Showing posts with label range time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label range time. Show all posts

Sep 24, 2011

New Shooter

It's not often I get to take a truly new shooter to the range. New York's gun laws are a bit of a headache, and a lot of gun owners are "closeted". There's no secret handshake or anything, some of us just don't talk about it.

I had been chatting with Kay a bit when she mentioned a picture I had posted, taken of me at a clay shoot a couple months ago. She asked if I had other guns and said she'd been to Camp Perry to try shooting but found it a bit overwhelming for a new shooter. (Imagine that! ARs and the National Matches overwhelming a new shooter!) The instructors there apparently did the best they could but suggested she get a .22 and some practice. We set a date and headed off to the range with several .22s along...

When I got to the range (slightly ahead of time) I opened up, turned on the lights/vents (oh did it need the vent, too... musty!), hung a basic target, opened up the rifle cases and set them aside, etc. Kay arrived a few minutes late (mediocre directions combined with a poorly-marked range) and we had a brief rundown of the safety rules.

That's when she dropped a bomb on me: she's cross-dominant. Right-handed and left-eyed. At Perry, their answer had been, "Well, you can either learn to shoot left-handed or right-eyed. Good luck." My answer wasn't much better, but she had been using iron sights at Perry, and my rifles are mostly scoped. I suggested she try shooting right-hand/right-eye with the scope and see what happens.

One of the things I've found with new shooters - particularly new female shooters - is that they don't often have a preconceived notion that they Know How To Do It. A 20-something guy coming to the range for the first time might be offended by starting with a bolt-action rifle, single-loaded, and a front rest. For Kay, it was a logical start to the process.

I brought out my MkII, dialed the scope all the way down (our indoor range is 50', 3x is more than enough magnification), and ran through the basic manual of arms. The bench at our range is at a weird height, so we found a stool for Kay to sit on, and I had her dry-fire a few times to get used to the trigger feel and how the bolt would work. We put on ear and eye protection, and I loaded one round into a magazine, and showed her how to load the rifle. She smacked the trigger, flinched, and jerked her head off the stock instantly to look for where the shot went.

Half an inch low and right - right on the edge of the X-ring. I haven't seen a grin like that in a long time, and it helped to remind me why new shooters can be so much fun.

I showed her how to load a magazine, and we used two rounds so she'd have to work the bolt between shots. Those two went a half-inch low center and a half-inch low left. My rifle is zeroed for 50yd, not 50ft, which explains that consistent half-inch low. I explained that to Kay along with a brief touch on ballistics and she got it. She kept on plinking from there and turned the center of the target into one ragged hole - the Savage is great for that.

After a few magazines like that, we started addressing form issues - trigger slap and follow-through in particular. One trick I learned from my Appleseed days to correct trigger slap and teach follow-through is to ride the shooter's finger with your own - and then hold it in place after the shot breaks. After I did that twice she was doing great on her own. Then we talked about maintaining the cheek weld. I showed her what happens when the head is moved after a shot, with a slight exaggeration of effect.

She didn't quite believe all that could affect the bullet while it was still in the barrel, but agreed to try keeping her head down... and the groups she was shooting went from 1.5" down to nickel-sized. Then she believed me. ;-)

After she'd torn out the center of the target with the Savage, we tried the Marlin 795. Again, a run down of the manual of arms, then she put a couple rounds down range ... and not one of them was even on the paper. We talked about sight alignment a little more, and determined that she had focused on the front post (good) and completely ignored the rear notch (bad). When she lined those up, she put a nice 3" group on the page. Not great, but the factory sights on the 795 are awful, and it's nowhere near the inherent accuracy of the Savage. Two magazines later, she went back to the Savage, and we swapped to a Zombie Target.

Kay asked, "Where should I shoot it?" The answer was obvious: "It's a zombie. Only head shots count."

She settled back in behind the Savage and started chewing up the eyes, then started trying other spots. A dime-size group on Bob's nametag. A quarter-size group in the "V" of his collar. And so forth.

As we ran out of time, I offered to let her try the 22/45, which she seemed a little hesitant about but was game to try. We talked about grip and stance a bit, then ran down the manual of arms, tried one shot, then a half-magazine from five yards. She did fine, putting in a 5" group at a steady pace.

With that done and her hesitation gone, I offered her the last gun I had with me - a S&W Model 67 loaded with my mouse-fart target loads. It's certainly a step up from .22, but so mild in recoil that nearly anyone can handle it. She jumped at the chance, so we looked over the revolver and I had her try dry-firing. That worked fine, but when it had live ammo in it, she wasn't able to pull the trigger through a double-action stroke and keep the sights on target. I'm not sure if she hadn't realized it when dry-firing, or if this was a mental block. We unloaded the gun and I explained single-action and had her dry fire it that way a couple times with much better results.

I put two rounds in the gun, closed the cylinder to the right chamber, and handed her the gun. She lined up her sights, cocked the hammer, and squeezed off a nice shot into the upper chest of poor Bob. Another shot and his collarbone was gone. With those two gone I asked if she wanted to go for more and she nodded enthusiastically. Six more shots, six more holes in Bob. Not bad at all for a first-time shooter.

During some of our down-time Kay was asking some really good questions. She has a pre-teen son at home, and she asked what the best way to lock up a gun was if there were kids in the house. I suggested a couple padlocks on a hard case as a minimum and pointed out that an actual gun cabinet - even one of the sheet-steel StackOn types - was far more secure. I also explained that I believe guns in the house should NEVER be a mystery or taboo topic for kids - they should be a tool like any other, and if Junior wants to see Mom's rifle, all he has to do is ask and it can come out for show and tell.

She asked if we have kids (we don't) and how I stored my guns given that only adults live in our house. Some people will scream "OpSec! Don't tell anything!" ... I am not one of those people. The best way to bring people into the shooting world is calm, rational answers, and that's what I gave: a gun that is not in use - either on the way to the range/field or being carried by me - is secured in a fire safe.

She asked what other guns I have, and THAT one I did deflect a little. Since she had shot ARs at Perry, she asked about that in particular - and I confirmed owning one. As to the others, I simply left it at, "I have a few other rifles and a couple shotguns."

When we were talking about pistols, I mentioned that I sometimes carry a revolver (which surprised her) and she asked if I had a concealed weapons permit. (I do.) She expressed some reservations about that concept and a bit about gun laws, and I pointed out that someone who has gone to the trouble and expense of getting a pistol permit in NY is, generally speaking, a very law-abiding citizen. I didn't push the issue, but I saw the wheels turning in her head.

