Dad’s .22

Ithaca M-49

The Gun

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was about 13. Dad looked at me and my brother and asked us if we wanted to shoot his .22 rifle. We had only looked at it before, even handled it. I didn’t think we would ever shoot it.

My father had bought this rifle as his first gun when he was 16. It was an Ithaca M-49 lever action, single shot .22. I believe it could shoot both the .22 short and long cartridges. I don’t know why he hadn’t ever shot it in our presence before and I don’t know why he was choosing to shoot it then. I was just pumped he wanted to.

Always stored with his rifle was a little leather bandoleer of rounds. They were so old that the leather had caused there to be a nice green film on each cartridge. I know, I know. You aren’t really supposed to shoot old corroded bullets, but we didn’t know or care. We just scraped off the gunk and then we began.

Dad showed us once how to load, shoot, and eject the case. My brother and I picked up quickly. I’m sure he told us something about safety, but I don’t remember.

The Shot

I only remember taking the rifle from dad, aiming at the target and “pop”. My first shot with a real gun. It was like I had found something that I was made for. Finally some real power.

Now I know a .22 short isn’t the most powerful round in the world, but I was used to a BB gun. It was a big deal! That experience started a thirst for more which has never stopped.


The funny / ironic thing is that after that day, I’ve never pulled the trigger on that .22 again. We ran out of those old bullets on the bandoleer and didn’t go buy more. Bummer.

Even so, I am so thankful to my Dad that he let us shoot it. Had he not done that, I might not be doing what I’m doing now. Who knows, I might not even like guns……… Nah.


Not including a BB gun, what was the first real gun that you pulled the trigger on? What was it like? Tell us your story.

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