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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Spring Pictures at Long Ridge Deer Camp

March and April were cold, rainy and damp here at Long Ridge, and we had some concerns for poults and fawns to come, but as it turns out, May and June thus far are dry and hot. On the brink of drought. I have seen one hen with fourteen babes in tow in our fields several times. Within a few weeks, she was down to about six. I have only one fawn on camera thus far which is unusual, but I do see that the does are all in excellent condition, and bucks are growing antlers nicely (next post)
Below are some impressive toms in full display!
I love this eye shot of a whitetail. Deer do have the softest eyes.
More turkey shots below. Many hunters had great hunts in May.

A budding buck.
This buck would have shed these any day then.

Turkeys below on the census station and in sight of deer camp porch.

Another newbie we'll give some years to for growing.
First fawn on camera, and not very old...

Next week I will post some right now pictures. Hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Long Ridge 2019/20 Winter Deer Census

2019/20 Long Ridge deer census has wrapped up, and we are looking at about 18/20 deer per square mile in our neck of the woods. This was a particularly difficult winter to tag deer beds, because it is not only the third easy winter in a row, but we had so little snow it was difficult to find beds. When I was able to track trails back into the softwoods, the beds deteriorated quickly, so count could be off. In addition, about a mile to the East, there is a road that feeds deer heavily, and I did find that some groups were trudging all the way from there to my meager scatterings. During a normal winter (3-8 feet of snow), and bitter cold, this would not happen. 

The shots above and below are of the station itself. I maintain two cameras there, and pull the cards about every ten days. Approximately 2000 pictures will be on each card. 

Below you see one big coyote. There is a pair in the area, and while I do not have many on camera, they, as a pair, do move through. 

The deer have been in excellent condition, and have been able to freely move and scratch up tons of acorns and browse all winter long.

This four pointer is usually accompanied by a single spike horn. They have been buds since September!

Plenty of turkeys around too!

A fat and sassy doe 

I love it when a wild deer can mimic rude people in a restaurant.

Check out this doe below on the right. Tough winter? I think not.

Warm proof coats don't allow snow to melt.

One of the chillier nights.

I love the fly pictures!

I did not need to use this Polaris much this winter!
Here is the four pointers buddy!

You are in my space, you are not my spring babe, so beat it!
We are all in this together!
These maples, cut down to save an old field edge, will lie here for several weeks to allow the deer to feed on their buds. By the time I limb out, the ends of the branches will be ragged and naked.

One handsome boy.

Foraging in the dark of winter.

Antlers again.
Play arguing again, late, but still fun...

Bright, happy day are coming. 
Guess who runs THIS ship!
Close up puss look!
So, up above, of some 8000 pictures, we have a group of ten, a group of five, and several different groups of two or three. About every second week a group of seven would visit, but did not bed within 1/2 mile of camp. For years, a doe would visit our birdfeeder behind the house within twenty feet of our kitchen window. A winter regular, she would have her spring babe with her, each year bring a new one. This year she did not show, but her last babe did, for most of the winter. Then he/she disappeared, and either moved on or was devoured by nature. We never know, and always wonder.

I love this. Stay well, stay safe, and enjoy nature and her wonders. No matter what comes to be, Mother West Wind and the Merry Little Breezes will be here to stir things up. The rabbits appreciate it.

Friday, February 21, 2020

FN FNS Pistol Review and a glimpse of M&P for comparison.


Available for commercial, law enforcement, and military.

The FNS™-9 offers the simplicity of double-action striker-fired operation with the option of a manual safety. The slide stop lever and magazine release are all fully ambidextrous for ease of operation with either hand from any firing position. Both the slide and barrel are stainless steel, and the checkered polymer frame has two interchangeable back straps with lanyard eyelets. A MIL-STD-1913 mounting rail on the underside accepts tactical lights and lasers.
LE & Military pricing on request.
FNS™ Product Numbers
*Product follows USA specifications
*Military products available to U.S. sales only

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Operation: Double-action
  • Mag Capacity: 10 or 17 Rd.
  • Weight: 25.2 oz.
  • Barrel Length: 4.0″
  • Overall Length: 7.25″
  • Twist Rate: 1:10" RH
  • Height: 5.5"
  • Width: 1.35"
  • Trigger Pull: 5.5 - 7.7 lb.
  • Sight Radius: 5.9"

Striker-fired autoloader
Double-action operation with manual safety
Available in standard and manual safety
Fixed 3-dot sights (standard)
Fixed 3-dot green tritium night sights available
Stainless steel construction
External extractor with loaded chamber indicator
Front and rear cocking serrations
Matte black finish

Find it online for 500+ bucks. MSRP 699.00

 While I will not be reviewing the M&P pictured below, as I have written extensively about it, I will be shooting it along side the FN for a reasonable comparison. The M&P C has a fifteen round capacity because it is a C. Other than that, both are of the same family of battle pistols with four inch barrels.

