Thursday, October 31, 2013

Best5Zach's Ruger 10/22 Build Part 2

In case you missed it, Part 1 of my Ruger 10/22 build can be found here.

So far, we have added a BSA Sweet 22 scope and a Ruger BX25 25-round magazine. The only issue we have had was with the BX25, which had feeding issues. It was fixed as per my Light Firearm Repair post

Since then, not much has been done, but we did do a few things that I wanted to talk about.

After shooting my dad's 10/22, I noticed that the action on my gun was a little stiff. Truth is, I didn't do anything to the gun before I shot it but pull it out of the box. Additionally, I hadn't cleaned it in over 200-300 rounds. So, I took the opportunity to clean it with Metalloid's Gun Green Oil and Metcor 57. Not only do these products clean terrifically, they are easy to work with, good for the environment, and greatly eased the action of the rifle. You can read my review of these products here

So, the next thing this gun needed was a sling. The gun doesn't come with sling mounts, so I had to purchase and install these. 

I purchased the mounts and the sling at Academy. The mounts cost me $15 and are specifically made for the 10/22, though I don't really know what that means other than the package has an additional part to mount to the fore end. 

I bought the cheapest sling that Academy had, which was a house brand, for $9. 

I chucked the gun into my vice with a towel around it to keep it from getting scratched. 

For the fore end, I simply had to loosen the fastener on the stock and slip in the piece and re-tighten. 
On the stock end, I followed the direction on the included paper. But, there are some additional tricks you may wish to employ. After locating where you want the mount to be, which they suggest 2-3 inches from the butt-stock, lay down a piece of tape. Remeasure and make sure you have it located correctly. I used a straightedge to located the center-line of the stock and location of the mounting hole. This will provide protection from accidentally marring the surface if your drill bit slips or chatters. It will also prevent cracking at the hole when you pull the drill bit out. I drilled the pilot hole to the proper depth, as instructed. I did this by measuring the proper depth onto the drill bit and then using masking tape to denote this depth. When the tape was even with the stock, I quit drilling. I did the same with the secondary hole. Make sure you use compressed air to liberate any wood chips. Additional wood chips in the hole could cause the fastener to get off center or even crack the stock. 

I eased the fastener into the hole and tightened down as per the instructions. Remember not to over tighten as that could cause cracking.

I then attached the D-rings and threaded on the sling. It takes under 15 minutes even with my additional steps. Done. Works and looks great!

Product Review for Custom Killer Grips "Dragon Scales" 1911 Grips

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I have had my 1911 for almost 8 years, but after being my carry gun for a long time, it was showing it's age. In particular, it was getting scuffed, I lost the rear site, and the grips were getting worn. 1911s are highly sought after, especially one that is a relative high dollar gun such as mine.  I decided to start carrying a smaller gun that I didn't quite care so much about. So, I have swapped to the Taurus PT145 Milineium Pro .45 caliber and stored the 1911.

But, few handguns are as fun to shoot as the 1911 and every time I rummaged through my locker for which guns I wanted to take to the arsenal, I passed over the 1911 because of the work it needed to get back into it's prime. I was almost embarrassed to take it.

Over the last few months, I have started to work a little more in-depth on my firearms. In particular, I wanted to both restore and enhance my 1911. I didn't want to get something as stereotypical as "Punisher" grips, so I came across these grips on Amazon. You can find them here.

According to the description:

"These grips are made from high-strength polymer. The grips have the aggressive "DRAGON SCALES" checkering/texture. Since these are polymer, they are SUPER DURABLE for the field & everyday carry. They are virtually indestructible! ...AND they give a touch of class to your firearm! You will not be disappointed! "

I had been watching them for months but couldn't quite pull the trigger on them. Finally, I decided it was time to get this gun back to where it should be, and make it customized and stylish. So, I purchased the grips. Unfortunately, the grips are not on Amazon Prime, so it took 5 days for me to receive them.

Just as advertised, they fit snugly and perfectly on my GI 1911. The texture does indeed enhance the grip. But, I noticed some of the "scales" weren't as crisp looking. I read the reviews, and one in particular noticed the same thing. So, I emailed the company to see what they had to say. Within an hour, I had my answer;

"These grips were hand-carved in wood before being cast/molded in polymer. The imperfections are actually part of the character of the design" 

Again, they fit excellent and they feel great. They also look terrific. An argument could be made that they could benefit from a gloss finish, but I like them this way. Additionally, finding out that the mold was hand-carved instead of computer designed is really cool. I like that the grips have character.

So, the fitment was great, shipping was adequate, the look is definitely custom and the customer service was excellent.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Build Your Own Battle Ax

There are few things more useful in the EOTWAWKI than a good ax. But, just having a multi-purpose ax isn't any fun. What you really want is a battle ax. After all, in the zombie apocalypse, what finer weapon could you ask for? It's been the melee weapon of choice for thousands of years.

OK. So I don't' REALLY think we will have a zombie apocalypse. But I do recognize that the ax is a great multi-purpose weapon and tool. It's great for busting wood, breaking into things you can't open, using the head to start fires, as well as being a terrific silent and deadly weapon. It won't ever run out of ammo. It will never jam. And, it doesn't matter where you hit someone, they won't walk away from it. Additionally, there is something terribly frightening about ANYONE charging at you with one of these.

My wife's grandfather died almost 3 years ago and I inherited a lot of older tools. One such tool was this old ax. It was old and really worn. Additionally, I didn't quite trust it because the handle was split right below the head. These days, you can buy a composite handle ax for less than I could buy a new oak handle for, so I didn't really think that it had any use other than nostalgia. It sat around around in the garage until the government furlough. One day, I was pretty bored and I decided how cool it would be to design and build a battle ax. Of course, I would have to do a little work on the handle, but that wasn't a big deal. I have a lot of experience in composites manufacturing. Not only did I know that I could easily fix the handle, I could make it even better than it was. There are few things better than an old oak handle and new composite handles aren't exactly impact resistant. So, if I could reinforce the hand while fixing it, I could have a pretty reliable handle. After all, the weakest point of the ax is normally the area right under the head. It is the spot that takes the most abuse because of short hits. But, what if I took it further? Suddenly I had all kinds of interesting ideas to make an unique tool for the EOTWAWKI.

Here is what the handle looked like beforehand. Notice the cracks.

Here is the handle cleaned and prepped. I sanded it,, used compressed air to remove particles, and finally rubbed it down with alcohol. Then, I used masking tape to limit resin flow.

First, I applied a coating of resin, specifically into the existing cracks. This would help prevent further cracking of the handle. I used worm drive clamps to  then put the cracked handle into compression. This would assure that  I would achieve the maximum strength of the over composite stricture after the cure. After cutting strips that were 3 inches wide and about 12 inches long, I bathed them in resin and allowed them to become saturated, then wrapped the handle with the strips. I used both helical and hoop wraps and I also varied the angle of the plys during layup to ensure I had a good multi-directional strength.  I made a 3 ply weave on the handle and allowed it to cure, then sanded it first with 80 grit, then 200 grit, and finally 400 grit sandpaper to achieve a nice finish. Then I applied a very fine finishing epoxy coat to which I resanded in the same manner previously mentioned.. This assured that there were no dry surface fibers as well as the best possible finish.  I applied a rubberized over coating on the fiberglass reinforcement. This would give a good forward grip for carrying or for pre-swing.  Additionally, I bought a roll of camo tape for about $2 to wrap the entirety of the handle.

Now, I started to really think about the functionality of the ax. Namely, what were the potential problems that one might have in using the ax.

