Thursday, September 30, 2010

Been A Rough One...

...or two. Had a long day at work yesterday and a long one today - both working in assisting agents from another office on a case and raid. Out in the field all day yesterday then again for all of the day today. Cannot get into specifics but will say it was some ball busting heavy duty work - especially today after only about 4 hours sleep last night. I should sleep good tonight. Worked with some good people including a new agent in my office. She was a pleasure to work with since she worked hard, did things sensibly, kept things moving, and was not a prima dona. I would be happy to go through the door with her anyday even though this one was not all that potentially dangerous. Nice to see they sometimes still make agents like they used to.

Will probably blog more tomorrow and over the weekend.

All the best,

I Took A Test Today - I Failed

You too can take the same test that I took today. One to see if you are cool:

Don't expect too much no matter how highly you think of yourself.

All the best,

Awesome Teamwork and I do mean AWESOME

If the video did not show up, and sometimes it does not, then you can also go to this link:

It is good to know there are still those among us who think like these guys and who are out there protecting the rest of us back here. The amount of camaraderie they showed was absolutely awe inspiring. I will sleep a good night's sleep tonight knowing that their kind is watching over the rest of us. When I wake, I guess I'll have to get a new soldier assigned to me by Soldiers' Angels.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, September 27, 2010

Today In History - Well In My Personal History Anyhow

Today marks the last day of the 31st year I have spent in government service. Tomorrow starts a new year for my service, the 32nd year. I think I will pull the plug at or near the end of 32 years next September.

I am not going to go into a long or even brief history of my career that began in the Border Patrol, changed to the Customs Patrol, then to the Customs Office of Investigations and finally to Homeland Security Investigations with a good number of temporary assignments in there with my home agencies as well as to being temporarily assigned to other agencies like the Secret Service and the Federal Air Marshals Service. I could tell you some pretty wild stories about arrests I have made, seizure I have effected, fights for my life I have been in and luckily won, conquests I made of senoritas down south of the border (and those north of it too), crazy things I have seen, sacrifices I and others have made, injustices I have witnessed and tried to right, my family life and on and on. Someday, I think I really will have to write a book about it all. It has been one heck of a career so far.

When I started off, I sure looked a bit different than my portly self does today - that is for sure.

All the best,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Always Thought Spring Was The Time...

...when the birds and bees went about their business along with most of the rest of the smaller critters in the animal kingdom and figured that tortoises were included in that group. Today though, my tortoises proved me wrong. It was such lovely and warm day, for an early fall one, that I decided to put the tortoises out in the yard for some natural sunlight. They have been in an indoor enclosure ever since the outside one essentially fell apart due to rot caused by carpenter ant damage and age. So out they went today in a concrete mixing basin right out in the sunlight. I left em there like that for about an hour, then decided to turn em all loose in the backyard for awhile. They could use both the exercise and the variety of plants they would be able to browse upon. Once out, the female Russian Tortoise headed for the shade and stayed there for a couple of hours before coming back out to feast on grasses and other low growing plants in my yard. The Hermann's Tortoises, on the other hand, had something else in mind. Well at least the male had something else on his mind. As the much larger female Hemann's Tortoise made for the inside of our backyard shed, the male was close behind her and once they were in the shed, it became obvious why he had remained so close to her, he mounted her or tried to. I let them be alone and have no idea if his mission was successful. Later on they both made the rounds of the yard stopping here and there for a nibble of whatever caught their fancies.

Just a little while ago, I went to round up all three of the tortoises and found the Russian right away on our patio. The other two required a good deal of looking on my part and I was having trouble locating them when Pepe, our male Chihuahua , started yapping in his I found em bark. They were under a bush and were going at it again, or at least the male had been trying again until so rudely interrupted by Pepe. It seemed as if the rear portion of the female's shell was down to the ground so low there was no way he could, um - get to her. I left them a bit longer but Pepe kept barking at them and was soon joined by Mimi and Roxie (our two mutts) and Lucy our female Chihuahua. I don't think the tortoises thought the serenade the dogs were giving them was all that romantic so I scooped em up to put em inside. Now you might think that would stop them but no way! Once in their tank, the male just started in again. He certainly seems to be a persistent little fellow once the urge overcomes him.

Today was the first time I noticed the male Hermann's Tort showing any interest in the female. Of course, for all I know, they could be going at it all day long each and every day when I am at work and she could be gravid already. She also could have already laid eggs earlier this year. If she did that in the old outside pen then I'll have to hope for the best as to finding the baby tortoises once the eggs hatch. They are so small they will be able to escape from my yard pretty easily. I have been keeping an eye out for any but am pretty doubtful that she laid any eggs since I never saw evidence of nesting while I had them outside. If she gets gravid now, I suppose she will lay the eggs inside just as she would have outside. If that is the case, I will incubate them in in a homemade incubator. It would be a plus to have some baby Hermann's Torts born this year but my guess is I will have to wait until next spring for the adults to get it done right.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 92 - My Papers

Look here at what I found. These two certificates have been hiding among some of my papers so well that I had no clue I had them. I got them from my mom several years ago when she was going through some of her older junk collectibles. I am happy she kept them and then gave them to me instead of throwing them out as I know she did with similar mementos she had of my childhood. I found them a couple of weeks ago in my office of all places.

These are probably the first set of Marksmanship Awards I ever received. I got them both in the summer of 1966, which was the second year I spent out of 5 years at summer camp. I may have received similar certificates in 1965 but I think they did not let us shoot until we hit 10 years old. I have vague memories of wanting to shoot ever so badly the first year I was at camp and them telling me I had to wait until the next year. I was 9 going on 10 during the summer of 65 and 10 going on 11 in the summer of 66. Man am I old but, after 44 years of it, I still love shooting. I also have two certificates for archery, one from 1965 and one from 1966 - and while I own a bow - I have not shot it in years. I guess I was never meant to be a bowman as much as I was destined to become a shootist.

If you looked at them closely, you probably noticed that the distance at which I shot to attain these awards was only 15 feet and was on an indoor range. I think, and am pretty sure, that these were attained while shooting BB Guns (rifles) but it could have been 22 shorts and I may have shot the BB guns in 1965 instead. Whichever - after we achieved the Marksman award, we were allowed to move up to rifles in .22LR caliber. I had a jacket, somewhere recently, with a few patches on the arm. All the patches were from the NRA for shooting at 50 feet and the shooting for them was done with a .22 rifle in .22 Long Rifle caliber. I have had the jacket around the house, probably since my mom gave me these certificates, but as of late have been unable to find it. My bet is it got thrown in the trash by my wife while I was out in Phoenix this past spring for my job. She won't fess up - so I'll keep looking. Who knows - maybe it is still here.

For now though, I'll just have to think about getting these two certificates professionally mounted and framed. I think are worthy of being passed down to my son, then down to his son and so on, in order to pass on a firearms legacy that none of my descendants should ever forsake.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 91- ArmsLocker Forums: Reloaded and Ready To Fire

I was clicking away of some of the links, over at the right side of my blog page, that I have not visited recently enough, when I got to the one for the ArmsLocker. I clicked on it and got an unfamiliar looking page with the ArmsLocker logo at the top of the page but with no forums showing up (seems the address changed a it, I have now updated it in my link list). Anyone who has been to this site in the past knows that there were plenty of forums at the ArmsLocker site. If you visited the site in the last couple of years, you may have also realized that despite all the available forums, interest in that site was way down. I don't know why, it was a good forum with good people for the most part registered to use it and it had many interesting threads/posts. It was also run by a man that knows a thing or two about guns and about how to run a forum. Go figure, it was going bust anyhow.

