Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Runnin' and Gunnin'

Since we had full use of the 100 yard range yesterday, and since just sitting back potting at stationary targets gets boring, I suggested to PH that we try a bit of action training. She had her M-1 carbine and I had my Marlin 1894 .357 Magnum lever gun.

The drill here was simple. The range is lined with trees on both sides. It's maybe 30 feet across. With 20 rounds (two mags loaded ten each for her and ten in the rifle and ten extras in my pocket for me) we would start out running to cover behind a tree on one side, fingers well away from the trigger and muzzle always pointed downrange towards the berm, of course. Firing two rounds from that position, we'd run across the range to a tree on the other side and fire two more, zig-zagging down the range to about 25 yards from the target, then moving back the same way, side-to-side, always stopping behind cover to fire two rounds, reloading as necessary. Adding some movement and pretend return fire always works to get the heart pounding and the breathing rate up. Targets were IPSC silhouettes
and any hit on the target counted for score. PH did well enough, although I had to keep reminding her that she was being shot at so it would be in her best interest to, you know...move. (I brought a shot timer, but unfortunately for her, it does not come with a "calendar" setting.)

On my run--first time attempting this with the lever gun, I learned that when you take a simple drill like this and add two more steps (working the action manually and shoving loose rounds in through the loading port on the move), you really complicate things. (Those damned cowboys made it look so easy in the Saturday morning westerns.)

This drill bears repeating, at least until I get it down a little better or transition back to a simple magazine-fed semi-auto. But since the Marlin is currently my backpacking rifle of choice, I think that it behooves me to work on my skills with this one a bit more, at least until I can get it down to the point where I'm not either bringing an uncocked rifle to my shoulder and squeezing the trigger, or working the lever excessively and tossing out live rounds. Fighting the springs in the magazine tube and behind the loading gate will always be a bitch, and while it's not noticeable back on the bench, doing it while running from tree to tree through the tall grass definitely amps the difficulty level up a bit.

But like In told PH, if it's too easy, it's not really training. Training is about pushing yourself. This sort of drill makes for good training.


  1. Reminds me, I need to get out my 357 lever action and do some range time.

  2. Geez that sound like fun!

  3. What Broken Andy said.

  4. Dang, dude....took me about 20 minutes to get through this post, I kept getting stuck at that picture! Which reminds me...need to find some paper towels to clean up this drool puddle before it shorts out my keyboard. Again.

    Still, it does sound like an incredibly fun way to train!

  5. Great little rifle! I bought one about three years ago, but made the mistake of hitting "Buy-It-Now" on Gunbroker before I read the entire listing.
    I wound up with the 1894CB, which is the "Cowboy Action Shooting" model that has an octagonal barrel.
    Ever try and find a scope mount for one of these? If you ever find one,let me know!
    Still, it's a wonderful rifle, shoots more accurately than *I* can, and it's a joy to shoot with.

  6. You need to get a set of Skinner sights for your .357 carbine.


    uses the existing front sight to!

  7. Shot calender? Put tongue sticking out emoticon HERE.

  8. I bought the Skinner Sight right before I moved in with my girlfriend (now my wife), and they're packed away somewhere out in the garage. Thanks for mentioning them, as I had forgotten that I bought it!