11 December 2013

In Awe

Here's one of those things I'd yield serious body parts to have participated in:
To perform in that arena, Wright Flyer & X-15 above, amid Apollo and Mercury space capsules, wow... What an appropriate match for the USAF band!

I'd even yield body parts to just have been there (sidebar about doing instead of watching professionals not withstanding).   Awesome job USAF band [sabre salute]. I trust you did more than the two numbers (Seems like a lot of effort for 6 minutes)... is there a more complete video?

09 December 2013

November ePostal results

I've made my list but not checked it twice. So if I've missed something, let me know. We had better participation than I'd expected for the last match of the season. It was also harder than I'd expected.  Shooting it today, I found the church key was about half the width of the front sight. Good shooting everyone!

Thanks everyone for shooting.  But the fun doesn't have to stop here.  This is the last match of the season and the results are posted.  But I'll continue to accept entries and update this post with new results until the new season starts in March.

- no title specified







Rim Fire Pistol Iron Sights



25 ft

Ruger Mk 1

.22 LR



True Blue Sam

33 ft

Ruger Mk III

.22 LR



Pat B

25 ft

Ruger Mk II

.22 LR



Mike B

25 ft

S&W 617

.22 LR




33 ft

Ruger Single Six

.22 LR



Patty Ann

33 ft

Ruger Mk III

.22 LR




33 ft

Ruger Mk III

.22 LR




25 ft

Ruger Mk II

.22 LR




25 ft

S&W Kit Gun

.22 LR




33 ft

Ruger Mk II

.22 LR




25 ft

Ruger Standard

.22 LR



Rim Fire Pistol Magnified Optic Sights


Mr Completely

25 ft

High Standard

.22 LR




25 ft

TC Contender

.22 LR



True Blue Sam

33 ft

Ruger Mk III

.22 LR



Center Fire Pistol  Iron Sights



7 Yds

Rossi 971

.357 Magnum



Mike B

25 ft

S&W lightweight 5 shot

.44 Spl




25 ft

S&W M624

.357 Magnum




25 ft

Ruger Speed six

9 mm




25 ft

Dan Wesson

.357 Magnum




25 ft

Ruger 45 Convert

.45 ACP




25 ft

S&W M625

.45 ACP




25 ft

British Enfield no 2 revolver

.38 cal



Rim Fire Rifle Magnified Optic Sights



33 ft

Ruger 10-.22




Air Rifle Iron Sights


True Blue Sam


Daisy Model 25

.177 ball



01 November 2013

November ePostal

I really enjoyed the Top Shot series.  More so in the later seasons with the diminished emphasis of "house drama" and enhanced emphasis on the mutual respect and best wishes among competitors.

What would you pay for the opportunity to shoot drum after drum  through a "chicago typewriter"  (Thompson submachine gun)

What respectable shooter didn't think "oooh... I should be there".

I know I did.. for about two minutes before the physical realities set in.  as in, I'm too old and too out of shape to give it much of a go.

IMHO the "All Stars" season was the best of the bunch again for taking the good sportsmen angle rather than the soap opera of the prior seasons.

The November ePostal match is based upon on one of the challenges..  Opening a bottle of soda.  The scenario is that the bottle is strapped to a fixture with a churchkey positioned on the cap.  Your task is to hit the church key without touching the bottle.

I haven't found the exact clip, but if here is the full episode.  The bottle challenge starts at 17:25.

So here is the target.  (download target from the link, not the image below and make sure the  "full size" is selected, not "fit to page")

Rules of engagement:
Pistols:  Standing, unsupported.  One hand or two, shooter's choice.  Distance: 25 feet or range minimum, which ever is greater.

rifles:  distance: Air Rifle,10M, rimfire 25 yards, center fire 50 yards.  Standing or off the bench, however off the bench the fore end of the rifle must be supported by the off hand elbow.   Sand bags or any other is disallowed.

two shots at each target.  10 shots per target total, no time limit.

a clean hit inside the churchkey, not touching any lines scores 2 points.
a liner that touches the churchkey only scores 1 point.
any touch on the bottle means you broke the bottle and scores 0, glass is very unforgiving is this aspect (including liners with the churchkey).    Final judgement on this is up to the match master.

Additional rules: only two hits per churchkey are allowed, though in case of more than two, the highest two hits will score (benefit to the shooter).  Exception:  In the case there is a hit on a particular bottle, only the best hit on the attached key scores.  Two hits on the bottle zero out any hits on the opener.

Classes..  Just shoot it and let me worry about that.  You can assume the normal caliber/sights/rifle-pistol/Hi-Point carbine matrix as needed. I'll sort 'em out in the final standings.

SOP rules:
1.  Shoot as many times as you want, but only submit your best targets pr shooter per gun.

2.  Mark your target with your name (as you want it published), weapon make & model, distance and sighting system.  Send your target to sandcastlescrolls@msn.com

3.  1:1 "Red Dot" optic sights are faster to align but time is not a factor in this game so they count as "iron sights".

Credit for the concept and original design goes to Billll.   The dayjob(tm) has had me swimming with alligators for the last couple months.  Thanks Billll for the target concept!

Are you thinking "oooh  Oooh, I have a great match idea"?  Contact TrueBlueSam for a slot on the 2014 calendar!  want to host but lack s concept? Billll has two more ideas for the sharing!

As mentioned in the opening, I really enjoyed the TS series..  Heck watchable shows are thin enough as is.  I hope they continue it though it's tough to top what they have already done.

