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Why pay more for an airgun?

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s post was inspired by Wayne, and seconded by Matt61. It’s a question I hear all the time, and I’m prepared to answer it.

Wayne’s question
This subject [airgun performance] brings up a puzzle for me…I really get air rifles for low power and noise situations…but when someone wants to hunt or just shoot high power air rifles..I don’t get why they consider spending 3 to 6 times more than a .22 cartridge rifle like a marlin semi-auto for $150. Why are high power air rifles like the condor better than a .22 semi-auto rim fire? Especially when most are single shot.

Matt61’s agreement
Wayne, I’ve wondered the same thing myself about high-powered airguns. My guess would be the appeal is partly the Mount Everest one of doing it because you can. More practically, the high-powered airguns can give power approaching a rimfire without the same range and penetration problems.

And now BB
The best answer I ever read was written by Robert Beeman, who spoke of the “human scale” of airgunning. He owns a spread in northern California, where he can shoot a .30-06 from his house without disturbing the neighbors. He doesn’t need to be quiet. But the fact that he can shoot accurately with nothing but plain old air as the power source intrigues him, as it does many of us.

I’m also fascinated with wristwatches – tiny machines made so precisely that they keep time to within 30 seconds a week hold my attention. And, of all the watches made, I admire the Rolex Submariner the most. The fact that the Submariner failed the NASA space qualification test doesn’t phase me. It doesn’t look like I’ll be going into space anytime soon. My $100 Seiko quartz watch is 1,000 times more accurate than the Rolex, which also doesn’t phase me. My cell phone is more than a billion times more accurate than the Rolex, yet I still wear a watch. I repeat – I am fascinated with wristwatches.

It all depends…
Wayne, if what you want is a gun to slaughter hogs, get a single-shot rifle that shoots a .22 short. It’s perfect for the job and you won’t risk over-penetration. If all you want to do is kill rabbits in the lettuce patch, a Benjamin 392 is hard to beat. If you’re shooting to win the Sportsman’s Team Challenge, however, be prepared to spend a couple grand on some exotic variant of the Ruger 10-22. If you want to win the U.S. National Field Target championship, you can’t do it with a Chinese breakbarrel.

My Whiscombe JW-75 cost $2,300 when it was new in 1996. Now that John Whiscombe has dropped the .25 caliber and will soon quit making rifles altogether, I have a $5,000 setup, at the minimum. If I were to offer that gun for sale, it would be gone inside a week. That’s not a bad return on investment.

Some wisdom
“To sell John Brown what John Brown buys, you have to see the world through John Brown’s eyes.” They say the United States is in a recession right now, yet exotic cars, yachts and private airplanes are all still selling. You know what’s NOT selling? Neither do I, but if I wanted to start up a retail business, you can be sure I WOULD DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO FIND OUT!

Selling to John Brown
Which leads me to my point. Take a well-made garment, embroider a designer’s logo on it and the price skyrockets. You can bemoan that fact if you like, but only the Communists ever actually tried to ignore it. Look what happened to them. Designer clothing leaves me cold, but I do recognize that much of the world feels different. There’s definitely a huge market for it.

A fine old Winchester rifle can turn me on, but nothing turns me off like a Winchester commemorative. Someone must like them because they sell very well. It goes back to the John Brown theme, except it is neither capricious nor random. It’s possible to identify what will be very popular, then build it and succeed in selling it. However, nothing is certain in business. Wham-o made tens of millions of Hula Hoops in 1958, but they LOST $10,000 on the business when the books were closed! The fact that it isn’t easy to do these things is what puts the risk into free enterprise. It’s scary to risk your future, but the rewards can be so great that people are enticed into doing so, which is why we have upscale cars, boats and, yes, even airguns.

While it’s difficult to justify the extra cost of some airguns, it isn’t entirely impossible. Why would you own a $600 air rifle, when a $150 rimfire can do the same thing? BECAUSE IT CAN’T! Most $150 rimfires can’t shoot a half-inch, five-shot group at 50 yards, but most Condors can. A .22 long rifle bullet can carry 1.5 miles when fired at a 30-degree angle. A pellet from a Condor will carry about 0.25 miles. That’s a big difference. If I shoot a .22 rimfire in the backyard, my neighbors will hear it unless I use a silencer. My Pilot silencer cost me over $600 when all was said and done. I can silence a Condor to the same level for $175, without having to apply to the government and waiting for a full year. And then there’s the cleaning.

Why I buy expensive airguns
But none of that is really why I buy airguns. I buy them for the same reason I fancy a Rolex Submariner. It’s because of what they are and what they can do. They can shoot a pellet using just air or CO2, and they can do so with great accuracy and even reasonable power. Airguns are a combination of science and art – apparently just the right combination to inspire me and a lot of other people. I like to just hold them and enjoy the care that went into their manufacture. I will never own a Rolex Submariner, because I could not bring myself to spend that much for a wristwatch. But that doesn’t stop me from admiring them. On the other hand, I would spend and have spent what I consider large sums of money on airguns. I guess airguns rank higher in my interest than watches.

There’s a book titled, Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them: How to Keep Your Tractors Happy and Your Family Running by Roger Welsch. Using a different subject (albeit, another of my interests), he explains why he, an urbanized man (Welsch is the senior correspondent for the CBS News Sunday Morning program), likes to restore vintage tractors. Though written tongue-in-cheek, Welsch’s book hits the nail on the head about why people are attracted to certain things.

Even if you use the “tool” outlook with your guns, remember this: many professionals have the best tools money can buy. They don’t want or can’t afford the downtime that comes with inferior tools. I might shoot a field target match with a Gamo CF-X, but if I wanted a chance at a national championship, I’d be looking at a USFT or similar rifle.

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.

104 thoughts on “Why pay more for an airgun?”

  1. Hi bb, I just gratuated yesterday from high school in Virginia. My parents were so happy (because I got a small scholorship to Va tech) that (my dad) bought me a new shadow express. Any hints on how to not damage it. I might inform you on how it preforms.

  2. B.B. I wish you would of elaborated more on Dr. Beemans “human scale”. I use air guns because they are not considered “firearms” by LEO’s. Also most farmers/ranchers consider them toys, which makes it easier to gain permission to shoot. From SavageSam

  3. here in europe ( belgium & the netherlands), we mostly shoot airguns because they don’t require a firearms license (wich is hard to obtain here in comparison to america). just a small note for those wondering…

  4. Shadow Express,

    The best thing you can do for your gun is to always fire it with a pellet in the barrel. Firing without a pellet can lead to damage pretty quick.

    Never give in to the temptation to pull the trigger when the barrel is broken open. Snapping shut under the mainspring’s power will bend the barrel on the first try.

    Other than that, just shoot the gun. After you have 3,000 shots through it, ask me again and I will have more to tell you.

    And congratulations!


  5. Krikke,

    Now that you mention it, that is a reason I forgot to mention. Here in the U.S., when someone has been convicted of a felony crime, they lose many of their rights as a citizen. The right to own firearms is among those rights lost.

