7213 Days Remaining

Today I decided to name my posts on OdinMountain.com according to the remaining days in my life until I become 75 years of age. This post naming convention makes it much easier, since Odin Mountain related activities can be quite varied. Because most posts will be about what Odin did on a particular day it makes sense.

This morning after tending to my business I spent some time re-zeroing the iron sights on my .22 RWS Air King Model 54 rifle. The air rifle range is conveniently located in a logged over section of the Odin Mountain compound not far from the house.

Sighting in the air rifle at 25-yards, the picture was taken at the 40-yard mark
Sighting in the air rifle at 25-yards, the picture was taken at the 40-yard mark

With the recent addition of tire columns placed 25-yards and 40-yards from the target, it is now an easy matter to get some live fire practice in as well as zero the air rifle.

In the picture you can see right down the firing line from the 40-yard mark, to me firing the air rifle resting on the tire column at 25-yards, to the white paper target with cement backdrop. Notice how small the white 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper target looks at 40-yards. In the center of the paper is black square.

I recently added three layers of cement blocks above the target, in case there be a flyer.  There is thick forest for several hundred yards that would also catch anything that got past the cement barriers.
I recently added three layers of cement blocks above the target, in case there be a flyer. There is thick forest for several hundred yards that would also catch anything that got past the cement barriers.

40-yards is a fairly long distance when firing at a black square 2-inches x 2-inchs, but even with the relatively weak .22 air rifle I will almost always hit on or within a couple of inches of it using the poor iron sights while standing, which is perhaps the weakest stance while firing a rifle. Shots are generally more precise while squatting, kneeling, or prone.

The target on my setup is a simple piece of paper onto which a target has been printed. This is attached to a log that catches all the lead fired at it. The log can then be burned to ash in order to obtain and recycle the lead in cast bullets.

After my noon-time nap (Odin always takes a nap in the afternoon) it was about 1 PM. This time of year in the Great North Woods it starts getting dark by about 4 PM or so. If I were to get out into the woods to test my new battle belt configuration I had to do it soon.

I chose to go to the town reservoir, which is about a 1.5 mile hike up the East Branch of the Gale River from where I park the truck. There would be plenty of time and the weather was unseasonably warm – 45-degrees F, overcast, and misting rain. This is perfect weather for hiking uphill, which generates a fair amount of body heat.

As I have the battle belt configured now, it weighs 20-pounds and contains nearly everything necessary for basic survival in the Great North Woods. It is of necessity light on food and clothing, though some consideration has been made for both, and if in dire straights I can always hunker down and start a fire which means I could survive for quite some time from it’s warmth alone as long as I were mobile enough to collect firewood.

I will try to post an article tomorrow in 7212 Days Remaining outlining my current configuration of Battle Belt.

In any case, my goal this afternoon was to walk several miles wearing just the battle belt along with what is typically carried on the belt of my pants. In addition I added a fleece jacket in case the temperature dropped (there is a rain coat also stored in one of the pouches) or if for some reason I was forced to spend the night in the woods.

Along with this gear I also carried a camera, tripod, and my home-made tomahawk. All told about 29-pounds of weight.

Right away I noticed something – normally carrying a rifle with the battle belt my arms are held in front of me. However without a rifle, walking normally our arms swing forward and backward. The battle belt pouches blocked this arm movement.

When wearing a Battle Belt with pouches but not carrying a firearm, the natural gait of the arms while walking is thwarted
When wearing a Battle Belt with pouches but not carrying a firearm, the natural gait of the arms while walking is thwarted

You can see this in the first picture where I am standing next to the roots of a blown down tree. My arms are actually resting on the pouches of the battle belt. In the second picture I am mimicking the carrying of a rifle. You can see my arms are supported by the pouches of the Battle Belt, which is quite comfortable.

When carrying a rifle this is useful since the pouches take much of the weight of the rifle off from the arms and transfers it to the battle belt. But when not carrying a rifle the battle belt gets in the way of the natural walking gait which includes the swinging of arms. This isn’t a problem since the whole point of a battle belt is to support armed scouting.

Pretending to hold a rifle, my arms are supported in part by the Battle Belt pouches
Pretending to hold a rifle, my arms are supported in part by the Battle Belt pouches

The way my battle belt is configured it makes for an excellent day pack as-is, especially for late-Spring, Summer, to mid-Fall conditions in the Great North Woods. The remainder of the year can be too cold for this amount of gear and I would always add a regular day pack, at least, in order to carry a winter parker and various mittens, wool hats, etc.

Viewed from the back, part of my forearms are resting on the pouches
Viewed from the back, it can be seen that part of my forearms are resting on the pouches

Although the upper sustainment pouch that I attached to the back portion of the battle belt rig is bulging more than usual due to the addition of the fleece coat, I noticed crouching under a fallen tree (a common chore when bushwacking through thick forest) is easier than when wearing a backpack, due to most of my gear being at hip level instead of high on my back and near my head.

This is no small consideration. Walking off-trail through thick jungle-like forest is physically exhausting and anything that makes movement easier is very much welcome.

Moving under obstacles seems easier wearing just a battle belt as compared with a regular back pack.
Moving under obstacles seems easier wearing just a battle belt as compared with a regular back pack.

Wearing the majority of the gear weight directly on my hips also lowers my center of gravity considerably. While crossing the East Branch of the Gale river, hopping rock to rock, the rig felt quite stable. The rocks can be slippery and sometimes loose so this is a welcome plus.

Low center of gravity can make tricky footing easier to maneuver through.
Low center of gravity can make tricky footing easier to maneuver through.

Walking up the moderately steep old forest road to the dam was enjoyable indeed. Along the way, alone in my thoughts, it occurred to me that someone could put a trail camera along the way and catch a picture of me walking by. A few minutes later I came upon a deer hunter and we talked awhile. He mentioned he had just set up a trail camera!

It’s never ceased to amaze me the power of intuition. What caused me to think of trail cameras at the moment I happened to be close to one in the middle of the forest? Did I subconsciously hear a click or whirr of a camera taking a picture as I went by? Over the years I have often come upon bears or people and other things moments after thinking about just that.

And so I take intuition very seriously.

One of the hunters carried a Ruger .243 Winchester All-Weather Compact rifle. Light, short, I hefted it – an excellent woods rifle to be sure.

Ruger All Weather Compact .243 Winchester
Ruger All Weather Compact .243 Winchester
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
55 gr (4 g) BT 4,058 ft/s (1,237 m/s) 2,012 ft·lbf (2,728 J)
65 gr (4 g) BT 3,746 ft/s (1,142 m/s) 2,026 ft·lbf (2,747 J)
75 gr (5 g) HP 3,447 ft/s (1,051 m/s) 1,979 ft·lbf (2,683 J)
90 gr (6 g) SP 3,203 ft/s (976 m/s) 2,051 ft·lbf (2,781 J)
105 gr (7 g) BT 2,986 ft/s (910 m/s) 2,080 ft·lbf (2,820 J)

That’s fast, which means it is likely a very straight shooting round.

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