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I shot the couch!

This report covers:

  • More than the couch
  • Sear safety and the hole in the ceiling
  • BSF trigger
  • Big note aside 
  • Holes in the doorjamb
  • I shot the couch
  • .222 Remington fired by itself
  • The first rule of gun safety

Reader Yogi asked for this one, and, as I am preparing a lesson on gun safety for the Royal Rangers this week, it fits right in. Yes — I once shot the couch.

More than the couch

But that wasn’t all I shot. I shot the ceiling in my office — twice. I shot the doorjamb leading to the garage — twice. There is a pellet hole in my office wall that I don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there when we bought the house — brand new. There is a deep dent in the steel door of a storage cabinet in my office. I once fired a .222 Remington centerfire rifle into the ground while closing the bolt. And, as Yogi so faithfully commented, while disassembling a spring rifle I had a breakbarrel mainspring get away from me and throw a heavy end cap into a desk drawer divider, breaking it in half.

Sear safety and the hole in the ceiling

Either Dr. Robert Beeman or Robert Law remarked in one of their catalogs that molybdenum disulphide grease made trigger sears too slippery. They warned never to use it, but being a contrarian (that’s French for airgunner), I disagreed. And I was right — sort of. I said triggers don’t act like clutches. Therefore reducing the friction in one to nil should have no negative impact on its function. But it will make it easier and hopefully smoother to pull. That’s true for some triggers like the Rekord and the one in the TX200 Mark III. Not as true for a BSF trigger!

BSF trigger

The BSF trigger does have some aspects of a clutch to it. Lubricating one with moly grease may work or it may not. It all depends on the trigger and how much it has been used. The more they are used, the smoother and lighter BSF triggers become. Please read a quote from a report I did back in 2008.

The trigger

A BSF trigger is a marvel of manufacturing. One look at how it’s made and most of you would swear that the gun is nothing but junk. I know I did. The sear is actually made from thin steel plates riveted together to form a solid piece. In the days before CNC machining became affordable, this was a way of making steel parts cheaply.

BSF sear
There’s some high-class 1960’s cost-cutting! The sandwich sear actually works great.

BSF trigger adjust
Maybe you can’t read German, but you’d have to be from Mars to not understand the trigger adjustment. It works, too.

But it WORKS! Oh, how it works! Robert Law said these triggers are rough to begin with, but they eventually wear in to very smooth. That sounds like hype, but it’s the truth. The rifle I bought was well-used for about 30 years by its owner, whose brother told me he remembers shooting it as a kid. Now, the trigger is soooooo smoooooooth! When I cocked and loaded the rifle for the first time, the trigger was set so light that the gun fired when I closed the barrel, so now I had a hole in the ceiling of my office. Thankfully I was pointing the muzzle in a safe direction when it happened!

I immediately adjusted the trigger to have greater sear contact. I also read in an ARH catalog that you should never adjust a BSF 55/70 trigger too light or this is exactly what will happen. The trigger adjustment worked as the markings indicate, and now I have a safe rifle with a delightful two-stage trigger that breaks with 2 lbs., 6 ozs. of pressure.

Big note aside 

We are back in 2021 and I have recently acquired a Marksman 71 breakbarrel rifle to test for you blog readers. I mention this now because that rifle was made by Weihrauch right after they purchased the BSF company in the 1980s. It is a blend of the last sporting breakbarrel BSF was making, which I think was the S70, and the first rifle they were about to make for Beeman, which I think was the R10. I also have an S70 and an HW 85, which is a Weihrauch version of the Beeman R10. It should be fun to look at this “missing link” between BSF and Beeman/Weihrauch. Mentioning the trigger brought it to mind. Now let’s get back to today’s report.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

Holes in the doorjamb

My indoor 25-yard range stretches from my bedroom through the living room and into the garage, where the bullet trap is located. There is a clear path through all this space, but when it passes through the door to the garage, it gets tight.

I was accuracy-testing a Chinese-made breakbarrel and it was shooting too far to the right. I nicked the molding on the doorjamb and then planted another one solidly in the center! The scope I was sighting through was one that came bundled with the rifle and it wouldn’t focus down to 25 yards, so I didn’t see the stray shots until I went downrange. The shot that hit the center of the doorjamb sounded so different that I was alerted to cease fire and investigate.

shot doorjamb
An errant Chinese breakbarrel put two pellets into my doorjamb. Yes, I know it’s dirty! Bad BB!

