September 3, 2010

Dig-Dig #10: Guns of Idaho

(Click to embiggen.)
We used an excellent piece of open-source software called HugIn to stitch together Aya's panorama of Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls, Idaho. This was the site of Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon jump in 1974. There are photos in the tourist office and the volunteers there still tell stories about that big day in excited voices.

Idaho is one of those states with laws that are a bit more advanced, some may say, than others'. The highway speed limit is posted at 75 miles per hour, for example. Motorcycles still flew past us at far greater speeds with riders enjoying the wind in their hair, as Idaho's lack of helmet law condones.

With this liberal attitude in mind, we casually asked Zack, a friendly employee in Sportsman's Warehouse, if he thought Idaho would let us, a pair of complete novices, fire a gun. This off-hand query (while we were shopping for a new tent) produced a little flurry of activity. By the time we got to the cash desk another very helpful staff member was ready with an address for a shooting range in Boise, an hour or two away: Impact Guns.

That night was spent at the beautiful Bruneau State Park campground, and we went to sleep wondering if this idea of shooting a gun would become real. The next morning, we went to Boise.

With just a little paper work, it suddenly got very real. For Keith, anyway. Aya was disappointed to learn that, as a holder of non-U.S. identification, she would not be allowed to participate.

The exceptionally welcoming, helpful and friendly staff at Impact Guns was willing to rent Keith a 9mm automatic handgun and a .22 semi-automatic hunting rifle for about $10 each. Boxes of "ammo" cost about the same for 50 rounds. Paper targets were about 50 cents.

After some careful instruction by Erin, a generous and natural teacher, Keith suddenly found himself in the shooting range. His pounding heart was not helped by the enormous, body-shaking booms coming from next door every time the gentleman fired his .45 handgun. The empty shells of the .45 littered the floor like brass cigar butts.

Keith fired ten shots on the 9mm at the 7-yard line, the 10-yard, the 25-foot, the 15-yard, and even at the 25-yard line. All rifle shots were at the 25-yard line.

Twenty shots from 7 and 10 yards, aiming for the orange box. Ten experimental shots at the head with the .22 at 25 yards.

The hunting target took the rest of the .22 shots.

Aya was sad not to be able to join the fun, but that didn't stop her from fighting strange lighting and reflections to take a lot of photos and video to commemorate this admittedly very exciting event. This photo caught the recoil of the 9mm and might be the best shot of the whole trip.

And, what the heck. Here's the video:

What did we learn? We're still sorting through our thoughts. It's different having done it, though.

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