    So airguns provide an avenue for the convicted felon to continue to shoot after paying his debt to society. Over the years I have heard from many people in this category who are very serious about shooting airguns, because it’s all they can legally shoot.


  6. Scott298–I own a 22 rim fire-ruger 10/22 a remington30.06 semi auto along with several shot guns. Why I perfer an expensive air rifle (or in my case a mid level -rws 350) it’s the joy of shooting. With one cock of the barrel I am using air to drive my pellett down the barrell at almost the same speed as a .22. There is a lot more skill involved in shooting a springer and over time developing these skills has given me a lot of pride in my shooting ability over cartridage ammo. In addition a box of 1200 crossman premiers goes a long way over what I would have to spend on 30.06 rounds an for that matter .22. So it boils down to this an expensive air rifle is actually cheaper to own-especially if you shoot a lot and developing the skills to shoot one accuratly has given me more satisfaction than my other rifles. I also find that the fit and finish on a lot of air rifles almost makes them a thing of beauty-like a fine painting and I get a lot of joy and satisfaction in maintaining my air rifle! As an added not being able to shoot 200 to 300 rounds at on sitting doesn’t leave my arm sore and the low level of report still leaves the woods a tranquil place.

  7. I really agree with today’s blog. I, for some reason, like flashlights. A $5 genarric plastic AA flashlight is practical. A $20 Maglight is a better investment overall, but I carry a very expensive Surefire with me all the time. It will drain 2 123N cell batteries in about 20 minutes, but its over a dozen times brighter than the sun. It can cause temporary blindness when flashed in the eyes during a bright sunny day. It’s really effective at night and makes en excellent non-lethal alternative to a firearm for self defense. My Surefire is not exactly practical but its nice to have.

    I also prefer .35 caliber rifles. I have preferred them long before I learned that .25 cal cartridge types were the most efficient in terms of powder to energy ratio. I have a Marlin 336c in .35 rem, a Remington 673 in 350mag, an old Remington pump, whose model number escapes me now, in 35, and am working a Ruger no.1 in 35 Whelen. I would love to find a Remington 600 in 350, or any semi-auto in 35rem, as the cartridge was originally intended to be used in a semi-auto rifle.

  8. I know that for many years, my only exposure to air guns was through the various “cheapie” models that most of us here start with. Crosman pumps, Daisy pumps…. My biggest buy was a Benjamin 392 that I was convinced the creme de la creme. That was almost 10 years ago.
    For the past few years I discovered that there were high end air guns of a quality I never knew existed. Fine blue steel, walnut stocks and mechanisms that were a far cry from my Daisy 856. it was like my childhood toys grew up.
    Sometimes all it takes if for you to personally witness and hold onto something of excellent mechanical quality and next thing you know, you gotta have it.

    Al in CT

  9. B.B.,

    I didn’t know you have that much to say and defend airgun with. I have to take a break in the middle of your article, then came back to finish reading it, just kidding. I agreed with you wholeheartedly (except maybe the USFT air rifle). You spoken like a true airgunner and thanks for defending us lesser airgun mortals.


  10. I tend to agree on the “why”; after all, why do people race go-karts instead Nascar? I can’t say that I’m trying to win the national go-kart championship, but I would like a bit of speed when I go out, so I limit my budget to get just enough to have fun. For airguns, I always think plinking for keeping skilled, and hunting. As such, I tend to lean toward the lower priced models, but I can see why people would get into the big bucks. JP

  11. I would guess there are almost as many reasons for choosing airguns over firearms or in addition too, as there are airgun manufacturers. My interest came in the mid to late 70s when my family moved from a rural to suburban setting. The opportunities to shoot in a garage, basement or backyard were the original attraction. From there my interest grew to wanting the finer products, the most power possible, and so on.

    Think of automobiles. We all drive the same roads with the same speed limits, yet some “need” 300 hp, others seek over 500. My current state of evolution now involves the finer air rifles with the ultimate tunes. Not sure what is next. I will say as far as power goes now, it takes a back seat to other qualities for me. My .25 caliber Patriot found a new home some time ago.

    If I were required to sell all but one of my airguns, at this particular snap shot in time, when you open the gun safe an HW50S with a PW’s tune would be the last one standing. But on the “human scale” it is perfect for me. I am a medium sized guy, and this is a handy mid size gun in .22 cal that shoots at a hair under 12ft lbs. A Beeman peep sight keeps it light and handy, (for awhile, I also thought the bigger the glass the better.)

    Still, nothing wrong with wanting an airgun that rivals a .22 LR, I presume wanting the “most” is just part of the human make up. I make a living in sales, and I can assure you what we need and what we want are miles apart.

    When you are thirsty, do you always drink only water?

  12. I could see why some folks want to spend $500 on a deluxe airgun but I think the U.S. pneumatics are good enough for most things. They are much easier to shoot accurately and are just nicer to shoot. That offsets most of the advantages of the spring piston in my eyes.

  13. Agree with everything you’ve said.
    I have the same ‘problem’ in my profession. I am a photographer, and for reasons mostly having to do with client demand have switched to digital.
    Bur for my personal work I haul out my old Contax rangefinder, load in some Tri-X and wander the streets taking photos.
    I’m always amazed at the people who question why I do this? Amazed as in ‘why do you care’ what I do? I don’t get the mentality that seems to go ‘this is the way I do things, ergo so should everyone else.

    Yes, a cheap rimfire is 1/3 the price of a quality air rife. Personally I don’t like ‘cheap’ (likely won’t ever find a chinese air gun in my house)…a quality rimfire will cost as much as a quality air rifle.
    I find nothing more relaxing after a busy day to go downstairs and see if I can erase the x on a bunch of 10m targets. Can’t do that with a rimfire (basement shooting).

    And BB I also totally agree with the Rolex. I’ve been wearing the same Oyster Perpetual since 1972 (36 years). It’s cost new was $600 ( a lot of money back then). I’ve kept care of it and given it regular service and know that I could easily sell it tomorrow for $2500…try that with your Timex/Sieko…or a cheap rimfire.

  14. Mechredd—

    I have first hand experience with those surefire’s. A buddy and I went to a LGS a while back and they had one on display. I knew all about the surefire’s and he didn’t. He picked it up and jokingly flashed it into my eye from about two feet away. Now we were in a well lit store and it was sunny and bright outside. The effect was immediate. I couldn’t see squat and for the next three hours I had sun ghosts. I wanted to punch my friend so bad.

    Al in CT

  15. Al in CT,
    My first experience whit a Surefire was during my first week of work at a local police department. While in the motor pool at the start of the shift, an old cop told me that his best defensive tool was the surefire that he kept in his pants pocket. I asked how that could be because the light was too small to be used an an impact weapon. He then flashed me in the eyes and by the time I regained my sight, I was face down on the floor, arms behind my back, with him kneeling on top of me. At the time I was 240 pounds of 20 year old muscle, and this officer who was pushing 60, took me down like I was a practice dummy.