She also asked how a .22 would cost, and I was fortunate to have the gamut along for the ride - from the bottom-end Marlin 795 at a hundred bucks, through MrsZ's 10/22 for a couple hundred, up to my Savage for several hundred. I offered to help her pick a rifle when she decides she wants one, and to go with her to a local gun shop for the process. Yes, Dick's has them, but they have a limited selection and moderately high prices; a gun shop will order anything she wants and she'll get MUCH better service.

The wheels were definitely turning and I think we have another one on the edge of becoming a citizen.

(No pics to protect Kay's privacy.)

Aug 26, 2011

Range trip, new-ish shooter

I reconnected with an old acquaintance earlier this week. We've known each other online going back to 2004 or 2005 thanks to LiveJournal, lived within 45 minutes the vast majority of that time, but had only first met (briefly) in 2008. Go figure. She dropped off the planet shortly thereafter, then last week we discovered we had several friends and acquaintances in common.

We went out for dinner and a drink Tuesday night, traded some EMS/fire war stories (amidst odd glances from adjacent tables - something about gales of laughter following stories that began with, "So there we were, no shit..." and usually included gore of some kind.) At some point she mentioned needing to shoot a pig head for some research she's doing (forensic anthropology), and we made quick plans to go to the range Wednesday.

Wednesday fell through for various reasons, so we went yesterday instead.

Fortunately, we had the range to ourself, as she started by partially degloving the pig head in order to document the existing wound (from slaughter).

I checked zero on a couple rifles, she chose to use the MkII .22, and we set the pig up at 50 yards. After she sent a few magazines downrange, we shot the pig. One shot, fifty yards, 36gr .22HP (Federal bulk pack, 1260fps?), and she nailed it.

For those that say .22 has no power, check out these two frames from the video (click to embiggen).
A few frames prior to impact:

The moment of impact:

Once that was done, we had some fun with other hardware...


Model 67:

I didn't grab pictures of anything else, but suffice to say she got to try several new pieces.

Some will complain about the stance... all I can say is this: listen to your shooter. My friend has had some problems with (and surgeries to correct) her back. A standard Weaver or isosceles stance hurts her back to hold. She tried this stance (I call it a bullseye stance, although that's probably not the right term) and found that it was the most comfortable. I'm well aware that it's not a solid defensive shooting position, but as we all know, new shooters should be comfortable first and foremost.

(Yes, we started with the .22s.)

All in all, a very good day.

Jul 31, 2011


As mentioned, I went and shot the Pull! for Patriots benefit yesterday. The organizer had made his best effort to spread the word - he hit at least three online forums that I know of, and sent event information to every media outlet in the area - but pre-registrations were very low. (They limited attendance to 125; he told me there were 12 pre-registered.) Numbers did increase as the day went along; I think about 20 shooters went through the morning rotation. No idea on the afternoon as I had to head out and work at BBHIS.

Fortunately, they're not going to give up on this event due to a first-year low attendance - the organizer is already thinking about next year and how he can increase attendance. He's definitely counting on some word-of-mouth for it, I think - and I know I'll be there if my schedule allows it any way.

I. Had. A. Blast.

I'd never shot sporting clays before yesterday. I shot some skeet and trap in college - using a borrowed gun and a grouchy old fart as an instructor. I shot an occasional round of trap after I got my first shotgun, but the club I was going to wasn't real welcoming to new shooters and I faded away pretty quickly. I shot five-stand once a few years ago, and that may have been the last time I shot any clays.

Not one to be deterred by inexperience, and particularly since this was for a good cause, I got up early yesterday and tossed the 1100 and 870 in the car along with a half-case of shells. I got to the range right on time, registered, had breakfast, chatted with some of the other shooters, was assigned to a pick-up squad, and we headed out to the course a little after 9. We were the first group through, so there were some technical issues along the way, but nothing major and all solved in a cheerful manner.

I can't begin to describe all the stations - there were 16 of them, for a total of 100 targets - but they were creative, varying, and above all, fun. Rabbits, straight-outs, floaters, crossers, and one godawful steel squirrel that ran up a post. Singles, report doubles, following doubles, true doubles... variety!

I made some newbie mistakes - I'd forget to take a second shot at a missed single, or forget that a report double had a second bird coming - but the guys on my squad were good about it. I got some very good pointers, busted some tough birds, missed some easy birds, and generally made an acceptable showing - 61/100 birds. (The top score on our squad was an 84, two guys were in the 70s, a 69, and me.)

The 1100 ran like a top, with zero failures of ANY kind, using Remington bulk-pack sport loads (1-1/8oz #8). It was the "cheap" gun of our squad too; the next least-expensive was a Beretta O/U with beautiful wood. (One guy in another squad was going to shoot his new gun that he won at a state shoot - a Blaser O/U. MSRP? $16,000. Holy crap.)

Overall, it was a beautiful walk in the woods with a good bunch of guys, and I will definitely go shoot their course again from time to time. It's an hour away, but they shoot clays once a month with breakfast prior. Definitely worth the trip!


I will admit to being glad I had the gas-run 1100 instead of needing the 870. Not only would the 870 make true-doubles a challenge, it would have beat my shoulder up even more. As it was, there's a purple mark there now:


Jul 15, 2011

Range notes

Aside from the ammo testing I did, I also test-fired the Remington 1100 and the Ithaca 37.

I used standard low-brass bulk-pack trap loads, both of them cycled perfectly, and both booted my shoulder pretty hard - I've been spoiled by the R3 pad on the 870. (Not to mention the weight of a 3.5"-receiver pumpgun.) The 37 slamfires just like it's supposed to, and the trigger is still heavy. I'll swing it by Diamond Gunsmith one of these days to see if Les can clean it up some. The 1100 is a dream - swings smooth, trigger breaks clean, and cycles perfectly - and I only tried to pump the gun once. I expect I'll invest in a lace-on leather recoil pad for both guns as well.


Once the long guns were put up, I ran a few magazines through the M&P9, and it functioned perfectly. Unfortunately, the LaserLyte RSL didn't do so well. The spring in the switch is apparently weak enough that recoil from a 9mm will change modes (from off to on, steady to pulse, and pulse back to off), and the set screw doesn't hold the sight in place - I wondered why my group was walking left until I changed mags and noticed the whole assembly had shift a few 16ths of an inch left.

