First time to the range in over 10 years! Okay, the headline is: The Rough Rider is looking pretty good! A few keyholes early on, but hey-- hanging paper target, and I know at least two of the keyholes and probably the third happened when the target was still moving back and forth a bit... it was like a pendulum, took MINUTES to stop. No failure to fire whatsoever. My skills are too rusty to be sure, but it doesn't seem less accurate than the Mark II... not that I fired the Mark II much.
And with the .22 mag? Well. Let's just say that all the pumpkins or large soda bottles that come within about 30 feet of me are TREMBLING with terror.
A bunch of observations in no particular order that don't fit neatly into any topic:
* The Ruger Mark II was pretty much unusable, at least today. I didn't make it through a full clip. The empty shell casing that lives in it was very difficult to eject, which has never happened before, which resulted-- I thought-- in a failure to feed. Cleared that, failure to feed again. Got off a few rounds-- fun to shoot, as I remembered-- and then a casing failed to eject. Called over the Range Officer, who just racked the slide more violently than I had to clear it. I had a fourth failure to feed, which I cleared myself, shot out the last few rounds, but time was short, and I figured: This Gun is Done (for today.)
--The action on the clip felt sticky as hell.
--I do keep this particular mag with four rounds in it, and have for over a decade, so the spring could have lost some of it's zip. I'll have to try the other one.
--The ammo was 'middle aged' (probably about five or six years)
--I did clean the gun lightly before going out-- sent a wire brush down the barrel, then a patch with oil, very little buildup in there, then ran a dry patch through to get rid of the excess.
--The clip does sometimes do this thing where it doesn't latch in properly! It looks right, it's definitely pushed in all the way, but you can just pull it out without hitting the magazine release. I had forgotten about that. It used to do that before, too, but now it's worse-- more subtle, harder to tell. I'll have to assess for that more thoroughly, but that just SUCKS.
I never had anything like this level of problem with Aguila before-- maybe a couple of jams here and there. The Range Officer said, "That's just how .22s are," but I don't think so. But a bunch of things I'm gonna try before we go to the gunsmith. (Oh, and one round keyholed from the Mark as well, again, I believe, while the target was moving slightly.)
* I probably shot as well, or slightly better, with the Rough Rider than I ever have with the Mark II. A few wild shots outside the circle, I think I was a little over 10 yards-- maybe 32 feet, 35? And four dead center. I mean, we're not talking about 'clusters' yet, but this was short of embarrassing, not bad for my first range day in so long!
* I had forgotten how tiring shooting is! But I remembered that's always how it is-- the first 20 rounds are so are decent or pretty good, I start bonking after about a half hour, then I force myself to focus and think and I get off another 20 or 30 decent shots. Then, whoa-- an hour has gone by, I'm totally worked, more shots are going wide, and it's time to go home. About 70 minutes is all I can do.
* The .22 mag is just as they say-- even with my poor skills, it did seem more accurate. The increase in volume and recoil is marginal, but the increase in fun factor is really significant. And from a revolver, whoa-- fireworks! Not used to that Roman Candle thing, very cool.
* The range is loud. It's always a shock. I need better ear protection.
* I'm SO glad I did this! It ain't like riding a bicycle. Concentration is surprisingly difficult with unfamiliarity, all kinds of weird little mental issues. I could NOT count the number of shots I'd fired, even though I can count laps when I'm swimming with no problem. Was that five or six? Whoa-- why is my finger inside the trigger guard right now? Yo-- stop pulling the trigger, the safety is still on! (I stopped in time, dry firing never happened.) Why is all your weight on one leg? When was the last time you breathed? A lot of little stuff to think about.
What was most sobering: I've been using the Mark II as a hotel/camping gun for years-- throw it in the case, lock it up, put it in the safe at the hotel, etc. Thank God I never had to use it-- I would have been screwed. We'll see what happens with the Mark II-- I'll try the other clip.
The whole revolver concept is seeming way more appealing for a guy like me, particularly since I favor rimfire. I hope I never go this long between range sessions again, but I was shocked the Ruger was so unreliable. Much troubleshooting ahead!
“Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.”
― Hunter S. Thompson
― Hunter S. Thompson