Last week’s bigger brother:
About two years ago, me and Tactical Dog took the Excursion to a local fast food drive thru at around 8pm, about 3 miles from where the incident above took place. I ordered our food (she used to get french fries, but then she got to be a fatty so we stopped doing that) and when I pulled around there was a cart of bread pallets sitting in the middle of the drive thru.
Not being able to move forward with that in the way, and not seeing any employees who might have left it there temporarily, I got out to move it. The cart appeared to come from a brick-walled storage area behind the restaurant, so I started pushing it back into that area.
As I got closer, I smelled cigarettes, so I figured someone was being a slacker and taking a smoke break while moving the pallets and for whatever reason just left them there. So when I came around the corner and saw two guys on my left smoking, I wasn’t surprised. I said hi, they said “uh…hi?” and I rolled the cart in. I remember thinking that they were probably startled by the openly-carried Glock on my hip which was clearly visible to them because of where they were standing and how I entered the area.
About this time, Tactical Dog loses her freaking mind. I turn around to head back to the car and see a guy running away from the truck with his afterburners on. I got back in, scolding the dog for scaring someone for no reason.
It was probably a half hour later when it dawned on me that the two guys in the storage area weren’t wearing fast food uniforms and the running man didn’t run to a car in the fast food parking lot. So they probably would’ve had me if not for the dog. Well, that, and the fact that the Excursion had remote start so even though it was running, the doors were locked and the keys were in my pocket.
So score one for open carry preventing a crime! Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps.
Sean Sorrentino got me and a bunch of other bloggers in front of a microphone, and now we have Episode 1 of The Gun Blog Variety Cast!
We talk about tactical dogs, triggers, prepping, soft power, Facebook and the NSA, among other things!
Mrs. wizardpc got me a slot driving one of the cars from Gotham Dream Cars when they rolled into Nashville
What if the BLM officers involved in the Bundy Ranch thing had reacted the same way Ferguson officers did?
When I first heard “journalists hit with tear gas” my assumption was that it was, for lack of a better description, an embedded journalist in the middle of a crowd during the riot. I’ve seen that kind of thing before, particularly journalists of the local-alt-weekly variety. In one local case, the only way to know the guy was a journalist was to have known who he was beforehand–he carried no credentials and had only his iPhone as a recording device.
But that’s clearly not the case here. This is a professional camera crew not in the vicinity of anyone else. This is obvious, and cannot be explained away by any sort of benefit of the doubt.
This is stuff I’d expect out of Iran, not St. Louis.
I kind of accidentally bought this bumper so bear with me while I tell the story. Regular readers will know that I recently bought a 1998 Jeep Cherokee after chasing a guy down in traffic to buy it. It’s got a little bit of a lift and some 31″ tires. This one came from the factory with a donut spare, which is something I’d never even heard of before in a Cherokee. Because of that, it didn’t have the necessary hardware to properly hold a full-size spare–which only matters a little because the maximum tire size for the factory hardware is…31″.
This is my third XJ. For both of my previous Jeeps, I wanted new bumpers but didn’t really find it necessary to spend the money. I really like the way tire carrier rear bumpers look, this one needed one, so there’s all the excuse I needed. I bought this XJ for less than I sold my WRX for, so that’s where my budget came from.
Looking around, most of the bumpers that did what I wanted were in the $1200 range. That was basically my whole budget for upgrades so I kept looking. Smittybilt came out with one that got mixed reviews mostly from people who’d never seen one. “Trail Ready” and “Smittybilt” aren’t usually used in the same sentence. There were lots of questions about the thickness of the steel, the quality of the welds, and whether they tied into the frame or just used the stock bumper mounts. There weren’t any good writeups out there because the manufacturer has had problems with lead times. I think it was 6 months to a year before the first paying customers actually got their bumpers in hand.
If I’m completely honest with myself, the bumper would be just for show. I went wheeling exactly one time with the previous two Cherokees…and rode with someone else. The Smittybilt bumper was $750 pretty much everywhere, so I could save $450 if I bought theirs.
I live about 3 miles from a retail store for 4 Wheel Parts. They’re a retailer for Smittybilt, so one Saturday I took liwizard and we went investigating. They didn’t have any of the Cherokee bumpers on display, but they did have others in the XRC line for me to look at. They had something else, too.
There was a single sales flyer about the size of a postcard sitting on top of one of the Wrangler bumpers: “Buy a Cherokee front and rear XRC bumper by June 30th, get XRC Rock Sliders for free.” The sliders are about $500.
So for the cost of a “standard” tire carrier bumper, I could get the front and rear bumpers plus rock sliders. Yeah, so that was kind of a no-brainer.
Unfortunately–and this was not explained to me properly when I made my purchase–everything except the front bumper was backordered. For four months. Apparently “They’re in the warehouse in California and will take 3 weeks to get here” doesn’t actually mean that the ones in the warehouse haven’t already been bought by someone else. I learned that when I picked up the front bumper and the counter guy casually mentioned my other stuff was on backorder.
Things you should probably know up front
The box is much larger than you’d think. When I went to pick it up the first time we discovered it won’t actually fit in the back of a Cherokee. So unless you’re getting it freighted to your house, you’re going to need a bigger boat. The actual dimensions of the box are 71 1/2″ x 23″ x 13″ and it’s listed weight is 185 lbs.
The instructions are, well, lacking. I didn’t have any luck finding them posted anywhere, so I scanned them and uploaded them here in hopes that some other poor soul can find them:
I apologize for the quality of the photos in the instructions…but that’s what ships with the bumper. No color photos, and the black and white ones are pretty grainy.
There more bolts and washers included than you’ll need, but there aren’t more nuts than you’ll need. I suspect this is the standard hardware they send out with several models.
There are two different sized washers. For the standard head bolts, use the smaller ones.
The 2″ spacer they mention is actually a 2″ washer
On 1996 and older models, cutting is required on the front fenders. I’ve seen some folks complain that the instructions tell you to cut too much, so there’s that.
Also, since you’re going to be in there anyway, you might want to pick up a steering box brace. I’ve heard good things about the M.O.R.E. brace. It didn’t occur to me until I was already in there that this would have been a perfect time to do it. Oh well.
Tools I used:
Really would have been helpful, and I’ve bought since then:
Tons and tons of pictures after the break….
The prices for the Saiga 12 went up over $800 during the 2013 panic. I believe they were around $600 before that for the unconverted* ones. When ARs and AKs fell back down, Saiga 12s didn’t because there was a rumor that they were going to be classified as destructive devices. That didn’t pan out either, but a couple of weeks ago President Obama made it illegal for an American company to do business with the company that produces Saigas.
I’m told the LimbSaver is helpful if you’ve also got the drum mags
*Unconverted meaning not converted back to their original factory condition. So maybe unconverted is the wrong word. GCA68 required them to be converted to a “sporting purposes” condition, meaning without the scary pistol grip.
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