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Airguning nostalgia

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As an occasional airgunner nowadays I still love my airguns and plink and shoot targets mostly with the odd airgun hunting trip and have a big love for them although I am nowhere near the standards of you guys on here.

Iv been very lucky as my dad was well into his airguns and he took me out from a young age and I got to use his guns (proper classics nowadays such as fwb, hw,s,  Diana,s and bsa) his alltime faveroute gun was the Diana mod 52 with golden antler scopes.

I remember the first airgun I ever got as a child and that was a bsa mercury mk1 in 1994 and I will have been 10 years old. I remember that day like yesterday it stands out in my mind forever. We had been been out squirel shooting with my dad his lurcher jack with his trusty Diana 52 in North yorkshire. We used to spend many hours together every weekend shooting tin cans and walking about and my dad used to shoot plenty, I was his fetcher collecting his rabbits when shooting from a vehicle where he used mega numbers with his 52.

One day when out for a wander  he let me wander ahead with supervision and I walked on a bit with my meteor mk 1 and a few hustler pellets in my pocket. 

I had a 4x20 scope on that I used to adjust the turrets with a coin - it was a poor scope but to me back then it was aweome! 

Anyway I knew a spot I used to see a rabbit often, it was a gate way halfway up a hill bordering a hedge on the left  and the middle wooden rail was snapped off at the gate handle end. I just knew (or imadgined) there was a rabbit out in front of it.  I slowly crawled up to it and with my bsa and I when I got close i saw the tips of a rabbits ears, my heart started racing! I waited to see if it was settled then slowly rose up and I wasn't noticed. After what seemed like a lifetime I put the Crosshairs on the rabbits head and carefully then pulled the trigger. It dissappeared out of sight and I thaught I missed it. I climbed over the fence to check and it was there! perfect shot, I shouted and jumped about in joy and was chuffed I'd finaly got one of my own!


I Braught it back to my dad proud as punch and it went into a pie. It was the best pie I ever had lol. 

Everytime I see an old bsa the heart warms.


Can you remember your first airgun and shot game? Would love to hear!


Cheers. Tom. 




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Not the first thing i shot Tom

but the first gun i shot and it got me into air guns

a single barrel hammer action shot gun forget the name of it now

i was 8 or 9 yrs old

squeezed the trigger the shot went one way and i the other

i did not know what to hold first my shoulder or my ass .

When my dad and uncle picked them selfs up off the ground

with tears rolling down there cheeks (laughing )

my dad came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and say,d i think ill buy you an air rifle tomorrow


the rifle a Diana 22

thought it was the bee,s knees lol




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Ha ha ha That's ace! I had simelar happen too with a Webley .410 I was told put the bead on the milk carton and pull the trigger. I missed on the first shot I was asked how the hell can you miss that! It took 10 shots for me to hit it because I kept on closing my eyes lol. 

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I remember my first rabbit like it was yesterday, shot with my trusty Crossman .22 pump pistol, myself and a couple of mates were walking down the side of a wood just about to come to a large patch of gorse in a dip with a little stream running in front, there were quite a few bunnies running around as we approached, most inevitably ran off into the gorse.........But one stopped on a little bankside, just before the gorse, I already had the Crossman at the ready, and slowly took aim at the rabbits neck, crack goes the pistol, and I hear the thud of the pellet hitting him, and there he lay kicking on the ground, I ran like a sprinter and grabbed him by the back legs and chopped him across the back of the neck, I was absolutely over the moon, my first bunny and at about 20 yards with a pistol, my best mate Andy was gutted, he used to shoot stuff with his Meteor, but would never shoot bunnies as he kept them as pets (still has them to this day allegedly for his kids) I remember the look on my old grandmas face when I pulled the rabbit out of the bag when I got home, she was from a country/farming background and always loved a rabbit stew, I remember her showing me how to skin and prepare the bunny properly, and it was the finest rabbit stew I have ever tasted........................................................................  that was 39 years ago and it seems like yesterday, I still shoot on the same land, and visit that same spot regularly, and every single time the memories come flooding back, of a care free time, out all day and sometimes all night, shooting, fishing , and becoming the thing I knew was in my blood.......Being a hunter

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Cold wet days in November and December reminds me of shooting days with my dad and his .22 rifle. I was only   eight and it was 1965. A beautiful bolt action sporting rifle he'd "liberated" from a German house in 1945! He always told me how he found it propped up in a wardrobe in this empty farmhouse. The owners had just fled as the allies advanced and left all sorts of things behind. He was a sniper, Coldstream Guards Armoured Div. And he could hit a fox running at insane distances, and open sights. He taught me everything about precision marksmanship. 

It was my aunt Evelyn in Australia who gave me my first air rifle. My cousin's Webley .22 break barrel. It was in a bit of a rusty state but, it had loads of power. Probably illegally so., but nobody seemed to care back then. It was accurate and could whack a hole through a dustbin. Dad cleaned it up and gave if a bit of TLC and it produced decent groups. My dad was a hell of a taskmaster! He would never allow me out with it, until I could put ten shots through a penny size disc. That was when a penny was a bit bigger than a 2p piece. But, nonetheless, he was making a decent shot out his eight year old son. After what seemed forever practicing in our large back garden, he finally told me to bring it with us and "see how you get on with it"! 

