August 08, 2004
What a Gmail invite gets you

Several weeks ago, I was looking at gmailswap and saw an offer that said "Shoot the guns from Counterstrike." and I was intrigued. The offer was to go to a rifle range in LA and shot several assailed weapons commonly found in video games.

Sounded like a deal to me and I sent the invite. My new friend Jason, emailed back promptly with tons of details. This weekend I finally had enough free time and we met at the shooting range.

Jason is a huge gun enthusiast and has an encyclopedia like knowledge of firearms and gun laws. Truly an expert, he spent the day explaining almost every aspect of guns and what the gun law changes meant to collectors. When I heardcould him explain things about some of the bans on magazines I could see how useless the laws were. We went out to Angeles Shooting Range

I brought my rifle, a Mosin Nagant 91/30 and about 40 rounds of ammo. Jason had a ton of stuff and we promptly got set up on the rifle range.

This is a Colt HBAR aka AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16. This is the kind of rifle the troops in Iraq are using.

The rifle was light and with little recoil compared to the other rifles.
Besides the comfortable feel, it was accurate and easy to fire repeatedly without drifting off target.

Click more to see what the rest of the day held...

This is a Bulgarian SLR-95 aka AK-47. This is the famed rifle developed in the Soviet Union and found in almost every corner of the world. Notice the curved magazine, the signature shape of the AK-47.

It's a little heavy but it's dead simple to use. Not as accurate as the AR-15,
but I can see how you could lay down fairly accurate bursts of fire.

These are some of the bullets we used, the left is a round for the AR-15,
the middle one for the M1A, and right one for the Mosin Nagant.

This is a Springfield M1A, similar to the military M-14 rifle.
This rifle was the standard military rifle before the switch to the M-16 during the Vietnam war.
Quite an expensive item at around $1,500 to get one new.

This rifle felt similar to the AR-15 and but packed much more of a kick.
I really liked that the stock made out of walnut. Much nicer than the polymer stocks, IMHO.

This is my Mosin Nagant 91/30. It is Russian military surplus from World War 2.
It is a bolt action rifle that holds five rounds in the magazine. Rather than using an enclosed clip,
the Mosin Nagant uses a stripper clip to hold the rounds.

I shot the rifle for the first time here. The kick is similar to the M1A.
The action of the bolt is a bit stiff and I really had to whack on it.
The range officer agreed that you had to 'smack the damn thing around'.

The initial targets we used were out at 100 yards.
Without a scope, it was hard to see when we hit the target at this range.
I liked the metal targets better.

After shooting the four rifles for a while, we went over to the pistol side.
This is a H&K SP89 aka MP-5K.
It is missing the foregrip since that is illegal in California.
Obviously the addition of the foregrip turns it into a terrible assault weapon.
This gun goes for over $3,000 in the US these days.

This was by far my favorite gun of the day.
The gun is amazingly accurate. I'm not that great of a shot and I was able to hit the
metal targets at 50 yards easily. There was very little kick and the gun felt well balanced.
I can see why a gun enthusiast would want one of these, they are SWEET.

There were several other handguns there including Para Ordnance P14-45 Limited, Sig Sauer P245, and a Sig Sauer P229.
Here I am firing the Para Ordnance. Each of the weapons had great feels and I could see why they were top of the line in their caliber.
I always enjoy firing a .45 due to it's old school action, but I have to say, the Sig P229 gave me the best feeling of control of the three.
Shooting at the metal targets was much more fun than any paper target.
The metal target gave off a tasty ping when you hit them for that crucial instant feed back.

We also shot this Mossberg 590A shotgun.
Holding this felt very comfortable ... until I shot it.
Damn, this thing had some kick. My shoulder is still sore.

Jason loaded up a magnum or max round. I can't remember exactly what he called them, but it hurt. A lot.
Perhaps I was just a bit worn down my shooting so much already, but that shotgun was harsh on my right side.
Some other guys were hip shooting and I can see why.

As I think you can tell, I had a GREAT time shooting with Jason. It was so much fun to have an expert along to explain everything and help correct my grips and stances. A big shout out of thanks to Jason for taking me on the shooting expedition. All for a Gmail invite...

Lastly, here is a short video of me shooting my rifle (2.9 MB wmv version and 3.4 MB mpeg version). Enjoy.

I'm probably going to hit the range next weekend too. Drop me a line if you are interested.

Posted by michael at August 08, 2004 11:56 PM