Things I learned at the range Sunday:

Went to the rifle range Sunday morning (finally!). 75 degrees, partly cloudy, almost no wind. My previous attempts always encountered either bad/rainy weather or high winds, making sighting in/performance checks difficult. Today was an EXCELLENT day to do both.

But I learned a few things:

1. The Sharps 1874 (.45-70) replica is a very accurate rifle. I was shooting 5 round groups (at 50 yards) where all the holes were touching once I got it on the paper. I could learn to like double set triggers…A lot.

2. That 17.75 lb rifle kicks like a mule…

On steroids.

A mad mule at that.  With a grudge. And a bad attitude. Whose wife just left him…. for his girlfriend. 

I’m gonna have to get a recoil pad.


3. Steel buttplates hurt an already bruised shoulder. Repeated attempts to verify did not change this phenomenon.

4. My first attempts at paper-patching pure lead bullets went very well. Good accuracy and good paper separation. You can find instructions for ANYTHING on the internet…I gotta load some more soon. Maybe my shoulder will heal in a week or so so I can try again.

5. Enough rounds begin to hurt…. Badly…. Then it becomes Not Fun.
Continued experimentation showed that this does not change with further shooting. Nor will the shoulder go numb. 

6. One should shoot the .22 rifle FIRST.

7. The scope on the Savage MKII rifle I won in the raffle can be as much as 20″ (L/R) off  POI (at 50 yards) and still have enough adjustment to move onto target.  (but that is a lot of clicks)

8. The Savage MKII rifle/scope combination is capable of shooting single hole 5 shot groups at 50 yds (even with a badly bruised shoulder) with Federal Bulk ammunition until I get tired and start to shake. Which is about 200 rounds.

9. Some people, say from Illinois, cannot learn to follow rules of firearms and range safety and must be asked to leave before they hurt someone else. And that, when called on it for the third time, double down on stupid by offering to shoot the other range users (all 9 of us) instead of following the rules or leaving.  (hint: brandishing (showing) a pistol (even if it never leaves the holster) in a threatening manner on an Indiana gun range is stupid. Eight of the 9 of the other range users were also heeled).  Discretion is, however, apparently even in Illinois, the better part of valor. They left. Thank God the rest of the range users showed restraint, let ’em talk their piece, and leave. Words are cheap, so they let ’em say their bit. But for a moment there, I thought someone was gonna shoot the asshole. and no, not me. I stayed the hell out of that part… , I just watched from the sidelines (behind the table, in fact) as the scene played out, even if earlier I did get in his face when he picked up and pointed the (tricked out with gadgets) AR (with a magazine in the well!) downrange when we were changing targets. (“What? It’s not loaded, man”…..) Glad they left and no one escalated the situation, and the only things exchanged were words. All the rest of us wanted was to shoot rifles safely. The rangemaster was, of course, late to the party and ineffective. Other range users said this had happened before. Disturbing. Maybe I’ll go to JP instead of Willow Slough next time. Fewer out of staters maybe. I dunno..

Chicago people…. WhatAreYaGonnaDo?

I fail to see how one man can be an effective rangemaster over 1000 feet of firing line and 100+ people if they aren’t willing to follow safety rules. But that is all the state pays for, so that is all we get. Especially when they don’t leave the air conditioned cabin.

It was, overall, an excellent range morning on Sunday. Even with the added out of state excitement.

I came home much more relaxed than when I left, which is, after all the point. 

6 thoughts on “Things I learned at the range Sunday:

  1. I'd be willing to bet I could make a tolerable leather pad that would fit over the steel one on the boomer.

  2. I think it would be possible to form fit something, and then make it lace-on. It would also be in keeping with the period of the rifle. Goatskin would probably be perfect.

  3. You Sir are a better man than I… I put about three rounds down range with one of those Sharps and put it down! That was enough for me! And those little Savages DO shoot pretty well 🙂 Glad the 'excitement' didn't escalate! That is NOT good!!!

  4. The last incident was….interesting to watch. Glad that I was not involved, except peripherally.

    35 rounds was enough for one range session. The rifle was very accurate though. Very. Had I been able to do more, I'd have taken it to the 100 yard range. Next outing will be at a range with 100 and 200 yard backstops. And I may have to drive a bit and go to the one with a 400 yd range just to see how I can do.

    But those buffalo hunters who shot 100+ buffalo in a day must have had shoulders made of iron.

    I really have no patience for those who are unsafe at a public rifle range. What you choose to do in your own backyard is one thing, how you behave when the safety of others is involved is another. I expect range safety to be adhered to at all times at a public range. And I am not shy about saying so. I really don't want to get shot by some asshole in an accident.

    Fortunately, others were also of the same mind that day, and handled things before I felt the need.

    The savage is more accurate than I am capable of being, I think.

  5. Please don't tar every Illinoisan with the same brush that you used on the sorry example that showed up on your range. Perhaps he was a Chicagoan or someone from Crook County, that while technically appear to be from the "Land of Lincoln" on a map, in reality dwell in an entirely different universe than the rest of us in the State. Sure sounds like the guy was a "Rahm-Bo".

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