B.B.’s Christmas gift suggestions for 2012: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

At the end of the last part (Part 2), I said that was a wrap for 2012. Then, several folks recommended other things and my wife, Edith, suggested that I do Part 3 to include those things. Furthermore, I learned from Pyramyd Air that a huge number of new people are joining us daily, and many are new to airgunning. So, for them, I want to do some ‘splainin’.

This blog
I’m Tom Gaylord, but I write this daily blog under the name B.B. Pelletier. You can address me either way, but I’ll probably respond as B.B. here in the blog. The reason is a long one and not that interesting, but I don’t want new readers to be confused.

Do I work for Pyramyd Air or don’t I? Well, yes, I do get paid for this blog and for some other things I do, so in that sense, yes, I work for them. But I don’t pull any punches when it comes to reviewing products. It either tests out or it doesn’t, and I try to tell you exactly what happened when I tested it. Pyramyd Air never tells me what to say in the blog, nor do they try to control what I say in any way. So, in that sense I’m independent. I’m a contractor with Pyramyd Air, not an employee. I also write for other publications. I have a monthly column in Shotgun News, and I write five or six feature articles a year for them, as well. I also develop airguns and airgun products for various companies.

Pyramyd Air wants me to educate their customers, which is exactly what I try to do in this blog. When I write, I think about a guy living in Keokuk, Iowa, who will only buy one airgun this year. He’ll buy it based on what I say, so I don’t want him to be disappointed. I think of this guy as my best friend. He’s intelligent, but he doesn’t know what I know about an airgun, so I try to tell him. That’s why the writing is as informal as it is.

We have many thousands of readers, but most of them don’t comment. However, when someone does comment, we strive to welcome them and to listen to what they have to say. There’s no flaming or name-calling allowed here. A couple times in the past there have been attempts to hijack the blog, but they were put down swiftly. So, no matter what you do or don’t know, you’re welcome to talk about it here.

Finally, this blog is the property of Pyramyd Air. We don’t allow advertising for competitors. If someone tries to do that, their comments will be deleted.

Off-topic comments are invited on any blog. If you have a question about a topic that I wrote about 3 years ago, you don’t have to ask your question on that old blog. Just post it on the current blog because more people will see it and provide answers.

Lastly, there are several ways to read the comments. You can read them by clicking the comments link under each day’s blog or by clicking the RSS comment feed in the upper right-hand column or you can email us and request to be added to the emailed comment list. Edith will add your email address to the list, and each comment will come directly to your inbox.

Today’s report
This is the third report presenting possible Christmas gifts for airgunners. Parts 1 and 2, which are linked in the beginning of this report (above), have the airguns I recommend. If that’s what you’re looking for, those would be the reports to read. Today, I’ll concentrate on some other things an airgunner might also like. I’ll tell you the item and give a link to it, as well as a brief reason for the recommendation. There may also be a few airguns in this report because several I overlooked were pointed out to me.

Plano Pro-Max double-scoped rifle hard case
If you have nice airguns, you want to store them in nice cases. Blog reader Slinging Lead recommended the Plano Pro-Max double-scoped rifle hard case. He puts each rifle into a soft gun sock that he’s turned inside-out and sprayed with Ballistol, then turned right-side out and stuck a rifle in it. That then goes into the hard case. As we learned in Part 2, with Ballistol there should never be a problem with rust. I can’t speak for the Gamo gun sock because I’ve never seen one. It looks too short to cover the entire long gun in the photos, but it gives you and idea of what a gun sock looks like.

Crosman 1377 and 1322
Slinging Lead also pointed out that I didn’t have the Crosman 1322 or 1377 multi-pump pneumatic pistols on my list. That was an oversight on my part because these two pistols definitely belong there. They’re very powerful multi-pump pneumatic pistols that keep alive the heritage of airguns from the 1930s and ’40s. They’re accurate, inexpensive and either would make a great gift for an airgunner!

