The opinion on guns run from extremes, to some in the USA who feel that everyone should be able to openly carry weapons any time you want, but others feel that all guns should be completely banned. I am somewhere in between, feeling that walking around with a firearm strapped to your hip is a bit unnecessary, but that guns do serve some purpose and are a useful tool in some circumstances.
As a teenager living on a 250 acre farm, I had a single shot 22 caliber rifle that I used to practice with down by the river on a nice deserted pasture. I was never a very good shot however, probably due to thick eyeglasses and extreme astigmatism. Once we moved to the city, I have no idea what happened to that gun and I never had any further opportunity to develop my gun skills.
That is, until this trip to visit my sister on Vancouver
|Dang, those things are hard to hit|
Island. My sister Linda and her husband Pete are lifetime members of the Courtney Fish & Game Protective Association, a beautiful facility on a lake overlooking a glacier and the spectacular BC mountains, and they were holding an open house the day after we arrived. As a way to encourage new members, all of their gun ranges were open to guests and many were free. They had a skeet shooting range, a black powder area and a recreated western town called Boomtown with rifle range and pistol shooting in a western themed setting as well as a range for modern firearms. I decided to give some of the gun ranges a try.
My first stop was the skeet shooting range where for $5 I could shoot six 12 gauge shells at flying orange clay targets. After a short safety chat and instructions I discovered that hitting a little orange target with a shotgun is quite difficult, but I did manage to destroy one of the elusive things.
|Loading black powder|
Next I went to the Black Powder range where you could shoot old fashioned rifles. The first one was an old fashioned flint-lock where the loose powder was inserted and packed in followed by a big lead bullet packed in with a long rod. This rifle packs a punch and is loud, firing with a big cloud of smoke, but I was unable to actually hit anything. Next I was invited to try another black powder rifle with reloaded bullets; don’t know what the difference was but with this one I actually managed to hit a few targets.
|OMG, I think I hit something|
Finally we went down to the Cowboy Action in Boomtown where I learned how to miss every target with a six shooter style pistol, and left with a powder burn on my thumb for holding my hand too close to the barrel of the pistol. I could have gone to another range where for $30 I could have experienced a modern 9mm handgun with 30 shots to waste on missing targets but after hitting so few targets I did not
want to embarrass myself further.