Friday, August 31, 2012


Dear Mr. Eastwood:

Thanks Mr. Eastwood, for not disappointing me. I knew that at some point, like last night, you were going to spring forth from your well-deserved low profile lifestyle and SAVE AMERICA!

And I think maybe you just did that last night.

Because of your stardom that transcends political loyalties and boundaries, you have people that will listen to you who would normally tune any Republican message out. I think that today at least a few might be swayed to perhaps ponder that they still have the same unfulfilled hopes they had three and a half years ago but all the change we've seen in the past three years has been bad for them as persons and as a family.

23 million people out of work.

The economy is in the toilet.

No hopes of improvement on either front, or regarding the numerous other pressing
problems facing our nation and world.

Everyone looks to the US to lead the way to solving problems. They may not want to admit it, but they still do. Even fruitcake led countries like Venezuela.

Here's my prediction: The Democrats will get some Hollywood personality, maybe even someone as entertaining as Sean Penn, to imitate you at their convention. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest...blah blah blah.

I'm a fifty something year old man. You're roughly the same age as my late father. I've admired your careers, not only as an actor and director but as the fine Mayor for many years. Mr. Eastwood, I'm hoping that some of the liberal pundits who are banging you as "rambling" and "sad" in the media today are able to take a deep look at someone other than themselves and take a glance around this country and they would quickly see how this country has taken a nosedive since President Obama took office.

The empty chair metaphor, was, in a word, brilliant. And unfortunately, highly descriptive of the POTUS we have now. An empty chair in an empty office.

It's unfortunate that the liberal media pundits couldn't look past the venue to the man and the message. I realize this "isn't about you", but the pundits can't. One reason many average joes like me have respect for you as a person is that you've taken care of your friends over the years. As you became a star and later a director, you gave your friends repeat roles in films and shared your prosperity with them. This isn't lost on America. That's why I say your speech was very important.

That's the kind vision we need our president to have towards the rapidly disappearing middle class, and unfortunately, it's not the kind of presidental attitude we've got right now.

I found your speech entertaining and somewhat profound. Again, some of the critics are so busy being politically defensive that they didn't see the olive branches you were trying to extend to everyone in America in your speech. As you said, there is no need to be metal masochists just to give a bad president a second term because a person would personally feel sorry for him when he loses this election but realize it's in the best interest of the country for him to be a one term president.

Thanks, for letting a normal guy have one hero that made it intact throughout the decades to come shining through like you did last night. I've had all kinds of heroes, mentors and role models in my life, and since all of us are made of sand, everyone up until now has disappointed me, except my wonderful father. And now, you.

Thanks for being a great American, Mr. Eastwood. You were just saying what most of the rest of us are thinking. It's time for a change, for the good of the future.

And yes, you did make my day!

P.S. You've given me a great idea for closing arguments in trials I handle. A prosecutor talking to an empty chair, in which sits the "invisible citizen" that is the state's interest in keeping a state free of violent criminals, about why this violent criminal needs to go away. It's reversible error to read a pretend note to the jury from a murder victim, but no error to address the "invisible citizen" on why the jury must lock a violent criminal away. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More on the BLUE Ruger takedown 10/22

It's become temporate, or relatively so for the normally stultifyingly hot and humid month of August, in the past week here in my part of Texas.  Don't fear though, because the heat and humidity have only momentarily gone away. It'll likely be early October before we get this kind of weather on a regular basis.

And that will be when El Fisho Jr. and our friends will get to do some trapsing through the woods. And although many in my friend group have handguns and long guns I want to shoot, I'm looking forward to shooting

I got to handle the umpteeth edition of the Ruger 10/22  today, the tribute model to the US Olympic shooting team. It's a takedown model, as mentioned in my previous post, and it's more or less identical to the stock black takedown version save for the coler, and perhaps the color of the tote bag.

I'll note it is lighter than the wood stocked, thin barreled 10/22 we currently have. It's far lighter than the bull barreled "Fancy" 10/22 Target model I had back in the 90's. I wish I hadn't of sold that one too. It had a marvelous striped stock and shot very well with the fairly inexpensive scope I had on it.

The recent introduction of the Ruger factory 25 round mag for the 10/22 bodes well for the use of this rifle for a myriad of purposes. Over at, nearly every article about a .22 handgun of any kind includes a discussion about folks who are elderly, physically weak or infirmed or who just don't like bigger calibers using a .22 or a .22 magnum as a defense weapon.

And it's true. The .22 can be an effective defensive caliber, despite those who say otherwise. True, that's not my caliber of choice for either daily carry or home defense. But there are a lot of plus signs for some of the features a .22, even a .22 rifle, offer for home defense.

I don't have any stats to back it up, but I'd say that over the years the lowly .22 has been responsible for more homicides outside of wartime than probably any other caliber. Notice I said "probably" any other caliber. To be sure, it's been responsible for many that I've seen in decades in law enforcement, although it seems like now you're more likely to encounter a poor and broke thug with a crappy 9mm of some suspect manufacture (the word "pot metal" comes to mind) than with a .22 revolver, there was a recent time when that wasn't true.

