Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Quite A Bad Day At The Range

I went to the range today even tough I only left my house late and wound up there at about 2:15PM. Maybe I should not have gone. Some knucklehead in a grey BMW SUV almost drove me off the road. I think he was drunk. I called the police; they never responded but that is another story. It was an omen too.

Of course that story blends into this one, because the police called me back, just before I was about to start shooting, to say the officer was in the range parking lot looking for me. I went up to look for him and he was nowhere to be seen - apparently he went to the wrong range - there are one or two others in the vicinity. Well I thought he went to thee wrong range, as you will see he probably never even showed up. When I started to go back down to the range, there was some guy moving my cased rifles over to a bench looking over his shoulder at me. I asked what business he had to move my rifles without asking me and he started to yell and scream that he was a range Nazi officer, and he had every right to do so, and how dare I leave my cased rifles in an open case on the ground. I explained, rather loudly myself, the another range officer had instructed me to leave them right there until a cease fire and he had better ask me to ever again touch my firearms. Well yet a third range officer, one I know as a senior or supervisory range officer, came over and he tried to butt in calm things down. I explained that the guy yelling at me had a knack for yelling at folks at the range and the butting in guy knew it because I had witnessed this same act before a few times with him yelling at other people. The rifle moving range guy started to more or less say I was a jerk who should be expelled from the range and we went back and forth a bit. It soon was over or so I thought but low and behold there came the first guy who told me to put the case where I had left it. The place from which the guy who moved it said it should not have been, and what does this first range officer ask me. "Sir, can I move or would you move the rifle case to over there?" Over there being exactly where I had it when the other guy picked it up and moved it saying it was a violation of range rules to have left it there. What is it they say about too many chefs spoiling the broth! It was going to prove to be a day - wouldn't you say.

Back to the police for a moment. As it turned out the police later called me again to say there would be a delay in an officer responding to my call and if I wanted to wait quite some time I could do so. This was about 20 minutes before the range closed and over 2 hours or so since I had made the call to the police. I told them to forget it. Allow me to get back to shooting which I somehow managed to squeeze in between this call and the range officer and me getting into a tiff. By the way we both apologized to one another for getting loud with one another and all turned out fine. I guess maybe the guy had a point - he did not know me and they get lots of assholes to deal with and I have to agree with him they do get a lot of assholes as you will see was the case today. No not me, don't go there because even the range officer agreed that I was not one once we got to talking and once he saw me shooting.

Before I got into the tiff with the range officer, I had gone to the range shop, bought about 8 targets, and paid my fee. The total was about $23.50. A lot for only about 2 hours shooting time - that was all the time left since they close at 4:15. Oh well, I figured it was then or wait another couple of weeks because next weekend I have other plans that do not allow for range time. I got to the range and somewhere in the whole mess mentioned above I actually had the time to set up on the range with a decent selection of rifles and get to shooting them. I had my new Mosin Nagant 91/30, my Mosin Nagant M44, my Yugoslavian SKS, and my Marlin 336.

I shot the Mosin Nagant 91/30 first. I used a Shoot-n-C target. It is one of the targets that shows the greenish ring around the bullet hole for great contrast. As it turned out the 91/30 is a shooter. From the bench with no support except for the bench (as in no sand bags) I did purdy near good at 50 yards. No competition grade shooting, but I certainly could have lit up a whitetail deer at that distance. Why 50 yards? Because it is easier to sight in a newly acquired rifle at 50 than it is at 100 yards. Maybe the next trip I will try to shoot it at 100 yards. Besides that I rarely get a shot at a deer over 50 yards, and i may just take this thing hunting with me. I'll have to remember to use the lollipop sight picture though. Aiming dead on at 50 yards and it shot high even with the rear sight set to its lowest position. It was pretty much right on for windage. In the pic there are three groups of 5 shots. The first group is slightly to the right and high. The second group is slightly to the left and high but not as high - using Kentuckty windage (and elevation) to adjust for having shot right and high the first time. The third group (yes that is five shots, look very closely) is the result of using the lollipop sight picture which made it near perfect for elevation although I again shot to the right a bit, but I did not compensate for windage this time. I need to adjust the front sight slightly for windage and it should be as good as it will get for me.

I then fired the M44 but was not impressed. It did not shot okay now that the bore is clean. My first group was not so good, the shots were pretty low. I needed only to adjust the rear sight up to notches to get the right elevation and I got a decent 3 shot group with the 2nd set of 3 rounds (see the pic two pics down, look at the shots fired on the buff colored paper to the right of the target. There are 6 shots, those were from the M44. I aimed at that area to not mistake those shots with my shots fired from the Marlin when I was sighting it in. The M44 also needs front sight adjustment a bit to to the right but not all that much. I was aiming in the center of the buff colored area and as you can see the shots were to the left somewhat (the right edge of the pic was pretty much the right edge of the buff colored paper).

