Ted’s essays

neighborhood shooting

I hosted and coached a second handgun refresher this month. We have some really good neighbors … plus some of the other kind and, like all neighborhoods, plenty in-between. A caveat on that is there are not actually a whole lot of people in this rather spread-out neighborhood to begin with. Needless to say, anybody with room for a shooting range in their yard does not live where houses are packed cheek-to-jowl. The photo to the right was from our May 4th shoot. The same folks were here yesterday, so I did not shoot them again (with my camera). They all improved in confidence and competence. I will likely keep doing this to further, and cement the gains. Better […]

I’d just as soon be lucky

Results matter. Consistent results are even better. According to many historians, Napoleon was more interested in a pattern of good fortune for his generals than technical skill sets. “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?” – Napoleon Bonaparte – A friend and I were target shooting a few days ago. I was shooting my .22 pistol while he shot his .22 rifle, 9mm pistol and 12-gauge pump. He offered to let me shoot each. I did a few rounds with the rifle, then took his offer with one 12-gauge slug. I selected the top-middle of the pictured array as my target – about 35 yards away, sighting with a little-bitty bead at the end of a […]

coaching, empowering self-defense

I once was an active NRA-certified junior rifle coach. More relevant, I am a very good teacher. Yesterday my three charges voiced and agreed that “He is a very good coach” – which is just about the finest compliment one can lay on me. Thank you for that one. That came up because a couple from the west coast passed through our neighborhood, and I gave them the opportunity to burn some ammunition on our short range (10-30 meters). I laid out a table of .22 semi-auto pistols, a 9mm Glock, 38 Special revolvers, .22 rifles and a 20-gauge shotgun, then helped them through familiarization, safety, handling, loading and shooting whatever captured their interests. We had FUN My standard […]

ammo load testing

I meticulously assembled 7 groups of loads with 165-grain Hornady SST bullets. The hand-weighed charges ran from 5 with 43.4 grains of Varget powder to 5 with 44.0 grains, every group of five separated by tenth-of-a-grain increments. I also loaded up and tested 7 groups of 168-grain Sierra HPBT match bullets. These were pushed out by 42.7 to 43.3 grains of Varget, also groups of five in tenth-of-a-grain increments. My shooting was all done at 200 yards from a bench rest through the Leopold scope my .308-caliber AR-10 always wears. The wind was kind to me, not disturbing us at all. The targets were some 50-foot rapid-fire pistol targets I had a lot of. While not ideal for load testing, […]


100 and 200 yard targetsMy low-rent Romanian AK47 had an awful trigger that was like a pointy stick dragging across broken pavement. Worse, every shot fired would reset the trigger with a smart SLAP on your trigger finger. Not too many shots downrange before anyone and everyone had enough. Today was its first outing with a new trigger. No slap. Hooray! Smooth too. Way Cool! It has very little takeup against a light spring, a little tension for just a skosh farther, then BOOM. Perhaps breaking around 2 pounds, though I didn’t measure it. While a very nice, welcome change, it does take some getting used to. It is quite different from the 4.5-pound 2-stage AR-15 or 6-pound handgun triggers […]

AR-15 rifle options

My best friend, a devout AR-15 builder, built me a ‘utility upper’ for my AR-15 “Service Rifle”. My rifle’s original purpose is to shoot CMP and NRA High-Power Rifle Matches at 200, 300 and 600 yards in very restricted, formatted matches. They have been going on for over 100 years in more or less the same format … though they used to be encouraged and supported by the government and military and are now unsupported and discouraged, but that is a whole nuther story. Today, my rifle doubled its utility. It is no longer a match-only tool, but a utility rifle as well. This was motivated by the upcoming June Vance Cusic Vietnam Rattle Battle Rifle Match. I am a […]