So, woke up the next morning and headed down to the hotel lobby for a meeting and safety briefing. Also they were giving us the address and directions to the range then. They didn't want it to be widely published too far before hand in an attempt to keep the general public out. Additionally they gave us a goodie bag that had a book, the yellow shirts we would have to wear in order to get our free ammo and some other gun related stuff.
After a nice cup of coffee, it was time to go to the range. It was about a ten mile drive out into the countryside and then, suddenly on the side of the road a giant sign with a Luckygunner.com clover on it. A quick right turn and up a hill and there we were, gunny heaven.
The first sight that my eyes beheld:
That is right, a M3 Stuart tank!!! There were actually two of them, both in working order and seemingly ready to take on the Nazi war machine. That is until you look really close and see that the person on the radio is in full German dress. Amazingly this would not be the most odd thing I would see that day.
Next, my already saucer sized eyes were able to feast on:
That is right, not one... not two... but four 12lb howitzers!!! All being fired by full teams in Civil War garb.
Notice in the above picture, he is aiming the gun by looking down the top of the barrel.
The younger looking fellow in the light blue pants is holding lanyards which they attach to the gun in order to fire it. As you will see in the photos below, you fire this thing by pulling on the lanyard, just like some far more modern field artillery pieces used by the military of today.
Ok look! They have found a volunteer... Really these guys were doing this for charity, a $25 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and you could fire a ball.
Now, by this point, the cannon above is still actually rolling backwards. I would guess it rolled 8 to 10 feet backwards after firing live ammo. And did I mention LOUD!!! I can only imagine how loud it must have been to the men firing it in the days before hearing protection, though I guess after the first shot everything is kinda just a ringing noise anyways.
Sebastian over at Snowflakes In Hell has a nice video of himself firing one of these beasts.
Here they are resetting it for another shot:
And some more guys in various dress talking it up:
Now, I finally turned around and beheld the range that was laid out before me...
Disney land for gun nuts!!!
I followed the smoke off to my left and saw that someone had already set something on fire down range.
I still had no idea just how amazing the day that was before me would be... I had already witnessed two amazing pieces of war waging machinery from two very different and far apart conflicts in our nation's history, the rest of the day would be similar with me experiencing things that spanned well over 150 years of history... Stay tuned for more.
9 months ago