RIVERS END VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT COOK-OFF

R.E.V.F.D. – Looking for Smokin’ Hot Teams for May Cook-Off Fund Raiser

The thirteenth annual River’s End Volunteer Fire Department BBQ Cook-off fund raiser will be held May 6 – 7, 2016 at 12070 F.M. 2918. If you are a cooking team, R.E.V.F.D. is officially requesting you to enter. The entry fee is $35.00 per category entry (categories being brisket, ribs, chicken, beef fajitas and beans). Again this year, there will be no meat donation to the fire department. Entries must be received before cooking begins. Teams may register, set up and start cooking Friday, May 6 beginning at 9 a.m.

The general public is also invited to join in the fun and good food for a good cause. Contest judging begins at 12:00 noon on Saturday, May 7 beginning with beef fajitas, followed at 1:00 p.m. with beans, 2:00 p.m. with ribs, 3:00 p.m. with chicken and finally 4:00 p.m. with brisket. A barbeque sandwich, chips and drink lunch for $7.00 or Frito Pie or Nachos for $5.00 will be available beginning at 11:30 until gone. A silent auction will run all day, closing at 4:30 p.m. Bring your appetites – you won’t go home hungry!

Members of R.E.V.F.D. will be at Bernard Grocery April 22, 23, 29 and 30 (Fridays and Saturdays) and at Stewart’s Grocery in Brazoria Friday, April 29 with rules and entry forms. T-shirts, koosies and raffle tickets will also be available for sale on the same dates and locations.

The raffle will be for a 20’ tapered aluminum flag pole with 3’ x 5’ flag donated by Rick Gardner, a $400 gift card from Walmart, a custom piece of jewelry donated by Kenzie and Co., and a custom rod and reel created and donated by Darrell Powell.

For entry forms and more information, call Gloria Powell at 979-417-1505, Tracy Woodall at 979-482-4626 or David Woodall at 979-482-7752 or visit www.revfd.com and download the rules and the forms.

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Gulf Council and Reef Fish Committee Recent Actions

These are actions of the Reef Fish Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council that will have definite and direct effect on the red snapper fishery in the Gulf. Especially note the capitalized paragraph about charter captains and Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ), as this is a change from the previous rulings to have a category for “Historical Captains” who could prove employment on a Federally permitted charter vessel to obtain quota for themselves when/if they purchased their own vessel in the future.

This information was provided to me by Captain Bob Zales of Panama City, Florida, who keeps me up to date on Council actions. Bob was formerly the long-time president of the National Charterboat Owners Association, and has served on numerous Advisory Positions to the Gulf Council.

Below you see the committee actions from yesterday. The full council will make final decisions tomorrow. The reef fish committee is made up of all 17 council members so essentially the council made these decisions.

YOU ALSO SEE A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE LEFT OUT OF THE IFQ/PFQ/ALLOCATION ISSUES, ANY HIRED CAPTAIN, ONE WHO DOES NOT OWN THE BOAT BUT WORKS FOR AN OWNER, WILL BE COMPLETELY LEFT OUT OF ANY ALLOCATION DISCUSSION. NO ALLOCATION WILL BE PROVIDED TO A HIRED CAPTAIN SO ANY HIRED CAPTAIN WITH PLANS TO BUY HIS/HER OWN BOAT IN THE FUTURE WILL HAVE NO RED SNAPPER ALLOCATION. ALL HIRED CAPTAINS NEED TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THIS ISSUE.

Without opposition, the Committee recommends, and I so move, that the Council
select Alternative 4 as a Preferred Alternative.
Alternative 4: Use the constant catch OFL and ABC recommended by the SSC but set the
ACL and ACT below the constant catch OFL and ABC. Base the ACL and ACT on the
minimum ABC of 10,770,000 lb gw from the declining yield stream. Use the current
allocations on the minimum ABC to establish ACLs. Set ACTs for each sector where the
commercial ACT (quota) is set at 95% of the commercial ACL and the recreational ACT is
92% of the recreational ACL.
The Committee then moved to recommend approval of the framework action and associated
codified regulations.
Without opposition, the Committee recommends, and I so move, that the Council
approve the Framework Action to Modify Red Grouper ACL and that it be
forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce for review and implementation, and deem
the codified text as necessary and appropriate, giving staff editorial license to make
the necessary changes in the document. The Council Chair is given the authority to
deem any changes to the codified text as necessary and appropriate.

