Monday, June 20, 2011

Ruger LC9 Magazine Disconnect Removal



This video is a tutorial on the procedure for removing the Magazine Disconnect from the Ruger LC9. Disclaimer: I do not recommend that anybody remove the magazine disconnect from your Ruger LC9. This video is for information and entertainment purposes only, in response to questions regarding how I removed the magazine disconnect from my own Ruger LC9. If you perform this procedure on your weapon, you do it at your own risk and discretion. If you damage your firearm, or you (or someone else) gets hurt as a result of removing the magazine disconnect, you have no one to blame except yourself. Please note that by removing the magazine disconnect, you will render the firearm capable of firing a round with the magazine removed from the gun. I repeat, the gun can fire with the magazine removed! Please remember that all guns are always loaded, especially the unloaded ones. Never assume a firearm is unloaded. Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to destroy. Your number 1 safety is between your ears. Your second safety is your finger. Keep it out off the trigger until ready to fire and is safe to do so. Your safety is your responsibility - not mine. Stay safe!

-James

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day To all You Dads Out There

Happy Father's Day.  To all you dads out there, remember just how important you are.

http://www.dadmag.com/hparticles/why_dads_matter.php

Why Dads Matter
The revolution has started. Head's up.

By Warren Farrell, Ph.D.*

On Mother's Day the most phone calls are made. On Father's Day the most collect phone calls are made.
We still think of dads as wallets-or as deadbeats if they fail to be wallets-- but reality is changing faster than the image. In the last twenty years the percentageof single dads has more than doubled, from 10% to 23% of all single-parent households. Almost one in four. Moms moving out of the home has been a headline-creating revolution; dads moving into the home has been the quietest revolution. Without the headlines, we miss the revolution. A case in point…

I am in Toronto during a Canadian tour for my book, Father and Child Reunion. A TV reporter and the cameraman are debating whether to interview me inside or out. I suggest going to a park, finding some dads, and having me comment on the differences in parenting styles. "Great idea", the reporter begins supportively, "but in the middle of a work morning, I doubt we'll find any dads".

I convince her to try. We are both surprised. There are about 25 caretakers at the playground…about equal numbers of fathers, nannies, and mothers. Turns out the reporter had passed the playground… but missed the revolution.

Just as the last third of the twentieth century was about women becoming more equal partners in the workplace, so the first third of the twenty-first century will be about men becoming more equal partners in the family. The evidence is in the next generation. A 2000 Harris Poll found that "young men in their twenties are seven percent more likely than young women to give up pay for more time with their families." A full 70% of men vs. 63% of women. Give up pay? Men? A generational shift without precedent.

Dads are, if you will, in the infancy of their revolution to re-enter the family, this time not only as money raisers, but also as child raisers. Not to out-do mom, but to do with mom. In fact, it is improbable that mothers will make much more progress in the workplace without dads sharing more responsibilities in the homeplace.

What are the contributions dads make to our children's lives? Start with girls' legendary difficulty with math and boys' difficulty with verbal skills. In the area of math and quantitative abilities, the more involved the dad is, the better both daughters and sons do. Ditto for boys' increase in verbal intelligence. And the amount of time a father spends reading to his daughter is a strong predictor of his daughter's future verbal ability. So both sexes improve in both sets of skills when fathers are more involved.

And when the children grow up? Women who grow up successful in their professions tend to have two things in common: fathers who respect and encourage them; and male mentors.

Suppose a mom has to choose between income and dad? I just finished doing expert witness testimony with a couple in which the mom was arguing that her moving the children out-of-state was fine because the children would be going to a better school and have more financial security with her new husband. We know, now, though, that father involvement is more important than either the quality of the school or the amount of money a family has. That is, children from good schools whose dads are not involved in their everyday lives do worse than children in poorer schools whose dads are involved-they do worse academically, socially and psychologically. Similarly, children from wealthier homes without dad do not do as well as children from poorer homes with dads. The specific act of moving a child away from the non-custodial parent accounts for 60% of the damage experienced by a child living without the other parent.

