Rossi Morreale is well known to airgunners as the host of the American Airgunner television series. He’s also the former host of Halloween Wars and several other programs (Junkyard Wars, Can You Duet, Superbikes, Belly of the Beast, Excape Routes, Dating in the Dark, Riding with Rossi, Temptation, Extra, Midnight Spike, G4 Sports…there’s a few!).
What’s less well known is that Rossi really is an avid airgunner, who has been shooting since the age of 8 years old.
Hard Air Magazine Publisher, Stephen Archer talked to Rossi…
Hard Air Magazine: So, Rossi, tell us about your first airgun. What was it?
Rossi: It was a Daisy Red Ryder lever action BB gun. It was awesome! I got it for Christmas and thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I shot at literally everything I could see through the sights – not really that safe – but I had a LOT of fun with that gun. It got me started in a world of guns I’ve never gotten away from.
Hard Air Magazine: How did you learn to shoot it?
Rossi Morreale: My Dad taught me. Back in Arkansas we had a pretty big back yard and he taught me how to shoot my airgun, my bow and arrow and a crossbow back there. I had a couple hay bails with targets on them and I would shoot my Red Ryder at them until there was no paper left.
Hard Air Magazine: What was the biggest lesson in safe shooting you received, when starting out as a kid?
Rossi: One day me and a friend of mine were out in the woods, shooting at some aluminum cans that were attached to a barbed wire fence. He shot at the can. The BB hit the barbed wire and came back and and hit him in the chest! It went thought his t-shirt and INTO his chest. We FREAKED out. He ended up being ok, but to this day he still has a BB lodged in his chest. Don’t try this at home, folks!!!
Hard Air Magazine: Did you have other airguns as a kid?
Rossi: Yeah, I did. After my Red Ryder…I had a Crosman Pumpmaster 760 BB/pellet gun that I did everything with. I ran that thing into the ground though. Shot it until it wouldn’t shoot anymore. Probably had dirt shoved down the barrel. You know the problem back then was, not only was it a pellet gun, it was also a hiking cane, a bat, a long stick to poke things with and sometimes used for limbo!
Yes, that really is me in front of the Christmas tree!
Hard Air Magazine: Did you go hunting with your airguns as a kid?
Rossi Morreale: I don’t know if you would call it hunting or just shooting at everything that moved in the backyard. Of course by shooting I mean missing everything that moved in the backyard! The pellet gun was strictly what I used around my house and in the woods across the street. I got a little .410 shotgun around the same time, so when we went hunting – that’s what I used.
Hard Air Magazine: Growing up in Arkansas, did you shoot firearms also?
Rossi: Of course. Like I said, I got a Browning .410 single shot shotgun and then a Franchi 20 guage shotgun. Those are what I did all my hunting with. Duck, turkey, pheasant, deer… Actually got my first deer with a black powder gun that I borrowed. First time I shot it – took a 7 point! I seem to be successful when I borrow stuff.
Hard Air Magazine: So as a long-time shooter and hunter, the opportunity to host the American Airgunner TV series must have been a dream come true?
Rossi: You know I stumbled in to hosting doing a show called Junkyard Wars on TLC, because I knew about engines and cars and stuff like that. Most the shows I then hosted were sports, or cars or motorcycles – something with an engine. Since then, I’ve done a lot of random celebrity interviews and dating and game shows.
So to be able to do a show that’s outdoors, shooting guns, meeting good folks around the country with common interests and love guns… It was DEFINITELY a dream come true!
Hard Air Magazine: So American Airgunner really brought back your interest in airguns. Is that right?
Rossi Morreale: Oh 100%. When I got asked to meet with the AAG folks, Mike Hart and Justin Biddle to talk airguns, I thought it would be great to shoot the ol’ guns I had when I was a kid.
Then, they started handing me .25 and .357 and freaking .50 cal AIRGUNS!!! I about fell over in my chair. I couldn’t believe how badass the airgun world had gotten. I was ready to jump in head first!! And I did!