Without opposition, the Committee recommends, and I so move, that the Council add
an alternative 4 to Action 3: To add a recreational closed season starting January 1
through Feb 28, open March 1st, and keep June 1 through July 31 a closed season.

With one in opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Action 2,
add a new Alternative 5:
Alternative 5: Establish a red snapper management program for charter vessels. The
program would include only charter vessels with a valid or renewable federal for-hire
permit for reef fish who elected to join the red snapper management program for charter
vessels. An endorsement to the federal for-hire permit for reef fish would be issued to
those charter operators who elected to join the red snapper management program for
charter vessels. Opportunities to opt in to the red snapper management program for
charter vessels are offered every year.
Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Alternatives
2-4 in Action 2, to add a sentence in each one that any vessel opting out from the
federally permitted red snapper charter for-hire program will not be able to harvest
red snapper.

2
Options Paper for Amendment 46 – Modify Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan (Tab B, No.
5)
Staff reviewed the background information and draft options paper. The document is in the
initial stages of development and staff is looking for feedback on the range of options currently
in the document. This range of options will be used for the analyses request and review at the
June SSC meeting. After discussion the Committee passed the following motion.
Without opposition, the Committee recommends, and I so move, that the Council add
an alternative 4 to Action 3: To add a recreational closed season starting January 1
through Feb 28, open March 1st, and keep June 1 through July 31 a closed season.

With one in opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Action 2,
add a new Alternative 5:
Alternative 5: Establish a red snapper management program for charter vessels. The
program would include only charter vessels with a valid or renewable federal for-hire
permit for reef fish who elected to join the red snapper management program for charter
vessels. An endorsement to the federal for-hire permit for reef fish would be issued to
those charter operators who elected to join the red snapper management program for
charter vessels. Opportunities to opt in to the red snapper management program for
charter vessels are offered every year.
Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Alternatives
2-4 in Action 2, to add a sentence in each one that any vessel opting out from the
federally permitted red snapper charter for-hire program will not be able to harvest
red snapper.

A Committeemember expressed concern with using regional landings to distribute quota, noting that
Mississippi has no charter landings for some years due to low sampling. The Committee passed
the following motions.
With one in opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Action 3,
to adopt the Advisory Panel’s recommendation to add a new alternative to distribute
quota using the parameters in Alternatives 2, 3 and 5:
– Distribute quota equally among charter permit holders (Alt 2)
– Based on the lesser of the COI of the vessel or permit capacity (Alt 3)
– Distribute quota based on historical/regional landings (Alt 5)
Options for the previous motion’s new alternative:
Option A Option B Option C Option D Option E
Alt 2 (equal) 25% 20% 30% 40% 75%
Alt 5 (regional history) 50% 50% 40% 30% 12.5%
Alt 3 (passenger capacity) 25% 30% 30% 30% 12.5%
Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Action 3, to
add 2 new options to Alternative 5:
Option 5d: use average landings for years 2003 to 2012, excluding landings in 2010.
Option 5e: establish a timeline as found in Amendment 40:
50% 1986-2013 plus 50% 2006-2013, excluding landings from 2010.

Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that in Action 1, add
an alternative to establish a PFQ program that uses annual allocation but not shares.
Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that staff time
permitting, to reconvene the Charter For-hire Advisory Panel, prior to the June
Council meeting, in order to continue their work on recommendations for
Amendment 41.

Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, that the AP take up
the harvest tag program that provides recreational participants with annual
allocation distributed in the form of harvest tags and specifically evaluate this
Alternative 5.

With a vote of 9 to 4, the Committee recommends and I so move, to have staff
examine the following traditional measures and report back to the Council how
these measures impact season length for the charter for hire sector.
1) 1-fish bag limit
2) Split seasons
3) A range of size limits

Without opposition, the Committee recommends and I so move, to ask NMFS to
publish a control date of December 31, 2015 for participation in the reef fish
headboat program.

