You asked for it: More Balderdash!

by B.B. Pelletier

I’m in New York filming episodes for the American Airgunner TV show. Because you enjoyed the last Balderdash column I reprinted from the Airgun Letter, I’m reprinting two more. These are from 1996.

Before I get to that, Pyramyd Air has announced a Father’s Day 2009 Video Contest. It runs the month of June, and the rules are on the entry form. If the judges pick your airgun video as winner, you’ll get a Gamo Whisper CSI air rifle!

MYTH #3
The cumulative force required to pump a multi-stroke pneumatic airgun adds up to hundreds of pounds, making this type of gun undesirable for the novice or the person of small stature.

Balderdash! Please don’t tell my wife that a Sheridan pneumatic rifle is hard to pump. Now that she’s killed her fifth rat between the eyes at 25 feet using an offhand shot, she doesn’t need the grief of knowing it should have been difficult. And since she can’t begin to cock my C1 carbine, which only requires 34 lbs. of force compared to the “combined hundreds of pounds” for the Sheridan (Ha! Ha! Ha!), there aren’t many airguns left for her to use. Of course, she could use a CO2 or precharged gun, but that’s not the point, is it?

I don’t know where this got started, but it’s been around a long time. Admittedly, the sixth through eighth pumps on a Sheridan are harder than the others, but as for using the cumulative effort for the comparison–why not calculate the horsepower required to walk to your car to prove that you can’t make it to work anymore? Or, better yet, stop breathing and save wear and tear on your diaphragm for a while.

I will agree that multi-pump guns are both slower and more cumbersome to prepare for each shot. That’s one good reason why I shoot them less frequently than either CO2 or spring-piston guns.

The problem with pneumatics is not the effort they require, but the intelligence. Every time I watch an adult try to pump one of the things with a three-inch choked grip on both gun and lever, I’m amazed that high school science class didn’t take more effectively. These are LEVERS, folks! You have to apply force at the point furthest from the fulcrum to get the best LEVERAGE!

When my son was 14, he could pump a vintage Crosman 100 to a velocity of almost 700 f.p.s., but he couldn’t begin to cock my R1. But, then, bumblebees aren’t supposed to be able to fly, either.

MYTH #6
Two-cylinder CO2 guns will shoot with less power when you use just one cylinder of gas.

Ted Osborn suggested this one, but I knew that W. H. B. Smith had conducted this experiment back in the 1950s. He reported in Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World that the power of a Crosman 160 rifle with a single CO2 cartridge was down 10 percent, and the number of shots was 18, compared to 35 with two cartridges. I conducted the same test. First loading a full cartridge, then an expended one into my gun. Five minutes after gas flow started, I shot as many shots as possible separated by one-minute intervals. Ambient temperature was 78-deg. F, and a Chrony chronograph was used. The pellet used for all tests was the Crosman Premier in .22 caliber.

My test results were:

SHOT……..VELOCITY
1……………628
5……………615
10…………..582
11…………..573

SHOT……..VELOCITY
12…………..573
13…………..549
14…………..534
15…………..513
16…………..496
17…………..480
18…………..463
19…………..436
20…………..412
21…………..gas exhaust

The top velocity recorded with this pellet in this rifle using two full CO2 cartridges was 637 f.p.s. So, what we’ve been told is still apparently true–CO2 evaporates until it reaches a pressure of 900+ psi at 72-deg. F and above. As long as there’s liquid CO2 present, that same pressure will be maintained and velocity will remain constant.

39 thoughts on “You asked for it: More Balderdash!

  1. Funny thing about that. Exerting 40 lbs over 6 inches always feels like more work than 20 lbs for a foot. Both represent the same amount of energy expended, but they feel entirely different to a human being.


  2. Vince,

    Time, as you well know, is what makes the difference in your statment. If your example was being applied to firing a powder burner and recoil 20 lbs over one foot would feel like 1/2 the "kick" sort of.

    Mr B.


  3. BB,
    You proved the CO2 myth wrong when you tested the Walther Lever Action. Remember? You inserted the two necessary cartridges but one didn't puncture. You didn't even know it until you ran out of gas too early and began investigating. I've been watching mine closely ever since. I hope they don't over tighten easily because it is difficult to tell when both are punctured.

    Wayne,
    Did you look into those Gamo Recons? I just put a GRT III trigger in mine and I really like that trigger!! I wish there was one for all my other guns.

