Archive for April 2008

Range Report

April 19, 2008

I went to the range yesterday for the first time in a good long while. I meant to shoot my new AK’s, but the range didn’t like the ammo I brought, so they will have to wait. So I shot my Sig Mosquito for the first time and also my P226.

I brought 4 or 5 different brands of .22 ammo to try in the Mosquito. The Mosquito comes with 2 different recoil springs, one for normal velocity ammo and the other for high velocity ammo. Well, I tried both springs with all the normal velocity ammo, and neither one would make my usual .22 ammo (Remington Golden Bullet) cycle worth a damn. I tried two boxes of Winchester Super-X. The first box went fine, the second one had random trouble, starting off with the first round in the mag but then it got progressively worse. Maybe I should try it again, being careful to rack the slide all the way back rather than simply actuating the slide catch to chamber the first round. Anyway, this is probably no surprise to anybody, but the only ammo that would cycle with 100% reliability was CCI Mini-Mag. I shot 200 rounds of it with no problems. I would have shot more, but I felt that it was insultingly expensive at the range I was using ($8/box).

Then I switched to my P226. I have 10 15-round mags (stocked up when I found them for $20) and one 20-round mag. First surprise: I really liked shooting with the 20-rounder. It’s nice to have that little extra bit on the bottom to grab hold of with the left hand. I have been getting more and more comfortable with “cupping” the bottom two fingers of my left hand around the bottom of the right, but it’s nice to be able to wrap them around the extended mag. Anyway, I went through all 11 mags twice, meaning a total of 340 rounds of 9mm. Ammo was purchased reloads through a local reloading business. This was my first time shooting this ammo, but it all worked great, and I will definitely buy from them again. (Once again an extended range trip with no failure of any kind from my P226. Next to me was a lady with a brand-new custom-job compact Kimber that her husband got her for her birthday. Really pretty gun. She had at least two jams. *sigh*) All appear to be Winchester brass, with 115gr ball ammo. I think the guy said that it’s UMC. Whether because of the shape of the bullet itself or the seating depth, the overall length is noticeably shorter than my usual Winchester White Box 115gr ball.

During that long session, I would say that I definitely improved. This was all off-hand, two-handed grip in a Chapman stance (didn’t know that until I just looked it up…. thought it was a Weaver, but I lock my right arm straight). I kept everything at the same distance…. it wasn’t marked, but I think it was either 5 yards or 7 yards. The dumb kid at the range desk didn’t know exactly. And there were some variations — I tried to stop the motorized target-holder thingy at the same mark each time, but it’s an inexact science. Anyway, here are my best targets of the day:

Top-left target is the final target with the Mosquito. (Only pay attention to the 10 holes on the Shoot-N-C…. others were from earlier.) Not entirely happy with it, but it was my first time shooting it, and it’s a little small for my hand. Bottom-left target is from just unloading with the P226. I can’t remember how many mags this was – at least 5. You can put a lot of ammo downrange pretty quickly if you have enough loaded magazines! The silhouette target is 3 consecutive mags (15-rounders) with the P226, taking my time but not dragging my feet. First mag shot into the middle, gave me a 4 1/2″ grouping or 3 1/2″ if I drop the flyer. Second mag was shot into the head, group is 8 1/2″ (one flyer in the neck covered up by the other target) or 3 1/4″ dropping the flyer. Third mag was aimed at the “7” at the bottom of the target, 4″ group or 2 1/2″ without the flyer. The first four shots of that group were within about an inch. I was so excited. The target on the right was my final one of the day. I was really happy with the results of the silhouette target, so for this last one I shot two 15-round mags fairly rapidly. You can see that I hit the Shoot-N-C with all but 3 shots.

You may also notice that my shots tend left. I guess I need to adjust my sights.

So, there it is. I am posting this here for two reasons: 1) to make a record for myself to check my progress over time; 2) to get a “sanity check” on what’s considered “good enough” or what kind of groups a well-trained shooter will get with similar pistol and ammo at similar distances. Say 5 or 7 yards. I am not talking competition-level here, I just mean somebody who’s good with a pistol. I want to get better; I am still practically a novice. But at the same time I wonder how much better I can get, practically speaking. I guess the goal will be to have those 2 1/2″ to 3″ groups *every* target, and then work up my speed. I think that I’ve only gone to the range with my pistol 10 times or so. I haven’t really been keeping track, but that sounds about right over the past year. I have had one instruction session from an older friend who was a state champion pistol shooter in his younger years.

This is way longer than I wanted it to be. I’ll just cut it off here and ask, broadly, for advice.