Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stocking Up: Fasteners...Things Commonly Overlooked

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Light Handgun Repair
Checking your Guns for Feeding Problems
Emergency Bags for Automobiles
Commonality: How to Be Efficient

If you were to ask 10 people that you consider "preppers" what all they have been stocking up on, what would be the #1 item listed?

Survey Says!

Ammo. It won't even be close, either. I'd venture to say that 9 out of 10 preppers would list stocking up on ammo as their #1 priority.

In case you have been living under a rock in the last year...go try and buy ammo from a box store and report back. In case you didn't know and don't want to experience the aggravation, allow me to tell you what you will find.

If you can find 9mm, .45, .40, .223/5.56mm, 7.62, will be limited to 1 box. That box WON'T be a box of 100 rounds, either. It will most likely be a box of 20. And, it won't be cheap.

Not only is ammo hard to come by, but the prices are flat out outrageous. I remember when I first started shooting for fun WAY back in 2008. .45ACP was about $12.99 for a 50 round box of Blazer Brass. That same exact box will now cost you $26. And, again, you will only get 1 box.

Yet fear and speculation, fed by this relative shortage, has caused preppers and non-preppers alike to flock to the stores in droves to clean out shelves of ammo. It is the perfect storm for everyone but the consumer and...until it drives everyone broke or it becomes illegal to buy guns and will continue as a self replicating problem.

I like to consider myself a rationale person. While I still like to shoot and I do try to buy ammo when I can, I started thinking to myself...."self, what ELSE can you be stocking up on?" How can I proceed with my hobby but still be reasonable and buy something usefull?

The answer didn't immediately come to me. In fact, it took several unrelated things to happen by coincidence.

The first thing that happened was, I was repairing something in the house and I needed several wood screws. So, I go to the garage to look for screws. All I had was machine screws. They have way to fine a thread for wood. Ok. So, I don't have any screws. What about some nails? So, I started looking around. No nails. I went to Dollar General. Nothing. Then Fred's. Nothing. So, I resorted to going to Lowe's.

Later on that evening, I was watching an old Western. I don't recall what it was. But, there is a scene where the protagonist goes into a sundry/hardware store and lays out a shopping list of items he will need to make it on the American Frontier. Sure, the first items of importance were: Ammo. Food. Clothes. And then they said something that hit home. They bought a 10 pound bag of 16 penny nails.

At first I was thinking: "Wow. That's a lot of weight! Think of all the guns and food you could carry! Why on earth would you need that many fasteners?"

Stupid question, when you really get down to it, isn't it?

When we consider the 3 aspects of life: food, protection, and shelter....we make some pretty large assumptions about that last. What assumptions? Well, that there will always be existing shelter and it will never need to be repaired or modified. As long as we have a lot of food or a lot of ammo, we should have everything we need to survive. Right?

But let's consider true homesteading, regardless of what you think about EOTWAWKI and if it will happen, which I would love to do one day. Need a house? You have to build it. That requires nails and screws. Need to repair it? You need nails and screws. You want to build a fence to hold your lifestock? You need nails and screws. You want to build a barn? Shelves? ANYTHING? You will need nails and screws. And it isn't smart to wait until the EOTWAWKI to go in search of them.

90% of the preppers can tell you, down to the 10s, on how much ammo they really have..and it is usually in the thousands, think of how many nails you would also need. It would be in the thousands as well. Maybe 10s of thousands.

I have, many times, said "what's the reality that you are really going to need 10,000 rounds of ammo in your life?" Even in the worst conditions ever, where you have to defend yourself many rounds do you REALLY need. What's the likelihood that you would ever use that many?  Now, take a step back and  think about how many nails and screws you will need for a lifetime of homesteading.

There is a great upside to buying nails and scews of all types and in large quantities as one of your prepping strategies. Let's face's fun to buy ammo. It makes you feel safe. But how useful is it to you, in your every day survival? Will it ultimately pay dividends? Perhaps the most important question is...IF you could find it today, could you afford it? Could you afford to be without it?

