Last year, my wife ran across a Groupon for 2 adults to go shooting Sporting Clays for $59. While not a shooter herself, my wife knows my bad habits, and she knows I have a friend with similar bad habits, so she suggested I buy the Groupon & take ‘C’ shooting.
So on Saturday, we finally got our schedules synced & C & I headed out to Red’s Fly Shop in the Yakima River canyon. C had a pair of restored 1925 Remington Full Choke Model 12s that he inherited from his grandfather (the guns were in perfect condition, re-blued, new stocks, etc – Grandpa once upon a time had 20 Model 12s of various vintage, C tells me he enjoyed his hobby) that he has been dying to play with, so we used those.
First, Red’s is a nice place. The shop & lodge is right on the banks of the Yakima river, the buildings are new, built in a log cabin style. The interior is bright & airy, there is food, drinks, & coffee, and the staff is all very friendly. We were a bit surprised at just how nice. They obviously put a lot of money & effort into making the place very inviting for the hardcore & the casual sportsman alike.
Second, the Groupon I got came in 2 flavors, with & without instruction. Since C & I have both shot Trap before (albeit a long time ago), we were familiar enough to not need instruction. But we were the only pair there that did not, so we started with the newbies (we got to go off on our own later on). Anyway, I have to say, the two instructors they had were excellent. They were friendly, polite, & most importantly, gentle of manner. We’ve all gone to ranges or classes where the instructor has decided to be overly aggressive & jerky, yelling at people who make mistakes, etc. While such behavior is probably well deserved for experienced shooters who should know better but got careless, for a class of newbies, it’s a fantastic way to turn them off the sport. These guys were not condescending, they were calm, they were patient, they let people take their time & get used to everything, and they did not go ballistic if you made a mistake. They just gently reminded you to not do that, & explained why (again).
Seriously, I wish every instructor was that level.
Anyway, the course was nice, seven stations; five with two traps, two with one. We walked about a total of a mile from the car & back, with the course running along a dry creek bed in the scrubby landscape. We had a radio control that would trigger the traps (which were solar powered), and the staff was not anal about how many clays you used. They asked that we be respectful & not use them greedily, but that was it. They also asked that you police your shells & put them in the garbage can right next to each station. I will say that the number of shells I saw littering the landscape at each station made me want to smack some previous shooters over the head. The garbage was right there, we made a game of how often we could jack the spent shells into the can. I fail to see why others have to be such dicks.
We absolutely sucked at the first station, since we were getting used to a full choke at close range, but redeemed ourselves at the second, and did OK along the rest (hit about 50%-60% of the time). The clays were not far away & that full choke gave you little room for error. We figure by the time we left, grandpa had stopped rolling in his grave & had forgiven C his poor start.
The Model 12 doesn’t have near the kick of my lovable bastard Mosin, but after 60 rounds, my right shoulder is a bit sore, so I’m gonna quit here.
If you are in the Ellensburg/Yakima area, stop by Red’s, try the course (before they make it members only).