Guns and Hunting
One Second After by William Forstchen is the single most terrifying, realistic, dystopian novel I have read in my life. After the Bible, this is the One Book You Must Read This Year. Soon. Now. This book is very carefully researched and is extremely accurate, detailed, and emotionally charged. If you have a weak stomach, be prepared to puke as you read it. But you Must read it. If you cry easily as you read a real tear- jerker then get a box of Kleenex. In fact, by a case of Kleenex, they will come in handy later. You’ll see. I read Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon, and Nevil Shute’s On the Beach as a kid, along with Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and various other novels with a dystopian bent. See my review of Anthem by Ayn Rand here:
As horrifying as those novels were, One Second After hits so close to home and is so realistic that it literally kept me awake last night, all night, even though I laid the book aside at 2100. This book is making me change some priorities.
The story takes place in the typical small college town of Black Mountain, North Carolina.
A former Infantry Colonel in the Army, Dr. John Matherson, is a history professor at Montreat College and is thrust into city leadership when an EMP bomb goes off over the country wiping out all electric power and electronic devices. America is instantly plunged into the darkness of the 19th century unprepared. Forstchen walks you through the difficulties this small town faces in the first days, weeks, months, and the first year. It is not a pretty scene; it will disturb you like nothing else you have read. There is no happy ending here.
The author sets up the crisis beautifully by giving a splendid background to the town and the professor’s family. It’s his youngest daughter’s birthday, Jennifer, and when he is talking on the phone with his daughter’s godfather, a general from the Pentagon, he hears shouting and panic in the background and the general has to leave hurriedly, the cell phone goes dead, along with everything electric in the house. Their first thought is another power outage, but it affects his daughter’s diabetes blood monitor too and just one of the tragedies of this book of tragedies is set up.
Still thinking it is just a power outage Professor Matherson cooks the hamburgers on the grill in preparation for Jennifer’s party when she makes one of the scariest observations: “Hey Dad, something strange…Listen.” He stood there silent for a minute…”I don’t hear anything.” “That’s it, Dad, There’s no traffic noise from the Interstate.” He turned and faced towards the road…but she was right; there was absolute silence.
The next terrible tremor came when the professor looks up at the evening sky and realizes he sees no jet contrails, not one, and they are on the route to Atlanta so there are always 2-3 jets in the sky, always. Next, he sees the smoke from distant fires in the mountains that were not right. “The chill…it reminded him of 9/11.”
When Jennifer’s grandmother, Jen, drives up in her classic Ford Edsel she announces, “Damndest thing. Power’s out up at the nursing home. And you should see the interstate, cars just sittin all over the place, not moving.” This sets up more tragedies.
The professor and his mother in law decide to drive into town to pick up Matherson’s 16 year old daughter who should have been home by now. As soon as they get to the Interstate, however, the Professor realizes the problem is bigger as he sees all the cars stalled. Notably, he takes this trip without a gun. That will change. On this brief trip to the highway, he sees his daughter walking home with her boyfriend, but then, a beautiful woman in business attire comes to the fence and tries to get him to take her into town since his car is working and her BMW is not (yet another theme- shiny new cars become worthless, old junkers and classics priceless). He turns her down, along with many others asking for help. (Yet another couple of themes introduced that are carried throughout the whole novel.) Yes there is a love story that is developed in the book, two actually, and there is joy and tragedy accompanying them both.
In chapter 3 there is an encounter between John and the convenience store owner and John tells Hamid to stash his remaining cigarettes as an investment. This encounter comes up again and again in the book, but ultimately, in the next to the last chapter we read this, John sees a teenager with a stand set up downtown selling two plump squirrels and a rabbit. the going price was 7 bullets for a squirrel and 20 bullets for the rabbit. “John’s earlier prediction that cigarettes might very well become currency had been wrong. Nearly every last one had been smoked long ago….It was bullets that were now the currency of choice, espcially .22 and shotgun shells.” (p.317). It is interesting that as I write this, the ammunition shelves at all sporting goods stores are bare. Ever since the election of Barack Obama, there has been a run on guns and ammo. That brief episode points forward to the extreme scarcity that will soon exist, the return to a barter economy, and the value of bullets and wild game. Even our addictions, like cigarettes, will pass away as people try to just survive.
It is on Day 2 that John goes in to the town and meets with the police chief, Tom, and Charlie Fuller the Director of Public Safety and the Mayor Kate Lindsey. In that meeting John brings up EMP and gives them a copy of an old paper he had presented with one section on EMP. “EMP. Electromagnetic Pulse. Its the byproduct of a nuclear detonation.” “We’ve been nuked?” Kate asked, obviously startled. “I think so.” (p.63).
On p.71 they start to talk about priorities, security is mentioned, and water. They realize that without refrigeration food will be a problem. But they act too late in many regards, and it has not even been 24 hrs.
Another theme emerges in this meeting with an attempt by the Chief to take over John’s Edsel since it is running and none of the police cars are. John very coldly tells him “That car is mine, my family’s. You declaring martial law?” “I think we’ll have t, ” Kate said quietly. “When you do, come and try and take it, Tom.” “What do you mean try?” “Just that, Just try.” The theme is Martial Law, freedom for the individual vs.the needs of the State in an emergency. This conflict will continue throughout the book.
The Professor leaves the meeting and goes to the college where we are introduced to Washington Parker, a Marine veteran who runs campus security. He is already thinking and organizing the college kids into a security force. He is one of the heroes of the story.
The next scene suddenly shows how serious things are getting and again, sets the tone for the rest of the book. The place is the drugstore where John is going to try to pick up some insulin for his little girl, Jennifer. The drug store is now a mob scene and John has to get violent with a violent man. this sets up three strands of the story: John is a man of action and violence when needed, John is trying to save his little girl’s life, and he gets injured thus setting the stage for his relationship with the woman from the BMW whom he refused to give a ride to the previous night. Makala Turner is a nurse and is one of the heroines of the story. The themes are: looting mobs, violence, medicine and love.
The author takes us through the various survival strategies as the crisis deepens until the climax of the story with a large battle between the town’s militia and a roving Posse of druggies and gangsters who are also resorting to cannibalism. Cannibalism is another theme in Forstchen’s other books (see The Lost Regiment series- one of my all time favorite sci fi series.)
I will not go through all the episodes, but I do want to address several of the topics that come up.
FIRST, there is the stubborn disbelief of the evidence by Dr. Matherson and everyone else. Nobody initially wants to say what the problem is and everyone thinks it will clear up by the next day. This, too, is a theme that is carried through to the end of the book in the last chapter when Col. Matherson has a discussion with the general leading the first relief column to reach Black Mountain, a year later. When disaster strikes, especially a sudden, yet gradual disaster as an EMP blast, where the true ramifications are felt out gradually over a year’s time, people go into denial. FAILURE TO ACT IN THE FIRST 24 HOURS IN A FEW KEY WAYS CAUSED MORE OF A DISASTER. P.37 “There was a thought, but it was too disturbing to contemplate right now. He wanted to believe that it was just a weird combination of coincidences, a power failure that might be regional, and would ground most flights due to air traffic control. Maybe it was some sort of severe solar storm, potent enough to trigger a massive short circuit; a similar event happened up in Canada several years ago.” Lesson #1 ACCEPT REALITY AND ACT IMMEDIATELY ON THE NEW TRUTH. Hesitation by Professor Matheson and others in leadership caused some serious problems.
