The oil drum in this next video is sitting directly on the 750 yard marker.   Headwinds of up to 11 mph have reduced our normal range by 30 yards or so.   Generally speaking, when it is this windy, any stuffed rabbits we might chance to meet just laugh at us and go on about their business.   Click for vid.   20121110134512(4)

However, occasionally we get close enough to make their ears twitch.  Click for Vid.   20121110134512(1)(1)

Lovers of all thigs soft and cuddly will be relieved to hear that no stuffed “wabbits” were harmed in any of today’s range exercises.

A snip from that first video shows a heavy 521 gram bolt steaming in at maybe a fifty degree angle.   Probably the FOC balance point of the bolts effects how steeply they descend.  Those blue Dura’s we captured on video from a few days ago were closer to sixty degrees.

When the wind dropped to 4 mph, this pattern overshot our long-eared friend by 31 yards, the furthest striking at the 781 yard mark.

Today’s high jinx were accomplished with the help of Mr. Gary Davis.  Who is, most decidedly, not a “wabbit”.

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Well, now that we’ve had our fun, it’s time to buckle down to the larger question.  What next?

Because this is such a one-sided project,  and the input of any who might quibble and distract is excised at every turn, I find myself in the position of the perfect tyrant, and have narrowed the possible choices down to three.   To wit:  I could sit in my armchair all winter and let the workshop rot by entropy;  I could start work on a handheld version of a Roman inswinger;  or I could get on and build Phoenix, an updated version of Firefly that would be shorter, yet much more powerful.  There is also factor X: unknown for not having thought of it yet.

The astute reader may have observed that I believe there is value in taking certain lines of inquiry to beyond the mere extreme, and Phoenix would certainly be that.   For me this is a motivational tactic as the maintenance and good order of the shop requires the sustained use of imagination as well as elbow grease.  In some ways it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is that activates the brain in a tactical fashion (being in the moment as some might say) so long as it provides a focus of interest to mitigate the depressing accumulation of dulled tools and metal chips.   There is an underlying irony when precision is surrounded by filth — it is just the nature of metal working to be janitorialy intensive;  in a one man shop, without an over-arching mission, the prospects for survival diminish as soon as the spring winds down.     ….. But, I digress.

I recently saw a NOVA episode where several experimenters working in the field of animal intelligence, had put upwards of twenty years into investigating how homing pigeons accomplish their amazing feats of navigation.  Seeing as how the Firefly project has only got 4 1/2 years into it,  any whining on my part is just whimpering for lack of direction.  Ruts abound on country roads such as these.

But at least I see now how these back-roads of investigation can take a decade or two to complete.   A quaint notion, to be sure.

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