Archive for the ‘Firearms’ Category

Quick Summer Update

Things have been fairly stagnant around here lately, mostly because I’ve been moving about quite a bit in the weeks since I finished finals. Right now I am waiting on acceptance letters from both the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Houston. Neither of them seem to have developed an admissions system that is in any way efficient. There is hardly any point in working quickly on your end. Rest assured they will move as slowly as possible on their end.

I would check things more often, but one of my youngest sister’s friends spilled water on my Macbook Pro. Making life quite a bit more complicated for me than needed. You see, a photographer without a computer on which to process photos can’t do a whole heck of a lot of work. I suppose if I had any film equipment I’d be in the game. Perhaps that’s a good excuse for me to purchase some darkroom equipment, so I can at least shoot B&W 35mm (I do actually have a film EOS body) when my digital world is turned upside-down. At any rate, the MBP appears fixable, and I’ve ordered a 24″ iMac to serve as my main processing machine. I will keep the MBP for mobility, but I’m going to do the majority of my processing at a desk anyway, thus the desktop.

My younger brother Phillip graduated from Louisiana Tech on Saturday, so I drove out there to see that (and to help him and his future wife move to Little Rock).

Longest. Graduation. Ever.

Bobby Jindal was the speaker for the commencement, and gave a pretty good speech. I don’t believe that he’s actually convinced of a single thing he said, but he’s a politician so that’s to be expected. Jindal strikes me very much like a Republican Obama. Pretty words, no substance. A few people in the crowd remarked that Jindal will be our next President. In my lifetime, I’d like to hope there’s potential for an actual “change” instead of this vicious cycle of fail in which we seem to be stuck.

In other news, you know that problem I was having attaching to people I met post-war? Seems to be resolved. I don’t know if it was just time that fixed it, or the meditating, or what. Things aren’t crystal clear where all of that is concerned, I’m just pretty happy to know at least that part of me isn’t “broken” anymore.

Oh, this wouldn’t be complete without noting that I no longer have that T/C Encore in .260 Remington. That rifle has been replaced with a Savage 110 in .270 Winchester. Soon, I will put some glass on it and go zero a 130gr load.

Also, someone feel free to buy me the Canon 5DMK2.


Ammo, originally uploaded by Anthony J. Martinez.

Cost has gone through the roof, and availability has gone through the floor.

I have been foolishly dismissing the talk of scarce ammo as ranting and raving, but that illusion has passed.

Today, I went to find some range ammo for a few of my guns and was met with many empty shelves. There was no 9mm of any variety to be found. Prospects for the .45ACP were little better. Even calibers people do not typically carry were either completely out of stock, or very close to out of stock.

Normally things like this would not be an issue, because I’d just buy components and load my own ammo. Sadly, I can’t find primers anywhere. My reloading press is pretty useless at the moment.

.. and it begins.

H.R. 45 – Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 – the first of what are sure to be a great many bills introduced to infringe upon 2nd Amendment rights over the course of the coming years. The tactics are the same as always. I will write more soon. If you’re remotely concerned about the further erosion of your personal freedoms, you might want to write your representatives in opposition now as opposed to later.

A few words.

I almost entirely forgot I even had a blog. School has been keeping me busy. Anyway, I’ll cover all my bases again.

First off, the election. I did end up going out and voting, credit my Mass Communications professor on that front. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for McCain or Obama, and my reasons have been stated at least a dozen times so I won’t rehash them. As far as a reaction is concerned, McCain had less than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this election. Our government is cyclical, much like the rest of the natural world. The pendulum swung right of center for several decades, and is now headed back to the left. Ultimately, people get sick of extremes, and rightfully so.

My concerns with the upcoming administration are quite simple. Obama has not once shown even an inclination to counter injustices fostered within his own party. Having zero history in that regard is a point of great concern for me, as it opens the door to the possibility of having Pelosi and Reid calling the shots. The nation is painfully aware of the results of a single party rule, and history has shown that such never works out well in the long run. With no doubt, I hope for the best possible future for our country. That said, I fear this “change” will simply be in the direction from which our constitution is trampled.

Next up, school is going pretty well. That whole thing where I do most of my homework takes up entirely too much of my time, and I still really don’t see the point. American Literature is easily the most boring course I have ever taken. Fortunately, assuming I pass, it is the last of my literature requirements here at Texas State. At this point I’ll be happy to take a C and move right along.

