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Need of Freeper help to buy telescope
March 18, 2012 | vanity

Posted on 03/18/2012 3:18:14 PM PDT by w4women

I am looking to buy my husband a telescope for his birthday and would appreciate any guidance from Freeper Friends. I want to spend less than $500 - he is a novice so looking for ease of set-up and use. Thanks in advance!


TOPICS: Astronomy
KEYWORDS: help; telescope
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1 posted on 03/18/2012 3:18:20 PM PDT by w4women
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To: w4women

Ping me if you get some good answers, I like telescopes........


2 posted on 03/18/2012 3:20:11 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (No matter what you post here, someone's going to get pissed off......)
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To: w4women

What would he use it for? There’s a big difference between a telescope that would be used for amateur astronomy and one that would be used for terrestrial viewing (bird watching, etc.).


3 posted on 03/18/2012 3:21:00 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: w4women; SWAMPSNIPER

Maybe swampsniper has some thoughts.......


4 posted on 03/18/2012 3:21:21 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (No matter what you post here, someone's going to get pissed off......)
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To: w4women

Edmund Scientific is good.

http://www.scientificsonline.com/


5 posted on 03/18/2012 3:23:54 PM PDT by mkmensinger
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To: w4women

A pair of binoculars would be better at that price point.
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/howtoequipment/3389576.html


6 posted on 03/18/2012 3:24:44 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Hot Tabasco

I just bought an Orion for my stepfather for XMas. It was over $1k, but one thing I learned is that a lot of scopes these days come with computer/iPad control. Calibrate, and then you can use an app like SkySafari to punch in what you want to look at. Don’t know if motorized scopes are in that price range. Also, auto-tracking is good, it’s amazing how fast objects move and it’s a pain to have to manually adjust the scope as you’re viewing. My 1.5 cents.


7 posted on 03/18/2012 3:25:18 PM PDT by warpsmith (Palin/Ryan 2012)
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To: w4women; SunkenCiv

Anyone on the APOD list who can assist this nice freeper?


8 posted on 03/18/2012 3:26:01 PM PDT by henkster (Andrew Breitbart would not have apologized.)
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To: w4women

He will use it for astronomy - star and planet gazing. Thanks for all comments so far!


9 posted on 03/18/2012 3:29:17 PM PDT by w4women (A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.)
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To: w4women

This is perfect for stargazing as well as terrestrial use: http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_10051_172516_-1

Shop around and you can get it for less than the retail price.


10 posted on 03/18/2012 3:31:07 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: w4women

I bought an inexpensive telescope about 10 years ago. It had a lot of features, but the glass was not great. It could show me a lot of things, but never in focus or without distortion.

It got so frustrating that I just gave up the hobby before it was really born. Motor drives and computers and all the gadgets in the world aren’t worth as much as some good glass.

Unfortunately, glass is expensive.


11 posted on 03/18/2012 3:31:39 PM PDT by Bryanw92 (The solution to fix Congress: Nuke em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure!)
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To: w4women
anything from Celestron and you can't go wrong...

they make several in the $199-$300 range,


12 posted on 03/18/2012 3:32:17 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: w4women

This is a nice scope around $500.
http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes/catadioptric-telescopes/celestronnexstar127sltcomputerizedtelescope.cfm


13 posted on 03/18/2012 3:36:02 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: w4women
It's been a while since my astronomy days, but I've always remembered Celestron as a good brand:

Celestron Telescopes

One bit of advice I would give is that the quality of the mount is just as important as the telescope itself. If you can get something with a sturdy equatorial mount that has a computer drive, it would be worth the money you pay for it. In the link above, the equatorial mounts are those where the telescope doesn't sit directly on the tripod but instead is fixed to a small arm with counterweights at the other end. Without getting too complicated ... this arrangement allows the "arm" of the mount to be pointed at a single point in the sky around which the telescope can rotate to maintain its focus on an object as the earth turns.

I'm not sure what the circumstances of this gift are, but is it possible for your husband should be involved in selecting it? I don't want to ruin a surprise gift, but with this kind of thing I'd want him to be comfortable with what he's getting before you spend the $500 on it.

14 posted on 03/18/2012 3:38:45 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: w4women

You can see a very good offering of scopes at Orion Telescope and Binocular http://www.telescope.com/

Long focal ratio refractors are the best for planetary viewing, shorter focal ratio reflectors and refractors for deep sky. Whatever you pick out, get a really solid mount. The stuff at Walmart, etc. is junk. A bad mount will spoil any desire to pursue star gazing further. I’d go for a manual mount rather than an automated one. You will learn to locate stuff (not that hard) and it takes time to set up the auto mounts. Also, get a mount with slow motion controls. Not sure if you can squeeze this into $500 but you might come close. Feel free to Freepmail me with any questions. I have about 8 small scopes - all refractors.


