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Shooting and Getting Older

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Phil DeGraves, Jan 22, 2008.

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  1. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    For the over 50 crowd, what are good ways to equalize the deteriorating effect aging has on your shooting ability? Maladies include diminishing eyesight, slower eflexes, weakening grip strenght. I find that larger target sights help somewhat for the eyesight problem which is what bothers me most. Any one have any ideas?
  2. Just Jim

    Just Jim Member

    Mar 27, 2006
    Red dots and optics help with the visual problem.

  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    I always take a couple aspirin before leaving for the range.

    All my match pistols now sport Ultra Dot scopes; in addition, I use an adjustable iris to help extend my dominant eye's depth of field.

    I went to plugs and muffs a long time ago, but still can't hear well.
  4. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Sullivan County PA
    The good news is I can still outshoot (accuracy) many opf the younger puppies.
  5. cyclist

    cyclist Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    Training, conditioning, adjustments to equipment, specialty eyeware (billiards players do this a lot). Just like anything, adapt and adjust.
  6. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Biggest problems I have is arthritis in my hands and arms, and lack of overall muscle tone. I can still shoot well enough to keep all of it in a 3" circle (ten years ago was 1 1/2") but I just can't shoot as long as I did. Got to get rid of this baby fat (been babying myself and have gotten fat) and get back in some kind of shape.
  7. Urbana John

    Urbana John Member

    Feb 18, 2007
    Grandpa---get rid of all your "toys"

    Take the money from selling your toys and buy a "cannon"!!!!

    You don't have to "see" your targets that well and you can use the "pull rope" to fire it with!!!! :)

    I'm almost 60 and I'm in the same boat!!!

    Better glasses for open sights, and scopes for all my fun "toys"!!!

  8. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

    Aug 11, 2004
    somewhere on Puget Sound
    Physical: Weightlifting has kept my arms and hands strong, although I've substantial arthritis in my shooting hand resulting from numerous old injuries and broken bones. I've kept my body in pretty good shape for an over-50 dude, but it's the eyes that have gone way south.

    Found that keeping weight off is a key to staving off back pain, which used to be a big issue for me (and really hampers shooting), and aerobic exercise (I run and walk a lot, plus play hoops weekly with a younger crowd) sure aids in being able to enjoy all-day shooting sessions as well.

    Equipment: In dim indoor ranges, I've resorted to sticking those bifocal +2.00 magnifying lenses in my shooting glasses just so I can see handgun sights clearly.

    For handguns, I've really become fond of Hi-Viz front sights and the Tru-Glo TFO system.

    I find myself doing more shooting ARs with an EOTech or a scoped rifle than using un-scoped lever-actions or milsurps since I developed geezer eyes.
  9. ExSoldier

    ExSoldier Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Miami, FL
    Wow. THIS is such a fun thread! You guys are just a bundle of joy.

    My favorite movie quote of all time fits this perfectly: Indiana Jones to his girl, Marian: "It's not the years, it's the mileage."

    How true. Unfortunately, those of us who took advantage of our youth to ignore the principle of "Body as Temple" in favor of "Body as Amusement Park" have more aches in our golden years than others. Especially those who would frolic in the military. So you youngsters be warned!

    I find I have grown a fond attachment for the 9mm instead of my rabid fascination with 45 ACP. I still have my 45's and would not hesitate to use them if the situation seemed to call for such employment, but mostly they rest and guard the safe. Shooting them has to do more with my ongoing issues concerning "tennis elbow" that I gathered in the study of Aikido (bending arms and wrists in unusual directions repeatedly), so recoil is more of a factor to me now. However I try to keep up with my Aikido nonetheless since it helps with all sorts of other issues mentioned like reflexes and problem solving as well as the all important flexibility.

    For example: I went to the gun show on Sunday and fell in love with the H&K P30 9mm. It's a high cap (15rd) weapon that feels (to me) like Excalibur must have felt to the boy King. We were just made for each other! At the same time I handled the new H&K 45. That was good too, but just "okay." Nothing phenomenal. But that P30 is gonna be mine inside of a year. It'd be sooner but I still hafta save up my money for the trip to Blackwater next fall.

    Of course the all important allure (again, for ME) in the 45 has been the fabled "stopping power." But I find as I age, the necessity for good rationalizations becomes an overwhelming compulsion. So I recently supplanted "stopping power" with accuracy and capacity. BINGO.

    See? Simple.
  10. Atticus

    Atticus Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Longer barrels
  11. CWL

    CWL Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Use orange dot stickers on your targets, they'll help you see what you're shootin' at.
  12. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    With time comes maturity, experiences one can bring to the situation, the ability to think on one's feet, to think out of the box, and use some common sense.

    Acceptance is one such valuable life skill set.
    Being centered is another, meaning one has learned pride and ego will do more harm than good.

    I am allergic to Aspirin, so no NSAIDs for me. Tylenol is what I can take if I choose to do so.
    Those that can take NSAIDs, this is a good idea before any activity, as these are anti-inflammatory.

    Bring the work to you - don't go to the work -Mentors.

