Got just enough quality time today with the Air Venturi Bronco, with the new sight riser in place, to get downright excited about this here airgun adventure. It may be fair to say that I actually started training with the rifle today--not precisely structured training yet, but it had the distinct feel of purpose, and accomplishment to go with it.
The goal today was to see where I am with snapshots. Right now, using the front deck as a firing line, I've got two .22 steel spinners (chicken and ram silhouettes) at 10m, and a third (ram) at somewhere between 20 and 25 yards. About with that third spinner is a hard-to-see (red, against the spruce trees in winter light) 4" self-sealing disk, and finally there are two more-visible disks, at about 25 yards (6" orange) and...somewhere between 30 and 40 yards (8" yellow). If I move up and down the deck, I get a variety of looks at these targets, some of which are visible only in certain lanes, and there are even a couple of post rest options for practicing that most useful position. The steels obviously make a "pink" sound when hit, and if you listen carefully there is a distinctive "thwap" when the self-sealing disks take a hit. So, there's good feedback and no need for target resets. The deck is a nice firing line, with only the limitation that I really have to stay standing up to get over the railing. (For other field positions, I need to get down off the deck and onto the ground, which is easy enough.)
So, snaps. And singles, of course, since this is a single-shot rifle. I worked a variety of start positions, always with eyes off and the rifle somewhere other than shouldered, and often involving moving into the lane appropriate to the selected target. Acquire, mount, sight, press.
It was outstanding. With the sights improved, it really is just like mounting and firing singles from a firearm; the Bronco's safety is ergonomic, the trigger just exactly what it needs to be, and there is even a tactile recoil impulse from the piston releasing to fire the shot. This is just exactly the rifle I was hoping that it would be--and I haven't even got "serious" yet about seeing just how accurate I can be with it, either. (I suspect that pursuing that goal will be worthwhile--that there is plenty of room in the system to satisfy the small-groups interest, as well as the "hit fast" interest.)
And I was even pleased with me, too. I was hitting so well that I actually realized I needed to speed up--and did, too, until the balance started to tip the other way. Without a shot timer I could only guess at what my times were, but right now I'm interested in solid fundamentals and smooth, consistent motions anyway, so a timer is of mostly academic value. Suffice it to say that I ended the day faster than I started, and hits were just as fast as I could make them. I'll take that and build from there.
And boy, I think that is what is so encouraging about this enterprise: the ability to build, with real trigger time, on short notice and at low cost. I was able to fit the session into well less than an hour, before dinner, right on the porch, with no noise or setup. I'm sure I shot somewhere over 100 rounds from the rifle, and at a list price of $12 for a tin of 500 match-grade pellets...well! (It can be better than that, too: going forward, I will probably stick with the pellets that I now know the gun likes best, which are also match grade and can be had 1250 to a tin for $26.)
It was good time, too. I don't think I'd have got anything more out of the session with a rimfire or a centerfire. For basic fundamentals work on single shots, this is turning out to be a very encouraging idea!
There will be more of this. Much more. :-)