“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some things you do but you don't really know why.

 Among other things, I fired out all my "ready" ammunition yesterday.  Since I keep loaded firearms in a number of places around my house this constitutes some considerable shooting.  I don't know why I should periodically fire all the ammunition I use in carry weapons or house guns, but I have been doing it for years.  Jeff Cooper, an early gun guru, did so and Massad Ayoob supports the idea, so I do it.

   In my 17 round magazines, I only load 15 rounds. In 30 round rifle magazines, I load 25 rounds. So yesterday I fired about 100 rounds of 9mm,  150 rounds of 7.62X39,  and 24 rounds of .38 special or .357 magnum.  All of the brass was reloadable except the 7.62X39.   If I go down behind my barn, I have a clear field of fire down the length of the meadow for about 100 yards.  It's nice not to have to go to the range for this kind of shooting.  After I finished with that, I took down my targets.  Then I went around to my front porch, and spent about 30 minutes firing .22LR from my Polish M1948 rifles. They look like Mosin Nagant 1891/30 rifles but were built for training so chamber .22 LR.  I have an old pot hanging out in a tree, and I can sit on the front porch and blast away at it to my hearts content.  I still have most of a case of Russian .22LR I bought from Sportsmans Guide back in the early 90's, so I'm not short of .22 LR.

Later in the day we drove up to North Carolina.  There's a pet store up there where the owner will get things for us we can't order direct off line.  My two sick ferrets need a particular high protein supplement, and the manufacturer won't sell direct to customers.  So this fellow orders it for us.  We got two tubes, then went to their Walmart. My wife found Smithfield spiral cut hams on sale for half price, so we bought some. One to eat now and several for the freezer.  

On the way home we stopped at a little restaurant on the lake and had a good breakfast.  I liked the place and though it is a ways out of town we will probably go back.



Today we are just staying home. Miriam is watching television and I plan to do some reading. I guess I will have to go up to the study and read in my easy chair, because when I went into my bedroom to read there, the bed was full of slumbering ferrets. They like my comforter, and have abandoned their boxes to move into my room. I usually keep the door shut so they can't get in there, but Ragnar was scratching on the door wanting in, and my wife felt sorry for him. It was an evil ploy though, because when she opened the door, out from behind the wood burning stove rushed the whole thundering herd, and now they are all in there.

So far it's been a great weekend, cold or not.  We have snow flurries every night, but they don't stick because it's too dry. Even with both humidifiers going full tilt, and a big pot of water boiling on the stove we can barely keep the air at 50%, and this house is just about air tight. 


21 comments:

  1. Now my problem is I'm so cheap if I cleared all my magazines and handguns of loaded ammo I'd scream, with every shot, 'there goes another dollar down range.' But, like you, I've stacks of ammo purchased cheap. Have a great day, my friend.

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    1. I genuinely do not know the logic behind this. The cartridges should last just as long in the magazine or in the revolver cylinder as they would in the box, provided the weapons themselves are maintained in an appropriate environment. But after so many years of doing it, and in the knowledge that so many people recommend it, I do it. One thing about it, it's an excuse for getting out and shooting some when I might otherwise rationalize my way out of it.

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  2. No guns yet for us. Our bed gets over run by 3 tom cats all the time. Enjoy the week ahead. Bitter cold coming this next week here.

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    1. first things first. One you have the higher priority items taken care of you'll be able to get what you need in the way of guns. Rome wasn't built in a day. It's taken me more than 30 years to get the ones I have.

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  3. A thundering herd o Ferrets hah.

    I'm with Stephen I just can't spend the money these days. I got thousands of rounds laying around and enough stuff to reload I don't know how many but the cost makes me hesitant to shoot em up.

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    1. I know. I think, especially with the cartridges I can reload, that it is probably a good thing because it forces me to go out and shoot, something I might not do because I don't like cleaning guns, otherwise. But there has to be some reason that people like Cooper and Ayoob say to do this. I don't know what it is, but they are/ were too knowledgeable to say this needs to be done unless there is some good reason

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  4. Heck, we can't even find .22's to buy, so not shooting any of the stash. Can't really see the reasoning behind shooting loaded stuff at today's prices...even bullets for reloading are not cheap. Have been looking at AirSoft rifles just to practice and keep eye sharp.