I protect the space behind the target trap with an impenetrable synthetic cutting board most of the time. But sometimes the gun I am shooting misses even that! (I don’t miss, of course. It’s always the gun that misses!)

shot shelving
At the bullet trap both the lower and upper plastic shelving rails have been damaged by pellets over the 16 years I have been shooting at it. Lotsa holes under that tape. I have probably shot more than 25,000 shots at this setup since 2005. There are holes in the drywall behind the trap, as well.

I shot the couch

That was a one-liner from vaudeville. A guy walks out onstage in a gaudy suit and the comic asks, “What did you do, shoot your couch?”

But I actually did it. I shot my couch!

I was testing a Chinese underlever spring rifle from 25 yards and the end of my couch was in the way. Since the couch was about nine inches lower than my line of sight I figured it would be okay, but the Chinese rifle figured differently. I thought Edith would explode when I told her, but she took it quite well. Little did I know she wanted a new couch and loveseat and thought this was the opportunity she had been waiting for. We used that old couch for at least three more years, throwing an Afghan over the place with the hole, but Edith never tired of pulling it away to show guests what I had done. I don’t have any pictures of that one to show you. I think reader Kevin got to see it.

.222 Remington fired by itself

I was in Germany in the 1970s. One summer morning at around 4 a.m. I was walking from my car to the high seat to shoot a roe deer if I saw one. I had just adjusted the trigger of my Sako rifle the evening before. I set it light because I liked a real light trigger at that time.

When I chambered a round and went to lower the bolt to uncock the action, the sear slipped and I fired a round into the ground.

The first rule of gun safety

The point is — NEVER POINT A GUN AT ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TO SHOOT! That is the first rule of gun safety and, as far as I’m concerned, rule two tells you to refer back to rule one.

And that was why I welcomed this opportunity to share some of my stories with you today.

Some of my stories? Yep! I do have more. But that’s it for now.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

57 thoughts on “I shot the couch!”

  1. Hello BB,
    Browsing through the 13th edition of the Blue Book. Found the following.
    Page 503

    Fabrica Argentina De Rifles De Aire Comprimido

    BTW

    My older brother, a Marine, asked me to put away an older Remington 870 in my gun safe. A few days later went to the safe to retrieve an air pistol. Took the shotgun out, sat it on the floor (butt up)and went off. Shot my brand new ceiling fan. The noise, the smoke, the smell, all those pieces flying through the air. The huge hole in the ceiling. My husband and my brother were not in speaking terms for over a year.

    • Alex2no,

      I suppose most of us have put away a cocked gun. I know I have. I don’t think I put one that was cocked and loaded, but my rememberer isn’t as sharp as it once was.

      Every gun is loaded all the time.

      BB

  2. B.B.,

    The safety lesson can start with a sort of show and tell as to what sort of damage airguns can do. I recall being very impressed when a teacher struck a knife through a coin, maybe something like that. By the way here’s the picture of the desk divider from /blog/2008/07/when-bad-things-happen-airgun-accidents/ . The C1 end cap hit this desk divider to the right of the crack (see the dent in the wood) and busted it in two.

    There is also a picture of the hole in the couch and ceiling.

    Siraniko

  3. B.B.

    There is a story around my range, they have an airgun section, a firearm section, an archery section, and a trap and skeet section. The story goes that somebody left their shotgun loaded and when they closed their car trunk, the shotgun went off. Unfortunately, the shot hit the fellow in the chest.

    This came up because the airgun section has a sloping plywood ceiling. I am never sure it I should point my airguns at the ceiling or the floor. If the floor, I do not want to shoot myself in the foot! If ceiling, I do not want a ricochet that might hit other people. What is a guy supposed to do?

    -Y

  4. When you ride a motorcycle there is never any question about crashing it. The question is how hard will you hit the ground when you do. Now I’m about convinced the same holds true for guns. Will I ever accidently fire it? The question should be what am I going to hit when I do? So I’m going to assume that’s why they invented rule #1 Never point a gun at anything you do not intend to shoot.
    So far I have shot the ground in front of me and knocked a shower tile off in my neighbors house … from inside my bedroom … with an empty gun! ( Long story there ) So much for walls. Talk about an ear splitting shock that was, along with the panic that set in worrying about where the bullet went.

