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VOLUMES 205 & 206 -------- JULY/AUGUST 2019

July/August 2019

A lot to write about for this edition, so I'll get right to it.

In the interest of most important first, we'll talk about our Granddaughter's 23rd birthday!  Who would have thought that we'd live long enough to enjoy Jennifer for this many years?  What's that tired old cliché?  If I'da known I was gonna live this long, I'da taken better care of myself!

Jennifer recently moved back to Spokane from her apartment in Pullman.  To refresh recollections, she graduated from WSU in December last year, but elected to stay in Pullman and keep her job at a local Mexican restaurant until the lease on their apartment ran out.  That lease ended in July, and Jennifer moved back in with her Mom in Spokane Valley.  Currently putting out resumes and interviewing for jobs.

Birthday number 23 was celebrated in three parts.  The first, on her actual birthday, July 31, was gift opening at our house.

Happy Birthday with all the loot.

Next was a 'Grandma Home Cooked Meal' on August 2nd featuring a shrimp boil with lemon cake and ice cream for dessert.

Blow out them numbers, Girl!

Third was a trip to Fujiyama Japanese Steak House in Liberty Lake with Rick, Ann, and I.  Fujiyama is a fairly new venue, one of those Hibachi, 'cook the food on the table in front of you' places.  An interesting aside was when two young men were seated at our table.

We noted that one of the young fellows and Jennifer kept exchanging glances.  Then it came out that Gavin was both a personal acquaintance and Facebook friend of Jennifer's.  Blake is a friend of Gavin's from the West side of the State.  Coincidently, both Gavin and Blake also graduated from WSU!

Birthday Bunch - Rick, Ann, Jennifer, Me

Brian, our chef for the evening.

Gavin and Blake - Nice young men!

Thus ends Jennifer's marathon Birthday celebrations!

The next monumental happening occurred with the announcement of the results of the Washington State big game drawings!  After over 15 years of Rick, Ann, and I applying, Ann finally drew a MOOSE tag!  This tag is for an antlered bull moose only, and is a 'once in a lifetime' deal.

The hunting area for which she drew is called Mount Spokane South and comprises an area extending northward from the Spokane River along the Idaho border to near Blanchard, ID and westward to U.S. Highway 395.  Yes, our house is within that area, and we have had moose in our yard from time to time over the years.  Unfortunately, we have never seen an antlered bull here, just cows and calves.  This would be a great year to break that cow/calf string wouldn't it?

Until about 3 years ago, this 'once in a lifetime' tag was good for any moose of either sex, but is now restricted to only an antlered bull.  The season for this hunt runs from October 1st through November 30th, so there should be plenty of time to get the job done.  Little Heifer has already had multiple offers of scouting help and packing out help from friends from our Hunter Education contacts and Rick's co-workers.  Unsure how my crooked artificial knee will impact my ability to help but we'll 'get er done' one way or another!

At the end of my last newsletter, I remarked that I'd write about some 'mystery bullets' next time.  As reported then, I fired 10 rounds from a new Springfield 'Saint' AR-15 into a snow bank just to check the function of the gun.  After the snow melted, I retrieved 8 of those 10 bullets from the dirt.  Nearly all were deformed in some manner.  Mostly they were flattened on the base end of the bullet and had a distinct curvature from base to tip.  They were all full metal jacketed bullets.

After retrieving those bullets, I decided to do a bit more testing.  There were still some substantial snow piles in shaded areas behind the shop, so I fired a few more bullets into those piles.  Although all bullets fired were 55 grain FMJ .224 caliber, I did fire two different ammo brands from the 'Saint' and one from my 'Bushmaster'.  Again, most had flattened bases and were bent.

Bullets fired from the Saint in February.  These are from a Remington bulk pack.

Hornady bullets fired from Springfield Saint on April 19th.

Remington bullets from the Saint fired in April.

Hornady bullets fired from Remington Bushmaster in April.

I have since temporarily mounted a 3 X 9 variable Nikon scope and fired the 'Saint' in a brief accuracy test.  The 100 yard one inch groups tells me those bullets ain't comin' out of the barrel all bent out of shape!

