Archive for February 2006

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.

What does it take to kill pests?
The question seems to imply killing squirrels, so I thought I would address that. Some animals are easy to kill, while others are tougher than you can imagine. The squirrel is in the latter category. While squirrels are thin-skinned, they seem to take a lot of abuse. That’s why I recommend head shots with at least 12 foot-pounds on target and .22 caliber for them. Rats, on the other hand, die pretty quickly and a good body shot in the heart area will take them. The huge roof and barn rats are a whole different matter. Shoot them with a gun that can take a woodchuck!

On last thing about shooting rats. Try to dispose of the carcasses if you can. If you don’t, you’ll be providing a fancy meal for the rats you didn’t see. Carry large plastic bags and insert your hand through the bag (inside-out) to grab the rat’s tail. Then you can pull it into the bag without touching it.

Birds are very tough, especially large birds. Crows, seagulls and geese can take as much punishment as a woodchuck, so shoot them with a gun that has at least 20 foot-pounds at the muzzle and don’t stretch out too far. Pigeons are much easier to kill, as are starlings, grackles and some other small pest birds.

Songbirds are protected just about everywhere, as are buzzards, all raptors and all species of vultures. Many other birds and other animals may be protected in your area, so check with your local fish and game department before deciding that a particular animal is a pest. In Rapid City, South Dakota, for example, deer wander into town and may eat your flowers and kill your family dog but you can’t legally do a thing about it.

Poisonous snakes
Here is a trick I learned while traveling in rattlesnake country. If you point the muzzle of a gun at a snake and he sees it, he will align his head with the open muzzle of the gun! The first time I did that, I shot a rattler with a .22 revolver from 15 feet away! I couldn’t believe how well I had shot until it dawned on me that the snake was more responsible for the shot than I was. Since then I have made many astounding shots on poisonous snakes with this trick. A warning, however! Don’t try it on aggressive snakes such as water moccasins, or they’re liable to charge you before you can get off a shot! If you do decide to use an airgun for this, make sure it’s a powerful one! I have used a .22-caliber Beeman R1 on rattlers out to 15 feet.

Pest shooting is one of the ideal applications for an airgun, as long as you understand what you’re doing. Don’t try to “discipline” the animal. Either kill it outright or find some other way to shoo it away.

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!

Both Loguns are a modified diabolo shape. The domed head tapers to a very straight and long waist, then flares back out at the tail. It’s a unique shape that won’t be confused with any other pellet.


The Logun Penetrator has a different shape! It’s a diabolo, but a very distinctive one. This is the .22-caliber 20.5-grain pellet.

AirForce Condor was the test bed
To test a pellet, you need an airgun of proven accuracy. I have several to choose from, but when the test is in .22 caliber I find myself picking up either an AirForce Talon SS or a Condor more often than not. One reason is because there is no repeating mechanism to get in my way. I can load the pellets directly into the barrel, which produces the best accuracy with any pellet. Another reason is the huge number of shots I get from the removable air tank. I can take a spare tank or two to the range and never have to bother with a scuba tank.

Because the Condor has a power adjustment wheel, I don’t have to run it wide open. The two Logun Penetrators are medium and heavy weight, but in a Condor they are still too light to crack the throttle open all the way. I started the test with the 16-grain Penetrator pellet, which I sighted in at 20 yards before moving out to my 50-yard target. Three pellets got me on paper at 20 yards and I shifted to the for target after that. Group after group at 50 yards went into 1.5 to 2 inches for five shots. I tried a number of different techniques, but the groups stayed the same. The best group with the 16-grain pellet was 1.25-inches, and I have to call it luck because I was never able to repeat it. I shot at power settings 4, 8 and 12 and the groups did not change size. I sighted through an AirForce 4 to 16-power scope mounted on B-Square ultra-high adjustable rings.

20.5-grain pellet
I then switched to the Logun Penetrator in the 20.5-grain weight. The first group at 50 yards printed about 4 inches low but measured just over one inch! Things were looking up. The second group measure about one inch and then things improved considerably. The third group was 3/4-inch and I knew I was on to something. One remarkable group doesn’t mean much but a string of them is a good indication that you have an accurate pellet. I was shooting on power setting 8 with should shove a pellet this weight out the spout in the mid 900s, or so.

Once you get dialed-in with a PCP and a good pellet, it’s like eating peanuts – you just can’t stop. Group after group was in the 3/4 to one-inch size and then I got lucky. I was rewarded with a five shot group measuring just 0.406-inches! Those don’t happen often, but the way these pellets were performing, this was the sort of day for it. I tried to repeat that group and got a couple in the 0.600 range but no others under a half-inch.

