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My best lesson

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Valuable lesson
  • Sighting
  • Multi-tasking
  • Student behavior
  • Sign’s up!
  • Why this is so important
  • History?
  • Bottom line
  • Why airguns are important
  • And why today?

When I was a kid I knew everything there was to know about guns. Just ask me; I would tell you. I read Guns & Ammo and was learning the ballistics of popular cartridges like other kids were learning baseball stats. I didn’t own a gun, which in retrospect was a good thing, but I knew all about them.

Valuable lesson

Then my mother sent me to an NRA basic marksmanship course. Over the course of three weeks they taught me how to shoot. I wish I had been more observant because those gentlemen really knew what they were talking about.


We started by everyone learning how to sight. We did something they called triangulation where we learned the proper sight picture with target sights. It involved getting down on the floor and sighting through a homemade set of “sights” that rested on a box at a target that was 40 feet away. The object was to watch the instructor move the target and tell him how to move it. When you got it perfectly aligned in your “sights” you told him to mark it, and he marked through the center of the bullseye with a sharp pencil on a sheet of plain paper behind the target. This was done three times. If you did it well you got three pencil dots on the plain paper that were very close to each other. The goal was to get the dots as close to each other as possible

sight training stick
The sight training stick was simple and easily made.

sight picture
This is the proper sight picture for a peep and front post.

instructor moves target
The instructor sits about 40 feet from the student and moves the target as the student tells him. When the target is in the right place for a shot, he marks through the center of the bull with a sharp pencil.


I thought they were just training me how to sight properly, and they were. But just as importantly they were watching me to see how I reacted to their instructions, because we hadn’t touched any firearms yet, but we soon would.

The goal of the exercise is to have three pencil dots as close to one another as possible. The three dots should be inside a dime (17.91mm) at least, if the instructor was 40 feet from the student. Ideally, the three dots should be inside a circle the size of a pencil eraser. What this exercise illustrates is the student’s understanding of the correct sight picture, because they should be able to acquire it three times at very close to the same place each time.

It is important that neither the sighting stick nor the box in front of the instructor move during this exercise, because they are the fixed standards. We are training the student to sight correctly without having a rifle to manage. The next step in training will be the first shooting exercise, so do not progress beyond triangulation until the student has demonstrated proficiency.

Student behavior

When you teach children anything you will encounter a wide range of behavior. I want to transition now from the mid-1950s when I was taught to shoot to the late ’90s, when I was involved in teaching youngsters to shoot. It was a whole different ballgame then, because the kids we taught had not been brought up the same way kid of my era were. I was amazed to see little boys running around the room during class, apparently paying no attention to the lesson. That just didn’t happen in the 1950s, but it was the norm in the ’90s.

Sign’s up!

Fortunately, I had a few tricks up my sleeve. First, I fell back on my experience as a Boy Scout. When someone was speaking to the group and some kids were not paying attention, the person speaking would stop and hold up three fingers — the Boy Scout Sign. The rest of the kids would see this and say, “Sign’s up!” and everybody would get quiet. It might take the talkers a few times experiencing this before they learned to shut up, but the other kids would put pressure on them to conform, which was the whole idea.

We didn’t do that with our junior marksmen, exactly, but we did something similar. When we went from the lesson to practical application, the noisy kid(s) were not allowed to do what the rest of the group did. They took exception to this immediately by hollering, “That’s not fair!” That gave us the opening to take them to a quiet part of the room, or better still, into a different room and have a heart-to-heart discussion with them. We then explained why they were not permitted to take part in the exercise — because they didn’t know what we were doing, since they hadn’t paid attention during the lesson. Naturally some of them tried to bluff their way out of this, but we were firm. This was a safety issue, and safety trumps almost everything else when you’re shooting.

At the end of that evening’s session, when a parent would come to pick up the misbehaving child, we would tell them what happened and why their child could not participate with the rest of the kids that evening. Never once did a parent make excuses for the child’s behavior! I expected some opposition, but none came. This was done for the children of a gun club, so maybe the parents understood a little better than they might have otherwise.

We did have one or two kids withdraw from the training, but the rest learned to get serious when they were in marksmanship training. And, when we moved to the airguns, all the kids were ready to be safe. We even had them calling, “Cease fire” when an instructor or anyone would violate a range safety rule — which we did from time to time to make sure they were alert.

Why this is so important

I was taught the fundamentals of shooting and the lessons stayed with me all my life. When I went to summer camp in ROTC (the equivalent of Basic Training) I already knew how to shoot. That was fortunate, because our Army instructors there were not as gifted as the men who had taught me a dozen years before.

There were only a few things that I was taught by the NRA.

Breathing control
Sight picture
Proper trigger squeeze
Proper positioning for shooting in
Obeying range commands and knowing what they mean.

But I learned them well enough that they are still with me today.


Why did I put this in the History section? And why today?

I put it here because I believe this awareness of firearms safety and range control is rapidly dying off. I believe it is becoming a part of history. Oh, some fundamentals are still in effect, like don’t shoot while somebody is downrange — but the finer points of range control are now a mystery to many shooters — things like what does a red flag or red light mean on a gun range?

I can prove that statement. Non-optical sights are now called Back-Up Iron Sights or BUIS by the U.S. Army. Optics are the preferred method of sighting. I see that last year our Army decided to return to testing soldiers with open sights during Basic Training, after three years of only using the Close Combat Optic (red dot) sight. The reality of how vulnerable we are when we rely on electronics has finally come to the surface.

