Why do you shoot?
After reading the thread about the Mod's worries that this forum is slowing down, as a new guy around here I thought I might try to kick up a discussion.
So, everybody answer this question about themselves: Why do you shoot? Give some details about what kind of shooting, where, how often, etc. I'll start...
I've been into shooting sports since age 8 after working off hours of "chores" to buy a Daisy BB gun. My dad was an avid hunter and also big into blackpowder shooting. So that was my primary influence. I got into hunting shortly after getting my first .22 rifle (which I still have and shoot quite often). I also got into blackpowder and built a Hawkin .50 rifle, which I still have, but haven't shot in years now.
My dad did a fair bit of upland bird hunting, so I was also influenced by shotguns and did pretty well at picking up backyard trap shooting in my teen years. I still go to the range every so often on "Trap Sundays" and stick the trap barrel on my 870 to break a few clays over the course of dumping a hundred rounds or so. While not religious about it like some, I do enjoy trap and some skeet whenever I get the urge.
I did my time in the military and got to play with some really fun-shooting government hardware right out of high school. I later got into high-end security work and became a combat firearms instructor for a private service that works major corporate and government contracts. These days I'm more into combat and tactical shooting, so my most used guns are my Glock 22, Remington 870, and Colt CAR-15 LE. Though I still drag out the S&W Model 66 periodically to keep my wheel gun skills present and acccounted for.
I try to get to the range as often as I can to continue to hone my tactical shooting skills, which is sometimes just once a month, sometimes a couple trips in a week. So I've gone from primarily hunting to primarily target shooting over the years. My targets are all humanoid shapes. I don't do any benchrest or bullseye shooting. I usually go to the range with my shot timer and a few hundred rounds of .40S&W and a stack of IDPA, B-27, and various specialty tactical targets and work on such skills as shooting on the move, shooting around cover, speed loads, multiple targets, failure to stop drills, and the like. I also drag out the 870 and the CAR-15 quite a bit and punch holes in some IPSC cardboard using the same drills.
On an official basis, I spend some company time at the range every spring training and qualifying security officers. I don't get to shoot much during that time (other than my own qualifications), but I enjoy training other shooters and helping them work on their shooting skills.
A few years back I took a 4-H shooting sports instructor program and worked with a couple other instructors in my area to run a group of kids through a rifle shooting course. That was some of the most rewarding teaching time I ever did. Unfortunately one of the instructors left the state, the other had to move to another town due to work, and I got a new job that took away a lot of my free time, so the program didn't continue into year 2. But it is one thing that I long to get back into, as teaching kids proper gun safety and elementary marksmanship is, in my opinion, one of the most important and neglected things we can do to ensure the continuation of our national shooting sports.
One of my sideline hobbies to shooting is reloading. I reload most of my own ammo. I think I have enough .40 brass to keep me going for at least the next 2 decades, though my .223 brass collection is still in it's infancy.
So, why do you shoot?
...and welcome. Very interesting background. I like how you enjoy teaching others (especially kids) to shoot. That's important to the future of our sports, and more importantly, the future of our rights.
Sadly, I don't shoot near as often as I'd like. Mostly my own fault. I let too many things pull me in different directions. Lately though, I'm able to get out a lot more. Sure would be nice to live in a wide open area where I could have my own berm and bench to chrono loads and do all those tactical drills. Around here, every single range expressly prohibits such behavior!
I just kinda fell into liking guns, hunting and shooting. My Dad didn't own a gun when I was growing up and didn't hunt until my first year hunting (I was 17 and he was 42)! I would buy magazines and learn everything I possibly could about different guns, reloading, big game hunting and such.
Early on, I was especially enamoured with handguns. I recall getting this one annual book/magazine (about 1/2" thick and costing $8 back in '80 would prolly make it more a book!) called Handgun Tests. They had write ups with full sized B&W photos of most all the handguns available back then, which was considerably less than now. Favorites? Why, the S&W 29 and the Colt Gov't 1911!
I too went in the military two weeks after graduating HS. I had a high enough score to do whatever I wanted (as long as they had a need) but I chose to be a grunt! Brilliant, as the Guiness (sp?) guys would say. While I was in I got my first handgun, a S&W 686 4" with Pachmahr (sp?) gripper on it. I loved it!
