Thursday, August 09, 2007

Cammenga Magazine for AR15

Cammenga :: Tactical Gear for Today's Enthusiasts =

H/T Say Uncle (click to see the very impressive video), via Traction Control (who intends to stock this item ASAP)

The Cammenga easy-load magazine for AR rifles seems like a dream come true for USPSA Multi-gun competitors.

The price is right (just $39.95 for a 30-round version of the magazine, if I understand correctly) and the ease of loading could be advantageous in a Multigun match where the competitor is required to do a lot of rifle shooting.

I don't shoot Multigun (or "3-gun", which is an alternative version of the rifle/shotgun/pistol competition), but I've seen a few Major Matches and as is true at all major matches, just reloading magazines can be a drain on your limited stores of energy by the end of a busy match day.

In fact, if Cammenga offered an STI Pistol version of this magazine in the 170mm size, I would be buying a couple of them. Especially at that price!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Grouchy Geek - No Club Matches in July

The Columbia Cascade Section in NW Oregon is one of the most active sections in USPSA. If not THE most active section.

And I'm sick of it.

Let me explain.

The May through September period of every year is the "Competitive Season". This is when the weather here in Oregon is sufficiently clement as to draw a lot of shooters out of their lairs and onto the range.

The problem is, there aren't any cheap 'club matches' for us to shoot during the best time of the year.

Multi-gun matches. Sectional tournaments. Area matches, National matches, Special matches (this month -- August -- it includes a Glock Match, while next month is the Single Stack tournament.)

I'm looking at the section calendar, and in July there's exactly ONE club match ... at Dundee. I got to the point where I was desperate to shoot a match, so I paid $90 for a late sign-up at the Section match, and actually got to pick up my brass!'

whoop whoop!

So this month (August) we're looking at the three weekends normally scheduled for club matches.

Albany, 2nd Saturday -- Glock Match
Dundee, 4th Saturday -- no club match, they're setting up for the Croc Match over Labor Day Weekend.

And Tri-County, 3rd Sunday -- no match, 'cause they can't find anyone with the energy or initiative to run the match.

Okay, I can't blame Tri-County for that. It's a labor-intensive thing, to run a match. I'm not an administrative kinda guy, I'm in no position to criticize other folks because they don't want to design stages, set 'em up, all that stuff.

But there are folks who enjoy that sort of thing. Where are they?

They're putting on Major Matches.

So okay, I'm a curmudgeon. I'm just here to shoot. When I can't afford to shoot major matches a couple of times a month, I just . . . don't . . . shoot.

I'm really happy for the Section that we are attracting a lot of shooters from outside our section.

But it looks like I'm going to have to drive out-of-state to shoot a means-nothing, just-for-fun, club match that doesn't cost me $60+ in match fees. With the price of gas, I'll spend that much just getting to the match, and maybe that much more driving home again.

If this section becomes any more successful, I can't afford to shoot.

Is it just me?

I Have Always Been Geekish

While I've had so much free time over the past several days, besides reading a few books I've done some painful reminiscing.

One of the painful memories was of a Psychology 101 class I took in the Winter of 1963/64 at a Community College in Eastern Oregon

The instructor was an actual practicing Psychologist, who was teaching the class as a way to augment his income.

(There isn't much of a 'practice' for a Psychologist in Eastern Oregon. In a community composed of farmer and wheat ranchers, most of his prospective customers didn't go looking for a Psychologist when they found themselves in a Mid-life Crisis. They just went out to the field and drove a combine for 12 or 18 hours while worrying about how they were going to pay for the combine, then went home to bed as the best way they could think of to kill time until they could get back in the saddle for the next day of harvest.)

My father was a millwright, and had about the same attitude toward psychological crises as his neighbors. But he also ran a small gun shop in this garage where he converted military rifles -- usually a 1903-A3 -- into the latest hot wildcat caliber and put a beautiful custom stock on it, then let me shoot it long enough to sight it in and fall in love with it ... his eyes weren't any better than mine are now ... and then he sold the sonovabitch out from under me to some rich wheat rancher who was going through a mid-life crisis and just HAD to have the latest hot-rocket wildcat caliber Cadillac of a rifle.

Pop spent most of his evenings in his gun shop, usually talking to prospective customers. He did the work on the weekends, when we weren't out varmint shooting. A lot of his week-night company didn't really have the money to buy a Burnett Special, but they dearly loved to talk about guns.

One of that category ... came out to talk at least once a week, never bought anything ... was this Psychologist. I can't remember his name now, but I saw him there for a year before I took the Psychology class and I was only surprised when I got to my first night at the class and saw who the teacher was. I had no idea that he was a teacher or a Psychologist, and it was two or three weeks into the class before I realized he was A Professional Man. I had never to my knowledge met anyone with a college degree, and I was surprised that this guy actually had a Masters. But I was unimpressed by the guy. He had a walleye, and in class you couldn't tell who he was looking at. Helluva nice guy, but I had never given him a second thought when I saw him in Pop's gun shop. I figured him for just another working stiff, like the farmers and mechanics I saw every night as I tried to make myself small in the corner of the shop so I could listen to the talk of these Real and Not-So-Real Men.

