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Education / Training 2012 SHOT Show: Part 3

2012 SHOT Show: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Mark Barnes is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card! Congratulations!

Mark Barnes submitted the winning Big Shot of the Week. This is the varsity air rifle team at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2

You all seemed to enjoy hearing about the 2012 SHOT Show, even though I went into some pretty great detail, so today we’ll do Part 3. Hopefully, this will keep us busy this weekend!

More on Media Day
The Boulder City gun range, where Media Day was held, is a huge facility with dozens of individual ranges that stretch at least half a mile. Now that I’ve been there, I recognize the ranges in all the Pawn Stars episodes with shooting.

The thing that most impressed me were the long-range ranges (yes, that’s plural) that could easily have gone out for miles if the shooters so desired. As it was, getting distances of a thousand yards was a trivial task. Only on tank gunnery ranges have I seen the equal of this openness.

This is a small portion of the long-ramge ranges at the Boulder City gun range. The horizon is miles away, and the targets are out at a thousand yards for big rifles like the .50 BMG and .338 Lapua.

Safety first!
As the media representatives got off the busses and into the registration line, we were each given a range bag that included safety glasses and hearing protection. Mac and I brought our own electronic earmuffs to be able to hear, but the shooting was so continuous (10-50 shots each second the whole time we were there) that the earmuffs were permanently suppressed. We would have been fine with normal earmuffs, as that is how our electronics sounded all the time.

After a couple hours of what sounded like the biggest firefight ever fought, Mac observed that despite thousands of people shooting continuously there wasn’t one accident or even an unsafe act that we could see. Of course, each range was monitored by the company running it, and there were plenty of orange-vested range safety officers patrolling the line; but it was the shooters who made the difference. These were people who knew guns and also knew to keep their muzzles pointed downrange and their fingers off the triggers until it was go time. I used to run ranges in the Army; and in all my time at hundreds of ranges, I never saw anything as orderly and disciplined as this!

Here is one of dozens of handgun ranges that go out 50-200 yards. Notice the high berms between them. Look at the safety sign and the two range safety officers in orange vests. With thousands of people shooting and hundreds of thousands of rounds fired, there was not one accident or even an unsafe act observed! The red bucket is full of free water bottles packed in ice — provided all day long.

I avoided Media Day in the past when it was a small event; but after attending this one, I’ll make it my mandatory first stop at each SHOT Show in the future! Now, let’s go back to the show.

At the Umarex booth, I was pleased to meet Anna Dalton, who works in the service department. She showed me around the booth and answered every question I had.

Besides the two PCP rifles and the Morph III that you’ve already seen, there were three interesting new air pistols on display. I’m seeing more and more air pistols these days, so something is definitely up.

The first of the guns is a low-powered breakbarrel modeled after the Browning Buck Mark .22 and called by the same name. The sign says it shoots pellets at 260 f.p.s., which some may scoff at, but I think there’s a real need for guns of this power. Just look at how popular airsoft guns can be, and you’ll realize that sometimes people just want something for plinking. The Buck Mark appears to be it!

The Browning Buck Mark breakbarrel air pistol appears to be a pellet plinker’s dream. Can’t wait to test one!

Another new air pistol from Umarex is the Browning Hi Power Mark III. This one is a CO2-powered BB pistol that mimics the firearm prototype exactly. It puts me in mind of the Walther P99 Compact or perhaps the Walther PPK/S.

Browning’s new Hi Power Mark III BB pistol is a new lookalike from Umarex.

I also met Janet Raab, the Umarex Director of Sales and Marketing for Competitive Shooting. Janet has a long history in competitive shooting and holds the Distinguished Rifleman’s badge. I’ll be talking to her about the Umarex and Walther competition models in the months to come.

On to Gamo
And here comes the part of the report I bet you weren’t expecting. Nor was I, until I walked into the Gamo booth and saw for the first time that they’re making a concerted effort to reach out to their customers with something other than velocity. Style is still their strong suit, but it appears they have discovered what the end user really wants and needs to know.

If you recall what I said in Part 2 about some companies were struggling to understand the customer, Gamo was one of them. But this year, I see signs that they’re getting it. Four educational displays in the booth impressed me the most.

This demo of the Gamo Smooth Action Trigger allowed me to cock and fire the trigger repeatedly. I don’t know if the trigger will feel the same with the full force of a mainspring on it; but if it does, Gamo has finally built a winning trigger!

Gamo’s Shock Wave Absorber buttpad absorbs the recoil force transmitted by the gun upon firing. Since Gamo sells some pretty powerful springers, this is welcome!

Gamo’s new Bull Whisper shroud is a fluted polymer barrel jacket that incorporates a baffled shroud to silence the muzzle report. It’s smaller and thinner than the current Whisper muzzlebrake.

Gamo is very dedicated to hunting, of course, so much of their emphasis is directed that way; but it looks like they’re now trying to educate their potential buyer as well as impress him with numbers. This is a significant new direction for the company that, if they follow it, will make Gamo a customer-centric business. Seeing the new trigger and the Bull Whisper shroud was exciting, because it means they’re talking about the customer in their design meetings.

Gamo’s Inert Gas Technology gas spring signifies that the company now thinks of their product in the same way that the shooters do. This bodes well for their future.

When Gamo decided to build their own gas springs many, including me, thought they just didn’t want others to modify their guns. The new trigger is the same sort of thing. But what I see now is a company that wants their guns to be as nice as they can make them. As far as I’m concerned, Gamo just threw their hat into the ring as a company that can innovate. I hope they’ll continue in this direction and build the kind of airguns that put fear into the other manufacturers.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any Gamo representatives in the booth to show me their new products this year. So, I took photos of some of the new rifles, and I’ll have to wait for the year to unfold.

These new breakbarrels were shown under the Bull Whisper name. Whether that is the name of the model or just the silencing technology wasn’t clear, but it was obvious there will be some new guns coming from Gamo this year.

Back to Hatsan USA
I went back to Hatsan USA several times during the show just to see more of the new rifles. Like Gamo, they have a new trigger called the Quattro and also a new shock isolation system; but unlike Gamo, they didn’t have the interactive educational displays to show them off. I’ll have to withhold my judgement on both items until I can test them on a gun.

Mac thought the trigger blade came up too far when it was pulled to the rear; but with the guns in the rack, it was impossible to tell for sure. Hatsan also has a new recoil pad that appears quite similar to the one Gamo is touting. I’ll try to get to one of them as soon as possible.

The underlever rifles I showed you back in Part 1 are apparently all from the Hatsan Torpedo line, which — as one reader mentioned — has a unique-looking breech. He likened it to an RWS Diana 46 breech, but I think it’s different than that.

It looks like the bolt goes forward in this Hatsan Torpedo to expose the breech for loading. I want to test one!

I don’t have any AirForce pictures for you because I’ve been testing the guns for you all along. There’s nothing new gun-wise that you don’t already know about. In fact, my TalonP pistol test was in the SHOT Show issue of Shotgun News that was given out free at the show.

This is the last report on the SHOT Show. There is a thousand times more, but I think I got the airguns pretty well.

The last photo I took at the SHOT Show sums up business in Las Vegas this year.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

147 thoughts on “2012 SHOT Show: Part 3”

      • Ridgerunner,

        I don’t normally compare one gun to another, as you know. But I have reviewed both the TX 200 and the B40 already, so if I review the Hatsan 200S, anyone could make such a comparison.

        The problem I have with comparisons is they are almost always biased. The reviewer has a personal choice and tests for his favorite to come out best.

        I am as guilty of this as anyone. I admit that when I tested the B40 against the TX 200 I fully expected the TX to win soundly. I was as surprised as anyone when the B40 out-shot the British rifle.

        What I try to do is test each gun as if I am the new owner, trying to see just how good the gun really is. A few guns will fail when this is done, and I have no difficulty reporting that, but if I look long and hard enough, most guns will turn out okay.


          • Matt,

            I believe so, because making changes costs money, and no manufacturer like that. However, with Crosman in charge, BAM will have to keep the quality up to a high level, and that was what was lacking before. So this may be the best of the B40s.


        • Another really cool review would be the new Crosman Air Pump. If it is really much better, I and others might be persuaded in invest in a PCP. Perhaps some other reviews of “new” accessories would be appropriate to throw in now and then also. I for one cannot afford to buy multiple air guns every year, but I do need to accessorize what I have.

