The Range Visit

Frank TCGN took me to the firing range this weekend. Wow, what a blast!

The day started with the usual last minute packing. Travelling down an apartment elevator with eight firearms and associated ammo is an experience. We hit the road at around noon (only an hour late :-), and arrived at the range at about 1:30 PM. We had the place to ourselves; the last guy from a previous group was on his way out just as we arrived.

We started with skeet, taking turns shooting at five traps in a row. My very first attempt I hit two out of five, which seemed like beginners luck for a while since I couldn’t hit a barn (with a shotgun!) after that! Fortunately, I managed a 3 out of 5 later in the session. Frank managed to hit all 5 on his last attempt…

Hitting clay targets is both easier and harder than I thought. They’re relatively small, and with the (standard) guns we were using the shot spreads quickly, so if you wait to long to fire none of the pellets hit the target. (Skeet competition shotguns apparently have a constriction at the end of the barrel that keeps the pellet spread smaller, but you can’t fire slugs out of them). On the other hand, firing to quickly doesn’t give you time to aim. On the gripping hand, If I both concentrate and relax, it’s not that hard to track and fire quickly and still hit the target. I guess it’s like many other things; pay attention but don’t “panic”. Either that or my video game experience is showing through.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of recoil from the shotgun; with a proper grip, it was merely movement, instead of shoulder-bruising impact.

Next: pistols. We started with a .22 target pistol at maybe 20 yards. Pistols are hard to aim; I am no longer suprised by the statistics we once argued about in a role-playing session. My first couple of clips weren’t bad by my standards, but suddenly I couldn’t hit the target! Sadly it turned out that the sights had deviated on the gun, and we couldn’t get them true again. Ah well, on to the .40cal. That gun has an appreciable recoil, and a satisfying “CRACK!”. One shot splintered the 1×2 we were using to support the targets!

Last up in the day was the rifles. Frank has an H&K SL8-4 (the black version), with a nice scope attached. With a little patience and proper breathing, this thing will consistently bullseye, although Scott did have a little trouble hitting the padlock. I managed to drill a hole all the way through an old 5-1/4 inch (40 Mb :-) harddisk, and lodged a bullet inside a second one. I’m going to take the second one apart so I’ll have some nice platters to show off.

We briefly tried a few others (the WWII-era Lee Enfield MkIV has a truly wicked, shoulder-bruising recoil!), but it was getting very late, and time to head home.

The experience was great, and I’d recommend that anyone try it at least once (my wife is scheduled for the August long weekend :).

posted at 9:20 am on Monday, July 08, 2002 in General | Comments Off on The Range Visit

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