Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Next Best Thing

What attracts us to guns?

There are many aspects to collecting and shooting guns that are very enjoyable. You have the fine craftsmanship in well made arms to admire, the intellectual aspect involved in reloading, the thrill of finding that special rare firearm, the camaraderie you share with fellow gun owners, the knowledge that you can protect yourself and your family if need be, the history of firearms, the pride of improving your skills, and countless other aspects of our hobby that makes it so fulfilling. We see guns as more than tools. They are objects of affection for many of us.

I feel the most primal aspects of guns are the most appealing to us. They make fire, light, and loud noise. This is the biggest attraction for me. I love the feel of the controlled chaos that firing a gun represents. The power contained in these wonderful little packages we call ammo, is manipulated and put to work for us. We control this large force. There is something very attractive about that.

Now, the next best thing to this rush of firing of a gun is lighting fireworks. I love it, and have loved it since I was probably 7 years old. It is the same thrill for me really. My Dad would give me a coffee can full of Black Cat firecrackers to play with. I could spend hours blowing up stuff with them. I was the scourge of the ant mounds that were anywhere near my area of operations. Coke cans cringed at the thought of me finding them. They would be subjected to repeated lit explosive charges being shoved into their mouths if I found them. I had ways of dealing with these insurgent aluminum fiends!

This addiction, I mean pastime, was engrained in me from that young age. Independence Day is my second favorite holiday, after Christmas. I love the 4th of July so much, that I start thinking about it in the winter. The rocket's red glare has a very different meaning to me than what Mr. Key wrote about. :)

I love shooting fireworks on the 4th. I have done it my entire life, and have spent small fortunes on these mystical creations. Last year I discovered wholesale fireworks. For anyone that spends a decent amount of money on fireworks, let's say $300 or more, this is the way to go. You get deep discounts. Really good discounts. You can, for example, get an entire case of firecrackers for less than $50. The case would contain 16,000 crackers. Other typical examples are the popular artillery shell assortments. A premium assortment at a fireworks stand can cost upwards of $150. You can get six of them in a case for less than that wholesale.

Now this is not going to save you money. The effect of cheap fireworks, lets you do what you have always wanted to do. Put on a giant show! It is kind of like reloading. Freeloaders don't save money on ammo, because they generally shoot a lot more than the poor guy buying his stuff at the gun store. The discount on pyrotechnics is much vaster than ammunition however. Seasonal stands sell their explosive wares for a tremendous markup usually. You can' blame them really. In Texas, for example, they are only open three weeks a year.

I am already planning my shoot for this year, and am hoping to place my first order this month. I can already smell the powder burning!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Time for Some Trout

I am going to be a ripe old 32 this Friday, and the lovely wife and I have decided to spend the weekend at our cabin on Possum Kingdom lake. I plan to fart around with all my tackle and respool my rods for spring. The boat also needs a little preventative maintanence and such. It should be a nice leasurely weekend away from town. The TPWD releases trout into several rivers and ponds every winter, and they just happened to release several thousand last week below the dam of the lake.

Hopefully there are still some there. It sure would be fun to catch a few with the wife on our ultralight equipment. These guys are generally very small, a 14" fish would be a monster, but they put up a nice fight on a very light rod with 2# test line. I have not really fished much in the last two years, but I am very much looking forward to this year, and hope to get quite a few weekends in at the lake.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Well my vacation is now over and I am back at work. My first day was yesterday. This two day week is the perfect slide back into the every day grind I needed. While I enjoyed my vacation and the holiday's immensely, I was ready to get back by the time it was over.

My lovely wife blessed me with much firearm goodness for Christmas. I could not have asked for more, and probably deserved much less.

The first wonderful firearm she gave me is a beautiful Ruger Vaquero Montado in the tried and true .45 Long Colt caliber. This is a very handy gun. It was made by Ruger for the mounted shooting games that have become so popular recently. The gun has several unique features that make it perfect for this activity. It has a short 3" barrel, along with a lowered Bisleyesque hammer. The gun is wonderfully polished stainless steel, and has Ruger's standard black hard rubber grips. I plan to replace them at some point with some custom elk horn grips or some such.

The second firearm I opened Christmas morning was a very nice surprise that my dear wife picked out on her own. She scored well. She purchased a 6.5" stainless Blackhawk in .357 Magnum. What a lovely gun. It is a huge revolver, but it balances nicely, and shoots very nicely. I love it. I put two boxes through the tube at the range last weekend and it shot all the rounds into about a 4" area at 15 yards when I did my part. I am new to single action revolvers so I suspect that these results will of course improve with practice. I need to adjust the sights on it just a bit to the left and down. The revolver tamed the recoil from the standard .357 cartridges I was shooting very well.

Finally my favorite present was opened next. It is such a beautiful gun. She found me a Marlin 1894CB Limited in again, .45 Long Colt. Wow, just wow. What a pretty lever action. I have yet to shoot this one, but am going to try to sneak in some range time in the next week or two with it. The octagon barrel, skinny forearm, and all the other "Cowboy" touches make it such a winner. It points exceedingly well, and the sight picture is just awesome. I am so looking forward to shooting it.

I plan to get a longer barreled Vaquero and a SxS coach gun in the future to round out my "cowboy" guns. I figure the Montado will be an excellent weak side gun, and my wonderful little .32 H&R Single Six is the perfect old school CCW piece. Wow, I can totally see getting sucked into the CAS thing. I love these old style guns, and just know playing dress up as some kind of Old West character would be so cool. It looks like an awesome past time.

The last, and possibly most useful gunny gift the wife bought me was a RCBS reloading kit. She also purchased die sets for both .45 ACP, and .32 H&R Magnum. It will be a couple of months before I get it set up and rolling, but expect plenty of posts on the subject as I get it set up. I have a lot to learn. While the basic process is understood, the details are still a bit fuzzy.

In closing, I am so thankful for the blessings God has given me. My wonderful new bride and I had a great first Christmas together. The gifts were of course wonderful, but the real treasure is the love I have and receive for and from her. A good wife is a rare treasure, and I am so blessed to have one.

Oh yeah, I will be posting some more detailed blog entries on each of the new additions fairly soon.