NC Campus Carry?

House Bill 251 was introduced Thursday in the NC General Assembly and would allow legal concealed carry on college campuses in NC which are not private. So any community college or state university would be required to allow concealed carry on campus. I don’t see this being a problem at all, but I wonder if it will pass. Currently you can keep the firearm in the vehicle, now you would actually be able to exit the vehicle and walk around. I hope it passes, my only concern is a firearm owner who believes they know the law and has carried on a state-owned campus might go to a private university and find themselves in a pickle. Of course that is a minor concern, but one that lurks in the back of my head.

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2005 Three Floyds Dark Lord

Last night I once again decided to celebrate a milestone by opening a beer which has lurked in my fridge for a long time. The beer was a 2005 Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Style Imperial Stout and last year I pondered when to open it. Well last night I decided to stop worrying about it and treat myself to the eleven year old wonder as I celebrated a half-century. This was my second bottle of 2005 and the last bottle almost erupted as I poured it back in the day, but last night the carbonation was calm and subdued. The aroma and flavor were chocolate, molasses, raisins, and prunes coupled to a bready/biscuity nature. There was coffee and subtle roast with cherries. The alcohol only showed after consumption, but it was definitely there. I believe the ABV was somewhere around 15%, but it was never boozy. A great way to end a great day, only wish I had another bottle stashed somewhere as I am now fresh out!

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Natty Greene’s Farmhouse Ale

Every now and again you come across something no one else in the world has and last night I opened one of those gems. The beer was Natty Greene’s Farmhouse Ale and it was brewed in 2006 for a Wood-aged Beer Seminar held the National Homebrewers Conference in Orlando, Florida. It may have been released in the brewpub at the time, but it was never bottled with the exception of what was brought to Orlando from Greensboro, NC. I attended that seminar and some beers were left afterwards so I asked for the bottle and they allowed me to take it home. I spoke with the brewer and at the time they did not bottle so he had hand bottled the batch for his friend who was giving the seminar. The beer was quite sour in the aroma, but that attribute did not carry through into the flavor. It was as if the sour was a high note and everything else was a beautiful blend of farmhouse flavors and aromas. What was interesting is I did not treat this beer well at all. Over the years it has seen a variety of conditions and sometime back I threw it in the fridge figuring it was time to give it a try. Last night I grabbed it expecting a potential drainpour from an eleven year old beer which had been badly handled. What I got was a complex masterpiece. This beer was mindblowing and wonderful. Cheers to all who were involved in creating this Farmhouse Ale!

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Aberfeldy 12 Year

I was quite excited when NCABC put Aberfeldy 12 Year on sale a short while back for $34 so I snagged a fifth. As the bottle is about to disappear I find myself underwhelmed every time I pour a glass. It had a moderate level of banana ester when first opened that seemed to lessen slightly over time, but I still found it off-putting. The distillery webpage notes pineapple, toffee, vanilla, honey, and apple. While I can see all that, none of it quite works for me. It has an underlying sweetness and honey which are well placed, but the fruity notes just are not what I want in my scotch. Now on the bright side at $34 this is a steal compared to some who charge $45 or more. On the downside I could have purchased a handle of 12 year Blended from Costco for only $38 and would have enjoyed it twice as much. 😉

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Finding A Whale At NCABC

I finally made all the information available from NCABC work for me. Recently in Wake County the ABC stores got rid of all the waiting lists. Now all bottles are distributed as evenly as possible to the 24 stores in the county. This was an effort to make the system fair for everyone and while I admire it, it really makes it difficult to find something special. The other day I happened to be checking out the NC Warehouse Stock Status Report and spotted a special item on it in stock. I called Wake County ABC to try and order a case to get ahead of the curve and it was allocated so that was not possible. After asking several questions I determined some of the Wake County stores receive their shipments directly from the NC Warehouse and others from the Wake County warehouse. Of the stores close to me, one is a Monday delivery from the NC Warehouse and the other two are Thursday from Raleigh. It was not possible to tell what Monday the one close to me would get the goodies, nor what Thursday, so that meant checking repeatedly. I was out of town last week, but checked one of the Thursday stores on my return and they had not gotten the item. Knowing this I figured the Monday delivery had not received it earlier in the week. As luck would have it I needed to be out and about on Monday to pick up some items and so I went to the ABC store and walked in just as it opened. They had received the item last week, but received one additional case of three yesterday and I was lucky enough to bring one home.

So it is possible to get any new item at a Wake County ABC location. If you can find a location which is convenient to you and determine their warehouse delivery date and time you could simply stop by near opening time on that day and get anything new. As most of the items are not something I am after I will just keep checking the Warehouse report and once I see an item in stock I will then start making the rounds. My next goal with this quest would be to get a list of all the delivery days for all the ABC stores in close proximity. I have three, but knowing another handful could prove useful.

