Setbacks And Attempted Corrective Thrashing

This is going to be brief. I have been taking some basic marksmanship and firearm safety instruction lately. I had a basic firearm safety/hunter safety class in like 1970 when I was in the 4th grade at school and have been winging it ever since so when the opportunity presented its self I jumped on it.

It’s a good thing too.

So today I actually went to shoot some rifles at 25 meters with supervision and as usual, disaster struck.

My “main” rifle shoots 5 inches high and to the left with open sights  I find out. The rear sight on that one had somehow come loose so I eyeballed it and tightened it down because I don’t have any optics on it yet. My eyes are worse than I thought too. I can see the front sight fine, the little target was a fuzzy black little blob.

5 inches High and 2 inches to the left from a supported prone position. So I set that aside and grabbed the old 10/22 with a scope. I remembered the last time I shot that thing I couldn’t hit the side of a barn. So I get it out of the case and see why after about five seconds. Somehow the scope is kicked off to the left. Something ain’t right with the scope clamps so I take the damn thing off because people are waiting. Get on the line, get the commands, load it, sight it and again I can see the front sight but the target is fuzzy. Take a shot and can’t see anything so I tried it again. Still nothing so I sit up to take a look and notice the front sight has slid so far off to the right of the barrel it is literally about ready to fall off. It snapped right back into place but it obviously comes loose when you fire it.

That’s it, I’m done for the day.

You would think that I knew better and would have checked this shit out beforehand.

I ain’t that smart obviously.

So now I’m back home and I am cleaning both rifles and have already fixed the front sight on the one. Now I am also going to see if I have any other optics I can put back on it and see about trying again tomorrow.

This ain’t good except it is.

It is much better to find this shit out now and get it taken care of.

Previous lack of attention and a false sense of security just bit me on the ass.

I am farther behind the curve than I would have believed so now the scrambling begins.

Since I seem to have a full plate at the moment so I will be posting when I get time.

Have at it.

36 thoughts on “Setbacks And Attempted Corrective Thrashing

  1. Wait til you put a red dot on it, and the dot isn’t a dot, but some sort of hollow oval with spurs coming out of it. Good indication of cataracts.


      • My astigmatism makes a red dot appear as a squiggly line with a maybe dot at one end. Totally impossible for me to use. Irons regular scope reticles rule.


        • Nemo, I get flaring of red-dots, but find they are still fine on a Sporting Clays gun. I could never hit fast descending birds consistently until using a dot sight. I reccomend them for novices, and to remove bad habits from old farts. Better battery life in newer model sights is a boon, twice I’ve stood by while hunting mates dicked around fumbling, turning on an Aimpoint, after surprising a sleeping boar. Both times I considered just shooting the bloody thing myself, but on each occasion was fearful of walking home, instead of riding passenger in their cars. Luckily for those two blokes, the sleepy-eyed boars were still not fully awake when they died.


  2. Better to find out what needs to be corrected or adjusted now instead of when it’s too late, and having someone observe is even better.


  3. It’s mature to admit your faults, Phil. We can’t all be like Gun Jesus, Ian McCollum. I learned decades ago that if you stuffed-up on the firing line, or during a Practical shoot, or in Sporting Clays: don’t bother looking around for possible witnesses, all my shooting mates would be already busting a gut laughing at me, the arseholes!


  4. Use the old Millwright trick on the rifle with open sights. We often used string
    lines to align equipment and pulleys. That’ll get the windage close enough.
    As for the 10/22, take the scope off. In a SHTF situation, you are better off
    with iron sights even with bad eyesight. I have a .22 WMRF Marlin Bolt action.
    Somewhere Along the line, I lost the front sight. I haven’t shot the fucker in
    20 years, but with the scope, I could drive tacks at 100 yards. I gotta replace
    that front sight soon because most shit happens close up. It has recently
    been cleaned and oiled up though!


  5. Spent part of today unboxing and inspecting my 30-06 ammo for the Garand. All the rounds looked “good” and passed my length checking with my digital caliper, so I wiped them down, and loaded up about 20 en-bloc clips today, and stowed them my bandoleer.

