Airing out history Part 1

Airing out history Part 1

Comparing time, technology and the M1 vs. the M16

By Dennis Adler

It is an interesting comparison, the new CO2 M1 Carbine with wood stock and a centerfire M16 of original Vietnam era style. The AR was smaller and lighter with a higher capacity.

The real world of firearms and the world of airguns are overlapping more and more these days, and comparisons cannot help but be made between CO2 powered arms and their contemporary centerfire counterparts. We also know that historic firearms have been recreated to match their vintage centerfire predecessors, like the Broomhandle Mauser and WWII-era Colt Model 1911A1. This particular comparison has, in fact, been made many times in the world of centerfire arms, pitting the legendary American light rifle of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, against its successor, the M16/AR-15. read more


Stock Exchange

Stock Exchange

Investing in Springfield Armory’s M1 Carbine

By Dennis Adler

Plastic or wood, the Springfield Armory M1 in any stock is a highly accurate blowback action semiautomatic air rifle. With an average velocity close to 400 fps (anywhere from 387 fps to 426 fps) I was comfortable shooting the 17.75 inch barrel length M1 Carbine at 10 meters. To get a sense of the gun’s true accuracy at that competitive range, I shot it from a bench rest using a Hyskore gun rest. My best 10-shot group with Umarex Precision steel BBs measured 0.56 inches with either seven or eight rounds inside one ragged hole measuring 0.437 inches.

Today, May 18th, is Armed Forces Day, which was established by President Harry S. Truman after WWII as a day to pay special tribute to the men and women of America’s Armed Forces. Traditionally celebrated on the third Saturday in May, the first official Armed Forces Day took place on May 20, 1950 and next year will mark the event’s 70th anniversary. While Armed Forces Day events usually last an entire week it always kicks off on a Saturday. For WWII, Korean War and early Vietnam era veterans, the M1 Carbine and its variations were the most familiar arms in use, aside from the Colt Model 1911A1 pistol. The M1 was referred to as a “light rifle” and was originally designed for the military by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. It was based on a design by Ed Browning (John M. Browning’s brother) and originally known as the “Caliber .30 M2 Browning Military Rifle. That fact is somewhat of a footnote because the telling of the M1 story has always focused mostly around the improved firing mechanism used by Winchester, which was developed by David Marshall Williams, better known today as “Carbine Williams” and famously considered the creator of the M1 Carbine. While he did a lot of the work with Winchester’s design team, the M1 Carbine was a Winchester and Browning design, combined with the gas piston system invented by Williams. His design, which used the exhaust gases from the fired cartridge to power the piston running a rotating bolt and operating rod to eject the spent shell casing and load a fresh round from the magazine, is pretty much the heart of the M1 and why it is often regarded as his design. To commemorate the M1, Springfield Armory offers its new CO2 model, which is a very accurate reproduction of the WWII guns, with a magazine fed blowback action and, as my initial test of this gun revealed, it is also very accurate downrange, putting a dime-sized cluster of overlapping hits on target at 10 meters. read more


Double Sneak Preview

Double Sneak Preview

Blowback action models from Sig Sauer and Springfield Armory

By Dennis Adler

This could be the shape of things to come, the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield Armory XDM 3.8, blowback action CO2 models in the Compact category with self-contained CO2 BB magazines and total authenticity to their centerfire counterparts. These are perfect understudies for CCW training.

These two CO2 models are about to write a new chapter in blowback action air pistol history. The Sig Sauer P365, due out this summer, and the Springfield Armory XDM 3.8, now available for Pre Order (follow this link), are both Compact pistols with self-contained CO2 BB magazines and 1:1 accuracy of design. The significance of this is that there have never been Compact blowback action models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines that are spot-on understudies for their centerfire counterparts. The Sig and Springfield establish a new category for authenticity and training with a full function compact air pistol. That isn’t to say there are no Compact CO2 models, but up until now you either had to live with a separate CO2 chamber in the grip and a stick magazine, like the fine Walther PPS and PPSM2, or a self-contained CO2 BB model like the Makarov, which has an exposed CO2 seating key at the base of the magazine. This totally blows the authenticity of the gun, and a Makarov is hardly a modern CCW training gun, though it is a classic. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 4

Diana’s Nemesis Part 4

Webley chases the Chaser

By Dennis Adler

It is time to regroup. We have a gun that shoots well but not where it is aimed. Great sights but not regulated to the gun, or so it seems. The Nemesis has only been tested using the tandem rotary pellet magazine. So, before I lunge into the optics test, which I had planned to do anyway, let’s step back and test this gun with the single shot pellet tray.

The Nemesis has a problem, great sights that are allowing shots to go high, way high, about 5- to 6-inches over POA. With no way to adjust them, I thought perhaps part of the problem was the tandem rotary magazine, so I shot a new test with the single shot pellet tray, as shown.

