How I got started in airgunning

Monday, November 2, 2009

My very first airgun was a Daisy, but not the vaunted, legendary Red Ryder. Instead my first airgun was a Daisy Model 25.

It was Christmas. I was ten, sitting in the living room with my Dad. The opening of presents was over, and I was disappointed. I hadn’t gotten my BB gun. But, just like in the movie “A Christmas Story,” my Dad said, “Wait a minute, there’s another present over here.”

And he pulled a long, slim box from behind the couch. In it was my Model 25. It was beginning of many happy hours for me and my Dad.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Model 25, it is a pump action BB gun. Pump once for each shot. To load the Model 25, you unscrew the shot tube from the muzzle, push a slide down and lock it, and then carefully (very carefully) pour BBs into the tiny hole until the shot tube is full to the top. Then you have to screw the shot tube back into the muzzle, and the fun can begin. The Model 25 had a rear sight that could be flipped from a peep sight to a notch sight.

I don’t know how many thousands of BBs went down the smooth bore of my Model 25, but I can remember there were summers when it seemed I was at the corner store every other day buying another tube of BBs. I do know that eventually I became a pretty good instinctive shooter. I didn’t use the sights anymore; I simply looked over the top of the barrel and pretty much hit what I intended. I think, though, that if I could pop back in time, I would be astounded at how short the distances were that we normally shot at. I think that many of our shots were taken at 15-20 feet. No matter; we had lots of fun.

Eventually trigger seer became so worn that the gun was now on “full auto” – as soon as you returned the cocking pump to its original position, it would go off, whether you pulled the trigger or not. Nevertheless, I still have that Model 25. I can’t bear to throw it away.

I drifted away from shooting after that, concerned with the things that young men chase after. It wasn’t until four decades later that I got back into airguns again. A fellow writer was visiting from Scotland. On a whim one day we purchased a Marksman Biathlon Trainer, a rudimentary low-power break barrel springer with plastic match sights and .177 rifled barrel. Even though it had what a friend called “a seventeen-stage trigger,” I was astounded with how far it could shoot with a fair degree of accuracy. My Scottish friend and I shot up a couple of tins of pellets in a few days.

We knew nothing about trajectories, velocities, pellet selection, scopes, triggers or any of the other considerations that fill my head now when I consider an airgun. All we knew was that we were enjoying the heck out of shooting.

There was another thing that we did not know, although I know it now: that unobtrusive, unremarkable box that housed the Marksman Biathlon Trainer also contained the Seeds of My Doom. That’s right: my fate was written on the wall, if I only had sense enough to realize it. And here’s why: that Marksman box also contained a glorious, full color catalog from Beeman adult precision airguns.

When I looked at the beautiful metal and wood of those finely craft airguns, I was lost. I knew I had to find out more about them. And that was the beginning of the road that eventually led to me writing this blog.

That’s my story. How about posting a comment that tells how you got started in airgunning?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    My Dad purchased a Crosman Model 101 around 1926 or 27. As a ten year old kid in 1946 I always wanted to take it hunting when I would accompany my Dad in the woods behind our NY farm, but unfortunately it wouldn't hold air. Well last month I found Precision Pellet and Rick Willnecker rebuilt my Dad's old Crosman. I love it, finally at the ripe old age of 73 I am sitting in my warm New Mexico back yard firing .22 cal pellets with great accuracy. Rick did a wonder job on repairing my Dad's pellet gun and restoring my childhood dream!

  2. Jock Elliott says:

    Anonymous,

    That's great about your Dad's old Crosman 101.

    Airguns are awesome, and it's especially fun to shoot one that has some history attached to it.

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