Tuesday, March 21, 2017

LND: Nonsense Guns.

   And now we break for just a wee bit o' nonsense...

   There are very real reasons for a doomsteader to own guns, and a number of firearms that are of practical utility.

   There are also a lot of guns on the market which are essentially range toys and conversation pieces.  And that's okay!  Nothing wrong with buying a gun just because it's awesome looking and fun to shoot.  'MERICA!

   But many of preppers confuse the playthings with essential tools, which can be a problem if the latter are neglected in favor of the former.

   Keep in-mind that "impractical" is not the same thing as "useless".  You can certainly shoot game or a bad guy with a novelty gun.  But there are better, usually cheaper weapons that put you at less of a handicap.

The Mare's Laig.

   The poster child for Hollywood contrived guns, from the heyday of TV westerns, when producers made their protagonists stand-out by giving them distinctive weapons.  Bounty hunter Josh Randall of Wanted Dead or Alive carried a big-loop Winchester lever-action rifle that had been cut down at both the barrel and stock so that it could be used as a sidearm. 

   In reality, this is a pointless gun.  The handgun-level 44-40 Winchester cartridge, fired out of shortened barrel, would have been slightly inferior to the typical .45 Colt revolver in power, and no better in accuracy.  The Winchester uses a tubular magazine, which gets cut down along with the barrel.  This leaves the Mare's Laig with the same capacity as a six-shooter.  All in an excessively heavy gun with an obnoxious overall length that takes two hands to use, with a higher probability of malfunction and slower rate of fire than what all the other horse-opera guys were shooting!

   To be fair, Wanted Dead or Alive didn't even try to pretend this was a particularly good weapon.  In the first episode, Josh Randall found himself at a noticeable disadvantage trying to work the lever from a prone position, then managed to hit a physically unimposing adversary (none other than the future Little Joe!) with a round that didn't take him off his horse or prevent his escape.

   Yet, due to it's badass appearance and association with Steve McQueen, who played Josh, and whose picture was in 1960s and 70s dictionaries next to the word "cool", people still love the Mare's Laig.

   Getting one used to be a problem, since cutting down a rifle makes it subject to registration and taxation under the federal National Firearms Act, which most people don't want to mess with.  But it finally occurred to someone that a Mare's Laig manufactured as such from the start (rather than being modified from a rifle) would technically be just a handgun, not restricted by the NFA.   New manufacture Mare's Laig (Ranch Hand, Mare's Leg) pistols are widely available at this writing.

AK/AR "Pistols".

   So, if we can get away with selling a cut-down 19th Century lever-action rifle as a handgun, why not do the same with modern, semi-auto rifles?

   Building the AR-15 and AK-47 with short barrels and no shoulder stocks has become a popular way to get around the NFA.  Of course, you loose considerable of power and accuracy with the short barrel.  These weapons are bulky and poorly balanced if you actually try to shoot them like pistols, and awkward to hold and sight rifle-style without a stock.  A more conventional pistol in 9mm +P with a 33 round extended magazine would be handier, and would have the advantage of being a normal, holster-friendly sidearm when you switch back to a 17 round mag.

   Now there are new, adjustable 'wrist braces' (wink-wink) on the market that make these AK/AR shorties a little more shootable.  But, if you need something that fires rifle rounds, a 16" barrel is already pretty handy.  Seems like the main purpose of these guns is to say "up yours" to the bATFe...

   Which is pretty good justification, come to think of it.

Pistol Grip Shotguns.

    Shotguns had stocks long before 1934, when the Feds started regulating this sort of thing.  And for good reasons...  The stock helps you manage recoil, acts as a spacer to put your eyes in alignment with the sights, and gives you a more stable hold on the gun for accurate shooting. 

   Replacing the stock with a pistol grip throws all that away in exchange for making the shotgun compact enough for... What?  Hiding under your coat on the way to a mob hit? 

   "A great truck gun!" I've heard some say about stockless shotguns (as well as Mare's Laigs and AK/AR pistols).  But what does that mean?  If it's a gun you carry in your truck, why would it need to be truncated?  Trucks have lots of room, and don't get tired from carrying a full-weight shotgun.  If it means you're gonna shoot it from inside the truck, an awkward, two-hand weapon is a poor choice.