Bottom line

As always this dinosaur says learn to use open sights first. After you master them then optics are okay.

Learn to shoot a handgun with one hand. After you become proficient, two hands are okay.

Rant over.

Why airguns are important

Airguns give us the ability to keep our shooting skills sharp. Or, if we don’t have those skills, to practice them until we do! It doesn’t take a formal range that’s far away and a lot of expensive equipment to shoot. We have readers doing it in 20 feet of space inside apartments! Guns like the Daisy 499 and the Air Venturi V10 Match Pistol make constant practice safe, affordable and easy.

And why today?

I wrote this today because even I am getting tired of reading about vintage Dianas. There is so much more to write about, but I needed a break, and if I did I was certain you did, too.

Enjoy your weekend.

109 thoughts on “My best lesson”

  1. BB,

    Thank you for this blog. I have been pulling out what little hair I have left trying to teach my grandson proper airgun and firearm skills. Being ADHD (I know because I am), holding his attention and having him focus can be trying at times. You have some superb suggestions here which I am going to steal..

  2. Always used open sights when I was younger. Now my eyes wont let me. I have gone to the UTG Micro Dot green on my old Dan Wesson 41 mag. Amazing! I’m starting to hit where I look again instead of looking where I hit. Maybe I’ll get another for the P1;have not shot it for about a year because just can’t see the sights anymore.

  3. BB

    Thanks for this report. You have so many readers this important reminder will surely get around. There is another safety bit I wish to add. Kids where I grew up got in fist fights when mad enough. They did not go around shooting each other. The reason is that was the most uncool thing you could do. We had grown up with guns in the house and taught gun safety rules at an early age. We were taught how to safely shoot and hunt.

    I believe this exposure at this early age is the reason it was not cool to point a firearm at someone who did not deserve to get shot.


    • Deck,

      This is most definitely one of those times when the “old days” were really much better even if we did have to walk to and from school five miles in two feet of snow, uphill both ways.

    • Yup, my experience as well. When I started school it was at a two room country school about 1/4 mile down the road from my home. As I recall, even at a very young age, we walked to school. Probably with some older kids that were also walking to school. I attended that school through 4th grade and then the country school consolidated with the schools in town about 7 miles away. Kids learned to respect one another, and if they didn’t, they had better learn how to fight. Hostilities were resolved on the playground and bullies were not tolerated. Kids today don’t seem to have that respect for one another, and words DO hurt. There’s no outlet to resolve hostilities or bullying because fighting is not tolerated. So things keep building up and then in frustration something really bad happens, like kids shooting other kids.

      Our parents taught us at an early age how to handle guns properly and safely. I remember my dad teaching me to shoot a Remington single shot .22, and then later a .410 shotgun. He taught me how to hunt rabbits with a good beagle and how to hunt deer. We ate a lot of rabbit in those days. My son showed interest when he was little and then when he got a little older he signed up for a 4-H shooting class. He took that old Remington .22 that I learned on to the first class. He shot one target and did quite well. That was the last time he shot any gun and today at age 39, has no interest in guns whatsoever. I never understood what happened to cause him to lose all interest in guns after that experience.

      So yes, the tradition of learning to shoot and hunt is going the way of the dodo bird unfortunately. Guns today are only seen as weapons of mass destruction, as shown and dramatized by the news media. This has resulted in a lot of pressure for more gun control laws. As time goes bye and there are fewer of us that have grown up with guns, and more who only know about guns from playing video games, I think then we will be in real danger of losing our 2nd amendment rights all together. Hope I’m not around then.

      • Geo
        And that’s probably why society keeps getting farther away from respect.

        And it always spirals down. It never is a pickup.

        Really blows me away how things keep going to the way side.

      • “He shot one target and did quite well. That was the last time he shot any gun and today at age 39, has no interest in guns whatsoever. I never understood what happened to cause him to lose all interest in guns after that experience.”

        Geo, I can’t be sure, but I can hazard a guess: perhaps like my friend, Barbara, who grew up on a farm learning to shoot and hunt but all of whose kids couldn’t care less about guns, your son may be been subtly brainwashed by his anti-gun teachers, the anti-gun mass media, and the peer pressure of his anti-gun friends (who were also subtly brainwashed by the same culprits =>).
        Barbara’s large collection of guns will likely all go to her nephew, who, she told me, is the only one who cares about or has any interest in them.
        Many of my guns have already been passed on by me to my son to be given to my grandsons.
        However, his new wife is so rabidly anti-gun (she even hates airguns; all guns are “evil” to her #_#) that I am thinking of asking for all my guns back; I fear that if, God forbid, anything happened to our son, his wife would not even SELL the guns; I believe she would call the police, and ask them to, “remove this evil things from my house for the safety of my kids!” I know that sounds insane, but I’m pretty sure that’s just what she’d do; and the idea of her trashing the pre-WWII PPKs that I intended for my grandkids makes me sick! I’d rather see them given to the local museum to go into their WWII collection…at least that way they’d be of some use to someone.
        Sorry for the rant, man! As you can see, this is a touchy subject that hits close to home for me!
        take care,

        • Dave,

          Thanks for sharing your story. Back when my son was in 4-H he was still in grade school and back then there wasn’t all the anti-gun propaganda like today. So it still puzzles me as the the reason he lost interest in guns back then. I only have one grandchild and she is now 25 and living with us since she was 13. My son has no children because his wife developed migraine headaches that have pretty much disabled her. She miscarried a child a couple of years ago and so probably won’t try again. I don’t know what will happen to my guns when I pass. I’ve thought about selling them but, as I’m sure you are aware, that’s a difficult thing to do. I’ve had those guns since I was a teenager.

