Friday, December 01, 2006

IPSC: You know you're over 50 when ....

A few years ago, the Unofficial IPSC List indulged in "IPSC HAIKU". Jeff Maass posted the results to the internet, and the response from IPSC'ers was surprising. (Thanks, Jeff.)

It's about time we tried that again, so I've chosen to publish a list of the things "You know you're over 50 when ..."

I stole the concept from the SASS Forum (my bad) but it looked like fun. So I'll try it here.

Got better ideas? Send 'em in. I'll add to the list, and attribute your suggestion unless you specifically say I shouldn't. Add suggests to the COMMENTS section of this page, or send me an email at the address listed at the very bottom of this page. Not the bottom of the article, the bottom of the PAGE.

You Know You're Over 50 When ...

  1. (Geek) -You go to The Dark Side because you can't see those fuzzy sights on your Limited Gun.
  2. (Geek) - On the firing line, you can see your pistol grips, you can see your magazine basepads, but you can't see your belt. Or your toes.
  3. (Geek) - When you give advice, somebody actually seems to be listening.
  4. (Geek) - You decide to shoot for accuracy, not for speed.
  5. (Geek) - A new shooter calls you 'sir', and he's displaying Male Pattern Baldness.
  6. (Geek) - You go to a match, and they've left your usual parking space for you ... by the privy.
  7. (Geek) - During the match walk-through, you raise a finger and say "Excuse me", and the MD says "Oh geez, not again!"
  8. (Geek) - Your best stage at the match involves no movement after the draw.
  9. (Geek) - You win "Top Old Coot" prize for the match, and you are proud of your accomplishment.
  10. (Geek) - You tell someone how long you've been shooting IPSC, and they're impressed.
  11. (Geek) - You know the significance of "The Toilet Paper" version of the rule book.
  12. (Geek) - You own a golf-shirt that looks like this on the back.
  13. (Hobo Brasser) - You are beyond the point in the curve where ability (falling) and age (rising) cross.
  14. (Mr. Completely) - You have three pairs of glasses, one pair to wear driving to the match, one pair if most of the targets are close in, and the third pair for when most of the targets are farther out. Even so, most of your shots are guesses!
  15. (Your contribution here)

UPDATE (December 3):
I'm seeing a trend here.
So far, all of the contributions are by guys who are over 60.

I also received an email from friend Bob H. ("Antipoda") from Texas, who contends that the condition of being "over 50" is NOTHING compared to being "over 60". He's hoping to wake up and discover that 7 years and 5 months have been deducted from his age, so he is qualified to whine about being "over 50".

He is probably correct. I can attest to the fact that I didn't start slowing down until after I turned 50. But I still could see iron sights until about the time I turned 60. (Actually, a few months before my birthday.)

Perhaps I should have titled the article: "You know you're over 60 when ... ". I had thought that there would be fewer people interesting in discussing the differences between 40 and 50 than 50 and 60, but perhaps I was wrong.

Could be. I've been wrong before.

I'll let this run as "over 50" for a while, in hopes that someone will be able to pinpoint the trauma of turning fifty. And I'll detail an incident which is specifically pertinent to "whiney old men" (all of them over 60) in my forthcoming review of the "Pistol Caliber Carbine Match), probably later tonight.

Administrative: Comments by Holoscan

Last year I replaced the Blogspot comments function with Haloscan. I did that mainly to provide myself with more options to edit and filter the comments. I had been getting a lot of junk mailfrom people who were using my comments section only to tout their own "blogs", most of which were commercial websites completely unrelated to the subject matter in the article they were commenting on.

It worked just fine. Now, when I get junk mail on my comments, I can easily delete it and also ban the author from further posts. Mostly.

More important, I discovered, when I make a comment and later discover an error in what I wrote, I can correct my comment in place instead of having to write another comment describing the error and offering the correct verbiage.

Blogspot is working to improve their comment function, but when they finally catch up with Haloscan I probably won't change back because, well, by then Haloscan will have made even more improvements.

A couple of days ago, I installed one of those improvements. It's a summary of the most recent comments that appears on the sidebar, between the links and the archive directory. I had to modify the code a little bit to get the comment summary to appear against the dark blue background (comment text is in a dark grey, which keeps it subtle so it's not distracting when you're reading articles .... but it's so far down the extended webpage that you probably won't see it unless you're going more than a couple articles down the page, or you're looking for it.)

