What Drives Your Passion?

What Drives Your Passion?

Some airguns are a personal link to the past

By Dennis Adler

Not sure what this says about me but Richard Boone as Paladin was my favorite western hero when I was a kid.

I am drawn to certain CO2 air pistols and the occasional CO2 air rifle by my past and my passions for certain guns I have owned, be they airguns or actual cartridge firing guns. I grew up in a family where there were no guns. My interests stemmed from watching TV westerns in the 1950s and 1960s, Have Gun, Will Travel, Wanted Dead or Alive, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza, (and I could throw in a few others I liked like Trackdown and the Rifleman) and classic TV detectives like Richard Diamond, Peter Gunn, and Mike Hammer. read more


Proofing a theory

Proofing a theory

Shooting .177 (4.5mm) Round Pellets through a rifled barrel pistol

By Dennis Adler

Smoothbore BB revolvers like the Bear River Schofield and Remington Model 1875 can fire BB-loading cartridges and also fire pellet-loading cartridges, and do so quite accurately as evidenced by these 21 foot shot playing cards ala John Wesley Hardin.

As we have proven in earlier articles, cartridge-loading smoothbore CO2 BB revolvers that have pellet cartridge-firing counterparts (or pellet-loading cartridges available), can also shoot 4.5mm lead or alloy pellets quite well; not as accurately as a rifled barrel model, but well enough to make it worthwhile with models like the Schofield and Remington. The cartridges are interchangeable, but you would not want to shoot a steel BB in a rifled barrel Colt Peacemaker; it’s a one-way street, unless you want to risk damaging the rifling with a steel BB. read more


A Boring Topic

A Boring Topic

When you can and can’t shoot a .177 caliber lead BB 

By Dennis Adler

The caliber conundrum, when is a .177 caliber not 0.177 inches? When it is a steel BB (far left) which actually has a diameter of 0.173 inches (average) or 4.3mm, compared to a lead round pellet (center) which is just slightly larger at 4.5mm, or a wadcutter pellet (right). The difference in diameter is what keeps you from loading a lead ball into a .177 caliber, magazine-fed blowback action pistol designed for steel BBs. This is the same whether it is a stick magazine or a self-contained CO2 BB magazine; that .2mm difference is a lot with an air pistol.

The operative word in Airgun Experience is experience, and the way you get experience is by doing things and often doing them wrong. Failure is the best teacher, and hopefully it isn’t always costly, just educational. One of the early mistakes I made was trying to shoot .177 caliber lead BBs from a semi-auto pistol chambered for .177 caliber steel BBs. Lead BBs don’t fit. An air pistol that shoots steel BBs and is marked .177 caliber (4.5mm) does not actually shoot a .177 caliber diameter BB. Now, if it is a pellet-firing rifled barrel pistol it can, because the bore on a .177 caliber BB pistol and a 4.5mm pellet pistol are not exactly the same. A steel BB will drop right through the barrel on a smoothbore blowback action BB pistol. A 4.5mm pellet won’t even fit if you try to insert it, whereas with a pellet firing pistol you can actually push the pellet into the barrel. read more


Guns and Holsters Part 2

Guns and Holsters Part 2 Part 1

Packing Alloy

By Dennis Adler

This trio of new holsters for CO2 Single Action Colts, Schofields and Remingtons follow the lines of classic Western styles developed throughout the 1870s and 1880s. Many of these slim, contoured rigs were wet formed for specific pistols to ensure solid retention, and ease of draw and re-holstering. These three new historically-based holsters are for the Umarex Colt Peacemakers and the 1875 Remington (left in Gunfighter black with the Remington and center in Cowboy brown with a 5-1/2 inch Peacemaker), and far right for Bear River Schofield models. The 1875 and 7-1/2 inch Peacemakers use the same holster.

Quality gunleather is not hard to come by; you just need to throw down some serious cash for an authentic holster and cartridge belt. In Cowboy Action Shooting a good gun rig is just as important as a good gun. This was also true back in the Old West among professional gunfighters and lawmen, as well as outlaws like Jesse and Frank James, the Dalton Brothers, Billy the Kid, and others who lived and died by the gun. With the latest CO2 powered Colt Peacemaker 5-1/2 inch and 7-1/2 inch Single Action revolvers, the Schofield, and 1875 Remington, high quality holsters make the shooting experience all the more realistic and enjoyable. But they often come at a high price. Shortly, there will be an entire line of high-quality American made leather holsters and cartridge belts designed especially for the Colt, Schofield, and Remington CO2 models that will be comparably priced to the airguns, so that anyone can have a period correct gun rig that will not only improve their Cowboy look, but their shooting skills when it comes to skinning that smokewagon. read more


Guns and Holsters Part 1

Guns and Holsters Part 1

Packing Alloy

By Dennis Adler

Holster designs from the 1880s and 1890s include a Mexican double drop loop (left) with a 5-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker. The design is based on the holster worn by Billy the Kid. Next, an El Paso Saddlery Tombstone Speed Rig, with 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker. This design is also known as Skeleton Shoulder Holster and was originally designed in the late 1890s by Al. Furstnow of Miles City, Montana. At center is a hand carved Slim Jim style holstering a Crosman Remington Model 1875. This is similar to the style of holster worn by Jesse James, and is made today by TrailRider Products in Colorado. At right a Schofield military flap holster of 1872 design. This model is handcrafted today by John Bianchi Frontier Gunleather.

Over the past two years a great deal of thought has gone into creating authentic CO2 reproductions of Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Remington revolvers, even special hand engraved models duplicating the original patterns used in the 1870s and 1880s. These high quality Colt, Schofield and Remington airguns deserve to be worn in proper western gunleather, the problem is that authentic western holsters and cartridge belts usually cost more than the airguns they hold (with the exception of the hand engraved guns, but it can still be close!) read more


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


Schofield and 1875 Remington Part 2

Schofield and 1875 Remington Part 2

Dealing out an Old West shooting match

By Dennis Adler

Rarely did a gunman carry two different types of revolvers (especially in two different calibers), but it wasn’t uncommon for some to own different guns. Frank and Jesse James carried Colt Peacemakers, Remington Model 1875s, S&W Americans and Schofields. Jesse also owned at least one .44-40 caliber Merwin Hulbert. The Bear River Schofield and Crosman 1875 Remington certainly look like their famous Old West predecessors.

Old West gunfights were rarely quick draw affairs like we see on TV and in movies, in reality, more often one or both men had their guns already drawn, but in the instances where two men actually had the time to think about it and step apart, the distance was often referred to in paces, and usually 10 paces, the historically based gentleman’s dueling distance, take 10 steps turn and fire. While more of a British and European dueling tradition, it was sensationalized in American history on July 11, 1804, when U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr shot and mortally wounded political rival Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel. For the Schofield vs. the 1875 Remington shootout, the distance from the target, which is a pair of playing cards, will be 5 paces, the distance chosen by John Wesley Harden for his shooting exhibition in 1895. So what exactly is a pace? A pace is determined by the average distance of a man’s stride, which according to Webster’s is “roughly 30 to 40 inches.” I come in right at 30 inches, so my 5 paces would be 12-1/2 feet, but we’ll split the difference and average it out at 35 inches, which makes the shooting test distance 14-1/2 feet. read more