Building A Back-up/Hideout Gun

Back in the late 1970’s I bought a really nice little Belgian Browning semi-auto pistol chambered for .380 ACP from a retired police officer who didn’t think he’d need a “back-up” gun as much in his new life as an insurance salesman. Having said that, one of the few times in my life I really thought I might have to use a firearm to defend my life was when I was (briefly) selling insurance! The Browning was a very good pistol, and made me feel a lot more comfortable a couple of times, at least, by having it with me. As far as actually shooting it, I used it to “finish off” quite a few small to medium sharks caught in the surf or out of my boats – along with one 120# alligator gar. About this time of my life I spent all hours not at work fishing, and a lot of it on various beaches at night. A few times I had reason to feel threatened by “suspicious” people, and a couple of times without a gun handy. It felt a lot safer to have that Browning with me.

Of course, the .380 was not considered a “proper” self defense caliber back then, but it did punch a .38 caliber hole, and was certainly “better than no gun at all”. In modern configuration, the .380 is taking on a new role in self defense, with better pistols chambered for it (not that there was anything wrong with my Browning!) and more powerful ammo available. Taurus even just announced a .380 revolver, which I assume uses moon clips to aid loading speed, and Hornady has a defense load for the .38 Special that approximates .380 power levels, because the little John Browning creation is seen now as a good choice for those who might not handle a larger caliber as well. Looking at .380 factory loads available in the Natchez Shooters Supplies catalog showed some interesting ammo – hollow points designed to create maximum tissue damage, and a .380 load that is supposed to have a muzzle velocity of over 1200 fps among them!

I should have kept that little Browning. It was my first center fire semi auto pistol, and would have certainly increased in value. Instead, I traded it in on the first .44 magnum Thompson Contender I ever saw!

Lately I have been giving some thought to maybe getting another .380, as a “backup” or “pocket” gun, but which one? Glock seems to be selling a lot of their new .380, but I don’t want a plastic, striker fired pistol with an imaginary safety. That lets out some other manufacturer’s models, also. The Colt and Kimber .380’s which are basically small 1911’s are what I really prefer, but they are a bit pricey for what I want – or need. While I was trying to make up my mind, a decision seems to have been made for me!

Several years back, my wife and I bought a big cab over type pickup camper, with thoughts of using it to do some traveling. What actually happened was a tropical storm blew it on its side, and then Hurricane Ike put it down again when it seemed I had just gotten it upright. It has sat in our driveway ever since while I tried to decide what to do with it, as it was damaged too badly to ever hit the road again. I should mention, though, that I still have fond memories of the old camper, as we basically “lived” in it for several months after a small, personal sized tornado wrecked our home. Recently I decided to start scrapping it out, removing anything of possible value that added weight, then trying to turn the shell that was left into a decent deer stand. While cutting the kitchen counter apart to remove the 4 burner propane range and oven unit, I noticed something strange barely showing on the edge of the underside of the oven. When I got the object out, it proved to be a small .380 pistol in a holster, with a full magazine of ammo!

This old AMT .380 spent at least a dozen years beneath the range/oven of an old pickup camper!

This old AMT .380 spent at least a dozen years beneath the range/oven of an old pickup camper!

My find was an AMT Backup in .380! It is a completely stainless pistol that is fired by an internal hammer and has both a manual thumb safety and a grip safety! There are six cocking serrations on the rear of the slide. It has a magazine disconnector, which will not allow the pistol to fire if a magazine is not in place. This is a good safety feature for any semi-auto pistol, as it keeps an operator from removing the magazine when a round has been chambered, forgetting about it, and accidentally firing that round. AMT named this pistol the Backup because it was actually designed to be marketed to Law Enforcement officers as a – wait for it! – “backup” pistol to be carried in addition to their main service weapon. The extra weight of the all metal construction is a help, because it is a blow-back operated gun, and if a .380 can be said to have excessive recoil, well, this one is quite “snappy”!

The AMT was also made in America!

The little AMT is an all stainless pistol, and although this one had the right-side grip missing, it held a full magazine of HP ammo.

The little AMT is an all stainless pistol, and although this one had the right-side grip missing, it held a full magazine of HP ammo.

The right side grip was missing on this pistol, and a bit of internet research revealed that the grips are important to the operation of the gun. If the left side grip does not press tightly against the safety bar, the safety will not hold in place properly. Too tight and the safety will not operate. On the right side the grip presses against the magazine disconnector in the same fashion. I elected not to try to fire the gun until it had grips on both sides, so I fashioned a temporary set from some old Dyna-wood 1911 grips I had on hand. The AMT does not have a locator pin in the grip frame to keep the grips properly oriented, instead it has the backs of the grips cut in a relief so that much of the grip fits inside the grip frame to hold them in position. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to use locator pins instead, and was happily “chasing” a lower frame pin out with a longer one when things began to fall apart. The trigger came out and landed on my desk, as did the trigger bar/disconnector and some other pieces. When I got everything back together I did not notice the trigger spring was missing.

My first “range test” was interesting. I had read reviews of the AMT Backup on the inna-net, and as expected found them to be all over the place. Most on-line reviews seem required to be cruelly negative, and this was true with the AMT. According to which review one read, they jam hopelessly, the slide “bites”, and they are generally very unreliable. My example of one loaded and fed ammo well – the only jams I experienced were on the last round in the magazine, which I attributed to a weak mag spring from being under loaded tension for well over a decade! It was even fairly accurate at the reasonable “belly gun” distance of 5 yards. My only problem was that the trigger – without a trigger spring – would not reset after a shot, requiring me to reset it with my finger. Oh, and my makeshift grip on the right split soon after shooting began, probably from being over-tightened. As another aspect to this “test” of the .380, the ammo I shot the first time out was some I had on hand, and which had been in the safe since I last owned a .380 – that Browning 20 years ago! Amazingly, I experienced zero misfires or other ammo related problems!

