What do advertised airgun velocity numbers mean?

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

Yesterday, I told blog reader Victor that this report was for him, but I think it’s for a lot of folks who are relatively new to this blog. Here’s the premise of the report: Airguns are usually advertised with their expected top velocities. What do those numbers represent? Today, I’ll attempt to explain this as clearly as I can.

The numbers are just lies!
Let’s get this one out of the way first because it seems to be the prevailing belief that advertised velocities are nothing but lies put forth by marketing departments to sell more guns. There’s some truth to this belief, but it isn’t 100 percent by any means. Here’s what’s going on with the lies.

In the 1970s, spring-piston air rifles broke the 800 f.p.s. “barrier” for the first time. Three guns — the BSF S55/60/70, the Diana 45 and the FWB 124 all topped 800 f.p.s. in .177 caliber…and the HW 35 came very close to 800. That started the velocity wars that are still with us today. In 1981/82, the Beeman R1, which was also produced as the HW 80, hit 940 f.p.s. in .177. A year later, it was hitting 1,000 f.p.s. right out of the box, and that became the new standard for magnum airguns.

A couple years after that, Diana offered 1,100 f.p.s. with their sidelever models 48 and 52, and from that point on it was necessary to go even faster to gain recognition in the air rifle class. A thousand feet per second was now considered the lowest velocity a magnum airgun should achieve in .177 caliber.

Then, Gamo upped the ante with their 1200 Hunter Magnum that became the 1250 a year after it was introduced. This was in the late 1990s, and I was writing The Airgun Letter, so I obtained a 1250 from Gamo and tested it for myself. To my utter surprise, that test rifle achieved 1,257 f.p.s. with an RWS Hobby pellet. I thought the game was finally over. Boy, was I mistaken.

Within five years, air rifles started hitting the market with claims of over 1,300 f.p.s. And then they bumped up to 1,350 f.p.s. You could almost hear the various marketing departments discussing what they had to say in order to sell their next new magnum air rifle. But when I tested these guns, they fell short of their advertised marks. I was not quiet about that fact; but when the box on the store shelf says one thing and I say another, guess which one people believe?

The numbers kept right on climbing — up past 1,400 f.p.s., then 1,500 f.p.s. and finally stopping at 1,650 f.p.s. I’ve also tested many of these newer rifles; and while they often do achieve velocities that used to be impossible, like over 1,300 f.p.s., none has ever hit 1,500 f.p.s. without some kind of fuel-air explosion being involved. The fastest velocity I’ve ever recorded from a spring-piston air rifle was just at or under 1,400 f.p.s., and one person reported he had achieved a legitimate velocity of 1,425 f.p.s. I’m talking only¬†about spring-piston air rifles now, because a .177 AirForce Condor has hit 1,486 f.p.s. in one of my tests.

Non-lead pellets
While all these velocity claims were stacking up, the market was also flooded with lead-free pellets. Being lighter than lead pellets, these pellets went faster at the muzzle. The fact that they could not carry that velocity very far downrange was lost on the majority of people. One ambulance-chaser “expert” witness in a wrongful airgun death lawsuit went so far as to compare a magnum air rifle pellet to a .22 rimfire bullet fired from a handgun. He “demonstrated” on television that the airgun was faster than the firearm with no mention of the effects of a lightweight pellet compared to a 40-grain bullet. Well, a neutrino travels at nearly the speed of light and passes through the earth unresisted; but since it has almost no mass, it doesn’t do any damage. Velocity alone means little.

That is the story of the velocity claims for pellet guns that are either outright lies (where the actual number you can achieve without resorting to some trickery is lower than the claimed velocity) or are stretching the truth beyond credibility (where ultra-lightweight pellets are used to obtain the number).

Legal concerns
This issue is the one I believe many folks do not consider when they focus on velocity claims that seem unrealistic. While we would never consider shooting a lead-free 5-grain pellet in a magnum air rifle, or in almost any air rifle, for that matter, there’s a reason to do it. Some communities and states have laws specifying the maximum velocity an airgun can legally achieve. If it exceeds that — well, the outcome isn’t clear because these laws are written in many different ways.

In one jurisdiction, the law may set an absolute maximum velocity for the airgun. No projectile weight is usually given in such a law, so if any pellet can exceed the maximum, the gun is not legal there. Working against such laws are the companies that make plastic airgun pellets weighing 3 grains or less. They will scream out of the muzzle and through the chronograph before slowing down as though they are tethered to the gun! Such pellets may bring a smile in certain places, but they can bring down the law in other places that have maximum velocity laws. The only thing that has kept many airguns safe so far is the general lack of knowledge that such pellets exist.

In another community, the law may include both a velocity maximum and a maximum muzzle energy. This law can be written two different ways. One is if the airgun surpasses either maximum it violates the law. The other way the law can be written is that the airgun must surpass both criteria before it violates the law.

Airgun manufacturers do not know all the laws that are in force. There’s no way they can because new laws are written all the time, and existing laws are modified or clarified to change their impact. In a country like the United Kingdom, where the law is relatively straightforward — keep the muzzle energy under 12 foot-pounds to stay legal as an airgun, the manufacturers have a parameter they can build to. But in a country like the United States — where airguns are totally unregulated in some places and highly regulated in others, a manufacturer stands little chance of remaining abreast of the law.

They do their best to comply with the laws they know and hope that companies like Pyramyd Air, who sell their products, will stay on top of things, too. They (the manufacturers) watch the big trends and try to tailor their products to those, and they trust their dealers to know the market they sell to.

