Intended Consequences was a range day. I’m in the process of joining a new rifle club. Saturday was the time for the required safety class. It’s a growing range with pistol, shotgun and rifle ranges up to 500yds.

A club member and shooting buddy joined me after the class. We did a bit of pistol shooting (my Colt Commander does give me hammer bite!) and then shot 10″ steel gongs at 200yds. I surprised myself with hits using the iron sights on my AR Frankengun (Olympic upper and lower receivers plus the barrel, with DPMS innards.)

One of my to-does is cleaning my pistols and rifle. That also means I have to clean up my office to free up needed space.  What a way to force me into Spring cleaning!


I wrote about the Kelo Decision last week in a post titled, Boundaries. The decision allowed the municipality of New London in Connecticut to seize private property (Kelo’s) for a developer’s use. The argument was that the developer would put the property into better use (read generate more tax revenue to the city,) than the private owner. The suit went to SCOTUS and was upheld. A travesty. It was a win for the left who believe everything belongs to government and government allows ‘private’ owners to use their property only under governmental ‘guidance.’

That line of thought has arisen here in Missouri—St. Louis, to be specific.

St. Louis County Abrogates Property Rights

By Timothy Birdnow, April 29, 2014

St. Louis County, Mo. is planning to force property owners to purchase a landlord’s license to rent out or even allow friends or family to inhabit a privately owned domicile.

Not content with collecting fees for “safety” inspections and occupancy permits, the county government is now intent on imposing a landlord’s license and extracting yet another fee.  Duplication of current law aside, this new requirement strikes at the heart of a fundamental legal right: the right to ownership of property.

Private property is the most basic principle in American jurisprudence.  When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he borrowed from the philosopher John Locke, who asserted three fundamental rights enjoyed by all: life, liberty, and property.  Jefferson, at the urging of Benjamin Franklin, changed the last to “pursuit of happiness” because he did not want to give slaveholders any sort of legal justification should abolition finally overtake the “peculiar institution.”  Still, everyone knew what Jefferson was getting at here, and though the Declaration is not a foundational legal document, it does illustrate the mindset of the Founders, who clearly believed in ownership of property.

As John Adams stated:

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.

And so it is; without a sacred view of property, a society inevitably slides into despotism.

The first property right is self-ownership.  We have seen the left nibble away at this concept, and the ObamaCare mandate has effectively tipped the scales toward state ownership of American citizens.

With that under their belts, the Progressives can now turn their lustful eyes back toward real estate.  Actually, they have been nibbling away at the rights of property owners for decades.  Eminent domain, the Fair Housing Act, zoning restrictions, occupancy permits, “safety” inspections (which are more often than not also about cosmetics), property maintenance codes – all circumscribe the rights of owners to have final say on the use of their property.  Yes, many of these things were well-intentioned and have contributed to a more pleasant society, but the movement has been ever toward government regulation of private property.  While property rights are not absolute, where does ownership end?  If government tells the owner how he can use his property, can it be said that we have private ownership at all?

We’ve seen some huge leaps in recent years: the Kelo decision allowing property to be taken from the lawful owner and given to a developer, for instance, or the declaration of property as environmentally sensitive and so not allowed to be developed.  We have the Cliven Bundy affair; Bundy had purchased grazing rights, which are in themselves a contractual interest.  We’ve seen government shut off water to farmers , or allow lands to be flooded, bankrupting farmers and forcing them off their lands.

Now we witness the imposition of licensing requirements for property owners.  The issuance of a license presupposes that government holds the rights and that the “owner” is being granted a privilege.

Read the bill here.

The bill is chock-full of “at the discretion of the Administrator.”

The column continues at the website, but that last sentence is crucial—“at the whim…” In short, the rules can change any at moment for any reason or for no reason at all! The result is total governmental control. He or the agent who makes the rules is the true owner of the property. If this is passed, the county will be the owner of your property, not you.

