Sunday, March 14, 2010

An Excellent Day To Go Shooting...

...was exactly how today turned out and shooting is exactly what I did for the better part of 3 1/2 hours today. Despite really wanting to go to a local indoor range or two before I leave Phoenix, I could not resist the allure of the really fine weather. After all, it was in the mid 60s, the sun was shining, the skies were blue and that had outdoor activity written all over it so I again opted to go to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility North of Phoenix. Luckily for me, I already had enough ammunition for a good few hours of shooting because a couple of the local Wal-Marts in which I stopped to pick up some extra ammo were out of it in two of the three calibers I wanted. I did pick up a box of 9MM Luger, but they had no .22LR and no S&W .40 caliber. Did not matter though - I had enough for today.

I got to the range just before 11:30, checked in and then had to wait about 10 minutes, at most, for a shooting lane. The range was pretty packed, what with the nice weather and all; still though, 10 minutes was okay by me. Once in the range and during the next cease fire (about another 5 minutes) I set up my target at the 15 yard line. I had some new Aguila .22LR ammo, both Standard Velocity and High Velocity rounds, with me today and wanted to try them out in my Henry Survival Rifle. I also had those shoot n' see targets. I was pretty impressed with my shooting the Henry today. While I got some groups with which I was not all that happy, I also got some groups that were great for me with that particular gun. That was with the Aguila Standard Velocity and with CCI Standard velocity. The Aguila High Velocity was another story. I shot well enough with it at 15 yards but when I later moved my target to 25 yards the group spread out by about 3x the size of the one I had at 15 yards. On the other hand, with the Aguila Sand CCI Standard velocity ammo I was able to maintain a pretty good group at 25 yards for this rifle. There was no doubt that had I had a bead on a squirrel at 25 yards there would have been dinner for the pot and most likely head shot dinner at that. I got a couple of groups about the size of a nickel at 15 yards and a couple of others about the size of a half dollar at the 25 yard line. That was with the standard velocity stuff. The high velocity ammo just was not on the mark anywhere near as well at either distance though it was passable at 15 yards.

I also shot my Glock 26 and my issued Sig 229 (double action only). I did alright with both of them but for some reason was shooting fairly high at 15 yards and somewhat high at 25 yards with the Glock today. This is unusual for me and I am wondering if anything about the ammo or the gun was causing this. Even from the bench with my hands supported by a carpet covered wood block my shots were going pretty high at 15 yards. Maybe it was me but as I said that was pretty unusual for me so I will give the pistol a good check-up when I clean it tonight. I shot a bit low with the Sig, only about an inch under where I was aiming, and that was only after I exhausted my supply of 155 grain ammo and then switched to newly issued 180 grain ammunition. It took only a minor adjustment of how I held on target for me to correct that and it should not be a problem. That was only at 15 yards and did not happen at 25 yards. At 25 yards I was pretty much right on as far as elevation went. I am estimating I shot about 125 rounds of .22LR, 175 rounds of .40 S&W and 200 rounds of 9MM.

The whole experience was a pleasant one from check in, to set up, through shooting, to departure. The range officer who was down at my end, and I was almost all the way at one end on shooting point 62 (it goes up to 67), was an elderly gentleman with great manners and respect for the shooters. I did not hear him yell at one person for getting something wrong as range officers often do the first time they see a minor infraction of range rules. Instead, he corrected folks nicely although there was one person nearby who kept screwing up the same thing regarding range safety and probably needed the decibel level raised a bit to have it sink in. While he seemed about to lose patience with that shooter, he managed to remain a gentleman while admonishing her about her lack of safety. Had it been me as range officer, her ears would have hurt after she screwed up the third time in a row; in fact I might have removed her from the range. Oh well, I guess he kept his eye on her pretty good and she did finally get it right although I don't think he would have remained calm had he had to correct her again. Nice to see range officers actually paying attention to the shooters and making sure they are keeping things safe for everyone and doing it nicely too.

Speaking of being nice, I did my good deed for the day while at the range. I saw a young lady holding a semi-auto pistol with the thumb of her weak hand crossed over the thumb of her strong hand while shooting. The only reason the slide did not take a bite out of it was because she was holding the grips down way too low. Had she moved up just a bit, she likely would have felt the bite of the slide as it would have raked across the knuckle of her left thumb. I told her boyfriend and he got to it right away and corrected her. They seemed pretty happy I told them about this. I am often leery to give advice at the range but this seemed harmless enough and proved to be welcome.

Now that the fun part of the day is over it is time for more mundane things like laundry, gun cleaning and getting stuff ready for work tomorrow. Of course, dinner time is almost upon me and as soon as the laundry is all in the drier I think I will be off for a bite to eat. Thinking of the George & Dragon Restaurant & Pub for tonight, they have a wide variety of pub and traditional British foods.

All the best,
Glenn B