Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Range Time with Boomershoot Joe

It's been a bit of a long day, but enjoyable. The old man and I had planned on shooting today and I had already made plans with Joe to do so. It's been about the best the wind has been in three weeks.

We got to the range about two o'clock and the only shooter there picked up his target as I was setting mine up. Had it to ourselves.

Warmed up by confirming that banging and transportation hadn't thrown the zero off by doing 3 shots at the requisite 400 yard zero. All three shots hit.

Moved on to trying to confirm the 600 yard adjustments were right. Tried to gong, but was hitting about 5 feet high. Compensated for the point of impact and eventually got one gong hit. Obviously something was wrong.

As I'm human, I continued to waste expensive match grade ammo until the wind picked up to about 20 mph. All of a sudden I realized that the 8.5-20x scope was still at 8.5x. Not to make excuses, but my brother was over until 1:00 in the morning last night, so I didn't exactly get my beauty sleep or recover my sense.

Full Disclosure: I dislike using tactical knobs. I've done the requisite sighting with them and fundamentally understand them, but even with a quality scope, I've always been taught that fucking with turrets will throw your zero off. It may be a wive's tale. In the final days before Boomershoot, I have been trying to leave off the tactical knobs and practice with the mil-dots. As such, if the magnification is not the same as the one my ballistic sheet is based on, I'm shooting 5 feet high.

After that, I gonged the 600 yard target and it was time to move to paper.

I'll admit, I suck with windage, which will be my major handicap in Idaho. The wind had died down by that point and I was consistently hitting to the left of the 8'x11' paper target. Finally I started compensating for the wind.

Then Joe showed up. I met him at the gate and we exchanged greetings.

It was weird because by the time I was going back to the gate, I had forgotten that the SWAT range next-door was doing something special. When we entered there were about 60-80 cop cars parked in the lot. We got through the gate and halfway down the road and ran into about a dozen swat guys in full armor sporting M-16's. I had read in the newsletter that are club was trying for better relations, but I kind of freaked out. I had pulled up and asked the guy in charge if the range was open. He said, "Yeah, no problem," but didn't really encourage his guys to clear the road they were sitting on. I drove through slowly while the old man reinforced the point that it would not be a good idea to run over a cop's ankles.

I digress. Driving back to the gate I remembered that there may be guerilla teams waiting or tired dehydrated policemen lying in the road. We drove back to the big-bore range slowly.

After that, we all went back to shooting. Joe had planned on taking a Webley .300, which I was looking forward to at least watching. He forgot that, so he ended up with an Olympia Arms AR. Nice rifle and he handles it well.

I have to give kudos to both the old man and Joe today, because I was probably a real pain in the ass. All I wanted to do was make it on paper at 600 yards. So it ended up that the old man would do a Garand clip, Joe would do 20 rounds of AR, and I would take three shots and probably stood around looking like heavy wallpaper until everyone told me I could drive out to take a look. The drive takes about five minutes both ways, including checking out the paper I didn't hit.

After the third time Joe asked me what was going on and I responded that I think my windage adjustments were completely wrong (remember, my brother kept me up very late.) He pointed out that there was effectively no wind and he was gonging with a 40 gr. .223 bullet as opposed to a 168 gr. .30-06. Then it occurred to me that I was still making the same wind adjustments that I was using before Joe had arrived. Got two on paper the next group and quit. I was still happy that it happened, even though I'd been being an idiot.

It actually got more fun after I put the Boomer rifle away. Joe can gong an 18" steel plate about 15 out of 20 times, using a light .223 bullet. He gave me a crack at a magazine and I scored a single hit. Initially when I sat down, he has one of those yellow plastic safety magazine inserts, which I've never seen before. Well, I was figuring there was a release cinch on the plastic and proceeded to look for it until Joe showed me where the magazine release was located. It's been 4 months since I've touched an AR, but I still felt a bit like an idiot.

As Joe mentions, he shot the old man's Garand after that. I think he mischarcterizes by saying he flinched or pulled. Flinch might have been part of his problem, as you have casings and clips flying through your field of view. That weapon is a beast. I've often bitched about the punishment that rifle revels in dishing out, but it goes beyond that. The ghost ring on a Garand is a lot larger than the ones most of us are used to when firing an AR. As such, you've got a lot more space to float the front sight in. I've also found that this leniency tends to let people fine-tune the sighting to their taste or habit. Joe only shot one clip (or two?). That's not nearly enough. It takes me about 8 clips to even figure out where the POI is in relation to my POA. And that rifle makes me flinchy as fuck, just due to the left-hand ejection issues.

After that, we called it a day. We'd been shooting for about four hours and Joe did about an hour and a half, but he had also flown today.

Then we went to some restaurant by his hotel that my mother recommended. Don't get me wrong, it was a burger joint and burgers were killer. But you needed bicycle assembly instructions to figure out how the hell it worked. Put your order in here, get your burger here, here's condiments....where the fuck is the lettuce? We found it on the way out. Additionally, there are no waitresses, so if you want another beer, you have to go stand in line all over again. I tip people well when they bring me beers regularly.

From there the conversation was awesome. Trades, guns, Boitel, guns, family history, guns, explosives, guns. What more could anyone want from dinner discussion than that? Outside of Boitel, of course.

UPDATE: We also discussed Kim du Toit's fiscal fiasco. It would be a shame if he didn't make it because him and the S&H were a few bucks short. Joe's pledged 100 ducks as well as me. Do what you can (and I realize a lot of you are bitching that if you were doing nasty things underneath the freeway overpass on your own time, you'd still only be able to buy a crappy .38 revolver for BAG day.)

Ben, get over the phobia of using the target turrets for you MOA compensation. Using them on a $150 scope might have caused you problems. But on a Premium Tactical scope I think not... I am sure that Gene will beat it out of you. I know that using the turrets on my scope has caused no issues...


by the way 2640fps is what my drop chart is built on...

With all due respect, in view of your constant focus, I think it would be appropriate to rename your blog to gun-nut.

Sorry I missed your dinner, but I guess I was there in spirit.

Best wishes and be not afraid,

How do you know I'm not using a $60 Tasco? It's a bit high-handed of you to assume that I went out and spent some wacko amount of money on a piece of glass.

Presumptuous, to say the least.


The name of the blog derives from a conversation my father and I have had on several occasions. I will be explaining my latest obsession (usually a firearm) and he tells me I'm a nut. My stock reply is, "at least I'm reasonable about it." Just some background.

It's the weekend, so I may be joining the fray.

Best to all,

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