Monday, January 31, 2011


I've got cabin fever bad. Really bad. And today was the worst, because it was just gorgeous outside this afternoon in my area. Nice and warm, in the seventies, typical Texas January. Because tonight it's supposed to drastically drop in temperature with some rain and supposedly we might get a couple of nights in the 'teens down here later this week. Maybe, just maybe, even some snow flurries.

That's a big deal down this way. You go just a few hundred miles west of where I'm at and there will be some snow and heavy ice on the ground this week. Maybe a lot, or a lot for the Hill Country/West Texas area. And we need some winter weather down here, if for nothing else than a nice quiet weekend at the home warming by the fire.

This past weekend whilst attending a birthday party for one of El Fisho Jr.'s good friends, I got to talking to Schoolteacher Bill, who is the dad of another friend of El Fisho Jr. Bill has been fishing the heck out of trout this season in Texas, and has a freezer full to prove it. And mostly landed "on the fly". Those not landed on the fly were via a 4 lb ultralight spinning rig.

Like me, Bill will fish anywhere and anytime for any GAME fish. Now, I define game fish loosely. To me, a crappie or a perch or a white bass is a game fish. A carp or a gar is not a game fish. A freshwater catfish of any variety is a game fish, as is the saltwater Gafftop catfish but the saltwater hardhead catfish is not a gamefish. So my parameters are a bit looser than your largemouth bass or speckled trout/redfish purist, but I still enjoy catching the real gamefish like specks and reds and big freshwater greenback, largemouth bass.

I surf fish as much as I can, not living right on the coast but within a few hours of it. I like saltwater fishing of all kinds.

In short, I enjoy fishing.

Bill is my kind of fishing guy. I've known him several years now, and I already knew that we shared an interest in music and guitar playing and being part time musicians and such. He's a few years older than me, but we've got a lot of similar outdoors experiences in some of the same parts of the state. Salt and freshwater, Bill and I have fished a lot of the same Texas places.

I mentioned that one of my favorite types of fishing was creek and pond fishing. We got to talking about the finer points of creek fishing and how we both used short rods to deal with the usual brushy conditions you encounter in fishing smaller creeks.

I mentioned my as yet not started project of making a short fly rod out of a rod tip I have and an old fly grip. Once the grip is somehow attached to the fly rod base, it'll be ready to go. It will be about 4 1/2 feet long, a very short fly rod.

I plan to fish a 1 weight WF line out of this small and thin and somewhat limber rod for very short distance casting of very small spider and fly and mosquito and grasshopper imitations. I actually have a ultra light spinning rod that is 4 foot long that handles a very fast taper WF line made for short rods that I got some years ago. The ergonomics of the reel mounted mid rod are not ideal, but then again, I'm more making short roll casts and flipping and drifting than I am using a traditional fly cast.

The short rods come in handy on smaller but deep creeks. I've caught many 2 and 3 lb. fish in creeks where I could jump across them (O.K., maybe in my youth I could jump across them). Deep holes and undercut banks and structure from fallen trees and such make great fishing and great hiding places for larger fish.

I've seen 40 lb. plus catfish come from creeks less than 10 feet wide and 8 feet deep, but again there were deep holes for these hiding fish along the way.

So Bill caught my interest talking about a creek not too far away from where we live. He knows a fella with a place with a great deal of this creek running through his place, and apparently it's a pretty big place. The big deep pools and larger wider parts of this creek require about a mile hike, the last several hundred yards of which is apparently through a near impenatrable thicket.

Bill apparently goes native and crawls through the bottom of the thicket infantry style to get to the promised fishing land. I suspect I'll use a machete and clear a path at least near to the fishing area, if that's alright with the owner, and I'll check in advance. It's one of those pack light adventures, although it sounds like a drag bag might be a good thing to have for Bill with his gear in there.

So all this gets me thinking about a new adventure. The boys will enjoy it and there are fishing waiting to be caught. Bill and I can show off those outdoor cooking skills for the boys with a lakeside lunch, and if there are no fresh fish we can bring some hot dogs along.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I've added a new link to my blogroll based on a post by Zach over at The New Chapter. I looked at a few pages and I really like it. It's cool. Almost as cool as the internally suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifle he posts about here:

Monday, January 24, 2011


A whole slew of new "skinny" 9mm's came tumbling out of the Shot Show 2011 bag last week, and of course anytime a reputable maker of handguns like Kimber introduces a new gun, well, it needs to be looked at. Until I can fire one, which is really the only test there is, I can't say much about it.

Average Joe over at Average Joe's Handgun Reviews has a review on the Kimber over yonder at Kimber Solo 9mm Concealed Carry Pistol. The Kimber page says the gun weighs 17 oz. unloaded with empty mag and is 1.2" wide. It's 5.5" long and 3.5" tall. It'll hold six (6) 9mm cartridges and according to Joe, Kimber recommends ONLY 124 grain bullets. Well, of course, an ammo limitation is a limitation, but read Joe's review about the video he saw to see why Kimber makes that recommendation.

Now lets look at my Glock 36, which I think is one of the ultimate concealable autos out there, at least in terms of "big boy guns". It's .45 caliber, and also holds 6 shots in the mag. You can get mag extensions for the gun, but that frustrates the purpose, being concealability. It weighs 20.11 oz. unloaded with mag and 26.99 oz. loaded. It's longer and taller than the Kimber Solo, at 6.77" long and 4.76" tall.

Note that the "slim" M36 Glock was introduced roughly 11 years ago.

Here's the shocker: The Glock Model 36, in .45 caliber, is thinner than the Kimber Solo. The Model 36 Glock comes in at 1.13" and the Solo measures 1.2". That's not a significant difference in width, but for a new pistol (i.e. The Solo) which is being touted as easy to conceal, I'm surprised Kimber didn't break the 1" mark here in width.

Me still thinks that the pistol packer wanting a small and reliable ultra small 9mm might want to look at the Walther PPS. It comes in under an inch wide, and has gotten pretty good reviews in terms of shootability, particularly when compared to Kel Tec 9MM's.

I did a quick check on the new Sig Sauer P290, about which I know very little. It weighs a few ounces more than the Kimber (20.5 unloaded with mag) but is thinner than the Kimber (.9" except for lever which makes it 1.1"). The Sig is 5.5" long and 3.9" tall and holds a minimum of 6 in the magazine. Just a wee bit bigger sized and weighing a bit more, I'm looking foreard to trying out all of the newly introduced mini-9mm's.

Of course, there are a lot of differences in these guns. Joe does a good job of picking out the things that stand out about the Kimber offering, but I'm not seeing anything that will make me replace the Model 36 Glock in my High Noon Mr. Softy IWB anytime soon or that would be much more concealable.

Whaddya think?


I didn't pen this post to pick on Average Joe's review of the Kimber Solo. Like I always say, the only test of a gun is to actually shoot it yourself. Kimber makes mighty nice guns. A friend has one of the Ultra CDP mini-1911's, the first version, and it's a fine shooting handgun that I'd like to have. I shot it with some Federal low recoil personal defense .45 ammo and it was quite nice to shoot. I shot it with some Silvertips and some hardball and although it had a bit more wallop with the full power loads, it was still mighty nice to shoot. And highly accurate, right out of the box.

And yes, it's some bigger than the Solo, but I do have a hankering for a Ultra CDP II. Other than a J frame or a Colt D frame revolver, that's about as small as I want to go.

In any event, the Solo is a big step in a cool direction by Kimber, and one that I hope they doesn't give up on.


In addition to starting the day with news of the terrorist attack at one of Moscow's airports, CNN says today that 11, that's right eleven police officers have been shot in the line of duty across this nation in the past 24 hours.

Everytime we lose a police officer in this nation, we lose a protector of freedom. A protector of the people. And the thin blue line between us and anarchy grows a little bit thinner.

