Saturday, May 31, 2014

Midnight Run, Skunk in the Air

Maybe it was the lack of moonlight but our midnight run to the bay was unsuccessful.  Tides and water temperatures were ideal.  My buddies who have fished the bay at night have always told me the their biggest fish out of the bay have always been at night.  So I was pretty eager to try it once Chul booty fabbed the boat to be night legal.  Both of us managed after making hundreds of casts to get a fish a piece to the boat only to have it come unbutton right before we could land it.  On a particular drift we literally and figuratively smelt the skunk in the air.  We saw it as a sign.  It wasn't going to happen for us. I never knew real skunks lived at the beach.   After about two hours we packed up and left to head home and hit the pillow.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Walther KKJ .22 Hornet

One of my favorites from the old man's collection is a somewhat rare hunting gun, the Walther KKJ (Kleinkaliber Jagd, small bore hunt).  Available in .22LR, .22 Hornet, and .22 WMR, the KKJ was introduced in 1957.  My father's is chambered in .22 Hornet. 
The rifle has double set triggers and an extended five shot magazine that sits flush with the trigger guard.  Magazines if one can find them are currently fetching over $250. 
The walnut stock is in typical German styling with a hump back butt.  The butt plate is plastic.
This gun is Ulm proofed in 1974 and is a later model. 
As evidenced by it's safety, earlier models had a cross bolt safety catch mounted through the stock preventing the trigger to be depressed.  Later the safety design was moved to the end of the bolt.  The receiver is grooved to accept 11mm scope mounts.  I am still looking for a period correct cold war era German optic to place on this gun.
Until then I must settle with irons.  The rear leaf rear sight is adjustable.
Here is the exploded parts diagram for the rifle.  Design of this gun changed throughout it's production so the right parts are hard to come by if not impossible.  So hopefully there won't ever be a problem with this one or we're screwed.

All in all it's an interesting post war German hunting gun that I've admired in my old man's gun cabinet for years.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Few Hours On The Bay

Overcast and windless, today would have been a good day for largemouth fishing but that didn't happen.  Instead we chose a last minute trip to the bay for few hours in the afternoon.  While not epic, the fishing was solid.  Each of us managed a handful of calicos and spotties with Chul losing a solid unknown fish that buried him in the weeds before it came unbuttoned.  Most of the fish landed were in the pound range none of which were all that spectacular but all fought harder than what their size would indicate.  All Chul's fish were caught on a chartreuse/orange clouser.  Mine were all on an olive/ orange wall banger.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Snow Peak GigaPower Plate Burner Li (Baja Burner)

Known as the Baja Burner here stateside and GigaPower Burner Li in Japan, this Snow Peak stove is another great piece of gear coming from this outdoor gear company.  Made mostly of stainless steel, this stove weighs 6.2 pounds.  The legs and gas hose fold out and tuck away for easy storage.
 A heavy nylon carrying bag with a drawstring is included.
 The GigaPower uses backpacking gas cans that can be held inverted for maximum gas flow or
stood up as normal.  With an aftermarket adapter, the stove can take other fuel cans such as Coleman or cheap Asian market butane fuel cans. 
Unlike my house stove or my multi burner Century camp stove this GigaPower has plenty of room for use with large diameter pans like this paella pan. 
My experiences with stoves with built in ignition sources usually leave me abandoning them in favor of a lighter but this burner (as with my Snow Peak backpacking stove) lights consistently with only one push of the button. 
This Snow Peak, like it's backpacking stoves, is made in Korea and looks like another solid piece of gear from this outdoor company.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It Can't Be, Quality Televison On Discovery Channel?

I just finished watching Kodiak and I can say after it's the best show on Discovery Channel I've seen in sometime.  With a channel that's lost all credibility and known for producing turds like Bear Grylls and Amish Mafia , it's nice to see some decent television for once.   I stumbled on this show tonight and was intrigued about the Grizzly hunting it portrayed in it's promo.  When the end credit ran I noticed Chris Dorsey as an Executive Producer and Orion Entertainment.  No wonder the show is good they have someone competent running the production.  Chris Dorsey, once the editor of Petersen's Hunting, has produced some of my favorite outdoor (mostly hunting) shows on television including but no limited to Dangerous Game (by far the best on TV), World of Beretta, Bird Hunter's Journal, A Dog's Life and a few others I don't recall the name of as of this moment.  I'm hoping the rest of the four part series is good and the lame ass Discovery Channel producers don't muck it up with fake drama and gimmicky shit like making them hunt naked.  What do you think?  Did you watch it?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Make Room On Your Bookshelf

