We applied to join a large gun club located less than a mile from where we live. We were accepted and needed to attend an orientation. You see, New England is different from Texas. In Texas, we'd gotten used their less formal ways of doing things.
We thought we'd be there about an hour. Two and a half-hours later we were just finishing up. The membership committee passed out rulebooks and bylaws. We had to take a test covering safe gun handling and a few club rules. You could look up rules in the rulebook. We received membership cards, electronic gate keys, and identification buttons. We gave them about $175.00 each in return. We got a safety lecture, a short discussion of the club, and finally a tour--did I tell you it was raining all day yesterday.
We knew the club had nice facilities since we'd been shooting bullseye league matches all winter in their indoor ranges. But, we had never seen all of their ranges since our league shot after dark (in New England winters that's about 4:30). We were impressed with what we saw:
- a 600 yard rifle range;
- a rifle/pistol range with berms at 25, 50, and 100 yards with covered stations;
- a trap field (they only have one shotgun sport);
- a plinking range;
- an archery range;
- a fishing pond stocked with trout;
- an indoor pistol and small-bore rifle range;
- clubhouse with the obligatory stuffed moose head;
- other smaller features.
You can imagine that our plans were changed because of a long orientation session. Bill is still looking for the right BAG Day gun (yeah, he's over two weeks late). He wants a semi-automatic shotgun for sports and hunting. While at the NRA convention in Houston, he fell in love with a Franchi. He liked this model's price, feel, and fit. Fit is especially important for him since his reach is a little shorter than average.
After orientation, we went shopping for a new shotgun. First we went to Rileys Sport Shop in Hooksett, New Hampshire (we reviewed it here). They carried Franchis, but didn't have the model Bill wanted. It was getting close to 5:00 and we know we didn't have time to visit all the stores we wanted to. We chose to check out Lewis Arms. We had been there once before and liked it.
Lewis Arms is a new store, but its owner ran a gunsmith shop out of Rileys' basement for some time. It is located about ten miles north of that basement. They offered many fine guns, but alas no Franchis. We hefted some Benelli's, a Remington 1100, and a few others. We didn't buy one since Bill hasn't given up on buying a Franchi. So, maybe next week we'll be telling you that Bill found his shotgun, or maybe this will become an ongoing saga. Stay tuned.