Another productive Saturday

I had the opportunity to help teach a boy scout troop about shooting at Airfield Shooting Club again this weekend. I took as many pictures as I could and still fulfill my obligations in helping instruct.

This time I helped out with the Shotgun part.

We had three groups of ten kids each and the Club’s Lead Instructor, Dale, started out each group by going over the safety rules and proper gun handling…

…and the differences between shotgunning and riflery.

Although I grew up shooting shotguns and rifles, I must admit that the finer points of shotgun technique is my weakest area of the three disciplines I’m certified to teach, listening as Dale lead the classroom portion was as much a learning experience for me as it was the kids.

Then we’d split them into two groups of five. Dale and I worked with one group as a couple of other instructors worked with the other group.

First establishing eye dominance.

Then working stance.

Then working on some pointing drills to help them with following moving targets.

Then, on to the shooting.

I have to say that Dale is excellent with the kids…especially the younger ones…helping them with their stance and handling the guns and staying very encouraging and positive.

I don’t think there was a kid out there who didn’t break at least one target and some of them got quite good by the end of the session.

With a few of the kids who were hitting more consistently, I put my camera in auto mode and took some progressive pictures to get some action shots of clays being broken.

Some of them came out quite good I thought…on a few you could actually see the shot in the air at various stages.



And in this one, I captured it right as the shot was impacting the bird.


And the aftermath, this is the very next frame, about 1/3 of a second later.

It was a very fun day, I learned a lot of new things and got to pass on some new things to about 30 new shooters.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Finally, the grand finale: I put a bunch of the stills I took together as a video. it’s only about a minute long:

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National Match AR Range Report

Now that the series of posts on assembly for my National Match AR-15 build project is done, it stands to reason that I need to let everyone patient enough to slog through all those very detailed and meticulous posts know how she shoots.

First a little background. I had heard that new match barrels need to be “broken in” so I did some research on that subject before beginning. It seems that there are as many opinions on that as there are on every other aspect of guns and shooting.

Some recommend using a brush during break-in.
Some recommend not using a brush during break-in.
Some recommend a set number of rounds in a regimen for break-in.
Some recommend shooting only until fouling is reduced.
Most recommend somewhere between 20 and 30 rounds for break-in.
I had one “know it all” type at a local gun range tell me that a minimum of 300 rounds is required for proper barrel break in.
And at least one fairly well known industry professional is on record as saying that “break-in” is unnecessary, does more harm than good and is only recommended by barrel makers to get you to shoot your barrel out faster than you would otherwise.

In summary, after all my research, I still don’t know what the “proper” barrel break-in procedure is or even if there really is one.

Sigh.

Well, I couldn’t find any match ammo to shoot so I was going to have to settle for cheap range ammo to start out with anyway, so I decided to go ahead and do at least some break in.

I went to Camp Allen Weapons range during a time that I thought wouldn’t be too busy (I was right…only one other guy in the bay with me and only for a short time), set up my cleaning station.

Set up my shooting position.

And went to town.

Here are my first five shots, stopping and cleaning between each shot (yes, I used a brush).

I must say, for cheap 55 grain range ammo, shooting one round at a time, getting up, cleaning and then shooting the next round, I couldn’t be happier with that group.

I was using a 6 o’clock hold for the large center diamond, which put me 7 inches low and about 3 inches left.

Unfortunately, I forgot the tools I needed to adjust the FSB. I tried the “bullet tip” trick to adjust the front sight post down to bring the shots up a little, but after a couple of turns, it was obvious that I was going to tear the front sight post up too much if I kept going with that.

After adjusting the front sight post a little, I didn’t know where I was going to be, so I needed to shoot another group to check elevation, but I could at least try to adjust the windage. Let’s see…1MOA at 25 yards is 1/4 inch. I’m shooting 3″ left so I need to move the point of impact 12 MOA right.

One very important aspect of a match rifle is how accurate the click adjustments are on the sights. You don’t get a chance to verify adjustments during a match so you need to know that when you dial in a certain adjustment, that’s what you’re going to get on the Point of impact.

So, with 1/4 MOA sights, a 12 MOA adjustment is 48 clicks. Whew…that’s barely in the adjustment range.

