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Education / Training Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 3

Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle has awakened a large segment of shooters!

Wow! It doesn’t happen often, but the new Crosman Challenger 2009 has really struck a resonant chord with many of you readers. The comments started coming soon after the blog posted, and the questions showed me that you were scrutinizing this rifle with a magnifying glass. So, I thought I’d do a special report today and see where it takes us.

Several of you asked questions about the similarity between the Challenger, the Benjamin Discovery and the Benjamin Marauder. While I’m not a Crosman spokesperson, I will answer that question as best I can from an outsider’s perspective. The Challenger, Discovery and Marauder are each very different from one another, and, as far as parts interchanging, you really have to check directly with Crosman. Certainly, the shapes and dimensions of the receivers are different. Just look at the inlet of the manometer in the Challenger stock. Neither the Discovery nor the Marauder has one located there, and theirs are both located on the bottom of the forearm. So, swapping actions with the stocks of other rifles is not easily done.

Wayne asked if the rifles are cousins. I would have to say “yes,” they are. But cousins with significant differences. Crosman has used the dual fuel/2000 psi approach with both the Discovery and the Challenger 2009, but not as much with the Marauder. What I mean is that, although the Marauder can also be operated on CO2 and 2,000 psi, it doesn’t leave the factory set up for that. I suspect that some valve parts are the same across the three rifles and some are different. Neither the Challenger nor the Discovery have the transfer port limiter screw that the Marauder does, for example.

Crosman is a hotbed of airgun engineering these days. They see the future of precharged guns, and they clearly want to be a major player in the technology. Heck, with just these three rifles, they’re already a powerful influence. It’s not a surprise that they’ve built three quite different air rifles, but used the winning technology of dual fuel and 2000 psi operation for all of them.

Enough generalizations. Now on to the specifics.
Reader pcp4me asked what makes the Challenger any better than the Daisy Avanti 853. Here’s the answer: It’s better because of how easily it cocks and loads. A ten-year-old has a hard time pumping a single-stroke while lying on the floor in the prone position. And adults have difficulty loading the Daisy trough without flipping pellets backwards. The Challenger, by contrast, is the easiest Sporter-class target rifle to both cock and load. You simply pull straight back on a T-handle located at the rear of the action to cock the bolt. The loading trough is very accessible from either side, making the Challenger truly ambidextrous. Once the pellet is in the trough, the bolt pushes it straight into the breech without a problem. These are all attributes that the Daisy single-strokes lack.


With the aperture sight mounted, the access to the T-handle that cocks the rifle is restricted. However I found it easy to grab just one side of the big T. Being right-handed, I grabbed the right side. A child will have a lot more room to grab here than an adult.


Here’s the cocking handle with the rear sight removed so you can see. The bolt is closed.


The bolt is open, and the rifle is cocked.


The loading trough is wide open to both right- and left-handed shooters. You won’t fumble pellets with this rifle!

The reason the earlier photos of the rifle look different from the one I’m testing is that Crosman wanted to get more shots from a single charge. While the 30-shot Sporter match total I told you about in the last report is accurate, most competitions today are shooting each position twice. So it’s a 60-shot match instead of a 30-shot match. And the rules now allow sighters before each leg of the match begins. Crosman responded to the need for more shots by lengthening the reservoir by two inches, giving it the shape you see in the photo above. I have to thank Ed Schultz of Crosman for clarifying that point for me.

Crosman wanted to get 100 shots from the gun, and by sheer accident, I seemed to have done that. They thought the velocity difference on the shots taken with 2,200 psi (tank gauge reading) were within the acceptable range when added to my first string. The spread was much larger (534 to 568) but they don’t think that will matter on target at 10 meters. So, I am going to test for it.

Free-floated barrel
The Lothar Walther barrel is free-floated. It appears to be anchored by the receiver and the rear barrel band for strength. Then, it passes through what appears to be a front barrel band without touching it. The long front sight base doesn’t touch the reservoir, either. It floats several hundredths of an inch above the tube. This is a configuration that owners should leave as is. It should give top accuracy throughout the entire useful shot string, as the flexing of the decompressing reservoir shouldn’t be able to influence the barrel in any way.


Here you can see the completely free-floated barred. The front band does not touch the barrel and the front sight base does not touch the reservoir below.

