Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Shooter Report

I took my son and oldest daughter to the range this afternoon. The main reason for this trip was to try out my Christmas Present - a RIA 1911-A1 45 auto. I had a chance to try one of these several weeks ago at the range thanks to a generous stranger who let me shoot off a mag of his ammo. So I was anxious to see if I liked my own as much as I liked his. I did. It needs a little work though. The hammer bite on the web between my thumb and forefinger will need to be addressed. But overall I liked it. It shot quite well right out of the box.

Today was also my oldest daughters first chance to go shooting. It was a day of firsts for her. She is walking without her case/boot thing that she was worn for the last four weeks recovering from a bad ankle sprain. She passed her written test this afternoon and got her drivers permit. She got to go shooting for the first time.

OK, its not completely her first time. She has shot her brother's BB gun and his soft pellet pistol. But this was her first time with something that was gun powder propelled.

We started her out with the Browning Buckmark. She handled it OK. After a few mags of 22LR we moved her up to the 9 mm. She had a little difficulty maintaining a solid enough platform for the weapon and it kept jamming on her. When she was able to maintain a good solid base she did OK. She was able to bang the metal targets out around 60 feet about half the time with both weapons. She wasn't too amuzed when the 9mm ejected one piece of brass and it popped her in the nose. She did fire one mag through my new 45. But didn't really enjoy that. Then I created a monster.

Next I hauled out my old Winchester 250 22LR lever action rifle. She took to that like a duck to water. Her only problem was the first time I let her load it. She didn't lock down the inner tube when she was finished. So the first time she shot it, the tube shot out the front of the weapon and lay there on the ground.

After learning how to lock down the magazine tube, she did great. She started sitting down shortly after we got there because her ankle was hurting her. But once she discovered how much more stable she was that way, she turned into a plinking monster. After beating up all the knock down targets on the pistol range she moved over to the rifle range to shoot at the 100 yard target there. When I checked up on her after a while she was shooting at some metal silhouette targets at 200 yds and hitting them about a third of the time.

Mandy Shooting

I see now that I should have never waited this long to take her shooting. She had a blast. Next time she wants me to take the 30-30 and the .45-70 so she can give those a try. And of course the 250 again. I can see it coming already. I think I may have lost my 250 today. But I suppose that is OK. It was the first gun my parents bought for me when I turned twelve. I suppose it would be fitting to pass it down to my first born. Besides that would give me a good excuse to go get myself a new 22. Hey! I'm liking this idea more and more. I especially like that my daughter decided that her favorite weapon to shoot is the most affordable to shoot gun we own.

Oh, my son loved my new 45. The first time he shot it it really startled him. He was getting pretty comfortable with the 9mm so he wasn't ready for the recoil from the 45. But he adjusted quickly. I think I have created a recoil monster. He just doesn't get a thrill from plinking any more. He needs the big bang and the thump to get himself charged up. But unfortunately for him he is going to have to do a lot of plinking. I love shooting the larger calibers also, but the 22s are a lot cheaper to shoot.


Will Brown said...

Hi David,

Sounds like a good day was had by all. Just out of curiosity, what dimensions would you estimate the various targets to be?

I'm trying to figure out where the range is located in the IWV. It's obviously not near the old Police Pistol Range off the old NAF access road by the SNORT track (where I was taught to shoot back in the 60's by an old Marine named Otto Schneider who ran the local Jr. NRA program then). It was nothing like so expansive and was thoroughly dilapidated and defunct by the early 1980's.

From the mountains in the background and the afternoon shadows (based on the shooter stationed further down the firing line's apparel), I'm guessing it is somewhere just off of 395 and to the south of Inyokern. Am I at all close? :)

If you're serious about getting another .22, I'm having a lot of fun with my Marlin 981T which I recommend to you. The factory iron sights are serviceable and it comes with a scope mounting groove so otc rings attach without drilling. Mine has a Tasco 6-24x40 AO Target/Varmant scope mounted on 1" elevated rings so I can use either sighting method. Add the Harris bi-pod as well and none of you should have any difficulty achieving 1" groups at 100 yards either if the wind's from the right direction (it almost never actually dies away in Ridgecrest :)).

My best wishes to you and the family for the coming year.

David said...


Out at 200 yds my daughter was shooting at silhouette targets that were small deer and coyote sized. Not great marksmanship, but for a first time shooter - not bad. Especially considering that I treated this as a fun shoot. She was lectured about safety all the way out there. Then showed how to handle, load and aim the weapons then I turned her loose and just let her she what she could figure out on her own.

The 25 yrd targets that my son is shooting at, in the background, range from some small spoons that are a couple inches up to the fixed metal targets that are man sized.

It was late in the day and we packed up to head home about 30 minutes after the picture was taken because as the sun started setting the temps dropped and my son started getting cold. Not to mention that the targets were getting hard to see.

The range is south of Inyokern off the west side of Brown road about half way between Inyokern and 395. It is fairly new. I think it has only been there about 5 years. Once you turn off Brown road you can follow the dirt road about a mile further back to the west and find the Sage pistol range. My son's scout troop holds their semi-annual troop shoot camp-outs there.

I'll take a look at that Marlin. I would like to pick up another 22 that I can add a scope to. I just wouldn't feel right adding a scope to that old Winchester 250 that my daughter fell in love with. I think it is just meant to be an iron sight shooter. She is probably due for one more fun shooting outing with some higher caliber options then I'll make her sit down and really zero in that 22 rifle. It needs it, I haven't really sighted it in for years. So either it held up better than I thought it would, or she adapts better than I thought.

Happy New Year