From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm Back

Had a great time in Oklahoma chasing Wild pigs. I feel rather refreshed and have a few ideas for posting.

I'll have a post about the trip and a few pics up in a few days. We didn't take any digital pics of the hunt so I need to get the film back from the developer before I can post any.

Thank you all for hanging in there with me.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Gone Hunting

I am going out of town this all week and will be unable to post.

While I am gone please take the time time to check out some or all of the Blogs I have linked. It is an assembled group of Blogs written by informative people on a variety of subjects.

I will be back at the keyboard as soon as possible.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Dog & Pony Show went well

Official public commentary for LB454, the Nebraska concealed carry measure, was heard yesterday, the very last day of scheduled committee hearings.

Everyone who cares knows all about LB454 by now, so mercifully I won't repeat it all here again. Senator Jeanne Combs (Sponsor) opened the hearing by stating her case before the committee of which she is also a member. Senator Combs is passionate about concealed carry and although she, like all Nebraskans, does not have the option of a CCW permit, has taken the time to recieve formal training in the safe responsible handling of a firearm. In fact Senator Combs is scheduled to attend an upcoming session at a Nationally known training facility located in one of the Western states.

Ernie has his say
In response to Senator Combs introduction, Senator Chambers had his say and readily admitted defeat at the committee level, noting that five of the eight members on the Judiciary Committee are either a sponsor or co-sponsor of the bill. The esteemed Senator from Omaha did promise a spirited debate and an unbreakable filibuster when the bill comes up for full floor debate though.

Chaired by Senator Bourne, the committee first heard heard testimony proponents of the bill. There were very 17 articulate people, including yours truely that spoke in favor of the LB454.

During the proponents testimony about the only comments proffered by Senator Chambers were to the effect of; "Well why are you here with the same old montra that this committee hears every year? There are at least five votes on this committee of eight for this bill, who's mind are you trying to change, certainly not mine, because that is not going to happen."

Note to Ernie: The answer Senator is that it is our civic duty to speak out on the issues whether it will change anyones mind or not. Unlike you who are paid to be there, we take unpaid time from work and in some instances travel many miles to present our views to our representives.

The Million Commie Mommies were not there
There were I believe about eight people that spoke in opposition to this bill. The Nebraska Police Chiefs Association their obligatory messenger boy there to state in concise terms that the organization believes that only Police Officers can and should be trusted with publically carrying a sidearm. The Chief waxed eloquant about the dangers of firearms in the home and other situations that really had no bearing on concealed carry. To the credit of the committee members that support this bill, they did a very good job of fisquing him with poinient questions. One other speeker in opposition had so much to say that he speed read his prepared remarks and still couldn't say all he wanted to in his alloted three minutes. There were no committee questions for him, I'm sure, because when he got done no one could remember a thing he said. His entire presentation sounded like one of those super fast legal disclaimers you hear at the end of a television commercial.

Even those that don't like the bill are in in favor of concealed carry
One of the most humorous thing about that is at least four of those, in opposition, CLEARY stated they support concealed carry but they did not support THIS BILL either because they felt it was a bad bill or Nebraska does not need this law because, as is in Vermont concealed carry is and has been legal for a very long time. (Where have you heard that before?)

There were two speakers that spoke from a neutral position on the bill; The first was a representive of a firefighters organization that supported the bill but expressed reservations about the portion of the bill that requires firefighters and EMT's to all be essentially firearms experts when dealing with the medical situation of a permitted person in posession of a firearm. The other netrual speaker represented the Department of Motor Vehicles and relayed to the committee that they are capable and ready to do the duties this law would require of them.

All and all it went well. As Senator Chambers alluded to, there were no minds changed on the committee and it will, unless something very dark disturbing and/or drastic happens, be voted out to the floor of the Unicameral.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Heard it on the radio

The wife and I were out to the lake today doing a bit of fishing and trying out some new arrows when Senator Jeanne Combes was introduced as a guest on one of the local afternoon talk shows. (KLIN 1400 AM)

Sentor Combes is this years sponsor of the bill LB454, that if passed will create the concealed carry law in Nebraska. Senator Conbes is a well informed firearms owner and has done a lot of hard work and I dare say a fair amount of arm twisting to get this bill through this year.

