So. Congratulations! You’ve taken my scholarly advice and bought yourself a mid grade AR15 (or better) and a …. A G…. a Gl…..GAH! You bought one of these:
Ick. Ptheh! I can’t even bring myself to say it’s name!!!
Never the less one a these in a standard service
configuration is probably the best ways to get started.
So? You’ve probably hit the range and done the PEW! PEW! PEW! thing. You had a ball, right? Even though ya missed a few? That is awesome. You’ve probably developed a few concerns too. If you’re like me and pretty much everyone else, you’d love to spend more time shooting… but the cost is prohibitive! Last I looked, bargain bin .223 was around $30.00 for 50 shells. When you start blamming , 50 rounds doesn’t go far, does it? If the wife and kid are out with you, you can be out of shells in 20 minutes. Ditto for the pistol. What does factory 9mm hardball run these days? I know it is pretty easy to pay out $35.00 for a carton of 50 .45ACP shells, and over $40.00 for .45 Colt.
Basic reloading is easy and safe.
Kids are good at it if ya watch 'em.
So now you’re at a crossroads. You like shooting, you’d do more if you could afford it because you want to shoot better too. But – the damned cost! How does a guy do it when he has a budget, a family, and all the other BS that goes along with being a father?
The answer is simple and straightforward: you have to reload! Good shooting is a function of trigger time and good instruction and building good habits. There are no shortcuts. Reloading intimidates people and especially the new shooters and it really shouldn't. You see big manuals and write ups that can gobble pages and hours as gas bags lecture and hector and bore you to tears with meaningless details! I know because I have been right where you are – about 35 years ago. Then there’s the goofs warning you that “you’ll blow yourself up doing that!”
The truth of it is that the ‘hold my beer and watch this’ crowd HAVE blown themselves up. It can happen but it takes almost criminal and deliberate negligence to do it. In real life I can have you loading your own shells in an our or less. Your ammo will be serviceable, reliable and well made. But after that? Depending on how anal you get – you can spend your next 40 years trying to develop ‘the perfect load’.
You have to decide what shooter you want to be. Kim du Toit is THE definition of The American Rifleman. He generally shoots curios, rack grade milsurps, surplus and service ammo and generally gets by well with them. By all accounts he’s a respectable shot and any hobgoblins intent on doing him harm are probably in for a nasty surprise. That guy’s a patriot and a rifleman in every sense of the word.
There is no room for snobbery in this sport. But – do you want to go beyond that? Reloading your ammo allows you to do that by tailoring your ammo to the rifle or pistol in your hands – and saving you $$$ in the process. Before you get another gun – buy the reloader. Yes you can save money by buying dies and presses second hand but there’s a rule about that too. If the seller is an old geezer that looks like he has health problems – he probably is, and that is the only reason he’s selling his stuff. You pay a man like that his asking price and you DON’T dicker. Congrats, you’ve done a good deed both for him and yourself – a deed worthy of a Marksman. Another rule of thumb about geezers and range etiquette: when they come by and start boring you to death with their bullshit hunting stories, you listen respectfully as long as you can, and only break off when you can do so courteously. A lot of those guys are old and lonely and ‘there but for the grace of God go I' applies. A lot of times those guys will drop some great tips along with the spewage. Treat them well. Honour is a gift you give yourself.
That's 20 consecutive shots, 25 yards, offhand
with a .45ACP, all in the black.
Think it's easy? After several years away from
pistols I got back in the game a couple years ago.
This is the first time I have been able to do it!
It's harder than it looks.
Sadly, I will never be a marksman, they can do this all day long.
I am betrayed by age and old eyes.
Final advice? Welp – the best shooters in the world are the United States Green Bean Fuggin Marines with their M16’S! (Otherwise known as the USFMC). Those guys live with their rifles day in and day out and a lot of ‘em are renowned pistoleers too. For the best in rifle instruction, I recommend reading "Sight Alignment, Trigger Control & The Big Lie" by Master Sgt. Jim Owens. His book is on Amazon, and I think his website is jarheadtop.com or something like that. Your scores WILL improve merely from reading the book and taking his advice.
If you think you can 'fight your way to your rifle' through a
guy like this, you are in for a whole WORLD of hurt.
If he had an interest in coming between you and your rifle you
WILL get the worst of it.
Now if anyone needs me – I’ll be stinking out the range with my marksmanship! See ya out there.