A Day At The Range

Yesterday, the range was without shooters, and quiet. It also happened to be a gorgeous, sunny day.
Being empty is not a naturally tenable position for a range on a day like that, so this shortcoming was corrected by myself and about 14 other people from the University of Arizona.
Quite a few of the attendees were previous shooters, but there were several people who had never fired any gun whatsoever: our Brazilian-born physics lab TA Regina, my astrophysicist friend Louis and his roommate Brody, fellow physics students Alex and Colin, and several friends of a few of the other attendees (I’m terrible with names). A photographer from the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the university newspaper (which has a greater circulation than many small-town papers), also attended.
One of the attendees, John, is a faculty member at the university and a stamp collector. That is, he possesses several NFA-regulated firearms (each of which requires a tax stamp, hence the name) including a full-auto M4, a full-auto MP5 and several other such items. I have but one stamp, and it’s for the suppressor for my Ruger 10/22.
While some pictures were taken, most of us were focused on shooting and having fun rather than taking pictures. I’ve included some of the pictures below. All the pictures from the event can be seen here.

New shooters were started out on the suppressed 10/22, which helped them get comfortable with the mechanics of shooting without having to worry about recoil or noise.


As they became more comfortable with each type of gun, they “graduated” to something new. Many enjoyed the AR (with collapsible stock M4-type rifles being very popular with people of smaller stature).
To those who question the necessity of collapsible/adjustable stocks on rifles, I urge you to look at this photograph. Doesn’t look very comfortable, does it? Regina’s not a very tall person at all (right around 5′ tall) and the fixed-stock, 20″ barrel AR is just too big for her to hold comfortably. An M4gery with a collapsible stock and a 16″ barrel fit her much more comfortably, and she enjoyed it much more.


The shotgun and the AK were also quite popular.

As was the M1 Garand. Alex is a big guy (he’s a former wrestler) and makes the M1 look small.

While many shooters enjoyed the larger-caliber pistols (in this photo, Regina shoots the XD-45), the Ruger MkIII .22 pistol was the clear winner in the popularity contest — a satisfying amount of “bang” and minimal recoil make it one of the most fun guns on the line. I had several people inquire about how they would go about purchasing such a pistol, as they had so much fun with it. I really should get it threaded for a suppressor, as I’d imagine it’d be extremely quiet indeed.

The best is saved for last — a full-auto MP5 (and later, M4) on a private “action shooting” range made for a exciting conclusion to the day. New shooters these days are lucky, getting to shoot machine guns on their first time out to the range. Maybe if more new shooters experience this, we’ll be able to get the 1986 ban repealed?
The only downside to the day was that the Daily Wildcat photographer got too close to the scope on a .308 rifle, got beaned right between the eyebrows, and needed six stitches. Even so, he says he had a great day.
In short: A beautiful day, an excellent range, and people having fun made for a most excellent outing. Top it off with two .50 cal ammo cans filled with brass (most of it .223) and an excursion to the local, non-chain pizza shop, and it ranks pretty highly on the list of “ideal days”.
Firearms Used
– Several Ruger 10/22s (.22LR)
– Ruger MkIII (.22LR)
– M1 Garand (.30-06)
– Several AR-15s (.22LR and .223)
– M4 (.223)
– HK MP5 (9mm)
– Marlin 336 (.30-30)
– Springfield XD-45 (.45 ACP)
– Several Glocks (9mm and .40 S&W)
– Several bolt-action rifles (.30-06, .308)
– Mossberg 500 (12ga)
– Taurus revolver (.38/.357)
– Jimenez J-22 (.22LR)
– AK variant (7.62x39mm)

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