Where do I start?

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

“Hi! I am new to airguns and I have a question. I live near a farm that has lots of feral hogs. Around here, people hunt them with high-powered rifles and shotguns, but I want to try something different. I saw on TV where someone used a Gamo air rifle to kill a wild hog that they said weighed over 200 lbs. I would like to do that, too.

I bought a Winchester 1250SS at a local discount store. What I want to know from you is, do I need to use the Gamo PBA pellets, or will any pellets work for this? Also, where in the head do I shoot the pig? And can I reuse the PBA pellets that I find? They are very expensive and this would help a lot with my hunting budget. Thank you for your answer. I’m looking forward to going out next week!

Where do I begin?
You may snicker at this fictional question, but I assure you that it’s not that different from the hundreds of real questions that come into Pyramyd Air every month. Today, I would like to share my thoughts with you.

First and foremost, I think the writer is a young person. Either that or maybe he’s an older person who hasn’t grown up, yet. He knows nothing about hunting, beyond what he’s read on the internet and seen on television. If he did, he would never pose this question. It’s absurd that someone would consider taking a dangerous 200-lb. animal with a pellet gun that has less than a third the power of a .22 short.

No one hunts whitetail deer with .22 shorts — at least no one who then talks about it openly. So, why would anyone hunt a more powerful and more dangerous animal with a pellet that produces less power at the muzzle than the .22 short produces at 75 yards?

Ah, but he saw it being done on television! That makes it true, doesn’t it? Sure it does! Just as true as what you see on Pawn Stars, American Pickers and The Days of Our Lives.

Next, let’s consider that our intrepid hunter has asked us where to shoot the animal. That illustrates the fact that this guy hasn’t got a clue about the anatomy of wild pigs or any other living thing. What’s he going to do when he “gets” his pig?

In my experience, they generally don’t think about that until after they have killed it. Be a waste of time to overthink the thing. You know?

Third, this guy bought his air rifle at a discount store. Nothing wrong with that — except discount stores generally sell the airguns that line the bottom of the barrel. They sell them on the basis of price and the high velocity numbers printed on their colorfully lithographed cartons. Naturally, they’re all .177-caliber guns because that’s pretty much all they carry at discount stores. Besides being fastest, .177 pellets are also the cheapest, which has a great appeal to these bold adventurers.

Speaking of economy, our Ramar of the Jungle asks if he can reuse his pellets. Sure! Why not? It’s not like shooting changes them in any way. Right? (If you’re new here…that’s sarcasm.)

Finally, he casually mentions that his hunting budget is low. I’ll bet it is! Hard to support an active sporting life on grandma’s birthday cash and the funds from your paper route, eh!

This person is trying to bypass the rights of passage, by which knowledge is passed from one generation to the next. No — he woke up this morning and said to himself, “I think I’ll hunt wild pigs. I would hunt alligators, but that would take a boat I don’t have, plus there aren’t as many gators here in Des Moines.”

To put things into perspective, this person needs to learn how to shoot, first of all. When he can put 10 of 10 pellets through a quarter at 25 yards, then we can talk about hunting. And the quarry will be squirrels and cottontails, or rats down at the junkyard — not wild pigs.

What upsets me the most is that a lot of airgun advertising is aimed at people in this category. And they seem to be quite receptive to it. So, zombies and skull-patterned paint jobs override discipline and sportsmanship.

If I were a 30-something marketing manager of a company wanting to sell to this market I would:

1. Keep the cost under $150 for the entire package
2. Advertise the velocity at 1,200 f.p.s. or more
3. Give my products radical and outlandish-sounding names…such as Bone-Crusher, Crack of Doom, Disaster-Blaster

Not the future
These people are not the future of airgunning. They have the attention span of a fruitfly and the personal depth of dew in Death Valley, but they’re a most visible wing of our hobby. When the media…which always looks for the biggest circus act in the tent…spots them, they’ll become the poster children of modern airgunning.

Like it or not, we’re tied to them.

70 thoughts on “Where do I start?

  1. B.B.

    Sorry for being way off-topic but you are the man I trust.
    It happened so that I hane a new Remington 700 in .308 on my hands and now I need to put a scope on it. The purpose is hunting, not paper punching. Well, the usual brawl in forums is always like Leupold/Bushnell. I plan to put Zeiss 3.5-10 scope on it, but other people recommend me Vortex optics. The name sounds unfamiliar to me and I don’t know if I can trust it. Can you tell me something about it?

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      Never heard of Vortex optics. Some Leupolds are American-made, but others are not. The quality is slipping there. Bushnell quality slipped decades ago and seems to be returning.

      Sorry — that’s the best I can do.

      B.B.


      • You’re kidding. I thought Leupold was the ultimate standard in optics–short of Swarovski which is out out most people’s budgets.

        Matt61


        • Matt,

          Like many companies, Leupold is manufacturing some of their line offshore. And, for the record, they have always been good, but they were never the best. Their reputation came from standing behind their products.

          B.B.


      • B.B.

        Thanks, B.B., at least I have my doubts gone now. So let it be Zeiss, the name with a history.
        Strange, but Vortex claims to be an American brand, family-owned. Well, perhaps those Americans are Xue Li and Ping Whang and America is some place in Fujian province :)

        duskwight


  2. When I saw the headline of this article I thought it was going to be about how to get into shooting airguns. But after reading the article it seems to me it is about how to fail with airguns.

