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gear comments
Riding The Storm Out
Monday, 22 September 2008
Emergency Space Blankets
Mood:  lazy
Topic: gear comments

Yes, I'm talking those ultra-thin mylar sheets that are packed down into a cigarette-sized bundle in their package but that mere mortals can't fold smaller than a paperback book!

 I have one in my kit, partially based on so many kit-lists having them.  I've never tried to sleep under one.I have, however, used it as a signal panel.  We were on a large pipeline right-of-way (at least four large-diameter lines) testing out radios over roughly a two-mile distance.  Team One was dropped off on top of a hill and Team Two proceeded to the next road crossing.  From two miles away, Team Two could see us when we moved around and let ourselves be outlined against the sky.  Once we relocated forward, that problem vanished.

 Since I had my patrol-pack with us, I decided to try out the blanket!  We unfurled the flimsy mylar and held it up by its corners.  With a light breeze at our backs, it billowed out like a sail.  The radio immediately popped to life.  "I don't know what you just did, but I can sure see it!"

 


Posted by outlands at 9:21 AM EDT
Friday, 19 September 2008
Tapco's 20-round SKS mag
Mood:  happy
Finally got around to putting the Tapco 20-round mag on one of the SKS's today and went out on the 25m range.  We've had issues with another 20-rnd metal mag (fixed, not a detatchable) - only holding 19 rounds and being a little weak at the bottom-end of the mag, not loading the last couple into the chamber - and I was interested in seeing how this one would act.

First up, it makes a good-feeling point for "European-grip" fans, with a decent shape to hold onto, even if you are using a wood stock.

Second - loading from stripper clips is a touch problematic.  Not sure if maybe I'm just doing something wrong or what, but it is not nearly as fast to reload this mag by stripper-clip as the standard mag.  Since it was made to be a detatchable mag, this isn't a problem - carry several pre-loaded!

I did some mag-change drills with my single mag and it seemed to go fairly smoothly.  Like anything, it would get better with practice.  Fit and lock-up during my drills were both very good.

Proof's in the pudding!  I loaded up 20 rounds and hit the range with a slightly sporterized rifle (no bayo lug or cleaning rod guide and a wild paint job, but otherwise a stock rifle) to shoot at Fred's Redcoats targets.  No misfeeds with steel-cased laquered Russian "cheep-n-deep" ammo.  The "Euro-grip" fet a tad odd without a pistol-grip at the back, but it was definitely functional.  No misfeeds.

So, I came in and swapped rifles to use it on one with a pistol-grip, in this case a Choate side-folder.  Sweetness in a bottle!!  This time, I would only load 4 rounds so as to test out the area we normally have problems on our rifles - the last few rounds in the mag.  No problems whatsoever!

There are a few drawbacks, though.

#1 - What the heck will they fit into pouch-wise??  That "duck-bill" creates a size issue that we need to find a way around if this is to be a practical enhancement.  If you have any suggestions, PLEASE pass them on!

#2 - The bolt has to be open to insert or remove a mag.  I understand there is a simple handyman's-fix for this and I plan to implement it for all the rifles that we so equip.  If you know how to do this, PLEASE pass it on!  (pics would be good)

#3 - It adds another totally separate type of reloading drill to train on.

Posted by outlands at 8:57 PM EDT
Brit troops fire on US troops in the ME
Mood:  irritated

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hwK_CSpBxsNuVUEaDuOwmSSCiqGwD93974900

 

Oh wait...the article failed to mention how they shot at our guys as part of how their "quick reaction force and road convoy ... help[ed] American officials at the site."

How do I know this happened? Well, I have a son-in-law WHO WAS THERE! He just called to let his wife (my DD, who spent the night with us) know he was ok, in the event she'd heard it on the news and was worried about him.

Geez, two of my folks under fire in two weeks - first walked into a "gang-banger" event in South Louisiana after curfew (he is Air Guard, was there in uniform as humanitarian support) and one ganger pulled a gun. Now, my SIL responds on a rescue mission and is taken under fire by friendlies!! My bunch is rapidly gaining experience in being shot at and returning fire.


