With my chores and do-list finally done, I set out to gather my gear for a relaxing few hours at the range. It’s Sunday, but my local range rarely has a crowd and I’m looking forward to finishing a gun review for my favorite gun site. I grab two long guns. One is a shotgun I’m writing the review on, the other is my latest acquisition, an FN PBR in .308. I throw a crapload of shotgun ammo in a big bag, and grab a box of nice American Eagle 168 grain OTM for the rifle. I’m just going to shoot 10-15 rounds for a first shakedown of the rifle. Cleaning kit, muffs, plugs, spotting scope, and my all important steaming cup of coffee. Rich, dark Italian roast . . .
I drive to the range, unlock the gate, park next to the rifle deck and unload everything. I set up my spotting scope, get the bolt gun ready, run a patch through the barrel. Good to go.
Left the ammo in the car. Go back to the car. Where’s the ammo? Can’t miss it. It’s in a big grocery bag.
Left it at home. So I load everything back up and drive home. Yup, one over-stuffed grocery bag by the side door. I put it in the car and drive back to the range. Through the gate, down to the rifle deck.
I grab everything in three trips from the car to the 100 yard deck. Set up the spotting scope, rifle bags, rifle. There is a lull in shooting and the two other shooters want to check their targets, so I head on down and staple one up. By hand. Yup. Left the staple gun at home. Dang it! Poked the tip of my thumb with a staple. Oh well.
I walk back to the deck. Going hot!
As I carry the grocery bag to set it next to me, one of the handles tears away. I’m still holding one as the bag rips open, spilling all my ammo on the deck.
I pick it all up and sort through all the shotgun ammo. There’s the rifle ammo. I open it up.
It’s a box of 10mm pistol ammo.
Now in my defense, I didn’t have my +2 reading glasses on when I grabbed the ammo in the shop. And hey, they look alike. OK, except for the picture of the rifle on the rifle ammo box. Yeah, go ahead and snicker. When you get to be my age and don’t need glasses or Lasik, I’ll tip my hat in favor of your genetics. If I can see you.
So I decide to bag the rifle and concentrate on the shottie review. I sort through the various ammo I want to start and then finish with. Grab my note pad. Load the first mag. Turn on the EOTech. It goes dark after five seconds as I’m adjusting the brightness.
I take the batteries out, switch them around a few times. Nope. They’re dead. Since I took the carry handle off the shottie AND the front sight in favor of the EOTech, I got nothing. I look around in my rig for anything that takes AA batteries. Nothing. My spare Petzl headlight is AAA. My flashlight is a rechargeable stick.
So I load everything back into the car and drive home. Grab a set of batteries and a spare set. I think about .308 ammo, and nix the idea. EOTech check. Yup. It works. I drive back to the range. Unlock gate. Park. Carry everything back to the deck.
Last thing is the shotgun. I lock the semi-auto action back and grab it off the back seat. I go to set it down on a shooting bench.
Now here is where something went wrong. Instead of carrying it by the pistol grip, I have a handful of receiver. As I set the shotgun down on its left side, the weight of it hits the bolt release. The 147 pounds of spring tension behind the 16-pound bolt starts to uncoil at something approaching the speed of pain squared.
My pinky and ring finger of my right hand are in the way. Apparently, the bolt bounces backward when it tears into human flesh. During this rebound, I’m not able to extract my two fingers during that .0125 second rebound interval.
As instinct takes over, I just yank my hand away, the pain signal reaches my brain.
Blood is already dripping all over the bolt and ejection port area. I look at my fingers. Now, the fact that it’s about 40 degrees outside hits home. Oh. This. Really. Hurts. I walk back to the car and rummage around for my first aid kit.
It’s still in my truck from my hunting trip. Baby wipes! Hot dang, I keep them in every rig. I rip open the package, grab a couple and wrap my fingers up.
OH! WTF!!! They are saturated in alcohol. More stinging pain! I hear a whimper/groan/laugh. Yup. It’s me. Sometimes I can be a real dumbs. Then the thought occurs, if I write this will Shannon and little Michael categorize this injury as gun violence?
After finding some nice dry paper napkins to wrap my fingers up with, I walk back to the shooting bench. Coffee. I’ll sit and warm my hand up with a nice hot cup of…
My coffee has sat there, on the bench, since my first trip in. It’s now ambient temperature. Right about 40 degrees.
I can’t stand iced coffee.
I manage to shake off the nagging pain and pick up the shotgun. What the heck, blood is kind of a lubricant. I manage to shoot up the rest of the 12 gauge and finish up my notes. Using mostly my left hand, I get everything put back into the land rover and drive back home.
Being a glass-half-full kind of person, I had to laugh. Especially when the Hoppes #9 hit the cuts to my fingers. Yeah, they may look like small holes, but those are really painful holes. Even a day later.
Murphy is alive and well.