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A day at the range with Uncle Spats

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Spats McGee, Sep 19, 2022.

  1. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I mentioned in this thread that I would soon be taking my nephews out to shoot for the first time. I don't want to derail that thread, so I've started this one. My nephews are fraternal twin 16-year-olds. Before Saturday, neither one had ever shot a gun, at least according to my sister-in-law. They're pretty cool young men, but fairly typical of their generation in that they seem to spend a lot of time in their heads, rather than doing things with their hands. Admittedly, that's a lot like their Uncle Spats.

    Anyway, about 6:45 Saturday morning, I left my Airbnb to head up to the Hobbs State Park Shooting Range. I used the map thingamabob on my phone, which is displayed on a screen on my dashboard to navigate. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to turn "avoid highways" off. This would cost me LOTS of time later, but it meant I saw some absolutely stunning scenery. IMHO, there's very little that can compare to dawn over the Ozark mountains. Anyway, the range has 5 shooting lanes and the range goes out to 100 yards. We only shot at 25 yards, but I suspect we'll be moving the targets out at future range trips. It's also free, so I was only going to be out time, ammo, and targets. I got there just a few minutes after 8, only to discover that 4 of the 5 lanes are taken. I grab the last one, and start setting up.

    I'd been hemming and hawing about what to shoot for several days, but finally settled on my 10/22. It was my Standard Issue rifle about 40 years ago, but over the last couple of years, I turned it into, well, kind of a training rifle for new shooters. I figure if I'm going to try to be a good ambassador, I need the right rifle, right? This one has a Hogue stock and a red dot. Even though it's not in this picture, I put my Dead Air Mask on the end, and spent a few minutes at the range dialing it in at 25 yards with the ammo we'd be using (Federal bulk pack). Low recoil, suppressed, with an easy-to-use red dot. What's not to love?
    1022 Trainer 002.jpg

    Sure enough, the boys promptly started wearing out the bullseye. As you might imagine, they liked that. They liked it a lot, in fact. So they took turns, swapping out every couple of magazines, until each one had done several (4-6? 8?) mags. I wasn't keeping a real close count.

    Then we decided to change things up a bit. I'm still old school (or maybe just old) enough that I think every shooter should learn to use iron sights. So next up in the rotation was my Ruger American Rimfire. I had a Nikon scope on it at one time, but that one's been moved over to The Rat. I kept this one as a no-frills, iron sights, .22 bolt gun. So I moved the bipod over from the Standard Issue Trainer, and let the boys try their hands on iron sights. No suppressor on this one, at least not this time.
    RAR, irons, 002.jpg

    As I'm sure you can all imagine, their groups were a little bigger than with the red dot. Nonetheless, I am pleased to report that both of them took to "walking" their shots in pretty well. Once they started to get the hang of iron sights, they started wearing out the bullseye again.

    So by this time, they've had a taste of red dots and iron sights. Obviously, this range trip would not have been complete without trying a scope out. So I moved the bipod one more time, and we set up The Rat. Big, heavy barrel, suppressed, bolt action .22, and a Nikon scope. Again, what's not to love?
    RAT sniper 001.jpg

    You really should have seen their faces when I put CCI Quiets in the magazine . . .

    By the time we finished with the Rat, we'd been shooing for a few hours. I had plans later, so it was time to wrap things up. I didn't want them to leave the range without shooting at least one pistol, so I gave them a choice: (a) Mark IV 22/45s that I'd brought; or (b) centerfire handguns. They chose centerfire, since they'd been shooting .22s all morning.

    First, I dragged out Black Betty. ("Whoooa, Black Betty! Blam, bla-blam.. I said that's no lie....")
    [​IMG]
    She wears different grips now, but is otherwise the same. The nephews were a little nervous about Betty, so I shot a magazine first, just so they could watch. We loaded up Wilson 47Ds with 230 grain military surplus ammo and, as expected, Betty ran like a top. I will also say that every time Betty goes to the range, she reminds me of what a soft and smooth shooter she is. Each nephew put a couple of mags through her without any trouble whatsoever. Unfortunately, the wind blew our target down before we could shoot the pistols, so I just had them shoot into the berm.

    Finally, I got out the Shield Plus. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't know what kind of Recoil Voodoo the engineers at S&W did, but all 3 of my Shields have been amazingly soft shooters. My Plus is no exception. The boys had no trouble handling recoil in it, and one of them even preferred the Plus to the 1911.
    [​IMG]

    All in all, it was a very successful day at the range. The next time they come down, we might go to the range, or we might just spend some time taking guns apart for cleaning. We'll just have to see.
     
  2. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

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    Great thread Spats!

