Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Donkeys in the Desert

 Donkeys are cute animals although stubborn (kind of like me I guess) but if you pay them attention they are like a big dog and will follow you around and beg for attention. When I was in Iraq in 2004 I spent a few months based out of Ramadi. The compound we worked out of was next to the town, very bad place by the way and all that separated us from town was a fence/wall and guard towers. Donkeys would wander into the camp each afternoon. This used to bother me somewhat because the Army was in control of the perimeter at that time and did not want the donkeys in camp for various reasons and would round them up each day and heard them out, so I used to wonder if the fence was so secure donkeys could wander in at will without apparent detection what would stop the enemy from doing so, anyway this was life.

Iraqi people are not generally animal lovers and treat all animals as work animals or pests. Americans on the other hand like their animals especially US troops who are looking for any reminder of normal life in a combat area.
Pictured left here is 3 donkeys near our chow hall, the 2 in the back are light colored and harder to see.

Yours truly at right, with a donkey (another behind me begging for attention) near our hooch right at dark.

 Donkey trying to find some more treats. Corpsman (medic) in left of picture threatening to shoot donkey with 9mm pistol if he did not get away. He thought they carried disease.

Most troops were kind to donkeys and would feed them candy and give them a drink, the donkeys figured this out fairly quick and although they were rounded up and and sent "home" each night they always returned back to camp. (as seen in last picture)
One afternoon one young Marine took red spray paint painted a big "USMC" on the side of a light colored donkey. We never saw that donkey again although his friends returned each day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ultimate Survival Rifle

I have been around long enough to realize there is not really the perfect rifle for all circumstances but I would like to have a dialog about an often overlooked gun.
I was recently over at my friend Stephen's (standing outside looking in) place of business. I go over there sometimes because he is kind to me and lets me drink his coffee and use his bathroom, I know too much info.......anyway I saw an article in Shotgun News about a 22 sniper rifle. It went on to discuss the benefits of this and it got me to thinking and revisiting what views I have long held. I know most  prepers or survivalist's see the benefit of the 22 LR and the "experts" agree they are one of the must have guns in a SHTF situation however they mostly relegate it to the dispatching  of small pests and such. If you go into any gun store they are willing to sell you all kinds of expensive  rifles (some of which I do own) and you sometimes get the impression they look down at the lowley 22
I learned to shoot a Winchester 22 single shot like the top one here and learned as a youngster the value of making shots count. Many make the mistake of substituting training and skill with an expensive "Black Rifle" which is a big mistake on their part.  If in a survival situation you  were to pit a "armchair warrior" with $5,000 worth of guns and equipment against one  well trained gun handler armed only with a Ruger 10-22 (bottom rifle in picture) I know who I would put my money on and in return they would "own" the expensive equipment.  I have heard Prepers bemoan the fact they can't afford a lot of nice "stuff" I have been quick to point out money is not the most important factor in being well equipped, there are plenty of inexpensive high powered rifles to be had. My point here is to not overlook the 22. During the depression I had kinfolk who fed their family's with a 22 as did many others. I do not doubt that the 22 has killed every animal in North America although I don't recommend hunting bears with it fact is it has ,  Apart from the 30-30 I would bet the 22 has killed more deer than any other rifle. Now I know it is illegal to do so in any place I know of but my purpose is to say don't underestimate it's killing power, ever see "Swamp People" It's apparently their weapon of choice. I know of slaughter houses that have used the 22 to put down large beef cattle every day. One of my favorite guns to shoot is an AR-15 fitted with a 22 adapter, cheep and fun to shoot.  Another benefit of the 22 is not as loud, a bonus when stealth is important . In a SHTF situation there is nothing like shooting a 30-06 and announcing to anyone a mile away of your location when a 22 would have done the job. The Air Force issued the AR-7 survival rifle (22 LR) for many reasons I have listed here so downed pilots could survive.                             
In conclusion, I am not advocating a 22 being the only gun needed but don't overlook it's importance in your preps along with a lot of range time, it's fun and cheep to shoot.
  A good semi auto 22 may be worth it's weight in gold (maybe literately) one day.