Edith serves in this capacity for Pyramyd Air. She monitors state and local laws, and she calls the attorney general of any jurisdiction or state authorities if she finds the laws have changed or are going to change. Sometimes, she gets solid answers that can be trusted, but other times she discovers that the people in charge are not aware of how to interpret their own laws.

One example of this was in a Midwestern state that we won’t name to spare them embarrassment. Edith was unable to get an answer to a question about a law. She spoke to person after person in that state’s division that regulates guns. One time, she ended up speaking to a woman who was the head of the entire division because she’d gotten 5 different interpretations from 5 different officers. During the conversation, the head of the division mentioned that the ATF regulates all .50-caliber guns so the state didn’t have to regulate .50-caliber airguns. Of course, Edith explained that .50-caliber airguns are sold coast to coast in the U.S. and, except for a few states, are totally unregulated. Nothing she said could convince this woman. After all, Edith was just some person calling this police authority, so how could she know better. Sometimes, it’s impossible to counter ignorance.

Company velocity criteria
Some airgun manufacturers categorize their guns by the velocity they produce. Daisy is one that does. They have youth products separate from their Powerline products. They recommend their Powerline products for shooters 16 years and older. I searched the Daisy website looking for the velocity break between a youth gun and a Powerline gun but didn’t find a number. But looking at what the Powerline models deliver, it looks like it’s any gun capable of shooting faster than 600 f.p.s. in a long gun and all handguns. There’s also the Avanti line, which is for target shooting; and, while all the long guns shoot under 600 f.p.s. and are considered youth models, there are 2 pistols in the Avanti line and the Powerline designation is in their model names.

What does this mean to an airgunner?
An airgunner has no way of knowing the meaning of the velocity number that’s given with a particular airgun. It could be for bragging rights, or it could be the fastest velocity the company engineers were able to obtain from the gun under controlled conditions. They could be using the number to sell more guns to uneducated shooters, or they could be using it to segregate their products for sales to different jurisdictions.

Company A tests all their guns with real-world lead pellets that shooters might also use. AirForce Airguns is one such company, and they even tell you what the test pellet is (a Crosman Premier pellet of the appropriate caliber, by the way). Company B is run by the marketing department, and they inflate the velocities of their magnum line of rifles and pistols by 10 percent. I’ve had executives in these companies tell me they did this because — to use their own words — “Everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t we?”

Company C uses the lightest pellets they can find to test their guns, so they don’t run afoul of those places where velocity, alone, is the criteria. And so it goes. This is why it’s impossible to know what the velocity figures mean unless you know the company that publishes them and their policies.

And the answer is…
The answer is — there is no one answer. Airgun velocity is a complex topic that’s driven by forces both within and outside the company making the guns. This is where the budding airgunner has to become a thoughtful researcher when looking for a certain gun. Pyramyd Air tries to post the most correct velocity for each model, but they’re at the mercy of both the airgun manufacturers as well as the makers of pellets.

Experience is the best guide when it comes to this topic. With experience, you’ll know what the limits are, which companies do what with their numbers and so on. But never think for a moment that all published velocities are incorrect.

71 Responses to “What do advertised airgun velocity numbers mean?”

  • Victor Says:

    Well, experience tells me that it’s very rare that a gun will perform to it’s advertised velocity, and you’ve outlined the reasons why. I’m sure there will be exceptions from time to time, but the norm is to experience something entirely different. On average, I think you can expect higher-powered springer’s to produce velocities between 200 and 300 fps under the stated claims, when used with the best pellets for a particular gun. That’s OK, and good to know, because you really don’t want most of these guns shooting at 1200, or even 1000 fps. They often seem to achieve peak performance in terms of velocity and accuracy with heavier pellets, and at velocities closer to between 700 and 900 fps anyways.

    I’ve got a Titan GP and Gamo Hunter Extreme, both in .22 caliber, that allow me to plink at 100 yards. Neither are within 250 fps of the stated claims with the pellets that I use, like JSB Jumbo Exacts. I don’t care one tiny bit about that. I’m glad that there’s enough mass, and accuracy, to make them fun at such a long distance.

    In a way, it’s like buying a car that the manufacturer claims will hit 160 mph, when you know you’ll never drive at the speed.

    (Almost need a mirror to answer the question!)

    Victor

  • Fred Says:

    I have a Gamo 440 .22. Its box had a label stating this gun had a muzzle velocity of 700fps (in .22 caliber). Many years passed after I purchased this gun, when I finally could get my hands on a chronograph. Using Gamo Match pellets, my gun shoots 699fps. I don’t feel that 1fps makes such a big difference, so in this case, I can honestly say that the gun performs to its advertised velocity.

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    The second “can of worms” this week ??? I would hate to guess what you are saving for tomorrow.

    twotalon

    • Robert from Arcade Says:

      No kidding, and I’m still at odds with the comments that the LGV in .22 is a loser at only 11.5 ft/lbs.

      • twotalon Says:

        Robt..

        Must be the need for speed.

        twotalon

      • Victor Says:

        Robert,

        No kidding! I have an air-rifle in .22, at about that velocity, that rocks! As I wrote in my comment above, I’m not at all unhappy with my .22 caliber air-rifles that shoot below claimed velocities. So long as the rifle is accurate, and with sufficient power, I’m happy.

        Victor

      • twotalon Says:

        Robt. …

        For those who can get past the speed or power ego thing…
        AND have an understanding of what reality is compared to manufacturers hype….

