We needed some kind of optics for both. I wanted the youth gun to have a small, light, great quality red dot sight. I had a Vortex SPARC in mind from the beginning. These excellent sights come with a mount and shims to optimize the mounting height to your choosing. I chose the lowest height for this application. The SPARC also comes with a 2x adapter to boost magnification if desired. The SPARC is also night vision capable and completely waterproof. I highly recommend this little red dot for any use you may have in mind. It fit the compact little 10/22 precisely and is a perfect and fitting first sight for a new shooter, as well as for seasoned hard use veterans on full size centerfire rifles. In the future I can envision this tiny red dot in front of a PVS-14 night vision unit on a full-length picatinny rail. The mount I used was the Weaver style that Ruger provided with the gun. It’s plenty good enough, and no upgrades were necessary. Nothing else was needed to complete this svelte package. It boresighted easily with my Leupold Zero Point boresighter, and I confirmed it with my Sightmark Triple Duty Universal magnetic boresighter. Both of these products are worth their weight in gold but cost much less.
The full size 10/22 for her dad required some good glass with magnification to wring out most of the performance available from this superb platform. I had in mind from the beginning to mount one of the outstanding Leupold VX-II 3-9×33 Rimfire EFR (Extended Focus Range) scopes. This is the finest small rimfire scope I am aware of, and it has been for decades. It is simply flawless. It comes with the fine Duplex reticle, and such small subtension allows for precise bullet placement at longer ranges. For a mount I again used the provided Ruger rail, and I decided to use the good looking Medium Weaver Steel Cross Lock rings. The height was perfect, being just a few 16ths off the barrel. I tapped out the rear sight to fit the scope. Unfortunately, when I mounted the scope, I was unable to boresight well enough with either boresighter. My windage was almost at its maximum. This could mean that the rings were off center, and as a matter of fact, the ring halves didn’t match up very well and I would’ve swapped them anyway. It could also mean that the base holes were drilled a bit off center, or the gun itself was tapped a bit crookedly. These things happen sometimes.
It was a moot point to discover which one or more of the three problems was affecting this, so I decided to go with the great Millett Angle-Loc rings because they are windage adjustable. I don’t like inserts like the Burris Signature rings offer, because then you have four more parts (the insert halves) to worry about. The fewer the parts the better is how I like to work. I installed the Millet medium matte rings, and they would have boresighted perfectly, but the Millett ring heights are different than the Weavers, and it put the scope too high for me to live with. Besides, the matte finish was boring and detracting from the beauty of the whole package. So again I chose new rings, this time the low blue Milletts, and they were perfect. They were just the right height to clear the rear sight by a few thousandths, so I tapped the sight back in. Now the package was complete, and gorgeous, and boresighted perfectly. Done. It just goes to show you, even with all the resources at my call, sometimes you just have to physically mate the parts to check compatibility.
I got a rudimentary zero on both guns in my basement range with some Remington Golden Bullets, gave them a quick clean, and nestled them in their respective cases I got for them. Both were Ruger-embroidered cases by Allen, order numbers 27140 and 27540.
I was also tasked with supplying a pistol they both could shoot. I thought my pink Sig Mosquito might be a bit large, so I picked up a cute little Walther P-22 with the factory laser. These are quality guns, and the laser adds a bit of fun and curiosity. It is easily adjusted and removed and reinstalled with a minimum of loss of zero. It comes with four different front sight heights and two backstraps. Cute little bugger.
Father and the birthday girl came over to my house and I had everything ready for them, including a 5.11 Range Ready Gear Bag filled with all the goodies they would need to shoot and maintain these three guns. In this excellent quality 5.11 range bag, large enough for lots of guns and ammo, were matching Howard Leight electronic hearing protection, inexpensive clear eyewear from Browning and Radians, a Hoppes cleaning mat, a Boresnake, Elite oil and solvent (I like the Elite products because they are non-hazardous, biodegradable, and have no fumes), brushes, bulk patches in .22 and 12 gauge (the 12 gauge patches make good wipes), silicone cloths, and lots of various targets. The bag fit everything easily, plus the bricks of ammo I procured for them. I particularly enjoy using the Howard Leight electronic muffs in indoor ranges because you may speak and be heard clearly and still cancel harmful noise levels from gunshots.
At the range, the kid’s first 10 rounds through the 10/22 Compact with the SPARC all went into a neat group a few inches across. SCORE! She was having fun, and this is maybe the most important aspect of introducing a new shooter to our sport, besides safety. Immediate success for the new shooter is crucial to keep their interest and leave them wanting more. She was an excellent student. I wondered if she was really 10, or a full grown person in disguise. The full size 10/22 with the 3-9x Leupold scope easily put a magazine into a rapid fire one inch group at 25 yards off an impromptu rest, and the Walther shot good but a bit low, easily fixed by exchanging the front sight for a lower one. We shot for an hour or so, then the young lady started to get a bit tired. I also brought some other guns, including an Olympic Arms AR-15 upper on a Colt lower with a Ceiner .22 conversion kit under an OPMOD sight, and a bunch of handguns in different calibers. Her dad and I got a few of them hot and dirty.
After shooting, we spoke about hygiene and lead dust, cleaned up and had a nice lunch, then went back to my house to clean guns, certainly my least favorite part. The whole day was a big success, and I’m always proud to help introduce any person to responsible firearm use and fun!
Lots of good cooking around my house lately using deer and elk venison I bagged in Iowa and Colorado, including a fabulous garlic and wine braised elk backstrap with red potatoes, parsnips, onions, celery, rutabagas, carrots, mushrooms, our own vacuum sealed garden tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs from our garden! I first prepared the roast with 5.11 rub given to us as a Christmas gift by Dan Costa, CEO 5.11 Tactical, as well as an accomplished chef. Very nice flavor.
Christmas was great to My Shirley and me. Santa brought me a 12″ All-Clad fry pan with lid and some new Superman boxer shorts. SCORE! I also got a battery powered potato peeler that would be perfect for the repeat convict on your Christmas list, since it conveniently removes potato peels as well as finger prints with ease. My god, this thing is scary. You could shave a gorilla with this sucker. It should come with a box of bandages and Quick Clot. My Shirley got an Ivory necklace and earrings I made for her, and some clothes and chocolate and computer stuff and lots of other loot. I made a nice smoked ham for dinner, and tonight we’ll enjoy decadent eggs Benedict and hash browns! Leftover ham gets put into casseroles and omelets, and the bone is for split pea and navy bean soup. My poor Jewish friends miss out not only on Christmas, but also consumable dead pig parts. Yum!
Our OpticsPlanet Holiday Gala was the most extravagant ever. It was OpticsPlanet’s 10th anniversary, and we rented out the whole Field Museum of Chicago. Still waiting on a head count, but it was somewhere North of 400 people! Great food and dancing, and my team won second place in the scavenger hunt. Recount! A fine formal time was had by all. Most of the guys wore tuxedos, and the gals wore Renaissance ball gowns. My Shirley was the most beautiful creature there. How will we top this next year?
God bless you and yours this holiday season, and my very best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. Peace, good shooting, and AIM HARD!