Saturday, January 30, 2010

SP101 sends a few more down range

The testing of the SP101 continues.


38 Special - Lee 358-158-RF cast with 20/1 alloy. Bullseye 4 grains (Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook Data), CCI 500 primer, Herters Brass. Averaged 765 fps and shot POA at 5 yards. Looks like it could be the most accurate load yet.

357 Magnum - Lee 358-158-RF cast with 20/1 alloy. Bullseye 6.6 grains (Lyman #48 Data), CCI 500 primers, Winchester Brass. Averaged just under 1100 fps and showed promising accuracy.

I've also been carrying IWB. So far it is very comfortable in positions 3 & 4. Easy access and draw. Comfortable, secure and the weight is mostly unnoticed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ruger SP101

I'm admitting it - I'm just not a autoloader guy.

There is a lot to like - capacity, weight, size, speed...

I've owned two Glocks, I could NOT warm up to them. The 17 in 9mm is fun to shoot but man that is one dinky little cartridge. Sure there is quality SD ammo out there and can be had for a premium. Not practical for practice. Cast bullets were not recommended and they are about as ugly as a gun can be, completely lacking any "soul."

I tried a Glock 22 in 40 S&W. Same thing with a little more thrill and a little bigger holes. Using a leather holster seemed about as natural as hair on a frog.

Conversely a Colt Single Action Army/variation/replica has soul on steroids. Beautiful, points like the finger of God, shoots a Big cartridge that is easy to handle and fun to reload. Reloaders are spared the indignity of policing brass spewed into hard to reach places (always under some bench at the end of my reach it seemed). Reactive targets fall with authority. "There is something about the muzzle end of a 45 that says, Go away." Even the report is muscular. Launching 250+ grains of lead in the direction of a target doesn't rely on technology to create damage...

The down side is you have about 2.5 pounds of bulky steel to lug around. The Mernickle high ride holsters are outstanding but concealment in summer months is a stretch. They are slow to reload and the capacity is limited. I don't buy the slower to shoot arguement. I believe that a skilled shooter can get six shots off as fast as fast, more accurately and with a bigger bullet than an auto loader guy. Slow hits trump fast misses in my book. One is not limited by bullet shape or velocity to function reliably. Wyatt Earp said the most deadly were those that were deliberate and delivered accurate shots.

Enter the Ruger SP101. It combines reliability, magnum ability and portability. The obvious shortcoming - capacity.

With the availability shortage of primers my testing has been limited. I did test the Lee 358-158-RF bullet cast with 20/1 alloy. I tried three powders and in the snubbie Bullseye outperformed the bunch in both 38 special and 357 Magnum loadings. Using the Lyman Max data for this bullet weight and Bullseye produced a mere 690 fps average. It shot POA at 5 yards and was also very accurate. In 357 the Bullseye did well too. Even at sub maximal charges velocities topped 1100 fps withe the 160 grain bullet and was still very pleasant to shoot. The loads printed about an inch and a half over Point of Aim so the fixed sights could be challenging at longer ranges. We shall see once I find some primers...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Equality thanks to Sam Colt

"God made man(kind), Sam Colt made 'em equal."

World Champion Kenda Lenseigne beat 'em all (the guys too) in 2009 with a pair of 45 Colts.
Photos by Brian Anthony:
Read the story

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Winter Scouting - CSI Critterville

Early in December I spent a wonderful day out scouting. The few inches of snow make tracking tracking critters using the area easy. Deer, Coyote, Turkey, Snowshoe Hare, Ravens and squirrels were the most common tracks.

I wondered into an area where I noticed an increasing number of Coyote tracks. The well used paths with variety of sizes indicated multiple dogs. The evening prior I was treated to long chorus of coyote songs by two separate packs, one unusually large group above me that I would guess had more than six members. The other group further down the hill sounded like no more than four.

As I followed their trails I began to suspected a kill may be in the area. After a short track I found a large area of flattened snow- much bigger than a typical bed.

There wasn't any obvious signs of a kill there though I suspect there may have been based on the concentration of Raven tracks. Any scrap that would surly have been gleaned.
A few yards later I found my first hard evidence - a doe sized spine/rib cage. Cougar kills I've found in the past were intact while the cat was feeding, Coyotes would come along later and tear it apart and scatter the remains. It looked to me like the Coyotes had discovered a kill.About ten meters from the spine section I found what looked like the kill site. There was a lot of blood including a depression where it pooled. I assume this is where the deer first succumb to the attack and where the feeding began.

