Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Monday

If you pick up I-16 in Macon and head east, right before you get to the Statesboro exit, you pass the Georgia Veteran's Memorial cemetery. Buried there are a lot of south Georgia's gallant dead. Men who fought against Yankee expansionism, the Kaiser's dreams of Empire, Communism and Islamic Fascists.

More than a few of the grave markers there are guys I know. Starting your career in the Guard means you serve with dudes you went to school with. Guys you were in Boy Scouts with. Guys who had Dads that fought with your Old Man.

I am often somber on Memorial Day, but; I find something to go do. My friends, my fallen comrades, the guys who are remembered by a cheap enamel pin with a gold star on it wouldn't want to be mourned.

Those guys would enjoy their three or four day. Drink a couple of beers. Head to the lake. Take advantage of the sales at Bass Pro.

I have been and will for always be indebted to guys who slapped a mag in an M-4, looked into the abyss, and said "bring it, bitch."

Those are the guys that won the day at Cowpens, Chapultepec, Gettysburg, Santiago, the Marne, Bastonge, Pork Chop Hill, Ia Drang, Beirut, 33 Easting, Fallujah, and the Korengal.

I am honored to have worn the same uniform.

I am further honored to be friends with guys that still wear the uniforms. Some of whom are still flying into the Sandbox or are gearing up to head their in the fall. I feel better about having my relief in place.

In 2016, I saluted the Colonel, took my flag and MSM, and hung up the uniform. I miss it. My knees only kinda work and my back hurts most days; but, that was probably the most meaningful thing I ever did.

The second most meaningful thing I ever done was say "Sure, I''ll hang around this fall" when the Boy Scout Camp director asked if I wanted work some after the summer season was over.

That summer season starts tomorrow in earnest. Cindy somehow found herself in charge of the show after I left. She's a good friend of Jackie's. And me. And is married to Dennis who does most of my reloading.

So, tomorrow, I'm gonna shake off a hangover, drink some coffee, put my chainsaw, tool bag, and RTIC cooler in the back of the truck and go to Camp for a couple of hours.

The kids there are alright. They understand service and sacrifice. If it comes to blows with the Norks, the Chi Comms, or the Iranians, those Joes (and Janes now) will answer the call and do the Nation proud.

And that's why there are rows and rows of simple marble markers down in south Georgia. So this Nation, of the People, by the People, and for the People will not perish from this earth.

I honor their memory and mourn their passing. However, I will sure as hell drink a couple of beers and swig some bourbon after we get home from Camp. But it will be in celebration of old men who held the line and the next generation who will take the watch.

Rest east, guys. We have the watch and relief in place is on line.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Temporal Thursday - Some Musings

So, the last couple of days I have been a blur of day drinking, gun store hopping, and looking at old airplanes.

Sunday, Jackie and I went to the Lockheed plant and took a gander at some of the warbirds they had on display. Not all of which were made by Lockheed. Quite the eclectic bunch of airframes. My personal favorite was the Mohawk.

Screw you Robert Strange

The day before, Jackie and I went on an Atlanta Beer Tour. Which also included a stop at Atlanta's only distillery. I may have quoted "Copperhead Road" a few dozen times.

Barrels of happiness
And the week previously we had been down on the coast living it up with everyone's favorite co-blogger, Pudge. The ladies went shopping and Pudge and I ventured off to gun shop. Oh, and go to Twin Peaks.

There were .45 ACP Uzi carbines! With the original Action Arms case!

There were big bore Winchester lever guns! 

That's a Model 71 on the bottom. Chambered in the shoulder breaking .348 Winchester
The Winchester Model 71 is a gun I've wanted off and on for about ten years after learning that Earl Lee Swagger used one to dispense justice on a bunch of rednecks. A little under 48,00 of them were made from 1937 until the mid 1950s. They demand a premium today and are well built guns. Unfortunately, while fairly priced, the one picture was a tinge out of my budget. But it was cool to place with one for a little bit. I might just have to order one of the new production Miroku guns. Nah, scratch that. 

There were pre-'64 Model 70s!

The proprietor of the above table wasn't as friendly as the fellow with the 71. So I didn't get to play with it as much. Oh well. But I also think he may not have been quite sure what he had. 

I could not find anything regarding a .225 Varmint SP anywhere. Old issues of the Rifleman, the Google, nothing. The proprietor said that it dated to the '30s and was a contemporary of the .220 Swift. If any of you old prairie dog hunters have any insight I'm all ears. 

And speaking of odd cartridges; I found a box of obsolete Austrian rimmed ammo! 
I don't care who you are; that's neat!

And also, speaking of old ammo I actually bought some!

I can't go to a gun show and not buy something other than a hotdog
.375 Winchester is another cool old lever gun cartridge; being a shortened .38-55 case firing a similar bullet. Winchester/Olin introduced it in '78 for the "Big Bore '94s" as an attempt to get the most out of that loading but not risk getting sued when some knuckle head blew up Grandpa's '73 with a modern load. 

