Jun 22, 2009

Appleseed - New Bremen

This weekend was our third Appleseed this year. This time in New Breman (Bremen?) NY - a speed trap about 30 miles from Watertown NY, and about 90 minutes from Syracuse NY. We'd shot there last fall and had a great time on a nice if somewhat simple facility.

I spent Friday packing the truck and getting things ready so we could leave when MrsZ got home from work. Rifles - check. Ammo - check. Tent - check. Sleeping bags - check. Air mattress - check. Food - check. Etc etc. MrsZ got home around 4:45, we tossed the last few things in the truck, took a shower, and headed out the door. One stop for ice and gas, and we arrived at the range around 8:30. Set up the tent and scooted back into town to grab some fast food for dinner. Came back and talked with the other instructors for a bit, then crawled into bed and passed out.

I woke up to the sound of something snuffling around the edges of the tent while it was still early - light, but early. One hand reached for my glasses while the other went for the (holstered condition 3) 1911 - this is the edge of the Adirondacks and legitimate bear country. No food in the tent, of course, but who knows what may get attention from a critter. As I sat up in bed whatever it was snorted and gallumphed off into the woods. I laid down to sleep again and the whippoorwills in the trees started in. So much for a restful night...

I got up and got dressed, started the coffee (camp percolator on a propane stove on the tailgate), and started nosing around looking for tracks. Found ... nothing. Damp sandy soil showed my boot prints easily, and I expected anything heavier than a squirrel should make decent impressions. Nothing. Hm. *shrug*

Drank coffee and watched the world lighten up in the mist, other shooters and instructors stirring and rising, and went in for breakfast.

We ended up with six shooters on the line for the weekend - four individuals and a father-son pair. Six instructors. Can you say "lots of individual attention"? Scores were all over to begin with, then we got folks settled down and zeroed and started going through the instruction. By the end of Saturday we'd knocked out about 380 rounds and one rifleman.

Sunday morning we got going again, and kept up the grind. By 2pm we'd punched out another rifleman, and about 500 more rounds. Yeah, that's right, 880 rounds in two days. It's a northeast thing. We wrapped up the "official" instruction at that point and swapped to full-distance. Checked zeros on the 25m line for the centerfires, and then moved folks over to 300/375yd. Seeing people makes consistent hits - just awesome. Wrapped up, packed up, and headed for home.

I've got to do some paperwork in the coming week, and they're going to take away my orange hat (Instructor in Training) and give me a red hat (Instructor). Eep.

Side note: I brought out my AR for some work at 25m initially to check zero, and had a nasty little malfunction. Cruising along and it suddenly stopped working - bolt locked halfway open. Looked and there was a round that wasn't feeding. Slammed the FA a couple times, no change. Worked the charging handle, no change. Looked closer, and sure enough, there was already a chambered (live) round... fidgeted out the half-fed case (now bent too far to feed), run the bolt forward - won't extract. Extractor looks ok, but try a couple more times. No joy. Pop the takedown pin - rifle won't take down.

Popped the pivot pin and yanked the upper off... round still stuck in the chamber. Grabbed a dammit stick, dropped that, and the live round dropped right out without a fuss. Put the bolt assembly back in, but it won't seat. Examine bolt closely. Looks fine. Locking lugs on chamber look fine ... wait - what's that shiny spot? A bit of quick work with a Leatherman tool and out popped ... a blown primer. Dug through my pile of brass to confirm, and sure enough, there was the primerless case.

I've heard of blown primers. Never seen one on my own equipment. The standard place for them to lodge is in the trigger assembly or charging handle slot. This one was waaaaay up there and was not obvious until serious close inspection - and the rifle was completely non-functional. Ammo was Federal XM193BK (bulk packaged instead of 20-round boxes). Crimped primers, LC09 brass, 55gr FMJ. I have the case and primer and will send it along to Federal for their information... in the slight hopes they might send me a box of love. :-)

After clearing that, rifle went through two mags without issue - although it needs to be hosed out. Trigger was full of grit and crud.

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