Learning To Shoot Again

As Longtime Readers will know, I am reasonably proficient with most firearms: more so with rifles, less so with handguns — and hardly at all with shotguns.

Of course, I’ve fired many, many shotguns of all descriptions: Browning A5s, Berettas, Franchis and so on, to name but some. But except at, shall we say, bedroom range, I would not consider myself at all skilled with a shotgun. Certainly, I’m out of practice: the last time I shot clay pigeons was in 2005, at the Royal Berkshire Gun Club in these here British Isles. And come November I’m going to be doing some High Bird Shooting with Mr. FM (who is astonishingly good at the activity), so to avoid embarrassment, some instruction was obviously needing to be acquired.

So the very day after the Great Mauser Incident of 2017, Mr. FM took me to the Barbury Shooting Club in Wiltshire to get some shotgunning lessons.
These are the shotguns used on the day: my little side-by-side Kestrel 20ga, and Mr. FM’s o/u Berettas.

My instructor Derek was a gem: endlessly patient, highly knowledgeable and quick to both criticize and praise.

“That’s the naughty end of the gun, Kim, and here’s what you’ll be aiming for.”

“Shoot the clay, Kim, not the tower.”


“That probably scared the bird, but no more than that.”


“That’s better. A few thousand more shots like that, and you’ll be close to average.”

Suffice it to say, Mr. FM noted at one point that I was hitting about three out of four clays, so at least I wasn’t making a complete fool of myself. His strike rate, I noticed, was very close to 100% — I think he missed maybe three clays all day, with far more “pulls” than I had. (This is why I can’t shoot enough; I refuse to look stupid next to him when we go to Portledge.)

I have absolutely no complaints about the gun. “My” Kestrel shotgun was a delight to shoot, and is far more accurate than I can shoot it. And yes, I was wearing a glove on my left hand, and the black thingy on the barrels is a leather sleeve — both designed to prevent blisters from a (very) hot gun barrel. This was very much necessary because after about a hundred rounds of 20-gauge delight, I had no blisters. I did, however, have a fist-sized bruise on my shoulder.

Don’t care. My next lesson can’t come soon enough. And I’m no fortune-teller, but I believe I can see several practice sessions coming before November…

Ambushed

The day after my Lord’s pilgrimage, Mr. FM suggested we take a quiet drive into the Cotswolds, some few miles north-west of FM Towers. He knows that I’m not one for scenic drives just for the drive’s sake, so he mentioned the magical words “in the Porsche” — and needless to say, that was sufficient incentive for me to agree.

So we footled around along English country roads — me oohing and aaahing at Teh Scenery, which is spectacular: rolling hills, forest glades, farmers doing Farming Things, etc. Of course, it being a lovely day (sunny, warm, bees buzzing lazily etc.) there were the usual problems (i.e. cyclists), but the oncoming roar of a 3.6-liter Porsche engine usually had the desired effect of sending them flying into roadside ditches, which is all part of the fun of a summer drive. Then things took a turn for the worse. Much worse.

We turned off the country road onto what can best be described as a farm road and ended up at a series of farm-type buildings. Over the door of one such building was a sign which read, cryptically, “R.J. Blackwall”. What place is this, I wondered, and then we went inside.

 

Rupert Blackwall is one of the pre-eminent Mauser dealers in the British Isles.

O My Readers, I need first to give you a teeny bit of background so you can fully appreciate what was to follow. In the Great Time Of Poverty when I was forced to sell almost all my guns, I found myself, for the first time in my life, Mauserless. Never mind Mauser lookalikes or derivatives thereof; ever since I can remember, I’ve had at least one actual Mauser rifle in my gun cabinet — in fact, my very first gun purchase in the U.S. was a Mauser 98K. Since the Great Poverty, some four years ago, I’ve been without a Mauser — a fact I’d once lamented to Mr. FM, en passant — and only now did his devilment come to light. You see, he’d seen my reaction to the exquisite M12 I’d fired only a week before at the Corinium range and thus, I believe, had schemed a visit to this… this temple to Vulcan’s Dark Arts.

Of course, that’s not how he played it, the foul man; he chatted with Mr. Blackwall — a gunsmith of considerable skill and knowledge, having been trained at E.J. Churchill — about some rifle he was considering for his next African safari, leaving me to wander around the store and browse among (actually, drool over) the store’s wares.

First I saw a matched pair of AyA 20-gauge side-by-side shotguns (which I will need for future High Bird Shooting excursions), but I knew that the cost thereof was going to be silly: and in pounds sterling, still more so. With a deep sigh, I moved on. Until I came to the “second-hand” rack…

..and there it was: a barely-fired Mauser M12, in… 6.5x55mm (my favorite medium caliber of all), at a price that, when translated into U.S. greenbacks, was not expensive at all. In fact, it was… affordable.

