The art of collecting airgun – Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Okay, there has been a lot of interest in this series, and many of you have been champing at the bit to see what I think is wrong with the three photos I gave you as homework last time. So why don’t we begin there?


The three things I see wrong with the above photo are:

1. It’s too small. You can’t see any detail on the gun, which leaves any potential buyer to imagine what the condition might possibly be. It seems dishonest to me.

2. The gun is too dark. The seller made no attempt to clarify the photo to show wood grain, etc. This was so obviously wrong that several readers re-did the photo in software to show us what could be done.

3. The seller used flash, which usually ruins the image. It produces a bright flare on the central metal parts and allows the darker wooden parts to go black.


This is a better shot, but it’s still not good for selling. The perspective is off because we’re looking up on an angle from the butt. Because of that, a 50-inch rifle will look the same as a 32-inch carbine. You have to learn to show the gun from the side, on a 90-deg. angle.


What? Is this a girl at a dance and you’re afraid to walk up to her? GET CLOSER! Fill the frame with your subject. Learn how to use the macro function on your camera. Don’t you hate those old family photos of you at the beach where you stand a quarter-inch high in the middle of all the scenery? Can’t even see that it’s you.


The classic mistake of putting a dark blue gun on a white background, to make certain that no detail from the gun shows through. If the gun is dark, make the background medium dark, and then learn how to set your camera to over-expose the image, so the details pop out.

Okay, all of those mistakes plus the out-of-focus pictures that come from not knowing how to use the macro function or from being too cheap to buy a tripod are what I will concentrate on today.

Think about what you’re doing
When you want to sell an airgun, you have to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What about your gun is unique and good, and how do you show that to a buyer? The photos should make the buyer salivate when he sees them. And, they should match the words you write.

As far as the photos go, show both sides of the gun and use the largest size image you can. On this blog, we’re limited to pictures 560 pixels wide, but there’s no height limitation. That’s why I often rotate a long gun so it’s standing on an angle. That way, I can show you much closer detail while still showing the entire gun. A few people will balk at this approach because it makes them scroll…and they don’t like to scroll. The majority of people want the photos to be as big as possible, and they’ll handle the scrolling.

Show me the details. If you’re selling a revolver, show me the gun with the cylinder opened. If you have nice wood on the stock, please show me a closeup so I can appreciate it. Don’t use flash that leaves bright spots right where you don’t want them. In short, SHOW ME THE GUN!

A way to cut bright shiny spots that come from overhead lighting and even from sunlight is to stand in the way, so you cast a shadow over the shiny area. With digital cameras, you get such fine preview images that you can do this as you shoot, but only if you have a tripod.

Use the countdown function on your camera. I usually set mine to 2 seconds, which gives me time to stand in the right place before the image is taken.

Honesty
I know this subject means different things to different people, and I also know that no one can impose their own standards on anyone else. When selling an airgun, one thing you want to avoid at all costs is after-sales issues that have to be resolved. Some of these come from damage in shipment, which cannot be avoided but can be offset with insurance. Having a customer regard the gun you sent as less than described can cause problems that go on seemingly forever.

Let’s face it — some people are pickier than others. A year ago, I was selling a S&W Model 37 snubnosed revolver to a man who lived in Texas, but four hours away. He was a collector, so the last thing I wanted was to have him drive all that way only to reject the gun because of its condition. The gun was in 99 percent finish, but it had a tiny bump on the sideplate, where someone had disassembled it. There was a drag mark in the blued finish of the cylinder, from a dragging cylinder bolt.

Both of these things are common on fine revolvers, but I didn’t want this man to be surprised. I took macro shots of both situations and sent them to him. I sent them as 12-inch wide photos, optimized for the internet, which is a trick I advise all prospective sellers to learn how to do. Doing that makes the file size much smaller, while still showing all the detail you want to show. Instead of photos that are 250K in size, mine are 36K, so they’re much easier on the server on both ends.

The images you see here are a little over half the size of the ones I sent him.


The bump is along the curved gap of the sideplate, right where the light and dark meet. It’s on the right of the photo, about two-thirds of the way down from the top.


This photo shows the drag mark on the cylinder of the S&W model 37 revolver. It actually looked a lot less conspicuous than this in real life.

He saw the images and decided the gun was still in good enough condition to make the trip worth it. When he finally saw the gun for the first time, he remarked that the marks were far less conspicuous than he thought they’d be. The drag mark didn’t even penetrate the bluing. That made him very happy, and we completed the deal.

The lesson here is to learn to use the macro function on your camera and to describe any damage in detail so the buyer is prepared for it. For gosh sakes, get a tripod and learn to use it, because sharp shots like these are impossible without one. You should be able to pick up a good workable tripod for under $20 at a pawn shop. Consider that to be one of your tools for selling and trading airguns.

Show the whole gun
Let me illustrate why showing the entire gun at a large size is so essential. Note that instead of a beige carpet background, I used a darker red background. That was to lighten the gun in the foreground.