Hard Air Magazine: What’s the most exciting part of presenting American Airgunner?
Rossi: Man I LOVE to have fun…and shooting airguns is FUN! That’s the most exciting part. Other than just shooting the guns, it’s meeting the people.
There are SO many good people in the airgun world. All with a different story and specialty and personality. I love how the airgun world is such a close-knit family. I love going to different events across the country and meeting so many different types of people.
I also love the BIG BORE guns. They are SO MUCH Fun and awesome to shoot and blow things up with. Like I always say…”When in doubt 50 CAL!”
Hard Air Magazine: Tell us what you think is the biggest improvement in airguns over recent years?
Rossi Morreale: I think based on the past two SHOT shows, we’ve seen the larger caliber airguns have been a pretty big improvement. Everyone seems to be heading that direction.
I really love the silence air technology we are seeing in airguns from Umarex and others…some are SO quiet. Also the changes we are seeing in the springers and gas pistons to make them more accurate and have considerable less vibration.
I’m really excited to see the changes in the PCP world as well. Starting to see a lot of individual air cartridges instead of tanks on the guns like Inovairtech and Air Ordnance are doing. Could make for more consistency as there is no drop off in air pressure.
Hard Air Magazine: Do you still hunt with airguns?
Rossi: OH YES!! I am just starting to REALLY hunt with Airguns. Got my first turkey this year with an Umarex Octane .22 cal. Took it from 27 yards away. Break barrel hunting is great…you got ONE shot. Better make it count. Went rat hunting earlier this year. I’m also planning on going hog and deer hunting later this year. Not sure what Big Bore I’ll use…guess it depends on who wants to send me a gun to go hunting with!!!
Hard Air Magazine: Do you enjoy other styles of airgun shooting also?
Rossi Morreale: OH HELL YEAH!! I LOVE COMPETITION!!! Won my first one last year in a LASSO competition. Shooting 250 yards with .45 cal Air-Force Texan and I won a Benjamin Bulldog. Go figure!
I’m getting more and more into Field Target and Benchrest and 3 gun. I love them all. I’ll be going to a lot of the big competitions this year so if you see me out there, please come say hi. And go easy on me!
Hard Air Magazine: What was the highlight for you of the 2016 SHOT Show?
Rossi Morreale: Meeting Stephen Archer, the Publisher of Hard Air Magazine – told ya – I love the Brits! (Yeah, right… Stephen Archer).
My highlight was when we did the meet and greet for American Airgunner. We got the whole gang together, which rarely happens. Criner, Chapman, Gaylord, Eutsler and myself. We all caught up.
We also had a lot of great people come by and we just shot the bull about air guns and hunting and heard all kinds of stories from different people from all walks of life. It was awesome!
Hard Air Magazine: Do you shoot air pistols also?
Rossi: Oh yeah! I love the pistols. Whether it’s 10 meter or 3 Gun competition, I’m in!!! Plus all the replica guns. Can’t get enough of those. Especially the Automatic BB guns, C96 and the UZI. Super fun!
I’m fascinated by the realism of those replica guns Umarex puts out. From the Colt Peacemaker, which just came out in 177 pellet, to the Beretta Desert storm 25th anniversary gun or the WWII Colt 1911. These are all guns I wish I owned the real thing, but the airgun version I can afford and shoot ALL DAY LONG!!
Hard Air Magazine: Rossi, before you go, tell us when the next season of American Airgunner will be airing?
Rossi Morreale: Sure thing! The new series of American Airgunner will start airing in July – but stay tuned to our YouTube Channel. We are going to be putting out a LOT of content all year long. Some never before seen stuff, some behind the scenes.
I’m gonna be doing some trick shot stuff and you’re going to start seeing me do a lot of gun reviews showing what these guns can REALLY DO!!! So stay tuned and subscribe!
Hard Air Magazine: Rossi, thank you. See you around!