Using a test standard
After I was satisfied that the 20.5-grain Penetrator was thoroughly tested, I shot two more groups – with JSB Exacts. I know how good they are, so I’m establishing that the rifle is shooting well if I get good groups with them. The two groups measured 0.750-inch and 0.615-inch. No doubt about it – the Condor was shooting well that day!

Conclusions
The 20.5-grain .22-caliber Logun Penetrator works very well in a PCP at about 40 foot-pounds. It’s very accurate and repeatable (holds its zero well). The Condor has a 24-inch Lothar Walther barrel, and I would expect this pellet to do as well in other PCPs with premium barrels.

I did not test the penetration ability, which is a main claim of this pellet. However, nothing else matters unless the pellet is accurate, and the Logun Penetrator 20.5-grain certainly is.

The 16-grain Penetrator did well in the test, though it did not perform to the same level as the heavier pellet. You should make no assumptions about its performance, except the obvious fact that it is not the best pellet for the Condor when it’s operating in the 20 to 40 foot-pound range.

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.


The sights have one dot in front and two in the rear. Align them on target and shoot!


The front of the slide flips up to gain access to the clip.

The gun fires in either the single-action or double-action modes. For single-action shooting, cock the hammer before each shot. In the double-action mode, each pull of the trigger fires the gun. Like all CO2 pistols that shoot in both modes, the gun is more powerful in the single-action mode.

Velocity
Shooting single-action (cocking the hammer for every shot) and allowing the gun to rest for 15 seconds between shots to warm up again, I averaged 345 f.p.s. with RWS Hobbys and 334 f.p.s. with Gamo Match pellets. This is about what can be expected from a CO2 pistol with a 4″ barrel. In double-action, also pausing between shots, the Hobbys were 318 and the Gamo Match were 310.

Gamo says the gun is good for 80 full-power shots, which I would agree with – providing you do not shoot fast and let the gun warm up between shots. If you shoot fast, the CO2 chills the gun’s action, causing more CO2 to be used for every shot. A cold gun keeps the CO2 colder, as well, and cold CO2 is denser than when it’s warm – hence more gas flows out with each shot.

Action airgun deserves action targets!
You can have the same fun with the PT-80 as with any of the Umarex or Daisy action pistols. One neat target that’s easy to work with is Daisy’s ShatterBlast target system. It features four target holders that stick in the ground and hold the clay ShatterBlast disks. Hit one and it bursts into pieces for a dramatic confirmation of your marksmanship. Ah! But the PT-80 is an 8-shot pistol, so you’ll need 8 ShatterBlast disks to shoot, because action is the name of this game. Or, you could get the ShatterBlast Six Shooter, which automatically drops a fresh target when one is blasted. Regardless of which you get, be sure to stock up on extra ShatterBlast targets, too.

Another fancy target for action pistols is the Shoot-N-C. It’s a stick-on target that turns from black to vivid yellow-green when hit. You can stand far away from this kind of target and see every impact as it happens! A package contains plenty of targets in three different sizes. The smaller ones can be used to cover holes in the larger targets – extending their lives. All you need is a cardboard box to stick the target on, a safe backstop and you’re in business!


The laser comes with this version of the PT-80.

Other PT-80 models
Gamo also sells the PT-80 Laser – with a genuine laser attached to the gun. Once the laser is on and sighted-in, you shoot to the point indicated by the dot. That makes your action shooting go even faster. Gamo also offers the PT-80 with genuine walnut grips for shooters who prefer the dressed-up look.

The PT-80 is a lot of pistol at a very affordable price. If action pistol shooting intrigues you, this one might be just what you want.

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.

In the 1950s, you were expected to mail your empty gas tank to a refill station to be filled, but airgunners soon found a way around that. They made adapters to connect the Crosman tank to the much larger 20-lb. bulk CO2 tanks used by restaurants. They got those large tanks refilled at their local industrial gas supplier. That’s the way it’s still done today, so getting into bulk-fill airguns is a bigger commitment than just buying a gun.

To fill the gun, the gas tank is screwed into the front of the gas reservoir located under the barrel. A rubber seal keeps this connection tight while filling. I always drop some Crosman Pellgunoil into the fill port before connecting the tank. It gets blown into the reservoir when the gun is filled and spreads to every seal as the gun is fired. My gun came from the estate of an elderly man who had passed away. His daughter was selling the things she didn’t want, and she told me the gun had not been used for more than 20 years. Amazingly, the gun was still half-full (30 powerful shots) and so was the gas tank! I had the gun resealed about a year later, however, but by then I had already fired it thousands of times.

