Camera Girl, Guns and Glory

So, today Camera Girl and I attended a gun show.  Well, no.  The guy there told me it wasn’t a gun show.  And it was described as a Shooting, Outdoor, and Military Expo.  And he was right there was other stuff for sure.  They had World War II vintage trucks and jeeps and lots of veterans were there like the guys from the Geronimo Foundation who had details of the reenactments they do of D-Day and other paratrooper deployments.

There was a lot of interesting things besides guns.  For instance, what the heck is this?  I’m sure it made a lot of noise and blew up a lot of stuff but what is it called?


But there were a lot of guns, so to me it was a gun show.

There were all kinds of antique guns and there were a lot of rifles from the World Wars.  But there were also countless modern weapons that ran the gamut from hunting rifles to self-defense to just enthusiast favorites.  I think most of the machine guns were from World War II but being completely uninformed I couldn’t really say for sure.

But I got a whole load of shots mostly with my Voigtländer 10mm f/5.6 manual focus lens.  In tight spaces such a wide-angle lens helps out.  Of course, the manual focus aspect is not so helpful but it was still manageable.

I’ll be processing all the files and then I’ll add them to the Photo of the Day rotation to give everyone a break from my close-up documentation of my corner of Dunwich.

And I had some very interesting conversations with the denizens.  One fellow was Vietnam era Army and he was telling about his time on the logistical side of that war.  He said that if someone made a requisition for any kind of supply it had to be provided.  One day someone came in and ordered three helicopters.  And they had to provide them!

Well, it was a very interesting time and I enjoyed it.  But I’m still as ignorant of gun knowledge as I was before I entered the hangar (it was at an airport).  I asked Camera Girl if she wanted to try the helicopter ride that was available.  She gave me a very squinky look and I let it go.

I’ve been meaning to get a gun for the house for a long time.  I’ve only delayed this long because Camera Girl has Sicilian blood on her mother’s side and providing her with a firearm always seemed like stretching my luck.  But now that we saw so many exciting choices, who knows.  Some of the young guys at the show were playing around with guns that had the light or laser aiming assist.  Suddenly I had the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger showing up at the compound and I thought maybe I’m better off building a panic room instead.  Well, maybe I should do both.  After all, in the upcoming cannibal interregnum you can’t have too many precautions.

Guest Contributor – TomD – 03MAY2024 – Guns

Tom | Flickr


Gun shows aren’t the best place for gun photography. I say this knowing your environment is totally alien to mine but do you have gun clubs there, competitions? The competitors usually love talking about their weapons and showing them off.

Here’s one of my competition rifles, the others are bolt actions. I’ve used this one for F Class matches. Shot from the prone (laying down) position at 600 yards. The target is the size of a paint can lid and, to be in the running, you have to hit it every time, 60 times in a row. No matter what the wind is doing.

Most rifles like this are chambered in .223 or 5.56 Nato (essentially the same thing) but this one is 6.5mm Grendel. It has quite a bit more “punch” than a 5.56, especially at range.


Pistols too.

S&W version of the 1911

SW 1911 3.jpg
SW 1911 3.jpg

This one is for home defense.

I live in farm country with no visible neighbors but you can hear them shooting every Sat and Sun afternoon. With the nearest neighbor being a good piece of a mile away and 911 a good 15-20 minutes if you’re lucky, I do admit to a certain degree of comfort of having something like this handy but reality is that I don’t need it.

Everyone here is armed. A burglar would have to be suicidal to try breaking into homes around here and since, burglars don’t tend to suicidal, they don’t.

About 12 years ago, some druggie in Pensacola killed a couple of his “co-workers” and dumped the bodies a couple of miles from my house. The only crime here originates from family members of people known to the victim. And it is exceedingly rare.

The home invasion robbery, the kind that gives people nightmares, does not exist here.

The Benelli Nova shotgun below is modified to contain 7 rounds up to 3-1/2 magnums. I keep it loaded with 3” Buck. I hope I don’t have to shoot it, the recoil is brutal, even to someone not particularity recoil sensitive.

Benelli Nova.jpg
Benelli Nova.jpg

Emerging From the Cocoon

Just finished up a large and annoying project at work.  So, I’m celebrating a day of freedom with a big mug of coffee that Camera Girl made for me.  To paraphrase a line from a movie, “What did people do before they had coffee?”  Someone once told me that the American Century was fueled on coffee and cigarettes.  I could believe him.  Could the decline in American effectiveness in so many arenas be attributed to the decline in smoking?  It’s an interesting idea.

I’m looking out the window at the grass growing and the first butterflies of the year.  Unfortunately, I’m also seeing the first carpenter bees of the season.  For anyone lucky enough to not know what these are, they look like exceptionally large, aggressive bumble bees that burrow into wood (such as the outside of my house) and make a nest in which they lay their eggs.  Camera Girl was picking some dandelions that were in one of her raised gardens when a couple of these destructive bugs started to buzz around her.  I warned her away from the garden and promised to find out where they were burrowing and use lethal force to settle their hash.

