Pyramex I-Force Slim Safety Goggle

| January 28, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I bought the Pyramex I-Force Slim safety goggles because I hunt and work a lot in cold weather. Nothing is worse than a fogging lens or moving goggles, when you are using a saw, grinder, or looking down a scope or sights at quarry.

I saw the I-Force Slim goggles on Amazon and liked the features of they offered. 99% protection against harmful UV rays, vented foam padding, a wrap around design, and strap options to keep in place. Additionally the ‘slim’ fits narrower faces, while ‘sport’ fits larger faces.

After using these hunting and working for about a year, I figured I should say something about them. Specifically, how much I like them. They work, they are cheap, and they stay in place. I couldn’t expect a whole lot more or less, they just get the job done, and I am able to clearly see gun sights, optics, and my work when working in the cold. I also don’t worry about scratching them or beating them up, because of the cost of about 20 bucks. Less or more, depending on lens coating/color options.

Here is the link to safety goggles on amazon, Pyramex I-Force Slim Safety Goggle

Tags: , , , , | Comments

CZ Upland Ultralight Green 20 Ga

| January 28, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I recently bought a CZ Upland Ultralight Green 2016 in a 20 gauge for my girlfriend as an early Christmas gift. I shopped around, looked for the literal best bang for the buck, but also wanted a light shotgun with lesser recoil that my girlfriend could carry and use to hunt chukar and grouse. I considered a 20 gauge Benelli Montefeltro, because I own and love my 12 gauge Montefeltro.

My girlfriend and I talked about a preference on actions, and she expressed that she would be more comfortable with a break action than she would a semiautomatic action.

Besides the break action preference, I knew we needed to find a good compromise between recoil, and the ability to tote the thing around without getting fatigued. She’s a little petite, and a 12 gauge seemed like it might be too much recoil to be enjoyable and too heavy to carry all day, so we decided on a 20 gauge.

My girlfriend ultimately made the decision, and CZ made it a no-brainer. While looking at side by sides and over unders in a 20 gauge, my girlfriend saw the green anodized receiver of the CZ Upland Ultralight ‘Green’ shotgun.

I checked it out and it seemed like a great fit. Its an attractive and lightweight 20 gauge over under, with a nice stock, and an affordable price tag. Because I had never owned a CZ shotgun I felt like I was taking a chance, alneit a small risk, but went ahead and bought it for her anyway.

We received the Upland Ultralight at a local FFL. The initial inspection was sort of an eye opener. The shotgun met and exceeded all of my expectations. Its led me to believe that CZ’s are completely under-appreciated or under-considered firearms in general in the US market.

Well it doesn’t just look great, it shoots great too. Its fast to shoulder, the trigger was nicer and lighter than I had expected, it can be shot all day without fatigue, and its light enough to tote around for a while. Most importantly, my girlfriend loves it, and is comfortable operating it safely with ease.

I love my 12 gauge Benelli Montefeltro. I have zero buyers remorse, no intention of replacing it, use it all the time, and enjoy shooting it. With that said, if I had handled and shot some CZ 12 gauge shotgun options prior to buying my Benelli, there might have been a CZ shotgun instead of a Benelli shotgun on my side of the gun rack today.

So if you are considering a CZ Upland Ultralight Green shotgun in a 20 Gauge and wanted a little help with your decision, I hope I helped you with your decision.

The general specs are as follows:
Gauge: 20g Also available in 12
Barrel Length: 28″
Weight: 5.8 lbs. (Its light, due to the machined aluminum anodized receiver with nicely jeweled internals, and the lack of a mid-rib)
Receiver Finish Green Anodized
Barrel Finish Matte Black Chrome
Safety: It has a mechanical tang safety, and select fire order.
Length: 45.75″
Chokes Includes 5 (F,IM,M,IC,C)
Stock Turkish Walnut with Pistol Grip
MSRP: $762.00
Street Price: ~ $620.00

Tags: , , , | Comments

CZ 557 Carbine 270 Rifle

| January 23, 2017
cz 557 carbine 270
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I recently acquired a CZ 557 Carbine Rifle chambered in 270. I was looking for an accurate medium and big game rifle chambered in .270. Specifically, I wanted an accurate, durable rifle with a quality carbine length barrel, fixed sights, a good trigger, smooth bolt operation, and good furniture.