          I can empathize with not wanting your guns to be passed on to someone who would not appreciate them. I have said that I thought I was born too late because I sure feel out of place in the world today. I feel like a square peg fitting into a round hole. I don’t think that I’m alone in thinking like that either. Maybe all people start to feel that way as they get older.


          • “I feel like a square peg fitting into a round hole. I don’t think that I’m alone in thinking like that either.”

            Geo, first off, let me apologize if I came off sounding like I was trying to project my issues with my daughter-in-law onto your situation. And I feel for your son and his wife; my wife has MS, so I know a bit about disabilities.
            As for the square peg in a round hole, my wife and I both feel more and more like that everyday!
            Personally, I wish I could ride with The Duke in Rio Bravo; even though it’s just a movie, it reflects the life I’d like to be living more so than what I currently see around me!
            blessings to you,

        • Dave
          Man that is a bummer.

          Anything can be dangerous if used in a wrong manner.

          Wish people would be more open minded and be willing to learn before making a judgement.

          And why do I even think that could happen. 🙁

  4. Good blog BB. I also have been trying to teach my grandsons basic shooting skills, with fair results, although a little more work is needed. I also started with open sights and basic skills on a bench, before moving to a pellet rifle. I will put to good use some of your ideas on that.

    Some of my friends are having a harder time – it is difficult to compete with video games and fast paced animated TV shows.


    • Henry
      Make the shooting session fun. That always done it for me when I was a kid and my dad was teaching me.

      And of course stress the important parts of the session as your having fun. Just say’n. Not knocking you in anyway. 🙂

      • I agree with you completely GF1, my goal has always been to teach my kids to shoot safely, and to have fun doing it. To the point, I found that spinners, feral cans and other safe reactive targets help to keep things interesting for the young ones, and for some grownups too.

        More recently, I have been lucky with my two older grand kids – I have total support from the parents and both kids are shooting quite well. The other two are a bit too young but already showing interest.

        Of course, I always stress safety, with things like keeping the finger outside the guard until ready, checking what is in the background, etc. Good habits learned at an early age last for a lifetime, IMHO.


        • Henry
          Couldn’t of said it any better than you.

          Glad there are people like us all on the blog here that still believe the same.

          Happy and safe shooting and knowledge and common sense. Did I forget anything?

  5. Mr. Gaylord:
    Thank you very much for such a wonderful posting today.
    My sincerest hope is that in 50 or 60 years, like you, the juniors I’ve had the privilege to instruct can look back and say:
    “The fundamentals of shooting and the lessons I learned from Mr. Schooley stayed with me all my life.”
    I can think of no greater legacy.
    Respectfully submitted
    William Schooley
    Pistol and Rifle coach
    Venture Crew 357
    Chelsea, MI


    Such a good blog today. The ongoing trend to demonize guns has made our society unwilling or apathetic about learning basic gun safety and basic shooting techniques. Lack of knowledge is dangerous. A willingness to accept that guns are to blame for shootings is even more dangerous since it seems to be leading to a segment of society that have succumbed to a voluntary confiscation of their gun rights. The non stop attempts by our “representatives” to chip away at our gun rights is also troublesome. Our founding fathers were deeply concerned about us going down this path.

    When B.B. said, “The reality of how vulnerable we are when we rely on electronics has finally come to the surface.” it reminded me of self driving cars running over people and the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. We’ve become indoctrinated to believe that any and all new technology is inherently better for our lives even if it’s brought to market prematurely and kills a few of us.

    • Kevin,

      Well stated, couldn’t agree with you more. Is it not difficult to keep from ranting on this subject? I think our passion for guns and shooting is showing through.

      • Geo
        I think that’s a very good point.

        We enjoy what we do. We try to do things right the best we can and try to help people see that guns can really be fun when the proper learning happens.

        And really I could be happy plinking all day long. And throw some other people in that want to have fun and learn all the better.

        • Hey Geo & Gunfun1, I concur with you both regarding our collective passion for guns and shooting; I would have posted this to you guys yesterday, but I didn’t have the pics (on another computer) to go with it; anyway, I thought you guys might enjoy this [true] story of how our guns sometimes wind up where they are meant to be. =>

