Hap Baker Rifle Range, here in Westminster. I like this range a lot. It's local, well run, has target posting ranges (in increments of 50 yards) all the way out to 200 yards, and its very cheap. Its just $10 for an in-county resident like myself. I took with me, my Remington Model 81 in .300 Savage (1945). Also, my Winchester Model 63 in .22 (1939). And my Colt 1911 A1 in .45 (1943). A sucker for the older guns, I sort of had myself an old-timey session down at the rifle range. These three pieces were all made during the same era.
I started off with the Remington Model 81 first. I really love the shape of this rifle. It's Remington's first semiautomatic, big game rifle. Chambered in .300 Savage it really packs a punch. The internal magazine holds four rounds. Although, it was made in November of 1945, I was lucky enough to find this rifle with 95% of the original bluing in tact, and not a flaw to speak of in the stock. It's a tank of a gun; very heavy. One of John Moses Browning's designs, it does not use gas to operate the action, instead, it uses a long spring, around the barrel, shrouded by an outer jacket. The action is very similar to that of Browning's 1911. The barrel actually moves for and aft with each shot. I find it neat that it utilizes a very large safety on the right side of the receiver. Keep in mind that Mikhail Kalashnikov's AK-47 (which uses a very similar safety lever) debuted in Europe, shortly after the Remington released their Model 8's & 81's...
Curious to see how the Model 81 would handle, I loaded four rounds into the internal magazine, racked one into the chamber and lined up on my target 25 yards away. Let me tell you, this gun packs a wallop! I thought my featherweight Model 70 in .30-06 was damaging (to the shooter). I'll be damned if this one isn't worse! Granted; I was shooting in a T-shirt. Again. I sent the other three rounds, down range and ended up with a nice 1" group. I'm happy with that. No need to mess with the sights. I then shot it at 50 yards and found myself shaking from the first four shots. My shoulder was killing me. I managed to hold a lousy 5" group. This is good enough to put meat on the table, but otherwise could be a lot better. I'll have to go back to the range with some shoulder padding and see how I do then!
Satisfied with how the old Remington semiautomatic performed (And not willing to subject my shoulder to it any more) I packed it away and brought the old Winchester .22 over to the bench. This is a gun I've wanted since I was a little kid. I just love the look of it's receiver, its feel in my hand, and the fact that it's Winchester's first semiautomatic .22 rifle. I loaded ten rounds through the stock and set to work grouping shots at 25 yards. Luckily, this rifle was shooting dead-nuts as far as left-to-right goes. I say luckily, because my father replaced the front sight for me while I was last home. Luckily, he tapped it into the grove in the barrel, centered enough that I didn't have to move it. Elevation wise, it was a different storry. At 25 yards, I was shooting an inch high of the bullseye. I looked at the rear sight and saw that the elevator was moved all the way forward, yet still held the rear sight up and off of the barrel by about a 16th of an inch. Just enough to cause my shots to land high. With no way of lowering the rear sight, I just aimed an inch low and my bullets found their mark; no problem.1911 A1. This is a pistol that my father recently gave to me. Made by Colt in 1943 it is the same model that was used in WWI and WWII. I find that fascinating. To think, that a gun of this design was being used, in a time when people still rode horses, or drove Model T Fords! Anyway, it's no wonder that Browning's design is still copied today. It's a beautiful piece. Only having 50 rounds of .45 ammo. I shot only a few magazines through it. I have to say, I'm awful with a pistol. I need a lot more practice. At 10 yards, I think I held a 6" group. Good enough for self defense, but it definitely needs improvement!