Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ballseye’s Gun Shots 63 - Oh My Achin’ Shootin’ Shoulder

When I visited my surgeon for a followup visit on the first of this month, a few days after having had surgery to remove a cyst deep in my neck, he told me there were no restrictions as to activities in which I could participate and that I was okay to go to work. Shortly after that I attended quarterly firearms qualifications for my job and I shot 2 pistols and a 12 gauge shotgun. No bother. Well maybe there was some pain and then achiness but not all that bad, certainly not much than the pain I already had from the operation. I have shot a few times since then too, but all handgun. I must say that shooting that much, within 2 weeks and a few days since surgery (up through today), has apparently resulted in some achiness but nothing that was much worse than the pain, some stiffness, and lump in my right armpit that all developed since the surgery; and the pain which by the way seems to have been steadily increasing as each day goes by. I told the doc about it all. The doc said to exercise so I have been doing so; and I will again point out that when I asked him specifically about shooting he said there are no restrictions on me and I could shoot to my hearts content.

Today, Brendan and I went to the Long Island Shooting Range of Brookhaven and we brought along a decent selection of firearms. I packed 2 Beretta 92 series pistols, my Glock 26, my Sig 229, A Remington 513T Matchmaster, the Marlin 25MN, the Hungarian M44 Mosin Nagant, the Russian M91/30 Mosin Nagant, and my new Yugo M24/47 Mauser. A I said, my neck and right shoulder have been acting up ever since the surgery so today when we carried the gear out to the car maybe I should have taken it as a hint that the twinge of pain I felt when carrying the ammo was a warning sign. I did not since it did not seem unusual since the surgery. Well we got the car on the road with Brendan driving and I soon felt another sort of a pain. That is the pain that comes with removing the cash from my pocket to fill up the gas tank on the car he has been driving lately! Oh well, another $30 down the drain. Then off to the range.

Soon after arriving at the range, I again felt another stab of pain, this one was again the type I sometimes get when I have to reach for my cash, or maybe I should say it more likely to happen at exactly the time the person taking it from me reaches for it and removes it from my grip. The forceful amount wrenching movement required on the other person's part to remove $75 from my hand today sent a pain right up my arm, through my right shoulder, all the way to my neck. Yep, I said $75 but I did get back about .45 cents or so in change. Here is what I paid for: 2 range passes at $18 each (I am guessing based on the total and the known prices of the two other things I bought), 1 box of Remington Core-Lokt 8MM Mauser ammo at, get this, $32.20 a box of 20 rounds, 6 targets @.50 cents each (we already had a bunch of targets with us), and not one other thing except of course for sales tax! I must be out of my mind.

Okay, that would be all the cash spent for the day, and we were off to the actual range for some shooting at last albeit it a little poorer. We got to the gate at the range and realized that a session just started. We missed the cease fire and our chance to set up our targets by about a minute. Oh well, we were admitted and we could get things ready including stapling targets on backers, setting up sand bags on the benches, loading mags and taking rifles out of their cases and putting em into the rack. Then we waited an awfully long time. Another shooter, who was just finishing up for his day commented to me that it was an unusually long shooting session but we waited patiently anyhow. Soon enough Brendan was shooting at the 50 with the new Mauser. The Mauser is not a tack driver, at least not with the Core-Lokt ammo and me shooting it but it would have certainly been a deer slayer at 50 yards with all but one of my first 7 shots. The very first shot was way low and to the right, probably me anticipated recoil or something like that. The recoil really was not too bad - or so I thought. More on that and my achin' shoulder later.

As for the Yugo 24/47 Mauser, let me put it this way, the trigger has a lot of creep and a lot of travel before it sends things into motion. After a few shots, I realized that it was almost staged. A bunch of trigger creep followed by a bit of resistance and once the trigger had traveled that far there was some more to go but it was much smoother and almost as if a staged trigger was entering the second stage. I started to index on the resistance after the trigger creep as my "it is about to go off index". I'll have to see if I can improve things in that department but it was not bad at all, just took getting used to. 

Have you ever shot Mosin Nagants with that 7.62x54R ammo. They look like flame throwers going off, even in full daylight, and they feel like a jackhammer hitting you each time they fire. Did I mention my shoulder is aching. The 91/30 was really on today using Silver Bear ammo. It too is not a tack driver but I was getting 2 to 3 inch groups at 50 yards and with my eyes and the crappy rear sights on that rifle I figure I was satisfied with my shooting up to a point. Up to the point when I realized my neck, should and arm (right side) were obviously very stressed because when I assumed a shooting position on the bench my right arm was starting to tremble uncontrollably and my shooting started to suffer and did I mention my shoulder is hurting right now!  I shot my Glock while Brendan got it sighted in. There was good timing in my disability today. he had lost interest, I think due to frustration over the thing still shooting like crap after sight replacement. We figured maybe the dealer never really sent it in and maybe he just put another front sight on it and never test fired it. Cannot say for sure, but I got to the point where I told Brendan he had to shoot it because I could not and that is what got him back to shooting.

