What’s in Your Range Bag?

Having everything you need for a trip to the range in one easy to grab bag is the first step for a good trip. Who hasn’t ran out of staples while hanging paper targets? It’s frustrating not to have a spotting scope when you need to see out to 100 yards. I solved most of these common short comings with a range bag that has the things I might need every time I go shooting. The bag is not so big it becomes a chore to carry it, but yet large enough to keep everything organized and easy to get out. Being a workingman I didn’t have a budget to purchase a hundred dollar bad for my use. I picked up a nice bag from Amazon that fits my needs and fits my budget.The following is a short list of what is inside my bag:

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Range Bag Packed and Ready To Go

Spotting Scope- I use a small scope for the 50 yard stage during pistol league and out to 100 yards while shooting rifles.. My older eyes can’t see tiny holes out that far, but this light weight scope makes it easy to see shot groups. An inexpensive scope with 20 to 60 times magnification is a valuable item in my bag.

 

First Aid Kit– Hopefully I never have to use it, but I always have a small trauma kit stowed in my bag. Some of the places I shoot are a long distance from any medical help and this kit might save some ones life if needed.

Eye and Ear Protection– A new shooter might not have safety glasses or hearing protection and I need to be prepared for them. If someone else is shooting a large caliber rifle close to me I will double my hearing protection to save what’s left of my hearing. A small bag of Inexpensive foam ear plugs in my bag can come in handy!

Staple Gun with Extra Staples- I can’t remember how many times I’ve run out of staples while hanging targets. I finally learned and now have staple gun AND an extra box of staples!

Firearm Cleaning Kit– I have a small kit that I have used to run a patch through a rifle barrel while at the range. The small bottle of gun oil has come in handy a few times when my firearms was a little too dry. I don’t clean my firearms at the range, but I what to be prepared if me, or another shooter, needs to clean their firearm.

Pen and Paper– From my earlier post about journaling my pistol league shooting I write scores from shooting. I also mark groups on targets while sighting in optics. A pen and paper comes in handy once in awhile and doesn’t take up little space.

Tools– I always have a firearm multi-tool in my bag. From adjusting rifle scopes to clearing cases that won’t extract this little tool has come in handy for me and I’ve loaned it out many times as well!

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    Items Always in My Range Bag

This list is constantly improving and  changing to becoming the true perfect range bag. I take the scope out if I’m just shooting pistols at close range and add other items I might need for a M-1 Garand match. But most items stay in the bag for every trip. These items are come in handy for me and other shooters that might need them.

One Step To Improve Your Accuracy

Every shooter wants to improve their accuracy. If it’s shooting clay pigeons, a three gun competition or just punching holes in paper targets every shooter wants to improve. I started shooting in my local pistol league last year and was not pleased with my progress. I tried a new grip and anew stance and my score increased a few points. But I knew I could do better and needed a way to track all the changes I was making. So I started a shooting journal! I would write down what I changed that week to help my score and what I still needed to do for the following week.

I kept it short and simple so I wouldn’t dread writing after every match. After a few weeks I noticed my score was slowly increasing. If I changed my grip just a little I would write it down. I moved my sights to the right and I wrote that down as well. I had problems with one stage so I placed my feet wider apart and I wrote that down as well. I would look at my score to see what worked and what didn’t help me much.

I also wanted to set goals for the next match and wrote those down as well. After every match I would journal what I wanted to improve for the next week. Most of these entries where easy steps such as focus more on the front sight, or remember to squeeze the trigger straight back every time.

Shooting every week did help raise my score, but I believe writing down my goals and what I needed to work on for the next week helped my improvement. So if your wanting higher scores, and who doesn’t, maybe a few minutes writing down before and after your match just might be one easy step you need !

 

Take Someone to the Range !

All us workingmen enjoy going to the range with our favorite firearms. The best way to improve your time on the range is to bring someone who normally doesn’t shoot with you. Last week I had a chance to bring a new shooter with me to the indoor range. Since he hadn’t shot in many years I thought a reminder was in order.

New pistol shooter !
A New Pistol Shooter

 

We went over the basic safety rules to keep everyone safe, set up some close up targets and then got to shooting. A .22 pistol at 5 yards was our starting point, but we quickly moved to larger calibers and further distances. The 9mm pistol at 10 and 15 yards went very well. I shared a few tips on grip, sight picture and stance with the new shooter the entire time at the range. He  did very well with the pistols (extremely good with the .357 magnum) and kept all the rounds on paper!

After a couple of pistols I thought it would be a great idea to finish off with the Workingman’s AR from a previous post. Easy to shoot, low recoil and let’s face it, shooting an AR is cool! A few adjustments on the stock, a couple magazines of 5.56 FMJ and a 25 yard target is all it took for the fun to begin.

New AR shooter !