    Fused,
    I complain about my springers all the time and that gives them unwarranted bad press, I guess. I have a multi and a single pump pneumatic, two CO2s, and three different springers. The last rifle I bought (a Gamo Recon, a couple weeks ago) is a springer. I would not have bought it if springers were as bad as I complain. You will learn to use the artillery hold. Today, the Recon is my favorite springer. "Yesterday", the IZH-61 was my favorite springer. That being said, my overall favorite is my Talon SS which is currently configured for CO2. The same SS can be configured for CO2 or air by merely swapping the bottle, and it has three barrel lengths that can be changed out easily. I like it because it is so easy to shoot and has no recoil and has no annoying boing (that springers have). As a final suggestion I say get the Maurader in .22 for the hunt! I am, eventually. My Talon is .177 but I use it only for target. Still, take Wayne up on his offer and try a springer. Or, buy a Gamo Recon for $89.95 including 4X scope from PA. It is not so hold sensitive. However, it's not suited for hunting just target and plinking, but quite accurate at 10m.


  4. Ralph,

    re:Beeman Mach 12.5

    Looks almost identical to my (what I call) Beeman RS2 (also known as the SS1000H) except for a fancier stock. These are a varaint of the AR1000 which are made in China by Shanghai Airguns. There are other variants as well (tech Force 89 and Hammerli Titan come to mind). The 12.5 has the good trigger which is one of the major advantages over the cheaper RS1. The main complaint I've seen online about these is the bad breech seal, so you may want to expect to have to replace or shim that if you go with this gun. I've also heard this may be a "hit-or-miss" gun, meaning some are well made, and others not as well. But if you buy from PA you won't have to worry about that, if you get a bad one you can just replace it. I've had mine for over a year now, probably have about 4K shots through it and have no complaints. It's really turned into a smooth shooter over time. Hope this helps.

    -Aaron


  5. Wayne,

    Just got back in town and had a chance to catch up.

    Your generosity interspersed throughout the previous comments was shining through like a great beacon of light.

    What a tremendous example you are for the rest of us struggling to be good people.

    I'm proud to know you.

    kevin


  6. Kevin,

    ah shucks..

    And I'm very proud to know you too!!

    No biggy.. Vince has to ship them across country anyway..
    Now Fused will pay the shipping on one of them.. I'm really saving money:)..

    CRj,

    With your high praise, (on top of B.B.s review some time back) .. I've got a wholesale order in for some of the Recon..

    I'm choosing LOW power springers for the plinking section of the range inventory, more than CO2, because of the temp issue and having to wait between shots so much.. and those darn little cartridges cost over time.. and how to recycle them..

    Wayne


  7. B.B.,

    Thanks for taking the time for your reply. None of the pumps were used outside. Pump one and two were put on a piece of newspaper to keep the rug clean. Pump three sat on a 14"X 8" aluminum "trivit" that I picked up in a thrift store, drilled two holes in it and mounted it to the pump. Works great being able to keep my feet farther appart while using the pump is a wonderful improvement.

    Spent some time with Cameron, a customer service employee of Crosman, and pump 3 is on its way back to their engineers to check out. Thanks again Crosman.

    Mr B.



  8. I have three springers (a Beeman 1024,two Chinese made B3s), a Crosman 1077 CO2, and a Remington Airmaster 77 multi pump.The springers are a real challenge to me.One day the first B3 will give me horrible groups.The next day I shot a 1/8" three shot group at ten yards from a table, and then some larger, but still good, groups.Then I go out the next day, and the poi seems to have changed.It has a nice Leapers 3×9 airgun scope. My Remington is Mr. Consistency.I have fired off more literally, one hole groups with that gun using a Leapers 4×32 airgun scope. I always use five pumps because it's accurate,easy to pump, and quiet.The Crosman is pretty good too.Not quite as accurate as the Remington, but good.
    jon


  9. Wayne,
    The Recon will be excellent for plinking. With the thumbhole stock the Recon looks cool, too. If you can afford the GRT III $35 upgrade trigger it's well worth it. Maybe configure one with it and see the diff. With JSB Exact 8.2gr, mine rivals the IZH-61 at 10m. If you've never done the trigger upgrade, it's a snap. Remove one pin, pull the trigger out, slide the new one in, insert pin, done – no springs to mess with. The hardest part is removing the stock. Two .25 Torx screws in forestock, one .25 Torx in back of trigger guard.