I could see using the 10/22 in it's many flavors as a defensive weapon at the home, depending on the home's layout and the type of 10/22 that you have. A 10/22 with a 25 round mag and perhaps an inexpensive laser sight and flashlight hanging off the barrel would make quick work of anyone seeking to do you harm. Little to no real recoil and the ability to fire repeated shots in the same target area with a laser/flashlight combo would enable a homeowner to protect himself well.

I have a lot of friends who own a lot of long arms for hunting but who have little or no use or interest in a handgun other than as a backup. Their interests range from the .17 caliber to the .50 caliber and even more in rifles, and mostly hang in the 20 to 12 gauges for their shotguns, although several good friends use their 16's to exclusion of everything else.

Almost all of these folks have at least one .22 rifle of some sort. Sometimes a scoped Ruger bolt action or the like, but often times it's the venerable 10/22 for plinking or small animal hunting/control around the hunting camp or their own place.

I went to high school in a half suburban and half rural school district near Houston. Lots of the kids I went to school with lived on ranches, farms and dairies and had several hours work before and after school at the family place.  Back in the day when folks, even at my high school, carried rifles and shotguns of various sorts proudly displayed in the back window gun racks in their pickup trucks and this was all over Texas. Point is, except during deer season, most of those gun racks had one slot occupied by a .22 rifle.

Sometimes the other slot was occupied by a cattle prod, or a shotgun or some sort. But during deer season, usually a .30-30 Marlin sat in one of the spaces. And there was no law or school regulation against it at the time, and no one ever pulled a firearm on anyone at our school. Many folks, mostly the mechanical type, the hot rodders and motor cycle riders and FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids  often carried LARGE folding belt knives, mostly the venerable Buck Hunter. There were never any stabbings or displays of weapons or threats to do same ever during my 4 years there.

Boy how times have changed. I primarily like the takedown aspect of this new Ruger 10/22. Entirely practical for many reasons. Storage in a car, tackle fishing rod bag or lots of kinds of backpacks, duffles and the like. A complete breakdown fishing rig consisting of a few different types of fly and other types of tackle, including several rods and reels and the tackle to support them, as well as the takedown Ruger would fit into a nice duffle.

It's not so expensive or rare that you worry too much about it getting stolen and being irreplaceable. It's reliable as all get out, and I've had nothing but good luck with factory Ruger mags in any Ruger product I've owned, including the new BX-25 large capacity Ruger offering. Especially the new BX-25, when compared with the many competitors out there on the market offering sub-standard performance.

It's a good rifle for kids as well, and you're supporting future shooting efforts by our country and our kids by snagging one of these special models, since Ruger is making some kind of donation to the US shooting team based on each sale.

As my local gun dealer and frequent shooter said the other day, with the appropriate Federal Firearms Licenses being in place, the Ruger Takedown would be an ideal weapon to have either a integral barrel/suppressor combo installed as a mod by an experienced 10/22 and suppressor gunsmith or a shortened barrel with a screw on suppressor, one of the newer, shorter and easier to clean models.

All this costs lots of cash for the fees and licenses for whatever Federal licenses you have to get for short barreled rifles/shotguns and suppressors. In advance, I might add.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I was doing a google for catamaran kayaks, two kayaks joined by tubing to make a more stable craft and fishing platform, as well as providing an area to mount a small gas motor or electric motor.

You can go here and see what I'm talking about on this thread I came across. I hadn't seen this board before but it appears interesting and not too radical in nature.

I've long thought about having a craft like this, although my earliest thoughts involved taking a Hobie Cat or similar sailing craft, making a cabin that mounted to the trampoline frame out of plastic and aluminum tubing and having it as a motor powered craft rather than sail powered, as you'd be changing the entire ergonomics of the craft by lowering the cabin from the normal trampoline height.


To me, I would think lowering the center of gravity by constructing a lowered passenger cabin would enable you to also have a nice sort of sun cover over the cabin, one that was low enough to be effective in sun blocking but high enough to allow fishing. Also, the use of roll down sides to block the sun would be nice.

In brief, my idea of lowering the passenger area from a tarp would involve adding some vertical aluminum tubing (salvaged from part of the mast) to create a slightly lower passenger cabin. If you want to save weight, and I think that's a good idea to keep the draft low, you could basically suspend the tarp lower and perhaps put up some tarp sidewalls  to create the actual cabin. A couple of lateral horizonal aluminum braces could serve as mounts for some comfortable well padded seats with armrests, or a horizontal seat like in a jonboat could be easily created for seating.

Motor mounts would be welded/bolted on the rear and front for a small gas and trolling motor respectively. A 5 hp outboard and a nice trolling motor would zip a craft like this along at a good clip. The catamaran pontoons themselves would provide a good storage space for some paddles or oars and some poles to do some "poling" in areas too shallow for the motors.

I'd like to cut the mast off at a height where it could be used as the main support for the roof/suncovering over the cabin area. Again, a frame of lightweight aluminum tubing, smaller perhaps than the tubing used in the frame of the boat proper, could be used to construct a square frame the size of the cabin.

Spare pieces of the mast could be used for some or all of the vertical supports for the cover. I would raise the boom to the height of the cover itself to create another main support for the roof, using the mesh like material I mentioned above to create the roofing material.

