Friday, January 30, 2009

Attention Sportball Fanboys (and -girls)

For the third year in a row, I don't see us watching the Superbowl. Jen and I are not what you would call fans of spectator sports. I find football to be barbaric, low-brow, and hillbilly-ish. We will probably be at the gun range instead. All that being said, I have to admit some jealousy of this. I mean, holy crap! Is that what it means to be a sportsfan? If so, I might consider converting! Well, I can't stay for long, as I have to go and hook up the DVD player in our bedroom so I can keep my fluish wife entertained. Even so, go look at the link. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Update on Holster Making

To both of my readers,

This has been a long time coming - five months in the progression, actually. First, I posted about my original holster making success. Then, I posted better pics of the original.


Then, I posted an entry on the J-frame cross-draw that I built for my wife.


At that point, I decided that I needed to seek to build holsters for other people, that lead different life experiences, come up with some new innovations in my holsters, and that I needed to do some torture-testing to some basic designs to see how well they hold up under extreme stress. I liked my holster, and Jenni liked hers, but how would anybody else like my holsters? How would they perform for someone else that had completely different habits in their daily routine? The holsters I had built yet were nice, but what set them apart from any other holsters, really? I know that I'm hard on shoes, so I tend to buy really well-made shoes that can take a beating and keep on looking good. Could I build holsters that would perform the same? These are all questions that I felt needed to be answered.

Jenni's coworker, Len decided that he wanted a small-of-the-back holster for his Cobra in .38-Spl. He wanted it to include one two-shot reload. I was up to the challenge, since I had only ever really thought about revolver holsters before. This is what I came up with:


And my wife modeling it:


I have to admit that it was an accident that I cut out my pattern backwards on the leather. There's more to that story that I'll get to in a minute...

My friend, Will told me that he 'pined for' a left-hand holster for his airweight J-frame that had no cant, so he could access it with either hand from deep cover if the proverbial S**T hit the fan. I asked him what color it should be. He said that it should probably be a color. I asked him if I should make him a pink holster. He said that he would proudly wear a pink holster. I didn't think that I could do a pink holster, as it's far easier to dye to a darker color rather than a lighter one (but I will have to recant on that later), so I went with red. I had to call Will to tell him that I was looking at a holster that was somewhere between a fire engine and a tomato.


This sucker pulls the gun in TIGHT! Here's a shot of my lovely wife modeling for me once again in natural light:


He cracked up the first time he saw it! That holster is gorgeous, and the pictures don't do it justice. I would really like to do some more in such a shocking color. At this point, I had come to the realization that I don't do black holsters. I like colors. I alluded to turning the leather inside-out earlier in this post. I thought that maybe I should have a layer of leather facing towards the firearm, and another layer of leather facing the outside to pretty up the combination. My prototype was for one of my .586's. Here's what I came up with prior to dying and finishing the beast:


Note the lack of visible stitches. This holster is double-stitched like all of my previous holsters, but the stitching is hidden under a top layer of leather. This has proven to be a nearly bullet-proof (please pardon the phrase) holster that takes abuse and keeps on performing and looking good. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of either my left-hand holster or my 'concealed stitch' holster until after some serious torture-testing. On the up-side, the hidden-stitch prototype has held up extremely well! Here are those two holsters in question:


Note that the left-handed one is visibly beat up quite a bit more than the gun-blue, red-lined prototype (I told you I don't do black) on my right-hand side. I'm shocked at how nice both of these look after the punishment that I've put them through over the last six months! I've crawled under cars on the concrete, I've been in the dirt, I've worn them empty as much as I've carried guns in them, and they still hold their shape, retain the revolvers, remain comfortable, and still honestly look pretty darned good.

Next, I traded some reloads for a holster to my friend Darin. He's a lefty, and decided he wanted a cross-draw for his N-Frame in .45 ACP. So, I went to work putting together a hidden-stitch holster for his Model 22. I finished this one in a dark chocolate brown. It turned out very nicely.

N frame cross draw 2

I say with much pride that Darin is quite fond of that holster. He's wound up wearing it more in front than on his side. Think Angel Eyes in The Good, the Bad, and the ugly. I can hardly blame him. An N-frame is so large that it is a little awkward to wear.

