Thursday, March 29, 2007

When one firing lane just isn't enough...

Try your hand at an IPSC-style shooting match. The one I tried tonight was a short run starting from a seated position (Short Run II, I think it's called) and I had as much fun watching others run the course as I had running it. I will have to pick up some magazine holders and extra magazines, though. Maybe even a new holster, even though the XD Gear holster is pretty darn good for the match. I ran my stock XD40 Service with 3 12-round magazines, and set my time to beat at a little under 55 seconds. I'll have to check my scores at the range next week, but I heard a lot of Alphas and Bravos being called out. There were a couple of other guys running stock XD9s and they did pretty good, too. We were outdoing some of the racegun* guys as far as accuracy went, too. I think that was more due to luck than skill, though. Our youngest shooter was a 9-year old girl who brought in a .22LR pistol and did very well. From the amount of flame coming out of the barrel I thought she was firing .45s for a second. In addition, there are lots of friendly people at range I go to who do this, and they're all about helping each other do better with each competition.

So, yeah, I think I've found my version of bowling night with the guys.

*racegun: A tricked-out handgun (usually a Model 1911-style .45 handgun) that has a large sight, recoil compensating weights, springs and guiderods, a lighter trigger pull and gas porting to keep the gun on target after each shot. Very expensive, kind of odd-looking to me, but amazing for getting lead on target quickly and accurately.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Why is this writer smiling?

I took the Revelation (a Marlin 60 re-branded for the old Western Auto Supply Co.) to the rifle range today. I put about 100 rounds through it today. Since it's an indoor range, my longest distance allowed was 50 yards, and only seated at a bench. The rifle lanes are actually four huge concrete culvert pipes laid out to make the range. They're set too high for prone shooting, and too low for standing shooting. If you want a good idea of the gun's accuracy, though, benchrest firing is the way to do it before you take it to an outdoor range. I used only the adjustable sights instead of the scope that came with it. This rifle shoots wonderfully. If I didn't have my XD40 waiting to be put through its paces, I could have stayed at the rifle range all day. I'm getting better and better with the XD as well, now I'm getting about 85 to 90 percent inside the 7-ring on the targets, and getting a lot more bulls-eyes than I used to. Soon, I'll have burned through the 10 boxes of Blazer Brass I have with me, and I'll need to go looking for more. Sure, the hobby gets a mite expensive after a while, but knowing that you can hit what you're aiming at and hit it precisely is worth the money.

So help me, but I do love my hobby.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Found it!

Above is the first article I ever read that Cathy Seipp wrote for National Review. Should I ever be blessed with a wife and children, I'll make sure to have this as part of my Dos and Don'ts For Being a Good Father manual.
See my post below for details. I really am sorry for assuming the worst too soon, folks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another good one leaves us

National Review Online writer and blogger of many things Californian Cathy Seipp has died of non-smoking-related lung cancer. If you read through her blog, she went into detail about it. Even after that, she still found time to gore whatever tofu-eating oxen California had offered up in the name of sheer inanity. She had plenty to say about Blue Cross as well. I can only hope I never have to go through that nightmare. Rest in peace, Cathy.

CORRECTION (03/22/07) I was a few hours early with this, as shown in the comments. I read Lewis Fein's first blurb and it sounded like she had already passed. I apologize for any confusion I caused with my blog entry.

Monday, March 19, 2007

In sports news, HOW 'BOUT THEM SALUKIS? SIU should not be doing this well, and yet here they are in the Sweet 16. Now, if a miracle occurs and they get past Kansas, my fellow SIU alumni and I will probably all drive to Carbondale for some big party. I don't know if people actually do that or not, though. Maybe.

Also, I decided to watch tv last night. I know, shock and horror, as many people do the same. However, I decided to watch Cartoon Network's lineup of shows called "Adult Swim." Now, you have to understand, most of these shows are a mix of pathetic and stupid, and usually in large enough globs to be not funny. There have been a few shining stars, but these were in the early days of the lineup, like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021. Most of these shows also appear to be aimed squarely at stoners. I think it has to do less with the actual scripting and more with the subpar animation on some shows. Though in the case of shows like Squidbillies and 12 oz. Mouse, it's both.

