Archive for October, 2012

Took my Ruger SR22 to the range today after work.  Fired (annoyingly) through about half a box of Federal bulk ammunition.  There were way more jams than I’m used to and that was kinda frustrating.  Out of 350 rounds, 30 resulted in jams (mostly failure to feed).  One was even serious enough that it required me to break down the pistol and pull an empty cartridge out of the chamber by hand.  On a positive note only one round failed to fire.

That aside, I performed pretty good and I can tell I’m improving every time I hit the range.

I shot at a few different styles of targets to see if I would do any better with one type of target or another.  It sounds weird, I know, but some people I’ve shot with seem to only do well on targets they can see really well.  It made no difference for me.  I did about the same with about all of the targets.

My 10 shot groups at 7 yards averaged 2.6″.  My largest group was 4″ and my smallest was 1.5″.  My groups at 10 yards averaged 3.5″ and my largest group was 4.8″.  The smallest group was 2.75″.

Even though I have some Federal ammunition left I think that during my next shooting session I’ll be using a different brand of ammunition.  So far CCI seems to be working the best.  Slightly more expensive but no .22lr ammo is outrageous.  Especially when you’re used to buying .223 ammo on a regular basis.  The added cost is well worth it if it keeps me from having to rack the slide between half of my shots.

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Hurricane Sandy is raging outside so I figured if I’m planning to post tonight I should do it quick before I lose power.  Hope everyone being affected by the weather gets through the next few days safe.

Wednesday I went to Top Gun and put 207 rounds through my pistol.  And yes I know exactly how many times I shoot, EVERY time I shoot.  If you haven’t been able to notice from my previous posts, I’ll tell you I’m a stataholic.  I keep up with EVERYTHING that I do to my guns.  I have spreadsheets that keep up with how much I’ve spent on everything, as well as my statistics as a shooter.  I also detail all the ammo I have on hand at any time, where it came from and how much it cost last time.   I know most people don’t obsess over this stuff but I do.  And I’ve used my data in the past to help identify poorly performing ammunition pretty quickly.

Anyway, enough of that.  I shot 207 times.  I spent the majority of my time shooting at 7 yards.  My best group was 1.25 inches and my worst was 4.5.  I only shot 27 times at 10 yards and my groups averaged 4.8 inches.  At 11 yards with 20 shots my groups averaged 7.3 inches.  By that time however I was getting tired so I blame some of that on my poor performance.

The ammo that had the best group (2.5 inches) also performed the worst mechanically.  Just one box of 50 cartridges of American Eagle .22lr jammed 16 times . . . that’s 32%.  Completely unacceptable for any type of ammunition.  The Federal bulk 325 round box jammed only twice in 10 shots.  That’s only 20% from a BULK package.  It was just very frustrating.  Half of the jams were failure to feed and half were failure to eject.  The other 5 brands of ammo I shot performed far better mechanically so I know it wasn’t the pistol.  Performance-wise, all the other brands performed about the same averaging just under 3 inches.

My favorite brand to shoot was the CCI Stingers.  The first time I shot them a while ago I found them too loud.  They also kicked a lot harder than other brands.  After shooting more Wednesday, I have to reconsider.  It seems to be extremely accurate.  In addition it displays quite a fire blast out the end of the barrel.  It is loud and does kick more but that’s no big deal if it performs as well as it has.

Overall it was fun.  I got a lot more practice in and that’s the important thing.  Now I’m going to go board up my windows and hunker down in my closet.  Sandy doesn’t seem happy . . .

Well its been a few days since my last post and I thought I would just let everyone know I’ve been fighting off a cold/sinus infection.  Between that and work I’ve just been too exhausted to blog.  But I’m feeling better today, and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.

Tomorrow my dad and I are going to go shooting at West Side Shooting Range in West Va.  In the next few days I’m going to try to catch up on some posts.  I plan to write about the following:

1) 22lr Ammunition Complaints/Complements
2) Wednesday At Top Gun/Pistol Performance
2) Saturday’s Shooting Results

So check back for new posts next week!

Membership

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Christmas came early for me this year.  My mom offered to buy me a one year membership to Top Gun Shooting Range.  I will now get unlimited access (during regular business hours) for a year.

I’m very excited about this because I wont have to worry about that $12 an hour charge and can stop watching the clock to make sure I don’t run over an hour each time.  I’ll be able to go in, relax, and shoot until I’m done.

I think I’ll be going back over there tomorrow.  Hopefully I can find some time to complain about the bulk Federal 22lr ammo between now and the end of the week.

Friday, October 19th, 2012:

My AR and setup at Top Gun

Friday evening I had the oportunity to go back over to Top Gun shooting range and I decided to go for it.  It’s been great getting some extra practice with my rifle indoors.  That 22 conversion kit was worth every penny.  During Friday’s shoot I went back and forth between my AR and my Ruger SR22 pistol.

