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>ECPR: Range Report Under New Management

12 Jun

>Management is new but there were familiar faces among the ROs and we were happy to see them.

Sign-in is more obvious than old system, one stops at the card table and sunshade right at the demarcation between the parking lot and the range proper to pay or present one’s pass.

Note, too that the building is open! Tactical Firearms Training was running a class; I didn’t think to ask if this meant that, maybe, range customers might have access to modern plumbing if we asked nice but I have my hopes![CLICK TO EMBIGGEN]There are new range rules and an additional clearing barrel (at left in photo). IMO, the one to the right of the entrance to the brick training building is better-located, with thick walls on each side and set to point you away from, well, people and (most) property. –And you will be using one or the other, as that rule has not changed: no loaded firearms anywhere but at the firing line. –Most of the rules are essentially the same but everyone gets a refresher, their very own copy and signs for it on their first visit of the season.

The range itself is to the left of the photo, a large, concrete block structure hidden by the classroom trailer; if you look very closely near the truck and green dumpster, you’ll see one of the entrance walls.

Inside it’s pretty nice: two huge bays of 8 lanes each; the “far” bay is generally for classes or overflow, the “near” bay for plain ol’ shooters. Targets are at the seven yard line; you can move them but I figure they should be far enough to make my mistakes show up and close enough that I can see those mistakes from the line.Tam and I set up near the entrance end. That’s her “Zombie Terrorist” target, which sparked spirited discussion among onlookers if it was more apt or less apt in light of recent SEAL pest-control actions. The consensus seemed to be “more,” with a minority holding out for adding gills and fishscales.Here are some of my toys — yes, with Nagant revolver ammo prices down to only mildly painful (“Save that brass!”), I took it along. Y’know, for those people concerned they might shoot someone, the Nagant is about perfect: odds are pretty good you won’t even if you wanted to. Still, if you can keep shots on paper with that long, hard, stack-y trigger pull, you can probably shoot adequately with any DA revolver. –I admit it, I gave up and did about half of ’em single-action, in which mode the Nagant is a soft-shooting revolver with a merely lousy trigger.

Also pictured, my overpolished-but-faithful .38SA 1911 and my Ruger Mk. II .22 with the Pac-Lite upper, both a pleasure to shoot.

It was a pleasant way to pass a morning. The Jack was shooting a few lanes down and after we’d all adjourned a couple hours later, joined us at India Palace for their lunch buffet. Delightful, as ever — and if you have wanted to try Indian food, there is no better way. (First time? Try tandoori chicken, so good The Colonel would steal the recipe if he could. Cold chickpea salad, some naan and/or rice and there you are, a lunch even the most timid palate can enjoy) .

A splendid meal in nice surroundings, especially at the $10.00 per price! –India Palace and Shalimar are owned by Dave Samra and are very much a family business; the food is remarkable, the venue spotless, the service remarkable for both speed and unobtrusiveness.

Hey, You Guys: I’m Goin’ To The Range

11 Jun

Yep, off to the range! Today is the Grand Re (but first time this year) Opening of Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range.

Tempted to bring my slingshot and the blackpowder ball ammo for it.

>Me & Guns: How’d I Become A Gunnie?

10 Jun

>A lot of the gunbloggers are doin’ it. It’s Jennifer’s fault.

…I grew up in a house with guns, exactly two of them: a Remington 941 .22 (a very nice bolt-action rifle my Dad had bought used when he was a teenager) and a shotgun (Remington’s 870 — hey, he’d liked the rifle!).

When I was very young, The Guns were Do Not Touch items that lived in their cases at the back of the big closet; Dad kept the ammunition locked up in the master bedroom. About the time each of us kids were big enough, we each learned to shoot, starting with a toy BB gun and graduating to the .22 (adult supervision required!). We were fortunate in having a big old “bomb shelter”/tornado shelter in a berm in the back yard with a mile-plus of cornfield beyond and we still got my Dad’s Socratic version of the Four Rules. Merely memorizing them wasn’t a passing grade — you had to demonstrate understanding of them in word and deed, starting with the BB gun.

