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2008 in review

by B.B. Pelletier

Happy New Year! I’d like to thank everyone from around the world who wished us a Happy New Year on this blog. This one will be a quickie.

2008 was a real good year for airgunning, but before I look at a few of the highlights, I have some super news for those who are looking for good deals. These are models that are being discontinued; after the guns in stock are gone, there will be no more. Pyramyd AIR has also cut the prices of both models quite a lot.

RWS 46 Stutzen. Down from $536.25 to $399.99.

RWS Diana 52 Luxus. This is the walnut-stocked version with basketweave checkering. These are available in both .22 caliber and .177. Pyramyd AIR bought out the remaining stock from RWS and expects to receive them soon. Down from $595.00 to $419.99.

2008 started off with a big bang for me because the Benjamin Discovery was about to be launched. I took the concept for the rifle to Crosman a year before and I worked with them throughout 2007 to make the new rifle a reality. Now, at the start of 2008, I was about to travel to the SHOT Show where it would be unveiled.

The Disco, as it has become known, is the best entry-level PCP ever made, in my opinion. It has the benefits of price, a 2000 psi fill level, dual-fuel capability, and many other high-grade features packed into a neat package. In fact, the package with a hand pump was part of my original concept. The gun comes to you ready to shoot. I’ve wanted a gun like that for two decades, and now it exists.

Air Venturi gas springs also made a big splash this past year. I actually began testing them back in December 2007, which is when I tested the incredible Gamo Whisper with a gas spring. That rifle continues to be the smoothest gas spring conversion I’ve ever tested…bar none! I then tested the Webley Patriot with a gas spring–the rifle made in the UK, that is. I raved about how smooth the gas spring made the gun, but then you readers took things even farther when you started talking about the Walther Falcon Hunter with a gas spring. You said the gas spring changed the nature of the gun, which they will do.

I continued to test Gamos with gas springs and even today I’m far behind the power curve in that testing. But gas springs are here to stay!

In the middle of the year, Leapers brought out their new scope base for RWS Diana spring rifles. I’d also worked on it in 2007, similar to the Discovery. Instead of something brand new, this base was the answer to a question that I had been dealing with since I began writing about airguns in 1994. Namely, how to mount a scope on an RWS Diana spring rifle.

The new base tested well, but as they were sold we learned that not all rifles suffer from barrel droop. In fact, the RWS Diana 350 Magnum rifles don’t seem to have much droop at all. So, Leapers rushed to create a base with zero droop. And by the end of the year, there’s a scope mounting solution for all RWS Diana spring rifles except the model 46, which doesn’t have the same base on the receiver. This new Leapers base has become an important part of a spring airgunner’s tool kit.

I also tested both the Evanix Renegade rifle and the pistol for you last year. They offer a greater number of shots and fast double-action shooting for those fast follow-up hunting shots. Air management with the rifle is quite good, and accuracy is certainly where it needs to be. There are still two Renegades yet to be tested in 2009.

The AirForce Edge target rifle didn’t make it to market in 2008, but the sight set almost did. I got to test both front and rear sights, and we know that a great alternative to the $400 European sights is coming down the pike.

So, where are we headed?
I have a few projects coming in 2009, too. One is a new kind of pellet that, if it works as envisioned, should impact hunting in a positive way. I’m also associated with the development of a new type of powerplant that promises huge gains in efficiency. And there’s another project that I will announce in two weeks–on day one of the SHOT Show. That project, which is as real as it gets, could change the lives of American airgunners in a very positive way.

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.

58 thoughts on “2008 in review”

  1. B.B.,

    Happy New Year!

    In looking back over the airgun improvements (many of which you had an active role in creating) over the past 12 months is mindblowing. This hobby/sport/passion is evolving raapidly. In looking forward, we have some exciting new developments that I’m eagerly awaiting hearing about.

    Thanks for allowing us to be among the first to know about them.


  2. BB, I’ll probably go back for the Diana 26 – but what about the R10 I picked up? Does it look like I did good, or did I end 2008 by getting took?