About halfway through the Psychology class, this Not-So-Real-Man, the Psychology 101 teacher, started to talk about how our life experiences color the way we see the world.

As an example, he suggested "What happens when you shoot a gun?"

Then he pointed to me, sitting in the front row as if I was an eager student, and asked me to answer the question.

He had never spoken a word to me before that moment, in the shop or in class,and I never had spoken to him. It was as if he had pushed the GO button and I was an automaton. Entirely unrehearsed, I began to speak with the determination to give the best explanation I could provide about a phenomenon which I could address with some authority.

"When you pull the trigger of a firearm, you release the stored energy of a compressed spring which impels a sharpened rod known as the 'firing pin' forward. The firing pin strikes a primer on the base of the cartridge with sufficient momentum to dent the soft metal, driving the cup of the primer against an inverted cone and compressing the primer medium, which is highly sensitive to impact, between the cup and the cone. The primer medium ignites under this condition and this fiery gas is injected into the body of the cartridge through a 'flash hole' in the base of the cartridge."

I went on to describe the components of the primer medium and compare it with the 'explosive' (or "fast burning") properties of the gunpowder, the rapid but controlled expansion of gasses, pushing the bullet or shot charge down the barrel, the effect of rifling on a bullet ... in short, I provided enough detail description of the process to take up two or three minutes of extemporaneous discussion about exactly what happens when you pull the trigger of a firearm.

Nobody said a thing while I was talking, and after the teacher was sure I was done he nodded his head and pointed to someone else.

Someone who hadn't fallen asleep during my speech.

"What happens when you pull the trigger on a gun?"

I'm sure the teacher chose the next person as carefully as he had chosen me, because the answer he received was: "The gun goes bang, a bullet either hits the deer or misses it". Or words to that effect. No more, probably less.

That was the moment when I realized I was A Geek. No, I didn't have the word for it ... only several years later did I understand that a pedantic over-explainer could be defined by a single word ... but I knew. I knew.

Fortunately, by this time I was familiar with the phenomenon of personal embarrassment. This was just the first time it didn't involve kissing a girl in a public place. But that's another story.

The Bluebird of Happiness Fried My Computer

We had a little bitty power outage in my neighborhood last Sunday -- only about eight hours or so -- and when they got the power up the power surge fried my Mother Board!

It didn't do the Bluebird a lot of good, either.

Here's the Good News: I 'had a feeling' about this, so I bought a brand new Laptop the week before. In part, this was so I could have a backup computer in case my el-cheapo refurbished 3-year-old desktop (aka "My Baby") ever bit the dust.

Good timing, you say?

Here's the Bad News: I had got the laptop the previous Monday. By Wednesday I was convinced that VISTA Operating System was a whole lotta sucking going on. Thursday I started looking for someone to do the technical stuff involved in replacing VISTA with XP. Friday I got the laptop (and a $100 copy of XP Home, on disk, which you can't hardly find in Corvallis anymore) to the lady who agreed to do the job.

But she couldn't get at it until last night, which is why I have been suffering from Blogging Withdrawal until today.

Which is why I can FINALLY get back to blogging again, now. Well, I also had to buy an Optical Wireless mouse ($32.95 at Staples) to avoid using the ever-to-be-cursed touchpad these flat monsters come with.

Total outlay, just a little bit more than I paid for the Desktop a few years ago.

But was I happy? Nooooooooooo!

While I was talking to the guy at the PROFESSIONAL Technical Johhny store (the computer hospital, where I probably should have taken the laptop), I casually asked him about an ACER computer I had seen at Tiger Direct dot com. Found out why TD won't answer any trouble calls on an ACER desktop after 30 days of purchase; mainly, because their innards are all proprietary and if something goes wrong the only recourse is to box it up and send it to ACER. Not good.

"So, what kind of desktop package can you put up for me with say, 2GB memory and a 250GB HD, kinda set up for multimedia/internet and real fast but has XP Multimedia OS?" I casually asked.

We ended up agreeing on just over $700 for the new puter, with a memory-chip bar (so I can put SD chips from the Geek DigiCam directly into the box for downloading files) and also install the HD from my old desktop as a second HD. Also, prepared to accept a router for when I want to use my laptop (now designated GeepPuterJr) at home in a WiFi Internet connection. He 'threw in' the cost of the post-mortem he had already done on the old GeekPuter, and promised that GeekPuterII would include no proprietary components, a better power supply so it would resist power surges better, and would be ready by next Monday at the latest.

Since I couldn't buy either a new STI Open Gun or repair the Porsche (blew the transmission 2 years ago) for that kind of money, I figured it was the right way to make sure my children will be really sorry when I die because there's nothing left in the "Mad Money" account at the bank (also known as my Primary Checking Account).

Tonite I'm typing this on GeekPuterJr, and I've convinced myself that investing in GeekPuterII was a wise investment. This teensy keyboard is really hard to type with. I've already rewritten this a couple of times because the keys are so close together my fat fingers keep hitting the wrong key. That never happens with a standard keyboard.

I've thought of so many things I could be blogging about over the past few days, I've forgotten some (most) of them by now. But at least I can check my email, see what the weather will be like tomorrow, and read the other bloggers that I like to keep up with.