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A brief history of spring-piston airguns

by B.B. Pelletier

This one is for Airdog.

Spring-piston airguns are one of the newer types of powerplants, coming into being about 1840. The first spring-piston guns were long guns that used volute springs instead of helically coiled springs to drive the piston. Take your belt and wind it into a tight coil on a flat surface like a table. Then pull on the center of the belt and it will rise, creating a conical spiral. The flat belt will now be an elongated spiral with a wide end and a narrow end. That is the shape of a volute spring.

Instead of leather, the springmaker starts with a flat steel bar that he winds into a flat coil, just like the belt. The last move is to stretch the spring by pressing the center upward. Once it takes that form, it’s hardened and becomes springy.

Volute spring started out as a flat steel bar.

You wouldn’t think springs made that way would be very good, but they are. The suspension of an M60 battle tank relies on volute bumper springs as the final shock absorbers–for the time when those 61 tons come crashing down to the end of travel for its main torsion bar suspension. So, volute springs can take a lot of stress! To make them longer, they’re sometimes placed in line, and the double volute spring is a most common type found in antique airguns.

This Buegelspanner, or “triggerguard-cocker,” is a common pattern airgun made from the 1850s to the 1890s–maybe later. It uses a double-volute mainspring to power the piston.

By the 1870s, coiled steel or helical springs were being used in Quackenbush and some German spring-piston airguns. Up to this point, all the guns used a flat leather seal on top of the piston. The guns were not very powerful and velocities ranged between 200 f.p.s. and 400 f.p.s. The diabolo pellet was still over three decades in the future, so darts and solid lead slugs were the projectiles used.

1872 Haviland & Gunn spring-piston air pistol my wife bought for $5 at a local flea market. It shows the typical arrangement of the powerplant that was housed in the grip.

German Eisenwerke push-lever lock spring-piston long gun used a coiled steel mainspring.

Up to the year 1900, airguns were chiefly smoothbore. So, the long guns are correctly called guns and not rifles. In 1905, the Birmingham Small Arms company, better known today as BSA, decided to add airguns to the firearms they had made for almost a half-century. They decided on a design created by Lincoln Jefferies–an underlever that was loaded through a rotating tap. The barrel was rifled, and the first guns made were called H The Lincoln air rifles. They were made for Jefferies, but BSA wanted to make more rifles than Jefferies could sell, so they worked out an agreement whereby they could also produce the model under the BSA name.

The air rifle that started it all was made by BSA in 1905.

This was the first modern spring-piston air rifle, and all that have come since have used design details that were present in this first gun. Within a very few years, the first diabolo pellets were being sold and increased the accuracy of the new air rifle dramatically. In that day, it was considered a wonderful thing for the air rifle to group five shots in one inch at 50 feet.

From 1905 until 1980, the spring-piston gun continued to improve in velocity and to get synthetic piston seals, but not really to change in a dramatic way. Then, another significant change was introduced.

Major innovation: the gas spring
I’m not certain of this next part, but all my research indicates that the Argentine company that makes Shark airguns was the first to put gas springs into spring-piston rifles in the early 1980s timeframe. Very soon thereafter, Theoben of the UK rose to dominance with a complete line of refined gas-spring rifles. Some of those Theobens set velocity records when they first came out. Vortek, an American company, came along in the late 1990s with drop-in gas spring conversions for several popular rifles.

Not an innovation but a perfection
In the mid-1980s, Weihrauch brought out the HW77, which quickly rose to fame as the No. 1 field target competition rifle in the UK. Aftermarket tuners did a hundred tricks to improve the already fabulous action of this fine underlever, until it was thought to be the pinnacle of spring-piston airguns. And, then, Air Arms upstaged it.

The TX200 was all that the HW77 was, plus it had something the German rifle didn’t–a concentric barrel-piston axis. With that one innovation, the humpbacked underlever shot ahead of its Teutonic rival to become the best spring-piston air rifle the world has ever seen…except for the guns of John Whiscombe.

The Air Arms TX200 was the most advanced spring-piston gun when it came out in the late 1980s, and it’s still a leader today.

Whiscombe and Park
Working quietly in his shop, Whiscombe has been turning out handmade spring rifles for several decades. His guns are underlevers with a difference. They have dual opposed pistons that come together like the clapping of hands. When they do, their force is cancelled, giving the rifles a trace of vibration but no recoil. Perhaps they represent the high-water mark of the spring-piston evolution. A decade ago, another maker called Park attempted to put the dual opposed piston into semi-production status, but they didn’t last too long. Their rifles are very smooth and recoilless, but cost considerably more than a TX200 during their production years.