    Sorry but it just gets me burning when there is good resources out there but they seem like they are always so hard to find. And when you have the different company’s trying to sell and people hyping stuff up. Well more confusing again.

    What I would like to know is what would happen if you did meet the person above?
    Just pass them off. Or try to set them straight.

    If people don’t step up and try to help. Then were does it lead those people that don’t know.

    I will say something right now that could cause a conspiracy. And I’m going to say this first. I know alot of knowledgeable people and I’m grateful for that. But you cant just be smart you have to have common sense also. Just because somebody says that something was done. That doesn’t mean it is true.

    Research it and ask questions before you try it!

    And there will always be conflicting story’s of what way something should be done. And no matter what resources that are available somebody will try something and tell about it (wrong or right).

    So what do you do? (( Common Sense ))


    • Gunfun1,

      Have you seen the TV commercial for an insurance company, where a woman claims that you can’t lie online?

      Yeah, that’s what we’re up against.

      I get emails every day from responsible, educated people who have jobs that require immense dedication, intelligence and knowledge. Yet, they often believe the absolute garbage that’s passed around and forwarded on the internet.

      It’s mindboggling to think that people believe what they see on TV, too. Reality shows are not reality…they’re scripted. Otherwise, they’d be wasting many hours of filming because most people don’t have the wherewithal to come up with the lines they need to entertain and shock the viewing public.

      While we have several favorite so-called reality shows, we’re not fooled. However, there are plenty of people who think all they see is real. If mature adults are suckered in by these shows, I wonder how young people with almost no real-world experience view these? I’m guessing they think it’s all real and all facts about the situation have been divulged, thereby making the viewing experience 100% accurate…basically, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      Kind of scary to think that these are voters. I’m guessing most believe that politicians tell the truth and never cover up anything. A very rude awakening awaits them!

      Edith


      • You mean that what we see on TV and the internet isn’t always true!?!
        So the poor little africans of which I shared the pictures of won’t be receiving tons of money from Microsoft who can track emails? And the car dealer that received a car with no floor mat and has to give it away won’t be sending me that new car? And I haven’t won a free cruise in the Bahamas even if I did answer their survey? So much deception…
        At least I’ll probably be the 1,000,000th visitor on some website today and win a new iPad because I’m lucky like that.

        I think it’s scary to see people who believe that crap and who actually vote and take important decisions in our day to day lives… you like when you get to that intersection or building that was so badly designed it seems like it was made by a 3rd grader? Some people were paid pretty good money for that!
        And like you said these doofus vote but the also reproduce (sometimes in the same family) and make dumb kids (where else would they get all those teen pregnancy reality TV people from?).

        I think it was George Carlin who said “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
        Then again I found it on the net so in reality it could be from anyone. ;)

        J-F


  3. Tell us how you really feel there, B.B. :-)

    I’m certainly new to airgunning myself, but have been thoroughly enjoying the education, and your writing at this blog has been an enormous part of that. (Thank you for that, by the way. I took the recommendation of starting with the Bronco, and have been deliriously happy about the result.)

    It certainly appears that the airgun world has the same sort of “something-for-nothing” coterie that I recognize from the firearms world, and often the counter jockeys are no help at all in stopping the hyperventilation. It is what it is, I guess, and ever shall be.

    But be of stout heart. To paraphrase Nock, the good news is that the ones that really want to know will find you when they need to.


  4. I was talking to the proprietor of a sporting goods store here the other day about air guns and he informed me that Gamo air rifles were the best. After my initial shock, I came to the realization that his opinion was based on the fact that in the Roanoke area, they are the best that is available. Hopefully I politely informed him that Gamo had indeed improved their quality in recent years, but they were no where near the top of the heap. Maybe our conversation will have him digging deeper and we will have another newbie show up here.


    • I have come to view Gamo as the Barbie of the airgun world. They basicaly have one powerplant which they dress up in diferrent outfits-one for monday, one for tues etc, hoping that we will all want the one with the new dress to add to our collection.

      Pete


      • LOL! Actually, I think it is Barbie, Ken and Skipper, adult break barrel, adult under lever and child break barrel. Of course Skipper might just have a wimpy spring.


  5. I have been impatiently waiting for a wild pig population to become established here. I have a Gamo and some of those pretty gold colored bullets for it.

    At present, I am still having trouble getting my other airguns to shoot like a laser to 500 yds, and produce one hole three shot groups that far. The laws of nature and physics keep getting in my way.

    twotalon


    • Comrade twotalon,

      When Party says that right angle is left – it becomes left!
      You must believe with all your heart and get you soul’s devotion an approval from local Party Commitee, so in your particular case laws of this rotten capitalist nature will have no effect. I tried, all you need is to fill in a devotion approval form D, F-2, Q, 117-E and apply with a copy of your Party ID.

      duskwight


      • I really like the way you can do the old stereotype Russian thing.
        Yeah, if they shovel the same stuff enough times the people will believe. Our decadent politicians and their puppet media know that very well. How else would Klinton and Osama Obama get re-elected?

        twotalon


        • Duskwight and Twotalon,

          First, I enjoyed the references and am still chuckling. Second, the below should not be interpreted in an way as an expression of my own political views. Indeed the below does not express political views at all. It is simply an objective lesson in the continuum of post-industrial political/economic philosophy, intended to show how some of the references made above are a bit out of “ideological phase” with each other. The below is mainstream political science/economics that is agreed upon by probably 99.9% of middle school, high school, and underclassmen college textbooks.

