The ten-year mark is a big deal. I abhor the whole ‘tween’ term, but I have to admit that it does have some merit to it. When you turn ten, you are no longer a little kid. You (hopefully) have learned some critical thinking skills, consideration for other’s feelings, and the ability to make some decisions on your own. My son will have his tenth birthday on February 17, 2009. When Jenni and I got into shooting last January, it was in the understanding that everyone in our household would learn shooting and safe gun handling. I was the first one to actually get a handgun, but I wanted Jenni to learn to handle and shoot it as well. I also expected to teach our kid to act properly around and with guns. Little did I know that we would all three quickly become enthusiasts.
The two of us have been talking for some time about getting Isaac his own gun. He handles them well, he shoots well, and it seems to increase his sense of responsibility and self-respect when he practices shooting. I’m telling you that he does his school work better when he’s getting his range time in! So, we had pretty much decided to get a Ruger 10/22 for him for his birthday. The plan was for us to get the rifle and go to the farm on the weekend closest to his birthday to break it in. We fell onto a great deal on one at the local pawn shop on Friday, and the weather turned out beautiful yesterday. If the thermometer did not break 70, I would be shocked! Most of the weekends this time of year are below freezing. The conjunction of the two events was a clear sign to us.
Yesterday morning, we had to be at the retirement home at 9:00 to move Aunt Cheryl from one apartment to another, and we were finished quickly. With the culmination of the Perfect Storm, we gave Isaac the option of getting his birthday present early. Being a nearly-10-year-old boy, he eagerly jumped on the deal.
We went by the pawn shop and got the gun. All the staff and patrons were beaming proudly at us when we handed Isaac’s new rifle over to him. A couple of gentlemen addressed him and told him that if he takes really good care of it, he’ll have it for the rest of his life. (It always helps to have non-parents reinforce what we tell him.)
We picked up some more shotgun ammo and targets at Academy and headed out to the farm. We set up one target at 50-yards and the other at 100-yards. Jenni and I were not shooting worth cat crap, so the 100-yard target is still in pretty good shape.
The three of us put 120-rounds through the Ruger. Isaac led with a 25-round magazine full, I emptied the next 25, Jenni shot 25, and Isaac finished off the ammo at that point. His first 25 at 50-yards were not bad but not great.
He was clearly still getting the feel for the gun. His mom and dad embarrassing him (see our targets below) in our turns inspired him!
He was tack-driving those tiny bullets and handling the weapon like a diminutive Special Ops soldier! Here’s his target:
By the end, he was clearly getting tired.
He played behind us while we shot some rounds through our revolvers and the AR-15. I took a few shots with my 12-gauge. Jenni cut her forehead on the sight of her 627, but I’ll let her tell you about that… The Hole in Jennifer’s Head At some point, I turned around to check on the kiddo, and he was nowhere to be found. We started to shout for him, and comb the woods.
Needless to say, my heart was going 150-MPH! Jenni had the bright idea to check the car, and there he was. He still had his ear protection on, and had apparently gotten tired of being on his feet. He hadn’t heard us calling for him. There are wild animals out there – coyotes, boar, and wolves – things that can be deadly to people. Then again, he could have just wandered into the woods to empty his lima bean-sized bladder for all I knew. As is my way, I had prepared for the worst, hoped for the best, and expected something in between.
I don’t need to explain to you why our nerves were too shot for further gunning. Overall, I would call it a good day. If we had been shooting to our optimum, it would have been a great day.
Isaac is on Cloud 9 over his rifle, and a great time was had by all. We have a good kid, and we are very proud of him. Since the gun was used, we decided to thoroughly break it down and give it a deep scrubbing. Isaac was excited to clean and oil his gun, and I helped him with the disassembly and reassembly.
I know he must have been dreaming of shooting last night. He’s more excited for our next range trip than either of us are. We have explained to him that it is not a toy, and that it will not live in his room until he’s grown up. He freely accepted these ideas, and confessed that he’s not at all upset that we did not give him a toy for his birthday.