Sunday, November 2, 2014

Some Blog List Updating

I added three five six blogs to my blog roll under the header of Bloggers Whom I Have Met:

Another Day.....Another.....

Excels At Nothing (moved from another section of the blog roll)

Lagniappe's Lair  (moved from another section of the blog roll)

The Miller

The New Jovian Thunderbolt

Nobody Asked Me

The Shekel - Coins, Law and Commentary

All folks I met at the blog shoot in West Virginia.

All the best,


The Blogger Shoot In West By God Virginia... a long blog-post but you can scroll right to he videos if you want. If you would rather read it all, start here:

It was a damp and dingy day and rain fell early on us and threatened to fall even more during the remaining daylight hours. 
Luckily, for we 22 or so brave souls who faced it, the weather remained a bit kind to us and did not pour down upon us or our weaponry and targets. I would have hated to have had to clean all my guns before we departed at the end of the day because they had gotten wet and I would have hated it even more had the rain sloughed off my targets before I got done shooting them. As it turned out we wound up having a blissful blast thanks to the cooperation of Mother Nature.

This  West Virginia blogger shoot was a lot like the ones we have attended in New Hampshire but was also quite different from them. The reasons it was much the same was because it amounted to a collection of liberty loving firearms  enthusiasts showing up at a range to have some shooty goodness with a wide variety of things that go boom. The biggest differences were that it was at a commercial range in WV as opposed to a private one in NH and that the range had multiple ranges such as a pistol range, a mid distance pistol or short distance rifle range (I think it went out to 50 yards),  a 100 yard rifle range, and - if I got it right - a 400 yard rifle range. For Brendan and me, the other obvious difference was that it was essentially in the opposite direction from our home relative to the one in NH. Either way though, both were a long drive. Oh yeah, the other different thing was that we had to pay to shoot at this range but that was not really all that different than the range in NH since we always leave a couple of gifts with our hosts up that way for the excellent time they showed us while there. Still though, the range up in NH was gratis, as in gifted to us for the day, the one in WV was a commercial range and required a fee for use. The charge was not bad at all, it was only $20 for the day and we shot from about 1030 or 11AM until about 3PM. I would have liked to have had another hour or two shooting but the group had made plans for a late luncheon / early dinner with a reservation at 3 or so.

As for me and Brendan, we set out on Friday night at about 615. We arrived in Charles Town, WV at three minutes before midnight. I had phoned the motel to let them know we would arrive between midnight and 1AM but also told them I would try to get there early. When I gave my name at check-in, one of the two clerks at the desk told me I was early just as I said I would try to be! That got a good laugh. Between laughs, I checked in and pretty soon after that Brendan and I were fast asleep. I woke up several times worrying about things like bedbugs and someone breaking into my car - had you been there with us you may well have done the same, it was a pretty nasty motel as far as I am concerned. Motel 6 used to be a clean and reputable chain but all I can say about this particular one, in my opinion, is that it was the second worst hotel I can remember staying in over the past 10 years or so (the other was also a Motel 6 but was in Fogelsville, PA). The only thing it may have had going for it was that most of the holes in the walls had been plastered over so maybe they were starting to renovate. It needed it, that is renovations, is all the more I will say about it except to say that the staff at the motel all were excellent in the courtesy department. That though did not make up for the condition of the place and I probably will not be staying at another Motel 6 unless I at least first check many recent reviews of the place and it comes up smelling like roses.

Next morning, we were up - or at least I was up - by 7. Got ready and then Brendan did likewise. We were out of the motel by 830 and headed to John's Family Restaurant located on U.S. 340 several miles south of the motel. It was a nice surprise after the motel. We were greeted and seated almost immediately in a restaurant sort of in the style of, or doubling as, an antique shop. There were lots of old things adorning the place - things from I don't know how far back but apparently many from the 50s and 60s, years with which I am all too familiar. We ordered breakfast and both began with black coffee that was indeed a very tasty beverage. Then we chowed down on breakfasts that were both huge and delicious. Crispy and salty and very scrumptious bacon, a sausage patty, a couple of sunny side up runny eggs, well done brown and crispy home fries and rye toast all graced my plate and were gone faster than a speeding bullet whizzed into and bounced off of Superman's chest. It was that good. While I was scoffing mine down, Brendan was busy stuffing his pie hole with country fried steak and biscuits all smothered in white gravy (with a large bowl of it on the side), a couple of eggs and home fries same as mine. A couple or few cups of coffee later, we were stuffed. I have got to say that the folks were A+ at John's Family Restaurant for breakfast (not as great with dinner although the service was the same both times - excellent).

