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(Postings are most recent first)

March 6, 2016

Yes, I'm still procrastinating about this stuff, and I do have more to report from Shot Show 2016.  However, since I'm already late for the January/February newsletter, I'll end this page here and discuss Shot Show items in that and future regular newsletters.  We'll see what next year brings, and perhaps be up for another Las Vegas trip in January 2017!

February 2, 2016

(Hi Mike) Yes, I know I've been very lazy.  Our return trip from Las Vegas was pretty uneventful.  After Nephi, Utah Thursday night, we encamped in Dillon, Montana on Friday night, and then on to Missoula on Saturday.
  We stayed in Missoula for some shopping on Sunday and returned home Monday morning.  Couple of things to deal with after we got home.

One of the first things Ann noticed after we returned the thermostat to regular programming, was that the night lights in the two upstairs bathrooms were out.  "Strange that both bul
bs would burn out at the same time," she said.

Uh-Oh!  Those bathroom outlets are on the same Ground Fault Interrupt circuit as the heat tapes in the gutters and downspouts!  Sure enough, the GFI circuit breaker was popped.  There are six low voltage heat tapes on the circuit to prevent ice buildup in the roof valleys, gutters, and downspouts.  Didn't take long to isolate the two that were causing the problem.  Closer inspection showed that those two, which extend out onto the ground a few feet, had been chewed on by some varmint.  The integrity of the shielding beneath the outer layer of insulation was compromised, causing the grounding to be faulty.  (I hope whatever critters did the deed got an electrical thrill when they bit into the cable!)  Only $160 and a few hours later and the cables were replaced.

The next problem we already knew about, but it still needed fixing.  During our absence Rick was watching over the place for us, including snow removal with the tractor and snowblower when necessary.   In the midst of the last snow clearing event, the hydraulic joy stick that lowers the snowblower to operating position quit working.  Fortunately, the three point lift still worked, so Rick attached the rear blade to do the rest of the snow removal.

After removing the blower and its sub-frame from the tractor, I still could not determine the cause of the problem, so a call to Coeur d'Alene Tractor was next on the schedule.  After learning that they could work on the problem right away, the next issue was getting the tractor to the shop.  My flatbed trailer was buried under more than a foot of heavy, wet, partially melted snow, so I inquired about having CdA Tractor come get the Kubota.  After choking on the estimated $250 price tag, I decided to shovel the snow off my trailer.

After escaping that chore without a heart attack, I hauled the tractor to Coeur d'Alene about noon on Wednesday the 27th.  "Broken cable from the joystick to the valve," I was told.  The part was overnighted on Thursday and the tractor was ready to go by Noon Friday the 29th.  Hauled it home that afternoon in a snow storm, the snow melted in a few hours, and haven't used it since!  Not gonna talk about the cost of that excursion!

I probably should get to a little more about the Shot Show since that is the title of this page.  I expressed a few days ago, that I have an interest in some of the replicas of historical firearms like those marketed by Taylor's and Company and Cimarron Firearms Company.  I believe I also mentioned that Taylor's showcased the different type break releases on the original Russian model and the Schofield version.  Smith & Wesson made three iterations of the Russian, most of which were sold to the Russian Army.  The latest, or 3rd Model Russian was modified further by Smith & Wesson incorporating design changes developed by Major George W. Schofield.  This version was contracted for purchase by the U. S. Army, but the contract was soon canceled in favor of continuing with the Colt revolver.

The Schofield design change was in the latch mechanism.  In contrast to the Russian 3rd Model, the Schofield could be unlatched and opened with one hand, a major advantage to mounted calvary.  Here are some photos, and I'll try and explain how they work.

Here are the two Taylor's & Company Relvolvers

This is the Russian model with the traditional latch release.  Note that the design requires two hands to operate.  Lift the latch with the thumb and forefinger of the off hand to open and as the barrel and cylinder break downward, the 'star' extractor lifts the empty cartridges from the chambers.

Here is the Schofield model with the more innovative latch.  On this one you can break open the revolver with one hand by simply pushing within the cup shaped indentation with the thumb of the hand holding the revolver.  The 'star' extractor then operates the same as with the Russian.

While the U. S. Army contract didn't pan out for the Schofield version, they did become popular sidearms in civilian hands on the frontier.  In fact it is reported that Schofields were used by such personages as Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Pat Garret, Teddy Roosevelt, Virgil Earp, Billy The Kid, and others.  In fact, Bob Ford used a Schofield to assassinate Jesse James in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 3, 1882!

Hopefully a Schofield version of the Smith & Wesson Russian will be in my future some day.  (Not in the same way it affected Jesse though)

I have more Shot Show stuff to come, but I think I'll end this session here.  Be on the lookout for what is being touted as making the traditional chronograph we use to measure bullet velocity obsolete.  Next time; stay tuned.

