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Discussion Starter #1
First of all, I'm new to shooting. I own a few guns and believe I can use them safely. However, I don't know, or understand, a term used here. For instance I see references to: "the crown of any barrel." What is that and how do I know it when I see it? If I want to improve my shooting, what do you recommend? I'm never going to be really "serious" about it, I just want to shoot for occasional fun. I don't expect to do concealed carry (although, I guess that isn't entirely impossible).

Thanks all.

jim
 

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Honestly? Take NRA Basic Pistol. Basic technique, basic safety. A recommended "must" for every new shooter.
 

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Oh and NEVER EVER think you know all about handguns or that owning a handgun makes you invincible. I see some people buy a gun and automatically think they can shoot the left nut off a squirrel at 50 yards just because they own a handgun.
 

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I would recommend reading some good books on handgun shooting. Pick out the ones that make the most sense to you in the way they teach. Also go out with friends and relatives, your kids to the range. Will keep you from losing interest and be more fun as opposed to alone. I take my wife, she loves target shooting. Don't be shy to ask newbie questions. Lots of nice folks here.
 

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jaafallon said:
First of all, I'm new to shooting. I own a few guns and believe I can use them safely.
Great! that is very important.
However, I don't know, or understand, a term used here. For instance I see references to: "the crown of any barrel." What is that and how do I know it when I see it?
The crown is a term mostly for rifles and it is at the muzzle end of the rifle barrel. Kind of hard to explain, but it is a recessed portion at the end of the barrel that helps to keep the bullet stable after it exits the barrel. Looks almost like using a router to cut an impression at the end of the barrel. Next time you are in a gun shop, have the salesman show you a crown on a hunting rifle. This process is often left out in many rifles, but is a must for the higher quality stuff.
If I want to improve my shooting, what do you recommend?
Read and learn as much as you can about the area of interest you are curious about. Learn as much as you can. Practice as much as you can.
I'm never going to be really "serious" about it, I just want to shoot for occasional fun.
In everything you do, you have to be serious about it or you will never learn and enjoy the potential of the hobby. Guns are a great hobby, but if you don't know what you are doing, people can get hurt or worse. If anyone wants to try golf for example, the only really bad thing that can happen is that you mess up, the turf gets beat, golfballs get lost, you get frustrated. In the shooting sport you have to know what is right and wrong. A bullet isn't very forgiving.
 

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You can shoot for fun and still be safe. Just know that there are no "do-overs" once the bullet leave the barrel. And many serious shooters have still had a negligent discharge, and it is often stated that it is only a question of "when" and not "if". So have some fun, but stay safe. If you have doubts, take course. Even those with experience can benefit from some formal training.

For fun, shoot at reactive targets like cans and gongs or the like that make noise or bounce around. Keep in mind that you will have shards of the copper or brass jacket come back at you at close ranges so wear eye protection.

The crown is the edge of the bore to the air. As hobocircus states it is often recessed but on our pistols it is not always. Having this crisp and protected keeps the gas pressure uniform around the base of the bullet as it leaves the barrel. If the expanding gas get to squirt off to one side first then the bullet is not as stable or as accurate.
 

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Don said:
You can shoot for fun and still be safe. Just know that there are no "do-overs" once the bullet leave the barrel. And many serious shooters have still had a negligent discharge, and it is often stated that it is only a question of "when" and not "if". So have some fun, but stay safe. If you have doubts, take course. Even those with experience can benefit from some formal training.

For fun, shoot at reactive targets like cans and gongs or the like that make noise or bounce around. Keep in mind that you will have shards of the copper or brass jacket come back at you at close ranges so wear eye protection.

The crown is the edge of the bore to the air. As hobocircus states it is often recessed but on our pistols it is not always. Having this crisp and protected keeps the gas pressure uniform around the base of the bullet as it leaves the barrel. If the expanding gas get to squirt off to one side first then the bullet is not as stable or as accurate.

+1 on the when not if.
I recently experienced an "experienced" shooter who was POSITIVE he'd use the key locking system to disable his pistol when he clamped his finger down on the trigger. Well turns out maybe he didn't turn the key locking all the way. However the next moment there was a extreme pain my my ears the smell of GSR in my nose and a hole in his dashboard created by a 185gr +P Hydra-shock. He got lucky. It wasn't pointed at me or him and it didn't do any damage to his dash other than the hole in some plastics. It apparently hit a metal support bar behind the AC controls and that stopped the bullet prior to hitting any wires or computer.

Aside from wanting to beat his ass for the ringing in my ear for 2 days I'm just happy neither of us got hurt. I will say he developed a new found respect for his gun and never puts his finger on the trigger anymore.
 

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For instance I see references to: "the crown of any barrel." What is that and how do I know it when I see it?
Every barrel has a crown to some degree. If you take the barrel out of a gun look at the area closest to the bore. It should be slightly recessed from the exterior of the barrel. In other words the barrel shouldn't have a 90 degree at the end. Most production crowns are very minimal. In the 1911 world the 11 dregree corwn is most often used by gunsmiths when recrowning a barrel.

