Monday, September 26, 2016

Sporting Clays Gun Fit

I now have 1000 registered targets under my NSCA belt, worked my way up to C class, and everyone of them was shot with my Remington 870.  That's not overly impressive, but I have learned a few things.  First, shooting a pump will handicap you, but not much.  Second, make sure the gun works properly, before you shoot your first hundred and nearly get a DQ due to malfunctions.  Third, and the point of this post, make sure the gun fits you!

On a sporting clays course you will get some strange looks if you use anything other than blued steel and fine walnut.  So I purchased a nice stock/forend set.  B-E-A-utiful wood if I do say so myself.  But, it's made for trap guns.

It's significantly too long for me, but I wasn't worried because the forend comes all the way back to the receiver, meaning I could hold it farther back.  Bad news there.  The empty shells coming out would clip my fingertips and sometimes fail to eject.  It would also cause me to torque the forend against the receiver and make shucking very difficult, at best.  So now I have come full circle, back to my Magpul furniture.

It's not pretty, but it's beyond functional.  Adjusting the length of pull is a snap and the forearm is M-Lok compatible so add anything you want to it.  The Magpul covers I use are abrasive enough you need to wear gloves.  But that's ok too, keeps sweat from being an issue.  

Gun fit is subjective for everyone.  I'm sure there are minute details about it that are over my head, but in large you will know when it fits just by how it feels.  It's more important than I originally gave it credit for.  True gun fitters are not common and their services expensive.  Wood is better for them to use.  Polymer on the other hand is typically easier to configure with parts to get "close enough".  If you are serious about breaking more clays, or birds, or general accuracy, fit the gun to you, don't try to fit yourself to the gun.  I'm looking forward to the knowledge that comes with the next 1K targets and I have every intention of working my way to M class with this very 870.  Maybe I'll paint it brown to better blend in!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Benchmade CBK

The Benchmade CBK is a solid choice for a defensive carry knife.  It's been with me daily for a few months, carried on my left side appendix position.  The handle is coated in a rubber substance, but it started to crack early on.  I had this rubber coated wire laying around so I gave it a try on the handle. Stays in place and fills the hand better, but looks terrible.  If I get the chance to get another knife on the cheap I want to dull the edge, paint it red, and use it as a trainer.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sporting Clays Tips

Just a couple of things I wanted to pass on after some experimentation.  I haven't always bought into the color of shooting glasses making much difference.  I usually shot with clear lenses and had no reason to change.  Occasionally I use plain ole sunglasses for the obvious reasons, but I'll caution you to avoid polarized versions because it has a slight distortion on the sight picture.

On a whim I tried a blue tint pair that I had.  It was incredible how much the orange clay stood out. I'm sure someone smarter than me can give a valid explanation, but I assure you won't be disappointed if you take a chance on them.

The other thing worth passing along is not an original thought.  I have no idea who said it originally, but as soon as I heard it a light bulb clicked on.  The targets you need to worry about the most are the ones you are capable of breaking consistently.  To take that further, and as an example, if you are in a normal station shooting six birds, all of which you can consistently break, worry about breaking them all.  4 of 6 and 5 of 6 start to add up over the course of a tournament.

If you get to a really challenging station, in other words above your skill level, and can only break 3 or less of 6, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT!  It's above your level, no need to stress.  Take the couple of lucky breaks you got and be happy about it.  Those are the shots you work on in practice.  And eventually they will be at your skill level.

The thing about the pros is consistency.  They can break the same target every single time.  So you too need to be breaking the same targets in your skill range every single time.  Be upset about the 4's or 5's on a station.  You left easy points on the table.  Don't sweat the 3's, 2's, 1's, or 0's, they are beyond your reach, but only for the moment.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Stippling Polymer

I have long wanted to try stippling.  A Lowe's gift card made it possible, but the $14.86 price tag shouldn't be a deterrent.  A soldering iron is literally all you need.

It's ridiculously easy.  Conventional wisdom would suggest trying it first on something you don't care about or doing it in a location that can't be seen.  But what fun would that be?  Seriously though, you can't mess this up so get to it.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Better Accuracy with Speed

There are lots of sight choices.  Indeed, overwhelming might be a better way to describe the situation.  In reality there are three main setups to choose from and the rest is window dressing.  All black "plain" sights, fiber-optic sights, or night sights.  For the subject of this post, the pictured Glock 34 used solely for competition, I was at first drawn to fiber-optic sights.  After trying several versions from major brands I found a few drawbacks.  The primary one for me is that the colored dot is so bright in full sunlight I found myself looking at the target while shooting since I could clearly pick up the dot in my peripheral vision.  That's a no-no and my accuracy at full speed would suffer from poor sight alignment.  Not that I need a good reason to buy more gun accessories, but I could now reasonably justify looking for a better choice of sight.  My wife would argue the point, but why get caught up in semantics?  


I had never given much thought to plain black sights, but being cheaper than all the rest and a recommendation from Brian Enos, I gave my first set a shot....see what I did there?  Immediately I saw some merits, but a huge issue for me was being able to pick the front sight again after the previous shot.  It was a polar opposite of fiber-optics and it was like shooting in low gear.  I happened to find this Sharpie Poster Paint pen one day and it changed my life like a religious experience.  It makes the front visible and easy to find again, but dull enough I still have to look at it while shooting.  There are several colors, it's cheap, easy to put on, or take off, and touch-up when necessary.

Having an all black rear is an important piece of the puzzle regardless of front sight choice, don't be fooled by gimmicks or marketing.  The paint works best on a serrated sight, but I use it on them all, even to paint around the tritium capsule of a night sight.  We are all wired a little differently, but in my opinion this is about the easiest thing you could ever do to improve your scores.  What sights/brands do you prefer?  Leave it in the comments!

Monday, February 29, 2016

870 Express Stuck Shells

There are well documented issues with Remington 870's having trouble extracting certain shells. Mine was no exception, but I'm sure there are plenty that run fine.  Mine liked Remington and Rio brands, but throw in a cheap Federal or Winchester and you were guaranteed to test the limits of your patience.  I saw any number of videos and read any number of internet articles as to what the problem could be.  Truth be told, I still don't know.  But I tried what I saw in a few videos, and it worked.  I wish I could claim this as an original thought, but I rarely have one that works so well.

To complete this simple task all you need is the barrel, a power drill, shotgun bristle brush, piece of cleaning rod, oil, and 000 or 0000 steel wool.  Wrap a chunk of steel wool around the bore brush, which is on the cleaning rod, and chuck it in the drill.  Add a few drops of oil and put it in the chamber.

Make sure you hold onto the barrel, it's going to rotate with force.  Pull the drill trigger and push/pull it in and out of the chamber for several minutes.  This is essentially honing the chamber.  Hold the barrel with a towel as it may get hot.  You only need to do it once and the problem is solved. Of course you can do it more often, just change out the steel wool when it turns black.  You can also do this to clean out choke tubes but they are significantly harder to hold onto.  There are plenty of people who will tell you to just avoid the cheap bulk pack shells and you won't have to worry about it, but that's all I shoot!  Until someone else is picking up the tab, the cheaper the better.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

870 Wood Trap Forearm and Stock

This gun has been through some changes. It's currently sporting a factory "trap" forearm, which is 11" long and comes all the way back to the receiver. It's not something common on an 870, but should do well for sporting clays. The stock has a standard comb and came as a set. The picture doesn't do the wood grain justice, it's matte and quite beautiful. My only complaint would be the absence of checkering. I have been kicking around the idea of using shooting gloves and this might be the right time. If nothing else, at least it looks like it belongs on a clay course!