I went shooting. Now to some of you this might not seem exotic, but in the UK we have rather stringent gun laws. To give you an idea, back many years when a teenager was regrettably murdered by some lowlife prat with a submachine gun, the then government decided, as usual, that it needed to appear to be doing something to deal with gun crime. However gun laws were so strict already their only answer was to ban air rifles...
Early this morning, however, I visited a nearby gun club, they even allowed me to shoot. As I was hanging around near the firing point one of the members offered me a gun to shoot, it was a Mosin Nagant carbine. Apart from a few .22's and some low powered air rifles many years ago this was going to be the first gun I fired.
First shock, no safety. Just a bolt, a trigger and that's pretty much it! As the barrel on the carbine is quite short, but its still the full sized round, it's got a hell of a bang on it, there was even a ball of flame shooting out the barrel. This was a big surprise and may have caused some giggling on my behalf.
|Not me, I don't have a beard. Just a shot for showing the flash.|
While myself and the nice bloke who'd lent me his Mosin Nagant to shoot were chatting he asked why I was interested in shooting. I mentioned you lot and that I do quite a bit of military history, and well the conversation went something like this:
Him: "Military history?" While reaching for a gun bag. "How well do you know the words to men of Harlech?"
|Again, not me....|
This first shot left me crying with laughter into the stock. It caused a couple of other visitors to jump a mile when it fired. A massive cloud of smoke with bits of debris covered the firing point. Along with the distinct smell of sulphur, exactly like the smell you get if you eat too many hard-boiled eggs and then fart. That's the odd thing; the smell of gunpowder changed throughout the morning, but only the Martini-Henry had that sulphuric smell.
|Compare, if you will, the Mosin Nagant round to the Martini-Henry round|
|The Mosin Nagant and AK74, that drainpipe you can see on the left of the picture is the Martini-Henry.|
I also had a go with a Winchester, and that's quite a handy little rifle, one can see why they're so popular, I think in part it was down to the pistol rounds the one I was using shot. You could easily see how you could get a blistering rate of fire out of it. One interesting thing about the Winchester was it has a safety feature. It actually has a mechanical interlock. Once you've worked the lever to reload the rifle you have to pull the lever in tight to the stock otherwise the gun will not fire.
|The other collection I fired. From the left, Winchester, two guns I didn't fire, VZ.58 and finally Mjölnir in rifle form the Lee-Enfield. I suspect that's actually what the "M" stands for in SMLE...|
I'm sold, I'm aiming to go back!