By B.B. Pelletier
“Become a better shot!” was Gamo’s ad copy a few years ago. They meant that by shooting an airgun (hopefully, one of theirs) you would learn to shoot better in general. It sounds like advertising hype, but it isn’t. Airguns do improve your shooting for many reasons.
Practice still makes perfect: shoot more to shoot better
There’s a good reason Olympic shooters throw so much lead downrange – they can’t hope to win a medal if they don’t put tens of thousands of pellets through their guns. It’s no different for you.
Airguns offer the greatest opportunity to shoot more often because you can shoot in very confined places – like your living room. Imagine popping off a few rounds from a .22 long rifle in your living room! You won’t disturb the rest of your family while firing round after round with your airgun. Hey, they might even want to join in the fun! Besides being quieter than firearms, airguns are much safer and don’t require special ventilation. If your living room isn’t big enough, use a long hallway or go to the basement, attic or garage.
The ideal setup is a good pellet trap and a low-powered airgun. I prefer single-stroke pneumatics, such as the Webley Nemesis or Beeman P3. They’re louder than spring guns but quite a bit more accurate. An added bonus is their lack of significant recoil, making them easier to control. When you shoot indoors, control is a big concern.
If you want to shoot a rifle, consider the Avanti 853C by Daisy. It’s also a single-stroke and capable of hair-splitting accuracy. As far as I’m concerned, the 853C has the edge over the standard 853 because it has a five-shot magazine – but it’s just as accurate. You can save a few bucks with the single-shot. Read my post on The accurate airgun for more great guns for indoor shooting.
If you shoot a BB gun, such as the Daisy Avanti Champion 499, use a proper BB trap – NOT a steel pellet trap. Steel BBs bounce back and need the right trap to catch and hold them. I prefer Crosman’s model 850 BB trap, which I’ve used for about five years. As long as you don’t shoot any powerful pellet guns into it, it’ll last almost forever.
Follow-through is true for golf, baseball AND airguns!
A pellet or BB remains in the barrel for a long time after the trigger does its job. If you don’t keep the sights exactly on target, your groups will suffer.
Follow-through makes a good pellet gun shooter a better shot than a good firearm shooter. Firearms shooters have all but forgotten follow-through because their bullets get out of the barrel so fast. Only the rimfire guys have anywhere near the discipline of a good airgun shooter.
So, there you have it – shoot an airgun and you will “become a better shot!”