My son, My dad - and a question (a bit long)


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campergeek
July 14, 2005, 12:17 AM
Over the 4th of July weekend my parents were here to see my kids (they readily declare that they don't come to see me any more) :) and while they were here my 6 y.o. son got an opportunity to show Grandpa how he could shoot his bb gun (Daisy Buck).

Before he shot, I made him recite the 4 rules for Grandpa and then demonstrate the 4 shooting positions. He did a great job, and then proceeded to impress Grandpa with his marksmanship. Our shooting sessions tend to follow a pattern: Son starts out enthusiastic and focused; groups shots well and close to the middle. Son continues shooting, begging after each set of 5 shots "can I shoot some more?" ("Yes, of course", is always the answer). Son begins to tire of shooting, loses focus and the shots begin to spread around the target. At this point I always let him quit when he's ready - he already enjoys shooting; why push him?

At about the time my son was tiring out, my dad asked to take a few shots. I offered to get him my full-size bb/pellet rifle (we were shooting in my 5-meter range, a.k.a. my garage), but he insisted that he was fine with the itty-bitty lever action.

A little background: my dad is 72 and a Korean War veteran, although in his position he was in country but didn't see any action. I once asked him what his job was during the war, and after he described his duties I realized that he was roughly the equivalent of the unseen "sparky" on the television show M*A*S*H. Forgive the sitcom reference - that show was a family favorite and is my primary mental picture of the Korean conflict. But now I digress. Growing up, my dad taught me to shoot but we didn't spend a lot of time hunting or shooting together. He only had 1 rifle - a bolt-action .22, and had only a utilitarian interest in firearms, at least from what I saw.

In any case, this veteran of war and life sprawled out prone on my garage floor and scrunched up to sight down the little Daisy Buck, firing 5 shots. To my son's delight Grandpa didn't shoot as well as he did, but I think that may have had something to do with stock fit. :)

Afterwards I got to have a rare conversation with my dad on his military experience and firearms. His favorite rifle was the M1 carbine, and he told of guys in training who would occasionally end up (by personal act or indadvertent issue) with a rifle on which the sear was filed down. He said it would be quite a spectacle on the firing range when the steady "bam! bam! bam!" would be interrupted by a sudden "brrrraaaap!". The RO would call a cease fire, and the culprit (easy to find - he's the guy with the empty magazine) would be marched out. My dad said he never knew what happened to those guys.

Then my dad said he kind of liked the .45's that they were issued (I assume 1911s, but he didn't remember), but he felt that they were underpowered. He said that they were okay at close range, but beyond about 15 yds they lacked punch. As evidence, he shared a story of one guy in his unit who attempted to shoot one of the officers. Apparently he tried to do so with a shot in the back, during the dead of winter. Korean winters being about the same as Nebraska winters, the officer was insulated by winter layers and apparently the bullet never made it through the fabric. (understand, here, that my dad was not lamenting that the shooter did not have more firepower, just using this as a case in point)

This brings me to the question: I don't have a 1911 personally, but this seemed odd to me as I've never heard similar complaints about the .45. Is this something that was a problem with issue ammo during the 50's?

In addition to our discussion, my dad began doing rifle drills with the diminutive Daisy. Even with the ridiculous picture of this retiree drilling with a tiny lever-action, it was still quite touching to see him relive some military memories with pride. After he went through some drills he remarked that he guesses it's something you never forget.

I know this was long and rambling, but I just wanted to share for posterity some meaningful gun time that 3 generations shared in my garage. Thanks for the opportunity. While my dad is healthy now I know that he won't be with us forever. I'm hoping maybe to get my hands on a M1 Carbine before his next visit and present him with a gift of some range time.


edited to correct a spelling error

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Third_Rail
July 14, 2005, 12:20 AM
Korean winters being about the same as Nebraska winters, the officer was insulated by winter layers and apparently the bullet never made it through the fabric.

Sounds more like he missed...



Other than that, quite a nice story. It cheered me up, something I sorely needed after a wake and funeral.

Preacherman
July 14, 2005, 12:21 AM
The .45 failing to penetrate is interesting. I think there are two factors in play here:

1. In extremely cold conditions, ammo can be significantly lower in pressure when fired than it would be at normal temperatures. It's probable that the normal muzzle velocity of the .45 would be reduced by up to 10% in a Korean winter.

2. Enough layers will stop almost anything slow-moving - and the .45 ACP round has never been known as a speed demon. I can readily believe that five or six thick layers of clothing (particularly using things like kapok, etc. as insulators, which would have been the case in the Korean war) might slow the bullet down enough to where it wouldn't penetrate the skin, particularly in the light of point 1 above.

Thanks for sharing the memories!

