The influence of shooting galleries

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

  • The 15th century
  • Why?
  • Gallery guns were weak
  • Airguns and galleries
  • Different ammo
  • Repeaters
  • What killed the airgun?
  • Feltman

Shooting galleries have been a major influence in the shooting sports for close to a century and a half, and airguns have had their day in galleries. Reb, our most outspoken reader, once ran a traveling shooting gallery that featured the popular “Shoot out the Red Star” game. I’ll discuss that at the end of the report, but right now I’m going back to the beginning of shooting galleries.

The 15th century

And, who can really say when that was? We know from documents and from tapestries that shooting events were popular in Europe in the 1400s. But those were sporting events that came and went — they weren’t the galleries I am discussing today. The crossbows and guns that were used at those events belonged to the shooters. They were not rented by the gallery to the general public.

read more


Dan Wesson model 715 BB revolver: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dan Wesson BB revolver
Dan Wesson nickel-plated BB revolver.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Sight adjustment
  • ASG Blaster BBs
  • The test
  • ASG Blaster BBs
  • H&N Smart Shot lead BBs
  • Summary
  • Not done yet

Sometimes I tell you the results before I write up the test. Today is such a time. This Dan Wesson nickel-plated BB revolver shot the tightest group of 6 shots I have ever shot with any BB gun, other than a Daisy Avanti Champion 499! This one’s a winner, guys!

Hornady Black Diamond BBs

Let’s get right to the test. I decided to shoot 6 shots at each target from 5 meters back. I used the UTG monopod to rest the gun. The first BBs tested were the Hornady Black Diamond BBs. The shots landed low on the target, below the 6 o’clock aim point by half an inch. As shot after shot went to exactly the same place I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Surely at least one shot had strayed up into the black bull and I just couldn’t see it! But no. When I examined the target, what I saw were 6 BB holes clustered in 0.515-inches between centers. This is when having that dime next to the group pays off, because it gives you a sense of scale.

read more


Sig MPX pellet sub-machinegun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Sauer MPX sub-machinegun
Sig Sauer MPX sub-machinegun is a heavy, solid airgun.

This report covers:

  • Wow!
  • Description
  • Match pellets
  • Back to the gun
  • Accuracy
  • Sights
  • 30 Pellets — how do they do it?
  • Manual needs revision
  • Overall evaluation

Today we begin looking at the MPX sub-machinegun from Sig Sauer. This is a different airgun, in that it is is being manufactured for, distributed by, promoted by and sold by Sig Sauer themselves. In other words, this airgun is one Sig is proud of — and in case you aren’t a firearm shooter, Sig is very proud of everything they make and sell.

I waited patiently for this gun. I know others beat me to the punch, but their enthusiasm may have caused some problems. A few guns were allowed to go out without the company’s stamp of approval. I watched as that happened and I waited until things were right. Sig tells me they are right now, so the airguns I will test for you are the ones Sig is proud to sell.

read more


2016 SHOT Show: Day 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

2016 SHOT Show: Day 1
2016 SHOT Show: Day 2
2016 SHOT Show: Day 3

This report covers:

  • Umarex USA
  • Action Sport Games
  • Beeman
  • Gamo
  • Something fun
  • Xisico
  • Megaboom
  • Meopta
  • Good-bye

Today I will present the last report on the 2016 SHOT Show.

Umarex USA

There is one more new gun in the Umarex USA booth. It was a show special model of their Beretta M9 pistol. This one was weathered to look like it had seen service. It was their Desert Storm commemorative. They had it in a glass case, rotating throughout the entire show for buyers to see, and they limited the number of guns each dealer could purchase. They increased the total number of guns made from 500 to 750, and as always, they sold out quickly.

Beretta Desert Storm
Beretta Desert Storm commemorative pistol was featured in the Umarex USA booth.

read more


How powerful were the big bore airguns of the past?: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

How powerful were the big bore airguns of the past?: Part 1

  • My knowledge base
  • Quackenbush Brigand
  • Air cane
  • Farco air shotgun
  • Splatology
  • Powerful enough to kill?
  • Conclusions

This report is for reader Zebra who asked me last week about the power of the antique big bore airguns. He said he read that some were used in battle and had the power to kill soldiers. I answered him and gave a link to the very first report of this airgun history series (Part 1, linked above). It was done way back on August 21, 2015 when this section was started. But I read that report and discovered that it really didn’t answer his question. I had explained how big bore airgun power was determined, but not how powerful the guns actually were. So I’m adding this Part 2 to get to the heart of the question.

read more


Hammerli Trainer: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hammerli trainer
The trainer is a complete spring-piston air rifle that slips inside the K31 action and barrel. It interfaces with the K31′s trigger, but uses its own self-contained cocking system.

A history of airguns

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Description
  • Spring-piston
  • Installing the trainer
  • Maintenance before operation
  • Barrel bushings
  • It doesn’t work — yet
  • Construction

The Hammerli trainer arrived this week and I want to tell you about it. This will be the first detailed description I have ever seen of this rare and interesting military trainer. For me this is the airgun equivalent of seeing the dark side of the moon for the first time!

I was surprised how small the box was. And it is very good condition. There are no markings on it beyond what you saw in Part 1, but on the inside there is a cardboard insert to hold the trainer securely. The man I bought it from packed everything very well, and nothing was damaged in shipment. When something is as rare as this, having the box adds a significant amount of value, so I was thankful that the seller went to as much trouble as he did.

read more


How technology helps and hurts

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Technology
  • When I was a boy
  • Golf drivers
  • Better golf balls
  • New cars
  • Hand(s) guns
  • Sights
  • Today’s message

Technology

I’m departing from my usual test reporting today because I want to address a topic that I believe affects all shooters. The topic is technology. Technology has changed the way we shoot, though a lot of people who are new to shooting aren’t aware of it. Like kids with cell phones have no clue what telephones were like before, so new shooters lack all grasp of the fundamentals.

When I was a boy

When I was a kid in the 1950s the world seemed to move too slow. There never seemed to be any new advances in anything. Cars were the same; television was the same — things were what they had always had been. That observation was incorrect, of course, but my limited experience didn’t allow me to see the big picture.

read more