Previous Post
Next Post


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.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Yep, sounds better than the day I had at work today. Coffee is my son’s kryptonite. He can’t function without a jug of it. He’ll even take gas station coffee when we hit the road at 0dark30 for a hunt.

    • I was going to say that his hand model career is over, but yeah, his hands were pretty bad to start with.

    • Lay off with the hand thing. You don’t need hands like JP Prewitt to write a gun review. Or mash up your fingers in an unloaded firearm’s spring-loaded mechanism (ask me how I know).

    • Those nails are just right if you play clawhammer banjo or if you fingerpick guitar. I’ve waged a fifty year long battle to KEEP my nails that long, despite using my hands for more pedestrian pursuits, like working for a living.

    • People give me shit sometimes for having longer nails. Who do they come to when they can’t get their beer open? You guessed it. ME.

      Seriously, though. I prefer to have ’em a little longer than too short. They come in handy for the little things, like opening stuff, pickin’ your nose, scratchin’ your balls, etc.

  2. Reminds me of a clueless relative who dropped the bolt of a brand new Bennelli M4 on thumb while wearing knit gloves. He couldn’t work the bolt to free his crushed thumb because he had to hold the gun up. The glove was snagged on the extractor, further complicating the rescue. The extractor had punched through this thumbnail. The biggest dissapointment was no video.

  3. Uzi bolt on fingers? check
    Para 1911 slide on fingers? check
    closing AR upper on fingers and pinching it next to the pivot pin? check
    Magpul stock locking part rip skin off? check

    If you haven’t left a little blood, you are not a shooter.

        • You have not lived until you have suffered M-1-Thumb.
          Wow. That is excruciating!
          I froze, and just stared.

        • I had Garand thumb in 1964. Yup. Bad. Knew how to fix, though, don’t ask how. You take a paperclip, heat it red hot with a butane lighter (Bunsen burner if available) and use it to burn/melt a tiny hole through the thumbnail to release the blood underneath. Relief is instant and total, pain is gone. Now, just a few weeks for the nail to grow out and you can pretend it didn’t happen.

          • Heated knife tip works, too. My last one did not have to worry about, it split the end of thumb open and bled quite freely! Good side? Kept rifle hot enough that blood did not freeze in it!

  4. I have a rule:
    After the 3rd mishap of the day, I no longer allow myself near anything that goes BANG, crash, or slice. Nor do I argue with the wife or attempt to discipline the dog! Do not mess with electronics over 4.5 volts and DO NOT REMOVE THE BACK OF THE TUBE TV to see what’s inside. You do not want to know!
    Leave the gun cleaning ’til tomorrow. There is no way to safely handle them today!
    If the better half asks you to drive to the grocery store: Just say NO!
    Hide under the bed if you must, but no lawn mowing, not even by hand with sharp scissors.
    Well, that’s MYstory, and I’m sticking to it!

    • “Do not mess with electronics over 4.5 volts and DO NOT REMOVE THE BACK OF THE TUBE TV to see what’s inside. You do not want to know!”

      Hey! Those plump horizontal sweep tubes make really nice grounded-grid RF amplifiers…

      Now that thick red silicone wire with 15 thousand volts on it on …no thanks.

  5. It could be worse. You could have totaled your friend’s ATV and then locked his key in his truck.

    Too soon?

  6. Pinched my trigger finger in one of the hubs of the pop-up blind I hunt out of. Used all of the TP I have in the backpack mummied up my finger pretty good. Pretty sure if I had actually seen something after all the screaming and swearing I probably wouldn’t have been able to get a stable shot but still beats the hell out of a day in the office.

  7. Dude, getting Hoppe’s #9 in your bloodstream is probably the worst thing that happened the entire day. By far. Just letting it contact your skin, heck.

    • It’s been declared a possible carcinogen in California!
      I’m surprised they don’t encourage gun owners there to use it.

          • Neurotoxin, Hmmm.
            I think that’s a made-up thing so they can accuse gun owners (at least those who keep their guns clean) have been adversely affected mentally and are therefore not eligible for a firearms mother-may-I.
            Shrinks and other medical “professionals” will begin asking about the use of Hope’s #9 and reporting the use of it instead of actually reporting your ownership of firearms.
            “I don’t know if Mr. Smith actually owns firearms or keeps them in his home, but he sure cleans a lot of them.”

            • Yea, I call bullsh*t. If Hoppes was a carcinogen the environazi c*nts would have jumped it long ago. Simply more lies from the lying c*nts of the left.

