Walking along the narrow Billy goat like trail, the sun was frying my exposed skin. I was smart enough to wear a long sleeve shirt and ball cap, but my face and neck felt like it was being nuked from radiation exposure. Ambient temperature was triple digits. The dry desert mountain air evaporated my sweat before it ever surfaced my pores. Parched, I was looking for the next shooting station, thinking, “What twisted position would I contort my body for the next few shots?”
Scrub juniper has a way of letting you enter its confines, but then swallows you whole when trying to exit. But it does a dandy job of locking your body tight making your forward mounted scout scope reticle settle easier. Peering through it, I locate the steel silhouette targets. It’s amazing how far and accurately you can shoot with just a 2X scope. But, shoot we did. Walking the Military Crest trail was by far my favorite shooting activity of the series.
It’s a great training aid for hunters and shooters to get creative in what shooting position they can twist their bodies into while doping where to hold on targets 160-370 meters away.
Where was all this fun at? Why a media event hosted by Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged and Andy Larsson of Skinner Sights, and of course, Gunsite Academy. We were treated to Gunsite’s training principles in the use of revolver, lever gun and scout rifle. The last day comprised of Col. Jeff Cooper’s thoughts on the Scout rifle.
The first day representatives from Tuff Products, Wilderness Tactical Products, Ransom Rest, and Doubletap Ammunition went over their products. This carried us to lunch and then it was to the range where Gunsite instructors Lew Gosnell, Aimee Grant and Schylar Cloudt gave us an introduction to the pistol craft. We all used revolvers, paired with Simply Rugged leather gear. We went over firearm safety, gun presentation, and holstering your gun, along with several shooting drills.
The second day was leverguns. After hearing from Rob Leahy and Andy Larsson tell us what was new with their businesses, we went over the basics of loading and unloading leverguns. We also covered gun safety, high ready and low ready positions, as well as room clearing in the fun house and walking the Donga trail.
Rifle zeroes were checked with assigned leverguns outfitted with Skinner Sight Peep Sights and Simply Rugged slings and ammo carriers. Then it was off to the range. Everyone enjoyed the levergun portion, and you can’t blame them. After a full day of shooting, we called it a day.
Former Border Patrol Agent and Gunsite favorite, instructor Ed Head, was to help instruct this event. Unfortunately, Ed succumbed to a brief illness on the eve of the event. His guns were compassionately sold during his illness to support his wife, Jean, at Ed’s request. They were quickly bought by close friends, one of which was Ed’s scout rifle. The event proceeded, as we all knew Ed would have wanted it this way. So, we did, and we shot. And shot a lot! Ed would’ve been happy.
Ed’s Scout Rifle
The rifle was converted from a Ruger American Ranch rifle in .308 caliber. A Skinner Sights Scout rail was installed, along with a Leupold long-eye relief Scout scope. The Scout rail incorporates an M4 A2 front sight and Skinner peep sight for iron sight capabilities. Ed also installed a Hornady over-sized bolt knob and Andy Langlois sling rounding out the build. Ed’s rifle was purchased by his close friend, Matt Olivier.
Rather than turn the rifle into a safe queen, or wall hanger honoring Ed, Matt unselfishly allowed me to borrow the rifle to participate in the “Scrambler” and “Military Crest” shooting trails. It’s a testament to Ed’s and Matt’s way of thinking, it’s a gun, so let’s shoot it!
The Scrambler is, as the name states, a speed event where contestants run from one station to the next utilizing different shooting positions to steady their rifle while aiming. Next, was the Military Crest Trail which I described in the beginning.
The final event was a personal one. Seven members at the event, who also happen to be Shootists, honored Ed with a 21- gun salute shooting .44 Special revolvers. The volley of three rounds of seven shots echoed across the high desert terrain as winds helped wisp away the sorrow. Spent brass was collected for further dispersion and projects in honoring Ed.
Over time I will go into further detail with you about the vendors’ products, sharing my thoughts on them in future articles. Gunsite is a fantastic fighting school to learn how to safely fight with any gun you have, be it semi-auto, revolver, rifle, levergun, scout rifle or shotgun. If it shoots, learn how to shoot it, to your advantage, by being safe and efficient with it.