He fired it several times and was consistently hitting all around the bull's-eyes, I figure in a 5 inch group of so at 50 yards. Not great, not really good, but much better than either of us had been shooting it before I adjusted both front and rear sights and finally got it somewhat right. I had him adjust windage to move it more to the right about 2 inches and he was doing even better. His spirits went up along with his improvement. Finally the thing was shooting as it should be even if Brendan is not the most proficient rifle shooter. I must admit though, after a bit of advice from the old man, the young man started shooting even better - taking his time, concentrating a bit more on sight picture, and mentally saying squeeze as he started to pull the trigger once he had a good sight picture and alignment. He was a happy camper shooter. It was about time and I am happy to have been there to have helped him and to see him doing fairly well with it. Now all he needs is practice to improve his group size, then onto the 100 yard range once he gets it down.

Me being a knucklehead, decided to continue shooting the rifles after I shot up the ammo for the Glock. My arm, neck and shoulder felt better by then - pistol shooting apparently much less of a strain than rifle recoil. Well did I mention my shoulder hurts right now, I suppose I did, so I suppose you can guess I should not have gone back to the rifles. I wanted to finish all of the rounds for the Mauser before leaving. Yes only 20 of them and I only fired 20 out of the Nagants but it was more than enough. Actually I fired only 19 out of the Mauser, Brendan fired 1 shot and that was enough for him. As for the Glock, I fired 150 rounds though it. I never got around to shooting either of the Berettas or the Marlin 25MN (in 22 magnum) or the Remington 513 T Matchmaster (in .22LR) although I probably should have been firing them instead of those darned larger caliber rifles, just ask my aching should and once again I think it would agree.

We left the range after about 3 hours of shooting (a few breaks included during cease-fires). As we were getting the things to the car, I realized I was in an awful lot of pain. I mean a lot. My shoulder was crunching if I moved it too much or if I turned my neck too much. Ouch, I can be an idiot, but the doc did say no restrictions. I should have known better I guess. We were off and since Brendan was driving I got to rest my aching bones and muscles. On the way home we decided to get a bite to eat and we pulled off the highway, drove a few exits on the service road looking for a restaurant and lo and behold a Hooter's was the first place we saw. We stopped there, ate some greasy burgers and fries and got to ogle the extremely fine proportions of our waitress - especially her posterior which was spectacular to say the least - maybe the best I have ever seen and I mean that watch some sports on TV while we ate. After all, we are both men and even though I am married and quite possibly close to death, neither of us are dead and what do men do but watch sports on TV in places like Hooter's? By the way, Hooter's was where I felt another stab of pain from my clutched hand up through my shoulder and neck when I paid the bill, another $35. More pain I like that I did not need, it was getting to be an expensive day but well worth every penny and every stab of pain.

By the time we got home my shoulder was on a rampage and my neck was too. I already have an appointment to see my regular doc, about my pain and swelling, on Tuesday and you can bet that up through then I'll be taking it very easy indeed. Since I got home I have taken 3 aspirin, one and a half Vicodin (the generic), a beer and a good measure or three of Kirshwasser. The pain is only beginning to subside now - within the last 10 minutes or so - about: 5 hours after the aspirin was taken, 2 hours after I took the Vicodin and about 15 minutes after I started to sip the alcohol. Not to worry, I am not planning on an overdose or getting snockered; I have too much to do tomorrow and need to be alive when the morning rolls round. For now though I am enjoying the slightly pain relieving and mildly intoxicating effects of my remedial concoction. no gun cleaning tonight, that will have to wait until my shoulder feels better and my head is clearer. Right now I am just going to enjoy whatever foggy notion comes my way.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye’s Gun Shots 62 - Remedial Shooting

Last month, I attended my agency's quarterly firearm's qualifications. I shot my issued Sig 229, my agency authorized personally owned Glock 26 and my issued Remington 870. I shot a 241 with one of the pistols, I think with the Sig, and a 249 with the Glock. Those score are out of a possible 250. I shot a perfect score with the shotgun. As you may realize, from reading my blog or knowing me in person, I can be one picky son of a gun! I bitch and moan about this and that and complain about almost everything that other people do. Well truth be told, I often hold myself to those same standards grumblings. I figured that a 241 was abysmal and I also figured that a 249 was not as good as it gets either because not all that long ago I was hooting scores like 249 and 250 at each qualification. Of course, age and eyesight have probably played a role in my scores going down on average by a few points at quals over the past couple of years but I figured if I tried I could do better.

