The greatest Christmas gift — Part I

Monday, December 10, 2012

It’s that time of year again when one of the cable stations will run a 24-hour-marathon of A Christmas Story, that great movie based on the writings of Jean Shepherd, in which all that Ralph Parker, a nine-year-old boy, wants for Christmas is a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

That film really resonates with me, on a couple of different levels. One is the way I received my first BB gun was just like in the movie. For months I had been lobbying my parents to receive a BB gun for Christmas. Finally, the day had arrived. I was sitting in the living room with my Dad and Mom. The opening of presents was over, and I was disappointed. I hadn’t gotten my BB gun. But, just like in the movie, my Dad said, “Wait a minute, there’s another present over there.” And he pulled a long, slim box from behind the couch. In it was my first Daisy.

Second, there is a line at the very end of the movie that strikes a chord with me: Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled steel beauty, the greatest Christmas gift I had ever received or would ever receive . . .”

In many ways, I think many of the experiences I have had with airguns have been an attempt to recreate the joy that I felt on receiving that first BB gun. In part, it was a rite of passage. My folks were saying to me, in essence: “You’re grown up enough that we trust you with the responsibility of a gun. Used improperly, it can hurt creatures and break things. Used rightly, it will produce joy and satisfaction. Welcome to the beginning of adulthood.”

In addition, receiving that BB gun was the beginning of many happy hours for me and my Dad shooting together.

So I would like to make a most proposal: if you would like to put a huge grin on someone’s face this Christmas, why not give them an air rifle combined with the gift of your time shooting with them?

HW30 Deluxe tricked out with optional peep sight.

If you roam around, you’ll see a lot of excellent air rifles, any one of which would make a suitable present. But if I had to choose just one that would be appropriate for a beginning shooter or a seasoned airgunner, it would be an HW30. The HW30 is light, easy to cock, fully self-contained, a delight to shoot, nicely accurate and capable of taking small game out to about 30 yards or so with proper shot placement. It’s an air rifle that is kind to newbie shooters, yet an old hand will happily shoot one all day.

The HW30 is good enough that both my brother-in-law and I have shot field target with the HW30 and done reasonably well. When a ham radio buddy, frustrated by the difficulty of shooting a higher power air rifle he had purchased, asked for a recommendation for controlling squirrels in his yard, I pointed him straight at the HW30. In a later conversation, he raved about what a great choice it was.

If you want more information, you can read my review of the HW30 De Luxe here:

Of course, with the HW30, you’ll want a pellet trap, a selection of pellets, some eye protection, and perhaps a scope or peep sight to go with it. Ask the good folks at, and they’ll fix you up with what you need.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

One Comment

  1. Joe in MD says:

    I got a Daisey 499B that is not only the world’s most accurate BB gun, but it is great fun to shoot. The grandkids like it, I love it.

Leave a Reply

13 + twelve =