Archive for December 2010

RWS Diana model 45 – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2

RWS Diana 45 is a magnum springer from the past.

Well, Mac has been testing this rifle for us, and a lot of you have commented that you like what you see. It does look nice in contrast to today’s magnum blasters. In its day, it was considered the most powerful of magnum springers, but those days are long past and now the rifle looks like a classic sweetie.

I do have to tell you, though, there are two sides to this rifle. For every smooth shooter like the one Mac is testing, there are other 45s that buck and buzz terribly. This seems to be independent of caliber or the year of manufacture. I just want you to be aware of that if you decide to get one for yourself.

Accuracy test
I normally don’t write the finish before describing how we got there, but Mac was disappointed by the accuracy of his 45 until he discovered its secret. So, I want to share that with you now. To be accurate in this rifle, a pellet needs to fit the bore tightly. If he had known that in the beginning, this test would have been conducted differently. But he didn’t, so here’s how it went.

All shooting is off a rest at 30 yards outdoors. H&N Diabolo Sport wadcutters were up first and they not only fit the bore loosely, they’re also wadcutters that normally aren’t accurate beyond about 25 yards. The faster they go, the quicker the accuracy falls away. In this case, 10 shots ripped a group that measured 2.1 inches in diameter. Of the groups shown, this pellet is clearly the worst.

Ten H&N Diabolo Sport wadcutter pellets made this 2.1-inch group at 30 yards.

Next, Mac tried JSB Jumbo Exact Express domes. These lighter 14.3-grain domes sometimes do very well, but once again, these did not fit the bore of Mac’s test rifle very well. Ten of them made a 1.1-inch group at 30 yards. That isn’t horrible, but we would always like to do better, if possible.

Compared to the target above, this looks like a huge improvement. Actually, it is considered usable accuracy for hunting at this range. Ten JSB Exact Express domes went into 1.1-inches at 30 yards.

The next pellet Mac tried was the venerable RWS Superdome. He likes that pellet a lot and always seems to get better results from it. This time, 10 pellets went smaller than one inch at 30 yards, vindicating his position.

Ten RWS Superdomes went into this group measuring 0.97 inches at 30 yards.

Crosman Premier pellets were the tightest in Mac’s barrel. Part of that may be due to the harder lead, but they also fit the bore tightly. And, they grouped the best in this test. Ten shots clustered into a tight 0.76-inch group, which is exceptional accuracy. Remember, these are 10-shot groups, not 5-shot, which are much easier to shoot.

A great group of 10 Crosman Premiers went into this group measuring 0.76 inches at 30 yards.

Mac also tried JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy and HyperMAX pellets, but the groups were too large to measure, as not all pellets hit the target paper. He tried Eley Wasps, as well, but didn’t make a report on them because we cannot get them here in the U.S. I would imagine they did worse than the Premiers but better than just about anything else. But that’s only a guess.

Thanks to Mac, we’ve seen what a vintage breakbarrel rifle could do. The RWS Diana 45 is held in high regard by many airgunners who remember the heady days in the late 1970s and the shattering of the 800 f.p.s. barrier. Now, we have some real data to go with all the fond memories. Thanks, Mac!

The art of collecting airguns – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

In case you haven’t had a chance to view Pyramyd Air’s 2010 Xmas video, here it is!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Before I start today’s blog, please note that I’m undergoing another outpatient procedure this morning and will be out of the loop much of the day. Edith will monitor the blog and answer comments as she’s able. I would appreciate it if the blog readers could help out by answering the comments from new people and others who might usually get an answer from me.

The covert deal
I call this report the covert deal because that’s what it’s about. I’ll explain a few of the uncommon deals I’ve made as an airgun collector/buyer and seller. I’m doing this to encourage those among you who want to get out and try this for themselves but haven’t gotten up the courage to try it, yet. Hopefully, you’ll see from what I am about to tell you that there are plenty of great airgun deals still to be made. Okay, here we go.

