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April 17, 2022

Gun Thread: Easter Edition!

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There's a hare in my scope!

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!

Happy Easter! We all know Easter is a time for buying ammo and going to the range and sending Weasel range reports, don't we? Please be cooperative and fulfill your Gun Thread Easter obligations!

FLASH! Big News!! The 2022 NoVAMoMe is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th! and signup details on the main page left sidebar. Given its wild popularity, tickets for the Saturday June 11th event are going fast, so add some fun to your otherwise uninspired daily existence and register today! Let's be realistic, what else do you have to do on Saturday, June 11th? C'mon, man! It's not like you're doing anything on Saturday, June 11th, so why not sign up for a day of fun with your blog pals on Saturday, June 11th? See below for details and registration info!

This is MoMe season, with other Moron gatherings on the calendar in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Texas. Holy Shitballs! It's a dang MoMe-palooza! Take a peek at the main page left sidebar, find a MoMe near you, and sign up to attend one. You won't regret it!

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


Training Basics

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I often have the good fortune to work with new shooters introducing them to the shooting sports. In this case I am not talking about teaching advanced long distance shooting techniques, but rather spending time with the average guy or gal who has expressed an interest in firearms. Maybe they have a handgun, or are interested in buying one, or sometimes they are just using one of mine. Whatever the case, they may be a beginner, or sometimes even have a little bit of range time under their belt and are looking to improve their results.

In the abstract, shooting is pretty simple. Point the gun at the middle of the target and without moving it, squeeze the trigger. BAM! Bullet hole in the exact center. Congratulations! You're fully trained.

What do you mean it's not that simple? Did I leave something out? Perhaps a strange and mystical incantation to appease the range gods? Point the gun at the target, don't wiggle it around, and pull the trigger. I don't know about all y'all, but that's what I do and it seems to work. What's your problem?

OK, Weasel is using hyperbole to make a point. If I were to make a list of the things to do, it could be as short as those three big points, or as many as a dozen or more smaller individual points within each needed to get to those bigger outcomes. How in the world do you learn (or teach) all the myriad steps necessary to develop consistent and repeatable grip and stance mechanics, sight alignment, and trigger control, in a single day? The answer is you don't. You can't. It's impossible. You may run across someone who appears to be a natural shooter from time to time, and that's great, but it takes a lot of time and practice to become a really good and consistent shooter.

The point I am trying to make is you need to approach learning to shoot incrementally. Don't watch a bunch of YouTube Videos and read a bunch of gun forums (this one excepted) and head to the range expecting to be Wyatt Earp on day one. It simply isn't going to happen, and what you will likely do is pick up a lot of other people's bad habits in the process.

So what Weasel Teachings do I have to offer? What is the WeaselWay? Let me offer you some points to consider.

Establish and Manage Goals - A day at the range looks much different for someone who just wants to shoot for funsies during an afternoon, and someone who has set an objective of becoming a better shooter. Sometimes goals can change over time and the casual 50 round once-per-year shooter decides they want to up their game. No problem with that, and in fact I encourage it because I like shooting, however, the paths they take are very different. Goals are individual but a reasonable one for a new shooter might be something like 70% of rounds on target. Take your targets home and study them. Keeps records. If you aren't achieving your progress goals, then analyze why.

Establish and Manage Expectations - Have a plan. If your plan is to have fun for a few hours and forget about shooting until next time, then just have fun and forget it until next time. If you want to become a consistently better shooter you have to practice and that means an investment of time and money. If you do not want to waste your time and money, then a training plan with sensible goals and milestones is in order but again, manage your expectations. Despite my earlier characterization, shooting consistently well is not as easy as it seems. Some will pick up good shooting habits more quickly than others. It's part art and part science, and do not expect to master any of it quickly. Everyone has bad days at the range. Make whatever caused you trouble on your last range trip the first thing you concentrate on the next time at the range.

Learn the Fundamentals First - First things first. Learn the basics until they are second nature. Do you learn advanced mathematics by starting at the back of the book? Of course not. You start at the beginning, and it's no different with shooting. Stance and grip, sight alignment and trigger discipline are all elements which must be learned individually and applied collectively. Much of the process is just learning the correct technique and applying it consistently through muscle memory. Think of it like riding a bike, at first you're all wobbly and crashing into stuff but with enough practice it's second nature. Shooting is precisely the same way. If you develop bad habits, you'll eventually have to unlearn them and are just making the hill steeper. Picking up a gun and finding the right grip should come automatically. Same with a good sight picture, trigger habits and all the rest.

Smart Practice - Your time and money are valuable, so be smart on how you spend them. Again, have a plan and at first do not try and apply everything at once, which almost always returns disappointing results because there is much to master. Start with grip and stance, then sight alignment, then trigger discipline as you practice. Pick one element and focus on that when you head to the range. Learn the whole process in layers. When you begin to feel comfortable with one area then switch to another. If you're getting tired, take a break. You are using large muscles and small muscles at the same time and may have to work on your endurance.