E-mails have been working
The Senator mentioned that her office and those of several other Senators have been deluged with e-mails about LB454. She went on to say that out of the hundreds she has received herself only three have been in opposission to it.
The Senator further stated, without naming names, that there has been two Senators that were against it that will now vote for it because of the e-mails they have received from their constituants.

The votes just might be there folks
Senator Combs mentioned that she has the support of 36 Senators. If this is true and they remain steadfast in their commitment to her, that means there is 3 more votes than neccesary to bring cloture to a promised Senator Chambers filibuster.

The public hearing before the judiciary committee is tomorrow, March 17th. Anyone that can make it, whether you wish to speak of not is encouraged to attend and lend support to the issue. The Hearing will be held in the Capitol building in Lincoln sometime tomorrow, most likely in the afternoon, but get there early just in case.

There are 8 Senators on the committee and it will most likely by a vote of 6-2, unless something really drastic happens, make it out of committee. That is when the real work will begin.

Guns for sale

A friend of mine from the east coast is selling off some of his beloved firearms to make the big leap into real estate. If any of you are looking for something on his list that follows here, he can be contacted through his for sale post over at the Snipers Hide Forum.

I don't know how negotiable he is, but the prices he has are not to bad anyway. So if you need something and want to help him realize his goal of homeownership pop over to the Hide and buy one of his guns.

1. Sig P228 basically new (fired maybe 100 rds) $550

2. HK P7M8 German Police model w/ night sights $700

3. Colt King Cobra .357 mag $450

4. Beretta CX4 Storm carbine 40 s&w (new) $650

5. Bushmaster ar-15 complete lower receiver $300

6. Springfield M1 garand 3006 (new) $1200

7. Arsenal SAM-7 carbine 762x39 (new) $500

8. Scattergun Tech 870 shotgun 12 ga. $800

Selling these guns to free up money to buy a house and they are just sitting around in the cases not being used. Need to go to a good home. I'll be going over to Doc76251's house this weekend to take pictures and will post here. Contact me if interested by either pm or by emailing through this board. Usual selling procedures apply (ffl, etc in your state) Thanks Chad.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Holsters, Holsters and more Holsters

What Holster is the Best?
In perusing the internet and frequently being asked in person; What is the best holster in which to carry a concealed firearm in, I decided to provide my answer to the question here.

The question itsself is reminicent of the age old query as to what is the best caliber to hunt whitetail deer with. The short answer is that there is no one best holster for everyone and this article will certainly not put the subject to rest. I just feel the need to offer my thoughts and experience for fodder in the debate. People that tell a neophyte at concealed carry to get XXXX brand 1234 model holster and that is all you ever need are doing a severe disservice to that person. If there were one "best for all holster" the point would be moot as there would only be one holster on the market and the question would not need to be asked.

It is old news to many of us that there are many different types of holsters that can be worn on various parts of the body. Speaking of body the different shapes and sizes of the human body will dictate what holster is the best or most comfortable for any given person as well.

Inside the Waistband
By far the most popular at this time seems to be the "inside the waistband" (IWB) type that is worn either near or on the hip on the carriers strong side (right side for right handed people, left side for left handed people).

Granted this type of holster generally offers the best form of concealment for a sidearm and several models are made in this style.

Not everyone is comfortable with something between their body and their trousers though and that is just a fact of life.

Outside the Waistband
This brings us too the "outside the waistband holsters" (OWB) that ride on the wearers belt. Yes these holsters require more thought to conceal consistantly, but are by far more comfortable for some people.

The advantage of carrying a sidearm at belt level on the wearers strong side is accessability. In general the wearers hand is never far from the pistol for the purposes of drawing or protecting it. The strong side hip position is probably the most natural of all the types.

Another type of either IWB or OWB holster is the crossdraw. It too is worn on the belt, but instead of being on the users strong side it is worn between the bodies front centerline and offside (weakside) hip. Of the holsters discussed so far the crossdraw is probaly the hardest to keep consistanly concealed, although there is a holster called the Pager Pal that seems to have rectified this dillema.


There are those that feel the crossdraw is not an effective method of carry and that it unneccesarily lends itsself to exposing the sidearm to be easily taken from the wearer. Many people that spend their days either seated in an automobile or desk chair do prefer a cross draw as it can be, depending on firearm size and barrel length, quite comfortable for this sedimentary activity.

