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Confessions of an Air Gun Shooter

For some reason, it crossed my mind that some of my scattered unpreparedness may not just be mine and that maybe you could use some reassurance that there is always someone who is doing a worse job than you at keeping all your air gun stuff together--namely me.

For context, I often admire how some people seem to have it all together. There’s one guy in particular that always seems to be ready. We’ll call him, “Chad”. He gets to the range and he’s simply thought of everything. Or maybe he just keeps everything organized and ready to go at any time. Regardless, oftentimes it appears to me that he and others like him have sophisticated guns, ammo, and range necessity section in the garage, or maybe one of those safe rooms turned man or gun cave, that has a ready-to-go-shoot kit for every situation whether it’s go time at a centerfire handgun range bay, airgun target shoot on private land, a long-range shoot, or just a fun plinking session.

The Got It All Together Gun Guy

The Umarex GauntletRecently I met him at a range just to chill for a half-hour while he shot a newly loaded ammo out of a modern sporting rifle. For some people, that’s what trigger time is--a relaxing release from the woes of a workweek. He had a range bag that was neatly organized and full of any tool he might possibly need. Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, oils, a staple gun, even an extra set of scope rings. No matter what he’s shooting, it’s the same every time. If it’s a Umarex Gauntlet shooting session he’s prepped with pellets and slugs, a variety of targets, a range finder, and a tank of compressed air, and the tools to address anything that might need tinkered with. I can’t leave out the targets. He’s built his own target stands using PVC pipe and cardboard that are lightweight and easy to assemble and disassemble. He’s even painted them!

How does he keep it like that all the time? I’ve attempted to get my airgun stuff organized. I have a plastic tote, like Kay Miculek suggested in her blog about using airsoft for practice, that I keep my staple gun in along with some targets, eye pro, ear pro, gun club badge, pellets, and BBs, CO2, and a few tools. It’s not at all organized though. I get in a hurry, throw stuff in and rummage through it when I need something. Doesn’t help that my sons dip into it from time-to-time as well. I’m out of 12-gram CO2 cartridges… wonder where it all went?

A Place for Everything and Guns & Ammo In Their Place

It’s not just the gun and airgun accessories that “Chad” keeps organized. His guns have a home too. A slot for that handgun and another for the other in an olive drab range bag. Rifle cases have labels on them and soft-sided gun bags do too. I bet he’s got a label maker and has labeled all the locations in his gun cabinet! His live-fire reloads are in cases with labels, so it's not unreasonable to think he’d use those labels elsewhere. While I like to think like that I’m not at all organized in this fashion, especially since my gun collection has outgrown my locking rifle cabinet.

The Umarex SurgeMax EliteFirearms command the dark green gun cabinet so that leaves the airguns stashed in a corner and void of air. Pellet rifles leaning in one corner. A PCP rifle in another and handguns in a cabinet out of reach and out of sight. Now when it comes to centerfire ammunition and .22LR rounds I do have a system there. It’s not quite as fine-tuned as I suspect “Chad’s” may be, but labeled ammo cans and a specific cabinet that’s in a climate-controlled location works well, even if a last-minute range visit pops up. Except I do have to remove ammunition cans when the one I want is on the bottom.

As for airgun ammo, have you ever seen one of those airgunners that has a tackle box or some custom box built to keep labeled tins of pellets of all makes, calibers, weights, and shapes? Maybe a Plano fishing tackle box? Not in my garage. There’s a couple of tins in the range box. A tin or two in the little parts and screws drawer and a couple more in my small range bag. If I’m lucky, there’s still a few pellet tins and a bottle of steel Umarex BBs in the old athletic lockers in the garage too. And likely there’s a tin of .22 pellets in the toolbox of my pickup. Like I said at the beginning, scattered.

Time and Gun Stuff Management

Fortunately, as the boys grow older they’ve begun to put things back where they found them. That certainly helps. Plus, doing things on their own frees up a little bit of time to dedicate to my airgun, rifle, handgun, and hunting stuff organization. My oldest son’s newly bought ATV and passion for overlanding has kind of taken up some space in the garage though. I don’t expect to get to the level of “Chad” anytime soon, but I could see it within the next 7-10 years. Maybe.

I just recently built a rifle with my 19-year old son. It’s time to hit the range and run a few rounds through it now. Perhaps I’ll go organize a bit before we set out to Old Fort Gun Club. Or perhaps not. Scattered works well enough for now. I know where everything is at for this trip.

Despite being a gun stuff organization slacker now, I’ve witnessed what it’s like to be ready to hit the range in a moment's notice. For now, I simply dream about straight rows of ammo boxes and perfectly placed rifles waiting to jump into labeled travel cases.

- JB

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