Go to the TRAP range they said, take your 12 gauge they said, you will cycle a LOT of cartridges they said, it will be fun they said…
Anyone that has started off late into the world of firearms, will know the underlying feeling to actually well…shoot – practice makes perfect right ?
…but before you can concentrate on becoming a better marksman, a picture of self control, you have to get the “school boy giggle” out of your system every time you pull, sorry squeeze, the trigger…
Bang…hehehe….I guess, in the sense of school boy joy, it’s a bit like beginner sex…? Ummm what ? No its not – shut up inner voice…that’s not what I meant…moving right along.
As a new enthusiast, I’ve been reading a lot about the different disciplines involving firearms and there are many to say the least.
Trap and skeet shooting with clay targets was a discipline that looked like something rich, cigar smoking rappers, with ounce bars of gold around their neck did off the back of a 60 foot yacht to impress bikini clad models…Doesn’t sound much like a colonial convict sport, but honestly, how hard could it be ? Ummm…well ?
Very BLOODY hard as it turns out!!!
I’ve now owned my current 12 gauge shoulder cannon, an ole Baikal side by side, for near on 3 weeks and I’ve had friends throw cans and bottles for me to shoot out of the air and my hit miss ratio is well – barn yard door comes to mind!
So with an average ratio of about 2 hits from 10 targets thrown by me convict relatives – I thought maybe I’d talk to some locals about possibly trying out this trap shooting deal…
The local range regulars simply vacated the area when Si turned up with his $200 baikal and a box of no 4’s – yeeehaaaa!
I rang up the local president of the nearest TRAP club and the conversation didn’t start well…
“Hey there, my name is convict Si, I’m a bit of a legend in my own back yard and I’d like to try trap shooting cause I think I’ll be good at it” ?
“Is this Richard ? Stop $%*#$%^ around ya cactus, I’ve got work to do….”beep, beep, beep.
Ummm…Okay…less of the banter…and maybe a more posh voice…and I tried again.
“Hello Sir, My nome is master Simoon and I beleeeeve, I’d like to troy the ole hand at soome trap shooting on this finest of Soondays, maybe then bother a cuple of Cuban’s fiinest and indulge in some ancient glenluvet, what do you say ole chap ?”
“Dearest Richard, I swear on the dunny, when I get hold of you…”
“Maaate – I’m sorry, it’s not Richard, just tell me what I have to do to get started in trap shooting…”
“Oh, I’m sorry – this friend of mine Richard, thinks it’s funny to call and…nevermind – be at the range at 13.00 and I’ll show you the ropes.”
Did I mention I was a new enthusiast? Que turning up at 11.00…and waiting….waiting…waiting.
So after introducing myself to some very nice people (a little unexpected – they were like normal?) and showing the locals my wonderful 12 gauge that I was sure was going to impress them, I was then asked to accompany one of the members (Adrian) to the 1st trap stand…he told me to leave my Baikal in the car – (I think he was intimidated by it!)
So, standing at stand one – I was handed what can only be described as a “Michael Angelo Fire Breathing Sporting shotgun”…it was one of the most amazing, mechanical creations I had ever seen. It was in fact a Beretta DT11, under and over 12g of significant quality and before my dribble reached the breach, I asked the value…
BIG EFFING MISTAKE.
“About $12,000 for this one but it’s a little old now, you would pay $16,000 to replace it, it’s my favourite, please don’t drop it…” casually mentioned Adrian.
“wha, wha, wha, wha, wha…WTF…??”
Note to regulars at the range. You DO NOT hand a newbie a $12-16,000 firearm and then ask them to not drop it…you just don’t do that…make some shit up – tell them, “yeah, costs a bit and wink” or “whatever” – but you don’t tell them that the gun costs more than their car!!
So…I was now…a little nervous, a little tight, slightly trembling and not really hearing too much of what was being said.
Adrian was pretty good at this shooting stuff…he hardly missed, even when I tickled him under the arm…but he did frown…a lot…at me. A better bloke to show me the ropes I couldn’t have asked for and as I started toward trap point 1 he showed me how to operate the traps via a verbal shout.
So I lined up and aimed in anticipation, a small crowd had now gathered to watch the idiot.
I aimed again, closed one eye cradling this mechanical art and yelled “PULL!”…twang…
Adrian said – “what happened ?”
I replied – “what do you mean?”
He asked, “why didn’t you shoot?”
I said, “Shoot what?”
“The clay target, Si – why didn’t you shoot the bloody clay target that flew out in front of you?”
“What bloody target, I didn’t see the bloody thing – if you are referring to that stupid tiny little orange thing that went away from me at 200 miles an hour – I wasn’t sure if that was real or was something in my eye…”
“Your an idiot, try again…”
The truth was – I barely had time to line the gun up with the target let alone send a message to my brain to pull the trigger…AND THEN – I also didn’t want to scratch said Ferrari shotgun as I tried to recall where the buttons were on my shirt…
I moved to stand 3. “PULL!”…BOOM, BOOM…click…
“Si, why did you pull the trigger a 3rd time ? You missed by a fair margin.” My mentor quizzed.
