Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Origin of the Name

     This being the internet and all, it is not only possible, but preferable for many of us to operate under pseudonyms. "Rick O' Shea" is obviously not my real name. But I earned it.

    I've only actually been a shooter in the last few years of my adult life. I had a BB gun as a pre-teen, and picked up a .22 rifle sometime in my post-grad period.
     When I came to Georgia in the late '90's, I encountered colleagues who were into recreational shooting at the mild obsession level. The best I could do to participate was to dust off the old .22 and make little pings alongside their big pings.
     The desire for "Boom!" rather than "pop" was created, and soon I was the proud owner of a Ruger Vaquero and a Winchester 94, both in .357 Magnum. Everyone asked me if I was into CAS and SASS, to which I replied "Huh?". I was just being a kid again, and was enjoying myself immensely.
     One weekend, my colleague/shooting buddy/enabler said that an old friend of his was coming into town, and would I like to meet them out at his club's range and do some shooting? Silly question.
     The friend had a box of .357 reloads, and a double-action stainless steel snubnose revolver. In my mind's eye, I see it as a 2 1/2" barrel S&W model 66, but my mind's eye also remembers all my old girlfriends as beautiful. It was probably a Ruger GP100 or SP101. Anyway.
     I had never shot a double action before. My range experience in general was limited. I knew the Four Rules, and my understanding of the fundamentals was mostly academic. We were shooting at steel plates about 12x18" in size from a distance of, oh, maybe five to seven yards at most. I took aim at the center of the plate. Boom! But no "ding!". Again, boom! Nothing. Where were the dadgum bullets going? I was right in front of the target! Finally, boom! - ding! Yay! I hit it! I looked proudly at my comrades, and they were in spasms. It seems that I had been shooting furrows in the ground about two or three feet in front of the plate, and that last one had actually skipped up from the ground and hit the target.
    "Way to go, Ricochet!" "Nice ground game, Tex!" "Gopher hunting?" Ricochet, thankfully, was the one that stuck. (Well, "Tex" wouldn't have been so bad, if not very original. "Gopherbane", on the other hand...).
     Fortunately, after the mandatory mockery, we had a good session of new-shooter training regarding this thing called "flinch". Apparently (as determined by the old random-empty-chamber drill), I was squeezing the trigger with my whole hand instead of just my trigger finger. Pretty common rookie mistake. I was also closing my eyes in anticipation of the shot, so the last thing I would see was a perfect sight picture. When I hit that empty chamber and kept my eyes open, I saw what they had been seeing - the gun being yanked down into a nosedive while my whole upper body jerked and stiffened up.
     So then to the correction: firm grip - mental and physical separation of the trigger finger from the grip - Focus On The Front Sight - and bring the trigger back smoothly until Surprise!(Boom!). Even more surprising, "Ding!". Well, hot damn.
     We spent the next half-hour or so working on smoothing out the DA pull while maintaining sight picture, and reminding me that with eyes and ears on, I didn't need to cringe at the flash and loud noise.
     Anyway, that's the sad tale behind the nickname. And for those of you introducing newbies to shooting, bring a .22. Or at least some nice .38 wadcutter loads.

     And for those wondering, until then I couldn't hit a damn thing with the Vaquero, either. I was convinced that the name was Spanish for "shoots low and left".


  1. That reminds me of when my father was teaching me to shoot. He was a MP and a firearms instructor and would shoot a 1911 with two fingers and hit the target. He would load dummy rounds in the magazines and then gently correct new MP's as they were jerking the pistol on a inert round. I didnt learn till later on that his 2 finger trick was reloaded ammo and a very strong hand. I learned on a Dan Wesson 45 with a 4 inch barrel. Wish I still had one. My dad could even reload his revolver as fast if not faster than i could with my Glock 23. I look forward to may more bullet points..

  2. Thanks, sparrowmict.
    Your dad sounds like a helluva man. I'll try to keep the gunstuff coming, though most of is as likely to be as embarrassing as it is educational.
    Thanks for visiting!


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