I frequently get ridiculed from my friends and family for being the guy with the “dainty gun.” I wear that label with pride, because it’s pretty much true. I don’t have to have a .600 Nitro Express pistol in order to feel secure in my manhood. But this is how that title was, deservedly, placed on me…
Back when my wife and I were just dating, she lived on a hay farm out in the middle of nowhere with her parents. Once while I was visiting, her father was out of the country on business. Across the way from their farm house was a house full of unsavory types, and there were frequent confrontations. We suspect the neighbors raised pit bulls for fighting and the dogs would frequently venture onto my wife’s family’s property. In any case, while I was visiting, my wife’s mother asked if I would shoot a few rounds out in one of the pastures, just to let the neighbors know that it wasn’t a good idea to come over with ill intentions. I was more than happy to oblige. They had a great many rifles for me to choose from and I wasn’t sure which they would want me to shoot, so I asked my wife to pick out a rifle from the family’s armory, and some ammo to go with it and I would be all too happy to go and pop off a few rounds.
My wife came back with a Remington Model 7 with a Leupold scope and a green box of hand loaded ammo. Works for me. I grabbed about ten soda cans, and started walking out into the middle of the pasture, looking for a good safe place to set up the cans as targets and for me to set up. There was a nice dip in the pasture that would work perfectly so I set up, and then walked back about 50 to 75 yards from where I had stood up the cans.
I had never fired this rifle before, and it wasn’t zeroed to me, so I knew that if I didn’t hit a can it was no big deal. All that my wife and her mother wanted was for me to make some noise. Easy enough. I sat down and opened the box of ammo and set out to load the rifle. Interesting, I had not see a bullet like this before. (The only guns I had really been around were the ones when I was in the military, so basically, .223, .308, and .50 calibers. I had fired a Barrett before, so this couldn’t be that bad. (Keep in mind, Barrett Rifles have a lot of recoil absorption systems built in, like the muzzle brake.) I loaded the rifle and got into a prone firing position, just like I had been taught so many years earlier in the military. I chambered a round, sighted in on a Mountain Dew can, relaxed my breathing, exhaled, held it, and began to squeeze the trigger.
At this point it might be a good time for me to point out, that the rifle was a 7mm Magnum. My wife’s father had hand loaded the cartridges with a “recipe” that he had been perfecting over many years. My wife also neglected to tell me that the “perfect load” was hotter than recommended out of all of the hand reloading manuals. I don’t remember the weight of the bullet, what type of powder or how much. I do know that it was slow burning powder, and it is loaded in what he calls a “compressed” load. When he seats the bullet in the brass, it pushes the gunpowder which is almost to the lip of the brass when charged, down into the shell.
The rifle went off, BOOM! and a searing pain shot through my shoulder. “I’m out of practice” I thought. “I need to shoulder the weapon tighter, and get a better grip.” I fired again. BOOM! “Dammit that hurts, it’s got to be my posture.” So I hunkered down some and one more time. BOOM! “Dammit! Can this gun really kick that damned much?” Okay, last round. BOOM! “Is my collarbone broken?” I stood up, slung the rifle over my shoulder and looked at my wife who was almost in tears laughing because she knew it was kicking this little scrawny city boy around like what you would expect from shooting a hand-held Howitzer. The muzzle velocity of the bullets leaving that rifle must have been something like a million feet per second. I picked up the box of ammo and spent brass. I walked out to the soda cans to see how well I did. All misses, oh well. I then switched which side I had the rifle slung on, because the sling was pressing against that aching shoulder. We walked back up to the farm house, and I handed the rifle and ammo to my wife to go put away. When she returned to the back porch, I was rubbing my shoulder, and I said the words, right there in front of her and her mom, “I want a dainty gun, that thing hurts.” They both rolled with laughter, and instead of trying to live it down, I have been wearing that badge with honor.
Shortly after my wife and I moved into our first house, she bought me my first gun. This was the first gun that had ever been mine and not borrowed or dispensed from a military arsenal. A .22 caliber hand pump Daisy Pellet Rifle. A dainty gun. My wife and I both got handguns, pictured below. I’ll let you guess which one is mine.
Instead of looking for the “bigger, badder, most bad ass” of guns, I look for the ones that would be the most comfortable to shoot. My hunting rifle, a .308 that I’ve only had for a bout two years, has a recoil absorption system not unlike the Barrett .50 calibers. It is a dream to shoot. I am looking for some type of coating that I can paint my handguns with that would give them a nice finish, like pink or purple chrome, something like this;
So call me “Jay with the Dainty Gun.” I honestly don’t mind, and I’m actually rather proud of that title. I don’t need a big gun to feel manly. It doesn’t need to be black and tactical, and I don’t need to feel like an “operator.” (I usually refer to those guys as “condo commandos”.) I’m happy with my dainty guns, because they still do what I need them to do, and they do it well.