I've been very lax about sending lead downrange on a regular basis and it bothers me. There was the moving, and the moving-in and the getting a boarder and more moving-in.
"What," you murmur, "But -- your boarder is Tam! How can you not be shootin'?"
Thing is, we don't bowl in the same league: a well-known gunnie gets invites to go shoot long in advance of the time I know if I'll even have time off. Between that and the insanely frequent scheduled overtime my job has come to involve (yeah, I'd complain, but with my house payments, grotesquely swollen by the Indiana real-estate tax snafu, I'll take time-and-a-half and like it), our availabilities have simply not overlapped. And my membership at the indoor range expired in March -- hopin' they'll take my Ballester-Molina
So what with one thing and another, I've gone shootin' maybe twice this year. Until today! I was -- yeah, I'll fess up -- whining on the subject yesterday afternoon and Tam declaimed, "Look, e-mail some of our friends and see if they're available tomorrow, we'll hit Eagle Creek around opening time."
"Oh, I just couldn't, I really don't know them that well." (I'm condensing -- I am unbelievably, stupidly shy about face-to-face meetings).
"Fine. I'll e-mail them and have them reply to you!"
Not much I could say about that other than blush and so it went. Caleb and Brigid were more than happy to go shootin'; we shot from ten until noon or a bit after and then three of us -- the Admiral had things to take care of -- went and had a delicious lunch, about which one of us has posted. For the record, Brigid cooks even better than you'd think from her posts on the topic, impossible as that may sound. Oh, yeah, put together Grade A eats from, as she put it, "whatever I've got here." Delightful but ended all too soon -- I'm not the only gal who gets stuck with being on page.
My fellow shooters are 'stonishin' good even if you go in knowin' they're good. Me, I muddled around a bit with the .22 (Ruger Mk. II), .38SA (Witness Compact) and 9mm (CZ 75B) (sorry about the hole in the lath target support, guys!) before getting dialed in and laying down some (for me) nice tight groups at 7 - 10 yards with the little Ruger and following up not too terribly badly with the .38 Super. Well enough to be within the stoppin' zone on a baddie.
I'd forgotten how much fun the Mark II is once you're, what's the word? In the zone? Line up, press, there's the least little bucking in your hands and the sights are still on the mark when things settle. Or darned close, anyway, and you realign the sights if need be, press....
My shooting stance is mildly odd, as my eyesight requires bifocals (or my half-cheater shooting glasses when I've got contacts in) and so I have to lean my head back to get the front sight in actual focus. You know how they keep reminding newbies not to focus on the target? Not a problem for me: I can't. It's there quite well enough to line up on but if I'm not using something reactive, I haven't a hope of seeing where my rounds land. Like Thomas Edison's partial deafness -- he could hear a telegraph sounder clicking easily enough but the conversation and bustle of the office reached him dimly at best -- I think of it as an advantage. If I'm shooting poorly enough, I'll stop every five rounds and have a look in order to see what I need to do differently. If things are going well, there's plenty of time to check out the target after each magazine, while reloading.
Did absolutely zero malf drills or one-handed work, didn't even start from low ready, just concentrated on puttin' lead downrange on the center, on maintaining a proper grip (and reminding my hands of what a proper grip is!) and reacquainting myself with recoil.
Oh, boy, recoil! I shot a nice full-size, steel-framed Sig .45 ACP and was reminded once again of how pleasantly that fat cartridge recoils, just a slow, heavy push. The Sig was remarkably nice to shoot, with little muzzle flip even for me. Caleb had brought a single-action cowboy revolver in .45LC, which I'd never shot and about which I'd heard Dire Warnings for recoil. He tells me they were downloaded target (plinking?) rounds; whatever the case, it was nice to shoot but I'd need to put in a lot of time just working out the proper grip: the hand-feel is very not a JMB-based semiauto.
Neither is the feel of the Nagant revolver. Tam very generously offered her stock of 7.62 Nagant ammo and I took her up on four of 'em. Tell you what, it's not a wretched thing to shoot -- single-action is acceptable and as I suspected, when the rounds are live, the long, slow, rough, mean DA pull does one's aim no good but it's not nearly as G-wdawful as dryfire at home would have you believe. Recoil is insignificant -- it's a .32 and not the speediest -- the 19th-century-European grip is easy to hang onto and it does what it ought. Emptying spent brass with the gonky little rod on a crane around the barrel is no harder than old American revolvers with fixed cylinders and a similar "smash 'em out" arrangement. At the time it was designed and for what it was meant to do -- last-ditch defense at sword distance -- I think it would have been entirely adequate. That the thing hung on, that it is still in use in some places that were within the former USSR, is a testament to stubbornness and the tradition of using sidearms as insignia. However, they do work.
Adjourned for a wonderful lunch and good conversation, came home, went back to my room with a book and pretty much conked out for a nap. Woke a couple hours later to find Tam had done the same thing out in the living room.
All in all, a fine day!
1. Mind you, I've shot a lot of real "manly" calibers up to and including .50AE. Smaller than .50 is fun. I can hit the target well enough with .50 but the big Desert Eagle always ends up pointing ludicrously upwards at 45 degrees, no matter what I try. My least-favorite handgun round remains the .40 S&W/.40 Liberty (I owe LNS that much at least), with its nasty short, sharp shock of recoil. I've not tried .454 Casull yet.
2. Have you priced that stuff? I wasn't paying close-enough attention and tried to load one of her saved, once-fired brass on my first try -- saved 'cos at $50-and-up per box, you don't leave empties at the range.
3. Or "Naganat," as someone at Fiocchi labelled the top of the box. Probably not in spellcheck.
4. .38SA is a total affectation and an expensive one to boot. I am fortunate to have picked up a bit extra before prices went way up and Tam had some left over from her last fling with the caliber. It's just so darned much fun: with most brands of ammo, in that compact Witness especially, you get a delightful fireball in addition to a good, solid boom, while rounds go downrange as fast and flat as a .22: accuracy and special effects!