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A heaping pile of FAIL. Also, Thanksgiving and Range Report.

So this Thanksgiving, my family went to Missouri – but because they left Tuesday night, and I had classes on Wednesday, I was unable to join them.  My sister and her family were having their own dinner, so when a friend of mine invited me to his house, I gladly accepted.

Long story short on that front:  his family is nuts, his parents love me, and I’m going to go out there a lot more often in the future, I think.  Not just because of the company, but because it’s out in the middle of nowhere, and you know what that means?

Lots and lots of shooting.

I shot my Walther for the first time (did pretty well, actually, from 25 yards), shot my Mossberg for the first time, shot my .22 rifle and .22 pistol, launched skeet for my friend, shot his .44 magnum rifle, did some target practice, and all around just had a good time.

Except for the Mossberg, that is.  I checked and re-checked everything, pulled it to my shoulder, made sure it was cradled correctly, braced it against me, leaned into it, took a breath, sighted, and fired.  I mean, I really did everything I was supposed to do.  The recoil from the shotgun was so great that the gun jumped sideways on my shoulder and pulled my arm away from my body.  With my muscles tensed the way that they were, I immediately felt like something had gotten torn.  I’d only loaded one shell, so I didn’t even reject the spent shell…I just held the gun to me and took deep breaths while pacing around the yard and trying not to cry.  JB (my friend) had gone into the house to get something (probably another rifle), and when he saw me, he was like, “Hey, are you okay?”

Y’all, I was so embarrassed that I started crying.  Later in the day, JB shot the gun and told me that he couldn’t believe how horrible the recoil was, and he’s 6’6″ and over 200 pounds, so I didn’t feel as bad later, but I just felt like a total dumbass.

Anyway, other than that, the day was good.  And I took photos.  Which I will now put under a jump.

We started shooting at around 11:30 on Friday morning.

This is the land we were on:

A lot of these photos are black and white simply because the lighting was weird, and I didn’t feel like constantly adjusting things.  I’m lazy like that.

See?  LOTS of land.

To the left is JB’s .44, to the right is his shotgun:

JB setting up the target:

After I shot my Walther and some .22 stuff, JB got out his .44 and killed the target.

Then we brought out the clay launcher, and he had some fun…this was after I injured my shoulder, so there was no way in hell I was going to try.  His mom launched two at once for him, and he missed them both…he wasn’t bothered by it, though:

Then his mom went and got an old shoe and hung it from a tree by a rope.  Add some leftover clays and an old soda can, and you have a great Redneck Windchime…or hanging target:

The first time we did this, I shot both clays, and JB knocked the can off (and proceeded to riddle it with bullets).  We were both using .22 rifles, BTW.

His mom was enjoying watching me squeal when I hit a target, I think, so she went and grabbed a can of blue spray paint and hung it on the top loop, where that free clay is in the photo above.  I nailed it with my first shot, it spun around and sprayed paint all over everything, and then launched itself into another part of the yard.  I was pretty proud of myself…heh.

After that, it turned into kind of a free-for-all – more clays were produced and set up in weird places, the shoe was annihilated some more, the cans on the ground were yet again riddled with holes from JB’s over-enthusiastic shooting, and then we ran out of ammo, so the fun was over.

The aftermath:

This is the target after JB shot it with buckshot.

This can only had one hole in it from me…the rest was JB:

JB shot at the rope holding everything up with his .44 until the whole thing came down.  You can see the blue paint all over the grass in this photo, too, as well as the big white styrofoam thing that his mother hung up for us to fire at:

Good thing his dad was throwing that out, eh?

His dog, Angus, came out to say hi when it was over:

Here’s the can – you’d think that there was a personal grudge involved or something:

That’s pretty much it for photos.  I had a good time, I’m going to see if there’s anything to be done about the recoil on my shotgun, and that’s pretty much it.

Any other photos from this or the other things I’ve done in the past few months will be posted on Flickr, and linked here.

11 comments to A heaping pile of FAIL. Also, Thanksgiving and Range Report.

  • How much does that shotgun weigh? Maybe, if it has a wooden stock, you could drill some holes in it and pour some lead into them.

  • Speaking from personal experience, firing buckshot through the 500 hurts most people. I used to just shoot target loads through ours because I couldn’t handle the recoil. Then my husband put a Knox recoil-reducing (and adjustable) stock on ours and it helped quite a bit. The adjustable stock also makes positioning be much more stable because I’m not at my maximum reach anymore.