The implications of father involvement for social policy are staggering. We think of poverty as a major cause of vilent crime. Yet when children in homes with more income are compared to the children in homes with less income, there is no difference in the rates of violent crime if both are living with fathers. Poverty is highly correlated with violent crime because poverty is highly correlated with fatherlessness. The more dad is present, the more violent crime is absent. In brief, fathers stop violent crime; money doesn't.

In a study of teenage mothers in inner city Baltimore, one-third of their daughters also became teenage mothers. But, not one daughter or son who had a good relationship with her or his biological father had a baby before the age of nineteen. Connection with dad leads not only to preventing daughters from becoming pregnant prematurely, but also to preventing sons from creating pregnancies prematurely.

Ninety percent of homeless or runaway children are from fatherless homes. Father presence is the most important factor by far in preventing drug abuse (not drug use, but drug abuse). Overall, a close relationship with dad is the most important preventive medicine to avoid the cancer of a troubled childhood.

At what age does dad's influence begin? An Israeli study found that the more frequently a father visited the hospital of an infant who is prematurely born, the more rapidly the infant gained weight and the more quickly the infant was able to leave the hospital. U.S. studies show that by the age of six months, the more children have contact with dad, the higher their levels of mental competence and psycho-motor functioning, and the greater their level of trust and friendliness.

There are, however, many types of dads. Until recently we have known little about stepdads and single dads.
Stepdads make us think. If parenting emerges from a maternal instinct, why is it that a full 85% of stepparents are stepdads? If men are selfish and territorial, why do they give love, time and often money to children who are not "theirs". Stepdads usually deal with children who want their biological dad back, who often try to drive a wedge between them and mom. Yet millions of stepdads tip-toe through the minefields of rejection, advisers to mom with neither pay or authority.

In thirteen years of researching Father and Child Reunion, my biggest surprise was the effectiveness of single dads. Around the world, children brought up by single dads do better on twenty-six different areas of measurement (academic, psychological, social and physical health) than children brought up by single moms. Caveat. This does not mean that men are better fathers than women are mothers-single dads in the year 2000 are similar to female doctors in the 1950s: exceptionally motivated; and single dads have higher incomes, more education, and are older than their single mom counterparts. One reason, though, that children do so much better with single dads is ironic-they are more likely to have contact with their moms and feel better about their moms than vice-versa. Their dads are more likely to make sure that they have, in effect, two parents.

If dads are more effective than we may have thought, a new question arises. Exactly what makes them so effective? Conversely, if they are so effective, why are both the intact family and joint physical custody even more effective than a family with dad alone? As they say, "all that and more…" in Part II.

*Warren Farrell, Ph.D., is a San Diego-based author of Father and Child Reunion (2001), which contains the sources for each of the points in this article. He has also written Why Men Are The Way They Are and Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, a Book of the Month Club selection, as well as The Myth of Male Power. A lecturer at the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego, he has been elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. For more about Dr. Farrell or his books, see http://www.warrenfarrell.com/.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Son's First Shootout

Lindsay and I were itching to get out into the woods in a bad way, so we threw some sandwiches together, tossed some guns into the truck, and stopped to get some drinks on our way out to the hills above Greenwater.

Another objective for the afternoon was to get my dad's rifle sighted in, verify the repairs I made to Lindsay's Henry Golden Boy, and test out the difference it would make to shoot Lindsay's New Heritage Rough Rider SA .22 with the front sight painted a contrasting aluminum color.

To be on the safe side, we brought the "play prison" (as we call it) so the children could be corralled while the guns were out.  After all, safety is of the utmost importance.  As an aside, in the pic, you can see me wearing my new electronic earmuffs.  These were nice because I could hear everything that was going on around me (an important consideration with kids), but the sounds of the rifles were attenuated to reasonable hearing levels when - and only when - firing.

Well, after spending 15-20 minutes getting Dad's old .22 sighted in, I just couldn't pass on the opportunity to get my son behind a .22 rifle.  I've been wanting to take him shooting ever since he was born, but for obvious reasons, I never have.  Well, he's three years old now, and there is no reason he can't be given the opportunity to fire a .22 rifle - if for nothing else, for the sake of being able to say that his daddy took him out to shoot when he was only three years old.  But of course, if he is capable of pulling the trigger, it is time to start planting the fundamental seeds of gun safety in his brain so when he is old enough for his first rifle, he'll be ready to shoot just like his dad.

