first gun

STEP BACK IN TIME TO YOUR FIRST GUN

What was your first gun?

While my shooting ultimately started with a homemade slingshot stepping up to a firearm was like landing on the moon.

Here is the story of my first rifle and some other weapons that began the lifelong obsession with hunting and target shooting.

Like many shooters and hunters out their we had our humble beginnings. A homemade slingshot my grandmother made me then upgraded to her vintage Daisy Model 25 pump action BB gun. That BB gun was carried all over the wild frontier of the neighborhood woods. That little BB gun however lacked the power and the accuracy for hunting.

Enter a trip to a department store and the purchase of a Crosman Powermaster 66 pellet and BB gun. This 10 pump air rifle had serious power especially paired with Beeman Silver Jet pointed hunting pellets. A properly aimed .177 caliber pellet would take down a European starling with plenty of authority. My life as a hunter had begun. Below is the test firing of a Powermaster 66 just like I had as a kid I found at a local gun show. Nothing like stepping back in time for a bit.

Eric Nestor

After I broke the seal on a couple Crosman Powermaster 66 air rifles through heavy daily use it was time for a change. For my birthday and Christmas that year I picked out a RWS Model 48 .177 caliber air rifle. That was a game changer. That little pellet had high velocity and even squirrels were hunt-able now. Shots got longer and with some special rubber skirted steel pellets called “Prometheus Pellets” I found at a sportsman’s show the pellets would crack downrange like a .22 long rifle bullet. I broke the speed of sound finally.

My grandfather’s Savage Model 4C bolt action .22 rifle was handed down to me. The rifle was used by my grandfather many decades before to shoot rats at the local dump. This coveted heirloom was going to have much range time and woods wandering from then on. With a small adjustment from a gunsmith friend the iron sights were dead on with any ammunition I chose to shoot. The magazine spring was too light and had to be replaced. The firing pin broke from heavy use but that same gunsmith friend lathed a new one. I could fire .22 shorts, .22 longs, and .22 long rifle cartridges flawlessly. Federal Lightning .22 long rifle ammo was a cheap and a good shooting round I liked over the cheaper Remington Thunderbolts.  All was right with the world and multitudes of those red boxes went empty through that rifle.

GunsAmerica

Now a quarter century later that same Savage Model 4C rifle spends time with me plinking at the range. It also is still deadly accurate on small game as the featured image proves. The four red squirrels went down quick and silently while hunting with CCI CB Long .22 ammo. After the picture was taken a number five squirrel also fell to the sweet shooting old rifle.

While other firearms have come and go by horse trading at gun shows the Savage .22 rifle continues to serve me well. It will be handed down one day to a suitable heir when my time in the woods and ranges is near the end.

Do you like articles about the outdoors? You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram.

NEXT: FIREARM REVIEW: HENRY REPEATING ARMS BIG BOY COLOR CASE HARDENED LEVER ACTION RIFLE