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About RockHoundTX

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  1. Unless those are absolute top quality (and that is not something Helzberg is known for) or have a fairly high gold content, that sounds expensive. I would start by looking at what Costco or Sam's Club has in-stock. From my experience, their prices seem to be about half what most pure-play jewelry stores sell for. As what has already been mentioned, Clarity/Cut/Color are the biggest influencers on price given a specific size. Just realize that not all diamond grading companies grade the same. GIA certs tend to be the most accurate. It is not uncommon to see an IGI/EGL cert that grades the same stone 1-2 levels higher than GIA. This results in you paying 20%-50% more than you should for consistent quality. When at all possible, take the diamond outside to see what it looks like in the sun. Lots of diamonds fluoresce in daylight so look totally different when not under the very specific lights used in jewelry stores. Sometimes this is a good thing (more sparkle) and other times bad (the diamond shows more yellow under the sum). You could save a ton of money buying on Craigslist or from a Pawn Shop but I would not recommend since way too easy to get screwed. There are a bunch of man-made simulants (CZ, etc.) that are actually more sparkly than diamonds that can easily trick the casual observer. I am an expert in precious and semi-precious minerals but even I won't trust my own eyes. I have a bunch of expensive equipment for testing gems but even those can be fooled.
  2. Taiwan definitely has the best "kids" shows. Think something like Seseme Street (mostly live-action skits with some occasional cartoon background) but the 3 main female hosts are named Peach, Strawberry, and Melons (the guy is called Banana ;-). Usually when my kids would watch I would sit down as well and enjoy the scenery during the every-present dancing (especially Melon ;-).
  3. Large (200+ pounds) hogs are EXCELLENT to eat. My kids like them better than deer. If you can catch them live, the processors pay a hefty premium for them. The trick is in the processing. A quick kill, getting them gutted and on ice within the first 30-45 minutes is critical. You then soak them in ice and apple cider vinegar for 3-4 days. Put them on a smoker for 15-20 hours and get the meet to 204 degrees and it will just melt in your mouth. Almost no gamey taste at all. However, a badly processed hog is NASTY. My brother got a piglet (about 30 pounds) and thought he could skip the soaking step. It was so bad even the dogs refused to eat it (they would sniff it and just walk away). The issue with hogs is that they are incredibly smart. In my area of Texas, you can't hunt hogs if you don't have night vision. They have learned from constant pressure and have adapted. As soon as they even see a red or green laser, they are gone (they absolutely knows what it means). I put out hog lights (trying every color combination) and they absolutely refused to come to the feeder even after several months of non-hunting to try and get them used to it. If I shoot one at a feeder, they won't be back to that feeder for a few days. Even when they do, they send out the piglets first. After a few minutes the sows will show up and the boars will stay off to the side hidden. Only after a few days when the boars know it is perfectly safe will they come in and force the rest away from the food. If I shoot two within a week, they will avoid that feeder for a month or more. They definitely remember.
  4. The first thing you have to ask yourself is "Is my idea worth at least $11M in retail sales within the next 18 months?". If not, then you are wasting your time and money getting a patent on it. Everyone talks about their "Million dollar idea", but it takes WAY more money than that to design, market, and distribute a successful product. Assuming your product is successful, then you had better have REALLY deep pockets to fend off all the patent lawsuits that are surely to come. Also remember that you have to file the patent not only in the US but outside the US as well (this is where it gets really, really tricky). If you have not already done an exhaustive patent search, STOP. There is a very high likelihood that anything you make could infringe on an existing patent and all your hard work could end up being totally worthless. Knowing what has been patented, what is already in the public domain, and being able to carefully craft the wording and design of your product to legally get around both of those is the key to having a sellable idea. If you do have a great idea, your best bet is to get it out to the market yourself (mortgage your house, max out your credit cards, borrow money from family, etc.). If you have not done absolutely everything you can to fund this yourself (or shown that you have spent thousands of hours coming up with something tangible no-else could come up with), why should anyone risk their $$ if you have not already risked yours? If you have the best thing since sliced bread, investors will be coming to you to help you ramp up production. Before you show it to the world, just make sure you have a correctly filled out provisional patent application just to give you that year buffer even if you don't plan to file for the formal patent. Finally, I don't care how good your idea is if you don't have a finished and tested prototype. If you come to me with just an idea that you want me to fund, as an Angel Investor I am going to ask for FAR more of your company that you would ever view as reasonable (you would absolutely be the minority investor in the company). Funny enough, this EXACT topic was covered in the 9-11-15 Dilbert comic strip ;-) To quote Alice: "I believe the economic term for what you have is "Nothing" :.
