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Rack em up, BillyBob
Competitive shooting, believe it or not, is a very social sport. It is accessible to an extremely wide audience because age and physical strength are lesser factors. And maybe it's because everyone's armed to the teeth, but people at the firing range tend to be real polite to one another. The vibe is like a vestige of the Old West.

Target matches can be as exciting and dramatic to the spectator as they are for the shooter. Winners are often decided by fractions of a second or millimeters from the bullseye. However, it takes more than holes on paper to be a shooting champion. It's all about dicipline, responsibility, and classy sportsmanship.

To participate in competitive shooting is to carry-on an American tradition. But most of all, guns are freakin' cool! There's nothing like rattling off a few hundred rounds. In a hair of a second, all of your senses are electrified by the bang of the bullet, kick of the recoil, and flinging of smoking brass. And when your brain catches up to what's really happening during target shooting (i.e. the mechanics, physics, ballistics, etc.) you'll find it even more amazing.

Below, you'll find articles on equipment and accessory reviews. Links to more in-depth sources of information are provided in the sidebar. I hope this gives you a rudimentary feel for sport and I encourage every reader to try shooting at least once. It's not just for hillbillies anymore.


Gearing Up
To buy a rifle or shotgun, you only need a firearms ID card from city hall. It costs around five dollars. To buy a handgun, first get a firearms ID card, then ask city hall for a permit to purchase a pistol. Your first application fee can cost as much as $75 bucks and there's no guarantee (based on your background check) that it'll be granted. And unless you have friends in office, your pistol purchase permit may take months to process!

If or when you make a purchase, do not exit the gun shop without fully understanding how to safely operate the firearm. Gun manuals can be confusing to those unfamiliar with gun jargon, so take as long as you need with the sales rep. Ask questions such as, "How do I unload it," and, "How do I clear a jam?" Make 'em earn your money.

You must also understand the responsibilities involved in modern day gun ownership. Upon purchase, your ass becomes legally and spiritually attached to the firearm. *FLOOMP* If the gun is stolen and used in a bad bad bad way, you'll be in a world of shit. Keep 'em locked and unloaded and you'll be fine.


Choosing the Proper Firearm
All right, let's get to the nitty gritty. Let's talk about guns, an' shit. Guns are alot like guitars. They're available in different shapes, sizes, and colors with varying wood finishes. Firearms and guitars are also similarly priced ($200 gets you entry level, $700 for professional-grade reliability, $2000+ for a timeless collector's piece). Choosing the right one depends on what you want to do with it. Are you going to hunt? Shoot bullseye? Shoot sporting clays, rimfire silhouette, action pistol, or IDPA competition? Or are you going to get your permit to carry? With this in mind, here are some recommendations that I've read on other websites:

For home defense or concealed carry, beginners should try a .38 caliber revolver. Revolvers have inherent safety features (such as a long trigger pull and decocking hammer) and are simplistic in design. Intermediate shooters might check out the Beretta 92F or Glock 17. Some say that the Glock 17 is reliable enough to fire after being buried in sand or submerged under water (it's probably internet folklore, but who knows). High end users will opt for a .45 caliber model 1911 or SIG P220 (the SIG is used by Navy SEALs).

I don't know much about hunting rifles, but I hear the Mossberg 500 is one of the best shotguns. That's just what I heard.

Before you run out and buy the heaviest piece behind the counter, don't forget to really think about everything you want to do with that first gun!

As for me, I neither hunt, nor shoot competitively, nor carry for self/home defense. I plink. Plinking is the most casual of shooting sports. Essentially, you line up some shit (paper targets, beer cans, computers, cars, whatever) and fire copious amounts of lead on it from varying distances at your trigger finger's leisure. It's bliss.

And because I take part in such diciplined and skilled marksmanship (haha yeah right), my firearms of choice are .22 caliber. The .22 caliber is a great choice for plinkers worldwide and here's why:
For the same price of fifty rounds (or five 10-round magazines) of 9mm ammo, I can buy 500 rounds (or fifty 10-round mags) of .22! And ammo disappears quicker than you expect (especially when you're the only gun owner in your circle of friends).

Without further ado, here is how my first two guns looked when they were fresh from the factory.

Ruger MK II Government Target pistol
.22 caliber semi-automatic
6 7/8" bull barrel
MSRP $400

To this day, I am greatly pleased with the MK II. It is reliable and relatively accurate. See how the grip meets the receiver at a 55 degree angle? This makes the gun very natural to point. The barrel is a heavy 6 7/8" which helps steady aim. 'Tis a superb design and I'm glad it was my first handgun.

Little did I know, pistols get lonely. So, after some rifle research, I picked up a Ruger 10/22.

Ruger Standard 10/22 carbine
.22 caliber semi-automatic
18 1/2" sporter barrel
MSRP $200

Look at that plain-Jane plinker. Brown stock and un-scoped— that's a family man's rifle. Wait 'til you see how wicked-bad my 10/22 looks after a few modifications. BTW, the term "carbine" is a fancy word for a short rifle.