  10. Aaron,

    Thanks for the quick run down of the Mach 12.5. That was a wery big help. I wouldn't purchase a air rifle without PA's 10 for 10 deal, however, I just don't want a Chinese gun at this time. Maybe on another purchase.

    Much gratitude,

    Ralph


  11. B.B.

    Bring on the story about the bug-out bag. You know the old saying about how a man is known by his bug-out bag.

    Edith, sounds like your story is from wartime Germany. Why not extract a few of the episodes to give us a flavor of the whole like Josh is doing?

    Mr. B, Vince is describing the physics equation for work which is Work = force times distance. This says that in fact time is not a factor. Applying 20 lbs. of force over a foot faster or slower makes no difference, assuming ideal conditions.

    Fused, perhaps I have generated a backlash against springers…. Anyway, there's no doubt that they are more difficult to shoot. But hold sensitivity is one of those terms that is used so often that I think it loses meaning. As far as I can tell, it seems to have two components: the artillery hold and the special grip and tension needed for a particular rifle. The artillery hold with its loose grip and follow-through is not intuitive but not hard to learn, and it has its own special reward. When you see those sights bound off the target then return and find your shot went right where it is supposed to, shooting a gas gun seems less interesting.

    The particular hold for a gun will be more individualized naturally, but shouldn't be that hard to find. It's not going to deviate that much from the standard shooting positions. I haven't noticed any particular hold necessary for the three springers I own. I think a lot of what is ascribed to hold sensitivity is a faulty artillery hold. Another complicating factor is the weight of the gun which can exacerbate the effect of springer recoil without being the same thing. I'm finding that the IZH 61 is sensitive to follow-through compared to my B30, but I suspect that is almost entirely because of the lighter weight.

    Chuck, on the subject of weight I have always thought of the Talon as a hunting gun because of its lightness. You should get even better results for target shooting with the Marauder. The sproing sound of your springers makes me wonder if they need to be tuned. I found the vibration of my B30 annoying in the extreme before getting it tuned by Rich from Mich. Now there is only a pleasing thud even though it shoots at 950 fps. The IZH 61 just gives a loud click.

    Matt61


  12. BB,
    My problem with multi-pumps has nothing to do with effort — its having to count the strokes:).

    Matt,
    You got me hooked with the 180# effort on an English longbow. I think I read somewhere about them shooting from a recumbent position, but I don't think that was the norm.

    180 would be too much except for a few people, I would think, although you might be surprised how many people used to manual labor could do it. There was some show on the History channel where an ex-football player went to Switzerland to learn a special type of wrestling. As part of his training, they had him do a traditional stone toss, using a 200 pound rock. Apparently for Swiss farmers and lumberjacks, that's just fun:).


  13. Mr. B.,

    Well then you just got three bad ones in a row. I hope Crosman is able to help you with this because their pump, which is also the AirForce pump, is considered to be more robust than many on the market.

    B.B.



  14. All,
    Thanks for the comments concerning springers. I'll look forward to experimenting once I get the shipment. I'll be sure to post what I find and whether we can restore the springer's good name.


  15. Ralph,

    Glad to be of assistance, I understand your point about the Chinese guns, I was pretty niave when I bought mine, but I think I got lucky and got a good one. I am paying attention to the new offerings from Crossman now, I hope my next airgun purchase will be made in the USA!!

    Fused – I wouldn't let the fear of hold sensitivity keep you from buying a springer. Just because they are harder to shoot accuratley than a PCP, doesn't mean they are hard to shoot accurately. The artillery hold is easy to learn and a lot of fun to practice. Learning to shoot your springer accurately is very rewarding, more so than a PCP I would think. I've studied up on the pros and cons of pcps' vs. springers (it seems to come up a lot on this blog) and I personally feel that springers are the way to go for me. I like the way they shoot, I find I can be accurate with them, I'm amazed at how much power can be generated with just a spring and some air, they are quite, and they are much cheaper than pcp's. PCP's do seem to offer a lot of advantages over springers (power, accuracy, repeatability, etc…)but it's hard for me to justify the cost. I'm a big fan of the .22LR and I like having a springer to back up my rimfire for those close range shots that require some stealth. I do realize that some PCP's can be quite, but that still doesn't justify the cost for me. There's my 2 cents.

