Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hap Baker Rifle Range

There is a rifle range in Westminster Maryland. It's called Hap Baker and it is the Carrol County public range. It's nestled into the back of the county dump. They call 'dumps' landfills now and there are fewer rats to shoot at night, but the vibe is similar. At the dump. The range is very nice.

Took a brand new shooter. It's my girlfriend. Or she let me call her that after I picked her up down by the waterfront and made certain financial arrangements. Let's call her 'Saucy Trollop' until she fins this blog, yells at me, and make me change it. What are the chances a Baltimore street walker check the internet that often? Anyway, she is a vegetarian and she has never shot before. But based on her performance at the range, if she WANTED to eat meat she could harvest just about anything.

I brought the bolt action .22, the .357 lever gun, and the Garand, and since my buddy Frozen was there she got to try SKS, AR-15, and a Mosin M44 in 7.62x54. I stepped Saucy Trollop up through the calibers, telling her what to expect. She did fine with all of them until the Garand and I double checked with her because of the kick. Like a trooper, she tried it. And loved it. The Garand is her favorite. I was SO proud.

She liked the Garand so much partly because it is semi-auto and there was less to do to fire the next bullet. No bolt or lever to deal with. And my Garand has a Scout scope from Leupold on it, and shooting with a decent glass is a joy.

Anyway, here is her 100 yard target with the Garand:

She shoots better than me. Sorry for the picture quality. Here is her shots at the 25 yard target with the .22 and .357 lever gun:

That hole dead center? Her first shot ever, I believe. I half expected that.

I can make excuses that I was distracted by teaching her, and had to break up my shooting session some to instruct her, but those would be just excuses. She is just pretty durn good. I need to take her pistol shooting. If I find her on her 'corner' again.

Frozen's Mosin kicks like a mule. It was fun just experiencing that. It fell like it was MORE than the .30-06, but it's been a while since I shot that.

Frozen had issues with the iron sights on his DPMS AR-15. It was shooting to the side and with the rear windage sights cranked all the over it didn't get better. It was only after that he realized he was correcting the wrong way, and kicked himself for the mistake. Ooops. That won't help. He'll run up there and try it again real soon I am sure.

Near the end of the session, I relaxed a bit more and tried to boost my confidence shooting at the 25 yard target with the .22 and 1894c. THAT felt good. I was shooting tuna can size groups or smaller. Rabbit or woodchuck head size groups. The .22 makes me hanker for a pump .22 for more plinking goodness. My .22 even did ok at 100 yards. Here is the 25 yard confidence boosters from later in the day:

And a couple 100 yard ones.

Notice the .22 even made it out that far.

I noticed that regular milsurp ammo in the Garand shot better for me than the match grade stuff. Though Frozen's work with the good ammo showed it was probably my fault.

A spotter scope is critical for self critique at 100 yards. Hap Baker provides one at each shooting station, which is nice. I need to do something about rectifying that lack of gear. The one there was a cheap model, but it did the job quite well enough.

And next time I hit the rifle range I am going to have to adopt the same regimen as pistol shooting: Maybe go alone, and only bring one or two rifles.

My usual flaws applied. Go SLOW. Be patient. Squeeze the trigger. I need to work on ALL of that. When I DID settle and methodically breathed and squeezed that shots were much better. I want to have a few 100 yard targets I can be proud of.

Armed Canadian has offered to take me shooting, and he is an NRA instructor. Are you reading my Canadian friend? Any weekend in June would be great except for the weekend of the 21st. And all but the last weekend of June. I need to get more ammo for that session as I blasted through my spares down to the minimum inventory level.

The fun with that .22 at the 25 yard target, hitting rabbit-head sized targets makes me itchy for another .22 rifle. I might have to promote something to the Secondary want list.

So now I have recruited and taught, as best I can, a brand new shooter. Before this, I've rekindled the interests of other shooters than had been away from the hobby, and I got at least one to renew his dues to an organization that directly supports the 2nd Amendment. I've done the minimum requirement for gun enthusiasts. If we all did this, things like Heller would never be in doubt and zombies would be scared to come to this country.


breda said...

you have a girlfriend?

Finally!! ;)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Girlfriend? No.

Saucy Trollop? YES! She's a peach! And her rates are reasonable.

breda said...

peaches = juicy, not saucy

West, By God said...

Hey, drop me a line if you want to be included in the Newbie Competition.