Second Annual Long Range Rock Crushing Excursion

Second Annual Long Range Rock Crushing Excursion

This is a discussion on Second Annual Long Range Rock Crushing Excursion within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; My brother-in-law, Bo and I got away for a few days fun on the Texas border last week. We made this excursion for the first ...

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Thread: Second Annual Long Range Rock Crushing Excursion

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    Second Annual Long Range Rock Crushing Excursion

    My brother-in-law, Bo and I got away for a few days fun on the Texas border last week. We made this excursion for the first time in late March of 2009.

    This was the second annual "Brother-in-laws' Big Bad Border Blast" and we did it up in fine style. Lots of guns old and new, ammo, steaks, and gab sessions. Hey, we even roused the "black helcopters" by 11:00 pm one evening.

    It was suppose to be a turkey/javalina hunt but I'm not sure turkeys live on the place and the javalina didn't keep the appointment. We traipsed through the canyons and worked some caves on the canyon walls but to no avail. We only found numerous javalina sign, along with signs of illegal alien activity and traffic.

    No matter, we really went down there to shoot. We carried a small mountain of ammo and shoot we did. Don't know if I can name off all the ordnance that we had along for the trip.

    I brought an '03A3 .30-06, AR 15 .223, SKS 7.62X39, Remington Model 41 .22, Smith & Wesson Model 10HB .38 Special, Smith & Wesson Model 17 .22, Colt New Navy .41, FN Hi-Power 9mm, Nagant 7.62 revolver, and kept a P3AT .380 in a jeans pocket.

    Bob Reese, the property owner, tagged along this year and he had a SIG P6 9mm and a Mosin Nagant 91/30 7.62X54.

    Bo was hard to pin down. He kept pulling guns out, both old favorites and some new ones, until he confused me. He tries to keep me off balance and that's not hard to do. He had, at the very least: Ruger 77V .308 with target scope, Yugo 8mm Mauser, 95 Mauser in .308, M1 .30-06, M1A .308, Rossi .357 lever action, Smith & Wesson Models 28 .357 Magnum and 686 .357 Magnum, Diamondback .380, and a new Kel Tec PLR 16 in .223.

    Bo's one of those guys who truly appreciates the "tried and true" but also lives on the ragged edge as far as embracing the "latest and greatest" guns, gear, and gadgets. He's not so hide-bound as his old brother-in-law. Now, upon seeing a seemingly ungainly .223 "pistol" such as the Kel Tec PLR 16, my reaction would be: "what a hopeless piece of baggage." However, cram 3 guys and a lot of gear into an extended cab pickup for a 40 minute drive off the pavement, on poor roads, back into the border country of Texas and Mexico and one begins to see the worth of a maneuverable snubby "rifle." Especially as I was the one stuffed into the back seat with the PLR 16.

    Check out this Kel Tec snub .223 and see what you think.

    Bo in the sling with the little gun. Probably the most efficient way to use it at distance, short of employing a rest.

    I'm hosing down a few yuccas with the PLR 16.

    The .223, when fired from a short barrel, was not too loud, at least as long as one wore hearing protection. After dark we were sitting around and discussed the PLR 16. We talked about the imagined fireball that would likely erupt from its muzzle at night. Bo and I exchanged glances and I though we were going to go out and conduct some night shooting tests but somehow we never got out of our chairs. Perhaps that was about the time the helicopter came over.

    Bo did some minor accessorizing including addition of the shooting strap and a bird cage flash hider.

    I brought along the 1901 vintage Colt New Navy .41 Long Colt I picked up a while back so Bo could experience it.

    It just isn't every day that someone is firing an obsolete .41 Long Colt. He dutifully took up the 109 year old revolver and began ringing steel spinners at 12 yards with it, despite the wretched double action trigger pull.

    Our host Bob Reese took his turn with the .41 Colt. Bob, suffered a bad fall from the roof of a house late last summer. 12 broken ribs and some severe internal injuries. In recovering from that injury, another severe health issue was discovered and treated. He had a rough time of it last fall and winter. It is really good to see him getting around so much better now.

    The blue line in the distance in these photos are mountains in Mexico. The Rio Grande is only 7 miles from Bob's "bunkhouse."