Winchester made the '94 XTR, Marlin had a 336 in it, and Ruger made the No. 3 single shot in it as well. And well, it was a bit of a flop. Discontinued in 1994, with only Contender barrels still being chambered in it. And only Buffalo Bore still making commercial ammunition for it. So, a definite obsolete but still cool cartridge. 

I figured the internet likes some old guns and old airplanes, so hope y'all enjoyed today's wandering musings 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Weapons Wednesday - Honoring the Hudson

Today, we bring you fresh content from Pudge. A fitting review of the Hudson from a Hudson High grad. (See what I did there?) - Counter Jockey

Hudson H9 Review (A Short Story, Long)
I have commented a couple of times in regards to Mack’s posts about the Hudson H9 and have read others’ comments as well so I thought I would venture into a quick review. I first heard of the H9 after scrolling through the new firearms of Shot Show 2017. A little unknown company lead by Cy and Lauren Hudson. A dream of something better, something new. I researched everything I could find about this new wonder nine. I grew up shooting steel pieces that John Moses Browning himself would be proud to own. I have never been a fan of plastic or 9mm but with new bullets available and the possibility of shooting more for the same money I became enamored with this hunk of steel that is an ugly duckling yet beautiful at the same time.

I wanted one so badly but they delayed the release and then once finally released they seemed impossible to attain. I say this realizing that I was one of the lucky few to get one almost immediately. I just so happened to be out-processing Ft. Bragg when I thought since I’m here at clothing and sales I might as well peruse the gun counter and there it was like a mythical beast that no one knew how rare it truly was. So I did like anybody who really wants a gun does and called Mack immediately gushing like a little child knowing that he would help talk me into getting it, which wasn’t necessary but it’s always good to have someone in your corner. (Editor note- I told him to buy two; but that often gets lost when he retells the story. –CJ)

Mack has talked about this before but I am going to hit it here. We as a gun culture always ask for something new, something different, but when it shows up we are afraid to take the plunge. What was I getting if I put my hard earned money towards this little unknown, untested pistol and company? I didn’t know but I wanted in. If it was what everyone was raving about then I had one, if it wasn’t and they flopped (which I’m sad to say is somewhat what has happened) then I still had a little piece of firearms history. I wasn’t, and still do not for one moment regret that purchase. Hudson MFG is currently fighting a legal battle over parts and dues owed. It is sad because Cy and Lauren are stand up people who were personally replying and speaking with their customers every chance they got. They pushed the envelope and some say fell short but this pistol does anything but. I know I would be singing a different tune if my pistol was one of those plagued by issues and currently stuck at the factory with no one to contact but for me Hudson has been outstanding.

Now on to the part that everyone is ready for. Why should I buy this pistol if I get the chance? The pistol shoots amazing. I can’t say it any other way. I own an eclectic assortment of firearms and since purchasing my H9 it has replaced all my other handguns. I use it for every day carry, competition, and shoot it almost exclusively at the range. It is very smooth shooting. This is partly due to the all steel construction but also due to the extremely low bore axis and the lowered recoil spring. It is extremely flat shooting. This allows you to get back on target faster and make follow up shots rapidly. The trigger is the best trigger I’ve ever used on a striker fired gun. As I stated before I’ve shot almost every type of 1911 from Auto Ordnance to Kimber to STI race guns and carried an Ed Brown Kobra every day until I purchased my H9 and the trigger rivals some of those 1911s which to me is the epitome of what you want on a semi-automatic handgun. The reverse dingus safety is not noticeable at all. The reset is very short and crisp. Along with the flat shooting and light recoil, the trigger also helps to run the gun so well. The grip feels exactly as it should for a 1911 guy. It points naturally and swings quickly. Even being a double stack it does not feel blocky or too large. They added a beavertail which is a must for me and my meaty hands that has train track like grooves worn into it from shooting some of those plastic fantastics. The magazines eject nicely when in a hurry to reload and throw some more lead down range. They are flush fit and hold 15 rounds of your favorite 9mm flavor.

Since picking mine up Thanksgiving of 2017 I have shot a hair over 5,000 rounds through it and it is running tip top. I know others have had extractor issues but I’m hoping having one of the first guns off the line means tight tolerances and will keep chugging along. It is hard to describe the feeling of shooting this handgun but every range trip since buying it I like to ask strangers at the range if they’ve heard of or shot the H9. Most people haven’t heard of them and until I ask none had ever shot one but wanted to. The reaction has been the same every time. WOW, this thing is smooth shooting and there is so little recoil. I do this to help educate others but a little bit selfishly to continually justify my purchase. I know I’m not the only one who has bought a gun expecting one thing and ended up getting something else in reality. Well, the Hudson has lived up to and surpassed every expectation I had. I’m going to keep shooting mine because I believe in innovation and there has been talks of other entities picking up or at least producing some parts that are known weaknesses.

My only complaint with the handgun itself was how the sights are set up. I love the choice of sights and have actually changed my heavy use pistols to the same setup. It comes with a u notched blacked out rear and orange tritium front. But the issue was that the sights shot low for me and most others. It was not that the gun shot low it was just that the sights were zeroed differently from the factory. I set all my guns up for combat so they shoot point of aim point of impact. I like to cover my target with the front sight. After installing a shorter front sight it corrected it for me and now it shoots right where it should as long as I do my part.