  • sidhe_demon

    shit, i knew that redneck was going to come out in one of you kids sooner or later…


  • Gregg

    Take it to a gunsmith, they have various tricks to reduce the recoil.

    (e.g. an elongated forcing cone)

  • Phil-Z

    Looks like a poly stock on the shotgun. How well does it fit you? You might actually need it to be shorter, with more pad. You can get used wood off ebay pretty cheap and saw it down. If you do read up on stock fitting and how to get the appropriate angle on the cut. Try the stock, as in out of the box stock, angle first.

    Make sure the stock is tight to your shoulder.

    Another thing you might try is adding a (sorbothane?) padded cheekpeice to the shotgun and making sure your face is tight to it when you shoot. That helps me, YMMV. I find I put my head and hence eye in the same spot with the cheekpeice, and I shoot better. Again, what works for me may or may not help you.

    Last, try some of the reduced recoil buck that’s availible. For indoor defense you don’t need a lot of velocity. Till you get used to it use low brass 2 3/4″ shells with a low velocity load. They kick less and that gives you time to experiment with what feels comfortable to you without leaving you with a flinch.

    Is the shotgun fairly new -ie- less than 20 y.o.? If not, make sure it has modern length chambers.

    Finally, take what I’ve said with a grain of salt. It works for me, but I’m 6′ tall and 250#, and stock shotguns fit. You appear to be *somewhat* smaller, so what works for me might suck for you. Good luck!

  • Peter

    Hey Squeak:
    As a 6’2″/210# professional, I too am no fan of shotgun recoil. Even my 500 with 2-3/4 loads for qualifying made for a long painful day at the range…until: We were allowed to put the Knoxx Recoil Reducing SpecOps stock on our weapons. A-the adjustable pull meant everyone on the line (and everyone in the family) could “comfortably” shoulder the 500, and you should be able to find your comfort zone without blowing more on different stocks+pads+spacers. I know you’re a student, but look around and you can usually save a little off the $120…but be sure to get the recoil reducing version (check that fine print as there is a non-recoil reducing version and some mislabel in ads). By it new as well as it will then come with the wrench you will need for the install (5 minutes, but you will need a l-o-n-g screw driver to take your stock off). I’ve seen where people say “oh…makes it feel like a 20/16/410.”…that’s BS. Just makes if feel like a better 12ga. My wife will combine with reduced recoil loads (okay, I use them too…but she bought them) and at 5’8″ and slim framed she can now shoot the Mossberg all day at the range.
    Good luck. I’ll pray that shoulder feels better. Been there…done that…bought the ice pack.

  • Ted

    It looks like a fun day, and well done for shooting the beast. I’m not a huge guy (6 feet and a little), but I just don’t find it a pleasant shooting shotguns. I wouldn’t have even tried.

  • Squeaky Wheel

    JTG – It’s poly.
    Melody – Seeing as how two people have recommended that stock, I think I’m going to check it out…mine’s a Maverick, which I think is some variant of the 88.
    sidhe – Are you surprised that it’s me? You can’t be.
    Gregg – That’s actually my next step.
    Phil – Yeah, I know the buckshot was probably a bad idea, but it’s what I had. The stock is a bit long for me, but I didn’t think it would make THAT much of a difference. Whoops. :-P
    Peter – You’re #2 to suggest that stock, and while I’m 5’8″, I have a larger frame, so that could very well be a viable solution. Thanks.
    Ted – I tried it TWICE. After my arm stopped hurting, I tried shooting it from a prone position. Not a good idea.

  • Tam

    Yeah, a gauge with full house stuff will leave one black and blue. :(

    The good news is that any stock, including those swoopy recoil-reducing CompStocks, for a Mossenberger 500 will fit your Maverick 88 (it’s like the budget version of the same gun…)

    Also, make sure to ask for ammo with reasonable recoil (even if Cletus behind the counter doesn’t seem like John Moses Browning, he should understand “low brass”.) Remington also makes 8-pellet reduced-recoil “tactical” buckshot that will take care of bidness without being too absolutely vicious to practice with occasionally.

  • Squeaky,

    I’ve got a Knoxx Recoil-Reducing stock on my Winchester 1300, and that has made a world of difference in the recoil. They’re pricey – I paid like $90 for mine – but worth every penny in the “increases shootability” department.

    And even I, as mechanically declined as I am, installed it myself…