Sunday, January 29, 2012


There's a stock horse sport called working cow horse, in which a horse and rider face off against a cow in an arena. The object of the game is for the mounted pair to take control of the cow's immediate destiny, make it go down the arena side, turn back, turn left, turn right, turn in a circle, whether the cow wants to go along with the program or not. Some cows don't put up much resistance; some are defiant. Cow horses need speed, nimbleness, and spunk to do it well. The rider has to stay balanced and out of the horse's way; on a well-trained horse who's game for the game, s/he doesn't need to do a lot more than some subtle cuing.

Here's an example of doing it right, on a cow who isn't at first inclined to cooperate:

It's a sport that's exciting and fun to watch, and from its home in the American/Canadian West it's spread to Europe, Germany, for example. Of course, not everyone can afford to import a well-trained Quarter Horse or Paint, a competitor sprung from generations of horses bred to take it to the cow. So our European friends will press into service whatever breed they have to hand, dress up in full Western regalia, and go for it. Even if said breed is, say, a Haflinger, a smallish but sturdy flaxen-maned golden horse with that Western cow horse look but not, perhaps, quite the same Western cow horse attitude:

Having giggled her way through that video, a friend was moved to share this recollection:

That takes me back to a pony my parents leased for me on summer vacations when I was 8-11. Mr. Magee was a bay paint, about 13 hands, not very pretty, not very friendly, but a parent couldn't ask for a better babysitter. My friend's pony was a much prettier, friendlier and smaller chestnut paint mare. (I always felt I was on the lesser of the two on some childhood standard). We rode through old fields, orchards and cow pastures near the barn, but we never encountered cows in the cow pasture. Until one day we did. We, the young humans and the smaller pony, were in favor of exiting stage left when we came up on a bunch of them napping near some trees. They were BIG, and we didn't have a clue about cows. But Mr. Magee knew exactly what to do when one of them got to her feet. He took charge, walked toward the matron and informed her that she and her friends had better move on. Mrs. Bovine did not question Mr. Magee and we never saw the cows again.

In other words, that homely little pinto weren't no stinkin' beauty parlor Halflingwhatsiss.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today's Target

Man, it was cold at the range this afternoon! Well, not brutal, but cold enough that I had to wear thick floppy fleece gloves except when actually loading the magazine. So I shot only 24 rounds through the CZ Lux – loaded 25, but messed up the bolt action on one shot and dinged the cartridge so I had to extract and dispose of it. Oh, well.

I’d had a chat with the guys at Patriot Arms about my last adventure in CZ shooting, got some good advice, and adjusted my aim accordingly. Here are the results – again, standing, 50 feet, iron sights (which, according to the manual, were factory-adjusted for 50 meters):


I gotta gotta GOTTA try this baby out with a rest. If I can shoot this well with my lack of experience and shaky old hands, just imagine what a real marksman could do.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another session with the CZ Lux

Had a narrow window of free time and pleasant weather, so I zipped over to the range after horse chores for a little recreational shooting. Decided to leave the Colt in the bag and just go with the rifle. Wound up putting 24 rounds through it before the lowering sky and ticking clock forced me to pack up and depart.

So, how'd it go, second time around?

At 50 feet, standing, no scope, it went like this:


And two of those 10-shots were in the first set of five. No way am I this good! This gun is making me look better than I am.

I wanna go again. Soon. See if I can figure out why I tend to shoot high, and fix it. Obliterate that 10 circle. Yee-ha!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bye-bye Ruger; hello CZ Lux

I’ve traded in my Ruger Mark III pistol for a .22 rifle, a CZ Lux bolt-action, to be precise.

Why? Because (a) I’d been thinking about getting a target rifle anyway, and (b) the Ruger just wasn’t fun to shoot anymore, not since getting the Colt Woodsman.

It took a few shooting sessions with both pistols to see and understand what was happening, but the essence of it is, I shoot better with the Woodsman: smoother trigger pull leading to tighter clusters closer to the bullseye. Why? The prime cause, I believe, is that the dimensions of the Ruger put the first joint crease of my finger on the trigger rather than the pad, leading to jerking rather than squeezing the trigger unless I consciously readjust with each shot. The Woodsman fills my hand better, places my finger precisely right on the trigger.

So, after my last session at the range, where the differences were too plain to brush off, off I went to Patriot Arms, to offer the Ruger for trade-in and see what they had for .22 rifles. They had several, and after hefting some Papa Bears and Momma Bears, the CZ turned out to be my Baby Bear – it just felt right. It sure doesn’t hurt that both the shop staff and some online research indicate that this is a tack-driver of a target gun.

Looks good, too, don’t you think? And it’s a snap to break down for cleaning. Not to mention, the trade-in value I got on the Ruger was very fair. So I’m quite pleased, and hope to be even more pleased tomorrow or the next day or whenever I can get over to the range and try it out without freezing my butt off.


Update, two days later:

Went down to the range this morning and tried out the CZ Lux.

My first five shots, taken standing on the pistol side of the range (my first shots ever with a rifle), at 50 feet, producd a three-inch spread. Wow! Why, you'd think I actually knew what I was doing. The bolt action, being out-of-the-box new, is still a little stiff but I was working it smoothly by the end of the session. Dropping, filling and reinserting the magazine was a snap. This gun is a sweetheart.

I put 50 rounds through it, with more or less the same results and an encouraging number into the 10 ring, even when I cranked the target out past 20 yards. I was tending to shoot high; dunno if that's the sights needing adjustment or (far more likely) my inexperience and perhaps not holding the rifle quite correctly. I'd do better with a rest for it, too; even propping my left elbow on the shelf in the pistol side where I was shooting, my aim wasn't entirely steady. Doggone shaky old hands!

Then I took out the Colt Woodsman and discovered one should shoot one’s pistol before one’s rifle; my right arm was too tired to keep my hand steady. By the third or fourth reload my hand had steadied enough to get several shots near or into the 10 at 50 feet, but by then it was time to pack it in and go tend the horses.

This is fun.