I added it mainly for my own convenience. Sometimes people comment on old articles, and I often miss them until I deliberately page through articles LOOKING for new comments. This way, it's easy to find them in the summary and then I can read, edit and even repond to them with a minimum of fuss.

Why do I care? The comments I receive on this blog are the reward I get for writing. True, I usually write because I have something to say, because I feel compelled to write. But your responses reinforce the effort. If I haven't made myself clear, or I've said something that is factually incorrect, it helps me to maintain minimum standards of quality in the text.

Often comments prompt me to either expand on the subject (cf: the MechTech article) or to write a new article on a related subject.

Most important, it's a measure of my audience. I read EVERY comment, even if I don't reply. Sometimes the comments give me a much better idea of what people are interested in reading.

I do have a statistics service which tells me how many people are reading me (summarizes the last 1100 visitors) and which articles are repeatedly read because they are are listed in search results. For example, every week I have at least 40 people who just connect to watch Travis Tomasie's "Perfect Reload", which they only find because they have searched for it.

But if a new article is of interest to people who read the blog regularly, the comments are the only indicator I have that readers are interested enough to reply.

I encourage comments. I very rarely have to delete comments, because the people who write them are courteous (with the possible exception of The Hobo Brasser) and on-subject.

In fact, most of the links on the sidebar are there for my use. These are the places I like to read, or which I frequently use as reference sources. It's easier for me to call up my own blog and then access these other websites by clicking on the link.

If you have an idea for a link which might fit within the general IPSC/USPSA Competition venue, please let me know. If I find it as interesting as you do, I'll add it to the sidebar.

Thanks for reading. And for writing back.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A case for Football Helmet Conrol?

A Florida home-owner assaulted a pedestrian with a football helmet.

The passer-by, who was innocently plying a screwdriver against the screen-door of the home, is "... nursing a bruised head ... after being beaten with a football helmet.."

This is clearly prima facea evidence that the mere possession of a football helmet is bound to drive an otherwise normal person to violence.

It's high time we, the American People, call upon our legislators to demand that they enact common-sense helmet control laws restricting private ownership of these deadly weapons.

Anyone who has witnessed a football game is aware that football helmets serve no useful purpose in the life of the average citizen. This deadly device is useful only as a blunt instrument to bludgeon our fellow man.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has studied the problem, and determined that private ownership of football helmets almost invariably leads to aggressively violent behavior.

In a study of School Associated Violent Deaths, CDC offers the following observations:

FACTS: What has research shown to date about school-related violence?

To date, CDC research on school associated violent deaths found:

  • The number of children and youth homicides that are school-related make up one percent of the total number of child and youth homicides in the United States.

  • Most school associated violent deaths occurred during transition times such as the start or end of the school day, or during the lunch period.

  • We have also seen that school-associated homicides are more likely to occur at the start of each semester.

  • Nearly 50 percent of the homicide perpetrators (this includes adults, children and youth) gave some type of warning signal (e.g., a threat, a note) prior to the event.

  • Among the students who committed a school-associated homicide, 20% were known to have been victims of bullying and 12% were known to have expressed suicidal thoughts or engage in suicidal behavior.

Given that High-School Football games are increasingly popular (especially in rural areas, where the residents are typically less well-educated than populations in urban centers such as Atlanta, Georgia), it's clear that this is the time to remove this deadly instrument of aggression from the hands of our neighbors, who may be driven mad from the mere possesion of a football helmet, and preferably institute helmet-control measures all across this great country.

As a recent caller on a radio talk show observed:

We don't need to hit people, and we don't need to carry around guns football helmets!

Write your congress-person today, and encourage him/her to sponsor federal legislation which will protect us from unfettered football helmet posession.

Do it for the children.

NEXT WEEK: Infant Deaths due to other deadly instruments in the home.

A clear case for governmental control of buckets, water, nipples and nursing, TV, chewing gum, bed sheets, plastic bags, toys, cribs and food.