Many times I read or hear “reviews” of various firearms, particularly handguns, and usually online – that are very negative. Sometimes it turns out the person giving this information has actually little or no experience with the gun in question, but just has a axe of some sort to grind and uses the anonymous nature of the internet to trash a product. Other times the reviewer is simply inexperienced and/or misinformed, or passing along something they heard from someone else who is inexperienced or misinformed. Jamming or other action problems with semi-auto pistols are quite often “operator error”. The “limp wrist” factor when firing with a very loose grip on the gun will cause almost any pistol to malfunction at times. Ammo problems can be very frustrating with auto-loaders, also. When I found out how critical the grips and their level of tightening was to the AMT Backup I began to understand why one former owner said the trigger fell out of his, and when he got it back from having the factory “fix it”, the same thing happened again. Having had the trigger fall out of mine when the right hand grip was off, and once again when it was simply too loose, I now understand why that could happen. I guess you could blame it on the pistol or its design, but if the shooter properly “learns” the gun and operates it as it is supposed to be operated, problems like this will not likely happen – or if they do, they can be understood and corrected.

Firing the AMT .380 with my cut-down 1911 grips showed what I thought was decent accuracy for a pistol with a 2" barrel and virtually no sights!

Firing the AMT .380 with my cut-down 1911 grips showed what I thought was decent accuracy for a pistol with a 2″ barrel and virtually no sights!

The grips on the AMT Backup "nest" partially inside the grip frame to hold position, rather than using locator pins as most handguns do. The tension of the grips against the frame also is important to proper operation of the safety and disconnector. This picture shows the manual safety bar under the left side grip.

The grips on the AMT Backup “nest” partially inside the grip frame to hold position, rather than using locator pins as most handguns do. The tension of the grips against the frame also is important to proper operation of the safety and disconnector. This picture shows the manual safety bar under the left side grip.

My first firing session was shooting some Remington FMJ ammo that had been in my safe since I last owned a .380 - so it is likely over 20 years old! The second session was with new ammo from HPR, and also with a set of factory wooden grips in place.

My first firing session was shooting some Remington FMJ ammo that had been in my safe since I last owned a .380 – so it is likely over 20 years old! The second session was with new ammo from HPR, and also with a set of factory wooden grips in place.

More research on the computer located a set of factory wooden grips and a couple of new – as in never used – magazines, so I waited until these arrived before trying again. Also, I looked at a schematic on a reputable gun-smithing website, and determined that a piece of spring steel wire on the disconnector bar was the “trigger spring”, and was broken off shorter than specs wanted it to be. Unfortunately, this proved to be incorrect, as that piece was the disconnector spring and the actual trigger spring is a coil spring that fits in a “hole” in the trigger. The trigger itself fits onto a protrusion off the disconnector bar and the spring pushes it away from this, forcing the trigger to return to the proper position. Correctly surmising that the spring must have fallen out when the trigger did, I searched my desk area and DID come up with a spring, but I think maybe it was one from the open sights on a Ruger Blackhawk I had been messing with – and it did not work in the AMT. Searching for parts for discontinued pistols can be frustrating, but I finally found ONE trigger spring from Bruce Schluderman of Schluder Shots in Round Rock, Texas. I also purchased a disconnector bar, pin and spring in case I should need to replace those in the future. Bruce also had a set of wooden factory AMT grips that have never been on a pistol that are now on their way to me! He has some experience with the AMT guns, and says they are fairly popular, making parts sell fast when they are available. AMT has been out of business for some years now, of course, so the pistols are no longer supported by a factory. It turns out, though, that High Standard – now based in Houston, Texas – has purchased the rights to the AMT lineup, and has announced they intend to resurrect the Backup and Auto-mag Models.

To bring the story of the Backup to its next level, my package from Schluder Shots arrived, and I anxiously fitted the trigger spring to the trigger (this is an easy operation – the whole pistol is a pretty simple design) and headed to my “range” to give it a try. I fired four magazines of 5 rounds each, mixed old Remington ammo and the new HPR FMJ ammo, and again had no feeding or jamming problems – AND this time the trigger reset properly after each shot! I again fired from 15 feet, and my accuracy was not the best, mostly because I was rapid firing to make sure the pistol operated properly. It did “jam” on the last round a couple of times, but this time it was the spent cartridge that briefly hung in the ejection port after being fired. Success!

This was 20 rounds fired rapid fire (4 magazines of 5 rounds each). There are not 20 full holes in the target, because several shots overlapped.

This was 20 rounds fired rapid fire (4 magazines of 5 rounds each). There are not 20 full holes in the target, because several shots overlapped.

The AMT Backup .380 is dwarfed by a Para 1911 .45 with 3" barrel.

The AMT Backup .380 is dwarfed by a Para 1911 .45 with 3″ barrel.

By now I may have spent more on the AMT than it would be worth on the open market (or maybe not?), but less than a (small) fraction of what a new .380 micro pistol would have set me back. In return I have what seems to be a reliable semi-auto of all stainless steel construction with manual and grip safeties and with a magazine disconnect. What is there not to like about this “find”? I also know more about this pistol’s construction and operation than possibly any other I own, by virtue of “breaking” and them repairing it myself, and I have a good schematic courtesy of Numrich Corp and a source of parts in Bruce Schluder.

