Friday, September 17, 2010

Sometimes it pays to be nice.

Sorry for the light blogging--just been off doing other things and spending time with Lagniappe.

But yesterday I made it out to the range to test-fire a few weapons. This range is remote and way out in the boonies, and on weekdays I can usually count on having it to myself. Usually. This time, as I came off the two-track rut-road into the firing area, I encountered two SUV's and four guys who'd unpacked enough gun stuff to suggest that they were about to host a gun show. And my first thought was, of course, unprintable.

They looked at me, clearly not happy to see an interloper, and I looked at them. Their vehicles were already parked such that I couldn't park mine in the regular area so I pulled in off to the side. One of them did offer to move his truck, but I was already parked by then so I thanked him and declined. I noticed that they were shooting AR's and combat shotguns, and one guy had a portable bench set up and he was shooting a nice tactical bolt gun of some sort. They also had Sig pistols, and cases of ammo sitting on the ground. Definitely some serious shooters with deep pockets here.

As they shot at their IPSC targets, which they'd set up on almost every bit of free space on the rifle range, I just tossed a couple of orange detergent bottles onto the pistol berm. I then causally unfolded the stock of my Uzi, inserted a magazine, and sighted the submachine gun on the first plastic bottle. As usual, when the subgun began chattering, all the other shooters stopped to stare. Automatic weapons are usually good for that. Fortunately the gun was now functioning correctly (thanks to the phone consult with the guys at Vector) and it tossed the orange bottle all over the berm with burst after burst of aimed fire. I swapped magazines and went after the other bottle, and it too was torn apart by streams of 9mm bullets. I had the other shooters' full attention now.

After firing half a dozen 32-round magazines, I was pretty confident that the gun was now fully functional again. The other guys had resumed shooting, but as I walked back to my truck with the still-smoking Uzi, I saw one of them looking at me. Being a gun guy, I extended the courtesy that gun guys the country over are almost expected to extend to one another: "Care to give it a try?"

I didn't have to ask twice. My new friends came over, loaded up some empty magazines, and after a bit of instruction on the gun, they took turns shooting the targets and filming each other. It wasn't long before we were all swapping guns with each other and talking firearms. I threw an old 5-gallon propane tank out on the rifle range, and me and another guy went shot-for-shot on it, he with his new Sig 556 sporting an EOTech sight, and me with my Rock River AR and it's Aimpoint. Each hit made the tank ring and moved it around a bit as we traded and compared guns and sight systems. (The Sig is nice, but it's sure heavy for a 5.56 rifle.) But in the end, we decided that the tank wasn't moving enough, so I got out my Springfield '03A3 and laid into it with some tracer rounds that I'd loaded for my Browning MG last year. Whereas the little 5.56 rounds nudged the steel tank target, those .30-06 rounds seriously kicked it around with each hit. And the bright red tracers just made it a bit neater to watch as they ricocheted off the tank--it was like the 4th of July.

We shot together for about an hour, then they packed up to leave. They'd already told me that they didn't want any of their brass, so I was already in hog heaven looking at all of the .308 and 5.56 cases on the ground, but I was totally unprepared when they stopped by my truck on the way out and each handed me a couple of boxes of ammunition that they hadn't shot up. I told them that they didn't have to do that, because the 9mm that we shot in the Uzi was cheap junk that I'd bought for pennies a round back in the day, but they insisted, and drove off leaving me with quite a bit more 9mm and .40 ammo than I'd even come out here with, and that in addition to the .50 can of spent rifle cartridges that I collected from along the firing line--enough to feed my reloading press for weeks.

I've said it before and I'll say it again--there's few people as decent as your typical gun people, and it never hurts to offer to share your toys.


  1. My work takes me all over the US. For fun, I shoot Bullseye, aka Conventional Pistol. If I know a local club is having a shoot, I'll take my guns and join them.

    But more often, I have no information about the locals. So I ask at the stores and, if there's a group shooting Bullseye, I show up. And with only two exceptions, when I mention I shoot Bullseye, I'll have my choice of half a dozen or more fine handguns. (I got to shoot a Masaki-made 1911 once!)

    One exception was in the city of Chicago while the other was in New York state, both gun-unfriendly places.

    But in Massachusetts and what I expected to the contrary, I found lots of handgun shooters, some very active IPSC and IDPA groups, and even some Bullseye shooters ready to loan me anything I wanted to shoot.

    Back in Phoenix, I try to return the favor whenever I can.

    Nice people!

  2. Amen to that! :-)