Things we did as novices


April 24, 2007, 07:33 PM
I don't want to make fun of people who are new to the shooting disciplines, So... Here's a thread for stories about OURSELVES when we were new to this. Should be equally amusing, and make new people feel better rather than worse.

When I first got my Sharps, and I was checking it out before i ever fired it, I opened up the chamber (which you do by lowering the trigger guard; this drops the breech block, which contains the firing pin), and looking inside, I thought the extractor was the firing pin. I thought, "oh, the firing pin must crimp the rim of the cartridge from the front. That's neat."

See, I didn't know about centerfire, because #1. I had mostly shot .22 rifles up unitl then, and #2. I just never paid that much attention to the inner workings of the thing. So I thought the 45-70 buffalo rifle was rimfire. With a firing pin in front of the cartridge.

Also, once, I bought a shotgun without realizing it was a shotgun. I thought it was just, you know, a .69 caliber rifle with a really light barrel. I won't make that mistake again.

And then there was the time i got really frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to get a brass cartridge into a percussion revolver.

Now, you all may not be as foolish as i am-- I mean, was-- but I'm sure there are some other good stories out there. Let's have them.

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April 24, 2007, 07:40 PM
I'm still pretty young to the shooting sports, but I like to think I catch on to things quicker than most. One example of this is that I can usually take a gun apart and put it back together again. One event that is not an example of this is the time I had six, that's (6), stitches put in my forehead from you guessed it-SCOPE EYE! Got a little too intimate with a buddy's liteweight .30-06 shooting 180 grainers. She bit back!!:o

April 24, 2007, 07:44 PM
Bought a Glock 17. Fired it. Jam-o-matic stovepiping. Took it back. They explained "limp wristing". Never had a problem with it since.

April 24, 2007, 07:45 PM
In a moment of sheer stupidity I dropped a spent 20ga shell into a 12ga. Browning break open gun while in the middle of a trap match. I just figured since the round was smaller it would fall right through. Yeah, well, the rim go stuck part of the way down the barrel, and everybody had to stop shooting until someone got me a cleaning rod so we could poke the round out the breech. Talk about embarrassing.

April 24, 2007, 07:52 PM
(here) that using my reading glasses (I'm 58 and started shooting 2 years ago) would let me focus on the front sight. But, reading glasses are not for walking around. Found myself on the firing line with a cocked .44 mag in my hand, pulling my glasses down.
Gave me the heeby jeebies, that I was holding a loaded, cocked hand gun upside my head.

Harry Paget Flashman
April 24, 2007, 08:08 PM
Back in the 70's I was having so much fun shooting my new 1851 Navy .36 caliber cap & ball revolver that against all advice and common sense I skipped the step of greasing up the front of the cylinder (with Chevron FM Grease II). I butted the revolver up against the side of a pine tree to steady my aim on a target and had three chambers in the cylinder go off at once from flash-over. I was picking bark and splinters out of my forehead after that. Thank God for safety glasses.

April 24, 2007, 08:08 PM
Keep in mind I had no exposure to guns as I was growing up. In my early 20's I went with a friend shopping for a handgun. The only gun I had fired was my friends Browning 9mm.

I really liked revolvers, probably (at the time) thanks to Dirty Harry. I was looking at a S&W 586, which I eventually bought, and asked the guy behind the counter where the safety was. I don't remember his response, but as I recall he didnt' treat me like an idiot and explained it didn't have one.

April 24, 2007, 08:34 PM
:what: About 16 years ago I took my 15 yr old son and a couple of his friends to an evening air pistol shooting match. This was indoors and being the good dad that I was, I was going to show him how to shoot the gun. I aimed at the target, pulled the trigger and the pellet went into the rack of nearby metal folding chairs. Made a terrible "ping"! Of course I heard plenty of laughter from everyone. Talk about embarrasing! Was my face red? :o I am still not a very good shot and am reminded of this incident from time to time! :D

Kali Endgame
April 24, 2007, 08:45 PM
I went to my first gun show and purchased a pistol. I was terrified that the cop at the door would come over and yell at me. Totally irrational, I know. After waiting my ten days, I went and picked it up, at the FFL who sold it on consignment, and thought the ATFE was going to nab me in the parking lot.

