Monday, June 13, 2011

My Son's First Shootout

Lindsay and I were itching to get out into the woods in a bad way, so we threw some sandwiches together, tossed some guns into the truck, and stopped to get some drinks on our way out to the hills above Greenwater.

Another objective for the afternoon was to get my dad's rifle sighted in, verify the repairs I made to Lindsay's Henry Golden Boy, and test out the difference it would make to shoot Lindsay's New Heritage Rough Rider SA .22 with the front sight painted a contrasting aluminum color.

To be on the safe side, we brought the "play prison" (as we call it) so the children could be corralled while the guns were out.  After all, safety is of the utmost importance.  As an aside, in the pic, you can see me wearing my new electronic earmuffs.  These were nice because I could hear everything that was going on around me (an important consideration with kids), but the sounds of the rifles were attenuated to reasonable hearing levels when - and only when - firing.

Well, after spending 15-20 minutes getting Dad's old .22 sighted in, I just couldn't pass on the opportunity to get my son behind a .22 rifle.  I've been wanting to take him shooting ever since he was born, but for obvious reasons, I never have.  Well, he's three years old now, and there is no reason he can't be given the opportunity to fire a .22 rifle - if for nothing else, for the sake of being able to say that his daddy took him out to shoot when he was only three years old.  But of course, if he is capable of pulling the trigger, it is time to start planting the fundamental seeds of gun safety in his brain so when he is old enough for his first rifle, he'll be ready to shoot just like his dad.

So, I loaded 10 rounds up in the Ruger 10/22 rotary magazine and got set up.  I had brought a lawn chair (used for sighting in dad's rifle). so I used it to sit in so Michael could stand between my legs and I could control the muzzle of the gun while he did all the hard work of pulling the trigger and making it go boom!  Yeah, hard work indeed!  Well Michael blasted 10 rounds of .22 lr pretty fast, so we switched to a different magazine.

This time, I loaded up the Ruger factory 25rd magazine and let him take a crack at it.  Of course, all Michael was interested in doing was pulling the trigger, laughing at the report of the weapon, and watching the spent brass fly out from the receiver.  What can you say?  He really likes the little things.  Michael can't be troubled with actually aiming a gun - not yet at least.  I wanted him to get a small taste for what a gun actually does.  After all, I've been teaching him the visible parts of guns; now it is time to put my money where my mouth is and let this kid get some lead down range.  He loved every second of it.  And Lindsay liked getting a picture of Michael shooting a gun with a "banana clip" installed.  Oh, the facebook controversy she wanted to wreak with the photo above.  Yeah, not so much controversy; as of this writing there are only two replies that read something like "how cute" and "it looks like he is having fun" with a whopping two likes.  So much for controversy, LOL!  Either way, I knew Michael would like shooting with a "nanner clip" so that's what he did.

Well, not to be finished with shooting so early in the afternoon, Michael decided that he wanted to try the more powerful 17 HMR from Lindsay's Henry Golden Boy.  So, after about 9 shots from me, he came up and begged for a crack at it.  I let him have a shot.  He didn't know what to think at first because he was expecting a shell to eject, but didn't because the Golden Boy is a lever gun.  That's all fine and well.  Lindsay also let him fire a round from it when it was her turn to shoot.

I could see that Michael was getting very interested in the whole subject, so I also let him try out the NH Rough Rider SA .22 revolver that Lindsay bought a few years ago.  After seeing how well he did with it, I believe I know what his first pistol is going to be.  He really enjoyed it.  Even after switching cylinders and shooting .22 magnums, Michael seemed to enjoy the revolver a lot. 

Michael behaved well too.  He stayed behind us while shooting, stayed put when told to, kept his hearing protection on the entire time, and demonstrated the willingness to shoot.  So, I think I'll take him out again a few more times this year to get him used it is some more.  Plus, maybe we can work on some of that aiming that he doesn't quite get yet.  Oh but he will.  Next on the menu are going to be balloons that pop, soda bottles that explode, and soup cans that will fall off the fence post when he connects.  With all of this fun will come a lot of lessons in firearm safety that will be delivered the way my dad taught me - bit by bit and in a fun way that is easy to understand.  Hopefully, by the time he's five years old, he'll be ready for that Henry Youth gun I'm eyeballing right now.

-James

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