    And I have also shot a pellet into my couch. Missed the target I had on a box sitting on it from only about 10 feet away and I think it was BB who 10 years or so ago suggested I check the screws in the stock for tightness. They were ready to fall out.
    They say safety rules in aviation are written in blood and I’m sure it can be said of firearms as well.

  5. Off subject a bit.

    I have a love / hate relationship with Bug Buster scopes. Well, the truth is the only thing I hate about them is the thick wire reticle. I would prefer if they had a fine laser etched reticle, however the thick reticle is kind of nice when you are looking up into the thick canopy, trying to sight on a fuzzy tailed tree rat.

    Recently I got my grubby little paws on the 3-12X32. This thing gets the coveted 3 R rating. This morning I found out they also have a 3-9X32 made just like it.

    https://leapers.com/index.php?act=prod_detail&midx=2288&allids=2266_2288&itemno=SCP-M392AOD

    Guess What RidgeRunner would like for Christmas.

    • RR
      That’s a Mil-Dot scope? You know I’ll bet that’s why they invented the dual reticle? Thick and Thin. I like them. Especially the ones with a little tiny red dot in the center. Sorry that dot is on the circle dot scope not the regular reticle. But you can always mix them both.

  6. This is my most recent misfire/mistake result. I had a bolt loaded in my new Air Javelin and had the safety on while I was screwing in the Umarex twin 12 gram cartridge adapter. I knew the safety was on but didn’t remember loading the bolt. The valve leaked enough CO2 into the “barrel”, before it sealed itself off, to launch the bolt into my 65 inch flat screen TV. I had a very pointy after market field point mounted on the bolt and it made a teeny tiny dent in the TV’s screen, or so I thought. When I turned on the TV this is what it looked like. The TV will no longer tune in any channels or get any sound and I assume it’s because it knows the screen is toast and could maybe start a fire or something. The good news is that the gun was laying across my basement shooting bench just because that seemed like the best way to screw in the adapter. If I had, instead, decided that putting the butt on the floor and standing over the muzzle was an easier way to install the CO2, the results would have been much more serious. Maybe I would have noticed that there was a bolt loaded or maybe not, but one thing I do know is that I wasn’t thinking about the valve passing gas until it sealed and launching a bolt, even though I heard gas blow on the 2 previous cartridge reloads. I was lucky but one shouldn’t depend on luck. I just got careless.

    Half

  7. BB,

    Good article. I was shooting my 92FS indoors at a 2×2 wood block. The pellet hit the block, came back 15′ and to the right, ricocheting off a wall, continued over my head to another wall, bounced off that and landed in the kitchen on the floor.

    “Tuning” the trigger on the .22 Maximus, I had the action out of the stock to make things easier and faster (to adjust and use the trigger gauge). It was a bit awkwards to hold. One shot went into a wall. Another shot went off while holding the rifle at mid body level with the muzzle pointed back and left. That shot embedded itself into wood trim by the kitchen stove.

    I also got the breaker panel door with a shot from a .22 TX200. That was early in and had yet to make an adequate trap and backstop. Nice dent in the door.

    The .25 Red Wolf’s electronic trigger is around 6-7 ounces. Yup,… that is one to be paying attention to! No mishaps with that one,… yet. 😉

    Chris

  8. BB

    You probably knew someone was going to mention the muzzle loading Daisy 499 when you made this comment. Nuff said from me.

    This report is a much needed reminder for all gun folks

    Deck

    • Deck,

      In one more evening I teach a bunch of kids gun safety — USING A 499. Gonna teach ’em the first rule of gun safey, which is to never point a gun at anything you don’t want to shoot., Rule two is — see rule one.

      BB

  9. Have many fond memories of spending time with B.B. and Edith. Yes, I remember seeing the couch that was killed with one shot. I sat on it. It impressed me that B.B. didn’t gut the couch after he shot it.

    Another thing that happened with B.B. and Edith that I’ll never forget was getting to pull the trigger on their wilson combat. B.B. is too humble to admit it but he is very skilled with gunsmithing firearms. B.B. knows his way around triggers. His wilson combat had one of the finest triggers I’ve ever pulled and I shoot Les Baers on a regular basis.

    Well, since we’re confessing today on what we’ve shot accidentally, here’s my recent story. Bought a used pcp and it arrived about 2 weeks ago. It had problems. Magazine wouldn’t index properly and when the stock was snug to the action the trigger was bound and the gun wouldn’t fire. Fixing the indexing was a pain. The trigger problem was caused by bubba who during the installation of an external power adjuster relieved too much wood in the stock. I had to build the stock back up.

