21 January 2009

On January 20th I celebrated...

... my ability to fire weapons I had previously cleaned for my sister-in-law.  With my niece being here we had a good, good day at the range.


Having never fired a shotgun before, but having one that was very simple to operate, that being a bolt action, the first shot of the day was a bit of a boom from the 16 gauge Mossberg 190KA.  Not only did I get it on the paper, but was only a few inches down and to the left (solid shot as the range doesn't allow anything else for shotguns).  My next one pulled within two inches of center of mass (using the standard outline target).  Yes, I had cleaned it properly, taking out the dust and carbon that had been left in it, probably since the 1980's or so, checked the bore, which was nice and clean once you got the dust and carbon off of it and fired pretty well for a beginner.  Safe to use!  Has a bit of a kick to it, being a bolt action and all, and the new Limbsaver recoil pad worked very well.  Mind you this is with some of those Peltor earmuff things that kill basically just about any sound on the planet save an asteroid impact... had nice dull *booms* with that.

Range acoustics... there must be a profession in that, somewhere...


Next up was the GWA Marlin 60, but the earmuffs didn't let me use the sights so it was a bit of 'look down the barrel, adjust a touch up and shoot' sort of affair.  The action worked great (minus that anonymous large E-ring which shows up on no diagrams of any Marlin 60 I've seen) and got it to within an inch or so of center of mass for a few rounds.

Life is good!

Cleaning job for my sister-in-law checked, the guns function as they should and I am pleased.


The Ruger MkIII competition with the Hi-Viz was the weapon of choice for marksmanship yesterday with my niece only pulling one round out of the second ring on center of mass.  I had adjusted the rear sight blade to compensate for both of us firing down and to the left, and we were both putting rounds with that easily within the second ring of center of mass at 20 feet with my pattern going out to the third ring only at 40 feet.

This was also 'try out lots of 22 lr ammo' day, and the only real mis-feed was off of a Fiocchi Bi-Athlon box, but then it was a bit warmer than the 40 to -40 temperature range on the box.  Still, only the one out of 50 rounds, over a couple of sessions on that, with most of it going down yesterday.  Low end Champion worked well, but didn't have a good feeling to keeping on center of mass... but all kept within the second ring at 20, so no real complaints, and only a single FTF which required the Ruger bolt to be pulled back a touch and then having the round seat properly.  Those were the only two negatives on the ammo.  CCI Stinger and Velocitor did, indeed, speed down range and for keeping a good grouping, it would be my preferred ammo at longer range.  Also the CCI HP magnum 22 lr rounds were good, got a box of those on the cheap and its pretty much gone at this point.

We were both pleased with the Ruger MkIII Competition, the one with the 6 7/8" slab sided bull barrel.  Took about 80 rounds and a thorough cleaning to get it to good firing condition and we put at least 120 downrange yesterday of Fiocchi, Federal, CCI being good feeds and keeping in tight groups.  The Hi-Viz sight, for pure 'by god that is where the target is' shooting is excellent.  Turned trying to fire with the standard black sight into something where you can now actually know what it is you are aiming with.


After that was the Kahr A-O TA-5.

I had given that a thorough cleaning to get factory gunk out of it (just what the hell is that stuff, anyways?) and put proper Militec1 in tiny amounts on the action and bolt recess holes for the recoil springs.  Fully loaded with 50 round drum that has got to come in around 13 lbs.  Took me a few rounds to get the simple iron peep sight within working accuracy and get used to the feel of it.  The first 50 rounds was the Blazer one-use aluminum round nose.  It was a bit picky with a few FTFs and that would not properly seat with a bit of bolt easing (the rounds look good and will wind up in a 'second go-around box' for future use). 