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    1. Well, I don't really know the technical reason for firing out your carry / house gun ammo periodically either. Maybe they were afraid that gun oil from the weapon or magazine might get on the rounds and kill the primer over time.

      It isn't cheap, that's true. I don't have any air guns or air soft guns. I've seen some that looked interesting, but I felt like getting into a new hobby now would probably not be good planning. I do know that air soft guns are used by some organizations for training, so that's certainly a valid concept.

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  5. Wow, those ferrets really are getting spoiled!

    Hey, wish I had stocked up on .22 several years ago. I can't bring myself to shoot the little I have stashed. --Troy

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    1. Troy, I've been storing ammunition seriously since 1986, and VERY seriously since about 1994. I can remember buying PMC .223 for $2.95 a box of 20. 100 rounds of Winchester .22LR High velocity HP was around $3.00 a box.
      800 round cases of Yugoslavian 8mm Mauser ran about $120.00. 1200 round cases of 7.62X39 (Norinco) cost about $110.00. I'm talking about spam cans, with an opener, in the wooden case. Now prices for both ammo and weapons are absolutely obscene. I'm just lucky to be old enough to have started while it was still affordable.

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  6. I saw a Ruger 10/22 on sale for $269.00 at a big box sports store. Not a great price but it's the first time in over a year I have seen the Ruger "on sale". Ammo and gun prices are getting back closer to normal here in SW Idaho but you have to wait and shop some to get a good deal. I'm still looking for a .22 but I bought plenty of 22 ammo before the madness started.

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    1. Jamie, wouldn't pawn shops be a good place to look for a nice 10/22 or something along those lines? Since people don't reload that round (at least as far as I know) you wouldn't have to worry about firearms damaged by overpressures or that kind of thing. There are probably some old Remington Vipers out there, though finding extra magazines would be hard.

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  7. Harry there are so many points worth hitting here.

    Downloading mags- I download handgun mags by 1 round and rifle mags by 2. Given that my pistol of choice is a Glock holding 15+ and my rifles take 30 rd mags what is a round of two. Don't have a great explanation of why I do this but I have for awhile now the capacity loss is in my opinion negligible and it just might help.

    Rotating ammo and by extension mags- There are complicated reasons for why you probably need to occasionally rotate ammo. Especially ammo such as the first round in your pistol that gets loaded/ cleared/ reloaded/ etc. It's something about the primers I think. The other reason I see is ammo that might end up spending time in less than ideal conditions. Do you really want to trust a speedloader/ mag/ box of ammo that has been sitting in the trunk or behind the seat of the family hauler for 5 years? I don't think so.

    If money is an issue I'd be sure to rotate the first few rounds in a mag as they are likely the ones that get loaded/ unloaded/ reloaded for the most part.

    One, especially if like you they just rock ball ammo, could simply rotate their mags through normal training/ practice/ plinking. To put it into perspective 3 loaded mags for a double stack semi auto pistol is about a 50 rd box which is a quick and fairly affordable range trip. When you go shooting weekly/ monthly/ quarterly just shoot up the ammo in your mags and load them with new ammo, ideally your oldest (safely stored) ammo using a first in first out type plan.

    The biggest reason I have not transitioned to a high end uuber fast all copper hollow point like Cor Bon DPX is that they cost a buck a round. The Federal Classic I carry is more like 50 cents now and was .37 when I bought a case a couple years ago. At those prices it doesn't hurt too badly to rotate the loaded stuff annually but if I paid a buck or more a round for Cor Bon I'd be the guy Tam always talks about "Cletis who splits a box of them there holler points with his buddy to load 1 mag each and will probably will them to his eldest son along with his beloved Hi Point 9mm and nylon holster."

    I like to check on mags every couple months or so. If I don't shoot them empty along with the rotating ammo plan I'll empty them, inspect then toss them in the box o mags and grab new ones. I have read pages of discussion among engineers and material science folks about rotating mags but personally have identified mags that were faulty (old beretta M9 and AR mags specifically) in said rotations so I will keep doing it. I think the big thing is that the rotation is a forcing function for inspection where you find somehow a mag is jammed full of sand and not functional. That being said I've unintentionally kept Glock (.40) mags loaded for multiple years and they were fine. Left both USGI and Magpul AR mags loaded for a year and they were fine.

