Well, well, how quickly plans can change! I had had lunch with Lorraine in Oklahoma and was about to head out of the city, and on the way back to the RV I passed a coffee shop with a big sign offering free WiFi access – a quick coffee before departure would be nice, and I could quickly check my email too.
Among the new items in my Inbox was an email from Russ who lives in the northern suburbs of Oklahoma City. He had been following my progress, and had just taken a look at my site and seen that I was in Oklahoma. He had read my previous blogs with interest, particularly noticing my fascination with the amazing US gun laws and gun culture. I had been unable to go shooting with Josh, my tattoo-artist friend in Indiana due to time constraints, but had managed to shoot both a pump-action shotgun and .22 rifle with Sue and Nancy on the farm.
Russ suggested that if I had not yet left Oklahoma, he had a couple of pistols and a semi-automatic assault rifle that I would be welcome to shoot if I wished. Absolutely!! A quick couple of phone calls later new plans were in place, and the next morning we headed out to the shooting range.
There we met a couple of guys who were setting up for a competition that was taking place that morning, and after a quick chat I was offered the chance to fire some sort of Russian .22 target rifle with a huge telescopic sight. The gun was set up on padded stands, with a handle to adjust the aim, so the rifle could be fired without holding it at all, and therefore there is no movement of the gun at all as the shot is taken. I fired two shots, the second bullet going straight through the hole made by the first – amaingly accurate.
Russ and I moved on to the pistol range, and the first gun he produced was a .45 Springfield Automatic pistol, or 1911 A1 45 Automatic, along with a shoulder-holster and extra magazines of ammo. He gave me a quick safety run-through, fired a few shots, and gave me the gun to try. The first two shots both knocked one of the metal targets down, and I was very pleased. However, it was just beginners luck, and after reloading, I had some frustrations! He had brought enough ammo to start a war, and I happily blasted away at the targets and reloaded, while Russ got the next gun out.
I looked on wide-eyed as he fired the Magnum .44 – “the most powerful handgun in the world”, according to Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies. The thing was huge, and seemed to have quite a kick! When I fired it, the kick wasn’t as bad as I expected. After a bit of practice with it, I found that I was hitting the targets pretty regularly, and even managed to get all six targets with six bullets on one reload. It was a lot more accurate than the .45, because of the longer barrel.
Eventually we moved onto the rifle range, and Russ got out his AR-15, a .223 calibre assault rifle, which is the semi-automatic version of the M-16. It had a telescopic sight with a red-dot inside that was pretty accurate. The magazine held 30 rounds, and it would fire pretty much as quick as you could pull the trigger.
While we reloaded the magazines we chatted a bit, and I found that we had incredibly similar backgrounds, particularly in regard to what brought me to the point of putting my life up for sale on eBay, and then setting off on my 100 goals voyage.
We fired some more, and then headed off for a late breakfast, before it really was time to get on the road towards Texas. In his original email to me Russ claimed not to be a “gun nut”, explaining that his brother had way more guns than he did. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, you decide for yourself!!
What an amaing experience, and quite a thrill, to be able to fire such stuff. Huge thanks to Russ for the opportunity to do so.