Lock & Load

There’s a reason the founding fathers made the right to bear arms number two on the list: guns are incredible. Squeezing off rounds, hot shell casings arcing onto the gravel while the crack of the rifle echoes through the valley—a good day at the firing range could put a smile on the face of even the strictest anti-gun advocate. To get in shape for the upcoming hunting season, the O/B crew headed west for an afternoon at the Logan Shooting Range, located just off I-90 half an hour outside Bozeman.

We started our gun-safety training with .22 rifles—basically one step up from BB guns. O/B overlord Mike England gave us step-by-step instructions on proper handling, loading, and aiming techniques. As a former Army Ranger, he reminded us to treat every gun as if it were loaded, and to only point the loud end at things we want to kill. 

Once we felt confident with the rifles, we graduated to handguns. We had three to choose from: a 40-caliber Sig Sauer, a 9-mil Glock, and a 1911 Colt 45. I gravitated toward the 1911, admiring its power and ease of use. Despite being designed over 100 years ago, it’s used in the militaries of nearly 40 countries around the world—but just because everyone uses it doesn’t mean I shot worth a damn. For a shooting challenge, we set up three balloons at ten paces, creating a winners’ bracket for deadeyes. Only three advanced to the next round—the gentle, wind-kissed bobbing of the balloons provided them enough safety. 

The Mossberg Model 500 .12-guage came next, its truncated barrel, 8-shot magazine, and jet-black color reminiscent of a Terminator shootout. The thing just about took my shoulder off, but it felt awesome—and one look at the riddled target made it clear why people consider a shotgun the ultimate home-defense weapon. 

We rounded out the day with the big boys: two M4 carbines. These assault rifles—featuring iron or red-dot sight options—are the real deal, delivering lead as fast as we could pull the trigger. After eviscerating our coffee-can targets, we spent the last half hour cleaning the hundreds of brass casings off the gravel.

Of course, no firing range afternoon would be complete without red meat and strong drink. The Oasis in Manhattan was a welcome respite after a long day of gunpowder and testosterone. For your own afternoon of firepower, check out the Logan range's website at manhattanwildlifeassociation.com.