Home Blog  
Education / Training Whiscombe rifles and barrel harmonics – Part 3Introduction continued

Whiscombe rifles and barrel harmonics – Part 3Introduction continued

Part 1
Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

I’ll try to finish the intro with this post. Several of you have asked about the Whiscombe price and availability. John Whiscombe supposedly stopped building new guns several years ago, but his site is still up. If you read it, it looks like he still makes them, but the last post was in 2003. Mac-1 Airguns sold them for many years but the guns are no longer on their website, as far as I can determine. Pelaire also sold them, but they stopped before 2003. To the best of my knowledge, Whiscombe rifles are no longer being made. If anyone learns differently, please direct me to the website by posting a comment on this blog.

As it turned out, I bought the next to last JW75 made. Most of Whiscombe’s customers wanted fixed-barrel rifles, so the JW80 replaced the 75 in the last few years. My rifle came with all four barrels, as I mentioned last time, but I didn’t tell you that all four of them are set up for Whiscombe’s Harmonic Optimization Tuning System or HOTS. It’s an adjustable weight at the muzzle to allow the shooter to “tune” the barrel harmonics to the pellets being used, which is why this blog also addresses barrel harmonics. We will spend more time with the HOTS in the future. My rifle, ordered in 1996 with a thumbhole stock in Grade III walnut, came to $2,350 for everything.

The silver weight can be screwed in or out, changing the barrel vibration harmonics. It’s an adaptation of the Browning BOSS that has been used successfully for decades.

When you change pellets or calibers (which means a different barrel), the HOTS has to be retuned. If you think about all the possible combinations, you’ll see what a daunting task this can be! That’s why it’s best to stick with one good pellet per caliber and to index the HOTS weight for that. I haven’t done this yet, so I’ll use the testing I do for you to establish that for this rifle.

To demonstrate the rifle’s potential, I shot a few groups with .177 Beeman Kodiaks at 35 yards. I have no idea if these are the best pellets for the .177 barrel. Of course, the HOTS has yet to be adjusted. The results were close to the best you would get from a TX200, but not quite at the PCP level, which this rifle is capable of. I haven’t had much experience with the .177 barrel, either.

At 35 yards, this group of five Kodiaks is good for a spring gun but not quite up to precharged levels. The rifle needs to be tested to find the best pellet for this caliber, then the HOTS needs to be adjusted.

Drawback of the breakbarrel
The barrel has to clear the scope, and that is the biggest drawback to the breakbarrel model. A benefit, of course, is that the breakbarrel is easier to load. I have a 3-12x Simmons on the gun, and it works well, but I cannot mount the Leapers 8-32x that I’d really like to have. The rifle is accurate enough to warrant it.

Trigger and safety
The Whiscombe’s trigger is fully adjustable and every bit as nice as any you would find on a premium PCP. The length of the first stage is adjustable, as is the sear engagement and the pull-weight of the second stage. There is also an overtravel adjustment. Despite having to restrain several hundred pounds of force, the trigger is both light and crisp. The automatic safety is a button on top of the receiver that moves back when the rifle is cocked. If the safety hasn’t set, the rifle may not be fully cocked. I had a few occurrences with that when I was first learning about the gun. Once taken off, the safety cannot be easily reset.

Worse than a dry-fire
I told you how bad a dry-fire is, but there is something even worse. If you load the rifle first and then cock the pistons, you create a vacuum in the compression chamber. The pellet blocks the air from entering. If you shoot, the pistons are drawn together by the force of both springs and the vacuum between them. That will destroy the rifle.

Adjustable buttpad
I could have gotten an adjustable cheekrest on the rifle; since the buttpad adjusts up and down, I figured a movable cheekrest was superfluous. It’s already high enough for scope use.

Well, that’s the intro. In the coming months, I’ll use the Whiscombe to demonstrate a number of classic airgun facts, including the accuracy benefit, if any, of harmonic tuning.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

33 thoughts on “Whiscombe rifles and barrel harmonics – Part 3Introduction continued”

  1. Crazy Old Man! You’ve had this rifle for 10 years and have not tuned the accuracy yet? Did you even put 1 full tin of pellets through it? I wish I was in your will! Just Kidding. Great topic, wring it out for as many posts as you can!

  2. BB,

    Plink, hunt small – medium game, charge via scuba tank, easy for follow up shot.

    .22 to 9mm

    single shot ok, but prefer multi shot capabilities.

    will be mounting scope and possibly bipod.

    $500 to $700 without scope?

  3. Hello BB,

    You did an article on July 11, 2005 on “How does cold weather affect different airgun powerplants?” Did you ever do an article on “How does hot weather affect different airgun powerplants?”

  4. Banker,

    What you have asked for already exists in the AirForce rifles, the Logun Solo and the S200.

    What would you say to a .22 single-shot with good scope possibilities, about as accurate as a Benjamin 392, and pumped with a pump that only needed one hand to operate it? For under $300?


  5. BB,

    Yeah, $300 sounds great!

    Is your $300 one hander a pistol?

    I am looking at the Career offerings. It looks like to get any kind of quality things dont start below $600.