Update 10Nov2013:  No more pizza, but results are posted!
The target has been updated to add reporting details.  Actual targets did not change.  Both old and new targets are acceptable.

In the mean time, Mrs TBS is still serving up pizza through the weekend.   This is your chance to shoot both matches in one range visit.

We have sent in our targets  Have you sent in yours?

Update 30Nov2013:  Reviewing this I do not see an end date.  At the very least targets will be accepted through Dec 2.  But this is also the last match of the year so I am inclined to hold entries through next weekend if anyone still wants to shoot.  I may make even make the request myself as I haven't had a chance to shoot this.  I am hoping to shoot it Sunday if I can get a bench at the range.  Bottom line, soonest entries will close will be 23:59 02Dec2013, but I will extend on request.

23 October 2013

Meet my Mother In Law

Update:   23Oct2013  TrueBlueSam identifies the rifle as a Remington 512.  Remington made the rifles starting in 1940 so the timeline works out.  Thanks TBS!

The SandCastle Queen came home with some photos last week including this undated photo of her mother.  I love it... At port arms with her finger clear of the trigger.

"SCMIL with her brother's gun" was written on the back.  SCMIL thinks she was 15 or 16 at the time and it was taken on the family farm in Indiana.  Doing the math, that would date the picture circa early 1940s, probably during WWII.  She thinks the gun belonged to her brother G.

SCMIL had four older brothers, three of which enlisted in the USArmy for WWII.  Timing of the photo suggests her brothers had been through basic training by then and passed rifle discipline on to their little sister.

One went ashore on DDay+1 and went on to liberate one of the concentration camps; SCQueen thinks it was DachauBuchenwald. SCQueen reports he never talked about his time in the war.

A 2nd brother was stationed in South America, and the third lied about his age to enlist.

Also SCFIL's mom was quite the eagle eye herself.  Her HS resume includes "Rifle II, III, Advanced Rifle II, III, Manager Advanced Rifle IV. 

I don't recognise the gun.  Bolt action with a tubular magazine - doesn't ring any bells*.  And one heck of a scope!  I hope it now resides in a safe with the G descendants.  Unfortunately the family tree includes a couple black sheep ne'er do wells that could have easily pawned it for peanuts. And that makes me sad.  I have a strong belief that guns should be treated as family heirlooms at least as valuable as the family silver.

The SandCastle Queen comes from good stock.  I chose wisely.  She also approved the content of this post.

* We welcome any information on the rifle and/or scope in the comments.

22 October 2013

Free Stuff

And who doesn't like free stuff?

Matthew Bracken's "Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista" is available as a free Kindle download (follow the link!).  I don't have a Kindle but I do have the free Kindle app on my Nexus 7 & PC. 

I picked up "Enemies Foreign and Domestic", the first book in the trilogy "Enemies Foreign and Domestic".  I couldn't put it down.  It was an exciting read though not exactly a happy ending.
I've downloaded my copy and started on the next volume.  You have just a couple days to download yours as well.  The last in the series will be available starting Oct 28th.  Mark your calendar!

I've downloaded my copy, have you?    H/T David Codrea / WOG.

Item 2:  For those in the Phoenix Metro area on November 5th, Michael Bane will be shooting a 2014 episode of "Downrange TV" at the Ben Avery shooting range just North of the metro area.  Ben Avery is truly a world class range offering everything from small bore pistol to 1000 yard rifle.  Also every shotgun game as well.  Click Here for the invite and to sign up.  H/T ExUrbanKev.

The Tuesday scheduling will likely conflict with my DayJob(tm) requirements So my participation is doubtful.  I envy those that can make it.  Should be fun!

01 October 2013


The scene:  The SCSon and I are at his electronics group meeting.  He has set up his Raspberry Pi and typing random linux commands into the terminal.

One of the "commands" he entered was "bacon".  As expected (at least to me) it responded "unrecognised command"

So I ask "What should a "bacon" command do?"

"Why it should Make Bacon" he says as if it should be obvious.  "And then print out this squigley character"  [long explaination of how it's called  a "tilde" along with the mathematic meaning while another member explains the VHDL meaning omitted].
No matter, to him it's a squigley line that looks like cooked bacon.  Fair enough.

Ok... so let's write a command that makes bacon.  And we proceed to do so.

Here is the code we came up with:
#include stdio.h  (need to figure out how to make the angle brackets appear through the html)
        int  i, bacon;
    printf ("How much bacon do you want? ");
    scanf ("%d", &bacon);
    printf ("Making Bacon! ");
    for (i = 0; i < bacon; i++)
        printf ("~");
And in the process, we got into a little programming.  He also learned that the "and" character is called an "Ampersand".  I put off the "take the address of" talk for another day.  Same same for the "seg fault" error we got missing the operator.

He also got some exposure to the C compiler and the linux rename command ("mv").

He had fun exploring how much bacon it would produce.  One million strips worked, but a billion crashed the terminal window.  That led into a discussion about numeric representation. Discussions on the trip home got into binary representations of a character, the ASCII code and UNICODE. 

Somehow a side discussion erupted on the subject of "conservation of angular momentum" (the physics behind an ice skater spinning "slowly" and accelerates as she pulls in her limbs).

These are things not taught in school these days.  So I'm glad for this group that piques his interest into asking questions.

I wouldn't trade my Tuesday nights for the world!

30 September 2013

I love this game!