The first things I thought of were how hard it is just carry an ax around. You don't think about it because when you get done with your ax, you lay it in the shed. But what if you had to carry it on your person at all times? What if you had to climb a tree? Additionally, if you were using it in battle, what happens if you sling it by accident? So, I figured out a solution. I bought a set of rifle sling mounts and installed them with a combination wrist strap and single point break-away sling. While it isn't a rifle, I followed the steps listed on the mounts to prevent any cracking. I already had the sling and the mounts ran me $8. **Update** As pointed out by a reader, make sure you epoxy the sling mounts, if you go this route. You are threading the fastener into the grain as opposed to perpendicular to the grains, which is far easier to strip out. I did do this, just forgot to add that step. Thanks to our reader!

The next one was that, without gloves, one might get blisters with the current grip. I know I get them anytime I used a hard wooden grip. Additionally, handles can become slippery real easy. So, I bought some Lizard Skin grip wrap and some Adidas bat tape from Amazon. That cost an additional $15. It is a superb grip. Very comfortable and slip resistant.The last thing I did was to sharpen it up and treat it with Metalloid's Metcor to clean it and prevent surface rust. Metcor is the perfect cleaner and rust preventer I have used. Check out my review on it! 

So, the final product? Well, check it out!
I had many of the items needed sitting around. Most hunters and handy men will also have many of the items needed. Again, I don't expect to ever use this ax as a weapon, but it was awfully fun to apply some NASA engineering and ingenuity to build something unique. I am not a very creative person, so I am sure that there are a ton of things I could have done to make it better. If you can think of them, I would love to hear about it!

Don't forget to check out my other cool builds and EOTWAWKI posts! 

We will be finishing the Ruger 10/22 Build very soon and starting an AR15 build!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Basic Mechanics Skills and Knowing Vehicle Limitations Part 2

Basic Mechanics Skills and Knowing Limitations Part 1 was an incredible success. After being posted, it generated over 9,000 hits on the Blog last month. Part 1 can be read HERE. I had a tremendous amount of feedback on a post that, frankly, I thought was rather drawl and boring. Perhaps I had forgotten the reason that I had written it to begin with. The fact is, people don't truly understand their vehicles and how they work. They assume that if it starts in the morning and there are no lights flashing at them on the dash, then everything must be ok. 

Sadly, the one piece of equipment that is your most useful in EOTWAWKI is also the one that is the most misunderstand...or not understood at all. So, even though I had struggled to think of ways to make a continuous series on the subject, simply driving around and looking at people's reactions, I have identified some of the things that need to be discussed. Namely, let's discuss vehicle fuel, specifically vehicle range and understanding how to procure fuel when needed. 

Let's start out with a little Q&A on understanding fuel and vehicle ranges.

Basic Dollar-Gallon-Range Conversions
Do you take the amount of gasoline you have into constant consideration? It seems like a stupid question, but can you tell me...right now....exactly how much gas you have in the tank? It's a fair question, really.  If you aren't a gauge hawk like I am, can you at least remember the last time you filled up, how much it was, and how far you have gone since then? The sad thing is, the rest of the questions are a little more difficult. How far can you go on the existing tank you have? Can you tell me, based on different vehicle and motor operating speeds how you can stretch that range? If you were stuck in traffic, how long could your vehicle operate with that existing tank?

Face the facts, folks. They call it an "idiot light" for a reason. Sadly, in this world of information overload, we rely way too much on our car telling us what's going on. But in the situation of EOTWAWKI and bugging out, waiting on the car to tell you how far it can go is waiting too long. 

Even though I am only 31, I have own a lot of older vehicles, going back to my first vehicle...a 1973 International pickup. Its gas gauge was simply a needle with an "F" on one side and an "E" on the other. Depending on how I drove, that gauge wasn't too terribly accurate.  But, it had a tripometer on it and I knew that I could go about 147 miles on a tank of gas. Back then, gas was about $1.00 a gallon, so it was a fairly easy conversion to know just how many miles I bought myself every time I went to the gas pump. Additionally, I knew the exact mileage to and from all the typical destinations I would drive. School was 3.6 miles. The local cruising strip was right at 19 miles. Work was a shade under 10 miles. I could, at any time, do some quick math and figure out where I stood on gas. 

What did I learn in that 2 years of driving that truck? I understood the basic mathematical concepts of conversion rates. I understood how to convert dollars per gallon, to gallons per mile, to total miles available. Every time I filled up, I understood just how far I could go. Or, with the available cash I had, where I could get to. I know it sounds simple, but the average person out there can't or doesn't stand practical math anymore. They drive until the light comes on. Then they pull over and fill up. The problem is, in the EOTWAWKI, life isn't that simple. 

Understanding the Effects of  Driving Style on Range 
Most new cars have these fancy econo-meters on them telling you instantly what kind of gas mileage you are getting. That number is usually used when bragging to your friend on how many MPG you are getting going down hill with a tailwind. Few people understand exactly the effect of driving style on fuel economy. Until you really experience it, you may not full appreciate it. Let me tell you a little story on how I learned just that. 

Years ago, when I had lots of spare time, my friend and I took his little Honda Civic up to a Crow Mountain, which is where they have the Crow Mountain Hill Climb. You can use your imagination on how it works. Anyway, that Civic got around 40 MPG and we put in a few dollars when we left Huntsville. We made several runs up and down the mountain. Since it was a race, it was a high load environment for the motor. Lots of RPMs and a lot of full throttle. The Climb itself is only a few miles each way. So, at the end of the afternoon, we headed back to Huntsville. About the time the engine cut out, we both took a quizzical look at the fuel gauge, now sitting on empty. Both of us were very educated and experienced mechanics. We both understand how it all works. But in our fun, never did we consider that an econo-box car that get's 40 MPGs is actually a little underpowered car who drinks gas when it lives at 6,000RPM and full throttle for 2 hours going uphill half the time. It was embarrassing, but it was a very solid learning moment. 

Additionally, there have been the unexpected situations that have cropped up on me in the last few years. Luckily, none of them have cost me much, but it was scary all the same. For example, there is a section of Interstate 65, just south of Birmingham, at the 285 intersection that ALWAYS has terrible traffic. You will go from 70-80 MPH to a screeching halt (literally). In some situations, like game weekends, it can stay backed up for hours. For once, I didn't fill up in Priceville on our way to Auburn. I had half a tank and figured I would stop and get gas when we stopped for dinner around Montgomery. We breezed through Birmingham and came to a standstill. I was at right at an 1/8th of a tank. It was mid-November and cold and we had the kids with us. Slowly, I watched the range dwindle as we sat for over 3 hours. Now, admittedly, that wasn't that big of a deal. Traffic cleared and we went on our way. A month or so later, however, a massive snowstorm hit that stretch of road. There isn't an exit for several miles in either direction. A combination of weather and wrecks caused the interstate. As a result, people were trapped on the interstate in their vehicles overnight and for 24 hours. That's a scary situation. And this wasn't terrible winter weather. It was Alabama. Imagine running out of gas in Billings, Montana in January. 

Seeing Trouble Ahead and Stocking Up
If you have paid attention to any major weather event in the last decade, you know what happens either shortly before, during, or right after. Gas pumps are overrun with people trying to stock up. Heck, it isn't just weather. Any time there is a significant event in the US, the tanks at every gas station get emptied. While I don't have the money to invest in a large unit, I will say that I keep at least 15 gallons of gas at the house. I don't just do that for my vehicle, but also for my generator in event that power is knocked out. 

Take the events of April 2011 here in Huntsville. A massive system of tornadoes swept through and decimated the area. Almost immediately, gas stations were mobbed. While the weather was known to be dangerous days in advance, almost no one had prepared. Luckily, I had. I had filled up all my vehicles and gas tanks at the house the day before. However, the day after, my dad needed gas, so I rode with him to get it. We had to travel deep into Tennessee to find gas in Pulaski. It took us an hour to get to the state line, which is merely 15 miles away and over 2 hours just to get to the gas station. People were snotty, even violent. Many would hold out at the pump, hogging the gas, even gouging. It was not something that I would suggest you deal with. Sadly, that will pale in comparison to what we will see in the EOTWAWKI. And to think, you could avoid both a dangerous and costly expedition by being smart and looking ahead...even a short 12 hours could make all the difference. It did in my case. Gas was not available for two weeks in my area. Think about the true situation, as we discussed in the Immediate Stage of EOTWAWKI. Half the battle is getting out and hunkering down before anyone else does. 