So, I loaded 10 rounds up in the Ruger 10/22 rotary magazine and got set up.  I had brought a lawn chair (used for sighting in dad's rifle). so I used it to sit in so Michael could stand between my legs and I could control the muzzle of the gun while he did all the hard work of pulling the trigger and making it go boom!  Yeah, hard work indeed!  Well Michael blasted 10 rounds of .22 lr pretty fast, so we switched to a different magazine.

This time, I loaded up the Ruger factory 25rd magazine and let him take a crack at it.  Of course, all Michael was interested in doing was pulling the trigger, laughing at the report of the weapon, and watching the spent brass fly out from the receiver.  What can you say?  He really likes the little things.  Michael can't be troubled with actually aiming a gun - not yet at least.  I wanted him to get a small taste for what a gun actually does.  After all, I've been teaching him the visible parts of guns; now it is time to put my money where my mouth is and let this kid get some lead down range.  He loved every second of it.  And Lindsay liked getting a picture of Michael shooting a gun with a "banana clip" installed.  Oh, the facebook controversy she wanted to wreak with the photo above.  Yeah, not so much controversy; as of this writing there are only two replies that read something like "how cute" and "it looks like he is having fun" with a whopping two likes.  So much for controversy, LOL!  Either way, I knew Michael would like shooting with a "nanner clip" so that's what he did.

Well, not to be finished with shooting so early in the afternoon, Michael decided that he wanted to try the more powerful 17 HMR from Lindsay's Henry Golden Boy.  So, after about 9 shots from me, he came up and begged for a crack at it.  I let him have a shot.  He didn't know what to think at first because he was expecting a shell to eject, but didn't because the Golden Boy is a lever gun.  That's all fine and well.  Lindsay also let him fire a round from it when it was her turn to shoot.

I could see that Michael was getting very interested in the whole subject, so I also let him try out the NH Rough Rider SA .22 revolver that Lindsay bought a few years ago.  After seeing how well he did with it, I believe I know what his first pistol is going to be.  He really enjoyed it.  Even after switching cylinders and shooting .22 magnums, Michael seemed to enjoy the revolver a lot. 

Michael behaved well too.  He stayed behind us while shooting, stayed put when told to, kept his hearing protection on the entire time, and demonstrated the willingness to shoot.  So, I think I'll take him out again a few more times this year to get him used it is some more.  Plus, maybe we can work on some of that aiming that he doesn't quite get yet.  Oh but he will.  Next on the menu are going to be balloons that pop, soda bottles that explode, and soup cans that will fall off the fence post when he connects.  With all of this fun will come a lot of lessons in firearm safety that will be delivered the way my dad taught me - bit by bit and in a fun way that is easy to understand.  Hopefully, by the time he's five years old, he'll be ready for that Henry Youth gun I'm eyeballing right now.

-James

Saturday, June 11, 2011

ThePocketHolster - Testing In Progress

Nearly a month ago, I received ThePocketHolster from TPH for testing and evaluation.  Knowing I'd run it through its paces and find every unfair circumstance I could throw at it, Jason over at ThePocketHolster was confident that if anyone could find a serious flaw in his new second generation holster design, it would be me.  Indeed, I haven't been doing this holster any favors.  I've been wearing tighter fitting relaxed jeans instead of my normal loose fit dungarees.  I've been wearing with and without the anti-print panel in a variety of carry methods, which I'll discuss in a bit.  I've been drawing from it a lot, getting it wet, subjecting it to sweat and humidity, wide temperature variations, and I even left it sitting on the dashboard of my truck in direct sunlight for the better part of an afternoon.  In essence, I've been abusing this holster and showing it no mercy.  I've subjected it to more than most people would do.  I've crawled around under my truck, dragging this holster (in my pocket) between the ground and myself, sitting on it for rear pocket carry, getting chainsaw bar oil, gear oil, motor oil, coolant, and all kinds of dirt and crap on it (as it bleeds through the denim in my jeans and fabric of my coveralls).  ThePocketHolster has held up amazingly.  In fact, the only real victim in all this torture testing has been the Ruger LCP that rides in it, and it developed a bit of surface rust on the laser engraved LCP lettering on the slide.  But that's nothing a little Break Free CLP and a toothbrush can't fix.  What we really want to know is, how has ThePocketHolster faired in all this?

