Monday, October 29, 2012

Developing the next generation...

Some of you folks who have followed this blog for a while know we work with 4H here in rural Ohio.  Truth be told, just about every part of our lives is built around educating the next generation whether it be my teaching at the university or my main gal's twenty-sixth year in the fifth grade... teaching that is.  Working with the youth, teaching AWANA's or Sunday School, coaching, training, teaching NRA and CCW courses... we've dedicated a lot of ourselves to passing on knowledge and skills to others the best that we can, even in our own family.

Well, we also need to continue that life-long learning ourselves.  My wife and I spent a terrific weekend in southern Ohio attending a 4H Shooting Sports Instructor development workshop.  She picked up the coordinator certification while I spent a couple of days in the classroom and cold, drizzling rain wrapping up the 4H shotgun certification.  We met a lot of good folks, over two-hundred, getting prepared to pass on the shooting sports to the next generation of Americans.

We really feel the youth are our future.  That's just not a cliche' round here.  We've tried to prepare ourselves, our daughter, and all those who we have the privilege to teach and train for the future.  A future where folks are able appreciate the blessings they have and to proudly take care of and provide for themselves while caring for each other.  Isn't that a large part of being a Christian and American is all about?

One of the Bible verses I've really grown to appreciate says in Romans 12:2... "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."  That tells me I need to stay out of the ruts and keep learning, every day... about everything I can... particularly about those things that are necessary for me to take care of myself, my family, and other folks... and notice, I said, "me"... not the government.

One thing about trainin' up the next generation in shooting sports... they learn safety, responsibility, a life-long activity... but most importantly... they learn to develop confidence, overcome fears, and gain the personal satisfaction of being able to use and maybe even master a tool of incredible heritage, power, and enjoyment.

Yeah, I'm an idealist... a black-n-white, not much gray, kind of guy.  We're blessed and ultimately try to share our blessings with others... and there's not a whole lot of better ways to do that than... Developing the next generation...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ruger Mark III Hunter and Bushnell TRS-25

A little over twenty-five years ago I purchased my first rimfire pistol... a Ruger Mark II Government Target Model in stainless steel.  That gun will literally drill holes with target ammunition.  It's seen a lot of competition, bullseye matches, bowling pin shoots, hunting, and plinking over the years.  After tens of thousands of round or rimfire .22s, it still shoots as well as the day we bought it.  It has been joined over the years by a stainless steel Ruger Mark II 22/45, a blued Ruger Mark III 22/45... and more recently by a stainless steel Ruger Mark III Hunter.

The Ruger Mark III Hunter continues the tradition of reliability and accuracy folks have come to expect from this line of rimfire pistols.  It comes with sharp looking checkered wood grips, a fluted barrel, an optics rail, and a HiViz front sight.  Did I mention the fluted barrel?  Very cool.

The HiViz front sight, when combined with the rear v-notch sight make for quick target acquisition and the HiViz is very bright, even on a cloudy day.  While my gals liked the HiViz front sights, I found the "circle of light" a bit large for my personal tastes appearing to be about a five to seven MOA size to me.  The Ruger Single-Ten I recently bought for my main gal has Williams Firesights which have a much smaller diameter optic rod which I find allows for a little better precision work for me.  As is my typical mode of operation, I did a Loctite job with medium strength thread-locker on the front and rear sight screws once I was sure everything was well sighted in.

While I've not been a fan of optics or red dot sights for Every Day Carry (EDC) guns... competition and hunting handguns are a whole different story.  Cabela's had the Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot sights for just seventy-nine bucks, so a little Loctite on the screw threads and I mounted the included Ruger optics rail on the Mark III Hunter and then mounted up the TRS-25.

The Bushnell TRS-25 is compact, light-weight, waterproof, has eleven brightness settings and runs off a pretty standard CR2032 battery.  The red dot is small enough to allow for precision work although the "roundness" of the little red dot is not as perfect as our Aimpoint PRO optics... but then again, it's under a hundred bucks.  The gals and I found the TRS-25 to be a terrific optic, with the additional weight hardly being noticeable on the gun.

We've put a couple of thousand rounds through this pistol and optic set-up on sunny days, colder days, and even rainy days.  Typical Ruger reliability is expected and par for the course and as you can see... resting off a plastic barrel on the range... with a crisp breaking, easy trigger-pull... ten CCI Mini-Mag, thirty-six grain, hollow-point .22LRs make for a tight group at twenty-five yards out back on the range.  We've even had tighter groups with various target ammunition, but hey... this gun is the Hunter model so hollow-point accuracy and precision is what counts.

Some of the best fun the gals and I have has is giving the .22 dueling tree a flip-floppin' beat-down out back on the range and this little Ruger does a great job of that.  In fact, my younger gal gave the ol' man a run for the money just the other day on the dueling tree using this gun.  Like Toby Keith says, "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."

