First Target Practice with my dad...
My favorite memory of Air Gun Fun will be how air guns helped me beat my dad in target practice. When I was 12 years old, dad took me out to the woods to do a bit of target practice. He really gave me my first lessons in markmanship at this time.
After he told me how to sight the target and pull the trigger, I surprised him by hitting the bullseye 5 out of 6 times. (The Winchester 22 WRF I was using I still have to this day and shoots as true as it did in 1898 when it was manufactured.) He grabbed me by the shoulders with a big smile on his face and said, "Okay, fess up! Where did you learn to shoot like that?" I told him I had been practicing in my buddy's basement with his pump Daisy BB gun. He said whatever you been doing, keep it up because you will be a crack shot as a man.
To beat my dad in anything at this young age gave me such a great feeling. Not to have outdone him, but to do something finally to impress him in such a manner will always bring fond memories to my mind each time I think of it.
Dave Baker, Dayton, Ohio, USA
Quarters in My Pocket
I was somewhere in the 10 to 12 years old bracket and the proud owner of a Crosman 101 that Santa had left under the Christmas tree the year that I was nine. My father and his younger brother were going down to the 'bottomlands' where the East Fork of the Trinity River flows not far from Dallas for a day of plinking turtles and snakes and, 'per usual',I was allowed to tag along.
We hiked along the river for a couple of miles, the adults taking the shots offered at the overabundance of reptiles with their .22 rifles and occasionally allowing me to try my luck. A break for a little rest at a conveniant log brought the opportunity for me to display my hard-won prowess.
One thing must be understood at this point. As an old-line Texas family, marksmanship was little removed from holiness in the eyes of senior members of the clan. With that in mind I had applied myself industriously to learning to shoot straight. Training was began so early that I literally can't recall how old I was the first time I fired a rifle and my father had been generous in supplying pellets. I was, however, expected to make each shot count and abandoning wounded game was tantamount to heresy. Bad enough to have wounded and not killed it with the first shot, to not recover it was a sin of the first water.
But back to the log. Across the river was a large 'drift', a pile of brush and trash piled up in the last flood, and in the 'drift' were cans and bottles aplenty. The range was about 30 yards ( I want to say 40 but honesty compels me to shorten the distance rather than rely on a faulty recollection) and I was plinking at cans trapped amongst the limbs as we sat there. My uncle was apparently watching, for after a bit he offered me a quarter if I could shoot thru the cap of a bottle in the drift that was pointed our way. To make a long story short, I cleaned him out of quarters that morning. Proud? You have no concept of just how proud I was. Not only had I performed up to family standards, but I had enough
jingle in my pocket to buy another big tin of the Benjamin pellets that shot so well in my gun.And the compliments of that uncle meant much also.
Uncle Bob was a rancher and one of the best natural shots I've ever known. He kept an old .22 rifle in his pick-up, as did most men of the land, and I've seen him make shots on coyotes that I won't tell for fear of being branded a liar. So his approval was a high mark indeed for a sub-teen of that era.
I wish I could still shoot as well as I did then.
Cheers, Tom @ Buzzard Bluff
Rekindled Memory of a Youth Hunt
Mom had lost a pile of chicks to a Red Tail(chicken)Hawk. The one day as I was shooting gophers (ground squirrels)in a pasture. I say at the end of a bush. The culprit sitting upon a dry branch. I started my stalk. What seemed like eternity was about a couple of hours. Stalking threw a bush in jeans and jean jacket as camo. After crawling in behind a big black popular, I peeked around to see my target about 20 yrds away. Loading my gun I held the trigger down so as not to make the least amount of sound when the sear engaged. Placed a Bull Dog in the breech, I moved the gun over around the tree for a steady shot. My hands were shaking. This was a BIG BIRD. I raised the site to the back of his head. It took for ever for me to control my shakes. The shot, WHACK the birds head went forward and back. He turned and looked straight at me. Loaded again, sighted and shot. Whack in the throat. He just sat there. I reloaded, got up and walked slowly closer. There he was blood trickling down the back of his head and down his breast. I said good-bye sucker and placed one up under his throat to his skull, Whack the pellet hit the mark. He was holding on to the branch upside down. THUD as he hit the bush floor. I picked up my prize and started my 1/2 mi walk back to the farm. Laying the hawk by the garage as I went into the house to tell mom that she wouldn't loose any more chicks. When dad came home he saw the bird next to the garage. Upon him getting to the barn where mom and I were milking cows. He let out the lecture of a life time to me for shooting a protected bird. Upon my comeing back from placing the bird in the burning barrel, back to the barn. Dad stood there and infromed me of him taking my gun away. Well my world was crushed. NO GUN. Two weeks later of no shooting, no gun, no nothing just working my butt off. After cleaning the chicken coop with dad that Sat morn. We went to the garage. From behind the seat of the truck Dad removes a bran new rifle, it was a Webley and three big boxes of Bull Dog pellets. Well needless to say dad and I went gopher hunting. Not a word about the hawk shot was said. I guess he figured that if I could take care of a real pest I better have somthing with a little more jam to do the job right.
So anyone else have a mem from their youth they'd like to share?