by Mack Culverhouse
My first gun, technically, was an inherited Remington shotgun from my deceased Grandfather. Grandpa McKinley killed him a bunch of Nazis in the war and then was discharged to run the family farm.
The first gun or projectile launched I ever shot was my Red Ryder BB gun. Shot it at coke cans hung off an old oak tree in the back yard. Dad gave me the BB gun knew when I was really young. Young enough to where my Mom didn’t want me to have it just yet.
But the very first rifle I ever owned, as in the first rifle, which was mine, brand new to me, first owner, etc. etc., was an all weather composite stocked Ruger 10/22.
Dad gave me said rifle on Christmas ’99 or possibly Christmas ’98. The memory fails just a little bit. I swear I was in 6th grade. Dad thinks I was in 5th. But the important part is that was the best Christmas present I ever got.
And the next spring I promptly out grew the small “boat oar” composite stock that was factory standard on the rifle.
The friendly old Fudd who ran the biggest gun store in middle GA sold me a beech replacement stock for the princely sum of five dollars American. That was the sum total of funds in my wallet at the time. I’ve always thought the wood and stainless looked real nice together.
My Dad must have bought me 10,000 rounds of Remington Golden Bullets from the local K-Mart. Which were all shot at our local state owned Wildlife Management Area. The WMA had a 100 yard rifle range which was free to GA residents with a hunting permit.
There I shot that 10/22 a whole bunch. I also shot Dad’s Mini-14, his Springfield Operator, and a host of neat guns from other shooters who were more than happy to let me shoot whatever they had. A memorable moment is when I got to shoot a custom Kimber rifle of some sort in .270 Weatherby Magnum.
Damn near broke my shoulder but I hit a clay target at a 100 yard. And I felt like Gunny Hathcock.
Dad mounted a Bushnell scope in kwik-site see through rings on my 10/22. His reasoning being that I could still use my irons if my scope “tore up.” I can’t bring myself to take them off.
That humble old 10/22 has gone to college with me, shot a lot of paper and Coke cans, a handful of squirrels, two armadillos, and one coyote.
After my Granddaddy’s Sportsman 58, it is the first gun I’d grab if my house burned down.