    • I am excited to see that review as well. I’m an underlever lover (say that 5 times fast) and ewlcome a “new” player to the market. The guns look great, all we need now are some honest reviews of the 100, 150, and 200. If they compete with the TF87, Norica Quick, or B40 (MAV77), then I’m happy to see them on our shores.

  1. Hey BB, thanks for the great report about the show. Concerning the Hatsan Torpedo: It has no “bolt” that goes forward to expose the breech – instead, the whole barrel sits inside a sleeve an is moved forwar to load a pellet. This reduced the dead space in between. I believe that an old single-stroke pneumatic form UK (Airlogic Genesis?) Used the same system.

  2. So Gamo is still doing the silencer and speed hype?
    Maybe the new trigger will be an improvement.
    Wonder if they have done anything about the non-adjustable sloppy breech hinges ?


  3. Those new pistols from Umarex look great! And the Buckmark is pretty exciting. If its both very accurate and very affordable it will replace the Beeman P17 IMHO. (I realise one is SS pnuematic and the other is spring)

  4. W/R/T Gamo, I’ll wait for reviews from some knowledgeable folks. Hopefully their gas springs are a bit more reliable than their steel springs have been in the past …..

    Fred PRoNJ

      • B.B. I will assume that Gamo’s use of the phrase “inert gas system” is interesting marketing, but likely inaccurate. Some quick research reveals that there are six known inert gases: argon, helium, xenon, radon, neon and krypton.

        I suspect Gamo is using a air loaded gas spring. If I remember correctly, that is what Theoben uses.

        I suppose the Gamo marketing folks may also be saying “without saying” that they don’t employ Nitrogen gas.

        Otherwise, my attempts to learn about their IGS have revealed nothing, nada!

  5. I’d drive to vegas just to attend media day (if I was part of the media and would be allowed to attend). Spending most of a day shooting a variety of new guns and other peoples ammo is a fantasy.

    This is the first I’ve heard of these introductions from Umarex, Gamo and Hatsan. Looking forward to future reports from B.B.

    Looks like the Gamo marketing department is on their game. SAT-Smooth Action trigger, SWA-Shock Wave Absorber and IGT-Inert Gas Technology. Just hope this doesn’t turn out to be RCB-Rear Camel Belch.

    We’ll see.


  6. BB,
    So much to catch up on the blogg this week.
    Fantastic stuff and also the reports from this years SHOT show are really well appreciated from a guy who couldn’t possibly be there.Which is me of course.
    It is great to see new innovations and ideas from the manufacturers especialy in these troubled times.
    But also a growing market in the USA for air gun shooting.
    It is a marvelous sport in its own right,both target and hunting.
    If I thought that Air gunning was just a poor substitute for shooting firearms(and I love shooting firearms) I would have gone for my licence years ago and got a ‘real’ gun.
    The fact I haven’t felt the need must say at least something for the satisfaction one can gain from owning and shooting a good air gun.
    If it was my right to own a firearm however,I would exercise that right to the fullest.
    As they say,
    ‘Use it or lose it’

    • I would do the same thing. I’m more seriously thinking of getting my rifle permit as I can go and shoot them anywhere I have enough place to safely do so but sadly pistol require a range subscription and you can’t take it with you on vacation or too another range thant the one you usually go to wihtout permission, hand guns are a real hassle to obtain and use in Canada, they really make you jump thru a lot of hoops to get it, and once you have one (or more) you have to stand in another hoop and never even dream or think of stepping out of it.


    • And for another take on firearms restrictions, I was just reading about the laws in Japan. If there are more severe restrictions anywhere, I’d like to hear them. It is a crime to own a gun; a crime to own a bullet; and a crime to pull a trigger. You’ve got three charges before you even hit anyone. Needless to say, guns are scarce in the population. Yes, it turns out that the yakuza, the Japanese mafia, are able to get guns in spite of everything. BUT, they are notoriously bad shots because even their training is impacted by the gun laws. So where does that leave us…. 🙂


      • Matt,

        Most of our criminals are poor shots as well. And many of the younger ones are holding their handguns sideways, because they see it in the movies.

        I have seen this at the gun range, when a young person comes out with a new gun and you can tell by watching him that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

        We had this a couple months back and a friend of mine took the time to instruct the young man in the proper way to hold a gun and to shoot. By the end of the session he left with a completely different opinion of firearms, based on his first real experience.


      • There are such things at gun permits in Japan. You have to be well-connected.

        There’s at least one indoor range in Honolulu that caters to Japanese people who want to fire a gun.

  7. I would have loved to be a member of my high school shooting team, IF we would have had a shooting team. The winners of this week 50$ are a really nice looking lucky bunch.


    • JF: I saw the picture above and was saddened by it, as I belonged to a rifle and trap shooting club in high school. My oldest son who is in fifth grade now and has shot since he could toodle after me to the range, asked me the other day why there wasn’t a rifle team at his school . Mind you, we live in a rural area where if deer season didn’t open on a Satuday now ,everyone below the age of twelve including the teachers, at his school would call in sick. I went to high school in the city in the 1970’s. I would actually be willing to provide any equipment, money, including donating land, to start one at my sons school if I could get anywhere with the liberal establishment that controls the reins there. As it is ,even the mention of a target,gun, or edged weapon will bring a call from the school authorities. It’s OK though, to freely talk about other stuff that used to be thought of abnormal when I was in school. Sad , what was wrong is right now.

      • Robert,
        Just thought you maybe interested that there is a rifle club in Jamestown (not to far from you?) with a strong Junior club. Here is a link..
        They hold USA and NRA sanctioned matches every year. As a matter of fact I will be taking a team up there next weekend (our relays are on Sunday) for an international sectional for air and small bore. If you want more information let me know.

      • Oh, and you may know, the school board in San Diego (well, it was a California city for sure. I know there are good folds in California and I hope they get out before it slides into the Pacific. Folks in east California should keep their surf boards waxed and ready) shut down the target shooting programs by a vote of 3 to 2, because the majority (3) agreed with the persistent protesters who said the program violated the districts zero tolerance about guns and knives. I’ll say it, even those who didn’t want the target shooting program are dimwits if they seriously believed that. Otherwise, even they understood full well what the zero tolerance rule covered.

        Where did your board come from? Are they chosen by popular vote? Is is possible to vote in some members of the community who can then clean up the school district administrations. Not that I think this is easy or quick. Once you have a rat infestation (and you don’t want to damage your infrastructure) it will take time and effort to remove them without shooting them (and this case the rats are human beings).


    • I’ll say, they’re lucky. Look at that hardware. It does make you wonder what is going on up there in Alaska. I’ve heard that they are kind of breed apart with a kind of maverick attitude towards what they call the Lower 48. But I bet they have a lot of space for shooting. 🙂

      Robert from Arcade, that is mighty strange that a shooting community will not support a school shooting team. Your son could run his own private Olympics at home like I do, but that’s easier for an older person to do.


      • Well Matt ,I actually DO have a offical olympic grade Biathalon target trap on my property, as well as a minature version for ten meter airgun shooting in my basement , where there is a 50 foot shooting lane set up there. The biathalon traps are made right here in Arcade. If you want to see what I have, and what it costs, google Devin Manufacturing , and look for target traps. The lack and demise of high school shooting programs here is because of our NY city dominated state legislature. Most of NY stateIS rural. There are more cows in my county than people.

        • Robert,
          I just looked at those Biathlon Devin traps. The BT-100 airgun target ($125) looks like it would be good for my range. The target sizes are 35mm (~1.5″) which looks pretty big for 10m but then I wouldn’t be just sliding in on skis after 12k or running in before using it, and I don’t intend to 🙂 They look like nice reactive targets.

          Which one do you have?

          Here’s what my curiosity got off Wiki that pertains to Olympic .22lr Biathlon:

          “The target range shooting distance is 50 metres (160 ft). There are five circular targets to be hit in each shooting round. When shooting in the prone position the target diameter is 45 millimetres (1.8 in), when shooting in the standing position the target diameter is 115 millimetres (4.5 in).”

          Okay, at 50m 1.8″ is pretty small to me but then so is 4.5″.

          I couldn’t find any rules like that for air rifle but I only searched a couple different ways.


