Gletcher Stechkin APS BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gletcher Stetckin APS BB pistol
Gletcher’s Stechkin blowback BB pistol.

This report covers:

  • Stechkin firearm
  • BB pistol is not full-auto!
  • This handgun is BIG!
  • Loading
  • Sights
  • Heavy
  • Finish
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the Gletcher Stechkin APS BB pistol. Let’s define up front what this is and what it is not. This BB pistol is an all-metal full-sized BB pistol that operates on CO2. It is both double and single action, so the slide blowing back cocks the hammer for the next shot. This is a true semiautomatic BB pistol with a two-stage single action trigger that’s reasonably crisp.

Stechkin firearm

The Stechkin was a sidearm of the Soviet military in the early 1950s, but proved too heavy and cumbersome (not to mention too expensive to produce) to be issued to regular combat troops. It was resurrected to be issued to elite forces when I was in the Army in the 1970s. Then it was issued to special troops like Spetsnaz commandos. It is a select-fire (both semiautomatic and fully automatic) pistol, chambered for the 9mm Makarov cartridge. That cartridge is considered adequate in Europe and the former Soviet Union, but being roughly equivalent to the Western .380 ACP, it is weak side in the eyes of the U.S. military and law enforcement communities.

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FWB 124 air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FWB 124
This FWB 124 Deluxe is not the exact gun I’m writing about, but it is the same model.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Cocking is so easy!
  • Shot one — Premier lites
  • RWS Hobbys
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Expanded test
  • Air Arms Falcon pellets
  • RWS Superdomes
  • The dime
  • Summary

Today I start looking at the accuracy of the FWB 124 I picked up at this year’s Findlay airgun show. I had already shot it on the set of “American Airgunner” several times, but this will be the first formal test where I can actually see how it’s doing.

The test

It’s 10 shots per pellet at 10 meters off a rest. I used the artillery hold because the FWB 124 is the poster-child of spring-piston air rifles that lunge forward when they fire.

For the benefit of our newer readers, the artillery hold is how we hold spring-piston air rifles so they will shoot their nest. Here is an article about how to do it and here is a video.

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Beeman R8: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Rail Lock Compressor R8

The Beeman R8 looks like a baby R1.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Don’t over-lubricate
  • Rail Lock mainspring compressor
  • Degreasing
  • Lube the piston seal
  • Clean the mainspring
  • Finish the assembly
  • What is it like now?
  • Velocity test
  • Discussion

Last Friday’s report set us up for today. I was discussing “tuning” airguns before knowing how they performed. I didn’t do that with this rifle, but that discussion loosened up a lot of minds, and I got many suggestions of what to do with the R8. I wanted to disassemble it and remove most of the “special” grease I had applied, and then Gene Salvino of the Pyramyd Air tech department and I had a long conversation about what was happening with that rifle.

Don’t over-lubricate

Gene said it is very possible to put too much of that grease into a lower-powered spring gun. He said if you do that you’ll get exactly the result I got with the R8 — a reduction of several hundred feet per second in the velocity.

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FWB 124 air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FWB 124
This FWB 124 Deluxe is not the exact gun I’m writing about, but it is the same model.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A question
  • Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
  • Tuned
  • RWS Hobby
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking effort
  • Other indicators
  • What does this mean?

A question

I’ll start today’s report with a question. If you buy a used airgun — something vintage like the FWB 124 I’m writing about today — who is to say it wasn’t tuned by somebody before you got it? In other words, should you tear into a vintage airgun before you test it to know where it is, in terms of performance?

I think I know what your answers will be when I ask the question that way. But have any of you ever jumped into a project like this with both feet, before you knew what was going on? Maybe you haven’t. I wish I could say the same. I have been impulsive in the past, and it’s not a trait I am proud of. But, rather than confess my personal sins to you, let me tell you what I have seen during my airgun writing career.

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Beeman R8: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The beginning
  • What is a lube tune?
  • The rifle
  • Initial impressions
  • The plan
  • History
  • Summary

When talking about guns that become favorites, they say the airgun picks the shooter. Actually they say that about a lot of hobbies. This R8 certainly picked me — and then steamrolled me into submission!

The beginning

I was at the dinner/reception the evening before the 2017 Findlay airgun show last weekend when Tyler Patner and Kristen Coss from Pyramyd Air walked in. I went over to say hello and Tyler asked me a question about an old airgun they had brought to sell. Actually they brought about 50 old guns and a lot of vintage Beeman pellets that they received in the purchase of a dealership. I asked to see the list and noticed a Beeman R8. That is an airgun I have never directly tested, though my Tyrolean breakbarrel that’s one of my all-time favorites started out as an R8. That one was tuned, and I always wondered what a standard R8 would be like, so I cut a deal for this rifle, sight unseen.

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2017 Findlay airgun show: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Stupid me
  • The show
  • Pyramyd Air
  • William Schooley
  • Crosman — this is for you
  • Stuff at the show
  • Remington model 26 BB gun
  • IZH 46M
  • Pyramyd Air — again!
  • Best for last

Stupid me

Well, the verdict in in — I’m stupid! I have a case of ignorance for which there is no cure. I just drove 2,400 miles to attend a one-day airgun show that I had hoped to report to you, and forgot to take my camera! Took the charger and some flash drives so I could transfer the images — just didn’t take the picture-taker thingy!

Fortunately for me, I live in an age where there are safety nets everywhere for people like me. My smart phone has a better camera built into it than the first digital camera I owned. Let me show you how good it is.

I was in Illinois, flying down the road at 6 a.m., when I saw one of those tractor/trailers that has aerodynamic flaps on the rear of the trailer. It reminded me of a diabolo pellet, except the purpose of these flaps is not to create drag, but instead to smooth out the air behind the trailer and lower the drag. That gives the tractor pulling the trailer better fuel mileage. The flaps can be deployed, as shown here, or folded flat and out of the way.

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Daisy’s 179 BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The Spittin’ Image
  • What is it?
  • Catapult gun
  • A kinetic gun?
  • Very low power
  • Cowboys are cool
  • Four variations
  • The Holy Grail
  • The pistol
  • That’s all for today

The Spittin’ Image

In 1960, Daisy Manufacturing Company embarked on a marketing campaign that was to blossom into one of the largest segments of the airgun market. They brought out their model 179 BB pistol that was copied after the Colt Single Action Army revolver. A few years later they brought out their first 1894 that was highly successful, and a half-century after that not many people remember the first Spittin’ Image BB gun.

Daisy 179
Daisy’s 179 BB pistol came out in 1960 — the first of the Spittin’ Image guns.

Today the lookalike airgun market is huge. It’s expanding all the time, with more and more realistic models coming out every day. You can argue that the 179 was not even the first such airgun Daisy made. many folks think their Targetmaster BB pistol copies the Colt Woodsman Match Target and the Number 25 slide action BB gun was patterned after the Winchester model 12 shotgun. But in 1960 the term Spittin’ Image was first used to describe this pistol as an intentional lookalike.

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