Coyote n. A small wolf (Canis latrans) native to western North America.



The Old Coyote's alter ego is:

Anthony A. (Swen) Swenson

Mild-mannered archaeologist by day..

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A Coyote at the Dog Show

Sunday, January 25, 2004- - -  
More groovy bullets
In addition to the new Barnes Triple-Shock X-bullets I've pondered, I note in the Oct-Nov 2003 Handloader, that North Fork Technologies here in Glenrock, Wyo, also grooves the bases of their solid-copper-shanked super bullets. According to them:

"Grooves reduce both the resistance to rifling engraving and bore/surface contact area. This virtually eliminates the fouling, common to other solid sectional bullets, that can increase pressures and reduce accuracy."

In that same issue of Handloader, John Barsness writes about the new Triple-Shock X-bullets. He found that they not only increased velocity and reduced fouling, they also exhibited improved accuracy. Shooting a dozen groups, the largest he reports is 1.44". He feels that they are a distinct improvement over the original Barnes X-bullet.

Incidentally, the load-work that Barsness does with the .300 Winchester exhibits a phenomenon I've noted several times with the .300 Win. His starting load printed a 0.69" group, after which increased loads of powder gradually opened the groups. I've also found that the .300 often does best with something in the range recommended as starting loads, and that pushing it to the velocity limit often degrades accuracy slightly, while only gaining a bit of velocity.

Most other rifles will show contracting and/or expanding groups as powder is poured on (Deep Throat prefers the hottest loads I can squeeze in the case), but I've never seen any rifle other than the .300 that so consistently preferred relatively light loads (Of course, my sample size is half-a-dozen, pretty small). Light loads aren't necessarily a bad thing, as the difference in velocity will only be 150 fps or so, while the recoil and blast seems to lessen significantly. If you can't do the job with a super-premium .308 180 gr. bullet at 3200 fps it probably can't be done with something shoulder-fired.

@3:45 PM

Prosecutors reject Limbaugh deal
One of the world's larger sphincters is puckered a bit tighter now.

@9:19 AM

"Dr. Dean and Mr. Howard"?
It looks like they've finally adjusted Maureen Dowd's medication. For the better. She's funny and perceptive today.

@9:09 AM

Navel Gazing in the Silly Season
Eric Fettmann on the Media in an election year. Conventional wisdom is a rare as common sense in that arena.

@8:54 AM

"You can't redistribute wealth you don't have."
According to San Francisco's new 'conservative' democratic mayor, Gavin Newsom. Fascinating.

@8:45 AM

Dean is a hockey dad?
That may explain more than we need to know.

@8:37 AM

Ear tags and radio collars!
Let's find out where these folks go, shall we? Say… I bet that thought has never occurred to the Israelis.

@8:21 AM

The government can lie to you, but you can't lie to the government. Even the usually reliable lefty Ed Quillen finds that unfair.

@8:14 AM

The poor are getting poorer
Funny that the poor do so poorly in that bastion of liberalism, Bouldah, Colorado.

@7:32 AM

The coyote is at the door!
It sounds like the Cherry Creek Country Club would be a good place to hunt 'yotes, Fuz.

"We're baiting wildlife into our towns," said Jim Halfpenny, a naturalist and founder of the Human Lion Interaction Project, based in Boulder. "To me, the cutting edge of wildlife research for the coming decades is going to be the human- wildlife interface."

When you've got wildlife in yer face, it may prove difficult to find much enthusiasm for the 'human-wildlife interface'. I think that these problems are due to a combination of factors: A drought is making prey species more scarce and this is being exacerbated in some areas by loss of habitat as human populations expand into rural areas. As the DP article illustrates, a part of the problem is also that formerly urban migrants tend to look on wildlife as cute and cuddly until they get bit, or somebody comes down with plague. Then they demand that the wildlife be wiped out.

Mother Nature is a cruel old bitch, and she'll see to it that predator populations drop to fit changing circumstances in due time. Still, we don't want to lose any of these species and some human intervention may be warranted. Somehow though, I don't think feeding hotdogs (or the family cat!) to the foxes is quite the right approach.

@7:20 AM

Did Iowa punctuate Dean's equilibrium?
Today's DenverPost proclaims: "Dean must evolve to win in N.H." A curiously apt metaphor, as evolution doesn't imply 'improvement', only change to accommodate changing environment or fit some environmental niche, the sort of evolution that Darwin documented in his finches. Dean has so far exploited the 'angry left' niche, but it appears the political climate is changing with remarkable speed. It remains to be seen if Dean can adapt quickly enough, but if he does it will be an interesting example of punctuated equilibrium in action.

Note though that one of the features of punctuated equilibria is that species usually develop in a geographically limited region... like Iowa. Dean certainly failed to adapt to that niche, although he at least survived while some other species became extinct. To draw out the analogy, perhaps Dean will do better in N.H., a climate closer to his native Vermont. Or perhaps the predators in N.H. have had more opportunity to develop a taste for birds like him.

@6:49 AM

Pakistanis kill Canada's most wanted
More bad news for the matriarch of the Khadr clan. Back in November her grandson Omar was shot twice in the chest by US troops, when he engaged in a firefight, leaving him blind in one eye and lame in one arm. Before he was shot, Omar lobbed a grenade that killed Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer. Omar's injuries upset granny mightily, as poor Omar is just a kid! Now Omar is at Gitmo, where he was briefly joined by his brother, Abdul Rahman Khadr, since returned to Canada and Granny's lovin' arms.

Today we're informed that Omar and Abdul's daddy, Ahmed Said Khadr, considered perhaps Canada's most wanted man and highest ranking al-Qaida operative in Canada, was waxed by Pakistani security forces in a battle last October. They had to use DNA to ID him, suggesting that the rest will be shipped back to granny in a shoebox.

To top it off, Pakistani authorities have notified the Canadian government that Khadr's 14-year-old son, Abdullah, also wounded last fall in a gunfight with Pakistani forces that has left him paralized from the waste down, is being held by authorities in the town of Rawalpindi. Abdullah, aka Abdul Karim Khadr, is hoping for a quick transfer back to Canada, and it appears he may get it!

Liberal MP Dan McTeague, parliamentary secretary for the foreign affairs minister and assigned to watch over the fate of Canadians abroad, said every effort is being made to help Abdul Karim.

"My hope is to see this young man back with his family as soon as possible," McTeague said yesterday.

Not since Ma Barker's clan has any family had this much trouble with the feds. But then Ma didn't have a Liberal MP to help out.

@6:07 AM

Saturday, January 24, 2004- - -  
'What part of wilderness don't they understand?'
Asks Jeff Johnson, one of Glenn Reynolds' correspondents, in reference to the recent lion attacks in California. This in response to the instapundit's link to an article by Karl Francis, who recommends (in the LATimes of all places) that you Walk Softly and Carry a Big Gun. Johnson's uncle's advice is particularly sound: "Always take a firearm into the woods that can bring down the biggest animal that lives there."

While this is very good advice, I'll admit that I'm a frequent violator, often wandering the woods with only a .22, despite my quest for a bigger, uglier bear gun.

@2:20 PM

Good one
On a souvenir T-shirt in Shoshoni:

Fishing trip to Boysen Reservoir... $65
Catching your first Cutthroat trout... Free
Sharing it with the bear behind you... Priceless!

@1:08 PM

Bad Czech!
Another from Dave:


A man had 50-yard line tickets for the Super Bowl.  As he sits down, another man comes down and asks if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.  "No," he says, "The seat is empty."

"This is incredible," said the man.  "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the world, and not use it?"

He says, "Well, actually, the seat belongs to me.  I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away.  This is the first Super Bowl we haven't been to together since we got married in 1967."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.  That's terrible.  But couldn't you find someone else -- a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?"

The man shakes his head.  "No, they're all at the funeral."

@9:21 AM

Not your brother-in-law's yak attack
John Hooper has 'em yakking at the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo. [Don't miss the photos!]

@8:25 AM

Those North Dakotans
Sounds like they blew up a bong.

@8:18 AM

It's a chicory daiquiri, Doc!
We can grow chicory in Wyoming? Do tell.

@8:02 AM

That's a new one!
After a quick google, I hereby lay claim to being the first to refer to the UN as a "Third World Country Club!" Hmm… I'd have thought that fairly obvious.

@7:48 AM

I'm with you Bubba!
William Saffire: I'm for Dean getting the nomination because it would trigger a resounding vote of confidence in President Bush.

Yes, and I enjoy watching the loony left dissolve into impotent puddles of incoherent rage.

Ps. Sigh. I'm afraid though that Peter G. Chronis has it right:

In recent years, a rancor has taken root in American politics that I find disturbing. Colorado merely reflects that. When Bill Clinton was president, many Republicans absolutely despised the man. (He wouldn't top my list of the best U.S. presidents, but I didn't hate him.) A relative was so used to fulminating against Clinton that a year after George W. Bush took office, I had to remind my kinsman that "they're gone now. It's OK."

