The Wild Life #5
Is there anything still more iconic to most Americans–even in this jaded age–as the American BB gun? Did you have one when you were a kid? I did, when I was 9, and was hunting with it by age 11, and I made sure every one of my five sons had a BB gun just as soon as I felt they were ready. If you didn’t have one when you were growing up I, truly feel sorry for you. Unless, of course, you are a Liberal, in which case I totally understand why you didn’t. Mine was a Daisy Model 25 pump action .177 caliber. My BB gun was not as sexy as Ralphie’s 250 shot “blued steel beauty” Daisy lever action Red Ryder carbine, but mine hit a a lot harder, and as a young, beginning hunter, that is exactly what I wanted. Hunter, you ask? Hell yes! My best buddy from down the street, Roger Hobbs, was my hunter-partner in crime, and we spent many a late winter evening in the murky dusk, huddled beneath the branches of Locust trees, waiting for coveys of plump quail to leave the grain fields and irrigation ditch banks which stretched before us where they had been feeding all afternoon, and whirring into the branches above us like miniature Chinook helicopters to roost. And there we were, four feet beneath them, blued sheet metal gun barrels pointing straight up, adolescent fingers tightening on triggers. A near simultaneous release from us both, would be followed by the loud “twang!” of the BB gun springs launching their deadly little steel projectiles, and then the “Thump!” “Thump!” as two dead quail hit the leaf covered ground beside us, their buddies whirring away in complete chaos, and confusion. Was it legal? Are you kidding me? We were nine! We couldn’t’ have obtained hunting licenses if we’d wanted to. But it was thrilling, and filled with wild adventure, and probably far more educational than anything we had learned in school that day. And it started two young, immature boys, on a path of learned self-esteem early in life, which soon led us to take our Hunter Safety Classes, get hunting licenses, get right with the law, and learn how to be ethical hunters. But we always ate those BB gunned quail we killed, with the eventual help of Roger’s dad, “The Old Man.” Frank Hobbs would always rant and rave, and berate us when we showed up in his garage, speckled with blood, and covered in quail feathers, lecturing us about how we were “going to get him arrested.” But in the end, he always ended up plucking those birds right along with us, the twinkle in his eye as bright as the stars in the clear night sky above. Roger lives in Arizona now, and we still keep in touch. And we are both still hunting fanatics. So I guess it really came as no surprise to me, a couple of years ago, when I suddenly felt the urge to play with airguns again. I wanted something to plink with in deer camp during the mid-day break, so I bought a cheap, break barrel action Beeman .177 pellet rifle at WalMart, and put a Tasco red dot scope on it. It looked really bad ass. But it’s accuracy was only so-so, even at only 25 yards. After one very frustrating afternoon of shooting at an empty propane cylinder at 50 yards, from a rest, and hitting it only once in 50 shots, I was ready for something better. Enter the Crossman Nitro Venom Dusk gas piston .22 caliber pellet rifle. After doing days of online research, and one misstep when I bought a Gamo spring piston .22 caliber “Whisper Cat” with “silencer technology” from Sportsman’s warehouse, that I fired once, and sounded like a .300 Winchester Magnum going off, I ordered the Crossman. Ok, it is big, it is long, and it is heavy. But it is also powerful, accurate, deadly, and vey quiet. I have no doubt that I could use this adult airgun weapon as a primary survival arm for effective small game hunting, and even a self-defense arm, if necessary, at close-in ranges. Wild turkeys abound in our area, and I am confident that in a survival situation, I could keep a ready supply of these big birds stewing on top of the woodstove, as well as squirrels, rabbits, grouse, and maybe even a few ducks and geese…taken from ambush. The Crossman .22 caliber Domed, Pointed, and Hollow Point pellets all weigh 14.3 grains and will leave the muzzle of this gun at between 850 to 900 feet per second—basically the equivalent of a .22 Short—which is nothing to sneeze at. Would YOU want to be shot in the head, or even the chest, with a .22 short, at, say, 10 yards? Yeah, neither would I. Also, every pellet leaves the muzzle of this gun at subsonic velocities, so it’s