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Education / Training Haenel 303-8 Super – Part 1

Haenel 303-8 Super – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

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

Guest blogger Paul reported on a Haenel 303 last Friday. That bumped my memory of the 303-8 Super I recently acquired.

Now for something completely different. I bought this mystery East German Haenel at the 2009 Little Rock airgun show, and reader Mel identified it for me by watching the video of the show. I showed the gun in the video but never mentioned it, yet he was sharp enough to pick it out. He also sent me a link to a German site where a fellow reported on his, and I was able to make positive identification from the photos he provided. You see, this rifle has no model markings on it anywhere.

According to a British forum, the 303-8 Super is a target version of the 303 that has a target trigger, target sights and target barrel. I can vouch for the sights and trigger, and we’ll just go along with the barrel comment, as I have no way of proving or disproving that this is a target barrel. I don’t even know what that means.

The sights are obvious. The rear sight is an adjustable peep sight that’s identical to the one found on the model 311 bolt-action target rifle I reported on in 2007. The front sight is a globe-type with replaceable inserts. The one that came with the rifle is the aperture or ring type that is very popular.

The front sight sticks out past the muzzle by a quarter-inch.

The rear sight is unusual-looking, to say the least. You can also see the safety button in this view. It’s just below center in this photo.

The two-stage trigger is supposed to be a target-type. Well, the pull is light, at just 26 oz., but there’s considerable creep in stage two. I couldn’t use it in competition the way it is. I’m guessing the East Germans would tune, adjust and lubricate the triggers of rifles used in competition.

I do see a couple screws in the trigger mechanism that invite fiddling, so maybe I’ll do some tweaking and give you a report in part two. Perhaps this thing can be made better.

The safety doesn’t come on as the rifle is cocked. I think it’s supposed to be automatic because I have the same safety on my 311 and it’s automatic. Paul’s 303 also has an automatic safety. So, I think someone has been inside this rifle. But whoever was, they didn’t bother to tune the powerplant, because the rifle buzzes faintly when fired. I lubricated my 311 over a decade ago, and it now fires dead calm. Just because of this rifle’s age, I put several drops of silicone oil down the air transfer port and also lubricated the leather breech seal. Paul mentioned that his piston seal is leather, so there’s a good chance mine is, as well.

I don’t know if East Germany, like West Germany, had a power limit of 7.5 joules for airguns had and now all of Germany has. That power equates to a hair over 5.5 foot-pounds. Using the velocity calculator found in the article “What is muzzle energy?”, I discovered that the velocity of a 7.5-grain target (wadcutter) pellet should be in the 550-575 f.p.s. range, if the power is supposed to be 7.5 joules. We’ll see what it really is in part two of this report. Paul reported much higher velocities for his rifle, and I’m curious if this one has the same powerplant. It’s a good bet that it does.

Barrel lock
One feature breakbarrel Haenels often have that I don’t always care for is a barrel lock. That’s a mechanism that has to be operated before the barrel can be broken open for cocking and loading. Depending on their design, barrel locks can be a minor inconvenience or a major hangup. The one on the test rifle is leaning toward the latter. You have to press the latch straight back at a time when your arms are arranged to do anything but that. For easy barrel latches, I like the one on the Weihrauch HW 35, because you pull it forward to release the barrel. Pressing back seems very inconvenient when your next move is to move forward to break down the barrel.

The barrel lock is on the right side of the baseblock, but the end is accessible from the left side, as well. That’s where a right-handed shooter will engage it.

I noticed that Paul’s 303 doesn’t have a barrel lock, or if it does I missed it in his report. So, that’s one big difference between this 303-8 Super and the standard 303.

Metal finish
Several of the remarks I’ve read about this model indicate the bluing rusts easily. That’s certainly the condition I find on my rifle. Fortunately, I know how to deal with it. I’ll spray the metal with Ballistol and wipe off the rust freckles as much as possible. The Ballistol will also penetrate the remaining rust and neutralize it, so the problem will cease getting worse.

The only markings visible on the outside of the gun are these, near the rear sight. This picture shows the rust freckling on the surface.

General description
The 303-8 Super is 43.25 inches long from the tip of the front sight globe that sticks out past the muzzle to the center of the black plastic buttplate. The pull is 13-7/8 inches long, which is a long pull for a target rifle, which is held differently than a sporter. The rifle weighs 7.5 lbs.

The stock is very square-ish in cross section. The forearm feels like a 2 by 4. Even the pistol grip has square edges and is stippled on both sides. The wood finish is a very orange shellac that reminds me of Chinese airguns of the 1980s. In fact, clues like the crude stock shape, the wood finish and the ugly black plastic triggerguard all indicate that this rifle was most likely made in the late 1970s or even the ’80s, when the GDR was coming to the end of its operating hours. Had it been made earlier, there would have been a slightly more elegant look to the whole package. Or I could be wrong, and the design could have been like that from the beginning–whenever that was.

At any rate, it’s a most intriguing air rifle and one that I look forward to examining for you. With the data from Paul’s excellent report, I have a basis upon which to build.

83 thoughts on “Haenel 303-8 Super – Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    You either have too many guns, not enough time to enjoy them or both.

    Paul's guest blog had to trigger your memory of this recent acquisition?

    I'd be so thrilled with this find for the unusual rear sight alone that I'd be blabbing to everyone.

    Really like your articles on these old guns with interesting features. Looking forward to the next article.


  2. BB:

    I think your front sight has been turned around. At least its 180 degrees out from the one on my M303-8.

    I'll be interested in the performance numbers. Never happened to chrony mine.


  3. b.b., or anyone.
    Am heading out again tomorrow with the Nightstalker.
    They recommend a drop of oil in every third cartridge. With our Walthers (PPK/S and CP99) I have been putting a drop on every cylinder and the guns have worked flawlessy for probably 2000+ shots each.
    So…is every third cylinder enough for the Nightstalker…or should I put a drop on every cylinder.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  4. CSD,

    Every cylinder. Remember, the people who write these manuals are not airgunners. You cannot over-opil a gun with Pellgunoil. I got that from Rick Willnecker, a noted airgunsmith, 12 years ago, and I watched him pour a ton of Pellgunoil into a gun he was sealing at the time. It sealed perfectly. Excess will be blown out.


  5. Anonymous requesting an update on the daisy 953,

    Did you see the recent 3 part series of articles that B.B. did on the 953?


    Although he said he planned on testing more pellets in the gun than he did in part 3 there are many comments under this article from readers that have already tested many pellets and gave their opinions on the best in their guns. B.B. also said he would test other target sights. Is that the test you're waiting for?


  6. Talking of Communist Bloc air rifles I have a chinese made .22 sidelever springer with a folding stock AK 47 style body.
    The company logo is a large X with what looks like three As in the middle.
    It is a bit rough and ready but looks good.
    I haven't got any ballistic measuring gear but Prometheus pellets will go halfway through a yellow pages telephone directory at 50 feet.
    The rifle has a 12Ft/Ib limit for the UK.
    Are there any gas rams that would fit this rifle do you think BB?

  7. B.B.

    The writers of airgun manuals are not airgunners? Who are they?

    A breakbarrel target rifle seems to be something of a contradiction in terms because of hold sensitivity. This got me to thinking of the purpose of target rifles, specifically smallbore, in the military. For example, what was the use of the Kimber 82 in .22LR acquired by Wayne and available now from the CMP? The army competition team would surely have higher grade equipment, and the regular army would be training with the service rifle. What would the military want with a budget target rifle?


  8. Hi, B.B.

    I am seeking your video made on scope mounting. I remember I watched it almost one month ago. however I am not able to find it on the site now. Will you please tell me its address?


  9. BB,
    Its been a great week of articles, and I've had a bunch of comments, but its just been too busy with the last week of vacation (family visits)/first week of school to sit down and type comments. Also, I've been busy in my spare time putting together a BP rifle kit. Anyway, just wanted to let you know I enjoyed the long-range articles and even the LP-8 review, reading them in pieces:). The Haenel is, of course, right up my alley:). Hope you have a healthy week or two at home coming up!

    I tried to do the right thing with the QB78, although I would have loved it. In the end, I'm happy your nephew got a good-shooting rifle — make sure he turns into a crack shot:). Its good to see you posting more again, and it sounds like you're fighting your way back. Whichever LG you end up getting, I bet it will be sweet.

  10. Derrick,

    You guys may be right about the front sight being backwards. It's easy enough to switch. However, the ring that allows insertion of other apertures is towards the front, and its also like that on my 311, whose front sight is not easy to switch, so I wonder.

    I'll probably flip is around so it looks better.


  11. Dave,

    I know that Chinese rifle and I doubt there is a gas spring unit that will fit or even one that can be converted. There isn't a lot of room (stroke) in that rifle, if I recall correctly. Also, the trigger lockup with the rear of the gas spring unit would be very problematic.


  12. Matt,

    The people who write airgun manuals are young men and women for whom working at an airgun manufacturer is just a job–a paycheck. You MUST know that! Read the manuals and it jumps off the page.

    Of course there are exceptions. Many UK owner's manuals, while terse and written with sloppy grammar, are accurate to a fault. And Crosman's manuals are very good. Some Gamo manuals are good, as well, but others are a joke.

    Every time I read a manual that makes sense, which isn't that often, I cheer for them.


  13. Sasan,

    Let me direct you to ALL my articles, including ALL videos.

    Go to the Pyramyd AIR home page:


    scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the small print arranged in columns across the bottom. On the left column, the second title is "Articles" Click there to go to ALL the Pyramyd AIR articles.

    The article with video you are looking for is in the left column, 12 down from the top. It's How to mount a scope – Part 1 (October 2008). The tech articles are on the left, reviews are on the right.

    I haven't done Part 2 yet, but it's coming.


  14. BB:

    Now you've got me curious. I'll have to dig out the 311 and check the sights.

    BTW mine does say M303-Super on the reciever tube ahead of Haenel markings. Otherwise looks like the one in your pic.