The Ruger MKII Gov't Target coupled with a 10/22 is a perfect starter kit that can easily grow (via minor modifications) into serious contender guns. They're legal and widely available in all 50 States. Conveniently, they both use the same ammunition. There are hundreds of after market accessories for both guns, meaning an endless array of custom configurations. And if you ever found yourself growing apart from the sport, Rugers have decent resale value.


There are assholes running amok outside right now yelling, "practice, practice, practice!" That is just plain wrong. You need some coaching, too. If all you do is practice-practice-practice the mistakes, you get really good at making the mistakes. It should be worded "fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals." How bout a round of applause for my anus...


Evolution of Equipment
After you learn the ropes and click with the fundamentals of good safe accurate shooting, you may want to look at some equipment upgrades. I'll tell ya, attaching big aftermarket knick-knacks, bipods, and lasers sure is fun. Let's start with the MK II.

Installing a Tasco electronic red dot sight was the first modification.

That required removing the iron sights and adding a B-Square scope mount.

Next, I replaced the grips and purchased the mother of all MK II upgrades: a Volquartsen LLV barreled action.

CNC machined from "aircraft quality" aluminum, the LLV features a match chamber, match bore, and a 6" tensioned barrel topped by a unique match crown. Note the integral Weaver-style mount.

This pistol is complete. Blammo!


Below we see the 10/22 decked out with an Advanced Technology dragunov-style stock, muzzle break/flash hider, Tasco 4-16X scope, olive green canvas sling, and Butler Creek Hot Lips 10-round magazine.

It's an impressive makeover that's as functional as it is formidable.

The Harris bipod folds neatly.

Inevitably, I switched over to the Muzzelite bullpup stock. This configuration puts the receiver behind the grip/trigger.

The stock improves the weight balance of the rifle and dramatically shortens it's overall length. Say, that red dot scope looks familiar.

This rifle is complete, but will it be a permanent fixture in my collection? The answer might shock you!


Turns out, these things are like tattoos and potato chips— ya can't have just two. So, I ordered one of these Romainian M1969 bolt action .22s. It has a five shot removable magazine and it's alotta fun. I sanded the stock down and painted it flat olive green. Pretty slick.


Then, Walther came out with the P22, a smaller scale .22 caliber look-alike of their P99. When I first heard about this pistol in early 2003, many people were having big technical difficulties with it (e.g. misfires, failures to feed, parts loosening, etc.). Nevertheless, I picked one up. I was using CCI Blazer ammo exclusively at the time because it worked well in my Rugers. That ammo was absolute shit in my P22. But because I read so many stories about manufacturing errors, I thought that the problem was my shitty pistol, so I kept tinkering up the wrong alley. Then, my brother got me a brick of Winchester Wildcat .22 ammo. Holy shit, what a difference. Not only did the P22 come to life with the change in ammo, I was now seeing a huge orange muzzle flash with every shot. Kick ass. Now that it works so well, my P22 is one of my favorite guns to shoot.

Dude, there's only one proper thing to do with that sweet integral accessory rail. The Walther-brand laser costs about $75 bucks and take it from me— it's the ultimate accessory (next to a suppressor, which ain't allowed in 'Jersey).


And now, at long last, I have sold my beginner's Ruger 10/22. Here's why:

DPMS Panther Arms has engineered a dedicated .22 caliber AR style rifle. It totally and whole-heartedly kicks ass.

Once you go AR, there's not much that a Ruger 10/22 can do for you. It's like graduating, y'know?

The red dot scope sits on an A.R.M.S. mount. The foam cheek pad on the ACE skeleton stock is nice and comfy!

Schpla'dow, that's some uber leet gear, no doubt about it.
Coming soon: an A to the french-fried K . . .


.22 Caliber Fact & Fiction
The .22 rimfire is a great cartridge. First off, it's the cheapest ammunition in production, tolling in at less than a nickle per shot. So, while your magnum-toting friend is hitting the ATM machine after two clips, you're hitting bullseyes with plenty of ammo to spare. Secondly, rimfire bullets have less gunpowder than larger calibers which means they're less harmful to your reproductive system (insert fetus golf clap).

.22 is even available in hollow point, tracer/incediary, fragmenting, and shot shell configurations. How's that for versatility?

However, it has limitations. Noob loser sniper wannabees on the internet rant on and on about how their Ruger 10/22 is magically accurate out to 300 yards ever since they installed product X and performed modification Y. These people are good writers and even better imagineers. The icy cold hard fact is this: If God and the late Carlos Hathcock (the most legendary Marine Corps marksman of all time) came down to Earth and hand crafted a 10/22 out of materials humankind has never dreamed of, the .22 caliber bullet would travel an accurate path between 50 and 100 yards. End of fucking story. Why? Because the .22 rimfire bullet is small and light weight and therefore succeptible to all kinds of physics that do not allow for practical and consistent accuracy beyond 100 yards. Bigger and better rifle bullets can do 300 yards and beyond with ease. The .22 cannot.

