While at dinner one evening with a few friends, the topic of firearms came up. As the conversation progressed a woman at our table began to frown. I asked if she disliked guns and she acknowledged that she did. I asked why and, after probing a little, found she had no real reason: she just didn’t like them.
I engaged her in further conversation about guns and explained how much enjoyment I get from the hobby. “Hobby? You consider guns a hobby?” she asked with the same little frown. I said that I did and that I found everything about guns fascinating and fun. I told her how enjoyable it is to go to the shooting range with my .22 caliber rifle and practice on various targets, including paper targets, steel plates, little octagonal targets that roll as you hit them, and so on. She seemed interested and keen to know why I would fire at a steel target. I explained it clanged and dropped over when I hit it and reset itself so I could shoot it again. The conversation went along for a little bit and she asked, “Would you be willing to take me to the range and let me shoot?” I replied, “Well, yes. Yes I would.”
Since our initial conversation my friend has gone on to make his first firearms purchase. He is taking a shooter’s safety class, has obtained his concealed carry permit, and is looking to purchase other firearms not pertaining to self-defense but more suitable for his plinking pursuits.
Here was a classic example of a negative image about something that was manufactured by the mainstream news media. The actual truth is that guns can be great fun and a rewarding hobby. Guns are not inherently evil. A baseball bat that is used as weapon is not evil, it is the end user who engages in the wrongdoing, not the object.
Recently, a friend of mine became enamored with firearms. A few months ago, he had asked me several questions about firearms and then went about researching further on his own. At that point his interest was mostly in the self-defense aspect of firearms, but through research he found many interesting styles of firearms for what we call plinking, which is what I had described to my female dinner partner: just having fun at the range, with no particular goal in mind. Since our initial conversation my friend has gone on to make his first firearms purchase. He is taking a shooter’s safety class, has obtained his concealed carry permit, and is looking to purchase other firearms not pertaining to self-defense but more suitable for his plinking pursuits.
Another interesting aspect of the firearms hobby is reloading, namely, taking an expended centerfire brass cartridge (the long part of a “round”) and refitting it with a primer, gunpowder, and a bullet to be fired again. Reloading makes shooting much less expensive. Prices have varied wildly in recent months here in mid-2014, but let’s examine the costs of new ammo versus the expense involved in reloading spent cartridges. To be clear, it is a little costly to get set up to reload. You need a reloading press, dies, and some other pieces of equipment, but they all will last for many years. I have a reloading press I bought in the early ’80s that I still use every week.
In the past year I have paid in the neighborhood of $0.43 each for factory loaded .223 Remington rifle cartridges. What you do is you keep the brass (police it from the ground after it’s been ejected by the firearm) from the fired factory ammunition and use it to make your new reloaded ammunition. You need to purchase new primers, smokeless gunpowder, and the projectile, which is called the “bullet.” By purchasing in bulk quantities perfectly acceptable ammunition can be produced by reloading for about $0.24 per round. This is a big saving, especially if you plan to send a lot of rounds downrange.
Shooting .22 Long Rifle Rimfire cartridges is much more economical, but they’re not reloadable. This ammo has been a little scarce over the past year or so, but it is becoming more accessible of late. In the old days, two years ago or so, you could buy 500 rounds of .22RF ammo for around $22. That would provide for a long, leisurely afternoon of shooting bliss.
My favorite caliber is .22LR and I always suggest new shooters start out shooting this caliber: less noise, virtually no recoil, and very cost effective.
Shooting is instant gratification. You shoot, walk downrange, and score your target . . . that simple. So, if you are looking for a simple and pleasurable hobby, stop by your local gun shop and ask some questions.