Posts Tagged ‘revolver’

S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

Today is accuracy day for the 327 TRR8 BB revolver, and there’s an additional surprise in this report. I was glad to get another chance to shoot this interesting BB revolver that feels so good in my hands. It actually has made me curious about the .357 Magnum firearm. Ain’t that always the way?

I inserted a fresh CO2 cartridge for this session, and we know from the velocity test that there are at least 65 good shots from a cartridge. I’m talking about the best part of the power band, where no excuses for accuracy can be made. So, I could conceivably fire 10 cylinders (60 shots) and be safe. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to shoot that many.

Before the cartridge went in for piercing, it got a couple drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the small, flat end. That ensures some of the oil will be blown through the firing valve, where trace oil will coat every surface, including all seals and valve seats. I want this gun to hold gas forever, and this is cheap insurance!

I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs, which have proven to be the most accurate steel BBs I’ve found. I was recently surprised to learn that Daisy imports these BBs from China in 55-gallon steel drums, but I do know that they then put every BB through a sorting process here in the U.S. before packaging. Whatever they’re doing is working, because these are the most accurate standard steel BBs I’ve seen. Only the Avanti Precision Ground Shot is more accurate — and you’ll probably only see the difference in a precision target gun like the Avanti Champion 499.

I shot the gun at 5 meters, which is the international distance for BB gun competition. I used a rested two-hand hold with my forearms resting on a sandbag. I don’t believe I can hold the gun any better than I held it for this test.

I had said earlier that I thought I’d be using the bright green fiberoptic sight for this test. This revolver has some of the brightest sights I’ve ever seen. But when I lit the target with the 500-watt lamp, I found that I had to use the conventional sight picture of the front post level with the rear notch and lined up at 6 o’clock on the black bull. The bright light on the target made the fiberoptic tubes of the front post and rear notch go black. It was as if this was a conventional set of sights. The sights were crisper than I originally thought when the target was lit this brightly, so everything worked out quite well.

First group
The first group was shot single-action, which proved to be the most accurate way of shooting this revolver, as expected. I was so close to the target that I saw the first shot rip through the black bull. After that, I fell into a rythym and didn’t check the target again. I shot 12-shot groups, since the cylinder holds six loaded cartridges. When all 12 shots were fired, I checked the target through binoculars and couldn’t believe my eyes! It really appeared as if only 6 shots had been fired, because nine BBs all went into a single tiny hole. I doubt very much that I could repeat such a grouop if I tried 100 more times.


The first group was phenomenal! It appears that 9 of the 12 shots went into the tiny group at the lower right, though the hole just above it may have more than one shot. Entire group measures 0.685 inches between centers.

Second group
With the success of the first group under my belt, I thought it prudent to shoot a second group single-action, just in case the first one was a fluke. As it turned out, it was. But I could see this group as it formed, and it looked better than the first one from the firing line. I wasn’t until I examined it in the binoculars that the whole story became obvious.


The larger hole in the center of the bull was visible from the firing line as I shot, but the holes that aren’t in the main group were hidden until I looked through binoculars. This is a more representative 12-shot group and measures 0.858 inches between centers.

I’m satisfied that the 327 TRR8 is an accurate BB gun. I was very relieved that the fiberoptics didn’t have to be used, because look at the precision I got. Combat sights (fiberoptics) aren’t ever going to give you that kind of group.

Double-action
Next, it was time to try my hand at double-action shooting. This is more difficult, because the longer, heavy trigger-pull causes the gun to move in the hand as the trigger is pulled.

The first 6 shots went so well that I thought I’d be recanting my position on double-action shooting, but the first shot from the second cylinder fired before I was ready and as a result it went wide. It was a called flier that I could see because I was concentrating on the front sight so intently.

The rest of the shots went into a fairly nice group, except that there was one high shot that I cannot account for. But when you’re pulling a double-action trigger and the gun shifts by just a few degrees of angle, it’s enough to throw you off target.


Not bad for a double-action group. Only the shot at the low right, next to the BB was a called flier. Group measures 1.44 inches between centers.

