Archery & Skeet Shooting

A few weeks ago I fired a shotgun for the first time. I enjoyed it so much that I decided that I wanted to try skeet shooting. So when my friend Daniel (a different Daniel than from Kayaking last week) asked me to come over for a day of archery and shooting with his family, I jumped at the chance.

Archery
First, I tried archery. I started with a 20-pound bow, which I am pretty sure was made for kids to practice on. The draw weight relates to the power of the bow. The higher the weight, the more the compression and the further/faster the arrow will go. I also attempted to use a 50-pound compound bow . . . but I was extremely unsuccessful. I could barely budge the bowstring.

Archery

Archery definitely took coordination. Part of that was just holding the arrow still. The back of the arrow, the nock, snaps onto the bowstring to keep it in place. (I’ve always wondered how people kept it from moving.) The front of the arrow is kept in place by the arrow rest, which is a tiny ledge on top of the grip. However, keeping the arrow on the arrow rest was harder than you’d think; the arrow fell off several times before I had a chance to shoot it.


It was also a little difficult to keep the bow from wobbling (as you can see in the video above). Once I started to pull the bowstring back it was hard to control the bow, and the farther I pulled it back the harder it became to keep it straight.

My first few attempts were unsuccessful. I either missed the target, or my arrow struck but bounced off. Luckily, Daniel caught me actually hitting the target!

Skeet Shooting & Target Practice
Next I moved on to skeet shooting. If you have ever wondered what it is like to live in East Tennessee . . . this is it. We hang out on the weekends and shoot stuff.

Daniel & Martin
Daniel’s dad, Martin, set up a thrower for us to use. This is Daniel and Martin trying it out. It took a while to sort out exactly which direction it needed to point, and I think a few clays were sacrificed to the trees.

When I wrote 3 months ago about shooting, I got a few comments about not wearing proper eyewear. So, random people of the interwebs, please take note that I am wearing both eye and ear protection.

Skeet Shooting

When it was my turn to shoot, I initially tired a 12-gauge. I was asked whether I’d shot one before and if I wanted to try something smaller. I told that that I had shot a 12-gauge and I could handle it. However, I had trouble cocking it on my own, so I was handed a .410 instead. Boo. I fired at 3 clay pigeons before I realized I wasn’t going to hit anything and let someone else have a chance. The picture above is of me shooting and hitting a whole lot of nothing.

Next, we moved on to some target practice. For this I used my friend Kris’s over/under 12-gauge shotgun which I was actually able to cock on my own. This was my first attempt:


I really taught that water bottle a lesson it will not forget. Daniel insisted on taking a picture of me posing with my trophy. Since I am a vegetarian, this is probably the only kill I’ll ever make.

Prize Shot

Finally, I used a customized .22 rifle. When I saw the guys using it, my first thought was, “Oh, that looks scary. I want to shoot that.” It barely had any kick to it, especially compared to the 12-gauge. It also had a scope, which apparently makes hitting things a lot easier. I took a while between shots because I was trying to figure out exactly how to use the scope properly.


Here is the target after I was done with it. I can’t take credit for the shots to the head, but the guy definitely wouldn’t be feeling too hot after I was done with him.

Target Practice
In conclusion, if we are ever stranded in the woods in a Hunger Games type situation, you better watch out.

19 Comments on “Archery & Skeet Shooting

  1. So funny – I’m just going to start calling you Katniss. Also, I love that one of your tags is “2nd Amendment”

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  2. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » 52 THINGS, 52 WEEKS: Sara Tries Archery And Skeet Shooting….

  3. Re eyewear…we’re just looking out for ya!

    Bring on the Instalanche!

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  4. First, go out and spend a lot of money for a compound freestyle unlimited bow. micrometer sights with a scope and a wrist sling release. Also put a sling on the grip. I used a setup like that to stay current with my rifle requirement in the Marine Corps. My final score at the range was 242 on prequal day and 232 out of 250 on qual day. The one will help the other immensely.

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  5. I wish you’d spent a Saturday shooting day at a Project Appleseed (TM) event – you’d be hitting *everything* you aimed at, with a .22, by the end of the day. Still, I’m glad you tried shooting, and congratulations on your “kill”! Have you tried artichokes? – a worthy foe – a vegetable that can claw you back!

