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Friday, April 16, 2010

5.11 Tactical Pants, Beer, and Qatari Diplomat Humor


Warning: Do not use the thigh pockets in 5.11 Tactical pants for holding beer cans while walking. They fit well, but the beer gets shaken up too much to open. Don't ask me how I know. My dog thought it was funny and has a Pavlovian taste for beer like I do.


Did you hear about the Qatari jackass that joked about lighting his shoe on fire on an airplane? Funny, huh. Scrambling a couple of fighter jets and having taxpayers pay for it is funny, too. I have an idea. Since this ass has such a sense of humor, let's pink belly him. I thought it was funny as a kid or in boot camp. This time, though, we won't stop until his internal organs are jellied. Or maybe we can take him snipe hunting. I know a place out west that we can drop him off and just forget about him. He'll be looking for snipe for the rest of his life. Make it winter time and that may be up to a few days.


Riflescopes 101 classes starting next week.


My best to Kelly and Reed getting married! God bless!
 
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Friday, April 09, 2010

Rad's Last Point and Binoculars 101


My Shirley and I were perusing the estate this week after work. Rad was doing laps and peeing on things when Shirley said, "LOOK!" The dog was locked up like a statue. He hadn't pointed a bird since he was retired a few years ago. Locked up solid. A cock pheasant was strutting his stuff outside our fence and neither animal could see each other. My Shirley was beside herself. Although My Shirley has been in the bird fields with us a couple times, she never really saw Rad on point. It took 14 years for her to see such a sight, and it was almost like an epiphany. Rad has pointed thousands of birds for me over the years, in several gun clubs and on wild birds, as well. Pheasants, quail, and chuckar, mainly. It's a thing of beauty and we're both glad Mom got a glimpse of what he used to do regularly so well.


I put my discontinued 2-7 Bushnell Legend on my little Marlin bolt action .22, finally. The next project is to determine which gun/scope combinations will make it to my next class, Riflescopes 101. I just finished the first four training sessions for this year, Binoculars 101. Almost 50 people attended, mostly new employees, and it was fun for all, but certainly a lot of work for me. I'm gonna start getting ready for Riflescopes 101 today. Class is in two weeks.


Made a great smoked ham for Easter. The leftovers will go for eggs Benedict, navy bean soup, and split pea soup. Beans are soaking as we speak.


Hope you have a great weekend.
 
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

ATN PS-40 and Chuck the Vet's Meat


Continued from the previous blog: The ATN PS-40 comes in a great SKB hard case with all accessories and tools needed to mount the scope to a pic rail. The BAM mount is separate. The IR illuminator is included, and gives you the opportunity to use the device in complete darkness. Just this morning I spoke again to the person I plan to use it with for coyotes, and we're trying to button the trip down a little tighter.


My friend Chuck the Vet was over the other day for some gun stuff. He just got a couple of new .22 and .30 caliber Tipton cleaning rods that he will love using. We also swapped some wild game. I gave over some ground Colorado elk and some various steaks and roasts, and in return I got some Canada geese, some Nebraska Merriam's turkey, and some pheasants.


I smoked a couple pheasants last weekend. I used foil bread tins and put the birds in the middle and covered them with uncooked wild and white rice, and poured over them a mild mixture of apple cider and water. I threw some cloves and cinnamon in the water pan, and this time I used plum wood for smoking. The birds were done and tender at about two hours. I served them with a cranberry salsa and corn with parsley. Yum. I'll smoke an Easter ham this weekend. Smoked goose breasts coming soon.


I gave away a couple of necklaces I made out of some Lake City 5.56 the other day. I wanted to make some matching 5.7 earrings, but I discovered my quinetic bullet puller won't work on the tiny things.


Still working on deep cleaning another .22LR bolt action. A now-discontinued Bushnell Legend 2-7 (3-9s are still available) will go on it in Burris steel rimfire rings. This scope will be a perfect match for how I use this little gun.
 
