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An open letter to airgun manufacturers

by B.B. Pelletier

For several years, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in airguns. The manufacturers are peopled with employees who know nothing about airguns for the most part. Nor do they know what we want, or, more important, what we NEED. Today, I’ll take a stab at answering that question, because airgun makers ask me all the time what I think the airgun market needs. Then, before I can answer, they tell me with a smile that their Chinese maker has a new rifle that’s even faster than the one that wowed the market last week. Apparently, their question is rhetorical.

Power, we have!
The pedestal of ultimate power that all manufacturers are scrambling to perch upon is getting crowded. Numbers are inching higher than truth, but the fact is that no one can effectively use supersonic air rifles. Yes, solid “pellets” (otherwise known as bullets) could solve that problem, but they leave the aftertaste of unsafe ranges and ricochets. The diabolo pellet is our best friend, but we need to learn to live in the world it loves…the world of subsonic velocities.

So, what do we need?
We need some smaller, lower-powered air rifles made from quality materials and having great barrels that a person can shoot all day without a Gold’s Gym membership. Guns that cock with less than 20 lbs. of effort, and guns that can hit a dime at 50 feet shooting offhand with open sights. Guns with good triggers that wear in to become great. I’ll give you some examples.

The Diana model 27
Was there ever another breakbarrel rifle as nice as this one? Oh, it can’t keep up with the TX200 Mark III, but my Ruger 10/22 plinker can’t keep up with a Remington 40XB, either. I’ll probably shoot the 10/22 about 500 times more often than I would a 40XB because the barrel doesn’t wear out in 2,000 shots. I’m told I can get a half-million shots from my 10/22, but I doubt I’ll live to see that. In the same way, the Diana 27 is a reliable, accurate breakbarrel that you can shoot all day and not have enough. It has the famous Diana ball-bearing sear release that can be adjusted extra-fine, as my .22-caliber model is. Cocking is around 15-17 lbs. and the rifle weighs about 5.5 lbs. No need to worry about the neighbors because the gun’s discharge is such a mouse cough that it’s unlikely they’ll know you are there. And, the 27 is just one of many guns with similar features.


Diana’s model 27 was a classic plinker. Today, they sell for $250 on the used market. Not because they’re rare, but because they’re so nice!

The Slavia 630/631
This rifle has more steam than the 27, but it’s still a pipsqueak by modern magnum terms. It’s as accurate as anyone could wish for, but a too-wide set of scope dovetails, coupled with the same quirky cross slot scope stop as the Webley Patriot prevents it from being easily scoped. It’s possible, but the owner has to learn a lot about scope mounts before it will work. This rifle also has a barrel lock that seems quaint on a gun with this little power.

RWS Diana model 5 pistol
Thought this was just about rifles? Well, the model 5 pistol is a classic that should never have gone away. True there are some more modern spring pistols that can kick its behind in the velocity department, but for an all-day air pistol, you’ll have to look a long time to beat this one. If you do find one, chances are better than 50/50 it will be a BSF S20.

I saw my first S20 in a German antique shop, and even then I knew it was really a small air rifle converted to a pistol. What I didn’t know for 20 more years was that the trigger, which is a sandwich of riveted sheetmetal plates, breaks-in to become very nice. But it takes 4,000 shots to do it, so you really have to shoot the gun all day long. That’s not hard to do though, because it’s easy to cock. Recently, I said the Webley Typhoon could become a small carbine by a reversal of the process that created the S20. I wonder if anyone listened?


BSF S20 was a rifle made into a pistol. It was a wonderful, big air pistol.

What do we have?
It’s slim pickings for plinkers today, but there are a few worth mentioning. The Beeman R7 along with the HW30 and HW50 are good starters. So is the Mendoza RM-200, the little rifle with the big value. And Gamo has the Delta, which is a nice little rifle with too much plastic. And ditto for Crosman’s 795. Oh, yeah, the IZH 61 & 60. Good little guns, all, but nothing like what we had 20 years ago.

Diana had the model 24 then the model 28. They had the models 70 and 72, which were carbine adaptations of the models 5 and 6 pistols, respectively. Every manufacturer had a youth model or two, and a few, like Weihrauch, had adult rifles such as the famous model 55, and they were also low-powered and perfect for plinking.

Every week I get emails from frustrated parents looking for a good air rifle to teach the shooting fundamentals to their children. For some, I recommend Daisy’s 499 and for others I recommend the IZH 61. But for a large segment, I have nothing to recommend. They don’t want to spend over $300 for an R7, or even over $200 for an HW30. They would like a nice breakbarrel spring gun for around $150. Wouldn’t we all? A gun that’s accurate plus easy to cock and load. One that doesn’t weigh too much and has nice open sights and a manual safety. The RM-200 comes as close as any, but that’s just one gun. We need more!

157 thoughts on “An open letter to airgun manufacturers”

  1. Thank you BB,

    I wonder sometimes who’s running the marketing departments for these companies. Maybe planned obsolescence is part of their strategy? Don’t we live in a disposable society?

    I couldn’t agree more with you on the IZH 61. If you or your readers missed my post on scoping options, please stop by here.


    Michael in Florida

  2. What about the rws model 34? Isn’t that the lowest priced rws available now days? I know it’s more than the target price, but everything is now days. from SavageSam

  3. Warren,


    I can live with modern materials, despite my “too much plastic” remark. When plastic is used as the locking mechanism for the breakbarrel, I draw the line. Even a Glock puts metal where it’s needed.

    But the rifles I’m talking about can be built. For example, if the Webley Typhoon were made into a rifle, it would be a great little airgun. As a pistol with a poor anti-recoil mechanism, it sucks.

    And we do need more plinker airguns. The Mendoza and IZH 61 are not enough.

    That was my message.


  4. I agree.

    I have a CZ Slavia 631, with both a Williams Peep and currently a Daisy 3-9×32 scope mounted (after reading Jock Elliott’s articles on Minisniping on his CD, and re-reading Capstick’s original, I had a gun in the power-range to give it a try, so I added the scope to give it a try. I haven’t been shooting much, but it is despite being a bit bulky my favorite since it is far more accurate than I!!
    Have a Crosman RM-377 which was my “power gun” until I got the TF-99 and Gamo Shadow 1000. Downside to the RM, Crosman’s liability conscience (lawyers) putting a heavier trigger on it. Hear the regular Mendoza line has a nice trigger. I like mine, just not the trigger.

  5. Shucks, forgot to comment on the “plastics” points. Among my “plastic guns” I have a Crosman 66 Powermaster and Remington 77 AirMaster (Crosman 2100 “in a Tux”) and currently the AirMaster is a mess. The little plastic cup holding the fiber compression bar wouldn’t so I took it apart, didn’t put it back together right, so the gun sits.
    By comparison, I have an old 760 we bought at a flea market (in the early-mid ’80s?), plus one a little newer (marked A Coleman Company) that I bought at an auction for $10 this past year (it was still in the original box with the sales receipt attached to it) and had one of the the all-plastic jobs from Wal-Mart. Sold the all-plastic one, just doesn’t feel right too me.

  6. BB, are you sure that the plastic lock-up parts are really a liability on the Delta? The same arrangement has been used for years on rifles more powerful than that – at least some of the rifles that Gamo used to make for Daisy were like that, as was Gamo’s own Sporter 500. Are you aware of a high rate of failure for this lock-up design?

    One nice, intermediate rifle (suitable for mid-teenagers, I think) is a bit of a DIY. I put a Crosman C5M77-010 spring (about $5 from Crosman) into a Quest action, and I came up with a gun that I can cock with my pinky yet still does premier’s in the mid-750’s. Shoots quieter, too. The Quest only weighs about 6lbs, so the weight ain’t too bad, either.

    Crosman USED to offer a Quest 500X with this spring, but it was discontinued.

  7. SavageSam, do you really think the ’34 is a decent kid’s gun? As I remember it’s on the heavy side and not that easy to cock…

    That aside, my personal pet peeve is the lousy open sights that come on many guns. IMO – the Crosman sight is nice to look through, but it is VERY cheaply made. The sights on my RWS 350 and ’48 are well made but have lousy sight pictures. The ones on my Gamo 440 and CFX have side play and won’t adjust up far enough for 60 yards (the Shadow and 220 sights are better in that respect). And all the Gamo FRONT sights are delicate and expensive to replace.

    My favorites are the peep sights on some Modoza’s, the B26 sight, and the AR1000 sight. Nice and solid, no wiggle to speak of, decent to use, and plenty of adjustment range.

    Then again, almost everyone seems to be using scopes at the moment, so my concerns might be in the minority.