Quite well.

Aside from a couple of wear marks, in the photo above, the holster has done well for itself.  The coloration is still there and it is still rich as ever.  I have noticed that the "ears" have flattened to a degree; the one that contacts my body in the pocket has flattened more than the outward one.  I imagine that with more rear pocket/anti-print panel wear, the other one will flatten a bit too.  But this was to be expected.  Oh yes, Jason from TPH said he anticipated this and that's why he made them as pronounced as they are.  That way, when the do flatten out, they will still have a bit of a flare to push off with your thumb.

ThePocketHolster next to the Ruger LCP. You can see some wear marks in places the LCP controls and grip ride, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Okay, let's talk about what we all want to talk about.  How does it carry?  Does it print?  Well, we'll get to that in a second here, but I need to stress something very important with regards to printing.  When I wear my cheapo Costco special Kirkland jeans, the pockets are a little on the tight side.  There's not much room to get my hand in them and the seat area around to the front pockets wear on my body fairly snug.  They are comfortable jeans, but they don't give ThePocketHolster a snowball's chance in hell when it comes to not printing.  Even my LCP in the pocket alone prints.  So, adding material through a leather holster only serves to make it thicker, thereby printing a bit more.  What we are concerned with is HOW DOES IT PRINT? 

So, how does it print?  It looks like a wallet.  With the anti-print panel in place, it looks like a wallet in my back pocket.  With the panel removed, and the holster situated for front pocket carry, it looks like it's probably a cellphone.  ThePocketHolster breaks up the gun profile well enough that it doesn't resemble much of anything.  And yes, even in my so-called "skinny" jeans, it is hard to tell a gun is there in the first place because I've found the sweet spot in the pocket to make the whole thing disappear.

I was in Costco today wearing my newly bought Union Bay cargo shorts (which I also bought at Costco - Imagine that).  I hated the way the whole thing rode in the cargo pocket on the side.  The pocket is too big, it allows the whole gun and holster to flop around and with the 12 ounces (with bullets) swinging down by my knees, I just wasn't feeling very confident about the whole thing.  So, I moved my lighter and smaller wallet into one of the zippered security pockets on the side and put ThePocketHolster and the LCP in my back pocket with the anti-print panel facing out away from me.  I asked my wife if she could tell where I was carrying and she guessed one of the cargo pockets.  She didn't even think that the LCP and TPH were in my rear pocket.  She said she thought it was my wallet; AND SHE WAS LOOKING FOR THE GUN!!!

The lay person, who is not concerned with firearms, concealed carry, or anything related to the gun culture won't even notice.  Of course, the white t-shirt I was wearing might have been a dead giveaway since it says, "I support the 2nd Amendment" with a big American Flag on the back, but since I wasn't carrying my normal SR9c IWB, the most logical place to look (my hip) would produce nothing but a love handle where a gun butt should be.  Yeah, I did that on purpose because I did not want the distraction of my SR9c to take away from my testing of TPH in the back pocket of these shorts.  The material is also fairly thin, you know for summertime wear.  Again, the pockets on these shorts (the front pockets) are small and tightly cut to the body so that even my spare magazine prints.  So, I decided not to front pocket carry with these and it would be really obvious that "something" was in that pocket, and it was the reasonable location someone with a shred of intelligence would have looked, considering I was clearly not carrying IWB and could not sport an ankle holster with tennis shoes and low cut socks.

I've also carried in the Napoleon security pocket in my lightweight Columbia jacket.  C'mon.  There is no printing there at all.  That was way too easy.  And since the weather is getting warmer in the Pacific Northwest, it's kind of a moot point anyway. 

