The Benjamin front-pump pistol – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Charging the pistol
The way the pistol is pumped is simple. The rod is pulled out until it stops, then pushed back in to force air into the reservoir. Many, many front-pumpers will have problems with their inlet valves, causing the pump rod to push back out as the air slowly releases. With this kind of fault, the gun will eventually leak down to nothing.

This pump plunger has been through the ringer. When they’re worn like this, it’s an indication that the gun has seen some service.

Others will have too much space between the end of the pump head and the opening of the inlet valve. This traps high-pressure air between the head and the opening. The air cannot enter the valve because the pump head has gone as far as it will go. The pressure of the trapped air is not as high as the air inside the reservoir, so it sits outside the inlet valve. When pressure on the pump rod is relaxed, the trapped air will push the pump rod back out. Because the internal pressure in the reservoir keeps building with every pump stroke, the pressure level of the trapped air continues to mount, as well, pushing the pump rod back out further each time. A little bit of rod rebound isn’t bad, but if it comes more than halfway out, your gun probably needs service. When the inlet valve is working correctly, the rod stays all the way down (or in) after each pump stroke. read more

Sometimes, close enough IS enough: A tale of pellets

by B.B. Pelletier

While I was visiting Pyramyd Air earlier this week, I happened to speak to Ariel, customer sales and service manager, about the problem of pellet supply they sometimes have. You see, Pyramyd Air ships hundreds of tins of pellets every week and sometimes the manufacturers cannot keep up with the demand. Often it is JSB that’s backordered, but this time it was Beeman.

“No problem,” I told her. “H&N makes many of Beeman’s pellets. Just recommend a substitute H&N pellet.”

She tried that already, but the customer wanted only Beeman pellets.

Most of us are aware that Beeman manufactures nothing. They are a distributor who has manufacturers make things they can sell under their own name. This is a pretty common business practice–especially these days, with China acting as the “shop” for so many American companies. Most people are aware of this practice, but they still think there might be something in the purchasing specification that will make this company’s product different than the original manufacturer’s product, even though they’re nominally identical. Sometimes that’s true, sometimes it’s not. Let’s start with Beeman and let’s talk pellets. read more

The Benjamin front-pump pistol – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s blog comes from an article I originally wrote for Airgun Revue #4.

An American classic. The front-pump Benjamin pistol is a symbol of airgunning from the first half of the 20th century.

Today’s airguns are so refined that they make the models I grew up with look ancient by comparison. When I was a boy in the 1950s, airguns were either BB guns or pneumatic pellet guns–there were no others to choose from. Although Crosman bulk-fill guns had been around for awhile, they weren’t well known in my neck of the woods. If they had been, this story might be very different. I grew up with Benjamins in rural Ohio. Both rifles and pistols were around, but my father only had a pistol, so that became my first exposure to airgunning. read more

Hammerli Razor – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Hammerli Razor is an affordable breakbarrel with high-quality fit and finish.

Today, I’ll test the Hammerli Razor for velocity. It’s advertised to get 820 f.p.s. in .22 caliber, so we’ll see what it can do.

The rifle cocks smoothly, though the effort builds very sharply at the end of the cocking stroke. Be prepared for that. The firing cycle is smooth and almost without vibration. I noticed a big jump forward when the gun fired, so the BKL 260 mount I’m going to try will be getting an acid test.

The first shot fired was a detonation, as I told you in part one, but that was the only one I saw. There were none during the velocity testing. However, the smell was unmistakable! The rifle is dieseling quite noticeably. read more

Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle represents a real challenge to other Sporter Class rifles

In early 2007, I made a presentation to the Crosman Corporation that resulted in several significant things. The first was the development and production of the rifle that became the Benjamin Discovery. The second was Crosman’s commitment to the foundation of a new corporate section dedicated to the production of precharged pneumatic airguns.

The third thing that happened sounded like an afterthought to me at the time. After my presentation, in which I assured Crosman that they had the perfect entry into PCPs with the project they were about to undertake, Production Manager Ed Schultz, himself an airgunner, asked me privately if I thought this new technology could be applied to their target rifle, the Challenger 2000. He wondered what I thought of a PCP Challenger, perhaps fitted with a Lothar Walther barrel. read more

Hammerli Razor – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Hammerli Razor is an affordable breakbarrel with high-quality fit and finish.

Before I begin, I’m going to Pyramyd Air today and won’t be back until Friday. I’d like to ask the old-timers to watch the blog and help the new folks. Thanks.

I’m testing the Hammerli Razor on a request from at least one reader. I must have balked at the idea because I already reviewed the TF Contender 89 in .177, a derivative of the Chinese AR1000. However, this Hammerli is made in Spain. So, this is a brand new rifle to me. I see the family resemblance to the AR1000, but coming out of Spain, this must be from the line of the sire. How strange to have more familiarity with the copy than the original. This is the original, which Vince once said was probably related to the Norica GS1000. read more

Haenel 303-8 Super – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Haenel’s 303-8 Super is a large breakbarrel target rifle from East Germany.

A funny thing happened during the chronographing test. I discovered the model number written on the gun! It took the diffuse light of my reflected overhead chronograph lighting to see it, but it’s there, ahead of the Haenel name at the rear of the spring cylinder. So, then I sprayed all the metal parts with Ballistol and started rubbing the rust off and discovered the caliber stamped into the barrel and the serial number stamped into the left side of the base block. My rifle is marked normally after all.

Under the right light, the other stampings on the gun became clear.
read more