In preparation for the likely renewal of the “assault weapon ban”, the sunset of which was supposed to be marked by mass hysteria and skyrocketing homicide across the land, I went ahead and invested in a new Colt AR15A3 Tactical Carbine. Given the insane price jumps seen on “pre-ban” equipment between 1994 and 2004, I’d say it’s perfectly reasonable to expect at least a 200% increase in value over the next 18 to 24 months. In the meantime, I’ve finally got something that makes my huge stack of M16 magazines useful. I may even save up for a new upper receiver and start shooting NRA matches again.

Finally, I’ve got my Fender Bassman head up for sale on craigslist. If I get a buyer, I think I’m going to look at buying another electric guitar. We’ll see.

A trip to Carson National Forest

I’ll start this out with a photo, because we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.

Carson National Forest

Click Here for size HUGE

The purpose of my trip to Carson NF, on the very same weekend many Texans took to the outdoors for the opening weekend of the general deer season, was to try and fill my antlerless elk tag for Unit 5B in New Mexico. My Dad and I set out a little later than we had planned, but drove straight from San Marcos, TX to Carson NF, NM. Considering the distance we made pretty good time, but that is pretty easy to do when you swap drivers every few hours and only stop to fill up with gas.

When we arrived, the scouting began. Being out in a national forest the day before your season opens does wonders to give a man energy. Armed with a map, binoculars, and a few other odds and ends, we set out in search of elk sign. Unfortunately, I didn’t see, hear, or smell any sign of elk at all. That could have been a result of fairly high temperatures, or I could have just been looking in the wrong places.

At any rate, we identified a watering hole at the end of a draw between two fingers with plenty of trees and figured that was as good a place as any to hunt. Morning on opening day came real early, and real cold. A solid hour and a half before the sun even thought to grace us with its presence, we were in an position to overwatch the watering hole and the surrounding areas. Several hours passed, and the only signs of life were a few pickup trucks heading to their hunting spots, waiting a while, giving up, and leaving. Hunger struck, and I called the hunt’s end. With such total isolation from normal noise, if anyone within several miles had taken a shot at anything, the sound would have made it our way. The only gunshot heard all day, was me shooting a leaking tank so it would vent, and I could safely transport it to a dumpster.

While I did not fill my elk tag, the trip was still fun. I hadn’t been outright camping with my Dad in well over a decade, and as father-son bonding goes, you really can’t beat a hunting trip to the mountains.

T/C Encore zeroing session

Finally got around to zeroing my T/C Encore with the .260 Remington barrel. I did the range session at Red’s Indoor Range in Austin, TX. Seems like a decent place, even though I personally hate indoor ranges. I could have finished this in far less than 20 shots, but frankly I hadn’t squeezed a trigger since my last hunting trip in December 2006. Once I let that first round fly, I’d already decided to burn through the entire box of ammunition. The target may well look like I was just pumping rounds down range, but there is a method to my madness. If you click the photo, and view it at Flickr, there are notes over the respective “groups” that describe what was going on there. Anyway, the final group was fired with about 4sec between shots, and measures less than an inch center to center – right at 2.25″ above center at 100m. That should put me dead on at 200m, and keep me “minute of dinner” from about 50m to 350m. That should do the trick, I think.

T/C Encore

T/C Encore

Originally uploaded by Anthony J. Martinez

Finally got around to swapping the .223 barrel out for the .260 barrel. I took a drive up to Cabela’s to get an old Redfield Tracker 3-9x scope my Grandpa gave me mounted to the rifle. Handles really nicely, I need to get a few different loads to find out what it likes before I head off to New Mexico for my elk hunt.

Ruger Redhawk – .44mag

It has been roughly five weeks since I returned from Iraq, and I managed to make it the whole time without a firearm purchase. I just couldn’t stand it any longer.

So, as a man with several pistols, several rifles, and a shotgun – what else could I possibly need? Simple, I don’t have a revolver, and I’d like to become a Texas Concealed Handgun License Instructor – rather than just a permit holder. In my Army time, I trained a good many people to shoot. A lot of them couldn’t hit the broad side of barn from the inside with a nuke. I rather enjoy teaching people to do the things I love – play guitar, shoot, work on cars, whatever. So why not make it official and get a little pocket change along the way?

In order to do that I need a revolver. For instructor status, I must pass the proficiency exam with both a semi-auto and a revolver. Such a task is a bit difficult if you don’t have a revolver in the first place. Hunting comes in somewhere, so I figured I’d attack both problems with the same purchase. Thus I am now the owner of a brand new Ruger Redhawk in .44 Magnum. Honestly, I wanted something in .45 Long Colt, but .44 Magnum will do.

