the zen of reloading


I am a novice reloader. Having started at handloading only a few months ago, I was  immediately struck by how meditative an activity the entire process is. Reloading is an endeavor that requires concentration,  precision and repetition. A mistake like double charging one case with powder (out of the 50-100 that you are working on) could be disastrous so your entire attention is required. There is an exacting process that has to be followed and precise tolerances that have to be met. The numerous steps of this process take on almost ritualistic properties as you move through them. It reminds me somewhat of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Most likely, the average  reloader wouldn’t think that they are meditating while they work, but I would  posit that they indeed are if they are doing so with the utmost of concentration. There is an old Zen proverb that goes:

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”

I could just as easily say, “Before enlightenment; trim, chamfer, measure. After enlightenment; trim, chamfer, measure.”

Now if I could just place my finger on this “enlightenment” thing…


Special Forces in action

A Special Forces raid somewhere in Afghanistan. What I find interesting is how similar some of it seems to a SWAT search warrant execution. Except for the stomping and butt-stroking, the basic operation with it’s confusion and chaos has some of the same “flavor”.  I have to give it to those SpecOps guys, working with those locals really looks like a handful.


but i want it!

Ahh the internet! I find myself falling into the habit of surfing through the sites of various weapon manufacturers, optics makers, gear hawkers etc. and feel like a kid looking through Christmas catalouges again. I guess that dates me, who remembers paper Christmas catalouges?

Thing is…now that I am no longer in the military or on the dept SWAT team, I don’t really NEED a lot of the fancy stuff. But I want it.

Why should I spend almost a grand on a SWEET helmet like an Ops Core FAST helmet? When would I ever wear it except to play Spec Ops soldier?

Why hell, because it’s so frickin’ cool lookin that’s why!

Seriously though. I have NO problem whatsoever with people who rig themselves out like a Delta Guy, I’m just jelaous that they have that much money to spend on toys and I don’t, but I sometimes wonder about the wisdom of it…the need for it.

If I believed that I would someday re-enlist or have to suit up with the team again, then I could see the wisdom of training as I would fight. However, having a full rig of armor, plates and helmet for when the black helicopters begin to land or TEOTWAWKI kicks off seems a tad out there for me. If I had that kind of scratch available I’d shoot a hell of a lot more, buy ammo and maybe travel to a shooting school or two.

But that helmet, with a PVS14-3, a commo boom and a helmet light would look so bad ass!


wish i could come up with a line like that

Here’s a perfect example of what I’ve been talking about. Since this boy was suckling on his momma’s tit, he’s been given everything but discipline. And now his idea of courage and manhood is to get together with a bunch of punk friends and ride around irritating folks too good natured to put a stop to it.

I’m Hub McCann. I fought in two world wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I’ve led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses to swords to artillery and tanks. I’ve seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I’ve won and lost a dozen fortunes, killed many men and loved only one woman, with a passion a flea like you could never begin to understand. That’s who I am.

I’m not a huge fan of Robert Duvall as a person. But he sure can deliver a macho line.


fact and faith

Archangel Michael tramples Satan
Image via Wikipedia

It has been my experience that seeking the “truth” (in the spiritual sense) is as much about faith as it is about fact.

I’ve seen many bitter and sour people who spent too much of themselves worrying about what is “true”….I have seen many of the things that people are capable of doing to each other and I am far from naive, so I’m not preaching “sunshine and daisy’s”. However, as I see things, reality and “truth” in human terms are different from “evidence” or scientific truth/fact.  I think that the “Things Worth Believing In” are the unquantifiable human belief in things such as love, courage, freedom, justice, good prevailing over evil, etc. Certainly, when we are talking about policy and law we need to consider scientific fact, but on an individual basis, I think that happiness is more about what we choose to believe.

No triumph of the human spirit was ever founded in cynicism. We all believe in something, and those beliefs, rightly or wrongly held , are the lens through which we live out our lives. If someone want’s to see life as nothing but chemical reactions and electrical impulses, be my guest. I will choose to believe otherwise.


ropecraft:knots-the clove hitch

Clove Hitch
Image via Wikipedia

The Clove Hitch is one of the essential knots and is made of two half-hitches secured around an object.

A “hitch” is used for exactly what it sounds like…hitching a rope to something. In other words it is a securing knot. However the Clove hitch is not particulary strong in that role because it can slip, which strangely enough is what makes it useful. The ability to adjust the Clove Hitch without untying it makes it a useful knot for constructing belay stations and starting lashings.



Duty, Honor, Country
Image by Roger Smith via Flickr

From Wikipedia:

Duty (from “due,” that which is owing, O. Fr. deu, did, past participle of devoir; Lat. debere, debitum; cf. “debt“) is a term that conveys a sense of moral commitment to someone or something. The moral commitment is the sort that results in action[citation needed] and it is not a matter of passive feeling or mere recognition. When someone recognizes a duty, that person commits himself/herself to the cause involved without considering the self-interested courses of actions that may have been relevant previously. This is not to suggest that living a life of duty precludes one of the best sorts of lives but duty does involve some sacrifice of immediate self-interest.

Cicero is an early philosopher who acknowledged this possibility. He discusses duty in his work “On Duty.” He suggests that duties can come from four different sources:

  1. a result of being human
  2. It is a result of one’s particular place in life (your family, your country, your job)
  3. It is a result of one’s character
  4. One’s own moral expectations for oneself can generate duties

From the root idea of obligation to serve or give something in return, involved in the conception of duty, have sprung various derivative uses of the word; thus it is used of the services performed by aminister of a church, by a soldier, or by any employee or servant.

Many schools of thought have debated the idea of duty. While many assert mankind’s duty on their own terms, some philosophers have absolutely rejected a sense of duty.