More Childhood Approved Airguns

More Childhood Approved Airguns

’Tis the Season

By Dennis Adler

Only Jean Shepherd could turn a kid’s BB gun mania into one of the most beloved Christmas movies ever. It’s an annual event in our house, we even have an early Christmas Story Daisy Red Ryder that sits on the fireplace mantle every Holiday Season. Our own BB gun mania.

I must admit that when I was a teenager I didn’t expect, nor did I want an “official Red Rider carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle.” (Of course, in truth I would have had to want a Red Ryder Model 94 Carbine back in the 1960s; the Red Ryder in A Christmas Storey was based on the Number 111 Model 40 Red Ryder Variation1 made in 1940 and 1941). The movie wasn’t released until 1983 and the gun didn’t even exist as it was written in Jean Shepherd’s Christmas classic until after the film. So what did I want? Well, as I mentioned in Thursday’s Airgun Experience I wanted a real Colt Model 1911. But there were other guns with which I had become equally absorbed. None of which existed as air pistols back then. Today, I would be in absolute airgun bliss. The guns I wanted back then were mostly all WWII models and earlier (I have always been a step out of time), and looking at this week’s Pyramyd Air emailing of “12 Airguns you wanted as a kid but never got” I decided to wrap up the week with my old Christmas list and why I wanted them (even though they didn’t exist as airguns back then.) read more


Top 5 Wheelguns

Top 5 Wheelguns

Why revolvers endure

By Dennis Adler

Out of the holster and ready for action, the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker has the feel of a real .45 Single Action Army and draws the number 1 spot in my Top 5 Wheelguns review.

Back in my youth (that’s like an episode of Happy Days in writer years) there were two kinds of television shows that boys liked, westerns and detective shows, mostly westerns, but detective shows were a lot like westerns (some actually were) and the heroes almost always carried revolvers. Back in the 1950s and 1960s just about all lawmen; U.S. Marshals, uniformed cops, detectives, both police and private, State Troopers and FBI agents, among others, typically carried S&W or Colt revolvers. It wasn’t until years later that semi-autos began to make a dent in the general law enforcement sidearm category, and even after they did, revolvers remained the preferred backup gun. read more


Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 4

Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, Part 1

The rail gun revolver rivalry

By Dennis Adler

Dynamic but not a duo, the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 (bottom) is a larger CO2 handgun and mounts the Walther Night Force tactical light and red laser a little better than the Dan Wesson Model 715. The DW on the other hand has better balance and handling overall. And no that is not a nickel finished model of the DW, the high polish blued smoothbore has such a highly reflective finish that under some light it appears to be nickel.

When you talk about a level playing field you also need to have two relatively equal competitors, and that we have with the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model and the Umarex S&W Model 327 TRR8 BB cartridge firing rail equipped revolver. Rail guns are nearly always semi-autos and the list is endless from 1911s to Glocks, Sigs, Walthers and so on. When it comes to revolvers the choices are more limited. Among the handful of centerfire wheelguns are the aforementioned Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P R8, S&W Thunder Ranch and the 327 TRR8, the Chiappa Rhino 40SAR, 50SAR and 50DS, 60DS, and 60SAR models, the biggest selection of rail gun revolvers available, last, the Taurus Judge rail model, and the massive German Korth Super Sport .357 Magnum. What’s not mentioned here is a Dan Wesson model because they don’t make one, at least not in .357 Magnum. But when it comes to air pistols, Dan Wesson, via ASG, does have a rail gun and it is a near perfect match up for the only other BB cartridge firing rail revolver, the Umarex S&W TRR8. Both are, of course, smoothbore guns (but you can shoot lead or alloy pellet cartridges with them if you want), and both have excellent triggers, and sights. The big advantage seems to lean toward the S&W CO2 model because it has excellent green fiber optic sights and a longer 6.25-inch (external length) barrel vs. the ASG Dan Wesson’s 4-inch (external length) shrouded barrel. Internally, the smoothbores measure 3.5 inches for the DW and 5.44 inches for the S&W with a 0.81 inch recess from the muzzle. That gives the S&W almost a two inch advantage. Still, the Dan Wesson smoothbore has delivered some very tight 0.875 inch groups at 21 feet. read more


Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 3

Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 3, Part 2, Part 1, Part 4

Laser shooting test

By Dennis Adler

Lights, laser, action! The Dan Wesson Model 715 with the Walther Night Force tactical light and red laser mounted takes on a far more dramatic look, but can a laser sight make this smoothbore BB pistol any more accurate at 21 feet?

The pellet cartridge loading model of the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 with 4-inch barrel is hard to upstage, however, the high polish blued (steel grey) BB model seems to be running a close second with accuracy at 21 feet under 1-inch. To improve upon this performance I am fitting a Walther Night Force LED tactical flashlight and red laser combo to the 4-inch model. This is a full-sized light/laser unit that is well suited to the length of the Dan Wesson’s under barrel rail section. Smaller tactical light/laser combinations usually have On/Off paddles that extend in front of the pistol’s triggerguard, and these are better suited for semi-autos with longer rails. The Walther Night Force uses a large, single On/Off switch at the back of the housing and has an integral push-button release Weaver/Picatinny spring-tensioned mount. Although not needed for this test, the Walther’s tactical light has six white LED lights surrounding the central 5mw Class IIIA red laser. These project a fairly wide beam of light downrange that is good for about 15 to 25 yards, depending upon ambient lighting. For my test on the indoor range I only used the red laser which brilliantly painted the bullseye on a Birchwood-Casey Shoot-N-C target at 21 feet. read more


Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 2

Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 2 Part 1, Part 3, Part 4

Carry and first shooting test

By Dennis Adler

The blued finish on the Dan Wesson Model 715 is so highly polished it reflects everything around it and almost looks like a nickel gun in the studio. The DW comes with one speed loader and six BB loading cartridges.

In terms of modern revolvers, modern meaning the last half century since revolvers date back more than 180 years, the 4-inch barrel length double action is today’s equivalent of the Old West 4-3/4 and 5-1/2 inch barrel length Single Actions. These were the barrel lengths often chosen by lawmen and a considerable number of outlaws because of the ease and swiftness of draw and reasonable accuracy at moderate distances. For longer ranges the 7-1/2 inch barrel was most always preferable, as it was for military (Cavalry) issue in the 19th century. Today, a 4-inch double action revolver is less common in general use than a snub nose (2-1/2 inch barrel length) but is no less desirable for carry and self defense. Until the overwhelming popularity of semiautomatic pistols overtook wheelguns in law enforcement, the 4-inch revolver was a staple of police and law enforcement, most notably the famous.38 Special Colt Police Positive. Later lawmen shifted to the Colt Python, and various S&W revolvers before the resurrection of the 1911 as a preferred carry gun in the latter 20th century, and the development of even more efficient semi-auto designs, beginning in the late 1980s and continuing to the present day. Even still, there is no shortage of 21st century double action revolvers in every imaginable barrel length; even Colt is back in the double action revolver business. read more


Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 1

Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

A .177 caliber masterpiece

By Dennis Adler

Handsome is rarely used to describe a handgun but the ASG Dan Wesson 4-inch blued BB model certainly comes close with its deep, reflective, polished blue grey steel finish and hand filling Hogue-style hard rubber combat grips.

Not everyone is into shooting 4.5mm lead (or alloy) pellets or trying to gain proficiency shooting at 10 meters, but few will argue, that no matter what kind of CO2-powered BB pistol piques your interest, realism in design is probably the first consideration. If you are looking for a revolver, you need look no further than the new ASG Dan Wesson 4-inch BB cartridge firing Model 715. Of course, that should be the last line of this article rather than the opening, but how I have come to that conclusion is what makes this CO2 model so deserving. read more


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