4. Deaths due to Drowning and Other Asphyxiants
In this group, 11 cases of death due to drowning occurred (10 cases in buckets of water in the bathroom, 1 case in a bucket on the balcony); the eldest victims were aged four years.

Seven infants died during nursing by choking on the nipple (the eldest victim being 14 months of age), one was asphyxiated by a plastic bag on the head, one was smothered by the bed sheet, one by strangulation with crib cording and one by strangulation with a long TV cable while playing.

Fifteen of 17 children who died by foreign body (food) aspiration were aged 0-3 years. Fourteen had died due to aspiration of food, like beans, mandarins, or pieces of apple (found on the floor or while eating). In one case, a piece of a toy was aspirated. A 16-year-old girl died by aspiration after having fallen asleep with chewing gum in her mouth.

A case for piscean control?

A San Diego Man, a trainer for Shamu the Killer Whale, was attacked by his charge during a show at SeaWorld.

An Australian fisherman has survived being stabbed in the chest by a stingray, the marine creature that killed Aussie crocodile hunter Steve Irwin two months ago, police said.
Coming so soon after the death of Steven Irwin, this is an obvious argument against private possession of ...

uh ...

er ...

Never mind.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

you tube down - temporary loss of videos

Tuesday Evening, 10:20.

You Tube was off-line for two hours, performing some scheduled maintenance. If you were looking for videos tonite, go check out Jerry the Geek's Video Shooting Gallery.

This post WAS just a temporary announcement, but it just occurred to me that I have a lot of edited videos (especially the most recent ones) which I have uploaded to YouTube, but not to my own video gallery.

While waiting for YouTube to come back up, I started posting some of these videos to my own gallery and put them in a separate album...

Look under the "Columbia Cascade Section 2006 Matches" menu at the very bottom for Blogspot Videos for 2006 (click to go there directly).

The link will also be added to the sidebar.

Note that these videos will ALWAYS be higher resolution (read: easier to see details) than the YouTube version, but they will also ALWAYS be bigger files, slower to download.

My webhost (Thank You Brian B!) provides download speeds at about the same rate as Comcast can take the feed, so if you have hi-speed internet access the delay shouldn't be a burden.

In the future, I'll try to provide the Gallery site address for videos which are presented in YouTube format. That gives you a choice, if you see something that seems interesting.

Yes, it takes a bit longer to upload the video to the internet (at about one fifth the download rate), but every time I present an edited video through YouTube I've already got about an hour invested in editing it, plus the time needed to load it to YT, plus the time for writing and editing the blog post. Another ten minutes added to the process isn't really that much of a burden. This isn't the sort of recreational activity one assumes without a willingness to spend a lot of time slaving over a hot keyboard.

Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be bloggers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

X Games

This is pure IPSC.

THere's no content in this post except for the stage design, and the way each person chooses to shoot it.

Twelve IPSC targets, shoot 'em as you see 'em. Vision barrier restrictions apply.

Here is the stage design. There's nothing clever about the stage, except that I didn't have a 'big stick' magazine so I knew I had to reload somewhere on the stage. As it turned out,the solution to the shooting problem I discovered was probably one of the best ways to shoot it. But I got a miss on one target, so I wasn't rewarded.

(The match scores are available here. This is Stage 6.)

I'm going to put them all together in one big file. You can decide what is the best way.

Hint the first shooter has a good solution, but it may not be the best solution.

You decide.

Mechtech: Heartache Tonight!

The Columbia Cascade Section, under the leadership of Mac McCarter, has announced that there will be a "pistol-caliber Carbine match" next weekend at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club Tri-County Gun Club. (Saturday, December 2. Ice, snow, rain ... whatever the weather, we WILL be there!)

We did this a couple of years ago, but then it was announced under the REAL name:


MechTech 3
A couple of months ago I bought The Hobo Brasser's MechTech (which I had used at the last MechTech match, with great glee), and I have .45 ACP ammunition left over from the summer Single-Stack Match ... because at that match I opted to take photographs, rather than compete.

I have experienced rapid degradation of my vision for the past three years, so shooting Single Stack with iron sights isn't as much fun as it use to be.

But I have a Dot-sight mounted on the MechTech, so there's no holding me back now.

If you're not familiar with it, the MechTech is an 'upper assembly' consisting of a stock and barrell, with a few frills attached.

