Range time consists of three major expenses: range fees, travel time and ammunition. I shoot on friends’ farms, so the fees aren’t an issue. Ammunition, that I have. I’ve been a packrat a long time, and I no longer do much rapid fire. Travel time…that’s a problem. The nearest range available to me is a 55 minute drive away. The rest are further. Two hours on the road really add up.
Being able to practice in the back yard seemed ideal. So I’ve been looking at using air guns more…starting with a Daisy spring gun, later replaced with a Gamo 880 and augmented with Diana RWS34P. I also had a Crosman revolver of great accuracy which I lend to some friend and never got back. I replaced it with a newer, more expensive CO2 revolver but was not happy with its performance or feel.
So I started looking at various options, and ran into Crosman people at SHOT show range day. Shot a few pellets through pre-charged guns, liked how easy it was to hit targets compared to piston models. They agreed to provide me with some air guns to try out. Being a newbie to air guns, I’ve used up a lot of the time of their engineer who explained various technical details to me.
Today, I finally assembled the fancy Williams adjustable sight onto the pistol and took a few snapshots of it. And then the rain started, so no range time for me today.
I did a quick calculation of the economics of air gun shooting. Two 1250-pellet boxes add up to $58, and the 80 CO2 powerlets necessary to shoot them add another $36 (Wallmart prices). The pistol itself is $275 from Crosman and $260 from Amazon, shipping included. For comparison, a decent .22 pistol would cost about the same, and ammunition seems to be running about $250 for the same 2,500 rounds.
As a weapon, a .22 pistol is an obvious win. As a marksmanship training tool, the air gun looks to be economical — not just in terms of ammo but also in terms of range access — and rather accurate. Because air guns are not covered by NFA prohibition on barrel length, this pistol can be quickly augmented with a stock, making it much more useful for teaching new shooters. The notch rear sight can be either moved forward for a more conventional sight picture or left near the eye to make front sight focus easier for beginners.
Once I’ve had more time with this and other air guns, I will post my impressions in more detail.
PS: I just noticed a lot of complaints about canted front and rear sights. The front sight base is adjustable. The rear sight fits in the scope groove and has to be installed correctly or it shows the slight cant that buyers noticed. It took me about a minute to verify correct installation.