2012 SHOT Show: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1

This is the second of my reports on the 2012 SHOT Show. There will certainly be at least one more after this, and perhaps even more, as there’s simply too much new information to pack into a single report.

The state of the airgun industry in 2012
Before I get to some specifics, I want to make a general observation. This year’s SHOT Show was different for me in a major way, because I saw for the first time that firearms shooters are beginning to understand airguns as never before. In the past, I always had to start my explanations with the cooling of the earth’s crust and then progress through the age of the dinosaurs because each firearms person I talked to thought of airguns as either toys or BB guns. This year, a lot of them were clued-in on what’s happening. They weren’t surprised by the accuracy we get, and they knew about big bores. A lot of them had some airgun experience and more than a few asked me the same kind of questions that I get from long-time readers of this blog.

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2012 SHOT Show: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Timothy Burman is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card! Congratulations!

Timothy Burman is the Big Shot of the Week. He’s holding his HW97K in .20 caliber.

The day before the SHOT Show opened this year was a special day set aside for the media to sample all the new guns at a range in Boulder City. There were 1,200 official registrants and another couple hundred who got in after the registration ended, plus about 500 personel running the ranges. So, for 2,000 people, each of whom fired 100-1,000 rounds, there was a whole lotta shootin’ going on!

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Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The Haenel 311 is the world’s only bolt-action spring-piston 10-meter target rifle.

Today is accuracy day for the Haenel 311, and the day holds a couple surprises and should be a fun read. Because of the crude design of this rifle, I don’t shoot it that often and I forget just how well it shoots.

The 311 is a recoiling spring-piston air rifle and, as such, has to be held with the artillery hold for best results. I needed to be reminded of that.

Also, I tend to shoot smaller groups with the Ballard .38-55 rifle at 100 yards when I wear my glasses. But when shooting a 10-meter rifle I tend to do best without them. Since I haven’t shot at 10-meter targets in a while, that was another point that needed to be remembered.

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Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


The Haenel 311 is the world’s only bolt-action, spring-piston 10-meter target rifle.

Let’s look at the velocity of my Haenel 311 target rifle. Because of the way it cocks, this rifle is low-powered. It isn’t possible to put a long-stroke piston or a stout mainspring in the mechanism when the rifle is cocked by pulling back on a three-inch bolt handle. You don’t pull it straight back, either. The base of the handle pivots like a fulcrum, and the handle rocks back to pull the piston into the cocked position. As I mentioned in Part 1, it’s so difficult to cock that the gun is destined for adults, only.

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Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


The Haenel 311 is the world’s only bolt-action spring-piston 10-meter target rifle.

At the Roanoke Airgun Expo several weeks ago, I saw a Haenel 311 target rifle on one of the tables, which it reminded me that I’d promised myself long ago to give you a full report on this curious air rifle. Today, I’ll begin to fulfill that promise.

Back in the days when Edith and I published The Airgun Letter, we were contacted by a pawn shop that was importing target airguns from the former East Germany. We told our readers about them, and thousands of model 310s and 311s and a few 312 sidelevers were sold over the course of a few years. The prices were quite low. As I recall, the 310s went for $49, and the 311s brought $59. I bought several guns to test and as gifts, and the 311 you’ll see here is one of those purchased.

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The RWS Diana 75 10-meter target rifle – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

I’ll be having another outpatient procedure today and will be gone most of the afternoon. I’d like to ask the regular blog readers if they’d help out answering questions from the new people. Edith will be with me in the hospital and will have her computer and also help out with answers if needed.

Photos and testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald.

Readers who have been with us for several months know that my friend Earl “Mac” McDonald has been helping me test airguns while I recover from my hospitalization. Well, Mac is an airgunner, too, and he has a nice collection of fine vintage guns that he would like to share with all of us. So, while we were on the way to the Roanoke airgun show, we discussed the possibility of his testing some of his guns that may not be well-known among airgunners today.

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