870 issue solved?, SOE arrival

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

New magazine follower arrived. Swapped it. Problem remained..and then didnt.

Here’s what I think has happened:

As you may know, on Remington shotguns you add capacity by unscrewing the cap off the end of the magazine and then screwing an extension onto the magazine. Simple stuff. If you examine a magazine extension closely (mine is an OEM Rem product) you’ll see that the extension is a section of magtube with a coupler threaded onto it…once you thread the magazine tube onto the magazine, you should have a fairly seamless extension. Ah, but things are never that easy. I have one of these on my shotgun. It slips over the mag tube and is held in place between the mag tube and the extension…sandwiched between the two, essentially. Look at the image of the sling attachment..notice that theres a small stainless detent? There is a small dimple on the barrel ring of the 870 where this part would line up. Heres the interesting thing – I had the sling attachment backwards so the sling would lay on the other side of the shotgun. This meant that there was no corresponding dimple for the detent on the sling adapter. I switched the sling adapter over to the other side and, interestingly, the problem seemed to go away. Hypothesis: without the corresponding dimple for the detent to rest in, it canted the magazine extension slightly but enough to cause the follower to bind when I tightened down the magazine extension. I need to experiment more, but I think thats exactly what happened.
In other news, the SOB buttpacks I ordered up arrived. (Free shipping, by the way!) Excellent product. One of the LMI asked me to sell him one so I’ll do that. The others will wind up being tasked with one of the myriad duties a handy, well-built, tough carrybag can be tasked with.

Hydro Flask

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Usually, if I’m not using the Platypus flexible plastic water ‘bottle’ or Camelbak system, I use the traditional Nalgene bottle. Why not? They’re usually tough as nails, have plenty of accessories available for them and have proven themselves to be pretty darn handy. (I dont worry about BPH issues…I’ve got so much testosterone I make Vladmir Putin look like Obama. [Sidenote: while there were no shortages of pictures of Obama looking like a wuss, there are simply too many images to count of Putin being a badass.) However, there is a drawback: they are thermally inefficient. Cold liquids dont stay cold. Usually what I do to combat this is to take whatever liquid I plan on drinking (usually a weak iced tea ) and put about 1/5th into the bottle, freeze it, and then fill with the rest of the liquid. As the ice on the bottom of the bottle melts, it keeps everything nice and cold. This works quite well with the only possible drawback being condensation forming on the outside of the bottle.

The other day I was at the range and one of the guys there was praising the HydroFlask. They dont use the word ‘thermos’ but that’s what it is. It’s a double-walled vacuum bottle in the shape of the common aluminum water/fuel bottle. The guy at the range said he tested it by filling it with water and ice cubes and then leaving it on the dashboard of his car in the sun all day and it kept everything nice and chilled. Well, it’s been mighty hot here in western Montana and it would be nice to be able to carry a drink along that stayed cold all day until you drank it. The missus ordered up a pair of the bottles and I’ve been playing with them.

The bottles are made of stainless steel, come in several sizes, three different mouth sizes and, surprisingly, work as advertised. Hot stays hot, cool stays cool. Several colors are available, and there are a couple options for the caps as well. Are they worth $25 when a Nalgene bottle is 1/3 of that? Entirely up to you. After an hour at CrossFit, it’s nice to have the drink I brought be icy cold even though thebottle spent the last hour sitting on the warm concrete. I’d imagine that during hunting season it will be very nice for carrying hot beverages in the morning frost. If youre trundling through the sand and heat in some Third World crapfest of a country, and assuming you can start your day someplace that has an icemaker, one of these might be very popular towards the end of the say when its hot, youre thirsty and the sun has been baking your Camelbak for the last nine hours.

The company also makes a food bottle and I’d be curious to try that out. Need to order one up and put it through its paces. So far these are turning out to be one of the few pieces of gear that ‘work as advertised’…on a hot day, man, there is nothing like cracking the bottle open and seeing all those ice cubes still floating around keeping my drink icy cold. A decadent luxury, but still darn nice.

870 fail

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Buddy of mine has a property of his setup with an alarm. If the alarm goes off, the system calls him. If he’s unavailable, it calls person #2. If #2 is out, it calls person #3. I am person #3. So I was minding my own business the other day and I get a call on my cellphone. It’s the automated alarm telling me something is up. I grab a loaded 870 from the closet and hop in the truck. I get to the property and chamber a round in the 870 and start looking around for broken windows and that sort of thing. Nothing. I let myself into the house, check things, and everything seems fine. False alarm. Not the first time, but you gotta treat each one like the real deal, y’know?