    The bluing on the barrel is perhaps ‘60%’. The bluing elsewhere is pretty good, as is the stock. Mechanically the spring, lockup and trigger are good (and the bore looks great), but it needs a piston seal. I paid $265.

    Would it hurt the value of the gun if I rubbed the barrel down with Oxpho Blue, or doesn’t it matter because the gun really isn’t an antique?

  3. Vince,

    Watch out for Wayne’s New Years resolution to get you into more expensive airguns. Wayne is one of the nicest guys out there but I am now convinced that he is Pyramyd Air’s number one UNCOMPENSATED salesman.

    All kidding aside, Wayne you were a big help and I appreciate it. Gotta go get that second mortgage now. See ya.


  4. Vince,

    You paid about the top you should have, for an R10. The if it buzzes, that is normal. Most of them buzzed from the factory.

    For the blue repair, may I recommend that you look into the Blue Wonder system? It looks so much better than Oxpho, and it wears like hot tank blue. It’s a photographic development process, so the application is different.


  5. Thanks BB for the amazing amount of information you pumped out this year. Writing a top blog is not something done in your sleep, and I appreciate your effort.

    After buying a CFX at the end of 2007, I spent 2008 acquiring low-cost (e.g. great bargains) guns of different types to see what I liked (1377, 392, 953).

    It turns out fun can be had cheaply, and buying affordable (the classics never go out of style) airguns is an excellent way to explore the field without acquiring a second mortgage.

    After all that, I’m still waiting for that shrouded (quiet!) Disco in the Challenger stock to come out – would you goose Crosman a little for me? 😎

  6. BB,

    On the subject of cold bluing … back in August, “Using airsoft guns to teach shooting”, you mentioned to Cowboy Dad that you would blog a wonderful cold blue product soon. Is that Blue Wonder and could you blog that sooner :)?

    I am wondering if it would protect the threads that I have cut into my cutoff Discovery tube.

    .22 multi-shot

  7. BB,
    When I hunt, I usually try to use a pellet like the beeman crow mag, but mine are modified. Being that they don’t exactly expand very much on impact, I cut slits in the rim of the expansion cup, like pistol hollow points. Also, speed is more important to expansion than weight, which could be a contributing factor to the medial results from crow mags. Please try to get a low price on them. Also try to make something like the Pow’rball hollow points for some range. Happy new year. I get to pick up my new SW sigma .40VE today!!!
    Shadow express dude

  8. BB,
    I, too look forward to a blue blog. My Storm xt has some scrapes on the barrel from my last shroud. Happy new year. I can’t believe it but I was able to sleep in till 12 today. Also, how can you tell if your M1911 extractor is faulty?
    Shadow express dude

  9. B.B.,

    Happy New Year to you and Edith.

    Also, Happy New Year to all of you air gun Shooters out there.

    B.B. I’m very much looking forward to the announcements you will be giving us. This year has A promise of being A very good year on the air gun front.

    Can you tell us if the new powerplant pertains to PCP’s or Springers ?

    The new pellet you mentioned is something I’m looking forward to hearing about since most of my air gunning is hunting.

    BobC NJ

  10. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

    Yeah the choices seem endless…..been keeping an eye on what rifles that can use the gas spring. If springers are to continue on they need something new to compete against the affordable Disco PCP.

    Gamo whisper .22 with gas ram and perhaps add a GRT-III trigger would be nice. I'm sure, once again, the Disco would perhaps do better.

    Always good to wait for the new AGs to come out and then ask yourself -> Do I want new models with new gizmos or a deal on the older models?

  11. BB: Have you considered writing about disabled shooters? I became disabled this year and had to give up competitive tennis (or any active sport), so I took up target shooting after 40 years. I shoot a great .22 magnum rifle when I can get to a range, but I also set up an airgun range in my basement. For less than $100 I have a Crosman 1377 with shoulder stock (using the peep sight option) and a Crosman pellet trap. That’s all you need for hours of great shooting and practice. I can shoot sitting down, also, which is necessary for many disabled shooters. I’d like to see your comments.