Posted by outlands at 11:26 AM EDT
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
IKE Debris
Mood:  chatty

Ike brought us a lot more wind and some more rain.  We ended up losing power for some 18 hrs Saturday/Sunday.  Sleeping with no air circulation is an unwelcome proposition, especially when you can hear all that wind hitting the house from the east...and you have one single east-facing window!  That will change, as will the lack of 12v fans.

 

I thought our place was pretty remote and generally untravelled. I thought unusual traffic would be easily noticed.

Looks like I was wrong.

My dad has a rather large hobby - he collects antique trucks. The big-rig kind. They are all gas-burners, by and large, and most are not exactly in running condition. He has a few diesel-users, though - particularly the wrecker/boom-truck and the main show-hauler. He doesn't keep much fuel in them, preferring to fuel up just before starting out on an "expedition," but there's usually a bit of fuel left to make it to the station.

Well, turns out in the last couple of weeks, someone showed up and helped themselves to some diesel - about 40 gal's or so, basically what was left in the tank. So, dad discovered this sad fact this past Sunday when he started trying to move his trucks around.

He had originally not been too keen on my idea of having some Great Pyrs or other LGD-types "on the hill" with our livestock, as there are already too many dogs loose (3 - with 3 more just being brought home *sigh*). Perhaps it might be time to revisit that idea with him.

I also think perhaps more limited access to his place and better security monitoring might be in order. Of course, training people to actually look to see what the dog is barking at might be too tall an order...


Posted by outlands at 12:51 PM EDT
Thursday, 4 September 2008
your opinions sought!
I'm looking for input from people who have actually interacted with - preferably used - the Midland XT511 GMRS "basecamp"-style radio.  I want something like this to have scattered about in the various houses that comprise our family's holdings so that we can talk to each other easily should everything else go out.  Reviews of it on amazon.com avg out to 2.5 of 5, but I don't know those people.  So, if anyone has any sort of experience, please sound off.  Thanks!

Posted by outlands at 1:43 PM EDT
normalcy restored!
Mood:  happy

Water came back on around midnight.  My son and I were up looking at Star Wars goodies on ebay and heard the antique ice-maker in the freezer dump a load of ice.  We just stared at each other for long seconds before huge grins erupted.  It was all we could do to not cheer!

 

Overall, we've had very little storm damage in our immediate area.  Mostly we have dead limbs down and little limb-tips scattered all over our yard.  Once you start working outward, oak trees have been uprooted and pine and sweet-gum trees have been snapped off.  I haven't heard about anyone suffering any structural damage in the family, for which we know we are very blessed.

 

Rebecca and I have been discussing things and we are working on a list of "lessons learned" that I plan to share, so stay tuned.


Posted by outlands at 9:21 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
evening check-in
Mood:  happy

Power is back!!  Water, however, is not...

 

Now I just need to label the breakers, since we now know what several of them *are*!


Posted by outlands at 10:43 PM EDT
morning check-in
Aunt says Entergy is telling her power should be restored tomorrow (Thursday) some time.  Hopefully that also restores water.  All in all, we are in fine shape and not hurting for anything other than a hot shower. :D

Posted by outlands at 10:32 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 September 2008 10:43 AM EDT
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
broke out the power supplies
Mood:  lucky
Dun Coille checking in again...

Pulled out the s'urban battery and the monster inverter (2000/4000 peak) to run the laptop.  Turns out the 100w baby was too small.  Water remains out, as does power.  Power, taken out to the town (and I suppose the water system?) by a single tree?, is expected to be restored around 2300 hrs tonight.  Hopefully that restores water, as well.  No damage to the houses on the hill here, and no major effects on the trees, only dead branches being knocked loose.

It is still raining.

My buddy, evac'd up from Lafayette, got called back to work today.  Seems his airport is now the central hub for military air - since Baton Rouge and Lake Charles airports seem to have run out of fuel.  So, he has to work his way back through pretty much the reciprocal path of the storm.  *sigh*

Posted by outlands at 1:22 PM EDT
computing by candlelight
Mood:  special
Here I am, rocked by a hurricane!  Power is expected to be restored by 11pm tonight.  However, we are now without water as well as power.  Small community water system that serves our area appears to have lost power to the pumps.  It is still raining.  The kids are running (literally) a bucket-brigade from the drip-line of the roof to the bathtub for wash/flush water.  So far so good...

Posted by outlands at 10:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 September 2008 10:31 AM EDT

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