I know there’s a flare (specular highlight) on the comb of the stock. I had to use direct light because the dark finish ate up too much light to show wood grain detail. You can see that one of the two stock screws in the forearm is missing — something I would have mentioned in my description.


Look at the “folk art” initials carved into the checkering on the forearm! A real condition-killer. Notice the varnish scrape above the triggerguard.

Here’s the Falke 90 I acquired at Roanoke this year. When I bought it, I was aware of the horrible condition of the stock, but not the fact that the gun won’t cock or shoot. I also didn’t know that fewer than 200 of this model were ever made. Mine is number 39. This rifle is far rarer than the fabulous Colt Walker revolver that sells for $150,000 up to a million dollars.

The stock finish is so dark that I had to over-expose these two images by two F-stops and to use direct lighting, which I almost never do. Most digital cameras allow you to over- or under-expose images somewhere in the menu.

Well, that’s the lesson for today. Please let me know what you would like me to discuss in this series. I want to help anyone who wants to start buying and selling airguns to get off on the right foot.

94 thoughts on “The art of collecting airgun – Part 5

  1. PA Blog Index For December 2010

    1. Adjusting the Benjamin Marauder for low-pressure operation
    2. Marlin Cowboy BB gun – Part 3
    3. RWS Diana 75 10-meter target rifle – Part 3
    6. Roundball accuracy in smoothbores
    7. Finding a Diana 5V air pistol
    8. Ruger Air Magnum Combo – Part 1
    9. Testing the RWS BB – Part 1
    10. Benjamin Marauder pistol – Part 1
    13. RWS Diana model 45 – Part 1
    14. Ruger Air Magnum Combo – Part 2
    15. The art of collecting airguns – Part 3
    16. RWS Diana model 45 – Part 2
    17. Benjamin Marauder pistol – Part 2
    20. Ruger Air Magnum Combo – Part 3
    21. The art of collecting airguns – Part 4
    22. RWS Diana model 45 – Part 3
    23. Marksman model 60 – Part 1
    24. Benjamin Marauder pistol – Part 3
    27. Gallery dart gun – Part 1
    28. Hy-Score 805 – Part 1
    29. Beeman GT600 air rifle – Part 1
    30. Beeman GT600 air rifle – Part 2
    31. The art of collecting airguns – Part 5

    Happy New Year everyone.


  2. Happy what’s left from old and entire New Year :) !Just bought Nikko Stirling scope mounts (high with recoil stop) and mount it on my 4 x 32 Gamo sights and now i’ll see but i think that i have wining combination for my Slavia 634 ;)


  3. BB,

    A bit off topic here, but I think I have found a unique way to make an inexpensive “silent trap”!

    I bought 3 “bales” of compressed pet bedding. These are small chips of wood compressed very tightly into a “bale”. I built a box that would just hold two of said bales. I then cut some heavy poster board backing to size and stapled it to the front of the trap. I then obtained a cheap pressed wood clip board and cut out the center. So I left a 1/2″ – 3/4″ margin around the edges, used a jig saw to remove all the rest, and mounted it on the outside of the front of the box to hold the targets.

    About every thousand to 2 thousand rounds you must replace the shot out heavy poster board backing. And while you do that, rotate the bales so the front one is turned 180 * and placed in the back position and vice verse.

    Those “bales” of compressed chip bedding cost around $3 at Wal-Mart and if you rotate them when needed will take 5000 – 10000 rounds easily before needing replaced.

    A LOT less expensive and cleaner than “ballistic putty” most use to fill their “silent traps” And very silent. And just one bale will completely stop a 16.1 gr .177 caliber Eun Jin pellet traveling at 1000 fps! So you have a 100% margin for safety even if shooting a pcp full power indoors!

    So far in about 1.5 years I have only “used up” one bale and replaced it, but it is still usable after I took it out and examined it. So I estimate annual cost of running one of these at about $3!

    When you have about 10K pellets in them you can either bag them and dispose, or burn what remains of the two bales in a large drum or “patio fire grill”. Just don’t burn it in or near any items used for food preparation.

    Hope this helps some of you.

    Happy New Year!


    • Use it for mulch. Wood chips rot away fast.
      You could also go to a TSC store and get the big bales of chips. Lots of shooting area.

      twotalon


      • twotalon,

        Thanks for the suggestion of the larger bags. Right now I am using this in my basement as a silent trap. I have a commercial silent trap with ballistic putty, but it is just a ton of headache when it gets time to remove the pellets. So I was looking for an economical less hassle method and came up with this. I so hated the pellet removal part of the Beeman trap I only use it for penetration and expansion testing now!

        The bags I buy at Wal-Mart are the ideal size giving you an area suitable for use with 8.5″ X 11″ targets. Actually you could use about 8.5″ X 14″ targets as these are tall enough.