At 20 feet my niece and I finished off the first drum and were keeping tight groupings.  She hadn't figured out the sights and was going down the bolt notch and front sight and did well with that.  Although the Kahr is a heavy beast, the recoil is not the problem: getting your arms used to holding it up is the problem.  Once she got used to it, only the FTFs on the aluminum cased stuff was a problem.  Getting a good grouping once I helped point out the shots... and she was doing the old 'well where did it go?' and needed to have the little bit of paper taken out just where her shot prior to that went pointed out.  Yes, she was doing quite well with it.  She went back to the Ruger and Marlin after the Kahr and told me, later, that the weight of the Ruger became no problem after the Kahr.  Apparently once you get used to a heavier firearm and enjoy it, the one that you thought was heavy previously now becomes light and easy to use.

Firing from the hip can be done, as I tried that out, but don't expect any real accuracy on a semi-auto and that will never be a major mode for me on that.  Yes, you can do it and if I had a full auto, then I would give it a tryout.  My niece did finish out the first drum and I reloaded it.

At 40 feet I put a solid, major grouping with the second drum... say, just where did those 50 shots go in so little time?  There wasn't any paper or cardboard in this nice little area stretching from just touching the inside of the center ring and down and to the left of the second ring with a couple of outliers in the third ring... I remember loading it, winding it, firing... firing...

Only one FTF that couldn't reseat with Fiocchi brass cartridges on that second drum full.

I really did expect 50 round drums to take awhile to use up...

So only three FTFs and two of those on single use aluminum for a gun that had been unfired.  Probably need a bit of felt on the feed ramp to smooth that out a touch.  A bit of rouge, maybe, nothing harsh.

Between the two of us the consensus is that I need to find a Tommygunsmith to do the mag catch so I can use the older, historical 30 round mags from WWII.  With that your arm wouldn't be bent so much to get the horizontal forend and the last bit of recoil would be much easier to handle.  She didn't expect that her lighter frame could handle the Kahr TA-5, but after 25 rounds or so she could, indeed, handle it... and now that she knows how to use the peep sight... the only thing missing from the Kahr A-O is windage adjustment.  The Kahr repro sights are *not* as good as the original Lyman sights from the 1930's and '40's.  But still very, very good. No complaints.  And 30 round sticks would be the perfect thing for it, and I now know why our soldiers wanted the 30 round and 20 round stick mags.  If I can find someone to work on it, I do want a couple of other details done to get it to an easier to maintain and operate condition.  Last shot hold open on a drum magazine is what you want on the thing!  A standard complaint on the Kahrs, that and getting your hand attacked by the bolt catch.  Tooless takedown would be civilized, too... the little things would make it perfect... and if those rounds just didn't disappear so fast...

Ok, I do semi-remember having to sweep casing clear from my feet.

Spent casing build-up must be some sort of medical condition, I figure.  Need a catch net and bag...


My niece was the Mistress of the 22's with an excellent tight grouping on both the Marlin and Ruger, and the only misfed round  was on the Marlin and that would not feed on the Ruger, either, so its a manufacturing thing, not the guns, which both continued to operate well.  She kept a far, far tighter grouping than I did, and was in the mode of 'can I shoot out the center of the target?' sort of deal. Good concentration by her to get that down pat.  That 22 lr ammo really started to disappear with her.  She was trying to concentrate on the 'cheap stuff' and... well... its all cheap stuff.  I still haven't shelled out for the SKS/Wolf ammo yet, or even the Eley or Aguila using Eley.  Winchester is pretty smokey and I wanted to get the Ruger into good condition before adding that back to the mix.  Probably at that point, now, as the militec is showing no signs of any carbon getting to the bolt slide, so its probably building up just forward of that, so will check that on the next full strip, not the 'boresnake and KG to clean it' followed by a couple of drops of militec and the snake cloth day-off deals.

Those 10 round single stacks on the Ruger just don't last long... nor the tube-fed Marlin which takes 10 rounds.  High capacity rounds should be NORMAL at 30 rounds... that is a civilized amount for fun time at the range so your spend your time on accuracy, not reloading.  10 rounds is for specialized work and professional (as in paid cash-prizes) marksmen showing off their skill.  Speed shooters need dedicated people reloading, apparently.

Either that or a bag catch for spent magazines and lots of pre-loaded ones.  That would work!  Maybe integrate that in with the brass catch... add sieve, sorter, and auto-reloader... getting a bit on the Rube Goldberg side of things...

