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Ammo An unexpected expedition

An unexpected expedition

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 2.0.

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.


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.

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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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

49 thoughts on “An unexpected expedition”

  1. Or at least in a shadow box on the wall, but then that would deprive the birds of their new found exotic taste of beheaded salted cicada…

    So, are you going to start calling the morning birds “porch pirates”?
    Or the “sanitation crew”.


  2. Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), I have a couple of questions: had you dismissed the Daisy 499 due to a concern for ricochets and for ensuring that the projectiles stay on your side of the fence, what would you have chosen?

    Also, I wonder about your storage solution: for example, are the multitude of guns and their accessories, in their boxes on warehouse style shelving? I wish I had kept more of the original packaging, especially for stacking my handguns. 🙂

          • Thanks thedavemyster, nice of you to say. 🙂

            I almost decided against uploading that picture, because, as per Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)’s article, I am aware of how some might perceive it, ie a “..hobby collection..” versus an “..arsenal..”.
            And / or bragging.

            Once upon a time, I myself would have thought ‘There’s obviously something seriously wrong in the heads of these sad people, to amass this amount of weaponry!’.
            Yeah, well, maybe I was right, but it’s all history now! 🙂

            If I may, what’s your current airgun collection like, for example what type have you more of?

        • “If I may, what’s your current airgun collection like, for example what type have you more of?”
          hihihi, actually, most of my airguns, and firearms, too, have been passed on to grandkids and nephews already. But I have kept back a few favorites, some new, some old. I’ve got one BB gun, a Daisy Buck that I should have gotten at age 6, but did not get till age 60; I’ve got 4 air pistols, two CO2 revolvers, one springer (a Tempest), and one custom 1322. For rifles, I’ve got 3 springers and 4 Multi-Pump Pneumatics…hence, I guess Multi-Pumps are the most numerous…not too surprising, since my first airgun ever was a Sheridan C-model. That’s not too many, but they are all spread out; I’ll make a collage of pics for you soon. 🙂

          • Thanks thedavemyster.
            It appears that I am no longer notified by email of any replies to my comments. At least that is my excuse for this late response…

            Fifty four years for a Daisy Buck – wow – and I used to think they were cheap ! 🙂

            The 1322 would be the only one I also have, except mine is not customised. Is yours now much improved?

            Finally, I wonder, which of your twelve airguns gets the least amount of use?

            Looking forward to your collage… 🙂

          • hihihi,
            That Buck was actually cheap; it was on sale at a reduced price of $14.37 at our local Academy Sports; it was the last one, and I think they just wanted it gone; I was there for something totally different; but when I saw that price tag, I couldn’t not buy it, hahaha!
            The gun that gets the least use is my Sheridan; all my other pumpers are much easier to pump. However, it was a gift from my Dad for Christmas (back in 1975); and it was my first airgun; so I hang onto it for nostalgic reasons. 🙂

        • “The 1322 would be the only one I also have, except mine is not customised. Is yours now much improved?”
          hihihi, I forgot to reply to this part of your comment earlier; I sent my pistol off to Mountain Air Custom Airguns (which is right here in Georgia…I guess I could have driven there. =>), and had them install a 12″ barrel, a steel breech, steel rear target sights, and an improved trigger; I did not do any power mods. The pistol shoots great; it’s certainly more accurate than I am; I shot it a lot as I can shoot it on my small indoor 5-meter range. The reason I shoot it so much is out of respect for the guy who made the custom Rosewood stocks; he is a friend of the owner of Mountain Air Custom; the owner told me that his friend had one set of stocks left if I wanted them (I did!), and that the man would not be making any more due to health issues from all the wood dust with which he had worked over the years. Man, I pray for that gent when I shoot this pistol; he sacrificed his health to make these stocks; I would feel awful to let the gun sit there; the best way I can honor his sacrifice is to shoot it a lot.
          As to the collage of airguns, I’m sorry it took me so long; I had the pics on my camera, but for some reason, my computer stopped recognizing my camera as an acceptable device and didn’t want to download them.
          Anyway, I finally got it all sorted out, and the collage is attached.
          Blessings to you,

  3. The racket of a large fly zipping around the bedroom late at night really annoys me. At 5’5″ , many times I can not reach one with a regular flyswatter. I have a dedicated fly killing gun. A Crosman 1377 with a 14″ barrel will let a charge of Co2 reach out and touch them. The gas hits them bard enough to kill but does not turn them to fly ick on the wall or ceiling.