OK…now that I’ve made my first adjustment, it’s time for another 5 shot group. After cleaning between each shot for the first 5 shots, I’m really not seeing any significant copper fouling. A little to be sure, but nothing significant. I think it’s safe to start shooting 5 shots between cleaning.

The second 5 shot group was almost perfectly centered right to left. That tells me that the windage adjustments are accuarate and I can trust my math when making adjustments. That’s great news!

I was still about 26 MOA low though. I wasn’t going to futz with the front post any more without the proper tools, so…I need to move my POI 26 MOA up, that’s 104 clicks.

After cleaning, I shot another 5 shot group: almost exactly where I expected it. Grouped just a little high but almost perfect. OUT STANDING.

I decided to shoot one more group on a clean target to finish off the box of 20 and “for record”. I cleaned one more time, set up…and this is what I ended up with.

Out freaking standing.

I’d say about a 3/4″ group…about 3 MOA. Three out of the 5 cloverleafed.

Using cheap ammo from nothing more than a rudimentary rest and without even having the sights dialed completely in yet.

I’ll take it.

That was the day that I got my gunny body art by the way.

I took her to the Airfield shooting club last weekend and put another 20 rounds downrange and got the FSB windage at least in the ballpark, and I cranked the front sight post down 4 or 5 turns to get the point of impact up a bit. I didn’t take pictures that day because I was just too tired after being out there all day.

Today I went back to the indoor range to verify my FSB adjustments.

Still gonna need some fine tuning after getting the right ammo, but it’s really starting to come together.

here was the last group of 5 (out of another box of 20) that I shot today.

This was with 50 clicks (12.5 MOA) up and the windage dial zeroed.

Looks like I still need to move the FSB about 2 MOA right and the sight post maybe another turn down (Front sight adjustments are opposite of where you want the POI to move, rear sight adjustments are the same direction you want the POI to move).

But the main thing I’m happy about was the groups I was getting tonight.

That one looks to be slightly less than 1/2 an inch.

Call it .45 inches from center to center of the largest spread. I used a box to mark it to make sure the lines were straight down.

At 25 yards, that’s about 1.8 MOA.

I know I’m repeating myself…but…just wow…

Less than 2 MOA accuracy already with crappy ammo that’s really too light for the barrel twist rate from a makeshift rest and without even having the sights all the way dialed in yet.

I think I’ve achieved everything I’d hoped for when I first started contemplating this project.

I’m confident that, with good ammo and from a proper, stable bench rest, I’ll be able to get sub-MOA groups out of this rifle.

I’m officially calling this project a WIN!.

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Another new shooter report

A buddy of mine who should blog but doesn’t (yet), sent me a new shooter report on his kids:

I got a Daisy 880 pellet rifle to teach the kids to shoot. Daniel is very proud of himself for his first shooting. He learned all the parts of his rifle, proper sight picture, a Dad-modified kneeling benchrest position (chair and a bag of cat food as a bench rest), and safe procedures and range rules. It was funny that to hear him recite the steps as he loaded, fired, and cleared the range before checking his target. “Open the bolt. Put the pellet in the breech. Close the bolt. Safety on. Get in position. Safety off. Breath. (…) BANG! Range clear? Safe? …” repeat. I set up a 5 meter range in the garage and he shot about a dozen “rounds” total. I put the glow target on the target for his last three shots. And the kid nails it.

Then Sarah got home and lined up. Same deal but sitting, and without the vocal repetition. She made 10 shots. Her first three were in the same centered hole! Out of the next seven six were on the target. Pretty good for a first time. And more than fine for a $40 Daisy.

They are great kids (actually, Sarah’s not a kid any more, she’s a young lady) and a welcome addition to the shooting community. We’re already talking about the possibility of me taking a road trip out that way and giving them the full NRA class.

Big fun.

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How I spent my Saturday (new shooter report x a bunch)

One reason I didn’t get more of the AR build posts done this weekend is because I spent all day Saturday at the Airfield Shooting Club exercising my freshly minted NRA instructor creds.

First we did basic rifle marksmanship for 20 boy scouts.

We had 5 rifles…three scoped and two with open sights…so we rotated them through in four relays.

We tried to give them all a chance to try both styles.

I realized exactly how difficult it is to ingrain the basics into someone who has no experience at all with it. Some of them had shot air rifles or airsoft guns before, and a couple had actually used .22 rifles before, but most had no experience at all.