The surprise
I used the quick-loading procedure that was reported in Part 2 of this report. That’s where you press the mouths of the 6 shells into a layer of BBs, and they all pop into the cartridges. While doing this, I noticed one time that two of the BBs had not popped into their cartridge all the way. That would cause them to have less friction than the other four BBs and that could cause a variation. In handloading firearm ammunition, it would be called neck tension — and it’s a vital component of accuracy.


This is what happened when the cartridges were not pressed down evenly on the layer of BBs. Two BBs are sticking out the top of the cartridges and will have less friction than the other four that are deeper. When they were pushed into the cartridge, a noticeable pop was felt.

The bottom line
This completes the test of the S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver. We’ve seen how it works and all of its good features. It is a very well-made BB gun that looks like it will give good service for a long time. Accuracy is above average, and the power is well above the modest advertised velocity.

S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

The 327 TRR8 BB revolver is distributed by Umarex, which claims the muzzle velocity is 400 f.p.s. In fact, they print it right on the box!

To appreciate what I’m about to tell you, there are two things you must bear in mind. First, the manufacturer of an airgun has to publish the top velocity that gun could achieve. If they don’t, and if there’s ever a lawsuit, it would be bad if the gun was more powerful than advertised. A plaintiff could argue that they bought the gun, thinking it was capable of shooting at a certain velocity, when in fact it was actually capable of higher velocity. They could then argue that they would never have allowed their children to shoot (they may say “play with”) that gun, if they had known its true power.

This argument sounds bogus to a shooter, who would know that any gun is potentially dangerous, regardless of its velocity, but jury selection teams work hard to keep people with such knowledge off the jury, if they can. And to the uninformed, hearing that the gun is more powerful than advertised somehow makes it more evil, if the facts are presented in the right way.

Second, if a manufacturer advertises a certain gun to have a certain velocity and it clearly does not, they have just scored a black eye in marketing and public relations. They are called liars who just want to skew the facts in favor of their product.

This is the dilemma every manufacturer and distributor faces when they advertise their airguns. So what I am going to tell you today must be considered in this light.

Loading the CO2
I showed you the CO2 compartment in Part 1. The cartridge goes in easily, and the piercing screw is turned until a hiss of gas it heard. I then turn the screw just a little farther to make certain the hole in the cartridge is large enough. The pressure of the gas will prevent you from screwing the piercing screw too far.

I should add that, as always, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge before installing it. The oil gets blown through the gun’s valve and gets onto all the seals. It’s the best thing you can do for your CO2 gun.

The 327 TRR8 BB revolver has both a single-action and a double-action trigger-pull, and each must be tested for velocity. Sometimes, they’re fairly close, but there have been guns where the way the trigger was pulled made a 100 f.p.s. difference.

I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs for all shooting in this test.

Fresh CO2 cartridge — single-action pull
The first 10 shots on a fresh CO2 cartridge averaged 447 f.p.s., which is well about the advertised velocity. The string ranged from a low of 431 to a high of 462 f.p.s. That’s considerably above the advertised velocity and produces an average of 2.26 foot-pounds.

Then, double-action
Next, I fired 10 shots double-action and got an average 441 f.p.s. The low was 428 and the high was 445 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 2.2 foot-pounds. So, there’s not too much difference between single-action and double-action in this revolver.

Trigger-pull
The trigger-pull seemed heavier than I remembered from the first report. It averaged 6 lbs., 4 oz. in the single-action mode, which is on the high side. However I must report that the trigger-pull is very crisp. It’s a single-stage trigger in this mode, which means there’s no travel before the trigger stops at the break point.

In the double-action mode, the trigger is easier to pull than on many other revolvers. It breaks at an average 9 lbs., 5 oz. on the test gun. When it’s pulled, there’s a definite stop point where the pull force increases before the release. It feels very much like a Colt double-action trigger from the 1920s rather than a Smith & Wesson trigger — because the Colts always stacked at the end of the pull, while the Smiths did not.