    Meaning, don't get all whomper-jawed around anything one is doing.
    This causes one to get tensed up, put pressure and stress on the body, fatigue comes sooner, numbness can kick in, and one is not as steady or able to able control, finesse or stamina.

    Applies to shooting.
    Use the gun racks on a clay range between stations, allow the body to relax and not have to hold the shotgun all the time shooting a round of skeet.

    You have walked your miles, use the golf cart if need b/t stations on Sporting Clays.
    You feel like some walking - fine, if you don't feel like climbing that hill - don't.
    Risk for falls is not worth pride and ego and then really getting down.

    If the revolver is more comfortable to shoot, shoot it.
    If need use standard or even softer rounds, shot placement is what gets the work done, +p loads that miss, are not worth spit.

    Racking a slide can be difficult, no matter what method is used.
    Revolvers alleviate racking a slide.
    Tip up barrels are great! These too alleviate racking a slide.
    If TEEM SEEL 37.5 makes fun of your .32ACP, or .380, just nod grin and know you know something they don't.
    Also someday when they get down, or older they will remember the day they razzed you, and were so immature and stupid.

    Practical and Traditional, have always worked, always will.
    No matter how hi-tech, or how hyped guns, ammo, and equipment gets, Practical and Traditional will work.

    Shoot with like kind, and assist with kids.

    One always learns from others, and one always learns from a kid.
    Others share experience strength, and hope.
    Kids see things adults do not.

    Bad day with arthritis flaring up, don't shoot, instead assist others that are.
    Getting out self, does a lot of healing.
    It may just pushing a wheelchair for another, watching a little kid color in the clubhouse, fetching coffee and such for others.

    These folks will do the same for you when they are having a bad day and you are having a good one.

    .22 rim-fire. Lots and lots of quality practice, along with Fun, can be done with a .22 rimfire.

    Mind Pictures.
    Cold, wet , and aches and pains gets Arthritis to act up...
    Think about that nice pleasant day, porch sitting, down at the pond, the BBQ and how nice and pleasant.

    Summer and hot, humid - again, think of the morning looking out and how pretty the freshly fallen snowed looked, sipping coffee and not one foot print....just little prints of birds, maybe a rabbit that hopped across.

    You could not pay me to be a teenager again!

    Over 50, and over the hill?
    Just picking up speed, look out , I am coming in hard and fast!

    He is over 40 and still wearing jeans - Middle Age Crazy, by Jerry Lee Lewis.

    I am over 50 and still wearing jeans!
    I am not crazy-

    I didn't grow up, just got bigger is all
    - anon
  13. Pat McCoy

    Pat McCoy Member

    Jun 29, 2006
    Lander, WY
    As an over 60 rifle shooter I've had to go from aperture rear and front post in highpower to both apertures. Indoors I can't use aperture at 50feet, but am still fair at 33 feet (although having had to go to larger front inserts and a larger opening on the rear aperture). Going to scope has kept me in there with other shooters with the smallbore rifle.

    Aches and pains come mostly from either being out of shape (I finally caved in an started working out at the local fitnesss center again, or just too many hours on concrete floors - OH the kness and feet). I have found Celadrin creme helps greatly with the arthritis pains in my knees, but not hands.

    When not shooting, I coach (and probably learn more from that than from shooting).

    Last week I got my tail end kicked in smallbore prone by an 83 year old gentleman, so I guess there may be hope yet.
  14. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    sm, you said a mouthful!

    I find myself doing more picking up brass, loading mags, tutoring my GF and her son, than I do actually shooting these days. I am getting back into reloading, having fun with that. Just not the all day shooting thing anymore. My skills are coming back, just not as fast as they would if I could shoot more. Some days I just can't rack the slide, so I shoot my .22 Cowboy pistol, or the lever action .22. I try always to end with success and fun. That way I go home satisfied.
  15. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I am more into shotgun than anything and putting a HiViz sight on my Browning Citori immediately increased my skeet scores. I let an older gentleman with some eye problems try my HiViz one day and he WOULD NOT let me leave without selling it to him. So I went out and bought another one! :D
  16. gbran

    gbran Member

    Jan 21, 2003
    Yeah, at some point you're so old you can't do it anymore, but your memory is bad, you actually thought you did it anyway and it feels just as good.
  17. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

    May 29, 2003
    If my right hand is shaking I shoot left handed.

    I wear tri focals. The center lens is focused at about 3 foot.
    The front sight is in focus, the rear sight slightly out of focus and the target is a blur. Works for me.:)

    I also use a couple dozen Red Dot sights, ten lasers and some scopes.
  18. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Grandpa Shooter,
    Appreciate the kind words.

    I am 52 years old.

    It is said "it is all in the genes".
    I had the "bad knees" genes until I was 38 years old. Not to mention being a typical , active, rowdy Southern Boy.

    Eyes, I got the "Chuck Yeager" gene, meaning I had better vision than one is supposed to have.

    I grew up with Veterans from wars living near, a Veterans hospital not too far, and Polio victims were a common sight too.

    My Mentors and Elders are comprised of men and women, young and old of these types of folks.
    One hand drills?
    They only hand one hand/arm, they had left the other in a hell hole due to being shot, bayonet, flamethrower...whatever.