So what to do to try harder? I attended a couple of remedial shoots that our firearms instructors held in conjunction with this quarter's quals. During both of them I shot pretty darned good. Now as my office's Primary Firearm's Instructor will tell you, I probably shoot better than 95% of the agents in my office, even when I get scores like 241 but I wanted to hold myself to a higher standard so I went to do some extra practice of the self remediating sort. It was not like anyone was telling me how to shoot at these remedial shoots although others were getting some instruction. I was left to my own druthers and my own corrections. One of the other agents, one whom I used to instruct, who saw me at one of the current quarter's remedial shoots raised an eyebrow and asked me, in a sort of surprised tone, what was I doing there. I don't think she ever expected to see me at a remedial shoot since I used to be an instructor and since I used to help her to shoot better. I just told her that practice is how I keep my edge and since I am getting on in age and going down in score I could use it. Heck, truth be told, since I carry for work and for self defense I could use it regardless of my scores - we all could.

In addition to the time spent at my agency's remedial shoots, I also have gone to the local range near my home a couple of times in the last month. The result of all that extra shooting was that at the first remedial shoot I shot a 246, a 249 and a 250. At the second one, when I only shot one qualification round, I shot another 250. THOSE SCORES WERE AN IMPROVEMENT OVER MY SCORES OF THE LAST YEAR OR TWO WHICH HAVE BEEN A FEW POINTS LOWER ON AVERAGE, scores more like 243 or 241, even scores in the high 230s. While at my local range, I shot some pretty tight groups during slow fire and some pretty decent groups while shooting rapid fire - so much so on my last visit to have impressed a guy, who was in the lane next to me and who was shooting some really expensive pieces of target shooting type hardware, start talking to me and he also offered me one of his pistols to shoot. I declined but only because my index finger was getting a blister on it from the Glock 26 trigger after having fired a few hundred shots in less than an hour. As a matter of fact, he recommended a trigger replacement to a smooth combat trigger from the combat trigger that came with the 26. Nice guy, I hope to see him there again and maybe he will offer me a shot or two with one of those target shooting beauties next time.

Why do I mention this. Well, not to brag, that is for sure. I am not good enough a shot to brag - believe me you! I know there are many faster and more accurate shooters out there than me. I mention it though for a couple of reasons. First of all, I guess because that other agent asked me why I was at remedials? I was there because I was not satisfied with how I have been shooting just as all the other agents who were there probably felt about their own shooting. I was also there to practice regardless of whether or not I was shooting well enough. And I was there because the ammo is not being handed out like it once was for us to practice on our own at private or public ranges. So I take advantage of the fact they still will give me practice ammo albeit if only while at a remedial shoot run by my agency's instructors. Of course, the few extra hours I spent at the range over the course of a couple of days were better than the regular grind in the office or out in the field. I also mention it because if you own a firearm and intend to ever possibly depend upon it for defense or for hunting or just for target shooting fun - well then - once you are adept with it you ought to keep yourself at least at that level with it. If you are not yet satisfied with how well you shoot, well then don't only practice but get some help at it with the goal of improving yourself (a professional instructor is probably best but another shooter and one who is a good shot and used to helping other shoot safely is often okay). Once you reach a level at which you are satisfied that you can usually remain there with practice. You may also be able to even regain that level if you lose your edge a bit, often all on your own once you have held a level of proficiency for awhile. Practice and training are good things when it comes to firearms, it is virtually a given that you cannot get enough of either - unless of course you do it enough to get a blister on your trigger finger.

Let me tell you something about blisters and shooting skills. Both blisters and good shooting skills are temporary. One of those conditions you get from over use and one will be lost because of not enough use. Try to find a balance and you will be better off for it. If you don't find the balance, then when you need your skills to be at their best, such as if you are ever called upon to actually defend yourself in a life or death situation, well then you may wind up with something more permanent than a blister. You may wind up with another guy's bullet as a sort of souvenir as the loser in a gunfight. That would not be a good thing. So I highly recommend that you enjoy yourself at the range as often as you can, at least quarterly if a good shot, although monthly would better, and weekly or more often would be better yet especially if you think your shooting skills could use improvement.

Safe shooting,
Glenn B

Ballseye’s Gun Shots 61 - My Glock 26 & My New Glock Armorer Skills

Well, despite not having any extra parts for it, I decided I would chance losing a spring or breaking something and take my Glock 26 apart down to the bare bones by doing a detail strip of it this morning (golly is it really almost 3 AM), that is all except for removing the sights.