I wrote this out for my daughter years ago, hope you enjoy.

Rule 1 :  If you pull into my driveway and honk, you better be delivering a package because you're sure not picking anything up.
Rule 2 :  You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at
anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off my daughter's body, I will remove them.
Rule 3 : I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their pants so loosely
that they appear to be falling off your hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you & your friends
are complete idiots, if you show up at my house like this I will force you to leave.
Rule 4 : I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing the "barrier method" of
some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, I will kill you.
Rule 5 : You may think for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and
other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I need from you is when you expect to
have my daughter  safely back at my house,  and the only word I need is "early".
Rule 6 : I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as  it is okay with my  daughter, otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl,
you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry , I will make
you cry.
Rule 7 :  As you stand in my front hallway waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie , you should not be dating, my daughter is
putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just
standing there , why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?
Rule 8 : The following places are NOT appropriate for a date with my daughter: places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool; places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns, within eyesight; holding hands, or happiness; places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat; movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided;
movies which feature chain saws are OK. Old folks homes  are better.
Rule 9 : Do not lie to me. I am not a middle aged, dimwitted has been. But, on issues relating to my
daughter, I am the all knowing merciless god of your universe. If  I ask you where you are going and with
whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I have a
gun, a shovel, and five acres behind my house. Do not trifle with me.

  Rule 10 : Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very
little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the
driveway for a suicide bomber in the Iraqi desert.
When I start having flashbacks, the voices in my head
frequently tell me to "lock and load" as I wait for
you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull
into the driveway, you should exit your car with both
hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password,
announce in a clear voice that you have brought my
daughter home safely and early, then return to your
car. There is no reason for you to come inside. The
camouflaged face at the window  is mine.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Range Cold

Special thanks to those who have joined my blog. I look forward to meeting new friends and hope we can share good information in the future. I am new to this so please bear with me as I learn the ropes. I am trying to keep up with reading a lot of your blogs as well, I am going out of town today and will be back tomorrow so I may not reply right away to any comments or questions. Thanks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Low Budget Scout Rifle.

I have always liked the idea of a Scout Rifle which is really just a carbine length rugged rifle in a good knock-down caliber. They should ideally be lightweight also. Of course I don't really see where I would "need" one because I have other rifles I would rather use but since when is that a reason to not have any gun. So one evening I started kicking around the idea of building one and I pulled out a couple of Ishapore rifles I have in 308 calibre.
These rifles are built on the old Lee Enfield 303 design used in England and other Commonwealth countries  in WWII and when they stopped using them about 30 to 40 years ago and switched to the 7.62 NATO round.
India (which was formally a British colony) could not afford the semi-auto rifles so they re-tooled existing factories which made 303 into plants making Ishapore/Enfield in NATO 7.62 or 308. Now I know the 7.62 NATO and 308 are not exactly the same round and I have heard all the arguments over the years but for the sake of this post I will call it a 308.
The 2 rifles I had picked up a few years ago for $100 each and I decided to make one into a my own type of Scout Rifle.
The top rifle is like I started with. The lower is the cut-down version. I cut 4" off the barrel and shortened the wood around the barrel and re-attached the front sight after removing the bayonette lug. I had an old stock and butt pad off a Winchester shotgun I adapted to fit (it attaches in the same way, just use the Enfield bolt) and painted it O.D. green.
I have shot it and it is quite accurate. It is very rugged although not really lightweight it still fits the bill. I attached a small inset picture of the 303 magazine to show the difference in case you run across them at a gun show they are easy to spot as the 308 mag has sharp square corners and the 303 is rounded as well as having more of a slant on the bottom due to it being a rimmed cartridge. They seem to be well made rifles and are worth buying if the price is right. All the work was done with hand tools and took about 3 evenings to finish.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't try this at home.