With my interest in guns, my registration on said site, my having picked the name for said site (I am honored my creation was chosen), you probably can imagine that I was sorely disappointed to see what seemed to be the demise of the ArmsLocker. I was, then I became apathetic of a sort and I have not visited the site in weeks, maybe even a month or more. Then when I visited today and the site appeared to be down, it sank home that a good thing was gone and I had not done enough to prevent it from being lost though I did try a bit to help to keep it going. Then I clicked on the ArmsLocker logo at the top of the page. I don't know why I did it, perhaps maybe just curious, or hopeful, to see if the site was still alive. That click redirected me to what appeared to be the ArmsLocker forums but in a very new and somewhat abbreviated format.

It seems the site had fired its best shot and needed to be reloaded and that is exactly what was done. Where there used to be more forums, there are now a few less. The color scheme was also changed. Things certainly looked different so I supposed that Rich Z, the owner of the Armslocker, had made some format changes in the hopes of resurrecting the site. I was wrong. Upon looking at the 'Announcements' forum to see what was up with the new look, I immediately saw this thread: "ArmsLocker now has a new owner". It seems that Rich Z. laid his guns down, so to speak, regarding the ArmsLocker (though he is still a forum member). I cannot blame him. What I must do is congratulate him for bringing his guns to the fight in the first place and for the fact that he kept shooting his best shots all along despite the fact that the odds of success seemed against him. He is a good man who created a good gun forum site and who kept it up and running for years. I wish him the best in his other ventures. One of those is another forum he has up, one of a different nature, - a great site for the reptile & amphibian enthusiast.

As for the new owner of the ArmsLocker, his name is Lash. I know little else about him except that he went to the reloading station, set up the press and dies and has loaded a new charge into the ArmsLocker. He promises to keep the ArmsLocker going, to keep it free for users, says of himself that he likes guns and that he plans to improve the site and have the community grow by utilizing what Rich Z started. Sounds like a good deal to me and I for one intend to give it some help getting back off of the ground. With that in mind, I ask my readers to visit the site, and if you at all like what you see, I encourage you to register to become a member and then start posting in the forums. Just reading is one thing but keep in mind that forums are forums because we share our information and our stories there. Forums cannot succeed if all the visitor does is stop by to read them, you have got to contribute to keep it interesting and therefor to keep it going. Little posts, mediums sized posts, big posts - it does not matter - just post. So register there but take some shots too - start firing away with some of your firearms related anecdotes, your firearms information, pics of your guns, lists of your favorites, questions about firearms and other such shots. You don't have to be a great writer or a gun-know-it-all, just like at the range all you have to be is a shooter. So, keep a good thing going by keeping the ammo coming and remember it may have been reloaded but your finger on the trigger is what keeps it firing. Please, let's all take our best shots for the ArmsLocker, for the new owner Lash, for Rich Z who started it all and for our own enjoyment of our firearms related interests.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Need A Knock Around Rifle...

...then check out the Mosin Nagant, round receiver, 91/30 rifles at Classic Arms starting at only $69.95 each! Sounds like a good deal on what is typically a good shooting and quite durable rifle. They also have others but these appear to have just come in so they probably have a good number of them. You can bet at that price, they probably will not last long.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 90 - The Marlin 25MN Is Almost Sighted In...

...and had I had more time and more ammo, I suppose I would have gotten it just right with just a couple of clicks, at most, of each of the adjustment screws. The thing was though, I got carried away having fun and took 40 shots at this target and ran out of time despite having enough ammo. The circle on the target is 1.5 inches in diameter and as you can see, all the shots except 2 were inside a group smaller than that. No, not all were inside the circle but all (except those 2) were in a group smaller than the size of the circle. I am pretty convinced that this rifle/scope combo is ready for squirrel hunting. Now all I need is the time to get away for a weekend upstate. Of course, next time I go to the range, I'll bring this rifle again and get it zeroed in a bit better to bring my shots up about 1/2" and to the left 1/4" - two clicks up and one to the left. Normally, since I was sighting in this rifle, I would have done that when at the range while there yesterday but I just started to have way too much fun with my last 40 rounds of ammo in a box and just kept plinking away.

Then, I went back to the Marlin 336 and the Mosin-Nagant 91/30, the other two rifles I had along with me. I got the Marlin 336 sighted in pretty good too but may have to give that one another day at the range to satisfy myself that I got it right. I sure did not shoot what basically amounted to a one hole group with it but the group was acceptable for deer hunting I suppose. The orange center ring of the target is 3 5/8" high by 2 3/8" wide. There are 18 shots in there, the last 18 rounds of .35 Remington ammo that I had with me yesterday.

I only sighted in both scoped rifles at 50 yards. That us mostly because I don't expect to get a shot at a deer or bear at much beyond that, all of my shots on deer over the years have been within 40 yards. Of course, a longer shot could present itself and I guess I should really sight the 336 in at 100 yards - maybe next time I go to the range. My shoulder was starting to take a pounding after having fired 65 shots of .35 Remington through the Marlin 336 and another 20 rounds of 7.62x54R through the Nagant and that was enough shooting with them for a Sunday afternoon. Thankfully I had the 25MN, in .22 WMR, along to give me a break between volleys with the larger caliber rifles.

As for the Nagant, I shot it using its original open sights. Those sights suck, especially with my aging eyes but I did okay with them. I had all of my shots within a spread of about 1.5 to 2" on the horizontal plane. My problem was with the vertical. For some reason, about 1/3 of my shots went high by about 2 to 3". There is a chance I may use this rifle when I hunt, especially if Brendan is along because he will likely use the Marlin 336. He did not come along yesterday, he was visiting a friend at an upstate college this weekend so he needs to come to the next range session to make sure the scoped 336 is sighted in okay for him. It should be, although he usually shoots a bit differently with it than do I. So, it may need some slight adjustment for him. I am satisfied to bring either the Nagant or my Remington 870 with me in the woods, so however he needs to adjust the scope on the 336 is fine with me.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, September 19, 2010

If A Zombie Attack Was Imminent

Shamelessly stolen from Breda for your zombie killing pleasure:
Lucky for me, I have two rifles with ammo immediately to my left and right in the line of that finger. I think the Marlin 336 would be a great zombie slayer and that is one of those rifles. There is also some other great stuff, in line with the finger, to help me survive a raving zombie horde such as a Camel-back backpack containing what amounts to a decent survival kit.
All the best,
Glenn B

Off To Te Range... sight in the Marlin 336 and the Marlin 25MN now that their scopes have been remounted. I'll let you know, later, just how things turned out.

All the best,

Ballseye's Gun Shots 89 - Marlin 336 CS Disassembly & Reassembly Videos


Friday, September 17, 2010

Kansas Closer Than You Think To NYC

I may have set a new world record for land speed over a 23 mile course last night! Well okay, maybe it wasn't a new land speed record that I set last night on my way home from my office but you can bet that you will be impressed by the amount of time it took me to traverse the 23 miles between my office and my home. Usually, this drive takes about 1 hour and fifteen minutes to maybe an hour and a half. Last night, after the storms that ripped through Brooklyn and Queens, there was a bit more traffic than usual - what with trees down everywhere in the storms path - including on the highways. That little bit more of traffic increased my travel time just a wee bit. It took me three hours and fifty minutes to get from door to door. Yep, 23 miles in 3 hours and 50 minutes! Amazingly, I did not even have a beer or a shot when I arrived at home, I just sat down, watched about 5 minutes of TV and then passed out.

