New Shooter Review #2

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April 3, 2015

One of the pilots in the unit finally caved into my invitation and came out to the range with me today with the idea of re-introducing his wife to recreational shooting as well as seeing what all of the fuss is about as far as Mosins go…
His wife was a patient and somewhat adventurous sort with initial reservations about the selection beyond .22LR, but progressive increases in caliber turned out to be the best thing…
…Until “Dushka” – the M-44.
She fared “Svetlana” – the 91/30 pretty well on paper for the two rounds I gave her, but promptly bailed after the first round with the shorter carbine. Southern chants negatively evoking Hades poured forth after her teeth ceased rattling, and she absolutely refused to finish the second round, regardless of how much we coaxed, cajoled, or commended her for the efforts thus far.
Afterwards, we moved to the longer range where she sought shelter from the sun in the truck while the Montana boy and I proceeded to challenge ourselves with the 100 and 427 yard plates. I blame my two hits out of 20 on the longer target on the wind and the percussion-induced shmal blowing off the berm and right into my face as well as the increased difficulty in hitting farther targets with a shorter barrel, but these complaints far from diminish the overall enjoyment of day one of two consecutive range days. (I know I am probably breaking a cardinal commandment of Mosin ownership in not cleaning right after I fire, but the way I see it – “Is good Soviet rifle. Much ok.”

Range Report – 1944 Tula M44, aka “Dushka”

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Not to be fired with a hangover. Period. This weapon will make a recovering drunkard swear off booze or swear to never stop drinking. Words here cannot sufficiently convey the “head-in-a-tin-can” feeling that comes from spotting for the new shooter firing what feels like Thor’s post-cabbage flatulence. Pretty sure I no longer need to floss for the next week due to prolonged proximity to this weapon.
Percussive preventive dental care aside, another flaw for fans of imbibing is the readjustment from the “almost to the target” length of the 91/30 to the “this is just odd” feel of shorter familiarity. It may be just operator error and a sight picture as unfamiliar as political ethics, but the “bang” to “ping” ratio was dismal for the 60 rounds fired (11 hits). It could also very well be that I was hitting the target with acoustic rounds from this lovely, but untamed carbine… we shall know more next week.
All in all, still enamored with the comfort of the 91/30, but “Dushka” will remain a favorite and available for psychological warfare/lane clearing when it comes to all of the AR owners nursing Mojito hangovers.
Also noted: first split casing. Round 5. No issues for the following 55 rounds, but it was a very definite difference in sound upon firing…

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Product Review: Spam Can Opener

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January 29, 2015

Picked up another can of steel core light ball last week for the sole purpose of opening my very first spam can. I thought I’d keep the lid a memento for this new and highly contagious addiction, so I thought I’d try to carefully open it going sideways…
Ha.
The fragrant trapped air from ’78 hissed forth like the hopes of the Pacer winning “Car of The Year”. It was a glorious day where Capitalism and Communism mingled happily and rounds were to soon to be dispatched in joy…
Then, reality set in.
The corners refused to give. Carpal tunnel was beginning to set in and the first lap wasn’t a third of the way complete. The edges were beginning to look like a modern art rendition of Jaws and Steve Buscemi’s dental work made out of razor wire and shrapnel.
“You need gloves, dude,” came way too late as I carefully rounded Corner number 3 and hit the straightaway. The lid was getting mangled, but better it than me. I needed a lightsaber. Or that spam can pillow off of Amazon. Corner #4. No cuts. Lid not giving away… at all.
Corner #5… The can has eroded the bedliner from my lowered tailgate due to the spinning, cursing, poking, and prying…
Corner #6. Learned the opener can bend, twist, and do everything BUT nicely open a spam can…
Corner #7. Forget it. Next time, I’m doing it the right way.
Summary:
Find a better way if you want to keep the entire lid. Well worth the experience, but being an accidental blood donor can ruin range day.

Shooter Review #1

IMG_20150110_174808January 11, 2015

A friend’s girlfriend brought her two daughters to the range yesterday 11 and 14. While I was initially concerned due to the fact that, aside from my son (8), I have never had kids I don’t personally know on the firing line, however, I forgot one thing:
…These are Southern Girls.
From the .22lr, to the .40cal, 12-gauge…there was not one issue of safety at all, and the accuracy was better than some adult shooters I have seen…
…Then the 14 year old got her hands on the Mosin-Nagant.
She had made it a point to say only once that she wanted to shoot it, but the statement masked an ability which impressed the small crowd which had gathered once we transitioned to the rifle range. While loading from the stripper clips (the “salo” types mentioned previously) gave her grief, hand loading was quick, and round after round was sent towards the steel target we were fortunate enough to have from leftover shooters. If there was any question about who wanted to shoot next, she waited approximately a half a second before quickly saying,”No? Ok, I’ll keep going.”
For a first time shooter on a rifle probably older than her grandparents, she pinged the 100 yd target about 75% of the time and when the last round disappeared into the already-set sun, she was about as disappointed as a starving vegetarian at a butcher shop.
So… the Mosin has another fan, and the 14 year old has a bit of research due to me about Lyudmila Pavlichenko before she gets to shoot again…
Yet another way to inspire the next generation of historians.

