14 October 2012

AAR: Birchwood Recreation & Shooting Park

The girls & I loaded range bags, rifles, pistols, ammo, spotting scopes and targets in the truck, and headed north to Birchwood. After a short stop to purchase food & water for later, that is. Birchwood is a small community in the woods, between the Glen Highway & Knik Arm, with a large private airport and the Park, about 40 miles north of our house. (I didn't get any good pictures, but their website features a lot of good ones.)

The office staff was quite friendly and helpful, and the manager recognized both daughters right away.

There are eight (count 'em, eight) ranges for centerfire & rimfire weapons, and a very large shotgun/skeet/sporting clays area as well. Six of the ranges accommodate centerfire rifles, five can handle rifles, rimfire, muzzleloaders and handguns, and one of the rifle ranges goes to 300 yards. That's refreshing after the Wet Bunny Range which only has a 100-yard facility.
Daughters, setting up

The longer-distance ranges were in use for some three-gun matches and a couple of other things, so we wound up at one of the 50-yard facilities, useful for rimfire rifles of all types and handguns.

Melanie bore-sighted Samantha's new rifle to get the first shots on the paper, and they worked together for a few minutes to finish adjusting the scope. Within moments, Sam was once more shooting the centers out of the targets, as she usually does.

Mel, of course, went about her business like she normally does: quiet, determined, and very very competent. The two of them are just about evenly matched on the rifles ... they hit what they aim at, and that's the best anyone can say about a shooter.

I decided not to bother with the .270, and opted for my .22 rifle & 1911 instead. My first try at 25 yards was with a Marlin .22 and peep sights, using Appleseed's 200-400 yard qualification targets. I had three or more hits each inside the 200-, 300-, and 400-yard targets.

It was awfully nice to do that while my daughters were present to see their dad do that well with open sights, since they both have scopes.  :) In my case, I can hit whatever I can see ... and unfortunately that's not as much as I could a few years ago. Aging eyes are no joke, but I did okay, today.

However, moving to the .45 was sobering, to say the least; the first three magazines resulted in holes all over the paper. I knew I'd be rusty, but didn't realize it would be THAT bad.

It was.

All the old, bad habits I worked so hard to overcome (jerking the trigger and dipping the muzzle in anticipation of recoil are the two main offenders) were back, and I had to really bear down and focus.

So, honesty time: my initial spread was nearly a foot. Ouch. I paid attention to all the things I should: breath control, proper stance, trigger control, focusing on the front sight, etc. By the end, I was keeping them in about 4.5 inches. Not good, but a lot better than when I started.

Need more practice; Samantha says I'm taking her back there again, next weekend. That's probably a good thing. 


Sandy said...

Looks like a great range to visit. Obviously, the girls have been there many of times.

Give it some practice Rev., with that 45 and you'll be hitting the bullseye dead on. Have a beautiful day!

Rev. Paul said...

Thanks, Sandy. My biggest problem has been that - at the Wet Blanket Range - we couldn't fire pistols on the rifle range, and vice versa. I wound up focusing on one to the exclusion of the other. Now I can shoot both from the same bench; that should help a LOT.

Brigid said...

Please tell Sam happy birthday from all of us here!!!

I bet the dinner was wonderful.

Rev. Paul said...

Brigid, I'll be happy to do so. And the dinner was very good.

maddmedic said...

Looks fun!!
But whats that white stuff?

Rev. Paul said...

The white stuff? Pay it no mind; just, um, set decoration. Yeah, that's it. :^)

Old NFO said...

A recommendation- start with a .22 pistol, once you're on target and shooting good groups THEN move to the .45... If you're starting to anticipate, go back to the .22 (the .22 WILL show you most if not all of your errors)...

Rev. Paul said...

Thanks, NFO. I didn't have a .22 pistol in the bunch (darn it) and so ... so I did it the hard way. Story of my life.

Jenny said...

Nice header image today mister. :)

Chugiak is *awesome* - all the better for the little Alaska planes coming and going all the time right next door.

And that sounds like SO MUCH FUN.
Wish we could have joined you. What a fun day!