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September 20th, 2008

REPORT: Pennsylvania, Ohio Voters May Decide Election

The Presidential election is shaping up as a very close contest. Depending on which poll you read, McCain or Obama has a slight lead in the popular vote. What many voters (and most newscasters) forget is that we have an electoral college system. Each state delivers a certain number of electoral votes (usually, but not always, “winner take all”).

According to, if the election were held today, Obama would capture 273 Electoral votes, compared to 265 for McCain. 270 votes are needed to win. The charts display predicted electoral vote outcomes in all 50 states.

But the race see-saws — just yesterday, McCain had the edge in electoral votes, 265 to 252. The difference was Pennsylvania. Interestly, Pennsylvania (21 Electoral votes), just yesterday was listed as “exactly even”, meaning it could swing Democratic OR Republican.

In the latest poll Pennsylvania is “Barely Democratic”. As goes Pennsylvania, so could go the Electoral College. Ohio is another key state. In recent Presidential elections, the result in Ohio nearly always predicted the eventual winner. Ohio is “Barely Republican” right now.

Message to Voters in Key ‘Swing’ States (Pennsylvania This Means You!)
Important states like Pennsylvania and Ohio could swing on a few thousand votes. Pennsylvania has a large population of shooters and hunters. If the hunters and sportsmen come out and vote in large numbers, this could determine Pennsylvania, and that, in turn could put McCain in the White House rather than Obama.

Other key states where the votes of hunters and outdoor sportsmen could shift the balance are: Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. These states are now listed as “Barely Democratic” with a 3% margin of error in the polls. Quite literally, if hunters and shooters go to the polls in strength, a few thousand more Republican (red) votes could change the election. And consider this, if the tiny state of New Hampshire (whose motto is “Live Free or Die”) swings from “Barely Democratic” into the Republican camp, the loss of those four (4) electoral votes would drop Obama from 273 to 269 votes — below the 270 required to win.

LESSON: In the key states, hunters, shooters, and supporters of gun rights CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. If just one “Barely Democratic” state swings the other way, that could determine the outcome of the election.

The differences between the two Presidential candidates are great. The path this nation takes in the next four (or even eight) years will be very different depending on who sits in the Oval office. Will that be John McCain or Barack Obama? Pennsylvania shooters — it may be you who answer that question!

Charts syndicated via Visit for daily updates.

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September 20th, 2008

Keep That Barrel Cool — Temp Strips Display Barrel Temperature

Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Bar-L shooting temp strips

How do you monitor your barrel temperature other than guessing by “feel”? offers Bar-L Benchrest strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. With adhesive backing, they can also be used to monitor barrel heating. Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86F to 140F) is in the middle. Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.

Value-Priced Temp Strip 10-packs
If you have many rifles, (a large industrial supply house) offers the same reversible, 7 temperature, 86F to 140F strip (item 59535K13) for $11.86 per pack of ten (10) strips. That’s an excellent value. Thanks to reader Josh B. for this tip!

Controlling Ammo Temperature is Important Too
Keeping your loaded cases at a controlled temperature is vital for maintaining good ES and case life. At a late summer varmint match we observed pressure signs with cases that had been sitting in direct sunlight for about 15 minutes. As we were running a “moderate” RL15 load, the pressure indications were surprising. Testing over a chronograph, cases that had been sitting in direct sunlight showed velocities up to 70 fps higher than those that had been kept in the shade. Using QuickLoad’s temperature function, we calculated from the rise in velocities that case pressures had increased by over 4,000 psi–just from 15-20 minutes in direct sunlight!

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