Shooting day

It had been far too long since I had a shooting day with friends. A shooting day is exactly what it sounds like, a day of shooting guns. Usually how it plays out is I pick a Saturday or Sunday and take a truck load of friends, guns and ammo out to my mom and step-dad’s farm and we shoot clays, metal gongs, paper targets and just about anything else we can think of.

This particular day was a Sunday, I invited a few people but the only person available was my friend Nikki. Everyone else was busy with the bridal show, or hockey games, or had already agreed to spend time with their girlfriend. So Nikki and I loaded up my truck with a lot of guns and ammo and headed for the farm.

We pulled in the driveway and were greeted by two excited dogs. After much petting we made it into the house and were offered a lot of food. I feel I should mention or maybe warn people that you cannot go near my mothers house without being given food. Naturally I had a snack before we began. We rounded up the clays and the thrower. As I was setting it all up Nikki informed me that she had never shot clays before.

To make life easier I started off by preemptively explaining to her that when you shoot clays you’re going to miss a lot, especially in the beginning. Most people tend to get very down on themselves because of that. I’ve had a lot of friends give up and say “I’m just wasting your ammo and skeets” for some reason people think that if they hit them I get my money back or something. As a result I have started to explain to people that a hit or a miss cost me about the same amount, which really isn’t much given the cost of shotgun shells and clays. I have also found that people tend to see better results when I get them to shoot clays that aren’t moving first, this allows them to see how the shotgun fires.

I started Nikki out by putting out a bunch of clays on the various snow banks and got her to shoot them with my .410, she quickly learnt that with that gun she had to aim a bit low. After busting a few clays that were sitting on the snow I started using the thrower. She almost immediately started  dusting clays. From there she did the same thing with my two 12 gauges and quickly began to favor my old semi-auto Remington, I think she found my old side by side 12 gauge a little too front end heavy. We traded off shooting and loading the thrower, I had a hot streak that couldn’t be described as anything other than luck, I lost count but was well over ten in a row which is far beyond my previous personal best. Darrell eventually came and joined us for a bit with a short barreled defender shotgun. A short barrel like that tends to make clay shooting much harder as the shot tends to spread out more and lose hitting power, I tried using his gun for a few and it wasn’t pretty. Then after a while even my mom came out and joined us, she declined to try shooting any clays out of the air but she did shoot some clays in the snow banks with her .410, which she owns for the sole purpose of keeping snakes out of her life.

We then took a break for lunch, then came back and took a walk around the field picking up unbroken clays and standing them up for rifle targets. I then pulled out my two 30/30’s and was happy to find that my reloaded ammo worked well in both guns. I also broke out my old .22 and Nikki and I used it to throw a lot of lead against the old gong hanging at the edge of the field. I have shot a lot of guns in a wide range of sizes and I still believe that an old .22 with open sights is the most fun shooting there is.

Darrell came back out, this time with his mini-14 which is a semi automatic .223 and a gun that I am a little envious of. We all took turns using it to shatter old clays on the snow until we had used up all its ammo. We then went back to shooting clays out of the air with the shotguns, probably because it was new and exciting for Nikki and I was still enjoying my hot streak.

A lot of those unbroken clays were probably mine

A lot of those unbroken clays were probably mine

A truck load of fun

A truck load of fun

Our only setback the whole day was towards the end when a shell had gotten stuck in my shotgun, it had swelled when it went off and as a result was stuck in the barrel. We were able to coax the empty shell out by tapping the action open with a wooden dowel and a hammer.

Once we ran out of daylight I loaded my cooler full of deer meat that Darrell was kind enough to butcher for me (the meat had come from my “Boot Leather Buck”). As Darrell and I were loading the cooler there was lots of “oh, you better take some of this good homemade bacon, here’s a pack for Nikki too… Oh and here’s pork chops, and some sausage” Then my mom handed us three grocery bags of food “this ones for Nikki, take this to your brother, and this one has some of those good pizza buns for Erin to take in her lunches” Like I said, you cannot go near my parents without getting food. All in all it was a good day, we did a lot of shooting, which was the goal, and we got a big pile of good food, which is always a bonus.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to clean all those guns we used, but that’s just another part of the fun.

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