Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

ten meter air

My best year of DCM, CMP and NRA-High-Power competition followed a winter where I had an international-style ten-meter air rifle on loan and a ten meter air gun range in my basement. Here in our riverside paradise, I once again have a ten-meter air-gun range. In the years since my first international-level air gun experience, I also acquired one each adequately accurate rifle and pistol to shoot on it. Sadly, I have not used them much at all recently. A couple of days ago, I celebrated a long overdue clear sally port floor and clean workbench by shooting both my air rifle and air pistol. As you can see from my notes on the target, I last shot at the […]

suppressors

I endured the expensive and long process currently required to gain permission from our rulers to own a sound suppressor for my rifle. Over 9 months and $1,000 for a hundred dollar part that enables your neighbors to go about their business without noise pollution should you choose to sight in or practice with a firearm. Darn near a year for some faceless apparatchik to affix a rubber stamp and signature to my papers. Precious few of us bother. Therefore one person’s shooting is an entire neighborhood’s disturbing the peace. I repurposed a .223 AR-15 rifle into a 300 AAC Blackout, mounted the scope without proper tools, or any experience for that matter, and got help mounting “the can”. […]

analog calculators

In this age of converting everything to digital, bits, bytes and button pushing, my recent trip to a beginners’ long-range shooting school (see my first 1K) brought the power of slide rules back into my world. I am also [re-]discovering the beautiful metric system of measurements. The normal, average, mundane, commonplace answer to everything today is “I have a computer that does that”. Substitute “smart phone”, calculator or other electronic alternative to knowing how to actually do stuff and you have the answer to 99.9% of the computational questions asked today. I am not going to conjure up ways in which that dependence on electronics could fail us. Needless to say there are times, places and circumstances where it could. […]

Paper Poppers

I don’t usually shoot this well… I don’t think I do, anyway. This one felt good. Hmmm … so did the rest of the stages I shot Sunday. Maybe I’m improving??? I parked “HITS” in my head and proceeded to do almost exactly that. Running on the assumption that I got hits enabled me to complete it quickly. It certainly helped that I made up my mind to shoot EACH ONE ONCE on the metal targets… that is, to go slow enough to GET HITS reliably… while pushing myself just a bit. I also was prepared to find someone standing after my first pass. Being prepared to ‘improv’, made him fall quickly in succession. My videographer may have been […]

my first 1K

I thought of myself as a 600-yard rifleman. In DCM, CMP and NRA High Power competitions, the 600 yard target we shoot at is labeled “MR1”. That stands for “medium range”, standard target. Thus I don’t get an inflated ego from hitting that sucker on a known-distance course of fire. Upon selling The Gentleman Farmer business I owned/operated for 22 years, my gold watch was a nice trombone and a nice rifle. Two tools I had long wished for but never afforded (best boss I ever had). My AR-10 and I are awesome at a known distance of 200 yards and quite clearly effective at measured and marked 600 yards. Of course only paper targets are going to present themselves […]

reloading 300 Blackout

I had to knock a couple years’ worth of dust off my reloading gear and a lot of cobwebs out of my reloading brain, but I reloaded a test batch of 300 AAC Blackout ammo up today. This is a new cartridge for me. It is somewhat young to the shooting world, but hugely popular already. Wildcatters cut down a .223 case, opened it up to .30 caliber and stuffed various weights of bullets into it. As often happens, gun and ammo factories saw a good thing and adopted it for commercial production. It is definitely a strange thing with big, fat, long bullets filling the top half of shortened little 5.56 cases while the bottom half is full […]

when low is high

I do not take it seriously … certainly when compared to those for whom Practical Pistol is LIFE. It is a great sport. It has wonderfully useful real-world application. And I do admire those folks who can SMOKE the course. A handgun you do not practice shooting is not much better than a pocket full of stones you don’t practice throwing. If you expect your pistol to be useful in a dire self-defense scenario, you dang-well better shoot it often enough to KNOW you can hit what you want to hit with it, and not hit what you want to not hit with it. It is fun. It is a great skill set to have in your quiver. But I […]

no magic bullets

I have recently been looking into subsonic rifle loads for full-sized bullets. By full-size I mean enough power to be considered adequate for hunting and defensive purposes. Less recoil and less noise are attractive, but I have found that sub-sonic rimfire (.22LR) can’t even clean-kill whistle pigs. One way to go, of course, would be to just get a carbine that shoots pistol ammunition for the purpose. The popular handgun loads all come with subsonic options or, as in .45, never do go supersonic. The speed of sound is about 1,130 feet per second. That varies a bit depending on conditions. I feel comfortable working with 1050 and below as subsonic and figure 1200 and above to be supersonic. The […]