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Instinct shooting the Bug-A-Salt way!

This report covers:

  • Airguns
  • Doesn’t end
  • Bug-A-Salt’s place
  • The specs
  • If you don’t
  • Summary

Yesterday I mentioned that Pyramyd AIR is now carrying the Bug-A-Salt brand salt guns that I’ve been writing about for years and reader Roamin Greco  said this, “B.B., when you wrote, “I realize all Bug-A-Salt guns are already shotguns by definition. What I want is one with more power to shoot more salt.” It sounds to me like the current offerings are akin to a .410 with a full choke, but you want something akin to a 12 gauge with an improved cylinder choke.

Or, you may want to practice your “quick kill” techniques with the bug assault. That may make you more (like) Lucky. :o)


This blog is about airguns and the Bug-A-Salt airguns offer us more chances to shoot safety indoors than any other gun except the Sharpshooter rubber band catapult guns. I acknowledge that Mrs. RidgeRunner has banned them from the inside of her house, but their utility doesn’t stop at the door. If you have carpenter bees, and RidgeRunner does, they will fly in your face the moment you step outside. A Bug-A-Salt will blow holes in their thin wings, making them drop to the ground where they can be stomped. Job done!

Doesn’t end

As I said yesterday, it doesn’t have to end there. Bug-A-Salt, are you listening? You need another product in your lineup. You need a Bug-A-Salt shotgun! Yes, all your guns are already shotguns because they shoot salt crystals in patterns. That’s how they work. But for wasps, carpenter bees, yellowjackets a salt gun is also needed. Yellowjackets are small pesky wasps that live in burrows in the ground and attack with little provocation. Don’t mow your lawn while wearing shorts if you live on the east coast of the United States! For them, especially, you need a Bug-A-Salt shotgun or a Bug-Out-Salt, if you will.

I will give you the specifications, but before I do, listen to what Roamin Greco was talking about in his comment to yesterday’s report. This is from my 2-part report on Instinct Shooting in October of 2006.

Instinct shooting has been around for a very long time, but those who practiced it most were exhibition shooters. There was no formal program to teach anyone who wanted to learn. Then. in 1954, a tobacco salesman from Georgia – Lucky McDaniel – started a program of instruction. He taught thousands of people through the 1980s and several of his students went into the teaching business on their own.

Initially Lucky did all of the teaching, but as time passed his fame grew and others took his place. By the 1960s word was getting around everywhere.

In the years that followed, the U.S. Army became interested in instinct shooting for Vietnam-bound soldiers. They had a regular training program given at Fort Benning, Georgia, not far from Lucky’s home in Columbus. They called their program “Quick Kill,” and tens of thousands of inductees went through it. There was also a program in Vietnam for those who hadn’t been to Benning.

Initially Lucky modified his own BB guns by tearing off the sights. But once the Army got wind of it Daisy started making BB guns specially modified from the factory.

Daisy became interested, again, when grass roots inquiries tipped the scales, and they put together a new package. This time, Lucky’s name was left off, and the program was called “Quick Skill.” It lasted from the late 1960s through the end of the 20th century, coming and going as interest dictated. The Army sold many of their BB guns in the 1990s, so now there are hundreds and perhaps even thousands of sightless BB guns with the markings of Army training centers painted on their stocks or “U.S. Prop.” stamped into the wood. Collectors eagerly snap them up. There have also been many special guns, such as one made with the Ducks Unlimited logo on a decal on the stock.

Quick Skill
Daisy made and sold this outfit for parts of four decades — from Vietnam until sometime in the 1990s. The BB gun looks is very similar to the one in the Lucky McDaniel Shooting Trainer, but it’s a model 95 instead of a 99.

Lucky trained over 100,000 shooters, including those at Fort Benning, but a list of his celebrity students is very revealing. There isn’t room for a complete list, but it includes former President Eisenhower, Mickey Mantle, Audie Murphy, Mark Trail cartoonist Ed Dodd, Edsel and Henry Ford II, John Wayne, Grizzly Adams, members of the British Royal Family, the entire Chicago White Sox team (1959) and the entire Cincinnati Reds team (1961). But there was one celebrity student who stood out from even these notables.

Lucky trained World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Floyd Patterson to shoot his way. A major part of Mike Jennings’ book (Instinct Shooting) is devoted to the training of this one student, whom Lucky considered to be one of his best. A skilled athlete, Patterson had perfect coordination and quick reflexes that made him a natural shooter. In return, Patterson said that he felt the training helped him focus on his target better than ever. Shortly after this training, Patterson met Amateur World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher and dropped him in round six. Rademacher later came out with an instinct shooting set that featured Parris BB guns and a trap that threw plastic “clay” pigeons. The set didn’t sell well, but Crosman’s 1100 Trapmaster trap is an exact copy! So, somehow, Rademacher must have seen something of benefit in the training, as well.

Bug-A-Salt’s place

Any reader of this blog knows that instinct shooting works. In fact BB is learning how to shoot a slingshot this way and he’s doing it in front of all you readers. What if Bug-A-Salt were to make a shotgun-styled salt gun that launched a larger charge of salt, using CO2 for power?

