Strange weather day today...it warmed up all the way to 81 this afternoon, feeling much more like June than the last day of September. It's not going to last, luckily(never thought I would get tired of blue skies, but I am starting to miss the grey I lived with for 20 years on the other side of the mountains.) Seemed like a perfect day to go to the gun range!
I wasn't the only one with that idea. The Rose-Iris range at the Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility was the most crowded I've ever seen it. Between the last forecast day of 80-degrees, and a rapidly approaching deer season, there were a lot of folks out shooting. I managed to find the last spot, and pulled up.
I hadn't planned on a long trip...make sure my two hunting rifles are doing what they are supposed to do, fill in the time between target change outs with my Saiga, and then put three or 4 magazines each through a few pistols. It's part of my goal to shoot less, more frequently. I have to think 4 magazines(which is 50 rounds) out of my CZ every 2-3 weeks is better than 200 rounds every two months.
Things started out very not good, but did improve at the end(a teaser!). I expected to have to do some work on my NEF .270. It hadn't been out of the safe since last year, because my wife isn't planning on hunting this year, and yeah, it took some fine tuning. What I wasn't prepared for was .35 Whelen not being ready to go. Realistically, I was hoping to only put 2 or 3 rounds through that, and make sure it was grouping about 2.5 inches high. I have had it out every 10-12 weeks for 10 rounds, specifically NOT wanting to be the guy that is out there two days before the season making sure his rifle is on target.
It wasn't even close. I'm not sure what I did to the gun since the last time I had it out, but it was close to 10 inches high, and 2 inches left...very ominous. I'm not sure if it's the gun, the scope, the way I have handled the gun, or my 7 year old ammo...or a little bit of each of those. I'm concerned enough that I just got finished ordering a few boxes of new ammo for it...Hornady's Superformance 200gr from Midway. I'm not sure it will be here in time for me to make it back to the range with it before deer season, but luckily, the .270 is shooting right, and I will get a chance to make it back to the range before elk season. That 200gr load has a little more speed than the 225gr bullets I've been shooting, and I need to see how it does through my Remington. In the meantime, I PROMISE I will stop using the scope as a carrying handle.
My Saiga is fine, and fun. I'm not sure, but I think for close in work, I like it better than my AR. It could just be I'm a little happier with the bigger hole it makes. Consistent head shot accuracy at 50 yards, torso at 100 yards. Once again, I need to just pick a load. Having bought many different things when they were on sale, I found myself at the range with Silver Bears 125gr SP, Wolf 122gr FMJ, and Wolf 154 gr SP. The 154gr stuff was a DOG at 100 yards.
Not much to talk about for the handguns. 50 rounds of 9mm through the CZ-75, and then 30 rounds of .380 through the Firestorm, and 20 through my Kel-tec, with a final 40 rounds of .22 through my Mk II. The Mk II was the last thing I shot, and by the end, I was very dismayed by the amount of quiver in my front sight. My hands and forearms were getting tired.
Now, for the heartwarming part of the story. Things began thinning out about an hour into my range session. At one point, three folks showed up...husband, wife, and a little old lady. Turns out the little old lady was 83 years old. Her name is Nila, and she was visiting her daughter and son-in-law from the Philippines. She had never shot a gun in her life, but by golly, she was going to now.
Her son-in-law brought a Ruger Mk II, and a Smith snubby in .38. She liked the Ruger much better than Smith, but what she liked even more was the Bushmaster my buddy(who was the range officer today) took out of the back of his truck. It looks impressive...full size stock, with a 24 inch floating barrel. Nila seemed a little nervous at first as he taught her the right way to hold it, and how to use the aperture sites. Finally, he loaded 5 rounds into the magazine, and let her go.
I wish I had had my camera with me...the smile on her face when she got done punching holes into paper was priceless. Luckily, her family was taking some pictures for her family. I don't know what her friends will think when she goes back to the Philippines, but the shooting sports made one more fan today.