I love the ePostal matches now championed by True Blue Sam because to quote the line..."it's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get."  Each month we get a new course of fire from a new host.   From Golf, to Darts,to Culinary art.  It's always something different.

Mrs TBS serves up a nice dish for October.  Who DOESN'T like Pizza?  
ToDoList->addItem (print_targets);

I can't wait to get out and shoot the match.

My apologies to ePostal hosts... I aim to keep the left column link current but I frequently fail.  My Bad.

PS.. SandCastle Scrolls is on deck for the November match.  I only hope to come up with a concept as worthy as Mrs TBS'.  Billll has offered some worthy targets I would be proud to sponsor.  But I haven't decided yet.

25 September 2013

Oracle Team USA retains the America's Cup

Photo Courtesy Oracle Team USA
From down 8:1 with ETNZ only needing one win to clench, OTUSA won 8 straight to retain the cup!


ETNZ, See you again in 2016!

22 September 2013

America's Cup Update

Wow this has gotten exciting...

A lot has happened since posting Thursday.  The score then was 8-2 with Team New Zealand at match point while USA needed 7 wins.  One more win and the Kiwi's take the cup home.

Friday weather broke to fluky low wind conditions.  I always hated sailing in low wind conditions because it's a waiting game rather than a sailing game.

And an interesting thing happened.  New Zealand lead race 13 from the start.  However race rules call for a 40 minute time limit.  If neither boat has crossed the line when the time limit expires, the race is abandoned.  The Kiwis came up about a mile short.   Oracle Team USA then came back to win the rerun 13th race.  The cup remains on shore for another day.

A cold front came through Saturday which threw the weather patterns out of normal.  The wind direction never came from the correct zone and the time limits put off racing for another day.  Normally the race course would be adjusted to the prevailing wind and that forces the course well out of range of shore viewing.  However the SFBay course is specifically designed to provide a spectator friendly arena in normal wind conditions.  

Races 14 & 15 were held Sunday and OTUSA won both.  So the score is now 8-5*.  USA has to win all the remaining four races while New Zealand only has to win one.

Dang!  Hollywood couldn't script this.  Though quoting the SCSon, if it were a Disney movie you'd know the outcome.

Score now 8-5.  OTUSA needs to win all 4 remaining races, ETNZ only needs to win 1.

* Looking purely at race wins the score is 8-7.  However OTUSA was penalized 2 race wins for some infraction during the previous series leading up to the America's cup.  I don't fully understand the situation leading up to the two race penalty, but I'm more interested in whether the two point penalty has an effect on the results.

Last week it looked like it wouldn't be an issue.  But today we are a lot closer to the ruling making the difference.

20 September 2013

America's Cup Racing

I started a post several weeks ago which would have been more timely, but the moment hasn't past.  Yet.  Though the moment is imminent.

Many of my formative years were spent racing sailboats on the San Francisco Bay.  There are many bucket list races in sailing but the ultimate is The America's Cup.  The superlatives surrounding are an unending list of cliche's.   Oldest trophy, longest winning streak etc.  Back then (late '70's) we dreamt of seeing America's cup racing on the San Franciso Bay.   And it's finally here.

You see the SFBay is a very different sailing arena than the any where else in the world.  The tidal/wind dynamics set up an entirely different sailing environment from the norm.  A lot of sailing the bay boils down to "keeping the boat in the water*.

Past AC races were held 10 miles offshore where maybe a boat would give you a "front" row seat and the action was akin to watching  grass grow.      Boats started sporting on board cameras and mics on the skippers in the late 70's/early 80's which helped a lot...  Though it probably gave some producers some heartburn as I recall a particular race hearing "what the f**k was that" over the air from a certain captain following a blown tack.

This is the first time races have been held in view of shore view and in "boats" exciting to watch.  Last time there was a sailing event designed as a spectator sport was the St. Francis Laser Slalom**.  These AC races are a couple orders of magnitude beyond.

The "boats" are high tech machines topping 50 MPH under wind power.  Back in the day the rule specified keel displacement boats.  Current rules allow not only catamarans, but hydrofoils!   72 foot "hull" length (as if that matters now that hydrofoils are allowed) with 130 foot vertical wings for power.

Look Ma, no hulls!  We are flying!
Back then day we'd spend about 3 hours grinding around the "city front" course.  These boats fly around a similar course in the 30 minute range. 

The score as of now is 8-2 New Zealand with the first to 9 takes home the cup.  NZ only needs one more win to take home some extra luggage while Oracle Team USA needs another 7 wins to retain the cup.

Oracle Team USA struggled at the beginning of the cup but have rallied recently with several recent wins.  Odds are on NZ to take it home, but Team USA is running strong with a win today to keep the cup on home shores another day.

Anyway  you slice it, the races are exciting and available to all.  The races are broadcast live on NBCSports (DirecTV channel 220, check your local cable listings).  Also a couple hours delayed on youtube, look for the America's cup channel.   There you will find all races archived.
Hint check out race 10 where there were more lead changes than any other AC race in history.

* The bay creates a chop of short period and steep waves.  It's a combination of the tides and wind.  We once won a race having learned to keep the boat in the water.  I could show you but I don't think I could put it in words.....  

** St Francis Laser slalom  was a simple race...  Two racers would each tack up around four bouys then across to jibe downwind around the opposite pair of four bouys, tack back up the same four marks, then jibe around the original four upwind markers.  First to finish wins.

Each heat race only takes a couple minutes and there are endless crashes providing much spectator amusement.   Catch is the Laser is an unstable boat made stable by the skill of the skipper.   Add in waaaay too much wind and you have a good time in a can.

