[Guest Post] Bea, the 78 year old grandmother and handgunner!

[ I am pleased to present this guest post written by David. David blogs at True Blue Sam the Travelin’ man. ]

There is nothing unusual going on at Bea’s loading bench, except this 78 year old grandmother has been a handgunner for just over a year, and now she is loading her own .45 ammo! Her journey as a shooter has been rather remarkable, but she has always had lots of pioneer moxie, and she is still an active person who wants to be able to defend herself and her home.

Dwain, Bea’s husband, passed away in 2005, and owned several guns. One was his ‘house gun,’ a Smith and Wesson Model 36 snubbie. She realized that the little .38 would be difficult for her to master, so she had one of her sons help her pick out a new pistol for her to build her shooting skills. Her first purchase was a Walther P-22, and on her 77th birthday she went to the local range for the first time. The little Walther was easy for her to handle and to shoot; the only problem she had was stripping and reassembling after her range trips. As long as it was fed plated .22′s, this gun never failed to function. Bea was now a handgunner, and a pretty good shot, too. Check out the target with thirty offhand shots at thirty feet with her little auto.

P-22 target with thirty shots at thirty feet.
Bea shooting her Walther P-22.

Bea next learned to handle revolvers by starting with her son’s Ruger Single-Six, and she found that she could shoot it more accurately than she could with the little Walther. She got lucky and found a used Single-Six in excellent condition at her local Scheel’s store, and soon she was shooting the revolver more than the auto. Her son then introduced her to centerfire with a Ruger Blackhawk, and she found that shooting .38′s was easy for her. She looked at the options with Ruger Blackhawks, and when the Scheel’s store got a .45 convertible, she bought it. The big slow bullets are easy for her to handle, even though she weighs less than 110. At the range she will shoot several cylinders through the Single-Six, and then one or two through the Blackhawk, then switch back to the .22. Careful practice has kept her from developing flinch problems.

Bea buying her Blackhawk
Shooting the Blackhawk for the first time.

Her son has been reloading for many years, and he set her up to reload for her .45. A surprise benefit of the convertible Blackhawk is the free once fired brass other shooters leave behind at the range. Every range trip begins with policing for new brass before setting up to shoot.

Bea at loading bench

In September Engineering Johnson, her grandson, took her along to the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, and she was thrilled to meet Mr. Completely, KeeWee, and the other bloggers she has been reading. She says it was the most fun she has ever had. Mr. C even let her shoot his long barrelled High Standard, and Bea had some respectable times hitting the steel plates on the second range day. She is planning to go again next year.

Bea with her .45 at the GBR Show and Tell

She has several range friends in her hometown, and she is spreading the joy of shooting by teaching the basics of gun safety and pistols with new shooters. One of her new found friends is a nine year old boy who is regularly beating his dad at hitting the bullseye with her Single-Six.

Bea would like for more women to realize that they do not have to be defenseless, and that even a small framed womam can shoot a gun that is powerful enough to stop an attacker. Thank you for setting such a great example for all of us, Bea.

Gun bloggers KeeWee and Molly with Bea.

[ GBR photos were taken by The Packing Rat ]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • SpudGun

    Good on Bea for taking up shooting at such an advanced age, it’s a shame she waited this long to discover her love of shooting.

    I’d get my Gran to take up shooting but on some days she doesn’t even recognize me and keeps telling me that ‘the black nurse is stealing her money’, so the last thing I’d want to do is give the old bat a loaded gun.*

    However, I don’t want to tar every senior citizen with the same brush, so it’s good to see people like Bea doing such a good job.

    *The mental faculuties on your own Grandmother may vary due to mileage. Please check the owners manual for correct safety procedures.

  • Larry

    Well get on down grandma!

    That was a GREAT story.

  • Jon

    That is all sorts of awesome. Good on her!

  • B Woodman

    Awesome example!

  • jdun1911

    Oh I got that lee reloading press and powder loader. They are inexpensive and great for reloading rifle cartridges.

  • Thanks for doing these guest postings! And also, a big Thank You to Derek, The Packing Rat for taking the photos at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous. David N aka True Blue Sam

  • RL

    It always warms my heart to see women involved in the shooting sports. Even moreso when it’s a grand lady in her 70’s.
    This brings to mind a very tired phrase that for once makes sense to me:
    “YOU GO GIRL!”

  • Awesome! Great to see stuff like this 🙂

    • To Bea: I hope you reading these comments, you truly are an inspiration to us all. It was an honor for me to put your son’s article on my blog.

  • Bfatz

    You are a fine example for many Bea, cheers to you.

    And with all due respect… ” You Go Grand Ma.”

  • primo capo

    She is of the same breed of this another grandma…:
    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/10/22/horse_shoot.html
    real steel flowers!

  • Crystal

    As a female shooter and gun owner, I really wish I could go shooting with this lady. What an inspiration.

    I love to go shooting often, but it’s difficult to find other ladies to go with. I have a select group of guy friends that I take instead, who don’t mind being out shot and don’t have the “you’re just a woman” attitude. I really wish there were more people like Bea out there, and she’s someone for EVERYONE, male and female, young and old, to look up to.

    • Crystal, maybe you should start up a blog for female shooters in Canada?