        You need to look at what it can do, and what you want to do with it. I have quite a range of rifles that are best suited for different purposes. There is not one of them that is right for everything. You always have to live within some limitations.

        twotalon

        • Robert from Arcade Says:

          TT, I agree with you , everything is a compromise. Every rifle and shooter are parts of a recipe for a particular type of shooting endevour. Learning that why of it, is what helps us understand the limitations of different rifles . That’s fun of it. Still learning myself. Still acquiring and modifying the tools.

  • se mn airgunner Says:

    New industry standard, max FPE at 20 yards.

  • john Says:

    Michigan has some of the stupidest airgun laws I know of. If a gun is inder 30 inches and has a rifled bore you have to get it through a FFL dealer. But no background check is needed. If it’s a pistol with a rifled bore you have to buy it with a pistol permit issued by the cops which also means a background check by the cops. If a gun has a shrouded barrel no matter what length, you need to buy it through an FFL dealer. I kind of think they are going overboard on airgun regulations since it’s not all that easy to find an FFFL dealer that will order airguns. In my area i know of exactly one that will do it and that one is well out of my way if i want something on the “can’t get it without an FFL dealer list”. seriously, why bother regulating shrouded barrels? Does that make them more dangerous somehow if they make a bit less racket?

    • chuckj Says:

      john,
      Not knowing the law in your state, in Illinois you don’t have to BUY the air rifle from an FFL dealer, you only have to have it SHIPPED to an FFL dealer, where you then pick it up. You can’t have it shipped to your home. FFL dealers charge anywhere from $20 to $50 to provide this service.
      -Chuckj

      • john Says:

        Pretty much the same rule here but the FFL dealer I know of here that will deal with air rifles oreds them for you. They won’t just allow a shipment to come to them. I guess it’s just company policy to make things easier on the employees dealing with inventory.

        • chuckj Says:

          john,
          Do a google search on FFL with you city name. Not all FFL licensed people are store fronts. Many individuals have FFL licenses and will provide this service for a fee.
          -Chuckj

  • kevin Says:

    Simplification.

    In my opinion the average consumer is too busy and/or too lazy to properly research all their purchases. This usually leads to a focus on one maybe two common denominators.

    If they need a truck for towing they compare their choices by torque and price. If they need to replace a furnace they compare their choices by BTU’s and price. If they’re buying a golf ball they compare their choices based on the one that will go the farthest and price. If they need a new daily driver they compare their choices based on published gas mileage figures and price.

    Time usually teaches these consumers that published gas mileage figures have little to do with real world driving and they should have also compared build quality, noise levels, warranties, benefits of a soft cover vs. hard cover golf ball, etc. in their other purchases.

    Airgun manufacturers that hype velocity numbers are targeting these average consumers that they know are focused primarily on velocity. The overly simplified common denominator. They know these consumers won’t care about the quality of the trigger, the violent shot cycle that robs accuracy, the poor quality of the barrel that isn’t accurate with any pellet, the inability to easily mount a scope so it stays in place during the violent shot cycle, etc. etc. until long, long, long after the consumers get their 1600 FPS master blasters home.

    One more observation that belongs under the heading of LEGAL CONCERNS in todays article. In my State it’s common in most Cities & Counties that we are allowed to shoot airguns outdoors AS LONG AS THE PROJECTILE/PELLET/BB DOES NOT LEAVE OUR PROPERTY. Even at long ranges in the City a high velocity master blaster that is lucky enough to hit a pest will over penetrate and endanger your neighbor. The typical master blaster will miss your pest and endanger 3 maybe 8 neighbors.

    Advertised airgun velocities are just one criteria to compare airguns to one another. I wouldn’t put advertised velocity in the top five of my criteria when considering a new airgun purchase though.

    Rant over. Carry on.

    kevin

    • Victor Says:

      Kevin,

      When all we had was my sons 397P, i usually only gave it 4 pumps, and on occasion 6 pumps. I might have pumped it to the maximum of 8 a few times in a 10 years period. That’s how important super-high velocity is to me. Prior to that, the vast majority of my air-gun experienced was with an FWB 300, and you know how POWERFUL that is.

      Victor

  • Frank B Says:

    Isn’t it sad how times have changed! When I was “young”(I’m 46 today) it was a mortal sin to lie in advertizing a product.Heck,you NEVER saw a commercial compair the product with a competitor either.I may be wrong,but I think the first time such a comparison was made blatantly was Coke vs. Pepsi? But then again,I also remember The “Happy Days” episode where Mrs.Cunningham gave Ritchie
    a shopping list that had “Tp” on it because she was too timid to write out “toilet paper”LOL.Aaahh,the “good ol’ days.But Fonzie just HAD to jump that darn shark.

    • /Dave Says:

      I remember those days too, Frank. My dad had his own advertising firm and it was an unwritten rule back then to never call your competitors by name. That was akin to a public insult and no one wanted to go there. They were always brand x or something similar. Much more polite times I guess…

      /Dave

      • Frank B Says:

        /Dave,I have often envisioned things from the perspective of a career advertising man (person).I’m sure it was depressing…..but then again even game shows were crooked from nearly the beginning.

    • Desertdweller Says:

      Fonzie had to jump the shark because the writers had run out of good ideas.

      The manufacturers concentrate on velocity figures because they think that is the standard the public judges their products by. They need to be focused on things like accuracy and build quality instead.

      In the under $200 market I deal in, the only velocity figure I need to know is if the gun shoots supersonic with 7-8gr. pellets. If it does (and not many do), then I know to use a heavier pellet so it will not. I never use the ultra-light weight pellets, have never even bought any.

      Two of my cheap magnums have broken scopes during the break-in period. One recoiled so violently it lterally shook itself apart and had to be returned. They both eventually became smooth-shooting guns. They are both capable of shooting targets at 50 yards, and, with considerable loss of accuracy, 100 yards. Most of my shooting is done at 25 yards.

