...I have a chance to impress my kids. Not often mind you, but sometimes I get lucky.
Just the other day, my 12 year old had his friend over. They were in the back shooting BB guns. They had set up cardboard boxes with targets drawn on them. They did this for a while, and got bored, so they went 'hunting'. My son does this often with his BB gun, a Daisy model 840C with Mossy Oak camo. I bought it for him because I had used a basic 840 as a boy his age.
I was 12, and had several BB rifles, but one I used more than others. It was my 840, a single pump 'bolt action' repeater. It held like 300 BB's, and was accurate as heck. I had a Red Ryder, and a multi-pump Daisy as well, but I really liked my 840. I used it a lot.
The boys were roaming about the back yard. They would stop for a while and shoot at the seed heads on the weeds and hay in the field behind our house, then move on.
When I would get home from school, there wasn't much to do. We only got 5 channels on the TV, and Dad was watching that. Our closest neighbors were several hundred yards away. I would grab my BB gun and go out. I wandered around the creek, shooting at crawfish and frogs. One year, the horsefly's were everywhere. They were all over the trees on the branches. It was a challenge and big fun to shoot them off the limbs.
I could see the boys stop, and sit down in the yard. They were shooting into the field, apparently at the weeds. I watched for a while, and went out to see what they had found. They had decided to shoot grasshoppers, and there were lots of them to shoot at.
In the summer heat, the tall grass beside the county road was full of grasshoppers. I would go out to the road, beside the now dry creek and shoot them. There were hundreds, thousands. It became quite a little game. After a while, it was too easy. I decided that I would only take head shots, and those only at ranges in excess of 10 yards. A miss was almost unheard of, and I was mighty disappointed if I hit anything below the head.
I walked up behind the boys and watched. They would pick out 2 grasshoppers, and when both were ready, they would shoot together. I asked what they were doing, and they said that if one shot, the grasshoppers would jump or move, and they would have to find another target. This way, they could both shoot, and maybe one of them would hit. I told them if they shot faster, they could hit more before they moved.
It had become too easy, even the head shots. So, I started shooting faster. One thing I really liked about that 840, I could cock the action and pump the piston fast. I got to practicing. I would shoot, and then quickly and without taking my eyes off my target, pull the the gun down and open the forearm lever to pump the pressure. At the same time as the gun was coming off my shoulder, I would take my right thumb and pull the "bolt" straight back letting a BB into the breech. As I pushed the "bolt" closed with my thumb, I would close the forearm which pressurized the gun. I would pull it back to my shoulder ready to shoot. It would make 3 sounds, kind of a click-bump-clunk as I opened the bolt (and forearm), closed the forearm, and closed the bolt. It was quick. I could get off at least 3 shots in 2 seconds, and hit what I was looking at.
The boys were trying, and I was trying to tell my son how to work the action without looking. He didn't believe me. He said he couldn't do it. I said sure you can, just practice. He laughed and said "OK, you do it then." in that voice that says 'I'll show dad'.
I took the gun. I looked into the weeds. I found 3 grasshoppers close together, and showed the boys where they were. I told the boys to watch them and see if I hit them. They did.
I cocked the gun, and lined up on the first grasshopper. I pulled the trigger zzzzt, click-bump-clunk-zzzzt, click-bump-clunk-zzzzzt.
Three grasshoppers in about 2 seconds. My son just looked at me and smiled, his friend said "holy crap!" which I pretended not to hear. Then they both started laughing. "how did you do that?!" they half yelled half laughed. Just like I told you I said. "Lots of practice" I reminded them.
I gave my son the gun back, and turned to walk inside. As I walked in the door, I heard my sons friend say "Your Dad is cool!", and as closed the door I saw my son look at him and smile and say "Yeah, I know."
And that makes me smile.