Archive for the ‘The Range’ Category

Remington 870 barrels

December 23, 2008

I know that everyone loves to look at pictures of firearms so here’s a blog entry on changing a barrel for the venerable Remington 870.  Anyone can do it.  The 870 has been in production for a very long time.  It is a pump operated five shot 12 gauge shotgun.  The thing is as nearly trouble-free as a firearm can be.  There are all sorts of aftermarket accessories available for the 870 too from different barrels, chokes, magazine extensions, lights, lasers and different stocks.  It can be adapted for just about any use.  There is also a huge array of ammo available for it.

The 870 with a 26″ barrel.  I’d call this a sporting barrel.  You can screw different choke tubes onto it –

sg1Notice the relatively long length of the barrel.

First you need to make sure that the gun is safe.

sgSafety on.  Then work the slide and you can see that nothing is in the chute.  Although it looks like nothing is in the chamber I always stick my finger in there just to be sure that my eyes aren’t fooling me.  Check twice, save a life.  You have to do this every time you pick up a firearm, put a firearm down,  pass it to someone else or get handed one from someone else.  I don’t give a crap if you just watched the guy at the range that is handing you a weapon  make it safe himself.  You have to make it safe yourselfEvery time.  Every time you pick a weapon up or put it down make it safe.  Make it habit.

sg2Next, you work the fore-end slide back halfway, or more, towards the receiver.

sg3Then you unscrew the magazine cap.  You can see the cap attached to the shoulder strap.

p1010064Here I’m getting ready to slide the new barrel in.

p1010065Here the new barrel is being slid into the receiver and over the magazine tube.  You have to make sure that the ring on the barrel goes over the magazine.  It really slides right in.  If it doesn’t you’re doing something wrong and just start over again.

Screw the magazine cap back on and you are almost done.

p1010067Notice the shorter 18″ defense barrel.  This is a cylinder bore barrel with a bead sight.  It’s much better for defensive purposes than the longer sporting barrel.  It’s easier to swing around and get on target, particularly in the small confines of a house.  Being short (me) the shotgun feels better balanced with a shorter barrel.

Before you store the firearm, check again to make sure it is still unloaded and the safety is still on.  Trigger lock it and place it in your safe.

Getting out pics-

xc1Beautiful snow covered field on a beautiful day.

xc5Heaven.  This is the ceiling of my cathedral.  Beautiful old white pines.  They’re probably 100’+.

xcSki buddy.  SMACK that branch with yo’ pole.

The range

December 10, 2008

Got bullets?  Do you shoot?

Went to the range today.  Perfect day for me.  It was nice and rainy so there wasn’t anyone else there interfering with what I want to do.  When there are a bunch of people it’s a drag, so rainy cold days are great because it keeps the weaklings inside.

25 yard range

25 yard range

This is the berm for the 25 yard range.  I sighted in my red dot on the Saiga and then went through of box of 38s and also went kapow kapow with the 12 gauge.    I like using the 38.  It just feels right.  I’ll shoot at different angles and ranges.  Do you practice?  I’m no expert.  I don’t even pretend to know what I’m doing.  If I had the dough I’d love to take a class or two.  I’ve also been meaning to sign up for the IDPA stuff.

After getting warmed up and sighted in a bit I moved over to the 50 yard range.

50 yard range

50 yard range

This is the 5o yard range.  You see the little black thing?  That’s the target.  50 yards isn’t really far, but it’s still tough for me to shoot accurately.  I mean if my eyes can’t make out the target other than the red bullseye it’s tough to be more accurate than my eyes allow.  I hit the paper every time which is smaller than a torso so I figure I’m doing ok.    When I use the iron sights the target becomes the same size as the iron sights so forget about making out the different scoring circles on the target.

