What would B.B. shoot?

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

Blog reader Kevin asked me this question recently, and I embraced it because I usually don’t even have time to think about which airgun I would prefer to shoot. There’s always another blog, a feature article and 5 other deadlines pressing on my timeā€¦so thinking like this is not a luxury. It’s a fantasy! Then, Kevin asked this question and “forced” me to stop and think about it for today’s report. Ahh! Happy Friday!

The first gun that pops into my head when I ask this question is the Diana model 27 rifle. It’s just such a simple, uncomplicated airgun that I guess it serves as my happy place. But as I think about it, other guns pop up. The Air Venturi Bronco, the Falke model 70, the Diana model 25 are 3 more that come to mind immediately. They all share the model 27′s chief attribute — ease of operation. In short, they’re all fun airguns.

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Bending airgun barrels: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

A couple weeks back, we talked about straightening bent airgun barrels to improve accuracy. We want to do that so we can hit targets with the sights that were installed. There is, however, another reason for bending barrels. Some guns have sights that do not coincide with where their barrels are pointing, even when they’re not bent. For this situation, we also need a fix.

Many guns have replacement rear sights. I own a BSF S70 breakbarrel rifle that has a Williams peep sight that was either installed by Air Rifle Headquarters (the original company in Grantsville, West Virginia) or was a sight they sold for owners to mount. ARH did inform the customers of the necessity for the rear sight to have a complimentary taller front sight installed, and on my rifle that didn’t happen. I think this was an owner-installed sight that they probably hated ever since.

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What is my airgun worth?

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I want to talk about something different. I’ve been reading two gun auction catalogs from the most recent Rock Island Auction, and something caught my eye. This auction was held last month, and it included hundreds of very desirable and collectible firearms. The first thing that I noticed was the low estimated prices of some really fine vintage guns.

For example, there were some first-generation Colt single-action revolvers that had a very low estimate. One was a Wells Fargo-marked revolver that had been restored to almost new condition, but it had a factory letter proving that it was indeed a rare Wells Fargo model. It was in near-mint condition due to the restoration. I knew that a restoration on a gun like this would lower the value greatly, but not to an estimated $2,500-$4,000, which was the auction estimate! I would have thought that it would still be in the $8,000 to $12,000 range, despite the restoration. And, if original, perhaps $15,000-$20,000.

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The art of collecting airguns – Part 6

by B.B. Pelletier

Happy New Year!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report is being written to satisfy a promise to blog reader Kevin. Last Thursday, I took my new Ballard for its first shoot at the range. The experience parallels shooting a brand new pellet gun, so I think there’s something to be learned from my experience.


My Marlin Ballard turned out to be a special order factory-made rifle.

A very good friend gifted me the authoritative book on Ballard rifles by John Dutcher of Denver. Mr. Dutcher looked at the photos of my rifle and said that he thought it was a special order factory-made gun. I’d thought it was a Union Hill No. 9 rifle with some custom touches, but he knew that the rifle was more likely made purposely as a special order. John Lower of Denver had ordered many such rifles in the 1880s, because buying them in volume got him a better price.

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A day at the range

by B.B. Pelletier

This isn’t Part 2 to yesterday’s report, but it could be. Today, I got out to the range for the first time since February. And, man, did I need it! I took a bunch of guns that I’d never shot before and tried them all out.

1862 Peabody
This rifle was patented in 1862 as a breechloader for the U.S., but it was never ordered. However, three states did buy it for their militias, including Connecticut, which later returned all their rifles to the maker to be converted to .45/70. That is the caliber mine is, so I quickly cooked up 20 rounds of my Trapdoor Springfield load, knowing that the stronger Peabody falling block action would have no trouble with it.

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