The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Ever Growing Nation of Riflemen

Its a story to make GG happy, and at the end of the day, you can add two more.

But first, the important stuff. The other night, thanks to the generosity of the kids in the lane next to me, I shot the biggest, bommingest, loudest gun I've ever laid hands on - a Remington 700 in the awe inspring 300 Weatherby Magnum. WOW!!!

Now, back to the story.

Since its my goal to help return us to a Nation of Riflemen, I am constantly evangelizing to the uninitiated masses. A buddy at work has never shot a gun before (well, he thinks he may have shot something at summer camp when he was 12, but can't remember if he actually did or simply watched it occur). He was suppose to head out this weekend to go shooting with some of his friends from the gym, but the range was closed. When he told me this on Monday, I was a bit disappointed, but convinced him to join me on our trip to the NRA Range.

Wednesday rolled around and I split out early with plans to pick him up at the metro after work. We did that and by 7:00 we were in the NRA Range parking lot. Took him inside, had him take the safety test (which he passed with flying colors) and gave him a brief introduction to the workings of a firearm. Being his first time - when we were called to the lane about 15 minutes later I gladly picked up his lane fee and in the process convinced him to purchase an NRA Membership (DING! DING! DING!)

Before we even got out to the lane though, he was jumping from the sound of a booming rifle and marveling at all the AR-15s and other EBRs being safely utilized by what appeared to be law abiding Americans (did I mention said friend is a Democrat from . . . . . OHIO? - DING! DING! DING! more bonus points). We get out, and I lay the selection of arms before him and show him an assortment of cartridges - explaining the make up of each and the differences in intended use.

My Ruger MkII with a 5 inch bull barrel, custom trigger work (1.5 lb pull) and Bo Mar sights in .22lr
My SS Colt 1991A1 in .45 ACP
My Ruger Accusport Bisley Blackhawk with a 5 1/2 barrel in .45 Colt.

I then proceeded to help position the MkII in his hand, get his sight alignment and stance correct, and load a magazine for him to shoot.

It should have been easy, it wasn't. First, as I've already said, the MkII has about a 1.5 pound trigger - if not even lighter. Said friend was so nervious, he was flinching, anticipating the recoil, and struggling to actually pull the trigger (he was deathly afraid of it). Plus, he kept pointing the muzzle about 2 inches higher than the chamber. Now, part of the problem ws my own doing. He's got bad eyesight and needs new glasses and I had set the target back at 10 yards. I drew it closer - put it at 5 yards, and after shooting through a couple of magazines - and having me actually have my hand on his wrist while he fired it, he was finally able to hit the target. Of course, the other thing that was going on was the guys with the 300 Weatherby were to our left while two guys to our right were blasting away with an Armalight AR15.

Thinking the action and sights (the Mk II is set up for me) might be better in different weapon - I handed him the 1911. He pulled the trigger once - actually hit the target (neck area) and handed it back to me. He thought it was way to powerful.

Next up was the Ruger and I put a reduced pwoer cowboy load in there for him. He cocked it, fired it, and liked it alot better than the 1911. Ended up firing 6 well placed rounds from it overall, but asked to go back to the Mk II for more practice.

This was great, he was actually enjoying the Mk II (and was frustrated by the challenge driving him to shoot even more). All in all, he probably fired off 300 rounds or so.

Anyway, while he was busy firing away, I start talking to the Weatherby Magnum guys about the gorgeous rifle (they don't know what to hunt with it, actually didn't sound like they even hunted, they just had it for the incredible BOOOOOOM factor. Thats cooooool!!!!). While talking to them, the AR15 guys come over. One is an American - blonde hair blue eyes type. The other is a Sikh Indian - but obviously aised in the US (he had no accent). Turns out, Mr. Sikh Indian who had been blasting away on the AR15 had never shot a gun before this evening. WOW!! (DING!!! DING!!! DING!!!!). It really lends a lot of credence to what has been reported over the last few weeks as the appropriate beginers gun.

Having learned this, the Weatherby Magnum kids offer to let the Indian guy shoot the rifle. The set him up and BOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! he send a round flying down range and the look in his eyes was magic. Another Member of the Nation of Riflemen was born. I then grab my buddy and try to get him to shoot the Weatherby Magnum, but because of the problems with his eyeglasses he can't see out the scope. Oh well, next time. I decide to sit down myself and fire off a few rounds in exchange for letting the Weatherby Magnum kids play with my Ruger (which they had been eyeing lustfully - it really is a gorgeous piece of work).

After about 90 minutes we have to head out, and clean up. Said Buddy is thrilled and can't stop talking about how much fun it is to shoot - and is asking about good places to get a gun. I am going to take him out again and set him up on a few rifles as well as let him try some other handguns since the .22 isn't really a good personal defense weapon - I am thinking 9mm and .38 Special. The best part though is that he returns to work the following day and proceeds to tell everyone how much fun he had - and now I've got 3 other people who have never fired a gun (outisde of maybe once in boy scouts as little kids) wanting to go out with me shooting (DING! DING! DING!) Hell, once of them is even from Jersey (DING! DING! DING!)

New Members of the Nation of Riflemen: 2
Members in waiting: 3

If anyone else is in the DC area, hasn't fired a gun before, and would like to head out to the range for a day or evening of blasting fun, just let me know. Here are the details. If your outside the DC area but are still interested in learning about guns, Publicola is helping to organize the national efforts to educate and train potential members. Check it out. There is bound to be someone close to you.


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