I suppose the extra two and a half hours I spent at break-neck speeds, which were on average about 6mph (though a lot of it was at only about 1.9mph), really tuckered me out. They are saying the cause of all the bad stuff last night may have been a tornado. Maybe now they will have to change those NYC souvenir T-shirts that show a smoking revolver and say "New York City - It Ain't Kansas" because after last night it seems like Kansas isn't so far away anymore.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Koran Burning - I Agree With The NY Civil Libterties Union On This One

On Saturday, September 11, 2010, a man in New York City decided to protest the planned mosque/Muslim cultural center planned to be built near the site of Ground Zero. He bravely, if not untastefully or insensibly or foolishly or disrespectfully, tore pages from the Koran (one which I am assuming was his own personal property) and he then burned them as a form of protest. His name is Derek Fenton and he lives in New Jersey; he used to work in New Jersey too but apparently not anymore. You see, New Jersey Transit, his one time employer of 11 years, his employer on the day he burned pages of a book, reportedly fired him.(1) Amazingly the governor of NJ reportedly supported his firing.(2) Why? Because, reportedly according to them, he violated their ethics code for employees even though he did this on his own time.

According to the New York Daily News article, a statement from NJ Transit said this:

"Mr. Fenton's public actions violated New Jersey Transit's code of ethics," (3)

I was not aware that any form of exercise of free speech (or expression) would violate a code of ethics of a state run agency when the ethics seem to be based upon the religious beliefs of one religion. To me that seems as if the government is taking the side of a religion, heck it seems as if they are enforcing the religion. As a NYCU representative reportedly pointed out (4), flag burning is protected speech in this country. Would Mr. Fenton have been fired had he burned the American Flag in protest? Mind you I am not saying that a man like Mr. Fenton would ever even consider burning the American Flag. Would he had been fired had he stood up at a podium, in front of the proposed center, and said something to this effect:

"I do not believe in Allah, I believe Mohammad was a minor prophet at best, I do not believe the Koran to be a holy book, I believe Jesus is the Lord God, therefore I believe the Koran to be false prophecy and Allah to be a false god."

Would they have fired him for professing his religious beliefs because said statement of beliefs violated their ethics? I know, and so should you, the above statement would probably be almost equally as repugnant to Muslims as would burning the Koran but how would it violate an ethics code? Would they have fired him for drawing a satirical cartoon of Mohammad? That too would probably be equally as repugnant as burning the Koran to Muslims as can be witnessed by the riots that ensued a few years back when someone did just that but how would it violate an ethics code. I doubt they would have had the chutzpah to have fired him for either because it would have been a clear cut violation of Mr. Fenton's civil rights under the most important document in this land and folks that document is not the Koran, it is the U.S. Constitution! So why have they fired him for professing his beliefs, or for protesting, by way of a book burning?

Whether or not Mr. Fenton's actions were sensible, whether or not they were tasteful, whether or not they were disgusting, whether or not controversial, whether or not those actions were liked by Muslims or those of any other religion, whether or not they were disrespectful of someone else's religious beliefs (remember that every day, the Muslim faithful could be considered disrespectful to Christianity by their belief that Jesus Christ was a minor prophet and not God) Mr. Fenton has the right to do what he did so long as his actions did not otherwise constitute a crime (and even then it is possible they could later be deemed as free speech) or constitute fighting words. So my guess is that NJ Transit will later explain that they fired Mr. Fenton because he violated some NY City law about starting a fire or something like that and that was what they considered a violation of their ethics code; otherwise they will rehire him or Mr. Fenton will sue them for a civil rights violation and win. I cannot imagine they will admit they fired him because he burned a Koran as a form of protest and therefore offended Muslims; I cannot believe we have buckled under allowing our rights to have been totally destroyed and ourselves to have been conquered by a religion.

When the Virgin Mary of Christianity can be portrayed with feces smeared all over picture of her and the government allows it calling it art (and I believe paid for it or paid to display it), when a movie can depict Jesus Christ and his apostles as homosexuals, when someone can run our flag through the dirt and piss on it or burn it, when anyone can buy pornographic material at a local news stand, when a whole faith can profess that the God of another religion was merely a prophet, when politicians can lie repeatedly in connection with their official duties and get caught at it and yet remain in office, when atheists can successfully demand removal of religious symbols from public property and when all the above can be protected as free speech - then there is something very wrong with NJ Transit firing Mr. Fenton for having burned pages the Koran (that is of course if that is why they fired him, they are not giving specifics yet as far as I am aware).

If that is why they fired him, and then if NJ Transit does not relent, which I am betting they will do so after successfully placing pressure on Mr. Fenton to apologize for his actions, then you as fellow Americans of Mr. Fenton should protest his firing and support his anticipated legal claim(s) against NJ and NJ Transit. It does not matter if you are religious or not, nor what religion of which you may be a member, nor whether or not you think Mr. Fenton did a wise or honorable or disgusting or stupid or terrible thing. What matters are our rights and our Constitution, the basis of all our laws and legal actions and that they have quite possibly been violated in Mr. Fenton's case. So yes, I am saying if he asks for donations to fight NJ transit you should give to him. If he does not ask for anything, then you ought to at least be showing him support, or showing our rights under the Constitution support, by contacting NJ Transit and the NJ Governor's office to condemn the firing of Mr. Fenton.

I think everyone in this country ought to be very afraid that their rights are not only being trampled but are being destroyed by the government to honor a specific religion, that of Islam. After all, when was the last time you heard of a government agency firing someone for offending Jews or Christians or atheists? The 1st Amendment protects speech and included in that is offensive speech (or expression) no matter whom it offends. It is one of the rights we enjoy as American Citizens and legal resident aliens. As Americans, it is or should be more important to all of us than should the tenants of any single religion because it is in part the bedrock of our freedoms and our rights and of our nation. Without freedom of speech our country would never have been born, our Constitution never written and agreed upon, and our other freedoms never expressed nor enjoyed. You may not like Mr. Fenton or what he did but you had best not like, even more so, they who would attempt to suppress his rights because his rights are your rights and your rights are his.

All the best,
Glenn B




3) same as 1

4) same as 1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 88 -The Old Man Gives The Young Man Some Gun Buying Advice...

...and surprisingly enough, it seems the young man may be at least taking it under serious consideration if not actually falling for it taking it. No, that would not be a first for us but it went off without a hitch and that was pretty surprising. I must have done something right to have told Brendan what I told him when without making it sound antagonistic; certainly that is often the key to having your advice listened to and maybe even heeded. (I learned that again earlier this week while down in FL with my uncle and have him to thank for it in part, well in a way anyway, but enough on that.) Then again maybe the key is an underlying bit of skulduggery.

Brendan sent me a text message (or two) yesterday or the day before asking me to go to
this website to check out one of these rifles. There are other models on this page. I am not sure which configuration he wants but it is a Microtech Small Arms Research E4 (that is the link to the actual manufacturer's info for the E4). I only got the chance to check it out today. What I saw was that my young man had probably been bitten by the tacticool bug in his desire to get himself an AUG style rifle. Now, I was not and still am not against him buying one. I used to shoot an AUG when with the now defunct Customs Service Office of Investigations. They were okay rifles, pretty good shooters, probably good for the city environment as a tactical firearm. What they were not, in my opinion, was not practical overall as a fighting rifle, nor as a hunting rifle. The design did not lend to them, as far as I would think, ever being used as a club or as a rifle with a bayonet upfront. Both of those uses are somewhat probably if you are ever really involved in a SHTF situation close in. I also never like the fact that the chamber, or at least the breach, was right up against my cheek when firing. I would hate to imagine the plastic plate on an AUG trying to stand up to the pressure of an overcharged round that might go kaboom. I am not sure if the rifle my son is interested in has that ambidextrous functionality of the actual AUG but if it does then it probably has that same flimsy cover over the ejection port on the side not being used (in other words the side against your cheek when firing).