Nearby were two other disturbed areas where the deer had been consumed, probably in separate parts based on fur color differences, intestinal contents (which were flattened by what looks like being rolled on) and the few small uneaten bits I could find. From what I observed I suspect was the larger section the carcass was further torn apart and dragged into other nearby feeding sites.

Not far from the Kill site, just outside the feeding areas I saw the Deer's last tracks and the spot I'm guessing it first came under attack. I backtracked and right up until deer was attacked it had meandered though the mixed woods and openings browsing as it went. The gait appeared healthy and based on the stomach contents at the kill/feeding sites, wasn't starving. Due to the suddenness of the attack and the short distance to the kill I suspect this Deer was killed by a Cat. Dogs who tend to run down their prey over long distances.

I didn't see any obvious cat tracks. The volume of Coyote tracks - virtual highways - could have obliterated them though. I also found two of what appears to be "fur balls", like what a cat hacks up.

Also there were areas that appear to me as "waiting areas" flattened snow, no blood, fur or bones with multiple beds in view of the kill site, as if the Yotes waited until the Cat left or had the numbers and nerve to drive it off.

I spent a few hours spiraling around looking for clues. What actually happened I will probably never now but it was fun trying to figure it out...

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Last of the Mountain Men

Tomahawk posted this link over on the Bushcraft site

The Last of the Mountain Men

It is a very good read about Sylvan Ambrose Hart, aka Buckskin Bill. Some of his wisdom is imparted in the article.
"For the city man, life is just a jumble, like the facts in a college freshman's notebook. But you can ask me anything about nearly anything and I can answer, because I've had time to think about it."
"The good things a person needs—stubbornness, thinking for himself—don't make him a 'useful member of society.' What makes him 'useful' is to be half-dead. On weekends they open all the cemeteries and all those dead people march out. All the same sickly shade of hide, all sunken-eyed, not really seeing anything, just walking about because it's a weekend. Like I say, dead people. Then Monday—well, they don't all go back to the cemetery, where they belong. They ought to be honor-bound to go back where they'd be happier, the poor human ciphers lead such pitiful circumscribed lives."

"I work three, four hours before it gets hot, then maybe two more after the sun goes down," says Sylvan. "Or I might just stop and watch an otter play. If you lived in a place like this and had to work hard eight hours a day, you'd be a pitiful incompetent."

"These animals are the same as most people, or better," says Sylvan undefensively. "Go down Seventh Avenue in New York and you can see people, but you can't talk to them. You'd be better off seeing animals. Except you could talk to the animals without 'bothering' them."

"Lots of people live a whole lifetime," Sylvan observed, "without having a mountain lion in their garden."

"Now, what is there about buckskin you could get better on Park Avenue or Bond Street?" Sylvan continued, rhetorically, laying out a newer jacket for inspection, bullet holes in the leather neatly mended. "Just this: a cold wind is what kills you in the mountains, but it can't cut through a big stag hide. And buckskin protects you from thorns. Know what those fringes are for? Not for decoration. They let water run off faster, and they make you a poorer target by breaking up the outline."
"Now, bedding," Bill announced. "Here's an elk hide I tanned. That's as good for sleeping as anything. It's warm, the hair is hollow so you can stand to have it against you, and it doesn't absorb moisture."

But in that remote country, as Sylvan says, "even if someone didn't like you very well he was still kind of glad to see you."
"Oh, I'm patriotic," says Buckskin. "Ever' time a bald eagle flies by, I take off my hat."

Sylvan “Buckskin Bill” Hart (1906-1980) was a “modern-day mountain man”. He arrived on the Salmon River in 1932 during the Depression and remained until his death. His story is one of survival in the harsh environment of the Salmon River canyon. He raised his own food, built his own home, and created unique items to survive in the wilderness. The museum has a large collection of Buckskin Bill’s handmade artifacts including utensils, rifles, knives, and buckskin bags. Two books, A River Went Out of Eden by Chana Cox and The Last of the Mountain Men by Harold Peterson, tell the story of this Idaho loner.