          The Legend of the Black Sheep Shotgun
          About six years ago, back when I was doing a fair amount of gun restoration, a gentleman asked me if I could “fix up this old shotgun that’s been in the family for a long time.” I said I’d take a look and do my best. But when I saw it, it was far sadder than expected: the barrel and forearm were really beat up and the butt stock had been totally destroyed. And this thing is OLD, like 1920s; you can tell by the lack of coil springs, all flat springs in this old gal. Anyway, after a LOT of work, I was able to return the gun, a single-shot 20 gauge, back to hunting condition. Yet when I told him it was done, he said he didn’t want it back; but at the same time, he said the gun was very special to him as, when he inherited it, he was told that his “black sheep” uncle had fed the entire family with it all through the Great Depression. When he said that, I was like, “Then this is is a major family heirloom. Don’t you want it for one of your kids?” He said none of his kids, nephews, nieces, basically no one in his entire family had any interest in it, not even to hang on the wall as a piece of family history. So he asked me to please find a buyer who would A) continue to hunt with it and B) pass it on as an heirloom to his kids. So, in respect of his wishes, I posted an ad for “The Black Sheep Shotgun,” and I was contacted immediately by a buyer who wanted the gun just based on the story alone, but was curious how it shot. I told him it patterned beautifully and sent him some pics to back that up. He agreed to buy it, hunt with it, and then pass it on to his kids (who also hunt) as a treasured family heirloom. The original owner was very happy to hear that, and to realize that the legend of the Black Sheep Shotgun continues. =>

          • Dave
            Sad but happy story. It’s always nice when something can go on to be enjoyed and cared for by the next thankful owner.

            I keep remembering the muscle cars I have owned through time. They all had a story. Some just way more meaningful than others. Most of those sellers were very happy to see the cars go on and be enjoyed. But some could never part with them because of more meaningful reasons.

            One older gentleman had a 69 orange Pontiac Firebird with a 400 4 speed I went to look at in the mid to late 70’s. He bought it for his son when he learned he was coming back from the war. It was a surprise for him. He never came home.

            Yep special times for special moments.

            • “69 orange Pontiac Firebird with a 400 4 speed”
              What a car! Those old muscle cars had class, unlike most of the new cars today that look like some type of egg. #_#
              What a gift that would have been for his son; that’s so sad he never got home to drive it.
              But to my way of thinking, that son knows what his dad did for him.
              “Yep special times for special moments.”
              Gunfun1, roger that, for sure.

                • Dave & Gunfun1,

                  Have to say…both of these stories brought a tear to my eye. :'(
                  Both are great stories though. In the case of the “Black Sheep Shotgun”, did that not have a damascus twist barrel? Knowing the history of this old gun, I would have written and documented the history and kept it with the gun. In the future people will no longer remember the gun’s history or why is was important.

                  When I was kid my dad had an old double barreled 12 gauge shotgun with hammers. The barrels were badly pitted and the wrist of the stock had copper wire wrapped around it. My dad told me, and I can’t even remember now, I think it was his grand dad, had killed a dog with it that was killing sheep. He had hit the dog over the head, killing it and thus broke the stock. That old gun hung on my gun rack for many years. Then one day my cousin asked if he could have it. My cousin was a fiddle maker and I’m not sure exactly what he wanted to do with the old gun. I gave it to him to display in his home. My cousin is almost 90 and so when he passes the story will probably pass with him.

                  • Geo
                    Almost every muscle car I got back in the day had a story to go with it when I bought it.

                    I just wonder where some of those cars are today that I use to own.

  7. Very timely blog, Tom. My eldest is in Hunter’s Safety this month and so far it’s been a good experience. But a lot of reinforcement is needed and that’s where Dad and airguns comes in.

  8. Hi BB, this blog is so refreshing, thanks! nice stick person too! haha, but seriously, it’s so important to learn the basics and practice, practice, practice!

  9. Hi B.B. Such a good blog on so many levels! Every student should get basic safety instruction on the world they are going to live in. They will have legal access to guns when they are 21 whether their parents approve or not. They will be using power lawn mowers and power tools. They will be cleaning the bathroom with chemicals that are dangerous if combined. They will be eating food they prepare themselves, and so on. They need safety instruction a lot more than they need algebra in seventh grade. Not putting down algebra but it can wait until high school.

  10. B.B.,


    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog today!
    Going to the range these days is an eye-opener! I usually wait for a lane on the 100 yard because they don’t allow pistols. On the 50 yard range the intimidating distance seems to cause the worst (AR-15 shooters included) to self-select out. The few times I have shot on the 25s, they have two big ranges, has been enough to cause me to cut my pistol shooting sessions to early weekdays only and hope for availability of a lane on the 50 yard range. They have a great youth training program and quite a few boys and girls are taking advantage of that opportunity. I have also noted that the adult Learn to Shoot classes are getting lots of 20 and thirty something’s…but heavily weighted towards women learners.

    I will add one thing to your blog today that more folks need to do every day (or at least very other day if they can’t shoot their Airgun/firearm) and that is DRY FIRE (practice the complete shot cycle process without live ammunition) heck! Even if they have a basement/back yard range a smart shooter does at least 50 shot cycles of Dry Fire for every 10 live fire with an Airgun and every 1 with a powder burner.

    Thank you again for your disciplined approach and guidance.

    Wishing you and your readership lots of Xs,


    • Shootski
      Thank God I don’t have to go to a range anymore.

      Me and my buddies and my dad and their dad’s would go to the range as kids. We did some target competition even.

      I think my dad and the other kids dad’s thought that would be good for us. And we all were farm neighbors. So we done had a very good idea of gun respect and how to shoot before we ever showed up out there at the shooting range. And it was a good thing. It showed us a thing or two for sure. Amazing what you see ain’t it. But yep you could definitely tell the difference in the way the different kids were being raised.

      And what’s crazy is back then I didn’t realize how much I was learning till life moved on.

  11. BB and all

    You know what my dad would do if he was showing me and my brother something. If we for some reason (being a kid) happened. We had to sit off to the side and pay attention to what him and the other brother was being taught.

