Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barrett .50 Cal

300px-M82A1_afmil Yesterday, just before we left the Scout Jamboree, we got to see a Barrett M82-A1 sniper rifle fired. It was the loudest sound I'd ever heard in my life.

The Scout Jamboree was interesting. We drove out Friday, racing out of here about 4:30, later than I wanted, but we managed to get out. I had Delaney pack most of the stuff, and he helped load the Prius up and we headed to Elizabeth. We had errands to run, and just like at his first campout, there was no dinner Friday night. We ordered a pizza from Cheesie's to go, then hit the bank to deposit checks and Wal-Mart for a couple of things.

We'd lost some things when Delaney had his backpack taken at summer camp. I was also short a few things, so I grabbed a mess kit, ceramic coffee mug, bug spray, and a couple other small things I thought we might need.

Then it was out to Ben Lomond Gun Club east of Kiowa. It was a long drive, 7mi to Kiowa from Elizabeth, then 17mi E and 5 south. There was nothing out there, and I was thinking apart from the mini-mart/gas station in Kiowa, the closest grocery store was about 30mi away. Surprisingly, however, I had a cell signal and data connection out there.

We dropped our stuff off at the campsite for our troop and then I drove back to park. When I got back, Delaney had moved out stuff out to a spot in the grass. We set up the tent together, and then blew up our air mattress. I wasn't sure when last used it, so I was worried it wouldn't work, but it was fine. We were set up and then hung out with the troop. Not much happening, just people hanging out.

I did get to see a Scoutmaster cooking mini-pizzas on pitas and tortillas in the Dutch oven. More and more I think those things are pretty cool. I'd like to get one and make a few things, especially at scout events. Delaney and I weren't much for staying up, especially with a 6am reville. It was getting cold, so we hit the tent around 9 to read. I'd brought the iTouch, so Delaney listened to some music and read while I did the same on the iPhone. I didn't have a connection in the tent, which was only 50ft from the troop trailer and 10-15ft lower. My connection would flake on and off all weekend.


I was a little cold Fri night. I slept with a sweatshirt and hat on most of the night, especially as our plastic storage container was pushing me up to the end of the tent. I couldn't stretch out my legs and had to keep away from the wall of the tent, which had condensation on it. Plus the sleeping bag felt constricting.

I had to pee as well, and after tossing and turning, I got up around 5:50 and pulled on my boots to find the port-a-potty. A couple other Dads were up, but none of them worrying about coffee. I couldn't understand that and was glad I'd brought our camp peculator. I got coffee going while kids and others straggled awake and started cooking. I tend to help cook, and kept coffee going while cooking some things for our lumberjack breakfast.

We ate good, and I felt find by the time we headed off to flags. With a low battery and low signal, I didn't carry my iPhone. Instead I was thinking I could grab the pocket camera from the car. I did, and it took one picture, wrote it to disk over about 45 sec, and then said low battery. I searched through the car and Delaney's backpack, but didn't see any. I thought this would suck as we walked to the first shooting range. However when we got there, the camera had warmed up and was shooting pictures.


Everyone got patches, and the first range for our troop was a .22 range set up for patch shooting. Each kid got to put their patch up as a target at 50ft and then shoot it with a gun. Some kids were better than others, and it seemed the organizers were being generous first thing. They let some kids shoot 3 or 4 times, and even moved the targets closer for a few. I'm not sure if Delaney hit it on the 3rd or 4th shot, but he did, putting a round through the "i" on the edge of the patch.


Next was regular .22 shooting, 15 rounds, and after waiting around quite awhile, our kids moved through the range. Delaney had a good grouping, mostly in the upper right. Since the sights aren't necessarily set, that's not too bad. At least he's consistent. Delaney needs 5 rounds of 5 in a quarter hole, and while he had one group in that space, they weren't necessarily 5 shots in a row, so I'm not sure this would count. He seemed a little disappointed, but not too bad. I was a little worried as we headed to our next group.

After a long walk past camp, where I picked up my phone, we moved to the Shotgun/paintball/.22 range on the other side of camp. It was close to lunch, so the adults hung out and sat in chairs while Delaney walked with scouts and shot paintball guns at targets. After lunch, he wanted to shoot the .22 silhouette range. It has a bunch of metal targets down a hill. I was worried about his confidence, but he had a sitting bench, and he managed to hit 4 or 5 of the ten shots. A few of his targets fell down, and he was excited again when he got done.


