Air Apparent

Dave Digs Out A Classic When Nostalgia Sets In

After a bobcat showed up prowling around Dave’s house,
where a new puppy had just moved in, he dug out his son’s
classic Marksman pellet pistol.

A bobcat strolling through my backyard recently showed up on my security camera at zero-dark-thirty one morning, and a couple of hours later, he was spotted walking across the front lawn not far from the porch. My instinct was to act with extreme prejudice.

After all, this was only ten days after a little guy named Cooper came into our family (see “The Power of the Dog”), and I’m pretty certain the cat wasn’t suddenly hanging around to welcome him to the neighborhood.

Self-control got the better of me. Still, I figured an ounce of discouragement is worth 125 grains of lead and a muzzle blast, and out came my son’s air pistol — a classic Marksman Model 1010, a pellet gun that had been around in one incarnation or another since the 1950s. I never owned one — my preference in those days was for the Daisy rendition of a single action sixgun, which I believe is still in some drawer — but a couple of my pals did.

Circled on this late-night video image from Dave’s security camera
is a bobcat. He’s not welcome, with or without an appetite for puppies.

As pellet guns go, the Marksman 1010 wasn’t very powerful. Some of them shot straight out to maybe 15-20 feet, as I recall. Out to 10-15 yards, they might sting some, but the little .177-caliber pellet would not cause any serious damage. I remember not being able to put a pellet from the neighbor kid’s gun through an empty milk carton at about 15 feet one summer afternoon when I might have been 12 or 13 years old.

My son’s specimen has a fake muzzle brake out front. Other than that, it’s essentially the same basic black gun marked “Marksman Repeater” we’ve seen on store shelves for maybe 70 years.

Many years ago, I used a piece of scrap leather to actually construct a holster boned to the form of the pistol. For a kid who was maybe 14 at the time, this was kind of a treat.

Years ago, Dave built a holster for his son’s pellet gun. At the time,
the younger Workman thought this was a dandy he could carry
in the woods, “just like dad.”

What Was I Thinking?

About halfway through this exercise, it suddenly struck me: “What the hell was I thinking?” I’m not going to try shooting a bobcat in my yard with a pellet pistol, and I wasn’t going to expect a member of the family to try it, either.

If worse comes to worse, I’ve got something bigger for such a chore.

This bobcat has been lurking around the neighborhood for a couple of months. The neighbors have seen it walking down the road in broad daylight. He’s about a 20-pounder, I guess, and he’s likely aware of the cottontail rabbits living under my woodshed and workshop.

But what this exercise really accomplished was reminding me about a classic pellet pistol, which can provide some great backyard fun, provided you’ve got a reliable backstop. I happen to have about five cords of stacked stove wood in and just outside of the woodshed, and I suspect it will stop a pellet that can’t seem to puncture heavy cardboard.

So, on a rainy afternoon, I took this pistol out back and, after five shots from a distance of roughly 10-12 feet, discovered my son’s gun shoots low and left. As grip surfaces go, the Model 1010 isn’t bad. It’s not Olympic quality, and it feels kind of like somebody stuck the frame of my Commander in a dryer and shrunk it.

It may shoot low and left, without much power, but the Marksman
pellet pistol is pure nostalgia, and it can be fun shooting one of
these just to take a trip down memory lane.

There is no recoil. And the “pop” of discharge is enough to startle an unwelcome critter. The finish is basic black with some sort of baked-on enamel, and to charge the thing, one simply presses down on the thumb switch (which resembles a thumb safety on a Model 1911). The slide pops back, you tilt the barrel up and forward, insert a .177-caliber pellet, close up, and you’re ready to rock.

The trigger pull is simply awful, which may be partly to blame for this thing shooting low. I fired a couple of pellets through a piece of Styrofoam, and when I tried it against a Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target, a couple of pellets wouldn’t fully penetrate, but they did leave marks.

All that said, the Marksman Repeater 1010 is actually a fun airgun to shoot. My specimen was built in Huntington Beach, California, and despite being north of 40 years old, it still provides a degree of nostalgia, reminding me of a simpler time long ago, when a warning from mom that “you’ll shoot your eye out” went through one ear and out the other without losing any velocity. It may not be good for much, but just as a memory of a childhood long gone, it is worth more than anyone could ever pay.

NRA’s new leadership team includes President Bob Barr, First Vice
President Bill Bachenberg, Second Vice President Mark Vaughan,
Executive Vice President Doug Hamlin and Compliance Officer
Bob Mensinger. (Photo courtesy Jim Wallace)

Return of the NRA

After five grueling, sometimes torturous years during which the National Rifle Association and former Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre were pilloried — with no small degree of mean pleasure by its detractors — the organization looks to be back on the rails.

