Posted By admin on December 29, 2013
By: Liz Kauza (14)
During a summer trip to my grandparents’ home in New Jersey, my grandfather, John Kauza, told me about his work with the Boy Scouts of America. He initially got involved in 1978 when my dad told him the troop needed help, so he started a rifle merit badge course for them. Now, 35 years later, he has trained over 5,000 boy scouts and other young shooters, to include disabled scouts, scouts from England, and a Polish speaking troop in New Jersey. After hearing the story, my sister and I were looking forward to shooting. My grandfather worked very hard with a team of boy scouts and volunteers to build new shooting ranges for the scouts at Yards Creek Scout Reservation in New Jersey. Eager to show us, my grandfather took my sister Stephanie and I out to the range to try it out.
The range is in a scout camp in northern New Jersey and backs up along the Appalachian Trail. Deer, turkey, black bear, and the occasional rattlesnake abound on the scout camp. The range is at the top of a long and winding road, and I found the solitude to be rather peaceful. There is a 12-position rimfire rifle range with a covered spectator area, and to the left there is a three-station, six-shooter-position shotgun range. To the left of these stations, a future expansion will include a 300-yard centerfire rifle range and pistol range.
It was a perfect summer day, with no humidity and the sun warming our backs. We decided to shoot skeet, and I used a Mossberg Model 500 “Bantam” in .410 with a cylinder choke slug barrel. This barrel was shorter than the standard version, and as I soon discovered, was much easier to handle for a young shooter like myself. Though a .410 is mistakenly viewed as an expert’s gun, I did pretty well, hitting 9 out of 10 clay birds. I am left-handed, so I shot lefty as Stephanie pulled in a “nonstandard.” Normally, when the shooter is ready, they will say “pull,” and then the clay bird is launched downrange. I found that I hit more clay birds by having Stephanie pull at random and without warning, and she took great delight at seeing how quickly she could launch them downrange.
My sister and I alternated shooting throughout the day with my dad and grandfather backing us up from the other position. I was surprised at how easily I could shoot for the entire day with the .410. I consistently hit the clay birds, and as the day progressed, I felt as if my skill was improving. Most importantly, I did not feel sore or tired from the weight of the gun or its recoil. It fit very well when I mounted the gun, and it was easy to track and shoot the clay birds. I shot over 200 rounds throughout the day and felt great afterwards.
Shooting is a great way to get your mind off of everyday life. When you’re on the range, all of your problems seem to fall away, leaving just you, the gun, and your targets. There’s nothing quite as satisfying than watching a clay bird turn to powder.
Review of the .410
The Model 500 is a time-proven and reliable shotgun design. It is a slide-action or “pump” type shotgun chambered for 2 ½ and 3-inch shells. It has a tubular magazine underneath the barrel, and the spent shells are ejected to the right. The barrels come in various lengths, from 18 ½ to 28 inches, with 28 inches being standard. The basic model comes equipped with a brass front bead sight and vent ribbed barrel. The safety is located on the top rear of the receiver and is especially handy for a left-handed shooter like myself.
My experience with the .410 Mossberg Model 500 “Bantam” with an 18 ½-inch cylinder choke slug barrel was very positive. The major difference between this model and the standard model is the 18 ½-inch barrel with a choke is more open than the standard barrel with a full choke. Equipped with a standard brass front bead sight and a shorter sight plane, I found it easier to use because it is lighter and more controllable than a 20 gauge or its 17-gauge older brother. I was able to bring the gun into firing position easily, locate the target, shoot, and follow through on a consistent basis. After a full day of shooting over 200 rounds, I was not in any pain from the gun and still felt as if I could shoot all day.
One of the options available is the 24-inch, fully vented, ribbed barrel with TruGlo front and rear sights. This innovative system pairs the long sight plane and a vivid chartreuse (neon green) front sight, light-gathering tube with a dual dot Terminator-red light-gathering rear sight. This system allows the shooter to easily identify a proper sight picture, thereby enhancing accuracy; not to mention, it looks very cool.
Download the article at www.juniorshooters.net/articles it is in Volume 15