    • TJKing,

      I have a large dead spider embedded in the crown molding of my office ceiling. It’s from a more powerful CO2 rifle doing the same thing.


        • TJKing, what a brilliant reply, hehe… 🙂

          In previous summers we used to leave the door open all day long, for which there was a fly mesh curtain with magnetic closure, but this year, doors and windows are kept closed, due to air conditioning.

          By the way, in the attached picture, you can see one of our smelly fly traps (used outdoors and well away from the terrace) that keep most flies away from the house. It’ll soon need replacing… 🙂

  4. LOL! I enjoy “hunting” the carpenter bees with my ’59 99. I can load it up with bbs and shoot until I am tired of shooting. In my front yard I have a big patch of some sort of ground cover that has little pink blossoms that the carpenter bees love. It is real nice shooting them there as the bbs bury themselves in the ground and do not ricochet.

    The 99 is almost as accurate as the 499. Maybe I will take it apart and take the shot tube and trigger with me to the North Carolina airgun show this October and see if I can get a few tubes and a new trigger for it.

    I guess it is a good thing we do not as of yet have the Asian Collared Dove and the feral hogs around here, but it is my understanding that there are a few morons that want to introduce the hogs to this area. We should have a moron hunting season, but they are sometimes hard to distinguish, especially when some of them are highly educated.

    P.S. I have a patch for my hats that says “IN MY DEFENSE I WAS LEFT UNSUPERVISED”.

  5. BB,

    The coarse table salt that I use in my Bug-A-Salt 2.0 must be similar to the pink salt you mentioned. It shoots a nice dense pattern out to about a meter.

    Shooting salt in the house is not permitted, been using my Bug-A-Salt to clear the wasps off of the humminbird feeder. A blast at close range (a foot or so) will strip the wings off the wasp and launch him out into the yard. Don’t know if it kills them outright but at least they are not bothering the hummingbirds.

    This is the time of year that I like to bait the wasps (fruit or meat scraps work well) for mini sniping. Guess that I’m easily entertained 🙂


      • hihihi,

        Being lazy, I’d rather have them come to me 😉

        I have an aversion to wasps nests – locally, a lot of the nests are in the ground, stepped on one as a kid and got stung quite a few times.

        Funny, I have no fear of bears, wolves and coyotes and will often walk my trails, unarmed at night. The thought of blundering into a wasps nest scares the heck out of me.

        So, if you would ever see me running frantically through the bush screaming like a little girl, you would know why 🙂


  6. If you hit a flying fly or wasp with your 499 you can promote yourself to Flak Gunner First Class. Wonder if those Daisy Avanti BBs would be significantly more accurate in the Umarex MP40? FM admits to successfully dealing with juvenile 4-legged non-mammal pests with it…but, shhh! Don’t mention the war. I did once, but think I got away with it. 😉

    • I asked Google about airsoft accuracy and found airsoftaccuracy.com that provides some good info. I only have a Ruger P345 replica airaoft pistol. Based on tests on this site, I don’t think it would be useful for wasps on feeders. But I like the idea and may look for something more accurate…and sturdier feeders. Suggestions?

  7. B.B. and Readership,

    This is a dangerous topic! I certainly couldn’t believe what a simple Search Engine cast turned up in my net! This is NOT a joke… unfortunately.
    Check your laws, regulations, and statutes before you start on your next insect safari!

    Depending on exactly what your area is like and your neighborhood you might lose your Bug-A-Salt and more! Know before you Pull the Trigger.
    Be careful out there!



