Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Lesser of Two Awesomes

As just about everyone in the gun world knows right now, ammunition and even reloading components have been harder to come by than a good Lindsey Lohan movie.

To those of you who stocked up way ahead of time and are sitting on 20-30,000 bullets and 50# of powder... yes, I hate you :-)

For the rest of us, we're loading up everything we've got, running our stores of powder, bullets, and primers down to the bare shelf, and it's hurting a lot of folks' abilities to compete as much as we want, get in some quality live-fire range time, or attend training courses.

I've been able to scrounge bullets and powder here and there... but it ain't much and, worse yet, not in the caliber I really NEED to be loading for.

This year marks my first full season shooting in the USPSA Limited division, and the year is off to a GREAT start. I should be 2-3 more good classifiers away from making "B" and the new STI has been running better and better with each match. The only wrinkle??? I can't find .40 bullets to save my life! I'm down to just enough for this weekend's "Super-Classifier" match and then I'll be done shooting Limited until I can find and press together more ammunition.

What I HAVE been able to find has all been of the 9mm variety... and I've grabbed everything I could find. Plated, lead, JHP, 115gr, 124gr, 125gr, you name it. My ammo locker is starting to look like leftover casserole, and it means I bet I'll be doing a LOT of Production shooting in the bear future unless I can come up with a source for 1,000-2,000 more .40 caliber bullets.

...and a LOT of people I know are stuck in the same boat with me. Argh.

Oh, and to those of you holding onto those inventories of 20,000 bullets, be a buddy and consider kicking one loose to a friend in need (REAL need) every once in a blue moon. Your karma will thank you :-)

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...the Waiting Game

...is WELL underway for two new blasters, one of which would be restricted in my home state after July 1 and another that's so popular they're usually sold before the UPS driver's tracks have cooled off.

The first is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (9mm). I've had this on a list with our distributor since sometime around last June. Mrs. Normal wants it, I want it, and we've both been waiting patiently for it to come in. We got close last week... but it was available for all of 30 seconds and it was gone. Having shot the new skinny Smith, I understand why literally everyone is buying one. It's FANTASTIC! It conceals like a big .380, is incredibly easy to manage in 9mm form, and just plain feels great in my hand. I WILL own one, and soon. Or... whenever it comes in. Which could e a while.

The one I'm REALLY jazzed about would be my first scattergun - the Mossberg 930 JM Pro (10-shot). Tuned for action shooting competition, it will serve the homestead equally well as a defensive shotgun, bird hunting and clays gun, and hopefully let me try my hand at 3-gun sometime down the road. Sadly, the JM Pro has been about as difficult to find as the Shield, so while we're waiting I'm keeping my eyes open for a normal 930 which could be built and tuned up or maybe a 590 or Remington 870... Just to get into the shotgun game before Colorado's stupid and dangerous magazine ban goes into effect on July 1.

Say a prayer to the gun gods for us, friends... Mama Griz wants her Shield and Papa Bear needs a shotty.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Barbie Doll Gun

I haven't really spent much time talking about the AR platform yet it's one I'm enamored with.

When I go to the range I see plenty of them and none of them are exactly the same. I love it!

Around 2009 Mrs. Normal gave 'corporate approval' to add one to the collection. At that time, Attorney General Holder came out and said the new President would be coming after "assault weapons" again and instantly created a run on black rifles.

A week later, we brought ours home - the last Smith & Wesson on the wall. It was a stripped down "optics ready" model and stayed very basic for quite some time. I shot the heck out of it and have loved it ever since.

Over the past few years I've made a few changes here and there. It went "brown" (Flat Dark Earth, technically) for a while. When the Angled Fore Grip hit the market, I HAD to run one on my rifle (Costa had one!)

Then, when it seemed like everyone was dressing 'em up in Magpul FDE furniture, I decided to turn it into a "not-Magpul" gun. I have nothing against Magpul anymore but wanted the challenge of setting it up with good gear everyone else wasn't running.

A call to Stark Equipment put a new grip in my hands (yep, their funky vertical pistol grip) and another to VLTOR soon sent their eMod stock. Both pieces of gear look a little weird but feel great.

With Magpul's MOE handguard up front and a garage-project chopped-down MOE foregrip, the gun looks a bit hodgepodge but fits me like a glove.

When the stock M&P safety snapped off it was time to call Battle Arms Development for their highly-regarded ambidextrous safety with user-configurable levers, which I think everyone should own :-)

Most recently, the addition of an Aimpoint Comp M4 and a reworked sling setup courtesy of Larue (two-point sling), Noveske (QD end plate), and Impact Weapons Components (2-to-1 tri-glide and low-profile QD forward mount) have rounded out what is now a VERY worthy and reliable rifle.

And I've still got plans for it...

It may never be complete but it's my "Barbie" and I've love every minute I've poured into building and shooting it.

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