Lessons Learned

So a couple days back I went off to DFW Gun Range to get a little practice / exercise my Second Amendment rights / piss off the anti-gunners / all the above.

It was Handgun Day (not a holiday, although it damn well should be), because it was time I reminded myself which part of my handguns I need to press to make the boolet emerge from the naughty end.  Here’s what I learned, from the three I took for an outing.

1) If I’m going to use the S&W 637 snubbie for self-defense, the distance between me and the thing I’m defending against should be no more than six inches further than arm’s length.  Seriously:  the combination of that lightweight frame, lengthy DA trigger pull, .38 Spec+P hollowpoints and teeny lil’ barrel  does not lend itself to 1″ or even palm-sized groups in the target — at least, not if I’m trying to get off more than one shot per 5 seconds.  That, or I need to start practicing weekly with the damn thing.  I love the little gun:  it’s light, compact and behaves like a fork — you pick it up, and it works — but it really is a backup gun.

2) Next came the old warhorse, the modified Springfield Mil-Spec 1911.

I blasted off over a hundred rounds of the lighter 185-grain .45 ACP (as opposed to the normal 230-grain stuff which has started to beat up my elderly wrists if I shoot more than a box at a time).  Thankfully, the 185s are wonderfully accurate and target reacquisition is really quick.  I practiced with El Cheapo (Monarch) JHP, which worked just fine;  and when I switched to my hotter carry ammo (Hornady XTP, also 185-grain), my groups shrank still more.  Now that, my friends, is a carry piece.

3) Finally, to cool off, I pulled out the newbie, my Ruger Mk IV 22/45 (reviewed here) because I’ve only fired a couple hundred rounds through the thing since I got it over a year ago, and I’m pretty sure that’s against some state law.

And then the problems started.  I fired a couple-three mags without too much regard for bullet placement, just to get used to the Ruger’s trigger again — it’s better than earlier Ruger triggers, but not by much — and finally figured out where the sear would break in the pull.  Fine.  Time to get serious.

I should point out that for familiarization purposes, I was using Browning BPR .22 LR ammo, and when I did get serious, I started to get nervous:  shooting offhand, I couldn’t get all the rounds into a 1″ circle at 7 yards.  Indeed, no matter how hard I tried — and we’re talking five mags’ worth, 50 rounds), I’d get two inside the circle, then one low and left, then one back into the circle, then three low and left again, and so on.

Folks, I will readily admit that I’m not a good pistol shot;  but I’m not that bad.  I was just about to break out the old jeweler’s screwdriver and start screwing up adjusting the back sight, when I had a flash of insight.  I asked the guy in the next lane if he would pop a mag downrange for me, just to see if it was the gun, or me.  (He, by the way, was shooting a CZ 75B and putting all those 9mm Europellets into pretty much a palm-sized group, at 15 yards.)  So he fired away with the Mk IV, and lo and behold, he too couldn’t shoot it for shit:  either on target, or low and left.

Could it be the ammo?  I pulled out my go-to .22 LR ammo (CCI Mini-Mag), loaded up and let two mags’ worth fly.

One-inch groups, dead inside in the circle.  I switched to the Federal “Auto Match” (reviewed here) — a box of which had followed me to the range unnoticed:  same result as the CCI Mini-Mags.  [long sigh of relief followed]

So as far as the Mk IV is concerned, it’s going to be either Federal Auto Match or CCI Mini-Mag from now on.  The Browning stuff will henceforth be relegated to tin-can plinking duties.  (I don’t have much left, maybe 200 rounds, so it will go quickly.)

But:  I’m still not crazy about the Mk IV’s trigger.  Maybe I’m spoilt, having lately been shooting guns with excellent triggers, or maybe I just need a couple thousand rounds’ more practice to get used to it;  but the Mk IV is on notice — which means that if I find a good deal / trade opportunity on a heavy-barrel Browning Buckmark (with its trademark exquisite trigger action) sometime, I may just go back to familiar territory, so to speak.  The Browning is a bigger PITA to clean than the Mk IV, but them’s the breaks.  Priorities, right?

I’ll keep y’all posted.


Over at Insty’s, Stephen Green commented on this little story that he couldn’t imagine going into a Levi Strauss store ever again, and I agree.

Levi Strauss announced on Tuesday it would be creating a new gun-control group with billionaire Michael Bloomberg and donating millions of dollars to a collection of established gun-control groups.

I don’t wear jeans often — in fact, I last wore them about a year ago, so I’m hardly in Levi’s target market anyway.

But that’s not the “temptation” I refer to in the headline;  this is.

A couple weeks back I gave a woman a “lyft” to the airport.  She’d just come out of the Levi Strauss store here in Plano, and as we drove off I asked her what she’d just bought there.  She said “Nothing;  actually, I work for Levi Strauss.”

For a moment I considered — really considered — whether I should act like someone from the Left would act, and terminate the ride then and there, declaring that as a member of the National Rifle Association, I refused to provide a service to an organization which supported gun control.

