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Old November 29, 2002, 06:44 AM   #1
Dave McC
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Location: Columbia, Md, USA
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Nostalgia....

Major holidays pack in the memories, and the family pretty much dozed as we headed back from an inlaws house in PA, so I drove and remembered a few holidays and ordinary days long past. And I was a little amazed at all the changes in my life.

After living in the LA madness post military for a few years, I moved back to Md after Pop had his infarction. As I recall, all I owned fit into a half ton Chevy van with plenty of room left over.

Big change there,just my firearms and associated clutter would fill a few vans these days.Moving vans.

Once back in Md, I fell in with a group of young men of varied background but similar interests.

We regarded beer as one of the major food groups.

We all had Chevy P/U trucks(My van got traded for a 66 3/4 ton Pop needed no more).

We all regarded monogamy as similar to a life sentence with no parole.

Even tho we were about evenly divided between vets and non vets, none of us trusted the gummint much, if at all.If anything, the vets were the more extreme on this.

We all loved Southern Rock and regarded Duane Allman's death as a personal tragedy of high magnitude.

And we all had long bbled, tight choked repeating shotguns.We regarded them as versatile and useful weapons good for anything,anywhere.A-5s,12s, a 97, some 37s and a couple 870s were in the arsenal, along with a Springfield and a Noble,soon discarded.

Our other firearms were long on milsurp bolt action rifles, short on handguns, and specialty shotguns like 20 gauge SXS's or dedicated slug guns were obvious signs of having mo' money than was good for us.

We were redneck/hippie hybrids, proud of the fact that we bought little meat and proud of the fact that most of us were on the deadly side when it came to shooting.

We got that way by using shotguns as our fun tool. A stone quarry a few hundred yards from where we hung out on one guy's farm was open to us for Sunday pigeon shoots. It wasn't unusual to go through 100 rounds each there, and get a wheelbarrow load or two of those birds for our efforts. It was a great way to learn wingshooting, and a great way to polish those skills.

We also hunted crows, used an ancient trap to throw clays, and even went to the county landfill at night and shot rats by the headlights of all those old Chevy trucks.

Even tho the 'burb's were already impinging, there were farms we could hunt, climax woods loaded with gray squirrels, creeks we could drift in canoes and take woodies and mallards, some tiny little ponds we could jumpshoot off of, and a few corn and wheat fields we could stick decoys in and get Canadas within range. There were fox and coon to be taken for fur in the winter, the occasional deer was to be found(In 1976, 54 deer were checked in here in Howard County, last year about 1500), and shotgun fun was to be had 12 months out of the year. Ringnecks, dove, quail, woodcock, a rare grouse or two, rabbits and so on were to be had.

And TTBOMK, none of us ever had a shooting lesson beyond the introductory one given by a parent. I think Mom gave me my first on the 22, Pop on the shotgun.

Basically, And here's the moral of all these scribblings,we taught ourselves to shoot the shotgun. We did OK, because we thought we could do so.

We learned leads by shooting at those pigeons, etc, that would circle inside the quarry, giving us the same shot opp time after time. We'd increase the lead each time until the bird folded, and file that in our memory. Same with woodies and their near vertical jump.

We learned patterns on those grey squirrels. Knowing how to hold on the head so the meat wouldn't get too torn up, we learned to "fringe" with the edge of the pattern. We learned to match the load to the game, and how long to wait out a quail before shooting so it caught a usable pattern, instead of a miss or a meatgrinder.

Now, this isn't to badmouth the shooting schools and instructors. If we had them back then, we'd have gotten better faster, and maybe I wouldn't have all that trouble on Jumping Teal targets at Pintail Point. Maybe...

What I'm trying to say is that a case or two of ammo,some basic instruction, and some thought can make a shooter. The fancy stuff is good,by and large, but it's an aid and not a method.

