• The Shooter's Log
  • The Shooter's Log

  • Armscor

  • Subscribe

  • Shop Cheaper Than Dirt!

  • Rock Island Rebate

  • LaserLyte

  • Sun Optics

  • hotshots-teaser

  • Rock Island Rebate

Ruger’s Single Ten

There is just something special about pulling back the hammer on a single action pistol. That tell tale set of three clicks, and the feel of those revolver grips are reminiscent of a day when we were still trying to win the west. Ruger has come up with a revolver to remind us of the good old days. Years ago, Ruger developed the Single Six .22 pistol. This pistol earned a reputation for accuracy and rugged reliability. Recently, Ruger unveiled the Single Ten in .22 Long Rifle. Can you guess what the difference is? That’s right, four more rounds of rock and roll before you have to reload.

The look and feel of the Single Ten is superb. The stainless-steel finish and red-colored wood grips go very well together. Ruger developed the Single Ten on a similar platform to the Single Six. The first thing that jumps out at you when you pick up this pistol is the comfortable feel. The gunfighter grips are ergonomic and the hardwood feel is refreshing and feels stable. An aluminum sleeve separates the two grip panels, which make it impossible to over-tighten and damage the wood. The gun balances well and has a natural feel when pointed downrange. As soon as you look down the barrel, an obvious change is the Williams fiber optic sights that Ruger has installed. The rear sight is fully adjustable and the matte black sights contrast well with the fiber optic inserts, resulting in a very fast and easy to see sight picture. The front sight blade and base are a Single piece, and a Single screw attaches it to the barrel. The fiber optic sights make the Single ten better for hunting and field use due to the increased visibility.

The gun has a barrel length of 5.5 inches and an overall length of 11 inches. Unloaded it weighs in at 38 ounces, making recoil almost non-existent. We measured the trigger pull at 3 pounds, 12 ounces. The barrel has six groves and a 1:14-inch right hand twist. Accuracy was spot on. We managed a very tight group at 25 yards and every round went to point of aim. There were no malfunctions of any kind while firing the weapon.

Loading the Single Ten is a little different from the Single Six. When you open the loading gate, the lock releases and you can rotate the cylinder. At each click, a new chamber appears where the loading gate used to be. If you rotate two clicks, with a little practice, the large gap the loading gate leaves allows you to load two shells at once. This design actually allowed me to load the Single Ten faster than my Single Six, a huge advantage. Unloading spent cartridges was a bit more challenging. When you open the loading gate to extract your spent shells, the cylinder clicks into place, but not entirely. The cylinder has just enough looseness that it does not always line up with the ejection rod, so you have to wiggle the cylinder so it lines up and you can eject the spent casing. This problem was not a huge deal once I got accustomed to knowing just how far to rotate the cylinder and I stopped noticing it after a little practice.

The Ruger Single Ten will make a fine addition to any gun collector who wants a little more ammunition on the ready, but likes that old single action feel. More than just a range toy, the Williams fiber optic sights, increased cylinder capacity, and top-notch accuracy makes the Single Ten an outstanding pistol to have out in the field, in the truck or on the hip.

Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357

Use Your Sights…

…except for when you don’t have to. In marksmanship classes and training, we constantly preach to use your sights, because aiming at the target is the way to get accurate hits.  But in practical shooting, you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns where the sights actually slow you down on your way to getting fast hits on a target.

Using the sights or not?

For example, take a look at the image on the left – obviously you can’t tell whether or not I’m using the sights on the gun because you can’t see my eyes. And you couldn’t tell my looking at the target either, because the round that just exited the gun was a down zero hit. This goes back to the practical shooting adage of “see what you need to see”, which to un-zen it means you see exactly as much of a sight picture as you need to get the hit. In the case of the situation at left, I didn’t need a sight picture at all to hit a wide open paper target three yards away, so I just extended the gun and pressed the trigger and sent a round of Federal .45 ACP into the down zero.

