Saturday, February 17, 2007

Shotgun Report. I went out to Trail Glades Gun Range again this afternoon. The Trail Skeet and Trap Club had its big tournament today. People from all over the county had registered, but because of some bad weather in the other parts of the country, flights were cancelled and delayed, guns that had been shipped ahead had arrived late, etc. But there were still a good many people there, and there were gunsmiths who had set up to work on guns, do engraving, and that sort of thing. This was the third day of the tournament, and I watched several matches of skeet before I went over to the club house.

At the club house, which reminds me a lot of a fraternity chapter room, were a number of people, mostly men, sitting around talking, working on laptops, and drinking coffee. (No alcohol, of course.) In one group I saw two of the men I met last week, one the president of the club. I greeted him and told him I had checks for the first year dues for Jack and me. He was happy that we were following through, and introduced me to the others.

When they realized I was a beginner, several started offering advice and discussing how to get started. They were quite friendly and helpful and made me feel comfortable. The consensus seemed to be to first acquire a semi-automatic, one that you could take hunting as well as to the skeet range. The Remington 1100 was the favorite, although the equivalent Beretta also made the list. They suggested a 12 gauge. They also suggested Remington ammo, 2 3/4 length, 1290 velocity, 1 oz. shot, 8 shot shotshells.

I would use the Remington 1100 until I determined whether I liked the sport. Should I decide to go to the next level, the idea is that I would purchase a used gun from one of the members, no doubt an "over-under". There is this hand-me-down system, apparently. At the top of the pecking order are guns in the $25,000 range! There are many hand-me-down levels below that, and the next level above the 1100 seems to be in the $2000 category. (Whew!)

One gentlemen suggested getting a good teacher right at the start. They all mentioned someone named Red Hill, who seems to be some sort of legend. Bill, one of the men I met last week and who is in his early fifties, told me that when he was a teenager, Red Hill was the coach of their college skeet team and they went to "nationals" together. He's about 80 years old, lives in Naples, and usually comes over to the Trail Glades Range on Wednesdays. They warned me that Red is a Marine, and I would have to withstand his war stories. They said they get old when he gets to the fiftieth retelling. So I got Red's number and will give him a call.

Jack didn't come with me today, because Asher is in town with his family.

The national organization for skeet is in San Antonio. Its called the National Skeet Shooting Association.

I talked to Macon about this a little on the phone today. He told me how much fun it was to go bird hunting with Scott.

More to come, I think.

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