    No big deal right?

    Here’s the important part. The one that was misbehaving and setting on the sidelines had to do what dad was showing the other while dad and the other brother got to watch. Well you know how that feels. And for some reason dad would say show us again just so we know you got it right. And God forbid you did it wrong or had something to say about it.

    When that happened after a few times if you didn’t get it (or should I say comply) you got told the next day you didn’t get to go out and run around. Yep home bound. That was usually the kicker there.

    Me and my brother caught on real fast after a few of those sessions. But I definitely look back and I’m very thankful for it. The good ole days.

  12. I don’t recall knowing any kids with attention disorders in the 50’s. Perhaps there is just too much going on too fast in todays world or they don’t get enough chores assigned to them to learn about responsibility. Could be the food they eat today?
    When I was a “Yout” in Brooklyn we made our own pistols … ZIP! Only recall actually firing one once.

    We handed a friends son, early teen, an empty air rifle to start training, he was overjoyed, and the first thing we told him was not to point it at anybody. Before we set things up he pointed it at someone four times and was reminded each time. Shooting lesson canceled. He simply did not listen and was incapable of following instructions.

    Handling firearms is another important topic. I learned a good habit at a Navy range. When ever you sit a firearm down or transfer it to another person you engage the safety, remove the magazine and lock open the slide or bolt to reveal the empty chamber. Open and empty a cylinder on a revolver. Accidental discharges become impossible.

    I have a game, Modern Warfare 2, and in one scenario you experience an EMP and poof, no dot sight. First thing you do is swap it for a rifle with fixed sights. Fixed Back Up Sights are necessary in the field, not to mention batteries. Training on them is important for sure.

    Just looked over a few of the new CO2 air pistols and all shoot a little over 300FPS. One is actually below that. Kind of anemic for todays 600+FPS Airguns. I think they should offer mock suppressors with barrel extensions incorporated for a little boost.

    • Bob
      Yes lock open saftey on clip on the side.

      Then check the chamber and clip once more.

      It seems them Gremlins always manage to stuff another round in the chamber when your not looking.

      You can never be too safe. And never fall into routine. Ok well do. But you better check again. I check my guns after every session to make sure their empty.

      When it gets you is if your shooting and some one or something interrupts you at the right time. Or should I say the wrong time.

      Paying attention and safety is number one. I just got to say. Like that kid that pointed the gun wrong multiple times. In reality you have to figure that out before you let them get the gun in their hand. Don’t mean to sound hard but you know what I mean.

  13. I think every child should learn how to handle a gun safely and shoot properly as a part of their school curriculum. They should learn basic archery, as well. It would teach them responsibility and give them a sense of accomplishment and pride. Things sorely lacking in most of today’s children.

    • Cmz128
      The school my kids went to had archery and shot gun shooting.

      My kids (2 daughters) both took archery in school. Both them and me are very glad they did. The oldest is 21 and the youngest is 18. And yes we live in the country (corn fields and woods). And they both fish and ride 4 wheelers and such. Had to make sure that happened. After all I grew up on a farm. Just couldn’t see it any other way.

      And they both grew up shooting air guns and firearms too. It’s like a family tradition. It wouldn’t be right if they didn’t. And heck they tend to give old dad a run for his money too. 🙂

  14. Hey all!

    I have been reading the exchanges above between readers: Davemyster, Geo791, Fido3030, RidgeRunner, Wm.Schooley, Kevin, Javagonzo, Gunfun1, Bob M, Peter, Cmz128 and many other LURKERS just reading along :^)

    I’m about to do a Public Service Announcement! Stop reading if you aren’t interested in being part of the solution!

    So why don’t we go to a more social approach to shooting? Clubs exist in a few places and Commercial Ranges around the country and in some other countries have hit on the idea of the community of shooters being the only way to sustain the Tradition and Sport of shooting. We have lost much to the attack on the family in the Western Society! We have seen the Fragmentation of families from large Clans, to Atomic families, to Single parent and worse.
    We have many “families” that never sit together at the Kitchen/Diningroom Table, they barely meet in the Virtual World with Texts, Twitter, Facebook… Look at most of the readership of B.B.’s Blog! A few regular contributes, some occasional contributers, and mostly a really Hugh number of LURKERS (I mean no disrespect!) I just want to invite you all to be more active both here on the Airgun Academy and in the real world of airgunners and shooters of every type. I think having a basement, hallway, breezeway, garage, backyard range is great! But how often are we the sole participants in what was once a social undertaking in much of the Western World; I’m talking about Parlor Shooting, Turkey Shoots, and County Fair Shoots.
    I think we have replaced that, if at all, with Video Gaming! Sitting on the couch or at the desk looking at the unblinking eye for hours at a time!
    We really need to break out of this virtual world, we, males and females, really need to break out of this Everyman is an Island existence and get back to the No Man is an Island community! I think we can see an easy initial path in the approach that the Guntry Club Style of ranges have rolled out in recent years. The approach is by no means the Be-All-End-All since they are too expensive for many. That is why I think the Zimmerstutzen/Parlor Gun approach is needed to supplement the Movement and PPPCP airguns are the ideal! Almost anyone with a little training can find success with them with just a little bit of safety and skill education. We need to redouble our efforts to invite more folks to shoot with us and for us to go out to shoot in different venues from our own comfortable home ranges. The nonshooting need to be shown all the things that can be done with shooting beside the Media and Gun Banners constant Barage message of GUN VIOLENCE and guns are only for killing each other!
    We need a grassroots answer or we WILL lose our Liberty!

