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Photo courtesy of Robert Kirby Robert Kirby aspires to own a stack of bowling balls like this stack owned by "Crazy Dave." Kirby is collecting balls to shoot from his own bowling ball cannon.
Kirby: Shooting the bull over bowling balls

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Apr 06 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Apr 06 2014 01:01 am

Finding bowling balls to shoot at Japan from Tooele County has proven more difficult than Sonny and I anticipated. Apparently we aren’t the only ones with a BB cannon.

We aren’t the most accurate bowling ball gunners either. Of the 10 balls we shot off last week, we only recovered (whole or in pieces) seven.

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Apology: If you live near Elko and recently had your roof aerated without an appointment, that’s my bad and not Sonny’s. We tend to argue about powder charge sizes.

Some readers responded quickly to my call for bowling balls. Most donations came in the form of individual donations. We could have a bowling ball if we were willing to drive to Denver to pick it up.

Then Alan and Tom (both gentlemen with serious mood disorders) invited us to visit a garage. And bring a truck.

Note: I’m not saying where the garage is because — and I mean this with respectful suspicion — you might be a concerned citizen. Judging from the contents of the garage it’s where God stores Armageddon when He isn’t using it.

Tom and Alan gave us a small trailer full of bowling balls. I didn’t count them but I believe with the right math the exact number comes to a lot more than we had before. At our current rate of loss, we’re good to shoot well into next year and possibly even Canada.

Sonny also bought a large measure of black powder. I don’t know how much it is in standard measurements but it’s known in gunnery circles as "one hell of a lot."

It works like cups and ounces in baking except that you can’t start a convection oven with a fuse. And it won’t kill you. In cannonology "one hell of a lot" equals 5,000 "a little bit more" charges, 1,500 "Sonny charges" and 132.8 Kirby charges.

After loading the balls into the back of the truck, it was time to settle up with Tom and Alan. The price for a trailer filled with bowling balls was half an hour of shooting the bull. This was the best part.


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Cannon stories (which are mostly true) begin with something like ,"I shot a coffee can full of pennies all the way..." and end with "...but my wife never noticed and I still got my leg."

As you may have guessed, these stories are not for the faint of heart, specifically anyone who cares about us, lives near us, insures our property or has taken some form of the Hippocratic Oath.

Cannon stories are not simply matters of bragging about reckless endangerment. They serve a valuable purpose. Shooting the bull is how gun loons learn (mostly) not to blow ourselves to smithereens. Or get caught.

If a guy says, "Me and No Thumbs used a Civil War seacoast mortar to shoot a Volkswagen engine all the way to the state Capitol," it’s a good idea to listen and maybe even take notes.

We’re going shooting again this weekend. I’ll try to get some video and a range report to post Tuesday.

If all you end up seeing is Sonny and me arguing and then an enormous ball of fire, you’ll know that at least one of the stories wasn’t completely accurate.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.



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