Monday, October 18, 2010

Throwin' Rounds Down Range by the Bucketful

Or so it seems.

Saturday Mr WK and I went to Cap City, our "local" outdoor range. There were some folks on the free form pistol range so I co-opted the 25 yard pistol range. Well, there wasn't anyone else there wantin' to use it. Mr WK was on the 50 yard gong pistol range which was right next to where I was. He had all the unused 9mm 115 gn test loads from a month ago.

We'd kinda dropped the ball on that. When we were loading up to go the range, I began pulling out all these 50 rounds 9mm boxes. I could not figure out why I had all these partially full 50 round 9mm boxes. Then I looked at a couple of the labels and the light went on. Oh, yeah. So Mr WK decided he'd work with those and I pulled out two 100 round boxes of the accurate enough 115gn HP38 boxes. I figured he'd get tired of the testing and so there was one box of 9mm for me and one for him.

For just over the first 100 rounds I worked on moving left and right and shooting. It was about half working. Then our Sharpshooter rifle buddy showed up. I thought I was working before. He told me to stand still and shoot then he changed my stance. The way I was holding the gun was fine as long as the thumb on my strong hand was relaxed. What we worked on was target acquisition. Sounds simple, doesn't it. It's not. At least not for me.

Didn't matter how fast or slow I shot, the point was to hit the target. Once you master target acquisition it doesn't matter whether you're moving or what direction you're moving. If you can bring the gun up and acquire the target you will hit it. The catch is most folks, me included, want to do this quickly. And for me, anyway, it does not come naturally or easily.

So for about 90 rounds out of MY gun (until I was out of ammo) and maybe 20 more from his .38 super I did this:
  • both eyes open about 10 yards from the target
  • gun, with finger in the trigger guard at low ready
  • both eyes fixed on the target
  • bring the gun up and when the front sight is on the target, press the shot — do not follow the front sight up with your eyes — keep your eyes where you want the bullet to go
  • do not press the trigger until the front sight is on the target no matter how long it takes
  • I chose to feel the seer, just let off on the trigger enough to let reset and that was OK
  • gun back down to low ready finger touching the trigger
  • rinse, repeat
Mr WK was still on the 50 yard gone range and our Sharpshooter buddy joined him while I hoovered brass and rested. At least when you shoot from one position, all your brass is not scattered all over the place.

I was sore and tired but the free form range was open so I decided to rest up some more and go look for brass there. After a bit they both came over and Sharpshooter buddy had a one armed dueling tree he'd made up. I pled tired, sore and out of ammo but it fell on deaf ears. So we shot his .38 super at the dueling tree for a while. And darned if I didn't hit it most of the time although I took longer to aim than did Mr WK or our Sharpshooter buddy. Our Sharpshooter buddy noted that it's either Mr WK's gun or ammo that's handicapping him as he hit it every single time. Me? I just need to slow down and work on my accuracy as speed will come. But darn it's frustrating at times.

And that's what it was all about today at the range. The only plinking ammo we took was 22LR along with our Browning Buckmark Camper. I put 200+ rounds through it using the same drill I did Saturday. At the end, my accuracy was good and maybe my speed was up ... just a bit. I wasn't trying for speed, just accuracy and when I had the front sight lined up with my eyes which were on the target I pressed the shot. I tried not to bring it up and stand there and aim for three days. As soon as I was all lined up I pressed the shot.

While I was doing that, Mr WK was next door at the high-power rifle range. When I was done I went over there. After I rested a bit I broke out my carbine and confirmed that my iron sights and red dot co-witness with no adjustments at 25 yards. I did a little offhand shooting with my carbine and darned if my accuracy wasn't a little better.

I'm also workin' the dry-fire with snap caps at home.

blogging to: the sound of a hunting show with a lot of loud whispering.

reading: A Plague of Secrets by John Lescroart (a Dismas Hardy mystery)
Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inch by Inch

The White Caps Afghan is steadily moving along. Row count-wise it's almost half there. Length-wise it's two-thirds there. It's just over four feet long and I'm aiming for six feet. So far I'm on my ninth skein of blue yarn and the second skein of white yarn is about finished. I've got 24 14 row pattern repeats complete and I was going for 50. Which is fine. It's a little long that's OK. I can always use it as a bed spread, too. Meanwhile, I'll just keep plugging along.

The knitting on my Sunset Socks which are my stoplight passenger knitting is also creeping along. The pattern calls for a 40 round cuff and I'm just over halfway there. I knit Mr WK's Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel with a 50 round cuff but my legs aren't nearly as long so I'm gong to stick with the 40 round cuff. The trick is going to be to knit the right amount of cuff/leg, which is about the only place for size variations so that when the sock is done I've used half the yarn.

This is where knitting toe up socks would come in handy. But I'm still a cuff down knitter. At least I've added a couple more heels to my repertoire. Some day I'll get motivated enough to do a toe up sock.

As I've been spending most of my time with the other two knitting projects, my SIL's Monkey socks aren't seeing much action. I haven't made any progress since I posted about them on Oct 9. At that time the cuff on the second sock was finished and I'd just started the first of seven pattern repeats on the leg.