Burned through the carry ammo I'd had in the Kahr since last fall, and headed home, gunpowder-lust sated for a while.

Nov 11, 2010

Sellin' out, range report

I put up a few items for sale a couple weeks ago. Some have sold, price adjustment on some as follows:
Camera kit: $175
PSP: $125
CRKT MUK: $10/ea

I've also found a few more things that need to get shuffled along.

Men's lamb-leather trench coat, XL. I'm a 46-48 chest and this fits me perfectly. 6'1" and it hangs to mid-calf. Ventilated back, three-button front, waist belt. Comfortable and good-looking. Fully lined with fabric. Has a fleece-vest liner that has gone AWOL; if that shows up any time after the sale it will be shipped at my cost. One small spot on the hem from salt. No tears, scratches, etc. $150 shipped.

sell 010

Flying Circle "Stryker" bag. Extremely heavy-duty ACU-pattern cloth (nylon? poly?). Padded shoulder straps and back plate, has sternum and waist straps, MOLLE loops on each side, cinch straps. Velcro tab on top for a name tape. Hydration pouch, includes new, unused bladder and tube/bite valve (shrink wrap still on the valve). There is one small stain on the inside of the main compartment where a label on something bled, but this has never been carried or used. I packed it as a three-day bag and it stayed in my closet for a couple years. Moved on to a different bag so this needs to stop taking space. $75 shipped.

sell 013

With that out of the way, on to the fun stuff.

Took the new Mossberg to the range today, and got it boresighted and zeroed. Should be good out to 150yd from a good rest. I should've taken a few rounds of birdshot to clear the barrel before firing the good slugs, but I got zero in three rounds and then took two more shots to confirm. Gun season opens for deer in ten days, and I'm looking forward to it.

I also took the PM9 and my 642 along. I found that I do best with the PM9 if I really concentrate on proper sight picture - that is, actually "dotting the I" instead of making it a rounded nub on top of the bar. The 642 is still a great point-shooter at similar distances, although I found the trigger on that harder to adjust to after putting half a dozen magazines through the Kahr.

I've started eyeballing various tablets out there, and would really like to put hands on an Archos 7.0 - not to be confused with a 7 Home - as it seems to address most of the complaints about the 7Home. Don't get me wrong, the Palm is a pretty handy tool for a quick look-up, but I would like something with a lot more screen real estate without delving into full-on laptop. An iPad would be nice, but I am not going to buy into Apple's software distribution model. Also, the Archos 7.0 should fit nicely in the tactical man-purse.

Time will tell...

Oct 21, 2010

Brief range trip

It's been far too long since I got to the range for ANY kind of recoil therapy. With gun hunting season fast approaching, it was time for me to get out and check the zero on my guns. I took advantage of some of the beautiful weather we've been having and headed out, shotgun and muzzleloader in tow.

I started with my muzzleloader. I had some issues with this last year; specifically, my sights had gotten banged around hard enough to throw them WAY off. I fixed that but didn't take a deer with it. Earlier this year I found the right base to mount a scope and put a fixed 2x scope on top. (Don't get me wrong: the fiber sights T/C puts on their guns are top-notch, but I prefer a scope.)

At the range, I got it settled into a bench rest and boresighted at 25m, then loaded and shot one to make sure I was on paper. Three minutes right and five minutes low. Made the adjustments I wanted and the second shot was one minute right and seven minutes high.

I backed the target out to 100m and checked elevation. 4MOA high and 1/2MOA left. In other words, my windage is fine, but the elevation wasn't where I wanted it yet. I dialed it back down, and took one more shot. Dead center windage, a hair over an inch high. In other words, perfect - I'd be comfortable using this out to 150m or even 200m with a little holdover.

Since I was running short on my preferred bullets (T/C Shockwave sabots, 250gr) I ran a bonded Shockwave from a non-benched position to double check. It widened out the previous hole.

A note about modern muzzleloaders: they have the accuracy to compete with nearly any cartridge-firing rifle. Most of them will handle "magnum" powder loads - that is, 150gr of black powder or substitute equivalent. I don't see the point in abusing myself or my equipment like that, particularly with the results you can see here. 100gr-eq of 7-7-7 (two "50-50" pellets) with a Winchester 209 primer, underneath a T/C Shockwave 250gr spirepoint sabot.


Done with the muzzleloader, I pulled out my trusty 870 - slightly battered, but it's been a great gun. For deer season, it wears a 21" fully rifled barrel with rifle sights and gets loaded with Remington CopperSolid 1oz sabot slugs. I have yet to hit a deer that requires tracking with this setup; interpret that how you may.

Shot one was WAY left - barely on paper. A bit of adjustment on the windage brought it to about where I wanted and a third shot shows it to be about four inches low at 75yd. I didn't have any more slugs with me (or an allen wrench to adjust elevation) so called it good with a mental note to move the sights up one notch before the season starts.

My shoulder is a bit sore now - I don't shoot hard-recoiling guns that much, and usually with more than a flannel shirt as padding. Of course, when there's a deer in the sights, recoil becomes a non-issue.

One month until gun season opens...

Jun 16, 2010

Range Report: 67, 242, 642

I decided to steal an hour of free time today and go to the range. Not a long trip, not taking oodles of guns, but some smoke and noise.

I decided to make it a .38 day. I took the 67, 242, and 642, and the 22/45 because it always goes.

It was an enlightening day.

67 is, as always, pleasant to shoot and phenomenally accurate. 50-foot double-action and I can pretty much chew the center 3" out of the target.

642 continues to impress me. It fits my hands just right, points naturally, and is nearly as accurate as the 67. Worked on some draw-and-fire from my holster, which I haven't practiced nearly enough. The first shot is kinda slow but they all stay center-mass. Tried a cylinder with the range lights off and using my EDC flashlight for illumination. 4/5 center-mass, one off-paper, and the light isn't bright enough to be effective until about 6-7 yards. Then I tried the old IDPA trick of "shooting while moving"... not so pretty. I think I got one on the paper. More practice necessary!