Now, gas doesn't store too terribly well, so I would suggest taking precautions when stocking up on gas. It is also extremely dangerous to have that much gas stored. I do two thing: I treat my gas with Stabil, which gives you a significant shelf life. I also will use 5 gallons at a time in my lawnmower. Since I have a large lawn, I go through gas constantly. It helps keep gas fresh. Additionally, in the fall, any left-over gas is transferred into my vehicles and I refill my tanks. 

Don't just think of your cars and those red gas tanks. Think outside of the box. For example, I learned from my boss...when you look ahead, fill all those gas tanks....including your boat. Where else will you find a mobile refill station? My Skeeter has 2 26 gallon tanks that are easy to siphon, if needed. That's a lot of gas! 

What to do if You Run Out
Bad things happen. Sometimes your luck isn't that good. Sometimes you just make mistakes. Now what? Do you know how to siphon gas? Can you do it without killing yourself? There are tons of information out there on how to do this. Take some time to read up, but make sure you at least demonstrate to yourself that you can do it. In all of my Bug-Out-Bags, my 24 hour kit and even in my 24 Hour Car Kit, I have a section of hose simply for this. Suction it to your lips, drop it below the level of the gas tank and into a container. Now you have gas. Now, this isn't just in the case of Mad Max...stealing it from someone else's ride. There are tons of places around your house that may have a gallon or two. Weed Eaters. Lawn mower. Leaf blower. ATVs. Boats. You name it. When it comes down to needing a few more gallons, make sure you think about all of your potential sources. 

And, as mentioned with the Mad Max situation, if it calls for it...understand how to get it out of other cars. I learned how to do this effectively when I parted out a wrecked car that had a full tank. I bought the car for nothing and had already made my money, but there was easily 60 dollars of free gas that took me 10 minutes to liberate. 

If you don't have a hose and it really came down to it, understand the basics of cars. Again, the average person has virtually no idea on how a vehicle works, much less that intricacies of a fuel system.  There is a gas tank, it has a line that runs to the engine. The gas tank usually has an access hatch in the trunk or under the rear seat. The lines usually run against one of the frame rails. Chances are, there will be a soft hose section. Cut it and now you have access to the gas. If it has all hard lines, a screw driver and a hammer will make a small hole. If you have extra time or you don't want to destroy anything, take the time to find and open that access port. 

Again, it all comes down to having practical knowledge to apply outside of the box thinking. Get into the habit of keeping track of your mileage, how much you spent, and when. Keep your mind sharp by exercising it. Do that math and come up with the different ranges you could experience in your car. More importantly, where you could get to and how long you have to get there.  Prepare for the worst and plan ahead. It's a simple thing. If you know there will be a major event such as bad weather, take the time to get gas before everyone else does. If you can't prepare, know how to solve your problems by getting the fuel by whatever means you have, weather its cannibalizing it from your other equipment or otherwise. Remember, when it comes to your survival, there is no such thing as looking silly when buying gas in 5 different jugs, or siphoning out gas. That's for all of the others who won't make it.

Talk to you next time! Don't forget to check out all of my Last Man On Earth Studies
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The Auburn Realist: The Arkansas Preview

I didn't quite take last week off. I did take the opportunity to talk about my expectations for the rest of the season, namely that I expect Auburn to go undefeated from here on. Yes. I really said that, despite my early predictions that had Auburn at an 8-4 record. I had penciled in a close loss at MSU and a win at LSU. I had penned in a run away win for Arkansas State and a walk away from Washington State and Ole Miss. Pretty close. Kinda. Give me a break, we didn't even have a starting QB at the time!

A lot has changed since August, and even the odds-makers will admit that. Case in point, see Auburn as a top 10. Did they see that? No. They predicted Auburn to finish 6th in the West. So, before you judge my words too hard, understand that expectations have to change.

That being said, I wouldn't be totally surprised if Alabama wins in Auburn, but it's a solid 50/50 game.

I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? And I expect this week to be a wake up call for the Tiger's along those same lines.

First things first. Auburn will be a terrible Arkansas team, but not before the Hogs make it appear to be a game. For a minute or two....

While the Hogs did get out to a 3-0 record against over-matched non-conference opponents, the fact is that only Southern miss has failed to score a touchdown against them. LA-Lafayette and Samford were both able to put 2 TDs on the board, and neither one of them did so in garbage time. Strangely enough, the only garbage time the Hogs have played were head beatings by SCAR and Bama. The lone highlights of the year were keeping it close against a completely depleted Florida team and staying reasonably close against TAMU, though TAMU put it on cruise in the first half.

The stats don't lie. The Hogs can't score points. 107th in the Nation. They give up a lot of paints as well, averaging almost 31. The biggest problem, in my eyes, is the inability to throw the ball. The Hogs are virtually the WORST in the nation passing the ball. Luckily, their run game is a decent one. But, truth be told, they padded those stats heavily in the front of the schedule.

Auburn, on the other hand, had a tune up game against FAU this week. They showcased the run game, again. And while there wasn't much passing, Johnson made a few nice tosses to Coates, who now leads the nation in yards per reception.

So, what can we expect? Let's get to it.

Who will start this week? That's a huge question. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if Johnson makes his first career SEC start. After all, Marshall clearly needs a little time to heal up and get fresh for the back half of the season. Arkansas sets up very well for a well balanced Auburn attack. They are just soft enough to give a cushion to Johnson. But, then again, Marshall is a competitor and I could see him making the start.

Regardless of who starts, the fact remains that this Auburn rushing attack could, at a minimum, win the game in a "3 yards and a cloud of dust" scenario. But, we all know that wouldn't be the case. Auburn would likely pound the Hogs into submission and go into the half up a meager 21-0, owning time of possession.

CAP would be my guess at the feature back of the day. I could see Mason making the start and showcasing his ability in the first drive or two, but down the stretch, CAP would be the man. We saw a lot of carries from number 44 last Saturday, but we still haven't seen the big numbers performance out of him. Some of that could be ball security issues from earlier this season, even if it was 1 fumble. In fact, I am giving very serious thought to adding him to my fantasy lineup this weekend. Would be a sneaky pick....CAP gets two TDs and another 100 yard game. Don't be surprised if he breaks a long one!

Regardless of what QB starts, I expect there to be a continued dedication to improving the deep pass. Like I stated earlier, Coates is on the verge of a real breakout. If he can continue to hold on to the rock, that is. And, honestly, on one of his 2 TDs, he nearly dropped the ball. Go back and watch his first TD from Johnson. Yep. Wide open and he nearly dumped the ball. That being said, he will get a target or two, but I really expect him to draw the best corner the Hogs have plus safety help over the top. Look for Marcus Davis to really get involved in the slot and/or Uzomah off the line or slot. The Uzomah seam route will be there at least twice this Saturday and I expect that to be a TD. I would expect no more than 15 pass attempts in this game for any 1 QB. If Marshall does start, I don't expect him to run very much. I see a solid 200 pass yards from the QBs.

Grant will continue to see some increase in work. FAU has a fairly good defense and he absolutely shredded them Saturday as they were looking inside on the zone read. The Hogs will be in a similar situation Saturday. Expect an early 3rd quarter jet sweep to go the distance. Not many touches for Grant, but good YPC.

