Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Paid My Dues . . .

¶ . . . For my 2006 membership in my gun club . . . gotta be sure my access card is functioning so I can get some immediate trigger time when I get my rifle!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Five To Go . . .

¶ . . . Until I take delivery of my '73!! Talk about "looking forward"!!

. . . I haven't left the job with the sun still shining in three weeks, but I should be able to get at least one more firearm out of all the overtime. No complaints, I do like my work, a lot! We've just had some major modifications on our machines and the things I've learned have been a big bonus, too. It has, however, cut into my trigger time; I did want to shoot  Mr. Completely's e-Postal #5 and I've missed two matches . . .

. . . It's all bully!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Ten-Day Clock . . .

¶ . . . Commenced ticking today! I purchased my Uberti 1873 this afternoon. However, it's coming through Walker '47 in City of Orange. They got right on the phone to check availability and set me up right on the spot. I'm a sucker for service expediency, gets me every time! What a cool store! Spent some time talking to the good folks there, as Cowboy-style weapons are new to me, and a great time it was. Lots of neat apparel there, too, for those of a Frontier bent.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Aberdeen Proving Ground . . .

¶ . . . As promised! Sorry for the delay, but the demands of the job, blah, blah, blah . . .

. . . The day after my Gettysburg trip I made the run up to Aberdeen Proving Ground, long on my "To See" agenda. The APG is a rather large and quite nice base, and security measures were in effect, serpentine at the entrance and I.D. check. On the parkway near the entrance you are immediately treated to a show of armor.

The acreage surrounding the museum is home to many pieces of armor, from WW I through the Vietnam era. I'll keep the blethering to a minimum and just post a few pics.     Here's a Panzer assortment:

    A couple of PzkpfwIV's:

    I was awed by the size of the Panthers: they're enormous!! I was up at Camp Pendleton's School Of Infantry Friday and there are a couple of captured modern Russian tanks there, a T-55 and a T-62, from the '91 Gulf War and they don't appear to be as large.

    Of course, there was the dreaded 88:

    Speaking of Russians, these from WWII also appeared larger than their modern counterparts:

    And here's yours truly with Anzio Annie. I just learned that "Anzio Annie" was a battery comprised of two of these rail guns, "Leopold" and "Robert"; the one below is Leopold:

    The museum itself is rather small but houses an excellent collection of machine guns, Maxims to SAW's, several .50's, etcetera. There's a gift shop where you can get the requisite Flaming Bomb swag to commemorate your visit. If you're in the area, check it out. I don't know of any other place with examples of WWII armor like this, so this in itself lends value to a visit.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Phoned It In . . .

¶ . . . to the FGR, my 1873 order; the gent was quite attentive and seemed pleased when I laid the rifle's stock number on him. He said he will check availability tomorrow (I called late in the day) . . .

¶ . . . On the same subject, what's the story on EMF (Hartford)? Are they importers or what? From the website, the guns look the same as Ubertis, but stock numbers are different.

    Talk to me . . .

Monday, February 13, 2006

Fickle, Capricious, Impulsive . . .

¶ . . . Call it what you will:
    I went shopping today for the Mossberg 590 I mentioned previously, but as I have also mentioned previously I am enamored of lever guns; that may be somewhat strange for an IPSC shooter. Anyway, I was handling the fine Uberti 1873 Rifle and I've got to have it!

I would have just bought it today, but the two in stock had the checkered sporter/pistol grip stock and, though beautiful, I prefer the straight "saddle" type. The gun stores I ended up in, owned by the same folks, were great, indeed: Fowler Gun Room in Orange and Stockade in Westminster. Therefore, the previously unnamed store, although 35 miles closer, has been 86'ed!! Verily!!
    They say they will order for me; I hope this goes well. . .

. . . I'm still gonna get that scattergun, though!!

Shotgun Shopping . . .

¶ . . . Inspired by the "Disaster Gun" postings of recent months,this past Monday I went to buy a shotgun at a local gun store. The model pictured below is what I have in mind:

    It's a Mossberg Model 590 A1, Ghost Rings and the metal trigger guard. Anyway, I gave the dude all the info, was willing to buy right then, and he tells me, "The well is dry." What? Is it some kind of rare item or something? Then he just kinda wanders away. I thought that maybe he would take my number or something to see what they could do, after all, their sign says, "Don't see it here? We'll special order it for you!!" What drivel! Unfortunately, I can't cop my stock attitude of "They're 86'ed," as we suffer from a dearth of gun stores her in So Kal (and "Turner's Outdoorsman" doesn't quite get it for me!)
    I saw some websites for some rather large-appearing gun stores in Orange County, so I think I'll just cruise on down there this Monday (Tomorrow!!).
    Wish me luck!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Gettysburg . . .