I do some fairly dangerous things sometimes, contrary to what my wife thinks they aren't always on purpose. Recently I was mowing a vacant lot with my antique 8N Ford tractor pictured here.

I love old tractors, this one is kind of rare it has the standard 4 speed gear box however it has a Hi - Low range lever on the left side of the transmission which means it will run about 45 mph on the road, trust me quite a "white knuckle" ride for a old tractor with almost no brakes and worn out steering. Anyway back to my story, I was mowing a vacant lot which can be an adventure not knowing what is lurking in the tall weeds when the mower hit a large metal object and threw it about 50 feet behind the bush hog mower. Turned out it was a old 20 lb propane cylinder partially buried in the ground.

You can tell it got quite beat up it bent the valve and in the picture to the left you can see a large long crease where the mower blade hit it and propelled it out the back of the mower. The top is also quite damaged. Anyway I left it lay on the ground and after my work was done I went to retieve it and to my shock the cylinder is FULL....of propane. this rusty old tank got run over by a tractor, chewed up by a mower, thrown out the back without exploding. I guess the lesson here is these old tanks are pretty tough even though I would not try this again. I can open the valve and gas comes out but the threads are out of round so I can't use the cylinder. I would have gotten a kick out of using it on my grill and explaining to people why I have kept the cylinder so long and telling them of the trouble I have getting it filled anymore. Of course I still am trying to figure a way to use it, maybe I will try and swap it out at the store. Duke.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Introduction in Order

I hope you find interesting things to follow here in days to come. Hi,my name is "Duke" I choose this pen name because I like John Wayne and we would be better off if we had hero's like him on the big screen today. I want to make this blog interesting and include some brain-storming and information sessions. I am open to ideas and suggestions and welcome comments.
I have over 30 years experience in engineering and construction as well as combat engineering. I retired out as a reservist after my last tour in Iraq, I had 21 years. I like American steel from my Truck and cars to motorcycles.
If you have questions for me feel free to ask.
Thanks for following, Duke
Life Member NRA
Member Combat Vet's Motorcycle Assn.

Liberty and Freedom and other Ramblings

Liberty and Freedom are words bantered about today and I think few people understand them. We are like the frog in a pot not realizing how hot it is getting. I have often said if our founding fathers could have seen the way we have butchered and abused the Constitution they would have added some key phrases to clarify what they did "not" mean. I get so sick of government telling us what rights we can have.
 Just one example, how many times have you seen or heard "having a drivers license is a privilege not a right" I say WRONG. Now I understand the need for rules and laws however this is a Republic of "by the people for the people" we elect people who we think are bright enough to represent us and pass laws for our better good and if I abide by those rules I have every RIGHT to drive and if our Representatives pass laws we don't want we need to work to get them out of office. Liberals will have you believe you have the right to free speech (although they will tell you what you can't say) and at the same time tell you government grants you the privilege to carry a gun if you fill out all the right forms, did they miss item number two in the Constitution ? Was I the only one in class that day ? Oh wait, my bad they don't teach that in school, don't get me started on that subject either.
We are told we have become a nation of wimps now I don't totally agree with this assumption I think we have allowed ourselves (or some of us have) to be told we have to be sensitivite to others to the point we won't stand up for what is right because it might hurt sombody's feelings, For example the far left fringe won't..........oh wait, scratch that thought they don't care what they say to us.
In WWII we went to war and the military ran the war for the most part and the troops stayed till the job was done, we don't do this today if we did wars wouldn't last 10 years instead you have a bunch of bed wetters in the media putting pressure on the politicians to fight fair, News Flash, If you are in a fair fight your tactic is bad. (actually good advice to remember)
Anyway the point of this post was to try in my own feeble way to point out how we have strayed of the path as a nation. I believe we are the best nation on God's green earth and it makes me sad to see what has been stripped away from us but we just might be able to reverse some damage.
I hope you find my post interesting, if you do please click the "follow" button, and I welcome comments, I promise to cover many topics.
I thank you for letting me vent today, now I'm late for my Anger Management Class (that really ticks me off)