      Perhaps a case can be made for high-velocity guns used in hunting. But if high velocity means loss of accuracy, and hunting requires enhanced accuracy, then what? Substitute heavy pellets to slow them down for accuracy, while using the same extra weight to increase force of impact?

      Inspecting a target box after my friend shot it with PBA pellets revealed very little deformation on these pellets compared to lead pellets. This would seem to me to be a reason not to use them for hunting: they would be prone to passing completely through the animal rather than transfer energy.

      Les

      • kenholmz Says:

        Les, I am paraphrasing something B.B. wrote at some point in the not too distant pass. He wrote regarding accuracy and impact. He wrote something to the effect that a flat trajectory isn’t everything, especially if accuracy suffers. He also that it didn’t matter if your shot had the trajectory of a mortar round, as long as that shot was accurate. So, I thing that yes, use heavier pellets for accuracy and impact. ~Ken

    • Victor Says:

      Frank B,

      Happy birthday! Yesterday was mine.

      Victor

      • Frank B Says:

        Well,thank you Victor! I hope you had a most excellent birthday my friend.Yours coincided with Fat Tuesday…..so happy Mardi Gras as well.:)

  • /Dave Says:

    As much as I dislike the UK’s gun law nonsense, they appear to have hit the nail on the head with their muzzle energy rating. Barring a new standard that measures energy at a specific distance like se mn airgunner proposes, I think it’s is most representative of what an airgun can achieve and therefore makes the most sense as far as standards go. When I see an energy rating in a description on PA’s website, I have a much better idea of what I’m looking at. Way to go, PA!

    /Dave

    • Wulfraed Says:

      I can see one problem with the energy-at-distance specification.

      Ballistic coefficient!

      Pretty much any measurement done within a few feet of the muzzle (whatever is needed to prevent air-blast triggering the sensors) is going to be “pure”.

      But if you are measuring at, say 20 yards (or some reasonable “hunting” distance) your measurement will be including the effects of air-drag on the pellet. A high-drag pellet in a lobbed trajectory may meet your spec at 20 yards, but have much higher energy near the muzzle when compared to a flatter trajectory low-drag pellet.

      • /Dave Says:

        I can see where that complicates things, Wulfraed. Then we need a “standard pellet” for each caliberto use for measurement. Much like the standard air pressure @ mean sea level that is used in aviation. Probably better to just stick with muzzle energy in whatever system that applies for any particular country.

        /Dave

      • NRS Says:

        Dave …

        I think that what we really need is a well thought out testing program, managed by professionals, with appropriate formulae for making calculations and a tight regulation regarding the testing … just like the one that we have for establishing gasoline octane ratings and overall miles per gallon. Hello? Hello?

  • Michael Says:

    B.B. and Everyone,

    I have a question for you. Yesterday my neighbor asked me what blowback air handgun, be it CO2 or propane/green gas, airsoft, BB, or pellet, had the most pronounced “kick.”

    He has two revolvers, an older .32 break-action and a .38 snub nose S&W, as well as a really small .25 semi auto whose brand I’d never heard of and do not remember. He gets to a range only once or twice a year and wants something he can shoot in his basement just for a bit of realistic practice. (He THINKS it will be just for practice — I didn’t tell him just how much fun and how addictive it is going to be.)

    I do not have any airsoft blowback handguns, and my only blowback airguns are the Desert Eagle pellet gun, and the Umarex Walther CP99 Compact, Walther PPK/s, and SA177 BB guns. So I said in my limited blowback collection, it’s probably my Umarex SA177.

    I’ve also heard that the Beretta PX4 is strong kicking, but I have never shot one.

    So, in your far greater experience, what air handguns are a real kick to shoot?

    Thanks for your input,

    Michael

    • Desertdweller Says:

      I can recommend the Umarex/Walthers PPK/S CO2 bb pistol. I have worn one out and have a second that is a joy to shoot.

      They are not very accurate. My first one was more accurate than most, but seems to have been a fluke.

      It has blowback action, and feels like a .22 pistol to shoot.

      Les

    • Gene Says:

      I am not much of a pistol guy and can’t answer your question, but to me the more important similarity to his hand gun would be the feel on the gun in his hand and the trigger. I cannot imagine any BB, pellet or air soft having so much kick that it would be similar to a fire arm.

      • Gene Says:

        ….but, maybe I am wrong. I did not know that Les, thanks.

        • Michael Says:

          I have one of the PPK/s BB guns, and it has a nice “bounce” when shot, but the SA177 does actually force my hand up slightly with each shot, and the others I have do not.

          I understand, I think, the feel and trigger things, but I imagine at least his revolver triggers are moderate, not feather light. He said he wants to work on being consistent while having to deal with recoil. I should’ve mentioned he purchased a springer Airsoft handgun that he said blew him away with its realistic feel, weight, and outstanding accuracy (at 30 feet or so in his basement). But he said it was simply too easy to aim and shoot well because there is no recoil to speak of.

