McHenry Sportsmen's Club Picnic and Shoot (2006)
by: Tom Armbrust
Posted: 09/08/2006

A great time was enjoyed by all on a wonderful day at the McHenry Sportsmen's Gun Club Annual Picnic.   Well over 100 members, family, friends and guests were in attendance.   Rain was in the forecast but held off all afternoon; in fact, the sun came out part of the time.

Tom Carneal made an excellent comment saying, "this is the way the gun club should always be, everyone having a very good time with family and friends and no one worrying about their scores or being overly competitive."

A few following highlights really are noteworthy and need a mention.   For instance ten year old Kelly Panasy went right down to the wire in an "Annie Oakley" Event.   Not getting shot out, till this up and coming young shooter reached the 25 yard line.   Even though she finished in second place by one shot, her smile was from ear to ear as she walked off the trap line.   Some adult shooters could take a lesson from this example of good sportsmanship even though she took second place.   Her parents Craig and Elizabeth are very proud of their daughter.   They also worked very hard preparing some delicious food for the picnic.

I, for one, really enjoyed both the young men and women shooting and working at the gun club.   They learn that shooting and hunting, carried out in a safe manner, can be a lot of fun enjoyed by a full spectrum of age groups, from the young to older folks.   George Strode, a high school teacher at Lake Forest, takes time out of his very busy schedule to bring some of his students to the gun club to take lessons in trap shooting and gun safety.   George told me, "In this way, the kids get to see the other side of the big picture, instead of the TV media bombarding them with gun related crimes.   They learn that a gun club, with its varying shooting activities, can be a very enjoyable experience.   We very much need the young blood to keep our sport alive and well."

The Kraus family is becoming a family affair at the gun club.   Robert has worked at the club for over three years doing a fine job.   Robert is a very good trap shooter with many high scores under his belt and various registered state trap shoots.   His dream is to make the All American team.   Robert's younger sister, Kristen, just started working at the gun club following in her brothers footsteps.   Denise, Robert's and Kristen's mom, had previously shot a 12 GA shotgun that did not fit her and had a heavy load, thus giving her a bad experience with improper gun fit and unexpected heavy recoil.   After lunch we talked Denise into trying my 20 GA Ruger Red Label over and under with light 7/8 ounce Size 8 shot Remington Premier target loads.   Denise commented, "Gun recoil was not a problem at all and the fit was fine, not too long for me." Breaking five clay targets out of ten shots was not too shabby for her first time at the trap.   A big smile came over Denise's face as she shattered two clays in a row.   To see mom enjoy herself again made the kids feel very good, as Denise lost her husband just over a year ago in a very untimely death.   Losing your husband and father must be very hard; so please keep the Kraus family in your thoughts and prayers.

Last, but not least, was the annual appearance of Tom Armbrust's "Iron Monsters".   This time he brought along his J & W Tolley 8-bore double shotgun.   A hammerless steel barreled cannon that tips the scales at just over 14 pounds.   Many people think recoil is terrible in the big 8-bore.   They are in for a pleasant surprise when they touch off a cap of 30 grains of Hodgdon Clays behind a Remington SP-8 Power Piston plastic wad and 1-1/2 ounces of 7-1/2 size shot.   Velocity is around 1200 FPS, and pressure mild at 6800 PSI.   These extra tite full chokes really smoke targets.

Many people gathered around Marty Sand's unusual Boswell Double 8-bore rifle.   A true elephant gun with fully rifled barrels.   The big hammer gun with 80 grains of Blue Dot behind a 2 ounce round ball archives just over 1600 FPS and a muzzle energy of 5157 foot pounds.   Let me tell you this loading will get the shooters attention in the recoil department.

Marty, Rob Burns and I have put some time and effort into this 8-bore rifle project-testing various loads for velocity and pressure, plus accuracy tests and barrel regulation.

Thanks to all the people who worked so hard to make our annual club picnic a great success that was very much enjoyed by all.   I for one also got to visit with many friends that I do not get to see very often.

Copyight @ Tom Armbrust, USA 2006
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