  12. Bananas. I was hoping I did good on the R10, and that I could get my money out of it if I don’t like it.

    Oh well. At least I’ll get to try an interesting rifle.

    I don’t know if Wayne’s gonna be able to get me into PCP’s. We’ll see, but he’s gonna have his work cut out for him.

    Oh – and to the disabled shooter – if you ever want to step up to something more powerful, you can get a Do-All Traps .22 cal bullet box for about $40 if you shop around, and it’ll be a lot tougher than any Crosman, Daisy, Tech Force or Gamo trap you’ll ever buy. This thing is built to take .22LR, so a magnum airgun that will quickly destroy a typical pellet trap at close range will barely scratch this thing. And there’s no backstop material or ballistic curtains to replace.

  13. B.B.

    Happy New Year to you & Edith!

    An unusual question: I read somewhere and years back that people in New York City die every year on New Year's Eve from bullets fired into the air by revelers. Then someone else said, no, this is nonsense and an inner city myth because the velocity back down at street level would be too low. But I think that any velocity regained on the bullet's return would be close to the original muzzle velocity. That's assuming the bullet was fired straight up.

    What do you think?

    Joe B.

  14. Joe B.,

    Don’t need to think about that one. The U.S. Army demonstrated in World War 1 that bullets falling vertically hit a speed less than terminal velocity (due to winds resistance) when falling down after being fired vertically.

    Then the Mythbusters did a segment on it and learned the same thing.

    However, a high-angle shot will return with a lot more velocity – probably lethal.


  15. BB,
    Happy New Year. The new powerplant sounds like a tease, give us some details:). Discovery seems like a success by any measure. Leapers ought to make an Accu-Shot mount with one or two levels of droop compensation, also: I’m sure there is a market!

    Is the R10 more like an R1 or an R9? BB will shoot me for saying it, but the R9 looks like a pretty nice rifle, whereas the R1 just looks heavy.

    I think you were kidding, but I may just try a CO2 gun with a thermal control of some sort. It shouldn’t be too hard to keep the powerlets at 60 degree’s.

  16. SED,

    Okay, you stay on me about the blue, too, and I will do it. I’m a lazy, sloppy DIY’er.

    When the extractor is bad you get failures to feed, like what I showed in the Taurus articles. You may also get other jams like stovepipes, depending on what is wrong with it.


  17. Disabled shooter,

    The NRA had a very fine disabled shooting program for many years under the direction of Dave Baskin. Unfortunately, Dave is now retired and I haven’t heard about the program since.

    Beeman is the company to contact, because they have teamed with the CMP, I believe, for disabled shooters and airguns.

    I can’t write about it bvecause I know very little, but I welcome YOU as a guest blogger, if you are interested.

    Let me know and I will get you going.


  18. I was being serious about trying to keep a CO2 rifle warm. Assuming you start with the equipment at room temperatures and you can empty a rifle of its fill in about 30 minutes of target shooting– some sort of gently warming combined with insulation could work.

    On bitter cold days, I think I would still go with your Spring, PCP or the new Photon power plant B.B. is about to introduce.


  19. Happy New Year BB,

    I’m gonna weigh in on that new powerplant, even if you ain’t! The question was asked – PCP or Springer. I’m goin’ with PCP – not a lot of room for improvement with springers in the way of efficiency an you have ties to Crosman Discovery and Air Arms…..Goin’ a step further out on the limb, I’m thinking that Air Force would really sweeten the efficiency deal with a regulated HPA tank. The trick is regulated to what? I like 1350, but I’m already waaay out on that limb…

    2009 sounds like a good year.


  20. B.B.
    It was a great year in Air gunning.. thanks to you… The Disco will go down in history as a turning point for PCPs. The concept of open the package and shoot is still unheard of with any other PCP… and the lower fill pressure, is another break through, allowing way less pumping effort, or way more fills from a tank.

