6/11/2009 6:21pm, #1
Hero Gear Sponsors Industry Shoot in Winchester, TN
See blog link for a roundup of photo collections.
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a shooting event put on by Hero Gear at the Round Cove lodge. Hero Gear is a gun shop utterly unlike any I encounter here in Illinois. For one thing, it's full of suppressors and suppressed firearms, which are felonious contraband in my home state. There's also quite a bit of full-auto goodness . . . also illegal in the Land of Lincoln. The owners are military/police/ems/aviation guys who primarily serve military/police/ems/aviation professionals--plus any other citizen who wants the same clothing, gear, or weapons. On Saturday morning, when we rolled into Hero Gear, I actually saw at least one firearm I'd never heard of before--and that's not a common experience for me! More on that gun later, maybe. Hero Gear paid all expenses for the weekend; all any invited guest had to do was show up, preferably with some guns to show off and ammo so others could shoot them.
Round Cove is a hunting/hiking/climbing/exploring lodge plunked on top of a mountain amidst 2,050 acres of Tennessee mountains. Once you leave TN Rt. 16, there's a locked gate before you travel several miles of logging road to get to the lodge, which is located at the top of a small cliff at the apex of the mountain. From the back porch, you can sit in a rocker or lie in a hammock while looking out over Tennessee and Alabama. It's an amazing place owned by fascinating people, but this is The Armory and you want to hear about the guns.
I brought my 12-year-old twins and my father along on this trip, so dad and I didn't do a lot of shooting. Those of you who've taken kids shooting with magazine-fed firearms know that you spend all your time either supervising the kids' shooting or loading magazines so they can do it again.
The only things I fired were a suppressed P22 (what a fantastic little handgun!) a suppressed 10/22 that had been heavily customized (and seemed unable to miss bowling pins offhand at 100 meters) and . . . uh . . . actually, that's about it.
My sons and my dad shot:
- P22 with AAC suppressor--What a fantastic little pistol. It really is as tiny as I thought it would be, but it fit the boys' hands perfectly, whereas they can't reach the triggers on my P220 or the Gun Blog .45. We will be investing in a P22 so that the boys can shoot USPSA with a better-suited .22 than our Ruger MkI, but alas, the suppressor is verboten here. I had never realized how inexpensive the P22 really is--the picture here is from a page offering one with the suppressor included for $500 total. That's crazy for such a great little pistol.
- Suppressed 10/22's--Awesome little rifles. The suppressor makes all the difference--shooting without ear protection for an hour or more was a novel experience. My son had borrowed a 10/22 for the first time the previous weekend at an Appleseed class and was already in love, but when he discovered that you could have one that sounded like a loud CO2 pellet gun, he was lost. Again, we can't have that last feature here in the Prairie State, but our deal is that he will raise half the money for a 10/22 of his choice and I'll pay the rest and the taxes.
- Colt AR15 SP1--Dad brought this one, but the boys hadn't shot it before so they wanted to put some rounds through it. This is the old-school SP1 with A1 sights, no forward assist, triangular handguards, and a 1:12 twist barrel that absolutely requires 55 grain ammunition or it'll keyhole at 25 meters (ask me how I know!) This gun was apparently made in the 1970's. I've used it for everything from plinking to three-gun to high-power competition without fail. There's no place to hang a light, a laser, a mug, a foreward vertical grip, a margarita glass or any of the other stuff people use to turn lightweight M4 clones into 15-pound benchrest rifles . . . but there's a bayonet lug and we have a scope mount for the carrying handle if we ever feel the need.
- Remington Model 51 .32acp pocket pistol--This is another of dad's pistols. It barely has sights, but it's strangely accurate because of the excellent engineering of the grip angle and shape. It fits the hand and points naturally for almost everyone who holds it. An unassuming, almost unknown design patented in 1915, it still gives the most modern pocket pistols a run for their money. Remington used to advertise it as "self-aiming" (!) The boys loved shooting this thing, and others had to try it out as the weekend went on. Everybody enjoyed making water bottles dance with it.
- FN P90 smg--Dad and the boys had to get some full-auto shooting in, and the guys with the Mg3 and other crew-served machine guns left on Saturday afternoon, so each of them loaded a 50-rd P90 magazine and let it rip on full-auto. None of them had done this before. Incidentally, all reported that the P90 had so little recoil and is so ergonomic that all three were hitting what they were aiming at despite never holding one before. Too, too cool. This isn't a stock photo, by the way, but a photo of one of the kids with the P90 from Saturday.
My jealousy was overwhelming. It only got worse when I found out that one of Hero Gear's owners, Joe, had bought the thing at a deep discount from another NFA dealer for, in his words, "less than the semi-auto version costs in a store." (Click on the photo for video of my son shooting it)
- M203 40mm grenade launcher--One of the companies there sells a shoulder stock for the 203 that makes it a stand-alone weapon. They brought plenty of orange smoke marker rounds, and we had a great time blooping them out at the trees at the top of the hill. This was the biggest challenge for the boys, since the recoil was considerable (neither chose to shoot the .50 BMG rifles on hand.)
