Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Straight shooter – part 3

Straight shooter - part 1
Straight shooter - part 2

by Tom Gaylord

I worked harder that afternoon than I ever had before. I wasn't just shooting. I was shooting to earn my new BB gun. I had to hit the can to win it, and I had to learn to shoot in order to hit. If I had ever spent as much time learning arithmetic as I did learning to shoot that afternoon, I guess I would have made my living doing sums.

Finally, at the end of the day, I got to where I could hit the can three times out of five. I was pretty satisfied with myself, but dad wasn't through with me yet.

"Next Saturday, we'll try it from farther away. You're coming along well, Bobby. You should be able to hit your mark in a few more weeks."

A few more weeks! I had just made a series of near-impossible shots and now he wanted me to do even better! Who did he think I was—Annie Oakley?

I managed to conceal my disappointment only because the cause I was fighting for was such a worthy one. My friends took pity on me for some reason the next week and let me shoot their guns more than ever before. Because I had trained so hard at the gravel pit, I figured I could shoot their BB guns better than they could, but they all outshot me easily.

It turned out that each boy had learned how his gun worked so well that he knew where the BB was going even before he pulled the trigger. Jimmy Rutherford had a Daisy repeater that shot to the left. He had bent the front sight to correct it, but that gun still shot to the left. The farther away you shot, the more left it went, but Jimmy knew exactly where to aim to hit his target. He could hit the tips of kitchen matches at 15 feet, or dimes at 30 feet. I couldn't see how he did it, except that he really knew his gun.

Dale Swartz had an old King single shot that his dad had as a kid. It was all beat-up looking, but Dale could hit even better than Jimmy. He said the secret was in shooting lead shot instead of steel. He said steel went faster, but lead went straighter, and his old gun sure proved it! I saw him shoot a bottle cap off a log at 50 feet. Even Jimmy couldn't do that all the time, but Dale sure could.


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