        Btw, I have also come up with a modification for my trap. Instead of using the clip board with the middle cut out of it, I am going to just cut off a 1.5″ to 2″ strip of the top with the clip still on it. Two of those type clips at the top of the target will allow for a better grip on the target and more adjustment latitude on the placement of the target. And nothing prevents placing the clips along the longer 14″ side as well as the 9″ side so you could use the target horizontally or vertically.

        I’ll call this version the “new and improved” Silento ™ trap.


        • With the larger bales you can move your clipboard target holder around. Use some stiff wire spikes like archers use for hanging paper targets. Just peg the clipboard wherever you want it to hang.

          twotalon




  4. B.B. or Edith….probably Edith…
    I got hold of a couple tins of .22 Beeman FTS from PA a few months ago. The website lists these as 5.50mm. They are clearly larger, measuring near 5.54mm.
    I am not asking that you fix the size on the pellet page. I understand that the size can change from batch to batch.
    Both tins that I have list a ‘S/N xxxxxx’ on the back label (matching numbers). No indication is given to actual size.
    I am wondering if this ‘S/N xxxx’ equates to a batch or lot number. That’s what it looks like to me.

    I have been looking for a more consistent pellet for my 48. The exacts are close (5.52)but are a little borderline on too loose. The FTS I have on hand are a bit too tight, but can be loaded and shoot pretty good.

    Have been waiting for the H&N FTT to get back in stock. They are listed as 5.53, which should be about right…..if that is what they really are. I intend to order one tin for testing when they come back in stock. If they do well, then I will order a bunch more hoping that they come from the same batch. I would order more FTS (even with the tight fit) if I could be sure they were from the same batch.

    This gets to be like playing musical die#s for CP boxed pellets.

    twotalon


    • twotalon,

      Please send me the serial numbers from each of the tins and an image of each tin lid. Send everything to edith@pyramydair.com

      Pyramyd Air is going to investigate this issue further. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

      Edith


      • Edith,

        I have noticed the same thing, and will send you some pictures too. I have some tins that measure and shoot the same as some 5.55 H&Ns, and some that are smaller, but still measure in as 5.52.

        I have stopped buying the Beeman FTSs because I don’t know why I’m going to get.

        Alan in MI


        • Alan in MI & all blog readers,

          I’m open to anyone who has experienced inconsistent pellet weights or head sizes.

          I need a scan or photo of the tin’s lid and any identifying serial numbers that might be on the tin.

          Thanks!
          Edith (edith@pyramydair.com)


          • Will get you some pics of both sides of the tins tomorrow after I get some daylight to work with.
            Both are identical, so I guess just one tin will do.

            Back to macro mode again.

            twotalon



      • Edith..

        If the pictures I sent make the FTS look like they are copper plated(on the tin), they are not. They are the regular plain lead heads. It looks a little red on the picture to me.

        twotalon


  5. derrick & Slinging Lead;

    Thanks for your reply to my question about mounting a Red Dot Sight on my Diana 52. I have another Scoped 52 in .177 caliber that I use to reduce the Red Squirrel population around my home (I use a FWB 124 too). The count is 31 for the year as of today. It keeps them out of my garage and vehicles.
    I think I’m finally gaining on them as the count for the last three years was running in the 60′s.

    Have a great new to all.

    Mike


  6. BB and Edith -

    Happy new year! Let’s all hope that you are both the champions of good health in 2011.

    I have been looking forward to reading how you finished up this blog on photography. Good job. Anyone who follows your advice will not only end up with better looking shots, but will most likely sell their guns faster as a result. You hit all of the points that I was hoping for… proper scale and crop, indirect light, use of a tripod… even the self-timer trick to keep the camera steady. The point that I liked the best, however, is the point that most people seem to read right past… “Think about what you’re doing”. I loved it! Preach brother! This kind of photography is all about telling a story. Whether the story is one of high quality or not is revealed in the images.

    Thanks again for the good advice.

    Regards,
    Jim in KS


  7. pcp4me,

    I like your idea of using the pet bedding for a silent pellet trap. If you are casting bullets the lead from the pellets is easily recoverable to throw in the furnace. It’s also a lot lighter and much less costly than the duct seal that I am using. Thanks

    Bruce


    • Mr B,

      Thank you. And recovery of the lead is important to me. Hence I mentioned burning them which would probably melt the lead and get rid of the bedding at the same time!

      Or I could just use an old clothes hamper and expand the bale into loose bedding and the pellets would drop to the bottom.


  8. BB,

    I saw nothing wrong at all on the first photo. Looks like a Savage ’99, 23″ bbl, schnobled forestock with sling mounts and a pretty worn but pad. The stock doesn’t have the pistol style grip with cap, so It’s a pre 1940′s gun, probably. The breech area looks like the metal has been re-blued and there is a Redfield peep sight on it too. I’ll give you $300, wait, $250 for it!
    Just kidding with ya. Good article, as always. God bless You all in the new year!

    ka


    • KidAgain,

      Lol. You had me going there. Read it through quickly and missed the just kidding part.