Loading BBs
The 327 TRR8 comes with a speedloader, and Paul Capello showed us in his video of the Dan Wesson BB revolver how to quickly load the BBs. The 6 cartridges are loaded into the speedloader, which is then pressed down onto a layer of BBs held in the lid of a pellet tin. All 6 cartridges will be loaded this way, and it works perfectly every time.


To load the cartridges, lock them in the speedloader, then push them into a single layer of BBs held in a pellet tin lid like this. They load perfectly every time.

Shot count
As powerful as this revolver is, I was concerned about how many shots a single CO2 cartridge would give. And I wanted to stretch the number to as many as I could get, so I paused a minute between shots. Doing it that way, the first 25 shots were all in the 430+ f.p.s.range, regardless of whether they were fired single- or double-action.

After 46 shots had been fired, the velocity remained in the 412-425 f.p.s. range, again with a minute’s pause between shots. After 62 shots, the velocity was definitely falling and ranged from a high of 397 f.p.s. to a low of 286 f.p.s. at shot 85. In other words, there are plenty of shots in this revolver for the average backyard plinker. The high number of shots surprised me a bit, given the high velocities we saw at the beginning, but I did nurse the gas by pausing so long between shots. If you fire faster, and most shooters will, you can expect at least 10 percent fewer shots and all at a lower velocity. You’ll be able to hear when the velocity trails off and can stop shooting before you jam a BB in the barrel.

Observation thus far
So far, the 327 TRR8 seems to be holding up well. It’s powerful, reliable and gets a good number of shots from a cartridge. The trigger seems good, if not very light. The sights are fiberoptic, but have the brightest green tubes I’ve ever seen, so they’ll be used for the accuracy test, which comes next.

S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

Smith & Wesson’s firearm 327 TRR8 revolver is designed for self defense. The revolver is an 8-shot .357 Magnum revolver that employs a tactical rail, hence the TRR (for tactical rail revolver) designation. I wonder why S&W chose the number 327 for this revolver, because Federal Cartridge Company recently introduced their .327 Magnum cartridge that’s been touted as more effective in the real world than .357 — whatever that means.

The firearm revolver this BB gun copies retails for just a few dollars under $1,300, so you know it has to be a serious handgun! At 40-60 percent more than other models, the 327 must have a lot going for it. Its purpose is to provide a revolver that gives up nothing to the 1911A1, because it holds a similar number of rounds. Remember the comparison is being made with the .45 ACP, not a smaller law enforcement caliber; and .357 Magnum is considered to be equivalent to the big .45 as a man-stopper and superior in other aspects such as penetration. SWAT teams can now choose between a 1911-style semiauto or a revolver.

The firearm frame is made of Scandium, S&W’s lightweight metal that replaces steel. Although its large, it’s lightweight, at 35.3 oz. The BB gun is just a trifle heavier, at 35.9 oz. The firearm comes from the S&W Performance Center and has a custom-tuned trigger, trigger stop and a tuned action. That’s where the extra money goes.

I don’t own a 327 firearm, nor have I ever shot one, so I can’t evaluate the claims that it has the best trigger S&W is currently putting in revolvers or that it handles the recoil of the .357 cartridge more effectively than any other revolver. The closest handgun I have that also handles .357 Magnum recoil is a Desert Eagle pistol, and that comparison would be unfair and unbalanced in every way. This report will have to focus on the BB gun, by itself.

The prototype firearm is a high-capacity revolver, but shockingly the BB gun holds only 6 rounds instead of the 8 promised in the model name. And the size of the BB gun is on the small side. I find the finger grooves are too close for comfort. Instead of an N-frame Smith, this seems like more of a K-frame gun. I find that confusing. Isn’t the whole purpose of the gun to hold 8 shots? But looking at the BB-gun cylinder I can see there isn’t enough metal for any more than 6 rounds, so I must assume that the cylinder on the firearm is larger than the one on the BB gun. But the BB gun is about one full inch longer than the firearm, which I attribute to the angle of the grip that houses the CO2 cartridge.


Six chambers instead of eight come in the BB gun cylinder. Each cartridge holds one BB.

