Every red-blooded American boy has to have a BB gun, right? Of course! As I recall Joey Giammalva was the first to get one in my little group. I was already something of a gun-nut even though I did not own any but toy guns, but my toy guns were almost real. I had a plastic Thompson Submachine Gun that looked real, I mean really real! I had a cast aluminum M1911A1 .45 auto pistol. The mold was made using a real pistol, so what came out of that mold looked just like a real 1911A1. Wish I still had it!
BB guns were another matter. While the Red Ryder Lever Action BB Gun bore only a passing resemblance to the famous 1892 Winchester seen in all Westerns of the day, the fact that it propelled a projectile out of the barrel was sufficient compensation to get over its somewhat lame and unrealistic appearance. Besides, Joey had one, so I had to have one, too. My first request was rejected by my parents. That meant I had to pitch a kid-fit, and they are usually successful, especially if maintained long enough.
They folded. (Parents have a low threshold for kid-fit pain.)
Next day we made a trip to Cavalino’s Hardware, and I came home with my new Red Ryder BB Gun. Joey and I commenced to terrorize the bird population of our neighborhood to the chagrin of bird lovers everywhere. Don’t worry; the birds remained relatively unscathed since we were pretty lousy shots. That, however, would change with time.
That started a trend. Manard Lagasse acquired a BB gun next. We were then a three-some of bird terrorists. How we did not shoot someone’s eye out is something akin to a miracle, but we didn’t, at least not until later—almost—but that is another story.
My bride loves to remind me of how one of us put a BB through her parent’s front window.
And I will deny that to my grave!
Eventually, we mastered aiming our BB guns, which were not terribly accurate. If you could hit a tin can twenty feet away you were doing good. Terminal performance depended largely on what I would call the shotgun effect, albeit delivered one BB at a time. Shoot at something enough times and eventually you will hit it, like a living room window, even if by accident.