Fasteners, on the other hand, are plentiful at any hardware store. You WILL need them, not matter what the scope of your post-EOTWAWKI strategy may be. They are affordable and you will always have a use for them EOTWAWKI or not. Just look at the example I posted about earlier. I had a small project to do and I had to take time out of my day to go to the store and buy them. That was pretty inefficient. I have a house in the suburbs, essentially, but I have certainly seen multiple jobs where I needed fasteners. Now, think about maintaining that homestead. Do you want to have to run in to the box stores after  the EOTWAWKI to get it? What would they be worth then? Your life? Someone else's? What are you willing to pay for it when they become essential commodities? Your first fruits? Your first calf for a box?

Or you could just buy a box or two for $5 every trip to Lowe's and avoid the hassle.

Memorial Day Weekend 2013

I don't know about yall, but life has become a full out sprint. Even long weekends like this are over before I know it. Even when I try to make them even longer!

Take this Memorial Day weekend, for example.

I took Friday off in order to get a bunch of stuff done. First things first, though. It was pay day and I had a standing request from my beautiful wife to procure and plant another rose bush for the corner of the house.

So, I woke up Friday, tilled the garden, and headed to Lowes. It was pay day and I figured I could splurge a little. You know...instead of JUST a rose about a Calla Lilly too? And while I was at it...another blue berry bush! Oh, and I need Seven Dust for the garden. Might as well buy a 3 pack!

When I checked out, the total bill was $320.

I had planned to visit Academy and MAYBE buy another shotgun. But after that bill at Lowes, I decided to just buy some ammo to shoot on Memorial Day. Picked up some shot shells and a box of .38 Special, thinking that I could shoot both my .357 and the new .38.

I was able to get out of there for under $100...and I call that a win.

Back to the garden I went, where I FINALLY finished up the largest and most ambitious garden to date.

Well, that took up most of the day. I planted the new rose, Calla Lilly, and blue berry bush. The last thing on my list was to rehang a door on the shed that had fallen. No problem!

After looking at the damage, I figured I needed 1 piece of wood cut. After that, the door would be up, I would hit the shower and Alyse and I would head out on a much needed date! Whoot!

So, I find a piece of scrap wood. It was about 3 feet long and split for 2 feet. No big deal. I will lop off the split 2 feet. I chuck it up in the saw....turn on the down. BAM! Something pounded me in the face.

First thing I thought....I'm dead.

But then I thought..wait...if you think your aren't. So I stood up, took a deep breath, patted around on my body to see if i had anything sticking out of it...specifically my head, where something had slammed into me like a baseball bat. And there I found a very impressive knot. It had it's own pulse....but it wasn't

....wait. Oh. There it goes. It started gushing blood. I ran to the bathroom to survey the damage. Luckily, my glasses had diverted most of the blow, but had cut me above the eye. But it was pretty deep and as much as I HATE the hospital...I knew it was worthy.

So, I called Alyse and told her I needed to go to the hospital and I needed her to come get me.

And this is where I made several mistakes.

1) I didn't tell her why. I should have said "because I can't see".
2) I hung up the phone and wandered off...leaving the phone so that when she called back over and over, I never picked it up.
3) When she called the neighbor to come check on me, I didn't answer the door bell because I thought it was a Jehovah Whiteness.

Anyway, I finally got smart and answered both the phone and the door. As you can imagine, there were some worried soles.

Oh well. Off to the hospital. They asked several questions, the funniest one being "do you feel safe at home?" All whole looking at my wife as a suspect. She elbowed me and I decided not to be a funny guy and said "yes." In to the room I went.  It was quick and painless. Here is the results!
So, we didn't get to go on a date....not really. We did stop for some hot wings. So, it wasn't a total loss. Except all the weird stares and the snickering from my wife who was telling everyone that I "fell down some stairs".
Saturday, dad and I fished Guntersville. Here is the report:
Guntersville 5/25

It was say the least!

But, we only fished a few hours and we were headed home for our Church picnic! We had a great time eating good BBQ and watching the Church talent perform everything from magic to comedy to today's hits! They had a ton of kids games and it flat wore my children out! Check it out!

Sunday was another great Sunday School Class and lesson....even if the funny looks at my swollen eye kept on....

And then it was Memorial Day! Alyse and several of her fitness friends were running the Cotton Row 5K. Since I don't really care for running, I "volunteered" to watch the kids. In the shade. Sitting in a nice chair. Alyse did FANTASTIC and finished with a personal best of 34 minutes! She had her own crew from her Advocare group run with her. If you are interested in losing serious weight and getting motivated, check out her facebook page Alyse Taylor, Advocare Believer!

