Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Cloud Of Smoke, A Storm Of Shot

It is time to visit the Coach Gun or, as the Mafiosos call it, the Lupara. Mine is a 12 gauge with the mule ear exposed hammers, the very first of the cartridge shotguns. While it only has two shots at a time, in a shotgun that is a heck of a lot of shot. One might wonder why a double barrel instead of a pump or autoloader. The key reason is that with a mule ear double the shotgun can be loaded, for years, with all springs being relaxed. Put a layer of tape, or a condom, over the muzzles and you are loaded and ready, for years or decades. The bottom line is that if two rounds of buckshot won't at least calm things down enough to reload, run away. Fast.

Because I am a traditionalist I like the all brass shells and black powder. In rifles and pistols I give up some ballistic power with the original fodder, not so with the shotgun. One gives up nothing with black in the shotgun. Nitro or Black, the nature of the shotshell means that we don't get much past supersonic velocity anyhow and the round shot does not do much past the normal shotshell ranges, no matter the propellant.

I buy the brass shotshells from Midway. They are right there on the sidebar. My wads come from Circle Fly, that is I don't know why I can't link anything anymore, I seem to have broken something in the confuser.

The nifty thing about the all brass shotshells is that one does not need a slew of tools to load them. When I first got into them I ordered a set of hand tools from the Rocky Mountain Cartridge Company and I discovered that they don't seem to keep them in stock. So, I got my cartridge cases from Midway and my wads from Circle Fly, my shot and my one-piece plastic wads locally, I had no set of tools, yet. So, I improvised used a six inch socket extension and a 7/16 socket along with my small plastic mallet. It worked fine. Linda Lou does not need to be reminded that I simply threw that fifty dollars away. The adjustable dipper, though, is a work of art.

Let's load a few shells up and shoot somethin'. Start with an empty case, set a primer on a piece od scrap metal, or that expensive steel square from Rocky Mountain. Got your safety glasses on? Well, go get them, you want to lose an eye? I'll wait.

Good, don't come in the gun room without your glasses. Now, place the shell casing over the primer and put that socket extension in and tap it down over the primer. Start with itty-bitty taps and increase gradually, you will feet the case slide over the primer. You will get to where you can rap the primer in with only a couple-three whacks.

Now it's time for the powder. The normal powder for shotshells is FFG. I'm using Goex, it is what I can get locally. It is best to start with what we call a square load, we will use the same dipper for the powder and the shot. Three drams of black powder, by measure is right about an ounce and a quarter of shot. Because the shotgun targets in a cowboy action match are so close I have cut down a bit on my powder charges while staying at about an ounce and a quarter of shot. Start with the square load, deduct powder a bit at a time and let the patterns tell you when to quit. Generally speaking adding powder will spread a pattern while dropping a bight will tighten them up. We know we have too much powder when the patterns have holes in them.

After the powder comes the overpowder wad. This is an eleven gauge, eighth inch nitro wad. Black powder must be compressed some to work right, there are all kinds of scientific ways to compress it. Me, I put the wad down on the powder, put my socket extension back in and whack it good with the hammer. This is much faster than setting the base of the shell on the bathroom scale and pushing the wad until the scale says forty pounds. I measured the amount of compression that forty pounds gave me and that amount is three whacks with my hammer.

Now comes the rest of the wad column. I have a bazzillion half inch thick, 11 gauge fiber wads, I only use them on special occasions and with buckshot. Just for the heck of it I tried a batch of shells with the Winchester red plastic AA wads and my shotgun patterned so well I pretty much use them all the time for matches. The plastic is soft enough that the powder gases spread it out to fit the thin brass shell. With buckshot I can go either way, I prefer the half inch wads because that way there is more room for shot and powder. Once the overpowder wad is set with the right compression, the plastic or fiber wads just need to be set in, no compression needed. Just push them in until we feel them bottom out. Now for the shot, just pour the dipperful in and give the shell a shake to level it off.