I was a little worried about finding time to run, but this was Delaney's day. I figured the worst case was me going around dinner time. He got in line for shotguns, which was a long line. Delaney sat on the ground waiting patiently while we hung out. After about 30 minutes he got in and went to his orientation. The kids learn about what a shotgun is, the styles, how to shoot, the various sizes, etc. for 10 minutes while the group before them shoots. Delaney listened, and I stood outside watching, and learning a few things as well. Guns are neat to shoot, though I'm not a big gun guy. Delaney wanted me to participate with him, but so many kids were waiting I didn't want to slow things down.


After the briefing, the instructor asked if anyone had more questions. Delaney raised his hand and asked about the sniper rifle that was on a table nearby. The instructor told us that was his Barrett 82A1 and he would like to shoot it later. That got Delaney excited.


He got his shotgun, and then went and lined up in his spot. There were 4 kids at a time for each thrower, and the instructor would give them a shell, have them get ready, and let them call "pull" to launch the clay pigeon. This instructor was good, and while I was worried about Delaney having a larger shotgun, he did fine.


The instructor stood behind them, trying to help them aim. After Delaney missed the first three I thought he might be upset, but he then nailed the last two, hitting them cleanly and blowing them apart. I think all our kids nicked at least one, but it was good to have Delaney hit two cleanly. He had a big smile when he left the range.

Next up was muzzle loading rifles.


Delaney had trouble loading the shot, which is hard. You have to jam the ball and wadding down there, and quite a few of the smaller kids struggled. He did think it was cool to load the powder, then the wadding and ball, and shove it down there.


There isn't as much of a kick, but it is load over there. We had ear protection, but I still thought it was loud standing near the range. He got his 3 shots and then declined to move on to throwing tomahawks or archery. We done those on previous scout events, and he doesn't like them.

So we headed to camp, and while he hung out, I went running. I came back to find him playing on the iPhone, not really bonding with these kids. I thin it's a little hard in scouts for him now as most of the kids that he moved up with didn't come on this campout. A few of them have quit, and a few were busy with sports. So lots of older kids out there.

Other people were packing up, so I asked Delaney if he wanted to stay. A few more kids had come with parents on Sat, so there were enough leaders. I didn't really want another cold night in a tent, and let Delaney waver a bit. As we walked to see if the Barrett would be fired, he said he'd like to go home. With a cough persisting over the last couple weeks. I thought it was for the best.

We went to see the Barrett and they guy said it would be a couple hours. So we went to camp, packed up, and loaded the car. I was glad we did it, since darkness came quickly and it would have been more of a hassle then. After loading, we ate and then headed back to the high power range. We got there as the sun was setting, and we weren't sure this would happen. There were also lots of mosquitos there and I was about to call it quits when the guy showed up. He went down the range (600 yds) to check if it was safe, then went to verify permission with the range owners. He left cantaloupes with the kids to go set out at 100, 200, and 300 yards. I could barely see the ones at 200, and couldn't see at 300, so it's amazing to think someone will shoot them.


The guy came back, and set up his gun. He then gave all the kids ear muffs and glasses to be sure they were safe. We had to either be behind him, or way to the side because of the muzzle brake shooting gasses back to the sides at an angle. He got set up and we all backed up. I had my hands pressed tight to my head, back about 25 ft to the side, and heard him barely call "fire in the hole."

Then he shot.

I could not believe how loud it was. My whole body shook, the fillings in my teeth rattled, and even with my hands pressed to my head it was the loudest thing I ever heard. All the kids jumped, and more than a few put their heads down.

The guy fired about 25 rounds over the next 15 minutes, evaporating 3 or the 5 melons down range. He kept missing one that was way to the side about 200 yards down range, and then had to stop when some scouts climbed on the ridge overlooking the range. A scoutmaster came down and was very upset. Personally I think he was out of line, but the instructor handled it well and agreed to stop.

A few of the times he fired I had forgotten to put my hands over my ears and I was actually stunned at how loud the gun was. It felt like a huge bolt of lightning had struck the shelter and exploded. It was a terrifying sound.

Delaney didn't want to leave while he was firing, and he was a little scared. He said he didn't want a gun like that, but he thought it was very cool to see it fired.

After that we walked back to camp, said good-bye, and headed home. Delaney was out pretty quickly, as I knew he would be. The adrenalin from the gun show wiping him out, at the end of a long day. We definitely liked the outing and I hope they do it again next year.

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