          The repeat a lie enough times and it becomes perceived as truth by the masses is pure George Orwell and anti-authoritarian/dictatorial government. OK, one personal opinion: this phenomenon explains the popularity of Justin Beiber.

          Post-revolution Russia and the following Soviet Union (let’s personify as Stalin) were socialist/communist ideologically, the 180 degree ideological opposite of fascism (let’s personified as Hitler). Stalin was rabidly anti-capitalist and pro-social programs. Hitler was rabidly pro-capitalist and anti-social programs. That’s the ideology. The methodology was that both were brutal dictators who murdered millions of their own people in order to gain and maintain their authority and spread their agendas. But ideologically socialism and fascism are definitive opposites.

          Political scientists consider socialism/communism/Stalin as extreme left-wing and fascism/Hitler as extreme right-wing. Stalin was a lefty, and Hitler was a righty.

          Barack Obama has a public persona of extreme liberalism (perhaps even to the extent of pure socialism). Among ACTUAL socialist and liberal Americans, however, Obama is viewed as not truly liberal/socialist at all, and something of a sell-out to the right.

          Michael


          • Michael,

            For some reason, your comments always end up in the spam folder and have to be approved before being posted. That’s probably due to someone at your ISP who spammed the blog. Hopefully, we won’t get any spams now that I’ve whitelisted you.

            I know that Stalin & Hitler were considered to be polar opposites. But in my mind, they’re not. Both were tyrants. It doesn’t matter which side of the stream you stand on if you’re a tyrant because the end result of rule is the same.

            Edith


            • Edith,

              Thanks very much for fixing that, and I, too, hope your good deed doesn’t result in more spam.

              Yep, Stalin (and Mao, both socialist/communist) and Hitler (and Franco and Mussolini, fascists) were tyrants. All committed the same type of evil upon humanity They were murderers of millions of innocent people and thugs. Human solid waste (family audience and all). Their method(ologies) were identical: murder, brutalize, terrorize, and imprison on non-criminal grounds.

              It was in their philosophies (ideologies) of economic systems that they were opposites. A good way to visualize the political continuum is not as a line but as an almost-circle, maybe 359 (instead of 360) degrees. And at the small break in the circle is Hitler with his back rubbing right up against Stalin. The two of them looking away from each other, but each tyrant’s back comfortably pressed against the other.

              On the opposite side of the circle you might imagine true political moderates: Teddy Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Their political views were exceptionally balanced and moderate.

              By the way, this whole government surveillance issue of the past few weeks has shown a similar dynamic among Americans. (No, no, no, not having to do with murder and atrocities, just in political beliefs.)

              Conservatives such as Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, John McCain, John Boehner, and Lindsey Graham are defending Obama and agree with liberals Diane Feinstein and Bill Maher, saying that such domestic spying is necessary for our safety.

              On the other side, conservatives Glenn Beck, and Rand and Ron Paul agree with Michael Moore that Americans’ right to free speech and Right to Privacy is violated by such programs and they should end. Conservatives agreeing with liberals that the other side of conservatives and liberals are wrong! Glenn Beck and Michael Moore in agreement! Cheney and Obama in agreement! What kind of strangeness is THIS! :^)

              Who put the wrong kind of mushrooms on the country’s pizza?

              Michael



      • Frank..

        That just might work.
        I did see on one forum where you pick the three closest holes to establish the group size (out of at least 5 shots). Now what I need to do is shoot a tin of pellets (500 tin) then pick the three closest. Then multiply the distance by at least 15….

        twotalon


  6. So Tom has been listening in to my calls and reading my e-mails again….I get this stuff all the time and try to point out it ain’t gonna happen. That and the ” I bought a model X and it shoots at 500 fps, will you make it shoot 1000 fps”…if we all work together it is possible to bring education to the ones who really want to give our sport a try. Keep up the good work


  7. HILARIOUS! (and unfortunately, true in too many cases). Thanks for starting my Monday off with a good belly laugh. Now, pardon me, I’ve gotta get my Red Ryder BB gun. There’s a hog in my back yard. Oops, it’s a Harley.


    • DM,

      Pretty sure you can take out a Harley with that if you hit it in the crab-yu-rator just right with a Texas heart shot. I read that somewhere, so it must be true…

      /Dave


  8. One of the realities of human nature is “It takes a certain level of competence to recognize your own level of incompetence”.


  9. It amazes me that people who buy a $150 air rifle and then spend $200 on modifications. Why not just buy a $350 gun to begin with? Oh….but then you couldn’t brag about how adept you are at improving things. I know it’s a hobby, and they enjoy doing it, but realize that most air gunners don’t modify their pieces other than putting a scope on it.



  10. But let’s not kid ourselves that this does not happen with firearms as well, where people do shoot deer with a .22 (maybe not a .22 short). Just as bad is all the people who buy high-powered guns, when they don’t even know where they they can shoot them legally, or have considered the cost of shooting them.

    Also, it isn’t just “the internet” that can’t be trusted, the same goes for many stores, and not just the discount ones. It’s pretty rare to find someone who knows anything about airguns, including some higher-end establishments with staff that are very knowledgeable about firearms.

    I bought my first springer only after discovering this blog a couple of years ago. But that wasn’t the first time that I had considered one. I first starting looking at break-barrels over 10 years ago. Having shot precision class, I thought I knew something about airguns, but found out quick that I knew almost nothing. But the sales people knew even less, including not even knowing how to cock one.

