By August 27, 2007

Runnin’ and gunnin’

Duke and I went to our local indoor range on Sunday. I normally go to introduce people to shooting for the first (or second) time (see here, here, here, here, here, here for the chronicles of some of my time as a firearms ambassador), but Sunday was reserved for “me.” Usually I am too busy concentrating on the newer folks to really focus on shooting better. That’s all well and good, but I don’t get much time to be over-critical of myself. I never wanted to be one of those people who got their permit, bought a firearm, and let it sit in their closet (or hang on their hip) for months without firing it. I need to get better.

Anyway, so we’re at the range. The Glock shoots just like it always does. Reliably. Coarsely. I’ve become accustomed to this; the gun is very small for a .40 caliber and even with the extended magazine the recoil is a bit tough to control. Duke rented a Sig Arms P226 Equinox, also chambered in .40. It is amazing to feel (and see) the difference between a full-sized semi-automatic like the Equinox and my Glock. The Equinox was quite a bit larger, heavier, and thicker than the G27. The upside is that it was easier to shoot more accurately. Duke was punching the X out of his #5 target at seven yards. I was very surprised to see the fist-sized groupings from my G27 shrink down to a two-inch bunch. The downside to its increased size and weight is that there’s no way I would consider it for concealed carry.

One of the big problems with shooting at the indoor range is that you have to buy their ammunition. This is bad for two reasons: you pay out the ass for ammo (over $17 for a box of .32? HORRY SHITZ), and the ammo you buy is generally dogshit. I hope that the Glazer ammunition I bought yesterday was the issue, but my Guardian suffered significant feeding problems, especially when I shot twice in rapid succession. I probably had eight jams and mis-feeds out of a box of fifty rounds. I also had one round fail to detonate, despite three very heavy strikes onto the primer. The folks at the range believed it was the ammunition — one of the rounds was at least three or four millimeters shorter than it should have been, for example — but now I am getting nervous about my backup “elf gun.” Some of my friends have had problems shooting the Guardian, especially when they are light with their trigger pulls. The last thing I want is to pull the trigger in a bad situation and have the gun go “click” but not “BANG.” I should just sneak in some of my carry rounds (Federal Hydro-Shoks, for those at home playing along) and see how they shoot.

After the frustration with the Guardian, I was ready to get down with the get down and kill some paper people. Duke handed me his Maverick 88 shotgun. This shotgun is a great value. Maverick is the entry-level brand for Mossberg, who makes my tip-top 590A. The M88 model comes with a longer barrel and fixed plastic stock. Duke swapped out a shorter barrel and an adjustable T6-style pistol-grip stock with a recoil pad. The shotgun will be used only for home defense, and had to fit his reach in addition to the reach of his shorter wife, Pixie. One of the few complaints against my 590 was that it was too heavy for some. As Duke configured it, the Maverick 88 is much lighter. It has a six-shot tubular magazine vs my 590’s nine, but really, let’s be realistic. If you’re in a situation that requires more than six 12 gauge shells … eek.

The Maverick 88 shoots quite easily at twenty-one feet. I was able to keep the muzzle under control easily. In the video, you may be able to see me cut the red ring of the target out by shooting around it. The pump’s action was smooth, and I was able to crank off all six rounds in rapid succession. The unfortunate reality is that the aftermarket stock and lightness of the shotgun makes it a real pain to shoot — literally. My shoulder is still tender, and Duke’s M88 ranks just behind my Mosin Nagant M44 as the most harsh longarm I’ve ever fired. Again, this shotgun is for a very limited purpose. It’s not for hunting, it’s not for shooting trap or skeet. Comfort is probably last on the list of criteria. I was impressed, although the pain in my hand afterwards made me rethink a pistol-grip for my own shotgun.

All in all, a good day. Practiced my handgunning, identified a potential problem with my backup gun, and got to try out a new shotgun. Good times.

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