Not much has gone right for the Hogs. Their run game offers them their only opportunity to stay in this game. And seeing how they have not been able to score points against good defenses, even if they are top tier, the fact remains that they cannot and will not score the 35 points needed to stay in the game for 4 quarters.

Expect Frost to get extensive playing time at middle linebacker. With the run game being the primary threat, I don't see Holland being on the field nearly as much.

Expect the deadly safety combination from Auburn to play up or near the box for much of the game and to become heavily involved in run defense.

The real question is, will the Hogs be able to hold on to the ball. Even if they can't score, if they can at least hold on to the ball without 3 and outs or turnovers, they have a chance to go into the locker room at half with some confidence. If they turn the ball over, even once, the game will be over.

Auburn gets a turnover and holds the hogs to under 300 total yards. Don't expect a lot of sacks early, as the Hogs will mainly power it down with the run game.

The Line
Many people had thought that Auburn would sleep on FAU over the big win in College Station. Sadly for them, that didn't happen. Auburn came out extremely sharp in the first half and finished out the first half hard, despite a few busted plays. The real question will be, after the back slapping coach gave them this past Saturday, will they muster the fortitude to do it this week too? Everyone has said they passed the maturity test. I am not so sure. It would have been the upset of all upsets had they lost to FAU, simply because of the disparity of talent. But, Arkansas is an SEC team, despite what their record says. This is a scary game, in that Arkansas has always surprised Auburn. Always. If Auburn goes into town too confident, then Arkansas could easily make it a game very early. That's not where Auburn needs to play. They need to come out sharp and dominate the line early. The score doesn't have to be a run away at half, but the time of possession does.

What the coaching staff does have going for it is pointing out that the Hogs have owned Auburn the last 5 years, going 4-1 with the lone win in 2010. These Tigers are eager to permanently get out of the bottom half of the SEC west. Bur, that will be after a very physical Arkansas running attack hits them in the mouth in the first quarter.
Auburn 35-10. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Auburn Realist: Expectations for the Second Half of the Year

Here are my expectations for the First Half of the Year

Now, keep in mind that it was written before the season ever kicked off. In the meantime, I have written week by week predictions. They have been.....ok.

Go revisit those threads here:
Washington State Preview
Arkansas State Preview
Mississippi State Preview
LSU Preview
Ole Miss Preview
TAMU Preview

So, we have on the docket:

Where do I see us finishing?

No contest here. The only thing I see happening is a focus game for Marshall to improve his connection with his receiver, notably Sammie "Slammy" Coates. I expect these two to hook up at least twice in the first half for TDs. Well, I HOPE they do because I am starting Coates on my fantasy team and I desperately need him to produce.

I see Johnson getting extended time. I also see CAP getting a lot of carries, as Malzahn stated in a press conference that he had to get CAP more involved.

I expect the defense to step up early and completely shut down FAU for the first half before the reserves get put in


It would be very easy to say that this game will be a runaway early. But, the Hogs have always played Auburn extremely hard. In the last 10 years, the Hogs have pulled off some impressive underdog wins. In fact, after witnessing at least 3 of those first hand, I swore off going to these games. Bielema desperately needs a win against an SEC foe. In fact, he desperately needs to be competitive. It would be very easy for Auburn to start looking ahead. While I appreciate the comments about winning it all this year, we have to get through November. The Hogs do have a potent rushing attack, but I believe the Auburn D-Line will be polished and rested and will dominate this game. Offensively, Arkansas hasn't stopped anyone with half an offense. Don't expect that to start in this game. The only thing I am concerned with is Auburn looking ahead and a hostile game in Knoxville and holding back. While I expect them to lead the whole game, they can't allow the Hogs to stay in it. They must put their boots on the Hogs throat early and keep it there.


This game is circled on my calender. Tennessee is a much improved team and they showed it last week by knocking off SCAR. But, I'm not sold. They have talent and they play with great emotion, but the win against SCAR was more of the Cock's doing than anyone else. Despite having won a TON of games in the last 5 years, the Cocks have 1 let down game a year. I don't mean a game they loose...but a game they really don't show up for. I believe their game in Knoxville was just that. Don't get me wrong, if you give the Vols a chance, they can play with anyone. But, let's see how they do tomorrow against the Tide. My suspicion is that we will see the best they have to offer anyone. They play a tough Missouri team the next week. I expect them to actually win that game. They won't have anything left in the tank by the time the Tigers pull into Neyland. I expect Auburn to be well prepared for this game and we will see a lopsided win for the Tigers. I do expect them to get a little sloppy late. Maybe a late fumble that leads to a Vols score.

I expect the defense to harass Worley early and often. He has an extremely low completion percentage and he doesn't do well when the pocket collapses. Additionally, he throws a lot of INTs. That isn't a good combo of stats to have while playing an upstart Auburn defense.

Rajion Neal is quietly having a solid year. He and Marlin Lane are the only ways the Vols stay in this game and at least make it to the 2nd half.

Auburn's offense should have a decent day against the Vols. Aside from Austin Peay, everyone has put up points on them, including a South Alabama and Western Kentucky team. They couldn't stop the then ranked Gators and plummeting Bulldogs, but of which are now depleted with injuries and heavily questioned. I fully expect the Vols defense to be in complete disarray after playing two completely different SEC teams in consecutive weeks in Alabama and Missouri, even though I see them sneaking a win against Missouri. Expect Auburn to be very balanced early and a heavy dose of CAP late.


Honestly, this game is impossible to speculate upon. It all depends on who...if any...the Dogs get back from injury. While Douglas and Green have done a decent job filling in for Marshall and Gurley, it isn't nearly the same potent attack. Douglas does a good job getting yards after contact, simply because he isn't fast enough or have good enough vision to avoid it. Murray has done his best to carry the team. but it's going to be a lot harder against one of the best pass efficiency defenses in the land. If Gurley and Marshall aren't back, I wouldn't be surprised to see Murray get an extended roll in the run game. People forget that he was a dual threat prospect way back when. Auburn has had issues with running QBs all year. Now, it would seem they might have found their way last week against TAMU. But, I don't know how much scheming they will do for him versus Manziel.

Expect the Tiger's offense to keep on rolling. Georgia hasn't stopped anyone yet. I don't expect them to start now. While the game might be close, I expect that to because of Marshall's nerves at playing his old team. An INT and a fumble aside, the Tigers will roll on.


What a difference a year makes. Even 3 months. I admit that I sold my tickets back in August because there was NO WAY I was going to this slaughterfest. This game will determine the SEC West for the first time ever. I fully expect this to be the game for the ages. This Auburn team is eager to prove they belong and this Auburn fan base is absolutely rabid.

Bama is a good team. I think everyone knows that. I really respect them, but they remind me a lot of the 2010 team. Are they talented? Yes. Can they win any game they play? Yes. But, they have holes. And, while the offense has produced points against inferior teams, it hasn't played well in big games. The run game isn't what it has been. Yeldon has done well, statistically, but has done it because of long runs. Otherwise, he has been held in check by many teams. AJ McCarron continues to play management football, but he isn't raining down TDs on people like he was at this point last year when Cooper exploded on the scene. To me, the finger is pointed at the offensive line, which hasn't reloaded. That doesn't mean it won't next year. They just aren't as good or experienced as the other lines.

