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Monday, September 14, 2009

HOM: Rimfire Romance III

That little .22 attracted me like honey draws bears. Every time I went by the closet I wanted to handle it, but kids in those days were taught that touching a weapon without their dad's consent was a sure route to death or great pain - inflicted by their parents! Not being allowed to touch it didn't mean I couldn't talk about it, though. I suspect I made a real pest of myself for a long time because he finally gave in to my pestering and let me shoot it. One lazy Sunday afternoon he tacked a target on the side of an old doghouse and set up a box about 20 feet back. After a quick run-through on the basics of trigger & breath control, he sat me behind the box. After puzzling over my contortions while I was trying to hold the rifle to my right shoulder and aim with my left eye, he stepped up and rearranged things. He made sure my left hand was under the forend, right hand on the grip, right cheek pressing into the stock. Then he loaded the rifle and cocked it for me. I fired. I missed the paper. I reloaded & fired. I missed the paper . . . I reloaded & fired. I missed the paper . . . After repeating that WAY too many times, we were both stressed enough to take up knitting as a hobby. The fog of time hides the exact decision and who made it, but as a last attempt, he let me shoot left handed. The result wasn't a bulls-eye, but at least it was on the paper and somewhat close to the center. From then on, I was a right-handed south-paw shooter, reaching over the top of the action to work the bolt and drop in another cartridge. It wasn't until many years later I realized I was one of those cross-wired folks whose master hand and master eye were on opposite sides. (This actually worked out well, as I taught myself as a teenager to use my right eye and am now fairly ambidextrous with rifle & shotgun - shooting with equal (in)accuracy off either side.) TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)