No matter that the crime is a capital murder when a police officer is killed. No matter if the offender is caught and if millions are spent to prosecute and ultimately (at least in Texas) execute the bastard. It seems like there are plenty willing to stand up and take the places of the killers when they go down or go to jail.

Lives ruined. Children left without mothers and fathers. Friends left without friends. Spouses and families left without their protector. Parents whose children die before they do.

Two deputies shot in Washington State at a Wal Mart yesterday. An officer in a coma in Indiana from a traffic stop yesterday. An officer in Oregon shot yesterday, again on a traffic stop. Four officers shot in a Detroit police station. Two Florida officers killed today and a Federal Marshal wounded.

Here's a quote that says it all.

“It is a very disturbing trend for all of us,” said Hal Johnson, general counsel for the Florida Police Benevolent Association. “Florida has never seen a streak like this. I don’t think anybody has.”
It is natural to search for answers, Johnson said, even if there aren’t any. The shootings do not appear to be related, and the motives may never be known. Declaring it to be open season against police officers seems dangerously simplistic, he added.
He sees the shootings more as acts of desperation.
“They are shooting at people they know have guns,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what’s going on out there, but I’ve never seen it like this. I do see the developing of a callousness. It’s almost as if shooting a police officer has lost its shock effect.”

The article is here

It's a good time for prayers for the injured and their families and co-workers of these fallen and injured officers. Sometimes, prayers are not enough. Give to your local police benefit support organization or find a way to support them with your time if you don't have much spare money.

And for all the officers who happen by this blog, please, wear your vests and be careful out there!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


To me at least. When I was perusing one of my favorite websites for gun pics and information, The Internet Movie Firearms Database, at, I "discovered" that there had been an earlier 1988 mini-series in the 80's called, interestingly enough, The Bourne Identity, based on the same book by Robert Ludlum, but reviews say that the three hour mini-series is closer to the original book than the Matt Damon trilogy.

So I found a cheap dvd version on ebay and it's on the way. I'll let you know what I think of it. I'm an action movie fan, but I don't care for poorly done action movies. El Fisho Jr. has been introduced to many of the cool action movies of my youth, like Bullitt and Kelly's Heroes and various other John Wayne and war movies I grew up with.

Judging from the gun pictures here, the guns will be A LOT different in this version, particularly noting that there are revolvers in this version. Particularly, Bournc's main gun is a S&W Model 19 snubbie, and also a Model 38 Bodyguard. Another fellow has a Model 15.

Of course, back in 1988 Sigs and Glocks were far from as common as they have been the past 20 years. It'll be interesting to see the pre-internet and pre-cell phone version of this movie.

Still, there's a lack of really entertaining movies coming out right now, so I was happy to stumble across this version. How bad could it be with an older Bourne played by Richard Chamberlain?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Just go here and read this well-written two page article on the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry back in December of 2010 in Arizona.,0,7944792.story?page=1&utm_medium=feed&track=rss&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fnation%20%28L.A.%20Times%20-%20National%20News%29&utm_source=feedburner

The article, by Kim Murphy, goes on to say:

That he was keenly aware of the peril became apparent after his death. On his desk was a message he wrote to himself titled: "If Today Be the Day." Josephine said her son read it regularly before he set off for work."If you seek to do battle with me this day, you will receive the best that I am capable of giving. It may not be enough, but it will be everything I have to give, and it will be impressive," it said."I have kept myself in peak physical condition, schooled myself in martial arts, and have become proficient in the application of combat tactics. You may defeat me, but you would be lucky to escape with your life. You may kill me, but I am willing to die if necessary. I have been close enough to it on enough occasions that it no longer concerns me. But I do fear the loss of my honor, and would rather die fighting than to have it said that I was without courage…"

Does it sound like we are maintaining border security in Arizona? Read about the experiences of some of the landowners living in the "backcountry" near and adjacent to the border. Armed bands of what they call "rip crews" or what we used call in Houston "hijackers", who come to rob those illegally immigrating and drug couriers.

Do you think it's any better in the backcountry of Texas, along the Rio Grande? I watched a border patrol tv show yesterday where two Border Patrol Agents were in Texas and hidden on the American side listening to and watching a gun battle with what they estimated was 12 different machine guns, including a 25mm machine gun. Both guys were combat vets and so probably knew their guns and how they sound in battle. They were armed with M-16's or M-4's or whatever they call them these days, and had some extra magazines (clips, as they say in the media...that's for you, Zach!) but would be woefully undergunned if the battle moved their way.

They were a little under 300 miles from my house. That's not very far, and I have many friends who live all over the valley. I've heard firsthand how many of their relatives across the border have been killed, mostly as innocents, over the past few years. I hear how dangerous the lives of the law abiding folks are in Mexico. All over Mexico.

In any event, back to the point of this post. An American hero died just a few weeks ago. He had told his mom sometime before his death that she didn't know how bad things really are out there on the border.

Brian Terry was part of a special operational unit of the Border Patrol. Why is this encounter and his tragic death not overwhelming the media? We have prayers for Congresswomen Gabby Gifford and understand the media frenzy about her tragic shooting and the deaths of so many other fine folks that day, but really, if the fact that our Border Patrol Agents are dying on American soil from banditos is not news, then what is?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Self appointed experts, that is.

Me and Billy Ray and Max and my old friend Lawyer Mikey, together with my friend Cowboy.

Billy Ray and Max are looking at single stack 9mm's as the smallest weapon they want to go to for concealed carry. Lawyer Mikey, on the other hand, went from j frames in a belly band to a Kel Tec .380 in a pocket holster.

Max is a big .357 enthusiast, but finds his Model 66 and L frame .357 snubbie are too large for most occasions. He has some sort of Centennial also, in .38 special, and often carries that gun in a pocket holster from El Paso Leather. But that requires some room in the pockets, and not all clothing is designed to conceal a j frame in a pants pocket.

Billy Ray likes 9mm, and has a Sig P250 Compact that is pretty concealable, somewhere in concealability between a Glock M36 and M19. I found it to be very concealable for the couple of weeks that I test fired it, carrying it in a High Noon IWB Bare Asset FBI cant semi-high rise holster. The grips were a bit scratchy against my skin but otherwise it balanced well and once secured in the holster, the gun and holster didn't move.

So soon it'll be time to visit one of the ranges that has a large selection of rental guns. We want to shoot:

(1) the Walther PPS
(2) the Para Ordinance LDA 9mm
(3) The new Kimber Solo Carry DAO pistol introduced this week at Shot Show 2011
I like the fact that this striker fired gun (assuming it's striker as no external hammer) has a thumb safety.
(4) The Sig Sauer P290-if this gun shoots as accurately, smoothly and with as nice a DAO trigger as the P250, but without the FTF's, it may be the one to get for me.

You'll note I'm omitting Kahr and Kel-Tec from this lineup. Both are fine guns, but I care not to own one. I toyed with the idea of getting a Kel-Tec .32 as a backup gun for certain circumstances, but I sure do like my buddy Cowboy's Seecamp, which inspires far more confidence than the Kel-Tec. I don't care much for the Kahr and Kel-Tec 9mms and I've briefly shot them both.

Of course, as I've said before, if the hallowed Glock would make a THIN (under 1") single stack Glock 9mm, it would sell! sell! sell!

Billy Ray and Max and I were talking about the various thin 9mm's introduced at the Shot Show 2o11 as well as those on the market.

Me, I'm also thinking about a five shot .357 magnum. No, not one of ultra-light Smith and Wesson models, but a real .357 where you can actually shoot .357 ammo out of it with relative comfort, speed and accuracy. I want to shoot a Model 60 Smith and Wesson as well as a Ruger SP101.

I've got a near permanant indention in my right rear hip from IWB carry of mostly J frames and Colt D frame snubbies for thirty years, with Glocks, Colt Commanders, Browning Hi-Power, Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact, HK p7's, a Walther PPK/S, a Colt Python, various K frame Smith and Wessons and a few other guns thrown in for good measure.

