Saturday, September 21, 2019

Range Day Today With It's Ups & Downs

By Tuesday or Wednesday of this week it was turning out to be just another week pretty much full of drudgery & boredom for me here in the Texarkana area. Had it not been for me going to Sam's Club (once my membership expires they probably can kiss my arse goodbye), running a few other errands and going in to see a doc, I would have been pretty much apartment bound all week watching Star Trek Enterprise on Netflix.

Then, when Brendan got in touch with me to tell me he was going to buy a Remington Model 700, in 308 WIN, for hunting this year, I told him if he wanted it he cold have my still new in the box Savage 111 Long Range Hunter. He hemmed and hawed only a little and said that might not be too shabby.

So, I started to get things in order for a trip to see him over in Benton, AR and to bring along the Savage 111 LRH. I also started a thread on Texas Gun Talk, a local to TX gun forum, to see what others thought about the Savage 111 LRH in 300 Winchester Magnum. Some thought it a good idea, others thought it too much gun. With the thought of it maybe being too much gun, I decided to bring along a few others in 3 additional calibers: 30-30 WIN, 308 WIN, and 35 REM. I spent a good deal of Thursday night and Friday morning into the afternoon cleaning guns, mounting a scope, getting ammo ready and so on and that was much better than being bored to tears in Texarkana (not that it is necessarily a boring town, just I have not gotten to really know anyone or the town itself yet).

On Friday afternoon I headed over to his place in Benton, got there late around 645PM or so. I had planned to leave earlier to make it to him by 4 or 5 at the latest but had to make a run to the post office before it closed. On my way there I remembered that I had some Jarlsberg and Cheddar cheeses in my fridge for him and of course, in my frenzied rush to get to the post office before closing, and then to finally shove off to his place, with getting all my guns and ammo together (well almost all of my ammo as you will see), I had left them behind. Back to my apartment to get the cheeses and out the door by 445 or a bit later. Once I got to Benton, we went out to get some burgers at red Robin. They have surprisingly greasy and very tasty burgers - both things to my liking. They also have some very strong mixed drinks of which I only had one. They also have a very cute and oerky waitress that Brendan seems to like - who knows. After the eats, back to his place and more drinking was to be done of Laird's Applejack, Some Knappogue Castle 16 year old single malt Irish whiskey, some 12 year old  Redbreast Irish whiskey, a shot of some liquor that was somewhat like Yeagermeister, and a few Bitburger Pilsners. We woke up late on Saturday morning, had some strong coffee, ate a bit of breakfast, I went to Home Depot to get some packing boxes out of which to make targets and we finally got off to a pretty late start. What the heck though - we went to the range to have some shooty goodness kind of fun.

We drove about 63 miles of so from his place to Pigeon Roost Range i he in his car and me in mine. I sat in his parking lot for 10 minutes waiting for him to come down to his car only to find out he had been right behind me as I went to my car and he had already left. Damn. I wound up turning off the highway, onto the dirt road to the range, maybe a couple of hundred feet behind him. Either he drove pretty slowly or I drove too fast but I am not telling. 

It was nice and sunny ad not too hot when we got there. not humid either. The best thing was that we had the range to ourselves. We got to business setting up targets, sorting ammo and getting otherwise ready to shoot.  I handed him the Savage 111 LRH and he liked the heft of it. Then I showed him the ammo next to a 308 WIN round and a 30-06 round. Both he and I were impressed - the 300 WIN MAG is huge compared even to a 30-06 round. I think maybe he was a little hesitant to take the first shot but he did and he then loaded up another and fired again, he liked it. In fact, he liked the Savage LRH in 300 WIN MAG very much. He only took a few shots with it, because there are no sights and no glass on it, just to check out the recoil. I did not bother mounting a scope to it because Savage said they are sending a replacement stock due to a problem of the bolt hitting the cheek-piece when trying to remove the bolt and necessitating removal of the adjustable cheek piece to get the bolt out. When I get that, I will probably pick up a Vortex crossfire scope for it or maybe something a little better from the same company.

He also tried out the Savage Axis XP. We fired several rounds through it and planned to fire a lot more since I had an abundance of 308 BUT then the glass went kerflooey. One of the internal pieces of glass near the eyepiece turned around sideways. So much for cheap scopes that come packaged on a rifle. Of course, bouncing around in a van moving from NY to AR and then in another moving it from AR to TX could have had something to do with it. A new scope needed, probably also Vortex something or other this next time around. Anyway, he liked the recoil of the 308 as well as that of the 300 WIN MAG. I think he was impressed that the much larger round had about the same kick as did the 308.