          • Chuck : I have the Devin BT100 for indoors and I have it mounted on a 2 foot long peice of 6×6. I shoot at it off-hand at 50 feet in my basement. It is a very well made target and I have had zero problems with it. I do touch up the paint on it from time to time. I also have the larger Biathalon RF version which is set up outside. I have removed the marker paddles from three openings and I’m able to knock them down at 25 yards with guns like my Sheridan Blue streak. The other two openings I jam shut with a short peice of 2×6 so the target disc stays up all the time. Then I use magnets to hold targets over the openings. I mostly use the 50 yard NRA small bore target ,whose bull is the same size as the opening. Pellets flatten out on the disc after passing through the paper ,and fall into the sand pile beneath the target .

            • Robert,
              Under a normal setup, where do the pellets go? Do they end up in the trap where they’re easily cleaned out? I have a problem with metal targets like spinners and squirrls as they splatter pellet fragments which are peppering my ceiling tiles.

        • I would gladly pay for a high-end rifle and suit if my kids were interested in the sports.
          As long as they don’t want to play hockey when they grow up (there is NO WAY I want to get up a 4h30am on a winter sunday morning to go watch a hockey game even if it’s my kid playing) karting would be nice too.


  8. Glad to see Gamo is finally attempting to catch up to manufacturers like Crosman, I’ve always liked the ergonomics of their rifles and the low weight but was turned off by their horrible triggers. I hope that new bull whisper thingamajig actually works better than that hokey nd-52 deal. I might actually have to give them a harder look from now on. Gas piston+Bull Whisper+Nice Trigger in .22 with thumbhole stock and maybe 750 fps = many unhappy squirrels! Would be a nice rifle to grab when I don’t feel like dealing with pumping and the weight of my .22 Marauder.

    • Matt,

      You have expressed my feelings as well! Finally Gamo has created a host of features that might possibly work together for good on an air rifle we can actually use.

      Of course this is all subject to a test, but it is encouraging.


      • I’ve often wondered why Gamo won’t sell parts to indiduals like Crosman does? I would think that they would both suffer under the same liability issues by doing so. Crosman seems to weather that. Why not Gamo? They would sell more guns if they did. It’s the main reason I won’t recomend or buy a Gamo.

      • That new trigger and recoil absorber (and even the sound absorber) look a lot like what Hatsan has in their English catalog. Are they cousins or kissin’ cousins? Or just two companies thinking alike?


    • Gamo has been all over the place with a tendency to sell unreliable things and chase trends. But I see at least one of their rifles has made it into PA’s top 20 list, so maybe they’re turning it around.


  9. Wow, I can’t believe the rifles those kids get to shoot with. Far cry from the 853 I thought was in widespread use. That school has some bucks!

    BTW, where did you see that sign?! That is the most “say nothing but imply everything” sign – I guess it is typical of the town, eh?

    • Chuck,

      Mac and I went to the Pawn Stars shop, then walked downtown to see the Fremont Street section of Vegas. That sign is one of many on a strip mall selling trinkets in that stretch. At night it’s in one of the bad parts of town.

      Mac laughed so hard when he saw it that I took the picture to share with you guys.


      • BB,
        Of course, I had to go back and take another look at that photo to see if was taken in the daylight. Hmmmmm? Yep, sunlight and shadows (or is it spotlight and shadows?) What happens in Vegas…


        • Hehe I was riding my motorcycle around today and in part of south San Jose, I passed a sign for a store called “neato novelties” or something like that, it’s the kind of place that sells do-it-yourself tattoo guns etc but I was also hoping it was a real “novelty” shop in that … it would sell the kind of stuff my big brother used to always buy, the bird-whistler things, whoopee cushions, those things you stick into cigarettes to make ’em go bang, etc. Through the windows it looks like they do, but they were closed, and according to the hairdressers next door, they’re open any ol’ weird hours. Darn it, I wanted to buy me some novelties!

          • flobert, if the shop is open at weird hours it may be that they also have some weird novelties for persons who come out only at weird hours. I won’t call the customers weird, but I would have to get to know them a bit to become comfortable interacting with them.

    • Chuck, I really like that sign. It’s one that, if you see it at all, it grabs your attention. Can you imagine trying get people to take not of you in that place (where the amount of stimuli must be overwhelming for some of us).


  10. I like the ideal of the low powered Umarex Browing pistol mentioned above. For backyard, garage, or basement use it looks like a great option. The more shooting I get to do the happier I am.

  11. The pic of the week reminds me of another bit of Americana published in the Library Journal in 1912.

    The A-L-Adies sailed one day,
    To voyage up the Saguenay,
    Gay and grim, stout and slim,
    Twenty-five hers to every him.

    ALA refers to the American Library Association. Heh heh. Some things don’t change.

    That range sounds like quite the dream. Does anyone know of nation-wide ranges that are designed for people to visit and shoot anything they want? I’ve heard about national shooting centers and such. And how do they manage the 1000 yard ranges? Do people have to actually walk down and set up their own targets? That would take forever.

    B.B., yes, I have considered the follow-through as supplemental, but now I think it is at the very center of things. It is a way of staring down the shot and is bound up with the decisive qualities that I want to cultivate in shooting. CowBoyStar Dad, your archery coach sounds like the traditional Korean archers who drill endless repetitions and are nothing if not systematic.

    Kenholmz, that sounds like quite the basic training. I thought that POW training was advanced stuff. I saw a veteran of the British SAS describe his torture at the hands of Iraqi captors in one of the Gulf Wars. They made him moonwalk for them. Some people would find that enjoyable. But there was other stuff that was plenty gross. And then there are the Korean special forces of the South whose training and recruitment would make POW status almost seem desirable. They were forced to lift weights endlessly until one fellow said that he couldn’t continue. The instructor came over and provided a bit of encouragement in the form of a glowing metal bar applied to the armpit. The guy resumed lifting. On another training run, a guy said something along the lines of “So long, suckers” and jumped right off a cliff. One fellow decided that he had had enough and that he would not, after all, re-up for another hitch. The officers went to work on him by stringing him upside down from a tree and letting chili pepper sauce drip down his face. They got their signature. Still, I imagine that this would cut into unit cohesion. The piece where this information came from was focused on veterans of this program who were severely maladjusted and basically psycho. It makes you wonder what’s going on up there in the unemancipated North.

    As for Washington D.C. being a war zone, I’ve heard that before. And as I try to get into the mindset of the politicians working under enormous pressure and all hating each other, I think it would drive anyone completely nuts.


    • Matt,

      There are plenty of ranges where the public can shoot. Vegas is full of them.

      As for the thousand-yard ranges, usually they have a metal gong that you can hear when you hit. Matches do use paper targets, but they need people in pits at the targets to manage things.


    • Matt,
      Good question. If I understand your question, you’re looking for ranges throughout the nation that are not locally owned but are national or government franchises or perhaps NRA operated that anyone can visit?

      There is a locally owned range in my area that just added a 300 yd range and they allow you to drive your car within reasonable distance to reset targets, but for that range only. Obviously that range is limited to a few stations. They also allow pretty much anything except machine guns, artillery, or silencers, which are both illegal in Illinois. There are specific ranges for pistol, rifle and shotgun. You can shoot pistol at the rifle ranges but not vice-verse and the shotgun range is for shotgun only, and the only range for shotgun. There are even separate ranges for bows.

    • Washington DC is no longer a war zone, period. Sure, there are bad parts of town, but our murder rate is down to 1/4 of what it was 10 years ago, and I have no hesitation parking downtown in the evening and walking several blocks to a restaurant and back. Did it on Wednesday in fact.

      Unless you meant Capitol Hill, of course.


      • I hope you will forgive me, Pete. I tend to speak and write in metaphor and hyperbole and fail to even notice until someone calls attention to it. In part I engaged over statement, because I was never sent into a situation other than D.C. In part, it is a metaphor for how my life was while I was there.
        It is true that I had only been in D.C. two weeks when I heard on the radio that he leading cause of death for males between 18 and 25 in D.C. was a bullet. I was taken aback by this but I adapted and I learned what was what. Even in ’73 to ’76 if you didn’t go certain places and didn’t engage in certain behaviors, your odds of survival increased greatly.
        I spent many days on the mall, M Street (I looked recently and noted some elevated road that wasn’t there the last time I was there), meandering around Georgetown, and much time in Silver Spring because that was so near where I lived. I avoided the places on the Army’s stay away list and I made note of the Washingtonian’s annual list of the most dangerous places to hang out. I liked D.C. and the surrounding area, and I still do.
        D.C.was a battle zone in the most personal of ways. The wounds and the scars are not visible to the eye, but the scars remain. It is my responsibility to not let them dictate my life today.

