Got technical questions about firearms? ask the sport shooter!

I’m a sport shooter, I have been all my life, there’s nothing I find more relaxing than a relaxing day at the range, punching holes in pieces of paper, trying to keep the bullet holes as close together as possible (ideally, shooting them all through the same hole), or dusting some clay targets on the shotgun range

I have a small, but respectable collection of firearms**, they are used ONLY for recreational purposes, I have not ever raised a firearm against another person, and I hope to Og that I never have to, yes, I have shot some animals, but I didn’t enjoy it at all, and it depressed me for a while (one potentially rabid fox, one coydog (coyote-dog wild hybrid) that could have attacked and killed our pets, or worse, my niece and nephew, and a few (3) woodchucks that were devastating our garden), but in my thirty or so years of being a firearm owner, those are the only five animal lives I have ended, and I HATED doing it, I’m a live-and-let-live guy

Anyway, back on subject.

This thread is for those who might be curious about how firearms work, what the difference is between firearms types, how do they differ in operation, power, capacity, accuracy, etc…

Any of my fellow Doper sport shooters, feel free to add to this thread, I’d like this thread to dispel the mysteries of firearms

I do have one request, though, PLEASE keep any politicization and gun-control debates/shouting sessions OUT of this thread, this is not a debate or soapbox thread, and any “Guns are Bad/Should Be Banned” or other threadshitting is to be kept OUT of this thread, or I will request that it be locked

So, ask away, what would you like to know about firearms or sport shooting

**Actually, I USED to have a a small but respectable firearms collection, that is until I suffered a most unfortunate boating accident :wink:

I have a 22 rifle that I have not used since I was growing up. I would like to use it again – what do I need to do to make sure it is in good operating condition?

What kind of action is it, semiauto, bolt, pump, single-shot?, most manual action firearms (bolt, pump, single-shot) are okay to leave unattended for long periods of time, maybe clean the action a bit and put a couple drops of oil on the moving parts (not too much, all that’s needed is a thin film)

Open the action, shine a small flashlight into it from the muzzle end, see if you can see a spot of light on the breech face, to check for an unobstructed barrel

It really depends on what model gun it is, what’s the manufacturer?

My question is, do you have to start off hunting with a gun before you can bow-hunt? Or is that not a necessary condition?
Question two, dear hunting, what sort of long-arm is optimal? Caliber-wise, etc.

What was in your small but respectable firearms collection before its unfortunate boating accident?

I spend most of my time at the range shooting a reproduction 1853 Enfield rifle-musket. What is your opinion of black powder rifles? Most of the folks I know won’t go near them because they are such a pain in the backside to clean. Personally I kinda enjoy cleaning it. It’s part of doing things the old fashioned way.

How is your eyesight? Ever since I turned 40 mine has gone way downhill. I started shooting 50 yards because at 100 I wasn’t hitting the target all the time any more.

How are the ranges you go to? The one I go to is very professional. The range officers don’t put up with any nonsense. If you act like an idiot, you’re out. They have been criticized for being “range Nazis” but personally I like the way they run things. I certainly don’t want to go to a range where people with weapons in their hands are acting like a bunch of drunken yahoos.

To Bayesian Empirimancer:

I know many people who started with bow hunting before they ever hunted with a gun. You can start with either. You don’t need one to do the other.

Dear hunting? :eek: I hope you meant “deer”. :wink:

I don’t hunt, but I do know that there is a lot of debate about what the minimum caliber you should use for a deer is. Some states have minimums, so you want to check local laws and regulations first. Other than that, some folks say .243, some folks say .270. As for what is “optimal” that depends on the shooter. And, as with most things, with some people if you ask what is best you are basically starting a religious argument. :wink:

Like the MacTech, I’m also a non-hunting sport shooter. Hunted at one time, it was OK, but I enjoy the shooting part rather than the hunting part, so that’s what I do now.

I regularly participate in a pistol competition called International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). A target “game” based on possible self defense scenarios. A lot of fun and each paricipant is controlled by a safety officer as they shoot each string of the competition.

So if you have any questions about my particular part of the shooting sport I’ll try to answer them.

GaryM, I really need to get involved in IDPA shooting. I have a Beretta 96G Elite II .40S&W, 6 factory magazines with rubber magazine pads, Blade Tech holster and Blade Tech double mag pouch. What else do you recommend, and any thoughts you can add to a prospective new IDPA participant?

