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Wednesday, June 25. 2014
The car was found undamaged the next week, but nothing else was ever recovered. The police told me that my guns went to Mexico and that someone in Arizona (probably) got a real good Sony TV!
My insurance settlement, received in early fall, was quite generous and I headed to Oshman’s in Scottsdale to restock my weapons. Having become interested in trap shooting, my first purchase was a Remington 870, twelve gauge, with a trap barrel and ventilated rib. This shotgun served me very well over the five years that I shot competitive trap and it was also a deadly weapon on ducks and geese! But, if I had been real smart I would have invested in a Perotzzi trap gun! Laughingly, I say that, but I was never a good shot with a trap gun. The stocks high comb, and me being blessed with a short neck and arms, precluded me from getting my head satisfactorily down on the stock. A simple lengthening of my 870’s stock was all it took to give me the correct sight picture for trap shooting.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, June 15. 2014
During the summer of 1971, after I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, it was time to get ready for the opening of dove Season on September 1. At the time, way out north on Scottsdale Road, there was a trap shooting facility, The Shot Yard, and I carted my shooting age family out to hone our skills for the upcoming bird season.
The proprietor of The Shot Yard happened to be from Houston, and when he was in Houston had been a salesman for another large computer company. We had shared several accounts competitively and I had scored some significant wins against him. He changed professions.
We were a motley crew lining up to shoot with the “pros”, but as we prepared for the upcoming season, it soon became clear to me, my, 12 year old, son, Brad, and my former wife that we had stumbled upon a family sport. We were smoking the clay birds with regularity and the misses, became few and far between.
Our first dove season in Arizona was a resounding success, helped along by our trap shooting practice. Randy, age 8 and Suzanne, age 4, served as “fetchers”, but Suzanne could never learn to pull off the downed dove’s head.
Soon after dove season ended, quail season started, and my love affair with Quail hunting reached passionate heights. The first Gambel quail that I shot is mounted and displayed on the gun cabinet on our old ranch house. It has held up remarkedly well with 2, cross country, and 5 in state moves.
I well remember the shot on the first quail, a long one, in the Salt River bottom, west of Phoenix. One feather came fluttering down, the bird kept flying, and plop, fell to the ground with one shot pellet having entered under its right wing and pierced its heart.
Too soon, quail season ended but in early 1972, The Shot Yard’s proprietor, talked us into entering a competitive trap shoot he was holding. For the family’s first go at trap shooting, we did well and quickly became “hooked”.
My first win at a trap tournament was in May of 1972 in Show Low, Arizona where, to determine the winner, I was involved in a four person, “shoot-off”. Feeling nerves, but taking my station on the line, and turning up my concentration, I was able to hit five straight clay pigeons while my opponents fell out, one by one. One added bonus, my mother, Ruth Bryan, was visiting my family in Arizona and she was able to watch this shoot and watch my win in the “shoot-off”.
Being the last man standing meant victory and as a trophy a very nice Nambe Ware salad bowl set, a winner’s check for $200.00 and over $200.00 more for winning the Calcuttta. Since none of the experienced shooters knew me I “bought” myself for $2.00. As the years went by it became extremely difficult for me to purchase myself in the Calcuttas. If another shooter or spectator bought me he would win eighty percent of the pot and me, the shooter, would only get twenty.
By the fall on 1973, Brad and my ex were state champions in their respective classes and I had moved to the number 2 spot in the statewide rankings of handicap shooters. In handicap shooting, the shooters are classed by yardage from 18 to 27 yards, depending on individual skill and past wins. Small purses were paid for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes, but the “big money” was won in the Calcuttas!
What started as a “tune-up” for dove season, had now become an avocation for my family, but again, my day job interfered with it.
Sometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 16:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 12. 2014
My last trap shoot was in 1975, at the Moccasin Bend Trap Club, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we decided to make a family weekend out of it. The family piled into our camper (we didnâ€™t have a Suburban then) and we took the leisurely 2, hour drive from Sandy Springs, Georgia to Chattanooga and checked into the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a real neat hotel converted from an old bunch of sleeper cars, complete with a dining car. In 2014, the kids still talk about it!
We visited â€œSee Ruby Fallsâ€, we saw â€œRuby Fallsâ€ and when they turned the lights out, we were appropriately scared! Not only did we see the advertisements on the barns along the freeway, but also we saw the Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain battlefield and Chickamauga, the site of the largest battle fought in the western theatre during our Civil War.
