Archive for June 2009

Crosman’s new Nitro Piston Short Stroke – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

The Nitro Piston Short Stroke is a handsome breakbarrel. My .22 is finished in digital camo, but there’s also a charcoal gray carbon fiber stock, as well.

Part 1

Today, I’ll look at the velocity of the new .22 caliber Crosman Nitro Piston Short Stroke breakbarrel rifle. There was a lot of interest in part 1, and I see that a few other writers are starting to test the guns, as well. So far, the interest seems to be all positive.

Cocking effort
I measured the cocking effort by pressing the muzzle down on a bathroom scale and breaking the rifle to the cocking point. This was a tricky rifle to measure, because if I went fast the effort increased by 8 lbs. If I went slow and deliberate, the rifle cocked with just 30 lbs. of effort through almost the entire cocking stroke. It actually falls off by a few pounds toward the end of the short stroke. As the shooting continued, I found that I was cocking faster every time, so I’m not so sure the slow part really does anything useful, but the deliberate part sure does!

So, there you are! Cock a gas-spring gun slowly but deliberately, and it’ll be lighter than if you try to horse it. By deliberately, I mean don’t mess around. Hold your hand as far out toward the muzzle as possible to get maximum leverage, which isn’t difficult considering that there’s no front sight. Once you start the cocking stroke, don’t stop.

Crosman Premiers first
The 14.3-grain Crosman Premier averaged 712 f.p.s. The spread went from 695 to 727, so a total of 32 f.p.s. Premiers loaded easily and flush with the breech. The average velocity develops a muzzle energy of 16.1 foot-pounds, making this pellet the clear power champion of the test

RWS Superdomes
RWS Superdomes weigh 14.5 grains and are pure lead pellets. In the Nitro Piston SS, they averaged 694 f.p.s., ranging from 680 to 709, for a spread of 29 f.p.s. The loaded easily and fit the breech well. The average velocity generated a muzzle energy of 15.51 foot-pounds.

RWS Hobbys
RWS Hobbys screamed out the muzzle at an average 771 f.p.s. At a weight of only 11.9 grains, these pure lead pellets generated an average energy of 15.71 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The velocity spread went from 761 to 781, for a total of 20 f.p.s., which was the second-tightest of the test. They loaded easily but were the tightest pellets in this test.

Air Arms domes
Air Arms domes are supposedly 16-grain pure lead pellets, but my scale says these weigh 15.9 grains. At that weight, they averaged 673 f.p.s. out the muzzle for an energy of 15.99 foot-pounds. The spread went from 664 to 679 for a total of just 15 f.p.s.–the tightest of this test. They fit the breech loosest of all pellets used in this test.

More on the trigger
I have to comment on this trigger, as it is one of the nicest I’ve seen on what is essentially a budget breakbarrel. It is two-stage and so crisp and positive! The second stage on my test rifle breaks at a repeatable 3 lbs., 12 oz. and is so crisp that I guessed it was a full pound lighter. If you like nice triggers on your rifles, you should like this one.

Just for fun, I adjusted the screw a full turn in each direction, but the only thing that changed was the length of the first-stage pull. The pull-weight remained constant. The second stage was also mushier after adjustment in either direction until several shots had been fired. Then, the crispness returned.

I also praise Crosman for leaving the safety manual. Nobody likes or needs an automatic safety. The safety on the NPSS works so smoothly and easily when you want it, yet it never forces itself on you. If I’m ever asked to testify about how safe I think automatic safeties are, I will say that I think they’re dangerous. They foster practices where a shooter cocks and loads the rifle, then immediately takes the safety off. I would rather have the responsibility of putting on the safety left up to the shooter, because they know when they need it and when they don’t. An automatic safety makes them take the safety off automatically without thinking. So, it might as well not be there.

This will be a fun gun to test for accuracy because it shoots so smoothly!

Hammerli Pneuma – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hammerli’s Pneuma has turned in an impressive test! I really enjoy the MTM shooting bench and rifle rest. They make my job so much easier.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Hammerli Pneuma, and I know from the comments there are several of you hanging around to hear what I have to say. Let me make it simple for you–buy the rifle. In my test that follows, I found the .177 Pneuma to be very accurate.

