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Diary
By blixco (Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 03:08:33 PM EST) (all tags)
Close your eyes. Relax. Open your eyes.  If the sight isn't still on the target, move your body, relax, and do it over.


I had no idea.

Guns, to me, are married to the idea of killing.  In my mind, you cannot have killing without guns and you cannot have guns without killing.  A lot of that is societal, but most of that is due to my upbringing.  My family, mostly conservative blue collar types, hunted a lot.  When I was a kid, we'd go dove and duck hunting whenever possible.  This exposed me to a lot of shotguns and beer.

The very first weapon I fired was my father's shotgun, which, being a Remington 870 12 gauge, was not exactly a kid-sized weapon.  The shells are an inch or so around, 3 inches long, and carry 1.5 to 3 drams of powder.  My father was actually holding the gun, though it was against my shoulder.

I hurt for two weeks from the recoil.  My ears rang for two days.

I didn't get a chance to shoulder another gun until 13 or so, and the weapon was an AR-7, a .22 caliber rifle that breaks down and stores in the plastic stock.  It was my borther's gun which he'd received for Christmas (I'd been given a guitar, which should tell you something about our development).

I was a decent shot with it, though with a short barrel and .22LR cartridges it was not an accurate weapon.  In high school I had friends who were competitive pistol shooters using Ruger or Buckmark .22 pistols.  I would borrow one of their few Ruger pistols and shoot close groupings from 25 and 50 yards, but I never pursued the sport.  Both friends became medalists in shooting competitions, one going on to Olympic shooting.

But years passed for me, and my mind fused with the idea that guns == crime, that guns are killing machines.  And maybe they are. Maybe they aren't.  These days, I find myself avoiding that discussion with the same aversion that I avoid the abortion debate. The discussion is a diversion, useless.  I refuse the debate.

I never hunt.  I have a grocery store really close by and can buy food.  I don't need to kill it.  I am not a fan of most venison, and don't like game birds.  If required, yeah, I'll eat me some dove cacciatore.  But not if I have chicken handy.

There's a segment of society out there, though, who shoot little holes in big pieces of paper.  And it turns out that's what I dig: seeing how close I can some to consistant groups of holes in pieces of paper over the course of X rounds of ammo.  It requires....something.  Discipline? Control? Understanding of physics and weather and affects of heat on metal and...and...yeah.  Voodoo with some skill.

I recently picked up a rifle, a Remington bolt action.  This after years of no gun ownership.  I went shooting recently with a Marine sniper and a Navy SEAL, and they taught me a thing or four about shooting a target.  After one morning of hitting a paper target from 200 yards, I was hooked.

And it turns out I'm pretty good at it.  With a .308 caliber Remington, I managed to hit groupings of .5 iand .75 inches (3 and 4 round groups) from 100 and 200 yards.  My instructor, a Marine named Wil, was the only one not surprised.  "You take instruction well, and you have the core knowledge.  No surprise."  Everyone else sees my bullseye groups (6 shots each within .75" of each other at 200 yards) and sort of freaks out.

I found that when I am shooting, I have to be in a space the is not at all related to violence, to any sort of testosterone nonsense.  I sit in a vaccuum, numb.  I can't think of anything except my breathing, my heart rate, my body position.  I pay close attention to the amount of tension I have, and reduce it.  I stare at the target through the sight, center the bullseye, and close my eyes.  I breathe deep, slow, and open my eyes.

If the bullseye is still centered, I press the trigger.  If the bullseye has moved, I re-position my body, per instruction.  Natural point of aim attained, I breathe.  At the bottom of an exhale, in that half-second before inhale, I gently press the trigger stright back.  No pulling it, no squeezing it.  Press, straight back.

The shot flies.  Since I started shooting my own rifle (a Remington Model 700 SPS in .223), 90 percent of those shots hit within a grouping of .75 inches of where I aimed them.  I hit the bullseye a lot.

I am pretty good at this.  That isn't bragging, as I think anyone with a decent rifle can do this.

You just relax.  You empty your head.  You find the target.  Press the trigger. Soft, smooth.

Every other thing is a distraction.

< RIP | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Shooting. | 50 comments (50 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I like shooting guns by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #1 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 03:56:50 PM EST
but I've never shot at a living thing.

I'm not well suited for shooting though, with cross domimant eyes, poor eyesight and a shakey disposition. I got a D in college in Riflery.


You had riflery in college? by blixco (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:08:17 PM EST
I have a genetic degenerative nerve condition that causes me to shake.  My rifle is on a bipod on the barrel side (a Harris bipod) and a sandbag on the stock side.  No shakes.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
I went to Penn State, and Pennsylvania is a by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #24 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:47:57 AM EST
hunter's paradise. This was the 80's, too.


