ATV Accessories

ATV plow, first use. 

Got 4″ of powder last Thursday night, finally enough to try out the ATV plow! 

I built the mount, and had it all ready in early October of 2016. But the night I finished it, and went to test ride with it mounted, is the night the clutch went out. I didn’t know what to do with the clutch until spring of 2017, so the wheeler and plow sat unused all winter. I never got to try the plow until this weekend!

SO, Anyway, I used the Prairie to plow my yard and driveway Friday. Works great!

One small section of drive plowed;

Took about the same amount of time as it does with my truck… Truck moves more in one pass, but takes more time to maneuver…

The wheeler is smaller, easier to turn and has better visibility. But not as much power or blade size to move a lot at once. 50/50-90 kinda thing.  I’ll break it up from now on, truck for large bulk areas, wheeler for the tight spaces, trimming up. 

Did have one problem. The plow doesn’t have an upward stop for lifting the blade… Just where you stop the winch. So if you go too far, it just keeps pulling. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have it all the way up or not. 

Broke some welds on the mount pulling it up too far.  Will need to re-weld that, and make some sort of positive stop that hits the bumper or something, so I can tell for sure when to stop the winch.. 

I’m thinking just a upward angled bar braced off the plow, that would hit the bumper, and be a solid stop I’d feel. Maybe have it high enough that I could see it… Something like that. 

Got the main mount piece with the breaks inside melting/drying out now, will get it done and back on in the morning,  so I can plow the new 2″ or 3″ tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m really not surprised it broke… I’m only semi professionally trained at welding, still not real good at it, and this was done with a rather light welder for steal this heavy… 

 And it was being torqued at this area by a 2000# winch, with about 3′ of leverage added… It simply tried to hinge on the welds and sheared them, and is now hinging/flexing others.

 Looks like I missed welding straight across the back edges too, which would be a lot of loss of strength against pull in this direction.. Whoops.  

I’m actually happy it broke where it did. This piece is a 2″ receiver hitch mount, that goes into a 2″ receiver tube mounted on the wheeler. Breaking at the female side on the wheeler would have been a Lot bigger of a pain to fix! 

And the plow itself hinges onto this piece. Breaking the plow side would have been worse too, mainly for being able to get it into my heated shop where the bigger welder is set up, and I’d probably have gad to do a lot more re-engineering if part of that broke.

All in all, if it was going to break, it’s the best area for it.

This time I’ll full box all 4 edges where the two pieces stack,  maybe drill a couple holes in one and plug weld it down to the 2″ square tube… Maybe add a cross plate above the tube. And use a much bigger welder for more penetrating heat.

Yeah, apparently forgot to paint it against rusting before I parked it last year too… 

Anyway, onward to custom plow mounting 2.0!

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Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Damages, Fabrication, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding, Winter

Field Holster; chest carry. 

I’d decided that I need a new holster for my .357. (Vintage Ruger Security Six, 4″). Field holster I guess you’d say… I don’t concealed carry often anymore, just open carry for hunting/hiking. 


Until recently I’ve done belt carry, have a great pancake holster from Simply Rugged that works phenominally. 

But I can’t do belt carry anymore;
Problem #1, it kills my screwed up hips, and #2 at current weight loss level/clothing sizing, keeping my pants up is impossible with the weight of a gun…Hell, it’s hard enough without the gun. Lol. (belt tight enough to hold it all up, cuts into back/hips too much, back to problem #1)

I’ve tried regular shoulder holsters. No go. Got a leather Galco “miami classic” style for a full size auto, have had it a decade, worn it a total of maybe ten times. 

Borrowed a buddies Uncle Mikes vertical nylon job for hunting last month. Wore it once. Rode ok once adjusted, but where it was secure and somewhat comfortable, I couldn’t reach the gun to draw it! 

I’ve had nylon ones twice in the past before. Got a great vintage Bianchi leather job that a good friend gave me, but it’s too big for this gun(actually hoping to convert it to chest or bandoleer carry for my .41 mag Blackhawk ). 

Anyway, I can Never get any slight semblance of comfortable, or secure, at the same time, and never an easy draw either way… 

Add to that the layers of straps you get with the holster, a backpack, and a rifle sling while out and about in the woods… Just no. There’s too much of the world sitting on my shoulders anyway, don’t need to add more! ;)

I’ve thought about a bandoleer setup, but that ends up on the hip cross draw… hard to reach (yes, I still have a bit of a spare tire to reach around, and add a heavy jacket, forget it!) and in a place that would interfere with backpacks, pack frames, and I think a slung rifle.. 

