Much more competenterer

Waybackwhen the Firearms Control Act of 2000 was drafted, they couldn’t decide whether they should licence the person or the firearm. So they did what any committee would do — they chose both.

Which leaves us with the situation where you can be fully “competent” to own, say, a handgun, but then be denied the licence for said handgun because you didn’t prove to the registrar that you “need” it.

If you want more than two handguns or four firearms in total, you need to be a “dedicated” [hunter|sports shooter|collector]. This basically means joining an accredited organisation and jumping through whatever hoops said organisation choses to make their members prove their dedication. This can be as easy as attending four meetings or shooting four matches a year. Once you are a “dedicated” individual it becomes much easier to obtain a licence for a firearm appropriate to the organisation you are “dedicated” with. After all, if you are “competent” and have a letter from the chairman saying you need a semi-auto rifle* for 3 gun shoots or as a collector or whatever it’s really difficult for them to deny the licence.

So when I went through the rigmarole I obtained competency for handgun, rifle and shotgun. You have to prove you know the law and that you know how to make the gun go bang in such a way that you can broadly hit what you’re aiming at. I suspect that at the time there was no Unit Standard for semi-automatic rifles, or maybe it was a security business only thing, but whatever, I didn’t do the “self-loading rifle” competency.

Until yesterday, that is. Because they’re sitting on a licence application for a Browning semi-auto 22, and the only possible reason they might not give me the licence is that I don’t have this specific competency (this is not how we read the law, but our police are well known for their creative interpretation of the Law & Regs as well as their point of view that if you don’t like it you’re more than welcome to take the matter to court (where they will defend themselves using your tax money)).

And more importantly, I want to apply for a licence for a Garand, because why I can.

So I bought the book a few months ago, from Parow Arms & Ammo. Completed the open book exam, made an appointment, was handed a closed book exam asking the easy half of the questions from the open book exam, exchanged that for a competency certificate they had printed the week before, and then had to put ten shots into an A5 paper target at 10m with a Norinco LM4 (I think).

I’ve heard that one can fail the competency but if you do you should probably have someone help you with the shoelaces thing in the morning as well.

* Semi-auto rifles are “restricted”. Means only thpethial people can licence them. Fully automatic firearms are “prohibited”. This doesn’t mean what Merriam-Webster thinks it means. It means that only vewy vewy thpethial people can licence them. Collectors and film props guys, basically.

Silhouette Nationals

So it came to pass that I was selected to the Western Province (B) team for smallbore handgun. Shot a very decent 35/40 in Production, with my Anschutz Exemplar, and in as good if not better conditions the next day only managed 29 in Unlimited.


The main problem is that the ammo I’m using came from the last Swartklip run before they closed the factory, and I think by then they were keeping the machines together with duct tape and funny putty. And I didn’t think to shoot all forty shots from the same box — no, another box of 22LR bearing the same batch number should be the same…

Not the case.

Ah well, live and learn.

My standing continues to suck, bringing my aggregate down to 101/160 for the four events. We still managed to finish fourth, we beat the Eastern Province A team (but in all fairness, they only had two people on their team, not three, so they were destined to lose) and the Free State B team.

I also shot my new (although I still have to licence it) Freedom Arms 454 Casull, it was shooting way high with the Cowboy 45 Colt ammo I got from someone else when I bought a Ruger from him. On rams, I could actually aim at the targets and not at the flowers between me and the target, and I managed 8/10. One always shoots really well with a gun before you actually pay for it.

My shooting partner for the lever action fun event tricked me into shooting after him, and since we were running an hour and a half late, it got somewhat dark, leading to guess-where-the-target-is. I managed 13, he beat me with a 14. Barstard.

Hey, a bad week shooting beats a good week at work. And this was a good week shooting :-)

7mm International Rimmed

The 7mm International Rimmed is a wildcat cartridge developed by Elgin Gates in the seventies. Nothing strange about it, take a 30-30 case, neck it down to 7mm, and there you are. You don’t need to trim the brass or anything.