This revolver has a cylinder that swings out to the left side of the gun when the cylinder catch is pressed forward. And when it is pressed back, the safety is engaged. Once out of the frame, the ejection crane does not come all the way back to fully extract the cartridges from their chambers. It isn’t necessary, because the cartridges do not swell during firing the way firearm cases do. So you can simply tip the muzzle up and the cases will drop from the cylinder on their own.

The spring-loaded breech of the barrel is rounded to fit into the front of each chamber, which is the primary way the cylinder locks during firing. There is a locking bolt that engages the rear of the cylinder, as well, but it doesn’t lock very tightly. It is possible to turn the cylinder in either direction with the gun’s hammer down in the fired position.

There are six brass-bodied “cartridges” that hold one BB each, and they are used to load the gun. They are approximately the same size as a .357 Magnum cartridge, so you get the realism of handling ammo when you load the gun.

The gun comes with a speedloader to hold the cartridges and it will be used to rapidly load each cartridge by pressing all six cartridge “mouths” into a flat pellet tin filled with a layer of steel BBs. When the speedloader is inserted into the cylinder, a central release button is automatically depressed, releasing all six cartridges into the cylinder. Gravity will do the rest and the cylinder can be closed. You may need to practice this move several times to develop a feel for it, but once you do, it seems to work fine.

The sights are fiberoptic on the BB gun. While I don’t like fiberoptics in general on any gun, in this case they work because this isn’t a target gun. It is supposed to be a rapid-acquistion handgun, and these sights support that goal perfectly. All three green dots are bright in nearly any light. Your eye will pick them up quickly, and putting them in a row give you the sight picture you want. So, forget groups on paper targets and think of rolling soda cans. That’s what this gun was designed to do.


The fiberoptic dots are bright in almost any light.

Besides the open sights, there’s a Picatinny rail located atop the frame and another under the muzzle. The gun was built for optical sights. I may try that after the conventional accuracy test.

The CO2 fits neatly inside the grip with nothing showing outside. Even the piercing screw is hidden, which is what most buyers say they want.


The synthetic grip rotates open like this to accept the CO2 cartridge.

The gun fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. I’ll describe the trigger-pull in greater detail in Part 2, but for now let me say that, in single-action, it’s relatively crisp; and a single-stage pull in double-action is short and reasonably light.

This revolver is distributed by Umarex. It’s very realistic-looking, even to the matte finish that the firearm has. It will be an interesting gun to test.

Smith & Wesson pellet revolver: Part 3

by B.B.Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

S&W 586 revolver is impressive!

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the S&W 586 pellet revolver. My memory of this revolver dates to several years ago, and I had been shooting five-shot groups for accuracy back then; but for today’s test, I shot 10-shot groups. Given the nine different pellets I tried, and a couple of them twice, I shot well over 100 rounds in this test.

I shot so many shots because I was looking for a good pellet. Most of the pellets were giving group sizes of around two inches, and I knew the gun was capable of better than that. So, I hung in there until I discovered two pellets that did relatively well. All shooting was done at 10 meters with a two-hand rested hold. My ability to hold a handgun with one hand has diminished in the past several years, and I didn’t want that to influence the outcome of this test.


Nine different pellets were tested in the S&W 586. That’s a lot of shooting!

Beeman H&N Match
The first good pellet I tried was the Beeman H&N Match. They did so much better than any other pellet up to that point that they stood out. The first group measured 1.289 inches. That’s pretty good for 10 shots — it might equate to a 5-shot group that measures 0.90 inches between centers.


The first good group of 10 was this one with Beeman H&N match pellets. It measures 1.289-inches across.

After that first good group ,I settled down knowing the gun could shoot. My next group with the same Beeman H&N Match pellet was a little larger, at 1.656 inches.


The second group of Beeman H&N Match pellets was a little larger, at 1.656 inches across.

That’s still okay, but I thought the gun could do even better — so I continued testing different pellets. Only H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets were in the same league as the Beeman H&N Match, but I didn’t bother pursuing them, because I wanted to find a pellet that was even better.