  8. My nephew has gone through more airguns than I will probably ever own (he is 14). He buys one, uses it, and then sells it. And it may be because none were of a quality he wanted to keep, not because of the throw away mentality. He is talking about buying a QB78, modding it, and keeping it!

    .22 multi-shot

  9. I think one way to send a message to the market is by buying the types of guns that you speak of. It really comes down to supply and demand. If people buy cheaply made guns, or guns just based on power, that’s what the companies will keep making more of.

    I’m 36 and haven’t had an air/spring rifle since I was a kid but my recently purchased Beeman R7 should arrive tomorrow. I made my decision based on everything that this article speaks of – craftsmanship, ease of cocking, accuracy, a quality trigger, weight. Maybe I’m old enough to realize that if you buy something of quality to begin with, you will be happy with it for years to come. From everything I have read, the R7 should be just that. I hope the extra dollars I spent on it help in a small way to promote more high quality, usable guns in the future.

  10. TRC,

    Okay, YOU are the perfect person to tell me whether I’m right or wrong on this. For starters, you are young for an adult airgunner. And you have probably been exposed to the airguns of the past 10 years.

    When the R7 comes, I’d like you to try to put into words your feelings as you open the box and experience the rifle for the first time. There is a moment with every new Weihrauch when I’m overwhelmed by the rifle. I want to see if it affects you the same way.

    As for shooting, the R7 is nice, but never forget that it can be smoothed to an incredible level. It will buzz a little when you first shoot it, but don’t let that put you off.

    Please tell us your impressions.


  11. About guns for children:
    My 5 year old is small for his age, so small that even a Daisy Red Ryder is too long in the buttstock for him to shoulder. I sense that many younger children are too small for shooting any rifles currently offered.

    So what would I like to see? Adjustability.

    I want a youth rifle that can grow with the child, with a stock that can be adjusted over time.

    My solution for now is to make an adjustable stock for a 1377, but not everyone has the ability to do gunsmithing work like that.

    Of course no mfg. advises that a 3-5 year old use an airgun, but kids do love to learn to shoot at a young age.

    Just my 2c.

  12. BB.

    Yes, the 25 is still made. Its like a HW30 but more in every sence – smaller, quieter, less power (about 5 ft/lbs), easier to cock but still as accurate and with all the HW quality. Retails new at around $200 here. I have got a few expensive PCPs, a 1022 rimfire and centerfires but the little 25 springer is still the one I use most.

  13. I wanted a light, full sized rifle that any teenager could cock. Also, I had a spare Quest 1000X lying around. So, on a hunch, I tried ordering a part# “C5M77-010” from Crosman, which I believe is the spring from the discontinued 500X.

    The spring was about $5 (+ $4 shipping). I took the spare Quest, popped the action out of the stock, and pulled the mainspring out. I put the new spring in without any sort of spacer, just slid it over the existing guide (same ID) and reinstalled it. That part was super easy, since the preload on this spring is considerably less than the stock spring.

    I took a few shots to set the spring and shot some Premiers over the chrony. They seemed to hover around 780 or so. Granted, when I said that I could cock it with my pinky, I didn’t mention that it was a little bit of a strain on that particular digit… but I do think that the rifle is easier to cock than the Delta. I’ll have to actually measure the cocking force.

    All in all, it’s a very pleasant gun to shoot… and, like I said, it still has enough sock to wack targets on my backard range (57 yards). I couldn’t be more pleased with it. I recently bought a Gamo Sporter for $60 on closeout (680fps), and I think the modded Quest is more appealing.

    This spring would also probably work in many Gamo guns as well.

  14. B.B.,
    Sure, I will be glad to report back. First let me say though that I haven’t been exposed to the airguns of the past 10 years. My experiences are limited to the airguns that I had as a youth – a Crosman Pumpmaster 760 and various low-end cocking pistols. The R7 will be my first break-barrel rifle.

    However, as a youth, I was also exposed to .22 bullet rifles. Our family had one that we would take on camping trips with us, and the youth camp that I went to each summer had a .22 firing range. Needless to say, none of these .22s were made of plastic and as a kid, the feeling of holding and shooting a wooden stock rifle like that was second to none. In comparison, my Pumpmaster felt like a toy, but I loved it dearly as a kid.

    When I started shopping for my new airgun, I was originally looking for a cheap plinker that my brother and I could go out and shoot like we did as kids. A new Pumpmaster 760? Maybe a Crosman 2100? Once I started looking online I discovered adult airguns. Wow! I had no idea. All of a sudden I was bombarded with tons of options and at first I was amazed by the power claims. I started looking at the Gamo guns because they weren’t too much more than what I had initially intended on spending. I went to a local sporting store to see one in the flesh. When the guy pulled the Shadow 1000 out of the box I must admit that I was disappointed by all of the plastic and needless to say, I didn’t get the feeling that you are asking about. The gun had good reviews online, but I just knew this wasn’t going to do in the long run. At that point I was willing to spend the money to get the real deal, but I was still looking for power because initially it seemed like everything out there was 1000+ FPS – that’s what I noticed at first. “That new Benjamin is 1500 FPS!?”

    However, the more I read, the more I realized that I didn’t need all of that power (and the bad characteristics that come with increased power) because I have no plans to hunt anything but paper targets. Maybe there are a lot of people out there with serious rodent problems, but I’m not one of them. πŸ™‚ So then my focus shifted to everything else besides power. At that point, the decision became pretty easy as I had suddenly ruled out most of what was out there. I came full circle in that I got back to what I really wanted – a plinker that was going to be fun to go and shoot for an afternoon that wasn’t difficult to cock, not too heavy, etc. The difference from where I started is that I had realized that I wanted a good one.

    Ok, that was a long-winded response but I thought some background on what my past experience is and what I went through before making my purchasing decision might be useful information.

    I’ll report back on the 27th – I’m taking the R7 with me to a cabin in the woods for the holidays. What could be better? πŸ™‚

  15. BB,
    what you say is so true, and it applies not only to airguns but the entire shooting industry. I’ve been involved with the the shooting industry on a small level for the past few years and they always try to push the limits, and tell us that what worked for decades is no longer good enough.

    For example, the 30-30 cartridge was perfect for deer hunting for years but now there is a huge push for .300 mag. The .300 man cartridge is capable of taking an elk at nearly 1000 yards. The only reason a hunter would need a load like that for a whitetail at 100 is because the industry says he does. Another example is in the field of paintball. Most official leagues set a maximum rate of fire at 15 ball per second (900rpm) but the industry keeps producing markers that can fire in the 50-60bps range and higher. There is one gun on the market that is said to be capable of firing at 86bps, which is faster than the fastest loader can load the balls into the chamber.

    The major companies in the industry need to realize that the “most” is, and has been for a while, “too much”. Instead of 1-uping each other by pushing the limits of their products, they should take a long hard look at what the people who will actually be using these products need, then 1-uping each other in the quality department.

    I guess that the same could be said about all forms of business.


  16. 2 cents,

    When my son was five I used to sit him on my lap and we proceeded to shoot balloons with a target air pistol, One inside another, as a trick shot. I held the gun and he pulled the trigger. We’d shoot the outer balloon first, the the inner one. His mother would be the amazed audience.


  17. Mech,

    You are so right about the shooting sports. That’s why I cling to the .45 ACP when all the ads want me to go with the .357 Sig or some other whomptedoodle new cartridge.

    Back the airguns, I think by focusing on power, the makers are missing a sector of the market who want accurate plinkers they can shoot all day. I know I want them, and from the comments I’ve received today it looks like I’m not alone.


  18. B.B.,

    I tend to think that I was simply smart enough to listen to what you had learned over the past 30 years. πŸ™‚ My decision to buy an R7 had very much to do with your invaluable posts so thank you (and Pyramyd Air) for this blog. Without it, I surely would have made a poor decision and by this time next week I would have been cursing a sore arm and trying to figure out how to get a loud gun with a lot of recoil to shoot straight.

  19. Johnny,

    They can’t get them in a timely manner. When they order from Air Arms, the guns arrive in a week. When they order from Weihrauch, they take longer than 6 months to arrive. Pyramyd keeps customers on the hook until they get fed up and it creates bad feelings all around.

    They love the guns, but can’t stand the wait – for a PREPAID ORDER!


  20. BB,

    Fair enough, everybody have to earn a living and I now I understand Pyramids choice.

    However, they should really talk to Hans H about this, he is a really nice guy and should be able to adress this issue in a better way.

