Monday, October 23, 2017

Range Trip: Monday Edition

Since we were out of town this weekend enjoying other interests, I missed not one, but two of the monthly IDPA matches I attend regularly. Not willing to let the lack of trigger time stand, I headed out to the indoor range at lunch today with two handguns at opposite ends of the size spectrum.

The SIG P320 Compact that I've been carrying of late has been temporarily replaced by the S&W Shield while the SIG is out for the trigger upgrade process. I decided to start out my practice session with quick refresher on the Shield using the seven round "no room for the pinky finger" magazine. I put 30 rounds down range at 10 yards, before switching to some SHO and WHO shots at 7 yards.

Being quite pleased with those results, I wiped the gun down and put it back on my belt — might as well stop while I'm ahead!

Switching to the SIG P320 Full Size, the next 50 rounds was expended in rapid 2, 3, and 4 shot strings at an IDPA -0 target set at 10 yards. Holding the larger gun right after the small Shield made the SIG seem oddly large.

Finally I sent the target carrier out to the 20 yard line to fire off my last box of ammo. The first few shots hit low, before I adjusted my grip pressure and paid a little more attention to the sight positioning as it was overlaid on the fuzzy brown blob down range. In the end, 40 of the 50 shots were within the -0 circle, with none reaching out to that dreaded -3 zone. Still, I will definitely be practicing distance shots a lot more in the future.

It was not a bad way to pass a bit of time on a Monday. And who knows, it's only Monday so maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a return visit to the range later in the week.

The Shield is surprisingly satisfying to shoot.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Awkward Introductions

Sitting down at our table at a recent beer dinner, we exchanged introductions with the other couple at the table...

Man: "We're not drinkers. We're not smokers."

Me: "Well, we're not smokers."

A laugh and smiles all around. It turns out couple were regulars of the establishment and were invited by the owner. We ended up having a great time with lots of interesting conversation.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Michigan Beer Chair

A perfect weekend project...

Just to be clear, the perfect weekend "project" would be sitting in the chair all weekend, not building the thing.

Here's to a relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Range Time Break

There are telltale signs that let me know the summer is over and the dreaded cold weather isn't that far off. One such clue is when the backpack blower gets strapped to my back and I start blowing leaves, which occurred this weekend. Another is when I need to put on a jacket when shooting at the indoor range, which also happened this week. (I didn't actually need the jacket outside.)

I missed hitting the range last week, but recouped this week for a quick run. Arriving at the range there was just one other group shooting and I was assigned a lane far from them. This trip I was shooting the full size SIG P320, using the B-34 "fun" targets. I started out with some slow fire at seven yards. Remembering my desire for more strong and week hand shooting, I aimed for the "small man" and score record boxes respectively. In both 10 round runs, I kept all shots to each within the outlines. Given my struggles with WHO and SHO shooting at recent matches, that did make me smile.

Moving the target out to 10, 15 and then 20 yards I went through the next 100 rounds. Mostly shooting slow, I was generally pleased. The sharp black target silhouette probably contributing to my ability to sight in on decent groups at distance. I did observe a tendency to let the front sight drop at the end of a run of a few magazines at a fairly rapid pace. That's something to keep in mind at the end of a long match as well I think.

All good things must come to an end, and much too soon I looked down at only empty ammo trays.

A bittersweet picture.

It was a most fun session, with satisfying results. I've been shooting the Compact P320 of late, so it felt good to use the full size gun for a change.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Enjoying the Outdoors at Strangeways Brewing

After our beer exploration at Highmark Brewery, we headed over to Strangeways Brewing to continue our Saturday flavor journey. Since the Strangeways location was (sort of) on our way home it seemed silly not to. As with our previous visit, this was also a "release day" at the brewery so there was another new beer to try.

The weather was quite pleasant this afternoon so we took seats at one of the outdoor tables. Strangeways' patio is dog-friendly and we enjoyed watching the antics of visitors' furry companions. There were also quite a few families taking advantage of the weather and beer. Having made many brewery visits with our son in tow as he was growing up, we always appreciate breweries that accommodate kids, and the parents who bring them.

This day's release was the Gourd of Thunder Imperial Pumpkin Porter. I'm not a huge fan of the ubiquitous "pumpkin beer" so many breweries release this time of year. However, when I do enjoy them, it's typically one of the "imperial" versions, so I was most anxious to try this one.

Gourd of Thunder pours a deep red-brown color, with a moderate off-white head. Aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove overlay the rich malt hitting the nose. Sipping the beer, the spices hit the palate first, but are actually muted and well-balanced. A malt base and hint of pumpkin flesh carry through in the finish. There's a touch of sweet caramel and vanilla also to be found. At 9.2% ABV, this is a pleasing sipper. I enjoyed the seasonal release very much, and regret not thinking to get a bottle, or two, to bring home. A return trip might be in order.

