The Reluctant Prepper
“Prepper” as in getting ready to leave Pike National Forest. I haven’t been able to get out much due to weird sinus issues, so it feels kinda early to do errands back in Frisco and Dillon tomorrow. Then I’ll overnight in Dillon again, hopefully where I did before. Friday morning, I head for North Platte, Nebraska to begin “the commute”. That normally involves driving 3-4 hours each day, starting late and ending mid-afternoon, where I can do as I like wherever I’m parked. This trip, it will be with a twist. If the mid-nineties forecasts hold true, those afternoons will be an unpleasant, sweaty bakefest until I get to Illinois, where they will merely be uncomfortably warm. So I’ve pre-located some sleazy motels near my intended stops. That bypasses a city park that isn’t much to write home about, and a rest stop alongside the Interstate. Not much of a loss.
Besides tucking the ground panels and e-bike away, this was as good a day as any to rig for firearms transport across state lines, which means unloaded arms locked away and ammo in a separate container. I won’t bother with covering which states I’m passing through recognize what permits, an ever-changing hodgepodge. Some states even refuse to go along with the federal standards for safe, legal transport. Whatever, I figured I’d do a little target practice before I rearranged things for travel. I pulled out one of three Cabela’s “Ground Pounder Targets”, a urethane ball intended for use with centerfire ammunition. It looks like this:
Since the moo-cows were long gone and well out of range, I was able to inspect the earth for rocks, then toss the ball down a few yards away, and have at it. I used a .22 target pistol first, and considering that it’s rimfire ammo, I couldn’t see any potential problem other than one pellet getting stuck in a wall, which cleared once I changed over to the .40S&W pistol some 30 shots later. When you hit it, it either jumps a bit or rolls back, which is what I was hoping for because it then becomes progressively harder to hit. It’s basically a small load of fun since, once the the 5″ diameter ball gets pushed back to 25′ or so, I ummmm, miss now and then. Yeah. Now and then. That’s the ticket. Makes you get serious as things progress. I can’t recommend it on a true shared outdoor target range, first because you can’t just wander out in front of the firing line to go get it, and second because you just know that the people on either side of you will likely start peppering it as well. It’s irresistible. The thing is supposed to handle 1,000 rounds before it resembles Swiss cheese, and by appearances after 60, that lifespan looks likely. Urethane can be very tough stuff. I ordered 3 because I suspect that the .500 Magnum will shorten that estimate by a goodly amount.
One trick with the .40 is that I managed to get a deal on a quantity of lead-free ammo some time ago. If I recall correctly, and that’s a big if, the pellet is made of a mix of bronze powder and plastic. Being relatively lightweight, it travels faster but still carries less energy, and tends to disintegrate if it strikes something hard. It’s intended for target use only. I’m a fan of lead-free ammo when it’s an option, due to lead’s toxicity both environmentally and from a handling standpoint. If you spend a lot of time at indoor ranges and/or handling ammo, as my training officer did, you can wind up testing out above recommended limits for lead exposure.
Unrelated to my impromptu fun, two unexpected surprises have arisen. The first is that one of the cattle this past week took a liking to the projecting front fork of the BOB bike trailer and rubbed one of the spring steel axle mounting clips out of place. I looked around on the ground for it, but couldn’t find it. So I ordered a couple online to be delivered to “home”. The second surprise was that the lithium battery in my Verizon Jetpack cellular modem began swelling enough that the access cover can’t stay closed, so I ordered one of those too, and now use the iPhone as the WiFi hotspot. Belt and suspenders, belt and suspenders. I’m a big believer in having some form of backup to those things which make for tough going when they stop working.