Entering Year 3

I’m flabbergasted that I’ve already been running this blog for two yeas. I’m even more surprised at the traffic it has received. Compared to 2014, this blog saw over a 500% increase in traffic. The last few months of 2015 alone started seeing a 1000 view increase month over month. How much of that is robots, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m thankful that others are reading. I never imagined that would happen.

In any case, as I enter the third year of the Everyday Marksman, I wanted to come back and lay some things out. I do not wish to misrepresent myself, my background, and what I’m trying to do here. It is simply far too easy to put things on the internet and pretend to be more than you are. I have no interest in that, so it seems like a reasonable place to start.

Who am I, and why am I writing these posts?

I will never claim to be the authority on small arms that Hognose (of Weaponsman) or the guys at Forgotten Weapons are. I do not claim to be master of the tactical arts like the many training gurus out there who have “been there done that” are. While I am an active duty officer in the Air Force, unless you have a question about nuclear warfare (my specialty), you are probably better off asking one of those guys about a specific tactic they used and how well it worked out. I will also not claim to be a world class competition shooter that guarantees hitting A-zones and X-rings.

I will claim two things, however. First, I believe myself to be a competent shooter (if not above average) who has spent a lot of time and money experimenting with what works [for me] and what doesn’t. Second, I am an almost obsessive researcher with a knack for taking large amounts of complex information and distilling it down to easy-to-grasp principles. This is a talent I developed through years of teaching nuclear weapons principles, operations, and policy to brand new lieutenants and advocating nuclear policy with a civilian world who knows very little about nuclear weapons aside from what they see on television.

My goal in writing these posts is to primarily provide a log of my growth as a shooter, what lessons I’ve learned, how I’ve overcome obstacles, and to show others that it is indeed possible to become a great rifleman on your own. Secondly, I wish to serve as an example of a civic-minded shooter who takes my constitutional rights seriously, and the obligations therein, and wishes to share that point of view with others. I try not to get bogged down in political poo flinging, though I’m not necessarily above it. Looking back, the few times I’ve written about shooting culture simply haven’t been popular, people would rather read about marksmanship, or advice on equipment. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to the coming year.

What is next for the Everyday Marksman?

My life has recently undergone some dramatic changes. My first child, a son, was born late last year. That awesome moment meant my priorities (both time and financial) have to shift a bit. This also coincides with a pending promotion in my career that will come with considerably more responsibility. Where does that leave me? I fully intend to continue my pursuit of marksmanship excellence, but it will have to come in a more focused manner. That includes spending more time in actual competition this year, and not just the informal variety at my local club.

Additionally, I will seek out formal training this year above and beyond the excellent Appleseed program I had done previously. I may have reached a plateau of sorts on my own practice, and really need to get some outside perspective not only on my fundamentals, but on the addition of new skills.

I will, of course, continue to allow some gear-hoarding. I have plans to complete my 308 AR rifle, as well as more modifications to existing rifles. The difference now, as opposed to when I first started this journey, is that I want to do these things not because I think they will make me better, but because I simply enjoy doing it. The two year journey so far has taught me that I am really the limiting factor in all of my shooting, the “kit” is just bonus.

For those of you who have been reading my posts this far, thank you! For new readers, welcome! I may not have the massive readership and followers of many of the blogs out there, but I really do appreciate those I do have. I’m not in this for money or fandom, I’m in it because I love the shooting sports- and I’m happy to have you along with me.


15 thoughts on “Entering Year 3”

  1. “…I believe myself to be a competent shooter (if not above average)…”
    Trust me, if you are a competent shooter, then you are definitely above average!

    1. That depends entirely on what you want to know, lol. I can speak to generalities of engineering, effects, policy, and a little general strategy. There is a lot that cannot be spoken about, though. In short, though, I would say that nuclear weapons are not the city-ending events that popular media and legend make them out to be.

  2. My day job is managing I.T. projects. So I’m also in the business of distilling complex details into “bite-sized chunks” for the lay person. Must be a corellation between engineering nerding and rifle nerding. Haha.

    In 2015 I also attended a few Appleseeds, got my Rifleman patch, took up trap shooting, and now reload all my own .223 and .308. Sounds like I’m at a similar stage in my training. This year my goal is to sign up for a few NRA centerfire/high power matches to get a feel for how those work. I’m also looking forward to doing a barrel job on my AR and replacing all that nasty uncomfortable plastic with the super sweet Lucid walnut furniture set that just arrived. Once I saw this I had to have it. No its not tactically sound. Thats OK. I am going to my range, not the Persian Gulf.

    Cant say I’ve read all of your posts but when I do, I enjoy them. I appreciate the attention to detail, tips, techniques, and especially the absence of “poo flinging”. I am into learning the gear, how it works, physics/ballistics, and rifleman skills. I dont want to read about tyrrany here. As someone who lives in a supposedly anti-gun blue state, you can see that my 2nd amendment rights have not suffered one ioata under both governor gun-taker and president pistol thief. People need to be rational, live in reality not some paranoid fantasyland. But there I go, flinging bad!

    Just thought I’d provide some feedback to you from the ether… just so you know some of those page views are actually from fellow rifleman, not bots. Keep up the good blogging and also thanks for your military service.


    1. Joe,

      I appreciate the comment! I do think there is something to your connection between engineers, nerds, and firearms. They must appeal to the “how does it work?!?!” kid in all of us.

      Thanks for reading, I plan to have a lot of good stuff this year.