If I had to compare this game to another game, I don't have to look far. The 2009 Iron Bowl is going to be very similar. I expect Auburn to jump out front late and force the steam truck Bama offense to claw back into the game. The issue is, this defense isn't the 2009 defense. It is a much improved unit with a lot more talent. It isn't the defense you want to dig out of a ole against. They do have the issue of giving up chunks of yardage, but Bama won't do it. They will rely on the running game and try for play action vertical passes against a secondary that will make them pay. Marshall will be even more improved, even sharp. He will limit his mistakes. I don't see him throwing many passes against a decent Bama secondary. He will avoid the middle of the field entirely, throwing to the perimeter and sidelines. Expect Davis to be a game breaker on the sidelines. Multi-back sets and zone reads will be the order of the day. Bama will stop them on many drives, but won't stop them completely. The shocker on the Plains will, unfortunately, keep the SEC out of the National Championship entirely. Auburn and Bama both head to BCS games.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Best5Zach's Ruger 10/22 Build Part 1

Like most every kid that grew up hunting, a rim fire .22 caliber gun was my very first firearm. My grandfather bought me a Marlin bolt action rifle when I turned 10 or so. There were several reason for buying a .22. The top reason was because it is a perfect teaching platform to learn about gun safety, maintenance, and shooting practice. It has been a fabulous little gun, but it has its drawbacks. First one being that we outfitted it with a cheap 3X scope, which sits atop it to this day. As many of you know, a firearm is only as good as it's optics. But, since I don't use it very much, it's been very much out of site/out of mind. The other issue I had with that gun was, when varmint hunting, every time you miss a shot...and you have to take your eye out of the scope to reload. It makes it very hard to get follow up shots. Near impossible, I'd say.

In the last few years, the Ruger 10/22 has continued to be the best selling rim fire rifle on the market, perhaps even the best selling firearm, period. And, why not? It is a fantastic weapon that works excellent out of the box. It doesn't cost too much. It shoots a cheap round. It has a fantastic aftermarket base. Most importantly, it is accurate and semit-automatic.

Alas, I found myself continuing to buy other firearms...whether that was pistols or shotguns. But, every time I bought a new pistol, I would cuss about how ammo was either too expensive or non-existent to shoot for recreational fun and, for the most part, unusable for hunting.  Additionally, as I have posted in my Commonality: How to be Efficient post, it was tough to select a firearm that had a good amount of utility. The .223 is a pretty good mix for a game/varmint/protection round, aside the fact that it has become expensive and hard to find. Additionally, in an EOTWAWKI setting, it is a little louder than you would really want for small game hunting. Sure, you have to eat...but you may not want everyone in the county to know it. And, there wouldn't be much left of the animal after hitting it was a .223.

On the other hand, .22 is plentiful, extremely cheap, fairly accurate in a good gun at 50 yards. It has no recoil. Perhaps my favorite feature is, it isn't very loud. That's great for people teaching their children to shoot, or preventing every game animal in 300 yards to take off running every time you shoot.

So, for the last few months, I had decided that my next firearm wouldn't be a hopped up .44 (though it's next on my list...aside from finishing my next AR build), but a semi-auto .22 rim fire. That point was driven home when my two oldest kids said they wanted to learn to shoot, but not on a loud gun. And, what better way to go than the most popular .22LR in the market.

However, for several months, it was almost impossible to find one. When you did, it was one of the $375 versions that had bells and whistles that I didn't care to pay for. In fact, it seemed that you couldn't get one under $250. I was seeing used ones sell on FaceBook pages for ridiculous amounts of money. I had all but given up on them when Academy did me (and themselves) a solid. I received a flyer in the mail that was advertising the Marlin semi-auto for $149. It wasn't a 10/22, but it was a decent gun. So, on a Friday afternoon, I headed up there to check it out.

But it just so happened they had 1 Ruger. I asked to see it. They showed the price tag and I laughed. I told them that the local gun emporium was selling them for $75 less. What I didn't tell them was that there was NO WAY I would brave that mad house on a pay day. The salesman smiled and said "No problem. We will match it."


Now. I need a scope. I shopped around a good bit and finally asked the salesman what he thought.

He steered me towards the BSA sweet .22. I saw the price tag and about clutched my heart and died. $130? I mean, I know I want nice optics and all, but DANG! That's about what I was going to pay for the gun, itself! The salesman just smiled. All he had was the display model, which he could sell me for $34. Additionally he told me how this scope had been designed FOR the Ruger 10/22. He said I could shoot the fleas off of the squirrels. I shrugged. For $34, I could try it out. They offer free boresiting for firearm purchases, so of course I took advantage of that.

Additionally, I would need the Leupold medium rings and scope mounts for the gun. Might as well do it right, he said. I agreed. The difference in funds between the cheap stuff and the the Leopold was negligible. In the basket it went.
Naturally, I needed a big nasty banana clip. There are a ton of choices, but I wanted something reliable, so I purchased the Ruger BX25. 

I walked out of Academy with all of this plus a little ammo for under $400. Of course, I didn't want to spend that much, but I hadn't really thought it through (my wife is laughing at that). I took it to the farm and immediately sited it in. Out of the box and with a boresite, it was 3 inches low and three inches left. The elevation was easy to fix, but the windage took some time to dial in. It took about 50 rounds at 50 yards to get it to shoot just the way I wanted. After siting it in, I used Metalloid's Metcor 57 and Gun Green Oil ( here is my write up on these products...check them out!) and had her shined up and cleaned.

During the Government shutdown, my dad and I had a lot of spare time. One of the things we wanted to do was to thin out the squirrel population significantly. So, we squirrel hunted 3 times in the 2 week shutdown. Even with a basic site-in job, the gun ran awesome. I never brought home less than 5 squirrels. In fact, I rarely missed with this gun.

I did, however, run into an issue with the BX25 mag. I did some research on the subject and found out that mags pre-scare had no problems. But, those that were bought afterwards seemed to have problems with the feed ramp. After cleaning it extensively, I found that the finish of the feed ramp was sorely lacking in quality. So, just as I had done before, I did some light firearm repair, as you can read about here: Light Firearm Repair. Problem solved with 30 minutes of work.

So, where to from here?

  • The next improvement I will make is to add a sling. It sin't any fun to carry it around in my hands because I don't have a sling. 
  • I don't really care for the overall weight of the gun. I attribute most of this to the wooden stock. I will be getting a synthetic stock ASAP.
  • The trigger pool is too heavy and it isn't smooth. I am researching some better trigger assemblies
As of now, I have $400 invested in a fantastic tool, which is exactly what this gun is. It has a ton of utility and is probably the most useful gun in my arsenal. Everyone should own one of these guns. It isn't going to be a 1-shot-wonder for home defense and it probably won't take down big game with anything less than a head shot, but that is probably the only draw back it has. It can be shot for fun, it is a perfect farm gun, it is downright deadly on varmints. It is cheap to shoot. And, it is the perfect gun with which to begin training your children.

The Auburn Realist: The TAMU Review

In case you missed it, here is my TAMU Preview. Go read it.

I have never been so happy to be wrong. I guess my years of being married to such a smart woman have gotten me used to admitting when I am wrong. That aside, this win was one of the most fulfilling wins I have ever known.

But, hold up. I wasn't wrong about much...aside from the one thing that mattered, of course.

So, let's look at what I said would happen.

TAMU rolled up the yards and hung a bunch of points on Auburn. The Evans/Manziel connection set yet another record against Auburn. Every time that guy touched the ball he found the endzone. But, down the stretch Auburn found a way to "stop them", if you can say that. Although Evan's had one go off his fingers in the endzone there at the very end of the game that could have spoiled the win.

While I knew what it would take to win...the turnover or two and the breakout freshman play, I didn't think it would really happen. But it did. It gets lost in the mix, but the two INTs in the first half may have won the game. What I had feared was TAMU going perfect on all of their drives in the first half. I didn't think Auburn could reciprocate that kind of offense. TAMU was indeed unstoppable except for those two costly picks that may have been the gamebreaker for the Tigers.

It's been talked about, but Ryan White's play was incredible, considering the situation. The kid played a position he had never even practiced at and came away with an INT and several tackles.

What does get mentioned more than anything else was the stellar play of the D-Line, particularly the young guys. They had 4 sacks on Manziel, the last two years impossible. Frost showed why he should be on the field in pressure situations as he outran Manziel to the sideline, showing us why he was a hyped up player coming out of high school.

