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GUNS Magazine August 2011 Digital Edition - Page 16

• d A v E A N d E r S O N • Shoot simply, shoot a lot. ut how is it done?” asked Kim in the classic book by “B Rudyard Kipling. lurgan replied, “By doing it many times over till it is done perfectly—for it is worth doing.” In this modern era of education, learning such basics as spelling and arithmetic through repetition (“by rote” the modern experts say derisively) is considered outdated if not downright abusive. Which is why so many high school, even university graduates can’t write a coherent sentence or figure a restaurant tip without a calculator. I suppose it’s understandable for people to think skills can likewise be acquired without serious effort. It’s just a matter of knowing the right tricks. Well, there is such a thing as proper form. Certainly lessons from a capable coach can save a lot of trial and error. But for true skill—unconscious skill, to perform under stress and on demand— the neural paths must be trained through repetition. If you want to shoot a rifle well, you have to shoot. I know, it sounds obvious. It surprises me how many people I meet who like rifles, like hunting with rifles, yet don’t enjoy shooting. Or at least, they don’t shoot enough to be really capable. This isn’t unique to firearms. I had an uncle who was very knowledgeable about photography. He owned a succession of high-quality cameras, both 35mm and large format. He loved to handle them, talk about them, compare makes and models. On topics such as shutter accuracy and lens resolution his knowledge was profound. But in the last 25 years of his life I doubt if he used five rolls of film. Christmas at age 11 was a lucky one for me. My parents gave me a springpiston, barrel-cocking pellet rifle – a “Liberty,” made in Czechoslovakia. Whether by accident or design, it was exactly what I needed. It was a single-shot so I learned to make each shot count. It was quiet and virtually recoilless, so I never learned to flinch. Unlike my old BB-gun, it was extremely accurate. And unlike Dad’s .22, I could afford to shoot it. 16 AIry ThOUGhTS This TechForce TF Jet barrel-cocking, springpiston rifle shoots .177" pellets at a bit over 1,000 fps. Cocking the powerful spring takes considerable effort, it certainly is not a rifle for youths. Rimfire .22s were out of my price range. Even .22 Shorts were .49¢ a box. But for less than a buck I could buy a tin of 500 pellets. Moreover, I could shoot most anywhere on the farm; in the basement in winter, around the yard in summer. I could shoot sparrows in the barn or machine shed without punching holes in the roof. And shoot I did. From that Christmas until I left at age 17 to attend university, it was very seldom a tin of 500 pellets lasted a week. Over roughly a 6-year period, I shot around 150,000 pellets, and that is a conservative estimate. We don’t get a do-over on our childhood years. But whatever your age, if you like to shoot and want to shoot better you need an air rifle. I don’t know how anyone who loves to shoot rifles can do without one, or would want to. Air With Style Today we have a wealth of splendid choices. Pre-charged pneumatics (PCP) are the most sophisticated. The best of them, such as Daystate and Air Force, are simply amazing. Because they are so advanced they tend to be on the high end of airgun costs. Velocity can be adjusted for specific needs, from basement targets to hunting. They are extremely consistent and accurate, with little recoil. Pump-up pneumatics have similar advantages, the downside being they need several pumps to build pressure, rather than drawing compressed air from a tank or bottle. My personal preference is for spring-piston designs. I recognize their disadvantages; greater recoil than pneumatics (hard on scopes), singleshot capacity and the more powerful models tend to be long, heavy and take strength to cock. Advantages: simplicity of operation (no air bottles or tanks needed), 1-stroke cocking, moderate cost and durability. Given reasonable care they last almost indefinitely. Of course everyone wants power. More power! For training purposes I think a super-powerful spring-piston rifle is a mistake. A 1,000+ fps springpiston rifle is necessarily long and heavy to contain its powerful spring, which in This is an adult-sized .177" spring-piston rifle by Cometa. Velocity is around 600 fps making it relatively easy to cock and pleasant to shoot. This Liberty spring-pistol rifle was made in Czechoslovakia. It was a present Dave got for Christmas 1960. Fifty years later he still takes it shooting once in a while. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2011

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