[ Parent ]
WIPO by motty (4.00 / 2) #3 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:08:36 PM EST
Mu.

But hell. Still. Damn.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T

The Marine I shoot with by blixco (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:18:10 PM EST
says that target shooting is the only method of meditation that he has left.  He gets into position and just hangs in space for as long as it takes, slowing down.

It is unlike his shooting at human beings.  When he is operational, his thought process is tied up with all the mechanics of his body and the math of the shot.

When he is aiming at a target, he does pay attention to those things, but he doesn't obsess on them.  He relaxes.  He stays in the bottom of that breath for as long as he can.

You can feel it when you're on.  You can feel it.  I know just before I nail a tight group, I can tell it's a good shot.  It's impossible to describe, but I have one tiny fraction of time where everything in my head...every thing...is harmonic.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
You know me. by grendel (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:38:18 PM EST
I was raised with guns, and many, right at hand. I always loved target shooting, though we were typically unsophisticated about it, and it ended up being random crap dumped in the desert.

But, it's very true about really shooting, and aiming, as opposed to randomly spraying bullets into the ether, though I find both immensely satisfying in their way, there is a difference.

I gotta agree with you on the hunting thing in essence. I don't discount it as deeply as you do, but I chose not to do it myself either.

Very Zen. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:47:47 PM EST
+1 FP.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
I'm only good with moving targets. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 2) #7 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 05:54:24 PM EST
I don't know why. I can't hit a stationary target for shit. Though, on rolling skeet, I can regularly nail the clays and it is not unheard of that I nail two targets with one shot, situation permitting.

My brother jokes that something has to fool me into thinking it is alive before I can rouse myself to killing it.

I'm terrible by blixco (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 05:55:52 PM EST
at moving targets.  I do have a shotgun, but is is only for zombies.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
In the unlikely event of zombie holocaust . . . by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 05:57:39 PM EST
We need to make a deal to team-up. Together we'd be more than enough for the "stinks."

[ Parent ]
In the likely event of zombie holocaust... by MissTrish (4.00 / 2) #21 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:21:47 AM EST
Load up the gals and guns to Toronto, we'll have a fortified neighborhood a week in and need a couple extra gun hands. 'Specially since misslake won't let us get a rifle.

ypu're a chair
[ Parent ]
I don't think you want a rifle. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #47 Tue Sep 26, 2006 at 01:58:10 AM EST
Since zombies just keep on comin unless their itty bitty bits, you'd need somethin pretty bi to stop a zombie.


[ Parent ]
Mostly by MissTrish (2.00 / 0) #48 Tue Sep 26, 2006 at 02:28:47 AM EST
I want the rifle for hunting down the mutant squirells with their tasty tasty mutant meat. The zombie hordes get something slightly more illegal in these parts, which will be easier to acquire once the law goes down.

ypu're a chair
[ Parent ]
never shot a real gun by alprazolam (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 07:11:20 PM EST
i too associate guns with killing and i've pretty much had enough. you can do a lot of damage with wrist rockets and firecrackers.

Yeah, by blixco (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:59:08 AM EST
I had (and my wife still has) major issues with having a firearm in the house.  But this really is like...hrm...it's like golf.  Except it doesn't suck.  And there's no beer involved.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
no subject by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #37 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 08:55:59 AM EST
> And there's no beer involved.

Are you sure you're doing it right?

Clearly you're not from my home town.

[ Parent ]
Nah. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #39 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 09:23:37 AM EST
At the shooting ranges, there are strict rules and some serious enforcement.  It's all for safety.  The outdoor range I go to has a better safety record than any work site.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
there you go being all responsible -nt- by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #43 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:29:25 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Dry fire w/ a stack of dimes on the barrel. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 3) #11 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 07:29:47 PM EST
Seriously. That's what made me the killing machine I am today.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I learned that method in Army Basic Training by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #16 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:27:07 AM EST


Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I tried that by blixco (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:00:30 AM EST
and can press the trigger without disturbing the stack, but my natural point of aim is often very different from where the dimes want to be.  And it would add tension instead of easing it.

But it's a good method for learning how little force to use on a 2 pound trigger.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
Hrrrmmm... by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #35 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 07:28:07 AM EST
Sounds like you need to re-visit your body's firing position, if you're shifting that much.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
At some point by blixco (2.00 / 0) #40 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 09:24:48 AM EST
I'll be better (and more naturally) aligned.  A lot of my having to re-position has to do with my back.

When I'm in a prone position, I'm much less...er...prone to moving.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
I hate guns. by calla (4.00 / 3) #12 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 08:37:30 PM EST
The shrink says that's because I want to have sex with them.

Stupid shrinks.

"but i have a vested interest in keeping the people who see me naked interested in continuing to see me naked." 256

plspstpixkthx by wiredog (4.00 / 3) #17 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:27:59 AM EST
etc. etc. etc.

