It truly was a glorious day so far today here on Long island - at least for me. The weather was great, in the low 60s when I left the house this morning around 0900 (actually left by my planned time for a change) to head to the range for some shooting. Brendan was at my side as we drove the 48 miles or so to the range. (I had thought it was 60 miles but stand corrected since I checked the odometer today.) The drive was nice, almost no traffic once we were about 1/2 way there. No idiots encountered on the road was also a plus (and let me tell you I seem to have a penchant for attracting them if they are around). The guys who checked us in at the range shop were nice. I was a bit dismayed to see that the $18 bucks we pay is only for 3 hours of shooting (longer if they are not busy and don't need the bench for someone else). It used to be that much for 4 hours. (I stand corrected again I had been certain it used to be for the whole day of shooting but the guy at the counter set me right on that.)
After we shot for about an hour or so, we met up with a friend of mine, Dennis M, who retied from my job a year or two back and that made things even better. He was the guy who asked me about the Kel-Tec SU16 that I recently wrote up on the blog. He bought a used Mini 14 (stainless) with a telescopic sight and was breaking it in for his first shoot with it. We did not get much time to talk since he probably stayed only about an hour or so, but we will meet again for another shoot in the not too distant future if all goes as planned.
There were no Range Nazis yelling at us today. In fact, the guys who were firearms officers at the range were really very nice as they usually are with one guy who is an exception and can be an ass. Yet, as I said he was not there today, or at least not bothering me if he was there. Most of the shooters today were also on the ball when it came to range safety. That included a couple of guys who came with a Boy Scout Troop and their troop leader for some shooting. They were shooting for the 1st time from what I could tell - the scouts that is and were doing okay even if they could only shoot at 50 yards. (By my estimation that is a horrendous distance at which to teach a newbie to shoot, but it is all that was available.) Surprisingly they were doing okay. I suppose the glass optics they were using helped there.
As far as shooting went Brendan and I did okay and we had a blast shooting away with 6 rifles and a shotgun that we brought along. Brendan had nothing to brag about but at 50 yards he was sighted in well enough with the scoped Marlin 336 (in .35 Remington) to hit a deer in the kill zone easily at that distance. I wanted to try the 100 yard line this time round but the range was so crowded we decided not to move from the 50 to the 100. Maybe next time. With the Remington 870, he seemed to be off his best a bit. He was hitting the target at that distance but was high and so was I. A bit of tinkering with the 870's stock open rifle sights got me zeroed in right on the money but he was still shooting a bit high. Oh well, when we hunt, if it is rifle country, I will probably use the slug gun myself and let him use the Marlin. As for me and the Marlin, we were a good combination. I was off at first and the fault was all mine. When I concentrated a bit I got 5 shots too look like a compacted clover leaf. In fact three shots basically made one hole. I was loading with three at a time, then loaded two remaining shells I had left over. I impressed myself good enough for me to have patted myself on the back.
We also had fun shooting the Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30 and the Hungarian Mosin Nagant M44. Neither is a tack driver, especially not the M44 but we would have hit a deer at that distance. Some shots would have been backbone breakers and others belly busters but all were pretty much centered. We both also shot Brendan's AK. That is a spray and pray type of gun if ever there was one. It does not seem any too accurate but we did hit paper at 50 yards and would have put one heck of a hurting on people sized targets had we been defending ourselves.
Finally there was the Ruger 10/22 All-Weather that I bought Brendan a few years back. It has a red dot sight on it and I shot okay with it using fairly crappy ammo at 50 yards. Brendan shot okay with it too. I shot maybe a large orange sized group for 20 rounds the first time around. It was shooting low so I adjusted the sight to get the right elevation but it still needed some windage work. We left that for next time. I have to point out, it was a relief for both of us to shoot something with almost no recoil at all but after about 3 1/2 hours Brendan had had enough; in fact so had I. My back, right shoulder and neck are all telling me now that maybe I should not have shot the 870 to day or stayed as long at the range with those larger caliber rifles; maybe a lot more of the 10/22 was in order for me. Oh well. Funny though, the tingling I had in my left arm up through my shoulder has gone away. That has been bothering me each time I have used the PC lately and when driving, but is gone now! At least one part of my middle aged anatomy must have gotten jarred back into place.
The ride home was uneventful - which translates to great. We made a stop at a live fowl seller and I picked up a couple of Guinea Hens for tomorrow's dinner. I am cooking - that should be an adventure of its own. We made a couple more stops so Brendan could pick up some stuff for a birthday party he was to attend and then we headed home. I suppose that tonight I'll have to start cleaning the guns all over again. Seems like I just cleaned about 4 of them as recently as this morning! Shoot em, clean em right after you shoot em, then make sure test fire em as soon as you can, and then you have to clean em all over again and test fire em again and on and on and on. It is a vicious cycle I can attest to that, but I love it.
All the best,