April 19th, 2017

Time Waits for No Man… Use Your Remaining Days Wisely

Mortality life expectancy carpe diem
This photo is one of Nightforce’s series of picturesque “Gunscapes”. SEE MORE HERE.

This story is not (directly) about firearms, or reloading gear, or any of the little details of our sport. It, instead, is about life… and, sadly, about death. The recent passing of a friend (and fellow shooter) got me to thinking, “I’m sixty — 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 77 years*. Using that number as a benchmark, I personally may have just 17 more 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 204 more months to do fun and rewarding stuff. Just 204 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 935 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.

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


Practicing What I Preach…
As you read this, your Editor will NOT be sitting in front of a computer. Instead he will be on a boat, taking him 30 miles offshore to this beautiful spot. Three days with no internet, no TV, no Schedule Cs, and no traffic. Just good friends and unspoiled nature. Living like a kid again.

island time gone fishing Editor on holiday

Permalink - Articles, News, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
November 2nd, 2013

Fall Back Friends — Set Your Clocks Back Tonight

Daily Savings ClockRemember “Spring Forward, Fall Back?” Well it’s time to set your clocks (and watches) back to standard time. Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 3, 2013. That gives us back the extra hour we lost in the spring of this year.

So if you set your clocks and watches back when you go to bed this evening, you’ll get an extra hour to sleep-in. If you’re curious, the “Spring Forward/Fall Back” system we use today was adopted because of WWI energy shortages. According to Time Magazine: “The practice wasn’t formally implemented until World War I, when countries at war started setting their clocks back to save on coal. Daylight Saving was repealed during peacetime, and then revived again during World War II. More than 70 countries currently practice Daylight Saving Time, because they think it saves money on electricity (in the U.S., Arizona and Hawaii have opted out).”

Permalink News No Comments »
November 4th, 2012

Set Your Clocks Back Today — End of Daylight Saving Time

Daily Savings ClockRemember “Spring Forward, Fall Back?” Well it’s time to set your clocks (and watches) back to standard time. Daylight Saving Time officially ended at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2012. That gives us back the extra hour we lost in the spring of this year.

If you knew about the time change in advance, perhaps you slept in for an extra hour today. If not… enjoy reading the new Bulletin items for today, and definitely check out our CMP Western Games Slide show from yesterday if you haven’t seen that yet.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
February 13th, 2010

Neck Tension, Bullet Seating, and the TIME FACTOR

Time clockThis may surprise you. We’ve learned that the time interval between neck-sizing operation and bullet seating can have dramatic effects on neck tension (as measured by the force required to seat bullets). Controlling neck tension on your cases is a very, very important element of precision reloading. When neck tension is very uniform across all your brass, you’ll see dramatic improvements in ES and SD, and your groups will shrink. Typically you’ll also see fewer fliers. Right now, most reloaders attempt to control neck tension by using different sized neck bushings. This does, indeed, affect how firmly the neck grips your bullets. But time of loading is another key variable.

James Phillips discovered that time is a critical factor in neck tension. James loaded two sets of 22 Dasher brass. Each had been sized with the SAME bushing, however the first group was sized two weeks before loading, whereas the second group was neck-sized just the day before. James noticed immediately that the bullet seating effort was not the same for both sets of cases — not even close.

neck tension reloading timeUsing a K&M Arbor press equipped with the optional Bullet-Seating Force Gauge, James determined that much more force was required to seat bullets in the cases which had been neck-sized two weeks before. The dial read-out of seating force for the “older” cases was in the 60s, while the seating force for the recently-neck-sized cases was in the 20s. (These numbers loosely correspond to the amount of force required to seat the bullet). Conclusion? In the two weeks that had elapsed since neck-sizing, the necks continued to get tighter and stiffen.

When we first posted this information, it spawned some debate. Many people said they have observed the same thing, but the question is why? Something seems to happen over time that makes the necks less “springy”. Our theory is that, over time, the necks (as sized) are taking a “set” and seem to lose elasticity or the ability to stretch. When they are freshly sized, the neck material seems to be more ductile and expands more readily as the bullet is seated.

In a comment to this post, Steve Blair offered this explanation of how case necks can change over time: “When [metal] material is cold worked, the lattice stresses induced may not be uniform and immediately realized. The grain structure can continue to change for some time, becoming harder and less ductile as the lattice deforms further. Seating a bullet in a case neck provides ongoing radial stress to which the metal will respond over time.”

Concerning the seating force numbers (20 vs. 60) — keep in mind that the K&M simply has a dial read-out activated by a Belleville washer stack with a link rod. This isn’t an ultra-precise measure of force. But you CAN feel the difference between a 20 dial position and a 60. If you use the K&M you’d see what I mean -– the needle tends to swing back and forth as the bullet is seating. What you want to watch for is the max reading and “spikes” in the seating force. I think what is going on is the resistance to seating goes up as the brass becomes less elastic over time.

Lesson learned: For match rounds, size ALL your cases at the same time. If you want to reduce neck tension, load immediately after sizing.

Whether or not you accept the notion that case-neck bullet seating resistance rises with time (you’ll need to do your own experiments), it makes sense to size all your match cases at the same time, and then seat all the bullets you need for a match at the same time. If, for example, you need 200 rounds for an upcoming match, you don’t want to size all 200 cases and seat 100 bullets the same day, and then load the remaining 100 rounds three weeks later. Almost certainly you’ll find some difference in neck tension. That variance in neck tension may show up on the target.

This brings up another point — to minimize velocity variances from round to round, it makes sense to shoot the ammo you load in the same order it was loaded (or exact inverse order). That way, if you have some scale drift over time, causing small changes in powder charges, the shot-to-shot variation is reduced.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 19 Comments »
November 1st, 2009

Time to "Fall Back" and Re-Set Your Clocks

Daily Savings Time officially ended on November 1st, at 2:00 am local time. So this morning you officially have an extra hour to sleep in. If you haven’t adjusted your timepieces already, set your clocks and watches BACK ONE HOUR. That means if your clock shows 9:00 am (before re-setting), you should set it back to 8:00 am.

MORE INFO on Daylight Savings Time Change | LINK to Official US Time (Atomic Clock)

Daylight Savings Time Change Fall

Computers Need Changing Too
Some computer operating systems will have automatically reset the time to standard time (as of 2:00 am, 11/1/2009). If your computer hasn’t corrected itself, you can reset the displayed time through your control panel. On a PC running XP, right click on the time display in the lower right hand corner of your display.

Permalink News No Comments »