  15. B.B.

    I found it; that's like "Now, watch the video!" written in bold at the end of that article . However, it seems like it is not activated! clicking on it is fruitless. Maybe the fualt falls with my system. Wish it could work because I am badly in need of it.


  16. Thank you B.B.
    I had the spring out (putting a dent in the kitchen ceiling) and found it to be made of a softish steel.In other words easily stretched.
    If I can't fit a bigger spring or gas ram would, by heating and dunking the spring in cold water give it a bit more B.O.I.N.G?
    As you can tell I am power mad.LOL.

  17. Dave,

    I don't know the metallurgy of your mainspring, and more than you do. Doing what you suggest might work or it might destroy the spring.

    Also, a more powerful spring will not normally increase power. You also need the right stroke length and piston weight.

    What gun are you trying to supe up?


  18. sasan if this is the page:


    there should be a video box with the word play inside it….click on that if you can.

    If that doesn't work, you could try updating your flash player…..you can do that at the adobe website.

    I finally bought a pcp, a benji disco….I was thinking bout the marauder, but I could imagine taking such a nice gun outside hunting.

    no moderator or shroud, but if the .22 barrl runs good at 725 fps, I may leave it there. I like the idea of more shots per fill.

    here's the ad:


  19. SO17 and BB, if I could suggest a visit to Jim Maccari's website at


    On this page, he has airgun springs that he makes. SO17, you will need to measure your spring and see if JM has anything that will be close to it since you don't know the make or model of your rifle (a bit shorter is probably the way to go as all his springs tend to be shorter than stock – that's the way he does it). But this is only if you need to replace the spring – if it's canted, broken or actually poorly heat treated by the Chinese manufacturer. As BB said, a replacement spring won't necessarily make your rifle more powerful. There are other factors at work here. Also, Mr. Maccari does not tolerate fools and offers no advice. You either know what you're doing and don't need advice or you have a number of questions in which case, come back to this blog.

    Good Luck


  20. I lost the last line in my post…this disco has most of the mods I wanted plus the pump, a .177 barrel/bolt/band and scope and extra seals and he dropped the price to 375 shipped.

  21. Mounting a scope…this may help..


    Dave, if your work on springers….try looking up on how to make your own spring compressor….there are few designs out there and makes working on them a lot safer. With more power, you can run into problems on unknown airguns and can make them dangerous to shoot. Also, you may be able to buy a new or used one for the price it may cost upgade a less powerful one. Sometimes you can find .177 1000fps or .22 800 fps for 79 bucks on the pa sale/close out or used list.

  22. The Gun I wanted to supe up was the Chinese sidelever B.B.
    I used to have a Logun S16 Mk1 which I had to sell (I lost my job)
    So I have to be happy trying to do up the Sidelever.
    Would I have trouble with importing to the UK, Tuning kits from Mr Maccari Fred?
    Thank you both for your advice and patience.

  23. Dave,

    Bringing airgun springs to the UK is like taking coals to Newcastle! You have the best and largest number of airgun parts stores right there.

    Do a search on Airgun Spares.

    Chambers stands out, but you will find many. Only deal with the ones who know what to sell you for your rifle.


  24. Interesting timing – I just picked up a 303 Super from a seller on out local CraigsList a couple weeks ago. The seller pulled it out of the corner of his garage so you can imagine the condition, dust, cobwebs, and a light rusting. He was given the 303 by a fellow Air Force friend that picked it up in Germany 20+ years ago. He also had two young lads that are now in their teens so the gun has saw is share of rough handling. When I got it home I tore it down to give it a good cleaning and see what I had bought. It is surprisingly easy to open up requiring one pin knocked out to free the cap and trigger unit, then I used 3 inch extension on my spring compressor to relieve tension on the spring stop before I removed the bolt that held the spring in place.

    I used Ballistol and steel wool to address the rusting and it turned out real good. I had to make another breech seal using your instructions in another blog which works great. The spring guide was thin compared to the ID of the spring which explains the twang when fired which makes me wonder if the spring is an aftermarket spring instead of an original. The leather seal was gunky but cleaned up pretty well.

    Considering the condition of the stock which dearly needs refinishing, this can not be considered a pristine collectors piece so I tried several approaches to reduce the twang and ended up removing the original spring guide, using one from an old R9 spring which fit fairly well.

    I set up my Chrony on my micro range of 5 yards and recorded the first and seventh shot for velocity, then tried to group the second to sixth shots using the peep sights. This was my first time using this kind of sight in over 50 years of shooting, and I must say, I am impressed. I can no longer see regular iron sights like I used to, and this gun doesn't look like a scope can be used, so the options appear limited.

    I ran 21 different pellet types through the gun with a high velocity of 668fps using Beeman Lasers, and a low of 549 using Crosman Super Point. About half fell into the low 600's while the remaining were in the high 500's.

    Grouping on my micro range can be expected to be tight but I didn't expect the vast majority of the pellets tested to be as tight as they were. Again, I am impressed and now feel the gun is worth further care to make it look as good as it shoots.

