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September 26, 2021

Gun Thread: Dream Date Edition!

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Howdy, Y'all! Welcome to the wondrously fabulous Gun Thread! As always, I want to thank all of our regulars for being here week in and week out, and also offer a bigly Gun Thread welcome to any newcomers who may be joining us tonight. Howdy and thank you for stopping by! I hope you find our wacky conversation on the subject of guns 'n shooting both enjoyable and informative. You are always welcome to lurk in the shadows of shame, but I'd like to invite you to jump into the conversation, say howdy, and tell us what kind of shooting you like to do!

Man did the past week ever go by fast! I made it down to the farm last weekend and did some shooting with my new amigo Thicc Boi, which is reported in detail, below. Not much else going on other than starting to think about getting ready for the TXMoMe, and I'd really better get busy on that because that will be here before we know it - October 22-23 in Corscicana, TX in case you didn't get the memo.

With that, let's get to the gun stuff below, shall we?


So last weekend was a lot of fun! As you may recall, one of the raffle prizes at the NoVaMoMe was a Dream Date with yours truly at WeaselAcres for a day of shooting, and our pal Thicc Boi was the big winner! The weather forecast was bueno and we agreed Saturday would be the big day. I headed down on Friday to get some chores out of the way and was ready to go when Thicc Boi arrived right on time Saturday morning. Prior to meeting at the farm, I'd asked Thicc Boi if there were any particular type of shooting he'd like to do and he mentioned working on rifle fundamentals, so I sent him a copy of the syllabus we use for the TXMoMe Rifle Clinic and suggested he look it over ahead of time. He did just that and came prepared with notes and lots of great questions.

First Stupid Thing I Did
Before leaving the house, I packed a range bag with an assortment of handguns for TB to try, and promptly left the whole damn thing at home, so TB gets another trip to the farm at some point to shoot those. I did manage to remember the rifles, two of which I have done videos on in the past, a match AR and a Springfield M1A, as well as a practice gun in .308 Winchester.

Anyhow, we set up lawn chairs and a white board in the shade and went over many of the topics included in the syllabus; basic setup including ammunition, optics, MOA vs. Milrad conventions, ballistics and computing firing solutions, breathing, and a little bit about the effects of wind. Thicc Boi had a bunch of excellent questions showing he had clearly spent time reviewing and thinking about the material. Which leads us to the...

Second Stupid Thing I Did
Next we broke out the guns to do some practice and started with the AR. This is a gun I put together with the idea of competing in mid-range matches, but never got around to doing so. Anyhow, I took it out of the case, set it up and popped off the scope caps. I briefly noticed the elevation turret was not set at zero, but was in such a hurry to put a round down range and impress TB with my mad rifle skillz, I did not stop to investigate or really even look at where the elevation was set. I was pre-occupied and dismissed the other-than-zero setting as something I must've done when zeroing the rifle last time I had it out.


I always return the elevation to zero when I'm done with a rifle for the day. Or at least I almost always do so. That should have been a bright red flag to slow the hell down and figure out what was going on. But NO! I am the Great Weasel! Full speed ahead!

BANG! *snick!*

Snick? What the hell is a snick? I missed the damn target at 100 yards, that's what! The *snick* I heard was the bullet impacting a tree who knows where downrange. Turns out the last time I'd used the rifle was a year ago in Texas when our pal and delightful 'ette Ladyl was making a target at 600 yards look stupid. Yep, that's right, I had something like 11 MOA of elevation dialed on the scope.


I was immediately reminded of our recent discussions of accidental and negligent discharges, and frankly believe this falls into the same category. I have no idea where that bullet was headed at 3,000 fps, but fortunately there was a tree above the target to stop it from putting someone's eye out in the next county, or worse. I looked right at the elevation setting, saw that it was wrong, and went right about my merry way and pulled the trigger. Very careless and unprofessional. I have shamed myself and my ancestors.

Anyhoo, after that safety lesson on what not to do we proceeded to shoot for the rest of the day, practicing some drills and stopping frequently to discuss various concepts. Near the end of the day, TB brought out his SCAR and beat up the center of the targets with that, too. I have to say TB is a very good shooter already! Over dinner that night at a local Mexican place, I asked TB if he'd write up a range report and he obliged with the following.