LaPierre is gone, but the NRA does not appear to be going anywhere except forward.

Last month’s election of former Congressman Bob Barr as NRA President, and the election of a small but dedicated “reform group” consisting of Pennsylvania businessman Bill Bachenberg (1st Vice President), Texan Mark Vaughan (2nd Vice President), Judge Phil Journey of Kansas and Jeff Knox (son of Neal Knox), along with the appointment of NRA Publications chief Doug Hamlin as executive vice president/CEO shows plenty of promise to getting NRA back on course. It will be no small feat, but there are other NRA directors, such as Owen “Buz” Mills and Jim Wallace, winning the spot as 76th director, working to move forward.

Quite possibly, the most telling signal the NRA is “back” was a remark by one of its biggest detractors, John Feinblatt, president of the Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety. Following the election results, he couldn’t resist posting a message on “X” (formerly Twitter), “In selecting Hamlin, a longtime insider with much of LaPierre’s baggage and none of his fundraising ability, the @NRA’s chaotic infighting and financial doom spiral shows no signs of stopping.”

Not satisfied with slamming Hamlin, Feinblatt also took a poke at former President Donald Trump, who flew to Dallas just to address the NRA. Feinblatt’s smarmy remark: “Donald Trump once again made clear that he is all in on the @NRA’s politically toxic agenda of undoing the life-saving progress we’ve made on gun safety under President Biden.”

“Life-saving progress” is a stretch, at the very least, and Feinblatt knows it. Besides, the federal courts have been dishing defeat to the gun prohibition movement. Anti-gunners don’t like it. Too bad.

Public Concern about Bias

A recent McLaughlin survey done for the Second Amendment Foundation revealed a majority (71.9%) of Americans are “concerned’ about media bias in reports about gun-related violent crime and Second Amendment issues. SAF had no part in crafting the questions.

There have been complaints over the years from gun owners about media bias from the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) and from newspapers on both coasts — New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times — for example, but maybe the “Times, they are a’changing” because readership is down at all three. I recently explained to an old journalism acquaintance about this: Gun owners are not going to pay for a newspaper which consistently attacks their lifestyle and calls for them to be disarmed. Newspaper publishers apparently don’t understand it’s bad business to use the First Amendment to demonize and trash the Second Amendment.

Pollster Jim McLaughlin, president and partner at McLaughlin and Associates, told SAF via email, “Clearly the vast majority of Americans have lost faith in the national media when it comes to reporting honestly and fairly about gun violence and Second Amendment issues. Interestingly, not only are Republicans (83%) suspect of the information they receive, but Independents (69%) and even Democrats (63%) are worried about bias on Second Amendment and gun violence issues.”

Watch this become a shadow issue as November approaches. Newspapers will literally seethe if Trump wins another term in office.


Not only are people more likely to be killed with a knife than with a rifle or shotgun (On the Cutting Edge, May 17), people are more likely to be killed with empty hands and feet than with a long gun. Essentially, you are a deadly weapon, it’s just that most of us are not trained in how to be that weapon properly. This is a worse situation than it seems, as people are not properly trained into how not to strike someone else dead by accident.

One time, I compared the relatively low number of murders and justifiable homicides in my hometown. It seems 60% of murders were with handguns, and 80% of justifiable homicides were with handguns that year in El Paso, Texas. Another year, I noted that a man was pistol-whipped to death. I wonder if that counts as a murder by firearm or blunt object.

In looking up info for this missive so I wouldn’t get my foot too deep in my mouth, I saw that in 2020, 2021 and 2022 there were more justifiable homicides by civilians than by officers of the law in the U.S. To me, this seems to be evidence that gun control is indeed victim disarmament.

Perhaps Dr. Dabbs and others can write and publish articles comparing knife and bullet wounds.

— A.X. Perez

Dave replies: Having dealt with homicide statistics from the FBI and other sources for several years, it is obvious the gun prohibition lobby isn’t nearly as concerned about reducing murder numbers as it is about reducing gun ownership. These fakers pretend to be concerned about violent crime when what really concerns them is that a hundred million Americans exercise their right to keep and bear arms, meaning they have the ability to “just say no.” Demagogues dislike being told “No.” It’s been my experience that gun owners make a habit of it. Thanks for reading American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine.

Subscribe To American Handgunner