Another alternative to the mesh covering would be the flexible "quilts" of solar energy panels to generate power for the AC, lights and I would guess a small bank of batteries.

To me, a converted Hobie Cat would be a great shallow water craft for small ponds and lakes and certain rivers. You could stand if you had to once you got the cabin height at the right level and I think with a lowered center of gravity it would be a very stable craft in the kind of areas I'd be taking it.

Ideally, one could rig some sort of small marine air conditioner for some reel (sorry can't resist the pun) angling comfort. Some roll down sides

I should have jumped on a sail-less but with a nice trailer Hobie Cat I saw on Craigslist a while back going for like $250. It's a project I've got some time for this fall and winter, and I've got enough welding and machinist friends and connections to be able to do it on the cheap.

The sun in Texas is often brutal in the summer and fall, hence my fair-skinned concern for getting sunburnt. Likewise, the heatwaves we had for 100+ days last summer and the current heat wave we seemed trapped in are good cause for all the sun protection you can get, not to mention the effect of getting some shade in the cabin with proper boat postitioning. 

There's a material, which I don't know the name of,  and it's some kind of mesh with sunblocking capability but it allows wind through it. When I was crewing on a large sailboat many years ago, there was a device, a sun shield, that would go over the boom with the sail lowered and stretch out over the cabin and would create a sun shield for the cabin yet let the wind through for cooling. This was many years ago and I'm sure there have been big advances in material like this.

In any event, a sun shield of some sort would be nice, particularly on these unrelentingly hot summer days.

You might think I'm wasting time and money trying to create some kind of freakish converted sailboat catamaran mini-trawler with a cabin of sorts. I think I could do it pretty cheaply. I've got sources for the tubing, and know welders and a heavy duty seamstress. I have several friends who would have good advice about cabin height and be interested in that aspect of the project.

I might even be able to score some sort of salvage or used tinted plastic/canvas cabin covering from one of the large sailboats/powerboats/yachts that have those kinds of things and have it adjusted or cut down to size. Surely there are some used full covers available from boats like the powerboats or sailboats I've seen over the years. 

More on this later...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Just got back in off the road from a tour of Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. And a large part of West Texas coming back home that I haven't seen in more than awhile.

Windmills abound in West Texas. Hunerds and hunerds of 'em. I know they have their critics, but compared to burnin' coal and gosh knows what else or creating nuclear energy, it's the safest game in town. Like hydroelectric power, or it would seem to me. 

First of all, I felt so glad to be back in Texas, for reasons mentioned below. I truly not only feel at home  and safer in my native state, but our state maintained roads are better than anywhere I went on this trip.

We flew into Vegas to take care of some family business. Having visited before on several occasions, we knew that the "family" Vegas of 20 years ago had long ago gone away. Nonetheless, we stayed one night in town on the strip because we got into the airport so late and had a wonderful experience at the World's Largest Benihana restaurant.

Our cook was the best and funniest we've ever had in countless trips to numerous Benihana restaurants. Our tablemates were conversive and funny. A couple from LA whose husband had lived in Houston while attending U of H, and three fellas from San Diego in town for a big trade show, possibly the consumer electronics show. All were very nice and cool folks to be around, and our trade show buddies gave out some free swag, inexpensive electronic gifts and cards for their unique product.

The only thing missing was The Princess, as she couldn't get away from school right now, and no Benihana experience is complete without her. When she was a young child, she and I would hit Benihana when Mrs. El Fisho was out of the town or country on business.

So it's not the same without her for any of us.

We couldn't wait to get out of Vegas, and after taking care of our business, left town without eating breakfast. So for food, our next stop was the immensely cool Sunset Station Casino and Hotel in Henderson, just outside of Vegas in terms of miles but worlds away in terms of the crowd at the place and indeed, in the shopping centers in the immediate area. Family friendly to the max.

We stopped for a meal at Sunset Station but booked a room on the iphone as we sat in the buffet because we liked it and the crowd it attracted. I don't mean by that "white people" as one might erroneously percieve from that comment, because people of all races were well represented there as both hotel guests and casino visitors.

But it was people like us, working folks, mostly with families, middle and upper middle class. 

And the people in Vegas proper were not like us. I'll bet at least 25% of the folks I saw  Friday night in Vegas in the un-named Strip Hotel and Casino we stayed in had some kind of reportable criminal history and an arrest within the past couple of years. It was a rough crowd, this coming from a guy who has worked around rough crowds in law enforcement for the past 30 + years.

And this was a NICE hotel and casino. But the crowd was ghetto, of all races and colors.

But back to the most excellent Sunset Station. A great bowling alley (El Fisho Jr. outbowled me massively), a great swimming pool (although it was in the low hundreds with 30% humidity, the pool was just right. Not to hot, not too cold). There was plenty of shade around the pool so you didn't have to rent a cabana to get out of the sun, with the shade provided by the lush tropical landscaping, again, providing much shady areas to choose from for a sun-burnin' guy like me.