What comes next?
Where we’re headed is anyone’s guess. The current trend for ever-faster rifles is hitting a wall, but the sales are so brisk that makers won’t stop competing for top honors anytime soon. Oddly, no spring-gun maker in the world has seen the one niche in the market where there’s no competition at all–the smooth-shooting plinker. Thirty years ago, there were plenty of easy-cocking plinkers on the market, but they’ve almost vanished. Gamo has the makings of one in their Whisper, but they don’t know what to do with it. So they sell it on the basis of velocity and the “silencer” on the end, ignoring the attributes of light weight and easy cocking.

The Chinese are poised to make a perfect plinker, but they’re so focused on everything Europe is doing that they’ll never be able to get out of their own way. Therefore, the Chinese-made Hammerli 490 will continue to have a heavy trigger and lose sales from an adult market that laments the passing of the Diana 27. Mendoza is also close with their RM-200 rifle, but they don’t understand the importance of easy cocking.

And the HW30/Beeman R7 has priced itself right out of the market it is so perfectly created to dominate. I think the next big thing in spring-piston air rifles will be the return of the accurate, easy-cocking plinker. It’s a gun that never should have gone away, but the velocity wars have obscured its importance.

Said differently, for every R7 that’s sold, Daisy sells a thousand Red Ryders. Not that the Red Ryder is what people want, but the idea of a light, convenient airgun is universally appealing.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

76 thoughts on “A brief history of spring-piston airguns”

  1. Morning B.B. Very interesting. A volute spring sounds like a designer bottle of water. Goes to show what I didn’t know.

    Believe it or not #1 son and I were talking about how much fun we had in the mid 80’s with 4 Chinese break barrel guns at maybe $20.00 each. He dispatched a squirrel in his attic last month with his. Yes to light weight easy cocking plinkers.

    How about the Walnut in those early stocks. How expensive were some of the early guns?

    Have a great day Mr B.

  2. Mr. B.,

    In their day the easy-cocking plinkers cost $39-$159. Of course they span a huge amount of time, which skews the prices quite a bit.

    The Diana 27 is my version of the poster-child for this class of airgun and they sold for $39-$80 when they were available.

    As for walnut stocks, not too many of them actually had it, but the stains they used made their stocks look more like walnut. It was very important back in the 1970s to look like a walnut stock, because walnut was the preferred wood.


  3. I am still having a ball with my gifted Marksman 1790. It is easy to cock, has no recoil to speak of and is a joy to shoot. It is what I wanted when I started looking at the Hammerli 490. I would think the basement shooter and suburban plinker markets would have called to some maker more loudly.

    I spoke with our customer service manager and head lab tech (a lifelong shooter) about plating the inside of barrels. Both agreed that it would be a bear. Bushmaster appears to still do it on some rifles.

    I also queried an industry newsgroup. Some folks thought it was classified info others just guarded proprietary processes. So it is fairly widely done but adds a lot of expense.

  4. The problem with the HW30/R7 is the exchange rate. I bought my HW30 from Pyramyd last Spring for $215-a steal for such a well made rifle. When the new shipment came in the price went up to $344, almost a 50% increase! With the strengthening of the Dollar I’m curious how much the next batch of guns will cost.

  5. BB,

    Nice blog today. Thank you.

    From where I’m sitting, it seems like the race is indeed on for even more velocity. The hardcore airgun community is so small, it seems like we’re just a micro-niche. Asking an airgun manufacturer today to make a quality, soft-shooting plinker will probably only get you pointed to a youth gun–and just look how plentiful those are. You’ll probably also get asked how many “units” you want to commit to and what target price you want to try to hit. Right now, the big box stores are driving the sales and the larger manufacturers see that sales model as the one to satisfy. So where does that leave us? Kind of in the lurch, I think. We have to either rediscover a vintage gun or spend the $$$ to get an R7 or it’s equivalent from a smaller, more expensive manufacturer. If history is an example, the time to buy a German-made gun is right now before they get even more expensive– of go away altogether.

    The bicycle industry was the same for decades as all the equipment at the top was geared toward elite racers. The family cyclist and recreational riders comprising the largest market share had essentially only cheaper copies of racing products. All the parts manufacturers followed a good, better, best philosophy of manufacturing the same repackaged stuff. They couldn’t fathom why anyone would want gear for anything except going fast.

    Bill D.–Sorry to hear you too are in that same boat.


