Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ballseye's Gun Shots 111 - My Favorite Range Gun

Someone in a firearms forum, that I visit, posted a thread under the header of: "Favorite Range Firearm?" Then, he asked the question: "When you go to the firing range, what's your weapon of choice and why?" (See: http://armslocker.com/gun-talk/47615-favorite-range-firearm.html). I figured I would give it my best shot and be a straight shooter at that by giving him my most well thought out and honest answer. When I began this task, about 4 hours ago, little did I realize it would take me hours of: looking though my guns, scanning my memories, trying to choose one firearm over the other, and then writing out my thoughts, as I went along, before I would wind up deciding which is my favorite. I began my deliberations with the gun I carry most often, I guessed that was the logical place to start.

Whenever I go to the range, for work or for fun, I virtually always carry my issued handgun - a SIG 229. I shoot it a lot too, not only because practice is good and my life may depend on this pistol and my skill with it but also because I get free ammo for it. None of that makes it my favorite though, its just not anywhere near as fun as some of my other guns. I also tend to bring my Glock 26 to the range a lot, I guess because it is my duty back-up. It is a great little pistol, I have no complaints about it, I shoot great with it, and I have gotten lots of free ammo for it too. Guns that you get free ammo for sure have to ride high on the list of favorites. Still though., it is not my absolute favorite that baby Glock. Well, I don’t think so anyhow!

It’s not that I really don’t like the Glock 26, it is just that I have enough other guns that I also love to shoot, even if the ammo for them is not free, that it makes it difficult for me to make up my mind. I mean, what about the Yugo SKS, I’ve got lots of ammo for that one too and love to shoot up a storm with it since the ammo is so cheap and the recoil is minimal or almost so. Nice rifle, from a far away place, that I got for a song, a cheap one at that, and I love it. Still though, I don‘t think it is my favorite. I mean, how could a commie made rifle be my favorite, me being a patriotic American conservative/libertarian sort of a guy more or less. I also like my other eastern bloc rifles, the Mosin Nagant M44 and the Mosin Nagant 91/30. More kick than the SKS, but really nice flames shooting out of he barrels, and the 91/30 is a darned good shooter. So what is not to like. I don't know - they are just, neither one of them, my absolute favorite above all the others. I guess either could be a favorite of someone but not me even though they are loads of fun.

Speaking of recoil, I am getting on in my middle age, near the end of it, and me and my arthritis and bursitis and flab do not like recoil. So, you can often see me shooting a .22 rimfire at the range, at least between shooting those of larger caliber. I have always loved them, the 22s. I learned to shoot with .22 Winchesters and Remingtons a long time ago. The thing about my rimfires though is it is pretty much of a challenge to pick a favorite one out of all of them. I just like em all so much. I’ve got the Ruger MKII and it well could be my favorite since it is so much fun to shoot; then I remember I have to break it down to clean it and then reassemble it and I just sort of shy away from it a bit. Nope, no gun that makes me beat it with a hammer and pry it with a paperclip is my favorite. Of course, there is the Remington 513T Matchmaster rifle. It is a real looker and a darned good shooter, another one I picked up cheap. Really a beauty but just not my favorite since it gets a lot of competition from the Mossberg M44 that I got from the CMP. That one is a tack driver, I mean it. What a gun, shoots better than I can with it. I don’t know though - accuracy alone does not make for my favorite among all others. I also have the Remington 241, nice gun and if it didn’t eject down and have shell casings hitting my wrist of forearm, I might like it more. It’s the only true take-down I have except of course for the Henry Survival Rifle. That could be my favorite if I shot better with it or, then again, if ever put it back together again. I took it down to its last little pieces and never reassembled it. Lord knows when I will get to that and have some fun with it again. A good project for a weekend day.

Another big-time favorite for me to take to the range is the Marlin 25MN in 22WMR. It is scoped and a tack driver too. Nice rifle, probably my favorite squirrel gun but favorite range gun - almost but not quite. It might be my son's favorite at the range, at least as of this past fall - he fell in love with it after he hammered his shoulder with a 12 gauge and some larger bore rifles. But it's just not my all time favorite range gun. Man oh man, this picking a favorite range gun thing is getting difficult. What else is there? Well, there is the S&W Model 17 revolver in .22LR. That is one nice revolver. Got it at a good price, often comes to the range with me too. The thing is though, it only holds 10 rounds the has to be reloaded manually - no magazine and the chambers are tight. Makes it a bit of a pain in the neck. Of course, if I want to shoot faster, I can shoot the Ruger 10/22 rifle, only 10 round mags but I have lots of em. The Ruger 10/22 was probably (is definitely) the first rifle I bought as an adult. Heck, it was my first rifle ever, now that I think of it. That ought to count for something shouldn’t it? Yeah, it does too, but I have not brought it to the range all that recently - or have I? I just can’t remember. With my muddled middle aged mind it is even harder to pick a favorite. I mean, not remembering which one I like the most or shoot most sure makes it really difficult to figure which one I would chose over the others!