    -Aaron


  16. Matt61,

    I beg to differ with you, cause once Vince said, "that it feels like…". He took it past the simple equation, triggering my comment. However, on a reread it sounded like I might have been preaching to Vince with my "you know time is involved" which wasn't my intention at all.

    I can see a shoot off coming between the AirForce Talon and the Marauder. If it shoots any better than my Talon SS, stock or with the optional 24" barrel, I'll be truly amazed. Ten pellets on top of each other is pretty hard to beat, but in this case a tie is a victory for both guns.

    Wayne,

    You're the only person I know that has shot AirForce guns and a Marauder. How do they compair accuracy wise? Thanks for your imput.

    Mr B.


  17. Jake,
    With the Recon, I can moderately grasp the forearm and pistol grip with the stock touching my shoulder. I can hold the gun like that all the way through follow through and still see the target. That is to say, I FEEL like I'm holding the gun and in control. I cannot grasp the gun tightly and get consistency, however. With my Talon SS I can hug the heck out of it (which I like to do) and still be consistent. I like to snuggle with it. I know…I need to get a life!

    With the IZH-61 I rest the gun on my open palm, then, as gently as possible hold the trigger grip and trigger, barely touch my shoulder with the stock, and let the gun jump where ever it wants to upon firing. I have no feeling of control and cannot see the target during follow through.

    It is extremely important to do follow through with ALL guns.

    I am unable to answer your 20m question because, alas, I only have a 10m range. Someday…

    -C


  18. BG_Farmer,

    Yes, part of the fun is seeing what earlier people were capable of and I do not discount the effect of heavy labor. Forensic examinations of skeletons of longbow archers reveal much enlarged and more robust bones of the left arm consistent with extreme physical activity.

    Even so, this doesn't quite add up. These people are recorded as shooting all afternoon which would be hundreds of arrows and with the control to aim half decently.

    I had not heard of the recumbent position and that surprises me since lying or sitting would seem to limit you and eliminate body weight. The only description I've heard is that the archers typically fired with a step….

    The basic problem is to convert the downward force of bodyweight into the more or less horizontal force of drawing a bow. My theory starts with a boxing technique called the "falling step" popularized by Jack Dempsey and which he claims came from a much older bare-knuckle tradition. The basic idea is pretty simple. If you put all of your weight on one foot and step rapidly forward with it with no preliminary movement, your other foot, to prevent you from falling down, will spring violently forward to put your weight back over your lead foot. The effect is to turn your falling body weight (without diminishment through the right angle application of a force vector) in the forward direction, so that, in Dempsey's case, you can really clobber somebody in front of you. For the archers, here is your conversion of downward force to forward force.

    Fine-tuning the motion can be done by starting with the bow angled at 45 down to the ground then, at end of the step rotating the bow upward to the firing position and drawing at the same time even to the point of rocking slightly back which is maybe where a recumbent effect comes in. The body weight seems to bleed pretty well into the drawing motion. When I get this right, drawing a 60 pound bow is not difficult; I can't say much for the marksmanship although I do believe that the airgun shooting helps. The follow through by keeping eyes on target is particularly helpful. I don't suppose we'll ever know exactly how the longbow was drawn, but if we do, you'll know where you heard first about the technique. :)

    Wayne, that's quite something for you to hit anything with the homemade bow and arrow you described.

    Matt61


  19. Chuck,

    I would try just looking at the target during follow-through of your springers without making any conscious attempt to control the rifle. I've found that the eyes will cause the body to make very subtle compensating motions without interfering with the artillery hold. It's like magic. I think it is also akin to David Tubb's description of follow-through which is to try to call your shots or see where the shot breaks. On my last outing with the M1, I forced the sights onto the target offhand at 50 yards (another Tubb shooting tip for offhand) and seemed to see the front post etched very clearly in the middle of the target when I touched the shot off. Two shots from the clip were on the X-ring although I can't say much for the rest of the group.

    All, for historic appreciation and with a view towards future collection building, I am compiling a list of iconic guns which I am defining as guns which either innovated a new technology or utterly dominated a particular class of guns and had significant recognition and cultural value. So far, in no particular order, I have:

    Colt SAA – leading example of revolver technology that made repeaters possible in handguns and the gun associated with the Wild West.

    Winchester 94 – summit of lever action technology which won the West and the most popular hunting rifle of all time.

    Mauser 98 – model of modern bolt-actions and one the finest of all time.