    During this process I had the gun in a vise on my workbench and spent lots of time making sure the trigger worked properly and the magazine indexed correctly. Mostly firing with an empty magazine installed. Late at night after several hours of working on this gun I installed a partially loaded magazine to make sure the pellet probe properly followed the newly indexed magazine. Out of habit I pulled the trigger.

    The pellet hit a newly arrived package that my wife put on the end of my workbench that contained a gallon jug of castor oil (we use it on our roses to keep voles at bay). Pellet went through both sides of the shipping box and obviously both sides of the gallon jug of castor oil. My penance was cleaning up a gallon of castor oil from my workbench, drawers under the workbench, floor. etc. Took more than one roll of shop towels.

  10. We have all had our accidents, from mental lapses in judgement.

    I did have one that was a factory (or should I say a CMP defect)
    Years ago, I bought a National Match M1 through the CMP to replace the aging one I was using in competition.

    I was shooting my own loads, and had my bullet seating depth set for my standard barrel gun.

    In adjusting my depth for the tighter barrel, every thing went well, as I was letting the bolt close on single loaded rounds.

    After I got the depth set, to check feeding, I loaded 8 rounds, put them in the enbloc clip, set the safety, loaded the clip, and let the operating rod go.

    BOOM!
    A 30-06 in a 10x25ft room is loud, hole in the ceiling, through a 2×8 joist, and out the roof.

    I stopped, the safety was still engaged, I unloaded it, and started looking around.

    I loaded 8 more rounds WITHOUT POWDER OR PRIMERS, which I should have done in the first place.

    If I loaded a full 8 round clip, the hammer would drop on the first round, and all others would cycle without issues.

    It went back to the CMP for evaluation.

  11. Off topic question…
    I was given a BAM B3-1 (AK style, side lever). There was not even enough to make the pellet leave the chamber. So I successfully built a spring compressor and removed the piston. The seal was all cracked off and the cap part was stuck I the compression chamber.

    Which piston seal do I want to replace this crumbled one with? I have seen a Australian company that sells a green 25mm parachute style seal – says it will fit 25mm to 1 in. I am wondering if that would slip on over the saucer washer without buying their adapter… I am wide open to suggestions.
    Thanks,
    Jeff

  12. BB, I know to stand at an oblique angle to hard targets, now. That 40mm flare I hit with the R10 with a buddy barbqueing on the Shenandoah river one time came wizzing by head, like fast. The little .223 blanks will probably eject their primers when hit as well, i cant remember. I also ground off the side of my side stand while leaning up out of the sweeper entering the Golden Gate bridge one foggy morning going way too fast. There was a curb there. I had to pull over on that one, check shorts. There’s a few scary storys here. Shooting has always been expensive to do, in one way or another, it didn’t just get that way recently. To affordably shoot high capacity military weapons is a self regulating problem, it’s not really possible for anyone to do it except, the ‘state’, and without surplus ammo to feed them, the average shooter will discover other guns to shoot that are fun too.
    Carfully.
    R
    R

  13. Well, in his 20s, FM put a hole in the “popcorn” ceiling in his room with the .22 38T while proudly showing the revolver to a buddy. “I can’t believe it was loaded!”

    Checked the ceiling recently on a visit – the hole has been patched up. No “Senior Moment” excuse applied at the time, not even in an academic sense.

    The worst incident in this department took place about two years ago when, at another friend’s place, we were getting ready to clean our firearms after a nice range session. My amigo was trying to rack his 9mm Kimber pistol, to ensure no round was chambered – you guessed it, the pistol went off…FM was standing about 2’ away and the detonation scared the poopenheimer outta me. Another friend standing by, a very safety-minded guy screamed “What the XXXX are you doing!? Put the gun down and get away from it!” The involuntary shooter was highly mortified – FM had introduced him to shooting 45 years earlier and he still remembered the First Rule imparted by his friend, which is B.B.’s Shooting Safety Rule. At least there was no damage, except to his confidence, a solid wood cabinet door, the shelf and the wall behind it.

    Here is a Cosmic Rule when it comes to accidents caused by making unwarranted assumptions and being careless: Sheet happens and accidents accelerate the flow of sheet.

    • Basil,

      Praise the Lord on that one! The same guy who soldered a CO2 gun and exploded it, check-fired a 9mm pistol into the ceiling at a gun show. After everyone got up off the floor he was asked to leave and never return.