The specs

Now for the specifications. By shotgun-style I mean a long gun with a stock that can be put to your shoulder. The Bug-A-Salt 2.0 and 3.0 models have no stock, making shotgun shooting impossible. And please don’t just put on a wire collapsable stock on them. Shotguns aren’t made that way. Instead of tacticool shotguns are sleek and svelt. If you want to see the finest air shotgun ever made, look no farther than the Crosman Model 1100 Trapmaster.

Trapmaster 1100
Crosman made a shotgun! The Trapmaster 1100 was a CO2 shotgun that copied Remington’s popular 1100 autoloader.

What you make needn’t look as slick as this. Make it from plastic. But follow the traditional style because those lines make the shotgun more natural to point. It’s next to impossible to point a two-hand gun like your Black Fly 3.0 without using the sights.

I think you need to call this one Bug-Out-Salt, so guys will know this one is not for the living room or kitchen. This one is for the garage, the shed and the garden. It’s your outside Bug-A-Salt. Make it shoot the same fine table salt that the other guns shoot and put that fact somewhere prominent in the package, so crazy guys like BB Pelletier don’t think that if the salt crystals are bigger the gun is deadlier to insects. This salt gun has a 7-foot range!

Forget the sights. Give us a bead at the top front of the barrel for reference. That’s all we need.

Take the time to learn about instinct shooting and incorporate it into your literature and marketing plans.

Build a Custom Airgun

If you don’t

This is a good idea. If Bug-A-Salt doesn’t run with it someone else is sure to. I remember a few years ago when I wrote about the possibility of a one-hundred-dollar precharged pneumatic rifle, when the cheapest at the time sold for almost $400. Two years later Crosman surprised the world with the Benjamin Maximus that retailed for $200. And Umarex came out with their Gauntlet, that started the Price Point PCP race. What I’m saying is, the world is listening and paying attention.


I sense that we are on the precipice of a major thrust in insect killing salt guns. Don’t forget that you heard it here first!

52 thoughts on “Instinct shooting the Bug-A-Salt way!”

  1. Tom,

    When they make it they can take a page out the Nylon 66 development and use the bare minimum of metal parts for the gas system with the majority made of molded plastic forming the outer shell. The CO2 cartridge can be in the grip section to allow the Bug Out Salt to have a magazine tube underneath the barrel.


    • Buckeye Plinker,

      I may get a Gamo Viper to test this. As a shot shooter it’s pretty limited, but it could be just the thing for salt!


    • OP,

      I have been giving VERY serious consideration to one of these. I have a 2240 with walnut target grips, steel left hand breech and a salt blaster attachment I would trade for one right now.

    • dave,

      I have wasps. No carpenter bees in Texas that I know of, but I remember them from Maryland!

      I’m considering buying a Gamo Viper Express for this purpose.

      B B

      • BB, that’s a good thought; my wife is so upset about all the wasps (outside, in the carport area) that I think I could convince her that we need a Gamo Viper Express. 😉

      • We have them down here on the coast(Galveston county). I used to have a pergola infested with them. I would cut cardboard .250” wads , chamber them in a 2240 then pour a small scoop of grits down the muzzle. Grits worked great on the Carpenter bees.

      • B.B.

        You might reconsider that. These pictures are from a pergola I had to rebuild in Houston.

        They drill an almost perfect hole on the surface, turn 90° and go lengthwise, depositing eggs at the ends of the tunnel. The structure looks good from outside but it can crumble with a strong wind.
        PS. I find it difficult to post even small pics.

      • BB, I had carpenter bees at my last house in Dallas. So, they are around.

        I like having wasp around as long as they don’t sting my family. My kids and wife have learned not to fear wasp nest right above the front and back doors at my house. The wasp I have do not sting us but their main food is spiders. I really don’t mind spiders either since they eat insects. The whole cycle is natures pest control. I just wish there was something to control the squirrel population. I have at least 8 bobcats behind my house plus coyotes, hawks, and owls but not enough to control squirrels or rabbits. Someone is bound to wonder how I know there are at least 8 bobcats. Well, I see a big tomcat and at least one adult female plus I saw 5 kittens at once. Four of the kittens appeared to be from one litter but one was much younger so from a different female.

        David Enoch

  2. BB,

    Bug-A-Salt just may have to come up with something similar to your idea. They can call it Whack-A-Wasp. They have my permission to use that name if they wish. 😉

    As for the carpenter bees getting in my face, they have learned to keep a good distance from me. These days I have to sneak up on them to play Bumble Ball.

  3. I’m no expert, but I would think that a purpose-built salt gun with mostly plastic parts (especially the barrel) would be needed for a salt gun that has to stand ready to shoot, loaded with salt. I shudder to think about salt anywhere near my airguns.