While you’re standing at your airgun table at an airgun show, someone comes up and offers you a firearm. He tells you that he knows nothing about firearms and he recently inherited one that he wants to get rid of right away. Without saying so, you gather that he is uncomfortable around firearms, and he sees you as his chance to get rid of this one.

Think it can’t happen? I’ve had it happen many times at different shows; so much so, in fact, that I am now prepared to talk to this person, because I know exactly what he wants and where he’s coming from. I won’t bore you with all the details; but the quick and dirty is that he somehow feels owning a firearm makes him a marked man, and he wants to keep this transaction as quiet and private as possible. That’s what you need to know — keep things quiet and private and let this fellow go his way, unencumbered by any firearms.

He says he has in his car what looks like a Civil War musket, and the plate on the right side just says Springfield with an eagle and the date 1873. There appear to be additional words on the gun, but they’re impossible for him to read. You can relax, because what he has is not considered to be a firearm by the ATF. It was made before 1898 and is classified as an antique. This is no M4 that was used to rob a liquor store last week, then thrown into the bushes during the getaway.

Also, if you know that the American Civil War lasted from 1860 until early 1865, you know that this isn’t a Civil War gun. With that date of 1873, it’s most likely a Trapdoor Springfield.

Now, this could either be the real deal from the late-19th century, or it could just as easily be a modern reproduction. You won’t know until you see it. The genuine rifle in overall good condition should be worth about $700. A modern replica in excellent condition is worth about $800-900.

You wander out to his car which you notice he’s parked far from the show entrance. He asks you to get in the back seat, where you find the rifle wrapped in a dirty beach towel. It turns out t0 be the real deal, so you ask him what he wants. “I saw something on your table that I’d like to trade for, if that’s okay. He describes it and you know he’s interested in an IZH 61 that you have priced at $75.

This is a real Trapdoor Springfield.

The nickname “Trapdoor” comes from the way the breech bolt operates. This one is in just good condition, because all original finish is gone. But, the barrel is clean and shiny with sharp rifling. That means that if the rest of the rifle is in good condition, it’s safe to shoot with vintage-powered ammunition.

You answer, “Sure, I’ll do that, plus I’ll throw in some pellets and targets to get you started. Let’s go back inside, and I’ll show you how it works.” You take the Trapdoor over to your own car and lock it in the trunk. Then the two of you head inside to finish the deal.

Have you just taken this guy to the cleaners? I used to think so, until I came to realize that he has absolutely no interest in guns, and you’ve just done him a big favor. That Trapdoor Springfield is worthless to him, and every time he has to venture out in public with it is a big risk, as far as he is concerned. Besides, you may not get a fair market price for it if you decide to sell it, because the market is severely depressed these days. Yes, you’re going to make money on the deal, but since you didn’t define the terms of the deal and, indeed, didn’t look for the deal to begin with, accept what has happened as a little windfall.

Now, had the gun been a prime German Jaeger hunting rifle with engraving, gold inlay, fluted barrel and bas-relief carving on the wood, it would have been worth four times as much, and then I think you should have given him some money to boot. But the point is, you didn’t seek this deal out. He came to you, and if you have satisfied his needs, then you have done him a kindness.

Here’s the big question. Why did he come to an airgun show? The surprising answer is that people who don’t like firearms also can’t discriminate between them and airguns. Everything at your show looked like a firearm to him. He doesn’t know exactly why airguns are not regulated the same as firearm, but he does know that they aren’t, and he just felt under less pressure at your low-profile airgun show. Bottom line, he had a gun to get rid of and he knew that you were the right guy to turn to.

The desperate seller
It’s getting on toward the end of the airgun show and a man you don’t know walks briskly up to your table. He’s holding several boxes, plus a nickel-plated Daisy Targeteer. “I want to sell you all of this stuff and I’m going to price it right. How about $100 for everything?”

“That’s all the money I have at the moment. I’m flying home in three hours and I’ll need some money in my pocket for that,” you respond.

“Aww, you can probably resell this for three times a hundred dollars in the remaining time the show is open. Come on!”