So, the two main carry options are covered: front pocket and rear pocket carry.  Rear pocket definitely looks like a large wallet, and you pretty much have to use the anti-print panel for that since it not only aids in the deception, but locates the weapon so it doesn't rotate around behind your butt.  Front pocket carry is great for even my tighter fitting jeans, but the anti-print panel (APP) needs to be removed to make it less obvious.  Now, don't get all uppity about having to remove and reinstall the panel for different types carry.  Depending on what gun I'm carrying and how I'm carrying, I have to make small adjustments to different clothing, belt, holsters, etc that take a few extra seconds anyway, and I can remove or install the APP on TPH in less than 30 seconds.  Of course, you do need a flat blade screwdriver, but you do have a small pocket knife on your key chain don't you?  If not, read this.  Just make sure not to lose the Chicago screws.

While testing is nowhere near complete (I haven't abused this holster enough yet), I am pleased to say that this holster is holding up rather well and is taking everything I've thrown at it so far in stride.  So, keep reading because I'm not done with this evaluation.

-James

Batoning Wood With The Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife



I had to go over to my dad's house today and help him saw up the last of the wood left over from this gigantic tree he had chopped down. With limbs and branches the size of small trees, we had our work cut out for us. After finishing up the task at hand, I remembered that my Fallkniven A1 survival knife was in my truck. Funny, the FLIP camera was also there. This gave me an idea.

I had only batoned wood a couple of times before, but never on camera. I figured that going after a piece of unseasoned Douglas Fir might be a good little test for this knife. So, I took a small round and made kindling out of it.

It really wasn't that strenuous at all, and I prefer this method over a hatchet any day. It's akin to conducting open heart surgery with a scalpel vs. a sledgehammer. The knife did a great job of making small pieces that would help get any fire going. The best part is that there was no swinging blade and I didn't break a sweat.

-James

Working Mom

I know what you're thinking.  "What the heck is this entry about?"  I don't normally write about this type of social issue, but my wife gets plenty of grief from her peers about the fact that she chooses to work, and have a career while being a mother.  Some women, who are the champions at being stay at home mothers (otherwise women who don't have jobs while their husband provides all the income) seem to give women like my wife crap for her decision to spend 40 hours of her week working to help augment the income in our house by working a job.  Somehow, they rationalize, it takes away from her ability to be a good mother to her children because she is not spending every waking minute (it seems) coddling and taking care of her kids.

I call BS on that argument!

Now, I'm not going to get philosophical or go into exquisite detail on how I feel; I mostly want my wife to know that I support her and am proud of her for the kind of mother she is.  Lindsay works, yes.  She has a normal 9-5 type of job that puts a decent chunk of money into our bank account each month.  No, she doesn't make as much as me, but she makes enough so that our lives are better through financial security.  Her money doesn't buy happiness, but is sure makes dealing with life a lot easier for us, as we do not struggle (financially speaking) nearly as much as some of our counterparts. 

I also feel it is good for a person, man or woman, mother or father, to get out into the workplace and deal with their peers on a professional level.  I know there is only so much I can take of those play-date groups and such, and there is only so much jibber jabber I can take from my 1 1/2 year old before I start yearning for an adult conversation from someone else - be it professional or just talking about guns or cars.  Having a demanding job or career helps keep your mind sharp, focused, and grounded in the real world.  When I hear these hens at church talk about working moms in a negative light, I feel pity for them because they obviously aren't living in the real world today.  Oh sure, they may have gotten away with it back in the 50's when cars only cost $2,500 and a house went for $24,000, but in this over-inflated economy, a two-income household is oftentimes necessary, unless you want to live in a tiny house on a shoestring budget, waiting for the next WIC check to arrive.

Oh and another thing.  If you are getting support from WIC or some other form of welfare, and you are capable of working, but don't... GET A JOB!!! 

The time my wife spends away from our kids, like the time I spend away from my kids, is well worth whatever "sacrifice" that may come from being away for 8 hours a day.  The fact that we have the financial capacity to get them superior health care without blowing our budget to hell is, by itself, worth every bit of sacrifice. 

