Ron Bearden with the first buck taken with this his homemade air gun.
"That was my first kill with this rifle," said Ronald Bearden, pointing out to the little grove of fruit trees behind his house. One old peach tree was scarred and battered and dead, the bark hammered off. Bullets and fragments of lead were embedded in the wood. "I didn't have the accuracy part worked out yet, and that tree was a casualty of the process." So was the metal-sided barn far behind the little orchard. "I could tell from the clang how many feet-per-second I was getting," Bearden said. "And then one day I kept hearing that double-clang, and realized she was going all the way through."
That might have been the day Bearden also realized that he was closing in on his goal of hunting big game with the prototype air rifle he'd been building in his shop in northern Alabama.