Over the Easter weekend I had the absolute pleasure of spending some time in Mackay, Queensland. Thank you to the lovely Steve F for his hospitality, and the always delightful TK for well, other stuff. ☺ The views were magnificent and the area a world so far removed from my own. True to form the weather was humid, but otherwise generally pleasant with a breeze to keep things comfortable. More on the trip some other time. For now though, this blog is about guns!

I will kick off by saying that guns are not my thing. I grew up on a farm and there was always a gun in the house, but it was always understood that it was not a toy. It was kept locked up, with the bolt and bullets kept separately and far reaching parts of the house. The gun was a tool which had a specific, rarely required, job and that was it. Respected and otherwise ignored. It wasn't a part of my life and I never really cared to change that.

Those who know me will know that I love to try things. New things, experience things, touch things, taste and smell and engage. I do this through travel, through the people I meet, the places I go, the things I read, my photography, and just living in general. And for the most part, I love it!

The recent trip to Mackay gave me an opportunity to try something new that was well out of my comfort zone; shooting. In a controlled environment, with experienced people, I had the chance to try my hand at shooting targets until they were dead (or anything within the general vicinity of the target ~lol~).

The guns

Pistol - Walther PPQ, .22

Rifle - Springfield Tikka 30-06


The pistol

I'm not going to linger on this. Basically because I am ultimately the world's worst shot with a hand gun it would seem. I killed a good amount of air though. That air had no chance! Three clips* (ten rounds to a magazine), so thirty odd rounds and I think I hit the target twice... well, the target I was aiming at. I may well have hit Steven's and Tony's targets once or twice too. When I look down the site of a pistol the little red dot at the end that I'm supposed to be lining up shakes like I have Parkinsons! No really. I could blame age, the morning after a boozey night, low blood sugar, excitement, nervousness... ultimately though, the weight of a gun in my outstretched hand (in spite of using my second hand to steady myself) has a natural wobble that I simply could not control. Other than that, short of being at point blank range, if I am pointing a pistol at anything then the world is pretty safe. Disappointingly, there will be no Double-Oh Franwella.

*Using the lingo like a pro now.


The rifle

Holy hell on earth! That thing made me jump every time it fired. It was loud and it was letting everyone know it was the boss. Steve and Tony put a significant amount of time into lining up the scope which made life easier for me. I saw how that kick impacted on them though. What on earth was I thinking? For the beginning of the day my mind hovered between wanting desperately to know what that whole experience felt like, and sheer terror. There is nothing like seeing something that powerful to confirm your thoughts that guns are about one thing and one thing only, killing! And perhaps the fact that it's not easy, it hurts, and it's loud and scary is a good thing.

I wasn't letting fear stand in my way though. I was not going home without knowing what it felt like to pull the trigger on that gun. So, with the lads bruised and the scope set... I stepped up.

OK. There's no time to be a princess when it comes to holding a gun. Firm grip. Don't put your finger on the trigger until you're prepared to pull it. Righty-oh. Eye in line with the scope, lineup the site with the dot on the target, pad of finger on trigger, breathe in, breath out, and squeeeeeze!


In their combined wisdom both Steve and Tony thought it best I get a feel for the trigger and the gun without the live ammunition to start with. Damn good idea! Now I know what I'm feeling for. What the gun does mechanically. The order of events. Time to man up and load up now though.

Magazine loaded (five jolly big bullets!), bolt cocked (chunk-chunk - that kinda felt cool), butt pulled in tight against the shoulder. I know this is going to kick, I've seen the physical jolt when the boys pulled the trigger. There was no self-delusional thoughts that I wasn't going to feel this. Follow the steps again... line up target, breath and fire!

FUCK ME! ... No really. I am not saying that for effect. That is exactly what happened. The gun fired, it punched me good an hard in the shoulder, I squealed like a little girl and swore like a sailor.