Tuesday we resized, deprimed and swaged (when necessary) the last of our .223 brass. Mr WK has case gauged it all and just over half doesn't need anything further except for chamfering the mouth of these cases with our Lyman VLD (very low drag) chamfer & deburring tool. The Remington fmj w/cannalure .223 bullets I found at Cabela's are not boat tail and using the 22 degree VLD chamferring tool lets us set the bullet easier. We don't have to shorten the life of our brass by belling the mouth of the case more. I chamfered about two-thirds of what was ready to load and we loaded about two-thirds of those.

In the next few days, between the two of us we'll get the rest of what's ready to load chamfered and loaded. That will bring us back to where we were before the carbine course a few weeks ago. Then comes the slow part. Trimming, case gauging again then chamferring and deburring the trimmed case. Then we'll load until we run of brass.

Since I began buying a 30 round AR mag every time we're someplace that has them we have quite a few now. I'm still keeping the ratio of plastic to metal at 50/50 and spreading the brand love around in case a particular brand or type develops a fatal flaw.

When we were out and about the other day, we picked up a Yankee Hill riser for my carbine. I'll Finally! (I hope) be able to co-witness iron sights with my optic. I don't want to mess with it until we get to the range as my optic is sighted in just right for CQB.

We also picked up an extra magazine for each of our .45s. There is going to be an IDPA-like team shoot at the last shoot at Corndodger Station at the end of this month. I'm pretty sure I'm going to shoot my full-sized S&W 1911 .45 with the 5" barrel. I can't reasonably carry it but I love to shoot it and man is it accurate. I have a paddle holster for it but no mag holders. But I have pockets and it'll be OK. I just have to practice tactical reloads. I'm not used to such a slim magazine. AND practice with the safety. Now the question will be which .45 ammo is the most accurate. Mr WK keeps going back and forth between his M&P 9L and his M&P .45. So we'll see. Whatever we shoot, it's going to be a blast!!!

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Double Cross by Steve Overholser (a western)
Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Always Learning

Sunday afternoon Mr WK and I went to the outdoor range. We both took our carry / main IDPA guns. I took my carbine and Mr WK the .22LR Marlin. Mr WK started out whacking or trying to whack the 50 yard pistol gong. We both shoot handloads and he brought the 155 gn Rainier Ballistics plated flat nose cartridges loaded with 5.5 gn Tite Group. They are accurate enough but not "accurate."

We are slowly honing our handloads from accurate enough to "accurate". What good is it to practice when because of the ammo you can't hit what you're aiming at with any consistency? We haven't been back into guns and reloading very long, [two years] and initially it was all about accurate enough and as little recoil as possible. We've been finding out that there is a HUGE difference between accurate enough and "accurate". And after two years my hand and forearm muscles are strong enough not to mind some recoil. These days we're only interested in low recoil after "accuracy" and often they go hand in hand.

A friend gave me a box of 115 gn 9mm cartridges loaded with 4.3 gn Red Dot to try. I have a couple thousand 115 gn Berry's 9mm plated round nose bullets. I haven't put them up against a Tite Group load but that's coming.

While Mr WK was struggling with his shots at 50 yards the fellow who helped us with the super accurate load for my carbine was chatting with him. He suggested Red Dot for the 155 gn .40 caliber loads. When you have two long-time reloaders and "accurate" shooters suggest a powder you at least have to buy a bottle (or two) and try it.

At any rate I did have a great amount if improvement in what I was working in. The last time we brought our pistols I drilled hard on walking forward and backward and shooting. This time I had the free form pistol range to myself. I set up three targets with some scavenged IDPA cardboard targets. I circled in red the holes that weren't pasted.

I did several dry runs before I actually put some rounds down range. The first couple of times were awful. Some on the target, none where it counted points-wise but most off the paper. I continued to drill and got a little better then I remembered. I need to aim higher than the center of center mass. For some reason, (overcompensation for muzzle rise has been suggested) I tend to shoot low. When I began to aim at the throat or shoulder line of the target, many and later most of my hits were in the 0 or -1 area. This was the same thing I discovered when I was drilling on the moving forward and backward and shooting.

I began marking my hits to differentiate them from previous holes with an H. Most of the hole with H's next to them were in the 0 or -1 areas. Yes, I still had plenty in the -2, -3 and off the paper entirely but not quite as many. I even worked on high angle lateral shots like we did at the carbine class last week. When we have our matches at the outdoor range where we can shoot 180° those will be possible but at the indoor range, not at all. And the high angle shots are easier and you have to more time to make them.

Mr WK and the accurate friend came over to watch for a bit. He suggested I might be flinching. He put in a snap cap and watched. No flinch. I was so proud!! He could see nothing wrong with my walk. The only suggestion (other than more practice) was to lock my the elbow on my strong arm. I didn't have much ammo left by that time but I did what I could. As always more stuff to practice. And as with the walking forward and backwards and keeping a good sight picture I can practice this dry at home.