While out one late December afternoon dad spotted a rabbit feeding in the gloomy twighlight mist about 20 yards away. He got me forward with the Webley and let me have first shot. I barely could breathe as I got into prone position on the wet loamy earth (love that smell!), rifle already cocked. Open sights set on its eye. My first ever shot at a rabbit. Thwack! Hit it clean through the side of its head and that was it! I was an air rifle hunter!

Mum cooked it with two more in a stew with pearl barley, veg and mashed potato. That rabbit gravy was absolutely beautiful. 

I'll never forget that day as long as I live.

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Coming from quite a townie family, the only ones that I ever remember being interested in hunting were me and my Grandad - Mums Dad.

 ...... He's a Welshman, ex-army and a train driver.


When I was a kid in the early/mid 80s (I would have been 5 or 6 yrs old), I'd sometimes stay over at Nan & Grandads - we'd get up early and walk to the fields a couple of miles away to check his snares.

Sometimes on the way, he'd pull out a catapult, if no one was around, and take a pigeon off a lamppost - this was usually just as the sun was coming up.

 ..... I remember his coat had huge pockets :laugh:


In my early teens, in the early 90s, me and my mate used to spend a lot of time in the local woods with our air rifles - I don't remember my first kill but, we'd usually come home with pigeons, rabbits or squirrels.

In those days, no one minded what we were doing - we'd walk off the estate and along a main road with our rifles in bags. We'd encounter dog walkers in the woods - no one was bothered, we were just left to carry on.

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Mine was a .22 Diana air rifle. Don't remember the model number but something like 24 rings a bell. Very basic junior rifle. Dark stained and varnished wood stock. Low power. Non-adjustable single stage trigger with pressed steel trigger blade. Metalwork not blued as I discovered after applying a "rust proofing" compound  to it which removed the "bluing". A rifled barrel though and the trigger was predictable. In retrospect surprisingly accurate.

A Christmas present when I was 8. I will never forget the feeling after Midnight Mass when my dad brought it out, wrapped in paper! The feeling of elation after unwrapping to confirm the obvious that it was indeed an air rifle has seldom been matched throughout my life. Christmas day was always spent at my Grandma's house so Boxing day was the 1st real use. I was out at 1st light in the back garden blasting away at homemade targets when I noticed several birds sitting in a small Crab Apple tree 2 gardens up. Took a shot at a sparrow (many years ago of course) and it dropped like a stone. I stood there in my parker coat all morning dropping more sparrows, starling and blackbirds. Again, many years ago and I would not condone shooting these species now. This continued until Mam called me in for lunch, or dinner as we called it in this part of the world.

During lunch there was a knock on the door. As the youngest it was one of my jobs to see who it was. Mr Broughton from 2 doors up. Standing there with a a plastic potting tray full of my "bag". He then asked the dreaded question

"Is your Dad in?"

These were the days before grounding had crossed the pond. Punishment was of the short sharp shock variety and my new priced possession being put in the loft for the duration of Christmas holidays. I got it back after a few weeks (still shot the little birds but with a bit more discretion, and they were used as ferret food) and little rifle taught me so much about the importance of accurate shooting and field craft. Something that I find at times that people who start their shooting career as adults with "proper" guns are sometimes lacking in.








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My Dad loved second hand shops and antique shops, -  I fecking hated them !

               I was 9 yrs old on holiday at Blackpool, I was begging to go to the fair and he had me, my beloved uncle Wally, aunty Peggy and my Mum in fecking junk shops when I spotted a Milbro G something pistol - within seconds it was bagged and mine "IF" I shut up.

               Well my mate Paul had a Gat and we went hunting.

                Pauls Gat would just about take a sparrow at 5 yds ( early 1970`s) that Milbro just bounced off :laugh:.

                I came home from school a few weeks after getting the pistol and my Dad had confiscated it, saying sorry Son you are not old enough to own it and you have to be accompanied by an adult.

                 My Dad " broke my heart that day"- did I have to wait until I was 14 for a rifle, - 5 years is an eternity !

                 I walked the woods with a catapult for months and months, an elderly chap with a dog used to wink and say "Morning lad" on many occasions until one day he asked my name, he told me his name was Geoff`, to his friends and to call him Geoff`.

                 Geoff` was Head Game Keeper to the estate and once I had told him about how lost I felt not being able to have an air pistol he waved his wand, spoke with my Dad and I was the Head Keepers youngest ever, unpaid, under keeper, ever !

                 My Dad could see my world was back and Geoff taught me everything I could wish for.

                 My Dad bought me a Relum Tornado and 4x20 sights for my 12th birthday and said " don`t get caught on your own with it".

                 On my 14th birthday my High School Headmaster had me do a seminar in the sports hall telling all the pupils about my life hunting, fishing and trapping the land, even allowed the Tornado in school for the seminar.

                 Geoff` taught me how to Keeper and by the time I was 16 I was shooting the legendary FWB Sport 127 and the rest you pretty much know lads :good:


                                         atb  Mark.

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Oh mate the stuff I shot with that pistol, I have no idea what the power was, but my old man had bought it from a mate, it certainly used to drop stuff when you hit em in the right place, it certainly taught me a thing or two about fieldcraft I can tell you that, I eventually sold it to a mate, and actually enquired about it a couple of years ago, he could not remember what had happened to it, Im going to ask him again, I would love to have it back and restore it.

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