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Do pellets spiral?

Today’s blog comes from the November 1995 issue of The Airgun Letter.


A conversation with another airgunner triggered the start of an investigation into pellet ballistic characteristics. He said he was getting some shifting groups, left to right, at different ranges. His rifle is a TX200 shooting 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers. As you will see, velocity isn’t an issue (although it could be a cause).

His question prompted me to examine some targets I shot with a Daystate Huntsman. The groups I got using 7.9-grain Premiers also shifted from left to right at different ranges. Additionally, the height of the groups centers differs from the expected trajectory for that pellet at the velocity I was shooting.

I can think of two reasons for what seems to be happening. Either the wind is moving the groups or else the pellet is traveling down range in a spiral path. I ruled out the wind because of the tightness of the groups and because the wind was under 3 mph on the day they were shot. That leaves spiraling as the most likely culprit–assuming I am right in my suspicions. For the sake of discussion, let’s say I’m right and the pellets are spiraling.

The only thing I can think of that would cause spiraling is an unstable (yawing) pellet that precesses around its axis in the direction of the spin. If you have ever seen a washing machine become unbalanced on the the spin cycle and hop around the floor in a certain pattern, you have witnessed the phenomenon of precession.

That bullets can precess has been known for over a century. I believe it was discovered very shortly after elongated bullets were first used in rifled barrels, years ago, I read an article in The American Rifleman about a test on the brush-bucking ability of a .30 cal. bullet. Once stability was disturbed, the bullet began to precess in the direction of twist in an ever-increasing spiral. Of course, that test is not the same thing I’m discussing here, as the instability there was induced mechanically down range by the bullet striking a broomstick rather than yaw at the muzzle. But it does show that bullets can travel in a spiral path.

Bullets (and pellets) can be made unstable by their twist. Varmint shooters are aware that thin-jacketed bullets have been known to explode in flight from the centrifugal force of their spin. And tumbling, or more probably precession coupled with pronounced yawing, is well-known from the early days of the M-16’s development. I remember that a rifleman had little chance of hitting a man-sized target at 300 yards with early M16 rifles. The bullet design/twist rate combination had not been worked out correctly during that time.

With a right-hand twist, the precession spiral would be clockwise. I would also expect the spiral to enlarge as the pellet gets further from the muzzle.

I’m not too concerned about what causes this thing, if it’s happening. As a shooter, I’m more concerned about not using a pellet that does it. The causes for instability/precession are too numerous to discuss in just one blog. I have, however, drawn a picture of one thing that could cause precession to start. I don’t say it’s happening this way, but it might. The pellet could be yawing from instability as it leaves the barrel, causing an area of low pressure to form behind the skirt, where it sticks out in the the air stream. This low pressure causes uneven drag, which starts the pellet precessing about its axis. None of this is new, of course; it has been discussed in the literature for over a century.


What may be new, or at least a rethinking of an old problem, is the ease with which an airgun pellet might be induced to precess. The drag on an airfoil increases with the square of the velocity, I believe. That’s why the “sound barrier” presents such a problem to powered flight. Unless the flight surfaces are correct for transonic airflow, the increase in drag can literally tear apart an airplane.

Of course, bullets and pellets don’t tear as easily as airplanes, but they are affected by the increase in a drag. If a pellet were tilted on its axis, relative to the direction of travel, the drag on it would have to be uneven and the amount of uneven drag would grow quickly as velocity increases.

Okay–so what does all this toffee-nosed drivel mean to real airgunners? It means that even if you correctly adjust your scope for trajectory, there’s still a big chance you won’t hit that half-inch kill-zone at 15 yards. Not because you’re too high or too low, but because you are too left or too right! If you’re throwing a spiral and your pellet isn’t centered on the line of sight at the range you expect it to be, you could miss.

All I’m doing here is reporting on a phenomenon, which may or may not be happening. I don’t know if it is. I’m speculating, based on a small observation. Others I’ve talked to have either seen this same thing, or they think they may have read something about it somewhere. Do you think some pellets spiral?

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.

100 thoughts on “Do pellets spiral?”

  1. I have 'seen' spiraling while looking through the scope when shooting a PCP under the right lighting conditions. It might be more accurate to say the glint of the pellet was printed on my retina, and it was a spiral.

  2. B.B.,

    If precession is happening on a routine basis how do the Field Target shooters hit the kill zone at 55 yards?

    I used some Hornaday SX bullets, designed for .222 velocities, in some 22-250 loads 40 years ago. They never made it to the 100 yard target. If the light was right I could see a gray streak going down range, but if memory serves me right, it was in a straight line.

    Herb, Janet Henson, are you folks still out there and what do you think about this topic?

    Mr B.

  3. B.B.
    I have seen this too.

    I fixed the problem with my Talons by recrowning the barrels.

    Must have been a flaw at the crowns that tipped the pellet on exit and started the corkscrew.


  4. B.B.,

    As I looked at the grouping patterns at various distances, the first thing that jumped into my mind that might cause right to left shift at various ranges was scope cant. What do you think?


  5. Seems like something that a good camera ought to be able to pick up without too much trouble. No need for the fancy high-speed stuff, a long exposure would show the track if the lighting was correct.

  6. Eric…
    Canting causes predictable results at different ranges with pellets that are NOT spiralling.
    Spiralling behaves differently.
    Canting causes a continuous drift to the left or right with an increase in distance.
    Spiralling causes poi to shift left, right, up , and down from what the poi SHOULD be when you change distance.


  7. Morning All,

    I don't anything about this stuff… but it seems that the shape of the pellet is the key..

    B.B.s drawing shows a sharp edged pellet, The round nosed JSB do hit the 3/4" kill zone at 50 yards… over and over… NO SHARP CORNERS FOR DISTANCE SHOOTING..

    TEN METER OK.. clean holes on targets is good.. and I think with the slow feet per second it doesn't matter much..

    And of course as two talon says, the barrel has to be properly crowned of nothing else matters..

    just my guess..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  8. Ballistics software shows a 7.9 gn 0.023 BC pellet with 950ft/s muzzle will deflect 1" at 40 yards with a 3mph crosswind.

    I would argue that you must shoot indoors or in an "air gun reporter" style tent to remove that the wind variable.

    Additionally, the groups could be due to parallax being set incorrectly or the adjustment markings on the scope not being calibrated for actual distance.

    The springer you mentioned could have different cant as the spring decompresses.

    And how would a choked barrel alter the dynamics if (a) the choke was working and (b) the choke had lead in the rifling.

    There's certainly a lot of conditions to control before this conclusion can be proved!

  9. B.B. and all….

    Let's throw an extra monkey wrench in the works…

    Pellet shoots good in calm air, but corkscrews above a certain wind speed. Wind speed to start corkscrew varies with different kinds of pellets shot at different speeds.

    Looks like crosswind blows the pellet off it's rotational axis in relation to direction of travel and starts a combination of wind drift and corkscrew.

    I find that my TSS in .177 shooting cph at around 840 fps holds best accuracy in windy conditions until the wind gets above a certain point, at which time allowing for drift is no longer good enough…..the accuracy falls apart. Everything else I have shot falls apart at noticeably lower wind speeds, including the other heavy pellets of similar weight.


  10. Wayne…
    Looks like the shape of the pellet has a distinct effect on causing this to be better or worse.

    I have shot some pellets in calm air and have gotten very good groups, but with just a little wind they go crazy.

    A bit of leading at the muzzle could be equated to a bad crown. If cleaning fixes the problem then then that was the cause.
    BUT shoot in calm air for the comparison.


