I have a book in my library ” With British Snipers To The Reich ” and it is a very interesting thing to read – if a bit cold blooded. I find myself in sympathy with a great deal of it, however, and wonder if I have missed my calling. A little late to take it up as a profession – I tend to bruise quickly these days and recoil from a Barrett would not be pleasant – but I do fondly remember my first experiments.
It was in my final year of high school at a private school in Utah. The school had a policy that prohibited shooting guns, though they placed no such restriction on students shooting off their mouths or shooting off other things…It was all handled discretely.
I found myself at a loose end one week when the school was out and the students away – I had to stay there that week as my parents were out of the country at the time. Loose ends and $ 20 are dangerous, particularly when there is a sporting-goods store in a little town in the west. You can get a pretty good Crosley CO2 pistol for $20 and they come with a packet of pellets and several CO2 bulbs.
Crosley were good gunsmiths and the pistol was well-made. It held a charge from the CO2 bulb for weeks and metered it out pretty accurately when you loaded a pellet and cocked it. There is nothing at all measly about the power or accuracy of a good CO2 gun.
It was just a little noisy, however. Not the full-fledged bang of a .22 but a considerable Pfut when you pulled the trigger. people would hear it from a reasonable distance. So it was into the encyclopaedia to see what a maxim silencer looked like and to pick up a few of the principles. Then a large fruit juice can, a sheet of florist’s stiff flower foam, and a craft knife and after a day of experiments outside of town, I had a functioning silencer. Still not the sort of thing that James Bond movies portrays, but a considerable reduction in the discharge noise.
Now, what good can you do with a silenced pistol, I hear you ask. None at all, I reply. After you have tested it out on abandoned farmhouses – one with a single pane of glass still left, thank you – you can progress to trying for birds on the telephone poles. The tender hearted readers will be happy to learn that no birds were hurt in the attempt, and even the glass insulators on the poles survived. But glass is a tempting thing…
Particularly if it is a glass Coke bottle. Those day, all pop bottles were glass. Some were the small 7 ounce size and some were big ones – almost a litre. One of the students at the junior dormitory was in the habit of buying a big one and putting it full on the window ledge as he studied. After dark his room was brightly lit and the space between the dormitories was in deep shadow.
Yes, I did. To my credit, I waited until he was out of the room. I only needed one shot. None of the school windowpane or sill was damaged. The result was exactly what you think, when he came back in upon hearing the sound.
I decided that I had had enough fun for the night, and slipped away. I disposed of the silencer, and made arrangements to trade the pistol off to another student for a small camera. He was wise enough to take his target practise to the fields outside of town and practise on pop bottles set on fence posts. The fact that the first time he shot it, the pellet bounced back off the pop bottle and hit him square between the eyes is neither here nor there. I never got a good picture out of the camera – we’re even.
PS: I did win a target shooting contest in 1988 with a three-band Enfield muzzle loader over a 300 yd gong shoot and was rewarded by being thrown in a farm dam. You had to be there to appreciate it.