Aubree ran the Fun Run and did awesome! Here she is with her buddy Jordan!

Check out the vid!
And then it was rib time featuring Best5Zach's EOTWAWKI Sauce. After we had properly stuffed ourselves, we went to shoot some guns! 'Murika! The kids swam in the mean time!

Except that box of .38 Special I picked up at Academy turned out to be .38 Super......


Great weekend anyway!

Fishing Report for Guntersville 5/25/13

It's hard to believe that my dad hadn't been able to fish out of the new boat. Me, on the other hand, have about driven myself broke logging hours on the Skeeter! I love that boat. Dad has been very busy between his turkey hunting and bee keeping. That's righ....bee keeping...'cause honey ain't cheap.

Anyway, we were able to nail down a date with Guntersville on the Saturday before Memorial Day. I have been tearing the fish up in the AllReds area but the size had plummeted and I decided it was time to check out some new spots. For a quick recap on my last 2 trips, check out these links with videos!

Fishing Report for 5/18
Ledge Fishing With BassWhacker
Fishing Report for 5/10

Anyway, after looking at the weather, we decided that we wouldn't get out early. The weather called for low 40s in the morning and holding until 9am. Add on top of that a big 'ole full moon and I figured it would be useless and cold to go so early.

We got the the Seibold ramp, which was already fairly busy, launched the boat, and ran just about half a mile to one of our honey holes....that hadn't produced anything lately. But, we figured it was due.

After we dropped the trolling motor, we quickly found out that one of the batteries was dead. Awesome. Luckily, the other 2 were charged so I hooked the Minn Kota Maxxum to 24 volt and off we went.

We didn't have a bite there...or any of the other humps and holes we normally fish in Seibold. Add to the cold front and full moon a ton of boats all fishing the same spots and you have a tough day in the making.

But, there is a spot just up from water front that I NEVER see boats on and I ALWAYS catch fish on. Now, I admit that they aren't big ones....but small ones are better than nothing. One of the things I love about this spot is that there is a drain pipe on a rip rap wall where a fish ALWAYS sits. You cast in there and one will hit it. Now, the spot is usually done after you can pretty much pull the trolling motor up and head out.

So, I coasted in to the spot, picked up the old Lucky Craft Sammy, made a cast right at the pipe....twitched it...BOOM! A nice fish came clear out of the water and knocked the sammy about 3 feet in the air! It was one of those drop your head and sigh moments. Sigh.

But, the fish seemed hungry, so I cast right back in. Luck was with me and the fish destroyed the sammy. After a nice fight ensued, I boated me a post spawn 3.5 pounder. It was too bad that it took me an hour to get a bite!

Low and behold, as I looked up, two boats came in on top of me. That was a surprise, like i said, no one fishes this spot. One took up residence behind me and the other ahead of the point where I was now headed. After watching them catch two fish in front of me, I pulled up and we headed to another spot that has always been good to me in Mink Creek.

I decided that it was time for me to try something new. Something that I knew had never been done on this lake. I took a PowerTeam Lures 4.8 Inch Hammer Shad in Money, rigged it weightless, and twitched it as you would do a weightless fluke. Of course, it ISN'T a fluke and doesn't have the same action...which was the point.
Boy, it didn't take long to pay off! As I twitched it on top of the grass, just under the surface, a little buck bass slammed it....taking himself and the bait 2 feet in the air!

At 11:30, we headed in. We had a church picnic to attend and I didn't want to burn a kitchen pass on a tough day. Poor dad didn't have a bite! But, at least we were able to spend some time together and that's what matters!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fishing Report for Lake Guntersville 5/18/13

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Check out the VID!

In case you missed it, I was in training all week last week. Guess I can't really complain. But, it was 8-5 all 5 days. By Tuesday, I was getting itchy and twitchy. The last 2 trips have simply been outstanding. In fact, the whole year, as a whole, has been incredible.

