One Year Anniversary of the Airgun Experience

One Year Anniversary of the Airgun Experience

12 months, 144 articles, and three “Top Guns”

by Dennis Adler

The Umarex S&W M&P40 is the first blowback action CO2 semi-auto to be adopted for actual law enforcement training. It is a 100 percent accurate handling substitute for the M&P models.

Exactly one year ago today the first Airgun Experience column was posted with a tribute to the 40th Anniversary of John Wayne’s last film, The Shootist and this past Saturday we celebrated the Duke’s 110th birthday with a roundup of all the John Wayne Colt Commemorative airguns. It might seem that we have come full circle, but over this past year quite a few new and exceptional CO2-powered air pistols have been introduced. To commemorate the One Year Anniversary of the column we are going to look back at the best of the best and select one gun in each category; blowback action semi-autos, BB or pellet cartridge loading double action revolvers, and BB or pellet cartridge loading single action revolvers, to be Gun of the Year. All three of the Airgun Experience’s first annual “Top Guns” will be revealed at the end of the article, and be sure to call Pyramyd Air Customer Service at 888-262-4867 and mention the “Airgun Experience promotion” for a special offer on these Top Guns! read more


This weekend we celebrate a man named John Wayne

This weekend we celebrate a man named John Wayne

110 Years ago, in Winterset Iowa, a legend was born

By Dennis Adler

John Wayne had many memorable sayings, one of which has been on my desk for years, it is simply an honest observation of life that everyone can agree upon: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

These three special John Wayne commemorative Signature Series Umarex Colt 5-1/2 inch barrel length Peacemakers cover the entire genre of Wayne’s western films. At top left 1939’s Stagecoach the only film where he didn’t carry a revolver but favored his now legendary Model 1892 large loop Winchester, at top right Wayne in his last film, The Shootist where he carried a pair of hand engraved Single Actions, bottom left a still from 1930’s Texas Cyclone where Wayne had a nickel plated Colt, and lower right from the 1956 John Ford film The Searchers where Wayne had a weathered Peacemaker with a 5-1/2 inch barrel.

For John Wayne it was how he lived, and though I never had the opportunity to meet him, over the years I have known several of his friends, including the late Hugh O’Brian (TV’s Wyatt Earp), and James Arness. It was Wayne who recommended Arness for the role of Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke (the producers originally wanted Wayne for the part). James Arness was very much like Wayne, a rock solid individual with deep convictions. Though we barely crossed paths in the 1960s when I had a short stint as a still photographer on the Gunsmoke set at CBS, 44 years later he wrote the Introduction to my biography on one of our mutual friends, John Bianchi. John is not only a friend, but a legendary holster maker who knew Wayne very well, and I learned a lot about John Wayne through Bianchi. Over the years he made some of the Duke’s signature holsters, as well as commissioning the bronze statue of Wayne by sculptor David Manuel, that stands in front of the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum in Winterset, Iowa. read more


Terminal accuracy with a pellet firing pistol Part 2

Terminal accuracy with a pellet firing pistol Part 2 Part 1

The limitations of a rifled barrel blowback action semi-auto

By Dennis Adler

The Sig Sauer P320 ASP is offered in black or this very pleasing FDE-like monochromatic Coyote Tan finish. The belt fed rotary magazine has a copious 30 round capacity. I managed a total of 50 rounds from one 12 gr. CO2 cartridge before velocity began to drop but the ASP still sent rounds downrange with a solid thwack as they hit the cardboard backer 75 feet away. In terms of weight, balance, trigger design, sights, and operation, the only thing missing from the CO2 model is a slide that locks back on an empty magazine and a few minor operating features found on the centerfire models. The ASP is a decent basic training gun with benefits.

To be fair this is going to be a more challenging test because the same 12 gr. CO2 cartridge that had the solitary purpose of sending a 4.5mm alloy pellet downrange from a revolver now has the dual task of pushing the pellet down a rifled barrel and operating a blowback action slide. The velocity for the test gun, the new Sig Sauer P320, averaged 388 fps with Sig’s own 5.25 gr. cast alloy wadcutter pellets. With that much velocity I expected the gun to do quite well at the 45 foot distance. read more


Terminal accuracy with a pellet firing pistol Part 1

Terminal accuracy with a pellet firing pistol Part 1

The limitations of a rifled barrel revolver

By Dennis Adler

As good as it gets with a 12 gr. CO2 powered handgun, the 4.5mm Umarex Colt Peacemaker with 7-1/2 inch barrel can actually hold its own against a .45 Colt out to 50 feet.