  5. Spent several years working in Asia. Best to stay away from any drinking games even if you "think" you can hold your liquor. While many asians (such as my wife) are alcohol intollerant, I have seen more than a few that can even give a Russian a run for their money (especially when drinking the local beer). Most of the bars will have hot girls that work for the bar that act as your hostess. Basically you buy them drinks (which are apprpriately watered down in most cases) and they sit an chat with you. As for stuff to buy, just go to the local street "night market". They usually open around 8PM or so and go to about midnight. Lots of great food to eat and pretty much anything you want to buy will be available. There should also be a "technology center" somewhere in the area if you need computer parts, etc. However, much of this might end up being really bad counterfeit junk (something that looks like an Apple smartphone but is spelled "Appple" and no telling what the actual CPU or OS is) so usually pass unless you know exactly what you are getting. If you dress nice and be polite the locals will absolutely go out of their way to help you. Just realize that there is no concept of "equals" in the Chinese culture. When they ask which University you went to, what is your job title, and how much money you make they are just trying to figure out if you are above them in status or below them. Just a cultural thing. The only two words you have to know are "nee how" which is a greeting meaning "how are you" and "shea shea" meaning "thank you". Have fun.
  6. Based on personal experience, at the top of my list is Noveske. Mine is sub 1/2 MOA (truly could not believe it was more accurate than my competition sub 3/4 MOA Remington 700 Varmint). Unlike others here, I MUCH prefer Armalite to DPMS. DPMS is great "bang for the buck", but my experience is that Armalite tends to have better fit and finish and traditionally is more accurate than DPMS out of the box (unless DPMS has really upped their game over the last few years). KAC, JP, GAP, and LaRue all have excellent reputations. I have friends that own each of these and they all swear by them. If I didn't already have my Noveske (or I won the lottery), the Les Baer .308 would have been on my wish-list for Christmas (guaranteed to shoot 1/2 MOA).
  7. You are wrong. BATFE does not regulate the length of a buffer tube It's all about "intended use" and they have determined that the intended use of SB15 brace is for the user to wrap it around their forearm. If the user chooses to hold it a different way, the intended use does not change. It is still a pistol. There are several opinion letters from BATFE saying that firing a pistol from the shoulder does not change the fact that its a pistol--putting a stock on it does. ???? Wrong about what? Where did I ever say that the BATF regulated the length of a buffer tube? Reading is fundamental Unless you have arms like a little girl, I don't care what AR buffer length you have (standard carbine or short), it is going to be too short for good posture. I have seen folks try to shoot a pistol AR that way a couple of time. I got to laugh my ass off every time when the reaction was "Hmmm. Not going to do that again". The funny thing is that I completely agree with your point about "intended use" and my post completely supports that logic. The "intended use" for an AR pistol buffer (or SB47 brace) is not to put it against your shoulder. I have admittedly only used a stabilizing brace once and thought it was worthless. MUCH more stable shooting with a sling.
  8. As I mentioned in another post, several of my friends are using hand-held thermal for detection and then night vision to take the shot. The FLIR One is kind of useless but the Therm-App is pretty dang cool (definitely worth $999 but not the new $1600 price tag).
  9. I am not sure why this is so hard to understand. I have a pistol AR. While the buffer tube "could" be used as a stock, no-one in their right mind would want to on a regular basis. The tube is too short for one thing but more importantly would hurt like hell each time you pulled the trigger. Thus it is a pistol even though there is something hanging off the back-end of the receiver that theoretically you could put against your shoulder. No different with the SB47. While you "could" use it as a stock, no logical person would want to. It is too short and would not feel too good on the shoulder after you pulled the trigger a few times. While I hate to admit it, this is one time where the ATF statement makes perfect sense to me. Now if you modified the buffer tube or SB47 brace to make it comfortable to use against the shoulder, then you just manufactured a stock. At that point your pistol becomes an SBR.