    B.B.,

    So, a very important point here is that it is not just the fault of the ignorant buyers, and potential buyers. I place most of the blame on current crop of manufacturers, who don’t care about either their product, nor their customers. They operate under a purely profit driven formula, as you’ve outlined. Even worse, safety is not a consideration. While airguns are usually not the equal of a firearms in terms of lethality, they can be lethal. Airguns are sold almost like toys in may stores.

    Let’s face it, Pyramyd Air is the exception when it comes to education, even among online retailers. What’s a buyer to do in this profit crazy world of hype and gimmicks?

    Victor


    • Victor,

      I used to work for a mailorder company that sold ammo. People called in to ask what caliber ammo their gun fired (they’d just bought the gun at a local gun store). Yes…a person buys a gun and has no clue what caliber it is. Which also means he has no idea if it has the power to do what he wants it to do.

      He doesn’t ask the sales person and doesn’t even buy a box of ammo when he buys the gun. He simply takes it home and calls a mailorder place to see if someone can help him. I assume the men who make these kinds of purchases are buying their first gun and may feel embarrassed or emasculated if they have to ask questions of another guy. Better to do it anonymously over the phone. If this happened just one time, I wouldn’t mention it. But it happened enough times that it stuck with me.

      Edith


      • Edith,

        I’m not at all surprised. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant. There is something wrong with choosing to remain ignorant. In this day and age, it almost takes effort to remain completely ignorant about a lot of things, including guns. Well, assuming you find the right forum for learning. I gravitate to THIS forum because of you, Tom, and all of the other blog members, who are both knowledgeable and credible. I’ve looked at other forums, and they just don’t compare (not even close).

        But wouldn’t it be nice if every gun (firearm or airgun) came with a sticker that pointed customers to online sources for further information?

        I know that it’s impossible to solve all cases of ignorance and incompetence. Some will never read their owners manual, let alone go elsewhere for useful information. But industry needs to rise above targeting these types.

        Victor


  11. Actually, I think I know what the solution might be. I think that the world of air-gunning needs a specific organization that is supported by all air-gun manufacturers and their retailers. This organization needs to encourage both standards, practices (safety), and a healthy culture. It needs to consider, above all, that it’s customers will likely be children and young adults.

    Every airgun sold should mention this organization on it’s box, along with a website and mailing address. Every retailer should provide access to more information about this organization, including “airgun primers” (e.g., safety, shooting skills development, organized leagues, fun idea’s, etc.). At present there is nothing, so the average potential buyer is forced do deal with the wild-wild-west world that is the modern day airgun industry.

    Yeah, I know I’m dreaming.

    Victor


    • Victor,

      Such airgun organizations have existed in the past but have gone away because companies don’t like to accept regulations from their competition. They see it as encumbering and limiting. It’s so much easier to just come up with something and pretend that everyone believes it.

      Edith


      • Edith,

        I remember Personal Computer manufacturers saying the exact same thing in the 80′s and up to the early 90′s. But then a paradigm shift occurred, and all companies that did not adopt the shift went the way of the dinosaur.

        I’m actually not even suggesting that manufacturers conform to specific product standards, only that they create a better industry for their customers by providing better education, pretty much like PA does. At present, Pyramyd Air is the closest thing to offering the ideals that I’d like to see everywhere.

        Something has to give, where most (if not all) airgun retailers are driven by market forces to provide better access to information. If not an organization, then at least some form of book. Walmart, for example, carries various “Shooting Bible”-like books, but nothing pertaining to airguns.

        Victor


        • I seem to recall reading an essay by Dr. Robert Beeman that concluded with a rubric of different sized animals and the amount of FPS required to humanely dispatch each category cross-indexed with a distance of the shooter from the quarry.

          For example, woodchuck: 20 foot pounds under 15 yards, 25 foot pounds up to 20 yards, not recommended for airgun hunting beyond 20 yards. Something like that.

          Of course the presumption was that under a certain distance the airgunner would hit the animal with a perfect head shot or heart/lung region shot.

          I think Pyramyd Air, as the biggest dealer, ought to assume a position of authority/responsibility and post quite specific information such as the above for each airgun, not just, “Not recommended for larger pests.” Heck, there are people who believe that some BB guns are OK for eliminating Starlings and rats! Maybe a tricked out Drozd on HPA, but other than that . . .

          I’m reminded of B.B.’s lesson to a neighbor who tried to kill a deer running through the backyard by gut-shooting it with a small handgun. (Which reminds me of the late, great John Cazale in The Deer Hunter, but I digress.)

          Michael



            • J,

              That’s a great article! Most modern springer’s claiming 1200+ fps, and that you find most places, have adequate power with lead pellets, except for possibly their lack of accuracy. That’s the issue here, high powered guns that aren’t really suitable because of inaccuracy. In my area, except for Bass Pro, you won’t find the brands listed in that article.

              Victor


  12. One last thing about airgun manufacturers. They could offer a more streamlined set of products at various price points, where all offer real value. Instead, they offer dozens of products, most of which are the sort of junk that we’re talking about here. Because they’ve allowed themselves to get into this mode of operation, every year or so they keep coming up with new junk to replace the old junk. Most of what is peddled is junk, even though they may have some quality products. So they have, in effect, drowned out their quality products with noise (noise that they themselves create). It’s a lowest-common-denominator type of industry mentality (again, gimmick and hype).

