Down the street , past old brick farmhouses, cows, and corn, is the Schützenverein – a sort of “country club” where you can do some pellet gun target practice and play soccer. Claudia and I pass men playing Fußball (foos-ball) and step inside the newish brick one-story building. Inside, four kids ages 8-18 are working the bar; we order an Alster (half beer half sprite) each and walk across the tiled floor to the large room next door. I was quite surprised to find myself in what resembled a brightly lit church basement; it was not at all what I pictured a “shooting club” to be like.
In the hall, two men sat around an official-looking table with papers and a cash box. Other men sat against the wall, some with kids on their laps, most with beer in hand. At the table Claudia
and I each purchased a stack of target “slides” for 1€ where she ever so nicely told me never to call them cards – unless I wanted to buy everyone there a round of beer.
In the hall, two small tables are set next to each other next to a wall; a pellet gun lies on each of the tables and strings run from the tables to the other side of the room. The two village men from behind the cashbox explain how it works, set the gun on top of the rest and help me load the tiny, tiny pellets into the big, clunky air gun. Sitting down at the table, with the gun loaded and one hand holding it in place on its little metal stand, I inserted a target slide into a little clip on the table. Then, pressing a big plastic button, the target flew backwards on the strings, across the room, and crashed into the metal target backing that hung on the wall. Under close instruction, I put my left arm on the table, rested the butt of the gun on my arm, and leant over to look through the rubber scope extender.
Now, I know for a fact I have 20/20 vision. But man, was that target tiny. Looking through the scope, I held my breath as instructed, centered the target, and pulled the trigger. BANG! The tiny little “wadcutter” pellet hit the metal behind the paper. I pushed the return button on the table and the target came trundling back to me on the little ropes. Not bad for a practice round and my very first time shooting anything.
I proudly can say that I put holes in all nine other target cards – all garnering 8 or 9 points and even one perfect bullseye 10. It gave them something to talk about that night after we drank our beers and left.