LESSON #2: ESTABLISH SECURITY OVER THE KEY LOCATIONS AND ASSETS IMMEDIATELY, IN THE FIRST 24 HOURS AT LEAST, FIRST 8 HRS PREFERABLY. Failure to secure the drug stores and grocery stores immediately led to a chaotic looting spree. City government must recognize the severity of the crisis and act accordingly. BUT, police forces are nowhere near big enough to do this job. THIS IS WHERE A MILITIA MUST BE USED. THERE IS NO TIME TO GET THE NATIONAL GUARD MOBILIZED AT THE STATE LEVEL.
LESSON#3: THIS KIND OF A CATASTROPHE CALLS FOR MARTIAL LAW. SECURITY IS THE FIRST PRIORITY.
LESSON #4: SECURE WATER, FOOD, FUEL, MEDICAL SUPPLIES.
LESSON #5: THE NURSING HOMES, HOSPITALS, MEDICINE DEPENDENT PEOPLE, ELDERLY, ILL AND VERY YOUNG WILL DIE OFF RAPIDLY IN THE FIRST WEEK. YOU MUST TRIAGE THE PEOPLE, KNOW WHO IS GOING TO HELP THE COMMUNITY AND BE SURE THEY SURVIVE. THE OTHERS WILL JUST DIE. Late in the book the city leaders realize they will run out of food and all will starve so they give less food to the non-essential people while the essential people, the young college students who have formed the militia for example, get more food because they are doing the hardest work. Harsh, but realistic.
Again, the nursing home scene will make you puke and/or cry. It is graphic, unpleasant, but you have to read it.
LESSON #6: Guns and ammunition will be essential for hunting and for defending against thieves and for defending the city against the roving gangs and “armies” that will form.
LESSON 7: Cleanliness and sanitation will be essential to prevent epidemics. Though the book did not go into this much, but it did a little, the loss of working sewers for a lot of people causes a big problem. Imagine the large Apartment Complexes in your city with 3, 4 or more stories. Water shuts down, sewer shuts down. Where will people go to relieve themselves? What happens when toilet paper runs out in a couple of days? Large Apartment complexes will become stinking hell-holes in 3 days.
LESSON 8: In the novel, because it was a college town, there were some students and professors who knew enough about local plants to begin foraging for food. They harvested dandelions and mushrooms. In an urban environment, can you do that? The woods of North Carolina were all around so hunting squirrels, rabbits, deer, game birds and even bears and wild hogs was readily available…until all the animals were killed off. In the big city there are squirrels, rabbits, pigeons and dove, but not much else.
LESSON 9: The book stresses neighbor helping neighbor, small towns defending themselves against the masses of people traveling on the highways exiting the big cities. Time and again it was stated that people in cities flocked to the countryside thinking that more food was available, when the reality was…they were starving too. In other words, the local geographic unit must bind together quickly, and be prepared to defend itself, fend for itself, and feed itself. Some natural alliances are possible with communities right next together as in the book.
LESSON 10: Leaving home, leaving the big city, seems like a good idea at first, but proves to be a very BAD idea. If you live in a city and have nowhere close to go like a lake house, grandpa’s house, stay put.
LESSON 11: The small towns let in some of the traveling folks who had good job skills needed, nurse Makala for example. Lawyers, accountants and bankers, etc. were useless and not accepted. They died on the road.
LESSON 12: Maintaining our cultural values and form of government in an extremely bad situation. Yes they declare martial law quickly and do have a community feeding program, militia, hospital, etc. But they do keep some private property and freedom. They allow those with a reserve of food to keep it, they just cannot eat at the public feeding until they run out of food at home (and a search will be made). John is allowed to keep his car and a pilot who has an older airplane keeps his plane but runs missions for the town. When it is time to try criminals they are given a brief trial, then executed. Col. Matherson becomes the executioner since he is at first not a part of the city government or Police Force. He gives a couple of good speeches along the way to the townspeople to keep them from descending into barbarism.
LESSON 13: Religion is kept in an important role by the author. Good pastors and Christians are praised, prayer and religious services are observed.
LESSON 14: Our society has a lot of people with mental illnesses who are on medications for same. What happens when their meds run out?
OVERALL LESSON: OUR SOCIETY IS A VERY COMPLEX TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY THAT IS EXTREMELY FRAGILE. IF A DISASTER HAPPENS, YOU HAVE TO SURVIVE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY IN YOUR POSSESSION AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, HEALTH AND DETERMINATION TO SURVIVE. IN THIS BOOK, 80% DIE OFF IN THE FIRST YEAR.
As a committed Christian I found this book to be faith friendly. Yes, there were some curse words and the Lord’s name was used in vain a few times. The violence is quite brutal and graphic, but not gratuitous; it is an essential part of what the book is trying to teach. Positive values are stressed and sins, such as selfishness are portrayed realistically and with consequences. No one is ideal here, all are shown to be sinners, but many are portrayed as noble, sacrificing their lives in combat and through starvation so that others might live. Justice is portrayed, as is mercy. The Bible portrays warfare very realistically in various places but none so graphically as in 2 Kings 6-7 where a siege is underway in Samaria and the people are starving. It is prudent for Christians, even in the comfort and luxury of our modern day, to prepare for what Forstchen says might happen.
This book serves as a serious wake up call to America and it should be read by every American. Our politicians need to be shaken awake. Action needs to be taken today. But don’t count on it. Another lesson from the book, Help doesn’t come from the Federal Government until the last chapter. Prepare yourself and your family.
Here are some links:
First is Forstchen’s homepage-
An article on EMP:
And here is a scary news story about how our enemies, Iran for one, are already working on this weapon:
Here is a review of the book by Mark Steyn:
Here is an update that reveals that our military has neglected the hardening of their computers and comm gear in recent decades, not taking a limited nuclear war seriously:
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As the darkness gathered after sunset a chorus of coyotes began their mournful calling, first one, then another, then a dozen. The lovely yet haunting cries of the coyotes are one of life’s purest joys when hunting and camping in the wilderness of North Texas. Last Friday, Good Friday, my son, Jeremy, and I went to our friend’s ranch by Stephenville, TX for an evening of hunting wild hogs, and while we waited in vain for the pigs, the accompanying music of the coyotes was a blessing sent from God not soon to be forgotten.
Armed with his Marlin .30-30 and a scope, Jeremy was to the right at the edge of the treeline, about 130 yards from the feeder where the hogs normally gather after sunset. I was to the left and closer, but only by about 20 yards, standing behind a small, stumpy mesquite tree armed with my Mossberg 590 shotgun in 12 ga. stoked with one slug followed by 000 buck.
