VOLUME 119-----------MAY 2012
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
May 12, 2012
Really! I'm late? Well, nobody's been bitchin', so guess I ain't in too much trouble. To make up for my lateness, you may want to settle in with a cup of coffee or an adult beverage, 'cause this is gonna be a long one!
As reported last month, we did make a road-trip back to the Midwest for my Mother-in-law's 100th birthday celebration. Quite a struggle to get there, but we did make it. Here's the way it unfolded as we worked toward leaving home the morning of April 5th:
April 4th was the regular Board of Directors meeting at the Elks Lodge where I was again dumb enough to let them elect me Chairman for the fiscal year. The roads were bare and wet when I left home about 4:30 PM, but snow was falling by the time the meeting was over.
As I traveled toward home, I began wishing I had driven the truck instead of my car. (The old Cadillac with those wide touring tires is one helpless puppy in snow!) The wet heavy snow kept falling faster and getting deeper as I neared the long hill that climbs the last mile to our house. I kept up decent speed as I made the corner for that last climb, pressuring the accelerator until the traction control chattered, backing off a bit, then repeating the process.
Just when I think, "I'm gonna make it!" I spot taillights. A car with flashers on is stopped, smack in the middle of the road about 50 yards short of the hilltop! No room to pass on either side. I know if I stop I'm screwed, but stop I do as there's no other choice.
I halted a hundred yards short of the stall, and sort of parallel parked into a gravel pullout to await developments. After several minutes there are no developments. The danged idiot doesn't even try to back up and get to the side of the road. Fortunately, there is a driveway nearby that I'm able to pull into and turn around, said driveway also being available to the aforementioned idiot had he or she chosen to back up and get out of the way.
Since I needed to get home to finish preparations for our journey, I decided to drive to Rick's house and ask him to get me home via his 4 wheel drive truck. Perhaps we can even pull or push the idiot the rest of the way up the hill. We put my car in Rick's shop and he drove me home. We saw nothing of the car that was stuck in the road short of the hilltop. We guessed that he or she either got help or turned around and went back down the hill.
The morning of April 5th we awoke to 10 or 11 inches of very wet, heavy snow on the driveway. I spent much of the morning on the tractor, pushing snow from in front of the house so we can get the car loaded if or when I get it home. Then Ann drove me to Rick's house after the Cadillac. The county road had by then been plowed, and with the temperature above freezing, we had no trouble getting both vehicles back home.
To make this long story longer, we finally got everything loaded and ready to go at about 3:00 PM, at least 6 hours behind schedule already. We figured we could still get a couple hundred miles behind us, so set off for Missoula, Montana. Made it in to the Grant Creek Best Western around 7:00.
Turned on the Weather Channel and fired up the computer to check projected road conditions to Billings. Blizzard conditions expected from Deer Lodge to Bozeman, overnight and through the next day. Are we having fun yet? This is Thursday night and weather all across Montana will be sunny and warmer beginning Saturday. A quick check to make sure our room is available for a second night firms up our Missoula departure for Saturday morning. Spent most of Friday at the Mall in Missoula instead of burning up miles.
At last our weather troubles were over and with overnights in Billings, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls, arrived in Bethany, Missouri on Tuesday, only one day later than originally planned. (Well, the weather troubles were over except for the rain, wind, and two tornadoes that hit towns within 50 to 75 miles of where we were staying!)
The rest of that week was spent preparing for the 100th Birthday Party, which went off without a hitch on Saturday April 14th. (Vivian's actual birthday was the 13th.) We estimated that there were around 90 to 100 guests at the party.
All of Vivian's descendents and spouses were in attendance except for grandson Chris Zimmerman, who was not able to be there. I'll name them all as I add pictures from the party.
Beautiful Birthday Cake
Vivian (Karr) Hart - Born April 13, 1912
Vivian and Daughters, Sue Zimmerman and Ann Parman
Vivian with Christi, Jennifer, Rick, Jim, and Ann Parman
Vivian with Sue and Clifford Zimmerman, Laura, Jackson, Dan, Sydney and Davis Pence
And Here is The Entire Clan
Ann and I, along with Rick, Christi, and Jennifer were able to also visit some of my relatives. Mom and Hugh, Sister Carol and Don, Brother Ed and Nancy, Ed's daughter-in-law Adriana, and Grandson Quinn, all had dinner at Ed's house near Hatfield, Missouri and enjoyed a nice visit.
We hadn't been back home since two years ago, and while still cheerful, active, and living on her own, it was apparent that Vivian's health had failed since we were last there. Since returning to Newman Lake, we have learned that living in the apartment is no longer an option for Vivian, and she has moved to a nearby nursing home. Ann and Sue will soon be flying back to take care of some business matters and relinquish the apartment.