So, my last ditch idea is to attempt to try a chest rig… 

They’re actually extremely popular up here in AK for bear country fishing, and some hunting. 

Yes it hangs on shoulder straps, at least one..but the weight sits on the chest, not under the armpits. And it should pull on the back more than straight down on the shoulders.. I think. I’m thinking it will be more secure feeling and more accessible. And probably more comfortable, leave me some range of arm movement without under arm binding. (Hopefully!)  

So, a couple weeks digging around, and some fantastic suggestions from friends on a forum, and I made a choice. 

I ordered a holster last week. I’d seen these before, and looked at them off and on, but wasn’t sure.

But I decided for the cost –About $40– I couldn’t really go wrong.. If nothing else I could modify the snot out of it. ;)

But really, I decided I needed something low cost to try, to see if chest carry was even the answer, without dropping $70 to $150 depending. Expensive risk, if it turned out chest carry wasn’t my thing.

So, the make is Skyball Mountain Holsters. Amazingly, made in USA. Only places I can find them are Facebook and Ebay, apparently it’s a small business, no dedicated website.

I dug around and found out that the current Ruger GP100 is super close in size to a Security Six, so I ordered the one for a 4″ barrel GP100.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/262234099076

It fits the gun perfectly! 
(Being a open non formed holster, it actually fits All of my mid frame ~4″ hand guns almost perfectly!)

These are built a little different than the average chest harness. The average seems to be an around the body horizontal strap, then the holster sits on that or straps down to it. Then the shoulder strap goes over and attaches to the horizontal strap on your back.

This one is the horizontal strap, and then the shoulder strap goes around from the holster, and BACK TO the holster…

It works. But it adds another strap crossing under your arm, and for me it’s a bit uncomfortable crossing that high under my arm. (I’ve a bit of fat there and it presses in anoyingly)

But even having said that, this thing is SUPER comfortable!! 

I threw it on with the 357 over a light hoodie a few nights ago, and went out and split a days worth of firewood. 45 minutes swinging a splitting maul, lifting, moving logs, etc. and I only had to reposition it a few times. That’s pretty upper body active, more so than any average time I’d normally be wearing a gun.


My only little problem is the way it sits, all the tension is pulling to the left side… The straps don’t hold it to the right if it’s pulled left. But it’s a left hand draw. So it drifts left during draw. Grabbing it with the right hand durring draw fixes it obviously. But I might not always have that hand free, so it needs a hold down strap on the right.

There is a loop on the barrel end of the holster (probably for a hold down), so adding a short cord, I’m thinking shock cord for a little movement, should be easy, run down to my belt.

One other thing, not really a problem, is the chest strap, on me, is extended almost all the way out. Not a design flaw, I’m just a big guy. So I’ll have to get an extension strap for wearing it over a heavy coat. It’s all 1″ strap, and all ends are held with SRBs, so it’ll be easy/cheap to add/remove as needed. The shoulder strap on the other hand, oddly has like another 10″ of outward adjustment, it’ll be fine.

Overall, I really like it. It works, and is verry comfortable. 


As to mods, I’m trying to find the site I saw a T shaped side release buckle on recently… 

It was simple the male or female side of the buckle, but the strap side had the slots on it at a 90 to the buckle… So you can slide it to any place on a strap and have the buckle T off. It was for camping/hiking packs, like to add a sternum strap or similar. Just can’t find it again! 

Anyway, was thinking one of those or similar on the around the chest strap, put it in the back, and clip the shoulder strap into it, doing away with the under arm strap. 

I’ll wear it/use it a while as is and if I don’t get used to that strap there, I’ll look into moddling it. But for now it’s fine!

Fat guy in a holster;

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My view;

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And the bonus, I can pick and chose what I want to carry;

4-5/8″ Blackhawk;

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Ruger MK2;

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Beretta Stamped SAA;
(3.5″ barrel us a little short in there, but I think it’ll balance ok/hang ok)

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Browning BDM 9mm;
(Which is great for now since this is my usual winter woods carry gun. No bears then so I don’t need the .357 etc.)