    M1 Garand – first successful semiauto rifle, combines the tradition of long-range marksmanship with heavy volume of fire, indelibly linked to American victory in WWII.

    AK-47 – the perfection of the assault rifle concept, one of the most reliable guns ever made, linked to the Communist phenomena of the latter 20th century and single-handedly responsible for regime changes in many countries.

    1911 – pattern of all modern semiauto handguns and associated with both World Wars.

    Anschutz target rifles – dominated the highest level of competition for decades.

    For airguns:

    Daisy Red Ryder – iconic childhood gun with huge magazine capacity.

    R1 – broke the 1000 fps barrier and introduced high technology into the design of airguns.

    Feinwerkbau target rifles – analogous to the Anschutz smallbores.

    Is there anything to take the place of the above? What would be the next layer?

    Matt61


  20. Another movement would be to hold the bow string hand steady (as opposed to pulling it back) and as you step forward you push the bow forward with a locked elbow. This movement would also allow you to anchor your string arm against your side. As I remember all the movies I've seen, accuracy is not so much the intent as it is the unleashing of hundreds of arrows at once at the approaching enemy giving them a lethal shower.

    When I think of a recumbent position I think of the archer on his back with his feet against the bow and using both hands to draw it back. Using legs and arms could reasonably draw 180lb.
    -C


  21. Matt,

    I hope you're writing a book we can all enjoy and not just doing this for your own amusement. Also, it's always amazed me that there are so many different calibers of ammo out there and each one seems to have a valid reason for existence. Could you also include a historical reason in your book behind each caliber? Like, why is there a .38 and a .357? Why is there a 30-06, 30-03 and a .308, a .40, .44, .45? Why isn't the .22 good enough? Why is there a .223, .224, .225. What caused these variations?

    When your done, will you sign my copy?
    -C


  22. Matt61,

    I don't know much about bows other than the long bow was the defensive answer to a knight wearing armor or a saracen wearing their felt armor. I kind of think the poor archer, seeing one of these monsters galloping down on him swinging a broad sword would not have a problem drawing that bow back and letting fly. The crossbow was for those puny guys that survived the broad sword but who had real issues with the long bow. I also understand that for a while, the Long bow and Cross Bow were banned from ownership by the "common man" in jolly old England. Only the King, his soldiers and Sheriffs and their men could have them.

    Anyone, feel free to correct my rather mediocre understanding of weapons advancement.


  23. CR;

    The main reasons for all the diversity, as far as I know is:

    Money – Sell something new and different.

    National Pride – We want our own.

    Looking for something better….sometimes it even is!

    Didn't Know Better – So, they made what they though was good.

    The Boss or Leader wanted it that way.

    I'm sure their are other reasons too but these are some of them.

    Mike


  24. CJr,

    Thanks for the input. I know PCPs are near recoilless, but they're also a little out of my price range.

    Matt,

    You didn't include a shotgun on your list. I'm not an expert, but perhaps the iconic trenchgun, the Winchester M1897.


  25. Chuck,

    Yes, holding the lead arm stiff while drawing the longbow is almost a perfect reproduction of Jack Dempsey's straight left lead with the falling step. And it would explain the outsize left arms of the archers. I found it a little hard to coordinate with the feet but it's possible.

    As for the recumbent position, it sounds like the movie Hero. My objection to that is that there are no longbows that I've heard of with foot stirrups to control the bow, and there are no contemporary references to a position like that. On the other hand, there's an ultimate archer of all time named Howard Hill whom you can watch on YouTube (He supposedly killed an elephant with a bow and arrow), and there are films of him shooting the bow as you describe so maybe.

    As for the ammo, I don't even know how to reload so don't hold your breath for my wisdom on this topic. I suspect that the ammo calibers are driven heavily by the conflict between big slow bullets vs. small fast bullets debated by Elmer Keith and Jack O'Connor. Otherwise, circumstances, goals, and technology were probably the main factors.

    Fred, regarding restrictions on archery, I do know that one reason that the English were so advanced with the longbow is that the weapon required a lifetime of practice and the only political system willing to entrust the commoners and peasants with such a lethal weapon were the English. The French were afraid that the commoners would turn the bows on the aristocracy. The English yeomen were part of the citizen-soldier tradition you could say.

    Kiwi90, you're right, I forgot completely about shotguns–probably because I have no experience with them at all. I've heard of the trench gun, but I believe that the design was the Winchester 12 which could be an iconic gun. Another is the Remington 870.