That hardest part about it however is learning to shift gears – shooting with a minimal sight picture at 3 yards and then going to a proper sight picture to hit a steel plate at 15 yards on the same stage. To get used to this, I’ll set up a simple drill that I can do on a single lane range using a standard IDPA practice target. Take a 3×5 index card, and cut it in half. Paste the two halves on opposite sides of the IDPA target, those are now T1 and T2. The “Down Zero” of the IDPA target is T3. On the start signal, draw and fire two shots at T1, two shots at T2, and two shots at T3. The trick is to be able to accelerate when shooting a “T3″, because it’s a large 8 inch circle and you won’t need the kind of sight interface to hit it that you will need to hit the half-index cards. You don’t even need the IDPA target, really – the whole drill can be done with a paper plate and the index card. I usually shoot it at 5 yards, because at that distance I need to use my sights to hit the half-index cards, but not to hit the down zero.

Use this practice drill to get used to switching your focal length from the sights to the target. You can also mix it up and shoot the big target first, or second to change the pace. But most importantly, head out to the range and give it a shot!

Ruger’s .357 Carbine

Something different came from Ruger today for us to test out. A while ago, Ruger developed the bolt action Ruger 77 in the .44 magnum cartridge. This gun was great for short to medium range hunting and incorporated Ruger’s rotary magazine design. Now Ruger has unveiled the 77 in the .357 cartridge. The concept of using large pistol calibers for hunting is not new. People have been hunting medium sized game with .357 pistols for years, but with the longer barrel and precision of a bolt-action rifle, the .357 is even more effective.

Ruger 77

The Ruger weighs in at a mere 5.5 pounds and the 18.5-inch barrel makes maneuvering in thick brush relatively easy. The one in sixteen right hand twist helps make the rifle deadly accurate. When fired, the recoil feels closer to a .22 than a magnum pistol round. Ruger used hammer-forged stainless steel for the barrel. The receiver is also stainless and has integrated scope bases for the Ruger scope rings, which I am happy to say, are included. Quality mounts and rings are costly, and Ruger used high quality stainless steel, which will stand the test of time with few issues. The rifle is an overall 38.5 inches in length and has a 13.5-inch length of pull. In case you aren’t using a scope, the rifle in equipped with iron sights and the rear sight is adjustable.

The stainless steel bolt lifts 90 degrees and the bolt locks at the rear of the receiver. When removing the bolt assembly, you have to open the bolt, pull the trigger, and engage a small bolt release button on the back of the chamber. The safety has three positions. When the safety is in the rear position, the trigger is blocked, and the bolt will not open, in the middle position, the trigger is still blocked but you can open the bolt and empty the rifle. While in the forward position, the rifle is set to fire or load.

The magazine holds five rounds and uses Ruger’s rotary magazine design. This design makes the bottom of the magazine flush with the bottom of the rife, as opposed to a tall box magazine in an AR-style rifle. Ruger included stainless steel feed lips on the magazine to increase durability. The follower is made of polymer and cycles .357 ammunition well. When extracting, the empty shells shot quite far forward and to the right, about six feet. It should be noted that Ruger included an instruction manual insert, warning that the 77 was chambered to shoot only .357 ammunition. While hand loading .38 special ammunition into the chamber directly will work, filling the magazine with .38 special will invite feeding problems, and should be avoided.

The stock of the 77 is made of a black synthetic polymer, and looks very modern when paired to the stainless steel barrel. The feel of the rifle is quite comfortable and feels similar to most standard carbine style hunting rifles. Included on the stock are swivel sling mounts, which is a necessity for any hunting rifle.

Out of the box, this carbine is perfect for hunting in thick brush, for up to 150 yards. The pistol ammunition is more than powerful enough to take down a deer or hog at close to medium range. The Ruger 77 is a perfect addition for any hunter who wants a ranch gun to throw in the truck, or take out on long treks in the brush.

Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357
Ruger 77/357 Ruger 77/357

I Just Want My M14

Springfield M1A

Shooters have used variants of the M14 in shooting matches for years. From 1959 to 1970, the United States issued the M14 as its standard-issue rifle until replacing it with the M16. It remains in limited service with all the branches of the military not only in sniper variants, but also as ceremonial rifles. The M14 was the last so-called “battle rifle,” meaning it was a rifle designed for combat, that fired a full-sized rifle round, in this case, the 7.62 x 51 NATO. The rifle was incredibly accurate but some said it was “too good” of a rifle for the average soldier. Studies during WWII showed that most soldiers took shots at enemy targets at very close range; therefore, there was no need for a rifle that would reach out to an effective range of 500 yards. Despite its incredible accuracy, the rifle was almost uncontrollable when fired in fully automatic mode. This led to some M14’s permanently set to semi automatic. During the Vietnam War, the harsh tropical climate caused the wooden stocks on some rifles to swell, decreasing the accuracy and overall performance of the gun. Some soldiers complained that the rifle was too large to wield in dense jungle. Despite these drawbacks, many soldiers favored the M14 over the M16 due to its much more powerful round.

Springfield M1A National Match Barrel

After Vietnam, the weapon has made a name for itself as a modified sniper rifle. Randy Shughart used an M14 to defend the crash site of a Black Hawk helicopter during the highly publicized battle for Mogadishu. Hollywood later immortalized that battle in the motion picture Black Hawk Down. The U.S. Army posthumously awarded Shughart the Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts in defending the downed chopper that day. Outside of the military, Springfield currently produces the M1A, the civilian variant of the M14, to sell to the general population. These rifles are highly sought after by collectors and sportsmen alike. The .308 ammunition is perfect for hunting game, or hitting targets at great distances. In the shooting sports world, shooters have had great success with the M1A in three-gun matches, as well as having its own event in the Camp Perry National Rifle and Pistol Championships. Despite its short service life, the M1A has proven itself a highly effective weapon both on and off the battlefield.

Caleb interviews Drew Shprintz of Top Shot: The Gauntlet

Our interview series with shooters from History Channel’s hit series continues!  This week I’m joined by Drew Shprintz of the Red Team, who was eliminated in a great head-to-head battle against USPSA Revolver GM Cliff Walsh.  Click the link for our interview with Drew Shprintz.

All episodes of Gun Nuts Radio are also available on iTunes, just hit the big button below to subscribe to our podcast feed.

Gun Nuts Radio | Blog Talk Radio Feed

We’ll be back next week with another great episode; as the challenges get more intense and the competition heats up, I’m looking forward to the interviews getting more and more charged! Season 3 has been great so far, and they’ve certainly not spared any expense on the shooting challenges. Next week’s episode is going to feature a Gatling gun, which should be a recipe for a lot of fun.

Cheaper Than Dirt!’s Quick Guide to Disaster Preparedness

2011 may very well come to be known as one of the most active weather years. From floods to drought, from hurricanes to fires, from white outs to brown outs; it seems like we’ve seen it all this year. Throughout this year, too, we’ve been posting articles and commentary about disaster preparedness to help you plan and survive. Here is our quick guide to articles to help you get through the next disaster.

Assembling a First Aid Kit

Assembling a Bug-Out-Bag

Are You Ready for the Next Disaster?

Are You Ready for the Next Disaster? Part Two!

Are You Ready for the Next Disaster? Part Three!

Emergency Water Sources and Water Storage

Building a Year’s Supply of Food Storage

Freeze Dried Foods

Shelter in Place

Extreme Heat Survival

Extreme Cold Survival

Is there a survival topic we haven’t covered here that you would like to read? Leave us a comment and let us know!

The Mogadishu Mile: the Legend, the Fact, the Legacy

Hating the heat wave? Drinking a lot of water and still got a dusty throat? Tired of carrying your toolbox around the job site? Cheer up buddy, we don’t have it that bad. We don’t have to run the Mogadishu Mile today.