Small of the Back
There is also a minority of people that carry a concealed sidearm that prefer "small of the back" (SOB) carry. SOB carry is just that, the sidearm is worn in the curve of the spine. There are a number of holsters that can be worn either IWB or OWB that accomplish this, but it has been my experience that this type of holster is the hardest to consistantly keep concealed especially if the person wearing it is actively bending stooping or kneeling. As a drawback it is also the hardest to draw from when in a seated position; as in a car seat or armed chair.

Shoulder Holsters
Shoulder holsters are either loved or hated by the minions that carry on a daily basis. As with waistband holsters there are generally two types of shoulder rigs. One secures the sidearm in a verticle postion down the wearers side, and the other holds the pistol horizontally under the wearers weak arm.

Many consider shoulderholsters uncomfortable and in some instances unsafe. Uncomfortable because the harness encompasses the entire upper body and fastens to the belt on one or both sides. Unsafe because the notion is that with the horizontal holster the sidearm is pointed at who ever is standing behind the wearer.

Pocket Carry
A growing trend in the carry of small easily concealable firearms is the "pocket carry". One should never just "stick a gun" in a pants pocket as there is too much chance for an unwanted discharge. Pocket holsters are designed to keep the sidearm in an upright position and cover the trigger guard. It should be noted that when using this method only the firearm and the holster be carried in the chosen pocket, find another place to carry keys, coins etc..

Ankle Holsters
Ankle holsters are simply what the name implies; a holster worn on the ankle that is covered by the pants leg. Many people that spend a lot of time sitting either in an automobile or at a desk prefer this method as it is easily accessable when sitting.

Fanny Packs
Fanny pack holsters have had a rise in popularity in the past several years and again the name says it all. Many companies that have made traditional holsters for years offer a fannypack holster for those that prefer this method. Any number of people that use a fannypack like this method because they can carry the sidearm, extra ammo, a knife, a flashlight and other items in the same container.

Deep Cover
For some people, because of employment or other reasons require a holster that gives them what is refered to as "deep cover". It is necessary that they wear a sidearm but it must be totally hidden ALL of time and products like Smart Carry or Thunder Wear provide that level of concealment. These holsters generally position the sidearm on the bodies centerline behind the zipper of the wearers trousers.


The major drawback that many find with these systems is the amount of time it takes to access the sidearm if/when it is needed. They do provide the concealment that the people who use them require though.

Off Body Carry
To this point I have refrained from offering an opinion on the methods I have described and have only noted some of the postives and or negatives that have been expressed about each them. The type of holster and where one wears it on their body is a personal choice depending on the body shape, size, activity and level of comfort desired. One last way that some people insist on carrying is called "off body carry". This describes a sidearm that is carried in a purse, or the ever popular day planner and I will present my own very biased opinion on this type of carry.

From my own perspective I disdain this type of carry and would caution against ever considering it. Using this method it is just to easy to leave the purse or planner laying somewhere or have it stolen from your very grasp. Now the "bad guy" has both your valuables and your firearm. When using the purse or day planner type method a person does not have the full and complete control that is neccesary for a responsibly firearm owner to have.

Other than rendering an opinion on "off body carry" I will seldom reccommend a specific style of holster or method of carry. There is just to many variables between human beings, even those of essentially the same size and body type. Firearms owners that are new to concealed carry need to be exposed to as many different types of holsters and ways to carry as possible. In the end it is a personal decision that everyone has to make for their own comfort and security.

NOTE All pictures were shamellesly link from on-line sites with no effort to reccommend one product over another. They were chosen simply to illustrate the method being described and should not be construed as an endorsement of any product.

Monday, March 14, 2005

LB454 update

Heineman Non Committal on CCW
With the Judiciary Committee hearing on LB454 three days away Nebraska Governor spokesman Aaron Sanderford said that Heineman has not taken a position on the bill introduced by Jeanne Combs.

Supposedly Heineman, who was promoted to Governor when Mike Johanns was appointed to the Bush Cabinet as Agriculture Secretary, "supports the concept of legalizing concealed cary".