However, there is one show that has risen out of the muck of mediocrity that has plagued the lineup in the past two or three years. Saul of the Mole Men surprised the hell out of me in being low-budget, stupid, and funnier than it has any right to be. It makes fun of all the 1970s kid's that I remember like ARK II, Space Academy and all the Sid & Marty Krofft shows like "Land of the Lost."

Now I have to tune in again to see if it was just that one episode or if it's the entire series. I hope the rest of the series is as good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I hope Illinois Gun Owners' Lobby Day was a success. Because of my job's restrictions on participating in partisan political activities, I went and changed the oil in my truck and then helped prepare my Knights of Columbus Council Hall for our regular Lenten fish fries, held on Friday, of course.

And for what it's worth, the arguments in the Legislature over banning .50 caliber rifles is pretty stupid. The guns are expensive, the ammunition is expensive, and you make a lot of noise with them. In the civilian world, these are for competition shooters only. Anyone who tries a drive-by with one is going to regret it, and the guns are unwieldy enough to where you'd be hard-pressed to rob a place with it. Why? Someone with a smaller gun will be able to outmaneuver you and shoot you. Anyway, it's a case of people looking like they're trying to "do something" about gun violence and going after the wrong people yet again. Morons, the lot of them.

Go after the criminals, not the citizens!

Monday, March 12, 2007

A long weekend, but a good one, nonetheless

No shooting report this week as I had something a bit more important going on. My old computer had been limping along with one repair after another, until finally a motherboard blew out. I think the problem was due to the power supply being wonky. Anyway, the motherboard died and I replaced it only to get that serious smell of superhot wires again. I also placed an order for a new computer. A month later, I finally have the new computer. To make things worse, I have to supply my own power cord because one didn't come with the computer! Fortunately, I have spares ao no time was wasted in getting things done. The old computer gets its stuff transferred to the new one, I spend time trying to get the new one to work with minimum of fuss, and software headaches abound. And yet, it does turn out to play City of Heroes VERY VERY VERY nicely. So, I call it good and go on my merry way. I finally managed to get everything set up "just so" last night.

Sunday, however, I helped out at the initiation and ceremonials for the Knights of Columbus councils around Highland. Lots of fun. What goes on there, you ask?

Can you keep a secret?

So can I.


Anyway, it's a lot of fun helping out with those initiations. The men you meet at a Knights of Columbus initiation are all the same in one respect: they're Catholic men looking to serve God by serving their entire community and supporting their Church. Does it make us suddenly smug and self-righteous? Nope. It does make us a lot of fun around Lent, though, when Council halls all across the United States start with the Friday fish fries. And besides, after a while you get a cape, a sword, AND a funny hat. What's not to love?

If you're a Catholic man who is looking to serve the people around you with other men in a fraternal spirit, I'd like to ask you to check with your parish to see if it has a council or see if they know who is on a home council. Check with them and also check the Knights of Columbus homepage. You might find the Knights are exactly what you're looking for.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Weekly Practice Leads to Better Shooting

I am proof of this and I am very happy with my shooting this week.

Well, I'll be. The advice I picked up last week about changing the amount of finger coverage I put on the trigger made a HUGE difference. Now I'm only an inch or so to the right of the bullseye. Out of my last 50 rounds, All 50 hit the paper, all but 6 hitting within the 5" circle target, and 20 of those 44 hitting inside either the black 7, 8 or 9 rings, or in the bullseye (got 5 of those).

I tried out pulling the trigger from the first joint of the index finger instead of from the fingertip like I have normally used. The XD series of handguns uses a trigger safety in addition to the backstrap safety, thus making it very difficult for accidental discharges to occur. Unfortunately, this also means that it's difficult to get a clean pull of the trigger when using the edge of the fingertip. It will feel like it's grinding against something. With the new trigger pull technique, the trigger pulls smoothly to the detent, and firing is beautiful from there.

Now to work more with my arm strength so I don't shake so much, I suppose. I guess I have a reason to exercise after all. Not only that, the guy who gave me that tip runs a gun shop in town. I think I'll be making a "thank you" purchase at his store very soon.