Of course, one can’t just buy a rifle and walk out of the door with it, not in Merrie Olde England, oh no. In fact, I thought that I would not be able to purchase any gun, because (as we all know) in the U.S. such things are streng verboten (as I’d discovered when first I emigrated and wanted to buy a gun). Well, no. In the U.S., not anyone can buy a gun, but anyone can own a gun (mostly). In Britain, it’s the reverse. I could buy the gun, but I couldn’t take possession of it — it would have to go onto a British gun owner’s license — until such time as I would leave the U.K. And of course, standing right next to me, with an evil leer on his aristocratic features, there was just such a British gun owner.

All that remained was to give Mr. Blackwall my credit card.

I’ll be “testing” it over the coming weeks at Corinium, once I get a decent scope on it. Range report(s) and pics to follow.

And most important of all, I am no longer Mauserless, so all my old Boer forefathers can stop spinning in their graves.

Trigger Time 1

Tomorrow afternoon, Mr. FM and I will be off to Royal Bisley or somewhere to shoot some guns. For my stay, my generous host has reached deep into his gun safe(s) and made available to me the following:

From the top, they are

  • Blaser R93 in 6.5x55mm Swede (my favorite medium cartridge of all time) — Mr. FM even put a wooden stock back onto the piece for me, such is his hospitality — and yes, that’s a Swarovski 4-12x scope resting on it.
  • GMK Kestrel in 20ga. I cannot wait to put this little beauty through her paces, but she’ll have to wait till we get to a sporting clay facility.
  • Norwegian Army surplus K98 “Sniper” in 7.62x51mm NATO — ooooh, baby, come to Papa. (I may try to buy this one from Mr. FM, but I fear his hospitality does have some limits, damn it.)

There will also be some .300 WinMag frivolity — apparently, Combat Controller left his Scotland Deer Slayer rifle and a few hundred rounds of “test” ammo behind, and wants me to make sure his rifle still functions properly after an accident the last time he was Over Here. Well, who can resist the request of a friend, right?

No doubt my shoulder will be owie after all that fun, but a few pints of 6X / gin should take care of it.

Feel free to vent feelings of jealous rage, etc. in Comments.

Say What?

From this blog comes the following piece of idiocy from the NRA’s Carry Guard program:

*NOTE: NRA Carry Guard Level One is designed for training with a semi-automatic handgun (Glock 19/17, Sig P226/P228 or equivalent). We will not allow revolvers or 1911s as your primary firearm in this class. [my emphasis]

Guess I won’t bother taking that class, then. Or maybe I will — only I’ll bring a Browning High Power as my primary, and my 1911 as a backup.

For those who are unaware of the irony (and there may be one or two), I should point out that both the Colt Government 1911A1 (1911) and the Browning High Power (BHP) were designed by the same man, John Moses Browning, and are functionally identical but for chambering (.45 ACP vs. 9mm Para respectively), magazine capacity (7-10 for the 1911, 12-15 for the BHP) and disassembly routine (which is irrelevant in this case). Other than that, both are single-action semi-automatic handguns, and I love both of them almost equally (because BHP = 9mm, a marginal self-defense cartridge).

 

I have no idea what the NRA was thinking (or if they were thinking at all), but the 1911 is one of America’s favorite carry pieces and to exclude this wonderful gun from a “carry” class is doing a huge disservice to a large number of gun owners.

On second thoughts, I won’t be taking the stupid class at all, because no doubt the NRA weasels would take issue with the way I carry my 1911 anyway.

But that’s a topic for another time, when I discuss handgun carry. Watch this space.

 

Object Lesson #2

And, children, this is why you need to carry your handgun with you at all times:

Several shots were fired at a truck flying a “Make America Great Again” flag and an American flag on a highway in Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon, Fox 59 reported. Luckily, no one was hurt in the incident, which looks like a possible case of left-wing terrorism.
Indiana State Police say a newer white 4-door Chevrolet Malibu with a Louisiana plate pulled up next to the pickup truck. A black male passenger held a handgun out of the window and fired several shots at the pro-Trump truck. Police say no one was in injured in the incident. The driver of the Malibu was described as a black male around the age of 23. The passenger was described as a light skinned black male with a sleeve tattoo on his right arm.

Somebody tell me if the shooter was some random White asshole and the target a Black woman with a Hillary! bumper sticker, that the media reaction would have been somewhat different. On second thoughts, don’t bother. We all know the answer to that one.

But seriously: this violence by the Left can only be addressed by a violent reaction, i.e. the intended target returning fire. Hence the need to have a gun with you at all times.

Just remember that we didn’t start this foolishness. But if we’re confronted with it, like in the above scenario, we are damn sure going to finish it — if, that is, we’re prepared for it.

