Feb 24, 2013

New rifle - GSG 522

I picked up a new piece of iron (and polymer) this weekend. I have had my sights set (pun intended) on the German Sport Guns (GSG) Model 522 for the last few weeks. While at a gun show this weekend, I was happy to find one, new in the box and reasonably priced ($475). Imported and distributed by American Tactical Imports (ATI) out of Rochester, NY, the GSG 522 is a German made replica of the Heckler & Koch MP5, though chambered in .22 LR instead of 9mm. The real MP5 uses a 25 round magazine where as the magazine on my new rifle is designed to hold 22, yet blocked to hold 20, in accordance with Maryland regulations. Though the forearm grip and stock are a lightweight polymer, the receiver is milled from a hefty chunk of aluminum. The suppressor albeit fake, helps to balance the rifle.

While at the gun show, I also picked up some simple optics; a red dot scope made by UTG. I have never used a red dot scope before and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to zero. It mounted quickly and easily to the weaver rail on the top of the receiver at the range this morning, and in a matter of minutes I had walked my groups onto the bull. The scope offers a red or green dot, each with 5 stops of brightness. This is nice because the targets I was shooting were composed of red ink on white paper. I selected the green dot for better contrast against the target ink.

Above left:  Entering the Hap Baker Rifle Range in Westminster, MD.  Above Right: A CCI round that didn't make it out in time.
The GSG 522 I have is the HV model. The HV requires high velocity ammunition; loads that clock at least 1200 fps to reliably cycle the action. Luckily, this is pretty standard for most .22 ammo on the shelves out there. I brought a brick of CCI Blazer and some Federal ammo as well. The CCI gave me problems; three times I had to clear jams with this round. However, the Federal ammo worked great. Both of these rounds are “high velocity”, and info on their respective websites show muzzle velocities of 1235 fps for the CCI and 1240 fps for the Federal. I am scratching my head at this drastic difference in performance within such a small margin of velocity. Regardless, I am glad that I bought 1500 rounds of the Federal ammo a couple of weekends ago.

I zeroed and shot at the 50 yard range this morning. I was able to group with repeatable results time after time. I did try reaching out to the 100 yard range, though my eyes were a real handicap. Without magnification, I just can't see the targets. Just the same; it was a blast to shoot this thing this morning!

Feb 20, 2013

Westminster landscapes

Yesterday, was a rainy one. At times coming down quite hard. As I worked in the office I listened to the rain beating down hard on the roof of the building. But the rain broke when I was about 10 minutes away from home. The evening sun lit up the tops of trees with a peach hue and the thick clouds produced some really pretty colors; shades of plum, rose and deep purple; all lined in gold. I keep my four thirds camera in my truck, but raced home to grab my DSLR and head back out. I was able to capture a couple of scenes but it was a race against the setting sun by that time and I just barely got the photos you see here.

These pictures were taken about a half mile down the road from my house. Like I've said before; I live in the boonies. It's a wonderful thing sometimes.

Last hunting trip of the season - Frederick Watershed

Last Saturday, marked the closing day of the small game hunting season here in MD. I took advantage and was out and about with my .17 caliber in hopes of taking a few more squirrels.  Although, it was very cold and windy and the little guys were holed-up, warm in their nests.  Still, the morning made for a pretty hike through the snowy woods of the Frederick Watershed.  Here are a few photos from the walk.

I used to do a lot of freeriding at the watershed; shuttle runs on long-travel bikes, hucking drops and riding ladder bridges & skinnies.  This was back in 2002-2004.  In all that time, I never came across this little swimming hole.  I'm going to have to keep it in mind for this summer.

I stumbled upon this makeshift shelter as well. It reminded me of when I earned my Wilderness Survival merit badge in scouts. We had to make a shelter without any man-made items, and spend two nights in it. It was one of the more fun merit badges to earn. I still remember the older scout teaching me that ferns are natural bug reppellent and I was sure to line the floor of my shelter with plenty of them. Still I don't think I slept much those two nights. Like the rest of the kids in my troop I spent most of the night making fart noises on the back of my hand and fighting off all the thoughts of the creepy-crawlies in my shelter. Scouting was fun. It looks like this old shelter was used more by the squirrels, as a safe haven for meals, than anything else.

Before I left, I took a quick photo of my Marlin XT-17. I am really loving this rifle. It shoots incredibly flat out to 100 yards with no problems. It seems I'm never able to leave the woods without shooting at least a beer bottle at a decent range with this gun. I'm looking forward to spending some time at the range this summer and maybe taking a friend out there to try their hand with this fun piece. I'm really glad I spent the extra money on the scope.

Feb 10, 2013

Photo of the day

Selectively desaturated image captured inside the abandoned Littlestown Brick Company Building - Littlestown, PA.
I was a bit ancy today.  I get that way often.  I'm never really comfy just sitting around, especially when the sun is shining.  I always need to be doing something.  Although, a lot of times, I don't know exactly what that something is.  So yesterday, after wiping down my rifles, taking inventory of my ammunition, straightening up the "bike room" and stacking wood by the stove I decided to just take off.  I grabbed my camera gear and set off for who-knows-where.  I wound up in Littlestown, PA, just south of Gettysburg.  I had passed by the abandoned Littlestown Brick Company buildings many times.  Once inside, it appeared to be used by the municipalities for storage. There wasn't a whole lot of interesting things inside, but there was one room (shown above) that appeared to have been set up by workers or local kids.