  21. Regarding the tremendous problems PA has been having with Weirhauch:
    It really is a pity that one of the top five (quality-wise) airgun makers is tardy in deliveries.
    It would seem that management there would make it a high priority to make shipments to the LARGEST AIRGUN DEALER IN THE U.S.!
    Likewise, I have been waiting for three months after placing my order for pellets through PA for JSB to get their act together enough that PA will have some of their coveted pellets in stock.
    I don’t know if JSB (Czech company) and Weirhauch (German) have a problem that is endemic to Europe and labor/government control, but it is sad to see two airgun companies that many consider right at the top for quality just can’t seem to get it together with their production and shipments.
    One would think that PA’s considerable buying power would serve as adequate motivation to get those two companies on their toes, but something has made them lackadaisacal in the extreme.
    I seriously doubt that Crosman, Air Arms, or – yes – even Gamo would allow themselves to fall so far behind.
    What gives?
    Have some of these companies simply lost all interest in selling their products?
    I doubt this is PA’s fault, as I strongly suspect that other dealers are having similar problems.

  22. I guess I don’t understand the desire to start a child on a springer. I have started my Grandson and Grandaughter on the Crosman 1760 and 2260 respectively, simply because they were very young, 3 years old, and they for darn sure did NOT have the strength to cock any springer plus in order to cock any of the “recommended” beginner guns the child either had to stand up or hand the rifle to an adult to cock if they were shooting prone, which I believe is a good starting position since it allows the child to learn technique without a lot of interruption. These 2 rifle are plenty accurate for 20-30 foot shooting which is the range I started them at, so successful hits could be made to encourage continued interest. In fact, my Grandson shot in the 4-H program with the 1760 and was competitive in his class.
    I cut the stocks off and glued anti-slip tape on the end. As they grow I will add sections back on. It really is a relatively simple job.

  23. BB,

    Even here on the farm nearby development is making firearms less suitable for frequent recreational shooting, so I went looking for a plinker/target type airgun. Since I have stuff for coyotes, etc., I didn’t want anything powerful, just something fun to shoot at 10m range that is standard for air guns; I hope to scale my results a bit, so that I can get cheap/unoffensive practice for .22 with it as well. There really weren’t that many options, but I finally decided on a Hammerli 490, which I hope to get for Christmas (not as exciting as my Red Ryder 30+ years ago, but close). Part of the problem researching this “need” was that no one, not even the manuafacturers, seems to care about the “recreational” airgun shooter who has no intention of trying to kill anything. Velocity is almost always “1000 fps” or higher, which from my experience seemed both too fast to be accurate and needlessly powerful for hitting a paper target or the like at 33 feet. I didn’t find and read your entire blog until after I made my choice, so I probably could have done better (or worse — we’ll see), but I think anybody in a similar situation still has the same problem: few choices of pleasant, easy-cocking rifles and even less information about the ones that are available. Thanks for trying to remedy that situation with a little more information, such as your 10m and M27 blogs. It all comes down to the fact that sellers give people what they will buy: pointlessly overpowered, noisy, recoil-heavy rifles that satisfy basically the same teen mentality as Quake3 and paintball. May be my last post as well as my first, since I doubt this sentiment will be popular.

  24. B.B.,

    My R7 showed up a day earlier than expected so I ran it home on my lunch break and cracked open the box! To reply to your question if I had an awesome feeling when I first saw the gun, the answer is a resounding YES! I must say this was an entirely different feeling than when I looked at the Gamo 1000 at the sporting store. Although nobody else was around, I said “oh wow” out loud! Then I carefully removed the gun from the box to take a closer look. Again, I said “oh wow”. πŸ™‚ The R7 is simply beautiful! I must say that the fit and finish of it has exceeded my expectations.

    When I read that the gun was “small” online, I was a tad bit worried. Would it be too miniature? Now that I have it, the size and weight seem absolutely perfect for me. I’m 5’8″ and 160 lbs – no hee-man for sure. I can’t imagine lugging around a terribly heavier gun all day. Perfect.

    As I’m sure you know, the stock is a stunning dark stain. Excellent! I didn’t want a cheezy-looking glossy finish or something that I had seen on some other springers at the sporting store. Although I’m probably going to add a scope in the near future, the open sights are wonderful as well – nothing cheap here either as far as I can tell. The trigger and trigger guard are beautifully done metal as well – no plastic! The gun arrived rust-free which also made me very happy. Of course I’ll be taking the advice found on this blog to ensure that this is the case from here on out.

    To sum up, I haven’t shot it yet (I’ll report back on that later), but I’m 110% happy with the fit and finish of my R7. Without a single pellet through it, I must say that I’m already in love. πŸ˜€

    The one question I have is should I clean it first before firing it? I had ordered the Beeman Zip cleaning kit with the intent of cleaning it before shooting, but now I am having second thoughts because everything looks so rust-free and clean. I’d hate to cause any harm to my new gun so just shooting it sounds like the best bet to me at this point. I’m aware that the accuracy will pick up after I get 50-150 shots through it and I’m completely happy with doing so. Thoughts?

  25. B.B.

    I don’t understand these air gun manufacturers, it’s like they do no market research. All there seems to be in most modern airguns is high velocity (i.e. superstreak, hunter extreme) or the fancy looking guns with all the accessories (gamo varmit hunter). I guess they bank on people buying airguns for the first time and lure them in with the 1500 fps!!! and so on. I can’t comprehend why someone from gamo or crosman doesn’t look at this blog and all of its readers opinions, ideas, complaints and learn something about what the airgun market actually wants. I’m only 16 but it seems fairly obvious that if a company produces a product that appeals to both the general public and the airgun enthusiasts from this blog that their companies sales will go up. Maybe there is more profit in luring in people new to air gunning with useless FPS values, but even if that’s true is there no pride today in making a finer product.

    Sorry it was a rough day….lol


  26. TRC,

    Talk about instant gratification! I mean me – not you.

    I’m so glad you had that reaction because I don’t think there is a better moment in airgunning than opening a new Beeman/Weihrauch rifle box.

    As far as cleaning, just wipe off all the preservative oil and don’t do anything else. You can shoot it right away. Now I have been recommending cleaning the bores of brand new airguns with JB Non Embedding Bore Claening Compound, but you don’t have to do that. It just clears out all the burrs and bluing salts, but shooting 500 pellets does the same thing.

    There is no reason to ever clean the bore of an R7, because they don’t lead up. Just shoot the gun and enjoy it.

    You are set to have some fun!


  27. I agree whole heartedly with everything said here. The choices of decent quality small or light spring air rifles are extremely limited. What makes this even more difficult is the rebranding and labeling games the manufactures have engaged in. Beeman offers a half dozen products under their SS1000 label that vary tremendously in quality. I purchased (and returned) a youth oriented air rifle from a European β€œbrand” that turned out to be a low end Chinese import. Pyramyd handled the return graciously, but the salesperson was unaware and surprised that the rifle was made in China.

    This blogg has been a great help and provided a great education. But to someone new to this sport (or returning after many years) it is very difficult to make intelligent buying decisions. Brand and price are not always a good indicator of a products value.

    What I would love to see is some type of β€œB. B. approved β€œ stamp that could be attached to the products on the website that you are familiar with and feel are good values for their intended purpose or market. I realize with all the products out there it would be impossible to rate even a small percentage of them. But readers clearly trust your judgment and would find this valuable when comparing products.


  28. B.B.,

    Thanks again for the advice. “Just shoot the gun” sounds great to me. πŸ™‚

    Ballistol sounds like great stuff to protect the entire gun. Am I correct in using that for the entire rifle, or do you recommend something different for the stock? There are the Beeman silicon wipes, but is using a cloth lightly sprayed in Ballistol a better way to go?

    Thanks again!

  29. DCS,

    It already exists, though I’m just getting started. As you know, I am Tom Gaylord, and my personal picks are now up on the home page of this website. Click on Tom’s Picks, just above the Yellow Welcome to Pyramyd AIR banner on the left side of the page.

    The thing is, I won’t be recommending products unless I feel very strongly about them, so everybody’s favorite gun or pellet may not make my list.


  30. Hi BB,
    I recieved my CF-X today and did some shooting. After several violent detonations it calmed down a bit and stayed subsonic with premiers. I was surprised at how precice and smoothe the rotating breech was. It feels like there are ball bearings in it!
    Once I accidently forgot to close the breech and fired with it open. It sounded bad but i dont think it did any damage. This brings me to my question. I was wondering where the transfer port is. It must be in the rotating breech somewhere. Correct? It seems it would have to offset to make the loading possible. Any insight on this?

