I am Still Here.

Well after a near 4 month absence it may seem as if I have abandoned my beloved blog but alas I have not. A new job has simply kept me under wraps and very busy and it doesn’t appear it will let up anytime soon. I haven’t been completely inactive however as I have been diligently working on 1911s and gunsmithing as often as time allows.  I just haven’t been able to blog about any of it.

Please stay tuned as the posts will hopefully begin to flow a little more regularly and we will soon rejoin the journey north with our band of wayward survivors whose only new joy is plugging Zs in the noggin.


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TWD Season 5, Episode 1!

Whooooohoooooo!  We’re back and we made a big bang!  Yes season 5 episode 1 aired last night to the delight of myself and many fans all around the world.  While some may have the opinion that the zombie thing has jumped the shark, I for one could not be happier it shuffles along on it’s dead feet.

Rick’s ominous, foreboding statement that he left us with at the end of last season proved to the true.  After nearly being bled like cattle, literally, the bad boys of TWD rocked Terminus (with just little help from Carol) and turned the actual slaughterhouse into a figurative one.  After a battle of epic propoertions, leaving a trail of dead and undead dead in their wake they burned down their captors house and headed out into the woods.  Rick and Carl are reunited with Judith and a newly violent Tyrese.  And they head, this time off the tracks, into the woods and into season 5.  I’m really charged about this season, so hold on folks.  Here we go!

Categories: All things ZOMBIE! | 2 Comments

Welcoming a new 1911 to the family – The MAC Classic!

Here it is. After seeing this pistol on-line and loving the look, I hoped to find one in a store so I could see it up close and personal. Unfortunately, while some shops claimed to be dealers for the gun they did not have any in stock. I remanded the idea to the “back of the mind” shelf and tried to forget about it. I usually won’t buy a firearm or related product without being able to personally handle a sample and assess it’s quality for myself firsthand. A few weeks later, on a routine trip into a LGS, I discovered several samples of Metro Arms 1911s. I was excited! I asked the sales person to see each of them and I poured over them carefully. All models represented were of the blued finish variety, but there was a MAC Classic, an Amigo, a Bobtail, and an American Classic. Each model differed slightly in features but all appeared to be well finished and very well priced. These guns are made in the Philippines and it seems the 1911s coming out of there are increasingly impressive. See all the available models here:


My attention, however was continually drawn to the beautiful MAC Classic, which is a high end 1911 set up as a competition style pistol. I was really amazed at the features provided for the comparativley low price point offered. So, upon returning home I sifted through the safe found a couple of candidates for sale and away they went. Now I had the money for a MAC Classic! A quick internet search revealed that Davidson’s carried the gun and to my surprise, the chrome, steel version was on sale! This was the version I had seen on-line originally and the one I wanted. For some reason I like the 1911 in a stainless or rather metallic finish as opposed to blued, except of course with regards to a classic Colt which always had exceptional bluing. I chose a LGS I was unfamiliar with because they had a much lower price than the previous one mentioned above. So, I called them on the phone and did a little research (they had some positive reviews on-line) and determined they seemed legitimate so I continued with my purchase and bought the gun using the Gun Genie service (the first time for me), and had the gun shipped to them and voila! A couple of days later, here ’tis!



A quick look at the exterior of the gun reveals some obvious enhanced features. Adjustable Bo-mar style sights, fiber optic front sight, a wide, flared mag well, front and rear slide serrations, Bull Barrel, front grip serrations that are sharp, but not too sharp (not the blood drawing kind), an extended ambi safety, match trigger, match style hammer, beavertail grip safety and a flared and lowered ejection port. The grips are well made, good looking, wood grips but they are not coated with a sealant of any kind and I wonder if they will be durable as a result.

Thankfully, the gun is a series 70 style 1911 and does not have any type of firing pin blocking mechanism, which I abhor.

The provided case is hard plastic with very positive latches and enclosed therein is the owner’s manual, a single magazine, the obligatory fired casing, a trigger lock, (which I left at the LGS) and of course, the gun. Not much else. I was a bit surprised that MA did not provide at least one more magazine but they didn’t. It was not wrapped in paper or plastic but it was well oiled. In fact, I could definitely say it was heavily oiled.