A nice clean crown is important in relation to accuracy. The crown is the very last spot the bullet touches the barrel as it exits. Any blemishes or unevenness on the crown will kill the guns accuracy. Production guns are meant to be easily produced and easily assembled (In other words profitable). As a result some producition guns may escape QC with flaws in their crown. Any good smith can easily recrown it for you if you wish. Usually the cost is between $20-35.

I wouldn't worry about the crown unless you notice an obvious defect.

If I want to improve my shooting, what do you recommend?
As others suggested get some quality training. If you can afford it go to a good school like Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, Blackwater, etc or find a good professional trainer like Jeff Gonzolez, Todd Jarrett, Ernie Langdon, Scott Warren, Matt Burkett etc. If you can't travel or have the funds to attend one of those most NRA instruction is fine.

Just do your due diligence. I went through an Instructor course with a woman from the local prosecutors office. She was a danger to herself and others yet she still passed despite the fact that she once put 1 round (9MM) out of ten on a target 10 yards down range. Instructors like her are the very rare exception but you still have to make sure the person is competent. Ask around. Most local shooting communities are fairly small.

After you learn the basics get some snap caps and dry fire the gun several thousand times concentrating on doing it perfectly each time. You will find your accuracy will get better very quickly.
 

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Not much to add; hobocircuis and don hooked you up w/ some good advice. I'm just glad to see that this thread eventually did become useful.

Oh, and I don't think I've welcomed you to the board. So welcome! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I appreciate the sharing of info.

To further introduce myself, I spent about seven years as a quality assurance specialist (ammunition surveillance) for the US Army and worked with everything from .22cal to rockets to toxic chemicals. Later I was a division chief and had about 140 security people in my organization where we usually experienced at least one inadvertant gun discharge a year, and it was always because someone failed to follow a rule or instruction. I'm now a safety professional working for the Navy.

I don't say that to suggest that I know it all because I don't. In fact, working in safety probably makes me much more aware of my potential for doing something dumb. I do have several friends that are avid shooters and they have all offered to help me improve my skills. I did shoot .22 match a long time ago so I know some of the basics, just haven't practiced or exercised them in a long time. I've owned guns for over 30 years and right now I have a GP100 (.357), a Ruger 10/22, and a Remington Wingmaster 12 ga. I'm waiting for a local store to get an XD-40 Bi-tone in and then I expect to buy that along with a 9mm conversion barrel. My wife has indicated that she would be interested in shooting too so it will be a family fun thing.

When I said I'm not getting "serious" about shooting, I didn't mean the safety or practice aspects of it, just that I don't see it becoming something I do several times a week.

Thanks again to all of you. I really have learned a lot from reading this site.

Oh, and I will look into an NRA course. Thanks for that idea too.
jim
 

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heater said:
Just do your due diligence. I went through an Instructor course with a woman from the local prosecutors office. She was a danger to herself and others yet she still passed despite the fact that she once put 1 round (9MM) out of ten on a target 10 yards down range. Instructors like her are the very rare exception but you still have to make sure the person is competent.
That sounds very scary :shock: . Now I know I will never trust a NRA certified instructor again until I watched them in action some where. I have been lucky, all the instructors I have had were from professional academies that teach at local, state and federal levels, certified and accredited by several agancies each. My suggestion would be skip any NRA course and pay the extra money for real instruction. You would think that the NRA would have soem minimal standards. :shock:
 

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manygunner said:
Now I know I will never trust a NRA certified instructor again until I watched them in action some where.
There are plenty of NRA instructors that I would let teach a loved one of mine. Don't let one example turn you off to an otherwise great group of men and women dedicated to the sport. I only meant it to ba a cautionary tale.


My suggestion would be skip any NRA course and pay the extra money for real instruction. You would think that the NRA would have soem minimal standards. :shock:
I learned to shoot from an NRA intructor who also happened to be a Vietnam Vet and a 15 year SWAT veteran. I learned a lot from that man. I have also worked with a guy like Jeff Gonzolez who spent 12 years with the SEAL Teams and learned a lot from him as well. The important thing is to get good training where ever you can find it.
 

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To further introduce myself, I spent about seven years as a quality assurance specialist (ammunition surveillance) for the US Army and worked with everything from .22cal to rockets to toxic chemicals. Later I was a division chief and had about 140 security people in my organization where we usually experienced at least one inadvertant gun discharge a year, and it was always because someone failed to follow a rule or instruction. I'm now a safety professional working for the Navy.
And you did all this without knowing what the crown of a barrel is? Now that is amazing! I'm not making fun of you. I just find it so amazing that you would know so much and yet know so little. :?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I worked with, and was trained in, the ammunition rather than the weapons. I can see why you would find that a bit odd, but for the most part my job was to make sure the ammunition (or bombs, or fuzes, or rockets, etc.)would function "as advertised" and didn't present an unexpected, or additional, hazard to the final user, a sailor, soldier, airman, or marine. Lots of measuring, inspecting, and record keeping and reviewing. Its a good program that has served the nation well. We occasionally actually fired small arms or machine guns, primarily to verify that tracers met minimum standards, but that was the exception rather than the rule.

jim
 
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