Volume 21, Issue 3 (July 1976)
A Death from an Air Gun
Air and spring actuated guns firing spherical or elongated projectiles are widely used for target practice and pest shooting. Although their ability to inflict physical injury is well recognized, the fact that some of these guns are potentially lethal is surprising to those not familiar with their history and ballistics. The Austrian armies, for example, used air rifles against the French during the Napoleonic wars of 1799–1809 . These were rifles of 12.8-mm (1.50-in.) caliber and had an effective range between 100 and 150 yards (91 and 137 m). An air rifle of unknown caliber was also carried by the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804–1806  and was used on occasion to kill deer-size animals as well as birds and small game.