    Break

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    1. 22lr ammo availability- I'm not desperate for .22lr. That being said there hasn't been approaching normal levels of .22lr for somewhere around 15 months. If anything it's just gotten worse. The stores that kept it honest (keeping the same profit margin but passing on price increases vs charging $50 for a box of 325 bulk pack .22 rounds) get in a trickle and it flies out in minutes.

      Thankfully I stashed some when it was available. I regularly picked up a brick here or there and at least once years back I ended up with a random hundred bucks I didn't need for anything and turned it into several bricks of .22lr so we have a SHTF .22lr stash. Early on (probably last spring) in this mess I stumbled into a thousand rounds of .22lr at decent enough prices to buy it. Since the SHTF stash is decent I put that into my range box for practice, testing guns and just plain enjoyment.

      One of my biggest lessons learned from Firearmagedon was to segregate out some training ammo. I loath to dig into my stores just to go shooting. However if I have some ammo purchased and set aside specifically for normal practice, etc I feel better about it.

      That being said I'm still pretty cautious about shooting too much ammo I cannot readily replace. So I'll shoot a 50 rounds of .22lr in a trip to the range instead of a hundred or more like I would during normal times. Till things get better I doubt that will change. When/ If normally priced .22lr ammo becomes readily available I'd like to double my SHTF stock and set aside 5k for training.

      Sounds like a fun day of shooting and a nice weekend for you all.

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    2. Ryan, I have always refrained from filling up magazines, because that's how I was trained in the USMC in the early seventies. It was not book procedure, but at that time the USMC was largely comprised of Viet Nam veterans at the leadership levels and they were very adamant about it. It's a habit I have continued to observe all these years later. Even though the engineers have declared "spring set" a non problem, I'm always leery of that and not loading a magazine to full capacity seems wise in that regard. The argument about spring set was supposedly settled by a definitive article in Guns and Ammo back in the early 90's, where they hired a big name engineering firm to settle the question. Those guys said spring set was a myth. The article also referenced numerous cases where weapons had been left with fully loaded magazines for decades, then fired perfectly. The one I remember best was a case in Holland. They were tearing down old houses and found a German MP40 hidden in a wall. When the police were called, they took the weapon to a range and fired it out without difficulty. Since it had been in the wall at least 45 years or so, it did support their position. I don't care, though. I still rotate magazines and down load them.

      I stick with ball because the majority of my hand guns, being older models (pre 1945) won't feed hollow points reliably. There's also the fact that ball is so much cheaper and I have more confidence in it. I have a few boxes of hollow points laying around but they just stay in the ammo cans. I'm a bit compulsive about magazines. If they don't feed properly, I will replace the springs, follower, etc. If that still doesn't work, I tweak the feed lips. I know everybody will groan with horror on hearing that but I do and usually I can get a non serviceable mag back into operation. Another trick is to try the mag in a different gun of the same type. Strangely enough, that often fixes the problem. I have a lot of mags with the serial number of the gun they work in etched on the bottom of the mag. It is a bit of a logistics nightmare sorting them all out but I have gotten a good system going over the years for it. I only do that with problem children that work in one gun but not in another, if I can't seem to get the magazine to work "standard."

      I don't usually open cases or spam cans. There's no need to , really. I used to buy a lot of ammo from Century International Arms, and it usually came in the original boxes on stripper clips. Sometimes with British .303 it came in 20 or 30 round cardboard boxes. So in a case like that, I would open the cardboard box, check to make sure I got what I ordered, and then put the ammo in ammo cans. I open those and shoot the contents when I need ammo. I leave the wooden cases with spam cans for times of real need.

      I don't shoot as much as I used to, but I am working on picking up the pace a little. It's a skill you either use or lose. There is some ammo, like 7.5 French or 7.5 Swiss, 7.7 Japanese, etc, that I don't shoot much because the brass is hard to come by, but even there I have several hundred rounds of each because some years back Graf and Sons brought in a huge custom load of brass for rare chamberings and I got plenty. One thing I have learned with guns, if you see what you need, buy a hell of a lot of it , right then. You may never see it again.

      Thanks for the comments. It gives some plausibility to the theory that you should download mags and addresses some of the other issues where I do things because that's how I was taught, but I don't know the logic behind it.

      We had a good weekend. I'm sorry it's over and she has to head back to school tomorrow but it was nice while it lasted. A few more years and she can retire.