I'm not sure what that "supports the concept" means in Heinemans mind, but it does conjour up the idea that he would only favor a highly restrictive law that is of no real benefit to the citizens of Nebraska.

Unless something drastic happens between now and the time the committee votes this bill will come out of committee. It needs 5 votes to advance and there are nearly that many on the committee that are either a sponsor or co-sponsor of LB454.

The real fireworks will begin when it hits the floor
There are two things that can be taken to the bank when this bill hits the floor; the first is that there will be an almost uncountable number of amendments introduced ( an example of an amendment in previous years would not have had the law take effect for a thousand years) and the second thing is an Ernie Chambers filibuster.

The committee hearing will be held in the Capitol building this Thursday. The time at this point is generally thought to be in the afternoon as the death penalty law will also be heard the same day.

There will be several people speaking on the bill from all sides of the issue, whether anyone would like to speak or not it would be a good show of support for as many as possible to be there.

Even if you don't want to speak show up and be counted. If there is an overflowing numbers of supporters at the hearing it will be be a subject of discussion in the capitol building and it very well could sway a fence sitter or two when it comes time to vote cloture to a filibuster.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Range report: Part Two

Dr. Guns evaluation
As I related in my last post, I was not very satisfied with the performance of my 3" Model 629, and discovered the source of the problem after I got home and began cleaning the firearm. The grips are not as perfect a fit as they might be and there is just a wee bit of movement between the grips and the gun during recoil. This movement is just enough to effect group size at 25 yards.

Bowling Pins(A second opinion)
I also used the gun in a bowling pin shoot this past Sunday. I shot relatively well with it, but discovered another malady that needed addressing. The action on this Smith is very smooth and the trigger pull light. Several times when attempting double action fire I experienced a light hit on the primer and no kablooey, a situation that possibly cost me a round or two. I even had two light hits in single action mode using Winchester 240gr JHP Magnum loads.

Open side plate exploritory surgery
Monday I essentially tore the gun down looking for excessive wear and or other faults. Not finding anything I turned the hammer spring adjustment screw in tighter. This increased the amount of pondage on the trigger pull but makes for a positive ignition when the hammer falls.

While I had them removed I lined the contact surfaces of the grips with three layers of duct tape. These short strips of tape cut to the width of the wood surface filled in the areas that was allowing the movement. Re-assembling the grips to the frame and tightening the grip screw gave me the fit I was looking for. This is for me a temporary fix that will last indefinately, but I will be glass bedding the grips in the very near future. For the time being I wanted to make sure that was the problem and the tape is a very inexpensive way of finding out.

Physical Therapy
I took the gun back to the range today and shot it both double and single action at 25 yards. It was a pleasureable session with nary a miss-fire. I also began to see the group sizes I was expecting and hoping for. I would also note that to this point I have only fired two boxes of ammunition through this gun.

I was shooting only two shots for group today and all groups measured two inches or less. Not bad for a 44 Magnum with a 3" barrel.

In the gratuitous pic provided the shots are as follows;

1st group - the top hole and the center one of the three touching,

2nd group - the bottom hole and the left one of the three touching.

3rg group - the next to the bottom hole and the right one of the three touching.

Note: I have it sighted to point of aim (for hunting purposes)using a six o'clock hold on the black.

Ammunition was Winchester 240gr JSP Magnum loads

To sum it up the more I shoot it, and it is not that unpleasant to shoot with full magnum loads either, the more I like it. I just need to to wring it out and taylor it to me.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Finally!! The range report

The weather wasn't exactly as I had hoped it would be but we made it to the range Saturday afternoon and got a lot accomplished.

Starting with Juniors Glock 23 it didn't take us long to get his glock 23 "patterned" with both the 155 grain Remingtons and the 135 grain Corbons. At 25 yards the Corbons printed right at the line of sight, while the Remingtons impacted a couple of inches higher.

This is not unusual as heavier and/or slower bullets exist the barrel farther into the recoil cycle than faster/lighter bullets, thus causing the heavier slugs to print higher on paper.

He has also decided to go with the 155 grain Remington load for the hunt. It is a bit slower than the 135 grain Corbon, but the heavier bullet will give better penetration. The Remington load proved twice as accurate than the Corbon as well. The Remington ammunition consistantly fired two inch groups to the Corbon's four inch performance.