While we walked to the favorite hunting site we saw one little cottontail in the road. It waited til we got within 10 yards before he hopped away; even then, he just went 10 more yards down the trail. As we continued, he finally decided to move on out of the area. We did a quick survey of the area around the feeder and saw no activity, so we waited. And waited.
The coyotes sang to us twice, once about 20 minutes after sunset and again about 20 minutes later. A few dogs belatedly joined in, but they were an octave lower and in the wrong key. The dissonance was disquieting. Somebody a couple miles away was moving around in a 4 wheeler. The darkness grew too thick, the full moon had not risen yet and the light layer of clouds shielded enough of the stars so that Jeremy could no longer see through his scope. We headed back to camp.
Arriving an hour before sunset we had had plenty of time to set up our two tents and bedrolls. The landowner has one particular area with a picnic pavillion that he allows us to camp on. After pitching our tents we set up the Coleman stove and got out the coffee pot for the next morning, then we headed out on our futile hunt. When we got back to camp I began to get ready for bed as 9:30 was late enough for me after rising at 0330 that morning to head to work. Jeremy is used to the late hours as he works second shift so he was going to wait for friend Mark who was due in at 10pm.
I was not quite asleep when I heard Mark’s truck pull up. He went to his camping spot and then in about an hur he and Jeremy went back out to spotlight some pigs. I went to sleep and slept OK, but never heard any gun shots. About 1am they returned, again not seeing any hogs at all (I learned the next morning).
While hunting the previous evening, along with the howling coyotes, we heard the alert call of the whip-poor-will. All night long, whenever I briefly awakened, I heard the song of the whip-por-will in the distance. Thankfully it was in the distance. Once, when I was a child and camping in Colorado, we had a whip-poor-will very close to us. Not much sleep for us that night, they are loud! But I find the call of the whip-poor-will to be very comforting at night. It is a unique sound that speaks of the dark beauty of the night time woods and wilderness. You do not hear these birds in the city. They are all wild and solitary. When I hear the whip-poor-will I know that man has not encroached too far, yet. The wilderness remains. I can think of the first man, Adam, and his bride, sleeping under the stars in that Garden of God long ago, falling asleep to the cry of the whip-poor-will.
I awoke about 0400 and dozed intermittently for a while. At some time well before dawn the turkeys began gobbling from their roosts in the trees around us. Gobbles arose from the NE, the East, and SE; we were half way surrounded by turkeys. It is an amazing thing to listen to and watch turkeys. Though not really a “cute” bird, Ben Franklin wanted to make the Turkey the national bird. Thankfully that effort failed, else the environmentalists would likely ban their hunting. But turkeys are the premier game bird in North America. Old Toms are notoriously wiley and difficult to call in. The first European settlers and explorers of North America reported some of the turkeys weighing in excess of 60 lbs. I remember my father bagging a wild turkey for Thanksgiving once when I was a small child. I have watched a group of Toms engaging in one-on-one combat in a small clearing in the woods once.
I tried to get Jeremy up so we could go hunt turkey before dawn, but he was too tired, having not gotten to bed til after 1am from his night pig hunt. I could have gone by myself but chose instead to stay in camp and just listen to these regal birds gobble incessantly til well after sunrise.
I heated some water on my coleman 2 burner stove and then poured it into a cup with some instant coffee. I don’t much like instant coffee. It doesn’t really taste like coffee despite what all the commercials will tell you. But I always relish the thought of drinking a cup of hot instant coffee in the out of doors while camping. The bitter taste, sipped carefully from a metal cup in the pre-dawn darkness in the woods evokes fond (?) memories of my days in the Army.
The eastern sky was brightening so I got into the truck, facing east, to watch the sunrise. With mostly overcast skies there was a bit of a gap at the horizon, just enough of a gap to allow the suns rays to change the clouds from black, to grey, to purple, orange and pink. It was a glorious sunrise accompanied by the turkeys and now the soft calling of the mourning doves and the bright chirping of countless other avians.
This morning was too beautiful to waste without reading from the Scriptures. It called for a reading from Genesis 1:
The Creation of the World
1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse  in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made  the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.  And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,  and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants  yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,  and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds  fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man  in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
The Seventh Day, God Rests
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Then I moved on to the Psalms and read ch.19:
The Law of the Lord Is Perfect
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above  proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice  goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, 
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules  of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Reading these passages while watching the sun rise and listening to the birds was deeply moving. I thanked God for the beauty of his creation.
Of course, being Easter weekend, and being in the Psalms now, I moved over a page or two to Psalm 22:
Why Have You Forsaken Me?
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.
22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises  of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet —
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted  shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.
I confessed my sinfulness to the LORD and thanked him for the Salvation he has wrought in the perfect life and the atoning death of his Son, Jesus. I looked forward to joining my church family the next day to celebrate the resurrection.
This wilderness experience was an excellent way to prepare for a glorious time of worshiping the resurrected Lord the following day.
If you want a reliable, accurate jacketed hollow point self-defense round for your concealed carry pistol or revolver, you need to try the newest bullet from Hornady, the Critical Defense FTX. This bullet has solved the problem that hollowpoints have had for years- the hollowed out area in the front of the bullet gets plugged with dry material, like clothing, and then the bullet fails to properly expand. The Hornady Critical Defense FTX offers reliable expansion even through a thick winter coat.
Yesterday I went to the range at The Shooter’s Club in Fort Worth with my son Jeremy and friend Erich.
Erich and Jeremy both had new pistols they were wanting to try out and I was needing some practice with my S&W Mod. 66. But I was also eager to try out some new ammo that Jeremy had turned me on to, the Hornady Critical Defense FTX.
Friday after work I pulled into the Grapevine Academy store to pick up some ammo. They were basically out of all target ammo for the .380 and 9mm and .38 Special. The had almost no pistol ammo and were out of .308 rifle ammo. This was a little bit disconcerting. I had heard that there has been a run on guns and ammo since the election of B. Husseing Obamasky, but this was ridiculous. They did have some Hornady Critical Defense FTX in .380 so I picked up a box. At $25 a box, I only got the one box of 25 rds. I picked up a box of Winchester 147gr. 9mm because that was all they had. Voof!
We got to The Shooter’s Club at about 1130 Saturday and they had several firing lanes open, but right after we bought our tickets, a lot more people came in and filled the place up. We were just in time!
I have been to most of the shooting ranges in the Fort Worth area and The Shooters Club is definitely one of the best. The staff are always fun to talk with and knowledgeable and the range is a good solid, workable indoor range.
The three of us went to our assigned lanes and began unpacking. I had brought 3 handguns: my Ruger P-89, which I ended up not shooting, my S&W Mod 66, and my Taurus PT-58 in .380 ACP. Jeremy provided the ride to the range and the targets and soon we were all three sending bullets down range.
Jeremy was trying out his new Taurus PT-111 Millenium Pro 9mm which he had shot once before but had some technical failures and had to send it in to get fixed. He got it back not long ago and now was ready to really test it out. He shot well with a small variety of ammo and really likes it.
