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Education / Training BB gets disappointed – Part 4 Wilson Combat…and the Taurus gets better

BB gets disappointed – Part 4 Wilson Combat…and the Taurus gets better

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

You may recall that I went shooting a couple weeks ago. I took both my Taurus PT 1911 and my new Wilson CQB Christmas gun. This is an update on the Taurus and a first report on the Wilson.

Little things mean a lot
The Taurus had several major problems. The factory magazines do not work, even with the reliable Wilson. So, until I rebuild them with new springs, they’re out. On the other hand, my one Wilson magazine works flawlessly in both guns.

The other problem was the Taurus extractor. It had a large burr, the part that fits over the cartridge rim was not smooth, but worst of all, the extractor was not properly tensioned. I corrected these faults and the last time out, the pistol fed 125 rounds perfectly. The rounds were a mixture of Winchester and Remington hardball plus two different reloads.

I’ll keep shooting the Taurus to test reliability, but I think I have it. The next thing I was interested in was a comparison of the two guns. You may laugh, but I found the Taurus easier to shoot than the Wilson. The sights that I’ve now become so familiar with are much faster to acquire.

Not all is perfect
Faster doesn’t mean better in all cases and definitely not in this one. While the Taurus sights come up very quickly, they’re very distracting…to the point that I cannot aim them intentionally. For a minute-of-bad-guy gun, the Taurus is great out to 25 feet, but the Wilson is incredible!


Two groups tell all. Top group is 8 shots from the Wilson CQB. Bottom group is 7 shots and 1 flyer (to the left) from the Taurus. The crosses indicate the aim point. Clearly the Wilson out-shoots the Taurus. From 20 feet.
The groups were shot at only 20 feet, so don’t get too excited. However, the Wilson shows its pedigree, and the Taurus suffers from combat sights that do not encourage precision.

How about that Wilson!
Several of you are curious about my new CQB, and here’s where I’ll make a tie-in with airguns. You could think of the Taurus as Gamo Shadow with which I’ve had growing pains. The Wilson is like a TX200…perfect right out of the box. You could buy 5 Tauruses for one Wilson, so there IS a reason the Wilson is a better gun. However, the Taurus is advertised as a $2100 value in a $600 package. While it’s a very nice gun, there is no way it can be a $2100 value. The Wilson shows what painstaking work can do. The Taurus shows how far modern manufacturing can take you.


Wilson CQB Light Rail is their standard custom gun with a Weaver rail underneath.

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.

34 thoughts on “BB gets disappointed – Part 4 Wilson Combat…and the Taurus gets better”

  1. Nice gun that Wilson is… but it should be. Just checked prices on the Internet…. at $2300, I’d expect that thing to be all that and a bag of chips!

    Had a recent spark of interest in 1911’s but there is just too much information out there on them. I see now what a newbie to airgunners feels like trying to make a decision.

  2. I own a Kimber Eclipse Ultra II and it has some problems. I had to send mine in for repairs because it consistently jambed. I’m talking failures to extract, eject, and feed. What frustrated me the most, however, was that when it wasn’t having cycling failures, the slide stop would frequently activate with rounds still left in the mag. When I received my pistol back from Kimber it had a worker order sheet with it stating everything that was done to repair it. I wont go into details but basically the only thing left of the original gun is the frame. What gets me mad though, is that they fixed the slide stop TOO well. It now only activates if you manually pull the slide back on an empty mag, so I’ll have to send it back again. The good thing is that I did get a free stainless mag out of the deal, the trigger was tightened up, and the tritium inserts in my new sights are brighter than the ones in my old. This gun also shoots very smooth and accurately.

    I had to send in my NAA Guardian 380, for jambing issues. It now works very well and NAA sent me a free stainless mag. I also had Gutter Snipe night sights installed on it. It will group about 2″ at 10′. Not bat for a pocket gun.