Somehow, we managed to fit our fatter selves into the Corolla and get the seatbelts fastened. Once we had accomplished that we set off southbound and were at the range entrance of 340 Defense quicker than you could reload a few new 15 round pistol mags - it was that close to the restaurant. We drove onto the property through the second of two possible entrances, the one with the paved entranceway and big signs) saying it was the range. That was a bad move cause when we got to the range office there was not a soul in sight. There were no cars and obviously no one inside the office that was not much bigger than a deluxe outhouse.

We took an internal road back toward the other possible entrance and there, outside of a nice stone house, were a few of the other gun nuts enthusiasts waiting for the rest of us to show up. Jay G was among them so I was certain we had the right place. Jay clued me in as to what had to be done, like registering and signing a hold harmless agreement, and I went inside and got it done. Brendan came in just as I finished and he filled out the necessary paperwork too. Then it was back outside to wait for our fearless but late leader, Ross of Lagniappes Lair. He really was not all that late and had a good excuse, the dogs had given him the slip when the doors to his house were open to load guns and gear for the day and they had to be rounded up before he left home for the range. Sort of like telling Mrs. Crabtree that the dog ate my homework I guess but it was believable under the circumstances.

Soon enough though,  we were all unloading our guns & gear onto various tables at the different ranges. Brendan wanted to shoot mostly pistol so we set up all of our gear at the pistol range. We didn't budge from our spot on that table for the rest of the day until time to leave and wound up doing 95% or our shooting on the pistol range. In NY'istan, Brendan is not legally allowed to shoot a pistol because he does not have a pistol license, so this promised to be a fun day for him with handguns.  I only brought along five handguns but had made sure to lug along more than enough ammo for them. Once we were set up, there was a quick group hug meeting and the range personnel introduced themselves and went over basic range safety. Then we all had at it and let the lead fly.

Joe Cool, aka: Brendan with the Beretta 92SB.
As I said, we probably spent 95% of our time on the pistol range. I think I fired only 30 rounds out of my AK on one of the rifle ranges. I did shoot a couple of other rifles though, both in 22LR but did that on the pistol range just to shoot something other than a pistol and to make sure to shoot most of the guns I had brought along. Yeah, me saying most of them means we did not shoot all of them. I never bothered to uncase the Remington 870 shotgun or the Henry Survival rifle. I did shoot all of the pistols, the AK, the Remington 241 Speedmaster and the Stevens 66B. On the other hand (or should I say 'in' the other hand) Brendan shot up a storm with the Remington R1 1911 and the Beretta 92SB. He also shot my Glock 26 and the Ortgies Pocket Pistol. He looked and acted like Joe Cool and I am sure that was because he was having so much fun.

At one point, still looking like Joe Cool he seemed a bit concerned when he said something that sounded to me like: 'Did I do that' although, he claims he said: "See that" (and that is what is in the audio but the other sounds better). He had racked the slide of the Ortgies and it now seems that somehow managed to depress the takedown button and pull the slide up and off of the rails at the rear when doing so. As he let the slide slingshot back, it apparently went forward regardless of being off the rails at the rear and it slam fired a round. That round went off not fully seated in the chamber (as far as I can tell) and it did not get the full force of the pressure it should have received from the powder charge. The result, in essence, was the same as a squib round with the bullet stuck about midway down the barrel. I was happy it happened finger off trigger and muzzle pointed down range; yet, I imagine the look on my face was more somber than the one on his. Of course, I was happy he and everyone else was uninjured but not happy that the gun had a round lodged in the bore.

I took it inside and asked to use their  work bench in an attempt to get it out. One of the range officers came inside and guided me through getting it out and gave me the right tools with which to attempt it. After about 30 slams (over the course of a few to several tries) with a mallet on the 'handle' end of  a steel rod made for the purpose, I finally got the bullet out of the barrel. Had the range officer not wrapped the end of the rod in duct tape, I am sure it would have damaged the bore but as it turned out it looked fine after my assault and battery of it. Luckily the barrel did not bulge but I am guessing that is because a lot of the pressure went our the breech end. Allow me to say that it was amazing as to the amount of force needed to dislodge that bullet - so much so that it made me truly appreciate both the pressure exerted by the gunpowder and the strength of the steel of which the barrel was made in order to a fire just a single shot. Not long after that, I was on the range firing the Ortgies which seems no worse for the wear.