Now, that sort of white-hot, blind hatred is directed at Bush the younger and his party. Guess there's something to that karma stuff.

As an American, I would hate to see one party become so powerful that it could act arbitrarily, without any meaningful opposition to act as a counterbalance. For a democratic form of government to truly work, there must be tension between opposing views. This serves to moderate what ultimately is done and bring a resolution that, one hopes, is more or less near the center of the spectrum.

Yep. As much as I enjoy watching the loons goon themselves, a conservative government run amok has no more appeal that a liberal government with the bit in its teeth.

As someone once not too famously quipped (I can't find the quote with google): 'Politics is the only sport for adults, you can play it with long pants on.' While I relish the sight, I do wish the loyal opposition would stop dropping theirs.

@6:43 AM

Bicoastal Disorder in the heartland!
I couldn't help noticing the curious juxtaposition of editorials in yesterday's dead tree Denver Post. They led off with Kill the easy-gun bill, a predictable screed that claims: Even thoughtful gun-rights advocates acknowledge that some people should never possess firearms. Instant background checks are designed to prevent crooks from getting guns without seriously inconveniencing law-abiding gun buyers. Amendment 22 is an excellent tool in making background checks more effective, and thus at stopping the wrong people from getting hold of such weapons.

Background checks are a mere inconvenience, remember that.

Then they question a proposal to provide housing for the homeless: 'Tent city' a can of worms. It seems the homeless themselves have proposed this, and what would they know?

But then, in a twist of logic that is bizarre even for the DenverPost, they warn us about the Transportation Security Administration's plans to conduct background checks on would-be airline passengers: Freedom under attack. Why are background checks dangerous you ask? Well, according to the DP:

We worry that these steps may create a whole that is more dangerous than the sum of its parts. Americans, who traditionally have shunned the mechanisms of totalitarian regimes, may wake up one day to find that almost everybody's "dossier" is on file.

Bluntly put, there's no guarantee that the government won't misuse the information.

By George, I think they're onto something there! I guess the difference between background checks for gun owners and background checks for airline passengers is that they hope the government will misuse one and fear they'll misuse the other.

Ps. Via the dead tree edition of today's Casper Star, Dave Workman weighs in: For years, non-gun owners have wondered why their fellow citizens who do own firearms were so offended at having to submit to a background check. After all, the reasoning went, if gun owners have nothing to hide, what's the problem? Now airline travelers and the ACLU have suddenly discovered what the problem is. Gun owners, like rape victims, feel violated. Yet, we've essentially been advised repeatedly in condescending tones, the rape is inevitable so "relax and enjoy it."

@6:24 AM

Perhaps he was playing possum?
I about drove off the road when I spotted a 'possum lying in the ditch just south of Lake Alice, near the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge. I've never seen one north of Kentucky before. I thought I might have a new one for them, but I see that good old Didelphis marsupialis is on their Mammal List. Unfortunately, it would appear that he's even more rare now. Unless...

@6:01 AM

We hates him! We hates him! We do!
It's that smirk and swagger, that cocky strut! Don't you see? It makes me take leave of my senses!

You wonder how many votes he scared off with that testosterone festival: the taunting message, the self-righteous geographic litany of support? The Philippines. Thailand. Italy. Spain. Poland. Denmark. Bulgaria. Ukraine. Romania. The Netherlands. Norway. El Salvador.

Can you believe President Bush is still pushing the cockamamie claim that we went to war in Iraq with a real coalition rather than a gaggle of poodles and lackeys?

She forgot Britain, Australia, and Japan. Poodles and lackeys, yes indeed. Far better we should subordinate our national defense to the Third World Country Club that the UN has become. Yes, I can see that now.

Poor Mo, she really out-does herself, dissolving into a pool of irrational gibberish at the very sight of the Prez. But she certainly illustrates what passes for intelligent political analysis on the left these days. No need to find fault with the President's policies and results, it's his appearance and demeanor that matter after all. Better have The Mad How save a seat on that 'Crazy Train' for her.

@4:54 AM

Wednesday, January 21, 2004- - -  
One from my dad
A woman was having an affair during the day while her husband was at work. One day she was in bed with her boyfriend when she heard her husband's car pull in the driveway. She yelled to the boyfriend, "Hurry! Grab your clothes and jump out the window, my husband's home early!"

The boyfriend looked out the window and said, "I can't jump out the window! It's raining like hell out there!"

She said, "If my husband catches us in here, he'll kill us both!"

So the boyfriend grabs his clothes and jumps out the window! As he began running down the street, he discovered he had run right in the middle of a town marathon, so he started running along beside the others. Being naked, with his clothes tucked under his arm, he tried to "blend in" as best he could.

One of the runners asked him, "Do you always run in the nude?"

He answered, while gasping for air, "Oh, yes, it feels so free having the air blow over your skin while you are running."

The other runner then asked the nude man, "Do you always run carrying your clothes on your arm?"

The nude man answered breathlessly, "Oh, yes, that way I can get dressed right at the end of the run and get in my car to go home!"

The runner then asked, "Do you always wear a condom when you run?"

He replied "Only if it's raining."

Bye folks, see you Saturday!

@6:23 AM

Here's a twisted tale
Bigger, more all-encompassing government paves the way to freer markets? Do tell. I guess there's just nothing they can't do if we only give them enough control...

@6:18 AM

He's not a Mad How, he's and Angry How!
Dean will temper his campaign to look less like a raving lunatic. That's nice, but I wonder how long he can keep up that act.

@6:09 AM

They'll clench their fists and stamp their tiny feet
Mike Littwin -- And then I walked into the theater. And I realized what the stakes really were. I walked through the doors and into an alternate universe.

It's one thing to talk about the red-and-blue divide in America. It's another to be surrounded by blue when the guy who won all the red states is on a giant TV screen talking about one America and the people in the seats insist there's another America altogether.

It's not anything he's done, it's that presidential smirk that drives them wild! An alternate universe indeed. Perhaps that's part of the reason the Prez has proposed a mission to Mars: A rescue mission to try to bring them back to Earth.

@6:00 AM

Holy Mordor, Batman!
Monday the paper reported a fire at the refinery. Now the headline reads Refinery explosion rocks Cheyenne! I'm afraid when something like that starts burning all you can do is stand back and watch.

Oh, and the price of gas just went up.

@5:28 AM

We're off!
Off to the wilds of outer Nebraska to scout a survey at a bird sanctuary -- lordy, I hate my job! -- I hope I have time to stop at Cabela's, I'm sure I can think of something I need there.

@5:11 AM

Sandbaggers never had it so good!
The marvels of modern technology -- and heavy equipment. At StrategyPage, here's the HESCO barrier. The only thing that could be easier would be the inflatable barriers like these from U.S. Flood Control Corp. Roll it out, pump it full of sand slurry, and voila! A fella here in Wyo was working on a similar system built up of interlocking rectangular units to build high dikes and walls quickly, but I'm afraid he's gone belly-up, with creditors picking his bones...

@5:03 AM

Tuesday, January 20, 2004- - -  
Whoowee! That is one Mad How!
Via Andrew Sullivan, I've got to ask: Is this the guy you want to have a finger on our nuclear button?

Ps. Heheh. Yes, is there any way we can blame him on Canada? Vermont is pretty close... And who coined Mad How? I suppose it's obvious, and it's certainly appropriate.

PPs. Austin Bay suggests that Mad How is a variant of SARS - Scream and Rage Syndrome.

A quick google suggests that Bay and Mickey Kaus were the first to recognize this malady as distinct from the more general affliction known as Bicoastal Disorder.

@6:39 PM

Get a net
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa
To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be
happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!

No, that wasn't Paul Krugman, but it's becoming easier to confuse him with Dr. Demento every day. Krugman is going to need a nice loong rest by the time this election season is over.

@5:31 PM

Another one bites the dust
Bill Quick has finally banned the Foresta 'bot and reclaimed his own blog, making it safe for the sane everywhere. I've got to say I admire his patience, but too much was enough.

@5:19 PM

Nice curios!
John Donovan, of the Castle Argghhh!!! Goes straight to the blogroll. This is my kind of guy, he's into curios and relics -- yep, definitely my kind of relics -- and posts a mean blog too. And say? are those a couple of cat beasts lurking on the stairs with that first bunch of relics? I think so.

@4:59 PM

Playing politics in the barn?
I bet it's not as much fun as playing doctor.

@10:54 AM

Hat in Hand?
It looks to me like the Prez sent the hands over to have a little talk with dear Kofi. And haven't we been asking for the UN's help all along? Yes, I believe we have.

@10:00 AM

Whiskey's for drinkin'
Out here it's water that causes all the fights.

@8:50 AM

I know where I'm eatin' lunch on Thursday
Heheh. I suppose it would be difficult to make a low-carb cinnamon roll though, wouldn't it?

