How a vintage BB shot tube works

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Technology
  • Gravity
  • Shot tube is the true barrel
  • The shot tube
  • What keeps the BB from rolling out the barrel?
  • A spring!
  • That’s all, folks

Today’s report was suggested by a question from reader 45Bravo, who asked, “How does the shot tube retain the BB then, if not by a magnet?” That’s a good question and I know if one person wants to know there are hundreds of others who haven’t asked, but also want to know.

Technology

Bear in mind that when the Red Ryder first hit the market around 1939, there were no rare earth magnets. They came along in 1966, and have been advancing ever since. So the question remains — how do the shot tubes of older BB guns work?

Gravity

They work by gravity. They work by the same principal that the magazine of the first Gatling Gun used, back in the late 1860s. Gravity pulls the cartridges (and the BBs) down, so all that’s needed is a chute to guide the ammunition to the loading/firing mechanism. It’s a little more complex than that, but not much. And it’s all mechanical.

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Schofield Number 3 BB revolver: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Schofield BB revolver
Schofield BB revolver.

This report covers:

  • Let’s get started
  • Trouble at first
  • This comes with experience
  • ASG Blaster BBs
  • Air Venturi Copper-Plated steel BBs
  • H&N Smart Shot lead BBs
  • Shot count
  • Trigger pull
  • Evaluation so far

Today we look at the velocity of the new Schofield Number 3 BB revolver. I also encountered a small glitch that will help some of you with your new CO2 guns. This should be an interesting report.

Let’s get started

I installed the first CO2 cartridge and found the Allen wrench in the left grip panel is very handy. I think I like that arrangement best of all, because the grip panel serves as a convenient handle for the wrench. I had the cartridge installed and the gun working in seconds, and yes, there was a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the cartridge tip.

Trouble at first

I cocked the pistol to fire it once, just to make sure the cartridge was pierced. But the hammer didn’t fall! This is a single action, so cocking the hammer is the only way to fire the gun. I played with the gun a few moments before discovering that the hammer had to be pushed forward slightly before the gun would fire. So then I cocked the hammer, pushed it forward slightly and then shot the gun like normal.

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Schofield Number 3 BB revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Schofield BB revolver
Schofield BB revolver.

This report covers:

  • A new toy
  • Fatal flaw
  • Single action
  • Safety
  • Cartridge
  • The BB gun
  • Manual needs some work
  • Cartridges
  • Sights
  • Schofield is a rare firearm!
  • Cool!

A new toy

Oh, boy! Here we go again with another lookalike BB revolver. This Schofield BB gun is from the past. It’s a replica of S&W’s Schofield revolver. The Schofield was created from a Smith & Wesson New Model Number 3 revolver (often also called the American, to differentiate it from the Russian model) by Major George W. Schofield of the 10th cavalry. The major modification involved moving the barrel latch of this top-break revolver from the barrel to the frame of the gun, allowing the barrel to be broken open with one hand. Cavalry troops have to control horses, along with all their other duties as soldiers, so they want everything they use — guns, sabers, etc. — to work one-handed.

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Daisy’s Red Ryder: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

A history of airguns

Daisy Red Ryder
Daisy Red Ryder.

This report covers:

  • My gun
  • Today’s test
  • BB gun powerplant
  • Secrets of the BB gun powerplant
  • Daisy BBs
  • Cocking
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Feeding
  • H&N Smart Shot BBs
  • So far

As I told you in Part 1, I’m reviewing the Daisy Red Ryder because it’s a classic BB gun, and also because I have a scope mount to test when this basic review is over. Today we look at the velocity.

My gun

My gun is either a variant 5 or 6, but I can find nothing in the Blue Book that distinguishes between those two variants. My gun has a wood buttstock with the Red Ryder brand on the left side, and a plastic forearm. The rear sight is fixed. The cocking lever is curved aluminum and painted black. The rest of the gun is blued steel. Variant 5 has all those features and was made in 1947 to 1952. Variant 6 has the same features and was made in 1952. In 1953 Daisy started painting the metal and sometime around then they also started to make the buttstocks of plastic — which is variant 7.

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Give me MORE POWER

By Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Computer crash
  • More power
  • Is all the power still there?
  • Breech seals
  • Transfer ports
  • Air transfer port test
  • I could go on!
  • Today’s point

Computer crash

My main computer died suddenly Monday morning, so I had to scramble to get a new one and have the old data transferred. I’m working on Edith’s computer that has the same software but is set up differently in the user interfaces. So things have been a struggle this week. One big problem is transferring photos and videos from cameras. I can do it, but it takes 4 times as long.

More power

I was hoping to do the Teach me to shoot report on holding a 1911 pistol today, but the computer issue made that impossible. So I’m going to address a topic that seems to be coming up a lot these days — getting more power from an airgun. You know, comedian Tim Allen built his career around the premise that men always want more power from everything. And he took that to the extremes — showing just how ridiculous it can become. Like an episode on his television show, Tool Time, where he got into racing garden tractors with V8 engines installed. Like the Boss Hoss motorcycle, they are something to see, but you wouldn’t want to ride one very far!

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Daisy’s Red Ryder: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

Daisy Red Ryder
Daisy Red Ryder.

This report covers:

  • How many Red Ryders?
  • Number 111 Model 40
  • Model 94 carbine
  • Model 1938
  • The Red Ryder explodes!

Today we start looking at an American airgun icon — the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. With the recent change in ownership of Daisy Outdoor Products, this look is most fitting.

I will test the gun for you in the traditional way, and then I have a surprise. Someone has developed a scope mount for the Daisy that will fit all the older models, as well as the new one. I know the website says scopes cannot be mounted to the current Red Ryder, but we will see if they can. And no doubt some other things will pop up along the way. Sit back and relax — this should be an interesting journey for all of us.

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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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