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:)

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Backcountry, Clothes, GetOutdoors, Guns, Hunting, Life-Philosophy, New Gear, Outdoors, Woods tools

I *Think* it’s time to re-blue my 30-06 barrel.

At the least, some serious touch ups are needed.  Dragging it through the brush the last several years has taken its toll… Not to mention it turned 49 years old this summer, I’m sure some of these scratches were there before it was mine.

 But I do see a lot more after every season, some distinctively new this last week.. 

Especially on the underside. –Which makes sense; when the gun is shoulder slung, that part of the barrel meets the brush I push through as it goes over/around me.

And Yes, those are rust spots in the first pic, and on the muzzle… Found out the hard way that my Kolpin gun boot IV is NOT waterproof if left upside down..  

The butt end cover fits Over the main part of the case, but without a seal. So left upside down in the rain on the boat for 5 days, water runs into the cap… And then into the rest of the case when you pick it up.

 Dumped probably a quart of water out of it… Foam liner was basically soaked. Found this when loading the boat to come home  –no time to dry it.

–In defense of the case, it is designed to be solid mounted in a vehicle,  butt up, barrel down, cap up, “right side up”, so water couldn’t enter in this manner.  Ive been using it as a hard carry case off of a mount, Not what it was designed for.

About the only way you’d get water in it when mounted upright is full submersion… which its not designed for either..    Definitely operator error leaving it upside down in the rain a few days, Not a fault of the case or its design.

No other easy way to carry the rifle home though, to keep it out of the way anyway, and out of the rain. Had to put it in the wet case.  15 hours later when I got home, the rifle was pretty wet.. Wiped it down then, but it still managed to rust a few spots before I got it cleaned(couple days later).

Gave it a thorough WD-40 bath… Really slathered it on, whole action out of the stock, and the bore. Wiped down again. 

Then did a simple bore cleaning, solvent, brush, patches.. There is some somewhat heavy copper fouling in the bore, that  wouldn’t budge… Didnt want to scrub it THAT hard now, but if any of it was rust, I did brush it hard enough, I’m sure it would have come out.   Then oiled the snot out of it inside and out…

Did the 357 while I was at it… been meaning to clean and oil that gun for months, its spent a lot of time out in the weather this year, and it’s missing a lot more of its blueing. Actually amazes me that that gun never shows any rust inside or out..

Hate to admit it, but this is the cleanest they’ve both been for a couple years…

Honestly, I don’t clean guns often, if they shoot and function good, and ain’t rusting, all I do is oil from time to time.

  Do Need to get in a better habit though of post trip cleaning! At least for surface moisture/external dirt and grime if not full on scrubbing..

Categories: Adventures, ATV Accessories, Damages, Guns, Gunsmithing, Hunting, old tools, Outdoors, Woods tools

New ATV Taillights.

Well, brake lights anyway. 

I’d had to take the stock brake/tail light off when I mounted the rear winch right where it had been.    

Then the rear accessory recievers, and the bumper, and it left very little realestate for putting it back– Especially since it’s bulb housing is 4″ off the back of the light… It needs 6″ depth where I had rack cross bars at. 

Had bought a 2″x3″ trailer marker light for this, but even it was a bit big to fit in the space I had left, and too thick to end up behind the bumper face. 

Then, I remembered the marker lights that came with my big trailer,  that were left over when I cheated and mounted reflectors instead.  1″x4″. Perfect for between rack and bumper, recessed from bumper face.  Just so happens that the space between the frame rails there is 9.75″. Perfect for 2. 

Made a mount bar from 1″x3/32″ 1095 bar stock. 


Paint,  mount lights,  and mount between the frame rail tails with the upper bumper bolts.  

(Ignore the scratched paint around holes… I scraped it up to ensure it all grounded.)

These lights are nice. They’re a base plate that mounts and wires, then a sealed  water proof 2 bulb unit plugs/snaps onto the top.  Should be easy to change when burnt out, but being sealed I can’t see them ever burning out very easilly. 

I wired it to the brake light circuit, intending to later add another couple lights under the rack as constant on taillights. 

 I might end up just making one of these a taillight, leaving one a brakelight. Won’t be symmetrical anymore, but it would work! We’ll see.  🙂 

Anyway, they’re pretty bright, here they are with the park brake locked, in daylight, on a bright sunny day.  