15 posted on 03/18/2012 3:38:58 PM PDT by NewHampshireDuo
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To: Chode

$499.00 with free shipping at B&H Photo.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/681797-REG/Celestron_22097_NexStar_127SLT_Computerized_Telescope.html


16 posted on 03/18/2012 3:39:34 PM PDT by KyGeezer
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To: KyGeezer
thx...
17 posted on 03/18/2012 3:41:21 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: w4women

If you’re husband hasn’t first spent a fair amount of time stargazing with the naked eye, then with some 7 x 50 binoculars, a telescope is pretty useless.


18 posted on 03/18/2012 3:41:37 PM PDT by Tea Party Terrorist (they all stink)
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To: Hot Tabasco

http://www.stellarvue.com/telescopes.html


19 posted on 03/18/2012 3:43:15 PM PDT by airdalechief
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To: w4women
For astronomy, you'll get the best bang for your buck with a 6 or 8 inch reflector (Dobsonian) telescope. They start getting kind of big and more difficult to transport after that. To make it useful, you'll need a 2x barlow and a couple of other eyepieces.


20 posted on 03/18/2012 3:45:16 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: w4women
A couple of more things ...

If your husband hasn't worked with small telescopes before, he should be prepared to be a bit "disappointed" with what he sees in the sky. Any impressive color images you see in telescope ads don't really look anything like what you see in the sky. Most objects in the night sky are far too distant to show any kind of colors to the human eye, so the photos you see are typically done using a camera setup on the telescope with a motorized mount that allows for extended film exposure to bring all those colors out.

21 posted on 03/18/2012 3:45:24 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: w4women

Do you want a refractor or reflector type telescope?


22 posted on 03/18/2012 3:45:59 PM PDT by MachIV
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To: MachIV

I don’t know enough to know which.


23 posted on 03/18/2012 3:49:18 PM PDT by w4women (A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.)
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To: w4women
Don't overspend.

I'd recommend this: http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/Classic-Dobsonians/Orion-XT45-Dobsonian-Telescope-amp-Beginner-Barlow-Kit/pc/1/c/12/sc/13/p/27159.uts?refineByCategoryId=13

and also buy a Celstron Skyscout.

The Skyscout is good for learning about what you're looking at, and at least you'll know for sure what that light in the sky IS that you're looking at.

A copy of the book "Turn Left at Orion" would also be good for finding interesting stuff to see in the telescope.

I've spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years on astronomy equipment, and I can honestly say that I get as much enjoyment out of the SkyScout and my smallest telescope as I do out of my most expensive equipment.

24 posted on 03/18/2012 3:54:45 PM PDT by Wissa (Gone Galt)
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To: w4women

Where do you live, urban, suburban, rural? Will you be using it at home or in the field? Do you have a clear field of view? What about light pollution?


25 posted on 03/18/2012 3:55:05 PM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class!)
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To: w4women
Binoculars is a good start.
A small refracting (i.e. lenses not mirrors) 2 inch scope with a tripod is cheap, nice and easy to use.
Larger scopes need sturdier tripods and are more difficult to operate.
If he really gets the bug you can let him upgrade, but don't start a novice with a super-duper 8-inch reflector scope, they take skill to use and the work involved to set up and aim it can be discouraging.
You could try to find an astronomy club nearby and take him to one of their gatherings.
You'll get plenty of advice there and you both will be able to see what they are talking about.

26 posted on 03/18/2012 3:56:13 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: w4women

Good refractor telescopes are generally pretty expensive, because high quality lenses and coatings cost a lot to manufacture.

http://www.astronomynotes.com/telescop/s2.htm


27 posted on 03/18/2012 3:57:18 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: w4women
Parks Optical out of Simi Valley, CA. http://www.parksoptical.com/
28 posted on 03/18/2012 4:05:39 PM PDT by ataDude (Its like 1933, mixed with the Carter 70s, plus the books 1984 and Animal Farm, all at the same time.)
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To: Tea Party Terrorist
If you’re husband hasn’t first spent a fair amount of time stargazing with the naked eye, then with some 7 x 50 binoculars, a telescope is pretty useless.

I didn't do either of those before buying a telescope, and I didn't find it useless.

29 posted on 03/18/2012 4:06:40 PM PDT by Wissa (Gone Galt)
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To: All

I recently bought a 6” dobsonion with extra lenses (worth over $600) for $300 on Craigs list. (about 5 years old - barely used)

You need at least a 4” or 6” to see anything.
check out sky & telescope web pages for general information.


30 posted on 03/18/2012 4:07:36 PM PDT by CharlotteVRWC
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To: reg45

I will use it at a NC beach, great view south and west. Not much city light. No street lights. Thanks!


31 posted on 03/18/2012 4:08:11 PM PDT by w4women (A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.)
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To: BitWielder1
When I was a kid I started with binoculars, then a 2-inch scope; I managed to spot 8 of the 9 planets with it.
There were 9 planets then, Uranus and Neptune were only barely visible pinpoints of light at the predicted location.
The only way I knew it was them is that I had a good star chart to compare with.
But I did see them, and that was from a suburb backyard despite street lights.

32 posted on 03/18/2012 4:09:39 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: w4women

I am an avid amateur astronomer, and I would recommend for $500 or less, a Meade etx-90, etx-125, or a Celestron Nexstar 4se. These are great entry level go-to telescopes.(they have an electronic drive and database that will find your target for you.) and they have good optics yet compact design. It is easy to spend thousands, even tens of thousands on amateur telescopes. This is a good amateur site for info. http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/Cat/0

There are also links to retailers there. They are hosted by http://www.astronomics.com who usually has some good deals.
Good luck and clear skies.


33 posted on 03/18/2012 4:11:05 PM PDT by paintriot (Newt 2012 & 2016 Thinking long term!)
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To: w4women

I don’t know anything about telescopes, but I can recommend checking with BH Camera- once you decide what you’re looking for.
Their website is bhphotovideo.com

We’ve bought 3 Macs from them & AppleCare over the years. They had the best price, great service, & fast (I think free each time) shipping.


34 posted on 03/18/2012 4:15:04 PM PDT by KGeorge
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To: w4women

These are pretty amazing little scopes for the money. Small and easy to set up too.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/meade-astro-etx-90-maksutov-cassegrain-telescope.html

http://www.opticsplanet.net/celestron-nexstar-4se-telescope.html

The Celestron is slightly larger.


35 posted on 03/18/2012 4:16:55 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: Kirkwood; w4women

I have two “inexpensive” telescopes that do not do a satisfactory job at all, they set in the basement with a dust cover over them.

I stumbled upon a deal At Gandor Mtn several years ago on PENTAX binoculars, one is a 16x60 pcf v and the other is a 20x60 pcf v. Each was clearance at $99, I purchased both.

I suggest waterproof, fogproof and nitrogen-filled! My above two are not nitrogen filled.

IMO: any astronomical viewing requires a tripod mount to hold the binoculars steady, you will also need an adaptor to attach the binoculars to it.

http://www.cloudynights.com/
and
http://www.cloudynights.com/category.php?category_id=182
http://www.philharrington.net/sw8.htm


36 posted on 03/18/2012 4:17:13 PM PDT by Las Vegas Dave ("All 57 states must stand together and defeat O-bozo!! VOTE HIM OUT!!!!!!")
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To: w4women

Point straight - see far


37 posted on 03/18/2012 4:23:31 PM PDT by LachlanMinnesota (Which are you? A producer, a looter, or a moocher of wealth?)
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To: w4women
Any kind of catadioptric system is best for portability (Schmidt-Cassegrain, i.e., "Celestron"), which is a consideration if you're older. I can't lug a big Dobsonian around anymore, too old for that. Make sure you have a good, solid mount and decent motorized tracking. Manual tracking just blows beets.

If you really get serious, consider some kind of CCD imaging system. Its more or less the standard when it comes to capturing astro images. But keep a good set of long eye relief (lets you hold your eye back from the eyepiece a comfortable distance) eyepieces for "live" viewing. The neighbors (especially kids) will love that.

38 posted on 03/18/2012 4:25:16 PM PDT by chimera
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To: w4women

You could make a 10” diameter Dobson telescope for about $500 if you wanted to put the time in to construct it.


39 posted on 03/18/2012 4:26:28 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: w4women

You may find a local astronomy club in your area, they can also assist you in your selection.

http://www.astronomyclubs.com/country/United%20States

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/organizations


40 posted on 03/18/2012 4:28:01 PM PDT by Las Vegas Dave ("All 57 states must stand together and defeat O-bozo!! VOTE HIM OUT!!!!!!")
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To: w4women

www.oriontelescope.com.......Great selections....


41 posted on 03/18/2012 4:29:26 PM PDT by geege
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To: KyGeezer; w4women

IMHO, this is the best deal you are going to get. 5 inches of aperture and the digital features make this a great deal.