    Nate in Mass

  31. BB. Boy did you get the BALL ROLLING!!!I must admit I have been caught up in the velocity wars myself,(RWS 460mag.,RWS 54,RWS350Mag.&many other 1000+ fps MONSTERS!! Diana 54 in 22 cal. will always be my SWEETHEART!! Others are Harsh & unforgiving at best! RWS 460 reminds me of my old 30-30,,FLYNCH FLYNCH!! I have to love it though because wife knows it was 500 bucks!!! Prier to this post of yours, I would have been embarest to admit last weekend Ibought locally on sale a Gamo ricon for 67$!! WOW!! My son & I just came in from a session and w/ Bug buster scope we were KILLING cig. buts. at 33 ft. ALMOST every shot!! Started out at low to mid 400 fps. but after about 500 rounds is now breaking 500 fps w/7.9 cross.prem.!!After lhe last few days shooting this little gun I am amazed at how I lost touch with why I do this!! After last 3 days wearing out Pyramids site ,,I concluded that MY PERFECT HAPPY GUN would be,,,, DRUM ROLL,,,, R-7!!!!& after your post it was like a sign from ABOVE!!! BB kudos to your latest blog!! I AGREE 100%!!! Tim in S.C. aka Drag. Slay>

  32. BB
    Amen, I think a lot of beginners make the mistake of buying power, not because they are power hungry but because the advertising does not tell them the advantages of lower power and makes the high power look free. They also see the lower powered guns only offered in child sized models and think of them as toys.
    Of course the other benefit of lower power is that all parts of the gun last longer. I have a 30 year old HW55 that still has its original leather piston seal, leather breach seal and spring and it still shoots great. I actually bought an HW50 and detuned it to 10 ftlbs and lightened the stock 3/4 lb. and it is an absolute joy to shoot, and the 50 isnt exactly a Magnum to start with.
    I worry that the Chinese, with there new found quality may come in with exactly what we want before the Europeans realize it and suck the life out of them.


  33. B.B.

    Well-said. Airguns have a lot of uses, but I think that the low-cost, accurate, moderate power guns realize the concept most completely. I also think we need a better name than “plinking” for this wonderful and all-consuming activity. Perhaps there is market significance even there.

    Glad you mentioned the IZH 61 and HW30–great favorites of mine.

    I’m curious if the Benjamin 397–which I’m itching to buy–fulfills the criteria for the list. On low power, it sounds like its performance is comparable to the guns on this list while it can also be adjusted up to respectable power.

    Incidentally, to follow-up on my questions about the Plano rifle case and traveling from some weeks ago, the case just ran the gauntlet of the TSA recently with flying colors. I discovered three holes–two at either end of the case and one in the middle–which accept padlocks with a hefty locking bar of almost a quarter inch. They and the extremely tough plastic case make for almost invulnerable protection. The TSA were also very friendly and easygoing although that may be because I was transporting airsoft guns. We’ll see if they are as jolly about the Winchester 94 on the return trip.


  34. BB,

    i would love to see a over powered gas spring rip a gun apart. By finding the weakest gun it would fit in and seeing the damage. I breaks the guns they are made for when over filled, so it makes me wonder.

    “rip apart” is an exaggeration of course.


  35. BB,
    You tell it like it needs telling, but the real question is, will they listen? I’ve got an old .22 air rifle barrel that is SOLID STEEL, like an actual firearm’s barrel. Are there any quality rifles like that nowdays? Also, with regards to their velocity claims, do any of them NOT jack their numbers with an “industry standard”? And don’t even get me going on my old Daisy 22SG and it’s rattle-apart barrel.
    What I would like is a high-subsonic (actual: not tampered numbers) .22 with a solid metal barrel and body (no sleeves prone to looseness), and with accurate quality for a good price. I’m still thinking Ben 392, but maybe you could compile a list sometime of others that meet an “almost firearm” criteria in durability and relatively low maintenance. JP

  36. Extensive discussion of the best plinking gun begs the question of the best plinking caliber.

    177, 20, or 22? I would think 20 is best if it were not for the 20’s lack of popularity.

  37. Well, BB, it seems that my perceptions on cocking effort weren’t quite on the money. I’ll be returning my free subscription to this blog!

    My “detuned” Quest takes 24lbs to cock, more than I honestly though. The Delta takes about 18. The Gamo Sporter 500 (still less powerful than the detuned Quest) is a bit harder at 26lbs.

    My Crosman 795 is the modern lightweight champ at 14lbs… it’s larger than the Delta (just about the size of a 220) but easier to cock.

    My old Slavia 618 (which is a tiny rifle) takes all of 11lbs, but it only delivers about 310fps with Premiers (which it doesn’t shoot worth a darn anyway).

  38. I say 177 is the best plinking caliber bar none. Thats why i buy .22! I like to have tome authority downrange. I have found accuracy to be the same in 177 and .22, i don’t know about 20 / 25. The energy of a 177 will never match the down range energy of a .22 with the optimal pellet in both guns (probably not the same pellet!) One thing i know about a .25 cal is that it is surpassed by the .22 very quickly. SOMEONE SHOULD SIT AND THINK ON THIS AND COME UP WITH THE PERFECT CALIBER!!! LOL. i think that was the idea of the .20. I dont think that was, if you will, on target. LOL

    Im in favor of .22 of the 4 calibers. It was just yesterday that i shot a one hole group at 50 yards. Its a theoben rapid mk2, with a slight tune, .22 CAL. Food for thought.


  39. sumo,

    You seem to overlook the point of discussion in order to brag of your arsenal. Authority downrange and claimed 50 yd groupings have nothing to do with the simple pleasures of shooting.

  40. Yes that is exactly what we are looking for. We will have to be patient while you add more of your choices to the list.

    Hopefully your thoughts and all these responses will motivate someone in the manufacturing process to develop higher end products to fill the void left by the discontinued ones you mentioned.


  41. Matt61,

    Yes, the Benjamin 397 does fit into the category I’m talking about, except that it’s a multi-pump. Some people want the convenience of just cocking the gun and shooting, so they want breakbarrels. They are in the majority, which is why my criteria were about spring guns, only.


  42. DCS,

    I didn’t just write this open letter to fill the blog. My ulterior motive is to take all these comments to the SHOT Show in February and use them to convince those makers who will listen that this is what is needed. There aren’t many companies that actually do listen, but I know who does, and I’m targeting them.


  43. B.B.,

    Thanks for reminding us of the fun factor.

    My first recent air gun was purchased to take care of a problem I was having while parking the car under a tree. There was not much of a selection locally so I did a little researching and ended up with a Gamo s1k even though it didn’t have a impressive looking scope. I soon found out that over penetration could be a problem.

    I would like to find a rifle that a 10y old girl could cock and shoot. The recon looks interesting , in case she is not very interested in shooting. After shooting my s1k she reminded me that she was a girl and didn’t care much for shooting even though she impressed me.

    It was nice reading everyones insight on todays blog.

  44. Hammerli 490,

    Holy cow! Here I am talking about the Chinese air rifle that could replace the Diana 27, and you have been trying to point one out to me all along. The Hammerli 490 is the exact Chinese rifle I have been referring to. I don’t know if the 490 has an accurate barrel, capable of dime-sized groups at 50 feet, but if it does, that’s the gun I have been waiting for.

    Why is it too late?


  45. BB, have you actually shot the 490? Looking at the picture and the description, I suspect it has the same direct-sear mechanism that plagues the Hammerli Storm.

    Hope I’m wrong about that, but if it is I doubt it would be terribly reminiscent of your ’27…

  46. B.B.,

    One other thing that I would like to mention in my experience when I was trying to make my purchasing decision is the availability (or lack) of information provided by the manufacturers online.

    One thing that I appreciated about Beeman’s website is that they have all of the needed information about each gun charted out right there for you – the weight, length, velocity, muzzle energy, accuracy, cocking effort, rifling, trigger type, safety, etc. I found this to be rare as most company’s websites lacked a lot of this basic information. For example, what’s the cocking effort for a Quest 1000? Beats me. I could probably do enough searching and find out, but having this information readily available on each of the manufacturer’s web sites would have been nice.

    Another thing that would have been helpful would be more and better pictures on the manufacturer’s web sites. I appreciated that for most guns (but not all), Pyramyd provides a nice set of pictures if you click on “Take a closer look”. This is a simple thing, but it was one of the reasons I ordered from Pyramyd – as the consumer, I really appreciated this. Would it be too hard for the companies that make the guns to do the same? Almost everywhere I looked, the company only provided a single, small picture and that was it. Again, a lot more searching and research was required that I would of liked to have found on the manufacturer’s website.

    B.B., when you talk to the manufacturers, please let them know that it would help people make their buying decisions if they provided all of the needed information and a nice set of pictures for each of their products on their web sites.

  47. BB,

    Am I missing something?

    Why a springer? How about a single pump that uses the new lever invention you told us about? One with good quality parts. Wouldn’t this fit the bill and have the advantage of not being hold sensitive?

    I would like a gun like that!

    .22 multi-shot

  48. To clarify – I figure I must be overlooking something with the single pump lever idea since I don’t have experience with a wide variety of airguns.