January 21, 2016

Well, we've had a rather quick change of plans.  We were to be in Las Vegas until Saturday, but decided this morning to cut it short.  After two days, I had about all the walking my ankle and knee wanted, plus Ann and I both still have the lingering cough that has been prevalent in the Spokane area.  So, we packed up this morning and left Las Vegas about 11:00 AM.  I'll follow up with the rest of the things I want to write about from the Shot Show as we travel along or after we get home.

Checked in to a Best Western in Nephi, Utah for the night.  We'll ease along and, depending on the weather, should be back home by Sunday or Monday.

January 20, 2016

If walking the strip is any indication, Las Vegas has more than its share of panhandlers with cardboard signs running the gamut of messages attempting to coax some cash from your wallet.  One young man of note was a bit different.  His message was printed on a food tray, undoubtedly kiped from one of the nearby food courts, and simply stated that he needed money for POT!

Another observation occurred while eating White Castle sliders in the casino last evening.  This is one of those 'self-serve your drink' places after placing your food order and being handed a cup.  In this case the drink machines are well away from the order desk and around a corner, out of sight.  A scruffy looking guy came in the front door, dug into the trash for a used cup, proceeded to the drink machine, iced up, and pulled down a drink.  A lid and straw were added to the effort and out the door he went!

As was the case with the kid stealing the liquor from Walgreen's, no one seemed to even notice.  Just another evening in Vegas I guess?

Spent most of today further perusing the exhibits at the Shot Show.  Other than two or three specific booths I had on my list, the rest was just wandering around and stopping when I saw something that interested me.  Many of the exhibitors just merited a quick glance and walk by.  While I understand the widespread interest in tactical, law enforcement, and AR type platform firearms, I just can't get all that excited about the genre.  Just goes to show that the more the 'libs' talk about banning or regulating this stuff, the more popular it gets!

One of literally hundreds of booths and exhibits of tactical, law enforcement, and military arms and equipment.

In moving from the press room level to the section I didn't visit yesterday, I couldn't help but think of a stepped on anthill as I approached the top of the long escalator to descend to Level 1 this morning.  I even rode back up in order to photograph the scene.

Hard to imagine this many people moving in all directions at the same time.

I did re-visit the Lyman Products (www.lymanproducts.com) booth today, hoping for an opportunity to talk with the Marketing Manager about obtaining a sample of their digital borescope.  However, after a close look at the operating sample in the booth, and another product I saw later in the day, I'm not sure I'm interested anymore.

Lyman Digital Borescope inserted in a .22 rifle barrel.  Image is shown on the little three inch screen lower right.

The camera probe has a 45 angled mirror to provide a side view of a gun barrel.  In the mirror are 4 tiny LED lights for illumination.  To my eyes the lights set up a 4 spot glare which interfered with the clarity of the image shown on the viewing screen.  Perhaps the shininess of the interior of the bore on the sample rifle contributed to this, but a clean barrel is supposed to be shiny.  Still, the main advantage of the unit is the ability to capture digital images on SD cards, and that is significant.

My Hawkeye Bore Scope is definitely more precise, and provides a clearer image, but it is a pain to attach a camera to the eyepiece to capture an image.  The Hawkeye also provides the light source via a tiny fiber optic cable from an attached mini Maglite.  No bright glare spots!  The Hawkeye's
45 mirror sleeve can also be removed to provide a 'fish eye' view of the entire circumference of a bore as the probe is moved back and forth in the barrel.  One other difference should be mentioned; The Hawkeye is about a $1,000 unit, while the Lyman is under $300.

The little gadget I later examined that could make the Lyman unit's digital photo capture unnecessary, is a Carson Optical's (www.carson.com)  'Universal Smart Phone Optics Adapter.'  That's a mouth-full for a dingus that attaches a smart phone to any optical device and enables one to take photos of what the optic 'sees.'

Universal Smart Phone Optics Adapter attached to a high power telescope.  The phone attaches via the white clamps and adjusts so the camera lens is centered in the little circle at the top.

One of the Carson reps in the booth helped me attach my iphone to one of their eight power binoculars.  Of course we are now using the optic as a monocular, but the phone's camera was definitely picking up the image.  Another factor is, the phone's photo zoom can be activated to further increase the power of the optic.

See where I'm going with this?  This gadget should attach my iphone to the eyepiece of my Hawkeye Borescope, making digital photos of a firearm bore a piece of cake.  This thing only runs about $50, so a sample will definitely be requested as soon as I get home.

Will have more to share in the next day or so, and plenty of newsletter material for later.

January 19, 2016

Long first day at the Shot Show!  I tried to play this year a little smarter than 2015.  Last night, after making my list of exhibitors I wanted to visit, I sorted them to concentrate on only one of the three general areas on the three floors that the show occupies.  I won't go into the long list of people and companies I talked with today, as I plan to follow-up on some of them in future newsletters.