Carry your gun. All the time.


Update: from Longtime Reader GMC70 in Comments, thoughts which really deserve to be part of this post:

Just remember to learn the law of self-defense in your jurisdiction, and apply it correctly.
And as an attorney, I’ll throw in gratis my recommendations should you ever have to use that weapon to defend life:
1) make sure YOU (or someone at your direction) call 911, and request assistance.  Too often, the “victim” is simply the 1st person to call 911. State to the operator (it’s recorded, remember) that “I was forced to fire my weapon to defend myself” or words to that effect as appropriate.  DO NOT elaborate or go into detail with the operator.  And make sure that if an ambulance is appropriate, you notify them of that.
2) when law enforcement arrives, DO NOT have your gun in your hand unless absolutely necessary; you do not want to be mistaken for the BG.  Acknowledge the obvious – your rounds are in the goblin, and say, again, “I was forced to defend myself (or another) with my weapon,” as appropriate.  STOP THERE.  Do not elaborate.  For God’s sake DO NOT – EVER – LIE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT.  You can refuse to talk, but you cannot lie.  And it will not help you, in the long run.  There are too many ways for lies to be discovered for what they are.
3) note witnesses, and make sure their names and addresses are recorded.  If necessary, do this yourself; you may not be able to rely on law enforcement to do it.
4) At some point you are likely to be asked to make a detailed statement.  POLITELY DECLINE TO DO SO.  Personally, my statement will  “officer, I’m rattled by this experience and I need to collect my thoughts (or get checked out by medical, if the circumstances warrant) and clear my head before I make a statement.”   They may arrest you – let them.  DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS WITHOUT CONSULTING AN EXPERIENCED AND QUALIFIED ATTORNEY.   At this point, LEOs may not be your friends.  If they’re good officers, they’ll understand; if they’re not, making a statement may not help you, and could hurt you.  DO NOT hurt yourself by making statements without collecting your thoughts and carefully considering the impact of the statements.  Remember – as a general rule, when an officer takes a suspect into a room for questioning (and at this point, you’re a suspect), he’s not there to get the facts.  He’s there to get a confession.  And confession and truth (or facts) are not necessarily the same thing.
5) After consulting with an attorney, and considering what is in your best interests, you may submit a statement and/or submit to questions – with your attorney present.  And how you proceed from there should be in full consultation with a qualified attorney.
Remember – trials are not about truth, they are about the perception of truth.  The only “truth” that matters, at that point, is what those 12 people in the jury box decide is the truth.  Do not give the State ammunition to prosecute you.  And some prosecutors may want to prosecute you just for the principle of the thing – I’ve seen it.

Here’s to hoping you’ll never need that advice.

Object Lesson

Hmmmm….

While jogging on a familiar, overgrown, wooded trail near her home on a recent warm afternoon, Rachel Borch thought to herself, “what a beautiful day.”
Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up killing with her bare hands. In the midst of appreciating the weather and scenery, she looked ahead and noticed a raccoon obstructing the narrow foot path, baring its tiny teeth. Suddenly, it began “bounding” toward her, Borch recalled Wednesday afternoon during an interview at her home on Hatchet Mountain Road in Hope.
“I knew instantly it had to be rabid,” said Borch, who remembers ripping out her headphones and dropping her phone on the ground.

It’s a gripping story, and you should read the whole thing.

However: I can’t help wondering whether she wouldn’t have saved herself from a whole lot of trouble (and pain, and medical attention, and stress) if she’d only been carrying a gun.

Of course, she wouldn’t have been: she’s a vegetarian, and cute lil’ furry animals are All God’s Creatures, after all… except when they’re rabid little fuckers trying to kill you.

Let’s add a little recommendation to the thus-begged question: “If I’m going to go jogging along a lonely country trail all by myself, and danger threatens, what gun should I be carrying to protect myself?”

Of course, the gun has to be a small one, because otherwise it’s going to bounce around all over the place. (Unless, of course, you have a proper holster for it – which I’ll be discussing later when I talk about carry guns.) I must confess to being not the best authority on “jogging guns” because I don’t jog – a stately saunter is about my limit – but I can’t see why a decent little carry piece wouldn’t do the trick.

Frankly, I think that the gun may not be as important as the ammo you’ve loaded it with. When I go for my daily walks, if it’s a short one (to buy lottery tickets at the corner 7-Eleven) I carry a little NAA Mini-revolver (.22 Magnum: two shotshells  followed by three solids):

If it’s a longer walk (up the hill to the liquor store), then I carry in addition my S&W Model 637 loaded with Winchester SXT .38 Special +P jacketed hollowpoints.

I am fully aware that these may not be the best options for other people (e.g. our hapless jogger in the story above), so I will happily entertain further discussion in Comments.