They had a couple open slots one year I was on site and at hand due to a youth sailing conference the week leading up to the event.  I was invited to participate (as in how would you like to participate in our "wrestle with alligators" event"). I declined and still 45 years hence do not regret this decision.

14 September 2013

Friends of NRA Sporting Clays tourney

Our good friends at Great Satan Inc passed along a flyer announcing a Friends of NRA "100 bangs for freedom"(pdf link) Sporting Clays tournament local enough to make with only minor travel requirements.

We are happy FoNRA supporters and we have been practicing the scattergun weekly since his end of season performance at Sparta IL.  So this event seemed a win-win.

Our squad was a diverse crew of three juniors, your humble host and a high mileage unit "Russ" shooting a mega buck Kreighoff*.  He shoots several thousand rounds and many competitions each year.  I told the SCQueen "I want to retire and be him!"

I started off badly with an 0-fer on our first stage.  Everyone else did better.

The interesting thing about sporting clays is the variety.  Each scenario is different.  And the course length also varies.  The state match the SCSon competed at least March only used 10 stations so each station gave 5 presentations of the same target pairs.   Contrast that with today we had 15 stations so we only got to see the same pairs three or four times.

I started the day shooting a semi-auto shotgun.  It's the same one I've shot  the past seven weeks without a hiccup.  Today it failed to cycle first the 2nd stage, and twice in a row on the third.  I disassembled and wiped it down with oil last night and maybe that was a mistake.

The SCQueen put the gun in timeout** while I shared the over/under with the SCSon for the rest of the event.   I've shot the O/U*** before but I normally shoot the semi-auto.  So the first O/U shot today was "different".  When it didn't cycle, I thought something might have gone wrong.  By then the 2nd bird was aloft so I got back down on the gun and broke the clay.

One stage was king of interesting... it was an AB on report (2nd bird launches when the first shot is fired).  A was a high inbound while B was a high L to R crossing.  Frequently pieces of the broken inbound A bird would land in the immediate vicinity of the firing platform.   The "Incoming" warning call was heard more than a couple times.  I felt for one shooter who had a large piece of broken clay land literally at his feet as he engaged the B bird.  (I think he broke both birds).

The final scores were none too surprising.

Russ scored 86/100
Elder junior scored 67
SCSon scored 66
Your humble host scored 50
and the younger 20 gauge**** shooting junior scored forty something.

Here's the SCSon's take on the day.

* Kreighoff does very nice shotguns for serious shooters.  We visited with them at Sparta earlier in the year and IIRC the least expensive gun on the wall clocked in at about $18K.  I want to be in that league!  But I am a long way from there today.

** took it back to the car.

*** Said O/U was a birthday present for me...  However the SCSon normally claims it first so I rarely get to shoot it,  leaving me with the semi-auto.  #firstworldproblems

**** Larger bore means more shot in the air and better chances to break the bird.  The SCSon was waffling between 12/20 gauge early this year.  In two rounds of trap he scored 19/25 with the 12 gauge and 9/25 with the 20.  He hasn't looked back.

12 September 2013

Refrigerator repair

The main 'fridge here at the SandCastle developed a rather serious problem a few weeks ago - the ice dispenser failed.

Now to many this would seem like a minor inconsequential inconvenience.  After all, most of us had to open the freezer door to get ice.  Heck most of us had to manually refill ice cube trays.  However the SandCastle is in the heart of the Sonoran desert and we use a lot of ice.   The dispenser gives ice without opening the door and that saves energy and $$$.  The automatic ice maker + in door dispenser may well be the ultimate luxury appliance 'round these parts.  Right up there with the Garage Door opener!  I smile every time I hear the ice dump into the storage bucket!  So this is a big deal.

First guess was a blown fuse or bad relay.  Heck, fuses are designed to blow in order to save the rest of the circuit.  I used to have a large note on my tool box "CHECK THE FUSE FIRST" because of all the time I wasted troubleshooting only to find a blown fuse.  But we haven't been able to find an electrical schematic.  Usually there is one somewhere on the inside of the unit but we came up empty pulling off the back cover.  If there is a fuse in the circuit, we haven't found it.

We first checked the auger motor.  Pulled it off (four screws) and one electrical plug.    From there we were able to determine which conductors ran the motor.  Checking for power to the motor at the connector we had none.  Ok, the fault is probably further upstream.  For sake of completeness we put 120VAC to the motor and it ran easily.  Reassembled that and move on.

Rung out the front panel switches.. all check out ok too..  And finally got to the microswitch controlling the dispenser.  It also checked ok.  But in the process of getting this far, I noticed the lever that activates the dispenser switch wasn't reaching all the way to activate the switch.

The problem isn't electrical, it's mechanical!  The lever that activates the switch was misaligned.  We reassembled everything and now it works.
Side story... back in my college days I caught a nail riding home from school and blew a tire.  I was about midway through the tube repair when my roommate came home in his 3 piece suit from his internship at a certain tri-lettered high tech giant.

Him: "What are you doing?"
Me: "blew a tire... gotta patch the tube."
Him: (bewildered) "You can do that?  You don't have to pay someone to fix that for you?"
Me: "um no...  you see they sell this kit for a couple bucks."

Patching a bicycle tire was unheard of in his world.  That was something beyond the basic ability of normal people... you need special equipment and have to pay others to do it for you.  To me it was as normal as mowing the lawn.

