Christmas @ Cow Central

Hamilton Travel Blog

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Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ on Christmas Eve.


To fill an empty couple of hours Dave had the blinding idea of taking us visitors (Graeme, Jonny, Tom, Lovely James, Bini & me) to Hamilton Pistol Club. Dave’s highly experienced with guns and was fastidiously strict about correct procedure on the range.


The range itself is a small field with a long shed at one end. The open face of the shed is divided into single bays numbered one to ten. Each bay has a waist height shelf, where the guns are loaded. Across the field there are numbered markers corresponding to each bay. It was here that we each tacked blank target sheets with our names on.


Dave gave us a run down of basic gun protocol & then each of us took turns to approach our bays and try 5 or 6 shots with a small handgun.

Once Dave had confirmed that all guns were safely unloaded we were allowed to cross the range & check our targets. I’d managed to get all shots within the broadest parameters of the target, but nothing very impressive. Graeme had the closest set of bullet holes, (to be expected, as he’d shot before). Tom & Jonny had done best of the novices, with a consistent set of shots in decent range of the centre.


We then worked our way up through about 7 different types of guns, progressively increasing in power. I remember that Colts & a Magnum 45 were among the set. My favourite had to be the Smith & Western, because it was with this gun that I shot a near perfect bull’s-eye (the only one of the day). I was dead proud!


Dave finished our session with an original Wild West gun that didn’t use bullets, but instead required that each drum cavity be filled with gunpowder & then compressed with a ball bearing.

My Bullseye with a Smith & Western
It was a laborious and delicate procedure & must’ve been excruciatingly difficult for the cowboys to load & shoot whilst thundering into battle. We each had a go with this beast; it was such a thrill; it boomed rather than banged and each shot left the barrel with a blaze of orange fire. It was impossible not to go ‘WOO-HOO!’ at the buzz.


By this point all us Londoners were starting to hero worship Dave; What a guy! What a fabulous hobby! I’ve decided that if & when I have a family I’m going to make Christmas Eve Shoot Out a family tradition. (Disclaimer: Please don't think that my advocacy of shooting a piece of paper in any way condones shooting animals or people, which is highly uncool)


We Wish You A Kiwi Christmas.


Of everyone who celebrates Christmas there’s two clear types: Those who genuinely enjoy it & those who genuinely don’t. By the very fact I’ve noticed this, probably tells you I’m of the latter persuasion. I would happily go to sleep on Christmas Eve and wake up on Boxing Day.

More often than not I spend Christmas with other people’s families & they’re always much more ‘ho-ho-ho’ than ‘bah humbug’ and I really, really want to join them being happy bunnies, but for some reason I always feel awkward and anxious that it’ll all go sour at any moment.


So when I woke on Christmas morning this year, I had to bury my head under the duvet for a few moments gathering courage to go & join the festivities which were already well under way, judging by the dulcet tones of Snoopy’s Christmas Carol floating through the house.


Everyone had gathered clasping warm drinks in the sitting room. Around the rim of the tree Anna’s mum, Carole, had done a Santa & laid out seven stockings for each of us ‘kids’ (the under 30’s). Each stocking had our names sewn on & was filled with sweet stuff & kiwi themed goodies.


Feeling quite choked by such kindness, I copied the others & just went with the flow. From the on the day flew by; a barbequed breakfast; more present opening; delicious lunch (with nut-loaf for me); a game of cricket; sitting about playing cards or reading; a drive around Hamilton; and finally crashing out, full & content.


After this wonderful day I reckon I might even look forward to Christmas when it comes around next year!

goezi says:
Had many a training day at this range myself. Nice work with the S&W Dead-eye!
Posted on: Jul 18, 2008
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My Bullseye with a Smith & Western
My Bullseye with a Smith & Western
photo by: Natasha