By a voice vote of 9 to 6, the Committee recommends and I so move to select
Alternative 2 with Option 2a as the Preferred Alternative and Preferred Option.
Alternative 2: Extend the separate management of the federal for-hire and private
angling components (sector separation) for an additional:
Option 2a: 3 calendar years (to be effective through the end of the 2020 fishing year).

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CAST BULLET MUSINGS

Decided it was time to fine tune the sighting on my Ruger SBH .44 magnum and my .480 Ruger SRH, as “Pig Season” seems to be off to a fine start. Did some work on my “private range” in setting up better backstops at 25 and 50 yards, working on another target station at 75 yards. For me, these are sensible hand gun hunting ranges, for where and what I hunt with hand guns – hogs in a thickly wooded area.

Ruger SBH, 7.5" barrel, 31o gr hard cast at ~1000 fps, 27 yards.

Ruger SBH, 7.5″ barrel, 31o gr hard cast at ~1000 fps, 27 yards.

This was the initial sight in target with the .44 mag, shooting a Cast Performance 300 gr Hard Cast bullet at 1000 – 1100 fps, at 27 lasered yards. Not a really “tight” group, but it was late enough in the evening that the red lighted reticle on the T/C 2.5×7.5 variable scope was welcome. Certainly “minute of hog” at that distance. Also, these are “sight-in” targets, with optics adjustments between shots where necessary – not a final group check for repeatability.

.480 SRH, 7.5" barrel, 375 gr HC at ~1000 fps, 25 yards.

.480 SRH, 7.5″ barrel, 375 gr HC at ~1000 fps, 25 yards.

Getting the .480 SRH “on target”. Also got some needed experience shooting in late dusk conditions with the UltraDot red dot sight! I have been loading both 375 gr and 410 gr Hard Cast bullets from Cast Performance for my .480, and experimenting with different charge weights and velocities. These, I suspect were a bit under 1000 fps, the ones I shot the next day were closer to 1200, which caused a POI shift. One of the good things about heavy, large caliber bullets at close range is that pin point accuracy is not really needed to put a hog down – and such precise bullet placement is hard to accomplish on a constantly moving target in low light.

The first shot with the .44 after moving the target out to 60 yards (eyeballed it at 50, lasered it after set-up and found in was actually 60!). On my .44’s, I like “one shot groups”, as I find the shots to usually be very repeatable and consistent. Will do more shooting for groups later.

First try at 60 yards with the .44 mag - same load as used at 25 yards.

First try at 60 yards with the .44 mag – same load as used at 25 yards.

At the moment, my 25 yard target backstop is made of several feet of dead logs. They are starting to rot, so I expect bullets to pass through (except when shooting the steel targets), but guessed they would not travel far enough to be a problem. My wife found one of the .480 bullets yesterday, lying in the road only a few feet past the backstop. It showed minimal deforming from being fired, only light rifling marks. Fact is, it can – and will – be loaded and fired again! Comparing it to a sized but unfired .480 bullet, it weighed 357 gr instead of 375, so it did loose weight somewhere. The diameter was also smaller, measuring .468″ instead of the .478″ – .480″ of the unfired bullets.

The bullet on the left is actually a 415 gr, but is still a .480" sizing, for comparison. The right hand bullet is a 375 gr that penetrated several feet of red wood, with only a slight loss of weight and some rifling marks to show for its journey.

The bullet on the left is actually a 415 gr, but is still a .480″ sizing, for comparison. The right hand bullet is a 375 gr that penetrated several feet of dead wood, with only a slight loss of weight and some rifling marks to show for its journey.

Since I have these pistols “close”, next shots will likely be fired at the steel targets, at the same ranges.

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SPRING PIG CROP!

Of course, this isn't all of them!

Of course, this isn’t all of them!

The mild winter seems to have produced a bumper “crop” of pigs this year!

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Rechargeable LED Headlamp

A good headlamp can be a very valuable tool for the outdoorsman or landowner. The ability to see, hands-free, can be of great value at times. Headlamps have evolved a long way from the old carbide burning lights we used sometimes to coon hunt in my distant youth, but many of the most recent are pretty much disposable devices that rarely last long enough to need a battery change.