So, grab your shotgun, go shoot it a few hundred times and see what happens. Either form and fit are so far off you'll have to adjust them to keep on shooting, or you'll be a fine shotgunner.

And the big advantage of those shooting schools is you shoot lots of shells under controlled conditions.Kinda like pigeons in that quarry....

Questions, comments, donations?....
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Old November 29, 2002, 11:31 AM   #2
Warren Kent
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Good post Dave Mc:

I will claim to be self taught but in reality countless tips and refinement to my style has been garnered from those that I shoot with or against. I am a serious ATA trapshooter and never took the availibility of the many "clinics" that several of the natioally known shooters put on. They are providing a service for a fee and generally those that I've talked too that have taken the classes, feel they have been worth it. It would be nice to be able to finance your shooting by giving these clinics. One requirement for trapshooters to be lured to one of these classes is that the instructor must have accomplished something noteworthy in the game, in other words he or she must be a damn good shot.

In sporting clays all it takes is a few dollars to pay to someone else that has paid someone else to be labeled an instructor. We share our club with a sporting clays range that recently had 7 shooters paying $250.00 to a level "3" instructor to be able to be called a level "2" instructor. The shooters will then go out to other sporting clays courses and charge $100-$150 a day to newbie enthusiasts in order to learn how to lead a crosser or how to break a target called a teal that looks like it was shot straight up out of a mortar. I hope my comments don't make me appear like a petty, jelous trapshooter but over at the trap line we have our fun jokeing about the SC crowd. My point being that no substitute for practice can be had. The more you shoot the better you will become and yes you will develop a style that may not be a textbook example but I will show you variations of that perfect form that all the great shots exhibit.

I hope I didn't make any SC shooters mad with this post, it is a shotgun disapline and even trapshooters have been seen from time to time wandering around in the woods.
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Old November 30, 2002, 11:50 AM   #3
Dave McC
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Thanks, Warren. IMO, there's no One True Way to learn shotgunning.A good teacher is priceless, but lots of us get to be decent shotgunners w/o good instruction. Of course, a case can be made that every person that tries shotgunning and doesn't like it would if only they had been properly instructed.Some truth in that...

Bad form and fit on shotguns are self correcting problems to a degree. The prob is, most of us try to avoid pain completely, so we do not shoot.

SC does have that level thing, kinda like Sport Karate. If I were wanting instruction, I'd want the best teacher, who may not be the best shooter but is functioning at near his or her personal best and knows both teaching and shooting.

As for trap, SC, etc, it all can be fun. There's few things done with a shotgun that aren't. I stay out of inter-game nit picking and squabbling, life's too short.

If I hit the Lotto, I'd probably go to a shooting school or two for shotgun classes. But, there's a plethora of good input out there, including the awesome resource we're communicating at here at TFL, and I believe that a motivated tyro could learn shotgunning using common sense, the Archives and Forum here,and be willing to ask a few questions. Probably plenty are,noting the difference here between posters and lurkers.

HTH....
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Old November 30, 2002, 02:00 PM   #4
Borf
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You know Dave - between your readable and conversational writing style, your shotgunning knowledge, and tibits drawn from what seems to be a pretty interesting life I bet you could turn out an enjoyable book! You seem to have a knack for writing what people like reading and somehow keeping it all modest.

I can see it now. "Heck, I was almost there" by Dave McC.

Head up each chapter with a terse gem from C.R. Sam and you could have one of those lazy autumn afternoon compilations that get read a chapter at a time in a comfy chair.

I know, that's probably the last suggestion you wan t at this point in your life
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Old November 30, 2002, 03:03 PM   #5
Dave McC
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"Flattery will get you anything"- Mae West...

Thanks, Borf. With 5400 posts behind me, there may be a book there already. Hmmmm....

Rich Lucibella, ready for a shotgun book? Giz, Sam and Erick can all write forwards and introductions.