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Friday, March 26, 2010

ATN PS-40 Generation 4 Night Vision Device with BAM mount on EGW HD Base on Savage 10 FCP McMillan .308 Winchester






My Savage 110 FCP McMillan has a new top end on it. It's the ATN PS-40. After decades of professional gunstuff employment, I'm a bit jaded, and not too many items excite me extraordinarily. This unit definitely does. It's the big brother of the excellent ATN PS-22, with a larger objective lens and commensurate performance. I have to return it, but I'll get a chance this year to beat the heck out of it in the field, and a tentative hunting trip is already planned for song dogs and night time testing. OpticsPlanet.com will be offering them soon.








Use your standard rifle with daytime optics and install the PS-40 (or PS-22) in front of the scope, and viola, you have a night vision device in front of your favorite familiar riflescope platform without change of point of impact. Clipping this excellent night vision device onto your scope takes under a minute. If you have a long enough pic rail, you can simply attach the night vision device directly on it. The power and performance of this unit can only be seen in fictional movies. It is the real deal, though, and the brightness of the picture is indescribable without seeing it in real life. AND, you get to use it through your regular daytime scope. In this case, it was a Leupold Mark 4 3.5-10x40 with illuminated reticle. Yes, you can still use the illumination in your scope, since the reticle brightness is not enhanced tens of thousands of times by the night vision device like it would be if the night vision device was in back of the scope (or red dot sight) instead of the front. The Leupold Mark IV riflescopes are superb.








I used a mount made to mimic the Larue S.T.O.M.P. mount, but is much less expensive, although certainly comparable. It is made by ATN expressly for the PS-40 night vision device, and ATN calls it the BAM. I thought it may stand for "Bad Ass Mother....", but the acronym is for the somewhat boring "Boresight Attachment Mount". Nevertheless, it is an excellent product in most every way. The 1/2 inch attachment nuts should be captive so they don't get lost, for instance, and if I owned one, I would peen the bolts so they could not be removed. Easily done.






I removed my Leupold Mark IV two piece bases that I love, and installed one of the new EGW (Evolution Gun Works) one piece HD mounts that we will be offering soon. The Mark IV bases are a standard that other bases are measured by, and I prefer two piece mounts mostly because it's easier to load the gun from the top with frozen, gloved fingers. In this case, the gun was magazine fed and could not be singly loaded anyway, so it was a moot point. Mainly, though, I needed a longer one piece base because the recoil lugs on the BAM mount were spaced more closely apart than what the recoil groove spacing on the two piece Mark IV bases gave me. This new offering from EGW, one of my favorite quality companies, is made of good steel, and has perfect picatinny specs. Any other type than true picatinny is just pretend, and can cause issues when swapping scopes between firearm platforms. As a matter of fact, although Mark IV bases are true pic spec, it matters what orientation the two piece bases are, at least on this Savage. What I mean is that when you have a reversible front base, the position of the non-centered groove in that base may cause a non-picatinny spacing between it and the rear base recoil groove. Again, there may not be the same spacing between the rear groove and the front base groove when you reverse the front base, therefore the spacing error makes it NOT true picatinny. Picatinny is not just the recoil groove width (among other dimentions), but the spacing between the recoil grooves. Anyway, the EGW HD bases are superb, and I recommend them highly, although I wish the Torx screws were number 15 in size rather than number 10. Yeah, I know I'm really anal.









Attach the PS-40 to the underside of the top piece of the ATN BAM mount and leave it. When you need to install it, tighten the two 1/2 inch bolts onto the cantilevered top part of the base and you're done. I always use my Leupold 65 inch pound torque wrench with a Thorsen 1/2" deep well socket for these occasions. I can't live without this tool any more, although the wrench is mostly needed to ensure return to zero as close as possible by tightening the same amount every time, rather than just a secure assembly. Worst case scenario, if you need to, just use a box or adjustable wrench or your Leatherman tool (aaaaarrrrrrrggghhhhh) and don't cry about it. Just get it tight without twisting the things off.
More about the ATN PS-40 and the BAM mount to come.
 
