VOLUME 107-----------MAY 2011
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
May 9, 2011
I guess I'd better get started on this. Not only am I getting dinged by my brother Ed, but sister Cheri has now joined in on the harassment! Sorry I'm late. I'll make it up next time. Maybe. Or maybe not.
We joined our Wheelin' Elks RV Club for our annual first roundup this past weekend. This first outing takes place each year the first weekend in May. For our Snowbird members it's just a continuation of their lengthy camping trips to Arizona, Texas, California, or other points South, while the rest of us have an opportunity for a short shakedown cruise after winter storage of our rigs.
The first roundup venue is the campground at the Elks Lodge. Over the past couple of years we upgraded the electrical to 50 amp service and expanded the sites to better accommodate the big motor homes that are so prevalent today. This has made our campground very popular with traveling Elks, and only about half the spaces were available for we locals this year. The fact that we only ask a $15 per night donation doesn't hurt our popularity either!
The festivities began with a lasagna dinner on Friday evening followed by card games in the dining room. Saturday's noon 'tailgate party', featured finger food, provided by the Wheelin' Elks members, walking tacos by the Parman's, and margaritas by Ernie and Vivien.
Saturday's dinner of steak, baked potato, and cowboy beans, was a benefit for the Elk's major charitable project in Washington; our Children's Therapy Program. This program provides free, in home, physical therapy throughout the state for needy children with disabilities. The program employs 12 to 14 Therapists who handle a caseload of about 25 patients each. These are children who would otherwise not have access to such services. A preliminary count indicated that somewhere between $800 and $1000 was raised!
Dinner was followed by Karaoke! Oh my!!! Nuff Said!!!
We also continue to follow Jennifer's track meets. We have been to several area schools, and will be seeing the District meet at West Valley High School on May 12 and 13. Jennifer has been running both the 3200 and 1600 meter races and one day added a 400 meter leg of the 1600 meter relay. Let's see: 3200 + 1600 + 400 = 5200 meters, or nearly 3¼ miles in one meet! I might be able to walk that far if you gave me a week and a half to do it!
Finally got to try out the new Oehler chronograph. Our friend Courtney Johnson has added a .204 Ruger rifle barrel to his collection for his Thompson Center Encore frame. A planned trip to Montana for a ground squirrel shoot dictated that some load development was needed. The .204 rifle barrel joins a 15 inch Encore pistol barrel in the same caliber.
The Oehler 35P worked exactly as advertised. The complete package is contained in a modified rifle case as pictured in last month's newsletter. The kit includes a pre-indexed conduit upon which to mount the skyscreens, two stands, wiring, and the unit itself. I'll post some pictures next, which will make the setup and use process easier to explain.
Here's the setup on my home shooting range.
The electric eyes of the skyscreens are first mounted on the conduit with the set screws tightened into 'dimples' pressed into the metal for distances exactly two feet apart. The two end screens have long bolts that slip into holes in the top of the height adjustable stands which are placed 8 to 10 feet in front of the bench. Next the black sides and orange tops of the 'shooting windows' are installed. Finally the stands are adjusted and aligned so that the bullet passes near the center of the shooting windows on its way to the target.
This sounds way more complicated than it really is, as we simply used a LaserLyte bore sighter to make sure the gun was aimed through the center of the skyscreen windows when positioned on the shooting cradle and sighted on the target. When properly positioned the skyscreens simply 'read' the shadow of the passing bullets and the bench top unit measures the elapsed time between screens.
As I explained last month, the Oehler actually reads two velocities for each shot. The reading between the first and second screen is called the 'proof' velocity. The reading between the first and third screen is the velocity of record and is used in the other ballistic calculations the unit performs. A major difference between the 'proof' velocity and velocity of record is supposed to be an alert if something has gone astray as in a faulty reading, bullet passing outside the reading window of a screen, or other error.
Ready for the next shot string. If you look closely, that printout on the bench shows velocities in excess of 3900 feet per second for that 3 shot string.
The .204 Ruger is the first commercial cartridge since the .220 Swift to generate velocities of over 4000 feet per second from factory ammunition! Some of the loads we checked with Hornady 32 grain V-Max bullets registered 4000+.
Courtney wanted an accurate load in the mid range of pressure and velocity for the rifle barrel using 40 grain V-Maxes. The encore barrel gave generally higher velocities than those using the same powder charges in the loading data. This is not surprising, as the test barrels used in developing the data were 24 inches while the encore is 28 inches long.
The load going to Montana is in the lower range of the loads listed, but still generates over 3700 fps. Not enough shooting was done to be statistically precise, but groups in the ½ to ¾ inch range appear to be in the offing for this load.
I think Spring has finally arrived. Not because we are seeing sunshine and warm temperatures, but because the dang pocket gophers are becoming active! Yesterday, while preparing for a Mother's day wiener roast, I noticed fresh dirt pushed up near the old shop building. After hunting down my digger stick, I opened the burrow and dug the Encore with the .410 barrel out of the safe.
I checked the status of the open hole from time to time and was finally rewarded by signs of fresh activity toward closing the opening. A short watch with the Encore pistol in hand resulted in a kill shot on a trophy gopher! No kidding! This was the largest specimen of the species I've seen, and I've killed several dozen of these things over the past few years.
Large female pocket gopher. Tape measure and 15 inch Encore barrel for size reference. I didn't do a necropsy, but I'd guess this shot took out more than one gopher!
I guess I'll spare you from the soapbox this month, but don't get used to it, 'cause I've got plenty of soapbox material waiting in the wings!
This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from William Shakespeare's 'All's Well That Ends Well':
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!