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Range Report

May 10th, 2013 · 5 Comments · Personal

So this trip to the range was all sorts of fucked up – but I’ll get to that. First, let’s discuss the new scope rings, which I specified in my previous after action report would be replacing the Leupold rings I found to be highly incompatible with my scope/rifle setup, not to mention just bad design in general. The new rings came in this past week and are similar in design to the rings on my 1-6x scope, with a thumb screw and half-split ring where the screws meet at mid-point. I got the extra-high pair because when in doubt, you can always add a cheek rest to your stock – but I didn’t need to. They are well-machined and fit perfectly around my 30mm scope. They are also much thinner than the Leupolds which gave me more room to move the scope to a position that would provide good eye relief. All the screws tightened equally and even when I “loosely” tightened them to the point where I felt a little resistance, the scope was already locked down and unmovable without considerable effort. Once I got the scope positioned, I tightened all eight screws in criss-cross fashion using a tip I picked up from the NSSF videos which is to tighten them as much as I can using the small part of the alan wrench. Though, these rings did come with torque settings – 18 in/lbs for the ring screws and 65 in/lbs for the thumb screws. I just don’t have the tool to use these numbers.

Secondly, let’s discuss ammo. As in, there still isn’t any to be found on a casual visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods. People are still lining up outside in the mornings and the supply that comes in is gone in a matter of hours. 5.56, .223, 9mm, .22 – all gone. This is the main reason I haven’t been making many trips to the range despite all this wonderful weather we’ve been having. In fact, were it not for a recent business trip down to Raleigh I still wouldn’t have any reason to go. Along the way, since I drove, I was able to stop off at several Dick’s stores and hit jackpot – tons and tons of 5.56, the same Independence ammo I’ve been shooting recently! I still failed to find any bulk .22 and only one store had cheap any 9mm. I even looked around at Walmart stores. Roanoke VA and Greensboro, Burlington and Raleigh NC all had insane amounts of 5.56 – as soon as I started to head back north and tried Richmond and Fredericksburg VA everything was gone again.

In a related note – the 3 boxes of 9mm I ended up leaving with a friend in Raleigh to sell on the online market – he nearly doubled what I paid for them and passed all the money back to me. So that was a pretty cool investment. I don’t plan to spend any serious time playing the market though.

So I have 320 rounds of 5.56 and I dug out an old box of 500 .22 lead-tip bullets and decided it was past time for a range trip. I hated the lead-tip .22 rounds because they often mis-fired or jammed on ejection but it’s not like I had anything better to shoot. The range is open on Fridays now and I didn’t have to coach cheerleading this week so I called up and told my boss I would be at the shooting range (my boss is cool like that) and I packed up my gear and off I went. Rain has been coming and going since mid-week but this Friday was supposed to be mostly clear, light wind – and hot. 80°F, which is the hottest it’s been all spring. I kne leaving the house that I was forgetting something but at the same time I also knew I had everything so I figured it was just that normal nagging feeling you get when you go on a trip, even a short 1-hour one to the range.

Then I get to the range and realize I left my .22 rifle back at home. Let the FUBAR begin. I’m rather disappointed because I really like plinking with the .22 rifle, but I know I need more practice on the 5.56 anyways so no big deal. However then I realize that a few weeks ago I did consider going to the range with just the .22 rifle and the lead-tip ammo, so I had packed just the .22 rifle bag with stuff I needed – like my universal bipod. Well, okay at some point I had wanted to try shooting positions other than prone, so I figured now was as good a time as any. I didn’t want to reach out far in a new position so I pulled out my 1-6x scope and set up a target and clay pigeons out at 50 yards, with a 15 yard target to use with my P22, since I figured I might as well get some action out of the .22 I lugged with me.

I started in the sitting position, Indian style using my elbows for support. I don’t have a rifle strap so I couldn’t utilize that as well. The hardest part of this position was forcing myself to relax as I held the weapon. I wanted to tighten up to hold it steady but found that had the completely opposite effect, causing my muscles to strain and the sights to bounce even worse. Rather than holding the rifle, I tightened my supporting arm to just stay rigid, and my hand held the rifle but did not grip it. The target image above has my first ten rounds. If you only count nine that’s because I punched two through almost the same spot 6 0′ clock in the 9 ring. I was encouraged, but a bit annoyed at the drift to the right so I adjusted the windage turret on the scope to compensate. Next I stood and sent some more rounds downrange. Again, same concept with holding the rifle – tight arms but loose hands. After a few shots at the target I tried hitting one of the clay pigeons while standing. It took me 13 rounds but I finally blew one away. It was hard to see where I was missing because each shot would buck my sight up and off target.