    .22 multi-shot

  49. B.B.,

    Yep! – Pyramyd AIR does a FANTASTIC job of providing all of the info and it was a blessing once I was lucky enough to come across the PA site. I think others new to airgunning (and perhaps not aware of PA) would be glad if the manufacturers provided it on their web sites.

  50. Hi BB
    I think that i haveread it somewhere that the HW30 and the Beeman R7 are the same gun? I see Pyramyd listing them as having different specs.? I love the easy shooting and accurate guns ans you mentioned they are the ones that you can shoot all day

  51. BB,

    I think I see what I’m missing. The pump-assist reduces all the pumps to the same effort, so it is good for a multi-pump. It doesn’t look like it would give an advantage to a single pump. Maybe it would be good for a PCP type multi-pump?

    Sometimes the little kid comes out in me and I blurt an idea before thinking about it – LOL.

    .22 multi-shot

  52. Anon,

    The trigger on the HW30 isn’t adjustable. The HW30 is also listed at 675 FPS while the R7 is listed at 700 in .177 and the HW30 is 5.5 lbs while the HW30 is 6.1 which leads me to believe there is some mechanical difference. It also looks like the HW30 doesn’t have a rubber stock end and I think it lacks the checkering on the stock as well.

    Similar yes, but I wouldn’t say they are the same gun.

  53. This is a great topic, and it opens up more questions from me. I have been shooting for about 20 years now, but not with any great frequency. I have spent most of my time with various .22’s, because I am a plinker (did some rodent control, too). I have been using a number of different pellet guns, but want something more accurate. The catch (for me) is that I live in Canada and do not have a PAL (I own a .22 under my Possesion Only License). I will be getting my PAL soon, but the other side of it is that I still want something quiet to use in the back yard, not to mention in the alley at work.
    I’m looking at the IZH 61 and the Daisy 953 right now. They both seem to fit my needs for this purchase (sub-$200, good accuracy, under 500fps, etc.). Am I missing any others? I know from reading this site that the IZH 61 (my initial first choice) has become a somewhat pickier, possibly less accurate piece. Should I take the 953 over it, indexing issues aside?
    I should mention that my current rifles are an early, restricted 1077 that I can actually see the pellet come out of the barrel when I fire, and a Beeman 1026 (Canadian version of s500) that is very inconsistant. (decent power, but not consistant) I cleaned up the crown on the Beeman, tried several different pellets, etc – nothing seems to help it. The 1077 has been apart several times to try to tune it up, to no avail. I want something that works this time!!

  54. BB,

    Thanks again for your efforts in this blog. The Hammerli 490 has come up a couple of times since my first post. As I stated that was my selection for Xmas, since it seemed to have most of the attributes I valued for the use: mostly wood and steel, easy-cocking, apparently usable open sights, etc. I have found out subsequently that it is most likely a Chinese import, roughly equivalent to the B18(?)/TF49, but I’m holding out hope that it will have decent QC and finish. I admit to being naive: Hammerli rang a bell regarding small arms. What I didn’t realize was the extent of re-branding that goes on these days. Anyway, I’m still hopeful about the little rifle and will know in a few days. I’m sure the trigger may be heavy and the automatic safety might be bothersome, but I’m not as picky as some — if the barrel looks like it will group decently, I’ll be happy. My .22LR 5-shot groups at 50y rarely fit inside an inch offhand, so I’m not the world’s best marksman, anyway.

  55. .22 multi-shot,

    A single-stroke is a possibility, but nobody is doing anything with them right now. It’s too hard to get factories doing what they don’t already do.

    That’s why a springer. If someone were to make such a gun it would be widely copied, which is how how we get new models.


  56. Digerati,

    You just asked me to break the laws of physics. I know about Canada’s under 500 f.p.s. law, but a .177 is the worst way to go with it. Go to a .25 caliber, if you can find it, or at least a .22. Then you have something when you can get it up to almost 500 f.p.s.

    You need to study used airguns, because what you want isn’t made anymore. You want a Diana 27 in .22 or possibly a small BSA in .25. That’s the only way around Canada’s velocity limitation.


  57. BG_Farmer,

    I think it’s really the Tech Force 39, which is more crude than the 49, but the exact gun I have been talking about. If it’s the 49 you have hit the jackpot, because that is a nice air rifle!

    I have one on order from Pyramyd, too, and the gun has not been discontinued. They’ve simply updated the model for 2008.


  58. Well, seeing as I live in the middle of nowhere here, I wanted to avoid used stuff – I would have no way of testing it before buying, because nothing is going to be close enough to me to be able to check it out in person.
    Most of my shooting is in the 10m-30m range, some a bit less. I don’t want something too noisy, of course. I would consider a .22, even though I don’t need the extra ft-lbs BUT, nothing else I have is .22 (I’ve got a total of 5 pellet guns right now).

    Thanks for providing all this help for us!

  59. BB,

    I will, of course, defer to your more extensive knowledge, but it looks to me like the Hammerli 490 has more in common with QB18 (corrected)/TF49 than with TF39: a) automatic safety, b) serrated plastic trigger & guard, c) weight = ~6.0 lbs., d) lenght = ~43″. The only thing more in common with TF39 is the H490’s rated velocity, which is either de-rated (for Canadian market?) or conservatively stated.

    If you think Daisy is an approachable manufacturer, consider asking them to take the 953 up just a step: a) eliminate plastic (esp. pump handle); b) convert stock to wood, c) lighten trigger, d) use metal open or sporter peep sights. Then I think they would have a very nice rifle that would be worth (to some of us) a lot more than they charge now, not to mention having the advantage of very little recoil (single-pump pneumatic). Since the rifle is already in production, it seems like they could do “all” that and still make money with a reasonably higher MSRP. Again, perhaps the reason they don’t is that we’re all tied up in the misconception that less than 1000fps is only good for kids.

    Anyway, don’t want to abuse your amiability, so I’ll shut up now.

  60. I’d like to say that this is about the best discussion so far on the merits of airgunning. I really liked the stroll down memory lane with BB’s lead-in and all the classic rifles. My father owned an HW 55 back some 30 odd years ago and we used to set up old .22 casings for targets. That rifle was amazingly accurate and also a very successful varminter – with what? 600 + fps? Easy to cock and shoot. Of course I remember the velocity race between Beeman and RWS – who had the more powerful rifle.. Two of the best manufacturers, but they got a little out of hand. After a while, it put me off. The rising prices didn’t help either. A guy told me once, “if you want an airgun that shoots as powerful as a .22 long rifle – forget it and get a .22 long rifle. You’ll save a lot of money.” He then went on to discuss the merits of lower velocity and accuracy as well as easier cocking effort. The guy had a feature years back with a Sheridan Blue Streak converted into a Field Target competitor.. It was pretty cool. I really like the focus of this particular report, BB. Keep up the good work – maybe drag out a review of an Erma ELG-10..

  61. BG_Farmer,

    I have ordered a 490 to test, so I’ll soon know which model it is derived from. Now that I stop to consider it a little, the QB 18 makes more sense, because the Tech Force 49 translates into the Hammerli 490 more easily. Don’t think for a minute that manufacturers don’t do that.

    Daisy is the most un-approachable manufacturer in the world. They will listen, but not act on new ideas. But there are others who are willing to listen.


  62. BB –

    While taking the manufacturers to task at the SHOT Show, don’t forget the importers. Some very appealling guns are being made, but not sold in this country. The IZH-60 is one of them. The Baikal website lists the manufacturers specifications for the 60 and 61, including potential accuracy. “Group Size”, as they call it, for the IZH-60 is listed as 8.5mm. They same specification for the IZH-61 is 20mm. So who at EAA decided that American shooters would choose firepower over accuracy? Probably the same people who thought that no one here would buy the MP-532.

  63. Jim in cold Kansas,

    The IZH 60 is imported. The problem is EAA, who is spotty and hasn’t a clue as to what airguns sell. They are more into firearms, though most of that part of the business has been sold.

    I speak to them every year, but it’s like talking to the wall. They are five years behind the times and content to remain there.


  64. Digerati 500fps,
    I am curious about Canada’s 500fps rule. How is the official import velocity determined? Does anyone actually test it to verify?
    What if you ordered a gun from a distributor like Pyramyd, had them install a lighter spring, and then have them test and certify the velocity with a heavy pellet like a Kodiak. Would that be sufficient for Parliament?
    I understand BB’s suggestion about picking a .22 or .25 over a .177.
    A 10.6 grain .177 Beeman Kodiak at 500fps has only 5.89 foot pounds of energy. A .20 BK at 500fps has 7.40, a .22 has 11.72, and a .25 has 17.05. Just a way to insure a more humane dispatch. A moot point if you are just plinking, though.