My brother bought his first gun in October. He got himself a 5-inch Para 1911 in .45 ACP. He was talking about wanting a holster, and I was coming up with ideas. He said that he wanted one that logically wore where I wear mine for my 586's. He wanted it canted a little more dramatically to pull up the muzzle on that 5-inch barrel. My brother wears jeans nearly constantly, and most of his jeans stay a brilliant blue, by some strange and unnatural miracle. I thought that a leather, pancake holster that was dyed and textured to mimick denim was in order. For concealed carry, if the holster flashed, it would be camouflaged against his jeans. So, I went to work building him a holster (with hidden stitching as has become my calling card), with the stamped texture and vague coloration of a pair of jeans. I'm not ashamed of what I was able to turn out.

[So sorry. Pictures pending.]

Then, I met my most recent challenge. The original, purple, cross-draw holster that I made for my lovely wife outlived its usefulness. For whatever reason, the leather had become quite soft. This is the only one of my holsters that has done this. The ears on the sides became floppy, and the body became very soft as well, and the holster's retention went to pot. I couldn't quite figure it out. She had been complaining that the cross-draw format was not nearly as useful as she had originally imagined it would be. Women's jackets are quite a bit shorter than men's as well. Have you ever noticed that a ladies' jacket hems just below the top of the back pockets whereas a men's jacket will often extend below the bottom of the back pocket? This adds to the fact that a woman cannot carry the same holster that a man can. Jenni was constantly flashing the bottom of her purple holster when she bent over. She said that she would like something strong-side, high-rise, in the hidden-stitched format that my more recent holsters have been. I came up with something that looks like it should live on the bottom of the ocean, and performs its job quite well. Nearly the entire holster sits over the bottom-line of the belt, and it is not tempted to flop over from the gravitational pull of the stainless steel revolver. Remember how I said that I couldn't do pink? How about this pink and purple, marbled beauty with a shimmery pearl coat on top of it?


It almost seems to change color when the light source changes a little.


Needless to say, I'm pretty proud of this one. So far, Jen has been wearing it for a couple of days, and she loves it! I have to tell you that it kind of makes me wish for the next project.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Attempting a High-Brow Blog

It looks like my use of language has been consistent with my PG goal:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

And, my attempt at using plain English that isn't too terribly simple:

blog readability test

Stay tuned, folks! I've got some new material (well, updates on previous stuff mainly) that I've been working on!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jen's hair dryer

When we get out of the shower recently, my wife has been blow-drying her hair. I can't say that I really blame her for that. She is growing it out, and it has gotten pretty cold around here. Her hair is now just past her shoulders, which is the longest it's been in ages, and it looks sexy and wonderful! It's also thick, and tends to hold a lot of water for a long time. I would really feel terrible if she went out in the below freezing with a sopping wet head and caught pneumonia or something. I'd feel bad.

We have a teeny tiny little house. I've seen smaller and I've known people who lived in smaller, but this place feels crowded. We do have what they call 'a bath and a half.' I was not familiar with this term prior to shopping homes. This is when they started to build a house with two bathrooms, but they got lazy or ran out of concrete before they were able to pour that last ten square feet that a bath tub or shower stall would take. So, it's got a full bathroom and a half-assed bath room, hence 'bath and a half.'

The full bathroom is where we shower (obviously) and that's where the kitties take care of their business, since Jenni taught them to use the toilet (well, mostly) because we didn't want to deal with a litter box. The outlet in there has an intermittent supply problem, so we keep electronics like my shaver or Jenni's hair dryer in the 'half' bath. We keep the kitties' food and water in the larger one, and pretty much keep the kitties shut out of the bedrooms. The little half-bath is also where our tooth brushes live, as nobody wants to brush their teeth with a tooth brush that a cat has knocked into the toilet and then pooped on.

So, Jenni has this hair dryer that you could bake bread with as long as you could block the wind so the dough wouldn't blow away. It's enourmous! Do you remember the hair dryer in Space Balls? Yeah, it's pretty much just like that but purple. This beast moves about 1,700-cfm of air heated across a 19,000-btu burner inside of it. I'm pretty sure that it was forged in the depths of Mordor. I imagine that you have seen such monstrosities before. Like, if Elvis wanted to keep his hair dry during a concert, this would do it, except for the fact that it produces about as many decibels as a 757 coming off the runway, so you wouldn't be able to hear him. They should have had one of these to do extermination duty in the Tribbles episode of Star Trek.