Sunday morning found us on the way to the gun club and I was going to surprise the good â€˜ole boys in Tennessee. Being a real â€œhotâ€ shooter out west, but not known east of the Mississippi, I â€œboughtâ€ myself in the Calcutta for a whopping $3.00, the minimum amount. The handicap event began, and I was placed with the long yardage shooters and I was breaking clays automatically. Walking to the last station and leading the shoot, the thought of my potential winnings, over $1,000.00 flashed through my mind and was quickly pushed out and my concentration returned.
â€œPull,â€ I barked and the clay pigeon wobbled out of the trap machine, a hard right bird, which I led and pulled the trigger, no Bam, no ignition of the shell. The puller/ scorekeeper called out â€œlost birdâ€ with just me looking funny at my trusty Remington 870, Trap Model Shotgun.
The trigger mechanism had broken. I had five minutes to fix the trigger, or get another gun, otherwise I would be disqualified and my only option was to get my ex-wifeâ€™s Remington 1100 Automatic, with a shortened stock.
I missed three out of the last five clays and finished second, which paid $200.00, plus another $150.00 from the Calcutta (not bad for 1975). So much for a big â€œhitâ€ and after this shoot, I retired myself from competitive shooting. My kids were very active in sports and my day job required too much of my time.
I say again, â€œSometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation.â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:56 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 8. 2012
It's still hot in central Texas and we were dressed accordingly! Late yesterday morning we went our and shot my .380 pistol, the pistol has a built in laser sight that we used extensively and it really improved our accuracy.
Suz and her boys came down for a stay, they went home yesterday, but before they started traveling back to Paris, Texas that is, she, Wesley and I went out to try out a new, for her, pistol, my .380 carry gun and of course I have a CHL license. From this brief trial, just think, her husband Paul, now will have to shell out and get her one like this!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, March 10. 2012
Unceremoniously finishing my practice birds, 5 more shooters, then the real shoot would start. Getting to watch some very good shooting, I picked up some useful pointers. Donâ€™t be glued to the middle of the shooting area. Change your position once the colombaire says â€œListoâ€ and he canâ€™t change his. Your initial aim point is the center of the middle rope. Block out the colombaireâ€™s movements and just watch the bird. Keep both eyes open and concentrate on the pigeon. And a truism of all wing shooting, swing through your shot, donâ€™t stop your swing until the bird is hit and always be ready for a second shot!
My turn came up as the lady in front of me finished with the lead having knocked down 7 out of 10 birds thrown. Being nervous, I took a half breath, walked to my position and looked the colombaire in the eye. His lips moved, but with ear protectors on and being hard of hearing from too much shooting without them, I heard nothing. I told him to speak louder and he smiled and said â€œListo.â€ â€œPull,â€ I answered and the bird sailed over the rope and dove to the ground and Pow, Pow, I missed both shots!
After the miss my nerves were gone and I hit 8 straight birds including a long, long shot of over 75 yards with the bird falling just inside of the flags. Concentrating completely, being deaf and having ear protectors on I could only hear the â€œListoesâ€. But Brad told me later that I really had all of the other shooters attention. â€œWho is that guy with the wide shoulders?â€ â€œ I have never seen him shoot before.â€ â€œThat old guy can really shoot!â€ â€œWhat a long shot!â€ The crowd murmured.
On my last bird, 9 of 10 should win the shoot for sure, the colombaire stood right in front of me, smiled and said, â€œListoâ€, I moved 2 side shuffles to my left, clearing him, he took 2 spins forward as if to release the bird like a discuss, then of all things, released it behind his back. The bird was flying between the colombaire and me, and Iâ€™m completely faked out, in the wrong position to shoot a hard right bird and Pow, Pow, 2 feeble misses. The colombaire then did something I had not seen him do with the other shooters, he came toward me, held out his hand, and smiled saying, â€œGood Shooting.â€ Everyone was patting me on the back, shaking my hand and congratulating me, but I was worried that one of the last 5 shooters would tie or beat me.
The last 4 shooters had sixes and sevens and, as in all good stories, the last shooter a young man probably in his mid twenties, and sporting an old, beat up, 12 gauge, pump, tied me. He missed his first bird, then shot seven in a row, missed number 9 and hit an easy straight away for 8. We tied and to determine the winner, a shoot off was needed.
