Daisy: My Introduction to Leverguns
First Levergun: My Introduction to Leverguns
In 1965 I was 5 years old. (Go ahead, do the math) My parents gave me this Daisy 102 "Cub" for a present. Along with it were some black and yellow tubes of BB's. The world was mine.
At first I had to brace it between my knees to cock the lever. The stock, even though short, was still slightly long and I would tuck it under the arm pit while shooting. We had fields behind the house and I'd spend countless hours in the backyard shooting this new treasure.
Over the years it became my constant companion. The mountains here were a target-rich environment. I never tired of shooting pine cones, small pieces of wood floating down the creek, or bottle caps lined up along a log.
There was a large, old wooden grainery down the block and Mr. Kopatich (sp?) gave me free run of it to hunt mice, voles, sparrows, starlings, pigeons, and any other varmints that would get into the grain. Pigeons and squirrels were the "big" game.
During the summer up at the lake we had (still there) a shack of a cabin. Between the mice, squirrels, chipmunks and pack rats, it seemed like everything would move in once we left. If I had a nickel for every rodent my 102 Cub dispatched, it would buy a LOT of ammo even at today's prices. BB's that is!
As I got older, the levering, shouldering, and firing became second nature. Hours of practice were spent shooting from the hip, aerial targets, ricochet shots and long range plinking. One of our favorites was lily pad blooms and dragonflies. (Of which there were many). It's rainbow-like trajectory became second nature like throwing a rock or a baseball. Front sight showing above the notch, or almost ignoring the notch, with my focus only on the front sight. All this built muscle memory and became instinctive.
Over the years I built makeshift scope mounts, sling systems, speed loaders, buckskin BB pouches, scratched my name on it in about 3 places, learned to conceal it when moving through sensitive areas of the neighborhood and replaced the main spring, seals, and inner barrel a couple times. Tens of thousands of BB's later and it still shoots about as well and hits about as hard as ever.
Today it resides by the front door and we use it to chase bears from the yard. Once in a while I'll roll a soda can down the driveway or see how many shots it takes to clip off a dandelion out past the fence. Each time, doing so takes me back to a place where life was fun, simple, wild and carefree. Some things are timeless.