Rant and Range Report Follows:
Tried today to go to the normal gun range I go to. It's a county range, has stations at 7, 15, 25, 50, and 100 yds. All slow fire, no drawing from the holster, won't allow concealed carry at the range, etc. But it's got on-staff rangemasters, and the cost is $10 for the day, you can come and return for no extra charge. They get a little crowded around hunting season, but all in all a decent place. Well, they're closed due to range renovations which may take a month or so. Idiots shoot out the fencing and partitions, so it has to be rebuilt. Not wanting to pay $15 per hour to shoot I headed off to the national forest gun range in Ocala. Plus I had some .223 loads and .308 loads I wanted to evaluate, and the other ranges are handgun only, 50 ft. maximum. I also had some .45 ACP 200 gr. LSWC bullets I wanted to test.
I get to the range, and it's crowded. Not because it was packed, but because it didn't have a lot of room under the shooting bay. They had 50 ft., 25 yd., 50 yd., and 100 yd. target areas set up from end to end, with 6 handgun and 6 rifle bays. The county range has 6 for each range. Bays were numbered with targets that you had to move around to the appropriate range for you, with numbered spots. No rangemaster, you waited until folks called the range hot or cold.
So I get there and wait for a bay to come open for handgun or rifle. One did but then I had to wait an additional 15 minutes for a "cold range" call so I could hang my target. I got positioned right next to an older gent with a Savage .22-250. When we had a cold range, I went out to the #6 target (my bay) with my target. Mr. rifle shooter was there, trying to figure out how to pull up the target and move it out. I politely pointed out that that was the target for my bay number, and that if he needed one farther out, there were others available at a more appropriate range for his rifle. He mumbled something and went shuffling off. Did I mention that the bays were marked, as were the target stand positions?
We get ready to go hot, call hot, and one guy starts walking down range. I shout out "whoa, whoa, whoa!" and we go cold again. The walker (who is friends with the .22-250 shooter) said he didn't hear a call for a hot range. Then another fellow mentions that he wasn't able to get a target, and they search for a stand for him. Seems a group of "tactical" shooters was shooting .223, 9mm, and .380 at 50 ft. and 50 yds., so they had twice as many targets as needed. They grudgingly gave up a target so the other fellow could shoot. It was pointed out at this time that there were two targets in lane 6, one at 50 ft. (mine) and another at 50 yds. (guess whose?) I said I was shooting pistol at 50 ft., so it must be a rifle shooter at 50 yds., as the targets were new, fresh ones for sighting in a rifle. The gentleman next to me looked on blankly. They guy who was in need of a stand got himself situated, then had to come back to get a target to hang. He didn't run to do that, either. More waiting.
Range went hot and I started shooting the Woodsman Match Target at 50 ft. so I could assess how good I was going to shoot today. Not super, but adequate. Shot 40 rounds of evaluation and warmup. I then tried out the 200 gr. LSWC loads in my Colt and Springfield 1911s. I had loaded them with 6.2 gr. of Universal Clays and had loaded them to two lengths, to see what worked best. My groups were decent, all things considered, about 2" - 2 1/2" at 50 ft., which is what I was shooting with the Woodsman. That let me know that the group size was caused by me, not the ammo. Groups were a little low, so I'll bump up the powder to see if the greater recoil will move them up. Recoil was relatively soft. The slightly longer rounds hung up twice while feeding, so I'll keep with the shorter length and go from there. About halfway through, I had to stop shooting because the .22-250 shooter (shooting at target 6 at 50 yds.) was leaning into my station while the fellow who had walked over the line during the hot range call boresighted the rifle for him. Anyway, they got situated with a 3rd fellow spotting for them from 2 bays over. He had himself and his spotting scope set up right in the middle of the walkway.
I fired off some more .22 ammo at the target, bringing the total going into the target at about 135 (60 .22 LR and 75 .45 ACP.) I didn't retrieve the target because it appeared that the shooting would go on for a while before it was cold, and I also decided not to shoot the rifles due to the crowding over there.
As it got to the end the "tactical" shooters started popping off some rapid fire. Not accurate, but they made a lot of noise! They said that they wished the table for shooting wasn't there so they could have a "good" tactical drill: 30 rapid fire AR rounds, transition to your sidearm, run that dry, pull out you pocket backup and run that dry, then get out the backup piece in the ankle holster. I kind of wished I could have seen that, because by the end of all that exertion they would be very winded. They also were a little clutzy, and grabbing anything out of an ankle holster would have been quite a feet for them. I'm uh, not sure how they'd have done that without a stool.... I also left because I noticed they were sweeping people down on their end with "unloaded" firearm. There was also a guy blazing away with his AR on the rifle range. I wanted to walk up to him, pop him on the back of the head, and say, "You're blowing away all of your ammunition. Mister I Hate Americans gonna make Swiss cheese out of you. Slow down your fire."
I'll go back again, but early. Hopefully before it gets too crowded. Mostly, I'm waiting until the county range opens back up.
On the other hand, I now have a working .45 ACP lead bullet load thanks to Buford, Teach, and CPJ. The Tennessee Toilet Bowl Lube worked great, no leading at all.