Another matter I reported on last month was the turmoil surrounding the State's Hunter Education program and the proposed new Policy Manual. I won't revisit those issues, but do recall using the subject of 'lawyer proof triggers' to illustrate my point about being overly sensitive to so called 'risk management' issues.
The mention of installing aftermarket triggers brought to mind an article I wrote for Outlook Magazine back in 2006. I referred to that article in my February 2006 newsletter, and provided a link to the magazine's website where each issue was at one time, available online. Outlook Magazine is no longer and upon checking that old link, I find it goes to a homepage that hasn't been updated in years and with no link to any of the magazine articles.
Since I do occasionally like to have a little 'gun talk' in these newsletters, and we can't access that old magazine article, I decided to revisit the subject here.
Have you ever cussed one of those “lawyer proof” factory triggers on a recently purchased, otherwise perfectly good firearm? Yeah, me too!
Personally, I’m awaiting the instigation of a future lawsuit where some “jackleg lawyer” alleges the following: “The eight pound trigger pull on this factory firearm, unreasonably and with malice aforethought, lulled my client into a false sense of security and caused him/her to point the loaded gun at his/her spouse believing that it would require Herculean strength to pull the trigger, when, in fact, it only required a firm jerk with ONE finger!”
“Therefore, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is seeking a modest award of a mere seven gazillion dollars from the firearm manufacturer, for its negligence in not providing a crisp, clean, three and one half pound trigger pull, which would have demanded reasonable caution, thus, catastrophically resulting in overwhelming pain and suffering due to the deprivation of companionship, love, and affection of his/her recently deceased spouse, as well as the poverty and destitution caused by the loss of said spouse’s income!”
(This could evolve into a funny story if things this stupid weren’t actually happening in our fractured legal system!)
OK! I’ll get off my soapbox and discuss how I fixed the trigger on Ann’s Ruger. The rifle is a Model 77, Mark II Compact; stainless steel, gray and black laminated stock, .243 Win caliber. This rifle, with a 12 inch length of pull and 16.5 inch barrel, fits a person of small stature really well, but the trigger was awful.
When tested with a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge, the average trigger weight measured 4 pounds, 11.4 ounces, for 10 pulls. Even worse, the spread ranged from 4 pounds, 0.9 ounces to 5 pounds, 3.5 ounces! Also, it exhibited varying amounts of creep from pull to pull. It’s no wonder she kept bitchin’ about the trigger!
Unlike the Winchester Model 70, Remington Model 700, and Savage with its wonderful AccuTrigger, this Ruger model has no trigger adjustment mechanisms. The trigger return spring could be replaced with a lighter one to reduce the pull weight, but the only way to make other adjustments would be to hone the sear/trigger engagement notches. While I do posses a modicum of routine type gunsmithing skills, I ain’t quite ready for that kind of operation!
After deer season, perusal of the Brownell’s Catalog, a phone call, and a credit card, placed a package from Montezuma, Iowa under the tree for our Christmas Eve family gift exchange. The package, marked “To: Little Heifer”, contained a stainless steel Timney adjustable trigger kit for the Ruger.
The following narrative and photographs, explain how I installed the new trigger in the rifle. I am NOT suggesting you do this. In fact, I’m advising that you DO NOT DO THIS unless you have some basic gunsmithing skills, and fully understand how to test for proper functioning of the safety mechanism, trigger, and sear, in this type of bolt action firearm! In other words, the author is in no way responsible for YOUR actions!
(For further research on this matter, you can read Patrick Sweeney’s book, GUNSMITHING: RIFLES, published in 1999. Sweeney clearly describes the safety checks required when making trigger adjustments on bolt action rifles.)
This is the rifle as it appeared before I tore it apart. (The rifle’s owners manual is a good source for disassembly instructions. It also has exploded drawings showing how everything fits back together. If your manual has disappeared, a ‘phone call or email to Ruger will get you a free one.)
These are the parts that need to come off, before the factory trigger and sear can be removed.
Here is the package that contains the replacement trigger, sear, spring, adjusting wrench, and instructions.
This shows the new parts, before removal of the factory trigger and sear. Note the overtravel adjustment screw and locknut on the left rear of the replacement trigger; an adjustment the factory trigger lacks.
This close up identifies the pins that must be driven out, in order to remove the trigger and sear. They can be pushed out in either direction with a 5/32 inch diameter punch. The trigger must be removed first. It is under spring tension and must be grasped firmly when the pin is removed, in order to avoid searching the floor for scattered parts. After removing the sear pin, the sear will slide forward and drop down through the opening vacated by the trigger.
At this point, the new sear can be installed, but before the replacement trigger is added, a decision is necessary. The trigger spring included in the replacement kit is a very light one. The instructions indicate that using the new spring will result in a trigger pull adjustable from a few ounces, to a maximum of two pounds. If more than a two pound pull is desired, it is necessary to use the original factory spring.
