Scratches and dirt on a video? For those of you born after VHS, it’s a nostalgia thing, back from the days when people used something called film to record their family fun time. Anyway, as sappy as this gun range ad most certainly is, the man ain’t lyin’. Family bonding over guns is some mighty powerful stuff. You might even say it’s how we Americans keep our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms alive. Alas, I have no such memories upon which to draw. My parents were anti-gun. My daughters have yet to catch the bug. But I know that many of you have fond memories of gun time with the folks, and passing on your gunaphilia to your progeny. Please. Share with the group. Do it for the children.

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44 Responses to Question of the Day: What’s Your Fondest Family Shooting Memory?

  1. Just about anytime my Son, Daughter, and now grand kids take a run out to the local BLM land and fire `em up,
    it is a new, lasting legacy.

    And it goes back 20+ years now, as, sadly, my parents were like yours.

    I have fully reversed that for me and mine…

  2. This past Saturday with my son. 150 rounds of .22lr and a slew of broken trap clay targets. All i did was watch his shootIng skills devlope with a smile on my face. Both of us had a awesome time.

  3. Wouldn’t that be hoplophilia?

    Anyway, guns, melons, steel and tannerite always makes for a great day at the ranch with the fam!

  4. When my old man handed me a new .410 and 2 boxes of shells. He said they were mine, put them in my closet and that weekend we’d pattern the gun. Longest couple of days of my life.

    The longest night of my life, til then, was the night before my first hunt with my own gun. I was no longer a tag a long with my old man and uncles. I had arrived.

  5. Putting 500 rounds of surplus .45 through a pair of National Match 1911s at the RAF Woodbridge range with my Dad in 1991. One of the few times we were able to do something together when we were both in uniform. Different career paths and distant assignments made it difficult.

  6. For me it was learning to shoot my grandpas 6br at the local Isaac Walton. I can still see the smile on his face as the spent 12 gauge shells we used as targets went flying.

  7. Quail and dove hunting with my mom, aunt and granny.

    Daddy teaching us kids to shoot the Nylon 66 and his James Bond Walther.

    Now my three sibs and I get together at the ranch at holidays and pool our guns for all the kids to shoot. A new tradition was started last New Year’s when I collected discarded Thanksgiving pumpkins for a glorious higher purpose, and my BIL brought the tannerite.

    I’ve been very blessed to have the family I have, and I’m thankful for it everyday.

    • My aunt, who was a great shot, would head over to a tank in the late afternoon with her miniature dachshund, a stool, her cigs, and probably a cocktail, and blast away at doves. Her tiny dachshund would run for the downed birds and retrieve them only slightly chewed up. Still cracks me up.

  8. My late father gave me a simple single shot 22 when I turned 13. It was the same gun he received when he turned 13. I spent many weekends with him and sometime my brother at the local range. Eventually we brought my friends too. Those are very fond memories for me even all these years later. I have my own kids now. My own gun collection has expanded past the 30 mark. I still have that first 22 though. When my oldest gets old enough I’m giving it to him. My youngest will get a brand new rifle that he can hopefully turn into a tradition of his own.

  9. My favorite memory was when my father handed me a Marlin 30-30 and let me cut loose on bowling pins at the public range just south of our small town. Of course, part of my joy was that I was no longer having to shoulder a 6-foot long flintlock rifle, which was the first firearm that he let me shoot. I can wait to take my own son out when I feel he is ready.

  10. Dad was an instructor for the navy across the highway from NAS miramar. Me and my brother going with him on weekends to shoot anything we wanted to.

  11. First? Blowing up leftover maalox sample bottles perched in a row on a log, with .22lt single shot rifles, with Dad and brother.
    Most epic? Goose hunting in pits in ND, or green wing teal on a tear ahead of a storm in the marsh with Grampa and his unstoppable retriever.
    Funnest ever….bowhunting goats in the badlands, playing practical jokes with my bro…remember those antelope turds we snuck in Lenny’s Raisin boxes?

  12. One of my fondest memories was made this summer, when after being indifferent for years, my 13-year-old daughter asked out of the blue if she could go out shooting with me.

    I set up a gallery of cans and bottles and got her back up to speed on the Henry .22, which was previously the only thing she had been willing to shoot, and then suggested she learn how to shoot her mom’s 9mm pistol. She dug right in and handled it like she was born to it. The big surprise was that she actually agreed to try the .30-30 too.

