[ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[ GBR photos were taken by The Packing Rat ]