If there is one activity that unites the boys with their father, it would be shooting. Mr. O is a gun enthusiast and enjoys sharing his love of guns and shooting with the boys. This past year, he had a membership to the local range so they could go shoot from his gun collection in a very safe, controlled environment. Sadly, this summer they did not avail themselves of that membership as dad was on business trips for the majority of the summer. (And, I wasn’t about to take them with a toddler in tow!)
While I have some family members who might balk at having kids learn to shoot, I decided a while ago that I’d rather everyone learn how to safely handle a gun as we have them in the house. My biggest concerns with guns in our house is making sure that they are locked up and not left loaded.
While getting to use dad’s guns with him is something the boys look forward to doing, they are happy to now have an option to do some target shooting in our own backyard. We recently had a long box arrive at the house containing a Daisy Red Ryder inside. I ordered it from Amazon and have to admit that I loved being able to shop without the boys knowing what would be coming into the house. Just a few clicks of a mouse was all it took for me to select the Daisy Red Ryder Fun Kit which included some targets, a pair of safety glasses (which run small for my boys with larger heads), and a tin of BBs to get you started. (Visit my Google+ Daisy Red Ryder Shopping page to see more photos.)
P was beyond thrilled at learning what the box contained, even if he is now a teenager. In his own words, this is something that he’s wanted “since the dawn of time” which means about 10 years for him. I can’t recall if he had the desire fully hit him before watching “A Christmas Story” or if it all started with seeing that movie on television. R is happy, too, as he’s always enjoyed the opportunity for shooting BB guns when attending summer camp. D was the only disappointed boy in the house as he will not turn 10 for almost a year, which is the recommended minimum age by Daisy.
Now, just like at the gun range, there are some basic safety rules that have to be obeyed. The older boys are well aware of the consequences should they decide to stray from the rules. (P has vivid memories from several years ago of his first Nerf gun being smashed before going into the garbage as he shot his brother in the face with it. Even though it was an accident, Mr. O wanted him to understand that even a Nerf gun required a higher level of responsibility for safe use.)
Daisy provided us with their own list of safety rules. Our rules mirror theirs with the addition of NO shooting without parental supervision.
Ten Shooting Safety Rules from Daisy
Airguns are real guns, not toys. You or others can be killed or seriously injured if these rules are not followed.
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. There are several safe “carries” depending on the situation. NEVER ALLOW THE MUZZLE TO POINT IN THE DIRECTION OF A PERSON.
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded. You can never be positive that you were the last person to handle the gun. Never take anyone’s word about whether or not a gun is loaded. Always check a gun to see if it is loaded when removed from storage or received from another person. Even if you have fired an airgun one or more times and no pellet or BB was expelled from the barrel, it does not mean that the magazine of the gun is empty of ammunition. Any airgun can fail to feed for any number of reasons. Continue to treat the airgun as loaded and ready to fire. ALWAYS TREAT A GUN AS IF IT IS LOADED EVEN IF YOU KNOW IT ISN’T.
- Only load or cock a gun when you are shooting. A loaded gun has no place in your home or other place.
- Check your target and beyond your target. Be sure all persons are well clear of the target area before you shoot. Check behind and beyond your target to be certain you have a safe backstop and that no person or property could be endangered.
- Anyone shooting or near a shooter should wear shooting glasses. Also, all other persons should remain behind the shooter.
- Never climb or jump with a gun. You can’t control the direction of the muzzle if you stumble or fall. You should safely lay the gun down or hand it to a companion while you climb or jump over anything.
- Avoid ricochet. Never shoot at a flat hard surface or at the surface of water. Ammunition can ricochet off of water just like a skipped rock.
- Keep the muzzle clear. Never let anything obstruct the muzzle of a gun. Don’t allow the muzzle to come in contact with the ground.
- Guns not in use should always be unloaded. Keeping guns unloaded when not in use is critical to the safety of you and others. When you are finished shooting, put the trigger safety in the “on” position and unload the gun. Store guns so that they are inaccessible to untrained shooters and store ammunition separately from the gun.
- Respect other people’s property. Whether you’re target shooting or hunting, if you’re a guest on others’ land, you should leave it exactly as you found it.
We are blessed with a large,fenced in backyard. However, we do have neighbors and any time the boys do archery or now using the Red Ryder, they set up targets along the ridge up to the garden area. The last thing we’d want is for a BB or arrow to go flying into a neighbors backyard or actually damaging their property.
Although the snow has already begun to fly here in Alaska, an afternoon break from schoolwork for some target practice outdoors was well received by the older boys. (The younger ones watched their big brothers from the dining room window.) I had not realized how cold my hands would get, so I skipped taking a turn at shooting for this particular afternoon and focused on taking photos of the boys. I suspect that this activity will be a staple over the next few weeks which they can enjoy with their dad as well. And, in between those sessions, the Red Ryder will be joining Mr. O’s guns in a locked gun cabinet.
Target sheets from the kit were placed on that rising earth, although the snow made it a bit harder to spot them. Next time I’m going to suggest mounting the targets onto cardboard.
P carefully loaded a small number of BBs into the gun.
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Do you or anyone in your family enjoy target shooting?
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for CollectiveBias™ and Daisy. #CBias #SocialFabric All images and opinions are my own.