The Time We Spend

Here we are, in the throes of summer.  Man, has it been busy.  Between the garden and fixing up the old farm house, I haven’t had many spare minutes.  When I do, we head to the beach.  Colorado gave me the mountains, but robbed me of the ocean.  I have to say that I prefer the latter of the two.

I beach comb while the kids are in the water.  In the winter, they wander the beach with me.  The beach in the winter sometimes reminds me of the Cormac McCarthy book, The Road.  Lonely.  Desolate.  Still pretty awesome, though.


I find a lot of wood.  Take a state with a working coastline, and it’s no shock that the weather beaten remnants of dock structures wash up on shore from time to time.  We’ve scavenged from Belfast to Old Orchard.  The treasures on every beach are different.


I’ve been trying to shake the money tree a little harder.  Why?  AR-15s, that’s why.  Components are cheap right now.  The other brother on this blog, B&A, made me an AR pistol in .300 AAC Blackout back in late May.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  I might add that prices are dropping since Trump took office.  I’ll review the pistol in a later post.


Anyhow, I’ve started selling these signs.  I print the letters, align them, trace them on, route them out, then paint them in.  I’ve sold a few.  I’m not breaking the bank, but I am making a little extra scratch.


I’ve also had the idea to try and utilize drift wood and scrap metal.  These can hang on the wall, to hang coasts and such from, or they can lay flat as their own artistic piece.  Personally, I think most art is a bunch of hooey.  These things aren’t any sort of expression of my inner child or any bologna like that.  I just like drift wood and composition.


If anyone is still reading, check in.  Even if you’re new.  Let us know what’s up in your world.  Me and that B&A bastard have been busy with kids and such, but I’m going to make a better effort to check in here and there.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.


Multipurpose Hunting Tools

I went home a few weekends ago (home being northern Maine).  I brought my boys there to hang out with my family and to do some grouse hunting.  It was pretty windy that day, but my cousin managed to drop one bird in my lap.  I got to try out an old Remington 870 (full choke) I recently picked up and I was very pleased with its performance.


My cousin showed me his new ammunition belt.  I shot a glance at it and thought it might be a little overkill, as it was packed with 12 gauge shells, but then he explained it to me.  He had grouse loads, buck shot and slugs.  Different rounds for different tags.  It struck me that what he was doing made absolute sense for me.  Here on our new farm, I’m hunting grouse, turkeys, and deer, now that it’s November.  I nailed a couple of turkeys, too.  They aren’t trophy winners, but they certainly tasted good.



I dug through my storage when I got home and found a bandoleer I made about seven or eight years ago.  I made it just to make it.  Talked about the zombie apocalypse when I showed it to buddies, just for laughs.  It cost me about $3.00 in hobby leather and took me about 4 hours to make.  I’ve got it loaded it with 5 shot, 4 shot, buckshot and some slugs.  As you can see, I was wearing it on both occasions.  I figure if I get out into the wooded area of our property, making my tools work for me in different circumstances just makes sense.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel……out.

Ar15 vs. AK47 vs. Mosin Nagant 

I grabbed this off Tumblr. A few articles ago, I mounted a scope to my mosin. I haven’t used it too much- fired it out the window on my brother’s car the night I bought it. I assume I hit the highway sign, but it was still standing the next day, so it must have been a light load. 

My Mosin was a gift from Mike, and I swapped him an old Stevens 12 gauge break open with a broken ejector. When you went hunting, you cut a straight stick a little longer than the barrel, and pop the shell out by ramming the stick down the barrel. 

I’ve got an AR that I built, it’s nice. I’ve got an SKS, not an AK, but I enjoy it as well. The SKS is nice, it centers itself well, so you can pull up and nail your target without even thinking about it. I tore the throat out of a running groundhog from about 30 foot away. Serves him right for getting into Grandma Joe’s garden! 

By this comparison though, I need to use my mosin a little more! 

AR-15 vs AK-47 vs Mosin Nagant

AR15: You measure your misses by sub MOA measurements

AK47: You miss and, and aim a bit lower this time.

Mosin-Nagant: Even if you miss the shock wave of the bullet will kill the animal.

AR15: You are careful to keep in clean in the field.

AK47: You don’t worry so much about some dirt getting in it.

Mosin-Nagant: It still has gritty grease inside it from when the Finnish army put it into storage.

AR15: Your bayonet will do an alright job of butchering your kill if needed.

AK47: The bayonet doubles as a decent hunting knife.

Mosin-Nagant: Your bayonet can be used to spit roast an entire pig.

AR15: Nice and light for carrying over obstructions.

AK47: Handy package for carrying over obstructions.

Mosin-Nagant: You can pole vault over obstructions.

AR15: Melts IN the fire
AK47: Starts ON fire
Mosin-Nagant: Starts THE fire.

AR15: With a custom barrel, Varmint Scope, and gunsmith trigger job, you can vaporize prairie dogs at 600 yards.

AK47: With a good rain, you can wait hidden in the mud at the side of a watering hole and wait for the game to come to you for a shot within 10 yards.

Mosin-Nagant: With a solid shooting position, you can hit that deer on the other side of the valley… and recover the bullet in the tree it was standing in front of.

AR-15: Carried by elite special forces and highly-trained American soldiers

AK-47: Carried by illiterate peons and unwilling conscripts.

Mosin-Nagant-Nagant: Carried by Vassily Zaitsev.

AR15: Might just stop that charging terrorist with a three round burst

AK47: Would stop the terrorist in his tracks

Mosin-Nagant: Would stop the charging terrorist, his three buddies, and blow up the IED in the next block from the shockwave of the bullet…

AR15: Shoots a .22.

AK47: Shoots a carbine round.

Mosin-Nagant: Shoots a cannonball.

AR15: Shoot it in the air it goes a mile.

AK47: Shoot it in the air it goes ½ a mile.

Mosin-Nagant: Shoot it in the air and someone in Berlin gets hit by a bullet.

AR15: Sounds like a pop gun.

AK47: Sounds like a machine gun.

Mosin-Nagant: Sounds like the Trinity Atomic Blast.

AR15: Sometimes mistaken for a toy.

AK47: Sometimes mistaken for random parts.

Mosin-Nagant: Sometimes mistaken for an artillery piece, or an anti-aircraft gun.

AR15: Finicky when dirty.

AK47: Still works when dirty.

Mosin-Nagant: Arrives Dirty from the Distributor.

AR15: Makes a small hole in a tree

AK47: Makes a medium sized hole in a tree

Mosin-Nagant: Blows tree in half making firewood available.

AR15: Lots of fancy optics available

AK47: You can bolt some stuff to the side

Mosin-Nagant: Who cares about optics when the barrel is long enough to smack the enemy over the head without even leaving your foxhole.

AR15: Made by a stoned Eugene.

AK47: Made by an injured Kalashnikov.

Mosin-Nagant: Made by a drunken Belgian and a crazy Ivan.

Tipsy Targeting

For the record, I’m not a drunk; I just great ideas, and act upon them, when I’ve had a few sips of Grampa’s sarsaparilla. Some people get slutty, some people get angry, I just get inventive and want to build things and tackle projects.

I missed out on drinking at hunting camp – but I am a hearty believer that shooting and drinking don’t mix very well. However, drinking and working on guns is friggin brilliant!

I started my project with a purchase – someone on Craigslist was clearing out a bunch of stuff. I swapped an old Stevens 12 gauge break-open with a stuck auto-ejector (stick along with you to ram down the barrel after you shot anything) to Mike Oscar. In return, I got a disassembled Mosin Nagant. I got the way better end of the deal, don’t tell him. After I put it together, I fired it once or twice, then it stayed with my brother when i moved, then it got swapped back and forth a few times, and finally, I ended up with it at my house, I’m not sure how. The front sight was missing, from who knows where, and the upper barrel wood is longer than the lower barrel wood, probably because they’re from two different guns. Can she shoot? Not sure yet!


The missing front sight is annoying, so I stuck some safety wire over it, just to go shoot with it – I never got a chance, the range we went to insisted on brass ammo, and I only have old steel ammo for my gun. I have been looking at bent bolts to add a scope mount, and went so far as to pull the bolt out and set it in my vise, getting ready to make my own bent bolt, a job I wasn’t excited about.

Searching for tents on Craisgslist last week, I saw a guy who was selling a tent peg hammer (because the back of a hatchet is so 80s), along with a bunch of odds and ends of junk. Buried in the middle, was a couple scope rings, two 10/22 mags, and a Mosin Nagant scope mount, that replaced the front sight!  Mike Oscar had mentioned one from seeing a video (, but I wasn’t able to find one. Now this guy has one for sale!