On October 3, 1993, members of various U.S. military branches participating in Operation Gothic Serpent conducted a raid in downtown Mogadishu. During the raid, a large firefight began between the American forces and irregular Somali militia. Two American helicopters were brought down and 18 American soldiers killed. The incident is known in some circles as the Battle of Mogadishu or the Battle of the Black Sea, but most Americans simply call it Black Hawk Down, the title of the 2001 movie depicting the battle (and title of Mark Bowden’s book, on which the film was based).

At the end of the movie, the 10th Mountain Division blast their way through the city, using armored vehicles borrowed from United Nations to reach strongpoint areas where members of Task Force Ranger and SFOD-D (Delta Force) have been fighting off Somali militiamen all night long. They load American dead and wounded into the vehicles along with as many troops as they can, but there just is not enough room for everyone. Some of the Delta and Ranger soldiers familiar to the audience are to walk behind the vehicles and use them for cover as the entire force shoots its way out of the city. The vehicles take off too quickly, leaving them behind, and they must run on their own to safety while occasionally dodging bullets and shooting bad guys. On their own, they fight their way to the Mogadiscio soccer stadium, where they are met by laughing children and friendly U.N. forces who tend to their wounds. This fighting withdrawal on foot, without vehicle support, became known as the “Mogadishu Mile.”

The legend of the Mogadishu Mile has grown in the past decade. It is commonplace for organized 5k running events in the month of October to be named “Mogadishu Mile” runs in honor of the men who died in the battle. Likewise, military training runs in full “battle rattle” with heavy rucksacks and weapons are adopting the name, especially in high temperatures or if the trainees must carry simulated wounded troops. However, the real Mogadishu Mile did not go exactly the way that the movie makers portrayed it. Calling the retreat a “run” is an oversimplification, as the soldiers moved from cover to cover, often at a walking pace, and frequently paused to communicate and ensure that the element was staying together. Instead of going straight from the crash site to the Mogadiscio stadium, the Delta and Ranger troops actually started in the opposite direction. From the first crash site (UH60 Super 61), they had to move south to reach a rally point at the intersection of National Street and Hawlwadig Road, still in the heart of the city and only about five blocks south of the Olympic Hotel, where the raid had begun. There, they met additional tanks and armored vehicles waiting for them, and more of the men were able to transfer into vehicles. From that intersection to the soccer stadium, the combined convoy took a zigzag route out of the city center, avoiding the barricaded major roads overflowing with enemy. The actual distance traveled during the retreat from the intersection was somewhere between 4 and 4.5 kilometers, or 2.5 to 2.8 miles. For those who had started at the first crash site, the distance covered topped three miles. The dangerous retreat on foot was shared with troops from 10th Mountain who had given up their vehicle seats, as well as the SFOD-D and Rangers as portrayed in the movie.

These men had already been fighting the enemy for around 12 hours before the convoy arrived and the Mogadishu Mile began. Aside from one daring helicopter resupply run the night of October 3 (by Super 66, which barely made it back to the airfield with 3 wounded crew), the soldiers had access only to the food, water, and ammunition which they had brought with them to the initial raid. They were dehydrated before the run began, and had not slept or rested during the night. During the fight, they had carried with them their individual weapons, body armor, radios, rucksacks full of gear, helmets, and all other sorts of items, and now as they left the city they fought their way out, shouldering their weapons and using the last of their ammunition to engage targets and protect each other. Several soldiers were wounded by enemy small arms and RPG fire. Stopping to tend to them was impossible given the tactical situation, but leaving them behind was against the creed of their comrades. Without vehicles available, the wounded were helped along, and in some cases carried out by their fellow soldiers. They all fought for their lives.

So there’s a heat wave in town and the air conditioning in your truck is on the fritz. You’ve worked a hard eight-hour shift and you can’t wait to get home. When you finally do settle in front of the TV and pop open a cold one, take a second to remember the men of Delta, Task Force Ranger, and the 10th Mountain Division. It’s because of men like them that we’ve got it so easy!

