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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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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Umarex Brodax CO2 revolver: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Brodax revolver
Umarex Brodax revolver.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Installing the CO2 cartridge
  • Using the new eye
  • The test
  • Next — Hornady Black Diamonds
  • Umarex BBs
  • Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision Ground Shot
  • Bottom line

I think you all know how I feel about this Brodax revolver from Umarex. At first sight I thought it was odd-looking and even cartoonish in appearance, but after shooting it in the velocity test I fell in love with the feel. I said then that if the Brodax is an accurate gun, it will be a keeper. Today we find out whether that’s the case.

Installing the CO2 cartridge

This time I remembered that there is an Allen wrench inside the left grip panel to tighten the piercing screw on the CO2 cartridge. As always, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the new cartridge and it sealed instantly when it was pierced. I was ready to test.

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Umarex Brodax CO2 revolver: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Brodax revolver
Umarex Brodax revolver.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Joke on BB
  • Daisy BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Umarex BBs
  • Smart Shot lead BBs
  • Other BBs fell out
  • Shot count
  • Trigger pull
  • Overall evaluation

Today we test the velocity of this Brodax revolver. I installed a fresh CO2 cartridge and got right to the task. Remember, I’m writing this while looking straight down, and everything takes me twice as long, so please excuse my brevity.

Joke on BB

When I had to pierce the cartridge, I looked around my desk for the right Allen wrench. I thought I had misplaced it. Searching for things with one eye isn’t very easy, so I defaulted to a wrench from my tool kit. It was only as I was putting the grip panel back on the gun that I realized the Brodax comes with the wrench built-in! Duh!

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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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