Crosman Premier pellets
I wasn’t going to put any pellets on the list this year; but in light of the number of brand-new airgunners we have reading this blog, I feel I have to. I’ll start with Crosman Premiers. I’m recommending the ones in the brown cardboard boxes; and when you look, you’ll find they’re the most expensive. They’re all taken from the same die lot, and you can count on their uniformity. They’re also packed more to the box than to a metal tin. I think the Premiers in the tin are getting better and may be almost as good as the boxed ones, so it is just habit that keeps me recommending the boxes. They come in the following sizes:

Premier lite — 7.9-grain .177 domes
Premier heavy — 10.5-grain .177 domes
.20-caliber Premier — 14.3-grain domes
.22-caliber Premier — 14.3-grain domes

There’s no .25-caliber Premier pellet, but there’s one that’s close, and it’s also one of the two best pellets in .25 caliber. It’s the Benjamin 27.8-grain domed pellet.

The rest of the pellets
This list is very long, so instead of talking about each one, I’m just going to list what I feel are the best.

.177 caliber

Beeman Kodiak
Beeman Devastator
Beeman ECO Kodiak
H&N Baracuda
JSB Exact RS
JSB Exact 10.3-grain dome
RWS Hobby
RWS Superdome
RWS R-10 Match Pistol

.20 caliber
Besides Crosman Premiers, there are very few .20-caliber pellets I can recommend. Even the Beeman Kodiak in .20 caliber is too lightweight (in lead) and just not that accurate. There are a couple, though.

Benjamin Cylindrical
JSB Exact

.22 caliber

Beeman Kodiak
Beeman ECO Kodiak
H&N Baracuda Green
H&N Baracuda
JSB Exact Jumbo 15.9 grain
JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
JSB Exact Jumbo Monster
JSB Exact Jumbo RS
RWS Superdome
RWS Hobby

.25 caliber
Historically, .25-caliber pellets have been the worst on the market. The guns that shot them were not accurate enough to warrant good pellets, so the manufacturers just didn’t invest the care they do with .177- and .22-caliber pellets. Even the best of them were just mediocre until just a few years ago. Now there are a couple great pellets available. The .25-caliber Benjamin was already mentioned with the Crosman Premiers, above. Here are the rest.

Beeman Kodiak Extra Heavy
H&N Baracuda
JSB Exact King

Final word on pellets
Beeman Kodiaks are actually the same as H&N Baracudas. Kodiak Match and Baracuda Match are essentially the same as Kodiaks and Baracudas. I’ve shot both and don’t see any differences in their performance. I’m telling you that so you know to order the least expensive ones when they’re available.

Crosman 1077
The CO2-powered Crosman 1077 is another air rifle that was left off the list and shouldn’t have been. The 1077 is a 12-shot repeater with an internal double-action revolver mechanism. It’s styled to resemble the Ruger 10/22 rifle, and its one of the best values in a plinking airgun today. Accuracy is well above average, with 10-shot groups the size of a nickel at 10 meters when you are careful.

Daisy Red Ryder
Several readers asked me to include Daisy’s Red Ryder BB gun on the list. It is certainly the iconic Christmas BB gun here in North America — made famous first by Daisy and again by the 1980s movie A Christmas Story.

Daisy 880
For inexpensive shooting fun it’s hard to do better than the Daisy 880. This multi-pump pneumatic shoots both BBs and pellets, though I recommend only pellets in this gun, because the BBs aren’t as accurate.

Crosman 2100B
For a little more money you can get the Crosman 2100B. This multi-pump is very accurate with certain pellets — namely 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers.

Crosman 2240
The Crosman 2240 CO2 pistol is a must-have if you like accurate air pistols. It forms the basis for many higher-end Crosman target guns but is an accurate .22-caqliber pellet pistol in its own right. If you do buy one as a gift, don’t forget to throw in a box of CO2 cartridges that it needs as its power source.

RWS Diana 34P
I would be shortchanging you if I overlooked the RWS Diana 34P spring rifle. I chose the 34P over the wood-stocked 34 for its slimmer profile. Either gun is a winner. They’re accurate, powerful and the T06 trigger can be adjusted very nice. I don’t like the fiberoptic open sights, but if you use a scope they don’t matter.

Targets
Blog reader Kevin Lentz recommended that I put paper targets on the list because many airgunners won’t spend the money for them. They print out targets on copier paper that tears and isn’t satisfactory, where good target paper usually shows clean holes where the pellets passed through. All targets that are on target paper are worthwhile, but I have two I especially want to recommend. The first is the single-bull 10-meter air pistol target from National Target. Don’t be put off by the name — you can shoot at it with a rifle, too. In fact, if you have open sights, this target extends your range out to about 25 yards because the bull is so large.

