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Airgun Memories

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Author Ejbpesca

I would like to post here a little story of my childhood experience with my bb gun.

Could a Buffalo Be Taken Down With an Air gun?

Yes Daisy, there are big game pellet guns with very heavy, big pellets.

My first gun, as a million other kids have gotten, was a Daisy BB repeater with a lever action. I knew at age 7 that toys were not for me, but this gun became my beloved source of hours of outside fun. I would carry it like I saw hunters do on TV. I wished I could cock and fire it like the Rifle Man did and tried a few times only to pinch my hand. It was not as exciting as shooting a .22 rifle, but I could shoot it in the back yard without supervision or a trip to the country to shoot.

I sacrificed my plastic chess men from a combo pack game with roulette wheel, cards, backgammon etc., to become targets on my firing range consisting of a brick to set them on as each waited its turn for execution by a pneumatically tossed little ball of steel from the muzzle of my fine Daisy gun. Just being a stamped out totally inaccurate air gun mattered not. I got in prone position with my trusty Daisy (never liked that name for a gun..so girly) said a few last words to each chess piece and with a trigger pull, "ppssst" direct hit again. But sometimes those BB’s just would come out only to hook or slice. I didn’t understand about rifling or accuracy I just knew I could hit a small target if I was close enough.

Now before you go thinking I'm some sort of sadistic maniac, the real reason I liked shooting my chess pieces is because the cheap plastic would burst apart on impact from the BB. How cool is that? Never asked permission, just did it. Tried shooting a cracker ball firework once, but it was just too small a target. The queens and kings were last to go and easiest to hit. No one in my house knew how to play chess anyway, and I could never get the checker pieces to stand on edge to become my stationary clay pigeons so they were spared. We could play checkers even though we made up rules as we went along. Would have been good training had I gone into politics.

I learned about the concept of trajectory with my Daisy BB gun. On a long range shot I could see the BB making an arch to a target, like the neighbor's oak tree across the chain link fence. To hit the trunk was a major victory. Using the fence as a prop I discovered a support for my gun that gave so much more accuracy. I could steady my aim by placing the barrel of the gun through one of the diamond shaped links in the fence. I always wondered back then why they called them hurricane fences or chain link. I never saw a any chains. I now had my first gun rest. The top of the fence between the v shaped spiky things or right on a v spike were my favorite props because of the easy pivot it provided.

Now I had not just a rifle, I have a naval cannon that could make a nice splash in a concrete bird bath next door. Maybe that helped keep the mosquito population down. Of course the BB's would often slice or hook, but that didn't bother me because just another cock of that lever and I'm ready for another shot, and I've got lots of ammo so easily reloaded. Just open up that paper tube, pour into my mouth a good amount of BB's, open the hole at the end of the barrel and presto...a human speed loader. I wondered though if all that spit in the ammo might foul things up, but a little 3 in 1 oil kept everything working fine in my gun with such a big barrel yet such a small hole at the end. I was always puzzled by that.

It was from that fence that I did one of the most guilt felt things of my childhood…killed a bird. It was so far away in the oak tree, I had now shot a hundred times with success due to the large size of the trunk, that I really thought I would just scare the bird as the BB rattled through branches near where it was perched. I gave a little elevation over the target like you would a cannon to a fort, pulled the trigger, and as if in slow motion I watched as that BB hit that poor bird in the head, killing it dead. Death was such an abstract concept at that age, surreal, not for real, like in the movies. Cowboys got shot dead, but they were resurrected in another movie, or they just get shot in the shoulder, always the shoulder and came out just fine. “It’s a flesh wound,” they would say after the shootout with the bad guys. I thought to get shot was just a temporary inconvenience from what I saw in the movies.

The bird fell straight to the ground with no wriggling, flapping, nothing. I was shocked. I sneaked over the fence into the neighbor’s yard to get rid of the criminal evidence. I picked up this beautiful feathered animal and ran with it. After looking it over so closely..wow..a bird up close… I tossed it into the vacant lot behind our house. I feel bad about it to this day but then again...what a shot. I will not reveal the kind of bird it was. It was a sin as I found out in a famous movie.

The day that gun disappeared was awful. I thought one of my parents had probably thrown it away after seeing me ping the pipes holding up the fence. The sound of steel on steel from the strike of the BB’s was good as a shooting gallery at the Greater Gulf State Fair. The disappearance of my BB gun was actually my fault...maybe. Either my little brother or I left it outside and by the time it was found it was a rusty mess never to fire again.

I never rode the rides at the fair, but I would wear out that BB machine gun with its fancy glass reflection sight, and oh the feel of those Browning semi automatics that would shoot .22 shorts! Only problem was I'm left handed so the dang hot empty casings would eject right into my face or eye...still a problem today. At first I thought it was shrapnel from the targets stinging my face and eyes or a peace of a ricocheted bullet hitting me. As I flinched away with each shot I began to wonder if this shooting thing was worth hot lead in my eye or maybe that was just the manly price you paid to be able to shoot a gun. The weird old guy on the side of the shooting counter looked on with disgust but always was ready to load me up again for 50 cents to shoot the pipes, ducks, and little men as they just kept coming around and around in front of their pitch black bullet catching background. I knew someone could hit them due to so much of the paint chipped off and dents all over them.

