By Mr. Pink
I dread February. Hunting seasons are closed, football is over and the weather sucks. So last year I bought an airgun. Not just any cheap-ass Gamo from Academy, but a serious one: An AirForce Condor .22 caliber.
I saved a refrigerator box from Christmas and filled it with layers of more cardboard, wrapping paper and some bubble wrap and shit. I set it up on the far wall of the long hallway in the basement and then—and this is the key—I didn’t utter a word about what I was doing to my wife. (In fact, it’s why I’m writing this article under a pen name.) But of course what I was doing was setting up a winter shooting range for me and my boy, and me and the boys. I’ve found shooting offhand airgun matches for money—while drinking—is more fun than sitting around talking about our various ailments—while drinking.
Drinking and shooting, you ask? Yea, just keep the thing pointed downrange at all times and—and I’m not kidding about this—make everyone wear eye protection if they’re not already wearing glasses, and you’ll be fine.
Why a relatively expensive AirForce? For one, these rifles are accurate. If you pull a shot, you’ll know it; but it’s not all that easy to pull a shot if your form is decent because the trigger is so good. Unlike Gamos, pellets don’t just skew one way or another for no reason. And while it’s not silent—any sudden burst of escaping air makes noise—it’s not as loud as the high-velocity spring-air models that are sometimes louder than an actual firearm. If you’re worried about it, just place an air compressor and a few tools in your basement or garage and use them from time to time so neither the wife nor the neighbors will be the wiser.
Since I plan on murking squirrels and other critters with it occasionally, I opted for the .22 caliber (a .25 is available as well). But honestly, if creating an indoor shooting galley is your primary goal, a .17 is perfect because pellets are cheap and penetration is nil—if you’re worried about those things. You’d be surprised what 18 or more plies of cardboard can stop though, so it’s not an issue.
The other day I led my young son down to the basement, and his eyes lit up when I uncovered the rifle and two pairs of shooting glasses.
“What are we going to do?” he asked with an impish grin.
“We’re going to shoot inside.”
“Shoot inside? Why?”
“Because it’s nighttime and it’s cold outside. And because we can.”
“I think this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done, Dad,” he said.
Sure, he’s young and naive and by the time he’s 12 my metamorphosis into a stupid old moron will surely be complete, but currently the $875 I spent on the rifle, 500 pellets, a few pairs of eye pro and some cardboard is making me feel like a CIA operative-slash-semi-genius. And I like that feeling.