April 24, 2007, 09:24 PM
I asked my Dad the "Where's the safety?" the first time I was handed a revolver. He had me hold the (unloaded gun in my strong hand and then told me to point to my forehead with my free hand. "There is the safety," he said. "The brain behind your forehead is all the safety a revolver has." :D


April 24, 2007, 09:31 PM
Well it worked in the old westerns so I just HAD TO try it out once myself.
I took an old double barrel 12 gauge coach shotgun and cocked both hammers back and held it wedged against my hip and pulled both triggers at the same time.:uhoh:
Needless to say this left a long lasting impression as the tang or opening lever came right back and bit me pretty good on the back of my hand.:o
If I look real hard I still have the mark or tiny scar from my careless stupidity.
Usually its better to learn from other peoples mistakes but we all make them sooner or later.
I'm curious what others here have done and may be not telling?
Hopefully new or young shooters can all learn from our mistakes and stay safe.

April 24, 2007, 09:42 PM
I'm sure any right-thinking American that's ever watched the Western channel's tried it at least once.

Lever action rifle. In my case, I had it unloaded - indoor dry-firing.

You know what happens next.

While trying to outshoot Lucas McCain from 'The Rifleman', I stab my finger quite nicely with the trigger. Blood. Pain. Etc.

That was about a year ago... and I haven't learned my lesson yet.

Think I'll try it again this weekend.

With a glove.

April 24, 2007, 09:45 PM
I closed a double shotgun one handed. Still feel stupid for that.

Don't feel bad about the scopes in the forehead, I've probably done it more than you have.

Some of the other stuff like two guns at once, shooting from the hip, or unloading as fast as you can are fine with me so long as you don't mistake that for practice and don't expect it to do anything but make noise and bring a smile to your face. When you're no so good a shot, those are some fun things to do with guns. When you get better, the field of fun stuff to do with a gun opens up wide. Anybody else play "shotgun golf?"

April 24, 2007, 09:52 PM
My early shooting experience involved being turned loose with Crossman air guns in my early years. Did all kinds of stupid stuff with them, and it's a wonder I still have both eyes.

Fast forward to 2 years ago, when I first got into shooting. First real gun I owned was a Ithaca 37, 12ga with an 18" Deerslayer barrel. Being totally ignorant about 'real' guns, I set out to sight it in, without hearing protection. I set up a coffee can out in the field, paced off about 50 steps and tried to shoot the can.

BOOM! screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Let me tell you, it took a LOOOONG time to get over the flinch I developed that day. I actually made it through 3 shots before the pain in my head made me stop.

PS. No matter HOW excited you get during the finale of your amateur fireworks show, do NOT slam-fire 5 rounds of dragon's breath straight up into the air. . . don't ask me how I know.

April 24, 2007, 10:03 PM

This past Sunday my wife shot a pistol, her first gun, I bought her, a Sig P323 SL 380. After spending a month, at least, with her, on the book of Gun safety and Rules, and letting her handle, proper grip, decock, all with snap caps, my 9mm, she finally got her baptism of fire at the range with her new gun.

All went well, we had 2 lanes, but for her first 50 rounds I stood behind her and "tried" to get her in a good stance, relax, breath, and just squeeze off each shot. After 20 rounds, she finally quit fighting the little muscle memory of loading the mags, 7 rounds each, single stack. After watching her go thru round 30, and laugh, when she fired and I saw the slide lock, empty, she pulled the trigger and the gun took a nose dive.. Didn't we all.. LOL

Anyway, after explaining how the brain is trying to compensate for the recoil, she hit her first bulls eye, and the following 14 shots, where in COM, not close but hitting.

I thought, great, gonna fire a few myself now. Then when I went over to check on her, her left thumb is bleeding, and I asked her how it happened, and she said, don't know. Hmmm, I thought limp wrist maybe, but I stayed behind her, after loading her 2 mags for her, while she used the clean T-shirt I use for wiping to cut down on the bleeding, when she then loaded up and pointed, and :what: I see her take her left thumb and put it over and behind the grip. :banghead: I said, WAIT!!.. finger off trigger, ok, finger off, and I said, look where your thumb is, and the slide, and when it comes back, it did and WILL bite you like it did, and will do again, IF you ever forget how I told you to make sure your 2 thumbs are pointing together, same side, at the target.

