...was the first that Brendan and I would attend. (Note, this is a long post, if you prefer, I will also post one with pretty much just pics.)
To say that I was anxious about going is an understatement, I barely slept on Friday night, waking many timers during the night wondering if it was time to begin the trip. As it turned out, I awoke, for the final time, at about 0500, at least an hour and a half early. I had all of our gear, with the exception of Brendan's guns and gun gear bag, ready to be packed away into the Corolla. At least that is what I thought.
I went through this, that, and some other things and by 0630, the time I had planned as my wake up time, I had things just the way they would go into the trunk. I went up to wake Brendan just before 7 and took my turn in the shower. Surprisingly he was up by 0730 or so, right after I asked my wife to go wake him while I started to load the trunk with guns, ammo and gear. By that time Brendan was pretty much ready to go - thanks for the help! Oh well, he was up until at least 1 or 2 AM with his drinking buddies having a different sort of a blast than we planned to have at the Bloggershoot.
We left the house by about 0815, not bad considering we had planned on leaving by 8. We got to the Holiday Inn in Manchester, NH at about 1330. The ride was pretty much uneventful and that was a good thing. It took us about 5 hours and 15 minutes to get there because we hit some traffic. Once there we ate lunch and dinner at KC's Rib Shack and did some shopping for target backers (cardboard shipping boxes from Staples).
Come Sunday morning, After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we got the car loaded pretty quickly, all we had taken out for the night were the 3 guns cases and some personal stuff. Then we were off, Brendan driving and me navigating. As my knuckle-headiness would have it, I set us off in the wrong direction for 4 miles before we realized we had headed out wrong. We lost about 10 minutes or so because of that. Once we got it right, the 10 or was it 20 or maybe 50 miles or there about from the hotel to the suPer SeKrit location of the range went pretty quickly despite the downpour. Man, it was raining hard and looked as if we would have a soggy day of shooting. Brendan did not want to shoot in the rain and who could blame him, it was raining that hard.
We got to the suPer SeKrit location, late but not that late. The rain had slowed to a slight drizzle by then. With about 15 minutes, it had stopped altogether. I would say that it took another hour or so and the sun was out, that got some applause. It was just after that when things got going.
Jay, from MArooned, gave a bit of a spiel about range etiquette and the like and thanked Jack and Debbie for having us to there place for the shoot. I do not remember if Jack fired the cannon just before or after that but the cannon going off was the official opening of the Fifth Annual Northeast Bloggershoot. Yep, the firing of a cannon and one that I understand Jack made himself. I did not have my camera ready for the opening shot but as you will see later, I sure had it ready for the closing shot and had it ready for some pics of guns to the left of us, guns to the right of us, guns in front of us and even guns to the rear of us. We were surrounded by guns and I enjoyed walking around before and during the shoot to look at all of them.
Then it was time to shoot. There were 3 to 5 shooters on the line at once, shooting at targets set on a backstop said to be 50 yards from the firing line. I am guessing the range might have been shorter, in my estimation, but who cares. We were there to shoot not to measure the range.
As for the actual shooting, 3 -5 folks would step up to the line or close to it and start blasting. After seeing a few people a couple to a few feet behind the line while others were right up on it, I recommended that everyone stand with toes on line so all muzzles were definitely over the line and so muzzle blast would not be an issue. It went over well and only a few folks needed a reminder when shooting after Jay made an announcement to do it that way for safety. Each person shooting usually fired a mag or three worth of ammo, then moved out of the way for the next shooter. The rotation worked very well, I think everyone got a lot of range time. Speaking of everyone, I figure that in all there must have been 25 to 30 folks show up for the event. The number of shooters started out slow, built up, then trailed off until the end when about a dozen of us remained.