He tried one box of the Hornady Critical Defense ammo and had no problems. But his Millenium did have 1 failure to fire with American Eagle ammo. As soon as he squeezed the trigger again it fired.
Next, Jeremy switched to his Glock 19 in 9mm and fired another couple of boxes.
I had two goals for today’s training. 1) With my model 66 over the years I have noticed that 95% of the time I shoot it on single action. With a 6″ barrel, it is not a concealed carry gun, but I do carry it when I am hog hunting as my back up. On single action I can hit a man sized target at about 75 yards. But I need to practice it on double action, so that was the goal today.
My second goal was to shoot the box of 25 rds of Hornady Critical Defense in my Taurus PT-58 to see if it would function with this bullet. I had previously had some trouble with Hornady XTP rounds jamming my .380 so I stopped carrying that bullet in favor of Winchester Silvertips and Remington Golden Sabres, my two favorite hollow-points.
I pulled out the Model 66 first and I took out a box of 100 rds of .38 special FMJ 130 grain bullets. I decided to conduct this training with the lower recoil .38s and next time move up to the .38 +P and then later move up to .357mag.
I put up a target and ran it out to about 7 yards. My plan was to fire 3 rds quickly, 2 to the chest in a point shoot style very fast, the 3rd round aimed at the head, but still very quickly. The goal was to get 3 rds in the kill zone in 2 seconds or less. This would be very different from the Qual ranges for my security officer’s license that was run very slowly with timed shoots with a ridiculous amount of time so that we could take a sure steady aim with each round. Today, I was going for speed first, but I wanted to see how that speed affected my accuracy.
I fired the first box of 50 at 7 yards and here is my score:
7 ring- 1
8 ring- 6
9 ring- 12
10 ring- 13
X ring- 7
Miss- 1 (head shot)
Total 56 rds.
Now that is not great shooting, a lot of guys could put all the rounds in the 9 or 10 ring at 7 yds. But, I was happy with my speed and accuracy. The one shot that missed the head, I knew immediately that I had pulled it out without taking aim. If I had been shooting that round at the body it would have been in the 8 ring; but if you are going to take a head shot, you had better aim every time.
The next box of .38s I moved the target all the way back to the 10 yard range. The only problem with The Shooter’s Club is that their range only goes to 10 yards.
At this range here is my score:
Outer edge (6 ring?) -1 (I immediately knew I had pulled this one out, it still hit the perp in the arm)
7 ring- 1
8 ring- 8
9 ring- 12
10 ring- 6
X ring- 4
Head- 11 with 2 misses (and one of those would have taken off his ear)
All in all I was satisfied with this bit of training. My goal for next time, besides upping the power to +P, is to have ZERO misses. At Ten yards it is simply unacceptable to miss with even a head shot.
After those hundred rounds I laid my Mod. 66 aside to cool off and pulled out my Taurus .380. A lot of people who write for gun mags always enjoy discounting the .380. I like this diminutive round a lot because I can fire it accurately and not have to worry about over-penetration and liability concerns that entails. The guy next to me on the range was firing .357 Sig ammo. That is an excellent round, but I am not sure I would carry that for personal defense unless we had a TEOTWAWKI situation or if I was hog huntin’.
I have had my Taurus PT-58 since 1994 and it is wonderful and reliable pistol. It is about th largest .380 ever made I guess, but with a 12 and 1 capacity, it has to be large.
All I wanted to do this morning was test it with the 25 rounds of Hornady I had purchased because my prior experience with Hornady had not been good with this pistol.
I loaded up the magazine and set the target at 7 yards. I kept the same firing sequence I had used with the Mod. 66, two rounds center of mass fired Very quickly with just a point shoot, then 1 bullet aimed at the head, but all in 2 seconds or less. After firing those 12 rds I loaded the remaining 13 and pushed the target out to 10 yds and repeated the exercise. I did not change targets this time like I did with the .38s but here is my score:
7 ring-1 (and that was dead center, below the Adam’s apple)
8 ring- 6
9 ring- 6
10 ring- 2
X ring- 1
Head – 9
That score doesn’t tell the whole story. With the .38 my groups were pretty big, but all those were double action. Now with the .380 my group was very tight, the dispersion was up and down, but all centered. The double action first round on every 3 round set shot lower in the group, but the lowest bullet was the 1 round in the X ring! The group was about 4″ wide but centered where the heart would be. The head shots were also more tightly grouped than with the S&W mod 66, but all the .380 head shots were fired on single action.
I had NO misfires or jams with the Hornady Critical Defense FTX rounds. These 90 grain jhp bullets leave the muzzle at about 1000 fps and have about 200 foot pounds of energy. Hitting where I was hitting, and not one miss, I am confident that each shot would have stopped an aggressor cold.
Now before I can whoop and hollar about the new Hornady bullets, I will have to test 1 or two more boxes with my Taurus and then get 2-3 boxes for my wife’s Sig P-230. I quite simply will not trust a new type of ammo until I have fired at least 50 rounds through the gun, and 75-100 is better. But at $1 a bullet for .380…..Voof! I will have to go slow ’cause that will break my very limited shooting budget. So far I am very impressed with this new offering by Hornady.
Go to the website I have linked above to see how the round actually works. If this bullet tests good in my two .380’s, I will start loading the Hornady bullets in all my guns!
The shoot at the range was a good time for the three of us. We went back to the house and had some hot tea and talked about guns, politics, books and religion, a great time!
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
My Level III Security Commission Card is coming up for renewal, so last Wednesday I took a trip into Dallas to receive my semi-annual training at DFW Gun Range, the firm my company, Allied-Barton always uses here in the DFW Metroplex.
I have been attending training at DFW Gun Range since 2004 and have never been disappointed in the instruction. I highly recommend them, check out their web site above, then stop by and see what they have to offer.
Since I do not work an armed post this bit of training was paid for me, myself, and I, and I had to provide my own firearm instead of the Glock 19 the company issues. That morning I took my Ruger P-89 with me for my requalification shoot. I was not to be disappointed.
I have been a Level III or IV security officer since 1985 and have qualified with a variety of firearms over the years including a S&W mod. 65, 66, a Sig P-228, a Glock 19 and now my Ruger P-89. I have always shot a very high qualification score, usually within just 2-3 points of perfect. Before you think I am a great pistol shot (I am not!) you have to understand that the standards for security officers in the state of Texas are embarrassingly low.
A few years ago I was at the qual range 3 times in about a two year period and shot with my Ruger, then the Sig and finally with the Glock. I fired a 247 with my Ruger, 248 with the Sig and 249 with the Glock. I fell in love with the Glock and could tell it was ergonomically the superior gun. The problem that I and my other two officers had with the brand new company issued Glocks was the last round in the magazines failed to feed with an alarming regularity. 3 new Glocks, 9 new mags, 3 officers, and we all had the same problem. My problem with the Sig was that the finish rusted if I sneezed hard. My Ruger, though nowhere near as comfortable to shoot, has been utterly and completely reliable since 1994 when I purchased it new (purchased because of the Clinton Gun/Magazine ban; I think I bought about 10 guns that year). The Ruger, though it has never jammed or misfired in 14 years and thousands of rounds fired, is simply not quite as accurate as the Sig or Glock. Until this past week!