242... It's got potential. I don't like the sights - the black blade just disappears too easily. Another reason to replace it with a tritium dot. The grips are horrid. I knew they didn't feel right, but actually shooting the gun emphasized it. My pinky is kind of half-on/half-off the butt, and it doesn't point right at all. I felt like I was forcing the sights to the target all the time. Definitely time to find some L-round magnas or maybe some boots. Anything without the fake Tyler-T. Aside from those quibbles, the gun is eminently shootable and should be a great carry piece. Sorry, Jay. :-)

Six or eight mags through the 22/45 for cheap fun, and two boxes of .38 later, I was in a MUCH better mood... and now I've got a couple guns to get cleaned up.

No pictures of targets because they weren't anything worth bragging about.

May 29, 2010

GMTA, Range Report

I got up this morning, and proceeded with my usual routine. Ablutions, food, beverage, switch on the internet, and catch up with the world.

As I was settling on the couch, it struck me how far we've really progressed in the last ten or fifteen years.

Fifteen years ago, I was accessing BBSes (remember those?) by dialup, on a lightning-fast 14.4kbps modem. Occasionally mom would let me use the "internet" at her office and I'd peruse what little there was of the "world wide web" using Netscape. Thirteen years ago, we got dial-up internet, on a 56kbps modem. At the end of that summer, I moved to a college dormitory, and plugged in my 200MHz PowerMac to the dorm network. Holy high-speed, Batman! Speeds have done nothing but increase as time goes by.

Fifteen years ago, dad got his first cell phone - a bag phone, actually. Coverage was poor, quality was mediocre on a good day, and plans were measured in tens of minutes per month. Twelve years ago I got my first phone. Coverage was still poor and pre-paid phones were nearly a buck a minute. Eleven years ago I got a non-pre-paid phone. 120 minutes a month, voicemail was extra, and there was no such thing as texting. Since then, plans cost about the same, but coverage is nearly universal, minutes have increased by an order of magnitude, texting is universal...

And now, they're combined. That's what really struck me. I opened my phone, tapped the "Mobile Hotspot" button, and waited a few seconds for that to connect. Then I opened my laptop and browsed the internet - by wireless, via my cell phone - at speeds comparable to that dorm network.

Then, tonight before work, I saw this post from JayG. GMTA.

In other doings, I finally got my father to the range last weekend. I've been trying to go shooting with him for a while now. He's not a gunny, by any means, but he's comfortable with them. He's also a pretty fair shot, if out of practice. (He qualified Expert-Rifle in basic back in the 60's, on the M14.)

I wasn't sure what he'd want to shoot, so I took an assortment: 1911, 5946, Mod. 67, 642, 22/45, SA Dragoon, AR, and MkII. We got to the range, set up target stands at 10 and 25 yards, and I started opening cases. I let him choose.

He reached for the 1911 right away, and picked it up with a bit of a faraway look in his eyes. He hefted it, and aimed it down the range, then lowered it and looked at it again. He looked at me and said, "You know, I always took one of these camping with the Scouts in Alaska."

"I know. I figured it would be familiar."

"It's been 40 years since I shot one of these... it feels right, but ... I don't remember the details."

We went through the manual of arms, and he dry-fired it a few times, then I handed him a magazine. He popped it in, and asked, "Which target should I use?"

"Whichever one you feel like."

He brought the gun up, and he went for the 25-yard target. His stance was so-so, and his grip was horrible (he started with a teacup, then went to the movie-classic wrist-brace), but the shots were true. He dropped the mag when it was empty and turned to me with a smile. "Can I go check my target?"

We made sure the guys at the other end of the line were cold, then went down and looked. Slow and steady, and he had put all seven shots into the 12" target.

Back to the line, and he fired another magazine from the 1911, after a few pointers on grip. I showed him high-thumbs, and he tried it - but reverted back to his teacup pretty quickly. I didn't correct him again.

He tried the rest of the pistols, and he made it clear that he preferred the single-actions. Don't get me wrong; he hit what he aimed for with every gun he picked up, but he liked the 22/45 and the 1911 the most. Can't say as I blame him.

I spent some time with the rifles, and the AR started malfunctioning (feed issues; need to oil things!), but he stuck with pistols, and mostly the 1911.

I spent more time watching him than shooting, and it struck me as I watched him ... Dad isn't as young as he was. The last time he shot a 1911 was in 1970, when he still wore OD green and a staff sergeant's chevrons. His beard is mostly white, and his hands are starting to show a few knots and spots.

He remarked on the way home that he wants to get to the range again - sooner rather than later. Maybe I can convince him to get his own pistol permit. He picked up that 1911 like it was an old friend, and I'd love to get him one of his own.

May 20, 2010

Women With Guns

MrsZ and I hit the range tonight so she could reacquaint herself with the options. This time around, it was the semi-autos. I gathered up the 1911, the 5946, the Thunder .380, and the 22/45 (it ALWAYS goes to the range)... Bag full of ammo and magazines, and off we went.

Set up targets at about 10yd, and dove right in.

First: for those on #GBC who suggested I needed to slow the hell down with the 5946 ... you were absolutely right. If I consciously squeeze through the trigger I can keep a respectable group; as soon as I start trying to rapid-fire it, the shots start stringing down and left. Further practice is indicated, but the problem has been correctly identified.

MrsZ shot a few magazines from each gun, as did I. She continues to impress me - she's slow and steady and plenty accurate with nearly everything she picks up. This morning she made mention of going to one of the NRA "Women on Target" sessions with a friend, which I absolutely support.

One of the hardest things I see for women shooters is the male dominance of the sports and industry. Don't get me wrong, booth babes are fun to look at, but I find the print ads (from Kahr in particular - thin is sexy!) to be ... insulting. Sell me the gun, not a chick in a negligee.

Ignoring that tangent, I can usually count on one hand the number of female shooters at any event I've been to - IDPA, informal trap, Appleseed, etc. I can count on one hand the number of women I've seen in the gun shop other than MrsZ. Guns are sized to fit the "average American male"; many women have hands or arms that are too small for those average size grips and stocks. I'm lucky: the LOP of an off-the-shelf 870 fits me just about perfectly, and my hands are large enough to handle *most* handgun grips with ease.

Of course, manufacturers are catching on to the relatively untapped market of women shooters - by molding their grips in pink plastic instead of black/green/gray. It's a start, I guess, but doesn't address the original issue of *size*. In long guns, it's easy: either cut down an adult stock, or simply purchase a "youth model" to begin with. Handguns? Not so easy. 1911s are perhaps the easiest to adjust to a smaller hand: slim grip panels and a shortened trigger can knock a significant portion off the trigger reach. Revolvers can have the grips changed, but beyond a certain point (i.e., once you've reached the backstrap) it's impossible to shorten the trigger reach.

