Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another window of opportunity opens

in the bleak cold & snow of winter for some plinking.

I distinctly remember walking into Canadian Tire with my Dad in 1974 to buy this Winchester Cooey 64(B) .22 semi-automatic rifle.

The High School Winter Fair was coming up soon and all I had to shoot with was my Grandpa's ole' Lakefield Mossberg semi-automatic rifle. Unfortunately, and not for lack of trying, could I hit the inside of a barn with it. Yes we had shooting events back then at our High School. The shooting range was actually underneath the library. It was common place back then to see someone walking up the street and into the High School with a rifle slung over their shoulder. Can you imagine the pandemonium that would cause nowadays?

Anyhow, back to the Winchester Cooey. I used this rifle almost constantly for four years. Weekend outings with the boys to the Cow Pond to shoot whatever we could find, squirrels, crows, the odd rabbit or skunk. Mostly we shot trees and dirt piles but squirrels were the most prevalent victims of our inconsistent marksmanship. When I graduated Highschool and got my first job on the CG ships I pretty much left the ole' .22 neglected and forgotten in the closet at home and there it stayed for over 35 years.

My Dad had to register the .22 when the Long Gun Registry came into effect in Canada. That was probably the last time we had discussed it until about a month ago when I picked it up from the homestead hoping to rehabilitate it for some added plinking fun. After a thorough cleaning, adding a new sling, bipod and Simmons 22.Mag scope it was off to the range for some fun. The first outing wasn't all that successful. It takes a little time to get the scope dialed in.

A few more rounds and some tweaking and I was getting closer. These were at 25 yds. Moving the target down range to 50 yds made it a bit more challenging but the results were better yet.

And then with just a few more minor adjustments. Bingo, nice grouping!

So like everything else I own it's old, a lil' beat up, rusty, crusty, crispy and oh so not shiny but it still shoots as well as the day I brought it home from Canadian Tire all those 40 years ago.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

When Hell hath frozen over

So what does a boat builder in Canada do when Hell has literally frozen over for a good 5 months of the year? Well that was a question I asked myself last year after I retired. I knew the winters would be long and boring and I have no intention of shoveling out or trying to heat the boat shed. So I thought back to things I used to do as a kid and plinking came to mind.

Back in the day, I'm talking mid 1970's. We used to shoot our .22's at the range below the library at the High School! Everybody thinks I'm wacko when I tell them that but it's true. The shooting range was indeed below the library. It wouldn't even cause an eyebrow to be raised to see some kid carrying a .22 rifle over his shoulder walk into the High School. Can you imagine the shit storm that'd ensue if a kid did that today? Different world we live in for sure.

Anywho, after retiring I decided I'd like to take up the ole' hobby of plinking. Looked into it and took the courses from an fellow retired Coastie. The course was demanding, the paperwork daunting and the waiting extensive.  Having worked in the Federal Government for over 30 years I know the speed at which Gov't works so I knew it would be a while before all the pieces were in place. I almost gave up on the idea when my rPal (Restricted Possession and Acquisition License) showed up in the mail around mid-July. I kind of let it sit for awhile as I was working on the boat.

I went back to work for the CG for a little while last Nov/Dec and with a little more money coming in I decided to 'bite the bullet' and order myself a pistol. After much research and online window shopping and researching it's reputation amongst the gun nuts on the Interwebs I settled on the Smith & Wesson M&P .22.

Pretty much everything I've read about this pistol is spot on the money. It's relatively inexpensive, I paid $419 USD for it and $75 USD for two extra magazines. It runs perfectly fine on bulk 'CCI Blazer' ammunition ($20.99 for 500 rounds). It doesn't like the Winchester X22 bulk ammo that much with quite a few Failure to Feed (F2F) and Failure to Eject (F2E).

Today was my 5th outing with the pistol. My firearms instructor, Fred Guse, is an accomplished shooter and excellent instructor. Fred joined me today to try out the M&P 22. I think he was suitably impressed with it's performance. I wasn't too surprised. Everyone's who's tried it really likes it.

It was a little chilly and we weren't properly warmed up yet but our first two attempts at 15 yds looked like this. (Fred on the left, me on the right)

 After a few magazines were emptied I laid down this slightly tighter grouping at 15 yds.

I'm really happy with that. Much better than my first few attempts. I've already changed the sights on the pistol to Williams Firesights which make it a lot easier for my tired ole' eyes to see.

 The other thing we did today was haul out one of the Cowboy Action steel targets. Now we're gonna do some plinkin'! Sorry I didn't get any pictures. Was too busy having fun!

So that's it. I apologize it's not boat building related but I was bored as hell! Thanks to Fred for a fun day on the shooting range!.