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Education / Training 10-meter rifle – Part 2 The budget rifles, continued

10-meter rifle – Part 2 The budget rifles, continued

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

I’m sorry I had to break this up, but the text starts Where we left off yesterday.

The Chinese-made diopters have excessive slack in the gears and then “jump” when they start adjusting. For years, coaches who used Daisy’s all-plastic, American-made aperture sights have instructed their shooters to wind the sight several clicks in the opposite direction before adjusting to take the slack out of the gears. Now the problem exists in the upgraded apertures, as well. Fortunately, there’s a bright light on the horizon.

AirForce will soon be manufacturing an entirely new type of diopter rear sight for their new Edge rifle. This sight will also be available separately, and I predict it will become necessary equipment in the Sporter Class inside of a year. If you’re looking to buy a 10-meter budget rifle and the sight is from Gamo, Daisy or Crosman, you might want to keep an eye on this development.

Weight and size – A budget 10-meter rifle usually weighs under 6.5 lbs. The ones at the bottom of the price scale all do. When you think of budget 10-meter rifles, you have to think about kids who are the target users. Even though we know that thousands of adults also shoot these airguns, hundreds of thousands of kids shoot them each year, so the guns will be made with them in mind. Fortunately, with target rifles, length of pull isn’t as critical as with sporting rifles. The erect stance and different hold tends to shorten the required length of pull for everyone.

Accuracy – What can you expect from a budget 10-meter target rifle? More accuracy than most shooters can use. Until you’re good enough to compete in national-level competition, a budget target rifle would not hinder you at all. I addressed this when I wrote about Entry-level 10 meter airguns in December. If you reread that post, you’ll get a good idea of the level of accuracy to expect.

Ergonomics, however, is another story. The heavier triggers and less adjustable stocks will play havoc with all shooters, which is why I hate to hear a parent or coach say, “These guns are good enough for junior shooters.” No, they’re not! When I first learned basic rifle marksmanship from the NRA, they used Winchester model 52 target rifles to train us. I was only 9 or 10, but the rifle I shot weighed a good 10 lbs. I learned what a good trigger felt like and what good sights could do. After that experience, my cheap Winchester model 69 was a poor substitute and I knew it. Don’t think for a minute that kids are not as sophisticated as adults when it comes to man-machine interface.

There is no reason budget (kids) target guns have to have creepy triggers or sights that don’t adjust crisply. What prevents a budget target rifle from having a dry-fire feature? These things are all important, even if the trigger isn’t going to break below 1.5 lbs. At least it can break cleanly.

What about the Daisy 753? The 887?
Daisy builds all their target guns on a common set of parts. The 753 has a more adult-sized stock and an upgraded rear sight (that is still Chinese), but in all other aspects, it’s an 853. The 887 is a CO2 gun, of course, yet most of the frame and components of the 853 are used. The 887 comes out of the box with a 2-lb. trigger, while the 853 must be adjusted to get that light.

What about the Daisy 953?
The 953 is really outside the budget 10-meter rifle category, except a lot of people don’t want to leave it there. It doesn’t have a Lothar Walther barrel like the 853, 853C and 753, and the base rifle lacks any kind of diopter sight (but one can be added). Accuracy is surprisingly good, despite the American-made barrel, and thousands of shooters enjoy this rifle for informal target shooting.

To summarize
So, what conclusions can be made? First, that there are budget 10-meter rifles (costing under $1,000)…and within that category there are certain rifles acceptable to compete in the Sporter Class of NRA and CMP matches. The Sporter Class rifles are all at the bottom of the cost spectrum, because the two governing groups want to make 10-meter competition affordable for as many kids as they can. What you give up at the low end of the price spectrum of budget rifles is a nice/light trigger, ergonomics and a precision rear aperture (or diopter) sight.

You can spend more money and get a finer rifle, though it will still not be capable of competing at the world-class level, or what the NRA and CMP call the Precision Class. That may not make a difference to you if you don’t plan on competing. I haven’t mentioned used rifles yet, but I will when we look at world-class target rifles.