This is a test I have been waiting to do because pellet firing pistols (not competition target pistols) but CO2 BB magazine and cartridge-loading designs like the Colt Peacemaker, Dan Wesson Model 715, and Sig Sauer P226 and P320 semi-autos, are generally limited to ranges of 21 feet to 10 meters (33 feet). Beyond that velocity and accuracy begin to diminish. This is the accepted norm often referred to as “the nominal distance for blowback action semi-autos and pellet-firing revolvers.” As my latest comparison between the rifled barrel Colt Peacemaker and smoothbore Schofield single actions demonstrated, 10 meters is where smoothbore and rifled barreled pistols begin to go their separate ways. The rifled barrel pistol, however, maintained a tight group out to 10 meters, and this raises the question, “How far can a pellet fired from a rifled barrel revolver or semi-auto pistol travel before its effective accuracy declines?” read more


Another look at the Umarex Broomhandle Mauser Model 712

Another look at the Umarex Broomhandle Mauser Model 712

Simply one of the best CO2 semi-auto air pistols in the world

By Dennis Adler

The Mauser Broomhandle, or C96, was one of the earliest and most successful semiautomatic pistols. Introduced in 1896, by the time this photo was taken, likely between 1902 and 1904, western lawmen were already carrying semi-autos. In this photo, Anadarko, Oklahoma Territory Sheriff James Thompson and his deputies are displaying their guns for photographer Annette Ross Hume. Take a close look at the guns. At the top is Sheriff Thompson’s shoulder-stocked Broomhandle. (Photo courtesy Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma)

Editors Note: Due to some unexpected weather the article I had planned for today has been delayed until next week.  I began to think about new models from the last couple of years and if there was one CO2 pistol that stood out above all the others, and let me tell you, that is not a short list, but there is one favorite that certainly rises to the top of any list, the most personally enjoyable CO2 powered airgun that I own, the Umarex Model 712 Broomhandle Mauser. So, the following is a reprise of my original review of that gun from 2016. We’ll pick up with my original plan next week as we head into the 1-year anniversary of the Airgun Experience next Tuesday, May 30. read more


Peacemaker and Schofield at 10 meters

Peacemaker and Schofield at 10 meters

The Last Gunfight

By Dennis Adler

The final showdown between the Peacemaker and Schofield will leave no question as to which of these two CO2 pellet cartridge-firing revolvers is the most accurate when it comes to pushing a 4.5mm wadcutter downrange from the 10 meter line.

Alright buckaroos we have come down to the last gunfight, the 7-1/2 inch rifled barrel pellet-cartridge firing Colt Peacemaker vs. the smoothbore 7-inch pellet-firing Schofield. This was the inevitable showdown once the Schofield got its rear-loading 4.5mm pellet rounds to rival the Colt’s rear-loading “silver” bullets. This is the duel, the Peacemaker and Schofield at 10 meters.

Leveling a somewhat un-level playing field

How can you put a smoothbore up against a rifled barreled pistol? The Bear River Schofield has earned its chance to challenge the most accurate pellet cartridge firing single action revolver on the market by delivering groups at 21 feet that are within a fraction of an inch to equaling the best the 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker has done. read more


Umarex Beretta APX Part 2

Umarex Beretta APX Part 2 Part 1

Handling and shooting accuracy

By Dennis Adler 

Is the new Umarex Beretta APX (front) equal to the Sig Sauer P320 CO2 model? On a practical application of basic operating skills (holstering, drawing, sighting, and trigger operation), the answer is yes, but less so when it comes to being a BB pistol vs. a pellet-firing model. Given their respective polymer frame designs, put side by side, it’s a tossup for most authentic since both have non-functioning, molded-in components. The APX has a black nitride finished slide, as does the standard P320, while the desert tan P320 (pictured) has a matching slide and frame.

For Beretta, the new APX semi-auto model is its third groundbreaking polymer-framed handgun (along with the Pico and Nano) completing the company’s pistol portfolio and making Beretta one of a handful of manufacturers to offer full sized polymer and metallic framed handguns in both hammer and striker fired operating systems. Carrying that design into the Umarex Beretta APX is actually more of an achievement since the APX is Beretta’s first full sized 9mm striker fired model (the Nano is a subcomact 9mm), and with the CO2 version being introduced at the same time it presents an opportunity to get a hands-on feel for Beretta’s new centerfire 9mm model for less than the cost of two tins of Sig Sauer alloy pellets. read more