    Other rifles have been sighted-in, test fired, and cleaned.

    Pistols are next on the list….


  6. Don’t want to appear as if I’m trying to come across as an expert, because I’m not, so don’t anyone take this that way.

    Shooting irons – I was taught, and it has worked for me right up until now and I’m creeping up on 62. Our eyes can not focus on three objects at three different focal lengths at the same time, in this case our rear sight, front sight and target. When we are young our eyes can switch between the three so fast our brain can process the information and give the appearance that all three are in focus at once but it is an illusion. As we age our eyes lose the ability to refocus as fast and we start having trouble trying to put everything together to get a good sight picture and have our sights nice and clear. A good scope can bring our sight (reticle) and target into the same plane and make it easier to focus but I’m not a fan of scopes on .22’s and light rifles for general use.

    So what do we do, if we want to shoot irons?

    One thing to consider on the equipment side is to replace the rear sight with a peep sight if one is available for your “main” rifle. There are peep sights available for your 10/22. I won’t go into all the technical details but a rear peep sight will flatten the field of view, for lack of a better term, and make things appear sharper. I’ve always liked a bead front sight when using a peep sight, YMMV.

    Another option which I had on my old lever guns, that I should never have sold, a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington and a JM Marlin 1895 (45-70) I liked to use a big old buck horn rear sight. This style of rear sight is extremely fast for acquiring a sight picture and gave me the ability to slide my hazy front sight into the exact position of the blurred buck horn sight while maintaining a fairly clear view of my target. I dropped a lot of elk and deer and more than a few bear in heavy woods using those two rifles and none of them were ever “lost”. Just to state my eyesight is nothing to write home about, I’ve worn glasses since I was six years old.

    One more thing to consider is changing the color of your front sight. I tend to color mine pearl white or gold. These two colors stand out against the darkness of the rear sight and shows up well on most critter type targets, of course if you are shooting at a white target with a white front sight you may run into some problems. There is a whole host of different colors, some fluorescent, available and it pays to peruse what’s out there and decide what works best for you.

    On the technique side of things, don’t focus on your sights. Focus instead on your target. The front sight may (probably will) be fuzzy but still able to be placed on target. The rear sight may be just a hazy blur but with proper hold on the rifle and a little practice you should be able to know where to place the front sight, in the blur of the rear sight to stay on target. Using a rear peep sight will make this work better. Then you need to practice your hold and cheek weld from the different shooting positions until you develop the muscle memory that allows you to get on target fast. All my .22’s have iron sights and I can line up spent shotgun shells at a hundred yards, shoot offhand, call my shots and hit damn near 100 percent.

    Before you start working the different positions I would recommend you shoot from a bench with a good rest, sandbags work well as long as you don’t have them too hard and practice looking at the target and letting your rifle naturally come to your point of aim so you develop confidence in your sight picture, your firearm and where it aims.

    I’m not a fan of red dots and such on light rifles simply because most of them don’t allow me the precise aiming I like to do, the old aim small miss small mentality. Some folks swear by them so don’t jump my ass if somebody thinks they’re the best thing since sliced bread.

    My heavier rifles all have scopes on them which really mitigates a lot of the poor eyesight problems. In your neck of the woods if you are going to consider a scope make sure the damn thing is really waterproof.

    Also if you are interested I can share with you some spots that shouldn’t be too awful far from your location that I used to go for target practice and be alone. It has been more than a few years since I was in that neck of the woods but they should still be accessible.



  7. Williams makes a great peep site for the Marlin 336 and many other rifles. They are clik stop ajustible and under a hundred bucks. Got one on both of my Marlin 336 ‘s


  8. Phil, Just get a Shotgun. A Mossberg 930 is a semi auto 12 gauge that holds 6 shells and will spend them as fast as you can pull the trigger. Unleash hell.