Since I’m more of a “Paper and clay target” hunter, my knowledge of hunting is limited, and hunting laws vary by state, in Maine;
bowhunting and firearm hunting are separate types of hunting, one is not necessary to do the other, “dear” hunting is discouraged, as the bag-limit on family members is pretty low (nonexistent, really :wink: )

deer hunting, however (sorry, couldn’t resist), varies by state, in Maine, you cannot deer hunt with a caliber below .25 caliber, and your hunting arm must be limited to five rounds in the tube/mag, the most humane hunting arm is the one you shoot best and allows you to place your round on target with utmost accuracy .27 to .30 caliber arms are best, most shots are taken below 150 yards, 75 is closer to max, in my area, the best long arm for hunting would be a .30-30 lever-action, hunting at night, “spotlight hunting” is illegal

Before the boating accident (Curse you, evil boat!), my collection consisted of;
Marlin Model 60 .22LR one 19" barrel (15 round capacity), one 22" barrel (19 round capacity), the 22" has a 3-9x scope, the 19" sports the stock iron sights, the 22" is a “rescue”, when I picked it up, it was at approx 70% of new condition, surface rust on the barrel, no rear iron sight, stock had been stripped of finish, the poor thing looked abused, but the bore was bright and sharp, and I was looking for a project rifle to tinker with, when I took it to the range, it turns out that it’s the most accurate semiauto I have shot yet :), it’s ugly, but it’s a tackdriver, and to me, that makes it beautiful :slight_smile:

Savage Mark II-G .22 bolt action rifle, 10 shot mag, 3-9x scope, bipod, sling, this one’s my precision tackdriver, 50 yard groups are dime-sized, 100 yard groups, quarter to half-dollar size

Ruger 22/45 semiauto pistol, 10 shot mags, iron sights, my plinkin’ pistol, capable of dime-sized groups if I do my part, lots of fun, and dirt cheap to shoot, like all my .22’s

Mossberg 500 12-gauge pump, 5 round tubular mag, my trapshooting gun (or, if I was pressed into it, a home defense gun), simple, rugged, boringly reliable

Parker VH side-by-side, family heirloom, made back in the 1920’s, splinter forend, reciever has 98% of the original case-hardening colors on it, absolutely gorgeous, my Gollum-Gun, I don’t shoot it, I just stare at it and call it “My Precious”, yes we does, Gollum! we loves the Precious!

Kimber Custom II .45ACP 1911, bought this one used, in 85% condition, so I have no qualms about using it, getting it dirty, or scratched, it already has holster wear from the previous owner, this one’s been 100% reliable, i’ve put over 1000 rounds downrange with nary a pause or hiccup, boringly reliable, eats whatever i feed it, 230 grain Ball, Gold Dot hollowpoints, Lead Semi-Wadcutters, it has yet to hang up or jam, I also reload for .45ACP (and .45 Colt)

Ruger New Model Blackhawk .45 Convertible, 7.5" barrel, has both a .45ACP and .45 Colt cylinder, right now, I’m enamored with the .45 Colt cartridge, so much fun!
.22LR, .45ACP, .45 Colt

Winchester 1894 lever, .44-40, Dad’s old deer rifle, he doesn’t shoot it anymore, so it’s essentially mine, I can use it whenever I want, just need to get some .44-40 reloading dies for this one too

I’ve been wanting to get into BP shooting, actually, it looks like fun, the big, meaty WHUMP, the plume of white smoke, I’ve been considering loading up some black powder .45 Colt cartridges, after all, .45 Colt IS a 120 year old cartridge that originally started life as a BP cartridge…, but I’m not sure if I want to get into detail stripping and cleaning the 'Hawk every time I shoot BP, I may pick up a BP rifle at some point, suggestions for someone new to BP, but not to shooting?

I just turned 40 as well, and the ol’ peepers aren’t running as good as in my childhood, astigmatism and farsightedness means I’m beginning to need to use scopes more often (or at the very least, shoot with my driving glasses on)

Same here, a well-regulated, professional range, I’d rather shoot at a range that keeps the morons and “gangsta’wannabees” out, none of that rapid-fire sideways grip mag-dumps for me, thanks, I’ll be happily plinking away with my .22’s, or my .4x’s

I think the next rifle I need is a lever-action chambered in .45 Colt, personally I’m not a fan of the “EBR” (Evil Black Rifle), I have nothing against them myself, I just prefer steel and wood, the only “poly” gun in my collection (or at least until I lost them in the boating accident…) is…err…WAS my Ruger 22/45 pistol

I, too, have recently had a boating accident. How can I make any potential future firearm purchases I have buoyant should another accident of this nature occur?

If I ever get more firearms, I think the simplest thing to do would be to keep them away from boats, as boats seem to have a major appetite for firearms…

Just an observation: This sidetrack about “Boating accidents” comes across as more than a bit silly, guys- especially in what’s supposed to be a “Help the newbies and dispel myths about the shooting sports” thread. Just saying.

My suggestions to any new shooter are fairly simple, but I do advise them to avoid guns in “Weird” calibres (Handy guide: If it’s not on the shelf at your local gunstore, or the staff scratch their heads, suck air in through their teeth, or profess unfamiliarity with the calibre, it’s “Weird”. Ditto if it’s incredibly expensive.)

