We went out shooting last weekend. In my case, this often means I pack food for everyone, bake something for the farmer who is kind enough to let us use his land (Sourdough coffee cake with mixed berries and a graham cracker strudel crust this time), and generally putter around. Often, my round count for six hours out in the sun is under 30 shots - I find it more fun to watch other people shoot, and maybe try five shots with a new gun - or maybe just one shot.
Both Calmer Half and Oleg are very used to this pattern, though both keep encouraging me to try this pistol, try that pistol, try this revolver. Generally, I humor them, but rarely do I really actually enjoy shooting the gun.
Sunday, Oleg handed a SU-16 in .22 to me, while another photographer set up the tripod - this is probably going to end up in an ad somewhere down the road, if he got any good pictures. So I shrugged, knelt down, and considered the berm with its strewn clay pigeons through the scope. Carefully, mindful of the height of the scope above the barrel, I centered on the top of an orange clay, and waited for the small shakes of my arms and imperfections from breathing to settle into a pattern. Touch the trigger, and the gun pressed lightly into me as the clay exploded. I dropped the gun just a little, looking a foot down at the next clay, and started to work my way across the berm from left to right, removing every target with two magazines (I switched after a misfeed, suspecting the low-powered rounds in the first magazine were the problem). I wasn't doing so well, after over a year out of practice - it took two shots to clear a couple of them, and three for the second to the last as my concentration lapsed into noting my knees hurt, and the ground was cold and damp from a recent rain.
Calmer Half was very surprised at me, and was doing his darling best to make sure I knew he was very supportive, very happy at my participation, and very pleased at my skill. What also came across was that he was pretty startled I could kneel down and remove all the targets - but then, I haven't sat down and touched off seventy-five rounds of .22 with the aim of keeping them inside a dime since I moved to be with him. My poor CZ 452 has languished in the gun safe while all my male friends have tried to convince me that I should not regard handguns with loathing, and should train and carry one for defense. No wonder they've grown to expect I'm a bad shot and less than uninterested in guns at all.
I think I'll take my lovely little beauty out for the next trip, with a camp chair, and get in practice for pegging gophers in the garden at 50 yards. It's been too long since I practiced that particular form of meditation, emptying my mind of everything but the moment, the target, and the shot.