A recent magazine article on “Pocket Pistols” defined the modern version as a gun of no more than 6.5″ in length, 1.25″ width, and less than 5″ tall. The old AMT Backup measures out at under 5″ in length, 1″ in width, and 3 1/2″ tall. By virtue of the all steel construction, however, it may weigh a bit more than the 9 ounces or so the smallest modern micro pistols weigh.

By the way, I am going slower in the wrecking job on the old camper, and keeping a sharp eye out for any more “surprises”!

The AMT .380 Backup wearing new checkered wood factory grips  provided by Schluder Shots in Round Rock, Texas.

The AMT .380 Backup wearing new checkered wood factory grips provided by Schluder Shots in Round Rock, Texas.

The new trigger spring seems to have solved my trigger resetting problem, and allows the AMT to operate as a true semi-auto pistol. When the new grips arrived, they were so tight I thought I might have to do some fitting, but they finally “popped” into place after some time and effort. To illustrate how important the grips are to the function of this pistol, when I first tried them I had them snugged down very tight, as this needed to be the case with the other grips I had used. Trigger pull was extremely heavy, although the trigger did still reset after each shot. Guessing the better fitting grips were pressing too hard on the trigger/disconnect bar, I tried backing off on the crews a bit – and this did the trick! Of course, for a small pocket pistol, a slightly heavy trigger is safer than a “hair trigger” – I just don’t want to have to ask my wife to help me pull it when I shoot! A good tip from Bruce Schluder is to find the “sweet spot” for them, then Locktite them in place so they don’t move. Again, I fired 20 rounds testing the operation with these grips, and function was perfect. In fact, the small problem I had seen before of the last round in the magazine jamming disappeared – with both magazines.

The old warrior operates like a new pistol!

With the pistol all cleaned up and wearing proper – as well as attractive – new grips and shooting every time the trigger is pulled, it seemed a good time to find an effective way to carry it.

Micro-pistols like the little AMT Backup conceal well in a pocket holster.

Micro-pistols like the little AMT Backup conceal well in a pocket holster.

There are many “pocket holsters” on the market that mostly do the same thing, so my task was finding one that “fit” a pistol out of production. Barsony Holsters and Belts made just such a holster that will handle several brands of small pistols – including the AMT. Pocket holsters are designed to hold a small pistol in a pocket, of course. As such they must break up the outline of the gun, so that it is not too obvious, and allow for an easy draw. Most have a bottom rear protrusion that “catches” in the pocket – along with a patch of some material that also clings to the pocket cloth – so that the holster stays in the pocket when the gun is drawn. The Barsony offering does just that – very well. For my uses, it will be perfect to keep the AMT in and handy, so if I need to go to the door at night to meet a marauding ‘coon, possum, or armadillo I can quickly slip the gun and holster in a front pocket, for “just in case”. It also fits in a back pocket, although it might not be comfortable to sit on the gun very long. I would not really recommend carrying this pistol in a pocket with a round in the chamber, even though it does have the dual safeties and still a fairly stiff trigger pull.

Some of the most popular defensive pistol cartridges are (L-R): .380 FMJ, .380 JHP, 9mm, .38 Special, and .45 ACP

Some of the most popular defensive pistol cartridges are (L-R): .380 FMJ, .380 JHP, 9mm, .38 Special, and .45 ACP

The above picture offers a visual comparison between several of the most popular self defense cartridges. The .380 is probably the smallest most experts would recommend as a serious carry gun, but newer offerings from several ammo companies bring the .380 to a power level at or near 9mm and .38 Special. Of course, a .380 achieving over 1200 fps, like at least one of these rounds is advertised at, might be a bit “sporty” to shoot, but it will provide a lot of defensive power for those willing to practice enough to be competent with their handgun.

For comparison, 9mm rounds average from 115gr with a muzzle velocity of around 1155 fps to 147gr at around 950fps. “+P” loads will top 1250 fps. Popular .38 Special loads with 125gr – 158gr bullets will run 700 to 900 fps, while +P loads go up to and over 1000 fps. .45ACP ammo is normally under 900 fps, but with 230gr bullet. .357 magnum bullets are similar to (or the same) as .38 loads, but with a big increase in velocity (and recoil!).

When reviewing published ballistics for the .380, it did not rate as badly as I would have thought when compared to it’s “bigger” competitors. The “slowest” velocity I found was from PMC, with a 95gr JHP at 925 fps. most HP loads ran between 950 and 1025 fps, with a few Grizzly and Buffalo Bore loads sending a 90gr JHP out at 1175 and 1200 fps! There were also a few loads listed with bullets as light as 45 gr – and velocities as high as 1400 fps! For long range varmint hunting, I guess? While there is often debate on the advisability of using hand-loads in a defensive pistol, for those who would like to “roll their own” for the .380, the Lee handbook lists loads for the 90 gr XTP hollow point using Unique and Power Pistol powders starting at velocities a little over 900 fps and going up to a maximum of 1020 fps. Doesn’t take much powder to get there, either! Even with a lighter average bullet weight, the .380 really doesn’t lag far behind other defensive rounds in “power”! It is not what I’d choose for a combination hunting/self defense round, but for personal protection it is well worth consideration!

If a reader agrees that the AMT Backup is a viable candidate for a .380 defense pistol, used ones are regularly offered for sale on the internet, OR you could send an email to High Standard, asking them if and when they might bring this gun to the marketplace once again. Be sure to let them know where you heard about the “Backup” when you do!

