It in Wallkill, NY
Dick Acorn, photos by B-Bob Scura
a strong believer in the wisdom and durability of the Bill of Rights and
the entire U.S. Constitution, there is the somewhat satisfying notion that
in large measure, our American government “Of the People, By the People,
and For the People” supports and defends these rights.
As carefully as the Framers’ composed the Constitution – and
true for any document - there is disagreement about the meaning of
particular words and phrases. These Constitutional disagreements
are properly resolved through the law, in courts which include an appeal
mechanism up to the brightest legal minds hopefully our nation can
produce. But inevitably
every court decision attempting to interpret and enforce the Constitution,
or any local, state, or national law will satisfy some citizens and
disappoint others. Too often,
rather than interpret the Constitution, lower courts will instead fiddle
with vagaries and produce the equivalent of legislation, which is supposed
to be the exclusive domain of local, state, and national representative
is the nature of the gun control debate: you are either a firm supporter
of the 2nd Amendment’s clearly stated “right to bear arms
shall not be infringed,” or you argue that the Amendment only offers
these rights in the context of a the equally clearly stated
you live in an urban crime zone and hear gunshots outside your kids’
windows, or if you are constantly reading tabloid accounts of livery cab
drivers being mercilessly gunned down for a cash pittance, you may be
inclined to clutch the front of you head and say, “enough!
Enough! These guns
gotta go! Gotta go!”
And you become susceptible to gun control advocates, and the desire
to regulate or banish outright firearms.
Dick Acorn, AK-47, the gun that
couldn't save communism. Background on table, L1a1 and Heineken.
you live amidst the rambling woodlands and watershed of the Wallkill River
in mid-upstate New York, and you have property, and you recognize that law
enforcement help in the middle of the night might be ½, ¾ of an hour
away, you’ll likely want to have at least one gun for home and hearth
security. If you enjoy sport
shooting and hunting, you will thereby provide yourself with additional
firearms as you see fit, completely within your Second Amendment rights.
it is that Jersey City’s B-Bob (“Businessman Bob”) Scura has such
upstate New York property – lovely and private land directly on the
Wallkill, and he is suitably armed to defend this land, while also
retaining a collection of firearms to indulge in sport shooting. Being a generous friend, he invites others to enjoy some
sport shooting on the quiet, expansively-wooded property, and we took
advantage of this invitation recently.
shooting group consisted of myself, B-Bob, and Charles I. Turner,
attorney-at-law, who was participating in his first ever shoot, a series
of “firsts” Charles is trying to get under his belt before he hits the
weapons selected for this casual madcap shoot are a semi-automatic .22
caliber rifle (some would call this a “squirrel gun”), a
semi-automatic M-1 .30 caliber carbine (the shorter version of the M-1
Garand - the rifle U.S. GI’s shot their way to victory with in WW2), a
Romanian-made AK-47 7.62 millimeter
semi-auto assault rifle, and an Austrian Defense Forces L1a1 7.62
millimeter semi-auto assault gun. Semi-automatic means that every time you pull the trigger, a bullet
will fire, and you can pull the trigger and fire bullets as fast as your
finger can crank, and as long as the ammo holds out.
Full automatic (a machine gun), which requires a special possession
permit, lets you hold the trigger down and spew bullets like a fire hose.
But unless you have a lot of wide open space and plenty of
ammo-cash, or you are having your firebase overrun, a fully automatic
weapon is a frivolous indulgence.
just on semi-automatic is a-okay, you can approach targets and blast away
one trigger-pull at a time. You can quickly satisfy your assault urges just fine in this
manner, imagining you are finishing off cowering Iraqis.
considerable shooting experience and extensive hands-on weapons knowledge,
B-Bob is rangemaster
and safety enforcer. Myself,
having shot a few times previously, I was ready to shoot responsibly, and
Charles needed to be instructed that he couldn’t be pointing the gun
willy-nilly, and that B-Bob would load all the weapons.
Since we were having a few beers while shooting, extra precaution
was taken that the guns remain pointed downrange on the convenient
shooting platforms that B-Bob had constructed from some sapling stumps.
Dick Acorn, M-1 Carbine, right on
were set out at 25 yards near the ground, some fun silhouettes of gophers
that would soon have many holes in them.
