Sunday, December 03, 2006

Range Reports

I shot the M44 twice last weekend.

On Friday afternoon I was able to paper a two inch group three inches left of my aiming point at fifty yards with the bayonet folded. After extending it, the group moved right almost nuts on to my point of aim, so the lore that it was designed to be shot with the blade extended seems to be supported.

I went back Saturday morning with some friends to zero their .270 and to try the M44 and my SMLE on the hundred yard range.

Details would only be embarassing. Just know that there would have been no dead Nazis in front of my fighting hole that day. I had brought the horrible Pakistani manufacture .303 ammo in order to just get rid of it, and it lived up to my worst expectations with hangfires on every round that actually worked, and there were darned few of those. As for the M44, all I can say is that I expected a three or four inch group somewhat left of center and ended up off the paper. Off the paper continuously, about forty rounds worth with only two hits. Gaaaah.

In the past I've made it a point to not shoot on consecutive days. Especially after having a good one. Last weekend's experience will be on my mind whenever I shoot matches again. If you are going to have a bad day, make it in the middle of the week BEFORE scoring day...

Today I went up to Lee Kay to get some pistol-only time in. Last night I reloaded a bunch of .45 230gr ball with 5.9gr of Winchester 231. My old load was for 5.7gr and shot almost five inches lower (at 25 yards) than my carry rounds, which are +P 185gr Golden Sabres. My Springer is near stock, but I have installed a ceramic 18.5lb action spring, overtravel adjustable trigger, and Bomar grips. I had experienced some FTF's due to short stroking with the plink loads before I upped the charge; no problems at all on that front today. Action was crisp, feeding flawless, and point of impact was less than two inches lower than that of the carry rounds.

I also shot fifty rounds of 9mm parabellum through our Ruger P89DC. This is the wife's semi, and she doesn't like it much beyond the fact that it's ours and it's a hi-cap. And that she shoots very well with it, at paper. It's too big for her to carry and neither of us like the safety/decocker, which functions reversed from the "sweep down and shoot" on the 1911.

There is a later version of this pistol that has a "decock only" safety. On this model you rack a round into the chamber, which cocks the hammer back, and then sweep down the decocker lever which lowers the hammer, and then the lever returns to its "up" position leaving the pistol ready to fire in double-action mode. I wish there was a way to retrofit ours but I don't think there is. On the bright side, Rugers have never been thought of as slick or sexy as most other pistols, so they generally are pretty economical buys when used. Maybe not slick, nor sexy, but I'll settle for rock solid reliable and delightfully accurate any day.

We will be getting a Glock or possibly a KelTec in nine at some future date.

Today I picked up an app to be a volunteer at the range. It's only eight hours a month, and they always have problems getting Sundays covered. We'll see what develops.

Gratuitous advice: If you bring a bunch of kids (under age twelve) to the range, make sure you have one adult for every firing point you intend to use. And clean the rifles first, especially if they are semiautos. Nothing loses a kid's interest like watching Dad or Uncle wrestle a stovepiped round out of the rifle every third shot.

Other than that, let 'em shoot until they get tired. Don't buy the turkey or squirrel targets with the tiny bullseyes. A big black bullseye like the NRA 25 yard pistol target is a better aiming point, and their hits will show clearly. Sneak in advice without being bossy. Get the safety habit ingrained first. Keep coming back to the range and they'll be shooting in fine form before you know it.

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