  16. Here is another excuse for shooting PCPs and pumps (single & multi) instead of firearms. They are more green, LOL!

    Of course this is probably only true if you hand pump your PCP and don’t use a springer (since springers burn oil).

    .22 multi-shot

  17. Contax rangefinder,

    Don’t get me started on cameras! For many years I lusted for a Leica M3 or M4. I also wanted a Nikon F3, which I finally got after switching to digital. I’ve taken all of three rolls with it.

    Now all my good lenses and small knowledge of different film behaviors are next to worthless. I will soon sell my entire collection of 35mm and medium-format cameras and related equipment on eBay for a fraction of their original cost.

    I can take average photos all day with my digital cameras, but I miss those occasional eye-popping shots I got with a half F-stop underexposure on Ektachrome 64. I don’t yet know how to adjust the histogram to get the same thing with digital.


  18. B.B.

    The benjamin discovery arrived today. It’s my dad’s rifle but I am using it when he is busy – which is most of the time.

    It’s his second airgun, and his first PCP. It’s my first PCP as well.

    Can you please tell me how to take care of it? lubrication, oiling, etc?

    It’s so light I can’t believe it! I am still using it with open sights and it’s great.

  19. Here in Canada getting firearms permits are pretty complicated AND expensive and don’t even think about a handgun that’s gonna be even harder.
    So airguns present a very good alternative to people who like shooting especially in a suburban area, and since customs officers don’t really know a 500 fps airgun from a 1000 fps one I can go airgun shopping in the beautiful U.S. of A. a few times a year and bring back my finds without being bothered.

  20. Hi BB,
    I’ve asked you many times about eye dominance in relation to shooting. I thought it may make a good idea for a pyramyd survey. Left eye or right eye. For some reeason this subject intriges me.

    Nate in MAss

  21. B.B.

    This blog post moves from the original question of the high power of airguns to the (for me) even more fundamental one of cost and value! That human-scale modelling notion is very interesting and captures my appreciation of the airgun as a niche weapon. From the point of skill-building which is my real purpose, airguns seem to do everything that firearms do with less noise and expense–a kind of perfect smaller-scale reproduction.

    Otherwise, the discussion here perfectly captures the mysterious gap between the functional use of airguns and our real motivation as seen in my own history of purchases. I first thought that I would explore the world of shooting in the minimum way by getting a full suite of airsoft guns. I bought a spring-piston pistol and bolt-action rifle and an electric machine gun. That pretty much covers anything. Then I figured that I really needed to try pellet guns, so I thought the Crosman 1077 would provide everything I need–accuracy, firepower. Then, I figured that life wasn’t complete without a pellet pistol and as long as I was putting down money for one I may as well get everything related like a red-dot scope and flashlight. Then, instead of fulfilling my needs, this collection seemed more like a mocking absence without the best deal in airgunning, the IZH 61 for only a few more dollars. Each purchase made sense at the time, but it’s not what I originally planned.

    I also think airguns are interesting as an example of how a concentration of intellect and energy as in this blog can make a subject come alive. I read somewhere how biology was a moribund area of science in the first half of the 20th century until a bunch of theoretical physicists migrated to it and created biochemistry, biocomputing and all sorts of cutting-edge stuff. While the arguments about airguns seems convincing enough now, I have to say that without the blog I would probably have dismissed the whole field as kid stuff. Discovering airguns is a case of discovering the wonder in the everyday which is one of those big life goals.

    And, thanks B.B. for the Locktight info. I’ll get it today. As for my formula, can you give me the width of the scoring rings for a 10 meter scoring target? That’s all I need to complete my invention.


  22. B.B. and all…

    I feel so honored, two blogs for me, while I was gone too, darn it! .. B.B. said he would help me with starting the “Ashland Air Rifle Range & Rental” on a blog so others could learn too.
    I got the assumed business name and started buying and testing low to mid level air rifles as a hobby business. After a few comments from some of you and B.B. a club was picked as the best business model…

    Wow!!, what great input…I really mean it, thank you all very very much…It really does make sense now…

    My favorite of the reasons you gave, for choosing the high priced, high power air rifles over a low priced .22 cal rim fire for the sole purpose of killing prey at over 50 yrs where you are not shooting in the air…are: ( I know I did not make it that specific in the first question, but I got there eventually)

    1) Investment, shopping becomes a real game…to find, evaluate and purchase at the right price the right ones.

    2) No mess to clean up

    3) Love of the quality

    4) Low noise in field for others

    5) Extra skill necessary with less power or shots available, I should have remembered that one from when I hunted rabbits as a kid with my dad

    6) less empty shells laying around and less lead left in the field

    7) IT IS DAMN FUN !!!!!!!!!


    Really learning in Ashland,

    Ashland Air Rifle Range & Rentals

  23. My grandfather passed away a while back. He wasn’t a man of means by any stretch and we certainly never begrudged him because what he gave us was far more valuable. A few weeks after he died, I watched as his children went through his things looking for keepsakes of this fine loving man who had been their father. There had been some rings and some jewelry when his wife had gone but almost nothing tangible of him. In all the throwaway watches and plastic handle knives in his bureau drawer, my father found a beautiful Boker pocket knife that he now cherishes. Sadly, that knife will likey pass to me one day, and on some other day again to another. This either has absolutely nothing to do with today’s blog, as well as something to do with it, I think.


  24. Photographer – I believe part of what you are speaking of is value.
    Unfortunately, that is often mistaken for the initial price. I recently sold a 20 year old R-1 for more than I paid for it, and better as an example, a five year old Patriot for $14.00 less than I paid. Using the Patriot as the illustration (due to the value of a dollar, etc) the cost to me was $2.80 a year.

    Had a purchased an “inexpensive” pneumatic for $50.00, it may well have been at the end of its life or would likely bring about $20.00 in a garage sale. So the actual cost of ownership would be double for the inexpensive gun. When you add in the pleasure derived from craftsmanship, pride of ownership, etc – the spread gets even larger.

    Think about buying an end table that you put together yourself made from saw dust and glue. While serviceable, it will not likely last a life time like one made from solid wood or at least quality veneers. Which one can get passed on? What’s the better value?

    Lastly, being of average means, I cannot afford the upper end in all goods, but in airguns I can at least come close.

  25. I’m a great fan of Surefire flashlights and have bought numbers as presents for others. The only time they fell down on me was with the one I bought for my parents. My Mom said, “It’s a great flashlight, but it’s not worth $40.” My Dad was paranoid that he would get beamed in the eyes. Sure enough, they tried testing it at night, and my Mom accidentally flashed it off a metal railing and sent my Dad staggering back. Then, the thing quit working! I believe they have a lifetime warranty, but I think my parents lost the paperwork.

    Anyway, I’m still a believer in the Surefire. With this flashlight and good pepper spray, you are equipped to handle just about anything. There’s something even more, though. For those serious about self-defense, you might want to get the DVD about improvised weapons from the Systema site by the Russian commandos. What these guys can do with hats, glasses, wallets, briefcases, umbrellas and what not is stunning and very entertaining. You’re never unarmed.