It has fit right in with my 2013 goals for getting better. I attribute most of my success to the lake feeling sorry for me. I attribute the rest to the people I have fished with. In case you have missed some of these awesome trips, check out these posts:

Ledge Fishing with BassWhacker
Guntersville 5/10/13
Guntersville 4/15/13

Anyway, I have been on this one little spot the last few weeks. It is absolutely loaded with post spawn fish. Jon and I whacked them hard last week, so it was naturally were I wanted to start out fishing. Initially, I was throwing a little bit of everything while my friend Brad threw a Sammy. The day started off quick with him having 3 quick hits, all of which were stuck, but bulldogged him in the grass. He adjusted his technique and started catching fish.

It didn't take long for him to bad 3 fish on the Lucky Craft Sammy.
I didn't let him get too far ahead of me before I started chunking the top water plug myself.

And then it was on. All day. Yep, we averaged a hit every 5 minutes. But, we only caught every 3rd one. I guess that's to be expected for top water.

I couldn't help but notice that the size was WAY down from the last week. Seemed that only the big fish were hitting last week. This week, it was nothing but 14.25 inch fish. But, it sure was fun.

We caught so many fish that Aubree got bored! Luckily, I took some time to try and teach her to throw a swimbait, in particular, the PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer.

So, I got to thinking....why are all the buck bass up shallow? Where are the females?  Maybe they have moved out. So, I pushed the boat out a little bit and went from 4 feet to 7 feet. Almost immediately, we caught the 2 biggest fish of the day!

 If I ever complain about catching small fish, someone please set me straight. Anytime you can catch 30-40 fish and never have to move....that's a good day. I don't care who you are.

Check out the vid! It was a great trip...and not because of the fish, but because I was able to take my kid with me and have success. Anyone with kids will tell you that there is only 1 way to make a kid love fishing, and that's to let them catch fish. Nothing burns a kid out faster than a hot day with no action. The Lord smiled down on me and blessed us!

Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Catch Ledge Fish on Guntersville Lake

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I had a fantastic day last Friday. Jon and I caught a ton of quality fish. But, Jon had to get to his son's game and Jon Henry AKA BassWhacker, a registered captain and guide on Guntersville, called me to see if I was free for an hour. Naturally, his business is BassWhacker Guide Service.

He had finished up with a customer and had some spare time. The two of us teamed up for some tutorial vids a few months back during the Alabama Mountain Lakes Media Days on Wheeler. Not only did we hit it off, but the video was a rousing success.

So, we met up, loaded the boat, and then...we REALLY loaded the boat! HAHA!

Before we got started, we discussed what we would cover.

 I said: "Lets cover something that a novice, like me, might struggle with"

He asked me: "What's something that you struggle with or know how to do?"

I answered: "Ledge fishing."

He had a spot that he thought we could at least show some sidescan action, show what to look for, how to position the boat, where to cast, etc. Finish it up with a bait presentation and maybe a fish or two.

Naturally, he did a great job narrating and it was the tough part....could he get one to bite? First cast....YEP!

Next cast? YEP!

So, I set the GoPro up and started a continuous vid. Boy, did we get in to a school of them! I won't spoil it. Go watch the vid! I dare ya!

Check BassWhacker out. He is a fantastic fisherman and guide. He is dedicated to providing a great experience!

Since this, I have had opportunities to put ledge fishing techniques to good use on multiple lakes. Check out this writeup and video from one of our tournaments where we eclipsed the 20 pound mark on Guntersville. 

Check out this writeup where we win a local tournament on Pickwick by pounding ledges!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lake Guntersville 5/10/13

This has been a very hard week. Why? Well, we absolutely slayed the fish on Friday....and I have been slammed all weekend AND this week with 8-5 training classes. Now, I DID manage to get a video of half of Friday. Since it's what all of you REALLY want, take a look.

Video for 5/10/13

We started off early working a combination of swimbaits and top water. A little here and a little there. Then it started raining on us. Jon caught a few nice fish in the 4 pound range on swimbaits while I caught a few dinks on a Sammy and one nice 3 pounder on a PowerTeam Lures Gator.

But, the bite was never consistent. So, Jon took us to a spot in Browns Creek where he had been catching fish up real shallow near cover. Within the first few casts I had one SLAM the Sammy up next to some wood. I fought the fish and fought and fought. The fish was big! Then, it looked at me, simply opened its mouth, and spit the 4 inch top water plug at me. It was never hooked! The bait was sideways in its mouth! talk about a PIG! I tossed back in and received a double consolation prize of a dink and a nice 3 pounder on back to casts.