Heck, we may be able to milk this and be able to shirk honest labor and spend more time shooting. HSmith can do ballistics stuff and autoloaders, Geoff can tell us how the rich folks do it and I'm sure I can steal enough stuff from Gene Hill, Joel Vance, Bob Brister and Datus Proper to fill in the cracks.....

Possible titles:

To Kill A Mockingbird, Use Enough Gun, Modified Choke And An Oz Of 8s.

Shotgun 101, A Guide To Shotguns For The Compleat Idiot.

Shotgun Satori.

Shotgun Bum (Apologies to John Gierach).

Dances With 870s(Sorry again,Mr Gierach).

Tyros, Pixies and Local Legends.

Shooting Landfill Rats, the Art and the Science.

Hunting With Frank(enstein).

I doubt we'll make Oprah's book club, but then again, she probably wouldn't do well shooting a few rounds of Trap either...
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Old November 30, 2002, 10:09 PM   #6
Dave R
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I would buy Shotgun Satori for the title alone.
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Old November 30, 2002, 10:23 PM   #7
C.R.Sam
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Went to a big quarry this last thursday.
Deserted cept for us...
4 ol farts and a mixed bag of guns...
from pre WWI to only a bit over 30 years old.

Meant to spend an hour or so.
Stayed for over 5 hours.
Everybody shot all the guns.

Came back straighter and younger.

Yes Virginia, there is a time machine.
It lurks in our minds.

Thanks again Dave.

Sam
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Old December 1, 2002, 12:12 AM   #8
sm
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Nostalgia

Dave, Thank you for a great post. I got into shotguns a bit late in life-28 y/o. I have the nostalgia from Dad's Gov't 45 ACP--made by Singer. I used Winchester 52's for NRA sponsored rimfire matches as a wee lad. I got into learning the shotgun because I couldn't hit birds worth squat...especialy Doves. A very good friend Gave me Misseldines'Score better at Skeet , Then I bought Bristers' Shotgunning: The Art and The Science . Same friend took me to the Skeet range, found a gun that fits. I competed for years, won some money, won some trophy's--non equal the value of the memories of the people I met--some have passed on. Oh the bird hunting improved, it wasn't the limit, it was the people. We often times gave portions of the day to the needy and less fortunate. We had fun, we have been known to carry an old single shot shotgun for doves, the ribbing, the laughter, the felled bird, the memories.

I was asked to accompany a friend to the range, his wife said "you'll appreciate this". Picture of her mom having won a trap tournament 30-35 yrs ago. She then uncased an old single bbl trap gun. The gun in the picture was a LC Smith single bbl Trap--I was now holding that gun. I knew then why I was asked to bring some paper hulled trap loads I'd been saving--I now knew why I had held onto them. We loaded up the thrower, I popped a shell in , closed the breech, nodded my ready, shouldered the gun...nothing but dust. I opened the breech caught the shell and walked over to her...her eyes were teary...I gave her the shell. I then spent some time teaching daughter how to shoot the LC. I swear if that gun could talk. I know her mom was smiling down on us...nostalgia.
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Old December 1, 2002, 01:37 AM   #9
C.R.Sam
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Quote:
I know her mom was smiling down on us...nostalgia.
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Old December 1, 2002, 10:14 AM   #10
Dave McC
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Thanks, Dave R, I kinda favor that one myself.

Sam, thank you. Your input is always appreciated, and sometimes savored.

And 1973(Snuffle, sniff, sniff), you probably know how I feel about family, family guns, and teaching rookies. Thanks, you made my morning...
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Old December 1, 2002, 11:52 AM   #11
sm
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I'm Truly Humbled Gentlemen...

I have learned much from the sharing of experience, strength, and hope from TFL members such as Dave McC and CRSam. Yes I get accused of being old fashioned, sentimental, and living in the past. I enjoy shooting, the people and the memories. I also subscribe to the adage, "to keep it-give it away", so I occaisonally help instruct. To be present when that kid busts a clay, or take a dove...you guys know the feeling.