    B.B. I guess I got you started about the design flaws of the M-16. This is interesting because the wisdom seems to be that the rifle’s problems in Vietnam resulted from its flawed implementation by the Ordnance Department. To hear that the design itself is flawed–apart from the caliber choice–is something new. I would be interested to hear more when you have time. Sorry to hear about the fires and hope you’ve got them under control.


  26. B.B.

    Forgot to mention that I will try my best to be there in August…how could I not?

    Although it is a long way, I will make some special offers to my raised bed customers in the area, and see if anyone wants more at that time……….

    Hey, come to think of it… anyone who lives close by, or on the way from Southern Oregon, I will make you a great deal on kiln dried cedar lumber or raised garden bed kits. I can carry 12,000 lbs on our truck.
    See at http://www.naturalyards.com (hope it is ok to plug myself), let me know B.B.

    Any chance we could all bring extra rifles and stuff to trade between us? (don’t worry I don’t have 12,000 lbs of guns yet)..
    Maybe we can find an investment, or make a profit on one.


  27. Derrick,

    I’d say you got it!

    I once said this:

    Someday, every airgun in your collection is going to belong to someone else. You only “own” them for a brief period, and then they’re on the block again. Don’t fret about this-it’s how you got them in the first place. Think about it.

    Tom Gaylord Airgun Review #2 Page 86


  28. Matt61,

    Yes, the M16 design is flawed. The gun needs a forward assist assembly. Why? Because the live gas it uses to cycle the action gunks up the action. Then the bolt won’t seat and the extractor fails to go over the rim of the cartridge, and you cannot clear the weapon. So they give you a “stick” to poke your action shut with.

    Why not just make an action that doesn’t gunk up to begin with? Like the Garand, the M14, the SKS or the AK 47?

    Then there is the flawed accuracy. Whenever someone shoots a one-inch group at 100 yards with an M16 they alert the press. And it’s always a highly modified rifle. I can’t begin to tell you the number of M16s I have fired that couldn’t hold a three-inch group at 100 yards. I don’t mean the ones with the flawed ammo and barrels from the Vietnam era – I’m talking about modern ones owned by proud owners.

    You mentioned the 6.8mm Grendel. Interesting! The 6.5 Swede has been around for over a century and still shoots beautifully. But the .223, which is very similar to the 5.56 except for powder and billet, is a poor varmint cartridge that no real varmint hunter would choose, when there are rounds like the .222 Rem. and the .22/250 available. So the 6.8 mm Grendel or some other .25/.26 caliber variant may yet pull the M16/M4’s bacon out of the fire.

    Then there is the synthetic stock! Ugh! I was a company commander with 112 M16s in my arms room, and broken stocks were the bane of our existence. That’s why they issue a different rifle in basic training when the bayonet course comes around. For me it was a Garand. Not good enough for issue, but good enough for 24/7 bayonet drill with uncaring troops.

    Now you may think the bayonet is an anachronistic weapon – and on an M16 you’d be right – but don’t take on anyone with a Garand and bayonet. That’s a rifle whose vertical butt stroke incapacitates.

    Shall I continue?


  29. Wayne,

    You are thje first person to indicate an interest. I will keep you updated on how this develops.

    We got this off to a late start this year, but we’ll see what develops. If we can get a minimum number of students, we will run the course.

    After we get a couple more I will publish some hard dates and some logistical information.


  30. B.B.

    Wow, what you said to Derrick brought it down to the bottom line, so to speak, …. of course that is why we love you…

    having a lot of fun learning in Ashland,


  31. BB
    Since you lasted posted the article about the Izh Baikal 61, I notice that it is just about out of stock every where. This is a great little gun as you know very well. I notice the price is going up as well. Is this gun going to be a collectors item some day? Also, could you set the record straight, that this little “Black Russian” is not just a childs gun?

  32. JWB,

    From the standpoint of size and ease of use, the 61 is a child’s gun. But from the standpoint of accuracy and quality, it works well for adults, as well. The stock is adjustable, but it may still feel short.


  33. I am very new to air guns but am fascinated with the technology, skill involved (ability over power), and history of it all.

    It reminds me of when I started bike racing almost 30 years ago. There was so much fascinating stuff to learn and history to absorb.

    In many ways cycling is like shooting. Lack of power can be overcome with wise use of equipment and skill.

    I have many thousands of dollars worth of bikes. Even people who ride don’t get why I’d but a $6,0000.00 bike. But I have enough experience where I can enjoy the subtle differences and it is worth it to me.

    I think I am heading the same way with air guns.

  34. B.B.

    How fascinating about the M-16, thanks. If there’s more that would fit into an overview sure.

    On another subject, I don’t have much faith in technical manuals. Is Locktite a sort of glue that you put on a screw that will bond it once the screw is set?

    Oh, and I have come up with a shortcoming for airguns: it’s not much of a way to meet girls although it’s so much fun that I don’t really notice.


  35. Matt61,

    There are different grades of Locktite. You want blue number 242 medium strength. Don’t get anything stronger or it will glue the screws in place.

    As for meeting girls, never overlook the power of a dog. Dogs are chick magnets.


  36. Il Bruce,


    Air Arms is the Campagnolo of the airgun world and a Whiscombe is a 16-pound titanium road bike. A Beeman R7 is a comfort bike and a Marine Corps paratrooper electric bike is a Quackenbush .457 Long Action Outlaw.


  37. BB,

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself.

    For me, it’s the satisfaction of putting A .177 pellet through that little 10 meter target at 45 yds with almost every shot. While I can’t hit the the white 10 dot every time, I wear the hell out of the black 9.

    I have the Mossberg 144 LS target rifle and am A very good shot with it. With A 4-16 Weaver scope, I can’t seem to miss the bullseye.

    Shooting my $400.00 Genesis outfit (scope & rifle) is much harder to be accurate. For me, the money was well spent and when I get the Air Arms TX200 MKlll I’ll be looking forward to another rewarding experience.

    BobC NJ

  38. good article. Howeve, the term is “faze,” not “phase.” I enjoy all the articles and comments, and love my air rifle more than any of my other guns.

  39. B.B.

    Got the blue Locktite.

    This blog covers everything. Okay, with gun and dog I’ll be ready. Ha ha.

    My invention is complete! Thanks for the site you referred me to which says that the width of the scoring ring for a 10m NRA target is .195 inches.

    So for all who wish to convert their shots at an arbitrary distance to their NRA score at 10m, use the following formula:


    n is your NRA score rounded down to the lowest whole number. y is the distance from your shot (closest edge) to the center of the target and x is the distance to the target from the shooting line; all distances are in inches. So, for the 15 foot distance I shoot at, a miss of a quarter inch translates into a score of 7.

    This formula is based on the geometric postulate of similar triangles which says that for two triangles of different sizes whose angles are equal, the corresponding sides will be in proportion. So, looking down from above, you impose similar triangles on a diagram of the shooting position, target centers and locations of shots, do some algebra and there you are.