I sent Brendan an email earlier today telling him to speak to me tonight about this. My doing so usually gets him ready for a confrontation or some preaching from me. For some reason though, when he got home from work tonight, he immediately asked me what I thought about the E4.I explained my plus and minus list for AUG like rifles. I also reminded him that the E4 was not shown as NY legal and that could be a problem. He told me they said they could make it so; I figure for more money. Then I reminded him that within the not too distant future he would turn 21 and that means that in about 3 to 6 months after that he could have a pistol permit. I suggested maybe he would want to save money for a pistol or two and I recommended a 1911 and maybe a Glock and added maybe even a Glock in .45 ACP. He liked that idea even though I told him he would have to buy our his own ammo. I guess he has no clue how expensive that will become. First of all he will have to buy the gun or guns. If he does that, I'll finally have he will have a .45 or two to shoot and that means buying the ammo I just mentioned! Last I saw, .45 ACP was pretty expensive especially with two guys shooting it all up and it is going to test his budgeting abilities. Of course, we he will need a place to do all the shooting. So, we he probably will also be spending a lot of money at our closest local range, the one he does not like to visit with his rifles because it is only a 25 yard range; then again he does not get to the rifle range all that often either because it is about an hour's drive away from us. Yep, I think we he will be shooting more often if he buys a couple of .45 pistols and the ammo for them. I may just have to pay for my own time at the range if I tag along now and again, then again maybe I can convince him that my teaching him how to shoot pistols will be worth the cost of him paying for my range time and a box or two of ammo for me to shoot.

I guess, if he takes my advice, it may just go a long way to help stimulate the economy and deplete his savings account while I have he has fun shooting his new pistols. Oh my - what have I done is he about to do!

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Big Fishing Trip...

...took place yesterday though it had to be shortened from an 8 hour trip to a 4 hour one. We had planned to go out on the Captain Lew way up in Ft. Pierce but as my luck would have it I picked my trip to FL, and my day to go out fishing, to both fall within the time frame that the Captain Lew is in dry dock for annual maintenance. They sail again next week and of course, I am going home today. So we had to look for another boat. While there are boats all over the place here in southeastern FL, there are not all that many party fishing boats. We did find another 3 or 4 within a reasonable drive but only 2 of them were going out. We took the one a bit further away. It was the Sea Mist III shoving off out of Boynton Beach.

I'll not write a lot about the trip except to say: my uncle's company was excellent for me, we caught one fish apiece - both throwbacks. I had sent my son Brendan a text message asking him to wish me luck. I got a reply as my line went over the rail and hit the water the first time of the trip. I caught my fish a split second after i read his message saying - "good luck". My luck was good, I caught one, I had good company and fun.

All in all, not many fish came over the rail. At least one mate and the captain seemed more interested in fishing themselves than helping their fares. One mate was great, I gave him a tip. The guy fishing to my left was a gentleman and taught me some new ways to bait my hook.

My uncle and I also went to fish off of a pier after the boat was back at the dock. He caught 2 needle-nose (what he calls them) and I caught one small yellowtail. All throwbacks. Not many fish but you know what they say: A piss poor day fishing beats a good day at work.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 87 - There Were Guns Aplenty... the West Palm Beach Gun Show today.

I arrived at the gun show today at about 12:30PM. As I drove up to the South Florida Fair & Expo Center anticipating getting ripped off for parking. So, once I was at the parking lot, I was very happily surprised to discover that parking was free and I had thought free parking was only a space on the Monopoly game board (and of course a reality at the gun shows in Middletown, NY). It took awhile of driving here and there to find a spot. I guess that was because there was also a fishing gear show going on in a building next to the one housing the gun show. Once parked I hoofed over to the entrance and received no pleasant or nasty surprise there. The admission fee was $8 - about average for what I have paid at most shows I have been to over the last few years.

I paid and headed inside and was again surprised because while there was a table at the entrance with nylon ties on it, the guy sitting at the table was not asking anyone if they had firearms. usually the scenario is that said guy would be asking for firearms, having the attendees unload them and then he would strap them up with a nylon tie. Did not happen today, either they were not doing it or maybe it was just that the well endowed young lady the guy was staring at, when I walked by, had his total attention. I just walked in and handed a young lady, inside the door, my ticket. Then I headed to the tables on the right side as I faced in.

The very first row had someone selling jerky and other such assorted crap that does not, in my twisted and contorted opinion, belong at a gun show. I missed it my first time down the end aisle that formed the base of all the others and missing it was a good thing. I was seeing guns, lots of them for that matter. I was in a rather blissful state and must have not noticed the jerky and did not need or want to notice it as I walked by it on my own personal cloud of gunsmoke. I turned up the first row and just took in more guns, ammo, gun accessories and knives. Now I would rather that knives were not sold at gun shows either but I suppose I'll have to put up with that since I don't think I have ever seen a gun show without them.

I went up and down each aisle looking for a good deal on something, like maybe some pre-ban AR-15 magazines, pre-ban AK-47 mags, a nice double magazine pouch for my SIG 229 and Glock 26 but did not find any. I did overhear several dealers saying that while there were a lot of people in attendance at the show - sales were really slow. It was no wonder to me why sales were slow. I spotted several boxes of 200 gr. Remington Cor-Lokt ammo in .35 Remington on one dealers table that was chocked full of ammo. This is the exact same .35 Remington ammo in caliber, bullet weight and brand name that I get for about $22.50 a box but this stuff was 'on sale' for $35.00 a box! I found the same ammo on another ammo dealer's table going for only $29.00 a box. CCI .22 mini-mag ammo, that I recently purchased at Cabela's (usually way overpriced on ammo in my opinion) for just $6.79 a box of 100, was going for $10 a box at the WPB Gun Show - such a deal - take two (yeah right)! As I walked along I saw some other great deals: Yugo SKS rifles in about good to very good condition going for $449.00 (still going for about $299 at other locations), fine condition Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifles for $169 (easy to pick up for about $99 to $129), a recent manufacture used fine to excellent condition Marlin 336 in 30/30 for $400 (Dick's Sporting Goods in WPB currently has new ones on sale for $384.98 and after the $35 mail in rebate your price would be only $349.98), a used Remington 870 Express (with a poorly refinished wood stock) for $300 (Dick's has them on sale, new, for $299.98 and there is a $30 mail in rebate that lowers the price to $269.98), new Remington 870 Express models going for $369.00 with a notice they were on sale for $339 because of a $30 rebate that reduced the price. At a table directly across the aisle from that guy, another dealer was selling the same exact model for $329 before the rebate (both of these awesome deals still outdone by the offer from Dick's). The so called deals at this gun show, like those above, were in every aisle so - it did not take even a guy of average intelligence like me to figure out why the dealers were having a slow day. And there I was thinking that the cost of living was lower in Florida so gun show prices would be great.

As for my search for magazine pouches and pre-ban mags: I asked one dealer if he had pre-ban mags that I needed because I lived in NY and NY still has he high cap mag ban in effect. I then stood there thoroughly amused as he explained in great detail, for about 2 or 3 minutes, all the benefits I would reap should I buy a new production aluminum AR-15 magazines that I already knew to be junk. He wanted only $24.99 apiece for something that usually sells for about 1/2 that. I bid him fond farewell and moved on. I never saw any high quality magazine pouches but did see lots of junk that looked to have been made in sweat shops in Red China (yes - never forget they are still red commie tyrants and we, the keepers of democracy and defenders of freedom, keep borrowing money from them as a nation). I kept moving and looking.

After about 2 or 2 1/2 hours of this, with about 4 trips past every table, I did not find anything I would have considered a great deal, and probably not even a good deal. There were one or two tables selling some new guns at prices I could expect to pay in a gun shop up my way in NY, like a Ruger 10/22 for $239. Then again, you have to remember even at those prices you would have paid an additional $8 to get into this show and getting into a gun shop is free (so far) and, of course, a place like Dick's has them at even less expensive prices. So again, no bargains that I could see at the WBP Gun Show.

