Surveying The Comments

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 8 months ago

The comments on TCJ are far more interesting than the commentary by the owner, and it’s appropriate to survey a few, as well as survey as few from other sources.


“Live and let live” is an iffy proposition with a big cat. I lived at the end of a dirt road 16 miles outside Sedona back in the 80’s. There were no phone lines out that far. My nearest neighbors were an old couple in their 90’s (about 2 miles down the road), so yelling for help if I were in trouble was out of the question. Not long after I moved there, a healthy female started nosing around, but kept her distance – about 200 – 300 yards. Not long after that, I also noticed a smaller cub following her. At first all I saw was their tails between bushes in the distance, but soon I got the “feeling” (hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck) when they were around and I saw more and more of their bodies as they jumped from one part of their trail to another, eventually catching a full view of each of them. But they didn’t come any closer for a long time – months passing by with only their voices occasionally breaking the silence.

I made an almost fatal mistake one time about 6 months after I moved there, when I went for a long hike up a nearby canyon, late in Summer. Coming back down around sunset, I lost the trail and went too far along the creek that formed the small canyon. Doubling back to a familiar place kept me out until well past dark, and the late phase of the moon and cloud cover made it pitch back, so I opted to climb down into the creek bed where I could pick up the trail back to the cabin. Before I could climb back out, I got “the feeling”, and within seconds I heard the lion’s short, sharp call (I described it as a mix between a growl and scream – not at all like the calls dubbed into TV travelogues of the 50’s – 60’s). She was above me up on the creek bank, probably not more than 20 feet from where I stood frozen. I was totally defenseless, armed with only a folding pocket knife, which I pulled out in the hopes it wouldn’t be my last use of it. She called a few more times and all I could think to do was sound more menacing and dangerous than some tasty tidbit – so I yelled and screamed as loud as I could back at her. Apparently she decided I was more trouble than it was worth, and decided to let me live that night, stalking off along the path, her occasional call telling me that she’d finally gone away. It was a long time before I got the courage to climb up and out of there to very cautiously make my way back home.

Later that year, before the snows got too thick, a wildlife videographer came to the ranch and stopped by asking if I minded him passing through with his pack horses and dogs, as he was tracking the lion to film her for a TV show. He promised to stop back by and loan me any videotape he shot for viewing, which I appreciated. The film was well worth watching, as the best footage of my big cat neighbor showed her gracefully jumping from one rock jutting out from the escarpment they were on to another, attempting to get away from the bothersome dogs. They followed her up to a point where the distance between them was about as far as she could reach with her front paw – which she did after tiring of the incessantly barking hound who’d dared to get too close. Smack! went one lightning quick swipe at the poor dog’s nose and he turned and ran yelping back down the rock path, leaving the rest to continue their taunting. Then she turned and leapt about 20 feet from one ledge to another as if it were no effort at all – a distance far too much for the dogs to continue their chase.

I’d acquired a .22 that year, just in case I had to use it, and was glad, as a friend and her young son had moved up there with me by then. About a year later the cat began gradually coming closer and closer to the cabin where we lived. My thought was that if she decided a smaller version of the two-leggeds might be an easy catch, she’d probably try it. Over a period of weeks I heard (and saw) her coming closer and closer, to the point where she was within a few dozen yards of our makeshift outhouse, where we might visit at night if necessary. I was torn between my Cherokee grandmother’s blood in me and respect for all animals and basic survival instincts, but decided this beautiful, majestic lady was coming a little too close. One day I took careful aim and put just one shot at the rock wall directly over her head, sending shards scattering all around her. That was all the warning she needed and we never saw her anywhere near the cabin again, though we would still hear her calling once in a while – way off in the distance.

While I’d never kill one unless absolutely necessary, I agree with the actions of the man in the story above – that cat was getting just a little too close for comfort, and could’ve just as easily taken down a slow-moving elder as one of the house cats it had killed (probably seeing them as a territorial threat to its meager hunting ground). As far out in the wilderness as Westfir is, I’d carry any time I went outside. There are many more wild things than just big cats out there. I still live in Northern Arizona and although I’ve never seen or heard any of the lighter-colored cats around here, I did catch a black one in my headlights as it leaped across a two-lane road in one bound back in 2001, beautiful but disconcerting at the same time.

Paul P:

Sorry , I will not cache my guns . I will speak to my reps , I will explain what OUR rights are , I will act according to the rights bestowed upon me by my creator . Not a keyboard warrior by any means , but I am not going to go quietly into the night so that those in power can gain even more than they have .

If the time comes that I need to hide my guns , then it is the time that our own gov has become that which our founders fought to keep from controlling them as well as future citizens . We then become the resistance to the very people that would enslave us .

My simple answer to all of it is , NO! I will not comply .

At Brushbeater there is an extremely good post on rifles and calibers.  This is a must read.  He argues for the 5.56mm and concludes in the end that if you could only take a single battle rifle with you, it would be an AR-15.  And he speaks with authority on the subject.  There are also some other interesting comments at his place.