  11. Ok BB
    Do to the fact that it is summer, and you have been writing about air pistols.Searching I went! Man, what a daunting task to find the right gun. Rifled barrel vs smooth bore, blow back vs non blow back etc. etc.Man what a night mare. Well I went out and bought a C11. Nice gun, but really does not wow me.I have decided after reading your comments about the Umarex Makarov pistol has made me pull the tigger and order one. I really do not care so much for the blow back on some of the guns as I feel this is over rated. I looking for a nice starter air pistol, and the Mak seems the way to go. Accuracy over whatever. I took your advice on the Baikal 61, and have never looked back. I hope I will feel the same way for the Mak.


  12. Dave,

    As long as the plastic is out and warm, don't overlook the Desert Eagle pellet pistol. It is superbly accurate. It also has blowback. It is a gas hog, but many shooters find the tradeoff acceptable.

    You're gonna LOVE the Mak!


  13. Wayne and twotalon,

    I think that together you've answered the question about the causes of the spiraling pellets: their shape, velocity and wind.

    Good job gentlemen.

    Mr B.

  14. Mr. B

    Basic profile of the pellet is not the only thing about the shape of the pellet…
    The symmetry of each individual pellet comes into play…
    Inconsistency in balance…remember they are partly hollow. Out of balance like a tire that has not been balanced will wobble …like the washing machine example that Tom gave.
    Surface flaws that cause inconsistent air flow over the pellet.
    Uneven or bent skirt that does not break cleanly from the muzzle.

    We call these "bad pellets". Poor accuracy with quite a few fliers.

    When you look through a fairly strong scope with the sun at your back, you will see them inconsistently loop. There is no way to tell where they will land on the target.
    A pellet that is looping for reasons other than pellet defects tend to throw pellets into fairly consistent groups that are in the wrong place on the target for the distance shot.


  15. One final comment on the pellet itself…..
    Poor fit to the bore…particularly at the muzzle.

    If the head fits loose to the bore, then the pellet is already flopping around before it exits the muzzle. The pellet is looping inside the barrel and will continue to do so in the air unless a choke or a tight fit (by accident) at the muzzle does not straighten it out.

    This is one thing that really tightens my jaws. So many pellets that have a small head size for the cal they are supposed to be, and the oversize bores for the cal they are supposed to be.
    Makes it difficult to find a good pellet for some rifles.


  16. B.B.,
    I was surprised not to find a review of the Hamerli Razor. It looks like it keeps coming up in comments (mainly from Vince) and seems like it has a nice trigger and good power. Can I please ask for a review in .22 cal? I know you'll never test em all, but figured it never hurts to ask!

  17. Fused, I'm fairly certain that the Norica-built Hammerli Razor is merely a variant of the Norica Marvic, which was also sold as the Beeman GS1000. I'm also quite sure that this is the gun that the AR1000 copies.

    I had a Norica made Beeman S1, an earlier variant of the GS1000 that which shares a great many parts with the GS1000, including the trigger. At that time I also had an AR1000, and found that the guns were almost identical – including the trigger, cylinder bore, and almost all construction details. The S1 had a slightly shorter piston stroke and compression tube. At one point (while troubleshooting inaccuracies in the AR1000) I put the S1's barrel on the AR1000, and it fit perfectly.

    So what it comes down to is this – a good-running AR1000 variant (like the TF89, Hammerli Titan, Walther Force 1000, and the multitude of Beeman-badged variants) is probably going to perform very much like the Razor. I suspect that the BIG difference is going to be in quality control – I'm guessing that the Spanish gun might be more consistent.


  18. i have seen the pellets spiral in the scope of my condor. i was shooting beeman silver ace pellets in .22 at about 850 fps at an old camper that was white with the sun at my back. i was about 70 yards away and could see the pellet very easly in flight all the way to the target. the silver aces did about 3 to 4 spirals on its way, that was about 8 inches in diameter. i was never able to get the pellets to group befor and knew why now. i tryed several other pellets at the trailor and kodiaks went strait, cp's and some others. but the worst pellet i have ever had was the ace. i have always thought that the pellets that do not spin on their axis end up spiraling to some degree and that affect their accuracy.

  19. BB

    I saw the pellets from a Diana 60 spiral on the way to the target. This occoured as the seal was crumbling and velocity fell off (later determined). The range was about 20 yards. The pellets appeared to be going CCW along the sighting axis.


  20. In an earlier comment, I mentioned that I can see my pellets spiraling out on their way to a 40-yard target. This is "non-torque induced" precession, (as opposed to the gyroscopic effect of torque-induced precession).

    Spinning projectiles are subject to a number of course-altering vectors. Precession is common, and can be induced by a variety of factors. Slight inconsistencies in the density of the lead, and non-uniform surface iregularities are two common causes. (so changing brands, and watching for surface defects, may help). Any pitch or yaw during flight can bring on degrees of "Magnus effect". This is the generation of high and low pressure areas above and below spinning baseballs that cause them to sink and curve. It's normally not a problem until the projectile's rotational axis starts to deviate from its trajectory.

    High-quality pellets, (consistent density, clear, smooth, surfaces with no pock-marks, perfectly uniform shape), should fly straighter. Also, I suspect that certain pellet and barrel combinations will have less precession, (although I have not yet had time to try any), and, since the effect varies with rotational speed, in some cases, lower velocity may be better than faster, and lower twist-rates may be preferable for certain rifles.

  21. As an avid archer I have seen many shots spiral around, but because I mainly shoot at the same distance, I don't experience any accuracy issues. I assume that the same effect translates into pellets and bullets.

  22. Jane is back! Terrific. I'm still skeptical of the spiralling phenomenon as a contributor for the following reason. Precession of the pellet strikes me as being largely independent of the bore because if it were the bore, the pellets would be spiraling uniformly, and if someone could make a bore that uniform why not build it to eliminate spiralling?

    This implies to me that the pellets are not precessing in exactly the same way. That's to say that the precession rate is not the same for each pellet and for those cases where it is the axis is not pointing in the same direction at a given distance towards the target. This being the case, how could spirals large enough to cause trajectory diameters of several inches at, say, 50 yards allow groups of much smaller size, say 1.5 inches? The vision is of time lapse photography showing a large spiralling tunnel downrange. At any given distance, the group size should be as large as the width of the spiral. But according to the spiralling theory, the tunnel happens to be pinched together wherever someone decides to shoot a group as if the pellets knew to all rush together in a group at exactly the right moment. So how about that? >:-)

    Something about the spiralling theory doesn't quite add up.

    I'm more in favor of parallax and a non-optically centered scope as the culprits–as someone mentioned. I still haven't figured out these concepts, but B.B. did say that a non-optically centered scope will shift right and left as you correct for elevation at different distances. This would seem to produce the pattern of groups through a much simpler explanation.

    On another subject, I wonder if there is such a thing as interference between guns. I had my first full wring out session with the IZH 61 last night, and it shot at least as well as it ever has. All the credit to Mike Melick who threw in a tune of my rifle in addition to fixing it at no extra charge! Whatever my bad luck has been with firearms/airguns, I have really lucked out with my tuners, Rich Imhoff and Mike Melick. Anyway, I find that the B30 is not shooting so sharp all of a sudden. The difference is very small and perhaps due to my sample size.


  23. b.b. (or anyone). The barrel Lothar barrel of my 853 Avanti is crowned. In one of the above posts it is suggested that crowning helps eliminate spiralling.
    The question is…are all barrels that tout themselves as 'target' (as Gamo claims for the Compact) crowned?
    Is there an easy way to find out if a barrel is crowned?
    I know that at 10m my Slavia (CZ) 630 can easily put 5 shots within 1/4 inch…would it be crowned?
    CowBoyStar Dad

  24. CSD
    Nearly all barrels are crowned. I have seen a couple that were simply cut off….and they only shot in the general direction of where they were pointed.

    If the pellets are spiralling and the CAUSE is a bad crown (or no crown), then a good recrown can fix it…..BUT…
    If the pellets are bad or don't fit right, then a recrown will not do it. You have to fix ALL the problems.