I tell people not to place a lot of emphasis on making groups on the target in the beginning at all. I am being completely serious. Of course it's fun to have a target with a ragged hole in the middle, but that should not be your initial objective as you learn. For beginners, set up the target at a reasonable distance, say 20 feet, and as long as you are simply hitting the target somewhere, do not worry about group size. Focus on the fundamentals first and foremost and the little groups will almost always follow by themselves.

Choose One Gun - It's fun to shoot lots of different guns on a range trip and there is nothing wrong with trying something new. When you are practicing though, pick one gun you like and stick with that. I often take five or six different guns to the farm and will switch among them during a range session. When you're learning to shoot, however, this can slow your progress because you are essentially starting from scratch each time you pick the next one up. Every gun has a slightly different feel whether it's from ergonomics, caliber, trigger feel and a host of other factors. Decide on a training gun and practice mostly with that one.

Final Thoughts - Shooting is fun and enjoyable. Shooting well is a skill which is developed over time through practice. If you aren't seeing the results you expect, take a video of yourself shooting or ask a range buddy to watch and offer suggestions. Again, don't try and learn the whole enchilada at once, rather take it in manageable chunks and concentrating on one aspect when you go to the range. Realize that what you're doing is a complex activity combining gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and even endurance. Combining them all takes skill acquired through repetitive practice. Lots and lots of practice.

Finally, don't forget to have fun!


P.S. If there is any interest, email me or speak up in the comments and I can elaborate on these points in future threads by examining each in a little more detail. It may not be the only way of doing something, but it'll be the WeaselWay.


Triggers Part Dos

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Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, looks like I have a correction to make!

Whoops! Whoopsie-doodle!

You may recall our discussion last Sunday on triggers and the various nomenclature related to their operation. Among other brilliant observations, I included the following:

Trigger Creep - positive trigger movement which does not cause the sear to move
Trigger Wall - the point when the trigger mechanism first engages the resistance of the sear
Trigger Break - the point where the trigger movement causes the sear to release the hammer

I received a nice email from our pal Navig8r correcting one of the points I made, specifically on the definition of trigger creep.

Navig8er writes:

I would make a minor correction to your discussion of triggers in this week's AoS Gun Thread.

I disagree with the above definition of Trigger Creep. Trigger Creep is the positive trigger movement (after Trigger Wall) which does cause the sear to move. I have found several other web sites that agree on this point, to include
the one that you linked to later in the column.

The article states:

"I divide trigger pull into four major stages:

Pre-travel: The trigger's movement from the trigger's initial starting position until the sear moves, causing a gun to fire. The terms take-up (also call trigger slack), the wall, and creep are all a part of pretravel. Take-up refers to any 'positive' movement of the trigger that does not cause the sear to move and does not engage the mainspring. The wall is the point where the trigger action first engages the resistance of the sear. Creep is any 'positive' movement of the trigger that does cause the sear to move (emphasis added) and does engage the mainspring.

Break: The point of the trigger action where the sear releases the hammer (or the striker, depending on the type of action). This is the stage where your gun goes bang.

Over-travel: Any 'positive' movement of the trigger after the break.

Reset: The 'negative' movement (i.e., the trigger moves away from you) of the trigger to the point that the trigger re-engages the sear (or the striker, depending on the type of action), and the gun can be fired again."

Looks like I ought to actually read the links I include here!

Navig8r went on to write:

Adding my sometimes less than humble opinion to the discussion on which are the most important trigger parameters, I believe that what happens after the break is the greatest area of concern for deliberate, precision shooting. Short of having the generally accepted definition of an ideal trigger (light pull, breaks like glass, no over travel), then the greatest enemy of precision is a sharp break followed by an over travel with much less resistance than the resistance immediately preceding the break. Finger pressure on the trigger is acting to take the weapon off target, but you are resisting with the other factors of your hold of the weapon so the weapon remains on target. When the trigger breaks, the pressures are momentarily unbalanced and the weapon lurches off target.

If the over travel cannot be eliminated, then a trigger design that maintains the same to gently increasing pressure through and after the break will eliminate the lurch.

Other aspects of trigger pull such as take up, creep, staging, stacking, weight of pull may be annoying depending on individual preferences, but are not the enemies of precision that lurch during over travel is.

As noted in the Power Point epistle I sent you on dry firing a while back, with experimentation and practice it is possible to reduce or eliminate lurch from a less than wonderful trigger (mainly by concentrating on getting the forces and motions precisely aligned fore and aft with respect to the bore), but the discussion thread was about selecting a good trigger in the first place.

Nicely done, Navig8r! Thank you! I can't recall where I sourced the original definitions, but they are certainly contradicted by the linked article, which upon review, makes sense. I appreciate your taking the time to follow up and correct the error for the benefit of everyone!