@8:47 AM

Go Phish!
A nasty little email scam.

@8:39 AM

Polygamist Infighting?
Would that be a battle royal, or a tag team match? And more important, who makes the jello?

@8:30 AM

Gee, maybe we should try that
EDMONTON -- The Alberta government could take aim at the controversial federal gun registry from a new angle - on the basis of gun ownership being part of the province's heritage.

@8:00 AM

Oy Vey!
The New York City Transportation Department has "… no sense of Humour?"

"Oy vey" was too meshuga for the city Transportation Department. ...

The city earlier nixed a sign reading Leaving Brooklyn: Fuhgeddaboudit! at the Verazzano Narrows Bridge for what agency spokesman Tom Cocola said was "a lack of directional information."

While the latter sign was criticized as an anti-Italian slur, Cocola said any concern that the Oy Vey sign might offend the Jewish community was not part of the agency's decision.

@7:51 AM

Give 'em an Oscar!
If all those Hollywood actors are 'playing dumb' it's a pretty good act.

@7:38 AM

That makes a big difference!
Since the US Fish & Wildlife Service refused to buy Wyoming's plan to shoot wolves on sight, Wyoming's lawmakers are drafting a new wolf plan.

Fish and Wildlife Service officials told the Legislature's Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee last week that a hunting season could be of any duration and at any price for a license with no interference by the federal government, [Sen. Keith] Goodenough said.

So, at least in theory, they could mail a free license to everyone in the state...

@7:29 AM

More corporate welfare from the Wyoming Business Council
Oh, wait. The money will actually go to establish a Main Street Advisory Board within the Wyoming Business Council to develop a plan to operate a Main Street program. It's welfare for bureaucrats. That's okay then.

I suppose that's the difference between having a republican in the governor's office and a democrat: Less corporate welfare and more for bureaucrats. Citizens and small businesses will be forced to apply for welfare too if this keeps up.

@6:57 AM

Speaking of tests in Iowa: With all the readily available achievement tests that are out there, such as Scholastic Testing Service and the Iowa Testing Programs, we learn that the Wyoming Department of Education plans to re-create the wheel. Again. You might almost suspect that they don't want our children tested against the rest of the nation.

@6:49 AM

Gephardt bows out
Looks like the Deep Space Nine are minus two. Perhaps all those union folks have done their income taxes too.

@6:32 AM

No link?
James Taranto: "As Glenn Reynolds would say, are these guys antiwar, or just on the other side?"

Hmm.. The good professor appears dangerously close to becoming a household name.

@6:20 AM

Big Hat, No Cattle...
Darn, a distant third? I'd have thought the Prez' backing would have done more for the Dean Campaign. Apparently, even Bush's coattails aren't that long. And in a harbinger of things to come in this Silly Season, you'll note that the WaPo has anointed Dean the 'former front-runner'. Never easier to be the front-runner than before the starting gun, I suppose.

"We have just begun to fight," said Dean. "We won't quit now or never. We want our country back." Now or Never? Whatever. Someone should send Dean a copy of Bill Jordan's excellent book "No Second Place Winner."

To steal a page from James Taranto, what would we do without strategists and historians?
This much is certain, strategists say: Dean needs to win next Tuesday in New Hampshire to revive his campaign heading into the all-important Feb. 3 stretch of seven primary contests. Recent history usually shows a candidate must win one of the first two states to have a shot at winning the Democratic nomination.

Curious isn't it, that the 'former front-runner' has been pronounced DOA at the starting gate? One would almost think that the pulp press pundits have no more clue than me and you.

@5:58 AM

Monday, January 19, 2004- - -  
Don't forget the Deacons today
Capt. J.M. Heinrichs sends a link to The Castle Argghhh!. Anyone who thinks General Wesley Clark is the Prince of Darkness is probably right about other things as well, and he's absolutely right that Civil Rights legislation didn't stop the Klan. Black men with guns, like The Deacons for Defense and Justice did. As I've noted before, thugs and bully boys tend to slink away when their victims arm themselves.

Ps. Incidentally, I know for a fact that the Deacons' organization extended far beyond Louisiana.

@11:59 AM

GREEN RIVER -- Four conservation groups on Jan. 9 filed an appeal of the Bureau of Land Management's approval last month of a 3-D seismic mapping project to help locate oil and gas reserves within portions of the scenic Red Desert in southwest Wyoming.

The BLM issued a Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impact on Dec. 11 that approved the Houston-based Veritas DGL Inc.'s Hay Reservoir 3-D Geophysical Project proposed for an area northwest of Wamsutter.

The appeal will be reviewed by the Wyoming state director of the BLM.

Officials with the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and the Wyoming Wilderness Association said the BLM should have considered a lower-impact alternative in their environmental studies on the seismographic project. They were joined in the appeal by the Sierra Club and the Wyoming Outdoor Council.
[Hereinafter referred to as 'the usual suspects'.]

The groups said the company's plans to employ 31-ton "thumper trucks" within the approximately 279 square mile project area would impact over 10,000 acres of proposed wilderness in the Red Lake Dunes area.

"Thumper trucks are the most heavy-handed way imaginable to do seismic exploration for oil and gas and they leave scars that last for years," Erik Molvar of the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance said in a prepared statement.

"The BLM should have required buggy drills the size of pickup trucks, as is done elsewhere in the Red Desert, rather than permitting 62,000-pound thumper trucks to drive cross-country across fragile landscapes," he said. ...

Molvar said the appeal points out that the BLM never considered lower-impact technology in their alternatives to achieve the same result, such as using the combination of buggy drills and helicopters or the placing of seismic geophones by hand without using mechanized equipment. ...

Industry officials say seismic mapping operations make it easier for producers to locate formations in the region that contain natural gas and hydrocarbons, thereby reducing the potential impacts for dry holes and impacts to the environment.

[Full disclosure: Veritas is a client and I worked with them on several of the projects mentioned later.]

Sigh. 1) There's a reason they don't use buggy drills in that area: The aquifer is very shallow and it's artesian. Drill a hole and set off a load of vibra-gel. Presto! You've got a new flowing well that will be very difficult to plug. 2) No one has used 'thumper trucks' in years. As the article notes later, they'll be using buggy-mounted vibrators with huge, low inflation tires (much like the buggy drills the sagebrush huggers seem to prefer, except without the ground-disturbing drill!). They 'fan out' so that they never leave more than one set of tracks, and those tracks generally disappear in a few months at most, most are invisible in days. 3) They do use helicopters and lay their receiver lines by hand. As far as I know, no one has yet invented a mechanical juggy. 4) The reason that the BLM never considered 'lower impact technology' is because this is the lowest impact technology we've been able to devise, and it is very low impact indeed.

The key here, I think, is the talk of 'unique wilderness landscape'. Yes, it is spectacularly beautiful country, in a high, dry, deserty sort of way. Just like the rest of Wyoming. The BLM, bless their pointy little heads, generally do quite a good job of riding herd on development, if only because they get sued by the usual suspects every time an energy company threatens to sneeze in our general direction. So yes, the 'suspects' do serve a purpose in keeping the feds' toes to the fire. On the other hand, it's not a perfect world, and for the usual suspects it will never be a perfect world, at least as long as the citizens of the People's Republic of California insist on living in heated homes with electric lights. That's selfish of them, I know.

@10:54 AM

Another Red Letter Day!
That makes two in less than a week! Two years ago today I wrote my first blog post.

Eergh! Some things never change. That link to my first post only takes me to the top of the first month. That's odd, because my permalinks have been functioning quite well of late.

@9:29 AM

The Best Carry Gun
Responding to a 'heads up' email from Publicola re the Kucinich affair, Dean Speir "Formerly Famous Gunwriter" offered his two cents, and sent along a link to The Gun Zone, his very interesting web site, in which he reveals the secrets of the Big Name gun writers.

It should come as no surprise that the content of many of the gun rags is thinly disguised product puff to fill up the space between the advertising, and that much of the writing is the 'same old, same old' over and over, ad nauseum. In The Gun Zone Credo, he refers to these as "kissing your sister" articles: "Big Shootout: Revolver vs. Semi-Automatic," or "DA vs. SA," or "9mm vs. .45 ACP, Which Is Best For You?" (These were always nice and safe pieces with lotsa product mentions, and, most importantly, they never caused any advertiser anxiety.)"

Yep. And that's why, after a week of maundering on the topic I realize that I really don't have anything to add to the 'Best Carry Gun' issue, and I probably won't post what I've written. A carry gun is much too personal and too job-specific to give a definitive answer -- that's why there are so many 'product mentions' -- in the end it always boils down to "what ever turns your crank." In my case it became a long list of which guns I carry for what and the Marlin Mountie .22 came out close to the top!