    We had stopped by Bob's home in Sheffield, Texas to pick him up for the ride on down to his bunkhouse. While gathering Bob's gear, we encountered his neighbor across the street. He was another "gun guy" and got to talking with Bo. He mentioned that he'd been playing with a new Ruger SLR. Bo expressed an interest in the revolver and the guy said: "hey, I'll go across the street and get it. You can take it with you and bring it back when you return." Now, is that neighborliness or what? He didn't know us from a hole in the road but any friend of Bob's is a friend of his. We took it and shot it too.

    I was grateful to be able to shoot the Ruger LCR for the first time. The trigger is indeed light and the gun is easily controllable. There was something about the feel of the action that I didn't initially care for. Seems like the trigger has a lot of over-travel after the hammer drops. It probably is a case of being unfamiliar with the revolver. Some extensive shooting sessions would give it a proper introduction and I could become accustomed to it. For the record I'm not too keen on the Smith & Wesson Model 642 DA trigger either. The LCR seems lighter than the J-Frame double action. It is not punishing at all to shoot though despite some published and forum comments I've read. I didn't feed it any +P 158 grain factory loads but it handled some heavy handloads fine. Recoil was still relatively comfortable.

    The region has had some recent rains and the ocotillo was in bloom while we were there. I don't think I've ever seen it leafed out before.


  2. #2
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    The country appears to be deceptively flat but one can't go very far without encountering deep canyons that loom up suddenly. The region is riddled with these canyons.

    Below is a shot of the favored firing point overlooking a good sized canyon. The photo flattens the depth and the canyon is deeper than it looks. You can meet Akmet in this photo if you know where to look. "Akmet" is a torso sized rock 356 yards out from the rim if I remember Bo's rangefinding correctly. Oddly, the same rangefinder registered the rock at 325 yards last year. We really hammered Akmet this year after giving him some concentrated fire last year. Akmet reveals much about firearms, cartridges, and shooting skills. We had other landmark rock targets with various irreverent names, not appropriate for internet forums, pegged for shooting at all sorts of distances.

    Normal setting

    Same view with telephoto

    Akmet is the smaller of the two rocks in the center of the photo. There is also has a thick concentration of bullet strikes on the rock face below Akmet, seen as a white splash.

    Akmet up close, after 2 days of pounding. In taking the photo of me leaning on Akmet, Bo is pretty precariously perched on the edge of the outcropping. It was about a 40 foot drop to the bottom of the creek bed.

    A photo taken from Akmet back to the firing point on the rim.

    For making caliche from long distance, nothing is quite as appropriate as full power battle rifles. We administered a proper whipping to rocks at 356 yards, 480 yards (not certain about remembering that one correctly), and 604 yards. We also made pot shots at rock formations out to 1500 yards or... infinity.

    Rifles are my very favorite so this is great fun to me. We made use of .30-06, .308, 8mm, and 7.62X54 cartridges. Nothing is more gratifying than dusting a target at a distance so far that the rifle has time to recoil and settle before the bullet strike is observed. The sound of the rifles echoing and reverberating in those canyons is glorious, punctuated by the sharp crack of the bullet strike returning to the ears during the rolling thunder from the gun.

    Some observations about the "lesser guns:" The .223 is easy to use to make accurate hits to well over 300 yards. We sustained stiff and variable breezes on both days. As usual, the AR 15 required just a hair more consideration for wind than either the big .30s or the 8mm did but not much really. The .223 bullet arrives speedily. I was using ammunition loaded with 55 grain bullets as appropriate for my SP-1 and its 1-12 barrel.

    It was also observed that the strikes from the .223 were sometimes lost and the strikes seen gave less dust and loosened less material. The .30s and 8mm buck wind like champions and give more observable puffs of dust. They loosen more material too with impressive chunks seen flying on occasion or else sent sliding down the face of the formation below.

    The SKS with its 7.62X39 cartridge was also pressed into service for this long range duty. I was pleased with its performance last year and it did even better this year. Once I got the range it was easy to hit Akmet with most of a 10 round magazine. This was in a breeze so stiff that it buffeted both rifle and rifleman around quite a bit and also had to affect the exterior ballistics of the 7.62X39 bullet to some extent.

    Bo wearing out ol' Akmet with his new Yugo 8mm Mauser. This 8mm rifle was made just after WWII, apparently for Egyptian consumption. It is a scrubbed rifle, only having a serial number with no other identifying marks. It gave all appearances of being stinking new. Must have been manufactured, packed away, and untouched until the U.S. importer brought it in. It was that clean.

