Shooting Report 30 Mar 93

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Ben Sansing

Apr 1, 1993, 11:08:55 PM4/1/93

The daylight hours are getting long enough now that Elspeth (aka Louise,
aka my famous wife) and I can now go shooting after work. Yesterday
(Tuesday) was sporadically rainy, but cleared up a bit in the afternoon
so we "loomed up the truck" and headed for the range.

Took four guns. One was her .22 rifle, a Marlin bolt action (Well,
actually a Glenfield-grade rifle, marked "JC Penney" on the barrel. We
picked it up last year at a pawn shop for $60, which price included
Weaver 1" rings and a Tasco 4x scope. We replaced the scope with a
Bushnell 3-9x, to match her Ruger M77's optics, and she is inordinately
fond of *both* rifles. Generally keeps the scopes cranked up to 9x - on
the range - and shoots them splendidly).

Also took my "pocket protector" - the North American Arms .22 magnum
mini-revolver; the old Colt .357 Trooper; and the *new* Smith M29 .44

We arrived and realized we'd forgotten our (paper) targets. Also, there
was some "ultra-cool" gentleman over on the pistol/silhouette range
(where we usually shoot) who was blasting with a LOUD caplock something
or other, probably a revolver. We opted to use the 300-yard rifle range,
and set up some coke cans and whatever else we could find, out at the
50-meter backstop... which would be, of course, *no* problem for my
crackshot wife and her deadly .22 rifle... but for me and my old
one-hand artillery - well, it'd be a "challenge" (and for the
mini-revolver, a bad joke... but more on that, later).

Among the stuff we found to set up on the silhouette rail at 50 meters
were five or six quart Castrol oil bottles - the new-fangled
rectangular plastic ones. They presented a nice white silhouette - but
were "too big" for Elspeth, who much preferred popping coke cans
with the rifle, they being smaller... when you've got a good rest and a
9x scope, you gotta grab for all the gusto you can, <smile> or something
like that.

So, after she executed the coke cans, I loaded up the *new* Smith M29,
in preparation to making a fool of myself against the "evil" Castrol
bottles. I was using my "ultra-light plinker" load... that being a
215-gr. hard cast SWC over 6.0 gr. Unique. This is an extremely mild
load, with a trajectory approaching a Civil War seacoast mortar...

Standing up - the way I usually do - and adopting my own bastard
version of the Weaver stance, I took aim at the first Castrol container.
Put the sights dead on it. Elspeth was spotting for me, and hopefully
she could tell me how many feet off the mark I was when I fired... I
cocked the big ol' hammer, squeezed the wide trigger, there was a
cheerful <bang>... and my target went sailing off the rail. Louise
applauded... Honestly, she thinks I am a great shot, and do such things
on purpose, instead of just by luck and accident. Well, heck... out of
the rest of the cylinder (six shots total, for those of you who may not
know), I nailed four more bottles and hit directly under one (about the
third one, I think... got too excited, I guess, from doing two
consecutive hits).

She wanted to try the Smith, but the experiment was not a success. See,
she is one of those odd people who actually *likes* the humongous,
oversized target grips Smith puts on their guns. And I'd fitted up the
M29 with *my* favorite combination - stag "magna" grips and Tyler T-grip
adaptor. She couldn't get a comfortable grip on the gun, and when it
fired it jumped funny and hurt her wrists (which are somewhat weak - she
tore the tendons slinging bales of hay some years back... long story).
Oh, well... she returned to the .22 rifle, and let me play "pistolero"
some more.

Louise elected to "run out and set up the targets again". So she did,
then she came back, sat down to "spot", and I shot the Colt... couldn't
hit anything with it - a combination of the sights being "off" (Charlie,
at the gun shop, had just "fixed" them so they'd move properly, and
naturally they were now aimed off toward Mexico or something) and my
usual amount of shooting skill when I'm not being aided by a
long-barrelled Smith revolver.

So I loaded up the Smith again, and repeated the previous performance
(except this time I missed the FIRST shot and hit with all the rest).
Gee, I *LIKE* this gun!

It was beginning to grow dark by now, but the big Smith was such a joy
to shoot I kept shooting for a bit. The white Castrol bottles were still
rather easy to see, and Elspeth kept volunteering to go and set them
back up, so I kept stuffing loads in the Smith and blasting the bottles
back down. <tee hee> I *LOVE* this gun... Shoots wonderfully, just like
the *last* Smith M29 I owned, and my late-lamented M25-2, and most every
other N-frame target Smith I've ever had, except... if such is possible,
*BETTER*. This M29 shoots exceptionally well.

Finally, as dusk slipped upon us, we moved on down range to about ten
yards from the 50-meter backstop (which is perfectly okay to do, so long
as no-one else is shooting on the same range), and I unlimbered the
mini-revolver. It is a strange little gun to try shooting
"deliberately". Not much to hold onto, and about a 40-lb. trigger pull.
I stylishly *missed* a Castrol bottle four times (I carry the gun with
an empty chamber under the hammer, making it a four-shooter) at this
distance. Elspeth reported I was "hitting dead center under it". Okay,
so I reloaded (with five this time) and tried again, aiming higher. She
said I hit under the again. Reloaded, stepped in to about five yards.
Same thing. "Oh, what the heck... it's a belly gun anyway... if you
can't smell your opponent's onion breath, you're too far away..."

Honestly, the mini-revolver is a nice gun to carry when you don't want
to go armed. It's a magnum mousegun for ultra-close encounters of the
worst kind. It's a nice "last-ditch" weapon, but it's prudent to carry a
*real* gun in addition to it, if you think you might seriously need to
shoot something... on the other hand, I probably *COULD* hit a fairly
large target with it, even at 5 or 10 yards - a human, a feral dog, or
(with shot shells) a snake - I just pray I'm never attacked by rabid
Castrol bottles - unless I have the M29 along, of course.

In summation - we had a lot of fun (and were totally relaxed when we
left - shooting, we find, is a wonderful tension reliever and stress
deterrent). The Smith M29 has now achieved "#1 favorite handgun" status,
and the Colt is probably going to get traded off (probably for that
round-butt M28 I mentioned here recently). The mini-revolver works,
which is the most important thing for a magnum mousegun to do, and
Elspeth remains a deadly shot with her .22 rifle... but we've agreed
it's time she had her *own* handgun, so she can put the big, ugly
oversized target grips on it and not have to "make do" with my psychotic
grip arrangements... <grin>

In other news: The Arkansas State legislature is working hard to pass
our Firearms Pre-emption Act (where little towns can't pass weirdo gun
control ordinances) and Governor Tucker has promised to sign it. Yeah,
it passed before - but Comrade Klinton vetoed it, of course. Our CCW
bill is also moving cheerfully through the legislature, and Tucker will
probably sign that one, too. Gee, I'm glad we got rid of Gov. Clinton!
. SLMR 2.1a . STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS.

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