- Last but not least, Kane did somehow talk the owner of a mortar into letting him touch it off. I have no idea what the bore was, but he was using black powder and cannon wick to fire bocce balls and soup cans full of cement. It was difficult to bring them down on the range, but luckily we had miles of closed wilderness area behind the backstop. By the end of the day he had them hitting so close that we could hear them fall through the leaf canopy, but we never saw one hit. Good times.
6/11/2009 6:37pm, #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- Muay Thai
Sounds fun, thanks for the write up. A silenced .22 would be great, but they are illegal in my state as well.
6/11/2009 8:09pm, #3
It's like the P90 was made for kids. We were totally bummed to have to miss this shoot, sounds like it would've been a blast. My first gun was a p22, it was a fun little plinker :)
6/11/2009 9:10pm, #4
Glad yall had a good time. was heartbroken when I realized I was going to miss out but this is my last summer as an amateur and I promised myself I would win as many kickboxing tournaments as I can.
Oleg promises me similar opportunities in the future, would be an honor to meet you at one, Don.
6/11/2009 9:37pm, #5
Had I known about this, I woulda definitely made the trip from SW Virginia.
I'll be at the next one, ladies...be lookin' for y'all there!
6/11/2009 9:48pm, #6
6/11/2009 9:54pm, #7
Yeh...pretty sure Oleg would love to photograph some of your gear (i'd also love to pose with it and pretend that it's mine). He said he wants to do more shoots this summer so you should get in touch with him.
6/11/2009 10:41pm, #8
This particular event is invitation-only, but that doesn't mean we couldn't all get together somewhere central at some time. Most summers my schedule relaxes enough to make a long drive or two.
If I could arrange something in Kentucky, for instance, I'd be interested in how many people would commit to being there (and how much notice would be required for a firm commitment.) My fear is that these people were promising a lot more than I ever could in the way of food and fun toys, and still a lot of people who had personal invitations just couldn't make it. I have to think I'd fare worse if I tried to organize such a thing. Also it would almost have to be further from home for me, since a lot of the things people would want to share and shoot would be illegal in Illinois. But there's always Kentucky, or Indiana . . . or Virginia or Tennessee.
If you have a place that would work, I'm open to suggestions.
6/11/2009 11:01pm, #9
Here's my dad firing the P90, complete with Hero-Gear bumper sticker:
Dad has been a collector since the 1960's, but even after I talked about this event for weeks, we had this conversation in the car as we passed through Kentucky on Friday:
Dad: "So, what kind of thing is this? Is it companies with things for sale, or just people shooting, or what?"
Me: "Well, about half and half. Some people there are just friends, others are from different companies. It's put on by a store called Hero Gear, and there will be some gun companies and some suppressor companies. I heard AAC won't be there, but that would have been cool, and--"
Dad: "Suppressors like silencers?"
Dad: "Are there states where you can buy those?"
It didn't take long for him to warm to the idea of suppressed firearms, and not just because he likes to shoot nuisance squirrels in his backyard with CB longs. When only suppressed firearms were allowed on the range, there was no need for hearing protection and we could just coach the boys without shouting. It was very cool.
Later dad bonded with the guy who brought the black-powder mortar; dad has a weakness for antique toy cannons. You see, in the bad old days, little boys played with small cannons, usually cast of brass, that were completely functional black powder weapons. If the little dickens could get access to black powder and fire, they could fire off noisy salutes. And if they could find projectiles, they essentially had large-caliber handguns. Dad's latest acquisition is a brass cannon about a foot long with a .50 caliber bore. He and the mortar guy got into a discussion of various grades of black powder, and he shared that he "usually" uses 40 grains of FFg with a paper towel wadding and no projectile in his "toy."
"Dad," I asked warily, "are you firing that thing in your backyard with 40 grains of blackpowder?"
"Well, uh . . . . no, I don't shoot it at home."
"Where do you shoot it?"
"Well . . . . you know, at the city machine shed at work, most of 'em sort of drift in around 7:30 or so, but they sit around and drink coffee or whatever until about 8:00. Usually they sit in a circle of chairs and shoot the breeze about how drunk they were the night before and things like that--you know those guys."
"Yeah, I know those guys--"
"So, at some point in that down time, I just reach that cannon back behind somebody's chair and touch it off."
"Wakes 'em right up."
"You do this every day?" That's the Mortar Guy, all wide eyes and wide smile.
"Well, see, they know I'm going to do it . . . . . but they never know exactly when."
My dad is awesome.
6/12/2009 1:22am, #10
LOL No problem. My gear is y'alls gear. It appears that since this is event "invite only" (I was just politely reminded of this), that we'd have to work out something with Oleg on the side instead of going to this thing. I'm down in the SW part of VA (about 2.5 hours from Bristol)--so it'd be a little bit of a drive, but nothing too awful bad. Hit me up with a PM in the future if you guys want to get together and blow **** up. I've got full autos, SBRS, suppressed weapons, grenade launchers...you name it. Perhaps we can even get Phrost and some of the other people from around here to mobilize and all hook up in the future!