    I do have one question regarding the front sight inserts. What type will fit it properly? The insert in my 303 measures 17.2mm OD. I found a set from "Lee Shaver" that look interesting but am reluctant to order not knowing for sure if they would fit.

  25. ajvenom:
    Yes, I have seen a home made spring compressor on youtube I can make.
    That is the last time I'll get my wife to hold the rifle while I knock out the retaining pin.:-)
    Ok B.B. Will check them out.
    Thank you all again.

  26. thwakkk,

    Hard to say about those inserts. My two Haenels have different-sized globes. However, the larger one on my 303-8 Super is larger than any standard-sized globe. It also has oddly sized tabs on either side of the insert, and one of them is offset from the center of the circle. In other words, nothing else is likely to fit.


  27. Dave,

    Aside from the length of piston stroke BB mentioned, also consider the sidelever on your B3-1 may not stand up to a much more powerful spring. Let us know how it goes.

  28. Dave / SO17,

    you have the "UK Expert" right there by the name of Mike Cardew. He and his father wrote the "bible", "The Airgun, from Trigger to Target". I highly recommend picking up a copy and reviewing it. Mr. Cardew now runs a watch store and has a website. I won't or can't give you the website as Pyramid Air sells the book now but it's going to be cheaper buying in the UK and avoiding the freight. He said he does have a few hardcover books left and I would think these are collectors' items.

    Definitely do the web search BB recommended and talk to the shops there. The UK is a hotbed of airgun parts and knowledge. Good luck and again, let us know how things go.


  29. I just looked on Amazon. They want going on $300 for the one copy they have. Does PA really have this book: The Airgun, from Trigger to Target by Cardew. I don't find it. I would be interested at a reasonable price.

    Al Pellet

  30. B.B.

    I was sort of giving the benefit of the doubt to the manuals. That's inconceivable that they not only can't write but they don't even know what they are talking about.

    BG_Farmer, so there you are. What's a BP rifle kit?


  31. You fellows make me feel fortunate to run across a writeup on my rifle the first day I looked for information in years. The 303-8 Super is out at my cousin's country house serving as a varmint gun right now. I bought it in East Berlin in 1989 and have enjoyed shooting it occasionally since. A companion 303 went to the son of a friend; it is in good hands.

    Looking at "Luftgewehre – und Luftpistolen nach 1945 aus Suhl und Zella-Mehlis" on Google Books, the author describes the stock as beechwood with a nut tree stain and varnish finish. The same author reports rifle is also ranked as an entry competition / superior sporter. To the question of "competition barrel", the 303-8 barrel is distinctly heavier than the regular 303 barrel. The back sight is delivered with a single sight, but 6 diopters ranging from 0.8 to 1.6 mm are / were available.

    Thanks for the excellent write-up, it gives me a new appreciation for the rifle and how much I must learn about the art of care and shooting an air rifle.

  32. B.B. & ajvenom,
    Thank you both.The problem of not being able to watch B.B.'s video on scope mounting is that I live in a "Third-World Country" in which nothing, even a flash-type, non-political clip is not safe of cesoring. That's a shame! Anyway, I think reading B.B.'s articles WILL work.


  33. Matt,

    I didn't say the manual writers didn't know what they are talking about . They fill out a formatted outline of a manual with information given to them by company engineers. What I said was they are not airgunners. Neither are the company engineers who assist them, many times.

    So when the use of a product like Crosman Pellgunoil (the comment that started this dialogue) comes up, they haven't got the practical experience to know how to use it one way or the other. So, someone in the company makes a decision (oil every third cartridge) and the rest follow suit like ducklings following their mother.

    All I am saying is don't expect to get any real insight into how to operate a certain airgun from the owner's manual.


  34. Haenel 303-8 Super guy,

    I hope you will stay and talk with us. We have lots of fun on this blog.

    By the way, the "nut tree" stain mentioned in that book is actually a walnut stain, because Nussbaum in German means walnut.

    Several owners of this rifle came out of the woodwork with this blog. And I hope you also read the excellent report on the 303. If not it's here:


    Because I know there are several people reading this report, I will expand it to things like gun care.


  35. Matt61,

    The Kimber 82 "government" .22lr is a heavy bull barrel target rifle. It's a single shot, training rifle.

    not good for anything but target.. but it does that very well!

    When I get back from taking the dogs to the lake, later this morning, I'll report on the "JUDGE" with .410 slugs, 45LC, and .410 4&6 shot… it's very nice.. get one if your so inclined.


  36. Taurus Judge,

    "Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day" ..

    ..the lake was fantastic!!

    The Judge!..

    It shoots 2-1/2" .410 shotgun slugs or shot and .45 long colt.
    Got mine on gunbroker for $485

    I got the stainless steel 6 -1/2" barrel. I couldn't find the 3" chamber in a 6" barrel… and I figured it didn't make any difference, since the shotgun shell capacity doesn't matter to me..

    The 5 shot revolver has the same solid type and shape frame as my Smith & Wessons .357 mags.. probably why I'm attracted..