Perhaps it is because I have fired so many rounds through it over a long period of time, and that I have recently been practicing with it, but whatever the reason this past week I shot a perfect 250 for my requal. I think that is the first perfect score I have ever shot on the course. And, my grouping was the best I have ever shot, with the exception of when I was shooting the Glock. This time I only had three flyers and all three stayed within the 8 ring which still scores as 5pts. I completely tore out the center of the target.
But before I go patting myself on the back for my superior shooting skills, you need to know that in my class, despite my perfect score and my tight group, I was the 4th best shooter! Two other Allied Barton guys outshot me- their groups were way tighter than mine. One other guy had a 249, so I technically out scored him, but his group was so tight that I really think the doufus next to him shot at the wrong target. Seriously. The hole was down at the bottom of the paper. This guy was a retired Army Infantry Master Sergeant, from the 82nd Airborne, and could shoot. There is no way he pulled that one bullet so low. By the way, he was using a Ruger as well, but his was a newer model P-94 maybe. The Allied Barton guys were both shooting Glock 19s and one, the best shot of us all, had multiple jams. What’s up with the Glocks these days? Anyone else have this trouble?
All in all it was a good day of training and I was satisfied with how my P-89 behaved. This is my combat pistol, it stays with me when I am on the road (Texas allows us to carry in our cars). I wear the Ruger when I am out in the woods in hog country, though the 9mm is underpowered for hogs. I keep it primed with a variety of +p ammo in either 115gr or 124gr JHPs, but I also usually carry my S&W mod 66 in .357mag for hogs.
I have a couple of different holsters for my Ruger including a Bianchi military style holster I keep on my LBE from my Army days but wear when I go hunting, camping, etc. Though designed for the M-9 Berreta it fits the P-89 just fine. I also have a cheap shoulder rig for my Ruger that I wear at times in the field that would also be good to wear while driving in an TEOTWAWKI scenario.
I would love to eventually purchase a Glock or two or three, but in the meanwhile, I will continue to depend on the utterly reliable, shootable Ruger.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Monday, Sept.1, 2008– Back in about 1991 my father-in-law, Tommy, gave me his Browning 16ga. Auto, that he purchased new in 1958. Known affectionately as the ‘Sweet 16’, this fine hunting shotgun is a family heirloom. From ’91 to about 2000 I used the shotgun rarely for some skeet shooting and I fired some slugs and buckshot out of it to check its accuracy. On a 100 yard range I hit the target with a slug so I was comfortable with taking it hunting for deer or hogs should the opportunity ever arise. In 2000 I started going hunting with my friend Bob and the ‘Sweet 16’ has been a constant companion. Today in Texas was the opening day for Dove Season so this blog will tell the story of Dove Hunting with my Browning 16ga.
I was able to do a swap at work in order to get today off, even though it is Labor Day, we have a 24X7 operation at work. I taught Sunday School yesterday at our church, Redeemer Church in Fort Worth, but skipped the worship service so that I could go home and prepare for the hunt. I normally would have taken care of those details on Saturday but I spent a few hour with some of the folks from our Church Family Care Group. We met at The Ole’ South Pancake House on University in Fort Worth for breakfast, then we went to the Will Rogers Center for a gun show. Anyway, I was behind and consequently had to skip church yesterday.
After loading up our gear in my son Jeremy’s Camry, we went to Bob’s house and left from there, Bob and Steven in Bob’s Dodge Ram 1500 towing the trailer with the two 4 wheelers and grill, Jeremy and me in the Camry. We left Bob’s house at about 1400 and got to the Shamrock Inn at Dublin, TX by about 1530. After checking into the rooms we headed out SE of Dublin to Don’s place where we have hunted dove a few times over the past 8 years. We checked in with Don, chatted for a while, paid our $150 ea. for the season, then did some scouting. We saw plenty of dove to encourage us! Then we set up and did a little skeet to warm up. Everyone did pretty well but Steven realized he had to change guns so he ended up using another 20ga. Both Bob and Steven prefer the 20ga and through the years Steven has always been the top bird hunter in our group, followed by Bob. Jeremy was using his Winchester 1300 pump 12ga and I was shootin’ 16’s.
A Texas thunderstorm blew in so we had to pack up and go before the field turned to mud. Jeremy’s Toyota Camry is not a 4X4 like Bob’s Ram. We had planned on doing a cook out at the lease but with buckets of water pouring down we decided to go into Dublin and eat at the DQ. I ate a chicken salad at DQ. Voof! It was just some iceberg lettuce, cheese, crispy chicken and some honey mustard dressing. It was pretty worthless but tasted OK. That’s the last time I eat a salad in a DQ- Hunger Busters from now on! After DQ we went back to the Shamrock Inn. Jeremy and I were both feeling poorly so we decided to stay in our room while Bob and Steven went back out to the lease to scout some more and drop the trailer.
Jeremy was asleep by 1900 or so, but I stayed up and read some of Larry Niven’s “Ringworld”. I was asleep by 2200 but 0430 was coming early!
We rose early and ate a breakfast provided by Bob of some biscuits, cheese and ham. I brought some Kashi bars and honey buns so we had a pretty filling breakfast though I forgot to bring any coffee or my camp stove. Voof! No coffee! We were on the road to the lease by 0600 and got to Don’s place by 0620 and were in place ready to hunt by 0630. Instead of choosing the field where we saw the dove on Sunday, Bob chose the very back field where we had hunted a couple of years ago with moderate success. We ended up regretting that decision!
In Texas you can start shooting at 30 min. before sunrise, so we were hearing gunfire behind us by 0645. Jeremy and I were at the edge of a field in a tree line facing north. About 150 yards to our east was a dirt road and more trees. To our west was a field that had a good amount of sunflowers, so we thought we ought to get a lot of birds- but we saw very few birds! We kept hearing a LOT of firing behind us, over the hill, but we weren’t doing any shooting. Steven got off a few shots, he was the furthest to the west in the middle of that field with the sunflowers, but Bob, Jeremy and I weren’t doing any good at all.
After about an hour we met back at the truck and discussed going to the part of the lease that had all the gunfire. We ended up just reorienting ourselves and doing a bit of walking. Jeremy and I walked west along the fenceline. I eventually got two birds but Jeremy just got one bird. Unfortunately, the dove fell across the fence and Jeremy was not able to find it. Eventually what we did was to put Jeremy on the north of the fence and me on the south so that if one of us shot a bird on the wrong side of the fence, the other could retrieve it. We did not get many shots at all. Jeremy shot twice and I shot about 12-15 times. I normally exercise a bit more shot discipline than that but when you don’t see many birds, you start shooting at birds that are too far away.