The magazine is an 8 rounder made in Italy. I am unfamiliar with this brand but will test it thoroughly to see if it is reliable and worth using. Thus far my magazine preferences are confined to Wilson Combat followed by Chip McCormick. I have never had issues with either of these brands but Wilson stands out as a truly reliable magazine and I trust nothing else.



After learning how to ‘smith and tune 1911s I now scrutinize the fit and finish and overall condition of all the parts to see how well they are made and polished. Basically I evaluate the gun for these qualities and juxtapose that against the cost of the gun. So after some work, here it is all disassembled and ready for my eval.


Initially in both samples of the MAC Classic I handled I was very impressed with the finish and overall polish of the gun. The trigger was truly impressive in both guns, it is obviously tuned from the factory. There was no creep and it broke very clean in the 3.5-4.25 lb range. Upon disassembly I did find an odd issue with the trigger though, specifically it was very rough on the sides of the bow. (See below)


Originally I thought it was the metal itself but when I began polishing the bow this came off quickly and so I believe it was some kind of paint or finish applied to the part and not the metal. The bow was also bent slightly outward on one side causing some drag on the frame. So, I flattened it out and afterwards the trigger would fall free from the frame when tested.

The frame is well polished but there is some roughness here and there. The rails have some tool marks on them which is visible but more importantly can be felt if you draw your finger over them. It’s not bad, but it is present. Having said that the slide to frame fit is absolutely the best I have seen yet. The fit is extremely tight, with zero, and I mean zero, movement or slop of any kind. The flat spring is a thinner, match style unit and it is perfectly tuned.


Tool marks can be seen elsewhere but unlike some other 1911 manufacturers there are obvious efforts by the MAC factory to polish some of these areas.


The recoil guide rod is of the two piece solid rod variety which is essential to keeping the gun tight but not my favorite type. However, it is well done, very smooth and if you know how to take it apart it’s not too big of a deal. I will say that they claim to include a pin that is used disassemble this part but I could not find it. Perhaps it fell out when the LGS opened the box or maybe it wasn’t included. Not a big deal, but it would have been nice. I had to cannibalize a spare allen wrench to get the job done.


The barrel really catches your attention. It’s a heavy, match grade, bull barrel with an elongated, polished feed ramp. The barrel is fitted very well and very tight to the slide which is likely going to provide great accuracy. Removing and replacing it in the slide is a careful process as there is no room for it to move around. (Check out the fiber optic front sight as well!)



The hammer and sear are obviously match quality items. In the photo, the arrow points to the hooks on the hammer which are obviously already cut down to the ideal .20 or .18 height that eliminates creep in the trigger pull and it is a nice 90 degree angle. They were a little sharp on their side edges but some light stoning softened those and removed some high spots. After microscope inspection I lightly stoned the sear edge angle with a few strokes of a fine ceramic stone to idealize the sear/hammer contact and followed that with some jewelers rouge to give it that super smooth, bright finish.


Overall, I think this gun is an AMAZING value for the money. Manufactured in the Philippines (ironic, I know, if you know the history of the 1911) MAC has done a great job of bringing a very high quality, well finished 1911 competition level pistol to market for an amazing price point around $800! I haven’t shot it yet, and of course, I will. A range report post will subsequently follow discussing the gun’s performance. I am ecstatic about finding such a great quality gun, well finished and polished, for a great price. Their other guns look to be well made also but I’m out of money so I can’t buy another one to get inside it and look around! Maybe another day. But for now, my family of 1911s is fairly complete. This gun filled the niche of an adjustable sight competition style gun unlike the other combat style 1911s I currently own. Glad to have it around! Time to see how it shoots!

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Happy Anniversary!


Today, my blog is two years old! I started this blog October 1st of 2012. I hope the few who read it for one reason or another enjoy it, I enjoy writing it. From the gun stuff to the Zombie story, all of it provides me a personal outlet of expression that I really enjoy. I hope you guys will continue to visit, as I intend to continue to write. Thanks for a great two years!


