I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bad Juju

I think we may have finally broken a curse.

One of my high school roommates and I have been trying to go shooting together for a couple years now. The first time 'round, my dad simply couldn't get the time to take us to the range. Simple enough problem. Second time, we couldn't get a signed permission slip from his parents in time to make the trip. Dad is highly safety conscious, and requires any under-age shooter to bring along written permission. Simplifies things legally as well, come to that. Still not a major problem, but more difficult than just finding time.

The next two tries were remarkable in that I have literally never seen any range as crowded as our range was. Not only was every one of the 18 stations filled (a 75 ft range too. Not exactly prime shooting real estate for most places, though golden from Chicago standards) but there was at least an hour and a half wait. Being on a somewhat limited time frame on both occasions, we had to bag it without firing a single shot.

There may have been another attempt or two in there, but I don't recall, as my memory can be a touch squirrelly. By this time though, both of us were getting frustrated both at our apparent inability to go shooting, and the progressively more irritating obstacles.

As I mentioned in passing in my last post, I just spent a couple weeks in northern Michigan for some rest and relaxation. (Theoretically, that is) This friend of mine is currently studying at Michigan State, and while East Lansing is a bit out of the way, a very nice, free range was conveniently close to his apartment, so we decided to make a detour for some shooting.

The glitches started with transportation.  Dad has a very small car, as most of the time his commute is all of 4 minutes. A Mitsubishi Spyder is a really fun car to drive around, but not the most practical for road trips. It also can't fit rifles in the trunk.  Add two tall guys and luggage for two weeks to the normal range paraphernalia, and you have a fairly crowded situation. Not the sort of thing that is amenable to adding another person to the mix, certainly.

He luckily was able to secure transportation with a friend who had a car. Unluckily, the only time his friend was able to get him there was at about two, a full hour before earliest possible arrival. Being determined to not let anything get in the way of this attempt, he decided to just stick it out and wait in the parking lot.

The curse apparently disapproved of our working around this obstacle, so of course we didn't manage to leave the house until quite a while after anticipated. Range time was starting to get a little limited, as the range closed at 5, but it was still in doable range of getting there and having about an hour to shoot.

The juju couldn't give up quite that easily though. It's parting shot was, at long last, an attempt on our lives.  As mentioned above, dad has a small car. When a small convertible has a large SUV attempt to make a u-turn through it at 80 mph, the convertible loses.

In a piece of the most idiotic bit of driving I have ever heard of, much less seen, an SUV in the right lane wanted to make a u-turn through one of the 'Authorized Vehicles Only' strips that cross the median.  He slammed on his brakes, forcing the crossover behind him to slam on his brakes and swerve into the left lane, where, inconveniently, we were sitting. At this point, the suv was in the right lane, the crossover in the left, and we were on the shoulder, still at 80 mph. And the suv kept coming.

While the gap in the median is fairly large perpendicularly, the available space is significantly lower when coming in at an angle. In fact, said space was about 6 inches smaller than the width of the car.  I give huge credit to dad for keeping us alive and (relatively) unscathed through that. The left side of the car swiped a pole, shattering the driver's side mirror and spraying glass over us.  We ended up sitting in the median in a shimmering field of broken mirror, with assorted small cuts from flying glass. Most concerningly, a large fragment of glass bounced off my glasses. Had I not been wearing them, I would likely be blind in my left eye today.

As you can perhaps imagine, this shot our travel time to someplace warm that rhymes with bell.

We finally pulled into the range lot at 4:37. There was one last shooting period to the day, so we got my friend situated at the hundred yard line with his preferred introduction to centerfire shooting. A Mosin Nagant. (He asked, don't give me that look) Hot range was called, and in an absolutely classic fashion, he sighted, fired a shot, grinned like a maniac and said, "OW."

Made it through five shots before calling it quits too.

It seems that all that was needed to break the juju was him finally getting to shoot something. On the return trip, we made the same detour without incident, and introduced him to the wonderful world of handguns. Of course, he brought a new type of juju, and managed to jam, well, everything.

I'll still take that over flying shards of glass any day of the week.

In other news, I am back, and I will be posting more. There are lots of things to think about, talk about, and write about, but a northern Michigan vacation is not the time for it. Thanks for reading.


  1. A. Mosin. Freaking. Nagant.
    What do you have against the guy?

    Glad to hear you got out of the wreck unscathed.

    Driving like that doesn't seem to happen much down here because people seem to be concerned it might get them shot.

    1. We asked him what firearm he would like to shoot given the chance to only shoot one, and he said the mosin. We did warn him about the recoil. He seemed to enjoy it though.

      Believe me, I'm glad to be unscathed. Not an experience I'd care to repeat.

      I have noticed and appreciated the difference in driver quality between Texas and up here before. I'm not sure why it is, but it is most certainly there.


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