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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 81-----------MARCH 2009



March 6, 2009

Yes, I know.  Late again!  I really have a good excuse this time though.  The computer from which I administer the website decided to go into OSA (operating system arrest) and has been in the shop for two weeks being resuscitated.  They were able to rescue most of the files on the machine but then had to reinstall the Windows XP operating system.

I got the old Sony back home on March 3rd and spent 2 days reinstalling program software, getting it communicating with my wireless network, reconfiguring the network printer, and trying to reconstruct the file system that the backup process destroyed.  The Microsoft FrontPage web handling files inherited some extraneous material during the backup process that had to be dealt with as well.

All this and the $300 bill for Best Buy's Geek Squad services make me wish I'd done a better job of keeping my material backed up!  As I reported last month, we did get Ann's new computer and replacement is in the works for this one, but it chose to crash before we 'got 'er done.'

Our 'friends' at Microsoft don't make this process any easier either.  I've discovered it's difficult to impossible to find and install updates and fixes for my 2002 vintage Office XP software that have been issued since my installation discs.  They don't want us to fix the old stuff because they have new stuff for sale!

Part of this may be nothing more than a learning curve, but the Vista operating system and Office 2007 software on Ann's new laptop have so far proven for us, to be less user friendly and certainly no better than the old XP stuff.  For example, the Word 2007 program, by default, now saves files in a format that older versions of the software won't read.  So, you need to make a special effort to save files as an earlier version if you want older programs to read them.  What a pain!

I suppose I should shut up about my computer problems and move on.  But, first I want to say, "Bill Gates, this experience is pushing us further and further toward replacing our other two Windows computers with Macs!"

We are still not hiking around the ranch much.  As this is written, we can stare out the windows at 2 or 3 feet of snow, depending upon the direction we look.  A couple of 45 days with a little rain this past week has depleted some of the white stuff, but we still have plenty!

The good news is, I can now see the top of my target stand!  The stand is about 3 feet tall and was completely buried until a few days ago.  Maybe I can move forward with some shooting projects by Memorial Day????

The resident deer seem to be taking this all in stride.  The ones we are seeing here at the ranch appear healthy and sleek, if a little thin.  Hanging out in the roads and highways to avoid the deep stuff and colliding with automobiles has taken its toll on the area population but we still see lots of deer.  We had to slow to avoid a herd of 9 while on our way out to the county road just days ago..

The deer still hang out at our salt lick on the hill behind the house, but due to the snow cover, they must do some gymnastics to sate their taste buds.  Here's some pictures to show you what I mean.


Now you see me . . . . Now you don't

If you've read these newsletters for any length of time, you've seen material about Ann's little Remington Model 7 youth size rifle.  This is a 7MM-08, with a slender 20 inch barrel.

I've tried several bullets, powders, and loads in this thing and can't get it to print better than 3 or 4 inch 100 yard groups.  I've free floated the barrel by removing the little 'pressure bump' that Remington puts in the end of most of their stocks and that didn't help much.

Notwithstanding my inability to make this rifle shoot decent groups, Ann continues to point it at a deer, pull the trigger, and tag the animal, year after year after year!

While cleaning rifles the other day I decided to take a closer look at the inside of that 7MM-08 barrel with my Gradient Lens bore scope.  This item will allow you to clearly see things that you cannot by simply looking down the barrel with the naked eye.  With the attachment for my camera lens I can even take pictures of what the scope shows me.

Conventional wisdom tells us that, all other things being equal, the smoother the inside of a barrel, the better the accuracy potential.  Tests have shown this not to be a universal truth, but is generally accurate.

Here is a picture of what I saw when I examined the Remington's barrel.

Inside the 7MM-08 barrel

If you look closely, you can see horizontal lines across both the rifling land and the contiguous grooves.  I viewed the rifling for most of the barrel's length and it was all similar to what you see here.  It appears that the tooling used to engrave the rifling in this particular barrel did not do its job smoothly or final polishing didn't remove the flaws.

