I found a couple of hours today and went out to the range. Bud was coaching a couple of kids on the muzzleloaders in practice for a match next weekend. I set up where I could see the 300 yard berm and Bud had his kids practicing on the 25 yard line.
One young buck, about 11 years old, was eyeballing me, so I took off my earphones and looked at him. "What kind of rifle is that, mister?"
"It's a .30-06, a Savage."
"I've got a Savage. My Dad bought it for me for an elk hunt last year. It's a .300 WSM." The kid went back to his muzzleloader and shot a few shots with it. They called a cease-fire to change targets and the kid walked past. I asked him how he liked his Savage.
"I believe that it's too big for me."
I didn't want to tell him I agreed with him, but asked about his elk hunt last year. He allowed as how they didn't have any luck with elk, but that he had missed a deer last year, nearly 300 yards away.
I agreed that 300 yards is a long shot. "Can you see that orange target way out by the woodline?"
"That's 300 yards. Would you like to try that shot with my rifle?"
He looked at Bud, and Bud okayed the experiment. I had the kid sit down at a bench and got him a sandbag. Then, we used paper and pen to show him what the reticle and the target looked like and how I wanted him to align the horizontal crosshair with the top of the steel gong, and keep the vertical crosshair centered on the target.
I had him practice with a couple of dry-fire shots, then handed him a cartridge, my favorite load. It uses IMR 4895 under a 165 Sierra Gameking and pushes it out at about 2880 fps.
The kid chambered it like a pro, settled in on the bag, took a breath, exhaled and let it fly. In another second, we heard the CLANG of the hit and watched the gong swing from the Gameking. His face lit up.
"That's how you do it. You keep practicing with your rifle and you'll be fine."
I packed up and came home. It's hard to top a moment like that.