There's plenty of good information out there for women who want to read it - The Cornered Cat is the standard first reference. There's plenty of BAD information too - a quick peek through ArfCom, THR, TFL, NES, etc, will reveal lots of, "What gun for my girlfriend/fiancee/wife/mother/daughter?" threads. Many of the answers will default to "S&W J-frame", or "Glock" without ever asking for more details.

A J-frame isn't a bad gun, at all. I carry one and would readily trust my life to it. It's a tough gun to shoot well. The grips are small and the trigger reach is short. If she's willing to practice with it, then by all means, a J-frame is a good choice. If practice is less likely, a steel K-frame might make a lot more sense.

A Glock (or any other full-frame semi-auto) is a crap shoot. Some of them will fit well, some won't. The only way to find that out is to hold them, and if possible, try them... and that's where we get back to the male dominance problem.

As an example, at the range tonight, after we'd been there about forty-five minutes with the range to ourselves, another member wheeled in. He's an older fellow, and I've run into him there before. Very nice guy, and knows his shooting. Also likes to talk. A lot. (We made our excuses and packed up to leave after about 30 minutes of suddenly-very-intermittent shooting.) However, among the various tidbits he shared with us, several of them started with, "She ought to..." or, "She should try..." She (and I!) ought to make ourselves scarce!

Which brings us all the way back to "Women on Target" and similar events. (Appleseed Project does a couple women-only shoots each year as well.) By removing the (stereo)typical male shooter from the equation, women can learn about guns without feeling like they're asking dumb questions. (You know, dumb questions, like, "What's the difference between single-action and double-action?" "Dumb questions" that a fair number of male shooters also can't answer but won't ask because they'd rather be ignorant than inquisitive.)

It also gives the shooters a chance to learn a bit about themselves - without fear of mockery for not caring for a hard-recoiling gun, or for doing the brass-in-the-bra dance (about 1:05), or having to worry about a jackass handing her a DEagle .50 without a warning...

I appreciate the answers I got to my recent post about a bedside gun. Seems a 12ga loaded with #00 buck is a popular choice (and rightfully so). For the time being, MrsZ has decided she's comfortable with the 5946, so that'll remain where it is, and I'll accelerate my intention of putting on some Trijicon three-dots. A 9mm may not the BEST gun for defending the home, but it beats a mean look and a shrill scream by a long shot.

(Ladies who shoot - and I'm look at you, Tam, and you, Jigsaw, and you, Breda, and you, Roberta, and Okie, and Dixie, and Lissa, and Christina, and Snarky, and anyone else who reads this - your input is not only welcome, it's desired. If I'm being a male chauvinist pug (like a pig, but canine) for thinking women-only shooting clinics are a good thing, please, tell me - and then tell me why!)

May 16, 2010

Recoil therapy

And I do mean recoil therapy in a serious way!

Aside from a bit of plinking, I haven't been doing much rifle shooting lately. Certainly nothing resembling medium-bore or precision work. Truth be told, I think the last centerfire I shot other than the AR was my shotgun during deer season last fall.

My club does a 200-yard F-class match twice a month. It was described to me (accurately) as "belly benchrest". I decided to check it out, so grabbed my .270 and a couple boxes of my loads and headed down this morning. I wasn't expecting to be competitive, just to try it out. Another shooter had already offered to loan me a bipod for the rifle, so that was covered.

Without getting into the sordid details too deeply, I found out (quickly) that my .270 is a fantastic minute-of-deer gun when shot with a proper hasty sling, and it can reliably ping steel (12x12") out to 250yd from unsupported prone. It does not, however, like a bipod, at all. As in "not on a two-by-four-foot sheet of paper" doesn't like.

After several sighters showed me that I wasn't going to be shooting this match with this rifle, I stood up - and another shooter promptly offered me the use of his spare rifle and ammo. I gladly accepted, and settled in behind his Remington 700 in .308, with some big fine-hair glass on top. Three sighters to warm the barrel and verify zero, and I was off to the races.

Forty rounds later, my shoulder was aching and the brass was collected. We all trundled out to collect targets, and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm certainly not competing at the level of some of these guys (197/200 is considered a bad day by some of them) but for my first time shooting this style, with an unfamiliar rifle, I was pretty happy with my 184/200-6V. I had a couple called fliers that were my own fault, and a couple that went a hair wide (-1's) due to some funky winds at our range.

However, putting better than thirty of my forty rounds into a 2" bull, and six of those into a 1" V-ring from 200yd ... that's actually pretty satisfying. Moreso than I expected it to be.

Now I'm wondering how I can best go about building my own setup. If I do, it will almost certainly be a .223 on a Savage action - the .308 is simply more recoil than I care to deal with for more than a few rounds at a stretch. Time to start putting away some pennies, I reckon. I have a sneaking suspicion that my AR would likely be moderately competitive in this style if I simply replaced the A2 upper receiver with an A3 upper... which would be significantly cheaper than building a whole new rifle.

And, emphasizing the "gunnies are the best people in the world" meme - the guy whose rifle and ammo I used didn't ask me for a dime for burning 50 of his handloaded .308 MatchKings. I slipped a $20 into the box with his brass when he wasn't looking; I know that will barely cover the cost of the bullets but it was an important gesture to me.

Apr 24, 2010

Range Report

Took the new pistols to the range this afternoon with MrsZ. Not a long trip, but enough to play.

I had a box of cowboy loads (240gr, 750fps) for the Dragoon, so I loaded that up and let fly at ten yards or so. Three inches left and perfect elevation. Checked my .44Spl Keith loads - also left, also perfect elevation, with a much sharper bark. A half-turn of the windage screw and it seems to be dead-on.

I gave MrsZ the first crack with the 5946. She is a very deliberate shooter, takes her time with every shot, and makes them count. It took nearly 90 seconds for her to empty the 15-round magazine (including the interruption after ten rounds for her to ask why it hadn't locked back yet)... but when we went to look at the target, it's obviously working for her. A ten-yard group on poor Zombie Steve that was about 6" diameter and mostly head shots:


I popped in a magazine and did a rapid-fire group at my target ... and I'm ashamed to say, hit in the black ONE of fifteen rounds. I switched to a clean target and found that, for me, I'm hitting way low and a hair left. (Conversation with the Conspirators today leads me to believe this is likely a shooter issue, not a gun issue. Further testing is indicated. How terrible!)

