New Shooter Report

Over the winter break my friend Diego and I took his cousin from Brazil out to the local shooting range. The cousin had fired some BB guns as a kid, but otherwise hasn’t fired a gun in years.
After clearing up a few misconceptions about guns in the US that many foreigners seem to have (everyone has guns, machine guns are common, people need licenses to own guns, etc.) and going over the safety rules, we headed out to the excellent Chabot Gun Club in Castro Valley, California. Alas, I had left my guns in Arizona, so Diego brought his .45 Colt lever-action rifle, a .44 caliber blackpowder pistol, and Diego’s new Walther P99. We had also brought Diego’s 12ga double-barreled shotgun, but forgot to bring slugs. Since shotshells are not permitted on the rifle and pistol lines, we were unable to use it.
While I had some difficulty explaining the various techniques due to a language barrier — Diego’s cousin speaks Brazillian Portuguese and has an academic knowledge of English, he has not had much experience with native English speakers, and so his practical English is only moderate…I don’t speak any Portuguese at all — Diego, who speaks excellent English, Spanish, and Portuguese, helped translate some of the more troublesome parts and all went well.
Diego’s cousin (whose name I don’t recall, unfortunately) had an excellent time, and quickly improved his shooting skills. I’d post some pictures, but Diego’s cousin has all the pictures on his camera. I’ll have to talk to Diego to see if I can get copies, as the cousin is back in Brazil.
Someone remind me not to loan my car keys to Diego when he goes to get something out of the trunk — he ended up locking my keys in the trunk, and so I had to call my insurance company’s roadside assistance to come unlock the door so I could open the trunk. It turns out that the doors to my car are trivially opened using a small wedge to open a small gap between the door and the frame and a long metal rod with a small hook on the end to reach into the cabin and flip the locking tab near the door handle. Never again will I leave even remotely-valuable items inside my car.
…..
Today my friend Alex (who has accompanied me on several range trips) and I invited Alex’s girlfriend Ayla to accompany us to the Tucson Rifle Club.
She was eager to come, as she’s been looking at getting a gun or two of her own in the next year or so after she gets out of college and will be living on her own. Without having handled any in the past, she expressed an interest in a relatively simple and reliable handgun like a GLOCK, but found that the mainspring in such a gun to be difficult to manipulate, and has ruled out such guns for the time being. I have no revolvers for her to try, but she enjoyed my Ruger MkIII .22LR pistol, even if she found holding the gun out at arm’s length to be somewhat tiring. We’ll no doubt find her some handguns she likes, but for the time being, she’s much more comfortable with rifles.
As usual, the suppressed Ruger 10/22 was a hit for starting out, particularly when shooting at a set of steel swinger targets (given to me by my lovely fianc?e for Christmas). Ayla rapidly moved up through the MkIII, through both of my AR-15s (though, as I expected, she preferred the adjustable-stock M4gery as she could adjust it to fit her comfortably), and finally to the M1 Garand (Rita, who has been a long-time range companion, called Ayla and insisted that she try the M1). While Ayla developed a bit of a sore shoulder from the M1, she really enjoyed it.
Here’s some pictures from the day:

As always, clicking on the image will enlarge it.
The spinner targets are supposedly rated for 9mm-.30-06 softpoint ammo, but I started out by shooting .22LR at it. The .22s made the spinners bounce back and forth, but didn’t actually spin around and lock in the up position. I fired a few 9mm Speer Gold Dot JHPs at the spinners (I don’t have any SPs), but had difficulty hitting it 30 yards away (each target is only about 4″ in diameter), but eventually did to great effect. While the manual says not to shoot FMJ ammo at it, I risked a few rounds of 9mm FMJ with no damage (not even any dents) to the targets. I even went so far as to shoot .223 FMJs at it, which rather soundly flipped the spinners around and didn’t have any deleterious effect on the free-moving spinners, but which left a small divot in the reset target which is very nearly fixed. I’ll avoid FMJs on the reset target, but it looks like the spinners will handle .223 FMJ without any problems…I certainly won’t toss .30-06 FMJ at it anytime soon, though.
I’m impressed at how bullet-resistant steel is, even against rather pointy .223 FMJs moving rather quickly. I may have to see about welding or clamping on heavier steel plates, at least on the reset target, so I can shoot FMJs at it with confidence.
Unfortunately, the trip suffered from an acute ammo shortage: I thought I had an extra 250-round can of Lake City M2 Ball .30-06 ammo, but it turns out I had only a few clips left. I’m also down to the last three magazines of .223 (turns out my goal of loading ammo for one magazine a day didn’t pan out), though I have components for a few thousand more rounds. Even my supplies of .22LR (~2,000 rounds) and 9mm (~600 rounds) are running low. Don’t even ask about 12ga or .30-30. Fortunately, while money is tight, ammo supplies at most vendors are also low due to high demand, so even if I had the money to buy more ammo, it wouldn’t be there to buy. Hopefully supply catches up with demand about the same time I get more money. 🙂

2 thoughts on “New Shooter Report”

  1. Way back when, I used to work at a military base commissary. I used to unlock 5 cars a day in the parking lot. I would NEVER leave anything of value in a car. I could open the locks on most cars in under 30 seconds. I opened a general’s Porsche in under 5 seconds, needless to say he was speechless and not at all pleased that his 60K car could be opened that quickly.
    Good luck on the ammo fund/donations.

  2. When I was in the army, our tanks were secured with a simple padlock — all of the hatches can be locked from the inside, naturally, but to secure the tank, you close and latch all the hatches except the loader’s (it’s the one with the hasp for the padlock on it), everyone gets out, then you close the loader’s hatch and put a padlock on the hasp.
    Assuming one had simple bolt-cutters, entering the tank would be trivial. Once inside, simply flipping the “VEHICLE MASTER POWER” switch and pushing the “ENGINE START” button would start the tank and make it ready to rock. No keys or anything.
    Looking back on it, that seems worrisome. 😛

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