Henry turned 12 so for a treat I took him to the gun range. He's lately been getting more interested in the history and variety of firearms and weapons of all kinds.
This summer we shot some skeet and .22 ... and the booming M1 Garand, and the .38. He hit the first clay pigeon, which was nice ... and then more than half of the rest, which was good.
I've also given him and all his pals and neighbor kids their gun safety basics. They're getting into Airsoft action as well.
The public gun range is run on a very strict basis, so Henry has been learning about following exact instructions so that a bunch of shooters can be safely coordinated.
For his birthday, he wanted to try the muzzleloaders. We have a .45 percussion long rifle in the Pennsylvania style (a cheesy CVA kit which looks nice to me and which a friend has used to shoot a deer). And we're borrowing my brother's flintlock pistol.
So that's what we did.
We went to the range and shot a bit in the rain. We had a dandy time. Henry hit a 4" bullseye every time from 25 yards with the rifle. I shot the flintlock once and lost the flint somehow, so that didn't last long. Darn, that flintlock is the best thing. It has the neatest shooting action with all that flame and smoke and delayed ignition and bass-thump and easy kick.
I took the flintlock to our backwoods New Year's yurt campout once and some newcomers frowned about "gun violence," but after they saw it in action (off to the side of our remote campsite) everyone wanted to try it, over and over.
After we got done shooting we walked around looking at what other people were shooting. A couple of competition guys were down at the 100-yard bench shooting hightech AR15 military rifles. A guy showed us the target he just brought uprange -- it had an honest 1" group on it. I'd only heard of those. He asked if Henry wanted to try his gun. Wow! So Henry got a lesson and got to sit down and load a clip and shoot. The guys checked his work with their big spotting scope and thought he did good. When we went and got his target he had a 3" group of 12 shots with a bunch in the 1" bull. Good job! He was pretty excited all around. He'd only ever seen pictures of such a custom gun. Those guys reload and do a variety of events, from long range to combat-style.
So Henry had a good birthday visit to the range. I wonder if he'll tell any of his buddies about it at school today...