Monday, September 08, 2008

Buckmark and some trigger therapy

I brought my brand spanking new Buckmark to the indoor range Saturday night at 7pm with half a box of the cheapest .22 in the area, Remington Golden Bullet, and a full box of federal bulk.

I set up one of my target paper plates at 25 feet, and got started.

Part of why I bought the Buckmark was to improve my 1911 shooting, and my pistol shooting in general. By only the second magazine, my flinch in rapid fire was obvious to me. After the shot, I would compensate and move the front sight down (I guess) to control the recoil, instead of letting my arm and hand return to my natural point of aim. Many magazines later I stopped compensating, and started playing with my grip. Since I'm cross dominant, and shoot right handed/left eyed, a straight grip (bore aligned with my forearm) causes significant tweaking in my arm and shoulder. Despite this, I attempted a straight grip, and found I shot better when I gripped it as I usually did, slightly off center. This might be more of a problem with pistols where I can't "gas pedal" the safety like this 1911, or the buckmark, but with the "gas pedal" and proper placement of my support hand, everything snaps right back on target.

I had been consistently shooting slightly left, and instead of adjusting the sights, switched to my left hand, and saw I was right down the middle. This meant I needed to work on my grip or trigger pull. But after a few hundred rounds, the problem disappeared as I focused more on my shooting form.

For the first half of the session, I happily practiced semi-rapid fire at 25 feet (which is just a lot of fun with a .22), but after I began to get the hang of the Buckmark, I switched to slow fire at 50 feet.

At this range the Buckmark was sighted three inches high, which was perfect because all I needed to do was rotate the paper plate to have a fresh section to shoot into. Groupings were mostly vertical, and I could see in the front sight that my arms were beginning to tire.

Around this time, another shooter invited me to shoot his 8" .44, and I was too polite to decline. (he insisted that he reloaded and made his own bullets, so cost was NOT a problem) He gave me 6 shots of a light load, and found it actually, more mild than a 357. I returned it with a big smile on my face, and he handed me 6 more shots, and made it clear he would not take "No" for an answer. :) What he didn't tell me, was that those were full loads. All I can say is WOW. I've got small hands, and had difficulty with the large wooden grips. Each shot pounded my hand like a hammer, but it was so awesome I just had to keep going. I actually managed a respectable group considering the double action, oversized gun, and monstrous recoil. I thanked him profusely, and returned to my Buckmark to find that 6 full loads of .44 is a big dose of ANTI-flinch. I shot two more magazines of federal and made the smallest groups of entire visit.

Around now, I had to go because I had been there for THREE HOURS and they were closing. I hadn't spent that long at the range in a long time due to the cost of ammo.

Of the 500 rounds split between the cheapest .22 in the area, and the federal, I had two failure to fires (ammo related, golden bullet has a problem with primers that get knocked loose), and one stove pipe (also golden bullet).

Trigger Therapy

In the hours following the range visit, I noticed I was MUCH less tense. Not necessarily that I was tense before, and now I felt better, but that I felt "normal" and then suddenly felt much better! My girlfriend noticed the change immediately, and commented. I guess it has been so long since I got a long range visit in, I'd forgotten how much better you feel after a few hours a shooting! The entire cost of the range trip was approximately $10. I defy you to improve your mental health so dramatically for less than that.

I look forward to more therapy with Dr. Buckmark.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you on the therapeutic value of 22 LR. Even my 9mm practice STI makes my head hurt when I add up the cost of a range session. This brings back memories of my 10/22, a brick of ammo, and shooting all afternoon for less than the gas it took to get to the range...

Anyway, I'd strongly urge you to look at 22 conversions of the Marvel persuasion (you can get them from Wilson as well--Kimbers are fine but I've heard bad things about Ciener made uppers).

Nothing wrong with a solid 22 pistol--everyone should own one--but for serious practice I find slapping a 22 upper on one of my full size 1911s is twice as effective as a similar, but different, design. Trigger control alone is obviously a major advantage, plus you can use the same gear and do practical shooting drills from the draw, use the same malfunction drills, etc.

Caveat--in the two I own (a Marvel and a Wilson), I had to use high velocity RN ammo for at least the first 500 rounds, and they can be just as finicky about cheap ammo as any 22. I stay away from hollow point ammo period because it nose dives on the feed ramp.

But hey... malfs mean practice clearing them, which is good, right? It's a feature, not a bug, I swear... Honestly, other than my buggy magazine that skips right over the second round EVERY TIME it's rare for me to get more than one fail to feed every five mags, less if they've been cleaned recently.

To make an obnoxiously long comment even longer, great blog. I found my way here via Atomic Nerds.