  6. Agree with you %100 b.b.
    I can shoot my Slavia 630 all day with no wear and tear on myself or the gun.
    I too think these little guns are highly under-rated. It’s to bad that we have such a horsepower war in nearly everything we consume.
    Cameras…my area of expertise. If it isn’t at least 12 megapixels (the new standard) it’s nothing. I have a wonderful looking 20×30″ print in my office taken with a 3 year old 8 megapixel camera that is stunning (I’m a pro photographer so I kinda do no what I’m talking about)…but on the market today this 8 Mp camera…worth $2500 new is worthless today…because of it’s ‘low’ resolution.
    Yup…this is a personal rant of mine.
    400HP in a Chevette chassis is gonna be a dog, no matter how you look at it.

    Now, onto something entirely different.
    Just wanted to let everyone know I am having a ball with the new Walther CP99. It is everything the PPK isn’t…good power (again, for plinking), and at 25′ I can unload the 8 round magazine all in the black of a Crossman 25′ air pistol target in under 10 seconds.
    Very pleased.
    But a question. The PPK (only a month or so old and about 500 rounds through it) seems to have developed one of the reported issues.
    The slide hangs up a bit…maybe 1 out of every 5 shots it hangs…a slight nudge at the back of the slide and it fires no problem. I lube it per the instructions…1 drop on the CO2 cartridge and lube the slide every 250 shots.
    You can feel the rough spot easily. I’ve read where this is common and all you do (supposedly) is field strip it and sand down the slide abit.
    Question…is this easy?
    Is it even the problem or should I send it back?
    Thanks for any feedback.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  7. B.B.

    I really agree with you about the wrong direction the manufactures are taking. The CZ 634 might be the exception, mine felt tuned out of the box, with a nice trigger. I do hope PA is going to add that one. I now see them for $199, but a few months ago, they were $139 from the same place. (they even offered one for $129 which I grabbed).. With PA’s buying power, they should be able to offer it for $169 and still make money..

    Americans are so easy to sell “power” too. It takes actually using the rifles, to see that high power in a spring rifle is not such a good thing.

    For the inventory at our range, high power is in the form of PCPs… the TX200, HW-77, RWS48/52 will be here, but they all will be shooting heavy pellets, to bring them down to 870fps or so.. That’s where I’ve found they can shoot accurate… But most of the springers here will be in the R-7 class, and older ones like the diana 22, 23, 25, 27. Rebuilt like new I hope.

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  8. Derrick,

    You are a kindred spirit!

    I think it is possible to apply Pareto’s Law to the problem and create a decent plinker rifle that could retail for $150 or less. Mendoza is sitting in the catbird seat with their great trigger and RM 200 powerplant. All the need to do is weaken the mainspring, lengthen the barrel (for leverage) and profile the stock so it is less dorky-looking and they will have a winner.

    The powerplant has to be dimensioned so it assembles with minimum vibration. And we know how to do that!

    I am trying to influence Mendoza to do this project through Pyramyd AIR. If I’m successful, you will see a world-beater.


  9. Bill D:

    I'm Tom's wife. Here's what we've been doing for Tom's kidney stones.

    First solution:
    1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil + 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Consume mixture with breakfast & dinner. Mixing them together with a spoon blends the ingredients.

    Second solution:
    2 tablespoons whole celery seed boiled in 2 cups of water. Boil until the seeds are softened (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from heat. Strain seeds & drink 1/2 cup of the "tea" every 1.5 hours.

    Third solution (which we're now doing):
    Take Uriflow:
    We ordered 1 bottle. Tom's taking 2 capsules a day (one before breakfast & one before dinner). The bottle has 30 capsules.

    Fourth solution (which Tom refuses to try but I've been assured that it is truly a magical potion):
    Drink 72 ounces of regular Coca-Cola over a period of 2 hours.
    Steam or quickly boil 6-8 oz. fresh asparagus. Process in blender till well pureed.
    Within 5 minutes from drinking the last 12 ounces of Coke, eat the asparagus puree. Don't wolf it down. Mix it with your saliva so you're pre-digesting it.
    Within a few hours, kidney stones will begin to painlessly pass through the urine as sand-like particles.
    Additional tips for this remedy:
    This works best on an empty stomach around mid-morning.
    Drink lots of distilled water after eating the asparagus puree.
    Wait 1-2 hours after eating the asparagus before eating anything else.
    If you still have remaining stones, repeat process within 3 days. There is no harm in doing this every day or as frequently as needed.

    When the pain is gone, the kidney stones are not necessarily gone. The remaining stones just might not be large enough to cause pain…but they will if you allow them to grow by not expelling all of them.