GAS, again.

Day 359

Originally uploaded by Anthony J. Martinez

Another haircut, this one’s not nearly as screwed up as the last two were. Lately I’ve had another majore flare up of what I like to call Gear Acquisition Syndrome. This, of course, impacts a wide number of things I enjoy: photography, guitar, motorcycling, marksmanship/hunting. To date, I think the single largest GAS flare up was clearly photography related, costing some $12k when it was all said and done. The second most rapidly growing tab would definitely go to my motorcycle, but that is largely due to the cost of a brand new motorcycle. I’d say guns and guitars are about neck and neck, they’ve both certainly been major interests of mine for long enough.

Some folks might look at my collection of guns, or guitars – and wonder what the heck I could possibly do with so many of either. My answer is simple – use them. I don’t own a single guitar I don’t play, or a single amplifier I don’t use. All of my pistols are shot as often as possible, ditto my rifles. $2300 custom 1911 to $70 Russian military surplus rifle, they all get used.

Anyhow, this latest resurfacing of GAS is on the firearms train again. Somehow, I’ve managed to go over two years without purchasing a single firearm! On one hand, I’m well outfitted already with what I have. Hunting rifle? Check. Plinker? Check. Varmint control? Check. “Combat Handgun”? Only the best. Compact CCW pistol? Accurate, inexpensive, and made in the USA. What’s missing then? Practically speaking, probably not a single thing, but who is really concerned with practicality anymore?

I greatly enjoy handloading my own ammunition, and the .308 Winchester case provides a lovely platform for a variety of calibers. Sometime in the last few days, I decided why not celebrate that entire family. .243 Winchester was the first centerfire cartridge I ever fired, .260 Remington is a very impressive round, 7mm-08 Remington represents 7mm beauty in a non-magnum short action cartridge, .308 Winchester has long been one of the most popular .30

Day 196 – Day 198

Day 198

Originally uploaded by macktruckturner

Hunting season is ramping up, yet I’m a few thousand miles too far away to be concerned with such things. Finding good venison jerky shouldn’t be too hard in about a month though, so that’s good news for me (read: boxes should definitely contain jerky, of the venison variety if at all possible.) In light of yet another missed season, I’ve decided to start looking at rifles again. It dawned on me not too long ago that I haven’t purchased a firearm in around two years. My first reaction was to look for the brigade shrink, and make sure I wasn’t a screw loose somewhere. Then I realized that I hadn’t really had any time since we got back from OIF3 for any new purchases. Heck, I haven’t even shot the $2000+ custom 1911 I had built during OIF3 more than maybe 1000 rounds.

Where Texas is concerned, I’m doubtful anything walking my state can’t be killed quickly with a well placed round from my Winchester 1894 in .30-30. That said, my 1894 will remain my go-to rifle for hunting, at least in Texas. One day though, I plan on making a trip to shoot some of North America’s larger game, like Elk. In light of that fact, I’m going to pick up a Savage 110GXP3 in 7mm Remington Magnum. Put that round where it needs to go, anywhere under about 500m, and it packs more than enough punch to be very effective. The Simmons scope that comes will that Savage will likely disappear in short order, in favor of a Leupold, but it’ll work for punching holes in paper to build up a good 7mm Rem. Mag. load.

In other news, the route I posted below is looking like it’ll be tons of fun. Before I take off, I’ve got some work to do on the SV. Namely the addition of hard luggage, and the crafting of some brilliant way to carry my photography equipment AND a tent. There’s also the fact I’ll be covering around 10,000 miles, and my current tires/chain/spockets have around 7000 miles on them already. There’s no way the tires will make the entire trip, so I’ll likely replace them before I even start, and plan on changing them out again when they look like they’ve had enough of a beating. I’ll probably buy a chain and sprocket set, just to keep in my luggage in case I decide they need to be replaced. Should I have time to ride, before I clear out of the Army, I’ll hit 14,000 on my bike before I leave – which should cover everything else mechanically speaking when I have the 14k-mile service done. New brakes, checking the torque on all my bolts, a tune up, and a few other odds and ends should get me well prepared to head off. Hopefully I don’t run into any mechanical problems along the way. The SV has been great for the last 13k, and hasn’t given me any trouble at all, so hopefully the next 10k go by just as smoothly.

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