  65. BB, Uh, I was just joking about you holding a izh 61 from PA. Geeze! But I do have a question. I love the 61, and I see that they are sold out for a while at PA. Now, I have read some good reviews of a little gun, that I would put in the same class as the 61 and that is the BAM-B3 which is rated for 540 FPS in .177. How would you compare the two rifles. Thanks jwb

  66. B.B.

    Have you shot a Gamo Recon, the scope is too small in diameter, but ours is a joy to shoot. I Never had a Delta so I son’t know how they compare but the Recon we have is light, easy to cock and very quiet. Our indoor range is not very large but and it may not be as accurate as our Gamo Whisper, but it is incredibly easy to hit with. In other words the pratical accuracy of the Recon is very good, which is something my 13 year old enjoys. It’s a confidence builder for new shooter who are plinking.

    The other Alan

  67. Vince

    RE: 490 trigger. I think your remarks on the trigger were useful as a starting point for some research.

    Although the 490 looks a little like a Chinese adaptation of a (Norica? Spanish) Storm, it is possibly — at least in part — more closely modelled on a Gamo or other make. There is an excellent tear-down of TF49 on the Chinese Airgun Forum and the trigger assembly looks similar in outline to some of the Gamo and clones: at this point, I’m way over my head, though. Maybe you could have a look? If its Gamo-like, there’s a possibility GRT or PSP trigger might work.

    Most users (QB18 and TF49) characterize the trigger as heavy but clean breaking with little or no creep, and a few are actually happy with it as-is: suspect this is accident of manufacturing tolerance, i.e., looser ones are probably lighter with less wear-in required. At least one user on the chinese forum reported good results (pull-weight reduction) with TF49 trigger simply by polishing surfaces and lubing with moly. That is not a good approach for everybody, IMO, given the possibilities.

    Anyway, that description “heavy but clean-breaking” does resemble Storm reviews, although it may be a consequence of the type of trigger than exact mechanism.

  68. BB,

    Thanks for the upcoming review of Hammerli 490. Can’t wait to see what you think. If you want, I will report what I find out about mine next week, although I can’t offer more than a beginner’s viewpoint — my last breakbarrel experience was in the 80’s.

  69. Never mind – I found a diagram. In fact, I had it on my hard drive!

    Yes, it is a direct sear very similar to the old B1/B2 Industry Brand gun. This mechanism is also akin to the one on the Hammerli Storm, but from the shape of the parts it doesn’t look like they cloned it.

    It bears no functional resemblance to the Gamo trigger. One thing that Shanghai did on this model was to make the trigger blade look like the one on the AR1000-based guns, which actually have a pretty good mechanism. I suspect they were trying to make it look like something it was not.

    Now, it is not unusual for a direct sear to break cleanly… once you overcome the high static friction and start the sear moving it’ll pop pretty much immediately.

    Direct sears can actually feel pretty good – if the angles and surface finish are perfect. But there’s a narrow window here … if the angles are a little off one way the sear won’t hold reliably, and if they’re off the other way trigger effort climbs dramatically. And even if the angles are perfect, things may change and the sear can become unreliable after some wear, which is why it is essential that the surfaces be properly finished and hardened.

    All in all, though, it’s not the way to go. Even the mechanism on the lowly Industry B3 underlever (which can be bought for $20) is more sophisticated than that.

  70. Vince,

    Sorry, I didn’t see your request for the pictures until just now; hadn’t posted link to them because I wasn’t sure it was kosher.

    Thanks for your help. I couldn’t even guess proficiently at what you explained well. I also agree with you about it not being an optimal solution. Normally I would just chalk it up to economics and liability, but as you point out, there are better designs available competitively for almost negligible incremental cost. You were right to blame marketing (I think that was you anyway, but it might have been in the Storm blog)!

    I wonder if the brain-child who spec’d the storm trigger got a promotion? I.e. did people trade up to other H-models (storm is already not that cheap) or simply look elsewhere. I have my guess. I also wonder if the disappearance of the Titan (AR1000 with adj. trigger BTW) was related to imagined erosion of up-sales. Just being cynical, I guess.

  71. BB,

    just wondering – how many airguns do you own currently, and how many did you own at the height of your collection? It sounds like your collection gets edited often. I own nine pistols and rifles, and almost have a hard time shooting all of them in any good order. I tried to do it right when amassing the horde, with a sidelever, underlever, break-barrel, single-stroke pneumatic, multi-pump, CO2 for every category but just couldn’t get started on PCP’s. I somehow draw a line when airguns start getting characteristics of firearms, by this I mean become essentially a barrel and firing mechanism as opposed to springers and pneumatics which are everything but the lead. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to own a PCP, but the pump/compressor or scuba shop just doesn’t fit well in my area in the sticks. Also, what is the most cherished piece of your collection?

  72. Not sure what happened with the Titan. It seems that it wasn’t out that long, either… of course, the Walther Force 1000 (another AR1000) came and went before that. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that the AR1000 is being imported under other brand labels (Tech Force and Beeman).

    A couple of other things occurred to me while looking at the QB18/TF49 pictures…

    First, this arrangement is significantly different from that of the Hammerli mechanism. On the Hammerli, the sear catches a cutout in the bottom of the piston – just like a Gamo, Quest, AR1000, and many others. There is no notched rod coming out of the center of the piston.

    And that leads me to my 2nd point – the guts of the TF49 are at least somewhat reminiscent of the old B1 and B2 breakbarrels. I had a few of those pieces of junk – and I shudder to think about that design getting warmed over and sold for more than $25.

    Of course, the resemblance might be merely superficial. Hopefully, BB will be able to clear this up for us when he gets one.

  73. Vince,

    You are good. I had to stop and locate a parts diagram before I could figure out what you were talking about with the piston rod.

    Doesn’t look like there is much that can be done trigger-wise, aside from polishing and lubing sear surface and piston rod “notch”, and I really wouldn’t recommend that.

    I can’t speak to resemblance to B1, etc., but I think we can assume at least that tolerances are somewhat better these days.

    Anyway, I’m going to keep an open mind on the rifle in general and see how it works for me and read BB’s review before making any judgment.

  74. Western PA,

    I have just over 100 airguns in my collection, plus another 20-60 on hand that I’m testing in some way.

    It’s tough to determine a most-cherished piece, but I do like my R1 and my TX 200 a lot. I guess they qualify, plus my small collection of Daisy No. 25 pump guns.


  75. pestbgone: I’m not sure if there is any official testing done by any Canadian govm’t branch or anything. Basically, they are certified by the manufacturer, and if the Canadian Firearms Center does test one and finds a problem, the manufacturer would no doubt be on the hook for an infraction. That being said, I cannot order guns direct from P.A. There are several Canadian sources for guns, and at least one is directly affiliated with P.A.

    Here’s a quip from the CFC website regarding air guns that do not require a license and registration to own: “These are air guns with a maximum muzzle velocity of 152.4 meters or 500 feet per second and/or a maximum muzzle energy of 5.7 joules or 4.2 foot pounds.”
    So, technically, I may not be allowed to buy a decent .22 until I have my Acquisition license, either. Here’s what constitutes a gun that requires a PAL (again, direct quote): “These are air guns with both a high muzzle velocity (greater than 152.4 meters or 500 feet per second) and a high muzzle energy (greater than 5.7 joules or 4.2 foot-pounds).” It needs to meet both of those to require a license.
    Interestingly, they say nothing about pellet weight, etc. If I own a gun that will shoot 600fps, but not exceed 4.2 ft-lbs (say, with a really light pellet), I would not require a PAL, but I would still be in violation of that law. This is why there has been a lot of controversy over this in Canada. That being said, If I owned a compliant gun, and modified it out of compliancy, I would likely only find myself in trouble if I was cited for a crime involving it, in which case it does not matter if it is compliant or not. The fact that I used it to commit a crime would turn it into a Firearm in the eyes of the law. It is highly unlikely that the local police would drive up to my door and ask to inspect a gun that is not registered.

  76. BB, I don’t know much about air guns and air gunning, but I know that practical accuracy is a necessary thing to draw and keep my interest.

    I’ll repeat a truism: “only accurate guns are interesting.”

    Accuracy is, of course, relative. I’m talking about being able to reliably hit a dime at 50 feet from a bench with a rifle, or a quarter from the same bench and at the same distance with a handgun. That’s the accuracy I would like for Leisure Fun Guns, or “plinkers”, as they used to be called.

    I’d rather spend significantly more for the gun and sights than for the ammunition and propulsion power. Once the major part of the investment is made, the LFG enthusiast provides the power and the projectile is a nominal cost. That allows a gift to be made which won’t call for repeated economic obligations other than for pellets.
    I believe that is the exact reason BB guns have been so resoundingly popular for so long in the USA. The accuracy they are capable of falls within their practical power limitations and all that’s needed to keep a kid occupied is imagination, some space, a modicum of supervision, a sense of responsibility and a way to get BBs.