          Michael

    • kenholmz Says:

      Michael, I guess this is a good spot to write what I intended to anyway. You mentioned fun and addiction. Not so long ago I purchased a Gamo PT-85 (not tactical) and I have enjoyed it. It has a nice blowback that may or may not resemble a nice .22 semiauto, but it is has nice feel to it. Yesterday, after two weeks of trying to control myself, I purchased a Walther CP99 Compact. My wife doesn’t know it yet, but when she does I expect to pay. She will probably try to find an AA group (that’s Airgun Addicts) for me to attend. I’ll explain that I purchased 6000 b.b.s for the price of 500 Crosman Premier pellets and that it should pay for itself over time. I don’t think she will buy that. Of course, I did some research and found three reports by B.B. Pelletier in the old Pyramyd Air Report. I had not planned to buy a b.b. gun but…
      ~Ken

      • Michael Says:

        Ken,

        Ah, but if it only stopped there! B.B. guns are ricochet monsters — if you intend to shoot it indoors, I think a must-have (I have the Crosman one, but they’re identical) is the Leapers UTG Accushot Trap. I know B.B. praises the Winchester Styrofoam cube, but I worry about ricochets off of that from any weak shooting BB guns. You can fire away in the UTG one with pellets and BBs both (up to a reasonable power — your Gamo would be fine). My ballistic curtains have lasted four years now, and they’re still fine.

        I wasn’t aware of the Gamo PT-85. That looks like it is similar in design to the Umarex Beretta PX4.

        Michael

        • kenholmz Says:

          Michael, thanks for the info. Indoors, I have been using cardboard boxes filled with news paper. Works great, but doesn’t last long. I will look at the Accushot Trap. One of our regular posters showed evidence that the Umarex Beretta PX4 and the Gamo PT-85 were the same base with essentially minor cosmetic and functional changes. Both are made in Japan, very likely from the same manufacturer. ~Ken

        • Edith Gaylord Says:

          Michael,

          The UTG trap is great. Crosman no longer endorses its trap for BBs…only pellets.

          Edith

          • Michael Says:

            Edith,

            Interesting that Crosman no longer says their trap is appropriate for BBs. Everyone who has one knows that it IS effective, at least as effective as anything else out there. I’d bet that one of Crosman’s lawyers was behind that.

            With the Crosman one now unavailable, I plan to get a UTG one as a spare and a couple extra curtain sets in case that, too, goes away. Time and again we see that being excellent does not guarantee that a product will sell and/or not be discontinued.

            Hey, I’m still upset that there will no longer be Twinkies!

            Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      The PPK/S probably kicks harder than any other I know of. The Desert Eagle also kicks because the slide is so high above the hand.

      B.B.

  • Volvo Says:

    B.B.

    Here is the HW55 that I have coming, paid $425 – so probably towards the top of the price range since it does not have rear target sight? But the walnut looks nice, also the HW’s are so easy to work I can replace the spring, etc.

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/message/1360808688/HW55M

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Volvo,

      ‘That’s a pretty one. A rear sight should cost you $100-150.

      B.B.

    • kevin Says:

      Volvo,

      Here’s the text from that 2010 post I did on the vintage:

      It snowed here a few days ago and my little brain shifted into indoor project gear. Cleaning/lubing fishing reels, sharpening knives, cleaning powder burners and doing stock repairs. I tried a “new to me” technique on cleaning old, dirty sweat stained stocks that I’d like to share.

      I’m a newbie when it comes to airguns but have been deeply into firearms for almost 50 years. I’m not a fan of refinish and save this drastic surgery for extreme cases. I am a fanatic for preservation and conservation thus this post is titled “Stock Rejuvenation”.

      Remember the days when stock rejuvenation/cleaning/preservation involved rottenstone, 600 grit wet/dry with baby oil, working to 1000 grit, then thinning car rubbing compound and finish with a carnuba floor wax and call it good? I have a shortcut with “new to me” products that save time and give very similar results.

      Let me start by apologizing for the before photo’s. I never intended for this to be a posted topic or I would have taken better pictures of the before. I was so impressed with the results with these “new to me” products and only 45 minutes time on this stock I had to post my opinions and technique.

      The before stock was dirty, sweaty and the finish was crazing/crackling. Very “muddy” appearance and on close inspection you could see the spider webbing in the topcoat that defines crazing. Here’s the before:

      OK, you’ve seen the problem, what’s the solution? I’ve read about many that use soap and water then slather on a topical coat of some gloss/urethane finish and proudly call it done. If also read about folks doing this to new guns. I have a real problem with even the thought of applying a brush loaded with liquid finish to any of my guns. Not only does the finish look “plastique” to me it is a pain to fix or repair any damage to these finishes when necessary. When, not if.

      I’d rather carefully clean the surface and remove all surface dirt, body oil and sweat then polish the existing surface then wax. Three steps. All polishing is, is the leveling a surface by making smaller scratches where larger ones used to be so the light bounces back at you. Whether cleaning or polishing an existing finish you have to be careful about not burning through at the corners/edges and watching the color density as a measure of the overall finish thickness and eveness. Not hard. Just don’t get heavy handed.

      First step. Use a stock rubbing compound to remove wax, dirt, sweat, oil, etc. Your CLEAN COTTON rag must be wet with warm water before you add rubbing compound. More water than compound in this step. Rub lightly against the grain with a CLEAN COTTON rag. Wipe off with a clean cotton rag. Rub lightly with the grain. Clean off with a clean cotton rag.

      Second step. Use Five F and a a soft felt pad for application and rub the finish out until you’re satisfied with the results. Five F will allow you to achieve a gloss finish if you spend 5-10 minutes on one area. Don’t want high gloss? Spend less time. When the Five F dries use a CLEAN COTTON rag to remove excess and put the final finish on your stock.

