Fun at the flea marketFinding a Haviland & Gunn BB pistol

by B.B. Pelletier

One of the things I miss about the days of The Airgun Letter was the local flea market my wife and I attended every Sunday for two decades. It was a gold mine for rare and vintage airguns–some of which I bought and others I let slip through my fingers. Today, though, I’d like to tell about the gun my wife, Edith, found. It turned out to be the best deal we ever closed at that market!

I have told this tale briefly in the blog twice before, but today you’ll read the entire thing.

The Columbia, Maryland, flea market was held in the parking lot of the Columbia Mall. Once every month, it expanded many times in size and called it Super Sunday.

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A look back in time – the Beeman SS2 short scope

by B.B. Pelletier

You readers seem appreciative of the vintage airguns I show you from time to time, so today I want to show you something else that’s old and wonderful. The Beeman SS2 is a short scope made for Beeman by Japanese scope manufacturer Hakko. When it sold from the mid-1980s until well into the ’90s, it was part of a trio of short scopes Beeman offered. The SS1 was a 2.5×16 scope that was the smallest of the trio and the SS3 was a 1.5-4×16 scope that was just a quarter-inch larger. The SS2 was the largest and most feature-filled of the three.


The Beeman SS2 short scope looks right on this Diana model 27. It would need some kind of scope stop to stay in place.

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Diana 27 – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today, we’ll look at velocity after fixing the Diana 27 breech with a new leather seal. Vince is our resident spring rifle expert, and he voiced some concern about the new seal being cut flush with the breech face. I admit to the same misgivings, but when I looked at other vintage breakbarrels, I’ve noticed they all look the same–a flush seal. And they all work well. I think maybe the leather acts in a dynamic way when hit with the high-pressure airflow from the transfer port. It moves to seal the breech.

At any rate, I tested the same pellets that were used in the failed velocity test before, so we have a direct before and after comparison.

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Diana 52 – the tactical version Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Guest blogger
Mo’s finishing up his Diana 52, as he converts it from a mild, unassuming air rifle into a tactical gun. If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them) and they must use proper English. We will edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

Diana 52 – the tactical version
Part 2

by Mo

Part 1

In this segment, I’ll paint the metal parts, reassemble the gun and add some tactical accessories.

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Diana 27 – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

If you can remember back to the .177 Diana 27 I started testing in December, you’ll remember that the breech seal was destroyed and needed replacing. Several readers suggested I use a modern synthetic breech seal, but I wanted to keep the look as original as possible, so I opted to try a leather breech seal first.


This is the old breech seal. Bits of leather have torn out and an oil spray comes out of the breech with every shot.


You can see the groove the new seal must fit. This photo is like an Escher print until you decode it in your mind. We’re looking at a breech that’s pointing up–away from us. The groove for the seal is wide and flat and there’s a stub of the barrel in the middle. This is where the new leather seal has to fit.

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VZ35 and VZ47 – two interesting military trainers

by B.B. Pelletier

I promised this report to Chuck late last year, and now we have another annonymous reader who wants a military “BB gun” with more power than the Crosman M1 Carbine. Well, neither one of these rifles is really a BB gun, but the round lead balls they shoot look enough like BBs that many people think of them that way. These two air rifles are perhaps the finest military trainers of all time!

Please forgive the black and white photos. I took them from the files of The Airgun Letter, because the color slides are too time-consuming to locate. But the color images I show convey the warm look of the VZ35.


VZ35 is a handsome full-sized military trainer. This one is missing the upper handguard.

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.177 Gamo Big Cat – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

First, a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who are answering reader comments for me. Your help has given me back a couple hours a day, and it has made a difference.

Today, I’ll look at velocity of the Gamo Big Cat. Before I do, I want you to know that I spoke with the new Gamo CEO Lou Riley at SHOT, and he confirmed that the company is now finishing the trigger parts better than before. That’s why I noticed such a big improvement in the trigger-pull during the first test, and you will, too. The trigger is now a real two-stage with a repeatable first-stage stop. It comes out of the box feeling like a vintage Gamo trigger with 4,000 shots on it. I can’t say enough good things about how much better it feels.

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