        Best to you, Pete.

        • We moved to DC in 1984 when much of downtown was a no-go zone after dark, and where some parts were no-go by day. I had been going back and forth every few months on business for most of 10 years before that, and so I had lots of worries.

          It’s truly amazing what good policing, a lot of investment in building rehab, education, and new business will do. Sure, the area known as Anacostia remains all black and very poor. Capitol Hill which was all black and very poor is being rapidly gentrified and getting expensive to live in. Even Anacostia is having a renaissance. You can trace much of it back to three people:

          JFK, for starting the Pennsylvania Avenue Redevelopment program; Daniel Patrick Moynihan for enlightened thoughts on how to redevelop the corridor and get in new residents, and Richard Nixon for demanding that the temporary buildings (built in WW-1!) blighting the Mall had to go. Then you can look to Walter Washington, the first elected mayor of DC and even to Marion Barry, the politician we all love to hate, for trying to administer the city. Lots more people in less visible spots helped, of course, and carried the real heavy loads.

          Georgetown is lovely. I know exactly which double-deck highway you mean, the so-called Whitehurst Freeway that should be torn down and a tunnel built. It’s hideous. But it moves rush hour traffic OUT.

          Poor Silver Spring. It went down hill, and may, or may not, have finally hit bottom. Sixteenth St. in DC was a rather gracious old road passing through one of the very wealthy black districts until it hit the Silver Spring line. Then the place went to hell.

          North Korea scares me. I can’t tell you how many briefings I used to get on their nuclear program. One of my prouder moments working on the Hill was when I was following an unclassified export/import data base and saw the DPRK had just bought a large amount of some odd organic solvent. It had 2 uses, in making latex-based paints, and in separating plutonium from spent fuel. I went down to Sen. Biden’s office (my boss) and said “you heard it here first; NK is about to start reprocessing plutonium.” Nah, couldn’t be; CIA would have told us. And they did. A week or two later.

          Chuck: FYI Montgomery County Maryland operates one or two shotgun ranges, but I don’t think they have anything else. BB lived in Maryland, so he may know.


          • Pete, Silver Spring was really a nice city when I was living there. I know the Golden Flame Greek restaurant is still open (well it was a few months ago). We ate there when it was quite new. I am glad they were able to preserve the Silver theater. I never ate at Crisfield’s, an obvious error on my part.

            I take it you have been down to the Maine Avenue Fish Market, “one of the few surviving open air seafood markets on the east coast”. I remember passing L’Enfant Plaza on the way there (or do I).

            Regarding the “odd organic solvent”, even when we have some knowledge/information, we often still must see the correct connections to see the picture correctly. You were able to do so, obviously.

            • Ken,

              Not sure Maine Ave is still open. They are redeveloping that area heavily now. Yes, it’s near L’Enfant Plaza, one of the badly failed 1970s attempts at redevelopment.

              Solvents: you’ll note I ain’t saying which solvent, tho’ you could find out in an hour if you really cared I suspect.

              • Pete, even when I was there in the ’70s there were some trying to make the fisherman’s wharf disappear. I just “didn’t fit” with L’Enfant Plaza and the other Cosmopolitan development (but I loved it, even the fact that it “didn’t fit”. Some how, the owners managed to block those efforts for quite a while.

            • BB,
              Matt61 opened the question yesterday with this: “Does anyone know of nation-wide ranges that are designed for people to visit and shoot anything they want? I’ve heard about national shooting centers and such.”

              I was merely joining in with interest and hoping for a list. If they exist, and one could get all the state transport rules right, one could travel cross country and be able to shoot at a range in each state without having to join a club in each one. However, if it isn’t done correctly one could also end up in jail in every state across the country. Ahhh, the land of the free!

    • Matt61, I don’t know about everything I have read or seen, especially what I read and see on the Internet. However, I do know that the situation between two Korea’s seems to be unlike any other part of the planet (and there are serious and horrific things going on in some other parts). You can find a great deal to read and to view regarding this; after Kim Jong Il became Il not more I began finding and capturing a lot of video regarding North Korea. I found a couple that state that we have been lied to and brainwashed about North Korea. But North Korea has its own travel bureau and foreign tourists are allowed to take some video. Upon return some of them add narration to their masterpiece. I watched a few hours of video. Now I understand why my wife’s cousin never spoke of what he witnessed while watching the DMZ. If the South Korean special forces are trained so severely then I expect some will be scarred for life. On the other hand, they are living in a severe time and place. If you watch any video about the DMZ and the Joint Security Area you may notice something immediately. The South Korean soldiers are standing at what is called the ROC Ready Stance (I have read that this is a Tai Kwan Do stance) and they are only partially exposed as they stand at the end of the buildings. The North Koreans have soldiers standing just inside the North Korean side of the line. There are multiple explanations about how North Korea sets up a system where everybody watches everybody else. Even one lone tourist get three Government “minders” when visiting North Korea. Three so that no one is likely to say anything or do anything that even remotely criticizes the DRPK government or speaks of how serious conditions are (this in a country that is so isolated from the rest of the world and the people have lived with a chronic barrage of statements that they may not know there is anything better across the border. So do, and they make dangerous trips to seek a better life. North Korea is a prison with more prisons within. Those guards at the Joint Security Area also are there to insure no one crosses the line to the South. This is true up and down the DMZ. Of course, occasionally, a soldier decides to find out what is outside North Korea. Not all reach their goal. The truth is that I can not truly imagine what it is like for citizens in North Korea or for the South Koreans. However, when a civilian visitor to the Joint Security Area asked an American officer if she could walk over to the North Korean side, he told her no one would stop her but she probably would not like the reception she received on the other side. As with our elite fighters, most of us could never make the grade.

      See my response to Pete about D.C.


    • Mattt61, your bit of Americana reminds me of something. I have a brother in law (from Pennsylvani) who was in the Air Force. While in advanced training he received notice that he would be stationed at the base near Clovis, New Mexico for his first assignment. The old hands told him this was great news because there was a girl behind every tree there. After he arrived he called home and told his Mom there WERE NO trees.

    • Matt61, had I been in what I call “the real army” I would have gone on to advanced training. There I may well have gone through advanced POW training. I didn’t make that trip. You can bet that many who did make that trip, and especially those who became professional soldiers, look askance at those of us who didn’t or couldn’t “join the club”.

  12. okay all you powderburner types.
    Anyone know of a program like Chairgun but for powderburners?
    I’ve google ballistics programs but can’t find anything that compares to Chairgun.

    • Tom and Edith will notice my different e-mail address. It will be easier for me to check in multiple situations.

      CSD..having only heard of Chairgun and Chairgun Pro, I can’t know if this will help or not.

      I plugged the words centerfire ballistics software into Google and the winner is Remington Shoot! which can be found at remington dot com (I’m not trying to hide from Edith, just that dratted spam cop with his, “Go straight to jail, do not….”

      Maybe this will be what you’re looking for; just maybe.


        • Thanks, Edith. I failed to even think about that (although I run into it frequently when I am the on choosing to white list something that has been captured by the spam police.

          This email client is not recognizing the links to the blog. I’ll do cut and paste until I get tired of it I suppose. It’s always something!

          Thanks, again.

          P.S. Since I’m not logging in my math skills are improving 🙂

        • I hope it is. In spite of the bad elements of the Internet, and there are many from my point of view, it is also the most awesome means of communication and information discovery I know of. Of course, someone has to make these resources available, just as Tom and Edith (and Rick and Pyramyd Air) have made this blog available (an information and communication rich resource).

          I have done extensive searching since it became available to me. Early on it took me three years to find a person, 30 seconds to find a poem someone could remember of the first line of, 10 years to learn the name of an Italian movie I saw the last third of and longed to see all of it (the movie is Miracle in Milan or Miracolo de Milano and I encourage all to check it out when you see it).

          When doing searches, I try to think and be creative (not an easy thing for me). I did try a couple of things that weren’t finding what we wanted. When I chose “center fire ballistics software” Google brought up something promising.

          BTW: just changing the order of you search words can yield different results, to get what you seek to show up in one of the first few pages. I seldom go farther than three pages. Early on I tried going as deep as 20 pages. It’s not worth it (but I had to do it to find out).

          Anyway, I hope this works out well for you, and please forgive my pontifications is you think it reasonable.