And it's not like our kids are being shipped off to some daycare, where they sit in a chair and wait to be fed in an assembly line fashion.  No.  Our kids are with their grandparents, which is beneficial to all involved.  My parents get to see our kids often, the kids are loved by more than just mommy and daddy, and my wife gets the break long enough to fulfill her professional commitments and help keep the gears of this family well lubed. 

Now, I know I'm ripping this off from someone, and for that I apologize, but it is so brilliant.  If Lindsay spends 40 hours of the week working, what is she doing with the other 128 hours?  Oh yeah, being a stay at home mom, duh!  The kids come home just about the time she gets off work, and from there, she removes her career persona and picks up her mom persona.  She still spends more time in a week (4 times as much) being a loving nurturing mother and parent to our children.  Being a mother (heck, being a parent) is not a 9-5 job at all.  It's a 24/7/365 type of deal.  Don't think for a second that Lindsay would hesitate to leave work early to take care of an emergency with our kids. 

I'd pit my wife's attention to detail and mothering (nurturing, care, love, devotion, etc) up against a stay-at-home mother any day.  From our experiences with our son, daughter, all the books on her shelf, the overwhelming online resources she accesses, and the fact that she is willing to go to hell and back for our kids makes her the best of mothers in my opinion, and she leads by example by instilling a sense of responsibility because my kids see a mother that works for a living, and makes money with her time instead of going to play dates, watching The View and stroking herself for being so great because she stays at home listening to toddler babble all day long.

My wife is intelligent, diverse, a pleasure to be around, funny, sarcastic, very cerebral, and she takes upon herself the responsibility of working to provide a means for this family to be financially stable and secure.  The health care benefits that she is able to receive from working in the health care industry take a huge burden off our shoulders because it is very inexpensive for her to insure the entire family. 

Could she be a stay at home mom?  Well, let me rephrase that, since she already is a stay at home mom 75% of the time anyway.  Could she be an unemployed non-contributing member of society?  Sure.  We could do it. I make enough to keep us afloat.  But we'd really have to pare down everything we have since we do live as though we are making more money that those who don't.  Hey, it's just the nature of the beast.  You make more, you spend more.  Yeah, I don't think I'd give up living in a big comfortable house, suffer myself to pay out $500 or more a month in health care insurance, and put myself on a budget so tight that every single dollar has to be thought out and planned.  Nope, that's not for me.  And it would drive my wife crazy.  Whoever said money doesn't buy happiness never had any to begin with.  I'm here to tell ya, there was a time when Lindsay and I made very little money.  In fact, our combine incomes were a little less than I make by myself now.  From those experiences, and not having kids at the time, living in that tiny house, operating on a budget that made a shoestring look appealing, I would never choose to live like that again. 

They say that financial problems are the number 1 cause of divorce in this country.  I'd believe it.  As much strife and drama as having no cash caused in our early years, I'd be amazed if financial problems weren't the number 1 cause.  So why cause strife in the relationship over something so seemingly trivial as money?  Because money isn't trivial.  This is business.  Marriage, among other things, is a business arrangement.  And business is in the business of making money.  Money is the grease that keeps the gears of this relationship turning.  Love is an idea - an emotion.  Love doesn't put food on the table or gas in the car's fuel tank.  Love doesn't send my son to speech therapy (love plants the idea of sending him to therapy - money makes it happen).  I'm sorry if you don't feel this way... sorry for you.  People who allow themselves to become impoverished and suffer as a result, then live in the denial that somehow it is for the greater good are fools, and living that lifestyle is a fool's errand.  You can stand on your moral soapbox all you want and proclaim how apostate and evil we are for sending our kids to their relatives for a time each work day, but in the end, we are building a better life for ourselves and our family.  The money my wife makes with her sacrifice allows us to put ourselves in a place where we can put our kids through college, live in a house large enough to spread out and not be cluttered and confined, allows us to spend more time together on vacations away from the humdrum of life, and enjoy a few creature comforts in between.  Are my kids spoiled?  Probably.  If you can provide them with a better life, then why not?

Kudos to my wife for working.  I wish more people would work.

-James

Friday, June 10, 2011

Henry Golden Boy With Some New Bling!


