Skip to comments.Learning To Shoot
Posted on 07/02/2011 1:40:14 PM PDT by arderkrag
My birthday is fast approaching once more, and lately I have been drifting back to the days of my coming-of-age in the eyes of my father, when he first bestowed upon me my two first firearms.
He told me he had a gift for me, and not to plan anything that afternoon. It was the weekend after my 16th birthday. I was still working out the finer points of driving without scaring my dear mother to death, and most of my time was spent hanging out in the yard with my cousins. I was outside, sitting on the wing, when he stepped out of the house and asked me if I was ready. I answered that I was, and we climbed into his green and white long bed F100 and drove over to my uncle's farm.
The farm was one of, if not the, central component in our lives back then. I learned to swim, drive a tractor, fix a fence, and work on a go-kart all under the wise eyes of those old pecan trees. We rumbled our way out to a spot in-between two pastures, and he switched the truck off and got out, with me in tow. Then he tilted the seat forward, and revealed why he brought me out there that day. To learn to shoot.
Up until this point I had been lucky enough to be the recipient of at least one pellet gun every couple of years. Most of them are long since rusted away now, though the first one - a Daisy lever action similar to the "Buck" 105 model - is somehow still working, longer and more efficiently than several of the others.
Never a real gun, though.
He handed me a green leather shotgun sheath, and I opened it to find an 20 gauge Ithaca Featherlight inside.
The gun was in almost perfect condition the front hood sight was snapped off partway up, leaving an odd little u where it once was. He told me to be proud of that one his father had given it to him when he was sixteen, and now it was mine, and if I ever had a son, I was to pass it on as well. The family heirloom a three shot engraved shotgun, cold blue steel and walnut stock. After a few moments learning how to load it, he sat several old coke bottles up at about fifty yards from us. We took turns pegging the bottles off of several bales of hay, the smell of burnt gunpowder and hot metal heavy in the air around us.
We ran through the fifty shells he'd brought along in short order. He walked back to the front of the truck and pulled out a hard plastic case and sat it on the tailgate, where a mound of empty shells and a few soda cans were piled. He opened the case to reveal my second gift a lever-action Remington .30-30. It was a little to much gun for me back then at first even he thought so in retrospect but with some coaching from him I was soon hitting the mark, though not as well as either of us would have liked.
We talked for a while we didn't do that nearly enough about hunting, guns, rights, and how he served in a time when no one wanted to fight for them. How he hoped I never had to.
We went a few more times after that, though it was hard to arrange his work schedule was and is unforgiving, to say the least. My liberal sister whined every time we went - I remember clearly now her saying at one point that the last thing she would ever trust me with ws a gun. Probably came from that time I pegged her in the head with a little BB Pistol.
Just as I started to get really good at throwing lead at a target, I went off to college. My father soon thereafter developed an awful case of bursitis in his right shoulder. The doctor told him he had to be relocated at work, and he had to stop hunting. That second one almost killed him. He was in a depressed funk for ages after that.
Once in a while he'll still go out and squeeze off a few rounds, but nothing like he used to. I'll probably get a pistol here soon I've never had a sidearm of my own, and I like the idea of carrying one for security. I hope he'll go out and help me waste a few rounds and improve my aim some he always says my stance isn't aggressive enough. I wonder if he's only talking about shooting.
Great story. Sure it wasn’t a Winchester 94 lever action? I can’t recall a Remington lever action that wasn’t a rimfire.
I myself cannot recall any lever-action Remingtons. Certainly in 30-30, Marlin and Winchester made 97% of them.
Loking at the pics of the 94, it may have been. I’ll have to look at it sometime when I’m visiting next.
Thank you for a wonderful story.
A very nice piece of journalism.
No Remington lever guns that I know of. Maybe a Winchester?
I (we?) grew up in a different time. I had BB guns for as long as I remember. Dad let me shoot his Stevens 12 ga. double when I was about 8. That’ll teach you respect for what a gun can do. First “real” gun was a savage .410 pump when I was 10. Shot a lot of doves and rabbit with that.
That was about 20 guns ago. Never traded or sold any one of them execept for that first pump. I traded it to a guy I worked with as a first gun for his son. Don’t know why Dad went along with my interest in firearms. He was an Eagle Scout and maybe that had something to do with it. He had very little interest in hunting, or shooting for that matter.
I do know this. Teaching kids about guns at a young age makes them safer. No curiosity-killed the cat type things cause if you want to handle the weapon, shoot or want to know anything about it then Dad was there to make sure you did it safely. We had 4 boys in the house and several weapons available and no “accidents” or foolishness, ever.
Anyway, thanks dad for taking the time with me and my brothers to ensure that if it ever comes to it, we all know how to take care of ourselves and our families.
I just bought my son his first Bowie knife today, a Winchester. wood and steel, baby.
He’s shot my .22 since he was 7. He’s almost a better shot than I am.
Winchester, Marlin, Savage and now Mossberg were the only companies to manufacture a lever action 30.30.
My Wife owns a 1949 Winchester 30.30
“I was still working out the finer points of driving without scaring my dear mother to death,...”
I’m not sure I ever managed that.
I forgot Henry...likely a good gun. I’d check out the Mossberg for a good gun at a decent price.
One of the guns that he gave me is an old Glenfield 25. It was in rough shape.
I knew it wasn't worth much monetarily, but thought it would be great to pass down to my stepson, his grandson, in a few years. So, I did some work on it and just put the finishing touches on it this morning...
I think it turned out rather well...and since it has a connection to both me and Grandpa, it should mean a lot to hime someday...
Zoomed your final product up 400%, you did a fine job sir.
I was thinking the same thing. I am only 42, so maybe its growing up in a different place. I grew up around guns. I can remember being about 5 or so and going out with dad and shooting his .243. Had a BB gun when I was 8....a .22 when I was 11 and a 20 guage when I was 13. I've still got that 20 guage.
Today...my kids enjoy shooting the 20 gauge, 12..., 243, 30-06, Mini-14...you name it. My boy, 11, had his own 22.
Can't imagine life any different way.
Also did a single shot 20 gauge with a 19" barrel that my father-in-law gave my brother-in-law. He had gotten that gun from HIS father, my wife's grandfather. Old cheap Brazillian made FIE.
Get this...the barrel had been PAINTED. Looked like crap. The stock was the color of peanut butter.
Stripped it and reblued the metal, sand, sand, sanded the stock, then stained it and did about 10 coats of linseed oil. Looks much better now.
He has a bar in his house, and he's going to hang this on the wall there, with a bandolier of shells at the ready. Sounds like a good idea to me...
Viet Nam is no place for the traditional American rifleman, who prides himself on long-range sharpshooting and an unerringly steady hand. Though infantrymen do get some chances for this, most firefights occur at ranges of 50 ft. or less, in dense jungle that offers only a fleeting glimpse of the enemy. To hit so elusive a target requires “instinct shooting” of the highest order, and last week the U.S. Army was hard at work honing that instinct in its infantry traineesusing, of all things, Daisy BB guns.
BB With a BB. Known as “Quick Kill,” the program is currently being taught to some 1,300 recruits each week at Fort Benning, Ga., by late fall will become part of the basic infantry course in all twelve U.S. Army training centers. “Quick Kill is for the shot you’ve got to make when you don’t have time to line up your sights,” says Colonel William Koob, 47, director of weapons at Benning. “When it’s either kill or be killed.” After a day of instruction and the expenditure per man of 800 BBs (which cost only as much as two M-14 bullets), half of the trainees can hit a penny in midair. An impressive 5% get sharp enough to hit a BB with a BB.
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