While I was getting that done, Brendan was outside continually firing away to his heart's content. I am guessing he fired a few hundred rounds through the Remington R1 and likewise through the Beretta 92SB (the pistol that got me the Ballseye moniker). Somewhere in there, shooting on the pistol range was shut down so our group could hold a bowling pin match. Neither I nor Brendan had ever shot such a match before but we joined in. The gentleman running the match (wish I could remember his name, maybe Kelly) set up five bowling pins on a table about 10 or 15 yards away. The shooters loaded up with 6 rounds and on signal were to fire attempting to knock each pin over. Brendan shot before me and I think he got 3 or 4 out of five pins. He was shooting the 45. I had to wait my turn and Brendan waited to shoot again as well. I think he took four tor five turns at it getting better and getting them all but not doing great; then again - as I said - he rarely shoots pistol. Nonetheless, he was having fun and doing well enough. 

Remember I said that the point was to knock over all of the bowling pins. That was what I had thought but as usual I was wrong. Must have been about hallway through the shoot when I overheard one of the group explaining to another that the point was not only to knock over each pin as fast as you could but to knock each pin completely off of the table. Some guys did it sneaky like (actually inadvertently) and hit the table knocking 3-4 or even all five over with one shot. Others hit one pin and it fell spun and knocked over other pins. Those did not count.

On my first try, shooting the 45, I had to reload and wound up getting each with about 8 or 9 shots but that was embarassking (as Popeye would say) so I tried again later with the Beretta 92SB - a gun with which I am much more familiar than I am with my 1911. I gave it two goes with the Beretta. On the first try, with the Beretta, I got all of the pins with 6 shots and my second try with my trustworthy old friend resulted in me getting all five pins off of the table with 5 shots. During that second try shooting the 92SB, I hit one that knocked over another two, I immediately fired at the downed pins and knocked each off of the table with good hits - so they counted. I got all five in something like 6.9 seconds which I am certain is nothing as compared to competitors who shoot this all the time; however, it was good enough to garner me fourth place. I think that game could become addictive and surely would do much to improve the speed of one's shooting.

After that it was back to shooting on the pistol range with a break in there for shooting the AK on the shortest rifle range. Brendan fired the AK too but I think only a single mag full of ammo (10 rounds as that is what we can legally own in NY). Then it was right back to the pistols again. To break things up a bit, I brought out the two 22 caliber rifles that I mentioned earlier - the Remington 241 and the Stevens 66B. Brendan also had a little fun with others folks' guns.

Somewhere during the day, Brendan got to fire a full auto Uzi that Ross had brought along. We had more than enough 9mm ammo for him to use in that. I was a little disappointed I did not get to see him do that because I was inside on one of a few trips to the work bench to try to get the bullet out of the Ortgies barrel but such is life. I tried in spurts rather than all at once to give some penetrating oil a chance to work, then pounded away, took a break instead of letting myself get frustrated, tried pounding away again and got it out, then once out let some cleaner do its job and went back in and scrubbed it out with a brush to assure it was nice and clean before giving it a test fire. Oh well, he had fun with the Uzi and had someone shoot a video of him doing it so at least I got to see him blasting away with it on the video.

Later on, Brendan asked "Do you have any 308 ammo?" and I said: "I have a few hundred rounds, at home". Before I even thought of suggesting he go inside to see if they offered any for sale, he was in there buying a couple boxes, or 40 rounds, of it. Then, as  watched (smile on my face) he fired Ross' M60 machinegun. Ross explained what he had to do and stood within easy hands reach and Brendan fired off several bursts ending up with a longer volley. I took a video of him shooting it and let me just say he enjoyed that a lot (thank you Ross).

I can only say that I wish we had about a few hundred rounds of 308 or 7.62x51 ammo with us. I would have liked to have given it a try too but it was not worth about $36 bucks for 40 rounds of ammo after shelling out for everything else as cash was running short. I did ask Brendan if he wanted to shoot it some more but he declined, that would have been worth it too me regardless of how much it cost. As it turned out though, he already was a quite happily satisfied shootist. Next time though, I'll go prepared and ask ahead of time what fun toys are being brought along and what ammo they require and we will have the required ammo ready for even more fun.