So for $25, I picked up all the loot you see here. It was a good haul! In the plastic bag is my treasure, the Mosin mount! I later found one for $10 on Amazon. But oh well, this one is in my hot little hands, so it’s going on my smoke pole.

The first step was disassembly. That’s a pretty easy step; Mosins weren’t made for brain surgeons. Once the barrel assemble was stripped away from the wood, it was time to get hammering. At the front of the sight ramp is a pin -get a nice punch, a hammer, and carefully tap it out, making sure to cushion the  rather than put it right on steel and smack it around like it owes you money.

Then get another sip of Tullamore Dew.


At this point, I noticed another problem – the pin that lines the trigger up was pretty loose. Whether a design issue or a ‘too-many-nazis’ issue, I spent a few minutes sifting through the sawdust below my vise before found it; but once I did, I used some electrical tape to hold it into place. IMG_1339

I put some tape on the side of the action to protect it from the anvil, then put a split in the tape so it could slide out. IMG_1340IMG_1341

Once you flip the sight out, slide the spring forward and out. Now it’s time for the mount! Line it up as it looks – the bolt will go through the now empty pin hole, and the body of the mount will lie along the channel the sight used to lay in. There might be some sanding and grinding to make it a good fit, but I know you got this. You aren’t too far into the good stuff yet – I’ve only finished my first glass!IMG_1342IMG_1343

Once it’s in place, slide the bolt through from the left to the right, screw the nut on (4 mm wrench) and tighten it down. I put some lock-tite on there, because you can never be too sure. 

I thought I’d skip a few steps and save a few bullets by leveling things out ahead of time. I wrapped the gun in an old shirt, around the action where I was going to fit it into the vise. I then stuck my level on it to make sure it was parallel to the floor. Once I was sure the gun was level, I started adjusting the screws. I worked on the screw all the way to the rear first, and ran it down and checking with the level until it was level. I then ran the front screw down, making sure it was snug but not putting an undue amount of pressure on the front (it comes out in a weird spot, not really on the wood or the metal, so don’t get too crazy with it. Once that was in place and level checked again, I ran down the second screw from the back. Once I checked again, I tightened the set screws on the left side. And then, because I know how much luck I have, I checked again – sure enough, setting the set screws knocked it off. 


After it was all done, I sat back and admired my work. Not my workshop, though, because that looks like a yard sale barfed on my work bench. 


(The shirt is gone, this was just display purposes)IMG_1351

So then I mounted my scope. It didn’t work. It is a short base, so there are only a few scopes this will work with. Like, not the one I had. Because when I started trying out the rings I had purchased, the tall ones worked but put the crosshairs very low when I went for my natural cheek weld. 


The low profile rings I had were the wrong size, so I ordered new ones. Once they came in, the eye piece was too big, and it wouldn’t allow the scope to sit on the mount. So, it was time to dig the Sawzall out again (now you know why I had checked to see how much a replacement was.) More shirt wrapping, more vise work, and I had a shorter mount that worked with my scope. 


It’s off to the left a little, so there will be some adjustment. I’m not looking forward to a full day at the range sighting in this and my new 30.06, so I might invest in a laser bore sighter first. 

Or borrow one from one of you. Anyone in southwest Michigan and have an afternoon free? I’ll bring the booze!

For afterwards, of course. I have some shelves I need to build. 

Smith & Wesson .40 M&P Shield

I’ll start out by saying I’m not a big fan of double action only pistols.  I grew up shooting revolvers and really enjoy pistols like 1911s.  I started carrying a double action pistol mostly because I was given one (a Taurus Millennium Pro) Double action only pistols tend to be smaller than many other pistols and easy to carry concealed.

Product  Smith   Wesson M P SHIELD™ .40 S W

I bought a Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Shield last year.  I actually entered the store with the intention of buying a Springfield X D subcompact, but once I held the Shield, it was smaller and more comfortable in my hand.  Since then, I’ve only had the occasion to shoot it once until this past weekend.


When I first shot it, I was horribly inaccurate with it, which I wasn’t pleased about.  Mind you, I had been shooting my dad’s old Smith & Wesson revolvers a lot around that time and they shoot much differently than this little pistol.  What I found out over the weekend was I was the reason for the inaccurate shooting.