What he is offering you is a nickel-plated Daisy Targeteer in 98 percent condition, a blued gun that’s in 80 percent condition and a very early 100-percent blued gun in the box with everything. On top of that there are seven red-white-blue metal tubes of Daisy .118 copper-plated steel shot. Each of the shot tubes is worth at least $10 , the boxed gun is worth $150, the nickel-plated gun is worth $90 and the other blued gun is worth at least $50. This whole package is worth $360, or just a little more than he estimates.

You pull out all your money and buy it. He is happy because he needed gas money to get home. And you now have a quick sales job to do. Just because something is worth a certain amount doesn’t mean that anyone at this show wants to buy it. Mr. Desperate knew that when he came to you.

So the safest thing to do is lowball the whole deal away. You sell the Nickel Targeteer, the 80-percent Blue Targeteer and six tubes of steel shot to a Daisy collector for $100. You keep the boxed pistol and one tube of shot for yourself. Mr. Desperate hasn’t left the building before you have your money back and people are wondering why you are selling so cheap.

The boxed Targeteer is worth more than the asking price for the whole package.

The buyer with specific tastes
Here’s another one that I don’t have a picture for. A guy comes up to your table and offers you a Weihrauch HW 55 target rifle for your Diana model 24 youth rifle. You tell him that his gun is worth five times what yours is and he responds that it’s okay, because he still has three more 55s and he has been searching for a 24 like yours all year. You do the trade and everyone is happy.

Sound impossible? I can assure you it isn’t. Sometimes having a surplus of certain models can devaluate them in the owner’s mind. Familiarity breeds contempt.

In fact, all of these stories are true ones and the guns shown are the very ones that came from the deals described. I have changed the description of the deals to disguise the other party, but these exact things have all happened to me.

Things like this can happen to you at an airgun show, so always be ready to step into prosperity.

Now for a small homework assignment. I’m going to show you several bad images that were recently used in auction sales. I want you to discuss them amongst yourselves, and be ready to critique them so we will be ready for the next part of this report.

I see three things wrong with this picture. It’s so insulting that it might stop me from doing a deal with this seller.

The photographer was so close on this one. He just missed one thing.

This photographer has made the classic mistake. Can you tell what it is?

Another classic gun photo mistake. What is it?

Alright, that’s a wrap for today. In the next report, I’ll get into the fundamentals of taking good pictures to sell airguns.

Ruger Air Magnum Combo – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2

Hopefully, I’m getting this test finished in time for a few last-minute buying decisions for the holidays. I’m sorry it takes so long, but time being what it is, it’s the best I can do without turning this blog into an infomercial.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy Mac was able to get from this powerful new ├╝bermagnum spring rifle. I know many of you were predicting it wouldn’t be very good, given the power output.

This is also the day when Mac will show you how to adjust the parallax of a fixed-parallax scope so you don’t have to buy a new scope to get what you want from the gun. Since that’s an interesting procedure, let’s do that first.

I was exposed to this trick back when I shot field target. Many shooters were changing the parallax on scopes with fixed parallax back then.

Simply unscrew the trim ring on the end of the objective bell.

Step 1. Remove the threaded trim ring on the objective bell. On this scope, you’re lucky, because that exposes a cross-slot on the objective lens unit that lets you insert a thin screwdriver blade. Because of the wide span that must be crossed, a thin knife blade is often the best tool for this job. By turning the objective lens assembly slowly in either direction, the entire objective lens assembly can also be turned.

Step 2. To adjust the scope for a different range, turn the objective lens assembly while checking the sharpness of the focus on an object set at the range you wish to adjust to. Turning this assembly out adjusts the focus closer — and in moves it out farther. Unless you completely remove the objective lens assembly from the scope, no nitrogen will be lost, as the extremely viscous grease on those fine threads perfectly seals the inner part of the scope. If the seal is broken, though, the scope will be compromised and will fog up unless it’s resealed.

Just get some kind of spanner (a thin knife will do) and turn the objective lens assembly in or out.

Step 3. Once you’re satisfied the scope focuses where you want it (i.e., the parallax is set where you want it), replace the beauty ring to lock the objective lens assembly. The job is now done.

