Spotlight on lasers

by B.B. Pelletier

What is a laser, and how is it used on an airgun?

Not really sights
Although lasers are often called sights, they really aren’t. Lasers project light much the same as flashlights. Because the light they project remains in a tightly confined beam, it can be seen at long distances. Years ago, someone discovered that if a laser is aligned with the impact of the bullet from a gun, a shooter only has to shine the laser on his intended target and squeeze off the shot when the light falls on the desired impact point.

HOWEVER…!
What many shooters overlook is that the laser beam goes straight while the bullet falls. If the distance to the target is not the same as the distance at which the laser and gun are set to converge, the impact will not be at the laser point. At close ranges, like 30 feet with tactical firearms, this may be no big thing. A criminal won’t care if a .45 bullet hits his chest an inch away from the laser point, which is why just shining the laser on a target often ends the fight.

Reasons to buy a laser
If your target is always at the same distance, a laser is great. Simply point and shoot when the dot is where you want the pellet to strike. This is great for pest eliminators who have a limited distance to shoot their quarry, like someone shooting under a bridge or in a chicken coop. They can set up the laser and often not even need to use the sights to hit the target. Short rifles, like the AirForce Talon, are ideal for this, as are most air pistols – especially the more powerful models such as the HW 45 or Beeman P1.

Reasons to NOT buy a laser
If your targets are at varying ranges, you won’t get much help from a laser. The impact point of a pellet can move three inches between 30 and 50 yards! If you’re trying to hit a target the size of a nickel at a range somewhere between those distances, just shining a dot of light on it is more confusing than it is helpful.

Which laser should you buy?
If you go to the laser page of Pyramyd’s website, you’ll see a big difference in prices. The AirForce LS-1 sells for $99.95, while the Daisy Laser Sight sells for just $19.99. And, there are plenty of models in-between. They’re all real lasers, and they all do work. So, how do they differ and why are the prices so scattered?

The AirForce laser is a real firearm laser that is bright enough to see at 100 yards on a bright day (only through a scope, however!). It also has an unbreakable aluminum 11mm mount, the same as an airgun scope, plus it is the only one that can be adjusted without tools. The Daisy, Crosman and BSA are either lower-powered, or their laser beams spread faster, making them harder to see at longer ranges. They also need tools to adjust the impact point of the beam, but they’re good lasers just the same. Gamo’s laser is purpose-built for their guns and may be harder to attach to other airguns.

Shop for your needs and budgetary requirements, knowing that any laser you buy will be a marvel of modern technology.

14 thoughts on “Spotlight on lasers

  1. Hey BB Pelletier. Awesome blog. My question doesn’t have to do anything with the topic of lasers though, forgive me. I’d like to know where, not online, I can find and buy seals that can be used with CO2 pistols. Just regular seals, like what’d you see in a BB Walther PPK/S for example. Thanks much.




  2. Lon,

    I’ll answer both questions. First, you can buy O-rings at any good hardware store. If you want a kit of different sizes, try Brownells.

    As for the other seals, they are specially made for each gun. You either have to get them from the company that makes (or in the case of the PPK/S, distributes the gun). That is Crosman. Other than that, you can make your owns seals on a small lathe, but the material will be difficult to come by.

    Seals are usually removed with a dental pick or similar sharp tool.

    I hope this helps,

    B.B.



  3. Hey, BB: I just got my B45 (though the inscription on the rifle says, “XIONGHAO B-6z”) air rifle today from Pyramyd Air. It came with a BSA laser sight already installed, but no instructions for how to adjust the laser. This is my first laser sight, so I’m stumped. Can you give me any info about adjusting it? Thanks.


  4. Craig,

    Usually there are Allen screws located 90 degrees apart on the barrel of the sight. These are equivalent to the adjustment knobs of a scope. Use an Allen wrench, which should have been provided with the laser, to adjust the beam.

    To sight in, put the gun in a rest that doesn’t move. That will be difficult with the B45 because of the sidelever. Then shoot a group and adjust the laser dot to the center of the group.

    An alternative method may be easier. If you can get the sights adjusted so they sight where the pellet strikes, simply adjust the laser till it shows where the sights are looking, at the range the sights are sighted in.

    I hope this is helpful. If a reader spots anything I’ve left out of said incorrectly, please feel free to correct me.

    B.B.


  5. B.B.,

    I’ve tried the SSI and BSA sights. I don’t like either one of them. The SSI sight is hard to adjust (three screws instead of windage and elevation) although the beam was a nice dot. I checked out three seperate BSA sights and they all diverged in different directions (one made a horizontal line and the others made diagonal lines as you got further from the target). I will probably try the Daisy or Crosman sight next.

    Do you know if the Daisy sight uses the standard windage and elevation adjustment? I am especially interested in the Daisy sight because it looks like it hugs the barrel to minimize parallax. I use my pistol (1377 basically converted to a 2289) for short range varmint hunting mostly (rats and gophers) so the laser sight will be my only sight.

    Perhaps you could review the lasers that Pyramyd Air carries?

    Thanks,
    DLB


  6. DLB,

    Are you perhaps referring to BORESIGHT devices and NOT sights?

    Lasers are not sights. They are projected beams. They work like sights AT ONE RANGE ONLY, but you do not look through them.

    Forget minimizing parallax with a laser. All lasers that don’t shine thropugh the bore have parallax, so all are only on at one range.

    B.B.


  7. B.B.

    No, I am referring to laser “sights”. The BSA, Crosman and Daisy lasers all seem to be termed laser “sights”.

    BSA Laser Sight With MTS
    Crosman 420 Laser Sight
    Daisy Laser Sight

    Is this just a misnomer that is used with the cheap lasers? Is the proper term just “laser”?

    In reference to the parallax, it seems to me that if you minimize the parallax the laser’s spot will project closer to the actual mark even if you aren’t at the exact distance that the laser was sighted for.

    I am looking at lasers because we have had a lot of creatures come at night (rats, opossums, rabbits, skunks, racoons, coyotes, foxes, deer, black bear, etc.). I have left them alone or scared them away (although the opossums came close to becoming a real nuisance).

    The one time that I really needed night sights, a rat visited our back porch. The way our back door is situated, it is difficult to impossible for a right hander to shoot anything on the porch with a rifle. I managed to get my rifle through the door, but then I discovered that a scope is useless at night. I couldn’t see a thing! Needless to say, the rat got away.

    During the day we’ve had a rabid skunk, rats, mice and gophers (I bought my first airgun after the rabid skunk).

    Please let me know what sights would work best for this situation.

    Thanks,
    DLB


  8. Just to clarify, the rats and opossums are the only animals I might shoot at night (or if there is a rabid animal).

    DLB


  9. P.S. I scare the other animals away when our dogs bark at them because the barking sometimes wakes our neighbor up at night.

    DLB


  10. Hi BB,
    I just purchased a Drodz and am looking to add either a lazer or red dot, tactical light or scope on the gun. I am doing many mods to the gun including a longer barrel for accuracy at distance what would be my best move to complement it? I am also consitering the Gammo Varmit Hunter kit for Shadow… what do you think my best option is?


  11. Drozd,

    I’d try an 18″ Lothaqr Walther barrel. Their American sales department in somewhere in Georgia and the barrel blank should cost around $250 – 300.

    Let us know how it turns out.

    B.B.


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