Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

And the winner is… Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

This year saw a number of new CO2 models, many based on guns from previous years, and a few that were first time models like the Umarex MP40 German submachine gun. The special John Wayne Edition Model 1911A1 was the first semi-auto in the John Wayne signature series, the odd but alluring Umarex Legends “Ace in the Hole” gave movie buffs a real taste of not being Expendable, ASG gave us a new 2-1/2 inch Dan Wesson Model 715, and Webley & Scott delivered its best MK VI CO2 model yet, the weathered and rugged Battlefield Finish.

Among the best CO2 models introduced in 2017 these five soared to the top of my “Best New Air Pistol or CO2-powered rifle” list. It is a fairly diversified group by gun types, but there is a dominant theme among the choices, vintage military arms with battle worn finishes. For arms collectors, condition is paramount but when condition becomes secondary to rarity, you look for a gun that has the most acceptable “patina” or as it is described in the Blue Book of Gun Values “…a good example of an older, used revolver in above average condition.” This is 70% condition which can show areas of wear, some discoloration and pitting. This also falls into the NRA Modern Good condition, which ranges from 60% to 80%. This is what most airgun makers are shooting for (pardon the pun) when weathering their CO2 military models. The weathering on the John Wayne 1911A1 is a bit more severe, closer to 60% condition, and the Webley MK VI is closer to 70%, while the “Ace in the Hole” falls somewhere in between, the MP40 is also around 70 percent finish in most areas. All four look very authentic, but the Webley and MP40 are just a little more realistic looking overall. read more


Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

The Best of the Best in .177 and 4.5mm Part 1 Part 2

By Dennis Adler

I know many of you were hoping for more new models this year, but there are several in the wings for 2018 that are going to fulfill a lot of wishes. Still, 2017 brought quite a few new and significant CO2 models to the .177 and 4.5mm class of air pistols and magazine-loading rifles, and today we are going to review my top picks for the year. Let’s start with one of the most interesting new rifles, well actually submachine guns, in the world of centerfire or CO2 arms, the WWII era MP40.

Is it real or is it Umarex? The MP40 at the top is an original WWII model rated in “fine condition” by Rock Island Auction Co. The estimated value is between $13,000 and $19,000. Makes the Umarex weathered CO2 model a real bargain! (MP40 photos courtesy Rock Island Auction Co.)

Umarex Legends MP40        read more


Dan Wesson Signature Series 8-inch Revolver

Dan Wesson Signature Series 8-inch Revolver

Bringing optics into the mix Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

What’s more impressive than a revolver with an 8-inch barrel? One that has a reflex sight mounted on top of it! Although the C-More costs four times as much as the Dan Wesson CO2 model, if you shoot centerfire pistols with optics, this is a great choice to serve both needs.

Adding optics to handguns is nothing new. I still have one of the very first red dot scopes made, a comparatively massive Aimpoint electronic Mark III that I used on my AMT Longslide in the early 1980s. The gun with the Aimpoint fit into a custom competition holster made for me by Alfonso Pineda of Alfonso’s of Hollywood. I still have the rig and the Longslide, too. Aimpoint makes much smaller red dot scopes these days, and there are a variety of reflex sights like the C-More line that are excellent choices. Adding the C-More STS to the Dan Wesson 8-inch CO2 model is going to up the game for the smoothbore pellet firing revolver. Now you can add any kind of red dot pistol scope or optic, you don’t have to mount an optic that costs nearly three times as much as the gun, but as I said in Saturday’s article, if you happen to shoot centerfire and rimfire pistols and have high quality optics for those guns, they will work on the CO2 models. You just have to readjust POA. read more


Dan Wesson Signature Series 8-inch Revolver

Dan Wesson Signature Series 8-inch Revolver

10 Meter test of the long barrel BB model Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

This is one of those situations where you can have your cake and eat it too (though I’ve never really understood what that means unless you buy two cakes), but the Dan Wesson smoothbore can shoot the same pellet loading cartridges as the rifled barrel models. The rear loading pellet rounds (shown) come in a set of 25 so you can have plenty on hand. The bad news is that they won’t work in the speed loader that comes with the front loading BB and pellet cartridges.