One final fact, and then I’ll let this rest. At the 2006 SHOT Show NRA Airgun Breakfast, all who attended were told that the NRA has over 700,000+ kids competing in sanctioned matches each year. Most of those kids compete in the Sporter Class. Those numbers far exceed any other airgun sport, or firearm sport for that matter! Field target may have 1,000 shooters competing in the U.S., though I think that’s overstating it, and silhouette may have another 1,000. Do you see why 10-meter competition is important to airgun manufacturers – especially the Sporter Class?

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.

63 thoughts on “10-meter rifle – Part 2 The budget rifles, continued”

  1. Hi B.B.

    I’m a LTRFTW. Your reviews and comments are, as ever, very interesting.

    It’s good to see that over in the USA a shooting sport is being targeted for the youngsters out there – 700k competitors, WOW!

    I have recently got back in to shooting airguns, having ignored the sport for the past 20 years (I stopped at around 16, as shooting areas were quite restricted). As my family now owns a few acres of land, I target shoot to my hearts content.

    Currently I own a Logon Solo .177 (I think it’s great, would love to see you review it), an oldish ASI Magnum .22, an old Diana G30? .22 (in bits, trying to get hold of replacements for leather seals) and I recently sold my S&W 686 CO2 revolver (which I bought after reading your review!).

    I hope to acquire a Webley Tracker .22 sideleaver shortly for a bargain price of £85. Sideleavers are not my favourite, but this little rifle feals and shoots rather good.

    Anyways, glad to hear you are back among the living. Pneumonia can be serious – my mother almost died from it when I was a wee nipper.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best regards

    Darren (United Kingdom)

  2. B.B. –

    700,000 young shooters?! OK, now I’m jealous. At a recent gun show in Wichita, I was examining a used Daisy 887, and asked the owner if he knew anything about airgun competitions for adults. I was told that nothing like that existed for people old enough to shave. If this guy was telling me wrong, and there actually is a 10-meter shooting program for adults, I would certainly like to know about it.

    – Jim in KS

  3. Jim,

    I have a Sharpshooter ranking with the NRA in national pistol competition. I’m 60.

    Every year thousands of adults compete in regional matches and national matches with the NRA.

    Find an NRA-affiliated club and see if they have an airgun program. I was a member of the Izaak Walton League of America when I lived in Maryland, and we had two matches a year that were NRA-sanctioned. In those matches I shot against every other adult 10-meter pistol shooter in the U.S.

    We also shot every Monday evening and had about two informal matches per year with a sister Izaak Walton League club.

    There certainly ARE adult 10 meter matches in the U.S.


  4. BB and all of you,

    I live in the chicagoland area and would love to join an airgun club for all the obvious reasons.

    Is there a directory of clubs? I guess I CAN believe that no one in Chicago wants to shoot airguns, but I hope I’m wrong.

    I don’t currently own a rifle suitable for 10M target work but I do own a good pistol. It would be great to have a place to shoot in the winter with like minded folks.

    Any help you can provide will be appreciated.

    Al Pellet

  5. Dear BB,

    once again unto the breach, dear friends. I refer of course to the 0.177/0.22 battle. Being new to air guns, what I notice most is the apparent lack of theoretical considerations that can shed some light on whether the power plant of an air rifle inherently delivers more power to a 0.22 pellet than its 0.177 sister. What is not lacking are would-be ballisticians (I’m one), over-interpretation of data, and unfounded statements.

    In an idealized case, an air gun – at the moment the pellet begins to move down the barrel – can be considered as a chamber containing an ideal gas at a given pressure and volume connected to a friction-less piston of given length and diameter representing the barrel and pellet. Not being a physicist, I am unable to decide whether that fraction of the available volume energy which is delivered to the pellet depends on the diameter. Is there an optimum diameter, perhaps? Are you aware of any work done in this field?