    I no longer require the supervision, thank you.

    This explains how I can shoot Olympic quality handguns and rifles with CB caps at dirt clods and other informal targets and enjoy the outing more than shooting any competitive match!

    I believe you have opened the discussion to a very fruitful area, and I hope it develops into something of greater interest to the common plin… I mean, LFG enthusiast.

    I believe your great news concerning the gas-piston Gamos may be one direct route to that end. Imagine a selection of interchangeable gas springs that will allow the flexibility for a Gamo Shadow to shoot 450 FPS FT pellets one afternoon and, with a quick switch, approach 900 FPS with a heavy hunting pellet to dispatch nocturnal varmints.

    Keep up the good work, and Merry Christmas to all who read this.


  77. Pyramyd is importing IZH directly? Does that mean some of the other IZH airguns might get a chance to test the market in the USA?

    If you visit their Web site, they have a *lot* of very interesting guns (including some target models), though sadly, pricing isn’t available.

    Any chance you could lean on them a little? Or even a lot?

    After all, they’d have a bit of an exclusive…

  78. Trout Underground,

    Pyramyd AIR and I both want to see more unusual guns from IZH, but there are some cautions.

    First, what you see on their website may not be real. The company may create a model in Photoshop and not bring it to market for over a year.

    Second, some of their “way cool” stuff doesn’t work as well as you might think. I have tested some real stinkers that I had to turn thumbs-down on before Pyramyd committed to spending big bucks for a bunch of warehouse queens.

    Third, IZH may make something that ATF will not allow to be imported. That happened with the Junkers and the Makarovs.

    Fourth, their prices aren’t as good today as they were ten years ago. They are now less price-competitive with other airgun makers, so what they offer has to have real merit or it isn’t worth the trouble. If they show you a 10-meter PCP target pistol for $500, as they did at IWA (European SHOT Show) to Pyramyd AIR and me, but then jack the price upward by $150, suddenly it isn’t the bargain you thought it was going to be.

    So we do watch what they offer very closely, but before Pyramyd makes the decision to buy, they have to know they can sell it again.

    Don’t let that stop you from recommending things. Just know that a lot of thought goes into the buy decision, because the numbers of guns they have to buy is quite large.


  79. If half the energy spent missing the mid powered guns was devoted to using , writing about, or purchasing said guns, they would still be available.

    Cool, now lets go try t make a milllion fps Gamo accurate!

  80. Hi BB,

    On the subject of IZH stinkers – did you have a problem with the MP 514K? I remember some back and forth with a reader, but I got the impression you didn’t find it worthy. There was some build-up before it’s arrival, and then nothing.. It’s a weird gun, no doubt – it’s shooting characteristics are like nothing else I’ve fired in some time. But after cycling a tin or so, and finally figuring out what it shoots best and how to sight it in properly – it’s fun. Not nearly as dead-on accurate as its siblings, but enough to nail spinners and abuse cans at decent range as it’s got some decent pop. I fired a friend’s Steyr bullpup back in the late 80’s and while I loved the dimensions and design – I found the accuracy very discouraging, especially since the whole point of the bullpup is maintaining a full barrel length! I think the same problems affect all bullpups – though I hear a FN PS 90 is absolutely brilliant to shoot.. Having the discharge directly under your chin instead of forward does a lot to negatively affect shooting characteristics.. Sounds weird, but I sighted my Leapers red dot free-hand, and I can shoot tighter groups than bench-rested. Sorry, I get defensive with the IZH guns, but they’ve been pretty good to me.

  81. Western PA,

    Yes, I have to admit I think the IZH MP514K is a real stinker. The one I tested was way too inaccurate, plus the cocking process was odd. Pyramyd has had some problems with the guns because of cocking.

    I told them to drop it, but they didn’t. I can think of many better ways to spend $140.

    But that’s my opinion, and I don’t know everything.


  82. My interest in the IZH line revolves around their 532 target guns, which (I’d hoped) offered the potential for competition-level accuracy at a 46M kind of price.

    You never know.

    And I’m not even going to mention the “Summer Biathalon” rifle, which I have no use for and doubtless cost a bundle, but a guy’s allowed to salivate…

  83. BB,
    I would think you would mention accuracy when you talk to the manufacturers. The Beeman web site mentions CTC accuracy in their guns and PA does this on some guns (I think), but you can’t find this everywhere. Now, I know accuracy depends on the shooter as well as the gun, but it would give us some idea of the value of the gun.
    I am also saddened at the loss of the HW pistols on the PA web site. I have almost saved up enough for the HW45 in .22. With a scope, I think it would give me the power and accuracy I need for ridding my property of annoying rodents (chipmonks). Yes, I am still thinking of the BAM rifles. I also wonder why Marksman decided to go with the (now) P17 to imitate instead of the P1.
    Michael in Georgia

  84. For B.B. Pelletier

    I am desperately looking for a good pellet pistol repeater with a highiest capacity available, high power, great accuracy (20 plus rounds would be great), & want something I can rapid fire with little trigger pull effort.
    Not a fan of blowbacks, but if that’s what I need then OK.

    I have the EAA Skiff A-3000.
    28 rounds, supposedly 390 – 520 fps
    but I’m not impressed with the accuarcy, & it’s hard to shoot fast, as the double action is a very hard pull & the single action is not that much easier, not to mention, that in single action mode, you lose your rapid fire.

    I’ve picked the riffle for this need, the Beretta CX4 Storm, but I’m having a hard time finding a good pistol that will meet these needs.

    Could you please recommend a couple of pistols for me too look at, & tell me what you prefer & why.

    P.S. You helped me decide between the .50 cal. Dragon Slayer & the .45 cal Sam Yang 909S a while back.
    I picked the 909S & LOVE it!
    Thanks for your help with that btw.

    Thanks in advance again,

    The Big Bore Addict.

  85. As far as medimum weight springers go…who cares??

    I just ended up with a very nice r6. I dont see myself in the market for a medium-springer for a while..if ever.

    What a gun. Quiet, pleasant, light and fun. Why this gun left the line up is beyond me. It would be a tough sell on paper as it sounds so much like an r9..its not. Think of it as a high power r7 after a night at the all you can eat buffet!

  86. Big Bore Addict,

    High-capacity air pistols that are also accurate is a tough one. The Crosman 600 holds 10 pellets and is quite accurate. I had one that was modified with bulk-fill and an aftermarket magazine. It held and fired 100 shots at a time, but you can’t get that mag extension anymore.

    Dave Gunter will convert your gun to bulk fill and give you a longer barrel at the same time for around $500 plus your working 600.

    If that’s too expensive, a Desert Eagle pellet pistol holds 8 shots and does use blowback.


  87. Big Bore Addict,
    I have the Smith & Wesson 686 in .177 (10 shot mag). I really like it as a repeater. It is not nearly as accurate as my Marksman 2004 (single shot), but at 10 yds, I can usually keep a 1/2″ pattern. Farther out, it is difficult. The Marksman is *very* accurate out to 30 yards, though that might have been a fluke, using a rifle scope (3×9-20 BSA). The Marksman is rated at 410 fps, while the S&W 426 with the 6″bbl, and 460 with the 8″bbl. Neither very powerful, and the S&W is *very* expensive. I don’t have a way to determine the accuracy of these claims, but they seem to be pretty accurate as I have searched the web and in my experience, the S&W does seem to smack the target harder.
    Michael in Georgia

  88. B.B.

    The 600 looks great, but nobody sells them. lol
    I did find one, but they wanted $600.00 for it, which is more than I want to spend.

    I’m not a huge fan of the Deagle, but I will look at it.

    I’m looking for something around $200.00 give or take, for a high capacity semi auto/repeater pistol.
    .22 cal is preferred, but I’m not oppsed to a .177 cal. either.

    Can you recommend anything else, that is currently in stock somewhere.

    Also, I am VERY interested in buying the Beretta CX4 Storm rifle. What do you think of it, AND how would you compare the trigger pull of 8.5 lbs to the Crosman 1077 ? (The Crosman does not list the trigger pull, but I own one, so it will give me a point of reference.)

    BTW… In your opinion, what are the pros & cons of blowback?

    Last question (for now at least lol)… What do you think of the EAA Skiff A-3000?

    For Michael in Georgia, Thanks for the info. πŸ™‚

  89. Michael in GA,

    I’ve seen Crosman 600s selling for $225 at airgun shows. The price has rolled back since it went high a few years ago.

