Thursday, February 23, 2006

Range Report

Went to the old range in Micanopy and fired off a few hundred rounds of various .40 caliber's. This is a 10 lane indoor affair, run by people who know guns and ammo. The cost was $6 per half hour of squeeze, and I even took my favorite squeeze along for a look see. The gun we used was the Glock-27.

The place was clean, and the only complaint a newbee might have would be to make a big deal of the relatively low-wattage lighting, but for me it was okay. I don't go to an indoor expecting to don sunglasses and since I was firing off a shitload of modern self-defense ammunition it was good training. Most firefights between good guys and lawyers...strike that, bad guys...occur in squint as you squeeze conditions.

50 rounds of Winchester White Box. 40SWVP, or WWB as the gunsters like to refer to the fmj 165 grain target ammunition that we used. Popular among all calibers because of the decent price, and unless you load your own or get a great deal on the net you'd have to stretch to find .40 caliber rounds any cheaper. Hard to beat $15 for 100 rounds, but for me they're to test the feed, fire, and flingery of whatever semi-auto is in use, and not by any means an accurate personal defense round. They flashed dramatically, boomed to beat the band, but were easy enough to keep on paper. I'm the worst one to ask about handgun recoil, but I suppose the average joe would call these a medium load.

50 rounds of Winchester Ranger, 165 grain SXT, RA40TA jacketed hollowpoints were up next. To me this was the softest shooting ammo of the day, and the most accurate as well. Low flash, and lower boom-boom than the WWB's. Ten yard groups of 2"-3" were easy from the offhand, and there is simply nothing bad to say about this modern bullet. Generally considered to be the best defensive ammunition on the market. Against 2-legged predators. Our cost was a little over $19 including delivery, and the range had them for $29 before tax.

We then went right to an 180 grain version of the same bullet and for the life of me I couldn't tell the difference, except perhaps a slight tendency to shoot a little higher than the 165 grainers. I'd be somewhat hestitant to use them in a gun with a 3.5" barrel for fear they'd not expand each and every time, but those who've shot them into ballistic gelatin say otherwise. 50 rounds of these went downrange without a burp.

50 rounds of Winchester SXT jacketed hollowpoints...NOT the Rangers but the sissified civilian version that is available everywhere as opposed to the LEO Ranger-T's. Perfectly legal for a civvy to own and shoot the Rangers, but Winchester distributors like keeping the supply limited to law enforcement so a lot of folks mistakenly purchase the talon-less SXT. Also 165 grainers, this round makes a louder noise, a tad more flash than the T version, and is not as accurate. Gelatin and street response have been unfavorable regarding penetration and expansion, but the gun magazines love these things because they look so evil. Better than harsh words, but cannot be classified as good self defense ammunition. Got them on sale a few months back for $11 per 25 rounds.

Cor-Bon 135 grain JHP's came next, and these were the snappiest rounds of the day. At 1325 fps these bullets are rivalling .357 Sig performance, and while totally controllable they were louder and flashier than any of the other bullets we shot this day. Accuracy was fair to good. $22 before shipping and handling direct from for 20 cartridges. Street results have been favorable, but the gello-kids don't like the way this round fragments before coming to a less than impressive 10"-11" or so. I'd have no problems shooting these on a daily basis, but the recoil sensitive should be wary especially when fired from a smallish weapon. We emptied 2 boxes for a total of 40 shots.

Remington Golden Saber, 165 grain brass jacketed hollowpoints ended the show, and were just a tad flashier than the Rangers. Recoil was mild, boom-boom was moderate, and the accuracy was a hair off the Ranger performance. 50 rounds fired, no drama.

For the clunker magazine. Yep, one of the 7 we brought had a mild case of the hiccoughs. Didn't matter what bullet was being fired as we tried em all in this aftermarket piece of junkishness, it simply had the propensity to lock in the last bullet each and every time. I'll take the thing apart to see what's up but never, ever use it for a self defense magazine. So what if at the range it only allows me to crank off 8 instead of the usual 9, but I wouldn't wish to discover what else it might have in store if push came to shove.

All in all a good afternoon. I shot the little bugger until the barrel was hot to the touch, and the gun itself did just fine. Reasonably lightweight, accurate at self defense distances (as I said, under 3" at 10 yards when shooting pretty much as fast as you can is mighty fine for so short a barrel), and a great punch for so small a package. Lisa even cranked out a few and left with nothing more than a slight tingle in her shooting hand. The trigger, for me, is great, the recoil non-existent, and there's a plethora of terrific ammunition for this gun.

As soon as we got home I scrubbed the thing to like-new cleanliness, and it's resting comfortably in it's favorite holster. Next time up, we'll wring out the Ruger GP-100 and let you know how that went. And as always, click the pic for a bigger version.

Beckwith's Pistol Range
Off Hwy 441 Micanopy, FL 32667

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