Now even the best of the dead tree gun press can't afford to alienate their advertisers and they can be an exercise in reading between the lines. As Speir notes, we get a lot of weasel-worded phrases, like "acceptable combat accuracy" and "minute-of-elk" (translation: It barely stayed on the paper.) Even I, who have no advertising nor much prospect of, or interest in getting any, am a bit reluctant to tell you that 'out of the box the poodle shooter would barely hold a 3" group at 100 yards, and its 1 in 12" rifling would not stabilize the most popular 55 gr. bullets. The factory bedding was pitiful and it's awfully heavy for a .223 sporter-weight'. Why? Well because my experience with that make and model of rifle in that caliber is a sample of one. It's still a finely-made rifle and I've been most entertained, for many, many hours, getting it to shoot acceptably and figuring out what this finicky eater wanted to be fed. I enjoy doing that. I also enjoyed picking it up at a bargain basement price after its former owner(s) gave up ever making it shoot.

'Making this recalcitrant SOB shoot in the same county with me' is my favorite part of the game and I tend to lose interest in a gun pretty quickly after I've doped out its problems (bedding is the most common culprit) and worked up a couple of loads it likes. Thus, I'm always on the lookout for 'new in box' or 'like new' rifles being advertised. Somebody laid out a good chunk of change for that gun, why are they selling it so soon? Well, frequently because it won't shoot in the same county twice in a row. Incidentally, this rule doesn't apply to the big beasts, .338s, .375s, and such. There, 'it won't shoot' is more frequently an admission by its owner that he couldn't handle the recoil and blast of the mighty monster-masher. 'Will trade for .30-06' is a common refrain in these ads.

I guess that's why I push Wolfe Publishing's offerings so often, and why I particularly enjoy Ross Seyfried's articles. When he writes about his 20-year struggle to make an H&H Paradox shoot ("Holland & Holland Paradox: A reloading miracle!" Feb-Mar 2004 Handloader) or about hunting Blues with an antique scattergun, I think it's safe to assume that he doesn't expect you to dash out and buy a Paradox or Greener. (Hmm.. I'd love to have a Paradox.)

I very much enjoy Seyfried's articles on various antique and oddball guns, but they're not much of a vehicle for product placements. I think it's obvious that he writes these articles out of a love of the old guns and a love of the sport, and I can understand why there's sometimes a note of despair in his writing -- it must be tough to sell such articles. And I can't really blame the folks who write and publish the 'kissin' your sister' fluff stuff. It apparently sells magazines and it certainly sells advertising. With the costs of publishing in the dead tree world skyrocketing, selling magazines and advertising is understandably job one.

@8:40 AM

Strangely mixed messages
I've got to wonder if some sort of 'bot isn't automatically producing a good deal of the spam I receive. Today I got one from "Desiree Devine" subject "stiffen penitent." Another Via*gr*a ad? Well no, as I clicked it off to Deleted Item oblivion I flashed on the message: "No Bad No problem!"

@6:43 AM

Sunday, January 18, 2004- - -  
How Bizarre
I've been pondering the new Barnes Triple-Shock X-bullets, but haven't tried them yet. When I first saw one illustrated it appeared to me that Barnes was trying to reduce pressures by reducing the amount of metal that had to be ingraved/displaced by the rifling, a fine idea. In fact, the Barnes web site states that the "... three-ringed bullet provides significantly greater velocities, lower pressures and less fouling, without requiring an external coating." Excellent!

But then they go on to say "The bullet delivers a triple impact-one when it first strikes game, another as the bullet begins opening, and a third devastating impact when the specially engineered cavity fully expands to deliver extra shock with maximum transferred energy." Hmm.. That pretty well buries the needle on my bullshit meter. In fact, it reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live Gillette Triple-Track spoof: 'The first blade pulls the whisker out, the second blade pulls it out further, and the third blade cuts it off'. The SNL skit concluded 'we think you'll believe anything'.

That bit of hype left me wondering what they had done to the bullet to produce this triple impact, and resolved to stick to Barnes' fine X-bullets until I could find out what the Triple-Shock was truly all about. 'Improvements' that aren't are nothing new.

Well now in the January-February 2004 Successful Hunter editor Dave Scovill tells the story. He was in on the bullet's inception, when it was called a "ringtail," and the grooves are indeed intended to reduce pressure, thus allowing higher velocity. He relates ordering a box of .338 185 gr. Triple-Shocks for a hunt here in Wyoming, and how, when they didn't have any available, Barnes made him some by cutting grooves into their blue-coated Barnes XLCs, a bullet that is identical in construction to the standard X-bullet, with the addition of the lubricant coating.

There was no talk of the advertised triple impact, and it appears that the bullet is identical in function and construction to the standard X-bullet, with the exception of the circumferencial grooves. In other words, it really should be an improvement on the original design. I feel better now! And I'll have to try some.

So where did this whole "Triple-Shock" business come from? All I can suggest is that "Triple-Shock" sounds better than "Ringtail" from a marketing perspective. I can then imagine some advertising/marketing type coming up with the triple impact bit as a final bit of embellishment, although I can't imagine why anyone would have to embellish the performance of the X-bullet.

@9:19 PM

All-time favorites
"Only One in a Lifetime: A Two-Year Quest for a Big Bull with a Hand-made Long Bow." By Ross Seyfried, the article was published in the September-October 2003 Successful Hunter, and it's now on-line. It's one seriously fine piece of writing and, in my humble opinion, it pretty well sums up what hunting is all about.

Ps. Incidentally, Seyfried has another excellent article on-line about hunting the metrosexual of the woods, the Blue grouse (the bright orange and yellow eye shadow gives them away). "Beating the Blues: Blue Grouse on the Mountain Top." His experience with Blues pretty well parallels mine. They startle hell out of you and spoil your stalk when hunting big game, and then become almost impossible to hit with a shotgun when you're hunting them.

I finally gave up on shotgunning for them and greatly increased my grouse hunting success when I started still hunting them as if they were a deer or elk. The whole game changes when you see them before they see you. At first I used my Ruger M77/22, but shooting them with a gun that will hold minute-of-Blue-grouse out to 100 yards seemed less than sporting, so I switched to a .22 handgun. Then this year I hunted them exclusively with my peep-sighted Marlin Mountie. Handgun or Mountie forces me to stalk within about 25 yards for a sure shot. Not only is that very sporting, it's darn good practice for larger game. Best of all, unlike their cousins the Sage grouse, Blues are delicious.

Oh, and Seyfried also has an excellent article on "Still Hunting: The Ultimate Secret to Hunting Success" in the January-February 2004 Successful Hunter that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about that most successful technique (all I can add is 'stay in the shadows and out of the sunshine'). But you'll have to buy the magazine for that one.

@5:01 PM

Fun with politicians
Publicola outlines an amusing incident involving the anti-gun Dennis Kucinich.

@12:31 PM

"Peeing outside the box"
Sez Jay Manifold: Writing is USA Today, space journalist and author James Oberg sensibly suggested: "Instead of going to the moon or Mars, there could be a human mission to an asteroid passing near Earth."

Hey! I suggested the same thing! I would rarely characterize my ideas as 'sensible'. However, I think Oberg's is. I'd suggested going to an asteroid because a) it would be easier and, b) it's there. I hadn't really given much thought to any practical application beyond 'asteroid mining' and I have no idea whether that is at all practical.

@12:26 PM

Talk about burnin' yer candle at both ends!
Again via the InstaPundit, here's an article on paraffin and nitrous oxide rocket fuel. Whoa Baby! That oughta feed the need for speed.

[Don't miss the other links at the InstantMan's!]

@9:15 AM

That's a strange way to put it
Via the InstaPundit comes this news account of a terrorist bombing with a happy ending:

[Lt. Col. Steve] Russell said one of the two men killed was a nephew of one of Saddam's brothers, and was carrying a homemade bomb comprised of artillery shells and plastic explosives in his lap that detonated prematurely, killing him instantly and fatally wounding the driver. He would not further identify the bomber.

Killed one but only fatally wounded the other, eh? Whatever. I'm sure it couldn't have happened to a nicer couple of guys.

@8:51 AM

Money back with your winning vote!
The InstaPundit says the Bush tax cut will save them a lot of money on their taxes this year. [Me too!] And that is why Bush will probably be re-elected.

Yup. The Dems are all making various tax-cutting promises too, but I suspect that the voters will take the 'Bush in hand over two in the bird' … or something like that. We've all heard 'big tax cuts' before, but the Prez actually came through.

People won't forget this: Nobody wants families to struggle - but most aren't groaning under an outsized federal tax burden. Clark tells us that the average family of four now pays $1,500 in taxes. But he never mentions that, thanks to Bush, this family had its federal tax burden cut from $2,700 under President Bill Clinton.

@8:18 AM

Ashcroft Finds Evil Paradigm
More crude lies being passed about by the Democrats:

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult,", Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns", but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. "As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared.

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.

"I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence," the President said, adding: "Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line."

President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex."

Attorney General Ashcroft said, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks."

