Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 45 - Remington 870 Revisted - The New and The Old

Ah, the Remington 870 pump action shot gun. I have owned one for about 23 to 25 years or so now and whenever I take it in hand it brings back memories. memories of my first big buck (heck my only big buck), and of hunting rabbits and squirrels, and of teaching my son how to shoot a real man's gun (yes ladies, i said a real man's gun - get over it), and of countless hours of tactical training and practice with it but mostly it brings back memories of sore shoulder over and over again! Despite the kick, despite the aches and the bruises, I keep on shooting it because I know that the Remington 870 is about the best all around shotgun I have ever owned.

Besides owning one, I have also been issued one at work for many years now. In fact, I have been issued three of them at work if I have the count correct. The first was an old fashioned Remington 870 with wood stock and fore grip. Then a few to several years ago now, when that first one I had been issued was retired for a newer model of 870, I was issued one with black synthetic stocks. Not all that long ago, I was issued another with black synthetic stocks because the issue on in the middle was having problems. Yes, even a gun I love can have its share of problems, but to tell the truth that was the first 870 that I fired that ever had any recurring issues. It would not feed properly no matter how hard you operated the pump. It would feed but with difficulty that could sometimes require two to three pump actions on the part of your pumping arm. That would not be good so to the armory it went for repair. They sent me a new one.

I have got to say there are some things about these newer models that I like over the older ones we had. They come with a ghost ring sight on the receiver. Heck, the rear sight being on the receiver, instead of on the barrel is a plus as I see it. My old issued gun, and the one I own, also an old timer, have the rear sight on the rear end of the barrel. The new ones also have a much broader front post sight. The Ghost Ring system makes for rapid target acquisition in daylight. The sights also have a glow in the dark dot on the front post, and the rear sight has two such dots for a three point night sighting system.

One thing I do not like on the new ones is that there is no tension cap to retain the magazine spring once you take the cap off of the end of the magazine tube. In other words, the spring can and will fly out of the tube if you are not careful. Of course the retention cap was not a sure thing, they could come loose but rarely did. The big pain here is that when you reassemble to gun, getting and keeping the spring inside the mag tube is difficult, to say the least, until you have the end cap on. You cannot add a retention cap because the magazine is now shaped slightly differently.

Just about everything else, of practical matter, on them is the same. So, I like em both, but sure do miss the magazine spring retention cap. I just shot about 2 weeks ago for qualifications. I usually do very well with the shotgun, getting a fist to hand sized group at 25 yards when shooting rapidly from an unsupported standing position. This time though I was surprised to see that my group was opened up to about 10 to 12 inches, maybe even a bit more. I had pretty much shot a circular pattern around the target center. I figured it was due to my shoulders and neck aching a lot. Tonight I found out differently. Tonight I was getting the shotgun ready for my upcoming work trip to Phoenix. As I picked it up I noticed the rear sight looked to be sitting far back on the receiver at a weird angle. I picked up the gun and the rear sight swiveled around loosely. It had looked funny because it was turned around backwards when I saw it. It was about as loose as it could be without falling off. When I picked up the shotgun again to examine it closer, without even touching the sight, the sight fell off. I got it back in place after some several tries, but I will have to have an armorer at work give it the once over and nod of approval before I carry it in the field.

I obviously had not noticed this before but you can bet that is why I had such a lousy group when I qualified recently. I will take it on the trip and have an armorer check it out. I imagine it is okay now, but I don't want to bet my life on it not being an armorer. I will say this, that never happened with the older models I was issued nor with the one I own. Oh well, lucky for me it happened at the range and I found it at home - instead of when needing it when my life depended on it. Still though, I do not like problems like that at all; it does not give me much confidence in the gun. I can only hope the screw was simply not tightened properly at the factory and now that it is tight this will not recur.

The one in the picture is the latest one I was issued at work.

All the best,
Glenn B

Pope Benedict - One Tough Hombre

I mean at 82 years old, to take a knockdown, then get up and go to say Christmas Eve mass as if nothing had happened, well he has got to one heck of a tough guy.

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The apparent psycho who tried to do him harm looked much younger than him the way she jumped over the barrier to get at him. Did I say apparent psycho, she knew enough to wear bright red to be highlighted on television! She also seemd to have an awful lot of room by herself up at the barrier and swung her legs over it amazingly without hitting anyone else in the crowd. Think she had some accomplices? I would tend to think so.