By comparison, the 'half' bath, as it is so known, has become the Grand Central of getting ready in the morning. The kid brushes his teeth in there because I don't think that any of us should have to brush with kitty poo (although with 9-year-old hygiene, sometimes his breath smells like it). Nobody should have to brush with kitty poo. They have thought that waterboarding was okie-dokie, but they never made any convicted terrorists brush with kitty poo. That's just nasty. Jen and I brush our teeth in there, I shave in there, and Jenni uses her enormous hair dryer (which I can't remember whether it was made by Garrett or Boeing) in there.

The bathroom is fifty-two inches by fifty-five inches - literally. I am not exaggerating or making a joke there. In less than twenty square feet, the toilet and sink taking up most of it, with kiddo doing a light, once-over on his teeth and me running my aging electric shaver over my face, Jenni is producing a small, heated hurricane under that miniscule patch of eight-foot ceiling. About ten seconds into her switching it on (which dims the lights - no exaggeration), my eyeballs start to dry out on the outside and shrivel up from the inside. My throat goes dry and my teeth recede. I imagine a knight of the crusades standing in my bedroom saying "He chose poorly."

Please allow me to back-peddle for a minute. I don't blame Jenni at all. (1) She pretty much has to dry her hair before we leave in the morning, and one of the big reasons that she's growing her hair out is because I like it long. (2) She pretty much has to use the hair dryer in the half-assed bath rather than the... I was going to call it a full-size, but even the bigger bathroom is still more like a compact, but that's not the point. (3) We are not morning people. Time is of the essence, as we must maximize our efficiency when we wake up, because we will milk every precious moment of sleep that we can prior to soccumbing to the cruel will of dawn, and all that she brings with her. Therefore, she has to use the most efficient method possible to dry her hair, i. e. Giant Purple People Blower. Furthermore, she has to use it while the rest of our little clan are in the same closet - water closet that is!

So, I'm torn. I'm very annoyed with my nemesis, Jenni's Turbine of Death, especially when used in the smallest room in the house with the entire occupants of the Evyl Robot Empyre crammed in there. On the other hand, there's no other choice right now. One day, maybe there will be a wing of the house that has a wind tunnel with a furnace at one end. That would come close to matching what she's using right now, and I could be in another room altogether. --and that would make me happy. I like to be with my wife and son for a lot of stuff, but I could never see that hair dryer again and be perfectly happy. It is to Jenni's hair as kitty poo is to kitties; I may hate it, but without it, kitties would explode. The lesser of two evils, you know? Well, I'm running low on whiskey and at the risk of going dry, I'm going to wrap it up here.

I'd like to again thank both of my readers to reading the nearly incoherent rantings of somebody that just doesn't know when to quit. Ah, I... Iah rilllly gove you luys!
*crash as I hit the floor*

W - The President - Part IV - Finale

Dear Mr. Former President Bush,

For eight years, you have served us. You expected us to do nothing in return, but you just kept on making the tough choices that only the most decent of people would have to make in your position. Up against opposition both inside and outside of the country that you love - that both of us love - you ignored your critics and only kept making those tough choices. You did a thankless job, and you deserve many thanks for it.

I would salute you, but I have not earned the right. Having never served in the great U. S. military myself, I have not earned the right to salute at all - much less salute one of the finer Commanders-In-Chief that this country has had. I know that many would argue with me on that point, or shake their head and call me simple or worse, but it them that are mistaken. It is they who cannot see the good that you have done for us. If they could get over their own jaded pride, they would thank you too.

When you stood in front of the American People, declared a war on terror, and said that if terrorists were going to attack U. S. soil again, they would have to go through you, I will admit that I was not one of those in the crowd cheering your words. I thought you were crazy for saying that. Others cheered because of the promise, but I was skeptical because of the loftiness of that promise. I didn't see any way that we could possibly mount a successful attack on such a specter as 'terror.' To me, the proposal to hunt down terrorists and those that harbor them sounded much like flailing at smoke. But, you kept your word, and for that I will gladly and humbly admit that I was wrong. Thank you for that.

You successfully pushed to spread Freedom and Liberty to places where it has previously been foreign. You pushed to send medicine and medical research to places were there were no such things previously. You fought to research cures for some of the more resistant and ravaging illnesses that we as humans have faced. The people of the world owe you a debt of gratitude for the humanitarian service you have so freely given. And today, America has allies that were enemies ten years ago.

The lines on your face and the gray in your hair that were not there eight years ago bear witness to how tirelessly you have served us. History will show that you were among the greatest of servants, unshakable in your convictions, with strong faith, and a heart as big as your home state. We have only ever seen you show deep, personal respect to the people around you, whether the press, your staff, members of the armed forces, or random citizens. That's probably the reason you never tired of serving - when you looked at people you saw individuals with their own views, problems, leanings, personalities, and individual life story. Nobody is simply a number to you. You deserve our deepest gratitude for that.

