Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An interesting weekend at Camp Freehold

After the news of the week, the short trip to Camp Freehold was very welcome. Camp Freehold doesn't have cable or Internet, so you're connection to the news becomes rather old-fashioned and slow. Just what you need when the news is bringing you to that state of horrified fascination usually reserved for auto accidents involving multiple body bags.

Of course, the biggest topic of conversation was Hurricane Katrina/New Orleans/"What do you think will happen now?". I participated in those, but not for very long at one time. How many times can you say the same things without losing interest?

Far more interesting was the near-inevitable Saturday at the Range, starring yours truly, Daughter, Son and Old Friend. This week was "Shoot Cheap" week, featuring the Remington Sportmaster 512, the Sears 43, the Walther P22 and the Smith and Wesson 22A. The supporting cast numbered in the thousands of rounds.

We set up shop on the 50/100 yard range. Son had a number of crippled skeet from a previous outing, which he lined up at 50 yards. We pinned a number of paper targets at 100 yards and retired to the benches to see how we could do.

Son finished off nearly all the skeet with the Remington. The kid absolutely loves that gun, and he shoots it well. Now if I can just get where I trust him with that tubular magazine.... Old Friend was content to watch for a bit, lending a hand with reloads.

I got Daughter set up with the Sears, which she quickly tired of. She says rifles with scopes are boring, because it's too easy to hit the target. I took over a bit, and shot the pieces of skeet Son had left. He thought that was showing off.

After Son had the Remington well warmed, we moved him to the Sears for a bit while OF and I tried a bit of long-range pistol work with the 22A. After dialing in the sights, we found we could hit a 12" steel at 50 yards from a rested position. Not satisfied, we tried for a 12" steel at 100 yards. You know, there's a big difference there; more than 50 yards should account for. We were eventually able to hit it fairly regularly, with OF exhibiting a 50% hit rate to my 30%.

During this period, Daughter was sulking as only a teenager can do. Not being one to tolerate this sort of foolishness, I tried to jolly her out of it, which predictably failed. Then I tried another tack--if you think the targets are too big to use with a scope, let's try smaller targets. That got some attention.

Casting about for suitable field expedient targets, I saw some old shotgun hulls laying about. During the next cold range, I took a couple down to the 50 yard berm, and set them on top of some steel target posts.

"There, try that out." She went through an entire 17 round magazine in the Sears with no hits and more than a little frustration. "I know I'm holding it still enough!"

So I gave it a try, with OF spotting. It turns out the scope was a bit off zero. A few adjustments, and we were back in business. I was able to take the first hull. OF shortly duplicated the feat with the iron-sighted Remington.

Daughter is unimpressed. "That looks awfully simple." Arching an eyebrow, I asked her if she was up to a true challenge. Sure she was.

So at the next cold range, I gathered up some more hulls, replaced the ones at 50 yards and set up 6 more at 100 yards. Walking back, my aging Mk. 1 eyeballs can "sorta" see the ones at 50, and the ones at 100 may as well not exist. Even through the 4x scope of the Sears, I can just barely make them out.

Son demands to be let in on the game. We set him up with the Remington and the hulls at 50 yards; Daughter with the Sears and the hulls at 100. Setting to their tasks, Son draws first blood. Shortly after, the squeal from Daughter lets us know she too has connected.

In the end, Son has a better hit ratio, taking 15 rounds to knock down 8 hulls. Daughter took about 30 to knock down her 6 hulls.

Nope, no proud Poppa Freeholder here.

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