Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Effect of Drugs and Alcohol on Spider Webs

I think you'll find the results of this scientific research project (apparently funded by a grant by the Canadian Government) to be both informative and interesting.

You can see the original, and other related videos, here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dillon XL650 Maintenance

Last year (January 31, 2006) I talked about the joy of shooting an Open Gun in IPSC competition, and about the various trials and tribulations of loading 20,000+ rounds per year of .38 Super ammunition with the XL650.

One of the main points was that, after over 10 years of using the Dillon press with no Vendor Mainenance, I had neglected to send my XL650 back to the manufacturer for maintenance.

It is embarassing to report that once more, I have failed to take advantage of the slow-competition-period of Winter to get my machinery in for a much needed maintenance rebuild.

The fact is, I just can't bring myself to do without my reloading press long enough to get all of the niggling little problems fixed. Instead, I keep tinkering with the press in an attempt to find the main cause of problems (usually adjustment which affects the indexing ... and almost everything you do affects the indexing!) because of my neurotic fears that I won't get it back before the shooting season starts again.

the problem is, I figure that if anyone is going to send their reloading press back to Dillon for inspection and general repair, it's going to happen during the winter. How can they get all of the presses repaired and back in time for the 2007 shooting season?

The best time to send my press back to Dillon is probably during the Summer, but I can't afford to be without it in the height of the shooting season!

Good Heavens! I might miss a match!


Instead, I tinker and tweak and adjust the various sub-systems, and eventually I find somethng that isn't set up right (my error, not Dillon's) and I just ... keep on loading ammunition.

The latest problem was that the turret doesn't index correctly, so it's difficult to seat primers. I discovered this winter that I had installed the part which shoves the case into battery with the turret correctly, so it didn't cycle the turret consistently. I ermoved TWO adjustment screws, threw one away, and installed the other screw correctly. I had been using them to pressure-fit against the moving parts, when a single screw will actually insert into a designed channel which assures a correct fit.

The machine is still not perfect. The fallible part is the return spring which causes the primer detent lever to cycle completely, so it picks up the next hole in the primer disk. The spring is too weak. This is a part which I replace about twice a year, with very little effect. As a consequence, the primer detent lever doesn't always reset to cycle the primer to the proper position, and sometimes I find that the primer disk doesn't rotate far enough to pick up the next primer.

I deal with this by manually resetting the position of the lever, but this slows down my reloading speed.

Maybe someday Dillon will announce a general upgrade to that spring, and send me one which is more powerful.

In the meantime, while I search for a spring which otherwise fits the specifications of the OEM part (but is stronger), I'll use Thumb Power to make that lever move the last full measure.

Roosevelt Courageous Woman Award

In celebration of the New Year, I note a news story that I missed in all the holiday confusion.

"SAF Inogurates the "Roosevely Courageous Woman Award"

This award, inaugurated on December 28, 2006, was intended to honor "... women who use firearms in lawful defense against a criminal attack."

SAF Founder Alan M. Gottlieb announced the award’s first recipient will be a Mississippi grandmother who fatally shot a would-be robber in October.
That would be 73 year-old Beth Greer, who shot an armed assailant after he shot her husband, Tommy Greer, in a hold-up attempt after they arrived home from work.

(Tommy Greer survived the assualt; his assailant did not survive Beth's armed response after he came at her with a pistol in his hand.)

It must have been a difficult choice for Gottlieb, as we have here chronicled several other stories involving women who insist on their right to defend themselves, their family and their homes. Certainly we can take no exception to the recipient, though.

This will be an annual award. We regret that citizens are still subject to armed attack, but we are grateful for the wisdom of our founding fathers who insisted that we must recognize our God-give right to self-defense.

Referring to an earlier article about the breakdown of citizen rights in England, it's impossible to resist the temptation to point out that:

The difference between England and America is not cultural or industrial; it is The Bill of Rights.

We have a codified enumeration of civilian rights; Our English Cousins do not.

The Magna Carta was signed in 1215 at the insistance of King's Barons in revolt against the Crown's occasional infringments on their feudal rights. This was less a 'revolution' (in the sense of 18th Century American Revolution) than a squable between the Landed Gentry and their King.

King John acceded to the demands of his Barons because they had the means to revolt: they had armed retainers.

The British Citizens today do not retain these means.

N.Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, Australian and Canada (as well as former members of The British Commonwealth of Nations and The United Kingdom) also do not retain these means of demanding redress of grievance.

Today, while those who reside in these various countries are at the mercy of the bureacracies which run their nation, at least we in America have managed ... so far ... to retain the ultimate means to defend themselves against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

It is significant that the Second Amendment Foundation can celebrate this right.

Remember, the Second Amendment isn't about "Legitimate Sporting Purposes".

It's about your grandmother defending herself against an armed, masked assailant.

And it's about your ablility to defend your nation against tyrany.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Once again it's time to offer my annual "Thank You" to readers of this IPSC blog.

I started on December 14, 2004, with the firm intention to provide IPSC-competition news and perspective to the folks who are interested in such stuff.

Somewhere around January 1, 2006, my statistics counter registered the 60,000th hit.

This is small change to Big Blogs, which may count that many hits in a single day, and Medium Size blogs, which get that many hits in an occasional single week.

But for a 'niche blog' such as this, I'm encouraged to believe that there are plenty of people who are sufficiently interested in IPSC-related information to stop by every now and then to see what is to be said on the subject.

Of course, I don't stick to a single theme exclusively. We find lots of interesting things to talk about. I do try to relate most posts to firearms ownership and usage, including RKBA and cultural acceptance (or non-acceptance) of guns.

I find it interesting that one of the most enduring 'most viewed' articles was Travis Tomasie's "The Perfect Reload" video. This in addition to my copy of that video on YouTube, where there are several other copies available as submitted by other people.

Recent frequently viewed articles include those about zero-tolerance in schools, newspapers publishing the names of CCL holders, The Castle Doctrine, field-stripping various handguns, pistol-caliber carbines (especially the MechTech), and various shooting videos.

Not particularly surprising, articles which prominently feature videos of IPSC matches are often represented when readers do Google-searches on keywords "IPSC VIDEO", or movies, or some other argument which is intended to provide access to views of people shooting pistols for fun and competition.

This is beyond the folks who access the videos on Jerry The Geek's Video Shooting Gallery, where full-length hi-res videos can be downloaded. (All videos available through YouTube directly on this blog are available here, but the image density is much better on the Gallery.)

While I appreciate this traffic, this remains a 'vanity blog' in that I write because I have a lot of things to say, and I established the website as an outlet for my own personal need to write. If it serves as a reference for IPSC competitors, it serves a purpose by encouraging continued contributions.

On the other hand, I also sometimes write articles for Michael Bane's Shooting Gallery. My output there is sporatic at best. Why? Because my goal is different here. I want to present more appropriate content, and my standards are such that even when I do contribute an article, I sometimes remove it because upon further consideration I don't consider it appropriate to the venue or because the article doesn't meet my higher standards.

I need to work on that; the result is that some of my best articles are presented on the personal blog and not on the Bane Blog. But you see, I don't always know what articles are good until long after I have written them, and go back to review what I have done 'recently'.

In fact, the articles of which I am most proud are often not IPSC related.

People in over 60 nations have read these articles. Sometimes they even comment on the articles, which provides me with valuable feed-back. How else am I to know what you want to read about, what you find interesting, except for the number of people who read each article and the comments I receive?

So for those of you who are regular readers, those of you who just stop by once in a while, and those of you who only read these articles because they show up when you search for specific material .... and most especially for those of you who write your own blogs and link either to this website or to specific articles ... thank you.