So the next time your headed to the range please take a moment to think about someone that hasn’t been in awhile and give them a call. Remember we were all new shooters at one time, so please take it easy on them. Bring enough eye and ear protection for the new shooters with you. Take some time to explain basic operation of the firearm as well as how the controls operate. The most important thing is to be safe and have fun, because that’s what it is all about!

These firearms are fun to shoot

There are a few firearms that are not used for hunting, not practical for a carry piece or are obsolete in a rapidly changing market. These firearms might not be the first ones out of your gun safe, but they are a blast on the range.

RUGER SINGLE SIX 

The .22 is one of the most popular cartridges in history. Inexpensive, low recoil and, now that has become more available, most stores carry a few selections. How many of us working men starting shooting with the mighty .22? Combine this fine cartridge with a single action revolver and a working man can spend an afternoon having fun punching holes in paper targets. New shooters will enjoy the simplicity if this pistol to learn the fundamental’s of aiming and trigger control.

The combination of the .22 with a Ruger Single Six isn’t a good choice for home defense. Reloading this firearm takes a lot longer than a double action. While pushing each casing out and then putting an unfired  cartridge in the cylinder takes time, it makes it impractical for anything besides a range firearm. This firearm could be pressed into a small game hunter if ranges were kept to 10 – 15 yards. But it really shines spending a few hours punching tiny holes in paper targets!

MOSIN-NAGANT M-44

The American market used to be flooded with cheap model 91/30 Mosin-Nagant rifles. While this standard 91/30 model can be used for hunting, defense and range work , the M-44 model is better suited to punching holes in paper targets. The video shows the massive muzzle blast coming out of the M-44. It takes a while to get used to it and you will get some attention on the range ! This particular rifle was built in 1945 and has a heavy trigger. Shooting it is really a blast (pun intended), but this one is strictly staying on the range.

The sights are typical Mosin-Nagant, so accuracy isn’t the best. I read somewhere to aim at the belt buckle area and you might hit the target. It seems to work with this rifle. These were sighted in with the attached bayonet extended from the side and shooting it like that seemed to help with accuracy. The ammo I used was made in 1973, is corrosive and came packed in a heavy tin steel can. I have used some modern ammo in the rifle and got the same results as the corrosive ammo.

I probably won’t be walking through the woods with this M-44 with the bayonet extended during deer season. You might find me and this M-44 putting some corrosive ammo down range at some paper targets and waiting for the on-lookers to come take a look at it and possibly a few shots of their own down range.

 

CZ-83

The .380 cartridge has become a very popular self defense round over the last few years. Better bullet designs coupled with modern pistols has driven this cartridge into the main stream off personal defense. The CZ-83 pistol is not one of these new modern designed pistol made for every day carry.

A heavy steel pistol that shoots the .380 is easy to shoot at the range  and that is where it mostly belongs. Carrying a heavy pistol every day wouldn’t be an issue if it shot a heavy magnum cartridge, the CZ-83 is not one of those pistols. Since it is too heavy and bulky to carry around everyday it should remain at home for defense. Of if leaving it at home doesn’t work take it to the range! New shooters will find the mild recoil help improve their aim and grip while firing the CZ-83. If you happen to have one of these pistols at home or find one on the surplus market, punching holes in targets at the range is right where this pistol belongs.

Final Thoughts

Every firearm has a purpose. These three are just examples of firearms that can be pressed into service, but, honestly, just shooting and enjoying them are probably the best use for these firearms. These firearms fit into a workingman’s budget and are easy to find ammo to keep them fed. So if you have an older firearm you haven’t taken in awhile, please take them out and enjoy them!

Know Your Firearm

Owning a firearm is a huge responsibility. There are many legal aspects to consider, from buying, storage and licensing involved in purchasing and owning a firearm. Besides the legal issues involved there are a few other issues to consider. Knowing how your firearm operates will be key in troubleshooting problems that may arise. Having a few basic items on hand to maintain and keep your firearm operating properly is another issue to think about. Let’s take a few minutes to look at some of these in detail.

Knowing how your firearm operates  is key in carrying it and especially in keeping it functioning properly. It doesn’t matter if your firearm is a single action pistol or a tricked out top of the line AR, knowing how it operates is a huge responsibility. The first step is reading the owners manual. Some of us workingmen never, or very rarely, look inside the cover of the manual that came with our firearm. There is valuable information that is specific to your model of firearm from the manufacture. Take this important first step in firearm ownership.

Knowing the basics of what makes your firearm function can provide clues when things go wrong. There are differences if your bolt action rifle jams and if your double action pistol has a failure to eject. Clearing each of these troubles is made easier if you know what caused it and what steps are needed to clear them. There are many articles, books and videos to help any workingman that needs a refresher on their firearms. If you shoot regularly eventually you will have a malfunction of some type. Knowing how to clear it and get your firearm running again is your responsibility. Besides your own malfunctions you just might be able to help another shooter that hasn’t taken the steps you have.