Total dollar cost to fix the fridge: $0.  Total time to fix: about 2 hours.  Best Benefit: The SandCastle Son did a lot of the work and got his hands dirty in the process.   The couple hours hands on troubleshooting even doing simple disassembly/reassembly will hopefully translate into $$$ saved for him down the road.  That and that I wore insulating gloves while hotwiring the auger motor directly to the ac outlet.

BTW, the hardest part of this repair was not the electrical circuit.  It was the mechanical problems of disconnecting electrical connectors.  Each electrical connector has mechanical locks that we had to figure out how to release.

I hope he takes away the "you can fix it" lesson.  That and check the fuse first!

12 August 2013


The SCSon came down tonight asking how does he convert his fractional answer to a decimal he can input into the homework scoring app...

His answer was 6 and 3/7ths.

I quickly answered "well that's easy... Try 6.428571."

He looked at me as though I'd grown a horn.  (How can you be so certain, with such precision, without a calculator?)

"The SCDad is really smart" and left it at that.  But in reality, it's a simple mathematical trick that his problem played into.

Fractions of seven are a mathematical oddity.  If you can remember the sequence Fourteen, (double it) twenty eight, fifty-seven.  one-four-two-eight-five-seven (142857), you have all the whole fractions of seven at your finger tips.  You just have to know where to start the sequence. 

Here is how:
one seventh (1/7th) calculates out to a repeating decimal 0.142857 (decimal repeating to infinity)  but it turns out, every whole fraction of seven uses the same repeating 6 digits, save starting at a different digit in the sequence:

So 1/7th is 0.142857 (repeating)
2/7ths is (start with the two in the sequence) 0.285714(repeating)
3/7ths is (start w/the next highest digit in the sequence) 0.428571 (repeating)
4/7ths is (start w/the next highest digit in the sequence)  0.571428 (repeat)
5/7ths is (start w/the next hightest digit in the sequence) 0.714184 (repeat)
6/7ths is (you get the idea) 0.857142.
Six fractions, six repeating digits.  Easy Peasy.

This is the kind of mathematical co-inky-dink that makes math interesting!

The SCSon tried it and it still came up wrong... turns out he'd dropped a sign.  Not my fault.

28 July 2013

Range Report

The SCSon and I hit the range today.  After all, temps were only in the low 100's.

First we had the Trap field to ourselves for a couple rounds of Trap.  The rounds went quick.  I shot my semi-auto 12 ga while the SCSon wanted to shoot a 20" barrel12 ga over/under.  He probably hit 18-20.

2nd round he went to the new over-under that most of his team mates are shooting.   He went 18 straight before missing birds #19 and #23 for a 23 score.  I shot about the same, possibly a little better.  Maybe even all 25!  This was a good round for the SCSon and my best round ever!  Sure wish I had taken the camera.   As we say, video or it didn't happen.  Missing same, call it a fish story.

Then we headed up to the main range to shoot some ePostals.  In addition to the normal .22s, the SCSon wanted to try a .40 cal in his exploration of recoil therapy.   One reason it doesn't get out much because it throws the brass into the next zipcode. 

As much as I was happy with my grouping, it only counts for 1 point.  still 4-5 overlapping shots.  Need to get the flyers dialed in then we can adjust the sights.

T'was a good day with the SCSon...  Can't wait to do it again.

Addendum... I grew up racing sailboats with my dad on the San Francisco bay.  Apeus-foredeckus (fore-deck ape) was my title starting at age 12.  Capturing the outboard sheet then pushing out the spinnaker pole and snapping it into the mast fitting on a jibe was a rite of passage.  The bay is a long way from the Sonoran desert.  Still Shotguns a'la a perfect 25 Trap score may be the SCSon's rite....

I hope I am there to help shoot the hat!

19 July 2013

SCTP Nationals Days 2 & 3

The 2nd round of Sporting Clays was Thursday.  It was hot & humid which I think affected everyone's scores.  There is little or no shade out on the course.  Also starting on stage 12 meant walking an extra 90 degrees of the circle before starting and an extra 90 after finishing.  Did I mention it was hot?

BTW, here is my Favorite shot of the day:

This is the team headed out to start the 2nd round.  Walking as a team joking about what ever early teens joke about,..  as a team.

While we all saw them as a team, in reality they the three with blue pants above were a squad and the SCSon competed individually.   We learned late in the afternoon the squad scored 4th in class.  Wahoo!  Great job guys.

The Trap even started today.
They started off rough but had a strong finish.  The winds were gusting and the clays were flying differently than they are used to.  But the SCSon scored a 24 on the last of today's rounds. 

Four more rounds tomorrow then home to sleep in our own beds tomorrow night!

Stay Tuned!

17 July 2013

RSTT Sporting Clays

Meet the Rio Salado Target Terminators squad:
Lto R: Coach Jeff, Nathaniel, Mathew, Christopher & Dakota
We started at Stage 1 on the North course.  This was a bonus as it minimized the extra walking to the 1st stage and home from the last.  Pitty the teams starting on stages 7 & 8 as they effectively had to travel an eatra lap of the 1 mile loop.  Thursday we start on 12S.  -3 is almost as good as 1,

True Blue Sam came out to cheer on the team and share his local knowledge and stash of "what works to keep the pests away".  File this under "questions we didn''t even know to ask."  He recommended a DEET repellant to keep the chiggers away from the ankles and lower legs and Buggins Spray on the head and neck for the deer flies and othrtd.  The peppermint oil also has a cooling quality, very refreshing to apply.  The proof is in the results - no bites!  Thanks TBS!