NOTE: Today I saw an AMT Backup .380 for sale in Dallas, listed on TexasGunTrader. This one is a newer model than mine, and is Double Action Only in operation. It does not have the grip safety, heck it doesn’t have a thumb safety, either. It relies on the strong double action trigger pull as a “safety”. Otherwise, very similar gun – except it in un-fired, and in the original box!

VERY Tempting!

Posted in Rifles and Other Things That Go Bang! | 46 Comments

Flower Gradens Exhibit at Angleton Library

Reef on the Road in Angleton

About this time last year, the sanctuary premiered its new traveling exhibit, Reef on the Road. Following the premiere, the exhibit went to its first host site in the Aquarium at Moody Gardens. In late August of this year, the exhibit moved to its second host site at Angleton Library.

While library locations were not in our thoughts during the creation of this exhibit, we were intrigued by the request and decided to explore further. Angleton Library has a nice open display space surrounded by bookshelves and a comfortable reading area. It is a more intimate setting than, perhaps, a zoo or aquarium space, and it invites contemplation and learning.

Library patrons are excited to have the exhibit and started interacting with it before we even got it unpacked. Some regular patrons even act as interpreters during their library visits, talking about their scuba diving experiences on other reefs.

The library has also scheduled a series of programs to supplement the exhibit visit. In September they hosted a general sanctuary talk, in October the kids program will focus on Ocean Heroes, in November they will host a Name the Manta contest, and in December, author/photographer Jesse Cancelmo will talk about his experiences diving and photographing the sanctuary.

Reef on the Road will remain at Angleton Library until February 2016 before heading off on its next adventure.

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Posted in Conservation/The Environment | Comments Off on Flower Gradens Exhibit at Angleton Library

SAN BERNARD RIVER UPDATE TO BEGIN OCTOBER

This is an update on the efforts to solve the problem of the San Bernard River Gulf outlet sanding closed, sent to us by Roy and Jan Edwards, good friends and advocates for the river.

Regards –
Roy and Jan Edwards
jredwards@brazoriainet.com
979-964-4332
713-628-8991
www.sanbernardtx.com

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Brazoria County Shoreline Restoration Task force was held Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
Donald “Dude” Payne, Brazoria County Commissioner, Pct. 1 and David Linder, Commissioner, Pct. 4 gave an update on the re-opening of the mouth of the San Bernard River.
Under their leadership, the Brazoria Co. Commissioner’s Court contracted Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation to find a permanent solution to the closure of the mouth of the San Bernard River. Dannenbaum’s engineer, Chris Sallese, retired Colonel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston Texas, is the lead on this project.
The Texas portion of the British Petroleum Gulf oil spill settlement (R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act) was the proposed source of funding for this project. Original estimates of the Texas settlement were as high as $2.2 billion. In actuality, the Texas portion will be $308 million. The funds will be awarded over a 15 year period. Sixteen Texas coastal counties are eligible to share the total dollars.
Dannenbaum originally modeled 7 options to open the mouth. Four projects were presented to the Brazoria Co. Commissioner’s Court. They are:
1. A solid, traditional rock jetty extending from the east river bank into the Gulf. Estimated cost – $86 million
2. A composite jetty of lesser height with a concrete topping extending from the east river bank into the Gulf. Estimated cost – $60 million
3. A sheet pile jetty similar to the sidewalls of Rollover Pass extending from the east river bank into the Gulf. Estimated cost – $28 million

Note: All three of these solutions would require maintenance dredging every 2 years to remove 350,000 cubic yards of material from behind the jetty or the dredging could be deferred to 8 – 12 years to remove 2.1 million cubic yards of material. This maintenance dredging would be a reoccurring cost to the county.
4. Dredge open the river mouth as in the 2009 dredge opening, this time extending further into the Gulf. Estimated cost – $6 million.

