Hornady Black Diamond BBs: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

• The test
• 499 — Precision Ground Shot
• 499 — Daisy Premium Grade BBs
• 499 — Hornady Black Diamond BBs
• 880 — Precision Ground Shot
• 880 — Daisy Premium Grade BBs
• 880 — Hornady Black Diamond BBs
• Overall evaluation

Today, we’ll continue the report on Hornady Black Diamond BBs and look at the accuracy. For this test I selected the same 2 BB guns that were used for the velocity test — the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 and the ever-popular Daisy 880 multi-pump.

The test
The groups were all 10-shot groups, shot from 5 meters (16 feet, 4 inches). I was seated and used a UTG Monopod. This monopod is as steady as the best bipods I’ve seen — and better than most. You may find that difficult to believe, but I’ll do a separate report on its use very soon and show you how I use it to make it so steady. For all practical purposes, this was similar to shooting off a sandbag rest.

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Hornady Black Diamond BBs: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Hornady Black Diamond steel BBs
• Size
• Velocity
• Daisy 499 BB gun
• Daisy 880 BB gun

Today I want to introduce you to a new BB that’s just come to market — Hornady Black Diamond steel BBs.

Hornady Black Diamond steel BBs
Hornady is an ammunition and bullet maker; so, when they came out with their Black Diamond BB, I had to test it. I already use several of their bullets in my firearms, and I know they’re a premium brand. The Black Diamond is a steel BB, so it will work in guns that use magnets to control the BBs. These days, a lot of them do use magnets.

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How the airgun calibers of today came to be

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• The 4 modern smallbore calibers
• The point I’m making
• But how did the calibers we have today come into being?
• Airguns are being developed, too
• Zimmerstutzen
• Birmingham, England, 1905

This question was asked by blog reader, Joe, many weeks ago. He wondered why the airgun calibers we have today are the sizes they are. This is an open-ended question that will never be fully answered, but maybe I can put a small part of it into perspective for you today.

The 4 modern smallbore calibers
We’ll begin by listing the 4 calibers that are currently on the market in the smallbore category. They are .177 (4.5mm), .20 (5mm), .22 (5.5mm) and .25 (6.35mm). These are the 4 we have today. But as recently as 1948, Crosman offered their CG gallery guns in .21 caliber — shooting a proprietary round lead ball. Before that, up into the 1930s, the Quackenbush company offered pellet guns that were smoothbores in 20-1/2 caliber.

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Shooting the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 at 10 meters

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

Daisy Avanti Champion 499
Daisy Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun.

This test of the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 at 10 meters was requested a couple weeks back by a blog reader, and several of you seconded the request. It was in response to a discussion of the spin rate of projectiles and what benefits it conveys.

After I agreed to write the report, another reader asked me to test not only the Avanti Precision Ground Shot that’s made specifically for the 499, but also some more common BBs. So, today, we’ll see how the 499 performs at the 5-meter distance for which it was designed, as well as at 10 meters. I think we’re in for some interesting ballistics.

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How BBs are made

by B.B. Pelletier

This report was requested by blog reader Wulfraed in one of his comments.

For the benefit of those who shoot airsoft guns, the BB I am addressing today is the steel BB that historical BB guns shoot — not the 6mm plastic ball that Asian-made airsoft guns started using in the 1970s.

Brief history
The first BB used in an air rifle was BB-sized lead shot used by shotgunners. In the day when it was popular (the 1880s), shot was sold in bags in hardware stores and came in various numerical and letter sizes, including sizes B, BB and BBB. BB shot was supposed to be 0.180 inches in diameter and weigh more than nine grains.

At the turn of the 20th century, Daisy reduced the size of what they always called air rifle shot to a lead ball 0.175 inches in diameter. That saved them lead and also went faster because it was a lighter ball.

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Winchester M14 .177-caliber dual-ammo air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Winchester’s new M14 dual-ammo rifle looks very much like the military rifle it copies.

Redemption is a powerful experience, because it comes only after suffering and anguish. Redemption is what I longed for with the Nelson Lewis combination gun and with my Ballard rifle. Today, however, I’m going to talk about another redemption — that of the Winchester M14 dual-ammo rifle.

In Part 1, we learned that this rifle is nearly all plastic — which for many, including me, is a put-off. We also learned that it uses two 12-gram CO2 cartridges instead of one, and that assaulted the the miser in all of us. Accuracy is the only thing that would make it worth the extra cost.

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Winchester M14 .177-caliber dual-ammo air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Winchester’s new M14 dual-ammo rifle looks very much like the military rifle it copies.

Let’s test the velocity of the Winchester M14 dual-ammo rifle. Of course, I’ll test it with both BBs and lead pellets. This rifle is a semiautomatic 8-shot repeater powered by 2 CO2 cartridges. Someone made a comment that referred to the rifle having blowback action, but I want to clear that up — it doesn’t. Yes, the action operates by CO2 power and really is semiautomatic; but no — there’s no sensation of blowback, and nothing moves when the rifle fires.

You do have to pull the “bolt” back to cock the rifle before the first shot. It’s not really a bolt — just a plastic cover to hide the metal internal parts of the firing mechanism. But the act of pulling it back is realistic.

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