The the SCSon notes, The Potterfields of Midway USA took time to meet & greet the teams.  
I've been a satisfied customer for years.  It was nice to meet the man who sets the corporate tone and gives back to the sport.

We took a walk down the vendor area.  First top was the ammo barn. I had to tell the guys behind the desk "Ok, I am officially impressed".
It is difficult to adequately convey the size of the facility and quantity stored here.  The SCSon posted the first shot of a two shot panorama.  The people at the right of the screen are approximately half way to the far end of the building, pallets stacked two high as far as the eye can see.

The scenery color is a nice change of pace.  Arizona is mostly shades of brown.  Southern IL is a refreshing green:
More Corn
Still More Corn

15 July 2013


These guys have it!

The SCSon's SCTP team (Rio Salado Target Terminators) are participating in the SCTP nationals this week in Sparta IL.

 A couple parents (two fathers with their sons) are making the 20 hour drive.  Unfortunately the engine gave up the ghost before they'd cleared the state.  They were towed to the dealership in Gallup NM.  Mechanics there report the engine threw a rod.  It's toast.

They were unable to rent a suitable car to continue with the trailer or even just load up the essentials and continue on.

The vehicle owner bought another car sight unseen and is having it driven up to them.  They expect to be back on the road around midnight.  Plan A is to alternate drivers and only stop for fuel and bathroom breaks.  They still have 18 hours to go which puts them on site around 8pm Tuesday.  First round of sporting clays is 10:30 AM the next morning.

Now this affects the entire team as they are carrying the team's shotguns & ammo (enough for a pretty good stand at surviving a class 2 zombie horde!)  The shotshells are easily replaced at that end of the trip.  But the guns not so much.  If something else breaks, the team will have nothing to shoot. 

The SCSon and I fly out waaay too early for my likes but it gets us East of St Louis early enough to clear the city before rush hour traffic takes hold.

Plan B is for the SCSon and I take the risk of taking the guns with us on the airline.  My initial perusal of the airline website suggested the oversized case would cost $175 each way.  The SCQueen called the airline and clarified just $25.  With the risks of bringing it through TSA and getting "misplaced" enroute, I'd rather not take this option.

I reached out to IL resident TrueBlueSam looking for other options.  Unfortunately his only scattergun is an inherited short barreled coach gun.  This would be one step above throwing rocks.

One idea we discussed would be to buy an 870 at my local Bass Pro or Cabelas  (complete the 4473 & transfer funds) and take delivery in St. Louis.  I ran this by my phrendly purveyor of phine phirearms.   He tells me as far as he knows, long guns can only be sold in state or to residents of adjacent states

He suggested shipping it to myself.  That's a good idea and one that can wait until late tomorrow to pull the trigger (pun unavoidable).

If anyone is going to be on site in Sparta, drop by and say hello.  Come on out an meet the team.  Email me at sandcastlescrolls-at-msn-dot-com and I can let you know where we'll be.

Also, while plan A and plan B get us to 99% confidence, if anyone is going to be on site with a gun to lend, please contact me at same email.  For Sporting Clays, we only need one gun... the boys can share.  The team will contribute labor for cleaning duties! (under your direct supervision and with as many "you missed a spot's" as necessary and/or entertainment value dictates :-)

Also check back here for daily updates.

Update 16July2013 2100.  The guys driving are on the western edge of St. Louis.  They are still in the wrong state but close enough we could go pick them up if something happens now.  They will hit their campsite around 2300 and I bet they will be some very tired guys.  We've heard rumors of inclement weather accross Texas,Oklahoma and Missouri and a couple new tires somewhere along the way.  Will update again after we hear the stories tomorrow.

BTW, I reached out to a couple Bloggers in case they get swallowed up in a black hole.  Neither had anything appropriate but were willing to go way out of their way to help.  TBS was willing to make a couple drives out of his way to buy a gun for the team to use and keep us from running afoul of the local laws.  DOOT didn't have anything either but reached to a friend who said "If you know him and say he's a good guy, we'll make it happen."

Quoting Roy: "More community action the Anti's don't have."

Thanks guys!  You are the best!

01 July 2013

Fencing tonight

I finally have sufficient equipment to fence at the club on a regular basis.

A normal Monday night class will have some 20-40 participants but tonight we were only 6:  Two youth ringers, probably nationally ranked.  The SCSon (very low experience) and a young lady with a lot more experience.  Your humble host (over 50YO and at least 50# overweight) and a young man under 10YO.

An instructor split us into teams for a team match:  Team A:  Nationally ranked ringer #1, The young lady and the SCSon.  Team B:  Nationally ranked ringer #2,  The sub 10YO young man and your humble host.

Before we get to the action, I need to explain how team scoring works.  Each bout is to 5 touches.  But if your team is behind, your fencer has to make up the deficit plus make the five touches to end the bout.  In other words, the first match ends at 5.  Say the losing team scored three.  That means the next fencer on the losing side has to score 7 (2+5) to end the bout.  The leading team only has to score 5 to end it.

My team B jumped out to an early lead.  I scored good points against their ringer probably because I'm so inexperienced.  My moves were so in-elegant and out of his expectations, they worked.   IOW, a couple touches were ugly but hey, a touch is a touch.  But I also scored reposting off a couple major league parry 2s.