I didn’t do that, of course, because I’m not some virtue-signaling asshole.  What I could have done was start to talk about how much I loved guns, and shooting, just to piss her off;  but I didn’t do that either because that might have “triggered” the woman into giving me a one-star Uber rating at ride’s end, running the risk that she was a virtue-signaling asshole (she was a San Francisco native, so the odds would have been high).

As it stands, though, I’ll just have to content myself with never again buying anything associated with Levi Strauss (which would be Dockers, Signature and Denizen).


Critter Control

From Brit Reader Quentin, asking (for a Brit) a hypothetical question:

“Do you have any thoughts on which pistol to use with wildlife, not goblins? After all, shooting snakes and other critters was one of the main uses of pistols.”

My answer:
It kinda depends on the size of the critters. Basically, a .22LR will handle 99% of critter-elimination needs (shotshells in the case of reptiles). Larger critters may need a little more, but I struggle to think of many.

Myself, I carry a little NAA Mini-revolver in .22 Magnum (loaded with two CCI shotshells and three hollowpoints) if I’m out doing my morning walk (angry unleashed dogs, for the shooting of), or if I’m ever out in an area where there may be snakes and such. 

(I’ve actually shot a couple of snakes with the rimfire shotshell, and the result is that the worm just goes limp — lights-out with a single shot.)

But any rimfire revolver would do, of course:

That’s a Colt Peacemaker with .22 LR / .22 WMR cylinders.  For us mere mortals who don’t want to spend two grand on a rimfire plinker, there’s always the cheaper option, such as the Ruger SP101 double-action:

… or the single-action Ruger Bearcat (.22 LR only):

…or Single Six (like the Colt above, with the LR/WMR interchangeable cylinders):

…as well as the usual S&W K-22s, etc. (like this “Heritage” model):


Where was I?  Oh yeah, critter guns…

If anyone has any other suggestions, I’ll happily entertain them in Comments.


Telling It Like It Is

From the Knuckledragger (one of my favorite reads) on some study or other:

“Personally, I think this is full of shit.”

As do I.  The title of the piece is:  “Let the arguments begin.”

None from me.  And this comment alone puts the man squarely into my foxhole:

“And as a side note concerning those folks that didn’t have any spare ammo to shoot with me, if I can’t walk out to my truck right fucking now and find at least a 20 round box of 45 and 357 stashed in there, I’ll kiss your ass.”

A couple months ago I found a loaded 1911 mag in the glove box.  I have no idea how long it’s been in there…

Don’t Think So, Simon

According to this guy, the only three chamberings one needs to hunt everything in the U.S.A. are the following:

  • 6.5 Creedmoor
  • 12ga
  • .338 Win Mag

To paraphrase Sheriff Margie in Fargo, “I’m not so sure I’m agreeing with your rationale, there.”

I don’t agree with the rifle choices (the 12ga. is a no-brainer), for the simple reason that they don’t pass the “To Be Found On The Shelves Of Bubba’s Bait & Ammo Store In Bumfuck, Anywhere” test.  Granted, the 6.5mm Creedmoor (a.k.a. the “flavor of the month” cartridge) and .338 Win Mag are fine cartridges, but are they sold everywhere?  I doubt it.

Also, two chamberings aren’t enough.  We can sit and argue the point all day about which rifle cartridges are the best — and I have no problem with entertaining said discussion in Comments, of course — but I am of the opinion that the “hunt anywhere / anything” criterion in the U.S. of A., given the wide variety of terrain and game we have, cannot consist of fewer than three centerfire rifle chamberings, to whit:

  • .25-inch (.243 Win, .270 Win etc.)
  • .3x  (.30-30, .308 Win, .30-06 etc.)
  • .3x magnum  (7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag, etc.)

…and a credible argument can be made for an additional, larger cartridge for grizzly in deep brush, such as:

  • .4x (.45-70 Gov, .458 Win etc)

I know, anything a .308 can do, a .300 Win Mag can do better;  but let’s just add a little real-world experience by acknowledging that the .300 Win Mag costs twice as much as its little cousin, and also because recoil / owie shoulder.

All that established, feel free to suggest your three favorite rifle chamberings in Comments, especially when taking the “Bubba’s Store” criterion into account.  Explain your choices, if necessary.  I’ll be adding mine later.

Using The Proper Method

Yesterday I renewed my Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) membership — in fact, I “upgraded” to the 3-year package — and paid for it using my CitiBank credit card because Citi are a bunch of gun control-loving bastards.

Even better, I’m currently on a “lowered” promotional APR of 1.99%, so they get diddly out of this renewal except the transaction fee.

And as soon as my balance is paid off (before the expiration of the promotion period duh), out come the scissors.

Oh and by the way, it’s an “affinity” card with American Airlines so I get frequent flier miles with every purchase.  However, American now refuses to carry my (or anyone’s) shotguns and rifles when I fly over to the U.K., so fuck them too.