      Said to my self “wtf, you have GOT to be kidding, right?” Then reread it slower and spotted the just kidding part.

      You really had me going there for a minute or two.




  9. Sorry Off topic:
    BB,Edith,Mac and everyone.Have a happy,healthy and prosperous new year.
    All the very best.
    DaveUK

    P.s
    Off out now for a curry.That’s gonna hurt in the morning.lol


  10. I can hardly believe that we posted this without wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

    Wishing everyone a 2011 filled with love, peace, good health, thankfulness, joy, vitality, happiness and prosperity. May the wishes dearest to your heart come true.

    Edith



      • Dick Whicked,

        Yep, I knew that. Some one in Texas opened up another gun store and hired 10 people, Hence the 52% of all economic growth in 2010 was credited to Texas!


    • HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

      And may God continue to Bless us all… even when we don’t deserve it.

      Wacky Wayne
      Ashland Air Rifle Range


  11. B.B.,

    Great article. Wow there’s a lot of information packed into this article. I don’t know anything about sizing pictures since photobucket sizes automatically for the internet. Different colored backgrounds was appreciated. I’m also a novice when it comes to lighting and lazy when it comes to moving the camera very much for closeups of different areas of the gun. I rely on photoshop to crop, resize and adjust colors and lighting. It’s amazing what corrections can be made with a few mouse clicks in programs like photoshop.

    I didn’t realize how rare the Falke 80 and Falke 90 were. Your Falke 90 won’t cock and won’t shoot??!! Another blog in the making. I’m beginning to think your acquisitions are driven more by a desire for blog material than personal satisfaction LOL! Are you going to blend the finish in that bare area? It needs some protection.

    A very Happy New Year to everyone! May all your written goals for 2011 be realized.

    kevin




      • B.B.,

        Thanks a lot for the link. Sure some familiar guys over on the Falke forum.

        So your serial no. 39 Falke 90 is a .22 caliber?

        The Falke forum and the 7th Edition of the Blue Book of Airguns concur. Approximately 200 Falke 90′s were made and approximately 400 Falke 80′s were made. Interesting guns.

        kevin


  12. B.B.,

    One trick born of laziness that I use is to shoot from further away without a tripod at very high resolution and then crop the image so just the relevant stuff is left in the center. That smallifies the image size (how’s that for a new word, Slinging Lead?) and you can still zoom in to see detail.

    -AlanL


    • Alan,

      But that only works if the subject is lit brightly enough to show detail. I shot my Ballard on an outdoor range and I had to steady the camera, even though the gun was six feet away. It took four shots to get one sharp one.

      B.B.


      • Alan,
        To go along with what BB said – here’s a good way to look at it. You cannot digitally enhance what the camera did not see. Therefore if the pic is under exposed you won’t be able to bring out the detail. On the other hand if the pic is over exposed the detail has probably been captured and the image has a good chance of being digitally corrected.


        • Chuck,

          Sounds logical. But most good modern SLR digital cameras see a LOT more than you think they do. From my experience the distance to the object and correct focus are a lot more important than correct exposure.

          I have taken pictures which were way underexposed (as I usually take 4 or 5 pictures with different parameters) and photoscaped them and found stunning detail in them even though the original photos looked very dark and without detail.

          Just my thoughts from my experience.


          • Also, just so everyone knows, my digital SLR is 10 – 14 mega pixel range and I have it set for the very highest resolution I can get. For photographing guns I use the 18 -75 mm lens that came with the camera. This allows me to get fairly close to the gun and still get it all in the picture.

            My unedited file sizes run from about 1.5 mb to 14.5 mb. Edited they run from about .5 mb to 4.5 mb. That is a LOT of information the camera is storing. Raw file size is no problem for me as I have a 2 Gb card in the camera.


          • pcp4me,
            That’s one of the miracles of digital photography over film, especially with equipment like yours. Many photog sins are corrected during exposure by the digital programs in the camera. Love it!

            One question…how will our heirs be able to view our photos 50 years from now? Will our great, great, great grandchildren find an old water damaged shoebox of old microchips in the attic some day?

            -Chuck


            • Anon,

              Don’t know about yours, but I intend to put mine on one or more dvd’s which I will make multiple copies of IF I get a “Round Tuit” before I die!


      • B.B.,

        Maybe I got lucky… but I do use the flash at standing distances. And yes, I do take multiple shots, usually because of lighting issues, not sharpness issues. Hmmm, but I can’t argue with results- your shots are masterful.

        Chuck,

        Thanks for that overexposure tip– that’s something I didn’t know– as a photography ignoramus I just use the “Auto Enhance” feature in Photoshop or ArcSoft and there’s the extent of my manipulation expertise!

        -AlanL




          • Congatulations. The accuracy journey begins. That strange sensation you felt at the range was powerful envy from Colorado.

