Archive for February 2011

Recently, I received a response to this blog from a woman who identified herself as Dotti Workman.

Here’s what she said:

“Jack. My son was swimming in the back yard while visiting my sister in TN. The boy next door was shooting and my son turned his head to look and was struck in the eye. What I see as a problem is not enough warnings or accountability. I think it starts with the Mfg’s and dealers. Ex: I called Walmart and said “My 8 yr old son wants a BB gun, what do you recommend?” The sales clerk said “Well you can start him off with a Daisy but he will want something more powerful pretty quickly” No warnings at all. I went to the store and you can buy them right off the shelf. The only warning is on the box saying “This is not a Toy” As a parent I had no idea that at 250 fps they can penetrate skin, at 400 fps it can crack bone. There is a little girl right a few months ago shot in the eye and can no longer, walk, talk or feed herself. Kids get guns they think are toys and like to aim them at each other and shoot. 30,000 children per year are admitted to the ER with these injuries. And I use BB gun, because I’m not familiar with the difference. I’m trying to get my voice out there to push for stiffer warnings and penalties, even to the parents. The little girl I was referring to was in her grandmothers house with lots of people around and her cousin pulled it out of the closet. If they are suppose to be treated like handguns then why aren’t they sold like them. What suggestions for change do you suggest.

Also, not sure exactly what gun it was. it’s still under investigation. I was told it was a Crossman. It was a pump gun. I’m also not sure what it fired. BB’s, Pelletts. I don’t know. And I really don’t understand the comment of the other Blogger who said “If her son truly is Blinded” That is not something any parent would want to lie about.”

Well, Dotti, I have several reactions to your comments.

The first is that it is always a tragedy when someone is hurt unintentionally with an airgun. My sympathy goes out to those who are injured.

You say, “What I see as a problem is not enough warnings or accountability.

When it comes to warnings, I disagree with you. On a recent trip to a large discount store, I checked out the packaging for one of the most popular airguns sold today. Prominently displayed on the box is the following:

“WARNING. Not a toy. Adult supervision required. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death. May be dangers up to 500 yards (457mM).

Important: This airgun is intended for those 16 years of age and older.

You and others with you should always wear shooting glasses to protect your eyes.

Read all instructions before using. Buyer and user have the duty to obey all laws about the use and ownership of this airgun.”

Further, the opening section of the manual contains six separate boldly highlighted warning blocks, and the ninth section of the manual contains a 15-point safety review, all in red type.

Virtually every airgun box I saw at the discount store had warning and age-appropriateness information on the outside of the package. So, honestly, I don’t see lack of warnings as a problem.

But when it comes to accountability, I agree with you. That accountability, however, doesn’t fall on the manufacturers and the dealers. It falls instead on the shooter and (in the case of underage shooters) the shooter’s parents.

Here’s why: Rule One of gun safety is this – never, ever, point your gun at anything you don’t want to see a hole in. The responsibility of where the gun is pointing falls on the shooter. Parental supervision is mandatory for younger shooters, but if a parent is not 100% certain that his or her child – regardless of age – will observe Rule One at all times, then that parent needs to supervise the shooting. By supervise, I mean the parent has to stand close enough to re-direct the muzzle of the gun to a safe direction if that becomes necessary.

So, Dotti, if it was your son that was injured by the boy shooting next door while you were visiting your sister in TN, you need to have a chat with the parents of that boy and ask them why they were not supervising their son.

I suggest you check out: and

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Recently, I received a response to the blog from Sean, who said:

I need an air rifle to kill some roosting pigeons and feral cats at a commercial property in Tucson. I want to limit the distance of the shot as much as possible in case I miss my shot.

Any suggestions for an appropriate rifle would be helpful.



Thanks for the question, Sean. I’ll do my best to provide a useful response.

Your first big concern should be to determine the legality of your situation. Is it legal for you to be discharging an air rifle at this commercial property and is it also legal for you to be killing pigeons and feral cats? The last thing you want is a legal hassle because someone saw you terminating pigeons or feral cats and decided to make an issue of it. That is not the time to discover that you are on the wrong side of the law. So check it out first. If legality is a problem, you might want to see what your options are with a pest control professional.

You mention “I want to limit the distance of the shot as much as possible in case I miss my shot.” Safety is your second big concern. You really have to take a critical look at the area where you intend to shoot. What, indeed, will happen if you miss your shot? Where will your shot go? Will you hit adjoining properties, possibly critical or sensitive equipment, or will your shot go into the air and you have no idea where it will land? (Understand, Sean, that I am not getting on your case here, but simply pointing out that it is your responsibility to be sure of the background where your shot is going to land.)

Study your field of fire and look for alternative shooting positions. If you can arrange a position where you are shooting downward into the ground or into a backstop you devise, that could be very helpful.

One of the unknown variables in the question you pose is the distance at which you will be shooting. That will influence what type of air rifle you choose. You also don’t mention what type of commercial property is involved, and that may make a difference as well.

Scoped HW30.

Some years ago, I did a profile on pest control professional Alan Becker. He is called frequently to kill birds in grocery stores, and one of his concerns is over-penetration. “If he pellet goes through the bird, I have to find it. I don’t want to take the risk that it might be in a food product.” For that reason, Becker uses a Beeman R9 in .177 that launches .177 pellets at 875-900 fps, and a CZ630, also a .177, with a velocity around 600 fps (a readily available equivalent would be the Beeman R7 or HW30). With an HW30 or R7, you should be able to kill pigeons out to about 25 yards.

Here's an older Benjamin 392 set up Scout rifle style with a red dot sight.