Having said that, I do want to show a couple of photos that illustrate the magnitude of this Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show.  Remember this is only a small part of what is found on Level 2 of the show!

What a sight!

I did make a special effort to re-visit a couple of exhibitors that I enjoyed last year.  Since I have an interest in vintage firearms, or replicas thereof, Cimarron Firearms Company and Taylor's & Company were on my agenda today.  I am specifically interested in period top break revolvers of the Schofield persuasion.  Both companies do market such revolvers in several calibers, including the .44 WCF, better known as .44-40.  The Cimarron only has one model in .44 WCF coming with a 7 inch barrel, while Taylor's has a number of models with pretty much whatever barrel length you desire.

Another attraction is the entertainment provided by the Cimarron booth.  This year they have recruited World Champion Trick Gun Handler, Joey Dillon.  Every couple of hours Joey regales the audience with a running comedic monologue while twirling, tossing, and balancing his twin Cimarron six shooters.  One revolver is a Colt Single Action Army replica and the other is a faux 1875 Remington.

Joey Dillon

Taylor's and Company again have Deke Rivers in fancy period costume hawking their wares.  Deke and his lady were pictured in my Shot Show 2015 reporting of last year.  Deke was kind enough to show me their selection of Schofield revolvers today.  An interesting twist, on a couple of models, was a non-traditional top latch.  Unlike the wide thumb and index finger grip to lift the standard top latch, this one operates with just a push of the hammer thumb.  I'll try and get a picture of the two styles for tomorrow's post.

I also looked at some 'girl stuff' today.  While women shooters and concealed carry license holders are one of the fastest growing segments of the firearms industry, concealed carry gear for the stylish woman is still scarce.  A number of companies at the Shot Show are showing wares to remedy this.  I'll be visiting a couple of those in more depth tomorrow.

Well, that's it for tonight.  Nearly bedtime for this tired old guy!

January 18, 2016

Spent much of today awaiting the delivery of the FedEx package with my credentials to the hotel.  It was supposed to be delivered by 10:30 AM, but tracking the package indicated an "Exception" and delivery would be before 5:30 PM.  This in spite of the extra $ paid to have the morning delivery.

Finally, at 2:00 PM, I decided to use the alternate method of checking in that was provided in previous correspondence for just such an occasion.  Presenting a copy of my confirmation email, picture ID, and a business card, resulted in an immediate printing of new media credentials.  Moving from check in on level one to the press room on level three took maybe two minutes.  Upon arrival in the press room I received a text from Ann telling me that the FedEx package was waiting at the front desk.  So much for excellent planning.  Sad story is; if I hadn't forgotten the damn credentials in the first place it would have all been unnecessary!

Anyway, I'm all checked in, have made my contact list for the opening session of the Show tomorrow, and settling in for the evening.

One evening during our trip last year we had a fried chicken dinner at Gilley's Las Vegas.  We decided to go there for supper tonight.  We went early to beat the crowd, and Ann had Fried Chicken Salad; greens with chunks of fried chicken tenders and creamy dressing with penicillin (bleu) cheese.  My meal was baby back ribs with baked beans and 'cheesy, green chili', grits.  Good Eatin'!

Since it was early, the huge dance floor was not crowded, so we managed a two-step to Shania Twain's 'Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under'.  We were voted the best couple on the floor!  We were the only people on the floor except for the occasional cocktail waitress passing by.  Waitress uniforms consisted of hat, chaps, g-string, and skimpy top.  Hurt my eyes!

As I said yesterday, our hotel is an oddity, being a small 4 story affair nestled among the highrise hotel/casinos with a giant footprint.  But it is close to the show venue and the rooms are very nice.  Here are some pictures of our suite.

Sitting Area


Looking to the computer table and into the kitchen area from the sitting room.

We think we can handle these accommodation's until Saturday!

January 17, 2016

Here we are on the strip in beautiful Las Vegas.  OK, not so beautiful Las Vegas.  Pulled in at about 1:00 PM and was sick of the traffic and mass of humanity withing two blocks of exiting the Interstate!  Nice suite again this year at the Best Western Casino Royale.  This property is old, only four floors, and located between Harrah's and the Venetian.  Don't know how it's lasted this long without being razed for a new highrise hotel and casino.  Anyway, the suites are very nice with recent remodeling and all non-smoking.  The hotel's casino is rather dated, crowded, and smoky but we don't gamble anyway, so that is of little consequence.

After checking in, we took a walk through the Venetian Hotel to the Sands Expo Center where the Shot Show is held.  This is just a couple of blocks away which is another plus for this hotel.  Not to say that one can't get lost within the Venetian itself!  The Canal Shoppes cover a massive area with walkways going every which way, and one must navigate that area to get to the Expo Center.  Ann will have to be watched closely with all those expensive shops so handy.