In fact, we didn't even put on sunscreen and stayed in the shady portion of the pool and didn't get burned or really even reddened anywhere at all. Just perfect. We stayed at the pool all afternoon, and really had a relaxing time based on the landscaping and shade and amenities available at poolside.

Again, the crowd was folks like us, of all races. Folks having a great time. Pizzas, drinks and various snacks being delivered. Basically this crowd is the kind of folks we're friends with back home. And although California plates were heavily represented in the parking lot, there were folks from all over the states hanging at the poolside. Kids were heavily represented with their parents and often grandparents all having a great timeat the facility.

The Henderson Sunset Station Casino was well kept and was again worlds away from the Strip in terms of the crowd. Security was everywhere and very nice.

Back to the night before Henderson in Vegas. Whereas it seems everyone in Vegas either has a tattoo, a ton of bling (mostly obviously fake), a tattoo,  an extremely short skirt or way too small shirt on both men and women (directly in proportion to the fact that the majority of the tight clothing set SHOULD NOT be wearing tight clothes in any public circumstances, low-hanging britches with either boxers or no undies displayed, tattoos,  women who shouldn't be showing thong underwear displaying it so all the world can see, tattoos, facial piercings, scar body art, earlobe widening dohickeys and even more tattoos. And/or multiple combos of the above adornments and attire.

Maybe there was  a tattoo convention in town, because the inked folks I saw there were not shy in their commitment to the art of, as Rod Steiger once referred to it, Skin Illustrations. Lots of full sleeve tatts, neck tatts, fore-head tatts, back tatts, facial tatts and leg tatts. All displayed with pride. I know that lots of young folks have tattoos and haven spent much of my life in Houston or Austin, I've seen more than my share of tattoos. Many of our friends have them.

But a face or neck or even a full sleeve tattoo takes a lot of, um, I guess commitment, would be the word. Some say it's hard to get a job with a facial or neck tattoo, and I don't doubt it. I once was involved in a case where the crime victim had a huge tattoo of the acronym for the olden days crime of "For unlawful carnal knowledge". In big letters. Despite my best efforts to have him wear a bandana over the letters under his hat, the judge made him remove both before he testified.

Not a pretty sight. But that's another story.

In any event, I never saw so many seriously tattoo'd folks in my life. And as a guy who has been in law enforcement and was a working musician for a lot of years and spent a lot of time in bars in Houston and Austin pursuing that art, I've seen lots of tattoos over the past 30 years or so.

We found Henderson much more to our liking. The crowd at the most excellent Sunset Station Casino didn't strike me like what I had seen in a what shall be *un-named* major Vegas Hotel and Casino, and wasn't full of hookers like the *un-named* spot was. Overrun with hookers.  I myself got solicited three times on Friday night by working girls, and I certainly didn't look like I had the money for a good meal, much less anything else. Dressed down for comfort in jeans and a t shirt and tennis shoes. There were tons of them working the Casino and the various hallways and byways to the different restaurants, bars, shows and stores.

The fellow next to me on the slots told me that whenever the trade shows are in town the ordinarily intense hooking profession gets extras coming in from all over the nation and it's just out of control. He was a local, a dealer at another casino out for a busman's holiday.

I found two slot machines I liked, and I don't like many of the new fangled armless and coinless slot machings. Lightnin' 7's was a great machine, and several locals came by on Saturday night to let me know that I was on their favorite machine and that it paid well. And it did. The other machine was called Cops and Donuts and I figured with my past that karma dictated that I play that machine. I won a little money on it too, but the payouts were a bit skimpy.

In any event, I'd highly recommend the Sunset Station complex for a family. Great security. Great food. Many restaurants and an excellent casino hotel buffet. Casino buffets can range from great to horrible and this one was hitting on all eight cylinders. We ate there twice and it was grand both times at lunch and dinner. The bowling alley was huge and impressive and well run, given the large amount of families there. Likewise, they had some special attractions for kids but we didn't hit those.

After a day at the pool and a night at the bowling alley, it was sack time.

After leaving Nevada, we went to the West Grand Canyon Skybridge, which is a story unto itself. Yes, the view was spellbinding but there are lots of negatives. More on that later in a separate post. I want to research some of the controversy about the indian tribe that runs the place, as mentioned in an LA Times article earlier this year. It cost ALOT of money, Disneyworld/land would have been cheaper for the three of us for the day, and that's saying something.

The other point worth mentioning is that the 60 mile one way trip from the highway to the Skybridge is paved at the beginning in the impoverished but proud community of Dolan Springs and at the end near the skybridge. There is a large unpaved section of what classifies as "off road". We needed a 4wd and were driving large domestic coupe with heavy duty suspension. Yet, we needed a 4wd, especially with the rains that came that day and the much that created. Traction was, at times, shaky.

What passed for a "rocky road" was filled with sharp rocks. Luckily, our tires made it through both ways, but we stopped to check on a stranded family as it was about 105 in the shade that day and offer them some of our fix-a-flat and cold water for the couple and their small kids as a rock had shorn a slash in the sidewall of one of their sturdy looking tires on their van and their spare appeared a little flat. They were nice folks.