    Victor


    • Victor,

      You’re hitting all my buttons :-)

      Many years ago, Umarex mastered the reskinning process (same gun internals, different exterior). Look at all the pellet and BB guns they sell that are basically the same inside but look like a different firearm on the outside?

      Gamo has mastered that and comes out with new models every year.

      The owners of airgun companies like to see that their company is not standing still. Innovate, innovate, innovate. And, so, they must have a raft of new, impressive products every year. Many times, the products are not produced (and there was no intention to produce them). Their only purpose is to make the catalog look good at the SHOT Show.

      Remember the ammo company I mentioned in my previous reply? I was told by the owner that about one-third the items in their catalogs were not for sale…only for show. It made them look like they had full coverage. The items were often too expensive and they knew they wouldn’t sell or they were not going to be available for other reasons.

      In 1973, I had a relative who was dying of stomach cancer. At 10pm one night, the local TV anchor came on and said, “Cure for stomach cancer discovered. News at 11.” I stayed up and watched the show, waiting for this miraculous cure. The show ended at 11:30 and no mention of a stomach cancer cure was uttered. I called the station that night, but there was no one who would talk to me. I called them the next day, and they were all oblivious. It was nothing more than a teaser to get you to stay up & watch their show.

      In the movie “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby’s character is labeled as a cynic by Rosemary Clooney’s character because he said, “everyone’s got an angle.” Turns out that’s probably true.

      Edith


      • Edith,

        And yet there are real-world counters to the logic employed by the gun industry, and especially the airgun industry. Take for example international small-bore rifle competition. 35 years ago, it was very rare to find an American shooter who did not shoot an Anschutz. These days you’ll find a few other brands, but my point is that given a purpose, like some form or organized shooting, people won’t care about all the noise. They’ll want what others are using in competition. Ruger has capitalized on this with their 10/22, where there are competitions for just this class of gun.

        I see the Daisy Avanti product line as another. The Crosman Challenger product is yet becoming another. But not enough people know about the various competitions. I say, CREATE new forms of competitions that are not only more accessible to the masses, but easy to promote because they are fun and interesting.

        Promote the right airgun(s) the right way, WITH PURPOSE, and a hidden potential market will explode. In my attempts to reach the city about their junior marksmanship program, I pointed out that EVERYONE loves to shoot. Hitting our mark is an innate desire, going back to our early ancestors, when it meant the difference between life and death. I explained to the Director of Parks and Recreation that had there not been organized baseball, most kids would lose interest at an early age. The same goes for shooting. The vast majority of kids love to shoot their BB guns, but are eventually forced to “out grow” them because of their apparent lack of purpose.

        The need is there because the want is there. But want isn’t enough. Want needs to be replaced or reinforced with purpose. Organization is how this is done.

        Victor


        • I was really lucky in my intro to airguns. I inherited a little RWS Diana pistol from my father-in-law; he had bought it shortly after the war for back yard play, mostly with darts. I enjoyed it, and on my next trip to Germany walked into a (it turned out) top-end gun store and was advised to go with a Giss-system Diana 6 target pistol (not an FWB 65 by any means, but respectable; the FWB was out of my price class).

          When I wanted a rifle, I stumbled on a Beeman catalog and didn’t play around; I called Beeman and talked at length with their target shooting adviser. Don something. He put a used FWB in my hands at a fair price, and I escaped the trap of lousy triggers, twangy springs, wretched barrels and incredible hype.

          I can’t imagine anybody calling Gamo for advice. If you called Umarex and got Janet Raab you would be steered right. But we are lucky the folks at PA are encouraged to sell people the right gun, and to figure out which one fits the customers’ needs. A lot of places just churn. I guess it’s cheaper to acquire new customers for a single purchase than to keep good ones around.

          pz


          • Pete,

            Like you I was very lucky. My intro to airguns was through precision class shooting. I had an FWB pistol and rifle. Even better, I had one of the finest indoor ranges in the country just a few blocks from my home. I shot almost every day, and sometimes for over 8 hours. Never even heard of “break-barrels” until just over about 10 years ago. Never heard of Gamo until this blog. Bought my first springer in part because of this blog.

            Now, my take on springer’s, including some of the lower-end ones, is a little different than a lot of people. At first I couldn’t shoot mine well if my life depended on it. But I mastered it, and that opened my mind to what is possible. Sure, I’d never consider taking a low-end airgun into any kind of competition, but at the same time, I’ve learned a great deal about subtlety and finesse because of some of them. Had I learned this during my competition days, I would have been a better shooter.

            Until I proved how weak my fundamentals were with an Anchutz 1407 Standard Rifle, I thought that I had skill with my Anschutz 1413. I should have done a lot more practice with my 1407. The 1407 is a lot lighter, almost non-adjustable, and has a heavier trigger. It requires a true mastery of the fundamentals to shoot anywhere close to a 1413. I proved that I didn’t have that mastery.

            If I were coaching youngsters, I’d require that they revisit a good “training gun” from time to time. Not to humble them, but rather to take stock on where they are at fundamentals-wise. High-end guns, and especially heavy ones, will mask weak fundamentals. I just I knew this back then.