I guess it's time to admit to one of the mental glitches I suffered in getting this trip underway.  I had my confirmation email and credentials badge in a file folder on my desk at home, ready to be stuffed into the backpack I use for camera, ipad, notebook, etc. while walking the aisles at the Show.  I remembered I had put the backpack away in a place I wouldn't forget, and then promptly forgot where it was.  I finally found the backpack and proceeded to not get the file folder in it.  Realized that I didn't have my credentials just before we hit Wallace, Idaho!

Rick is holding down the fort at home for us, so it was not a big deal for him to FedEx the file to the hotel here in Las Vegas.  It is scheduled to be delivered first thing in the morning.  All would have not been lost anyway, as new credentials can be provided on site if one is already approved for attendance.

Check in for the Shot Show will occur all day tomorrow, with the official kickoff Tuesday morning.  Need to sit down later this evening and schedule some of my exhibitor visits.  Again this year, there is a Shot Show app for ipad that provides maps and locations of all the exhibitors, so it is just a matter of planning routes that maximize who I want to see and minimize walking distance.

We'll get me checked in at the Show registration desk and then relax tomorrow.  Gotta rest up for all those miles of walking in the next few days.

6:58 PM:  I wrote the above at about 4:00 O'clock, but forgot to include an interesting happening.  We made a brief stop at the Walgreen's store north of the Casino Royale on our way back from the Venetian.  As we walked down an aisle toward the liquor display, we observed a young man pulling a bottle from the shelf.  As he looked me directly in the eye from about 30 feet, he stuffed the bottle down the front of his jeans, pulled his shirt down over it, and walked quickly toward the front of the store.  I also headed for the door where a lady was ostensibly observing the comings and goings of customers via the front doors.  The kid was much too fast for me!  He was out the door before I was able to get to the greeter.

I described the kid and told the woman what I had seen.  She said, "I think I saw him.  The beeper went off as he went out too!"

That was it.  She didn't seem all that concerned and I never saw her alert anyone else.  Ain't Vegas wonderful?

January 16, 2016

Covered several more miles today.  Now at Marriott TownePlace Suites in Saint George, Utah.  Interesting weather for today's travel.  We awoke to about an inch of snow in Tremonton, and got on the road about 9:00 AM.  No more snow, but mostly cloudy for much of today's travels.  Interstate 15 was bare and wet all the way through Salt Lake City, and then mostly dry.

Based upon the last two days travel, I have to hand it to Utah when it comes to melting the snow off the highway.  Liquid de-icer and salt are used very liberally!  Melts the snow and ice, but makes a hell of a mess on the automobiles.  We did run the Denali through an automatic car wash in Tremonton last night, but it got messed up again today.  We'll try and find another car wash in the morning before we head on in to Las Vegas.

Saint George, Utah seems to be in an entirely different climate zone than that of only a few miles north.  We had plentiful snow coverage along the highway until about 30 miles out.  A quick drop in elevation and the snow vanished.  Temperature was suddenly above 50 degrees.

Tomorrow will be a short day as we are only 150 miles or so out of Las Vegas.  We plan to do a little sight seeing in the morning, then time our arrival on the Strip for mid afternoon or so.  The Saint George area appears to be a wintering spot for many Snowbirds.  If gas prices are any indication, they take advantage of it too!  Gas is about 50 cents higher here than we've seen since Spokane.

We'll update again tomorrow from the Casino Royale Best Western on the Strip.

January 15, 2016

Just settled at a Hampton Inn in Tremonton, UT.  Got away from home on the 14th about noon, and made Missoula, MT for our first night's stay.  Got away from Missoula in good time this morning and made 450 miles by 2:00 PM MST.

Interstate 90 was mostly bare and dry to Butte, MT, but things changed soon after we began our trek south on I-15.  Mostly bare and wet, but some snow and slush in the far left lane.  One thing was apparent when we arrived at our hotel.  Road crud has coated the new Denali until its color has disappeared!  Front desk Lady says there is a drive through car wash just down the road, so that will likely be on the agenda when we venture out to eat supper.

Speaking of the Denali, great road car, rides like a luxury vehicle, drives great.  Eats up those 80 mph interstate speed limits in Montana, Idaho, and Utah.  Does use more gas than the little Cadillac though.

Now beginning to spit a little snow, but the forecast is saying an inch or less.  About another 500 miles to Las Vegas, and we will ease along and cover that territory in two short days.

We'll see where we end up tomorrow night and update then.

January 13, 2016

Plan was to start our Shot Show trip early tomorrow morning, but these bad colds are keeping us somewhat puny, so maybe out of here at noon tomorrow.  We plugged in an extra day, so we'll be able to make it alright.