Monday, February 21, 2011

Range Report

Email from Big Mike:



Big Mike

My reply:

Big Mike:


Mad Jack
Men of few words are we. I've noted in the past that Mike will often fail to affirm anything by email, considering a UNIX type response to be it's own affirmation. That is to say, no news equals success OR true OR yes. Big Mike claims he doesn't communicate well with people. I don't agree with that assessment. I think the real truth is that most of the people Big Mike encounters are on the other side of the bell curve, and Big Mike is not well-versed in primate sign language. I further observe that he is content in his ignorance. Still, dogs and cats seem to like him. As a case in point, Dante the cat will sometimes allow Mike to pet him. Excellent Rachmaninoff likes Mike just fine, but I suspect that Rocky's affection might be because Big Mike's Achilles tendons are conveniently located close to the ground and out of Mike's usual line of sight.

When I called Big Mike late Saturday morning, Mike told me he'd be over around 1:00 or so, "....which really isn't an issue because the bar doesn't open until 3:00." I'm beginning to wonder about my priorities here.

While I was assembling my gear, I pointed my browser at Free Printable Targets, and from there to Free Targets for Shooters! where I printed a few novelty targets. Like many things in life, this seemed like a good idea at the time, but then so does driving at 120 mph on an empty highway at 5:00 AM on a Sunday morning.

We arrived at The Bullet Stop around 2:30 and actually had to wait a few minutes. No problem; we shoot the breeze with the owners, play with the dogs and look at the guns under the glass. A short time later some guys left and we took a single lane. I let Big Mike warm up a little with his .22 Buckmark and I ran a clip through my Ruger .22 before I took out the new targets. Big Mike is somewhat dubious, thinking the targets are rather small. I make disparaging noises at his doubts and load up the first target - ten balloons. I resist the urge to offer a Kewpie doll as an incentive.

First Effort
Big Mike goes first, and after a brief argument Mike forces me to humiliate myself by trying to hit a target I can barely see at 25 feet or so. We both score four out of ten. My target is on the right side (First Effort) and what irritates me is that I shot consistently low all across the top line. Just an inch higher and I'd have conclusive proof of mediocre marksman's skills.

My Target
This is a lot harder than I thought it would be, and the dim light at the Bullet Stop isn't helping either of us. About midway through the next two targets the owner came out to try and fix the electric target return on the leftmost lane. The man complains bitterly that he'd run a private range for 20 years without a problem, but just as soon as he opened the place to the general public, "They tear the hell out of everything." The ceiling has bullet scars on it, and it's easy to see that the track has been hit several times. Probably closer to several hundred times. Okay, well then - when was the last time you changed the oil in a rental car? What bothers me are the holes in the ceiling right above the shooter's position at the beginning of the lane. There aren't just one or two, either. When the all clear shout is given, we continue.

Challenging Target
When I produced this target, Big Mike tried to back out. "No. There is no way I'm going to try that one." Mike is emphatic, but it isn't until I shrug and tell him I'm going to shoot one anyway that he relents. I don't know what Mike's problem is; all he'll lose is a little pride, and it isn't like that's never happened before. At 25 feet, these dots are impossibly small. They didn't look that small when I printed the target out at home, but the lighting and distance seem to have an affect on things. Anyway, mine is on the right side. We didn't do badly with this one.

Next we hauled out the .45s. Big Mike shot his Kimber, which has adjustable target sights, custom grips and a trigger pull that usually requires the services of a high quality gunsmith to achieve on a stock gun. I drag out Betsy, knowing I have my work cut out for me.

Shooting .45s
The only thing I can say is that Betsy has combat sights, which means that with my lousy eyesight Betsy's iron sights are vestigial at best, invisible at worst. My shots are good enough for government work, and I even manage to land a few. I'm happy in spite of my lousy score.

Final Target
Big Mike takes out his .380 and I load up my S&W 9mm. We've had enough fun and games for the day. Mike puts up a regular target which we hammer to death.

Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout
The bar being open at Maumee Bay Brewing Co., we had no choice but to stop in for a late lunch. I decided on the Breakfast Stout, which I haven't had before; It is excellent! This is possibly the best stout that I've had in a very long time. The only drawback is that it's quite filling. I had the cheddar cheese beer soup and a French dip sandwich, both of which were excellent. A good shoot, take it all around.

We have a new waiter at Maumee Bay, one who is conscientious and hard working. I recommend you ask for Ivan if you want the best service available.

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