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VOLUME 113 -------- NOVEMBER 2011


November 10, 2011

Hey, I didn't get the newsletter finished until the 10th last month, so I'm still OK, right?

Whether I'm OK or not, we have so many things going on around here, I'm starting to lose track of stuff.  Some might say that's a sign of old age, but at least Little Heifer and I don't have to remember to get up to go to work at a real job anymore, so who cares if we are a bit forgetful!

We have continued to follow Jennifer's Cross Country team in their quest for a trip to the State meets.  The next major hurdle after the Mountain West Invitational in Missoula, was the Regional Class 2A meet at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley on October 29th.  Our Varsity girls had consistently beaten everyone in their conference all year, except Cheney.  Regional was no exception.  The girls beat everyone in the region, except finishing second to Cheney.  The good news was that the first five teams went to State!

Since I'm so late with this report, I can also relay the results of the State meet on November 5th in Pasco.  (Heck, traveling to all these things is one of the reasons I'm late!)  After a 30 minute frost delay on the golf course venue, our seven varsity runners all ran their best times of the year in a 5K race!  Jennifer ran it in 23:04, which was nearly a half minute faster than her next best time this year!  The girls finished 10th in their 2A class at State.  Guess who was the number one girls team at State?  Cheney!

Last month I wrote a piece about Kilimanjaro Rifles and Master Gunsmith Gene Gordner.  About the time that went on line, the Kilimanjaro owner, Erik Eike emailed to tell me about a "field test" that he and 15 year old son William put two of the Company's rifles through.  Erik called this a field test because of the wet, stormy, cold weather they encountered.  They really tested the ability of those Stealth laminated stocks and the Ceramic finish on the metal to withstand some really adverse conditions.  In spite of that though, it sounded a heck of a lot like an Alaskan Brown Bear hunt to me!

I won't go into too many details here, but suffice it to say, both William and Erik killed bears and the Kilimanjaro rifles they subjected to the elements came through in fine fashion.

As Erik put it, "William was armed with our Kilimanjaro African rifle in 375 H&H with 300 grain TSX bullets. Because all of our other big bore rifles sold out in a flurry of activity the last couple of months, the closest I could come to a suitable bear rifle at the time of the hunt was the 9.3x62 Mannlicher with 286 grain TSX bullets. Even William’s rifle had sold prior to the hunt, but I told the customer he couldn’t have it until after the field testing. The rifles did well in the harsh conditions, and beaded water better than a freshly waxed car."

Kilimanjaro Rifles - Note the water beaded on the guns

Erik and William with Erik's Bear

If anyone would like the full text of the Bear Hunt story as told by Erik, email me and I'll forward you a copy of his email.

I didn't get my reloading project for the Weatherby Vanguard finished before Deer season started.  I did get the freshly trimmed cases chamfered and de-burred and the primer pockets cleaned, but got no further.  With the multitude of labor saving reloading devices I have around this place, you would think I could get the project done quickly, but things just don't seem to work that way in my life!

The cases, with which I began this project, were all Remington once fired factory stuff, and were showing a lot of tarnish from just hanging out in their various boxes.  The cases were first de-primed with a universal de-capping die from RCBS and then run through a Lyman vibratory cleaner with Lyman's Turbo Media.  I like to de-prime in a separate operation, then clean the cases before re-sizing.  This prevents grit from dirty cases scoring the sizing die.

Lyman Tumbler with Walnut Shell Media

The next photo doesn't show the contrast as well as can be seen with the naked eye, but you should be able to tell which ones have been cleaned.  (There'll be a quiz later, so concentrate!)

I like clean, shiny cases!

After running through the sizing die, the cases were trimmed to length on a power case trimmer by RCBS.  This makes quick work of making the cases all the same length.  Uniformity is not a really big deal if the case necks are not to be crimped into a cannelure in the seated bullets, although the cases still need to be within specs.  (A too-long case can extend too far into the chamber and cause excessive pressures!)

RCBS Power Case Trimmer

I have noted in more than one brand of new, unfired cases in recent years, that the manufactures are using just barely enough metal.  When measured, many new cases hardly reach the recommended trim length, leaving off the extra .010 inch they're supposed to have!

The next steps that I've accomplished so far, as mentioned, are chamfering and de-burring, then cleaning the primer pockets.  These chores are easily accomplished utilizing another power tool from RCBS.  The case prep center has five stations that accept various tools which rotate to do the work.

RCBS Case Prep Center

Clockwise from lower left, the stations contain:  Outside neck de-burr tool, Chamfer tool for inside the case neck, Primer pocket cleaner (just a small wire brush that fits the pocket), Primer pocket uniformer, and another type of inside chamfer tool.

So, as you can see, I haven't finished the test loads for the Vanguard with the 160 grain Sierra boattail bullets.  Does this mean I am not able to fill my deer tag?  Not exactly!

Remember my September newsletter, when I started writing about shooting the Weatherby?  Those reloads with 162 grain Hornady SST bullets were shooting pretty good in that gun, ambling along at a modest 2700 feet per second.  And, I know those bullets will kill deer, because I managed to drop old Stringhead with one last year from my old Remington 700.

Well, as this is written, I'm the only one of the four family tag holders who has notched a tag!  On day two of the early season, I had an opportunity for a nice 10 pointer that succumbed to one of those SSTs.  As usually happens, I'm sure Little Heifer will tag something bigger as the rut kicks in and the bigger bucks lose some of their wariness, but this one is a fair representative of this area's mature bucks.

My 2011 Buck

As is fairly typical with this quick expanding bullet, a shot through the lungs quickly dispatched the deer.  For elk, moose, or something larger, I would choose a premium, controlled expansion bullet, but for deer, the SST works just fine.

Haven't been on my soapbox for a while, so you know what's coming next!

I'm still following closely the "Operation Fast and Furious" scandal where ATF allowed hundreds, if not thousands of guns to be illegally purchased by straw buyers, and transported into Mexico.  All this without the knowledge of Mexican authorities nor with any real attempt to "track" the guns as was the stated purpose.  This matter has been the subject of hearings in the House of Representatives and most recently, taken up by the Judiciary Committee in the U. S. Senate.

If one follows the questioning of Attorney General Eric Holder, and his answers over the span of weeks and months, one can only conclude that he either lied or is not paying attention to what is going on within his own Justice Department.  In either case, it shows a serious lack of competence on the part of a Presidential appointee!

Worst case, more and more pundits are climbing on the conspiracy bandwagon, and alleging that this whole matter was designed and planned in order to build a case for more useless gun control laws!  The theory is that public opinion might be swayed in the gun control direction if more and more U. S. guns turned up at Mexican crime scenes.  Folks, if there's even a grain of truth in that theory, we have an out of control Executive Branch of government that must be fixed!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from the writings of William Faulkner regarding a mule:

"A mule will labor 10 years willingly and patiently, for the privilege of kicking you once."

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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