    Her first shot with the .30-30 shredded a milk jug at 25 yards. I’ll always remember the look on her face. Surprise as her shoulder took the recoil, then glee as the water rained back down onto the ground. She set up more targets and insisted on loading the gun herself. Six shots in a row at milk jugs between 25 and 50 yards, five hits. She struggles with confidence sometimes, but I could see it radiating from her that day.

    We finished up by shooting a few rounds from each gun at a paper target so she could see where her hits were landing and take it home as a souvenir. She decorated the target with pink hearts — she was especially proud of the two times she hit the bullseye with the pistol — and hung it proudly on the refrigerator, where it still lives.

  13. My sons were taught to respect and understand guns and shooting from about the age of 3. We lived on a little farm, and they got to see a lot of varmint hunting. Then we had AKC black labradors and hunted them, as well as training them under guns.

    I think my fondest memory, however, was about 10 years later when the oldest boy had a heavy BB gun and was very, very good with it already. He was out shooting crows… We’d moved into a much closer neighborhood by that time, and one of the neighbors called the police to report my son was shooting “songbirds.” The sheriff’s deputy came out, then we took him to the garden and showed him the pile of crows. He said they didn’t look like song birds to him and went away.

    Wasn’t too long after that we bought the boy his first bolt action .22 rifle.

    That was a long time ago…

  14. What’s my fondest family shooting memory? Well, I never actually shot anybody in my family, so I can’t say.

    But I did blast one of my cousins with a peashooter. That was fun. And the trips with my grandfather to the shooting galleries in Coney Island were fun, too.

  15. I have many stories but two stick out to me. One was after I got back from Iraq in 2011. I bought a Springfield XD40 while on leave visiting family. I went to visit my dad at his logging site with my grandpa. After we were done my grandpa amd I went and blew off a few boxes of ammo at a logging landing. He had his Sig in .380. My dad Unfortunately had to keep working. It was a lot of fun and I hadn’t been shooting with my grandpa in a long time. My grandpa is the person who fixed my messed up shooting position and straightened me out so I could hit something when I was about 6.

    The second story was this spring. I went with my dad and my cousin to my cousins private shooting range. We brought a whole bunch of guns and blasted away at targets into the evening. It was one of the best times shooting I’ve had in years.

  16. A week after I graduated from high school my grandfather called and asked me to pay him a visit. Drove up that day and upon arriving at his house, he brought me into the kitchen where a large, beaten up cardboard box sat on the counter. I had never seen this box before and had no idea what to expect. I open it and there in a roll of lightly oiled wax paper was his Marlin 336 Centennial model in .35 Remington. I had only ever heard of this rifle, as it was apparently given to an uncle decades ago. My jaw dropped and my grandpa said,
    “Happy graduation, grandson. And for the love of God put more rounds through this thing than the twelve that I did in the 70’s. Take a deer with it too, I never got the chance.”
    Grandpa had a stroke when I was a toddler that has required him to walk with a cane ever since, so his words made me tear up. I asked him how he got it back if it had been in my uncle’s possession this whole time. I’ll never forget his response:
    “I paid for that gun with my own money, therefore it is mine. Second of all, you’re the only person in the family who gives one damn about guns. I wasn’t going to let the thing decay in his attic or watch your cousin sell it, so I drove over there and took it back myself.”
    I put eighty more rounds through the rifle and haven’t fired it since. The fit and finish of it makes any Freedom Group Marlin I’ve handled look like a Mosin Nagant in comparison. I consider myself blessed to have it coming from a family that, aside from him, was Pro 2A but never owned guns. I might bring it to the range again some day, but for now it is my safe queen. Grandpa is still around and mentally sharp as a tack too.

  17. Having my sister ask me to teach her how to use a gun, and if she could have the spare .38 snubnose I inherited from my grandpa to protect herself. I gladly did both.

  18. My all time favorite would have to be shooting turtles all day on stock ponds, with my dad, and uncle. We would burn through a couple of bricks every trip, and have a great time doing it. Of course, .22 was 1.59 a box, and readily available 25 or so years ago.

    • Shooting turtles? Why in shit would you shoot an animal you aren’t eating or doesn’t damage your crops/livestock?

      If I’m missing something, enlighten me please. But I know quite a bit about turtles and unless there is something wrong with the pond, they won’t ruin a stock pond’s fish population.