Hammer spring tension adjustment
The hammer spring adjustment is more complex than you might imagine. Not only can the spring tension be adjusted within limits; it’s also possible to adjust the length of the hammer stroke. With a given hammer stroke length, a heavier hammer-spring tension results in a harder hammer blow and more airflow. That means greater velocity. Change the length of the hammer stroke and this relationship changes.

Crosman has designed this mechanism to have limits, so an owner cannot adjust a 5 foot-pound gun into a 12 foot-pound gun. The Challenger 2009 is a target rifle, and the velocities recorded in yesterday’s report are correct for this kind of rifle. I’ll do some tweaking of this knob in a future report, but if you are thinking you can turn the rifle into a sporter or a field target gun, forget it. There isn’t that much adjustability. What’s there is to allow you to adapt the powerplant to a favorite pellet so you get the flattest velocity curve for that one pellet.

The buttplate
Crosman has included a buttplate that’s adjustable for length, height and cant on this rifle. The height adjustment is legal in an NRA Sporter-class match, but not a CMP-sanctioned Sporter-class match. So, they also give you the means to lock the buttplate so it cannot move up and down. The length of pull can be adjusted in both types of matches.


The buttplate adjusts up and down and cants in both directions. While legal for NRA matches, it isn’t allowed in CMP matches, so Crosman provides a white plastic peg that stops the buttplate from moving. I found it inside the curved buttplate when I rotated it to the side.


For smaller children who need a shorter length of pull, the whole buttplate mechanism comes off easily and the pull drops to 11 inches. A slip-on rubber pad would only add a little to this and keep the butt secure on the shoulder.

For reader Don Heatley, whose 10-year-old son has trouble with the length of pull on his Daisy 888: On the Challenger, it’s possible to remove the entire buttplate mechanism and substitute an aftermarket rubber slip-on pad, thus reducing the length of pull from 12-1/8″ by about another full inch! And it doesn’t end there! The buttplate screw slot also accepts Anschutz auxiliary buttplates that are well-known as the most ergonomic and wide-ranging on the target rifle market. So, if you don’t care about the match rules, you can have a hook-style butt plate on your rifle, or any of Anschutz’s other designs.

There’s more, but it’ll have to wait for another day.

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.

68 thoughts on “Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 3”

  1. This is from Andy, who tried to email me at Pyramyd AIR. As I said, I do not answer emails directly. B.B.

    Can anyone help Andy?

    I have recently bought a Diasy powerline 901 multi pump pneumatic .177 cal. Air rifle that does about 700 fps muzzle velocity. I have a chrony already because I am a tournament paintball enthusiast and I use my chrony for any type of air gun so I know my average muzzle velocity is actually 700 fps. I am having trouble taking squirrel with this gun from about ten yards is the closest shot I have had. I need some tips for killing these over populated pest as in what weight pellets or what design. I am currently using the 7.9 grain Crosman premier hollow points and 7.9 grain Crosman field points. I would like to know what pellets are most suitable for 20 meter squirrel hunting, I don’t even know if the muzzle energy im making is enough. I have no problem hitting the squirrel because there are so many of them in one place where I hunt. I have seen as many as 6 squirrels under the same tree because nut producing trees are scarce where I live so they are not afraid of humans as much because they are so focused on food. Where should I try to hit the squirrel for the most humane kill but will not spoil the meat and what are some of your favorite hunting pellets?


  2. Andy,

    This is the way we do it here at Pyramyd AIR. Post your questions to this blog and someone will try
    to answer them.

    First off, stop shooting squirrels with that Daisy 901. It's too weak, obviously.

    You really should move up to a .22 caliber rifle if you are going to use a low-powered airgun.
    A Mendoza RM200 would be a good choice for you. Look at it here:


    If you have a little more money to spend, look at a Benjamin 392:


    These are the guns to take squirrels.

    Shoot for the brain. Research squirrel anatomy on the internet.
    You owe it to them to make humane kills.

    Finally, know that many squirrels have diseases and are not fit to eat.
    The ones around houses are often the worst ones in that respect.
    Learn how to detect the various diseases squirrels can have and how to
    recognize them when butchering the animal.


  3. Andy – You definately need a more powerful gun!! Squirrels are tough critters and I've lost them after shooting them with a .22lr. As far as what pellet to use, I don't think hollow point, domed, or pointed offer any real advantage at the velocities most airguns shoot. The key is accuracy. If you can hit the squirrel in the eyeball everytime, it won't matter what type of pellet you use. Try as many as you can get your hands on and find what one is most accurate in your gun. Hunting squirrels can be a lot of fun, I do it all the time. But watching a poorly hit squirrel squirm around in agony and limp off undead is not fun at all. Good luck!!