She did great with all she used and she wonders where so much of the 22 ammo went... and I do remember her sweeping out her firing area a couple of times.

Yes a real serious condition, that.


I finished up with the final three rounds from the box of Federal solid shot with the Mossberg.  Good grouping at 20 feet, no complaints.  I could see where a semi-auto 12 gauge would be a nice gun to have and put some of that recoil to use doing something useful instead of into the recoil pad and shooter.  All that lovely kinetic energy going to waste!

Next time she'll take the Mossberg, I'll take the Marlin and we will share the Ruger and Kahr, although she had no complaints and also wondered just where that second 50 round drum went as she hadn't seen me reload and thought it was the remains of the first drum load... they all just disappeared down range... at this rate I'll need to start out on the 150 foot/50 yard range next time and move from the 75 foot/25 yard.  I found I didn't need the monoscope for 40 feet on the Kahr - that peep ring really does bring things into focus!  Simple optics and yet so useful.  Need it for the 22 work, though as the smaller holes are just tough to see.

Thank you to the Silver Eagle facility and your kind and courteous staff.  Being able to punch up the exact distance in feet for your target is a godsend, so you don't need to triangulate between well worn marks on the floor that aren't there any more.  The water trap for solid shot puts them into the 50 BMG capability for all their ranges, so I can finally do some practice on that stuff if I decide to purchase any.  Picked up one-year memberships and we got two lanes for two hours at the cost of the paper targets. Those big paper targets are worth it... need to get some of those... Anyplace else and that would be half the cost of my membership fee or monthly dues at Silver Eagle, and I expect it to become very popular once it is officially opened with a real party and such.  Forced air puts all the smoke down range into the water trap, and the air is filtered from outside and climate controlled. 

They have pretty close to full day/night and dry to damp indoor conditions available for simulations in the rest of their facility, along with a huge area being set side for Law Enforcement (Federal, State, and Municipal) training plus open to private groups like the Practical Shooting groups as they will have a two floor house mock-up available for that... basically a full range simulator for all climates, conditions and scenarios from bars and nightclubs to homes to...well... they want an airframe in there for the air marshals... Plus scads of in-house training, including to SMGs, hand to hand, edged weapons... makes me wish I was healthy, but lots of things do that.

I will stick with the simple pleasures in life and make the best of what I have left.

I am thoroughly wiped after yesterday.

I am sure other things went on in the world.

We celebrated a good day at the range.

And that mattered more than anything else.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Health? Very important. I am finally beginning to realize HOW important. And Mr Shotgun? VERY fun. My own? Older Remington 870 pump with extension tube, sling, comp stocks, speed-feed, renovated, very reliable.


A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - Firing in-law family guns purchased back in '57 to '59 felt really good. They deserved to come back in to functioning use and now they are. Checked it all out as best I could with a nice, powerful, LED light on the bores and then a thorough cleaning looking for anything out of the ordinary. The Marlin 60's action coming apart in my hands was that, and about a week of tracking down every on-line diagram and 'this is how you do it' description made me realize no one had this, exact gun in their hands. I was tempted to buy another ancient action I saw online, but... if this one worked then that can be left for awhile, yet.

I now know how people get Tommygun fever. Even the Kahr A-O semi is great, just needing some time at a Tommygunsmith to make it a good all-around gun. Seen pictures of folks going boar hunting with it... not the little ones, but the multi-hundred pound ones. Deer, Elk... with a Tommygun... yow and za.

The Mossberg is something, I think, only a highlander would love. That saying of 'carries like a 20, shoots like a 12' is true. With it, if I had to go out on my own with just that, why, yes, it would be a decent gun. No steel down the tube, but that can be lived with. The kick isn't mule, just: 'Yes you will now have to re-target and start over'.

It was satisfying to help out my sister-in-law like that and my niece know those will probably be hers in the near future.

Fun was had.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Hey, and that's the point: fun.

My dad willed to me the Walther semi-auto he acquired in Germany, with Nazi eagle/wings engraved into frame. I might post it, with photo, to see what it's worth if anything.