Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Breaking Bored

Summer has gotten here far too soon with record heat for weeks now. The fish have gone on bed finally, weeks late, they have lock jaw now. With highs near 100 and heat indexes well past it is tough to make myself get out to do outdoorsy stuff. I still need to go clear out pigeons from the barn and would love a quick fishing trip but the weather has to break first.

The pigeon hide out.

My view while stalking the barn birds.

  What to do when you just get so bored you can’t stand looking at walls anymore? I shoot. This is when I practice with my bows and air rifle to keep tuned up or so I tell myself, really it is just to have fun. I’m lucky, I can shoot in my backyard with whatever I want but I keep it to things that don’t go boom since I don’t like it when someone shoots real guns near my house. This time of year begs for you to be outside and shooting lets me get out with minimal setup or tear down when I just want a few minutes to relax.

Pile of fun about to begin.

  Recently I got a traditional long bow to go with my compound and crossbow. This is a treat since it is really back to basics shooting, stick and string plus a target. I traded for a Bama Bow done in bocote and maple with horn. Not only is it beautiful, it is a dream to shoot, light, easy to draw, fun. For an air rifle I still shoot my Gamo 440 springer I bought years ago. It is nothing fancy but gets the job done whether punching paper or popping small game and pests even with Gamo’s terrible trigger, more on that in a bit. Just these two things can mean getting out for a bit when most people are hiding under the A/C.
  For my long bow I use an old deer target that has literally been shot to pieces. I use it like you would stump shooting, simply putting the pieces on the ground and fling away. Yes I chase a lot of arrows that go snake on me (hiding in the grass after I miss) but this is so much fun. My groups are huge compared to my compound but that is fine it is a different form of shooting which I am just starting to relearn. One thing I like is shooting with both eyes open which I can’t do with my sights. This allows me to get involved with technique instead of technology. Concentrate on the spot, envision the impact, draw, anchor, release, follow through. It also shows off my habit of shooting high and left. Yes I know why I do it but I still have to fight it every time I shoot despite muscle memory.

My backyard version of stump shooting. This was my first group at 11 yards with the long bow.

This is a typical 20 yard group with my compound. 4 arrows in a bottle cap and 2 close by.

 My hope is to get good enough to hunt with it this fall to take my first traditional bow deer. It is odd watching arrows take what can only be called a leisurely flight to the target when matched against my Bear. At close to 300 fps with hunting weight arrows my compound is screaming compared to a traditional. So why go back? Because I learned on a recurve, a Ben Pearson, I can’t remember the model, I had before compounds existed. I never got to take a deer with it before technology moved me away from stick and string. Now as I get older I want to correct that while I still can.
  Many people take shooting long guns they will use for hunting for granted. How many do you know who go out the night before opening day to throw a rifle across the hood of the truck, fire two rounds and call it good? Be honest, we all know those folks. To be fair many don’t have the luxury of shooting their real guns year round. My solution is to shoot my air rifle every chance I get. This keeps me in practice for when season rolls around and is fun watching holes form in the targets.
  To make it easier I keep my Gamo sitting by the backdoor for when I need to thump a rabbit or groundhog raiding my garden. Some shoot and see targets are close by along with a tin of pellets. This way when I get a minute for trigger time I can be out the door and set up in a couple of minutes. I don’t shoot from a bench but try to take shots the way I do in the field, offhand or using a rest from a standing position. The only bad part is again the absolutely miserable fake two stage trigger Gamo puts on their guns. This makes it almost impossible to get consistent shots since it is not a true two stage and the fact that I hate those types of triggers. I want one with zero creep or backlash but air rifle companies are obsessed with using two stage. Even with this I can still get sub ½” groups from a bench at 15 yards. Under more realistic conditions the groups are no where near this good but I know what to expect when I get to the woods.

Headed to chase pigeons on an earlier outing.

  I shoot Crosman pellets, these are inexpensive but work well. I can shoot for less than a penny a shot plus they double as a good hunting pellet, too. I haven’t shot these through a chronograph so have no data for speed or energy but they work as many a blackbird and rabbit can attest. I did weigh several to see how consistent they are and was surprised to see they are extremely close to the same weight.
  If you don’t have an air rifle and don’t want to spend a ton of money on one of the higher dollar adult versions here is a tip. Crosman makes one you can pick up at most box or super stores or order online from Pyramydair or Crosman for around $60.00. This is the model 2100 that has been around for many years and holds up even with tons of use. It is a fairly inexpensive way to shoot during the off season. It will shoot either pellets or BB s both of which are cheap. Check out the full reviews on one of my favorite youtube channels, EdGunUSA
  I hope most of you live in an area where you can do this in your yard. It doesn’t take much room, is quiet for the most part and you can invite a neighbor over to play along. I help some of the kids living close to me learn to shoot with their inexpensive air rifles which is another reason to get out. You can download free targets online then print whatever you need for a range session.
This time of year for me is about relaxing, having fun just getting outside for a short time despite the heat. I will get down to serious practice as the season draws closer and the time I spend now will make it easier when late summer rolls around.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated by any companies mentioned in any way. These are just the products that I buy and use.


LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

Most nights after work, we do a "garden tour"...pull weeds, stake, harvest, water, whatever needs done....then move on to targets we have set up and shoot our bows for a little bit. Anything for us to be outside and decompress from a long day at work plus benefit from staying somewhat ready for bow season!

Bobby Nations said...

There is a good replacement trigger for that Gamo that helps tremendously. It's available at I believe that it costs about $32.

Tommy Ellis said...

Hi Bobby,
I have thought about getting that trigger for some time now. What I want is to step up to a PCP in .22 caliber. A Benjamin R10 would be nice if I had an extra $1000 laying around.

Thanks for the tips, comments and visit.


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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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