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Friday, March 19, 2010

5.11 Tactical Trainers and Ballistically Erotic Projectiles


My new 5.11 Tactical Trainers are superb. No break-in required. In Modesto, California last year at the 5.11 Dealer Symposium the Tactical Trainers were introduced. Turns out that at that time I was wearing a similar style of boot from an outdoor outfitter I like. I wore them on a safari in 2008 and got monkey blood on them that I never could get out. I was referred to as "Mr. Monkey Blood" by the folks from 5.11 Tactical. I have replaced those worn out things with the new 5.11 Tactical Trainers, and I won't look back. They are light but still have great support. Metal loop eyelets and a tough abrasion resistant toe. Leather uppers with airmesh, breathable panels. The Vibram sole is a standard and a great tread pattern, and easy enough to clean. I got a pair in black as well as tundra. These are great boots for everyday wear, with plenty of comfort.


More display items being built around here. I recently got an M249 SAW in the house that I camo'd up that will be put in a showcase. The cartridge belt has every tenth bullet tip painted red with some of My Shirley's toenail polish to look like tracers. Ballistically erotic. Projectiles have never looked so sexy.


It was our 18th wedding anniversary on the 17th, Saint Patrick's day. Our full day started early. In the evening I made some spaghetti sauce. Afterwards, the kitchen walls looked like someone filmed a version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies there, with all the clumsy stirring and bubbling brew spurting about. What a bloodbath on our walls. Sauce turned out great, though. Shirley also wore some new "stuff" from Victoria's Secret, and some new intoxicating perfume. I stalked her around the house following her scent upwind like a bird dog through a briar field.


Product training sessions start here on April 7th. Classes will last through November. I seem to always have so many irons in the fire I'm like an inside-out porcupine. I seem to drive motorcycles on thin planks as a matter of course.


Spring is coming. Gave us enough of a warm tease to play outside for a few days, but being in Chicago, we're due for snow this weekend. I have many inside projects to choose from. My Shirley and Rad are busy with new projects including Radicalsrawhide.com. Have a great weekend.


 
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Guns and Ammo and Cookies and Milk



Sometimes I get pretty saturated in my job, same as the cookies I soaked in milk during a midnight snack. This week was another busy one. I bring it home with me, too, but that's okay. I would just do the same stuff anyway. After a long day of professional puttering with gun stuff and guns, I still read Gun Magazines for fun. It's not all work.




Mounted a Bushnell Sportsman 3-9 with AO on a Remington model 5 bolt action .22 rimfire. Serbian manufacture. Some sharp places on the bolt, but it functioned without a hitch. Feeding from the metal 5 round magazine was perfect, and the bolt moved smoothly enough. Extraction was strong. Metal finish and bluing was good. Trigger was horrendous. The stock looked like a typical Remington stock, shaped and inletted very nicely. Hardware was okay. Nice looking little gun. I used Millett Angle-Lok 22 rings to mount the scope because the first rings I used didn't have windage adjustments, and the 3/8 inch rail on top of the gun was not perfectly in line with the receiver, and I ran out of windage adjustment. I regularly use these excellent Millet rings for a variety of applications. I lapped the rings and deep cleaned the gun. I put it back together and mounted and boresighted it. With the strangely improved trigger the gun let me shoot one hole groups in my 50 foot range with some old Peters high velocity stuff. Nice petite little gun, and quite attractive.




I mounted one of the new Redfield Revolution 3-9x40 riflescopes, also in lapped Millett rings, onto a Savage model 4M Deluxe bolt action .22 WMR that I've had for decades. I gave it a deep clean and will hope for some good shooting fun with it next range trip, especially because I have a bit of extra WMR that could use some shooting. I've always liked this regularly underestimated cartridge a lot.




Annual product training starts here next month. I'll have a schedule distributed next week. This is a consuming time of year. Classes and the preparation for them calls for maximum effort, and is satisfying for me and my team. Most hopefully, the content is appreciated and assimilated by the students and associates in class.




