Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

A couple of posts back, I mentioned that my buddy Mike and I were discussing the option of attending Boomershoot up in Idaho in 2008.

Recreational shooting has always been a fun hobby that I've enjoyed, and Mike is a good guy to know if you're into that sort of thing--he's got a great collection of firearms and a tolerant wife. Back in the day, I had a few fun guns, too--an AK-47 variant, a Hungarian SKS, a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber semi-auto handgun, a Ruger 10-22, a Mossberg 12 gauge pump shotgun, and my favorite Springfield 1911 GI .45.

When I lived in Phoenix, several of my friends were also into shooting, and we'd always hit the monthly gun shows at the fairgrounds and go to the local range, where my brother knew the rangemaster, so we'd shoot for free; or even better, we'd just go out to the desert and go postal on innocent water bottles and such.

There was a place we used to go, way out east of Mesa, called 'The Pit'. It was a few minutes out of town in the desert wilderness, and some enterprising soul had plowed out a huge pit in the desert with a bulldozer, providing a great impromptu shooting range with a large dirt backstop for safety. Of course it was way out in the middle of nowhere, so stray bullets had no chance of hitting anything except maybe the random scorpion or tarantula. Anyhow, we used to go out there every couple of months and burn up several hundred rounds of ammunition on a Saturday afternoon, shooting at stuff like manhole covers, fruit, water jugs, old coolers, old dishes, basically just about anything we could get our hands on.

Anyhow, about ten years ago, four of us decided to take an afternoon and go out to the pit for a little 'destructive therapy'. Of course, the night before was reserved for a big cleaning party, where we all got together and sat around the kitchen table cleaning and oiling all of the guns we were going to take with us, and getting prepared for the next day's adventure.

This particular time, there were four of us--me, Mike, my brother (Reverend Dave) and Mike's brother Steve. Each of us had about four different guns--a handgun or two, plus a rifle or two, plus several hundred rounds of ammunition each. It was going to be a fun day.

Our buddy Flint, who's wife always seemed to have a lengthy 'Honey Do' list every time we wanted to go shooting, provided us with a bushel of grapefruit from his parent's orchard, and we also had a load of 2-liter soda bottles filled with water just for the occasion--in case you've never shot either with a high-powered rifle, you have no idea how much fun it can be.

Saturday morning came bright and early, and after breakfast, Mike and Steve arrived at my house. Mike had the biggest car with the biggest trunk, so he backed into the driveway and popped the trunk, while the rest of us started loading up all of the guns and gear. The neighbors were out in their driveways and yards doing the usual Saturday-morning-in-the-subdivision chores, and once we started bringing out all of the guns and ammuntion, they took a very keen interest in watching us.

Of course, we were completely oblivious, until Dave said something like Hey, you notice how all of the neighbors stopped doing their yardwork and are staring at us?

We looked around, and yep, three sets of people were just standing around in their yards and driveways staring at us while we loaded up the arsenal. I just waved, they were my neighbors after all, and said Good morning!, and kept at it.

Once the trunk was full, we were all kind of standing around making sure we had everything, and my doofus brother, in the loudest speaking voice he had, said So, do we have everything? Everybody got their ski masks?

Highest of high comedy. Well, at least to us. But the neighbors avoided eye contact and hurried back inside.

Luckily none of them called the cops and our day was filled with exploding water bottles and fruit, and we burned through about three thousand rounds of ammunition while we were at it. We also laid waste to several phone books, an old tv, a broken cooler, and everybody's favorite, a couple of Clinton/Gore campaign signs that somehow found their way into my storage closet.

It was always a great time.

But now that I live in Nevada, there is no 'pit' to go shooting at, at least not one that I'm aware of. The closest outdoor range that I know of is out by Red Rock. Of course, the indoor shooting place on Tropicana with the machine guns for rent is less than five minutes from my house, so I can go down there and do some practicing with the pistoleros* but I need to find a good outdoor range where I can practice my long-range sniping of beer cans, because I don't want to finally show up at Boomershoot and be the only guy that can't make the targets asplode.


*Where's my cd, bitch?

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