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VOLUMES 169 & 170  -------- JULY/AUGUST 2016

August 31, 2016

At the end of my last newsletter, I reported that I had emailed requesting a sample of of a doppler radar unit from LabRadar in Wichita, KS.  This product is said to "make chronographs obsolete for measuring ballistics."  Previous contact at the 2016 Shot Show in Las Vegas in January, indicated that samples were not then available to writers for review, as the product was selling faster than they could make them.  Apparently that situation has not changed, as 'Richard' from info@mylabradar.com stated in his response, "Sorry, but the situation remains the same.  I do not foresee a change in that in quite some time.  The demand for this product is very high.  We have finally caught up to be able to ship units almost as fast as they come in."

Here's what I think Richard probably really meant:  "We're selling them as fast as we can make them.  We don't need anyone to give us more exposure, especially a small web-based writer!"  So, that's that for now.  I'll check back in a few months to see if the situation has changed.

A continuation of my poor luck at getting review samples continued with Lyman Products Company.  I examined their digital borescope at the last Shot Show.  I temporarily lost interest in the Lyman unit when I found the Carson Optics smart phone adapter that allows photography through nearly any optical device with a smartphone camera.  I was hoping to use the adapter and my phone to get acceptable digital images of the inside of gun barrels via my Hawkey Borescope.  That exercise turned out to be a bust, and didn't work at all.  You can see the
evaluation and report on the Carson adapter in the March/April 2016 newsletter HERE.

Ater deciding I needed to try the Lyman Borescope because of it's ability to capture digital images on SD cards, I sent an email to Nick Dragon, sales coordinator asking for a sample for review.  His reply was very simple.  He will send me a borescope for a discounted price!  I've been sitting on this now for about three weeks, but will most likely go ahead and order one of the units, as the 'writer's discount' is a substantial savings vs MSRP.  More on this later.

Also in the last newsletter, I made comparisons of the accuracy and ballistics of the Cooper and Browning .280 Remington rifles I bought a couple of years ago.  I was able to test two brands of factory ammo, and found little meaningful difference in their respective accuracy, at least with me and my mediocre shooting skills behind the trigger.

One thing I didn't report on though, was another mechanical issue with the Cooper.  As the bench session progressed, I found that the Cooper's bolt occasionally failed to pick up a cartridge from the magazine when cycling the bolt to chamber the next round.

At first I suspected I was 'short stroking' the bolt.  This can be a problem with some bolt actions.  If the bolt is not pulled completely to the rear when ejecting a fired cartridge, the bolt face may fail to get behind the case head on the next round in the magazine and simply slip over the top of it.  This occurs most often with 'push feed' rifles with a plunger ejector in the bolt face, as in both the Browning and Cooper.  With a 'controlled round feed' action with a fixed ejector, the bolt must be drawn all the way to the rear in order to kick the empty case out of the ejection port.  Thus, the short stroking problem rarely, if ever, appears.

Closer inspection, however, after more failures to feed, showed that the rear of the magazine was coming out of its locking recess under recoil, and dropping down far enough to lower the cartridge case head below the reach of the bolt face.

Rear of the Magazine is dropped down out of its recess in the action.

Here is the way the magazine is supposed to look when fully inserted and latched.

Since Ann and I had a trip to Missoula, Montana planned anyway, this provided an opportunity to drop off the rifle at the factory in nearby Stevensville on July 21st for repairs.  Even though the side trip to Stevensville is a bit of burned mileage, direct, in-person delivery is much simpler and quicker than trying to ship and receive a firearm in today's world of excess regulation and red tape!  Ms Shirley Ann Clay, Customer Service Rep., met us in the front office and escorted us to the Custom Shop in the factory building.  There I discussed the problem with Josh, one of the gunsmiths.  The arrangement made was to fix the magazine issue and we would pick up the rifle the next day.

So, we have the Cooper back in our gun safe, but have not gotten around to another shooting session to see if the problem is solved.  Josh indicated that they had test fired the rifle, and assured me the problem is cured.  Hopefully, that's the case, as this was the Cooper's second trip to the factory for repair and I really do not want to have to do this again!

I can report that the Browning's feed and function was perfect during this shooting session even though its MSRP price point is about one sixth the price of the Cooper.

In the May/June 2015 Newsletter I reported on the purchase of two new rifles from Bob Ward Sporting Goods in Missoula, Montana.  To see that, click HERE.  One of those rifles was a Sako M85 Left Hand Bolt in .30-06 Springfield.  Sitting beside that .30-06 was an identical rifle in .270 Winchester caliber.  I was told that both those Sakos had been on the shelf for a long time and that's why they were marked at about 75% of MSRP.

Another trip to the Midwest occurred in late March of this year, when we drove back for Ann's Mom's funeral.  The return trip included an overnight stay in Missoula, which always includes some shopping at Southgate Mall for Ann.  Of course, while she was doing that, I had to again peruse the gun counter at Bob Ward's.  What should I find, but the Sako .270 still on the rack.  At that point, the price was still the same as I paid for the .30-06.  When asked if they would consider any offer below that, the counter man told me, "That price is our cost for the rifle, so going lower is not likely."

"Have patience," I told myself. "They've had it for well over a year now."