If you're looking for a terrific, accurate plinking, hunting, or target rig in .22 rimfire... a fun gun that's inexpensive to shoot and makes the squirrels quiver with fear... its hard to beat the precision, looks, accuracy, durability, and reliability of the... Ruger Mark III Hunter and Bushnell TRS-25

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sheepdog 101: Bulletproof your Mind

There are bad and evil people in this world who want to do bad and evil things to other people in this world.  The last few days have served to remind me of that fact.  I listened to photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson speak and share his imagery from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at Northern Kentucky University as part of a work-related conference I was attending... then my wife and I spend the day at Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's Bulletproof the Mind seminar sponsored by the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Now I know the sheepdog analogy is wearing thin for some folks, but Grossman uses it to make many of his points and while he was mostly preachin' to the choir... it was a dynamic presentation with good data, practical information, and food for thought.  There are still a lot of folks in the denial stage, living out their Pleasant Valley Sunday's until the day a bad or evil person up-ends their life.

I won't attempt to summarize or overview the entire seminar here, but Grossman is a dynamic speaker who believes in what he's doing.  I heard him speak several years ago and have picked up and read most of his books over the years including On Combat, On Killing, Warrior Mindset, and he signed a copy of Stop Teaching Our Children to Kill for my school teacher wife.  While he's provided more depth in other books and talks, this would be a terrific seminar for those who are new to concealed carry, or a sheepdog, or an aware and alert mindset.

The bottom line for my gals and I is that it reinforces our lifestyle.  We don't live in a state of paranoia... we live with awareness and knowledge to determine when a state of alert or alarm is required.  Grossman would say that we live in condition yellow, not white.  Parents, you can train this into your children with simple games... Who sees a woman with a blue purse?  How many license plates have the letter "A" or the number "6"?  How many "EXIT" signs can you see?  How many happy people can you see - why do you think they look happy?  How many unhappy people can you see - why do you think they are unhappy?  Play the games... teach your kids and family to observe and be aware of their surroundings.

The Buckeye Firearms Association reminded everyone about how important Ohio is in this election.  Even local races matter as many of those local folks go on to seek bigger and better elected offices down the road.  I don't speak a lot about politics on this blog, but for me and my gal... who picks the next couple of United States Supreme Court justices are one of our biggest concerns.  Taxes and politicians come and go... the economy goes up and goes down... but the supreme court has, and will have, a greater affect on my family's rights and daily lives as Christians and Gun Owners than almost any other governmental entity.

Speaking of those rights and daily lives, my main gal went out back on the range with me last night to do some shooting like we often do.  She had some new range "bling" in the form of a Ruger Single-Ten single-action revolver I bought her.  Not the best choice for self-defense, but a great choice for a heck of a lot of cheap .22 fun.  She's the best gal ever and she did a great job of taking care of me and lot of the work around here this past summer after my two surgeries and I try to treat her like the terrific gal she is.  She's facing a bit of a health scare right now and that's more than she'd like me to say, but you might keep her in your thoughts and prayers if you think about it.

So be aware, be prepared, and be an example for your kids and others... and even if you don't like the term... be a sheepdog and remember the lesson for today... Sheepdog 101: Bulletproof your Mind

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'll have a number four shotgun combo...

There was a comment on the last post about using a shotgun for deer hunting here in Ohio as opposed to some folks out west who need a center-fire rifle to cover long distances or up-state in the east where a thirty-thirty, lever-action rifle does the trick.

There are so many hunting situations, laws, and variations around that what some folks think is the best solution might just depend upon where you're from or maybe where you're at.  A good ol' pump action shotgun offers the shooter and hunter a lot of versatility and reliability... plus here in Ohio, a shotgun is a necessity during gun season for deer hunting.

As a long-time shooter and hunter, plus as an NRA, CCW, and 4H Shooting Sports instructor, I am often asked about my opinion regarding what kind or type or brand or model of firearm someone should get.  My first two questions usually are "What do you want to do with it?" and "How much do you want to spend?".  When it comes to shotguns and limited budgets, it's hard to beat a pump-action shotgun from companies like Mossberg and Remington with the all the variations and accessories that are available from the factory and third-party vendors.

Now I'm not about to argue brands here as everyone has an opinion, but due to our prepping nature, the gals and I have standardized on the Mossberg 500 series here and if you're selecting a brand... it's very hard to beat the "big two" for variations, parts, barrels, and accessory availability.

Slap on a longer barrel with interchangeable chokes like this twenty-eight-inch vent-rib barrel from Mossberg and you're all set for just about any kind of winged-critter hunting including ducks, turkey, quail, pheasant, and crows depending on your screw-in choke selection.  You can also head out for some trap, skeet, five-stand, sporting clays and bust some clays too.

For big critter hunting like white-tail deer, shotgun slugs are required here in Ohio.  While there are several rifled and smooth-bore/cylinder-bore options available for the Mossy, I like the twenty-four-inch rifled barrel with cantilever scope mount.  The 3x-9x Bushnell scope came with the barrel right from Mossberg and since the scope mount is directly attached to the barrel, you can switch out barrels and keep your zero dead-on.

If huntin' two-legged varmints who have kicked down the door of your house is a concern, you might just want to mount up a short, cylinder-bore barrel like this eighteen-inch barrel from Mossberg.  Now you've turned your pump-action shotgun into a short, maneuverable home and self-defense firearm that can blast out one-once slugs, double-aught or number four buckshot... and even less-than-lethal options are available.

So if you're looking for a versatile firearm with many uses and your budget is a bit short of what the political candidates are spending these days...  consider your options, but as for me... I'll have a number four shotgun combo...