Many of them had a tendency to want the buttstock too low and/or toward the center of their chests.

Especially when the rifles don’t exactly “fit” some of them very well.

Several kept trying to use the wrong eye to sight down the scope…even though the dominance test demonstrated that they were strong-side eye dominant.

Trigger finger discipline, breath control and trigger control were constant challenges.

But ultimately, all of the kids did reasonably well.

Some of them did very well.

And a few of them did exceptionally well.

And I’m pretty sure that, if the designated loader never sees another Ruger style rotary .22 magazine again for the rest of his life, he’ll be a happy man.

While the kids were getting in their range time, some other instructors had a class of about 30 adults doing the classroom part of the “First Steps” Pistol class.

After the boy scouts were finished, a few of us who had been working with them, stayed to help out with the range portion of the adult pistol class. You need more instructors on the range than in the classroom to ensure safety and give everyone the attention they deserve.

After that, I fired some more break in rounds through my newly assembled AR and I think I got the FSB adjusted properly for windage. I still don’t have the ammo that I want and there was a slight breeze so it may be off a little, but I’ve got it pretty close. After I get some “correct” match ammo, I’ll fine tune it and then lock it down by using thread locking compound on the set screws.

The wife of one of the other pistol shooters was “oohing” and “ahhing” over my rifle as I was shooting. She told me she’d only fired handguns and had never fired a rifle before, so I gave her an opportunity to give it a try. She had a bystander take pictures of her with her phone, but I didn’t get any…I was coaching her. But after she put some rounds downrange, she got up with the biggest grin I think she could have possibly fit on her face without breaking something. I think she’s sold. It wouldn’t surprise me to see her with one of her own out there soon.

All in all, it was a little bit of a long day, but knowing that I had played some small part in ushering some 50 new shooters into the world of the shooting sports made it well worth it.

BTW: While I was on the ASC site to get the URL for the link above, I noticed that there’s going to be an M1 Carbine match there on the 17th of October. That date sounds familiar so there may be something else going on that day that I need to attend to, but if I can fit it in, I’ll have to add that to the calendar.

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I just got back from the range

Just the 25 yard indoor range on the Marine Corps base. And I forgot my allen wrench to adjust the windage on the FSB so I didn’t get that done…but I broke Obama’s cherry.

First 20 rounds of break-in done.

I’m not going to give a full range report because it would be out of order…I’ll do that after all the build posts are up.

But I will say this: About the only way you could’ve scraped the grin off my face as I was leaving the range was with a cold chisel and 2 lb hammer.

I am one happy shooter right now.

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AR-15 Build Part 9

In B.O. Special, I introduced the newest addition to the gun cabinet and reviewed the rifle kit from Del-ton.
In Part 1, we talked about tools and preparation and installed the magazine catch.
In Part 2. we installed the trigger guard.
In Part 3, we installed the bolt catch.
In Part 4, we installed the pivot pin.
In Part 5, we installed the trigger assembly.
In Part 6, we installed the hammer assembly.
In Part 7, we installed the selector and pistol grip.
In Part 8, we installed the takedown pin, buttstock, buffer spring and buffer.

In this…the final edition of this series…we’re going to install the complete upper, install the sights and optics, take Barack to the range, and sum it all up.

Installing the complete upper is a snap. First, place the forward mounting lug of the upper receiver into the lower receiver and line the hole up with the pivot pin.

You may want to turn it over and look at the holes from the back side to make sure you get them lined up.

Once it’s all lined up, just push the pin in.

You’ll feel some resistance from the detent spring pressure and you should be able to feel the detent snap into place as the pin seats completely.

The next step is optional. The M-16/AR-15 design was intended to have a bit of a loose fit between the upper and lower receivers. Some contend that this impact accuracy. I’m not convinced of that, but I do know that I don’t like things rattling any more than they have to so I prefer a tight fit.

Considering that I got the upper and lower from two different vendors, mine actually fit pretty well, but there was a slight bit of movement.

To alleviate this, I purchased an “accuwedge” from Midway USA. For all of $2.99 plus shipping, it’s hard to go wrong. I actually went ahead and bought two so I’d have one for “Obama” when I finally get it built up.

The accuwedge goes into the rear of the receiver…

…with the “base” down in the bottom and the “tang” sticking up behind the takedown pin.