Greetings Horde!

As the fortunate winner of the Dream Date with Weasel raffle held at the recent VaMoMe, I have been burdened with the glorious purpose of coming up with a range report. After venturing deep into the lush verdant hills of rural Virginia (and several GPS incidents including almost driving into some guys front yard) I ended up at the entrance of WeaselAcres where I was greeted by the bearded, burly, cigar-chomping man himself: Weasel.

After unloading the gear and shooting the breeze for a bit, Weasel switched right into coach/instructor mode and did a deep dive into what is required for consistent precision shooting. A multitude of subjects were covered including ammunition selection, gear setup, rifle and scope mechanical zero, parallax, MOA, angle shooting, ballistics and atmospheric conditions, elevation, and windage. Weasel is certainly one of the best instructors I've ever had, he took his time covering the material and patiently worked with me to understand some of the trickier concepts.

Once that was done, it was time for practical applications with some steel plates at 100 yards and first up from Weasels' selection was a custom AR. This particular beauty had a bull barrel, custom bolt with a charging handle, Magpul PRS stock, custom scope rings, and a 32x Nightforce scope. Weasel took the first shot and he quickly and assertively established dominance by sending a shot straight through a pre-existing hole in one of the steel plates.

Well, either that or Weasel was demonstrating a lesson: if the scope is supposed to be zeroed @ 100 yards but the dials are at 11 then the shot might be off.

Or possibly Weasel just completely whiffed the shot. I leave that up to reader discretion.

After that demonstration, Weasel handed the rifle to me with some regular Federal ammo and worked me through an exercise where I was adjusting the scope in an effort to land four shots that would make a "square" around a particular area. In addition to that exercise, Weasel was also showing me the importance of having a stable base for the rifle and instructing me on aspects of judging windage, including through reading heat mirages.

Once we were done with the AR, next up from Weasel's selection was a bull barreled Savage bolt action rifle chambered in .308. Equipped with the ever delightful Savage Accutrigger, what was probably a McMillan stock, custom scope rings, and another 32x Nightforce scope, it was a magnificent setup. We started off with M80 ball ammunition and achieved 1-2 MOA, which for me was about all I was expecting. But then Weasel decided to reinforce the lesson about feeding the gun ammunition it likes and brought out some Federal Gold Match. What was 1-2 MOA dropped to sub MOA and far exceeded anything I had ever accomplished before.

The final of Weasel's rifles that I got to try out was the sexiest: a gorgeous Springfield M1A. No optics on that one, just iron sights, but with it's tuned trigger I was still able to comfortably get it on target. That was a very big confidence booster for myself as I never shoot with irons.

And to wrap things up, we took out my SCAR-H. A fine piece by my standards and one that was able to stay on target but one that also reinforced a lot of lessons I picked up during the day. Firstly, there is a world of difference between the 6x optic I was running on the SCAR and the 32x Nightforces that Weasel was running. Secondly, a tuned trigger is so much better than a stock trigger. A tuned trigger with consistent pull over all platforms simplifies at least one aspect of the process. Thirdly, the SCAR really didn't seem to differentiate between the M80 and Federal Gold Match, which means I need to experiment to find what it really likes. And finally, while the standard buttstock on the SCAR is cool, it's ill-suited for establishing a stable base.

That concludes the range report portion of the Dream Date with Weasel. Even a week later and I am still processing all of the information. But the biggest thing to me is that as a shooter I have to evolve from beyond the mindset of "place reticle on target and squeeze trigger". I need to, as Weasel says, "compute the firing solution". I don't always have to fully account for all of the factors because in my normal conditions it would only cost me 1 or 2 MOA which is fine for me. But I always need to have those factors in mind if I want maximum precision or should the conditions change.

Finally for those of you on the fence about the TxMoMe, I highly recommend getting off of the fence and going. A treasure trove of knowledge and lifetime experience is going to be there just waiting for you and you would be hard-pressed to find a better or nicer instructor than Weasel. Not to mention the general chaos and mirth that happens when a bunch of Morons get together.