Yesterday evening, your plane flew over my house at about 6:00. At least we assume it was you. I don't know who else would have been flying through the area in a four-engine jet escorted by a handful of Chinooks. It was a bittersweet moment for my family and me. We hate to see you go, but we know that it is time. You have earned your retirement, and you deserve to relax. I hope that you were able to impart some of your wisdom to your successor in the short time that you worked with him prior to handing over the office. I suppose that time will tell.

I have seen others expressing their appreciation for you as well. Some of them have been no surprise at all while others seem the most unlikely to sing your praise, but their words are heartfelt, thoughtful, and relatable. With all of the excitement over the new President, you ought to know that there are those of us out here that appreciate you, and will tip our hat to your leaving office with only the most sincere of reverence.

So, here's to you, Mr. Bush! Rest well and God bless! Keep the faith, and know that you are appreciated. Next time I'm coming through Crawford, I'll bring the beer.


Evyl Robot Michael

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Birthday Ruger for the Kid

The ten-year mark is a big deal. I abhor the whole 'tween' term, but I have to admit that it does have some merit to it. When you turn ten, you are no longer a little kid. You (hopefully) have learned some critical thinking skills, consideration for other's feelings, and the ability to make some decisions on your own. My son will have his tenth birthday on February 17, 2009. When Jenni and I got into shooting last January, it was in the understanding that everyone in our household would learn shooting and safe gun handling. I was the first one to actually get a handgun, but I wanted Jenni to learn to handle and shoot it as well. I also expected to teach our kid to act properly around and with guns. Little did I know that we would all three quickly become enthusiasts.

The two of us have been talking for some time about getting Isaac his own gun. He handles them well, he shoots well, and it seems to increase his sense of responsibility and self-respect when he practices shooting. I'm telling you that he does his school work better when he's getting his range time in! So, we had pretty much decided to get a Ruger 10/22 for him for his birthday. The plan was for us to get the rifle and go to the farm on the weekend closest to his birthday to break it in. We fell onto a great deal on one at the local pawn shop on Friday, and the weather turned out beautiful yesterday. If the thermometer did not break 70, I would be shocked! Most of the weekends this time of year are below freezing. The conjunction of the two events was a clear sign to us.

Yesterday morning, we had to be at the retirement home at 9:00 to move Aunt Cheryl from one apartment to another, and we were finished quickly. With the culmination of the Perfect Storm, we gave Isaac the option of getting his birthday present early. Being a nearly-10-year-old boy, he eagerly jumped on the deal.

We went by the pawn shop and got the gun. All the staff and patrons were beaming proudly at us when we handed Isaac's new rifle over to him. A couple of gentlemen addressed him and told him that if he takes really good care of it, he'll have it for the rest of his life. (It always helps to have non-parents reinforce what we tell him.)

We picked up some more shotgun ammo and targets at Academy and headed out to the farm. We set up one target at 50-yards and the other at 100-yards. Jenni and I were not shooting worth cat crap, so the 100-yard target is still in pretty good shape.

Setting up to fire

The three of us put 120-rounds through the Ruger. Isaac led with a 25-round magazine full, I emptied the next 25, Jenni shot 25, and Isaac finished off the ammo at that point. His first 25 at 50-yards were not bad but not great.

Isaac's first target 2

He was clearly still getting the feel for the gun. His mom and dad embarrassing him (see our targets below) in our turns inspired him!

Dad's target

Mom's target

He was tack-driving those tiny bullets and handling the weapon like a diminutive Special Ops soldier! Here's his target:

Isaac and his second target

By the end, he was clearly getting tired.

He played behind us while we shot some rounds through our revolvers and the AR-15. I took a few shots with my 12-gauge. Jenni cut her forehead on the sight of her 627, but I'll let her tell you about that... The Hole in Jennifer's Head At some point, I turned around to check on the kiddo, and he was nowhere to be found. We started to shout for him, and comb the woods.

Needless to say, my heart was going 150-MPH! Jenni had the bright idea to check the car, and there he was. He still had his ear protection on, and had apparently gotten tired of being on his feet. He hadn't heard us calling for him. There are wild animals out there - coyotes, boar, and wolves - things that can be deadly to people. Then again, he could have just wandered into the woods to empty his lima bean-sized bladder for all I knew. As is my way, I had prepared for the worst, hoped for the best, and expected something in between.