For the record, I did try the plates with the 5946, and made 4 out 15 hits on the 150-yard 12" plate. Go figure.

I'd brought along the AR and reached for the 200- and 250-yd steel, but decided to try off-hand instead of from a rest. 7/10 on the 200 and 4/10 on 250, off-hand irons. I'm content with that kind of result.

Played with the 795 a bit; that continues to be a fun little plinker.

DaddyBear: per earlier conversation, magazines for the 795. I have not ordered so can't comment on service/shipping, but that's the best price going.

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

Mar 6, 2010

Range Report

Having had a distinct lack of boomy recently, and having missed the AD Dinner/Blogshoot, I finally made it to the range this morning, new shootin' iron in tow.

My range only allows cast lead and .22s on the indoor range (something about not-quite-strong-enough plate in the traps), which I only had a partial box of. Even so, I got to wring out the 67 and refresh myself on the 642.

I hung my target, loaded the 67, paced off about seven yards, and lined up the sights. Decided to challenge myself and shoot double-action. Squeezed through the traditional S&W trigger, *bang* ... lowered the gun, and blinked ... and looked again. One quarter of an inch low and dead-f'ing-center. I shot through the rest of the cylinder, checked my target, and only found five holes... closer examination revealed one of them to be a hair wider than it should be.

I backed off to 16 yards (we've a 50-foot range) and shot another five rounds double-action (one empty chamber to check for flinch). Another beautiful group, a little high-left with one flyer. Reloaded with six and shot those single-action... and the group more than doubled in size. Obviously, this is a DA gun!


Then I brought out the 642 for a quick check. Nine rounds (5, 4) at 7 yards, as quick as I could bring sights back on target. Then five rounds at 16 yards with a bit more care in aiming. The nine rounds in the center square were the quick-fire at close range. The five scattered along the right outside the orange were the longer shots.


A snubby is NOT an easy gun to shoot well, but this certainly qualifies as "minute of bad guy".

Also of note - these are my own mouse-fart target loads, 3.5gr of Trail Boss behind a 158gr LRN. They are not tuned for any particular gun, but seem to shoot reasonably well in everything. I'd recommend the load to anyone looking for a nice easy target load, or for new shooters trying centerfire for the first time.

Jan 11, 2010

Range visit!

MrsZ made a request about two weeks ago for a range visit sometime soon. I went to the local range on meeting morning and signed up. A one-year family membership is $60. This gives me a 250yd rifle range, and a 50-foot indoor pistol range... and a key to use them when I want to. Obviously, the outdoor range is a daylight-hours proposition, but indoors is a "when you want" deal.

We made a trip down there with a few pistols and put things through their paces.

Merrily blasting away from about 7 yards (the range isn't marked, so we picked a "this looks good" distance) and having the place to ourselves, we ran through several magazines each from the 22/45, a couple cylinders apiece in the 28-2, a magazine each from the 1911, and she was game to try a cylinder from the new 642, while I put about a half-box through it.

I was shooting for quick hits more than super accuracy - as soon as I had a reasonable sight picture, I was squeezing through the trigger. As a result, my 7-yard groups were generally 6-8". I'm ok with that because it means quick center-mass hits and quick followups.

The group from the 22/45, however, was one rather large ragged hole with a few fliers. That was just a joy to shoot in a better environment than cornfield - no wind flapping targets around brings the group size down in a hurry. A couple magazines from the weak hand were a wider pattern but still where I wanted them.

And then I looked at MrsZ's target. Her grip wasn't perfect on any of the guns - she has small hands. The 642 kicked more than she wanted. She staged the double-action triggers something wicked.


And she tore the freakin' center out of that target with everything she used.

Seriously - one big ragged hole about 5" across, a few fliers (probably from the 642, it is a SNAPPY gun), but ... tore it up.

She may not be a gunny, but damned if she ain't a shooter!

Aug 27, 2009

Minor update

Life continues apace. Two weeks ago MrsZ and I spent a late morning enjoying trigger time and general camaraderie with a fellow Appleseeder. I tried out my new handload for .45s and was pleased - 6.0gr T/B/230grLRN. Zeroed my Winchester 94; it's now handily minute-of-deer at 100yd and would be fine to 150. Toyed with the .17 rifle and pistol - can't get the pistol to hold a consistent zero and think that may be a sights issue. I have a pistol scope for it, now I need to get a rail and rings. I also got to enjoy his Marlin .45-70 levergun, which was an absolute hoot to shoot and has bumped up my desire list a bit.

Last weekend we made brief appearances at the local Appleseed, and actually managed to fit in some shooting - it helped to have a surplus of instructors for once. My Savage MkII is having feeding issues, and a thorough scrubbing is in order soon - and possibly some new magazines. I'll be coughing up for the stainless magazines next time around, as the ones I have are well-coated with rust freckles. MrsZ's 10/22 is having ejection issues, and beyond a thorough scrubbing it may require some parts replacement - particularly the extractor/ejector.

On the home front, we acquired a new grill last weekend, and I put it together Tuesday. It is ... large. Very large. Half-gas, half-charcoal, side burner, and there is an optional side-smoker that I will likely get at some point. Almost three hours to put together at an admittedly leisurely pace. Hamburgers and grilled veggies on the gas side came out beautifully, although proper grill implements are in order so I don't drop *quite* so many bits through the grate. Today I did a rack and a half of pork ribs on the charcoal side, and tried the "water smoker" method. I'm not displeased, although there is some tweaking to do. We rubbed the ribs with Dinosaur BBQ's "Foreplay" dry rub and some brown sugar last night and stuck 'em back in the fridge overnight.

I got up at 10 this morning and started the grill, put a shallow pan of beer on one side and the coals on the other, and the ribs over the beer. Closed off the dampers and started smokin' ... An hour later I remembered that I had pruned the apple trees a few weeks ago, and decided to improve on the smoke. I poked through the brush pile and found a promising apple branch, cut out a nice-size chunk, peeled it, cut it into chunks, and added it to the coals when I added more charcoal. Around 12:30 I basted one side of the ribs with Dino's Sensuous Slatherin' Sauce, cooked another 15 minutes, flipped, basted that side, cooked another 15, then pulled the ribs and covered them up...