            Victor


  13. Sounds like somebody peed in your cheerios today B.B. Better look into likely suspects.

    But yeah. I seen them. After I taught my friend Dan to shoot an air rifle he absolutely had to have the biggest bore air rifle with the most power he could find. He couldn’t understand why I never went to big bore stuff. First of all I live in an apartment spitting distance from a school. Do I have to tell you what would happen if I lit off a big bore dragonslayer at home? Second of all most of my hunting is done at around 40-75 yards with and is no bigger than a large groundhog. So trying to kill it with a .50 cal is just senseless overkill when I can do the same job with a .22 condor. (He hunts frogs and turtles with his .50 cal) Sadly I couldn’t seem to ever teach him to hunt responsibly and what caliber that is best for what. In fact He must have A.D.H.D. because he will not sit still and quiet waiting to ambush the intended prey. He’s all over the place shooting at anything that moves so that day’s hunting is a total wash out.


  14. Edith you made the comment at the beginning of the blog about the commercial with the girl and the Internet. That commercial kills me. If I was a actor I would of never even took the part the girl plays just for what the commercial implies.

    What about the commercial about the new Fiats and they drive it off the cliff into the water. The commercial goes on then at some point you see the car come out of the water. If you watch the different advertisements on TV it is amazing the stuff they do to try to sell stuff.

    But as I read through the blog I agree that there should be some kind of standard rating for air rifles. Kind of like movie ratings. But include what type of use a certain gun would fall in. And have a description documented as the standard. Then it could be printed on the box or quoted in the advertisement. Just a letter designating the meaning. They have (letter) ratings for tires.
    One of the problems I see with that though is the government would use it as another tool to their advantage.

    As its said every action has a reaction. Of course putting the quote in my own words. But you no what I mean. Somebody will use something to benefit what they want to happen. Its just another thing that has to be balanced out. If that could be possible.


  15. “You may snicker at this fictional question, but I assure you that it’s not that different from the hundreds of real questions that come into Pyramyd Air every month.”

    Tom & Edith,

    I’m not snickering at that fictional question. I’ve seen far too many that are just like it on Yahoo Answers. Usually there are more of them right after the schools go on break or one of the various airgun companies pull a marketing stunt where they “prove” that you can use one of their .177 caliber airguns to hunt xyz animal no matter what common sense says. However sometimes they just randomly pop-up.

    What I find scary about these questions is when the [bleeping][bleep] who asks the question tells you off because you tell him (and its always a him…) that he either needs to get a big-bore, PCP airgun (expensive) or a single-shot shotgun shooting slugs/Mosin-Nagant shooting HP/SP loads (cheap) if he wants to shoot pigs.

    J


  16. So is the issue “bad airgun customers”, or is it more that the current crop or “airgun marketeers” are gambling away their business by throwing mud such that they get maximum “stickage”?

    I prefer to think in terms of a big picture in which airgun shooting becomes at least as popular as bowling. Think in those terms, and then ask, “How do we get there?”. THAT’S A SERIOUS QUESTION that I wish more of us would entertain and discuss.

    HOW DO WE MAKE AIRGUN SHOOTING AS POPULAR AS BOWLING?

    As they say, “If you want to land on the roof, shoot for the Moon”.

    Victor


  17. I saw a video that said a 375 H&H was not too much gun for the bigger pigs because they are so sturdy.

    On the subject of constituencies, I read a statement that the people buying up all the guns and ammo now are not new buyers of guns. They are gun owners who are just buying more. That would seem to put a terminus on the shortage. The same bunch of people are going to run out of money sooner or later, right?… I was looking in my ammo box recently, and it was like a museum tour of a long-ago time when you could buy a variety of ammunition.

    Michael, the 30.06 bullet must run out of steam at some depth underwater. It’s just a question of how far. And I can’t believe the other military 30 calibers would be that far behind. You should read an interesting account of an attempted assassination of Harry Truman by Puerto Rican nationals that came frighteningly close to success. These two guys just walked into the White House grounds and started shooting. Both the assassins and the White House police were armed with .38s I believe. Anyway, the final stop was made by a White House officer who was ambushed and took multiple rounds at point-blank range. But he pulled himself together and took down the last assassin right before he reached the president before expiring himself. I believe that he is the only White House policeman to lose his life protecting a president. These policemen sound like the kind in the old movies who would empty their revolvers at Godzilla when he invaded New York. Anyway, they’ve obviously wised up since then.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      Maybe it’s shot placement and target discipline in the first place, like “Never shoot unless you are to make a sure hit into a killing zone”. It’s better to let the game go, than to chase it through woods or swamp.
      In fact pig can be “satisfied” with a single 6.5×55 FMJ or even .223 FMJ, but it requires some cold head, calculations and skill. I always remember Caramojo Bell – taking down elefants with a shot from his 7×57 Mauser rifle. However there are quite few “satisfaction spots” and heavier calibers allow for a lesser discipline and marksman art.
      Human anatomy does not allow an individual to function properly with severed spinal cord or major vessels or heart-lung zone pierced, or femur shattered. So maybe in that Truman case one should count shots vs hits proportion and opt for more intensive training? ;)

      duskwight


  18. I would recommend a spear for that beginning hunter, the cost is low ,it is reusable, and it will help him develop speed and agility,which will come in mighty handy when he wounds that 200 pound hog.


  19. Great topic today!

    Edith, that guy who called you to ask what ammunition his gun shoots is like people who would call me way back when I managed car parts departments. They would call me and ask,” I’ve got a (fill in the make and model of car), I need some tires for it. What size do I need?”

    I would tell them to go look at what size they have on the car now.