So, I guess you can say that I was pretty close on that....I mean, they didn't consistently stop them. Evan/Manziel torched them. But, they did get the 2 INTs and the game winning sacks.

As I had said, I expected the Tigers to score in bunches but to have quarters of inconsistency. The 2nd quarter was just as I had feared. The play calling was sketchy. 4 drives, 3 3-and-outs with  punts and a kneel down at the half. The 3rd quarter featured anther 3 and out with zero yards, a LLLOONNGG TD and another 3-and-out for 0 yards. I honestly thought the game was probably over at that point, especially since TAMU turned in a TD in the final seconds of the first half then back it up with a TD and a FG in the 3rd.

But, just as I expected...scoring in bunches...even up to 21 points in a possible for this Tiger team. That's exactly what we saw in the 4th quarter. 3 long drives with rushing TDs. What I LOVED about those 3 TDs were that they all came from different players. It just shows the versatility to this offense that will only become more pronounced over the remainder of the season.

I expect the Offensive line, behind Dismukes, to really shine. Indeed they did. It's amazing how the same group last year couldn't block anything and this year they are paving roads for truckers. I sure hope he comes back next year....

The biggest story to me is Mason. I knew that he was a versatile athlete coming into this season, but he has absolutely exploded. What better way than to do so in a major game on the way to a season defining win. I said it first. Mason for Heisman, 2014. If he continues to display his balance, nose of the endzone, speed, and versatility, he may very well be in New York THIS year.

The Line
Ok. I get it. I was wrong on the score. I predicted it would take 45 to win. Indeed it did. Just the wrong team. But, hey, throw tomatoes if you want. I will take the win and be wrong any day.

B+ for me!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MFC Classic on Lake Guntersville

Check Out The Video! 

As American's, we are used to winning big. We want our football to score 70 points on our rival team. . We want the fastest car. We want to win the lottery. But, I am learning that we, as a society, don't want to grit it out when things get tough. Sometimes it's easier to make an excuse and accept mediocrity than it is to buckle down.

How does this translate to fishing? Well, everyone wants to catch 100 fish and have a best 5 that weighs in 30 pounds. But, that isn't how it works, is it? In the last year, I feel like I have grown exponentially as a fisherman, particularly as a tournament fisherman. What I have found is, when the fish are biting, it's easy to catch a ton of them. But more often than not, that's not how it works on tournament days. What separates the pack, besides a little luck, are those guys who are willing to grit out their game plan to the end. They are only looking for 5 bites. Take my trip with some of the local guides during the Alabama Mountain Lakes Media Day on Pickwick. We had maybe 6-10 bites all day. The result? 32 pounds of small mouth. Why? Because these guys knew what worked for the magnum fish and they had the faith in themselves and the work ethic to grind it out when most people would start panicking.

Take the Classic on Guntersville lake a few weeks ago. As you know, my last few trips on the Big G have been tough. Like this trip a month back. While I have consistently caught fish, I have struggled to catch measuring fish. And the last time I was there, I actually loaded the boat up and went to Wheeler because I was tired of working so hard for so little a return.

As the Classic loomed, I found myself dreading what the Draw would pick as the lake of the Classic. We had 4 lakes to pick out of a hat. Guess what was picked. Even though I knew where some fish were and what they were biting, I just didn't know about spending all the effort to grind that hard. But, the dollar signs made me go even when everything told me not to.

The day started off rough. There was a ton of fog and I couldn't leave Roseberry until it burned off. The only thing I managed to catch was my hand. I had thrown a Sammy into a tree and when I grabbed the branch with one hand and the bait with the other, the branch slipped and the hook went right throw my hand. Adding insult to injury, I caught it on video!

When the fog burned off, I ran down river to where I knew some fish were. Amazingly, despite the ridiculous traffic on the lake that morning, there wasn't a boat near me. I had caught them the last 4 or 5 trips, but nothing big. However, I knew the lake had been rough on most everyone and I figured I needed a small limit to win. Worst case, maybe I could cash a check with 5 small fish. I was using my new technique called Skitter Shading with the PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer swimbait. It didn't take long to get a hit. The fish short struck, though, and pulled the tail off. Despite being de-tailed, I tossed it back in and received another hit. And another. 4 times in a row and no fish.

So it went all morning. Hits and misses. I did manage to boat several fish, but not a one measured.

I had told my wife that if I didn't have a limit by 10, I would come home. At 10, I didn't have a fish. It had gotten hot and I was frustrated. I had quit getting ANY hits. Everywhere I went there were boats. They would plug the water for 5 minutes then haul water.

I sat down to gather my wits for about an hour while munching on some crackers. I got a laugh out of a marine plane that skimmed UNDER the BB Comer bridge...scaring me to DEATH because I thought I was about to have to save some poor souls.

I tried some other things with no luck, though I did notice that I would get bites wherever the mat was popping the loudest and none if there wasn't any popping.

At 12:30, I decided that I had enough. It wasn't worth getting aggravated over, or wasting gas, or showing my face at weigh in without a fish. I started easing my way back towards the ramp with my tail firmly between my legs, even though I had another hour and a half.

As I neared the ramp, I spotted a pocket that didn't look like it had been frogged to death. In fact, it didn't have a track mark in it. I decided at 1pm that I would pull up and listen. If it was not popping, I was going home. If it was popping good, I would give it a try. As I cut the motor, I noticed that it was popping louder than any mat I had been to that day. More importantly, there were no line marks or drag marks in the mat at all. I had thought that was an impossibility on that lake. Every square inch of Guntersville is fished every day.

I tossed out the Swinging Hammer and recorded a quick strike, but lost another tail. I tied on one, cast to another spot, same result. That's when I figured it out. I had been through 3 packs of that bait in a morning. So, I pulled the tail off the fresh one and tossed it to a new area. BOOM! I caught a fish. But, it was about an 1/8th inch too short. But at least I had caught a fish.

Made another cast, another solid hook up. This one DID measure! I tossed him in the box. I made another quick cast, but a nasty birds nest made me put the rod down. It was 1:15.

I picked up my frog rod, topped with a Spro Bronze Eye and made a long cast. One thing I had noticed so far was that the fish wanted the bait burned over the grass. So, I burned the frog.

The sound and wave the fish made might as well have been from an atomic weapon. The fish absolutely EXPLODED on the frog. The hook set was solid and I reeled in a NICE fish. Probably the nicest fish I have caught in the last 5 trips on the G.

It gave me hope. Even if I didn't have but 2 fish, this fish gave me the HOPE that maybe I could take home big fish.

I continued to catch fish for the next few minutes before it was time to head towards the ramp.

As the boats gathered, I noticed that no one was making a move to the scales. Only 1 boat did, weighing in a small limit of fish. I looked around, asking others if they had any measuring fish. No, was the response. Surely it wasn't THAT tough on EVERYONE....right? Well, it had been.

I weighed in my two keeper fish and took home 2nd and Big Fish.

I don't try to take credit for any accomplishment as a fisherman for that. It was a tough day and anyone could get lucky enough to throw on top of that fishes head. The difference was, I had all but given up. But I wasn't and never will be a quitter. I learned that day that sticking it out MIGHT send you home with nothing, but so will loading up early. You might as well give it your all. It's like my wife always says:
"Can't never could." and "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." 

Fishing Report for Pickwick Lake: Government Shutdown Edition

Check out the Video! 

I've said it before, but I am very lucky to have a group of fisher-friends here at work. So, when we were all sent home, we made a deal that we would fish as much as humanly possible. The issue was, of course, money. None of us would be getting paid and we didn't know how long it would be before we could go back to work. So, we divided up the bills which would allow us to maximize our time on the water. Jon had been doing extremely well on Pickwick. I really like Pickwick and despite it being a near 3 hour drive from his place, we decided that the fishing was definitely worth it.