      BB

  14. I didn’t accidently fire a gun, but decided to work on a C02 pistol for the first time (A Daisy 200). I was green and didn’t know what I was doing. I left the C02 cart. installed with a lot of gas still in it. I was taking it a part and POW. Parts flew everywhere. I never stopped to think that he “shell” was holding all the parts together. It’s funny now, but wasn’t then. Stuff flew right by my head. At the least it could have put my eye out. I was never able to get that gun back together right.

    Doc

    • Doc,

      Someone told me about a guy (I won’t say who because he is well known) who was soldering on a CO2 pistol with CO2 still in it. BOOM!

      BB

      • Tom,

        On another forum TODAY an airgunner asked if if would be ok to relieve the pressure in a HPA vessel that he had overfilled by DRILLING A HOLE IN IT since there wasn’t another way he new of to relieve the pressure!

        Here’s the real reason for my post. Don’t know if this will help you or not in your upcoming gun safety training for new shooters but it’s been weighing heavily on my mind.

        Do you know the story of Trey Cooley being killed at the Dallas Texas pistol and revolver gun range in 1991?

        This tragedy underscores why individual and corporate gun safety is so important.

        Trey was sitting on a chair in the Airgun Range of this shooting club when he was killed by an errant bullet fired from the adjacent pistol range. The TV show Forensic Files did an episode on this gun safety violation:

        https://www.dailymotion.com/airgun-video/x51sndz

  15. My worst story includes two enthusiastic young teens and two Umarex Steel Storms.
    The guns arrived in the mail, we read the instructions, loaded them up and headed down to our basement range. Our backstop at the time was a gamo pellet trap, filled with blocks of putty to absorb the b.b.’s. We set up target in the trap and went back and tried the guns on single shot.
    Not bad accuracy.
    Then we tried them on full auto.
    Unfortunately we were not prepared that on full auto they are a little hard to control…and with the target 10m away it was not that easy to see what was happening.
    A couple full auto bursts later from each gun and we went down to see the results. About 1/2 the b.b.’s (at least a couple dozen) were embedded in the drywall.
    Opps!!
    Their mom was less than pleased.

  16. Well I guess this article and all the similars stories told by the readers prove that we are still lucky to be alive. With morons like use running around it is no wonder the world is all messed up.

    -Yogi
    PS At least nobody has admitted to “shooting their eye out”, not yet anyway…

    • Yogi,

      Not shooting related, but a fellow I worked with lost an eye around 7 years old. A bunch of young boys were standing around watching a bunch of older boys splitting wood. A sledge hit the top of a non-dressed (mushroomed) splitting wedge and a small chunk flew off and caught him square in the eye.

      Chris

  17. My folks owned and rented the house next door. When I was about 10 years of age, I was over at the rental house messing around with their 13 year old son. We were in his bedroom and he got his older brother’s shotgun out of the closet and was showing it to me. His brother had recently gotten out of the Marines. Anyway, Jimmy was sitting on his bed with the 12 gauge pump shotgun across his lap. He racked the action and the gun went off. He must have had his finger on the trigger when he racked it. It blew a 3″ hole out through the side of the house! His dad’s Plymouth was sitting about 25′ feet from the house. The shot broke every window in his dad’s car! Needless to say, his dad and brother were not happy. I was standing only a few feet from Jimmy with the gun went off. Glad I wasn’t standing in front of the barrel! I would have been a goner for sure. It was a hard lesson for both Jimmy and me.

    Another time I was out in the backyard with my 20 gauge shotgun. I was throwing tin cans up into the air and shooting them before they hit the ground. There was a large hill behind our house and the next house down the road was on the other side of that hill, maybe 200 yards away. Well, the neighbor came driving into our drive, all upset because he had been outside working on the roof of his garage and pellets were raining down on him. Another lesson learned. The good news is that we became very close and he and his wife became my god parents. I was probably about 13-14 years of age at the time.

    Geo

  18. BB,
    “The sear is actually made from thin steel plates riveted together to form a solid piece. ”
    That is a very interesting fabrication technique and one that I have ruminated on a few times. It strikes me as being rugged and crack resistant. The final result really depends on how much care is taken, a badly machined block of steel vs a badly made bunch of stamping…. imagine if that was laser/water jet cut now. I feel the pain of losing fabrication techniques to bigger badder better more expensive methods. Car bodies are still stamped ( the metal is getting thinner and thinner… ) . Well thought out stamped metal is very interesting! Especially when they try to make one piece do a lot. The Red Ryder springing to mind. ( see what I did there…). A book on all the fabrication techniques used to make air rifles would be cool to read! : – ) Robert.

