In 2012 I had the chance to visit Spragues Sports in Yuma, Arizona, a number of times to shoot some guns.
Spragues is a fine place, and has an indoor range with a fine selection of guns to shoot. I focused on hand guns since they are not legal in the UK.
It is a relatively simple process to sign-up with appropriate ID. There is plenty of information on range safety, but soon you are given a gun and ammunition to use. At this point I had to ask for an explanation of the gun controls, since I hadn’t shot a handgun before. I am sure for theAmericans who visit an indoor range it is obvious.
With that information sorted, the shooting could begin. Over a number of visits I worked up from the smallest (.22) to the largest (Smith and Wesson 500).
It was good fun, but also a serious business.
This YouTube playlist shows a gradual increase through gun power during my visits.
The picture below shows a set of ammunition cases I collected ranging from small to large. I fired all of these apart from the .40 Auto, .44 Magnum and 30-30 Winchester.
Note the size increase from a .44 Magnum to the .50 Magnum (S&W .500).
.22 Automatic Pistols – Smith and Wesson M&P22, Ruger 22/45 and Beretta U22
These were the smallest pistols I shot, and the ammunition was very cheap ($2 for 50 rounds). They had little recoil and were good for cheap target practice. So I returned to the S&W a few times.
The Smith and Wesson was the better of the two, the Ruger sights seemed to be a bit off.
9 mm Automatic Pistols – Glock 19 and Beretta
The ammunition jumped in price – now $14 for 50 rounds. These guns were both good to fire, not too much recoil and seemed to be accurate.
.45 Auto – Colt 1911 Nighthawk Custom
The .45 is one of the largest rounds for an automatic pistol, and the ammunition cost increased again to about $26 for 50 rounds.
This was one of my favourite guns to shoot. It had more recoil than the 9mm, but I was also more accurate with it.
.357 Ruger GP100 chambered with .38 Special
This was the first revolver I shot, and it was enjoyable. A different feel to firing an automatic pistol, but it was accurate and with moderate recoil.
.357 Ruger GP100 chambered with .357 Magnum
The change to the magnum round make a big difference to this gun. A lot more power and recoil and a big muzzle flash.
Still accurate, and still nice to fire. In the video, watch the ammunition box to my left being blow over by blast from the gun.
.50 Magnum in the Smith and Wesson .500
I had wanted to shoot this gun for a while. There was one in the rental display case, but never any ammunition.
On my last day in Yuma, some ammunition arrived, and I hurried down to Spragues to shoot it.
I didn’t think there would be a gun with too much power and recoil, but this was it.
I can see that it is suitable for its job description, Grizzly / Polar bear defence and handgun big-game hunting, but for anything else it is too powerful and the .357 Magnum is plenty.
Ammunition cost was high. $56 for 20 rounds. They are big rounds though…
I only shot a couple of rounds at a time. The blast was significant when standing behind the shooter, and a range regular left while we were shooting this as it was too disruptive.
Smith and Wesson M&P 15
This rifle fired the NATO standard 5.56 rounds. These rounds are light, recoil was low, and accuracy was high, even using the iron sight.
At 25 yards range against a small target it became hard to see the centre of the small target, so I imagine a magnifying sight is needed for longer ranges .
This was a .22 rifle, and I fired many inexpensive rounds from it.