Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Looking In Every Case

Steven Kupillas left a comment about preferring a single stage press because, among other things, he's loading one at a time and looking in every case.

I agree with the looking in every case part. You can never just believe powder came out of the hopper. Never. Not with any powder delivery system.

If there were 4 Rules for Reloading,  one of them would be said, "Every case is always empty."

If Moses had gotten the 10 Commandments of Reloading on the mountain, it would be enshrined, "Thou shall look at the powder in every case, least thou have a squib."

I have a small LED lamp with a flexible gooseneck. Whatever press I am using, I set that light to shine in the case where I look into it just before setting a bullet on it. I do this on every case.

If I'm using the single stage and throwing powder into rows of cases in a loading block, I pass them all under a light and look in each one before I set the bullets on them.

To do other is to invite Murphy to go to the range.

Lee 1000 Replies

Your replies were just about what I expected. I have a turret press, currently set up for 5.56NATO and on that I do just what Dave H. suggests. Priming is done away from from the press with an RCBS priming tool like this one. I really like this tool, it's reliable and quick.
I do a coffee can's worth of brass at a time, doing all them one step, then all of the next. Throwing powder and seating bullets done together, of course. This works well and I keep that press set up for that caliber.

Decapping and priming could certainly be done separately and primed cases fed into the Lee 1000 to be sized with no decapping pin in the die. It means handling them 2 extra times, so I'm not sure if that would be faster. I may keep on fiddling with the priming system. Maybe I'll be the guy that comes up with a fix.

Europe craters

Remember how people used to say that at least the Germans would make communism work?  Seems they can't make capitalism work, either:
Third, wholly botched energy reforms, wherein Germany abruptly turned away from nuclear power without putting anything economically sustainable in its place (instead touting that some day, somehow wind and solar will make economic sense) has left the country at a permanent, seemingly long-term economic disadvantage that simply cannot be overcome. German energy prices are fully three times as high industrially as those of their American competitors. As I say to my somewhat nervous German colleagues, "You are all talented, but you are not three times more talented than the Americans".
The punch line?  All the other countries in the Eurozone are worse off than Germany.

Via Al Fin, who has some other interesting thoughts.

Link dump

Can you "hunker down" until the police arrive, or outrun an active shooter?  No.

European Union agrees to cut carbon emissions by 40% in 15 years.  Expect more European companies to build factories here in the USA.

UK police overestimate number of firearms lost or stolen:
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has claimed that more legally owned firearms were lost or stolen over the last few years than appears to be the case, according to an exclusive analysis by The Register.

The discrepancy casts doubt on a new initiative pillorying gun owners for being careless about gun security.
Security is so bad on "keyless entry" automobiles that they are uninsurable in the UK.  Oops.

Lee 1000

If you reload Because you reload, you know about presses. Whether you have ever used a Lee 1000 or not, you probably know what a Lee 1000 looks like. It's red, lightweight, and generally made up of plastic and aluminum, with a bit of steel to hold it together. It is not a press for someone who wants to just pull the lever and make ammo. It's a cheap press designed for a tinkerer. I am that guy.

I can tolerate it. I keep spares of the plastic gears and cams. I have set one Lee 1000 up to do .45ACP and I don't change it. It stays in .45 with adjustments for different bullets or powder changes being the only planned changes to the configuration. Even so, it is not without it's quirks. It was old when I got it and came to me in pieces in a box.

The biggest issue, the ongoing issue, is feeding primers. If I ever get it where it just feeds primers, doesn't tip them over, tip them sideways, fail to feed them, or jam them up under the shellplate, I will be able to double my production rate. I read the tips in the forums, I watch the videos on YouTube, I keep it clean, I keep it lubed. What I mostly do is load at a slow deliberate pace, and as I see the next case go by the plastic tab that releases the next primer, I pause, seeing the primers move in the feeder before I complete the cycle.

Ideas are welcome. Suggesting that I splash the press off a pier and buy a Dillon is an idea. Paying for a Dillon is another idea. Let's pretend I am keeping the Lee for sentimental reasons and would just like it to feed primers. Any of you have a Lee 1000? That you use regularly? Does it just feed primers and give you no problems?

Here's an interesting video. One of the things I liked was when he turned the camera to show one of the mods and you can see the cases of food he has stored in the background.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oh, crap

Now what do I do?

The thought for today: sunshine and kittens

Because everyone loves sunshine:

And kittens:

UPDATE: more kittens here.