After hitting that attraction, we visited the wonderfully friendly town of Flagstaff. I'd never thought much about Flagstaff one way or another, but I really like it. A clean town, the folks we encountered there were truly friendly, not "smarmy tourist friendly" as many other places are. It was cool temperature wise there, and we got to visit my favorite sporting goods store for guns and such, Big Five Sporting Goods, which we don't have in my part of Texas.

We agreed it's a place we'd consider living.

Our next stop was Sedona and that very well may be one of the most beautiful areas we've ever visited. Mrs. El Fisho is far more well-traveled than I, but we've both seen our share of mountainous beauty. The drive from Flagstaff to Sedona through the Coconino National Forest rivaled any beauty in any other place on this earth that we've seen.

The road meandered along Oak Creek for much of the way, and being public land access was everywhere, including abundant roadside parking. The creek itself was clear and varied from a lazy slow flow to white water to some great deep pools along the course that I got to see and stop near. More later about fishing in the area but lakes and creeks and streams abound in the area, and I don't know what the normal flow of Oak Creek is like, or if it was normal, but it appeared to be a healthy watercourse where I viewed it.

Sedona too was full of people who seemed geniunely nice. As I understand, and I could be wrong because I have not researched the issue, Arizona must be an open carry state. I saw one fella in sorta westerney garb toting what appeared to be a Colt or clone SAA in either a .45 or .44 caliber. 

In any event, although Sedona proper is a high dollar affair I would think, the area around it has lots of affordable options for staying, as well as the hoity toity resorts. In fact, the in town Best Western Plus has private creek frontage on Oak Creek and some stunning views of the red rocks.

We'll be heading back to Flagstaff and Sedona soon, before the end of the year. We saw cabins on the great road into Sedona, and some appeared as if they might be rentals. They could be Forest Service lease land like in some California forests, but I'm not sure. I found some cabins rented by the Feds in the forest proper, but none of them were the ones we saw along Oak Creek. There were some small motels and resorts and B&B's along that road, and so there are lots of opportunies for places to stay in the area.

Another fine option would be to grab a rental RV, as I saw many of them in this area, in Flagstaff along with a a small 4wd, atv or a dune buggy and get a camping spot along the creek and hit some of the forest lakes that exist.

I can't rave enough about the beauty of Sedona. Really. I had met several great folks from that area at a seminar I spoke at in Seattle a couple of years ago, and they kept telling me that all of Arizona was not dry, flat, sandy and waterless and that they lived in a place with beautiful mountains, lots of creeks, streams and lakes, and tons of trees and forests.

They were right. Coconino County is wonderful.

Saturday, August 4, 2012



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You can read the news release all about this new rifle, the 10/22 USA Shooting Team Rifle at Outdoor Hub 

I'm liking the Ruger Takedown 10/22 more every time I see it. I just saw the USA OLYMPIC SHOOTING TEAM MODEL in blue of the Takedown and have asked my LGS who is a pretty high volume Ruger dealer to get me one. It's a neat rifle and fills a nice niche in my "going fishin" bag that usually as  .22 Hornet/.410 combo, perhaps a .30-30 or an AK, a Glock 9mm and a .22 handgun of some sort. I've always got a .22 rifle of some sort, and you can't go wrong with a Ruger and particularly a 10/22. With the new Ruger made hi cap mags for the 10/22, it's a reliable poor mans assault weapon. If that is all you can afford, it is better than a knife or stick and with an inexpensive laser, flashlight and holo/red dot sight on top, you can literally blast small holes in your target no matter what the defense circumstance. And $20 from each sale goes to the team. It's for, er, EL Fisho Jr, of course. Yeah.


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showing a Walther PP, possibly but not certainly in .22 LR caliber.
picture from showing a .22 LR PPK of the Interarms variety.

I've been wanting a German Interarms imported Walther PPK, PPK/S or PP in .22 LR. I don't know when they stopped importing them, or even if they still make them over there. But I bought one in the mid-70's and was an idiot to trade it but I did lo so many years ago. I want another one. I've seen a few PP's but they had horrid bores and were sorta raggedy looking on the inside. Like they'd had a bad case of restoration gunsmithing. The decent ones I've seen are too rich for my blood, but I know I'll stumble across perhaps a cosmetically challenged shooter for a decent price.

Again, I'll say that S&W should be making the PP series in .22 LR and that they are missing the boat in a huge market. Not only are people buying "look alike" centerfire handguns made in .22 in flocks and droves like the 1911's, Beretta M9 and several other look-a-like guns, and certainly the historic PP series of guns fits into this catagory.

But folks are buying lots of .22 handguns period. And there are many high end and excellent .22's hitting the market lately. Like the Browning version of the 1911, the new Ruger SR22, the newish Ruger SP101 in .22 and a host of other .22's being made right now.

Likewise, folks have been snapping up the quality versions of assault rifles chambered in .22 caliber like hotcakes. They don't seem to say on the shelves long. Umarex/Colt, Walther (under Umarex), H&K (under Umarex), S&W, Sig Sauer...each of these makers are making some really excellent assault rifle and pistol clones that shoot well and shoot reliably.

.22's are great to have around any time you're wanting to do a lot of shooting. It's a cheap caliber and fun to shoot and if you are so inclined, you can stockpile thousands and thousands of rounds for very little money.

