Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 94 - The Aging 870 & The Old Man's Shoulder

The aging Remington 870 struck hard against my shoulder today and my old man's shoulder middle aged, arthritic and bursitis encumbered shoulder was no match for the harsh retort of recoil from the old Remington. As soon as the butt of the shotgun slammed back into my shoulder, it felt as if a searing bolt of lightning had been sent down my arm from my shoulder to the tips of the last two fingers on my right hand. The pain, in my neck, right shoulder, arm and hand that accompanied it was almost unbearable. Then I shot again! I don't know if it was due to stupidity, machismo, the idea that it would be better on the next shot, or that I just could not put down my old friend after only one shot, or that I was determined to be ready for the upcoming hunting season. I fired two more slugs, then I put down my old friend with a grimace still on my face. The second and third shots were not as bad as the first, no more lightning bolt shooting down my arm but the pain was severe nonetheless. I had just fired the Marlin 336 in .35 Remington several times, and had also fired the Mosin Nagant 91/30 in 7.62x54R and the Yugoslavian M24/47 Mauser in 8MM Mauser, also both several times. None of them had inflicted me with even a hint of discomfort, let alone pain. I figured the shotgun would be uncomfortable, or even hurt a bit, as usual but I was not prepared for what it hit me with.

I went to shooting the Marlin 25MN in 22WMR, then back to the Marlin 336, the Mauser and the Nagant. All still no problem. I gave the shotgun a few more tries about an hour and a half or so after the first few rounds. It hurt but was nothing like the first shot, or the second and third but it still hurt too much. Then again, even the second and third shots were nothing like the first one had been, that one was by far the worst. I suppose it must have just pushed on the nerve in my shoulder just right to put my pain receptors into overdrive and to make me actually think I might never be able to shoot it again. Yes, it hurt that badly and I suppose that was in part due to my arthritis, bursitis, and the cyst removal surgery I had on my neck back in May; that cyst had been pressing on the nerve that runs from the neck to shoulder and down the arm. I also know it has to do with me not exercising enough and I guess with me getting older too. I guess maybe before I feel too old before my time, I ought to be exercising more to build up mooscles so it won't happen again too soon. If that does happen again, especially that feeling of a bolt of supercharged lightning running down my arm ending in my finger tips, well then I may have to retire the old 870 for the duration. Of course, before I would do that, I may try some sort of recoil pad added onto my shoulder between me and the recoil pad on the shotgun butt. I just don't want to give up one of my favorites guns without trying to figure out a solution to this problem if there is one.

Besides that incident with the shotgun, the range day was great. I was there with Brendan. He needed to see if the Marlin 336 was sighted in for himself and also had to shoot the 870 for the same reason. He fired only 3 shots out of the 870 and called it quits with that one for the rest of the 4 hours or so that we were at the range. I suppose I cannot blame him. He had a lot more fun with the 336, the Mosin Nagant, his Stag Arms AR15 (which I forgot to mention above that I also had fun shooting), and the Marlin 25MN. He must have fired about 150 rounds through the 25MN, and 100 of them as rapidly as I have ever seen anyone shoot a bolt action rifle. I was pretty pleased he had about a 2 1/2 to 3 group, with only about 2 fliers out of a box of 50 rounds, at 50 yards, while firing that fast. His slow fire is usually not any better, if that good, so seeing him do that well that fast was fairly impressive. He was really having a blast with it between shooting the other guns. In fact, he pretty much ended up the range day shooting the Marlin 25 MN although he took time out to fire a last few shots from the Marlin 336 - just to make sure it was sighted in for him. I think any big game that may cross his path this year, while he is holding the Marlin 336, had better start worrying now. As for the gray squirrels, he would easily take them at 50 yards with the Marlin 25MN. I can almost smell the roasting venison and the squirrel stew but I guess we first have to see some of them within shooting distance.

After the range, we stopped off at a Hooters for a late lunch. We didn't have anything like squirrel stew or roasted venison but the onion rings were out of this world, the hot chicken wings just deliciously hot, the fries were nice and crispy and only the BBQ ribs were left needing something that the waitress' ribs certainly were not lacking. After all - it was Hooters, not known for the best of food but certainly known for something to do with ribs!

All the best,
Glenn B