After posting online that I was completely satisfied with the service I received from Henry Repeating Arms, a member of one of the forums I frequent sent me a new barrel band for Lindsay's Golden Boy.  It had a black band on it before, and it just didn't seem right with it.  So, after I replaced the firing pin, I installed the new bling onto the fore end of the handguard.  It looks a lot more balanced now. 

-James

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Watch For Updates!

Kevin Next to The 550lb GM 14 Bolt Rear Axle

Everyone thinks that I have nothing but guns on the brain, but that just isn't true.  For awhile, I took a hiatus from shooting, and focused on turning my 1990 Dodge Ramcharger into something as bad-azz as it looks.  It's been a couple of years since the Raminatrix has received any attention, so I bought it a present; a new set of axles.

Well, "new" is such a relative term.  These axles are off a 1973 Chevy 3/4 ton truck.  Wait!  Chevy axles?  You got it!  How many Ramchargers have you seen sporting a GM 14 bolt in the rear?  Not many I'd imagine.  This 550 lb hunk of iron came at the right price, and it will be easily modified to suit my needs.  Though my needs are few, This axle comes with two of them already in place: full floating axle shafts and 4.10:1 gears.  Before it goes under my truck, it will receive a disc brake conversion (to shave approx 100 lbs from it).  Eventually, a locker will be installed, but I need to upgrade my wheels and tires to make it work.

So, what of the front?  It's simply a Dana 44 with the same 8-lug bolt pattern on the hubs as the rear.  It also has 4:10:1 gears.  Additionally, the CAD (central axle disconnect) is non-existant on it.  Instead, it utilizes manual locking hubs at each wheel end, which is what I want as well.  Another bonus is that the tie rod and axle have integrated brackets for a steering stabilizer shock (the axle on my Ramcharger also has a steering stabilizer, but I had to install the brackets with u-bolts; kind of ghetto-fabulous).

The new axles will be sending power out to 35" tall tires, which have yet to be determined, and will feature 16" wheels, which are also to be determined.  I think the most expensive part of this upgrade will be the tires and wheels.  The front axle will remain stock, for the most part.  Upgraded axle u-joints and better locking hubs are on the menu for it.

Stay tuned for this, as these axles are cleaned, prepped and installed under the Raminatrix.

Why Raminatrix?  Because, the Ramcharger's fuel economy, like The Matrix, doesn't really exist. 

-James  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It Was An Accident... No, Really!

I've been considering a pair of electronic earmuffs for awhile.  The other day, I was checking out prices and reviews and happened to come across Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs.  The pricing on these is a bit peculiar because I've seen earmuff prices in the $20-$30 range, and above $75, but nothing really in the $50 range.  I decided to do some more digging and found a few rock solid video reviews online from actual users, one of which can be seen on many videos wearing them in the Utah heat, rain, blizzard, and everything else I've seen him in.  He'd been wearing them for over a year now and highly recommended them as a "high value" item.  Of course, high value means so many things to so many people, but for me it means that I get a lot of bang for my buck.  It typically means, for me, that while the item I receive may not be the most fantastic item on the market, it is still impressive enough to purchase on a working man's budget and use for a long time. 

I've already determined that earmuffs in the $20-$30 price range are out of the picture.  I've read too many negative reviews relating to bad noise attenuation, electronic feedback, bad frequency issues, and worst of all, some do not shut off the microphone until after the gunshot is heard by the user.  That's a deal breaker for me.  After all, what's the point of electronic earmuffs if they do not shut off a gunshot blast before it reaches the internal speakers?!

Anyway, I was on Amazon.com and went through the process of purchasing, just so I can see how much it would cost to ship to my house.  When I clicked away, I must've accidentally hit the enter key or clicked on the confirmation.  I had closed the page before it refreshed and said "confirmed."  Of course, the confirmation email came, but for some reason it filtered into my junk mail folder.  I guess these muffs wanted to be bought.  It wasn't until my wife told me - a few days later - that I bought them.  Of course, I went upstairs to check my computer and sure enough, there was a confirmation email in the junk mail folder, LOL! 

So, my new earmuffs are on their way.  Like it or not, here they come. 

-James