I'm hoping we can get in another practice session at the free form pistol range before the match on Thursday. But if not, I'll just have to remember and do what I practiced and do some dry runs at home.

blogging to: night sounds through the open window.

reading: Havana Twist by Lia Matera (a Willa Jansson mystery)
Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October Gold

Well, when I haven't posted in a while it means one of two things. Either nothing is going on or I can't keep up with what's going on. And this time it's the second one.

I've been doing a lot of knitting ... and reading .... and shooting.

On the knitting front, my SIL's first Monkey Sock with Crystal Palace Panda Silk is almost done. I have only to knit the toe decreases. But I want to wait until she tries it on to make sure it's big enough and long enough. So I've cast on the for the second sock. It seems like the 20 rounds of twisted 1x1 ribbing just flew by on the first sock and that it took a l-o-n-g time to get the same amount knit on this second sock.

I cast on for the second sock on Oct 4 and I have one needle with about 20 stitches yet to knit and the cuff will be done. This cuff was knit over several days; a few rounds here, some more on the way to there, several more over a few days watchin' TV and a few more rounds fit in another time but not all in two or three large blocks which I think is what happened on the first one. Anyway, the cuff is done. Now on to the fun part — seven pattern repeats of Cookie A's Monkey Sock!

This is my couch reading and knitting project along with my passenger knitting so it's moving along well. Once I started back on the first sock it didn't take me more than a few weeks to get down to the toe.

The White Caps Afghan is really moving along. It's a good 4' long now. My goal is around 6'. I have a lot of yarn so I may just keep going until I run out! But based on a finished length of 72" it's 46% complete with 329 350 stitch rows finished. It sits in the library where the TV is and only gets worked on there.

My stoplight knitting sock is coming along slowly. I've got 15 cuff rounds knit; which on any regular sock would be a finished cuff or almost. But this one's going to be at least 40 rounds long. Usually I take my SIL's Monkey Sock along for passenger knitting but sometimes I want a break so I break out this one. It took me 14 months to finish my last stoplight knitting sock and I imagine I'm in for a long haul on this one, too.

And we've been shooting. HooBoy! have we been shooting! Last Saturday we took another carbine class ... well ... the same carbine class again with pretty much the same folks so it more of a review. Still we shot up a heck of a lot of ammo and I was plenty sore the next couple of days. I've been calling it The Goldilocks Class. The first AR class almost a year ago to the day was too cold ... 32° and spittin' snow. The second AR class about two months ago was too hot ... temps in the middle 90's and high humidity. This one was just right ... jacket cool in the morning, highs in the mid 70's and sunny with a light breeze.

It was fantastic!!! We didn't need to start with basics. After we all checked zero with our optics we reviewed various ways to reload and then drilled on those. Most of the rest of the day w. were moving and shooting.

We drilled and drilled and drilled on various ways to move and shoot. Forward, backward, sideways, turning and shooting, moving forward laterally at a 45°, squaring up to the target and shooting, high angle lateral shooting and moving. All moving and shooting.

A brief review of the different shooting positions, prone on back and on stomach, kneeling and sitting. Transition drills. We even got into a bit of shooting from cover with your carbine. Then the instructor covered particular things a few folks wanted more training on, mainly moving forward and backward and shooting.

For some strange reason, we ALL brought shotguns. So after class we got them all out and shot our own and each others shotguns for awhile. And we shot each others other guns for a while. I think we all found more guns we wanted from shooting each others toys. And that was a bad, bad thing. I know I fell in love again. The instructor who Mr WK and I joke has been a bad influence had an S&W M&P 9c. Mr WK loves M&Ps and has several. Me? Not so much. This M&P 9c I love. I hate that I love it because now I want one. I would maybe even sell or trade BOTH of my Glocks for one.

Anyway finally, we were all tired and sore. A few of us hoovered ... um ... policed the brass from the range then packed up. Then we stood around and chewed the fat for awhile. Then we all went home and lived happily ever after. The End.

Now we are in the process of processing all the brass. We've got it all sorted and counted. Over the past week the .223 brass has been cleaned, deprimed, resized and swaged, if needed. Most of it has been cleaned again to get the case lube off and Mr WK has case gauged about half of that. Before we head out to the high-power range again sometime this coming week, we want to load up some Remington .223 55gn fmj w/cannalure bullets we picked up. We've always loaded Hornady but these were a good price so we'll see if the accuracy is any different from the Hornady's.

Anyway, so we've now taken three carbine courses from the same guy. In all thee we used about the same amount of of ammo, 734, 714 and 744 rounds. We shared around 100 rounds in each class with those who ran short. For each class we averaged 315 rounds each. We reload and our average plinking ammo reload is 21¢ — around $66.50 each in ammo for each class. But who we took the class from, where the took the class and who we took the class with was priceless.

We'll probably never get this chance again as our instructor and friend, who is active Army is retiring at the end of this month and going home. He has enriched our lives and we are grateful to have run into him that afternoon at the gun club in Topeka early last summer and invited him to come and shoot IDPA with us. He has been the best "bad influence".

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Havana Twist by Lia Matera (a Willa Jansson mystery)
Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: