Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shooting Brews

I received a call from Steve Saturday morning asking if I wanted to join him and some friends at Bull Run to go clay shooting. I had always fancied a go at this so promptly cancelled my kayaking plans and shot over to Steve's house.
These are Steve's and Marc's shotguns.  We got to Bull Run Shooting Range and I was given a quick lesson by the boys on how to handle the gun and the rules of shooting. I was extremely glad I was with them, they're all very experienced and responsible so I felt safe with them. I've shot various rifles and pistols but not a shot gun so I was looking forward to this.
Once we arrived, I had a quick nose downstairs at the archery range. There weren't too many people down there so I may bring my bow and give this a go in the near future.
Outside on the range I was very pleased to see that we had to wait a while for another group to finish their shooting so it gave me time to study the protocol of this sport. When first on the stand, everyone had one shot and then moved around to the next position. Then it was 2 shots, move, 2 shots, then step down. We called 'pull' when we were ready and I was very grateful to Brian who after I had called 'pull' twice, told me the second call wasn't necessary as the clay was automatically released. I could have looked a right dylan calling 'pull' on every shot. Thank you Brian!
Obviously my first shot went a little wild and I initially felt a little overwhelmed, trying to grasp the newness of aiming with a strange gun, but having seen there were also a lot of misses from the other shooters, my confidence grew and I was almost disbelieving when I hit my first clay. Our scores were called out and I was last with 7, but I walked on air. I really hadn't thought I'd get any. The others praised me and if I had been a gorilla I would have stood tall and beat my chest but I just looked down and credited my score to beginners luck.
Not a view I'd want to see too often but I had to take the photo. I'd kept shuffling around the gun looking at the barrel and then moving away, too nervous but desperate to have a photo looking down the barrel. I finally took a deep breath and leaned over, took the shot (pun intended) and stepped back, immediately satisfied.
Brian and Marc taking their turns. Brian is a superb shot and on our second round scored 21/25. I was puffed up with pride having gotten 12/25 and not getting the lowest score on the stand for that session. This afternoon tipped me off the fence regarding owning a gun and I've decided that I'll get a shotgun. As well as having a firearm for personal safety this is a sport which I'd like to work at getting better at, and with it not being expensive to take part in this activity or having to travel far to enjoy it, I felt good at making this decision. so now my next step is to visit a gun show or a local store to see what my best options are. Do I want a pump action, a side-by-side or under-and-over action? Friends' advice and money will likely determine that.
We left the range, grateful to get out of the intense heat and humidity, and after saying goodbye to Brian, the three of us decided to visit some local breweries.
Steve and Marc raved about Heritage Brewery in Manassas, so that was our first stop. A very friendly place with a superb chalk artist's work on display and great use of old pallets being evident in tables and chairs. There was no AC but at least it was shady inside and we gratefully pulled up high chairs to the cool concrete counter. We were all starving and because the brewery didn't sell food, they showed us a book of local delivery menus and within 15 minutes we were stuffing a superb pizza. The Kings Mountain Scottish ale was a wonderful accompaniment to our pepperoni and mushroom slices.
Our next stop was almost across the road to a well acclaimed little brewery in a strip mall called BadWolf Brewing Company, a tiny place with just a few tables and chairs, but known to have folks standing shoulder to shoulder when busy. I had the Fuggin Good Gold, a delicious golden ale that was perfect for this hot steamy day. It was also nice to be inside with some AC blasting across the room. I noticed they carried a few Route 11 chip flavors and recommended the dill flavor to the owner who said he'd get some in. We finally decided to leave the wonderful cool air and make a last stop at my favorite brewery, Old Bust Head.
No AC here either but the tables and chairs were shaded, and it won't be long before they open their brand new tasting room with a lovely controlled climate.We all had the English style pale ale and then decided it was time to head home.
But not before we made a quick stop at Pickle Bob's, a small ice cream van in Haymarket, where we had the special, half blizzard, half milk shake.
Then back to Steve's where the boys struck a quick pose for me with their guns. Hopefully not too long before I join them!

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