The Silent and Brave revision page #115
I finally finished the revision of chapter nine, On the Ice, or at least I got it to the point that I don’t want to look at it anymore. It may need more work when I go to do my final read-through. I don’t know why it was so difficult, except that there were a lot of different perspectives contained in it, and I had to make it clear how my characters felt and why they felt that way, without just coming out and saying it.
Now I am going into chapter ten, White Death. This is the chapter inspired by Simo Häyhä, the Finnish sharpshooter credited with the most confirmed kills during the Winter War against Russia. He used his knowledge of the terrain, cross country skis, and a Finnish version of the Mosin-Nagant to terrorize the Russian army which had invaded his homeland. Riika is my own Simo, taking his discovered rifle out onto the frozen plains where he can use it to terrorize the arm of the champion. After he and Stope (Stull is laid up in Birrigat with his wolf bites) shoot into the arm, the Celestine cavalry rushes out onto the plains to catch them, but on the hemiau they overrun the snipers where they are hidden in the snow. Kavela, Ullane, Chauncer, and Alvaiinen go slower and actually catch Riika and Stull, but choose to let them go because they have the rifle and because Stull and Chauncer recognize one another.
My explanation of the concept of Sisu came out so well at the end of the chapter eight, Piles of Stones, that I am hoping the same will happen with my sniper. I love these references to Finnish culture and history, and because I use them as touchstones for my novel, it is really nice when one of the concepts dovetails that well with what I am writing. It seems to give it more purpose, adding layers of authentication to my fantasy.
While I’m talking about shooting, I took my new Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in 30-06 to the range yesterday for its second sighting in. I used the 125 grain low recoil rounds that Kim and I played with last week, and then went up to 150 and 180 grain cartridges. I got out to 200 yards and have it almost sighted in where I want it, but after nineteen shots kneeling on a bench and prone my shoulder said “OWWWW” and I had to stop. It is a very powerful rifle; the difference between it and the Mini-14 with the .223 is huge. It makes me wonder about what we demonize in the media, so here is a photo of the different calibers I like.
The sharpie is so you can tell the size of the different cartridges. The one on the left is the 30-06, an absolutely devastating cartridge. It has enough power to kill an elk or black bear. These bullets are used by hunters and they are where most ballistic developments take place; expanding bullets, bonded cores so that the metal stays together, that sort of stuff. No one ever seems to want to ban these, even though they are by far the most powerful. Next to it is a steel core armor piercing .223 round. These particular green tip rounds were almost banned by the United Nations this year. They are very high velocity, and can punch a hole in steel plate. These are the “assault rifle” bullets hated by all gun control groups. Their smaller size makes them easy to shoot and it is also easy to carry a lot of ammo, thus they are often used in mass shootings. Next to that one is a 45 ACP pistol round. These particular Winchester bullets used to be called Black Talons, until a prosecuter in a court case made a big deal out of the name, saying that it indicated they were to be used to attack instead of as a defensive round. Now they are called the PDX1 Defender, but they are still the same bullet, designed with sharp petals that spread wide open on impact. The last cartridge is a 380 ACP, also a hollow point that is designed to petal open and slice through tissue, making a larger wound channel. This bullet is the smallest and least powerful, but the guns that fire it are also smaller, and very easy to conceal. Nathuram Godse used a 380 ACP in a Beretta M 1934 to assassinate Ghandi, an image I still remember from my childhood and the movie.
***I just noticed that I am using my experiences from yesterday’s prone position rifle session to begin chapter ten.***