Before heading to Top Gun after work I printed off some multi-dot (1″ bullseye) targets from MyTargets.com.  I like their website since it gives you access to a lot of different types of targets.  As long as you have a printer you’re good to go.

I made sure to bring my bi-pod with me so that I could ensure steady shots while zeroing in.  In addition to steadying my benched shots it also helped steady my freehand shots, as I had hoped.  The extra weight at the end of the rifle added just enough to keep my arm from overpowering the barrel and swaying everywhere.

Bullseyes With Pistol

After sighting in my rifle and confirming that my pistol was still relatively close, I took a few shots at the targets.  I decided that while group size and distance from the center was a good show of accuracy, taking one shot at each little bullseye and moving to the next would be an even better test.  I didn’t do the best and I’m sure plenty of people have done much better, but I was impressed with myself.  I was shooting the pistol freehand from 7 yards and my results can be seen at the right.

While Friday’s shoot was fun, I knew that Saturday’s would be even better.

Saturday, October 20th, 2012:

Ryan and I had been planning to go shooting all week so I was very excited for Saturday to come.  I cleaned up my weapons Friday night and got them ready to go for Saturday.

We decided to try a new range this time (one with longer distances) and as a result we had to drive to the West Side Shooting Range in West Virginia.  Getting there was really easy and we didn’t have any problems finding it.  The road leading in was kinda rough though.  Expect to take about 10 minutes to travel the mile between the main road and the range itself.

The range was surprisingly well set up and maintained compared to the road leading in.  There were two separate ranges; one was for rifles with distances measured out to 25, 50, and 100 yards.  The other was for pistols, measured to just 25 yards.  We spent our entire 3 hours at the rifle range.

Showing the lane layout and other shooters

There were about 9 or 10 lanes (I didn’t actually count them) and all but 2 or 3 were occupied when we pulled in.  We quickly grabbed the first lane all the way on the left and began unpacking our gear.

Being 90% prepared simply isn’t enough.  I always seem to forget something and this time it was cardboard and clothespins. Without those two items it was impossible (or at least very difficult) for us to hang targets.  Luckily one of the shooters who was leaving while we were unpacking was nice enough to leave his for us.  He was just one of the very friendly people we met while there.

Having everything we needed we waited for the next break in firing and went downrange with everyone else to set up our targets.  We started at the 25 yard mark and didn’t move to the 50 yard mark until Ryan was confident that his rifle was zeroed exactly where he wanted it.

My AR and shooting setup

After the zeroing we just had some fun shooting like always and by the end had pushed one of our targets out to the 100 yard mark.  All in all it we had a great time.  There were people there from all age groups; there was an elderly gentleman who brought his family and a father who brought his 9 or 10 year old daughter.  Everyone we talked to was extremely friendly and we got to share tips and look at some weapons we hadn’t seen before.  We saw everything from air rifles to bolt action 22’s to semi-auto shotguns (the website specifies no shotguns but I didn’t see any signs restricting it on site – just be aware if you intend to bring one that it may not be allowed).  It was pretty exciting to see all these different weapons in one place.

I would definitely recommend this range to anyone who lives relatively close.  It will be well worth the drive.  Just be respectful and clean up all your trash and spent casings before you leave since this is a free range.  One group of people can ruin it for everyone so we all have to work together to keep the range clean and safe.

My CMMG conversion kit with two magazines

The conversion kit that I bought, made by CMMG, was extremely simple to prepare and install.  All I did was lube the new bolt carrier group and slid it in where the .223 one went.  The rifle functioned flawlessly with the kit installed.  I shot 100 rounds of 36 grain Remington Gold HP through it and didn’t have a problem with a single round.

This was the first I’ve shot my rifle since the addition of the gas tube and it was a blast just shooting semi-auto for a change.  The .22lr cartridges are extremely quiet and have virtually no kick compared to the much larger .223 cartridges, so that was nice as well.

The magazines were pretty neat, especially considering they were weighted.  A loaded .22lr mag weighed the same in my hand as my loaded .223 magazine.  That meant that aside from the slight variance in the weight of the bolts, everything was the same weight.  The magazines weren’t that much fun to load however.  Not sure if its just the fact that everything is brand new, or if the mag spring is just that strong.  It took about twice as long to load my 2 mags as it does my .223 mags.

Another drawback to shooting .22lr in my rifle appears to be the amount of filth they leave behind.  They’re way dirtier than the .223 rounds are even when compared to the cheap Tula that I shoot.  They were also throwing powder back directly into my face.  If the range officer hadn’t reminded me to wear my safety glasses I would probably be wearing an eye patch today.

Even with the drawbacks I listed, I was still extremely happy with my purchase.  The dirt wasn’t too hard to clean since my kit was the stainless steel version.  Most of it cleaned up with little or no effort.  Only a few places were caked up bad enough to require light scrubbing.

