Monday, March 15, 2010


Finally the rains have stopped. It's rained for five days straight here, flooding damned near everything.

I hold Al Gore responsible. Not sure why. I just do.

I've been using my time indoors to work up some new ammo loads for .38 Special and .357 Magnum--loads that I can just use to process all of my extra bass cases lying around and turn them into useful ammunition for basic practice, impromptu trips to the range, or what have you. Today I took numerous test batches out to the range--the flooded range, alas--and disregarded the foot or so of standing water to fire them for evaluation.

Now that the test loads have been fired and I'm satisfied with the chosen powder/bullet/primer combinations, I can announce that I have two new pet loads--one for each caliber and both checked out in my pistols and my .357 rifle. I also got rid of some old mystery rounds that were cluttering up my ammo room and burned up a box of ancient factory stuff that I found lying around. I definitely put some rounds downrange today and I'll be cleaning guns tonight.

I also had yet another interaction with the live-in caretaker at the range. He came out while I was warming up to see who was shooting on the flooded range and to let me know that it was flooded. That was really very nice of him as I might not have noticed the foot of water that I had to walk through to reach the targets had he not mentioned it.

"You know that the range is flooded, right?"

"Uh, yeah," I replied, standing in the water in my knee-high rubber boots. (I'd planned for the possibility.)

"I should have known if anyone was shooting today it'd be you."

"Yeah, I'm funny that way," I replied. I shoot here in the rain and in snowstorms too. Drives him nuts but I believe in training for real-life conditions, including less-than-optimum weather.

"I also came out to see what you're shooting. What kind of twelve-shot cannon do you have there? You know you can't shoot rifles on the pistol range."

"Just a revolver," I replied, holding up my trusty Smith and Wesson 66.

"How are you reloading it that fast?" He'd undoubtedly heard me firing twelve-shot strings, one shot every two to three seconds apart.

"New York Reloads," I told him.

"What's that?"

"Cover your ears and watch," I told him. "I'll show you."

So saying, I turned, assumed the proper stance, drew my Model 66 from it's holster beneath my jacket, and fired six shots on target. As soon as the sixth round was on it's way downrange, I jammed the Model 66 into it's holster and immediately drew my Smith and Wesson Model 19 from a second cross-draw holster on my other side and fired six more. Twelve shots on target in less than fifteen seconds, and that without me even trying to rush.

"The fastest reload is another loaded gun," I told him. "Ask any old-school New York City cop. That's the idea behind back-up pistols."

He sighed. "You know the club doesn't want people shooting from the holster. I really don't think they'd like you shooting two guns from two holsters."

"Yeah, I know," I said. We've had this discussion before. "And that's why I come out here on days like this when I can have the place to myself. And at least I'm not shooting prone today."

He looked down at the foot of water I was standing in and we both laughed. The club doesn't allow prone or off-hand rifle shooting either--just shooting from the bench because bench-rest Nazis make up a majority of the voting membership.

"Just don't shoot yourself," he said as he shook his head and walked away. I give him credit--he's gotten much more tolerant of me over the past few years. This club is very restrictive and my more realistic training--holster shooting, position shooting, barricade shooting, shooting on the move, night shooting, rapid-fire shooting, carbine/pistol transition shooting, etc. doesn't often fit well here. But for me it's the only range around, and this fellow has seen me and watched me enough to know that I'm safe, plus he knows my background and understands that I'm not just some yahoo. We used to really spark but now we give each other some slack; I play nice when there are other members around and when it's just me he turns a benevolent blind eye and it's game on.

I also got to try out a new product today: Safariland Comp 2 speedloaders.

All my HKS speedloaders are on the way to the consignment sale bin at the local gun shop. These Safariland loaders are the BOMB! Unlike HKS speedloaders, these actually retain the cartridges securely enough to let you just toss them into your pocket. Plus, you don't have to twist any little knob to release the shells--you just push it solidly down onto the revolver's cylinder and when you hear a "click", all the rounds drop into place. This is an added bonus for us left-handed shooters who have always found the HKS loaders awkward in that they turn the wrong way for us.

Yep. I love these Safariland speedloaders. Quick, positive, and they hold onto your cartridges like a good speedloader is supposed to. I did everything I could think of to induce some sort of malfunction or failure in these but they functioned flawlessly every time and never let go of a cartridge when they shouldn't have. If you shoot revolvers, get these.

So now I'm home, the brass tumbler is whirring away (Thanks to whoever left all those .45 cartridges on the bench--you're my pal!) and I'm about to break out the Abita Amber and the cleaning kits and adjourn to the back porch. Life, as they say, is good.

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