    If no relationship between barrel diameter and pellet energy turns out to exist in this ideal case, we will know that any observed data purporting to prove that 0.22 pellets are more powerful really will have to be explained by a number of trivial and hard-to-pin-down factors like pellet deformation, to name just one. That’s something.


  6. B.B. –

    Sadly, none of our local NRA affiliated clubs offer anything like you describe, however there may still be hope. After posting my comment this morning, I remembered shooting some of my antique and replica rifles in postal matches years ago. A quick search revealed that postal matches are alive and well in the airgun community. Airguninfo.com lists several organizations running 10 meter postal matches for both air rifle and air pistol. There are even postal matches for field target shooters and mini snipers. Admittedly, these are informal competitions, but they may be just the thing I’ve been wishing for.

    – Jim in KS

  7. Hey B.B.,
    Ive been wanting to shoot 10 meter target for a long time now, but i thought i had to have a millionaire for a dad. Thanks for the Article. Now for a beggining shooter, would you reccomend an Avanti 853, or a Crosman Challenger? Also do you know of any 10 meter target clubs in southern ohio? Around Waverly?

  8. B.B., since you’ve got Crosman’s ear, tell ’em to drop the “7-ring accurate” Challenger 2000, jam the Discovery Powerplant in the adjustable stock, and find a nice target barrel for the thing.

    Given the accessible nature of the low-psi PCP powerplant, they could easily end up with the sporter rifle everyone wants.

    BTW — has Air Force said if the Edge 10 meter rifle is going to be a 3000 psi PCP, or a lesser pressure?

  9. Trout Underground,

    Crosman was alrwady thinking that way when we started the Discovery project. They knew they needed to get their feet wet with the Discovery, and then they could branch out in many directions. The Challenger is certainly on the table, as far as I know.

    The Edge will probably run at 3,000 psi. I say probably because the designer is still tinkering with the final specs relating to the valve and air tank. Right now they are running it at 3,000.


  10. BB,

    What the Trout Underground said:).

    I also wonder to what extent the NRA’s insistence on 3P shooting, along with economics, has on the functionality of the sporter class.

  11. B.B.

    Thanks for this blog topic which is right up my alley. It looks like the Air Force Edge has a couple great solutions to some problems with this class of rifles. The sight problem I was not aware of. The other one is the heavy, creepy trigger. This I absolutely cannot abide after the marvelous trigger of the IZH 61. You mentioned trying out the trigger of the Edge when you first mentioned the rifle as a world-beater some time ago. Does this mean it has a good trigger? Needless to say I would be fascinated by a review of this rifle when it becomes available.

    I also very much second the notion of a target version of the Discovery. It sounds like the accuracy is already there; they just need to restock it. Perhaps lowering the power would be another consideration, though. What a shame that the S200T is not allowed for many sanctioned matches. It looks like such a great all-purpose rifle. If the rifle can deliver the accuracy, I wonder why the extra power is a disqualifier? There is a junior ROTC match described on the CMP site which allows the S200T as a sporter class target rifle but I suppose this match is an exception.

    Folks if you have not heard of the Civilian Marksmanship Program CMP, I strongly recommend a visit to their site. They have a whole range of shooting equipment at eye-popping prices–a fair amount of it is surplus that represents your tax dollars. I was initially put off by their various eligibility requirements. But thanks to my man, Clint Fowler, M1 gunsmith, I found out that these are not a big deal at all. To join a “CMP-affiliated club” just send in $25 to the Garand Collector’s Association GCA and you’re in. The proof of firearms interest in the form of 50 rounds fired in the presence of a shooting range official or law enforcement officer will not pose a problem to most of you. The key is that airguns count! I satisfied my requirement by having a policeman friend watch me fire a powerlet’s worth of ammo from my Walther Nighthawk. (He insisted on using up the last three clips himself.) And with all that I’m waiting on the delivery of my M1 Garand in the next few days.


