Speed Limit 70 mph? 30 Sounds Fine to Me.

There's a first time for everything, and for hunters, that includes driving with a gun. Sarah Smith Barnum practices with a Remington 870, and drives it home for the first time—and possibly contracts OCD.

So for this ever-impending turkey hunt I am continuously talking about, I got a nice compact Remington 870 20-gauge shotgun. Today for the first time, after reading and re-reading the Owner's Manual, I went down to the range with American Rifleman Editor-in-Chief Mark Keefe. Before shooting the gun I practiced loading and unloading numerous times, then bringing the gun up to a comfortable position in my shoulder with my hands correctly placed.

Once I felt comfortable with the gun, I started shooting with some Winchester Target Loads. At first I was a bit clunky, and kept flinching before I had even pulled the trigger; but after a few rounds of loading and shooting I was actually hitting the target and feeling much more comfortable. Once I had tested out the Target Loads, I moved on to some actual Turkey Loads with a little more kick (that I didn't even notice, luckily).

Something I always forget until I'm about to shoot is how important it is to focus on my breathing. I like to call it my "Yoga breaths" because I feel like you have to go to a sort of Zen place to get it right. Once I did that, my shot pattern, which had been much too high, came down and showed a dead bird. Another thing I forgot at first was to take my finger away from the trigger when I was racking the gun, which Mark made sure I fixed.

I currently have the gun sitting with me, locked and unloaded, at my desk. It's coming home with me today. I have never driven with a gun, obviously unloaded, in my car; nor have I had one in my home and I have to say that I'm pretty nervous. I know it's silly, because nothing bad will happen with an unloaded gun, especially when I don't own any ammo, but as someone who has never owned a gun it's a pretty damn big deal in my mind. I will probably drive like an 80-year-old woman driving a bus full of newborns… Safety first!

Update: For anyone who thought that I was just kidding about how I would drive, you should know that I did indeed drive excruciatingly slow and re-shut my trunk multiple times before driving off, to make sure it was truly closed. Any bystander would be sure to diagnose me with OCD.

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