But most often, when concealment and hot Texas weather affect choices, it's a J frame, a Colt D frame Cobra or a Glock M36. These weapons pretty much fit all of my needs, with the J frame and the Glock M36 being the most concealable in an IWB holster. The J frame conceals much better with the stock minimalistic wood round butt grips, but shoots far better with a set of Pachmayr Compac grips with just a minimal less concealability.

So I have been considering a Model 60 S&W or a Ruger SP101 for a .357 carry pistol. Yeah, they weight nearly or more than twice as much as the wonder S&W .357 magnums that go for under 12 oz, but try shooting more than one shot from the lightweight magnums and see how fast and how accurately you can shoot five shots. If you can shoot relatively fast and accurately from these lightweight guns, you're a better shot than most.

I'm also interested in looking at the DAO model of the Ruger SP101. What I'd really like to have is a semi-hammer, like the one used on some of the Taurus Judge Public Defender .410 pistols. It's sort of a chopped off but wide and checkered hammer that enables single action cocking but is shorter than a regular hammer spur by about half.

An abbreviated enough hammer to stay out of the way of skin when carrying IWB would be nice, and I like the option of cocking to single action if I want to. I suppose I could have one machined somewhere as a replacement for the stock hammer from a regular SP101 hammer with a spur.

My recent foray after many years with the .357 on the last few range trips convinced me of the controlability of that round in the proper gun, meaning a gun with a good bit of weight and a proper grip angle. The Ruger SP101 comes with some nice rubber grips, and the grip angle is different than most revolvers, like my Security Six. I'll want to try a S&W Model 60 with some Pachmayr Compacs and with the stock skinny J frame wood grips with a Tyler T Grip adapter. The latter would be more concealble than the former, but I suspect the Pachmayrs will have the comfort factor won by a comfortable margin.

One outside dark horse that could rear it's ugly head for me would be a nice condition Colt all steel Detective Special D frame. Although not a .357, it can take +P rounds well due to it's all steel construction. My Cobra is an exemplary firearm, and if I could find a Detective Special for $500 with as good a trigger as the Cobra, I'd need to have it. These Colt D frames have a different grip angle than the J frames, and felt recoil is low and point and shoot accuracy has always been a claim to fame for me for these revolvers.

Billy Ray and Max will likely go with the super slim 9mm's for their next carry gun. I might get swept away by one of the 9mm's we shoot, and I am a big Walther fan. In terms of these slim 9mm guns, most hold one or two rounds more than a revolver so we are nearing equality in terms of round count.


It all started about a year ago, I guess. Smith and Wesson came out with their .22 versions of the AR-15 rifle, followed by an AR-15 .22 caliber pistol. Lots of other makers started coming out with some very cool and *approaching being reasonably priced* .22's in both handguns and rifles.

It doesn't take an economics degree to figure out why the .22 is exploding in popularity.

High ammo prices.

Years ago, I decided to consolidate calibers and got rid of some of the more expensive and rarely used calibers, particularly hunting rifles I had come into over the years. Once I used to hunt quite frequently, and if that day where I want or need to hunt for food comes again, I've got plenty enough guns for that.

You can't go wrong right now with having either a 9mm handgun or rifle or a .7.62 or .223 rifle/pistol with surplus and foreign ammo prices. I prefer to buy American, and my next bulk ammo purchase will be American made ammo, but for the 7.62 and 9mm calibers, it's sometimes hard to resist the incredible foreign and/or surplus ammo pricing compared to American made ammo.

Which brings us back to the .22. I like shooting larger calibers than the .22 for the most part. The .223, the 7.62 and even the .30-30 have tolerable recoil and having a bit of power in your shot is not a bad thing. Same thing with handguns. I enjoy shooting 9mm, .38 Special and .45 ACP a lot, and have guns I enjoy shooting those calibers in. With the right gun, I'll throw .357 Magnum ammo into that heap as well.

But as we all know, you can shoot a .22 many times for what it costs to shoot any larger caliber once.

The late handgunning sage Chic Gaylord, as well as many other knowledgeable handgunners over the years, have long advocated using a .22 pistol similar to your defensive pistol/revolver for practice. And nowadays, it's economically necessary if you're a family man like me. I also think that any shooting with any gun is good practice, but it does help to practice with a .22 caliber handgun similar or identical to your defense weapon.

In looking through the Shot Show 2011 reports, there are a whole slew of .22 1911's coming down the pike. Colt, in partnership with Umarex?, is coming out with all kinds of .22's. Browning has an interesting apparently downscaled version of the 1911 in .22, and I'm very interested to see and examine Browning's attempt at this classic. Likewise, whereas last year Chiappa came out with a .22 1911 that had a street price of under $300, now there will be many, many more options for 1911's in .22 to chose from for not a while lot more money.

Of course, I'm waiting on the Henry Repeating Arms version of the Mare's Leg in .22 caliber, which is also expected to sell for right around the $300 mark. Ruger has come out with a nice .22/45 with replaceable grip panels AND a rail under the barrel AND factory threaded for a suppressor.

ATI has various .22 guns that resemble their larger caliber brothers, and S&W has introduced an M&P pistol in .22 caliber as well. El Fisho Jr. has been asking me about AK-47 .22 clones, and I have not seen one yet but I suspect they're being made and sold with the great number of larger model ".22 versions" that are appearing all over the market.

What's your favorite .22 that has been introduced at Shot Show 2011?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


See it. It's a great movie. Jolie is the female James Bond, without the humor or the time for messing around. Seriously, Jolie brings action to the table in this role like Daniel Craig did for his version of the Bond franchise.

It's easy to see that Jolie's character Evelyn Salt is carrying a lot of psychic baggage. Once things go bad for her in the movie, you know that there is no turning back for her because her one grasp of normalcy was taken from her. And thus she becomes a highly trained woman on a mission of vengence.

It's been a long time since I saw a good and well done action movie. The last couple I really liked were TAKEN and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. There has been a flood of mediocre movies the past few years, and I've been wanting to see a good action movie. It had been too long.

Like they used to say in the Wolf Brand Chili commercials when I was a kid, asking when the last time you had a bowl of good ole' Wolf Brand Chili, the answer was always..."Well, THAT'S TOO LONG!"

I could have rented SALT a few weeks ago, but instead rented Inception. I can't tell you if Inception was a good movie because despite two attempts at watching it, I became distracted and lost interest in the storyline and the acting. I never finished watching it, and that's unusual for me not to finish a movie.

I was feeling under the weather the other day and picked up SALT and it was just the ticket for a day at home on the couch.

I'll be buying a copy of SALT to add to the action movie library. Now I've just got to get the daughter to bring back THE DEPARTED and Billy Ray to bring back BASTERDS because they've been loaned out a long time.

So if you like guns and secret agents and fighting with the evil axis of Russia and all sorts of intrigue, you'll enjoy SALT. I give it five stars.

I'll be waiting for the sequel. They should make it right away. There is a vast cravasse in the genre of action movies and the poor fare that keeps getting cranked out can't compare with a movie like SALT.


That's what my friend Max was talking about today. I got the new Henry Repeating Arms catalog in the mail, and have been keeping one eye on the web for when the Henry Mare's Leg in .22 becomes available. Max must have been watching the work mailboxes, because he came in this afternoon to have a look at the Henry catalog.

Max talked about wanting to have one of the full size Henry lever actions, and we discussed our experiences with the various guns in their line. Max reminded me that in the olden days, Henry rifles didn't have a fore end stock under the barrel, and that you had to wear gloves to shoot it. I know the Golden Boy I shot last year didn't have enough of a fore end for me, and I found myself choked up when shooting it because my left arm was way further back then normal.

I had sent Max an email this morning of some cut and paste from the Shot Show 2011 going on in Vegas this week that I got from the Gunblast coverage. I think the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle is fine, although I don't have a need for one, it doesn't stop me from thinking that's a gun I'd like to have.

