Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dad's .22's

Sending big caliber, center-fire rounds down range is quite gratifying, but sometimes a little less is more. So it came to be that I was heading to the range with two "dad guns," my Highwaymen CD cranked, a cold Mountain Dew in my paw and a brace of .22 rifles in the truck.

Two of my three dad figures were shooters to one extent or another. Step dad not so much so, but dad and dad-in-law had owned guns. All three are long passed away but remain dear to me in their own ways. Shooting their guns is like spending time with them.

I had an hour or two to fritter away. Got up too late to do much around the house and had volleyball at noon. So I figured it was a good time to go plinking with some dad guns. I selected two old .22 rifles from the gun vault.

One, a beat-up Mossberg 152, was dad’s. As a kid, I spent untold hours with this gun on the eternal quest for bunnies and squirrels. With it I learned to use peep sights and by taking it apart started my armorer hobby.

The other had been dad-in-law’s. I dearly loved the man and still enjoy time with his guns. He had more expensive taste than my dad. His rifle is a Weatherby XXII. He was an old-school southern gentleman and, in a moment of weakness, had proclaimed, “Son, for a Yankee, you ain’t half bad.”

Kris Kristofferson was starting to sing “Desperados Waiting for a Train” as I started an hour and a half of plinking away. Groups were pretty good, even with the mish-mash of differing ammos I used. Rattling tin cans was as fun as ever and the reminiscing wonderful.

.22s rock for a couple of reasons. They’re not too noisy. Ammo is generally cheap and easily available. Recoil is nearly obsolete and, generally, accuracy is pretty good.  They also excel for casual plinking and putting some small game into the stew pot.

Moreover, many of us started our firearms shooting with .22's that had been given to us by a dad-figure with whom we shared a bond. A .22 remains a great tool to use when introducing a new shooter to the sport; it can create bonds that endure.

Years from now, the son, daughter, nephew or whomever will go to the range to shoot the .22 you gave them and will remember you as they shoot. I had pleasant memories as I shot; they will too.

In the store we have several brands of .22's, and optics to go with them.  Rifles are from Remington, Mossberg, Chiappa, Henry, Smith & Wesson and Ruger.

Any time is a great time to introduce the next generation of shooters and the .22 rifles are the perfect platform for that.

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