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  8. I bet it feels good to fire rounds like that. A stress relief. My husband goes to a shooting range, but not that often. Of course he can't shoot here at home, since we live in the city.

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    1. Alissa, there are so many things I can do here, on the mountain top, that I couldn't do if I had neighbors close to me. It isn't as private here as it was when I moved up here, but it's still a pretty good place to live. It really is nice to be able to just go out the door and shoot, or sit on the porch and use the rail for a shooting rest. I do belong to a range, and it's not far away, but I don't want to go over there for something simple like this weekend. Our range is on the national forest, the club maintains it, but it gets crowded. Also, if nobody is there, you have to open this huge gate made out of a big piece of steel pipe and that gets a bit tiresome.

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  9. Man, your life sounds like some sort of heavily-armed Norman Rockwell painting

    Out of curiosity, is this how you envisioned spending your retirement years? And do you ever get bored or feel unsatisfied about what youre doing? Is there anything youd rather be doing, or place youd rather be doing it in?

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  10. Do I ever get bored? Yes. That's why I looked for a part time job, but there aren't any here. When you don't know what day of the week it is, and it doesn't matter, something is out of whack.

    Retirement is NOTHING like I thought it would be. I envisioned myself just doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted to. But somebody once said that hell is where you have to repeat the pleasures you enjoyed in life, over and over and over again.

    It's nice not to have a boss. It's nice not to have a schedule. But I miss being part of an organization. I miss "the office" even though I hated the guy I worked for some of the other people were decent. I'm one of those people who can never be satisfied though. It's a curse.

    Well, I am pretty content overall, but I wish I lived in the high desert somewhere instead of the Appalachian Mountains. I like my place, and I couldn't ask for more beautiful country but I feel like before long I'll be too old to make another big move.
    I wish I had a job way out in the national forest, in a fire tower. But they don't use them anymore, just web cams now. Really, no man is ever really satisfied with everything in his life, and as you get older that feeling gets more intense. You don't have an unlimited number of days so you don't want to feel like you wasted a single one. But it's the old story about being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. I should be content, I've got everything I want. Don't you always feel like there's something missing though? Doesn't everybody?

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  11. Harry, One of the things I have learned over the last few years as numerous grandparents and their peers passed is that it's better to move to a place you could live for a long time while you are still relatively young or anyway before you can no longer get down to the washer in the basement and upstairs to your bedroom.

    An ideal house to spend till your last days in would be 1 story or at least have everything you NEED on one story with few if any stairs including the entrance. The setup, specifically the outside and landscaping, need to be pretty low maintenance. You can pay the neighbor kid to mow the lawn but affording, let alone finding someone capable and willing, to maintain a couple acres of manicured flower beds, etc all is not realistic.

    This doesn't mean you can't have land. If you are not relying on fences to keep in animals it's easy enough to have all the land you want and do nothing with it when you get older.

    I think the sheer volume of outside work at your place, especially in the winter is going to become an issue. Also the amount of it where there is some physical risk 75 year old's probably shouldn't be using chainsaws to cut trees that fell over the road or getting onto roofs to replace ceder shingles on isolated mountain tops.

    Whether it's a condo in Florida or a house with a big tin shed in west Texas on a dirt road that goes off into the horizon is another discussion but it is good to be thinking about this now. When your wife retires it would be a good time to make the move.

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    1. You are right in all respects. I keep hoping my son will show some interest in coming back here, and that I could just pass the property and all it contains on to him. I don't think that is really going to happen, though. Maybe he will find a country girl who wants out of the city, that's the only hope.

      I told my wife I supposed we would have to move somewhere that has doctors, and where the ambulance can get to you in under an hour. Somewhere that we can go to town for a meal or a movie or groceries and it isn't a major evolution requiring planning and forethought. Honest to God, I don't know if I can live around a bunch of people. I've avoided people like the plaque for more than thirty years. I have trouble making small talk with the cashier at a restaurant. And I have some character traits that are anti-social, which I suspect will only get worse as I get older. But I think one way or the other, we will be leaving here in five years or so once she retires for good. I don't know what we will do then, but I sure as hell won't be falling down the stairs or falling off the roof, or getting a chain saw bucking back into my face. You'd think that at my age, I'd be settled and past all that.

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