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Cigar City Brewing Tampa

Last week I found myself in Tampa for business and was not feeling especially wonderful. I decided that despite my allergies or cold I would venture over to Cigar City and give their taproom a whirl. I didn’t tour, but once inside it appeared there were at least two bars with ample seating in two areas as well. I chose the back bar and settled in near the end. There was a bartender and a bar back and IMO it would have been better to have two bartenders and let them share the cleaning duties. At any rate after my bartender started waiting on me, he made me feel like a king, remembering my name and noticing my empty glassware just as it drained. I really appreciated I could get a sample of anything, a taster size of anything, and then some of the larger beers allowed short pours. I mixed and matched my way through several offerings and then it became clear if I wanted to do more I should have taken an Uber ride so I departed. The beers ranged from very good to outstanding and one Brett Pale Ale aged on oak was blow your socks off good. I’d sneak back here in an instant and make sure to just taste my way through the board. I’m not sure how many they had on, nor how much that would cost, but arriving in the early afternoon and with ample pacing I believe it could be accomplished. If you have not been to Cigar City in Tampa then make sure you stop in, several of the beers I had were taproom only and I was the first to enter them in Untappd which is pretty rare nowadays.

PS: Turns out I was pretty sick which is why you haven’t seen a post in awhile. I’m still getting better, but I do have some topics in mind for this week!

Cigar City Brewing
Tampa, Florida

Firearm Warranties And Customer Service

Recently a fellow instructor discouraged a student from investigating a Taurus firearm based on their own past experience with the company. Best I can recall from a foggy brain that happened over five years ago, but it is apparent the pain is still felt from poor customer service and slow warranty service. When that happens we often steer clear of a particular manufacturer as a result. I’m not exactly sure that is fair, especially if the sins are sins of the past. Let’s take a look at a recent incident with customer service which happened to a friend of mine and you decide if you would buy their firearms knowing what could happen should you need a warranty repair and have to deal with customer service.

I mentioned the incident back in September in the post Accidental Discharge?. My friend was at a sporting clay event and loaded the magazine and then used the cartridge drop feature to load the chamber. When he did the gun went off. Everyone thought he had his finger on the trigger, so he repeated the sequence of events and the gun went off. He called me to ask what to do and I told him to call the manufacturer. From here I am going to miss part of the story since it did not happen to me, but basically they asked him to ship the firearm to them so they could investigate. He took it down and at the shipping place they wrapped it in bubble wrap and then boxed the firearm for shipment. It was in perfect condition when he shipped it. I should point out I suggested he get a firearm with a plastic grip and stock for sporting clays, but he liked the wood furniture and spend over $1,000 on the shotgun. After he did not hear anything from the manufacturer for several weeks he called and was told they could not replicate the discharge. He explained how that happened and they told him they would try again. After a few more weeks passed by he called again and they could not locate his firearm. He called many, many more times and finally got a tech on the phone who said the firearm had numerous broken parts, scratches, and dings and was on the way back as damaged before they received it. He told them it was in perfect shape when he sent it and had some photos of it. He asked them to recall the package since he was not going to accept it from them. They did as he asked and when the firearm came back they called and indicated it was almost destroyed in the latest round of shipping. What is very odd about the entire incident is the person who could not replicate the discharge made no mention of damage and later another tech mentioned his gun was beaten nearly to death. In the end they agreed the damage was something he did not cause and sent him a new firearm. None of this gets to the root of the problem which is why did the gun discharge without having a finger on the trigger. The secondary problem is why would a manufacturer destroy someone’s firearm while it is in their possession and where is the customer service? The manufacturer of his shotgun is Benelli and I think most of us would agree their firearms are considered some of the best. OTOH based on this singular experience of a friend should we all stop considering purchasing their firearms? I say no. If you want to consider a Benelli then by all means do so, but be aware of what you may face if you need warranty service and document the packaging and condition of the firearm.

My experiences with firearm manufacturer customer service have all been positive. I can imagine with one bad personal experience and numerous complaints in the past they would not top your list, but don’t count out a company based on poor past performance. Think of Hyundai. Their first cars in the US were so awful when they fixed the issues no one would buy them so they offered a 10 year warranty. With the extended warranty people started to buy the cars and eventually they became known for their reliability.

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Wish List 2017

I think the last time I posted a wish list was 2014. I figured it was time to revisit and determine what I’m currently dreaming about.

  • Ruger Precision – 6.5 Creedmoor (18008)
  • Marlin 336C – .30-30 (specifically with white trim on the stock)
  • Radom Vis 35 – 9mm
  • Uberti Buntline – .44-40
  • SAA – .44-40
  • Ruger Red Label – 12 gauge

Much of the list appears similar to what I published in 2014. The Ruger Precision in 6.5 has proven illusive at an affordable price. It can be had regularly for a few hundred more than I want to spend so I’ll patiently wait until I locate it at the right price. I can then apply that savings to the optics and other attachments.

A Marlin 336C has always been something I have wanted. I love a lever gun, but never had one growing up. The 336C was a rifle I often saw in magazines and the appearance spoke to me and it still does. Of course it isn’t any old 336, it has to have that white trim on the stock and especially in the grip area. I’m not well versed on the firearm so it’s an I’ll know it when I see it kind of purchase.

I’ve had my eye on the Radom Vis 35 for some time, but it is a firearm most people do not want to sell. With the American Rifleman feature last year I figure the prices are going to rise and make them even more difficult to find at an affordable price.

I need a buntline like I need another hole in the head. The ridiculously long barrel just speaks to me for some reason.

Everyone needs a SAA to go with their lever action rifles and as I said in 2014, I just haven’t found the right one yet.

I like the look of the Ruger Red Label, but the price gives me pause. They brought it back a year or two ago, but currently it appears to be out of production. If I don’t even run into one it won’t break my heart, but it still remains on my wish list.

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