One fill delivers many shots
I get about 50 full-power shots from one fill of my model 111, providing the tank I’m filling from is reasonably full itself. Fifty shots is also about what you get with a modern gas pistol that uses a 12-gram powerlet, but the 111 gets around 75 f.p.s. higher velocity. I see about 525 f.p.s. with RWS Hobby pellets on a reasonably warm day (CO2 is temperature-dependent). So, the 111 really uses more than 12 grams of gas per fill. A model 115 with a shorter barrel and gas reservoir gets close to 50 shots, too, but they will be in the 475 f.p.s. region.

Adjustable power!
Just above the back of the grip is a small knob sticking out. That’s the power adjustment knob. Turn it in for more power – out for less. Above that is the round bolt head that retracts to open the bolt for loading and also cocks the gun. This is a single-shot pistol that’s capable of impressive accuracy. I find it as accurate as the Marksman 2004 I tested for you on February 10.


The bottom wheel is the power adjuster. The top is the bolt.

The gun itself
The pistol is a little muzzle-heavy, as you might expect from the picture. The grip is on the small side and the trigger is just a thin steel blade. All the ergonomics we see in today’s airguns are missing, yet it still feels very good in your hand.

A crossbolt safety blocks the trigger when pushed to the right. Don’t trust such safeties because they do not restrain the hammer. If it should slip off the sear for any reason, the gun would fire regardless of where the safety is set.

The pistol has an ambidextrous grip with two-piece plastic panels. The gray-white mottled grip on my pistol was correct for the model 111; the 112 had a reddish-brown mottled grip. Today, however, there’s been so much swapping of parts that you may find anything on any gun. Except for caliber, the two pistols are completely identical.

Shooting and just owning these vintage Crosman pistols is a joy. There’s also a pair of bulk-fill rifles to go with them – the .177-caliber model 113 and the .22-caliber 114. Any of these vintage airguns can still be purchased for under $100 today, and a set like the one shown here usually brings less than $150. They take a little more work to operate, but they’re worth it.

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.

But before I do, this comment just arrived as I was completing this posting. “I would like to mention pellet traps. I’ve been using the Cone Pellet Trap by GAMO for months and have quite an investment in paper targets for it. It’s falling apart just from using my 392 at no closer than 10 yards and further. The spot welds on the bottom cap of the dead-pellet well gave loose so I “glued” it with a metal epoxy and it’s been holding. But I’ve noticed that the top and sides of the funnel are bulging due to pellet impact and I’m getting concerned it may fail, so I’m thinking about a replacement.

Why doesn’t the Gamo trap work?
It DOES work – providing you don’t shoot at it with an airgun that’s too powerful. HOWEVER, when I went to the Gamo website and looked at the specifications for this trap, they say nothing about which airguns are best suited for it! So, how is a dealer like Pyramyd Air supposed to know what a certain trap can and cannot handle, if the manufacturer doesn’t tell them? Here is what I do about things when they REALLY have to work!

Get a pellet trap that no smallbore air rifle can EVER shoot through!
After having a similar experience, I finally coughed up the money for a genuine bullet trap – one made to stop a 40-grain lead bullet from a .22 long rifle cartridge. If it can do that, there ain’t no smallbore airgun in the world ever going to do it any damage! I shoot a 65 foot-pound AirForce Condor at my Outer’s bullet trap, which is rated to 100 foot-pounds. In a million shots, there will be no sign of damage to this trap. There are already more than 50,000 shots from various airguns on it, as it’s been used for club shooting as well as my own for over 14 years. I used this trap to catch the shot from the Fire 201 air shotgun, which, you may recall, generates over 250 foot-pounds. Because the projectiles were small birdshot, each with far less energy than the whole shot column, the trap took it in stride. I have also shot .22 long rifle bullets into this trap with no problems.

Bullet traps of equal strength by Do-All and others are also available. All it takes is a Google search to find them.