  4. BB. Thanks for the review. I just ordered one from you guys. I might have missed this in the reviews but is there an accessory rail? Can a I hook up a Daisy sling to it or do I need something else?

  5. B.B.,

    Here's the info on the JW-75 that just sold:


    No that your future re-publisher needs any additional evidence but here you go anyway:


    This old R1 book sold in an hour and four minutes at around midnight. Was happy to hear that you are seriously considering re-publishing. I think the timing would be good. Christmas NEXT year?


  6. Andy,

    Welcome to the blog!

    You've already received some great advice but I'd like to echo a couple things.

    Use your Daisy Powerline 901 for target shooting and pests like mice at very short ranges. For larger pests (like your squirrels) use a WELL PLACED shot with a .22 caliber pellet (larger diameter, heavier pellet, better ballistics, better wound channel). Practice until you can hit a nickel sized area evertime and limit your shots to that distance and closer. This will limit the number of squirrels that need two shots.

    Since you're used to a multi-pump I strongly second the Benjamin 392. I also like the Benjamin 392 for you since it doesn't take alot of technique to be accurate with and by varying the amount of pumps (from 1 to 8) you can vary the power for different distances. This is a classic that has been around for may decades. It's proven itself. I grew up killing pests, like squirrels with this gun. Most of these guns aren't pellet fussy but mine does best with JSB pellets. If you take care of it the gun will last a lifetime. Always remember to store a Benjamin 392 with one or two pumps of air and NEVER clean the barrel.


  7. Andy,

    My 2 Cents….

    I'm shooting squirrels at about 10 yards with a Daisy 22SG. It surely won't do the job at 40 yards.

    Laws about hunting

    If you want to hunt, there are game laws. Laws vary state to state. Squirrels will have a season (range of dates) and a bag limit.

    You generally can't "hunt" within city limits.

    Benj 392

    Different strokes for different folks…

    I didn't like the open sights on the benji. Bad eyes and old age. You might like them fine…

    I not a big fan of the the Benji 392. It has a little more power than the Daisy 22SG, but it doesn't handle a scope nearly as well. The Scope on the Benji ends up really high because of the extra clamps that must be used with the barrel. You can't get a good cheek weld. (position of cheek on rifle stock).

    Laws about 0.22

    Many areas, cities and states, have decided a that a 0.22 is too powerful to be a "toy gun" and have started treating 0.22 as if it is a firearm. So you may find a 0.22 gun and pellets hard to find in your area. Wal-mart stopped selling 0.22's for that reason. They have some 0.177 pellets and guns but no 0.22s.

    Cheek weld and scope

    The cheek weld is more important than you might think. If you move your eye position the aim point is changing too!

    The 4X scopes that come with most guns are not very particular about eye position. You can move your eye around and still get a focus on the target. A "varmint scope" uses higher power and hence is more fussy about your eye position.

    Springers are likely to break firearm scopes…

    What pellets

    In the 600fps range, forget about hollow points. Even at higher speeds they are probably overrated for an airgun. Domed pellets are the choice.

    Pellet selection at local stores usually stinks, so you might have to order pellets. You need a good pellet because you're trying to hit a very small spot. Cheap pellets are fine for plinking at tin cans.

    JSBs, or RWS domed are good choices. Air Arms domes are same as JSB. Use something cheaper if you can shoot them as well.

    It is about shot placement not just power…

    Think like a buffalo hunter BB once told me. You have to hit a vital area. You aren't going to blow the squirrel apart – and you don't want to if your hunting…

    Squirrels are tough critters and a head shot is necessary. That means that you have to be able to hit a 1 inch circle at whatever distance you're shooting.

    The Mendoza RM-200

    First I haven't shot the RM-200 but having low power, it probably doesn't have a massive amount of recoil. A more powerful springer is apt to be very hold fussy. Fine for a target range where you're shooting horizontally but not so good for hunting where you shoot at odd angles and from odd positions.

    Search for the artillery hold to get more information on what I'm talking about.

    Don't underestimate the squirrels.

    If the squirrels are used to being around people they made start out fairly tame and let you get close. Start shooting at them and they get skittish fast. You'll find out very quickly that you're trying to make longer shots.

    Budget & Noise

    Haven't talked budget, or how much noise the air gun can make. The Benjamin Discovery is a nice step up in power (and a big step up in price…) but it is noisy.


