Wednesday, July 18, 2007

At a Private Range, No One Can Hear You Swear

So, I found this super-secret local range thanks to my dad getting a membership there. Eventually, I'll be able to join as well but for now I've got to pester him so I can go to an outdoor range. I took the new AR out to see how rusty my skills are at firing that type of gun. And wow, are they ever rusty. It didn't help much that the front sight post notches are so small that you can't keep the nose of a .223 round in it long enough to make one "click," but my zeroing targets were nothing short of awful. My best work was at 100 yards, and even then I was hitting high and to the left. The AR was pretty much an exercise in frustration as I couldn't make any adjustments like I'd hoped. All I want is a simple sight zero at 100 yards. Of course I find out later I'm using the short range sight, when the proper sight zero uses the long range sight. Feh! Foiled by a simple piece of metal and over a decade of not shooting an M-16! Well, there's always the next range trip.

I also made sure to take out the .22 rifle that Dad gave to me recently. It's a Marlin 60 that had been sold under the Revelation brand at Western Auto back in the early 60s. We took that to the 25-yard range. My dad hadn't fired the gun since 1963, shortly after he bought it. The sights are still dead-on after 44 years. The only flyers we had outside the 10-ring and the x-ring were due to twitching or sweat. It was quite hot out at the range. But oh, what a wonderful feeling to just do some plinking and realize that I'm only out of practice with one long gun, not all long guns.

I've also picked up a few new gadgets for the AR that will help me with maintaining it. I already had the Boresnake that I needed to keep the barrel nice and clean, but a lack of decent brushes for the bore, the bolt and the inside of the upper receiver have made cleaning them a nasty chore. So, I've got some new brushes made for the AR's design quirks. I also have one of those handguard tools to remove the handguards for cleaning now. You run part of it into the magazine well and push down on the frame, and it provides enough leverage and force to allow you to separate the handguard halves. It's like a magazine loader; you don't realize how much you needed it until you finally got one.

Hmm... I just noticed that one of the spare Palm Pilot styluses I have would look to be about perfect for adjusting the front sight post. And... it is! The plastic tip is going to get shredded, so it doesn't look like it'll last too long. However, it ought to last long enough until I can procure a proper sight adjusting tool. Between that and improving my draw from the hip for the upcoming IPSC matches, things are looking pretty good. I hope the luck continues through my shooting tomorrow night.

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