“I don’t know really WHY I PULLED THE TRIGER for a 3rd time… maybe there was a back up 3rd cartridge hiding in there?” hey – it’s possible…
At this point, I think Adrian had realised that I was not a natural and he was going to have to show me some of the very basics…
8 cartridges later – I had winged 2 targets…but was having more fun than one should be allowed with their clothes on, but I desperately wanted to get this beautiful shot gun away from my clumsy hands. This worked out well, because I think Adrian also wanted to get away from me – so win, win.
So then I sat back a little, watched others and took some mental notes…the tracing arc of the clay, the “measured” lead time, one continuous flowing action from behind, passing in to the front of the target, a non flinching squeeze of the trigger – it was a “flow”… not rushed but carefully measured.
Bugger this watching – I’m getting out the Baikal and me suitable for everything, boxes of number 4’s…yes, I NOW know – 7.5’s and smaller were ideal, but did I mention I was very new and wanted to cycle through a few cartridges ?
So, up to stand one and I yell – PULL…BOOM, BOOM…nothing. Must have been close, but missed.
Stand two – PULL…BOOM, BOOM…missed.
Stand three – PULL…BOOM, BOOM…missed.
I started to notice that the only flow being replicated here was not aligned with the actual goal of trap shooting. However, something was wrong…When Adrian had physically fixed my form and pushed me this way and that, with this immaculate under and over – I managed to sight the target relatively easily and freely – apart from actually shooting like a dead wombat, I had no other issues.
But now, with the much lighter balance of the side by side I couldn’t quite get my eye down low enough to sight the rib correctly, not without pushing my cheek very firmly into the comb and kinking my neck…it was unsettling and felt awkward…I simply couldn’t sight the gun like I had previously, my neck and everything just felt weird….however – I was cycling cartridges – yeeeehaaaaa!!!!!!
I kept going. Over to stand four – Pull…BOOM, BOOM – OMG, SHEEEEETTT…What the absolute crap was THAT?…have I been shot ? It felt like Mike Tyson had just left hooked me in the face…my cheek immediately went numb…I could feel tears welling in my eyes.
I turned around and saw about 5 people watching from near their late model audis’…I wasn’t going to let them know about my suffering…no way!
Over to Stand five. Grimacing but so keen to try and hit one…”PULL”…Boom…ARRHGGHHH CRAPS or TRAPS ?, PAIN, AGONY, MUM Are you there ??…this is insane…I turned around and some smart Audi driver yelled out – “you got that one cobs, keep going”…only, I couldn’t keep going – my cheek was starting to swell with every “pulse” of pain, but I didn’t want these semi pros knowing I couldn’t hold a bloody gun properly…I grimaced a half, “Yeah, even Elvis got lucky once”…but really I had no clue whether I had hit anything or not…
I fumbled in my pocket to try and count how many more cartridges I had left to endure – I really did not understand what was going on…but I went back to stand one and started to sob at the beating that I was about to take…and lined up. 8 shells left.
A few minutes after the last shot…and yes, I could still hear you buggers out the back !! Stop Laughing!!!
“PUll” I half sobbed…BOOOM…miss – SMACK, shit, I’ll be eating soup for a week…and again the comb whacked me in the face with a force akin to having a football thrown into your face…again, tears welled up in my eyes and this time the pulses of pain had caused the swelling to start to close off my right eye. ARRGGHHH!!!!!
I waddled to stand two…and again sobbed…”pull!”…BOOOM – HIT…I don’t care…and then just as a boxer who knows he is beat, stands and takes the last few punches to entertain the crowd…as did i…
Boom – OUCH, craps…I was then tapped on the shoulder by a lovely lady, a member and apparently a fine shot herself.
“Si, please come with me…you’re going to have to go straight to the Dr’s and get that checked out, it looks like you may have fractured your cheek, it’s really really starting to swell, are you okay?”
I tried to smile, I couldn’t.
I turned around…Oh joy…Hey everyone – see the newbie’s cheek – – Hahahaha lol…get stuffed ya pack of mongrels!
I went home with my tail, firmly between my legs – I had taken 35 shots and I had only managed to hit 6 clay targets and nail one dickwads cheek bone.
Day 5 after the incident and the bruise decided that it would head south. Stop LAUGHING!!!
I iced up the cheekbone and over the next few days it turned so many different shades of bruise that everywhere I went, I faced the inevitable range of questions…
“Hey mate, looks like you lost that round eh ?”
“Yeah, well sometimes she drinks and well…i don’t want to talk about it, I know she loves me…”
Si, the slightly warped enthusiast from waay down under.