On Thanksgiving weekend, Brendan brought the .22s to the Sullivans’ house. The boys set up a target on the burn pile and shot from the back deck.
On Thanksgiving weekend, Brendan brought the .22s to the Sullivans’ house. The boys set up a target on the burn pile and shot from the back deck.
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
Well, as of February 25th, I am FINALLY a member of the Oak Ridge Sportsman’s Association. Tiff and I went to the orientation meeting @ 6:30pm and that wonderfully entertaining presentation lasted about 2 hours. Honestly it wasn’t that bad for me, but I’m sorry I dragged Tiff with me. It was mostly technical stuff, don’t do this, range is open these hours, don’t be a retard with a gun, blah blah, etc etc.
Sunday afternoon Tiffany and I went to the benchrest range and shot the rifles a bit. I borrowed a 22LR from Emmett so Tiff could shoot with me. I shot my “new” Savage 223Rem. The scope on that gun is horrible….the gun hits about 8 inches high at 50 yards and I can’t get the scope to adjust out. It’s just a cheapo Blaser 4×32, so it’s no huge loss.
Tiff shot the 22LR (an older Marlin 60) that Emmett let me borrow so she’d have something to shoot. When we stopped at Gander Mountain to buy targets, they had packs of squirrel paper targets (for legitimate target practice for squirrel seasons) and bought those for her to shoot at. I got a pack of the fluorescent yellow targets so I could try to sight in the gun (which was sadly not too successful as you read above). Tiff was hampered by only having open sites on the 22, but she still did pretty well shooting her squirrels at 50 yards.
No shotgunning today as there is a league that reserves all the clay fields for use on Sundays. I normally shoot on Saturday though, so that shouldn’t normally be a problem. I have a lot of guys telling me to reload the 223 so I’m saving my brass. Metallic reloading is significantly easier to get into than shotshell…less equipment and I usually only end up shooting about 20 rounds per trip, so it’s not nearly as high volume as what I’ll need to do for the shotguns.
Anyhow, I’m excited to finally have my membership active and can shoot just about any shooting discipline there. I’m looking at getting some small rimfire rifle for Tiffany next. I really want a 17HMR, but the ammo is a little pricey for the gun’s intended purpose of higher volume target practice and plinking. 17HM2 is an option, but it hasn’t caught on and all ammo/guns would have to be mail ordered. Sooo, all that said, I’ll likely end up getting a Savage MKII in 22LR with a heavy barrel and put a decent 4x or 6x scope on it. I think I’ve decided on a Bushnell 2-7×50 for my 223. We’ll see.
More next weekend I’m sure, though I’m about out of target ammo for the shotguns. I need to build up my stock of ammo again.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently went to Chilhowee Sportsman’s Club for the second time. This trip was planned at the last minute after having a conversation with one of the member’s named Curly on the ShotgunWorld.com forums. He and I were discussing the components needed for reloading on Friday night and he invited me out to shoot with his group on Saturday. I went out there about 11 and we sat in the clubhouse drinking coffee and getting to know each other. I actually did not realize that we were going to be shooting Sporting Clays at first. I’ve been so caught up shooting skeet the past few weeks, I just assumed that’s what we were going to do. But after getting one of the carts, we headed on up the hill and started one of the most interesting afternoons of shooting I’ve had yet.
I learned today that Sporting Clays and “5-stand” are not the same game. They have similarities, but are vastly different in terms of scale. In 5-stand there is one shooting platform with 5 positions, and in the field there are 6 or 7 different clay presentations and you shoot a combination of those presentations at each station.
Sporting Clays has (at least at Chilhowee), 14 stands that are scattered around the woods above the club, and each station has it’s own two throwers. All stations are thrown as either report or true pairs, and can be very challenging. All of them are difficult to some degree, and learning how to lead a target that’s dropping down a hillside is quite a challenge, as well as a test of patience as some of the incoming birds come towards the stand from far away…much too far to try to hit with the imp. cyl. and mod chokes I was shooting today. I can see the advantage of extended, knurled chokes in this game….one stand might have two very close crossing targets similar to skeet where a cyl and imp. cyl choke would work perfectly, and then the next stand would have two LONG range targets launched as a true pair where I was wondering if even a full choke would put enough shot out there to hit them. One of the guys I was shooting with proved it was possible though It was astounding seeing him break both targets well past where I would have guessed the shotgun would be useful.
All in all though, I really enjoyed the 14 stand circuit at Chilhowee. The flight paths are extremely varied, and you have to take trees into account as some paths cross between groves of trees so you must time your shots well and do not always have continuous picture of the bird. Even without that fact, the staff at Chilhowee uses the mountainous terrain there to great effect, aiming some birds along ridges, or rising out of a gully. One of my favorite presentations was two birds launched as a true pair, coming up the valley from about 11 o’clock and behind trees almost the entire way. There was a very small window about 20 feet wide where you had to hit the targets between a few trees, otherwise they were in the ground just past the next tree.
If you are in the Knoxville, TN area and enjoy clay sports, you should definitely try out Chilhowee. They are a bit on the expensive side for non-members, but the experience is worth the slightly higher cost compared to most other fields I’ve been do. Check them out at http://www.chilhoweesportsmansclub.com
One of the main purposes of this trip as I mentioned before was to meet these guys who all reload their own shells and were willing to help me find some hulls that were good for reloading as well as showing me some of the benefits of doing so. The light 3/4 ounce loads that Curly uses were amazing. Very light recoil, almost no gun movement, and still capable of breaking every target out there. Even ignoring the cost effectiveness of reloading, merely the wonderfully light, shoulder-sensitive loads you can create makes it worth it. The 1-1/8oz factory loads I have been shooting feel like monsters in comparison. I am definitely looking into the equipment and components I need to start loading my own hulls as soon as reasonably possible. Problem is you kinda have to buy in bulk to make it cost effective….i.e. large chunks of money out the door at once rather than the current method of buying smaller amounts of ammo, but at a greater cost over time. So we’ll see. I’d like to get started soon, but I’m not sure it’s financially that wise/possible.
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”
Well I had my first experience shooting skeet yesterday. What a way to ruin any confidence I had in shooting!! Trap is nice and straightforward, and while I’m not /very/ good at 5 stand (sporting clays), I can usually still hit ~50%. Skeet? Yeah…. 3 / 25 I suck. Anyhow, I /did/ learn a few things.
1) I need to learn how to track targets RIGHT out of the trap house. Those doubles are impossible to hit if you sleep on the first one
2) I have strongly left-eye dominant vision. This is problematic as I have heard from a few people that I should be shooting “two-eye” to increase my depth perception. That might help except for the fact I completely lose my tracking of the end of the barrel with both eyes open. Need to find a way around this. Am going to try left hand shooting (dreading this), and taping a dot on my glasses to prevent my left eye from being able to focus on the barrel.
3) Force myself to become right-eye dominant. I’ve heard that this is possible, but I’ve heard from MORE people that it isn’t…so we’ll see.
Regardless, Tomorrow I think is going to be a day off from shooting clays. I might just not shoot at all, but I’ve been kinda wanting to shoot my SKS, so maybe I’ll do that.
I will post more of a review next time after I get more experience there, but I did the skeet shooting at Chilhowee Sportsman’s Club where they also have a massive FOURTEEN stand trap range. The people there were friendly as I’ve found most of the people I’ve met at shooting clubs to be. It really has been overall a great experience getting into shooting clay games. Chilhowee Sportsman’s Club is conveniently located a few miles south of Maryville, just off 129 heading towards the dragon. If you’re in the area, they’re definitely worth trying out. Just make sure you stop by the clubhouse first as they do make you sign a waiver…a first for me for a shotgun range.
Brendan and I had a wonderful Saturday. That afternoon we went to the Gatlinburg Sportsman Club (shooting range) where Brendan tried out his new gun. I took a few photos of him and enjoyed watching him blast some clay pigeons. I sat at the picnic tables and worked on the hand stitching of my Christmas sewing.
I got to sit next to that awesome tractor.
I really enjoyed the view:
*Brendan posted more details about his afternoon in “Introduction to the CZ”
After leaving the range, we grabbed some lunch/dinner and drove through the Smoky Mountain Park until we reached the Mountain Farm Museum.
We got to see some interesting buildings. These are actual historic buildings (most circa 1900) from different parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. They were all relocated here as an open-air museum.
The apple house stored apples! Originally, this house was built into a hillside to insulate the apples in the bottom portion from extreme heat and cold.
The farm was right beside a creek and the forest.
The farm also had a springhouse from the same location as the apple house.
The blacksmith shop was cool. It was moved from Cade’s Cove: my all-time favorite part of the Smoky Mountain National Park.
The farm museum had a pigsty! There weren’t any pigs, but the trough was occupied by another creature.
I cringe just thinking about it. I made Brendan take this picture, I couldn’t face it. In hindsight, it reminds me of Charlotte’s Web. Didn’t the rat (my least favorite character) hang out in Wilbur’s trough?
We saw some more wildlife outside the barn. The creature running away is a groundhog. And in the words of SATC’s Carrie Bradshaw, the squirrel is “just a rat with a cuter outfit.” I couldn’t agree more.
While the farm museum was interesting and fun, the real excitement was the elk herd in the adjacent meadow!
(Mom, notice my beautiful scarf.)
The elk were amazing. I’ve never seen them before. I can’t believe they are so big.
If only I had seen a bear, my day would have been complete.