Tam had a class in another of the big bays there. Spurred on by her good example, I packed my range bag and headed out to Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range.
As I so often do, I mused on how horrified and incensed the Helmkes and japetes, the Hennigans and Sugramanns must be that there is a pistol (pistol-caliber rifle) range as part of the Indianpolis city park system. It's there for, among other groups, the children (and it's not too uncommon to see kids learning gun safety and other shooting fundamentals there). (BTW, a Wisconsin judge is currently driving Josh quite batty. Awww. Poor little panda!)
Today, not so many kids at Eagle Creek Range, though I did see three fairly new shooters (husband, wife and young-adult son?), with a little Walther .22 and what looked like a Taurus .357 revolver. (Outfitted in pink stocks; yeah, 'cos that makes it suitable for Mrs. Mom to learn on, especially stuffed full of .357, as it was). The Range Officers spent a lot of time making sure they understood not just the rules but the basics of good grip and holding aim. I'm hoping they pointed out that revolver runs just fine on .38 Special, too.
Me, I was ambitious: brought my Ruger Mk II with Pac-Lite upper (ooo!), the Star SI (.32ACP) recently repaired at Coal Creek Armory, and my 1911-type semi-automatics: the Sistema Colt in .45 and the old-school .38 Super.
Started with the .22: it's cheap, it's fun and if I'm doing something wrong, I can figure it out and correct it before wasting ammunition. Warmed up (and having learned magazines #1 and 2 need to be cleaned, oh do they need it bad), I moved on to the little .32.
My smallest Star had been not a jammomatic but a stallomatic: put gun on target, press trigger, half the time nothing happens. No-thing. Hammer, she no fall. This is, in a word, bad. It wasn't anything obvious, either. So I set it to one side until I could afford to have it looked at.
It's been looked at. It's been fixed! 32 is one of those calibers that is fun to shoot from a good pistol -- when you can find a good pistol; aside from the Colt Pocket Hammerless (prices go up every time I look), sub-micro plastic pocket jobs or beat-up pot-metal cheapies are the usual thing. Now, I'm not saying Star was ever anything ne plus ultra; they built to a price and they darned well knew it. But they built well for the price; the little SI is comfortable in my hand, it's got sights big enough to see -- and a barrel long enough to the give the little .32 pill a fighting chance of going where you've pointed. Which it does; it's a treat, a tiny 1911 that barely moves in your hands.
The .45 and .38SA were just what they otta be: predictable. Fun, too, because they just run. With the nice Trijicon 3-dot sights, you just line 'er up and blammo! After its most recent trip to the 'smith, the terrifyingly-shiny reblued Super-duper is more accurate than I am; it and the Sistema are twin offspring of different mothers.
Through all this (and one target change -- they had small silhouettes and I kept shooting out the middle square) , I was going back and forth between the "big guns" and the .22. Mags 4, 5 and 6 are still happy, #3 is MIA, One of the ROs asked me if I'd ever shot a 'scoped handgun.
"Nossir," sez I, "but I bet it'd be fun!"
He chuckled and nodded.
Shot some more and he showed up at my left with a case...with a Mk III in the case, and a 'scope he was attaching to the rail. "It holds zero well enough," he said, and proceeded to have me look through the scope. "See that can on the berm?"
I wasn't sure. He had me find it on the 'scope. 50 yards away, five times as far as the default target distance where I'd been punching paper. "Okay, got it."
"There you go, then."
He didn't have to say it twice; I was loadin' up that magazine as quick as I could. Shooting at that distance is a whole different world; you realize just how much you're moving around. It's a quick learning curve, with a lot of feedback when the can hops around, and within several rounds, I was able to get it to do just that. Woo-hoo, fifty yards!
...Now I'm gonna have to add one of those to my wish list.
1. Went out of my way to say that, 'cos the very term appears to freak out high-profile hoplophobes. So, a revolver chambered for .45ACP would be so much less deadly than my Argentine-immigrant 1911?
2. Though their engraved guns were very nicely done; and their big military pistols appear to have been as good as any contemporary .mil sidearm on the Continent. Their metallurgy was no worse than than Astra's and fit and finish, 'til the last hungry years, was excellent.
3. The better-informed will point out that, past a certain irreducible minimum and at typical handgun distances, the actual improvement with a longer barrel comes from the longer sight radius. I'm still taken with the mental image of a projectile clearing a short barrel like a sleeper chased too early out of bed, mumbling, "Just a little bit longer, pleeeze?"