It don't bark like a .45, and it ain't the most accurate over distances, but it packs a wallop (just ask Abe Lincoln). So, whether you're hunting small game, plinking, training, or looking for a self-defense round that won't penetrate three walls behind the crook, the .22 delivers.

For strange and bizarre tales of rimfire mayhem, check out this thread at Rimfire Central.


Robots and Firearms: A Recipe For Disaster
About ten times a day, someone will come up to me and say, "Let's build a robot that can carry." It's true, it's true. And no matter how many times I explain the dangers of robots with opposable thumbs, relatives, friends, and co-workers insist on learning the hard way. All robots are lible to destroy their creators. Remember this and teach it to your children: Never ever let a robot of any kind (toaster oven, answering machine, automobile assembly line hydraulic arm, etc.) near a gun. Ray Bradbury was not kidding around.


You know you're a gun nut if:
You've ever bragged about the size of the groups your semi-auto throws with its empty brass.

Your primary cubicle decoration at work or on your fridge at home is your best target group.

Your guns are cleaner than your home.

You tag pages in SGN/GL for later reference.

You'd rather have a $10,000 PSG-1 and drive a $600 car rather than drive a $10,000 car and have a $600 gun.

You rather ban alcohol than hi-cap clips/mags.

If a topless joint with free admission is half a mile away, and instead you drive 40 miles to the shooting range on a Saturday night.

You alternate silvertips and hydra-shocks in your magazines because they look prettier that way.

You watch La Femme Nikita just to see the HK MP5s.

You can't figure out why your non-shooting friends laugh when you say "Bushmaster".

You collect brass even though you only buy factory ammo.

If "Miller Time" means plinking at beer cans.

If the highlight of your week is discovering that six .40 SW hollowpoints fit perfectly in a plastic 35mm film canister. (5 up/1 down in the middle).

You ever had to explain "It's not the SAME gun, it's a different VARIANT".

You read the sports section/classifieds just for the gun ads.

When someone talks about 12 gauge steel, you wonder if it has anything in common with shotguns.

You can spot spent brass at 50 paces.

You pick up brass in calibers you don't shoot, just in case.

You have a drawer full of holsters that weren't quite right (don't we all?).

You watch old WWII movies and can identify and look at all the rifles and handguns but can't remember who starred in the movie or what it was about.

You buy a gun that is a duplicate of one you already have because the original one might break someday.

If 30.06 or 8X57 to you is just as appealing as 36-24-36.

You drive over fifty miles to buy anything gun-related.

You own more than two loading presses.

Your non-handloading friends bring you their empty brass instead of throwing it away.

You start feeling uneasy if you have fewer than 500 rounds on hand for your favorite shooter.

You reflexively count the number of shots fired by every weapon in the film,then gripe to your friends when the guns exceed the capacities.

You make $50 per hour at work, but spend 30 minutes on your knees at the range looking for that last piece of reloadable brass.

You read 300-400 messages on rec.guns every day, in addition to being subscribed to the Glock, SIG, HK, Kahr, Tactics, IPSC, and IDPA mailing lists, and you still wish there was more to do in the Internet firearms community.

Your telephone number is: 223-2250 or 308-3006 or 303-3040 or some other combination of three + four digit calibers.

You think there is some special significance when you glance at a digital clock and it shows 3:08, 3:57, 2:23, etc., no matter how many times you see it.

You go to the range just to hang out.

You consider concealed carry every time you shop for clothes.

You order a new model HK handgun BEFORE your H&K stocking dealer has even heard about it, and BEFORE there is even a set wholesale price on the gun. :-)

If your wife/girlfriend starts using Hoppes No. 9 instead of perfume to get your attention.

If all your computer passwords are firearms related.

You read "rec.guns" before your morning coffee.

You tape American Shooter so you can pause, reverse and fast forward to do a complete analysis of the show.

You visit the range more then twice a week.

Your wife says to buy a gun she would like you to sell one first (not funny but common).

You teenage daughter's next date is introduced to you while your sitting at the loading bench cleaning your M-1.

You approach total strangers and ask if they're going to keep their brass.

You've ever photographed your entire gun collection, but "insurance purposes" never entered your mind.

You let your wife go out and blow all kinds of money on junk she'll never use just so she won't gripe when you buy that latest piece you really need for your collection.

You're in the army reserves, and they can't figure out why every time they send you out to shoot the M60 with 100 rounds, you return with a shot-out barrel. It never dawns on them you're bringing your own ammo.


Coming soon: potato cannons, rail guns, and microwave blasters.
For more info on shooting, check out the rec.guns newsgroup.

©1978 Plaskon

After the Tone



Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, finger off the trigger.

Firearms should be unloaded and securely stored when not in use.

Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before using.

Be sure of your target before you shoot.

Always wear ear and eye protection when you shoot.

Never climb a tree or fence with a loaded firearm.

Don't shoot at a hard surface or at water.

Mmm, Hidden Valley Ranch.

Avoid alcohol or drugs when shooting or handling a gun.

Never transport a loaded firearm.


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