    Looks to me like a bad crown causes good pellets with a good fit that are shot at the right velocity to get kicked off axis the same way right at the muzzle and loop about the same way to the target. Bad pellets, bad fit, wrong velocity cause pellets to loop randomly and produce shotgun patterns.


  25. I wanted to buy a Crosman NITRO..

    I need it for rabbit hunting and small game hunting in general. I want to get the quietest caliber and the most accurate accurate caliber(if one caliber is both?)

    which one would you get B.B a .177 or a .22 NITRO? and which one is quietest?

    Thank You.

  26. TwoTalon,

    My understanding is that any deformation to the muzzle will degrade the uniformity at which gases escape and cause inaccuracy. I don't know that there are any good ways to nick the muzzle, but if there were, you could just make a sight correction and would not need to recrown.

    What is a crown anyway? My theory is that it is some procedure, independent of the regular barrel-making process, to make the rim of the muzzle as uniform as possible. I thought for awhile that it is the way the middle of the muzzle is sunk in from the outer diameter. But I now think that the latter is a "recessed target crown" which is just another way to protect the muzzle.

    Also, if anyone has figured out how blackpowder shooters can get the extraordinary accuracy I've heard of while hammering at the muzzle with loading rods, do let me know.


  27. B.B.,
    I thought of an interesting exercise. What about comparing/contrasting the original Spanish model of the Hammerli Razor against the Chinese knockoff (sorry, I mean redesign) of the Beeman Heavy Target Rifle? The direct comparison would be very interesting to me and hopefully others. What do we get for our money if anything by buying the original?

  28. Matt 61
    You do not have to gouge the muzzle to cause a problem. The crown may not have been machined concentric to the line of the bore, or there may be a burr caused by the crowning process.
    A sight adjustment is worthless for fixing spiralling unless you shoot at the same distance all the time. If spiralling is random enough and bad enough, then the accuracy will be so bad that you won't be able to tell if it is zeroed or not.

    The purpose of a crown is to get the very end of the bore clean and concentric so that the bullet (or pellet) is released perfectly, and so that escaping gasses will flow uniformly around the projectile. In short, nothing at the muzzle pushes the projectile off it's axis or moves it's axis away from the axis of the bore.

    A crown could be cut at any angle, or recessed as deeply as you want. There is some controversy as to what angle and how deep of cut gives best accuracy.
    A deeper crown protects the muzzle in case the rifle is dropped or the muzzle shoved into something abrasive.

    In the case of muzzle loaders, the constant beating of the muzzle with a ramrod will eventually bell out the muzzle and the accuracy will diminish. A cut and crown will restore accuracy. If you value a muzzle loader that shoots exceptionally well, you use a ramrod with a muzzle protector.


  29. Matt61
    Also with muzzle loaders, you are shooting a big chunk of lead with a lot of inertia. Much harder to bump off couse than a small , light pellet.
    You can still get a bit of looping, but nothing much unless you shoot at very long range.


  30. Fused, actually a comparison with a TF89, Hammerli Titan, or Walther Force 1000 would be better – the configurations (weight, sights) might be optimal.

    I have a TF89 and a Force 1000, but no Razor. 'At's a shame… I could do a real side-by-side teardown and analysis like I did with the Rekord trigger and the BAM copy a while back.

    Anybuddy gots a Razor I kin borrow??? 🙂

  31. Vince,
    Maybe you could send your 89 to B.B. he could do the first part comparison of performance etc. then he could send them both back to you for the teardown. I think the combination of you two would be very interesting! Don't mean to volunteer either one of you, just speaking up.

  32. To Matt:

    I could agree that bore does not impart precession only if it is a perfect bore. If at any point, it alters the surface or shape of the projectile, (non-uniformly), then it will contribute to vector forces altering the trajectory.
    I do agree that precession can be consistent. The guys "down the hall" from me can calculate precession and estimate POI fairly well.
    If the irregularity causing the spiraling is consistent, then the spiraling will be consistent, and a rifle could deliver 2-inch groups, even with an 8-inch spiral.
    I swear my Infinity does this – the spiral I see appears much larger than the groups I can get, (a non-scientific observation, of course). It does mean, however, that sighting in at various distances means much more than compensating for drop – you also have to adjust for where in the spiral you are for each distance.

    Shooting in a cross-wind is a whole different animal. In addition to the "side force" of the wind moving the pellet, even a perfectly stable projectile, if spinning, will succumb to magnus effect in a cross-wind. This can cause the bullet to rise, (ie, drop slower), sink, or veer abritrarily off course. Wind is not consistent, golfers hate it.

    If someone could remind me which pellet was recomended for me to try instead of the EunJins, it would be much appreciated…

    Best regards,
    Jane Hansen

  33. Mr B,
    I'm trying to keep up to date on the blog when I came across your comment on the 15th about my Alaska trip. I'm currently in Homer, Alaska (I tell you WiFi in motels is great) on the Kenai peninsula after being on the road since the 1st of July. I went Halibut fishing off Homer Spit this afternoon and caught my limit (two). Unfortunately they only weighed 21 lb together after being filleted. On the way I stopped at the Anchorage Harley Davidson dealer to change my oil since I've ridden 5,500 miles so far. They were booked but gave me the tools and oil pan to change it myself in their parking lot. I felt better doing it myself anyway. Be here one more day then head for Seward then Valdez then Haines to catch the ferry to Belingham, Wash. before heading back in a homeward direction. Thanks for asking…one heck of a trip!!! Visited Denali National Park but there are 60 forest fires in the area and everything is too smokey to see.

  34. Jane……
    An afterthought….
    If you are shooting pointed pellets, try the domed. They may still loop, but not as badlt.

    Since you have a consistent loop, I would suspect that you have a problem like I had with two of my walther barrels…something at the muzzle.
    It took one recrown to fix the .22 18" barrel and two recrowns to fix the .177 12" barrel….just needed to get a few thousanths deeper to fix the short one.


  35. Jane…
    As an after..after thought…..
    If you have a snag at the breech end of the barrel, then this could be doing it…putting a ding in the pellet at the same spot every time. Could be at the air transfer port (if your rifle is made that way) or a sharp edge on the rifling cutting the pellet. It would need to be lapped out.

    A couple possiblities for you.


  36. Jane Hansen,

    I think twotalon is correct. The Kodiaks are the pellets for you to try.


    What procedure did you use to recrown your barrels?


    What a trip man! I'm smiling with you. I stopped riding my Beemer when we started a family.

    Mr B.

  37. Mr. B.

    Now how did I know that someone would ask about that????

    First of all, you should not just jump right into cutting or crowning a barrel.
    You should do everything you can to see if you even need to, and that this is the last resort.
    Push a tight fitting pellet through the bore from the breech end. Feel how it moves through the bore. Check for rough or tight spots. Pay particular attention to the muzzle end…this should be the tightest spot. Look at the engraving on the head and skirt of the pellet for anything that looks like a gouge or anything that looks like a bad land mark compared to the rest of the marks.
    Remember….this is the last resort. It's also possible that the barrel may need to be lapped to clean up a bad spot.

    The indications you get on the target should point this way in the first place..after ruling out a multitude of other problem sources.

    Now on to the procedure…

    I chucked the barrel in my lathe. Used a very sharp cutter to square off the end of the barrel just far enough to completely remove the old crown.
    Cutting started from the center of the bore and working out in very light passes.

    Next the end of the barrel was cleaned up with an oil stone. Light , flat contact and repeatedly reversing lathe rotation until the end of the barrel was well polished and very sharp. At this point all the fuzzies from the cutting process are removed. It takes a lot of time to do this.

    Lapping in the crown…

    3/8" steel ball (slingshot ammo from Wallyworld) epoxied to the end of a 4" piece of aluminum arrow shaft. Makes manipulation easier.