9,650 days

I got married that many days ago.  Today our divorce decree gets finalized.  9,650 becomes the final tally.

This has been quite an odd journey, and looks to continue odd for some time.  But as one door closes another opens.  Possibilities emerge where there were none.  The road whispers*, even if it's just on a Honda ...

* Err, once the bones are done healing ...

Kids these days ...

Abstruse Goose delivers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ebola Question

I have a question. If ebola doesn't live more than a few days outside the body, why don't they just seal up the houses and apartment and wait a week? Why do they need to rip everything out to the sheetrock and put it in barrels? Hmmmm.

I would be posting a lot more on this topic, but Aesop over at Raconteur Report has been banging on ebola, the response to ebola, and teh stupid being exhibited by all and sundry. He has weeks worth of posts and I don't think he's missed a stroke. One of his latest is worth perusing, he called it "the Daily Beatdown of Reality." Then work your way back and think about it.

Fish for dinner

Seen on vacation.  The heron was like a statue, then lightening fast.

ISIS and the failure of the Western Left

The number of young westerners (especially young western girls) who join ISIS demonstrates the failure of today's left:
I would argue that, even if young people in Europe feel a void, they still wouldn’t run off to join ISIS if leftist rhetoric were different. If our society was still heavily Christian, the predominant view would be that it would be sinful to join such a group. If it were Buddhist, it would be that joining such a group would produce bad karma. Under communism with religion regarded as the opiate of the people, it is hard to imagine anyone joining ISIS. A leftism purged of the nonsense of cultural relativism, multiculturalism, and Islamophilia would also be strongly against a group like ISIS. Moreover, with its general support for underdogs, the left would strongly propel people toward helping the Kurds and not ISIS. It is because the left has the particular character it does these days that young people think that joining ISIS is a reasonable thing to do.
Fortunately this will bite Europe sooner and harder than it will bite us.  Thanks, Euros!

Travel broadens your horizons

Err, or not.

As someone who's relatively very well traveled, all I can say is screw the rest of the world.

Philosopher Kings

House of Lords Drone committee chairwoman is shocked to discover that Google Maps shows a picture of her rose garden.

We can expect the highest quality, well thought out public policy with these fine people in charge ...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Picture of the year

White gun nut unrepentant after shooting down minority youth.  #StopTheHate:

Damn Canadian racists ...

Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre

The Dance of Death
Halloween is later this week, which means we need classical music with a spooky edge.  Fortunately, that's not hard to come by - you just have to get a little more adventurous with composer selection.  And quite frankly, it's hard to gt more adventurous than Camille Saint-Saëns, the late romantic French composer.  He was a child prodigy, possessed perfect pitch, and more importantly had the mind of a polymath: in addition to his many musical compositions he published scientific papers on the acoustics of ancient Roman amphitheaters, wrote the first score for a motion picture, and sailed through the newly completed Panama Canal to conduct an orchestra in San Francisco.

This piece is based on a poem by Henri Cazalis, from a very old French superstition.  Each year Death appears at midnight on Halloween and summons the dead to rise and dance while he plays his fiddle.  The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, repeated twelve times: the clock striking midnight.  The E Flat and A violin chords that follow are sometimes called the "Devil's chords".  The piece is spooky and vigorous all the way through until the end, when the music quietens to a pianissimo as the dead return to their tombs as dawn breaks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Allison Kraus and Union Station - Ghost In This House

This is the weekend before Halloween, and so music calls for ghostly and supernatural.  Fortunately this is pretty easy since country music has a ton of great songs on the subject.  This is an old Shenandoah song redone in the usual amazing way by Allison Kraus and Union Station.

Ghost In This House (Songwriter: Hugh Prestwood)
I don't pick up the mail
I don't pick up the phone
I don't answer the door
I'd just as soon be alone
I don't keep this place up
I just keep the lights down
I don't live in these rooms
I just rattle around

I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse, I haunt these halls
I'm just a whisper of smoke
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

I don't mind if it rains
I don't care if it's clear
I don't mind staying in
There's another ghost here
She sits down in your chair
And she shines with your light
And she lays down her head
On your pillow at night

I'm just a ghost in the house
I'm just a shell of the man I was
A living proof of the damage heartbreak does
I'm just a whisper of smoke
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse, I haunt these halls
I'm just a whisper of smoke
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

Friday, October 24, 2014


Vacation was pretty fun, looking at the pictures.

Who'd a thunk it?