I did not follow my own plan of shooting enormous groups this time, because I was under time constraints to test a couple of different airguns and one .22 rimfire. The day was very nearly perfect, which was a blessing, because the past two times at this range I had to shoot in high wind. So, I made only five-shot groups on this day, so I could finish the testing for all the guns before the wind picked up.

I mounted a Leapers 3-9×50 scope (similar to this CenterPoint 3-9×50 with ill. reticle) in medium-high Weaver rings, despite all that people say about that being impossible. The Pneuma receiver is low for a PCP, so scopes with larger objective bells have trouble clearing the top of the barrel. In this case the scope barely clears the barrel, and you can feel it brush the barrel as the parallax ring is turned for adjustment, but it’s the perfect height for my eye. I discovered that the Pneuma’s thumbhole stock has a very high line, which helps elevate the eye to the scope.

The 50mm scope objective barely clears the barrel with these medium-height Waever rings. Yes, I know they’re nickel. Sometimes you have to use what you have.

Loading was okay but with the scope as low as I had it, I had to watch what I was doing. This is another good reason to use high rings.

The sidelever functioned smoothly every time. In fact, the entire rifle seemed to be dead-stone reliable. I say that because one of the other guns I was testing (the scope on it, actually) was giving me fits! It was so nice to have a gun that just did what it was supposed to that day.

I filled the reservoir to 200 bar, as we learned to do in Part 2 of this report. But I shot longer strings than the velocity numbers predicted that I should. What I mean is that the velocity numbers had indicated the gun really liked Beeman Kodiak pellets, but that lighter pellets started varying in velocity quicker. According to the numbers I recorded, there were fewer useful shots with lighter pellets. Well, on the 50-yard range that didn’t turn out to be the case. Just when the pellets should have been dispersing wildly, they were grouping tighter than ever. So, I kept right on shooting down below 150 bar, and the good groups kept coming.

Kodiaks first
I expected Kodiaks to be accurate, and they did not disappoint. At 50 yards on this breathless day, I managed a best group of 0.734″ for five shots and an average group size of less than one inch.

Best ghroup of five Beeman Kodiaks at 50 yards went into this group measuring 0.734″, c-t-c.

JSB 8.4 grain pellets
I didn’t think a lighter pellet would do as well in this rifle, but that was incorrect. With JSB Exact 8.4-grain domed pellets, I shot three five-shot groups that went 0.736″, 0.772″ and 0.808″. That’s extremely consistent shooting. I have to report that those groups were not all centered in the same spot, so if I had combined them they would have been about 1.5″ between centers. But, once again, I was shooting in a place on the power curve where the velocity numbers predicted the pellet strikes would shift.

Second-best group of five JSB Exacts at 50 yards measures 0.772″ between centers.

Worst group of five JSB Exacts at 50 yards measures 0.808″ between centers.

The Pneuma shot without a problem. I found it easy to scope, easier to sight-in; and once it was sighted, it was a bullseye drill. Kodiaks deliver the best performance of both power and accuracy, making them well worth trying. But the word on the street is this rifle does well with almost anything.

The world now has another low-cost PCP with remarkable performance. The Pneuma is well worth a place on your short list of pellet rifles. It’s a single-shot, which I will always prefer to a repeater, and it has the power needed for small-game hunting. I would buy the .22 for hunting and the .177 for general shooting and the occasional pest.

Tactical flashlights and some other light stuff

by B.B. Pelletier

I always feel guilty when I get this far off track, because I know fewer of you will be interested. But Fridays are my “play days,” and I try to write about light topics, because I know you just enjoy chatting with each other all weekend.

Having said all that, I think most people need at least one tactical flashlight. The reason? Simple! Tactical flashlights are the highest form of flashlight and they have more than one purpose in life. A regular flashlight is for seeing in dark places, but a tactical flashlight is for something else. A real tactical flashlight can also be used to temporarily disorient and even blind an assailant, giving the user time to either run away or defend himself in some other way. Here at Pelletier Acres, we are armed with the .45 ACP, so anyone who hears me yell, “FREEZE, DIRTBAG!” would be well-advised to cease and desist. Actually I plan to yell something more colorful than that, but Edith advised me not to print it here.

Edith once asked me to demonstrate how I would do that (the yelling, I mean) and even though I warned her what I was about to do, she was still visibly shaken when I did it. So I still got it, and it still works!

