An alternative to steel BBs and rifled barrels

Going back to leaded

An alternative to steel BBs and rifled barrels

By Dennis Adler

The HK P30 is designed to shoot pellets with an 8-shot rotary magazine, but also has the ability to fire BBs that load in the CO2 magazine channel like a blowback action semi-auto. The problem is that with its rifled barrel, shooting steel BBs, (like the Umarex 1500 pictured at left) can erode the rifling in the barrel and ruin the gun’s accuracy with pellets. To get around it, you can use lead BBs like Smart Shot (which is copper coated) or traditional Gamo .177 caliber round lead BBs. The catch is how they function in the HK P30’s magazine.

I know the oil refining industry has a rational explanation for this, but I spent a good portion of my life as an automotive journalist and back in the 1970s when unleaded gas was introduced I was always amused that it cost more at the pump than regular leaded gasoline; you see lead is an additive, not a natural property of gasoline, so they were charging more for not putting it in! How does this apply to air pistols? Today we use steel BBs and a variety of cast alloy pellets as an alternative to traditional lead pellets. Even in the world of cartridge firing handguns and rifles, there are a number of non-lead bullets available today. Lead is not a good thing for humans or animals, but it is an often necessary component of a bullet, a pellet (such as the pellets in shotgun shells, though there is steel shot as well), and yes even original type BBs and pistol and rifle pellets. Environmentally conscious airgun shooters often defer to steel BBs and alloy pellets, and that is commendable, but lead pellets still dominate, and proper shooting conditions (use of pellet traps, just as lead bullets are reclaimed at indoor shooting ranges) can keep lead from becoming an environmental issue. (I use a baffle box behind my targets to trap the pellets). But, there is this little question that has arisen of late with the HK P30, a rifled barrel semiautomatic that can fire either pellets from an 8-shot rotary magazine or BBs from a combination CO2 and BB magazine. The question is what happens to the rifling when you shoot steel BBs through it, instead of a lead pellet? The answer is that using steel BBs will unfortunately erode the rifling over time. read more


Not all blowback action airguns are created equal

Not all blowback action airguns are created equal

Looking inside today’s latest blowback action semi-autos

By Dennis Adler

Blowback action air pistols were first introduced about 16 years ago with the Umarex Walther PPK/S (top). The latest model from Umarex, the S&W M&P40 is also a blowback action air pistol but uses a design much closer to a modern short-recoil locked breech design.

Blowback action air pistols were first introduced about 16 years ago with the Umarex Walther PPK/S (top). The latest model from Umarex, the S&W M&P40 is also a blowback action air pistol but uses a design much closer to a modern short-recoil locked breech design.

When I was a kid there were no semi-auto blowback action air pistols. In fact, until I was almost 53 years old there were no semi-auto blowback action air pistols. Today there are a lot of them, and some have evolved into such accurate reproductions that the only thing separating them from their cartridge-firing counterparts is what comes out the end of the barrel. To achieve that level of authenticity in design and operation, not only the exterior of the pistol has to be correct, but for some models, what goes on inside has to be nearly the same as well. read more


CaseCruzer range case

Making the case for “the” range case

CaseCruzer Universal Shooting Range 4 Pack Handgun Case

By Dennis Adler

The CaseCruzer is grab-and-go for storage and for the shooting range. The shockproof hard-shell exterior will easily stand up to forcible impact or vibration. This model holds four guns and accessories. Pictured are the Tanfoglio Limited (top) Sig Sauer P226 X-Five (right), Umarex S&W M&P40 (bottom) and Umarex Beretta M92 A1.

The CaseCruzer is grab-and-go for storage and for the shooting range. The shockproof hard-shell exterior will easily stand up to forcible impact or vibration. This model holds four guns and accessories. Pictured are the Tanfoglio Limited (top) Sig Sauer P226 X-Five (right), Umarex S&W M&P40 (bottom) and Umarex Beretta M92 A1.

If you have been collecting blowback action air pistols for any length of time, you probably have some favorites, I know I do, and you probably have a big stack of boxes and accessories. You probably also have a range bag to transport them to the shooting range that holds a couple of guns, a box or two of CO2 cartridges, BBs and pellets. Now, what if you could have four of your favorite blowback action airguns (or CO2 revolvers), shooting glasses, BBs, pellets, and plenty of CO2 cartridges all together in one easy to grab, air tight, water tight storage case that’s ready to go to the shooting range whenever you are? If you have cartridge-firing handguns and go to the shooting range regularly (or are in law enforcement) you probably already have one, but the CaseCruzer Universal Shooting Range 4 Pack Handgun Case is also an ideal all-in-one storage and range case for cartridge firing guns or CO2 powered blowback action airguns. read more


Blowback Action Airgun Maintenance

Blowback Action Airgun Maintenance

Even Air Pistols Need Cleaning

By Dennis Adler

Even an air pistol needs to be cleaned from time to time, especially blowback action models that have more moving parts and slide to frame contact that can suffer more wear over time, just like cartridge-firing semi-autos.

Blowback action airguns have more moving parts and slide to frame contact areas that can suffer surface wear over time, just like cartridge-firing semi-autos.

Air pistols do not generate heat nor do they require gun powder as a propellant, thus the two primary reasons for cleaning a cartridge-firing handgun are absent. In fact, CO2 air pistols are almost maintenance free. Almost, however, means that even an air pistol needs to be cleaned from time to time, especially blowback action models that have more moving parts and slide to frame contact that can create surface wear over time, just like cartridge-firing semi-autos. read more