Sunday, February 06, 2005

Took the kids shooting today

(Oh, please tell me Schumer or Hellary or Barbara the Boxer just keeled over reading that!)

For a change from the last two cold, miserable, icy weekends, it made it up to a sunny 60 degrees today. Being that it's been a while since any of us got to shoot, I packed up the kids, a couple of long guns and a bag o' ammo and went to visit the range.

Until we can do better, we go to Flintlock Valley in the Uwharrie National Forest. It's not a bad place for a public range. It's relatively clean, although not up to the standards of a private range, and they have nice heavy shooting benches if you're so inclined. Worst thing is that being public and unattended, you do have to pay a lot of attention to your fellow shooters, since sometime they are fellow "shooters", if you get my drift.

There are two ranges, one that's 100 yards and one about 50, and both covered. When we arrived, there was a fellow with his trusty AK-47 folding stock Evil Black Rifle (EBR) and a father/grown son team with 2 EBRs. I felt out-gunned, with a Ruger 10-22 for the kids and my latest acquisition, a Marlin Camp 45. At least we brought plenty of ammo.

During the first break, we took targets out to 25, 50 and 100 yards. I let the kids have at the 25 yarder first, and my daughter chewed it up as usual. My son, on the other hand, loves to go "BANG-BANG-BANG" as fast as he can, so I had to read him the riot act and threaten to send him off to the car. Suitably chastened, he settled down and started shooting nearly as well as his sister.

I tried the Marlin out on the 25 yard target and was surprised to be shooting about 4 inches high. I tried it on the 50 yarder, and was shooting even higher. Not too sure what that's all about. I'm going to have to do some research and maybe post on a few places where the truly knowledgeable gun geeks hang out.

While I was shooting off a bag, just to see if it was the gun or the shooter, suddenly I get a failure to go BANG when the trigger is pulled. Tried the standard immediate action drill; same thing.

"Now what?"

Checked further, and figured out the gun isn't' cocking itself. Not having any tools handy, I just packed it up and helped the kids shoot up that 500 rounds of .22 we brought. One thing I found out is that I can hit the targets just fine with that, so I think I have some sort of issue with the Marlin. Since it was bought to be a coyote gun (yes, we have those in North Carolina, much to my dislike), the point-of-aim vs. point-of-impact must be solved.

Back at the Freehold, I put on my amateur gunsmith hat and disassembled the Marlin. At least the problem was easy to find--the recoil buffer had shattered. Not broken, but shattered. I was a bit surprised, since I had changed out the recoil spring from the stock 11# to a 16.5# as so many have suggested. I guess it was just old. And some plastics don't take to all solvents, so it could have just gotten brittle. At least I got to have lots of fun picking all the broken pieces out...

Luckily, I had bought a spare (Have I mentioned I get a lot of good gun advice?), so I replaced it, cleaned it up (dang, but blow-back actions get dirty) and we'll try it again next trip.

After cleaning the Ruger ( I swear, the powder build up from this one trip was unbelievable), I decided to go ahead and swab out and reoil all of the guns in the safe. Given that all of the smithing and cleaning took about 5 hours, I think I'm going to have to set up a schedule for this. It's either that, or get rid of some guns.

Ack--what am I thinking! Let's see, if we do two every weekend, then it will take...

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