Sunday, December 1, 2013

Getting Back Into Guns

I started shooting with a BB gun that I found stashed behind the piano when I was about seven years old.  Later my Dad upgraded me to a .22cal air rifle.  It didn’t have much range but was very accurate.  I improved my rifle skills by plinking targets in the backyard.  In my later teens, I joined the rifle team and obtained a sharpshooter rating.  However, my ability to shoot was hampered by hormone induced physical changes.  Namely my eyesight would change every month.  It became impossible to keep up my eyeglass prescription.  I found myself unable to see the targets well enough to shoot with the required accuracy.

When I reached 21 years of age I moved off campus I went ahead and purchased my first handgun; a .40cal S&W.  My purchase was delayed many months as the police chief of Hoboken had a policy that only his friends could have a rifle or handgun purchase permit.  This situation at least for me was rectified by intervention from members of the ANJRPC.  Later I became an NRA certified instructor and would volunteer for training sessions sponsored by the ANJRPC.  I got assigned to training women as there was very few women instructors at the time.  Being young, physically unimposing, and possessing a very low-keyed personality, the woman in charge decided I was a good fit to train the ladies.

I also purchased a Mossberg 500 for hunting.  My Dad never took me hunting.  He got too busy with work and having moved from the Midwest to suburban NJ, taking up the hunt just wasn’t as easy as it used to be for him. Plus, given the neighborhood, you had a better chance of running into space aliens than a group of avid hunters. My childhood home was PETA land.  The last hunter in our family was my brother who in his youth was the black sheep of the family.  I know of him only hunting once and he felt such guilt for killing a rabbit, he never hunted again. The black sheep had no desire for blood sport.   

As a young adult I had planned to join the college hunting club, but found the students running it to be unlikable.  So the shotgun went to my Dad who used to reduce tree rat population (gray squirrels) and to annihilate a woodchuck that was destroying his garden. (this was not in NJ)

After graduating, I pretty much stopped shooting.  Money was extremely tight and the closest range to me was knocked down and replaced with a high-rise condo.  Other ranges were pretty sub-par or not open at convenient times.  Frankly, I am so out of practice at this point I don’t know if I can even hit the side of a barn.  My plan is to rectify this situation sometime next year.  I also need to get my wife trained and comfortable with firearms. My wife is a tiny Thai gal who has great difficulty in pulling the slide back on my S&W.  She needs her own firearms that she can fire comfortably.   A coworker of mine informed me of a new range in Woodland Park called Guns for Hire.  He gave the place a positive review.  I figure I will be checking it out next year.  Hopefully the ammo shortage will have abated enough to allow me to get in some serious practice.

As for hunting, I have taken an interest in hog hunting which also segways into a future rifle purchase.  I would like to pick up a large caliber rifle in the .450 Bushmaster and .458 SOCOM range.  Not just for hogs, but something that might come in handy during a SHTF moment when a round with real stopping power might be needed.  Why hogs?  I prefer to be moving and to not be stuck in a tree stand.  With the hogs classified as an invasive pest, states such as Texas are actively encouraging people to hunt them. Plus, I love bacon.

Mind you, I have zero experience with large caliber shooting and hunting.  So this post is basically a request for the FreeNJ readership to give me their $0.02 worth on the subject.

Edit & more info:  Due to a childhood eye injury, I have to shoot lefty, which complicates things a bit when it comes to bolt action firearms.


ikaika said...

.308 and 7.62 x 39 are sufficient hog busting calibers in any config.
we hunt them in Fl with .223. You really don't need .450 bush or whatever.
If you want heavy bullet and intend to devote it to pig busting, .45-70 or .450 Marlin in lever gun is a fine choice.
If you want versatility in an AR platform .223, .7.62x39, and .308 are all good.
My next hog hunt will either be a knife hunt or spear hunt. We've been using dogs in thick florida scrub. Spot and stalk is not gonna happen out there and dogs are your best bet. Last trip I brought the AK and never raised it on a hog. My friend brought his 6.8 only to crawl into thick stuff, draw his 9mm and end it that way. Keeps the collateral destruction minimal and reduces ant dog injury potential.

chess said...

Hell and Frith and Ikaika hats off to you all for coming forth at the hour of our need.. Hoping that Tom is taking the baby steps towards a good end.
You three keep up the good work. For any of you that havent seen Frankinweenie? by Tim Burton drop your acid before you do. Yikes.

Oleg Volk said...

.458SOCOM in an AR15 is great for hogs. But .308 works as well, and ikaika is right about 7.62x39 being adequate.