How do taploaders work?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • More than just spring guns
  • What a loading tap does
  • How it works
  • Precision machining
  • Pick your pellets
  • Power levels
  • Don’t do this often!
  • Summary

Today’s report is historical, and also a lengthy answer to reader Brad’s question from yesterday. He said the following:

“Sorry, I’m going off topic but I have a fascination with this [Diana] model 50 I’ve been shooting. The tap loading feature of this rifle prevents any seating of the pellet snugly in the breech. Because of this I cannot consistently gage the depth. Does this effect it’s accuracy? And because it is not snug, does it allow the piston to slam into the end of the compression chamber like a dry fire? Love the rifle, just curious. Thanks again.”

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Can loose barrels be accurate?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Breakbarrels
  • In battery
  • A lathe compound tool rest
  • The point
  • Pistols with fixed barrels
  • M1911 — the barrel movement champ!
  • Summary

I’m doing today’s report for Peter, a reader who expressed concern over the looseness of the barrel on his SIG P226 X5 BB Open pistol. He noticed that when the slide was back after the last shot, the barrel seemed loose and he wondered if that had any impact on accuracy. He is getting dime- and nickel-sized groups of BBs at 15 feet, which he thinks are good and I would agree. But — is he missing out on anything because the barrel is loose? It’s that age-old question — I like what I have now, but is there something more that I don’t know about?

This is a subject a lot of readers probably ponder, but nobody ever addresses it. And I normally wouldn’t address it either, except it is necessary that we understand what’s happening so we can appreciate out airguns to the fullest.

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The magic of the outside lock: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

The magic of the outside lock: Part 1

This report covers:

  • Breakbarrel
  • Loading
  • Spring break!
  • Performance
  • Trigger
  • Accuracy
  • The end

I said last time I would show you more of the details of the outside lock airgun in the next report, so let’s get started.

Gary Barnes made the gun a rifle, by boring a 36-inch long brass tube for .25 caliber and then rifling it with a left-hand twist. I don’t know the rate of the twist. He shaped the outside of the tube with 8 flats to resemble the octagon barrels of the past. But he left the breech portion round, so the barrel transitions from round to octagon, just like the finer makers used to do it.

Breakbarrel

He also made the gun a breakbarrel, which no originals were, as far as I know. The original guns were smoothbores that were in the great majority of what was being made at the time the outside lock was popular (1700-1775 — give or take a quarter century, either way — no one really knows). They were loaded from the muzzle with either close-fitting lead balls called bullets or else shot. But this gun would be shooting .25-caliber diabolo pellets and those don’t load from the muzzle! So it had to load from the breech.

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Beeman R1 supertune: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R1
Beeman R1 Supermagnum air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Twitchy
  • The tune helped!
  • Important changes
  • Sight-in
  • No luck
  • One last group
  • Conclusions
  • New R1 book next year

Today will be interesting, because today we will see the Beeman R1 in a new light. At least I now do.

Twitchy

In Part 3 I told you that my R1 has always been a twitchy rifle to shoot accurately. Even when I wrote the R1 book, I had problems getting this rifle to shoot at any distance. Ten meters was easy, but beyond 20 yards the rifle just didn’t like to put them all together. But in every group of 10, 4 or 5 would be in a single hole — indicating the airgun wants to shoot. When I encounter an air rifle like that I call it twitchy, because it really needs the right hold to do its best. The problem is — I hadn’t found that hold for this rifle yet.

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Where does B.B. get all those marvelous toys?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

    • Airgun shows
    • Lesson 1. Attend airgun shows
    • Lesson 2. Get a Blue Book
    • Lesson 3. Read this blog — and use it!
    • Lesson 4. Recognize when opportunity knocks
    • That’s how it’s done

    A tip of the hat to the Joker, who asked today’s title question about Batman. Reader Kevin Wilmeth asked this last week, “Incidentally, I’d love to see an article some day on exactly how you do get access to the guns you do. Somehow I think I’d find that illuminating.”

    Kevin — today is the day! I hope you find my report as interesting as you thought it would be.

    Airgun shows

    When I started out writing about airguns in 1993 — the year before we launched The Airgun Letter — I attended the second airgun show held at Winston Salem, North Carolina. I was an unknown who was trying to promote a newsletter about airguns. The big questions were — who is Tom Gaylord and what does he know about airguns? But that’s for another report. Today we are discussing where I get my airguns.

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Beeman R1 supertune: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R1
Beeman R1 Supermagnum air rifle.

Part1
Part2

This report covers:

  • New tune more accurate?
  • A nondescript scope
  • Various holds
  • The R1 wants to shoot!
  • Air Arms domes
  • RWS Superdomes
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • The rifle’s feel
  • Where are we?

Today I start testing my tuned Beeman R1. The R1 has always been a twitchy spring rifle for me. I have gotten some good groups and I have also failed miserably. The rifle is not at fault, because it can stack pellets on top of one another — at least at 25 yards. But it is super sensitive to small variations in the hold. In fact, this R1 I am testing for you is the one that inspired the artillery hold, two decades ago.

New tune more accurate?

Is the rifle easier to shoot accurately, now that it has been tuned? No so far. It’s still very sensitive to slight variations in the hold, as I learned in this session.

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The bellows gun — a blast from the past

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A mechanical blowgun
  • How it works
  • Comparison to a blowgun
  • Springs
  • Shape of the gun
  • Breechloaders
  • Triggers
  • Accuracy?
  • Rare?
  • DIY?

I was surprised several days ago when a couple readers told me they thought a bellows gun was some kind of pneumatic, after I had written i9n a report that it’s a spring gun. Today we will find out what a bellows gun is.

The bellows gun is thought to be one of the oldest airgun designs. Some writers say it may be older than the precharged gun. There is convincing evidence that bellows guns existed in the 1500s, which is when precharged guns are also thought to have started. They seem to have been made well into the 19th century — so their span of production is very long.

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