    You have to give some though about what is going to happen to the pellet if you miss. I'm shooting in the city for pest control. That means no horizontal shots going across the street to hit neighbor or the side of his house. Shooting up is Ok because pellet will have virtually no velocity coming down. The skirt on the pellet slows it down fast.

    If you setup a range at home be thoughtful of what is going to happen to misses and if anyone can walk into your line of fire unnoticed. In other words, a hedge isn't a good "backstop." There could be someone behind the hedge.

  8. Good Morning B.B. & all,

    Thanks for the quick follow up report on the Challenger.. It seems Crosman has scored big again.. they certainly know where the product holes are in the market!.. and how to fill them with a great product at a great price!


    The folks that are laughing at the Marauder.. (jokingly).. are shooting Daystate, AAEV2, and the likes..
    No doubt the trigger on the Marauder keeps it out of those classes… but darn.. if one gets use to trigger.. (and some folks don't like and can't deal with a 1 lb target trigger anyway).. then the Marauder can compete.. maybe not with a top shooter and a $2,000 gun.. but probably an average shooter with a top gun!!


    Thanks all for the encouragement on my field target shooting.. It's nice to have a support team!!

    I have progressed a lot in a short time.. but only because I'm lucky enough to have a lot of time to practice… with some of the best equipment! .. and now have an actual ft course 300 yards from my home/office!

    Practice.. it really does make a big difference.. and there is no way around it!.. good thing practice is just as much fun as the contest… well almost 🙂

    Wacky Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range … &
    current Oregon State Field Target Champ

  9. Mr. B.

    I was thinking of a trophy before the contest.. but the salesperson talked me out of it, until after the event, because putting the name on an add on plate looks tacky.. so I waited on the prize..
    good thing too..
    I decided instead to have a hat made that said "OREGON ST. FIELD TARGET CHAMP".. no date or name… anyone who beats me anytime anywhere, who lives in Oregon.. gets the hat!…

    So.. along those lines.. I could have hats made for ya'll… but what should they say?

    Wacky Wayne's support team?
    Wacky Wayne's cheerleaders?
    Wacky Wayne's Field Target Teachers?
    Wacky Wayne's Wandering Wunderers?

    I'm sure you can do better than me with something!

    Wacky Wayne

  10. B.B.

    Ah, the knurled knob contains the secret to the mysterious Challenger adjustability.

    PurcHawk, I think we're getting at the same thing from different directions. Fused and I are starting with the steadiness of a single instant and trying to expand it, and you and many others are starting from a prolonged hold and trying to steady it. B.B. said that the ultimate zen moment is to sort of know without knowing the moment when the trigger breaks which must be the intersection of these two trends. As Bruce Lee says, many paths to the same mountaintop.

    Actually David Tubb is quite proud of all the rules he breaks. He cants the rifle; he has an approach method for his offhand; he's developed his own sitting position. I don't know that any of his techniques are intrinsically better by themselves. I suspect that he has just taken the extra time to learn about what he uniquely brings to the table in terms of physiology, temperament and so on. His ultimate precept is to keep trying new things until you find something that works.


  11. WWayne,
    I would buy a t-shirt if it was dark, maybe black or dark blue, with a logo and "Ashland Air Rifle Range" on just the left breast, but no pocket. On the back I'd like to see, in large circular or arched fashon, "Ashland Air Rifle Range" with crossed air rifles of your choice and some sponsors' names of your competitions listed.

    T-shirt proceeds would go toward your youth air rifle program.

    Very nice response to Andy. I even learned from it!


  12. Joe B.,

    In answer to your front barrel band question, it's there to protect the barrel from a powerful blow. Because it's anchored so far back, a strong side blow could possibly bend it. Well the front band limits how far it can travel in any direction.

    I had thought that was the reason for it, but I called Ed Schultz at Crosman and verified it for you.


  13. Chuck,

    No problem. I agree with you. Herb's response was worth more than the 2 cents Herb stated. Very good opinion and detailed.

    I still think the 392 with open sights (I don't like a scope on the 392 since I think the adjustable open sights are find and a scope gets in the way of pumping) is a good choice for the 20 meters max that Andy will be shooting squirrels.


  14. Wayne,

    I thought the Marauder trigger was world class. The mockers must have mighty refined tastes. I suspect that the attitude is the same as that towards Savage rifles and is more about pedigree than what the equipment can actually do.