Nikon 3 X 9 scope mounted on the Springfield Saint with Herter's riser.

Three shot group from Springfield Saint with FMJ 55 grain Hornady Frontier ammo.

So, what's the deal?  Is it something unique about shooting into snow?  Would the same phenomena occur if firing into ballistic gelatin?  Anyone reading this have any ideas?  Since I simply don't know, I'll reach out to Brian Pearce, a gun writer for Wolfe Publishing, and see what he thinks.  I've read Brian's work for many years in Wolfe's publications and visited with him a couple of times at the Shot Show in Las Vegas.  I'm confident he can shed some insight if he has the time and inclination.

I also mentioned in the May/June 2019 newsletter that I had reached out to Lyman Products Company regarding my visit with one of their representatives at the Shot Show in January.  My request then was, "How can I get samples of two items I'd like to review for my newsletter?"  The products I was interested in were an AR platform 'Brass Catcher' and the Lyman Borecam.

The nice young man with whom I spoke, took my business card and assured me someone would be in touch later.  How much later, if ever, I didn't know.  Suffice it to say, after several months of silence, I reached out to the contact person listed on my iPad's Shot Show App for their exhibitor's booth.

That person forwarded my email to the Assistant Marketing Manager who then contacted me.  Arrangements were made for me to purchase both the Borecam and Brass Catcher at substantially discounted 'writer's prices'.

In due course, I received the products via FedEx.  So far, so good.  I opened the Brass Catcher first.  The concept here is to attach the catcher, via an adjustable connector, to a picatinny rail atop an AR platform rifle.  The small, canvas, boxlike, catcher fastens to the metal attachment assembly with four snaps.  It was immediately apparent that one of the snaps was not assembled properly and had separated.

Brass Catcher marketed by Lyman.

Defective rivet.

I sent an email April 30th to the Assistant Marketing Manager informing her of the defective Brass Catcher and requested a replacement.  No response.  A follow-up email May 18th received no response either.  I was not understanding this!

Finally, in early June, as I was preparing to contact Liz Friedman, Lyman's Marketing Manager, with whom I had become acquainted at the 2015 Shot Show, I suddenly got an email from her.  Wherein, Liz explained that her assistant, with whom I had been dealing, had left the Company and my emails had gotten lost in the shuffle of her trying to catch up.  She was very apologetic.

Needless to say, I soon had a new Brass Catcher.  I'm pleased to report that it works exactly as advertised, and the multiple position attachment mechanism can be adjusted to fit nearly any configuration of sights or optics on an AR.

Brass Catcher attached to the Spriingfield Saint.

Next we come to the Borecam.

Borecam and Brass Catcher as they were unpacked form the FedEx box.

The viewer, lens wand, power supply, cords, card reader, SD card, and lens cleaner.  All included in the package.

The concept here is a small screen on which to view the image from a lighted, miniature camera that looks at the inside of a gun barrel or other confined space.  The unit containing the screen also has a slot for an SD card that can capture individual images that can then be viewed on a computer screen.  Great concept, but I found both the images on the miniature screen and those captured on the SD card were not well lighted and clear, which made them virtually useless for analyzing fine detail.

I thought, "There has to be something wrong here."  So, I sent a couple of the images via email to Liz, who forwarded them to one of their tech guys.  He agreed that the images were not up to snuff, and quickly sent me another Borecam!
Images from .22 caliber barrels.  Original Borecam on the left and replacement unit on the right.

As you can see the new unit's image is marginally lighter and definitely sharper.  I can also tell you that a little enhancement of the images with Adobe Photoshop Elements will bring out a bit more detail from the originals.