My dad's doing well, thanks. So is My Shirley and Rad, and we hope you are, too.
Spring is coming....




 
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Adventures at SHOT


The annual SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) show was in Vegas this year. Lots of miles covered carrying lots of paraphernalia. Nikon had the coolest introduction of all with their "Spot On" ballistic program. More on this outstanding data program soon. Nikon also introduced the M223 scope with a BDC turret set for 55 grainers. Leupold has some great new products such as new tactical scopes and mounts, a new mini red dot, a rangefinder that is bow mounted and automatically activated, and most of all, the reintroduction of the Redfield riflescope line that will be the most heavily talked about introduction all year. They are already selling like hotcakes, and the prices are right.
We're hot right now adding new products as quickly as we can. Look for lots of new vendors and manufacturers soon!


We stayed at the Trump, which was extremely nice, and we ate well every night as a group in varoius restaraunts before dropping unconsious in bed to recharge our batteries for the next day. Someone actually saw me dancing one night.


Our Technical Sales group has a few new additions to serve our customers with information this year. The old group is gone, and this new one will strive to be even better.


Hats off to my Dad, who is healing up after heart surgery.


Hope you're all well.


 
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Friday, January 15, 2010

SHOT Show 2010!

The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show is in Vegas again this year. Leaving Monday. This is my Superbowl, this is some of what I get paid for. Pressing the flesh, establishing new contacts, and putting faces to names. Some politics. I don't know how many SHOTs I've been to over the last couple of decades, but an awful lot. It's still kinda fun, but certainly exhausting and tons of work.

A full dozen OP employees will be there this year, the most ever. Buyers, merchandising, executives, and gun monkeys like me.

We'll do our best for the company and for you! I'll fill you in when I get back.
 
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Hope Christmas was great, and have a Happy New Year! God bless you and yours!
 
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas with Steve's Slow-Cook Venison Stew!





Not many foods can thaw a cold winter chill like a hot hearty stew made from meat with an animal you have taken. This is how I built my last batch of elk stew, courtesy of an animal taken this October in Colorado with the Burris company.


Steve's Slow-Cook Venison Stew:
In a large slow cooker, add the ingredients in the following order:

A few carrots cut into one inch pieces, or baby carrots.

A few ribs of celery in one inch pieces

Several red potatoes cut into one inch chunks

A few parsnips cut into one inch chunks (this is a secret that really takes stews over the top)

A cup or two of chopped onions (I use both red and yellow)

Lots of chopped garlic

A few bay leaves

A couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

A tablespoon or so of dried thyme (one of my favorite herbs, always dried from my garden)

A tablespoon or so of dried basil (from my garden)

Black pepper to taste ( I like pepper so I put in a couple tablespoons)

A couple pounds of any well trimmed venison cut into one inch pieces

A couple large cans of whole tomatoes with juice (I use our frozen garden cherry tomatoes)

Several cans of beef broth

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cold water



You can determine your own exact recipe according to your tastes, and size of cooker. Remember to crush the herbs to release more flavor. Do not stir the pot. Make sure the fluid covers all the ingredients and is pretty close to the top of the cooker. Put the temperature on low and forget about it for 8 or 10 hours.



Scoop out the meat and vegetables and place in a large covered serving bowl, leaving the liquid in the cooker. Discard the bay leaves. Turn cooker to high and cover it. Whisk the flour and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add a cup of the cooking liquid and mix well. Stir the mixture into the cooker and mix again. Keep it covered and cook for 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and enjoy with a hearty crusty bread. I always make wheat bread from scratch to go with this special treat. The stew freezes well. I have used variations of this recipe with whitetail, mulies, pronghorn, caribou, and now elk. It's a simple recipe that you can modify to your desires.
I took the preceding picture last night from some thawed leftovers. It was accompanied by raw cow's milk french bleu cheese with seasoned rye crackers, 12 grain bread and cold grape juice. Life is good. Enjoy!






 
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