|Marlin Model M-39A|
Our Church celebrated D-Day yesterday with an afternoon at the Range—the Pioneer Gun Club’s McBride Range specifically near Bates city, MO. When I announced the event a month ago, almost half the church said they wanted to come. The invitation was from all members age 12 and up. Several ladies, widows in fact, wanted to shoot—mostly for fun, but also to learn gun handling and safety. As expected, there was some attrition and when we arrived at the Range, we numbered nine shooters including me and Mrs. Crucis.
The Range was hot. I mean, it was hot with temps at 95 according to the thermometer in the Tahoe. The humidity fortunately was below 50%. That helped a bit.
We had four “new” shooters. I qualify the “new” because one shooter, Jim W, 78, once carried a .38 revolver as a USPS employee. He had never owned a weapon and it had been over 30 years since he had last fired one. The remaining three were a teenaged brother and sister, 15 and 13 respectively, and their mother. The mother had a severe case of Hoplophobia. She wanted to overcome some of that fear and before the day was out, she had fired three 10-round strings with my .22lr rifle.
The boy had been shooting with the Boy Scouts. The girl wanted to see “what the fuss was all about”. She had some fears like her mother but was young enough to overcome most of that fear and shoot. She did quite well, as good as her brother. In fact she fired a number of different .22lr rifles from a scoped bolt action Marlin to my lever-action Marlin M-39a.
We started with a 1 1/2 hour safety and gun handling session using Cooper’s Rules, the club’s Range rules, loading/unloading of pistols, revolvers, rifles and dry-fire with snap-caps.
We shot rifles until just before dusk. Towards the end, I hauled out my AR-15 and M1 Garand. The boy wanted to shoot the AR. My shooting buddy Dave, wanted to shoot both. Mrs. Crucis took some pics and if I can get them I’ll post them in a later blog-post.
As a final act while packing up all the ammo, rifles and accessories, the kids picked up all the brass for the club’s brass bucket, cleaned up all the trash and we left the firing line cleaner than when we arrived. That last bit taught was almost as important as the safe gun handling and shooting.
We brought more than a case of iced-down bottled water. By the time we left the range at dusk, there weren’t many bottles left that were unopened. I got a bit hot and drank three bottles myself. We spent a few minutes in the air-conditioned club-house, washing up, cleaning up and just cooling off with some Klondike Bars we bought from the club’s stash.
It was dark when we got home. I was just whooped. My clothes were as wet as if I’d been swimming in them. After gulping two 16oz mugs of iced tea, I felt much better.
It was a great day at the range.