Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Goodbye Summer

The end of another Labor Day weekend and another summer. Time sure flies.

Saturday night I went to the range with my father, brother Josh, and Judith. This was J.'s second time ever. I let Josh handle instructing J.; he formerly held NRA pistol instruction certification but let it lapse. Anyway, this time she used my dad's 50th Anniversary Ruger Mark II .22 autoloader, which she liked much better than my S&W Model 18. At 21 feet she's able to keep almost all of her shots on a 9" pie plate, which is doing very well for someone just starting out. I'll be picking up a Ruger for her sometime soon.

I brought my Springfield 1911A1 and Browning High Power Practical. I had two new Chip McCormick Shooting Star mags to try in the 1911 and two Mec-Gar 15 rounders for the BHP. The CMC mags worked fine but I found that one of my old CMCs was causing last round failures-to-feed. Rather annoying.

The Mec-Gar mags worked perfectly in the BHP, as expected. They came with some sort of sticky preservative on them though which seemed to persist even after I wiped them down with FP-10. This caused the BHP's trigger to be absolutely awful -- heavy with a lot of creep (the mags affect the trigger pull in the BHP due to the magazine safety). After getting home I wiped the Mec-Gars down with Hoppe's No.9 and using some Flitz, polished the point on where the magazine release bears. This improved the trigger somewhat but I really need to remove the magazine safety.

Sunday I took some time and primed 100 .38 Special cases and set up my loading dies to seat and crimp Speer 148 grain hollow base wadcutters. I used my RCBS hand priming tool to prime the cases and I'm not sure why, but 5 of the primers got mangled in seating. I shot WD-40 into the cases to kill the primers then decapped them. It may be that the Federal primers are towards their maximum acceptable size while the primer pockets in my Winchester brass were a little tight. In the past I've used a Lee Auto Primer and never run into this. I plan to get the cases loaded sometime during the week using a light charge of Bullseye and the aforementioned Speer wadcutters, for nice .38 target loads.

I spend most of yesterday outside doing yard work. We had a small pine tree planted in a half barrel off the back patio, the top of which was getting too close to some wires. Removing it gave me the chance to try out the Gerber Camp axe I bought awhile ago at REI. It worked well. Before chopping down the tree I sharpened it using my belt sander, which I clamped upside-down to a folding workbench. I also used it to sharpen a machete and a tomahawk. Aside from the pine tree I bundled up a number of branches that were laying around so that I can dispose of them, and cleaned up our back patio which was covered with leaves that blew down when Ernesto came through over the weekend.

I still didn't get a chance to test the slimjim antenna I constructed on Friday, but hopefully soon.

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