    A tip from my personal experience with kidney stones (about 10-15 yrs ago): I had them only when I consumed food or drink that contained aspartame (which is in virtually every diet soda & most diet food). The day I stopped aspartame was the last time I had kidney stones. Now, I consume no artificial sweeteners.

    Edith Gaylord

  10. B.B.,

    Very good and interesting article.

    As far as power goes, how does the volute spring compare to todays modern springs?

    I know that you have tested A few rifles that you consider easy cocking plinkers, but what would be your top two or three?

    I have A request for two reviews: The Crosman Raven and the Hammerli Nova.

    If someone hasn’t done it already, your wife should market her kidney stone remedy. Just A thought!

    BobC NJ

  11. B.B.

    I support your effort on the RM200!
    Your review early last spring, got me to try one in .22 cal. The trigger is amazing for the money!! and very smooth for the price, not HW-30 smooth, but OK. I did really liked it a lot. But after 3,000 shots or so the barrel got a little loose. Not as loose as the Avenger 1100s did, but not good..

    Have them work on the barrel hinge area too.

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  12. CowboyStar Dad,

    Field-stripping the PPK/S used to be easy. I stripped just like the firearm. I could have one apart in under 5 seconds. Now, though, there is a pin through the front of the triggerguard that holds it tight to the frame. Apparently too many people were disassembling the gun and then couldn’t get it together again.

    Once that vpiun is drifted out, the gun disassembles like any PPK/S, which means pull the triggerguard down, pull the slide back and up and ease it forward and off the frame. Three seconds at the most.


  13. BobC,

    The volute spring has a shorter stroke. It is more powerful (and heavier) that most coiled springs.

    The easiest spring rifle to cock is the Walther LGV, and possibly the LG55. They cock with around 11 pounds of effort.I forget what the next one is, but the Diana 27 tales about 15 pounds.

    My wife is using alternative remedies that are well-publicized. These things have been around for more than 100 years – except for the one that uses Coke.

    I will consider those two rifles.


  14. I thought the FWB 300 series were rated at 9 lbs cocking effort. If indeed the LGV and the LG55 cock easier than the 300s, they must nearly cock themselves. Of course at that level of effort it is all really moot anyway.

  15. B.B.,

    To ask a stupid question, why a spring? Could you just use the longer level arm to create a good one stroke pumper?

    It just seems the spring is superfluous since compressed air ultimately transfers the energy anyway.


  16. Herb,

    And THAT’S why cars come in different colors.

    But think about this. A single-stroke pneumatic can develop at best 12 foot-pounds, while a magnum breakbarrel can top 20. That’s too much difference to overlook.

    And most single-strokes don’t even make 6 foot-pounds.


  17. B.B.

    Most of those kidney stone remedies sound kind of tasty, especially the olive oil ones. Don’t forget about lithotripsy as a preemptive strike. Edith, thanks for posting the details of the cures.

    I’m surprised that the Whiscombe has a vibration. I would take recoil over vibration any day. In fact, I think one of the big rewards of springers is….the way recoil resonates through the body.

    Is the Mendoza trigger really comparable to the IZH 61? The 61 trigger is not surpassed by anything in my collection and continues to astound me.


  18. Interesting read as usual. My own experience with spring guns spans 3 decades and includes about two dozen rifles. Basically, about what Wayne sees in a week. : )

    At the beginning of the year I set a goal to get down to 8 spring rifles, but then I decided to ad alternative power plants too, which meant more eliminations.

    I recently concluded that 5 rifles total: 2 spring, 2 PCP, and one CO2 should be sufficient for my needs. Less is more was motto of 2008. (Not including the kids rifles or collectables)

    So out of BSA, Gamo, Diana, HW, FWB, Beeman, and so on, the two Springer’s not culled from the herd:

    HW30S or (R-7) and a Beeman HW97K both in .177.

    The HW30S is just as pleasant a break barrel to shoot as any. Cocking effort is a none issue, accuracy is outstanding, and quality is very nice.

    At one point I considered selling the HW97 for an AA200 but decided to have the 97 tuned instead. Mine is eerily accurate, and I feared I may not hit the lotto with the AA.
    I would guess that the fixed barrel, heavy weight and short length of the barrel, and nice trigger all combine and contribute to its accuracy.

    My review of both the above and a couple others: /

    Obviously, these are just the two I found the best for my needs, which I’m sure are different from many others. I am planning on adding a .22 Springer also, based on my previous research and experience I already know the winner.

    As far as PCP and CO2, my journey has just begun, and I should have a final conclusion by about 2029.


  19. BB,
    What about the new Diana Schutze? Does that fit the category of inexpensive high quality air rifle? Aside from the slightly goofy front sight arrangement, it looks like it should be on that list.