Range Report

My wife, blog partner Dinah and I had an outing Saturday.  We hadn’t been out together for almost a year.  The last time we went out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  This time Dinah wanted to smell burnt gun power.

We picked Dinah up, loaded the Tahoe and arrived at the Pioneer Gun Club’s outdoor McBride range about 2PM.  There were a few folks at the short rifle range and a CCW class was just finishing the shooting portion of their course at one of the pistol bays.  We drove down to the pistol bays and ended up sharing one with another member who was teaching a teenager how to shoot.

PGC Pistol Bay #3

Between the three of us we had close to a dozen firearms.  Mrs. Crucis and I took two .38s, a .357 and two .45s, a .22 rifle.  Dinah brought her carry pistol, a 9mm, a .22 revolver and some .38s—one a snubbie with Crimson Trace laser grips and her .22 rifle.  We shot all the pistols but didn’t get around to shooting any of the rifles.  Next time we concentrate on them.

We selected an old cable spool as a range table, set up some targets and spent two hours shooting our pistol collections.

Prepping to shoot. PGC

In the photo above is my 2 1/2″ S&W M13 and my Colt Commander.  We used the binoculars to check the targets. We were sharing the bay and had to stay behind the shooting line until we could jointly declare a cold range and go forward.

We shot at 15yds—the shooting line established by the other shooters in the bay.  I started with my .38 snubbie and didn’t do all that great. At least I was able to keep my rounds on paper (although I did score a direct hit on the bottom staple. Thereafter, the target had a tendency to fly up when hit by a gust of wind.)

I know I’m getting older and that reflected on my shooting. The black sights of my snubbie and later the fixed sights of my M13 just blended into the black inner rings of the target.  I wasn’t much better when I switched to the Colt Commander.  The Commander has the standard Colt small military-style sights.

After an embarrassing number of rounds, Dinah found some orange target pasters. The pasters gave us a bit of contrast between the target and the pistol sights. Finally I was able to put some .45 rounds in the 10-ring.

After shooting paper for a couple of hours, we moved to the next bay that was set up for falling steel plates.  The lack of color contrast was an issue again.  I continued with my Commander. The sights once again blended into the grey steel of the plates.  I had one good run knocking down all six plates with a round left over in the magazine.  Thereafter I got tired and just couldn’t maintain a good sight picture.

Keeping a good sight picture is difficult when you can’t focus on the front sight.  I probably would shoot better with trifocals or shooting glasses that would allow be to focus at full arms length.

At the end of the day, I discovered the Commander had given me hammer bite and the pounding recoil all afternoon had caused the  web in my hand to swell.

Colt Commander Hammer Bite

The hammer bite wasn’t as bad as I have received in the past.  I had two cuts that oozed a little and the powder residue stung a bit.  The photo above was taken after I had washed my hands and cleaned the cuts with hydrogen peroxide.

At the end of the day, we migrated to the clubhouse and had some celebratory Ice Cream drumsticks—our tradition.

PGC Clubhouse – McBride Range

Contrary to some of the photos above that I’d taken earlier in the week, Saturday was overcast, dark and spitting some occasional rain.  We were dry during the afternoon but the dark clouds threatened to open at any moment.  We left the range a little after 5pm and headed home.

All in all, it was a great afternoon.

Range Stereotypes

Say Uncle lists all the folks you can find at any time on the range. Which one are you?

Shooting Vision

Brigid has a lengthly and well written post on her blog about shooting glasses and protecting your vision. I have a different vision subject to discuss.

I went to the range last Saturday. The weather was perfect—sunny, slight breeze, temps in the high 60s. Arrived at the outdoor range only to discover that, due to the good weather, several ranges were closed for maintenance including the one I wanted to use. Fortunately, our gun club also has in indoor range in a KC suburb. There are caliber restrictions there; no magnum pistol calibers (or any caliber with “mag” in the name) and no center-fire rifles. That was OK with me. I would be shooting .45, 9MM and .38 ammo.

My three main carry pistols are my Para-ord CCO,

my S&W M&P Compact 9,

and my S&W M442 snubbie.

