all probability continue going strong for another six years..
Where can you get service like that today? They e-mailed a pre-paid shipping label the very next day. The only thing I need to do is box it up and drop it off at the local UPS Store..

Kudos to Canon for producing a great product, and for standing behind it!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

"To choke or not to choke.....

.... that is the question"

I guess it's safe to say that my one-time love affair with the now ubiquitous choke tube is over... and has been for some time.
I much prefer fixed chokes... for aesthetic reasons and due to the fact that fixed chokes can, and do deliver better patterns on target. While I have no empirical evidence to support my contention, it exists between the ears, and the key to successful shotgunning resides between the ears. So, if I believe it to be so, for me it is so!
I'm also of the opinion that modern ammunition does not require the degree of choke that was once necessary. I've proven to myself how far .008 of choke in the twelve ga. can reliably break a target, and it's much farther than most people would think..

Changing choke tubes is, to me at least, like changing dimensions on a adjustable stock... We can just get into too much trouble by doing it. It takes one's concentration off of the situation at hand, and becomes a distraction unto itself..

Sometimes when we're not shooting as well as we believe we should, we seek to make a change... and I guess that's OK. But, chokes and stock dimensions that worked before are, IMO not the place to go looking for answers..

Perhaps one of the motivational tapes placed under one's pillow at night... "You are great... You are great... You are great... You ar.....

Enjoy the weekend... and pray for some sun!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Midnight Ramble

A little different take on things today, for we'll touch down a bit on the world of Music, and an opportunity for New Yorkers..
I don't know how many folks remember the great Levon Helm, of The Band, but Levon hasn't gone anywhere and is still masking great music. Some may remember Levon Helm as the character Jack Ridley, the flight engineer for Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff..
Levon has gone on to many things musically, and still works with the loosely connected Levon Helm Band..
Well, Levon calls central New York home, and has a large timberframe home and recording studio in, where else, Woodstock, N.Y.. Here, he and his band and musical guests perform "Midnight Rambles".. kind of homey jam sessions. Anyone could possibly show up to jam with Levon and the band..
I've been wanting to get to one of these "Rambles" for some time, but like a lot of things I want to do, it's been put off. But, be aware that this trip is on the "bucket list' of things to do.

Check out Levon Helm's website, and don't forget to go to the audio/video area and click on some of the audio clips..

And, for those that may ever be in the area of the Catskill Mountains, shoot me an e-mail and possibly we can attend a Ramble together with the wives.. Seem's like it would be a helluva night!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interesting news from "New Britsky"

Connecticut Shotgun is based in New Britain, Connecticut. My daughter presently lives in New Britain, Connecticut. New Britain was a manufacturing town, think the Stanley works where CSMC is currently housed, with many immigrants of Eastern European descent, hence the "New Britsky" moniker.
The news?? It seems that there have been "leaks" to the effect that CSMC will pull the plug of the highly successful and popular RBL series of SxS's.
Longtime readers here will recognize the fact that I'm currently waiting for an RBL-16... the 16 ga. iteration of the series, and the ga. that will undoubtedly see the fewest numbers.
So, I guess it would be disingenuous for me to act the spoiled child and be upset at the news. Quite frankly, if this rumour became fact I'd be quite ecstatic. I'd be in possession of another gun with low numbers that would hopefully be in demand...

We'll see how this all plays out, but it will be interesting, for myself and our friends at Cold Duck, to watch the rumour mill from the sidelines..

Friday, June 5, 2009

New kid on the block

And you thought the internet contained all the information you never wanted to know before?
Along with the 16 ga. Society website, there is now a 28 ga. Society for aficianados of the impressive little 28's.

It seems there is a niche site for every nuance in the world of the Internet..

Spend some time perusing the sites, and if you find they have any value for you, join up and participate.

Isn't that what we're all here for??

Enjoy the weekend...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Will wonders never cease??

It seems that the National Skeet Shooting Association, the governing body of Skeet shooting in the U.S.A., has finally acknowledged that the 16 ga. shotgun still exists! Certainly with no help from the N.S.S.A.!!
While it's true that there is nothing to prevent a Sixteen from being used in the Twelve ga. events, I'm unaware of anyone that has ever actually done it, although Hal Hare may do it on a limited basis..
Anyway, it's good to see the "red headed stepchild" of the N.S.S.A. finally get some recognition from them..

Read all about it here....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Roll crimps

What is more classic in the world of shotshells than a shell that's been roll crimped?? The only item that I could think of would be a paper hull that's been roll crimped.
I've been attempting to get into the world of the roll crimp for some time, and now that there is buzz that Lyman will be once again offering their superior roll crimp heads, there appears to be one less obstacle standing in my way.
To further add to the appeal, there are folks that are using the PAINT program that comes along with Microsoft products to create unique covers for the overshot card as pictured here... Will this extra touch make one's ammo more lethal?? I doubt it, but it would sure give the guys at camp something to talk about while sitting around the fire watching wet steaming dogs dry off at the end of the day..
I'm always attracted to things that are unique and different, and I'm exploring the PAINT program myself to see if there's a way I can personalize my ammo.