    Blackpowder is another missing category. My candidates are the Brown Bess of the Revolutionary War, the fabled Kentucky rifle of the colonies, the Hawken gun of the trappers and the 1861 Springfield rifled musket.

    However, it could be that the flintlocks are just different versions of the same technology. I don't know if the Kentucky rifle was even a distinct model or a type. The 1861 Springfield has the great historical value as the rifle of the Civil War, however, I don't know if the technology was that exceptional. There were other rifled muskets like the Enfield that seemed to do the same job.

    I'm looking for icons for the double-action revolvers and .22 rimfire rifles. For the revolvers, the Colt Python comes close although it is not really known outside of the gun world. For casual rimfires, there are many good models of long duration, but nothing that I know of that stands out as the kind of .22 I had as a kid.

    For airguns, I'm considering the Benjamin 392/7 design as a kid's gun and evoking a certain era of American gunsmithing and workmanship. Also perhaps there's the FWB breakbarrel that B.B. bought of the army. Was it a model 27? Pcps haven't been around long enough to produce an icon. Perhaps the Marauder will be it.

    Matt61


  26. Matt, the M1897 preceded both other shotguns, was the first successful pump-action shotgun produced, and over a million were built during its 60 year production run. Yay, Wikipedia!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Model_1897

    (I don't know how to do blog format urls)

    As for black powder, I would say the Kentucky long rifle, simply because of the massive improvement it offered over its smoothbore contemporaries. After all, it first saw use in the Revolutionary War.

    As for airguns, either the Benjamin or Sheridan is a must, as they seem to have been many people's introduction to air rifles.





  27. Matt,

    Chuck already described what I meant by the recumbent position, and you have a pretty good argument against it:).

    Iconic weapons. Winchester model 70 for (almost) modern bolt hunting rifle, and Mannlicher-Shoenauer for vintage bolt sporter; I think you would prefer it to a Mauser:).

    Good luck finding THE Kentucky Long Rifle — my only request is that you not pick the fanciest one made by the best-known maker, as it is unlikely many of those were carried into Transylvania:).


  28. Historically, the English had trouble getting their underlings to practice with the bow during periods of peace, although they did mandate that their vassals get in regular target practice to prepare them for the next (inevitable) war. They'd rather grow crops and tend to their families.

    The Winchester model 70, of which I was once a happy owner, was essentially a Mauser action, was it not?


  29. Hi B.B.,

    I read a while back a comment from you that you had sent a description of the "artillery hold" to Beeman a long time ago, but never heard back from them about it. I don't know if you received any acknowledgement since you posted that comment, so this may be old news, quoted from the Beeman website today under the topic of "Inaccuracy In Airguns":

    " Incorrect Shooting Techniques. Regular firearm
    dogma doesn’t work on spring piston and gas
    spring airguns. That is why many expert firearm
    marksmen can’t shoot airguns accurately and why
    many expert airgunners shoot regular firearms so
    well. There are two basic reasons:
    A. Hold your airgun loosely against your shoulder
    and let it jump around when you fire it. Don’t
    pull it in hard into your shoulder or strangle its
    forearm and don’t rest the forearm on a hard
    surface. Let it recoil and vibrate freely – don’t try to
    prevent it.
    B. When you sense that your airgun has fired, the
    pellet is only just starting up the barrel. The lock
    time is so much slower on airguns compared to
    firearms so you have to adjust and follow through.
    Hang onto your sight picture just a little longer and
    your groups will shrink."

    Sounds to me like they're giving a general description of the "artillery hold," as well as some of the other advise I've heard from you in this blog.

    On a side note, thanks to your blog reviews, I'm now the very happy owner of a Crosman 2300KT (the .22 cal. version of the 2300T, purchased through the Crosman Custom Shop), a Benjamin 392, and a Baikal IZH-46M. Prior to this, I have owned only the Crosman 760 I bought as a teen (instead of the Benji, or even more so the Sheridan, unfortunately) and the Beeman/Webley & Scott Tempest, which I still own, and the Beeman dual-caliber 1073 (now apparently named the "Grizzly X2"). I had a lot of fun with the 760, though I always had a lingering regret that I hadn't bought the Sheridan or Benji instead. The Tempest is nice to look at and hold, but a disappointment to shoot, though it is quiet. I haven't even fired the "Grizzly" yet due to concerns about the reported noise and its affect on my neighbors. The 2300KT is fun and accurate, and with the Model 1399 shoulder stock I also bought from Crosman, it makes a sweet little carbine; it's borderline loud, and there are a few other problems, but it's a fun and pretty accurate gun. The Benji is a fulfillment of past dreams, but even with the Crosman/Williams aperture rear sight I'm still not getting the groups I think I should and so I continue my experiments; its brass construction is near perfect for the tropical salt air here in Hawaii and will make it my "go-to" gun.