Some things you may not have thought about
When you shoot an air rifle, the pellets all land close to each other. Down at the trap, those pellets land like an impact chisel! Each shot tries to go deeper than the one before. I know of a case where a shooter shot a 30 foot-pound air rifle (Webley Patriot) through his Daisy pellet trap (rated to just 6 foot-pounds!) then through a cinderblock wall behind the trap (he had no safety backstop!) and through the control panel of his wife’s dryer on the other side of the wall! Granted it took almost 100 shots for all that to happen, but he KILLED his wife’s clothes dryer! What you need for a rifle like the CF-X or a Diana RWS 34 is a trap so rugged that it can withstand ANYTHING you throw at it. I have other stories of guys shooting through their garage doors and wrecking the fronts of their cars and of guys shooting through the walls of their houses!

Don’t feel too bad, though. In World War II, Standard Products of Detroit made M1 Carbines that they tested in their plant. They had a backstop of 10 feet of wet sand, backed by a concrete block wall. Needless to say there weren’t very many real shooters working at Standard Products. One night early in production, the inevitable happened. They shot through the wall and began spraying bullets around the neighborhood! It may not happen all the time but it happens more frequently than it should.

What’s behind your trap?
Shooting at a bullet trap without a safety panel behind it is like doing a trapeze act without a net. You may be very good, but it only takes one mistake. I had a 3/4″ plywood panel behind my trap, and I actually shot through that and cracked a cinderblock in my foundation! Ouch! The odds of missing in exactly the same way more than once are extremely low, but I did it, nevertheless. And, with a Condor or a Career 707, you only have to miss twice the same way to do it.

Airguns are very safe compared to firearms, but there are still some fundamental safety precautions we have to take. Using a pellet trap that’s up to the task is very close to the top of the list.

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.

The trigger
The CF-X trigger is classic Gamo. It’s extremely creepy with a long second stage pull. It takes a lot of getting used to. However, these triggers do wear in with time and will become crisper (or able to be adjusted to a crisper pull) after they have some time on them. To their credit, Gamo puts a manual safety on the gun. Once it’s cocked, you’re ready to go.

The rotary breech
I do not care for the rotary breech, but if it’s necessary, I’ll live with it. Round-nosed pellets tend to flip around backwards on the loading ramp, which takes time to sort out. I soon learned to load this rifle horizontally instead of resting the butt on my leg (like I usually do) because many pellets fell back out of the breech. The loading ramp on the CF-X is also not as smooth as the one on the BSA I tested, so this gun REALLY flips pellets if you’re not careful!


The breechblock rotates to the left, revealing a groove that guides the pellet to the barrel.

Velocity
All guns will vary; this is what I got with mine. RWS Hobby (7 grains) averaged 942 f.p.s. Crosman Premier light (7.9 grains) averaged 873 f.p.s. Beeman Kodiak (10.6 grains) averaged 785 f.p.s. The new Gamo Raptor (5 grains) averaged 1153 f.p.s. I notice that my velocities are only a few f.p.s. different than those of reader JB, which is encouraging.

Accuracy
I learned that the CF-X does not like heavy pellets! It threw Beeman Kodiaks and Crosman Premiers 10.5-grain pellets all over the place at the 33 yards I had the target placed. Group sizes of 2.5″ to 3.5″ were common at that range, which is way below acceptable accuracy for a gun in this price range. Then, I tried Crosman Premier lights – the pellet of choice for many spring gun competitors in field target. The groups climbed up on the target about three inches and shrank to less than 1.5″ for five shots. I was onto something, but still shooting poorly.

None of the usual techniques worked!
Group after group was a heartbreaker, with three shots going into an American quarter and numbers four and five opening it up. I tried every technique I know, and even held the rifle firmly to see if that was the solution. It wasn’t. I also tried something that usually doesn’t work – I rested the gun DIRECTLY on a sandbag without a hand in between. Voila! The groups tightened by a third! My best group of the session at 33 yards was one that measures 0.886″ – just over 3/4 of an inch. I shot enough similar-sized groups with this technique to know that this one is not a fluke.

While the CF-X is not in the TX200 class for accuracy, it’s right there with most RWS Diana guns. I know I said yesterday that an RWS Diana 52 can almost keep all its shots on a dime at 30 yards, but I believe the CF-X can do it, too. With my limited test, all I did was establish that the gun can shoot – I have not pushed it as far as it will go. Just hand-sorting the pellets should eliminate another quarter-inch from the groups. And, who knows what the absolute best pellet may be? Discovering that requires an investment in range time.