There are several methods of rifling a barrel.  The most time consuming and expensive is the original 'cut rifling.'  This entails passing cutting tools repeatedly through the barrel, removing a bit of metal each pass to form the grooves.  This is the earliest method and dates to the transition from smoothbore muskets.

Another, called 'hammer forging' involves placing a mandrel with a reverse image of the desired lands, grooves, and twist rate inside a drilled barrel and hammering or forging from the outside until the metal is molded into the shape of the mandrel.

A third method is called 'button' rifling.  This process simply pulls or pushes a 'button' made of very hard material through a slightly smaller hole in the barrel to engrave the button's exterior dimensions into the interior of the barrel.

Then we have 'broaching.'  This entails pulling a steel rod with several cutting tools of gradually increasing size, through the drilled barrel to remove metal to form the grooves.  This is much like the original 'cut rifling' except it does the work in one pass rather than many.

A fifth process that I recently learned about is an electrochemical machining technique.  Smith & Wesson has been using this process for many of their revolver barrels since 1993.  This involves passing an electrode through a barrel submerged in an electrolyte solution.  An electrical current passing between barrel and electrode removes metal by electrolysis to form the grooves.  If you have an interest in reading more about this process and how it affects firearm forensics, check this article at: http://www.firearmsid.com/Feature%20Articles/ecr/electrochemicalrifling.htm

Based upon what I saw inside the Remington barrel, I'm guessing that it was rifled with a broach that was chattering as it passed through.  Either that or the broach left some drill marks from the original hole that weren't polished out.  I'm now wondering if these imperfections are causing the mediocre accuracy?????  I'll need to contact the folks at Remington and explore this.

You knew I couldn't get through this newsletter without comment on the recent political and economic news didn't you?

First, let me preface my remarks with a disclaimer.  I am not an economist.  I am not a political scientist.  I bring nothing more (or less) to this subject than the kind of 'hillbilly wisdom' that you read each month at the end of my newsletters.  (take another look at last month's, as it is particularly fitting in light of recent events)

We read that the housing market downturn was the harbinger of our economic woes, exacerbated by the high rate of mortgage defaults.

Did our esteemed political and financial market leaders really believe that seeing real estate price inflation out strip other economic sectors three and fourfold, would or could continue forever?

Did they think that loaning mortgage money to people who had not a prayer of making their payments made sense?

Did they think that using these toxic mortgages as investment tools and collateral was wise?

Did they think that passing this toxic 'paper' from hand to hand (each exchange bringing a healthy fee or commission of course) added value to our economic system?

Of course they didn't!  They simply seized the opportunities and ignored the perils in order to get re-elected, or enrich themselves, or both!

I think someone once said something like, "We've found the enemy, and it is us!"  We elected those politicians.  We allowed our own greed and that of our fellow citizens to corrupt the system until it began falling apart at the seams.

So what happens now?  You've heard the debates.  Are these bailouts and stimulus packages necessary, or should we simply let the free market take its course and see who survives?

I submit that I don't know, you don't know, the economists don't know, and for damn sure, the politicians don't know!

I suppose it's a necessary evil to invest taxpayer money into keeping the banking and insurance systems afloat, although it should gall us all to have to reward incompetence, greed, and thievery to do so!

From a personal standpoint, I'd just as soon they hadn't passed the so-called 'stimulus package.'  I liken this 'fix' to current medical knowledge about curing the common cold.  I've heard it said, "If you take these pills, you'll be over your cold in about a week and a half.  If you do nothing, you'll be over it in 10 or 11 days."  The marketplace will resolve the economic crises in its own time and I doubt the stimulus 'pill' will change that timeframe by much.

I do believe this:  The country will come through this with scars and sore spots, but survive and emerge stronger, we will!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from the reader board at the Golden Rule Brake Shop in Spokane Valley:

"Adversity introduces a person to themselves."

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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