On memorial day weekend, I finally got to fire my rifle. It was awesome.

I knew that we had our annual family cookout over in Arkansas so I just waited for this opportunity. I also knew that we were going to have a skeet shooting session on Steve’s property so I felt free to take my muzzle loader along.

When the time came, I got conservative and used zip-ties to lash the thing to the mower deck of his tractor. It ended up being aimed at some dense forest and I was assured that nobody lived downrange within a mile anyway. I tied a string to the trigger and set it off from a safe distance and VOILA, it fired flawlessly.

Actually there was a fraction-of-a-second between the cap ignition and the gun firing but I count this as a success due to the fact that the barrel did not explode.

I proceeded to load and fire it normally several times. I’m was having that annoying problem of the caps not firing upon ever drop of the hammer. I have since replaced the nipple and this seems to have cured that ill. So I’m pretty excited about having a working muzzle loader. Now I need to find a regular place to go shoot and maybe some other like-minded folks.

I’ve slowly been refurbishing my muzzle loading rifle and finally managed to get up to the store where you can buy such supplies.  I am now furnished with lead balls, patches, miscellaneous gear, and powder (not the real black powder by Pyrodex – a “propellant”).  To call gunpowder a “propellant” seems a ridiculous legal distinction but there it is.  Real black powder is classified as an explosive and is hard to get; “propellent” can be sold off the shelf more easily in small amounts.

Anyway, I’m ready to shoot – I just need to run some tests first and need to go somewhere that I can do them.  I don’t think I can get away with any testing in my neighborhood; firing a gun without a lead ball (simply wadded with patches) will still make a bang and I can imagine getting in trouble over that.

I enjoy shooting.  Dad and I did both skeet shooting and target shooting when I was a teenager and after going to the indoor range down in Garland, I discovered that I still enjoy it and would like to get back into it.  Unfortunately, guns are expensive.  I guess that’s good – you don‘t want to have a crappy gun that could blow up in your face.

I first priced shotguns and these are pretty reasonably priced if you look for sales. Of course, I’d need to get a membership at a club somewhere so that I’d have a place to shoot as well as all the catapults and stuff.  Either that or drive two hours to Steve’s and clutter up his yard with bits of clay.

I also priced a handgun for target shooting but these are terribly expensive.  I’ve never met anyone with only one; most guys if they have a gun at all, will have several but I’m not sure how they justify the expense.  I decided instead to buy an airsoft pistol.  These are much more reasonably priced and are accurate reproductions of the real thing and you get to shoot at cans in the back yard and not worry about hurting anybody or bothering anyone with the noise.

Evan and I have already had some good fun out there with it.

The shotgun is still on my list though.