42 posted on 03/18/2012 4:31:05 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (No wonder this administration favors abortion; everything they have done is an abortion)
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To: NewHampshireDuo
Here is a ( very lowkey ) youtube pitch from Orion for their Starmax 127, which I bought 5 or 10 years ago. I bought the "clock" or motorized drive mentioned in the video, and I've been happy with that. It runs on 4 D cells and they last forever. Note the "long focal length" he mentions translates to high magnification, which is why I bought it.

I had the Edmund Astroscan for a number of years, and this can't be beat for ease of use, with almost zero setup time. It is limited in power, though, and I wanted to step up.

I would be wary of the computerized setups. I think you have to go top end to get the real advantage of these. I think it's ironic that so many "beginner scopes" actually require a deft touch to make them work because of the low cost and skimpy construction. I say wary, as I have been wary, and never owned one! So that's just my opinion. To me, part of the fun is learning to spot, and this involves basic knowledge of the sky, so what are you out there for?

That's another caveat. Observing the sky is actually a rather refined enjoyment, and many people are spoiled by the dazzling depeictions they see on TV. This started with Sagan's COSMOS series, but it's just gotten worse since then.

Good luck!

43 posted on 03/18/2012 4:35:16 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: w4women

At that price, forget the refractors if you cannot settle for binoculars, because the Wal Mart style thin refracting tubes are not worth it for serious stuff, imo, and the binoculars do a better quicker job to learn the sky.

Get a Newtonian reflector. I prefer Equatorial mounts but Dobsonian mounts are cheaper.

In order of brand quality, imo,

Celestron
Meade
Konus-Orion

In order of Bang for Buck optics quality:

Newtonian (pure reflector)
Shmidt Cassegrain, Shmidt “Kasuetov” (hybrid reflectors-refractors)
Refractor

In order of raw quality refractors might be arguably the best for color etc... but they are so much more expensive, it is not worth it, imo.

A big fat light-hugging Newtonian scope makes amateurs so thrilled to see their first deep sky objects like Nebulas, galaxies etc... and all for $500 you get some high quality images.

Motors can be an extra cost. I would not trade glass or quality for a motor, though. I’d rather learn to do it manualy. The thrill is even more then, and motors are not necessarily hassle free to set up and work unless you go serious with photography exposure etc... but that requires much more than $500.


44 posted on 03/18/2012 4:35:44 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: w4women

Also get scopes that accept large eyepieces for good eye relief.


45 posted on 03/18/2012 4:41:07 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: w4women

Look for one that let’s you see things that are really far away. Try to find one you can use for reading, as well. You might also want to consider a monocle.


46 posted on 03/18/2012 4:47:29 PM PDT by Krankor (eenie meenie, chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak.)
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To: smokingfrog
“For astronomy, you'll get the best bang for your buck with a 6 or 8 inch reflector (Dobsonian) telescope.”

Good advice. You need to really do your homework. A bad telescope, like a cheap musical instrument, will be very frustrating. Meade has great scopes, and some are fairly inexpensive, but you can run up the price fairly quickly.

Oh, there are also some online ways to purchase time on telescopes, including some observatory telescopes. You can rent time on the telescope, tell them where you want to look, and they will link the telescope images to you. Here's some links for some:

http://www.lightbuckets.com/

http://www.cherrymountainobservatory.com/Docs/ObservatoriesOnTheWeb.pdf

http://www.universetoday.com/52114/online-telescope/

Good Luck!

47 posted on 03/18/2012 4:48:16 PM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: w4women

I would be careful that this is something HE wants and not something that you think is cool.

I have every hobby ever - and my wife got me some junky telescope a few years back. It never gets used.

And I can get interested in anything.

One thing - along a similar axis - that I like doing for fun is celestial navigation with a sextant. Plus - you still need to learn stars etc.

For the Telescope - from the ground up -

1. Base/support/tripod - whatever they call it.
2. Mount - that follows target
3. Computer controller - a must in the modern world. 100X easier.
4. Telescope
5. Eyepiece.

The chain is only as strong as weakest link.

There are a lot of nice sets of gear - but I have fun with binoculars.

Oh - also - Starry Night software for computer. Can stargaze “from the desktop”. A lot of fun for about $20. Put it on a laptop, go out in the woods/country, and pretend you have a telescope.

With that and a sextant - you are approaching guy-geek nirvana.


48 posted on 03/18/2012 4:50:54 PM PDT by Eldon Tyrell
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To: reed13k

Bfl


49 posted on 03/18/2012 5:19:05 PM PDT by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: w4women

Bttt.


50 posted on 03/18/2012 5:21:59 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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