This lamp has a sturdy over-the-head harness and  adjustable light angle.

This lamp has a sturdy over-the-head harness and adjustable light angle.

Not so the LuckLED Cree XM-L2 rechargeable headlamp. This unit has a web-type harness to fit over the head, rather than a single elastic band like most, and it uses a rechargeable battery that provides a good deal more power than the “cheap” lights on the market. I use mine a lot when tending to my dogs (feeding, mostly) after dark or investigating things that go bump in the night on my property. The control is a simple push button, and it has brightness settings, selection of 1, 2, or all 3 lamps, and a flickering “strobe” type setting.

The harness for this lamp spreads the weight over the head, and the4 battery is in the back.

The harness for this lamp spreads the weight over the head, and the4 battery is in the back.

The main lamp provides a very bright light by itself

The main lamp provides a very bright light by itself

The side lights can be used alone

The side lights can be used alone

For maximum light coverage, all 3 bulbs may be used together.

For maximum light coverage, all 3 bulbs may be used together.

My only complaint so far about this light MIGHT be that the battery does not seem to hold a charge for an exceptional amount of time, but it throws a powerful beam, gets the job done, and recharges quickly.

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BIGFOOT STEEL CORE GUN BELTS

Bigfoot Gunbelts are not only made with two layers of high grade leather, but they have a center layer of spring steel.

Bigfoot Gunbelts are not only made with two layers of high grade leather, but they have a center layer of spring steel.

Big Foot Gun Belts (www.gunbelts.com) are made of two layers of English bridle leather with a center core of spring steel to fashion a belt that will not sag under the weight of the heaviest handgun! The stitching is with military grade thread, and the belt hardware – while not fancy – is solid stainless steel. This is a belt that will last a lifetime of hard use and looks nice enough to wear to business dinners!

These belts are available in black or brown leather.

Even the belt hardware - buckle, etc. - on a Big Foot is heavy stainless steel - although the user CAN substitute just about any favorite buckle.

Even the belt hardware – buckle, etc. – on a Big Foot is heavy stainless steel – although the user CAN substitute just about any favorite buckle.

BREAKING NEWS: Bigfoot is now offering BLACK belt hardware,for those who might prefer it to a shiny buckle!

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Steel Targets for Big Bore Handguns

Shooting steel targets can be a lot of fun, as the combination of visual and audible verifications of hits is very satisfying. My first attempt to “shoot steel” was with some “targets” I fashioned out of discarded parts of a cast iron wood stove. Shots at 25 yards with my .44 magnum and 310 gr hard cast bullets at around 1000 fps zipped right on through the metal. I was very impressed with my hand loads, until I shot the same targets with my .380 and hollow points – and they made an even bigger hole than the .44 did!

A piece of a cast-iron wood stove hardly slows a 310 gr Hard Cast slug at 1050 fps from a .44 magnum at 25 yards!

A piece of a cast-iron wood stove hardly slows a 310 gr Hard Cast slug at 1050 fps from a .44 magnum at 25 yards!

My next attempt used 8″ diameter steel plates made from 3/8 AR500 steel by Bullseye Metals, painted to show where the bullets hit. The .44 dented them on the side of impact, but showed no damage to the other side! I hung these on shepherds hooks from Big Lots, and they work just fine.

8" Diameter, 3/8" thick steel target painted white with a hot pink "bullseye.

8″ Diameter, 3/8″ thick steel target painted white with a hot pink “bullseye.

I painted these targets white with a hot pink center, and the dents can be painted over for a long lifetime of use – even with big bore pistols. The maker says these can be shot with a .50 BMG without a hole showing up, so they are some tough! IF you hit the steel target, your backstop takes no punishment and will last a lot longer. At least with hard cast bullets, they seem to flatten some and then fall away – I will be looking for them in the vicinity to the “gongs” to see what they do look like after impact.

The Amazon price was very reasonable – especially since they charged no tax or shipping!