For her selection, Colleen opted for Gingerbread Boodwooger India Brown Ale. I got a little tongue-tied trying to order this one; the name is a variation of the brewery's popular Woodbooger Belgian Brown Ale. The spicy gingerbread spice flavoring of the beer was the prevalent, capped with a mild hop bitterness, along with hints of pepper and vanilla.

Since this was our second food truck-less stop of the day, we grabbed a bag of tortilla chips and a container of smoky salsa from the cooler. The corn chips and the hot and smoky dip went quite well with both of the beers. It made for a flavorful, if decadent, meal.

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday on Blogger

Looks like the elves at Google managed to fubar the works again. About half the images on the Musings are missing this morning. I'm seeing this on other Blogger-based sites as well, and the other users are reporting the issue on the Blogger support forums. Of course, there's no acknowledgement of the issue by Google/Blogger.

Hopefully they will want to fix this quickly and we'll return to regular posting. Interestingly, the mobile version of the site appears to be working still.

It's true, you get what you pay for.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Highmark Brewery

Highmark Brewery opened early this year, just across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, in Stafford County. Somehow I hadn't even heard about the brewery until this summer, and we finally made a visit this weekend. The brewery is located at the end of an unassuming commercial building, and I've actually driven by it on several occasions without noticing.

Entering the spacious tasting room, the large chalkboard listing the beer menu jumps out. With seventeen selections listed, I turned to Colleen and noted, "We have a few decisions to make." Upon closer examination, some of the beers were marked as being out. Highmark has a large selection of fruit enhanced beers; peach, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, grapefruit, pineapple all were seen on the board. After a few minutes we had a selection of eight beers to try in our flight.

The beers we decided upon were Ginger Farm Saison, Blue Stone Kölsch, Yellow Belly Pale Ale, Déjà Vu White Peach Pale Ale, Highmark IPA, Sticky Fingers ESB with Strawberry, Amber IPA, and Raspberry Smoke Stout.

We spent some time working through the beers. We both especially enjoyed the Ginger Farm Saison and the Amber IPA. The Saison had a refreshing, moderately yeasty flavor with a hint of spice. Highmark's take on Red Ale featured a pleasing toasted malt base with a touch of bitter hops. This was my favorite of the bunch. 

The Blue Stone Kölsch was the only disappointment of the beers. We felt it was lacking in the expected crispness, and clarity. The flavor was to me "soft," and seemed stale. Leaving that one behind we enjoyed all the others. Overall, the beers were decent, though on the safe side. Granted many of the beers that might be expected to have bolder flavors, the IPA's and Stouts, were unavailable during our visit.

Highmark's website features a long list of food trucks that visit the brewery regularly, unfortunately there were none on site during our Saturday afternoon visit. As we sipped our beers, we detected the aroma of something cooking coming from the back. Soon, bags of fresh popcorn were delivered to the bar, and we promptly grabbed a couple (well, three eventually.) The popcorn was popped in coconut oil giving it a wonderful flavor. That was a nice treat to go along with the beer.

There were other local beers we wanted to try during our afternoon outing, so after finishing our flight, we headed out to another brewery and more beer.

To be continued...

Friday, October 13, 2017

It's All About Responsibility

I've written on the subject of beer and firearms together previously, and it's not an uncommon topic of discussion among friends and acquaintances. In my opinion, nothing beats a good beer after a fun day at the range. Quite often I have to make a decision between the two activities. The enjoyment of firearms, like the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, requires a high level of responsibility and respect on the part of the participants.

I've often stated that if a person can't be trusted to walk in public with a gun, that person probably shouldn't be out on the streets unsupervised. If someone fails a background check because they were deemed too dangerous to own a gun, why should we allow them to walk around free to find other ways to do harm?

Recently I saw an online comment posted in response to article touting the typical anti-gun screed which raised the same discussion. (I won't dignify that article with a link.) The commenter pontificated thusly:
But, all that said? I truly am on board with the rest of it. I recently decided against buying a handgun for one of her reasons. I drink fairly often. Should I have a gun on me, or even in the house, when I've had three beers? No. So I have finally decided that a gun is simply not for me.

That statement elicited a migraine salute from me. Sadly this is not uncommon "logic" as exhibited by people who have little experience with firearms. What I read in the statement is an admission, that after three beers, this person feels they may become a danger to himself or others. Seriously, if you can't be trusted to have a locked up gun in your house after three beers, perhaps you really ought to skip those three beers.

In other words, if you know that doing something could cause you to act irresponsibly, don't do that thing.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dangerous Anti-Gun Legislation Introduced

By "republicans." Though that's not really surprising.

Read the bill here:

Unfortunately these weasels are more interested in doing something than they are in doing something. This cannot be allowed to stand.

BTW, the NRA opposes the proposed legislation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017