Now add the overshot wad, it is a ten gauge thin card wad. Glue it in, I use Duco Cement. I tried using Elmer's, the wads came out and the shot ran all over everywhere. A lot of folks swear by Waterglass or sodium silicate. I can't get that stuff without going online and buying it by the gallon. Other folks like the hot glue guns, I thought about buying one. Then I thought about how many tubes of Duco I can buy at 97 cents each at Wally World.

I have a five pound box of number 00 buckshot so I loaded a few of those for fun, there is room for the magnum charge of twelve per shell. These rounds seem to be more effective than the Remchester low recoil buckshot loads I can buy. Note. Unless you know what your DA will do, never load your home defense guns with handloads. Fortunately mine doesn't care. My loads give me twelve blue whistlers per shell and a big cloud of smoke to hide in, too. Mainly, though, most of my black powder shotguns loads are for fun, a cloud of smoke with bright flashes of orange flame and an ounce and a quarter of birdshot, it will take down any of our knockdown targets and buy me lots of style points, too.

With birdshot and the plastic shot cup wads my gun shoots on the tight side of improved cylinder and modified pattern if I have the charge right. If I add just a. tad of extra powder, they open up to normal percentages. Using the fiber wads my patterns start with a loose IC/Mod pattern and by increasing the charge I get a cylinder/IC pattern. Of course if I increase the charge too much my patterns end up with big holes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ann And The Ragheads

I am not as exercised of Ann Coulter's comments at that conference as many other people seem to be.

I am totally uninterested at the reactions of those on the Left, after all I have seen what they have called Clarence Thomas and Michelle Malkin. I am not particular excited about what those of my rightwing brethren ans sisteren have to say about her, either. Ann is what she is. She is pretty well grown, grown ups don't usually change a whole lot. I don't have to vote for her, she isn't running for anything.

I do wish she hadn't used the raghead statement, not because it is wrong, but because I am not sure that the timing is right. My parents generation used the terms Japs and Nips for the Japanese, and Krauts for the Germans. They did it on purpose because they were involved in the slaughter of vast numbers of those people. My mother was involved in that slaughter just as the men in the military were, just in an indirect way. She worked for the railroad here in the States, anybody remember how the bombs and bullets got to the ports? Then thirty+ later my mother loved her Japanese American son in law. The time for killing was long over and so was the time to dehumanize our late opponents.

When we are involved in the slaughter of vast numbers of an enemy, we tend to use words that dehumanize that enemy. That is a good thing, assuming that we believe that such killing is the right thing to be doing and I believe that it was.

Are we going to have to kill vast numbers of the world's Muslims in order to survive as a civilization? Ann thinks so. I am not sure, but each day I wait for these "moderate Muslims" to shut up those chanting "Death To America!" I'm still waiting.

Are the world's Muslims making any more noise after Ann's comments than before? Now George W. Bush is still trying to keep this war on the small size, I am not sure that it is possible. I do not blame Dubya for trying, if we can get through this war killing thousands instead of millions it will be easier on our souls. By the same token, I don't blame Ann for believing we're past that point.

Make no mistake, if Dubya's attempt to keep this war small is unsuccessful we will have to dehumanize Islam. Without such dehumanisation we will lose this war.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Moose Milk And Other Oddities.

I tried some new cleaning methods that I have read about on the Cowboy Action Shooting websites for cleaning my shootin' irons after shooting thirty rounds each in the revolvers and fifty-seven in the rifle, plus twenty-three 12 gauge blackpowder shotshells. To say that the shootin' irons were dirty would be an understatement. The last stage of the match my revolver's cylinders were getting difficult to turn. Had this been a big match with ten or more stages I would have had to pull my cylinder base pins and wipe the pins and front of the cylinders down with moose milk.