I also fired the Yugo SKS which has never been all that great of a shooter. Still though it shoots consistently to the right, so again I need to do some adjustment for windage on its front sight. Yes a common factor among these three rifles is that the front sights are adjustable for windage. In all I fired to 10 round groups for a total of 20 shots out of the SKS. The first group was higher up, the second was lower and tighter in together. Not great shooting but not terrible either.

I also sighted in the Marlin 336. I took the scope off of it to clean it when I noticed a smidgen of rust at the edge of the scope mount the other night. Much to my dismay the area under the scope mount had a sizable rusty spot, like half of the area. I cleaned it and took off some of the finish doing so; shame on me for not removing the scope mount at the end of the hunting season last year. Live and learn.

In all I fired 15 shots out of the Marlin to sight in the scope. I fired 3 way to the left, then 3 closer to the center, then 3 even closer, then 3 way off to the right. I think what sent them way off to the right was that I probably adjusted the sights further right to get them from the 9 ring to the center, got distracted by a range officer BS'ing to me to tell me how I was shooting, then readjusted the sights before shooting again. So I essentially doubled the adjustment and look what it did, it put me right in the same area of the 9 ring on the opposite lateral side of the target (except for the one flier in that group). When I adjusted back to the left half of the last adjustment to the right - well, the shots were right where I wanted them. I fired 15 more shots, on a new target later on, with ammo from a few different manufacturers with pretty much the same results. I use a 200 grain bullet from Winchester, Federal and Remington ammo brands. The Marlin is ready for the hunting season for me. Now Brendan has to try it out because the scope usually needs some adjustment between where it has the rifle shooting fine for me and where it does likewise for him. Either way it is good enough for either of us to bag a deer.

Now when you looked at the second target for the Marlin, the one with all but one of the holes in the red, you may have noticed that there are 16 shots instead of 15 on the paper. That has a bit of explaining needed. I was firing on a 50 yard target. The guy immediately to my right was firing a pistol at about 7 yards (maybe 10). The range is set up with 2 rifle lanes next to the pistol lanes, followed by all rifle lanes to the right of that. I was pretty uncomfortable with the asshole next to me a few times that I noticed he had laid down his pistol on the bench pointed at my position. The bench for pistol shooters is a bit too far back in relation to the benches for the rifle shooters, so that if you fiddle with a pistol over the bench and it turns left or right it is pointing at the shooter next to you who is shooting rifle. The set up sucks, and his shooting safety skills sucked. So did those of the woman accompanying him. She pointed her pistol at me at least once while racking the slide and once again while trying to clear a jam -of course trying to clear the jam with finger on the trigger. I said something to the range officer and I suppose he spoke to them. But I digress - don't I and I certainly do not need my blood pressure to rise again today.

That shot - number 16 - all by its lonesome self out of the red and into the white - was not fired by me. In fact, I was looking through binoculars, to get an idea of where I had been shooting, when I suddenly saw a new hole appear in my target. That was right after one of those two assholes next to me fired off a pistol. I almost could not believe it, there is no way he could have been aiming at his target and actually hit mine, or her either for that matter, no matter how bad a shot could be either one of them. I figure it had to be either on purpose, or maybe one of them was again trying to clear a jam with finger on trigger and the gun pointed awry - but at least downrange this time if that was indeed the case. I figure it was on purpose because I think it was pretty obvious I had complained about their lack of range safety to the range officer. Luckily they finished up right after that and left before me so I had some safer time to shoot during the last round of shooting. Man oh man, public ranges can be frightening. I wonder where the range officers were when these two were pulling there goofball stunts with their pistols! Did I mention above somewhere I should have known this was going to be a day!

Oh well, it was a decent day at the range regardless of all the shenanigans that went on. How could I think it was even a decent day. Well I did not get shot or otherwise injured. I fired all 4 rifles I had brought with me. I did fair to middling with two of them and purdy darned good with the other two. Finally, a mediocre day at the range is better than a good day at work (unless you are at work shooting at the range) - so it was a decent way to spend a couple of hours on my day off. Note I did not say a bad day at the range is better than a good day at work as you would say a bad day fishing better than a good day at work. Why not? Because a bad day at the range means your gun blew up, or you got shot by some jerk who had no concept of firearms safety. Be careful out there - please shoot and handle firearms safely.

All the best,
Glenn B