May will be a very busy month both at home and work.  And that’s fine.  With the longer days and hopefully the warmer temperatures there will be more time to fix stuff and set things up around the grounds.  Today I was reminded of another piece of carpentry that has intruded on Camera Girl’s sense of how things should be.  And with the price of lumber and hardware reaching astronomical heights, what a wonderful time it is to be a homeowner.

The first hummingbird sightings have occurred and Camera Girl has put up her feeders.  I’ll try this year to do a better job with the 200-600mm lens to get some really good shots of them.  Yesterday I went out to get a few shots of the big elm tree that grows around here.  The leaves were bursting out of their buds and the tree has a very distinctive appearance that I wanted to capture.

Another drama playing out this spring is the epic battle between Camera Girl’s pet crow Moe and his arch-enemy Poe (a newly arrived raven).  She leaves scraps out for Moe in the morning but lately Poe shows up and snatches them.  Just now Camera Girl called me over to the living room window to witness Moe dive bombing Poe and forcing him away from the snack area.  Secretly I’m a fan of Poe.  I’ve always wanted a raven in the neighborhood and this seems like my big chance.  Maybe it’s my fate to become the man who made peace between Moe and Poe.  I mean can’t they all just get along sharing the chicken fat?  Nobel Peace Prize?  We’ll see.


I think it’s time for a photo expedition.  I’ll have to make a survey of what the local environment has to offer.  There are usually some antique car rallies and such things but I was hoping for something a little different.  What I think I’d like to get to is a gun show.  I know very little about guns but I think they could make a very good photo opportunity.  I’ve contacted one of the bigger shows to see if they have any qualms about photography.

Well anyway, we’ve finally put the last vestiges of winter behind us.  I saw a spring peeper stumbling around after I raked up some leaves and he staggered away into the woods looking like Mitch McConnell blinking in the lights of the photojournalists trying to confirm that he is indeed still breathing.

This weekend we’re going to a lecture on the latest word on beekeeping.  It’s been more than a decade since my last hive collapsed.  I’ve watched a few videos on the “natural” beekeeping method.  I stopped trying to keep them when the varroa mites devastated the whole industry back fifteen years or so.  I’ve toyed with the idea of catching a wild swarm on the theory that these bees have come into equilibrium with the various pests and will fare much better than the heavily “medicated” hives that exist on the edge of succumbing to the very insecticides used to beat back the mites.  I’ll ask this local expert what he thinks and who knows, maybe I’ll try my hand at beekeeping again.  Although I’ve been warned that between blueberries, raspberries and bees I’ll have every black bear in a fifty-mile radius lined up to clean me out.  Such is life.

Well in the immortal words of George Costanza, “You know, Spring! Rejuvenation, re-birth, everything’s blooming, all that crap!”

Guest Contributor – War Pig – BLM/Antifa vs Veterans

A friend on the Old Boy network sent me this today:

“I was once willing to give my life for what this country stood for. Today, I’d give my life to protect my family from what this country has become.”

Right on, brother.

The left loves chaos. They thrive on it like ants on honey. Chaos and unlawfulness and lack of common sense is a part of their grand design. Then they put up a strong man (NOT Biden) and we have Germany, 1933, all over again. Fascism. As much as the left claims Trump is a fascist, they are the true fascists. They sic their brown-shirt militias (BLM, Antifa) on any area that does not kowtow to their plan, except for areas such as Texas who can hold them at bay.

They have said repeatedly they are coming for our guns, and they mean it. An armed citizenry is the best protection from them and they know it. Having been around the world a few times, I have seen what historically happens to a disarmed populace. It ain’t pretty. Our founders were wise beyond measure in enacting the 2nd Amendment. An armed citizenry not only guarantees failure of an invasion from without, but prevents a takeover from within. Yamamoto and the Soviet generals alike disregarded trying to invade and occupy the USA as we had “a gun behind every blade of grass”. 100 million armed Americans as guerilla fighters makes every land force look weak by comparison. 24 million of those Americans are veterans, fully schooled in guerilla tactics and IEDs. Over 350 million guns just in legal hands that are known. Depending on whom you ask, Americans have between 4 TRILLION and 14 TRILLION rounds of ammo for those guns.

Nobody wants to try that force on for size. The US military decimated both the Viet Cong and the NVA Army. We only lost because of gutless politicians who started the war, then chickened out. Militarily, Vietnam was a great victory for us. Politically, we were undone by cowardly and bought politicians and a US media who even then was coopted by the Marxists.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Domestic Munitions and Explosives in the Old Days

Warning Statement – The current exercise of control over explosives manufacture precludes today’s Americans from practicing the kind of backyard munitions and explosives production described below.  The FBI will lock you up if you attempt the stuff that used to be done by backyard Edisons all over the formerly Land of the Free.  photog


Me and my brother had our own space. Right next to dad’s shed where his machine tools lived, we had our own shed. In there we made our own gunpowder, other explosives (it was the 60s) fireworks, rocket motors, and made the stocks for our handmade, muzzle loading, cap-and-ball rifles and shotguns. We used dad’s tools to cut down, bore, and rifle the barrels and make the locks. Everything else was made in our shop. The powder, the balls, then the mini balls. All we had to buy commercial was the caps themselves. We found out that fulminate of mercury was ticklish and fussy so we bought our caps. We took a lot of deer and other game with the rifles and the shotguns we made, too. Today, we’d likely be in federal prison for making those things as juveniles. We did our chemistry experiments in there, too. To keep thieves out we rigged up an explosive and flash device. Open the door without reaching in to find the disarming wire and you got the sound of a 12 gauge shotgun shell with a large flash from flash powder. Sort of like police flahs0-bangs. About once a summer someone would try to sneak in an set it off. They ran like red-arsed baboons with lions after them. Since practically everyone knew we had gunpowder in there they may have thought they had set some off and worse was to come.