At the next cease fire I went out and put two new targets up, one at the top for standing shots and one at the bottom for the sitting ones. Aiming at the center of the target while standing I put two 3 round groups downrange and checked in the scope. I was perplexed to see them all off paper to the right. So to see if it was a stabilization issue I went to the slightly more stable sitting position and fired off a few rounds and checked in the scope. Right again, off paper. WTF? I recalled my golfing days, also learned whats an albatross in golf and how important it is for better performance, where my huge backswing would make me slice the ball horribly so I figured my trigger control might be off. And just for good measure I adjusted the windage turret a bit more to the left. My next shots were even farther to the right. At this point I finally said wait a fucking minute, rested the rifle on my lap and stared carefully at the windage turret, and the arrow that shows you the direction to twist it to adjust your aim rightward. Opposite rotation thus adjusts your aim leftward. I had been adjusting the scope in the wrong direction. How fucking retarded am I?? I twisted the turret a good deal back past the initial adjustment I made after my first few shots, sighted in and got off one round before the next cease fire. That would be the one hit you see on paper below:

So once I un-borked my scope things fell into place much better. I didn’t even bother changing targets and just put more rounds on paper during my last fire session, starting with sitting and then switching to standing when my legs started to cramp up. I ended by taking out 4 clay pigeons in a row while standing – I missed the 5th one and then cease fire was called.

Here are the final paper targets, with standing on the left and sitting on the right:

You can see I could still use a bit of scope adjustment to the left but overall not too bad. The shots way left I knew were off target, even in a sitting position you get a good deal of scope movement and those shots were just badly-timed because I would anticipate and jerk the gun slightly before pulling the trigger.

In other gun news, I was also firing and adjusting the sights on my P22 for better results at 15 yards. Thankfully, the lead-tip ammo didn’t jam at all although I had about 4-5 instances of misfire where I had to re-cock and try again. One round I just plain ejected and kicked out onto the range after three tries. I was horrible at aiming at the start but after some tweaking on the rear sight and raising up my point of aim on the front sight I got much better. Here are some targets from 15 yards:

So the target on the left you see I start low-left and then adjust the rear sights and my aim on the front sight and gradually work my way up into the bullseye. Then the next target I start off good and gradually lose my aim and track back down to the bottom-right and even off paper. So I have the basic idea I just need to practice more at consistently aligning the sights properly.

Oh but there were more fiascoes. As I go to put the rifle down I realize I gashed open the back of my trigger finger. How?? I have no idea but now it’s bleeding. Then when firing the P22 a casing shot straight up and back and fell through the top of my sunglasses and lodged at the bottom right next to my left eye. I used my left hand to pull away my glasses a bit so the casing could fall out while twisting rightwards and bending forward, so my gun was now pointing down at the concrete but slightly towards the next table. Just as quickly I straightened up and resumed pointing downrange – my finger was off the trigger the whole time. Still, I wish I hadn’t turned slightly. Last time something like this happened a .22 casing got stuck between the arm of my glasses and my face. In case you don’t know, casings are friggin hot as hell after being ejected from a gun, as the slightly-visible burn mark below will attest.

And, sadly, the story doesn’t end upon my return home from the range, because I still needed to get the guns cleaned up. While running the cleaning rod through the barrel of my P22 it consistently got stuck near the end of the barrel, regardless of which way I inserted the rod. I looked through it (note it is detached from the gun at this point) and saw what looked like some decent gunpowder build up so I got the bristle brush attachment out to break it up – and it got stuck. Like, legit stuck I’m-not-pulling-this-thing-out-on-my-own-without-some-kind-of-vise stuck.

Soooo I’m going to bring it over to my grandfather’s house since he has all kinds of clamps and whatnot to see if I can’t yank the damn thing out. Regardless I think I will need to take it to the local gunsmith to have it looked at. This means I’m once again out of .22 rounds because until I figure out what the hell happened to my P22 barrel I’m not taking any chances with my .22 rifle and those damn lead-tip bullets. So maybe it’s a good thing I forgot my rifle. But at least I can go back and unload some more 5.56 since I still have 240 rounds left. And I put the bipod back in the rifle case so I should have it next time.

Final bit of fucked up irony – I never even got to try out the 6-24x scope with its new mounts. *sigh*

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