The fact that prices were pretty high did not mean I did not have a good time. I had a great time at that. why? Well, because I was looking at a lot of guns for sale. It was sort of like being in a museum where I could touch the exhibits. I looked at several rifles, several pistols and a number of shotguns. They had a good amount of tables selling guns, a fair number selling ammo, a decent amount selling accessories, not too many knife vendors, and not too many food or junk vendors. The only junk vendors that thought were in overabundance were the two assholes dealers I saw selling Nazi insignia, patches, uniforms, armbands, helmets, medals, books and the like. I guess being a vendor at a gun show does not require class, tact, respect or good taste and I think those two vendors lacked those attributes. I suppose there is a market for such items though among collectors who probably lack those attributes I just mentioned so I also suppose the sales of such will continue. It is too bad though that it all too often winds up being those sales are made at gun shows instead of solely at militaria shows; I think it tends to make gun owners look like kooks and extremists when such crap is associated with them. Of course, if it were my gun show - there would be no Nazi memorabilia at all except for guns such as Mausers and Lugers but I digress, so back to what I was going to blog about, the show overall.

As I was saying, I had a great time. The show is a good sized one, has a reasonable admission fee, free parking, a lot of dealers with lots of guns, ammo, accessories and not too many dealers selling things that have little to do with guns. It was truly an enjoyable time for me and worth the eight bucks to get in just to be able to see and handle all the firearms I handled. The variety of firearms at this show was also excellent, from antiques to C&R to modern, with lots of semi-auto self defense pistols, revolvers, target pistols, many-many hunting and target rifles, black rifles too and on and on. It was probably the best variety of guns I have seen at a show in a long time. Most dealers were very courteous, so was everyone else working there. That all made it a nice show indeed. If you were there to buy though, and did not haggle and get them down in price, then it may not have been as nice for you as it was for me. I left the show at around 2:45PM, happier than when I had entered it.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Suspense Is Killing Me...

...when it comes to finding out who won the raffle. Well, not really killing me but you get the idea. My guess is that I did not win because, I am pretty sure if I had won, I would have been notified by GreyBeard already. He is a member of the Eastern Arenac Sportsman's Club, the club holding the raffle, and he cordially arranges for my raffle tickets each year. This year I bought 5 tickets - hoping to increase my chances of winning. I will be shocked, but nicely so, if I later find out I won. I don't expect it though, both because I am sort of a pessimist (you hadn't noticed that - how nice of you) and because my personal black cloud usually just does not allow that much good luck to shine down upon me.

Pessimism be darned, I am going to check my lottery tickets right after I get done with this post.

All the best,
Glenn B

Been in Florida The past Few Days...

...thus the lack of blog-time for me. I will be getting back to NY on Tuesday and try to resume the normal amount of blogging by Wednesday or Thursday, There is also a good chance I may write up something tonight and tomorrow night but I'm not certain about that yet. Hoping to go to a gun show today a get in some fishing tomorrow so that should give me something to write about.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seasonal Reminder - Hunting Seasons Upon Us

Here we are again, it is the end of the summer and fall is coming on strong and will be here before you know it. In a lot of the USA that means hunting seasons are beginning or are soon to begin. I do the great majority of my hunting in October through November but may get some squirrel hunting done before this month is up. The thing is though, I won't be able to shoot a darned thing unless I get to the range soon to sight in the two rifles on which I just mounted scopes. I need to give myself a good kick in the pants to get myself going sometimes but I figure I am doing okay this year since I already scoped them. I would have gone to sight them in this coming weekend but for the fact I am flying down to West Palm Beach in FL tomorrow for several days. I figure that on the weekend following my return, Brendan and I will be at the range on Saturday.

You ought to be figuring likewise if you are a hunter too. That is unless you have already gotten a jump on it all by getting your gear prepared well ahead of time. For those of you who have not done so this is a friendly reminder that hunting season will be on you sooner that you know it if you don't start getting ready now. Some of the things I do to my firearms, in preparation for the hunt, are inspect them for damage, rust, proper function. Then I address any problems and if none I clean and lubricate them. I mount scopes on those rifles on which I will use them. Then a trip to the range is in order - whether the firearm is scoped or not. As a matter of fact, the more range trips the better, in my opinion. Several trips to the range are usually the regular course of business for Brendan and I in anticipation of a hunt. As we shoot scoped rifles, I make sure the scope ring and mount screws all remained tight. Of course, after shooting all that practice ammo (the same exact ammo with which we will hunt is all we use for practice) it will again be time to give the firearms a good cleaning and lubrication, and to again make sure all the scope ring and scope mount screws stayed fastened tightly and so on. Then I store them away safely where they will not get bumped, fall over or whatever else could jar the scopes.

I mentioned ammo up above didn't I. Before you start all this practice, it would be a good idea to make sure you have a sufficient amount of ammo on hand for the practice as well as for the hunt. As I said, I use the same ammo for practice as I do for my hunting. I even try to use only ammo from matching lots. No surprises that way, it should all fire the same.

I also have already started to stock up on some gear and accessories I will be depending on during the season. I bought my deer lure already, picked up some hunter orange trail marking tape, and got some high quality waterproof matches, along with some other things. In addition I have been checking on the gear I normally bring along, making sure I have it all and that it is all in good condition. About the only things I still need to purchase are some hunter's detergent and some trail food items like snack bars.

Most importantly, I already ordered, paid for and have received our hunting licenses for Brendan and myself. Because I got them early we also got the deer management permits in the zones in which we wanted them and each got 2 DMPs at that! We have not been quite that lucky in years.

As for actual hunting, I have been upstate to scout out a few good hunting places. I need to go again a couple or few times more and hopefully I will get to do that too before the season arrives. Maybe I'll be able to bag a few squirrels while we are at it. Did I say we? Hopefully Brendan will come along on at least one scouting trip this year, he is not the best at coming along on them.

I have been getting all this done for a couple to a few weeks now, that is a good thing. Waiting until the last minute to do all this stuff just assures that I will wind up moody, hurried, aggravated, annoyed, pissed off and darned cranky. Doing it now usually eliminates at least pissed off.

All the best,
Glenn B

Southbound... FL for the next several days. Maybe get in some fishing, maybe some herping, maybe some shooting. I'll be around West Palm Beach - if you see me - be nice and maybe I'll buy you a beer.

All the best,
Glenn B

Prvi Partisan .303 British SP BT 180 gr Ammunition

I have 100 rounds of this stuff. It is brass cased, boxer primed non-corrosive. I bought it a couple of months back when ordered an Enfield. After sending the first one back for an exchange, then the second one back for a refund, I got stuck with this stuff that I had bought in anticipation of shooting fun. Now it is just sitting around collecting dust so I am looking to offload it. It will only be disposed of legally to someone 18 years old or older. If interested, go to my profile and click on the email link to contact me.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

To Blaptica dubia or not?

I have been planning for this year LIHS 21st Annual reptile & Amphibian Expo since I walked out the door of last year's show after it was over. Have not given it much thought all year until now but have given it some now and then. These 'now and then thoughts' have me fairly well prepared for this year's show as far as animals I will display for the competition go. I have a good selection, better than I have had in recent years. This year I plan to place animals into at least two categories. One will be Turtles & Tortoises, the other will be Amphibians. For the life of me I do not understand why amphibians are not broken down into separate classes as are the reptiles (they have snakes, lizards, tortoises & turtles while amphibians are all lumped together) but that is what I have to work with and I plan to enter several amphibians into this year's competition along with a tortoise or two.

As far as the tortoise or two goes, I am not going to divulge which species I am entering, nor am I going to show pics. This year I am keeping it under my hat, so to speak, until the day of the show. As for the amphibians, it will be likewise. I will say this for the slimy ones though: I am planning on entering at least one frog/toad, maybe two. I am also planning to enter at least two different species of newt/salamander. Right now, I have at least 18 different amphibians from which to choose. Who knows, maybe I will not choose among them and just enter them all.

That is not what I have been giving much thought to lately though. The thing on my mind most recently, regarding the show, is what to set up on the vendor/display tables I will pay for at the show. While showing animals in the competition is free, the vendor tables do have a fee associated with them. I am none to sure I want to sell anything and may just put on an educational display on my table(s) this year but even then I will still pay for the tables; that will be sort of a donation to the society from me.

In looking for ideas on what to use to set up on my tables, I have thought of selling things like: varying species of amphibian and reptile, herp keeping accessories, or feeder insects. I have sold feeder insects before - crickets, wax worms, meal worms, and super worms. I can say without a doubt it is a pain in the neck. I have to order them early enough to receive them at least two to three days before the show, then store them in my garage. I have to be at home when they arrive or plan to have someone else here to receive them. I have to repair any damaged boxes to stem the tide of illegal bug-aliens escaping into my garage and there are always damaged boxes. I have to squeeze all the boxes into one of my compact cars and bring them to the show, then set everything up, then spend virtually all day stuck at my table trying to sell them. Despite the hassle, I may do it again this year.

If I do it this year though, there may be a big change. I may also add roaches to the mix. Not those pesty little things,
German Cockroaches, that infest apartment buildings in NYC but bigger, meatier ones that really go crunch when something like a bearded dragon gobble one down. I am thinking of ordering a thousand or so of these guys - Blaptica dubia. Amazingly enough, people actually breed and sell roaches as feeder insects for critters that eat bugs. So, a source of them is pretty easy to find, such as: Even though I have successfully kept another species of large roaches, Blaberus discoidalis, without escapes, as far as I recall, I have got some more thinking to do on this one. I would hate to get them then have any get out. Not that they would likely breed once on the loose, since they require high temps to successfully breed, but in that my wife might kill me - literally -if they got loose. Besides that, I cannot stand roaches, they skeeve me out big-time, so if any got out and wound up crawling up my leg, or wherever, I'd probably have the big one as in coronary - or maybe just grab a pistol and shoot the roach. Either way - it would not be good. So, some more thinking on this is in order.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Commercial That Sure Would Get Me To Their Store... the one over on the right sidebar near the top of my blog; that is if the store was a local one or probably even within about a hundred miles of my home. That has got the be the best commercial I have ever seen, if it is real. I wonder a bit if it is a real ad because it is suposedly for a store in the RepubliK of Kalifornia and I sort of thought that ARs would be ilegal in that godforsaken state.

Whatever, if a real commercial or only just a college video project, it is absolutely great. I especially like the part where she tells it like it is to the 911 operator when the operator says the police should be there in a couple of minutes. She replies "I don't have a couple of minutes". That was the perfect answer and her taking action the perfect followup. All those ads on television for alarm companies, showing them saving the day when your burglar alarm goes off are just so much BS as I see them. If a breakin really happened the way they show it, but then the guy did not run at the sound of the alarm - what then? Is there some sort of magic in that alarm going off that would deter a psycho?

This is probably more like what would really happen if the alrm went off and a determined dirtbag wanted to get you: The alarm goes off, they respond by calling you, you speak to them to confirm a problem, they call police, they speak to the police 911 operator, the 911 operator contacts police, the 911 operator tells the police of the emergency, if the police are not already involved with other emergencies and have free officers the police then head to your place and arrive probably anywhere fro 5 minutes to up to a half hours (or more depending on where you live) after you have been injured, raped, kidnapped or killed. If someone is truly intent on getting in to harm you, or if they are stoned enough or crazy enough or desperate enough - they may just be coming in even if your alarm goes off because they know it takes for the cavalry to arrive. What most of these dirtbags do not expect, when they unknowingly break into an armed person's home, is that the cavalry is quite possibly already there!

Great commercial. The guy who sent it to me called it The Best Commercial Ever Made In The USA. I have to agree.

All the best,
Glenn B

Fasting versus Dieting

I have not eaten anything since 8PM last night. I have not even had a glass of juice. All I have had have been a large cup of coffee and a glass of artificially sweetened ice tea and some water.

Now can someone explain the mystery to me? Why is it I can not exhibit this amount of control if I am trying to diet but I can do it when I am going in for a friggin medical test???

Needing to diet,

Heck It's Almost Chilly Out There Today...

...and it sure was chilly last night. I suppose that Fall is on its way even though not here officially until later this month. Fall-like weather arriving early gets no complaints from me, that is early Fall-like weather with temps in the 60s to 70s. You can take that late November and December weather and send it to the Arctic.

As for today, it should be a beautiful day. Nice temps, blue skies, slight breeze, the birds are singing (chirping anyway), and I have a nice mug of fairly hot coffee in front of me. Now if I can find a rifle range that is open on labor Day and not too far away, well then it might just be a perfect day.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oh Joy - My Diet For The Next 36 Hours

Starting tonight, my diet for the next 36 hours or so will be liquid and some will be especially wonderful tasting medicinal liquids at that. It will start tonight with 10 ounces of Magnesium Citrate. Then tomorrow, this will be followed by clear liquids like apple juice, tea coffee (don't know how they think black coffee is clear but it is on the list), lemonade and maybe some others up until 8PM. (I wonder if clear liquids include vodka?).

At around 8PM tomorrow night, I'll add that wonderful elixir Movi-Prep to the mix, 4 doses spread out over an hour, 1 dose every 15 minutes. After that I can continue clear liquids until midnight. On Tuesday, I have to get up at 5AM and drink another ration of Movi-Prep - another 4 doses of it - oh what a joy. If you have ever had to drink this swill you know I am being sarcastic when I say "oh joy". Besides the absolutely horrible taste this stuff has a magical effect on your innards causing them to purge themselves.

The reason for all this is I am going to get scoped out from both ends on Tuesday morning. Hopefully they will do the top half first just in case they forget to change to a new tube for the second half of the exam; I would hate to wake up with a bad taste in my mouth. Wish me luck.

All the best,
Glenn B

LIHS 21st Annual Reptile and Amphibian Expo

I find it hard to beleive that it is already almost time for the Long Island Herpetological Society's Annual Expo and I find it even harder to believe that this will be the 21st such show! This year's show will be held on Saturday, October, 9th, from 10:00AM until 4:00PM at Roosevelt Hall in SUNY Farmingdale in Farmingdale, NY.

I have been a member of the LIHS for either 20 or 21 years, and am not certain but think I was at the first annual show way back when in the Copiague Memorial Library. Over the years, I have been to most of the annual shows and have shown and/or sold animals there. I have won a good amount of ribbons and trophies and even once was awarded the overall best in show for one of my critters - I think that was for my female Hermann's Tortoise a few years back.

As is usual, I should be there again this year. I will enter some of my animals into the judged competition and I will have others on display on my table and also may have some for sale. Whatever I sell, I usually donate something of what I bring in to the society. I certainly do not make any profit, not even enough for pocket change because of the cost of the table, the cost of what I am selling, and the donation I make. Mostly, the only reason I have sold nything in recent years was so that I could give any money brought in to the LIHS as a donation. Not boasting or anything, I just enjoy doing it.

This year, with regard to the critters I'll be entering, I can tell you that I not only hope to win the best of at least one category - I almost expect it - and I have high hopes of to win best of show. Again, I am not boasting about my animals (well maybe a bit), nor am I being arrogant, nor do I have any of the judges in my pocket; it is simply I am just pretty confident that I have some really fine specimens to enter into this years competition. In addition, least two of them will be unusual enough to know there likely will not be their match at the show let alone at any other herp events in the area. In other words, they are fairly unheard of as entrants in herp shows in the area. I think that should be a plus. As usual with my animals they are in excellent condition. I am not sure they will win, heck the most common species around could do that - I am just very confident I have the best chance in years of winning with the herps I am entering this year.