We ran this stretch of bank, catching several fish. But, as the sun came up, the bite died.

We idled out to an open flat in a pocket, just to see what was out there. Suddenly, the bite was ON! The fish were KILLING the Sammy. Like, every cast! Fish after fish! Jon and I just had to switch the bait...sometimes not even that...sit back and hold on!

Was a great day! Check out the vid!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Auburn Realist: Tiger Trek 2013

After months of waiting, Tiger Trek 2013 was here. what is Tiger Trek? Well, The Auburn Alumni Association who puts it on describes it like this:

"Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn will hit the road this spring and summer to meet with alumni and fans on the annual Tiger Trek sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association. "
The dinner was at the famed Davidson Center at the Space and Rocket Center. What a place!
Ok. So that wasn't much info. It's a fundraiser that accomplishes several things. First and foremost, it was an opportunity to meet the two recipients of the Huntsville-Madison County Auburn Club Scholarship Recipients and to hear them speak. So, first off, congrats go out to Anna Bozeman from Hazel Green High School and Kyle Miller from Grissom High School.
While this is my first year as a part of the Alumni Association as well as the Auburn Club, I wasn't aware of how close these scholarships were to going away. It was very touching to hear about how the Club, while faced with dire circumstances, was able to band together to ensure that future students of Auburn University would have an avenue to go to school.
I am very excited to both be a part of the Club who helps students, but also to have kids that may benefit from it.
Of course, the big reason that everyone came was to hear first year head coach, Gus Malzahn, give a meet and greet summed up with a nice talk after dinner.
I didn't get a chance to go to a lot of special dinners and stuff as a child. We especially didn't get to contribute to Auburn or take part in a lot of special Auburn events. So, I wanted to make it a priority to get my kids involved at an early age. I didn't go to my first Auburn game until I was 9. Aubree went to her first Auburn game when she was a few weeks old! So, I bought tickets for myself and my wife and the two older kids.
I had bought two autographable balls from Academy earlier that day. I already have several autographs from Coach Malzahn, but none as a head coach. My best friend Kevin doesn't have any, so I wanted to make sure I got him one was well. We came in and immediately saw Coach giving his interview for the news. After a few comments, he sat down to sign autographs. The line was long, but moved quickly.
In the meantime, a guest whom I HOPED would show up did indeed show up!
We also ran in to our cousins, Leah and Michael!
It didn't take long before I was able to get my autograph for my new office!
Tiger Rags was on hand to sell all kinds of Auburn merchandise. What is really awesome is that they donated much of the proceeds to the Club! Talk about giving back!

There was a silent auction with all kinds of awesome Auburn memorabilia! Alas, I was too poor to participate! HAHA!

Anyway, dinner was good and the atmosphere was incredible. We were able to meet some new people and I look forward to my first football season as an Alumni! Here is a picture I borrowed from Huntsville Madison County Auburn Club.
Here is what Coach had to say about last night from WHNT.
Coach is very personable and very funny. He guessed it...a fast talked. NO! You didn't see that coming! He went over the entire 2-deep of his roster in about 10 minutes. Were any secrets given out on the starting QB? Nope. But we knew not to expect anything from that department. What was interesting was to hear about how the question of punt returner still hasn't been solved. If you didn't know, Auburn has been near last or dead last on punt returning the last few years. It's been booty clenching to watch.
The atmosphere was terrific. The sun set in an Auburn sky that shown through the windows of the Davidson Center as coach talked up his expectations for a New Day at Auburn. The decorations were gorgeous. The speaches from the scholarship winners were touching. Coach was engaging and funny.
If you are an Auburn fan, put this on your chalender for next year. It's affordable at $50 a person for adults and $15 for kids. While you are at it, make sure you join the Auburn Alumni Association. That normally automatically signs you up for your local club!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Checking Your Hand Guns for Feeding Problems: Round Nose vs Hollow Points

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To any avid gun collector, this may seem to be old news. For those of you that this ISN'T old news, it may save your life. You should take great care in your personal protection firearm and the ammunition you have loaded in it.