Mac tells us that the rings that come with the rifle are nice and appropriate. They have four screws per cap and each ring has friction tape inside to prevent scope movement. Don’t do what Kevin said someone did and remove the tape because it doesn’t align quite right. Keep your hands off that tape! It’s there to do a job; and if it’s removed, the hole through each ring gets bigger.

Mac noted that the nameless scope seemed to be adjusted for the 30 yards he was shooting, so there was nothing more to do but sight-in. As first tested, the rifle shot just two inches low, with no noticeable left or right deviation. That little amount is what the scope knobs can do by themselves, so there was no need to adjust the scope mounts in any way.

Next, Mac started the testing with some Crosman Premier 10.5-grain pellets. Ten of those grouped into a pattern that measured 2.7 inches at 30 yards. Mac calls this poor, and I have to agree.

Ten Crosman Premier heavies went into 2.7 inches at 30 yards. Not a good group.

Next, he tried 10 RWS Hobby pellets that we all agreed are too light for this powerplant. They held 9 in a group measuring 2 inches even. A tenth shot was a called flier that missed the target paper altogether. This is another pellet not to try.

Except for the called flier, these RWS Hobbies grouped better than the heavy Premiers, but notice the dark edges of some of the pellet holes. Clearly, this pellet is wobbling on its way downrange –something that can’t be determined from the less-precise holes of the Premiers.

Then, Mac loaded 10 JSB Exact Diabolo heavies, the 10.2-grain domed pellets that often work best in powerful air rifles; and, again, they did their thing. They gave a 10-shot group that measures 1.1 inches at 30 yards, which is acceptable hunting accuracy.

Finally, a good pellet gives Mac what he was looking for. This is a 1.1-inch group of 10 JSB Exact Diabolo 10.2-grain pellets.

Just for the record, Mac also fired 10 RWS Superdomes and 10 RWS HyperMAX pellets at the same distance. The groups from both pellets were too poor to measure. We know that the 5.5-grain HyperMAX pellets were traveling over 1,400 f.p.s. and could not be expected to be accurate. But, why were the Superdomes also a problem?

RWS Superdomes are almost pure lead, plus their skirts are very thin. In a rifle shooting 800 to 900 f.p.s. that’s perfect, because the rear of the skirt blows out and seals the bore behind the pellet. But, in a powerhouse like the Ruger Air Magnum, it shoots them well above the sound barrier. The thin skirt is blown all the way out until the pellet resembles a cylindrical can with a slightly domed top. Since the wasp waist is where the accuracy comes from, it’s not good to lose it this way. The pellet is then free to fly wherever it wants, destroying accuracy. If Mac could recover some of these pellets without damaging them, that is what we would see.

But, that doesn’t matter, because Mac has found a good pellet for the rifle. Putting 10 shots into 1.1 inches at 30 yards is certainly good enough for hunting. At this power level and price point, I think this is one spring gun you’ll want on your short list.

Benjamin Marauder pistol – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Benjamin’s new Marauder air pistol is a large, powerful precharged air pistol. It will be among the very few legitimate hunting air pistols.

Man, there was strong interest in this new pistol when Part 1 was published. It’s riding the coattails of its rifle siblings, but I see that many people feel this smaller format will be just right for them.

First things first
I promised Kevin that I would try to run the drawing of the pistol’s trigger, so he could get some sense of how it works. So, we’ll do that right now.

I’m concentrating on the top image, though, I included all three. That is how the Marauder pistol trigger works.

I doubt that loading the 8-shot magazine could be any easier than it already is. A counter window faces the shooter, informing him which pellet’s on. But, when the last pellet is fired, the gun cannot be shot again until the mag is removed. The mag rotates to block the bolt from going forward so there’s no doubt that you’re out.

The counter window on the Marauder magazine tells at a glance where you are with respect to expended pellets. If you just cocked the pistol and loaded a pellet, the counter tells you it’s the last one.

When you insert the magazine back into the receiver on the right side, there will be a sharp click to tell you the mag has gone home. Then, simply cock the bolt which loads a pellet, and you’re ready to shoot.

