August 03, 2022
By Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor
For anglers, the bluegill is the fish that propels many down the road towards a lifetime of chasing freshwater and saltwater fishing adventure in the great outdoors.
But for hunters, it’s often the air rifle that kickstarts a hunting career, usually right after Santa delivers a brand new BB gun or a pellet gun under the Christmas tree on the big morning in late December.
A Simple Start
And after a few hundred rounds have peppered a target in the backyard, the die is cast and a hunter is born, jumpstarting an outdoor career that might move on to whitetails, elk, mule deer, waterfowl, upland game, or even across the Atlantic to chase dangerous game in Africa.
And all because of a simple air gun, the All-American entryway into the hunting and shooting pastime, and most often under the watchful eye of a beaming dad or smiling grandfather, eager to spend time in the field with a young boy or girl that is the apple of their eye.
Outdoor Sportsman Group magazine publisher and North American Whitetail television show co-host Laden Force is familiar with the air gun, having his own childhood memories filled with a favorite gift, a carton of BBs, and a lifetime of dreams.
But these days, as a member of the iconic NAW brand and a crew member for one of the longest running outdoor television shows in TV history, he admits that the air gun is all grown up now, as evidenced by opening up the gun case and picking up an Umarex air rifle.
No Longer Granddaddy’s Air Gun
“When you open that case and you look at what you see in an Umarex air rifle today,” said Force. “You realize very quickly that we've come a long way since the lever action BB guns of a Red Ryder or a Daisy.”
As a serious hunting tool that is now capable of efficiently and humanely taking down big game critters ranging from wild hogs to deer and more, the air rifle revolution has occurred, thanks to companies like Umarex who have pushed the technology edge forward. And as Force said, one look at a modern air rifle today shows a hunting weapon that is vastly different now than the BB guns of yesteryear.
Air Rifle Revolution
“Immediately, you can see the quality and technology that's been put into these new air rifles,” said Force. “I think the big misnomer with so many of us, is that we were raised in the days of the Red Ryder’s, Daisy’s, and pump action Crossman's, and in some cases we thought of them as (only) BB guns.”
But that was then, and this is now, an era where these new air rifle systems from Umarex, are utilizing either a traditional hand pump system or a compressor system and are now capable of producing a truckload of lethal energy downrange, taking down everything from a wild boar in Texas to a big pig in a Georgia swamp to a warthog in Africa, and a whole lot more big game critters in between.
Force says that Umarex air rifles are certainly intuitive and user-friendly, along with something that a hunter or shooter can easily educate themselves on and quickly adapt and grow accustomed to. They also provide a great path forward to improve one’s shooting ability since the felt recoil and flinching issues of large caliber centerfire rifles doesn't come into play here.
“You don't have a lot of felt recoil to them, it's actually a reduced recoil if you were to compare it to some of the centerfire cartridge offerings that would be paralleled in size, so they're enjoyable,” he said.
“You can go out and you can really focus on the technique of improving your accuracy and your on-target visibility and go through the process of using it to build a good shooting exercise for yourself.”
Gateway Game Changers
In Force’s mind, settling in behind an Umarex air rifle is a great way to introduce someone to the shooting sports and the pastime of hunting, as well as improving one’s own efforts and abilities in the field. In short, you’ll become a better hunter and a better shooter, all because of Umarex and the ability to take down game and teach such proper shooting disciplines as eyes on target and better trigger control.
“All those things that you look to improve and build from an accuracy aspect as a shooter, you really have the ability to amplify and using the Umarex air rifles because you don't have the boom of a rifle caliber going off, or you don't have the recoil of a of a high-caliber centerfire rifle pushing back towards you into your shoulder,” he said.
“You can really focus on the shooting experience that is occurring in front of you.”
As Force grew older, started a family, and has gone on to become one of the leading figures in the nation's outdoors industry, he admits that he kind of grew out of the air rifle game that he embraced early on as a kid. There's been a natural progression from his first BB guns to shotguns for waterfowl and upland birds to bows for whitetails and other big game, and of course, centerfire rifle calibers useful in all kinds of big game hunting applications.
But now, as Umarex air rifles have arrived on the scene and changed the hunting game in so many intriguing ways, he's excited about introducing his own kids to high-tech hunting air rifles and reintroducing himself along the way too.
“It really hasn't been a category that I focused on as a recreational shooter or a hunter for quite some time,” said Force. “And now with a young family and three little boys coming into the space, I'm getting to that point where I'm looking to introduce them to their first air rifle.
“And, I have now got a reinvigorated kind of sense of wanting to join into this category again, and to see how it's developed over the two decades that I've been absent from it.”
In a way, there’s a sense of newness and an eagerness to embrace something familiar once again for Force, when it comes to putting an unused tag in his back pocket, putting on some camouflage garments, and heading afield before sunup, all with an Umarex air rifle in tow.
“It is pretty neat coming back into it,” admits Force. “And I look at the opportunity it would offer me and my family for fellowship and recreation in the backyard and in the field and the opportunity to build young marksmen and young hunters and a good shooting base and accuracy base from a practice aspect with my three young children.”
Put simply, Force feels a surge of adrenaline and a sense of newfound excitement reminiscent to the days he would go hunting with his dad and his granddad so many years ago. Not to mention finding a certain wrapped rectangular box with a big red bow around it, lying quietly under the decorated tree on Christmas morning.
“I'm really excited to be introduced to these air rifles and to see what we're gonna have the opportunity to enjoy as a family of outdoorsmen and hunters. It's a pretty exciting moment.”
Indeed it is, even if it’s not your grandaddy’s air gun anymore.