I don't need to explain to you why our nerves were too shot for further gunning. Overall, I would call it a good day. If we had been shooting to our optimum, it would have been a great day.

Isaac posing with his rifle 2

Isaac is on Cloud 9 over his rifle, and a great time was had by all. We have a good kid, and we are very proud of him. Since the gun was used, we decided to thoroughly break it down and give it a deep scrubbing. Isaac was excited to clean and oil his gun, and I helped him with the disassembly and reassembly.


I know he must have been dreaming of shooting last night. He's more excited for our next range trip than either of us are. We have explained to him that it is not a toy, and that it will not live in his room until he's grown up. He freely accepted these ideas, and confessed that he's not at all upset that we did not give him a toy for his birthday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eating Out Rant

My wife sent me this link.

It reminds me of my view on ordering a hamburger out. There is a pre-ordained, universal scale by which red meat is cooked. You can look for yourself if you would like! This is just one reference in which you will find the following:

Rare: Cool RED Center
Medium Rare: Hot RED Center
Medium: Pink Throughout
Medium Well: Slight trace of Pink
Well Done: Browned throughout.

The waitress will ask, 'How do you want your burger cooked?'
Don't ask me if you don't care. Don't ask so I can tell you 'medium rare,' in the hopes that I'll luck into getting a 'medium' burger just so you can bring me a burger that's 'well done' - just like all the other damned burgers in the place! Fire the cook and hire a chef. The lazy-eyed, drooling, 45-IQ'd spatula-flipper can't cook a burger any but ONE way. Own it!
I'm not speaking of fast-food here either. At sit-down restaurants that have the audacity to charge $7-$8 and upwards for a burger, this crap is occurring with more and more frequency around here! Once, I had to send back a certified black angus burger THREE TIMES before I gave up and ordered something else!
Instead of, 'How do you want your burger cooked?' the server needs to say 'Our inbred cook only knows how to burn burgers. You want to order something else, or just find another place to eat?'

Wow! Where did that rant come from?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I have suggested that everyone who is not opposed join the NRA. This is something that I had not done, and I felt that it was about time I start practicing what I've been preaching. So, last night, I called the NRA and got three lifetime memberships - one for Jenni, one for my son, and one for myself. They have an easy plan to pay for such an arrangement. If you get the lifetime membership, they will allow you to pay it out at $25.00 per month, interest free, until you have paid the balance. This membership has been $1,000.00 per membership, but recently they have been running some very attractive specials to sweeten the deal for people who have wanted to join, but just have not yet. Now that I have room to talk, you should go join now. All it takes is one simple phone call. They have 1-year memberships, 3-year memberships, and other options beyond that. This organization works very hard to keep people educated about the safe and responsible use of firearms. Just as importantly, this organization works very hard to keep legislation in check, to make sure those 'common sense' measures truly don't infringe on our Second Amendment Rights. Even if you do not own any firearms, even if you don't intend to ever own any firearms, they need your support. Once our rights start getting stepped on, it won't be long before we go down the slippery slope and lose our Freedom and Liberty. Now it is more important than ever for us to make a stand and claim our individual rights and freedoms.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Judgement: Zombie's Bane

Sometime over the Summer, Jenni and I decided to buy a shotgun. I don't know why we wanted a shotgun, but we did. We had heard and read from several sources that the pump-action shotgun is the definitive king of home defense. That inspired us some, I think. Jenni has had some back and neck problems, so we specifically wanted to get a 20-gauge for the reduced recoil, so it would not beat her up. We went to the corner pawn shop and fondled every shotgun they had in stock. The one that really grabbed us was a beat-up, well-used, 20-gauge, Winchester 1300 pump-action. We walked out of the store with this gun, after parting with $150.00. We stopped and purchased a couple boxes of $6-birdshot, and proceeded to the range. Well, we were hooked.

I showed the gun to my friend, Will, who works at the range. He thought it was interesting that this gun had an improved cylinder choke in the 28-inch barrel. He found it even more interesting that he was able to remove the choke by hand, rather than using the wrench. What was more interesting still, was the fact that the choke tube refused to thread back into the barrel at that point.

Long story short, we decided to lop off the barrel and call it a house gun. When my brother saw the section of barrel that had been cut off, and its choke tube, he nonchalantly screwed the choke tube back into the severed barrel tube. As it turned out, even though the threads in the barrel are damaged, if you hold your mouth right, it is a fairly simple task to thread the choke back in - but that's neither here nor there.

