It’s a cold October. We had a club workday yesterday, and between the damp cold and the opening day of rifle season for deer, only six people came out. We replaced the target backers, policed the ranges, emptied the trash, and then it was time to go shooting.
I was sighting in a new old rifle, a Winchester 190. A 190 is a semi-automatic, tube fed rifle that came from the factory with a small Weaver scope.
It was not a 100% reliable, every once in a while it wouldn’t eject the casing. Maybe I’ll figure it out, maybe better or different ammo would help, and maybe I’ll take it to my gunsmith. Still, the fun value of picking up a cheap semi-auto plinker and finding out how it shoots was there. A couple of small adjustments and it was putting great groups on the target and knocking down rows of old cans.
One of the other guys was practicing with a pistol, and he came over to see what I had. I had just loaded the tube, and handed it over to him. He sat down at the bench and sighted in, took a few shots. Then he looked up and ask, “Does this scope seem out of focus?”
I had been using it, not a fancy scope, but clear enough, “No, it seems fine to me.”
“Then it’s my eye”, he said, and he told me the following story.
Years ago, before hearing protection and safety glasses, he and a couple of friends were out shooting. He had bought a .44 Ruger revolver and they were all taking turns shooting with it. He was standing off to one side watching when a fragment of lead was ejected from the forcing cone and struck him in the eye. It was painful, but initially he thought it was just hot gases or a powder fragment. Eventually, a doctor found the fragment embedded in his cornea and surgically removed it. It didn’t take his vision, but it left a scarred spot that he notices looking through some rifle scopes because of how his eye lines up with the optics.
Then when I got home, I saw that Brigid had posted on the same topic, and in great detail, including her review of options for protecting your eyes. I’m going to take this advice myself and order some prescription wraparounds.
Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.