In my opinion, a two pound or less trigger pull only belongs on a rifle used exclusively for bench rest shooting. For a rifle that is to be carried and used in the field (sometimes while wearing gloves), it should have a pull of at least three pounds for safe handling. The factory spring was my choice for this application.
This view shows the newly installed trigger. The adjustment screw is located in the upper center of the trigger and can be turned with the tiny hex wrench included in the kit. Turning the screw in a clockwise direction against the trigger spring increases pull weight, while reversing the screw decreases it.
But wait, we have a problem! This is where the actuality departs from the “drop in, adjust, and shoot” concept touted in the catalog. Do you notice how the bottom of the safety shaft extends below the safety lug on the trigger? This means the safety will not turn into safe mode. Dang, do I have to read the instructions again?
Yes, the instructions indicate this is by design. It’s made this way so the safety lug on the new trigger can be filed down and fitted to allow engagement of the safety, but just barely. Removing as little as .005 of an inch too much metal may allow the trigger to release the sear with the safety on! Needless to say, this requires a great deal of filing and fitting, filing and fitting; well you get the idea. Nevertheless, when I finished this step, the safety engaged smoothly and the sear would not release with the safety on.
This view shows the safety lug as it appeared after filing so the safety would operate properly.
At this point “preliminary” trigger adjustments were made to provide for let off at just over three pounds. I emphasize preliminary here because a final check and further adjustments, if needed, should always be made with the rifle fully assembled and action screws tight.
Adjustment of the overtravel screw is handled at this point. The purpose of this feature is to stop the rearward motion of the trigger the instant the sear releases. This eliminates “backlash”; trigger movement after sear release that can cause the gun to move before the bullet exits the barrel.
This view inside the stock shows the other exception to the “drop in and shoot” assertion. Because the overtravel screw and its housing doesn’t exist on the factory trigger, the stock must be relieved in this area to allow seating of the action and free movement of the new trigger. This doesn’t have to be pretty. I accomplished it with a Dremel power tool with a small sanding cylinder attached.
At this point I covered the raw wood where the sanding occurred with clear fingernail polish as a sealant. I put a dab of the same polish on the overtravel screw and locknut to prevent them from loosening.
Here the stock, bottom metal, and action screws were reassembled. Ried Coffield, who writes the gunsmithing column for Shooting Times, recommends tightening action screws to about 50 inch pounds, which was accomplished with the small torque wrench. On the Ruger, the angled front action screw should be tightened first, as it is designed to pull the recoil lug firmly back into its seat in the stock.
The Lyman trigger pull gauge shows the results of a ten pull average after final adjustment; 3 pounds, 2.3 ounces. Even better, the variation on either side of average was no more than an ounce or two!
So there’s the process I followed to fix Little Heifer’s trigger. She says it feels a lot better now too!
This month's late entry won't be complete without one more little trip to the soapbox.
I'm sure everyone's heard or read about the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy in Florida. Unlike many others in and out of media circles, I'm not going to try and pass judgment here on who or what is right or wrong. What I am going to do is talk about whether there might be some mainstream media bias in reporting on this???
Bias? Hell Yes!
Race Baiting? - Damn Straight!
Deliberate? - No Doubt In My Mind!
Go To Any Length To Sensationalize A Story? - Oh Yeah!
NBC has done it again!
We only need to look back over the years as this company's so called NEWS arm planted incendiary devices in GM pickup trucks to dramatize the alleged propensity of the outside the frame gas tanks to catch fire in a collision. Not enough to perform the experiment and fail to get a huge fireball. They made sure there would be a conflagration.
Then there are NBC's repeated attempts to demonize guns and Second Amendment issues. Ever see the stories where the reporters profess to talk about semi-automatic firearms like those owned by millions of Americans, while filming the firing of 'look alike' fully automatic machine guns?
NBC has been caught again! The company has reportedly fired three people over the editing of 911 tapes to make Zimmerman's side of that call appear racist. Number two is Lillia Luciano, a Miami based NBC correspondent, number three is Jeff Burnside, a local reporter for a Miami NBC owned TV station.
Wait, what happened to number one? Well, he or she, was supposedly responsible for the editing of the tape that aired on the Today Show and reported on by Ms Luciano, but he/she has never been named! As late as today, web searches with numerous combinations of key words failed to turn up a news article, blog, or any other source that names this "high ranking producer."
So, we have a local reporter, a national correspondent, and a 'high ranking producer' thrown under the bus to try and absolve NBC of culpability. (Since that fired producer's name has not surfaced in over a month, some internet pundits are questioning whether a producer was actually fired at all.)
Should one choose to take NBC at their word, and agree that those fired were not acting in accordance with corporate philosophy, I ask that you examine your own work history. Have you ever, during your working career, performed your job in a way or done things in a manner that you believed would please those higher up on the managerial ladder?
This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote by P. J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian:
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!