If you are like me, shooting your firearms is a hobby that has had to take a back seat because of today's economy and political climate. For a couple of years, it was nothing to go out and shoot a thousand rounds of ammunition for fun. It wasn't even that long ago! I remember back in around 2006-2007, I could go to Wal-Mart and buy all the .45 ACP ammo I wanted  for $12 a box of 50 rounds. But today is a different day. You can't find .45. If you can, you are limited to 1 box a day and you will pay $26 for it. Period. And that will be for cheap ammo. Sure, you can buy in bulk on the internet for a lot cheaper. But, it's still costly, no matter how you look at it.

But, to the point, I am not even talking about shooting cheap ammunition.

Collecting firearms has finally become a reality to me...or it had...and despite the relatively high prices and scarcity of quality firearms, I am still fortunate enough to be able to buy a little here and there. Yet, despite having a little extra money to buy the gun itself, being able to go about and pop off 500 rounds isn't feasible for me. As a result, I have done something that I hear is very common....and dangerous....these days.

I buy the gun, 50 rounds of cheap ammo, and 20 rounds of good defense rounds. I go to the range and shoot off the 50 rounds to make sure the gun runs, than I stick the good rounds in it, stick in in the holster, and call it a day.

Believe it or not, this is a life-threatening mistake.

This past weekend, the rain was beating down outside which caused all of my family outdoors activity to be canceled. Desperate for something to do, I decided to clean all of my pistols. In particular, I was cleaning two of my carry pistols, a Taurus PT-145 Millenium Pro .45 ACP  and a Taurus TCP .380.

As I was saying, both of these guns are recent purchases...both within the last year. I have put less than 50 rounds of ammo through each of them. I have put ZERO self defense rounds through them. Both are loaded with Hornaday Critical Defense for self protection.

They make a fantastic round, but when I ran a few round through the guns by hand , I had a couple of hang ups.

I picked up my SA 1911, which has had a good bit of work in massaging the feed ramp and it had zero problems feeding the rounds.

Ok. So, now what? Well, jacking the slide to check for feeding problems isn't exactly all. But, it got me thinking.  There is only one thing to do to verify whether or not your firearm will feed the self defense rounds: Go fire it. Now, I know that's easier said than done. A box of 20 rounds for any common caliber is going to cost you $25 dollars. And you really need to shoot several boxes through it. $100 is a lot of money to most people, not to mention the time to go out and do it. But, it's a necessary thing. Your life depends on it.

I have hinted around at it, and surely you have figured it out by now. If you haven't, consider the situation (heaven forbid it actually happen, but in today's world, you better be ready) where you have to defend yourself and others against an assailant. You pull the gun out, take aim, get a shot off. Maybe it hits. Maybe it doesn't. In either case, you should always shoot until the mag is empty. But, to your surprise, the spent casing ejects and the next round hangs on the feed ramp. It takes about 3 seconds, best case, to dislodge and reload. What do you think will happen in those 3 seconds? Anything. And that's the point.

I am as cheap as the next person, but this reality really hit home for me. Why? Because I have to think of myself and others I protect....and, what about my wife who also carries. What will she do if her gun hangs up? Cheap or not, money is a stupid reason to get yourself or a loved one shot, especially if $100 is what you "saved".

The question you may have is "why does it jam up?"

First off, I want to shake off a common misconception. A gun hanging up hollow points isn't a sign of a defective or cheap gun. Take the 1911, for example. The 1911 is one, if not the most, sought after hand guns. There are more of them on the planet than any other hand gun. It won 2 World Wars. It's still used by many armies all over world. It is a favorite of gun collectors everywhere. But, it was also designed to shoot ball nosed ammunition. You go buy a nice 1911 and try and cycle hollow point ammo through it and more often than not, a 1911 will have issues. Let's be honest, even 90% success ratio isn't going to make any one feel good in a live fire situation.

These feed ramps, and the mating surface to them, are all made on different machines by different operators. Because of this, some of the pieces don't mate up just perfectly. Sometimes there are tool marks from the machining processes. Maybe there are some imperfections due to what-have-you. While many gun companies out there do their due diligence and spend the extra time working on these finer points, the cost is passed on to the consumer. You. So, if you are like me and you are staring at the gun case wondering if you should get a Smith&Wesson or a Taurus, keep in mind that one of the reasons (other than the name) that one cost more than the other is usually the fit and finish. I know that's an over used phrase, but it's accurate in this case. Are the surfaces matched perfectly? Are the surfaces cleaned and massaged? Maybe. Maybe not.

