Characteristics of a classic airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Airguns are easy to use
  • Airguns are quiet
  • Airguns cock easily
  • Airguns are accurate
  • Airguns have good sights
  • What about plastic?
  • Triggers
  • What have I missed?
  • Why is this in the history section?

I celebrate my victories quietly. One of them has been to expose the elements of classic airgun design, so people who need to know can understand what it takes to make something timeless and enduring. We all know that the airgun manufacturers are silent readers of this blog and its comments. Today I am dedicating this report to them — a compilation of design aspects that will ensure a classic airgun. I’ll tell you why at the end of the report.

Airguns are easy to use

Yes, there are people who only shoot airguns. Before I wrote this blog I had no idea there were so many of them, but there are. They are a sizable element of the shooting population and designers need to be aware of them. But their numbers are overwhelmed by the number of firearms shooters who also shoot airguns from time to time. And why do they do it? Because airguns are easy to shoot. I can pick up a Diana 27 and snap off 5 shots at targets of opportunity before you can pack your AR-15 with bipod and sniper scope into that oversized black tactical bag! And we both know the rifle isn’t all you need to go to the range. You load the car with stuff, while I carry my 6-pound breakbarrel in one hand, and a tin of pellets in my pocket.

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Teach me to shoot: Part 11

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

This is the continuing fictional saga and guest report of a man teaching a woman to shoot. Today Jack will start teaching Jamell, how to shoot a muzzle loading rifle.

Our guest writer is reader, Jack Cooper. Take it away, Jack.

Teach me to shoot

by Jack Cooper

This report covers:

  • The mountain men
  • Black powder
  • Characteristics of black powder
  • Safety first
  • Possibles bag
  • Charging the rifle — step one
  • Charging the rifle — step two
  • Black powder grain sizes
  • Loading the ball
  • Ramming the ball home
  • Cap the rifle
  • Clean the bore
  • Finishing

Things have certainly taken a turn since I started teaching Jill to shoot. Now I’m teaching her friend, Jamell, how to shoot a muzzleloading rifle, to prepare her for the custom rifle she is having built. At least I thought it was going to be a rifle. Let me stop for a moment and bring you all up to speed on what it is that Jamell wants to do.

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Hatsan Gladius .177 long: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hatsan Gladius
Hatsan Gladius Long.

This report covers:

    • First test at 25 yards
    • Sight-in
    • H&N Baracuda Match 4.53mm
    • Baracuda Match 4.50mm
    • H&N Baracuda Match 4.52mm
    • H&N Sniper Magnum
    • Shot count
    • JSB Exact Heavy
    • Evaluation so far

    Today we begin to look at the accuracy of the Hatsan Gladius long. Gladius, Maximus — I must have missed the memo that said 2016 is the year for Roman names.

    First test at 25 yards

    I decided to shoot the first test indoors at 25 yards. That would familiarize me with the rifle and also allow me to test the potential of several pellets. I mounted a UTG 10X50 Accushot SWAT scope on the rifle because it seems to compliment the bullpup styling. It’s short, yet plenty powerful for those longer shots I’m going to take. And it comes with UTG mounts that have a Weaver base to fit the rail on top of the Gladius receiver. So mounting went quick, because the scope was already in the rings.

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Benjamin Maximus: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Maximus
The Benjamin Maximus.

This report covers:

  • $100 PCP
  • What is the Maximus?
  • Finish
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • Dual fuel?
  • 2,000 psi
  • Differences
  • Yet to come

Okay — this is the report you have been waiting for. Today we begin looking at the Benjamin Maximus precharged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle. The rifle I’m testing is in .177 caliber, but they also come in .22 at the same price. They are available for sale, too, so the game is on.

$100 PCP

Two years ago Dennis Quackenbush and I experimented with the most inexpensive PCP we could envision. I called it the hundred-dollar PCP, and you might remember the series, Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle. It was an experiment that we hoped would get people both thinking and talking. Well, it certainly did! One dealer was already selling a PCP for $100 that he was converting from a CO2 rifle. When he ran out of the initial supply of rifles, though, the price jumped to around $180, I believe.

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The Daisy 853: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 853
Daisy Avanti 853.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Don’t despair!
  • Thanks to Daisy
  • Sighting-in
  • The rear sight
  • RWS Hobby
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy
  • H&N Finale Match Pistol
  • Vogel
  • The trigger
  • The verdict

Okay, this is Part 5 and I am finally ready to test the Daisy 853 10-meter target rifle for accuracy. It’s been awhile since we looked at the 853, so allow me to recap. I bought the rifle used at a good price and tested it for velocity in Part 2. That was when I learned that my rifle wasn’t quite performing up to standard, so I got some parts from Daisy and proceeded to rebuild the powerplant. It was a basic rebuild that addresses the pump piston seal, the felt wiper that holds the oil for the piston and all the inlet valve parts.

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Teach me to shoot: Part 10

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

This is the continuing fictional saga and guest report of a man teaching a woman to shoot. Today Jack starts teaching Jill’s friend, Jamell, how to shoot.

Our guest writer is reader, Jack Cooper. Take it away, Jack.

Teach me to shoot

by Jack Cooper

This report covers:

  • Getting started
  • Wants to hunt
  • Field trip
  • Watch the crowd
  • Etiquette lives!
  • High art
  • They do a deal — sort of
  • Diana the huntress
  • Big girl, big rifle
  • Next time at the range

I told you that I had promised Jill I would teach her friend, Jamell, how to shoot. Of course Jamell already knows how to shoot on several levels. She met Jill at a Babes with Bullets camp, where both of them took the Beginner Handgun course. So she not only knows how to shoot, she is also a recent graduate of one of the best training courses in the U.S. My job was to fill in the blanks that weren’t covered at the camp; subjects Jamell has never been formally taught.

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Hatsan 85 MOBU Sniper Combo: Part 7

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan 85
Hatsan 85 Sniper rifle combo.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

This report covers:

  • Back to the Hatsan 85 MOBU Sniper
  • A test of the new trigger adjustments
  • Many different holds
  • Try something different
  • Evaluation so far

Back to the Hatsan 85 MOBU Sniper

Today we return to the Hatsan 85 Mossy Oak Break Up rifle, to see whether Bulldawg76′s trigger adjustment screws have any impact on accuracy. I don’t think they will, but I do think they will make it easier to shoot the rifle at targets. That will be a help by itself.

I am shooting off a rest at 25 yards. Naturally the artillery hold is being used. I’m resting the rifle on my off hand, back by the triggerguard

A test of the new trigger adjustments

I began where we left off in Part 5. The rifle is sighted-in and I selected the H&N Baracuda Match with 4.52mm head as the pellet to try. Boy — was I shocked when the first shot was a 10! For a few shots everything looked good, but then on shot number 6 the group opened up. By the time 10 shots had been fired the group measured 1.551-inches between centers. That’s very similar to the 1.422-inches I got with the same pellet before the trigger was adjusted.

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