These target can be shot many times, and only require a fresh coat of paint to cover the dents occasionally

These target can be shot many times, and only require a fresh coat of paint to cover the dents occasionally

These steel "gongs" come unpainted, but it is best to paint both sides to hold off rusting. Notice there are no dents on this side - or "humps" caused by dents on the other side!

These steel “gongs” come unpainted, but it is best to paint both sides to hold off rusting. Notice there are no dents on this side – or “humps” caused by dents on the other side!

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MAGNETO-SPEED BARREL MOUNTED RIFLE/HANDGUN CHRONOGRAPH

Most readers are probably familiar with a “standard” chromatograph used to measure muzzle velocity of a firearm, in feet per second (fps). These devices are very helpful to hand loaders – a necessity, in fact. Not only will a crony tell you if your loads are where they should be for safety, but also help get optimal performance from your reloaded ammunition. Standard chronys use sensors that detect light – and the brief absence of light as a bullet passes over them. The instrument is normally set up 8 – 10 yards down range from the muzzle to avoid the effect of a direct blast, and they use plastic “sky shields” held up by stiff wires to protect the sensors from direct sunlight.

While this sort of crony has worked well for a very long time, there are “flaws” in the design. The whole setup has to be placed some distance from the gun and the shooter – usually on a tripod, and shots must go between the wire legs holding the shields up. I for one, have shot a leg off!

The fairly new MagnetoSpeed chronograph, sold by a firm in Austin, Texas(www.magnetospeed.com), overcomes a lot of the problems with a standard crony. The Magneto Speed unit straps to the barrel of the gun being fired, and uses magnetic sensors that should be more accurate than light sensors. There are no shields or wire legs to shoot through, just a “bayonet” about a foot long. The digital readout plugs in with a long enough cord to keep it in front of the shooter where it is more easily read – and it can do a lot of interesting things with the data, including download it to a computer program.

The barrel mounted MagnetoSpeed chronograph will work on rifles and long barred revolvers. Here it is under the barrel of a Ruger SRH .480 Ruger. The wooden dowel approximates the bullets path after leaving the muzzle, which is critical to keep from shooting the tip of the chronograph "bayonet" off!

The barrel mounted MagnetoSpeed chronograph will work on rifles and long barred revolvers. Here it is under the barrel of a Ruger SRH .480 Ruger. The wooden dowel approximates the bullets path after leaving the muzzle, which is critical to keep from shooting the tip of the chronograph “bayonet” off!

The “Sporter” version I purchased is meant for rifles and long-barreled revolvers or single shot handguns like Thompson Contenders. I suspect a long barreled semi-auto without a long slide, like my original G20 Glock with a six inch barrel in a standard slide could also be used. This model is not recommended for air rifles or muzzle loaders, but most suppressors can be used. The attachment to the barrel is by a strap that tightens against adjustable Vee-blocks. The design is intended for the bayonet to hang under the barrel, but on my Ruger SBH Hunter, with its high and wide barrel rib, the best position is to one side – and the sensors don’t care. On some other revolvers this position might be preferable due to the front sight position.

Clearance between the bullet path and the bayonet is supposed to be 1/8″. I put a dowel rod down the muzzle of both my .44 mag Ruger Hunter and my .480 Ruger Super Redhawk double action to give me and idea of how close the bullet would actually come. Both look scary close to someone like me who fears shooting the end of the bayonet off and having to buy a new one – but they are probably just fine. I will be keeping my fingers crossed and holding my breath the first few times I shoot with this crony – but I like the concept very much, and I really WANT it to work!

The Magneto-Speed bayonet mounted sensors don't really care how they are oriented in regards to the barrel, so on a revolver such as the Ruger SBH "Hunter" with bits large rib atop the barrel, the best mounting position is to one side.

The Magneto-Speed bayonet mounted sensors don’t really care how they are oriented in regards to the barrel, so on a revolver such as the Ruger SBH “Hunter” with bits large rib atop the barrel, the best mounting position is to one side.

I’ll update this post after I have time to shoot with the Magneto Speed. Wish me luck!

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HANDI-RACKER IS REALLY, WELL, HANDY!

