What removed the fun factor?
With reference to the following replies I stumbled upon on the forum on “Gecado mod. 16” thread.
Gecado Model-16 ~ Air Rifle SA Forums
The link: Gecado Model-16 ~ Air Rifle SA Forums
And this is my response.
I am fully aware that a lot of things have changed, both locally and globally, since the times these posts are referring to.
It brought back the memory of this era to me as well, and my first air rifle purchase.... a Relum Telly, for
R 2. Yes, two Rand. Alright, it was around 1976 and I was about 11 years old at the time. The rifle also had no sights and its general condition was a little worse for wear. But R 2 was still a bargain for this rifle.
The house we lived in at the time was two houses away from a park. For the younger readers, a park was (please note the past tense) an open piece of land with mowed grass, trees and erected steel structures, like swings and slides on which children could play. These steel structures were also regularly maintained. No parental supervision was required during any activity in the park. It was a place children could kick soccer- or rugby balls, climb trees, play cricket and just play in.
Across the road from the park was a veld. Now this was air rifle, kettie and clay lat heaven. Here we found out that Flippie’s BSA Meteor could shoot a pellet into a cold drink can. Again, to explain a cold drink can to the younger readers; it was an empty cylindrical metal container which used to be filled with a refreshing carbonated liquid which one could drink. It’s a lot like a soda can of today with regards to shape and purpose, but a cold drink can was made of a thick walled steel. Not the thin semi-foil soda cans of today. So, for a pellet to penetrate through the wall of a cold drink can was quite an achievement. For my Relum Telly it was an impossibility.
Joe’s BSA Airsporter shot right through a cold drink can. This was a nice rifle. It was a very well maintained, underlever powerful beauty. At the time it was a rifle to covet. I did. I still do.
Shooting empty cans in the veld, it soon became evident I needed sights on my Relum Telly to even hit one. I did not shoot cans, I shot at them. Although, at very close range (about 100mm) my Telly was able to make a huge dent in a Coke can.
A trip to Bentel Bicycle Stores in Cason Rd, Boksburg North, remedied the Relum Telly of the absent sights and the main spring and seal were also replaced. Now I had a decent air rifle, although it was still no BSA Airsporter.
Because of my inability to shoot properly, all the improvements on the rifle were actually of little benefit to me. Although, it shot a bigger dent into a Coke can, so performance was up. The main spring and seal replacement was at least not a complete waste of my mom’s money.
Markman and Radius were also the only two brands of pellets available at the time.... or at least, that I was aware of.
These were times when primary school children could still play in parks without supervision, when primary school children rode their bicycles in the street, to school and to the shops.... and to friends. It was not a strange sight to see a child walking to the veld, carrying a pellet gun in one hand and a kettie around his neck. In fact, it was really a common occurrence.
Yes, as I have mentioned, times have changed. And maybe rightly so. I don’t know if it is because of the latest glass processing technology, or that children are not shooting pellet guns in public anymore, but there is a definite reduction in the number of people wearing eye patches in our current time era. If the more public and liberal use of air rifles contributed to the larger number of people wearing eye patches in the ‘70s, I don’t know. But I know I would feel a lot more uncomfortable seeing a child walking in the street now, carrying a pellet gun, than in the ‘70s. Especially if he is walking in the street I stay in, even more so if I am not wearing any eye protection.
I understand the technological advancements, improvements in design and manufacturing processes and better materials in everything we make, including air rifles. But this should not remove the fun factor. On the contrary, it should add to the fun factor, and not only add to the cost of the air rifle.
What are the current 12-year olds going to write about on this forum when they are in their 50s? Are they going to write about going to the Air Rifle Shooting Range with their dads, popping 20 pellets through the same hole in a paper target at 40m, with a PCP set at 2 392 fpe and pellets travelling at 4 332 fps? Forget the metric measuring system we are accustomed to. FPS & fpe just sound faster and more powerful... and of course, more butch. Will the 12-year olds of today be writing about downloading the popular OTST (On Target Shot Trigger) app onto their ‘phones, and installing this app via a wireless connection to their SART (Smart Air Rifle Telescope)? Now, for the older readers, this app uses the latest TSRTRT (Telescopic Sight Reticle Target Recognition Technology), which enables the shooter to fire the shot automatically as soon as the reticle of the telescopic sight falls on the pre-set target. If the rifle is mounted correctly on a FIRCSOLIBPARR (Fully Integrated Remote Controlled Servo Operated Lithium Ion Battery Powered Adjustable Rifle Rest), you are able to operate the whole set up and fire the shot using only (but not limited to) your ‘phone..... while sitting on the couch..... in your lounge...... drinking coffee. This complete system eliminates the need to make the trip to the air rifle shooting range in your exciting autonomous car.
See, I understand technological advances, and if you needed to Google the FIRCSOLIBPARR, or any of the other fictitious items I mentioned, you probably don’t.
I also understand that on a competitive level, in any sport, including competitive air rifle shooting, there is no place for fun. I wish to make a distinction here between competitive air rifle shooting and recreational air rifle shooting. I am only referring to recreational air rifle shooting in this thread.
Once, on a late Saturday afternoon (maybe it was the last Saturday of July 2017) I saw a boy of about 10 years old, accompanied by his father, shooting blikkies (cans), spinners and swingers with a break barrel air rifle, in the controlled shooting environment of the North Cliff Air Rifle Range. This boy was fully enjoying that experience. He was having serious fun. He was having such a great time that I think he might even write about that event that day, in 40 year’s time on this forum. Why was there on that Saturday afternoon, when the shooting range should have been filled to capacity with people, including children, only one boy on the shooting range when my wife and I left?
This brings me to my original question: What removed the fun factor? Has the change in our country removed the fun factor from pellet gun shooting? I don’t think so. Although there is definitely less veld available currently to shoot air rifles in, than in the ‘70s, the blame and reason should be placed rather on the fertility of people, and not the government. We also have more air rifle shooting ranges available to us now than in the ‘70s, making the environment of shooting pellet guns actually more controlled... and safer too. This should be seen as an incentive to exercise air rifle shooting.
What then, has removed the fun factor from air rifle shooting?
Or am I just being cynical?
Is the fun factor in pellet gun shooting still there? Am I just missing it... like the Coke cans... with my Relum Telly.... in 1976?