3Q It’s OK to Shoot–It’s Only Target Practice
August 13, 2007
I bought the air rifle on a Friday. I wanted to take it to the Friendly Neighbor so he could:
1) Tell me I had purchased the worst possible model possible.
2) “Sight” the scope of the rifle for me.
I called the Friendly Neighbors on Friday night. Unfortunately, both the Friendly Neighbors and the Randoms were busy on Saturday and Sunday. However, Mrs. Friendly Neighbor told me we were welcome to come over Sunday afternoon.
We got back from some tasks and errands rather late Sunday afternoon. Although I am an inexperienced hunter, I am a slightly experienced husband. Instead of calling the Friendly Neighbors, I asked my wife to call them. I knew the Friendly Neighbors would say, “Come right over.”
If I then said to my wife, “The Friendly Neighbors said, ‘Come right over,’” my wife would say,
“It’s dinner time. They don’t really want us to come over,” and then we would have an argument.
So we had the argument first, and then with somewhat bad grace, my wife called. After she hung up, she said, “They said to come right over.” Since she had heard it with her own ears, she believed it. If I had said it, she would not have believed it.
The Friendly Neighbors greeted us outside their house. Mr. Friendly Neighbor had set up a target, consisting of a large empty bag of bird seed, about 20 yards from their house. The bag displayed two large pictures on the outside: a large sunflower and a large cardinal. (Bird variety, of course, not Catholic variety. I was not planning on checking the rabbit’s religious affiliation before shooting.)
The Friendly Neighbor examined the air rifle carefully. He noted that the safety did not work the same as on his rifle. On his rifle, when you load a pellet into the chamber and close the barrel, the safety automatically engages. On my new rifle, the safety does not automatically engage. I guess there are two ways of considering this. His rifle is safer. On my rifle, if I am in a hurry, I can accidentally shoot myself more quickly.
He began firing the air rifle at the target from the porch of the house, resting his arm on the railing. After each shot, he would lean the rifle against the railing and walk down to the target to see how close the shot had come to the target.
The first shots missed the picture of the sunflower by a couple of feet. At first, the Friendly Neighbor was a bit puzzled by the mechanism for adjusting the scope, which is slightly different from the one on his air rifle. As I am always puzzled by mechanical devices, no matter how simple, I experience absurd feelings of gratification when I observe a person of much greater mechanical sophistication than I am puzzling over any mechanical object. I think I was discreet in not displaying my satisfaction.
I noticed that target practice involves a lot of walking. After each shot, we walked down to the target to see where the pellet had struck. Although golf is a game that I have never played and has never interested me, I presume golf players who play without golf carts actually get quite a bit of exercise. Are there target practice carts? Or at least scooters?
After many adjustments, Mr. FN began to get his shots into the sunflower. He indicated that the rifle seemed to be a reasonably good specimen of its ilk, much to my relief.
At that point, he invited me to try shooting. He circled all his pellet marks with a felt pen, so we would be able to distinguish my marks from his.
I had trouble using the scope with my glasses. I ended up taking off my glasses. I aimed for the picture of the cardinal. Both of my shots hit the very top of the cardinal’s head. They were a bit on the high side, but they were hits.
Mr. Friendly Neighbor declared himself impressed with my shooting prowess. I was impressed with my prowess in being lucky on my first two shots.
Next: Shooting for Women?