Bless her, she laughed, and said, Sorry, but it felt more comfy that way, but let's tell everyone, I kinda shot myself my first day.

She overcame her embarrassment, and finished her first 150 rounds, trouble free, except of course, the minds will power to continue, at times, to compensate for the recoil..


PS.. that was my problem for about the first 250 rounds, trying to compenstate for my 40cals recoil..

April 24, 2007, 10:03 PM
Mine falls under the heading of how stupid can you really be. The answer is REALLY STUPID!! Keep in mind I was an adult at the time, so I really have NO excuse.

First handun I ever owned, a revolver. I decided to practice, with the loaded revolver, cocking and decocking while sitting in my bedroom. Well, as you all know the decock is intended to return the hammer to rest without discharging the weapon, well the first several did, then BANG, round went through 5 layers of sheetrock, the exterior wall of my home, and half of the exterior wall of my neighbors house.

It was dumb luck that nobody got hurt, and I count myself extremely lucky. I can't believe it happened, and it still embarasses me, even now several years later. What it did though was make me one of the most safe gun handlers you've ever met. One accident too late, but at least nobody got hurt, and the lesson was learned.

April 24, 2007, 10:12 PM
Back when I was a total n00b, before I learned handgun technique, or even cracked a book on the topic, I'd basically chase rounds around the paper.

The train of thought would be something like, "ok, that round was 2 inches low and 4 to the left, so I'll aim higher and righter." That shot would land somewhere random, and I'd offset by wherever that next shot went.

Of course, mashing the trigger and flinching the way I was, where the bullet struck was not causally related to where I was aiming, rendering all the great gesticulations and gyrations of my aiming and ballistic pseudo calculus both moot and pointless.

April 24, 2007, 10:17 PM
Back in high school, I talked my father into letting me save up for a Cobray M-11 9mm. Frankly, it was a piece of crap.

I had chambered a round one day, and ended up not firing it. So, I did what I would always do in unloading. I removed the magazine and pulled the bolt back to eject the live round. Nothing. It seems the extractor did not grab the round. Several attempts were failures.

The genius that I was back then, I brought it in the house. I was home alone, so I sat on the floor "indian-style" with my handy-dandy gunsmithing tools. I had the firearm in my lap.

I popped out the pins that held the upper and lower receivers together to remove the bolt. The IDEA was that I would seperate the gun, pop out the bolt, and then tap the firearm until the round fell out.

I learned something about M-11s that day. I learned that pulling the upper and lower receivers apart can (and in my case will) cause the disconnector to drop the hammer. I felt the hammer drop, and the discharge blew the receivers apart by several feet.

I barely missed the calf of my right leg, and put a Winchester Silvertip Hollow-Point through our carpet. The round shattered on the concrete foundation of the home. We had a dark patterned carpet, so I COULD have probably hidden the hole.

Being the good kid that I was, I fessed up as soon as Dad got home. We both agreed that the gun ought to leave the house. After it was checked by a gunsmith for proper function, I sold it and put the money towards my first AR-15.

To pick on my Dad, HE learned soon after I got the AR-15 where NOT to stand when I shot. He was standing off to the side soon after I got it, and I tossed a spent brass his direction. It caught the collar of his shirt, and ran down his back inside his shirt. He had a blister from his neck to his waist-- and he STILL reminds me of that when we shoot.


Mr White
April 24, 2007, 10:20 PM
I shot 3 holes into the roof of the shooting pavillion at my gun club with my first SKS shortly after I got it. They weren't the first holes shot in the roof.

I got the gun unissued at a show and took it to the range the next day. I didn't know anything about cosomline-gunked firing pins or slamfires. Imagine my surprise when I loaded my new SKS for the first time, pulled back the bolt, let it go and bang bang bang! At least it didn't rip off all 10.