Here are some of my other Pickwick Adventures:
MFC Tournament on Pickwick
Alabama Mountain Lakes Media Days on Pickwick
MFC Tournament on Pickwick 2012
MFC Night Tournament 2011

I was surprised when he told me what type of tackle to bring. See, I was thinking about deep diving cranks, drop shotting, shakey heads, and other typical Small mouth stuff. Nope. We would be fishing grass. So, no smallmouth at all, I asked. Oh yea, they will be mixed in, he said. I raised an eyebrow. That had not really been my experience. But, after seeing the pictures he had...I was sold.

Some quick background. As you all know, Pickwick is the smallie capital of the world. It's the truth. What many of you also have heard is that it's one of the few places where you can catch an 8 pound largemouth and a 6 pound smallie on back to back casts. While I HAVE caught smallies that big, the largemouth have never really impressed me. Sure, I knew they were around. But I had doubts that we could consistently catch fish that big. But, I trusted Jon and I was really excited to get in on that action!

Day 1
So, the first day, I met Jon and Short at Jon's house early. Like....4AM. Which meant I was up at 2:45. We hit the road and made it on the water by sun up. There wasn't any current and the fishing was slow. In fact, we had 3 fish by 10am and I was already starting to loose faith. We fished some rock piles and other visible structure. My only fish of the morning came on a shakey head in 30 feet of water. But, when the sun came up, the generators kicked on. Like a light, we noticed a ton of action on grass adjacent to the main channel. Everywhere we looked were fish busting. They were running bait out of the deep and into the grass. Jon and Short were throwing plastic Ribbit frogs while I threw a hollow belly Spro and probed the grass edges with a Lucky Craft Sammy.

Getting bites came easy for me, but getting them in the boat was proving much harder. They weren't hitting the Spro frog hard and they were diving into the grass with the Sammy and dislodging it. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem. When I throw the Sammy on Guntersville, I use braid. But since I thought we would be fishing open water, I stuck to mono. Big mistake, especially when I tempted a solid 8 pounder to annihilate my bait not once but 3 times, only to pop it out in the grass. Jon and Short, however, didn't seem to miss a fish. I made the swap over to the Ribbit and that solved a lot of my problems. The other thing I did was eliminate the wait when they hit the Sammy. Now, I snatched them to the top and surfed them in.

We pounded them pretty hard that day, but just as we were hitting stride, we had to go. I had plans at 5 and we had to be off the water at 2. No problem, really. We learned a lot and we knew we would be back. We caught around 25 fish over the course of the day with at least 20 of them coming in the 11-1:30 frame. We had several 4 pounders and 1 that pushed 5. I missed at least half of my fish.

Day 2
It was painful counting the days until we could hit up Pickwick again. We started out early again and it didn't take long to get started. On the way back to the ramp on the first day, we stopped a nice gravel bottom next to a shelf. On perhaps the 2nd cast, I hooked into a fish. I could tell after about 3 seconds I wasn't dealing with a largemouth. After a serious fight, we got the fish in the boat. It wasn't a huge largemouth, but it was a decent one.
We fished the same grass we ended with the previous trip, but they weren't biting yet. It was early and we didn't expect them to start biting until the current kicked in around 11. So, we ran up to some rock piles that have always been good. About the time we got there, we noticed there was indeed some current. It had fish fired up and we watched both largemouth and smallmouth busting shad. I was throwing a Strike King 6XD while I picked off top water fish. That worked extremely well as we had a couple of doubles. But, strangely enough, the current cut off and the sun got high. 

We fished in the area a good bit longer, but didn't have near the action. We fished the same grass mats as teh previous trip but couldn't coax the fish. We had just about given up when we decided to run upriver to a spot Jon had see a lot of activity on a previous trip, though he hadn't fished. 

Between the main channel and the bank was a secondary channel. In between the two channels was a grass mat. The fish were pushing bait back and forth like a pack of wolves. We went top throwing shallow cranks. I was throwing a Strike King Series 3. Suddenly, the action was fierce. We were catching a mix of white bass and largemouth. Even though we had only caught around 10 fish to that point, we loaded the boat for 30 minutes before we had to head home.  The highlight of my day was one of the very last casts. I had seen a nice fish running the bait and I tossed the Sammy out and he missed it. Again. And again. But, I kept twitching the bait, even all the way to the boat. He must of missed it 5 times. But, right at the boat, he destroyed it! 

Day 3

Because the action had been so much later in the day, we decided not to get on the water until 11. That gave us plenty of time to relax and take our time. We put in and fished the spot we ended at the previous day. The action was decent as the fish were hitting crankbaits. The problem was, the wolf pack of fish would move back and forth, sometimes even as far away as 100 yards. But when they came back, we would catch a ton of them, both whites and largemouth.

The middle of the day was pretty slow, but we pulled back up to the original spot around 5 and from 5-dark we slayed the fish. We even recorded an awesome triple! Keith hooked into a fish with a crank. He held the fish still as I threw the Sammy in on top of him. Another fish nail my Sammy. Jon threw a crank into the fray and hooked one too! It was an awesome feeling!

In all 3 trips, I was able to get the big fish that I missed on the first day to bite. But man, that's one smart fish. I never could get her in the boat. The size continually went down as the water level was dropped. Numbers were good, though. All in all, I learned a lot about the lake. The thing I liked the most about Pickwick was, you can catch fish however you would like. There is every type of fishing a bass fisher could want. Can't wait to get on it again!

Product Review for Metalloid Gun Green Oil and Metcore

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Check out all of my Product/Equipment Reviews

I was very fortunate that, despite the government shutdown that sent me home, people were trying to keep me busy. Alas, I did so...splitting time between being a house husband, fishing, and several projects like the one I am about to tell you about.

Neil Borucki, a technical sales rep from Metalloid sent me some products that he thought I would like.Knowing my love for firearms, my desire to keep them looking good and operating smoothly,as well as the issues in performance I have experienced with some of my firearms, he dropped off bottles of Metcor and Gun Green Oil. Metalloid is a company that specializes in metalworking lubricants. In particular, they have a line of firearm cleaning and preserving chemicals. Neil shared some of the reviews he had received on the products. I read the following one and it really made me raise an eyebrow:

"I had something interesting happen to me about a week ago. I have been using Metcore 57 to clean my guns for about 6 months.  I was shooting at a gun range in Arkansas and had trouble with my front sight on my Glock 40 cal. After shooting about 100 rounds I went back to a table away from the range and disassembled my handgun while it was still very warm (hot). As I removed the slide, barrel, main spring I noticed inside area of my weapon that I had applied Metcor 57 that the gun had a very thin liquid level of lube on all areas that had affected the heat. As I was removing my front site with a tool  what was wet on the barrel and slide cooled off and the liquid micro film that I could see dried back to the dull sheen being completely dry to touch in front of my eyes.  It was the coolest thing that I have ever seen.  The lube appeared to be at a micro film level. My Glock is operating even smoother / faster with the Metcor than with the conventional products that I have used for years. I believe that that micro level of wet lube while operating is improving the rounds feeding from the clip and the brass ejecting. It powerful as I talk to customers about this in a personal experience level.

Typically with the other cleaning / lube products I have used the cleaner / gun oil  dried the barrel and ramp significantly and actually made it less reliable  to feed the rounds into the chamber and eject  especially with aluminum and steel jacket products. My 3 guns did not like non brass ammunition before the Metcore but has significantly improved the performance to shoot all available ammunition."

 I was skeptical because it always seemed that the harsher the chemical, the better it cleaned. And improved performance? Hmmm...But, I was intrigued by what the product offered that many do not. No harsh or lingering scents and it's relatively harmless on the environment. So, I gave it a try on two different firearms. Here is the product sheets.