  12. BG_Farmer,

    Well, it makes the single-stroke Daisy 853 difficult for kids to pump when in the prone position, for one thing. And it drives the clubs to have target stands that adjust for height.

    On the other hand, it teaches rifle marksmanship is ways that standing-only cannot. So the NRA and CMP use it more for training than as a preparatory program for world-class shooting.

    You can argue this issue from both sides – I think they are probably doing it right, because the kids learn things like different positions, how to adjust equipment and so on.


  13. mech

    If you’re still getting banged up with your Moisin Nagant rifle, I have a suggestion. I ran your idea of a rubber butt pad for high powered rifles past Clint Fowler, and he said that you can take care of most of the problem with technique. (He’s like a walking blog who is quite willing to shoot the breeze on the phone.) The principle he says is like getting punched by a 250 pound man from 3 inches versus 2 feet. The idea is to smother the recoil by holding the stock as tight in to your shoulder as you can and not giving the rifle any room to move. This is certainly different from any air rifle I’ve shot and makes sense to me. I’m going to try it with the M1 as soon as I can.


  14. Matt61,

    The Edge trigger is SO good that I think people (other than AirForce) are embarrassed by it. It’s not too light, but it is very crisp and creep-free. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I think some of the long-time coaches resent a new rifle that makes the 853 look like a toy. They have had to put up with it for all these decades and now this upstart Texas company comes along a pokes a finger in Daisy’s eye with features never before seen in this price range.

    The S200T at 12 foot-pounds isn’t permitted in sanctioned matches because of the potential danger it poses. It could overcome backstops and shoot through them in a relatively few shots. Probably not right away, but certainly in time. Like you say, though, at individual matches the officials may allow it.

    However, the Tau 200 has been in competition for a long time. And the Tau 200 is just the S200 running on CO2.

    Matt, this is the first time I have heard that pellets would satisfy the CMP’s requirement for range certification! Had I know that, I could be swimming in Garands by this time (and would be, too!).


  15. Matt61,

    I think you have me confused with someone else. I have no problems with heavy recoil. I learned to shoot on a 12ga, and while all of my rimfire buddies complain about recoil when hunting with a .270, I shoot a 350mag for fun.


  16. To all would-be ballisticians, I don’t know of any work on an optimum chamber diameter for transmitting the force of compressed air to a pellet. From my understanding of ideal gases and the way they transmit pressure equally in all directions, I’m guessing that there is no optimum diameter for energy transmission and that pellet performance is entirely determined by what happens outside the barrel, but I’m not qualified to say.

    I did, though, have another idea about the relative performance of .177 and .22 from the point-of-view of theory. The discussion seems to assume that energy (kinetic) is the sole measure for the effect that a pellet has on a target. But since there are references to “knock down power,” could it be that momentum which is the concept used for studying collisions is more relevant? Kinetic energy is related to mass and the square of velocity while momentum is related directly to both mass and velocity. This implies that mass is more important to momentum transfer and knocking things down than to energy transfer. How significant is this difference? It would all depend on the criteria. But it’s worth noting that at rifle velocities which are 3 times those of magnum airguns, the velocities are still not so high that bullet weight is unimportant. So, one supposes, mass would play a proportionately greater role at airgun velocities.

    What I’m getting from all this is that momentum may be a better measure for the capacity to knock things down while kinetic energy may measure the power to tear up the target’s fine structure. And, for this reason, the heavier .22 round may be more effective for hunting. Needless to say, this is all theoretical.


  17. Sorry mechredd. It was awhile ago.

    B.B., yes indeed, I was surprised myself that airguns are permitted for range certification. I asked the phone rep in desperation and was amazed when she said they were. I got an email approving my order so it must be true, and it seems that I saw this somewhere on the site although I couldn’t tell you exactly where. I’ve heard that the CMP has relaxed its restrictions, so maybe this is a recent development. And to all of you who have never heard of this process, I should add the words of an exultant online commentator: “You don’t even have to hit anything with your 50 rounds.” Ha ha.