    I had to send in my Beretta 9000s because well, it’s a 9000s. If I knew ho horrible the reputation of this pistol was when I bought it, I would have bought the Khar that was sitting next to it in the display case. To make matters worse, I purchased the .40cal instead of the 9mm. The 40 was just the 9 with a different barrel and slide, and most people know that when you start converting autos to fire other calibers, you’ll have problems. I was having major accuracy and recoil problems, and some reliability issues. the thing grouped about 12″ at ten feet with the use of a pistol rest. After 4 years of the “run around” I was finally able to get a hold of someone at Beretta USA that told me to “send er in” for a warranty claim. They replaced the main spring because supposedly early models like mine used a 9mm spring in a 40. A spring in my rear sight which acts as a set screw was missing, and my barrel was loose. Beretta sent my 9000s back with a free hard case, gun lock, and all new paperwork. They also included a Black Hills test fired casing, and a target with a 5 shot 3 inch group at 50 feet using Black Hills match grade ammo.

    The only handgun that I have not needed to have repaired is my Walther P22. It is ammo sensitive and has a long brake-in but it is very reliable, accurate, and fun to shoot. It is by far my favorite and the best gun that I own.


  3. I’d love to get a 1911 myself someday, but it seems you don’t get a good one unless you spend some good $$$.
    Not saying that Taurus can’t make a good gun, but I think they just wanted to cash in on the 1911 craze that hit the industry. Instead of forward serrations, ambi safteys, beaver tails, ect… things which are mostly a percieved need and cosmetic. They should most be concerend with reliability, good sights and a good trigger.

    Personally, I love the Sig P220 platform. I love my Sig P245 🙂
    The older stamped frame Sigs are crazy accurate and reliable as Hades. DA/SA triggers do take some getting used to.

    Al in CT

  4. Thanks for all the info. I’m very interested in 1911s myself. I’ve heard that pistols are much more complicated to maintain than rifles and the postings seem to confirm this.


  5. For anonymous:
    Most airgunners are also firearm people up to a point so the blog continues to be interesting for most of us. The converse is not always true in my experience.

  6. B.B. –

    Glad to hear that you like your Wilson so much. Good choice. Unlike airguns, your life may depend on a defensive handgun some day. Fiddling around with cheap alternatives just to save money doesn’t make much sense, unless it’s just a hobby pistol. For self-defense, it’s a lot more sensible to go straight for the best quality you can afford.

    Note to anonymous: This IS an airgun blog. Many of us enjoy airguns not only as a hobby, but as serious practice to develop skill with firearms. For myself, daily practice and development of proper spring rifle technique has yielded more improvement with my high power rifles than 30 years of burning powder.

    Hang in there, B.B. Just call it as you see it. We appreciate the effort you put into this blog. Can’t wait to hear about what you find at the S.H.O.T. show.

    – Jim in KS

  7. Jim in Ks,

    How has springer techniques helped you with big bores? It might be you’ve had more experience with springers than I’ve had. I shot a Mosin Nagant the other day and my first few shots were pretty good but after a while of shooting the 7.62R it seemed like bad rifle habits were overriding my airgun habits and when I went home, it took me about an hour to regain my airgun techniques (in the mean time, flinching and sending pellets everywhere.) Although I’m only about a year into airguns. I guess if I stick with it, it’ll stick better?

  8. A bit further off topic,

    The Mendozas have that weird double bladed trigger that requires the first “stage” to be depressed before the second stage, the actual firing pin, is released. I was looking at Savage’s AccuTrigger which seems a hell of a lot similar. Does anyone know how analogous these two triggers are?

  9. Shorty –

    You sort of answered your own question by commenting that you started out shooting your centerfire rifle well. You started out shooting it with only airgun technique.

    I don’t have the best springer in the world. It’s a Remington Summit. The first spring airgun I’ve owned in my adult life. In order to get it shooting the way that I want it to, it’s taken over a year of experimentation with technique and pellet selection, three scopes and two trips to the tuner. At this point, it’s worth keeping, but still very hold sensitive.

    In order to get this springer to shoot, I have to hold it EXACTLY the same way every single time. Same left hand open and relaxed, Same loose grip with the right hand. Same touch on the trigger. Same placement and pressure of my face on the stock. My trigger squeeze has to be smooth and deliberate, with follow through for about a second after the shot is released.