    Fine lapping compound…I used JB Bore Brite. Dab of compound on the steel ball. Moderate speed on the lathe. Light pressure on the ball. Moving the end of the aluminum shaft around to keep from lapping a groove into the ball. Repeatedly reversing direction on the lathe to keep down the fuzzies (every minute or so).
    Check once a minute to see how far the lap has progressed. Add more compound and continue until you have clearly lapped into the grooves all the way around the muzzle.


    You have a concave crown that is clean and sharp. Accuracy is fantastic compared to what it was before, and no looping…..provided that this was the ONLY problem.


  38. I am new to airgun and I have been reading this blog and found a wealth of information and learned a lot. Thank you everyone.

    Related to this topic, there is a demonstration at "Air Rifle Links and Demos". Check it out:

    They also have other flash base demonstration which I found very useful.


  39. Mr B,
    My trip reports are probably not appropriate for an air gun blog :} However, I am having a ball!!! I really miss my guns though. Hey, maybe on the way back home I could cut through Ashland, Ore and get a fix at Wayne's. Wouldn't that be too cool? It's only 500 miles off of my intended route. Oh well, maybe it would make a nice road trip in 2010.

    Wayne, what is the address of your range and what are your operating days/hours?

    Before I left home I set my DVR to record all the Sunday Airgun shows. I can't wait to get home to see them. I attached a battery backup UPS to the DVR recorder in case there was a power failure while I'm gone. I did my best. Else I can hope for a series 1 DVD. But wait there's more! If you act now we'll include a bottle of Pelgun oil and a sleeve of Raptors for only $19.95!!!


  40. CJr

    We are not open to the public yet… but your totally welcome..
    We are still setting up the 10' high fence and covered sight in area.

    We do have plenty of room and targets ready to play with.
    We could also go the big boy range and shoot some firearms too! ..so..

    .. COME ON DOWN! We are on I-5 at exit 11, just 11 miles north of California, at the base of Mt. Ashland. Call me 541-552-1441 and I'll give directions.

    I really look forward to meeting you!

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  41. CJr,

    … the hours are 24/7 ( just kidding, and we live here)… I might be at the firearm range 4/4.. but, not to worry, LLC. members are usually here 24/7.. having fun while on patrol so to speak..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  42. B.B.

    I've been looking at airsofts (AEG) on the Pyramyd site and came across an article you did on the UTG M4 a couple years ago. The article mentioned you might do a follow-up piece on the gun. Any thoughts on this model or similiar guns one might look at.

    Also, I noticed in the past you normally don't like AR-15 style guns. Curious to know is it the 5.56 round or something about the design and function of the rifle?


  43. CJr.

    Now you have to stop by and back me up on this report.. cause most won't believe me..

    Pretty windy today, but I wanted to test coconut oil on JSB 10.3 heavy in the wind.. I GOT MY WISH 🙂
    I used my .177 AAs410 on full power … I loaded up 7 mags with pretty wet coconut oiled pellets…

    The stuff gets solid below 70 degrees, which makes them nicer to handle. But either way, if you don't want to keep them in an ice chest this time of year, then no matter the oil is good for your hands and the gun!

    We put it on toast and cook with it .. as well as dry hands and body .. Chris uses it to remove make-up.. of course not after it's been in the pellets… so maybe wiping on a paper towel is in order after loading the mags..

    Anyway, back to the groups at 70 yards .. weather report "

    249 PM PDT SAT JUL 18 2009

    5 TO 10 MPH.

    Our place is 1,200 feet higher than the Medford airport and our trees were moving more like gusts of 25 mph

    I had set up a cedar deck chair on top of a couple of 3x4x11" planters, on top of a makeshift deck of fence panels
    .. when the dogs run by the whole thing shakes.. Perfect for a real life test!!!

    70 yards away (now I can shoot over the fence) to a group of 2×6 scrap boards nailed to the ridge of a shed we just put up.. (I made it a high priority and no one knew why… until… now..)

    Timing, Timing, Timing.. that's the way I shoot.. I don't know about you, but I'm a wanderer.. I just "try" to get to know my paths.. and direct them as best possible..
    Then, time the crossing of the target and the cross hairs..

    So, this is not a bench rest test, but an average of me doping the wind and distance, for the gun was zeroed at 20 yards.

    This meant a holdover of 1 mark on the ZOS 10-40×60 E-SF and 2- 1/2 marks to the left.. (in-between the wind gusts)..

    When I figured that out, and the dogs were off the rickety deck.. I'd shoot.. and the average was 1-3/4" – 10 shot groups.

    Some of the 1" shootNsee dots had 5 pellets with none on the outside, and I stopped and moved to the next one… "afeared" I do declare!! In a bench rest.. that would have been the average!!!

    I'll leave it all set-up for you to give it a try CJr!!

    PS.. for those wondering why I don't just go down to our range.. My head phone won't let me go that far from the base phone.. so when on phone sales duty, I can be outside shooting up to 70 yards.. now :-).. in the shade of the oak tree near our new water feature.. with soon to be real deck!!

    Wacky Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

    Wayne Burns
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  44. I have a question; I'm hoping someone here can answer it – I have a gun that holds CO2, but won't shoot the pellet out. When the trigger is pulled, there is just an explosion of CO2 gas from the back of the gun. Do you know what may be wrong with it?
    My gun is pretty old, its a Crosman 1861 and I've already replaced the end seal (the one sealing the cartridge).

  45. Wayne you temp me. I'd love to stop by and give you credibility. Lord knows you don't get the credibility you deserve on this blog 🙂 I have four days to get from Belingham, Wash. to Peoria, Illinois before heading for a fishing trip north of Kenora, Ontario. That's 2,200 miles home and another 900 to Kenora. (Un)fortunately the Kenora trip is by car. An extra 500 to your place don't sound like much but my butt says it's like a million. Actually, I have made provisions, last June I left my fishing tackle at the fishing resort, so that if I can't make it home in time I can ride straight to resort on my motorcycle. Some day Wayne, some day!!!


  46. Jane, thanks for your interesting response, but from my point-of-view, the troubles with spiralling just keep mounting. As I indicated in responding to TwoTalon earlier, my assumption is that any deformation to the bore would not just alter the projectile path but generally degrade performance. Could there be an irregularity in the bore that causes pellets to precess off-axis but in precisely the same way? I'll admit that I know very little of what goes on in the bore. The numbers for rotation rate of the pellet, thousands of degrees of heat and so on are beyond my comprehension. If you trust your friends down the hall on this, I am inclined to as well.

    However, supposing that you had a very smooth irregularity like a slight deviation from a circular curvature of the barrel, what happens when pellets start hitting it with different weights and velocities? Surely, the precession rate will be different in response.

    Once out of the guiding contours of the barrel another effect takes over. My sense is that precession is a degenerate phenomenon based on the analogy of a spinning top. I never did figure out a serious treatment of this phenomenon on classical dynamics classes with all of the matrices. But it's clear enough that once a spinning top starts to precess, the whole motion will fall apart pretty rapidly. Assuming a pellet is precessing enough to create an 8 inch diameter spiral at 50 yards can we still suppose it is maintaining its spiral without tumbling? I don't have any scientific evidence one way or the other but this doesn't seem plausible.

    Supposing that the spiral did hang together, things get weirder yet. An 8 inch diameter spiral at 50 yards becomes a 16 inch spiral at 100 yards, almost a yard wide at 200 yards. Before it hits the ground at 500 yards, you would be able to ride your bike through it. (My apologies to long-time readers who have heard me say this before.) Do pellets really behave like this? Let's say that I'm depressed… I knew that I wasn't shooting laser beams and had figured on the effect of gravity but giant corkscrews? Moreover, surely gravity would operate on a large spiral, so you would have ellipsoidal corkscrews!