So I press the bolt release on the shotgun and figure I’ll cycle the ammo out of the gun and reload it. (I prefer a particular order of shotgun shells in my magazine tube.) First round pops out and -fail- the next round stays in the magazine. WTF? The magazine follower or spring had bound up somewhere in the tube and was not providing force to feed the rounds down the tube. (This wasnt as failtacular as it could have been. In addition to the 870 I also had my holstered G19 at the time.)

The follower in the tube was this one from Wilson. I’d replaced the factory follower years ago. I went to the range yesterday to test out the shotgun and it kept doing the same thing. I pulled the follower and it had scuff marks all around its circumference. I pulled the spring, removed the barrel, and ran a boresnake (12 ga. size, naturally) down the tube a few times in case the problem was some accumulated grit or something. Nope…same problem after reassembly. Near as I can figure, the follower is snagging or catching at the junction between the magazine tube and the tube extension. (I tried beveling and filing the edges of the Wilson follower in case there were some sharp edges catching….no joy.)

Remington, for some incredibly stupid reason, ran off a batch of their 870s with dimples in the magazine tube that precluded adding a magazine extension. The fix was to simply drill out those dimples. This shotgun isnt one of those 870s. The mag extension is a quality one, not some cheap Chinese crap. I’m fairly confident the problem is the follower. I ordered a stainless steel one (’cause, baby, nothing kills like overkill) from Brownells today and when it gets here I’m hoping it will make the difference. I also need to carefully investigate the junction of the mag tube extension with the mag tube and see if theres any obvious problem there. The nice thing is that I have enough 870s sitting around here that I can swap out parts through process of elimination to narrow down the culprit. I’m 90% its the follower, though.

I’ve another 870 thats been sitting in the bedroom for a few years and hasnt been shot in quite a while. Guess I better check that one out as well.

Moral of the story: it isnt enough to leave loaded guns laying about, you gotta test ‘em preiodically.

Link – NC CCW aren’t valid during declared emergencies

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

My wife has been daydreaming about ’someday’ possibly, maybe, perhaps retiring to North Carolina when she gets her twenty years in.

Not if they keep this stupid crap up: North Carolina Governor Declares Every Concealed Carry Permit in eastern NC Invalid Due to Hurricane Irene

I suspect there are other states that have nonsense like this on the books. I’m fairly sure Montana ain’t one of them though.

Article – Two tourists killed by heatstroke in desert

A Dutch music promoter and his German girlfriend died from heat stroke after apparently getting out of their car in the California desert to go for help.

Who drives into a desert without proper preparations ‘just in case’? A couple cases of bottled water is $12 at WalMart. Get stuck, sit in the shade, drink water, flag down the next car that passes, go home alive.

Staying with the vehicle is almost (not always, but usually always) the best choice…especially if you’ve got, oh, a five-gallon jug of water in it and some methods for signalling help.

Some folks gotta learn hard.

SpecOps closeout

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

An LMI buddy of mine got me one of these a few years ago as a gift. They are on closeout from the manufacturer for $15 and they are easily worth that. I use mine as a dedicated gear bag for my CZ bolt gun. I carry spare mags, ammo, cleaning kit, mil dot chart, Chapman set, scope covers, lens cleaning stuff, and a few other necessities in it and have found it to be an excellent piece of kit. For $15 you’d be insane to not get one (or more) to use as range bags, emergency bags, etc, etc.

Some good stuff on their closeout page as well. Made in USA, too. It matters.

(Sadly, I have no connection to the company and, even sadder, they aren’t comping me for this endorsement. Dammit.)

Quake rattle n’ roll

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The thunder gods that live in the clouds were displeased and threw their lances of lightning at the ground to drive the evil subterranean spirits back into the bowels of the earth….But it sparked a wildfire and things are smokey around the valley here today.

Wait..that whole thunder gods throwing lighting lances is just silly superstition? And yet I’m seeing posts around the blogosphere saying that the earthquake near DC was the displeasure of some god being visited upon us mortals. Yeah….thunder gods are silly but THAT makes perfect sense.

It’s interesting to see Facebook and Twitter suddenly turn into a stream of “Holy crap! Earthquake!” postings.

I’m waiting for the conspiracy theories to start that Obama knew it was coming and thats why he and his family let town.

Montana isn’t immune to earthquakes…we’ve had a couple big ones in the past and I’ve felt a few small ones in my time here, but generally speaking earthquakes arent too big a concern out here. The most seismically active area around here is, unsurprisingly, down Yellowstone ways.

I have some friends and family back east and I look forward to hearing their reports on what happened.

I’m happy to sit here with my supplies and gear and not need any of it.