I have looked forward to reviewing an FN, either the FNS or the newer 509 for some time. FN has been building real battle tested weapons since 1889, and today corners the military machine gun market world wide. The FN FAL and a myriad of other time tested weapons attest to their expertise. In fact they just won a 116 million dollar contract to re-supply M-4's to the US military.

This FNS pictured above was generously donated to the review cause by a dedicated F&G member, who has never shot it. As a bit of back ground the FNS was developed to compete in the military pistol trials (Sig took the blue ribbon)  and so is robustly built. There were some issues with the gun and they were recalled for repair. This particular specimen was sent back and completely gone over by the factory. It has no manual safety, has a hinged trigger which is superior to the safety depressed triggers of the Glocks, Remingtons etc, comes with three magazines, thank you, and two back straps. The back straps are not to adjust for hand size, but rather for arched or flat back strap preference. They are easily changed with a punch. I preferred and shot with the arched after trying both.
The pistol is rated for +P ammunition without it saying so in the manual. If it were not, they would say so. In addition it was built to endure sustained fire with NATO 9mm.
I tore down the pistol (typical striker fired take down) and found it dryer than the Mojave, but clean. I wet lubed it with Slip 2000, reassembled, and dry fired 100 times. I find the trigger smooth on take up, quite mushy on let off, and decent on reset, distance and tactile wise. I then measured trigger pull 10 times and it averaged 7.75 lbs. which I find surprising. I'll recheck after 5-600 rounds.
The magazines are steel, well marked for capacity (17) and quite easy to load by hand.
Sights are tritium (small) but rugged. In fact, this entire pistol amazed me when I tore it down. The slide rails are long, thick and tough. They put the XD's to shame. The external ejector is big and looks quite rugged. Everything about this pistol says 'long lived'. The FNS has survived a 25,000 round torture test.

Let's see how it shoots. As I said, I will be shooting the M&P 9c 2.0 a bit just to have a good gun to compare the FNS too. At this point in time, the M&P's are tops in the field in my opinion, so I am always looking for something better! I am not so big on Belgium (being so wrapped up in Rwanda) but maybe this is it!

OK, so here we are at Ferry Brook. It is 22 degrees and the wind is whining like spoiled teenagers. I'll need a rock to place on the target stand.  I am alone at the range, so it is peaceful at the covered pistol station. We will shoot the following rounds, and not in this order - Federal JHPs, the preferred carry of the pistol owner, Winchester 147 grain T-series, my duty and ED carry ammunition, Fiocchi 115 grain FMJ, Remington FMJ, Georgia Arms plated, Geco FMJ, and a tub of bulk unknown. Only a good idea when you are testing the strength of a pistol!. I have not shot this pistol so the first magazine through it is the Federal JHPs at five yards, cadence fire. This gives me the info I need to know where this pistol shoots, how I must grip it to obtain accuracy, familiarize myself to the trigger, and to adjust to it's particular recoil window. My first observations are that the pistol's controls operate effectively and easily EXCEPT, when attempting to rack the slide with a full magazine in the gun. It is near impossible, and difficult enough that an inexperienced shooter would be dancing and pointing the muzzle all over the place. I could not discern the reason for this, and it did not lessen during the session. Oh, well, just make sure the slide is open when you insert mag, and use the slide release to chamber a round. Next I find the sights (tritium) small and slow. It is daylight, so I will use the generic front post as a whole to shoot with. Because of this, on all targets, the gun tends to shoot low if not compensated for. Simply replace front sight with something decent and large, and Boom! You'll be right on. The target below is the first. I am not disappointed.

Next you have a humanoid target at 12 yards. This target exercise was a draw from the holster and rapid fire an entire magazine as fast as I can shoot. Using just the front post, it is clear that the ergonomics of this pistol are acceptable as is the combat accuracy. The ammo was 115 grain FMJ.

Next is a serious exercise, the dot torture test at 3 yards. It is NOT a speed test, but a precision test for basics in accuracy. Required is good trigger work, drawing and firing, multiple targets, reloading, off hand and strong hand shooting etc. I scored a 49 on the right with the FNC. This speaks volumes for the pistol as it is the first time I have meditatively shot it. Good show, and the intrinsic accuracy is obvious.

The left target is with the S&W 9C which I have not shot in months, if not a year. (into 45 acp these days). While I scored a point less than the FNS, I completed the test in less than half the time with the Smith, thereby rushing and blowing two off. Check out the second circle. That one hole is five shots. But in any case, both these pistols are good enough, that if I were to shoot this exercise again, I would move out to five yards. Speaks well for the FNC.

