Ok, first I have to give some background here for those of you who don’t know me.
I grew up in a household that was decidedly “down” on guns. My parents weren’t as bad as some anti-gun folks out there, but nothing that could be mistaken for a gun was allowed in the house or (if my parents were around) in our hands. Then at summer camp, when I was 8 or 9, I spotted “air-rifles” on the list of things to do for the week and decided that although I had no idea what an “air-rifle” was I knew it was something my parents wouldn’t let me do so heck yes I was going to put that on my list for the week (that criteria made up a signifigent portion of how I decided to do alot of things)! I had a blast, and at the end of the week I had earned my first level award for air-rifles (I don’t recall now what the requirements were, but I remember being immensely proud that my scores were better on average than most of the other kids). I was hooked, and every summer there after I made sure that the air-rifle course was the first thing I put down for each year. The summer I was 14 though I was given the opportunity to go overseas, and that killed my summer camp career. I didn’t touch another air rifle (or any sort of firearm) again till I was 29.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a family of hunters. His dad still hunts both turkey and deer every year for as many weekends as he can (usually including Thanksgiving weekend), and my husband was taught at a young age how to handle guns, and got his Junior Hunting Permit as young as allowed.
Not to long after we started dating we went out to the New York State Fair, which is held not all that far away in Syracuse NY. That year the National Guard (I think?) had a booth with an air rifle setup. The targets (metal plates) were contained in a heavy canvas tent to keep any ricocheting BBs from harming passersby. I said what the heck and sat down to give it a try. Twelve BBs, twelve targets down, and my future father-in-law turned to my future husband and informed him to never ever piss me off when I had a gun in my hands. My future husband laughed and said he had no intention of pissing me off ever, gun or not.
My future FIL offered to take me shooting, but the timing never worked out, probly just as well since I would have promptly wanted one of my own and the apartment I was living in didn’t allow firearms. But at the end of this past summer we bought a house of our own, and one of his first visits after we finally got moved in was to bring over a well used Mossburg shotgun as a housewarming gift. It took some time, and the advice of James Rummel (with the suggestion of low recoil shot, thank you) to get me comfortable with it. Although I weigh at least 50lbs over what I should I’m still a “little girl” by most other definitions and was quite literally knocked on my butt the first couple times. But I managed, and I can now put the shot on target, though not always the bullseye, every time.
So this past January we got tired of the numerous tree rats running around. I realize they’re a fact of life reguardless of where you live, and in the sort of landscape we’re in they ARE going to be around…..but after the 10th time I caught one pulling the top off my bird feeder to get at the seed inside I informed my husband that something had to be done.
The shotgun would be overkill and would probly annoy the neighbors even in our hunter friendly area, so we headed out and bought THIS air rifle at our local Gander Mountain.* For those of you who don’t want to click its a Ruger Air Hawk .177 caliber air rifle. Puts out a pellet at 1000 feet per second. Has fiberoptic sights the barrel, and comes with a scope. The paperwork that comes with it states it should be considered dangerous at a distance of up to 575 yards. Squirrels are legal to shoot as pests in NY state year round. There WILL be a few less in my yard next winter. I will say, for anyone who might be considering buying this or similer, the muzzle breaks to load as well as prime the air piston, and it is a heavy pull to do so. I’m not a weakling, but if it was much heavier I’d not be able to do this myself, if you’re considering this for a younger (or smaller) person keep in mind the relative strength required. Of course needing an adult to load it for them does create the additional precaution of always needing an adult on hand for supervision as well, not nessecarly a bad thing.
I had intended to sight it in and start using it right away, but I ran into a problem I should have expected and didn’t. The pellets are small enough that I can’t load the gun while wearing winter gloves, and the rifle only holds one pellet at a time. This means that I’m constantly taking off and putting back on at least one glove. My hands are NOT tolerant of the cold, the combined result of frostbite damage when I was 16 and arthritis now. I lasted less than 10 minutes in the cold that first weekend. Since the sites were screwed 10ways to sunday, and I’ve never actually had to adjust sites before, it was slow going. I didn’t get very far before my hands hurt so much I could barely pull the trigger much less load another pellet.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get it sighted in. The fiber-optic sights were nice to work with dispite the frustration of the settings, and I want to play around with the scope too since I’ve never used one of those either. Unfortunetly the warming trend thats sitting over the area right now is supposed to end Friday night. By Saturday it’ll be back below freezing with a high likely hood of snow. Bleh. I was hoping to be able to go out back and put holes in more paper-plates!
*Disclaimer, we bought this gun with our own money and are receiving no kickback or payment in any form for this post or review.