  19. CRAZY that this post came up, my buddy and I were just talking about it on the phone!

    My first bird trip with dad that I was actually ready to hunt on. Me with mom’s Browning B-2000 and Dad with one of his various over/unders. Total skunk on quail… A few return calls but no movement and nothing for the bags. We got back to camp (we always made bird trips into camping trips) early’ish and decided to drop a few rabbits for dinner. Bagged a handful of rabbits and got back for cleaning. I reached into my bag to pull a rabbit and had more worms in hand than rodent. Tossed the worms, went to grab the next rabbit; multiple worms evacuating its asshole at the same time…. Damn! My bag was foul, let’s try dad’s. Same thing…

    We made a meal of Dinty Moore and wished we had a camera to record the absurdity of it. We both grew up hunting and have never seen parasites in that concentration. Put us both off enough that we not only struggled to finish our canned stew but talked about burning the rabbits rather than just burying them.

    Absolute shit day hunting, but a great memory to look back on. I also vaporized a rabbit with dad’s Python that afternoon/evening. Only thing left was a head and hindquarters. =D

    • I’m an Army guy but Hooah! Tom!

      My eldest is only seven, but the time may come and it scares the shit out of me. How did you take it, how do you feel about it now?

      I’ve no doubt I’ll have enlisted children and it terrifies me a decade ahead of time.

      • Biological son went first. Had to sign papers as he was only 17. Adopted son went next, he was 18.
        Two years later, daughter went in at 21.
        Scared the spit outta me. Only adopted son went to the sand box. He was a heavy mechanic, so I was only a little worried.
        All are out now, in one piece.
        If this were a military blog, I could relate the coolest story about my dad and son now a permanent record in Naval history.
        I’m very proud of all three kids.

  20. A couple of months before my grandfather died, he was on daily dialysis, health failing, and wheelchair bound. I was too young to participate, but my grandfather, my dad and me where on the front porch of the family farm. An oak board nailed to a tree was the target holder, the targets were saved up old style soda can pull tabs.

    The game my dad and grandfather would play is to use this old unmarked single shot 22 and shoot until a tab was missed. When my grandfather was on better health, the rule was to reset the tabs after a miss, but all resets fell to my dad that day. They were hung up with tiny finish nails.

    I remember my grandfather clipping each edge of the sheet metal tab, then clipping each side of the pull, leaving a loop of metal on the nail, then he would hit the rivet so the tab would fall, and then drive the nail so the loop fell. It seemed like he would go for hours without missing in my memory as a 6 year old.

    Occasionally my grandfather would miss usually blaming the ammo, though I now know how hard he battled the fatigue. My dad would shoot some, not nearly as well, but making hits, and I remember how many nails my dad kept having to drive in order to reset the rows of tabs.

    I never got to shoot with my grandfather, but this is still my favorite family shooting memory.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Harry.

      That’s one of those simple stories that only a kid would reflect on. Nothing fancy about it, short of the people involved, but it gave me a big smile to think on it. Shooting, fishing, golf, and a few others are family pastimes that are not only cross-generational hobbies, but evoke such strong emotional reactions it’s hard to comprehend.

      The memory I didn’t post was of the time my Grandfather bought/brought me my Red Rider BB gun. My grandfather, father, and I sat out back fur hours shooting at cans and ping pong balls. I swear 90% of it was my Grandfather and Dad bantering more than me ever touching my newest prize. It was the first time they’d been face-to-face in nearly a decade. A totally unremarkable experience for anyone who wasn’t young and in awe of the veterans, I think. Ah; to pick papa’s brain, or get Dad to sit still long enough to share a few random nuggets.

      I miss being a boy.

  21. Most memorable was my Dad teaching me the safety rules prior to my 9th birthday, when, if I learned them, I would get a Red Rider BB gun. I have never worked so hard to memorize anything and the anticipation leading up to that birthday was excruciating.

  22. Sitting on the bank of the River that runs behind my parent’s house with my 10 yr old son on a beautiful spring day. The river was rising and carrying a bunch of trash, so we just sat there and popped the debris with a box of 50 light hand loads for the .38 revolver, then finished the session by shooting a box of CCI through a Mark II. I hope my son remembers it as fondly when he’s my age as I do now.

  23. back in the day before Vietnam! I moved back too my Dads and stepmother house! any way I thought I was a good shot, my Step mother had enough of my bragging so asked if I would like too shoot close pins off the clothes line for a dime apiece! I figured easy money, I would be in the money, wrong! our clothes line was about 25 yards from our back porch {we lived in the sticks} so that was not a problem! I shot one she shot one I missed she did not I lost by 25 pins an then I had to replace them! did not brag too much after, were continued that until I went into the Service! I never did break even

  24. Growing up on a farm in Oregon, I have a lot of fond memories of deer and elk hunting with my Dad and brother. But the best FAMILY memory – was shooting on our 200 yard range on the farm. My Dad, brother and I would be shooting away, when my Mom would come strolling up carrying the beautiful .22-250 that Dad had built from a Remington 700, in a thumbhole varminter stock he’d carved from a walnut plank, inlaid with ebony and yew, and hand-checkered. “Mind if I join you boys?” Mom would ask. “Did I get the right shells?”