    To be continued.


  47. And the exciting sequel….

    One quick way to check this is to examine the behavior of bullets with firearms. I believe B.B.'s source for the spiralling business is the book The Bullet's Flight From Powder to Target by the incomparable Frank Mann which is based on observations of firearms. High power velocities are a factor of 3 greater than airguns, so still in the ballpark. If, as a rough estimate, we reduce the spiral diameters of high power bullets by 1/3, you will still get an enormous spiral for 1000 yard shooting which I have never heard mentioned. Moreover, you would not just have to correct laterally, you would also have to correct for elevation for a spiral that big. The ballistic charts should show bumps to reflect the elevation changes of big spirals instead of a smooth drop. Trajectory estimates as are done with these charts would be impossible without a great deal of information about how compressed or expanded the spiral is. Wind estimate would be a nightmare since you would not know if your bullet on its spiral pathway is going into the wind, away from the wind, perpendicularly up or down or anything in between. Mr. Spock could hardly calculate this. In short, if projectiles really follow large spirals, this is the darnedest thing I've come across in shooting.

    It is undeniable that bullets do precess around their axis and spiral to an extent. This has been clearly observed. But I do not think the degree of precession corresponds exactly to a spiral pathway as has been supposed. It doesn't make physical sense to me. The energy required to turn the face of a pellet off its axis is tiny compared to the energy pushing the pellet along, so why should the pellet follow exactly the direction of its face? I do believe that precession changes the direction of the shot in a spiral manner but for the face of the pellet to determine large spiral pathways on the scale we are talking about to me is physically incredible.


  48. Chuck,

    That's quite a trip–the kind they make movies about. My only plan to go to Alaska had to do with a cruise and a guided tour to see the brown bears.

    TwoTalon, so that's how crowning is done. Quite fascinating and painstaking. The stoning part sounds like knife sharpening. As to your point the other day, supposing that a nick in the muzzle could produce a consistent loop in the path of the projectile, why couldn't you correct for it with the sights? Anything repeatable should be correctible.

    Wayne, from your nice 70 yard range, I believe you are uniquely suited to empathize with me.

    On this sunny day in California, it is a 104 degrees but I managed to scrape together the time and money for a rare trip to the range. At the 100 yard range, once I set up the point, I discovered that my Leapers scope was loose on my Savage 10FP and the hex key to tighten it was back home! I was so annoyed, I thought I would try shooting a bit anyway. After a fouling shot, the next three went into less than a half inch. But the next group of four was about 2 inches, so I figured I was wasting my small hoard of Black Hills ammo.

    Then, it was off to the pistol range with 100 rounds of .45 ACP to get my 1911 zeroed. After shooting tens of thousands of shots with a focus on the same few simple steps, who do we have giving a magnificent display of "heeling" the gun by overcompensating for recoil and forgetting to follow-through?! All 100 rounds were burned up in this fashion, and the targets at 7 yards were more appropriate for the shotgun range. If I were only shooting firearms, I would be in the dumps for weeks and months until my next opportunity, but with my airgun range, redemption is around the corner. >:-)


  49. Matt61
    You would have to correct your sights for every distance that you shoot. And this is for a consistent loop.
    In addition, the worse it loops, the poorer the accuracy no matter where the group is landing on the target.
    Random looping is impossible to adjust for.

    By the way, that was MY method of crowning. NO hacksaws, drill bits, dremel tools, pipe reamers, or anything else crude.
    Besides stopping the loop on the Talon, it brought groups down from about 3/4" at 25 yds to one hole…
    The SS in .177 down from 3/8" to 1/2" down to one hole at 25 yds.
    With the Condor power plant in the Talon, one hole at 30 yds.

    Elevation and wind drift are the only things that need to be figured in for a shot now at random distances.

    I do have barrels that are drop dead accurate, and would never consider recrowning.

    Guns that have a defect that causes a noticeable degree of looping…particularly the extreme cases….usually get sold to some unsuspecting sucker….who will sell it to some other unsuspecting sucker.

    There is also a tendency for some to stubbornly shoot bad or the wrong pellets…then dump the gun on someone else who has the sense to find the right pellet and live happily ever after.


  50. Matt61,

    I did the same thing, leaving my tool kit home last time I went out!… making room for the dogs..

    I haven't shot a 45ACP yet.. no hurry, I like B.B.s way of reloading lighter loads for it.. But, save that, it sounds pretty tricky..

    That's why until I get into reloading, I'm sticking with .357 mag and less for pistols (and in real strong frames like the S&W 27)..

    .. and 9mm luger for the cheap HiPoint semi-auto and new Ruger convertible 9mm/.357 Blackhawk revolver..

    ..and the better semi-auto.. the dependable Russian Makarov.. I traded off the .380ACP Makarov for the slightly larger 9mm Makarov..

    Boy am I glad B.B. talked me into the Makarov!! They are the perfect size, small, but built tough enough to feel real solid while firing.. and like Tom said.. not one jamb yet!! and so easy to be accurate with.. You really need to try one.. they only go for $200- $400 ..and ammo most times on gunbroker goes for .35 cents per round.

    With the wide choices of ammo, these pistols can be pretty potent and accurate for my protection purposes…
    While gentle and very accurate for target practice.

    I'm real happy with these choices, I feel very confident with my ability with them.. I don't want to depend on something I might flinch on when firing..

    I really hate to quit shooting the S&W 27 .357 with .38 special.. "walking the can" out to 50 yards uses lots of .38 special.. good thing I got a great deal on 1,000 rounds!!

    Wacky Wayne

  51. To all…
    I think some of us may be missing the point….
    It is impossible to make a perfect barrel , a perfect bullet, or a perfect pellet. Sometimes you get darn close.

    People compare different guns or pellets and never consider that the particular barrel , the particular kind of pellet, and the velocity shot will produce different results from gun to gun.
    Someone may point out that I am over simplifying at his point. This thing gets extremely complex.

    Since no two of anything manmade can ever be exactly alike or perfect we get down to real life….
    You will always have some wobble or spiralling under the best conditions. The only questions are….is it bad enough to amount to anything????? Is worth worrying about???
    In some casaes yes, in some cases no.
    You may find performance totally acceptable. In other cases you will be totally disgusted. You can pull your hair out while you try to figure out what's wrong. You can brag the rest of your life if things work out exceptionally well.

    We often hear of bad pellets, wrong pellets, bad scopes, the need for adjustable or droop compensating mounts, parallax problems, canting, flinching, and a few other things.
    We tend to write off problems as being caused by one or more of the above.
    The really strange stuff like the "corkscrew boogie" are usually overlooked….and when it happens to someone it drives them nuts because the "standard fix" does not work. Many have never heard of it or they refuse to believe it because they have never seen it…or at least not to the extent that they could recognize it.

    There are a multitude of things that can cause this…singularly or in combination. Even when you know that it is happening, there are so many things involved that it will drive you nuts trying to get rid of the problem.

    I don't know if I shoud kiss Tom for choosing this for a blog topic or kick his butt.
    At least it did not start a big fight, and may have helped some shooters.

    The more you know , the better…just in case…


  52. Wayne,

    Don't let recoil prevent you from getting a .45 ACP. As long as you are shooting some variant of a 1911, the recoil is soft and low for the power. WAY less than a .357 with factory ammo–even when shooting 230-grain hardball .45 ammo!

    Compared to shooting a model 27 with .38 Special loads, a full power .45 is about the same or a little less. I can show you the way to hold the gun to decrease the recoil.

    I'm glad you like the Makarov and are having the same experience that everyone else has. It's hard not to like that gun.


  53. Bub,

    Why I don't like the AR-15.

    The 5.56 round is inadequate for humans in a battle situation. Currently the M4 is causing embarrassing problems in battle in the middle east. That has been demonstrated many times and the Army is seeking a different round–possibly a 6.4mm round–to replace it.