    I had been getting kind of sloppy in my shooting technique, since many accurate rifles are pretty forgiving, and will shoot very well with only mediocre technique. Once I started using my spring rifle technique with my firearms, my sitting and prone groups started looking more like benchrest groups. Getting to shoot every day doesn’t exactly hurt, either. I used to be pretty good as an offhand shot, but now I’m deadly. Believe me, nothing takes the place of good form and lots of practice. Not even gunpowder.

    – Jim in KS

  10. Well said, Jim in KS. I love that the guy comes in sniping and then doesn’t even sign his name.

    Personally, I am fascinated by B.B.’s ongoing saga of the Taurus. I think there is plenty to learn there about how to deal with an issue you are having with a gun (be it an air gun or a powder burner). B.B. has dealt with by rigorous dialog with the manufacturer as well as handy fixes. Sounds pretty relevant to airgunning to me.

  11. Okay, you springer/firearms shooters answer me this. I had thought that a difference between spring airguns and firearms was that you hold springers softly and firearms firmly. Are you saying that you can hold firearms with the same soft hold? I would have thought so since if the artillery hold works for cannons and spring guns it should work for everything inbetween which would include firearms. So, is there ever a reason to grip a firearm firmly?


  12. BB,

    how bout this!

    the wilson is a $2100 value and the Taurus is a $600 value! You get what you pay for, and if its worth it or not is dependent on your satisfaction.


  13. Matt61
    It depends on the firearm that your shooting. A light recoiling rifle will be fine with the artillery hold but something with allot of recoil will cause bruising and sometimes jump out of your hands. You can use a modified artillery hold, in which you hold the rifle firmly in your hands and allow your waist to move with recoil. I have seen many pro shooters do this for long range standing shots. However, any instructor will tell you to use a firm hold and body stance. Also if you are using a recoil operated semi auto, then the artillery hold will work against you. In these models the action needs to move while the rest of the firearm remains stationary, if the whole firearm moves, then that motion will absorb too much of the energy from the recoil and the gun will not cycle. This is most common with blow-back pistols. It is also the reason why spring loaded recoil reducing stocks cannot be used on semi-auto rifles and shotguns.

    Recoil is a strange thing. You can either absorb the bulk of it, or transfer most of it through you. But if you use the wrong technique on the wrong firearm, you’ll wind up with cycling or accuracy problems, or saverely injure yourself.

    On a side note, I met a woman who went through the Texas state police academy. She was a 10-meter air gunner who used an artillery hold on a 12ga 870 while training on that firearm in the academy. The shogun jumped and hit her in the face. She lost a tooth and received a bruised cheek and black eye.


  14. Hi Matt61,

    Regarding the need to hold a firearm firmly, some guns won’t cycle cleanly and jam if held too loose. I had a Colt Gold Cup about 20 years ago this applied too. If you held it too loose, the frame moved with the slide so there was not enough slide travel to fully eject the spent case and feed the fresh round.

    Al in CT,
    I agreed about the Sig P220 being great guns. I had an old school P220 .45 with the original bottom grip mag release. Offhand I consistently shot 3 to 4″ groups at 25 yards with it after I worked on the trigger a bit. Sorry I sold it about 15 years ago.

    Bob RI

  15. Matt61 –

    I wish that shooting firearms and spring guns was as simple as using a hard or soft hold. Unfortunately for all of us, there is no universal hold.

    mech is correct in his description of how recoil affects different guns in different ways. The hold you use is unique to each individual gun. There are certain generalizations that may apply to particular gun types. Firm grip for autos, artillery hold for springers, etc. Beyond that, it takes experimentation to find what works best for you. I mainly shoot bolt actions and falling blocks, and find that my rifles don’t like to be held too tightly.

    In my post, I was trying to draw a general correlation between spring gun technique and that used for shooting firearms. I contend that there is enough similarity that firearm shooters will benefit from practice with airguns. You seem to have gotten hung up on the hold aspect of spring gun technique, and there are a lot more elements to it than that. Elements like consistency, posture, breathing, trigger control and follow through are critical to spring gun shooting and translate very well to firearm shooting. Perhaps the most important advantage to practicing with airguns is the fact that you can shoot a little every day.

    In the final analysis, it’s the results that count. My results have shown that my high power shooting is much better when I practice with my spring gun. That’s reason enough for me to continue.