Most modern bolt-action rifles (Remington, Winchester, Ruger, Weatherby, Browning, et al) are pretty much of a muchness. Find one that feels comfortable for you at a price that suits your budget.

Please, don’t buy an “old” (ie WWII) rifle to chop down as a “cheap” hunting rifle. They don’t make them anymore and most of them have quite a bit of historic value to collectors. Similarly, don’t go welding or drilling scopes onto guns not designed to mount them from the factory.

Finally, encourage your non-shooting friends to come to the range with you. A lot of people’s fears about guns are based on inaccurate representations in the media or in TV/Films, and being able to spend some time with “normal” people participating in a normal, safe sport is the best way to show people that gun owners aren’t all redneck survivalist types.

The boating accident thing isn’t meant to be taken seriously, it’s actually self deprecating humor. Most people realize as much, and those who don’t often ask “what’s with the boat thing?” in these types of threads and then get the joke after it’s explained.

One caliber, and gun, that’s an exception to this rule is the Mosin Nagant in 7.62x54R – unless there’s something exceptional about it (historically) – they’re dirt cheap. They go for about 100 USD, and have enough power to take down a polar bear.

No disagreement on this one…

(As a note, in a similar thread “Ask a Gun Nut/Enthusiast”, Martini Enfield and I got into a two page debate about the reliability of Glocks… not to rehash the debate or anything, but I was totally right*. :p)

*really, not to rehash the debate, just to get the last word on a long dead debate.

I know it’s self-deprecating humour, but I personally have always found it to be really stupid self-deprecating humour. I mean, honestly, who the smeg takes their guns boating anyway? It just comes across as a cliquish “in-joke” that doesn’t make any sense. Anyway, moving on… :slight_smile:

7.62x54R is cheap and plentiful now, but eventually all that WWII/Cold War surplus stock is going to run out and It’ll be interesting to see how popular the cartridge is from a commercial point of view then.

And I still don’t think people should be buying cheap M91/30s or M44s and sporterising them- use them “as-is” or find a cheap second-hand rifle that suits your needs.

Glocks are clitoris guns and you know it. :wink:

Seriously though, while there’s something to be said for having a “standard” gun that’s [del]made of plastic with all of six moving parts in it[/del] uncomplicated and [del]doesn’t have a safety catch or external hammer[/del] is easy to use, it’s a personal choice on your part and it’s important to buy what feels right and is comfortable for you, not which gun has the most “TactiCool” accessories to go with it.

And please, do try and resist the urge to pimp your guns out with that “TactiCool” look (un-necessary laser sights, underbarrel torches, cartridge holders on the butt, and stuff that generally makes your gun look like something a Special Operations team would be using to destabilise a third-world country with)

Don’t overlook the humble .22, either- ammo for them is incredibly cheap and they’re an ideal way to practice shooting skills and technique without spending a fortune or dislocating your shoulder. :stuck_out_tongue:

On gun boards I see people doing builds of AR-15’s and such. They buy the parts separately instead of the whole thing all at once. Is that something anyone can do, or do you need a gunsmithing set up to do it? And is it cheaper that way, or is it more of a ‘customize it my way’ sorta deal?

The “boating accident” thing is more of a running joke on gun discussion boards anyway…

Except for those times when it’s not :wink:

Note to Newbies, even if you make your gun stock out of cork or pumice, guns don’t float (and their natural enemy is the boat)…hey, that rhymes :wink:

another note to newbies, we sport shooters are more than willing to introduce you to the shooting sports, if you want to learn, all you have to do is ask, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try out what is an incredibly addictive hobby

Heck, 9 times out of 10 when I’m at my range, and there are other shooters there, we spend more time trying out each other’s guns than we do shooting our own, part of the fun of the shooting sports is trying other guns, my most popular try-outs are my Ruger New Blackhawk single-action revolver (think the old-time cowboy revolver), my Kimber Custom II .45ACP 1911, and my precision shooter Savage .22

out of all my guns, most people are surprised at how tame, soft, and pleasantly that 7.5" barreled Blackhawk shoots, especially when they see how big the .45 Colt cartridge is, the secret is, it shoots a big, slow chunk-o’ lead at low pressure, kinda like comparing a tenpin bowling ball to a candlepin bowling ball, the candlepin ball is faster, but the tenpin ball carries more mass into the target

Nah, all the parts are premade, really. Sometimes you need to get a little more ‘into it’.
The two basic parts are the “upper” and “lower.”

The “upper” consists of the barrel, ejection port-housing area, etc.

The “lower” (or “receiver,” the actual gun part of the gun, that you need to be an FFL to have shipped to you) consists of the trigger assembly, magazine release, bolt & bolt housing, etc.