    For varmints, a .223 is fine.

    The AR-15/M16/M4 is one of the most undependable weapons systems ever to go into battle. The U.S. military has made it work by sheer stubborness and fastidious attention to cleaning while in operation, but compared to a Kalashnikov or even an FAL or G3 action, the M16 is poor. I used to command a combat support company in Germany and I have a lot of direct experience with the unreliability of the weapon. It is fragile and prone to jam when dirty. Parts break all the time for no good reason.

    As a private individual, I see many AR 15s and M4-lookalikes coming to the range. They have the same problems I remember from my Army days.

    My Garand, which is a dinosaur by comparison, can shoot rings around the AR-15s I come up against. It may not be as accurate at 100 yards as most of them, but it keeps right on shooting when they are jamming and failing to fire. And my SKS puts them all to shame.

    I know the AR-15 is a very popular rifle. I see them everywhere and I know many shooters love them. But older shooters like me who remember the bad old days of the 1960s have a hard time warming to them, I guess. That still doesn't prevent them from being one of the most popular rifles of all time.


  54. B.B.

    Good morning, hope your having fun working so many hours.. at least it's work you enjoy.. I hope!

    Thanks for the advice on 45ACP.. so if recoil is not an issue.. help me understand the difference between the calibers…

    My thoughts were that the .45 is more of an up close weapon, and is not good for say, a 40 or 50 yard shot. Lots of foot pounds up close, but looses that real fast as it moves away.

    The .357 on the other hand can be use more mid range, like 50 yards.. My Wacky Wayne idea, is to carry the revolver while hunting in the thick brush where I might need to protect myself or shoot a moving deer up to 50 yards away.. Times when a scoped 30-06 would not work well..

    That's why I spend so much time and money on ammo practicing from 10 to 50 yards with it!!

    Help me all… is my idea wacko? I'm accurate enough to hit a 4" kill zone pretty often at 25 yards, and getting better all the time..

    Is the .45 ACP something to compare in this situation?

    And if you say yes.. where would I store 1,000 more rounds of ammo :-).. cause it'll take me that much to get the hang of a new weapon… 🙂

    Wacky Wayne

  55. Hey folks,

    here is an interesting old rife on gunbroker..


    It's a model U.S. 1917 30-06 by Remington… it's not listed under Remington in the blue book, but under U.S.

    But the stock is not the same as the military model… it looks like it might be the "parkerized reworks"… (whatever that means?)
    still it seems like a nice addition to my Remington collection… is it a clunker or a real nice old shooting rifle?


  56. Wayne,

    Elmer Keith demonstrated the possibility of hitting a man-sized target with an arms-room .45 at 200 yards. I'm no Keith, but a deer at 50 yards would be no problem. A top .45 like my Wilson Combat can hold 4 inches or less at that range. Most shoot less. I am confident that I can hold 10 inches or less at 50 yards with my Taurus PT1911.

    Keith killed game much larger than deer with the .45 ACP. That said, the .357 is hard to beat in the field. But to equal the .45 you have to shoot full-power loads, not .38 Spl.

    I wish I could show you how easy the .45 is to shoot.


  57. B.B.

    I had no idea it carried so far.. or was that accurate…well, that opens up more possibilities.. and includes making more room and money..:-)

    But it sounds like my S&W 27 frame .357 or 8" barreled Dan Wesson .357 will do what I intended with full loads of .357 mag ammo..

    HHHMMM… you keep me thinking and exploring this gun world….

    me thinks that's your intention!!!

    Wacky Wayne

  58. Wayne,

    That 1917 Enfield (the American Enfield) was made for WWI, because there weren't enough Springfields to go around. That one is an arsenal rebuild that they did in the 1930s. They Parkerized them instead of bluing them.


  59. Just looked up the ballistics on Federal's website, and for their HydraShok Personal Defense rounds (130gr .357 vs. 230gr .45 ACP) the muzzle energies are 574 vs. 414. But by the time they get to 100 yards its almost tied at 373 vs. 354. The lighter, faster .357 looses energy a LOT faster than the .45 ACP.

  60. B.B.

    Thanks for your insight on the AR-15s.

    Guys recoil on a .45ACP 1911 is very manageable. Also, there are a number of aftermarket .22lr conversion kits available for 1911s. I'm currently looking at purchasing a Kimber conversion for cheap practice.


  61. B.B.

    Thanks for the info on the 1917 Enfield. I like the sport stock with the cheek rest way better anyway!.. and it's more in my price range!


    Thanks, I need to study that chart!

    But since, I really can't see needing it for anything more than 75 yards.. my .357 mag revolvers will be a little better in foot lbs. and I know they will never jamb…

    ..and I'm pretty accurate with them both now… and there are so many different rounds I can use interchangeably ..

    so keep working on me.. I'm not rushing out to buy a .45ACP anytime soon:-)..

    now if your talking a S&W 45 revolver.. that may be different my ears are more open to that idea.. but that's different ammo I believe?


  62. Wayne,

    Beware of the 1917 Enfield. It's a famous rifle with what I've heard is a "brutally strong action." I was considering getting a Springfield 1903 when a bunch became available through the CMP. (They quickly disappeared.) However, reading their literature and looking around convinced me otherwise. Unlike airguns, I believe firearms have their receivers wear out. The M1 carbine has a shot limit to its receiver and I've heard that a 1911 will wear out after 150,000 rounds. Furthermore, a certain pedigree of Springfields apparently was not up to specs and is not safe to shoot. Having a vintage rifle blow up in my face is the last thing I need. So you should be real careful about picking up early 20th century military rifles off the internet.

    If you're looking for a self-defense sidearm in the woods, a 1911 has a bigger magazine which can be fired off faster. I believe that the amount of destruction coming out of a .45 in a given time frame is quite a bit greater than a .357 revolver.

    I wanted to shoot a .45 ACP for historical reasons as much as anything else. I wanted to feel the same sensation as the doughboys in the WWI trenches and Sgts. John Basilone and Frank Few on Guadalcanal. But I'd also prefer to be able to hit something with it. I wish B.B. could show me how easy this is to shoot! Things were going great for awhile. I was thinking that 7 yards was passe after shooting tiny groups on one target and was going to focus on 25 yards. Now I can't even group at 7 yards. I do believe that the culprit is heeling the gun combined with failing to follow-through. I have no memory of a sight picture on follow through and a conscious push against the recoil of the gun. The bottom-line is that there is surely a technique to shoot this well and you should get yourself one to complete your firearms experience.


  63. Matt,

    The culprit is flinching. If you let someone else load the magazine for you with an undetermined number of rounds AND you practice follow-through the way I have instructed, you will see it. The front sight will jump to the left (and probably down) just before the shot goes off.

    The solution is to overcome the flinching by squeezing until the gun goes off by surprise.

    I can't coach you through flinching by the written word, but I will make a short video for you and for Wayne to coach you in the correct hold for a 1911. It will be up this month.


  64. B.B.

    Terrific! Thanks a lot. I'll look forward.

    Bub, I can only second B.B.'s comments on the M-16. I have tried to find a reason for liking this rifle that is the longest-serving rifle in U.S. army history. I even cast covetous eyes at one time on the Rock River Arms Coyote rifle with its 1/2 MOA accuracy. But it doesn't pan out.

    The former Delta Force operator Sgt. Howe who was made famous in the book/movie Black Hawk Down for all the damage he did in Somalia now runs a police consulting service. His protocol for the M-16 is 4 shots to the chest for an assailant before aiming at the head. He's quite down on the effectiveness of the 5.56 caliber although he has good things to say about the AR system.

