Good day shooting


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Dave Markowitz
October 25, 2003, 11:16 PM
Today I got together with my friends Todd, Frank and Nick at Nick's place in Chester Co., PA for some informal shooting. We lucked out with good weather and got a few hours of blasting in.

I brought my EMF/Rossi M-1892 Short Rifle in .357 Magnum, Winchester 9422 XTR Classic in .22 LR, Norinco 97 Trench Gun, and my S&W Model 14-3 .38 Special. Nick had his Remington 870 Express with his rifled slug barrel and an old Marlin bolt action .22. Frank brought his Sistema M1911, which he'd recently put some new parts in, and three new toys: a Ruger P-90 .45, a Bushmaster 25th Anniversary AR-15 type carbine with an EOTech dot sight, and a Marlin Model 1894C levergun in .357. Todd doesn't have any guns yet, but we're working on him. :)

For targets we first set up three pie plates with orange dots in the center, stapled to a piece of cardboard attached to a couple of stakes. We shot most of our rounds though at pieces of over ripe fruits and veggies that Nick got from a farmer's market (whatever we didn't blast was destined for his compost heap).

I started off with the Winchester, which I had recently put a tang sight back on after having the rifle scoped for awhile. The ammo I used for the most part was some crummy Winchester XPert .22s which I picked up cheap at Wal Mart last year for Ammo Day. Basically, I wanted to use it up because it isn't particularly accurate, and tends to be very dirty. The gun was close to being zeroed so I made a few adjustments and got it to where I wanted it shooting.

I was pleased to find that my Rossi '92 was now working perfectly. The last time I took it out I was getting all kinds of failures to extract. I sent it in for warranty service and now it extracted all the empties and ejected them vigorously. My ammo today was Sellier & Bellot .357 158 grain JSPs. The sights were right on and I vaporized a bunch of stinky rotting veggies today, although not as impressively as when Nick hit a red pepper with a 12 gauge slug. (Instant red mist.)

I am still having the problem with my Norinco's heat shield/bayonet lug sliding forward under recoil. After two slugs, it had moved forward on the barrel about a quarter inch, despite the coat of Loc-Tite that I put between the shield and the barrel. Since this wasn't fixed I cased the gun back up. I am considering drilling a small hole in part of the bayonet lug that accepts a stud on the end of the mag. If I do this, I can pin the bayone lug to the magazine, which should secure it.

Frank's Sistema also gave him some problems. He had Winchester 230 grain Ball, and a couple of times got failures to eject. In at least one instance, and empty failed to clear the ejection port, instead becoming jammed between the magazine lips and the back face of the barrel. This took some work getting out of the gun. I believe he's planning on putting all the original parts back in the gun. Naturally, his Ruger P-90 worked flawlessly.

His Bushmaster is a really nice shooter. It basically looks like their current "Modular Carbine"
(http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/pcwvml16f.asp), but has a 25th Anniversary inscription on the receiver and nickel plating on the forward assist and eject port cover. It's a limited edition, 1 of 1500. The tubular stock and pistol grip are both quite comfortable. The EOTech sight was pretty neat, but mounted a bit too low for my taste. I would've preferred that it be maybe 1/4" higher.

Frank's Marlin 1894C is very nice. It has the stock red fiber optic front sight which is extremely visible, but he replaced the open rear sight with a Williams peep receiver sight. It's quick handling and with these sights very fast on target. It would be a great short range deer gun and excellent defensive piece, IMO.

Nick put a few different kinds of ammo through his Marlin. His normal load is a Federal standard velocity target round, with a 40 grain RNL bullet at subsonic velocity. He usually keeps a magazine or two loaded with this stuff for headshooting groundhogs in his garden. The Marlin is an absolute tackdriver with them. He also tried some Aguila .22 Sniper Subsonic loads that I gave him awhile ago. They weren't markedly
quieter than the Federals and shot about a half inch lower at 25 yards. They did shoot accurately, though. Finally, he ran a bunch of my crummy XPert .22s through it.

We spent most of the time shooting at overripe pears, peaches, corn on the cob, and heads of lettuce, set on a log. He has a bit less than 8 acres with a lot of woods, so the bigger chunks of splattered stuff just got tossed into the bushes for the critters. We also did a couple informal penetration tests, in which we discovered:

* Cinder block is cover against a .22.
* Cinder block is NOT cover against .357 Magnum JSPs fired from a rifle.
* 4x4 solid oak timber will stop .357 Magnum JSPs and FMJs, even when fired from a rifle. This surprised me. It also stopped a .45 ACP round, although the slug severely cracked the timber.
* 5.56mm 55 grain FMJs fully penetrated the oak timber. It seemed tooffer less resistance than a slightly smaller green sapling which stopped my 5.56mms a few years ago up at Nick's.

After we had been shooting for a few hours, Nick's wife ran up from the house and yelled to us, "Get any firearm and come down here! There's a racoon near the chicken coop." Now, it's pretty unusual to see raccoons in broad daylight in SE PA, so we figured there was a good chance it was rabid. (Rabies is a serious problem in PA.)

Rocky could not have picked a worse day to swipe a chicken dinner.

Nick grabbed his Marlin and a full mag of Federals while Todd loaded his second mag, then ran down towards his house. I dumped about 5 or 6 XPert .22s (HV HP) into my Winchester and followed him down. By the time I got on the scene he'd alread put a couple rounds into the coon, which was thrashing about on the ground. So, I lined up and emptied my Winchester into his thorax, after which he stopped moving.

The coon was a mess. I poked it a couple of times with a stick and we figured it was dead, but a minute later it convulsed again. So, Nick put a round through its brainpan. It was a big raccoon, probably a good 15 lbs.

I am underwhelmed by the performance of the XPert .22s on the racoon. I wouldn't expect Nick's Federal target loads to pack much authority but I would've hoped that the high speed hollowpoints I was shooting would've worked better. I think CCI Mini Mag HPs probably would've been better, but if I ever have to shoot another varmint with the Winchester I hope I have CCI Stingers or Remington Yellowjackets in the gun.

Having seen the performance of .22 LR against a 15 lb racoon, I sure wouldn't want to use a .22 for defense against a criminal.

After wrapping up the shooting, we retired to the house for beer and sausages. That's what I call a good day.

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t driver
October 26, 2003, 11:49 AM
Great report. I'm glad you had a good day, and thanks for sharing your discoveries. :)

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