I'm interested in hearing about the Sig Sauer P290, a single stack thin 9mm carry weapon. I'm hoping it has a more traditional Sig Sauer DAO firing system, and not that of a reworked P250. The P250 shoot extremely accurately but not too well, because of the multiple FTF's I experienced with new ammo in Billy Ray's P250. I just don't think the combo striker/hammer fired P250 has enough get up and go to ignite tough primers, whereas a hammer or striker fired gun with a solid operation has no issues with this ammo.

From talking about the Sig Sauer P290, Max and I morphed the conversation into the search for the perfect carry weapon. Max indicated his next gun purchase, that being after the Tikka rifle he just bought, was going to be a small gun for carrying.

Max is not known for liking small guns. Like everyone else, he owns a Smith and Wesson J frame, in the Centennial variety, but Max favors K frame and L frame .357's. And even though they are snubbies, well, they're still big guns. Max bought his wifey a S&W 9mm, one of the new ones, and although he likes that, he hasn't taken that gun over or gotten his own.

We talked of the merits of the newer thin 9's from Walther, Sig, Para-Ordinance and several other makers. Max keeps trying to move the conversation back to the S&W line of 9's, even though he's apparently not interested in buying one of those for himself, while I keep asking the perpetual question of when will Glock do what they did to the Model 36 and create a like sized, but much thinner, 9mm single stack Glock for carrying.

And that's where we ended the conversation. Where it almost always ends.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vernon De'Ath seeking Rod De'Ath

I received a comment from Mr. Vernon De'Ath today, on the More about drummer Rod De'Ath
and Vernon says:

I've been wanting to find news of Rod's whereabouts for over a decade but gave up a few years ago after a fruitless search by every means I could think of. Thought of him yesterday, so decided to have just one more try on the internet today and .... Bingo! ... loads of links came up including this blog. If anyone is still in touch with him please tell him that his brother (by his Dad's first marriage) would warmly welcome an opportunity to communicate with him in some way.

I decided to throw a new thread at the front of the blog about Vernon's post to bring it to the forefront. Some months ago, I received a comment from a gentleman named Running Man, who said he is Rod's Cousin. He posted previously on the above-thread about Rod and I have Running Man's email address and will alert him of your request made above.

Here's some communication I received from Running Man back in October of last year:

Met up with Rod & his wife yesterday for a drink. He has been on this site & was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest in him after all these years. He has decided that he is now ready to to interact with fans (to a certain extent)but remains keen gaurd his privacy. He has asked me to make the first contact with you, so Fishing Musician,he has given me permission to pass on his e mail to you.

I talked with Running Man via email and sent him my information and told him that whenever and however Rod would like to interact with his fans via a post on this website would be fine with me. Since then, I haven't heard a word, so maybe one day Rod will email me or I'll hear from Running Man again. I didn't get Rod's address but Running Man passed on my address to Rod per his email.

Good things come to those who wait. Lately, I've been listening to Calling Card by Rory, and what a great tune and CD that is.

Thanks for stopping by, Vernon.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This picture is from and is owned by Amanda and has some surface blems but this is what my Bronco will look like as far as knobs and thumb rest and pickup cover. This 1975 Musicmaster Bass features the two saddle bridge used then as well. A four saddle bridge just makes tuning and intonation SO much easier.

This is the Squier Bronco, as you can see on the exterior almost identical to the Musicmaster Bass.

I work very hard at my career and am doing well in that area and am caught up and indeed, a bit ahead of where I thought I'd be this week.

Personally, I got some small projects done around the home but had a lot of family stuff going on that all fortunately turned out well but the restful week by the proverbial fire in the easy chair never really came until this long weekend.

I thought I'd discuss some of my varied projects that have carried over from several past years, sitting in limbo in some cases, and this post will deal with the...


My first bass was a Fender Musicmaster, a short scale beginner model also marketed to guitarists wanting to double on bass with a short scale neck. I stupidly and ultimately sold that guitar, and about 20 years later got one when vintage shops were selling them for $300 or so. That one, red in color and identical to the first bass I owned, to me sounded better and had a better pickup.

As I do with all my basses, I take them to Woody Oakes, my longtime Houston bandmate and noted bassist. He's also quite the guitar tech and can set up a bass like nobody's business. I took the Musicmaster to him and he did the near impossible and actually was able to achieve proper intonation via adding shims to the neck and bridge, curing the two saddle bridge problem that Musicmasters suffer from.

Woody fell in love with that bass. He mostly played a Dan Armstrong Plexi model, a short scale itself, or a 70's natural Jazz in long scale. Woody often requested when we were gigging together that I bring the bass, and it ultimately became Woody's. Woody is and was a close personal friend as well as a longtime bandmate in numerous bands of all types.

The last time I played with Woody, several years ago, he was playing that Red Fender Musicmaster Bass.

I have my Musicmaster Bass amp and have used it for both guitar playing and bass practicing. I had it gone over earlier in the decade at the fabulous Rockin' Robin Guitars in Houston, Texas, and refurbished to stock-new by their ace ampman. The corners have a teeny bit of tarnish but nothing to get excited about. The amp otherwise is in 90% at least.

So still hankering for a Musicmaster of my own, I quickly found out that examples of the quality I would want were now going for $750 bucks and often more. The current manufacture Squier Bronco bass is a near duplicate twin of the Musicmaster, albeit with a crappier pickup.

Since I'm no pro level bassist, my bass playing is done mostly self recording with (now) garageband and formerly a variety of six track cassette and low end eight track dedicated Fostex digital recorder that was too complex for me to use.

I picked up a Red Squier Bronco for less than $100 new some time ago, at a Guitar Center sale I walked in on. I put some NOS Fender Musicmaster Short Scale bass strings on it that I had left over from a long time ago and it plays very nicely. The pickup does sucketh badly, and that's the only real issue with the Bronco.

The pickup is in line for replacement at the top of the list. I've been trying to find a decent 70's salvage, and have tried several seventies Fender single coil pickups of a similar type to the six pole guitar pickup used in the Musicmaster Bass Guitar by Fender. That's right, not a bass pickup but a guitar pickup. Hence the strange spacing, I think.

That's the sound I'm after, the old warmer sound I used to get out of my '74 Red Musicmaster bass. I have the Musicmaster Amplifier, and it is now set with the original reconed yet another time. If the original goes again, I'll be getting a Weber VST Ceramic 12B for $50 smackers direct from Weber. But as for now, the guitar speaker that was in the Fender Musicmaster Bass Amp is back in a storage box and the Amp is sounding great and is not bottoming out at practice levels, which is what it is, a warm cool practice amp.

But back to the Bronco modifications I'll be doing.

I've gotten a 3 ply pickguard to replace the cheap 1 ply the Bronco comes with. I've gotten the new pots (vol and tone controls), wiring, copper shielding tape for the control cavity. I have plastic jazz bass knobs to replace the cheap metal ones and a Fender finger rest to install above the strings on the pickguard like my old one.

I have an aftermarket four saddle bridge that will require two holes and inserts to be placed but well worth the effort. You have to make sure you have a bridge with the proper spacing of the strings for this unique bass. I'll post the numbers later in a subsequent post.

So my only decision now is the pickup since the tuners work well and hold a tune. They are smooth and the bass stays in tune once tuned well, notwithstanding the standard intonation problems of a twin saddle bass bridge. The only reason to replace the tuners is if they are not working right or if there is extreme neck dive or rise (and you can add heavier or lighter tuners), and so far this bass seems to ride really well on a 3" thick Levy's Leather strap.

I'm doing these mods myself, without Woody's help, because I can always go crying to him to fix it if I can't get intonation correct throughout the instrument using a four saddle bridge. Besides, I have no idea about shimming necks and adjusting the truss. I've watched Woody do it, and he uses a strobotuner to insure proper intonation up and down the neck.

