Sep 11, 2009

The Rod & Gun Club

Question: What is there to do on a remote island that is experiencing a freak late summer four day monsoon?

Answer: Go to the Rod & Gun Club and learn how to shoot rifles of course!

"What's the Rod mean?" I ask.
"Fishing." Dad replies.

We're driving inland, up a hill, to the range. I don't see how fish can possibly be involved.

"I don't think they are." Dad says.
"Then why call it the Rod & Gun Club?"
"That's just what they're called."
"Yes, but why? Why not just the Gun Club?"
I think Dad wants to say We're here to shoot guns. Stop over-analyzing. Instead he says "That's a good question sweetie. I'll have to ask about that."

Later we run into the Rob, the club president, and Dad kindly repeats my question. Rob gives me a look that says You're here to shoot guns. Stop over-analyzing. Out loud he says that the club doesn't have a fishing component, and changes the subject to the outhouse they're planning on adding to the range due to the rising number of women joining the club.

Dad unzipped a .22 rifle from its carrying case and showed me how to check to see if it's loaded, how to push bullets into a magazine, how to attach the magazine to the gun, how to load the first bullet into the chamber, how to take the safety off, how to aim, how to fire. It was terrifying to be holding a loaded gun that would let loose a bullet at the squeeze of a finger. It felt stupid and incredibly dangerous. Who loaded this gun? Who gave it to me? Why would I want it? Don't they know that this gun could kill someone? Seriously, these things are dangerous. Take it away!

Holding a loaded gun went from being super scary to really exciting in about the time it took the first bullet to hit the paper target. I looked through the scope, tried to line it up with the bullseye on the target 25 metres away, held my breath and squeezed the trigger. And presto! A little hole appeared in the paper, up and to the right of the bullseye. I did it again and again, and more holes appeared like magic. The .22 is a semi-automatic, which I learned means you don't have to load the chamber manually between shots. You can just keep pulling the trigger. Fun!

We switched to the .243 rifle. This baby is a bolt action, meaning that after I took a shot I got to pull this lever back that pops the empty cartridge right out of the gun, then push it forward and down to reload the chamber. This gun was much louder and had a nice kickback that would knock me back a bit. It smoked a bit too, little wisps of it curling up out of the chamber. Like in the movies! I felt like a star. The air smelled like gun powder and if a crime lab investigator swabbed my hands I would have tested positive for GSR and been a suspect in their investigation! Like on the TV!

I could have tried a shotgun as well, but after claims that the kickback actually hurts your shoulder I decided against it. It's all fun and games until someone hurts their shoulder, as the old saying goes...

Dad said I'm a crack shot. I don't know what that means, but I think it's a compliment. I got to keep my paper targets and everything. Hello, scrapbook!

Hopefully this manly post will satisfy those claiming I've been too psycho lately with all my cute animal rants. Guns! Testosterone! Grunt!

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