    Even with the 300gr 45 long colt, the recoil seems not much more than the S&W with 158gr .357 mag in the 27 frame. With the 255gr long colt, I was able to make a nice 4" group at 15 yards offhand and the last three in one group, were one large cloverleaf touching the red dot center! ..she be accurate!

    This could be because of the solid frame, but also the well shaped rubber grips with soft comb ribs must have something to do with it.
    It's very, very comfortable… to hold and FIRE!

    Not even close to a sore hand after 50 rounds, which I can't say with the little Makarov 9mm!

    This ammo is so hard to find.. but I finally found a guy who reloads .45 LC on the Oregon coast!.. still a buck a shot, but.. wow.. this is a seriously accurate and powerful weapon.

    The sights are fixed, built into the frame on the rear, and a fiber optic front site in a plastic block… not impressive to look at, but work well.

    The trigger is double action, and I've not tried to adjust it, nor will I.. double action would be fine for quick shots that don't have to be accurate up close.. but my groups at 15 yards open up to 12" on double action quick fire.

    I like the way the cylinder flips out with ease when you use the release button, but the ejection rod doesn't pop out the empties very well.. I guess because they're so large.. so one has to grab each one and take it away from the ejector/cylinder… not a problem, unless you want to re-load faster. But, if you didn't get the job done with those first 5 rounds.. well….

    Like someone here said, forget about this as a shotgun except for slugs.. which group at 6" at 15yards off hand. The pattern with #4 shot is an average 2" spread at 10 feet!.. and #6 shot is not much better.. so maybe for a rattle snake or something as a shotgun..

    But, as a .45 long colt revolver, it's great.. who need it as a shotgun.. why even shoot slugs, when a long colt round should have more foot lbs? or if not, I'm sure they have enough for any job!!
    and they are way more accurate!!

    I might carry it with a couple #4 shot in it with three .45 255gr long colts.. on those dark walks into the post up spots early morning hunting..

    now, off the practice field target for the state champ contest next weekend!

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  37. B.B.

    And then what about supporting local small business:) ..

    I know.. you've been soooo right about this…. for sooooo long..
    I should have jumped before I got so involved.. Now I'm well stocked up with ammo for all my firearms, and saving my empties.

    I know I could have bought the best reloading equipment, primers, cases, lead and powder for 10% of what Ive spent on ammo.

    The only upside is I have more time for shooting and shopping/trading! ..

    I'm planning on setting up space in the new shed we just put up, to keep all the supplies and stuff set up ready to work with..
    no way is there room in my office now!..
    so.. thanks for the reminder.. of how dumb I've been:)

    I'm looking at it this way.. It's just a slightly:) more expensive way to get the empty cases:)

    Wacky Wayne

  38. B.B. and Wayne, I'll go you one better on saving money for ammo. One penny per shot for airguns which transfers very well to firearms. Ha ha. This is partly to rationalize my decision to buy a limited amount of Hornady match ammo for the Garand at a whopping $1.50 per round! The only other viable factory ammo is new Federal American Eagles built special for the M1 at a $1 per round which are probably not significantly better than my Greek surplus. All the other factory ammo is too hot. While the Greek surplus does the job, my MOA Garand deserves a little taste of something better while its barrel is new. One day, I'll learn how to reload but not yet, and in the meantime, I'll make full use of the capabilities of airgunning.

    When resting a pistol, does the butt or the barrel go on the rest? Not that Wayne needs to know with his offhand groups….

    BG_Farmer, ah yes blackpowder. What are the specs of the rifle you have planned?


  39. I always like kimber .22lr rifles….

    I've had good luck with balistol…

    centerfire…reloadings the way to go….

    cool revolver wayne….

    if you live in the uk, careful not to bring a 12 ftlbs air rifle over 12 ftlbs without an FAC.

    at work they put an internet block on porn, but it ended up blocking a lot of legitimate sights we use….censorship sucks!!!!!

    I love Elk, buy now I am starting to see why they call you Wacky Wayne….

  40. B.B.

    I just checked in and read "Part 2" of your Blizzard review. Thank you for running the test out 30-shots! I can barely wait for Part 3.

    Would you consider trying the rifle with Eunjin 28g pellets? I'm dying to know if your sample can come close to the numbers reported by PA, (those numbers are as close to perfect as I have seen – 22 consecutive shots averaging 857FPS, with a spread of only 30FPS!! Imagine shooting 20 shots 50 yards out, and only dropping 1/2inch to pressure loss!).
    Also I didn't understand your observation on the Kodiaks slipping out of the clip. Doesn't the O-ring hold them in? Is this likely to become an annoyance if the Kodiaks prove to b the best pellet?

    Best Regards,

    Jane Hansen

  41. Wayne,

    I know you're strongly considering reloading. The cost savings alone is reason enough to reload but also consider how limited you are in what you're able to purchase off the shelf vs. creating your own recipe that is most accurate in your guns. In addition to accuracy YOU determine how fast and/or how hard (fpe) based on powder, bullet & cartridge.

    Reasons #3-12 to start reloading if you need them.