      Third step. Apply your favorite wax as a protectant against dirt, body oil, sweat, etc. I like renaissance wax.

      http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/stock-work-finishing/stock-rubbing-compounds/original-stock-rubbing-compound-prod1126.aspx?ttver=1

      http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/stock-work-finishing/stock-rubbing-compounds/five-f-compound-prod1131.aspx?ttver=1

      http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/stock-work-finishing/stock-rubbing-compounds/sheet-felt-pads-prod12713.aspx?ttver=1

      kevin

  • J. Says:

    BB,

    When I saw the title of this blog post, I figured it was directed at something I said in the rant you posted earlier this week. But it is good to see this kind of article since so many kids really don’t get that velocity numbers mean almost nothing.

    One quirk when it comes to velocity numbers which in my opinion illustrates why it is almost totally worthless comes from Daisy. Back in the day the Daisy 880′s manual said that it would shoot a 7.6 grain pellet at up to 665 fps and a steel BB at 685 fps. Now they’re advertising a muzzle velocity of over 800 fps for BBs and pellets at varying velocities.* The thing is the power-plant in the Daisy 880 hasn’t changed which tells you how Daisy was getting those higher velocity numbers: lighter projectiles. :) Not that kids paid any attention to this sort of thing when it was pointed out to them. :(

    On a side note, something you said a while ago (in an article and a blog post I think) has stuck with me. You talked about how airgun pellets are shorter ranged than bullets because of their high drag diablo nature. I was wondering if theoretically someone could make a .22 rimfire round using an diablo pellet and get the same sorts of limited range? Say as a gallery or plinking load.

    J

    * At one time PA was listing 715 fps for the Daisy 880. Other sites still list that number as an up to velocity. And at one time I think I was seeing a bit higher than that. Though at least it seems the pellet velocities on PA have started coming back to the 665 fps I remember from the 1990s…).

    • Michael Says:

      While more and more we see disclaimers such as, “. . . with non-lead pellets,” as B.B. wrote, even with PBA, the numbers are completely fabricated.

      Hey, I shot my old BSA Meteor the other day. I shot a felt cleaning pellet through it, and it sounded like a .22LR! I’m convinced it was faster than a Gamo Extreme Hunter shooting 5 grain PBAs. I write that because I shot the felt pell into a coffee can 10 feet away. And the felt cleaning pell made a pronounced dent in the bottom of the coffee can.

      Hey, what kinda velocity could you get shooting a 6mm .12 grain Airsoft BB through a .25 Condor? The speed of light? (More like the speed of dimwit.)

      Michael

      • Wulfraed Says:

        You forgot to include: chamber at sea level atmosphere, muzzle sealed into a vacuum chamber (all by itself that would add 1atmosphere of pressure).

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      J.,

      Gary Barnes made a dumbbell-shaped bullet for his big bore rifles that he eventually called the Hornet. It made lots of noise as it went downrange, because of the air pressure flowing around the odd shape.

      That bullet proved to be very accurate, even out to 200 yards. Unfortunately Gary only shot 3-shot groups with his guns, but he got some that were under 2 inches at 200 yards. That would be a 10-shot group of about 5 inches, and that’s remarkable!

      B.B.

    • Edith Gaylord Says:

      J,

      I keep changing the velocities on Pyramyd Air’s site when I find out the mfr has changed it. I’m pretty sure some of the velocities have changed because of law suits that required a higher max (even if the gun can’t achieve that velocity).

      On Pyramyd Air’s site, we state “max velocity,” which is the same as “up to” in my mind. Many people read the velocity figures and expect exactly that velocity every time. Not gonna happen. That’s a possible figure with all things being equal.

      A few mfrs/vendors state the exact pellets they used to achieve the max velocities. In that case, you can take that to the bank.

      In some cases, Pyramyd Air will test a gun due to customer complaints of woefully wrong velocity claims and find that it’s way short of the max velocity. In one case, I wrote in the description that the velocity the tech dept achieved was about 200 fps below the max velocity claim of the mfr. The mfr stopped making the gun shortly thereafter.

      Edith

      • Victor Says:

        Edith,

        I don’t understand how these manufacturers can be surprised by these velocities. They use the same power-plants on so many guns. Don’t they know their own products?

        Victor

        • Edith Gaylord Says:

          Victor,

          What makes you think mfrs are surprised by velocities?

          A change in the published velocity can be the stipulation to end a lawsuit. There may be other reasons, too.

          I know of a mfr that has different velocities for some guns depending on where the gun is shown. There could be different velocites in a print ad, on the website, on the box, in the owner’s manual and in the catalog.

          When I asked about the different velocities, I was told such-and-such was the velocity, but they say it’s so-and-so in other places. When I say…”Huh?” I get the same reponse. That’s when I know lawyers had a say in what can/can’t be said in certain places.

          Edith

          • Victor Says:

            Edith,

            I was referring to the case where the manufacturer discontinued a particular model. I can’t imagine that velocities are so important to them.

            Victor

      • J. Says:

        Edith:

        I don’t mind them posting those sorts of up to velocity claims. I just wish they also had to post the weight of the pellet they got that velocity with. That way the kids at Yahoo Answers would stop thinking they can buy a $100, 4.5mm Acme Superspitter that claims a velocity of 1250 fps, load 16 grain, Snot-stopper pellets in it, and get 55.5 ft-lbs muzzle energy with it.* We both know that isn’t going to happen. But I have actually have had kids tell me that that is actually what those up to velocity numbers on the box mean because companies don’t specify a pellet weight; and they really, really don’t like it when you tell them they are wrong.

        The reason I want to see this sort of change isn’t just because of the Q&A stuff. The misunderstanding about velocity numbers also affects how kids think they can use an airgun. I’ve had kids ask questions on Yahoo Answers where they basically say “I have a 4.5mm, 1250 fps, Acme Superspitter that gets 55.5 ft-lbs of muzzle energy with 16 grain, Snot-stopper pellets. That means its a good choice for shooting raccoons/foxes/oppossums/coyotes/feral hogs right? Because I’m going to go hunting for raccoons/foxes/oppossums/coyotes/feral hogs tomorrow morning.” I’m sure you see the potential problem there…

        *I’m changing the names of the guns and pellets in question to protect decent products and to be humorous.