As much as I would like to say that’s the problem, this gun shoots just the same, high and slightly left, even with the single shot pellet tray, as it does with the rotary magazine. Without an adjustable rear sight, the Nemesis (this one anyway) needs a 6-inch POA correction to hit the bullseye. The only solution for this gun is going to be optics. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 3

Diana’s Nemesis Part 3

Webley chases the Chaser

by Dennis Adler

The Nemesis is a big hand-filling pistol. My medium-large hand gets a good wrap around the finger-grooved grip and my thumb rests on top of my middle finger, with a one-handed hold. This is considered a good grip for my hand size. When I switch to a two-handed hold my thumb will align with the deep rest in the grip and I will have a full wrap around with both hands; about as solid as it gets.

The Webley Nemesis has a lot of interesting features that provide this gun with the potential to be a high-performance target pistol in a very unusual niche of bolt action models using rotary pellet magazines. I am hoping the fixed fiber optic sights are well regulated to POA at 10 meters; they’re certainly large enough and bright enough to see indoors or out, so a lot of what will make this pistol accurate is going to fall on both the sights and the adjustable 2-stage trigger.

In daylight the fiber optic sights are luminescent against the target, but shot accuracy with the Nemesis began to prove itself less than expected with shots hitting well above POA. With grips this good and sights this easy to put on target, the problem is going to be lack of adjustments to correct for elevation and windage.

The trigger

Trigger pull out of the box (factory setting) averaged 2 pounds, 3.4 ounces with 0.25 inches of take up, very mild attacking and clean break. There is about 0.125 inches of over travel. The adjustable trigger, like reversing the bolt handle, is not covered in the user manual, which is rudimentary and leaves a lot to be figured out. I used a 1/16th hex head wrench that came with a Swiss Arms Light Laser set (it was handy and it fit, so I used it). Insert the wrench into the adjustment screw in the bottom of the trigger and turn clockwise to shorten take up. I gave it ½ turn and this reduced take up from 0.25 inches to 0.187 inches. Stacking increased slightly but the shorter pull still had a clean break and over travel remained at 0.125 inches. Average trigger pull decreased slightly to 2 pounds, 0.4 ounces. It’s a nice trigger. But that is only one of three parts that must all function perfectly for the Nemesis to be a reliably accurate target pistol. The rotary magazine is next. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 2

Diana’s Nemesis Part 2

Webley chases the Chaser

By Dennis Adler

The Nemesis is Desert Eagle sized, which is big for a CO2 pistol (maybe not for a Webley) with an overall length of 10.25 inches, an overall height from the base of the grips to the top of the rear sight of 6.0 inches but a surprisingly light weight of 2.0 pounds.

Did Webley go to school on Diana’s Chaser or is the Nemesis just a coincidence? Given manufacturing lead time, probably neither, since the technology isn’t exclusive to Diana or Webley, and the presentation of both the Chaser and Nemesis is quite different. The Chaser is a clever design with its detachable shoulder stock and interchangeable barrels, breech blocks, and sleek target shooting (and small game hunting capability in .22 caliber) design. The Nemesis is more like a Desert Eagle; big, imposing, and designed for straight up plinking and target shooting with a decent capacity of 14 rounds in .177 caliber using the 7+7 tandem rotary magazine. This is a gun built for serious paper punching. read more


Diana’s Nemesis Part 1

Diana’s Nemesis Part 1

Webley chases the Chaser

By Dennis Adler

The new Webley Nemesis is a visual indulgence with its vented slide, extended barrel, and MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail contrasting a dual rotary pellet magazine and bolt action.

Odd as it may be for a comparison, the closest in function to the new Webley is last year’s gracefully designed Diana Chaser, which, while looking nothing like the Webley works exactly the same way with a large under barrel CO2 chamber and bolt action mechanism that allows single shots or use of a rotary pellet magazine.

Here we have two CO2 pistols with nothing and everything in common. The Diana Chaser is a modern, streamlined, bolt action CO2 model that delivers performance, accuracy, and a choice of single shot or multi-shot capability with an extra rotary pellet magazine. It is also offered in either .177 (4.5mm) or .22 caliber (5.6mm) versions. I reviewed this model last August and after an extensive multi-part series on both .177 and .22 caliber versions came away with the Chaser being one of the best entry level-priced CO2 powered, bolt action, single/multi-shot target pistols of the year. Now we have the same fundamental idea as the Chaser from renowned British airgun manufacturer Webley & Scott, only done in a way that, like most Webley air pistols (and centerfire pistols), is big, bold, and overbuilt. The look of the new Nemesis single shot/multi-shot CO2 model is clearly inspired by the single shot pneumatic Webley Alecto, (and to a lesser extent the old Webley Nemesis single shot pneumatic). The new Nemesis is very much like the Diana Chaser in its operating theory and mechanical layout but contained within much heavier, boxier dimensions that are neither modern nor streamlined. read more