Since then, I've bought several fine guns and been on a few out of state hunts, though sadly never to the great state of Alaska yet. I still can't for the life of me figure out why, when I was young, I didn't just move up there, or at least Montana, Wyoming or Idaho?
Well, that's about as close to a novel as I'll ever get to writing! Looking forward to hearing other's stories.
'Twas just meant to be...
My Great, Great Great Grandfather and his children emmigrated here from England in 1852, sailed into New Orleans, then up and out to Salt Lake via ox-drawn wagons. My mother's side of the family came here as Puritans, ended up in Ohio, then to Missouri, Illinois, and then to Salt Lake. Hunting and self protection were a necessity for them back then, and pretty much through to my Dad's generation.
That GGG Grandfather had one of John Browning's Dad's sliding block repeaters that he bought when they got to Nauvoo. The following generations pretty much stuck with Winchesters after that when they were available, except for some USGI muskets, Krags, 03's, M1's and M16's....
Hunting and shooting have just been an integral part of our family's lives. Pheasant hunting in Granddad's fields, deer up on the foothills, trailing behind Dad whenever the terrain would let me keep up.
I remember my first shooting experience was with a Harrington & Richardson 'Leatherneck' .22 semi auto that Dad picked up second hand after he came back from Korea. I was about five then, when I was eight, he'd let me fire a round or two from his sporterized 1917 Enfield, and when I was 11 I took hunter safety so I could hunt when I turned 12.
My own kids got the same treatment, those that were interested have been encouraged, those that weren't were supported in whatever they chose to pursue, but they all come out for hunting and fishing camp, and they, and now the Grandkids have no problem at all burning up several bricks of Grampa's .22 shells at soda cans or pine cones. Several of them are pretty decent shots, and there's a couple that are already excellent hunters.
Growing up where and when I did had a lot to do with my interest. Heck, we used to have firearms/hunter safety classes in the elementary and junior high schools, but that was back when they actually kept score at baseball games, and you had to learn how to lose as well as win...
I put a few thousand miles on a Schwinn bicycle with a single shot .22 or 12 ga. strapped to the handlebars and shells in my pocket. Never ever was stopped by a cop or deputy, even in the middle of town. In school, we were encouraged to help out with the rabbit drives, and keep the predators in check, and there were a LOT of days spent busting jackrabbits on the Idaho desert, where we'd head out in the morning with a brick of shells and only come home when there wasn't a round left.
Graduated to reloading when I turned 16, that's when I bought my first .357 revolver, and figured I couldn't shoot it by buying factory loaded ammunition. Found out also, about centerfire varmint rounds, and how much more effective they were than .22's. Got heavy into over-the-course national match shooting when I went into the Guard after active duty AF. Was in heaven using their M16, M14, 1911, AND, they gave me enough ammo to practice with.....
I just can't see shooting NOT being a part of my life. The Mrs. grew up on a farm in Roberts, Idaho, with four brothers, and can cut/bale hay, milk cows, and shoot with the best of 'em. I lucked out meeting her! We go to gunshows, and she heads one way, and usually comes trotting back telling me where the 03's and Model 70's are, AND can accurately describe them and detail their condition. She's a heckuva wheeler-dealer, too, if I could just get her interested in trading guns, we could retire!
I grew up on a farm in the midwest, and guns were a part of my childhood. Right after chores, we shot varmits pretty much daily (varmits were every thing except what my mom called "song birds"). My mom would cook pretty much anything we brought home (at least once). I took my NRA Youth Safety Class with my dad when I was in 3rd grade (I still have the patch). You won't believe this...but the class was held in my elementary school multipurpose room, and the class included firing .22's (...in the multi-purpose room) into targets that were made up of old tires, filled with sand with plywood covers for posting the target. I still have that .22, as well as my dad's guns.
Shooting and hunting is still a very big part of my life. Shooting is fun and comforting, and I enjoy reloading. Hunting touches me on a level that I can't begin to explain, but many of you probably know what I mean. I spend many, many days in the field each year, and I'll continue to do so for as long as I can...never taking for granted one single hunting trip.
...that's why I shoot...