My bout with the SCSon was good from a proud papa standpoint.  I saw a lot more aggression and follow through.  He's younger and faster and should be able to whup my butt any day of the week.  And that day is coming closer with every practice.

The final bout featured Team A ringer vs Team B sub 10YO.  "David vs Goliath" might be an apt description.   Said ringer has a ton of experience plus at least a foot of reach on said sub-10YO.  Sub 10YO didn't stand much of a chance but he entered the match with a 10 point team lead.  That meant he only had to score 5 touches while said ringer had to score 15 to win the match. 

Team B's sub 10YO held his own in the face of superior skill and experience.  He never gave up and even tried some interesting sumo inspired footwork to distract his opponent.

They battled back and forth with each scoring points.  Eventually the score was tied at 44:44.  Next touch wins and it really could go either way.

In the end Team A's ringer scored the match point.  What a match!  Team B's sub 10 YO never backed down.  I am proud to call him "Team Mate"! 

Dang I was happy to participate and compete with these young and upcoming fencers.  We all shook hands and I hope to see my competitors at the Olympics in the coming years.  Good luck and good fencing to those heading off to Nationals in the next few days.

12 June 2013

Stupid pilot tricks

I come from a long line of pilots.  My grandfather was a pilot licensed in 30's.  My uncle (same same grandpa's son) was licensed in the 60's.  Dad wanted to earn his license in the early 60's and could have learned for $100.  But at the time he was a Captain in the Army with a wife and two kids and earned $108/month.  The license was just not in the cards at the time.  Dad later earned his certificate some 40 years later at age 60.  I earned mine in 1989.

Years ago I was at my uncle's place the night before an early morning departure for OshkoshIron Eagle was on the vid.  The race scene between Doug and his high school rival came on:

My uncle paused the movie to explain something to the effect of "my sons know if they ever pull something like this they will be grounded for life". I suspect that speech was as much for my benefit as reinforcement for my cousins.

No need, but no offense taken either... I have a strong sense of self preservation.  Altitude is my friend.  Altitude is time and distance should the engine quit or some other emergency.  Today that self preservation expands to the immediate family.  My worst case scenario is a crash that takes out the family.  2nd worst is a crash that takes me away from them.

Fast forward to present day and today's stupid pilot tricks.  Via AvWeb.  A pilot crashes attempting low level aerobatics in a plane not certified for aerobatics.  Takes out himself and a cousin.  NTSB report here.

Said pilot was apparently 34.  One thing that is really tough to teach is "judgement".

Some of my best flying memories were flying with my good friend Steve in his Yak.  One day we were flying along and he called over the intercom "OK, give me a loop".
Me:  "ok... how?  I've never even tried it on Flight sim."
"Well easy,  Put the nose down until airspeed reaches 90 potatos*... about there."
"then pull back on the stick until you see 3 1/2 G's."
"ease off over the top....and add more stick as we round out on the bottom."

Even better were the stall turns.
"Full power as you pull vertical,  look out at the wingtips to see your angle to the horizon.  As the airspeed drops through 40 kick hard rudder and opposite aileron and it piroettes nicely over the top."

Except when the kick is late and there is insufficient airflow over the control surfaces doesn't give control authority to complete the maneuver.  That leaves the aircraft hanging at about 120 deg pitch and 20 degrees yaw.  Ok, that didn't work... reduce power to idle and wait for the heavy end (the engine) to come down first.  Now recover from the resulting dive.  And try again.

Fun  times.

This all works just fine and is as safe as swimming in your  backyard pool as long as there is altitude below to effect the recovery.

These guys started their fatal maneuver at 220 AGL.  They had no room.

Aerobatics are fun in a proper aircraft and with plenty of altitude below for the recovery. Starting a roll at 220 ft AGL in an aircraft not certified for aerobatics is.... stupid, insane, ill conceived...

And potentially... Fatal.

*  the rear cockpit still had Rooskie gauges and we never quite figured out the airspeed units.  It was easier to assign arbitrary units and just go with the number on the face. We called said units "potatos".

05 June 2013

May e-Postal results posted

The SCSon has posted the May results.  Thanks all who entered, hope you enjoyed the match.

Couple interesting points about the match...
* All entries were .22LR (excluding the left field entry).  That's probably a commentary on the availability of ammo these days.
* Most went for the 10 shot 10000 point option.  Meaning it wasn't really a 20 shot match but "what remains after 10 hits" match.    Still an interesting scoring scheme.  I applaud the out of the box thinking.

I shot a couple other targets that don't show on the score sheets, but I think they all scored 0.   I really should have sent in those targets as well.

This has been a learning experience for the SCSon (and that is why we do these things)...  The results show several class 3 entries at 25 YARDS.  I questioned the SCSon and he insisted.  As a spot check, I pulled up Billll's targets.  Sure enough his class three target reports range:  25'.  Tonight the SCSon learned a single tic is feet, a double tick is inches.  And that led of course to "This is Spinal Tap" reference.

He exclaimed "but they don't teach us this stuff in school".  Fine, NBD, that is why we are teaching you now!

He should get those fixed up tomorrow.  Also, the original postings didn't post well as the actual scores were cut off.  He had to figure out a way to keep all the info in the required screen dimensions.  It works for me now... let us know if you have problems!

Check out EJ's match for June!  The SCSon has already inquired about a weekend range trip (knowing the weekend forecast is for 106, 107F).  The range is up in the hills and covered so it's not so bad.  The name of the game is pre-hydrate and keep hydrated!

See you on the firing line!