Having a good supply of cleaning equipment and supplies on hand makes maintaining your firearm a breeze. I’m a big fan of the pull through barrel cleaners. A few quick pulls of the Bore Snake material soaked with solvent cleans and protects the barrel of your firearm. There are many solvents and cleaners on the market to keep your firearm in working order. Find a few you like and use them. A few moments after a trip to the range cleaning can save you time trying to clear out stubborn carbon stuck inside your favorite firearm. Keep a good supply of patches, pipe cleaners and anything else you might need handy to keep your firearms ready.

If you have an AR style rifle you will need a small kit of springs and pins on hand. These small pins are tough to find when dropped so having a kit of pins in stock will make such times easy to resolve. The AR springs do eventually wear out and you’ll probably need one at the most inopportune time.  Save your workingman time and invest a few hard earned dollars in a spring and pin kit.

One Working Man’s AR

There are many budget AR’s working men can choose from on the market today. Are you looking for a light weight, high capacity rifle that can tackle most chores? A rifle that you can have fun with at the range, teach a family member to shoot or, if needed, to protect your home? That can become quite a task if you happen to be on a working man’s budget. Lucky for us some AR rifles can be purchased at reasonable prices. The one I chose filled my need for a lightweight, high capacity rifle that can tackle most chores.

After looking around and reading up on budget AR’s for several months I decided to visit my local gun shop. They had a Smith and Wesson M&P Sport and a Ruger AR-556 hanging on the wall. Both would fit my working man’s AR needs, however, I purchased the Ruger for the reasons listed below.

STANDARD CONTROLS- Any working man that has experience military training will instantly recognize the controls on the Ruger AR-556. Using standard controls makes it very easy to train anyone to handle this rifle after just a few minutes.

EASE OF MODIFICATION– Because the AR-556 uses parts it is very easy to add new parts or update to parts you want. The top rail made it very simple to add a non-magnified red  dot scope on my rifle. The rifle comes with standard round hand guards, but any carbinelength rails can be put on in just a few minutes if you wanted to mount a light.

SPECIAL FEATURES- The AR-556 has a real nice design of removing the hand guards. Instead of fighting to pull down a ring and try to pull off the hand guards you just twist the ring and the hand guards loosen. Why didn’t anyone come up with this idea before?

Front Sight
Front Sight Post

This rifles comes with a good pop up rear sight. The sight seems to be rugged enough to take some working man abuse in general use. The front sight sits a top a milled gas block. It has serration to reduce glare which is another idea that should have been used years ago.

Pistol Grip
Improved thicker pistol grip

The rifles pistol grip is just a bit thicker than the standard A2 grip. This extra width feels better in my hand than the A2 grip, but once again it is so easy to switch out the grip in just a few minutes.

 

Rifle 3
A good looking Working Man’s Rifle

The Ruger AR-556 is a nice looking rifle that balances very well in the hands. It should serve any working man as a general purpose rifle, a home defense rifle or a fun way a family can spend an afternoon of shooting at the range.

The Ruger AR556 is not perfect, but for the price it brings a lot of value to the working man. The barrel is not chrome lined. At first I thought that would be a big deal, but with proper cleaning the life of the barrel will probably last longer than me. The rear sight only has one aperture. Those of us used to the mil spec dual aperture might find this annoying, but I quickly got used to one and it seems to be working just fine for me. Ruger does have it’s name all over this rifle.  The name “Ruger” or an eagle is placed so you never forget what brand of rifle you have. Not a bad thing, but it is amazing the places they have their name on the AR556.

 

Shoot what you have

Pistol League
Target layout at pistol league

You don’t need to go and buy $1,000’s of dollars of new equipment to get involved in shooting. I wanted to improve my pistol shooting last year so I joined a pistol league at the local sportsman club. Being a working man I didn’t have money to invest in new equipment before the first match. So for the first night of shooting I packed up my Glock 17, a box of Winchester 9mm ammo and my spotting scope. I was a little nervous driving to the range, but what awaited me was a great time with great people.

The course of fire followed the IDPA format. Ranges from 50 yards to 15 feet tested my shooting abilities. Shooting 12 rounds of 9mm at a silhouette target 50 yards away was new to me. Other shooters were shooting .22 with optics, .38 Special revolvers with and with out optics and a few like me where shooting what they had.

I felt a bit out of place at first about my workingman’s pistol during the competition.  But everyone made me feel comfortable and gave me plenty of tips and advice to help me out. My first couple of scores wouldn’t impress anyone, but over time the scores have increased. Besides my score every week I have gotten to know my pistol very well and how to shoot it more effectively. I now have a weekly goal I try to achieve before I go to the range.

Do you want to shoot better? Are you looking for an opportunity to meet new people and have fun? Pack up your working man firearm and head to the range !