The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Airgun Therapy

Walther LGR and Target Set-up

Last week while reading Vin Sparano's anthology "THE GREATEST HUNTING STORIES EVER TOLD" I came across Jim Carmichel's "The Great Jonesboro Pigeon Shoot" and that reminded me that I have been neglected one of the greatest form of shooting anyone, Professional Small Boy or not, can dream about: airgunning.

If you dive though the different posts in this blog you will come across half a dozen or so air gun related postings, but my writing is rather primitive when compared (if it could be compared at all) to Mr. Carmichel's.

Another great writer that also penned some fantastic airgun words is the late Peter Hathaway Capstick, who I believe coined the term professional small boy, which I still shamelessly. Two of the best Capstick's air gun stories are "Backyard Safari" and "Mini Sniping."

One or way or the other I have lived similar experiences as those described by these gentlemen. I may not have shot pigeons out of a court room, but I did that out of fertilizant plant and from the middle of a park in an undisclosed South American country, and while I have not bagged the dreaded bull Gundwan, I have stalked and terminated the dangerous saurian Ameiva ameiva, also known as "Jungle Runner" or South American Ground Lizzard.

I've also spent countless hours with friends or alone in my basement airgun range, mostly shooting at reactive targets for the almost instantaneous gratification of seeing a target flipping or flying. Many of the different targets that I shoot at are improvised: playing cards hanging from binder clips that are suspended from a cooper wire, spent .22 LR or center fire pistol cartridges set on golf tees (the only practical use that I have for an golf equipment), and any other thing that is same to be shot at. I also have a very nice Gamo running deer target (Gamo MTS 1000 Moving Airgun Target System to be more specific).

But with spring coming to Traverse City, and beautiful sunny days ahead, cold or otherwise it is indifferent, I just could not bear the thought of being in the dungeons and wanted a set-up that would allow me to enjoy airgun shooting in my backyard.

In the past, shooting an airgun in the backyard could put you in trouble with the law depending on where you lived in Michigan, but since July 1, 2015 airguns are no longer considered firearms, and as part of the provisions in the Air Gun Reclassification Package "these devices cannot be regulated on private property where authorization is given and the possessor takes precautionary measures to ensure that the projectile remains within the bounds of the property."

So yesterday night, when I stopped at the local Gander Mountain to buy my spring turkey license, I bought a Caldwell Resetting Airgun Target System Steel (if the Gamo is called the MTS, then this one should be called CRATSS), and this afternoon I inaugurated my new private outdoor range.

I placed the CRATSS in front of one of my archery targets to have a large and dependable back stop, placed a chair at about 20 meters and started banging at the target. Actually, my Walther LGR is so quiet that the only noises that I could hear were the hammer striking the valve and the pellet hitting the target (or the backstop if I did not do my part.)

The 10X scope on the LGR is dead on at 10 meters (the distance I generally shoot in the dungeon - sorry, the basement - and I found out that the first MIL-Dot above center was dead on at 20 meters, and when I moved to 30 meters I just had to go back to the center of the crosshair.

The cold wind blowing from the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay easily pushed the pellets an inch sideways at the distances I was shooting, and with time the near freezing temperature started to take its toll on my finger tip sensibility. Finally, the setting sun started to play a torturing game of shadows and mirages. This was a great reminder of how much more challenging outdoor shooting is than when done in the controlled environment of an indoor range.

My next plan is to set a regulation Mini Snipping range. Of course I will have to get permission from my wife, as she is the only grown-up around the household. I will keep you posted on that, provided she allows me.

And tomorrow, the Brown Truck is supposed to bring me another Walther: a .22 caliber LGV high power spring piston. You know, professional small boys just cannot have enough toys!


  1. It's amazing how far airguns have come within the past 10 years. I remember having to pump my old Benjamin like 20 times only to have the compression leak out after 15 minutes without shooting it.

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