I think a book would be a great idea. Maybe even get Rich to consider putting snippets in SWAT as Ruark did in F&S. I still have The Old Man and the Boy , along with many of his writings.

I always thought if I titled a book it should be:

How to miss with a scattergun
or
C'mon golden pellet
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Old December 1, 2002, 12:53 PM   #12
Dave McC
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(Picture in your mind a large, middleaged man bowing in the Asian Martial Arts gesture of respect)...

It's quite a community we have here, and I'm pleased and proud of it.

Paying It Forward(No relation to the movie) is what I call it. A Buddhist would call it Karma.
Since I have been helped, I should help others, and not just at shotgunning.

As for a book, I may just do that.
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Old December 1, 2002, 01:16 PM   #13
sm
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Dave McC

I respectfully bow in return Sir.

If in my limited experience I can contribute--consider it done.
Do the book. Still think you should consult Rich and the snippets as Ruark did for F&S .

When I leave this earth the only things left will be that which does not burn. I hope the memories will be more positive, than negative.
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Old December 1, 2002, 01:23 PM   #14
HSMITH
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WOW great thread. The attitude here is what keeps me coming back, pay it forward describes it pretty well.

I started a little late in life too, 24 or 25, taught myself, blah blah. Now I live to take new people, help shooters get better, and take people that might not get to hunt out and get them a bird.

1973, "to keep it-give it away" is AWESOME!!!! I have not heard it put that way, but it describes the way I feel as well. Keep going man, don't change a thing.

Dave, thanks for the thread and I am very flattered to be mentioned for a possible contributor.
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Old December 1, 2002, 01:53 PM   #15
Dave McC
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Thanks, guys, Sniff, sniff.....

Might talk to Rich about this soon, gotta do a little thinking first.

H, the attitude here is wonderful. And it's not cuz of me. I'm here because of the attitude, ambiance, etc.
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Old December 1, 2002, 03:18 PM   #16
sm
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Oh Rich...

You got some sentimental old farts wanting to contribute

What'll be members old model 12's, 870's, '97's.. throw in some single bbl trap guns, O/U and SxS's ?? We'd have fun and maybe even break some targets. Me, I shot skeet-you trap boys too high dollar for me Pitcher of tea and some shrimp afterwards I'd be happy.

Lots of homes were protected by single shots, in the old days , still a viable HD choice IMO as are the O/U's and SxS's--heck "shoot one gun and know it" umm that's all some familes had for everything.
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Old December 2, 2002, 04:53 PM   #17
Correia
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Dave, thank you for sharing that.

I'm one of those self taught farm boy shooters. I have not had a single day of formal instruction.

The best shotgun instruction I have ever received has come from some of your prior posts.

If you write a book, I want an autographed copy.
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Old December 2, 2002, 05:35 PM   #18
Dave McC
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D*mn, another warm fuzzie! Thanks to all, I appreciate the input.

Let's get philosophical....

Sounds like the Rules of Life are well known to some of us.

Here they are:

Don't hurt people.

Help people when you can.

If you want something, earn it.

If it's not yours, don't take it.

All of human behavior is governed(or should be) by those 4 sentences.

Thanks...
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Old December 2, 2002, 07:16 PM   #19
C.R.Sam
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You reap what you sow...
Good or bad.
Sometimes tenfold.

And it is up to us to pass down what we got from our fathers and their fathers before them.
If we don't do it, nobody will.

And a very few generations later....
The answer to any questioin would be...
Hunh ?

Sam
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Old December 3, 2002, 05:06 AM   #20
Dave McC
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Amen, Sam. Sometimes casting bread upon the waters only makes the carp fishing better, at least to us in the present. Historians ,the most personal documentors, may disagree.

Not listening to an elder and hearing what he or she has to say is like letting a library burn down without trying to save the books. And even a dunce can get some grasp on Universal Truth in years threescore and ten.
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