BIL called and asked what we were doing over Independence Day weekend. When I told him that we were wide open but that we’d like to do some shooting, he asked if we’d come out to his place for a cook out on Saturday. He suggested that the kids could light their fireworks and we could even shoot in their back yard if we wanted to. They live way out of town. Once Saturday rolled around, things got later and later before we got started. Finally we found ourselves at the lake, camped out at a public charcoal grill and picnic bench. Fiance grilled steak and hot dogs for the lot of us. The kids fished but didn’t catch anything. We saw a water moccasin devour a small fish in the water right at the shoreline. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before. When we made it back to their place, it was getting pretty dark, so we did the whole fireworks thing.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with the idea. The entire area was full of pops and crackles. We could see the bursts of light from down the road where remote neighbors had their own private displays going. They were still going strong after all of our goods were spent in a blackened pile in the back yard. I’d been needing to expend my top two rounds of defensive ammo – both the chambered round and the top round in my inserted magazine were looking pretty beat up. Nobody was in the back yard. Clear range. The ground was littered with spent fireworks and drink cans. Targets. The air was still alive with the pops and cracks of fireworks in all directions. Background noise. I drew my pistol and discharged it twice into a couple pieces of junk in the back yard.
Baby Girl was there in an instant, asking if she could go next. At first, I hesitated and said that it was late, and before she shot my .45 we needed to put her through a few other guns… But then I said, no screw it. Let’s do this thing. It’s not like we were going to bother neighbors. We had plenty of ‘targets’ right there on the ground. They have a porch light in the back and I wasn’t going to set targets very far out for her. So, I asked her to go put on long pants and a shirt as she was still in her bikini. I sequestered the help of my nephew, J, BIL’s 22-year-old son from his first marriage. He helped me drag a selection of rifles and handguns from the trunk to the back yard. The whole time, he was griping about how he wished that he hadn’t been drinking because he really wanted to get in on the shooting. He’s a good kid.
I set up a disposable cooler at about ten feet out. I placed a Dr. Pepper can on it and showed her some basic operation on my old Winchester 69A. It was dark enough that I had to unscrew the peep from the Lyman micrometer rear sight. I showed her how easy it was to put five .22 CB caps on the can with the bolt action. Then, I let her do it. Of course, that combination of gun and caliber produces a report quieter than the falling hammer or the bolt manipulation, so there was no hearing protection involved. Next came the Ruger 10/22. Wee Bot let us use his for this. That’s when I produced eyes and ears for Baby Girl and me and offered ear plugs to everyone else present.
She was eating it up. She was showing the safe handling that I’d previously shown her, she was operating different sight systems intuitively, and she was hitting her targets reliably. When she wanted to move up to something else, I had her shoot Jennifer’s 627PC, my 586L-Comp, and our old M&P .38 revolver. She handled all three of them well with .38 Special. Then, we had her shoot Jennifer’s M&P9c and then my M&P45c. I thought that she’d be happy to have worked up to my .45 that she clearly had her eye on previously. However, she turned and asked what she got to shoot next. So, I gave her Jennifer’s 627 again and set her up with two .357 Magnum cartridges.
Not only did she handle it, she excelled. She put both rounds on target and asked for more ammo. This was 158-grain, full-house magnum too. She shot another cylinder out of that and then she was ready to move on. I repeated this same process with my 586L-Comp and again, she shot it with precision. It’s pretty clear that Baby Girl loves .357 Magnum. Most of her progression that evening didn’t surprise me, but I really didn’t see that one coming. The last of her .357 shooting was at a cardboard mortar tube left over from our fireworks.
Through the process, we even convinced Wee Bot to shoot the M&P revolver. It’s usually like pulling teeth to get him behind a handgun, he’s so devoted to his rifle. Of course, I had Baby Girl shooting the revolvers single action. Next time we may do some work with double action triggers. After my 586 she asked what was next. I told her next we were going home to go to bed. She was pretty disappointed that it was over, but it was like two in the morning by that point. I may also have to get an assortment of .44 ammunition that she can put through my M29. Heck, maybe she’ll want to shoot the 20-gauge!
I’m proud of her. BIL and Fiance were beside themselves. They really couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Baby Girl planting shots on target with the assortment of formats and calibers. Frankly, I was impressed too. She did better than I expected her to. I may have to finally start reloading so she won’t shoot me out of house and home! J asked me why I had to go and make “baby sis” so dangerous. “Because,” I answered him, “she needs to be dangerous. I don’t want her to ever get hurt.” He couldn’t argue with that sentiment.
So, I may as well start saving money now because I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy this girl a 686 when she’s old enough to own a handgun. *sigh.* Anybody have one that they don’t need?