    I can sympathize to a degree with the newcomers. Until they discover a source like this, about all they have to go on for air gun knowledge is childhood memories of shooting bb guns and advice from their peers. My first pellet gun was an under-$100 springer/scope combo. I ruined it because I didn’t understand what to do and what not to do with it. But it did serve to fire up my interest, and in my search for more information, I stumbled on this blog and Pyramyd Air.

    In my part of the country, air guns are sold mainly through big box stores. Their “top shelf stuff” is sold under $150. You can buy a reasonably decent gun for that, if you know what to look for in the first place. But that is the very finest air gun in their universe. Their highest-level air guns are just where the better products are found at their entry level.

    When you consider that, and the fact that air guns are not generally advertised, even to the shooting community, it is small wonder that even most air gun shooters are uninformed. Gun stores seem to avoid carrying air guns, although they will order products. Even most powder-burner shooters I have found are pretty much in the dark about air rifles.

    One well-known sporting goods store in this area carries lot of used firearms, and sells a good assortment of new firearms, and even some of the better new air guns. But they refuse to sell any used air guns. That seems a shame to me, as I would like to buy a well-cared for higher-end gun as a used unit. Maybe the lack of knowledge among air gun users results in abused guns, like my first one was.

    Dressing up the same old powerplant? That isn’t so bad if a good enough platform is used to start with. I am thinking now of Crosman with the Storm XT/Quest/Optimus. My Storm XT shoots pretty well now that it is broken in. Maybe that is what separates that series from the next one above it: the need for break-in. By the same token, my Beeman RS-2 is a much better performer after being broken in. Too bad the first one literally shook itself apart in my hands, and both of them broke their factory scopes during break-in. Fitting the .22 barrel to the gun helped its behavior (and performance) considerably. Both the XT and the RS-2 benefited from heavier-duty TASCO scopes.

    I’ve never hunted anything with my pellet guns. I have to admit, I found the javelinas on the New Mexico desert would have been tempting targets for a big-bore air rifle. These things run about 50-60 lbs. as adults, but will attack hunters. As far as hunting “real” pigs, one should probably stick to powder burners. I have read of one wild boar soaking up 5 12-ga. slugs before being stopped in its charge. I would think my .45-70 trapdoor would be suitable, if backed up by a .44 revolver or .45 auto.
    I have seen a video of a 200 lb.+ wild boar killed with one shot from a .50 cal. air rifle, but I wouldn’t like to try that.

    Hunting pigs with a .177 air rifle? Yeah, that would work on very little piglets. But watch out for protective momma pig!

    Les


  20. Don’t know what happened there…what I was writing just ‘posted’ itself.
    So…from the beginning:
    What scares me is the adults these people grow up to become.
    True story…(from our rangemaster)…recently two young brothers (17 and 21) had their range memberships instantly revoked.
    Their crime…they had recently purchased their first PB’s a couple of Chinese SKS semi auto rifles (the rage in Canada because they sell for $200) complete with bayonets.
    There they were one evening, on the range having a sword fight with their bayonets (attached to their hopefully unloaded rifles). When confronted they said they weren’t serious…just acting out something they’d seen in a video game.
    I can only say…what the (due to the fact my kids read this I won’t finish the sentence) ;-)


    • Cowboystar dad,

      I have had to personally stop someone from shooting while others were changing targets, only to have this person snap at me because “they knew what they were doing”. In other words, this person (at least in his 70′s) thought that his marksmanship skills were so good that he didn’t think it was possible that he could injure or hurt them. The one thing that he projected more than anything was PRIDE. He was proud of his rifle, proud of his reloads, and proud of his marksmanship skills. His pride left no room for respect or consideration of others and their safety.

      Victor


      • Victor,

        I have had a person shoot at me while I was down at the target holder changing targets. I was a recent graduate of an NRA gun safety course and although they had talked about things like this happening, I didn’t believe it before it happened to me.

        B.B.


        • B.B.,

          My brother was helping this kid (a newbie) who was learning to shoot in the kneeling position. The kid brought the rifle down from a shouldered position, pointing it up while my brother was standing over him. Instantly my brother saw danger, so he stepped back and sure enough the gun went off.

          Guns are safe, but you really have to grasp the concept, “Treat every gun as if it’s loaded”, because sometimes it really is.

          Victor


      • And it never occured to him that someone could walk in front of him without him seeing it?
        Not that he was right but if couldn’t see the danger he was he could have seen the danger others might pose?
        How can you not care about other people that much? How can you never realise that you’re wrong?

        J-F


        • J-F,

          Gun owners can be like drivers. YOU have to be defensive, pretty much like a defensive driver. That means you can’t make assumptions about what someone else is thinking, doing, or planning to do. I find that for some, guns are a macho thing. That makes it an ego thing, which in turn makes it a pride thing. Where there’s pride, there’s a certain amount of blindness. Let’s face it, you don’t have to take a hunter safety course to buy or own guns. You also don’t have to prove that you know how to safely handle guns to use most ranges.

          Some ranges have a seemingly overabundance of range staff. Others don’t have enough. Regardless of which case you find yourself in, you still need to be defensive. In my experience, the vast majority of shooters are safety conscious. But eventually we all will see or hear about the exceptions at our ranges.

          Victor


  21. Dear all.

    Assumptions:
    - air rifle’ muzzle energy > 17 joules;
    - well trained airgun shooter; open sights and/or scope;
    - camo, blind, calls, decoys, dog, .., stool, and a rest for the rifle;
    - ducks sitting within 25 yards;
    - season/bag limits, etc., etc., etc., all respected.

    What do you – ethically – think about hunting them with clean shots in the head?