The other target I’m going to recommend is the 12-bull 10-meter rifle target, also made by National Target. I cut these up with scissors and use them in smaller sizes, which multiplies the use I get from each target several times.

Kevin also suggested getting some Shoot-N-C targets that change colors vividly when a pellet passes through. These come in all sorts of packages, but I like a combination of targets like this one. You can use the different-sized bulls for different things, and the black dot pasters that come with the targets will repair any of them. Just peal the target bull off the paper and it will stick to any other paper surface, so changing targets is a breeze.

Tactical flashlight and knife
Two things on this blog that we talk about besides airguns are tactical flashlights and knives. I’ve devoted a lot of time to both topics, and I know that most of our readers are interested in them, though they may never mention it. I recommend the UTG Tactical Flashlight, because it is identical to one I use all the time, but costs about $20 less. And I must also recommend the Walther Tactical Folding Knife that is the coolest knife I have seen in the price range. I like it so much I take it to airgun shows, just to show people how neat it is. The more you use it the easier it becomes to open, until it gets to the point of opening almost as fast as an automatic (switchblade) knife. It stays sharp and can be sharpened easily, though it does require a special serrated blade sharpening tool.

Wrap-up
That’s it! Yes there are a great many more things I like at Pyramyd Air, but you can look around the website for those just as well as me telling you. Remember, this is the third part of a much longer list of potential gifts. The links to Parts 1 and 2 at the top of this report will take you to the rest of the list where there are a great many more gift suggestions waiting.

24 Responses to “B.B.’s Christmas gift suggestions for 2012: Part 3”

  • Joe Says:

    I agree with you about Crosman Premiers in the brown box. They are the only pellets I shoot anymore. They perform exceptionally well in every single gun I own. I am glad to hear that the Premiers in the tin are getting better and I may have to pick up a tin soon to compare them to the ones in the brown box.

  • chasblock Says:

    Thanks B.B., I’ve just added the knife to my wish list. Go ahead, make me spend more money with PA! :)

    I’d just like to add a couple more suggestions, not specific recommendations, but items I’ve found to be useful to my shooting:

    A spotting scope http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Creedmoor_Sports_12_36x60_Spotting_Scope_Angled_Body_Rotating_Ring_Stand_Table_Tripod/3970 , not a great one, but is useful when using iron sights from distances.

    A wind meter. I got a nice Kestrel from another (non-gun site). Useful perhaps for more advanced shooters. Maybe PA could consider carrying these.

    Did you mention a pellet pen? http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Pellet_Pen_and_Pellet_Seater_Loads_Seats_177_Pellets/4140 , this one is a bit expensive, but I got one and really don’t know how I lived without it. Terrific little stocking stuffer for someone on your list.

    Anyhow, Happy Holidays to you B.B. and Edith of course and to everyone else here.

    • chuckj Says:

      chas,
      Ok, no laughing (out loud anyway) but I use a spotting scope on my 10m indoor range. I got weary real quick walking up and back to see how my shots were doing and my eyesight is not good enough to see .177 holes at 33 feet. I still pass the DMZ eye test though so you’re safe as long as you’re not driving a .177 inch long car.
      -Chuckj

  • Mike Says:

    In regards to your choices for .20 Cal., both are worth a try. My old 1968 vintage Blue Streak shoots the old Cylindrical pellets well. But, my later model C, 80′s I think shoots the JSB best.

    Also, what would you recommend for a cocking grip for the barrel end of a springer? Beeman used to sell one which I have on my FWB 124. Is there something similar that would work on the Diana 34?

    Mike

    • Robert from Arcade Says:

      A personal observation with my Sheridans and .20 cal pellet choices. I have had a Blue Streak rocker safety for 30 years that shoots the old cylindrical pellets OK as to group size, but it is outstanding with the newer Benjamin ones with the waist. Then I pick up a hold down safety Sheridan at a flea market a couple years ago (1959 model) that won’t hit a soda can reliably at ten meters with the old (original)Sheridan cylindrical, but will keep the JSB’s in a quarter sized group at the same range. Imagine the original owner’s reaction to the sport of airgunning and air rifle accuracy when he or she first shot that gun . It took 50 years for a decent pellet to shoot in it to arrive on the scene. Anybody remember the red plastic box Sheridan pellets from West Germany? They also shot well in my guns, and I think the current Beeman (H&N) Laser is the same pellet.This was before Crosman bought out Benjamin /Sheridan and for a short time,started putting their own version in the same plastic red box. Those boxes were marked made in USA. Another excellent pellet for the .25 cal ,especially in a lower powered springer which won’t develop useful velocity with the heavier pellets mentioned above, is the H&N FTT 20.5 gr pellets that PA sells. I have used them with excellent results in my BSA Supersport for hunting and target shooting.

