Since I needed to work out some frustrations after dealing with that stove, and since a box had come from Surefire, Inc., containing the repair parts for my shotgun's tactical light, I decided that tonight would be a good night for a test of the shotgun, coupled with a night-firing session. Obviously with the temperature hovering around ten degrees, I could count on having the range to myself. And since both the shotgun and the AR-15 carbine needed function testing, why not make sure that they work in the cold?
I drove out to the range with the two weapons, arriving a bit after full dark.
Unfortunately, my primary tactical light was dead due to my using it to work on the stove. (DOH!) Since it's rechargeable, I couldn't just pop new batteries in it but had to leave it on the charger. I missed it immediately as I was forced to check and load the firearms by braille. But I suppose that's good practice, too. The only drawback was that I'd brought out about fifty shotgun shells of all different types, and I couldn't see them well enough to know what was what. Ah well...The cost of not bringing a back-up light was never knowing when I'd chambered a heavy slug until after I'd touched the trigger. That'll teach me.
I put up a police pistol silhouette on the 25m line and engaged it from different positions and locations on the range. I practiced speed-firing, including reloading from both the side-saddle carrier and my pocket, and feeding single rounds through the ejection port. Mr. silhouette bad guy didn't look too good when the firing stopped. In fact he seemed to be missing almost all of his center-mass five-ring. Oh well...I'll bet the next time that I tell him to show me his hands, he'll do it.
I did learn that my tactical gloves--work issue and therefore pretty damned cheap--were not a match for the shotgun, as the glove material kept getting caught up in between the shells and the magazine tube until finally I discarded them and shot with bare (and cold) hands.
Then the AR carbine came out. I put sixty rounds into the target three rounds at a time, again moving rapidly between firing points and alternating between standing, kneeling and prone. It's Pentagon light worked well, other than it's tendency to flash whenever the rifle's bolt slams home on an empty chamber. (Yo, Pentagon...you need to fix that.) I was using the rifle' back-up iron sight (BUIS)--an ARMS 40L. I have to admit, I'm still not sold on the ARMS BUIS. It has no elevation adjustment, so the rifle's front sight post is the only means of adjusting it, and the long-range peep sight has to be folded down to allow use of the larger ghost ring CQB sight and then folded up again before the sight can be folded down and locked. That's not really instinctive and it seems a bit fragile. I guess time will tell.
The shotgun and it's Surefire light performed flawlessly, and if fifty rounds of heavy stuff didn't blow the bulb out, I think that I can conclude that the last problem was in the old bulb assembly. The AR still seems to have a quirk or two to work out, but it's getting there. That's what I get for cobbling my own rifle together instead of buying one that was completely assembled and factory tested. Still, it's coming along and I'm not unhappy with it, especially knowing that it won't be too long before B. Hussein Obama and his gun-hating allies in the Dem-controlled House and Senate push through another ban on so-called "assault weapons" like my AR's. It's reassuring to know that whatever happens in DC, I've already got mine.