So I'm just saying there, Smith and Wesson, you've got the tooling and the factory to make these pistols in .32 and .380...let's see them in .22. I know, it'll take some parts changing for the rimfire firing mechanism and possibly other parts, but the cost would pale in comparison to the R&D of a new gun.



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I almost moved at the chance for some trading on a Desert Eagle in .50 Caliber. The owner wanted way, way below market, because he had not been able to move it at market price and was hard up for buckaroos. But what would I do with such a gun? I have no idea, so I passed on the deal. I enjoy shooting the various magnums, the .357 a lot moreso than any .44 magnums, but shooting a Model 29 is always a pleasure, but just for a shorter time than shooting, say, a Colt Python with magnum loads. Even the well designed S&W 329 PD is not too bad to shoot, but again, I'm not likely to devote as much range time to it as say a Glock 19 or any other number of guns that are vastly more inexpensive to shoot.

Nonetheless, I'd like to have a Desert Eagle if I ever lived in bear country (where I'd be fishing) but now is not the time. Although I did see a guy from Bellaire, Texas on TV some months ago when he scared away some kind of alleged neighborhood perpetrator by simply brandishing that 4 pound +  piece of heavy steel. It's a BIG gun and apparently he was able to convey that idea to the perp and put the quietus on the situation. Bully for him. Back in my police officer days, even though this good citizen wasn't a cop, we would've remarked amongst ourselves that his actions were some "good policin".

I also like the older Automag pistols, and the sort of follow up HUGE PISTOL which was the Wildey. Recently, they had one at a Cabela's in like new condition with a 4" and 6" barrel, a Halliburton hard case, a bunch of extra mags and a holster, and I shoulda put that thing on layaway. It was going for something like $1100, which is under market for a Wildey with one barrel. In that same vein, I like the Coonan .357 Automatic pistols, sort of a 1911 derivative with a big wide grip.

Years ago, I got to shoot all three of the above...the Automag, the Wildey and the Coonan. The Coonan shot the easiest, being in .357, but a 6" Python gives it an even run for it's money. The Automag and Wildey were both in .44 Automag, and yes, they kicked like a peeved mule. But the Automag, for some unknown reason, was more fun, to shoot. However, after messing with the gas adjustment system on the Wildey, I think it's a fine pistol to shoot and perhaps "easier" to shoot than the Automag due to the gas adjustment feature. Either one would be a hoot and might get me interested in metal silhouette shooting again.


Another cool gun that I've always liked was the Automag II in .22 magnum caliber. You can go here to GUNBLAST for a post and review back a few years ago when production of this gun was revived by High Standard. I don't think they are still making them, High Standard, that is. Here's a great article by Paco Kelly, also at Gunblast, about the AMT Automag. It's good reading.

I'd get an Automag II in .30 caliber if I came across it at an extremely good price, but the .22 magnum is the preferred model. .30 caliber is not well suited as a handgun cartridge, as I found with the Ruger Blackhawk years ago in that same caliber. Nonetheless, it's a powerful cartridge, and if you don't mind flames shooting from your handgun, it's a great gun. Plus, surplus ammo is not too bad for the .30.

As I mentioned some months ago, I came across a pristine example of an AMT Automag II  in the long-defunct and impossible to get ammo or even brass in something called "9mm magnum". It was way over priced, simply because it's not a shooter cause there is no ammo for it. Before I realized that it was in this defunct caliber, which I had never heard of and had to google on the spot to find out about it, thinking it might be some rare, euro ammo that would be expensive, I was thinking of what I could bargain this guy down to for a cash deal. Business was slagging at this locale, a tourist haven near Lake of the Ozarks and I feel sure that cash money would've lowered the price. But to me, unless it's a family heirloom or collectors piece, there is no sense owning a gun you can't shoot.

One day, I'll come across one at a decent price. Too bad that the vacation gun was in that funky caliber. It would have been a great gun. Even had an extra magazine with it.


I like the Stoeger Double Defense that they introduced this year in the Over/Under format, in both 12 and 20 gauge. As I've often said, although I do have 12 gauge guns, I'm more of a 20 gauge guy these days. One of these in 20 gauge would be a great woods gun as well as a good home defense gun. Although I prefer an old school parkerized, wood stocked, extended magazine 18" barreled Remington 870 pump for home defense, I see the DD as a great fun gun around farms and ranches and a handy gun to keep in one of those $19.95 nylon shotgun scabbards you can get on ebay or amazon. Keep it in the farm truck or on the tractor and you're ready for any skunk or big snake you might encounter. Side by side or over/under, it appears to be a well constructed gun and I was impressed by the side by side version I got to look at but not shoot.


Most of my skeet and clay shooting is done with an 1100 or an Over/Under, both in 20. Lately, El Fisho Jr used a synthetic stocked Weatherby 20 gauge semi-auto which was quite inexpensive and a great shooter. I don't know what it's called but retail street price is $400 something and it's as described above. I liked the way it felt and it really fit both El Fisho Jr. and I quite well. Our host has a ton of fine shotguns, and I mean really fine O/U and S/S sporting guns from his ancestors and a bunch of pump and auto shotguns from modern makers, and finds himself using the Weatherby cheapie 99% of the time for it's easy recoil. I didn't shoot it enough to really get a feel on the recoil, but it was definitely on the light side compared to what I was expecting.