  9. Front sight should be in sharp focus, leaving the rear and target a little fuzzy.
    I held HM classifications before the rules allowed glass.
    The eye will center a sharp focus front inside the fuzzy rear. And math says you need the most precision at the front sight, small errors there = huge error at the target.
    All bets are off if you have cataracts or a lot of astigmatism.
    And, yes, the sights need to be present and accounted for…..
    Keep at it, you’ll get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditto. When I was shooting High Power and Service Rifle, the front sight was what I looked at. For me, circles took no effort to line up, so I used a peep, a round hooded front sight, and the target. When shooting service rifle, the peep and post were standard. That peep acts like a lens. Helps me focus.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, there are a couple comments posted by people who very clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.
    It’s good that you’re getting your equipment sorted out. Next take a class put on by a reputable instructor who can help with the use of that equipment.


    • +1
      Get your eyes checked and the correct prescription. Then get a good range coach. Then practice with what is going to be your primary weapon.


        • Ok, so I guess the implication is some folks don’t like or agree with something I wrote. I’ll stand behind every bit of it based on how I interpret where Phil is going with his shooting in view of some of his recent and some not so recent writings and observations.

          Reading over what I wrote above I only see two things that might get someone’s knickers in a knot. My comment about focusing on the target rather than the sight and not being a fan of red dots on light rifles. I suppose someone could take issue at my poor explanation of the effect of a peep sight but the simple truth is they do improve the sight picture.

          If all a person is interested in doing is sitting at a bench on a square range and poking holes in a piece of paper that person is going to do things different than if you are in the wilds intending on killing something.

          On focusing on the target more than the front sight.
          It doesn’t matter whether it is a game animal, varmint or a two legged pest if you think it is going to wait while you get all squared away to take a shot, the shot opportunity window can close damn fast. In some cases your intended target may have plans of its own concerning making you a target.

          In this situation, based on my shooting experience you want to know where the target is and keep your eyes on it at all times. It can be downright amazing how something can disappear in the short moment you take your focus off it, let alone looking away from it. You don’t want to be wasting valuable time trying to reacquire a target. Further a person should have enough shooting skill that when they shoulder their weapon and put the sights on target they don’t have to hunt for the sights, especially the rear sight. It should home naturally based on developing a consistent hold of the rifle. As an aside to this you should be shooting with both eyes open.

          In my case when I bring a rifle to bear that is using iron sights I don’t ever consciously focus on the rear sight, the front sight is an indicator of where the gun is pointing and I don’t want to take that all important focus off tracking my target to try to focus on the sight. That’s why I suggested keeping the target in focus and letting the front sight go blurry. Even in low light that white or gold bead is going to stand out indicating to me where my rifle is pointed relative to the target.

          On scopes and red dots and etc.
          I believe shooters today place way too much emphasis on optics. Scopes and red dots slow down target acquisition. The also narrow your field of view, sometimes too much. Case in point, year before last I tagged a 5X5 elk. It was so close to me when it came out of the brush that even though my scope was at its lowest magnification I had to raise my aim point to see the spine, drop it to see the bottom of the belly, move to the left to find the brisket then move back to the right to an imaginary point and shoot in the middle of the tan color filling my scope. Had my rifle been running a set of irons with a buck horn rear sight that problem wouldn’t have existed and I would have put lead into that elk long before I did with a scope on my rifle. Now the reason I run a scope on my elk rifle is because every so often the need comes up to put lead in an elk at extended distances that I couldn’t do with iron sights. Different tools and configurations for different jobs.

          If a person is intending to be shooting coyotes or prairie dogs or some such at longer distances then putting a scope on a .22 rimfire or a light rifle makes some sense. At any distance less than a hundred fifty yards I would argue that iron sights will pretty much out perform an optic in most instances. Hell the 220 Swift, 22-250 and .243 I was shooting the other day all wear iron sights and I was having no trouble picking off rockchucks out to a hundred fifty yards.

          But again, picking off varmints or big game at extended distances is not where I interpreted that Phil was going with his desire to improve his gun skills.

          If it’s something else I wrote that seems to have upset the sensibilities of some of you why don’t you grow a pair and just some out and express what you take issue with.



  11. Regarding cataracts and marksmanship, you’re screwed until you can find an “eye care professional” who will pay attention to your needs as a serious shooter and will help you game the system. Lemme ‘splain.

    The eye care “industry” is merely an adjunct to the insurance industry and the insurance people are in control of your eye care, not the eye doc. You just think you are paying the insurance company to pay the doc for good care, but in reality, you are not. You are paying for the administrative costs of minimum care. The entire system is based upon getting your ass into that chair and back out again in the absolute minimum amount of time it takes to provide you with a prescription just good enough so you can get home without driving over somebody with your car. I sat in that chair once a year for literally 50-years getting the same-old same-old before coming to that realization, and more importantly, finding an eye doc who would do something about it, and I flat out defy any insurance shill or eye quack to honestly say anything different. Honestly being the key word there, ya follow?

    With cataracts, those folks will endlessly fuss and fiddle with the prescription for your eyeglasses to minimize double-images and halos from car headlights and other light sources, until the changes are so rapid that surgery becomes necessary. You have to find a way to short-cut that process.

    I know all this because I lived thru it. Once I got my eye doc to understand that I was a competitive shooter, he came at the insurance people from the “quality of life” direction and got eye surgery authorized. I was gonna pay for it myself but he came thru for me. And it was a gift from God. The surgeon took my eyesight from 20/480 nearsighted, which is not good, to 20/15. Now I can see a-way the heck over yonder without glasses, and my scores took a great leap forward, literally overnight.

    I understand I’m a little evangelically rabid on this subject, but I lost at least a decade fighting cataracts and if hitting what you’re aiming at is important to you, a little dose of this religion will go a long way to helping. Thus endeth the sermon.


    • H, if a sermon, you are preaching the truth! I can’t shoot now, but suffering acute astigmatism and an opaque cataract on my aiming eye, I agree how important finding an understanding eye doc is!


  12. Pingback: Setbacks And Attempted Corrective Thrashing — Bustednuckles | The zombie apocalypse survival homestead

  13. Phil,
    I agree with a lot of what’s been said. Most of my arms don’t have peep sights, but I’ve used them in the past with good success. Very true what’s been said about focal planes, and speed of focus-change when moving from one plane to the next. With my very nearsighted shit-assed astigmatic 55 year old eyes, the iron sights on my Mosin Nagant can’t get me past about 50 yards. I’m also limited by its slow rate of fire, and 5-round capacity. Conversely, it is dead-to-nuts reliable, and makes a MIGHTY LOUD KABOOM when shot.

    There’s no substitute for training and practice … as retired Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis is very fond of saying … get brilliant at the basics. This takes time, dedication, and money for ammo / range time, because all the training in the world is almost useless without practice to backup the lessons learned. Last week I took a handgun fundamentals class, and at the end of August I’m taking an advanced pistol course for the concealed carrier. I’ll be shooting that with my SR9 compact. With a 10-round mag, the SR9c is fairly concealable, but also takes 17 rounders too … and just for fun, a while back I bought a couple of 33-round “brand x” aftermarket mags, because I could. Being brand-x, I generally load those with 25 rather than stuff ’em to the top.

    For pistol work, I generally train at 25 feet, give or take. I train controlled pairs, and I also train with controlled pairs followed up by a head shot., usually from “low ready” or “compressed ready”, depending on range rules. I’ve also been working on a way I can train to the “El Presidente” in a single lane. Don’t know the El Pres? Three targets, 30 feet away, two shots (controlled pairs) on each, then a speed reload, then two more shots on each, for a grand-total of 12 shots. I can do this with reasonable accuracy in 10 seconds, but want to work on accurate, faster fire.

    For rifle … I have two solid defensive choices in my collection. My Ruger PC Carbine (the new “takedown” carbine) with peep sight and red-dot is zeroed for 25 yards, and the AR with 16″ barrel and Nikon 3x fixed power scope is set for 50 yards. I like the Ruger ’cause it shares ammo and MAGS with my SR9 compact. I have even been known to run the carbine with the aforementioned 33-round stick mags. Even though the longer barrel of the 9mm carbine adds about 200 fps, it does lack penetrating power. Its red-dot is mounted on a “high” riser, and I can witness the iron peeps through the riser if needed. The AR is fine for anything out to 100 yards, but I probably wouldn’t engage anything at that distance anyway. I have a 2nd complete upper for the AR with longer barrel and a 4-12 variable scope. I figure that’s good out to at least 200 yards, should stuff ever get REALLY REALLY bad.