    If you are shooting at such a close distance that your shots overlap, this formula will be cumbersome. You might want instead to take an average based on group size and number of shots and apply the formula to the average.

    Otherwise, you just need to know that a distinguished ranking is getting 95% of the total point value. Then it goes down in increments of 10 so 90% for expert, 80% for sharpshooter and 70% for marksman. Is that right? Destiny is in your hands. Ha ha.


  40. B.B.

    I think we may have to agree to disagree on the .223. I’m not referring to its use in the M-16 or the many AR variants out their. But I had it in a bolt action Remington around 1980 I would guess, that was beautifully accurate. Like so many times, I sold the rifle due to foolishness. (It had iron sights, and I wanted something without)

    The groundhog population in Ohio is not what it was with all the coyotes now, so I’m not after them ’hogs like I use to be – but that .223 would shoot as good as any similar priced .222 and a .22-250 would often get you a quick invitation to leave in the more populated areas.

    Now I give them more of a chance and have gone back to a .22 Hornet like I had as a teenager. That’s another sale I regret, a very early Winchester with a 4X Weaver.
    If we only knew then what we know now.

  41. Matt61 & B.B.

    Thanks for the rest of the izh61 review, now I have to try some for sure. Sounds like that could be hard, with the way they are selling.

    do you know how the supply will be in the near and far future?

    Also, sign me up for sure, if I can’t get some deliveries that way, then I’ll just jump in the 960 volvo wagon and plink and camp my way there. How are air rifles at stopping tornadoes… I have heard a few well placed shots………

    Ashland Air Rifle Range & Rentals

  42. BB and all,

    Before a response to today’s topic – I really hope that another airgun club class will be offered. I PROMISE to sign up for next summer. I really don’t care if gas is $5 a gallon. Someone from Chicago will car pool with me.

    Question 1: Air vs. powder. I like both airguns and fire arms. Where I live, I have to ‘go somewhere’ to shoot if I’m using firearms. Airguns: I walk out on my deck and the squirrels run. It takes me 2 minutes to shoot my airgun. It takes 2 hours to shoot my firearms.

    Question 2: Cheap (inexpensive?) airguns vs. expensive (better?) airguns. One of the many things my dad taught me and one of the things I have tried to pass on to my son – ‘Never, ever, buy cheap tools.’ I work with tools to earn my living. Cheap tools cost lots more than good ones. Everything from ‘busted knuckles’ to very expensive broken machines. It carries over to toys. My airguns are toys, but they are not crap. I don’t have much fun with cheap air guns. I own them and the ones I like I modify so they are no longer cheap. As stated by others, the workmanship of nice airguns is just wonderful to look at, touch and shoot. Cheap airguns are just . . . cheap.

    Question 3 (for me): Different abilities. My son is a AAA skeet shooter in all 4 guages. He is really disappointed if he drops one bird out of 100 in 12 guage. I’m really disappointed if the center the target on my 25 foot basement air pistol range doesn’t disappear after 5 shots. I can’t shoot skeet to save my soul. I can beat my son at air pistol.

    Is this anywhere near the point of this blog?

    In any case I think this blog is one of the very best things on the net. Thanks BB and all of the rest.

    Al Pellet

  43. BB,

    Thanks you. I remember very well what you wrote in the Airgun Reviews.

    Don’t even get me started about Campagnolo. You don’t want to know how many vintage Colnagos, Merckx, Paramounts, Mondias etc are in the house. And never mind all those titanium and carbon bikes we ride.

    I had no idea you were a cyclist. Must have been the stint in Germany.


  44. BB
    Your dislike for the M16 got a little carried away in condemning the .223 Remington, which is one of the very best varmint cartridges extant. It edges the triple deuce by about 200fps, yet is still far easier on a barrel than the 22-250. Recoil is soft enough to allow the shooter to call his own hits. Only when the wind is blowing or the range goes past 250 yards (assuming prairie dog sized targets) does the 22-250 offer any real advantage.

  45. B.B.

    I understand that the Garand was originally designed for a cartridge called the .276 Pedersen. The caliber was changed to 30.06 by Douglas MacArthur to use the existing stockpiles of ammunition. Maybe this decision was a good one, but given the persistence of the .270 type cartridges one wonders if this isn’t the ultimate combat round which I guess would translate to a deer-sized hunting round. And perhaps the .276 Garand with its 10 shot clip would have been the ultimate service rifle.

    How about this vision, everybody. Imagine after a day at the field target camp, everybody repairs to a rustic lodge with a roaring fireplace for a real-life in-person blog session about everything under the sun.


  46. BB,
    As usual, a wonderful blog. It’s funny how certain things grab hold of a person. Watches, real film, Airguns. For myself a love, other than airguns, is listening to 78’s on an old 1948 Philco radio/turntable. Sure I could pop in a cd and get a 20 song sitting, instead of having to get up after each song. Yeah the Philco is mono, the records have pops and hisses, but I like it. I also like that you can feel heat on your face from the vacuum tubes when you lean over the player to flip a record. and when the tubes are hot they emit a faint smell that that reminds me.. well, it reminds me of how funny it is that some things just grab hold of your heart.
    B.B. I’m not trying to get all blubbery on you :), but I’ve go to say thanks for all you do.

  47. Wayne,

    Okay, we’re glad to have you. I will continue to announce the course and if I get a couple more who say they’ll attend I’ll solidify the dates and we’ll put out some logistical info like the hotel, etc.

    If we don’t get people to commit soon, we’ll have to plan on doing it in 2009. I’m ready to go this year, but we pulled this one out of the hat pretty late and many people have work and family schedules to worry about.


  48. Al in CT,

    Thanks for sending the picture of the FX multi-pump. I didn’t go to IWA this year, but it looks like I should have.

    The rifle sounds very efficient. It also sounds different than the Daystate Sportsman Mk II that has a dump valve. This one retains its charge.

    It isn’t on the Daystate USA website yet. No mention of power was made, so I’m guessing it’s limited to 12 foot-pounds, which if true may keep it from being imported here. Maybe they are working on a full power version?


  49. B.B.

    Great, the more I think about it, the more fun it sounds……..I hope we get enough people….if not, maybe you can still do it online, not as well I’m sure, but still get out most of the info, and who knows actually get more clubs started by interacting with more people at one time.


    yeah, I like to play old records too, not that old, pretty cool to keep that old record player going.

    My grandmother use to tell me stories about her dad getting drunk with Edison at night, and they would walk each other home back and forth all night….she and her dad worked in the phonograph factory.

    It is funny how material things do touch our hearts, and connect us to memories, seeing an old rifle B.B. was blogging about brought up a fond memory of hunting rabbits with my dad when I was 8 yrs old. The memory was there but it became fresh and more detailed when I saw that rifle. I am so glad to have it back fresh again, especially since my dad is gone now.