My shotgun, of course, is easy. It being a double barrel I just take the barrels off and it's an easy job. Especially by using Windex with vinegar. There are sever different formulations of Windex, try the kind with vinegar. My shotgun is rather difficult to clean after using black powder because I cheat and use modern plastic shotcup wads, the loads pattern better. At any rate the combination of the plastic and black powder residues react poorly together. The old fashioned soap and water scrub took a long time, the Windex took three patches in each barrel two wet and one dry, plus a patch to oil each barrel. When the patch is pushed out a huge amount of the plastic and powder residue comes sliding out like a discarded snake skin. Everything else was done with moose milk.

Moose milk is something that I am just now learning anything about. There is a compound from Germany called Ballistol. It is advertised as a multi-purpose sportsman's oil. It is billed to lubricate, penetrate, cleans, protects and preserve firearms, leather, knives, wood, marine, camping and fishing equipment. This Ballistol is mixed with water to clean black powder. The can says it should be a fifty-fifty mix with a note that we may increase the water. In looking at the websites the most common ratio seems to be seven to one with the seven being water. The oil does not dissolve in the water, it emulsifies into a white liquid.

To clean my revolvers I sent some very wet patches through the bore and cylinder chambers, then started scrubbing the exteriors with a toothbrush wet with the seven to one moose milk. By the time I had finished the exterior the insides of the bores and cylinders were ready, that took a dry patch through each chamber and the bore. Then the irons went into a two hundred degree oven while I did my Model '92 clone. This was a little harder as I didn't feel like taking the rifle apart, it is not as simple as a Marlin. So it took five wet patches and six dry. One of the beautiful things about this moose milk stuff is that when the water evaporates the oil is left in a very thin coat, the iron is cleaned and oiled at the same time.

When I was a boy, foolin' with Black Powder, cleaning the irons was a long and complicated affair. We'd scrub the irons with boiling water and soap, oil them up and then repeat the operation two more times a day apart.

Assuming that we pick the right bullet alloy and lubricant there is seldom any barrel leading with black powder. With this moose milk, there is no trouble cleaning the powder residue and the shootin' iron is already oiled.

Ballistol is not found in every sporting good store, if you can not find it locally my pals at Midway stock it.

Update: 2/15/06 Those who would like to buy some of this Ballistoil and can't find it locally should look on my left sidebar and click Midway USA. They will be happy to sell it to you.

Update:2/17/06 It just occurred to me that some folks still shoot that corrosive foreign military ammo. I don't bother, seein' as how I make my own, but those who do can use a more diluted moose milk to clean the rust causing salts from their bores. The Ballistoil people say to run one part Ballistoil to ten parts water. Truth be told, the water is what makes the difference with corrosive ammo.
Those who aren't sure if the primers are corrosive or not should run some moose milk, or plain water through the barrel, just in case. Water is cheap. The main advantage of the moose milk over plain water is that when the water dries, the oil remains.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Best Shoot Ever.

Had our twice-monthly Cowboy Action Shoot today. I did better than Dick Cheney, I did not pepper anyone with birdshot, nor with 255 grain soft lead bullets, either. Dick had a Bad Day. It's always bad when one pops a hunting buddy although these things do happen. Worse was his choice of hunting partners. Poor Dick, had to shoot a lawyer. That will cost him. Ah, maybe not. Seems that those guys don't hunt together enough where they all know what each other are doin'.

Our shoot wasn't quite so exciting, the down side was everyone freezing their hineys off. We mostly buy clothes for the ten months of warm to beastly hot weather we get down here, then I get up and it's below freezing with a strong wind. It was EIGHTY DEGREES last week but the morning of the shoot it was below freezing. I went anyway, the last shoot got rained out. The range we shoot at is on that slick black gumbo soil, once it rains trucks sink to their floorpans.

The very first thing I managed to do at the range was to break my butt. Scroll down a couple of posts and see the (fake) ivory grips I put on one of my revolvers. While I was getting my gunbelt on, and my gunbelt suspenders on, I broke my new gunbutt. It is not a tragedy, I bumped it and the glue broke. These grips have to be shaped to fit, then glued together making the three pieces into a one piece grip. I shall stick it back on with different glue. The good news is that I still had the old walnut grips in my range box, unscewed the three screws holding the grip frame on and switched out. Rule number one of competition is that when trying something new, take the old with you.