The part the tactical flashlight plays in this drama is it overloads the optic nerve and disorients the person. When combined with a persuasive command, this can force many people to comply with the verbal order. Even those less inclined to cooperate cannot avoid temporary night-blindness caused by the intense light.

So what?
Okay, you say, but everybody knows that B.B. is a paranoid dinosaur who fantasizes that he’s living in the wild west. I’m perfectly safe in my apartment here in Gotham and, if there is trouble, well, isn’t that what 911 is for? Boy, will I be glad when these paranoid old silverbacks are all dead and gone, so society can finally progress as it was meant to.

All right, you and I see life differently. But you still need a tactical flashlight! Check THIS out.

Old B.B. likes to ride his bicycle in the mornings before the sun rises. He wears a helmet and has lights on both the front and rear of his bike, plus he stays within the safe confines of his housing development. What could possibly go wrong?


I have used my most powerful tactical flashlight on several mean dogs who seemed to be out to get a piece of me. I started with the cute little white terriers down the street who like to bark and chase my bike as I ride past their house. When I hit them with the light early in the morning, they stop running and whine for a moment. The next morning they are right back at it, with some reluctance to leave their yard. These little cuties are no real threat, but they demonstrated that the light worked.

Then one rainy morning when I was walking the neighborhood and a large dog came at me in absolute silence from the rear on an intercept course, I was relieved that the light had the same effect on him. After he stopped I walked up and spoke to him in a low, commanding voice. He remained in place, presumably blinded for a few minutes, and when he started moving again, he walked away from my path. I was already about 500 yards away, but I kept my eye on him, just in case.

So, the light worked as intended. But that’s not the only reason for owning one.

Other pests

Things that go “bump” in the night
One morning, Edith woke me at 1:30 a.m. because of a disturbance on the back porch. She thought someone was breaking in, so I took my tactical flashlight and gun and went to the window. There in the light was a large possum! I shined the light on it for about a minute, then went to the back door to the porch. As I passed the living room, I saw that both cats were glued to the floor-length window, watching the porch in rapt silence. Just what I always wanted–silent watch cats! They note everything that happens around your home and keep it in the strictest confidence!

When I opened the door to the back porch, mister opossum had left the building. That was good, because I certainly was not going to shoot him with a .45 at two in the morning! As far as I can tell, he has never returned. The cats tell me nothing.

A tactical flashlight is an intense spotlight that can be used for general seeing as well as forcing compliance. Many of them are rated in lumens, and 100 lumens is considered the bottom threshold for forcing compliance in the way mentioned above. But I can tell you that a light with 65 lumens used correctly can do a lot. My first, second and third lights were all from Crosman. The first came with one of their guns, but number two and three I picked up at the Roanoke Airgun Expo for $5 each. The two CR123A batteries inside them cost more than that, so it was a no-brainer. The switches on two of them have already failed, so I am down to just one at present. My most frequent use for them is as a fill light in long-exposure photos. Remember my report on “painting with light?”

It seems that Crosman no longer sells their light separately. But all is not lost!

UTG tactical flashlight
My friends at Leapers make the UTG tactical flashlight. It’s sold in the airsoft equipment section and flashlight section and costs just $30. I know that’s a lot more than the $5 I mentioned before, but that was apparently a one-time, you-had-to-be-there special deal. This one has 95 lumens, so it’s pretty much the real deal. It has a regular pushbutton/twist-on switch in addition to the pigtail gun switch you see in the description, so you can use it normally.

For more power, this flashlight/laser combo puts out 126 lumens for just over $50.

Want even more? This UTG light puts out 260 lumens and has a police-rated body configuration that makes for easier handling. It’s the highest output I have found for under $50.

While at the 2009 SHOT Show I was given two Beamshot lights to evaluate. One is a one-cell (CR123A) PD3 compact light that puts out 180 lumens. It has a switch for the full-power light, a strobe effect or you can adjust the light down to 15 lumens for just seeing. With the latter, the battery lasts a lot longer. The strobe is highly effective in producing compliance, because the human eye cannot adjust to it. This one is a serious light with law enforcement recognition. Expect to pay around $80 on the street.

Beamshot PD3 uses just a single CR123A cell to generate 180 lumens of light. It is compact and feature-filled.