  15. Andy, with regards to squirrel hunting on a budget – if you get a good one, the Crosman 800X might fill the bill pretty well. Being Chinese the QC can be a bit iffy, but other than that this almost-clone of the the Gamo has a fair punch to it and is pretty easy to work on. I found it harder to shoot well than some other springers, but most shooters don't seem to have that much trouble working with it.

  16. Wayne,

    Kidding aside, I kind of like the hat idea as well – perhaps a poll of the blog here on who would buy what? I'd take a hat and shirt.

    Now all you need is a bit of an artist to draw up the logo that Chuck suggested.

  17. I have been lurking here for about a year, asking a few anonymous questions while deciding what gun to get.

    I have decided to become unanonymous because of you all creating a very safe (banning cos) open…(your stories about natural shooters and women were very enjoyable) web site.

    I am a women, just got my first gun.. the discovery in .22… much in part because of it weight size and ease of use. At 125 lbs I have have to use all my weight for the last few pumps to 2000… I could never fill a 3000 psi.

    Ok, so for the dumb question of the day… BB from what I have read you believe non-lead pellets are a plot by the "anti-gunners" to ban guns. I am health conscious…I know lead in paint kills kids, I know lead is poisonous, why breath the dust, get it on my skin, or clog my barrel with it if I don't have to? So, I have been using the Prometheus Dynamic PCP2 alloy pellet, built for a pcp, no plastic body and weighs 14.3 grams. I shoot into a hay bale. Here is comes…..Can I reuse pellets that I recover from the bale? Some are damaged (probably from hitting another pellet which has also hit the center of the target LOL) but 80% look like new.

    Thanks and I look forward to learning lots more from you all.


  18. Matt61:

    That's an interesting response. You are correct that everyone I talk to and all I read about offhand pistol shooting competition starts with the assumption that a sight waver is unavoidable, so the approach is to minimize its importance.

    BB (or any one): What is the technique for 10 meter air pistol or medium or long range 1911 shooting?

    People who shoot full NRA-sanctioned Bullseye shoot .22s at 25 yards and centerfire and .45s at 50 yards, using the technique I was describing. I've seen a guy (in his late 70s)at our local sportsmans club range shoot a 1911 with open sights and hold 20 shots in a 8" ring, which blew me away.


  19. Beth,

    Welcome!! I have a sister named Beth.

    Thanks for coming into the light.

    I understand your concern about the lead in lead pellets. I'm not an expert but allow me to share my personal experience. I've been around large amounts of lead for over 50 years. I've shot lead, re-loaded lead, eaten lead shot in the animals I've killed and have a home just a few miles from Leadville, Colorado.

    Leadville is an old mininig town that has the highest concentration of lead in the ground of any City tested by EPA. About 15 years ago the EPA came into town, set up shop and started testing the residents. They were in the town for years. In the final analysis the lead found in the residents was no higher than the national average. Among other things I learned from this unwelcome and chaotic visit from the feds was that in mature humans you must ingest very high amounts of highly concentrated lead to elevate the levels in your system. Infants require much smaller amounts.

    I was in the hospital recently and had my blood tested daily. One day out of curiousity I asked to know the lead level in my system. Results, below national average.

    I always wash my hands after reloading and/or handling pellets.

    As far as non lead pellets being a plot by anti gunners to ban guns I doubt it. The only comments that I can remember from B.B. about non lead pellets is their lack of accuracy. As far as re-using pellets, go ahead. The only issue would be that even a slightly damaged pellet will affect accuracy.

    What guns are you shooting and at what ranges?


  20. PurcHawk,

    Here's a link to a 7 part series B.B. did on 10-Meter pistol shooting. Some good advice on technique in this series:


    Can't help you with long range shooting with a 1911. Never did it.


  21. Beth,

    You won't hurt your Disco, but the recycled pellets might not be as accurate. Try them out and see how well their grouping compairs to unfired ones. I'll be waiting to hear from you on your results. Oh and welcome offically to The Blog.

    I'm 6'2", weigh 150, almost 66 with COPD and pumping to 2000 psi required a few catch the breath stops. I remade the pump base so that I could stand with my feet a sholder width apart–all I can say if WOW what a difference.

    Also was so very easy to do. Remove base from pump. Use it to locate the two holes in whatever you've found for your new base plate. If you use wood, you'll need to buy longer bolts. Don't forget to get ones whose head is made to be counter sunk. Let us know how it works for you.

    Mr B.