April 24, 2007, 10:43 PM
Once upon a time, when I was an enterprising young lad, I bought myself a brand new just-introduced first run S&W 686, with a 6" tube. One day, I decide to get industrious and pull the sideplate off to clean the insides. Dang, was it hard to gt that sideplate off. Heck, sez I to myself, them boys at S&W got the tolerances wrong on THAT part. I can fix that.

And I proceeded to remove a nice neat 5 thou from the perimeter of the sideplate - to make it fit easier, donchyaknow.


April 24, 2007, 10:59 PM
BOOM! screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Exactly what happened the first time I fired a pistol. No hearing protection... I'd shot off a few 12-ga birdshot loads, and I'd shot a .22 rifle.

I knew already that the ballistics of the .45 didn't compare to most 12-gauge loads. Right? It's a little gun.

That little gun makes a lot of noise. Whole family agreed, and they were inside.

Shot it from under a porch. Concrete below me, and a cavernous roof.

Nice echo you can get from a .45 ACP, at night, in a spot like that. Really neat how sound is magnified.

Took several hours for the "eeeeeeeee" to go away.

April 24, 2007, 11:05 PM
tried to take the receiver cover off an SKS with the bolt locked back.

ouch :o

April 24, 2007, 11:07 PM
I have shot the firing pin out of a Mauser bolt INTO the side of a fire safe. Who knew they were under that much spring pressure, who knew that is what that little grommet in the stock was for. Who knew they had enough kinetic energy to stick in the side of a safe. Good thing my thy wasn't in the way. I can just imagine going to the hospital and when asked what happed, I would have said..."Well technically, I guess I shot myself." :uhoh:

Sad thing is, I really wasn't that much of a novice. :o

There was also this instance of a .40 caliber round in a .45 caliber firearm, ok TWO rounds :what: . Good gun that one and I have all my fingers to prove it.

April 24, 2007, 11:33 PM
Quote: "Anybody else play "shotgun golf?""
I've played 1911 golf...much more fun than with those silly sticks!

April 24, 2007, 11:36 PM
Well I was cleaning my Ruger MKIII a few days ago and well I'll be darned if I have not yet been able to learn how to get that little piece back together correctly. I was finally shown on Thursday...this would be the second time I have been unable to get the weapon reassembled, my gunsmith finally walked me through installing the trigger correctly and how to reassemble it completely. I fell like an idiot everytime I try and clean that weapon.

Then I was hunting last year, and I found out that my weatherby 300 wouldnt cycle the ammo, and guess what the magazine was inserted incorrectly. So I disassembled it in the field and reassembled it, next day I cleaned it and did the same thing to clean it. Then the next day I took a deer at 423 yards.

oh then there was another time I was checking out my friends HK 91 and my finder was a little to close to the ejection port and I sent the bolt home and made a nice clean greasy incision in my finger.

bill larry
April 24, 2007, 11:48 PM
CSlinger, same thing happened to me with my Mauser while I was reassembling the bolt. I tried to put the bolt sleeve on (I put it on backwards) and got it stuck with the spring under pressure. Couldn't get it back apart. I started fooling around with a wooden mallet. Man, I sure was surprised when that baby came whistling apart and went through the wall of my apartment. The hole is still there!

April 24, 2007, 11:53 PM
Man, I sure was surprised when that baby came whistling apart and went through the wall of my apartment. The hole is still there!
Now I know what a 'Needle-Gun' is.

April 25, 2007, 12:26 AM
Two stories:

My friend was trying to sell me his Dan Wesson .357 Magnum one day. We went out into the farmyard to pop off a few rounds. Since it was a nice summer day and we were in a hurry, I neglected to put on hearing protection. Standing at the open door of the steel machine shed, I rapid-fired the entire cylinder into the cornfield. The rest of the day was spent listening to a high-pitched wailing in my left eardrum...