I always wondered what happened to the thousands of lead bullets that were shot there over the time the fair was in town. To hit one target made me feel like I was ready for Olympic marksman competition. Yes sir, all you other kids go ride the puke machines, I'll be right here at the shooting galleries. I finally shot out the red star printed on a paper target by skillfully concentrating my continuous fire from the BB machine gun by realizing it was best to look around the glass sight to watch where the BB’s were going and lead them into the target. Victory made I asked for my prize. The carnie found a trace of red hanging on the card like a Florida ballot chad. He showed it to me exclaiming I was a loser. I put up a bit of an argument, but realized I had no recourse in this situation so I stood back to watch others shoot which brought me to the understanding that nobody ever shot that star out. It looked like it was shot out with only a hole remaining but there always could be found a sliver of red dangling somewhere.

In a few years we moved to "the country" well at least out in the county of Baldwin and my now much bigger yard became a real firing range. From a .22 quick draw gun to .45 ACP being shot on a daily basis it must have been a real nuisance for the nearest neighbor to hear thousands of rounds shot over the years. Yes, it was a quantum leap from BB gun to all sizes of pistols and a collection of military rifles, shotguns, and black powder replicas.

Killed lots of steel beer cans and returnable Budweiser bottles after turning 21 and shot a few animals too. I can't even remember what squirrel or rabbit tastes like now though. When the buddies came over to shoot it sounded like a fire fight from a Viet Nam news segment. Multi round clips and speed loaders for the .38's and .357's kept the action going until we were out of rounds. A few small bets were made on trick shots like throwing a bottle in the air, shooting it or hitting a quarter from 50 ft., and the ever popular quick draw single action fan shot(s) to hit bottles.

It must have freaked out the folks driving by on what is now Scenic 98 only a hundred feet from my saw horse that held up the targets (actually the target stand was a road barricade with a flashing yellow light on the side) I swear I don't know how it got in my yard. It finally collapsed in two from missing targets then the shots went silent. I'm sure my mother was very glad of that.

All the shooting stopped with the property becoming part of the City of Daphne and no longer an isolated haven for whatever goes. I was getting burned out on the guns too, and after growing up...a little...having a wife and child all my guns were sold for safety reasons and lack of enthusiasm to shoot. To shoot well just like playing music takes continual practice so my fancy shots were just stories now. My father still misses those days at the range being my spotter, but I had other fish to fry so gave up shooting.

The story is not quite done. As the kids grew I was so disappointed I could not just walk outside to teach them to shoot a pistol. But! My brother still lived in the county and even though no firearm would be accepted to be shot at his place with neighbors so close....BB and pellet guns...yes, they was the answer once again for back yard shooting.

I acquired a small collection of junky air pistols and rifles. They basically worked similar to a firearm. A couple of them were even a little accurate within 30 ft. One even had blow back action while emptying its 15 round BB clip giving a little kick and much fun as a fast firing semi automatic. Making a pyramid of cans then try to take them all down with one fast fired clip was too much fun.

So nephew and daughter got their shooting lessons. Not from a pro but from a thoroughly entertained uncle/father who loved to show off how he could hit the bulls eye so many times and drop a squirrel or a perched starling with an eyeball through eyeball head shot. (lucky) Not a sadistic action, we really had to thin out some critters to keep them out of the house.

The kids grew up, the air guns mostly lay silent and now I'm left with looking at new weapons on the internet. There are so many kinds of pistols and rifles now you need a reference like the web to figure out what's what in the shooting world.

It was during a search for the latest and greatest in BB guns that I came across a weapon that radically changed my concept of air guns. As I searched further into the class of large bore air guns and visited historical sites to learn more about these little known weapons it became a real fascination.

Air guns go back...way back. And, they come in very large calibers with muzzle velocities, grain weight of projectiles, and range that is as accurate, deadly, and forceful as modern fire arms. I keep finding so many powerful accurate air guns, and they are expensive. The highest priced one I've found so far is over $5,000. What? A pellet gun?

Yes, a fifty caliber, deer killing, loud as a shotgun, air gun can be bought legally through mail order, and yes, buffalo have been killed with them too. These weapons do not use CO2 cartridges nor do you pump them up with a lever under the barrel, nor do you cock them to engage a piston driving spring. They use compressed air injected into what looks like a second and sometimes third barrel. Some may have the pressure vessel in the stock. Powerful electric pumps, hand pumps, or a filled scuba tank provide the propellant for these weapons.

Pulling the trigger to release the compressed air can project a pellet or lead slug weighing much more than any firearm bullet at over 1,000 ft. per second, yes you read right, 1,000 ft. per second which can drop a buffalo or kill a deer at 150 yards. These guns were used as sniper weapons during the Revolutionary War. Meriwether Lewis' favorite gun was an air gun that was charged up with bellows by pumping air into a ball shaped tank below the barrel.

I've spoken about these guns to unbelieving buddies who think I’m very creative, but crazy. All I can say to that is.."look them up on the web, you will be amazed at what you find in big game air guns and even air machine guns."

Oh...I miss those BB machine guns at the fair. The new ones are much more accurate and have a fire rate faster than an M16 and can do some serious damage. I’m not talking about the plastic BB shooting guns. I’m talking about lead or steel flung from a gun as if it were coming out of a gunpowder driven high powered rifle. Don’t believe it? Look them up on the net.

I can't afford one of those high powered pellet guns, but I still will take out my realistic feeling BB pistol once and a while and pop off a few rounds at a can on a stick and reminisce about days when my eyes were 20 20 and some how could shoot .38 wad cutter bullets into a group so tight that only five holes were in the target instead of six. The little boy comes back having fun by hitting a target. Maybe I'll get another Daisy lever action. They still make them. Nope, I need a BB machine gun to shoot the logo off a can.

Since I wrote this story a year ago, the BB machine gun is now mine. Umarex has made it possible and yes, it is a hoot to shoot, and more powerful than anything ever at the Greater Gulf State fair. I still can't punch the red star out of the card though.

874 Rating: 2.5/5 (113 votes cast)

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