Submitted by forum member CDFingers:


Having done the journey from the hinterlands down to Chabot, I know what a drive of gnarl it is between Butte County and the Bay Area. I understand. When the weather is a bit nicer, it might be easier to entice more folks up here to the wide open spaces of rice fields, flying honkers, and shotgun hulls.

According to drigeba’s January 25 “A Personal View of Firearms Culture” blog, this was the smallest Liberal Gun Club meeting he’d ever been to.

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From my cursory cruise up and down the tables during target changes, I discerned that we had the only guns with wood on them. Many black rifles of newness. The gent next to us got a jam and was sort of getting impatient. We walked over and intervened as he was pounding the butt on the ground to dislodge a live round stuck in the breech–a sad newspaper article in the making. drigeba offered the perfect advice to do a field strip and take it to a gunsmith. The gent and his friends had other guns of joy, so that was cool.

A couple of millennial guys with EBRs sidled up to the next table.  We were wearing ear muffs while their ears whimpered in complaint, so I peeled off two sets of foamies from the outer pockets of my range bag. Then shortly later a 20-something guy and his six-year-old-looking son came in.  The child immediately put his hands over his ears, so I coughed up my last two sets of foamies for him and his dad. I’ll replenish my supply with coins salvaged from the couch–uncomfortable and only marginally effective.

Most tables had folks on them. At first we had a couple guys with semi-auto 12 gauge EBRs of some type.  A few times we saw pellets kick up dirt right in front of us as the shooter chased his bird. I cast the shooter an askance glance and he made a face like he understood–didn’t happen again.

I love public ranges, unsupervised on purpose so all humans can be themselves, which is not necessarily a good thing. One example noted was right at cease fire, as folks went down range–I asked drigeba to wait at the table while I went down range, and vice versa. Back in the day I wore a hand gun while going down range, but it’s much more socially acceptable when the guy going downrange is not carrying–there’s a guy back at the table who could castrate a fence lizard at 45 meters. Not that there’s much call for that, but a niche market could open up at any time. Those skills easily transfer to larger targets quite smoothly.

Because I love my Frankenmosin I brought it to drigeba for fondling purposes. No use to shoot that light carbine when we had the Mosin camo target rifle, so heavy it takes two men and a small boy to schlep it out of the trunk, so massive that recoil is reduced to an afterthought. That thought lasted a while, but not like if we’d been shooting the carbine.

This shot shows drigeba hunkered down inside the massive Mosin where you can see the range. That tall Devil’s Post Pile shaped mound is about 500 meters. We managed some shots at the 200 meter berms and some left-behind clay pigeons, the last of which mocked me several times until I successfully insulted its structural integrity with a 147 grain milsurp round made by one-armed illiterate peasant slaves. We found a couple rounds had the rim attached at– well, drigeba’s technical term for the precise angle was “catawampus….” This resulted in having to knock the cases out with a cleaning rod.

Here is drigeba behind the Mosin camo rifle.

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We each had work to do. Me, zero the Mosin camo at 200. drigeba to test several loadings of .30-06 with 165 gr plated bullets through a borrowed Chrony that ended the day unscathed. He recorded his data quite nicely in a paper notebook. Old school. I was comforted. He also sighted in some very nasty looking twenty gauge slugs. I was watching with the binocs of gnarl and I could see the slugs entering the paper. Watching stuff being shot is also fun. A spin off…

drigeba’s .30-06 and old school data base.

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Then I hauled out my Finn M91 B barrel, so long it was like a magician’s trick getting it out of the gun sock. We didn’t shoot it, but I wanted to show it.

Finally, out came the .308 Garand that I’m still not entirely used to. Cheap ass BMF that I am, I had only two clips.So each of us ran a clip and heard the ping. I must say I’m very impressed with the peep sight. I shot standing, my most difficult position, and I was hitting targets of opportunity at around 50 yards no troubles. I really like that peep. It’s close enough to my eye that somehow my personal dimmed and ancient eyeball focal length matches nicely. I’m still not used to the clinking and clanking of the Garand, but all that noise indicates parts and springs that absorb recoil, which makes it a very sweet shooing giant and heavy rifle.

Here’s drigeba behind the Garand.

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The neat thing is that each of us spotted .308 brass for the other guy so I could bring them all home. I’d gotten down on the ground looking for neat camera angles and lucked into the spot where his brass were landing. I caught six of the eight out of the air. I missed a pic getting the clip in the air. My goal for another range trip.

Me behind the Garand.

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I brought along the Vaquero and three hundred and seventy-four dollars worth of ammo, so we each shot maybe a dozen rounds. I love that handgun most. At a certain moment there on the table lay a .45LC round and one of those wanna-be .223 rounds. Pffft I say. You could drop a hand full of those into a .45 case and have room left over for a hot tub party for ladybugs. Not that there’s much call for that.

I brought the MKII for plinkage, and in the Mosin picture, about twenty thirty feet in front of drigeba you can see a little bowling pin made from self sealing hard rubber. I put plenty of .22 holes in it and hit it six or so times with the Vaquero to see what would happen. Bigger non-hole.

Some gear, all that .45LC ammo, my M91 Finnish B Barrel.

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drigeba said he “pretended to hunt” in the morning before hitting the range, then returned for more:

The quail hunting was better than I expected. but no wild morsels for the table. A dog more focused on finding small bodies of water with sticks to throw into them and my own tendency to be slow on the draw, or quick on the draw but missing the safety button contributed.. we did flush 2 coveys of beautiful wild quail. a treat to see them fly. Also lots of wild turkeys and a couple 6 point bucks.. The low, warm, winter afternoon light on the bare oaks surrounded us with sinuous, poetic tracery of chiarosuro line. I saw one other hunter the whole day. Or almost saw, dang camo fashionistos…

I very much enjoyed meeting drigeba, a very nice guy, focused on his load development, very organized in his equipment, with a very patient dog in the car. He was also the perfect size for a range coat I outgrew over the last fifteen years of archery. Nice coincidence. I came home with the grin, to clean in the back yard with beer and the radio–admittedly very awkward cleaning equipment unless one is well trained.

Good trip.



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