  42. Wayne,
    Here comes the Judge. Thanks for the report. My travels last week took me out a little father from civilization than normal, but in the process I discovered a huge sporting goods store. Located near the intestate but in the middle of nowhere, I had high hopes for what may lie inside. Perhaps air rifles that were discontinued years ago would be available still new in the box. But that was not the case; the selection was not much different from a Wal-mart.

    Not to wanting to make the stop a total waste, I made my way to the second floor. I don’t believe I have ever seen more weapons in a single place, even when I lived briefly in Texas. While my local stores are just starting to be able to keep ammo on the shelves, the selection here was amazing and priced at pre-run levels.
    The ammo included a pallet of .410 buckshot, 00 Buck with 3 or 4 to a shell. I believe that is one of the upsides of the .410. Less likely to over penetrate like a single round may, they should expend 100 % of the energy in the target. As far as shot shells, a load of # 6 is a less lethal alternative for the first round. Should those pellets to the face not dissuade the intruder, then the 00 buck will. Lastly, I would guess most encounters are more at the 21 feet range average.

    I am thinking about trading a 9mm on one of the Judges, of which they had a bunch with similar themed names based on the exact model. I thought the 3 inch chamber was a bit much, so I would probably stay with the 2 ½ also. I sold mine, but the Winchester 9410 would make a nice partner for it.

  43. Matt,
    Its the Traditions Kentucky Rifle, pretty much an entry level kit, .50 cal and percussion, single trigger, but, I believe, convertible to double set and/or flint. My long term goal is to make a stock for it out of a log from my place, probably cherry, but I also have a good bit of maple, etc. The only real weaknesses of the kit is that the stock is divided requiring a spacer and the factory didn't go to any extra lengths to make fitting easy; there's a reason its affordable, but it will work:). Since the stock is probably not a long-term fixture, I could live with that.

    I had it together ready to shoot, but the stain wasn't to my liking even temporarily (a constant problem with "select" mystery woods, often encountered on Chinese air rifles as well), so its back in the "shop":). My wife and son and I shot a few caps with it, though:).

    It feels pretty good to sight down the long(ish) barrel through the very low mounted sights, and I can't wait to shoot it for real. If all goes well, I'm set to meet a buddy of mine on Friday for that.

  44. I tried a few pellets and I have to say RWS makes some good match pellets.

    In my crosman 2100 the rws superder domes still rule. The RWS hypermax hit about an inch at 10M. Not the best by far, but hard hitting. If you find an air rifle that like non lead pellets it will most likely be the raptor still at the top in this area. for the rws-10 match 7.0 and 8.2 gr a hit inside a dime consistantly. Beeman Laser pellets little bigger group than R-10.

    I bought the R-10 match in the tins to see their performance and save some money. If they work really well I may try some in the well packaged boxes.

    As for the 953:
    RWS hypermax points – 1 inch 10m
    Laser – about a dime
    R-10 7.0gr as good as jsb exact heavy – one holers
    R-10 8.2gr oe hole clover leafs

  45. B.B.

    This is too freaky for me – Are you testing a different rifle than PA is selling? Their site, and several of their reviewers, clearly suggest Eunjins….one of the reviwers also commented on the clip and Kodiaks, "a mjor annoyance"

    "All testing done with 28.4-grain Eun Jin .22-caliber pellets" (on the PA site).

    Which rifle shows up at my door if I order one?


    Jane Hansen

  46. Jane,

    Mea maxima culpa!

    I had tried Dae Sung pellets, which are the same weight as Eun Jins. Some of them do not fit into the circular clip. I just tried Eun Jins and they do fit.

    When I do part 3 I will add a velocity test of the Eun Jins.

    Sorry for the confusion.


  47. Volvo,

    I've been looking for larger shot in .410 shotgun shells… #4 is the largest so far.. might have to order some online..
    BTW.. anyone, can plastic shotgun shell cases be reloaded?
    …reason #185 to start reloading?

    A larger shot would for sure change things on pattern.. interesting theory .. 5 shells in the chamber.. first shot #6 shot, then #4, then #2, then 00, then slug or 300gr .45 long colt…

    is that what they call a warning?

    talk softly and carry buckshot..

    I've got an extra marlin 336c 🙂
    and they do go well … like apples, cheese and wine..

    Well make that beer, nuts and peanut butter and banana sandwich!

    Wacky Wayne

  48. Kevin,

    Recipe is part of my reluctance…

    Picking the right powder, primers and amount of lead… it all sounds rather complicated and dangerous if one does it wrong..

    Tom gave me a wonderful list, so I'm only a little scared.. but I have to admit to it.. just like recoil held me back on firearms for so long…
    now.. was that me shooting the Judge?.. comparing it to the .357 mag.. Thanks to you folks.. I went for it.. never would of.. I bet.. and…

    no I'm not getting the S&W 500.. but..

    Did I mention the 2×6 on my desk with 5 rounds of 7mm rem mag in a 4" group… some touch the red dot center.. I was sitting in the field target position with the Vanguard.. the block of wood was at 200 yards..