    It is up to each and every one of us,


    • Shootski,

      I agree with much of your statement. People spend way too much precious time on their cell phones. I am just baffled as to why people would rather text someone than to actually speak to them. These new smartphones (that’s a misnomer) seem to be good for everything except making phone calls. I have a flip-phone that was my wife’s and she gave that to me when she got a new smartphones. My flip-phone sits on my bathroom counter, turned off, most of the time. If I am going out for the day I may take it with me in case the car breaks down, or my wife has a need to contact me. I do NOT want to carry a phone around all of the time. It is said that most people cannot go more than ten minutes without checking their phone. I see people in restaurants, not talking to each other but looking at their phones. It’s just crazy. I am sure that many of the auto accidents we are now seeing are a direct result of people texting on their phones. People! driving is NOT a passive activity.

      I have to say that I am not a very social person and I detest having to be in crowds anymore. The roads are saturated with cars these days and it is no longer any fun to even drive. Oh but wait, we’ll have self driving cars soon so that will no longer be a problem either. My car sits in the garage most of the week unless I really need to get out to buy groceries or something. Too many crazy bad drivers on the road now! You are taking your life in your hands every time you get out to drive somewhere.

      These are perspectives of a person 72 years of age. Sorry to say Shootski, but I think those of us who have grown up with guns and hunting are a dying breed. As much as we try to keep the traditions alive, we are losing ground. Think where we would be right now if not for the NRA.


      • Geo,

        I am 15 years your Jr. and feel the same way. My brother on the other hand, 1 year younger, travels extensively. I avoid the “big” city at near all cost. At get togethers, my 3 sisters have their phones at the ready. At work breaks, 90% have their phone in their face. My flipper never gets looked at, all day long at work. Off at night.

        On hunting and dying breeds,… not so sure about that. Shootski had some real good points. In some areas of the country, I do not think things are that much different. Ok,… you can’t take your .22 to school, stand it in the corner and go shooting with your buddies after school anymore.

        The mainstream media has a way of, how shall I say?,…….. cementing what is the “norm” or “trending” direction of things. Depending on how savvy you are, things are not always as they seem on the surface.


      • Geo
        And don’t forget computers too.

        I use to spend way to much time on computers. In my case my phone replaced my computer.

        You see what I mean. It can be alot of things. Even TV. You remember the saying couch potato. Well now we have computer and phone couch potatoes.

        Same thing. Just different devices.

        • Yes, you are correct GF1. I know I spend more time on the computer than I should, but part of that is because of this airgun blog. 🙂 It’s addictive and I am almost OCD about reading every blog and comment each day. If I miss a day or two I go back and read until I catch back up again.

          My other vice is watching YouTube videos of computer builds and repairs. I just completed a new desktop computer build last month for myself. My old HP was 12 years old and I kept replacing parts in it to keep it going. Kind of like having an old car and wanting to keep it going as long as possible, just because you can. I do enjoy working on and repairing computers though. But technology moves pretty fast and sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with things. That’s where YouTube is a big help.

          • Geo
            Yep know what you mean about keeping something going. It’s like your use to it and know how it works. Especially when something performs good.

            If I could I would still be driving a 69 442 right now. I miss those old cars. And even working on them was easy.

            Sometimes change is good. Sometimes it’s not.

            • GF1,

              Yeah, those old Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs were great. I bought a new Ford Torino in ’69. I took really good care of it and washed and waxed it often. At the four year old mark it started rusting right through the tops of the fenders like an old Nash. At 50k the valves were shot and it needed a valve job. Ford had one of the “Bright Ideas” and changed a machining process that resulted in the valve seats being eccentric to the guides. It was nice when it was new but it sure didn’t hold up well. Should have gone with a GTO. What was I thinking? 😉


              • Geo
                I had them all. Most of the ones I bought at the time where in the 8-13 year old range.

                And we even put bigger cams in them and headers and intakes and carbs. And they ran thier butts off. And remember they had a bunch of miles on them already. I’m guessing why they worked is they was loosened up in the right places. We would do work to the oil pumps and run the right weight oil.

                Them engines lasted if you knew what you was doing. Just don’t miss a gear with a stick shift car or spin the tires hard with a automatic. If you did that after hopping them up that usually meant catastrophic failure. Them engines would rev so fast it wasn’t funny.

                Sounds like you didn’t do any car moding back then. I would of thought you did with your dad owning a auto repair shop.

                • Gunfun1,

                  No, I did not do anything to “soup” them up. My dad didn’t either at that time. Earlier on he had built a stock car, which after winning it’s first race, he sold. I never had my own car until I was 18 years old. It was a ’53 Chevy with 2nd gear out of it and I paid $35 for it. I changed the transmission three times, getting the first two from a junk yard and then deciding to get a rebuilt transmission and be done with it. Those old 235cid six engines had shims on the bearings and low pressure oil pumps with dippers to sling the oil. Oil filters were optional, and even then, were’t full flow so they didn’t do much to filter the oil. I changed the oil every 1000 miles. Coming home after prom I feel asleep and totaled it out. But I manage to buy all the parts I needed from a junk yard to fix it and my mom was a pretty good painter and painted it for me. It looked better than before I wrecked it. I drove that old Chevy for two years while going to tech school. Then when I started my first job I bought a ’65 Chevy and gave the ’53 to my mom to drive. After she had driven it a couple more years she sold it to my mother-in-law. They never did wear the old girl out. She sold it a few years later but it was still running.