Note: This option would require maintenance. Worst case scenario with low flow in the San Bernard and heavy sand load from the Brazos would require maintenance dredging in as little as 3 years. Best case scenario, re-dredge in 8 – 10 years. Estimated maintenance dredging – $2-3 million per dredging cycle.
Based on anticipated funding, option 4 has been selected to actively pursue.
The cost of maintenance dredging would be the responsibility of Brazoria County. Commissioner’s Court is currently seeking financial partnerships with parties that would benefit from the re-opening of the river including state agencies such as Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Department of Transportation.
When the river was open, its flow did not exit through the west flood gate of the Brazos, reducing marine passage problems in that area. The rate of allusions (allusions are defined as contact between a moving marine vessel and a fixed object such as the west flood gate structure) in 2008 was in excess of 650 reported incidences. After the 2009 dredging, allusions dropped to less than 40. The Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association, governing body for commercial Intracoastal traffic, stated that the west gate passage is the most difficult, dangerous, and expensive passage to navigate from Mexico to Florida. The purpose of the re-opening dredging in 2009 per the U.S.A.C.E. was to provide a relief channel to ease the navigation problems at the west gate.
Coastal projects seeking BP oil spill funds (R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act) will be evaluated by T.C.E.Q. in 2016 and projects deemed worthy will them be awarded in 2017. Projects will then be awarded in 2017. Commissioner Payne stated that the San Bernard River mouth dredging project will be “shovel ready” before funding is allocated. He is confident that this project will compete well with the other projects statewide.
Coastal projects involving heavy equipment on the beach between the surf line and the dunes must be completed or stopped by March 15 of each year and cannot resume until turtle nesting season is over.
Commissioners Payne and Linder and Dannenbaum have been working with Congressman Randy Weber to investigate possible federal funding for the San Bernard River project. Federal funding can only be used on those sections of a waterway that have been designated “federal navigable waterways”. The San Bernard River between the Gulf Intracoastal Canal and the Gulf of Mexico has never been designated as such. Commissioner Payne stated that the process to achieve this status is very long and extremely complicated. “Federal navigable waterway” status is not an option in the foreseeable future.
The U.S.A.C.E. was approached with the prospect of taking over the San Bernard River mouth project. U.S.A.C.E. does not have authority to work in this section of the river, so the request was denied.
Commissioner Payne and Dannenbaum are working with U.S.A.C.E. to get a new study funded under Section 7001 of WRRDA 2014. This study would look at the sustainability of the GIWW in the region and recommend potential sources of material (San Bernard River) to help stabilize the ongoing bank erosion.
All this boils down to bad news / good news. Bad news: there is no funding option on the table large enough to put any type of jetty system at the mouth of the San Bernard River. Good news: It is possible that the San Bernard River could be dredged by R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Act funding as early as March 2018.
Thanks go out to Commissioners Donald “Dude” Payne and David Linder for their leadership on this project, to Brazoria Co. Commissioner’s Court for their continued support of this project, and to Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation for exploring all options. Most of all, thanks go out to everyone who has ever expressed concern for the plight of the San Bernard River and has contacted our elected officials on its behalf.
For a Drop Box presentation of the Dannenbaum models for reopening of the mouth of the San Bernard River visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ep8zbxjladt4x0y/AADpa72Z6z63ntEsLIjlBaCTa?dl=0
For links to studies on the San Bernard go to the “Links” section of www.sanbernardtx.com

Posted in Conservation/The Environment | Comments Off on SAN BERNARD RIVER UPDATE TO BEGIN OCTOBER

New Amberjack Rules Up For Public Comments

SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN
(Gulf of Mexico)

FB15-071
Rich Malinowski
727-824-5305

September 21, 2015

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Greater Amberjack Management Measures
in the Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on changes to the greater amberjack allowable harvest measures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Proposed Changes:
(1) Decrease the total annual catch limit from 1,780,000 pounds whole weight to 1,720,000 pounds whole weight.

(2) Set the commercial annual catch limit at 464,400 pounds whole weight and the commercial quota at 394,740 pounds whole weight.

(3) Set the recreational annual catch limit at 1,255,600 pounds whole weight and the recreational quota at 1,092,372 pounds whole weight.

(4) Increase the minimum recreational size limit from 30 inches fork length to 34 inches fork length.

(5) Reduce the commercial trip limit from 2,000 pounds whole weight to 1,500 pounds gutted weight.

Need for Action:
The 2014 population assessment indicates additional management measures are necessary to rebuild the greater amberjack population in the Gulf of Mexico.

How to Submit Comments:
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposed rulemaking no later than October 19,2015. You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094”, by one of the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Go to the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094-0001, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments.

Mail:
NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Rich Malinowski
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on the regulations.gov website without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.

Posted in Regulations & Rules - Saltwater Fishing | Comments Off on New Amberjack Rules Up For Public Comments

Mounting Optics on a Vent Rib Shotgun Barrel

I really like Mossberg pump shotguns. Mossberg evidently has some folks with innovative minds in their pump gun division, and the guns reflect that in almost unmatched versatility. My old Model 500 12 gauge, for instance, came with a plain Jane barrel that helped me account for many, many rabbits, squirrels, and other small game, while my brother borrowed it and shot a nice deer once upon a time. Later I switched to a slug barrel for awhile, and it now wears a .50 in-line muzzle loader barrel. Always a fan of improved optics, I liked the fact that the slug barrel had an integral pictatinny scope mount, but to scope the muzzle loader – which came with good, rifle-type open sights – I had to turn to an after market mount that incorporates a side plate that uses existing screws and holes – no gun smithing, drilling, or tapping required. When I recently picked up a Maverick 88 pump by Mossberg in 20 gauge as a night-time varmint and home defense gun, I wanted to use a C-More Railway red dot sight on it, for faster target acquisition than the front bead on the stock barrel can provide.

When looking at mounting options, I picked up an older, more modestly priced red dot I once used (and shot loose) on the slug barrel of my 500. It was sitting on a mount made to fit a Weaver-style base to the dove tail grooves on a .22 rim fire – and amazingly it slid on the vent rib of the Maverick barrel as though it had been designed to work there. The little base has a top set screw and three tightening screws on the side to hold it in place, and did not seem to mind the 20 gauge recoil. It worked so well I was tempted to just leave it in place and use it, but decided to try a slightly different approach as long as I was testing this type of mounting system.

This mount is actually for mounting a full size scope or red dot on a .22 rim fire by using the adapter that fits in the rim fire's Dovetail grooves.

This mount is actually for mounting a full size scope or red dot on a .22 rim fire by using the adapter that fits in the rim fire’s Dovetail grooves.

Sun Optics sells a “shotgun saddle mount” that really isn’t a saddle mount. It slides on the vent rib of a shotgun so equipped,and is held in place by small “plates” that go under the rib and are tightened to the mount with two screws. As I recall there were three of these plates included, but might have been two. Because of the spacing of the pillars that hold the rib to the barrel on my 88, I am currently only using one plate, and it seems to be holding well. The Mossberg in this configuration have a two sight bead arrangement – a “silver” bead at the muzzle, and a gold bead about halfway back and on top of the rib. The gold bead keeps the add-on mount from sliding into a position that would allow using more of the mounting plates. Since the gold bead serves no useful purpose, I intend to take it off and beef up the mount, eventually.

This much mount has a much longer picatinny rail and clamps to the top of the vent rib on shotguns so equipped.

This much mount has a much longer picatinny rail and clamps to the top of the vent rib on shotguns so equipped.

Either the Sun Optic mount or the much lower priced Sniper mount will do the job for you, the longer Sun Optics unit just offers more flexibility in where the optic can be mounted. In my opinion, and for what I intend to use this shotgun for, my red dot sight mounted with either one makes hitting what I need to hit a surer proposition!

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Amberjack Season Closure Coming Up Soon!

SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN
(Gulf of Mexico)

FB15-069

727-824-5305

September 16, 2015

NOAA Fisheries Announces the Gulf of Mexico Greater Amberjack Recreational Fishing Season will close on September 28, 2015

The recreational harvest of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 28, 2015, and remain closed until January 1, 2016.

The 2015 landings data indicate the 1,130,000-pound recreational annual catch target will be harvested by September 27, 2015.

During the closure:
Recreational harvest or possession of greater amberjack is prohibited.
The closure applies in both state and federal waters for vessels that have a valid Gulf of Mexico reef fish charter/headboat permit.
This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf of Mexico greater amberjack population. This population is considered overfished (the population is too low) and undergoing overfishing (rate of removal is too high).

This bulletin provides only a summary of the existing regulations. Full regulations can be found in the Federal Register.

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THESE LIONS ARE NOT LIKE “CECIL”!

An Unusual Fishing “Tournament”!

Lionfish Invitational Kicks Off Sunday

The first ever lionfish removal event will be conducted at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary next week in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) will be partnering with NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS), with support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF), Texas State Aquarium, Oregon State University, and Fling Charters, to use trained volunteer divers to help conduct research and remove invasive lionfish within the marine sanctuary on Aug. 31st – Sept. 3rd.

Collection permits have been issued for divers participating in the four-day lionfish research cruise on board the recreational dive charter M/V Fling. Reef fish surveys will be conducted and lionfish will be removed and dissected as part of the on-going lionfish research and management program at NOAA. Fish surveys will also be conducted outside of removal areas by research staff and volunteers on NOAA’s R/V MANTA.

This project seeks to engage community stakeholders in invasive lionfish control within the national marine sanctuary and protect the area from these invasive predators. For more information, contact Michelle.A.Johnston@noaa.gov

Stay tuned for a post-trip report on what we accomplished!

http://flowergarden.noaa.gov

This is an electronic distribution list run by Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). This list server was created to provide subscribers with information and the latest news about sanctuary management and research, upcoming events, and opportunities for involvement. To subscribe to this or any other FGBNMS email lists, please visit http://go.usa.gov/bqxT
Any postings made to the FGBNMS general announcement list server are not the views of the Federal Government, inclusive of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce/NOAA/NOS/ONMS/FGBNMS. To unsubscribe, please email FGBNMSupdates-leave@list.woc.noaa.gov from the email address you wish to unsubscribe. If you need additional assistance, please contact flowergarden@noaa.gov.

Posted in Conservation/The Environment | Comments Off on THESE LIONS ARE NOT LIKE “CECIL”!

19th Annual River’s End Volunteer Fire Dept. Family Fishing Tournament & Fund Raiser

This is a worthy local fishing fund raiser – and a fun tournament, also!

August 21, 2015

For immediate release. We are publishing the story at this time hoping to get as many entrants in the tournament as possible. Please announce the following not-for-profit event:

19th Annual River’s End Volunteer Fire Dept. Family Fishing Tournament / Fund Raiser Set
River’s End Volunteer Fire Dept. will host the 19th annual fishing tournament and fund raiser on the first full weekend of October (Oct. 2 – 4). The tournament begins at 12:01 a.m., Friday, October 2, and runs through 2 p.m., Sunday, October 5th when final weights will be tallied and prizes awarded. Fish can be caught anywhere in public waters, but must be weighed in at the River’s End Volunteer Fire Dept. Station at 12070 F.M. 2918. Weigh in hours will be from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 2 and 3), and 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 4).
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of the founding of River’s End VFD and proceeds from this tournament go toward obtaining cribbing and air bags for wrecked car stabilization. We are also actively seeking fish sponsors ($10.00 and up), and donations of live and silent auction items.
The Adult Division of the tournament ($35.00 entry fee) consists of 4 categories: Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, and Croaker. First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded for each category. First place for all categories will be $100.00 and a plaque. Second place winners will receive $50.00 and a plaque, and third place winners will receive $25.00 and a plaque. There will also be a $100.00 prize and plaque for the Redfish with the most spots and the heaviest stringer. This stringer must contain at least one each of Speckled Trout, Redfish and Flounder, but cannot have more than 5 fish total. Note: Only Redfish between 20” and 27” will be accepted in any category – Adult or 16 and Under.
The 16 and Under Division ($25.00 registration fee) is designed to encourage more youngsters to fish. This division also consists of 4 main categories: Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder and Croaker. First place winners in all the above categories will take home a $50.00 gift certificate and a plaque; second place takes home a $25.00 gift certificate and a plaque; and third place takes home a $10.00 gift certificate and a plaque. In addition to those 12 prize winning places, there are 4 more “fun” categories for our youth. Plaques only will be awarded for the following “fun” categories: Redfish with the Most Spots, Largest Hardhead, Largest Blue Crab, and Largest Sand / Gulf Trout. Again, this year, there will be a Youth Heaviest Stringer award with a $50.00 gift card and plaque for the prize. Again this year, only for the 16 and Under division, the prize will be awarded to the heaviest stringer of any up to 5 of the following legally caught fish; Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Croaker, Hardhead, or Silver Trout. As a special treat, the first 28 paid youth anglers will receive a goody bag courtesy Port Freeport.
Again this year are daily mini-tournaments which earn winning anglers bragging rights and a plaque for each daily winning fish. Dates, eligible fish and weigh-in times for the mini-tournaments are as follows:
Date: Eligible Fish Weigh-in times
Friday, October 2, 2015 Speckled Trout 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 3, 2015 Redfish 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 4, 2015 Flounder 8 a.m. – noon
Please note the weigh-in times differ from the main tournament weigh-in hours.
If you don’t fish, but you would still like to support the fire department, you can come for the Saturday, October 3 or Sunday, October 4 events.
Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, until 7 p.m., October 3, a boiled shrimp dinner (catered by 2J’s Seafood House) for a $15.00 donation or a B-B-Q sandwich with chips and a drink for a $10.00 donation. A silent auction will run from 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for the community’s convenience. There will also be a live auction (maximum 6 items) at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, October 4, awards will be presented to the tournament winners starting around 3:00 p.m. After the close of the weigh station, while we are waiting for awards results, door prizes will be offered. Raffle drawings will also be held for a 20’ tapered aluminum flag pole with a 3’ x 5’ flag (donated by Rick Gardner of Gardner & Martin), a custom piece of jewelry (donated by Kenzie & Co.), a custom made rod and reel (made and donated by Billy Huett), and a $400.00 Walmart Gift Certificate sponsored by community donations. Raffle tickets are available for $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00. Winners need not be present to win.
You may pick up tournament applications and purchase t-shirts, and raffle tickets at McCoy’s (in Brazoria) on September 19, Bernard Grocery on F.M. 2611 at the Churchill Bridge September 26 – 27, Stewart’s Grocery (in Brazoria) Saturday, September 26 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or at Station 1 (12070 F.M. 2918Thursday, October 1 from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.. A free t-shirt will be given to each paid entrant. You may also register and pay online with PayPal at www.revfd.com .
Tournament applications are also available at 2J’s Seafood House and upon request by contacting Roy Edwards at 979-964-4332, or Tracy Woodall at 979-482-4626, or by downloading them from www.revfd.com . You may also register and pay online. Please note you must be a paid entrant before you start fishing for the tournament.
In case of a severe storm, the tournament will take place 2 weeks later (the weekend of October 17 – 19). Please contact Roy Edwards or Tracy Woodall at the above phone numbers if changes to these plans become necessary. Bring your fishing rod and tackle box and we’ll see you at the end of the river.

Posted in General saltwater fishing | Comments Off on 19th Annual River’s End Volunteer Fire Dept. Family Fishing Tournament & Fund Raiser

Nebo Shotgun Light and iProtect Light Mount

I recently set about “rigging out” a pump shotgun for a home pest control gun. What spurred this decision initially was an “attack” on a bird feeder at our woods property by a bunch of ‘coons who seemed to want to destroy the feeder, not just rob it of its contents. To me, this falls under the category of vandalism, and cannot be tolerated. There is also the comfort a shotgun could give in the case of a home invasion. My only current shotgun was an old Mossberg 500, but it currently wears a muzzle loader barrel. Fortunately, I found a “once fired” Mossberg Maverick 20 gauge for sale, at a very reasonable price. The gun has an adjustable, folding stock with a “real” pistol grip and a 5 shot magazine. It also is set up for adjustable choke tubes, with a modified choke tube in place.

Since coons usually raid at night, I wanted a light attached to the gun, and preferably not with duct tape. A company named Nebo markets many items for “home protection” guns – I have a Nebo light on the rail of one of my 1911’s, and like it a lot – and my research showed they make a shotgun light mount that attaches to the magazine tube of a pump by means of a clamp that is adjustable and requires no tools. The cushioned mount is made of aircraft grade aluminum, and is very easy to operate. When I first got the mount I tried it with a light much bigger than the Mossberg magazine, and it worked well, although a bit snug. I later found a light with a smaller diameter barrel (made by Smith & Wesson), that works better. Several shots to try it out failed to cause the mount to loosen.

Later I found that Nebo also makes a “shotgun Light” kit that includes a multi-bulb LED light with a red laser, and with the same mount. This setup also includes a pressure switch that can be remotely located, and the light has settings for light alone, laser alone, light and laser, and flashing strobe. The packaging says this is “only” a 26 lumen light, and since my other light is 200 lumens, for now I mounted both to the gun for evaluation. There is plenty of room for the action to be worked, and it appears this combo on the Mossberg pump 20 will be making our bird feeders a lot safer!

Test Notes: Have now fired the shotgun with this mount/light setup, and observed that the red dot “co-witnesses” very well with the dot on my red dot scope, but is difficult to see in bright daylight – not that I would need it in bright daylight!

The Nebo iProtect shotgun light mount clamps lights of varying sizes to a pump shotgun magazine tube

The Nebo iProtect shotgun light mount clamps lights of varying sizes to a pump shotgun magazine tube

The Nebo iProtect shotgun light has settings for light alone, red laser alone, light/laser, and flashing strobe light. It includes the Nebo shotgun mount at no extra cost.