If you are forced to shoot upward at roosting pigeons and don’t want to risk damaging the roof, you might consider a Benjamin 392 pump-up rifle. By varying the number of pumps, you can vary the power and velocity of the shot. At as little as 3 pumps, you might be able to kill the pigeon without “killing” the roof.  The 392 can be difficult to scope, but can be outfitted with a peep sight or a pistol scope mounted out on the barrel in “scout rifle” fashion.

The Benjamin Marauder Pistol, outfitted with shoulder stock and scope.

Another good candidate is the Benjamin Marauder pistol/carbine, the power of which can be adjusted, but it’s a bit of a hassle.

The FX Gladiator offers tons of shots, super easy power adjustment, and a high degree of stealth.

Another consideration is noise. Some pest control situations require the utmost in stealth. The .177 Marauder rifle is very, very quiet, and the power can be adjusted, but it isn’t quick and easy. If you want a PCP rifle that offers a lot of shots per fill, power that is adjustable at the flick of a switch, very muted report, and excellent accuracy, the FX Gladiator Tactical is an outstanding choice.

Finally, Sean, whatever you choose, be certain that you practice, practice, practice until your shot placement is precise and sure.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

This fine air rifle could be yours if you win the Amazing Uncle Jock Reader Appreciation Free Gun Contest

I think ingratitude is close to a national disease in the United State. Many folks, it seems to me, hold the belief that they are possessed of a God-given right to have things go absolutely perfectly in their lives, and they get mightily hacked off if anything messes up a completely smooth and wonderful trip down the highway of life.

Me, I tend to take the opposite point of view. I think life is a messy, dangerous, unpredictable business, and we ought to be darned grateful when things go right.

One of the things that I am thankful for are the readers of this blog, and I am doubly thankful for the folks who are kind enough to submit their comments.

So, since this is Valentine’s Day and by way of showing my thanks, I hereby announce the Amazing Uncle Jock Reader Appreciation Free Gun Contest. The winner of the contest will be given an air rifle from my personal collection – a Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 (otherwise known as a Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston .25 caliber). This is an air rifle that I reviewed previously: The gun is lightly used, but not abused.

To enter the contest, you must submit your thoughts in writing on one of three topics:

  • What I like best about airguns


  • My favorite airgunning experience


  • Why I am thankful for airguns

Your entry must be at least 250 words long, but no more than 1,000 words. It must be your original work and not have been used anywhere else. Send your entry to my email address: DO NOT submit your entry to the comments section of the blog. Instead, email them directly to me. Be sure to include your UPS-able address and phone number in case I need to contact you.

All entries become my property and I may (or may not) use them in this blog.

I will be the sole judge of the entries and will pick the winner based on the entry I like best.

The winner is responsible for complying with all applicable laws pertaining to receiving, possessing and shooting this air rifle at his or her location.

The deadline for entries is midnight, Feb. 28, 2011.

So get busy and start writing. Somebody is going to win this rifle, and it might be you! Besides, you’ll probably have fun writing the entry.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

To ready the P-rod for shooting, fill the air reservoir with a high pressure pump or SCUBA tank to 3,000 psi and load the magazine. For details on how to load the magazine, check out this blog: Pull the bolt all the way back, slide the magazine into the breech slot from the right until it clicks, and push the bolt hand forward and down.

Take aim, push the safety off, and ease the first stage out of the trigger. On the sample I tested, the first stage required only 1 lb. 5.4 oz. At 1 lb., 14 oz., the shot went down range. The Crosman folks have done a wonderful job of designing an excellent new trigger for the P-rod, and I could find no fault with it.

Now here’s where life got interesting in the testing process for me. Check out the picture below. These were the shooting conditions on January 1, 2011 when I first shot the P-rod here in the wilds of upstate New York.

That white rectangle waaaaay in the distance is the pellet trap.

I had loaded the magazine with Crosman .22 Premier pellets. Look at the target below. The first two shots cut the inner most ring of the bullseye at 35 yards. The next shot was just slightly outside the inner ring at about 10 o’clock. At this point, I need to talk about something that I have never seen mentioned in the shooting forums: the psychology aspect of shooting groups.

The truth is that when I saw how tight those first three shots were, I started to get excited. I could feel my heart rate go up. I tried to calm myself by exhaling. Some of my breath landed on the eyepiece, which started to get a bit fogged up. My next shot landed to the right at about 3 o’clock, so I tried several calming breaths so settle myself down. That’s when the eyepiece got considerably fogged, with the result that the last shot landed near the outer ring. Unfortunately, I was under time pressure, so I had to accept the results I got. Nevertheless, I am convinced that .25-.375 inch groups are achievable with the P-rod at 35 yards.

The report of the P-rod, thanks to its shrouded barrel, is very mild. It is not as quiet as, say, a .177 Marauder rifle, but it is certainly no louder than a very quiet springer air rifle like the Beeman R7/HW30.  I think it is the kind of airgun that can be shot in the back yard without irritating the neighbors, but if you want something that is dead quiet for ultra-stealthy pest control, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

In factory tune, the P-rod will deliver around 30 shots from a fill, averaging about 660 fps, which works out to 13.8 foot-pounds of energy (average) with 14.3 grain Crosman .22 Premier pellets. For an actual string shot by Steve, owner of the “Yellow” forum, check out:

Also, if you want to see how the P-rod can be adjusted for various parameters, check out this work by “Airgun Enthusiast:

In case you haven’t figured it out already, the upshot is that I really liked the Benjamin Marauder Pistol. It is light, easy to handy, accurate, admirably quiet, highly adjustable and has a great trigger. I can see many airgunners starting with the P-rod as their first PCP airgun and being satisfied with it for a very long time.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott