Range sessions have been few and far between of late and most of those have been dedicated to testing this that or they other and no real time for dedicated practice with my primary weapons of choice. Last week I was able to make it out and do a little of both.
First off, a buddy who went with me brought his .44 Magnum Desert Eagle and let me punch some (really big) holes in paper with it:
This thing is a monster.
It is huge and it is heavy. The recoil is really not that bad its just hard to get a good grip on this beast with pudgy little fingers like mine. I would never buy one but I am very thankful for a chance to shoot it. It was a blast!
Next up was The Hammer.
My own .44 Magnum but in a proper and much smaller, lighter revolver format:
I have an ultralight, titanium framed .357 magnum (Smith & Wesson M&P 340) and most people who shoot it won’t ever choose to do so again. Which is how I picked it up for a good price. Shooting that little monster is kind of like catching a fastball with no glove. It stings a bit. OK, it stings a lot. Compared to The Hammer though, that little 340 is a sweetie. Pulling the trigger on a full bore .44 Magnum round is like catching a hard swung baseball bat with your bare hand; there is some stinging but mostly a lot of hurt. In fact several days later I could still feel pain in the web of my hand, my wrist and my elbow.
(Note: I do not wear a shooting glove of any sort which would help dampen the felt recoil.)
Slip down to lightly loaded Magnums or .44 Specials and The Hammer becomes much more manageable. In fact it is a downright pleasant shooter at that point. The sights are very good and with lighter loads I was punching a single ragged hole in the target at seven to ten yards. Thre trigger is a little rough and a bit “squishy” in single action mode but it will probably get better over time. Most Smith’s seem to.
This is a big gun with a lot of recoil but when faced with an angry or wounded pig or a rampant dinosaur (alligator) I have a feeling I won’t notice the recoil. Shot shells (for snakes) probably wont have much of any recoil at all and will reduce the need for accuracy the next time one decides to violate our mutual avoidance agreement.
I bought (another) Ruger LCR in .38 Special. I like to have a backup of my primary carry gun and although I have other Ruger LCRs and other J-Frame revolvers in .38 Special I did not have a second LCR in .38 Special. I happened to come across a great deal on a lightly used one locally so I picked it up. It is an older model with a plain black sight blade but after a quick trip to shopruger.com the proper replacement is on the way. Other than the hard to see front sight, the little revolver performed flawlessly.
I spent the remainder of the session practicing drills and marksmanship. I am having a hard time adjusting to shooting with bifocals. I have spent the last decade and a half with perfect vision (courtesy of lasik surgery) but now that I have reached “a certain age” I am back in glasses. Did I mention they are bifocals? And as a result I am having to relearn some basic skills in order to accommodate my eye-wear.
For most of my practice time I used my 9mm Ruger LCR. The recoil was very light with 115 grain practice ammo (much appreciated after spending time with The Hammer) and the reloads are quick and easy due to the moon-clips. I have always been warned away from carrying a 9mm revolver due to the fragility of the moon-clips but I have not had an issue related to them yet. The other benefit of practicing with 9mm is the price of ammunition. 9mm, for the most part, runs 30-40% cheaper than .38 Special ammunition.
All in all it was a good trip to the range and I was able to work on some much needed skills.
Take care and God bless.