A little older, a little bigger, each of us went deer hunting (a shotgun-only sport in Indiana) with Dad. To my knowledge, he only took two deer in all his married life, but he hunted them every year. With a child along, this took the form of tramping about in the woods, quiet advice as to how, where and why (and how to cross fences), and at the close of the day, a shot or three at a dead tree. Visiting one of the family friends about that time (a farmer in downstate Illinois, there’s irony for ya) , I was handed a .22 revolver, a target and a box of ammo, directed to the farthest outbuilding and told, “Have fun!” Pity no one explained about sight alignment or that it was okay to use two hands: I genuinely could barely hit the side of a barn. (It was, to be fair, the narrow side).

And that was it. Guns were a non-issue in my house: you had ’em, you used them carefully, they were not given any more emotional weight than a BB gun or lawn darts, fun but to be handled with care.

Leap forward: as a young adult on my own, primed by Heinlein, I found L. Neil Smith and learned there are a lot of people with political notions similar to my own. Very kewl, but I still did’t buy any guns. (Mind you, I have always carried a knife or two). I didn’t know anyone who shot, I didn’t know where one could shoot and all I knew about gun stores what what I saw on TV (D0n’s Gun’s ads and cop-show stereotypes; but I repeat myself). LNS’s firearms philosophy made good sense to me but I didn’t feel I could apply it in the real world.

The years passed. Eventually, one fine day my ex-to-be got in an online argument and used the “a firearm is like a fire extinguisher….” line. I pointed out we had neither an’ he dug out a nice Colt Diamondback. So, ask I, why have we not shot it? –And let’s pick up an extinguisher, too. (He had no idea I had ever shot and had automatically assumed I’d be anti. Yeah, should’a been a message to both of us there, hey?)

Lo and behold, there were places to shoot not far away, they even rented guns, and I wasn’t half bad with some instruction. Within a year, I had a carry permit (pretty much needed to carry a gun even to the range in Indiana; our laws are good otherwise and that one’s up for change), owned a firearm or two and shot regularly.

Things have developed from there; while Tam takes mild amusement at my collection of Spanish semi-autos (mostly Star, honestly-made little guns, IMO built to a price but built well for that price), my normal range fodder is a Ruger Mk II .22 and a pair of 1911s in .38SA and .45 (the latter a nice Sistema Colt with C&S lockwork).

I’m a gunnie. It’s L. Neil Smith’s fault but my Dad paved the way.

Eagle Creek Pistol Range Returns!

6 Jun

Got the word at the Indy 1500 Gun Show this afternoon. Grand Opening, next weekend:

Tactical Firearms Training is the new contractor; supposedly they have slightly better terms from the city on things like keeping the range available. Hours are definitely better — 9 to 5 instead of 10 to 4!

This is a good sign. Tam and I plan to attend the Grand Opening — see you there?

(There’s a first-rate Indian restaurant not too far away that sets a fine buffet on Saturday. Anyone up for a BlogShoot + Lunch?)

>"Ammo Girls?"

4 Jun

>I have refrained from commenting in my blog — I wasn’t there, after all — but there’s been talk of the young women Lucky Gunner had running ammunition (and water!) to the firing line, more-or-less comparing them to Hooters waitresses (wait, isn’t that place about owls? Never been).

…This is to forget it was a hot-as-Hades weekend and they were young and fit — when I was younger and fit (fitter? More fit? I’m not very fit, now) and either rode a bicycle or drove an unairconditioned car to and from work, rarely a summer passed without my employer havin’ to remind me that maybe short-shorts and a tank top, even with a big open shirt over it, was not considered proper for the workplace.

A promotional event isn’t the office. One blogger asked the woman Lucky Gunner had runnin’ the thing about it, and here’s what she had to say.
Like it or not, given sunscreen, most people will bare skin outdoors when the weather is hot; younger folk can get away with more, especially if they’re in good shape. That’s just the way it works.

While I have yet to meet a man who doesn’t respond well to a smile and most of ’em will make eye contact at chest level if one is sufficiently buxom (tsk!), not every gal dressed for the heat is out to tickle the baser instincts. Heyyy, maybe not even most!

