Let’s have a gun post…

Enough political crap for a moment–I wanna talk about guns and shooting and about a well-spent afternoon.

So I got up yesterday morning, full of plans for around-the-house stuff I wanted to get done. Then I happened to look at a calendar. Oh crap, it’s the second Saturday! How did I miss that?

The reason that the second Saturday of the month was significant is that it was my range’s first .22 rimfire “fun shoot”. It’s meant to be a low-pressure, bring what you got and have fun sorta-competition. I had promised the organizer that I’d be there. I guess it’s because I’m acknowledged to be a rimfire nut. I love old .22s with a passion.

OK, I still got time to be there before the opening. What am I taking? I want to go with tradition–only one gun in the safe meets that hands down–my Dad’s Remington 512 “Sportmaster“. Long barrel, iron sights and a smooth bolt action. I keep one range box at the ready to shot .22s (makes for an easy, quick trip if I’m in a hurry), so I grab that, case the gun and head for the range.

I got there in time to be shooter number 2. The course of fire is already laid out–softballs, golfballs, paintballs, silhouette targets, paper plates with post-its centers, charcoal briquettes and little bitty swinging iron targets at 25 and 50 yards. Rules are discussed, with the group of shooters having a lot of input. It is the inaugural match, and things are evolving. Shooting position is shooter’s choice, but no artificial supports are allowed. The sole benchrest fanatic that showed up was highly disappointed and decides to shoot elsewhere on the range. Good. It’s supposed to be about having fun, not spending money.

The shooting begins. First guy shoots, then it’s my turn. I missed a freaking softball at 25 yards?! No way! I also missed a tiny little steel chicken. Gr-r-r. 6-2 at the end of the stage.

I move on to the second stage. I nail 3 softballs 1 golf ball and 2 charcoal briquettes, which make a most satisfying cloud of dust when struck. (Softballs also make a most impressive “twap” when struck near the center.) 6-2 again.

The third stage, shot with large pig and turkey silhouettes at 50 yards, is shot in two parts. I go 7-1, 7-1. I feel better.

Fourth stage is those tiny steel chickens at 50 yards. I go 6-4. I missed the first four, but I was able to see that the barrel is heating and warping just a bit. Some Kentucky windage, and I got the last 6 in a row. OK, now I know how to adjust for the rest of the match.

Nest stage is small swinging iron targets at 25 yards. These things are triangles and rectangles, no more than 3″ on a side. They’re painted white, and against a light background, are nearly impossible to see. 4-6. After this point, the organizers decide to paint them orange instead. Thanks guys.

After a break, it’s time for more softballs and such at 50 yards. No sweat, I go 8-2.

Next stage, after a longer break due to a competitor with feeding problems on a borrowed gun (“If it’s gonna break, it’ll do it at a match,” were the wise words from the organizers), my barrel had had a chance to cool significantly. I’m shooting at a 2″ target at 50 yards. Apply windage or not? Let’s go with not. I should have went with–I fired a wonderful group, 2 inches above and 2 inches to the right of the target. 0-10. Ouchie.

In the end, I went 50 of 82, all shot with my elbows propped on the bench. I’m not sure how that stacks up, as I had to bug out to deal with getting a friend of Son’s back home on time after a stay-over.

I’m going to have to pull the Remington’s action from the stock, and see if a bit of relieving needs to be done. That’ll be careful work on an heirloom like this. I don’t want to insult the gun.

All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time, and it’s already decided that this will become a monthly event. I’m all for that. I’ve tried other competitions, and save for wobble trap, most of the shooters take them too seriously for my taste. I’m out to have fun, and yesterday was Fun with a capital “F”.

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