I've been soldering fixing guitars and minor electronics problems like jacks and such since junior high and working on electronic drums for 25 years, so rewiring the Bronco with a new pickup and pots and a plug won't be a big deal. Everything is a stock replacement except the bridge and since many of the holes do line up (2 don't) it should be a good alignment.

As for pickups, many use the Duncan Hotrails pickups and some use the higher priced Aero pickup specifically designed for the Musicmaster and Bronco. Like the bridge, it's difficult to find a pickup with the proper string spacing for these basses. The original Musicmaster used a guitar pickup from the mustang, thus getting it's unique bass sound.

There have been other pickups mentioned on this great bass playing (both acoustic and electric bass forums) called TALKBASS, and so I've got some suggestions and there was talk of a new one designed in the manner of the original Musicmaster going on.

I also plan to talk to Rio Grande Pickups to see what they would recommend. They make some RIGHTEOUS PICKUPS.

I'm not planning on hotrodding it at all, but if you're so inclined, Torres Engineering has everything you need.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I had lunch with two very entertaining brothers who grew up and still live on the banks of the Mighty Colorado river. I've been good friends with one of them for nearly six years now, an extremely likeable and moral fellow even if he is a defense attorney. I know their parents very well, and they are the kind of folks that make and that made America great. Hard working. Not afraid of working just all the time to have a good life for their family and their children and grandchildren. Successful yet frugal.

So I met the brother today, a real estate man who tournament fishes and is quite reknown as a great fresh and saltwater fisherman, apparently excelling in every milieu and genre, if you will, of the various fishing available in and around Texas.

I got to see some cool bowfishing pics from a Colorado fishing adventure, when Willy Bob says that the rice farmers get to take water out of the Colorado and the levels drop drastically, reducing eight foot "holes" to four foot, and that something else happens at this time that results in an amoeba kill off that renders the waters much more clear and easy to see through.

One bowfishing pic had a monster carp that had been bowfished and took a long and arduous fight to land. I forgot to ask them what they did with it, and I guess I should have done my old standard joke about my secret receipe for carp/gar/hardhead catfish:

1. marinate filets or steaks of carp/gar/hardhead catfish in a fifth of Jack Daniel's Black for 24 hours.
2. Throw away the fish and drink the whiskey.

Which, I'd have to guess never havin' actually tried that marinade, that the Jack Black would be awful nasty after 24 hours with fish that I suspect does not smell all that great.

But they both have some great stories about varied fishing throughout the state. Ricky Bobby, the newly met brother, is charasmatic as hell and tells a great fishing story. He and I have run through a lot of the same East Texas fishing grounds and had a lot in common. Ricky Bobby has done a lot more hard core fishing in a year than I ever have in total, so I figure there's a few more things I could learn from him. I learned several today.

Ricky Bobby's reputation as a fisherman and sportsman greatly preceeded him, but it also unlocked a bunch of stories from his brother Willy Bob. I knew Willy Bob was an outdoorsman and did some fishing but he too is far more experienced than I, and we share a lot of common ground as far as the fishing we like to do, even though we grew up about 100 miles apart in different yet similar parts of Texas.

I didn't get to tell them my gator stories, and I bet they have a few of their own. If you've done any fishing of note or frequency in both fresh and saltwater/brackish bays in certain parts of Texas, you're gonna have dealt with alligators. Although most gators I've seen would go to great lengths to avoid human contact, there are some who seek it.

I saw a recent Maneater show where their experts claimed it was because they had been fed food by humans and lost their fear of them. Whatever. I don't care for gators. Some of the brackish back bay waters around Matagorda and Anahuac and the other places in the bay systems where I've seen gators are places where wade fishing in certain areas is not advisable.

So I'll bring up gators the next time I see the brothers. I really want to take a night fishing trip down the Colorado with them, doing some catfishing and bowfishing. It'd be an interesting trip and I'd get to see some semi-isolated country along this historic river. I'm not sure if there are gators in the Central Texas portion of the Colorado that the brothers frequent, but with their plentiful East Texas and Upper Gulf Coast fishing experiences, they've no doubt got some gator stories.

Sunday, January 9, 2011



After much internal debate over my post, and taking it down and putting it back up several times during the day today, I remain convinced that some sort of reporting system for mentally ill folks is drastically necessary to ensure prohibiting "known" mental patients from a gun purchase.

There would be, of course, an appeal process whereby at no cost to the applicant, the alleged mental patient could appeal his or her "NO BUY"
status as to firearms and ammunition. There would have to be some sort of mental exam process designed to vet out the faulty listings. Having worked with mental patients in various criminal justice areas for over three decades now, many of the petitioners would likely fail upon submission of their written request for review, based on the pervasiveness of their mental illness and their inability to control same.

One commentor, Bob S., took great issue with the diminuation of constitutional rights as I suggest. And I'll say, to a point, he's right. But I disagree when he says, and I'm paraphrasing here, that incidents like the attempted assassination of this Congresswoman are a cost of freedom.

I can't agree with that one.

As a gun owner, I urge others to revisit their position on this matter. The problem is, there is no reporting system for getting mental patients into the gun screening system unless that person has convictions, unadjudicated cases like deferred adjudications or was found guilty by reason of insanity. Otherwise, hundreds of thousands of mental cases are flying under the radar and the only protection we have against them buying guns is their self-report on the BATF form you fill out when you buy a gun.

Either gun owners step to the forefront of this movement or very soon, I predict, we'll have another anti-assault weapon law on the books.

The world is a very different place than it was when our founders (all white males, by the way) created this country and the documents we base our government and indeed, our freedoms on. I'm a white male too, but I realize that the constitution had to change for the very important social changes regarding non-whites and womwn over the years. That's why the Constitution is a "living" document.

Back then, every sidearm was a single shot weapon, and even for an extremely skilled reloader, it took a while to get those subsequent shots off after the first one.

Here, I don't see how anyone could argue that if this killer had been limited to 5 or 6 shots in a revolver or 10 in a semi-auto that the death/injury toll would have been less. Common sense will tell you that. Of course, he could have walked in with a body bomb, and taken out the whole building. I guess that's why bomb components are hard to get.

And that's my point. If we as law abiding gun owners want to lose the right to defend ourselves with so called assault weapons, we better be at the forefront of recognizing that there is a problem and us having the solutions. Otherwise, the anti-gun folks are gonna solve it for us, and I have a feeling that solution will be an absolute ban on these weapons, perhaps far more pervasive than the Clinton Ban from the 1990's.

Comment is closed on this topic. I think Bob S. expressed his viewpoints and undoubtedly those of many others quite well, and since I argue for a living, I choose not to do it on this thread.

The frenzy to lay blame began as soon as the news of this terrible tragedy hit the airwaves. The Sheriff of Pima County blamed the incident on the vitriolic nature of U.S. Politics, particularly the last two years.

WRONG, Sheriff.

Some laid blame on Sarah Palin, who according to some media accounts had some sort of language in her campaign literature "targeting" Congresswoman Gifford for political defeat, with rumors of some kind of picture that had the Congresswoman's picture on it with a crosshair of a scope superimposed.


Some will blame the Glock Model 19, and the extended magazine(s) that the shooter had, according to media accounts. Yes, it is true, a knife or sword would likely have inflicted far less damage, had the killer not had access to a Glock, but at the same time, had the killer just driven a car through crowd or building, he could have accomplished his same purpose. I won't make any other suggestions about how the killer could have accomplished his purpose without a gun, but we all know there are many ways this horror could have happened without a gun.


Some will blame his family for not keeping him under control. There hasn't been much media frenzy information come forth about his family, but from what has come out today about him being ejected from a "career-student" path at his local junior college this past October was some kind of harbinger of doom for the future. Likely, his family did everything they could to get him mental health help. And we all know that whether the family sought help from private insurance of the parents or from the government, there are woeful few resources available for middle and lower class folks who have mentally ill family members.