    – Jim in KS

  16. What do you guys think about the Browning Hi-Power?

    I stumbled across a used one that is about 20 years old. I took it apart and and the internals look good. I haven’t shot it but the slide, trigger, safety, and hammer feel well broken-in.

    Sadly having worked in both firearm sales and gunsmything, I have never seen a Hi-Power go out or come in. The only 2 people whom I know who owns them are my father and uncle. My fathers is brand new and He has only fired about 1 mag worth of ammo through it, and my uncle hasn’t shot his in about 25 years.


  17. Hello all. Thanks for the info. Okay, getting hit in the face would give me reason enough to hold firearms tightly along with the business about cycling the action. That’s good to keep in mind for the M1 that I’m getting.

    Yes indeed I’m hung up on the soft hold for springers. Man, does it work. But I suppose you’re right that there are more elements to the technique that I will need to explore.

    I’m also curious to hear any comments about the Browning Hi Power. After all it was John Browning’s last pistol which he literally dropped dead over, I understand. So, you would think he would have made improvements over the 1911 which has been such a success. But while the Hi Power has apparently made it big in Europe, you hear very little about it over here.


  18. Jim in Kansas,

    You know what you’re talking about. With air rifle you can quit worrying about wasting limited shots and experiment/practice. Even if the artillery hold doesn’t transfer directly (esp. to shotgun and big bore rifles:)), the methodology is improved, since you’re forced to (re)learn the basics and be consistent or miss the target. Also, most of the time with AR, I’m just feeling warmed up with the number of shots where it would be time to put the firearms away.

  19. Hi bb,
    I just recieved my new Super Streak today(.22 cal), and the first thing i did after reading the manual was try to put my laser bore sighter onto it. The laser sighter no way fits the barrel, i believe it is becuase of the muzzle break. Any way i was wondering if the muzzle is detachable, or there is some other way to install the laser sighter.


  20. Very interesting posts today. I have found that when shooting shotguns or high powered rifles the most important thing is to have the gun pulled into your shoulder snug, what you do with the forearm will make very little differance in the way recoil feels. If the stock is cut wrong like my Win 101 it will beat you about the head and cheek without mercy no matter how hard you hold on but if the stock fits right like my Rem 300WM you can let the forearm float on an open palm and only receive the expected rearward shove. I have found almost every firearm I own shoots better off a bench with the forearm resting on a bag not being held tight.
    As far as the the 1911 goes, the magazine is probably the number 1 cause of problems, all kinds extracting, feeding, jams, slide lock. I have had several Colts that would not feed right out of the box.
    After changing the magazines they were like different guns. Wilson and Brown seem to be the best for me. They changed guns that jammed every clip or 2 into guns that never jam, the accuracy also improved in both guns. Only my 2 gold cups never had a problem with a magazine, even the bad ones and I cant explain that. Never scrimp on the magazine for an auto and dont drop them unless you want to buy another.


  21. Hey BB,

    Glad to see the pics of your shooting, not gonna quibble with the distance or groups. I hope you caught my mention (back under the PCP nitrogen post, I think) about the guy I know who’s had his Taurus for a year now ( I didn’t know till we were at the range on the same night and he was shooting it). Didn’t get a chance to shoot it myself, but he said he wasn’t having many problems with his reloads, and the groups proved it’s accuracy. He’s got a couple of Ballistia’s, set up differently. I call them “The Twins” and love to shoot ’em. One has a heavy trigger pull, the other is light, both are a trip to shoot! Loved to be willed them… LOL

    Have fun at the SHOT show!!

  22. BB,

    What you say about comparing higher priced firearms and airguns to “bargain” firearms and airguns is pretty much true. Mostly you get what you pay for.

    However there have been two notable exceptions in my life.

    Many years ago I bought an AMT Stainless Hardballer while my Colt Gold Cup NM was back at Colt getting fixed for the 5th time. I Paid $175 for the gun out of Shotgun news, bought a match bushing for $10 and very carefully hand fitted it. I worked the triger to 2.5 lbs and it was crisp and almost no over travel. I paid $35 for Millet target sights. I used a magic marker to blacken the front sight. I had to retension the extractor to get reliable feeding.