The Nebo iProtect shotgun light has settings for light alone, red laser alone, light/laser, and flashing strobe light. It includes the Nebo shotgun mount at no extra cost.

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Gulf Council Meeting Updates

This is the August 18 Gulf Council Meeting update. Lots of interesting stuff here. Pay close attention to the data collection section, if you are a charter boat captain or ever fish on a charter boat. A requirement is being considered to require an “electronic log book” device which would track the boat from the time it leaves the dock until it returns. No information would be collected – or allowed to be inputted – about catches, number of anglers, or other fisheries related matters – ONLY the amount of time spent on the water, including the time, duration, and position of any stops made during the day. The equipment would be required of every Federally permitted vessel at the operators expense, and if the equipment was not installed and functioning, the vessel could not legally leave the dock.

August 18, 2015

Gulf Council Update – August, 2015

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 10 – 13, 2015, to discuss a number of fishery issues, including red snapper reallocation, regional management for recreational red snapper, management plans for charter vessels and headboats, and the shrimp permit moratorium.

Red Snapper Allocation – Reef Fish Amendment 28
The Council reviewed and took final action on Reef Fish Amendment 28 which reallocates a portion of the commercial red snapper quota to the recreational sector. The Council’s preferred alternative – Alternative 8 – would allocate the increase in allowable harvest due to the recalibration of MRIP catch estimates to the recreational sector. The resulting allocation for 2016 – 2017 would be 48.5% commercial and 51.5% recreational.

The Council also took final action on a related framework action to retain a portion of the commercial red snapper quota in 2016 to ensure that the IFQ quota intended for reallocation is not distributed among commercial fishermen before Amendment 28 is implemented.

Regional Management of Recreational Red Snapper – Reef Fish Amendment 39
The Council continued discussions on Amendment 39 which looks at dividing the recreational red snapper quota among regions to allow for the creation of different management measures that better suit each area. During this meeting, the Council changed its preferred alternative for Action 1 to Alternative 4 which would establish a regional management program whereby regions would develop management proposals and submit those proposals to a technical review committee. Proposals would then either go back to the region for revision or be forwarded to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for final review. Any region that chooses not to participate or that does not satisfy the conservation equivalency requirements would be subject to the default federal regulations for red snapper.

The Council will conduct another round of public hearings throughout the Gulf coast later this year. Final action is expected in early 2016.

Reef Fish Amendments 41 and 42
The Council reviewed draft options papers for Reef Fish Amendments 41 and 42. Amendment 41 explores the design and implementation of flexible measures for the management of red snapper by the charter for-hire fleet; and Amendment 42 explores the design and implementation of flexible measures for the management of reef fish for the headboat fleet. Both options papers will go out for public scoping in the coming months.

Gag and Black Grouper Framework Action
The Council reviewed an options paper on modifications to the gag and black grouper recreational minimum size limits and recreational season for gag. For both gag and black grouper, the Council proposed an increase in the recreational minimum size limit from 22 inches to 24 inches total length as a preferred alternative. The Council reviewed possible recreational season lengths for gag under either a 22 inch or 24 inch minimum size limit, including possible changes to the season start and end dates. Final action on this framework action is expected during the October Council meeting.

Coastal Migratory Pelagics (Mackerel)
The Council reviewed options papers for CMP Amendment 26: Modifications to Allocations, Stock Boundaries, and Sale provisions of King Mackerel and CMP Amendment 28: Separating Permits for Gulf and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King
Mackerel. Revised documents for both amendments will be reviewed during the October Council meeting.

Shrimp
The Council reviewed a draft options paper for Amendment 17 that addresses the expiration of the shrimp permit moratorium. The Council decided to spit Amendment 17 into two documents – Amendment 17A and 17B in order to address related issues without jeopardizing the timely approval and implementation of actions directly addressing the moratorium. Amendment 17A will address the permit moratorium and royal red shrimp endorsements, and Amendment 17B will consider other permit issues such as setting a target number of Gulf shrimp vessel permits and whether to create a Gulf shrimp vessel permit reserve pool, specification of optimum yield, and issues about transiting in federal waters.

Public hearings will be held around the Gulf coast in the coming months.

Data Collection
The Council reviewed a public hearing draft of a joint amendment between the Gulf and South Atlantic Councils which considers modifying the frequency and method of reporting for charter and headboats fishing for reef fish and coastal migratory pelagics in the Gulf of Mexico, and snapper, grouper, dolphin, wahoo, and coastal migratory pelagics in the South Atlantic.

The Council requested that the Technical Subcommittee of the Gulf and South Atlantic Councils on Electronic Logbook Reporting Guidelines, in coordination with GulfFIN, ACCSP, SEFSC and Council staff develop a reference document that describes specific catch and effort reporting elements, data standards, and protocols to standardize implementation of Southeast region-wide electronic monitoring initiatives.

The Council also chose a preferred alternative that would require federally permitted for-hire vessels to use a NMFS approved electronic device that automatically records vessel location at specified time intervals for later transmission in the Gulf (both headboat and charter vessel).
About the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

Submit comments and stay updated on fishery issues:
Check it out! Go to www.gulfcouncil.org and click on the thermometer in the middle of the page. From there you can read up on all the pending actions, watch the video presentations, read comments, and submit your own. All comments submitted through the online form are automatically posted on our web site for Council review. Other comments are manually posted every couple of days.

There is also a thermometer for each issue that lets you know where the Council is in the process for that particular amendment, whether it’s the scoping phase, final action, or implementation.

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