Springtime is in full swing. The days are longer, meaning more time outside. This means more time for golf, doing yard work and one of my favorite stress relievers: going to the range.
It doesn’t matter what kind of range you like. Everyone has their “range.” For me, it’s either hitting golf balls or going to the gun range. They are both similar, in that it’s me versus myself. I am in complete control of each golf shot, as I am with every pull of the trigger. Both require discipline and for me, doing either is therapeutic.
My first gun was my hunting shotgun, a Remington 870 Super Magnum Express. I don’t really hunt anymore but I love shooting skeet. That started my enjoyment for guns. It’s also a great gun to blow up boxes, bowling pins or for home defense should that ever happen.
The majority of my modest gun collection is what would be categorized as “curios and relics” aka they are old. Sure, I have an AR-15, but my prized gun, my Finnish M39, is built on a receiver from 1899 and is by far my favorite gun to shoot. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that the same gun you hold in your hands was once used in battle, and the stock and gun definitely show this. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
Because we have more daylight, I can load up all my gear the night before and be ready to go when I get home. It’s an hour drive to the range because my more local public outdoor range was shut down due to idiots blowing up TVs and propane tanks, and someone found a bullet hole in their shed roof thanks to some redneck dumbass shooting into the air. What can you do?
When I feel like hitting golf balls, my local driving ranges are much closer. There’s one less than five minutes from work and it is some guy’s backyard with a ball machine. There’s a great view of the valley, I can bring my own beer (something I will never do at the gun range), and there are generally few people so I can practice in peace and quiet.
Guns are always a highly contentious topic, especially in an election year. For me, I mainly use guns as an outlet, to blow up clays, shoot targets and destroy my old textbooks that they’d only give me $4 for, only to sell it to some other idiot for $100. I figured blowing up my old Geology 101 book with 450 pages is a lot more useful as well as exponentially more satisfying.
Like my guns, my golf clubs are pretty old. My irons are old Hogan CFTs. My woods and wedges are a mismatch of gifted and “borrowed” lost and found clubs from my time working at a club. Don’t worry, the borrowed ones only were borrowed if they’d be sitting there for a year or more at the club’s lost and found. My 7 iron is resting at the bottom of a hazard somewhere in the swamps of Jersey so when I need it, I either borrow someone’s, go with the 6 and swing easy or swing hard with the 8, all with varying degrees of success.
I love going to the range and I feel like everyone should have their “going to the range” type of activity. Whether it’s being outdoors, gardening, knitting, photography or LARPing, having recreational hobbies breaks up the week. It gives you something to look forward to and a translatable skill. I had no idea how to do anything with a gun until I popped open Google and taught myself how to install a bayonet lug for one of my older guns that needed it replaced or put the quad rail on the AR-15. Likewise, I can also regrip golf clubs, a skill I learned at my old job, which has been repaid with more than a few cases of beer.
Going to the range can be a social event or you can do it alone. I’ve found that people always love the opportunity to shoot guns, especially when you have an older collection like I do. Everyone has their Glocks, the AR-15s, etc., but there’s a really fulfilling feeling using a bolt action from 1944 or a funky revolver with the Russian Imperial Crest on it. Likewise, hitting the golf range with your regular foursome to trash talk, play horse, closest to the pin, is a great time. More than likely, a trip to the bar afterward will be in order (as if anyone needed a reason to drink after a glorious day out on the range). .
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