Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trip Report

My buddy and I got up at Oh-God-It's-Early this morning and headed off to the wilds of North Ohio.  After keeping his VW just barely on the ground on the way up, we got to Camp Perry.  This small Army post has a retail store for the ODCMP.  Additionally, it is hosting the annual National Shooting Matches.

Buddy went to buy himself an M1 Garand, and I was along for the ride.  We spent quite a bit of time looking at all of the Garands, and eventually he picked out a very nice Field Grade Garand with mostly WWII parts.  Not being there to buy a gun, I had to show a lot of restraint to not buy anything more than a tee shirt.  I already have a Garand, and I just bought a metric buttload of rounds for it.  That's not to say I wasn't tempted.  There were quite a few beautiful shooty things to be had:

The CMP appears to be running low on M1 Carbines, but had a LOT of Garands.  There were also a few stripped heavy barrel 1903A3 actions, but no complete 1903 rifles.

One Garand in particular grabbed my eye.  It was a 1950's vintage manufacture, probably with the original barrel.  There was almost no muzzle erosion, the bluing was about 90%, and the only defect that I could see was that the wood in the stock didn't match the hand guard.  It was a Service Grade, which ran $600.  I looked it over with Buddy, looked it over myself, carried it around for a while, looked at it again, then took a deep breath, wiped away a tear, and put it back on the rack. Just didn't have it in the budget, and asking Irish Woman to live on ramen noodles and generic hot dogs for a couple of months so we could afford it was not a good idea.

One thing occurred to me while we were looking around:  Gun people are some of the nicest people around.  As you can see, there were quite a few people in the store looking at guns.  Some were newbies like us, but a lot were old hands who were looking for a diamond in the rough.  When they noticed that we were seriously looking, several older shooters took us under their wings and explained how to grade these rifles, how gauging the muzzle and the chamber works, and how to tell when the receiver, muzzle, trigger, stock, and all of the other parts were manufactured and by whom.  Tell me you'd find that at most other activities where the old hands are competing with the newbies to buy quality merchandise.

After we left the store, we wandered down to the area where the matches were being held.  Today several shooting clinics were occurring.  One in particular caught my eye.  The Marine Marksmanship Team was teaching long range shooting to high school students:

Those targets in the background are 600 yards away.  The AR-15's the students were shooting are usually only shot at point targets out to between 300 and 400 yards.  These kids were hitting the targets.  Pretty impressive.

By the way, knowing what good shots most of the Marines I know are, just how godawful good with a shooting iron do you have to be to qualify for the Marine Marksmanship Team?

Overall, this was a wonderful day.  I definitely need to work to improve my long-distance shooting and get into a club.  I want to shoot at Camp Perry one of these years.

We packed up ourselves and the new purchase, and made a low-level flight down I-75 and I-71 back to Louisville.  I have had a very long, very good day.  Hopefully more days like this are in my future.

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