First up, our pal and delightful 'ette nurse r sends in a brief, but nevertheless excellent, range report.

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16 rounds at 7 yards with the Walther PPQ. Guess which one was the flinch?

No real surprise here, nice shooting nurse!!


Next up, our pal Our Country is Screwed shares a quick video example of ways to clear an extraction failure.

Saw this video on a twitter account I check on and thought I'd share the wealth. 4 ways to clear type 3 Failure To Extracts. For newer shooters, it is important to work the problem, and go slow and be safe.

Thanks Our Country is Screwed!!


Shootin' Steel

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We shoot steel targets a lot at WeaselAcres. It's fun and the feedback is fairly instantaneous. Once in place you don't waste any time with setup, and they only require periodic touch up with spray paint as you use them.

What happens to the bullet on impact with AR500 Steel? I wanted to embed a video, but stoopid YouTube won't allow it. Anyhow, here's a link to a good video.

Bullet splatter is a real thing. Please protect your eyeballs!


Shootin' Bench

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Recently someone inquired regarding the table sometimes seen in the shooting videos from WeaselAcres. It's an OmniTable-4-in-1-Portable-Work-Table-Bench which I picked up from Home Depot, but you can find them a lot of places online for about the same $150 price.

I have to say I have been particularly pleased with this table as a shooting bench, although I originally purchased it as a general work table. It has a bunch of other features and is very sturdy and well made. At $150 I consider it a decent buy. WeaselApproved!


Bigly Bomb Test Footage
Gosh darn it - who doesn't like a good atomic explosion?


Gun Basics 101
Here is a good video from the She Equips Herself gal on handgun cleaning. Bonus for Morons - no complicated words!

SEH gal makes a point in the video on cleaning frequency. It isn't really necessary to clean your gun at the molecular level each time you shoot it. I keep my carry gun reasonably clean, but let's just say I have a relaxed standard for cleaning all the others. Just as SEH gal mentions, I used to clean them faithfully after each and every range trip and considered that part of my process, but as time went by have fallen out of the habit.

How about you? How often are you cleaning your guns? After each use, or some other frequency?


Cigar of the Week
Our pal rhomboid shares a new find!

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Joya de Nicaragua Antano Connecticut, toro size (6 X 50). Discovered this via a sampler pack. Rated "90" by Cigar Afficionado. A Connecticut with a difference - more medium-bodied (some listings rate it as "full", but I think that's overstating things). More depth and flavor than many Connecticuts, but still smooth and easy smoking. Good candidate for mild-cigar smokers wanting to tip-toe up the strength scale just a bit. Paired here with a big mug of Cafe du Monde chicory coffee on a cool afternoon.

Thanks for the tip, rhomboid!


Is this how you light your cigar?

Seems complicated! I toast the foot with my trusty ol' Zippo and I'm off to the races. Lots of cigar experts cringe at the thought of using a Zippo, feeling the lighter fluid imparts a taste to the cigar, but I frankly haven't noticed it. Plus I like my Zippo!



The social and cultural event of the season, NoVaMoMe 2022 is on the calendar! That's right, you people have a chance to meet many of your online pals on Saturday, June 11th beginning at 1pm until dark, or such time as it gets busted up by the cops. We have an exciting location in the Northern Virginia area which allows extended time for visiting. Admission is $25 which includes food and soft drinks, with a cash bar. This year the menu is BBQ chicken and pork with the usual sides and cookies for dessert. Appetizers begin just after 1pm and dinner is 3pm. Want to be one of the cool kids? Just send an email to novamome at protonmail dot cee oh emm, pass the rigorous screening process to obtain registration details, then sign up to attend! Easy-Peasy!

Each year, I spend a fair amount of time haranguing people to come to a MoMe. Any MoMe! I cannot overemphasize how much fun these things are, and how much we want YOU to come! We plan for the crowd in general but also consider the needs of the introvert lurkers and provide plenty of potted plants for those so inclined to hide behind. All kidding aside, you are completely welcome to slink-in, eat, drink and people-watch, and then slink-out. It is a 100% zero pressure event. If you can handle a backyard picnic, you can definitely handle this.

Win a Dream Date with Weasel!
Back by tepid demand, a separate raffle for the Gun Thread gift basket will be held. This fabulous prize includes an entire day of shooting and personalized one-on-one handgun & rifle coaching and instruction at Weasel Acres on a mutually agreeable date with yours truly. The lucky winner will be able to not only bring and shoot their own weapons, but also try out a variety of WeaselWeapons using WeaselAmmo!

We will end the day with dinner at a good Mexican place in nearby Appomattox. Pretty much a dream date with Weasel! The winner will be responsible for their travel to and from Central Virginia, hence the separate drawing.

Don't be a pathetic girly-man loser, register today!



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***

This week's mailbag is from our pal JT

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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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