Then swing the upper receiver closed and into place in the lower receiver.

With the accuwedge installed, the upper probably won’t seat completely into the lower on its own.

You’ll have to squeeze them together…

…and then push in the takedown pin. Again, you’ll feel the resistance of the takedown pin detent and spring and you should feel the detent pop into place as the takedown pin seats.

Now the rifle is complete; however, because I went with the flattop upper, it doesn’t do us much good without rear sights (unless you’re one of those people that the Brady’s like to talk about who “spray fire from the hip”…in which case you can skip the rest).

Considering that I’m on a budget, I couldn’t afford expensive sights and optics. I could have easily spent as much on those as I did on building the rifle…if I had that kind of money, I would have bought the parts to build up Obama already.

Basically, I cheaped out.

I bought both the iron sights and the red-dot from the same vendor: Combathunting.com.

The iron sights were only $21 but looked to have pretty standard windage and elevation adjustments and two aperture sizes. I knew I was taking a chance by buying something that cheap, but I figured if they suck too bad, I could always buy something else more expensive later.

I have to admit that, after getting them, I’m pretty impressed. For the price, they seem to be very well made. We’ll see how they do at the range.

As a carbine, I figured this rifle would be more suited for close-in work and my military buddies really like the Aimpoint red dots that they have on their M4’s so I wanted to approximate that.

I definitely wanted something that I could co-witness with the iron sights…but there was no way I could afford an Aimpoint.

After some research and reading of reviews, I decided to go with the “Sight-Mark” Aimpoint look-alike. Yes, I realize that were I a “real” operator I’d settle for nothing less than the best. I guess I’ll just have to hold off on earning my Mall Ninja merit badge for now.

The Sight-Mark I also got from Combathunting.com for a very reasonable $78.

One disadvantage to the Sight-Mark is that the base that comes with it is not high enough to co-witness with the sights…however I found out that Pro-Mag makes a cantilever sight base that will work with the Sight Mark for that purpose. The most reasonable price I found for the Pro-mag sight base was Midway USA, where I got one for $45. Oh by the way…did I mention that I have a Curio and Relic FFL and so Midway USA gives me the dealer price? If you don’t get the dealer discount, the price for this mount is $67.

Mounting the sights is very easy. Open up the clamp on the base as far as it will go.

I put some blue thread locking compound on the threads to make sure that it stays tight.

Put one side of the base onto the flattop rail and rock it down into position.

Then tighten the base by turning the knob until it’s good and snug.

I used a large screwdriver to tighten it another half turn or so to make sure it wouldn’t come loose.

I put the rear sight all the way to the rear on the rail. The rear of the sight was formed to match the rear silhouette of the receiver so I just matched the rear edges up and put it there.

For the red-dot the procedure is pretty much the same.

Open the base all the way and put a little blue thread locking compound on the threads.

Figure out where you want it positioned…

I wanted the red dot to be relatively centered on the rifle fore and aft so that’s how I chose my mounting position. This was purely aesthetic. The only real concern is not to put it so close to the rear sight that the flip up cover hits the iron sight when opening or closing.

…rock it onto the rail…

…and tighten down the wing nut.

One thing I really like about the Pro-mag sight base is that it has a compartment for storing extra batteries.

And now we have a complete, useable rifle.

‘Course I STILL need to get a sling…

The next thing to do is take it to the range and see how it shoots.

I went to Camp Allen Weapons Range at a local Marine Corps base. It is the newest, and best indoor range around…unfortunately, it’s only open to military, LEO, military retirees and DOD employees.

I guess that’s a good thing because it would always be packed if it was open to the public.

It’s only 25 yards, but you can use anything up to and including .50BMG and they even allow black powder, which is VERY unusual for an indoor range.

The ventilation system is pretty impressive. Black powder smoke is gone almost as soon as it leaves the barrel.

I have to say that I’m very happy with both the iron sights and the Sight-Mark. I zeroed them both at 25 yards and it shot very well.

This is prone with the iron sights. I believe it was ten rounds, but I could be off by one or two. The squares are 1″.

Keep in mind that this was without a rest or even a sling. I was resting my support arm on the ground and that’s all the support I had.

And this is with the red dot, standing, off-hand.

I’m thinking for close-in work, that’ll do the job.