    This gun would fire 1.5″ 25 yd groups from my ransom rest and never jammed! It was a joy to shoot and I won many matches with it. Beat the hell out of my $500 Colt Gold Cup NM! I sold the Colt as they never could get it to shoot or quit breaking!

    A few years later I bought a Dan Wesson model 15V .357 magnum Stainless again from Shotgun News. I paid $200 for it and spent another $35 for Millet target sights and $15 for Pachmeyer rubber grips for it. I also put about $10 to $15 into 3 wolf pack spring kits and mixed and matched the springs and honed the parts and polished them to get a very smooth 6# double action and 1.5# single action pull.

    This gun would shoot one hole 25 yard groups with reduced target loads from a sandbag rest at 25 yards.

    I used this gun for combat, falling plate and plinking leagues and again won many matches with it.

    I no longer have the AMT Hardballer but it was by far and away the most accurate and enjoyable .45 acp I owned till I bought a Springfield Armory NM Trophy Match about 5 years ago for around $900. And then I paid a gunsmith another $190 to work the trigger and install better sights on it!

    I still have the Dan Wesson and it is still a joy to shoot!

    Granted, both guns were some what modified by me but the cost of both guns ended up around $250 to $275 and I out shot guys with $2000 to $3000 “race” guns with both of them!

    And I would bet with $100 to $200 worth of parts and about 5 to 15 hours of work I could make that Taurus do the same if I were so inclined!

  23. PCP4Me,

    You hit on my theme! I’m using firearms experiences to demonstrate what can be done when you get a lemon – anything (but especially an airgun). Airguns are too easy for me to fix, but a firearm is a different story. I am trying to lead by example, showing the newer airgunners that the sky doesn’t always fall when a new gun doesn’t work out at the start.

    The Taurus still has MANY layers of problems. Just because I got it working reliably doesn’t mean the project is over. There are springs to tune, an ejector to replace and accuracy to address. These things are also challenging new airgunners, so they are great experiences to use.


  24. Browning Hi Power/ King of Nines

    This is generally regarded as the number 2 pistol in the world, right behind JMBrowning’s 1911. It was initially developed by JMB but he passed away while it was on the drawing board. A guy named Dieudonne Saive took it and really made it into what it is today.

    These are great pistols. I think the only knock against them is that they shoot 9mm. I had a target version from the Belgium plant before the cast frames. Being young and utterly stupid, I sold it…. I kick myself now and again for selling it. It was such a joy to shoot and very accurate (3-4′ groups offhand at 25 yards). Take down was a breeze. Browning is one of the few companies that know how to polish and blue steel. For me, when I held a Hi Power, it was the most perfect fitting pistol that I have ever held onto. To steal a common quote from the firearm industry, it pointed like the finger of God.

    The trigger is single action and creepy. Not a 1911 trigger, but you get used to it easy enough. It has a magazine disconnect that makes it heavier and adds to that extra movement, I think this is it. if anyone knows different, don’t be afraid to correct me.

    Strikes that people have against it? I hear that you don’t want to run +P ammo through them. They were made before a time when high pressure ammo was in wide use. I hear too that some can choke on hollow points unless you get them throated. The newer models aren’t supposed to be sensitive to this. You gotta remember, this pistol was made in the 30’s and made for military hard ball. The other would be the safety. It doesn’t engage in a positive way, at least on the ones that I’ve handled. It’s a bit on the “soft” side. I don’t think I’d ever carry it cocked and locked. That’s just me though.

    If memory serves, this is one of the most copied pistols in the world. It’s design paved the way for nearly all the newer auto pistols out there. One day I’m going to get another and I ain’t ever getting rid of it.

    Al in CT

  25. I own a Browning Hi-Power Mk2, fantastic pistol, just stuck a pair of Pachmayr and that’s it!

    I’ve found my pistol to be reliable with no stoppages using ball ammo, in fact I did not clean the gun for over a 1000 rounds and that did finally gum it up-I had to whack off the slide with a rubber mallet!

    Once cleaned I was back in business, I use this as my primary carry gun and have complete faith in it.

    Remember until recently the Hi-Power was the preferred pistol of Britain’s SAS, so its pedigree is without question.

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