Hand-Racker 2

Some folks have a hand or hands that were injured or otherwise lost much of their strength somehow (age and arthritis, anyone?), and some – often, but not always – younger and female shooters just have low hand strength. These conditions can sometimes make it difficult to “rack” a slide when cocking a round into the chamber on semi-auto handguns. Then, again, some semi-auto handguns can be difficult for just about anyone to rack! My Para Expert 1911 .45 ACP is hard for me to rack – in fact, I usually have to cock the hammer before trying to move the slide. When I had my Springfield 1911 with the Clark .460 Rowland barrel installed, it was also a bear to rack. IN both cases this appeared to be because of the extra strength recoil springs of these guns.

A former competitive 1911 shooter told me many of those guys carried a short piece of dowel rod to the range with them for help in forcing the slide back against the stronger than stock recoil springs they used, and I tried this method myself. Felt silly sticking a piece of wood down the barrel, but pushing against it did force the slide back and cocked the action. Of course, this was done with the magazine removed, and once the action was “open” the slide release was engaged to hold it that way. The dowel was then removed, of course, the magazine was replaced, and the slide release “released” to load a cartridge into the chamber. When I put a stronger spring in my 10mm Glock, I found a clever attachment that tightened against the cocking serrations on the back of the slide and functioned as a “grip” to pull the slide back with. In the case of the Glock, it was really not that difficult to rack, but I had a Burris Fastfire III red dot sight mounted in place of the factory open sights, and it was hard to grip the slide without putting pressure on the sight and mount.

Although I looked far and wide, I never found a similar slide mounted tool to aid in racking a 1911 that did not require a gunsmith to attach it to the slide – until recently, that is!

This simple plastic device greatly simplifies racking a semi-auto pistol - and does it safely!

This simple plastic device greatly simplifies racking a semi-auto pistol – and does it safely!

The Handi-Racker by Chris McAninch of Grimes Indiana (www.Hand-Racker.com), is the neatest idea yet for help with a difficult-to-rack semi-auto handgun. Billed as “The safest way to rack your pistol”, and made of high-strength plastic in the USA, the Handi-Racker comes in 3 sizes to fit most compact and full size pistols. It simply fits over the slide (with a slot for the front sight, if there is one, to fit through) and allows the user to get a much better grip on the gun to force the slide back. It can also be held securely against a table or bench top or against anything solid, like a wall, and the pistol pushed against it – much like with my aforementioned dowel rod. Chris sent me two sizes to test, the “blue” model for compact pistols and the yellow one for full sized 1911’s. My AMT .380 Backup is not really difficult to rack, but is small enough to present a bit of a challenge in properly holding the slide – but not with the Handi-Racker. On the Para 1911, it is amazingly easy to rack the slide, instead of a test of wrist strength every time. The AMT also does not have a slide release button, so it can be hard to hold the action open while inspecting it or clearing a jam should one happen. A friend has a Colt Mustang .380 which is very close in size to the AMT and says his pistol IS difficult to rack. When you don’t want to leave a “bedside” defense gun cocked at night, but want to be able to rack it for action quickly if need be – the Handi-Racker is your answer! With the Handi-Racker, a slide mounted optic does not interfere with the operation, as the device fits on the front of the slide – and it can be used to directly rack and load a pistol like my AMT that does not have a slide release to hold the action open (no dowel that was to be removed for the barrel to chamber a round!).

Place the slide in the appropriate slot and push back - or push against a table - or even a wall.

Place the slide in the appropriate slot and push back – or push against a table – or even a wall.

This device does not attach to the gun, but when it might only be needed for quickly loading that first round, even at the range or in a hunting stand, this should not be a drawback.

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Shilen Barrel Company Swap Meet, Ennis, Texas

This event is open to the public, features discounted Shilen custom rifle barrels, factory tours, eats and drinks.

SHILEN 11th ANNUAL SWAP MEET

205 Metro Park Blvd Ennis, TX 75119

From 8am to 2pm

Saturday April 23, 2016.

RAIN OR SHINE!

NO ENTRY OR SET UP FEES

FREE CHILI, WATER, TEA AND COFFEE

DRAWINGS FOR DISCOUNTED OR FREE SHILEN STUFF.

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