Sunday, September 01, 2019

A day at the range

I needed this day. It's been too long, and Southern Decadence festivities are inundating the French Quarter this week-end so it was time to go visit real America for a few hours.

Started out on clays with the Ithaca 12. Took me a bit to find my groove and I missed some ridiculously easy ones, but as soon as I started throwing pairs, I cleaned house. Apparently I do better when I don't have time to think and try to plot the clays. When I don't give myself time to over-think it, I hit them fine.

Then it was over to the rifle line.
I'm old enough to remember when I was literally the only one on the firing line with a "black gun" or "assault rifle" and I got snide remarks from other shooters for having an AR-15 20 years ago. But these days I'm often the only one on the line without one. Times have changed...and good luck banning something that most shooters seem to have these days.

But for me, it was a trip in the Wayback Machine.
Bottom one is a Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) #1Mk3* made at Lithgow, Australia. This rifle was the British Commonwealth infantry weapon from World War One until it was supplemented and replaced by the #4 above it starting in 1941, but some of the Commonwealth countries like Australia and India kept manufacturing and using this variant through World War Two, and in the case on India, production continued into the 1960's, and then they changed over to the new NATO 7.62x51 cartridge and continued producing it
into the 1980's. But this particular one was made in Australia in 1941 and undoubtedly saw some service in WW2.

The top rifle is an "upgraded" version, the #4mk1. This one was manufactured at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Maltby in South Yorkshire, Britain. It was also made in 1941, and I bought it back in the late 80's for the sum of $76.00 from Southern Ohio Gun when Century International and others were bringing in the "endless" supplies of military surplus arms at dirt cheap prices. (I wish I'd bought so many more but most of us didn't see them ever running out.)

Both rifles fire the .303 cartridge and as I still had seventy rounds left of South African surplus .303, I took these two out to the range. I have not fired this #4 since the late 1980s or early 90's so it needed to be sighted in. The first two rounds at 25M hit at nine o'clock there and didn't really please me. The third took me a second to find...what the heck?! Look at that keyhole at the left edge of the target where the projectile went through sideways.

That got my attention. I recovered the spent brass and it looked fine. I pulled the bolt and checked the bore. Looked ok. I fired two more and they were centered, just a tick low as they should have been. I eventually chalked it up to a ammo quality control matter. The remaining rounds seemed to have fired fine and most of them hit the 8" steel gong at 100M solidly. (And now I wonder how many of the misses were on target but went sideways like the one above...)

Then it was Thompson time.

I took the 1928 Thompson out to play for a bit. Always fun. Set a target out at 30M and made Swiss Cheese out of it by putting front sight on the target belt buckle and firing short bursts, letting muzzle rise carry the rounds up the target's belly and chest area. Easy peasy.

I heard another rapid-firing weapon down the line and curious to see, I popped down to see this joker rapid-firing an AR with NO SIGHTS ON IT! Yep. No front or rear but he was going to town.
Sigh...public ranges.

Still, a great day indeed, and long overdue.


  1. Hey Murphy;

    Any day at the range is a good day. I know the feeling, I bought my first AR back in 1991 and I was the only one that would have one, until 1994 when Clinton banned them. All of a sudden, people wanted them, now they are everywhere. I now bring out my old gons more often and shoot them. I have two enfields, one in 303 and the other in 308, both built in isapore. Now reading your post, I have a craving to go to the range.

  2. A good day, but dayum... NO sights???

  3. I don't think it was the same guy, but I also had a guy show up to the range with an AR with no rear sight. He wondered why he was shooting low!! And yes, it's a public range...never underestimate the lack of,firearms knowledge in the general public!

  4. Is there something like a tactical rib sight? If no, then the bozo is just tossing money down range.

    Like the time I went to a pistol range and a guy was actually practicing quick target shooting with full expanding rounds and a laser. He blew away at least $50 of very expensive name brand 'kill you dead' ammo.

    I, on the other hand, enjoyed shooting the range ammo that I bought that day at the range. And was shooting at mid and long range (for an indoor range) and was getting better hits with a XD40 than Smuckatelli did with his high priced gun with lasers and super ammo.

    1. When I got plenty of free ammo from work, I always practiced with the same ammo that I loaded my pistols with for the street. It is a wise precaution for legal reasons should you ever be involved in a shooting where all shots do not aim true. Nowadays, I do it every so often as I cannot afford to shoot hollowpoints at every range trip as opposed to much less expensive FMJ rounds.

  5. Nice trip you had there. I too am long overdue for a range trip. I am thinking of stopping at a range in AR tomorrow on my way from the Texarkana, TX area to Benton, AR to visit my son. There are a couple or a few public ranges not too far off of my route in AR. In my case though, I'll be leaving the older wood and steel guns, of which I have quite a few, at home and taking my latest long-gun acquisitions. That means the Stag Arms AR and the Century Arms AK neither of which I have fired since purchasing them. My AR has no sights on it but if I get the chance I will install the sights today. Sights or no sights, the AR still will get test fired at the range. My decision to do that either way has me wondering if that guy you saw firing an AR without sights was doing likewise. I have test-fired quite a few guns at the range that did not have sights - just to make sure they worked properly.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

  6. He's pointed downrange. As long as he's not being unsafe it's all good. And a '28 Thompson? That's the dream gun when I win the lottery.