Josh and I made the short (300-ish mile) drive into Dillon, MT today and found Richard Celata’s house and with it the KT Ordnance event.
I knocked on the door to KT Ordnance and was greeted by a short guy, grey hair, and going bald. I shook his hand, we introduced ourselves, and sure enough, it was Richard Celata.
If I had to pick one word to describe Richard it would be: friendly. I admit that I was a little worried that I’d show up to find a paranoid whacko with a gruff attitude. Nope! He’s a lot more like an older version of me, I think. Perhaps even more low-key than myself.
I like this guy. As I said he’s friendly, and seems to be plenty smart. When he saw the New England Firearms .223 I was using he took a quick look at the receiver and the first thing he said was, “Wow, I could make an 80% kit for these things easy!” We chatted for a bit about ideas on how to make more products and it left me with a good feeling.
It’s hard to explain the lay of the land out there, but Richard’s “back yard” is also used by some cattle farmers. They don’t have any problem with him shooting out there and gave a friendly wave when they returned home that day. Just don’t shoot the cattle — you’ll owe them $2000 and no, you do not get to keep the beef.
Didn’t seem like his neighbors are worried about this guy. Still, the ATF saw fit to raid the guy’s place in full gear and throw snipers up on a ridge that I’ll talk about later.
Gary Marbut was also there, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. He was off running a rifle shooting class with the one person that signed up for it.
Before Gary and his student got back a new guy showed up that had already been there yesterday, I’m told. He was a nice guy and introdued himself as Mike Murphy. Within a few moments I learned that he was really bummed that the Feds had shut down the gun building day because he really wanted a gun that didn’t have any paperwork behind it. He then told Josh and I about the two times he brandished a gun in the Chicago and how he sold all of his guns when a cop in Illinois told him that when his Firearms Owner ID card expired he had to get rid of them, which was wrong. He said that you don’t need the FID unless you’re going hunting or actually shooting it.
He then asked everybody he saw about buying a used .357 Magnum without any paperwork. No pawn shop would sell him one because he’s not a resident of Montana. According to Richard yesterday the guy was asking about buying a .22 Magnum with a silencer on it.
Now, this guy didn’t have the “crazy” vibe. I know what the crazy vibe is like.
This guy was just stupid. I’m also sure this guy is ATF. Everybody there does. It’s bleeding obvious! All the guy talks about are illegal things, and how he doesn’t want the government to know about his guns. He even pulled some shit out about how the Neo-Nazi groups and the KKK are the only ones that publish numbers on men being killed, their children sold into the sex-slave trade, and their women turned into whores within 3 days. He then said he didn’t agree with those groups, but there’s some useful stuff that they publish.
For some reason ATF agents seem to think that every gun owner is a white supremecist. I don’t get it. They also think that we’re stupid it seems.
If you want to buy a gun anonymously you don’t introduce yourself with your full name. Seriously, WTF? It’s just a technique to try and gain credibility with complete strangers.
Anyway, onto the shooting!
Josh and I pulled out some scoped .223 rifles and made sure we were on paper. I adjusted my scope and set it’s zero and Richard showed us a neat game.
There’s a really big hill, actually more of a ridge I suppose, that runs in the back of his property. The base of the ridge is about 400 meters out. The top of it is about 800 meters. It’s dotted with little shrub bushes. If you land a shot into a shrub you don’t see a dust cloud — meaning you hit it. If you do see a dust cloud then you missed, and you know where the shot landed because of the dust cloud. We picked some bushes around 600 meters out and started lobbing shots at them.
Damn that’s fun! Sure can’t do that kinda stuff in Michigan!
When Gary arrived back with his student (who I found out I know online to some degree) they set up a 100 yard range to zero the student’s rifle in and get to their business. Gary pulled out a reallly nice DPMS AR-10 all decked out wih a nice Weatherby 24x variable power scope on it. He let Josh and I take a go on it. Very nice weapon, though I couldn’t hit anything with it. Scopes are hard for me to deal with, and given the compexity of his setup I had even more trouble.
Gary dropped a quick 3 shot group that was 1″ apart at 100 yards after that. Two of them were touching.
They packed up for dinner but Gary left a few targets with Josh to sight in his AR-30. It’s a bolt-action .300 Win Mag rifle. The targets were nice because they were setup to let you set a 300 yard zero at only 100 yards. There was a special cross to aim at (low) on the target and if you’re aiming there and hit the bullseye then you’ve got a 300 yard zero, or really close to it. We’ve got an extra copy that we’ll photocopy for future sight-ins.