   "Home defense!"  Really?  Shotguns are indeed the obvious go-to for home defense, but how does lack of a stock help you there?

   There's this notion that shotguns produce a wall of devastation, so you don't really need to aim them.  But shot patterns are actually pretty small at defensive range, even with a short barrel.  It is quite possible to miss, especially when you are just pointing, rather than properly aiming.

   Mossberg has figured out how to exploit loopholes in the law in order to produce a 14" barrel shotgun (er- "firearm") with a pistol grip that avoids NFA regulation.  I'm half-tempted to get one myself, just because it looks badass and I like the rule-bending aspect.  But, if there's real shotgun work to be done, I'd leave the novelty gun alone and grab my full stock 12 gauge!

Gimmick Shotguns.

   I remember watching the old Looney Tunes and thinking that Elmer Fudd had a heck of a shotgun, as it appeared to be a double-barreled, pump-action, semiautomatic, with a huge magazine capacity!

   Well, modern manufacturers aren't content to leave Elmer's gun in the realm of cartoons.  They're selling dual-tube magazine shotguns for umpteen round capacity, pump-action double barrels (rack once, shoot twice), Assault Rifle derived semiautomatics that can be fed from a big drum with dozens of rounds, and more.

   Tacti-cool as these scatterguns are, they are complex in design and function, which reduces reliability.  And they are expensive.  As in, you could buy multiple Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 tried-and-true shotguns for what one of these things costs, and have change enough left over for a steamer trunk of shells.

   A long sequence of blasting away nonstop with a shotgun is a 'Going Out In A Blaze Of Glory' climax scene in a zombie apocalypse movie.  The half dozen rounds in a conventional shotgun is probably sufficient to convince more realistic threats to find an easier target, at the very least.

.410 Revolvers.

   These are on the bubble of practicality.  The Taurus Judge was initially promoted as an automobile defense gun.  And the concept has some merit.  A load of birdshot to the face would no-doubt be substantially more effective against a carjacker, over-the-line 'protester', or road-raging nut than pepper spray.  All with substantially less risk of serious collateral damage than flinging bullets around.  Plus, the Judge (and the S&W Governor it inspired) can have the first chamber(s) loaded with .410 shotshells, and the remainder loaded with .45 Colt or .45 ACP, just in case the threat at hand is a psycho, crackhead, or Moro Tribesman who won't back-off after being hit with pellets.

   What keeps these revolvers from qualifying as practical is the fact that you can get revolvers to do essentially the same thing at half the weight and price.  Shotshells can be purchased (or hand-loaded) for revolvers in several popular calibers.  These rounds may not have the payload of .410 shells, but we're not shooting quail at 30 yards with them.  At the short ranges at which you'd use a birdshot revolver, the snake-shot should be an effective deterrent against ordinary thugs.

   Pulling .410 Revolvers even deeper into the novelty category are the many .410 gimmick shotshells that have been introduced for them.  Slug and buck, disks and BBs, etc.  Kind of misses the original point.  If you're going to fire projectiles more substantial than birdshot, why not just use good old BULLETS?

Super-Magnum Handguns.

   In the 1971 film Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood pointed a .44 Magnum revolver at Albert Popwell and told him that it was the most powerful handgun in the world, and capable of blowing his head clean off.  While not entirely correct, this moment of Hollywood badassery started an unending quest among gun nuts to own the most wrist-breakingly, eardrum-burstingly overpowered gun they could get their hands on.

   The .44 Magnum is on the uppermost tier of powerful practical sidearm cartridges.  Much more, and you'll need a revolver so large and heavy to make full use of it that you'd may as well carry a long gun.  Even .44 Magnum class cartridges are mostly wasted on muzzle flash in popular compact revolvers, and provide only a modest firepower advantage over sub-magnum rounds like the .44 Special.

   Still, practicality doesn't figure into this sort of thing.  So we've got a whole slew of cartridges that make the .44 Magnum look like a mouse-gun.  But they're far better suited to something like an updated Winchester 1886 rifle than any handgun.

.50 BMG 'Sniper' Rifles.

   In the wake of World War I, John Moses Browning decided to radically scale-up the standard US infantry rifle cartridge for use in his new heavy machine gun, creating the .50 Browning Machine Gun round.  It wasn't long before someone realized lighter rifles could be built around this powerhouse cartridge.  These have gained considerable popularity since the 1980s.