    Your idea to cut the frills like a mod and custom trigger was right on.. Price point is a must!! and you nailed it!! People can, and do customize it as they do most Crosman products..
    I’m with Volvo in that the walnut stocks, especially the later ones, got pretty shabby, BUT, I still like shabby better than plastic..(besides, it gets people to move up, and add an Air Arms to the stable), and the price makes a little shabby, OK, to me. just add a little elbow grease… They were probably really cranking them out to catch up with the orders.. This time around the suppliers should be more ready for the sure to be brisk sales for the new version.

    Boy, what a teaser you are.. you’ve really got me hanging on a new power source!! And to see what else comes from your brilliant mind this year..


    Don’t be silly…
    A third mortgage is fine, and, be sure to have the kids savings account attached as we agreed..
    Payments on the 5th of the month are fine as well.. the escrow will close tomorrow.. and the gun will ship as soon as PA gets them in… next August..you should have it half paid off by then..

    your next..

    You would think, since I don’t get paid for all this Air Arms sales work, I would at least get Chris or Stacy to pick out a nice stock for Kevin on the next order!!! Paul said “we can’t do that”, but then..maybe…. I’ll talk to Chris.. Pass it on whoever is reading who can get it done!!! Your the one who knows how hard I work here for Air Arms…

    And all the regulars also know… all too well, having to read it over, and over, and over again…

    See Vince,
    Just save yourself, your fellow readers, and me a whole lot of trouble and sign up with Kevin… now… you can save on escrow fees, and who knows you might get a real nice stock too!!!

    Slowly, I turn, step by step….

    The secret is; I learned it all from the master seller… Volvo…

    Ashland Air Rifle Range,
    and now mortgage co..

  21. How’s that for a convincing pitch?

    Still wanna sell the TX200? or HW-77?

    Nah.. keep them, and the R-7… sell the rest for the down payment and escrow fees.. sign quick it only hurts for a while..

    Ultimately, Accuracy is everything in airguns… just sign.. damn it!!

  22. Wayne,

    My Colombo technique to sales is nothing new.

    Speaking of which, and guessing you are all over this – the seed catalogs are coming fast and furious now.

    Seems they would go with raised beds like a hand in a glove.

    I know I bit on a Mantis tiller when the little card fell out of a catalog last year.

    Given the economy, a Victory Garden in every yard seems appropriate.

    Of course everyone will need an air rifle from PA to keep the pest at bay in order to enjoy the high yields 21st century gardening offers with a raised bed.



  23. B.B.,
    thanks for letting me know about what pellets the Diana 34 Panther likes.. I had read your report on the 34 (probably 5 times lol), but I just wasn’t sure if a rifle’s preference for a .177 pellet carries over to .22. Another lesson learned, thanks to you..

    ..But at the price of yet another question: Is there any rule of thumb for how long one can leave the spring compressed in an air rifle? (And if specificity matters, then I’m still wondering in context of the Diana 34 Panther, .22). I just honestly have no clue; I’ve never left one cocked for probably more than a minute before, but now that I’m thinking about some small critter hunting and pest elimination, I’m wanting to know how long I can go without giving myself away by cocking/firing.
    I honestly have no clue on this one; even just an order of magnitude (be it s or min) would be handy info.

    As always, thanks for puttin’ up with me..

  24. Volvo,

    Our master Gardener, Braxton, has a great idea I’ll reveal here.. A seed blanket the size of the bed ordered, that has heritage seeds that suit your area best. The blanket itself is organic food and shelter for the seeds, giving them a pretty good chance of doing well.

    And that’s one of the reasons I got started back into airguns.. At the mill here we have units of lumber all around, and the rats have a great place to hide and scurry after acorns. Josh brought in his benji .20 cal pumper.. and was popping them off quite nicely.. I tried it, and the open sights limited me with the old eyes.. as well as the 6 pumps per shot.. clapping before each shot an added bonus.. but really after the kill is more bettaaaa…

    So I found Pyramyd AIR online, and was so amazed at the selection, and service.. they, really do try to be helpful. and started with either the Mendoza RM200 or Avenger 1100… I can’t remember..
    They were a whole lot better for me with the 3-9x40AO leapers scopes.. Then we got Nate a RM-2000 7 shot .22 cal and 3-12×44 centerpoint.. he was really killing them…
    That was almost a full year ago..