  10. When I started hog hunting that pretty much brought me into the night vision game. After lots of research and a growing collection of "toys" that include digital NV, Gen 2+, and Gen 3 (plus playing with numerous friends' toys as well), here are some of my real-world observations: If what you really care about is detection, then better to go thermal. The prices of thermal are dropping like a rock and getting cheaper every day. The new ThermApp is amazing (hooks to a cell phone) and is only $1k. At least when it comes to hogs, many of my friends are using thermal to locate them and then night vision to take the shot. When it comes to night vision, the first decision you have to make is whether you REALLY need to be totally passive or if you can supplement with IR. If you are hunting animals, then 99% of the time then supplemental IR is fine (IR tends to have a faint red glow that is really hard to filter out). If you are on a budget, get a $600 scope (something like a SightMark Photon) and a $200 IR source and you are good out to 150+ yards. If the moon is 1/2 of better then you won't even need the IR. The one major down-side to the current crop of digital NV is that the field of vision is really, really small. If that is going to be an issue, then just pick up a decent Gen 2+ scope with large front lens (run in the $1200-$1500 range) as they will give about twice the FoV. If what you are afraid of is 2 legged creatures, then your only choice is the best Gen 3 you can find (figure $3k-$10k) since your IR will be a beacon to anyone else that happens to have NV as well (even cheap NV). Then you have to figure out if you want a scope, monocular, binocular, etc.... Just realize that scopes suck for trying to get around in the dark (learned that lesson the hard way) and a monocular sucks for putting on a scope (and you are highly likely to damage your high $$$$ monocular with the recoil). I personally would never sell a firearm to purchase NV. At some point you would definitely regret selling the VEPR 12 or PSL. As for suggestions, just mark any Gen 1 off your list. Digital is already equivalent to lower-end Gen 2 and getting better every day. If I had limited funds, I would just get a Photon or X-Sight (when-ever it finally comes out). When you get a few extra $$ then just pick up another IR source if you think you need it. Relatively inexpensive, works great if the moon is out, and even run passive you would be able to see anyone that is running IR long before they see you. Likely won't meet 100% of your objective but maybe 80%+ without having to sell something.
  11. With Century it is always a crapshoot. I would have just kept the first pistol especially since it was listed as a G/VG and not just a "Very Good" or "Excellent". I have received rifles from them that were listed as Good that turned out to be near new. Also had the exact opposite experience a few times as well. I got a Mosin listed as VG that the bands were rusted so bad they literally broke in half when I toughed it. Sent that rifle back with a polite note saying that this rifle should have never been sent out and to send a better one. I kind of expected something decent but was sorely disappointed. They must have been getting to the bottom of the crate since the one I got back was only marginally better and was Fair at best. Basically wrote it off as "the risks of doing business with Century".
  12. Just get the newest Photon Digital. It runs right at the $500 mark, it is plenty good for hog hunting, and handles both recoil and flash well. Image quality is roughly that of a low to mid Gen 2 unit (but WAY better than any Gen 1 unit I have seen). With the built-in IR you are good out to about 75 yards and with a good external IR good to 200 yards pretty easily. Only down-side to the Photon is the Field of View sucks. It is half the FoV of my traditional Gen 2+ scope but the Photon is also only 1/3 the cost. For someone on a budget, it is still the best option. My opinion is that traditional Gen 1 units will completely dry up over the next 3-4 years as cheap digital units take over (and in many cases they already have).
  13. Between those two, go with the .308 with an expanding round. You will more than likely end up doing most of your hunting at night so the sights on the S-12 will not work as well as an illuminated scope. I am in Central Texas and been hunting hogs the last few years on my land. Started with .308 then "downsized" to a Yugo RPK using Wolf 150 grain soft point (fitted with Gen 2+ night vision). Killed two hogs with one shot the first time out (complete blind luck). Went all the way through the first one (about a 120 pound sow) and about 2/3 the way through the second (a smaller boar). Unless you are hunting a wide-open field, only expect to get one shot off. Hogs are AMAZINGLY fast and will run back into the brush in a blink of an eye.
  14. I have several million miles in the air across most of the major carriers. These days $1200 for a round trip is not a bad price at all especially in May. Prices on all the majors have gone up by about 10% a year for the last few years. This is especially the case with international flights. I used to get $750-$850 flights to Taiwan pretty regularly but now they tend to be $1200+ for the cheapest fares and $1400 is pretty normal. The idea of waiting until the month before can cost you majorly. Your $1200 seat can become $1500-$1800 overnight. If you want to play that game then figure out 3 or 4 flight options and then go to website like SeatGuru to see how full each flight is. If one or more of your connecting flights is greater than half full more than 6 weeks in advance then your chance of getting a lower airfare is slim.
  15. A couple of years ago I got into high-$$$ air rifles. I have a 10 Meter Olympic rifle that is literally a 10-shot perfect hole that you would swear was only a single shot. It is loud and the sites are only meant for targets but it is the ultimate in accuracy. For dispatching varmints (rabbits and squirrels mainly but could take larger game as well) out to 50+ meters, I use a .22 caliber Logan 16S. It is quieter than my son's Red Ryder. At 35 meters it is a single ragged hole when shooting off a sandbag and I am sure that is more me than the gun. Roughly the same knock-down power as a .22 short but way more accurate. Also cool that it comes with a 2x8 rotary mag so can keep your eye on the target as you load the next round. I have been looking at some of the big-bore airguns (9mm and .38) but have not found a compelling need yet to get one (yet).
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