Typically they fit together fine, although I’ve read of some cases where people had to do a bit of filing (with a nail file or sander) to get really exotic pieces with very tight tolerances together.

What, like Peak Oil? C’mon, there’s enough of that stuff to last at least another few decades. They were churning out the stuff en mass even into the 80’s and 90’s.

Yeah, tactilol is ridiculous.

Any gun which you might use in self defense should have a light attached to it, that is my firm belief, and it’s rooted in the fact that you should never fire a gun unless you know what your target is.

In light of the fact that you should never fire a gun unless you know what the target is, I must inform you that having an underbarrel light on a firearm is the only way a firearm is of any use at night.

I couldn’t agree more. Even when I shot a .454 on a regular basis, my “go-to” round for training was always the .22LR. Cheap, plentiful and easy on the shoulder. I’ve grown away from it, just because my .22LR pistol is a bitch to clean (damn you Smith or Wesson, Damn you!)… and I don’t want to get a different one.

Yeah man, I do love ranges for just that reason.

I decided, around the time I had my little accident that I’d never shoot at a private “club” again, for two reasons – 1) Safety (if something critical should go wrong) and 2) Dude, other peoples toys*!

*Toys is not the correct descriptor for firearms the majority of the time. However, when describing a firearm which has nothing but entertainment value it is the best possible descriptor, like a '57 chevy. Only to be taken out to the range, used gently, and then stored safely.
PS. Mactech, hope you don’t mind we hijacked your thread a bit. If you do, I don’t mind butting out.

Not all of it is good quality, non-corrosive ammo though. But yeah, they did make uncountable amounts of the stuff. Then again, the .303 British cartridge is still in military use but the ammunition itself is expensive and not always available in bulk nowadays.

Each gun owners circumstances and preferences are different, but do bear in mind that I live in a country where you can’t own a gun for self-defence and you can’t use a handgun for hunting (start a different thread if you want to get into a discussion of it all), and handgun shooting competitions are nearly always undertaken either in broad daylight or with adequate floodlighting- so there’s no reason for people to be mounting torches under their handguns for any reason besides “They think it looks cool”.

Now, bear in mind that given the amount of bullshit gun owners here have to go through, I think that if someone wants to pimp out their Glock 17A with an underbarrel torch, special grips, and a red dot sight, then they should be allowed to. But I’m still privately going to think it’s a bit silly all the same.

Unless you live somewhere that spotlighting is legal, in which case “having someone on the 4WD with a spotlight, illuminating your target and the area behind it” is another way of making firearms useful at night. :wink:

Manufacturer is Marlin; it is semiautomatic. Its basically just been kept in a closet for over 10 years.

If your Marlin has a tubular magazine below the barrel, it’s more than likely a Model 99 or Model 60, if it has a removable “stick” magazine, it’s a 700 series

in either case, the action and reciever are practically identical, best case scenario, it should be ready to go, maybe a couple drops of light oil on the bolt (go very light, it’s easy to over-lubricate, and you don’t want to do that), worst case scenario, it may need the recoil spring (the spring that works the bolt) and hammer spring replaced

the Marlin semis are durable little guns, it more than likely just needs a cleaning and light lube

I’d function test the bolt, go to your local gunshop and pick up some “snap caps” (non-fireable dummy rounds), load the mag, and run the rounds through the action, load, eject, maybe “dry fire” it a couple times WITH the snap-caps

NEVER dry-fire a rimfire firearm (pull the trigger on an empty chamber) (.22, .22 Mag, .17HMR, .17HM2), the firing pin can end up hitting the rim of the barrel reciever, potentially pitting it, ruining the firing pin, or even the barrel.

That said, there are some rimfire firearms that can be dry fired, the Ruger 10/22 and Mark II/Mark III pistols, and the New Model Single Six, are the notable exceptions, as all of these guns have a firing pin safety-pin that prevents the pin from contacting the barrel breech face, but it’s just a better idea to get in the habit of not dry-firing rimfires

If you want to “dry-fire” a rimfire, you can get plastic snap-caps, or save some of your old fired brass, fired brass can be reused up to four times, turn the brass so the pin hits an undented area of the rim before you dry fire

Avid hunter here but with a firearms question nevertheless. A dozen or so years ago I was given a .45 revolver by my grandad who no longer had any use for it. A frugal man with little understanding of gun maintenance, this thing had lain in a tackle box exposed to salt water, salt air, probably even table salt for a good 30 or 40 years without so much as a cleaning or firing. When presented to me I laughed at the notion there could be a real gun underneath all that rusty, grimy, caked-on filth. A couple of hours employing elbow grease and steel wool did get back down to the sad surface of the piece, although I’ve not had the temerity to squeeze off a round.

By what safe method could I steady and fire the pistol to see if it even operates? How many test firings would need to be performed before it would be considered something other than foolhardy to expose my own hand and eyes to its operation?