Friday, June 01, 2007

Something different

So the weather got a little strange up here in the northern central Midwest. Then a few calls trickled in. Duties I enjoy are calling when the seasons are ripe for them. You see, I'm very much into the sport of shooting. Its a discipline like any other but in its own right more of a matter of achieving as close to a perfect stillness in a very small moment of time.

So you pull the trigger and the "gun" goes boom. Bigger gun equals bigger boom equals more fun, right? Wrong.

The shooting sports, no matter what aspect of the discipline you choose to be involved in, is only about one thing: Accuracy. It applies to paper targets, silhouettes, field target, ten meter, hunting and culling. If your reason for picking up any rifle, pistol or shotgun isn't becoming more a more accurate shooter then firearms aren't what you ought to be involved in.

Some folks like the big boom firearms make. The bigger the boom the more they feel like the alpha. What they always seem to forget (maybe they never knew because they really aren't alphas) is what makes the alpha the alpha is equally about power as it is about control. What's the point of the first without the second?

Some people would like others to believe power and control are the same thing, but the discipline of shooting firearms [well] neatly separates the two concepts to their rightful designations. The firearm has the power, the shooter learns to control that power.

There is a certain elegance in using the least amount of energy to accomplish a given task. We call it conservation. Its actually a lot of fun to find the best way to do things with the least amount of expended effort, whether it be by machine or human activity.

Its this thought process that led me in a new direction from shooting firearms to shooting precision airguns. I found the difficulty of training to be equal and yet much more enjoyable and available to my circumstances. Well okay, I can shoot what I want any time I want because I own a farm, have public ranges nearby and have many thousands of acres at my disposal throughout the year. So what made me choose precision airguns if I can target shoot, hunt or cull when I feel like it?

Air rifles and pistols like the ones I own are fine European designs. They have match grade barrels and multi adjustable triggers. I have a rifle I once rested which produced a five shot group that fit under the diameter of half a dime at thirty yards. I've come close to that many times but that's the best I've done with my HW77K. When you can shoot a rifle not louder than clapping one's hands, takes high grade pellets at under ten dollars for five hundred pellets, doesn't send an errant shot a mile and a half towards the horizon and takes critters up to gophers with the same pinpoint accuracy as firearms, its a lesson in the elegance of the conservation of energy. Accuracy reigns supreme. Control should always have the utmost influence over raw power.

Does that mean I gave up shooting my 7.5x55 Swiss made K31? The offspring of the venerable and insanely accurate Schmidt Rubin? Hardly. By the training these airguns allow me I can tell you that straight pull bolt and honest to goodness Swiss watch predictable two stage trigger are that much sweeter because of the ability to transfer what I learned from the massive amount of time I could spend shooting the air rifles as in a sense, preparation for the larger arms I use.

To be honest the big boom is just not that exiting compared to the sublime experience of shooting a precision air rifle. Its somewhat a matter of scale. Once a shooter understands [that] then the limited range and scaled down hunting experience of .177-.25 caliber air rifles becomes the better experience. Of course there are air rifles in the 308, 50 and 20mm calibers also, if you still need that big boom to satisfy your tastes.

In case there are some doubters about the accuracy and capability of air rifles these days, here's a little link to confirm that Daisys and Wally World Gamos are not the only airguns in town. If you go about half way down the replies to Cecil you'll see my friend Gunny Ric Douglas posts a video of yours truly taking one of the first shots of this rifle when it was still a prototype. Bob Dean is the creator and the barrel is off an F-16. Watch closely as the recoil ripples across me and literally draws me off my stance. This rifle has more recoil than my K31, which incidentally, has a steel butt plate.

I can say I've fired some pretty wild stuff. Both in firearms and airguns. By far the fun ( for me)resides in the conservation of energy attributed to the air powered arms. I've taken English sparrows out to ninety yards with a Paul Watts ADV tuned R11 in the "lowly' airgun caliber of .177. That's one morning I won't soon forget. Kind of a zen situation. Most often the ranges are between thirty and fifty yards. Sometimes more but not less as I prefer a little distance betwixt me and the targets.

So how does this correlate to anything having to do with scooters? When you develop a broad experience in a certain area you tend to gravitate toward "poles" even though the thing for all intents and purposes seems benign and pretty basic. Like riding two wheels with an engine driving them. We sometimes divide ourselves based upon the images of power versus what we truly want. If we seek the image of being powerful its most likely someone else is setting the ground rules for what is accepted as powerful. And some will seek to have that which gives them that appearance.

On the other hand those of us who prefer to determine our own standards possess something we never sought. Ironically, if you're looking for it you may never find it.



Bryce said...

Thoroughly engineered, precisely made, and purpose appropriate. Yeah, I'm right there with you.

CodyandMichelle said...

"Draws you off your stance" is a bit of an understament Harv! lol
Though I'm really not interested in shooting, I like your analogy of power and control. Because, really, that can fit into many aspects of life. In fact i think I will steal a bit from that analogy in my blog today>

American Scooterist Blog said...

Bryce, they are certainly a great way to go for the person who likes shooting as a discipline or a sport.

Cody, cool. Feel free. I got that knowledge from somewhere but as usual stuff like that seems to pool into the general wisdom catagory. There are precision air rifle, match rifles really, which use a "sliding sledge design wich counteracts recoil. Feinwerkbau, Anschutz and Diana all used variations of it at some time in their history. I wonder if it would work on that 20mm air rifle...? Nyeh probably blow the breech area to smithereens.

irondad said...

I was telling the same kind of thing to motor cops on Monday. They were running the track with bravado but bad technique. We kept trying to get them to slow down and get the technique down first. It was power with no precision. Funny how so much of riding with discipline intertwines with other parts of life, eh?

Combatscoot said...

I've often thought of such things. I often wonder how things would've been had I chose the Scarabeo 150 that was on my dealer's showroom floor rather than the 500. And I sometimes think that I may downsize in the future when my Beo is paid-off.

rkmitchell said...

That 20mm sure is a hoot to shoot, isn't it, Harv? Folks still can't believe that gun when I show the video of Eric's hog hunt with it to them.

Gonna get me on of PW's guns soon, I hope. Aching for a "thump" instead of a "twang" on my R-9, though the accuracy is all I could ask for at the moment. At least the raccoon at the birdfeeder didn't like it!

American Scooterist Blog said...

Irondad, what you say is so true. I think so many riders get bigger and bigger machines in order to project just that; power. They miss much of what the ride really is about; applied skill manifesting in control.

John, you hit on an intangible that, if we're thinking of the same thing, is why I went with the 150 myself.

Hey old friend :) What Paul will do to your R9 will be incredible. The R11 he did for me is just that. Is yours in .20? I'll take a stab and guess its the .177.
Wait a minute, did you jsut say you took a coon with yours?? ! Impressive!!! How was LR this year?