  13. I simply must say something about airguns. Last evening I felt the need to cock one of the breakers and shoot (knowing soon I will not for a short, eternal, while). It was too dark to go out back where I have not lights (and I don’t have any of the tactical laser, spot light, sonar or other magical gear). Out front in a clump of little trees (to protect the neighbors, of course) we have a swimming pool ladder. On top of the ladder I place an old (read Windows 3.11 old) computer chassis. It has pre-drilled holes (to lighten it I assume). I still don’t have light, except the porch light that just makes it so I can’t see. I placed an LED head lamp inside the chassis, behind the holes. That gave me something to shoot at. I whiled away a half hour while my wife wasn’t home to scold me. I didn’t shoot the light out though, thankfully; it’s my wife’s head lamp. I felt much better when after that.

  14. Well, in case anyone cares, I took a nice long freeway ride on the motorcycle and decided it’s just a huge pain in the butt to do things by motorcycle when even a small car is able to carry so much more and is less tiring.

    So, the bike’s at the shop and will be sold, and I’ll keep an eye out for a small car.

    • I like bikes, I really do. In 1983 I bought a bike with my wife’s reluctant agreement. Twenty one days later another biker ran a stop sign. He wore no helmet and died within a day. I wore a full coverage helmet, survived and healed fairly well after a period of time. I was in and out of consciousness. I was out when my wife arrived at the E.R. When I came to again and saw her my first words were, “You know I’m going to get another one, don’t you?” I never have. I might have, but she would be too distraught and anxious every time I would get on it. I know a number of people who ride, often just because they enjoy riding and they ride far. If I had a bike, I would likely feel as you do at this point in my life. Still, I feel a bit of envy when I see someone else enjoying their ride.

      Get that nice little BMW convertible. It reminds me of the original Shelby Cobra (before he got his name on a Ford). Easy advice, you know, I can’t afford one to be honest (well, I could if I could go on an air diet for about a year).

      • A Z3? Hey I don’t have that kind of money! We’re talking a couple thou and that’s about it. And I have a lot of functional stuff I want to do, like take stuff to flea markets, maybe get a board (and a wetsuit!) and do some surfin’, take lumber home from the store, etc. So, we’re talking a minivan or a station wagon. I had a big blue Volvo station wagon I liked well enough, a Mercedes diesel wagon would be a good choice, etc.

        • I keep noticing that I have a lot of dropped letters as I peruse through the posts, mostly on the ends of words. I may need to slow down; not that I type all that fast.

          flobert, LOL; but we can dream (that still inexpensive).


      • ken,
        I hope this doesn’t sound cruel but I am an avid Harley rider (~100,000 miles) and understand where you are coming from. I have heard your story so many times and I don’t want to diminish what you have been through.

        So, from my perspective (Edith go take a coffee break):

        Not a true story:

        I was driving my Chevy one day and another guy in a Ford ran a stoplight and hit me and he died because he didn’t wear a seat belt. I wore a seat belt. When I came to, I told my wife I will get another car. I never did but I might have, but she would be too distraught and anxious every time I would get behind the wheel. I know a number of people who drive, often just because they enjoy driving and they drive far. If I had a car, I would likely feel as you do at this point in my life. Still, I feel a bit of envy when I see someone else enjoying their car. 50,000 people a year die in car accidents.

        I realize I may have insulted and alienated you but I have the utmost respect for you even though I don’t know you personally. I only take this risk with you because I do not believe motorcycles are inherently dangerous any more so than a gun at a rifle range.

        I realize extra precautions are needed (I know, sheds credability on previous sentence) because car drivers as well as other bike riders are reckless, comatose, distracted or agressive.

        I don’t know where else to go with this except to say I wanted to give another point of view and to say if there were more bikers there would be more awareness and safer streets.

        The soap box is now open.

        • Harley’s test-ride fleet came through a couple years ago and I test-rode a 1200 Sportster with some Screaming Eagle stuff on it, so not strictly stock. We went out in a big formation and rode on the freeway and the rural roads around here; we didn’t flaunt the speed limits *too* much. OK maybe a little… I liked it! That bike was made for me. Sadly I can’t afford a $12K bike.

          And I don’t think motorcycles are inherently dangerous either, I’ve had a few spectacular get-offs and didn’t get hurt. Much. I actually think bicycles may be more dangerous per mile driven.

          • flobert, “per miles drive” I expect is true for any kind of travel and more so in some travel situations. I was recently driving 80 miles round trip for traction therapy. Additionally, this was in Houston traffic on I10 on the west side of town. Now that is like a war zone, or at least Death Race 2000; okay not that bad but it does require a lot of vigilance, good control of what your driving, and a very good response time to take action.

            You know, statistically there are more “older” persons who are getting injured riding motorcycles. As you may well know, they are not driving more carelessly, there a just a lot more older persons riding these days. The newer trikes have apparently lured many older citizens to “get out on the highway, looking for adventure…”

            • There are a lot of older people on bikes, Boomers and all that. Also when people are older, they get injured more easily.

              Right now, I don’t ride any motorcycle at all! I’ve had, let me think:

              Honda Aero 50
              Kawasaki KE100
              Honda 200 Reflex
              Suzuki GN250
              BMW R80/7
              Yamaha SR500
              Yamaha SRX-6
              Kawasaki GPz550
              then a long interlude
              Honda CMX250 Rebel
              Kawasaki ZL600B2 which is the bike I was just talking about.

              I’m about to ride over there on my (awesome) Electra Cruiser 7D with a huge ol’ Wald basket on the front, take the papers for the motorcycle over to the shop, bringing tools to remove the fairing because it will sell better without it, swing by State Farm to cancel my insurance, and maybe hit a few garage sales and just general ridin’ around.

              I’m just going to look for a minivan or a station wagon, a functional car I can do functional stuff with. It’d be a blast to be able to carry a surf board and do some surfing again.

              • flobert, I don’t care what anyone says, that Electra will help you stay more fit that your motor bikes ever did. Kind of sad in a way, to think of parting with an old friend, perhaps closing a chapter of the book that is your life. Well, enough of this drivel. Take care and watch out for sharks.

                • I rode on some nice “scenic” roads and savored the wind in my face, the feeling of flying, the sweet inline-four engine sounds, all the cool “motorcycle stuff” I’ve known for so long. And I’m keeping some basic gear, because it’s not at all impossible that I could end up getting a sweet deal on a motor scooter or some sort of motorcycle some time.

                  I’m an Electra cultist! At $279 or so, that bike is the most bang for the buck of just about anything! And they’re COMFORTABLE. That’s important. I can not ride it for months and then get on and do back to back 30 mile days and no problem. Electra makes a lot of neat bikes, some very styled at the expense of function, but people like ’em. I’d like to see an Electra in every garage.

                  • flobert, I don’t what the law is where you live but I hope you always wear a helmet. I have a neighbor who rode his scooter to the hardware store. As he was leaving a car sideswiped him, he ended up hitting his head on ornamental rock. The other driver fled the scene. This has been a couple of years ago. He live at home, his wife takes good care at him. This was a very intelligent and productive man. He also enjoyed rebuilding cars among other things. Now, he is still a great guy but his thinking ability is impaired. I need to go visit him today or tomorrow.

                    Several years ago I even started wearing a helmet when I ride a bike. Where I ride there are some local meth damaged types who enjoy “pretending” they are going to run into you or otherwise making some harassing remark. I don’t conceal carry so I a grateful I’ve never had a reason to need to. Actually, its been a while since I took a ride.

              • Ever tought of getting an old pick-up? ’96 to ’99 GM pick-up were indeed built like rocks. Being somewhere warmer than here you may not need the 4X4 part and save yourself some $$$, they do consume more gas than cars but not that much more than a minivan and so much more fun, comfy to drive. I still regret selling mine, it was a 2 wheel drive (with an open diff it was a pain in the winter), xtra cab short bed. We didn’t have any kids then, I rode on the front bench with the wife, the dog was on the back seat and plenty of place for the tools (or anything else, but I carried a bunch of tools at the time), a surf board would be right at home there. If you want to save more fuel get a diesel one, the small 6.2 is a real work horse, you won’t be winning any races with it but it will be cheap to run and will last forever. If you can fix your vehicules you’ll save even more money as used parts are easy to find and you won’t need to take everything out or a computer to know what’s happening.