I grew up listening to my dads stories about hunting in the jungles of Panama when he was growing up. He would go wading into the Pacific and shoot baracuda with his Mod 12, and sneak onto the Army bases and the gunnies would let him shoot Army rifles.
I started shooting my dads Win. slide action .22 when I was ten growing up in N. Kitsap Co. WA. I would walk along the highway up to the Co. gravel pit. Didn't hunt and my interests changed.
I started collage when I was twenty five. Most of the people in the Fisheries School were adults, die hard fishing and hunting adults. I got a real kick start on hunting and fishing. Deer hunted on the Olympic Peninsula and fished in the salt water and rivers of the Peninsula until I moved to Sitka. I hunted Sitka Blacktail with my grandfathers .250-3000 Savage that he used to kill Sitka Blacktail. He was a Halibut fisherman and settled in Petersburg. I had started carrying a 629 .44 Mag on my trips up the mountains as back-up and just because, my first pistol.
I sold that pistol and bought a .44 Mag Mountain Gun. The next pistol I bought was prior the "Yes its a real Crime, Bill", a Springfield Amory basic .45 1911a1. I got married while going to collage in Sitka and moved up here to her home village. Subsistance hunting is "The Way of Life" here and I didn't have a moose rifle. I bought a Win. Mod. of 1917 30-06 for my moose gun, a really nice gun that just loves Fed. 220 grainers, my first C&R.
Then just last year I saw an ad for an Ishapore 2a Enfield in 7.62 NATO. Our local store wouldn't order one, so I got a C&R lisence and bought it myself. I got the disease. I have three more Enfields now. They need feeding so I started relaoding, theres that slipery slope.
I am teaching my kids to hunt and fish, some of them like to and some don't, thats ok. The culture they are growing up in and the lesons they're learning now will stay with them their entire lives.
The Senior class took off for a week long moose hunt last year. I wish I had gone to a high school like this one!
I like to shoot because it is a part of my life.
why i shoot
Those are some great stories guys, and I guess I have to tell mine.
I grew up in a little town in west central Georgia and had access to both of my great grandparents farms. My Grandfather after coming back from the south pacific in WWII took a job as in the county prison, later becoming a warden. That is actually how I got my first gun. He gave me an old 410 Stevens when I was 5 and let me sit next to my father at the dove field shooting doves in the trees and wires. I loved it and was hooked.
I road around with my granddaddy a lot checking in on the cons and there projects and then we would head out shooting squirrels and rabbits. I learned a lot from him, not just hunting and shooting, but great life lesions. I loved the time that we spent and hope that I will have those times to come with my children and grandchildren. I have already started with my older two and my wife. They are pretty good.
I saved up enough money one summer and gave it to my father and told him that I wanted him to buy me a Ruger 10/22. He looked at me and asked me how I got all of the money and I looked up at him and told him that I saved it up. I impressed him with my ability to save the money, and he figured if I could save up the money at that age, that **** it he would get it for me. So we went to the Ace hardware store and got it. I was so proud. They would drop me off at the farm and turn me loose. I loved every second of it.
When I was 12 I shot my first deer with my father in the stand with me. I used his 30-06 win 70 that he bought when he was 17. After that I just had to hunt everything in the world. My father said that he and my grandfather have created a monster.
Before I got married I spent at least one full day at the range a week shooting all day. My father taught me how to reload when I was 10 and I havenít shot a factory round out side of the military since then. Just wonít do it. I would load for my 16 if I could.
Now that I am in the military I get to play with my M2 .50 and love that gun. But my interested changed in my early 20 to custom wildcats and other larger cal rifles and pistols. I love building them and working up loads for them. When I am at home I go to the range and try to bring a friend that didnít get a chance to grow up shooting. (yeah I was shocked when I joined the army, not everyone grew up hunting and fishing, there is something very wrong with that). I enjoy long range shooting and bench rest, tactical shooting, real black power, skeet trap starting clays, and just shooting. I have shot in several matches, bench rest, pistol, ect, but I just really love to shoot. I have begun teaching my kids to shoot and I guess they have got my love of guns and shooting. I love helping out younger hunters and shooters it is very rewarding and I feel that it is vital to the continuation of our sport, and life style.
Hunting and shooting has and will remain a huge part of my life style, and has been placed on the column of things that I will die for, right under my family and my Country.