Before (bottom) and after fireforming.

Compare this to the 7-30 Waters, developed by Ken Waters (also in the seventies) specifically for levergun use. It’s also a 30-30 case necked down to 7mm, but in this case the neck is much shorter, giving more case capacity and of course more velocity.

30-30, necked to 7mm, and fireformed. (Image source:

I’ve been shooting the 7mm TC/U in my 14″ Thompson Contender for a few years. Nothing wrong with the cartridge, shoots great, adequate power and everything… but the 7mm TC/U headspaces on the shoulder, and that means that if you don’t get your resize operation just right, you either can’t close the gun, or your brass stretches and the case head separates after a few shots. I carry a tap in my shooting box, this has saved the day for me and for at least one other shooter caught with half a case stuck in the chamber. A TC ideally needs a rimmed case.

So I had the choice of 7-30 Waters or the much less popular 7mm IntR, and I chose the latter because, as I said, the 7mm TC/U already has enough power for what I need to do, I don’t need power, I just need a rim on the case.

7TC/U : 25.5gr S335 : 145 grain cast RCBS-145-SIL : 2000fps : my 7mm TC/U silhouette load, accurate.

7mm IntR : 29gr S335 : 160gr jacketed : 1900fps : accurate, 3 shot velocity spread = 6 fps, SD = 3.

7-30 Waters : Factory load : 120gr Nostler : 2400 fps from 14″ TC barrel.

I think 7mm International Rimmed is the best 7mm TC silhouette shooting option, now to do some further load development.

Road trip

Alone on the open road with a mixtape for company. A purpose is optional, but nice.

It’s a luxury, fuel’s expensive and accommodation adds up.

But it’s cheaper than a head mechanic.

Range time

So, having successfully retrieved a bundle of toys, a trip to the range was indicated.

Top left, Star BS, next to it my 22 Llama XV that I’ve had for a while, below them a horribly gold-plated Star PD (45 ACP) that actually shoots really well, to the right of that an Astra Constable at the bottom and a Constable II at the top with a Star M30PK between them. Then two 22 target pistols, a Star FR at the bottom and an Astra TS-22 above. North of that an Astra 7000, also in 22 LR. The two revolvers are both 38 Special, a Llama Martial (top) and an Astra Cadix.

These will all at some stage make their way into the Gundex.

Freedom Arms 454 Casull

For a brief time, this was my 100th gun… but I sold a couple since.

I had to go to the range (and quite a number of trips are still required) to get the lights and speaker wiring sorted for the 2012 Silhouette World Championships. The fellow I bought the gun from was also going to be there, and since I don’t have the license yet, I asked him to take the gun so I could play with it (“Gun control”. Hate it or hate it, it’s a pain in the arse. I paid for the gun, it’s mine, but I have to wait six months to a year or whatever before I can legally possess it).

I was shooting a fairly mild 45 Colt load, 255 grain SWC over 10 grains of S221, which is somewhat like HS-6 or HS-7. I think it’s good for around 1100 fps.

Despite the massive front sight, the gun is shooting high. We need to raise the front sight by about four or five millimeters. And it needs a hood to keep the sunlight off.

(Eye protection: yea, I know. I wore glasses for almost forty years, but recently had Lasik, and I still forget I’m not wearing glasses by default. My bad).

Silhouette World Championships, 2012

On Saturday 24 March the first (sighter) shots were fired, in anticipation of the main event starting on Tuesday.

The new ablution block wasn’t quite finished though… but! We have running water!

Unfortunately work prevents me from shooting this year.

(And yes, it is a _World_ shoot. While USA-nians shoot IHMSA whereas we shoot IMSSU, the rifle rules line up, and we have at least two Americans competing. They have to drive a stick. Schadenfreude!)

Edit: I was mistaken. I met two Americans, but only one of them is shooting, one R Bain. Here’s the squadding.

A rainy Sunday…

Spent sorting bullets.

Over 60 kilograms of .434 bullets

Being sorted by weight.

It’s going to take a while, there are more than 3 700 bullets there…