Slow Updates

Forgive me, internet. It has been 21 days since my last post….

Actually, things have been a little bit pokey on the shooting front since State.

During this time, I have attended only one match, but I scored pretty well. I really only had one stage that gave me any grief, a stage where all shots were weak hand only. It was a 6 round stage that took 11 rounds to score 8 down. All other shots on all stages were 0’s and 1’s, which is starting to be the case more and more often.

I have loaded a lot of ammo and the spring mod on my press has worked perfectly through about 500 rounds with no signs of failing.

Powder is beginning to stay on store shelves for more than the length of a Two Stupid Dogs cartoon. Selection is still not impressive, but it’s way better than none.

Only peripherally related, I have dispatched a few particularly aggressive snakes. I really try to chase them off first. A rock tossed directly at them or bit of fishing rod whipping is usually enough to make them flee, but if they keep coming back directly at us without keeping a respectful distance, like sands though their hourglass, their days run out. Abruptly. CCI shot shells in my Kahr CW40 work really well. More shot and more power behind it than the 22LR shot loads and a non-heirloom pistol that is easier to carry to the lake. It’s a bit loud, though.

The thing that has consumed most of my free time for the last couple of weeks is not shooting related at all. ARRL Field Day is an annual amateur radio contest that I enjoy participating in. The object is essentially to practice extended emergency operations, to make as many contacts in a 24 hour period as possible, but with your station operating in varying degrees of emergency configuration. There are various classes of station ranging from large but completely portable and self-sufficient operations set up no more than 3 hours before the contest begins to folks just operating from their regular setup in their den, with many scoring weights and multipliers in between.

In 2012, I set up a nice permanent vertical antenna and had some friends out. We set up a second temporary antenna and operated a 2E station, two transmitters in a permanent station location, but with power provided by emergency means, in this case a generator. In 2013, I had a scheduling conflict and could not participate.

Then last winter, in an escaped horse recovery incident, I ran over my antenna with my truck. I mowed that thing down. The damage was actually fairly minor, considering. I got two replacement parts and over the last couple of weeks, I have erected the antenna once more!

So, beginning at 28 June 1800 UTC , I will be seeing who can hear me…

Minor Press Update

One bit of the design of the Lee Pro1000 press that is both clever and a little cheap is the use of a length of ball chain to return the powder measure at the bottom of each stroke. The ball chain works very well in this role., but it is not particularly durable. Mine has broken enough times that it is now too short to use.

Some time ago, I predicted that the chain would eventually be too short and purchased some hardware to replace it with a length of 1/16″ steel cable. Due to one of my other hobbies, I generally have a supply such cable laying around.

Last night, the chain broke and, as expected, it was too short to use again. Unexpectedly, however, I could not locate my stash of cable. I was able to work around it to good effect, though it was by using the ball chain again.

The Lee design uses a compression spring to give the return mechanism a positive return, yet some mechanical compliance. Personally, I think this spring is too strong and leads to the failure of the chain. I have contemplated replacing it with a lighter spring, but I think the use of an extension spring instead might prove better still.

My workaround was to mix the leftover ball chain with a new extension spring. The length of the assembly just extends the spring, but it appeared to always retract the powder measure as needed.

It still works basically the same way, but the new spring should put substantially less load on the chain. The spring is rated at just under one pound working load.

I loaded 100 rounds this morning without incident. At least without a powder measuring incident. 🙂