  • kenholmz Says:

    B.B.,
    “I’m Tom Gaylord, but I write this daily blog under the name B.B. Pelletier. You can address me either way, but I’ll probably respond as B.B. here in the blog. The reason is a long one and not that interesting…”

    Actually, the reason is both interesting and important, but I realize many new readers need not delve deeply into history. What is important to me is that they know a couple of things. One is that Tom Gaylord is always open to new information. If a reader questions something or has other objective information to offer, Tom is always open to hear about it. Tom (B.B. has written volumes and much of it is readily available online, but because there is so much it takes time to read it. One statement written in one blog does not begin to cover what Tom knows or believes or has discovered. If you question something, ask him. There is no reason to demean him on some other forum, while offering no objective information to back up what is being written. As has been written by others, elsewhere, Tom Gaylord offers information up front and in writing for all to read (and re-read). There are other sports and airgun writers worth reading, but I know of no one who has so much so readily available to everyone, anytime. And if you read the blog comments, you will notice that there are readers to keep Tom Gaylord on his toes.

    ~Ken

    ~Ken

    • kevin Says:

      I too think the reasons behind the pen name and the origins of this blog are important and fascinating. Apparently I’m not alone since this blog on “The origins of this blog” received 190 comments from readers all over the world:

      http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/2011/11/the-origins-of-this-blog/

      kevin

    • Matt61 Says:

      Pen names are important. There is a theory that Samuel Clemens created a whole new personality with the pen name Mark Twain and couldn’t write the same without it. I was totally fooled until B.B. revealed his identity. My thinking had been that Tom Gaylord was clearly the class act in airgun writing, but you could do a whole lot worse than B.B. Pelletier who was very engaging, knew a lot, and certainly was productive…

      Santa does exist! How egregious to have left off the Crosman 1077 and thank goodness that was rectified. That is a stunningly accurate rifle even with its simple iron sights on my smallest airgun range in the world. My only reservation which has limited the use recently is that it is kind of a pellet and gas hog. Actually, the shot count per gas cylinder is fine, but it’s easy to shoot a lot. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

      I had been thinking that Surefire, one of the original brands for tactical flashlights, was the way to go, but I see that the market has expanded since. And it’s no surprise that UTG is in the forefront. I am entranced by the strobe function. I understand that it will really freak out attackers. (I wonder if it might induce epilepsy in some people.) Anyway, for non-lethal self-defense, it’s right up there with pepper-spray.

      That price point of the Walther knife at $20 is highly impressive with all of the performance that B.B. describes. But the total package does raise some longstanding questions. Does anyone know the legal limit of blade length on carry knives? It probably varies by state but a little over 3 inches seems to be the ballpark. I’ve heard that the reasoning is that it takes over 3 inches of blade to reach the heart. But that doesn’t make sense since there plenty of lethal targets that lie much closer to the surface than 3 inches. Given the short blade, what is the function of the serrations? I’ve tried cutting bread with it… The serrations seem too short to do anything, and on a short blade they make the plain edge too short for most tasks. I’m assuming that there might be some survival function, but I’m not sure what it is.

      Matt61

      • The Guest Says:

        The average breadth of an adult male hand is 3.3 inches, most cops when checking you knife length just ‘palm it’, that is hold the edged portion of the blade over their palm. But like you said it varies by state, I think in some states the legal length is 2 inches or less.

        On a totally unrelated note (:)) I once saw a guy get frisked by a cop, who gave him the all clear, and the fellow then produced a kabar and handed it over to the policeman.

  • David B Says:

    Hi BB,

    Must say I was a bit disappointed with Part 2 of the Hatsan Model 25 but it is interesting that the test pistol had problems with the Crosman Premier pellets not fitting. They seem to fit my gun OK. I ordered the Beeman P17 after reading part 2 of the Christmas gift suggestions and part of that order was a tin of the JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy .22 Cal you recommended above in part three. I”ll see if I notice any difference in fit between the JSB and the Crosman in my gun.

