The reticent shooter

Today was my last day at work in the UK. I was invited by one of the doctors to come for a drink after work, to which I said yes. During the chat my colleague mentioned that I am a shooter, whereupon the head consultant starts asking me all sorts of questions about the sort of shooting I do. It readily becomes apparent that he enjoys the odd bit of stalking (deer hunting for any US readers), so we have a good chat about deer, calibres, and experiences, and I get to thinking about how I have worked with this guy for six years but never had the subject of stalking or shooting come up in conversation. I know I am always cautious about mentioning hunting among new company in the UK for fear of a negative response, and it never came up from his end.

I think of the missed opportunities for a casual chat about the pleasures of venison, and I think that perhaps shooters in the UK need a secret signal that alerts other shooters/hunters to their involvement in the sport. As I said in the last post, to move forward in this sport it requires support from a community of shooters to enable us to develop and advance, but if we don’t know who is in that community we miss out on the chance.

In reaction to the failure to connect with another shooter because of my reticence in talking about my sport, I insert a photo from my last outing in the UK. This picture was taken around christmas and shows the first two deer I shot on an outing just after christmas. My rifle is shown for scale.

Roe and Muntjack 2012

Roe and Muntjack 2012

They are a Roe and a Muntjack. The Roe ended up in our freezer and the last of it is thawing now and will be eaten tomorrow. These two were shot from a high seat (tree stand for any US readers) on the Stonor estate in Oxfordshire. Shortly after this I shot two Fallow Does off the bonnet of the estate stalkers pickup truck. That is a day I will remember for a long time, and I will talk about in more detail in a later post.

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The end of an era

Bearsden Rifle and Pistol Club Medal

Bearsden Rifle and Pistol Club Medal

Last night (Thursday 26th April) I paid my last visit to Bearsden Rifle club. I had originally intended to shoot my last couple of cards but the plan changed to having a drink with a few of the guys.

Last friday all our stuff was picked up to be shipped across the pond. Unfortunately for one reason (pirates apparently), and another (money/hassle), the ammunition I had spent two days loading up (almost 500 rounds of .308 plus additional heads and cases) could not go. So I unexpectedly had to find homes for a large quantity of ammunition in less than a week. Fortunately for me the guys at Bearsden rifle club came through for me and I managed to dispose of the whole lot legally and safely, and then went for a drink.

I would like to express my gratitude to a great group of people whose support and encouragement has enabled me to develop enormously as a shooter. As shooters we need good facilities and support in order to practice our sport and grow in it and in Bearsden I found an ideal environment.

 

Postscript: This photo was taken on my last night at the club, it shows Niall MacDonald (seated), Kenny MacIvor(L), Myself (centre), and Andrew Gutenmacher(R) in the clubroom.

 

A Wedding in Wisconsin: Part 2

It has been an occasional pleasure on our trips back to the USA to go shooting with some friends at their home, often referred to as the ‘compound’. On these trip I would be allowed to get my hands on all sorts of fun things that don’t get seen so much these days in the UK.

On one particularly special occasion in 2009, Amanda and I happened to be back in Wisconsin for the purpose of getting married and as a present to us (although I suspect I got the most enjoyment from it) we were invited to shoot and have our pick of the guns available.

A beautiful revolver in .45 long.

A beautiful revolver in .45 long.

I chose a selection including a shotgun for some clay pigeons, a .30-06 rifle for some hi-power shenanigans, and a couple of pistols including a particularly nice one I had been shown on a previous trip but never had the chance to shoot. This belonged to the grandfather Jim, and was a beautiful nickel plated revolver in .45 long.

When I originally saw this pistol it hadn’t yet been fired, and so a few years later I asked if I could shoot it assuming it would by now have been fired. This turned out not to be the case and so I was given the pleasure of putting the first shots through it.

The first time I came to shoot at the compound, I was shown the best use yet for McDonalds happy meal toys, which is as a target for firearms. They dance and jump very satisfyingly when shot, although they take far more abuse than I feel is strictly necessary as the pseudo henchmen of a global mega corporation.

Other fun games involve filling plastic bottles with coloured liquid for dramatic effects when shot. The best effect is achieved with a hi-power rifle, hence the .30-06. I once tried shooting one of the toys with a .30-06, but it was unfortunately a bit of a dissapointment, the rounds passing straight through without moving the toy at all. I had to put the gun down and have a close look to be sure I had actually hit it. This also happened the first time I tried to shoot the aforementioned bottle of coloured water, my shots were going slightly high and were passing through the bottle just above the level of the water. A small adjustment of aim achieved the desired results.

Other pistols I have had the pleasure to shoot on these trips include a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum which almost tipped me over backwards with the first shot. Below is a picture of yours truly hitting the mark, not always a sure thing.

Shooting bottles of water

My friend Ben had made the trip across the sea to attend the wedding so he had a go with the guns as well. Below is a couple of pictures of him in action.

Ben shooting clays

Ben shooting clays

I am looking forward to lots more fun shoots at the compound. Hopefully soon I will be the one supplying the guns.

Ben shooting a revolver

Ben shooting a revolver