To make it into a complete firearm, you need only remove the slide and barrel from a 1911 (or Glock) gun, slide the frame into the MechTech upper, lock it in place with the slide-lock from the pistol, and you're Good To Go.

The Beloved KimberI'm using The Beloved Kimber, in .45 acp caliber.

MechTechI've jazzed up the combination by adding a Tasco PP1 dot-sight, which makes the concept do-able for me.

The blow-back recoil system of the MechTech (including the bolt) is much heavier than the slide and recoils spring of The Beloved Kimber. The manufacturer recommends a heavy load, which is no problem for me because I load my .45acp ammunition heavy ever since I almost made Minor Power in the 1999 Area 1 match in Reno.

(When I competed in the 1999 Limited Nationals, a month after the Area 1 match, my ammunition chronographed at about 189PF; I haven't significantly lightened the load since then, except now I'm using 200gr SWC or 200gr LRN instead of my favorite 230gr LRN bullet.)

.450 RowlandEven better, The Hobo Brasser sweetened the deal with a bucket of the robust .460 Rowland ammunition. I've already tested it. It feeds just fine in the magazines and into the chamber. I can even mix the .460 Rowland with .45 acp ammo in the magazine, and the gun doesn't hiccup.

AAll the parts you neednd of course, the combination of the MechTech and The Beloved Kimber is much more attractive considering the ease of assembly.

The assembled gun is lightweight, easy to handle and (with the addition of the Dot-Sight) easy to use.

I would be happier if the reloading process was less cumbersome, but I'm not complaining.

basic mech techI would be even MORE enthusiastic if the stock consisted of something more robust than a tuning fork; every time you shoot it, you have to put up with the "Twangggggggggg" in your ear until the spring-steel wire frame quits vibrating. However, the optional stock cover (a vinyl plastic jacket which wraps around the 'stock' and fastens with Velco) at least keeps it from tangling up in my beard.

The badnews is, when I first got the gun I tried to sight it in and I couldn't get it to zero. I ran the PP1 adjusting screws up so far that the came off the threads, and I was still shooting 3" low at 20 yards.

The good news is, when I went to Utah to visit my son Ben and his family, we went shooting and I adjusted the fit of the scope to the mount. Apparently, it wasn't seated into the notch in the rail before, so when I re-set the scope I was able to seat it properly and sighted it in at 30 yards with just a few shots

Ben tried it out, and consistently hit the 4" target at 30 yards. He liked it. It shoots like a .22.

Due to input from Cowboy Blob, it occurs to me that this article could use some more 'straight from the source' information about the Mech Tech.

First, they (the good folks at Mech Tech Systems, Inc.) now have a different design for the stock. Two of them, in fact.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThere's the telescoping stock (shown here with a Glock).
The manufacturer adds $69 to the $339.95 base price for this option. You can also buy the "retro-fit" kit for $119 to fit it on the MT you own now.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usAnd then there's the "PolyStock Insert System" ($22.95), which I would assume provides a more rigid ... and relatively vibration-free ... cover than does the "Padded Nylon Stock Cover ($17.95)) that's on the Carbine Conversion Unit I now have.

Second, in the Technical Section of their website, MT emphasizes that your ammuntion must be 'hot enough' to reliably and consistently move the weight of the blow-back bolt. I mentioned this earlier, although I didn't emphasize it was a blow-back system. The website specifically states:
The first consideration is that the ammo must be 'hot' enough to reliably cycle the CCU with proper ejection. 'Target' loads and other pussy cat loads are too weak to do this and you can tell by the too-frequent occurrence of 'stovepipes' and other fail-to-eject phenomenon.

You can get a better idea of 'how hot' is hot enough by going to their Technical Page and refering to the table. For example, using a 200gr bullet in my .45, I need a load that chronographs to 950fps (although with a 230 grain bullet I can get by with 850fps. This works out to a power factor of about 190. These minimum velocities are measured in your 4-1/2" or 5" barrelled handgun, not through the Mech Tech.
Power Factor = bullet weight X velocity / 1000

And by the way, thanks also to The Hobo Brasser for including the comment that the match will be held in Portland, not in Albany as I had previously said. I have corrected my original error.