I decided to try out the Gun Green Oil and Metcor 57 first on a Smith & Wesson SD9 9mm. This gun is relatively new to me and had been shot several times. But, I wasn't really happy with the accuracy or the precision. I had told Neil about his, and he had sent me a few reviews from other people who had  used both products to both clean, preserve, and enhance the performance of their firearms. So, I disassembled the gun and cleaned it as I would with typical solvents and oils. 

After cleaning the S&W, I moved on to cleaning a gun that has had several hundred rounds put through it between cleaning. I pulled out my Ruger 10/22. I have been shooting a mixture of good CCI ammo as well as some older and much dirtier ammo.

My thoughts on the product? I was fairly amazed.

The first thing that ANYONE will notice is that the two cleaners do not have a harsh odor. In fact, they don't have an odor at all. So, not only will you not give yourself a headache and you won't have your wife complaining about smelling up the house, but you hunters won't have to worry about game picking up on the stench.

A little goes a long way. It was nice not to have to continually swap out cleaning patches or dabbing more oil on to a cloth.  I was able to clean the 10/22 with 4 patches total, and could have quit with only 3. I cleaned both guns with one drop of Gun Green Oil on a cleaning patch. Both guns had incredible luster that lasts.

Additionally, the guns didn't have to be coated in oil to have a nice sheen. I was able to set them down and handle them without getting oil everywhere. Additionally, it was easy to clean up my work area.

Another beauty of these products are their packaging. Because of their bang for the buck ability, you only need their 4oz small spray bottle. After being out in the woods or on the range, simply wipe down the gun, spray the bore, and store it away!

The action of both firearms was improved with the use of gun green oil.

I have been very impressed. This is a fantastic option for gun cleaning and maintenance. After using it, I would be hard pressed to go back to using traditional solvents and oils.  I see no real benefit to using the latter. Check back in a few months. I plan on running several hundred rounds through each gun and then comparing! For more info or for ordering, email Neil at

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Texas A&M Preview

Yes. I am still alive. And the Internet bill is still getting paid despite being a part of the government shutdown. The good news is, I have had a terrific time being a full time sportsman and part time home husband. Yep, as long as I keep the washing machine emptied and the dishes clean, my wife doesn't mind that I have been to Pickwick 3 times, as of tomorrow. Or that I have killed more squirrels in the last two weeks than in my whole life combined. The bad news looks like the standoff is almost over and I will be back to subjecting you all to my blather.

Let's just ease ourselves back into the swing of things with a quick review of the TAMU game. Why is going to be quick? Mostly because this computer is slow and old as dirt and that there is always something else to clean. I didn't do a preview of last weeks game for several reasons.

 First, who cares. I mean, it was the Catamounts. Secondly, I was busy. Lastly, who can predict what's going to happen in a game like that. I sure didn't care to try.

 Let's take a look at what we know. The Tigers have one of the best rushing attacks in the country, and that was before the Catamounts let them pad those stats even further. We saw the first start of Jeremy Johnson who became the SEC Freshman of the Week. The defense was able to sit some guys to heal while getting some guys back on the field. TAMU, err...Manziel....has been on fire. They post one of the nations all time offenses. And yet, their defense can't seem to stop anyone. They've simply been able to outscore everyone up until this point. Now, I know that same sentence has been said in the past with other teams. Take the 2010 Tigers and their NC counterparts, the Oregon Ducks. Even in those cases, neither team had one of the WORST defenses in the country, as TAMU does. They allowed the Tide, who has struggled on offense, to pile up mad points. Struggling Ole Miss almost pulled off a monumental comeback. And those are the good teams that have scored. Even the cupcakes have been able to put up points.

 I fully anticipate Auburn to score, and in bunches. The problem is, the offense has had sputtering quarters. They can put up 21 points in one quarter and fail to record a 1st down in another. A lot of that has been due to the inability to consistently throw the ball. Johnson showed us last week what an accurate passer looks like, and while many people would say that it was against inferior talent, throwing the ball is throwing the ball. Marshall, at times, has been able to complete passes of any length regardless of pressure or the openness of the receiver. On the flip side, this game will be the game where the Tigers show just how far they have grown and how far they can go. I don't think Johnson gives them the best chance to stay in the game, simply because of his age. But, he is probably the best bet to outright win the game. Marshall, and the Tiger running game, have the best chance at keeping the Tigers in the game until the end, though not the best chance to win it. Sound funny? Face the facts here. TAMU is *PROBABLY* going to score on almost every possession. A running game that can continually pick up first downs and eat up the clock will prevent the game from getting "out of hand" as it did last year. On the flip side, it's almost impossibly to win a game running the ball when you are down two scores.

On the flip side, starting Johnson gives you a very real chance to throw the ball, though I feel like it would take him a half to get in the game. By then, the game would probably be out of hand, very similar to what Wallace found last year against TAMU. But, if the game is within 2 scores, the ability to throw the ball accurately gives the chance to come from behind and win. Regardless of the QB situation, the run game will always be there. But, the application of it will be interesting to watch. This is another Trey Mason game.

The dynamic player will continue to impress everone with his versatility. I expect this game to be a breakout game on the National scene for Mason. I don't mean as a 2nd team All-SEC, but as a top tier running back. This game will start the Mason for Heisman in 2014 talk. While he is a fantastic player, this game will showcase an up and coming Auburn offensive line, starting at center.

If Dismukes comes back for his senior season, expect BIG things offensively. This line will give Marshall the time to throw the ball, but I don't think he will make the gamebreaking throws needed to win the game. Expect to see a lot of inaccurate throws, as we have come to expect. Two weeks doesn't make that much difference in the development of a player, regardless of the coach speak that we hear. Now, I am not ready to go out on a limb and say that Johnson will be in by halftime, but I wouldn't be surprised to go into the locker room 28-10 after a couple of 3-and-outs and a pick. But, I also wouldn't be surprised to go into the locker room 17-10 after seeing a run heavy attack that manages the clock and keeps Johnny Football off the field. As stated, this TAMU defense has had trouble against all forms of other teams offenses, so I expect receivers to get open and the run game to be wide open. Will the ball get there and will it get caught?

As I have hinted, the run game will thrive. How could it not? But, if I were Sumlin, I would make Marshall throw it. I would love to be surprised, but I don't think thats a good thing.  I fully expect this to be Marshall's last game as a full starter.

What can be said? Auburn isn't going to stop the Aggie offense. Even containing it doesn't seem possible. The Manziel to Evans connection seems to be impossible to stop and I don't see Auburn stopping it. So, what can you do? With anyone else I would consider having a spy, with crashing defensive ends. But Johnny is too fast to spy with a player 7 yards off the line. Playing for sacks just seems to be a nightmare.  Auburn has solid corners. Let him see if he can make plays in tge air. And make sure to double Evans.  Malena is a solid back,  but I doubt he would be a traditional SEC starter. Forcing Johnny to give the ball to Malena on early downs gives them the best chance to stay in it. Get him in 3rd and long,  trying to make throws.  The biggest thing Auburn can do is QB contain and take good angles. Honestly,  I hold zero stock in that.  Auburn wont consistently stop them. All they can hope for are a few 3 and outs and a turnover or two.

Now, the move if Egua to the inside made waves the last two games. The freshman have made real strides on the outside and I would love to see them become game breakers. But, I have too much respect for Johnny.  If anything could turn the tide,  that will be it.

The Line
Auburn matches up well on strength on weakness. But barring a complete offensive break down by TAMU, they can't stop them enough nor score enough to win. Furthermore,  they cannot get down more than 2 scores in the first half. Usenets, that means mo , ore than 2 3 and outs in the half. Which means Auburn must run on 1st down and gash the Aggie defense which gives up the nation's worst yards per carry. This is something they can do. The game stays close, but Auburn wont get off the field on defense enough to win.
TAMU 45-31