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The Continuing Saga of the 1712 – And my Eleventh Silhouette Match

So, yesterday was the first silhouette match that I have shot since I got my Anschutz 1712 back. I originally was using my Vortex Viper but after sighting in the last time, I decided to switch to my Weaver T24 because the dot is larger on the reticle and I prefer that to the smaller dot in the Viper. Here it is set up accordingly: DSCN1767 Well what a difference a Boelter makes! I haven’t shot silhouette in 6 months and I come out of the gate and shoot a 31/40! I was ecstatic! Thanks again, Steve! I can really tell a difference with this rifle. I shot much better than I had in the past and was very excited.  Now, I know the old expression, “It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian” and I understand what that’s all about, but as the Indian, I have to say I really appreciate a quality arrow!  My “arrow” and I got this Saturday too. Very happy! DSCN1766

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The Saga of the 1712

Ok, so a few months ago I posted about my new Anschutz 1712 rifle chambered in .22LR. The rifle is built on the legendary Model 54 action specifically for Silhouette Hunter class. My first range experience, however was not legendary. I test fired the rifle with 7 different types of ammunition ranging from quality target ammo to some bulk ammo which was largely tested out of frustration. Here are the results: All targets shot at 50 yds. in very favorable conditions. Most were ten shot groups but some were five if they looked horrible from the get go. I even verified the results were not likely my fault by shooting a ten shot group from my CZ Basic 513 with a fixed 4X scope.



Needless to say I was not happy. This is an expensive rifle and I went to some lengths to acquire it and I had much higher expectations of performance than I received. So, I began checking all the usual suspect issues such as the scope, rings, etc. but came up short, everything seemed ok. I knew better than to panic at this point, but I was definitely concerned. Upon returning home, I did some more careful investigation and discovered the action was not sitting straight in the stock. I thought there may have been a rise in the wood under the action so I removed the action from the stock and examined the stock intently. I found no bumps or rises at all. I returned the action to the stock thinking maybe just a removal and replacement would solve the issue but sadly, it did not. I then decided to contact the man himself, Mr. Steve Boelter, the guy who wrote the book on rimfires, literally and figuratively! He looked at the images I sent of the targets as well as the picture I took of the action in the stock and he said that definitely wasn’t the way it is supposed to be. So after some discussion over the course of a few days we hashed out a plan. Long story short, and lots of details I’m not about to take the time to type, he fixed my rifle up for me. Now, unbeknownst to me at the time of our initial conversation, Steve is the Director of Anschutz for North American Operations. Wow, did I call the right guy or what? Needless to say I was very pleased with Steve’s professionalism, which was only outdone by his excellent customer service. He was patient with me in all my questions and was very knowledgeable. He worked with me to achieve a truly fantastic result, and while I don’t know the totality of what was done I do know the totality of the result. After getting my rifle back from Steve, this is what I was able to achieve.




A very special thanks to a great guy for helping out a shooter like me. Thanks Steve, you da’ man!

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Disappointment thy name is Red Label!

Well, after a recent shotgun side event at a Cowboy Wild bunch match I decided this shotgun thing is pretty darn fun! My Dad has a membership to a local gun club that has trap, skeet and 5 stand fields and so all I needed now, was a good over and under shotgun. Now I didn’t have the money to get what I thought I wanted but I had a couple of guns I could let go of in trade, so I headed up to my favorite LGS to see what I could find. I found a new, shiny, Ruger Red Label with 30″ barrels, so I traded two for one (with a cash kicker on my end) and I stepped away from the counter with a nice new Ruger Red Label 12 ga. O/U. This is one of the new production guns not an original model that was discontinued a few years ago due to excessive production cost.  The cheek pad in the picture below was something I added myself, it’s a sorbothane cheek-eeze product.

DSCN1761 OK, so let’s start with the good stuff. On the positive side, Ruger provides a nice semi-hard padded case with 5 chokes (IC, MOD, Full and 2 Skeet, installed in the gun) and a nice choke tube wrench. They also provide a nice lock and a strange locking mechanism, which I promptly discarded as I always do. The lock, I kept, they are great for the fence gates out back. The receiver, now a single cast part, is reasonably well done. Additionally, the gun comes set up to have the safety automatically activated when the gun is opened up, in the field this would be an asset, in competition, not so much. I don’t really care for this feature because during competition it’s really in the way and could cost you a bird, however Ruger smartly provides an alternate slot where the rear of the spring strut responsible for activating the safety can be placed. In this new slot it travels above the other slot where it activates the safety thus bypassing this feature. However, here is where the positive part of the story ends.