    Like I said, as I moved into the desire to do Field Target, and start a course here on our 12 acs., again inspired by one of Toms blogs.. Accuracy becomes expensive… that’s the facts.. folks.. killing live rats is one thing. but the steel ones have a much smaller and well protected kill zone…

    TX200, HW97 or 77, and R-7 are in our plans now for the springer part of the inventory… then PCP starters get the Disco, then Air Arms 400 side lever, then s410 10 shot, side lever, then the EV2 and or the Mac I USFT and then… on with the show as they say…

    Ashland Air Rifle Range.

    Air Arms has read the blog and sent me and Email.. PA is getting the shipment of a lessor wholesaler, and Kevins’ and my stuff will be here on the 5th or so.. Thanks Paul.. and Tom for such a powerful system of Air gun fixes for our ever growing habit…

    PS All,
    Don’t forget to tell the wife that the air gun inventory, if shopped wisely, is worth more than the house in this new world economy…

    Volvo, our new sales manager, has it right,
    Gardening and natural pest control.. Airguning are one!!! and live rats, rabbits and starlings are just the start…
    then Toms Disco grabs you, and then…
    well… you get to be a “Wacky Wayne”

  25. B.B. & All,

    Something I left out, natural pest control is very, very important, if you think about it.. If you poison, then a pet.. or cool wild animal.. or bird might eat it, and die too..

    Shooting or Traps are best. We set up in places they run back and forth for food.. make it a social event, invite the neighbors.. share your victory garden with others, while your shooting….
    It's fun and safer in the long run.. Make it a bar-B-que?????

    Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Productive New Year, EVERYONE!

  26. EJ,

    RE: How long can you leave your springer cocked without doing harm

    EJ, B.B. did an article on this very subject. There’s an enormous amount of information on this site accessible by using the search function. No over 1,000 article’s by B.B. and probably 30,000+ comments that are also loaded with good information. In the meantime, here’s a link to B.B.’s article on leaving a springer cocked:


    The best to you. Enjoy the airgunning world. A lot of it is right here.


  27. BG_Farmer, as I understand it the R10 was a trimmer version and lighter version of the R1, and the R9 was an attempt to make the R10 cheaper.

    I do like the construction of the R10, the rear spring retainer with the trigger assembly screws into the rear of compression tube. But I can see how this adds weight and manufacturing costs. I suspect that I’ll end up disappointed with the power – while the spring is fairly stout the powerplant has a short stoke of about 3.3″. Hopefully I’ll be finding out in a few days.

    EJ, My ’34 in .22 likes CPHP’s just fine. Then again, I haven’t tried any real expensive pellets in it.

    BB, now that I’ve got a gun with a real Rekord trigger in it I think I’m gonna do a detailed comparison with the BAM pseudo-copy found in the B20/B26. Would that be passable material for a guest blog?

  28. Volvo,
    Temperature control and insulation around the CO2 cartridge is a good idea…storage in a warm place is no problem. I’ve seen those mittens that heat your hands with battery power (there are socks as well, I think); they must have some small heating element and controller I could scavenge.

    The R10 sounds interesting…the fame and praise you get from a writeup might make that $265 seem trivial:).

    How do I estimate population/space for a cold frame? I want to do a small batch (maybe 1000) of tomato and pepper plants.

  29. BG_Farmer,

    HHMMMM… That sounds like a nice order… call me asap.. we have a sale going on now..
    In a cold frame as starters, you will still need about four 4’x24’x11″ high.. economy grade or standard? You can get some of our proto-type cold frames this month..

    But then, you’ll need a lot more raised garden beds, when you transplant them all!! I’ll have to bring the flatbed..

    You really are a farmer!!