There was quite the selection of firearms at the shoot. Everything from a Röhm (RG) rimfireBloggershoot. It was a pretty impressive collection. Had the zombie apocalypse broken out, we would have been ready for it. While it was great see that wide a variety of guns and great to see others shooting them, what was truly the best thing was that the owners allowed others among us to shoot them. There were some operational full auto guns such as a full auto AR that Brendan got to fire. That one was brought by Wally of YorkArms up in Maine. I got Brendan on video but for some reason my camera recorded it at super fast speed (this ruined most of the videos I took while there, early on and later on the camera recorded normally). A few shooters, Brad, Alan and Mark, shot my Remington R1-1911 and Brad also shot the Beretta 92FS. Both Brendan and Jay got to shoot my Beretta 92SB, the gun that got me the moniker Ballseye. Brendan also shot my 92SF, Remington R1-1911, and my Beretta 70S. He turned down a chance with the Ruger MKII preferring to shoot more with the Beretta 92FS and the 1911.
One of the things about shooting at the Bloggershoot was that you also shared targets. The back stop was less than 20 feet wide probably less than 15 feet wide at that. So, there were not too many targets set up to shoot at and with people rotating turns at taking shots, the targets got a lot of hits (or misses). I guess no one, except Brendan, realized I had set up 4 small exploding targets, little stick on jobs, on the backstop. I say so because when he got the first one to go off with a loud bang and a big puff of smoke, those shooting or watching were pretty surprised. Brad, asked, "WHAT WAS THAT" and I joked that we were shooting exploding bullets. I explained what they really were and others tried shooting them. I got the next one, making it go off with a loud bang, shooting with he Marlin 25MN. When I looked at it later, there were 7 bullet holes in that particular target. It only got hit in the right spot to make it go off on the seventh shot. Since the Marlin mags hold 7 round, I had to wonder if I had hit that little 2 inches square all 7 times. Probably not, I guess someone else shooting a 22 had put some rounds into it, but it is nice to imagine I had hit it all 7 times. In all, we set up 8 exploding targets, I think only 2 of them exploded. The remainder had hits on them but not in the center, where they need to be hit to go off. Then again, maybe one or two others had been hit, I did not count how many I found unexploded.
Some other memorable things for me at the shoot were:
Jay's hand cannon or more properly his handgonne. It pretty much looked like an old time billy club, or better still the butt end of a boat pole for salt water fishing, with a metal piece on one end. That metal piece, maybe 2 inches long, was the barrel. Add black powder, I suppose some wadding, and a ball, then insert fuse, point in safe direction, light fuse and BANG with lots of smoke and sparks.
The full auto AR, which a lot of folks got to shoot was pretty impressive. I did not bother asking to shoot it and Brendan asked me why I had not. As I told him, I was too busy enjoying watching him shoot and instructing him how to shoot the pistol and then seeing him do pretty well with it. That was enough fun for me but of course I did shoot my guns too.
A full auto 9mm which Debbie had some fun shooting, the recoil really surprising her.
Several Mosin Nagants making loud thunder and lightning flashes in broad daylight.
A Schmidt Rubin, which I truly regret not asking to shoot. I think that one was brought by Bubblehead Les.
Mark's (aka: Libertyman, a very nice fellow) .50 caliber handgun. Brendan shot that one, I declined because, by the time I was asked, my right shoulder was acting up.
Our Marlin 336 (It probably is only memorable to me because I could not hit a target of about 12"x12" with it. Well, I could not tell if I hit it, so many people were shooting the same target that I had put up that it was impossible to tell! That only means I have to hit the range soon, here in NY, with the 336.)
My Romanian AK-47 WASR which did not double-tap or triple-tap even once (must be fixed?).
Jay's .22 caliber Colt revolver circa the 1920s.
And, of course, that homemade cannon.
Then there were the memorable folks who attended, many of them bloggers, I wish I could name everyone but such is my memory (I even had to steal some of these from Jay's blog):
Jay over at MArooned, Jack (aka: Doubletrouble) and Debbie our hosts, Mark, aka: Liberty Man, Les aka: Bubblehead Les, Thot from Bending Spoons (the owner of the Röhm (RG) in 22 rimfire), Brian from upstate NY (I think aka: Zercool), Cherr of Stuff By Cherr (who took lots of pictures), Brad_in_MA, Alan, Pedium from Random Geeking, Old Windways, the redheaded girl smiling while shooting, that gals mom(?) who was teaching her to shoot, the young lad shooting the small 22 rifle (maybe a Cricket), that young boy's dad(?) who was showing his and to shoot and doing well, the lady shooting the old side x side shotgun, and plenty of others. Jay's blog post about it list many more names: http://www.ma-rooned.com/2012/08/fifth-annual-northeast-bloggershoot-aar_13.html. I got introduced to so many folks my head was spinning and there is no way my muddled middle aged memory will remember of those names.