    I can truly empathize with persons of all ages physically limited. Be this temporary or permanent.

    My left knee was the worse of the two, I hobbled out and continued on.
    Young, and the Ref would ask to make sure I really could shoot.
    Mentors, some were docs, nurses, physical therapists or veterinarian, "yeah - he can".

    I'd get taped up and shoot as much as 500 rds in one day with the various events.
    Get up and do this again, and some comps run 4 days.
    Ice was my best buddy ...so was ace bandages and all.

    Eyes, oh heck I could see a clay , or game before anyone else...get hobbled into stance and shoot!

    I had double surgery on knees and while I am not as active as I once was, my knees are better know than back then.

    Eyes now, about age 42, eyes changed, normal life process, and I miss my Yeager eyes.
    I am not bad off, bifocals and later a little help for distance - still for me I had it better than most so to me where I am it seems vastly greater in difference.

    My role - if you will, was being around folks and assisting, where I learned, and pass forward.
    I mean a Mentor that was whole, Army Ranger, came back not whole.
    This guy taught me stuff that would upset some Pro Gun folks, and for sure Antis.

    He had mindset, grit, and well, there I was assisting a fellow that Mentored me and it was tough for me.
    "No, this is how it works, you are doing fine and if you don't I'll kick your butt".

    Adults were bad enough, but a kid? That'll break your heart.

    Kids injured, along with ladies abused and battered...

    "Tell ya what kids, we have this BBQ set up just our size, I am banged up, you guys are banged up, so we will do the eats, for those that are shooting."

    Low BBQ grill, got the electric and hand crank ice cream maker going and , having a good time.
    Little ladies cane to short, mine is too tall for her.
    "Wanna swap canes? It might work better" she says.
    "Well I'll be, this do work better!" I reply with a wink.

    I have been down, and I mean to the point where I could not use a firearm.
    Helpless feeling I know about too...

    I don't wish bad on folks, still a lot of folks in my opinion really should spend time with kids, and those with physical limits, and have simple guns a kid, or persons with problems could use.
    They may find themselves down, and not have one darn gun they can use, nor any skill sets in using one.

    In the blink of an eye, one can be under Doctor's orders of No recoil with a detached retina, shoulder, neck or back surgery.
    Add hip and knee surgery, Gangelion Cyst or Carpel Tunnel sugery...

    That kid, that person physically limited, whether they are over 50 or not, sure could have passed on a lot to them.
  19. Winchester 73

    Winchester 73 member

    Apr 10, 2007
    So true!I'm still chuckling as I take my two Advil.
  20. Lonestar49

    Lonestar49 Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    So. Calif.
    I know I forgot something.. lol


    Learning to separate and use the right weapons in, and for, cold weather, and the right ones for warm weather..

    Always look forward to another good day at the range with my favorite T-shirt on that says on the front:

    ~ Old Guys Rule ~

    And on the back..

    ~ The Older I Get, The Better It Was ~

    Adapt, and know one's limits..

    Getting high on just having a good day..

    Getting hits on close, and far, targets, in COM..

    Sharing one's knowledge with those, with an ear, that will listen..

    Always (remembering) and giving credit to one's mentors..

    Be a positive example and, from it, change, if but only, one life, is worth the journey..

  21. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Hey, have you been talking to my GF? No fair!
  22. GILROY

    GILROY Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    At 52 I do understand. Excercise to slow down the process. And build up to streneous excercise at least 4 times per week. Fight the pain. It's only mortality's calling card. Accept the fact that you will not shoot anything the way you used to. Your wife already has. :rolleyes:
  23. Mousegun

    Mousegun Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    Invest in a good quality air gun. If you can shoot that, you can shoot anything.
  24. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    at 59 and after several operations to fuse my neck and hip screws i lost 40 lbs to a bowel resection, watch what i eat- try to stick to 1500 calories a day, and execise more. concessions i had to make were no more 45 or44 mag i stick to light 357 and 9mm - put scopes on my rifles ( nothing larger than a 30-30 )and use shoot and glow targets and take a younger man with you to do the heavy lifting. when i get tired i take a nap so i try to do everything in the am. as for my eye they are holding to the same rx last two visits. i still
    can hear -what did you say- and boy do the ladies like a good operation story as my 90 year old dad says, he still shoots 22, deal with it get over it and move on
  25. tsix

    tsix Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Some good stuff listed here. Surprised to see no one recommending a laser. Like sm, I had "Chuck Yeager" eyes in my younger days (20-16 in left eye, 20-18 right) and I sure do miss em some days. Seems the print gets smaller and smaller...but I digress...
    I put a Crimson Trace laser grip on my M&P 45 and will never have a pistol for home defense without one, I like it that much. I don't have any problem with rifle sights (yet) as that is further from my nose, so no advice there.
    I also try to stay in halfway decent shape by eating the right things and getting as much exercise as I can manage (usually long walks around the pasture).

    Remember, it is mind over matter, if you don't mind, then it don't matter!

    Good luck and stay in the fight!
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