    I will raise you, the Ozarks for Lassen National Park. One of the most amazing places in the world.

    Lassen.jpg

    That and spending the week/end in the desert with friends and family.

    dss06_setup62.jpg
    dss06_2ktgt71.jpg
    dss06_hmv71.jpg

    Plenty of guns for new shooters and almost unlimited range to shoot.
     
  3. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    @Mk-211, I'd be lying if I said that wasn't beautiful country.
     
  4. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice guns, Spats, and a good job too! How accurate is the Rat?
     
  5. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    More accurate than this old man, for sure. I haven't been able to use anything to mechanically or electronically measure the groups yet, so I'll put it this way: Off the bipod, I can pretty well put as many rounds as I want in a 1" bullseye at 25 yards. At 50, 3-round groups inside ~0.75" are totally possible, even for me.

    ETA: The above estimates are all with bulk ammo. I haven't even worked very much with "serious" ammo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2022
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    "Serious" ammo would whittle that down for sure, but at a price.
     
  7. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    Hopefully they're hooked for life now. Maybe on a future trip, you could let them check their iron sight ability without aid of a rest. A bit informal for range work, but popping cans offhand can be a blast too.
     
  8. lightman

    lightman Member

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    It sounds like a fun day. You're a good uncle!
     
  9. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, I'm with you there. I'm an incurable, unrepentant plinker. I just don't have any place to do that around here.
     
    Howland937 and gyp_c2 like this.
  10. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Spats

    Great choices to take to the range with your nephews! For first time shooters I always take my Ruger 10/22 for a rifle to try out along with my two favorite .22 s: my Beretta Model 70S and my Ruger Model 512.
    All three are capable of some pretty decent accuracy, especially when using CCI MiniMags and Wolf Match Target ammo. And of course there's always the fun factor of just plinking around with them too!
    QYdcOc3.jpg
    Iy1KUPJ.jpg
    9o6Ud60.jpg

    For more experienced shooter there's the 9mm. (Browning Hi-Power) and .45 (Colt Government), to bring along s well.
    52xA8NW.jpg
    yW5GObY.jpg

    On a side note, while looking at the photo of your kitchen I couldn't help but feel a certain familiarity with this place; as though I have seen it somewhere before.

    I find this as somewhat strange as I have never been to your house or even know where you live for that matter.

    Oh well...
     
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    1022 Trainer 002.jpg
    eZupERg.jpg
     
  12. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Very well done, Spats.
     
    Spats McGee likes this.
  13. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    That’s not even my house. I had rented a house in Fayetteville, AR through Airbnb. It looked like a good place to take pics.
     
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  14. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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  15. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    Thanks for sharing; sounds like a fun time with the nephews.

    I think you may have sold me on a Shield Plus at some future date, but I will point out that you shot it AFTER the 45 ACP 1911, so that may have altered perceptions a bit, compared to if you'd gone to that after the 22 rifles. ;)

    As for cleaning next time they come down, I recommend you get them good and hooked on shooting BEFORE introducing them to the pain of cleaning. :D
     
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  16. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    That’s fair, but I have to say that I do find a .45 1911 (or at least mine) to be a pretty danged soft shooter.
     
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  17. rambo2_981

    rambo2_981 Member

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    That’s a great story.
     
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  18. jar

    jar Contributing Member

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    And I have to admit that I do find the Shield 2.0 45acp softer shooting than even my full size 1911.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Sounds like a great day was had by all, you just can’t top that. :thumbup:

    You just may have created two more “future shooters” that will understand and enjoy firearms (and vote pro 2A when they’re old enough!).

    Stay safe.
     
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  20. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Keep it up, Spats. Teaching new shooters is enjoyable and helps keep the shooting sports alive.

    I am planning to go on Saturday morning and might get to introduce my 3 year old great grand daughter to her first experience firing a 22. If I have to wrestle her uncle for the privilage I'll lose but I think I might take her papa. If the kid gets to choose it will most likely be her uncle. Maybe he will be busy with his 4 year old. He started at 3 but still needs close supervision of course. The 14 year old is the only one that gets to do her own thing but we keep an eye on her too.
     
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  21. JEBruns

    JEBruns Member

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    Good on you! Sounds like a great day. The range you were at is my local range, I shoot rifles there quite a bit. But not handguns, since the closest target is 25yds. It's busy this time of year since hunting season is here.
     
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  22. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I just checked the weather report this morning and if the guesser hits it the range trip is probably off and the afternoon fishing trip at the park for them certainly is as the wind is supposed to keep increasing. The only way to know for certain is to look out the window Saturday morning.
     
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  23. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    Good on you! ..for introducing younguns to the wonderful world of sport shooting. A lifetime of memories was born.
     
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