I did it the smart way and did not depend on my muddled middle aged memory but used the armorer's manual to go step by step for disassembly and reassembly. I have to say it was a good thing I took it down, it needed a detailed cleaning badly. I have been shooting it a lot lately and even though I field strip it to give it regular maintenance type cleaning after each shooting session, it truly needed more than that because it was filthy inside the works. It isn't dirty anymore though, it almost sparkles now. Besides knowing it is clean, I now also know that all internal parts are in good working condition. I imagine I will strip it down like that for another cleaning in about 6 months or so.

I have to point out again, it is absolutely amazing at how easily this gun can be detail stripped using only a single tool, a steel punch at that!

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye’s Gun Shots 60 - Yugo M24/47

The Yugo M24/47, that I ordered from Classic Arms, arrived today. I am beginning to think that either I do not understand the NRA Firearms Grading standards or that this dealer does not. First I ordered an Enfield that arrived in what I thought was less than specified condition or possibly just at the extreme low end of the condition in which they claimed it to be, in addition to which it was damaged. Now I receive a rifle that was supposed to be in Excellent condition, in addition to which it was supposed to be 'hand select' which was to guarantee 100% blue and...well let me just quote their C&R web page:

"AND SELECT WILL GUARENTEE (their spelling)100 % BLUE AND A REALLY NICE TOP END STOCK AS WELL AS A PRISTINE BORE AND CROWN."

Sorry but they seem to have been wrong again. While the bore looks to be excellent, I would say this rifle is in about 98% blue, and that is not the guaranteed 100% by a long shot! The stock is dinged slightly and has scrapes but all have been covered up whenever it was that the stock was obviously refinished. That is another thing, the metal has also been refinished and there is evidence of prior pitting - though minor it is definitely there - this immediately takes it out of the class of excellent condition let alone hand select. This is apparently an arsenal refinish job. That would have been okay if that is what they claimed it to have been. That would have been okay had I not paid extra for 'hand select' which guaranteed the above. That would have been okay if it had not been advertised as excellent. It would also be okay if I could call them and tell them I am dissatisfied and they should refund me me my money for the 'hand select' BS, but chances are I will notbe able to do that because I may be forced to send this rifle back because it seems there is a possible serial number error.

The original serial number of the rifle (as taken from the receiver) was B7733. That number was stamped into the receiver. Now even though the B is faint it was obviously stamped into the receiver and it is not a V. The same number was also stamped into the barrel and it too begins with B. The same number was also stamped onto the bolt and it too begins with B. A new serial number, almost the same as the old, was electro penciled (etched) onto the receiver either when this rifle was arsenal refinished or when imported. The new number is V7733. To me it seems someone read the letter B and someone else heard it as V instead of B and then etched it onto the receiver. The serial number beginning with the letter V is the one they put on the invoice and therefore it has been noted as the official serial number for purposes of this sale with ATF. I have to wonder if this will cause a problem with ATF, or other authorities, if I ever am called upon to document my ownership of this rifle. Maybe it is something they do with imported mil-surp rifles but I have not seen it on others I have purchased. Note that the B7733 serial number is only on three parts, all other serialized parts do not match that serial number which is further evidence of this being an arsenal rebuild.

The rifle really does appear in very good shape but certainly not the guaranteed 100% blue and definitely not a top end stock though a fairly to very nice one at that and probably not actually excellent condition overall since it seems to be an arsenal rebuild with mismatched parts and evidenc eo old pitting on some parts. Still, I will gladly keep it if they refund my money for hand select and if the serial number difference is not a problem. I imagine they can fix the paperwork for the serial number but also imagine that will take some doing on whatever forms they had to submit to ATF. Not my problem though, I will give them a call about it on Monday and let them figure it out. If it sounds as if they give me a run around on the serial number, I will call ATF to inquire about it but I am pretty confident they will be straight shooters when they explain why they used the serial number beginning with V on the paperwork. I hope so, I do not want to go through the pain in the butt of having to rewrap a rifle and then bring it to UPS again.

There is one problem with this rifle, the barrel band was almost impossible to remove. I think the wood may have swelled on the handguard sometime while in storage or maybe when refinished. I got it off though and cleaned the cosmoline out of the rifle. Luckily there is not much reason to ever take the rifle down that far again except maybe once or twice a year at most so long as it does not get a mud bath or something similar while out afield. I will be shooting it tomorrow with Brendan. I hope that will not void their return policy, I do not see it stated anywhere that it would do so. As I said though, I'd like to keep it, it is in very good condition despite all I said above and if it shoots well, then it is definitely a keeper.


I may seem really picky, or full of complaints, but I have to say I like getting what I pay for and I paid for a rifle advertised to be one way and it arrived in another condition than as advertised. As I said though, I am willing to keep it if certain things work out. Hopefully they will. Wish me luck with that please.

All the best,
Glenn B