Hauling out the Winchester 32spl it took about 6 rounds to put the finishing touches on sighting it in. As I had previously reported this old gun will still hold two inch groups at 100 yards, so it only took a few rounds to get it dialed in at that range. The rest of a half a box of ammo were expended into a dirt clod that was a third the way up the backstop about 10 yards beyond the 100 yard mark.

Sighting in the 629 proved to be a very trying experience. After about 15 rounds I was begining to get very frustrated. Firing three shots at a time it seemed that I could not get that gun to shoot a group smaller than six inches.
I just couldn't get a group small enough to indicate what adjustments I should make on the rear sight.

Now I know it is was not me. Under the wacthful eye of a loving son and a buddy who would both heckle me to no end if they caught me flinching or jerking the trigger I fired the gun several times not knowing if there was a live round under the hammer or not. Nary once did I flinch, a dime would have stayed laid flat on the front sight,held in my hands that gun was set in concrete.

No it was not me, I have fired a box car full of handgun ammunition in my time and except for an occassional off day "I ain't too shabby with a pistol".

Deciding that giving things a rest was the better part of valor, my buddy who as I have noted before is rather shy about having his name and picture on the internet, and who shall, here ever after on this Blog, be referred to by his favorite brand of powder (Hodgdon or Hodg for short), sat down at the bench and unleashed his fire power.

Hodg started out with his blued 3" S&W 29 and was not shooting the groups he is capable of either. It didn't take long before he was able to get his Smith dialed in though and he soon moved on to the Marlin 45-70 that he also brought along.

It didn't take more than a couple of rounds to check the zero on that field artillary piece and a few more rounds were expended by Junior, who had never shot the Marlin in that caliber before.

Taking my place at the bench again I decided to shoot the 629 at 50 yards just to see if I could even keep the rounds on paper at that distance. We were totally shcoked when I shot not one but three 3-4 inch groups right to the point of aim.

Now I was thoroughly confused, I could barely hold a 6" group with that gun at 25 yards and here I was shooting groups half that size at twice the distance with the same gun.

The photo illustrates one of the 3-4 inch groups I shot at 50 yards. The firearm with its three inch barrel is included for those that enjoy gratutitous gun pics and to give perspective to the group size.

Just to note I was using a six o'clock hold on paper and have it sighted in to point of aim for hunting purposes, so the rounds impacted on paper at the elevation I wanted them to.

Not until I got home and was in the process of cleaning the gun did I find the probable cause of the erratic performace. It seems that the grips are not as perfect a fit as they could be, nor was the grip screw as tight as it could be. This allowed for aproximately an 1/8" of movement between the grips and the gun. This small amount of play was enough to cause the problem I was experiencing. I have taken the proper steps to correct that problem and will be shooting the gun again this weekend to verify that, prior to and during a bowling pin match on Sunday.

Also as a side note; I had previously written that I intended to take the gun to Ohio this fall for a Whitetail deer hunt. I have since found out that with its three inch barrel it does not meet the minimum length barrel requirement imposed by the state for handguns. So I guess I will be getting out the scoped 870 16 gauge with the 18 1/2 barrel and using it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Believe it or not

I have tried several times this week to set down and compose a post, and it seems like everytime I do something comes up and I have to postpone it.

We did have a good time at the range Saturday. I got the 629 sighted in at 50 yards and the Winchester at 100 yrds.

I am hoping to make time tomorrow to download pics from the camera and upload them for posting tomorrow. We have a bowling pin shoot this Sunday and the weather is looking extremely good for it so that is going to be the centerpiece for the weekend.

On the CCW front, the bill, LB454 has been assigned to the judiciary committee and is scheduled for public input on the 17th of March. The Committee is also hearing public input on a bill that will change the method of execution in death penalty cases that same day.

LB454 is scheduled for the afternoon session and could be heard any time from 1:00PM to 7:00PM (1300-1900 for you military guys).

There will be several people there speaking for and against it. Even if you do not wish to speak before the committee having a large group of people there that support it may go along way toward passage of this bill.

If you are in favor of it and can be there, please attend even if you do not plan on speaking.

Thanks all for hanging in there with me.