I also have the Beamshot TD4, a 240-lumen light with the same operational features as the smaller light, only instead of a single button on the end controlling it, there are three–one for each function. It also has a built-in SOS signal function. Set it and it continues to flash the distress signal without your intervention. This larger light uses two CR123A cells. This is the most powerful light I own and it is certainly capable of rendering a subject blind temporarily. The bezel has hardened points for breaking glass in an emergency. Expect to pay around $150 for this one.

The larger Beamshot TD4 uses two CR123A cells for 240 lumens. The bezel has pointed spikes to break glass in an emergency. Three buttons operate the multiple functions.

I saw the Fenix TK10 light at the SHOT Show and was so impressed that I asked for it for Christmas. It’s a 225-lumen light housed in the most rugged body on the market. I watched a video of the light still functioning under 20,000 lbs. of crushing pressure. The switch is simpler than those found on either of the two Beamshots. There is an on/off button that doubles as a pulse button. That’s it. What you lose in functionality you gain in a lower cost, ruggedness and reliability. This model sells for slightly less than $80.

My Fenix uses two CR123A cells for 225 lumens. It has a pushbutton pulse switch that also turns the light on and off.

This is my go-to tactical flashlight. A year ago, all I had were the Crosman lights, but I’ve made it a point to gather as many as I can. I use them to augment my defense firearms, and these are weapons I can use with no lasting effects. I have already told you how I use them.

Other survival lights
For more than a year, I’ve been using a dynamo flashlight from John Deere. You wind it for 2 minutes and it shines for 20 minutes. I just got an NRA dynamo flashlight to add to my collection. It even has a DC outlet port for charging your cell phone! I use these flashlights around the house exclusively to save the batteries of my tactical lights.

This John Deere dynamo flashlight never needs batteries. Just wind the crank, shown here but normally tucked flush with the body. Two minutes of cranking gives about 20 minutes of light.

The NRA sells this dynamo flashlight that also serves as a cell phone charger. This one is larger than the John Deere and is the right size for the glove compartment or tackle box.

Small wonder!
The Streamlight nano is a tiny flashlight just larger than a quarter and puts out a full 15 lumens of light. That makes it as bright as a standard flashlight using two D-sized cells.

A Streamlight Nano is tiny but puts out about the same light as a flashlight running on 2 D-cell batteries. It uses watch batteries and operates for 8 hours on one set.

Flashlights are mundane until you need them–then they’re priceless. I’ve shown you some here that have multiple purposes, including defense. This is just one category of equipment that belongs in a bugout bag.

Crosman’s new Nitro Piston Short Stroke – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Well, nobody can say that moss grows on the Crosman Corporation! In two years, they’ve set the pneumatic world on edge with their price-busting Benjamin Discovery and their feature-loaded Benjamin Marauder. But they haven’t put all their eggs in the pneumatic basket, either. While the airgun world was watching them break ground there, they were quietly developing the new Crosman Nitro Piston Short Stroke series of spring-piston guns with gas springs. And now they’re bringing them to market.

I first saw the new gas spring rifles during a visit to the Crosman plant earlier this year. Ed Schultz, their director of engineering, asked me to step outside on the back side of the plant. What he had was a prototype breakbarrel that, frankly, didn’t look any different than a hundred others I’d seen. It had a fabricated Delrin can for a muzzlebrake, but knowing that springers don’t make much noise at the muzzle, I was unimpressed. Then Ed said to me, “Tom, what part of a spring rifle makes the most noise?”

The answer was obvious–the powerplant. But did Ed know that? In fact, he did! He then proceeded to cock and load the .22 caliber rifle and handed it to me to shoot. He directed me toward a high hill across the empty parking lot. I fired and almost nothing happened! The rifle did pulse, and I knew it had fired, but the sound was so low it didn’t sound right.

Then he handed me a Gamo Whisper and told me to shoot it. Now as everyone knows, the Whisper is a quiet spring gun, but that .177 example was noticeably louder than the .22 I had just fired.

Ed explained, “Everyone knows that the powerplant of a spring rifle makes at least three-quarters of the noise. So putting a silencer on the gun does very little. We’ve put a silencer on, but more importantly, we have managed to also reduce the noise made by the powerplant.”

By this time, I was cocking and firing the rifle while Ed was speaking. I noticed that this was a gas spring gun, but one with a difference. Yes, it had more cocking resistance from the start–a characteristic of all gas springs, but this one seemed much easier to cock than most. Once my arms got up to speed with the power required, it never increased (gas springs never do); and toward the end of the short cocking stroke, it seemed to diminish a bit. This was something new!