Categories: ATV, ATV Accessories, Custom, Fabrication, Modifications, Vehicles, Wiring

ATV Turn Signals.

This has been a long time in the works.  I started ordering parts in early to mid June. Took about 3, 3.5 weeks for everything to come.  Then I had to find time to start it… 

Then decided I had to do the fuse block first, which took several days over last week. Now I’ve finally got the turn signals wired in, which also too a few days spread out over several total. 

Covering the fuse block install and the turn signals, I believe I have about 50 hours in this wiring and mounting. 

 Yes, I’m epically slow at wiring! 

Why turn signals? I dunno, just seemed like it’d be cool . 😎 Why not?  (No, unlike in some states I can’t make a quad street legal in Alaska.)

When I get the second flasher hooked up and have hazard lights, that could have a practical use, for emergencies, or simply visibility. But, these I don’t really need–but who cares? 😉

I bought two styles of small cheap motorcycle turn signals, off ebay. Serriously, these things were about $5 a pair!  

I originally intended the round ones for the rear, and the pointed ones for the front, to match a bumper bar angle.

But in the interim while waiting for them to come, I mounted the front bull bar,  and changed the bar angles and openings.. 

Tuned out great though, I really think the look fits better this way. 

I did the rears first, designed mounts, and spacing, working off the right side… Then got ready to mount the left side and realized it didn’t clear the rear winch motor. Oops. 

Slight rearrangement, flipped the brackets side to side, and turned over, and a small angle, and it’s perfect!

The brackets are a simple angle iron, but at least 3″ on one leg… Not common, and especially not in my scrap bin..  

I remembered some 2″x4″  rectangular tube I got from scrapping a BowFlex.  Slightly bigger than what I wanted. Then again I remembered some other older tube I had, that is 1.75″X3″. Used that. 

Cut off 1″ long, then split into two “L”s.  

Worked great, being tubing made by  forming then welding it up one side; It has a crease halfway along one long side. 

That gave me a perfect locator to drill mount holes exactly the same distance from the end on both. The crease also worked as a centering locator on the front bumper tube, keeps it from twisting as easy.   For the rears I used the other side Ls, that were flat and straight. 

 The rears mounted;

Bracket is on the lower bumper mount bolts, sandwiched between frame and bumper. Since these lights had ground wires, I ran them to the upper bumper bolts.

The fronts turned out to be really easy, using the exact same brackets, bolted to the bull bar, and angle trimmed to match it for looks. 

And amazingly they ground! Even though that bar isn’t directly bolted on, it has great continuity! I didn’t have to use the ground wires I first installed.  (These lights came setup to ground off their mount studs,  I was adding wires.)

Yes, I’m an electronics techs’ nightmare lol. 😉 Looks worse than it is actually, it’s all cleanly routed together(as clean as possible without a bare frame to start with anyway), down each side of the wheeler, and zip tied off. 

If I was installing everything at once it would get wire loom/covering… but I don’t have that luxury(kinda glad actually –that stuff is expensive!)

Hot wired test half way through;

Finally had to pull all the front plastic half way through… really wanted to do it with it on, but my hands are just too big.. lol. 

Getting the wires from the switch pod tail run..

More progress;

Yeah, I even did indicator lamps. getting fancy here, I know! The custom dash in my truck doesn’t even have the indicators installed and it’s been 4 years since I put that in! Lol. 

Finished, front;

And back(hard to see, but they’re there); 

And dash/switches; 

The other two switches on that pod are designed as a 2 position low/high light switch, and a momentary horn button. 

When I get the hazard flasher wired in, I’m going to use the light switch for them. Simply leaving nothing on the “low” circuit for “off”,  and “on” on the “high” beam position/circuit. 

Not completely sure about the momentary button yet(working on an idea though!). 

Categories: ATV, ATV Accessories, Automotive Work, Custom, EDC/MT use, Fabrication, Improviser, Modifications, Vehicles, Wiring, Wrenching

Higher Work?

Got really really tired of everything being too low to work on, even sitting down…

 I do have a hydraulic motorcycle/atv lift, but it goes under the frame only, isn’t really stable for this type of work. 

I’ve also done stuff with it on my wheel ramps before, about 9″ of lift, but that’s still a PITA at times. 

Thus, my redneck Alaskan ATV lift.

My two old truck boxes (one a Rubbermaid chest, I wasn’t sure if it would take it, but it seems to not care about the weight! ), some scrap 2×12, and voila 16″ of lift! 