    As far as swimming in Garands, the site says that you can order a maximum of 12 per year. But I was talking to a police officer about California firearms laws and he happened to mention that he owned 20 Garands…. I’m waiting to experience the strange hold this gun seems to have on people.


  18. B.B.

    Great news about the Air Force Edge trigger. Thanks. Yes, that must be hard when your life’s work gets undercut, but I’m certainly not embarrassed by the great trigger. I’ll be watching with the greatest interest.


  19. Hello B.B.

    I have questions about the 753-853-953 series of rifles. What accuracy can I expect from the 953–not best groups, but average groups? I purchased one in early December and it is fun. It is plastic, but honest looking and feels substantial. I like the SSP functioning and the plastic actually feels good when the range is zero +/- 15 degrees. It shoots most pellet types poorly but does like Hobbys in the green labeled tin. Average groups are about .30; yes, some are .10 but some are .35 or larger. This is with a scope from sitting position. What do others find? Is this average for this gun? I have not cleaned the barrel or checked for paint in the barrel or checked the crown–I have simply shot the rifle.

    After 5-600 shots the trigger is MUCH improved and is now decent with minimal creep. I like the 5-shot clip; it works well and is easier to load, even if shooting single-shot than the small loading port.

    Is the synthetic stock on the 953 the same as the 853CMP and same shape as 753 ? Or is it a different stock? I have read that the stocks on the 853 and 888 are quite small for adults and that the 753 and 887 are much better.

    I wish there were more choices in SSP air rifles and some functioned at circa 650 fps. I am looking forward to the discussion on used better quality rifles, although I question whether I want a 11-12 lb rifles, with scope–81/2 would be better.


  20. BB,

    You’re probably right about 3P being better for overall exposure to firearms use. I was warped into almost totally offhand-only shooting at an early age when I told my grandfather we should try shooting from the prone position; he laughed and said that we would if somebody started shooting back at us:).

    I can see the charm in the Edge — just hope there’s more than that one color choice!

  21. Comparing the Edge photo against my Talon indicates perhaps the Edge has deleted the god-awful automatic safety mechanism from the Talon action? The forward two pins are gone and I don’t see a safety lever in the trigger guard. The hammer sleeve/bolt appears to somehow ride in a locking slot milled into the receiver? I hope Airforce didn’t simply force the bolt to ride in this slot to release the existing safety mechanism???

    My Talon needs to go back to Airforce for repair. The safety lever has always been stiff to operate and now is so rough that it releases the sear each and every time it is disengaged. MAJOR SAFETY FAILURE! Watch your muzzle direction Airforce owners!!

    No, I have never lubricated, disassembled, or otherwise tampered with it in any way.

    Seems to me Airforce has focused too much attention on design simplicity in the tank/valving mechanism and thus paid the tradeoff price with an overly complex and poor trigger design.

    I’m looking forward to learning more about the Edge, but I’m keeping a healthy skepticism in reserve.

  22. Matt61,

    I was the one getting beaten up by a Mosin. It wasn’t mine but my friend’s. I tried using the artillery hold and it worked well until the third or fourth clip, when I started flinching like a cat in a haunted dog house. Next time I shoot a firearm I think I’m going to try a stronger hold. Gun writer, Chuck Hawks suggests pushing the forearm forward, while pulling the grip backwards, to brace the gun with a solid line of muscles from one arm, through the shoulders, to the next arm. This technique is for big bore safari guns but hey, I’m a small person so I’m sure it’d work the same, with a fractional scalar.

    BTW, all this Discovery business is making me reconsider.. I was going to pick up a Lee Enfield No.4 but the Discovery is making a persistent bid for my attention…

  23. Hi shorty. I remember now. I’ve read some articles by Chuck Hawks and was impressed. His recommendation reminds me of the Weaver hold for pistol shooting where you resist recoil by an opposite tension of two arms. I’ll keep this in mind.