IAWTP concerning shrinks.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
not all shrinks by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #36 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 08:00:23 AM EST
I had my head shrunk in 2000-2001, after my mother died and my stepfather died three weeks to the day after (we got his diagnosis the day after her funeral), and I started exhibiting PTSD symptoms that were fucking up my ability to, oh, live and work.

He was good, and he really helped, but he was a full on psychiatrist, and not a psychologist, which might have made a difference.  He didn't push pills.  He just asked the hard questions and delivered some tough news.  Worked for me.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
That's by blixco (4.00 / 1) #41 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 09:26:36 AM EST
the thing, is thatthey don't do magic, and a lot of people want or expect magic.

That and some of the ideas used by, say, Jung are pretty wacky.

But yeah, if it helps, hell yeah.  Do it.

Plus, there's good and bad in every profession.  All my headshrinkers have been really really good.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
When's the 600 yard shooting start? by jaxom green (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 10:31:59 PM EST
I've never been able to make groups 3/4" across at 200 yards, despite having read about proper shooting technique and having a small amount of training at Boy Scout camp.  I never really understood the technique.  In a few simple paragraphs you have done a better job describing what to do than everyone else I've known.  I plan on rereading this just before I go rifle shooting, hopefully I'll do much better now that I grok the concept.


600 yard? by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:28:32 AM EST
What rifle are you using? The .50 cal sniper rifle?

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
A 30.06 by blixco (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:57:28 AM EST
and even a .308 will hit 1000 yards.  Now, it may not do any damage once it gets there, but paper is pretty easy to shoot through.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
Shooting by hulver (4.00 / 2) #14 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 12:48:21 AM EST
I used to shoot a .22 rifle, back before Nanny banned any sort of firearm over here (did you know our Olympic shooting team has to travel to France to practise?).

I was pretty good at it, although hampered (I was told, I didn't feel hampered) by being left handed and having to lower the bolt action rifle to reload it from the wrong side (no magazine on these babies, shove it in yourself).

I used to group 6 shots within an old 5 pence coin (which Wikipedia reliably tells me is 23.59 millimetres, 0.929 of an inch)

Fun. I used to get the same feeling from grouping shots like that as I do from bowling a strike or potting a snooker ball. As soon as you throw the ball/hit the cue ball/pull the trigger it just feels right. If it feels wrong, you missed.

Good fun.
--
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

Indeed. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:03:54 AM EST
Yesterday I was on for roughly five rounds out of fifty.  The other 45, I hit near where I wanted and they were dgerees of OK, but for five shots I was perfect and I didn't have to look to know it.  Just felt right.

The loading action you metnion...setting the rifle aside and reloading...when I started shooting, Wil had be doing that, loading without the magazine.  Slowed me down, I had to think about the act of loading, get smooth on the bolt, smoothly unload, etc.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
I fully understand why people like guns by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 01:03:57 AM EST
You've explained it very well above. I'd like to try shooting one day, I was pissed off a few years ago when I missed out on a chance to go clay pigeon shooting. If I ever go to the States for a decent amount of time I think I'd like to try hunting. I don't see anything wrong with killing your own food, in fact it's probably better for the animal that way.

Thing is though, fascination with guns is also a fascination with violence. I recognise that in myself.

Because of this, there's a demographic of people who are attracted to guns who shouldn't really own them. Although we have less fun and are probably less in control of our destinies in the UK because we aren't allowed to bear arms, I'm quite happy with that.

--------
It's political correctness gone mad!

Picked up a gun by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #19 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:43:29 AM EST
Now down in Texas you can get those at convenience stores right?  Bottle of milk, pack of gun, .357 Magnum, and a loaf of bread.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Only rifles at convenience stores here. by atreides (4.00 / 2) #22 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:31:33 AM EST
If you want a pistol at one, you need a 7-11 in Louisiana...

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.
"...compassion is more than a 16 point word in scrabble." - MostlyHarmless


[ Parent ]
That's funny by paperdoll (4.00 / 1) #20 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:58:57 AM EST
we are going shooting this weekend.  I plan to completely kill my Lexmark printer.  I like guns but only the older ones back in the days of Colt and Browning.  Then they were almost art, well made, nice lines, some are quite beautiful.

You should by blixco (4.00 / 1) #42 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 09:28:15 AM EST
get pictures of the printer kill.  And pictures of you firing at it from, say, a prone position.  In a bikini.  Consider it a new income stream.