If you haven’t shot a double action only (DAO) pistol, here’s a tip.  Hold ‘er steady.  I think that applies to every gun you shoot, but the trigger pull on a DAO pistol is unusually long, and in the case of the pounds of pull, the Shield is rated for a 6.5 lbs trigger pull from the factory, which I’m sure varies a bit. What some of us don’t realize is that during the trigger pull, we tend to drift left, right, up, or down, ever so slightly, which can jumble your accuracy a lot.  This was the case with the Shield.

In the picture, I’m pretty much all in the black.  Ignore the holes on the bottom left of the target.  Those are from a catastrophic gun failure with a different gun that I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to talk about on here.  Mostly because it’s not my gun.  Shots were taken at 10 yards with 180 grain Winchester jacketed hollow point ammunition.  While my groups aren’t tight, it’s not bad for double action pistol with a short barrel.


Overall, I like the gun.  It carries well.  Once you get the trigger thing down, it shoots well.  It feels solid, even though it is small and it certainly isn’t as bulky as the X D that I had planned on buying.  Like any pistol, you have to play with it and get the feel for it before you can get guaranteed accuracy. It has quality fit and finish and feels as though it will hold up well in the years to come. After this weekend, I’m really glad that I purchased this pistol.  I think it’ll be in the CCW rotation for a long time.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.

Feet Per Second

I’ve got yard rabbits.  Like, rabbits that I let loose in 2014, expecting they’d be eaten by the fox during the night.  They’ve been here ever since.  Many rabbit folk say that a domestic rabbit can’t live on forage alone.  They’re wrong.  The two girls in my yard have done just fine.  In fact, they’re fat with hardly any help from me.

I caught one last year in a live trap and bred her to a buck.  Just to see if it worked.  It did.  A month later, I saw her pull fur.  Four weeks after that, I saw pea-sized bunny babies skittering out from under my shed.  There were seven in all.  All but one were killed by predators.  The last one we figured was a buck, due to the way he was built.  We called him Thunder.

Thunder was about a year old.  Rabbits can breed at 4 months (that’s pushing it a bit), but we’d seen no action between he and the girls until recently.  When he did mount them, they kicked him off.

Apparently, he closed the deal with one of the does, though.  I caught her pulling fur and stashing it under the deck the other day. Being that we’re selling the house, that isn’t ideal.

I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse to pick up some .22 shorts.  I usually buy CCI shorts and look for something in the neighborhood of 710 fps. I know those rounds are quiet and I can do basic jobs without being heard around the house.  They were out of CCIs.  All they had were these.


None of the boxes listed feet per second.  Based on grains, I thought I’d be be okay with the 20 grain rounds, but the sales guy pushed me to buy the subsonics.  I grabbed the Super Extra Shorts figuring they’d be pretty close to the 20 grains and pack a little more punch at 29 grains.

When I got home, Thunder was out in the yard.  I got the kids’ bolt action Davey Crickett .22 and nailed him in the head with a 20 grain.  It was over long before he knew what was happening.  I looked him over.  He was very healthy.  He had never spent a day in a cage and I’d fed him vegetable scraps at most.  He was a self-made bunny.  He was as big as my cage raised rabbits, if not larger.


Afterwards, I decided to try the Super Extra Shorts, thinking they would be similar to the 20 grains.  Man, was I wrong.  I stood in the dining room and fired out the back door and the gun made quite a *crack*.  I laughed and slid the door shut quickly and my wife scolded me for a moment.  I’m certainly glad I didn’t try the subsonics.  The .20 grains will do for now.  Though at $5.00 a box, they’re a little cost prohibitive.

I didn’t worry about the cops showing up.  I learned that lesson through my dad.  He came to visit a few years back and was working on my black powder rifle on the back deck.  He got something stuck somewhere and ended up firing off a shot in the back yard with no lead.  It was pretty loud.  I freaked out, but the old man just stood out there, still working on the gun.  Nobody came.  Mind you, my neighbors are probably 150 feet away.  I asked what he was going to do when the cops came and he said he would tell them exactly what happened and ask them if they wanted to fire off a shot.  By that age, he was at the point where he didn’t give a crap.  Now I understand why.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.