Shooting the Marauder pistol
There’s noticeable recoil when the pistol fires. Not as sharp as a rimfire cartridge — it feels more like a rocket push. But the gun definitely moves.

The trigger breaks too cleanly to feel, in light of the recoil and noise of the discharge. And, speaking of the noise, the Marauder pistol makes less noise than a silenced Ruger Mark II shooting CB caps. That’s about equal to a Talon SS with a 24-inch barrel and an Airhog bloop tube. Read this report. You’llmake more noise clapping your hands.

I filled the gun to the recommended 2,900 psi and was surprised to note that the gauge on the gun and on the tank were in complete agreement. That doesn’t happen too often. I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same experience, but I liked it! Time to shoot.

Crosman Premiers
The first pellet I tried was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier. The first string of 10 averaged 655 f.p.s., with a spread of 25 f.p.s. They ranged from 638 to 663 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy of 13.63 f.p.s. They dropped into the magazine with great ease and there were no feeding problems.

Because they were the first pellet and because they’re Crosman pellets, I continued to shoot until the power was on the way down. How many shots do you think I got? One magazine? Two? Before I started the test I guessed there would be as many as 20 good shots in the pistol from a single fill, but that was way off. I shot four full 8-shot magazines, plus one extra shot, for a total of 33 shots from the initial fill. Shot one registered 638 f.p.s. and shot 33 registered 639 f.p.s. The fastest pellet went 677 f.p.s., and there were three that went that fast. The average velocity for all 33 shots was 663 f.p.s. and the gun pressure had dropped just below 1,600 psi. In case you aren’t a precharged buff, that’s some impressive performance! And looking from that perspective, the gun generated 13.96 foot-pounds.

RWS Superdomes
Next, I tried RWS Superdomes. They weigh 14.5 grains in .22 caliber and averaged 665 f.p.s. in the test gun. The spread went from 649 to 671, which is a 22 foot-second spread. The average muzzle energy was 14.24 foot-pounds. From a pistol! Yes, they’re a little heavier, but they’re also made from a nearly pure lead alloy, so they’re self-lubricating. Also, they have a thinner skirt, which helps seal the bore behind the pellet.

Beeman Kodiaks
The last pellet I tried was the tried-and-true Beeman Kodiak. If you’ve got a .22 caliber PCP, you’ve got to try it with Kodiaks. It’s a heavy pellet, but it’s made of pure lead and therefore a little faster than if it were harder, because there’s not quite as much resistance when it goes down the bore.

But with Kodiaks, I noticed two additional things. The Marauder made half as much noise with Kodiaks as it did with either of the other two pellets. And, perhaps because it was quieter, it seemed to whack the target harder than either of the other two pellets. The quiet pellet trap actually moved when hit by Kodiaks.

Kodiaks averaged 584 f.p.s., with a 9 foot-second velocity spread from 578 to 587 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy came out to 16.01 foot-pounds. So, the Marauder pistol I’m testing is a 16 foot-pound gun. Pretty impressive for an air pistol, don’t you think?

I have to tell you that I’m lovin’ this pistol so far. If it turns out to be accurate, as well, I might have to buy it, rather than send it back.

RWS Diana model 45 – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1

Mac’s RWS Diana 45 is a real classic from the days of the great horsepower races. It was at one time one of four different models that could sometimes deliver velocities in excess of 800 f.p.s. in .177 caliber.

This vintage breakbarrel is well-known to many of you readers. Apparently, the most common find is a 45 that’s lost most of its finish but still shoots great. And, the loss of finish comes from handling most of the time, so it would appear that the RWS Diana 45 is a gun that people like to shoot.

The 45 was one of the very first Dianas with a modern scope rail attached to the top of the spring tube. Earlier guns, such as the model 27, had a ramp in the same place, but it was designed to accept only aperture sights. There would still be some more slight design changes to come, but the 45 scope rail was essentially the final product.

The RWS Diana scope rail looks a lot like the rail found on later Diana spring guns. Only the big-headed screw is missing from this early attempt.