    2. Joe, walnut is no less tactically sound than it ever was (scan down through recent posts to the Nov. 1 “The Retro Marksman” and you’ll see what I mean.

      1. Thanks, Pete… I guess I just expect to take some abuse for trying to turn my close combat AR into an attractive and comfortable distance rifle. I’m convinced I with a little tweaking I can shoot consistent small groups with my rack grade AR, my homebrew ammo, and some minor comfort tweaks. We shall see.

        Re: Retro Rifles & CMP. Whilst trying to stem the financial bleeding created by my new hobby…I have been struggling with what to purchase next: a CMP Garand or a reasonably priced bolt action .270 of some sort. Something tells me a round between the .223 and the .308, like the .270, is the way to go for 200-400 yd range targets. My .308, which is super accurate, has a lot of kick to it. That’s fine for deer season but I want a regular-use range rifle that reaches out farther than my .223 and wont beat me up as much as my .308. Shooting prone, I got not one but two scope-cuts in my forehead last trip to range. Heh… it happens.


      2. At 200-400 yd target shooting, your AR will do just fine, honestly. Going the .270 route doesn’t save you very much recoil, and ammo for practice would cost more. I’d take that money and spend it on some recoil reducing upgrades for your .308 (muzzle brake, new stock, etc.)

        Though, if you really want to get something new, you could go for something in the 6mm class, especially because you reload (.243, 6mm br, 6mm PPC, and others). That gets you some excellent target rounds as well as good hunting capability.

  3. EDM,
    Stumbled onto your site during the holidays and really enjoy reading your insights. I too live in Commiefornia (fortunately only part time) and Arizona and have been an avid shooter since my grandfather gave me my first .22 rifle when I was 9 years old. I am by no means a firearms expert nor claim to be one and am always willing to learn more about all things related to it. I definitely empathize your plight with the restrictive Commiefornia firearms laws and always have to check my gear for compliance whenever I come back in state.

    I understand your situation with your newborn (congrats) and can only tell you that things will only get better and to cherish those moments. My own kids are teens and preteens now whom I’ve introduced to the joys and responsibilities of firearms ownership. During the last Christmas break we participated in an Appleseed event and upon completion of the course presented my youngest with her very own .22 rifle. Her reaction and sheer joy were priceless and I can hope that she and her brothers continue our family tradition and American heritage.

    Anyway, I didn’t want this reply to ramble but just wanted to encourage your blog and thank you for your service.

    God bless,

    (former 2A3X2)

  4. BigJoeK,

    A brake on your .308 would be a good idea, just wear earplugs under your earmuffs when shooting it. I’m a .270 owner for nearly 40 years, but if you want something like that for long range hunting and you handload, the .280 Remington has a much better selection of 7mm./.284 bullets (but you won’t get any less recoil than a .308…similar bullet weights but more powder).
    A braked .308 and a good AR with good loads (68/77/80 grain bullets) will do fine to 600 and beyond.

    1. Thanks, Pete. I appreciate the advice.
      I hadnt considered and will take a look at the .280 offerings. I’m mostly looking at putting holes in paper past 300 yds .. but that could always change!
      Funny you mention the variety of cartridges out there. I was just comparing the .308 to a bunch of 7mm Magnum (wow) and .30-06 brass I swiped from the range bucket recently. Those are definitely designed for bigger loads and bullet weights. I imagine the kick on those will make my .308 seem tame in comparison. For what its worth I was shooting 165gr GameKings with a 2700 fps (medium-high) load when I was knocking myself in the face. That’s a hunting recipe. Maybe something lighter for targets might clam things down a bit. And its also a Savage bolt action, not an AR platform or M4 barrel. So not sure a brake is an option there. I got a pile of free 150gr Hornadys that when combined with a lighter load may keep my scope safely away from my noggin.

  5. BJK,
    The main reason people get whacked with a scope is because the scope is mounted too far back. Almost every “joe average” scoped bolt-action I’ve ever seen has the rear of the scope about 2″ rearwards of the rear of the trigger guard. This is too far back for position shooting, but few people shoot from any position except standing or on a shooting bench.

    Think about your head/spine position relative to the rear end of your scope. In standing or sitting upright at a bench, your spine is at or near vertical, and your head is right above it. This puts your eye at its furthest distance from the scope.
    Now think about a sitting position with an aggressive forward lean. Your spine angles up toward the scope and your head is closer to the scope than when you are upright.

    In prone it’s even worse; your face is pushed further forward on the stock than in any other position.

    Set up your rings and mounts to put the rear end of the scope as close to the rear end of the trigger guard as you can. You may have to get one or more “offset” rings. This will give you face clearance for prone and forward-leaning sitting. In standing you’ll have to stretch your head forward a bit but that’s no big deal.

    1. I had wondered about the scope position. My Savage has stationary mounts with from memory maybe 2 positions? The scope is long though. I may be able to push it fwd some. I suppose I could also slap a rail on those mounts too.
      We’ll see…which getting back on topic, is the nerding out I love about this hobby.
      Thanks again for the tips, Pete and for a forum for sharing this info EDM.

      1. Joe,
        You can get a brake on anything, only with a non-threaded barrel a gunsmith will have to do the threading at the muzzle. No big deal and a common bit of work. Ask around your local smiths. You can also get “sleeved” brakes that have a removable cover that activates/deactivates the brake so if you’re on a crowded range you won’t blow everyone else’s earmuffs off. Lots of choices.


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