How and why airguns change over time

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • They don’t make ‘em like they used to
  • Are today’s airguns better?
  • 1. Technology — back then
  • Technology — now
  • 2. Understanding the principles — back then
  • Understanding the principles — now
  • 3. Company staff and leadership — back then
  • Company staff and leadership — now
  • 4. Market trends — then and now
  • Summary

Happy New Year! May 2016 be a good year for all of us.

They don’t make ‘em like they used to

Ain’t that the truth? Nothing is the same anymore. Usually when people discuss this subject they only remember the good things from the past. Things like the heavy metal Detroit muscle cars that had huge engines. They forget that those engines had to be tuned up every 10K miles, or that they often leaked oil.

As far as airguns go people remember blued steel and walnut stocks. They remember airguns that were made like firearms, and they both looked and felt like it. But a lot of facts are edited out.

Before 1970, an airgun that could achieve 800 feet per second (f.p.s.) velocity was considered a magnum. Today, the same gun would be a youth model, or at best an adult plinker. Today’s airguns top 1,000 f.p.s. regularly. The fastest exceed 1,400 f.p.s.

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Gamo Compact target pistol: part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo Compact
Gamo’s Compact single stroke target pistol is back.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The sights
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Gamo Match pellets
  • H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
  • RWS Hobby pellets
  • The rest of the test
  • Summary

Today is accuracy day. We get to see what the Gamo Compact target pistol can do to a target at 10 meters. Let’s get right to it.

I shot the pistol at 10 meters with the gun rested on a sandbag. Since a single stroke pneumatic has no recoil, this is the best way to check the accuracy. I know there are some who believe the gun has to be held in a vise to check accuracy, but in the European factories they test the guns hand-held.

The sights

Remember that I adjusted the width of the rear sight notch in Part 2. It turned out that I got the width just about right for my eyes, so it was very easy to hold on-target. I pulled just one shot out of 40, and I will tell you which one when we get there.

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Gamo Compact target pistol: part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo Compact
Gamo’s Compact single stroke target pistol is back.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Trigger pull
  • On to velocity
  • Gamo Match pellets
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
  • RWS Hobby pellets
  • On to the other velocity tests
  • Warming the pump head
  • Summary

Today is velocity day for the Gamo Compact target pistol, and you readers have given me several additional things you want tested. Let’s begin with a look at the trigger.

Trigger pull

I mentioned in Part 1 that the trigger on the test pistol feels heavier than mine did 19 years ago. It’s advertised to break at 3 lbs. and the one on the test pistol breaks at 3 lbs. 4 oz. out of the box. There is also some light creep (discernible movement and stopping in the second-stage pull). I told you I would see what I could do about this, so I removed the grips and looked at the trigger unit.

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Gamo Compact target pistol: part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo Compact
Gamo’s Compact single stroke target pistol.

This report covers:

  • What is the Gamo Compact?
  • Can you shoot 10 meter with one?
  • Description
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • No safety
  • Pumping
  • Summary

I last tested a Gamo Compact single stroke target pistol in 1996, when I bought one for my newsletter,  The Airgun Letter. That was 19 years ago, and I was interested to see if the gun had changed in any way. As far as I can tell, it is exactly the same today as it was back then. That’s something you can’t say about a lot of airguns.

What is the Gamo Compact?

The Compact is a single stroke pneumatic target pistol. Yes, it is a 10-meter target pistol, though Gamo doesn’t represent it that way. Nor should they. Ten-meter air pistols are very specifically designed for just one thing — competition in bullseye target shooting at 10 meters. Yes, people do use them in other ways, but the guns are designed for just one purpose — putting pellets as close to the center of a bullseye as humanly possible.

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The single stroke pneumatic

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What is a single stroke pneumatic?
  • The pump head is critical
  • Quick fix
  • How much power?
  • More power
  • Low-cost plinkers
  • Great single stroke
  • Summary

This report was requested by reader Chris USA, and I expect it will be helpful for a number of other readers, as well. Today we’re going to talk about the single-stroke pneumatic, which was the most recent airgun powerplant to be developed. As far as I can determine, the first commercially successful single stroke was the Walther LP2 pistol that was offered in 1967. That pistol’s name tells us a couple things. Was there an LP1? Probably, but I find no record of it in the literature. That tells me it probably wasn’t sold commercially, or if it was, it was withdrawn and replaced by the LP2 soon after launch. So Walther probably developed the single stroke design in the early 1960s or even the late ’50s.

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2015 Texas airgun show: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Setup
  • Big bore draws a crowd
  • The match
  • Texans galore!
  • What about the show?
  • Vortek and the Diana 34
  • More to come

Setup

The Texas airgun show is a one-day event. Everyone knows they have to get in quick, set up quick and get everything accomplished in one short day. The Parker County Sportsman Club that hosted the event provided dozens of volunteers to run the ranges, park cars, sell tickets, prepare and serve food and drinks, and generally help anyone who needed it. As a result, the event was set up and running smooth when the doors opened to the public at 9 am. But, unlike last year, there was no line at the door. The tickets were sold at a gate outside the compound because we had vendors in two different buildings this year. Even so I was surprised and a little disappointed when I didn’t see the immediate crush of people at 9.

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B.B.’s Christmas gift suggestions for 2012: Part 2

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

Part 1

Okay, today I want to try to finish my 2012 gift list.

Pneumatic air rifles
I have to list the Benjamin 392 and 397 rifles. Even though the price is rising steadily on them, they both still represent some of the best values in the airgun market. I’m specifically not recommending the Blue Streak because it’s now the virtual twin of the other two rifles, and I feel that its .20 caliber limits the availability of premium pellets too much.

Benjamin 392 multi-pump pneumatic air rifle
Benjamin 392 and 397 multi-pump pneumatics

The M4-177 is another great multi-pump gun. It’s not as powerful as the first two, but it’s even more accurate at short ranges. If you want a cheap target rifle, this could be the one!

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