by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Just a reminder that the “Shooting the breeze” series is meant as humor. I made up everything just to entertain you. All names, businesses and locations are fictitious. Enjoy!

August 1995
Paper moon
The Billabong Air Gun Company announced today a departure from wasteful manufacturing practices of the past. After years-long search for a less costly material to replace the expensive synthetics and plastics now used in airguns, the company believes they have found at least a partial answer in paper. That’s right–paper!

Billabong production engineers propose to begin manufacture of a brand new design of CO2 rifle targeted at their brisk discount store trade. Many of the structural components will be made from a proprietary paper-based product that company researches say is as strong and workable as plastic. Parts like valve bodies and receivers, once made of costly resin-based materials, can now be fabricated from what is essentially a modern derivative of that old grade-school favorite–paper mache. Where additional strength is required, the parts will be lined with inexpensive stamped foil sleeves and reinforcements; but the structural members will be entirely comprised of the remarkable new cellulose material. “Our new paper buttstocks are virtually indistinguishable from genuine plastic,” company officials reported. “They even warp and separate in warm weather–just like the real thing! Kids won’t be able to tell the difference.”

Billabong President Harleigh Werthit said that the new material solves another problem the company has long struggled with–obsolescence. The new gun, when abandoned for a month in the back yard by young owners, rapidly assumes the appearance of the environment, leaving only the tiniest handful of non-bio-degradable parts to mark its one-time existence. One pass with a lawnmower and the gun is history. He concluded, “Billabong is committed to making concerns about quality a thing of the past.”

October 1995
Phargone’s aural chronograph
How many of you determine your airgun’s velocity by the sound of the shot? This is a very common practice among airgunners, because it eliminates the need for an expensive chronograph that nobody knows how to use, anyway.

Professor Elvis B. Phargone has just released a CD of typical airgun shot sounds accompanied by a table of corresponding velocities. Now, you can fine-tune your ears to real precision.

“The human ear can distinguish velocity differences as small as 25 f.p.s.,” noted the famous researcher from his Breakwynd, Indiana, laboratory. “With my CD a-helpin’ them, they’ll be able to get it down to 10. I personally calibrated each shot with my own ears, which are especially sensitive. I never had a chrono ’cause I don’t need one.

Included on the new release are Phargone’s back-door-to-hickory-tree velocity tables, his “hiss-bang” CO2 pressure gauge and a new method he calls the “garbage can” system. “You’d be surprised how good you can tell sounds when your head is stuck halfway down an empty metal can.”

When questioned about the accuracy of aural chronographing, professor Phargone replied, “Heck, it’s no big deal. Doctors have been putting thermometers there for years.”

December 1995
How to turn your valuable firearms into quality pellet guns in four easy steps!
Did you know that you may have a valuable air rifle lurking in your gun collection? Elvis B. Phargone tells our readers that almost every quality-made .22 rifle can easily be turned into an accurate pellet shooter with just a little diligent work.

“I take a Winchester model 63 automatic, and I make an insert for the breech to hold a shotgun primer. All I have to do is insert a pellet up the barrel, slide in the insert with a fresh primer, close the action and shoot. The whole operation takes less than a minute, and I get real good power from the pellet, too. With hot primers, I can get a .22 Crosman Premier pellet goin’ 475 f.p.s. with no sweat.

“Of course, getting the insert out of the breech is a bother, but I made a thin ramrod that does the trick in nothin’ flat. You bang it out of the gun with the ramrod, pick it up and just pry out the old primer with a jackknife, clean the insert with a brass brush, put in a new primer and she’s ready to go again. I can put two shots downrange in less than five minutes, and I don’t have to buy an expensive pellet rifle!”

With the holidays approaching, readers will want to scout for Winchester 63s and Remington 141s they can convert to pellet shooters. Professor Phargone even thinks the Belgian-made Browning .22 automatic would work, though he cautions not to convert a grade IV. The conversion could lower the gun’s intrinsic value a bit.