I did get a chance to take it to the outdoor range a week or so ago and shot at 50 yards. I didn’t have a lot of time so I didn’t take it to 100 because I wanted to get in some pistol work too…but I got similar results at 50. After reading some other opinions, I think I’m going to zero both sights at 75 yards on this rifle, which, according to what I read, should give me a good “center of mass” battle zero for any range up to 200.

I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with both sighting systems so far. I don’t think you can do much better than that for the price. The zeros stayed true between range sessions and I had no problems zeroing them or co-witnessing them. They both seem to be pretty well built and solid.

Only time will tell how they will hold up with use, but if I have any problems I’ll be sure to report them right away.

I already mentioned the one little glitch I had with the rifle itself: while firing the first magazine, it was basically a single shot. I had to cycle the selector between safe and fire between each shot to get it to fire. After that first magazine, though, I’ve had no further problems.

The trigger is a little creepy and the letoff isn’t as crisp as I’d like so I’ll be doing some trigger work shortly, but other than that, I’m very happy with my project.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and for your patience in slogging through all the pictures and my wordy descriptions.

And, with that, I’ll close this series with one final picture.

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New gun owner and semi-new shooter report (x2)

This past weekend was the last gun show before the ascension of the Obamassiah or, alternatively, the begin of the threatened civil war should McCain win the election.

I didn’t have a lot of time (which is why I wasn’t working the gun show), but wanted to at least give a look to see if there were any deals that I couldn’t pass up.

Well…I think I’ve mentioned before, that my wife had never fired a gun before meeting me. She’s gone to the range with me a couple of times, but she’s never really liked any of my handguns and just didn’t enjoy it all that much. We did the “gun range boogie” for a while and tried out different rental guns at the ranges around the area. The end result was that she declared the Glock 19 to be her favorite.

Since then, I’ve been keeping my eye open for a good deal on a used G19. Well…lo and behold at the gun show there was a vendor with two Police turn-in G19’s with night sights. They both had the expected holster wear but the muzzles were pristine, sharp, shiny rifling, smooth operation and triggers…well…they are Glocks so the triggers were…what you would expect.

(I never realized that Glocks are actually delivered in containers that amazingly replicate tupperware…how apropos)

Click all pictures to make bigger

I picked out the best of the two (which was a hard choice because they were almost identical in condition). My wife hadn’t come with me so I had to go home, get her and head back so she could look at it. She liked…we discussed…shopped around a little bit and then decided to take the plunge. We really can’t afford it right now, but it may be now or never….so whaddaya gonna do?

Anyway, the seller wouldn’t come down on the price any “I’m only making $30 on it as it is” he declared…but the lovely Mrs. Sailorcurt batted her eyes and smiled fetchingly which convinced him to at least throw in an extra magazine.

She filled out the paperwork Saturday, but it was too late to get the NICS check run so we had to go back and pick it up after Church on Sunday…but she is now the proud new owner of a Glock 19.

We also bought a Blackhawk Serpa holster for her…due primarily to the rave reviews they got at the gun blogger/Todd Jarret/Para USA/Blackwater training exercise.

And some 9x19mm from Georgia arms for her to practice with.

So…today was range day.

Glock 19: $399
Serpa Holster: $40
150 rounds of 9x19mm JHP: $45

Quality time at the range with my beautiful wife: Priceless.

The Glock shot great, as expected. No problems whatsoever and seemed very accurate too. I only shot it once but I unloaded a magazine into the black from 7 yards at a pretty brisk pace.

The Mrs. also has a friend who had just purchased a Taurus .357 revolver for personal protection. She had shot some when she was young but hadn’t fired anything in several years so she wanted some refresher training. The wife has shot a few times but is still a beginner too so, although neither are BRAND new shooters, I’d still say it was a new shooter range trip.

We went to Superior Pawn and Gun in Virginia Beach. I hadn’t been there in a long time but it was a convenient central location. I must say it is one of the better commercial indoor ranges in the Tidewater area. Not as nice as the Camp Allen weapons range where I’m a member, but that’s not truly a commercial range, since it’s limited to military members and retirees.

Superior even has a nice little area with a couple of tables where we could sit down and review safety, gun handling, grip techniques, sight picture etc, and they have a great selection of rental guns, even though we didn’t need any today.