   A .50 BMG is the most powerful rifle you can legally own without registering it under the NFA as a "destructive device".  It has an effective range of well over a mile, and can punch through medium armor and considerable hard cover. 

    They also cost ten to twenty times as much as a practical precision shooting rifles, weigh four times as much, and use ammo that costs five times as much, and require special equipment if you want to roll your own.

   In skilled hands, an 'ordinary' bolt-action with decent glass in common calibers like 30-06 and .308 can reliably take out targets at over a quarter of a mile.  There are few realistic scenarios in doomstead defense that would require more than that from a 'sniper' rifle.


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Monday, March 13, 2017

LND: Arcane Firearm Nomenclature.

   Essential to the safe use of firearms is knowing exactly what you're doing when it comes to what ammo goes into which guns.  With about a zillion different cartridges out there, it is very possible to chamber and touch-off a round that was not designed to be fired in that particular weapon.  Depending on the combination, the result could be anywhere from poor performance to a zero-delay hand grenade.

   You'd think it'd be simple.  Make sure the head stamp on your ammo matches the markings on your gun and you're good, right?  But no.  Due to the long and complex development history of firearms, it's kind of a mess.


   Even the term "caliber" is a bit murky.  It usually means diameter in inch measurement with implied decimal, as in "forty caliber" meaning ".40 inch".  Sometimes it means a specific cartridge.  For an assortment of reasons, it is almost always used nominally when referencing loaded ammunition.  Most .45 cartridges use slightly larger than .45" diameter bullets, while most .44 cartridges actually use bullets just under .43", and .38 cartridges use bullets less than .36".

   Sometimes an extended caliber is a way to distinguish a cartridge, like the .307 Winchester, which uses a .308" bullet like most other nominal .30 caliber rifles.


   A "grain" is tiny unit of weight (1/7000 pound) traditionally used to measure both gunpowder and bullets.  It does not refer to a particle of powder.

Caliber - Grains.

   One common way to identify cartridges in the 19th Century was by nominal caliber and powder charge in grains.  The 44-40 was a .44 bullet loaded over forty grains of gunpowder. 

   This naming convention worked well when cartridges were loaded with black powder.  But the rise of smokeless propellants at the end of the century meant that there would be far too great a difference between the various powder choices to give a simple load weight.  Only a few of the very earliest smokeless cartridges (like the 30-40 and 30-30) used this style of designation.

Caliber - Year.

   When it became clear that powder charge wouldn't work for smokeless cartridge designation in the early 20th Century, the number after the hyphen was switched to the last two digits of the introduction year.  This convention didn't last long, but did yield the still-popular 30-06 cartridge.  (Thirty caliber of 1906.)


   Since firearms are marketed internationally, metric designations, given in millimeters, are common.  Sometimes just the diameter, but more specifically diameter and case length, as in 9 x 19mm. 

Diameter, then Words and/or Initials.

   There are lots of cartridges with the same diameter bullets, and more than a few with the same length case as well.  So a straightforward way to identify them is with a name based on the company that developed the round, some practical description of the ammo, or the nation of origin.  Occasionally, a wholly contrived name will be applied.  These descriptors are often abbreviated, since there's just so much room on a head stamp.

   In addition to every imaginable company and country name, cartridges are commonly identified as short, long, special, magnum, auto, super, belted, rimmed, rifle, pistol, etc.   Examples include the .38 Long Colt and .30 Remington.

Brundlefly Naming.

   As if things weren't already confusing enough, some cartridges, especially those based developed from older rounds, mix and match naming conventions.  For instance, the 6.5-06 A-Square is a (nominal) 6.5mm bullet in a necked-down 30-06 case developed by the A-Square company.

Gauge (aka Bore).

   Shotguns and the shells they fire are usually designated by gauge, which is determined how many bore-fitting round balls can be made from a pound of pure lead.  The bigger the shotgun, the fewer balls can be made, and the lower the gauge number. 

   The 12 Gauge is the most popular modern shotgun size.  The smaller 20 Gauge is also fairly common for youths, ladies, and anyone else who might be recoil-sensitive.   10, 16, and 28 Gauge shotguns are still around, but no longer common.  Most shotgun shells are nominally 2 3/4" in length.  Many guns are chambered to accept 3", and some newer models will take 3 1/2".  Shorter shells, including 2 1/2" and 1 3/4" mini-shells can safely be fired from the longer chambers, but may not cycle reliably in pumps or auto-loaders.