I was refighting the Battle of Berlin with my M44:rolleyes: at the range one day. I must have been really in the heat of the moment (The Nazi tin cans were advancing), beause I failed to squeeze the butt of the rifle against my shoulder for a quick shot. The Mosin accelerated through the 2 inch gap and crashed into my shoulder (with a bad rotator cuff). I have since decided that the recoil pad is a fair compromise with historical accuracy:)

April 25, 2007, 12:41 AM
I once took apart a Remington Nylon 66... in my bedroom... then spent 2 hours TEARING the room apart, looking for a spring, and the plunger that rides inside it... then another 3 days trying to figure out how to reassemble the darned gun...

lessons learned... there is NO reason to EVER dissasemble a functioning Nylon... EVER! (not just experience, but the advice of multiple gunsmiths too!)

NEVER release the hammer with the barrel removed on a Nylon... the bolt, hammer, 2 springs, and 2 plungers WILL leave their home, at HIGH velocity, and go in 4 DIFFERENT directions...

this did NOT stop me from getting MORE Nylon guns... I am up to 17, and gaining... (still need that Nylon 76 levergun!)

April 25, 2007, 01:35 AM
Bought a just-released G19 when I was a young fella. Field stripped it, looked everything over. Then decided to reattach the slide sans barrel, to have a better view of the internals as things move around. Rack the slide back, then.. oops!.. it won't come off again. :o

The funny thing is, years later, I had forgotten all about that and did it again. :rolleyes:

The fix is easy - remove the firing pin - but this was silly nonetheless.

April 25, 2007, 02:03 AM
The Mosin accelerated through the 2 inch gap and crashed into my shoulder

I am of the opinion that in most cases the allegedly drastic recoil of the Mosin-Nagant carbines are overstated. That is, assuming that you properly tuck it into your shoulder. Ouch!

I only have 2 novice "stories", if they can be called that.

First: Man, did I ever love my new WASR-10. Dump some magazines, woo-hah! Let's attach the goofy bayonet. OK, it's on. Rip through a few more magazines. All right, point made, let's take off the bayonet. Note to self: Rifle barrels can get very hot.

The second is less of a story than a self-deprecating observation. I wondered for the longest time how the pistol "knew" the magazine was empty and locked back the slide. Of course, I was aware that pistol didn't "know" anything and that there was some mechanical cleverness afoot that I hadn't figured out, but still it puzzled me, and I was afraid to ask for fear of looking like a fool. Eventually, I deduced how it was done. I guess you think you're pretty smart, gun designers of 100 years ago! :rolleyes:

April 25, 2007, 03:22 AM
The first time I ever fired a pistol, I was 12 or 13 I think... my dad rented a Ruger .22 at a gun range and was going to teach me how to shoot. I tried to load the bullets into the magazine backwards... I dont know what I was thinking haha.

April 25, 2007, 04:00 AM
Learned that M1s can get real hot real fast. Just because the barrel is surrounded by wood does not mean the metal clips cant burn you. Also picking up brass just shot out of a M1 after oh 100 rds can easily burn your fingers.

And as always having the over head target holder all the way back in a indoor range, and shooting the holder so every ones targets are swinging in the air with yours doing it the worst. ops

April 25, 2007, 01:42 PM
When I started carrying several years ago, I was one of those that poo-pooed the notion that one needed quality leather to CCW daily.

My first CCW "holster" was an Action Direct Defender (bellyband) and I thought I was SO much smarter than those folk that dropped serious coin on a quality, molded leather (or kydex) IWB holster.

After I finally swallowed my pride and bought decent leather I was amazed that one could carry a pistol larger than a mouse gun 24/7/365 with no discomfort (for one thing, daily carry with the bellyband gave me a nasty case of IBS).

April 25, 2007, 01:47 PM
After reading this thread, I'll be keeping an eye on all of you. Make sure you keep one on me as well. I've got a tale on this thread, too! :evil:


April 25, 2007, 02:10 PM
- Spent 5 minutes in a gun store trying to put the mag back in a M1A because I didn't want to look like an idiot and ask.

-Inched up on the stock of a scoped rifle and got my eyebrow split open.

-Taking the bayonet off of a M44 Mosin Nagant I somehow managed to send the spring flying into my forehead. Yeah still not sure how that happened.

-Didn't wear earplugs while shooting clays with my new Benelli. Lost some hearing from that day.

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