Monday, August 22, 2005

Save the Skeets!

As noted earlier, The Freeholder had plans to venture to the range this past weekend to try out a new shooting sport--skeet shooting. We had quite a crowd for the event, including Daughter, Son, Old Friend, Old Friend's Older Brother and new participants, Old Friend's Younger Brother and OFYB's Son. Gun-wise, we had a Remington 870 Express Youth in 20 ga., a couple of Mossbergs in 12 ga., a Browning A500 in 12 ga. (at least I think that was the model) and my late uncle's Winchester Model 12 in 12 ga.

The guests of honor were 5 cases of unfortunate skeets and an untold number of boxes of shotshells. Given the 95o+ weather forecast, we also had 3 coolers of various soft drinks and water.

All of the Old Friend clan has had between some and a lot of experience in wing shooting. As for myself and my children, shooting anything moving is a new challenge. Heck, for the kids shooting a shotgun is something new.

Having never shot the Winchester or moving targets, I was of course given the honors. 2 escaped skeets later, I magnanimously allowed OFYB his turn, in which he promptly eviscerated 3 skeets. OFOB followed and clobbered all 4 of his skeets. OF tallied 2 of 4, and was followed OFYB's Son who, in a generous bid to make me feel at home, missed all of his skeets.

Daughter declined the opportunity to play the game. I think it was those 3" magnum loads OFOB was using. I swear, it looked like something out of the Revolutionary War--fire a shot, wait for the smoke to clear and see if the enemy was still there. However, she proved an excellent operator of the range's throwing machine.

Son, ever the game one of the pair, tried the 870. Unfortunately, he's still a bit short of the stature needed to easily handle even a youth model. We tried giving him some help in holding up the barrel, but that isn't a workable system. Eventually, we resorted to lining some immobilized skeets up on a log, and allowing him to shoot them, fish in a barrel style.

He also demanded to try the Winchester, which he found a bit stout to his taste.

At any rate, we continued the rotation, pausing a couple of times for gun cooling and hydration (us, not the guns). Everyone tried just about every gun. Based on the experimentation, if I decide to do this regularly, I want a semi-auto. It's really nice to have that gas action soak up a bunch of the recoil.

Eventually, even the worst of us (ahem) was able to get in the 40-50% hit rate. I was kind of pleased, until OFYB just had to tell me that we were making this easy by releasing the skeets pretty much straight down range. I reminded him that "easy" is a relative term.

After comparing shoulders, we sent the kids downrange to capture any winged skeets, along with any that were just tired of flying and laying in the grass. These will be held in their cardboard cages, and will eventually be sacrificed on the alter of the .22s at a later date.

Adjourning before the real heat came on, it should be obvious that we all had a real...blast. A repeat engagement is planned for cooler weather.

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