Yea gods, that was awful, Dave.

@7:44 AM

A Darwin Award just waiting to happen
How long will it be before some dumb crook puts one of these to his ear and presses the 'call' button?

@7:06 AM

"We're working hard to put food on your family"
Gotta love the new George W. Bush talking action figure. I think I'll buy one for all the Democrats in my life.

Ps. Dave definitely gets one after forwarding this:

A tourist walks into a curio shop in San Francisco. Looking around at the exotica, he notices a very life-like, life-sized bronze statue of a rat. It has no price tag, but is so striking he decides he must have it. He took it to the owner: "How much for the bronze rat?"

"Twelve dollars for the rat, one hundred dollars for the story," said the owner.

The tourist gave the man twelve dollars.  "I'll just take the rat, you can keep the story."

As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, he noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and began following him down the street.  This was disconcerting, he began walking faster. But within a couple blocks, the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.  He began to trot toward the Bay, looking around to see that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and were squealing and coming toward him faster and faster. Concerned, even scared, he ran to the edge of the Bay, and threw the bronze rat as far out into the Bay as he could.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after it, and were all drowned.

The man walked back to the curio shop.  "Ah ha," said the owner, "I'll bet you have come back for the story?"

"No," said the man.  "I came back to see if you have a bronze Republican".

@6:35 AM

He's a bundle of contradictions
Voters find Dean attractive but repulsive:

Iowa State University professor Jane Love [I wonder if she's the same Jane Love who taught at WickyWack?] said: "I'm attracted to Howard Dean because of his outspokenness, but I'm a bit troubled by his penchant for spouting off - it makes you feel good as a Democrat, but I'm not sure if it's really a good idea."

So he should be more outspoken but spout off less?

@6:25 AM

Stay tuned and see!
Can the Kindergarten Cop make Sacramento eat its vegetables? George Will thinks he may be the only one who can.

@6:15 AM

Don't tell Hannibal
"Cannibalism has never been a crime in Colorado."

@5:57 AM

Riding the range and acting strange...
DenverPost -- In the vigilante Old West, cattle barons paid bounty hunters $500 a head to cull the prairie's rustler population.

Today, lawmen can only sling bad cowboys in the pokey - and they aren't having much luck at that.

But with cattle prices spiking recently, some deputies and ranchers worry that modern rustlers will be tempted to ride the range again looking for easy prey.

Sheriff's deputies hoping to thwart them will warn ranchers to brand all their cattle and be wary of cowboys cruising dusty prairie roads.

Hey, they just want to ride and rope and hoot (hoot!).

Ps. Speaking of which, this is a hoot!

@5:31 AM

Saturday, January 17, 2004- - -  
"Evil and Wrong"
Jeff Soyer weighs in on the National Instant Background Check for firearms purchases. Apparently, an amendment to the federal budget bill will require that records of background checks be destroyed in 24 hours rather than the current 90 days.

That's nice, But. Remember how eager the FBI was to troll through all those records they're not supposed to have?

According to the WaPo: "Shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Ashcroft's advisers stopped the FBI from comparing a list of Sept. 11-related detainees against a list of approved gun purchasers. They said that under the Brady law, the Justice Department is prohibited from using such records for law enforcement purposes. Before it was interrupted, the search had resulted in two matches, sources said at the time."

I've feared from the first that, once obtained, this data would never be destroyed. It appears I was correct. Now I haven't been a big supporter of John Ashcroft, but just think were we'd be if the decision here had been up to Janet Reno.

The entire background check system is Evil and Wrong. Despite all assurances to the contrary it appears that data on approved purchasers is being retained as a form of de facto gun registration. Thus, changing the period after which the data should be destroyed seems ineffective at best. And as Jeff points out, gun registration is the first necessary step toward confiscation. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

@10:52 AM

Emergency Powers
Hmm.. Yes, give the government special powers during emergencies and some will likely see everything as an emergency. Call it "The Law of the Hammered."

@10:34 AM

Jacko in the Royal Transportation Corps?

@9:17 AM

Now that would be a magic bus
WaPo: "Dean Hopes Bus Takes Him to Victory"

@9:08 AM

This is interesting
The IRS is auditing the Nature Conservancy:

The [Washington Post] stories also reported that the Conservancy had repeatedly bought land, added some development restrictions, then resold the properties at reduced prices to its trustees and other supporters. The buyers made cash gifts to the Conservancy roughly equal to the difference in price, thereby qualifying for substantial tax deductions.

In the wake of the stories, the Conservancy banned a range of practices, saying it would no longer lend money to insiders, sell land to trustees or drill for oil on nature preserve land. The charity is conducting a broad internal review of its management practices and says more changes are expected. ...

A specialist in nonprofit corporations who reviewed the Conservancy's tax returns described them as confounding.

"It stunned me," said the specialist, Peter Dobkin Hall, of Harvard University's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. "It's not exactly what I'd call a transparent organization.

"I find that very peculiar. I couldn't find out a damn thing about them. It was a brick wall." ...

One internal audit report on a Conservancy project known as the Virginia Coast Reserve -- or VCR -- found numerous irregularities. Many financial transactions were improperly recorded, according to the March 2002 report, which is stamped "Confidential." The IRS was not told for years that the charity provided some employees with free housing and use of a car, lapses the report described as IRS violations.

Hmm.. Yes, and most of us can only dream of living in the mansions they build as 'free housing'.

Ps. Fritz Schranck has more.

PPs. Andy Freeman comments: Remind me - why do I want non-corrupt non-profits?

Most of them are "not good" in deed, so to the extent that corruption wastes money that they'd have spent doing bad, said corruption is a good thing.  Moreover, I suspect that if they hadn't managed to convince others to give them money, said others would have done something bad instead with said money.  (After all, said others gave said money to said non-profits.)

Good point.

The Nature Conservancy is particularly annoying to me though, as they convince people to give them not only money, but also land to 'conserve' for 'nature'.  Sometimes they seem to do a fairly good job of that, but they too frequently conserve the land by building enormous, million-dollar mansions to house their on-site staff -- nice job if you can get it, I suppose -- and then conserve the rest by subdividing it, logging it, drilling oil wells on it and, according to the WaPo article I linked, by selling it at bargain basement prices in exchange for big, tax-deductible donations.  They often seem to have an oddly nature-unfriendly way of conserving nature.  I guess what is so annoying to me is that I believe very strongly in conserving nature, they're not making any more of it, and it's not a commodity that should be wasted.

Of course, people donate to them because they're a non-profit and it's a tax write-off.  They'll be out of business if they lose their non-profit status, which could well happen if the IRS decides that they are more of a racket than a charity, and even if they don't lose non-profit status, I suspect that they're going to be forced to clean up their act significantly.  This may be the first time in my life I've ever cheered on the IRS, it makes me want to wash my mouth with soap!

@8:55 AM

It does look like Wyoming!

@8:13 AM

Cool yer Jets
I never could understand why the Jets left Winnipeg. After all, the city would seem a natural for an NHL team: They don't have to make ice, it grows wild there about 10 months out of the year. (A small area of southern Manitoba, northeastern North Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota rivals central Siberia for the title of "coldest place on earth.")

@7:58 AM

Throw Wyoming to the Wolves!?
Gov Dave thinks that the Bush administration is playing politics with wolves.

CHEYENNE -- Gov. Dave Freudenthal accused the Bush administration of playing election-year politics with wolves, saying Thursday he wonders if the federal government is sincere when it says it will hand over wolf management to states. ...

"I've come to describe it as simply the whip hand of federal servitude falls one more time on the state," Freudenthal said. "And we do have a difficult decision in that the changes they are asking for are pretty substantial." ...

"The diplomatic way to say this is we're evaluating our alternatives," Freudenthal said. "I'm kind of inclined to say, 'OK, we'll fight about this.' But that may not be the best strategy. I want to hear what they have to say." ...

"It is part of the same old, same old. ... One more time, right before the legislative session, the feds announce that they don't like what we've been doing, they want some changes. ... They say 'jump' and we're supposed to say 'how high?"' ...

"I don't think it's political in the partisan sense," he said. "I believe it's political in that they as a matter of national election policy decided to, shall we say, throw Wyoming to the wolves, because they want to have environmental support and they take our support for granted."

Needless to say, this is a very controversial issue here in Wyoming and the feds aren't the only ones playing politics. Note that the Governor and Wyoming legislature are heavily involved in our wolf plan.

A companion article shows that there are various opinions on this, with some like the Gov inclined to fight, while others think that will only delay delisting and we should knuckle under: Jason Marsden, executive director of Wyoming Conservation Voters, advised, "We want the wolf delisted, and the way to get to that point is to cut a deal with the guys who hold all the cards."

Yes, the feds do seem to hold all the cards, but we have all the guns and shovels.