Very nicely done, Thicc Boi! Especially the nice parts about me! Seriously, TB is a very capable marksman and I look forward to having him back down at the farm and shooting with him again. Regarding the TXMoMe, TB is right on point here too; the material we covered last weekend was straight from the Introduction to Mid-Range Shooting guide used in the rifle clinic each year. If you're interested, contact Ben Had for details. Oh, and Ben Had mentioned last week in the comments that chairs are being provided at the MoMe, so no need to bring your own.


First up, our pal Hairyback Guy has a few pics he'd like to share.

Here are some pictures of my AR-180, AR-180B and SVT-40. Whig requested these to look at the operating gas piston system for the AR-180's I mentioned in a previous Gun Thread. The AR-180 class of rifles derive their operating system from the Soviet SVT type of automatic rifles. Basically it is a fixed gas piston which feeds gas from the barrel to a gas piston "cup" which then pushes back on the op rod to move the action of the bolt. I believe Stoner and his crew adopted this system with a little tweak by adding another "cup" behind the first gas piston cup to smooth out the action over Tokarev's initial design. All three are great shooting rifles even if a little dated. Also, the AR-180 type has a nice reversed dovetail mount which allows a scope to be quickly and easily mounted to this type of rifle.

1 AR180 SVT40 scaled.jpg
AR180 and SVT40

2 AR180 SVT40 Gas Pistons scaled.jpg
AR180 SVT40 Gas Pistons

3 AR180 SVT40 Gas System scaled.jpg
AR180 SVT40 Gas System

4 AR180 SVT40 Op Rods scaled.jpg
AR180 SVT40 Op Rods

5 Scope Mount Pic1.jpg
Scope Mount and Human Arm

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Scope Mount closeup

Very cool, HBG!


A couple of weeks ago our pal Pillage Idiot axed a question on the potential accuracy of handloads. It really is hard to believe how much more consistent handloads can be, which is mostly a function of the scale and speed and condition of modern production lines.

Here's a video tour of the Norma Factory.

Any speaking of production, here's a peek inside the Sig Sauer plant in Arkansas with a discussion on daily volume.


Speaking of ammo, our pal Doof sends an article on the history of modern ammunition. Very interesting, thanks Doof!


Our pal AHL recently sent in the following video on the distances of actual gunfights.

Our pal Honda found it interesting enough to try it out at the range!

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I thought the "Rule of Three's" video was pretty interesting and decided to add a little of that to my regular practice. I held my pistol close into my body per the recommendations, mostly at mid-chest height. I'll need to practice that more and make sure I find a comfortable position.

A couple of things kind of surprised me:
- How accurate the hits at three yards were, without aiming (see above)
- How many jams I had because I wasn't bracing as effectively as I should (6/36 shots)

Anyway, I thought I'd pass that on as a heads up to anyone else who might be interested.

Very interesting, Honda! Thanks for sending this and very nice results on the target, too! Anyone else practicing this method?


Gun Basics 101
We have talked a lot about the need to practice and the benefits of solid instruction. This is especially helpful for the new(er) shooter and can be a huge confidence builder. Signing up for a shooting class is a great way to start learning the fundamentals. Here's a video with the She Equips Herself girl on what to expect in a shooting class.

The important thing is to sign up and GO to a basic introductory course. Believe me, a good instructor will put you at ease and be able to get key points across without being overbearing. If you're nervous or self-conscious as a new shooter, don't be, and believe me when I say it becomes much easier as you go along. If this is you, please drop me a line and we can work through it together! Remember; every single solitary 'expert' in the world was a new shooter at some point, and went through exactly the same thing.

Finally, our pal Snidely Whiplash, who is a certified NRA Instructor (with no direct affiliation with the NRA) his own bad-self, sent in the following link where NRA instructors can post their courses for people to find. Thanks Snidely!



I'm really very seriously not kidding around anymore. Buy Ammo
AmmoSeek - online ammo search tool
GunBot - online ammo search tool
SG Ammo
Palmetto State Armory
Georgia Arms
Target Sports USA
Bud's Gun Shop

***Mail Bag***

No gun funny received this week. Y'all suck!


Please note the new and improved protonmail account gunthread at protonmail dot com. An informal Gun Thread archive can be found HERE. Future expansion plans are in the works for the site Weasel Gun Thread. If you have a question you would like to ask Gun Thread Staff offline, just send us a note and we'll do our best to answer. If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are always welcome!

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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posted by Weasel at 07:00 PM

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