This beminds me, I must put stampede strings on my hats. I almost put a charge of birdshot through my hat when it blew off and headed downrange. Then I remembered an old Western Movie I saw, I believe it was Glen Ford that tied his hat on with his bandana, so I tried that, the ends blew in my eyes while I was tryin' to shoot. Maybe I'll take on the persona of a French gunfighter and get me a beret. Ah, maybe better a coonskin cap, are we still mad at the French? I know that I'm not real mad at Tennessee. I just have to hold on to Captain Fatbob, Linda Lou's Black Pug of Doom, when we blow through there so he doesn't get blended.

Anyway, once I gave up on the hat, things improved. Well, somewhat. I hadn't done any practice shooting in my new gloves, I just didn't feel comfortable tryin' to handle the irons with two gloves on so I kept the right one off. Even wearin' one glove made it hard to load the irons. Mainly the rifle, the rounds pop right out of the loading gate if I don't watch it.

Today's match was a six stage affair. The way it was set up today was a hundred and seventeen rounds of pistol and rifle ammo and a minimum of twenty-two rounds of shotgun ammo. Handgun and rifle targets are scored as hits or misses, shotgun targets are knockdown targets and we shoot as many shots as we must until they go down. I only had to pop two shotgun targets a second time. The best news is that I managed the whole match without a single procedural penalty for screwing up the order in which we engaged the targets. I don't know if every newcomer gets procedurals as he (or she) learns the game or if I am still having a little trouble from the stroke. Anyhow, no procedural penalties and only three missed targets, two of those were when I was fighting with my hat in the hurricane. I've never had a match with only three misses. Not that I have had all that many matches. This was my forth, if I counted right.

Anyhow, I won my class today. It was easy, I was the only guy shootin' Black Powder Cartridges. That is a class called frontier cartridge. So I came in first. I seem to be one of the few warthogs out there, too. For the uninitiated, a warthog is someone who shoots cartridges with a first digit of 4 and full charge loads. Of course I am also a soot burner in that I shoot the Holy Black instead of that newfangled heathen smokeless. I do believe that makes me a soot hog. Most everybody else shoots light loads in small cartridges. There are a lot of people shooting .38s with 125 grain, or lighter, bullets at low velocity. Some time back they had a rule in cowboy action with a minimum velocity of 650 fps, then they quit enforcing that rule. Some of the Pards run such light loads that we can actually see the bullets in the air. Then a soot hog hits the firing line. Everyone has got used to the pop pop pop and all of a sudden it's boom boom boom! Of course since the game puts a premium on spped so we warthogs will never win the International Championship at the End Of Trail Shoot but that is okay, I couldn't afford the range fee to even attend that shoot. I swear takin' up long legged redheads would be just as cheap a hobby as this sport. By the time I finish loadin my next match worth of ammo I will have over a half pound of powder loaded behind a lot more lead. Maybe I should have bought me some .32-20s instead of these pumpkin rollers. Too late now. I'm stuck with being a warthog.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The War Over The Danish Cartoons.

Am I the only person that wishes Western governments would answer these screaming mobs of the violent yahoos of Islam with a bit of the same action? A modest proposal, how about we, of the West, pick a series of numbers, between one and ten. We keep those numbers secret and just quietly count down the number of riots, when we get to that secret number, send the Air Force. See how these clowns like the answer of Death From America, (or Denmark) in reply to their chants of Death To America.

A load of cluster bombs from a half dozen FA-18s would be a good start. Those sites too far away can be visited by B-52s or B-2s, depending on the state of the anti-air in the vicinity. I would be very interested to find out just how many of these clowns would be demonstrating and burning embassies if they knew that the next one might bring a bunch of loud noises.

The biggest mistake we ever made was to quit making napalm.