Friday, June 29, 2007

Bowling Night or "Wait, they changed the order?"

So, on Thursday I went to my usual night of IPSC shooting. The concept was simple. Each target had a club, diamond, or spade on it. You draw a card, and whichever of those three suits you get, you do NOT shoot the targets with that suit on it.

So I step into the box, hear the signal, draw and fire. Great! Go to the next station, and I'm laying into those targets like it's no big deal. I hit the third station and it's all over!

Yeah, I didn't realize that the next two stations would change out the positions of each suit in the set of targets. One went club-diamond-spade, the next was diamond-club-spade, the last was club-spade-diamond. So, instead of looking at the entire target, I focused on the front sight and engaged the wrong target in the last two stations.

Just remember that you've got to analyze each set-up as fast as possible and assume nothing until you see what you're presented. I did much better on my re-shoot, though. The reason I did much better because I surveyed the targets before shooting to make sure nothing had moved around again. Still, though, it's pretty embarrassing. It also drove home the idea that you MUST be sure of your target before you fire. I'm glad I learned it in a sporting situation instead of a real-world one. I can learn from this mistake and become a more careful shooter and thus a better shooter.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bowling Night Results

Okay, so it's not really bowling, it's actually IPSC night. Practical Shooting night is pretty much the equivalent social sport to me that bowling was two generations ago. So, I call my weekly or bi-weekly shooting night bowling night.

Anyway, I did all right, but I'm all over the place. Focusing on my front sight hasn't helped much, but I still score all right. I still shoot a bit low, so it caused some trouble on tonight's shoot where I grazed the no-hit targets a couple of times. The no-hit targets covered up about a third of the desired targets. The roughest part was being the first shooter of the night. It was a bit odd seeing all those unpatched cardboard targets and pristine white steel poppers in front of me. I ran very low on my regular target ammo, but I managed to snag a couple of pretty inexpensive boxes of Black Hills hollowpoint rounds for home defense a few weeks ago. I used two magazines of those for my reshoot. I don't know how they manage to make their ammo so affordable, but you get a great cartridge for the price you pay. I'd recommend their ammuntion to anyone, just like I do with CCI/Blazer Brass ammuntion. They're good bullets at good prices.

I finished early, though, so I had some time to peruse the gun shop that's attached to the range. They had some pretty nice new lever-action carbines in there. Now, if only they had them in a caliber that I already shoot, I'd be very tempted to make another purchase. Besides, this is the United States of America. Lever-action rifles are a part of our history.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Don Herbert, aka Mister Wizard, died this week. He made me like science even more than I already liked it. I even had a favorite experiment that he did, too. He wanted to show the kind of chemical reactions that you got with bases (as opposed to acids). So, he sprayed a bunch of oven cleaner on to some aluminum foil, folded it up and waited. A few minutes later it started to smoke as the base in the oven cleaner ate through the foil. He only had to say two sentences to make me try it as an experiment at school:

"Don't get too close! It creates toxic fumes."

That's as good as saying "free money!" to a boy in sixth grade.

Eventually, though, I found that I liked history and politics more than I liked chemistry, thus the History degree. Still, though, Mister Wizard kept that sense of wonder about science alive.

*pours a molar solution of HCl on the curb*

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Found on Marathon Pundit

Cardinal George Tells Local Priest To Stifle It

Okay, so that's my idea of a good headline, no one else's. Anyway, Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina's Parish in Chicago has been reprimanded by the Archbishop of Chicago for using threatening words in his recent appearance at an anti-gun rally in a nearby suburb. See, when you talk about "snuffing out" the person whose behavior you don't like, the common parlance is that you're wanting to kill them. Using "snuff" as a verb means "to extinguish." Did Father Pfleger call for the owner of that gun store to be extinguished? His verbiage says so. Using the term "snuff out" to mean "expose" is kind of dumb. Father Pfleger needs to realize that by playing to local politics he makes himself look like a fool when seen outside of the South Side. I have no problem forgiving Father Pfleger if he realizes that maybe he should check the Catechism again about self-defense, look at the Book of John and the Book of Luke to see that Jesus wasn't against people being armed for their defense (otherwise Peter couldn't have carried a sword around, now, could he?) and generally stop trying to act like a hellfire-and-brimstone street preacher. Even if that's what his audience demands, he needs to be a bit calmer and think things through.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Well, the Thursday night shoot was a simple one based off of the old "El Presidente" drill (Starting with your hands up and back towards the targets, turn around, draw and shoot three targets twice each.) I did pretty well, considering we were allowed only six shots total for each part of the stage. It was rather hot at the range, and my safety glasses fogged up from sweat at the end of my first shoot. Not fun. The re-shoot was worse as far as visibility went, as the glasses fogged up again during my second string of shots. I still managed to score points on the targets, though not as well as if I could see 100%.

I also finally got my Buy-A-Gun Day rifle that I ordered back in March. When the company you order from says "six to eight weeks" you should believe them. I do have some passing familiarity with this type of rifle as well, though the version I own is a bit more advanced in terms of accuracy than the ones I've used before. It'll make a nice varmint/anti-coyote gun, too. Not that we get too many coyotes around here who need to be put down, but if I ever head out west to help cull their population, I'll be ready. I can also now compete in the IPSC 3-Gun matches assuming I can borrow my dad's Remington 870. It's one of those "too nice not to shoot" guns. It's got all the features of a good police shotgun: 8 shots, short 18-inch barrel, and rifle post sights. And as it's my dad's he keeps it in perfect condition. You'd swear it just came out of the box.

What's Buy-A-Gun Day? In response to the Income Tax filing deadline, a gun blogger named Kim DuToit proposed that those of us who got refunds should purchase a gun with that money. He's also proposed November 19th to be National Ammo Day (buy a box or two to annoy your local anti-gun politicians), and I can appreciate that. I go through a lot of ammunition now that I shoot IPSC matches regularly.

Anyway, I can't wait to get the rifle zeroed in. It's funny, though. I could have sworn that .223 Remington was bigger when I was in the Air Force. My mind must be playing tricks on me. Oh well, I'm going to go out and have a lot of fun getting the new rifle sighted in.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

For once, a newspaper does something intelligent

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has retained the services of James Lileks, one of the best slice-of-life writers on the internet. Well, he's certainly better than I am. Or to use the internet meme going around among us netgeeks:

He has a bucket.