Front box being wider turned out great, didn’t plan it, but it’s enough to straddle and sit on, or stand on if needed.

Should have took pics of the first try getting it up there… Used my wheel ramps and one turned over after the front wheels when up… Was awkward getting it off at an angle with no ramp under one side. Lol. 

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Custom, Improviser, MacGyver, MacGyverism, Modifications, Repurpose, Vehicles, Wrenching

ATV Auxiliary Fuse Block

I got tired of running everythi g straight off the battery… Was running out of space for the wires around the terminals too.   

A lot you don’t get to see here, like removal of the front inner fenders,  pulling the rack and tank cover, and routing wires… 

I have it now run as;

Battery-> main fuse-> key switch-> signal into relay-> 

And the battery-> relay(switched)-> fuse panel.

I tapped the keyed hot wire that I previously tapped for winch switch signal, -what was the speedometer power wire-.
That activates an 80A relay. The relay hot activates a heavy 10ga wire from the battery, to the new fuse block.  I didn’t have one on hand, so later I need to add a heavy 60A or 70A fuse between the battery and the relay. 

Relay wiring;

Battery box wiring, fuse for relay activation is the black spade holder center frame.

Relay next to battery

Also found that even with key off, I have 0.10V after the relay… It’s bleeding power. But there is no amperage there, so no drain, it’s fine. (Or so my electronics technician friend tells me 😉 ).

The box will also house a switch panel when I’m done, thus it’s placement on the fender(and honestly it’s getting hard to find places to put wiring on this thing!)

When done I’ll have that fancy split wire loom/cover stuff on the wires. Will also silicone seal all box holes, and some connections.

Categories: ATV, ATV Accessories, Custom, Modifications, Vehicles, Wiring

ATV Rear bumper/brush guard

After I got the front guard on, on my trail ride test run, the day I posted about, I also did some brush busting. Going forward was great, a lot less worry with that push bar, I was plowing over sma 2″ to 3″ diameter trees! 

But when I couldn’t get through where I was trying to make a trail, turning around meant a 12(more like 20!) point turn in narrow quarters, pushing against/over what I had to… And it was a lot of pushing against the rear rack, rack walls, and fenders. 

Decided then that I need a rear bumper/guard. 

Lots of research later, I decided on the simple tube bumper style, and preferably one big tube. Hoping I could get curved ends.. 

To the scrap pile we go!

Bunk bed frame ends, just happened to be wider than the racks and plastic, but narrow enough to match overall… 

Some creative cutting, and more cutting… 

Amazed me, those 3/8″ cross bars were solid, not tubing! 

Mock up of Mount positioning…

Simple brackets, angle irons welded into slits cut in the tube. 

Getting it all squared and oriented right, those slits aligned, and the brackets squared in to get the curved bumper ends level/square was a pain… But worth it.  

And some welding, which I didn’t get pics of.  Worked out perfect… Ran everything together, got it all. Then decided to touch up a spot, ran about 1/4″ of bead, and the wire stopped… Ran out of welding wire right there! (Man, that roll went FAST!!)
Had to move the winch fairlead down about 3/4″ to clear. Was easier to do that than notch the tube. 😉

 Voila, crooked bumper mounted. 😉 

I’d squared and leveled it to my accessory receivers… Forgot that the left side of the rack is still tweeked down a little, thus that tube is low on that side as well.  

Adjusted the mount holes, little bigger for some tilt, and thus a level bumper!  

Not sure I like the clearance I ended with. The rack wall corners stick out further than the bumper corners.

And everything else is only an inch, or two inside it…  The idea was a brush guard more than anything, and a push bar so I don’t push with plastic or rack, and it should accomplish that.

  Will run it for a while and see if I need it spaced out some (thinking 1″ max), but I *think* it’s ok. 

Also wasn’t thrilled about the winch roller fairlead being recessed slightly.. But it’d take an extreme upward cable angle for it to rub the bumper, so that too *should* be fine. I didn’t want to space the fairlead out very far, reducing it’s stiffness to its bracket (figure all the pull of the winch, and weight of the wheeler rides on this rollers when in use!).

Amyway, thar she be!

Categories: ATV, ATV Accessories, Custom, Fabrication, Modifications, Recycle, Repurpose, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding

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