We loved “playing” with thermite. We used it to weld old railroad rail pieces and steel bar stock together to make things. We found that if you added small amounts (powdered/filings) of magnesium or aluminum to the mix you could do even more. When a piece broke on papaw’s farm implements, me and my brother would weld it back together with thermite.

People complain about the internet teaching people to make bad things. When I was sixteen, papaw (my grandfather) had some stumps that a pipeline company had left on his farm when they put the pipeline through. They needed to come out. As they were quite large, we could not shift them with the regular tractors (middle 1960s) and renting, having delivered and picked up heavy equipment was cost prohibitive. I blew a few stumps with dynamite, but they wouldn’t sell papaw any more when the rumor got out, I was doing the blasting. So, I went to the county Carnegie library and did a little research. I had not yet taken high school chemistry, you understand. Our black powder might have done it but it would take me and my brother a long time to make that much. We needed an explosive that was easy to make and cheap, and would raise no suspicions.

I settled on fuel/fertilizer. There were no charts of equivalent explosive power between fuel/fertilizer and TNT so I guessed. We used the tractor’s auger to bore under the edge of a big stump, put in 3 sacks of fertilizer and 5 gallons of diesel and let it soak for a while. I had inserted one of the blasting caps we had left over and we backed off a couple hundred yards and used the tractor battery to light it off. We had tamped the borehole with the dirt we’d dug out.

The explosion was tremendous. The stump shot about 100 feet into the air and seemed to dissolve into toothpicks-sized shreds.

Papaw said; “I think we used a bit too much.” I replied; “Oh, ya think?!”

The crater it left was impressive, but papaw said he’d wanted a small pond about there, anyway, for the hogs to wallow.

Eventually I got to where I could lift a stump out of the ground and set it five feet away with no damage to the stump or the ground. All from readily available books in a public library in the middle 60s. Eventually we had to use fuses as we ran out of blasting caps. A neighbor asked to borrow me to get rid of a few stumps of their own. It went well until one day when I was not there, the sheriff came and said he’d hate to make a fuss about a teenager without a license doing blasting. That ended my teenage career of explosive demolitions. I still did minor blasting at papaw’s farm but not enough to raise concerns.

Today, me, my parents and my grandparents would all be wearing orange prison jumpers. The 50s and 60s and early 70s were a lot more fun than today.

The Disturbed Deputy Has a Post on Performing the Double Tap

In these troubled times it’s probably not a bad idea to understand the basics of self defense with a hand gun.  And being a law enforcement officer I guess the Deputy is performing a public service for his readers.

I’m always interested in practical information and I guess there’s nothing more practical than knowing how to survive actual problems.  And after what’s been going on across the country during the BLM/Antifa riots I would say knowing how to use a gun to save your own life sounds practical.

Guest Contributor – TomD – Weapons and Self-Defense

I don’t know to what extent it would be applicable but I have a lifelong intimate exposure to firearms starting, due to my Southern hunting heritage, in my preteens, followed by 4 years in the Marines, followed by 30 years of competitive rifle, shotgun and pistol shooting. I’ve competed extensively at up to 1000 yards and can hit within a paint can lid at that distance.


Larry Correia Has an Interesting Post on Self Defense Training

Larry is an urban fantasy author who isn’t woke.  That by itself is a rarity enough.  And he’s an interesting guy who has an abiding interest in guns.  He has a post about a training he Extreme Close Quarter Fighting with guns and knives.  The company he trained with is called SHIVWORKS and they have various trainings for real world desperate situations.  Here is their site. I have about zero training in any self defense or weapons systems.  But my all around awesomeness will probably make up for that deficit.  But I do find these training programs very interesting.  Thought I’d pass it along for general interest.

Guest Contributor – TomD – Hand Gun Training

Got my first .22 when I was single digits old, was raised hunting, Marine Corps, and now life long competitive shooter with shotguns and rifles, so I know a little. I reload all my ammunition too.

I never start someone off with a full power pistol, trying to learn the basics of shooting while dealing with very loud muzzle blasts and recoil is a bit much. I always try to teach the basics with a .22 pistol before going to full power weapons.

The Browning below is one of my 22’s but it’s just 1 of a zillion perfectly good 22 pistols available. You learn to shoot, the ammo is cheap, not loud, just enough recoil to learn to expect it. If your first shot ever is from the 357 revolver below, you just may be intimidated enough to not really want to repeat the experience.