Air Guns in the Off Season

When I was a little boy we lived on the edge of a small town in Northeast Arizona’s White Mountains. One of my favorite pastimes was to go out into the woods and hunt for rabbits and birds. My brothers and I armed ourselves with BB guns and homemade sling shots, rocks, and other homemade weapons, which in this day and age would probably be considered highly suspect.

It’s a miracle that my brothers and sisters and I (nine of us) made it through childhood with all of our fingers and eyeballs intact. I’m sure there must have been some divine intervention. These were some of the experiences that led me to become a self proclaimed nimrod (mighty hunter).

When I was a teenager, one of my older brothers owned a .22 caliber pistol pellet gun (similar to the Daisy Model 1377C pictured below). I just loved that thing. I was impressed with the power and penetration of the .22 caliber projectile. It was a blast to shoot. I did kill a couple of rabbits with it, but mainly I used it for target practice in my back yard.

I have always been mesmerized by the high power of the spring piston air rifles (although I have never actually shot one) and .22 caliber pellet guns. I only have one BB gun to my name today. It is a C02 powered semi-automatic Daisy Powerline Model 93 BB pistol.

I am now dreaming again of owning a new air gun , probably a .22 caliber air rifle, for plinking and small game hunting, or maybe a cheap Daisy Model 880, which can be purchased for $40.00 at Walmart.

One of my brothers had one like this and I really liked the pumping action and the power it provided. I don’t want the most expensive air rifle out there, but I do want something that is reliable and powerful, preferably made in the United States of America. I probably will not purchase one right away, but it is definitely on my wish list. One of the websites I have been looking at is I was pretty surprised to see the many varieties of calibers and styles which are available these days for the air gun enthusiast. I am a bit of a traditionalist and will probably settle for a wood stock or a nice composite stock in a more traditional style. Not too interested in those funky looking things. Although, if I had an unlimited supply of money…

Another benefit of owning an air gun is the ease of setting up a range in your back yard or garage and getting some target practice in the off-season. One shot kills are much more enjoyable than having an animal suffer due to poor marksmanship. You can get all the practice you want, as long as your wife will let you get away with it, and it is much, much cheaper than practicing with your centerfire rifle. Ammunition is cheaper and it does not require a costly membership to a rifle range.

In order to improve your marksmanship, you could find some old hunting magazines and cut out pictures of deer, elk or whatever game you plan to hunt. Then place them on a piece of cardboard in front of a homemade pellet trap and practice, practice, practice, until perfect.

Note: Air guns are not toys. I will narrate this principle by sharing the following event from my childhood:

I will never forget the day that my brothers and I made the half mile walk to Muddy Creek, near Halsey Oregon, to shoot our BB guns and build forts in the trees. When we arrived we were greeted by some local hoodlums who had been having a “BB gun war”. They joyfully told us about their adventures; how one time Billy Bob (fictitious name) was standing in front a tree when a BB whizzed over his head and stuck into a tree...
They sobered up a little when they explained that one of the boys wasn’t so lucky. “Look what happened to Chester (another fictitious name),” as Chester brushed his hair back and I saw a BB imbedded in his forehead, right between the eyes. It looked like a little miniature volcano that had been plugged up by a BB.

On that note, always be safe and respectful of any gun. I know that many of my readers will think this is stating the obvious, but always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. I don’t care if the gun is unloaded, with the safety on, you never point a gun at somebody, not on purpose and not by being careless. Always treat it as if it could go off at any moment and kill your friend or loved one. People that don’t follow these rules are the ones that end up getting shot or shooting somebody else.

Shooting air guns can be very fun, relaxing and rewarding and a great way to sharpen your skills between hunting seasons. Give it a try! I think I will again.

Happy Hunting! - nimrod243


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