Those of us who have been in law enforcement, or the practice of law or medicine, or the many related occupations like nurse, social worker and so on, already know that many of those who do get some relief from their mental disease via medications, well, the patients don't like the meds. For many reasons. Many of the meds have serious side effects. Many meds work sporadically, as such is the nature of mental illness and meds today. Sometimes, the patient begins feeling better and stops taking their meds for whatever reason, and then relapses. The general term for this behavior is that the patient is in "non-compliance {with meds}".

Injections of these meds only work so long, and of course, when someone has delusions and active psychotic thoughts going on, it's not likely they'll remember to take their meds every 8, 12 or 24 hours. Unless there is a caretaker in the home who actively pursues keeping the patient in compliance, chances are folks like this lapse into non-compliance. And besides, many times with serious mental disorders, the type of which that would lead a person to kill for the reasons ascribed to this madman, well, many times even when taken as directed, it doesn't have the desired result.


They'll blame his marijuana smoking as well, when any street cop will tell you that potheads usually are the least violent of drug using offenders. If anything, it keeps the "lid on their id" and reduces the likelihood violence will occur. Yeah, the pothead might shoplift some munchies from the corner store but not likely to hijack the store with a gun. That's for the crackheads, the xanax heads, the meth heads and the alki's, whose drugs of choice make them more aggressive.

Perhaps access to the California variety of prescription pot, the really potent kind you hear about in the news that just basically renders the user a couch potato, might have kept this guy at home, on the couch, making youtube videos instead of buying a gun.

Yeah, there will be those on the right and far right that blame the pot smoking.


The Brady bunch and the Clinton folks who supported taking or took many of our second amendment rights away during the 90's will be once again hollering from the tallest tree about assault weapons and high capacity pistols and magazines.

The news reports say he legally bought the weapon last fall, sometime around when he was having his issues with expulsion from the junior college he attended for 5 years. Interestingly, there's no report in the media of him having ever worked a job, so I'd be curious where he got the cash to get a Glock, some ammo and extended magazines.

But the liberal left will blame the Glock and the extended magazines for this horror.


So who is at fault? Well, we are. All of us. We don't have a mental health system in this country that reports individuals like this to some sort of clearinghouse, to be interfaced with the ATF and FBI and whoever else controls the sale of firearms in various states. Had the Junior College Police Department in this case had some place where his name as a prospective mental patient could have been reported, with no liability to them for doing so, then perhaps he could have been prohibited from buying this pistol new from a lawful dealer.

It's a constitutional infringement to be sure, but there could be a remedy to "clear one's name" from this clearinghouse via the courts. Obviously, this process would be rife for abuse for reporting otherwise sane folks as insane to cause them troubles, but such as in this case, apparent plentiful information existed to keep this guy on a list from buying guns.

It's not a solution but a start. What we really need are, hand in hand with community medical treatment centers to take the stress off of ER rooms, is substantial in-patient and out-patient government mental health treatment facilities. Living facilities. We've got scores of mental patients out there in the homeless ranks, and very few are like this killer, meaning violent and homicidal. Most of the mental patients out there are victims.

But until we take mental health care seriously in this nation, there will always be a dispossessed loner like this who "slips through the cracks" to one day emerge as an assassin, when if some kind of community based mental health care system existed, with the ability for law enforcement to report folks with serious delusions to track folks like this.

Again, prayers to the victims of this horrible attack and their families and friends. The hearts of a nation are with you.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


30 years ago, I was about to become a police officer in Houston. I worked at that profession for a number of years after that, finally finishing college after seven years. I then, as the Beatles once said, quit the police department to get a steady job, and went to law school.

My wife says I make myself sound prematurely old when I say things like this, but "back when" I was "the poh-lice" in Houston, Texas, the standard weapon for an officer was some sort of .357 revolver. Probably 75% of the uniformed forces in Harris County carried .357's back then, either issued by the department or bought by the officer from an approved list of firearms. Also, a lot of plainclothes officers carried snubnose or 4" .357's as well.

As far as what the other officers were carrying, by and large the Colt 1911 variants were the most popular. Every now and then you'd see an officer with a Browning Hi-Power or an HK P7 or P9S or S&W M39, and there were those wheel gun uniform guys who carried 6 1/2" S&W Model 25's or 29's. Most of the uniform guys carrying revolvers were carrying them in 4" barrel lengths, but there were a few who were tall enough to pull off carrying a 6" barreled revolver working what was then called Radio Patrol.

Pretty much everyone carrying revolvers used speedloaders, at least in uniform, and many departments issued ammo in different calibers to folks to fit their guns. My department used .38 Special +P instead of full on .357 Magnum loads, as did most departments. Houston being a big urban town, over penetration of your target was always a concern. We were allowed, however, to carry one speedloader full of a magnum load in case some kind of barricade needed to be shot through.

At the time I was an officer, our department did not provide weapons, and this was usual with just about every agency in Harris County except the State and the Feds, who issued their troops weapons. My sidearm was a Colt Python in nickle finish with a 4" barrel. A great gun. A legendary gun. Unfortunately, although it had a great trigger and shot .38 +P's and even +P+'s very well, it was a booger bear shooting .357 Magnum loads.

I have to admit that during this time developed an aversion to shooting Magnum loads out of the Python, and on several occasions was made at the range to qualify using Magnum ammo (our rangemaster had a sadistic streak and a lot of control over how you would qualify with your various weapons) and I found the whole prospect of shooting the Python, well, painful.

I think I've figured out now that even though the Python always sported Pachmayr Presentation grips, the gun just didn't fit my hand. I say I think I've figured it out now because in shooting another .357 I picked up years ago on a range outing a few months ago, I found shooting some .357 Magnum volleys incredibly fun.

At the same time that I was shooting and carrying the Python, I had a bunch of other guns. I've always liked the way the .45 ACP shoots and at that time, owned several .45,s, a Model 29 and a Model 25-5, both with 6 1/2" barrels, an HK P7 and several snubnose revolvers. I had no problem with the recoil from the Model 29 when using Magnums while hog hunting, so I guess the frame of the Model 29 fit my hand better than the Python.

I've written about this experience elsewhere, but the gun was a Ruger Security Six 4" revolver. It is outfitted with the same Pachmayr grips as the Python, yet felt recoil is significantly less and in fact it's downright pleasureable to shoot. There is no pain in my hand or in my wrist as when I shoot a Python.

I found the gun so fun to shoot that I proceeded to burn 100 rounds of some Golden Sabre ammo that my friend Max had given me, 10 year old ammo he had bought in anticipation of Y2K like everyone else I knew, and was burning it up. Trust me, I've never shot three speedloaders full of .357 ammo at one outing, unless qualifying as a police officer many years ago. And here I was, with a big smile on my face, blasting away with the Ruger Security Six like I was shooting .38 low power indoor range reloads. Yee haw!

So I guess I really didn't really rediscover the .357, I guess in my advanced age, I FINALLY discovered the virtues of the right handgun shooting the cartridge. Way back in my youth, somewhat misspent I might add, I should have taken the opportunity to more extensively shoot all of those other great .357 magnums, like the Smiths from the N frame Highway Patrol to the K frame Combat Magnum and Model 13. Even though I've shot some of those guns, I didn't shoot Magnums out of them because I figured they'd be just as unpleasant as the Python was.

I know that over the next couple of years I'm gonna make up for lost time on shooting some of these other .357's that I shoulda been shooting. And maybe I need to give the Python another chance with .357's...


I've made similar posts before, but today's psychopathic public assassination attempt of a Congresswoman by an apparent disgruntled and *not-taking-their-medication* mental patient of some sort once again underscores the need for sane and law abiding citizens of this country, if they are so inclined, to have a CHL and carry 24/7.

The Next Chapter says it best with the title of his post on this attack today:

Another delusional coward ambushes unarmed, innocent, men, women, and children, probably to make some statement that no sane mind can comprehend.

A Congresswomen shot in the head and six attendees of her community function dead, including a Federal Judge and a child.