We finally gave up and came back to the truck at about 0900 as most of the shooting was over and the birds were down in the fields. After a little while, Steven and I decided to walk through the field and see if we could stir up some birds. This is a good technique with quail or even pheasant, but my experience is that the dove take off when you are about 50-75 yards away so that you just cannot get a shot. I got off one more shot in that walk and bagged one of the larger Mexican dove. The Mexican dove is probably about 50% larger than the basic mourning dove and has some fat on its breast. The Mexican dove looks a lot darker in flight than the other doves because its back is a speckled black, brown and white, very similar to a quail. It has a longer neck and legs but the shape of its head and shape of the wings in flight is just like the other doves. I remember my son Luke bagging a couple of these two years ago on the same lease. We had never seen them before and didn’t even keep the first one he shot but we kept the second one because Bob told us what they were.
All in all, I fired about 15 rounds and got three birds today. Pretty pathetic. Jeremy shot the one but lost it, Bob got 2, Steven got one, and Bob’s dog, Maggie the black Lab, found someone else’s kill and brought it to Bob! A total of 7 birds by the end of the morning hunt, pretty pathetic indeed.
How did the Browning 16ga. perform? Accuracy is not a problem. The gun shoots straight and true. The recoil is no problem. The only problem I had was about 3 failures to fully extract the spent cartridge resulting in stovepipe jams. That is an increasing problem over the last three seasons so I might need to take it in to a gunsmith and see what the problem is. But hey, this gun is 50 years old this year.
Bob and I went exploring on the 4wheelers for a while and checked with some other hunters to see how they did. Sure enough, the hunters to our south and west were at the limit or close to it. We could readily see that the birds were coming in at the other field in much higher numbers than at our field. On the way back to our camp I caught a wasp in the face, complete with stinger. That was pretty funny! Thank the Lord I am not allergic, I have never had a bad reaction to any kind of bee or wasp stings.
We started our cook out at about 1300. We cleaned our birds and stuffed the breasts with some jalapenos, wrapped them in bacon and placed them on the grill along with some Ballpark franks. Bob warmed up some beans and cooked some corn on the cob on the grill. We each ate our fill and had some strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Bob and Steven were going to stay for the evening hunt and were going to relocate to the better field. Jeremy and I needed to come home early so we left about 1500, picked up three cases of Dublin Dr. Pepper, and were home by 1630.
In the evening hunt, Steven got 5-6 more birds because they relocated to one of the more productive fields, but he had ot work for them. He walked up and down through the field about 5-6 times scaring up the birds. Next time we go out we are going to definitely set up camp at one of those other fields!
It was a fun day and worth the expense of a hunting license, motel and food, ammo, lease fee and gasoline. It was a bit frustrating that we didn’t see more birds, but those are the breaks. We are hoping to go back a couple of more times this season, hopefully when Luke is home on leave from Ft. Bragg.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Sunday, August 17, 2008– This post has brought about a surprising number of hits which tells me that there may be an interest in Christians Preparing for the End Times, (The End Of The World As We Know It-TEOTWAWKI), in practical as well as theological/evangelistic terms. My articles on my Ruger Single Six .22 revolver are likewise catching a lot of hits. Therefore, I might consider expanding this area of study.
Thursday, August 14, 2008– In reading Townhall today I came across this amazingly scary article by Cliff May:
As a long time sci fi reader, all the way back to my childhood, including reading Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island by Johann Wyss, Daniel Defoe and Jules Verne, I have long been acquainted with the subject of survivalism. One of my favorite childhood books was My Side of the Mountain that featured a young boy of about 12-14 yrs who spent a year in the Catskill Mountains on his own as a survivalist, living off of nature. In the Army I received some survival training and have read on the subject a bit since then.
I have also known several mormon families through the years. Elswhere in this blog I have written about mormon theology, but one of the interesting things about the LDS church is its teaching that every family should have a year’s worth of food stocked up in case of an emergency due to natural disaster or war. A lot of the survival shelters and equipment are manufactured or sold in Utah and a lot of the survivalist community are mormon.
This morning in reading Billy Marsh’s blog
he raised the question he got from an atheist blog about whether Christians even valued this world at all or whether we are just valuing the life to come. This is a very good and appropriate question that relates to the article by Cliff May. When it comes to a potential end of the world as we know it scenario, whether natural or man caused, do we as Christians hide our heads in the sand and think, “Surely the Lord will come back before THAT happens” or do we/should we actually consider that we might be called upon to live through an end of the world as we know it experience? Have not countless other Christians over the centuries experienced dreadful depredations where they were called upon to survive and endure? Are we so arrogant as to believe that our civilization could not be toppled without Jesus coming back to rescue us?
This leads me back to the point I am pondering: Should Bible believing born again believers be gun toting, food hording, bombshelter building survivalists? Let me phrase it this way: Should the Church earnestly seek to preserve a remnant to spread the gospel and minister to those around us in the event of an End of the World As We Know It event? Should this not be considered as a potential missionary opportunity?
Granted, I have poked around in the survivalist community enough to know that there are plenty of cynical, self absorbed people out there whose only interest is in saving their own behinds when/if the mad mullahs or commies push the button that starts WWIV. And there is always the chance that a rogue asteroid crashes or some other natural event brings about the new Dark Ages. But should we allow the few crack pots out there to cause us to not even consider the possibility of having to survive without electricity for a few months or years? Remember Hurricane Katrina?
All I can say is that you ought to read the Cliff May article and think about what it would be like for everything that is electric or electronic in your world to suddenly go fizzle, snap, crackle and pop, then stop working. No lights, no cell phones or microwaves, no cars, no running water or gas. All refridgerators stop cooling, no A/C or heaters, no tv or radio, no X-box or Nintendo. Welcome to caveman status. Now Christian, Church, how are we going to minister the gospel? If your cars wont work, how will you get to that church that is 20 miles from your home? Might have to start a bunch of house churches. Are you equipped for that? The mormons are. Why not the real Church of Jesus Christ?
I write a lot of things on this blog that can be considered on the border. My interpretations of Genesis have been heavily criticized, and my strong views about homosexuality, politics, islam and mormonism have riled some folks. So I would be disappointed if I did not receive any criticism for being a Christian Survivalist! I do want some serious dialog on this issue because I think the church really has its head in the sand on this one.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 33 so far )
Thursday, July 24, 2008– After over three long years Dawn and I were able to go to Oklahoma and visit my dad and step mom in the Osage Hills west of Bartlesville. The last three years have largely been spent taking care of my mom in her final days so we simply were not able to get up to visit dad. Combine that with my job only giving me one week of vacation per year and you get a lack of time with family at the old homestead! My brother came up from Houston and on Sunday morning we took off and got to Bartlesville around 1630. I packed light on this trip, knowing that we did not have much time and that we were going during the heat of summer- I only took 4 pistols and no long guns.
On the trip up I noticed that for the first time in the past 40 years of driving through Oklahoma City there was no construction! We took the fastest, most direct route from Ft. Worth: I-35 to OKC and then the Turner Turnpike, I-44, to Tulsa, then HWY 75 to Bartlesville. I drove the speed limit most of the time, 70mph but coming home we took the more scenic route and drove way below the speed limit at 55-60mph. I will figure out my gas mileage later so we can see how Dawn’s Caravan does on the HWY at fast and slower speeds.