On Thursday evening, while getting ready for the trip, I had mounted a cheap BSA scope on my Remington 141, slide action rifle in 35 REM. It was set to be parallax free at 100 yards - not something I usually go for in a scope, I prefer one parralax free at 25 yards or less with an adjustable adjustable objective lens. I picked up that scope somewhere I cannot recall - maybe in a combined lot of items at one of the Hessney auctions I attended and had it on hand so made use of it. Luckily, I had the 141 sighted in at the range, at 25 yards, after only 6 shots after merely having slapped on the scope and having tightened the screws. He liked that rifle too; although, the scope was pure junk. I told him if he wanted it, he could get a better piece of glass for it and he could have the 141 since he needs a hunting rifle for this season. He was undecided. We wound up only firing only 12 rounds total through the Remington 141 and I had wanted both him and me to shoot more rounds out of it but we only had one box of 35 REM being I had mistakenly grabbed an extra box of 308 in my hurry to get going to head his way Friday afternoon and I left the second box of 35 REM on a table in my living room (remember I said I had taken almost all of my ammo). We used the other eight rounds in my Marlin 336.

When we shot the remaining 8 rounds of 35 REM ammo through my Marlin 336 we found it was off maybe 4 inches to the left; both for him and for me. I need to sight that one in again when I bring the right ammo. Seems it must have lost lost zero sometime during my move from NY to AR to TX. Oh well - next time I hit the range with it, I will make sure to have enough ammo to sight it in. Things were getting a bit frustrating what with a scope going bust and without enough 35 REM so I decided to steer things elsewhere because it was getting obvious Brendan wanted to head home.

It was a lot nicer of a day than the last time we got together there maybe a few weeks ago. Back then the temp was in the high 90s to maybe over 100 and it was humid as all hell and had us soaked from sweat - one of those days where if you are not wearing a cap, the sweat just keeps running into your eyes while firing. No we did not have caps. Today though, I am guessing it was around 87 at most and nowhere nearly as humid as the day of our last range trip. So, since we were not sweating buckets, he readily took me up on my offer of a box of 100 rounds of 9mm FMJ and got in some practice with his Glock 43. I too the time to shoot several rounds through my Beretta 950BS in 22 short. Disappointingly, I discovered that the Triple-K magazine I bought for it, at a gun show last week, was assembled incorrectly and that prevented it from being loaded with more than one round. There is an obvious manufacture flaw on one side that I had not noticed when taking it out of the package. I am hopeful Triple-K or the dealer will make good on it despite me having thrown out the clam-shell packaging and not getting a receipt. Time and an email or phone call will tell. Anyway, we also both fired several mags worth of ammo out of my Glock 30.

After we were done shooting the pistols, out of ammo for either of the rifles in 35 REM and unable to aim the Savage Axis in 308 because the scope went belly up, I brightened up Brendan when I told him I had the pièce de résistance yet to come - my Marlin 36 in 30-30 Winchester (and that I had three boxes of ammo for it). No glass on this old timer - just the original iron sights. We both shot it at 25 yards first. Each of us shot a bit to the left of center with group sizes I am conservatively estimating to have been at about 1.5 to 2 inches. Then I moved the target to 50 yards and we tried again. I am guesstimating the group sizes to have been about 3.5 to 4.5 inches across at most, which I am thinking equals minute of pie plate at 100 yards. It also shot a bit more to the left. I think drifting the front sight a bit to the left will help there, that is if it can be drifted. He was very impressed with that Marlin 36 not only because it was a nice shooter but because it still has a good deal of its original case color. I should mention that two rounds did not go bang, I was firing 150 grain Winchester Power Point ammo out of the second box of it and both rounds that did not fire came from that box. It looked like light hits or hard primers. None of the rounds in the other box of 150 grain ammo failed to fire nor did any from a box of 170 grain Winchester power point fail to fire. My guess is the primers but again, time (and other brands of ammo) will tell.

I would have tried the Marlin 36 at 100 yards but as we were firing it at 50 yards, two other guys showed up to shoot. There had been no one else there while we were shooting and the new arrivals helped us make the decision it was time to leave. We have been to that range before and all I can say is each time we shot there - me by myself once and me with him at least two other times - while others were using that range at the same time - we wound up seeing people loading standing well behind the firing line and wound up with guns pointing at us and on at least two of those occasions they were loaded. Going to a public range where there are no range officers can be a scary experience. Sometimes I point out safety violations to others, at other times we just pack our gear and leave the range because sometimes you can just feel that whatever you say will be taken with an attitude of who the heck are you to be telling me anything by the offending party. Today, even though the two guys who showed up looked nice and competent enough, we just did not want to take a chance and we called it a day. For all we knew, they (my guess is a father and son) could have been the safest shooters around besides us but we had shot enough and decided to head to Bubba Brews on route 70 near Bonnerdale for some eats.

We had a couple of appetizers and  a a couple of drinks and called it a day. I truly sucks eggs having to go our separate ways and to have to wait as Roy Rogers used to say "Until we meet again" but that's the way it is, at least for now. I am hoping we can get together in a couple oif weeks either for shooting or maybe for some fishing. Next weekend is out, Brendan already has something planned with his buddies - so maybe I'll get a TX hunting & fishing license and head out to wet a line by myself.

By the way, after a nice day shooting, when I asked him if he wanted one of the rifles for hunting season this year, he told me he might use his shotgun but really liked the Savage 111 LRH. If he wants it, he can have it but he will have to buy the glass for it. Same as for any of them that need a scope, I figure giving him a rifle is generous enough. If he does not want any of them, all the better for me.  
All the best,
Glenn B

PS: I will proof read this later. Sorry no pics today.