There will be those who will try to turn this event against the gun, and not the crazed gunman. Likely, if a gun had been unavailable, the killer would have use a knife or icepick or any other designed or adapted instrument to accomplish his goal.

Is it just me, or despite government number-crunchers figures of "lower crime rates" aside, have things been getting a lot more violent lately, both at home and abroad?

Prayers and condolences for those killed and injured and their families and friends.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I'm going to go do some fishing tomorrow for the stocked rainbows that are all over the state right now. You can go here to find out when and where the stocking has or will be happening.

I'm going to try out a 3 weight rod I got a screaming deal on from the {Hill Country?} Outfitters store in Fredericksburg several years ago. I've used it a couple of times for small bass on the Llano and James rivers and it's a very fun rod. We were coming back from a Christmastime Big Bend trip and stopped in F-Burg to rest from the road a bit. If you've ever been in the Hill Country Outfitters store, they are a dealer that sells some Orvis stuff, and I usually need some sort of dry fly goop or flies or leaders to fill out my fly fishing bag.

So I was looking for what is called a "fairy wand", a slender tiny fishing rod that would make fighting fish a lot more of a challenge. The slight type of fishing rod that makes small fish seem bigger and makes bigger fish seem huge. I was trying out this rod and noticed it had a sale tag on it. Having been an Orvis customer via mail since before puberty, I'm pretty familiar with their product lines and prices. So when I saw that the rod was going for right at $100, which was really a third of the usual price, I snagged it right then and there. As I was paying for it, another fellow who had been looking at it earlier in the day came back in to get it, so my timing was right.

So I'll be armed with my 3 weight and see what happens. I'll take a 6 weight along in case the wind is high, which it is apt to be at the place I'm heading. It's a relatively small lake, and fortunately there is good access on either side of the lake and on the dam at the end where the trout tend to congregate, so it's just a matter of good positioning based on the wind direction.

Yesterday, my friend Bill was telling me that he had a freezer full of trout. A teacher, he made the most of his Christmas holiday by fishing the lake near his house that gets stocked every year. He said he limited out every time he went, using his home created flies. I didn't know Bill fly fished until recently, and I have only known Bill a couple of years through our kids. I'll get at least one of his flies and get a photo and put it up.

I find that this time of year, even though it's supposed to be winter, we've still got small skeeter like bugs flying around, and so small black flying gnat and mosquito imitations work very well. Likewise, even though we did have a 2nd crop of grasshoppers this year, and late in September at that, there's no grasshoppers to be found now, yet Dave's Hopper has been a perennial favorite for me when winter fly fishing for stocked Texas trout.

It's kinda warm right now for my liking, but I've got to get some outside time at the lake. There's a rain supposedly coming tomorrow night followed by several days of a cold blast, so fishing might even be better next week during the cold weather.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I've been a longtime reader of magazines, as I've mentioned before, and although the internet is a dream to a reading junkie like me, a short term attention span type of reader, who would rather read in-depth articles rather than drawn out books on most counts nowadays.

My legal research professor in law school predicted a demise of pleasure book reading when I was in law school, and although I told him he was foolish then, it appears he was right. I read the occasional book, but voraciously read all kinds of online and print magazines and forums.

Most of my reading interest revolves around my hobbies and interests. Music. Drumming. Shooting. Self defense. Outdoors experiences. And fishing. Heavy on the fishing. As a good friend said about me, "you'd fish in a sink with 6" of water in it if someone told you there were fish in there". And that's about true. I have uttered that very question, "are there any fish in there" toward waters large and small all across the country, from the Congeree River near Columbia, South Carolina to the Pacific Ocean and streams and rivers and lakes and creeks and saltwater bays and oceans and gulfs in between.

So most of my magazine purchases or subscriptions are to these areas. Every now and then some screaming deal $5 a year for 3 magazines fund raiser comes along and I'll get something interesting like The Week or WIRED for awhile for a couple of dollars a year.

In addition to reading American Handgunner on a frequent basis, I also read Combat Handguns and The American Rifleman. I'm a newstand browser of many other gun mags, and every now and then if there are a bunch of articles I'm interested in I might grab one of those, two or three times a year.

Yet in all of my magazine reading, which has given me a great database of gun and shooting information that only myself and a few friends care to share and discuss, I've never felt the need to contact a magazine.

But a few weeks ago, after reading a nice article on Big Bore Snubnoses by Mike "Duke" Venturino in American Handgunner, wherein there was a picture of a converted to snubnose Model 1917 Smith and Wesson that belongs to the Editor of American Handgunner, a Mr. Roy Huntington.

I wrote a brief email to Roy, told him what I did for a living and the Model 1917 that I was thinking about converting to a NICE snubnose conversion, and sent that email the Sunday night after Christmas to his company email. I asked for info on who did his conversion, what kind of front sight did he fit on the gun, who he would recommend and what he would do different.

The next day, Roy replied with a solid recommendation, a fellow I've heard much about who does charge reasonable prices for the work he does, which is reknowned as excellent. I had not thought of Roy's recommendation in my searching for a wheelgunsmith specialist, but it all made sense once his name was recommended by Roy.

I found out that Roy did his own conversion, milling his own sight design for the gun. If you read the article over at the Handgunner website, the Model 1917 I speak of is on the 2nd page of the article and clearly labeled as Roy's gun. It is functional but gorgeous as heck.

So Roy further suggested having the grip frame reduced to accept "K" frame grips. He also suggested a fine looking nickle or chrome finish, certainly a plus here in hot and humid Texas.

Roy was full of ideas, and so he earned himself a subscription to his magazine from me. It's a thick magazine, with glossy and thick pages, and to me it's the nicest magazine in production in terms of construction and style. It's good paper and reads nice and feels nice and is durable and the pictures are just very vivid. Think digital v. analong.

In any event, I salute any business whose leader will take the time to help a fella out. Like me, Roy was also a police officer, but I don't know the details of his career as either a writer, editor or police officer.

American Handgunner features many of my favorite writers, and it's one of the few magazines where there is more than a token effort towards recognizing revolvers and wheelguns. Although I love my semi-autos, I likes my wheelguns too, and lately there have been a lot of wheelgun features in AH.

Thanks for the information, Roy. I think the K frame grip reduction would be the shi-zazzle-zizzle for that particular gun to be a carry gun.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I thought Keifer Sutherland was a great actor from the time I saw him in Young Guns. I haven't followed every film of his career, but I've seen a few over the years and mostly enjoyed them and watched several a second time.

And then came 24.

I'm not a big TV watcher of network and cable TV shows. The wife likes her fixing stuff and cooking stuff and making stuff shows and teary women's channel dramas about a mother whose babiy really does get switched in the hospital and they are unable to prove it. You wanna talk about, as perhaps Brando best put it..."the horror". I'm telling you.

At our house, we watch a lot of movies as well as Nick and Disney. I like several of the shows on these channels, particularly iCarly, who last night had Jack Black in a major hilarious role with a lot of screen time. I know Jack has a son, he's probably like me, watching iCarly with his son and likes the show as well.

iCarly reminds me of some of the shows I grew up watching, generally harmless but with some values or lesson or moral somehow woven into the show. Something that entertained and perhaps educated in some minor way.

So we watch those shows as well as Discovery and National Geo and of course, The History Channel as El Fisho Jr. is already a fairly knowledgeable Civil War and WWII scholar. He's now into American and Texas western history and unfortunately, he knows more about current world war events than I'd expected, but school and geography teach current events, and he goes to school with a few soldier's kids.

So this having more or less been a trend in our lives for our long marriage, along with movies and such, I have not been much of a network or cable TV series watcher. In fact, the last series I can recall watching regularly for several years was the excellent Hill Street Blues in the early 1980's. Excellent show, by the way.