    • RobertA,

      But, that method does not harden the sear surfaces leading to the smoothening of the trigger over time with the eventual accidental discharge from a slipping sear. Practically all industrial manufacturing methods can be used in fabricating airgun parts, the question boils down to which would be the simplest, easiest and cheapest.

      Siraniko

      • Siraniko,
        The individual stampings could be heat treated. It really depends on what you make the stamping out of etc. They could be 4130 CrMo or it could be bog standard furniture grade steel . If you chuck them on the conveyor belt treatment line and leave that going all night you will come back to a small mountain of parts. So I see your point. And I have just eaten my way through a very large bowl of yoghurt and feijoas, so take that! mmmm fresh fruit. : – ) Robert.

  19. Ok, will share one. I have not myself, but we had a very close one at Pyramyd AIR. A 9mm Career 707, returned by a customer for a power upgrade. Gunsmith had it on the bench, gun fired (custom trigger job on a big bore, eh?). Pellet went through 2 dry walls missing someone’s head by a few inches. Needless to say procedures have been different ever since at Pyramyd AIR for the past 12 years.

  20. B.B.,
    I’ve been thinking for days now about any inputs toward your gun safety course, like thinking back over my experiences with teaching kids to shoot. This may not be relevant as you may not even allow them to be present when you are teaching, but the thing that sticks out most in my mind is smart phones. Yes, it is true that, in general, the young girls I’ve taught to shoot listened more carefully than the boys. However, teen girls are big on shooting videos of their friends; it’s like something they just do automatically. While I was teaching one of my neighbor girls to shoot, her sister got in front of the firing line (over to the side, not in line with the shooting, but still IN FRONT of the firing line…not good!). So, I had her sister who was about to shoot (a Unarex NRA Colt Peacemaker) put the gun down, then I explained why we NEVER go in front of the firing line when someone is shooting!
    (I then showed her the correct place to stand and shoot a video.)
    I thought about banning all phones from the area while teaching them to shoot, but then decided against it for this reason: the videos have audio; hence, when they show their friends the videos of themselves shooting, in the background, I am talking gun safety, and explaining step by step what they are doing and why. So by allowing the videos, not only are the lessons preserved as a reminder for the shooters, but their friends, who were not present but who will be watching the videos later, may pick up a safe shooting tip that will prevent them from having a mishap someday.
    OK; I’ll climb down off my soapbox now.
    Anyway, I think what you’re doing for these kids is really cool, and I pray it works out great!
    Take care & God bless,
    dave

  21. And the headline reads …
    The Cat In The Hat and a host of other Dr. Zeuss characters were killed today and reduced to confetti when a person who wanted to check a shotgun to see if it was loaded actually loaded it and fired it into the chest of draws they were residing in.
    While the shotgun was originally not loaded, the act of operating the pump slide to check it forced a shell into the barrel on closing. And it fired because the perpetrator had his finger resting on the trigger as the gun moved forward at the end of the pump stroke. Their remains will be sprinkled over the next annual Mother Goose Parade.
    The perpetrator stated, “It made a lot of noise but I didn’t think I shot anything”