I just finished my rack of ribs. Not too bad at all. The temperature was a little high (pushed 300 or 350 a couple times) so the edges dried out some, but the flavor was good. The side-smoker is a definite must-have to keep the temperature down some.

We got a love note from our homeowner's insurance company Monday - they are canceling our policy in 30 days because of "unacceptable risk". I called the agent for details and they told me it was because of the un-sided garage. Nevermind that the garage has been bare for over a year... and that they told us when they wrote the policy that it wasn't an issue. We did some calling around and cursing, and I placed an order for lumber yesterday - nearly 1500 board-feet of rough white pine, in order to do board and batten siding. That should be delivered Tuesday or Wednesday, at which point I'll start getting siding up as quickly as possible. Most of the lumber will be pretty green, so it'll weather and dry over the winter and then we'll seal/stain it in the springtime.

Somehow, shooting has taken a back seat to home ownership. This is ... frustrating.

Side note: Shotgun ammo prices have started to decline slightly. I went through Walmart the other day and the 100-round value packs of Remington trap loads were marked down from 24-something to 21-ish. Small, but noteworthy. ... Of course, I can't tell you the last time I shot trap. I should find the nearest range with open trap and go shoot some; it's a good way to relax on a Sunday morning.

Aug 15, 2009

New boomers tried

Spent a couple hours this morning on trigger time with a nearby gunny and fellow Appleseeder. Tossed several guns in the truck and a bag of ammo and headed off.

We spent some time getting my S&W 647 zeroed at 25m (got it close, not great)... then tried and zeroed my new-to-me Win94. It's shooting minute-of-deer at 100yd which is all I need from it. Trigger still sucks - I'm hoping some shooting or dry-firing will smooth that out. Might need to get some snap caps.

Re-zeroed my Savage MkII... it had been adjusted for 100yd shooting, and I brought it back to 25m.

Brought out the Savage 93 and worked the kinks out. Had it happily zeroed at 25m and then it fell from its position leaning in the corner and the zero went bye-bye. I was unpleased. Re-zeroed. It is now 1/2" low at 25m and dead-on at 100yd - just about perfect for squirrels and other small game.

MrsZ re-zeroed her 10/22 to 25m as well.

Played with the MkIII 22/45, the 1911, the Bersa ... tried a Springfield XD9 ... and spiffiest of all, a Marlin .45-70. It didn't kick like I thought it would. Stiff, but really not any worse than a 12ga with a slug. Definitely worth consideration.

Side note, I tried my latest batch of handloads for the 1911. Trying a new powder, RamShot TrueBlue. Not bad. I'll be loading up a couple boxes of that for competition.

Aug 5, 2009

Epic ... Just Epic

As previously mentioned, I was heading up to NH for the Second-ish Annual Northeast Bloggershoot.

I got up Saturday morning and loaded the truck (after re-locating the pile o' gear I had set aside the morning before, and MrsZ had helpfully put back into appropriate places), then headed for Major Caudill's place. The first part of the drive was fine - some minor construction on I88, but nothing serious. Just north of Albany, the confusion began.

Mapquest directions had me taking an exit off I87 towards Bennington and taking the scenic tour across southern Vermont. TomTom wanted me to continue north on I87 for another 40 miles. I followed the Mapquest version, and wound my way up and down across Vermont, most of the time stuck behind tourists and other slow drivers who were busy taking in the scenery - there doesn't seem to be an interstate that goes East-West across VT, or at least not in a convenient spot. I eventually made it on to I91 and then I89 and arrived at Marko's just in time for dinner with his lovely wife and two sweet kids.

After dinner we moseyed into town for a cup of coffee and his postponed Dadcation, gassed up his people-mover, and I grabbed a couple sundries I'd forgotten in my packing haste (toothbrush is a good thing). Back to Castle Frostbite, and bed. I had been assured that a 2- and 4-year-old would negate the need for an alarm clock, so I didn't set one - and was awoken the next morning by Marko knocking on the door... Seems the kids decided to sleep in too.

A quick breakfast (waffles from scratch!), and we transferred my pile o' hardware to Marko's van, and headed towards the range. Picked up another shooter along the way, and off to DoubleTrouble's SooperSekrit range...

We arrived around 11:45, and made introductions as necessary. Some folks (I'm looking at you, JayG) needed no introduction. Quite a group - and a wildly impressive collection of hardware. C&R galore, black rifles galore, bottom-feeders, wheelguns, leverguns, single-shots ... rifles, pistols, shotguns, NFA ... Oh yes, my friends, there were rifles with a giggle-switch, and pistols and rifles with suppressors, and a short-barreled shotgun... bayonets hither and yon, on rifles, on shotguns, on pistols... and on an Uzi. Yes, a REAL Uzi. Short-barrel, full-auto, folding stock.

And ALL of this hardware is 100% legal where we were - in NH.

Several folks tried the hardware I'd brought along, I tried many other pieces of hardware (NAA Mini - that's a hoot!) and got to shoot the full-auto AR. Fun - VERY fun - but I could never afford to feed one even if I could own it here in NY. Owning a full-auto gun - of any kind - and shooting it semi-auto only is like (to quote Marko) owning a Porsche and driving it at exactly 55mph all the time. What's the point?

There was an unofficial BOOM contest - which was handily won by the Ruger Super Alaskan in .454 Casull. Holy wrist-wrench... but surprisingly manageable for what it was. Still, stiff. I didn't get a chance to shoot the Snubbie From Hell, but I expect there will be another opportunity sometime.

After burning ammo for several hours, completely demolishing the Pikachu (see the other AARs for that tidbit) and several Zeds, and enjoying some great time with awesome folks, we loaded up Marko's mover again, and headed back to Castle Frostbite. Once there, I swapped my hardware and ammo back into my truck and headed back to the southwest. I left his place in a light rain around 7:30. It rained all the way across Vermont - and this time I tried the TomTom directions just for variety. It took me out across Vermont, through Woodstock, Rutland, and I picked up I87 in Glens Falls or thereabouts. It rained the whole damn time - and those mountains in Vermont only make it darker. I stopped in Rutland for a quick bite and gas and kept on moving...

