Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shooting "real rifles".

Today I hit the range for some much-needed relaxation and practice. This time, I brought out two "old friends" that haven't seen the light of day in years: A Harrington and Richardson M-1 Garand and a Smith-Corona (yes, the type-writer company)1903-A3, both chambered in .30-06.
The Springfield hasn't been out since I last took it to Camp Perry about a decade ago, and this particular Garand didn't even have a zero and I don't think that I've ever had it out. Shame on me, but this seemed like a good day to correct that. Ammo for both was some M-2 ball that I loaded up back in 2009, according to the lot numbers on the bags.

Normally on a week-day, I can count on having the place to myself, but this time there was a group of 4-5 guys there already, and to be frank, they were shooting like doorknobs. One was blazing away with his pistol so fast that it sounded like he had a sub-machine gun there. He was shooting in the general direction of the steel plates but not a one of them dropped despite his emptying a whole magazine at them from maybe 20 feet away. One of his buddies was firing an AR-15 on the 50-yard line nearly as fast. Wankers. A third member of their group was shooting a bolt-action .308 on the 100-yard line next to me, and he was at least aiming and taking it slow so I had no reason to bitch about him, at least until I went down to set up my one target stand and found that he was setting up bowling pins across the entire downrange end of the lane.

"You don't mind if I move a few of your bowling pins, do you?" I asked nicely. (And I wasn't really asking.)

"Well I'm shooting at those," he replied, as if to indicate that yes, he did mind.

"Are you telling me that you really need the entire 30 feet of target space down there? Seriously?"

He seemed to get the message this time. "I guess I can move a few of those over," he replied, walking downrange to do so before I could get down there and start kicking half of them over to one side of the range like I was about to do.

Where do all of these wankers come from, and why do they always seem to show up when I'm around?

I put up one target stand and put two targets on it, one above the other. I would use each to zero one rifle. Ding-dong next to me was shooting at maybe a dozen bowling pins all spread out. He was shooting from the bench and contorting himself like some sort of pretzel so that he could rest his rifle on a carpeted wood block that was way too low for a seated shooter to use. I just unrolled my shooting mat and shot from the prone, using the rifles' slings.
A little work and I had both rifles perfectly zeroed for 100 yards from the prone. Ding-dong finally ran out of .308 and walked away with his rifle. I figured that he was done so I used the Garand to knock down the nine pins that were still standing. Then he came back with a Mosin M-44.

"Did you shoot my pins?" he asked?

"Must have been the wind," I said as I began policing up my brass.

I love this M-1. If I recall, it was a CMP Select-Grade that came to me with a beat-up stock but near-new barrel.

The 03-A3's action seems to be a bit loose in the stock. Still a nice shooter, but it's going to need a bit of tuning to be much use at the next Springfield Match.

Happy guns.

I picked my stuff up and went to go drink coffee in the range office for a bit. As I was doing so, the guy who was speed-shooting his AR brought it over to the 100-yard line. Bowling pin suggested that he try his rifle out on the pins, and AR-guy said: "I dunno. a hundred yards is really pushing it for an M-4." This from a guy who an EOTech-clone optic mounted on his rifle. How do you so not understand your tool as to think that it's not adequate for simple 100-yard shots? The mind boggles. I just shook my head and went inside.

After I had a nice cup of coffee and chatted with Jerry the range guy for a bit, the wankers packed up and left. Relieved, I went back out and wandered over to the pistol line for a bit of practice with a Glock, this one a Model 19 formerly owned by the Washington, DC Police Department.
Loading up a few magazines and dragging a barricade over, I went to work on the dueling tree steel from behind cover. I also loaded my mags to less than full and put a different number of rounds in each, then shuffled them before loading one into the pistol and tossing the other two into my mag pouches. This way I'd run dry unexpectedly so I could work on my reloads as well.
Man, I'm glad I waited until everyone else was gone. I haven't done much serious pistol since injuring my wrist back in June, and wow, did it ever show. The suckage was practically audible as I acquired a sight picture, squeezed the trigger, and saw no steel move much more often than I was happy with. Apparently I've picked up a bit of a flinch since I keep expecting those sharp pains in my wrist that I've grown used to with most any sudden movement. I guess I'll need to come out more and work through that.

I also fired a couple of magazines from various "man down" positions that had me lying on the ground as if I'd fallen or been knocked down. I shot one-handed, alternating between my weak and strong hand, and the results were acceptable...barely. Again, more practice is going to be required owing to the lack of shooting this summer. But that's hardly a bad thing, since shooting's fun even if the range is infested with nimrods from time to time. :-)


  1. I love Garands and 03s. That looks like a really nice day at the range. Best done before Winter sets in.

  2. Actually, you might as well practice in cold weather, too ... just in case the zombies don't watch the calendar. :^)

    Sounds like a fun day, doorknobs & all.

  3. Six, what is this "winter" that you speak of?
    Rev. Paul, I do shoot and train year-round, and even in the rain. Bad guys and zombies can appear anywhere and the twenty-first century is when everything changes, and you've got to be ready.

  4. Nice day for it. I can hear you snarking now...

  5. Nice looking rifles! Can't wait to get up there again and pay proper attention to my long gun game.

  6. Where do all of these wankers come from, and why do they always seem to show up when I'm around?


  7. LOL, you DO keep getting those winners don't ya... But still a GOOD day at the range beats a day at the office.

  8. I guess I've been lucky, but every time my son and I have gone to the rifle range, we were 'wankerless'.
    BTW...what brand of spotting scope is that? I'm *still* trying to find one I like that doesn't cost $900.

  9. Get those guys (the wankers) to an Appleseed!
    I used to be that guy vainly trying to keep rounds on a paper plate at 100 yards off a benchrest. After a couple of Appleseeds, I sight 'em in like you do, prone with loop sling. I needed Appleseed to show me how to do it, though.

  10. Can you teach me enough to do better than the wankers/doorknobs on my 1st day shooting???

  11. @ drjim: It came from Champion's Choice and it was very economical and pretty high-quality. A local Sheriff's Dept. SWAT team back where I used to live uses them and their commander, who also shoots Hi-Power, put me onto the optic. Not sure if they still offer that one, but I'm sure that they have lots of others similarly priced.

    @ RV There Yet: All it takes is common sense and basic courtesy. You're pretty much there already. Just need to bring you up to speed on weapons knowledge and safe handling. Don't see any problems there.

  12. I's hard to beat a M1 Garand, I just hate it costs so much to shoot one.

  13. @ Duke: I reload my own ammo using pull-down components. It's not bad at all. Reload and you can shoot a lot more.

  14. "Must've been the wind"