Sunday, August 24, 2008
PART ONE: Sordid Drama Before the Fun
As is normal for Sunday, today saw me braving the rain and making the trip into Issaquah for a day of shooting. The club there is outdoors, and while it is still well within city limits, it is quiet and relaxed place to practice marksmanship. Today was actually a bit of a fiasco, due to my second outing with the Saiga spitting cases every which way but loose, and accidentally hitting a gentleman with one in the noggin. I apologized profusely and sought a shell cage, then resumed firing, however, two shots later one of my steel Wolf 7.62x39 cases hit the same elderly man. As I had made quite a show of placing the shell cage after the first mishap, I had no idea the hellfire that would rain down at that moment...
"Sonny, I'm gonna take that rifle and wrap it around your fuckin' head then pop you in the brainpan with your own shells and see how you like it!" Paraphrasing of course, as his tirade was a little lengthier, but I got all the important bits there. And he rushed my where I sat; this 80 year old codger actually rushed a man less than half his age holding a loaded assault rifle! Not that I would have fired, or hit him back had he even managed to throw a punch. Again, a flood of sincere, "I am so sorry sir, I don't know how that got through the cage! I sincerely apologize!" But he just wouldn't have it, kept hollering, telling me to play soldier somewhere else, and that I wasn't welcome in his club, and that my 'type' and military rifles shouldn't be allowed on the range, etcetera, etc. After not taking any of my apologies gracefully, I lost it just a little and yelled back until I realized the futility of screaming at an old man with a gun.
He was asked to leave by the gentleman subbing for the absent range master (who over the weeks I have built a very good rapport with), and after making sure the old coot got his gear all loaded, made sure to apologize to me. Assuring me that I had done everything right with my apologies for the first offense and making all attempts to correct that by placing the cage on my table. Which did help, as well as some of the solidarity that a few of the younger shooters present expressed. The last thing I want to do in that place is burn any bridges, but most of the old timers present there assured my that Ted wouldn't even remember who I was next week.
I felt bad myself for slinging the irrational insult I had at the last moment there, and prior to his leaving, attempted a final calm and honest apology, which was fully ignored. I hate to come off as a youngster who lacks respect for those well ahead of them in years, as I'm not that guy, and unfortunately I spent a good deal of time dwelling on the incident throughout the rest of my day there, and only managed to get about 100 rounds out of the Saiga before I zipped it up and stowed it in my car trunk for the rest of the trip. I did, however manage to get some fairly good groups at 50 yards though:
PART TWO: Sturm Ruger Vs. Winchester HP
Having been a player in resident knife enthusiast Aaron's decision to purchase a 10/22, as he was my sole accompanying comrade the first time I got to take it out, I brought out my own 10/22 for some quality time as I had been neglecting it the past few weeks. Aaron's got a nice one, to say the least, but I caught the aftermarket bug, and have turned mine into a deadly tack driver from 50-100 yards. Mine weighs about half of what the stainless barreled version with the synthetic stock weighs, and that's with a blued barrel and receiver. I've got a Bushnell scope on mine, a rimfire model as I can't see spending the same amount of money for a scope as I did for the weapon, but the crosshairs are clear and sharp, and there is next to no issue with parallax view I have it so finely sighted I could hit a dime... not that I want to sing my own praises, but I'm pretty much Tom Berenger with that gun.
Having put a huge variety of ammo through my 10/22, I went ahead and purchased a box of the local Walmart special. Winchester XPert 22 Hollow Point. A box of 500 for $13 roughly is tough to beat, and as I had yet to try them, the buy was pretty much a no brainer. I put appoximately 200 rounds out of the 500 downrange and can honestly say that it's the worst ammo I've yet to try with that gun. The casings are so weak that they end up mutilated in the pipe and won't eject, which then prevents the next round from chambering. I had this issue with an average of one from every magazine that I fired today. Two hundred rounds equals 20 mags worth, which means roughly 20 failures to eject. I can live with it, but it's not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, and needless to say, Winchester will not be getting anymore money from me when it comes to the ammo I buy in .22LR, that's for sure.
That aside, I still highly enjoy shooting this weapon. Just the repeated action of moderated breathing and puling that trigger, then hearing the snap as the bullet is discharged followed by the echo of the round tagging the target downrange is soothing. It gives me something to focus on, something to put my concentration toward, something that allows me to tune everything else out and strive for. I don't really care if it's trivial, shooting a gun that is, because the enjoyment I get out of it negates any triviality one might surmise the activity bears. That said, maybe it was my frustration from the scene made earlier by the old man on the range, or maybe it was me putting aside how crazy things have been at work over the last week, but I did shoot exceptionally well today with the 10/22... better than most other days I've taken it out. At least enough to save the target:
These shots were at fifty yards, and each target on the paper the diameter of a Pringles can. SOme of the groups are a little wild, but that ten round group in the bottom left target made my friggin day.