Seventy-five yards further downrange – at 100 yards - B-Bob has
an old, VERY bullet-riddled refrigerator which serves nicely as a target
backstop. Beyond the
refrigerator is a large earth berm. All
of the bullets aimed at the 100 yard target go into the berm, or should go
into the berm. At one point
B-Bob had to alert Charles I. to stop shooting at the 100 yard target
because Chuck was aiming too low; there was concern that a few short
rounds might skip and go over the berm.
Charles had to be scolded a few times to watch what targets he was
shooting at for he was taking his aim far too seriously.
Eventually, he voluntarily gave up the shooting in pursuit of
can be seen from the photo to the right, Charles I. has the most unique way of
gripping a rifle; sometimes he holds his stretched hand on top of the
rifle barrel instead of underneath to support the barrel.
also insists on resting the stock on his shoulder next to his ear,
and not against his shoulder to absorb the recoil. If anyone has seen
Charles I. take a jump shot in basketball, or had the opportunity to
watch Charles I. bowl, you know that traditional body postures for
sports go out the window with this boy.
Shooting is no different.
Charles I. Turner - is it a rifle or
to say, Charles was getting beaned by hot flying spent shells and
complaining, yet he stubbornly would not take instruction on properly
cradling the rifle. Thus so
long as he didn’t do anything irresponsible, we were hilariously
resigned to letting him do it “his way.”
He did a pretty good job in the 25-yard targets but was completely
hopeless beyond that. We do
not have to worry about Charles I. flipping his lid and going on a
shooting rampage, for the gun does not take to him well.
offered the rifles for shooting from the lightest to the heaviest, from
the .22 up to the heavy and seemingly nuclear warhead-proof L1a1.
with the .22 squirrel gun, which fires a cute little round (of which we
purchased 100 rounds “on special for $4.99!”
What a buy!) and is accordingly the least “noisy” of the four
weapons we shot - we were pinging Mr. Gopher but good. Too bad there
weren’t some real gophers or perhaps even beaver scampering afoot, but
you can’t have everything, can you?
The .22 is light and easy to shoulder and a breeze to hold and
fire. For its purposes it’s
a fun firearm. When we were
shooting at the 100-yard target with the .22, there was a nifty sequence
as first the rifle went “Crack!” and then just a
split-instant later, you could hear the bullet hit the battered reefer
target downrange. Boom! and
then “clip!” Neat audio
affirmation that we were in fact shooting bullets and they were at least
hitting the big bulky icebox.
was the M-1 .30 cal. Carbine, a heftier weapon with a correspondingly
louder “Boom!” and no “clip” on the 100-yeard range as the bullet
gets there too fast. We
were wearing ear protection, not really necessary for the .22, but from
there on up, a comfortable accessory.
Heavier of course than the .22, the M-1 still has easy handling
characteristics which would serve well in mid- or close-range combat. The M-1 puts a considerably larger hole in the paper gopher
targets, and it’s large bullets make this a formidable gun.
You can imagine blasting some annoying e-mail nemesis but good with
the M-1 “Carbeen”, you can feel yourself picking off tree-hidden Japs,
you’re almost wishing for some of them up there when you are wielding a
classic All-American WW2 woody, the M-1.
should import some mannequins with Ziphead features and prop them around
his property and we could play G.I. Joe.
Eventually, this mock foolery would descend into a small-scale
battle action and it wouldn’t be long, be sure, before the participants
were aiming not at the pseudo-Nips, but at EACH OTHER.
I personally would be aiming for any lawyers in the vicinity and
would be holding the rifle properly to assure clean hits.
I am positive I could duck any bullets coming from a rifle held
like a bazooka or rocket-launcher as an errant attorney might insist on
holding a rifle.
it came time to ‘Named-up but good and get working with the
world-renowned AK-47. From
the 70’s down through today, the AK was/is THE weapon of choice for any
bandana-wearing, rubber-sandal towelhead malcontent heat merchant with a
government beef. Cheap,
reliable, and available in huge quantities the world over, the AK-47 went
to war most prominently against American G.I.’s in the ‘Nam badlands,
bushfields, and rice paddies. All
communist regimes including the still-extant Libya, Cuba, and North Korea
- all their armed services still bring a lot to the firefight table with
The latest version of America’s armed services assault
rifle, the M-16A3 likely surpasses the AK-47 in all the desirable
shooting characteristics. But
the AK is still a cheap, easy-to-find -in-quantities rifle when you need to
knock off a despotic regime, or just make trouble in Lebanon or on the
corner of Summit and Graham in Jersey City.
particular AK is Romanian made (the easy-to-manufacture AK’s are made
all over the globe, especially in commie and ex-commie countries), with a
stylish wood-clad barrel, and it is snug and cozy to cradle or shoulder.