We took Frank Phillips Blvd through town when we arrived at Bartlesville and noticed the changes in the beautiful downtown area. For those of you not familiar with Bartlesville, it is an oiltown, the former headquarters of Phillips 66. A few years ago Phillips and Conoco merged into Conoco-Phillips and moved their new combined HQ to Houston. Much of Phillips stayed in Bartlesville, and in fact, the town has continued to grow and prosper. B’ville is a unique place and I feel privileged and blessed to have grown up there from the 4th grade on. At one point in the 1960’s B’ville was known as being one of the richest per capita towns in Oklahoma and having the highest Ph.D. ratio of any town other than Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University.
We finally pulled out of town to the northwest into the hills and wound around the dirt road to see my dad’s house. The dogs greeted us with tails a waggin’ and not a few warm licks on the hands. My dad and step mom came out looking just as fit and fun as I last saw them almost 4 years ago. It was very comforting to see folks in their 70’s and 80’s full of life and pretty healthy and fit. Clean livin’, eatin’ healthy and hard work combined with a vital Faith keep them young.
I won’t go into to many details of family life that took place on Sunday night through Tuesday morning other than to tell you that my dad and I grilled some inch and a half thick Sirloin steaks Monday night that were better than any you can buy at any five star restaurant. This is a long standing Walker family tradition that I have yet to practice, but now I have the recipe and some practice and will soon try it out. I also really enjoyed having some quiet times with the Lord sitting on the screened in front porch, reading my Bible while watching the dogs, goats, donkeys and birds amidst the beautiful garden my dad has built over the years.
I decided to finally go out to the pond and do some turtle shooting Tuesday evening. It was still about 96-97 degrees so I wasn’t planning on staying out long. I only brought my Ruger Single Six, single shot, cowboy style revolver and my S&W mod.66 .357 mag double action revolver with 6″ barrel. I left my Ruger P-89 9mm and Dawn’s Sig P-230 .380 ACP at the house.
As I passed the goat pen the small herd of goats eyed my expectantly, but I was not there to feed or pet them. Jenny Mae, the female donkey, eyed me suspiciously and trotted away. As I approached the pond I heard the wet plop of a turtle diving off a rock at the near bank; I saw the ripples in the water, but the turtle was long gone. I noticed the pond was higher than I had ever seen it. Oklahoma has had a very wet year; my dad said he is 17″ above normal for the year in rainfall so far. He had also deliberately raised the water level in the pond so it was right up to the floor of the dock for the first time in my memory. This proved detrimental to my turtle hunting!
As I set up at the dock, using the table to store my gear, I saw at least ten turtle heads above the water at various places. In years past I have always used my various rifles in seeking to cull the turtle herd in my dad’s pond. I do not own a scope, I have only used open sights for this challenging shooting. I do not know how sharp the turtle’s eyes are, but it seemed to me that any sudden movement on my part caused the turtles closer in to dive under the water.
The challenge I alluded to earlier is that with the increased water level in the pond, there were no horizontal logs showing. In years past I could shoot the larger turtles off the logs using my M-1 cal. .30 Carbine, my Chicom SKS in 7.62x39mm, or my Ruger Mini-14 in 5.56mm or even with my Ruger 10/22 in .22LR. I had good success in the past making 50 yard shots on the larger turtles that would be a foot long or maybe even larger. On this trip, I did not see a single whole turtle sunning themselves anywhere. I did not use my binos even though I took them to the pond. There were likely some turtles around the shoreline like the one that took a dive as I approached, but I chose to not even try that since I only had pistols with me.
Let me describe what my targets looked like. From the dock, with the sun at my back, the calm waters of the pond perfectly reflected the woods on the opposite shore, 50 meters away. The far corner of the pond, where the foot bridge is, lies a hundered meters off. At about 30 meters lies a thin line of tree stumps angling off to the northeast. The turtles will stick their faces above the surface of the water, you cannot see their bodies at all, so you only have a small white target of about one square inch. The nearest turtles were at about 20 meters, the farthest were about 75 meters. I was armed with my Ruger Single Six with the magnum cylinder loaded with .22WMR 40grain jacketed hollow point ammunition from Winchester. No scope. You see the problem.
I used the handrail to fire from a supported position, but shooting at such tiny targets at such long ranges was pretty futile…but also fun. At least for about the first 24 rds. I can absolutely say that the turtles won the match Tuesday evening! I did not hit a single turtle head. After about 4 cylinders I was hot, and a little bit frustrated. It was a good challenge, and fun, but I using a pistol for a rifle’s job. I noticed a wasp landing on the water about 5 meters to my front and spent a few rounds chasing him. I actually blew the wasp away and then tried one a bit further out. After the wasps were gone, I returned to shooting at the turtle heads, to no effect.
Toward the end of my box of 50 rounds I took time out to pull out some shot shells for my revolver. I goofed up and brought a box of .22 LR instead of .22WMR so I had to switch cylinders. I fired 6 shots at different ranges to see the pattern on the pond. At about 2 meters the pattern was very nice and tight and I am confident any snake in my sights would have been shredded. I upped the range to 3 meters and again was quite satisfied with the pattern I saw in the water. As I upped the range to 5, 10, 15 and 20 meters what I saw was a very narrow pattern that was stretched out in length. I had expected the pattern to be much more rounded than it was. This aroused my curiosity so I think the next time I go shooting at Barry’s ranch I will bring some pieces of posterboard and try this shot shell patterning again to see if the spread is different on land with an upright target. The point is that I gained confidence in the .22LR shot shells for being a good defense against the occasional rattler or copperhead.
Now in case there are any turtle lovers out there who are aghast that I spent an hour shooting at poor defenseless turtles, let me say that turtles are carnivores that will eat cute baby ducks, fish, etc. My dad likes baby ducks and likes the fish. A lot of folks from my dad’s church come out to the pond for fishing. Turtles kill fish, so he always expects me to shoot some turtles when I come for a visit.
Though I had no success, this was a good challenge. Next year I will definitely take a couple of long guns with me and I may even put a scope on one of my rifles for a change. My 49 yr old eyes are still in great shape for this sport, I had no trouble seeing the turtle heads or my sights. But I think I need to try learning how to use a scope soon.
Wednesday morning I helped my dad pick some squash and cucumbers in the garden. We then came in to eat breakfast and chat for a while before we had to load up the van and depart. Dawn and I and my brother took off about 1130 and took HWY 75 to Indian Nations Turnpike SE of Tulsa for a more scenic drive home. We got back to Ft Worth at about 1830, had a huge meal at our favorite Bar B Que place in Fort Worth, Cousins.
Dawn and I got a digital camera for this trip and I did take some pics. Once I figure out how to use it I will try to put some pics of the Walker homestead on this blog. But that might take a while….Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Tuesday, July 1, 2008– I have been wanting to add a section about Guns and Hunting to this blog for a while; my old blog The Pistol Packin’ Preacher included some posts from this category. I know that discussing guns, ammo and hunting may go counter to what a lot of Christian folk think, but it matches what I like about ministry: if your theology and worship cannot hit the ground running in real life, you need to get out of the ivory tower! In a later blog I will give a theological study, perhaps, of hunting, self-defense, etc., but for now I want to write about a trip to the out of doors Jeremy and I took two weeks ago.