You guessed it, that doggone rifle was still on the rack when we were in Missoula while the Cooper was being repaired.  Perhaps it's time for a little negotiation.  When I delved into that subject, the counter man that day said he couldn't make a commitment, but thought the 'Boss' might discount the rifle another 20% if I was interested.

I told him, "We are in town for another couple of days, so I'll stop by in a day or two and see what the Boss had to say."

Sure enough, the price was discounted another 20%, and I brought the .270 home with us!  Still need to get the Redfield scope I have on hand mounted and bore sighted, so I haven't shot it yet.  Photos and shooting results will be coming as time marches on.

I do wish I had photos for what I'm going to relate next.  On August 3rd Ann left the house for her Wednesday Golf League.  Shortly after her turn from our driveway onto the County road, what she described as a 'huge' cougar leaped across the road in front of her.

I was getting our weekly trash ready to cart out to the County road, and wondered why I was getting a phone call from Ann so soon after leaving the house.

As one could imagine, Little Heifer was quite breathless as she described the incident while stopped alongside the road.  "The cougar jumped right in front of me and stopped to look back just before he ran into the timber.  He was huge!  Since you'll be bringing the trash out, I thought I'd let you know to keep your eyes open."

Our discussion after golf league, included a wish that the cougar would hang around for a while and feast on some of the dang wild turkeys that continue to poop all over our lawn, driveway, and patio!

This next piece of information makes me feel older!  Granddaughter Jennifer left the teen years behind and turned twenty on July 31st!  We had a small celebration with her and Rick here at home that day.

Ready to open all the loot.

Grandma! You bought her a bare bottom card?

Cash is always good when you're headed back to College.

Genuine brownie birthday cake with improvised candle numbers.

This was the first time in several years that a Jennifer birthday celebration did not take place at ShoGun Japanese restaurant.  What with ongoing preparations to return for her third year at Washington State University, and her part-time job at Wake UP Call Coffee Shop, it just didn't seem to come together for everyone.  Then there's also that little matter of transitioning to adulthood when one's priorities and interests change with the times.  Jennifer moved into her Pullman, Washington apartment with her Dad's assistance in early August and classes began on August 22nd.

Another item mentioned in a newsletter last winter, was the matter of getting rid of the 2014 Cadillac XTS.  This vehicle was a 'pain in the keister' from the get-go to put it mildly.  While it was a beautiful automobile, with a scary powerful twin turbo engine, as Ann usually puts it, "It was in the shop more than we had it!"

A bit of exaggeration perhaps, but parts of the electronic gadgetry just kept going haywire, and did require many trips to the repair shop for warranty work.  Finally, after a bit of venting my frustration, the dealership put me in touch with the people at GM's 'repurchase program.'

After several weeks of wrangling and jumping through hoops, GM finally agreed to buy back the car.  This essentially returned our purchase price, including the allowance for our trade-in, and interest charges and fees on the financing, less a relatively small  'fee for miles driven.'  All in all, a fair and equitable buyout in our opinion.

Ridding ourselves of the problem Cadillac left us with the resources to get into another nice vehicle, which turned out to be a 2016 GMC Yukon Denali, loaded with all the goodies.  Becker Buick GMC in Spokane was chosen as the selling dealer because we've purchased several new vehicles from them, have been treated well, and their service department is second to none when needed.

When I mentioned this acquisition last Winter, the car was covered with road grime nearly every day, and I didn't want to show you any 'dirty pictures.'  Of course I promptly forgot about my promise to show you the car later, until just the other day!  Here it is.

I won't list all the options this thing has because it's three pages long!  Here are some highlights:

  • 6.2 Liter V8
  • 8 speed automatic transmission
  • Bose entertainment system
  • Satellite Radio
  • OnStar
  • 4g wi-fi hotspot via the OnStar system
  • Third row seating with power folding seats
  • Second row bucket seats with armrests
  • Power sun roof
  • Four wheel drive
  • Heated and cooled driver and passenger seats
  • Heated second row seats
  • BluRay/DVD/CD player with screen for rear seat passengers
  • Trailer tow package
  • Auto dim and bright headlights
  • Head up display
  • Navigation system/GPS
Plus a multitude of other gadgetry I will never even know how to use.

So far, so good.  Only routine maintenance at the dealership with no warranty issues

As a matter of note, you might take a closer look at the second picture of the Yukon.  There are two deer beyond the right front fender standing in front of my shooting range backstop.

Finishing on a sweet note, Ann and I read about a new ice cream shop in Post Falls, Idaho, and decided to check out its unique twist on the cold stone concept.  Here the ice cream is 'hand rolled.'  That's right, the base mix is poured onto a metal disc sitting at 16 degrees below zero, fresh fruit and/or other ingredients are added, and the mixture is stirred and spread very thinly over the surface.  By now the solution has turned to ice cream.  Next a thin spatula scrapes strips off the surface of the metal disc that curl into a small cylinder.  The resulting spiral pieces are served in a cup for your eating pleasure.  Yum!

As I understand it, this is a new and rare concept at this time, and owners Shawn and Mandy Carr are in on the ground floor of what they hope to be a thriving business.

Shawn and Mandy Carr along with Miranda, who was running the cash register that day.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a source for which we could find no attribution:

"When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what's happening.  That's where your power is."

Well, it's time to shut down here, so. . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!

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