by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

  • DB Cooper
  • What does this mean to you?
  • Range bags
  • How to spot a newbie
  • Riddle
  • The moral

I started writing today’s blog at 6 am, and three hours into the test I encountered a drop-dead fault with the rifle — something that has to be repaired. So, the test had to end and I was already well into my work day. What to do?

I’ll tell you about the problem when I finally do the review. Today I want to talk about having backup plans.

DB Cooper

When DB Cooper hijacked the airplane and bailed out over southern Washington state, he must have known the FBI would fool with the four parachutes they supplied him. My squadron of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (over a thousand men), spent a month searching the probable impact site with the FBI. The airplane’s flight recorder told us when he left the plane (time, altitude and airspeed) and the weather data for that evening told us the trajectory. We searched for a small crater in the steep mountains and discovered very little of him. If he did crater, it wasn’t inside the search area. We did find the remains of another possible homicide, though, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

Either DB Cooper had a plan B, or a thousand men searching for a month missed him, altogether. I think he had a plan B. And so, I believe, did Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who filed a flight plan from New York to Long Beach, California, but landed in Ireland, instead! Said his compass was reading backward, but very few believed him, since his airplane was prepared for a long flight over the water and he had been officially denied permission for the transatlantic flight. Better to get forgiveness, I guess.

What does this mean to you?

Plan B is important to the guy who gets to the range only to discover that his scope is not fastened tight to his rifle. Plan B is carrying a universal set of tools to tighten scope rings anywhere. Or removing the scope and using the open sights. Plan B could also be taking a second rifle to the range in case something goes wrong with the first one.

Range bags

People always ask me to show them what I carry in my range bag. Instead of doing that I will tell you. I carry plan B. Every embarrassing adventure adds one more thing to that range bag. Those who shoot from their keyboards and couches need a list. I appreciate there are new shooters who want suggestions for a basic kit of stuff to always carry, but believe me — experience produces the best list. As a result, veteran shooters have heavy range bags!

How to spot a newbie

Newbie airgunners usually want everything in one airgun. They want velocity, accuracy, looks, convenience — oh, and could we please get that at a really good price? It’s as if you think Sophia Vagaras is somehow seeking a rustic redneck gentleman with a beer belly — a man who thinks fine dining means going inside instead of yelling into the clown’s mouth. Haven’t you noticed that there are lots of them around? Like the Chicken Man — they’re everywhere!

What these new airgunners are doing is selecting a fantasy airgun. It’s like a fantasy prize fight. “I’d like to see Muhammad Ali go up against Rocky Marciano!” Dream on, friend, because it never could have happened. Any more than a .22 caliber TX200 Mark III can be tuned to deliver 30 foot-pounds, give half-inch groups at 50 yards and sell for $300. You can have any one of those three, but none of them go together. And complaining about it on a chat forum is not going to wake up the sleeping engineer at Crosman who has just been waiting to hear what you want!


What you need is plan B. Solve this riddle — what can you sit on, brush your teeth with and drive to work?

ANSWER: A chair, a toothbrush and a car. Sometimes the answer (plan B) is that you have to shoot more than one airgun to get all that you want. For fun and accuracy at home I shoot either a Diana 27 or a BSA Meteor Mark I. For power I shoot an AirForce Condor. The Condor is more accurate than either of the first two air rifles, but it’s not the airgun to shoot inside the house!

The moral

What I’m saying is be flexible, and be able to change. Because sometimes that’s when the best stuff happens!