Shades of the Crosman Remington Model 1875, another dual caliber revolver is born. Well, maybe not born, just adapted to multi-cartridge use. Any smoothbore BB cartridge firing revolver, where a compatible (correctly sized) pellet loading cartridge is available, can shoot pellets. The smoothbore is just fine for pellets, other than it doesn’t provide rifling for greater accuracy at longer distances. Since the latest Dan Wesson 8-inch BB model has a companion rifled barrel pellet version (in an all black finish), they can both shoot the same pellet cartridges. read more


Dan Wesson Signature Series 8-inch Revolver

Dan Wesson Signature Series 8-inch Revolver

Shooting the long barrel BB model Part 1 Part 2

By Dennis Adler 

The big DW is the 8-inch model in silver BB version (shown) or black pellet version with rifled barrel. The smoothbore silver model is also sold as a combo with both BB and pellet-loading cartridges (in cylinder). With the longer barrel the gun may prove to deliver better accuracy with pellets than steel BBs.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. (California), I had a Dan Wesson Pistol-Pac with an 8-inch barrel.  The remaining pair of interchangeable barrels for my Model 15-2 was a 2-inch and a 4-inch. This was the gun of my dreams at the time (around 1980) and I took it with great pride to the shooting range where a lot of folks were impressed with the gun’s interchangeable barrels (still a bit of a novelty at the time). I mostly shot it with either the 8-inch or 2-inch barrel. But the real story here is not “my” Dan Wesson 8-inch barrel model, but another 8-inch DW that turned heads and dropped jaws in 1980. At the time I was Editor of Four Wheeler magazine and aside from testing four wheel drive vehicles in some of the roughest terrain in California my other favorite pastime was the sport of Metallic Silhouette Shooting. read more


Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

The MK VI Battlefield Finish Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

So this is where we left off last Thursday with the Battlefield Finish Webley MK VI CO2 model being compared to the .455 caliber MK VI civilian model from the 1920s. As you can see, the look of the Battlefield Finish model is that of a true weathered gunmetal steel pistol and is far more realistic than either of the other MK VI CO2 model finishes. The nickel plated guns were actually a rarity. When I completed this shot for Part 2 of the article, I actually pulled the CO2 model out of the studio mistaking it for the .455 caliber Webley model.

I have to begin this belated wrap up of the Webley & Scott Battlefield Finish MK VI with a story. After I finished last Thursday’s Part 2 article I put the MK VI Exhibition and Service Model CO2 revolvers away, which left the last studio setup to be broken down. That was the photo of the Battlefield Finish MK VI and my original .455 caliber civilian model Webley MK VI. I have owned that MK VI for over 25 years (along with a few others) and have even shot it a few times. I’m actually a big Webley & Scott and Enfield fan. Anyway, back to the story. I reached into the studio, picked up the MK VI and was walking away when I realized I had actually grabbed the Battlefield Finish CO2 model! For an instant it felt and looked exactly the same as my .455 caliber MK VI, and that takes us to the final examination of this superb CO2 pistol, because it is remarkably like the .455 caliber model. read more


Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

The Finish, the Trigger, and the Accuracy Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

By Dennis Adler

A Webley has a very distinctive look, the Mk VI featuring a square-butt grip, flat sided barrel, and large triggerguard. Military MK VI models had a dull finish (like the CO2 Service Model) that was less reflective than the blued finish used on some Webley & Scott military sidearms and commercially-produced models. The Battlefield Finish is a brilliant compromise with a gunmetal look and edge wear of the barrel flats, cylinder flutes, and other parts.

Of all the vintage military CO2 pistols available today the three most complicated to faithfully copy are the Broomhandle Mauser Model 712, Luger P.08 and Webley MK VI, each for different reasons, but all demanding a level of precision far exceeding that of other WWI and WWII pistols. The Webley is certainly the least problematical to build of the trio; the Mauser Model 712 with its selective fire blowback action and the semiautomatic P.08 with a toggle link blowback action require far more complex mechanisms, but the Webley is just as exceptional in its design and operation for a revolver. read more