Click on this link if you would like more information on the LIHS 21 Annual Reptile Show. For directions, click here. If you are thinking of entering an animal into the judged show, and it is open to everyone who follows the rules, then click on the appropriate entry category; adult or kids, print up the form, fill it out and bring it with you along with the herps your are entering on the day of the show. There is no fee to enter an animal in the competition. There is an admission fee to get into the show hall, $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children. LIHS members and SUNY farmingdale students get in at a discounted price as per the flyer.

If you are thinking of coming along as a vendor, the info for vendors can be found here.

I hope to see some of you there.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Gun Shots 86 - The Unabridged Version of Firearms' Safety Rules Revisted

Today, was once again reminded of the 4 Rules of Firearms' Safety as per the rules supposedly given to us by the late Col. Jeff Cooper. That got me to thinking about how many people believe that those rules are sufficient as the only rules to teach for firearms safety and about how many folks think them absolutes and also about how many of those same people violate some of those so called absolute rules frequently. In fact, it got me to thinking about how silly it is to see all 4 of them as absolutes. Now mind you, I am not saying the rules of firearm's safety are foolish or silly, just that creating them and teaching them as absolutes is absolutely so.

Why are they held as absolutes by many? Probably because the person who wrote them, by my guess, thought himself infallible. That is until he felt it necessary to change at least one of his own rules and even then he wrote it as an absolute. Another reason they are held as absolutes is because some people feel they must be in control of others and absolutes are one way to achieve that. Another reason, and this is probably the strongest reason they are held as absolutes is because shooters try to hide behind them as if they were some sort of magical shield that will prevent any type of accidental shooting or other type of accident with firearms. Maybe they would prevent most accidents but not all. Even then they are a tool at best and not a shield behind which to hide. You see, if you get down behind that shield low enough, you are going to overlook the other rules of firearm's safety that were left out of these mere 4 rules. Some of them are just as important, maybe even more important, than the 4 rules and how they are often overlooked is beyond me.

Let me get to the 4 rules, that some shooters hold as absolutes, so you know what they are. Before I do, let me point out that I may not have them worded exactly as he wrote them, you find them in different format almost where ever you see them, but they are in essence what he said:

1. All guns are always loaded. (This was the original version of the one that changed later.)

2. Never allow the muzzle to cover anything that you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

4. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Now that I have written them out, let me also give you the one that was changed:

1) All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are loaded.

I'll address them, then I am going to tell you what I think are much more sensible rules of firearms safety or at least will tell you a much more sensible manner in which to interpret them other than them being held as absolutes.

Number 1, as it first stood was not a rule at all. It was a declaratory statement - nothing more. You have to guess at what it is telling you as far as it being a rule goes is concerned. It is easy to make that assumption, that being: Treat every gun as if it were always loaded. The thing is though, if you always treat every gun as if it were always loaded, it would be impossible for you to do several things safely with your gun. You would never clean it, never look inside the barrel to inspect it (this should only be done after double checking that you have unloaded the firearm and removed any source of ammunition from it each time you handle it to do so), never hand it to someone else to look at, never take it from someone else to look at and so on. So I have to point out, no not all guns are always loaded and it would be absolutely ridiculous to always treat them as such BUT (and yes this is a big BUT) you had better be absolutely certain the gun is unloaded before you treat one as such like when you disassemble one, clean one, examine one (such as check the lands and grooves, look for rust in the bore, check the crown), repair one and so on.

Now despite what I just said in the last sentence above, whenever I am around someone who is handling firearms, I insist that they do handle the firearms as if it were loaded each and every time they handle it, and all the time while handling it, even after they have checked it to make sure it is unloaded and that any source of ammunition has been removed from it, unless it is disassembled and cannot possibly fire and even then I usually insist on a high level of safety (be careful about this one because you had best be darned sure it cannot fire). Can you see how rule number 1 above can have exceptions to it - times when you would not handle a firearm as if it were always loaded. Not yet? Let me give some examples of when I would regard a firearm as loaded or not.

I have just finished shooting my pistol at the range. I am getting ready to go home and I have already unloaded my firearm and left it on the bench, pointing in the only safe direction which is downrange). I then go to retrieve my target. I come back to the bench to pack all my gear, including my pistol, away for transport home. I pick the pistol up - oh no wait a minute what have I already done, before picking it up, that would have been a violation of the 4 rules above? I left the gun on the bench and walked down range. In other words I walked in front of a loaded gun. Oh my goodness, I forgot to treat it as being loaded at all times. Okay - that one seems silly to you, let me give another example of when I would or would not treat a gun as if it was loaded.

I have picked up my gun, after I retrieved my target as I said above. I keep it pointed downrange, and as I do so I check to see that it is in a safe condition in that it is indeed unloaded and that there is no source of ammunition in it. I do this visibly and physically by looking with my eyes and checking with my fingers both the chamber and magazine well. I then place the gun in my gear bag, zip it closed, then turn around and start to walk to my car. Oh no - here I went and did not treat the gun as loaded again because while it was sitting in my gear bag its muzzle covered at least 5 other people at the range - what have I done - have I violated rule number 1 above and maybe some others?

Soon enough, I am in my car and driving home. I arrive at home. I take the pistol out of the bag once I am in my basement. I point it in a safe direction at the walls with finger off of the trigger, then point it at the floor, then check to see if it is unloaded and that any source of ammo has been removed. Then I disassemble it for cleaning. To do so I must pull the trigger; I do so with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction even though I know I just unloaded it. Hey maybe I am following rule number 1 above but wait a minute - oh my, I have done it again, I have not treated it as if it were loaded at all times because I almost just pulled the trigger and surely I would not do that if I were not ready to shoot my always loaded gun and was not sure of my target and what was beyond and was not pointing it at anything I was not willing to destroy (and you can bet there is no part of my home I want to destroy). It seems I have violated rule number 1 and another one or two of the other rules - maybe all 4 - didn't I. Did I follow the rules or break them. Can I disassemble my pistol, in my home, then clean it without violating the 4 rules or at least a couple of them? Wow this is tough to figure.

I am starting to become flummoxed by these 4 absolute rules, are you? Still though, I know that a clean gun is a happy gun (no not a rule I made up but a saying I love to repeat, thanks Pete G), I decide that regardless of rule number 1 or any of the other rules I may have to violate to get the job done, I am going to get the job of cleaning done and I am going to do it as safely as I can do it. I look at the gun, that has been sitting on the counter top as I thought this all out and I again pick it up keeping my fingers off of the trigger as I do so. I check to see it is unloaded and that any source of ammunition has been removed from it and I do so both visually and physically all the while keeping my finger off of the trigger and while keeping the firearm pointed in a relatively safe direction while still pointing it at some area of my home that I certainly am not willing to destroy but while also realizing it will not harm life nor limb if it accidentally goes off nor hit a gas pipe or anything like that. Then when I am satisfied it is safe, I check it a second time because I am a worrisome sort of a guy. Once I am convinced it is unloaded, has no source of ammunition and is safe, I keep it pointed in a relatively direction yet most certainly pointing at something I do not wish to destroy, all the while being unaware of anything else on the other side of the poured concrete foundation at which it is pointed. I allow the slide to go forward and then squeeze the trigger. I then commence with the remainder of the disassembly procedure. Once disassembled I can clean the firearm properly. Did I do okay? I keep thinking of those 4 absolute rules and it sure seems like I broke them, at least some of them. What am I to do?

