This report covers:

  • No adult supervision
  • Gunnin’ for pests
  • Back to the story
  • Armor-plated
  • Flies
  • So what?
  • And then…
  • This morning
  • Daisy 499
  • Thank you birdies
  • Why not birds and squirrels?
  • Summary

Today comes a report that I did not expect to write. I was all set to shoot the Crosman Fire again and see if I could get some decent groups when a great topic jumped up and slapped me in the face. I had to do something about it.

No adult supervision

As many of you know, BB is a bachelor. He therefore lives much as bachelors do. My male friends sometimes bring their wives by my house to show them how men are supposed to live, as in, “See, BB does it!” The wives are not impressed.

Gunnin’ for pests

As a result of my marital status, plus the fact that I write about airguns, let’s say my house looks somewhat defended to many wives. For instance, I have a gun collection that numbers about 100 airguns and another hundred firearms. In Texas that’s a hobby collection. In California it’s an arsenal. And let’s just say I have ammunition for all of my guns — sometimes quite a lot. Okay, still a hobby collection in Texas, but an arsenal of interest in California — something remarkable enough to get mentioned in political speeches.

And to further rub salt into everybody’s wounds, I display several of my guns on the wall in the living room! With a mindset like that, what do you think that I do with my Bug Assault and my Shred-Er? Right, they are just laying around for immediate action. I don’t have sandbags at my doors and windows but in many other ways my house resembles a bunker, or at the very least a hooch (Vietnam) — especially to those whose sensibilities are spring-loaded to be easily shocked and offended.

Bug-A-Salt
Bug-A-Salt 2.0.

BUG-A-SALT-SHRED-ER
Bug-A-Salt Shred-Er.

Back to the story

So, three weeks ago in the morning when I turned on the light in the kitchen and saw a field cricket on the wall behind my stove I reached for my Shred-Er, which was lying on my kitchen table. I didn’t think it would do the job, but from three feet away I got a one-shot kill. The critter never moved after he hit the floor. I didn’t want to hurt him; I wanted to kill him, and that’s exactly what the Shred-Er did.

Armor-plated

Field crickets are armor-plated around most of their bodies so I aimed for the head. It’s also hard but it’s full of eyes and antennae, so the Shred-Er could do the most damage. From three feet it wasn’t a tough shot and I know where the Shred-Er hits because I use it all the time. But I really wondered whether a cricket was too large a target. As it turned out, it wasn’t.

I was going to write a follow-on report about the Shred-Er but one cricket didn’t seem like enough to tell you. Then a week later another cricket appeared in the kitchen in the same spot at the same time. It was another Shredder shot with identical results. Wow! This opened my eyes to the possibility of a whole new range of opportunistic targets.

And I don’t wanna hear about your silly cricket superstitions, either! If one of them starts singing When you Wish Upon a Star, I’ll give him a pass.

Shop Benjamin Rifles

Flies

When I first got it many years ago I assumed the Bug-A-Salt was for houseflies and critters of similar size. And I still hold with that assumption. For flies there isn’t anything better. Because it kills them without smashing them against the wall where it leaves a mark.

BUG-A-SALT-SHRED-ER
Housefly on the wall.

I did discover while testing the Bug-A-Salt that the sea salt I was using that has large crystals, resulting in a blown pattern that often missed flies.

BAS 2.0 sea salt
The sea salt I had loaded has large crystals that often miss the houseflies at close range.

BAS 2.0 3 feet
Flies can easily escape the impacts of the large sea salt crystals because there are fewer of them in a charge. This is the pattern that sea salt shot from the BUG-A-SALT 2.0 gave at 3 feet. It’s still way too open to hit flies reliably. You are looking at about 3 inches square in the densest section of the pattern.

BAS 2.0 fine salt
I loaded this finer Himalayan Pink salt into my BUG-A-SALT 2.0.

BAS 2.0 fine salt pattern 3 inches
And this is the pattern that finer salt gave at 3 feet.

So what?

Okay, so the Bug-A-Salt 2.0 with the right salt loaded is now rough on houseflies and the Shred-Er can take crickets. Big whoop! 

And then…

And then I walked outside my front door one morning at 4 a.m. about a week ago and there on the threshold of the front door was a cicada! That’s a housefly with a body about two inches long. I hear them in the trees a lot this summer, but this is the first live one I have seen on the ground. But wait a minute — is it alive? It’s lying on its back and when the June bugs do that they are either dying or dead. But when I walked up for a closer look the critter erupted and flew up into my face. Yep, it was alive!

This morning

So this morning is about a week later and there on the front walk  just in front of the door is Mr. Cicada, daring me to go back through the door after I set up the sprinkler to water my front lawn. Ok, I know what to do. This thing is only a little larger than a field cricket; I’ll get the Shred-Er. Well, five shots to the head only served to get Mr. Cicada to hunker down threateningly. I think his wings had holes because when he erupted he didn’t fly very high.

I know! I’ll get a pellet rifle! But which one? I can’t use a scoped rifle because the range is 10-15 feet. I don’t have a pellet rifle with open sights sighted in for that distance. Whatever shall I do! The cobbler’s children have no shoes!

And then it came to me. What hyper-accurate airgun do I own that’s good at 15 feet? The Daisy 499!

Daisy 499

The 499 is so accurate that I don’t have to aim at the cicada. I aim at its head. So I did, and at 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning I shot the head off a cicada on my front walk. Remember — I didn’t want to hurt him. I wanted to kill him.

cicada
The 499 nailed the cicada in the head.

Thank you birdies

Unlike my kitchen floor where I have to pick up the dead crickets, when I shoot things outside the birds will clean up my walk for me. By noon someone has picked up their piece of protein and flown away. I know this because my yard has dozens of Japanese beetles and until now I have been stepping on them. The birds know this and start cleaning away the carcasses as soon as the sun rises.

Well, my treatment of the beetles is gonna change! I’m keeping the 499 by the front door for pest duty, along with a pill bottle of Daisy Avanti Precision Ground shot.

Why not birds and squirrels?

We have lots of pigeons or rock doves or I don’t know what they are here in north central Texas. They like to light on rooftops and coo. They would be easy shots. My Air Arms S510XS could take them down without anyone knowing. Why not them? Because — it’s too easy.

Then why not a squirrel? There are far fewer of them around here, but they do exist. But I don’t need to demonize them by calling them tree rats. If they were nibbling on my electrical wires or trying to get into my attic, then they would be fair game. But otherwise — no.

Insects, on the other hand, are fair game. I used to live in Maryland where there were a LOT of carpenter bees and the 499 would have been perfect for them. They hover but they also move around a lot, so it would have been sporting. I use to whomp them with a racquetball racket. The 499 would have been better.

We also have lots of wasps where I live. I can’t hit them on the wing, but when they land I can sure pick them off and that 499 is made for such sport.

Summary

Finally BB has found something fun to hunt. The June bugs are on as well, and they are always around in warm weather. I’ll just back up until the range is just right.

Like I said, I had planned to write about something else today, but this came up and I just had to tell you about it.