  22. Beth,

    Welcome. I will defer to my esteemed colleague Kevin on the lead issue. I would like to add that for the sake of absolute accuracy a domed lead pellet on the heavy side in a rifle with the power of the Disco will most likely be the most accurate.

    As far as reusing the pellets, a reused BB can damage the shot tube of a BB gun, but with a pellet and steel barrel there is no such worry. But that said I would think about recycling in other areas. Quality lead pellets are fairly economical.

  23. PurcHawk,

    Asking me about 10 meter shooting is asking an average wannabe stock car driver about NASCAR. However, at the end of my competitive effort, I reached a plateau at which I was able to gaze into the promised land of the better shooters. I was about to step over the threshold, but personal problems caused me to lose focus and I've never gone back. What I saw was this:

    While holding the pistol, you only hold on target for five seconds or less. Never more. There comes a point at which the sight waiver stops and you lock onto the perfect sight picture for up to a second. Your trigger finger is prompted by your brain to contract the extra 10 or five grams of effort that break the trigger, and the gun fires without conscious bidding.

    I saw that and did that enough times that I know it happens for better shooters. The result is always a 10. What I didn't quite have yet was the discipline to prevent the occasional random snipe at the target, which is usually a nine though sometimes an eight.

    I could not put 60 shots like that together. I was at the point where 15-20 shots might sometimes be possible.


  24. PurcHawk,

    I see that I didn't answer the right question. Ten-meter pistol shooting is so much different than 1911 shooting because of how light the airgun is and how much the grip helps you hold it. Also, the angle of the air pistol grip forces the shooter to lock the wrist, while the 1911 shooter has to do that themselves.


  25. Beth,

    I'm a chemist by training, and I've handled all sorts of chemicals. Just use a little common sense.

    (1) Washing hands before eating is good. (Chemists wash hands before and after going to the bathroom…)

    (2) Don't put pellets in your mouth. Dah…

    (3) I would be a little bit more careful with oxidized pellets with a white coating. The oxide would rub off easier and get onto your hands – back to #1.

    (4) Indoor shooting ranges (eg pistol ranges) should have good ventilation. Bullets slamming into backstop will create some lead dust which you could breath into your lungs.

    (5) Lead behaves like calcium. Any food or chemical that has calcium has lead. So you will already ingesting easily detectable amounts of lead. I did x-ray fluorescence (XRF). I NEVER EVER found a calcium containing chemical that was lead free.

    Lead paint has lead as ions. If you ingest the paint, then you can easily absorb the lead into the bloodstream. A real problem for kids since thhey were the ones eating the paint, and hey didn't have much body mass. Metallic lead can't be absorbed you'd have to ionize it first. I've eating a lot of birds killed with lead shot. Even swallowed a few shot. So if you swallow a lead pellet 99.99999% of it will just past through you as a lead blob. The amount that you'd inject would be almost undetectably small. I say almost because if you used a radioactive lead pellet, you could probably pick up some the lead from the pellet due to its radioactivity. But you already have a vastly larger amount of lead already in your body.

    It really is about not taking stupid risks. Nothing can be 100%, ironclad, guaranteed, without any doubt, risk free. The point is that the next time that you take a trip in a car, you'll be putting yourself at greater risk than using lead pellets will ever pose.

    I'd caution against reusing pellets. If the pellets pick up some dust and dirt, the dust and dirt could scratch the barrel.

    Try some really good lead pellets like the JSBs. After shooting the non-lead pellets put about 50 of them through the rifle, then decide if they group better. I'd bet that the lead pellets will shoot better.


    PS – I have more than sufficient weight to pump. Could I send you and Jane each 30lbs?

  26. Beth,

    I also welcome you to commenting openly on this blog. These are a fine group of readers who will always show anyone the courtesy they expect for themselves. The shooting sports are perceived as a male pursuit, but the truth is the women who shoot are both a strong and a rapidly growing segment.

    As far as a 125-lb. person not being able to attain 3,000 psi with a hand pump, I have actually tested it and have seen proof that it is impossible! I saw a 135 lb. man balance on the pump handle which did not go down after about 2,700 psi. So you are absolutely correct. 2,000 psi was made for shooters like you.

    As far as the threat from lead goes, you must use your own discretion. However, I was raised in a different age, when lead (which is a toxin-not a poison) was not vilfied in the press and I have cast lead bullets all my life–well for 45 years, anyway– and like Kevin, my blood-lead level tests low, not just for my age but for a man twenty years younger than I.