    I can't even go that far. The high accuracy of the system confirmed by its dominance in high power competition (The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit USAMU are the ones hogging all of my .223 Black Hills ammo) is due largely to the gas impingement system which dispenses with a piston operating rod and blows heat and powder residue back into the action. Not only does this make the action dirty and unreliable in short order, it gets very hot. After a few hundred shots in succession, you would be unable to touch the magazine well.

    There's clearly a reason why so many, like Ruger, are fitting piston systems to the AR. But once you introduce the moving mass of the piston, you lose the accuracy edge of the AR. It also stands to reason that the high accuracy is due to the low recoil of the small cartridge. Once you increase the caliber to the 6.8 SPC or 6.5 Grendel, I wonder if the accuracy will still be there. Even if it is, it's not clear that 6 mm rounds will do the job on the battlefield. I've heard that the Japanese converted from the 6 mm Arisaka round in WWII to a .30 caliber round.

    So, the AR, it seems to me, is not fixable as a military rifle. It is a creature of target competitions. My theory on its great longevity is that this is due to the prolonged efforts of the military and private industry as well as some very good ideas like its ergonomic design and in-line stock. The premier battle rifle with the optimum mix of accuracy, reliability and lethality, for my money, remains the M1 Garand action updated with an AR-type stock as the Mk 14, Mod 1 rifle. As for the new SCAR design contracted by the Special Forces, my response is to come back in 70 years when they have a record like the Garand action. The only cloud in my analysis is the SKS. I had supposed this was a poor relation of the reliable but inaccurate AK 47. To hear that the SKS is as accurate as reliable is quite astonishing. Maybe we have another Makarov here.


  65. Matt,

    2" at 100 yards with a loose scope isn't bad, and you'll probably never forget the hex key again! I had a similar experience with a loose windage turret — now I always carry two hex keys that fit it:).

    Have you tried other ammo since you figured out the weight preference for your rifle? Seems like its been a while waiting on the Black Hills ammo.

  66. BG_Farmer,

    You're right about that hex key. I hope all of my knowledge will not be paid for so heavily.

    I had not considered new ammo after seeing a chart saying that 69 gr. was the limit for .223 with a 1:9 twist. However, I'm getting tempted to try the Prvi Partizan with a 75 gr. load. Would 6 gr. make that much of a difference at 100 yards? We'll see how much longer Black Hills takes.


  67. I've tried to stay out of this "choice of sidearms in the woods" discussion but have to chime in.

    Firepower is all well and good but let's remember that you usually only get one shot in an emergency. If you're carrying a rifle you're probably taking the shot with the gun that's in your hands. The exception is black woods or tangled brush where your rifle is probably slinged and a sidearm is more accessible.

    In my opinion (and I'm going to anger some people here) I wouldn't trust my life to a semi-auto in the back country in Colorado. Too much moisture, swing in temperatures, dust/dirt, mud, snow, rain, etc. all in one day. I vote revolver in large caliber.

    CCW is another topic.


  68. Kevin,

    You didn't make me mad:-)

    You just described the situation we were in last year Elk Hunting.. and this spring Turkey Hunting…
    Thick brush, then clear cut or burned out clearings of 50 up to 500 yards.. Remember last year I wanted to carry two guns, a Marlin 336 30-30 and a more long range rifle like a Ruger M77 .270..
    Of course, that was not practical..

    But I'm just as accurate with my S&W or Dan Wesson .357 revolvers as the 336 with out a scope.. and I can get on target much faster, with the revolver from holster, than rifle from shoulder, especially if the rifle is scoped, which it needs to be for the open areas..

    So here are my two "perfect" guns.. The 6" barrel S&W 27 .357 mag and the Howa 1500 in 30-06.. or Weatherby 7mm rem. depending on the game and the type of forest..(for now Kevin 🙂 .. the Weatherby Mark V 300 is on the short list).

    .. and if I want to be really ready in the thick brush the pistol can be in hand instead of in holster.. loaded.. with 4 rounds.. but the empty chambers can be quickly moved past..

    It just seems like this will work for me in these forests… especially since Josh and Nate like to be walking to their spot in the dark!!! The time the mountain lions like to hunt too!!

    We shall see how it works this fall..

    Matt61, Vince & all

    Today at the range, I did a more careful comparison of the Makarov 9MM 95 gr. (not Luger 9MM ammo)

    I always shoot the pistols standing and two handed.. left hand under the butt, left elbow against my ribs.. this leaves my right arm bent to absorb the recoil..
    I find it hard to believe people can shoot a pistol one handed!!.. but I see them do it!

    The .357 S&W 27 was shooting .357 158gr JSP magnums.

    The S&W 27 is so heavy and strong that the recoil was less (or felt like it).. and it was easier to stay on target with quick follow up shots, than the Makarov..

    not by much, mind you.. it was close..
    But that's says a whole lot for the S&W 27.. which was putting probably 3 times the foot lbs on the target .. more often!!

    I think a lot has to do with the great fitting hard rubber grips over that super solid frame..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  69. Kevin,
    I'm furious…that I don't have any basis for an opinion:). If my rifle failed, I would probably use it as club rather than try to shoot a pistol. I guess those surplus Mausers with pig-stickers do have a place:).

    I don't know if 6 gr. would make a difference, but I doubt it would be worse than not shooting. I never listen to anybody anyway, so I would try some different ammo. I've been using Minimags RN's in my BV for break in, just because they're available and reliable. According to most of the experts online, they should be torture to get a group under an inch at 50 yards, yet they are shooting under half that pretty consistently when my aging mind doesn't wonder.

    When it comes to shooting, I'm happy just getting the best group I can with my equipment/configuration/etc. consistently, not the ultimate. I figure when you push whatever you've got to the point where it can never ever get any better (consistency), then trading up some component will improve things dramatically. Cheaper that way:).

  70. BB:
    I'm surprised to hear you tout the SKS, which I thought was heavy and inaccurate. How does the SKS stand up to the Ruger Mini-30 or M1 Carbine, if not the AR15?

  71. MikeU,

    I love the M1 Carbine, but not because it is a good shooter. It's just a neat gun. I own two and am completely fascinated by the little gun.

    The SKS will shoot rings around the Carbine. Mine is very accurate and all the SKSs I have owned have been decently accurate. As for reliability, there's not a better rifle around, unless it is the AK.

    I also own a Mini-14, which is a complete loss as far as accuracy. But it is another totally reliable rifle. However, the round it shoots is inadequate for deer-sized game, in my opinion. That's where the SKS trumps it–not to mention being more accurate.


  72. BB, I have an interesting idea for a comparison test.This would be a good test between very comparable pellet/BB guns and a smooth bore vs. rifled barrels.First, get a Crosman model 760 smooth bore pellet/BB rifle.and then a Crosman model 760 XLS rifled barrel.Choose maybe three to five pellets maybe like Crosman Premier hollow points, Gamo Match wadcutters, and RWS Hobbys.Shoot for accuracy at ten yards and compare the results.A chronograph really wouldn't be needed. Test the pellets first so as not to risk ant damage to the rifling in the 760 XLS. If the accuracy at close range is pretty comparable, then go to maybe 50 feet and shoot for groups. I would be very interested in seeing the results here.
    Then go back to ten yards and shoot groups with a couple of different BBs with the two guns.Would the rifling have a noticeable effect on the accuracy with BBs? If the two are close in accuray at ten yards, then go to 50 feet and shoot.
    This would be an easy test, as the two guns are available, and the shooter wouldn't have to have a special barrel made and then install in a gun to test the results of a smooth bore vs. rifled barrel.The guns are the same basic model, so that should eliminate differences in power plants,triggers,actions, etc.Also these guns are very inexpensive, both guns could be bought for $116.00 plus freight.
    You've been writing a lot in the high end airgun category, here's a chance to do an interesting writeup on low cost guns with a variable-smooth versus rifled bores.

    Thanks, Jon in Puiyallup, Wa.