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    • Hah – melons are far more satisfying to abuse with a shotgun

      Okay – here’s gun safety lecture part two – the place you’re shown shooting: I realize it’s likely private land, but it gives me the willies to see you shooting into trees for a backdrop. You do not know who/what’s back there – especially while shooting into the air. Gun ranges should be open with large embankments behind them for safety purposes – you should be able to see what’s out there when plinking.

      Now then – bring on the Colt .45!

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  6. RE: the arrow fell off several times before I had a chance to shoot it.

    I don’t know if this is going to make any sense, but when I was learning archery this happened a lot to me. An instructor at the range I used to shoot at (Alice Spring AU) told me I was holding the arrow on the nock end. If you try archery again try to slightly spread the fingers you use to pull the string back with. This helped me immensely.

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  7. You will never need fear water bottles again!

    Oddly, enough I taught my daughter to shoot a bb gun with some water bottles just a couple of weeks ago.

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  8. RE: The arrow fell off …

    Archery: Two pieces of advice from a life time archer.

    1. Draw from the ‘inside-out’.
    Typical draw; put the arrow on the string, extend the bow arm to full length and then draw the string back to the shooting position. This is the obvious but incorrect technique. Use the following technique to get maximum power and easier technique. Put the arrow on the string while holding the bow at rest. By that I mean, be relaxed and hold the bow at a slight angle just in front of you and let gravity hold the arrow in position. Then all together; bring the bow up and out to a horizontal shooting position while drawing the string back.You know you are doing it correctly when you can feel your chest expand as both hands move in opposite directions. This allows both arms to share in the draw and increases the amount of ‘weight’ you can draw comfortably. When I
    shoot, I put the arrow on the string (still at rest), look at the target and visualize the aiming point, then I extend the bow and draw the arrow to the jaw ‘nock’ point, get my focus and release.

    2. Don’t cup or curl your ‘draw’ fingers. Put the string in the joints and let the joints do the work. When you cup and curl your fingers, you twist the string outward and push the arrow out out away from the bow. When you draw back on the string think about keeping the energy of the pull on the ‘inside’ or bow side. That will provide a slight
    twist into the bow keeping the arrow on the rest. It’s all in the grip. Go for a solid grip and curl your fingers around the string and the arrow is pushed off the rest by the outward twist. Let the string rest in the joint and keep the fingers from curling and the slight twist will be into the
    bow keeping the arrow on the rest.

    Good Luck.

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  9. BTW – the shooting glass look great on you – and they also make fantastic eyewear for driving.

    If you’re up for it, try wearing them out in public sometime as a sociological experiment – you’ll get some really interesting interactions and reactions.

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  10. Hooray for Sara!
    There is a real feeling of accomplishment on mastering the use of arms. And, the little thought in the back of your mind, if somebody out there wants to play rough with me, come on, I’m ready now.

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  11. FYI,

    When not actively shooting with an uncased over-under or side-by-side shotgun, its customary to break open the gun, and leave it open while you’re holding it. Not only can an open gun not go off, everyone around you in the area will be able to see that the gun is unloaded/inactivated increasing both the safety factor and the range “comfort” factor.

    On archery, there is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat with respect to technique, but the single most important thing to shooting a bow well is CONSISTENCY. To the extent possible, you want to always hold the bow the same way, hold the arrow the same way, stand the same way, and draw the arrow back to the exact same spot.

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  12. With the shotgun, you are shooting like a girl. You will never hit anything and recoil will abuse you. Stand straight up and lean into the gun. I have taught women to shoot and you are showing the number one fault. Learn proper form and you will hit. The gun stock was too long for you too. You will do well with an instructor–just like tennis or any other game.

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  13. It might be a skeet gun, but the placement of the clay launcher is more proper for trap. The shotgun looks like a Remington 3200. Shooting is a black hole — you might get sucked in and never get out again. There are worse things, of course.

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  14. 20 lb. bow is great for a beginner–yes, it’s technically a kids’ bow, but when I bought my recurve bow (40lb draw I think), the shop owner noted that a lot of guys will downgrade from 60 to about 40-45 lbs and then notice they’re doing a lot better hunting. Glad you had fun.

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