DSCN1752 DSCN1753 DSCN1754 Now for the negative, and get ready, as far as I’m concerned, it’s ugly. Needless to say, I was disappointed as the title of the post clearly states. Having said that, the receiver, while well cast (as mentioned above) was far from well finished. The internal portion was left rough and where holes were drilled and metal was cut the flash was left with no regard for removing it at all.  The below image shows the inside of the receiver after I have removed some flash but some still remains.

DSCN1760 The lever that opens the action was also not finished well and it was scratching the the top of the receiver tang just below the serial number. I had to polish the underside of the lever to eliminate this issue.

DSCN1757 I realize that cost is a factor and the human labor required to do such a task is expensive but then again so was the shotgun. The ticket price for this long gun was $1129.00 So while I can understand their need to keep costs low I feel taken advantage of here. My wife owns an Italian made O/U made by Fausti with a retail cost of around $450.00 and my dad owns a Turkish made Yldiz ($500 at Academy Sports) and both have better fit and finish by comparison. The ejector cam on one side was not properly sized and required me to remove metal to get it to properly slide back and forth against the inside of the frame. Ruger put really tight springs in the ejectors and this massive force simply overcame the resistance but it was apparent it was rubbing because you could see the marks on the side of the ejector cam from when the shotgun was opened.

DSCN1758 Next, the forend iron was leaving marks on the underside of the bottom barrel and I had to polish and remove some metal there to get a better fit to prevent further wear.

DSCN1763 DSCN1764

Both the ejector sear plungers were rough and did not slide in and out of their recess holes smoothly and I had to remove them and polish them to achieve smooth operation. The ejector sears also needed some deburring and polishing to achieve ideal movement. The forend iron head is not well fitted to the wood of the forend at all.

DSCN1759 Comparing it to the fit of the other aforementioned shotguns they are done better, which is troubling because apparently they were able to provide a better fit and still charge much less. Now make no mistake I like Ruger, always have probably always will but this gun has been a disappointment. Will I keep the gun? Most likely. Will it all be ok? Probably. But is it disappointing to pay that much for a O/U shotgun, or any gun, and have to bring it home, tear it down and file and polish parts to get them to function properly and prevent what would certainly be damaged parts after even minimal use? Yes, yes it is. But this is just how it is I guess. I was used to it when we paid $350 for Uberti revolvers for Cowboy action, you expected to have to do the work on it.  But almost $1200 for a shotgun from a reputable company here in the US?  Nope, I expected better, just didn’t get it. Ruger will soldier on, and post modifications so will I. I expect it will run well now and serve me well on the skeet field. After the work I did the gun is much smoother.  Maybe some more aftermarket accessories will be called for, perhaps not, but they could be necessary on any shotgun I would buy for clay shooting. We’ll see. Let’s just hope there are no more surprises, I think I paid enough to avoid any more.

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SC State Wild Bunch 2014

WB A couple of weeks ago I participated in the SC State Wild Bunch match. While it can easily be said a good time was had by all, I especially had fun. My man Lorenzo Kid came and stayed with us and of course I got to hang with him and my main pard, Sgt. Dork.  As always it was great to see Mat, Semper Fi Sexy, Knothead, Shamrock, DD, and the rest of the Cotton Crowd.  The crew put on a great match so a very special thanks to Hondo Jackson, Pork Chop, Cowboy Junkie, Kid Ray, Slippery Stew, Carolina Girl, and Suerender. Can’t go without mentioning the cowboy clays 5 stand side event shot with our model 12s! That was so much fun! Bob did a great job running the clays for us and I really appreciate his participation. Overall, how could you not like a match where almost every stage has 20 rds. with the awesome 1911? You can’t! It’s great! Hamburgers on the range Friday night, BBQ Saturday night, it was all great fun. As far as the match itself went, for me it was an unmitigated disaster! I had a tragic train wreck and watched several others follow suit. Mostly gun problems, magazine problems, equipment malfunctions, you name it! They say, “Welcome to Wild Bunch” and boy do they mean it! It seems the home of malfunctions. I actually was match DQed but they didn’t do it. I had two stage DQs which is an automatic match DQ but I shot all ten anyway and had a great time. As an aside update to my previous post on my Springfield 1911 I have to say it ran great! Not a hitch at all from the gun. Had a bad mag but figured it out and culled that one from the mix. Very happy with the results of the action work on that gun. My man Sgt. Dork won his category as well as Traditional State Champion. Congrats you ole’ coot and sorry about the sear issues, we got it all worked out now though and it obviously didn’t cost you! ;) Below is a video of one of my better stages. Hope it looks good, it was sure fun!