Hudson MFG was a glimmer of something different and I hate that we may never get to see the H9A, an aluminum version, but I am glad that they joined the scene no matter how brief. I truly believe that they have helped push the gun industry in the right direction and hopefully someone will pick up the H9 and continue it. But if not, I’ll still be shooting mine every chance I get because firearms are tools that are meant to be shot and enjoyed. So, after a short story, long, if you are like me and like things that may be a little different, I hope that you at least go out and rent one from your local range and make your own judgement. And if you ever bump into a guy everyone calls Pudge just ask to shoot mine because I’ll be carrying it. -Pudge

Pudge is currently employed by Uncle Sam as a girl scout hat wearer. My handle is Pudge because well, we all know how nicknames always make perfect sense. I grew up in God’s country (the Midwest) where I learned how to hunt and eat anything that moves and some things that don’t, tame horses, build loud cars, and generally be a red blooded American. While attending a school for wayward boys along the Hudson River I was blessed to meet my wife, who we’ll call Red (this nickname does make sense) and she has been putting up with me on my venture to plummet out of airplanes, help others when I can, and constantly trying to find a new part of my body to break. Due to Red and Jackie being best friends I was unfortunate enough to get roped into Mack’s gang of hoodlums and have been doing my best to make him proud since.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Monday Motivation

Today we are returning to our roots as it were. A straight counter story.

A couple of days ago, it was Thursday, we were slammed. Which was problematic because it was a weekday and we were running at minimal manning. And then the phone rang. And of course it was for me.

My buddy Andrew works over at the local big box store. He had texted me thrice prior to calling the store line. But I had left my phone on the work bench in the shop because every good gunsmith is YouTube reliant these days.

Andrew was terse and wanted to make sure I was there until close. He simply stated he was sending a guy over my way who wanted to look at a Glock and needed some training.

"Cool, buddy. I'm slammed over here but I'll try and fit him in. Let's try and get nine holes in week after next. Seeya."

I had customers stacked up and call waiting was beeping at me. I was terse. Andrew seemed annoyed. We'll circle back to that.

Flash forward an hour or so, and I was still slammed, but had gotten things to a manageable level of chaos and was trying to close the deal on a Glock 19MOS with a Vortex RMR, visions of daily revenue requirements dancing in my head.

And in walks the fellow that Andrew had sent our way. And oh man did my heart sink. Because I can be a judgmental ass on occasion, especially when busy and/or stressed.

And Dude had questions. Jesus, did he have questions. And then an evening class came in that was pre-booked. And I asked if he could come back the next day around 1400, partly because I had money laying on the table and partly because I can kinda be an asshole.

And so the guy came back the next afternoon. And he went a looking at Glock 19s and Glock 43Xs because that's what YouTube said he needed. Good job, YouTube. You done good this time.

And when he set down in the class room and started writing down the always rules, I felt a little better.

And then he said that he'd lost a job in the tech sector; was driving for Lyft, and was worried about both himself and his wife. And I felt like an asshole.

So, we tore apart the rental Glock 19 and wore out the blue gun with a clicky trigger for about an hour. And then we went and flung ammo down range. He was plenty safe and would have qualified at the Georgia Publice Safety Training Center on their POST certification course of fire. Which is something I've realized is a great confidence booster for new shooters. Have them shoot the targets the Troopers shoot and they fell a helluva lot better than they do getting low and to the left groups at some generic ten ring bullseye.

So, after we get done shooting, he has even more questions about cleaning and maintenance. And when he kinda realizes he's worrying himself about nothing when it comes to magazine baseplates, he kinda realizes he's worked himself up, looks at me and says "Thanks for putting up with my questions. My Mom did it too, and I guess I got it from her. I'm just worried and this is new to me."

Well, hell. Buddy, that's what us broken down old gunfighters ought to do best. Answer questions. Help the needy. Give comfort to the scared.

And it gets better. He said he had his Grandpa's gun in the car. And if I could take a look at it. We worried about keeping it clean.

And holy shit if it wasn't an Ordnance Corps stamped Model 11. Like hot damn, that gun helped train aerial gunners down at Eglin. The weapon was in decent shape considering it's age. And he'd done good about keeping it well maintained. Wrapped in a silicone coated gun sock inside a hard case. Sold him some RIG collector's grade oil and a good cloth. And emphasized repeatedly that if he ever had an offer and he wanted to sell it, to please call us.

And told him to come back the next week and we'd shoot some more. But this time I said it hoping he'd come back.

The next day, I had some down time and wandered over to the big box sporting good store for golf balls. I went to look at Turkish shotguns and bug Andrew. I asked him if he did that on purpose. And he said he felt bad for the guy, was stacked up, and knew we would take care of him. I laughed, told him what happened, and went to Hooters for lunch.

This is why we, as a gun culture, win.

Somber Sunday

 So, been wearing a badge for seven months now. I enjoy it. Have had good days, fun days, bad days, and even dare I say it, boring days. Tod...