I ended up hitting the target stand.

target stand

target stand

This is the stand that I hit.  I wasn’t that far off.  There was a target in the upper corner where I was aiming.  I was an inch or two off.  The reason I show this is because, being new to centerfire rifles, I thought it interesting to see the damage that one can do.  The bullet went right through the 1/4″ (?) steel rod holding the target.  It just sheared it right off.  I also took one shot at a small (8″ diameter) pine tree.  It went right through, small entry hole and a rather large exit hole.  Shoulda taken a pic of that too.  Now I know that the bullet would go right through the sheetmetal of a vehicle without a problem.  It might even exit the other side, in one door and out the other.

With my stand now damaged I shot at a one gallon plastic milk jug.  That’s always fun, to see the jug dance around.  Movement is good.

If you haven’t tried shooting, it’s harder than it looks.  Forget about shooting the gun out of someone’s hand or shooting somone in the leg.  That’s TV and movie stuff.  And that’s before you even add in stress and adrenaline.



This is the evahl black rifle.  Boo!!  Are you scared?  It’s a Saiga 7.62 x 39.  It’s build on the AK platform and comes from the Izhmash facotry in Russia. I’m guessing I’ve fired over 500 rounds through it, but less than 1,000.  It has never failed me.  I have never had a miss feed.    That’s a cheap red dot on top of it, not that cheap really.  It has kind of a crazy side mount for the scope.  I wish I got a red dot with the various reticles.  Oh well, live and learn.

Anyways, as we’ve all heard practice makes perfect.  Do you practice?  Do you have more than 1/2 a box of shells at h0me?

Edit: Since my schpiel on retail some more news has popped:

“Seven metro Detroit La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries start liquidation sales on Friday, another casualty of Michigan’s rugged economy.”

“Office Depot will close 112 stores”


October 31, 2008

Today’s post is about skills.  I have two posts in the works.  One will be on knives and the other on getting out.

Just got back from the range.  I tried out some subsonic Remington .22 rounds.  Quiet, but they still make too much noise to shoot stuff in my suburban neighborhood.  I was hoping for a pfft rather than a crack.    Also shot the 7.62 * 39 Saiga.  That is fun.  What an easy gun to shoot.  Also, fired off a few .357 rounds from my S&W model 60.  Getting better.  Practice makes you better.  My goal for a rifle is to be able to shoot a paper plate from 100 yards with iron sights.  For my handguns it’s to shoot a small plate from five yards.  Of course I try to shoot from all different ranges, positions and angles.  I don’t want to try using a scope until I have the iron sights nailed down.

Onto today’s post on skills-

Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren’t you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

What skills do you have? This is my list of skills that I think are important to have. Of course it’s not all inclusive. There are many things that I can’t do that I wish I could.  Let me know what I’m missing.

Start a fire. If you don’t know how to start a fire, the main thing to keep in mind is that it is like painting, you need to get all your prep work done first. Before you touch the flame to the kindling you need to have everything ready. Start with tinder, then kindling then larger logs. You want to have all your gathering done before you start the fire.  You fire kit should contain matches, a steel and lighters.

Sharpen a knife. I like diamond stones. I’m going to have a separate post just for knives once I get the camera back from the wife. There’s a Halloween party where she works so she wanted to take pictures of all of her clients in the costumes.

Understand a variety of firearms. How to make safe, load, unload, field strip and clean. Learn how to use a pistol, a revolver, a lever action rifle, a center fire rifle and a shotgun. If you understand the basics for each one of these you will be in pretty good shape. You won’t be an expert, but if you come upon one you will at least (hopefully) be able to make it safe.

Cook a meal just using what you have in your pantry. I love to cook. You need to be able to mix a can or two of this or that and a bag of noodles and make a good dinner. Understand about cross contamination and how to avoid it. Know how to store food safely. Know what various herbs and spices taste like and how to use them.

Set up a camp and cook over a campfire.  Know to look overhead for widowmakers.  Don’t set up too close to some river or stream that may rise up.

Use a Coleman stove and lantern. Know how to fill them, pump them, light them and change a mantle.

