I shot my first Bullseye match on this date, February 13, back in 2005, seven years ago.

Back then, I had a lot of preconceptions.

  • Shooting is about the thrill of the bang.
  • Aim and mash the trigger. How hard can that be?
  • Those old guys down there: some day I’ll be like them.
  • A clean gun shoots better than one that isn’t.
  • 22s kick a lot, 45s holy cow!
  • Reloading will be easy; set the lengths, the drop and then pull the crank. Any of the recommended loads will hit the X. And I’ll save money!
  • Sharpshooter in a year or less, Expert in two or three, Master in five and High Master — heck, it’s only two percent more — in seven.

In those seven years, I’ve learned … a little.

  • If you get a thrill from the bang, you’ll never hit the X except by pure blind luck.
  • Aim and trigger. I have trouble with each all by themselves and you want me to do them both at the same time?
  • Old guys. Wish I had their wisdom, perseverance and ability to accept things.
  • Clean barrel bad. Dirty barrel bad. Fouled barrel not so bad. (Maybe the jerk behind the trigger has something to do with it.)
  • If you notice the kick, you’ll never hit the X except by pure blind luck.
  • Reloading adds dozens of variables to your game. And you’ll reload all you can afford and shoot it up. There won’t be any money left.
  • I made Sharpshooter in a year and Expert in five. Master may be possible but not until I retire and get in enough practice. But High Master? Not sure I’ll be around that long. (But wouldn’t that be something? Wow!)

Don’t get me wrong, it has been a fabulous experience.

  • I’ve learned a lot. … Brother, have I.
  • I’ve been forgiven (a lot) for my ignorance, arrogance and just plain stupidity.
  • Haven’t shot anyone. Haven’t shot myself.
  • Met lots of honest, sincere people and made a few new close friends in lots of places including Phoenix AZ, Sunnyvale CA, Central Pennsylvania, Dallas TX, Ft Worth TX, Kankakee IL, Denver CO, Gibbsboro NJ, San Bernardino CA, Atlanta GA, Boston MA, Canton OH, Port Malabar FL, Newport RI.

But if I sit here reminiscing all day, I won’t get my guns sighted in for the Wednesday start of this year’s Desert Midwinter Championship.

See you on the line!

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