Introduction: Si Reading – Why ?
Almost on a whim, on my 45th birthday, I decided to undertake the firearms course and buy a small rifle for plinking… the bug bit. The bug bit very hard indeed.
I started researching and devouring information about firearms.
I spoke and mixed with the firearm community and I found that whilst a lot of very nice people seemed to be involved, there didn’t seem to be a lot of “fun” associated with firearms… too me, it was lacking that “let’s have a laugh whilst doing this” factor.
Early on, I put this down to the mandatory “frown” that seemed to accompany almost everyone who was handling a fire arm. I figured this demeanor was related to the fact that firearm safety was so serious – as it should be!
Yes, firearms can be dangerous if not treated with respect… but so can my ex-wife. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a laugh at both of them.
The more I read, the more stories I found that were all technical based, or hunting trips that whilst interesting and full of facts – they just didn’t put a smile on my face, make me chuckle or even nod with a grin.
This is why I have chosen to write about my foray into this world. I hope that you will find my writings fun, light hearted and hopefully you might just find yourself smiling and nodding as you recall the time, you too set up a mate to fail badly or found yourself wondering what the heck you had got yourself into whilst enjoying some fun on the range.
Stay safe and have FUN!!!
“What the absolute hell”, she asked “Who the hell are you” ?
I puffed out my chest, “I am Simon Boon – I now have registered GUNS and I am king of the WORLD!”
“Buy one more and I’ll rip your jatz crackers clean off, heeear me ?”
INSANITY ? What a waste….
I don’t know where this came from, this new and overwhelming obsession with guns…it just came out of nowhere really…and Netflix.
During my 45 fleeting years on the planet, I have had numerous hobbies including, motorcycles, fishing, breeding and even compound bow target shooting but firearms have never really interested me…until now.
About 6 months ago, I decided on a bit of a whim to undertake the firearms course, which is now mandatory after some tall streak of duck poo in Tasmania decided to avenge his dislike for all things human and shot 35 people whilst driving around the south east of the beautiful state of Tasmania.
Up until then, it was a bit of a free for all down under… wanna gun? No worries mate, how many do ya freakin want? Ya want some dynamite to shoot at as well?? Are you sure your 16?
So studying up for the course, I started to research…and the more I researched…the more I liked what I read…there was real world skill in this shooting stuff…windage, elevation, MOA, FPS, ballistic coefficient – must digest more…more…MORE!!!!!
Part of the firearms course was shooting a .22LR and a 12 gauge shotgun – righto – one bullet is brassy and small, the other one looks like a plastic version of the old penny bangers that used to blow up my neighbours letterbox. Let me at ’em.
We lined up at the range and I was handed the bolt action .22lr and told to shoot ten shots into a target 25m away and if we could get a grouping around about 6 inches – we’d pass.
I lined up the rifle that was handed to me and I couldn’t even see the bloody target, I kept looking into the back of this scope thing and it was all black…Maybe it was on backwards, I don’t know…”mines broken” I yelled, “this guns crap…got another one mate” then the instructor came along and said, that’s a bit of a trick we play on newbies and pulled out a small reflective device lodged in the front of the scope – “yeah, good one”… I’ll be watching you, I yelled in my head.
So, after I’d decided that the instructor should be allowed to continue making fun of me on THIS occasion, I lined up the cross hairs and gently squeezed the trigger as I’d been told to do…BANG…shit, craps, WTF just happened… my ears were ringing, I’d almost fallen backwards and knock me down with a banana, there was a hole about 2cm to the left of the center of target.
Geeeeezzuuuuuuuuussssss – what the hell…THAT was AWESOME!
The next 9 shots took what felt like 4 seconds and I was standing, grinning like a complete and utter idiot – “Sir, please give me some more bullets…”
“No Simon, you’ve done pretty well, that’s your turn done, next person up…”
“Sir, I really don’t think you understand – I NEED more bullets…”
“Simon, we only shoot 10 rounds and…” I cut him off.
“Look, this is silly, this guy behind me can hardly see, he tripped over a minute ago – he’s not going to pass, give me HIS bullets and just move along.” I almost pleaded.”