    Yes, I’m coming to realize that there is simply no way I can afford even a small fraction of the great choices out there. One of the facts of life. For someone taken with fast repeating bolt actions like me, the Lee Enfield is probably the summit. But where in the world do you get the .303 ammo for it?


  24. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Chinese made AR2078A match rifle, it’s CO2 powered which is now old tech but it is a very good starter rifle for under $200, with a little TLC it has been know to shoot better than the shooter.

  25. .303 Brit… I don’t see much of it at Big 5 or any big sports stores but in local gun stores I’ll usually see a small collection. I plan on buying mil-surplus by 100 or 200 rnd lots. If I decided to hunt with it, Remington, Federal, and plenty other companies make factory .303 loads.It seems like factory .303 Brit rounds have a higher unit price.

    .303 British is still a pretty popular round, considering the numerous generations of Lee Enfields and Lee Metfords that have come out. I think it’s the longest serving bolt action rifle ever. Probably surpassing the Mosin, in time and numbers. I’m sure it’s also usually found in better quality than most Mosins.

    I wouldn’t call the Lee Enfield as the “summit” of quick bolt action guns; however, it definitely is out of surplus service guns. I think that’s what you’re referring to? Otherwise I’d say the epitome of production fast bolt action guns is the Weatherby Mark V. High quality, smooth action, strong bolt, attractive stocks (although I think their gloss stocks are a little too glossy,) and somehow just feels right when held.

  26. Matt61,

    It won’t take long. When you realize that the Garand absorbs most of the recoil from the round, where bolt- action rifles transmit it all to the shooter, you will realize that you can shoot 100 or 200 rounds in perfect comfort, as opposed to getting black and blue from just 50 rounds of .30-06 through a bolt action.

    And the accuracy is phenomenal. If you are used to inaccurate AR=15-type guns, a Garand is going to seem like the bullets have radar!


  27. Farmer,

    You are getting the right accuracy from your 953. An 853 would give groups in the 0.15″ range, and they would be more consistent.

    The stock on the 853 has a purposely short poull for kids, as mentioned in the blog. However, it comes with three spacers to lengthen it back to adult proportions.

    Check into some of the CMP websites and chat forums and you’ll discover instructions on how to lighten the trigger pull to 2 pounds. That’s the lowest they consider safe with the Daisy design.

    The other SSP target rifles all shoot at 600 f.p.s. or less. Only a couple of the old ones go faster. The Walther LGR is probably your best bet for higher velocity. A good one might hit 640, because it was made in the days (mid 1970s) when that was considered the right speed for a 10-meter rifle.


  28. AirForce trigger,

    Sorry but I must disagree. The AirForce trigger is a great sporting trigger. All the ones I have tested, which has been over a thousand, have been crisp and in the 2.5-3 lbs. region. I only saw a couple in all that time that had any creep.

    The Edge trigger is lighter, but it has to be above the 1.5-lbs. floor that the NRA and CMP demand.


  29. BG_Farmer,

    There are many color choices. The red is the prototype they have used for photos, but they had a blue one at the SHOT Show, too.

    The thing about 10-meter rifles these days is that they all come in rainbow colors, not unlike NASCAR. I guess competitors are flamboyant people.


  30. Shorty,

    A Mosin Nagant will kick anyone’s teeth out – especially the short M38 and m44 carbines!

    The problems are pull and drop. The Russians had to design these stocks to fit hundreds of different ethnic groups, and the average size of their soldiers is quite a bit smaller than an American soldier – at any time from the revolution until the present day.

    Also, the 7.62X54R catrtridge is one hell of a powerhouse – fully the equivalent of our .30-06. To shoot it in an M44 carbine is like shooting a Winchester 94 chambered in .30-06.

    The Garand is semiautomatic, and the mechanism absorbs most of the recoil. So American shooters have no point of reference with something like the Mosin carbine. I shoot a 91/30 that still kicks, despite having another two lbs. of weight. The only solution to the Mosin carbines is to load it down. A 130-grain bullet with perhaps 28-35 grains of 3031 will soften the blow to your shoulder.