Knowing that target wadcutters were shooting better than domed pellets, I continued to try them. However, the JSB S100s I tried were uncooperative. And Gamo Match pellets were only in the two-inch range.

RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets
Finally, I tried RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. Sometimes, these pellets are the best when H&N pellets are not, although this wasn’t one of those times. The first 10 sailed through a group that measured only 1.31 inches.


This group of RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets measures 1.31 inches between centers. It’s practically a twin of the best group of Beeman H&N Match Pistol pellets.

I noticed while shooting the 586 that the second stage of the trigger-pull has a little creep in it. That could smooth out, and it would become a better pull.

I didn’t attempt to test the revolver in the double-action mode, because it really isn’t well suited to shooting targets this small. Outdoors, when the range is more open and safer, I’m sure it would be just as delightful as it feels — which is pretty darn good.

When I sighted in before this test began, the rear sight had to be moved quite a but to the left and up by a lot. Even then, the gun was shooting to the point of aim at 10 meters. So, the 6 o’clock hold produced groups at 6 o’clock.

The bottom line
I have to give the 586 a good rating overall; but since this is the third time I’ve visited this particular model, I think I must have some kind of affinity for it. Perhaps, it’s because of the realism or the beautiful double-action trigger pull. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think I’m going to let this revolver go back to Pyramyd Air.

Smith & Wesson 586 pellet revolver: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Smith & Wesson 586 pellet revolver is a classic for airgunners who like shooting pellet pistols.

Let’s look at the velocity of our Smith & Wesson 586 with the 6-inch barrel. But before I get to that, let’s first look at the trigger-pull.


Here’s the revolver with the cylinder open. It’s easier to remove the circular clip from the crane and load it separately than to load it while it’s still in the gun like this.

This test gun has the most variable trigger I’ve tested recently. In the double-action mode, it breaks between 8 lbs., 10 oz. and 9 lbs., 6 oz. In single-action mode, it broke somewhere between 5 lbs., 1 oz. and 6 lbs., 10 oz. That’s a broad range in either mode, yet when I hold the gun and pull the trigger normally I can’t feel the difference. So forget what the numbers say — the trigger feels remarkably stable and even light!

Velocity
I tested the gun with three pellets. Each was tested in both the single-action and double-action modes because you get different velocities in each mode in some guns.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The Crosman Premier Lite averaged 390 f.p.s. in the single-action mode. The spread was large, ranging from 377 f.p.s. to 416 f.p.s. That’s a total spread of 38 f.p.s. All shooting was done with at least a 10-second pause between shots, and the temperature in the room was 70 deg. F.

The same pellet in the double-action mode averaged 389 f.p.s., so not much difference. The range was from 372 to 403 f.p.s., for a spread of 31 f.p.s. Taking 390 as the average, Premier Lites generated 2.67 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Air Arms Falcon
The Air Arms Falcon pellet was next. In single-action, it averaged 406 f.p.s., with a 24 f.p.s. spread from 398 to 422 f.p.s. In double-action mode, this lightweight domed pellet averaged 398 f.p.s. with a spread from 376 to 425. That’s 49 f.p.s. between the fastest and slowest. At a velocity of 402 f.p.s., the Falcon generates 2.62 foot-pounds of energy. I selected a velocity that falls between the averages of the single-action and double-action modes.

RWS Hobby
The 7-grain RWS Hobby pellet is still the one I use to test maximum velocity in most airguns. In this revolver, the single-action mode gives an average 428 f.p.s. The spread ranges from 414 to 441 f.p.s., for a difference of 27 f.p.s. In double-action, the revolver averages 411 f.p.s. with Hobbys, and the spread goes from 391 to 422 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 33 f.p.s. At 420 f.p.s. the Hobby generates 2.74 foot-pounds of energy.

How many shots on a CO2 cartridge?
I got 40 powerful shots before the velocity began to decline. From 41 to 50, it declined in a straight line, starting at 377 f.p.s, and ending at 292 f.p.s. That would be where I would stop, so for casual shooting I’d say it gets 50 good shots on a CO2 cartridge. The danger of shooting more pellets in a CO2 gun when the velocity begins to drop off like this is that you’ll eventually get one stuck in the barrel. If you quit while you’re ahead, that won’t happen. Fifty shots is standard for air pistols of this power.

What have we learned?
This test was interesting because it showed there’s a slight advantage in velocity in the single-action mode. The description says the gun gets 425 f.p.s., and the results seem to agree with that number. It also shows that this pistol has a wider velocity spread than most CO2 guns. It demonstrates that you cannot judge a gun only by numbers, since the trigger-pull figures are high, yet the trigger-pull seems both light and crisp in both modes.

So far, I have to say this S&W is every bit the wonderful airgun that I remember. Can’t wait to see how accurate it is.

Smith & Wesson 586 pellet revolver: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


Smith & Wesson 586 pellet revolver is a classic for airgunners who like shooting pellet pistols.

I’m starting a report on a classic air pistol. It’s one that is so well designed that it has caused a stir in the firearms community. I’m looking at Smith & Wesson’s 586 revolver. The 586 exists in S&W’s line as a .357 Magnum revolver, along with its stainless cousin, the 686. The pellet gun also comes in both black and silver finishes, and the silver finish is named the 686, just like the firearm. Both guns are .177-caliber pellet guns with rifled barrels. No other calibers are available.

A barrel/shroud wrench still comes packed with each revolver, and these guns offered replacement barrels of different lengths at one time. I’m testing the gun with the 6-inch barrel, but a 4-inch barrel model is also available. Spare barrels are now available only on the used gun market.

This pellet gun is a true revolver, with a rotating metal clip that mimics the cylinder of a firearm. The clip is only a little longer than a pellet and sits at the front of what appears to be a full-sized cylinder. But when the crane swings out, only the clip comes out of the gun. It then lifts off the crane for loading. The gun comes with a second clip, and each clip holds 10 pellets. All clips are black, so they look out of place on the silver gun.


The thin, metal circular clip swings out to the left like a revolver cylinder.

I’ve reviewed this gun before on this blog. Most recently, I looked at it in a 2-part report in 2008. But things have changed since I last tested this air pistol, and I wanted to update the information. If you’re serious about wanting a fine air pistol that’s affordable, this is one of the few to consider.

The biggest change to the gun I’m now testing is the finish that has gone from shiny to matte black. Pyramyd Air photos show the new finish very clearly; but if you weren’t aware of the change, you might miss it. I note that the 4-inch barrel model is currently shown on the website with the shiny finish. Maybe there are still some older guns in the system, because in the new Umarex catalog both guns have a matte finish. Edith is looking into this for us.

The gun comes with several accessories packed in the box. There are front sight blades, a spare circular clip, the barrel wrench and a bore-cleaning brush. The owner’s manual is clearly written and very detailed.


These accessories come in the box with the gun, except one of the circular clips is installed in the gun. The barrel wrench is not shown here.

Sights
The gun comes with three front sight posts of different widths to suit your personal preferences. Heck — even Smith & Wesson doesn’t do that with their firearm revolvers! Each insert can be quickly installed with just a single screw. Different width front posts are meant to suit shooters who have eyes of different focusing ability. Generally speaking, you want the widest front post that still allows light to show on either side in the rear notch. That makes aiming at black bullseyes much easier.

The rear sight is adjustable in both directions. Surprisingly, no screwdriver is included with the gun. I say that because every S&W revolver I ever bought had a silver-handled screwdriver for this purpose. I felt no crisp detents on either adjustment, but the vertical screw does pause as it turns. The horizontal screw just turns smoothly, as far as I can tell.

Action
The 586 is both single- and double-action with really great trigger-pulls in both modes. I’ll measure the trigger and comment more in Part 2, but you can rest assured this revolver’s trigger is one of the best things about the whole gun.

Weight
The .177-caliber pellet gun weighs 45.4 ozs. The .357 Magnum revolver of the same barrel length weighs 46.3 ounces. That’s pretty close! I’ve owned a 686 .357 Mag and can tell you this gun feels like the real deal!