¶ . . . Always one of my life-long goals, my second weekend in Maryland was a pilgrimage to the Arch-Memorial, in my opinion, to our Civil War Fallen, North and South. What a gorgeous place! For those that have already visited, you'll already understand the sentiment of reverance, too.
        My first stop was a quick visit to the Visitor Center and Museum (Quick, because I was going to try to make Antietam Battlefield the same day. The best laid plans . . . that didn't happen!). Magnificent! There is an excellent collection of weapons from the period and the Gift Shop is THE place for purchase of Civil War publications. Here I purchased the cassette for the two-hour Auto Tour (should have bought the three-hour one!). Two hours was more like five! Here I am with my little cassette player near the first day's action that July of 1863, McPherson Ridge.

        Up to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and by the Lutheran Seminary, a beautiful drive southward along Seminary Ridge, where I stand pictured below.

        Warfield Ridge, on the southern end of Seminary Ridge, is where this observation tower stands, affording a killer panoramic view of the battlefield.

        Below are the two Round Tops as seen from the tower, Little Round left and Big Round right.

        I've arrived at Little Round Top which affords some hiking trails into some neat woods. I'm going to walk along the top to see the many monuments erected there.

        Here's the view from Little Round Top looking down upon the Devil's Den.

        From here at the Devil's Den I had to call my Pop with the basic "Check out where I'm at!!"

        I'm sure many are familiar with this famous photograph, taken after the battle:

        Well, I certainly was and one of my day's goals was to find the spot; fortunately it's clearly marked!

        Here I am seated there:

        The plaque explains the photograph (it was staged) and states that the body was found about forty yards to your rear, from your view of the above picture, and moved up to the wall. The soldier fell in reality around the area shown below.

        The Slaughter Pen, below and adjacent to the Devil's Den:

        Here, near The Peach Orchard, is a unique monument: a Minie ball!

        Another view of it:

        Notice here, near Plum Run, where the cannonball had punctured the barn; this today is still a private residence!

        It was stated in the tape I purchased that there are 1340 monuments that have been erected in the park. You have a better chance of visiting the 253 markers spread all over the rather large territory of Nevada than you have of finding the time to see all of Gettysburg's! They're everywhere, along with multitudes of cannons!! Many here are quite elaborate, but by far the most auspicious is the Pennsylvania Memorial.

        Nearing the end of my visit, here I am at Spangler's Spring, on the eastern side of the park and Cemetery Ridge, near Culp's Hill. These were some gorgeous woods, even in wintertime.

        I'm heading now to Cemetery Ridge, coming from Culp's Hill, below.

        Naturally, the tour ends on Cemetery Ridge (Not really: East of the main park you can visit the East Cavalry Battlefield Site!) Below is "The Copse of Trees" (I'm looking up the meaning of "copse" now!).

        Cemetery Ridge and "The Angle" . . .

        . . . and the site on Cemetery Ridge of "Pickett's Charge."

¶ . . . For some time previously, my son and my father had recommended The Killer Angels, which you can see on my "Current Read" sidebar. I stopped at a bookstore on my way back to the hotel and picked it up. It is a great, Pulitzer Prize-winning "historical fiction" account of the Gettysburg battle and reading it after having been to the sites described in the book is nothing less than fantastic. Don't pass up a chance to visit the park! It is one of the High Points of my travels, one I shall never forget.

¶ . . . STAY TUNED! Next up: ARMOR!! (Hopefully sooner than later; still working late!!)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

VileBill Treks Eastward . . .

¶ . . . And what a fantastic trek, indeed! For the better part of the past month I was out on the East Coast, Baltimore to be more precise, on a training mission. It was the first time I had been to the East and it was fantastic! So much to see, I'll be venturing back in the, hopefully, near future . . .
. . . The weekdays belong to "The Outfit," but the weekends were mine! My first trip was a 220 mile run to see my aunt up in the northernmost corner of New Jersey. A real nice rural area, across the Delaware River from the Poconos. How Currier & Ives - like, the guys out with their spaniels hunting pheasants . . . like in their own neighborhood! Here I am getting a rare chance to put on my cold weather gear:

¶ . . . I just wanted for now to get it out there that I was back in town and I've got some more (Quite a few, actually!) fotos to post (Some you'll think are pretty cool, I believe). Check out "VileBill's Current Read" for a foreshadowing of the trip to a site that is one of the High Points of my life.
  They're going to go down here for maintenance, they say, at nine o'clock, so I'll sign off for now.