It doesn’t have the sheer attitude, nor the unwieldy heft of the
next rifle, L1a1, but just picking up AK, you can tell it’s a great gun
to march with, crack some intruder head with, sleep with, and fight with. It is all of these and a piece of cake to load, operate, and
shoot. We didn’t get a
chance to take out any lurking VC, but such would be the vicarious
joys if B-Bob would stock his noble woods with a few VC mannequins,
including one of Ms. Ho Chi Minh herself, the former Mrs. Jane Turner.
I regret not bringing a few Kathy Lee targets up the range; surely
Jane would inspire still greater marksmanship.
Perhaps too, B-Bob might see fit to sow a gentle part of the
Wallkill with a few wispy rice plants to complete a benign and demented
‘Nam flashback scenario. I’m
sure we could scrounge up a Viet Vet (or a Viet Vet wannabe) somewhere to
bring up there to go on a ‘Nam bug like Mart Sheeny in Apocalypse Now.
step-up into the big league, real-deal assault weapon category when you
set up the all-metal, no-nonsense L1a1 assault rifle.
In appearance and firepower, this is the kind of weapon that jolts
gun-control freak and Senate Wussy Chuck Schumer out of his interminable
TV blather and generates still further ridiculous anti-gun blather.
The L1a1 is a world-class assault weapon and looks the way such a
weapon should by god look: large, quite hefty (almost too hefty), with a
futuristically sleek dark metallic finish, and with a menacing
high-capacity magazine to boot. Coupled with a long-range scope, you can take down
Leaders of the Free World with this device.
L1a1 is definitely among the weapons you want on hand in a serious pinch,
facing armored vehicles and fast, low-flying aircraft that are shooting
down on you. It fires an
identical bullet as the AK-47, but with a heavier powder charge, thus
increasing the range and punch. You
would not, I don’t think, want to lug this bruiser down the length of Ho
Chi Minh trail, but if you did, you would sure be glad in any firefight.
This weapon not only packs a crunching wallop-and-a-half (with LOUD
accompaniment), but it is quite accurate and fires a large round at such
velocity that it may only be surpassed in stopping power by a mighty .50
cal. I suspect this is among
B-bob’s favorites, for the L1a1 is rugged enough to be run-over by a
North Korean T-72 tank and still keep on ticking. It’s a deadly, earnest looking firearm and you can indeed
judge the performance of this weapon by its looks.
the ammo runs out, the woods darken into placid evening, and the guns fall
silent. But the
memories or the anticipation of another trip to shoot through B-Bob’s
additional collection of rifles and handguns need not end.
property, with its old ramshackle summer cottages and knockabout odd
structures recalling bygone “summer vacation” days, along with wooded
river frontage and firepits and fun toys is a place deserving of the very
best protection an armed owner can provide.
It is also a nearby get-away-from-it-all refuge for his city-fed-up
pals to get up there and get some hot fires and icy brrrr-ews going, and
to enjoy such hospitality in the comfort and safety of B-Bob’s
enchanting enclave. And above
all to practice all the 2nd Amendment rights which you can
preach forth from the muzzle of a gun.
Some of the B-Bob collection.
city dwellers, our primary exposure to guns is the stupidity of people who
mishandle and misuse them, and not the good sportsmanship and respect of
ex-urban gunowners who will not and shall not have their right to bear
arms infringed. Not by Chuck
Schumer, not by Al Gore, not by “sue-the-gunmakers” trial lawyers
(although if any category of anti-gun zealots can make inroads, this cabal
can with the aid of misguided Constitutionally-suspect judicial
interpretations). The guns
are out there and they are staying out there, and they will not be given
up frivolously, it would seem, to satisfy the ignorant do-gooders who
would blithely trample America’s sacred Bill of Rights.