Saturday, October 10, 2015
Blogorado, Day 2
I had a wonderful time at Blogorado on Friday. It's less than a month since my second kidney stone procedure, so I wasn't sure how well I'd be able to cope, but things worked out bearably. My painkillers came in for some punishment last night, but I needed only half as many today. In fact, given the limitations to mobility imposed by my 2004 spinal injury, I spent more time on my feet on Friday than I've done for months. Sure, I was limping and moving slowly, but there are people with similar injuries who can't walk at all. Counting my blessings here . . .
I was particularly pleased that even after an extended layoff due to illness, some of my shooting skills are still there. It's been a particular frustration that, having attended multiple high-end shooting courses in the USA, plus all my training and experience in South Africa before that, my spinal injury almost completely destroyed my ability to 'run-and-gun'. I couldn't complete such a course today at all. Even so, while my speed of movement and flexibility and overall mobility have been compromised, my accuracy's still not bad at all. As long as I can put the bullets where they need to go, if push comes to shove I can hope for the best.
I'm using the opportunity to put a lot of rounds through a couple of Taurus .44 Magnum revolvers. I'm trying to see whether they'll be suitable for some of my disabled and handicapped students who're interested in handgun hunting and field use. There are questions concerning Taurus' quality control, as we discussed last month: but I've always found their big-bore steel revolvers to be at least acceptable, and generally of very good quality. They're certainly more affordable than their Smith & Wesson or Ruger counterparts. The latter may be of higher quality, but with lightly used Taurii sometimes selling for half their price (if one's prepared to watch and wait for a good deal), that counts for quite a lot to those on a limited budget . . . if - if - the quality is at least adequate.
I brought with me a large-frame 6-shot M44 with a 6½" barrel, wearing a Hogue rubber grip instead of the factory grips pictured below:
and a medium-frame 5-shot Tracker with a 4" barrel and Taurus factory 'Ribber' grips:
I wanted to see how they performed under a 'torture test', being shot far more times over a short period than would normally happen to such big-bore beasts. So far, so good. Both have exhibited very good accuracy, smacking down steel targets with authority at medium ranges (particularly using Federal's 300gr. CastCore load, which is very manageable in the large M44 revolver). The smaller Tracker kicks harder than its bigger brother, but it's controllable with the right grip and stance. I wouldn't like to shoot a lot of heavy loads through it in a single session, but then, very few people are going to do that. (On the other hand, it makes a superb platform for the much-lighter-recoil .44 Special round. I brought some of them to test the revolvers, too.) As for the grips, I think the Hogue is clearly superior to the Taurus Ribber in terms of recoil management and control (albeit rather bigger, making it less suitable for smaller hands). Several shooters commented favorably on both guns, and I'll get several more to help me test them over the next couple of days.
I've also taken the opportunity to get some extended range time with Ruger's SR45:
and Springfield's XD-S:
Both are chambered in .45 ACP. They're my preferred big-bore carry pistols (the big SR45 in a holster at my waist, the smaller XD-S in a pocket holster when deep concealment or a powerful backup piece is indicated). Both are relatively comfortable to shoot, in my experience, more so than many competing firearms. When one's physical limitations won't allow one to shoot too many heavier-recoil big-bore rounds, that's an important consideration. I've found them very accurate and 100% reliable so far.
After a mammoth breakfast in town, then several hours on the range, then a shower (how did all those flying beetles get in my hair, dammit?), it was off to the farm yesterday evening for a long session of conversation, beverages of all varieties, and the best chicken-fried steaks I've eaten in years, with all the usual trimmings. FarmMom and her helpers really excelled themselves, and we all ate until we were sated. The food is always one of the highlights of Blogorado. This year looks to be well up to previous standards, if not more so.
In a few hours it's hi-ho for another mammoth breakfast; then Miss D. and I are hopefully going to visit Farmgirl's new kittens (we're both suckers for the critters). Thereafter it's off to the range again. (I may have to buy some more ammo: I brought along plenty of rimfire and .44 Magnum, but my limited .45 ACP stocks are taking heavy punishment.)
(P.S.: In case anyone's wondering, no, I'm not being compensated in any way for mentioning any of the firearms I've named or illustrated above. The pistols are my chosen carry weapons in that caliber, and the revolvers are under test. All were bought with my own money.)