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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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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The Daisy 853: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 853
Daisy Avanti 853.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Reader ideas
  • Re-oiling the pump head
  • Old stock screws caused trouble
  • Break the spacer
  • Disassemble the action
  • Assembly
  • What’s next?

Before we begin I want to remind all of you about the Pyramyd Air Cup. It’s just about three months away! I plan to be there this year, so come out and say, “Hi” if you can.

I also want to remind you about the Texas Airgun Show that’s even closer. The tables are almost filled and most of the major manufaturers and importers will be there. Plus, American Airgunner will be there all day.

Yes, sports fans, we’re back with the Daisy 853 today. Here’s what I learned from all of you after the last report. I learned that many of you consider the 853 to be tricky to work on, as I reported. It’s not because of complexity; it’s because of the method of construction. This rifle is held together by its parts in ways that make assembly a challenge. I suppose you do get better at it after working on many guns, but there are a lot of little tricks I don’t yet know, so I find it challenging.

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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 Daisy 853: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 853

Daisy 853.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Help arrives
  • Overhaul parts
  • Pilkgun website instructions
  • Felt wiper disintegrated
  • The critical step
  • O-ring positions
  • Hobby pellets
  • Pump tube
  • What’s next?

Well, this report is turning into one of the most popular ones in recent times! It seems that a lot of you are interested in the Daisy 853. Many of you pestered me about my progress last week when I had to stop the overhaul because the instructions on the Pilkguns website were incomplete.

Help arrives

One of our newer readers named Paperweight sent me a link to a pdf tutorial from Daisy that cleared things up a lot. I followed those instructions and got the overhaul back on track.

Overhaul parts

First, let’s look at the parts Daisy sends for the 853 powerplant overhaul. They didn’t give me the price, but their marketing VP, Joe Murfin, told me he thoughty they cost around $3.00.

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The Daisy 853: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 853
Daisy 853.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A couple things before we begin
  • RWS Hobbys
  • Results before oiling
  • How much oil?
  • Results after oiling
  • Second oiling results
  • What’s next?

I hit a home run with this one! many of you already own 853/753 rifles, and a lot of you have been waiting to get one. I now wonder why it took me 11 years to get to it?

A couple things before we begin

Today we look at velocity of the used 853 I recently bought, and I have couple things to say before we start. First, if the velocity is low, it’s not a problem, because one of the brilliant things about an 853 is how easy it is to overhaul. Daisy supplies the parts at low cost, and there are plenty of websites that walk you though installation. So if the power is low, I will rebuild the powerplant for you. Daisy rates it at 510 f.p.s, so that’s our baseline.

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