Oh heck, I am just going to get it cleaned. Those 4 rules, and their absoluteness, are still coming to mind as I ready to actually put bronze to steel. Let me think about this whole cleaning thing some more because it certainly cannot be safe. It seems inevitable I will violate at least one or two if not all of the rules while cleaning my gun! I am worried so I put down the pistol and think about what I have just done as relative to rule number 1, let alone the other rules for now, I come to realize, that as well meaning as the author, and followers of that rule, must have been to make it an absolute, it cannot possibly be held as an absolute if I am going to do almost anything with my firearm when I am not shooting it. I guess the rule writer realized that because he changed it a bit, but man it is even more confusing now because he is in essence saying even if it is unloaded you should always treat it as if it were loaded. It seems my guns will never be disassembled or cleaned or examined down the muzzle or whatever - that is unless I violate that rule as it is written in either version.

I have concluded the 4 rules must not be absolute and need to be broken to get some things done. So why didn't the guy who wrote them come up with easier understood versions of them. maybe he lived in a world of black and white. Yep, it was more that way way back when he wrote them but not absolutely so, so why not give them a little bend? Well maybe he was an authoritarian. Hm, could be since he had been a colonel and since he had a pretty strong ego. Could also be just because he did not want to see others get hurt because they did something stupid that was not safe. Maybe he just wanted to keep it simply too. The thing is, absolutes, no matter why you institute them usually are not absolute and almost always have exceptions. The 4 rules of firearms safety are no exception to the fact that most rules have exceptions. There was a better way to write those rules, one which explained what they meant a bit more. There was also a better way to express rules of firearm's safety rather than just giving 4 rules and that would have been to give several more of them.

You see, the 4 rules above omit several other rules that have been in effect as long as or longer than the 4 rules as a set. For instance there is one that, in essence, says:

Always use proper ammunition in any given firearm. (Do you think that a no brainer? Do you think it not necessary to tell anyone? Do you think it unimportant enough so it can safely be omitted from firearms' safety rules? Based upon my experience I can safely say that if the answer to any of my last 3 questions was yes then you need to rethink your answers. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most important rules of firearms' safety and it may be the only absolute one at that.)

Then, there is that other rule, the one about not mixing gunpowder and alcohol. Well, that is how they said it when I was a kid. What they meant was: Do not handle firearms in any manner while under the influence of mind altering drugs such as alcohol or narcotics. (It is really a good thing to remember and to remind other shooters about. When I see a guy drinking and shooting or handling guns and ammo, I either get him to stop handling the guns or am out of there if he does not stop.)

How about the one that says: You should become familiar with how to operate any particular firearm by reading its manual, or getting instructions from someone who is familiar with it, before you attempt to operate it; and you should confirm that the firearm in in good working order before firing it. (You would think this a no brainer too but man you would have missed the truth by a long shot. Again, this one has exceptions.)

Yet another important one: Check the barrel of your firearm, before going afield with it, to assure it is not blocked. Also check it after a fall or anything that could result in it becoming blocked.

Or yet another about checking it: If your firearm does anything unusual while firing it, such as a misfire, or such as it gives of a lower than usual bang, cease fire keeping the weapon pointed in a safe direction with finger off of the trigger, count to 10, then make the weapon safe by removing the source of ammunition and unloading it. Then safely check it or have it checked to see if there is a problem.

And here is one that people seem to ignore a lot nowadays: If you hand a firearm to anyone else open the action and make sure it is unloaded, if it is loaded then unload it safely before giving it to the other person. (There are exceptions such as when handing a firearm to someone to unjam it for you, or when you hand a firearms to a shooter whom you are instructing and that person is ready to fire - but make sure the gun is pointed in a safe direction at all times during such an exchange.)

Here is one that keeps you safe when others are handling firearms: If someone else is handling a firearm assume it is loaded and make sure they handle it safely, warn them if they handle it unsafely.

Here is one I have not heard in a while: Never fully trust that a mechanical safety will prevent a firearm from firing, follow the firearm's safety rules to prevent accidents.

Or what about this one: When storing firearms and ammunition, store them apart from one another in secure and separate containers. (Point out that storage of a firearm does not mean a loaded firearm you keep in your nightstand for self defense although that one may be best kept in a rapid open electronic lock box especially if there are kids in the house.)

Here is one for all ages: New adult shooters, and children should be under the watchful eye of an experienced and responsible adult shooter/instructor whenever handling a firearm.

And here is a rather morbid one, but one that usually gets people to thinking maybe they should have paid attention to the other rules - especially if you tell them this one and show them some photos of the gruesome results of accidental discharges of firearms: Remember, one accident with a firearm can have fatal consequences and it could be you who dies or you who goes to prison for killing someone else so keep it safe when handling firearms.

Of course, the 4 rules would be at the top of the above list but I would rewrite them in another format and would explain there can be exceptions. Here are the 4 rules, written a little differently:

When you first pick up or handle a firearm, check to see if it is loaded or not; and if you put a firearm down or are distracted, even for a moment, while still handling it, when you pick it up again or focus on the firearm again make sure to again check to see if it is loaded before doing anything else with it. (There are exceptions such as drawing from the holster in self defense when you had better know it is already loaded.)

Be aware of where the muzzle is pointed and while handling a firearms, do not point your firearm, even momentarily, at something you do not intend to shoot. (There are exceptions such as for disassembly, cleaning, repair, when the firearms has been unloaded and is inside a case - but even then try to keep it pointed in a safe direction with your finger off the trigger whenever possible to avoid chance of an accident.)

Do not place your finger on the trigger or even inside the trigger guard until ready to shoot. (There are also exceptions to this rule such as when disassembling some firearms.)

Be sure of your target and what is beyond and also of anything between you and your target even if off to the side but within your peripheral vision. (You may be darned sure that is a 12 point mega-buck standing broadside to you only 50 yards away and yet totally oblivious to you. As you raised your rifle to fire, did you stop to wonder just for a second why it is not looking at you when you are so close by? Maybe another hunter, leaving the woods with lunch on his mind, neither sees you or the deer and is about to walk in between the two of you while your tunnel vision has your eyes full of buckskin! To avoid tunnel vision give a quick scan with your eyes as you raise the gun to shoot.)

Now I grant you, the 4 rules written this way are tougher to remember word for word, but word for word does not matter. What matters is the essence of each rule and the reason we have the rules - to prevent accidents and remain safe. They are even tougher to remember when you add all the other rules I just gave. The thing is though, each and everyone of those rules is very important in order to prevent accidents that could result in serious bodily harm or death. Never think, even for a moment, that telling someone these rules and getting them to remember them all will be too much for them to learn. I learned virtually every one of the above rules in one fashion or another by the time I was 9 or 10 years old and did so at summer camp in a matter of 2 or 3 classes and range trips.

Why anyone would actually want to omit any of them from a firearms' training regimen for new and experienced shooters alike is beyond me. Every class should begin with them. The 5 or so minutes it would take to read them all to experienced shooters would only be a bother to the guy who knows it all. Me, I like to remind that guy, more than anyone else, of just what are those rules. As for new shooters, it may take 20 to 30 minutes, maybe even 45, to go over these rules and answer questions the first time around. Those 30 or so minutes might be the best you ever spent in your life in that they may prevent a tragedy from taking place. With each lesson, the rules should be repeated and the questions should become less and less as the new shooter soaks it all in. Handing out these rules in printed form would also be a good idea as would having them displayed at the range or in the firearms' classroom. It is up to you, as a professional firearms instructor, or as a husband teaching his wife to shoot, or as a mom taking her kids to the range for some fun with a 22, or as one shooter to another to keep it safe and to pass the rules on to others as you encounter new and old shooters alike. Why anyone would want to cut corners with something as potentially dangerous as firearms and shooting is beyond the scope of reason. Keep it fun by keeping it safe for you and yours and please - also for me and mine and everyone else for that matter.

All the best,
Glenn B