The importance of the scope rail is that today’s UTG scope base for RWS Diana airguns will fit. I would suggest getting the model designed for the sidelever rifles instead of the breakbarrels.

The cocking link is a single link rather than a two-piece, articulated assembly. For that reason, the cocking slot in the forearm has to be longer to allow clearance for the link to do its job. And, a lengthy cocking slot often allows excess powerplant vibrations to be generated.

The one-piece cocking link demands a longer cocking slot in the forearm for the action to cock.

The one-piece cocking link has one additional aspect. It doesn’t allow the barrel to go backwards as far as a two-piece, articulated cocking link does. Consequently, the rifle with a one-piece link will have less swept volume than a similar rifle with a two-piece link. Call it what you will, that is the hallmark of the modern magnum springer.

Two rifles’ cocking linkages in direct comparison. The RWS Diana 34 (the bottom rifle) with the synthetic stock allows the barrel to come back much further during cocking, because the cocking slot in the stock is twice the length of the one in the 45. That means the piston stroke is longer, which means that the smaller, lighter rifle is also the most powerful. An articulated, two-piece cocking link is the only other way to increase the cocking length.

And now for the velocity
The first pellet Mac tested was the RWS Superdome, which weighs 14.5 grains in .22 caliber. In the test rifle, they averaged 648 f.p.s., with a 10 foot-second spread that ranged from 643 to 653 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 13.52 foot-pounds.

Next, he tested JSB Exact Jumbos. At 18.1 grains, these heavy domes averaged 603 f.p.s. with a 14 foot-second spread that ranged from 597 to 611 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 14.62 foot-pounds.

This next result is going to drive some of you crazy. Mac tested 14.3-grain JSB Exact Express pellets and obtained an average velocity of 609 f.p.s. That’s right, they shot only 6 f.p.s. faster than the heavy Jumbos. This unexpected result has to do with the fit of the pellet to the bore. These pellets had an extreme velocity spread of 16 f.p.s., ranging from 598 to 614 f.p.s. And, they produced only 11.78 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Then, Mac tested the rifle with H&N Diabolo Sport wadcutters. This is a 13.73-grain pellet, so it’s leaning to the light side of the spectrum. They averaged 680 f.p.s. with a 23 foot-second spread that went from 671 to 694 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 14.07 foot-pounds.

Not wanting to exclude the Crosman Premier line, Mac next sampled 10 of those 14.3-grain pellets. They averaged 637 f.p.s. with a 29 foot-second spread. The low was 630 and the high was 659 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 12.89 foot-pounds.

The last pellet Mac tested was the new RWS HyperMAX lead-free pellet, which in .22 caliber weighs 9.9 grains. You would expect them to scream at that weight, and they did. They averaged 789 f.p.s. with a 14 foot-second spread that ranged from 780 to 794 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 13.69 foot-pounds.

Mac noted that all the pellets in this test were too small for the rifle’s bore. The HyperMAX pellets were small enough to enter the muzzle, even though the barrel is choked! That would explain the disparate numbers we’re seeing here.

Next, we’ll test the accuracy of this vintage rifle.

The art of collecting airguns – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we begin, take a look at Pyramyd Air’s holiday video. Let it download completely before you play it.

Part 2
Part 1

This report was recently suggested by Kevin and other readers as an adjunct to my┬áreport on The art of collecting airguns. And, with Fred from the People’s Republik of New Jersey telling us the tale of his recent acquisition, I see the time as ripe for this.

I know some of you claim to have no interest in vintage or collectible airguns, but every so often I see where one of you has been exposed to a fine vintage gun, and your attitude changes dramatically. When that happens, this report series will be waiting for you.

Pick a trusted dealer or become one yourself
The biggest obstacle to buying and selling used items is trust. Those who haven’t ventured forth feel they’re stepping into a minefield to start trading long distance over the internet. And, let’s be honest, there are unscrupulous dealers who lay in wait for the hapless, so let me give you some pointers to reduce your risk in this area as much as possible.