Product Review: Generic Stripper Clips

IMG_5910.JPGJanuary 1, 2015

In wandering around the local gun show last weekend, I happened across two different types of stipper clip. Just for the sake of having yet another “product review”, I picked up several of both.
The clips on the left, I shall refer to as “sweet сало (salo) smoothness”, or “s3”, for it fed much like refrigerated fatback being consumed by a corrupt chekist… simple enough and quickly.
On the right, I refer to as “free cookies” because the possibility for loss of blood is about on par for what one would expect for accidentally showing up at a blood drive… at least there, you get free cookies. They fed easily enough, but the edges and redundant pointy bits really sort of killed the enjoyment much in the same way playing Russian Roulette on your hand with a staple gun.
All in all, to those recent new owners of Mosin Nagants… get both – one to enjoy and one to give to the friend who you know will hog the gun all afternoon and then later swear he “can’t find the right 7.62 rounds for your gun”.

Range Day 2

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The epic cleaning from a month ago still yields no stray cosmoline, so again, thank you to all who offered good advice on the removal process (“Disassemble and wipe down thoroughly…”)
Since I was not aiming at the broad side of a barn on Day 1, there really wasn’t any way to discern what zip code I was hitting when I had the targets at 100 and 150 yards. Day 2 found me feeling silly plugging away at a 25 yard silhouette, but the results showed that I was hitting very high, even with the rear sight set for 100m.
(Note: before I get the whole flaming commentary about the difference in elevation needed for 25/100 meter targets, I acknowledge this simple concept of ballistics and encourage further reading…)
Once the sight picture was figured out and the grouping was to my liking, I then started on the 50/100/150m targets. Highly recommended for first-time firers, and could probably be compared to “courting” your rifle – you have to know what the reaction is going to be before you try to go any further.
After round #17, the tender spot from Day 1 began to spout forth the few choice Russian vulgarities I learned from the wife while teaching her to drive a standard, so I folded up an old t-shirt and stuffed it under my flannel. Not only does it work like good ox, but I have found that it is actually  (“….firers are permitted to wear a padded jacket or to use a soft pad under the buttplate.”) Thus, 60 rounds only feel like 20, and the targets will continue to be perforated in the most savagely joyous manner for the Motherland.
A side note: the Mosin wasn’t the oldest thing on the range that day. An 1914 Lewis gun, 1918 BAR, and a couple of M-44’s also made for much noise. Gotta love living in Georgia.
To sum up for new shooters:
1) Clean well
2) Start with 25m targets
4) Padding if you are going to make a day of it
5) BAR’s scare the hell out of you if you aren’t paying attention…
6) Pay attention (see #3)

Post-Range Cleaning Complete

IMG_5826November 30, 2014
Lessons learned today:
1) Thorough pre-range cleaning with complete disassembly is a must. Whether it is due to the cleaning or the fact that the wife and cohort picked out a great 91/30, I got a couple of compliments on the smoothness of the action. I can only hope that MY action is as silky at 74…
2) Firing left-handed is going to require some more practice (ambidextrous)…
3) Two words: stripper clips. Ordering them now.
4) “Wow. That bolt will really slide forward if reloading with the muzzle down.” (Adapted and reloaded with the thumb of the right hand holding the bolt back)
5) “Ha. Ha. That is SO not a ‘safety’.” Who were the Soviets kidding? The only ‘safety’ they had in mind was either there were no more Germans/Finns/enemy du jour, or there were no more rounds left.
6) Aim low at 50 yards if you want to be able to impress someone with actually HITTING the target. Better yet – just do a familiarization fire at 25 yards just to see how each rifle feels/fires.
7) Don’t… repeat… do NOT bring more than 50 rounds if you are firing the standard butt-plate and have plans involving the full range of motion of your right shoulder… like post-range cleaning, 100m butterfly event, or scratching your fourth point of contact. (Actually, it’s not that bad… just sounds funnier with slight exaggeration)
Lastly,
8) “Yeah, your AR might be tricked out and spiffy… but mine probably has seen action and yeah – I saw you jump when I fired.” is probably best thought instead of spoken.