I have an old colleague and friend who stopped by the office a few weeks ago and wondered if he could make a shooting request. Well of course I was all
ears; so when asked to elaborate, Gene wondered if he could bring his 12-year-old grandson, Owen, out to my rural property. And would I mind if he fired
his first real gun. Seems like he had his fill of bb and air rifles, it was time to move him up to a .22LR and a shotgun (20 gauge). This was all
in preparation for getting the youngster ready for his first Minnesota deer season.
There is never any hesitation when it comes to introducing a youngster to the shooting sports, so a time was set for Sunday afternoon. The weather was
absolutely gorgeous and I made it especially interesting for young Owen as I had set up 10 bowling pins 73 yards away, and mixed up 2 Tannerite targets for
As I cut the weeds and grass from around the shooting bench I began to think how excited Owen must be, and my thoughts drifted back to the time when I
first fired a real gun. To my pleasant surprise I remember it well, which is doubly satisfying as it means my slow decline into senility has not
The first rifle I fired was a .22LR that my great aunt Milly had in her country home. It was a J.C. Higgins semi-auto with a 4X scope. My father took it
out back and I fired a few rounds. It was love at first shot. My aunt, the epitome of frugality, and despite being her favorite great nephew, told me that
if I wanted to purchase it, the price was $20. At fourteen years of age, and at $1.60 an hour it took some time to come up with the shekels, but eventually
Perhaps even more memorable was my first shot with a Colt 1911 that my uncle Sam had purchased at a gun show for $20. The year is 1971, and these
“clunkers” were at every other gun table as the furor of owning one was just not there yet. I will never forget seeing “U.S. Property ” on the
slide. Along with my dear friend Bob, we found an overgrown zucchini and tried to blast it. It was not easy. The distance was too great, and we went
through several rounds before the gagutz (Italian slang for this vegetable) blew up in a glorious way. Loving every bit of the recoil and
noise and swearing that some day I would own one, (finally a reality in 1978) this was a memory to take to the grave.
Gene, Owen, his dad and uncle arrived at 3:30pm. It was just wonderful to see this slight lad load up a Browning bolt-action rifle and take aim. He was
exceptional in his first time out. So much so, that I told him to save the target as this event was a one-time deal only.
The day progressed nicely and then Owen was handed a 20 gauge shotgun. It was at this moment that the lure of firearms took a step backwards as the recoil
really disturbed him. After several shots he decided to pack it in. The rest of us took umbrage at the bowling pins and shot a few sporting clays to top
off the day.
As the time was growing short, I placed the Tannerite target on a 4x4 and told Owen to take careful aim. He did, and hit it with the first shot. The
explosion and flash and billowing smoke was the capper for this boy as the wood block split into two pieces. He left very pleased and talked about his
adventure all the way home, then more still to his mom and grandmother.
So my question to you dear reader is; “do you remember your first shot?” Even money says you do.
In closing, I am so pleased you enjoyed yourself Owen. Come back any time you desire. Oh, and by the way, you owe me a four by four.