Three months later, while filming the Crosman plant tour for American Airgunner, Ed showed me another new gas spring rifle. This one had a shrouded barrel and was covered with a digital camo pattern that felt rubberized and grippy. This was the first pre-production Nitro Piston rifle! Ed asked for comments on the cocking, the feel of the stock and the general impressions of the shooters. Paul Capello was shooting this one with me, so here was another person seeing the Nitro Piston system for the first time. We were both pleased with the performance of this stunning new spring rifle, and now I want to include all of you in the experience.

The Nitro Piston Short Stroke is a handsome breakbarrel. This one is finished in digital camo, but there’s also a charcoal gray carbon fiber stock, as well.

General description
What we have here is a spring piston air rifle made in East Bloomfield, New York. They’re made in both .177 and .22 and sport either a digital camo or all-gray stock. The model I’m testing has an ambidextrous thumbhole stock coated in a rubberized digital camo pattern. Inside, the rifle sports a gas spring that Crosman prefers to call a Nitro Piston, in reference to the nitrogen gas fill. And that gas is one of the things that makes this rifle so relatively easy to cock. The other things are patented, and nobody has told me anything–but I know that micro-fine surface finishes are at least part of the secret.

The barrel is fully shrouded with an aluminum shroud that extends from the baseblock to the muzzle. It’s tapered at the baseblock end and parallel out to the muzzle that it capped with a non-remnovable cap. A peek inside with a strong light shows the possible presence of technology, though as I have already mentioned, a spring rifle hardly needs it.

The rifle is light, weighing just 7 lbs., but it comes without sights and Centerpoint’s AR22 series 3-9x40AO scope that comes with the rifle boosts that to just over 8.25 lbs. Speaking of scopes, this is a good one. Usually, rifles that come bundled with a scope have the cheapest model obtainable, but this one isn’t. It’s one many of you would buy for your other rifles.

The top of the receiver has a scope stop hole to accept a vertical anchor pin. It’s a small feature but a necessary one that some other airgun manufacturers don’t seem to grasp. I’ll cover mounting the scope and the full specs of the scope in the report on accuracy.

The trigger is adjustable for the length of the second-stage pull. The safety is manual and workable with just the trigger finger.

The trigger is adjustable for length of second-stage pull. Safety is manual and can be worked by one finger.

Speaking of noise!
I couldn’t wait for the second and third reports, either, so I stepped out my back door and fired several Crosman Premiers into the ground. As I remembered, the rifle is quiet. The action is quick like all gas springs, and the recoil is very minimal. But I want to discuss noise for just a moment.

If you’re an experienced airgunner, you’ll think this rifle is pretty quiet. If you have no experience with spring-piston guns, you probably won’t. If you compare this gun to a Marauder, the Marauder will be quieter every time. But if you compare this to a silenced .22 rifle shooting CB caps, this will seem very similar. How the rifle sounds depends on your experience with airguns.

Last week I was at the firing range, and a boy and his grandfather were shooting a .22 rifle next to me. The boy was afraid my Hammerli Pneuma would be noisy. I told him that while it was noisy for an air rifle, it would seem quiet to him. Everyone had hearing protection on, and the Pneuma was just a tiny fraction as loud as the .22 rimfire. So, don’t listen to those who say PCPs are just as loud as rimfires, because most of them aren’t. And, when it comes to the relative noise a Crosman Nitro Piston makes, it’s less than a Gamo Whisper, but just about the same as a Whisper with an Air Venturi gas spring installed. And the only way to completely appreciate this is to shoot the rifle outdoors, away from buildings with reflective walls.

The Nitro Piston Short Stroke is lightweight, quiet, relatively easy to cock, comes with a quality scope, and finished with an attractive and grippy camo pattern on a thumbhole stock. Now, we need to see how powerful and accurate it is.

Air Venturi HaleStorm – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

The Air Venturi HaleStorm is a good-looking PCP repeater.

I’ve had a sample Air Venturi HaleStorm on hand for a couple months, awaiting their arrival at Pyramyd Air so I could report on them. I want the things I cover to be in stock, or at least for them to be due in within days of the first report. Nothing worse than whipping you into a froth that cannot be satisfied!

