4H, Bent Twigs, and .22 Rifles

“As the tree is bent, the tree inclines.” Virgil

They say ol’ Virgil was a pretty smart guy. Mr. Virgil was, as I am sure you recall from high school, an ancient Roman poet from back there in the Augustan period. His full name was Publius Vergilius Maro. With a name like that I am betting that he had to learn to fight at an early age.

I doubt if Virgil knew much about .22 rifles and BB guns but as you may have guessed, as a kid I did. I have often spoken with you about certain aspects of my misspent youth, much of which occurred in the woods and on the riverbank with a Daisy BB gun in hand and ready for action. Later I graduated to a .22 rifle.

In the BB stage I believe I handled the weapon safely and had a wide variety of targets. Leaves drifting on the river were a favorite as they helped develop the basics of “leading” a moving target. Thousands (maybe millions) of BB’s and pellets fired over the years helped me learn marksmanship basics, sight picture, controlling breathing, trigger squeeze, etc.

While I had very little exposure to organized shooting, thankfully for today’s youth that is not a problem. One of the best programs out there is found in the 4H. The 4H for shooting programs? Yep, that’s right. If like me you thought the 4H clubs were just for farm kids who take a cow or a sheep to show at the state fair, brother you have a lot to learn.

4-H is the nation’s largest positive youth development and youth mentoring organization, empowering six million young people in the U.S. In partnership with 110 universities, 4-H life changing programs are research-backed & available through 4-H clubs, camps, afterschool & school enrichment programs in every county & parish in the U.S. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System & USDA. Sound like something that maybe we need a lot more of these days? I agree and I bet Virgil would too.

4-H Shooting Sports provide an outstanding way of promoting human growth and development in the life skills identified by the National 4-H Program. Decision

making, teamwork, problem solving, being responsible and having high self-esteem are just a few of the many skills 4-H helps to develop to enable youth to be productive and positive adults in our society. Youth development is the number one goal of the 4-H Shooting Sports Program.

The 4H shooting program is very well organized with many facets and goals, some of which are:

  • give youth safe and thorough instruction and training in the use of firearms (muzzleloading, air pistol, air rifle including small bore, and shotgun), archery equipment, and wildlife conservation;
  • enhance self-confidence, personal development, responsibility, and sportsmanship;
  • create an appreciation and understanding of natural resources; and
  • Provide volunteer instructors safe and proper instructional techniques and information on how to plan and manage shooting and conservation clubs.

These points are but a glimpse into the 4H and their shooting classes and opportunities. Check them out at www.4-h.org , you can go to your own states web site for 4H to get you connected with your local 4H office.

So it is probably obvious that I think you and your young ones should be shooting more. If you are going to do that you need a good firearm and access to good ammo. In future discussions here we will talk more about shotguns, but today let’s think about .22 rifles.

The CZ-USA 455 Training Rifle, a great little rifle to start on. This is an excellent .22 rifle for any young (or older) person to start on. The 455 features a 24.8 inch barrel, a 5 shot magazine, (10 shot version is available), a tangent rear sight, which means it is adjustable for distance, weighs only 6.3 pounds, has an adjustable trigger and very nice wood stock. This rifle looks good and feels good and here is the kicker, a suggested retail price of $374.00 and we all know if you look around a little you may get it for less than that. Experienced shooters may be surprised when they put this .22 on paper, it is called a training rifle and has a

modest price but accuracy was not sacrificed when CZ put this rifle together. www.cz-usa.com

Aguila, the best .22 ammo that you have never heard of. Since 1961 Aguila Ammunition has produced a wide variety of quality ammo. Aguila ammunition is manufactured in Morelos, Mexico, and in 2011 Aquila’s parent company partnered with Texas Armament and Technology. Together these two companies started a facility wide plan of modernization and optimization meaning to redefine how ammunition is made. Besides shotgun, rifle, and pistol ammunition, Aguila makes an amazing array of .22 caliber ammunition. If you are .22 shooter you need to check out what they have available, but there is one in particular I want to tell you about. Aguila offers two different versions of a .22 round which is powderless, yes, that’s right, no powder in the casing. Aguila calls this ammo the Colibri’ and it has plenty enough power for target practice and for use on small game and pests. This unique round delivers very little sound and no recoil, perfect for new and young shooters. www.aguilaammo.com

Virgil may have not known much about .22 rifles and ammo, but I know he would have agreed with me on all the worthy aspects that are to be learned from good training with firearms and shooting. He knew if the twig was bent in the right way, the tree grew a lot straighter.

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