Mar 25, 2010

New Shooter Report

I make no secret of my passion for guns, shooting, and hunting at work. There are a few who will happily discuss guns or hunting for an hour, and some who don't have much interest in it. One of those I'd figured for "not much interest" asked me last week if I would take her shooting sometime. Well, DUH.

We had originally set plans for Monday morning after work, but she was unexpectedly called out of town. A quick reset to Wednesday morning, and off we went to the range.

The range I shoot at has a 50-foot indoor range for .22s and subsonic lead which is available 24/7. The outdoor range is 9am-sunset. We got there around 8, so started on the indoor range. I'd covered the safety basics before, but went over them once more, then it was time to shoot!

We started small, with the 22/45 at about 7 yards. She did very well with it, keeping everything easily in the 8" black. Some tweaking of grip and stance tightened the groups up considerably. After seven or eight magazines through that (and one through the Marlin 795), she wanted to step up to something bigger, so I hauled out the Model 67 and a box of my target loads.

After explaining the difference between semi-autos and revolvers, I had her dry-fire it a few times to get a feel for the longer heavier trigger and grip. Filled up the cylinder and had her shoot the first six in double-action... and noticed that her hands were small enough to present a problem I'd never seen before: she needed to use BOTH index fingers - one from each side - to effectively pull the trigger. Made some grip adjustments and got to a one-finger trigger pull, but it was still difficult for her. We switched to shooting it single-action, which went much better.

After a few cylinders from the 67, she wanted to try my carry gun - the 642. I explained that it could only be shot double-action and had a heavy trigger, and would recoil significantly more than the 67 had. She was game, so we finished out the box of .38 in the snub. The target wasn't as pretty with the .38s as with the .22, but as most shooters will tell you, a DA revolver is one of the hardest guns to shoot well.

And then she wanted bigger. So out came the 1911. Explained the action, how everything worked, comparison of cartrdges, etc. Prepped a couple mags and set her up at 7 yards... and I'll be damned if she didn't chew the center out of the target with that gun, giggling the whole time. Oh, there were a couple fliers, but overall, a VERY impressive group, and she handled the recoil beautifully. No issue with grip size or heavy trigger, and I actually think she'd have done even better with "slim" grips instead of the Ahrend Tacticals I have on it (which fill my paws nicely).

By that time it was past 9, so we pulled targets and picked up brass, and headed outside to the rifle range. Put out the target stands and a spinner around 25yd and set her up with the MkII on a front rest. She turned in a couple-inch group the first time, then tightened it right up with a little bit of coaching on trigger control and grip. Again, hand size was an issue - she ended up simply ignoring the thumbhole grip in order to reach the trigger.

While she was plinking with that, I tried out the iron-sighted 795 on the spinner. I knew it was shooting a hair left from trying it inside, so guestimated a hold and started smacking the spinner off-hand repeatedly (4/10 on the first magazine and 8/10 on the second). That is a SWEET little gun. Next time I go to the range I'll take a drift hammer and punch and try to line things up a hair more, although I'm starting to lean heavily towards TechSights for it.

She got bored with the .22s pretty quick, so it was time to haul out the AR. The look on her face when I pulled it out of the case was a good start. Settled her in behind it on the bench, explained the function, and gave her a mag of 5. She punched out a respectable group on paper - nothing to write home about, but certainly good for a first time with a centerfire rifle. And, again, size was an issue. In order to get a decent cheek weld and use the sights, the heel of the stock was sitting nearly on her collarbone. Unfortunately, can't have those EVIL adjustable-length stocks here in NY...

After she'd run a few magazines through the AR, I swapped places and put a few rounds into paper, then decided to see how the sights would do at distance. I knew it was pretty close to zero, but hadn't really stretched out at all. My range has 12" steel at 150, 200, and 250yd. The 250 is hard to see, since it's in the treeline and shaded, so I stuck with 200yd - and was reward, five for five, with *CRACK*sproing*BONG*. Gratifying, I tell you! She gave it a go and managed 1/5, which is certainly not shameful for iron sights and a new shooter with an oversized gun.

After that, we hung up a Zombie Osama and moved up to about 20 yards with an 870 20ga. She was game, but after two rounds of buckshot and a slug, she'd had enough. I finished the box of buckshot and decided to try the slugs at long range. First shot was a hair high of the 200yd plate, the next one was low... I tried for the 150yd plate and was rewarded with a resounding TING as 7/8oz of lead impacted steel. One more try at 200 and another miss. For the record, these are the $3/box Remington "Sluggers", from a single-bead modified-choke smoothbore. Long-range accuracy isn't their strong point, but I was impressed!

By that time we were both chilly, so we picked up, packed up, and headed out. She took her pistol targets with her, and said she planned on displacing her kids' artwork from the fridge for a few weeks. :-D

1 comment:

mhaithaca said...

That should keep the kids behavin'!