At that point, we had a home defense shotgun. So, we did the only reasonable thing we could think of. We took a home defense shotgun class with Oklahoma Shooting Skills. We did well in our class, and were really having fun with this combat shotgun idea! I started to get the desire to have a 12-gauge of my own. I decided that I really liked the Winchester 1300 platform. The Remington 870, and the Mossberg 500 are both fine weapons, but the Speed Pump is really sweet! I liked wood furniture, so I would probably wind up getting a Defender, and putting a wood stock and for on it, or a 1300 Hunter, and cut down the barrel, and install a magazine extension.

When I got my Christmas bonus at work this year, I kind of knew that I was going to be shopping shotguns. I had seen a few Winchesters around town, but they were either VERY used, or priced higher than I wanted to pay. With the recent gouging increases in gun prices, I wanted to pay about $200.00 for the right gun. At the same pawn shop where we bought the first one, I found a Winchester Ranger Model 120 in very nice condition. I was not familiar with the Ranger, but it looked like a 1300 to me.






So, I googled it on my BlackBerry. It turned out that the Ranger was indeed the entry-level version of the 1300 Hunter. The biggest difference is that the Ranger had an integrated choke rather than changeable tubes. Apparently, that cut the cost down. Either way, it didn't make a difference to me since I would cut off that part of the gun anyway. This gun looked like a brand-new, 20-year-old gun that had a maximum of a hand-full of shells through it, and had spent its life at the back of Grandpa's closet. The biggest flaw was a little rust on the magazine nut, which would be replaced with an extension anyway, so it didn't really matter.



As I was eying it, one of the guys who works in the shop looked at the price tag, which read "$230.00." He remarked that he would sell it for $200.00 after tax. I told him that he had just sold it. After a little more research, I found that this is probably a 1987 gun, and a thorough break-down and deep cleaning revealed no evidence of prior shooting or cleaning. I had to clean the factory preservative goo out of the cracks and crevices, and I had to clean dust out of the bore! Not powder residue, but dust! The 20-gauge became Jenni's gun, and we now had a his and hers set.

So, I took it to the range and put its first fifty shots through it. Jenni's gun has the long fore grip on it, which I thought I liked. Mine came with the short, corn-cob fore. After shooting it, I decided that I really do like the short fore. The gun was exactly what I wanted. The action started loosening up after the deep-cleaning, and even more so after I popped its cherry with the first fifty rounds. I was beginning to get a vision of what I wanted the gun to be.

I decided that I wanted the barrel in the size range of 18.5 to 20.5 inches, to make it handle better, but to remain legally above reproach. I wanted to go with a small magazine extension, to extend the capacity by two or three shells, to not put a bunch of extra weight on the nose. I decided that I wanted some kind of reload saddles, but didn't know what type or format. And, I wanted to go with a tritium night bead, so it would be easier to sight in the zombies and gremlins at night - when they are more likely to strike anyway.

I decided to do my own work as well for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my preferred gunsmith is backed up by about 4-weeks, with the recent frenzy on firearms. I don't have that kind of patience. Secondly, I have access to some tools that make the job easier for a do it yourself gunsmith, and I've done some simple machining before. I even decided to make my own saddles since I couldn't find any that I really liked, and I work leather pretty well.

I ordered two ATI '7-shot' extensions from Impact Guns, as the mag tubes on the 1300 derivatives are identical between the 20-gauge and 12-gauge. I figured I could slap one on each of our guns. I picked up two Meprolight tritium beads - one for each gun. The thread pitch is a 6/48, and I was unable to find a tap in stock anywhere in town. I wound up ordering one from a supplier that I use at work. I was determined not to cut the barrel until I had the mag extensions in hand, to make sure to leave enough steel over the extension. I would then mount my bead, of course.

To pass the time, I stitched together a nice, leather, stock saddle that holds eight shotshells on each side. I put the center-line of the elastic low enough on the stock that the shells do not interfere with the proper cheek-weld. The shells hold securely, and pull out easily with minimal deliberation, and I call it a success. On subsequent trips to the range, I've received many compliments on the saddle.