    Of course there was a mad scramble to get her all set up to shoot, since this didn’t happen very often. “So I just put those cross-thingies on the target and pull the trigger, right?” she would ask. And we’d confirm that, yeah, that was the general idea.

    So she’d stick about 5 rounds in a nickel at 100 yards, chuckling away. Then she’d clear the rifle, stand up, sling the rifle. “I guess I’d better get dinner cooking,” she’d say. “You boys have fun!”

    That was in about 1966 or so. Lost Dad to a stroke in 2007 (proud WWII Navy veteran – Machinist’s Mate on the USS Shangri-La). Lost Mom three years later. Still have Dad’s (and Mom’s) .22-250, and a lot of fond memories.

  25. When I was about 18, I bought an old Mossberg bolt-action 20ga from a friend of my best friend (we still consider us brothers). He needed money and it was all he was willing to part with. There were some problems with it. First, the trigger guard was long gone and there was no safety to be found anywhere (at least I couldn’t find it), second, and this is the biggest issue, most of both the barrel and stock had been hacked off. I was told it was a quarter inch from the legal limit, but I had my doubts.

    Anyway, after I bought it, my friend and I went to Kmart to pick up some ammo. I just bought the cheapest 20ga stuff they had, which was a target load. While I was paying for the ammo, my friend decided to swipe two slugs from a box near the counter. I had no clue he had done it until later. We went to his cousin’s house and went back into the woods to fire off some rounds at a dead tree, which was a blast to me, because up until that point, I had never fired a gun before, let alone owned one (unless 2 bb rifles a C02 pellet pistol counts). It was loud as hell (I haven’t heard a 20ga that loud since) and because it was effectively a pistol grip, you couldn’t exactly shoulder the thing, so it was fun to hang on to (for a newbie, anyway).

    My friend finally got his turn (yep, I was hogging all the fun), and when he went to load the 2-round mag, I noticed he reached into his pocket first, before digging into the box of shells. He jammed whatever it was he dug into the mag, then a shell from the box, then stuck another shell in the chamber and closed the bolt. The first 2 rounds went off the same as all the others had, but the third shot sounded like a bomb went off, and there was a large hole in the tree trunk. I asked him “what the hell was that?” And he very cooly replied “that’d be a slug”. “Where the hell did you get a slug?” “From a box of em on the shelf by the counter while you were buying the shells.”

    Later that week, my dad and I took it back to the woods behind my grandparent’s farm and shot it some. We had fun, but dad questioned it’s legality, and suggested maybe getting rid of it for something that was definitely legal. We finished off the open box of shells and went home, where it sat unused on a shelf in my room for about 2 months while I thought about what dad had said. I decided not to take a chance, and sold it and the remaining box of shells to a friend of another friend of mine.

    That’s my fondest story, because it was my first firearm, and because when I bought it, my dad didn’t rip me a new one for buying a gun like I feared he would. Instead, he actually shot it with me. Also, it’s because the gun was such an oddity. I mean, whoever heard of a sawed off, pistol-grip, bolt-action, 20ga shotgun?

    These days, my wife and I take turns teaching my son how to properly handle a gun. We don’t have any firearms in the house right now, but hope to soon (money’s tight), so we use my son’s airsoft pistol we got at Dollar General for 15 bucks. My late father-in-law bought him a Henry 22lr rifle after he was born, but my mother-in-law is hanging on to until we feel he’s responsible enough for it. I can’t find any 22lr around here, so he couldn’t shoot it anyway.

  26. lol – .410 with my long gone grandpa. I think I was 7? He was behind me, and I think had his fingers in my ears… BOOM!!! Started immediately crying. He started laughing, then my tears turned into laughter. Plenty of others, but that was my first shotgun experience. Good times. Also, I don’t cry anymore (when shooting). ;P

  27. While not a firearm; a few months back my best friend and I were shooting rats that were in my parents chicken coop. With a .22 air rifle.
    Later that day my younger cousins came over. Unwilling to have them shoot near the chickens I set up a range with a few cans and at 35 yards a pushed a bottle cap into a fence post. After listing the “range” rules we took turns shooting; I placed a running bet that who ever hit the cap would get ten bucks. Several months nuts later I heard the pop noise of a pellet hitting metal. We called cold range and let the boys check their shooting. I doubt my little cousin has my ten dollars anymore but he does have that punched cap.

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