Shooting AT animals with airguns

by B.B. Pelletier

I have been asked many times to write about the best airgun to chase animals. Today, I will answer that question in detail. The specific question to which I’m responding asked, “How about a recommendation for the novice user looking to shoot squirrels, chase seagulls and geese from a dock on a waterfront property?”

Airguns are not for discipline!
It only takes about 300 f.p.s. for a small projectile to break the skin and penetrate the flesh of a human. Animals will vary from that to a small extent, with smaller animals being somewhat thinner-skinned than humans. A pellet or BB from even a weak airgun can cause a wound that the animal cannot treat. If the wound becomes infected, the animal will suffer and may even die in extreme cases. If the animal you injure is a family pet, you might be liable for veterinary costs, damages and certain misdemeanor charges for discharging an airgun within the city limits. My advice is to never shoot an animal with an airgun unless you intend to kill it.

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Logun Penetrators

by B.B. Pelletier

Many of our readers have said they’ve had good luck with the Logun Penetrator pellet, so I thought I would give them a try. I’m always open for a good pellet. I had them in .22 caliber in both 16 grain and 20.5 grain weights.

Lead-free!
Logun Penetrators are lead-free, which usually raises a red flag with me. Over the years I have tested a great many lead-free pellets and usually found their accuracy wanting. The best were okay, but for real hair-splitting accuracy I have always found that pure lead pellets are tops. In fact, the most accurate .22 caliber pellet I’ve ever used is the 15.9-grain JSB Exact domed diabolo. For consistency from one gun to another, JSBs are the best – hands down!

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Gamo PT-80

by B.B. Pelletier

The Pellet Master requested a post on the Gamo PT-80 CO2 pistol. I said I would check to see whether I had ever tested one and, by golly, I had. So here’s your post.

General description
The PT-80 is an 8-shot CO2 revolver that looks like a semiauto pistol. The slide opens to gain access to the rotary clip hidden inside. The gun is the size of a traditional .380/9mm pocket pistol and feels good in the hand. The rear sight adjusts for windage only and the sighting system consists of three white dots – one in front and two in the rear. This kind of system is not good for paper targets but it does align rapidly on action targets. That makes the PT-80 a fun gun and a plinker.

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Crosman 111 pistol

by B.B. Pelletier


A boxed Crosman model 111 gas pistol with the refill tank. This gem was found at a local flea market for $30!

Crosman was quick to get into CO2 guns in the 1930s, though they had to wait until after the war to really start production. Their first gas pistols were the model 111 in .177 and model 112 in .22. These two were made from 1950 to 1954, at which time their barrels were shortened by two inches and they were redesignated as the models 115 and 116, respectively. Consequently, the two earliest guns are often called the “long barrel” models.

This is a bulk-fill gun
The 12-gram powerlet we know today did not exist in 1950. During the 19420, the Benjamin Air Rifle Company made gas guns that used a common 8.5-gram soda siphon cartridge, so-called because of its popular use in seltzer bottles that were all the rage in the 1930s and 40s. Other airgun companies also used this common power source, but Crosman did not. Instead, they provided a separate gas tank to fill (charge) their guns. The model 197 gas tank holds 10 oz. of liquid CO2 when full and can fill airguns many times. This method of charging from a separate gas tank is today called bulk-filling.

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Why you need a good airgun pellet trap!

by B.B. Pelletier

When I was a kid, I loved hot rods! As I grew older and began accepting responsibilities, I realized that function and reliability beat fashion and performance every time. When you are late for an important interview, you cannot use the “car broke down” excuse and expect to be hired. And, so it goes with all the really important things in life. Like pellet traps, for instance.

On Friday, an anonymous reader posted that he was starting to shoot through his Gamo cone pellet trap with his RWS model 52. This surprised him. Thankfully, he caught it right away. Allow me to tell you why this happens and share a few tales when it didn’t work out so well.

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Gamo CF-X field test

by B.B. Pelletier


A Leapers 3-12x tactical mini-scope fits the CF-X with room to spare. B-Square high mounts give plenty of clearance.

The Gamo CF-X is a popular spring-piston rifle that I “tested” for you by surrogate on Friday, Jan. 6, of this year. I made some assumptions in that report. Now that I’ve tested an actual CF-X in the field, it’s time to see how close I came. I mounted a Leapers 3-12x power compact tactical scope just for the CF-X guy to see how that scope works on the rifle. The scope rode in B-Square non adjustable 30mm rings with a B-Square scope stop placed behind the rear ring.

A first look at the rifle
The CF-X is a fixed-barrel underlever spring gun that uses a rotary breechblock to access the barrel for loading. Because this is a BSA design and because Gamo owns BSA, I assumed that the rotary breech would be similar to the one on the BSA SuperStar I shot years ago. The CF-X is a much smaller rifle with a narrower spring tube. It’s also a bit lighter. In fact, I find the CF-X to be very light for all the power it has. I guessed that cocking would be smooth, and it is. The CF-X is the most refined powerplant Gamo has yet fielded. When it shoots, it’s just as smooth – a fact I got wrong in the earlier report. I had thought there would be some twanginess to it, but the rifle I tested is quite smooth.

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Best pellets for the Diana RWS 52 & how to pick pellets for any springer

by B.B. Pelletier

On Friday, we received a comment with several questions that I’d like to address this week. The first concerns selecting the correct pellets for the Diana RWS 52. I’ll talk you through that and generalize for most springers – so you’ll be able to pick great pellets on your own. The comment we received included the following, “…could you offer an explanation as to why some pellets are seemingly more accurate than others? And I am using heavy weight pellets, could you comment on the value of using heavy vs lighter ones in this air rifle?

Heavy vs light pellets
In a spring gun, the piston travels all the way forward and comes to a stop before the pellet starts to move (that’s the way it’s supposed to work). If you use a very light or very loose-fitting pellet, the pellet can start to move before the piston stops. When the piston comes to a stop, it does so against a thin cushion of highly compressed air that separates it from the front of the compression chamber. That cushion protects the piston seal from impact damage. Sometimes, the piston will rebound off this high-pressure air cushion just as the pellet starts to move forward. If it bounces too far, it will lower the air pressure and rob the shot of potential power.

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