I guess it was around 230 to 3PM that I noticed people were gearing up readying to depart and head to the restaurant. As usual, I did not get in as much shooting as I would have liked but did get in more than up in NH. The reason for that was the range in NH could only accommodate about 5 to 6 shooters at a time so all of the group there had to take turns. At the range in WV, some guys just stayed at the rifle ranges and did all their firing there. We stayed at the pistol range and put most of our lead downrange from there and even with the break for the bowling pin shoot, we shot more than when in NH. Not complaining about NH, not at all, just explaining differences in how much we shot at each. Anyhow, I spent too much time with the Ortgies barrel, also spent a good deal of my time watching Brendan have fun but I also got in a good amount of shooting too. So as disappointing as it was, it was indeed time to leave.

We said our goodbyes to range staff and I thanked them profusely for helping me clear the Ortgies barrel. Then we were off in a caravan to the restaurant. Much to our satisfaction we headed to John's Family Restaurant once again. I am guessing that in all there was just under 25 of us at the shoot and I think all of us went to dinner together. Dinner was not quite as good as breakfast but certainly was nothing to complain about and I'll leave it at saying it was better than many others I have had in other decent restaurants. The company made up for anything that may have been at all lacking in the dinner even though Brendan and I were odd men out sitting alone with one another at our own table. Just the way the seating worked out. 

Once everyone was done eating, a hat was passed around for donations to fight cancer. Then there was an award ceremony for the bowling pin shoot among other things. During the shoot, each shooter paid $5.00 per round of 6 shots in their attempts to annihilate shoot the bowling pins off of the table. With Brendan's five tries and my three, we chucked $40 into that shoot; we also threw some more cash into the hat at the restaurant. Not only was the money in the hat to be donated to a cancer fighting charity but so too was most of the money from the pin shoot (the rest went toward buying bowing pins to replace the ones we shot up). As for he prizes awarded, I won fourth prize and got to select from among things like three books all written by fellow bloggers, I think), and some firearms accessories like rails for AR's and other things. I picked a book, The Grey Man, written by fellow blogger Old NFO. He gladly inscribed it for me and I had him make it out to Brendan to whom I gave the book.

I had thought the awards ceremony was over and made a quick announcement to everyone about how much fun Brendan and I had had and how nice it was to meet everyone. In doing so, I mentioned that it was obvious to me just how much fun Brendan had at the shoot because that during dinner he mentioned to me, only about 10-12 times, that he had had a great time and that shooting the M60 had made his day. That got a round of applause.

There were some other awards after that. One was for whomever had the most interesting gun. Brendan tried to say that had been the M60 machinegun, smiling broadly as he did so, but at the end that prize went to Nancy for her Brown Bess muzzle loading rifle. I don't recall the other prize categories but the other that I do recall was supposed to have been for whoever had the longest drive to get there. Someone beat us in distance by about 50 miles but it was brought up we had the longest drive time-wise. Then someone suggested that they determine who had to drive through the most restrictive (relative to firearms) commie type and tyrannical states to get there. Brendan and I won hands down after our drive included going through New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland before we reached West Virginia. I let Brendan to go up to the table and pick it out. He grabbed a laser sight for Glock 42. Despite being a certified Glock armorer, I had to ask what was that model; I was told it's a Glock 380. I guess maybe we can find some use for the laser other than me buying a new Glock in a caliber I currently do not have but then again, now I have an excuse to buy another gun and 380 ammo.

Alas, it was all too soon time to vamoose. We went outside, talked a bit and then it was time to ay goodbye because Brendan wanted to head home the same night instead of spend another night in WV. I would gladly have opted to stay, albeit at a Holiday Inn that second night, if only because much of the group was going to head to an Irish pub for cold ones (since many of them were overnighting). Brendan wanted none of it and we headed home, this time though we took another route spending more road time in PA than any of the gun unfriendly states. Yeah we passed through them again but not for nearly as long as on our drive down to WV. The drive home was pretty uneventful and Brendan reminded me several times how much fun it had been. In fact he watched the videos, on his cell phone, of him and I shooting and did that several times. Yes, in all it was an excellent father and son road trip. I can't wait until we do another again.

All the best,
Glenn B