Then, I found out that there was a problem with both the tap and the magazine extensions. It looked like the tap was delayed by several days, and the folks at Impact Guns couldn't tell me when I would get my extensions. So, I lost my patience, chucked the barrel in the band saw at work, and cut 8-inches off the barrel. I used the belt sander to even my cut and deburr the outside of the cut, and used a 1-inch drill bit to chamfer it. When I got home, I did a little more work with a piece of emery cloth, and touched up the white metal with a cold bluing compound. If you have never used that stuff before, you have got to try it! It is so cool! I applied the fluid with a Q-tip, and watched it go from white to blue-black in seconds!

Fortunately, my tap came in the next day and I was able to drill and tap the barrel for the new sight. The Meprolight sight is a glowing, green dot on both sides, front and back. I suppose that they do this so that you have 180-degrees to align it. I used Locktite to secure the sight in its newly cut threads. I didn't really want the gremlins to have a green dot to shoot at, so I touched the front of the bead with some black fingernail polish to allow its luminescence to come from the back only. A couple days later, I mounted the other sight to Jenni's gun.

Here's my gun, with the barrel length corrected, and the night-sight installed:


Here are both guns together (12-gauge, "Judgement" on top, 20-gauge, "Deliverance" on bottom):


And, here's a low-light shot of both sights (They are a lot brighter in real life. This was just the best pic I could take with the equipment on hand):


Impact Guns keeps telling me that they will ship my magazine extensions any minute. In reality, I have no idea when or if I'll actually get them. We shall see. I'm also thinking of putting an additional side-saddle on the receiver, but I haven't decided yet. Jenni's gun will also get leather saddles, but she wants a new holster for her 640 before that. I may have to post an update at that point.

2/11/09 - UPDATE

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Revolvers of the Evyl Robot Empyre

These are the revolvers that my wife and I have accumulated since we started shooting on January 1, 2008:


From left to right, they are as follows:

1) Jenni's S&W 640-2, "Greed."



Nothing spells out serious quite like a J-frame with five shots of .357 Magnum. The looks grow on you when you spend some time with a Centennial. The stainless frame is heavy enough to tame the full-house Magnums to manageable levels, and the format of the gun makes it easy to hide - even under a petite woman's most feminine of clothing. This gun is fun to shoot, very accurate, and demands that you become a better marksman (or markswoman, for that matter).

2) Our Pre-M10, WWII-era, S&W M&P in .38 Special, "Pride."




This old girl has seen some action, as is shown by the asphalt-themed engraving on the muzzle and cylinder. This is by far the oldest gun in the stable. The blue is mostly gone, but the spirit remains. Even with fixed sights and an obnoxiously high hammer spur, she's proud to put those six shots in the same hole in the center of your target. This one is a piece of history, and a great shooter for beginners and accomplished shooters alike.

3) My S&W M29-10, .44 Magnum with factory engraving, "Lust."



This one is my favorite. She's also my first ever gun. This gun is beautiful and deadly. Shooting full-house Magnums out of a model 29 is a demanding practice, but master it and you will find that it is a tack-driver. Even with lighter loads, the drop in trajectory is negligible at 150-yards! The gun is way more accurate than I am, and one day I hope to truly master it. It deserves that much from me.

4 & 5) My S&W 586L-Comps, "Wrath" (background) and "Gluttony" (foreground).


I bought the first one, "Wrath," as my daily carry. I found that I could shoot it well with either hand, and I liked it so much that I bought the second as a Detroit reload. These babies were built by Smith & Wesson's Performance Center. They have tuned actions, both are cut for moonclips, they are fitted with Trijicon night sights, and they have ported barrels. I haven't been carrying additional reloads yet, as I feel that if 14-shots of .357 Magnum won't get the job done, I need to find a better way out of the fight. I've found that Gluttony's action is a little more smooth, crisp, and consistent than Wrath's. I find that I shoot it a lot more, and it is my right-hand carry. Although I am virtually ambidextrous, I do find that I'm usually a slightly better shot with my right hand. I've been working on my left-handed shooting, and have gotten good with it, but my left lacks the stamina that I've got in my right.

6) Jenni's first gun, a S&W 627PC, "Envy."




And, what gun wouldn't be envious of an eight-shot, .357 Magnum N-Frame tuned by Smith & Wesson's Performance Center, cut for spidery, eight-legged moonclips; fitted with a front gold-bead sight, a ball-detent lock up, and Kim Ahrend's grips? The 5-inch, slab-sided barrel will happily launch all eight bullets through the same hole at any visible distance. The action is so light and crisp that it will spoil a shooter against lesser guns. I don't like to shoot this one in single-action, as the trigger pull is so light and crisp that it is more of a brush than a pull. Truth be told, I don't shoot this one much at all, as it kind of takes some of the challenge out of the sport of target practice. This gun very nearly shoots itself.