            It’s amazing what you get done while operating on 3 cylinders. Once all twelve are firing again I won’t be surprised to see 2 blogs per day. Happy New Year. It’s going to be a great year.

            kevin


    • AlanL

      I prefer the more accepted ‘enteeneeizes’ when discussing smallification.

      Since I am already busy picking nits, here is a couple more.

      1. Due to the risk of sounding like Tonto, the title of this blog should be:

      The art of collecting airgun[s] – Part 5

      2. The specs on PA’s page for the HW50S lists the cocking effort as 18lbs (that’s 1.2857 stone to you DaveUK)

      I wish. The cocking effort on mine must be double that. Perhaps the specs for the HW30 crept over to the HW50 page somehow?



  13. Happy New Year to all,may all your wishes….the big AND the smallified ones,come true in the coming
    year! May God continue to watch over and protect us all.And may we be blessed enough to share!


  14. Yes, a very Happy New Year to all. As usual,my wife and I will try and stay up until midnight. It has bin a couple of years since we both made it though. Maybe this year?
    Titus Groan


  15. Edith..

    Just checked these FTS for fit with my rimfires.
    The pellet heads were larger than the bore size of my H&R 49er, Rem 521T, and Supermatic.
    They really are .22 cal.

    twotalon



    • Connor,

      Pay no attention to velocity increases when using chamber oil. They are simply caused by dieseling.

      Oil very infrequently. Almost never if you own a Diana.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        It’s been a while since I read From Trigger to Target so please forgive the question: Is dieseling as harmful (or harmful at all) to gas spring guns as it is to coil spring guns? If so, why?

        AlanL


        • If dieseling is sufficient to bounce the gas ram, then it puts extra wear and tear on the seals in the ram.
          You may not have a spring to break, but you do have something that gets extra wear.
          As long as you don’t repeatedly overlube you would probably not cause enough extra wear on the ram to notice any shortening in it’s lifespan.

          twotalon


        • Alan,

          According to Cardew, all spring guns that shoot faster than 600 f.p.s. diesel with every shot. So, no, dieseling is not a problem. But detonation, which is an audible explosion, is bad. It can burn piston seals and bend mainsprings over time.

          B.B.


        • TwoTalon, B.B.,

          Thanks. So if a seal material could be found that really resists the high temps and pressures of repeated dieseling and even repeated detonation, then, in combination with a gas spring you might actually have a consistent super performer in terms of velocity (and hopefully in accuracy too). This would be a cross between an airgun and a powder burner where chemical reactions propel the projectile: An oil burner!

          AlanL



            • B.B.,

              Wow- that’s VERY interesting- never knew that gun existed. And also interesting was the fact that the pellet heads blew away leaving the skirts behind! But the key problem was burnt or blown seals. Perhaps with today’s more modern technology and materials, this idea could be viably revisited…

              AlanL


            • I’m lost! I know some of you reload, maybe you can help?
              I’ve been looking into reloading equipment for a couple weeks and find myself confused, if not nearly delusional with what to buy. Could use some help. I am interested in loading 9mm, .45 auto, .44mag & .243, 300win mag, & 300Savage. I don’t see loading for a bunch of people in my future, but don’t want to spend any more time loading than shooting either.
              What to buy? leaning towards Hornady’s AP unit???

              ka


              • KidAgain;

                Any one of the major brand single stage presses will work for what you need. I would stay away from any type of progressive press until you have been at it for awhile. Buy a couple reloading manuals and follow the directions. It really isn’t that hard and you will have fun and save money as well! You will need to trim the rifle cases so pick up the Lee trim tool and a pilot for each caliber. You won’t need to trim the pistol cases often if at all. This unit can also be used in a hand held drill or bench drill press to speed things up a bit.

                Mike



                  • Yes. Most rifle die sets have two. One for resizing and decapping. The other for bullet seating and crimping if that is needed. You only need to screw them in and adjust per the instructions. All the different caliber dies fit the press. The die size is standard so different brands work in all the presses.
                    The best deal on dies IMO are the Lee dies. I have many of them. The Lee set also come with a shell holder which you will need. Some calibers use the same shell holder if the case head size is the same.
                    Example: 30-06, 308, 243, 300 Savage all use the same shell holder.

                    Mike


              • KA,

                As a long-time reloader who has used nearly all the good equipment I can only recommend to you the Dillon 550 press. It will fill all your needs, has a bulletproof guarantee that goes with the press rather than the owner, and it produces the finest reloads available.

                It is costly, but not as much as buying many of the wrong things before finding out what the best is.

                B.B.


                • BB,

                  Thanks, I recall you saying that in the past, but you know how it is when you start looking and comparing. I think I found myself looking for the ultimate mass producer.

                  I’ll take another look at the Dillon.

                  ka


                • Hi BB.
                  The Dillion is a great press but as with all progressive presses, it is a pain to change from caliber to caliber, reset the powder measure, etc. I have one. It’s great for a long run of one caliber but not for the new comers to reloading. I’ll bet you have a single stage press that you still use from time to time. As you mentioned, it’s expensive. The Dillion can wait.

