I had the privilege to work with Steve Criner from “The Dog Soldier” TV show recently. He was gracious enough to grant me a short interview and in that discussion he posed the question “what makes someone an airgunner.” That’s actually a pretty good question and worth exploring.
Are you an airgunner?
I think it all starts with a love of shooting. There are some folks that use “projectile instruments” for only utilitarian purposes. For me, the utility of it is simply a means to justify to the wife why I need to buy that next rifle or pistol. (Just kidding honey!) If I’m 100% honest here, I love sending stuff down range, always have. It doesn’t matter if it is a bb, pellet, rock out of a slingshot, blow dart or spitball down a straw (ah, elementary school memories…), I just love to see things coming out the end of the barrel heading towards the target of my choosing. So I guess the first label I’d “own” is that I’m a shooter at heart.
Now, let’s take it to the next logical step. If I’m a shooter, and airguns allow me to shoot much more freely, then I guess Im an “airgunner.” The great thing that I’ve found over the years about airguns is that there’s something of reasonable quality, power, and accuracy for just about anyone.
What’s can you get for sub $60 that’s decent?
Let’s test my theory here. I’m betting that you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get an airgun that’s fun, accurate, and that has sufficient power to satisfy an itchy trigger finger. I’ve set the limit at $60. Let’s see what I can find, that I’ve tested and can verify is worth the time and energy.
The first gun that comes to mind is the Daisy 880 multi-pump. This little airgun retails for just under $50 and provides hours of shooting entertainment. I’ve probably sent thousands of bbs down the barrel of one of these airguns and it just never gets old. For a bit more accuracy and punch, you can also use pellets. I would not try and shoot squirrels or anything above a sparrow with one, but for tin cans, shoot-n-c targets, etc, it’s hard to beat the Daisy 880.
Where the Daisy is sort of “old school,” the next rifle that comes to mind is the much more recent Crosman M4-177. This is essentially one of Crosman’s multi-pumps all dressed up in a new tactical suit. Modeled, after the extremely popular M4 platform, this airgun does more than just look the part. It’s also a multi-pump pneumatic that shoots BBs or Pellets, but it’s got a ton of features that make it one of my favorite, budget friendly airguns. First off, it’s pretty darn accurate. Shooting dimes at 10 to 15 yards is easy. Second, it’s easily configurable for shooters both young and old. The collapsible stock means that I can shoot it AND my 7 year old daughter can shoot it as well. All I need to do is adjust the stock accordingly for each shooter.
Don’t like rifles? There are even more options for pistol shooters.
The pistol that I worked with early on was the Crosman C11. It’s a co2 bb repeater that really impressed me early on. I still have one here in the shop that I keep around for when I want to have a little fun. The trigger pull, velocity, and general accuracy really set this airgun apart for me. When you consider the price is under $40, then it’s really impressive. I don’t know how many C11s Crosman’s sold, but I’d sure like to have a nickel for each one of them!
One of the most iconic airgun pistol lines is going to be the Crosman 2240 and the 1377 / 1322 lines. Either can usually be purchased for under our $60 ceiling. The 2240 is a CO2 .22 caliber bolt action pistol that’s the foundation for thousands of creative airgun projects. The 13XX series are multi-pump pistols that are available in .177 or .22 and are also the foundations for some amazing airgun creations.
So, are you an “airgunner” yet?
Maybe I need to come up with some: “if you see a crow in a tree as you’re driving to work and start calculating range, velocity, and pellet drop, you might be an airgunner…” one-liners so that we can truly and properly identify ourselves, but for now, I’ll just own the fact that “yes, my name is Rick and I am an airgunner.” And, here’s a little tip, if you’ve picked up and shot an airgun once or twice in your life, I bet you’re an airgunner too!