Grab and Go Black OPS Bags

ModGear Black OPS Bags are super tough and ready to hold everything you need for a range trip. Put spare mags in the two Velcro covered end pockets, eye and hearing protection in the two full length padded side-zip compartments, ammo boxes in the divided side pocket with elastic loops, and a pistol, holster, and mag pouch in the main compartment. Ok, so you don’t have to set up yours that way, that’s just how I do it. These bags are padded nicely, and come with a thick padded shoulder strap (because ammo is heavy). They use good zippers that won’t break and are securely attached with cross cut stitching, so they won’t rip out. The whole bag is nicely padded to protect your pistol and delicate accessories like electronic muffs. I bought the Coyote Tan one for no good reason except I thought it looks the coolest, but they also come in OD Green and Black to suit your taste.

OD Green OPS Bag

OD Green OPS Bag

2011 Steel Challenge

Randi Rogers from Team Glock runs a Smith & Wesson Model 41 in Rimfire

The 2011 Steel Challenge is in the books, the winners have received their prizes, and now the next “big” Steel Match will be the Nationals in Titusville, FL in 2012.  This was my very first Steel Challenge, and it was fitting that my first official Steel Challenge World Championship would be the last one that will be held in Piru, California…which is only an hour or so from where I grew up in “lovely” Lake Los Angeles, California.  The 2011 Steel Challenge for me was a great match filled with tough lessons, great shooting, and a lot of skill development to work on for next year.

One of the great things about Steel Challenge is seeing all the different guns that shooters are using in the various divisions.  For example, at left you have Randi Rogers from Team Glock running a Smith & Wesson Model 41 with a bull barrel and compensator in  Rimfire Open division.  Or BJ Norris’ M&P in Iron Sight division.

I competed in two divisions using the same gun, a Springfield Armory XD(M) 5.25 Competition, the newest member in the XD(M) family.  Running the XD(M) in IDPA Enhanced Service Pistol, I finished fourth in ESP, missing the top three by just a few seconds, and eighth in Production.  For my first World Championship, a Top 5 and a Top 10 are two finishes I’ll definitely take, and that continues my streak at matches this year of not finishing out of the Top 10 in my division.  Now, a lot of people are wondering how the XD(M) ran, because it’s a fairly new gun to the market and has a lot of improvements over its brothers in the XD line.  I have to say that it ran like a boss, digesting almost 2000 rounds in the dusty California environment without a single complaint over the week  was down there.  To be perfectly frank, I didn’t want to like the XD(M) coming in to the match, but by the end of it I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in a proper competition gun.  With the addition of the 5.25 to their lineup, Springfield Armory joins the ranks of Glock and Smith & Wesson by having a competition ready polymer gun out of the box.

Caleb at the Cheaper Than Dirt! banner

The highlight of the match for me was Outer Limits.  This stage has always been difficult for me, as I’ve struggled with moving from one box to the other and getting hits on all the plates.  I spent a lot of time at Steel Challenge with my buddy BJ Norris, and listening to his advice I was able to take three seconds (a huge amount of time) off my Outer Limits run.  Something as simple as not breaking my grip on the gun and starting in a different position took me from an average run of 7.5 seconds to running in the low 6s high 5s.  In ESP, I finished 3rd place on Outer Limits.  The only ESP shooters that were ahead of me were Rob Leatham and Taran Butler, two of the top shooters in the world, period.  I’ll take a third place finish to those guys.

At the end of the week, I’d fired a bunch of rounds, improved my personal best score at Steel Challenge, and generally had a great time shooting.  Taking home a Top 5 and a Top 10 in my first Steel Challenge World Championship is a great feeling, and I’m looking forward to heading to Florida next year to try again.

Huge thanks to my sponsors for supporting this match, and of course to Cheaper Than Dirt!  I had numerous people come up to me at the match thanking Cheaper Than Dirt! for their support of the shooting sports.