Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Range report Part 2: 20+ questions

Posted by Lissa on August 18, 2009

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post!  To answer Breda and SLOS — Steve didn’t have us do the teacup grip.  He didn’t recommend any particular grip at all.  He wanted us to get comfortable with the parts of guns and handling them; he didn’t want to nitpick our stance, the tactical applicability of our hands or anything else.  (Also, I was being good and not showing off videos of shooting machine guns or anything else; we really did want to start from scratch.)  So — no blaming Steve for the teacup grip 😉

On to the 20+ questions!  Mind you, these can probably all be found by Googling, but that takes time and effort and icky stuff like that.  I list the answers Steve gave me; YMMV.

Q: What’s the difference between a clip and a magazine?
A: There isn’t any technical difference.  “Clip” is the preferred military term though.

Q: Can I buy a gun in NH and bring it to MA?  (Doubletrouble, I was thinking of Paul’s shop!)
A: You can’t buy handguns and take them with you.  They have to be shipped to MA.  You can, however, buy long guns and take them with you, but they must be registered in MA within seven days.

Q: How do I figure out what I’m doing wrong aim-wise?
A: A lot of common errors can be diagnosed by checking this chart.

Q: How’d you get that scar on your leg?
A: He was at the range getting ready to do a competition when the jackasses next to him started shooting at a steel target fifteen feet away.  The jacket came off the casing, bounced back and caught him on the calf.

Q: Why do you need to use “dummy rounds,” or snap caps?
A: The guns won’t manipulate the same way with no ammunition.  When you’re practicing speed loading or just handling the gun for the first time, it’s better for the firing pins if they have something besides blank air to hit.  Centerfire handguns fire empty better than rimfire; the small pin on the .22 can crack.

Q: What’s the difference between centerfire and rimfire?
A: For centerfire, the primer is located at the center of the base — the firing pin has to hit it in the middle to set it off.  For rimfire, the casing *is* the primer; you can hit it anywhere and set it off.  That means that most large calibers have to be centerfire: if a large caliber were rimfire it’d be heavy enough that you could drop it and it might go off.

Q: What’s that site you mentioned?  Thegunclock.com?
A: It shows a gun by itself in a room, untouched, and how many days the gun has been there and hasn’t “gone off.”  (You know the way newspapers always write it that way.)  [I actually couldn’t find this site, but I like the concept!)

Q: What’s the backstrap of a gun?
A: It’s the back of the grip.  What’s great nowadays is that you can switch out backstraps for different sizes and colors.  So, you and Mike could have one gun, but his could be a wide black backstrap and yours could be a narrow pink one.

Q: What if I want red?
A: I’m sure someone sells that!

Q: What does “magnum” mean when you say 22 magnum?
A: It means the same caliber, only longer, therefore with more power.  It’s always the same diameter as the non-magnum but with a longer shell casing.

Q: So I’ll always be safe going to the range at 2 AM, right?  I mean, who goes to a gun range to mug someone?
A: Not to burst your bubble, but do be careful.  Think about how many gun owners could carry guns to and from the range boxed up and not on their person, or not loaded.  And if a criminal wants to get a gun, a gun range could be a good place to lurk.  Just always be wary.

I meant to finish this up today, but I’ve got too much data and I must go hop in the shower.  To be continued!


7 Responses to “Range report Part 2: 20+ questions”

  1. I dunno…

    F’rinstance, there is a real difference between a magazine & a clip. A clip holds the cartridges together, & is inserted into the firearm’s magazine (remember the M1 Garand @ the shoot? The CLIP came sproinging out after the last round). A magazine is a loading/feeding device that is loaded w/ammo, inserted, & actually “feeds” the gun (think most all auto pistols). Military/not military has nothing to do with it.

    I’m sure Paul would be happy to help you out, as there is a nearby range at which you could test a particular firearm ;^) He has a resident/employee MA FFL holder who can do transfers (typically) same day.

    The “magnum” thing is Sort of Correct…

  2. Annnnd-

    A rimfire has to be hit on the RIM to fire it- there is no primer in the middle part of the case.

    And the backstrap- that is the area alongside the spine in the lower back- good eatin’ there…

  3. Sevesteen said


    Most guns (and virtually all semiauto handguns) have removable magazines with springs and followers that are not technically clips. Some older military guns with non-removable magazines use simple clips to assist in loading–The M1 Garand had an en-block clip holding the ammo that stayed in the magazine until the last shot was fired. Others used stripper clips that guided ammo in, but were not retained in the gun. In the real world, clip usually means magazine, although some know-it-alls will correct you.

    Large calibers have to be centerfire, because the case has to be strong enough to withstand the increased pressure. If the case is strong enough, the rim would be too strong to allow a firing pin of reasonable power to dent it to set off the charge.

    Most Magnum cases aren’t longer to give more power, they are longer to prevent their use in guns not strong enough for the extra power. A 9mm is more powerful than a .38, despite the much smaller size. (The .38 special has its roots in the blackpowder days, when case capacity often did determine the max powder load) I’m pretty sure that the .22 Magnum has a slightly wider case (with the same diameter bullet) for the same reason, since the design of .22 cartridges would allow a longer cartridge to be fired in some guns not strong enough to handle it.

    If you want red, there are refinishing companies that will make your gun almost any color you want.

  4. Wally said

    a 22 magnum is different diameter than a 22 Long, Long Rifle, or Short.

    A magazine keeps the cartridges contained and has a spring to feed the ammunition. A clip keeps the cartridges together but has no manner of feeding the cartridges.

    And there was a big issue in FL maybe 2 years ago with people getting followed home from the gun range and getting robbed in their driveway…. Can’t be too safe.

  5. Q: Why do you need to use “dummy rounds,” or snap caps?

    In addition to points mentions, also good for working on malfunction drills.

  6. hsoi said

    Seems others got you covered on the whole magazine vs. clip thing. There is a difference.

    Your chart for figuring out what you’re doing wrong aim-wise is a good one. There’s also the classic sportshooter.com target. I have a copy of it posted on my blog, and even took the time to make a version of it for left-handed shooters:


    If you want red and no one sells it, there’s always Duracoat!

  7. wrm said

    Never say “always” when talking about cartridge nomenclature. It’s a weird weird world out there, with history, and marketing, and hype, and some crazy wildcatters on the side…

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