Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preparing For The Future

The Atomic Nerds offer insightful commentary on the week so far; I concur. Being a union guy though (I was actually elected our shop steward by my fellow employees recently) (poor bastards :)), I chose to use one of my vacation days to get myself in the proper state of mind for the upcoming Good Friday holiday this weekend. Being unionized, we get some input into which occasions during the year we wish to "celebrate" by our absence from our place of employment, and this Friday is one of them.

Went to the local County office that handles vehicle registration (along with most other tax collection-related activities for Smith County) and got the pick-up truck re-tagged for the year. In an associated observation, you would think that such a critical function of state government would make more of an effort to abide by the legislation their efforts are directed at funding. Here in Smith County, the edifice named The Cotton Belt Building houses the tax collecting offices (along with several other "services") but all of the exterior doors display an illegal notice barring guns being carried into the building. Given the presence of Sheriffs Deputies at all the doors, not to mention basic respect for the intent behind the law regulating such activity, I left my pistol locked in the truck. Even so, I can report that the coppers on the doors are not the least amused by casual queries about the violation of Texas law the signs (scroll down to Sec.30.06) on the doors exhibit. I wouldn't go so far as to say the one I spoke with was un-courteous, just really, really unamused.

That minor drag on market transactions complete, I went to Lock & Load for some much needed ballistic therapy. I recently bought a Smith & Wesson model 559 in 9mm (new in the box!) and wanted to put another 100 rounds or so through it. As every new gun owner knows, minor mal-adjustments or hardened preservatives/lubricants often don't become apparent until several hundred rounds have been fired through them (the guns, not the owners). This particular S&W offering is starting to exhibit failures to extract with no particular indications of the extractor hook (clip? blade?) gouging the brass especially. The spring pressure seems adequate (to finger pressure - I'm sure a specific strain gauge exists but I don't own one) (yet), and there isn't any obvious accumulation of gunk (excuse the technical terminology) in that area of the bolt, so I will just field strip it again and give it all a good going over with a can of brake cleaner.

I did get it sighted in to my initial satisfaction. I chose my usual 21' and managed to "chase the hole" around the paper until I stopped and thought about it for a bit. Elevate the rear sight (this model features a fixed blade front sight) to raise the point of contact on the target, drift the rear sight left to move the point of impact on the paper to the left. Don't know why this continues to seem counter-intuitive to me. As I started to say, I finally managed a reasonably consistent ~1" group at 21', after allowing for repeated stoppages to clear FTE's. :) Not too bad from a new gun, and one in a model that is itself new to me as a shooter (it's surprising how much a minor-seeming difference like the thickness of the grip or even the tactile feel of different grip materials can have on basic sight acquisition and grip mechanics, isn't it?). I've put off buying a 9mm for at least 35 years now; even with the to-be-expected new gun quibbles I'm thinking that was one of my less well thought out decisions.

I'll be going back to the range on Friday (that was the justification for the day off, remember?); we'll try it again then. Maybe some pictures too if I remember to bring an actual camera instead of just my crappy cell phone. It's not a question of "blog standards" you understand, I just want a clear enough picture that I can tell what I'm looking at next year.