Time to pay a visit to your local Barnes and Noble as they (at least my local store) have a true gem in the bargain aisle.  Treasures of the NRA National Firearms Museum by Jim Supica, Doug Wicklund and Phillip Schreir is a coffee table book that showcases all the jewels of the NRA collection. 
Considering my latest posts were all regarding airguns I thought it is appropriate to show some of the airguns in the NRA collection.  The most interesting is the Girardoni (often misspelled Girandoni) repeating air rifle, as carried by Lewis and Clark.  Google or youtube this airgun and you'll be impressed with it's ingenuity and history.
Other airguns include President H.W. Bush's Crosman Air rifle.  I recall reading about this gun in one of my father's airgun magazines.  Also contained in the collection is Prince Charles' Omega air rifle.
Theodore Roosevelt's gun collection is well represented including his .405 1895.  There are several other presidental guns from Eisenhower and Kennedy.
The book includes many of publisher Robert E. Petersen's collection which include the last Purdey .600NE ever produced. 
Among the 425 guns donated by the Petersen family is some fascinating odd ball guns like the Hoenig over-under double rifle with a twist action in equally odd .225 caliber round.
As a fan of Teutonic guns, there are several Nazi guns including one of my dream guns, a Luftwaffe survival drilling, a belt buckle gun and Hermann Goering's Merkel.
Obviously this is just a sampling of, the book and museum there are many guns of different eras and styles.  The NRA collection is so diverse and likely to please just about any gun nut, from those interested in ancient guns carried by pilgrims from the Mayflower to modern military guns to everything in between. If you consider yourself a gun enthusiast buy this book or better yet go visit the museums (one in Virgina at the NRA headquarters and the other in Missouri at the Bass Pro flagship store) in person.  I need check out these works of art.  Several of these guns shown on this post and many others can be seen and discussed on NRA museum's youtube page.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

JSB Diabolo Exact .20

The .20 caliber pellet is becoming less available and pellet manufactures are dropping them.  Without someone like Robert Beeman pushing the caliber and influencing manufactures to  add them in their line, I'm afraid the caliber may go the way of the dodo.  Since my over decade long hiatus from airgun shooting, my favorite .20 caliber pellet, the Crosman Premier, has been discontinued.  I have have a few boxes left but I was concerned what I'd do when my stockpile ran out.  My RX is very pellet sensitive and I've tried just about every .20 cal available at the time I bought it.  None grouped as well as the Premier.  So when I read just a couple weeks ago that the .20 Premiers were no longer available, I started looking online for a source for them.  I couldn't find any so I looked of an alternative.  After some researching I looked into these Czech made JSB pellets. 
JSB to my recollection were not available in the US when I was active in the scene.  I believe these Diabolo Exacts are a fairly new pellet.  From what I have read they are consistent and of good quality.  Coming in 500 count, the tins are lined with foam to help prevent deformation. 
Listed at 13.73 gr, they are lighter than the 14.3 gr Premiers my RX favors.  The pellet itself looks similar to the Crosmans.  So I hoped they would make a good alternative.  I bought one tin to test how the RX like them. 
High winds blew most of last week and I could only test them in the wind.  This was the best I could do with a five shot group at 25 yards with a left to right wind.  I think I can tighten these groups up in calmer conditions.  So I think I've found my substitute and intend on buying more. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Not With A Bang But A Whimper

General season for turkey ends this weekend so this was my last chance until fall for my first gobbler.  We arrived Friday afternoon in the hopes of climbing the ridge and glassing the meadows to scout the birds going to roost for the night.  As with most of our plans, we managed to muck that up by driving around endlessly trying to find an easier way into one of the meadows.
After unknowingly driving past our destination, we made it to a section of road where according to my maps would take us to the meadow.  After bumbling around we realized this way in was not going to happen so we continued to drive on this loop to get us back to where we needed to go.
That was the plan at least.  With only about a quarter of the loop left to drive, we were stopped in our tracks.  High winds blew earlier this week and while we drove into the mountain we only saw small signs of it we finally drove upon evidence of it.  A fallen tree blocked our way and we had to backtrack costing us more time.

After backtracking we decided to quit wasting time trying to find a way into a new meadow and go enter in the area we were familiar.  We had about an hour of light left when we dropped our packs and started to look for signs of birds.  We found a highway of tracks and headed to the new meadow.  In the darkness of night we set up our decoys among the highway of tracks and left them there so we wouldn't have to bother in the morning.
To our surprise when we awoke at 5:20 am it was already starting to light up.  That was a mistake.  We raced to our decoys and setup into the woods to hide ourselves.  We waited patiently, calling sporadically. Given all the tracks, we figured this was a good spot but it proved unfruitful.  We moved on looking at other meadows without any sign of birds.
Eventually after glassing, Chul with eagle like eyes spotted two turkeys on the far end of the meadow. Having an additional 2X power with my 10X binoculars I checked to see if I see any beards on them.  Once they gave us a profile view of them I noticed thy were both hens.  Though we weren't able to take these birds this season we decided to test our fieldcraft and see how close we could get to them.  We would try and flank them to the left using the taller vegetation to hide our movements.
On our way to them we would flush valley quail and cottontails.  Too bad its not season for them.  It's been years since I've seen so many rabbits.  One rabbit (not the one pictured above) I initially thought was a jackrabbit given its size but I doubt it as I believe jacks don't live in this habitat.  It was a beast of a cottontail. We managed to get less than 100 yards to the birds.  There we sat glassing them for about twenty minutes until we decided to see if the we could get closer.

We backtracked and would try to flank them again.  We managed to get to about 50 yards of them only  to be spooked by two numbnuts that decided to blast through the meadow.
With that we thought it wise to end this hunt and head back to camp.  After packing up we decided to check out some other areas.
One area was an archery only section so I left my airgun in the truck and act as spotter.  By this time it was getting hot and the meadow was busy with hikers so we knew hunting would be pointless.  So we called it a day and headed out for lunch.  So our turkey season ends without a bird, we'll have to wait until fall to try again.
Having not eaten other than a handful of nuts, we were starving and BBQ was in order.  We both chose pulled pork sandwiches.
Chul has been raving about these apple pies ever since we started hunting the surrounding area.  With our stomachs full, we ordered our apple pies to go.