  • Matt61 Says:

    Yes, rimfire velocities seem to be the benchmark of comparison for firearms owners wondering about airguns. But once they have reached this point which is also the velocity for the .45 ACP as they have, why pursue this? You may as well get a firearm. Good heavens, what a job for Edith to talk about laws with people who are not in a position to know. The laws are so complicated that I doubt that anyone fully understands them which is a version of the general condition with bureaucracies. I’m growing more convinced that we live in vast flickering structures of illusion where nobody knows what’s going on! The post office worker I mentioned before was absolutely convinced with moral authority shining from his gaze that I was not allowed to mail rifles through the U.S. mail. I called up the postmaster of that branch later and got the same tone of conviction. But when I told him that the official website said it’s okay, he smoothly backed away and reversed his position. Here is an example of the four laws underlying laws of bureaucracy which are:

    1. Avoid threat or embarrassment whenever possible.
    2. Never act like you are avoiding them.
    3. Never mention your avoidance behavior.
    4. Never discuss the undiscussability of the undiscussable.

    This makes a certain sense if you don’t know what you’re doing. What surprises me is that some people interpret this state as a reason to be more aggressive, not less–more aggressive in proportion to their ignorance?!

    As another case in point, I called up the place selling my Mauser and was answered by the old witch with a menacing rumble. I asked where my rifle was and was left hanging for some minutes while she fumbled around. It turns out that she had completely forgotten about it. Oh, what a soft church-like sanctity surrounded the information about her screw up as opposed to her howling indignation from before about all sorts of imagined affronts. And she was equally swift to gloss over this difficult point. Argh, patience my friends. The rifle is launched and cannot fail to be mine. As St. Paul said, “I have run the great race. I have finished the course. Now the prize awaits.”

    Titus Groan, yes I had heard about the bad behavior of the chimps from their wars to their prostitutes to just about everything else you can imagine. There was a movie called Monkeyshines where a scientific researcher somehow hooks his brain up to the consciousness of a monkey. What comes out is a stream of cursing that leaves his girlfriend amazed. But you cannot be too hard on the chimps when you can’t even explain the behavior of humans. There was a woman from Connecticut who treated her chimp like a family member. Fed expensive take-out to the chimp, classy wines at dinner. Took bubble baths with the chimp. Slept in the same bed with the chimp. Dressed him up in red and blue onesies! The chimp ended up mutilating a neighbor who he thought was infringing on his territory. They say the woman’s treatment of the chimp was some kind of grief reaction to losing her own family, and the chimp got confused. Well, that would make two of us.

    But you’re right about the dangers of interpreting animal behavior. What got me was new research showing the high intelligence of animals apart from their language ability and their range of emotions. You got the sense of this consciousness that was inaccessible because of the language barrier. But then I came across another hyena video the other day. A guy had it on a leash and it was doing a fair imitation of Lassie, bounding around and being affectionate. At the end, the guy was brushing its teeth while it flashed a huge grin at the camera. The guy said that hyenas like their teeth stimulated!? I give up.

    Matt61

    • Titus Groan Says:

      O.K., A hyena that loves a good gum massage. You could not pay me enough to get my fingers that close to a vicious set of sharp fangs. Not to mention the jaw muscles of the hyena, that have been rated as strong as a full grown lion. My biggest query, is why seemingly intelligent Human beings would deliberately put themselves in harms way. I love most all animals. But I carry a deep respect for the abilities they posses in their need to survive in a natural habitat. Chimpanzees can not only be trained in American sign language, but at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa, a bonobo chimpanzee named Kanzi, has learned to understand English the same way a Human child does. Merely from being around people speaking it when he was a youngster. He has also learned to make a fire, cook noodles on a stove, and knapp flint blades depending on the need. He would be able to speak with the researchers, if his vocal chords would permit it. He was born in a research environment and not in the wild. Would he have these abilities had he been born in the wild? I think not. He would have been too obsessed with survival.
      Back in 1900′s when zoos were at their peak of popularity, London, England had one of the biggest in terms of numbers of wild animals. They came from all over the British Empire. Someone had the bright idea to get some young chimps to have a tea party to entertain the public. Well, the chimps became so good at mimicking human behavior, the public felt threatened. How dare these dumb apes act like us! So, the zoo keepers taught them to act up and ‘monkey around’. We see the same behavior in movies and television. It’s cute, so how could they possibly be dangerous? I have a 8 month old long haired German Shepherd. He’s already 80lbs. and his teeth can puncture soup cans. Yes, I will stick to the tried and true domesticated pets. Cats and dogs.
      Caio Titus

  • Victor Says:

    Now, could you imagine if manufacturers all went by one single claim, accuracy at 25 yards? THAT would be interesting, and more useful information! Well, except that somehow that claim would turn into a lie as well.

  • ed Says:

    Doesn’t the phrase ” Buyer beware” seem appropriate, here?

    • Victor Says:

      ed,

      Along the lines of what Kevin is saying, a little education goes a long way. Once you’ve done your homework, including reading reviews, you get the picture that actual velocities with pellets that are more practical, or ideal, will bring the numbers down considerably. As I mentioned above, you can realistically expect drops of on average 200 fps, and often much more.

