14 June 2015

Father-Son Project

Sporting Clays is sometimes described as "Golf with a shotgun"  And the analogy is apt in many ways.

Both events are something of an endurance race.  It's not just the ability to hit the targets, one has to carry the gear while walking the course.  And always in the heat!

A first step to alleviating the load is carrying the gear in a hand cart instead of over the shoulder.  (The ultimate is a motorized cart but that's beyond...}

Commercial carts are available but run about $300.

The SandCastle Queen was out shopping at a local goodwill "just to get out of the house" and spotted an old "jog behind stroller" for an Andrew Jackson.  I said "Buy It!"

So the weekend task for the SandCastle Son and your humble host was to transform this:

a "jog behind" stroller into this: A shot gun roller.

Carries 4 shotties and plenty of room for a cooler & shells.  We even added cup holders after this shot was taken.  It even folds in half for transport (stay tuned for folded pic).

Total all up cost (including the drink holders), around $50 (tax included).

But my real motive for tackling this project was to teach the SCSon to use power tools safely: eye protection, and never let go of the work piece (or clamp it to the table)!  He fabbed the bottom rest which required trimming with a power saw and notching with a hole saw on the drill press.  Also drilling holes in the PVC caps and laying them out on the final piece.

I took wood working and metal working in 7th & 8th grade, plastics in HS and welding in Jr college.   The SCSon's HS doesn't have any kind of industrial arts on site!  If you want to learn those skills you have to go to a different school for those classes.  This was a huge shock to me.  What a disappointment.   These are valuable life skills no matter whether you intend to make a profession or not!   My HS had wood, metal, plastic and auto shops!  Seems someone today sees different.

I re-installed the "baby seat" for storage.  We may design and sew a new storage area in the future, but this will do for now.

Bonus: the SCSon learned to adjust a bicycle brake!  Yet another skill we learned by age 12 in the day but now.. not so much.

The hard part was finding the stroller at a reasonable price.  New, they are $300 easy.  Used they typically run $75+.  This has some corrosion which knocked the price down.  So far the tires hold air but even if we have to replace tubes, we'll still have a nice cart for far less than a C-note.  And hopefully the SCSon's power tool lessons will last a life time.

And many years down the road he will remember building this cart with dad.   *priceless*

I can only hope.

Happy flag day.  We flew ours, did you?

08 June 2015

Some Assembly Required

I didn't go looking for a project.  I was just trying to help.  Really!  And it was a chance to play an easy joke on the SandCastle Queen.

The FMK stripped lower was up for auction at a recent Friends of NRA dinner.  The thing about an auction is that it takes two bidders to get the price up.  One person might be willing to pay Big$$$ for a given item.  But unless there is someone else willing to pay Big$$$ - a little bit, the price will never get there.  So especially on charity auctions I'll bid just to keep the action going.  Here the bidding stalled at too low a price so I bid.   And then I was outbid but by then the price was more than fair so I bowed out.  And there were no more bids.

Then the auctioneer came over and asked a question I've never heard before:  "If I accept your 2nd place offer, how many would you buy?"  Remember I bid just to get the price up.  I wasn't really looking to purchase.  But I ended up taking a lower.  I could have gotten something less expensive online but by the time shipping and FFL fees are included, this price was in the ballpark.  I got an OK deal.  They sold a couple more at my price and the  committee made a couple hundred extra $$$ for the bid.  My work is done.

Plus I got to prank the SCQueen - She & the SCSon left early for a SCSon event.  I texted her "I bought a gun in the auction".  Which is technically correct - the lower receiver *is* the gun as far as .gov is concerned, the fact that it wouldn't expel so much as a popcorn kernel without extensive additional components not withstanding.  The SCQueen responded with an eye-roll... (heh.. score!)

So then came the question of what to do with it?  I figured to drop in a lower parts kit, add a stock and a finished upper.  A 9mm carbine was one thought, but researching that suggested some special parts are required in the trigger group and the finished uppers were in the $7-800 range.

Before I finished the research down that path, Midway made me an offer I couldn't refuse: A Bushy 16" A3 upper for ~half the price others were asking...  This is exactly what I had in mind, 'cept in .223 instead of 9!  I canbuy an awful lot of .223 for the price difference.  I can live with that!  I quickly added the stock & DPMS lower parts kit to the order to finish the project.  That offer sold out in less than a day and it now shows "out of stock, no backorders".

The parts arrived today.  Should be a fun project for the SCSon and I.

The SCSon is amused.. this build closely matches the airsoft rifle he acquired earlier in the year, save  for the black flash hider in place of the broken orange!

01 June 2015

May ePostal

The SCSon and I hit the range with the May ePostal as a primary objective.  Hope you did as well.  The SCSon will be out of pocket for the next few days so get your targets in by Friday AM so he can post by the weekend.

I shot 5 targets but haven't reviewed them to check scores. I might have shot more but .22 ammo is a rare commodity these days!

Update 6/1
I reviewed my targets tonight and here are my best two (different guns):
Ruger Single Six:  a lucky hit on the ME-262 was cancelled out by an unlucky shot on the #2 engine of the center B-17.  That left the shot on a Bf-109 for 10 points:

And here's my best with the .22/45:  one shot took the spinner off a Bf-109, but an errant shot took the rudder off the lowest B-17 for a final score of -40.

