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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Charles F. LeFever — BB gun genius

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • In the beginning
  • Moses goes to the mountain
  • Historic trivia
  • Pump gun a big deal
  • Cast iron versus folded metal
  • Water pistol
  • Number 40 Military model
  • No protoptypes for Fred!
  • He quit — 19 different times!

In the beginning

I mentioned Charles F. “Fred” LeFever in an answer to a comment the other day and it dawned on me that this is a man I really should address in this history segment. Fred, as he was known, wrote a letter to Daisy in 1911, telling them about a pump-action BB gun he had just invented that he thought they should see. They were very busy when the letter arrived and answered him curtly, saying that if Daisy was interested they would contact Mr. LeFever sometime in the future about seeing the gun. You have to appreciate that they got letters and cold calls like this all the time and were hardened to the reality that most of those contacts were bogus.

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H&N Excite Smart Shot copper-plated lead BBs: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Smart Shot BBs
H&N Excite Smart Shot BBs are the first lead BBs in 90 years.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Forced-feed magazine
  • The test
  • Umarex BBs
  • Daisy BBs
  • Smart Shot BBs
  • Daisy BB
  • Conclusions
  • What do I test next?

Today I am shooting the H&N Excite Smart Shot copper-plated lead BB in a Daisy number 25 pump BB gun that has a 50-shot forced-feed magazine. The gun I am using was made in Plymouth, Michigan between the years 1952 and 1958, which can be determined by the electrostatic paint instead of bluing on the metal and the plastic buttstock and pump handle. This gun is in 95 percent condition and would be 98 percent except the butt has a slight curve at the back that’s characteristic of the soft plastic Daisy used in those days. It probably stood on its butt in a warm closet for 30 years before I bought it at a flea market in the early 1990s. I doubt it was ever shot before I bought it. It’s so nice that I seldom shoot it, but today I wanted a gun that’s as close as I can come to the current Daisy 25 that Pyramyd Air sells.

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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 first pneumatic gun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • First air compressor
  • Condensing chamber/reservoir
  • Valves
  • Controlling force
  • Sealing against air loss
  • The first air valve
  • The rest of the gun was easy
  • Performance
  • When did it happen?

I just finished reading about the Wright brothers quest to fly, and I learned some things. For starters, I never thought about their first flight — how did they know what to do? There was nobody to teach them because mankind hadn’t flown a powered airplane yet. So how did the Wright brothers learn to fly?

Don’t answer that. That was a large part of what the book was about. But do you see a parallel between the Wrights and the person who built the first pneumatic airgun? He had no one to copy, either. He had to do everything himself, because pneumatic guns didn’t exist yet.

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Beeman R1 supertune: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman R1
Beeman R1 Supermagnum air rifle.

Part1

This report covers:

  • Cocking effort
  • Really bronze?
  • Don’tcha wanna know how it works?
  • Crosman Premiers
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • RWS Hobby
  • Custom muzzle brake
  • Trigger pull
  • New safety easier to operate
  • Summary

I was pleased to see so many readers got something from the first part of this report on the tuneup of my Beeman R1 rifle. Several of you commented on how much work Bryan Enoch had put into the gun, and I think that is an important thing to take away. You have seen guest bloggers and even me tune spring guns over the years, but never to the degree that Bryan devoted to this rifle. That just illustrates that there are all levels of things that can be done to a spring piston air rifle, and you can pick and choose what you want to do and what you want to spend doing it. What you see in this report is a top tune.

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How smart are you now?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Old joke
  • The answers
  • Summary

You read this blog and you learn things — or at least you say you do. You tell me the historical articles are the best, because they teach you all about how airguns developed.

Old joke

To appreciate this joke you need to know something about domestic rabbits. They eat processed food that’s been compressed into little pellets, and when they eliminate it, the stuff that comes out also looks like pellets.

So the joke goes like this. One guy gives the other some rabbit pellets (the bad kind) and tells him they are smart pills. The second guy eats one and says, “These taste like poop!” To which the first guy responds, “See? You’re smarter, already!”

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