        • Chuck, you have neither insulted nor alienated me. I still love bikes. The only reason I haven’t gotten another bike is that I have chosen to honor my wife’s request. For better or worse, she is more important to me than having a bike. I have known fellows who can’t comprehend this. I accept that. I just figure our neurological systems are different or have been subjected to a different set of experiences (well, that creates differences).

          FWIW: I do, indeed, believe in these neurological differences. This is a reason the community, the society and the culture are of great importance. This is how limits on behavior are set and various sanctions are imposed when lines are crossed. We fail to carry this out perfectly, but we wouldn’t survive at all without the limits and sanctions. Also, I see no contradiction between this belief and my belief in God. After all, he had to create a way for us to function. You didn’t ask for any of this but my neurological system demanded that I express it :O

          Any way, I have been told that how my wife feels and what see requests are not valid reasons for my decision. Perhaps not, but that’s okay because it is my decision, and that is valid.

          Chuck, I wish you great, injury free rides. When the wind is in your face feel free to think of me and what I’m missing (for a brief moment). Perhaps you can start a new sport, hitting moving targets with an airgun while riding a motorcycle. I’m not sure if you can become proficient at this without injury along the way, though 🙂

          Seriously, I wish you the best.

            • Edith, I have finally worked my way to your post. Yes like if full of compromises, or put another way, life is full of choices that must be made. Sometime two are more things are mutually exclusive and there is no way to reconcile this.
              Two psychologists, Miller and Dollard, described some conflict situations in three ways:

              Approach-Approach in which both goals or objects are desirable but both cannot be obtained.

              Approach-Avoidance in which the goal or object is seen as desirable but there are known or perceived consequences that we want to avoid.

              Avoidance-Avoidance in which there are at least two undesirable situations or outcomes, but both cannot be avoided.

              In this model, the person has a choice and must make a choice. Even inaction is a choice. In each case there is a mutually exclusive set of options. As long as we are undecided, inaction is the choice being made. I find myself thinking about this conflict model now and then. It even helps me to make a decision and make it with more resolve than I might otherwise.

              I would like to go out and ride a motorcycle, but regardless of how I view the conflict I have made a choice and I stand by it.

              I am sure B.B. made the better choice for both of you. Others have different situations. My only prayer is that they will not harm or hurt another person selfishly. Otherwise, more power to them.

              It seems that every post set me off on some tangent. I’ll blame it on the prescribed medication.

              Best to you and Tom,

            • Edith – I’ve had a ton of crashes and the worst thing that happened was I broke some ribs. I feel very good about my ability to survive riding a motorcycle, but there’s always that chance …. realistically, the only way to avoid falling off a motorcycle is to not get on one. Mainly it’s the PITA factor, trying to accomplish on a bike what’s easy with a car.

              Heck, where I live, I could keep a horse easily, and I don’t go riding around on a horse either. Although for future times, a horse or mule or donkey, with a light cart, would be great for the weekly trip into town.

            • Edith, I can be naive at times (well, often). I couldn’t understand why your posts to me didn’t arrive in my inbox. I thought perhaps they had gone to Google mail before I changed addresses. Nothing like that, my providers security system sent some messages to quarantine, including the post I am responding to here. Either I didn’t look close enough in the past day or two, or it did just show up this morning. As much as we have been dealing with SPAM traps lately, I would really think I would have suspected this.

              I wonder if B.B. feels much like I do now about bikes. I honored my wife’s request since ’83 but now I probably just feel better with walls around me, front, seat side and curtain airbags ready to cushion me. My wife probably kept me from being homeless and saved my life as well. I still like to look at the bikes, though. It’s both safe and cheap.

              I do hope the two of you get a little time to just take it easy.


              • kenholmz,

                I don’t know what’s happening on your end with comment notifications. Pyramyd Air’s email is hosted by gmail. Because I don’t trust it to do the right thing (long story), I also have all my Pyramyd AIR emails forwarded to my personal account in Mac Mail, which is a mail program so superior to gmail that I’m baffled why gmail would use such an inferior model. Gmail’s forwarding service works flawlessly, but it’s not unusual for my forwarded emails to show up in my Mac Mail account seconds, minutes and even hours before it shows up in my gmail inbox. Perhaps, you’re experiencing the same slow delivery issues.

                I think I know how B.B. feels about his inability to own/ride motorcycles. However, I also know how he feels life would be like if we’d never met. He’s told me more than once that if he hadn’t married me he’d be crouched over an open fire pit for cooking.

                From what you’ve told us already, I feel a kinship with your wife 🙂

                B.B. still looks at bikes. I do, too, as I can see the beauty in the machines. When we go some place and see a parking spot next to a bike, it’s not unusual for us to park next to it. In the first place, there’s no chance of having a car door swing open & bang into my car! But it also gives him a chance to look and dream 🙂


          • ken,
            I am glad to hear from you. I had regrets after getting off my soap box and hitting the submit button. Your wife and Edith have very special husbands that honor their well being, and your wife and Edith are very special wives to deserve your and Tom’s decision. I admire your relationships. God bless your lives.

            • Apologies, Pete. I meant Chuck on this one. Also, apologies to Edith, this is my last post on this subject, I promise.

              Chuck, I’m going to post this short message twice so that you and Beazer get it by e-mail. There is one thing I could have done with regard to my bike on bike wreck; I just would have had to do it before I reached the wide intersection. I could have slowed down, obeying good sense (I won’t say common) as well as the law. Some time after the wreck, I clicked to this.

          • ken,
            I have on different occasions taken videos with my little Olympus Stylus camera while riding scenic curvy roads. Because of that I can say it would be impossible for me to shoot a pellet rifle or even pistol from a moving motorcycle and hit anything intentionally. It does give me an appreciation for how the cowboys are able to do it from a horse at full gallop and solves the mystery of how so many bandits were able to escape unscathed.

            • Chuck, I was also thinking about shooting from horseback when I wrote that. One possible difference I see between the horse and a bike is that a horse could be trained to be a partner in the endeavor. I won’t say the bike, computer, and various controls systems will never happen, but for now I don’t think the bike can be your partner in the way a good horse can.

              Your post about using the video camera reminds me of the “train chasing” scene in “The Station Agent” (except for the much repeated use of the “f” word by one character this could be a film I recommend for the entire family, although the younger ones may not understand all of the nuances). You can check out some scenes on YouTube if you get curious.

              I wonder if the folks in Ohio (and elsewhere) have had their Polar Bear run yet? Here in the Houston area it would have to be a Pole Cat run (just not cold enough for anything else).

              Thanks, for writing back (both times).

              • Have you guys seen the mythbuster episode where they mount a paintball gun to a car and do a chase?
                It was almost impossible to hit the car much less the driver or tires while holding the gun out the window.
                When fixed on the hood it became pretty easy, he was just pointing the car and by using the accelerator and brake could easily aim up and down and time his shots to hit the driver in front of him, he even got one on the head rest.
                When MOBILE on the hood James Bond style with a remote mounted inside, Adam was able to “kill” Jamie in a mather of minutes, Jamie helmet was covered in paintballs.


                • J-F, I haven’t seen that episode of Myth Busters but it sounds like one I would enjoy (heck, I enjoyed all of the ones I saw. I only have an antenna so no Myth Busters here. I did see them while I was working over night in a community residential program for persons who had suffered traumatic brain injury. This was an apartment where three guys lived (all of whom I had worked with for a couple of years before they moved from a more institutional setting to a community oriented setting). I say this to let you know the context. I was responsible for these three fellows in a three bedroom apartment, and I was only a short distance from each of them. I acted responsibly. On the main campus the distances were greater and the number of residents was greater. I only worked night a short while on campus; TV wasn’t an option in that setting.
                  I would be fired from that job after I inserted a Linux live CD into the new improved more secure PC and helped a resident (patient) write an email to his guardian via his Excite e-mail account. The story prior to this is much longer and convoluted by I do admit to being totally unrepentant Viva la revolution!
                  Seriously, I think about those persons frequently. Many of them will live out their lives in a structured situation that is difficult to live with. There were different levels of programming. I worked in all of the residential program. One house was home for those who survived but were most seriously impaired with regard to daily functioning. They have varying degrees of self awareness and each person is a unique individual even in this program.