So, you go out and you shoot up a bunch of expensive ammo. The gun hangs up. Now what? Well, this is the crux of this post, really.

You have several options:
  1. The most common fix that I have seen is that people will massage the feed ramp and related pieces of the gun by light sanding and polishing. A quick search on the Internet will unearth a LOT of information about how to do it. But, I caution any of you to go sanding and polishing on your firearm unless you REALLY know what you are doing OR you have enough money to go buy a new gun. There are a lot of things that you must also consider, like lined barrels. Even if you do a terrific job, you may destroy the coating that came on the barrel. It's very easy to ruin a gun, period. A little too much sanding...or uneven sanding....and you have misshaped the critical parts of your firearm.  
  2. Take it to a gunsmith. You know the saying "you get what you pay for". You may have to be without your gun for a long time. It may cost you more money. But, you will get a much more  reliable piece back. If you only have one defense gun, or don't have much money, this can present a problem. But, in the end, this is really the best solution to fixing it. It's a value adding addition too.
  3. Shoot 500-1000 rounds of ball nose ammo through it in order to smooth those imperfections out. Now. I know many of you are laughing. Me to. Yesterday when I was doing some research, I came across this solution. It is absolutely a viable solution that works MOST of the time. But, I thought..."how in the world could I even find that much ammo, much less afford it". Then I looked at the date of the article....2006. Again, if you are well off enough to still be able to shoot...this is a great solution! The passage of the round will knock down and smooth out the mating surfaces, as well as coat the imperfection with copper jacketing.
  4. Don't carry auto loading pistols. Men, mostly, will laugh at this. But don't think of yourself...think of your wives. If they are like mine, they already don't want to carry a chambered round in their auto loader. Which means that in a shooter situation, they have to pull it out of their purse, chamber a round, and fire. Why not do what millions have done before and buy her a revolver. I will be honest. This was my solution for my wife.
  5. Only shoot ball nose ammunition through the gun. I know...everyone wants fancy ammo. Does it make a difference? Sure. Absolutely. But ball nose ammo can injure and kill just as much. If you plan on filling an assailant with half a dozen holes, it really won't matter whether they came from ball nose or hollow point. Going back to our 1911 example, this gun and ball nose ammunition has killed a LOT of people. Now, if you only get 1 round into your perpetrator....then yeah...I would rather have a hollow points.
So, in summation: Don't be like me and buy a gun, try it out, then throw fancy HP ammo in to it. It's a dangerous proposition that will always have a bad ending. Know how your gun will react in all situations and take steps to rectify any potential issues. It could save your life. And saving your life is worth  a lot more than saving a few dollars.

Friday, May 3, 2013

How NOT to Land Fish on Light Line

This post will probably make ALL of you say "DUH!" when you read it. But, hey, if it helps out even one of you...GREAT!

So, my struggles with power fishing over the last year has lead me to start finesse fishing a lot more. When you are used to boat swinging on nothing less that 20lb test line...or most likely 50lb test braid, light 6lb test, presents a steep learning curve.

So, the other day, I decided to take the boat out and fish the upper end of Wheeler. I was really excited because the lake has been at flood level and has been largely untouched by anyone for a week. Take a look at this picture of Ditto Landing!
You can't even put a boat in. However, I was betting that the really steep and high up army rec area ramp was still usable. I was right....BARELY.

So, I got the boat in. The wind was terrible and the current was incredible. So, I went downriver to the NASA docks where I could get out of both. I almost immediately started throwing a PowerTeam Lures 5" Sick Stick on a wacky rig on 6 pound line.
They were chomping on it pretty good. But, the same thing happened to me 3 times. I would hook in to a good fish (by upper Wheeler standards), fight it to the boat, and attempt to boat swing it...and....POP! The first one was a small fish (see the vid), so I just figured it was a nick. So, I retied. Next one was a solid 2.5 pounder. Same thing. I decided that I would reach down on the next one.

The next fish happened to be a NICE 4 pound fish. As I hit the deck to scoop the fish, I grabbed the line. Mistake. Busted it off.

Some variety of this happened several times. I was too stupid to learn. I had a net RIGHT THERE!

So, take it from me. Have your net hand. Never boat swing light line. And NEVER put your hand on the line. I know. I know. It's simple. Common knowledge. Well, it cost me some reall nice fish.