2016 Texas Airgun show: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Weather
  • Started late?
  • Flash flood of people!
  • What kind of show was it?
  • Some finds
  • The gate

Here we go! The 2016 Texas Airgun Show was the most different airgun show I have ever attended. I will try to tell you why, but as I do, you will learn that I did not see the entire show, so I’ll rely on the comments of others to assist me.

Weather

The weather was perfect! Normally Texas is above 100 degrees at this time in August, but this day was just 91. And the humidity was down, as well. Rain had been predicted earlier in the week, but the sun was out most of the day and I don’t think a drop fell.

Started late?

Every airgun show I have attended, which is over 40 by now, has had the dealers lined up at the door, pressing to get in even before it’s time. This Texas show was not like that. In fact, at 7 a.m., half an hour after the doors were opened for the dealers to set up, there were still only about one-third of the tables filled. I thought something was up. A few people said the show was hard to locate, but that was because they were using Google Maps to find it. If they switched to Map Quest, the directions were perfect.

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Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Air Bolts
Air Venturi Air Bolts turn a .50 caliber big bore rifle or shotgun into an air bow.

This report covers:

  • Like no other!
  • Another air bow?
  • Is the Air Bolt any good?
  • What I was told
  • We begin
  • Muzzle-loaded
  • Shot 1
  • 30 yards
  • Great air conservation
  • Evaluation

Today I start looking at the Air Bolt from Air Venturi. This product is a package of 6 arrows that sell for $120.00 at Pyramyd Air, and I know there will be lectures on the cost of crossbow arrows today. Because that’s what the Air Bolt is — a crossbow bolt.

Like no other!

HOWEVER — and this is the news today — with the Air Bolt, you don’t have to buy another gun. If you already own a .50 caliber big bore airgun — and hundreds, if not thousands of serious U.S. airgunners already do — there is nothing more to buy. You have everything you need to begun shooting.

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Teach me to shoot: Part 13

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
Part 11
Part 12

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:

  • A fowler?
  • Jamell Fowler
  • A refresher
  • Flintlock basics
  • Description
  • Loading sequence
  • Speaking of ramming
  • Priming sequence
  • Flash in the pan
  • Wet weather
  • Next

DANGER: Today’s topic talks about loading and shooting a black powder firearm. Black powder is explosive, even in the open. Be sure you know what you are doing before using black powder!

I went with Jamell to pick up the custom flintlock she ordered. It was part of a trade for one of her sculptures, and she took pictures of the clay rendering she had made to show to the gun maker. He was thrilled with her work, which will be an 18-inch bronze of a mountain man facing a grizzly bear. Apparently he will owe her some money plus the gun, but I stayed out of their business.

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Welcome, fellow Jedi!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Back in the day
  • Parallax
  • Twist rate and rifling styles
  • Velocity versus accuracy
  • Oh, how far we have come!

I was going to show you a brand new spotting scope today, but something came up that I want to address. I don’t always respond to your comments these days — there are simply too many of them for me to cover. But I at least scan all of them and I read many of them.

Yesterday it dawned on me as I was reading the comments — many of you are ready to take your test to become full-fledged Jedi knights! A few may even go on to become Jedi masters. Well done, my enthusiastic Padawan learners!

Whenever I write about a technical subject I cringe, thinking of all the questions it will bring. That used to be bad, because I had to answer each any every question myself. But that isn’t the case anymore. I have been following conversations between Bulldawg76, GunFun1 and ChrisUSA and I am amazed at the level of expertise being displayed. I remember when each of them first started commenting on the blog, and they don’t seem like the same people anymore.

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Bully pulpit and the future of airguns

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Bully pulpit
  • Closed ranks
  • Lead, follow or get out of the way
  • A new dynamic
  • The stalwarts
  • Robert Beeman
  • What I did
  • Edith was the inspiration
  • I pulled the plug
  • The big push!
  • It’s not me

Bully pulpit

According to Wiki, “A bully pulpit is a sufficiently conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to.” The phrase was coined by Theodore Roosevelt, who felt the White House was a bully pulpit. In his day, the term bully meant excellent.

Closed ranks

When I started my newsletter — The Airgun Letter — in 1994, it was in response to a lack of literature about airguns. There were only a couple books on the subject at that time, and it seemed as if the serious airgunners wanted to hide their passion. Advanced collectors told me what a shame it is to have a reference like the Blue Book of Airguns, because now everybody can know what they know. In the past, they relied on ignorance to grow their collections at low prices. But when everyone can know that a Winsel CO2 pistol is ultra-rare, they stop selling them for $50, and the price climbs to over $1,000.

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The rise of the accurate pellet: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Accuracy taken for granted
  • Crosman 160 opened my eyes!
  • In the beginning
  • The ball or bullet
  • Smaller calibers
  • Pellet shape
  • Birth of the diabolo
  • A long way to go

Accuracy taken for granted

I was speaking with a group of very advanced airgunners recently and found myself amazed by what we all took for granted. The subject was airgun accuracy and topics like distance, powerplants and pellet shapes came up, but no one in the group seemed to remember the time when none of those things made any difference. They didn’t because there weren’t any pellets on the market that took advantage of them. Until around the 1960s, accuracy with airguns was iffy, at best. The problem was not the guns — it was the ammunition!

Crosman 160 opened my eyes!

I remember buying a new-old-stock Crosman 160 target rifle that had been produced and sold to the U.S. Air Force. The rifle hadn’t been fired since Crosman tested it with CO2 at the factory some time in the 1970s. The Air Force bought an unknown number of 160s that came with slings and the Crosman S331 rear peep sight. Presumedly there was a plan to use these rifle for some type of training, but that must never have happened, because hundreds of them were found in a military warehouse in the 1990s in unused condition. When I opened the gas reservoir to install 2 fresh CO2 cartridges, I found the original cartridges Crosman had used to test the gun before packaging in the 1970s! The rifle was brand new, as were hundreds of others just like it!

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Some thoughts on airgun projectile stability

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Pioneer airbow
  • Rifling
  • Hop-Up
  • Projectile finish
  • Summary

I’m writing this from my hospital bed on Saturday, though I hope to be discharged later today. I would like to thank Val Gamerman for covering the blog for me last week. I was unable to do much of anything, and my thanks to all of you for keeping things going. This will be short, because of my situation. Let’s talk about airgun projectile stability today.

Pioneer airbow

When I shot the Benjamin Pioneer airbow at the SHOT Show this year I was amazed by the accuracy it gave. Not just when I shot it, but also there were two cases where one arrow went inside another one at 30 yards. Television’s Mythbusters proved that a regular longbow cannot do that because the arrow is constantly flexing as it flies, but the Pioneer pushes the arrow from the tip (it’s hollow inside) rather than from the back end and it doesn’t flex in flight. That got me thinking about what has been done about airgun projectile stability and what remains to be done.

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