  8. All I got to say is M1 Thumb, temps in the teens, first thing in the morning. At least I had good coffee!

  9. My favorite “I’m an idiot” moment was when I was poking around the opened action of some old Remington semi-auto with a cotton swab. There was something that wasn’t coming off, so I figured I would try to scrape it off with my fingernail. Well, instead the action slammed closed, ramming the extractor right through the top of said fingernail.

  10. Once I forgot my guns bag in the garage. I discovered after I checked in at the range. I had to check out and head back home for a 40 minutes round trip. Had a good laugh.
    True story.

  11. ” 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.”

    Did the same on my Mini-14.

    Would have been fine if I didn’t try to yank my hand outta there…

    But, noooooooooo….

  12. Three things to scratch off my bucket list — off-roading with Nick, cooking with Tyler and range day with Tom.

    All that’s left is a weekend in Negril with Salma Hayek. After that, there’s nothing left to live for. Sniff.

  13. So far I have very few mishap stories but I’m kinda scared of the cleaning compartment to my WASR. It’s like playing with a bear trap. Everytime I take the cleaning kit out I have visions of having to walk into the emergency room with an AKM trying to bite my thumb off.

    • Don’t laugh, guys! Saw a man rip half his right thumb nail off on the trapdoor of an AK. That inside edge can be sharp as hell, and rusty.

  14. After a lazy sunday range trip I was unpacking my car, walked up to my safe, and realized that I was missing my second rifle bag. I had two bags, but left one on the shooting table. After a 20 minute panicked Jason Staham style drive back to the range I found my rifle bag sitting on the bench, next to a few shooters who weren’t aware I was gone.

  15. Learned the meaning of “Garand Thumb” first hand, the hard way about the second clip I pressed into the receiver when I first got mine. That thumb wasn’t the same for a couple of weeks.

    I am obsessive about being organized with my range gear so I don’t get to the Range and find I am missing key stuff, but even so, recently drove 80 miles to a Range in the local mountains I belong to and discovered I had forgotten my target stand. To make matters worse, for the first time in over 20 years going to that range, no one else had left anything useable for improvising a target stand. Objective was to fine tune an EOTech HWS sight. Well, that didn’t happen. Shot some rounds offhand at a steel silhouette at 200 yds and hit it far more often than not, so it wasn’t a total waste. Pretty fun, actually.

  16. Great story Tom! Here’s my similar story. I’m on a company skeet shooting tournament 3 hrs from home. I’ve got everything I need and am excited to walk through the trap set. I’ve got my trusty 870 20 ga pump which (at the time) doubled as my HD gun.

    First station and I prepare by loading 1 and chambering 1. These are all double birds so it pays to be quick on the pump. Pull! Bang! Pump (oww)! Bang! 1 hit and 1 miss. I look down to reload and see blood dripping off my hand.

    During the pump my left hand caught an edge beneath the barrel and tore a price of skin off my palm, and it is a-bleedin’. My car and supplies are a 30 minute round trip walk away. I look around and see an old towel. I wipe the blood but it’s still gushing. I see a paper sign being held up by duct tape. Bingo. Pull off the duct tape, another wipe of the towel and instant MacGiver bandage. Finished the round with a duct taped left hand and a 76. Beats a day at the office indeed!

  17. ” my all important steaming cup of coffee. Rich, dark Italian roast . . .”
    What..? No rich Corinthian leath…oh, wait..Montalbon was into something else.

  18. “Let’stand go to the range”… Tom said…

    “It will be fun”….Tom said………….

    Let the games begin.

    Still beats any day in the office.

    • Indeed. Can’t wait till the fad passes. I can’t find jeans that don’t look like they were made for my wife without effort. Men’s hands are supposed to be rough. From work. I wonder how many guys here complaining about the nails wax their chests and get their eyebrows done, too.

  19. Worst I’ve done like this is catch a spring to the face cleaning an old Tokarev. Got too used to the captive springs in my other pistols, and imagine my surprise when it’s recoil spring came flying out.

  20. That right there is why I have 2 range bags. One for rifles, complete with rests, spotting scope, Gerber multi-tool, tape and or a stapler, and a few other various things. One for pistols with just a multi-tool, and a stapler/tape. Just add ammo needed and head out.

  21. Really? No one made this joke? Looms like you needed a FN PBR (the kind that comes in a can) after this. Yeowch.

Comments are closed.