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May 06, 2007

Saturday Shooting

Sorry about not posting yesterday. I went out with some friends to a gun range in New Hampshire. New Hampshire, because they let you rent and fire submachineguns there.

They also had a turret-mounted minigun there, but I doubt they actually let anyone fire that.


It was my first time shooting a pistol and first time shooting a submachine gun. I had shot a .30-06 rifle a couple of times in high school, and later someone brought me to a NY range to shoot on my birthday. Alas, in NY, absent a license and your own gun, they'll only let you shoot .22 LR plinker rifles. Fun, but not really the shooting experience I'd hoped for. After about a half hour shooting that dinky rifle, the magic kinda wears off.

So this was my first time with handguns. Strangely, the gun range didn't have a real Colt 1911, so I had to settle for a Sig that was kind of similar to the classic Colt.

I also went for the 9mm Baretta, which was my least favorite just because the double-stacking mags were a pain in the ass to load. Took forever to load them up. Of course I also went for the .44 Magnum -- fun gun, big kick -- and later an H&K 9mm submachinegun with a suppressor. I didn't really want the suppressor, but it's what it came with. Could have gone with an Uzi, but the one they had for rent had a wooden rifle stock and didn't look like the classic Uzi you always see in movies, so I figured why bother with that.

Also could have gone with a cooler Steyr or H&K in .45 cal, but I was getting tired of paying inflated prices for .45 ACP rounds and figured I'd just go with the cheaper 9mm.

Next time I'm stocking up with my own ammo.

Here's what I found: I didn't really like the Baretta at all. I understand why the .45 ACP is so wildly popular -- the gun seemed to just handle better despite the somewhat larger caliber. I could fire faster with the Baretta -- a bit -- but it just wasn't as satisfying and natural as firing off the .45.

The .44 Mag had the suitably huge kick I had hoped for. My second favorite part of the day was blowing through all six rounds of the .44 as fast as I could shoot 'em. No idea what the hell I was hitting, but I enjoyed getting the barrel really hot.

The submachinegun was a let-down. Fun to burp out six or ten bullets in a second or second and a half, but the gun was so damn easy to use it felt like cheating. So much easier to control than a pistol.

As I was walking out I asked about the rental price for a ludicrously large revolver-- an S&W in .50 caliber Magnum, with cartridges nearly two inches long and a full half-inch across. I had thought about renting this mega-gun earlier, but I figured they'd rape me for a box of 50 cartridges for the gun. But it turns out they were fully aware it was a bit of a novelty gun, so they sold the bullets in five round packages. Which, owing to the big size of the cartridge, is enough to fill the revolver.

So I rented it. Now, the thing is, 1, it's a huge gun, and 2, they made me more anxious about it by telling me to load one bullet, then skip, then load one more bullet. They required this, they said, because they had experiences with the gun where the recoil would be so great that a shooter would accidentally fire the next cartridge into the ceiling after the first shot bucked his hand. So, only two bullets in the five-bullet cylinder, with a skip between them.

Anyway, my first shot with it was caught on video. I'm sharing it because it's funny, and I look like a complete dork. I flinch from the shot like a sissy, but seriously, this thing does pack a wollop, and it was my first shot. A shot the guys had made me pretty anxious about.

The thunderous noise and major kick of this thing obviously won't come through on video, but you can hear the "Whoooooaaaa!" of the person recording it. I'm told someone else caught a good picture at the actual instant of firing, with a big luminous flare shooting out of the gun and lighting me up; I'll maybe post that later.

I can only describe shooting it the way Indiana Jones when asked to explain the power surging out of the Ark of the Covenant: "I don't know... fire... lightning... the Wrath of God."

I had seven shots with this total (everyone else in the party took one shot each); I don't have any video of the later shots, where, hopefully, I looked a lot cooler and in control. But I guess it's funnier to see me spazzing out anyway.


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posted by Ace at 04:31 PM

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