As a bonus pic, here are Lust and Envy all snuggled up together:


Now, isn't that cute? As each of you has no doubt already detected, being the astute sleuth that would read my blog, we have picked the theme of The Seven Deadly Sins as names for our revolvers. We've decided to limit this theme to our revolvers, and as we have picked up long guns, we've had to come up with something different yet fitting. We don't have any slide-guns yet, but will have to come up with yet another, similar theme. Since we started with religious concepts with worldly applications, we decided to go with more vague religious concepts for our long guns. Hence, Jenni's 20-gauge is known as "Deliverance," our AR-15 is called "Rapture," and I call my 12-gauge "Judgment." Keep checking back, as I'll get back to that soon. I'm looking forward to posting the transformation of my shotgun from entry-level hunting gun to Judgment: Zombie's Bane!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jen's Fitness Challenge

Aw, F! I'm not exactly sure how I got roped into this. But, needless to say, I have committed to getting myself into better shape. I kind of like my current shape. Well, ok. I admit that there are some improvements that I would like to impose on my body. Besides that, life is more fun with an improved body. I'm certainly not going for Hulk or Mr. Universe stats, but there are some things that I am looking forward to doing.

Of course, her crazy New Year Stunt caused me to do some work beyond push-ups and crunches. Jenni was talking about how she wanted to buy a scale so she could post a weekly update on her measurements and weight. I told her that we didn't need to buy a scale since we have a perfectly good one in the garage.

Jennifer's Starting Weight

This, my friends is the scale in question. This is after I disassembled it to clean out the spider nest that had been constructed between the viewing lens and the zero. I don't recall whether this one came from Grandma's house, or if I picked it up at a garage sale, but I thought it was beautiful and wanted it, even though we had no use for a scale at the time. It's a vintage Health-O-Meter, a relic of a forgotten era when things were made of a legendary material known as 'metal.' Everything was built with beautiful lines, and everything had an 'O' in the middle of the name - much in the same way that everything has a lower case 'i' at the beginning of it now. Take this Juice-O-Mat for example:


Yes, this was the Golden Age in which a computer was a device as large as a high-school gymnasium, and had the awesome processing power of a modern greeting card today. This device was known as a Calc-O-Tron, I believe. They cost as much as a Banana Republic and could play chess, or do grade-school arithmetic. If these devices were built today, they would be boxy looking, made of plastic, and would be called iHealthmeter, iJuicemat, and iCalctron.

But, I digress. Please allow me to get back to my tangent. Fortunately, I've been feeling very industrious recently. I've been taking pics of my new shotgun, which I'll write a post on soon. I'm trying to get a nice little collection of images together so I can post a graduation from 21-year-old, hunting pump to elegant, zombie bane.

I've been doing quite a bit of organizing, cleaning, and creating, so the restoration of the Health-O-Meter is a logical progression from what I've been doing anyway. As Jen posts pics of her progress, so shall you see the progress on the old scale. I'm thinking of having the case blasted and powder-coated some wacky color. I'm a sucker for red, but a period mint green might be really nice. The lens is pretty scratched up, and I'll probably see if the scratches can be buffed out. It's glass, so I'm not afraid of scorching it on a buffing wheel. I'll probably wind up scraping and painting the guts of the thing. It appears that about half of them were zinc-plated, and the other half were white steel. They have all gone mostly to rust. Thankfully, the steel parts are thick, and should clean and paint easily. The step pad on the surface of this scale is some kind of linoleum or something. It is very brittle, and has been coming apart as we've been handling it for this project. I'll probably replace it with a piece of leather or vinyl or something. Brightly colored urethane might be nice if we decided to go black on the case. I don't know yet. The little chrome bezel has seen better days, but I'm not exactly sure what to do about it yet. I could have it stripped and re-plated, or I might just clean it up and see how it looks after everything else. I suppose I could take it down past the chrome, prime and paint it to match the case. If I did that, I would probably go back over the raised lettering in a different color to bring that out. Well, it shouldn't take me all year to do something about the scale, so I'm sure that you will all get the opportunity to see its transformation.

Oh, yeah - I guess this is where I can get back to the main point, huh? I've made it my goal to gain some weight, trim a couple of inches off my waist and put them on my chest and biceps. I don't think this will be hard to do. I'll try not to change shape too radically, because I don't really want to have to replace my nice clothing all at once. We shall see what we shall see.