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My firearm education

September 27, 2011

Guns are a bit more prevalent here in western Nebraska than in other places I’ve lived.

A recent perusal of the classified section in the Star-Herald turned up a listing for a firing range, two ads for gun shows and nine firearms for sale:

“Rugar” MK II .22 Pistol. Beretta A391 Extrema 2 Shot gun. Browning Shotgun Semi automatic. Shot Gun Bennelli. Super Black Eagle 12 ga., 3 1/2″, 26″ barrel. Hand Gun Glock 19 with extras. Rifle Henry Golden Boy 22 mag. Rifle Remington “Modle” 700, 300 Winchester. SHOTGUN – Traditions by FAUSTI Field Hunter 12 ga/28″ CT3. WEATHERBY MARK 5 257 magnum, base and rings. Colt AR15, .223 caliber.

(Boy, I bet that list is gonna get me some blog hits from random Google searches.)

There have been several incidents of guns and ammo turning up in local schools, too. December 2010: shotgun in a car at Scottsbluff High School. May 2011: rifle shells in the Gering Junior High. September 2011: shotgun in a car at Scottsbluff High School. Most of the comments on the stories referred to the hunting culture and firearm savvy of the local populace. (Though others pointed out that if the kids were so savvy, they would have remembered not to bring the guns onto school property.)

We even found a bullet in our kitchen cabinet when we moved into our house. (Not fired into the cabinet. Merely sitting there in the cabinet, unfired. I always have to clarify that for people.)

The bullet is a 9mm luger. I know that because it's printed on the bottom.

Out here, it seems a patriotic duty to know how to handle a gun – right up there with voting and jury duty.

I’ve been out of the firearms loop until very recently. Thanks to the kindness of one of Bugman’s co-workers, who owns some land by the North Platte River (which I mentioned in a February post about goose hunting),I had a chance to shoot a few shotguns and a rifle.

I previously didn’t know the difference between these types of firearms.

I do now.

A shotgun ejects multiple, tiny projectiles that make it easier to hit a small target. Shotguns also tend to have a heckuva kick. (Owie! My shoulder!)

A rifle is gentler on the shoulder but requires much more precision in aim. It throws out just one little projectile.

This is me firing a shotgun:

I felt about as awkward as I looked. Didn’t do too bad, though, especially for a first attempt while trying out three different guns. I hit about 30-40 percent of the clays I shot at.

This is Bugman firing a shotgun:

Timed the photo just right and caught the smoke emitted from the shotgun blast!

Bugman looks much more at ease with his gun. It probably helps that his shotgun is proportionate to his arm length. He hits most of the clays he fires at.

This is me firing a rifle (co-worker hunting guru is behind me):

I only hit one bottle of the ten I fired at. It’s harder than it looks, especially when your arms are tired.

Co-worker hunting guru’s daughter, who has been on shooting teams, had the right idea:

Whilst I was working with the rifle, Bugman decided to try a revolver (I had to look up the definitions of “handgun,” “pistol,” and “revolver” to make sure I wrote that right.):

The revolver was just ridiculous. None of the experienced firearm users in the group could hit anything with it. The calibration’s off, or something? I guess you just really need to get to know your gun.

Interestingly, the revolver, though smaller than the rifle, was much louder.

I didn’t have to wear earplugs with the rifle, but I definitely did when the revolver or the shotguns were being fired.

Yes, that was quite the afternoon. The sunlight filtering through the trees, dozens of toads fleeing our footsteps across the flood-scoured riverbank, the smell of gunpowder, the earplug-muffled crack of the gun and the gentle thump of spent shells landing on the ground.

I bet if I practiced, I could get better at this . . .

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

4 Comments leave one →
  1. vnewman permalink
    September 27, 2011 9:02 pm

    I am awful with a handgun.

  2. September 27, 2011 9:34 pm

    I’m a terrible shot, perhaps because I am quite nearsighted even with glasses. Also because guns still freak me out a little.

  3. September 27, 2011 10:15 pm

    oh boy–

  4. Suzie permalink
    September 29, 2011 6:01 pm

    I know what you mean about guns and the panhandle. I’ve been shooting once (a Glock) since I’ve been here. Guns scare the heck out of me, and, while I don’t necessarily need to own one, I would like to NOT be afraid of them. Plus, I work at Cabela’s in catalog and there are gun samples used for color matching. I haven’t worked a gun image or a kill shot– yet.

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