    Also would like to get a ‘hands on’ on a AR6, know anything about it?

    thanks for your help

  6. BB,

    I need to clarify a bit.

    “It looks like to get any kind of quality things dont start below $600”.

    I think the multi shot capabilities are keeping things around or above $600.
    and thats not including scuba tank, scope, and whatever.

    perhaps I should look more seriously at those single shot offerings. that said , the Talon SS wins hands down!

  7. i learned something new about scopes today! you see, the scope i have is this cheap daisy that came with my bb rifle. it worked fine on my springer, but a fleck of some sort was driving me insane. i unscrewed the scope tube, and took a q-tip to the crosshairs to try and get rid of that damned fleck. can you guess what happened? perhaps no stupid questions, but i guess there are stupid actions! my next will be another daisy cheapie, the 3-7 variable power. i’d order the $40 leapers from pyramyd(no crosshairs to break!) , but i’m way too paranoid to submit credit information over the net
    even if its to a company like pyramyd.
    ah, and i was wondering about the HOTS, i’ve heard about it before and it seems like quite a bother! wouldnt a floated barrel be better than trying to actually tune the harmonics?

  8. No, the under $300 PCP is a rifle. The “one hand” comment referred to how easy it is to pump, not to how it is held.

    Have you read my 2-part report on the AR6? Or are you referring to the pistol which is currently out of stock?

    I have no idea when the Career II will be in.


  9. Anonymous,

    You might want to consider the Webley Raider. I have the Venom Viper version in .22, got it from Pyramyd. Super quality, 2-shot, super accurate.

    When all was sorted out, I spent about 700 dollars, including the hand-pump. I am VERY pleased with it. I put a Leapers 3-9x40AO MilDot scope on it as well for another $65.00.

    Might I suggest a very high-power scope if you’re going to go PCP? I’m finding the Venom so accurate that I wish I had put a 4-16 or better on it.


    Steve in PA

  10. Steve,

    thanks for the info

    I’m pretty sure I will be using my Leapers 4-12X44 mini AO, or the full size version, wich ever looks best, as I have both.

    Do you think it’s enough scope?


  11. BB,

    If you had enough $$ to buy any air gun that your heart desired, which would you buy?

    Conversely, if you also wanted a relatively inexpensive fun gun, which one would you choose?

    Christmas is rapidly approaching, which gave me the idea of asking. (No, I’m not planning to buy you yet another air gun…just curious what you think.)



  12. I assume the thigh rest is for field target work, and the butt hook helps you mount the rifle to the same place on your shoulder each time, increasing accuracy? Wow, talk about a Buck Rogers special. And only $1500. You should get one, BB; let us know how it performs…. -Joe

  13. i blogged the other day about a rifle in .22 or .25 for hunting rabbit up here in canada under 500fps, found a few models.one was the hatsan from turkey do you have any knowledge of this brand and what scope would i use do shoot clearly to 30 yds.

  14. I have no direct knowledge of the Hatsan, but from testing I have done on other Turkish-made airguns all I can say it make sure you can return the gun if you don’t like it. The Turkish rifles I have tested have all had poor accuracy.


  15. Hello again Tom…
    Leave it up to me to use the secret message method of asking you lengthy questions!

    I found this portion of the blog while looking for dual piston break barrels. While this gun is a rather fabulous feat of engineering, it doesn’t seem to be something that is (or should be) accesible to joe user.

    I’ve been reading a lot, absorbing, and processing. Has anyone, to your knowledge, tried a dual cooperative (side by side and travelling in the same direction) piston air rifle?

    Couldn’t you achieve greater energy with less recoil by having 2 slightly detuned air springs for instance which both push from their chamber into a central chamber, which then feeds the port?

    I realize that the side/side or over/under would have to be worked out, although i think side/side would work best because the lever armature could have a crossbar acting on both pistons simultaneously.

    Also, if you had 2 nitro pistons each with a 25 lb cocking effort, you would have at 50 lbs cocking a bus-load of power even compared to the super magnums.

    Power that may not translate to fps, but would surely translate to ft-lbs.

    Thank you for your time, and effort.


    • W,

      Foot pounds and f.p.s. are the same thing stated differently. And yes, that will work.

      The difficulty is timing the two pistons. That makes the action three times more complex to produce, so a $200 airgun becomes a $600 gun. Only when that happens, nobody will buy a $600 El Cheapo, so it’s really a thousand dollar gun.


Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    Get the most out of your equipment when you work with the expert technicians at Pyramyd AIR. With over 25 years of combined experience, we offer a range of comprehensive in-house services tailored to kickstart your next adventure.

    If you're picking up a new air gun, our team can test and tune the equipment before it leaves the warehouse. We can even set up an optic or other equipment so you can get out shooting without the hassle. For bowhunters, our certified master bow technicians provide services such as assembly, optics zeroing, and full equipment setup, which can maximize the potential of your purchase.

    By leveraging our expertise and precision, we ensure that your equipment is finely tuned to meet your specific needs and get you ready for your outdoor pursuits. So look out for our services when shopping for something new, and let our experts help you get the most from your outdoor adventures.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.