Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shooting the Old and the New(ish)

Range time again today.

This time I reached deep into the gun safe and found this nice Finnish M-39 Mosin rifle.This beauty, chambered for the 7.62x54R (rimmed) cartridge, was a re-work of an older Russian Model 1891 Mosin Nagant that, according to the date on it's receiver tang, was originally made in Russia in 1896. Somewhere along the line, the Finns acquired it, either through purchase or capture during the Winter War with Russia (1939-1940) and it was rebuilt in 1941 at the VKT arsenal, which is known today as the Valmet arms factory. All of that information can be ascertained from it's new barrel markings here:Top to bottom: SA = Army Acceptance stamp. VKT = manufacturer. D = barrel reamed for Finnish D166 cartridge. Serial number. 1941 = Date of Manufacture.

Most of the Russian Mosin rifles are and always have been garbage. They were knocked together for illiterate conscript peasants and weren't capable of very good accuracy even if properly cared for, which most of them subsequently were not. But these Finn of art. Excellent barrels, adjustable sights front and rear, well-fitted and robust stocks, and trigger jobs that are a dream compared to most military surplus rifles make these some of the best-shooting surplus rifles out there today. And this one lost no time in reaffirming that for me.

Someone had thoughtfully left a clean target at 100M with one of those nice Birchwood-Casey 8" "Shoot-n-C" reactive decals on it and this rifle put ten for ten on that disc without me even trying. I also had a silhouette target back at 200 yards and put the last 30 rounds in the chest area of that target, it's smooth trigger and large adjustable sights making it such a pleasant rifle to shoot.

Now a word about range etiquette.

During our first mutually-agreed cease fire period to allow shooters to check or change targets, a new club member showed up. He actually got out of his car and walked over with his gear just as we put the "no shoot" light on and people began going downrange. I notice that he had his targets in his hand, but rather than immediately put one on a target backer and take it downrange, he set it down and just commenced to dithering with the rest of his crap. He made no effort at all to go put his target up while the range was cold and everyone else was tending to their targets (except me, because I'd already put my targets out and was checking them via a spotting scope), and he continued to fuddle around even after I tactfully suggested that he go put a target up. Naturally, when the others came back up and made ready to shoot again, the first words out of his mouth were: "Hey, do you all mind if I go put MY target up?" Another five minutes stolen from each and every other shooter on the line because Mr. Thoughtless couldn't be rushed to take his target down when everyone else was doing it.

And then it seemed that he didn't want to actually shoot--he just wanted to talk to the guy sitting next to him. The light went off, the range went hot, and curse my electronic earmuffs, but all I could hear was this joker sitting down at his slot talking about hunts that he's been on and rifles that his son has.

To quote Tuco: "If you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

I finished my rounds there and moved over to the pistol range, swapping out my vintage classic for an Austrian classic that's just as effective if a whole lot less aesthetically appealing: The Glock 23 in .40 Smith and Wesson.This particular Glock was a law school graduation present from myself that I'd bought down in New Orleans. It's a great shooter--it's just ugly. But I burned another bag of ammo through it practicing my shooting while moving, reload drills, and single-hand shooting with both dominant and support hand. When's the last time you shot with your left hand alone if you're right handed or with your right if you're a lefty? These emergency skills don't develop automatically, you know. Train, train, train!

All fun, and good practice. And now I'm back at the Lair with Murphy, getting ready to grill us a steak.


  1. Good day overall :-) And the steak is well deserved!

  2. Nice rifle! I am not much on the long guns per se, but that is a sweet looking one!

    Range etiquette? Don't EVEN get me started on that! I am a RSO and have watched a lot of people shoot this month for our fund raiser for the domestic violence center. I have run the timer and called the course of fire.

    I have grabbed a pistol out of someones hand several times harshly. Watched people that really did not need to be doing what they were, but Damn. I will be glad when we are done with this fundraiser.

    People that are so ingrained in a mind set and so unwilling to listen to range commands can get you killed!

  3. Look at that beautiful Glock!!! hehe!! ;)