    Of course, somebody had to go and muddy-up the world of shotguns with the .410, which is not technically a gauge, but an inch caliber.  I guess "68 Gauge" just didn't sound right.  This is the smallest shotgun commonly available, and has often been a beginner's gun for children.  Standard .410 shells are 2 1/2" long, but 3" shells have recently been introduced for revolver use, of all things.


   The pellets used in shotgun shells are identified by two number scales, buckshot and birdshot, both of which are counter-intuitively numbered highest for smallest.  Buckshot shells are usually marked with the number of pellets, while birdshot shells are marked with the total weight of shot.   The smallest shot (#10 - #12 on the birdshot scale) is called ratshot, suitable for close-range use on small pests, like rodents and snakes. 

   Birdshot shells are often marked "target".

Multiple Identity Confusion.

   Politics, language, common usage, and parallel development often result in the same cartridge getting alternate designations.

   Companies like to put their names on cartridges, like the .30 Winchester Center Fire.  Other companies don't like stamping their rival's name on ammo or rifles, so they label it something like 30-30.  Eventually it becomes known as 30-30 Win.

   Other companies were also reluctant to stamp their rival's name on the .380 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge, preferring to call it .380 Auto.  But that was just the start, since it was also known by it's metric designation as 9x17mm...  Having less case length than most of the other 9mm cartridges rising at the time, it was also called the 9mm Short...  And, being used around the world, that became 9mm Kurz/Corto/Court... 

   Which is all the more confusing since, in America, we usually think "9mm" means the 9x19mm.  Which itself is also known as the 9mm Parabellum/NATO/Luger.  You might reasonably expect this round to also be known as the "9mm Long/Largo".  But that designation was used by the Browning 9x20mm Long... And the 9x23mm Largo/Bergmann–Bayard/Bayard Long...  Which must never be confused with the 9x23mm Winchester...

Exceptions to the Rule.

   Despite the dumbfounding confusion of cartridge designations, you must never, EVER use a cartridge for which your gun isn't specifically chambered...  Except that sometimes it's perfectly okay to do so.

   This is frequently the case with revolvers chambered for straight-walled, rimmed, lengthened versions of earlier cartridges.  A .357 Magnum can fire .38 Special ammo.  .44 Special works in a .44 Magnum.45 Colt works in a .454 Casull.22 Short works in a .22 Long Rifle revolver...  But, just to mess with us, .22LR shouldn't be fired from a .22 Magnum cylinder, since the latter cartridge is derived not from the .22 Short/Long/Long Rifle, but the nearly forgotten, larger case diameter, .22 Winchester Rim Fire.

Coping With The Madness.

   The saving grace in this swirling jumble of nomenclature is that you only have to know the details for the guns you shoot.  Can you fire a .357 SIG in a .357 Magnum handgun?  It doesn't really matter if you own only a .45 ACP!

   Though it might be wise to learn a bit about the more common cartridges, even if they aren't used by any of the weapons in currently in your collection.  You never know what you might come-across in the future, when you might not have access to the Internet for technical data.

Possible Appendices...
   Overview of Common Cartridges.
   Don't Try This At Home:  Firing the wrong cartridge. What happens?


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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

LND: Fences.


   Of course, you don't want to keep the livestock in the barn all (or even most) of the time.  So you're going to need fences.

   Most farm animals are capable of jumping, crashing down, climbing over, burrowing under, or crawling through any fence that would be economically feasible to wrap-around a large area.  So fences actually work by creating a kind of psychological boundary.   Some combination of visual and tactile aspects has to convince the critter that it's not worth it to get to the other side of the barrier.

   I'm going to skip right over board, split rail, vinyl, and other expensive / cosmetically appealing fences for our purposes.  Kinda' defeats the purpose of a doomstead to have it look like a well-off show farm worth looting!

   Barbed wire is a relatively cheap, old school, and effective means to contain stock.  It is physically fairly strong, and has sharp projections every few inches that will stab or cut anything that comes into contact with it.  This usually discourages beasts from pushing into or leaning across it.  It tends to be long lasting and requires little maintenance.

Fence tensioning tool.