Mark me down as another Afghanistan vet who would start with the 5.56. I have witnessed this round do damage to enemy fighters (and one unfortunate friendly soldier) on numerous occasions and it does not disappoint. The velocity is the key with this one. I also now work on a trauma floor at a hospital in a mid-sized city. Currently have a patient who was recently shot four times with 7.62×39. I firmly believe (and the trauma surgeon agreed) that the patient may not be alive (or in nearly as good a shape) if they had been hit with 5.56 instead. They took two projectiles out of this patient. That was it. But 5.56? They’d have had to call in the vascular surgeon to assist in picking fragments of multiple projectiles out of this patient, many of which would be found nowhere near the entrance or exit wounds. We’d have been caring for horrendous temporary cavitation injuries even aside from the actual wound channels themselves.

All of the trauma surgeons and vascular surgeons I work with have said the same thing to me, because I asked the question. They hate dealing with 5.56 wounds more than the others, because the damage is bad and it’s hard to repair and clean up.

This is a really interesting comment and it certainly comports with what we already know about the ballistics and lethality of the 5.56mm.  However, I wonder whether the trauma doctors and vascular surgeons he works with have seen wounds inflicted by the 5.56mm.  I doubt that AR-15s are used that much in crimes in America.  Or perhaps some of the trauma doctors and vascular surgeons worked in the military before working at whatever hospital he works at.  I also don’t know the commenter or the context of his statement.  I would like to hear more detail on his experiences.


There is wisdom in your article….as usual.


I grew up with the Garand, shifted to NM M1A, but thought I would like an AR platform in 308. Bought one of good quality and good reputation. It beat the piss out of me. Not fun to shoot. Went back to the M1A. Pleasure to shoot.
Still wanted an AR platform but bumped to the lower caliber 556. Pleasure to shoot.

Still like my one holer .308 bolt guns the best.

I’ve heard that before as well.  For those who have a large bore weapon, it simply “beats the piss” out of them.  I know when I shoot my .270 rifle, it isn’t fun any more after 60-80 rounds – not that I would want to shoot more than that anyway, since the ammunition is so expensive.  Any practice with a rifle must consider the cost of the ammunition, as well as its weight in battle.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On October 16, 2017 at 4:00 am, Anon said:

    As barrel length goes down, so does velocity with everything, including 5.56, which is why many go to heavier projectiles in 5.56, such as 77 grain bullets (the longest bullet that can reliably be fed through a standard-size AR-15 magazine; the High Power Rifle competitors routinely use 82 grain bullets, which produce a cartridge long enough to require single-feeding through the ejection port into the chamber ). “Regular” barrel twist rates don’t do well at stabilizing 77s – heavier bullets must travel slower because of chamber pressure curves, slower velocities reduce bullet rotational speed, and longer bullets require a higher rotational rate to properly stabilize (since an increase in mass cannot be accomplished with a bullet diameter increase it must be accomplished by increasing the length; as a side note, this is why Civil War era black powder rifles were in the .60 – .72 caliber range, .68 being common – black powder burns at a much slower rate than smokeless charges, and because long bullets need higher velocity to stabilize well which wasn’t available with black powder, bullet mass increases through diameter increase was the order of the day. Larger bore diameters were also more accommodating to the fouling with back powder.) . Much older barrels – those from the 55 grain bullet days in 5.56, before heavier bullets became the norm – have “slow” twist rates that negatively impact accuracy with even 62 grain bullets, much less 77s.

    This results in 55-62 grain bullets producing a group at distance, but heavier ones producing a “pattern.” Usually that “pattern” is just a larger, but still acceptable, group, out to common “social work” distances, although sights will have to be adjusted to accommodate the changes in drop for a slower bullet.

    Because they’re not fully stabilized in slower twist barrels, 77s will frequently tumble upon encountering resistance; that tumbling, when it happens, creates additional damage in tissue, and usually results in the bullet severely fragmenting due to the resistance forces applied to the length of the bullet rather than only the ballistic point. Hunters of feral hogs quickly learned the difference in effectiveness between 55-62 grain and 77 grain bullets in 100-250 lb hogs; a solid hit with a 55-62 often produces a dead hog sometime later, the same hit with a 77 produces one right now.

  2. On October 16, 2017 at 7:43 am, Fred said:

    The Brushbeater article was terrific.

  3. On October 16, 2017 at 1:43 pm, bob sykes said:

    Is your Tikka in .243?

  4. On October 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm, Herschel Smith said:



  5. On October 16, 2017 at 5:16 pm, DAN III said:


    Barnes offers an 85 grain, .224 bullet specifically made to function in AR magazines. Barnes’ part number is 30164 I believe. One can buy the bullets only or buy cartridges ready to go.

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You are currently reading "Surveying The Comments", entry #17883 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published October 15th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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