Gamo Raptors!
I couldn’t get Raptors to print on the target paper at 33 yards, so I backed up to 15 FEET and shot a couple. They were already beginning to disburse at that close range, so I knew they would be wildly inaccurate in this rifle. I then moved the target to 15 yards (45 feet) and proceeded to shoot a five-shot group that measured 1.065″. At 33 yards, that would open to a four or five-inch group which is absurd. The Raptor is not a pellet for the CF-X. CF-X guy – if you want to shoot tin cans with them, make sure they’re close.

My take on the Gamo CF-X? It’s a heck of a lot of air rifle for the money! The action is tight and smooth and the rifle is light and very easy to cock. The trigger is the worst feature, but it’s one of the better Gamo triggers I’ve seen (and we know it gets better with use). The rifle is surprisingly accurate, and I will be recommending it to a lot of new shooters. The Leapers scope and B-Square mounts made this test very easy and pleasurable.

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.

From the standpoint of efficiency only (accuracy not considered), the best pellet for a particular spring gun is one that starts to move at the moment the piston comes to a stop. That allows the piston to settle softly against the end of the compression chamber as the air pressure drops. Now, how do you determine which pellet that is?

You use a chronograph to determine which pellets give the greatest power in your gun. We’ve discussed this before, and you now know that spring guns favor lighter pellets (this is the reason why). Light pellets work better because they start moving sooner. Springers like that because they don’t have a large amount of compressed air to work with. Are only light pellets good for springers? NOT AT ALL!

You must consider accuracy!
Power without accuracy is a waste of time. The goal is to combine the best accuracy with the best power in a given gun. A short-stroke action like one of the RWS sidelevers tends to extract more power from the lightest pellets, while a long-stroke action like the Diana RWS 350 Magnum probably likes pellets in the medium-weight range. Try them also for accuracy to find the absolute best pellet. While 7.0-grain RWS Hobby pellets may give the most power in a .177 RWS 52, it may be that 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers are more accurate. Shoot the heavy Premiers and forget the 1.5 to 2 foot-pounds of greater power the Hobbys might deliver in that rifle.

Incidentally, a Diana RWS 52 in .177 is capable of sub-1″ five-shot groups at 50 yards. At 35 yards, a good shooter should be almost able to keep all his shots on a dime. That’s shooting on a calm day from a rest and resting the forearm on the flat of your open hand. Your trigger-finger hand does not hold the pistol grip any tighter than necessary, and the butt is not pulled into your shoulder. If there’s a scope level on the rifle, check it before each shot. If you grasp the rifle’s stock in any way, you can forget that level of accuracy.

Can the wrong pellet damage the rifle?
There isn’t much information on this subject, but I believe the wrong pellet can injure a spring rifle. I think shooting a pellet that is either too light or too loose is similar to dry-firing the gun. I know Gamo says their guns can take it, but I still do not like doing it. Very light/very loose pellets can also cause explosive detonations, and we are pretty sure they do damage the mainsprings. Diana RWS guns have very hard mainsprings (maybe a touch too hard), and they’re most susceptible to damage caused by detonations. I have fixed several Diana RWS guns that had one inch broken off at one or both ends of the spring. Those guns will keep right on shooting, but they show a distinct drop in velocity.

What about real heavy pellets?
Some people feel heavy pellets also damage mainsprings. I don’t believe this myself, but as I said, there isn’t much to go on. Another problem with pellets that are too heavy is that they don’t stabilize well enough for good accuracy at longer ranges (beyond 40 yards).

Do I have to test EVERY pellet to find a good one?
No! I addressed this on several occasions in past postings, but the best one is Best pellet of all? posted on August 19, 2005. Read that and also use the Bloglines search engine on this blog to look for other pellet postings. Testing every pellet is a waste of time and money, since many of them don’t work well in ANY airgun. I also have a rule of thumb that I follow: RWS airgun, RWS pellet. Do that for all manufacturers; it works a lot of the time.

Here is what I have not answered with this posting: Why some pellets are more accurate than others. I wish I knew the answer, but I don’t. I also don’t trust anyone who says they do. I do know that pellets that have been sorted by weight usually out-perform those that haven’t been, and JSB pellets are all hand-sorted. That’s why I believe JSBs are often the most accurate pellets.

Top-notch springer
Air Arms TX200 air rifle

When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

All the fun, none of the hassles!
Uzi CO2 BB submachine gun

You've seen tons of movies with guys spraying bullets from their Uzi submachine guns and probably thought it would be a blast. Except for the cost of ammo! You can have all that fun with this Uzi BB submachine gun at just pennies a round. Throw shots downrange for hours on end with all the fun, none of the firearm hassles and a fraction of the cost.

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