    I think I've learned to deal with recoil.. up to mid level anyway..
    I'm a little more ready for Elk season

    So I know my fear and lack of time & space will not last forever.. Reloading… here I come…

    Hear come the Judge.. Hear come the Judge.. Hear come the Judge.. Hear come the Judge.. and Dan Wesson .357, S&W .357, S&W .38 special, Blackhawk .357 & 9mm and misc semi-auto pistols..

    HHHHMMM… I guess I've changed..

    Wacky Wayne

  49. Wayne,

    Maybe you should get into reloading the way I did back in the 1960s. I only reloaded for a single caliber for a long time. It was .38 Ppl./.357 Magnum.

    I used a Herters reloader which isn't available anymore, but you could get a 310 tool or the Lee equivalent. That way your investment isn't much. You pick a single load and make sure it is a light load and you gain experience loading just that. After several hundred rounds you will know whether reloading is for you, and the total investment can be relatively minor.


  50. Wayne,

    I didn't start reloading until the mid 70's but that was still the dark ages. Things have changed dramatically. Reloading equipment is faster, more efficient and therefor less margin of error (less chance of dangerous loads). The information (recipes) for reloading is now at your finger tips (the internet). Reading books is no longer necessary and trial and error is minimal if not eliminated.

    I'm not necessarily going to disagree with B.B. but I would suggest another option.

    I'm frugal by nature (which is why I'm trying to sell you on reloading) and would therefor suggest buying good equipment first rather than last. Dillon Square Deal press is a good one that has lots of add on options. Good equipment will pay for itself in no time and will make the reloading experience quicker and more enjoyable. The primary reasons I suggest this is because I think you can afford good equipment and because I'm convinced that if you are able to overcome your imaginary fears, good reloading equipment will make reloading a fun and financially rewarding offshoot (pun intended) to your newly discovered hobby.

    It's not that complicated and you're smart enough to not make it dangerous.


  51. Well I had my 1377 out and was shooting "squidger" the Gamo FT squirrel at 10M. I was using 7.9gr crosman premier domes and it took at least 2 pumps to knock him down and two dots in the scope for hold over.

    Sometimes it doesn't work if you hit the paddle too low. For consistancy, 3 pumps always has worked so far.

    What really funny is you can hit the paddle and watch it flicker with one pump and not squidger over. No resetting necessary.

  52. B.B.

    Well, that explains why my rested shots at 50 yards with the 1911 didn't hit the target. So, how do you separate the gun from the rest with your hands? The normal grip with the hands wrapped around the butt will leave the butt exposed at the bottom. Do you use the cup and saucer method with one hand cupping the butt?

    Wayne, I've never heard of the Taurus Judge, but it gets good marks, and I expect that the shotgun shells would be ideal against snakes. I seem to recall B.B. missing a snake with a whole magazine from a 1911 due to the adrenaline rush. Elmer Keith claims that when he stepped on a snake, he fired one shot with his Colt SAA as he was leaping up in the air, one on the way down and one when he hit the ground. I believe he hit the snake with at least one. Anyway, that's not for the rest of us.

    Reloaders, I thought part of the reloading process involved inserting a new primer into the old case without regard for the old primer which I assumed would have been obliterated. However, a website on reloading for the M1 Garand claims that the old primer has to be punched out/removed by a complicated sounding process. Have you heard of such a thing? Does it apply only to an M1 or is it necessary for bolt-action? On another note, I was watching a guy reload shotgun shells, and there was definitely an industrial chic in cranking out those perfectly formed shells. Wayne, there's fun in this.

    BG_Farmer, is this your first blackpowder rifle? A cherry wood stock would be cool.


  53. Matt61,

    Never reloaded for an M1. My old press just required the right die inserted, down stroke de-primed, up stroke resized.

    Inserting new primers is another step.


  54. Matt61,

    Is what you read about difficulties in removing the primer for M1 ammo have to do with military surplus ammo?

    Saw this on the web (I don't have first hand knowledge of this):

    "If you're using M1 surplus military ammo, you must remove the crimp over the primer pocket before you can reprime. Both Lyman and RCBS make such tools."


  55. B.B. & Kevin,

    I like both your ideas.. get good equipment and only use it for .38 special and .357 mag at first. I have 4 revolvers that shoot them, so it's perfect to start there..

    Then probably .45 long colt, and maybe .223 for a while.. then 30-06 and last 7mm rem mag.
    I've got a very large supply of .38 and .357 mag. empty brass cases to start with…

    Thanks for the link.. I'll check it out tonight.


    Try my wacky way too..
    left elbow against ribs, heal of gun in open left palm, middle finger under the trigger guard… right hand normal.. I end up with my right palm also resting on my open left palm, and left hand fingers wrapped on bottom of right hand…

    This position might bring the pistol closer to your face, than hands and arms extended with out support.. so eye and ear protection are even more important!

    What do you think B.B.
    Is that a dangerous position?
    Did I teach myself something bad? ..ever see any other wacky guys like me use it?

    Although, it does seems to work better with revolvers than semi-auto pistols.. or maybe my revolvers are more accurate than my cheap semi-auto pistols.. who knows.. .45 ACP could be another story..