    Please read my report on the CX-4 Storm to see how I feel:


    My Crosman NightStalker has a 7-pound trigger pull and it a lot crisper than the triggers on the two CX-4 Storms I tested. But the first NightStalker I tested had an 8-pound trigger.

    Blowback is fine for realistic feel when shooting, but it takes more gas.

    As for the Skif A300, read about it here:


    Michael, your budget of $200 puts you into the used gun category. If you want to go retro, a Benjamin 422 would work. It shoots .22 round balls. But you will learn what everyone knows – the 600 is the best pistol ever made.

    Increase to $500 and you can get a Drulov. Double it and you can have a B98 from the Czech Republic. Add $700 and you can get an FWB P55. These are all great .177 semiautos, but they cost.


  90. B.B.

    I think you meant that last post for me?

    I was just thanking Michael in GA. for his info. lol

    I’ll start putting my name at the bottom of every post from now on to avoid any confusion. πŸ˜‰

    Just so you know, I can & will pay more if a gun is REALLY worth it.
    I’m not stuck on that price range of $200.00 I just thought there would be something out there that would fit my needs in that price range. Wishful thinking eh? lol

    OK, so now you have me VERY interested in the Crosman 600!

    I live in Las Vegas, NV.
    Where do you suggest I buy one?

    Do you have reviews of the Drulov, the B98, & the FWB P55?

    BTW… About blowback, what I wanted to know, was how do you feel they effect accuracy?

    B.B. You have been such a tremendous help to so many, I would love to do something nice for you if I have the chance. Like comp you a hotel room & or show tickets.
    If you are ever in Las Vegas, please look me up. At the very least, I’d like to treat you to dinner or buy you some drinks & talk guns.

    How do we exchange email addresses privately?

    – The Big Bore Addict –

  91. “I think you meant that last post for me?

    I was just thanking Michael in GA. for his info. lol

    I’ll start putting my name at the bottom of every post from now on to avoid any confusion. πŸ˜‰ “

    Hey, this is even better…
    Since I plan to post a lot more, I just signed up to e-blogger! πŸ™‚

  92. For B.B.

    I haven’t used this blog much, but as I am becomming a collector, I plan to use it a LOT more often!
    (Hence my registering.)

    Anyhoo… Since I currently own about a dozen air rifles & pistols, & plan to purchase many more, what is the best way to search for a specific review of yours?

    For instance, when I tried to find your review of the Walther Lever Action CO2 Rifle, I got this;


    which led me to this;


    and when I typed in my search there, i got this;


    What am I doing wrong?


    BTW… Here are some of the guns I already own;

    1) Sam Yang 909S – .45 cal.

    2) Shin Sung Career Ultra 707 9mm

    3) Evanix Hunting Master AR6 Pistol – .22 cal.

    4) Mendoza RM-2000 – .22 cal.

    5) Walther Lever Action CO2 Rifle – .177 cal.

    6) Crosman 1077 – .177 cal.

    7) Gamo R-77 6″ Classic – .177 cal.

    8) EAA Skiff A-3000 – .177 cal.

    Thanks again,

    – The Big Bore Addict –

  93. Big Bore Addict,

    Here is the best way to search. Go to the current blog and type “walther lever action” into the search box on the right side on the page. The quotes are not necessary.

    Click the Search radio button, which takes you to the results page. You will see two items found there. The first one is an article in which the Walther Lever Action was mentioned in passing. The second item is an index, published in September, 2005. If you click on it you go to a huge list of the first six months of blogs. Search the titles for your article, then use the archives to navigate to it.

    Here is a helpful hint. The dates are given in the summary of the listings. You will note that the Walther article is titled A hoot to shoot – the Walther Lever Action Rifle. The number 10 is shown before the title. That’s the day of the month that report was published. Because it’s from the list, which isn’t linked, it doesn’t tell you the month, but you can find that on the list.

    Here is the article:



  94. So, keeping my comments to this same thread, have you tested the .22 version of the Crossman Phantom 500? Based on your recommendation of a .22 that will be near 500fps, and the fact that I can get one locally, I’m interested in any info on it. It seems to be a slightly bigger gun, and the 1000 version has been received fairly well. Is it a Quest with a synthetic stock?

  95. Haven’t got the chrony back from my friend yet, but I did some initial adjusting of the open sights today. The open FO sights are pretty cheap, and will go out of adjustment pretty easy if bumped, but my intial group at 10yrds was less than 3/8″. Not bad! The barrel has LOTS of grease in it from the factory, I’m guessing this is why some people have said the Phantom does not wake up until several hundred shots are fired through it. (assuming the .177 US market barrel comes similar).
    Puts a nice hole in a heavy coffee can at about 25 yrds (farthest I’ve tested so far). Can’t wait to chrony it!

  96. I noticed B.B mentioned the Mendoza RM2000.

    I own one & will say that if I could only have one .22 springer in it’s price range… that would be the one!

    Great gun for the money?

    Great gun PERIOD! πŸ™‚

    If anyone is considering one, check out B.B.’s review on it.
    As usual, he hit the nail on the head.

    – The Big Bore Addict –

  97. To B.B.

    Thank you very much for the info on how to search.

    I’m just starting my collection, so I’ll be doing a lot of reading here.

    Take care,

    – The Big Bore Addict –

  98. OK, I still haven’t chrony’d it, but I have scoped it and worked on sighting it in. I got about 7 pellets through basically the same two holes at about 10yrds.
    Now I’m waiting for my IZH61 and BB2 to come in, along with some better pellets!

  99. It’s a Phantom 500 – .22 cal. with synthetic stock – probably the same stock as the regular Phantom, and I’d even hazard a guess that the powerplant is the same as the .177, with maybe a slightly lighter spring.
    It’s a fairly long pull, I’d say a good 2″ longer than my Beeman s500 1026. It’s also heavier – feels like my Sears/Ruko .22LR semi-auto. The cocking effort is considerably higher than my Beeman, so I’m anxious to get the chrony back from my friend and test it out.

  100. B.B.,

    I’ve bought half a dozen pellet guns recently. All cheap ones. Mainly got into this to control some squirrels, but now shooting some for fun (as well as practice) in city backyard.

    Now I’m trying to figure out what to do for a 0.22 that shoots at low (500-600 fps) and high power (900fps); and which is not hold sensitive.

    Only one springer, which was my first purchase, the Crosman G1. It is hold sensitive, but I finally figured out that Beeman Kodiaks were the best pellets, and the gun likes the front of forearm as the forward support for the artillery hold. It is just too hold sensitive to be really useful to hunt in my opinion.

    I might be giving up too easily on springers, but I don’t want something that is terribly hold sensitive. Shooting for pest control means odd holds.

    I have a Daisy 22SG. Takes scope well, easy to pump. NOT hold sensitive since very little recoil. Can use different number of pumps to shoot inside and out. Overall, not quite enough power through.

    Got a Daisy 880S to plink with since I can get various 0.177 pellets locally. 880S is a lot easier to shoot than G1, but it does have less power. 880 quality seems poor though, and you might have to go through a couple to get a good one. My mail in replacement is good, but the first had problems.

    Bought a Benjamin 372. Miserable to pump compared to Daisy for marginal additional power. Open sights are bad. Coated mine with fluorescent orange paint (top edge of rear, and inside edge of front) which helps. No scope rail. Like bolt action. Wood is nice compared to plastic. So, its a classic. But why not improve the pump arm and have decent open sights? $20 extra in production costs and you’d have a really nice first gun. Continuous improvement, not radical designs and market hype. A good peep sight could be an option. Also for hunting want see-thru mounts so that open sights can be used close, and scope out further.

    If I just wanted a gun to plink, I’d get a CO2, but I want more power to whack squirrels. No amount of power is going to cause the pellet to explode like hollow point rifle ammo, so shot placement is still important. There doesn’t seem to be a hollow point which has good shooting precision. What difference does expansion make if you can’t hit the critter in a vital spot? Gut shooting a squirrel is ultimately fatal, but cruel.

    I like the Discovery, but it seems too noisy for my back yard. Being in the city I don’t want to attract that much attention. In truth a 0.410 shotgun would be safe, but it would attract way too much attention. I’m hoping that new Benjamin will have a shroud and be much quieter. I like the notion of CO2 for plinking and air for power.

    In discussion about guns, you overlooked pellets. I’d like a gun that shoots at two power levels with about the same grouping. Low power level for plinking and practice, and high power level for pest control. Say like 4 pumps on Daisy 22SG for plinking, and 10 pumps for hunting. JSB Exacts Express work well in this gun at both 4 and 10 pumps, but POI does move a bit. So lastly I’d like a gun that shoots several pellets well. A light one for plinking at low power, a heavy one for hunting, and a really good hollow point.


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