Doing strange things with airguns
by B.B. Pelletier
Last Friday's report about the short-barreled Crosman 760 hit home with Josh Ungier, who called me with several strange uses for airguns he has heard from his customers over the years. Some of them won't sound that strange to many of you, which is a strong indication that Jeff Foxworthy might label you as rednecks.
I thought that today I would pass along Josh's stories, and add a few of my own.
New holes in belts
I am at the forefront of the redneck parade, having discovered the use of a pellet rifle to punch new holes in a leather belt when you are on a diet. Use a .177 rifle and shoot a wadcutter pellet if you can. Lay the belt on a two by four, unless you use a .177-caliber AirForce Condor, in which case use two two by fours, one on top of the other, to stop the pellet. Actually all it takes is a rifle that delivers at least 800 f.p.s. to punch clean new holes in leather belts. Centering the hole is the most difficult part.
This one comes from Josh. A lady in Iowa camped out several nights in her attic with a new Crosman 1077AS Combo. She complained that squirrels chewed through a TV cable on the outside of their house, then set up housekeeping in their attic. Their nest was in an area impossible to reach, which anyone who has ever owned an attic should be familiar with. Before the Crosman arrived, her husband had taken it upon himself to "correct" the problem. However, his shotgun solution proved to be overkill in the confined space of the attic. After removing ricocheting bird shot from his scalp and forehead and replacing a bunch of insulation and shingles, they purchased the Crosman and got serious. They buried (or ate) a bunch of squirrels and are now living happily ever after.
A cautionary tail
Another story from Josh. "About 6 years ago, we sold a .25 caliber original British Patriot. A few months later, I received a phone call from the gentleman who purchased the rifle. As it turns out, he owns a huge 45-acre junkyard in one of the western states. He was so happy with the rifle he said he needed to share it with me.
'Damn rats! Thousands of rats! At times the yard would swarm with them! I never liked guns! I never owned a gun; but after my dog was attacked and bitten, I needed to do something. My fiend had a .22 Patriot he bought from you years ago. He asked me to try it. After an hour of practice, I could hit everything I shot at. He suggested a .25 caliber for a sure kill. That is when I called you up. I collect the tails of most of the rats I kill. I'm at 1600 and counting.'"
At this point, I have to butt in to comment that killing squirrels in the attic and rats anywhere does not seem like a redneck venture to me. But that's the problem. You see, when you're a redneck, you don't know it. Here's the litmus test. Imagine your story being reported on the NBC Nightly News. Then, the red-neckedness of your actions becomes both clear and obvious. However, just because I said neckedness doesn't mean you have to take your clothes off.
Time for another one.
This one's from Josh:
"Son," the conversation started, "can your rifles shoot 48 feet upwards?"
I detected a very strong southern accent. "Indeed they can," I answered. "What is it that you are shooting at?" I continued.
"Damn sky rats. Pigeons. They crap all over my bells."
"I beg your pardon," I said. "Did you say bells?"
"What did you think I said?" continued the voice with a detectable light smirk. "I do not expose myself in public." He continued laughing, "I have a church in a small parish. We have two bells in a steeple. Over time, pigeons have moved in and started roosting in the bell tower. Ringing the bells does not bother them. They leave during the ringing and then return with a vengeance. There is so much crap on the bells that they have changed their tone.
"Firecrackers did not help. It scared them and they unloaded even more on the bells. My 10/22 made holes in the roof and once in a while called parishioners to worship when I missed the pigeon and hit the bells."
Months later I received a call from this wonderful man. "That 350 magnum is a whopper! No more holes in the roof! No pigeons, either! My son took over the exterminatin'. Thank you."
Here's one of mine. One of our Airgun Letter subscribers used a BB gun to rid his roof of icicles in late winter. He had learned that a pellet rifle was too powerful and would shoot through the aluminum gutters. Since the icicles were always on the roof, every shot was upward and either the gutters or the soffits were always in the shot. He learned to connect with the icicle midway up the shaft, where the vibration from the impact would cause the icicle to shatter near its root. It took several hits to do the trick with these monsters most of the time, but he found he could trim those killer four-foot spears back to about a foot this way, and no more holes in his gutters.
Here's another one from Josh. A guy in California has a very steep driveway over 140 feet long. Too lazy to walk the distance to get the papers or the mail, he rigged up a motorized mail/newspaper box. A small electric motor is attached to a pole at the end of the driveway. A small pulley is attached to the post and driven by the motor. From the pulley, a thin nylon cable stretches back to another pulley outside a window on the house. The mailbox/newspaper box therefore hangs suspended from a cable at the end of the driveway.
Attached to the motor is a two-inch steel plate. When a pellet hits the steel plate, it starts the motor and the mail gets delivered to his window without him going outside. He uses an Air Arms S410 in .22 caliber with a 3-12x44 Leapers SWAT scope. My hat's off to his shooting, but, man, take a walk on the wild side...once in a while!
Thanks, Josh. I would add that there is a new invention called a switch that could also activate the electric motor, but, as we all realize, where's the fun in that?
About 15 years ago, a policeman from Honolulu told me the airlines there use pellet rifles to remove egrets nesting inside the hangars. It seems that when they nest indoors, they poop on the airplanes and their excrement is very acidic. It eats through the paint and eventually through the metal on the planes, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage every year. The pellet guns are very effective, yet they don't penetrate the roof of the hangars, which makes them the best choice for this job.
I asked him whether egrets are a protected species in Hawaii, and he dodged the answer with, "Who cares? When the wings fall off an airliner nobody wants to count egrets!" I guess that was also NASA's opinion when they removed the woodpeckers from the sides of their launch vehicles sitting on the pad.
By the way, the reason this policeman knew the story of the egrets was that he was one of the shooters. He said, "Outside the hangar, the egrets were fine. Inside they were endangered."
Well that's it for unusual airgun stories today. Perhaps some of you readers have some more stories to share with us!