                  At the other end on campus was a program that was intended to help people move towards reintegration into what we may call normal living in a community. The three guys that lived in the apartment had lived in this program for several years. They are higher functioning, yet have not demonstrated that they can safely be discharged out of the facility or its various programs. With this group I spent many hours driving a van and accompanying them on outing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

                  As with the country and each state difficult economic times have repercussions affect those who have no control over the situation. This happened at this facility. The executive director of the facility was fired and the person they brought in was good with the bottom line but blind to what his actions were causing. Some of us were instrumental in having him replaced. I spend a year periodically using the futuristic communication system call e-mail. They saved every one of them. When I was finally counseled about this and told I was wrong for offering my uncensored thoughts, I could only only say, “why didn’t to tell me sooner” (in a most civil tone I might add). One of the two people in the room for that inquisition was fired before I was, the other was fired two months after I was. I say this without annotation; its just a fact, and may indicate that the situation was unstable. I hope improvements were made and have been maintained. The woman who replaced the man is still the Directory of the facility six years later.

                  Last thing. There is a rule against staff and residents having any kind of contact for one full year after either leaves the facility. The fellow who made my job hardest because he was the most bonded to me called me on my cell phone only a few days after the one year had elapsed. It was good to hear from him; I praised him for waiting the required time. He was very fastidious about his personal care and his belongings so I was not surprised that he still had my phone number. I had given it to him on one of our outings to a large mall. This was the group that functioned better and so they were allowed a degree of freedom. I wanted him to have my number lest I was needed. Although he is required to live a life of complete celibacy with little chance of developing a marital relationship, he still has an eye for women and has gotten himself into trouble more than a few times because he develops a crush on someone. He has never in any way attacked someone. The objects of his attention just become alarmed about his persistence. He can’t quite walk that fine invisible line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I hurt for him, but I also have been there when he was enjoying himself completely. C’est la vie.
                  Sigh…all of this to say” please wear a helmet” and let it handle the paint and the impact. I really want to see that episode now.

                  BTW: I was wearing a full coverage helmet and landed on my face (I love that helmet; I gave it to my brother because he was riding without one and was too cheap to buy one. I figured it was better than no helmet. He did wear it.

                  Hasta mañana, mon ami.

            • Chuck, are you familiar with the Boss Hoss (bosshoss) cycles, with V8 engines? There are some others out there too, but these were the first ones I encountered. One guy who goes to the V.A. medical center rides one of their trikes (a yellow one with the rear end like a pick up truck, complete with a locking bed cover. I just looked and this one is no longer shown on their web site although the one with a rear end like a ’57 Chevy is still there). One of the pickup bed trikes was altered for a fellow who had lost his legs; he rolled his wheel chair up into the bed, then transferred to an altered seat. He was very pleased and others were amazed. The two wheelers are something else.

              There is a dealer on the south side of Houston. I may yet make the trip just to look (as if I were in an art gallery).

              Now you’ve got me thinking of that old Steppenwolf song. Chuck, riding a bike is just shy of taking off and flying, and I know that (although I don’t think I would have ever attempted some of the extreme bike maneuvers I have watched; of course we only see the ones that did not die or become quadriplegic on their way to stardom). Same with extreme base jumping with the flying suit; there won’t be many elderly ones to talk to down the road.

              Tell me about your shooting experience some time. I do still want to hear about airgunning and airguns.

        • Howdy Chuck,
          AMEN! My turn on the soap box. Wuz biker trash long before it wuz “cool”. Have ridden “legally” on the street for 41 years & never gone down. Fallen over many times doin’ stupid stuff, i.e. forgettin’ ta put my feet down at a stop, etc, but never gone down. Everytime I say that, I always hear, “knock on wood”. Nope, has nuttin’ ta do with luck, it’s the way ya ride. The Gang on this blog know that a competent handler doesn’t need a safety on a gun, cuz YOU are the safety. Same. I’m invisible when I ride, so I ride aggressively, meaning I MAKE you see me. I am the safety . I will not let you take me down. Hooty laughs at me when I do hafta drive my truck, she sez I look very uncomfortable. I am. Far safer on my sled than drivin’. Guns/bikes don’t kill people…I read every word, everyone of you write here. You guys here have taught me sooo much & I thank you. Learn something new here everyday. Learn someting new every time I ride. Ride/drive/shoot safe. Your turn on the soapbox.

          • Beazer, I don’t disagree with you at all. I have nothing against safeties on guns, but even then the gun should be treated as it did not have a safety. Same with GPS systems; we still need to use our eyes, ears and brains and not think the GPS if going to take care of us (as it has not for some folks some times).
            I am very glad that you have ridden for 41 years without going down, I hope you can make it another 41 fantastic years.

            I know other fellows for whom their bikes are like air, they need them or life becomes suffocating. On Facebook my former classmates who ride post frequently when they are not able to take a ride (and when they do also).

            I regret that day, Beazer. I won’t go over the whole thing, but I have thought about what I experienced and the information other gave me (an there was information directly related to the situation of that day and that moment). I tried to do something in the two seconds I had to work with. It didn’t work, and I can find nothing to make me think there was anything I could have done.

            ‘ll just say it was a wide intersection, I saw him slowing down at the stop sign, and he gunned his way through while I was checking out the traffic on the left. This information was given by his passenger, who bailed when he saw what was about to happen, so he only had a few scratches.

            For my part, when I looked back and saw him, it was very surreal. I didn’t have the time to think, “This can’t be happening”, but I know that was my first wordless thought. Then I had to a second left to respond. I was not at fault in any way (I was even just under the speed limit and I had the right of way) but I am still saddened that it happened and that there was no way I could avoid the collision. He was 18 years old, was joining the Marines the next day, and he was high according to his friend who was on the bike with him). Sometimes, things just don’t work out.

            Ride free, and enjoy every minute of it, Beazer.

            • Chuck, thanx for sharin’ your soapplank. I like it, heights make me nervous.
              Ken, bike on bike, that’s tough. Had friends, husband & wife, on their way home. He’s ridin’, she’s trailin’ in a truck. At a stop sign, he did, she didn’t. Killed him. My younger brother got left turned, shattered his lower leg & knocked him outa Seal trainin’, a week before he shipped out. Comin’ up on the 1 year anniversary of one of my dearest friends, owner & national publisher of a bike magazine, who rode one of those custom V8 trikes you mentioned, but that day was packin’ behind her man. We were at a dealership event, saw each other, but were too busy for face time. 2 hours later she’s layin’ in the road, dead. Yup, left turned. Still hurts. We all have stories. As a minor “celebrity” around these parts, I’m asked to do alot of group rides. If I ain’t lead dog or tail gunner, I ain’t playin’. Very picky about who’s around me when I’m up on 2. With 100k+ in the saddle, Chuck will back me on this one. Many of today’s “Wild Hogs” have no biz handlin’ a loaded gun/ridin’ a bike. Don’t really care about them, but do care that they’ll become a statistic that will affect how I ride. Ride/not ride. Own & shoot/not own & shoot. It all boils down to personal choice & freedom. Pretty sure that’s one of the strongest common links for all of us here. I can tell, when you’re ready, you’ll ride again.

              • Beazer,
                Yeah, we have an annual Ride for the Cure when the gals have the Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure for cancer. About 1,500 motorcycles ride through town. If an incident occurs you have nowhere to go for bail-out and you don’t know if the 500 bikers behind you are paying attention. Other than that I do not participate in any group riding. However, I have been involuntarily involved in group riding with horses, cows, moose, deer and even grizzly. They’re even less predictable.

                • Yup, On the way back from Sturgis, came over the hill & into a small herd of buffalo. That’s a wake up call. Have done shows with a buddy who rides (more like just tries ta aim) a buffalo. Between rides he has Harvey Wall Banger (the buffalo’s name) backstage lying down & he’s up on his back. Those beasts are huge.

              • Beazer,

                It definitely is a sad state of affairs when the lives of the sane majority of riders/shooters and everyone else are affected by the actions of those insane/careless/hotdog minority peoples actions. And then those who are making the rules are the ones who don’t understand or participate in that which they’re making rules about….. Keep the shiny side up!


              • Beazer, I’m going to post this short message twice so that you and Pete get it by e-mail. There is one thing I could have done with regard to my bike on bike wreck; I just would have had to do it before I reached the wide intersection. I could have slowed down, obeying good sense (I won’t say common) as well as the law. Some time after the wreck, I clicked to this.

          • Beazer the reason why I’ve not had any accidents on motorcycles since I sold my GPz550 back in 1992 or so is, a long interlude again until 2007, but then I was much less of a young squid, I can think of only one accident that wasn’t due to my “sporting around” in some way.

            A skilled rider who puts in a lot of miles can be very safe on a motorcycle, after a certain number of miles and years of experience, the chance of an accident goes way down. If you hardly drive a car, then yes indeed you are truly safer on your bike than in a car.

            • Yo, Flo. Great point. Competence builds confidence. Just gotta be careful that comfort doesn’t become over confidence. That’s when mistakes happen, shootin’ or ridin’.

              • Yep beazer the MSF test never stops. As long as one is riding, one is in the “advanced class”. And, the stuff I learned in the advanced class has saved my butt a few times, in cars too.

  15. B.B.,

    Yeah, when I stopped by the Gamo booth, it was almost completely empty. No one around, and no one seemed interested. But so many of their guns look the same, that I figured that there wasn’t much to look at. Maybe that’s what others thought. Gamo needs to work on their booth so that it better highlights the fact that they are taking real steps forward.

    In any case, I really do hope that they produce a significantly better trigger, and gas piston power plant in their new line of guns. Just as important, I hope that they offer these new and improved models at a reasonable price. At this point, it would be wise that they earn customers respect, because their current reputation is not great. The current reputation is that Gamo is a shallow company that caters to the simplest of customers (and minds — speed, power, damage …). As you described, the kids who wear their baseball hats off to the side.

    This year, I found myself more interested in firearms, and especially 1911’s. I really like the Ruger SR1911. While I don’t expect it to be nearly as accurate as the Kimber’s at $2300, I really like the feel of the Ruger, especially at $650. It’s getting very good reviews, and the trigger was surprisingly crisp. Overall, to me, it felt better than the high end Kimbers. The new All American product line is also interesting, because it appears to be targeting Savage customers with very similar technologies (e.g., Accu Trigger, and Accu Stock). But again, like the SR1911, the All American rifles are VERY inexpensive. The message is that same for both companies, namely, why spend thousands for a certain level of performance, when you can get it “out of the box” for a fraction of the cost. Works for me! I’ll certainly be getting an SR1911 and an All American within the year.

    I just hope that Gamo and Crosman catch on to this idea of providing high value at a low price.


  16. BB,
    I’m wondering if you’re going to test the Browning Buck Mark? It might be a good alternative to bb pistols for my grandkids in my indoor range. They have shot bb pistols here before and it is very messy with bbs ending up all over the carpeting and embedded in my paneling and very prone to ricochets.

  17. Okay, good! Looks like I didn’t need to ask that as I see now where you said that in the picture’s subtitle. I was looking in the article text which made me beg the question.

      • Aw Beaze, I could teach you how to shoot a pistol well, I *think*.

        I seem to have “talent” but a lot of research has shown “talent” to be a myth. I think I got my “talent” because my Mom hated guns, and would only allow water guns, and then only to shoot at the myriad potted plants around the place, to water ’em.

        So I spent too much time shooting potted plants “from the hip” because water guns don’t have much for sights and besides, no one used the sights on TV. Interestingly, the only time I’ve shot a real pistol from the hip was one day at the range, laser sights were new and a guy was going nuts trying to figure out why the little dot wasn’t helping his heeling and flinch. He let me try his gun and I held it the way I held one of those old water guns and kept the dot steady, and made an impressively small group.

  18. Pete, I know know about Silver Spring and it saddens me. There is a web site owned by a woman who grew up in Silver Spring and works in real estate. She has a page (with posts from readers) about what businesses have survived in Silver Spring. Things have changed a lot. I also used to go up to Wheaton, to the mall. I bought my books, magazine and some record albums at Brentano’s. Magazines for hi-fidelity enthusiasts just aren’t the same these days (maybe its just gotten too complicated for me). Klipsch does still make the Klipschorn floor standing speaker (go-go girls could have danced on top of them) although the technology is different from what it was in the ’70s.

    As an aside: The first time I walked (I walked a lot and frankly, it was good for me) up 8th Avenue to Silver Spring, I about split a gut when I saw my first Drug Fair pharmacy (remember this was 1973, when illicit drug use as perceived differently by most drug users (yeah, including me); even David Crosby has admitted, “we were wrong about the drugs”, although he thinks he was and is right about every thing else.

  19. I ran a pellet diameter test today with my Crosman Challenger. I tried three different diameter H&N Finale Match Pistol (7.56gr) pellets bench rested. I shot the 4.48mm, 4.49mm and 4.51mm. All three types shot the same score.

    I used a target with a ten ring diameter of 1/4″ and a nine ring diameter of 1/2″ and an eight ring diameter of 1″. That is the target for the airgunarena dot com rifle bench rest competition. All shots were either in the ten ring or in the nine ring bisecting the ten.

    For each diameter pellet I shot one pellet per bull in each of six bulls arranged vertically. Max score for a pellet type would be 60 if they shot a clean ten on all 6 bulls. In order to get a clean ten the pellet hole had to be completely inside the ten ring, and not touching the nine ring. Each pellet type scored 55 out of 60. Each one of the pellet types scored one clean ten ring out of the 6 shots. So that would be 5 nine rings and 1 ten ring per pellet type.

    All three pellet types seemed to fit snug in the barrel so I think a pellet diameter would have to be really loose to make a difference.

    I wonder, since these pellets are sorted by diameter, if they are also the same weight within diameter type? I’ll have to weigh some someday. Too lazy to get the scale out now.

    So my unofficial conclusion is that these different pellet diameters made no discernible difference in the accuracy of my Challenger.

    • Chuck…

      I thought about doing something like that, but never got to it.

      I was going to get some H&N match that were different sizes to see how different degrees of loose or tight affected accuracy. I wanted to get some that were distinctly “drop in” loose.
      Never got to it.


      • twotalon,
        I tried all four head sizes of these H&N’s but not even the smallest one fit loose. I don’t know if that is a testament to Challenger design of just luck on Crosman’s part. At any rate I would consider any one of these sizes as excellent pellets for this rifle.

        However, the most successful pellet to date for this rifle is the H&N Baracuda Match (10.65gr). It scored a 57 out of 60. Unfortunately it is a domed head and not a wadcutter. I am surprised that the heavier pellets appear to be more accurate.

        Next best, tied for second place, is the Crosman Premier cardboard box version (10.5gr) then JSB Exact (8.4gr). Hmm… all heavier pellets. Where the Baracuda scored a 57 out of 60 (that’s three clean tens) these scored a 56 each (two clean tens).

        The one lighter pellet that also ties with these two at 56 and is slightly more accurate than the other four H&N Finale Match Pistols tested (which scored 55) is the H&N Finale Match (7.56gr) that comes in the plastic box and has the pellets arranged individually in the foam sheets – expensive critters. These scored a 56 with two clean tens. The very light ~7.0gr pellets like Hobby, Meisterkugeln Pistol and RWS R-10 Pistol did not do well at all and incurred multiple eight rings.

        You might want to take note of this one, too, if you decide to test – the Daisy Precision Max (7.8gr, 4.5mm). I couldn’t shoot it because I couldn’t get it to feed, it was so tight.


  20. Lloyd,

    following your advice, I stopped off at the dive shopand I won’t have to pump the rifle oup today and scored a used, 100 cu. ft. 3500 psi rated steel tank. It was roughly 1/2 price of a new tank. Thanks for the advice.

    Flobert, I still have my SR500 Yamaha – it’s a sentimental favorite that my friend bought when his bike blew up crossing the Rockies on our way back from our trip through Mexico. GAd, that was back in 1978. It’s a neat bike. Good luck in your hunt for a dependable used vehicle.

    Fred PRoNJ

  21. Edith, I consider myself an advanced user of computers, the web, and other associated things. But cannot figure out how to upload a little picture of my charming self .

    I did log in so at least I may not embarrass myself to badly.


      • Edith, I feel like Roger Kaputnik (or Rodney Dangerfield). I paid a visit to gravatar. Although I can log in here with no trouble at all, the same user name and password were stopped at the front door of the blog/WordPress log in. I haven’t tried from a different computer or from Windows (we assume but we never know until we try :).

        • kenholmz,

          Email me at edith@pyramydair.com so we can get this ironed out (offline). I’m unsure what you mean by “stopped at the front door.” I don’t know if that means your password/ID didn’t work, the website froze up or something else. If needed, I’ll get the IT department involved. If you’re having issues, I’m guessing others will also have issues.


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