Sunday, November 2, 2008

On Slaying Pins.

Today was the first big downpour of the year, and it was predictably awesome. Rain, and the cold, gray, overcast days that come with it, invigorating. (There are varying schools of thought on this, shockingly.)

One side-effect was the de facto cancellation of the Saturday night steel shoot. Last year, all four of us crazy people blasted away merrily in similar conditions, and it was buckets of fun, even if the ground in front of the ammo table was a mudpit. This year, the only attendance was Fearless Organizer, another regular, and YT. We blasted suspended pins in the covered 50-yard range, shot bull about sighting systems (fiber is useless except in sunlight, or if someone is kind enough to shine a flashlight on your gun while you're shooting), and generally had fun.


- If I ever get mugged by a gang of pins at fifteen yards, those suckaz are going down hard.

- Bowling pins have a limited lifespan as targets. When multilated sufficiently, they will disgorge a shower of splintery entrails, leaving an empty, shredded resin casing. It's a pretty cool effect to watch, especially if you like George Romero movies. Time to find some new pins, though...

- Shooting suspended pins is easier than it sounds at 50 yards, if you have your fundementals down. The first magazine was great, but as fatigue and The Flinch set in, the shots vs. hits ratios skewed heavily against the desired results. Which is to say I missed a hell of a lot.

- Interestingly, the 155gr reloads I shoot (5.7gr Titegroup, about 1100 FPS) are flat-shooting enough that they seem to hit POA at that extended range.

It was a rare and pleasurable set of circumstances. Shooting a handgun encompasses a huge range of activities, and sampling new ones is always fun. Furthermore, setting a high goal (pins at 50 yards) and just touching it is a powerful drug. It says, essentially: my gear is good, I have the potential, I know what needs to be done; do it. The challenge level was spot on - hard enough to make succeeding an achievement, but not impossible. It's also a huge confidence booster. On the other hand, I'm going to have to pow-wow pretty heavily with messrs. Ball and Dummy.

Those moments are why I enjoy shooting - I refer to the act of chucking projectiles with a firearm, not the care, feeding, and study of the firearms themselves. While making those chunks of metal go where they're supposed to is theoretically straightforward, the refinement is never-ending. With so many variables, there are thousands of small goals which one can set and overcome - shoot group this big, master this trigger pull, hit this target at this range, shoot this fast, control recoil, and so on - and overcoming each of those goals is incentive to keep going.

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