The Para and M&P have standard Novak, 3-white dot sights. Inside the indoor range, even with all the lights turned on, I discovered a problem. I could not see clearly the front sight. The front and rear just blurred together. I could see the target clearly, and I could make out the three dots. But the rest of the sights were just a blur. The first .45 mag, fired at 15 yards, resulted in this.

I used an 8-rd mag that I had already loaded with 230gr ball for my full-sized 1911. The mag had been loaded for months so I decided to use it and let the springs rest a bit. The initial spread was quite large. The red disk is about 3″ across.

The size of the spread was a disappointment. I just couldn’t see the front sight clearly and I had just had new lenses for my glasses a couple of months ago. I don’t need glasses to read, just to see clearly beyond arms length.

The next target shown is from shooting the M&P. The initial spread again was quite large. I fired two mags this time around.

I’m embarrassed to show the target for the snubbie. Suffice to say, I can hit the target at close range. I had outlined the rear sight on the M442 in white. That helped with black sights against a black target but the spread was much larger than I’d like.

With results like this, I’ve made a decision. I’ll continue to carry the M442 in a pocket holster as a backup or when I’m not wearing a jacket. It won’t remain as my main carry pistol. That will now be the S&W M&P Compact 9.

I’m continuing to be impressed with that pistol. At 10 yards, the point-of-aim and point-of-impact are the same. It’s not designed for any long distance shooting and frankly with my eyes, if the target isn’t closer than 15 or 20 yards, I’m running limping away or taking cover until the BG gets close enough for reliable hits.

As someone said, getting older isn’t for sissies. It’s tough to be reminded of that once again.

The day after…

My wife and I spent a quiet Thanksgiving yesterday. Our daughter and SIL went to his folks place. His two brothers and their families were in town from Dallas and Nashville. They left this morning.

The two of us had our turkey with our favorites, then following a long tradition, went to the movies for the Twilight Special. This time there were several movies suitable for viewing with the family. In some years past, we looked at the marquee and went home. We just don’t care to watch a movie whose only memorable features are sex and foul language. I’ve heard enough cussin’ and verbal pollution to last me a lifetime. After the first few words, folks just repeat themselves. If they’re not any more articulate than that, they should just keep their mouths shut.

Today was our day with the daughter, SIL and the three grandkids, the youngest being three weeks old. By consensus, we wanted something other than Turkey, so we went to Genghis Khan, a Chinese/Mongolian BBQ for dinner.

If you’ve never been to a Mongolian BBQ, you’ve missed something unique. Basically, it’s roll your own. You pick up a bowl and go down a line of ingredients picking and choosing as you like. I picked up some water chestnuts, onion greens, egg and flour noodles, sliced beef, chicken, pork and a few shrimp. Next section is the liquids. I usually add some rice wine, onion oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic water, sugar water, a bit of hot sauce, chopped peanuts, plus some other ingredients that looked good. At the end a grill cook takes it and then it’s just waiting until it’s done.

At the table, add some steamed rice, egg-drop soup, some crab rangoon, chicken wings and you’ve a feast. If you’re still hungry after finishing all that off you can go around again. For four adults, drinks, and two kids, we got out with a tab of $65, tip included.

The best part was on the way home. We’d stopped off at the Sprint Store to update my wife’s phone. Hers was several years old and she wanted one with a bluetooth headset to answer calls while driving. With Sprint you get $150 upgrade discount after eighteen months. Add some additional discounts and we spent $151 for new phone, regularly priced at $299, a bluetooth headset normally $39, and clear carrying case valued at $30. All for $151. Not a bad deal!

We were pulling out of the lot and I asked my wife what was scheduled for tomorrow. She usually works at a free clothing store on Saturdays, but tomorrow it will be closed because of the holiday at the weekend. “Let’s go to the range,” she said.

Now that’s a Holiday! Quiet time home. A movie. Eating out with the kids. Afternoon at the range. Couldn’t ask for more!