Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday Shooting

Ok, it didn't rain, I had an extra day off and so I did what any free man or woman would do with that free time.

Loaded the Jeep with the Henry and Camper and a box of clays, and also the Carbine just to check out the new thirty round mag. This time a sidearm too. Headed out to the new desert shooting spot. We weren't able to leave as early as planned, so I hoped that all the good spots weren't taken. They were. Well, that's what happens on a weekend. The job usually allows weekday shooting and it's usually empty. We continued on towards the backup spots. Found a man and wife shooting in the second best spot and we were just going to pass them by when he waved us in.

Turns out he's a Zoomie* out for a day of AR practice with his wife. They had two ARs, one with tripod set up on his hood, and a bright purple one for his executive officer. We had some fun talking and firing each others stuff. He had cans of ammo to burn, me not as much.

Anyway, he had brought along a piece of steel plate from some machinery and he was blasting it with regular rounds and armor piercing. The steel was about a half inch thick. Here's a view of two hits with the normal rounds:

Here's the armor piercing:

A little bit more damage, but still quite a few hits would be needed to open a hole with .223. According to Zoomie, that steel is about what the armor thickness is in Iraq. I can see why the military might be interested in replacing the round.

While loading a mag, I heard full auto fire coming from the guy. I of course immediately wanted to see what he had. He still had the purple AR in hand so I asked if it was select fire, 'cause if it was, I wanted a try. He said nope, just bump firing. So I gave it a try, an unsuccessful try as you'll see:

The reason it didn't work was a dud round. After the first shot, the second wouldn't fire or eject. So at least it wasn't me!

He also was trying out his "carry" piece, a Glock 26. Now, as someone who's read this blog before should know, I'm an old gun type. He gave me a mag to shoot and I honestly see why so many people would choose a plastigun. I was rather accurate with it and it was easy to use. Still won't buy one, but I don't begrudge anyone the purchase. I let him shoot the Mak and he liked it.

A bit after that, he and his wife took off, leaving me and dad on our own. I loaded up the Henry and placed some clays around. Someone had sunk a few pieces of pvc pipe in the ground as target holders where we were shooting and so we hung the clays from them and I fired away. Here's a little bit of that:

I did the same for the Browning. I had hoped to get this done for GuyK, but it appears he's already bought himself a pair of .22s.:

Sorry about the poor vid quality. It seems you can't view a larger version. A full screen option would show the action more clearly. Also, some of the clays didn't break when hit, the .22s just went right through them and left a target hole. I hit almost all the clays however.

The new carbine mag was difficult to load the first time. I used Wolf ammo. I had another first round chambering problem too. The second time the mag was easier to load. I had no failures to fire or eject. When I tried out the orange box ammo picked up at the last gun show, I had two failures. The ejected shells showed clear, strong strikes on the primer, so I must attribute the ftf to the ammo itself and not the gun. $10/50 with two failures compared to $11/50 and no failures. I guess it's all even. Maybe I'll pick up another box of orange box and see if it happens again.

Unexpected activities, new product testing, and just plinking around. Whatelse should free people do on an unscheduled day off eh?

* Apologies to GuyK and other AF personnel who might read this post. Never being mil, I don't know if Zoomie is an insult or just gentle ribbing. I named the guy that because I didn't get his name.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rule Number One: Always Be Armed

So of course, I broke it at the last shooting session in the desert.

No, I didn't get all the way out to the shooting spot and then find out I left my guns at home - I haven't done that yet! - I did something far, far worse. I went shooting without a sidearm.

Sure, nothing happened, as the fact that you're reading this can attest. Nope, my error was thinking nothing could happen when out in the middle of nowhere. After all, the shooting fraternity contains only good, decent, law abiding people. Except for the criminals who use guns.

My purpose for that day was to attempt to sight in the good old Aught-three Springfield. I recently purchased a spotting scope and a small folding table and stool just for that purpose. A report on my feeble attempts will be posted above.

As we first made our way to the places we had shot before we noticed that all the good spots had been taken. We didn't bother going up to see what the other people were doing, as most of them were a bit off the road. As we were passing the last spot, we saw that five guys in a pickup were loitering around. Maybe they were just out there drinking. We saw no guns or targets in the area. Didn't feel like checking them out too closely as they seemed to have an unsavory appearance. We just continued on looking for a place to shoot further down. A short distance after passing them, we ran into a no firearms discharge sign. We continued on to see if the prohibition lasted for only a short distance or not. We eventually ran into a roadblock that ended our exploration, as seen below. After spending some time exploring the area off limits to shooting, we decided to return to the area to check and see if anyone had vacated one of the prime locations.

Sadly, they had not, although I do not recall hearing much shooting. There was some sporadic gunfire, but not much. So we just picked the first open area and set up the table and targets. All went well and as we were considering calling it a day, the pickup with the five strangers passed our spot, heading in the direction of the no shooting area. They drove slowly past and continued on. I wasn't in a position to make eye contact with them but as they exited the area, it finally dawned on me that we were exposed. Naked in fact. Why? Because I had only brought the Springfield and the Henry out to shoot. The Henry never made it out of its box and was buried under stuff in the back of the Jeep. The Springer was sitting out on the table, bolt open, unloaded, with no ammo within reach, and I was a good ten feet away from it.

Sitting ducks.

I have no way of knowing what intentions those guys had. Perhaps nothing but drinking and spending time away from nagging wives or spirit dulling jobs. Maybe they were the ones shooting. They could have looked at what I had and determined it wasn't something they were interested in. That old Springer wasn't a shiny new plastigun that shoots sideways, just an old hunk of wood and metal. Nothing any criminal would want, so maybe they eyed it and decided it wasn't worth an effort to take. Maybe they had no interest in any illegal activity. The fact is, no matter what they were or weren't planning to do, we were completely at the mercy of anyone who did have evil intent. Pretty sobering thought.

After this experience, all shooters in my party will be carrying a sidearm while out in the desert. The desert is a big place and it's quite easy for someone to disappear out there after a confrontation with those who aren't willing to obey the law. This time nothing happened, but who knows about the next time....

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's What's For Dinner?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It Wasn't A Total Waste....

Perfect day for shooting in Parts Unknown. Unfortunately, other people thought so too.

Took a little trip to the new found outdoor shooting area and found all the spots taken. Oh well, had some time to explore the area anyway....