No battle pistol is worth it's salt if it is not reliable or accurate with full duty ammunition. The FNS shot the owner's carry ammo fine, but my preference (and duty ammo) is the Winchester T-Series, 147 grain JHP. I do not believe there is better. The face target below (a friend of mine?) was shot with the Win T at 15 yards, somewhere between cadence and rapid fire. I am learning this pistol. This is showing to be an entirely adequate duty carry pistol.

Forgot to show the box as it comes from the factory. Good box, three magazines( why don't they ALL come with three?) and a concise operators manual. I might throw in here, that when field stripping this piece, while it is like all the rest, it does require a bit more force on the slide and the manual mentions this.

Check the massive slide rails and tons of metal in this FNS. I can see why 25,000 rounds did not touch it.

Back to shooting. This target is shot at 12 yards from the draw. Two to the chest, one to the head as fast as I can accurately shoot. The boiler room shot group is a good six inches lower than it should be, but that is due to the inadequate front sight. Otherwise, a decent shooter with practice could feel very comfortable with this pistol as EDC. Or duty, which it would serve even better.

I failed to take a picture of 5 yard cadence shoot targets or the 5 yard 5x5 drills (the cold messed me up?) but did record the results. The cadence drills were satisfactory (five inch circle, five yards, rapid fire from low ready in less than 5 seconds. No problem. But,
on the 5x5 drills, shot with both pistols, there is a discernible difference in the shootability at speed. I shot the drill five times with each. The average time for the FNS was 4.67. The average for the Smith was 2.53. Sights made a difference here, but there are other reasons as well that I will touch on. 

Next step several hours later into the shoot, we trudge up to the steel plates. I first shot the FNS at the steel man at 25 yards. Ping, ping, ping, boringly so. Then the 16? inch circle, ping pinging, the same. Six inch at 25, no problem. I was able to hit the 3 inch after about ten rounds. This FNS is accurate. Not fast accurate, but accurate. 

Plates are next, and shoot from 10 yards, I shot the six plates 10 times with each pistol. The average speed to put all down with the FNS was 6.03 seconds. In the averages are a miss or two with each pistol. The average with the Smith was substantially lower at 5.37. 
So, here are my observations, and as I always try to remind fellow shooters, our opinions are subjective. Period. 

The FNS is a tough rugged pistol, up for the nastiest handling you can give it. It definitely leans far to the military side of things to include lanyard rings in the grips. It is utterly reliable. I shot it from every position imaginable trying to make it malfunction. It doesn't. I even held it with two fingers while I depressed the trigger mechanically, giving me next to zero grip . It recycled flawlessly and never once failed to lock back. I rate this pistol equal to the Smiths, Glocks, Sigs etc. for reliability. It shot all kinds of ammo, and all to the same point of aim. 

It is accurate. Face shots at 25 yards, no problem. Six inch metal at 25, no problem. Combat accuracy on paper targets is good. But it's accuracy comes at a cost, and that cost is time. It is legions slower at 'speed' than many pistols I have reviewed. The sights are partially responsible for this and can be corrected. But the recoil impulse also seemed much heavier than the M&P. Not sure I understand why, because it is relatively heavy, and seems to have a low bore axis. The trigger doesn't help. So, my take? This is a full time duty pistol built to be on a duty rig belt. The trigger while smoothed out, stays at 7 3/4 lbs., far too heavy for my taste and speed. The slide is decidedly harder to retract than most, and as stated above, if you insert a full mag into this pistol while in battery, good luck racking in a round...The pistol, while not ergonomically distressing in the least, feels large and a bit blocky in the hand. There is nothing fine about it. I tried both the flat and arched back straps and while neither held a shooting advantage, I preferred the arched. A choice in back strap sizing might have helped ergonomicly, thereby speed, but we will never know.  This pistol now has between 700/1000 rounds through it. As I broke it down to clean and check it after our range session I did note that there are rather heavy wear marks on the rails and barrel hood and rest. Not a concern, but MUCH more pronounced than most modern pistols at this stage. Interesting. 


Nice pistol, but I wouldn't bother.

Comments and differing opinions welcome.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Long Ridge Deer Camp, 2019

We only had two camps this year and one deer was taken. We saw 25 but doe season was closed, and the bucks seen were chasing phase big time. But a good time was had by all! Below was a picture sent out of the bar, so that adequate thirst killers could be procured!
Above and below are several pictures of what we see from our stands, generally twenty feet high.

We come out at dark, and while the potatoes bake on the grill, cocktail hour prevails.
It is then time to prepare a venison meal with salads and baked russets.
All are pleased with the results!

Our resident sauce expert frying up his best.
...and it is suppertime!

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