Sometime after 11 I made it through Cobleskill and was getting sleepy; I found the next rest area and pulled off just before midnight. No late-night adventures in this one, unlike the trip to Rochester earlier this year, but I dozed for a couple hours with a Condition-1 1911 in very easy reach. About 1:15 or 1:30 I woke up, tried to sleep some more, and finally gave up around 2. One last trip to the bog, and off I went for home. The roads are nearly empty at that hour on a Monday morning, and I made good time; cruise set around 75 and rocked and rolled. Got a cursory inspection from a trooper somewhere along the way; I noticed a car pacing me in the left lane and eight or ten car-lengths back, then noticed the inside-the-headlight front marker lights ... notched two off the cruise and waited, sure enough, the blue'n'gold CVPI went tooling on by. He took the next exit and I put the two back on the cruise and kept going. Cross-country for the last seventy miles, and rolled in the driveway just after 4am.

I can't begin to explain how much fun I had on this trip, and how great it was to put faces along with names and meet some new folks.

The official list of attendees:
JayG from MArooned
Bruce from No Looking Backwards
Doubletrouble from Rattail Bastard and Mrs. doubletrouble
Weer'd Beard from Weer'd World Arrrr
Lissa from Looking for Lissa
Borepatch from Bore Patch and #2 son
David from Fighting for Liberty
JD from Tekmage's Blog
Marko from The Munchkin Wrangler
TOTWTYTR from Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire
zeeke42 from Young and Crotchety
Commenter Wally
Mopar and Mrs. Mopar
Scotaku from Scotaku in America
Paul from State Line Guns
Commenter Andrew, his mother Barbara, and his son Matthew (the youngest shooter!)
Meataxe from Men are not Potatoes
Commenter stickman
Commenter Libertyman
Zercool from Panum et Circenses... et Plumbum

All of you, welcome to the blogroll!

I took a few pictures, and a minute or two of video (before the battery died on the camcorder), but they all have far more stuff up than I could. Oh, and all of you - feel free to post pictures of me and/or my hardware if you like. And if there are any pictures of me, I'd love to have a copy if you don't mind!

If I have a moment tomorrow I'll try to post a picture of the pile o' stuff I brought - goodness knows I brought WAY too much ammo.

Jul 29, 2009

In Preparation

I have been invited to the 2009 Northeast Bloggershoot. I managed to finagle the time off work to actually attend, and MrsZ decided to stay home to study.

I'll be driving up Saturday morning after doing the last-minute truck loading (guns will be the last thing loaded, for obvious reasons), and have been offered bed space from none other than The Munchkin Wrangler. Hopefully I'll arrive at their place at a reasonable time; construction in New Yawk is anyone's guess.

Sunday morning, we'll likely be carpooling together with another shooter (Libertyman?) and heading down to the range, with what I expect will be enough firepower for a small infantry (platoon) action.

Actually AT the range will be enough boom to arm a small village... including, I am told, some full auto and possibly some silenced items. Goodies like these are *illegal* in my home state of New Yawk... the only NFA items I could possibly buy are those classified as "Any Other Weapons" - which includes, notably, the Serbu Super Shorty. High on my list of WANT - with the 870 receiver, as I am a diehard BigGreen Shotgun guy. Yes, it's an expensive toy. However, I digress.

I've been eyeing the safe contents and debating which arms to pack and bring along, as well as seeing what the other folks are bringing. I've narrowed my selections down to five long guns and five handguns, and probably a whole bunch of ammo. I may have to stop by the local big-box sports store for an extra gun case - down to one soft case and one hard case, and that's not enough.

I'm excited. VERY.

Also need to remember the camera and the video camera... there's going to be a lot of photo-worthy stuff on this trip!

Jul 4, 2009

IDPA July 09

Match results won't be up for another day or two. Shot the match this morning after a poor night's sleep and felt wonky the whole time. Rhythm was off, etc. First stage I got dinged by splash from a plate, leaving a nice crease on my left forearm. By the fifth stage my gun was refusing to go into battery consistently; I'm inclined to blame the wax on the cast bullets I'm using. It seems to gum up the action pretty quickly. Next batch from someone else...

Ran a couple cylinders through the 647... tack driver. Almost zero recoil. Just a pleasant gun to shoot.

Jun 8, 2009

IDPA results

I try to shoot the monthly IDPA match at the local club. Last year I was somewhat irregular because of wedding planning. This year I've been a couple times and missed one due to forgetfulness.

I was reading back in my old blog and found my results from the first match I shot - one year ago. Shall we do a comparison?

June 2008:
Brian C
Catgeory: UNC[lassified]
Stage 1: 61.94s
Stage 2: 75.70s
Stage 3: 53.50s
Stage 4: 61.74s
Stage 5: 54.54s
Pts Drop: 77
Total: 307.42s

June 2009:
Brian C
Category: UNC
Stage 1: 27.47s
Stage 2: 33.14s
Stage 3: 44.09s
Stage 4: 26.07s
Stage 5: 20.55s
Pts Drop: 43
Total: 151.32s

The top two shooters in my class (Custom Defensive Pistol, mostly 1911s) had times under 100s. Obviously, I'm not exactly competitive with them yet... but I have a hell of a lot of fun, and my shooting is improving markedly. Switching from my Galco "Fletch" retention holster to a simple Yaqui slide shaved a second or two off each stage.

Beyond that, I really have no easy explanation. I've adjusted my grip a little (when I remember to), put a dab of white paint on my front sight blade... I'm still shooting my Springfield 1911A1 "GI". Low dark sights, loosey-goosey construction - it's no match gun, never will be, and was never designed as such. I can generally ping 8" steels at 15-20yd with one or two shots, and keep CoM out to 25yd without trouble. Headshots ... well, not so much my strong point with this gun.

A couple months ago we did a bit of show'n'tell after the match and I got to try a couple other folks' pistols. A match 1911 (IDPA, not IPSC racegun), which was slick and accurate. And then the S&W M&P9L (long slide). Had a worked-over trigger and a new front sight "BigDot". Holy crap. Dumped the mag into headshots at 15yd without even thinking about it. Yeah, smaller cartridge with less recoil, but still, HELL of a nice gun.

One of the guys was selling its twin this past weekend for a VERY good price. If I hadn't just dropped my wad on the 647, I'd have jumped on the M&P. Just a VERY nice pistol.

Next match is the first Saturday of July ... the 4th. If anyone is local and interested, feel free to join me. Good friendly club match.