Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 47 - Ben Avery Shooting Facility

After over a month and a half in Phoenix, I finally got to go out and do some shooting today. I chose an outdoor range, I would have had to have been loopy not to have done so being that it was a beautiful sunny day in the low seventies. I may as well enjoy this fine weather as much as I can while I am out here, it has not been a good winter back home - not unless you are a polar bear or something like that (or a global warming fanatic - go figure how it getting colder is proof of global warming) with all the snow and very cold temperatures this year.

The range I chose was the Ben Avery Shooting facility. It is a state run range, I think run by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and it is located just a short distance off of Interstate 17, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of downtown Phoenix.

Once I got there I made my way to the main range and then to the registration building. I paid a mere $7.00 for unlimited shooting during their business hours (open Sundays from 8-3PM in the winter months) and then asked for some targets. The lady asked me if I had been to the range before and when I said no she asked me to sit down and watch a 7 minute video that explained range protocol for this particular range. Good idea. The video was short, safety orientated, to the point and explained the particular rules for this particular range. After that I went to buy my targets but had to wait on a line of about 10 other shooters in front of me. The range was packed and more people kept coming - it really was that nice of a day. he targets i chose were bull's eye targets with a paper size of about 12x12". They were only .15 each - not bad. Once done buying them, I headed to the range and had to stop by the range masters booth to check in and be assigned a shooting point. I got number 14 - coincidence I suppose that the date was the 14th. In all the main range has 67 points. There are several other ranges - check the website for more info

Luckily a cease fire was going on when I was assigned my point. I had plenty of time to find my shooting table, get a target backer, set up and place my targets. They use a very wide target backer, I easily fit two of my targets across its face, probably could have fit three or four across, and then at least another row below that. Soon after setting up it was time to start shooting. I began with shooting my issued Sig 299 and fired exactly 87 rounds through it. That was a complete compliments of rounds in the pistol and two spare mags worth plus another box of 50 rounds.I also shot my Glock 26. I put maybe 75 to 100 rounds through it. While i was quite satisfied with how I was shooting the Sig, I was quite disappointed with the Glock. Since I got it, I have shot about 4 to 5" to the left at 15 to 20 yards consistently. This is true even when resting on support on the bench. I need to have the sights adjusted but each time I have qualified with it there was one reason or another why they could not be adjusted on those days. I qualify this week out here, and I will insist they get adjusted and that I have time and ammo enough to make sure it was done right.

I also brought along my Henry Survival Rifle but am disappointed to say I only had 16 rounds of ammo for it. I stopped at two Walmarts and at one Big Five Sporting Goods store only to find that neither Walmart had .22LR ammo at all and the Big Five only had bricks I wanted two boxes of 50 at most). I would have sworn I bought a box of a hundred rounds of .22LR when I went to the gun show here last month - but I cannot find it. As a matter of fact, I just checked my blog from back then and I noted then that I indeed bought a box of 100 rounds of CCI Standard Velocity .22LR ammo. Must be in the trunk. I shot 14 of the 16 rounds I had, two jammed for some reason and I discarded them. I did okay shooting it at 15 yards, would have definitely hit a pigeon sized game animal, maybe even a sparrow each time. For a survival rifle you would think that better accuracy would be tantamount. I do not know if it is me or the rifle but judging by how I shoot with other rifles in .22LR I figure it is this particular rifle. Not bad, just not very good. I did as well, actually much better, in group size at 15 yards with the Sig pistol. Of course it could be I need to find some ammo that the Henry really likes, time will tell.

While at the range, during the first cease fire after I had started shooting, went to my bench to grab 2 new targets. I got yelled at by a range officer. Lot of new unfamiliar rules at this range for me, and going to the bench is not allowed during ceasefires because they allow you to leave your unloaded firearms on the bench during the cease fire. That is something I am not used to from ranges at home which make you unload your firearms then rack rifles and shotguns or holster pistols when a cease fire is called. I got over it, even apologized to the range officer, and promised not to make another mistake. I kept my promise.

I have to point out that everyone who worked at the range, from the lady who took my range fee to the guy who assigned my my point to the guy who yelled at me to some other ranges officers to whom I spoke, were all very polite and helpful. They answered any questions I had, corrected me firmly but politely (he only yelled because I still had on my muffs) when I pulled that one boner, and were interested in where I was from and why I was there and so on (but were not nosy). I also had the chance to speak to a guy who was shooting an AR next to me. Nice guy, we talked about the range, shooting and ARs a bit. Brendan is in the market for one back home - he wants a Stag Model 8, so any info was appreciated. That gentleman asked me if I kept my brass and I told him feel free to scoop it up. He donates it to some organization or another.

One slightly strange thing happened though. A guy walks over to my point, just as a new shooting session had begun. I was at the bench and had just assembled my Henry Survival Rifle. He started telling me he had just bought an original Air Force survival rifle with an extra custom made heavy barrel, all for only $50 at a garage sale, and as he was doing so he kept looking at my rifle closer and closer actually bending over it so his eyes were only maybe 6 to 8 inches from the receiver and he then kind of absent mindedly pointed along the serial number as if reading it. I am pretty certain he was not just making small talk but was actually checking the serial number and trying to look nonchalant, like he was not doing what I thought he was doing. Maybe someone had a similar rifle stolen, I don't know why he was reading it but it seemed pretty obvious. Of course, it is possible my imagination is too active but it sure looked to me as if he was reading it. After that he left and I started shooting. When I went into the range building to say goodbye to the lady who took my range fee, the same guy was in there at the counter. He was very polite, even gave me some directions. Oh well...

You can bet that I will be back to this range again if I have the chance before I leave Phoenix. Hopefully I will be able to make it there a few more times. It was a fun couple of hours, especially since the folks there were so nice.

All the best,
Glenn B