    I take 1,000 Mg of vitamin C every day and certain other natural products that remove heavy metals from the tissues of the body. However I am not a doctor and cannot prescribe any substance for any person.

    The lead-free pellets are not yet there, where accuracy is concerned. If they were, the World Cup would probably embrace them.

    Lead dust starts to happen very noticeable when a lead object traveling 600 f.p.s. hits an immovable hard surface like a backstop. A silent pellet trap is one good way to reduce the dust, and shooting under 600 f.p.s. is another.

    The bottom line, though, is you have to be comfortable with what you are doing. That's always the last word for a responsible adult.

    Welcome to the blog and I hope we hear from you often.


  27. B.B. and Beth…
    It's not just body weight on the pump….
    I'm 5'8" and do good enough for 2700-2800 psi. with my 175 lbs. Can do 3K if I want, but the rifles don't like it.

    My wife is a lot shorter and heavier…but no freaking way can she manage. The pump is too tall for her. Height is important on how you can apply force on the pump.


  28. Beth,

    Welcome. I remember lurking for awhile, and I think I came online right when B.B. revealed his secret identity!

    I have an actively developed sense of self-preservation. So while, I take comfort in the fact that lead exposure is probably not too risky, there's no harm in additional measures. In addition to what was mentioned here, I can suggest wearing an N-95 surgical mask when working on your targets and running a fan on the range if indoors. Of course washing hands is vital.

    I enjoy without measure the cheapness of airgunning. So, since lead pellets are only about 1 penny each, one use seems like enough for me. You also don't want to risk damaging your gun with a used one.

    I have a longtime interest in martial arts partly because of its efficient techniques of generating and delivering force. Generally, this does not come from big muscles but a clever use of body weight, joint tension, timing, leverage…. So, I persist in thinking that there is some way to handle a pump easily. However, until I come up with it, maybe Jane can describe how she operates a pump with a leverage system.


  29. B.B.

    I have felt those moments when I know as sure as I know anything that my pellet is going to hit dead center before I release the shot. I even know how I got there. But all the same, I just cannot reproduce every time what I know must be done. There's a crazy, contrary urge to break technique. It's like Original Sin….


  30. Beth,

    I too welcome you!!!
    Edith and Jane are the best among us!! Feminine energy is needed here!!

    Your Disco will take you far in the airgun world..
    A silent trap with the "duct seal" stuff, is a great target holder.. no noise of pellet hitting, or dust, the paper targets stick to it, if you rough it up a bit….
    you can buy it at a homecenter, or buy the whole thing a PA.. but with the disco's power, you need to add another layer.. so buy an extra brick of the stuff…


    Wow!… you gave a great vision of the upper levels of mastery of the shooting game!! You just helped me see what's going on in my shooting..

    I think my weakest link, is now my standing offhand shots… and so.. while practicing FT.. after each sitting lane, I've been walking back to the standing lane, and shooting it again.

    It seems I can mostly control the waver, as you describe, at least enough to time the shot, for maybe 4 shots without resting, then I start shaking like crazy.. Last week, it was two shots.. so practice does work folks.. just do it!!

    And thanks all,
    for the "Tee" shirt ideas.. great way to promote the rifle range.. a hat and Tee combo would be cool.. I'll get on it.. but really, I can't.. until we decide what to say!!

    Wacky Wayne, Ashland Air Rifle Range

  31. BG, Famer

    On September 13, 2009 10:25 PM, you talked about:
    "…it is at the apex of the trajectory that the angles sought by the two methods of stabilization become of opposite signs, and it is likely at this point that significant precession and perhaps even nutation become major concerns."

    Then at : September 15, 2009 5:05 PM, you asked…
    "Was my summary of the incompatibility b/t drag and spin stabilizations at significant angles of elevation in line with what you understand?"


    Not really….

    Imagine shooting the rifle with the boreline aimed horizontally. Let's assume that the pellet's center line axis does stay absolutely horizontal. The angle between the pellet's orientation and its flight path is changing the fastest as the pellet leaves the barrel. The "apex" of the ballistic path when you shoot a pellet upward seems to be a red herring.

    For a pellet with a tiny "yaw" angle, the CoP is behind the CoG relative to the pellet's head. (If the pellet were flying perfectly head on then Jane pointed out that the CoP would be in the center of the nose.) Thus you have two forces, with a distance between them. The distance of separation becomes a lever arm. More speed means more drag force at the CoP. More spin means more force at CoG. So with CoP and CoG a fixed distance apart and with fixed twist rate, you can get to a point where more velocity is detrimental to stability. The way to restore stability is to reduce the twist rate which creates less force at CoG which is fighting force at CoP.