like firing a .22 Short with a suppressor—only you don’t have to buy the suppressor. Could you take larger game with this air rifle, like deer? I suppose it would be possible, but you would have to be very close, and it would definitely have to be a head shot—either straight on frontal, or right into the eye. However, the potential for this kind of accuracy from the Nitro Venom, with its provided 3 X 9 scope, is very possible. Mine will routinely put three pellets into one ragged hole at 25 yards shooting from sand bags, if you can hold steady enough. So who knows, you very well may be supplementing your turkey survival diet with a little venison now and then, depending on your own shooting skill. Have I conducted any realistic, in-the-field tests with this gun? Yes, I have, but without getting into specifics, let’s just say the gun has been “blooded,” including a spectacular one-shot, 75 yd. kill (measured with a laser rangefinder) made on a non-game animal, right to the head. But what about the “King of Survival Rifles?” the .22 Long Rifle? Got ammo? Yeah, I didn’t think so. You can’t find it anywhere now, thanks to the Newtown, CT “Assault Rifle” scare, so in effect, the King is now dead. And if you do have some .22 LR, trust me, you probably don’t have enough for a long time survival scenario. So do your research, shop around, and buy yourself two or three good quality .22 caliber air rifles with gas piston actions, not spring actions. The spring action guns are noisier, and have the disadvantage of the spring weakening if you leave the gun cocked and locked. Unlike gas piston guns, which can be left cocked, with a pellet in the chamber, and ready to go indefinitely, with no harmful effect. Stay away from the .177 caliber guns, they are underpowered and are not serious small game hunting arms. Also, buy yourself a large quantity of good .22 pellets, and when I say large quantity, I mean at least 5,000 rounds. Remember, the LBB’s (Lead Banning Bastards) haven’t focused on air gun pellets specifically yet, but they will, and probably sooner than later. Walk into your typical Sportsman’s Warehouse today and ask for .22 shells, and they will laugh at you. Ask for .22 pellets, and they’ll point you to the display at the end of the aisle loaded with them. But get them NOW. I recently purchased 2,500 Crossman Domed Pellets from Amazon, with free shipping, for about $49.00. And if the day comes, when you can’t find .22 pellets, either? I was walking around my local Ace hardware store this weekend, looking in bins, and scanning shelves for something—anything—viable I might be able to use as ammunition in my .22 airgun in a pinch. I found some #3 Galvanized nails, whose heads are exactly the same diameter as the base of a .22 pellet. Next, I grabbed a handful of plastic coffee stirrers from a Styrofoam cup at the coffee pot near the check out stands. Then I paid for the nails, and headed home, where, one hour later, I had the first finished prototype of my emergency projectile invention, the “.22 Nailer Sabot Round.” Here’s how to make one: Take an Xacto knife, and lay a coffee straw down next to a #3 Galvanized nail. Cut two sections from the straw; the first one just slightly shorter than the nail itself, so as to leave a small portion of the nail’s tip exposed, and a shorter section of straw about 1/3 the length of the first section. On the long section of straw, starting at one end, make a vertical cut about one-third the way of the straw. Take the short section of straw, and insert the nail into it up to the nail head. Take the longer section of straw, and insert the nail all the way into it with the vertical cut cross section at the top beneath the nail head. Peel a short section of each side of the cut, down. Insert the Sabot round into the chamber of the gun, making sure to tuck the doubled over “peelings” inside the chamber wall. Close the action, remove the safety, take aim, and fire. The plastic straw will stabilize the nail until it leaves the gun’s muzzle, as well as protect the rifling, but what happens after that is pretty much anyone’s guess. But I’ll ask you again. Would YOU want to be shot in the head with a .22 Nailer Sabot Round at, say, 10 yards, or even in the chest? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But you see, this is exactly why we Country boys are going to survive what’s coming, and the Liberal, Marxist, Progressive Democrat, Socialist pieces of crap, who think they are going to destroy this country…will not.