Bloggers With Guns!
The main activity on the final day of the Texas Blogfest 2005 was a trip to the DFW Gun Range
to expend a whole lot of ammo. Beth
got us a great deal on the range, and we had a private session at reduced rates thanks to her planning and the über-coolness of the DFW Gun Range management.
Suprisingly, we only managed to get 7 shooters up to the firing line. Beth
was keeping an eye on her two house-apes and didn't shoot, AJ
wasn't shooting for some reason, so it was up to Mamamontezz
, Random Numbers
, Andy the Kilted Liberal
, Brian and myself to do some damage to the paper targets. Spats
got there a little late, and joined us on the line.
For my contribution, I brought my .45 cal Springfield Armory 1911A1, the Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Mag, and a S&W 422 .22LR autoloader I borrowed from Little Bee Boy for the occasion. I had so much ammo, I think I threw out my shoulder carrying it in! 470 rounds of .45 ACP, 150 rounds of .357, and atleast a bushel basket full of .22LR rounds.
First order of the day was to sit down with Andy and talk gun safety. His first (and only) gun experience years ago involved much liquor and the perforation of his hand, so he's not exactly what you'd call a firearms enthusiast. The DFW Gun Range staff were nice enough to open up a classroom for us, so we could sit down and talk without interruption. Random Numbers and the Random Spouse joined us in the pre-shoot learning session.
We covered the "Big Three" gun rules first, i.e. It's Always Loaded, Finger Off The Trigger Until You're On Target & Ready To Shoot, and Don't Point That Barrel At Anything You're Not Willing To Destroy. We also talked about what to do in case of a failure to fire or a jam. That was followed by some basic gun operation & mechanics knowledge.
I was glad Random Numbers had his Taurus .357 with him to demonstrate a double action setup. All I had on hand were single action pistolas
. We went through the loading/unloading procedure of each gun using snap-caps or empty mags, then talked about sighting and trigger squeeze. We only had 45 minutes or so, but Andy's brighter than most, and he picked it up quickly and asked the right sort of questions.
After getting the paperwork in order, we donned "eyes & ears" and went into the range. After hanging an "ethically neutral" 5-bullseye target, I got Andy squared away with the .S&W 422, and he commenced to sending rounds downrange. I gotta say, for a first time shooter, he was pretty damned good. At 7 yards, his groupings were no more than 4 inches, and he just continued to improve the more he shot. He had one small episode of some horizontal stringing, but after I got him to work on the trigger squeeze, it mostly went away.
While he loaded mags, I got in some range time with the .45 ACP. Damn, but I love that heater! I burned through 4 mags in short order, and the resulting grouping increased my resolve to get some white dot or tritium sights installed. I like the Novak Lo-Mount design, but in the gloom of an indoor range, I need something more than a dull black finish to line up on.
Once Andy was comfortable with the .22, we moved on to the Ruger .357 Blackhawk. I'd already put a couple of cylinders through it, and Andy was standing close enough to me that he couldn't fail to feel the blast pressure. Still, when he got it up and ready to go, there was no hesitation, even after the recoil shook through his arms. He kept popping away until the cylinder emptied, and had about an 8-9 inch group at 10 yards. I really should have had some .38 Special rounds, but he's a pretty sturdy guy, and handled it well. Plus, I've got a big rubber Hogue Monogrip
on it, and that soaks up 70% of the recoil.
Finally, we got him going on the .45 ACP. It took a couple of tries to get him comfortable with the slide release, and once one of the el-cheapo mags got jammed in the well, but he did OK. Once or twice, I'm pretty sure I caught him grooving on the experience, but as a diehard Blue-Stater, he'll deny it
! He did very well with the .45, and had one exceptional grouping where he sent three rounds downrange to form one ragged hole, another two shared a "8"-shaped hole 3 inches above, and the remaining two rounds fell in between the larger holes.
When I was comfortable that Andy had his act together and could go it alone, I took the opportunity to try out Delftsman's little S&W popper. It's a little S&W Model 13 with fixed sights and a 3" barrel. He had a Pachmayr grip on it, but that little sixgun was a mite painful! Of course, after I've one-handed 12 rounds and got a hand cramp, then he lets me know I've been shooting 180 grain bullets, as opposed to the 125's I'm used to! He also was kind enough to let me run a mag full of rounds through his .410 Mossberg pump shotgun. This is the one that Mossberg advertised as a house-cleaner. The vertical foregrip was nice, but it shot really high. I was aiming at the crotch of a B27 target at 10 yards, and holes were appearing in the 10-ring. I think it might need a ghost ring rear sight to line things up correctly.
Brian (non-blogger, so no URL!) brought out a fine collection of vintage Colts, including a sho-'nuff 1911. He also had two 1911A1's, two Colt Mustangs, and an exceptionally nice Browning Hi-Power. He was having a bit of a problem with the 1911. It didn't like to feed either Winchester white-box FMJs or the FMJ reloads I had.
After I was just about shot out on the .357 and the .45, I decided it was time to take the Uzi for a spin. We had a special rate of a $10 rental fee, as opposed to the regular $30 fee. I got 50 rounds of 9mm, and the Range Officer accompanied me to the firing line. I stopped to get a fresh target, and chose the one with the photo picture that looks very similar to Billy Ray Cyrus
. Boy, there's someone who would benefit from 9mm at 600 rpm!
I'd shot an MP5 and a Thompson before, and a friend owns an Uzi, so this was not really new. Just the little extra choice on the selector switch! I loaded the 1st mag, leaned into it, and let 'er rip! Damn, that's fun! I held it mostly to 4-5 round bursts, and shot both mags dry pretty darned quick. Ol' Billy Ray ended up with an Achy Breaky Heart, as well as an Icky Sticky Liver, a Jellied Smelly Belly, and a Holed & Stolen Colon!
Andy was up next, and he took to it like a fish to water. Or a liberal to NPR. One of the two, anyway. His control was a bit off, but he kept mostly on target. Here's a pic of Andy & the Uzi:
Behold! A Liberal/Green Pagan gets funky with an Uzi!
(Pic lifted from Andy 'cause he hasn't emailed me the others!
Here's my favorite popper:
As they say, a good time was had by all, and we retired afterwards to a farewell luncheon before heading back home.
For Blogfest 2006, we gotta do an outdoor range, so we can get the heavy artillery into play! If Andy liked the Uzi, he's gonna LOVE an FN-49