Don't forget to click the pic to see the beautifully formed roll crimps and the folk art covers..

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thought for a Monday morning..

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

from the Blackfoot Tribe

Enjoy your Monday....

Friday, May 29, 2009

The good ole days...

In my long impatient wait for my 16 ga. RBL to arrive, I've made some observations.. Nothing new there... I observe alot, or try to, on a more or less daily basis..
But, I've been struck by the thought... I wonder how we ever became happy with a shotgun purchase before the advent of "the information superhighway," as the infamous Al Gore loves to call it..
I guess I miss the days when a shotgun was just a shotgun... It either looked good or it didn't.. Handled well or it didn't.. Had that "between the hands" feel or it didn't.. Folded birds cleanly or it didn't. The days before we got out our gram scales and vernier calipers to measure actions and stocks, and to pontificate on what esoteric qualities make a game gun, and which do not.
The days before we could pick apart a man's proud new purchase from the safety of our computer keyboard.. The days before we all became experts and critics.

I suppose a lot of good has come from the internet, but the detachment and disconnect has also made us colder and harder from our little computer rooms... As foe me, I'm just gonna' carry what feels good and gives me an ounce of pleasure. What more can a person ask?

Just an observation...on a gloomy, rainy day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Truisms from Yogi

Being a New Yawker, and a product of my generation, I grew up with the Yankees and Yogi Berra.
Now, alot of folks have heard Yogi's quotations, but here's a complete collection..
I always to try to get a laugh everyday from my internet travels, and sometimes laughs are hard to find, but quotations from Yogi Berra will keep me laughing a long time.. We always laughed with Yogi, and never at him, because he was a lovable guy, a class act and a great Yankee!

So, click the link and enjoy some of the best from the great Yogi Berra..

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Face

This quote is taken off the Memorial Wall dedicated to the Women and Men who lost their lives to the Salem Witch hunt mania of the 17th century.

My Face

My face is a mask I order to say nothing
About the fragile feelings hiding in my soul.

-Glenn Lazore (Mohawk)

Enjoy your day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Muddy dogs are happy dogs!

And, unfortunately, particularly when it's a Setter that is so hard to clean up. The Gordon, pictured here doesn't show the mud like the English setter, but is clearly just as dirty, and almost as matted.
But, that's all part of the fun... Right??

Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My... How times change

The club is putting together a component order.. a semi pulls in with a full load, and everyone pitches in to get it off-loaded and put away.
The prices are good from a large Pennsylvania distributor, and no shipping to pay and no ridiculous "hazmat" fees..
Now, to the point. I bought some West Coast hard shot to prevent my continual depletion of the shot I've got stashed.. 24 bucks and change a bag, and I consider it a bargain! Also got a few flats of Remington 16 ga. game loads for the hulls, at over 80 clams a flat...
Years ago I would have been horrified at these prices, and I must admit that even now, it doesn't go down easily, but it just goes to show how far we've come, and how sky-high prices can enure one to the fact...
Maybe my age is telling... or maybe I've just given up...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Astro updates

For those with big runners that run the Garmin Astro GPS system, there are software updates available.
I called with a question because one of the blue charging LED's is burnt out. One still is operative, and I can tell when the unit is on charge, so I'll just leave it for now. The tech offered to walk me through the software updates to both the 220 gps unit and the dc-30 collar. I was way behind the times, and numerous updates had been available before the most current ones.
In any case, both units are now current with the latest updates, and the latest info for the chipset..
I'm expecting even better performance from an already fabulously performing tool!

Monday, May 18, 2009

We knew it all along

Here's some scientific validation of what we thought we knew about dogs all along...

It's not good to comfort Fido during a thunderstorm.. While it might make us feel better in the hope that we're trying to help, it does nothing for the dog according to scientific research.
I was always of the opinion that calming a dog's fears during these time did nothing more than prove to the dog that there actually was something to be frightened of, and that all the panting and anxiety was actually well warranted, and it appears that the time honored truth we learned is actually correct on all counts..

Comforting Fluffy during a thunderstorm might make us feel better, but it does nothing for Fluffy, and long term might actually be doing the dog a disservice..

Read the story here...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The 20 minute workout

We all know our gundogs need plenty of exercise in the off season to stay in shape, just as we do. Now, check out our friends at A Piece of the Purest Challenge for an excellent solution...

I'll have to rig one of these up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More evidence...

There is now more evidence to confirm the notion that we're just breeding our dogs too closely, and the dogs are paying a heavy price for our egotism.
Many breeds are suffering from congenital diseases suich as Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Gastric Dilation, Megaesophagus, and so many others.
The hand of man is wielding far to much influence over the direction our breeds are taking, for all the wrong reasons and with disastrous results!
Read the article from Science Daily about how an breeding within an extremely small gene pool has had deleterious effects on a small population on wolves on Isle Royale.
Maybe it's time for humans to give considerable thought to how our similar breeding practices have impacted "Man's Best Friend"... and to finally come to terms with the fact that a bit more genetic diversity might just be a good thing.