I really need to appeal this to the match master.  After all we all know the B-17 took a lot of damage and still made it home, particularly including several examples of returning sans rudder ;-) ;-) ;-)
Photo Credit to Dave's WarBirds.

Photo Credit Dave's WarBirds

Don't let a negative score keep you from sending your targets!  My best score on one gun was -40.  The worst was -180!  (4 B-17s + 2 109's)!

14 May 2015

Internet issues....

I am not an IT guy and I don't play one on TV.  I didn't even stay at a [famous name] motel last night.   The internet should be an appliance like cable TV.  It should just work and I shouldn't have to worry about it.   But for the sake of peace in the home, I have to be.

The SandCastle is back online with the back (old) DSL router.  The very one that quit a few months ago and was then replaced.  Now the new one won't connect to the internet.

Seems to me the problem has to be with the modem.  The DSL service has to be OK if one modem works and the other doesn't.  Same goes for getting into the model (  Works on one (sometimes), but not the other.

We already traded in the "new" modem once, so I'm at a loss.  Is the current model just a turkey?  Time to try another make?

Someone suggested could be a power supply getting flakey.  Good suggestion but I don't think so.  I'm tried each power supply with each modem and the problem follows the modem.  I think we'll try a different manufacturer next time.

Got any suggestions?  I'm open!

13 May 2015

"The hard part was opening the package"

That's what I like to hear!

What is your reaction when some one tells you "You have a tail light out."?  My standard response is "Thank you for letting me know.  We'll get it fixed pronto!"  This was exactly the scenario earlier in the week.

Last night I researched the replacement part number and repair procedure.  Looks like it's a no-tools needed replacement, though the pictures in the Haynes manual weren't very clear (to me)*.

The SCQueen picked up a couple new bulbs while out and about today.  The SCSon agreed to take a crack at putting them in.  Rather than telling him how to do it, I pointed him to the repair manual.  He found the relevant section and enthusiastically replied  "A picture book.  Cool! I can do this!

I inquired about the repair upon returning home.  He replied with "I didn't know which side you wanted replaced so I did both.**" and then the title quote.

One day he will realize the reason I asked him to replace the bulbs stretches far beyond "free maintenance" for me.  The more important lesson is "the engineers have made some of these jobs real easy!  you CAN do this yourself."

A college roommate apparently had no clue ordinary people could make simple mechanical repairs.  I came home from school one day grousing about a flat bicycle tire.  As I pulled out the tools & patch kit he looked at me bewildered and asked "what are you doing?"  "There is a hole in the tube... I need to patch it."  "And you can do that YOURSELF?" he asked incredulously.''

It dawned on me roomie and I grew up in vastly different worlds.  His dad was a furniture salesman and paid others to do what he didn't understand.    His dad understood deal making.  My dad was a hands on fix-it-yourself-engineer and how stuff works.  He grew up on a farm and there was no one else.  I learned at his knee and been patching tires since learning to ride.

I hope to pass along the latter lesson to the SCSon.  You CAN do this!

* This is not a knock on the images in Haynes or any repair manuals.  I've taken extensive "before" pictures prior to extensive invasive automotive surgery and found my own pics significantly less than 100% useful in the "after" reassembly phase.  Or maybe it's just me and he interprets the pics significantly better.  If so, good on him!

** My bad for not being clear.  He'd helped me verify the problem so I thought he knew.  But "replace both" was my actual intent.  We're replacing a possibly 24 YO light bulb.  Just how long do you expect the other one to last?   The expensive part of this job is the labor.  We're already in there, just replace the pair.

10 May 2015

FoNRA dinner 2015

Completely skunked on the raffles this year.    The last raffle item (a gold ticket) was a ~$1500 pistol course with Rob Leatham.  My ticket is 15642.  The ticket pulled was 15641. Dang that hurts!  The night has been a story of near misses but this is the closest,   Ouch!

We picked up a silent auction La Pierre quote:

I bid on a couple other items including a .22 revolver but someone else bought it outright.  (I'm kicking myself because I should have done it first!.)  Yet again, "ya snooze, ya lose!"

I purchased an AR-15 in the live auction (The SCSon & SCqueen had already departed for an evening of paintball)..  Upon retuning home the SCQueen asked "How much did you pay?"  Me:"prolly too much!"

Stay tuned for the rest of the story in a few days. (The game is afoot!)

if there is a FoNRA dinner near you, I highly recommend it.  No matter how cold the Prime Rib (and it was), no matter how cold the coffee (and it was) the dinner & games are still a magnificent time!

Update:  The committee called to tell us we didn't pickup our entire purchase.  The sign included a brick of .22 ammo!  That alone is probably worth the price paid (And they'd have likely gotten alot more for the package if it were made clear).

02 May 2015


If you see a teenager carrying/manipulating a rifle.  DO NOT CALL POLICE!!!

The SCSon is on location in Daytona Beach FLA for the National Drill Meet.  He reports there are posted notices warning of teens carrying guns and it's OK.    DO NOT BE ALARMED!!!

Here is the actual posted notice at the SCSon's hotel:

Very tactful I must add...  Now if only the power outlets in the SCSon's room might provide some power,,  The SCQueen reports "it's an old hotel"...  My response "110VAC is as basic a need as water"

March well team!

(If I might quibble,  It's not that these rifles will not shoot, rather these rifles CANNOT shoot.  There is a difference between "will not" and "can not".  As a  weapon, these rifles are most effective as a "club".)