Saturday, November 22, 2014

Those clay pigeons didn't stand a chance.

It's exciting to shoot for the first time at clay pigeons. I went with my parents and their friends which was awesome for several reasons. The biggest is that my parents friends include an NRA volunteer named Fitz and a former shooting instructor named Suzanne so I was in good hands. 

Fitz looked like everything I thought an NRA volunteer would. He stood 6'2 with a grizzly beard, a cowboy hat, and was smoking a cigar as he was shooting the traps. He was so comfortable around guns you'd think when his mom gave birth to him the afterbirth was a shotgun. 

As I was listening to the instructor Suzanne explain to my parents and I that you don't ever point a gun at anything except clay pigeons or the ground Fitz walked behind me, grabbed me by the shoulder, and without a word placed a broken over and under 12 gauge on my shoulder. He then walked away like I had any idea why the shotgun was bent or how to unbend it. Luckily Suzanne was there to explain everything I needed to know like absolutely everything. (If you're a novice shooter like me an over and under is a double-barreled shotgun with the barrels stacked on each other rather than side by side. A shotgun is "broken" when it is a rear-loader and the shotgun is opened at the beginning of the barrel so you can put the shells in.) 

I figured I wouldn't be completely useless with a gun. I've shot a shotgun one other time but just at targets placed down range with a teammate and his host family's 12 gauge one summer while I was playing baseball in Anchorage, Alaska. That was my first real experience with guns. I needed to know how not to kill myself while taking my host family's dog for a walk. The reason for carrying a gun to take the dog out became much more clear when a grizzly bear walked through our back yard. That's just Alaska for you. 

Once we got out to the range the first thing I heard was a gunshot and the second was my mom's yelp of surprise at the gunshot. As I said she isn't comfortable with guns. Once she had the basics down and it was time to shoot she took to that 20 gauge like a dog to a vacuum. That's to say she was very suspicious of it and eventually decided it wasn't going to kill her but she still didn't care for it much. 
This is my mom lookin like Neo. 

Dad and I had a much better time of it. Neither of us hit much at first but eventually we found our rhythm and every once in a while I even remembered to put my hand over the back of my shotgun so the shell didn't hit me in the face when it ejected out the back (I had to learn that lesson a few times). 

And here's me. 

Finally my dad and I joined the rest of the shooters to shoot through our own full boxes of ammo. In 25 shots I hit 20 traps my dad hasn't told me what his percentage was because he doesn't want to admit I kicked his ass. Turns out the ability to track a baseball translates pretty well into shooting at a moving target. Overall I had a great time and got a few great stories out of it. The next step is to buy my own gun to shoot. 

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