I found all of that with the CZ 557 carbine. The 557 action is a departure from the Mauser style controlled feed used in CZ 550 model rifles. The action of the 557 is a push feed bolt design with dual locking lugs, a plunger-type ejector and short extractor, housed in a steel receiver machined from a single billet of steel. It also features a trigger that breaks very cleanly. The oil finished walnut is attractive, the checkering clean, and the fit to the nicely blued receiver is great. The magazine is a fixed 4+1 with a hinged floor plate, and the barrel is cold hammer forged with a 1:10 twist. CZ does some interesting stuff to create both accurate and durable barrels from the factory. Its worth checking out the CZ site and reading up on it, but not the point of this post.

The front sight is a fiber optic sight, protected by a shroud designed to let light in, but 19mm CZ style dovetails on the receiver do allow the rifle to be scoped.

The CZ 557 is a discontinued model as of 2016, so I felt like I would regret not buying one in a year or two when stock was all gone. Its a classic looking rifle with some modern changes for CZ. Besides using a push feed action versus a controlled feed, CZ has done away with the set trigger from other models in favor of a light and crisp trigger that breaks cleanly with about 3.5 lbs of force, from the factory. It may actually be the best factory mass produced and shipped trigger on the market.

I decided on the CZ 557 chambered in 270 because a range of modern and affordable ammo exists for it, compared to say 7mm 08, and its a relatively fast and flat shooter, with a lot of energy.

The gun shoulders nicely and recoil is very manageable with both 130gr and 150gr ammo. Fast target acquisition is made possible with the fixed sights, and a smooth bolt operation males quick follow up shots easy.

Sure you can get a budget Savage or Ruger American, or both for the street price of a CZ 557, but both of those guns feel like what you paid for them, and use a lot of plastic, whereas the CZ feels like a much more expensive gun with much nicer furniture.

I bought the 557 for $620, but the current street price is just over $700. At that price, its still an exceptional gun. I’ll replace a few of the above photos with better ones as soon as I can. In tho photos above I included a group of 3 150gr shots taken at about 55 yards from a knee in the snow, off of a wobbly bipod. The rifle is more accurate than my group would suggest, but given the conditions, poor rest, and and it being some of the first few shots taken with the gun, I think it shows the quality and shootablity of the gun, unscoped, in marginal conditions.

Tags: , , , | Comments

DIY Portable Solar Power Supply

| January 12, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I put together a basic portable solar power supply from a 20 watt solar panel, and 4 12v Batteries from Amazon. I thought I would turn summer camping out of the back of the Durango into summer glamping out of the back of the Durango. Hence the husky tool box battery housing, to make it portable.

The solar power supply also allows me to recharge headlamps, GPS units, range finders, cellphones, a laptop, and power lighting and speakers without worrying about depleting the car battery. In an emergency situation it could possibly be used to aid the starter battery of the Durango, or any other vehicle. It should make hunting season a little more enjoyable.

The 28 Amp solar system cost me just under 140 dollars, but in all fairness I already had wire on hand, as well as a 200 watt inverter I wasn’t using. Assuming you have to buy an inverter, it is still a small usable system you could build for less than 160 dollars. It would also be possible, to start with 2 batteries, and increase the number of batteries as funds permit, but 28 amps seemed like a good starting point. Other cheaper car batteries could probably be found if you look for a deal, or get something used.