2nd Amendment
July 14, 2005, 12:28 AM
My dad has always given me a hard time about .45's and how when he was young his eyes were good enough to follow the bullet quite some distance when fired. Now I have extremely good eyes(20/10? something like that) and I've never been able to follow one and have told him such. His reply is that times change and so does ammo. I suppose there are considerable differences between military ball from 50 years ago and modern commercial ammo.

anchoryanker
July 14, 2005, 02:11 AM
My dad has always given me a hard time about .45's and how when he was young his eyes were good enough to follow the bullet quite some distance when fired. Now I have extremely good eyes(20/10? something like that) and I've never been able to follow one and have told him such.

I have. You have to be positioned right, but under some circumstances you can see sunlight reflecting off the base off the bullets. It helps to be big and slow (like a .45) and needs a shiny metallic base, not just exposed lead. you also need to be the bystander, I've never seen one while actually shooting. they just look like a copper colored streak. I've never seen rifle rounds, just pistol.

Powderman
July 14, 2005, 03:00 AM
Load a Berry's Plated Round Nose, with a medium charge of most anything, and shoot with the sun at your back. Looks cool as all get out!

ChandlerM
July 14, 2005, 08:22 AM
About 11 years ago (next Saturday) I married into a moderatly gun-friendly family. And became more gun friendly myself. :D Real nice people too.

And last year it was my privledge to go to a gun show with my father-in-law (85), my brother-in-law (56), my nephew-in-law (25), and my grand-nephew-in-law (4). Yup, four generations of one family all enjoying a gun show together. Now that's family entertainment :neener: The little one was only four years old, but was already showing an interest in the old military rifles... :evil:

NoViuM
July 14, 2005, 11:20 AM
WWB out of a combat commander. Stand about 6 feet behind and a little off to the side and you'll see the bullet traversing the range. I think it's safe to say that powder technology has changed a bit over the years which makes me wonder about the .30 carbine as an adequate military rifle. What would it really do back then...

Good story, my grandfather was in Korea. He just gripped about the government, and the IRS from all that I can remember. No interesting military stories to speak of.

Bullet Bob
July 14, 2005, 12:04 PM
There are several ways to see a bullet, but one of the most fun is with a benched .22lr rifle - as several said, have the late evening sun at your back, and use a high powered scope (I use a 24x) and subsonic ammo. It's really cool to see the arc of the bullet, so much so that I forget to look at the target!

entropy
July 14, 2005, 12:54 PM
I saw many .45's in flight while Range NCO; I used it to coach shooters. The ranges at Ft. Ord were at the beach facing west, so early morning ranges made perfect conditions for it.

I would have had Sparky's job if we were deployed to Korea. (Which was our primary mission.) We were a C unit for Corp level Med. units (MASHes, EVAC,s and MEDDAC), and I was in the HHD BN supply office. (As well as Armorer.) Yes, I was a REMF. :eek: But I worked for an SF CPT who made sure those of us who wanted to survive in combat were trained to do so. :evil:

A Police Sgt. my Dad worked with long ago shot several would-be deserters in Korea, both summer and winter, with his M1911A1, no problems with penetration at all.

Your story warms my heart, campergeek. It's great you're passing on RKBA traditions to your son, and having him learn the 4 rules and recite them for Grandpa is right on. My Dad asks my sons the 4 rules everytime they go shooting with him. (I do this with my 7 yo yet, the 11 yo is safer than I am. :uhoh: ) Your Dad must be very proud of you and your boy!

You were given a great gift in that talk with your Dad; many that came back from WWII and Korea never talk about it. I think finding him an M1 Carbine (and an M1911A1? ;) ) would be a present he'd cherish forever.

M99M12
July 14, 2005, 01:26 PM
All the talk about Dad, and Grandads, brings back memories.

I was about 8, an old lady in the apartment gave Dad an old Daisy. He made me a range in the basement, with an old rug for a back stop. I probly put about a ton worth of BB's out of that old Daisy. Every now and then, I'd challenge Dad. I never beat him. He made it look so easy.

Then, as I got older, Dad and Mom would head out to this sand pit. Dad would read, get the grill going, Etc. Mom would crochet, knit, crosswords, Etc. And I would go through enough (2 bricks) .22's to get that bolt actions barrel pretty warm. He'd still beat me when I challenged him.

I was about 13 and I wanted to shoot his M99 .308. Dad tried to talk me out of it, but on vacation he put it in the trunk. Up on the farm he grew up at, he says "come on, Kenny". My first time shooting a real gun took a bit. My Old Mans shoulder jumped back, the barrel pointing up. It sure weren't that .22. When I got the nerve, finally, Dad put a can of his Genesee on the fence post. By God, I hit it first shot. I still remember the recoil, steel buttplate and a skinny kid with just a T-shirt. But I did finally outshoot my Dad. 180 grains on grasshoppers. Overkill?

Wiley
July 14, 2005, 06:22 PM
Great story!! Could the shooter have been using a .38 revolver?

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