Hello all, Y-man here. It’s been a long time, and I have missed writing my guest posts. Thanks to Steve for having me. Many thanks for all your kind and constructive comments.
Like some would know, I finally travelled from Nigeria to Orlando Florida, USA in early October, for work and training related stuff. It was a GOOD trip, and in between several days of hard, concentrated work and training, I actually got some firearms related things done. I was able to buy quite a few desperately needed items, and DID SOME SHOOTING!
I arrived Atlanta Georgia in early October after a draining 12-hour direct flight from Lagos Nigeria, and connected to Orlando for another 2 hours. Landing in Orlando, and driving down the road through lush vegetation, and the little lakes to my hotel, I was struck by how similar everything is to Nigeria! The weather was divine.
Whew! Was I knocked out or what?! Jet-lag and confusion on time differences set in, but with the excitement I felt, and luckily, my booked hotel had a room ready for me that morning: my 14 hour flight did not seem too bad after all – I freshened up, and hit the shops.
I started with electronics in Best Buy (Felt like I was in HEAVEN!) Got me the new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet (The rest of the world is BIG on non-Apple things.), 2 GoPro HD cameras, a good tripod, new Nikon Nikkor 55-300mm zoom lens for my Nikon D7000 camera. It was a hoot! I had to control myself from blowing too much money. It was all made more easy by the fact that my Nigeria Visa Debit Card, full of “Naira” (The Nigerian currency is “Naira”, Google it.) worked perfectly! I was able to pay in Dollars in all the shops.
From Best Buy, I went to Bass Pro at Orlando, on Vineland Road. It was another heavenly experience: seeing all the things I had previously only seen online, and in catalogues, in REAL life. I handled rifles, checked out shotguns, browsed through handguns, sat in several ATVs, and “crewed” a few boats. It was better than Disney World! (Maybe Bass Pro should think of setting up a theme park! With rides and everything…)
After taking these items back to my hotel (They FILLED the trunk of the taxi!) I left on a great adventure.
First Range visit (04 October 2012)
| went off in the evening to the Oakland Ridge Gun Range, an indoor handgun and carbine range, about 25 minutes drive from my hotel. I was surprised the taxi driver was not perturbed that I wanted to go to a shooting range. Imagine asking that in Nigeria: the man would most likely run screaming from the moving taxi (Ok, ok, I exaggerate!) Well, I was pleasantly surprised, I got to the range, no 7-foot tall guard at the door demanding to see my mental health certificate, my passport and my visa, I walked in, nice people, warm greetings all round. I was amazed at the variety of the spread of firearms I saw on display.
I introduced myself, told them I wanted to do some shooting, and got talking with one of the friendly staff, let’s call him “Jim”. He asked if I had ever done any shooting before, and in response, I whipped out my Galaxy Tablet, and opened up a video of me shooting my shotgun from earlier this year. He was impressed, and was even more impressed when he spotted my shotgun stock – I told him I self-fabricated that, and even more when I told him about my homemade slugs. His colleague voiced concern about “you giving that African gentleman range time?” when Jim began to clip my Passport to the Range board, and started to get me a firearm to start with. Jim simply looked the older gentleman in the eye, and told him: “This here is a certified expert shooter, hell, he makes his own slugs!”
So this is how I did:
Started small: .22LR in a Ruger long-barrel Revolver. I went into the shooting area, lane 4, set up my target at 25 yards, and quickly got bored with the little “Pew! Pew! Pew!” of the .22LR round. Revolvers are NOT easy to shoot. At least I hit the “bad guy several times, and saved the hostage lady without killing or wounding her. I fired off half a pack of ammo.
Went back to get a different gun, and ammo: did the Magnum .357 calibre in another long barrel Revolver. I had some reasonable accuracy at 20 and 30 yards. Again, another revolver not liked. I did not enjoy the double action (Where pull of trigger both raises the hammer, and then releases it.), so I kept using my thumb to pull back the hammer for each shot. I also kept flinching, and (As the video shows) closing my eyes when firing. The blast from the chamber gap did not help matters one bit either. I fired off half a pack of ammo.
Went to the desk, and got me a .45 1911 Pistol! Came back to my lane and Lord have mercy! Like a duck to water: sweet-shooting, smooth-cycling, hard-hitting FUN! I fired off 8 rounds magazine after 8 round magazine of .45 ACP. Lovely accuracy too, out to 30 yards and beyond. Working the slide, the safety and magazine release just seemed to come to me naturally, as well as instinctive aiming. I can see why the 1911 is such a widely loved pistol now.
Went back to the desk, and spotted the Beretta CX4 Storm Carbine in .45 calibre on the wall. I told Jim: “I want! I want! Gimme!”. Picked that up, and took it to the shooting lane, quickly got used to the firearm, and loaded up the 8-round magazine they had. I REALLY enjoyed the shooting out to 40 yards: accuracy was sweet also. My only problem: had to use the clunky hearing protection given to me at the range: it interfered with my cheek-weld. Also, lighting was not the best there, I could barely get a good sight picture, and sometimes shot instinctively, I got some REALLY good accuracy.
When I was through, I took my remaining ammo to the desk (.22LR, .357, .45.) and was told I could hold on to them for a later visit to the range, as they had already charged me for the full boxes. So I left for the hotel with almost 100 rounds of ammo in my backpack, thinking, wow: if my local Nigerian policeman could stop me now: he’d sh!t bricks!. I proudly took my target papers too. I had gotten some video on the GoPro cameras and will share with you here via YouTube.
Second Range visit (A day before I left the US.)
I met the older gentleman this time, and he remembered me when I mentioned “the African who makes his own shotgun stock…” Everyone was nice and friendly. “Jim” seemed to have gone out.
This is what I fired:
Glock 19 40mm (Good gun, 15 round magazine, hit me with a “slide pinch” when I stupidly put my thumb over the grip top. Small wound but hurt and bled like hell.
Beretta CX4 Storm carbine in .45 ACP (While firing, at one point, I took a phone call from a friend back in Nigeria, and scared the living daylights out of him by punctuating each sentence with a shot. He kept asking: “What was that?!”)
Finished off the remaining .22LR ammo from my first range visit in a AR-15 type rifle: sweet shooting!
Finished off the remaining .357 Magnum rounds in a snub-nosed revolver. Man! It was LOUD! (I HATE revolvers!) I was flinching and closing my eyes as if my life depended on it. Muzzle and chamber blast were massive! Other shooters actually stopped to watch me shoot this…
I can honestly say I walked out from the range both days with a big smile on my face, and on 11th October, flew out of Orlando, via Atlanta to Nigeria with an even bigger smile. I thoroughly ENJOYED myself!
Now, back to the Knoxx Blackhawk! stock I bought from Bass Pro. I initially thought to cut the folding stock part off the pistol grip, and bring it into the country on my return. But it turned out I did not need to. I simply brought it in as it is, in my checked in baggage, and got waved through after checks. Of course I had taken it out of the packaging first. So now, for the first time, my Mossberg has a proper folding stock!
I have installed it, but testing it will be another story. When it is safe enough to take the shotgun to some distant empty areas, I will test the stock, the H—Viz sights and my new slug designs and let you know.
I really enjoyed my Orlando visit, and hope to make more soon.
Many thanks Orlando, many thanks USA! (And I got the T-shirt too!)