Man-powered Weapons and Ammunition: A review

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

book cover
This is the softcover version of the book.

This report covers:

• When is 12 foot-pounds more than 12 foot-pounds?
• How long is long enough?
• Ka-boom!
• Hodges catapult gun
• Why do airguns lose so much power?
• What kind of power can I expect?

This is a brief book review of The Practical Guide to Man-powered Weapons and Ammunition by Richard Middleton, copyright ©2005, published by Skyhorse Publishing, New York. Dennis Quackenbush sent this book to me just because he thought I needed to read it. Well, I’ve read it and now I’m recommending it to all of you.

The subtitle is Experiments with Catapults, Musketballs, Stonebows, Blowpipes, Big Airguns, and Bullet Bows. That should give you an idea of what’s included. Mr. Middleton explains dozens of different experiments in which he advances his understanding of pneumatic and spring-operated projectile launchers. He calls them weapons, as is the custom in the UK and also Australia, where he’s from. Here in the U.S., we define weapons as things meant to injure or kill; and, while most of what is in his book will do exactly that, our American culture sets the word weapon apart as a term charged with emotion. Most of us don’t consider airguns to be weapons.

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Some common airgun myths: Part 1

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

I planned on putting a review of the See All Open Sight here today, but the test went south on me. It was most likely my fault, so I’m not going to publish it until I have a chance to check things. Today’s blog is also written by new blog reader Rob, who responded to my question of what things a new person needed to know about airguns.

ROB: Myth. All pellets are the same. The only differences between the 2-3 different brands available is marketing. Truth. Every airgun is different and will shoot very differently depending on the brand, weight, and shape of pellets fired from it. New guns should always be tested with a variety of pellets.

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Is a precharged airgun safe? Part 1

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

The suggestion for this report came from blog readers ricka and Terd Ferguson, who both expressed concerns over the safety of precharged airguns. That’s safety…as in wondering if one can blow up!

It’s been a long time since I felt those same concerns, but I did at one time. Before I got my first PCP in 1995, I was quite concerned about keeping a scuba tank filled to 3,000 psi in my house. I’d seen the movie Jaws and was suitably impressed when the shark was blown up by a scuba tank at the end. So, these two readers are probably expressing the same concerns that hundreds of you share. I’d like to address those concerns in what I hope will be a straightforward series of reports that are easy to understand.

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Where do I start?

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

“Hi! I am new to airguns and I have a question. I live near a farm that has lots of feral hogs. Around here, people hunt them with high-powered rifles and shotguns, but I want to try something different. I saw on TV where someone used a Gamo air rifle to kill a wild hog that they said weighed over 200 lbs. I would like to do that, too.

I bought a Winchester 1250SS at a local discount store. What I want to know from you is, do I need to use the Gamo PBA pellets, or will any pellets work for this? Also, where in the head do I shoot the pig? And can I reuse the PBA pellets that I find? They are very expensive and this would help a lot with my hunting budget. Thank you for your answer. I’m looking forward to going out next week!

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Learning to shoot with open sights: Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: William Davis is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card! Congratulations!

Willliam Davis is this week’s Big Shot of the Week. Here he’s showing off his Crosman pistol with shoulder stock. He says he gets one-hole groups with it.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

It’s time to advance through the 20th century and look at open sights as they evolved. We now know that by the beginning of the 20th century almost everything that could be done to increase accuracy with open sights had already been done. There were a few nice touches that were added, but most of the hard work had already been done. But that didn’t mean the gun makers were finished. There were always new embellishments that could be added. Yet, some of the sights that were most popular in the 20th century actually got their start in the 19th century.

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A newbie blunders into airguns

by B.B. Pelletier

Today we have a guest blog by a new airgunner who goes by the handle NewBlue19. It’s important to see airgunning through a new shooter’s eyes, and I welcome all guest blogs like this. I found it eye opening, and I think you will, too.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Take it away, NewBlue19!

I’m impulsive by nature. Despite being in my thirties, I’ve never outgrown that trait. In early November 2011, I was reminiscing about how much fun I had shooting a cheap pellet rifle with my dad that he had purchased when I was about 12.

I immediately went online, searched “air rifle” and was rewarded with thousands of sites selling, reviewing and recommending assorted air guns. Some were vendors while others were forums for experienced shooters. YouTube offered hundreds of videos of 12-year-old kids nailing a can from 60 yards away. I was hooked, and an hour later had placed an order for a Remington NPSS in .22. It had digital camo stock, a 3-9x scope and a raised rubber cheek piece! I had no idea what kind of shooting I was going to be doing; but with this awesome-looking rifle, I was going to be the terror of my backyard.

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Learning to shoot with open sights: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This series began with the earliest sights that were both primitive and simplistic. Then, we looked at the evolution of peep sights, starting back before 1840 and progressing to around 1903.

There’s a lot more to be said about both open and peep sights. It was at this point in time that they each began to develop along separate lines. I think I need to concentrate on one type of sight per report to keep things straight. In today’s report, I’ll look at open sights from around the middle of the 19th century until today.

Open sights evolved rapidly after the American Civil War, which ended in 1865. Not that all the innovation was done in the U.S., mind you, but that was a time when the world of firearms was advancing though technological stages, and the sights kept pace with everything. Other wars around the world at the same time drove the armies of many nations to push the limits of firearms; and we got smokeless gunpowder, fixed cartridges, breechloading arms and eventually repeating firearms from this era.

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