Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gunnie Bloggers doing Gunnie Things

This past Saturday I had the great pleasure of taking fellow blogger and good friend Chris Bridges out to my local range for some good old shooting fun, and he details his experience here. It's a good write-up, not only because Chris is a journalist and therefore good with the talky wordy things*, but also because he describes it from the perspective of a first time shooter.

This is important, because as I read his post I realized that I had neglected this side of things. Sure, I was talking about guns and marksmanship and suchlike, but it never occurred to me that some of you have never been to a shooting range and might like to know how they operate. I was so caught up in the procedure of things that I never detailed the amazing environment which is the range itself. Fortunately, Chris' post addresses that quite nicely, which is why I'm giving him a reciprocal Monday Gunday link (even if it is technically Tuesday.)

Some fun excepts (with annotations):

As I was pop-popping along, Erin was setting up her rifle which, as it turned out, did not go pop so much as BOOM. She grinned happily at my expression and turned back to blast away and have a merrily violent time.
One of the many things I love about Izzy, my Mosin-Nagant, is that he never ever fails to garner appreciative looks. I'm slightly baffled by this -- after all, the design is over a hundred years old and it's one of the most common rifles** in the world (accounts vary, but estimates are between 17 and 37 million rifles made since 1891) -- but perhaps it's not so much the age or the size or the design, but the fact that it's a large rifle shooting a large bullet with a large powder charge behind it. BOOM indeed. 

Erin let me fire her higher-powered rifle at her target (not pictured) while she worked on the other one, and I have to say I liked the Mosin-Nagan better. Much better scope, more accurate, a boom and kick that I admit I found highly satisfying in a purely atavistic way. Also, it has AVADA KEDAVRA painted on it.
True story: just after Chris left, some young men in their mid to late 20s were admiring my rifle and laughing. It turns out that one of the shooters had a girlfriend who is really into Harry Potter and he wanted to take a picture of it for her. Go ahead, I said, and after they'd done that I asked them if they'd like to shoot it. Boyfriend got very wide-eyed, like I'd asked if he wanted to see me topless, and eagerly took his place at the rifle.

"Be careful," I said. "He has a kick."

BOOM, went Izzy. 

Boyfriend stood up, rubbing his shoulder, and went "Wow!" 

"Want to go again?" I asked. 

"Nope, I'm good," he declared, slightly sheepishly.

I looked to his friends. "Anyone else?"

"Nope, we're all good here, thanks!" they declared, and went off to shoot their Ruger 10/22s.

In shooting, like with dating and produce selction, there's always something better out there. The guy next to Erin was firing his own weapon, a something-something with a polished wooden stock and, I assume, other cool stuff because she was openly eyeing it, and he let her fire a few rounds. It made an even louder boom, followed by her scream of "I want one!"
The nice fellow, whose name is Russell, was shooting a PSL, which is a Romanian variant of the Russian Dragunov sniper rifle. It fires the exact same cartridge as my Mosin, but the PSL is semi-auto and fed from a ten-round detachable magazine.

Being a semi-auto, it mitigates the substantial kick of the 7.62x54R round by using some of that recoil to shove the bolt back and load the next round. Which means that compared to the mule kick of the Mosin, this was practically light as a feather. And I could shoot it much, much faster as well. The casings were bouncing off the screen that separates shooting lanes and landing on top of my head (good thing I wore a hat!) and I only barely suppressed my desire to scream at the top of lungs while shooting as fast as possible.

Oh, and the scope on this thing was... complex, to say the least.

Per Wikipedia: The rangefinder is in the lower left, chevrons for bullet drop compensation are found in the middle, and stadia marks for windage to the left and right of the center reticule. This is a serious sniper scope for a serious sniper rifle. 

And yes, I do want one, but ye gods it's expensive. Something in the $500-$700 range, depending upon if you want the scope or not. Still, I got to fire it, which I wasn't at all expecting. Being allowed to shoot someone else's gun at the range is a rare privilege.

In conclusion, a fun and educational time was had by all, everyone got to shoot something new, and now Chris is slightly better prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Not bad for 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon!

What did you guys do, see a movie? ;)

* Even if he does misspell Mosin-Nagant.
** Rifles, not Assault Rifles. That honor goes to the AK-47, at approximately 75 million. 


  1. Fun! I wanna go to Florida and go shooting with you. Someday when we have free-flowing funds...

  2. Fun! I wanna go to Florida and go shooting with you. Someday when we have free-flowing funds...


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