“Simon, that’s not how it works…”
“FINE…have your stupid gun…” as I sulked to the back of the line, but something had been awakened in me…something primal…there was power in pulling that trigger, there was satisfaction in hitting that target, there was…more bullets…I needed MORE bullets. I quickly befriended the last guy in line “eh mate, give you $20 for half of your go ?” – “Piss off Simon…”
Some of the locals after witnessing Si’s target results.
Soon after, we all headed back into the classroom but all I could think about was actually shooting. I get that the safety aspect of firearms is serious and should not be rushed, I understand the dangers and I understand the.. – heck, I just wanted to shoot some more…and now.
15 minutes later, the instructor advised us that we were to proceed out of door number 2 and line up along the range where we would be shooting a 12 gau…
“Simon, get back in here I’ve not finished”.
But there was only a dusty whirlwind where I was once seated, I was first in line and I wanted the instructor to move a bit bloody faster to where I was now patiently waiting, if he didn’t mind.
The instructor came along and handed us a double barrel shotgun and two cartridges.
He showed us how to load and asked me to aim at two steel plates. He also mentioned that the recoil of the 12g could really hurt some people and he’d seen shoulders put out of joint…”ummm….what now ?”
“Did you just say, that this gun can take out someone’s shoulder?”
“Yes, well – it doesn’t happen ALL that often, but anyways…hold it tight and you should be ok…I hope” he muttered under his breath.
Okay I thought. This just got a little more serious…my mouth went dry, a little bit of wee escaped and I definitely didn’t want to go first anymore…but all eyes were on me, what else could I do?
I lined up the small dot on the 12g with the steel target, I leaned forward as instructed, I gritted my teeth, I slowly squeezed the trigger and…click. What..umm ??
The instructor nearly fell over laughing…”hahaha – blanks Simon, they were blanks haha ho ho…”…I felt so stupid…”yeah, I’ll give you ho ho bloody ho you… how’s the bladder control going, ya bloody ole coot”.
30 seconds later – we had live cartridges and once again, I lined up for my first shots of the infamous 12g shotgun. Again, I prepared as if I was about to be hit by a meteor…
BANG…WTF, OMG, GET THE…What THE..OH MY…WOW…Before I could even ask, the instructor quickly removed the gun from my hands…he could see the look on my face. He sauntered up next to me…
“pretty cool, eh”
…I had no words, I was in shock…the power of that gun, the noise, the feeling, the smell…
Mr Coot(not his real name) and I got on much better for the rest of the day and I was really quite sorry about his flat tires – I had nothing to do with them…no, really.
So to the now.
“Honey, I’ve bought a .22 rifle and a 12G shotgun.” I yelled towards her from another room.
“You’ve done what ?” she yelled back.
“Yep – I’ve found a passion, I’ve bought some hunting gear, I’ve arranged land access, I’m joining a shooting club and have bought some game tags. Also sweet, I just learnt that I need a bigger rifle for deer – so I’ve bought a .30-06 and I will, I WILL FEED this family of 6 and our dog!” “Oh yeah, I’ve also had to get a second safe”.
Once again she launched – “WHAT…WHO the HELL are you – stop watching that bloody meat eater show on Netflix and STOP buying guns, you can only shoot one gun at a time!” she yelled.
“Yeah – well you can only wear one pair of shoes at any one time, but that doesn’t bloody…”
I stopped as I could hear her steps rapidly approaching in a manner that made her sound like she weighed a LOT more than she did.
“Listen, if you buy one more bloody gun, I am going to do horrible things to you, your going through a bloody mid life crisis, why can’t you buy a cheap sports car, have an affair, do something normal like all the other 40+ year olds do…”
I wasn’t sure if this was a statement or a question or what, but I knew that this “thing” that had been awakened in me was not a mid life crisis, it would not be short lived, it was a hell of a lot of fun and I was going to jump right in the deep end and learn as much as I could.
However, what I did do, was go straight onto the banking website we utilize and change the bank statement wording from Weatherby 30-06 to “Girls Leather Boots”.
…oh no…has anyone got any room in their safe for a rifle for a couple years until things simmer down here – I am kinda of attached to my jatz crackers…
Si, the slightly warped enthusiast from waay down under.