   Barbed wire needs to be stretched quite tight with a tensioning tool, so reinforced corner posts are required, and sometimes pull-to braced posts if there is a long distance between corners, or non-straight fence line.  The rest of the posts can be lighter, since they serve mostly to counter sagging and maintain spacing between the strands.   Usually four to six strands of barbed wire is used.  With tougher-skinned animals, posts have to be placed closer together keep the critters from spreading the strands apart to crawl through.

   Strands of barbed wire are often used to augment other fence that might otherwise be pushed-down or crawled-under.  

   Barbed wire should not be used for horses.  They are too thin-skinned, and prone to get panicked and tangled in the stuff, resulting in horrific injury.  Yeah, I know that (Insert Name Here) used barbed wire horse fences for years and nothing bad happened.  People get away with foolishness all the time... Until they don't.

   Field fencing, aka hog wire, is a mesh of steel wires knotted to create a pattern of rectangles.  (There is a similar form using welding rather than knots, which is generally unsuitable for livestock.)  It must be stretched tight between reinforced corner and brace posts, and held upright by lighter posts, much like barbed wire.

   Field fencing wire is probably the physically strongest practical material for livestock enclosure, especially in terms of being able to withstand a straight-on collision with a large animal.  But is not painful to touch or lean-across.  So it can be crushed down, or rooted up, trod upon, and thus rendered ineffective.  Supplemental barbed and/or hot wire is often used to prevent this.

   Hot wire is usually relatively lightweight, smooth wire (although barbed wire is sometimes used) attached to the fence posts with plastic insulators.  A fence charger sends a very high voltage, low amperage pulse of electricity out through the fence about once per second.  The return path for the current is through the earth to the charger's grounding rod(s), so anyone completing the circuit by touching the fence and ground (even if indirectly) when the pulse goes through will get an unpleasant, but harmless shock.  Solar powered charges are available for your off-grid needs.

   The light weight and tension needed for hot wire makes it easy to install and mend, allows greater distance between posts, and does not require braced corner posts.

   When in good repair, under most conditions, hot wire is quite effective.  But it is higher maintenance than barbed and field fencing wires, because green, wet foliage or a single downed strand will short-out the fence and greatly reduce shocking power.  Drought conditions can reduce the topsoil conductivity, also weakening the zap.  Fortunately, once they've learned not to touch the hot fences, most animals won't challenge it during transient current failures.  But they will figure it out after a while, so keep it checked and maintained!  (Most chargers have some sort of gauge that will alert you to ground-outs.)

   Lightning can travel through electric fences and damage your charger.  Simple lightning arresters are available and can be installed on the fences to prevent this. 

   The biggest drawbacks to hot wire are that it tends to by physically fragile and nearly invisible, so animals often crash right through it.  This is why it was often used in conjunction with tougher and/or more visible fences like board, split rail, and field fencing.  But the development of electrified poly tape and rope has solved these drawbacks.

   Multiple conductive wire threads are woven into a polymer web tape or cord, which is then installed much the same way as hot wire.  The polymer portion adds thickness, bright color, and physical resiliency that wire alone lacks.  It is nearly as easy to put up and repair.  UV-resistant tape with stainless threads has proven to have a respectable service life.

   Wood fence posts, soaked black with creosote, were the go-to back home in the Lowcountry.  I think those are considered too toxic for use anymore, but wood posts treated other ways are still commonly used.

   I understand that driving wood posts into the ground is a common practice in some places.  We always dug post holes and set/packed them in.  I imagine attempting to drive a wooden post into the ground up here in the hills would reduce the thing to splinters.

   Wood posts have the advantages of accepting nails and staples for fence attachment and being relatively safe for livestock.  On the down side, they are subject to rot and breakage.

   T-posts are made of steel to be driven into even very hard ground with a purpose-specific form of hammer.  (A heavy steel tube, closed and weighted at one end, with handles welded onto the sides.  This is slipped over the top of the post and repeatedly slammed-down.)

   T-posts are generally much faster and easier to put-up.  Unless you're dealing with a salt water environment, they'll long outlast wood posts.  Even when hit with a truck, they will usually just bend over rather than break.  (They can be unbent.)  Barbed and field wire are attached with simple wire clips.  Various types of snap-on hot fence insulators for t-posts are widely available.

