Monday, October 9, 2017
Blogorado, Day 4
Another fine, warm day with lots of noise. We met at Ye Olde Local Hostelry for breakfast as usual, then headed out to the farm, and from there to the shooting range. The muzzle-loading cannon had departed, along with its owner, but there were still more than enough firearms for everyone to enjoy.
We scrounged around among ourselves and came up with several hundred more rounds of .22LR ammunition for our young Australian visitor to turn into smoke and noise. I suspect her fellow teenagers back home are going to be green with envy when she tells them how many thousand rounds she shot over the weekend - and she'll have the photographs and videos to prove it!
I was surprised to see the difference in shooting residue between .22LR CCI Mini-Mags and Federal bulk-pack ammunition (which Miss D. and I had brought with us), and Remington Golden Bullet bulk-pack ammunition (provided today by another shooter). The Remington left a lot more detritus in the gun - a gray, sticky residue that gunked it up after a couple of hundred rounds, causing misfeeds and failure of the bolt to close properly. A quick cleaning (I always take a cleaning kit to the range) removed the residue and restored the gun to normal operation . . . but it irritated me to have to do so. I'm used to much cleaner-burning ammunition. I suspect Remington has tried to manufacture its Golden Bullets to a price point rather than a quality point, and it shows. I won't be buying their bulk packs any more. I'd rather pay a little more for higher-quality cartridges.
There were a lot more people at the pistol range today, who'd spent the previous day at the rifle or shotgun ranges. All sorts of handguns were in evidence, from several rimfire pistols and revolvers all the way up to the bigger magnum rounds. There was much gigglage as people tried guns and cartridges they'd never fired before, or new versions of older favorites. I've no idea how many thousands of rounds went downrange, but it was a lot! A suppressed .22LR AR-15 clone, equipped with a red dot sight, was the envy of many shooters. It made hits on steel targets so ridiculously easy that even a rank amateur would look like a sharpshooter, and the suppressor meant that ear protection wasn't needed. It was a hoot.
I spent part of the morning testing two Mossberg 930 semi-automatic shotguns and my 90-year-old Montgomery Ward-branded Stevens 520 pump-action shotgun. The latter worked just fine, after I'd figured out that it didn't have latches to keep the shells in the tubular magazine. They protruded past the end of the tube, to be held in place by the shell lifter. It looked strange to eyes accustomed to more modern designs, but it's how the shotgun was designed, and it worked just fine once we'd figured it out. The 520 kicked hard - harder than I expected, even with its Limbsaver recoil pad - but gave no problems. I think it'll make a very good travel shotgun, particularly given its take-down feature to make it a smaller, more concealable package.
One of the Mossbergs, a used Jerry Miculek-branded competition model that I recently traded into, gave no trouble at all. One of our Australian visitors took great delight in punching eight or nine rounds of buckshot out of it into the berm in rapid fire, and confided it would have been a useful gun to have in some of the tight spots he'd been in during his military service. It didn't like low-brass birdshot rounds, which are lower-powered and didn't provide enough recoil impetus to cycle the action; but with high-brass (i.e. more powerfully loaded) birdshot rounds, and with buckshot, it was fine.
The other Mossberg 930, though . . . that was very disappointing. It's a brand-new, previously unfired tactical model, and it misfed rounds, failed to eject fired cases, and sometimes failed to fire at all. I reckon there was a malfunction of some sort every second round! I suspect the action spring(s) are defective in some way. It's going straight back to Mossberg next week, with a strongly worded letter of complaint. It should never have left the factory in this condition. I suspect their quality control people are falling down on the job. Once again, it demonstrated the necessity of never taking a new-to-you gun's functioning for granted (as I mentioned yesterday). Any gun, and the ammunition you select for it, should be thoroughly tested before you entrust your life to its/their reliability.
Lunch (prepared at the farm and grilled at the range) was hamburgers with all the trimmings (except ketchup, which was forgotten in the rush; I found a combination of mayonnaise and Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce worked just fine as a replacement). The old portable gas grill had been giving trouble the day before, and continued to do so today, so FarmMom issued an executive decree; after lunch, it was to be turned into a target. It was duly positioned well down-range, to avoid bullet ricochets and/or back-splatter, and everyone loaded up their rifles. On the command, a "mad minute" ensued, everyone emptying their magazines at the hapless grill and riddling it with more holes than the average Swiss cheese. (There'll be a replacement on hand in time for Blogorado next year.)
We gathered at the farm once more for supper (a beef stew with garlic bread) and more conversation. It was a quieter evening than earlier ones, because some of our number had to leave during the day on Sunday, to get home in time to go to work on Monday. The rest of us will be having breakfast together on Monday morning, then heading out in all directions. It'll be sad to say goodbye, but we know that Blogorado 2018 is already in the planning stages! (Note to self: must bring lots more rimfire ammunition next year!)
Miss D. and I will be heading homewards as well. We'd planned to spend a couple of days in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, doing research for a forthcoming book, but we're told it's already snowed there, and another cold front is scheduled to arrive on Monday, bringing more snow and ice. I don't do well in that sort of cold (hey, I'm an African boy, and snow and ice aren't in our vocabulary much!), so we'll postpone the research trip until a warmer time of year. Please say a prayer for us, if you're so inclined, for traveling mercies. I expect to resume normal blogging by Tuesday.