    Bo brought some good imported fmj ammunition for this rifle and we put it to use at the distant targets. Some folks disparage the barleycorn front sight found on so many Mausers but it was as easy to make accurate hits with this Mauser as any rifle we had on the rim for the two days. Bo also had some Remington 170 grain 8mm which is a much watered down shadow of the "real" 8mm cartridge. He shot this plodding load in order to retrieve the brass.

    I'm shooting the '03A3 at a rock target at 604 yards. There's a little white speck on the opposite face of the canyon if one knows where to look. This was a hole chopped into a rock by rifle fire. Hah, notice how the breeze has blown my hair to make it appear as if a bald spot is there.

    I was using up an old batch of 180 grain Sierra Matchking bullets loaded over a full charge of IMR 4895. I'd loaded a large batch up back in 1995 for a possible trip to a 1000 yard match that never materialized.

    I shot this Smith Corona 1903-A3 for some years in high-power competition back in the early to mid 1980s. It still feels like a familiar pair of old jeans. The 180 grain Matchkings shrug off wind admirably and are accurate. I can't buy another box of them for the cost of the ones I expended this week.

    Here's a telephoto shot of the opposite canyon wall and the rock at 604 yards.

    Another interesting new gun I got to try out was Bo's Diamondback .380. I did a brief side-by-side comparison, shooting it along with my Kel Tec P3AT.

    The Diamondback is definitely the better of the two small .380 guns. It possessed a better trigger. It has considerably better sights. It has a better designed grip frame. The slide is easier to grasp. I could shoot it more accurately than I could my P3AT. The Diamondback never bobbled during the few magazines of ammunition I fired through it. It conceals just as readily as the P3AT. The Diamondback is superior to the P3AT in every way. If one wants an inexpensive .380 hideout pistol, the Diamondback is the way to go.

    I shot the Diamondback just before we packed up to leave. I also got the chance to shoot Bob's SIG P6. He's kept several of these on his gun show table for a while. This is a nice 9mm handgun that would serve as a good general purpose pistol for most folks. It doesn't have the high-capacity magazines that are so popular but, being a single stack, has great dimensions for shooting. I have tried others various SIG models over the years and all have been impressive.

    In working our way through the canyon bottom Bo found a sleeping bag, carelessly thrown away onto a bush. It hadn't been there long enough to become sun faded. Was it thrown away in haste because of the thundering rifles on the rim?

    The 11:00 pm helicopter visit was interesting. Bob jumped up and ran outside exclaiming that a helicopter was coming. I'm a bit slow on the uptake because I frequently hear helicopters, but follow along. It does finally dawn on me that there really is not much reason for helicopters to be flying over such a remote region.

    When the helicopter passed over, it was flying low with no lights. The FAA takes a dim view of flying without running lights. Its black silhouette could be made out against the overcast sky. It was not much higher than a cell phone tower and I wouldn't have wanted to be riding in it. I'm familiar with Bell helicopters and agreed with Bob's assertion that it was a Jetranger.

    Was it the Border Patrol? A drug lord? Who knows?

  3. #3
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    Great post, with good pics.

    Very interesting read. I enjoyed it.

    Thanks !
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    Great post amigo, fantastic read!
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    Senior Member Array bps3040's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great time. I love it out there.We are going out that way in a couple of weeks to for some shooting fun.
    I was out there a couple years ago, speaking of helicopters, and answering the call of nature....and a helicopter came over and circled me a couple times. They were laughing and waving.....only me. In the middle of nowhere ...
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    Senior Member Array Andy W.'s Avatar
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    That looks like a lot of fun!! Thanks for sharing.
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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing!

    I need to look into buying some acreage in the western part of Texas.

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    Man that is the life...

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    Thanks for posting, sounds like a great time, scenery is really beautiful also.
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    Hiding inside a bottle of Jim Beam Black in S. FL.
    Enjoyed this post much more than most. Sounds like one heck of a weekend! Would love to pump a few rounds thru the old Springfield.
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    Thanks for posting all those great pics, and the accompanying writeup. I felt like I was there. Sounds like a great time was had by all.

    I wish I could take and post pictures as well as you did. Those turned out great.

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    Excellent photos, excellent write-up and a great weekend! Thanks for sharing!
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