Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Day at the Range: Sunday, March 21, 2010

What better way to spend a Sunday than a trip to the range followed by a civilized lunch?  My brother Big Mike and I put Mike's Chrysler 300 on the street around noon and headed for the Bullet Stop, about an hour down the road.  It's a nice drive when the weather is good, but not a trip I'd willingly take during the winter.

Bullet Stop
15445 West Walbridge East Road
Graytown, Ohio 43432

Closed Wednesday
Mon - Fri 6PM-9PM
Sat 10AM-6PM
Sun 11AM-5PM

Although the address is officially on West Walbridge East, the Bullet Stop is actually on Bullet Stop road.

The first time Mike and I came to the Bullet Stop we found it by process of elimination - there isn't anything else around that could hold a shooting range.  Seeing no one around, we sat out in the parking lot for a few minutes discussing just where the front door might be and whether or not we should walk up to the barn and try the door or give the whole thing up as a bad job and go somewhere else.  Obviously we tried the door, but only after we reassured each other that we were both armed and, if we were wrong, we could apologize to the owner of the barn on our way back to the car.

If you haven't been to this place before, I'd encourage you to give it a try.  Don't be put off by the desolation of the place or the rustic appearance, and don't retreat from the two large dogs that will greet you with fierce barking as soon as you open the door.  If you're a new shooter, tell the people behind the counter your story and ask for a tour or something.  They'll help you and they're friendly.  In any event, please be aware that the Bullet Stop, the owners and the patrons are all people who mind their own business.  Keep that thought in mind as you enjoy the range.

I took my Smith & Wesson K22 revolver with me and put 30 or 40 shots through it.  It's a difficult gun to shoot as the grip seems to be at an odd angle.  I managed to do pretty well, but I definitely shoot my Ruger Mark II a lot better.  Here are some typical results from about 30 feet, two handed, single action.

Target from my K22

I also brought along my Smith & Wesson model 59 double action automatic in 9mm.  I originally bought this pistol for self-defense, as it came with two 14 round magazines and the double action feature would allow me to carry it with one round in the chamber.  The gun is light and the 9mm cartridge gives the recoil a nasty snap.

Smith & Wesson Mod. 59, 9mm

I never did very well with this pistol and considered selling it several times, but one way or another I hung on to it.  9mm ammunition isn't exactly cheap either, but I had some 9mm stockpiled and thought I'd shoot some of it up and at the same time see if I could get the hang of shooting this S&W without embarrassing myself.  I didn't do too badly.

Target with the S&W Mod. 59

I may have mentioned this in another post, but the targets I'm using were designed and printed by my brother Mike, who became sick and tired of trying to hit a black target with black sights in a dimly lit shooting range.  Both of us are getting on in years and can barely see anything at 50 feet in dim light, let alone a black on black on black combination.  Prior to using Mike's target, if my sights vanished against the target I figured it might be time to torch one off.  My shooting has improved somewhat since the advent of the color target.

Big Mike brought his Glock 9mm along and offered to let me test drive it.  It's easier to shoot than my S&W.

 Glock 9mm

Target with Glock 9mm

The things I don't like about the Glock are the plastic stock, which gives it a strange plastic feel, the balance which doesn't feel quite right to me and the two stage trigger.  The Glock (as most people know) has no safety.  Instead, it has a two stage trigger with the first stage being the safety.  The things I like about the Glock is that it's set up nicely for the 9mm cartridge (other calibers haven't worked as well), it's been optimized for production so as to keep manufacturing cost down, and the sights are outlined in white which is a big help for a man of my August years.

Glock Sights

Mike finished up with his Kimber 1911 in .45.  The Kimber has an amazing trigger pull, even better than my V-16.  Mike did well with his Kimber today, completely humiliating his shooting partner, Mad Jack and using his final target to rub a little salt in the wound.

Mike's Final Target

As usual we went in search of a civilized lunch.  We tried the Maumee Brewing Company at the old Oliver House, but it was closed.  Second choice was the Claddagh Irish Pub.

Claddagh Irish Pub
5001 Monroe St, Toledo, OH

Eternal Patio Flame

For reasons best know to the leprechauns who work at the Claddagh, the eternal patio flame was lit.  The temptation to throw various combustibles into the eternal flame is not as strong as it once was, but I think that a few packs of firecrackers at the height of happy hour would do a lot to liven the place up.  The Claddagh is a good enough place to eat so long as you understand up front that it is not an Irish pub and never will be, that it is in Westfield mall and therefore expensive and that the service at the bar can require patience, as the bar is very often understaffed.  Past that, the food is good, there is sports TV, various kinds of beer (not Bud-BudLight-Mick-MickLight...) and overpriced top shelf whiskey.  The bartender, when you can get him, knows how to pour a shot and serve it straight up, neat, or on the rocks.

I had boneless wings, which I can recommend.

Boneless Wings at the Claddagh

All in all, this is a very good day.


Stephanie Lorée said...

I'm hoping to go gun shopping this weekend and try out the revolver that was recommended. I'll have to check out Bullet Stop some time as well.

Mad Jack said...

The Bullet Stop has quite a nice selection of handguns, but the display isn't conducive to traditional shopping. Still, it certainly is worth the trip. The owner would very likely let you test fire a used pistol before you buy it, which is a real advantage. There's nothing quite like buying a pistol then getting it to the range and finding out you can't hit anything with it. This happened to me once, and I promptly sold my purchase at the next gun show.