I love it when somebody comes up with a list of rules or laws that somehow explain the operation of the universe.
Probably the best known of these is Murphy’s Law, which states: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.
There are a couple of interesting corollaries to Murphy’s Law. (1) “Even if anything can’t go wrong, it still will.” (2) “It will go wrong at the worst possible time and in the worst possible place.”
My favorite corollary to Murphy’s Law is the most dire: “Murphy was an optimist.”
Along this line, I have come up with Uncle Jock’s Laws of Airgunning.
1. Safety is job one, so keep your gun pointed in a safe direction. I am dead serious about this. Do not – ever – point your airgun (loaded or unloaded) at any person, place, thing, object, direction, or animal where you don’t want to see a pellet hitting. Guns can only shoot where they are pointed, so keep them pointed in a safe direction always.
I was once approached by a lawyer to be an expert witness in a case where, off the paintball field, a gentleman had shot a friend in the eye with his paintball gun. “Then gun went off accidentally and was therefore defective,” was the claim. I pointed out that the shooter had violated rule one by pointing his paintball gun at his friend when the firiend’s protective gear had been removed. I declined to participate in the lawsuit.
The corollary: keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. This is doubly true when you are shooting a strange gun, a gun with a newly tuned trigger or a newly installed aftermarket trigger.
2. Even champions can blow easy shots. On several occasions, I have heard nationally ranked field target shooters relate how they missed a really big kill zone at 10 yards. Figuring the shot was a “gimme,” they hadn’t put all the care they should into executing the shot. The lesson: when you’re shooting, pay full attention and concentrate.
3. The Principle of Pellet Preference Perversion. I bet I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I tested an airgun and shot the most accurately with ammunition offered by the manufacturer of the airgun. It’s just weird. Crosman guns will “prefer” anything but Crosman pellets. Gamo guns won’t like Gamo pellets, and so on. The bottom line, though, is let the airgun choose the ammunition. It doesn’t matter what somebody said on the forum or that your brother-in-law has the same gun and it likes a particular pellet – you have to do the testing and let your gun choose the pellet that works best. There is one semi-exception. If you order your gun from www.airgunsofarizona.com, ask them what pellet they would recommend. They shoot the guns they stock a lot and can probably recommend two or three pellets that are likely to work well. I once borrowed a gun from AoA for a field target match. It arrived the day before the match. There was barely time to get a scope mounted, let alone test pellets. I called them, asked what pellet they recommended. I used their recommendation and won my class.
4. Make nice with the neighbors. It’s generally a good policy at any time to maintain good – or at least neutral – relationships with the neighbors. If you are planning to start shooting airguns in your yard for the first time, it’s a good idea to (A) make sure that it is legal to do so. Check with your local law enforcement and make certain that you are on firm legal footing. (B) Approach your neighbor at some convenient time (don’t bring your gun), tell them that they may see you shooting your airgun, that you will be shooting in a safe direction, and that you are as concerned about safety as they are. Tell them that you just wanted to let them know so they would not be concerned. (C) Shoot at a time when it will not disturb the neighbor. In short, treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott