By B.B. Pelletier
First of all, today marks the anniversary of the day Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. There!
What is a bug buster?
A bug buster is a pellet rifle or pistol used to kill insects at close ranges. It’s a lot of fun and very few people mind, as long as you pick the insects carefully.
You don’t need a lot of power
Bug bustin’ doesn’t require magnum power. All it takes is pinpoint accuracy at close range. I shot an old Diana model 27 breakbarrel for many years, and I still love the way that gun shoots. It’s sighted-in for carpenter bees at 20 feet, so let me tell you the story.
Carpenter bees are like bumble bees on steroids – big & aggressive!
They look like bumblebees, except larger and more aggressive – and very loud! If you walk into an area where they are, they will fly up into your face and dive-bomb you. Their bodies are half furry and half beetle-like. Many of them have white dots on their faces, but it’s their aggressive behavior that identifies them.
Carpenter bees love to hover and turn in all directions to see where the next threat is coming from. I used to stand about 20 feet away and draw a bead on them as they hovered, then blow them away. Sometimes they flew far, but usually the pellet shot through the body, and they fell where they’d been hovering.
I shot them with my Blue Streak!
Before switching to the Diana (because it was faster to load), I used my Blue Streak, also sighted-in for 20 feet. Another type of bug I blasted was a type of weird wasp called a cicada killer. They’re about three inches long and dominate a particular spot. In my case, it was the front of my house! People were afraid to come to the door, so I would open the door and pick off the bugs wherever they had staked out territory. I didn’t know they were killing cicadas when I first started shooting them; but after I found out that was their mission in life, I stopped shooting them because they were getting rid of a worse pest!
Here are some good bug bustin’ guns
Have fun with this. Use something like Daisy’s 177X or a Crosman 1077. Bug bustin’ is perfect for these guns, and they’ll surprise you with their accuracy at close range. If you have a Benjamin or a Gamo, they’ll work, too. Just be sure that what you pick has enough power to do the job. I would say at least 500 f.p.s. in .177 and 450 in .22 is the minimum.
What’s the best ammo for bug bustin’?
Probably anything will work, but I like wadcutters for this sport. RWS Hobbys are a good choice, as is any premium target wadcutter you can find.
If you can shoot outside, try bug bustin’ and tell me what you think. Just remember not to go after a nest of hornets! They have short tempers and good eyesight.