    Al in CT

  20. B.B.

    Better than the IZH 61! Inconceivable?! Well, this has my attention. Why is the RM-2000 $80 more than the 200? Surely, it’s not just a bigger size. Is there something different about the action (apart from the multi-shot feature) or is it just a more deluxe version?

    So, how is a sturdy spring like the one in the B30 made? I guess my idea of carving it from a solid block of metal does not make sense although the stiffness of the spring makes me wonder. How about stretching the metal into a wire shape and then twisting it into the shape of a spring? But what would make it stay that way?

    On the subject of pellet development, I think I have missed why pellets are designed to stabilize through drag instead of the spin from rifling like bullets.


  21. Matt,

    So what makes the RM 2000 $80 more than the RM 200, and I’m not allowed to count the extra power or the repeating feature?

    Well, what makes a Coevette a more expensive car than an Impala, and don’t count the horsepower or the racing parts?

    The metal structure realigns when the spring is wound. It stays almost like it was when it was wound because the structure of the metal aligned itself that way.

    Pellets are stabilized bya weight-forward bias and high drag, as well as by their spin. The weight and high drag are like a dart that always lands point-first regardless of how it is thrown.


  22. The Air Rifle Whisperer:

    The gentleman that sold me the FX Whisper took my Disco as partial trade. His feedback on the Disco – like new. Appeared almost unused. Also in all capital letters “man is that thing loud”.

    The reality is the Disco is not as loud as the higher pressure Webley PCP, but his point of reference was the fully factory shrouded FX Whisper.

    I know “quiet” is subjective. I wish their was an inexpensive way to measure the discharge sound, but lacking that just understand that a PCP that doesn’t include a factory moderator or shroud will be near .22 rimfire in report. I would speculate that the big bores exceed even that.

    As I suspected, since FX had a hand in my Raider, the Whisper uses the same fill probe. So I was able to get under way quickly. The 16 shot magazine is easy to load and the bolt works with minimal effort. Probably not as slick as Wayne’s side lever, but very smooth with most pellets.

    One of the niceties is it will not allow you to cycle the bolt once the magazine is empty, so no fear of ever shooting blanks.

    My Whisper is the synthetic stock version, which compares within a few dollars to an AA S410 beech model. With walnut stocks, both are in the same price bucket also.

    Since my months of pleading to Wayne about purchasing a Whisper to compare to the S410 went unfulfilled, the best I can do is offer some guestamations. I will now also try reverse physiology. Wayne, you are not allowed to own an FX Whisper. : )

    The Whisper is less feature laden and a slightly smaller and lighter rifle, especially in the synthetic version. No on board gauge or adjustable power, but just like the tiny wipers on the headlights of my Volvo – hardly in the category of necessities.

    Power wise it is in the 16 to 18 ft lb range in .177 with the pellets I had on hand to test.
    Since higher power results in more air being used which leads to fewer shots and more time spent at the hand pump, I feel this is a good compromise. I also think more air equals more noise.

    Three magazines fills seem to be the ideal shot count for it. (48 pellets). When I tried 4 magazines (64 pellets), CPL’s dipped to 800 fps from the 970’s they started at. POI was still on target but I think that is stretching it. Certainly you could still use it at modest distances. I will not make a habit of using CPL’s in this rifle as it is a tad too fast for them.

    As far as fit, finish, and trigger, I am very pleased. Never a “black” rifle fan, the FX Whisper seems to wear it well. Its thumb hole stock and modern shape seem appropriate in polymer. The end package goes about 6.5 lbs wo a scope and mounts. I wanted .177 in the Whisper as it is supposed to be the quietest. Since that is the primary goal of this rifle, it made sense to me.

    How quite is it? Whatever discharge noise remains at the muzzle is masked by the mechanical sound the trigger valve make on firing. I think it would draw no more attention then the Daisy 499, probably less. This one will be in the stable for quite sometime.

    As far as compared to the S410……


  23. Volvo:
    You said that .177 should be more "quieter" than the .22; I thought that it was the other way around since .22 is slower, which means that it makes less noise… Just as the PBA Raptors, which go super fast but create a huge sound… Can you explain to me why?? Please..

    So far I have noticed two things about the Talon SS…
    1) Do you know if the screws that attach the 24"barrel are any different than those of the 12"barrel??? (.22 caliber both)… Because today I did my first barrel change from 12"–>24"… and the screws of the first one were to tight for the 24", I had to use the ones that it brought in a little package….
    2) There are no paper instructions telling how to change the barrels… If it wasn't for the DVD it would have been more difficult… Why??

    As always, take care!!

    P.S.: It is impossible to get tired shooting this rifle!!! All the effort I did yesterday filling up the tanks is about to end probably tomorrow!!..LOL… I hope that the scuba shop finishes soon the Hydro and VIP tests they're performing on the tanks I purchased!! LOL…

  24. BB,
    I don’t know how big a seller the H490 has been, but it wouldn’t take much for Umarex and Industry to make it “perfect” out of the box in my opinion. It is just a matter of price point (sub 100 versus 150), I think. Now that my trigger is smoothed out by several thousand pellets and moly’ed, I look at the little clunk almost as an heirloom and enjoy shooting it even more. I suspect the same analysis is applicatble to the Diana Shutze.

  25. Jony
    The short 12″ SS barrels are thinner than the 18 and 24″ barrels. The screws for each thickness barrel need to be different lengths to keep them from sticking out or screwing in too far.
    The ones for the bottom are longer than the ones for the side.
    Included with the barrel will be the right screws for that barrel, the rubber washer that goes behind the rear bushing and the endcap.


  26. Jony,

    There are supposed to be new screws packaged with each new optional barrel. Yes the screws are different lengths.

    Call your dealer or AirForce and they will send you a set. Email if you cannot call.

    We looked at the barrel change procedure and decided it wasn’t difficult enough to write a separate manual for. As long as you use the right length screws you can hardly make a mistake. And the DVD is the reason we decided that, because it shows the old barrel change. There are just two additional screws with the new style barrel.


  27. BB – thanks for the fascinating report – I would not have guessed springers go back that far.
    $5 for a springer pistol dating back to 1872?!! I’ve got to start going to more flea markets!

  28. Jony,

    In the year plus prior to purchasing a PCP I solicited information from dealers, owners, and even directly from manufactures.

    Some of the responses were very helpful, others were comical. One sales person answered my question on what are your top 3 most quiet PCP’s with a Benjamin pump in first place.

    Since most dealers carry different brands, it was hard to compare certain models. For that I went to the forums, but still difficult to find someone who owns the 2 or 3 rifles you’re interested in.

    However, the reoccurring theme I heard was that .177 was the most quiet.

    I think Wayne also confirmed this with his fine crop of S410’s.


  29. B.B.,
    Back to my question about a new scope for my Disco.

    You stated (very correctly) that cross hair size is just as important as the power of the scope. Unfortunately the description provided on the PA website is silent on that factor. So I went to the Leapers website and it too was silent on that spec. So how do I find out?

    As a side note PA specs for
    Leapers 3-12×44 (p/n PY-A-634) scope do not agree at all with the specs posted on the Leapers website. They are all wrong for the most part but one big one is 1/8″ vs 1/4″ MOA adjustment.


  30. Volvo & B.B.,
    Finally got to retest CRP HP pellets in my Disco… weather here has been bad lately.

    As Volvo predicted the older boxed CRP HP pellets did just fine but the new CRP HP out of a tin did very poor. I'm shocked there could be such a difference. Guess Volvo was correct Crosman has let quality slip a bit.

    Next I need to retest JSB pellets. Think I'll take of the barrel and clean it first.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  31. DB,

    I don’t know how to find out about crosshairs except to examine them. Most makers don’t publish that information.

    One thing I do know is that ;leapers crosshairs have been on a diet for the past five years. Most of their higher-powered scopes now have acceptably thin reticles.

    But that doesn’t help you. All I can tell you is to ask the salesperson. Don’t ask anyone who owns the same scopes because the friggin’ specs change frequently and without notice.

    Which is my asnswer to you last comment, except to add that I will tell Pyramyd AIR about it.



  32. B.B.

    Ah yes, I had forgotten about the power. But I heard that the multi-shot function for the RM 2000 didn’t work too well. A multi-shot capability for a breakbarrel is hard to visualize.


  33. Volvo,
    I’m glad you got your Whisper, and it sounds like something that will make you happy. However, your review would have benefitted from a racy metaphor or two:).

    Maybe Superdomes will be the right compromise in weight.

  34. First, Hi, Edith! Good to see you chime in!

    BB, I gots 2 questions to ask…

    1) Those kidney stones you just passed… .177 cal? For your sake I hope so – you’d really have my sympathy if they were .22 or (heaven forbid) .25’s….

    2) Is Edith gonna do a guest blog?

  35. Volvo, & Jony,

    My .177 cal Air Arms S410 is more quiet than the .22 cal by 30% or so..