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right now, because if I don’t the rumor mills will start cranking. This rifle is made in Turkey. Except for the repeating mechanism and the stock, it looks very similar to the Hammerli Pneuma. Testing will show how close the performance is. Rather than ask why the single-shot Pneuma costs more than the HaleStorm, I would think you would want to buy the one you want and not draw attention to it. But that’s just me.

The HaleStorm is stocked with a beautiful hardwood stock, with a high cheekpiece and an adjustable buttpad. The pistol grip has panels of impressed checkering on both sides, but the forearm is smooth. The stock is fully ambidextrous.

The shape of the forearm is very unique and quite reminiscent of the shape Ivan Hancock used on many of his custom rifles that were made in the Venom shop. A wide, flat-bottomed forearm tapers on either side of the stock into a finger groove that runs the full length of the forearm. It gives the shooter something positive to grasp; and even though airgunners, as a rule, don’t grasp their stocks with their fingers when shooting, it still feels pretty neat.

The rifle is a bolt-action repeater with a sidelever operating the bolt. A 10-shot circular clip extends above the top of the receiver, so two-piece scope mounts are necessary. I’ll tell you more about how that clip is installed in the velocity testing report.

The open sights have fiberoptic inserts front and rear and will be considered good open sights by those who favor them. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation with a crisp ratcheting mechanism. And, by the way, this front sight also adjusts for elevation, which adds to the range through which the open sights can be adjusted.

The rear sight adjusts crisply in both directions.

The front sight can be removed and also adjusts for elevation.

Because the HaleStorm’s receiver is lower than most PCP receivers, you’ll need to use high rings, or you can select scopes with smaller objectives (32mm or less) to clear the barrel if you want to stay with medium-height rings. Low rings are out of the question for most scopes, except for those with no swelling in front or back, and would require removal of the rear sight.

The rifle I’m testing is in .22 caliber, so you get a chance to see how that performs compared to the .177 Pneuma I’m also testing. Like the Pneuma, the HaleStorm has a scope mounting rail that accepts both 11mm dovetail bases and also Weaver bases, which have a wider dovetail. There’s a Weaver slot for the key in that base, but the 11mm bases don’t have to use it. This setup gives users the widest possible range of scope mounts to select from.

The scope rail will accept both 11mm scope rings and Weaver rings.

This rifle also has a muzzle cap that unscrews to reveal 1/2×20 threads. If you own a legal silencer, this is the perfect mount. It also allows you to remove the front sight assembly, which is pressed in place and held with a locking screw. Personally, I wouldn’t bother, because I cannot see a hint of the front sight with the scope set to 3x and focused to about five yards. The front sight looks good right where it is.

The barrel is connected to the rifle at the receiver and also through two synthetic hangers located halfway along the reservoir. It is completely free-floated at the muzzle, so I guess it’s a semi-free-floated barrel! There’s no such thing; and if the reservoir moves, the barrel will, too, but I can’t think of a better description.

The onboard manometer (air pressure gauge) reads in bar, as you would hope, so there is no conversion required when you fill the gun. A synthetic plug is inserted in the fill port when the probe isn’t there to prevent dirt from entering.

So, how does this rifle stack up against other PCP repeaters? Well, the tests still have to be done, but in terms of power, this rifle is under 30 foot-pounds, so it’s in the Marauder class. It’s not quiet, so expect noise when you shoot. It’s a sidelever like the Blizzard S10, but this one will have more shots at less maximum power. Finally, there’s that great price. After the Benjamin Discovery, the HaleStorm is the least-expensive precharged rifle around. So, if it’s accurate and as powerful as advertised, I’d say we have another good entry-level PCP from which to choose.

BB gun disassembly

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we begin, I have an announcement. On Thursday I’ll start the Nitro Piston review.

Today’s report is for Bob from Oz, who asked for it long ago and has been more than patient. As we consider this operation, we must acknowledge that BB guns come in many different styles, and they don’t all come apart the same way. Therefore, this report will deal with those Daisy guns made from around 1915 to around 1970, which includes a large segment of what’s on the used market today.

Older and newer guns may vary a little or a lot from the ones shown with this procedure, and there are models within the same timeframe that vary because of their unique design. Also, non-Daisy guns may sometimes vary. However, fundamentally, most inexpensive BB guns are designed and assembled in pretty much the same way. If slight differences are encountered, it should be easy to adjust your methods to accommodate them.