  73. I would like to see it.I shoot targets at ten yards almost always.It would be interesting to see at what distances the rifled barrels accuracy advantage would come in to play.Is the rifled barrel more accurate at ten yards, or does the rifling really aid in accuracy at somewhat longer distances? In reading through owners reviews of the smooth bore Crosman 760 many owners give that gun a high grade for accuracy with pellets.I can't think of any other firearm available with both smooth bore and rifled barrels.

    Take care, Jon

  74. I second the thought of a rifled-vs-smnooth comparison. Years ago I shot a smoothbore trade gun in blackpowder competition, and I remember surprising some of the competitors who shot rifles (at close ranges, of course).
    My own 760 seems to do pretty well. I think Crosman has a model 66 or 766 that is the same as th4 760, but with a rifled barrel.

    P.S. to BB: I'm looking over the collection to see what I can sell to afford a SKS…..

  75. Mike U.,

    Back in the late 1800s there was a group of shooters in Ohio who shot smoothbores for accuracy and apparently they startled themselves with what they were able to do. I think the ranges were short, like 50-100 yards and the balls were fitted close to the bores of their guns.

    I don't have any more information that that, but I'm still searching.


  76. hello

    I guess this is the only spot on this site to ask questions.Im looking for the best 22 cal pellet rifle with a scope for under 200 and the best pellet for accuracy with it.Ive tried a few gamo and Winchester 177 cals and returned them all.shooting off a bench couldn't get groups better than 3 inches at 25 yrds.noise is a factor as well. I tried a beeman a friend has in 22 and 177 cal,the 22 cal was very accurate,just cant buy this model in stores around here.most shots I make are 25 yrds and up in the trees with very tight angles shooting in so a somewhat decent scope is a plus.thanks

  77. Anonymous,

    Try the search engine and look for B.B.'s picks. You can also repost your question on the daily blog at/blog// where alot more people will see your question and be able to give you some help.

    Also search for the artillary hold and try that way for shooting springers.

    Pyramyd AIR sells alo of different Beeman guns–check out the sponser of this blog. They're very competative in their prices and oustanding tin their customer service.

    Mr B.

  78. 760 smooth bore VS. 760XLS rifled barrel

    Know this is so late that most will miss it, but this harder than it seems.

    Problem is that the 760 and 760XLS will shoot BBs and pellets, thus 0.177 pellets don't really fit the 760 or 760XLS bore "properly."

    You'd also have to consider if a particular rifle was a lemon. So you'd have to test a number of 760's and 760XLS'. At the low cost end quality isn't a high premium.

    I'd guess that the "best" smooth bore would taper slightly so that breech end was slightly larger than the muzzle. that way the pellet would get "sized" as it traveled down the bore.

    So all in all it is hard to nail down the error source.

    All of that said, I have bought a 760 and played around with it a while back. At 10 yards it shoots diabolo pellets much better than lead balls. A decent rifled barrel (as on 760XLS) would be better. But all in all, no one is going to spend a million dollars playing around to make the best possible smooth bore for a $40 gun.


  79. RE: Do pellets spiral?

    So many folks have said that they have actually seen it, that I'd have to believe them. I have never actually seen it. (But I also shoot north-south, not with the sun at my back.)

    The problem is that it is a beast to actually capture reproducible experimental data. It seems likely that the precession is very sensitive to all sorts of factors (pellet velocity, wt. distribution, surface roughness, muzzle blast and so on), so that it ends up producing a larger group size. It doesn't seem (from my testing) that I can use multiple shots and distance to detect the spiral.

    It seems likely that different pellets could do better or worse if you could select a twist rate for the barrel. Not really an option through…

    My hypothesis a while back was that a choked barrel improved performance because it reduced the precession. The reduced barrel diameter at the choke would reduce velocity slightly, but it seems that the choke is a worthwhile trade off on high quality barrels.

    I'd also venture to say that it is not IF a pellet precesses, but IF the precession causes a significant aim point error. If you could measure the vector for the line of flight compared to the center line of the pellet over time to 10 significant figures, then I'd bet that every pellet precesses by some amount.

    I assume that there are no smooth bore 10 meter match rifles for a reason – rifled barrels work better. So overall spinning works, and precession would be a smaller side effect.

    But I've also wondered why a smooth bore is less precise. Is it because the last "bounce" that the ball takes in the barrel, or does the induced spin cause the ball to behave like a knuckle ball? Idea is that a knuckle ball picks up a "random" spin which causes the ball to deviate in any direction. So a knuckle ball is a problem for the catcher since he doesn't know which way the ball is going to curve either!

    Another factor that I don't remember being mentioned is pellet length. A longer pellet in the bore would have to conform to the rifle's center line better, but a longer pellet also has more aerodynamic "leverage" so it would be more (my guess) susceptible to precess in flight. "Leverage" in the sense that most of the pellet weight is in the head, but the greater air resistance on the skirt creates a torque between the head and the skirt.

    So back to the beginning. Fascinating topic, but a slippery one too.


  80. I have a Remington Airmaster 77 that will shoot pellets or BBs. I never have and never will shoot BBs, as many have said that that may damage the rifling and then you'd lose accuracy shooting pellets.On a good day, shooting the Remingtons favorite pellets, I can sometimes put five pellets into one hole.I'm not talking an elongated or "cloveleaf" hole-I'm talking a hole with a center to center measurement of "0" (or very close to it).So I don't think when Crosman made the barell for this gun that they made it oversized for pellets in order to shoot BBs well.
    Also the other day I noticed that the Crosman 760 XLS wasn't on pyramidairs website. I emailed them and got a reply that the XLS was discontinued.


  81. Hi
    I see that main problem here is that people dont see it, and in normal shooting "conditions" you dont, but here is "method" I found that makes this pellet spiral very clear. Maybe some of you can try it?

    first you need good sunny day, and you must shoot so that sun is behind you, dosent even have to be perfectly behind. That makes sun reflect from pellet and make it visible.

    Second I think you need high power scope, I have walther FT 8-32×56. trick is to "adjust" the scope. Heres what I found. You adjust scope focus to about 25-30m (like your shooting at 25-30m) BUT then you aim your gun at about 50-70m without touching focus/parallax. Make sure your backround is dark where you aim. I have dark woods there at about 130m.

    Maybe with not-so-good rangefinding scope, like I have, this experimet is easyer because it would give longer view to observe pellet in flight?

    It maybe helps (you dont have to) to have something visible at that (50-60m) distance. I have small apple three down there (you can use pear three if you must :)) Anywhay I just aim through branches so that pellet would not hit anything and view around corshairs is clean, but I can just see some foggy objects (branches) when pellets appears its much clearer and easyly "picked" up.

    You could use shorter distances to I quess, like focus at 15m and have somethin in view at egde of scope at 30m but pellet would be visible in shorter time

    In this foggy picture pellet becomes visible in flight. This way I have seen all JSB and H&N pellets spiral in fligt, JSB does it less for me. whats wierd is that degree of spiral seem to change sometimes,and somethimes not happening at all but I dont know why. But they still can group to ragged hole 30m for me. But I have serious poi shifting issues that I have not yet found convincing reason.

    Personally I think that all .177 guns do it to some extent. I seem to remember some UK gun magazine review of AA EV2 and they also observed spiraling!

    I have also experimented with .22 cailber and I didnt see spiraling (and my .22 is less accurate at 50m than .177 but more accurate over 100m, like WAY more!). I quess thats why .22 generallly performs so well at 100m and bejond.

    some of you ask – so how can all those FT guns or whatever group so well. I think the word here is consistency. if it happens every time same way you just dont see it in your groups. And, oh boy I have a good story about that one! Its long one so maybe some other time.

    my gear: fx typhoon synthetic .177 (LW barrel, full power ~20ft/lbs). Scope – walther FT 8-32×56 (also called BDC)

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