    And what is wrong with “blubbery” anyway.

    planning my trip east,


  50. Beeman use to sell a small scope that was often featured on the cover of their catalogs. Maybe one of the Blue Ribbon series? Any idea if something similar is available today? I always passed on it for larger scopes, but think I would like it on a light sporter.


  51. B.B.

    Great, I will stay tuned of course…

    Beeman small scope,

    My favorite small and inexpensive scope is the leapers 3x9x32 AO for about $40 and the leapers or centerpoint 3x9x40 AO for $50 or $65. From my limited testing they hold up best to the pounding of springers, are easy to adjust and hold their settings best.

    Ashland Air Rifle Range & Rentals

  52. Wayne,
    Keeping the record player going requires a trip to the shop about once a year ..it’s an old machine. I think it must blow some 60 cent fuse or diode or something I haven’t taken the time to learn about. I pay an old guy sixty dollars, two days later the player is ready and we’re both happy.
    Oh I guess nothings wrong with getting blubbery .. as long as I have my Pamprin nearby. 🙂
    -Philco McGinty

  53. Philco,

    Right on dude…..supporting local small business…. While loving the scratches, smell and heat…….. instead of sweat labor for .25 per hour somewhere on the other side of the planet. (by buying the newest electronic thing, ready for the dump in 12 months),

    It works for me too…..of course I buy some of the other stuff too, can’t be left too far behind, or I would have a lot less income (from our web site) and would not have met you nice folks….

    Ashland Air Rifle Range & Rentals

  54. B.B. & All

    While were are still on the subject of the shooting clubs, I thought I might share my vision for the “Ashland Air Rifle Range”

    I know it might be foolish to give away ideas to possible competitors…but I am more into forms like “open source programing” than say “Microsoft”…. anyway…….

    What if there was a network of electronic target ranges setup all over the world, so there could be an ever on going contest in lots of classes, etc. The cool thing is the new electronic targets the German companies have developed, make it possible for the shooter and people anywhere in the world, to watch where the pellet hits, very clearly, even when they land on top of themselves, with out moving from their shooting position or their recliner. The locations would have to be approved of course, that is where your current class could become a prototype, maybe.

    It could be a real money maker, because with “UTUBE” it would be easy to get an large number of people watching, which would lead to the networks, I’d bet.

    Anyone want to play?


  55. hey B.B,

    I didn’t know how else to contact you other than leaving a post on here. I am willing to spend up to $600 on an Air Rifle, but I don’t know what I should go for. Accuracy is of utmost importance, but I value power as well. I have bought the Remington Genesis, but its accuracy was horrible. I have bought the RWS Diana Magnum 350, but it still doesn’t completely satisfy me.

    Can you recommend a couple of guns that I should take a look at, and maybe read some reviews about?

    Thank You,

  56. Jay,

    Air Arms TX 200. No one will argue with the reccomendation 😉 It’s a phenomonal air rifle. Smooth, accurate, powerful, finely crafted, and a joy to own and shoot. check out BB’s reviews.

  57. BB,

    I have to say this blog leaves me a little confused. The direct comparison b/t airguns and rimfires is cogent and logical, but the inductive reasoning of the rest is a bit too subtle for clodhoppers like me. I can see the appeal in, e.g., an FWB 10M rifle, but it has nothing to do with conspicuous consumption, aesthetics, or any other je ne sais pas, but rather because it is guaranteed to meet a certain accuracy standard and engineered to perform in a specific application. If it didn’t shoot straight, it would not matter how much unobtainium was used in its manufacture, at least to me.

    Conversely, I’ve seen some fairly expensive custom big-bore PCP’s that seem to be inspired by an argument between Whelen and Tolkein: these seem to have no functional advantage over either more spartan airgun implementations or, to be truthful, the ubiquitous Savage 110. To me, these guns seem most likely an attempt for people to display wealth and taste that they do not actually have. Thorstein Veblen keeps coming to mind in these cases.

    Anyway, maybe I agree with you, maybe not:).

  58. Jay,

    While I won’t argue that the Air Arms TX200 is a fine rifle, I will recommend you provide a little more information on how you want to use the rifle. For example, the TX200 is very very heavy, especially when scoped with large.

    I own the HW 97, which falls into the same category. Mine has a professional tune and is outstanding, but would not be my pick for one all around airgun.

    Anyway, give some more details, and then wait for B.B. It would seem he is taking a well-deserved break.

  59. Beeman Blue Ribbon,

    There were three Beeman shot scopes, the SS-1, SS-2 and SS-3. The SS-3 was never popular, but the other twpo sold well, with the SSA-2 being the best seller of all. People will still pay $200 and more for an SS-2.

    The Leapers compact scopes are similar in optical quality. They have bells on both ends that the Beeman didn’t have, and they don’t have the built-in scope mounts, but they are some of the best shot scopes on the market today.

    Check out the Bug Buster series, and the SWAT mini scope.



  60. Wayne,

    I’m sure a website with targets would attract many virtual shooters. However, many shooters want the actual experience of shooting a real projectile. So both virtual and real may coexist, but they may not attract the same people.


  61. Jay,

    The TX 200 has been suggested, and I would put it at the top of the list. Someone else mentioned that it’s heavy, but you should know that all spring guns are heavy.

    An RWS Diana 54 is another rifle to put on that list. It’s very heavy, as well, and also deadly accurate.

    I think you are disliking the amount of technique spring guns require for accuracy. Both the TX and the 54 are the least hold-sensitive spring guns I know of in your price range.

    However, a Benjamin Discovery will be three pounds lighter, just as powerful and just as accurate for less money. Check it out.


  62. BG_Farmer,

    You mention Barnes big bores. I told Gary his guns looked like they were designed for Klingons. He laughed, but kept right on making them that way. The pull on my Bison Rendezvous was 17 inches – way too long for me.

    On the other hand, there are big bores made by Quackenbush that conform to standard sizes and designs. I think you might like them better. Try quackenbushairguns.com.


  63. B.B.

    These targets allow you to shoot a real projectile 30.06, if you want…I am surprised you have not seen them yet.

    There is a video on one of the sights of this guy laying prone, the wind blowing, and the camera zooms out about 300 yards or so..to where the electronic target is set..up…he has no scope…there is a monitor nest to him, he loads and fires…the monitor shows the hit in the bulls eye…he continues to put 5 rounds in a 1″ group…

    It blew my mind…


  64. Back B.B.

    I found that video link…


    Ok, the 4th and 5th shots are off by an inch maybe, but the first 3 are what a 1/4″ group…..incredible to me.

    Another issue to talk about sometime is lead poisoning. I saw the Annie Oakly PBS special a while back, (if you have not seen it, it is a must), she died early because of handling so much lead all her life..
    I use the thin latex gloves our shop guys use on the hand that loads the pellets….
    I think maybe it should be a reminder somewhere on the PA site and your daily blog.