You will soon see that rather than a report on just how to disassemble BB guns, this is more a report on how to build a disassembly machine, because that’s what it takes to do the job. Without this machine, you need extra arms and hands at various times in the procedure.

The design of this machine was given to The Airgun Letter by the late Jerry Voich, who authored an article for us on BB gun disassembly. Let’s begin simply, shall we?

The powerplant of most Daisy BB guns is held in the gun by a spring anchor, which is a flat piece of steelplate that fits through the body of the gun. Find an easy way to remove this one piece, and the whole job of disassembly becomes easy.

The first step is to remove the shot tube. This is accomplished by simply unscrewing the tube and removing it from the gun. This is done on all guns. After this step, the guns become more specific, though the assembly of most of them remains the same.

Taking as an example the Daisy model 1938, most commonly known as the Red Ryder, we can remove the buttstock and forearm by the removal of several obvious screws and bolts. The trigger and cocking lever are then removed by removing more obvious bolts. In the case of the trigger, there’s a return spring that also comes out with the blade.

That leaves us with the powerplant, which consists of the mainspring, the piston assembly and the spring guide. Daisy calls the piston a plunger and all the parts are plunger parts. When the gun is assembled, the plunger casing (mainspring guide) is pressing backward on the spring anchor, which holds it in place. On the front end of the plunger assembly, there’s a plate that’s swaged into the tinplate body of the gun. This plate forms the front of the compression cylinder of the gun. Its backside is what the plunger (piston) rests against; and in the front, it contains the screw threads that the shot tube screws into. This part does not come out of the gun.

I don’t own a Red Ryder, but this 499 is constructed very similarly. On this gun, the spring anchor is just a dedicated metal plate that sticks through the top of the gun.

This No. 102 Model 36 is a simpler BB gun that incorporates its rear sight into the mainspring anchor.

One big secret!
The one big secret to BB gun disassembly/assembly is to take the pressure off the spring anchor so it can be removed by simply lifting it out of the gun. Then, the tension is relaxed on the mainspring, and the powerplant parts can be slid out the back.

The way to remove the anchor is to reach around either side of the anchor and put pressure on the mainspring, which is wrapped around the plunger casing (spring guide). Forcing the mainspring forward takes pressure off the anchor so it can be removed. The tension on the mainspring is relaxed, and all the powerplant parts can be removed from the back of the gun.

It takes a ram with forked legs to reach around the spring anchor and push the mainspring forward, and that’s what the disassembly/assembly machine provides.

This plunger assembly is from a modern Red Ryder. On this one, the spring anchor is part of the assembly, rather than a separate part. You can see it at the bottom of the photo. This is representative of what’s inside most Daisy BB guns. The silver tube at the top of the assembly is the air tube or transfer port. It straightens out after passing through the swaged-in plate at the front of the compression cylinder.

This schematic is for illustration, only. The prices are old and out of date. You can compare the plunger assembly in the photo to the older one in the schematic. Reprinted with permission of Daisy Manufacturing Company.

The machine
Once again, the credit for this machine goes to the late Jerry Voich. He was a subscriber of The Airgun Letter who wanted to share this with all the folded-metal BB gun collectors in the world. This isn’t the only design that will work, of course, but it is simple to build and straightforward to use. Once you understand what you are dealing with, taking a BB gun apart is no more difficult than disassembling any spring-piston airgun.

Jerry Voich’s spring compressor works with one hand, leaving your other hand available to remove parts from the gun.

One last bit of advice
I’ve disassembled several BB gun mechanisms without the benefit of a device like this, and it certainly is possible. One thing I learned while doing that is to work slowly. For example, once I remove the spring anchor, the next step would be to install it again. I would do that several times until I got the hang of working with those parts. This single step is the crucial one in the whole process, so whatever you can do to make that easier makes the entire job easier.

Evanix Blizzard S10 – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Blizzard S10 from Evanix is a big rifle, but not a heavy one. You must scope it.

Here’s a popular airgun many of you have been asking about. It’s the Blizzard S-10 from Evanix, a 10-shot repeater with good power and quiet operation. Many shooters feel it may be the most significant Korean PCP to come to market in a long time. This test will look into those areas for you, and we’ll see what this new rifle offers.