The Lord blessed me with some good friends several years ago who re-introduced me to hunting and camping. Bob was my client/boss and has become one of my best friends. Barry is a tenant of my former client and is a Psychologist who owns a nice 300+acre ranch southwest of Fort Worth. Barry has graciously allowed me and my sons to shoot, hunt and camp on his ranch. So a couple of weeks ago Bob, Jeremy and I headed out to the ranch for a Saturday of mowing and trimming, and some serious shooting.
We headed south at about 0730 Saturday morning and arrived a little before 0900. We went straight to the small arms range Barry has constructed and offloaded Bob’s 4-wheeler and mower. Jeremy and I got on the 4-wheeler and went round the hill to the deer feeder looking for any hogs that were still out. The last time we did this, a couple of months ago, we got surprised by a sow at the feeder and none of us had any big guns available as we were still loaded in Bob’s truck. On that occasion Jeremy was packing his Glock 19 and was the first one out of the truck with a gun and got off one shot of a 9mm at a running pig to no effect. This time, I put my FN loaded with 7.62 NATO in the saddle holster of the 4 wheeler and I had my Ruger P-89 on my right hip and my S&W mod.66 with .357 mag rounds on my left. Jeremy had his Springfield .45 on him, so we were ready for any stray hogs. Of course, since we were ready, no hogs made an appearance.
After driving around the hill we headed for the barn to catch up with Bob on his mower. We went exploring in the woods on a trail for awhile, went around the pond and then followed Bob to the low water crossing so we could help lift the lawn tractor up the bank that was too steep for the mower but easy for the 4 wheeler.
While Bob mowed the trail ahead Jeremy and I cut some low hanging limbs along the various paths. I only had my Gerber hand ax which was pretty stupid (when I am in the woods I wear my US Army issued LBE complete with a butt pack. My Gerber ax is tied to my gear, stuffed in my butt pack). Next time I am bringing my limb lopper and bow saw; not to mention that my Gerber ax really needs sharpening. The other stupid thing I did was to not bring the can of Off; Jeremy and I got eaten alive with chiggers.
Bob let Jeremy do some mowing with the lawn tractor which he really enjoyed, but I just goofed off on the 4 wheeler. By noon we were back at the small arms range and were ready to eat lunch. I had packed a couple of tuna sandwiches (see my recipe section) and some pears, but what we needed more than anything was water- it was a very hot day and we were all three sweatin’ up a storm. I should have packed some Gatorade but all we had was water, which was fine.
After lunch we began some shooting. Jeremy was the only one doing any serious range work as he wanted to sight in his AR-15/M-4, his Marlin .30-30, and his Yugoslav SKS, all wearing scopes. He did a great job of zeroing all three rifles despite the windy conditions (he was using a target set up that was not real stable in the wind, but the best we could do at the time). He got all of his groups down to a quarter size or less. Later the next week he went to an indoor range to confirm his zeros under better conditions.
While Jeremy was doing some serious range work, I was doing some plinking. I brought out my Ruger Single Six convertible revolver. Being a little short on money these days, I thought sticking with the inexpensive .22 would be sufficient fun, and it was. At the range Barry has a covered picnic area with some gun stands so you can shoot from the shade. About 12-15 yards in front of the picnic area are some .22 steel target plates set up. These hanging plates are painted red and will move when hit by the bullet besides giving a satisfying “ping” as the bullet strikes it. There are 3 hanging plates on this particular .22 target, one plate is about 3″ wide, the middle plate is about 2″ and the third plate is 1″.
Using my Ruger Single Six with a 5 1/2″ barrel loaded with .22 LR, I was able to hit the 3″ plate all day long. The 2″ plate I was only pinging about 2-3 rounds out of 6 and the 1″ plate I rarely hit. After Jeremy finished his rifle zeroing, he pulled out his S&W .357 mag mod 686 and he and I shot at a steel silhouette about 60 yards away. My little Ruger could still hit it 5-6 times out of every 6 rounds. Now that’s not bad shooting for a little .22!
This Ruger Single Six and I go back quite a ways. I grew up around guns, the first time I went hunting by myself was when I was 6-7 and my grandmother put a .410 bolt action shotgun in my hands and sent me out after a turkey down at the farm in Uvalde, TX! When I finally turned 21 in Oklahoma, I was able to purchase my first gun (my dad had given me a 20 ga. single shot shotgun when I was about 14). My very first purchase- the Ruger Single Six. So I have shot this revolver for 28 years! I used to carry this revolver a lot in the field, until I got my S&W mod 66. The only holster I have for it is a cheap fabric holster with a strap that snaps over the hammer which I would usually wear in a cross draw position. I would frequently load it with shot shells for snake defense, and considering how many copperheads and rattlers are out at Barry’s ranch…I am considering carrying this fine .22 revolver loaded with snake shot again.
I am pretty sure that this revolver is the first gun my wife, Dawn, ever shot. I believe I gave her her first firearms lesson with it around 1985-86 at my dad’s place in Oklahoma. I know we did not ever shoot it in my Army years at Ft. Lewis, 1981-85 unless possibly when I took her home to meet my parents in Nov.’81or just after we got married in June of ’82. This single action revolver is still her favorite gun to shoot, and she shoots it quite well.
Unfortunately, when I switched the cylinder to the .22 WMR, my accuracy fell off. That little 3″ target that I was hitting 6 out 6 times in LR—I was hitting about 3 out of 6 times! The man sized silhouette I was hitting with the diminutive .22 LR I was now hitting only 2-3 times out of 6. Very obviously I need to spend some more time firing the magnum loads in my Ruger! When I switched to my S&W mod 66 I could hit that man sized target consistently with .38’s, so why not with the little .22 WMR? Next time out at Barry’s ranch I will buy a few boxes of the magnum loads and spend some serious time improving my performance.
We packed up around 1600 and Jeremy and I were back at the house by 1800. Despite consuming about a gallon of water each, we were both hot, tired and dehydrated. But it had been a fun, relaxing and profitable day. After all the junk I had been through at work in the last 2 months, I really needed that time out in the woods! And it was great to see my son do some very good shooting with his 3 rifles.
My personal evaluation of the Ruger Single Six New Model Revolver is that this is one of the finest .22’s around. It is an excellent choice for a first handgun. Because it is single action it is very safe and makes for an excellent choice to learn how to shoot handguns. It is light weight and has very little recoil, making it an outstanding handgun for women as well as men. This revolver is flexible because it has the two cylinders, one for .22 Long Rifle and one for .22 WMR. This handgun is not only handy, but very attractive with the western styling, the wood grips and the dark bluing. Accurate, handy, handsome, safe and relatively inexpensive to operate, every outdoorsman and handgunning enthusiast ought to have one of these on their arsenal.
Here is a link to the Ruger site:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )