This is going to be mostly pictures as I type enough during the week and I’ve got a few other posts to write. Tiff finally got to shoot the Savage MkII I bought for her. There’s a problem, though, she actually loves it! After I sighted in the scope and gave it to her, I almost had to pry it out of her hands to get a chance to shoot it again
Posts Tagged ‘mossberg’
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written much about shooting, but it’s not for the lack of activity. With the holidays coming up, there’s been a lot more doing, and less writing and downtime. My RSS reader had 700+ unread entries the other day!
In the shotgun department though, I’ve shot a couple more rounds of skeet at John Sevier HEC since I went to Chilhowee and did my first round I wrote about previously. I’ve registered for the required Hunter Safety Course that is a prerequisite to getting a hunting license if you were born after 1969. That is 4 evenings in late December. I am not exactly sure what, or even IF, I really want to hunt, but I’d like to, at the very least, try. Be a good excuse to bolster the arsenal down the road
ANYHOW, now that you’re caught up, here’s what my wife’s cousin’s husband (is there a term for that relationship???) Kevin, and my father-in-law, Rich, did Saturday after Thanksgiving. Neither of them had ever tried clay games before and I brought my guns with me on our visit to Ohio in hopes that I could find some time to go shooting, so we loaded up the guns and manual trap launcher and a couple boxes of clays and went to Deer Creek.
Deer Creek has an outdoor rifle range and an “unsupervised” shotgun range. It really is little more than a big grass field with a bunch of warning signs that people use guns there This is the first time I’ve shot at such a location, every other time being at some kind of club that had range officers, waivers, and fees. I do have to say that it’s nice to just yell “pull” and see the bird go up, rather than having to load each clay manually into the launcher, though.
That said, it was a really enjoyable time. There was one other big “family” group there that had maybe 15 people and 3 guns, so they were all taking turns pulling for each other and shooting. We had 3 guns (CZ, Mossberg, and Winchester Model 1300) and 3 people, so one pulled, one shot, and one took pictures and watched. But all that to say, it really wasn’t crowded, and the informal “field” setting with all manual equipment was kinda nice.
Since Kevin and Rich had never used shotguns before, I gave them a brief overview on how the two pump guns operated, and the CZ’s over/under action. All 3 of us rotated through all the guns and it was actually a really enlightening time for me as well as I got to shoot 3 fairly different guns back to back and start to get a feel for the finer differences between how each of them handled. If you’re paying attention to the pictures though, my CZ got LOTS of use. I am pretty sure it got picked up more than either of the pumps, although I found myself picking up my Mossberg quite a bit as well. I love how light that gun is, and even with the more significant recoil, it just is a fun fun gun. The fixed cyl. bore choke definitely hurt though if i let the bird get too far out into the field.
Each of us would take between 5 and 10 shots and rotate to the next person. Kevin and I started getting creative and started playing a game where we would see who could break the bird first. Rich pulled singles for us and we tried to line up on the clay as fast as possible. I think we ended up tied, or at least very close. A few of them we fired exactly at the same time and it was really hard to say who got the score. But you know, it was more about the fun than the actual score
In the end I think we launched about 150-175 clays (we started with a partial box, so I’m not sure exactly how many we ended up with), and close to the same amount of ammo. I actually am kind of irritated as I keep a log of the shots I put through the CZ, but with each of us swapping guns all afternoon, I lost track of how much we shot through it. I’m going to log 100 I think, which is probably a little over, but “close enough”
Tiffany and I planned a relaxing outing Saturday. I wanted to take her to see the Elk at the south end of the GSMNP (Great Smoky Mountain National Park), and we had to drive through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to get there. So convenient that the Sportsman’s Club is on the way Picture below is the upper of the 3 ranges at the GSC range.
This isn’t really a formal review for a couple of reasons. 1) I’m new to shotguns in general and couldn’t express the intricacies of any particular gun like a seasoned sportsman could, and 2) I don’t feel like writing that much today . I just wanted to make sure my new gun shot well and the barrels were regulated correctly, and after firing a couple of rounds at the pattern target, I joined in with another bunch of guys who were shooting trap. Shot 30 rounds of double-trap and 20 rounds of handicap singles. It was amazingly fun. I definitely need to get used to this new gun as it shoots vastly different from my Mossberg, but it is much much better for shooting at clays as well. The extra barrel length and interchangeable chokes made it easier to hit the far clays. Scored 24/50… not great, but I don’t think too bad considering my inexperience both in the sport and the gun.
Mossberg will still definitely see use here and there, but for now it’s relegated to Home Defense use, which is what it was really built for anyhow I am quite happy to have two shotguns though as it will be more fun to go shooting with friends having the extra gun.
The CZ though…It’s a beautiful gun. I love the classic look of the double-barrel shotguns, and while side-by-sides are the “real” classic of double-barrel guns I guess, I think the Over/Under looks better. I feel like I should be walking out the door to go hunt some pheasant with it Even with only having 50 rounds in it so far, my initial impressions are that I am going to keep this gun around a LONG time. It fits me well and seems quite well made. The reported firing pin problems have been reported to be only on older runs of these guns, and the new ones are supposedly quite reliable.
All I can say for now is that I like the gun’s balance. It kicks WAY less than my Mossberg, and seems pretty accurate. Both barrels fire perfectly, no misfires yet, and I’ve hit clays from both barrels, so if it is off, it’s not noticeable to a novice shooter like myself. Also, considering the relatively small price difference between this and the Stoeger I was considering initially, this is the better gun by far. Selective trigger and beefy ejectors, plus a nicer finish and better wood. I think I still could deal with a slightly longer Length of Pull, but that is easily rectified with a Limbsaver, though I hate to cover up the wood. We’ll see.
Will post more as I get used to the gun.
Well let me just start off by saying I have the most awesome wife ever. The two of us certainly do not have a ton of money to spare every month and for the most part we’re just glad to be pulling in steady paychecks in a time when a lot of people are barely feeding themselves and keeping their bills paid. So when I recently traded some stuff on craigslist for a Mossberg 500 Persuader, I was feeling pretty good. New shotgun, great fun, fairly affordable to shoot.
Fast forward about a month and I’ve learned quite a bit, having gone shooting at least once a weekend since I got the Mossberg. One of the most obvious lessons was that a 20″ barrel with an open choke just does not have near enough range and pattern density to hit clays with any kind of predictability. So I started looking at Over/Under shotguns to use at the range, and keep my Mossberg for HD and “spare gun” use. Problem was nice Over/Unders (O/Us) can cost more than a brand new car. I’ve seen O/Us that list for $25,000!!! And there are a whole slew of people who say a good O/U can’t be had for under $1000.
Tiff and I had agreed we could afford to spend about $350 on a gun, and she wanted to buy it for me for Christmas. I at first was looking at longer pump guns, and a couple of auto-loaders. Then I found a couple O/Us that looked interesting, the Stoeger Condor (also sold under the Benelli name) and the Remington SPR310. Both can be found for ~$350 at stores like Bass Pro Shops or Dick’s Sporting Goods. I handled a couple of these in the stores and thought the Stoeger felt nicer than people were giving it credit for. For what it’s worth, the Remington SPR310 felt like junk. If that had been my only choice, I’d have walked out without a shotgun. Quality on it, especially the fit and finish on the wood stock, was downright horrible. Maybe I’d have taken it for $100. But it didn’t even remotely feel worth $350.
We ended up going to Gander Mountain and I was about to buy the Stoeger when I saw the CZ Canvasback in a 12g/28″ configuration with clearance tags on it. Jackpot It was a little more than we wanted to spend, but I’ve been selling some stuff on craigslist recently so we figured we could swing it. It was something of an impulse buy as I hadn’t done much research on CZ shotguns (actually made by Huglu). But when we got home I poked around and it seems that not only is it a pretty good little gun, but I got a smokin’ deal on it. Cheapest I can find online is $640, and I will be able to buy a few months worth of ammo with what I saved over that.
Did the paperwork, paid for it, and brought home my new target gun. I will post pictures tomorrow when we go to the range to test it’s pattern. I want to make sure the barrels are regulated well as can supposedly be a problem on “cheaper” double-barrel shotguns.
I really enjoy the tactical “can-survive-anything” feel of my Mossberg, but this CZ is such a joy to hold. It is a more refined gun, for a more refined purpose. It is far from the most beautiful and best machined gun available, but for the price, the aesthetics can’t be beat. Hopefully that will go for the shooting performance as well. Find out tomorrow
Thanks Tiff. Best Christmas present ever
So I have a really exciting life. I have expanded my activities from working, eating, and sleeping, to working, eating, sleeping, and scaring clay pigeons (occasionally hitting them!) So once again, just a short post about my weekend of shooting. Emmett and I went to the John Sevier Hunters Education Center. They are closed the first weekend of every month. That’s there as much to be a reminder for me as to anyone else who’s thinking of going there. This is at least the second time I’ve gone up there and been welcomed by a locked gate.
(I’m kind of writing this next part as an entry for “what I did today”, and partially as a “review” in case someone looking for a place to shoot around the Pigeon Forge area finds this and wants to know more)
Thankfully people in TN must like to shoot a lot because there are no less than 3 other ranges within a “convenient” driving distance of us. Emmett and I decided to try a new range we’d never been to before that is between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg Sportman’s Club is normally a members-only range, however, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons, the clay, trap, skeet, and sporting clay ranges are open to the public. No “range fee”, but their sporting clay prices are close to double the affordable $5/25 targets at JSHEC at $20/50 or $35/100 for sporting clays and just a dollar more for trap at $6/25 targets.
Getting to GSC is pretty straightforward. It is located on King Branch Road which is directly off of the Scenic Parkway (441) between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. King Branch is well marked, and following that road for about a mile, Gatlinburg Sportsman’s Club is well marked with a large green sign on the left.
Note: Do NOT take a lowered sports car or something with bald tires. The gravel drive is quite smooth and any sedan well make it up just fine, but the grade is very steep in some areas and my essentially brand new Goodyear Eagle GT’s on my Kia were having trouble getting up a few areas.
After going through the gate, there are a couple of splits, just follow the gravel drive up the hill watching for signs for the Clay/Shotgun range. There is somewhat limited parking, I am not sure if they have “overflow” somewhere or not.
GSC has a some really great features. They have 3 fields they can setup for trap or sporting clays, and their “main” field has two nice trap houses for skeet. There seemed to be some younger people doing some training on the skeet field when we got there, so Emmett and I went to the lower field where they were shooting sporting clays and we ran through a 50 round set followed by 25 traps.
The sporting clay trajectories are significantly more challenging than the sporting clay field at JSHEC, and I did quite poorly, but it was still lots of fun to practice. I think a longer gun with a modified or full choke would help a lot. My 20″ open choke barrel is just WAY too open to hit the clay pigeons at the GSC range. JSHEC’s is much closer in, and can be handled with a short gun like mine much more easily. Also practice. Even given a longer gun, I still think I would have been below 50% on the sporting clays. I’m used to a nice stationary circle target with my rifle. It’s hard to mentally put together a shot while having to compensate for a high speed moving target.
Lastly, but almost most important, the staff at the range is really great. They’re helpful, and willing to take as much time as you need to explain anything you’d want to know. I’ve never really seen an Over/Under up close so he picked up one of their rental guns and explained how they worked, what you could change on them for a better fit, etc. I think next time I’m there I might rent one of the O/U guns to see if I like it. The balance felt a lot better than my Mossberg for that kind of shooting. Felt steadier with the long barrel. *shrug*
Anyhow, once again, no really big lesson learned with today’s shooting. Just found another nice place to shoot, and got some more practice in. And still wanting another shotgun more than ever now.
Well, for whatever reason I’ve never taken pictures of my guns before. I posted up a “stock photo” of a Mossberg similar to mine last week, but here’s photos of the actual gun. Also, I took a few shots of my SKS w/ folding stock and scope.
I’ve been having an absolutely great time with the Mossberg. I’ve gone shooting both of the past two weekends at the John Sevier Hunting Education Center, where the TWRA officers have been incredibly helpful for a newbie getting their feet wet with shotguns and sport shooting.
Two weekends ago was Trap Shooting with Emmett, and we were the only ones there so it was a nice slow start and no pressure from other shooters to get into the rhythm that they normally rotate through for Trap (5 stations, 5 shots per station, rotate through). The short 20″ barrel on the Mossberg definitely limited its useful range, but we still both managed to hit a number of the clay pigeons and had a blast doing so.
This past weekend, I just went shooting by myself. I’d bought a couple more boxes of ammo (#7.5 this time) and took enough cash with me to shoot two rounds of 25 pigeons at the Trap range. When I got there I was greeted with a PACKED parking lot. Apparently the University of Tennessee has a girl’s shooting club and was having a tournament on the Trap ranges, so the only thing that was open to the public was the “Sporting Clays”.
I sadly didn’t take a camera with me Sunday, as I could have gotten some cool pictures, but here is an example of a small Sporting Clay field. The one at JSHEC has 6 launchers, and 5 stations, and there is a placard at each station showing which launchers will throw for each round. Again it goes in rotation through each station, but it’s a hair different from trap shooting. Goes something like this:
Station 1 starts. Shoots a single 6 (# of the launcher that throws). Then Station 2 shoots a #1. etc etc through Station 5.
Back to Station 1. Shoot a #1 and a #2 in succession but with a short break between each launch. Station 2 fires at a #4 and a #3. etc etc through Station 5.
Back to Station 1. Shoot a #3 and a #5, launched simultaneously. Think you’ve probably seen the pattern by now
After those 3 rounds are done, everyone moves down one spot, and the person at Station 5 moves back to Station 1. Then you go through the whole rotation again until everyone has shot 5 shots from each station.
It’s quite challenging as some rounds there are two pigeons in the air at the same time and you have to sight, lead, fire, pump, sight, lead, fire in rapid succession. Most of the guys who did that regularly use an Over/Under shotgun so there is no reloading. just pull the trigger for the first barrel, then I think there is a little switch and the trigger will fire on the second barrel.
I didn’t do very well, but it was the most fun I’ve had in quite a while. Shooting at a moving target is vastly more entertaining than shooting at a stationary target/silhouette with a rifle. And the extra computing it forces your brain to do at a rapid pace feels great. And nothing is so satisfying as seeing a bright orange clay pigeon explode into a ton of tiny pieces when you get a clean hit. After 50 shells in about 2 hours though, my shoulder had about had it, and I came home, thinking during the entire drive back, “When can I get up here again next?” I am thoroughly and undeniably hooked on this sport now, and as Tiff and I were talking about last night, it’s one of my cheapest hobbies yet
One cool thing I did see while I was there on Sunday though was a Saiga 12ga. Semi-Automatic Shotgun. It looks just like an AK-47, but shoots 12gauge shotgun shells/slugs. Was quite the beast. I have a picture on my phone, and I’ll post it up sometime when I get it off.
Here’s the other pics….