The air rifle had a weak trigger spring. Normally, in lever-action BB guns, this defect would keep the gun from cocking and firing.
That wasn’t the case with the pump-action. You could cock the gun and when you pushed the pump handle back to its starting position, the gun would fire without your finger touching the trigger.
I discovered this defect accidentally when I almost shot off my earlobe while trying to diagnose the cocking issue.
Hmmm, I thought. That's interesting. When I turned the gun away from my head and repeated the pump action, it fired again. In fact, I could spray copper shots as fast as I could pump the gun, which in those days was pretty darn fast.
If I’m not mistaken, I probably owned the first semi-automatic BB gun that had been manufactured.
If you wanted the gun to shoot properly, you had to put your index finger behind the trigger, pushing it forward as you pumped the action. The finger took the place of the defective trigger spring.
I was happy with the defective air rifle, but my aim was terrible when shooting on “automatic.”
My mom and her Maytag wringer washing machine unwittingly helped me solve my practice problem.
There were three of us kids living at home then, which meant mountains of soiled shirts and dirty dungarees.
She would fill the machine with a hosepipe that she left out on the porch for that purpose.
The drain on the old machine was a hose that looked like a black snake with a crooked neck. It clamped to the side during the washing cycle and when it came time to empty the tub, Mama would drop the hose down by the edge of the porch where the water drained toward the garden.
The wringer on the old Maytag looked like two wooden rolling pins clamped tightly together. She would twist the garments by hand before feeding them through the wringer.
The wringer squeezed most of the moisture from the clothes so they dried faster when she hung them on the solar clothes dryer, which was a clothesline stretched between two wooden posts in our back yard.
The wringer was hard on buttons, and on wash day the damp spot where the washer drained looked is if it had tiny multicolored eyes peering up from the mud.
One of my jobs was to pick them up and put them in mama’s button can.
After a while, her can overflowed so I had to devise a creative way to get rid of the buttons. I’d fill the muzzle of the old Daisy with BBs and blast buttons until my arm was sore.
Those buttons provided hours of target practice for me and my trusty automatic BB gun.
When I went into the Army, I was a marksman on the firing range and I owe that medal to buttons and a broken BB gun.