And then, skip to maybe 2006, and some co-workers and I are discussing favorite action movies and tv shows and such. And one co-worker, Ruby, mentions that she thinks I would like 24. I'd never seen it, and didn't really know what it was about. I thought at the time it was one of those paranormal FBI alien shows or something, instead of being a national-security-defend-the-nation-show.

And so off to Blockbuster I went, and there lay what would become a goldmine of entertainment for me. Several seasons of 24 on the rental shelves. I began watching Season One and found I liked it. On a trip to the new/used video game store, I found several box sets of various 24 seasons for like $12 bucks, which was cheaper than renting the discs from Blockbuster. And off I went, watching 24.

Over the next few years, I didn't buy the 24 dvd releases as they appeared, instead waiting until they appeared on ebay or at the used shelves at the game store. In fact, the only one I've gotten new was the latest and last season of 24, Season 8.

To get to the point, one reason I enjoyed 24 as entertainment was that there was always a cliffhanger, at the end of every episode and at the end of every season. Twists and turns. Surprises.

I'll say again, I don't go in for law enforcement shows, but I do enjoy 24. I know our homeland security doesn't operate with the slick efficiency of CTU, but I know many of our agents are as dedicated as those shown on 24. I suppose the technology is there for tapping into video and computer systems and having everything at the touch of your fingers to basically access all data in law enforcement and government as does CTU.

Again, one hopes that at least some of the schemes and scenarios encountered by CTU in 24 are likewise responded to with investigation and surveillence when nefarious characters are found to be on our shores.

SO the reason I say damn it to Jack Bauer, as the collective representative of the show and writers and producers and so on, is that once again they've let me saying "Damn you!" at the TV at the ending of Season 8. You've done your job well, and left me ready for the yet-unmade but rumored 24 movie.

I'm hanging on, and how many more years until Jack Bauer gets some sort of relaxation and happy life?

Monday, January 3, 2011


That's right. I wrote to Henry Repeating Arms via their email dealee on their contact me tab and promptly received a response from no less than the President of the company, Mr. Anthony Imperato, along with his wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

I'm impressed. It's the second time in several weeks where the head of an organization has responded personally, and with great information, to an emailed question. It shows the folks have a grip on the company. The other person was Roy Huntington, Editor and potentiate of American Handgunner magazine. I wrote to Roy about tips on converting a S&W M1917 to a snubnose personal carry gun, as Roy had done. He took quite a bit of time to not only answer my questions but as per my request, refer me to some folks and then make some suggestions about things he would have done differently to his M1917 snubby conversion. Roy earned himself a subscription, and I'll be posting about my emails with Roy soon. Again, I'm impressed. If only the rest of America had this work ethic!

I asked Anthony Imperato if they were going to be producing a Mare's Leg in .22 and in .45 LC and the answer was yes on both counts. The .22 will be available in February and the .45LC in April. I asked if it was true that the .22 would MSRP at about $300, and since he said my information was correct, then that's good news too. The internet gun shops are offering them for less than $300, but they have none in stock yet either.

I know the Henry Mare's Leg is going to be solid. As I mentioned before, I've put one of their rifles through it's paces last year with El Fisho Jr, and we were both highly impressed by the trigger, the operation and construction, the reliability and most of all the accuracy and shootability of the Henry .22 lever action. We've been looking at them here and there since then, with an eye toward getting one, but now the decision has been made for us.

So quality of the gun aside, it's made in America. By Americans at an American owned company. Take a look at the Henry Repeating Arms website and look at the pics and the philosophy of the company. They are good Americans and thus I will buy firearms from them.

I'm going to get my local dealer to pre-order me one, and I would have done it today except his shop is closed on Mondays. At $250 for a .22 that the literature says will take shorts and longs as well as long rifle cartridges, you can shoot it all day for less than $20 if you were so inclined.

NOTE: I can't seem to download the pics that Mr. Imperato sent me of both of the Henry Repeating Arms Mare's Legs. They are in adobe format, so I'm going to figure out how to copy them to another format and then I'll post them in a later post. He sent a copy of the brochure as well as some pics of the guns.

The .22 is blued and appears full sized, weighing in at a little more than the Rossi variant. You can tell it is a .22 only by the size of the tube magazine. The .45 LC Henry has the "Golden" receiver and looks really sharp and frickin' heavy duty. I normally don't go for such adornment of firearms but you can't argue with how it looks.

Billy Ray was looking at the pics and has now decided he needs one, but wants his to be the Rossi Ranch Hand in .44 Magnum. Can't argue with that. Billy Ray is in prime rattler country where he lives, and that'd be a handy gun for the back 40. It would be very easy to attach an hi-ouput weapon light and laser combo to the bottom of the tube magazine or side of the barrel if you were using this weapon for home defense.

Since this is a handgun, what's to keep either Rossi or Henry from adapting one of their .45 LC models to take .410 shells? That, my friends, would be coolness.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Happy New Years to my readers and fellow bloggers! I start the new year off with happy news, at least for me.

Way back in February of last year, I made a post calling out various lever action manufacturers about why they were not making AN AFFORDABLE version of the chopped down lever action carbine popularlized by Steve McQueen in the old western series of my youth, WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE.

Called alternately Mare's Laig, or Mare's Leg, because in the show McQueen once said the gun kicked like a Mare's Leg. That's because in the fictitious show version, the gun shot some incredibly huge caliber rifle shell, and to further compound the fiction, McQueen wore even larger sized cartridges on his gun belt than the gun would shoot.

Back in the 1990's, at least one fellow started making these guns out of old rifles. The exact rifle escapes me, but this fellow made some nice looking guns. If I recall, they were priced out at about $2,500 and you also had to pay a several hundred dollar fee to the BATF for a short barreled firearm.

Now I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. Consult your own attorney and don't rely on my version of the following. As I understand it, if a firearm receiver like a Lever Action in this case, has never actually been a rifle, then fitting it with a short barrel and a hand stock (not capable of shoulder fire) makes the gun exempt from the short barrel firearms rules. As I understand it.

So any maker of lever action rifles could take new receivers and make their own Mare's Laig gun, and yet it would be exempt from the short barrel firearm licensing rule and could be purchased just like any other handgun. By way of example, the flood of AR-15 "pistols" that are basically assault rifles with short barrels and no shoulder stock fly under the same radar of the law. As long as the receiver has never been a rifle, and it is equipped with short barrel and no shoulder stock, no problemo. As anyone knows, these assault rifle pistols are basically a sub-machine gun in semi-auto form.

And If'n I had the money (particularly for the ammo), I'd have me at least one of these nifty chopped down Ar-15's.

We all have dreams, and owning one of these guns has been a dream of mine since childhood. As a serious gunner, a public employee with two kids and a wife and all of the bills and appurtances that go along therewith, up to now these guns have been so overpriced as to be out of my range.

A few years ago, an italian maker began selling a cheaper version of the Mare's Leg, calling it I believe The Bounty Hunter. Made from a virgin receiver, you could buy one of those without obtaining federal license. But the price was still way too steep at about $1300 MSRP.

Earlier this year, Rossi began making a gun called the Ranch Hand, which is a Mare's Leg chambered in either .45 LC, .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum, and selling for about $500. I've yet to see one but am ready to buy one now.

Then I had a response to the above post from back in February that said that Henry Repeating Arms company is coming out with a .22 and a .45 LC version, and that the rimfire version will be selling for $300 or less. That is good news, and I really would like one of these in .22 and a Rossi in .357.

.357 and .38 Special ammo is cheaper than either .45 LC or .44 special/magnum, and .22's are light years cheaper than either of those. I'm looking for a fun factor, and a gun to take on fishing and hunting trips. But mostly for the fun factor, so if Henry gets there version in .22 out soon enough, that'll be the first one bought, simply based on ammo pricing and the volume of shooting I plan to do with it. Not to mention El Fisho Jr or Billy Ray.

I doubt my idea was the impetus for either Rossi or Henry to come out with a cheaper model of these guns. But at least it shows that others are thinking like me, or I'm thinking like them.

Or something.