What a beautiful day. I made the trip out to the rifle range and was most pleased.
The place was busy as hell when I showed up, but most of the crowd cleared up before the next course of fire started. Now, I say "busy", but busy today and busy two years ago are very different, things being what they are with trying to get ammo in quantity, and people being obnoxious hoarders, it's rare to see the place half full when there's not a special event or police training course going on.
The new rifle is exceptional, even shooting godawful surplus. Finally got the glass dialed in to just about as good as it's going to get; it took more math than usual to get the unfamiliar Russian optics to where they needed to be, given that they're calibrated in meters and the range berms are set in yards. So, by comparing a drop table more or less appropriate for the load and barrel length, converting distances at the approximate rate of 91 meters per 100 yards, and figuring hold-unders to account for trajectory, I was murdering paper plates at 300 yards for as long as I cared to hold the rifle. The gongs at 400 were actually easier, as they are "three quarter size", referencing their diameter in comparison to a 45" 1000 yard rifle target.
Another challenge with the Russian glass is that unlike almost all Western optics, the reticule actually changes position relative to the center of view. This is extremely disconcerting until you learn to ignore it. Another oddity is that the Russian procedures are very alien to a Western trained shooter. For example, in order to zero the scope, you first fire a few rounds, then hold the rifle in position at the original point of aim, and then drive your reticule into the center of the grouping. When adjusting Western optics, the usual method is to walk consecutive groupings of rounds into the bullseye based on corrections from the center of the grouping.
Something else that takes some serious getting used to is the position the shooter must take in order to use the optics. The fundamentals of Western-style marksmanship stress consistent cheek weld; the position of Russian optics and sometimes even iron sights are not designed for cheek weld, and instead use what is sometimes called a "chin weld". This, along with the other fundamentals of Soviet-style marksmanship and equipment, are an interesting departure from the idea that the rifleman should be as accurate as possible.
The Sovs only cared that they were accurate enough, and faster than whoever was going to kill them.
About halfway into my afternoon, a handful of twentysomething preppers showed up with an odd assortment of rifles and attitudes. A few of them stood awkwardly around the rifles I had put in the rack while not shooting, and one of them finally asked a few questions during a break in the course of fire. They turned out to be an alright group of kids, and given how cheap ammo for the Mosin is, I let them go through a couple hundred rounds I needed to get rid of anyway, and helped some first timers with some fundamentals.
The highlight of the day was certainly one of the kids with a shiny new Ak-47 variant that failed to function properly due to some questionable "mods" he had done to it, including a vertical foregrip that interfered with proper insertion of a magazine and overpowered recoil springs that caused constant jams during operation. The thing about an AK variant is, you have to either be stronger or stupider than a Soviet conscript, and probably both at the same time, to make one malfunction.
While I helped him diagnose his malfunctions, he very tactfully shit-talked the (my) Mosin that his friends were shooting. He told me about how horribly inaccurate they are, comparing them to English longbows meant for nothing more precise than massed volley fire against waves of infantry.
Ten or fifteen minutes of instruction later, I had his girlfriend hitting the gongs with boring regularity - two to four hits out of each five shot string. I figured a demonstration was worth more than droll recitation of the story of Simo Häyhä.
Hilariously enough, the AK actually was designed for massed light infantry rushes.