    American rules for duck hunting could/should be “adapted”?

    Marcos


    • Marcos,

      I can’t quite fathom which side you are on with this question. Obviously shooting sitting ducks is illegal, not only in the U.S. but in many places in the world. That’s where the saying, “He’s a sitting duck.” comes from.

      Obviously this will work, but just as obviously it can only be used in a survival situation unless you want to go to jail.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        Thank you for answering.

        ‘My side’ was just – to provoke you – in a theoretical question. Nobody here is suggesting to do something illegal.

        Considering shotgun’ hunting, it’s so easy to realize the meaning of a ‘sitting duck’ ..; no challenge at all, the opposite of the hunting. However, there is also the world of a single pellet; other skills, other challenges, other meanings.

        If people consider something “new” as – acceptable, laws can be changed. In this way, serious air gunners’ opinions could be a first step (I’m an optimist).

        In other words, do you think it would be – acceptable, as a – reasonable hunting challenge?

        The case is just to debate – the idea. Just freedom of thought.

        If you agree with some “acceptability” for – the idea, and if you were in charge to recommend the new rules (to change the law), what could be an example of a ‘very first draft’ from the air gunners – for a “duck hunting proposition” ?

        Please forgive my English, and the freedom I’m giving myself, but, with all due respect – to you, the laws, and the other readers, I really think this matter could be important to serious airgun hunters.

        Marcos


  22. This is an excellent blog today, because of the “tongue in cheek” way B.B. has written it. As I read the comments, and start laughing out loud, my wife will ask me “what is so funny”? As I explain the gist of the blog, and the readers comments, it reminded me of something that happened a couple of weeks ago in a suburb of Vancouver in the Frazer River delta. A black bear had been spotted roaming around some houses in the ever expanding suburbs. When it came upon a llama farm, the owner shot at it with his .22cal, hoping to scare it away. The bear did run away, and the RCMP and Animal Control were called to either catch the bear, and relocate it, or dispatch the animal outright. They searched for a couple of days, and finally found it in some brush, close to the spot where the farmer had shot at it with his .22. Apparently, the farmer got in an extremely lucky shot, and severed the bears jugular vein. It had run into the brush and bled out and lay down and died. Now we all know that shooting a 500lb Black Bear with a .22 would be foolish in the extreme. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of some hunter giving it a try in the fall. After all, how hard can it be to hit it in the jugular? I can shoot 1in. groups at 50 yds. After all, as a writer of scifi once said,”there is no better fiction then the truth”.


  23. At the league for 25 yard Bullseye competition, the saying is, “there’s no such thing as too much safety”. I like that.

    Fred DPRoNJ – now touring in NC for retirement sites


    • Fred,

      Safety has to be the culture, and it has to be practiced even outside of the range. A simple example is when someone tries to hand you a weapon where you can’t tell if it’s loaded or not. You simply don’t accept it until it’s proven to be unloaded.

      Victor


  24. Victor I agree 100% with you about safety with guns.
    I wasn’t allowed to touch a gun when I was a kid until after my Dad would explain the gun to me. He would then have me explain back to him to see if I understood.
    And he taught me in all circumstances when the gun was handled that you had to believe that the gun was loaded and ready to fire. If something went wrong there was not going to be a second chance.

    I have taught both of my girls gun safety and shooting safety from when they where very young. I think that gun knowledge still falls in the hands of knowledgeable parents, and people that are involved in the sport of shooting. My wife’s older brother teaches gun safety classes and hunter ed classes. He was a County Sheriff for about 20 yrs. Both of my girls been to the classes abut 4 yrs. ago. One of them is 13 now and the other is 16 . I have also been to the classes with them.

    But here I’m going to throw a twist into the mix. Now days with all the stuff that goes on in schools/at schools. How ever you want to look at it. Why don’t they teach some sort of gun safety class at the schools. Not only for the student’s but also the staff.
    They teach the sex ed classes. So why not about guns. And I don’t mean at a certian period in their life. But all through school. As they keep going to the higher grades more things about the classes will start to make more and more sense.

    But yes it has to really start some where. This is why I picked Gunfun1 as my user name. Guns can be fun if you learn to shoot them in a responsible way. As Edith said above. the kids are going to grow up and vote one day. They will also grow up and do many other things also. The best I can see is you have to guide with common sense the best you can when the need arises.

    My favorite saying. ( Time Will Tell )


  25. BB,

    I started off like most of the other numb numbs and thankfully you guided me along. Thank you again. :-)

    When you start with a rifle or pistol, there is a lot more consideration than for a shotgun.

    You talent for guiding newbies is amazing. Edith and you also have endless patience it seems. It is really rare in this day and age to get to interact with someone who knows the subject matter and can help you. The world is now run by clerks.


  26. I tried operating a store that carried performance air rifles (I.e not found in big box stores) and gave up because all my “potential” customers were “that guy”.


    • Dave,

      Yeah, nobody realizes how people shop, until they try to run their own store. People will come in, handle the guns, spend time asking questions, then they will buy the gun on the internet, because they can save some money.

      You can run a store successfully, but it takes a real strategy to do so. It’s not for the faint of heart.

      I am so put off when people tell me they want to dabble at something. They just want to test the waters without getting too committed.

      Yoda said it best, “Do, or do not! There is no try.”

      B.B.


      • Well another great saying to add to the history books.

        I always knew I liked that little fellow in the Star Wars movie.

        How true it is.


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