To begin with, deal only with people whose reputations you can either check or that you already know. For example, I bet there isn’t one of our thousands of readers who would have much misgiving if they found themselves in a deal with Kevin Lentz. If you’ve read this blog for longer than two weeks, you must know that Kevin is a saint. He’s the kind of guy who will bend over backwards to give the other guy a fair deal because he values his reputation above almost everything.

There was a Pawn Stars TV episode in which the owner, Rick Harrison, told a woman that her Faberge pin that she thought was worth $2,000 was really worth $15,000 to him. He could have remained silent and given her what she asked, but he said he had to sleep at night, so he told her what it was really worth. You can explain that away by saying Rick couldn’t afford to let the public see him take advantage of the woman on television, but I got the impression that he’s really like that all the time. He’s always out for a profit, but he’s also inherently honest.

In a recent American Pickers episode, the guys shared a $10,000 windfall with the person who had sold them the two items that netted that amount. They split the sales price with the seller 50-50 well after the fact. That is a pretty good assessment of how Kevin or many other guys on this blog will treat you.

In my position, I get to know hundreds of Kevins that I meet at airgun shows and read about online. If one of them is selling something, I know I can trust both the description and the price. Well, really, the price is what drives my buy decision, but only if I know the seller in some way.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a Primary New York City dart gun made in the 1870s. The seller asked me what it was worth, so I told him. Then he asked if I was interested. I answered yes, but at a price lower than the top of the range I had mentioned. I don’t collect these guns, but if there’s an opportunity to acquire one at a good price, I’m interested. He responded that he would sell it for my offer and we did the deal. Some time after Christmas, I’ll show the gun to you, because Edith and I agreed that it would be my big Christmas present this year.

The point I’m making is this. If I tell you something is worth as much as $800 to the right buyer but that I would offer $500, you know I’m not about to scam you. And if the seller had said he was hoping to get a little more than I offered, I would have been glad to help him find the places to sell it successfully for more money. After all, I’m going to own this gun for maybe the next several decades and then it’ll be someone else’s turn. Like Rick Harrison, I have to sleep at night.

So, point No. 1 is to buy from dealers with good reputations. And point No. 1A is to become such a dealer yourself. I don’t mean that you have to feel sorry for anybody, or help them out of a prior bad deal by overpaying; but as a deal comes together, you should know without conscious thought that you’re doing the right thing. If everybody wins, the deal is good.

Watch your descriptions!
Language is important, and too many people treat it as though it’s paint that can be slathered on the job and you’re done.

One of the most difficult things is to get an idea out of your own head and into the head of someone else so they understand what you’re trying to say. This is not the time to write conversationally, because writing lacks the tonal inflection of speech. Writing is too complex to discuss it meaningfully in a blog report, so instead I’ll give you some things to think about.

The following sentence makes me think the writer is dishonest: “This gun is in exceptional shape for an 80-year-old airgun.” The writer is asking the reader to agree to a standard that’s in the writer’s mind and impossible to convey. Here’s the honest way to describe the same gun: “The blued finish is worn until only 30 percent remains. Some old rust has left a pitted surface on the receiver, but the pits are small and smooth and look like patina. The wooden stock has small scratches and a couple dents from handling over the years. I’ve photographed the worst of these so you can evaluate them.”

The way to describe a gun to someone else is to act as their agent while describing the gun. Look for all the flaws and bring them to the attention of the reader. Your goal should be for the buyer to say something like this after he has seen the airgun, “You described it as much worse than it really is. I was pleasantly surprised when I finally saw it.”

Learn to punctuate! Failing to use the correct punctuation will confuse most readers. “The gun has been used very little after rebuilding which was done last year by a top airgunsmith who only works on this model when he has the time which is not that often unless you want one thats brand new get it.”


Avoid jargon
“The DRD is fitted tight to the muzzle and the de-pinger has increased the shot count by a lot. I’ve installed a 90-gram hammer that works really well with CPH.”

Instead, say that the silencer is fitted tight to the muzzle and a custom hammer de-bouncer has increased the shot count per fill. The gun likes 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers.