I used to have a 4" version of the M13, and it's a fine shooting handgun. The 3" version lends itself to concealed carry more than it's brother, the snubnose 2 1/2" Model 19/66, since the 13/65 has fixed sights. I've always liked the look of the bull barrel, and it's a solid K frame that feels familiar and like an old friend in the hand. It's a grip you're familiar with if you've shot K frames.

Ideally, I'd like to have a RB version of this gun in either blue (13) or stainless (65) with the 3" barrel. Good enough for field carry and field use with the 3" barrel, and also a good concealment gun. This is the version that the FBI briefly adopted in the early 80's before moving to semi-autos. I've seen the gun of my dreams but it's priced at about double what it should be, or at least 30% too much taking into account it's fine condition. A nickle 3" version. It hasn't sold at the shot it's at for well over a year, but there is no bargainin' on it.

It's a solid gun, and I'd be happy with a well carried and worn but little shot police trade in. I've seen them lately with 4" barrels but none with the 3".

There's a Ladysmith version of the M65 that's significantly lighter than the regular Model 13's and has a RB and some kind of stainless finish. That's the gun I'd like to find. I've been seeing a ton of Ladysmith Model 60's, a great gun in itself, and a bunch of Model 10's both new and police trade ins, but only one 4" M13 in many years.


Speaking of 3" barrels, I'd love to find a 3" Python barrel. Colt made at least one small run, I think from the custom shop, of these guns with the 3" barrel. I recall seeing 3" barreled Pythons for sale in the Shotgun News about 1983 or so and they were called the California Special or the California Python or something like that.
I'd surely like to have a 3" barrel, or even a 4" barrel, to put on a project gun. I recently vied for a 4" version on ebay, and lost. But it's that 3" version I really want.

I am very impressed with this very inexpensive rifle. My LGS owner, who is a trained gunny and quite knowledgeable about repairs and construction of bolt action centerfire rifles of some quality, took one of these apart for a group of us and showed us why it was a superior gun destined to last for generations. My friend has one in .270, and it's a great shooter. I want one in .223, but they're not making that caliber yet, so a .243 would be the closest you could come. It's also in .30-06.

A very impressive rifle for very little money.


I've seen one. Every gun shop I know has a waiting list for them. Well constructed with everything you need in a 1911 and nothing you don't. Solid steel. Shoots like a 1911 should. Reasonably priced and that Ruger feel and quality that tells you it'll be around for your grandkids' grandkids' to shoot. So engrave your name on it and 150 years from now your kin will be talking about you. I think you can do that with pretty much any of the old school Rugers and this one.


Although not true to the west, one of these in reasonable condition of the 3rd generation in .38/.357 would be a great gun to have. That four click cocking mechanism. This caliber is much cheaper to shoot than .44 or .45 or any of the less popular calibers like .44-40 and the .357 is quite an effective round. 

There's one gun shop that has a nice, early 80's nickle version with someone's three initials largely engraved on the right side of the receiver. That wouldn't bother me, and perhaps one could get some "cover up" engraving done such as tattooists do with cover up tattoos. Then again, I don't think having some prior owners initials would be a biggie. Again, a shooter not some museum piece. It's somewhat reasonably priced due to it's pristine condition, but they could take another couple of hundred off of it since it's not going to ever be a collectors gun.


I just think this would be an incredibly fun gun to have and so cheap to shoot.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Mentors, I guess, are mostly heralded for the young, those seeking to start or beginning in a certain field of endeavor. You could be a doctor, a lawyer, a gunsmith, an auto mechanic and it doesn't matter, a mentor in your field is generally a good bet towards future success.

Likewise, many have academic mentors, and if you're (I think) an especially wise human, you end up with a mentor or two in life itself.

Like some, I'm blessed to have a father and mother who served as excellent life and career mentors. Many of the intangible things I picked up along the way, hanging out from childhood with my dad as a prosecutor and criminal defense/civil/marital law attorney pop up all the time as solutions to my issues.

As one former mentor of mine used to say, doing the right thing is easy, but sometimes the hard thing is figuring out what the right thing to do is.

Ironically, that former mentor from about 20 years ago got disbarred recently for neglecting the cases of his private practice clients. Such is life. Although that fellow had some excellent career directed advice that has indeed served me well over the past several decades, obviously his later career actions were not meant to be imitated. In his case, a long standing mental illness came to the forefront as he aged into middle age, and the medications that had been effective as a younger man ceased to function and my former mentor chose to self-medicate. His marriage and career went out the window as we watched, slowly over the years, and despite intervention efforts, there was no stopping his path into destructiveness.

Such is the case sometimes when human beings are involved in the vagaries of life. Despite his personal issues 10 years after he served as a mentor to me, his initial professional advice for prosecutors to always to do the right thing still rings true.

