I wanted to head down the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association – Auckland Branch range – and, figured it was a good opportunity to get C acclimatised to the noise of a shooting range. Reality is, I spend a bit of time at them, so both my kids are going to end up doing so as well.
The Range Officers were (as the normally are) very welcoming, and also very pleased to see kids at the range – I occasionally get asked my thoughts on kids at a range, and, provided they have enough awareness to not totally wander off on their own – I actually think (with appropriate PPE) and range is actually a very controlled and safe place to be. I don’t go too many places where there are designated people, whose sole purpose is to ensure everyone behaves and stays safe, but that’s exactly how good ranges are run.
I had quite a few shooters offer up 22’s for the little one to shoot if she was interested as well – but I happened to have a couple in the truck of my own… 😉
I managed to leave the bolt of my 22 in the safe (having spent the previous day telling another pile of new firearms licence applicants to always double-check) – but had a right-handed clone of it anyhow.
I had a new Lithgow Arms LA101 Crossover to set up for a client (I am still getting mine left-handed one setup – great gun!) so had it on paper and zeroed in a couple of rounds – and proceeded to put a few more to get an idea of groupings and confirm things.
After remembering just how mild these LA101’s are to shoot with subsonic rounds, I started to consider a possibility.
One of the RO’s pointed out that the 25-meter range was empty – and I was more than welcome to take it over if the little girl wanted to try and shoot something.
I asked, and she, a little to my surprise – said she did!
A while later, having rigged up a shooting position involving a chair, car seat and some heavy mags, and a brief, modified safety briefing for a 5-year-old, the little one squeezed off the first couple of rounds on a 22.
It was interesting watching her shot – because, the eye relief is obviously so long that I really wasn’t sure how much she could see – but after about the third round, something clicked, and she started to move the butt of the rifle. Fourth round – she hit the target! With some cheers from both myself and the RO – we headed down to look at her handiwork.
“Would you like to shoot some more?”
We found a can (will pack some of the Gun City Ltd Clay holders next time) lined it up, and she nailed it. Found some more, put them up as well and she proceeded to shoot them all down. I initially thought she was missing – but later realised that the can just haven’t shifted – so had a pile of holes in it. I am not actually sure if she missed at all!
Needless to say, I was chuffed – and we have also established she is left eye dominant – so that works out a bit easier for me as well.
There was a moment of apprehension (on my part) when she took a little spill on the way back to the truck (running with her target) – but amidst the tears (little knee graze) she did make clear that she did still like the shooting though…
A trip to the cafe to celebrate on the way home, and she is keen to head out again. I am happy to take her!