Having arrived home last night after 1800 and gotten in quite the rush preparing a promised cookout for my son (ie: grilling burgers, dogs, steaks, and chicken by the light of a headlamp from my jump bag, I hopped online finally around 2200, to find a friend I haven't talked to regularly in about 4 years had IM'd me: "Hubby wants to go to the range tomorrow, I mentioned you had an AR. Can you come along with it?"
What? Impromptu range session? Well HELL yeah!!!
Spent the next couple hours going over weapons, making a packing list (I took the 303, the 30-30, AK, AR, .22LR, 12gauge and what I thought was some old dove loads (BLOODY HELL!!!!), and a couple pistols.
Went over to their house, all of 2 miles away, about 2330. Took a couple rifles because they wanted to take a look. Ended up being there till about 0300, as he was cleaning his Colt Gold Cup Match Elite (can you say, drool?) and it came up that it had never even been field stripped to clean it properly. So I proceeded to disassemble the slide and frame, from memory. Many comments ensued about the weapon never working again- well, it does, and is much cleaner now, to boot. ;)
I managed to only forget the ammo for the .303 Lee-Enfield, which kinda sucked because that was the one I wanted to fire the most. Also, a friend brought his Lee-Enfield (1918 model to my 1941 No4Mk1). I am thinking that's likely an Ishapore, but I am not an expert, and being that his was missing the upper wood and didn't have the foreband to protect the sites I'm thinking it is probably sporterized like mine. Still, wouldn't mind firing it and perhaps even having it, as the chamber on it feels tight. There's corrosion in the barrel which is to be expected if you're familiar with the 303 and the lack of boiling-hot water in the trenches to clean corrosive residue during a war. Some shooting and firelapping would most likely take care of that. If he keeps that weapon, he's gonna need to reload for it.
My son went along, and did extremely well. So well, in fact, that I felt comfortable enough to let him run the .22 rifle by himself, as I sat at the station next to him (less than arm's reach away, safety mommies, so can it!). He has gotten good enough with the rifle to realize the scope really needs to be sighted in. In fact, that's something he started to bug me about- can't blame him. He doesn't realize this is something that can't really be done at a busy public range without a spotter scope, so that's next on the horizon for gunnie-type shopping. He obviously felt like a really big boy, though, when the family that set up next to us wouldn't even let their (much older- my son is 8) children touch the weapons till Dad had set down with each of them and given them instruction in safety and operation. He was positively beaming when the 13-year-old boy was overheard during a lull in the firing "But dad, why can't I? That little kid next to us is shooting all by himself and doing a good job of it".
This prompted the parents to look over at us, I just smiled and told the young man "that's because he's a good listener, and follows the rules his parents set, so we trust him to respect the weapon".
Definitely must remember to take the 303 ammo next time... and stop for a couple bags of out-of-date oranges and the like to use as reactive targets.
EDIT: friends IM'd me a bit ago: "We've a few friends that want to learn to shoot but are afraid of guns. Can you teach them?" Why sure. Maybe it's time to fast-track that NRA cert...