Parts List:

Initial ‘Basic’ System Setup
I connected the solar cell to the charger
I connected the 4 batteries in parallel for a 12v system at 28AH
I wired a rocker switch for a solar charger cutoff, mounted it to the box
I connected the solar charger lead to the cutoff rocker switch
I wired another rocker switch from the battery bank, to the inverter and 12v output terminals

Power Output and Consumption
The battery bank initially was 28 amp hours at 12 volts, or 336 watts. Assuming we never deplete batteries to less than a 50% charge for battery health, we have 168 watts. Assuming a safer consumption to no less than 60%, we have 134.4 watts available.

A cell phone charger uses around 3-10 watts, a laptop charger uses about 45 watts, and an LED flood lamp uses about 10 watts. In theory, all those items could run for about 2 hours, before depleting 1/2 the battery bank.

Realistically, aside from the 10w LED lighting, most objects require very little time to fully recharge. Once recharged, the cellphone gets at least a full day or two if lightly used with wifi and bluetooth off. The laptop gives me about 3.75 to 4 hours on a full battery charge, which actually takes half and hour, or less, to charge.

Recharging The System
That amount of power consumed in the example usage above should only require less than 4 hours of full sun to recharge completely, because the solar charger outputs a 3 Amp charge rate at 12 volts, or 36 watts per hour. In 3.75 hours the system should produce the 134.4 watts required to replace the consumed power.

While the solar charger will handle overcharging, its inconvenient to monitor the battery bank for power. I have added a combo battery Amperage and Voltage meter for $13.80. I’ve included it in the links above. I also added a 10w LED flood lamp to the system, to light a camping area or back of a vehicle for another $9.79. I’ve also included links to that in the parts list above. I wired a 3rd switch for the 10w LED light, and bumped up the bank with a donated 12v 8amp hour battery.

Tags: , , , | Comments

The Truth About California’s Ammo Laws

| January 9, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The truth about California’s ammo laws, is that they are complete bullshit. They don’t work, haven’t worked, will continue to not work, will make criminals of law abiding citizens, and infringe on the Second Amendment.

For the completely uninformed, California passed bill SB53 among a slew of other anti second amendment laws, requiring residents pay $50 and submit to a background check to acquire an ammo purchasing permit. Those who pass will be on a list of persons approved in the state of California to buy ammunition through Federally Licensed Firearms dealers only.

Firstly, around 40% of gun transactions in America won’t go through a background check. That’s not to say they are illegal transactions, they just may not have happened somewhere requiring the check. Like what commonly happens in a private sale in a free state, between friends, acquaintances, and family members.

California criminals have ready access to firearms trafficked into California, regardless of California’s best stupid efforts. If a criminal doesn’t acquire a firearm by this method, they can buy a gun on the black market. Such guns are often stolen guns, or foreign and reproduction ghost guns slipping through Customs and Border Control.

The unknown selection method for customs and border control ultimately allows between 95% and 97% of cargo to enter the country without inspection. That’s right, they only inspect 3% to 5% of cargo.

Gangs traffic guns from state to state, county to county, commit crimes, and make it very difficult to match ballistics to guns that law enforcement officers don’t know to look for and don’t know exist, or don’t exist because they have been resold and moved after a crime.

The loop holes, and violation of laws already on the books are what make criminals criminals. They simply disregard them. Old laws, and new laws don’t affect them, they just make it increasingly difficult and expensive for the law abiding citizen to exercise their second amendment right.

Add the extra $50 annually to buy ammo, the law abiding citizen will be limited in the number of rounds they can purchase, and soon will also have to abide by lead free ammo laws. For the completely ignorant, non-lead ammo is harder to acquire as the availability and production is limited, and averages double the price of lead ammo.

If I wanted to take my bolt action hunting rifle to the range before the hunting season and sight in a scope, shooting three lead free rounds would cost a $50 background check for the year + $2 per round. In the best scenario it takes 3 rounds to sight in a scope, but the realistic scenario is that you will go through a box of 20. That’s over $40 to ensure accuracy with lead free ammo. For a total of $90. Without the background and lead free ammo, it would cost me $21 dollars. Such costs will push otherwise law abiding citizens to buy ammo across borders and traffic it back.

