Sounds like a gooood time to me!
The weekend of the 4th, C and I had two houseguests - P and M. These guys are pretty close friends of ours, and we always have fun when they come to visit. This time, we planned some time for firearms. Turns out the guys wanted to hit both pistol and rifle ranges. Hey Mike - sorry for not letting you know. It was super last minute. Next time, I'll be making plans a little farther out so I can let you know.
Anyway, I missed out on the pistol range run, as I was suffering with a migraine, but C tells me the boys shot his .45 and at least one 9mm (as well as the shotgun). I believe he said they rented an XDM. They sounded like they had fun, and C enjoys the XDM a lot more than the XD.
The following day I managed to remain headache-free, so we hit the rifle range...and oh, what an afternoon we had! We took all cleaned and serviceable rifles in the house: my little .22,my Mauser, and both of the ARs. We packed up an ammo box with enough to keep everyone happy for a few hours.
The trek to the range wasn't horrid...I'd say MAYBE 45 minutes. It's out to the west of the city, in a less populated area. The range was clean, covered, nicely laid out, and fortunately for us it wasn't terribly busy that particular day. The day also managed to stay comfortable until about 2 or so, which made it pleasant under the awning on the rifle side.
We paid for a lane (worthy of note - they charge a flat fee for a lane, rather than hourly and per person. nice!) and set up. We had to wait for a cease-fire to set up targets, so we unpacked and set up the rifles, instead. We started the day with the ARs...and found they both seem to have a flaw. Throughout 3 or so hours of shooting, both had consistent feed issues. We have a variety of plastic and metal magazines, so we couldn't easily blame the problem on those; we only had the Prvi ammo I bought off Mike awhile back and the guns were essentially identical, with matching Del-Ton uppers, sequentially numbered lowers, and identical parts kits for the lowers. C thinks the ammo is the issue here...I intend to pick up more .223 in various brands to really test this theory. The boys seemed to enjoy shooting them, however, so I can't complain too much. We just need to figure out why the rifles won't feed properly. If anyone has any tips, please feel free to share. We'll take all suggestions given.
I set up the Mauser about mid-way through our visit, and noticed the gentleman next to us (who has a 1941 Mauser his uncle brought back from the war) watch me set up. He caught me before I started shooting, and offered 5 rounds of Russian 8mm. Apparently what he had wouldn't punch as much what I brought with me.* It's true - his stuff was gentler than my stuff. I shot one round and realized why they make gel pads...I'd forgotten how much those things kick. I put P in that lane to give her a little exercise while I set up the .22 in the other lane for M to play with. I shot it a few times, then rested my shoulder while I watched the rest of the patrons at the range.
Sometimes, I wonder what's wrong with people. There was a group at the opposite end from us that had a few rifles...one looked to be an older bolt-action, and one appeared to be an AK. Now, there are signs all over the range specifying what you may and may not do, on top of the basic firearm handling rules everyone should know before going to a range. This group apparently had little concept of those rules and couldn't read. They were constantly sweeping the range with their rifles, insisted on tons of photos of the guys looking "hard" with the AK, and ignored the rules regarding no burst firing/full auto and keeping the rifle in the "box." Frankly, I don't know why the range officer didn't boot them the first time they screwed up. It's people like this who scare the shit out of me when I go to a public range. I'd love to find a private range that allows new members (and doesn't cost a ton to join)...escaping the general population is mighty appealing after seeing that group of idiots.
Conversely, there was a family trio (dad and two boys) on our end of the range. I didn't notice every rifle they had, but the boys were pretty competent with the AR they brought. I applauded their father for bringing them. It was a nice contrast to the idiots on the other end of the range.
Overall, it was a great way to kill an afternoon with some New England residents who don't get firearm exposure at home. I'm glad we finally got to the rifle range.
* It's worthy noting I have no idea the origin of my 8mm ammunition. I aquired it at a gun show last year, and there were no real obvious identifying marks on it. Probably not the wisest decision, but I figured the Mauser could handle it. I was right.