If you’ve got gunbloggers at a big ol’ shooty event and you are handing out live rounds free for nothing, that lily is already gilded to the saturation point. (And if they were out to entice, why didn’t they promote cute cartridge-waitresses ahead of time, right next to the free ammo?)

Sometimes things aren’t any more than what they appear to be. Unclench, dammit, and try to have some fun.

PS: about this “shooting as a boy’s club” thingie: there’s at least one dealer, maybe two ,who set up at the Indy 1500 who won’t even acknowledge I’m at their booth. (Tough, lads — your loss!) Most times I first visit a gun store, I have to do a little bitta provin’ myself. This does not bother me; I’ve been a radio ham since I was very, very young and that’s still mostly a boy’s club. My line of work? You could hold statewide women’s-only Starship Tech meetings in a business-sized broom closet! So I deal with boyspace all the blame time. Ya gotta step up — and here’s the kewl thing: 99.99% of them will be Your Pals once you have. Heck, you don’t even have to know all that much, as long as you show sincere interest.

Will you, sometimes, have to overlook cigar smoke, bikini calendars an’ suchlike? Yes. Yes, you will. And you’ll overhear the occasional crude joke, too. But very rarely will it be at your expense. Want their respect? Earn it. Same way they have to earn it from their peers.

All this faffing around about gun-culture not being women-welcoming enough strikes me as mere pandering to the timid. You know what? There’s no right to be hand-carried though the world. You wanna mess with radio, you wanna shoot? –Or fix your own car, or ride a motorcycle or do any of those traditionally “boy’s club” things? -Then step up and do it. You can even carve out your own space (for a nice, traditional example, see YLRL, the “Young Ladies’ Radio League,” a serious club for female, licensed and generally active radio amateurs, a goin’ concern since 1939). –What you can’t do is show up and expect the lads to abandon their long-held habits and practices just so’s you can feel all comfy. Guess what, right now we are 20% of their market; that dusty stuffed moose is there ‘cos the boys like it, and so’s the tool-company calendar.

If a male showed up a quilting bee and demanded a place, he’d darned well better be able to sew — or be majorly willing to learn. And if he complained about the amount of chatter or choice of topics, I think most of us would consider him a jerk. –Male privilege, a real cultural bent, means menfolk have a slightly easier time at most avocations and professions; their preferences are often considered by default, but there is a limit. And there’s a limit the other way, too.

Women shooters I know who are serious about getting more women into the sport do a lot of one-on-one, taking friends to the range, reaching out to interested acquaintances, etc.; Breda is an excellent example of this approach.

You don’t build a road all at once, you do it one brick, cobble or hunk of asphalt at a time. Right now, shooting is mostly a boy’s club — but it doesn’t have “NO GURLZ ALLOWED” spray-painted on the door. You want more of us wimmins in it? Call yourself up a couple of friends and get them to the range!

>Gun Show This Weekend!

2 Jun

>The Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show is back in town. I should’ve mentioned it sooner. Hoping to attend Friday and Sunday.

>Our Power Company: Exploding With Pride

1 Jun

>Once more, Indianapolis Power & Light had a wee little explosion in a Downtown transformer vault, this time chasing staffers out of the Statehouse.

This has happened again and again. Y’know, if it was my electric company an’ I had, oh, clients like Eli Lilly, the State.gov and bank headquarters as customers there in the Mile Square, I’d be thinkin’ about transformer replacement on some basis other than as-they-explode. As it is, it makes me worry about where to park downtown. They’ve never hurt anyone yet but it’s still no fun.

Gee, I wonder where the closest transformer vault to the Skunk Works main campus can be found? We don’t so much care; lose power and a big ol’ Caterpillar Megawatt genset lurches to life, carrying the entire building. The transfer switches occupy structures the size of storage sheds! Our lights blink and we dance the Reset Tango for those few things not on one UPS or another. The neighbors, though, they’re liable to have sweat in the dark as they fish people out of elevators and go home early.

Y’know, if it was you and/or me plus some M-80s or flashbangs creating sound and fury (let alone power outages) downtown, we’d face all manner of inquiry. The power company? Not so much.

Infrastructure: gotta have it.