  31. Matt61,

    Commercial British .303 ammo is common. It’s as available as .30-06. I even find it at my Wal-Mart. Sellier and Bellot even make it, so you can get a good price.

    And the Number 4 rifle has very little recoil for a bolt-action military rifle. Delightful to shoot.


  32. I should have made special mention of the QB 2078 target rifle – even though you’ll never see one in competition. It’s a fine rifle for informal target shooters, though not in the same accuracy category as the 853. It’s more of a Crosman Challenger 2000.

    But it has very nice sights and a great adjustable trigger.


  33. Maybe my AF trigger is “One of a Thousand” to quote the old Winchester ads, but a sear that releases with the safety isn’t exactly what I’d recommend for any sporting arm. Or ANY arm for that matter.

    I’ll post my experience with AF repair and warranty.

  34. Rather than just talking about this, have you taken any steps toward getting it fixed?

    I used to work at AirForce and we took things like this very seriously. The clearances in the trigger section are extremely tight, and just one small piece of dirt or a metal chip can cause problems. AirForce would be glad to fix this for you under warranty.

    They are at 877-247-4867.


  35. B.B.

    Thanks for the information about the Daisy X53 rifles. I have read the articles about the trigger modification but decided to shot the rifle 1000x’s or so first and the trigger is pretty good now. I think I would like the increased accuracy of the 753-853, but question $350 for plastic and pot metal. On the plus side, you have stated that these rifles are reliable and durable. I have thought about used rifles, especially the Walther LGR but am concerned about durability and availability of parts. It would be helpful if you addressed that issue when discussing used 10m rifles. Would the Walther make sense if I shoot 5000+ shots a year? Like with antique cars; a Model A roadster or even ‘67 VW convertible, is fine for 1000 miles a year or so, but I don’t think a good choice for 25,000 miles. Gamo made as SSP rifle, but I think I read that durability is a problem. FWB still makes the 603, but all of these target rifles will weigh 11+ lbs with a scope, a lot for a plinking rifle.

    I like the SSP power plant, at least with the Daisy and pick up the 953 this winter instead of the HW55. I will think about PCP, but like “doing something” when I shoot; I have never been really keen of semi-auto rifles or shotguns or even handguns, preferring the bolt, lever, and slide action guns.

    Thanks for the blog.


  36. Farmer,

    I think a Walther subjected to only 5,000 shots a year will hold up for a decade, at least. LGRs have been used as club guns, where they get subjected to 100K shots a year and they seem to hold up well.

    Stay away from the Daisy/Gamo 126. It has a rep as a weakling.

    You had an opportunity to buy an HW55? Is the gun still available?


  37. B.B.

    I own an HW55 which I purchased over 30 years ago but have shot more in the past 6-9 months than in the previous 30 years. It is a very neat rifle. But it is the 953 [which I bought in early December] which I pick up to shoot this winter. It is a fun gun. Whether it is the plastic, which feels less cold, or the scope or the cocking/shooting, or the newness/change, I like shooting that rifle.

    The HW55 is a fine rifle, fun to shoot and to look at and hold. I wish there were more rifles in that power range, both spring, SSP, and PCP and with size and weight to suit both young people and adults. They are quiet, safer to shoot in a small area, easy on the backstop; both the 953 and HW55 are a joy to shoot. [I have asked you questions about the HW55]

    Thanks for the information about the Walther LGR; the weight concerns me.


  38. B.B.
    I enjoyed your articles on 10 meter shooting. You covered sights and showed a photo of the proper way to stand and hold the rifle. Have you written anything on proper breathing techniques? Length of time to sight the target before squeezing the trigger? Etc.?
    Your tips are appreciated. Thanks.

  39. I will cover this in the 10-meter pistol series which is coming up soon, but here you go>

    Breathing. Take several deep breaths as you raise the rifle, Then as the rifle settles in position take a last breath and let out about half.