Having come to the shoot to support Brad, I found myself in a shoot off for the championship. This wasnâ€™t planned, but I would definitely do my best. The colombaire was primed to make both of us work hard for the victory. While he paced around in the throwing area, he was getting the bird ready, pulling tail feathers out and swinging it around,. We both missed the first 2 birds, our colombaire stepping up the level of his throws. Shooting first, I nailed a low bird right past the rope and my opponent hit a high, climber. I got a discuss type, behind the back bird to my right and dusted it on the first shot, but hit it square on the second and my opponent hits on his second shot also.
Still tied, I moved to the shooters position, and the colombaire was smiling and pulling tail feathers out. Iâ€™ve seen everything he has I thought, so he spun and released the bird with his right hand, a hard left one and I hadnâ€™t seen that! Pow, Pow, I missed. My opponent won the shoot with an easy climber. My young opponent was the best shooter that day. Second place still paid handsomely, but I donated my winnings to Jubalee Junction!
However, second guessing, I think that if I had hit the hard left bird, our colombaire would have pulled one of his tricks on my opponent. Who knows?
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 7. 2012
Right in front of me the colombaire yelled, â€œListoâ€, he was a man around 50 years old, left handed, with all the moves of a baseball pitcher, which professionally he was in his youth. Nervously answering, â€œPullâ€, he overhanded a pigeon right in front of me, it darted low, he hit the ground, and with too much movement in front of me, I shot 2 holes in the sky, completely missing the bird. What an inauspicious start to my first pigeon shoot!
Brad got 3 practice birds and moved into the shooters area, shouldering his shotgun, â€œListo,â€ said the thrower and Brad countered, â€œPullâ€, the bird rocketed over the rope climbing for all it is worth. Pow! The bird folded and Pow, Brad discharged the second shot. Again, a shooter gets two shots to hit the bird and if successful on the first, must discharge the second into the air.
To be continued on March 10th.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 17:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 29. 2010
On Monday, I decided to shoot my .17 HMR, then I thought to myself Since I hadn't shot the new rifle since I sighted it in why not check it out? The new one, a .243, hasnâ€™t been exposed to any hunts, yet, but itâ€™s lightweight and from the sight in, handles quite well and shoots where you hold it!
First up was my .17 HMR and from 50 yards I put all 15 shots in the 10 ring. Of course, I forgot to take my camera along, so no picture.
Next up, and last, was the new .243. Having sighted it in at 100 yards, I held on the red dot and here are the results.
On my way out to hunt Monday afternoon, I walked by the shooting range and took this picture of the grouping.
I musta' pulled off on one, but still not bad shooting for an old guy!
Monday, December 13. 2010
On November 5, the day before deer season opened, I went down to Mills County General Store, and bought me a new .243 rifle.Â It was a Remington, Model 770.Â Back in 1978 I bought Randy a Remington 660 in .243, caliber.Â He has killed over 30 deer with it and it has served him well.Â In fact his two oldest sons, Austin and Sean have used it successfully to score their first kills.Â This story is highlighted in my November 13, 2009 post, â€œLike Father, Like Sonsâ€.
Back to my new rifle, I took it out to my range and at 25 yards it put 1 high and 1 low and right away, I knew something wasnâ€™t right.Â That something was the scope and for some reason it was loose.Â Taking it back to the General Store, they fixed it, now, between deer season and high school football and basketball, Iâ€™ve finally carved out some time, hopefully, to get the new rifle sighted in.
Sunday afternoon, after a lunch of chicken fajitas, guacamole, sweet tea and plenty of hot sauce, I took the new rifle out to my range and sighted it in, however, using all of my bullets, and with my 100 grain, BTSP being back ordered, Iâ€™ll have to buy some â€œstoreâ€ bullets.Â Iâ€™ll order these tomorrow from The Sportsmanâ€™s Guide, with them having a very competitive price and a good selection of rifle ammunition!
Hereâ€™s a pic of me sighting in the rifle.Â Notice the sack of corn under the rifle.Â The corn gives as good stability as a fancy gun holder and costs less than $6.00 and, price performance wise, itâ€™s hard to beat that deal! Looks like 2 money savings tips to me.
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