Thank you, Grammar Nazi


Sears is Closing Another 100 Stores

This is just the latest in a series of store closings. It looks like inevitability and I feel for anyone losing a position in these closings, but it is going to happen. All they are doing is liquidating and shutting the company down.

Sears was a huge presence in America for many decades. The company was at one time the largest single retail employer in the country. Sears is where we shopped when I was a boy, and when I got married, getting a Sears card seemed like part of growing up. We bought our kids their clothes there, bought appliances, went there for family pictures. I can still remember getting the Christmas wish book every year. But that Sears is already gone and has been for years.

I would still be a customer if they hadn't thrown me away. I'll only tell my final story. I bought a kitchen faucet. It was Sears branded and had a warranty. A few months after getting it the faucet started leaking. Not dripping, but more like a small steady stream. I turned off the water and took it out and went to the store. The same faucets were on the shelf, the warranty plainly printed on the packaging. I was told that, in spite of the words my lying eyes could read, I would have to accept an o-ring kit and rebuild the faucet.

So back to the parts department. Then back to the sales floor to get the SKU off the package since they couldn't be bothered to look it up. Back to the parts department. Oops, that parts kit is out of stock, we'll order you one. This, while my kitchen sink is apart, and since it was an old house without cut-offs, the water is shut off at the meter.

Back to the sales floor to find a manager. We talked of costs, storeroom overhead costs related to the stocking of spare parts, whether or not my expectations were reasonable, store policy, yadda yadda. Eventually I got past him and found myself talking to the store manager, about a fifty dollar faucet, about two hours after I walked into the door. He was resistant, but eventually honored the warranty I showed him on the box, giving me a new faucet, and parting from me with these words, "Here's a new one, don't bring it back."

I agreed to these terms. When the new one started leaking less than a year later, I went to Lowe's.            

The Sopwith Camel, the Hawker Hurricane, and the Harrier jump jet

What are airplanes from the company founded by Sir Thomas Sopwith.  If you are a military aviation nerd, you will love this in-depth article at The Register.

Adobe ebook reader spies on you

Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters detailing a user's reading habits.

Previously, this information was not encrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept it.

The software collects detailed records about the books the user has been reading, such as which pages were read and when, and sends this intelligence back to the server. There is no way to opt out of this short of deleting the application.

Now that information is transmitted using HTTPS, apparently.
There's a whole lot of not getting it wrapped up in that last bit.  Those of you who use Adobe's ebook reader might want to choose an alternative.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Years Ago

241 Americans on a U.N. peacekeeping mission, mostly Marines, died on October 23rd, 1983. It was the most Marines killed in one day since Iwo Jima.

Four month later, the U.S. started withdrawing from Lebanon.

It was one of the worst policy decisions in our nation's history. A strong response then would have precluded much of what followed over the ensuing decades. We knew little then and we have learned little since.

Isis is currently calling on all believers to attack with whatever means they have. Here's their action plan:
"Hinder those who want to harm your brothers," the ISIS spokesman said. "The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies."
Civilians should not be exempt from brutality, he said. "Do not ask for anyone's advice and do not seek anyone's verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war."
"Oh Americans, and oh Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe," the ISIS spokesman added. "It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.
He gave specifics on how to attack Westerners: "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes."
War comes. It is always so. It came to Canada yesterday. And to Queens today. 

Lee-Enfield rifle finally being phased out by Canadian Military?

Maybe, maybe not.
The Canadian Rangers — a component of the armed forces reserves — conduct sovereignty patrols and assist search and rescue missions in the Far North and in remote coastal regions across the country.
And the red-shirted Rangers — made up largely of aboriginal volunteers — have been using Lee-Enfield rifles little changed from the First World War version since the group was first established in 1947.

“The Rangers were not issued this weapon to fight an enemy, they were given the rifle because they are operating in one of the harshest environments in the world,” says Capt. Mark Rittwage, officer commander of the 3rd Canadian Patrol Group, Northern Ontario.

“And . . . the predators that are there, polar bears, wolves, even bull moose during rutting season, can cause a danger to our Rangers,” Rittwage says.
It seems that the Canadian military is putting out a bid for replacement rifles to equip the Rangers, but it also did this in 2011 and withdrew the tender.  Certainly I'd prefer to have my Enfield than many (most?) semi-autos in -20°C weather.  Err, if I were to venture out in -20°C weather ...

It only hurts when I laugh

Shamelessly stolen from Chris Byrne's facebook page ...

Garand Cycle of Operation

Here's the mystery opened up and explained.