The Blizzard S10 is an all-new rifle. It’s a sidelever-type bolt-action revolver with a 10-shot cylinder that advances as the action is cocked. The revolving cylinder is actually a clip that is removed to load. And this one holds 10 pellets, so it’s larger in diameter than the cylinders that hold six. This one sticks above the receiver, so two-piece scope rings are required.

The 10-shot clip is metal and uses a large o-ring around the outside to hold all the pellets in place. It works smoothly and without hangups when advancing.

The clip sticks up above the top of the receiver, so 2-piece scope rings are required. The safety is a silent European type.

This is a large air rifle, but not a heavy one. Because a lot of what’s inside the gun is just air, it’s surprisingly light. At 8.75 lbs., no one will mistake it for a lightweight, but given the size of both the reservoir and the barrel shroud, it feels lighter than it looks. Of course, it comes without sights, so factor in the weight of a scope and rings, which add at least another pound.

I’m testing a .22 caliber, which has to be the overall most desirable caliber, but know that the rifle also comes in .177. In some places, .22 caliber has been hampered by harmful legislation, so offering the .177 makes sense, but if you get one in that caliber be prepared to shoot the heaviest pellets to keep the velocity under control, which means under the sound barrier. The .22 should be ideal, and I should be able to shoot heavier pellets for greater long-range power, as long they will fit in the cylinder.

There’s no possibility for power adjustment on this gun. You just shoot it as it comes, which in .22 caliber is supposed to hit around 1050 f.p.s.

The stock on my test gun is a right-hand version, shaped as well as any English airgun stock every was. That’s understandable, too, because the Koreans have been making stocks for English airguns for several years. The Blizzard stock has a very vertical pistol grip with a scooped-out thumbrest at the top for a vertical thumb hold on the shooting hand. That’s one of my favorite holding positions, so I find the stock very easy to hold. The buttpad is also adjustable for height, so you can dial in this stock for maximum comfort. I’m testing the standard stock, but there’s also a right-hand thumbhole stock.

Does the Blizzard have any “technology”?
Yes, it does. The shroud isn’t entirely hollow. In the front, there are what appear to be Delrin baffles that will break up the turbulent air as it comes out of the muzzle. The shroud itself is large–0.985″ in diameter, so a whisker under a full inch. It looks like a bull barrel, except for the brass muzzle cap that breaks up the impression. Inside you can see the technology and even remove the top portion of it, though most of it remains tucked inside. A little forensic investigation revealed at least six levels of baffles inside, if you count the one just beneath the end cap. That should make for a very quiet rifle, though this one may have too much power to be too quiet.

A look under the muzzle cap. Four more baffles under this one and another one plus an end cap on top.

So, how much noise?
Make no assumptions! When shot with no pellet in the barrel, the Blizzard is quite loud. But load a pellet, and the noise diminishes to a third as loud. It sounds about like a Sheridan Blue Streak shooting on three pumps. It’s about as loud as a Diana 34. But remember, this rifle generates three times the energy of the 34. I can’t tell you whether it’s quiet enough for your backyard because I don’t know your situation. My house is 15 feet from either neighbor, and the Blizzard is too noisy to shoot in the fenced backyard when they’re home. But for a rifle of this power, it’s very quiet.

Stock observations
The stock shape positions your sighting eye very high above the receiver, so a scope will be right in line. A rifle with this power potential demands a scope that can hold up to long-range work, so I’ll select one accordingly. The right-hand stock operates very smoothly for a righty like me. A lefty will choose the left-hand stock but will still have to support the weight of the rifle with his shooting hand when he operates the sidelever. That will put some strain on the shoulder and left hand. But a right-hander will find this rifle quite smooth and fast to operate.

Things they got right
I have to comment on the fill port because Evanix got it right. The gun has a captive fill port cover that turns to protect the port from dirt and opens easily for a fill. It’s a small feature, but one that many companies can’t seem to get right.

The pressure gauge (manometer) is marked in bar! Hallelujah! For so many years, we have put up with the cryptic Asian pressure readings, but now we have a gauge that’s marked in a world-recognized scale. Fill to 200 bar.

A Korean pressure gauge that reads in bar!

The safety is a copy of a European silent safety that’s been around for many decades. It’s on the right rear of the receiver and works as you would expect–back for safe and forward to fire. No automatic safety!

There hasn’t been much testing of the Blizzard, so I guess I’m getting in on the ground floor.

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.