Saturday, October 23, 2010

THE RANGE REVOLVER EXPERIENCE







As I'll detail more over at my other blog, ELFISHINGMUSICIAN, El Fisho Jr and Billy Ray and I went to the outdoor range today. We broke in Billy Ray's highly exciting new Sig 556 Assault rifle as well as our newish Mini-14 newly outfitted with an M4 Aimpoint. The Sig, of course, is state of the art and is such a pleasure to shoot. Clearly, the most fun shooting .223 I've ever shot, and I've owned and shot a wide variety of so called assault rifles and this rifle Billy Ray wisely bought is the high end of their product line.

But more about that stuff on the other blog. It was weird today. I felt like I was back 30 years ago shooting revolver police competition. I was on, with the revolvers at least.

We stopped by our local gun store/used gun store/gunsmith friend's, and I had a couple of not too old boxes of .38 S&W from a pistol I no longer have. I knew he could sell them for high cotton right now, with this ammo shortage and all. Lots of the little used and vintage calibers are in short supply, as well as current modern calibers like the .380.

In any event, when I stumbled on those last night in the dehydration box I keep ammo in, I knew he'd want them. He sells some guns in that caliber, used revolvers, and commented recently he didn't even have any cartridges to sell with the gun if he sold one. Well, now he has two boxes.

And we got about 300 rounds of some NOS vintage ammo I'd never heard of before in exchange for the bullets I came to trade. Great ammo, primers looked great, shells looked great and they were excellent in use. Old ammo my friend got from some guy closing his gun shop in another town. I told him we wanted to shoot a lot of .38 Specials at the range today and needed a screaming deal. Once again, he comes through more than expected.

I was expecting to get a couple boxes of 50 wadcutters, something cheap, and I'd have been pleased with that. But the Double D or something like that ammo we got was just great. In fact, we saved a couple of boxes of it we liked it so much. Basically lead nose hunting/target bullets, and I can tell you they were somewhat hot loaded. Not +P hot or anything like that, but hotter than your average bear. And very accurate.

As a consequence, I shot like I have not shot in years and years with a revolver today. Shooting three revolvers, a Colt Cobra D frame snubby 3rd generation, a Ruger Security Six 4" and a K frame Model 67 Combat Masterpiece 4", I was on fire with each gun, double action rapid fire at 15 feet pointing shooting in groups of 4" to 6" all around the zeros.

I used a target that has 5 bullseyes on it, in the middle and in quadrants, and worked my way through that twice with each gun. Then I threw some SPLAT! adhesive targets on top of that and did some DAO double taps and rapid fire. It was all good, and in fact, as little as I've been shooting revolvers compared to autos the past couple of decades, it was easy to see that sometimes old muscle memory, even from the 80's, can kick in again.

I shot all of those guns, and others like them extensively in the 70's and the 80's. I've shot thousands of rounds through the Cobra, and almost that many through a Python and the K frame.

In other words, I was shooting with Glock like combat accuracy and speed (just not round capacity) today with the three revolvers. As always, although I have autos and shoot them frequently and did shoot the Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact extensively today, I was ON FIRE with my revolvers and enjoying the heck out of it. Doing speed reloads and emptying 18 rounds in a target square in a variety of single shots, double taps and rapid fire.

So it was a great day at the range. Our good fortune in getting a great deal on the .38 Special ammo was so cool that I never broke out any .45 ACP guns of any kind. Billy Ray was enjoying going to town on his identical-to-mine Model 67 Combat Masterpiece as well as his Centennial snubbie, but used this opportunity of plentiful .38 Special ammo to just blast the hell out of that Combat Masterpiece.

Both of us got our Model 67's from our dads, Houston men who knew of each other when Billy Ray and I met in our early 20's. Over the years, our fathers buy and sell guns and weapons but it seems that each, separately and long ago, decided that the Model 67 was the ideal home and car defense pistol. For my dad, it was due to his Air Force days, and I think Billy Ray's dad was in the service too. Guys of that generation KNEW that the Combat Masterpiece what was cops in Houston were using and were readily for sale during the post-Korean War boom days of Houston when our folks both ended up here.

In any event, the Model 67's were also car guns for our fathers, who both came from similar hard scrabble East Texas backgrounds about 40 miles apart during the depression to acheive success in that big city called Houston.

So in any event, Billy Ray and I both got to shoot the heck out of our Combat Masterpieces today.

Meanwhile, El Fisho Jr. was burning through bullets in the Ruger stainless Security Six, and I let him shoot a few actual .357 Magnums through there to see the big difference between .357 Magnum and .38 Special. Actually, although it's been years since I've shot any actual .357 Magnum cartridges, I was pleasantly surprised that it was much milder than I recalled.

I'm going to have to revisit the .357 some now. Once upon a time, I even shot competition with it, in Magnum only matches.

So the revolverman within me is still alive and kicking. Don't get me wrong, I often carry a revolver, and at least one and usually several go on every range or outdoor trip where shooting will happen. I guess I was glad to know all of those habits I practiced fastidiously for years in my early 2o's from the Academy on stuck with me. The guru instructors said the habits we learned under stress would surface again, even after periods of long activity.

So I was glad to see how ON I was with the revolver shooting today. Likewise, El Fisho Jr. has been revolver trained, as was I, and he is still highly fascinated by the revolver despite his access to numerous high capacity and and some historic firearms.

In fact, the only gun that gives a revolver a run for the money with El Fisho Jr. is his grandpa's old Ortgies .32 auto. He ran about 100 rounds through the Orgties today, shooting nice 6"-8" groups with a gun I'm lucky I can hit a torso target with a 2o feet. Some of his groups in that range were via point shooting, which he has been practicing a lot lately with. He's a good point shooter.

However, El Fisho Jr. had his first watershed moment today with an autoloader. Two jams while firing. It is unusual for that gun to jam, and the ammo was decent stuff, not great but decent, and I think the gun might need a new mag spring.


But it brought home "THAT LESSON" that I learned many years ago, when I was about El Fisho's age getting to shoot my father's friend's fine, gorgeous, worked on Colt Gold Cup .45, and it jammed on me. Several times. El Fisho Jr. is proficient at clearing jams and obstructions, all the while keeping the weapon downrange. He's learned that everytime there is a jam or a misfire to empty the gun, lock the breach open and visually inspect the chamber and barrel and get someone else to do so as well to make sure the barrel is unobstructed.


Safety First.



By the time we got through shooting the rifles, the 9mm's and the generously huge amount of (and surprisingly high performing) .38 Special ammo my gun dealer traded us, we were hungry and exhausted and had probably fired 750 rounds total on the rifle range and the pistol range.

So we never got to the .45's. I always enjoy shooting the Smith and Wesson 1917, and it's a crowd pleaser with both El Fisho Jr and Billy Ray. It's another gun that El Fisho Jr. can hit coke cans at 20 feet and can shoot better than me. I can hit dead center FBI target at 20 feet with it, and it's a great shooting accurate gun, but El Fisho Jr. seems to have no problem adapting to unique and different sighting systems and compensating for defects in the sights, which he usually figures out in about 3 shots or less. The low "perceived recoil" due to the gun's weight and the Pachmayr grips make it pleasure to shoot.

But food was nearby and it was looking like rain again. It rained for 5 or 10 minutes several times through our sessions, of course destroying our targets. No problems and no worries. We were all having such a good time we just overcame each issue and kept laughing.

It was a great day.

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