  30. Thanks Vince
    “Just fine” and ‘nothing expensive’ are music to my ears : )

    And thanks to kevin for the link.
    Though, by the way, I have found the answers to at least a dozen other of my own questions reading B.B.’s blog and using the search feature. So I’m rather vexed (and quite embarrassed) that I somehow missed that blog entry. If I’ve squandered anyone’s previous efforts or current time with stupid questions those instances weren’t intentionally so.

  31. JC,
    Been thinking the new CR PCP should include a regulator.

    You may be on to something. No doubt it will also be a lower powered or selectable power. A repeater woould be a bonus… but B.B. does not like repeaters.

    Photon power plant? Don’t be silly.

    This is the age of hydrogen power. The new gun will run off hydrogen fuel cells and double as emergency power supply for your car.

    Sorry for that… HAPPY NEW YEAR.


  32. Vince,

    My friend, no one is more well-suited to review the similarities and differences between the real Rekord and the BAM copy than you. You have taught me so much about Chinese spring guns over the past year that I can’t wait to see what you will say about these two triggers.

    Take several chapters if you need to. I want to sit back with the rest of the readers and see what you can tell us!


  33. BG_Farmer, Volvo and anybody who is interested,

    A friend of mine actually tried the electric sox around the CO2 rifle trick in cold weather in Maryland. He got a good first shot, but the velocity tailed off very fast. We concluded that he didn’t have enough electric sox, because the barrel wasn’t wrapped. Since the CO2 gas had to expand in the barrel, it was cooling the gas too fast and slowing the gun down.

    As I recall, the gun did recover after a while, but it dropped fast the second time, too, and he gave up.


  34. EJ,

    You never need to apologize about not finding something using the blog search function. There have been times when I could not find the reports I knew I wrote and had to have them pointed out to me by readers who knew where they were. And I have access to a far better search function than anyone else.


  35. Vince, I also have a .177 R-10, the delux version from Beeman, that was purchased new in the eighties. I would like to see you do a guest blog on the R-10. Mine is also a little buzzy and likes, of all things, Crow magnum pellets and CPH. It does about 850 fps with the Crow magnum pellets, and has never been opened up or tuned. It has had more than 10 thousand pellets through it, mostly the ones mentioned above. BTW, I paid about what you did for your rifle. IT was bought new, direct from Beeman, with no scope, just iron sights. Happy New year BB and everyone, Robert.

  36. RE: Searching Blog

    I agree BB’s blog contain a lot of answers. He has answered many questions multiple times.

    Here is my trick to searching the blogs. Search BB’s blogs using his search function. In this case use phrase “springer cocked”. On the results page (5 hits) change the “blogurl:” to “site:”. Then use the “search the web” button (which only searches BB’s blogs). You now get 7 hits to phrase.

    Don’t understand why, but the “site:” search yields more hits.


  37. RE: new powerplant

    First I have nothing but a guess -Liquid CO2 into breech.

    The liquid would quickly convert to gas with fairly high pressure throughout the time the pellet spends in the barrel. The whole barrel would be a heat sink so it wouldn’t cool off quickly. You should be able to take multiple shots. Since all of the liquid would go to gas, the overall efficiency would be very good.

    Such an arrangement would be noisy since there would quite a “puff” of CO2 exiting the barrel. You’d need a shrouded barrel to make it fairly quiet.

    Any more guesses for new power plant?


  38. Guys, guys,

    I didn’t mean for this to become a contest.

    This new powerplant is very early. It will be 18 months to two years before we see anything, if we ever do.

    As soon as I am able I will tell you about it, but don’t look for anything before 2011.


  39. Just came back from Florida; I miss it already. Happy new year to everyone.
    Can I have one small hint about the new pcp, I would imagine you have received a prototype. Fill pressure? I am so close to buying a pcp and this is a deciding factor…please?
    Thanks bb,
    John from jersey

  40. Jersey John,

    I haven’t seen the new Benjamin PCP yet, but Benjamin would be committing marketplace Hari Kiri if they used any fill pressure higher than 2,000.

    As soon as the SHOT Show opens (Jan. 15), I will report on it (Jan. 16th).


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