Sunday, April 06, 2008

"Don't Get Eaten!"

With the airplane still out of commission but a beautiful Spring day to spend, Co-pilot Egg and I decided to load as much of our arsenal as would fit into the trunk of the Miata and drive to the farm to do some good, old-fashioned shootin'. She's not a big fan of the Miata, and I'm the first to admit that I probably wouldn't be either if the roles were reversed - it's a far funner driving car than it is a comfortable riding car. It's driver's prerogative, though, and it was selfishly exercised in my favor.

Something about the Miata encourages me to view the same old pieces of road that I've driven over time after time with a more attentive and discerning eye, even when the top is up. About mid-way on the outbound trip, we caught sight of a couple of large birds (vultures??) perched on top of what appeared to be an abandoned house. The calculus of the situation (abandoned house = little chance of being accosted by irate resident) was rapidly calculated, and before you know it we were stopped in the driveway. As I started to get out of the car to retrieve my camera from the trunk, Egg (whom I think watches far too much TV) helpfully provided me with some last-minute advice, laudable more for its succinctness than its applicability to the situation: "Don't get eaten!"

The birds were, in fact, far more afraid of me than I of them (perhaps naively on my part, but all's well that end's well, eh?) and threatened to fly away as I made even the smallest movements towards them, but I was able to get a few shots before they finally decided that discretion was mathematically and statistically the better advised option over valor:

After a quick lunch at McDonalds, notable only for the exchange with the order-taker (those folks ought to get a loftier title, like the coffee-servers at Starbucks did when they self-aggrandized themselves with the ludicrous moniker "Baristas." Or, perhaps they have and I just don't know it.) when she failed to accurately enter my order for a double quarter pounder with cheese. She arrived with two quarter pounders on the tray, and I was faced with the dilemma of trying to determine if this particular McDonalds had adopted some quirky method of providing the mathematically equivalent of two single quarter pounders, or if our entire order was supposed to consist on one single and one double. I gracefully addressed that quandary by demonstratively asking my father if he had also ordered a double, or some similar query intended to prompt the sandwich sommelier to verify the accuracy of the order.

"Oh", said the burger-barista, "I didn't charge you for a double. Do you want me to change it?"

I replied along the lines of "I don't care if you change what you charged us or not, but I do want a double quarter pounder with cheese." An eminently fair compromise, I maintain, what with the customer traditionally always assumed to be right, and one getting what one asked for not really being an unexpected or overbearing demand.

A double quarter pounder with cheese, I'm happy to say, was quickly provided without an accompanying adjustment of the bill and we each went our separate ways, firmly convinced that the other was an idiot. I can live with that, I suppose. An equitable outcome for all involved.

Back at the farm, Egg industriously set about preparing our weaponry:

We usually shoot at flat steel targets, but for the sake of increased entertainment, my brother brought out a cinder block for me to shoot at with the new SKS. Oddly enough, he also brought out some wooden panels that he insisted that I shoot at first before I would be allowed to shoot at the cinder block, ostensibly to first prove that I could hit something else before actually being allowed to shoot at the cinder block. The logic of this escaped me since I figured that were I to actually miss the cinder block, the very act of missing it was very likely to leave the block completely intact and undamaged, waiting for my next attempt with the infinite patience that cinder blocks are simply legendary for:

The entire question was moot, of course, since I hit it on the first try. And the next, and the next, and the next. It eventually got pretty challenging since the remaining pieces just got smaller and smaller. Eventually, I was pretty sure the cinder block was sufficiently dead for me to approach it and assess the damage, but I wasn't taking any chances that the wounded block would make a last gasp lunge at me. I approached it with bayonet extended:

Having fully ascertained its demise, I posed for the requisite "kill shot," unfortunately sans the equally requisite can of Bud Light:

Note too that at one point I did completely miss the cinder block and shoot down the practice board. I did not point that out to my brother!

After my having demonstrated the awesome stopping power of the NATO 7.62x39 Full Metal Jacket round on an inert and immovable object, Egg took a turn with the Beretta Neos pistol:

She doesn't like the pistol very much, which is not surprising since she misses far more often than she hits. While I took a turn with the Neos (hitting maybe 7 out of 10, on average) she helped out by loading magazines for my brother, who clearly is compensating for something with his taste in handguns:

She's a big fan of the Marlin 925, though, and hits a target (presumably the one she was actually aiming at, but she's non-committal on that question) nearly every time:

I took a few turns with the Marlin too, but after shooting the SKS I don't like it very much. It fires with not much more oomph than a dry fart, and the bullet flies so slowly to the target that you can actually hear it. I think I could probably throw one faster. That said, I'm pretty accurate with it and can hit the target nearly every time, but it really is a damp paper towel of a gun:

I use the "swinger" targets for the Marlin, and just round robin between targets and try to re-fire quickly enough to keep them all moving:

After burning through 60 rounds of 7.62 and a couple of hundred .22 longs, we loaded everything back in the Miata and headed home. I stopped and took some pictures of the little water fall that we go past, something I've wanted to do for years, but always seemed to be in the wrong car. There's just something about that Miata:

Everything is field stripped and laid out for cleaning:

The cat (who apparently has never heard the conventional wisdom that curiosity killed the cat, but a gun killed it quicker) is investigating the baggage:


  1. What a fun and wonderful weekend! Great pics, too. I've never shot an SKS, but it looks very entertaining.

    One of my favorite things to do is go shooting with my brother, too. They live in VA, but he always brings his gun when they come out to visit. Like you, we haul out all the artillery we can lay our hands on...his Beretta 9mm, my Glock 17 (9mm), the Remington shotgun, and the brace of Marlin .22's.

    My son, no 21, has been a crack shot with a .22 since he was 16, which is when we bought the Marlins. Before that, in fact, he was amazing with his BB gun, and I mean amazing. His Halo handle is "Deadeye," which is appropriate. I told his mother once that I thought he would make an excellent sniper. She was not pleased.

    My brother's kids are younger and still learning, but we have had many hours of family fun with them all, teaching them about shooting and firearm safety.

    Personally, I find shooting one of the most relaxing and cathartic activities I've ever known.

  2. i don't know if it is right but i was always taught to shoot with my elbow out as it keeps the butt from sliding down and hurting your arm. i see you are using a similar style but the egg was not. you may want to work on this especially before letting her fire a 12g. the whole shooting thing can be fun but not so much if it hurts you.

  3. Leon -

    I agree, we need to work on her style some more. Part of the problem is that she's using an adult-sized rifle; she'd be a better fit for something smaller like a Ruger 10/22. It's hard for her to support the long barrel of the Marlin.

    She refuses to shoot anything that has any kick at all, so soreness won't be an issue for quite awhile.

    I'd like to work with her more on her stance with the pistol too. She gets frustrated by not being able to hit the target reliably with the pistol, but I think that with practice she will get much better with it.

  4. yea, after i posted i thought bout the whole stance thing as well as maybe needing something with a lighter barrel. i have to think that is affecting her accuracy. then i thought how would i have shot when i was that age and she is doing just what my scrawny self would have. it'll come.