Sunday, August 7, 2011

Range Report

Today was one of the better range sessions I've had in a while.

I drove to Knob Creek in the last remnants of a thunderstorm from the night before.  We lost power at around 3 AM, but got it back at about 5, so family considerations didn't prevent the range trip.  Rain was down to drips and drabs by the time I parked the truck.

I got to the range at about 8:30 and began lugging target stands out.  The new gong went at 50 yards, one of the Shoot-n-See targets went at 100 and another at about 10 yards.  The license plate went at 25 yards.  As I was bringing my guns and ammunition to the firing line, the RSO told me that the KCR policy for gongs had changed, and my gong had to go out to 100 yards.  Apparently they'd had some rebound from gongs getting back to the firing line, so they were pushing them out for safety.  I moved the gong, but that ruled out shooting at it with .22's and pistols for my little group of newbies.  That thing was getting high power or nothing today.

My first range buddy showed up just before 9, and helped me finish setting up.  When the range went hot, we went over the four rules and range etiquette and then got down to shooting.  I started him out on the S&W 22A1, which he ran with no issues.  He was at least hitting the target stand on the 10 yard target every time, and hit the target a few times too.  I graduated him up the the Model 13 running very light .38 loads, and the grin on his face when he started shooting that big chunk of iron was classic.

Next came the 10/22 and Savage Mark II.  He enjoyed the 10/22 a lot, but did a great job keeping a tight group on the 10 yard target and hitting the license plate with the Mark II.

About the time we took our second break to adjust targets, range buddy #2 showed up, and he brought a lot of toys.  He'd been a shooter until a few years ago, but had fallen out of the sport.  He brought along an M-4gery, a Finnish Mosin, and two .22 caliber reproduction guns, one of an AK-47 and one of a PPsh-41.  His ammunition was old enough that his .22 came in a Remington Golden Bucket and he was shooting .223 that he bought at about $50 a case.  He started plinking away with the AR at my 100 yard gong, but didn't have much luck hitting it.  He did manage to put a few holes in my target stand and part a chain, but I was glad to see that the other chain had enough strength to hold the gong upright without breaking.  I brought out the Garand and started hitting the gong.  It didn't make much noise, but we could see it moving.  At the next break, we adjusted the chain so that the gong was supported at two points instead of one, so no harm, no foul.  I expected to be replacing chain so I'd bought more than I needed.  We were able to hit it with the 91/30, the Finnish Mosin, and the Garand several times.  It didn't ring like a gong, but we could see it wiggling, and inspection at breaks confirmed that it had been hit.

Of course, once the Garand was out, everyone got a turn with it.   The grins got even wider, but who can blame them?  Say what you will about the Garand, it's fun to shoot.

Range Buddy #3 arrived about then, along with his new-to-him Remington 870.  He'd shot a bit as a kid but wanted to learn a bit more about his shotgun and try several other weapons to see if he enjoyed it.  I showed him how to load the shotgun, where the slide release was, and how to aim it.  I blew a small hole in my 10 yard target, and he completed the job.  He also tried to see how far out he could reach, and put a cloud of bird shot into the 25 yard license plate.  It hit it with enough force to flip it up and over the target stand, but didn't penetrate the metal other than to dimple it.  He had some buck shot, but I advised him to stay with bird shot for a few range trips until he became comfortable enough with it to move up the the big bang.

All of us took turns shooting whatever struck our fancy over the next couple of hours, including comparison shooting the Finnish Mosin and my 91/30, and then it was time to pack up and go home.  The sun came out around 10 o'clock, and the humidity and heat went up dramatically. By the time I got back on the highway, I was craving salt and cold soda, so I must have been a bit dehydrated even though I'd been taking pulls on a bottle of water all morning.

This was a great trip.  I introduced someone who'd never used a gun before to shooting, induced an old shooter to come back out, and re-introduced someone to shooting.  Everyone had a good time, and no-one got hurt.  This was the first time I've taken an adult first time shooter to the range, and it was an honor to do this.  Hopefully all three of my range buddies continue to shoot and learn.

A few thoughts:

  • By the time we left the range, it was very busy.  I've noticed that KCR is always full, even on weekdays.  Whether this means more people are getting into shooting, or shooters are going to the range more often remains to be seen.  My gut tells me it's a little of both.
  • Going target shooting is the equivalent of going to the driving range and hitting a bucket of balls.  I'll have to remember that so I can provide a point of reference when I explain shooting.
  • The RSO today was extremely patient with my group, and never had to raise his voice to get his point across.  I appreciate that.  Nothing can turn off a new shooter than an RSO that thinks he's a drill sergeant.
  • While my group listened to the twice-hourly safety briefing, others weren't quite so attentive or polite.  Seriously dude, I don't care how much you paid for your gun, or how much of a fool the guy who sold it to you was.  When the RSO puts down his megaphone to glare at you in mid-sentence, that's a hint.  I know you've heard his speech a thousand times, but I had new people with me, and you were a distraction.
  • I need to get to the range more often.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at