Gardening skills. Know how to compost, understand NPK and micronutrients. I used to work with a very well paid lawyer (like $450 an hour, yup, that’s right). She went to all private schools that were very expensive for her education. She was interested in gardening. One day I was explaining to her about bees. She had no idea that bees pollinate and that without bees we wouldn’t have any fruit. Imagine that, not knowing that bees pollinate? Learn what USDA zone you are in. If you don’t garden buy a book and some seeds and start.

Be able to fix simple things around your home like a toilet that runs, fix a clogged toilet or clogged sink, a bad light switch or prime and finish the walls of your home. Know how to use simple hand tools.  Be able to replace a cord from an appliance or a switch from a lamp.

Understand the basics of how your car works. I don’t mean just turning the key and having it start. You should understand the basics about fuel, air and spark. Know where the battery is and how to jump start a car safely. If you have a standard transmission you should know how to pop the clutch to start it. You should know how to change a tire safely, how to check the fluid levels – brake, transmission, coolant, oil, washer, how to put air in your tires.

First aid skills. Understand how to spot an infection, redness, hot to the touch, maybe drippy fluids and how to treat an infection. Know how to perform CPR, how to take someone’s temperature, how to stop bleeding (direct pressure and raise the wound), how to prevent shock in someone. Know the difference between a virus and bacteria. Know what kind of bandages, dressings and ointments to use. Know the difference between different degrees of burns and how to treat them. How to get something out of someone’s eye, remove a tick or sew someone up. Know the basics of anatomy and physiology. Where your arteries and veins are and the basic bones of the human body.

That is all for now.  Knives and getting out coming up.

The range

October 28, 2008

Just got back from the range. Kind of a bummer. I like going first thing in the morning on rainy, cold, dark days. I generally don’t like people. Not that I’m a loner. I just don’t like to interact with a bunch of people I don’t know. That’s why rainy mornings are good at the range. If I go on a nice Saturday there are a ton of people. Everyone is nosing about everyone else’s business, which I don’t like . I like to mind my own business fire off a few rounds and be done with it. When I go if other people are there everyone is interested in what everyone else is shooting and how everyone else is doing. Sometimes they want to trade firearms so they can try mine and I can try theirs. Then if you need to reset your targets you need to wait until everyone on the line is done, make your guns safe, leave them on the table and then all go down to the targets like a herd of cows and reset them all at once then everyone comes back to the line like a herd of cows. God forbid your target blows over or something because then you gotta wait for everyone else to finish and be ready to go back down. In other words it’s more fun by yourself. I get to do what I want, how I want, when I want.

The other thing I don’t get is bench shooters. These guys can shoot a paintball hanging by string at 100 yards. They’ll take five minutes to fire off one .22 round. They always shoot sitting down and straight at the target. I don’t get it.

I like to shoot from different positions. I say to myself how often will I be shooting from a sitting position with a bench in front of me? Not very often. Because of that I shoot standing and kneeling positions. I like to move around too. Depending on whether I’m using a rifle or a handgun I’ll get up close to the target, maybe 5-7 feet for a handgun and 25 feet for a rifle. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll move back a bit. Bam, bam, bam. Then maybe I’ll move to different angles. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll move diagonally backwards. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll fire a round and step diagonally back to the left, fire a round and step diagonally back to the left. I’ll try to shoot while moving forwards.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s important to move around when you shoot. You need to be able to acquire a target, shoot and move out of the way, acquire a target, shoot and move, acquire a target, shoot and move. Move closer. Move farther back. Move straight. Move diagonally. IMHO, shooting practice should not be from a static position.

That’s another reason I don’t like going when others are there. It cuts down on my fun and it proves to them that I am nuts.

If you only shoot from one position you are making a mistake.

OBTW, the bummer is that there were like 20 cops at the range this morning. Cops are nosey by nature so it wasn’t a good trip to the range for me.