    Hey Bill in Greece. When the guys here mention carpenter bees, you are probably thinking that these guys don’t know about the huge reddish sfeekes (giant wasps about an inch long) you have. They come around as soon as food is served and want to share your dinner. At that point they appear 2 inches long. I would simply knock them down with my hat and step on them and then watch the ants dismember them and take them away.

  4. While not as fun as shootin’em, I find this to be the most effective solution for carpenter bees, and I don’t have to post a guard all day by the cedar playset.

    Note to self: empty the carpenter bee trap.

      • The instructions say that the hole is the perfect size to invite a carpenter bee in to investigate. Once in, the first trapped bee releases pheromones that attract the other bees. Even the dead bees release that pheromone for a while. I just put this trap out in early spring when the bees emerge and presto.

        Carpenter bees tend to nest in the same place year after year, so a couple of years ago, after they had perforated the heck out of the cedar swing set, the woodpeckers (protected from hunting) came and ripped it up pretty good trying to get at the larvae. I just couldn’t kill the bees fast enough. I used foaming sprays, vinegar, ammonia, I threw everything I could at them, but I had to leave for work each day and nature took over. After I had to replace 4 pieces of cedar on that swing set, I happened to find this at Lowes, and it works like magic. I never could find the same version again. Another one I have is a little different, but doesn’t work as well.

  5. Very interesting. Thinking of salt, then reading reader singleshotcajun’s comment about using grits got me to thinking why not? Will not cause rust. But is grits as heavy as salt? Would “malt o meal” work? Lots of possibilities.
    With the Gamo Shotgun, I used to be interested in one but so many not so hot reviews. Maybe people expected too much of it. Like they thought it should take rabbits and such. But if used for pests such as wasps/hornets and such, maybe it would be great for that. There was an aftermarket for making your own shells and such. But sadly those web sites are gone. Too bad as Gamo’s shot shell are way to high for what they are. When I could shot a 12 ga cheaper, something isn’t right.


      • Aha! You went to the 00 Buckshot of the food world. Remember we are killing bugs not Bugs Bunny. Let me look into my pantry and see what else I can use for ammo…something hard for penetration…but easy to clean up…and it has to be fun, in honor of our missing friend HiHiHi…I got it!

  6. Ahhh, shooting bugs are one of life’s great pleasures, but only at long range for me. I actually have a Bug-A-Salt and use it occasionally, but only outside and is kind of a novelty. I don’t mean to diminish the effectiveness or utility of this wonderful shooter, but its use is really limited by power and my feelings are that it should stay that way.

    It’s human nature to always want more, or to improve on something, but I feel that the BAS needs to stop where it is. Increasing power might be a preference and if you’ve had some pesky moose trample your butt after being hit square in the nose, you really need to consider something else. One of the greatest joys I’ve had in life was the first time I splattered a fly at 20 yards, drawing me back to this site (thanks BB!) and exposing the airgunning gaps I’d supported for OH so many years, despite being a shooter since my first Daisy was taller than me.

    Maybe it was Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies, when she lit a match at 100 yards (?) with a shotgun that suggested to my younger self that power and accuracy weren’t necessarily adverse, so I bought into the Magnum Power ideology for airguns for quite some time before realizing that it sucked that I couldn’t hit anything. I owe BB and all you contributors to this site for setting the record straight.

    I do still enjoy shooting bugs, but with a TX-200 now. My short-range bug control is restricted to either a Harbor Freight electric swatter (FAV) or the old Sheridan multi-pump with just air if they get inside. I just don’t like cleaning up the salt afterward, but that’s just me.

    More power would make the BAS more effective, but it carries safety issues and if you know human nature, stuff will go south. If the gun becomes powerful enough to be used against hard-bodied bugs, it really takes its use outdoors and in my opinion, there are other tools more useful than a NaCl-slinging air option.

    Even if it’s fun.

    • Maybe OT, Maybe close enough ;- )

      Candidates for “Toughest Bug to Kill” _
      I nominate the velvet ant (“cow killer” down South), a wingless wasp, yellow/orange and black. Step on it, lift foot, and Voila! away it goes.
      Supposedly magnum painful. Super strong stinger looks too long to fit in abdomen, but somehow it does. Lives in holes in the ground.
      Anyone else familiar with these?

      • CBS,

        Never have I seen a velvet ant but searching on it finds it to be quite the interesting critter, the male of the some 8000 species of velvet ant does have wings but no stinger. Not always learning new airgun stuff but other things as well, thanks for that.


  7. Timely article, as I’ve recently looked into a more exciting way to get rid of carpenter bees than a trap. Those who have been there, done that say that the BugASalt doesn’t work on carpenter bees. I got a Gamo Viper Express from PA, and my plan is to use the brass insert for shooting pellets as a shell for reloading. I’m going to try putting in a felt cleaning pellet, possibly cut down some, with a load of peppercorns and a little cotton wadding at the end. We shall see.

    BTW, one other thing I learned is that the Crosman Vigilante works with the BugASalt cartridges, and it costs a lot less than the BugASalt pistol.

    Still hoping to hear some detailed comments on the Wilkins Pellet Pouch.

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