About a week before we went to the range, my son-in-law, Caesar, stopped by to discuss the upcoming adventure. I told him I didn’t want to fire any big bullets because I didn’t think my shoulder could stand it. I take Glucosamine, but the supplement seems to work best when I’m not actually using my joints, so I’d rather fire just .22s if he could arrange it. He informed me that we were going to fire an AR15 which takes a .223, the same round as an M16. I didn’t believe him. I looked it up on my phone, and he was right! Well, I’m not a gun aficionado, and I don’t have a collection, but I always thought the bullet for the M16 was much bigger. Turns out it’s a .22 caliber, and it’s called a .223 because it’s longer and more pointed.
But we had gotten off topic. When I said “big bullets” I wasn’t talking about the size of the slug, but the cartridge. I didn’t want to fire anything that had a strong kick. He brought his old .22 bolt action single shot, and I was delighted, for that is what I had learned with when I was ten years old. Naturally, six rounds later I thought: screw this, I want a magazine. So I tried the AR, and I was surprised at how gentle it was. Eventually I fired three rifles, including two AR15s that were .22 and .223, and four handguns, a .22 revolver, two Sig Sauers, both 9mm, one with iron sites, and one with a very confusing red dot (not laser) that displayed onto a back site that looked like a round-cornered trapezoidal TV, and a 1911 that took 10mm rounds. I had great fun, especially when I spotted for Rex with Caesar’s small binoculars and talked him down and to the right with aiming the AR he was using, and he finally hit the target. As I mentioned, we didn’t get to zero our guns.
The next day I looked up online the cost of the bullets I used. I fired 170 rounds, not counting the first .22 that jammed in the single shot because, unlike my first gun, I couldn’t drop the round into the chamber and slide it into the barrel with the bolt, but had to maneuver the little bullets directly into the hole. That first bullet went bent, and I had to discard it. Total, I owe Caesar $63.16, but I rounded up to $70, adding a little for gas. The day was part of a birthday present for my grandson, Spud, and so my son-in-law shouldn’t have to pay for my fun.
You may have noticed that I never use the word “rifle.” That’s because I object to the predominately Marine Corps mantra I’ve seen in movies and read in books that “This is my rifle, this is my gun, this is for fighting, this is for fun.” A rifle is a gun. According to Webster, “gun” is defined as a weapon consisting of a metal tube, with mechanical attachments, from which projectiles are shot by the force of an explosive, and is derived from Angelo-Latin Gunilda and gonnyld, the name for an engine of war. While I’m at this, “rifle” is derived from Old English rifelede, to wrinkle. In modern etymology it means that the inside of a metal barrel has been cut with spiraling grooves to make a projectile spin. Yes, “rifle” has come to mean a portable weapon distinguished from larger guns, like artillery, but even those are rifled. But I disagree with the mantra because I am not a robot. There is no gun on me. (And you can chant that to the tune of Pinocchio’s “There are no strings on me.”)