I do have to admit that when it comes to bore scopes, I am quite spoiled.  I have a Hawkeye scope from Gradient Lens, which has medical endoscope quality lenses.  The main hassle with the Hawkeye, is getting images from it.  To capture images I must attach an adapter to my digital camera, connect it to the scope's eyepiece, and try to grow an extra hand or two in order to focus where I want and manipulate both the scope and the camera.  The quality of those images though is impeccable.  Look at the May/June 2019 newsletter for examples.  HERE

A unit like the Lyman Borecam can not be expected to perform at the level of a Hawkeye selling for 5 to 7 times more, but it is quicker and easier to use and provides images that are sufficient to detect flaws, fouling, toolmarks, and wear inside a gun barrel.  If I need better clarity, I just get out the Hawkeye.

A last word about Lyman Products and their staff.  While I'm sure we all would rather not have had the issues that occurred with obtaining and testing these products, I have to say that the representatives with whom I dealt, did their best to quickly and satisfactorily fix the stuff that happened.  I have used many Lyman products over the years and have never regretted choosing them.

Last Sunday saw some shooting here at the ranch.  Our friend Courtney Johnson was surprised a while back, with a request from his wife Kim, to get into varmint shooting!  And she wanted a new rifle to do so!  Thus came a new Savage in .223 Remington caliber, an after-market stock from Boyd's, that fits her, and a Vortex scope variable up to 18 power.

We set up the Oehler M35P chronograph and shooting bench on our range and away they went.  Courtney and Kim both fired multiple rounds of a number of reloads and narrowed down the choices to take to the field.  Sounds like more range work will be needed to finalize the recipe and scope adjustments.  As we have come to expect with Savage rifles, it shoots little tiny groups from the bench.

Kim and Courtney getting set up to fire.

Kim about to send one across the Oehler Sky Screens.

After the Savage was wrung out and put away, I took advantage of the setup to shoot a couple of potential moose cartridges through Ann's .308.  Ann's rifle is also a Savage.  A Lady Hunter model which will be the designated moose gun for her hunt this fall.  She'll be using factory ammo and we are looking at Hornady Precision Hunter with 178 grain ELD-X bullets and Browning ammo with 168 grain BXC Controlled Expansion bullets.

Ammo being checked out for moose hunt.

I only shot 3 rounds of each brand just to get a feel for whether they would print near the same point of aim as her 150 grain deer loads and a true velocity for each bullet out of that little short barrel.  We'll compute trajectories with computer ballistics software and then compare with some longer range shooting later.  The Hornady is running just under 2,575 fps, with the browning clocking at around 2,600.

If you thought you were getting away with no trip to the soapbox this time, you were wrong.  After watching and listening to the esteemed members of our U. S. house of representatives over the past couple of years, I was reminded of a piece I wrote from my soapbox almost 10 years ago.  I'm not even going after any particular political party here.  They're all the same in many respects.  Did you watch any of the Mueller hearings before those two congressional committees?  If so you know exactly what I mean.

I took the opportunity to write a letter to the editor of our local Spokesman Review newspaper, basically repeating that 10 year old observation.  It was printed on August 8th with the headline 'A More Representative House', and here it is:

Our U.S. Representatives are a disgrace!  Observing bits of the Mueller hearings reminded me of a piece I wrote in my website newsletter in January 2010.  Here’s what I said then and believe it more strongly today:
We have forgotten the intent of our founding fathers when they drafted our Constitution.  I think they intended for members of the House to be similar to the electorate in general!  Instead, we have elitist lawyers who spend their time spouting self serving BS and campaigning for re-election!
To provide a check and balance for the rest of our Federal Government, we should choose members of the House of Representatives by lottery, rather than election!
In each congressional district, those who are legally eligible, and willing to serve, simply throw their name in the hat and the one drawn from that pool would be a U.S. Representative for two years.  This eliminates fund raising, campaigning, and any need to spend tax dollars to entice constituents to re-elect them.  Perhaps under those conditions they would make decisions and pass laws (written in plain English rather than legalese) that are in the best interests of the country and the citizenry, rather than perpetuation of their status!

Think about what's been going on in the House of Representatives for the past two or three years, and try and convince me that what I advocate could be any worse!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from an unknown source that Ann passed along to me:

"If common sense was lard, many people wouldn't be able to grease a pan!"

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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