    No gauge or power adjuster..HHHMMM. sounds like the power is set just about right though. That's what my 10 year old .22 cal 10 shot, AAS310 has with a beech stock. With .22 cal 16 gr JSB it got 100 shots, lo 761fps, hi 931fps, avg 862fps… the low was on the first shots, because of valve lock with a 205 bar fill. The last shot was 810fps at 50 bar. The peak fps was at shot 64. when the bar was about 110.

    How about an accuracy report?

    The RM2000 mag works fine with round nose pellets, but the breech seal for the loading port looses air, and so they don't shoot up to advertised FPS… but the trigger and overall gun is worth it for sure..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  36. Evening B.B. This is going back a couple of months, I had put the Leapers anti droop base on my Diana 350 Magnum, but it never got really used cause the scope lost its AO function. Long story short replacement arrived from Leapers , took about 3 months, went on rifle and was shooting 7 and 3/4″ high at 20 yards. It needed 3 pieces of business card shims to drop it down. Works fine and scope will never move under recoil anymore.

    Got the Diana 35 back from complete overhall, wonderful job, thanks Curtis. Using another Leapers antidroop base she was shooting 1 inch low at 20 yards. Sounds like the 350 Magnum has less built in droop.

    Mr B.

  37. Bg farmer,

    Sorry for not adding enough “spice” to the review. Perhaps after the Holidays when the little ones are less likely to read I’ll put together tantalizing review of the QB-78.


    My guess is that accuracy would be the most common thread in our rifles. They both share the same Lothar Walther barrel.


    My experience is that a muzzle brake always changes POI. For the why, you’ll need one of the folks more technically endowed. I just know that it always does.


  38. BB: sorry about all wrong terms/ facts used here, I don’t know too much about what I’m talking about ( I like to think otherwise). To the best of my knowledge, most bullets today have a copper jacket. I’d imaging the main benefits are in the balistics and uniformity sectors, but I was thinking that they might also be safer to handle than direct lead. If this is the case, then how come companies haven’t made copper or metal coated pellets. I know they market all of their extreme speed alloy pellets, but I think there would be a lot of room to work with when promoting these. In my opinion, there would be far more lead inhalation, and they might actually enhance accuracy/performance to boot ( the best consumer is a living consumer). Just a thought…

  39. John,

    I think the copper jackets also act as a lubricant and are necessary once a certain velocity is obtained. (Low velocity rounds like the .38 special are still common without any jacket, not that I would shoot such an unmanly chambered revolver) : )

    I believe some coated pellets and other alternatives are currently available, but accuracy is an issue. I would think as longer as you don’t splatter the lead pellets they are fairly safe.


  40. Volvo,

    I’ve noticed the POI shift as well, I was hoping we could establish a pattern. Does it always shift right, left, up or down? Wanted more than just my results. Thanks!

    Really interested in your new rifle. Hope you’ll be telling us more.


  41. John from Jersey,
    Beeman Double Gold pellets have a copper coating. I don’t think the lead in pellets poses much if any danger to shooters who follow reasonable precautions (e.g., don’t swallow pellets). Most of the “lead dust” you see people complaining about in product reviews is graphite (dry lubricant)…

    I’ll be waiting, eager as a 40 year old bride, for your QB78 review:).

  42. Volvo,

    Can you do a test with a 205 bar fill? How high can you fill? I wonder if you get any valve lock with a 200-205 bar fill, like I do with the Air Arms S310 & S410 .22 cal if I go that high. To me it's worth it for the extra shots. 20 or 30 more shots that are a little low, then 50-60 real steady shots, before the last 20 start falling off again.
    Whether I'm practicing or plinking, I like the extra shots, and the adjustment I need to make, to stay on the dots.. I guess if one was very serious, they would only fill to 180 bar or so, and just take the 50-60 steady shots.

    My Mac 1 Disco upgrade just got back. Tim does the trigger, installs a power adjuster, improves the bolt and crowns the barrel… for like $70… The trigger is real nice now!!! A quick accuracy test showed signs of a great improvement… We need to run it over the crony and see how the power adjuster works. Number of shots may be lower or the same, it seems to get to the yellow faster, but haven't done a count yet…

    Randy was shooting the Disco with the after market barrel weight, while I was shooting the factory shrouded AAS310 in the pool room range tonight, and we both noticed how super quiet the .22 cal s310 was.. like half as loud as the shrouded .22 Disco, which was not disturbing the TV folks in the next room..

    Volvo, I think the 10 year old S310 .22 cal can at least match the Whisper in accuracy, and number of shots.. But I could run a test with my "no valve lock" Air Arms S410 .177 at the same time, and get a three way result…. I've two of the good bench rests, so Randy & I could both shoot one..
    But we need to both test on the same standards..what works for you? Do you have a good bench rest? 20 yards indoors? Do you like the 25- 1/8" dots on a page, 5 shot groups?

    It might be fun to try a "most shots without loss of POI test"… and a overall total shots adjusting for loss of POI in our shooting..

    You probably need some time to find the best pellet.. Since both our rifles have the same barrels, I'd start with JSB Exact 8.4, then the 10.2 JSB Exact heavy… then kodiak 10.6

    Isn't testing fun, you'll soon be doing it for a living… right?

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  43. G’day Edith,

    I’ve copied that for future reference!

    Another remedy for those in the youth of old age…”40 is the old age of youth and 50 is the youth of old age”…for aches and pains.

    I swear by this: 20 tiny red chillies and a cup of gin (“Gordons” preferable !!!)….blend for 10 minutes…1 teaspoon per day. I have never had to used it over 10 days to fix.

    Cheers Bob

  44. Plate.d pellets,

    I have tested plated pellets throughout the years, going back to the 19070s. I have yet to see a pellet that didn’t SUFFER in accuracy from the plating. Pure lead is still the finest material from which pellets are made.


  45. Mr. B.,

    There is an increasing body of information suggesting that the RWS Diana 350 Magnum does not share the typical Diana tendency to droop. Therefore, Leapers has created a new no-droop mount along the same lines as the drooper. It should be available in another month or so.


  46. Matt61 (or anyone interested),

    Gamo used to make a .177 breakbarrel springer called “Multishot”, which was one of my early purchases in this hobby. 8 rounds in a rotary mag cycled to the next round when the barrel is cocked. Fiber optic sights, grooved for a scope but finally I had a gunsmith drill a scope-stop hole for me. Average-quality wood stock, RH cheekpiece, no checkering, with solid plastic buttplate. I added a little foam to soften it. Read a lot on here about how crappy Gamo triggers were and invested in a GRT III from CharlieDaTuna. Scope is Leapers BugBuster 6×32 AO with sun shade, flip-up end caps and red/green illum. MIL-DOT reticle. Rings are AccuShot medium profile for 1″ scope tubes. Never could really get the knack of a proper hold with it and subsequently favored PCP’s for better accuracy on the squirrels and chipmunks raiding the bird feeder. So “Multi” is available for sale or trade… anyone interested can email me at leon_a28134@yahoo.com to discuss further.

  47. I reckon Gamo is coming the nearest of the European gunmakers to a good plinker, as you say BB. But why no mention of the Shadow 1000? Its light, easy to cock, fun to shoot, ah but… that trigger, yes see what you mean. Nevertheless, it gets my vote.


  48. the smooth-shooting plinker… I think I have 3 of them – RWS 46. Of course, RWS only still makes the Stutzen, which appears to be priced out of the market, but they seem to meet the easy to cock, smooth shooting accuracy that lets you shoot all day (and safely I might add). On the other hand, if we extend past springers, my Talon SS with 24″ barrel powered by Co2 shoots forever in the summer at 17fpe and is even more accurate than the 46’s. It’s a perfect world for plinking!


    PS – BB, Glad to see you are over/have a cure for that stone thing, I saved your wife’s recipe just in case my chemical balance hits the right (wrong!)combination some day!

  49. JC,

    Yes to the old RWS Diana 46. I remember what a easy gun it was to cock. And the Talon SS is just a little sweetie!

    As for my wife’s cure, I’m still in treatment. I’m now taking those natural remedy pills she mentioned – two each day. They are still busting up the stones and things are still working. I’m not out of the forest yet.


  50. From the Marksman 1790 to the Hammerli 490, the Beeman SS550 and to the Crosman Raven….

    ahhhh the raven,

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
    `’Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door –
    Only this, and nothing more.’

    Just remember to quoath the raven ‘nevermore!’

  51. Couldn’t agree with you more regarding the need for quality affordable plinkers. I’ve somewhat switched to pistols to meet this need, but… The Baikal 61/63 is a realistic contender in this category if they could get a handle on their quality. Some people report good accuracy, but a lot ( including me ) got bad ones. Nevertheless, it’s a ball to shoot. Along these same lines, I’ve been curious about 12 FPE level rifles. I’m thinking they’re toned down 1000 FPS class guns. Still powerful enough for 50 yards, but easier cocking and a little less kick (though possible still heavy). An FAC vs 12 FPE power level comparison might be a good topic for a future article. Lastly, I bought a Beeman R7 on your recommendation – absolutely no regrets!!!

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