Now: how many people did I just creep out by suggesting my sister-in-law wear a bikini for a photo to be auctioned to the highest bidder during an episode of the Gordon Liddy radio show?
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Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
We are going to by paperdoll (4.00 / 1) #45 Fri Sep 22, 2006 at 02:56:40 AM EST
try to remember the camera, but I have Rob Zombie tickets for tonight then first thing Saturday morning we are going out to meet everyone at some friend of Glenn's land.  I'll be lucky if I remember the guns.  Bikini is not an option right now, my weight loss isn't going so well, I'd look like the chubby girl in all those old beach party movies except with an M1 carbine.

[ Parent ]
Rob Zombie! by vorheesleatherface (2.00 / 0) #46 Fri Sep 22, 2006 at 03:25:19 AM EST
I'm jelous! I just got the new album.

And just what is wrong with the chicks in the old beach party movies?


[ Parent ]
The concert was great by paperdoll (2.00 / 0) #49 Tue Sep 26, 2006 at 01:20:36 PM EST
They played 4 songs off Educated Horses. There is nothing wrong with the girls in the beach party movies, but I think one or two of them are a little chunky for tiny bikinis. 

[ Parent ]
Educated Horses by vorheesleatherface (4.00 / 1) #50 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:40:48 AM EST
I like the album quite a bit even though it seems to be a departure from Rob's earlier music. Seems his last couple of CDs have been a little mellower than his older stuff, so I'm glad to hear he played what I can only assume are the best songs on the CD, and played older stuff too.

I got tickets to go see GWAR in NY next month. Low and behold, a couple weeks after my tickts arrived in the mail, they announce a show here in VT! Oh well. I'm still going to NY.

Nothing wrong with women with extra curvasciousness in tiny bikinis in my humble personal opinion. A personal preference as a matter of fact. Although I can see why some women would just be too self conscious to wear them. It's no fun to be thinking about what you look like all the time instead of having fun. But to those with the confidence (or lack of inhibition) to display themselves I have nothing but admiration.


[ Parent ]
You know what I miss? by atreides (4.00 / 1) #23 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:34:15 AM EST
My grandpa and I would sit on the front porch with pellet rifles and shoot the squirrels trying to get pecans and apples out of our trees. Did I mention the house was across the street from the State Cemetary? I'm sure they frown on that now...

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.
"...compassion is more than a 16 point word in scrabble." - MostlyHarmless


We are similar in this regard by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #29 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:33:12 AM EST
I don't care much for hunting, I just don't like to kill animals.  As you said, it's not like I need to do it for food.  Mind you, I do enjoy venison, but I won't kill it myself.

However, I do enjoy target shooting.  Its a something I used to do for hours as a kid.

My wife can't stand firearms, so I don't have any in the house, but I have plenty of friends with big bang bangs.  I have to say I enjoy shooting .22 about the most, simply because I can take my time and not worry too much about ammo costs.

Gedvondur
"I don't have enough middle fingers to communicate my feelings to you." --clover kicker

heh. by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #30 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 05:01:50 AM EST
I've sold guns because they were too inaccurate. Or, rather, their trigger pull and safety mechanism (cough couglock cough) make you tremble way too much during a shot. Oddly enough, neighbor yesterday wants me to take him shooting with his arsenal.

Anyway, I must say, you're wrong about venison and game bird. This is stuff you can't find in the grocery store. While I still need to sit through basic hunter safety to get my license (next sat, the 30), I have a friend who regularly supplies us with goose, duck, venison, etc. Tasty stuff, my friend, tasty. You just have to know how to cook it right. And cooking game meat is a dying art.

I'm by blixco (4.00 / 1) #31 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 05:08:54 AM EST
a pretty fair cook of game, but I never acquired the taste.

And I dunno about your grocery, but ours has all sorts of duck, geese, buffalo, game hen, and sportfish galore, and there's a processor down the road who sells venison (deer, antelope, and exotics).
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
see, I need that kind of place by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #32 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 05:19:16 AM EST
where I can get rabbit, venison, duck etc. Nothing like that around here.. And having it store bought is easier than cleaning them yourself. Or getting up at 3 am to go sit in a tree stand. Or hauling the carcass 2 miles to the truck. etc.

[ Parent ]
I was dissuaded from wanting to try by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #33 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 07:10:41 AM EST
shooting a gun when a friend told me about the one time he shot a handgun in a barn. He ended up with tinnitus. He had to sleep with a radio next to his ear, to drown out the ringing.

Hearing protection by blixco (4.00 / 2) #34 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 07:19:29 AM EST
and eye protection are mandatory on most ranges, and are a great idea in general.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
i think I see the problem by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #38 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 08:59:50 AM EST
Doing it inside a barn == not smart.

[ Parent ]
It's better to get tinnitus by calla (2.00 / 0) #44 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 07:26:55 PM EST
the uber-cool way - at a punk show.

Or you could get tinnitus the way I did - at a zydeco show.

"but i have a vested interest in keeping the people who see me naked interested in continuing to see me naked." 256

[ Parent ]
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