                  I rebuild the engine in that old ’53 Chevy once. It had cast iron pistons and I had to knurl the skirts to silence the slight piston slap. I used plasti-gauge to adjust the bearing clearances to about .001″. She turned over slow and was very tight at first. I drove it no more than 35 mph for 500 miles. But then she ran forever after that.

                  My dad taught me to never abuse a car, if I wanted it to last. My friends would race their engines and lay rubber, but that wasn’t me. I’ve always babied my vehicles and have never had any serious issue with any of them. Had to tell you the story 🙂


                  • Geo
                    My brothers first car was a 54 Chevy Bel air.

                    It had the straight 6 originally too with the 3 on the tree. We later converted it to a 4 speed on the floor.

                    Then as time went he got a old 421 super duty from a early 60’s Pontiac. 2 AFB Carter’s and all. That went in then he got a old 12 bolt possible rear end from a 75 Oldsmobile Omega. That’s when it finally came together. That car was a runner.

                    But yep that 53 had the old enclosed drive shaft like my brothers 54 had. That went out the door real quick when we put that later model Olds rear end in my brothers old 54. Much easier to change transmissions after that mod.

                    And I hope you got to ride in some fast/quick cars that your buddies had back in the day. That’s like almost against the law to not run those old cars. 😉

                    • My dad’s repair shop was located on the corner of two roads. One of the roads was a steady incline for about 1/4 mile or so. My dad would sometimes test cars after tuning them by accelerating up that incline. I remember a lady at the local grocery store has a ’58 Ford with a police interceptor engine. My dad couldn’t figure how she ended up that car. He once drove it up the road with the incline and said he had to shut it down at 100 mph. That was a fast car! I also can remember a couple of brothers down the road having a ’56 Lincoln black over pink with matching upholstery. It was a really cool looking car too. They used to tease the constable who lived across the street from us on the other corner. They would come down the hill by our place and then squeal the tires around the corner. The constable would come flying out of his driveway with his big ’56 Buick flashing lights and all, and chase after them. All he ever saw was their tail lights as they sped away from him. We called the constable Barney Fife, a cop wantabe. I once road in a brand new Ford Edsel with a guy that had been a stock are driver. He would go to the tavern and get drunk. Then he would come by our place and put it in slide and shoot up that inclined road. Thing is, he only had one good arm and a glass eye but man could he drive. So yes, I saw and road in some fast cars back then. 🙂

    • Shootski
      Because they don’t have the desire.

      They don’t know what kind of fun and camaraderie can happen.

      Again another one of those how do you know what you don’t know as BB says.

      It’s almost like you have to have a family tradition involved for someone to get involved. We’ll also some of us just have some sort of drive that pulls us to something.

      I loved guns and motocross racing as a kid, then muscle cars and RC planes. I still do. So maybe that’s why some don’t even care to know about guns and such. They have no desire to do it.

    • Shootski
      And thinking more.

      My dad didn’t do motorcycles or cars. Well he had a old Cushman scooter he road on the farm. But he in no way wanted to work on or hot rod anything. He did have his own little machine shop in a part of the barn though. But it was for equipment repair. But on the other hand he liked his folk music and making guitars and playing them. Both his mom and dad never messed with music or played. So how did that come about?

      What is it DNA that is hidden in us that makes us want something or not want it???

      So no matter how much we hope someone gets involved in something. It just might not be meant to be.

      But at least putting it out there for a person to see I guess is a start to trying to get someone involved that never had the desire before. Guess it’s deeper than thought. As it usually tends to be.

    • Shootski
      I think you may have been a leader and instructor for a long time and it has become a way of life for you.

      Leading the way and righting wrongs has become second nature. You are exceptional and having been around exceptional people most of your life it may be a little hard to accept the fact that most people are challenged just to take care of their own lives and family and expressing their opinion is about as far as they can afford to go to change things.

      In a way, your asking people to become politicians instead of simply voting. Doing what we can to promote shooting sports I’m sure is always in the back of every shooters mind and when the opportunity presents itself we will do what we can.

      I just sent my half brother four 1077’s for him to get together with his three sons and hopefully they will enjoy the shooting sessions and join in on the hobby. They are 3,000 miles away.

      I also gave him links to P/A, this blog and all the great information within he should read.

      The way of life that involved firearms is fading away, no denial there and the opposition is becoming overwhelming. It just may be a losing battle no mater what we do in this political atmosphere.
      As a nation we have simply become apathetic, uneducated and lost the will to preserve our liberties trying to survive our economic realities. Preserving specialized shooting sports may be all we can hold on to.

      In my opinion, the damage was done when we ended the draft, spoiled most of our children, and failed to monitor our educational system. Boomers have not been the best caretakers of our nations economy and way of life and our children and theirs are paying the price. You need to run for president and fix it all ! 🙂
      Bob M

      • Bob M,

        Presidential pipe dream…even if a President of the USA could fix everything; I’m not qualified!
        Also as I’m certain you know; Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
        I wish more of our career legislative leaders understood that!