    Never hold your breath longer than five seconds. So between settling in on target and the shot, less than 5 seconds elapse. After than your heart starts beating harder, making holding more problematic.

    These aren’t my tips. They came from an Olympic competitor. I do use them, however.


  40. About the x53 trigger.
    Yes the stock trigger “sucks.” I bought a 953 to use for a starter/training rifle. Well the trigger feels like dragging then end of a 2×4 over an asphalt road. It is rough and catches in places. It was so bad my score dropped so much that I did not bother recording it. As was said, how can you teach a new shooter when the trigger is so crappy. They will quit in frustration.

    The problem and the fix is surprisingly simple.

    If you check the CMP web site, they have a $2 booklet that explains how to fix the trigger.
    Hey its only $2, support the CMP.

    Of the 3 items to fix, IMHO the biggest improvement will come from deburring the sear. The sear is stamped out of THICK sheet metal. The problem is when it is stamped out, there are burrs left along the edges and bearing surface of the sear. And the burrs are not removed, leaving a VERY rough surface.

    You don’t have to polish it, just get rid of the burrs. I did that fix first and I was so satisfied that I did not bother to do the other 2 fixes. The fixed trigger is so much better that it is does not even feel like the same trigger.

    If Daisy just deburred the sear at the factory, they would have a much better rifle out of the box.

    ps…I dunno why it is so hard to get the system to take this post.

  41. I strongly disagree with your comment that "with target rifles, Length of Pull (LoP) is not as critical as with sporting rifles." LoP is VERY important. Shooting well requires a rifle that FITS the shooter.

    A comment like this typically comes from a person about 6ft tall that fit most of the rifles out there. A shorter person with a 12 inch LoP does NOT fit a rifle with a 14+ inch LoP, and cannot shoot it well, because it does not fit. If you have a 14 inch LoP, try putting a stock extension on to create a LoP 3" longer than your LoP and tell me if you like the fit of the rifle in the standing position.

    Target shooting is about precision. Anything and everything that takes away from the ability of the shooter to shoot to his best ability is not wanted. If the rifle does not fit the shooter, he is compromising his hold, and that will negatively affect his score.

    When matches are lost by a single point, everything counts.

    Now you tell me how rifle fit is more important to someone shooting a sportster rifle than a target rifle.

  42. No 6-foot shooter will ever shoot a target rifle with a 14-inch length of pull. It will be around 11.5 to 12.5 inches at most.

    The offhand stance is what determines the LOP for target shooters.

    And sporter (not sportster) rifles need a longer LOP because of how they are held in all positions. The off hand is not restrained by a stop or sling on a sporter rifle, so it moves out farther on the forearm, and the butt gas to be longer because the shooter opens up when it does. With a target rifle, the shooter is clenched up in a tight-to-the body hold, which takes inches off the length of pull.


  43. Sorry BB your comment about target vs. sporter does not make sense to me.
    If a sporter is held loosely, then the receiver and trigger would be farther from the face and shoulder. In this case I would think I would want a rifle with a shorter LoP to compensate for the loose hold.
    However, in the prone and bench rest positions, you indeed want a longer LoP. This is because your head is tilted forward, thus putting your face closer to the receiver. To keep a reasonable eye relief, one would want a longer LoP.

    If a target rifle is held tightly to the shoulder, then the receiver and trigger is closer to the face and shoulder. In this case I would think I would use a rifle with a longer LoP to compensate for the tight hold. However other factors such as the added thickness of the shooting jacket does call for a shorter LoP, to compensate for the thickness of the shooting jacket pushing the butt forward.


    The MINIMUM LoP on my full size Anschutz 2002 CA is 12-3/4 inches, and the minimum LoP on my FWB P70-Junior is 11-3/4 inches.

    So what you saying is that a 6ft person should be shooting a junior target rifle? And thus many of the Olympic shooters (less than about 6'4") are shooting a rifle that is too big for them?

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