                  Mike


                • BB,

                  Been there done that. Don’t know how many of the cheaper stuff I bought that later did not get used.

                  But alas the Dillon’s did not come out at a time when I was doing a lot of reloading and so the cost is more than I want to bear.

                  Wish I had a Dillon in my younger years, say between 16 and 45. And I am 64 now so quit doing mass reloading like 19 years ago. Don’t know if they even had Dillon’s then.

                  My first press was a massive Herter single stage with a heat activated powder coating cast iron press with the old cheap steel Herter dies. Man did they rust quick!

                  My first “progressive press” was a Lee 3 turret press. That one was down right dangerous as you could easily double charge a case with out knowing. In fact I did and lucky for me the gun was in a Ransom Rest with a remote triggering device when I touched it off.

                  First indication that some thing was wrong was when my hand felt like it had been blown off, followed by me looking at said hand and seeing blood streaming from it, followed by me looking at the gun and seeing the stainless magazine blown into four pieces laying on the table and the mangled remains of the case stuck in the ejection port.

                  Fortunately I was single loading the cartridges so none were in the magazine. And my hand injuries were from the pieces of brass shrapenel


                  • pcp4me,

                    If I wasn’t running thousands of .45 acp rounds every year I would not have recommended the Dillon. My first press was a Herter’s U9. The bolt holes were so close together that it tore them out of my reloading bench, so I had half-inch steel straps welded on in three directions, to spread the effort. That worked, but the Herter’s had zero mechanical advantage, so every task was a chore.

                    I then bought a Rock-Chucker which solved everything. Still own and use it.

                    Yes, the cheap Lee press wore out for me and I now only use it for loading .357 Magnum rounds. What a piece of crap!

                    I find the Foster press to be the absolute best single-stage press on the market. I love mine and use it whenever I can.

                    B.B.


              • KA,

                first thing to decide is how many rounds will you reload a month or per week? Couple hundred per month? Go with a Lee single stage – they sell a kit including scale, powder hopper and I think, one set of dies. Go for extra few bucks and buy carbide dies as you won’t need to lube the cases when you resize them. Going to re-load couple hundred rounds per week? BB’s progressive is the way to go. Check out Lee’s website and Dillons website. Probably best way to buy if you don’t have a local brick and mortar store you want to support is Midway Supply – excellent prices, service and on-hand supplies.

                Everything else you’ve been told here is great advice. The Lee die kits come with basic reloading data – bullet weight vs. powder volume/weight. Anything else we can help you with?

                Fred PRoNJ


                • Fred PRoNJ,

                  I don’t recommend ANY of the lee progressive presses. See above for my experience with the 3 turret they first came out with, after which I bought the “new improved” 4 head turret press which was simply a POS! The square guides for the spindle lasted only for 10 to 100 loaded rounds. Retired that one.

                  Then I went to a Lee “Load Master” progressive which worked absolutely fabulous till I decided to change calibers to load a different cartridge. Could not get it adjusted after the change. Called Lee and they said to download the trouble shooting guide off their web site and use that. After that I called them back and said no luck and then they said a certain piece must be bent so they shipped one free. Still no luck and called again and they said “No problem, just ship it to us and we will fix it!” So asked if they would pay shipping and they said only return shipping.

                  So eventually will send it back to them and have them fix it and adjust it for my .45 acp dies and then use it exclusively for loading them as that is by far my most used caliber. I have two .45 acp guns now and plan to purchase another small carry one this year.

                  BB has the best advice and I will repeat it just in case some one missed it. GET A DILLON! Do your self a favor, and do NOT mess with Lee progressives. They are the only LEE products I cannot endorse. All the rest of their stuff like carbide dies and bullet molds and lead melting pots and the whole rest of their line is fabulous. Their single stage presses and even their hand presses are great too.


                  • Btw, the auto primer carriers on the LOAD MASTERS are plastic and break frequently. Also some other plastic parts are prone to breakage too. Others I know have hand crafted aluminum primer carriers and the other prone to break plastic parts. They say the aluminum parts work well.

                    I understand why LEE used plastic carriers, so that primers that wind up stuck sideways in the carrier will break the carrier rather than detonate the primer. The people who have carefully hand crafted the aluminum carriers say they have never had a primer turn the wrong way in their carriers as they do in the plastic ones. Perhaps lee should listen to them and design aluminum ones. My theory is the plastic is too flexible and some times allows mis-alignment of parts.


          • You won’t get it to be consistent. You will also get too much pressure and velocity for the pellets to handle. No accuracy.
            Then you run into BATF problems with the definition of a firearm when you use a chemical explosion deliberately for a power source.

            Best to forget the idea.

            twotalon


            • twotalon,

              Well said and I agree 100%.