        I have pea shooter shooting, slingshot toting, Supersoaker and water balloon throwing Grandsons. They have been taught to respect these things by a Mom and Dad who are both highly skilled shooters! Small things each of us do to save our Liberties repeatedly can and do add up.
        Probably lots more than all of you making me your Emperor :^)


      • Bob
        Good for you with your half brother and his kids.

        They don’t shoot? Or your just trying to get them more involved?

        And that kind of surprises me if they don’t shoot. You are into guns pretty much. But thinking more now. Didn’t you just get connected to him if I’m remembering right.

        • Good memory. Guess you don’t hear the words half brother too often here. I have not met his three sons or even knew they existed till recently. One rides a Harley in the NYC area so I’m assuming he raised them to be confident brave men. Lost track of him in 1984.
          Just asked my brother if they might like to have some air rifles and he wondered why they never did in the first place. Not to popular back there and not permitted in the city proper and they never thought about the fact that they did not live there any more and it was legal. Figured they could have some competition fun with the same rifles. Harleys and muscle cars seem to be the topic of conversation with them. Must be in the blood.

  15. I just got back from the Pacific Airgun Expo. It was not much different than the last one and maybe even less tables. Obviously the Findlay show was top of the line. Thanks Derrick.

    I felt sorry for my friend that put a lot of effort into setting up three tables with one long one nothing but pellets, a huge assortment. There were more sellers than buyers. Too bad, I think it was just not advertised well enough. There were no big name vendors there. Well here is a picture, there were a few tables behind me that are not shown in the picture.


    • Don,

      Thank you. Yes, I do think that events are not advertised enough, which cost money and hurts the overall attendance. In Ohio, there is the PA Cup, Grove City show, Findlay show and maybe more and I have yet to see or hear of any in even one advertisement. Contacting the local news station would/could be a big benefit,… if they would give it some time. Live coverage or a summary follow up news spot might do real well. Oh,… Camp Perry as well. All,…. nothing, nata, zip.


      • Chris
        I’ve never understood why people go to all the work of organizing a gun show of any kind and then don’t publicize it! At least put flyers in gun shops, on gun club bulletin boards and yard signs.
        A local club has a gun show every year. They usually don’t check for date conflicts with other shows or advertize it very much. I’ve asked them to add the words “and airgun” to the name of the show but they won’t. Oh well, soon gunshows and many gun clubs will disappear. It won’t be lack of interest, it will be lack of imagination and willingness to change by the people that run them

        • Fido,

          Columbus, Ohio does advertise gun and knife shows with TV commercials on the local stations. I do not recall ever seeing anything in print.

          Print ads in the paper would be start for air gun only shows. The right person “could” convince a local news station to do a feature while at the same time emphasizing that air guns are a safer alternative to firearms and can be shot in a back yard or basement,… with proper considerations. Think off all of the people who had a Red Ryder as a youth,…. then,…. blow the public’s minds on what air gunning has evolved into.

          TV is free if you can get them to do a feature spot.

          I am sure BB has had his hand in a few show promo’s,…. so maybe he shall have an opinion on the whole process?


  16. At least at the Pacific Airgun Expo I was able to spend some of the money I had saved up for the show.

    My top deal was a Benjamin Pistol in the box that was in excellent condition and I got it for about half what it was worth to me $115. I could not believe no one had grabbed it yet.

    I also picked up two Benjamin 312’s for about what I think they are worth $150 each, they are in good condition. Someone did some refinishing on the older one on top in the picture. It looks like it has not been shot too much though. The newer one from the 1960’s is still original and is the one I wanted most. I have not shot them yet but they hold air and seem to pump strong so I wll see.

    I also could not help myself and bought a set of small drawers that were full of Crosman and Benjamin vintage parts (most are new old parts. Not sure what I will do with them yet there are more than I could ever use. There are new parts like the front sight/barrel band and breech that are soldered on the pump tubes along with the barrel on the old Benjamin pumpers. I have no idea what is in all envelopes. It may take a while to organize and inventory. I may contact someone that still works on these old guns and see if they are interested.


    • Benji-Don,

      Tootsie Rolls! Ah, the sweet memories of the candy and the airguns.

      Looks like parts bought in an Estate Sale.
      Just think of the Airgun dreams and projects those little brown and plastic bags represent.


    • Don
      Nice guns and way cool on the parts.

      And they still ship parts in those envelopes to this day. Which I do like. Tells you how established Crosman is. Why change what works. 🙂

    • Don,

      I have an old Crosman multi-pump model 147. My ex-son-in-law broke the pivot pin on it many years ago. He put it back in my gun cabinet and never even told me that he had broken it. I’ve had that old Crosman since I was about 14 years old. Wondering if by chance there would be one of those pins in this box of goodies.
      Here’s a picture of the broken pin. It appears to have a shoulder and was prick punched to keep it in place.


  17. B.B.,

    Great teaching techniques for the grandkids thanks. I will be trying them on the youngest one for sure.

    I am pretty sure I have a mainspring for your Benjamin 310, and a full array of the bolts for the different 31X series.

    Let me know if you need any parts.


  18. Iron sights have a huge advantage on airguns: they sit close to the barrel. Distribute some bottle caps on a distance of 2-15 yards. Get a scoped airgun, and one with iron sights. See which is easier to hit the targets with.

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