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  65. Shadow express dude
    Hi bb. I went skeet shooting with my shadow express today. I broke 7/10 full size clays at 15yrds. In response to this report, airguns are just flat out more accurate than rimfires, but rimfires will always outlast the spring or pcp gun no matter how expensive the airgun. Airguns take more wear( springs, seals)than rimfires.(barrels, bolts).

  66. Wayne,

    I’m a bullet caster, so I’m in the presence of lead fumes a lot. And I shoot a minimum of 25K shots per year.

    My blood-lead levels are below the norm for my age.

    I take 1 gram of Vitamin C every day. It eliminates heavy metals. I also wash after handling lead.

    Lead poisoning is not a danger to shooters unless they are careless about handling it. And I have blogged it in the past.


  67. Shadow express dude,

    Actually, there are no rimfires with a milion shots through the barrel, but plenty of European club airguns have that and more. 10 million is not unheard-of for club air rifles. They do need maintenance like springs and seals, but the barrel don’t wear out like rimfires do after 100K shots.

    The U.S. Army estimates they got an average of 10 million shots per Daisy 299 Quick Kill gun used.


  68. Hi BB,

    You had me look at the HFC M190 Airsoft Beretta clone and now I think I want one. Trying to decide if I want to let some cool-off time go by first so I don’t wind up with a lot of Airsoft pistols I’ll rarely shoot, or…NAW, I’ll just go for it! Life is short, eh?

    I used my new WE Tech 1911 yesterday with a paper target and got 1 1/4″ groups from a rest at 15′. I think the gun can do better but I’m still figuring out the proper hold and I do tend to be shaky if I go without breakfast. The black sights against the black rings are hard to see, so I’m not certain I’m aligning the same point of aim for each shot.

    I’m using the 1911 hold you suggested (or at least I hope I am): thumb resting atop the side safety. I qualified with the 1911 at Benning back in 1969 but I don’t remember much about it. The tac officers seemed bored that day and didn’t give us much in the way of guidance. Most of my pistol shooting experience up to that time was with revolvers. My dad brought me home a Hi-Standard .22 he’d won in a poker game but it refused to feed properly. So here I am at 61, learning how to use an automatic.

    The propane doesn’t bubble up when the mag is full, like I saw it do in a YouTube video. The propane only spews out at first insertion and again when the probe is removed, although not every time. I still don’t get why I have to insert the tube more than once into the mag well, but, hey, it works, so I suppose it’s not worth being concerned about.

    With the WE, I’m getting roughly two and a half mags-worth on three 3-sec fills. That’s 38 shots on one mag and 39 on the other. The recoil and gas ‘bark’ are very satisfying. It’s easier to load with a speed loader. There’s a visible fill slot, so you can tell when you’re getting close to full and ease off the loader a bit. I usually hold the magazine pointing in a safe direction, after reading that they can spray out hard if not handled correctly, causing face injuries.

    I silicon oiled the slide and it seemed, using my gel target ‘chronograph’, that the velocity increased noticeably (the BBs stuck permanently into the gel rather than rolling down the target face).

    All in all it’s my favorite Airsoft gun (so far…). I own every Airsoft type but an AEG, and I’m considering the Thompson…. It looks like fun, even though I don’t play war games (my inborn clumsiness provides me with all the welts I need, thank you very much). And that drum magazine capacity is sooo cool!

    Joe B.

  69. Joe B.,

    You are having a great new experience with that WE. I’d like you to consider telling the other readers about it with a guest blog.

    Also, use a 6-o’clock hold so you don’t lose the sights. Read this:



  70. B.B,

    you recommended the TX200 and the Diana 54 and now I cant decide. I read about both of them, and they look like they are in the same class. I don’t know if i will like the sidelever on the 54. Now I know this is a ridiculous preference I’m about to give, but I really want open sights on the rifle I get. My dad will be using this gun just for fun, and he won’t use a scope because he used to be a high ranked 10m shooter back in the day…i guess its just old schoool or something. Anyway, I almost want to get the 54 just because of the open sights, but I think I actually prefer the TX 200 a little more.


  71. Jasy,

    There is no easy or cheap way to put open sights on the TX, so the 54 is better for your dad. The sidelever is solid and not too obtrusive, though if you are bothered by it now it might continue to wear on your nerves.

    The 54 is much smoother and a little more powerful than the TX. Both are stunning shooters that require little in the way of technique to shoot accurately. The TX has the better trigger, though the 54 trigger isn’t bad.


  72. Thank you B.B,

    It looks like I will probably go for the 54. I was thinking about getting a .177 but everything I’ve read so far was for the .22. Still recommend it? What kind of velocity can I expect?

    Also, how expensive is it actually to put some open sights on?


  73. Jay,

    The .22 will get 800 f.p.s. with medium-weight pellets.

    Expect to pay several hundred dollars for open sights on the TX 200 – if you can find a gunsmith who can do the work. I don’t know anyone who will.


  74. B.B.

    That is good news about your blood levels… for you, and all of us who hope to shoot as much as you get to….
    and that 1 gram of Vitamin C every day eliminates heavy metals…

    I will start the 1 gram of Vitamin C and still use the glove because I don’t like getting black fingers…and I can get a better grip on the rifles with slippery stocks….
    but it is nice to know it is not so much of a concern.

    Did you see that electronic target video yet? I am anxious for feed back….


  75. BB,

    And I thought I was being careful with my allusion:). However, the Quackenbushes are more my style. What I really like is streamlined functionality. I honestly believe that a simple object can be perfect, and that when it is, it shouldn’t be further adorned. Pretty much as Horace described the girl, “simplex munditiis”. In my opinion you can’t improve on that.

  76. Jay,

    B.B. also mentioned the discovery. .. In .177 or .22 with open sites or scoped, it is very accurate…I can’t and would not try to compare it with a TX200.
    I ordered the HC shorter barrel carbine. The M3 is not in stock for a few weeks. I like that it is 8.5 lbs instead of 9.4 lb, even though that means 34 ls instead of 29 lbs cocking. I like smaller and lighter when ever possible…I am sure it will be the best by far of anything I have shot…but…

    I have been trying to find the best rifles under $300 with a decent scope for the rifle range. I have put 20 shots on a 3/4″ dot at 60′ indoors with the discovery, Beeman sportman 1100, the rws 94, the little Beeman HW30, the mendoza RM200, the Avenger 1100, and the Gamo CFX gas or steel spring…
    All under $300 with a leepers 3x9x40 AO scope….

    I am getting a the TX200 so I can do it more often…

    So..I would suggest that you try my favorite in that group, the discovery in .22 cal, its small, light, and its a PCP, with a scuba tank setup, you can’t do accurate shooting any easier or cheaper….

    And, order the TX200 in .177 so you can do competitive field target shooting, that is what I hope to learn..

    Just an idea,

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  77. BB, Matt,

    About the M-16, H&K came out with what they call their 416 conversion kit. It uses the standard M16/M4 lower receiver, but replaces the entire upper assembly with one that actually works the way a military rifle is supposed to. The new upper uses the short stroke gas piston off the G36 in place of the direct gas blow back system of the original M16. It also uses an H&K barrel and sight system. The result is a much cleaner, dramatically more reliable, weapon that is also more accurate. Special forces were using it, but the military decided to ban use of the HK416 saying the the current issue M4 is good enough. I think it has something to do with contract issues with Colt.