Beyond that there really isn’t much else to say.  I feel like this is a very limited review but honestly there isn’t anything to it.  Just drop in the new bolt and go.  The only complaints I had had nothing to do with the performance of the kit itself.  I can’t wait to get back out there and put a few hundred more rounds through it.

As far as my performance went yesterday, I shot 20 5-shot groups for a total of 100 rounds.  In that, my freehand groups averaged 4″.  I was having a terrible time staying steady but I was able to keep the rifle firing centered left and right.  My biggest problem was holding the rifle steady vertically.  I’m pretty sure that has more to do with my breathing than my trigger control but I could be wrong.  I felt like my trigger pull was more consistent than ever by the end of the session.

While I didn’t do great, I was pretty impressed with myself.  I think once I put the bipod back on my rifle the added weight will help me balance it a little better and prevent some of the swaying that I had going on.  I also can’t wait to get my dot scope back from Ryan.  The cheap little red dot I have is virtually useless.  On half of the shots I had to deal with a slight double vision and on the other half there was a 50% chance the light would cut out between shots.  I even tried a new battery but nothing helped.

** The shots in the pictures below are “low” because I was attempting to zero-in for 50 yards **

All in all the conversion kit made yesterday extremely fun.  I would recommend a conversion kit to anyone looking to explore cheaper methods of shooting their AR15’s.

With my recent revelation of ammo prices I began looking for some alternative methods for rifle shooting.  My Ruger SR22 is really cheap to shoot compared to my other two firearms so I decided the path to cheaper shooting would be through the .22lr cartridge.  Deciding to invest in a rifle that shoots .22lr ammunition left me with a few different options to choose from.

1) Buy a new rifle that shoots .22lr.  This was an interesting thought at first because I do have an addiction to buying weapons (as my recent series of quick purchases lead me to believe).  I looked around a little bit and it seemed that there were many different 22 rifles out there that were made by very good companies who were asking very reasonable prices.  But then I thought back to my Ruger Mini-14.  The first gun I ever purchased was sitting at home propped up in a corner of my room with no accessories and no case.  Everything had been transferred to the AR15 when I started shooting it more.  Buying another rifle would demand even more accessories and storage space.  I decided this was not the option for me (for the moment at least).

2) Buy a dedicated .22lr upper for my AR15.  One of the best features of the AR platform is its versatility.  As long as you buy parts that are of decent quality, there usually isn’t a problem mixing and matching them.  I demonstrated that very heavily when I built my franken-rifle.  Buying (or building) a dedicated upper was slightly more appealing than buying an entire new rifle.  A dedicated upper would’ve cost as much as, if not more than, buying an entire rifle but it wouldn’t take up as much space as a whole rifle.  In addition, I would keep (pretty close to) the same weight of my AR as well as the same trigger.  Keeping those the same would allow me to practice most of the important shooting techniques on one rifle but cheaper than shooting .223.  It would still require some storage space though, as well as its own set of sights since they stay with the rifle’s upper.  I kept looking . . .

3) Buy a conversion kit for my AR15.  There are products online that are readily available that can turn your .223/5.56 AR15 into a .22lr AR15 with virtually no alteration to the rifle as a whole.  Essentially these kits are a new BCG (bolt carrier group) that accepts the smaller 22 cartridges as well as a magazine that does the same.  All you do is separate the upper and lower halves of your AR, remove the .223 BCG and insert the new BCG in its place.  Then you re-attach the halves, load and insert your .22lr mag, and fire away.  This keeps everything on the rifle the same aside from the magazine and BCG, allowing for the exact same shooting experience you would normally get – with cheaper ammunition.

The cost of the conversion kit was right there with buying a new 22 rifle, but since it takes up virtually zero space and requires no serious modification to my rifle, I decided to get one.  The savings on ammunition alone would pay for it in no time at all.

The kit that I bought was made by CMMG and it came with one 25 round magazine.  Many people who left a review said it would be wise to buy more than one mag also, so I bought one spare and a box of Remington.  All the parts came in today and I assembled my rifle as soon as I got off work.

I then thought, when will I get to shoot again??  I wasn’t going to my dad’s today so I wouldn’t be able to shoot at home.  The closest outside range is in West Virginia, and by the time I got there it would’ve been dark.  I started to become disappointed.

But then I remembered Top Gun shooting range in Harrisonburg.  They only have 25 yard lanes and only accept pistol calipers.  No rifles accepted, excluding those that shoot .22lr.  My rifle is technically a .223/5.56 rifle, but with the conversion kit it would shoot the required ammo.

I called and asked if I could shoot it there and they gave me the go ahead.  I raced to the range as soon as I got off work, paid my fee, and began testing it out.  Ill try to post a review of it tomorrow.

**  Click Here to go to the review  **