18 May 2013

Range Day

Temperatures here in the Sonoran Desert are still tolerable but we are about to start the steep climb into serious triple digit territory.  But today held in the mid-90s so we were good to go.

We hit the range with  the mission to shoot some ePostals.  This target was shot with a Ruger 10/.22 with an 8x optic sight.  This is something of an easy call at 25 yards.  OTOH, it's also there to set up an "easy" class to give noobs a good score with scoped rifles.

I kind of expected the 10000 point cyberdemon to be a big draw and if you score, it's worth the 10 shots.  I lost count of my hits and ended up with 12 on target.  Then I went for the BFG-9000 and cyberdemon.  Missed the BFG and only scored 1 on the cyberdemon so no scores there.

If you do the value per shot calculation, and take into consideration the target size, there are some targets well worth aiming for, and some that are not.

Recoil Therapy
BTW, The SCSon is turning into something of a recoil junky.  In his early days he was rather recoil sensitive.  But now with better understanding of shooting and how recoil ties into that, he now seeks it out as something to be tried... and conquered!

A few months ago he asked about shooting the .30-06 so we took the M1 Garand to the range, and he liked it.  Today he wanted to try the .44 Magnum.  Here he is firing full 240gr, 1300+fps rounds.  He tried a couple singles first, then moved on to a full cylinder.

Next stop... .300 Win Mag!  And he's already asking about that.  After that, anyone have a .50 cal he can shoot? (I'll buy the ammo)

Unfortunately this range day had a little more drama than usual.  I was trying to figure out why my 10/.22 wouldn't feed when I heard a range master asking a few benches down "Are you shot?  Are you hurt?"  Then he got on his radio to call for a cease fire "...we've had a gun blow up down here".  Apparently while walking up and down the line, the range master noticed someone sitting back on a bench bleeding enough to cause notice.

We cleared the weapons and held back behind the safe line.

The shooter was ambulatory but obviously in need of some medical attention for a bloody right hand.  "We need to get some pressure on that wound" called out the range master.  The injured shooter returned a few minutes later with the hand wrapped in paper towels from the bathroom.  I am surprised the range didn't have a better first aid kit with at least some sterile gauze.  Then again accidents are rare events.  I mentally reviewed the contents of my bag for 1st aid...  Couple bandaids are probably the best I could conjure.  Felt a pang of regret having been forewarned by other bloggers. (after all, learning from others is one reason for following blogs).  Note to self... procure a reasonable 1st aid kit and keep it in the range bag!

Putting together other evidence, it appears a round went off out of battery.  The SCSon reports he saw a piece of splayed brass and I found a mangled projectile.  I had the camera handy but this is one time I chose not to get the shot.  Blood & gore is not my game.

09 May 2013

May ePostal

If you've ever played First Person Shooter (FPS) video games, you've probably played Doom, the game that started it all.  The SCSon presents an ePostal match based on the original: Doom!

Course of fire:
Download and print target here.  (do not use the image above, it probably won't print correctly)
Download and print scoring here.  (this is the part that's delayed the posting)
Each target icon only scores once.  That is if a target icon requires one hit to score, additional hits score as misses.  If a target icon requires n-hits, anything >n scores as a miss.

20 shots.

Pistols: 25ft/10 yds or range minimum which ever is greater.  Standing unsupported, one or two hands. No time limit.

Rifles may be shot any position including off the bench, but rests such as sandbags and bi-pods are disallowed.  The fore end of the rifle must be supported by the offhand elbow.   No time limit.
  • Rimfire, both iron sights and scope: 25 yards.
  • Centerfire iron sight & scope: 50 yards
(see linked document)...  This section will be filled out in the future but for now I just want to get the match up.

Shoot as many times as you like with as many weapons as you can lay your grubby hands on.

Classes:  You got it? shoot it and we'll find a place to record the score. (I reserve the right to draw the line at tater-guns & scatter guns).
  1. .177 cal air pistol, iron sights (air or C02 powered)
  2. .177 cal air pistol, optic sights (air or C02 powered)
  3. .17/.22 cal rim fire pistol, iron sights
  4. .17/.22 cal rim fire pistol, magnified optical sights
  5. center fire pistol, iron sights
  6. center fire pistol, magnified optic sights
  7. .17/.22 cal rim fire rifle iron sights (25 yds)
  8. .17/.22 cal rim fire rifle magnified optic sights (25 yds)
  9. center fire rifle iron sights (50 yds)
  10. center fire rifle magnified optic sights (50 yds)
  11. other (anything that doesn't fit the above categories)
Non-magnified optic sights (e.g. reddot) count as iron sights.  1:1 "RedDot" sights might be slightly faster to align than normal iron sights as there is only one sight to get on target, not two.  But speed is not a factor in this game so it's a wash.  Take your time and make good hits with either system.

Score submissions: scan/photograph your target, fill in the gun info (make & model & caliber), distance, class, on-line identity (name/pseudonym as you want it on the score sheets, blog reference for linky love) however you want to be remembered on the score sheets... email to  
smallestconservative-at-hotmail-dot-com.  Might as well cc: me at 
SandCastleScrolls-at-msn-dot-com so I can backstop him and make sure no entries fall through the cracks. linked document

All target submissions will receive a return acknowledgement.  If you send in a target and don't hear back within 48 hours, raise the red flag.

Update 10May 1336:  Target updated.  Should print correctly now.  Also clarified "each Target icon" only scores once.  Obviously there are many target icons on each target.