              Heck if you are going to go that route, just design a gun with a small chamber into which is injected a precisely metered amount of ether, and then touched off by an electronic spark. If you engineered it correctly as to size of chamber and amount of precisely measured ether you should be able to obtain velocities which are consistent and not so powerful as to rip heavy pellets apart. Then you would have to register and get a permit to manufacture it.

              But I’m with twotalon. It would not be an airgun. The airguns we now have now are so good and some have so much power that we really DON’T need more power.

              If you want more power, just go to cartridge guns. Then you can have ANY power you wish from CB caps with no powder up to a T-REX! OR anything in between!

              And if you choose a gun like a Thompson Center Contender with interchangeable barrels you can have as many different powers as you want and can afford to buy in one gun!



  16. Happy New Year everyone!

    Question about cleaning pellets.
    Does anyone know of a good way to clean a tin of pellets?
    For instance, would it be OK to dump a tin into a container of alcohol?
    What might be better than alcohol?

    After cleaning the pellets, I’d plan on lubricating the pellets.

    Thanks,
    Victor


    • Victor,

      I don’t know about cleaning pellets, but my guess would be to slosh them around in a ziplock bag filled with warm water and a little Dawn detergent; then rinse heck out ‘em and dry with a hair dryer. Thereafter, moisten (not soak!) the foam pad of the tin with coconut oil and gently roll or tumble all the pellets in the tin. At least Wacky Wayne swears absolutely by virgin coconut oil as the best ever lubricant for pellets– but what would he know, he’s only the match director of the best airgun range in the USA (or at least the one with the best bbq) and owner of at least 5200 airguns and about every match title in the airgun world…

      AlanL


      • Alan,

        Water and Dawn detergent? I guess that’s fine, provided you dry them completely right away (not that i would leave them sitting around wet). I asked about alcohol because it dries faster. I did wonder if alcohol reacted in any way with the pellet, or any coating that it might have? If water and a little detergent works, that’s even better (and cheaper) than alcohol. Even if I had used alcohol I would have used a blow dryer.

        Some pellets are excessively dirty, like the Gamo Match pellets. I use finger cots on three fingers whenever I shoot. The finger cots turn almost black after a few shooting sessions. Out of curiosity, I took a single Gamo pellet and ran it through a paper towel by rubbing it between my fingers. What a difference! One thing that concerned me, regarding potential accuracy issues, with these Gamo pellets is that they are extremely dirty inside the skirt, including shavings. That’s why I was hoping for a solution whereby I might clean the inside of the skirt. A batch solution, like what you suggested, sounds very good. I’ll give that a try.

        Thanks,
        Victor


        • Victor,
          I remember BB saying that “dirt” is not dirt but there for a purpose. I can’t remember now where I read that on this blog. However, I would think that if you are going to re-lube them immediately after washing that would be a good thing.

          Wayne has been using cocoa nut oil on his pellets for over a year now, I believe, and he is still using it, I believe, and he still raves on it, so it must be a vary good way to treat pellets. Seems like he used an oven as part of his oil prep but there again is that ole memory thing.

          Maybe Wayne could refresh our memories with another brief tutorial on pellet lubing recipes.

          -Chuck


          • Typically the black stuff that comes off on your fingers from loading pellets is a graphite coating. Graphite is applied to pellets to slow down the oxidation process. It doesn’t/shouldn’t need to be washed off even if you plan on applying a typical pellet lube, i.e., whiscombe honey, coconut oil, krytech, etc.

            kevin


        • Wow, I actually found Wayne’s comment:

          by Wacky Wayne:

          “Coconut oil on pellets…

          I washed the CPH in Isoprohyl rubbing alcohol, (very expensive stuff at .79 per pint:))) and then soaked them in the coconut oil, ($7.00 per quart jar), drained the extra off and let the pellets cool off in the freezer..

          Well, they load easy, shoot more accurately, with about 10% more fps and drum roll please.. LEAVE NO BLACK ON MY FINGERS!!!…

          …and Matt61, no.. there are no army of insects swarming over my tins of pellets and coming out the barrel of my rifle:)

          We’ve been using coconut oil for our toast and cooking for years, and it never seems to draw insects to it..
          Coconut oil also doesn’t go bad .. it’s amazing stuff..

          I really think Edith is onto something here with the natural oil idea.. and coconut oil with the way it gets hard under 70 degrees or so, could be the star of the show.. so far so good..

          Check it out folks..

          Wacky Wayne,

          I see he used a refrigerator rather than an oven. How’s that for a memory retention. I warn you guys and gals don’t ever fly in the same rocket ship with me if I’m the captain.

