I’ve been wanting to go shoot for weeks now, but I didn’t get a chance until this weekend. I took the opportunity and braved the cold and wind. I put on my coat and gloves, loaded up my car, and drove to the West Side shooting range in West Virginia.
When I showed up there were two groups of people shooting. I was surprised to see anyone there considering the weather conditions. But by the time I got everything out of my car and over to one of the benches, one group was leaving. So for about 45 minutes it was just me and two other guys.
They had a whole arsenal of weapons with them. From pistols to high powered rifles and everything in between. The most impressive was their gigantic 50 caliber bolt-action rifle. They only shot it four times while I was there (at more than $5 a shot I can certainly understand that) but it was impressive all the same. The shock wave from each shot could be felt all the way at the other end of the range, and even with my ear protection, it was really loud. I can’t imagine being on a battlefield where fully automatic guns this size were going off in rapid succession.
After those guys left I was alone for about 45 minutes before another group came in. These were younger kids, probably just over 18. There were five of them all sharing one rifle. When I told them I was leaving they went back to their car and got the shotguns and skeet. I was very glad they waited until I left for that since it’s against the posted rules.
How I Did:
During the two hours or so that I was there, I only shot about 150 times. And that was all spread between my AR15, SKS, and SR22. I spent most of the time working on being more accurate. Training better, not excessively. I can’t afford to just blow through ammo like I used to.
With my Ruger SR22 pistol, I worked on double-tapping the trigger. I would stand with the pistol lowered toward the ground with the safety on. From that position I would raise the gun, take it off safety, and quickly fire twice (the first shot double action and the second single action) at the target. More of a self defense exercise. For the first time trying that I think I did really good. All my shots hit the target and most were in the center 6″ of the target. My closest two were 2.5″ apart and my farthest were 5.5″ apart. As I get better with that I’ll start with the pistol in it’s holster and repeat the other steps like before.
With my AR15, I used the practice time to zero in my iron sights at 25 yards. Because my red-dot scope is my primary sight, I keep it zeroed between 75 and 100 yards. My irons are on the side of the rifle at a 45 degree offset. With this set up I can quickly switch from mid/long range shooting to short range. In the event my red-dot scope fails (battery dies, gets knocked off zero, etc) I can also immediately switch to another sight with little to no effort. With my red-dot scope, my AR’s 100 yard 5-shot groups were 4.5″ each. Not too bad for the guy pulling the trigger.
Saturday was also the first I spent much time with my SKS. It’s simply a fantastic rifle. At 50 yards, my first three shots were all in the exact center of the target horizontally. Once I got used to how it was shooting, I was tearing up the center of the target. I even pushed it out to 100 yards which is something I don’t usually do with only iron sights. Every shot hit the target and I was actually really impressed with how I did. My three 10-shot groups were about 6″ each. Four shots were in the center 2″ bullseye and the rest were all right around it. I was supporting the rifle with only my arms resting on the bench. This thing is really accurate. Thanks again to Aaron for parting with it. I love this thing.
All in all it was great to get back to the range. I forgot what it was like to smell the powder. To feel the rifle kick my shoulder. Heck, even pulling the trigger again felt good. And since my ammo updates are indicating more ammo is becoming available, I think I’ll be hitting the range more often. At least I hope to . . .