    I have a few more items from the suggestions that I will be ordering like the Dewey 26″ coated cleaning rods in both .22 Cal and .177 Cal and some JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound.

    Looking forward to part 3 of the Hatsan Model 25 review.

    David B.

  • Victor Says:

    B.B.,

    There’s one truly MUST HAVE product that everyone should be aware of, especially competitors, but in general anyone who wants to keep track of how many shots they’ve taken at a particular bull. The H&N Pellet Box is truly a must have! I don’t know of a better product for this.

    And it’s really cool how it works! You just pour your pellets into the box and shake it. The pellets fall right into the hole head first. I’ve only used it with match pellets, but I assume that it will work just as well with other pellets.

    http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/H_N_Finale_Match_Pellet_Box/1183

    Victor

    • BG_Farmer Says:

      That looks very useful — never thought of such a thing.

      • Victor Says:

        BG_Farmer,

        Because I used H&N pellets that come in individual “loading block” like sheets, I knew to look for them. Otherwise I wouldn’t have thought to look for this. It really is a good product for air-gunners to either shoot for groups, or for score.

        Victor

    • chasblock Says:

      I have that on my wish list. I didn’t know you could shake it to get the pellets in the holes. Thanks for the info.

      • Victor Says:

        Chasblock,

        YES! It works like magic! In fact, I used it last night with Crosman Premier Heavies. Just poor the pellets in and shake. Because pellets are top heavy at the head, they fall right in, leaving the skirt facing straight up. No more wondering how many shots you’ve taken at a bull.

        Victor

        • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

          Let me add that it’s always a good idea to have a “mechanical” system to keep track of how many shots you have taken when it matters – such as in competition. I’ve had targets with only 8 holes after shooting at it 10 times and wondered if I fired 8 or 10 times(10 as the target next to me had 12 holes and one very ticked off competitor – he forgave me). I’ve also had the reverse, a target with 12 holes and wondered if I shot 10 or 12 (target next to me had 8 but in my case, they disallowed the top 2 scores because we couldn’t figure out which were his and which were mine and I’m not good enough to give up the higher scoring holes just yet!) even with Victor’s excellent coaching from the other side of the country.

          Fred DPRoNJ

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    BB,
    I’ll second on the D34P, and the TO6 wood stock looks pleasantly configured as well. Just be ready for a little break-in period or a quick tune, at least mine required a couple hundred pellets to settle down and shoot its best. I did the 10-for-10 w/lube check at PA, for what it is worth, as some of the Dianas were shipping too dry? The fiber optic sights are quite good, although not as good as the ones on the Ruger Blackhawk.

    Regarding the targets, what is wrong with 10M rifle targets at 25M with open sights? I was playing around in the back yard doing that when a UPS guy drove up; he happened to be a shooter also and thought it was impressive :). Back when I and the 36-2 were in our prime, I used to shoot those targets at 50 yards (I’m not saying they were tiny groups, but it was fine to use as a sighter). You make do with what you have :)!

    • GenghisJan Says:

      That’s correct. I have the Air Ventury Quiet Pellet Trap, and the 10m rifle targets slide right into it. Very handy!

      -Jan

  • David B Says:

    B.B.

    Kevin Lentz recommendation to add targets is right on. I did the printed copy paper targets when I first got the Leapers UTG Accushot Pellet & BB Trap. Ordered the trap and a pack of Gamo Paper Targets through Amazon, the UTG trap ended up coming from PyramydAir and the targets from somewhere else. Finally got the targets, suddenly my shots made round holes instead of rips.

    “All targets that are on target paper are worthwhile” but all are not equal. The National Target NRA 25′ Slow Fire Air Pistol Target I ordered do not perform much better than copy paper targets. Went back to the Gamo targets for now even though they are on the small side for the Champion heavy-duty trap I recently bought. I’m going to try the recommended National Target Single Bull Center Air Pistol Targets.

    As one of the people new to airgunning you mention at the start of part 3, I found this to be a particularly informative article. You could say the gift list itself was a gift, so thanks B.B.

    David B.

  • G.Austin Says:

    Another good hard case is the Plano 4 pistol case. It can house a crosman 1377/1322/2300 pistol as well as the IZH-46M

    http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Plano_Protector_Pistol_Case_Fits_Four_Pistols/4303

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