Then there is my son’s All Weather 10/22 but that is his rifle so how could it be my favorite. Let me stick with my own and just tell you right out that the Armscor 14Y, a neat little bolt action in .22LR used to be my favorite. It was because every time I took it to the range it meant my son was coming along for me to teach him to shoot and that was the best thing ever, at least back then. It was his learner rifle! I have not shot it in probably over half a year and even then it had been a long time before that since the prior shoot with it. Heck, my son is a grown young man now. He has his own rifles - but again they are not my rifles - so neither one is my favorite range gun.

What else is there? Got to be getting there soon, that is to the bottom of the list if not to my favorite gun to take to the range. Let’s see. There is the Ortgies in .32 auto. Fun pistol indeed and it goes to the range a good number of times, and is my only personally owned German made gun and I love that about it but a .32 auto as my favorite! Nah - I am not sissy enough to have a .32 as my favorite! Speaking of foreigners, I also have the Yugoslavian M24/47 in 8mm Mauser. Another fun gun and a really nice shooter. I got it only several months ago and it has seen a good deal of shooting because strangely enough, even though an 8mm, it is easy on the shoulder. I like that a lot, what with my bursitis and arthritis, and can hit the broad side of a barn with it so it is okay with my aging eyes too. We are getting closer to the favorite among my guns for the range - I promise.

Speaking of the larger caliber rifles I have, I also have a nice Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. I love that rifle. Got a great deal on it, it works like a charm, shoots like a pro and is a lot of fun. Again though, it is a bit hard on the shoulder. Speaking of hard on the shoulder, there is the Remington 870, my only shotgun. It is my number one choice for home defense, was my number one choice for an entry weapon when on operations at work (I carried my own for awhile until they made it issued only), is a fun gun for trap, is a great hunting gun for deer and birds and squirrels, has probably put more holes in paper than any other long-arm I own except maybe the 10/22, definitely has put more holes in game animals than any other gun I own, and has been with me since the early to mid-eighties. It sure was my favorite for many years and have a hankering to say it is still my favorite except for the thing about my aching shoulder, and neck and back - you understand - don't you!

Of course, I also have some other pistols. I am partial to Berettas. I own two Beretta 92FS 9mm pistols and one Beretta 92SB 9mm pistol. Used to own 4 or 5 (not all at once) Beretta Jetfires in .25 Auto and also a Beretta model 21 in .22LR. All excellent pistols and all lots of fun. The oldest, among all those, is the model 92SB and I am partial to that one if only because it saved my life and got me my nickname of Ballseye (another long story, but not now).

I also have the Beretta 70S in .22LR; probably my oldest pistol or should I say the one I have owned the longest (the Ortgies is the oldest by age). The Beretta 70S is an excellent little pistol. I used to shoot it a lot, still do when do bring it to the range. Luckily I have 5 Beretta factory magazines for it. So, I can shoot it up a bit before I have to reload the mags. That always makes a gun more fun. I really do love that pistol but to call it the favorite among all the guns I bring to the range, it would almost be like I was being disloyal to one of the other ones - wouldn’t it! I don’t want to upset any of them, even though I think maybe, just maybe, the Beretta 70S is my.... I mean after all, they are guns and you don’t want one going off on you because you were a dope and treated one better than the other by way of taking it out shooting with more enthusiasm than another - do you? Not me. I guess that’s it, I guess I can’t have a favorite gun to bring to the range. So, I'll just keep bringing them and shooting them all. Some I’ll shoot a lot now, then I won’t shoot one or two of em for a year or more while something else comes out of the arm’s locker to take their places and the rotation just keeps going.

I guess though, if I had to choose, I would pick whatever gun I had in my hand while at the range as my favorite - for at least those moments I am shooting it. Since I shoot all of my guns, at least now and then, and enjoy each one just as much as another, well you see where this is going don’t you! Yeah that’s it! Each one of them is my favorite gun, my firearm of choice, to bring to the range depending on the moment. It just doesn’t get any better than that, that is unless I get another gun and thus a new one to choose and to shoot to be my favorite of the moment.

I wonder if I missed any? Nah, I doubt it, at least not any I currently own. I think not anyhow. Still though, somewhere there in the back of my head something keeps making me wonder because I just don't want to make any of them feel neglected. Oh well, it must be time to do an inventory and see if I come up with any long lost others that need all the attention I can give them.

All the best,
Glenn B