The most memorable things for me though were Brendan shooting and me there with him to help him along with pistol shooting and him firing the cannon. He did pretty darned good for an almost first time pistol shooter. He shot my Beretta 92SB once, a single or maybe two shots when he was quite young. Then he shot my Glock 26 and a .40 S&W Sig while we were out in AZ in, what was, 2009 or so. Before the Bloggershoot, that is about all the pistol shooting I know of him doing. As you can see from his target, set up at about 5 yards, he did pretty good at it. I have known some shooters who do not do as well and they have been shooting for 15-20 years. I think there is a marksman waiting to be developed. Now if only he would apply for his pistol permit so I could teach him here in NY.
I can only guess at the most memorable things for Brendan. He had fun though that I know for sure. And to think, he almost did not come because of a bad tendon problem (apparently because a doc prescribed him Levaquin) but decided he could stay at home in pain having little fun or enjoy the day immensely regardless of the pain. He is a trooper, he chose the latter. On the ride home, he thanked me a few times for bringing him along, and he told me he really enjoyed himself but I am getting just a bit ahead of myself.
Much like the show not being over until the fat lady sings, the Northeast Bloggershoot was not over until the big gun fired. Just as it had opened the day for shooting, the cannon was to be fired once again, this time to bring the bloggershoot to its end for this year. I wanted to be there for it but I also wanted Brendan, who was antsy to leave, to want to stay until the end. I am usually not so bold to ask for a favor like the one I am about to relay to you. It was near the end of the shoot, well after 5, our car packed full and Brendan just wanted to go. He probably wanted to get the drive over with and see his girlfriend. He kept saying we should leave and asking if I was ready. I told him I did not want to go until they fired the cannon. I just wanted us to be there from start to finish and only then say our goodbyes. Brendan took a seat but did not seem happy. I was wondering what to do to keep him in a good mood for the next 15 minutes or so that it would take before we left when I suddenly had a brainstorm. I walked over to Jack and asked, in a whisper because Brendan was close by, if there was any way he could let Brendan fire the cannon for the closing. Much to my surprise, Jack said sure he could fire it.
Then I went over and Brendan was really wanting to leave. I told him we had to wait because there was something he would want to do before leaving. When he asked about it I told him he would be firing the cannon. His response was basically a very shocked: WHAT and a why and how can I do that.
In a short while it was time to end the day. Jack loaded the cannon and told Brendan to find a lighter. Jay supplied the lighter, a BBQ lighter, he had been using on his handgonne. Brendan took it, lit the flame, touched the flame to the fuse in the hole, stepped back and BANG. The Bloggershoot had come to an end and I got it on video! Luckily, my camera recorded that video at normal speed which it had not done with most of the videos I recorded of the Bloggershoot, they came out in super fast mode. Those videos that should have lasted a few to several seconds were over in a second or two. I have been unable to get them at just the right speed to play back. Oh well, that is disappointing but at least I have a couple to a few, that came out okay, and are worth putting up on my YouTube channel.
Then we said our goodbyes to everyone still there and headed home. We made it home in 4 hours and 20 to 25 minutes. Not bad because we missed a turnoff and wound up on 395 south through CT which, I think and so did Brendan, was a blessing in disguise because the road was great with virtually no traffic. Had we not hit traffic on I-95 later in CT, my guess is we would have been home in less than 4 hours.
In closing, let me say all I said above in just four words:
It was a blast.
Remember, there more pics in a pretty much purely pic blog post about the shoot.
All the best,
Valediction of a Three Percenter
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