Where does the CO2 go?
There’s only one place for the CO2 cartridge to go, and that’s inside the grip. Flip down the bottom of the grip that also serves as the CO2 cartridge piercing lever. That gives you access to the underside of the right grip panel, which then flips off with ease. Inside is a standard CO2 cartridge adjustment mechanism that allows cartridges of slightly different lengths to seal properly.


The right grip panel comes off to access the CO2 cartridge compartment.

Nice box!
The revolver comes packed in a nice hard case with foam lining. Each accessory has cutouts at the right spot, so nothing slides around. It’s the same way firearms come these days.


The revolver comes in the same kind of box as a firearm.

Overall opinion
I guess I’m attracted to this revolver, because this will be the third time I’ve tested it for you. It’s a classic that has a great trigger, many useful accessories and, hopefully, the accuracy we have come to expect from Smith & Wesson. Though they don’t actually make the gun, they do license their brand on it and are very interested that it is perceived as a good handgun. I think it is, and I hope to show that to you in this test.


It’s a pretty gun.

How NOT to treat your guns!

by B.B. Pelletier

Before I begin today’s report, here’s an interesting tidbit of news. The Georgia senate has passed legislation (SB 301) that will allow residents to use legal silencers while hunting game. This curious legislation is the first positive thing on silencers that I’ve seen. Does it mean that we are about the see a change in the public attitude toward silencers in general?

Today’s report
You’re on the couch, watching a typical “shootemupski” flick and the gang-banger bad guys in their wife-beater undershirts and black doo-rags are all shooting their Glocks with limp wrists and the guns rotated 90 degrees to the left, so the shells eject out the top instead of the side. You suppress a quiet snicker, knowing that this is inherently wrong, but you chalk it up to Hollywood.

What else do you know about the mistreatment of guns? That’s any gun — air-powered or firearm.

What about the guy who opens his revolver to check that it’s loaded, then closes the cylinder with a quick flick of the wrist? Back in the 1950s, the gun magazines were all loaded with warnings not to do this because of what it does to the crane. The crane is the arm that swings out of the revolver and holds the axle on which the cylinder turns. How many times have I watched a vintage black-and-white murder mystery in which the bad guy did just that to his revolver? It works in the movies because they can shut the camera off and switch guns after they bend the crane. In real life, it’s so damaging that the fit of the crane is the first thing you check whenever evaluating a used double-action revolver.


This Ruger revolver’s crane is made from steel. It’s the part that allows the cylinder to swing out to the side of the gun for loading and unloading. If it can’t take being flipped shut without bending, imagine what will happen to a softer metal airsoft revolver crane!

Mark your territory!
Here’s one all the Bubbas do to their guns. They mark them with their Social Security account numbers etched into the steel with an electric engraving pen. When asked why they do it, they always answer, “It’s mine for as long as I own it, and after I’m gone I don’t care what happens to it.” The sad thing is, when Bubba dies, he stays dead for a long time! So, that beautiful Winchester Model 1873 rifle he inherited from his grandfather in 1954 now sits in some gun store in Ft. Worth marked at $1,875 instead of $3,500, because his SS# is engraved on the frame!

Think this makes it a bargain? Think again. Anyone who buys a gun marked this way just bought it for the rest of his life, because no one else will touch it. If you want to buy a real nice Winchester 1873 lever-action rifle that has someone’s SS# engraved on it, just contact me and I’ll give you the details. It’s been in the same place for at least the past seven years.


Will someone please take the engraving pen from Bubba? This pristine Remington 03A3 rifle from World War II lost a third of its value because he marked the receiver this way.

Custom woodwork
I was once stupid enough to go “all the way” for you here in this blog and “inlet” the stock of an Air Venturi Bronco for the slide of a peep sight. I put quotes around the word inlet, because it really isn’t the right term. “Splinter-out” would be more exact, I suppose. My woodwork was approximately the same level of quality that you’d get from a rabid beaver. Pole-climbers leave smoother wood behind them.


Look, Edith, I made this for you at summer camp! Some people should not be allowed to use tools, and I’m one of them.

