I had a gap in my holiday weekend plans that aligned nicely for a range trip, so I took advantage.
I brought along the 20″ musket and the FNS-9. Overall, I can’t say I was very satisfied with my shooting. My consistency has gotten good enough that I can keep it all in the black of a NRA 50 yard small bore target placed at 100 yards when shooting from prone or sitting, but my actual groups within that 4 inch black aren’t very “tight.” The fact that I had this trouble even off of a bipod made me think that it might have been the optic. But later on when I still had trouble with irons at 50 yards, I think it was just me being out of practice.
A few things of note: I replaced the buffer spring in the musket’s lower. The old one was the original spring that came with the A5 kit, and has seen an unknown number of rounds (I haven’t kept count, but it’s easily in the 5,000 range). In its place, I installed a Sprinco “Green” chrome-silicon rifle spring. I noticed an immediate improvement in what was already a very smooth-shooting rifle. All brass made a neat little pile to my 4:00 and about 6 feet away.
I also installed a Magpul MBUS PRO LR adjustable rear backup sight. I don’t have much time using, yet. But I’ve been quite happy with it so far. Time will tell if it stays on the musket or goes to another upper.
Today also marks the first time I’ve shot pistol in a long time. There was clearly some rust. Doing slow fire at 10 yards or so, I can still make a fist-sized ragged hole. But at 25 yards, I have some trouble. Some of this may be the sight picture of the FNS-9. The FNS uses a “combat” hold in which the center of the dot in the front sight is the point of aim and point of impact. At 25 yards, the front sight nearly completely covered the target I was shooting at. Obviously, this is not ideal for accuracy. My grip, stance, and sight picture all felt right. I experimented with various finger positions on the trigger, trying to find the balance that let me squeeze the trigger straight to the rear without pushing or pulling it to the sides, especially one handed.
The most interesting thing today, however, had nothing to do with my shooting. While I was practicing slung prone, another individual walked up and struck up a conversation. He commented that he doesn’t see many people practicing positions with shooting slings very often, and started asking about the sling.
It turns out, this individual is a member on the Air Force shooting team, and competes in the International Rifle category. We talked positions for a bit. He critiqued my offhand by telling me to relax my right elbow down and dig my supporting elbow deeper into my side to try and find that bone support. I will have to spend a lot more time practicing.
At his request, I found him again when I was done shooting. The club had given him his own private practice space. He was indoors using a SCATT system and breaking in a new shooting jacket. I handled his Feinwerkbau .22 a bit, and he gave me his contact information, some other shooters/coaches, and a gunsmith in the area if I wanted to try my hand at small bore competition.
The important thing, I think, is that he practices several night per week at this location. I’m going to see if I can work my schedule to practice along with him and learn some tips along the way. Of the shooting disciplines out there, I’m more partial to F-Class and service rifle over Olympic small-bore, but the possibility of learning from this individual is…intriguing.
That’s about it, I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!