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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 51-----------SEPTEMBER 2006



September 5, 2006

Hope y'all had a Happy Labor Day Weekend!

I had nearly forgotten that this was a holiday weekend until we picnicked  in Idaho's Farragut State Park Sunday and saw all the people crowded into the campgrounds.  Actually, we're not quite that out of touch with world happenings, but being retired does take away some of the emphasis on holiday weekends.  We tend to stay home, avoid the crowds, and do our getaways during the week instead.

We have a remodeling project underway here at the ranch house.  The contractor's crew arrived last week to begin replacing a couple of old aluminum sliders, closing in a door, and adding some windows.  The chimney chase on the roof is also being removed as we are ridding ourselves of the wood burning fireplace, which will eventually be replaced with a propane unit.

Needless to say, the dirt and dust have been flying, and we are more than ready to get this over with!  No end in sight yet though!

The gunsmithing projects I mentioned in the August newsletter are halfway home.  The barrel on the Thompson/Center Encore now has two additional holes drilled and tapped for the scope base, and the Leupold FXII is installed.  Thanks to Courtney Johnson's expertise and the use of his milling machine, this project went very smoothly.

The new scope is a long eye relief, 2 power pistol scope with the Duplex reticle.  After bore sighting with the LaserLyte bore sighting system, it was test fired at a turkey target at about 15 feet.  The nice, even pattern from the 3 inch .410 shell was centered on the turkey's head and neck.  Since this is the typical distance of my shots on pocket gophers, this was just what I was looking for!  Another half dozen dead gophers is silent testimony to the effectiveness of this combination.

T/C Encore with Scope

Speaking of gopher hunting, I am currently after one very elusive little sucker in the middle of my south lawn.  This guy moved into a burrow system from which I had removed the resident over a month ago.  (I've noticed that the gophers are taking over previously occupied housing more than usual this year.)  I've only caught a glimpse of this gopher one time, and had no opportunity for a shot.  He always seems to refill his tunnel openings only when I'm not watching!

He did give me a good laugh a few days ago.  I'm in the process of running a water line from the well to the new shop building.  This has required digging 200 feet of trench, 4 to 5 feet deep.  My little backhoe has been working hard the last few days!  Apparently my digging cut through one of the gopher's side tunnels.

Those who have read about my gopher hunting in past newsletters, will recall that a pocket gopher's vulnerability is the obsession to plug any opening that is created in the tunnel system.  I create the opening and try to observe and shoot them while in the act of refilling it.

After an overnight hiatus, I looked in the ditch before resuming my digging next day, and observed a huge cone shaped mound of fine dirt in the bottom.  This is when I discovered the tunnel opening.  The gopher was attempting to plug the hole, but making little headway because his dirt was falling about 4 feet down in the ditch!  He must have finally given up on that project, because I saw no more fresh dirt in the trench.

My next project, the 1895 Winchester is just beginning.  The plan is to install a Williams Fool Proof receiver sight, which will require more drilling and tapping, and put on a LimbSaver recoil pad.

The drilling and tapping is awaiting another session at Court's milling machine, while the recoil pad installation has necessitated buying more new toys.  After all, the proper installation of a "grind to fit" recoil pad requires a shaping jig and a combination disc/belt sander, right?  Thanks, I knew you'd agree!  (Brownell's and Home Depot are beginning to love me.)

Drilling and tapping the receiver in the proper location requires that the breech bolt be removed in order to avoid damaging it.  Removing the breech bolt pretty much means dismantling the gun!  The 1895 Winchester is a fairly complicated piece of machinery, and the owner's manual recommends that it not be taken apart!  Oh well, when did that ever stop me?

I did find a written description of the disassembly process on an internet site, but the directions repeatedly referred to parts described by number on a picture or diagram.  The problem was, the picture or diagram didn't exist on the site!  I also determined that the directions were for the original Winchester Model 1895, while mine is one of the recent replicas.

While the replica and the original are very close to alike, there are some important differences.  One is the sliding tang safety on the replica, which doesn't exist on the original.  Another is the "rebounding" hammer on the replica, instead of the "half-cock" safety on the original.  There are obvious differences in the mainspring arrangements too.  Anyway, I finally got the dang thing apart without breaking anything!

Here's a view of the 1895's current condition.

Sure hope I can get 'er all back together!  I'll let you know how things turn out.

This month's hillbilly wisdom again comes from the humor page of my ISP's website.  (Properly modified, of course)

Question:  When a woman wears leather clothing a Missouri Hillbilly's heart beats faster, his throat gets dry, he goes weak in the knees, and he begins to think irrationally.  Know why?

Answer:  Because she smells like a new truck!

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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