Things I've never done

I’m a gun nut.  If you put it in my hands, I’ll shoot it and I’ll probably enjoy doing that.  That being said, there are more than a few “gun experiences” that I’ve quite simply never had.  For example I have never:

  • Fired a round of sporting clays
  • Fired an over-under shotgun, period
  • Shot a bolt action rifle in any of the “traditional” hunting calibers such as .308, .30’06, .243 Win, etc.
  • Shot a .41 Magnum
  • Shot a .500 Magnum
  • Fired two guns whilst jumping through the air

There are a whole lot of other items on that list, most of which are hunting or “brown gun” related.  I got started in the shooting sports in the Coast Guard, and that experience directed me more towards the tactical and action competition side of things, which means I’ve shot a ton of ARs, polymer pistols, Berettas and 1911s, but I honestly don’t have a lot of experience with clay shooting, or any kind of hunting gear.

We all have blind spots in our shooting experience.  The important thing in my opinion is to acknowledge those blind spots for what they are, and not put down the other sports that we’re less than familiar with simply because they’re not what we shoot.   This goes for the skeet shooters that pooh-pooh pistol games, the 3-Gun guys that think that skeet is lame, the hunters who don’t get concealed carry, and the CCW people that think everyone who doesn’t carry is a fool.

Like Uncle says, can’t we all just get a long gun? In 2011, I’m actually going to try and get more familiar with some of the other shooting sports, especially skeet/trap shooting.  Now if I can just remember that you can’t take follow up shots when you miss, I’ll be fine.


  1. Add “Sportmans Team Challenge” to your list. It’s a different kind of 3 gun match. Half the match is shotgun, 25% 22 rifle, 12.5% IPSC pistol and 12.5% 22 pistol. In every event, all 3 shooters on the team shoot, either at the same time or in a relay. To win requires skill with all the guns, from hitting 2″ targets from standing (no sling) with the rifle, to skeet/trap skills to Steel Challenge-esque. June 2011 in San Antonio at the National (shotgun) shooting complex.

    1. I have really wanted to try sportsman team challenge. It looks like a lot of fun, and something that I could in fact cobble a team together to shoot.

  2. If you’re going to be shooting clay games as much as you are the pistol games I’d really suggested getting a shotgun reloading press.

    The cheap shells are loaded fairly fast and heavy which doesn’t help for extended sessions. The softer shooting factory loads are pricey. Rolling your own gets you the best of both worlds.

    Well, as long as you don’t burn the house down.

  3. After trying firing two guns at once, I’m not so sure “… while jumping through the air” is on the list anymore. While grounded was ridiculous enough.

  4. I tried shooting two guns once. They were Glock 21s. At 10 yards I hit the target twice I think. I put enough rounds in the dirt and the hill above the target (it was outdoors) to know that akimbo style should stay in the movies.

  5. Sporting clays is golf with a shotgun.

    If you ever are in my neck of the woods, we’ll take my ugly ass Mossberg 500 and knock some pigeons out of the sky.

  6. So you have fired your gun into the air whilst screaming “AAHHH!”?

    I haven’t done the last three on your list. Got the first two while I worked on my NRA “Expert” shotgun rating a couple years ago and I have a nice M1903A3.

  7. I think you should add firing a flintlock muzzleloader to that list, the original ‘Assault Rifle”!
    And use real Blackpowder, pyrodex pellets or powder just isn’t the same experience.

    Another interesting experience is a .50 BMG rifle.
    Everyone should shoot one at least once in their life. 🙂

    #1 on my list would be “Never fired a mini-gun”

    1. I believe Caleb has already fired a flintlock muzzleloader on “Top Shot”. He also said on “Top Shot” that he used to be a smokepole aficionado.

      Mini-gun would be my #1 too.

      1. Don’t remember that detail, and I saw all the episodes……

        God my memory sucketh!

        I miss my old flintlock T/C Hawken, gonna have to look into getting another front stuffer someday soon.

        I think the only thing better than firing a minigun would be firing it from a helicopter……..

  8. Heh, I actually bought a O/U Sporting Clays model gun 9 years ago because I wanted to try an O/U and get into sporting clays. Wound up using it to shoot on a trap league with a friend’s team and still haven’t shot a round of sporting clays.

  9. You forgot to add firing your gun whilst in high-speed pursuit.

    It’s been too long. I have to watch that movie again soon.

  10. You forgot to add firing your gun whilst in high-speed pursuit.

    Whew, for a moment there, I thought I was the only other one who had seen Hot Fuzz.

    Sporting clays is a blast, and after tramping thru the woods of northern Arizona with my brother looking for quail, I can see me getting into that, too.

  11. Caleb; To really appreciate the .41 Mag you have to have some background in what used to considered ‘heavy’ revolvers and their ‘loads’, but by today’s standards all of ’em are seen as somewhat tame.

    I would advise you to seek out a 4″ Model 57, 58 or 657 S&W that is loaded with factory WW 175 gr. Silvertip ammo.

    Then go shoot a .44 Mag with anything or even a .357 Mag with heavy loaded 173 gr cast Keith bullets over a maximum charge of 2400.

    If you do shoot the latter two calibers as described, I’m pretty sure you will see the benefit and the allure of the .41 Magnum in a handy hip-holster size.

    One last thing and we’ve had this discussion before, but when it comes to stopping ‘living’ targets, let me say simply……THE .41 MAG WORKS!

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

    1. I actually want to play with the .41 Mag. I shot some .44 Specials, and recently some 200 grain hard cast .357s that had me hankering for a softer shooting “big bore” load.

      1. Try my 44mag load, 300gr Hornady XTP over a max load of 296.
        (I would not recommended this out of a SAA style gun)

        I had a 10″ barreled Dan Wesson that Loved that load!
        Groups were cut in half…..

  12. “I’ve shot a ton of ARs, polymer pistols, Berettas and 1911s, but I honestly don’t have a lot of experience with clay shooting, or any kind of hunting gear.”
    News flash, Caleb. There are a ton of us out here who consider our AR’s “hunting gear”. Sorry but you hit a sore spot there.

    1. I wish I could use a semi auto for hunting, PA doesn’t allow them. All guns must be “manually operated”.

      I’ve got a SKS that is highly accurate (I believe it was a military issue gun, not one of the thrown together for export ones) that I would love to use for deer hunting but can’t. It Sux, yes.

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