HOSCHTON — Some gun enthusiasts go their entire lives not being able to fire some of history’s most iconic weapons.
Saturday, the echoes of some of those powerful weapons could be heard when Dixie Ammo Dump of Hoschton held its second annual Great Dixie Ammo Dump Machine Gun Shoot.
An ammo dump refers to an ammunition depot in the military.
The event allowed participants the opportunity to fire full-auto machine guns such as the MG-74, Russian RPD and AK-47 they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. They learned about the weapons, how they were operated, their safety and their history.
Former Navy Seal and TV figure Craig “Sawman” Sawyer from the History Channel show “Top Shot” showed participants his expertise of the military weapons and safety precautions.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with weapons,” Sawyer said. “Being here and showing the participants some of the stuff I’ve learned and seeing them enjoying better accuracy on targets, makes me feel really good.
“My overwhelming experience with this type of event is everybody that comes out is just ear-to-ear grinning, friendly, happy. And for me, I just really enjoy (the day) because of that. ... It’s a really cool experience for me.”
Cliff Brown, a former Marine and owner of Dixie Ammo Drop, organized the range-shooting event. Like Sawyer, he helped in instruction, safety measures and history of the weapons.
He said his company wanted to get people “familiarized” with machine guns and show they aren’t “evil” things, and that they do have a sporting use to them.
“Safety is paramount. Safety is everything,” Brown said. “As long as you can be instrumental and everybody understands ‘safety first’, then everything is easy and everybody can have a good time, because the weapons are pointed down range.
“You’re not going to worry about anybody turning their weapon around and accidently put their finger on the trigger and doing something stupid. ... Once the participants got to start shooting these iconic weapons, they had a good time.”
Wendy Stillion of Kennesaw said she started shooting guns a year ago because she wanted a gun for home protection. After going through some of the courses to be able to own a gun, she became more intrigued with them.
Until Saturday, she said she had only shot a pistol.
“This has been great. You’re never going the opportunity to shoot these guns anywhere else,” she said. She was one of two women who participated Saturday.
“Anyone could come out and do this. You don’t have to be an expert. Obviously, I had never shot any of these guns before.”
Shawn McNew of Acworth called the day a “opportunity of a lifetime” for someone who enjoys guns.
“On a scale of 1 to 10 of fun, this is a 12.5,” he said after shooting one of the guns. “I’ve loved guns most of my life. I started off shooting a young age. I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot an automatic weapon before, so this is an absolute blast.
“Every gun has their own personality. ... I just really enjoy it. It is a constitutional right and we’re out here promoting it, protecting it and making sure we have it for (years) to come.”