Both ladies did quite well for not having much experience and I was absolutely thrilled to be able to help them out a little bit.

Here’s to hoping we can continue to freely enjoy these healthy and enjoyable sports well into the future.

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I actually had…

…a few free minutes tonight for blogging so I wanted to catch you up on a few things about this trip.

First, remember that whole “beautiful Washington State” comment from my post last week when I arrived here?

Well…

Here you go…

click to make bigger

Secondly, I had some free time last weekend and since I was in the area of a couple of my favorite bloggers I wanted to finally meet them.

To that end, on Saturday, I drove up to Whidbey Island, home of gun-blogger extraordinaire and the godfather of the E-Postal matches, Mr. Completely. He covered our activities pretty well in his post on the subject but I wanted to add my thanks for his and his lovely bride’s hospitality. He let me shoot several of his guns including the big guy: the Ruger .480, and the infamous Econo Race Gun.

As an added bonus, we even got an opportunity to introduce a young shooter to the joys of big bore revolver shooting, albeit with relatively low powered loads.

Then we set up and operated Mr. Completely’s cowboy fast draw gear outside the Friends of the NRA banquet hosted by his gun club…which is a great facility by the way.

What…A…Blast…

I highly recommend it for anyone looking for some friendly competition and good old-fashioned fun.

Anyway, after an eventful and fun filled day topped off by dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Completely, I headed back to my hotel. To start the day off, I had to get up at 4am to be sure to make the 6:30 ferry to Whidbey Island. Was on my feet pretty much all day, then caught the final ferry trip back to the correct side of the Puget Sound at about 10:30pm…and the ferry crew-person had the audacity to act nonplussed about the fact that I fell asleep in my car on the ferry and she had to wake me up to get me to drive off the ferry (and out of the rest of the ferry rider’s way).

At any rate…Sunday, I headed to Outback steak house in Tacoma to meet with a couple of other bloggers. First up, Earl of Just the Library Keeper lives in Tacoma. A very interesting man and fellow biker trash gunny, I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to meet with him. Also, it just happened that a local Virginia Beach blogger, Big Bad Wolf was in the area for business as well. Wolf and I have been reading and commenting on each other’s blogs for a while now but we’d never had an opportunity to meet. We both thought that it was a bit strange that we both had to travel 4,000 miles to finally get that chance. Imagine how our surprise was compounded when we realized that we work for different departments of the same company!

Anyway, we had an excellent dinner and enjoyed even better conversation in unmatched company. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Finally, I was able to pry myself away from work on Tuesday evening long enough to hit the Steel Plate match at the Gig Harbor Rod and Gun Club.

What a great group of people and what a fun match. It is a very fast paced, uncomplicated, head to head match. Basically, you’re only allowed 6 rounds per mag (to keep revolvers on a relatively even footing) but as many mags as you need, to knock down 5 steel plates faster than your opponent.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It’s pretty easy to be fast, and pretty easy to be accurate, but to be fast and accurate is…not so easy.

Suffice it to say that I’ll need a LOT of practice to get good at this.

For your viewing pleasure, your match Champion, Rob. This wasn’t his best run, but you can get an idea of how fast he was.

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I didn’t want to have a whole bunch of ammo left because I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring it back with me so I only bought one box each for the Ruger and the CZ. That meant that I ran out of ammo before the final round. Three of the members (including match champion Rob) allowed me to borrow their guns and ammo so I could finish out the match. Did I mention how great a group of people they are?

Anyway, I got a chance to shoot a Springfield XD, a Glock 34 and a custom 1911. Interestingly, I shot the Glock the best. I’ve tried several of the smaller Glocks and never really liked the feel of them, but the full sized 34 really worked for me. I shot my best run of the day with it. I’m going to have to revisit Glocks at least for match shooting if not for a carry pistol.

The bottom line is that I had a productive and, although I miss my wife, dogs and home terribly, enjoyable trip. I got to meet some bloggers I’d never met, got to meet some shooters, got to try some things I’ve never done before and some pistols I’ve never fired before…oh, and I guess I got some work done too.

As much as I’m dreading the flight home…I can’t wait to get there and get back to my lovely wife and my regularly scheduled life…such as it is.

Catch you on the flip side. I’m out.