          -Chuck


          • FYI,
            Wayne wrote that comment on cocoa nut oil June 10, 2009 so that is enough time for any adverse affects to show up and we have heard none from him so I’m ready to try it.
            -Chuck


          • Perhaps plain, white vinegar could replace the isopropyl alcohol in the pellet-cleaning process. I use a vinegar/water solution (50/50) in a spray bottle to clean…tile floors, kitchen counters, grease & more. A gallon of it costs very little at Walmart or Sam’s Club. Since it’s so good at removing grease, I’m guessing it would do the same job as alcohol in the 50/50 solution…or use it in higher concentrations if 50/50 doesn’t work.

            Wayne–Might want to give it a try and save yourself some bucks!

            Edith


          • Really Wayne!!!! You use coconut oil on toasts and cooking!!!??? COOL!!! So do we!!!! Is yours Nutiva Coconut Oil? That’s what we get and have been getting for the past 5 years! We haven’t bought one stick of butter since we started using coconut oil. It tastes a lot better on things than butter-and it’s more healthier! ;-)

            Conor


            • Conor,

              We’ve been using coconut oil for over a decade. I used to use Nutiva, but now I buy it by the gallon bucket. It’s raw, organic, extra virgin, non-filtered from the Philippines. It’s Aloha Nu brand. If you buy it from Amazon, they’ll pay shipping. Not a small deal when you’re buying gallon buckets!

              Edith


  17. B.B.,

    In your opinion, is a 10.5 grain pellet, like Crosman Premier Heavies, for example, too heavy for a springer? If so, what is the maximum weight that you would recommend for a springer?

    Thanks,
    Victor


    • Victor,

      As a rule of thumb I find that I tend to select the lighter domes for springers and the heavier ones for PCPs. That said, when I competed in field target with a TX 200 I always shot the 10.6-grain Kodiak.

      I do not believe that any pellet is too heavy for any springer, unless I hear it making protest noises when I shoot. I know this is a popularly-held belief today, and maybe one that has a basis in fact, but like Kevin says, I just shoot the most accurate pellets and change the spring when it’s necessary.

      B.B.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        The reason I asked is that I’ve read that springer’s shouldn’t use pellets that weight over 9=grains. But yet I see that you test lots of air-guns (PCP and springer’s) with Crosman Premier Heavies. Also, lots of reviews of various springer’s say that great results are achieved with these heavy pellets, especially with magnum springer’s. I assume that any springer that advertises a maximum velocity of 1000 fps qualifies as a “magnum springer”.

        Thanks,
        Victor


        • Yeah, I’ve read allot about the heavy pellet issue as well. I think even Jim Maccarri used to say that. But honestly I can’t understand why that would be…

          The only possible explanation I could see is that the pellet doesn’t ‘give way’ fast enough and allow the spring to expand as rapidly at the very end of the stroke, and this results in the spring ‘banging’ against a cushion of air that’s not getting out of the way fast enough. But hitting a wall of air isn’t like hitting a wall of steel – there’s some give to it, some cushioning effect, and I can’t see that impact loading a spring enough to set up inordinately high stresses. Especially since the spring is at almost full extension anyway by the time any of this happens.


          • Vince,

            I’m not a mechanical engineer, but going from a 9 to a 10.5 grain pellet is almost a 17% increase in loading. That seems significant, number-wise, but hopefully it doesn’t matter too much to a “real-world” spring.

            Here’s the bottom line, I wasn’t planning on using a 10.5 grain pellet in my every-day shooting, but only on an occasional weekend when I take my springer’s out to the desert for long distance shooting.

            If adding an extra 17% loading causes the spring to wear out such that I lose 17% of it’s life-cycle (however many tens of thousands of rounds that is), then I’m OK with that. However, if this means that I have to replace the spring every year or two, when I could have gotten many years of good solid use, then I say it’s not worth using heavy pellets.

            Thanks,
            Victor


            • No, it’s not an extra 17% loading on the spring. The loading on the spring – and thus the maximum stress it’s under – is dictated by how much the spring is compressed (k*d, where k=spring constant and d=deflection), and that, of course, is independent of the pellet. The only thing the weight of the pellet could impact is how quickly the spring is allowed to expand back to it’s uncocked length. And since ANY pellet doesn’t start moving until the piston has already traveled most of its stroke the difference would seem to be minimal. A light pellet might be an issue – if it ‘gets out of the way’ too fast the piston will smack into the end of the compression tube harder than it should. But a heavy pellet would tend to make it hit slower.


              • Vince,

                Excellent!!!

                What you say here about heavy pellets makes perfect sense, and is something that everyone should realize. In my mind, it settles the question of what is “too heavy”, as far as the spring goes. I can see possible issues with things like seals, but not with the spring itself.

                What you say about a pellet being too light also makes sense. Too light, and you’re effectively “dry firing”.

                Thanks,
                Victor


  18. Hey guys I am sorry to jump in the middle of you thread yet I was wondering if there is a classified section.

    I am looking to sell a Daisy 118 targeteer set with bb tubes and cleaning kit along with a daisy #9 squirter 1915 and wondering if there is a specific place to post stuff like that.
    thanks
    Eric

    pickedforyou@gmail.com


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