Use accepted terminology
Don’t call it a single-pump rifle when it’s really a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle. If it holds more than one round that can be fired without reloading the gun — it’s a repeater. Many newer shooters are calling these guns single shots because they have to do something beyond just pulling the trigger. In their world, only a semiautomatic can be a repeater.

Guns and airguns are never “mint,” so don’t use that term to describe the condition. That’s a phrase associated with coins, though it’s not precise there, either. Guns are poor, fair, good, very good and excellent. If they’ve never been shot and have everything they originally came with, they can also be classified as new in the box. The NRA determines what each of the conditions entails, and the Blue Book of Airguns goes the extra mile for those things in which airguns depart from firearms.

And, speaking of the Blue Book, if you plan to buy and sell airguns, you really need to own one. That way, it won’t take you three pages of description to describe that Red Ryder. You’ll know the difference between a No. 111, Model 40, and a Model 1938 Red Ryder. And, you can add informative things into your description from the Blue Book to help buyers understand what you’re selling.

I plan to have a separate report on photos, alone, because that topic is too large to be stuffed in anywhere else. It won’t be a repeat of my 5-part series on photographing airguns. I also plan to discuss how and where to sell your airguns. I’ve bought and sold guns while thousands of miles from home on business trips, so unless you’re on an oil platform or in a submarine, there isn’t much excuse not to participate.

Ruger Air Magnum Combo – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Ruger’s Air Magnum Combo is a big, new, powerful breakbarrel.

Today, we’re back with the .177 caliber Ruger Air Magnum Combo rifle. You’ll remember that this is a very powerful breakbarrel springer, and we want to see how close to the advertising it comes. You’ll also remember that this rifle cocks with 58 lbs. of force, so it’s meant for hunting, not for casual plinking. And, the barrel comes back farther than most breakbarrels when the rifle is cocked, giving you a short area where the cocking becomes very difficult because of how your hands have to hold it.

Right into testing
The first pellet tested was the JSB Exact heavy, a 10.2-grain domed lead pellet. Knowing up front that this rifle is a blaster, we can also predict that the heavier pellets will be better suited to the power of this powerplant because their weight will prevent them from going supersonic.

Mac recorded 10 JSBs at an average of 970 f.p.s., with a 15 foot-second spread from 966 to 981 f.p.s. At that speed, this pellet generates 21.32 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Next, he tried 8.3-grain RWS Superdomes.. These averaged 1108 f.p.s., with a 20 foot-second spread from 1092 to 1112 f.p.s. They produced an average 22.6 foot-pounds, which is really pushing it for a .177 pellet. However, at that velocity they’re also right at the sound barrier, and I doubt they’ll hold together for accuracy at range.

The lightest all-lead pellet he has are RWS Hobbys. At just 7 grains, they’re far too light for this powerplant. They averaged 1186 f.p.s., so good luck trying to keep them quiet. The spread was also large, at 36 f.p.s., running from 1169 to 1.205 f.p.s. And, at the average speed, they produced an average 21.9 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Next, Mac tried Crosman Premier heavies, the 10.5-grain pellet. This pellet should certainly slow down the big rifle to a useful level for accuracy. But, they averaged 1011 f.p.s., which is a little on the fast side for best accuracy. They produced a 25 foot-second spread that ran from 998 to 1023 f.p.s., and the average muzzle energy was 23.8 foot-pounds — the highest of the test.

Finally, Mac tried RWS HyperMAX lead-free pellets. In a powerhouse like this Ruger, these 5.2-grain pellets are nothing more than bragging rights. At first, Mac got velocities in the high 1300s, but he noticed a very loose fit in the bore. When he flared the skirts, the velocities went up to 1430-1435 f.p.s. and were very consistent. He didn’t give me an average string to work with, but using 1430 as an average, this pellet produced an average muzzle energy of 23.62 foot-pounds.

In the next report, Mac will show us the accuracy he saw with the test rifle, and then he has a special bonus feature. He’ll show us how to change the parallax of the scope, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this report. The 4x scope that comes with the rifle has no parallax adjustment, but an owner can select the optimum range and adjust the parallax for that one distance. It should be an interesting time.

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.