      What we’re really talking about is a sort-of childish game to influence (fool) certain buyers (the “Man-Child”). It’s exactly the same in the audio equipment industry. They make most of their money with buyers between the age of 17 and 33 (approximately), who aren’t particularly sophisticated. So the thing that sells the most are things like speakers that are BRIGHT and loud. What these buyer’s aren’t aware of, is that these types of speakers cause listening fatigue after an extended period, which can even be as little as half an hour. BUT, this is what will blow you away within 2 minutes in the showroom. The more sophisticated buyer is looking for something that is more neutral and accurate. THIS is something that you can listen to, and enjoy, all day long, not unlike a good air-gun.

      Victor

  • Vince Says:

    Oddly enough Shanghai – long known as the bottom-feeder of the bottom-feeders – has historically published conservative velocity numbers that were easy to beat using real pellets. Perhaps they geared their numbers to represent what the worst examples of their products would do…

    Compasseco (selling a lot of rebadged Industry Brand stuff) used to inflate those numbers rather dramatically. Their claims for guns like the TF99 were just plain surreal…

    • BG_Farmer Says:

      Perhaps not when you lubed the 99 with corn oil as recommended :). I remember getting some oil in the 36-2′s chamber one time (easy, as the leather was sealing dubiously as I found out later) and getting a long string of supersonic shots.

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    BB,
    You are right, of course. If a rifle works for what you want to do, don’t worry about its rating — that’s often for the boxes at Walmart. I do, however, prefer the fps with pellet specified rating when offered.

    I think 750fps is a good arbitrary line — above that is fairly flat trajectory and below is a little loopier than I’d like, in general, but I think I like to plink at longer distances than most have available and it is normally fairly windy here as the rule rather than the exception. A real “1000fps” (with real pellets) springer can be a little rough to shoot, so I’d rather get 900fps with CPL, for example, and not rant about it on the forums or sue the manufacturer! On the other hand, I have been curious about the “ultra-magnums”, such as the 350′s or Ruger Air Magnum — I might have to play with one of those in .22.

  • no new jersey Mike Says:

    It appears to me that 1,000 fps has become the standard to sell most air guns
    today.I my self have fallen for the numbers game.The higher the velocity the more
    I want the that gun.Back when Air Rifle Headquarters sold the Wischo 55n
    that was my dream gun at 750 fps.I tried to buy it but they wouldn’t send it
    to New Jersey and I never did get one.I went to a gunshop near Princeten
    which was supposed to be an authorized AR dealer but all they had was
    the Winchester Diana which I did buy but the velocity never approached the 55n
    That’s when I discovered adding oil to chamber boosted it up,with in two weeks
    the gun lost half it’s power.When the R1 came out I bought two of them in .22.177
    and still have them to this day.They are still working perfect.
    I think if we push power any farther some states will turn us in to the UK,Which
    already is happening.Now I’m in a free state and I am able to buy what ever I want
    when it strikes my fancy.I think 1600 fps should be the tops in .22 & .177
    except for the Rouge and other pcn’s in 9mm.50 cal. etc.

  • J-F Says:

    I just found this in the 2013 Hatsan PCP catalog (posted in the comment section of the Friday February 15).
    “Even though FPS rates may look the same from brand to brand, that may not always
    be the case. Hatsan tests this rating using lead pellets, but most competitors use lighter
    aluminum alloy pellets. What this means for you is that a Hatsan airgun will deliver more
    knockdown power than an alloy-tested airgun with the same FPS rating.”

    Tought it fitted todays topic pretty well.

    J-F

    • Edith Gaylord Says:

      J-F,

      I’m a Hatsan fan. A few years ago, they wrote up a manual for a hand pump Pyramyd Air sold. They agreed to send me the owner’s manual, which I expected to require a lot of edits (been there before). I was very surprised to see that it was written by someone in Turkey who had a good command of conversational English, wrote like he knew something about the product and was interested in having it edited for the U.S. market. When I met the Hatsan people at the SHOT Show this year, I mentioned this to them, as it stands them apart from most overseas airgun mfrs. I have not read their airgun manuals, but I would expect them to be similarly well-done.

      Hatsan seems to care about airgunners & the American market. They shoot the guns (including the firearms they make)…they’re not golfers running a gun company. I’m duly impressed by Hatsan’s staff, their approach to the market and their desire to bring to market the guns and gear American airgunners want. What a breath of fresh air!

      Edith

      • J-F Says:

        It must be nice to deal with people who actually know what they’re talking about and who have touched and tried their products.
        Now if they only could apply that to their springer line…
        The new Galatian line looks very good and well made and if it’s on par with their other PCP’s the accuracy should be there too.
        I think they’re aiming straight at the new Diana 1000 with it, time will tell who wins but I think that for the money Hatsan could be hard to beat.

        J-F

  • Pete Hallock Says:

    Another Sidebar: I have a RWS 350 Magnum in .177. Talk is too much power for this small a caliber, So, How about the Eun Jin 16.1 Gr pellet…this OK to use and tame is monster?
    Thank you !
    Pete
    California

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Pete,

      The Eun Jin works well in powerful airguns, but I would think that Kodiaks will work in your rifle. Remember that I demonstrated that vibration and not velocity is the destroyer of accuracy, so speed by itself isn’t the enemy we all thought it was.

      B.B.

      • Pete Hallock Says:

        B.B. Thank you very much ! Think I’ll pick up the Kodiak pellets. PA packs them the best way at the best prices, and need some other stuff too. 30WT Non-Detergent Oil down the barrel of my Hy-Score 806 and Diana 25 (Original ) did the wonders you suggested, also !
        Best wishes !
        Pete
        California

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