    • Oh, the insanity! Fortunately, their little bodies are easy to dispose of, not requiring the use of tiny concrete galoshes. It’s not like you’re dealing with disposing of Bugsy Siegel or Jimmy Hoffa – unlikely to get caught. Just don’t brag about the sport to your neighbor, more so if he/she/it drives a vintage VW camper covered with flower stickers and peace symbols.

        • And it would be mucho dinero amigo, more so if a First Generation bus with the split windshield. To think FM passed on the opportunity to buy a very nice ’66 camper with all the Westfalia camping accessories including the pop-up top…for $1000; no place to park it at the time. They’re worth more than wartime Kübelwagens!

    • Shootski, you do come up with the most interesting things 🙂

      So, if you want to kill a mosquito do you have to wait until it bites then claim self defense? LOL!

      Except for wasps and biting bugs it’s pretty much live and let live around here.

      There’s a spider in the woodshed that’s got a 4 inch leg span, we get along fine – he prefers crickets to grasshoppers (don’t ask me how I know this).

      And, living in a swamp, our dragonflies are revered because of amount of mosquitoes they eat. I actually put up dragonfly “perches” (a dead branch) to give them a place to sit while they are eating.

      Yeah, I know… I’m weird.


      • Vana2,

        Canada’s animal laws are interesting Hank! They do have some animal rights activists that are currently stirring the pot just now. Of course you could move to the People’s Republic of New Jersey and really learn about animal rights! Wow, what a place to try to exist! I will drive many miles out of my way avoid NJ and Delaware to get to the far North.
        You still have the Right of Self Defense? We have a number of places that no longer allow that…at least not without suffering the consequences in both criminal and civil process.
        Dragonflies, the creatures, are among my favorites too. They frequently catch rides on my kayaks…being fellow Naval Aviator they can use my kayaks as an Aircraft Carrier any time!


  8. Tom for your candid and honest description of your household…… You are truly my hero. I somehow feel a little less abnormal. At least you and I know how it happened! Lol. I just can’t bring myself to have everything buttoned up and put .away. I like to admire and appreciate them when not shooting them.

  9. B.B.,
    another great subject. I’ve used a Steven’s smooth bore single rifle (Crack Shot?) with 22 shot shell with a great deal of success (outside of coarse). I always thought the Gamo Viper Express would be great for bug hunting, but with the price of shot shells higher than my 20 ga shot shell, that is a firm no and silly high to me @ $10 for 25 shots (.40 cents a pop). Can’t believe it’s still around with ammo at that cost.

    • With some hobby foam (2mm) and some parchment paper and some 9 shot, you can can reload the Viper Expess shot shells. You will need a .25″ hole punch – not a regular paper punch. The .25″ makes for a tighter fit for the foam base cup and the paper front wadding.

  10. Before my Bug-a-salt, there was the Discovery. When a fly/mosquito/spider was spotted on the ceiling of Casa DPRoNJ, out came the Disco and a blast of moderately high pressure air dispatched the desperado. Spiders were especially entertaining as their body would disintegrate while their legs went flying in all directions, much to the dismay of the wifey who then couldn’t see where she had to clean. Good times. Had a red wasp land on my car last night, just below the door handle. I didn’t think an air rifle or BB gun was the right choice to remove him so we just went for a drive together.

    Fred formerly of the Peeples Demokratik Republik of NJ now happily in insect infested GA

    • Fred DPRoNJ, I have nothing to add, in reply to your comment. I merely wish to make it known that you made me laugh and clap.
      Twice! 🙂

      I particularly like the “..we just went for a drive together.” Beautiful ! 🙂

  11. Ah the good ole Bug Assault. Mine is in classic Black and Yellow as is fitting for a lifelong Steelers fan of 47 years. Wife’s is in camo pink. Nothing stands a chance on the deck when we are armed and ready!

  12. BB I hope ya know that cicadas is edible.
    Word is that bugs are going to be snuck into our processed foods so don’t be surprised if you see them as an ingredient on the label.

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