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New Shooter Report (sort of)

I’m still feverishly working on setting my new computer up, transferring files (the 160Gb hard drive seems to be physically unharmed and still works fine, it was just the file system that was corrupted) and learning the new system; however, I took a break from that yesterday to take advantage of a rare opportunity to spend some time with my son…what better way than to take him to the range that I recently joined, Airfield Shooting Club.

We were supposed to have a friend of his along who’s never shot before so I was looking forward to a “new shooter” report…alas, the friend got called in to work so he didn’t get to come, but my son and I still had a good morning of shooting…and this is still a “new shooter” report of sorts.

I knew that the boy scouts were supposed to be doing a merit badge shoot but I didn’t think they’d be there until afternoon. They were actually there when we got there doing their safety brief and we shared the range with them the whole day.

They were under the capable instruction of an NRA instructor and club member who was also acting as RSO. They were shooting .22 rifles at 50 feet at reduced size targets.

They ooh’d and aah’d over the collection of rifles I brought, and then when we moved down where they were to shoot pistols at shorter distances, they were very interested and curious about all the boomsticks my son and I had brought with us. I don’t have a huge collection and I even left a couple at home, but we had four rifles and three pistols there for the two of us.

One of the scout’s parents was there and asked if his son could shoot my .45. Since his father was right there I had no problem with it and, although I stood close by his shoulder in case he had any issues, I needn’t have worried…he obvously had been well trained in gun safety and handling and shot very will with the big pistol.

My son has been trying to decide what type of pistol to buy for himself when he gets is Concealed Handgun Permit. He recently passed the class so all he needs to do is fill out the application, pay the fee and wait for the background investigation to be done. Anyway, he fell in love with the CZ while we were there. I didn’t even get a chance to shoot it because he hogged it the whole time (with my permission, of course…I can shoot it whenever I want). Anyway, he’s seriously considering that or a CZ-83 (which is virtually identical) for a carry pistol now.

Anyway, we had a great time and, although I wasn’t directly involved, we got to witness some young ‘uns introduced to the world of the shooting sports. A good day all around.

Oh…did I mention it was almost 90 degrees here yesterday? Today the high was 66. Don’t like the weather here? Wait a few minutes, it’ll change.

Cross posted on The Sentinel

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C2 Shooting Center Revisited (literally)

Sorry about the light posting lately, my muse has been out for the holidays.

This is a followup to this post several months ago about how the outdoor shooting range on Marvin Road in the Creeds area of Virginia Beach, south of Pungo (I think I got all the pertinent search terms in there) is doing under new management and a new name…C2 Shooting Center. If you read that post, be sure to look at the comments thread. It was brought to my attention that the prices had gone up dramatically. There have also been some complaints about rude staff and just poor customer service in general.

I’ve been threatening to get out there and check it out for myself but I’ve just been too busy. It is a 2 hour trek just to get there and back, so, spending any constructive time there turns it into at least a half-day mission.

Well, today I didn’t shoot, I just went, looked around, talked to the staff a little and got a new and improved price listing.

First, as far as the facilities: They are still working on the side area…during my initial visit, the proprietor told me that that area was being constructed for shotgun shooting, at this point, however, it is set up in several bays with a very open layout. It looks like that area has become some sort of tactical training area.

The rearmost areas are still being worked on but the bays that are finished have metal and wooden targets that look more suited for pistols and carbines than shotguns.

The older portion of the range is not much changed from the last time I was there except that it looks like all metal targets have been removed from the firing points. Also, there was a chain across the area of the 200 yard line with a sign that said those lanes could only be used under the supervision of an instructor.

The condition of the shooting positions is excellent. A vast improvement over when A&P operated it. They’ve added carpet to the shelter ceiling and soundproofing to parts of the cinderblock walls which does help cut down on the echoing and noise. The target carriers are well maintained and the backers are now a forest green color. It looks like they’ve done some work to the berms as well and they are in very good shape.

They purportedly now have 300 yard lines as well as the 25, 50, 100 and 200.

Now the not-so-good:

Click HERE to see their new price schedule

$30 per person ($20 for spouse, $10 for child) is, in my humble opinion, ridiculous…especially when that is limited to the 25, 50 and 100 yard lines.