    My understanding is that the M16 was designed to be used in the temperate climate of Europe, and not the jungle or desert. This was a major oversight that soldiers are still suffering from today. Hopefully the M16 series will be replaced soon. I like the Bushmaster ACR/Magpul MASADA.

  78. Matt61,

    Yea, same hear with those surefire lights…

    I bought one for my mom, but instead of looking for the key under the mat with the light, she pounded on the door with the light until someone came… Mysteriously, the light stopped working (broken filament).

    On the other hand, i have 2 10x dominators / M6 / 2 m3s / z2 / a2/g2… All have been functioning properly for YEARS.

    I will read reviews before purchasing, but do not factor-in much of what i read because the writer of the review failed to use the product for what its intended. I keep in mind that i didn’t buy a hammer when i have bought a light!

    Heres an example of a bad review…
    …THis light is not very durable, it stopped working when i knocked on a door with it…

    My response…

    Some people tend to break things. Its not a character flaw, but sure is expensive! I do take some pride in not being one of those people…

  79. henry,

    Try the Surefire E2D. It is designed to be used as an impact weapon. Some of their military grade weapon lights come equipped with a serrated bezel, and can be used in place of a bayonet. That’s what Surefire claims anyways.

  80. Mechredd,

    The E2D is and led light, as such it does not have a filament susceptible to the damages inflicted upon the light i purchased for my mother. She had an xeon filament in hers…

  81. mechredd,

    Thanks for the link.

    Well – DUH!

    Imagine my surprise to learn that the M4 did the worst in a dust test. I guess what I saw back in 1968 at Ft. Lewis, Washington, is still true. If you dump hot gas back into the action of a gun it is prone to jam! They told us to clean our rifles every day, and they also told us why – because they wouldn’t work unless we did.

    That’s where the forward assist assembly came from. I see the forward assist as the U.S, Army’s unflagging support of a flawed weapon – kind of like putting training wheels on a racing bicycle.

    The M1 Garand didn’t need a forward assist. Neither did the M14. Nor do any of the AK family of weapons, nor the G3 nor any other country’s main battle rifle except ours.

    Back in World War I we quickly learned to avoid the unreliable French Chauchat machine gun. Well, now we got one of our own.,

    And the General who did the spin on the test results says everyone in the Army stands by the M4. If that’s true, why did the Special Forces switch to another weapon, and, better yet, why were they allowed to? I’ll tell you why. Because the Special Forces go into bad places where it’s real important that their weapons work ALL THE TIME. But grunts – hell, we got a million of ’em! Let ’em eat cake!

    Oh, and let’s make sure that Colt gets another contract to keep their ancient doors open so they can continue to supply flawed weapons to future generations.

    You know – I used to like Colt – back when they had gunmakers in the company. Now all they have are apologists and lobbyists running the company.

    And the M16 continues to suck!


  82. Here is another thing that makes me wonder what the military is thinking about when it comes to weapons. The PDW program was initiated to replace the standard M9 pistol with a compact and light weight carbine type weapon that can defeat body armor at close range and be effective out to 200 meters, for rear line troops and non-combat civilian contractors that find themselves in combat situations such as truck drivers in an ambushed convoy. The two front runners in this contest are the FN P90 and the H&K MP7. both are expensive submachine guns that fire prototype ammunition that looks like scaled down rifle cartridges. The P90 and its 5.7x28mm ammo are available for civilian purchase, but the MP7 and its 4.6x30mm ammo are not. The 5.7mm cartridge is supposes to be comparable to a .22 hornet while the 4.6 is comparable to the .17HMR. The 4.6 bullet is nearly all steel in order to give it its armor piercing abilities. Neither of these weapons have proved themselves in combat, but the P90 being slightly older, has experienced more extensive testing and field use.

    What I don’t understand is that this question was asked and answered nearly 70 years ago when winchester introduced the M1 carbine to replace the M1911 for rear line troops in WW2. The P90 and the MP7 are said to have similar “stopping power” to a 9mm carbine, but the M1 is comparable to a .357 in muzzle energy, and has about the same energy at 200 meters as the M9 does at the muzzle.

    The M1 Carbine suffered a reputation of having a lack of power, but what most soldiers did not know was that the round usually over penetrated causing little damage, rather than not penetrating enough. The M1 also has an effective range of between 200 and 300 meters. Like the M14, there are also several after market accessories that keep the M1 carbine competitive with current weapon systems. Chote makes a folding synthetic stock with pistol grip for this weapon, and Ultimak manufactures a rail system for to name a few.

    The M1 carbine has a proven combat record, is more powerful than current PDW’s and about 1/3 to 1/4 the cost. Ammo is cheap and plentiful, and if ammo manufacturers would add a steel penetrator, its armor defeating capabilities would be dramatically increased.

  83. I do not understand why they are designing these cartridges that one can only realistically hunt
    small game with and expect them to perform well against humans. Sure, they can penetrate any soft-type body armor and helmets (so can the .223 fired from a small carbine.), but these tiny bullets do not do much damage in either case, causing a narrow wound channel. Why not use the 7.62X25 Czech rounds, or even the 9mm steel cored bullets. Both existing pistol rounds give better terminal performance than the smaller bullets, offer the versatility of better bullet selection, yet both the 7.62X25 and 9mm AP rounds can still penetrate a 111a vest which is about all a pistol round can be expected to do. In fact, the 7.62X25 (FMJ, with lead core) penetrated the side of a Kevlar helmet at close range, with enough residual energy to be lethal, the only pistol round tested to do so (out of 9mm FMJ, .357 Magnum HP, .45 ACP FMJ).

    Anyways, back to the subject of pricey airguns. I just ordered a Theoben Eliminator in caliber .25. B.B., can you perhaps review this gun? Why is the .25 caliber gun listed with the highest kinetic energy? This gun is still technically spring operated, and you mentioned before that spring guns work better with the lighter pellets. I’m confused.

  84. Timothy,

    I’m shocked to discover that I hav’t reviewed the Theoben Eliminator/Beeman Crow Magnum (same gun – different wood).

    You are in the que!

    As for why .25 caliber has the greatest energy, perhaps you didn’t see my recent report on the Whiscombe JW 75:



  85. When I removed the rear stock mounting screw from my Crosman G1 Extreme the stock lug came out instead. It is a shouldered bolt that holds a tab on the back of the trigger assembly to the spring tube. Did that have an affect on any adjustments? Thanks, Kein

  86. B.B.
    Everything seemed to line up and tighten OK. The stock is tight against the barrel. Of course the proof will be in the shooting. This is a stock gun, no mods. Just want to make sure I didn’t loosen a critical piece that will make the spring propel further out the barrel than the next pellet! P.S. Thanks for responding to a question that is WAY off topic.

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