October 5th, 2013

Carpe Diem Boys — Our Time Is Limited, Make Every Day Count

tom clancy dies author 66 yearsThis story is not (directly) about guns and ammo, or reloading gear, or any of the little details of our sport. It, instead, is about life… and, sadly, about death. As you may know by now, Tom Clancy died this week at age 66. Clancy created a new fiction genre that entertained millions — the “military techno-thriller”. Tom was a damn fine writer, and like you and me, he was also a true “gun guy”. He will be missed.

Tom Clancy’s unexpected passing was a “wake-up call” for your Editor. I turn 58 this month. That number is not much less than 66, the number of years Clancy got to spend on our blue planet. This got me to thinking, “What if I only had ten more years to live — how would I want to live my life? What really counts the most? What things would I do differently? What dreams would I pursue?”

From the demographics of this website, I know we have thousands of readers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Hopefully we will all live long, happy, and fruitful lives. But it’s not a bad idea to consider that we are all mortal, and the clock is ticking. Consider this — in the United States, the average male life expectancy is 76 years*. Using that number as a benchmark, I personally may have another 18 years to enjoy life and to do the things I love — shooting, traveling, sailing, camping, listening to music, being with friends and family. Breaking that down into months, I have 216 more months to do fun and rewarding stuff. Just 216 months — that’s a real number my brain can comprehend all too well. If I live an average lifespan, that means I also only have 939 more weekends to do all that I want to do. With less than 1000 weekends remaining, I don’t want to waste a single one. Here’s a chart that shows how many more weekends you may have, based on your current age:

lifespan life expectancy weekends months years

Living a Life with More Good Times, and Fewer Regrets

Recently, a group of men, very near the end of their lives, were surveyed. They were asked if they would do things differently if they could live their lives over again. The vast majority of these men gave surprisingly similar responses, which fit into five “Life Lessons”. These “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” were reported in a story by Bronnie Ware, writing for the AARP online magazine. Ware writes: “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced.” Here are the five regrets most often mentioned by older men:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. ”

Lesson: Don’t wait to follow your dreams. Be true to yourself.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
“This came from every male patient [surveyed]. All of the men… deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Lesson: Don’t let your work crowd out other important aspects of life.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.”

Lesson: Express yourself truthfully. Don’t suppress your feelings for decades.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved. Many [were] so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.”

Lesson: Take an interest your friends’ lives; keep bonds of friendship strong.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common [regret]. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.”

Lesson: Affirmatively pursue the things that bring you happiness. Don’t just stick to old habits.

Turn Off the Computer, and Do Something Memorable with Your Friends Today
How does this all apply to our shooting hobby? Well, if (like me) you are middle-aged (or older), go have some fun this weekend! Load up your rifle and get to the range. Don’t put off doing the things that make you happy. Call those old buddies you may not have seen in a long time. Renew friendships. Get out into nature. And start figuring out how you can live your dreams. As the saying goes, “Time waits for no man”.


*One of our readers pointed out that the numbers actually work out better than this, because once a man survives to later life, men of his surviving age cohort enjoy a projected lifespan longer than the average projected lifespan from birth. For example, using actuarial tables, a man born exactly 60 years ago (still alive today), has a calculated life expectancy of 23.4 years… meaning he would live to age 83.4 years, on average. CLICK HERE to see actuarial-predicted longevity based on your birthdate.

lifespan life expectancy weekends months years

Permalink - Articles, News 12 Comments »
October 5th, 2013

Tech Tip: How to Mount a Scope for a Tactical or Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a tactical or hunting rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many shooters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics 2 Comments »
October 5th, 2013

Covered Loading Trays from Midsouth & Cabelas

When we first saw this product in 2010 at Cabela’s we thought: “Great idea… it’s amazing nobody else has offered a covered loading tray before”. Being able to cover your loading tray makes sense. With the cover in place, you can’t inadvertently drop something into the tray, or knock over cases filled with powder. Plus the covered cased eliminates the risk of contaminating cases with overspray from lubes or solvents. You can also keep loaded rounds protected from the elements before they’re packed into ammo carriers.

Now Midsouth Shooters Supply offers covered loading trays for just $8.62 (that’s a lot less than Cabela’s price). You can purchase the 50-round loading tray from Cabelas.com for $14.99 (item IK-215760) with a green base, or get the same thing with a red base from Midsouth for $8.62 (item 038-502032). Order Midsouth’s 30-45 cal model (item 038-502032) for 6BR and .308-sized rims. For loading .223 rounds, get the 9mm-223 model (Midsouth item 038-502033).

covered reloading tray

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »