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!