Unfortunately, I don't think it matters much what we in Wyoming do at this point, wolf delisting will be tied up in court for years. We have plenty of folks who want the wolves gone, while others want the ranchers gone -- both factions have lawyers and they're not afraid to use them. It's hard to see a point of compromise here.

@7:32 AM

Presidential Palm Pilot
Dave Vlcek, an old and dear (if vowel-impaired) friend and colleague, forwards a link to the Presidential Palm Helper.

@6:46 AM

It made me smile
I notice that my wife has finished off the tiny sample packet of… I think it was skin moisturizer... that had been in our bathroom cabinet, and discarded the empty pouch. That's too bad, because I got a chuckle out of it every time I saw the little exclamation "Made with Olive Virgin Oil."

@6:44 AM

Friday, January 16, 2004- - -  
Insight from the Garden of Groan
Just dragged my tired butt back from the sudatory emporium, where the Sultan of Sweat gave us a good goin' over. While nursing a new head lump from the crucifixion machine, it occurred to me that the insides of tanks are painted white and everything in there seems purpose built to bash you in the head. All the machines at the health club are painted white and seem designed to bash you in the head. Coincidence? I think not.

@4:54 PM

Sauds fight for their lives
Austin Bay has posted some interesting observations on the war on terror over at StrategyPage. He puts the bottom line about where I do: We can fight the WOT in the Middle East, or in Manhattan. I know which venue I'd choose. Of course, I'd choose not to fight at all, but I don't believe that is a viable option.

@8:20 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2004- - -  
Give me a break!
First, we were a nation of pussies, dominated by our mommies, now we are a bunch of wimps. Forgive me for pointing out that this all sounds like a classic case of psychological transference.

No one, nobody can make you a wimp or a pussy. If you feel emasculated you have no one to blame but yourself. Sorry. Get a grip. Dare I say, be a man?

Ps. A bunch of wussies, eh? I'm sure that quite a few Taliban, Al Qeada, and Iraqis used to think that too. Colonel Kadafi probably agreed as well.

@7:45 PM

Whoo! Whoo!
A red letter day at Coyote World Headquarters! Ten years ago today I started the consulting business that keeps us employed to this day! That also means I've been self-employed twice as long as I've ever worked for anyone else (five years in the service and five years working for the State of Wyoming). I'm not sure how I've done it, as I am undoubtedly the biggest asshole I've ever worked for.

Ps. [much later]

Where have I gone wrong? My professors and the folks who taught me my trade regularly kept me out until all hours, plying me with hard liquor, fast women, and substances you don’t want to know about. Now, at 6 pm on a most momentous evening, after a nice lunch and a few celebratory toasts, I've become the designated driver and bed tucker-iner. I'm the last one standing. And it's barely dark outside. As far as imparting the traditions of the trade I feel like a total failure. Kids nowadays.

@8:29 AM

Good Grief!
According to the Northern Wyoming Daily News [not on-line], a local man has died from an overdose of Ephedrine Plus, an over-the-counter allergy and asthma medication. Twenty-three empty bottles of the stuff were found at his work station and the coroner believes that he took an entire bottle the day he died. As a response, local stores are limiting the sale of Ephedrine Plus to two bottles per person per day.

@8:19 AM

A word from the Guru
A point that was emphasized at the NRA meeting in Washington most convincingly by Senator Larry Craig of Idaho was that we, the public, must be sure to differentiate between abuses of police power on the local level and that perpetrated at the federal level. It is no news that the federal ninja are completely out of control, and it is disturbing to see members of the law enforcement community endeavoring to close ranks defensively in the face of the wrath of "civilians." One of the unfortunate but noticeable attributes of police organizations is the "us-against-them" obsession. Since cops are in contact in large measure with the complete dregs of society, it is not hard to understand how they may come to place people into the three categories of cops, cops' families, and scum. We must all be aware of this problem and do our best to mitigate it. If it appears that fed rogues are the principal hazard the citizens face today, we must bear in mind that not all federal agents are in truth rogues, and that our local police are most unlikely to be such. I have a friend, now retired from the federal service, who simply will not accept the fact that Horiuchi deliberately killed Vicki Weaver - when he was in no danger and had no legitimate objective in mind. We are all subject to this group loyalty obsession and I notice it in myself when I am reluctant to accept criminal actions on the part of marines, but a sensible man should not be entrapped by stereotypes. If you happen to think - possibly rightly - that fighter pilots are better than other people, you must remember that this does not apply to every possible fighter pilot, only to the majority. Thus the fact that a man is a cop does not in and of itself mean that he is either good or bad. His actions must be evaluated individually. Ideally your local friendly cop should be your neighbor, whose children go to school with yours and who associates with you in your recreational freedom. This is not always possible, but it should be an aim.

Indeed. Unfortunately, we seem to be seeing fewer peace officers, whose first duty is to protect and serve their fellow citizens, and more law enforcement officers whose first duty -- by the very implication of their self-chosen title -- is to protect and serve the government. I don't think this trend is a good thing.

@7:42 AM

Deep-throating big guns
Heheh. Thanks, Capt. Heinrichs, I imagine I'm getting some interesting Google refers with that one!

It occurs to me to stress that there's nothing wrong with seating bullets below the base of the neck. As John Barsness points out in "Deep-Seated Fears" (Handloader, June 2003), many common cartridges are designed to be loaded this way and it's generally not a problem. I deep-throated Deep Throat because I could. I didn’t like compressing loads as much as I found I was, but I could have solved this problem with a drop tube, which crams more powder into a given volume, or I could have switched to a different brand of case with more capacity. But I have a Ruger #1 and a perverse inclination to do things the hard way.

Deep Throat's barrel is also so blessed rough that the bore is solidly coated with copper after half-a-dozen shots, making accuracy an iffy thing beyond that point. I'd intended to have it re-barreled and figured I had nothing to lose if I screwed it up. Now, I think I'll try fire-lapping the barrel, as I'm very pleased with the result of the throating. If nothing else, that's one funky-looking cartridge with that great, long black talon (Yes, that's what the Failsafe was originally called, before the pants-wetters got involved) sticking out the front! Or I might still have it re-barreled and chambered in .338-348 Ackley Improved, as I'm not impressed with the Ruger #1's extraction of belted cartridges. Better yet, I think I'll fire-lap Deep Throat and build another Ruger #1 in .338-348 AI.

Whatever. Please understand that I'm an incorrigible gun loony and what I do doesn't necessarily make the best sense in the real world.

@7:01 AM

What now with Blogger? They seem to be having trouble with extended character sets, refusing to display the umlaut in 'naïve' a couple days ago (now obviously fixed), and now they dislike ellipses. Having learned to type back in the dark ages, I habitually type two spaces after a period, and that too has been giving them fits for the last few days. At any rate, if you notice superfluous question marks? inserted in? the text, it's not my fault! [I may be wrong, but I'm seldom in doubt!]

@6:06 AM

Further reading
Those who have been following the on-going discussion of big guns I've been hosting should lay hands on the January 2004 edition of Rifle, in which Brian Pearce writes "The .45-70 in Africa: Marlin 1895 in Zimbabwe," and the February 2004 edition of Handloader in which editor Dave Scovill writes "Black Powder in the Field," relating his exploits in Botswana, where he shot a Cape buffalo with a .50 Express.

I was quite surprised to read that it took seven hits with the big .50 to put that buffarilla down, using an RCBS 50-450 FN bullet cast hard and heat tempered. I'm most impressed that Scovill admits to some less than shiny shootin'. He believes that his shots were going high due to the rifle shooting away from his cross-sticks. This phenomenon is far from unknown and I, with the benefit of perfect 20 20 hindsight, have to wonder why he didn't try shooting from the sticks during the extensive load workup he pursued prior to the safari.

We all live and learn, and one thing I've learned: There's a world of difference between punching holes in paper under ideal conditions and having hair under your sights at the end of an arduous hunt. Game animals tend to be pretty unbiased, they are just as difficult to put down for gun scribes as for us mere mortals, although you'd never guess that from many folks' writing. Scovill is to be commended for his honesty.

In the January 2004 edition of Rifle, Brian Pearce relates his experiences shooting a variety of plains game with the Marlin .45-70 and Corbon's 405 gr. FMJ flat-nose penetrator load, which is essentially a jacketed version of the 405 gr. Cast Performance LBT WLNGC bullet that I use. As I would expect, the load did very well on critters up to the size of zebra. Pearce too relates his foibles on the hunt, admitting that a shot at an impala passed through the animal he was shooting at and also killed another behind the first that he hadn't seen. Oops! Good thing it was a cull hunt in Africa, game wardens around here take a dim view of people shooting more than the critter they're licensed for!

Pearce' parting shot promises a future article relating his hunt for Cape buffalo with the same rifle and load, which "... turned out to be a hair-raising experience ..." I can believe that! And I'll be eagerly looking for his continuation.

