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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday Gunday: The 100 Yard Club

After another week of chronic lower back pain, I felt good enough this weekend to head out to the range -- my first time back since the disastrous May 8 outing -- and I decided that The Rev was just the gun to get me out of my funk.

Oh, right, quick status update on him. After I bitched out the gun store owner about how the bullets failed to feed, his son-in-law took my rifle out to whatever range he uses and told me that Rev seems to prefer PMC Sidewinder ammo. The whys and wherefores of this are the subject of another post, but the short version boils down to this:
  1. Ammunition of the same caliber, from different companies, is never identical.
  2. Guns are finicky little bitches. 
  3. Given 1 and 2, your gun will develop a distinct appetite, preferring one brand and hating another.
It just so happens that the two types of ammo I was shooting May 8 were the kinds Rev didn't like (Lima Beans and Brussels Sprouts, basically) but when I switched to "Mac and Cheese" he gobbled them right up. So now I'd better buy some stock in PMC.

So after having my rifle manhandled twice, I figured that the scope had been knocked off of zero (meaning that it no longer pointed where the bullet would end up), so when I arrived at the range I went straight for the 25 yard lane and began dialing in. Two tubes later (about 30 rounds) I was close enough that I was ready for the 50 yard lane.

To my surprise, it didn't take much more tweaking -- I was getting nice tight groups within my first tube after only minimal adjustment. So I sad "What the hell" and went to the 100 yard range for the very first time.

For those of you who have never been to a shooting range, let me tell you that this is a big deal for new shooters. "The 100" is the deep end of the pool, the big boys' club, the place where only the serious shooters are. To give you an idea of what you're trying to hit on the 100, first you need to imagine a Compact Disc. This is basically your 7-10 ring, which is what separates "an actual hit" from "Well, you managed to shoot the paper." The center hole of the CD is the bullseye. Now have someone run that CD to the other end of a football field. That's your target.

Fun math: there's a thing known as Minute of Arc, which basically states that if you move the barrel of the gun 1/60th of a degree, then at 100 yards your shot will miss by an inch. What this boils down to is that, at that distance. a little movement on your part makes the sight picture wobble all over the place. It takes steady hands and patience to make these shots, neither of which are qualities I have in abundance. However, I am stubborn and hate to fail, and those cover a multitude of sins.

Another problem with shooting at a 100 yards, even with the highly visible "Dirty Bird" splatter targets, is that I had a hell of a time actually seeing where I was hitting (due to crappy eyes, a scope that only went up to 9x and a distressing inability to tell if the dots I was seeing were new or old). So I had to shoot a tube; wait for the range to go cold; and walk the length of a football field before I could see where I was on the target.

The first few times, I shot too low. Annoyed, I over-corrected the third time and shot too high, but at least I knew what my upper and lower bounds were and I was able to walk the scope in.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you photographic proof that I have joined the Hundred Yard Club:

Erin Palette: able to hit a target one inch across at 100 yards. I may have been griping about not seeing where my bullets were landing, but when that little red dot winked out, I actually yelled "I saw that! Hell yeah!"

There may have been a fist-pump involved.


  1. Grats. I spent a very extensive part of my military service shooting at "1/4" targets at 100. Basically a 1/4 is a head and shoulders silhouette.
    Only an ironsight though, and a military strength triggerpull.

  2. I recall qualifying on the M-16 during my ROTC days. We had to do much the same thing. Shooting "quarts" at a hundred with iron sights is damn difficult. 


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