Soldering with the starz
I’ll never forget back in the late 1990s when big bore airguns were just starting to be the rage, and the Farco Air Shotgun from the Philippines was the current rage. One “boutique” customizer hopped up his Farco up by switching from CO2 at 853 psi to air at 3,000 psi. But the steel screw that was the safety lug on the gosh-darn bolt kept digging a channel back through the brass receiver when the gun fired. Our “hero” built-up that area with a mound of lead solder. I am not kidding — there was a lump of solder there that was an inch deep!

Think it kept him safe? Well, it’s just about the same as sealing the leaks in your car’s engine block with candle wax. All I remember was that his gun was incredibly loud when it fired and nobody would stand within 20 feet of him when he shot it.

“Sometimes, things break off”
When I was in high school, a friend’s father had a double-barreled shotgun with Damascus-twist barrels. I was reading Guns & Ammo magazine at the time and about every third article had a warning about shooting smokeless ammunition in guns with Damascus-twist barrels. So, when his dad pulled out the shotgun to shoot it one day, I cringed and ducked behind a car. His dad said, “Aw, it’s okay. Sometimes things break off, but I still shoot it.” Sure enough, he shot it once, yelled, “Oww!” and stopped shooting. I heard the metal bounce off the car body, after it sliced through his cheek.

Drop-free magazines?
Sometimes the product name, alone, is enough to cause problems. The so-called “drop-free” magazines that some airsoft guns have is one example. The term drop-free was created to describe the type of magazine that is released from a semiautomatic pistol like the Colt M1911A1 when the magazine release catch is pressed. That’s opposed to the type of mag release that’s found on a Makarov or a Ruger Mark II that’s located at the bottom of the mag floorplate and doesn’t allow the mag to clear the gun even after it’s pushed. With that kind of release, you have to actually pull the magazine out of the frame of the gun.

A drop-free magazine will actually drop free of the gun when it’s released, but nobody would actually do that unless they had the base of the magazine protected by a rubber bumper to soften the shock of landing on the ground. IPSC shooters use them on their magazines because they have to reload as fast as possible.

But airsoft shooters who pay $129 for their entire gun do not have the optional rubber bumper on the bottom of each magazine unless they buy them and install them! The fact that the gun they buy has a drop-free magazine design does not mean that they can drop the magazine on the ground. It just means that it follows the drop-free magazine design that the auto pistols have.

Getting the lead out!
How many stories have I heard about airgun repair stations that have removed dozens of pellets from an airgun barrel during a repair job? And AirForce told me they once got a rifle back with jammed pellets and burst firecrackers in the barrel!

Pellets are not croquet balls and airguns are not croquet mallets. You can’t move one out of the barrel by smacking it with another one.

If you think it’s bad for airguns, just try it with firearms sometime! Better yet — don’t! Back when I was a lot younger and less patient, I was fast-firing a .45-caliber Generation II Colt Single Action Army when I had a squibb round. That’s a round without powder where the primer alone drives the bullet up the barrel partway. Without thinking, I thumbed off the next round that did have powder, driving both the first and second bullets out the barrel. It also split the barrel along nearly the entire 7-1/2″ length, with a swelling at the point where the first bullet was stuck.


This is what happens when your trigger finger works faster than your mind. This Colt Gen II SAA barrel is split from the muzzle to the threads. The other bullet did come out, though.

I knew something had gone wrong because the gun recoiled about three times as hard as normal, and my shooting partner caught the ejector housing in his stomach. No real injuries other than pride and wallet, but it was a life lesson whose tuition has just been paid.

I could go on with stories of people who felt the need to refinish a collectible airgun and destroyed its value. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt — especially if the gun is painted like so many vintage Crosman guns were. But just don’t buff off the blue of a Falke 90 and expect anyone to appreciate your work. Some things are better left as is, unless you are a most careful worker.

This was supposed to be a Friday blog, but my schedule changed at the last minute and bumped it to today. Please feel free to talk about it all weekend anyway.

Top-notch springer
Air Arms TX200 air rifle

When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

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