I could go on and on about Wolfe Publishing Company's three fine shooting rags: Rifle, Handloader, and Successful Hunter. The folks they've got writing for them really are the best in the business. Although the magazines obviously derive considerable income from advertising, the writers can be brutally honest, frequently panning the fad gun, load, or gadget of the week, which speaks very highly for the integrity of the whole outfit. I highly recommend them.

@5:51 AM

Patriot Act Preparedness
Ed Kemmick, of the Billings Gazette does an excellent bit of investigative reporting and finds that attitudes toward the search and seizure provisions of the Patriot Act are mixed.

Bill Cochran, director of the Parmly Billings Library, believes that FBI agents will not abuse the power given them by the act, a faith that seems strangely naïve considering he later notes that some of the public's mistrust is related to the FBI's Library Awareness Program of the 1970s and '80s, when agents seeking information on potential supporters of the Soviet Union routinely sought library records without a court order.

Naturally, Bill Mercer, the US Attorney for Montana, poo poos the idea that the act would be used for fishing expeditions or for any purpose other than to investigate terrorism.

Meanwhile, Jim Heckel, director of the Great Falls Public Library, says he believes that the act gives the government broad powers to intrude on privacy. He and other librarians across the land who are less than sanguine regarding the feds track record on privacy are shredding and deleting their records.

As I've mentioned before, a shiny new shredder was the first purchase our Washakie County Friends of the Library made this fiscal year. This should bother our legislators and administration more than it apparently does -- when you've lost the confidence of the little old ladies in tennis shoes you're in more trouble than you know.

@4:25 AM

Wednesday, January 14, 2004- - -  
"Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up!"
Ronald Bailey gives a good account of the Endangered Species Act, but he forgets its greatest [and perhaps sole] benefit: It employs a lot of wildlife biologists.

@3:55 PM

Congratulations Chicago!
Flashbunny has a little award for you!

@3:55 PM

More esoterica on big guns
Michael Parker writes, discussing my last post point by point (I've added my current comments in brackets):

>> Assuming that the pressure of burning gas is exerted in all directions with equal force

It is.  It's one of those laws of physics.

[In a static chamber that is true. However, when we pump a gas through a pipe it is also acted on by friction with the walls of the pipe, and any bend or irregularity in the pipe causes turbulence. This friction and turbulence has the effect of increasing back pressure and decreasing down-line pressure -- the pressure will be greatest nearest the point of compression and will gradually drop off away from the point of compression. We're talking the physics of hydraulics rather than that of static gases. How much this can be applied to firearms is anybody's guess though. Internal ballistics are pretty much a black science.]

>> there is considerably more total pressure on the sides of the shank than on the base of the bullet. Of course, whether the bullet shank would be squeezed down or riveted also depends on the composition of the bullet -- a bullet jacket with a thick base and thin side walls might be more susceptible to being squeezed, while riveting might be more likely to occur if the side walls are thick and the base is thin (or non-existent, as with the Failsafe).

It turns out that it doesn't matter how much is exposed -- the pressure per unit area is the same.  The bullet is getting squeezed hard from all directions at the back, and isn't getting squeezed at the front.  So it goes squirting in the direction of lowest pressure.  If the bullet were substantially compressible, the entire rear of the bullet would be squeezed down -- it'd look like kind of like one of those lapua stepped boattails.

That's also why the jacket doesn't make a difference.  Take a tubing-jacketed bullet like the Hawk bullets, with exposed rear.  The soft lead in the rear is indeed being squeezed, trying to expand inside the jacket.  OTOH, the exposed jacket is getting squeezed by the combustion pressure even harder, at least until it enters the barrel, at which time the jacket does indeed expand a bit until it hits the barrel which provides the pressure to resist further expansion.

[50,000+ psi should be more than enough to squeeze down the base of a normal lead-core bullet, extruding the lead core out the open front of the jacket. I don't see that happening. (Unless the jacket is open on both ends, as with the old practice of clipping the tip off military FMJs to make them hunting legal softpoints. In that case, pressure from the rear combined with friction in the barrel could extrude the core out of the jacket, and even leave the jacket in the barrel.) I had included the jacket conformation discussion for the sake of argument, but I think we both agree that nothing is happening to the base of bullets loaded deeply into the powder chamber.]

>> As you point out, I'm getting about 5.52 gr. (water) greater case capacity by seating the bullet out that quarter inch, and I did add one gr. of IMR7828 in the process -- to get the best accuracy, not specifically to maintain any particular velocity -- so it's possible that I've lost a bit of velocity.

What are the particulars?  I can run it through LFAD to see how the numbers stack up.

[I'm starting with WW unfired cases, a CCI Large Rifle Magnum primer, and loading 73.0 gr. of IMR7828 pre-throating, bumping that up to 74.0 gr. in the throated rifle. Cartridge over all length was 3.441" pre-throat and 3.694" now, with Winchester Failsafes (Oops! I meant to cut the throat 0.250" deeper but wound up with it 0.253" deeper). If you need the actual case capacity I'll have to fill & weigh one.]

>>   But the recoil difference is very noticeable, it feels like a hot-loaded .30-06 now, not the typical brutal whack of a .338 Win Mag. It's a puzzlement.  One further thought: Turbulence causes added back-pressure and loss of down-stream pressure in a gas passing through a pipeline.  I wonder if that bullet shank sticking into the powder room causes turbulence in the burning powder gases?

It might, but not for long.  The bullet is going to pop loose of and into the lands pretty quickly after the primer pops.

Before you throated the barrel, is it possible that the bullets were being seated against the lands, even though they were being seated much deeper?  That's a known cause of high pressure.  Also, is it possible that the throat reamer also lengthened the neck area of the chamber? Or does this short-seating effect you describe also happen with the current deep throat?

[It's been a long, long time since they booted me out of the ol' engineering program, but I seem to recall that one of the problems with turbulence in a gas under compression is that, once begun, the turbulence tends to cause more turbulence -- it starts a positive feedback loop or some such. Heaven knows what's actually going on inside that case though.

Another point to ponder along this same line, artillery shells are often 'forward primed' -- a long tube extends from the primer extending the flash hole nearly to the base of the projectile. Supposedly, this increases projectile velocity while reducing pressure and gas cutting of the barrel by igniting the powder column from the front. In one of his books, Elmer Keith talks about experimenting with forward-primed cases in small arms (I think it was in a .50 BMG). Apparently, there's something more going on here than just 'equal pressure exerted in all directions'.

I use an RCBS chamber micrometer to find the appropriate seating depth and I'm very careful not to let the bullet touch the lands. I used a standard .338 throating reamer from Brownell's, so the neck should not be affected in any way. I haven't tried shooting factory-standard length rounds in the rifle since it was throated, but it occurs to me that shooting the same load with the bullet seated in and out would be a good test of whether it really is the seating depth affecting the recoil. Do you have any suggestions on how to actually measure the felt recoil? There I'm stumped.]

>> I've never fired a CZ and only handled one a couple of times, but it appeared to me that most of the roughness and stiffness in a factory-new action could be cured by polishing the guide rails and cocking cam of the bolt a bit.

That's the usual prescription.  Or at least the bolt guideways and magazine follower.

@1:02 PM

That nails it
Andrew Sullivan is dead on in his analysis: For me, September 11 told us we faced a huge problem - one that would annihilate our civilization if we did not confront it. Confronting it meant engaging the Arab Musim [sic] world and finding a way to bring it into modernity. Only dangerous, time-consuming, casualty-incurring involvement would achieve this. Iraq is the very beginning, not the end game.

Sullivan believes that Howard Dean does not recognize this. I'd suggest that the majority of the left don't, they think that every step the Bush administration takes is the last, and it's time for the after-action criticism. They don't believe there is any 'next step', so of course they have no proposals for that next step. When I ask 'What would you do?' I mean what would you do next, but they respond with what they would have done, or not done, in the past. Unfortunately, not only does their foresight suck, their hindsight isn't even close to 20 20..

@6:51 AM

Wolves in Wamsucker?
At first blush this seems like a long way out in the desert, and a very long way south of Yellowstone, but the Red Desert is situated on the continental divide right off the southern end of the Wind River Range -- it's mountains and forest almost all the way. Still, it appears that we can now expect wolves anywhere in the state.

Here's another article from the Billings Gazette that outlines some of the conflict. I'm personally at a loss as to why the plan had to be filed and reviewed before this conflict over wolves as predators v. big game arose (and it was certainly no secret that Wyoming intended listing them as predators). We write management plans all the time and I would never put pen to paper until I'd consulted the feds and my client and hammered out an agreement acceptable to both. The written plan just formalizes the agreement.

I suspect that there is a good deal of politics involved in this at all levels (it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out). The Wyoming plan is meant to play to the local population, many of whom were and are opposed to wolves, period. I also suspect that the drafters of the Wyoming plan knew from the start that no matter what they came up with, and no matter whether the US Fish & Wildlife bought off on it, it would be in litigation for years, so why not make a little political hay? Besides, it's a good opportunity to twit the feds in a public forum, a popular hobby here.

