While Jack Torrance (The Shining, 1980) chose to be self-quarantined in a remote lodge for an entire winter, we’re facing a more involuntary situation with this whole coronavirus / COVID-19 thing. Even if you’re young and healthy and likely to have mild-to-moderate symptoms, you can do your part to protect those in more vulnerable segments by slowing the spread. That means limiting your trips away from home to populated public places.
While Jack’s gradual descent into the psychotic abyss was fictional, it’s about to become a very real risk for all of us as we’re encouraged to increase social distancing and stay at home — a lot. We’re social beings after all, so interaction with others and trading hand germs with complete strangers whose hygiene habits are completely unknown is natural for us.
Thankfully, airguns offer a wonderful alternative to combat that staying-at-home boredom. With many being backyard and even garage friendly, we ought to be able to devise all sorts of entertaining recreational activities. Here are a few ideas to contemplate.
Exercise Your New Airgun
I’ve got my hot little mitts on a shiny new Umarex Fusion 2 CO2 air rifle. This is a great opportunity to shake this air rifle down and see what it can do. Powered by 88-gram jumbo CO2 cartridges or two standard 12-gram cartridges, you won’t need to worry about compressors, giant air cylinders, or hand pumps to provide lots of shots. Throw a couple of the big boy CO2 cylinders in your pack and hit the range for an extended shooting session.
Stay tuned — we’ll have a complete review in an upcoming issue of the Airgun Wire.
Silhouette Target Shooting
I’ve been playing with some Air Venturi Slynger targets. They’re down-scaled to 1/10th of “official” steel silhouette competition size. If you want to be “official” set your chicken at 10 yards, the ram at 18, and the pig and turkey in between. That means you can set up a full and proper range right at home — even indoors if you don’t mind cleaning by stray BBs and pellets. Better yet, use the Air Venturi Dust Devil BBs to reduce the risk of ricochet. As their name implies, those turn to dust when striking a hard target. Make no mistake, they’ll knock over the silhouette animals with the right launching system. That makes for perfect quarant-ammo. Whatever ammo you choose, don’t forget to wear safety glasses. That’s something I always, always, always do when shooting anything at anything.
Tree Branch Pruning
I thought I had developed the world’s most satisfying way to do yardwork until I found out the Editor Roy over at FMG Publications does the same thing. While lounging working on the back deck, I may occasionally use an airgun to “trim” tree branches that are too high to reach with my ladder and pruning saw. Hey, it’s yard work, although my wife doesn’t seem to fully appreciate my dedication to home chores like this.
Maybe one reason she’s less than enthusiastic about my airgun tree surgery is that I might have shattered our sliding glass door. By accident, of course. It wasn’t my fault, however. You see, there was this particularly stubborn tree branch way up high. It was tough, being about three inches in diameter, so more firepower was clearly in order. I broke out an AirForce Airguns Condor SS in .25 caliber and a box of Hunters Supply lead slugs. What other choice did I have?
Anyway, after lots of shots, and plenty of wood cutting progress I might add, a stray and very weird ricochet bounced right back and smacked into my sliding glass door. Did you know those double-paned, inert-gas-filled suckers shatter like Michael Avenatti’s presidential hopes? Well, they do. And they’re special order. Let’s just say the plywood door décor wasn’t a big hit in our home while waiting a few weeks for a replacement.
Practice and Training
I’m thinking that this month of house arrest is a great time to work on basic concealed carry and defensive shooting skills. In case you hadn’t noticed, 2019 and 2020 have been the years of ultra-realistic and authentic air pistols modeled after their louder centerfire cousins. Sig Sauer brought us P320s, the M17, a couple of different 1911 BB pistols, and the ever-popular P365 — all safe to use at home in the backyard. Air Venturi and Umarex have been on the ball too, with Springfield Armory XD family pistols and models of nearly every production centerfire handgun.
The key to most of these is the strict adherence to factory dimensions of the fire and brimstone versions. That means you can use the same holsters, same accessories, and in many cases, the same basic mode of operation. Need to work on your trigger technique? No problem. How about draws from the holster? Good to go. Many even allow to perform magazine changes while in the middle of a CO2 cylinder. The possibilities for home training are endless.
So, yes. Things are going to be tough for a while. And we at the Airgun Wire urge you to do your part for the good of vulnerable segments of the population and stay at home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it.