    Now, to the IZH 46M: It is…well, it's the ANSWER. If I had bought it first, I might never have been tempted to buy any of the others. I was even happy with the groups I got from 20 year old oxidized Crosman "ashcans" I shot through it, though the RWS R10s and GAMO Hunters have so far given me the tightest groups while I await delivery of my backordered H&N Match and Meisterkugeln Match.

    Now my question: My memory may be tricking me, but didn't the Sheridan used to be made of bronze?

    Thanks for reviving this sport for me.

    "Lurker"
    (Got to get a better handle)

    P.S. Thanks also to Pyramyd Air for the prompt delivery of the Benji & the IZH.



  30. Lurk,

    You have a good memory. Yes, when Sheridan first made airguns, they made the barrels from phosphor bronze. They made a lot of claims about the self-lubricating properties of that material, when used with lead pellets. But when they had to get the cost down to a more affordable level, they had to switch to red brass for the barrel.

    The truth is the Blue and Silver Streaks got the same velocity and accuracy as the Supergrade or model A with the bronze barrel, so it didn't make that much difference.

    B.B.


  31. Just thumbed through June issue of American Hunter and the Rifleman and didn't see any Kentucky rifles. But I think I recall seeing one in the May issue.

    I have owned a Kentucky rifle reproduction for more than 30-years. Have not shot it in a few years but I shot it quite a bit back in the day. Very fun stuff. Also have a 44 cal black powder Ruger revolver in stainless. Both were very accurate when last fired.

    Built the Kentucky rifle from a used CVA kit. It had a broken stock adn a broken spring. Think the used kit cost me $10. Fixed the broken parts and it worked great for 30 plus years.

    Yes Kentucky rifle was a major milestone it marked when black powder hunters became nail drivers instead of just lead tossers. And it was completely an American development.

    Yes… 44 cal is an odd caliber for a Kentucky. But I like it because it matches my 44 cal revolver… only need one bullet mold.

    DB


  32. Hello. I am an airgunner from England and occasionally read this blog. Interesting to see the perspectives from the other side of the pond. I thought I'd say a few words on the English longbow.

    The archers were only able to draw such weights because they started practice when they were small boys and continued practicing every day, gradually increasing the strength of bow. Of course a lifetime of heavy manual labour contributed to this as well. Even so, 180 lbs was an extreme weight and only the biggest, strongest archers could manage anywhere near this. I think around 120-150 lbs was more common.

    The English war bow was designed not for extreme range but to shoot a heavy arrow capable of piercing all but the very best armour of the time (Milanese plate). The shaft was a "clothyard" long and as such could be drawn back all the way to the archer's ear to get the maximum force.

    In battle at longer ranges, archers would certainly shoot large volumes of arrows at a mass of men and horses, but at closer ranges they would pick out individual targets and shoot for accuracy. For example they might aim to put a shaft through the open visor of a knight's helmet: quite achievable at ranges of 100 paces!

    Far from banning the longbow for commoners, laws were passed making it compulsory for all men and boys to practice the bow. In fact at one point football was banned on Sundays as it distracted the men from their practice!

    Nobles of countries at war with England feared and hated the bowmen as the idea that a low-born man could bring down the finest knight was repulsive to them. Up until the rise of the heavy English bows a fully armoured knight considered himself almost invulnerable to anything but another knight. A knight captured by the enemy could expect a comfortable exile until his estate could raise the ransom money but a captured archer could expect nothing but torture, mutilation and execution.

    Until the wreck of the Mary Rose (Henry VIII's flagship) was raised it was not really known how strong the bows really were, but many bowstaves were recovered after lying for 4 centuries the mud in an amazing state of preservation. A few of them really would have taken an immensely strong man to shoot them. I think the figure of 180 lbs comes from one of the actual bows recovered from the wreck and tested.

    Adam



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