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Refugee Reunion – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 37

We traveled in silence for awhile. Everyone was exhausted, tired from our gun battle and the general stress of suddenly being thrust into the world of the walking dead. Eventually, Mom, Molly and I put away the food we had acquired from the store. As we worked, Dad and Mom recounted what they had been told by Ben, my father in law. As we finished our task the cabinets were overflowing but we found a place for everything nevertheless. It seemed like a lot of food but I was afraid it wouldn’t last as long as we would like it to. Afterward, I collapsed onto the chair at the kitchen table. Mom headed into the back bedroom to lay down. Jay was sitting on the sofa, his head back, hand over his eyes. I could just make out the salt stain of tears on his cheeks. The day had taken it’s toll on each of us. The adrenaline was gone and the fatigue and reality of the situation was settling in, now that we had some quiet time to reflect on everything. For awhile there was so much happening so fast there was no time to consider the details, to think too much about the loved ones lost, but as Dad piloted the RV up the lone and empty interstate toward my brother’s home we had time to come down, to settle and begin to ponder our situation. Molly was curled up on the opposite side of the sofa from Jay. I stared long and hard at her wondering who she was, how she was feeling how she was going to handle the loss of her family. We were good folks but we all knew each other. Jay and I go back years and then there are my parents. I’ve got lots of people I’m close to and my parents think of Jay like another son, so he has me and them. Then there’s poor Molly. She is with us but in a way she is all alone in this new world. I know she is attached to Jay because of their experiences together earlier but having said that this has all just happened today.

The sun was just beginning to shift in the sky. It was late in the afternoon now and we still had a ways to go. The sun was cutting through the windshield at a sharp angle throwing a lot of light in my direction. I looked toward the sky. The blue crispness was beginning to fade into the orange and reddish hues representative of the close of the day. It was then, as I contemplated the sky and what lay beyond, that I decided it was time to do something I hadn’t done yet today despite all the horrors the day had presented. I spun the chair away from the table, rested my elbows on my knees, bowed my head and began to pray. I suppose I was muttering under my breath which served as enough sound to attract Jay’s attention. “What?” He said, “Are you talking to me?” His muffled inquiry drifting from beneath his hand. I guess when I didn’t respond in a timely fashion he looked out from under his hand. He blinked his eyes, wiping away a few remaining tears from them. “Are you….praying?” He asked with some confusion in his voice. I didn’t answer him immediately but could sense he was waiting. He wasn’t a believer but always respected the fact that I was. In the past I had spoken to him about Christ at least a couple of times. I had done my part but ultimately the conviction comes from the Holy Spirit and I have no way of knowing if that had happened yet other than he hadn’t said anything to me about it. We have always respected one another’s beliefs and never let that interfere with our friendship, he’s my brother and I love him like one, regardless, but I always like to think one day he’ll accept Christ. He waited patiently until I mumbled “Amen” and looked up. “Yeah I was praying.” I said with a smile. “Really?” He replied. “You still think there is a God? After everything we’ve been through today? I mean, it’s the end of the world? And He’s making it happen. He’s letting the dead walk the earth and destroy everything. How could you believe in Him and even want to talk to Him?”