@6:50 AM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004- - -  
Cowboys on Mars?
Of course there should be cowboys on Mars. It looks just like Wyoming after all.

Ps. Another thought. Going back to the moon or landing on Mars would be great, but here's something that would be much easier and every bit as interesting: Why not land on an asteroid? The NEAR Shoemaker probe landed on 433 Eros, even though it was never designed to land on anything (softly anyway). Landing on an asteroid largely eliminates the problems of landing and taking off from a planet -- 433 Eros is a big asteroid yet, due to its relatively low gravity, its escape velocity is 22 miles per hour! You don't so much land as match orbits with it.

Besides, remember all those SF stories about asteroid mining? The lesser gravity would seem to make commercial exploitation of an asteroid (assuming there's anything there to exploit) much easier than a similar operation on the moon or Mars. Also, a base on an asteroid would be easier to supply and easier to use as a jumping-off point for other exploration.

@5:04 PM

Pot! Kettle! Black! Black!
The Dean and Gephardt campaigns are trading accusations of vote fraud and sleaze.

Robert Heinlein wrote about this sort of situation in the context of business rivals: If you spend all your time telling anyone who will listen that your competitor is a sleaze, and he returns the favor, you both run the risk of your listeners concluding that you are both right.

@4:17 PM

Pheasant season is over…
Dick Cheney is back from his 'undisclosed location' and hitting the campaign trail. [Hey, I don't tell anyone where my favorite hunting spots are either!]

@3:55 PM

Pundit provokes Peake's pique
It must be something they've put in the water... Today's Denver Post editorializes about strange doings in A Unique Little Town. Who would have thought that you could libel someone by telling the truth about them?

@3:35 PM

A crash course?
OTTAWA -- Sea King pilots are undergoing an intensive crash course on how to keep the aging helicopter in the air if one of its two engines conk out, says the commander of the 1st Canadian Air Division.

@3:21 PM

"This Bud's for You"
BARRIE, Ont. -- A marijuana "factory" concealed within a sprawling old brewery just steps from one of Ontario's busiest highways is proof Canada's pot problem has reached "epidemic proportions," police said yesterday.

@3:16 PM

Less silliness please
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and President Bush are meeting for the first time today, in Monterrey, Mexico.

Asked what kind of relationship he hoped to establish with Bush, a tough-talking Martin said: "I think Canadians expect their prime minister to defend their interests. We are an independent sovereign nation and we will make our own decisions."


Another U.S. administration official, asked what the Americans expected from the new Martin regime, was wonderfully blunt: "We would like to see less of the silliness."

Ps. At least the Bush administration has opened the Iraq rebuilding contracts to Canada. Shutting them out seemed a bit uncalled for.

@3:11 PM

Wolf delisting delayed
I never seriously thought that the US Fish & Wildlife Service would buy Wyoming's proposal to treat wolves outside the National Parks as predators to be shot on sight. Any dreams the ranchers may have harbored of wiping them out again simply aren't going to materialize. Treat them as big game and I'll certainly buy a license though, as will a lot of other folks.

@1:46 PM

More loudenboomers
Michael Parker sends a few more comments on big guns, the form is a brisk fisk:

>> The .375 is "invigorating" off the bench, eh?  Last time I was that invigorated I was working up loads for a .338 Win.  After a dozen rounds I was so invigorated I couldn't focus my eyes any more.  Somewhere between the .338 and .375 we seem to cross the threshold between a fast, sharp jab and a big, hard push though.  I don't find the recoil of the .375 nearly as objectionable as that of most .338s I've fired.  It could be that the .338s tend to be chambered in standard-sized rifles while the .375 goes in the heftier 'African' rifles -- not only heavier, but also better-designed stocks to handle heavy recoil.

That's part of it, but I think the higher velocities of the .338's are what cause the problem.  Even with the .375, I find that the 235gr and 270gr light-n-fast loads feel worse than the 300gr loads, even though your average recoil calculator claims the opposite.

>> Oddly enough, felt recoil from Deep Throat isn't nearly so sharp as it was prior to reaming its throat.  Elmer Keith remarked on this phenomenon with the .338 Win and it was his opinion that the deeply seated bullets were 'riveting' inside the case -- bumping up past bore diameter and then being squeezed back down -- causing excessive recoil.  My calculations of the relative forces acting on the bullet's base and the quarter-inch of shank exposed inside the case suggest that the shank should be squeezed down rather than the base being bumped up, but whatever the reason, seating the bullet out where it belongs does seem to reduce recoil in the .338 considerably.

Base expansion doesn't seem likely from the force diagram -- if anything I'd expect the base to be pressed to a smaller diameter.  That base while inside the case is getting pressurized from both the sides and rear, and there's a lot more surface on the sides than on the rear.  Once it's in the barrel, the pressure is primarily from the rear so it does tend to expand a bit, which helps maintain the seal.

Unless you've adjusted your load to compensate, then the reamed throat will reduce the pressure, lowering the MV and reducing recoil.  This effect is slight, but with heavy bullets it has a noticeable effect from the bench.

>> I'd forgotten about the Load from a Disk software, thanks for reminding me. I have been using Sierra's Infinity V Suite, but find that it doesn't offer much you can't get from a loading manual, and the manual fits on my loading bench.  I'm glad you think highly of Load from a Disk, I'll have to try it.

They have a demo (30-cal only) that you can play with to get a feel for it.

Only problem with LFAD is that you can't tell him which powders to use -- he picks them on his own from his database, based on which ones work well given the barrel and cartridge and bullet combo.  But it's awfully fun to be able to fiddle with seating depth, or roll your own wildcat and play other what-if games.

>> I did see a Sako in 9.3x62 wander through the local gun shop a while back, but one glance at the price tag was enough for me.  Very nice except for the price.  Right now the CZ is probably the way to go.

The CZ's are a little rough in the finish department, but their accuracy is good. I'd love a Dakota in .375, but the CZ's are tough to beat for the price.

I'd love a Dakota in any caliber. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen if they'll maintain the same quality now that Don Allen, founder and gun maker, has died. I note that John Barsness doesn't list Dakota as a source of custom rifles in his article "To Build… Or Not To Build… A Custom Rifle" (Rifle, January 2004, pp. 54), for whatever that's worth. [Later… If I'd looked at the pictures while reading the article I'd probably have noticed that Barsness does show a picture of a Dakota Model 76. Hmm…]

I think you're right about the .375 with light v. heavy bullets. By the time you get to the 300 gr. slugs the muzzle velocity is down around 2500 fps, as opposed to a 235 gr. bullet pushing 3000 fps, as would a similar weight bullet from a .338. Pushing a 235 gr. bullet at 2900-3000 fps is bound to sting, unless you have significant weight in the gun to soak up some recoil. But a 300 gr. bullet at 2500 fps is getting into big, hard push territory, much more pleasant in my book.

I had done some calculations and found that the area of the base of a 0.338" bullet is 0.0897 sq. in., while the surface area of the shank exposed inside the powder chamber (exactly 0.250" of intrusion with a 230 gr. Failsafe seated 0.005" off the lands as Deep Throat came from the factory) is 0.2655 sq. in. Assuming that the pressure of burning gas is exerted in all directions with equal force, there is considerably more total pressure on the sides of the shank than on the base of the bullet. Of course, whether the bullet shank would be squeezed down or riveted also depends on the composition of the bullet -- a bullet jacket with a thick base and thin side walls might be more susceptible to being squeezed, while riveting might be more likely to occur if the side walls are thick and the base is thin (or non-existent, as with the Failsafe).

So much for theory: I have a pocket-full of Failsafes I've fired from Deep Throat and recovered from various media, before and after throating, and although the black oxide finish on the bullets shows every scratch put on them by the rifle's bore, I see nothing indicating that the last quarter inch of shank was differently affected in any way by firing.

As you point out, I'm getting about 5.52 gr. (water) greater case capacity by seating the bullet out that quarter inch, and I did add one gr. of IMR7828 in the process -- to get the best accuracy, not specifically to maintain any particular velocity -- so it's possible that I've lost a bit of velocity. But the recoil difference is very noticeable, it feels like a hot-loaded .30-06 now, not the typical brutal whack of a .338 Win Mag. It's a puzzlement. One further thought: Turbulence causes added back-pressure and loss of down-stream pressure in a gas passing through a pipeline. I wonder if that bullet shank sticking into the powder room causes turbulence in the burning powder gases?

I've never fired a CZ and only handled one a couple of times, but it appeared to me that most of the roughness and stiffness in a factory-new action could be cured by polishing the guide rails and cocking cam of the bolt a bit. Of course, some of the roughness and stiffness I felt was probably just gummy shipping grease and crud that a thorough cleaning would remove. All in all, I thought the CZs I've fondled were very comparable to rifles being made in Japan the US.

@1:25 PM

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