    But that hold with either the S&W CO2 or .357 mag.. works for me..
    but I'm wacky WaYnE..

  56. Hi everyone,

    I'm wondering if anyone has identified a good pellet for the .22 Marauder yet? Being out of the loop for so long I've missed a lot of good reader comments and some may have mentioned an accurate .22.

    I back on the blog now after a rather long absence. This has been a mega travel year for me: Phoenix, Arizona in April(attended the NRA air gun show); Ontario, Canada in June; Alaska the month of July; back to Ontario, Canada in Aug; and, coming up, Alexandria, Minnesota in September.

    Anyone interested can find my travel pictures at:



  57. Chuck,

    Welcome back! You've been missed.

    Great pictures. Some fine northerns you're handling. Beautiful country you traveled.

    I don't have a Marauder but have been reading gobs about the gun. The majority of the "out of the box" guns like the crosman premiers (cardboard box if you have them). The tuned (mac1 especially) guns are shooting the jsb heavies (18 gr. in .22 caliber) better than the crosman premiers.

    These are the long range best pellets. Short range the Marauder doesn't seem to be very pellet picky but the guys with the "out of the box guns" seem to be amazed at how poorly the jsb's perform.


  58. Wayne,

    Forgot, the Winchester 9410 is chambered for .410 like the judge. A long time ago, like when Kevin was a youngster : ), some thought it a benefit to have a rifle and revolver that used the same ammo. Nowhere near the capabilities of your Mariln 30-30 however.

    As far as your pistol hold – as you suggest a heavy recoiling round could be dangerous. If I am picturing it correctly. Shooting a rifle the left arm against the ribs is ok.

  59. Wayne:

    The handgun hold you describe is very similar to what I and others shooting in weekly Bullseye .22 competition use. The left arm against the ribs and the cupped left hand around the bottom of the grip(in whatever variation of palm orientation) usually produces about 20 points better shooting, both in slow and timed/rapid fire. That's for autoloaders, which is all anyone uses for Bullseye.

    I don't use this grip for anything except .22, however, not even a 9mm auto loader. For that, it's a "normal" two-hand grip with the left hand wrapped around the left side of the grip and the fingers of the right hand. Too much recoil otherwise.

    I have always placed the barrel (or underframe) of a handgun directly on the front part of a rest and braced my right hand and wrist with my left, but that's never been completely satisfactory. That's the way the pictures from the manufacturer show using the rest.

    I'll try B.B.'s method, but I doubt I can hold sight pictures steady enough to be consistent for zeroing in red dots.


  60. PurcHawk,

    Matt was right, the way I describe is an adaptation of Elmer Keith's sitting rested handgun hold. It isolates the gun from vibrations induced by the firing cycle.

    Because the arms are supported by the bag, you can hold as still as a rifle this way.

    I will report on this hold with photos on Wednesday of this week.


  61. Nice fishing Chuck, if I still had my boat, I'd take you out fishing. My favorites are Walleye and Northerns. Large crappies and perch can be nice too. Bass are also fun to catch. Canada rules, but northern Minnesota, Wisconson and North Dakota has some treasured fishing spots.

  62. aj,

    Canada is great for my fishing abilities. I go to a place called KCR Camp just about 40 miles northwest of Kenora, Ontario on the Manitoba border. If I don't catch 20-30 fish a day it's a terrible day. Walleye in the morning, eat what I catch, save 2 for home, Northern/Bass in the afternoon save 4 of each. If there was a place in the US as productive I don't know where it is (but it would most likely be a lot cheaper).

    I've had good results for Crappie and Large Mouth Bass in Alexandria, Min which is where I'm going in Sept.


  63. Haenel 303-8 Super

    Well, it looks as if the front sight does project past the barrel. I scanned the original pocket manual that came with the rifle and posted it in 4 jpg photos at

    Now that should be good for printing back to back & cutting to size. The extra tag in there is the original sales price tag.

    The motivation for posting this is the frustration at locating information on my Crosman 101. Hopefully someone will find this handy. As with the nussbaum or nussholz, coming up with the specialized words in English is better left to someone conversant in air rifle terminology. I am used to Germans saying walnuss, and expected walnut stain to be darker… but then again I am still working on mastering English as a first language.

    Thanks for the invitation, I think I will be by here now and then. I am also looking forward to Part 2 of your write-up. I see some get up to visit this area – I live in Alaska. That way I don’t have to travel to get to paradise. I am planning some lower 48 extended drives and will keep my eye opened for air rifle shows.

    By the way, BB, you mentioned to someone there was no way to send you scans or photos. Have you considered a generic Hotmail or Gmail account just for that purpose? Well, I guess I should look around the web site & FAQ before I start making suggestions.
    Yes, I have looked for the Crosman 101 on your site and learned a bunch from it. Now to consider if it is worth putting the old thing back in shape…

    Ron M

  64. Ron,

    Thank you for that look at the manual. I think you are right, the sights were on correctly the first way.

    As for the blog and photos, the webmaster is always looking for ways to improve this blog, but they are also working on social websites and it's diluting their efforts.

    Glad to have your comments.


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