    So there you have it. I don’t have anything particularly fancy, nothing with any large amount of mall-ninja tacti-cool shit. Just solid, conventional, highly reliable platforms, and I practice with those platforms, with the goal of “high standards of accuracy”. Like Gen. Mattis is quoted as saying … get brilliant at the basics.


  14. Jeez Phil, you’re an amateur at screwing-up for a range day, as others will agree, if they are honest. At least you’re fixing both your guns, and your training right now. I fronted for a Service Rifle 100, 200 & 300 metre event one day, that I was running, went to charge my Portugeuse DWM Model 1934 Mauser-Verguiro with a stripper clip of FNM (also Portugee) 7.9 x 57mm sS-load ammo, a winning combination. Instead of the clip catching on the slot, the whole thing fed straight into the magazine well, as if it were a Mannlicher. In a rush to get to the range and set the big target frames etc., I’d grabbed clips of Frog .30-06 ball ammo! Well after clearing that stuff-up, I watched others have fun, feeling like a right dickhead. I’m glad you’re sorting it all out, do you have a decent Pantyfag target for sighting-in the Mini-14?


  15. Phil, and all you readers, here’s a tip to make SURE your scope/red dot/whatever is *securely* mounted to you rifle/pistol:
    1) unload the gun (duh!)
    2) make sure you have tightly mounted everything.
    3) grab your DEAD-BLOW (plastic face!) hammer
    4) have somebody you trust HOLD it in firing position. Your wife may NOT be suitable for this…
    5) SMACK THE (front of the) BARREL with the deadblow hammer with enough force to mimic recoil. This may take some experimentation, sneak up on it instead of trying to hammer it first time. Be nice to the person holding the weapon!! See what shakes loose.

    I found out that my scope on my .303 was working loose and used this method to do a shake-rattle-and-roll test to make sure the scope stays put. Sure wish I had the original iron sights, some nimnod took ’em off! Had to get a pic-mod rail to mount things. Oh well, the gun was free…


    • Hey egorr, have you tried butt-stroking a Pantyfag with that rifle, to check if the scope is still loose? At least then, it being a .303, you’d hit something! Joking, man. Sold my P-14, but love my Lithgow SMLE.


      • John, back when I figured this technique out there wasn’t any Pantyfag around to try it out on! So I overcame and improvised with what I had.
        I will, however, take your advice – it’s a twofer!!

        I’d love to try your Lithgow, it’s not like I don’t have any ammo for it…
        Why’d you sell the P-14?!? Inquiring idiots want to know.


        • Well egorr, it gets hard to ignore the drool from a shooting mate, when they really want something bad. Also, although in overall fair nick, somebody in it’s dark past had removed the offset aperture and foresight combo, Bubbas are universal it seems. I decided to get serious with using my M-14 in Service Rifle competion then, with success to Master Grade, but then came the compulsory ‘buyback’ confiscation. I switched to an M-1917 in matches, retaining that great sight radius and sight image, plus the ease of a rimless .30 calibre, really the best standard WWI rifle. Lithgow made some nice SMLEs, nice SLRs too, but then the gubmint cuck ‘n sucks gave away all that immaculate late ’30s Pratt & Whitney machinery to the heathen Indonesians, for free! Next time that Aussies fight the Indons, it’ll hurt, on both sides, (the socialist Gillard’s Labor mob at the time took all the RAAF’s mintish F-111s and buried them, because woke!) oh well!


  16. One of the best things you can do for your vision is to take an eye supplement to provide essential nutrients and get rid of ‘floaters’ (those squiggly black lines that float all over your field of vision). I started taking Macuguard (I get mine from Amazon) about 5 years ago. My vision has deteriorated with age, but in my mid 60’s, I can still see my iron pistol sights well enough to do head shots at 25 meters. It works for me; might work for others, too.


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