   Because of their somewhat jagged, absolutely unforgiving tops, t-posts do pose a hazard to animals who might try to jump or climb over them.  Horses are particularly prone to severe cuts and even lethal impalement due to their thin hides, height, and inclination to jump obstacles.  T-post caps should always be used in horse fences.  Post-top insulators do double-duty, making the posts safer and providing an attachment point of hot fencing.

   Brace posts are used where great strength and rigidity are required.  The corners of high-tension wire fences.  At gates.  At intervals or at bends in long stretched of wire fences.  An extremely strong post, like a utility pole, railroad tie, large bore steel pipe, or reinforced concrete culvert can simple be sunk deep and set in concrete to do the job.  A more traditional approach is to sink strong, wood posts about 8' apart, with another post placed horizontally between them near the top, and a diagonal cable twist-tightened to lock them together.

   Where heavy wooden posts are employed, the tops can be cut off at a shallow angle and/or coated with tar, paint, aluminum flashing to reduce water soaking into the end grain of the wood and speeding rot.

   Before building our doomstead, we had the opportunity to try electrified poly tape fencing (a new product at the time) on the old farm, and decided it was the fastest and most economical approach for our needs here.

   We selected half-inch, white tape with stainless threads.  Half inch is wide enough for good visibility, but narrow enough to fit through insulators designed for wire.  The ones designed specifically for tape had proven too flimsy.  The narrow tape is also less subject to fluttering in the wind.  We make splices with aluminum wire wrapped and pliers-crushed flat to try and contact all the metal threads in the tape.  Aluminum is easier to work with, and doesn't rust-burn the tape like steel wire eventually does.

   The light weight of the tape allowed us to set t-posts at 20' intervals.  Domed insulator caps on the top of each, with a regular insulator snapped-on about a foot above the ground.  Since the tape needs only hand-pulled tension, no brace posts were required.  Four strands of tape were run.  One at the top, one at the bottom, and two diagonally, forming an X between each pair of posts.  This arrangement allowed four strands to be run with only two insulators per post, and the crossing created more intersections of tape, helping to keep the voltage distributed to all strands.

   Because the thin, stainless threads seemed to be poor long-distance conductors, we added an aluminum carrier wire along with the bottom strand.  Every 100' - 150', we added a vertical 'jump wire' which connects the carrier wire to all tape strands.

   Spring-loaded, insulated handles make it possible to open gates on live, hot fences without getting shocked.  It's best to install the gates so that the juice comes in from the wire loop the gate handle hooks into, so the gate goes dead the moment it's opened.  That way you don't have to worry about getting accidentally zapped, and you can toss the handle down onto the ground without shorting-out the fence.

   Folding the end of the gate tape and splicing it back to itself creates a loop that can slipped onto to an insulator (not otherwise attached to the hot fence) for an easily removable gate, handy for allowing animals to move freely between paddocks.

   To keep voltage going across the gate opening regardless of whether the gate is closed (which may be necessary to keep sections of the fence alive), an underground connector cable can be buried.  This needs to be very high voltage insulated wire, not household extension cord wire, which is only insulated against a couple hundred volts.  Fortunately, the proper stuff is fairly cheap and available from livestock product suppliers.   Be sure to bury it deep, as livestock going through the gate will wear a path.

   When we started this doomstead, we had only mature, sane horses who had already become accustomed to hot fences.  So the four-strand X pattern was sufficient.  Foals and calves are more likely to try to slip through the spaces between the strands, so we later reinforced with additional horizontal strands.

   Adapting for an ornery bull was not quite so easy.  We pulled the tape fence down from one paddock, then added new t-posts between the existing ones, giving us 10' spacing.  Since this was only a one acre enclosure, with relatively short corner-to-corner runs, we made brace posts by driving extra t-posts in a few feet down the line from the corner posts, then bending the new posts to be affixed to the corner post as diagonal supports.  (We did this with lots of heavy wire.  But it turns out that there are couplers made for exactly this sort of thing.)

   We pulled heavy gauge field fencing to replace the tape, kept the insulator caps and ran an electric wire to discourage reaching over the fence.  Extended insulators a foot or so above ground level are used to suspend electrified barbed wire several inches inside the fence line to keep the bull from rooting under the field wire.

   Bulls are more trouble than they're worth, but that's a story for another chapter!



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