Today was a good day to go shooting.
Of course ANY day is a good day for shooting. But I had business out near the range today so I grabbed a couple of rifles at random and took them along.
First was my favorite FAL.
This one is a mix of Brazilian, Argentine, Belgian and South African parts. I call it my "We are the World" rifle. (Not to be confused with that stupid 1980's "group hug" song done by all those liberal entertainers.) Built by me from parts of destroyed surplus rifles, then destroyed again after a burglar stole it and buried it for a year, I've got more time invested in building, repairing and customizing this rifle than any other firearm that I own. But on the positive side of the ledger, I know it intimately inside and out, and even though it's not a beauty queen, when I squeeze the trigger, it always shoots.
This time the FAL is out just for fun, since I haven't shot it in a while. With it's European-style sights and trigger, it'll never be a match rifle, but it still put 23 of 25 rounds into a 4"x6" group at 100 yards, and the two flyers were totally my fault.
Not as light or precise as an AR, but the 7.62x51mm round hits a lot harder and it's ammo-compatible with my M60 so that's a plus. When I need a truck gun or a rifle for some rugged outdoor toting, this is still the first one I grab.
Then there's my MAS 36-51. You talk about a beat-up rifle with a hard luck story, this one takes the cake if I can believe half of what I was told when I bought it.
Yeah, yeah...I know. "Buy the gun, not the story." I don't put a lot of stock in the alleged histories of most firearms that I buy, but in this case it seems to make sense.
I got this one through a dealer that I know personally and trust. I believe him when he tells me things. He took it in from a Vietnam vet that he's dealt with for years, and the vet said that he picked this rifle up in Vietnam and brought it back home. He has no idea where it's bring-back paperwork went, but things do get lost over 30 years or so, and the dealer that I believe believes the vet. The rifle is beat to tar and virtually every part on it is a mis-match, but it all shows the same hard wear that comes from use and being out in the weather for a long time. It has no rust or pitting or signs of neglect though. Whoever put that wear on it obviously took care to keep it cleaned and oiled. Being a French rifle, it's quite believable that this rifle was captured by the Vietnamese from the French in the 1950's or otherwise left behind when they left Indochina. If the vet's tale is true, this rifle was used against American forces until it was captured again in battle, this time by the US Marines. Now I can't prove or disprove it, but just looking at this rifle, you know that it's been somewhere and done something. This is one of those instances where you take the story with a grain of salt but then you look at the rifle itself and you have no problem believing it just because of it's condition. If firearms could talk, and I could ask one any of mine about their history, this is the one I'd ask. There's no doubt that it has some stories to tell.
And that aside, 20 for 20 on a silhouette target at 200 yards. No real group to speak of, but they were all on the rings and that's good enough for me in the case of this tired old survivor.
After that, I shot a bag of .45 ACP through my Springfield Armory 1911A1 and called it a day. Now I'm tumbling brass and after I go for my evening run, I'm going to grill a steak then drink beer and clean guns on the deck.
And life shall be good.