Stippling: First Attempt

Stippling.  I’d heard the word in my life, but heard it in a new context recently.  I’ve got a few “plastic guns” (polymer) and was looking into some sort of grip to aid in holding onto them when shooting.  For those of you new to the shooting game or if you’ve only owned metal framed guns, it can be hard to hold onto some plastic guns when you are shooting. I’ve heard this is especially true on smaller guns like the Ruger LCP .380.


There are already solutions to the problem.  Talon Grips are a good example of a sandpaper-type wrap that can go onto your plastic guns.  I like these because they aren’t a permanent modification to the gun. There are also rubber wraps, grip modifications and a few other things on the market that can help you get digit traction on your pistol.


As I said before, permanent modifications to weapons aren’t my thing, but stippling still interests me.  Not only do people do it to their pistols, they also do it to rifle stocks and magazines.  I can get behind stippling magazines, due to their affordability and for the fact that if you botch your stippling job, you don’t have to live with it for very long, if you don’t want to.  What really interests me is the fact that if you become good enough at it, you can offer it as a service and get paid for doing it.  It’s always nice to have another feather in your cap.

I plugged in the soldering iron and waited quite a while before trying it out on the magazine.  When it did press it to the magazine, it barely did anything.  I didn’t realize that the plastic in Tapco mags was so hard. After letting the iron sit on the magazine for seconds at a time, this was all I got.  You saw it right.  Nothing.  Just minor dents.



The kids were playing with Legos, so I reached over and grabbed one.  I caught a lot of flak until they realized what I was doing.  The iron worked much better on a Lego.  The kids loved it.


I think getting an even pattern would take some practice.  Luckily, my kids have about 8,000 Legos, which I technically own.  They also have a soldering iron that they got for Christmas.  I might pilfer that as well and see if maybe the one I got at the Goodwill just has a bad heating element or something.

I don’t think I will be doing this on my plastic guns – just magazines and accessories.  I’m still struggling with the idea of plastic guns.  Without a doubt, they are fun, convenient, and light, but I’m questioning how they will hold up over time.  I just don’t think they’re heirloom quality and what I think about mostly when making firearms purchases is what I’m going to pass down to my children. Inheriting my dad’s Smiths is certainly proof of how well metal pistols hold up over time.  I have his pre-Model 27, and it was made in the 1950s.  60-some-odd years later, after years of use and abuse, it is still solid and shoots well.  I’ve debated ditching my plastic guns and buying something all metal.  You certainly can’t go wrong with something like a 1911, though carrying one concealed would tend to make one walk stiff-legged.  I used to carry a compact 1911.  While it was a great piece, it did tend to pull down my drawers.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel…..out.


Everything you heard about silencers is (probably) wrong (if you were like me). 

I ran into a machinist at the range today. He was fully legal and had his stamps, so he let me try out his range of silencers. This is my  Walther P22,  my factory bullets.  

His Springfield XDm, again, factory bullets. 

.22 subsonics. 

I had always thought the ‘silencer’ was a myth, that for $300-1100, plus a $200 stamp, you could have something that dropped the sound 20 decibels. As you can see from these videos … I think I need a silencer. Suppressor. Whatever you want to call it, I’m starting a gun fund. 

DIY Concealed Carry Holster

Michael, over at the Isserfiq blog, recently commented that he needed to make a holster for a piece that he has.  I’ve made a few holsters and decided to share this one that I made years ago on and posted to one of the old blogs.  It is an IWB holster that I used for a Rock Island 1911 and a CZ-52, both of which I’ve gotten rid of since.
I found a soft, supple leather, since it was going to to be IWB.  Hard leather would likely not ride comfortably.  I figured out that per piece I paid about $2.75 for the materials.  It is comfortable and works well.  Here are a few pictures.
As you can see, I double layered the back so that the snap wouldn’t rub on the weapon.
The strap hooks around my belt loop and snaps.  This prevents the holster from coming out when I draw.
I also double and triple stiched with faux sinew to make sure it was nice and strong.
It fit both my CZ-52 and my compact 1911 when I had them.
I tend to carry at 4 to 5 o’clock .


 Easy to make!  It took me about 25 minutes to cut and stitch.  If you can’t afford a good holster, try making your own.  It’s easy.
 Mike, Oscar, Hotel……out.