Day At The Range

Day At The Range

There’s not a better way to spend a free day than at the gun range shooting targets. To be honest, I have not shot any of my long guns in quite some time. Since I now have access to a private range I wanted to get outside and see how bad my marksmanship has become over the years. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it could have been better.

I started shooting the .22 first. I really enjoy plinking targets with this rifle. You can shoot all day with it and not worry about ammo because it’s cheap. The only downside is that shooting a lot means loading a lot. The plastic clip on my rifle needed some lubrication so it wasn’t feeding right, so I had to load each round one at a time. At 20 yards my groupings continued getting tighter with successive shots, but I kept shooting high. Unfortunately, I did not have a screwdriver with me to adjust down the sights. I’ll grab one and keep it in my shooting kit going forward.

Next I got out the 30.06, my trusty deer rifle. Our range has targets at 25, 50, 100, and 150 yards. I set up a target at 100 and had surprising accuracy given how little I shoot at this distance.  Overall, I rarely take any shots at game beyond 50 yards. The reason I don’t shoot beyond that distance is twofold. First, there’s no real reason to hone long distance shooting in my part of Kentucky. The woods here are very thick and there is no real letup from the rolling hills of the Ohio River Valley. You’ll rarely get a long shooting lane unless you’re hunting in big open farm lands. The second reason I keep my shots close is that the margin of error gets too big the further the distance. A heart shot quickly becomes a wound in the back leg that allows your target to sprint off and die in a place that you’ll never find it. That’s wasteful.

My deer rifle is very light, which I chose originally given how many hills I climb hunting here in Kentucky. The offset to it’s portability is that this gun’s lightness does a terrible job offsetting kick. After a dozen rounds your shoulder starts hurting and you wince on the trigger pull. As such I don’t shoot it much. Typically during deer season I pop in a bore sight and dial it in at 50 yards. This has done the trick for me in the past. I shoot a Savage with a Leopold scope and this has been a tremendous combination for me. This deer rifle has accounted for lots of venison in the freezer over the years.

Finally, I got out my .44 magnum Marlin. This is a great slug gun. I practiced close-up shots in quick successive order because it is my defense weapon and future anti-bear gun if I get a chance to fish at a place that haves them. It’s also my option for hunting in Indiana or Ohio, where rifles are not permitted. Since this has no rifling, it qualifies as legitimate under their hunting regulations.

I wish I could have spent more time at the range but with 90+ degree weather in September, I got to the point where I couldn’t sweat anymore. At the end of the day though, I just felt blessed to be able to get out and enjoy something that not a lot of people get the chance to do!


target practice with Savage 30.06
My 30.06 at 100 yards


target practice with a Marlin 44 magnum
My 44 mag at 10 yards