I smiled. “Funny you should ask.” I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Molly had woken up upon hearing Jay’s voice but she chose to remain still, with her eyes open and I could tell she was awaiting my answer. “I think we need God now more than ever. He doesn’t cause bad things to happen, I suppose you could argue He allows them, but this is not His fault. Remember what Dad said awhile ago, this is some kind of man made bomb attack thing gone awry.” “Yeah but He let it happen He let so many people die.” Jay responded. “True, but God doesn’t say we won’t die, we’re human, we’re all gonna die sometime. The real question is have you accepted His son before you do? That determines where you’ll spend eternity. We’re all gonna go, someday, somewhere, somehow. I guess zombies is as good a way as any. Not that I’m in any hurry, mind you.” I said with a smile. “God gives us free will, which is important because He wants us to turn to Him on our own, by our choice, that way it’s genuine, not motivated by worldly benefits. The only true benefit is our salvation which He guarantees if we choose Him.”

Jay smiled. “Still holding on, huh?” “If you’re gonna hold on to something I can’t think of anything better.” I said returning his smile. Dad piped up from the driver’s seat, “You can say that again, WG. ‘The way the truth and the life,’ now, more so than ever it seems.”

Breaking the subject Mom appeared from the rear of the RV inquiring through sleepy eyes and a weak voice, “How much farther?” “Not long now.” Dad replied, “We’re turning off the highway now. Should be about another 20 minutes.” I rose from the chair and approached the front of the cab, patting Jay’s knee as I passed by, shooting him another smile. I sat down in the passenger’s seat next to Dad with a springy thud. Mom followed and stood at the back of my seat, leaning into the space between us. We three stared out at the road ahead as 460 East bound came into view. “I wonder what we’ll find when we get there.” Mom muttered in her weak, still groggy voice. “We’ll have to wait and see, and just have faith.”

Categories: Zombie Short Story | 1 Comment

Paragon Shooting School Experience

broken-clay Well Friday was my wife’s birthday. (Happy Birthday, Sweetie!) 8 years ago for her birthday I bought her a 20 gauge over and under shotgun and an introductory lesson so we could take up the shotgun sports together. Well, my lack of interest at the time in the shotgun sports coupled with a few other issues led us to not taking up the activity after all. In retrospect I wish I had tried a bit harder but nevertheless I thought maybe the time had come to revisit the idea. I have recently established my own interest in shotgunning and approached her about the subject again. She was ok with it but I knew, at least for her, she wouldn’t feel comfortable unless she had lessons again. So after some mods to her shotgun to reduce recoil and a call to Paragon we were back in business. Eight years ago, along with her shotgun, I also got her a lesson from a Paragon instructor, a very nice lady named, Wallie. She was patient and very knowledgeable and we both had a great time and my wife learned a lot. Well fast forward to this Saturday and her lesson was scheduled with the man himself, Dan Schindler, the founder of the Paragon School. Now, not to take anything away from Wallie but Dan certified her so needless to say he was truly an exceptional instructor as you would certainly expect. He has been doing this so long that he has distilled the training program down to a very simple process. If you choose to take the course you will not be unhappy and while it was a bit pricey it was well worth it. What he teaches is not simply how to break clays.  Unlike others who mostly talk about leading targets, or this technique or that, he teaches from a whole different perspective and it’s not only worth it, it’s simple in its revolution. I think my wife is off to a great start and I think we will enjoy shooting together. What was the most remarkable part of the day was watching my wife come out of her shell so to speak, really enjoy herself and feel confident about performing well in something that only a few hours ago was unfamiliar to her. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

Dan is a very soft spoken man who is confident and obviously very knowledgeable. He is very organized and structured and if you arrive with an open mind and answer all of his questions and listen to his advice you will have a very positive experience. He leads you where you need to go to succeed and after you get there you will realize the simplicity. He takes his time, works patiently and most importantly positively. You will really feel better about your skill when you leave. He takes extra time if needed and let’s you learn at your pace as you go through the training. He is very conscientious of women and children making sure that what might be their first experience shooting or at least learning to shoot is a positive one. I was thankful that he did not use any negativity in his training as this really makes a big difference. Ultimately perhaps the best endorsement was that my wife has expressed an interest in going back to take another class to learn more! So I suppose we’ll see you in the spring Dan!

Find him here: http://www.paragonschool.com

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