If all liberals had to pay $50 annually to express their opinions, and even more restrictions and costs were placed on what was allowed to be said and how large the audience, the hippy dippies would undoubtedly cry in their safe spaces about their first amendment rights being violated.

Gang violence will not be curbed, mental health will not improve, and criminals will not comply with any gun or ammo law. They have no regard for them, never have, and never will. Getting tougher on criminals might do the trick, but California would rather harbor illegal aliens, house them in local jails at the cost of the taxpayer, or release them onto the streets at the safety of law abiding citizens.

The laws that California passed regarding ‘assault rifles’, ‘illegal features’, magazines, and now ammunition, are clear violations of the Second Amendment, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”.

California identifying ‘features’ of firearms as being dangerous to its citizens and therefore making specific ‘evil guns’ illegal for California ownership and possession, is a method of circumventing federal and constitutional laws protecting citizens’ rights to bear arms, and makes criminals out of good people.

Such circumventing is not clever, nor is it effective. Other states with similar bans, voluntary gun registrations, and forfeitures, have proven that second amendment advocates and gun owners will not comply with state laws that clearly violate their second amendment rights.

The end result is angry ‘non-compliant’ law abiding citizens and gun owners facing a higher cost of freedom, infringed amendment rights, citizens possibly being charged as criminals, a false sense of safety among the liberal idiots that voted for this crap legislation, and crimes that will continue to be perpetrated by criminals unencumbered by any new law.

The disillusion will be clear to even the most ignorant anti second amendment liberal, when they are the victim of a crime, and the only recourse is to be a victim and wait for law enforcement to show up with guns.

That is the real truth about California’s gun laws, the folks writing and passing this crap probably know it too, but are more concerned with looking like they did something for their liberal voter base, collecting more taxes and fees to piss away on failed budgeting, and looking like they are tough on crime. Its the political move for votes, nothing more. Whereas the most beneficial move to the public would be to enforce laws already on the books, and treat criminals like criminals, not make new criminals out of law abiding citizens that prefer not to be victims.

Tags: , , , , | Comments

Cheap MIG Welder

| January 6, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I bought a cheap MIG 130 Welder off of Amazon. There are a ton of things around the property I frequently want to weld, or at least tack weld. Whether its a cage or fencing material, a part on a BBQ, a custom bolt head, a gate latch, or automotive related stuff, like the cargo carrier we used on the back of the Jeep Wrangler to haul out my girlfriend’s Elk last hunting season.

There always seems to be something that could use a weld, even if its a marginal one done by yours truly. I decided to be cheap. I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for, but I’m not trying to do large jobs, so the FDS MIG 130 Welder from Amazon should get the job done.

I unpackaged the welder and looked at what was included. The build quality of the welder seemed fine, but the included instructions, brush and mask were crap. Which is to be expected at the price point. A couple extra welding tips and fuses were included. Everything smelled like it had machine oil on it, like when you buy a cheap air gun, and the styrofoam packaging seemed to melt while in contact with the cables of the welder. It left a white patterned residue that you can see in the photos. Perhaps there is a petrol based finish on things that melted the foam, and that would make sense from the smell.

The FDS MIG 130 Welder checked out fine upon visual inspection. So Installed the flux core wire spool, and got ready to do some welding. I grabbed a completely unprepared pieces of 1/8″steel angle, and tack welded it to 1″ steel square tubing. The tack weld is as shitty as one could make, as I needed to get used to the speed of the wire feeder, holding the mask, and power settings.

Sure I made a crappy looking weld, but it worked, and I was pleasantly surprised that the FDS MIG 130 welder managed to do the job. For 100 dollars, its seems like it should do what I need it to do, and I’m actually looking forward to finishing some projects with it.

Tags: , , , | Comments