The price listing says that only their targets are allowed to be used. The last time I shot there, I got permission to use a printed target to shoot an e-postal match, but that permission was received from an owner. If said owner is not available, are the employees going to grant permission? Unknown and unspecified. The sheet simply says “only C2 Shooting Center targets.” That is unacceptable to me.

Use of the 200/300 yard lines require “pre-qualification”.

For memberships, the use of those lanes raise the cost of “annal fees” from “ridiculous” to “you’ve gotta be effing kidding me!” The “basic package” which only allows use of the 25 through 100 yard ranges is $300. The “precision package” which allows use of the 100 through 300 yard ranges is (gag) $500. The “precision plus” package, wherein you are authorized to use all ranges from 25 through 300 is (gasp, gurgle, retch) $600. I won’t even mention the “privileged package” lest I faint dead away. Perhaps I’m just spoiled by my membership at the nearby indoor range which runs me $90 per year and at which I’m allowed to shoot anything from an air rifle to .50BMG at up to 25 yards.

The remainder of the pricing sheet is dedicated to rates with instructors, training classes and group training rates.

If there are any budding entrepreneurs out there, there seems to be an opening in the Hampton roads area for a rifle range. Perhaps one of the many empty industrial buildings in the area could be turned into an indoor 100 yard rifle range? Is that feasible?

But I digress.

A couple of other notes. I spoke with both of the employees that I saw there at the time. One was an old timer (like me) that’s been there since A&P owned it. He was his normal, seemingly disinterested self. The other was a younger gentleman that I believe came on after the range changed hands. I only spoke with him briefly in the parking lot while he was smoking and I don’t want to be too harsh based upon a passing impression, but I had the definite feeling that this would be one of the “rude” ones that commenters to the last post mentioned. He simply seemed like the kind of person with an overly inflated sense of self-importance. He didn’t engage me in friendly banter, he gave the distinct aura of one indulging a lesser being by granting him the privilege of speaking with him. Again, it was a brief encounter, I’m not attempting to pass judgment on the individual’s character, just trying to describe the impression I got. It may have been all me; I was there specifically to check out some of the allegations made by commenters and, so, may have been a bit too…sensitive…to anything that could have been construed as rudeness.

Another thing: At the bottom of the price list that I got from them is this statement:

We hope that you appreciate the added amenities and capabilities that we have provided you as patrons of our range…This is the last range of its type in South Hampton Roads and we must attempt to keep it for all of our usage. In this effort we need your support.

As I stated in a comment to the last post, not all of us have delusions of mall ninja-ness. Some of us are just looking for a reasonably priced place to make some holes in paper. Considering that, on the rare occasion that I’m able to shoot a high powered rifle match, the SHORTEST distance at which we shoot is 200 yards and the prone stage is shot at 600, I hardly consider 200 yards to be “precision” range and requiring of special instruction and increased fees to shoot at.

In any case, these prices, in my humble opinion, places this well outside the range of “reasonably priced” and I fear that they will lose the support of the local shooting community quickly. When the inevitable encroachment of civilization continues (it’s already well underway) in that area, I fear that the days of this range are numbered because I simply don’t see the local community coming to their aid when the inevitable calls for its closure begin. The new owners seem to have abandoned the local shooting community. That perception was borne out by my visit. On the warmest Saturday (albeit overcast) we’ve had in several weeks, the shooting weather was beautiful. I believe there were four patrons there, not including myself. I don’t believe I’ve EVER seen that range so empty, not even during deluges where you couldn’t even see the targets from the 200 yard line through the rain. Most of the time, on a normal Saturday with decent weather, the place would be packed.

There were four (4) patrons there.

Let’s see. 4 x $30 = $120
On a normal day under the old regime, I would have expected to see AT LEAST 25 people there. It used to cost $8 to shoot there. 25 x $8 = $200

This is not rocket science folks.

Their price point is WAAAAY too high. I didn’t even complain about them raising it to $20 considering the improvements they were making. $30 is simply beyond the point of diminishing returns.

The impression I get is that the new ownership is decidedly disinterested in maintaining public use of this facility and wants to concentrate primarily on providing tactical training and instruction.

That’s all fine and good. It’s their range and their business, they can do whatever they want with it. They can do it without my money, however. I’ll be looking for an alternative.

On a more positive note: At least the employee with the hummer wasn’t parked in the Handicapped spot this time. Of course, as lonely as the range was, I can’t imagine why he would need to.

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