As a young prosecutor, one of my chief mentors was a defense attorney I'll call Matlock, simply because he possessed that same ability that Andy Griffith did to talk to juries. I tried, and lost, many of my first inital cases with Matlock, all DWI cases with no test evidence as to the level of alcohol in the defendant's body. These cases are what many prosecutors nationwide cut their teeth on. Like me, he had been a cop briefly before going to law school, and then had been practicing law since I was seven years old.

In those years that he practiced as a trial lawyer from the time I was seven until I was his adversary in court, Matlock picked up a few tricks of the trade. In addition to having a sparkling personality that folks liked despite his occupation, as a lawyer he was a storyteller extraordinaire. Although I had mentors that were prosecutors, many of my mentors over the past 3 decades have been defense attorneys, in terms of their trial skills and abilities.

The past few years, after relocating from "the big city" to a smaller area, I began having lunch with an interesting group of fellows who have become mentors to me. The three former district attorneys from our area are all still alive and are all friends. Two of them lunch together several times weekly at the same spot. Whenever possible, I take them up on kind invitations to join them.

None of this group ever ran against each other or was "unelected". They each served as DA until they were ready to quit and then did and another fellow took up the mantle.

Of course, the storytelling alone is worth the price of admission.
The most recent former DA is usually more interesting in his daily golfing at this point in his retirement, and I can't blame him at all. After years of homicides and crimes against children and violent, bloody cases, it's nice to think about more pleasant things in life such as golf or fishing. This fellow often has great advice for me, but again, he is scarce to find unless you're out on the links with him.

The elder of the former DA's is in his eighties, although you'd guess he was in his early sixties with his good physical and mental health. His name is Jimmy. He insists on being called Jimmy. When El Fisho Jr. joins us fr a meal, he insists that El Fisho Jr. address him as Jimmy instead of Mr. So and So. After serving in WWII in the final days, Jimmy went to college and law school and some sixty odd years ago became DA in our county.

I asked him one day why he quit being DA. He said he didn't want to enforce the then draconian laws against marijuana. Then, almost any amount including a seed, of marijuana was a felony in Texas. Prison time. With the advent of the sixties and seventies, more and more kids were getting caught in his area, and he didn't think that was an offense worth branding someone a felon or possibly having to send them to prison for if they violated their probation. So off to private practice he went, resigning after several decades of being the elected DA. That was an answer to my question that I didn't expect.

Next in line as DA was his then assistant, who I call Matlock Jr. Matlock Jr was not only Jimmy's successor in office but they are still friends and they are the two who I frequently join for lunch dates. Matlock Jr. introduced me to Jimmy, and told me he was a great storyteller with great stories. That was all he had to say to get me hooked.

Although Jimmy is still a name partner in the big firm in town, he rarely practices, and if he does, it's an office practice matter like some bigtime real estate deal or something. His protege, Matlock Jr., is another interesting fellow. He stutters and stammers to some degree in normal conversation. Prior to trying my first case against Matlock Jr. some years ago, I wondered how he would stumble through the trial. Not only did he at times stutter and stammer, he sometimes had difficulting focusing on being able to express ideas or stories others had related.

Well, all that disappears when Matlock Jr. gets in front of a jury. His thoughts become clear as ice, and all that stuttering and stammering disappears. He becomes, to paraphrase my Governer, a smooth talking Mo Fo.

Matlock Jr. and I did not have an instant friendship. He is one of the more experienced trial lawyers in town, and thus he and I have tried numerous serious cases like murders and child molestation and aggravated (with a gun) robbery cases together.

Early in our relationship, when we were not yet buddies, we were trying a serious case. I used a legal tactic that was standard practice where I came from, yet the judge and Matlock Jr. were unfamiliar with it. In fact, Matlock Jr. became so incensed that he proclaimed me the most unethical prosecutor he'd ever met in 40 some odd years of practicing law, and he did so in front of the jury. That's getting serious in my business.

The judge adjourned the court to call some other judges for some opinions on my tactics, as did Matlock Jr. Matlock Jr. called some top trial lawyer friends in big cities like Dallas and Houston. He found out that my actions were indeed standard in those areas and had been for decades. The judge found out the same.

Upon coming back into court and bringing the jury back into the room, Matlock Jr. first apologized to me in front of the jury, then began telling the jury how he was wrong on the issue and had been extremely wrong in his statements about me and my ethics. He profusely apologized to me and the jury.

After the trial was over, he went and apologized to my boss, who was unaware of the whole deal. He went on to say that in retrospect, he wished he had had someone like me working for him when he was district attorney. You can't ask for more than that in terms of an apology, particularly as a trial lawyer when something like this occurs in a heated trial. It generally never happens.

At that point, Matlock Jr. and I became good friends. I still try to send his violent clients to prison for as long as necessary, but we do have a mutual admiration society. Recently, Matlock Jr. encouraged me to run for judge, and even offered to pay the $1,500 filing fee. We've been threatening to write a book together, as we both have many good stories to tell about our profession and the lives that have come in and out of our professions during our careers.

Point is, even though I've been practicing law for several decades, sometimes it's nice to have an older, more experienced (in life and in law) sounding board for those most difficult cases or situations. Jimmy and Matlock Jr. are now my mentors, and I couldn't be in better hands. And neither could the citizenry.