Very poor security for the leader of the Catholic Church, then again, I guess really tough security would sort of go against the whole idea of the church. Still though, it seems they could protect him somewhat better. Anyway, nice to see he was uninjured. I do wonder about the Cardinal who was also knocked down, heard he went to the hospital for a checkup.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Holiday Rush - Over At Last... least it is for me. I was out most of the day doing my annual Christmas Eve shopping and futzing around. As opposed to most years past, I did not go into NYC today. I did that yesterday but even that was not my usual. I usually go to St. Patrick's Cathedral, yeah I know I am not religious. I still love it there, perhaps because of my Catholic upbringing or because it is just a very spiritual place for me. I did try to get into the church of St. Francis of Assisi on 31st Street, but it was closed. I got there too late, God started keeping hours when I was back in my 20s. I also visit what is another very spiritual place for me, the top of the world, where earth meets the heavens, at least in NYC. That would be the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I thought I was going there, got side tracked, got crushed, crammed, stomped on, pushed, shoved and outright discombobulated in Macy's and forgot all about it. I miss not having gone to those two churches and the top of the world very much indeed; I really don't know what happened that got me so turned around as to not visit at least one of them. Oh well, later for them, I hope.

My rush is over though. No more shopping, no more scurrying about for last minute presents or last minutes items at the supermarket, and I did remember to fill up the car with gas for tomorrow when we are due to go to my sister's place out east. I am scheduled to pick up my mom at 10Am at the assisted living facility and then drive her out to my sister's place. That will be a spiritual experience all of its own; it could make up for missing the two churches and the Empire State Building. When I think of it, it was my mom who got me liking the Empire State Building as much as I do. She took me there, I took my kids there, hopefully my kids will take their children there too.

Once I got home today, I remembered that there were a bunch of presents to pack. I ate a quick dinner of a wonderfully roast chicken that my wife made while I was out, then I got to wrapping. That is all out of the way as far as I know. I tell ya - I really think everything is done. Well, except for bringing up the dozen and a half yellow roses I bought for the wife today, everything is done. They will be a nice surprise for her tomorrow morning when she comes downstairs to take out the dogs.

Wait a minute, I do have yet another task to complete. I have to fix the new Christmas Stockings that are currently hanging off the mantle over the fireplace. Our old ones got ratty after about 20 years or so, so the Linda bought new ones. The thing is that I had written every one's names on the old ones - one for Mama, one for Celina and one for Brendan, one for Oma (my mother-in-law) and one for granny (my mother) and Linda made one for me. What I did was wrote out the names in Elmer's glue and then poured green glitter over the glue. The stockings were red with white trim at the top. I put the names on the white trim. They looked great. Well it took me 2 weeks to buy the glitter but I finally got it today. Hard stuff to come by now that they sell glitter pens and glitter glue; but I wanted the real thing and it took some looking to find it. Tonight, when everyone is asleep, I will do some side work moonlighting as one of Santa's helpers and get the job done.

For now, I'll just enjoy my red wine, The Best of Jethro Tull, and writing my blog and reading some others; and of course, I'll enjoy this one of my favorite times of the year - one that is full of the spirit of love and of giving - and that is a good thing indeed. With that all said, let me say one more thing:

Merry Christmas to all of you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Dumb Luck?

Someone emailed me the below video today. It was described as a video of the World's Luckiest Train Track Inspector. I have got to admit, if the video is a shot of a real occurrence, the guy in it has got to be one lucky man, if not also a dumb ass. My brothers-in-law (wife's brothers) both work for the NYC Transit Authority. Both have had their share of track work. I don't think even they ever heard of anything like this before - sure never told me if they did.

One has to wonder if the guy in the video is still alive. I mean, you would think that he, being a track worker, would have some idea as to whether or not a train may be scheduled to come through that area of track on which he was working and even if not then he would at least give a good look in both directions before stepping onto the tracks. As for his athletic abilities, wow he is one heck of a good jumper. I can only imagine the shakes he got after the adrenalin rush that must have flooded his system. I bet he looks from now on; heck maybe he is even looking for a new profession.

All the best,
Glenn B