  22. Tales from the garage:
    So I am fiddling about with my F.E.G’s ( yes I have two, both .177 Relums.) trying out washer preload and comparing sproings etc. So I have this antique ’70s smoked glass ashtray what I use for a parts tray. It’s heavy and deep enough to be just right. So I toss the very small main break barrel pin lock screw into the ashtray. Safe as houses…. I’m in the garage, a dingy affair with a dirt floor, dry rot and a rather flimsy bench ( none of it is mine and I am lucky to have this much) but I can lock the door and escape to my collection of junk and my music collection and fiddling with stuff. Phew.
    So I took the end cap off the spring tube and dropped into the ash tray… cachenk! ….ting … what that… oh dear the large end cap had just so landed in the ashtray like a tiddly wink and squeezed the tiny screw out like a bullet. I heard it hit the tin wall. Check. Then nothing. No landing. Noooooooo…… Normally I hyper study the landing sound to ascertain where it landed, but this time there was none.
    Between the bench and wall is a gap. The screw must have bounced down there…. into the tubs full of random tools…. threes tubs later, nothing. Ok it might have gone further. Down on my hands and knees with a spot light…. nope. Ok maybe it bounced off on a angle? So I increase the search area going wider. Another tub of tools gets searched. No. mmm it made not sound on impact and the rubbish bin is full of grease coverd wipes… so I uncrumple every wipe looking for the screw. No. Sigh.
    Between the wall and the wall bottom plate ( dry rot ) is a gap and I can see outside…. maybe it fell through there? So I go out side and down on my hands and knees carefully go through the leaf litter looking for this tiny communist screw ( Hungary 1970… ) …nope. Back into the garage. I get back down on my hands and knees and search the gravel debris etc under the bench with the spot light. Nothing. I put everything back and start to tidy the bench hoping It might have bounced off the tin wall and onto the bench. Nix. I am about to pull my hair out. OK I will go back outside with the spotlight on an extension cord and search again. I do. I tell myself if I find the flipping screw I will do a write up in BB’s blog. Things are not looking good. I start looking further along the side of the garage in desperation. ( a couple of inches …). Now when you start searching for screws you start itemising the things you need to recognise. The slot, the round end, the threads etc… the colour… and can I see a very faint series of parallel lines in the the sandy dirt leaf litter ??? I reach out and gingerly pick this tiny UFO out of the grit crud and gunk… ITS THE SCREW !!!!!!!! I hold it tight, stand up, walk back into the garage, pick a up large magnet and stick the screw to the magnet and deposit both into the ash tray. Safe. I sigh, breath out and breath in through the nose and out through my mouth. That took over an hour. Moral of the story? Smoking is bad for you health…. ( No really: Never give up!!!! ) : – ) Robert.

    • Robert,

      I had a small trigger spring take fight one time. Luckily, things were pretty quiet at the time and (like you) tried to remember the sounds it made during it’s rouge flight. After about an hour, I found the spring on top of the kitchen cabinets. Another time, a very small ball bearing was found under the stove.

      Did you get the car running again?

      Chris

      • Chris USA,
        External circlips…. gosh and heck can they fly a looooooooong way.
        I now have one new head gasket set and one very expensive jigsaw puzzle…. do I do the valves while I have the head off ??? Racing cams? New chain and sprockets? Stalanium valve shims ??? All this and more could be yours for only…. ( I will do a test assemble run through before I go live with the very clean engine parts….) : – ) Robert.

  23. I have a couple of holes in drywall and my ballistic closet door jams, but nothing spectacular like above. My solid concrete back wall, in the closet has had a few chips taken out (that I had to repaint flat black), but those come from errant scopes at even 10′ at first fire.

    My vignette is slightly different. I have a venerable Beeman P-1 Pistol in .177. It has shot tens of thousands of rounds since the very early 1990’s (it is on its second mainspring). About a year ago, I began to notice premature let offs of “nearly aimed” shots. I thought it was me returning from cycling to shooting with the onslaught of fall and winter weather, and it was a matter of lack of practice. This happened a number of times even when I would line up my shot BEFORE my trigger finger was fully settled at the ready position on the trigger. I knew something was amiss.

    I turned out that the self-polished sear system was too light. It was getting dangerous, but I had had no unfortunate let offs at that point, just discharges by the very barest of pressure on the trigger. I got out the Beeman manual and turned in more preload on the initial trigger set. The problem was solved. It is still the best trigger in the gun cabinet, but no longer is “independent” of an actual determined pull – light though it is.

    The lesson I learned, beyond the basics of safety and sense, is to monitor the let off point of all my air arms, and, in particular, the venerable ones. While I love a light trigger and hate an heavy one (my Trevox trigger, for example), one can too easily and imperceptivity be lulled into a dangerous situation due to a long adaptation to a minutely changing mechanical function. Friction is both a foe and a friend in triggers; it is friction, trigger blade resistance, that lets us know where we are when shooting.

    When my older arms begin to get too “sweet,” in terms of trigger function, I begin to get a little suspicious and get out the manuals. It is one thing to be an idiot and shoot the ballistic closet door jam, it is another to be a SUPRISED idiot and put a hole in it because one doesn’t pay attention to the mechanical condition of one’s air arm.

    • “It is one thing to be an idiot and shoot the ballistic closet door jam, it is another to be a SUPRISED idiot and put a hole in it because one doesn’t pay attention to the mechanical condition of one’s air arm.”
      Amen! Well said. =>

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