    There is absolutely no way the pellet is flying with the pellet ceneterline absolutely following the path of the pellet. Thus there will always be some tiny yaw angle. With all of the opposing forces, my notion is that the pellet ALWAYS precesses about its centerline. The most we can hope for is that the precession is "stable."

    As the pellet leaves the muzzle, the precession rate is very fast. As the pellet slows down there is less force at the CoP and the pellet starts to precess at a greater angle, which also slows down rate of precession. When the rate of precession becomes slow enough, the pellet can actually start to follow the angle of the pellet as it precesses, and the pellet "spirals."

    I'm guessing that the point at which the pellet starts to actually spiral is when the precession starts to sweep at a large enough angle that it encounters the flight path of the bullet.

    Think of a sailboat sailing into the wind. I think the optimum angle is about 20 degrees. Now the sailboat can jitter around the 20 degree heading fine. But what happens if the sailboat turns directly into the wind? The sails go slack, and if you turn back out of the wind the sails snap as they fill with wind again. So as the pellet does point into the flight path unpredictable drag forces swirl around the pellet. It just takes a little nudge the wrong way to destabilize what had been "stable" precession.

  32. WWayne,

    Ashland Air Rifle Range
    Building Character On Air

    Ashland Air Rifle Range
    Building Character Out Of Thin Air

    Ashland Air Rifle Range
    Got Air?

    Ashland Air Rifle Range
    A Breath Of Fresh Air


  33. Beth,

    If you are still concerned about the lead, a good alternative to the lead free pellets are the Beeman FTS Double Gold. They are the same as the FTS, but with a very thin coating of copper on them (14.66 grains vs. 14.6 plain, so I'm assuming 0.06 grains of copper). It keeps the lead off your hands, and as long as the pellet doesn't explode on impact, there is little chance of inhaling anything. They are a little pricey compared to plain lead pellets, but not bad compared to the alloy ones.

    I have the Quest 800, and can attest that it works well on squirels and other small game. It does pack a punch for the money, and is fairly accurate once you learn to hold it consistently – especialy if you upgrade the trigger to a GRT-II. But as Vince said the QC is spotty. I bought two (one for both me and my dad), and his had a problem where the sear relased on its own with the barrel cocked, resulting in a bent barrel on only about the 40th shot. Fortunately Pyramid changed it out. Mine had the mainspring break after about 1500 shots, and scope stopped holding zero after about 700 shots. So it likely will cost you more than the low initial price in the long run.

    As an alternative, B.B. suggested to me that the Crossman NPSS would be a better gun to move to, and I must say I agree with him – $300 gets a gun that should last with a darn good scope too. If you don't need the scope right away, the RWS 34 is a good bet also and will save you money over the NPSS, at least initially.


  34. B.B. (et al.):

    You did answer the right question, and it helps. What you say is useful for the slow fire parts of the Bullseye competition, which is 20 shots in 20 minutes. But the last two rounds are 20 rounds in 40 seconds (shot in strings of 5) and 20 rounds in 20 seconds (also in 5s) so there's no time to wait for a golden instant when the waver stops. It does help to get into a good rhythm.


  35. MR.B,Thanks for that great tip reguarding a wider pump base…I have two bad discs in my lumbar and I'm sure being able to modify my stance with my Airforce pump will help tremendously. a very grateful FrankB

  36. Wayne,

    Don't know if this belongs on a hat or tee shirt but this quote was beautifully carved in a sign in six inch letters and hung over the check in station at my favorite gun range I patronized for years:

    ‘‘[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.’’

    — James Madison, Federalist, No. 46.

  37. Beth,I'd also welcome you aboard.
    Can't add anything to the lead and reuse
    of pellets topics but am interested in
    your results and target,distance etc.
    I've been thinking(dreaming)of a detuned
    Disco in .177 at @ 650 fps. for backyard
    plinkin and high shot count per fill.

    All:I usually shoot rested or from a prop
    due to not being steady anymore-Thanks to abusing myself too much and paying for it now-but that feeling of the shot being {there} is unmistakeable whether
    airguns,archery,or throwing darts.And
    it feels great.

    Mr B
    Got yer boat and oars out yet ?
    10 days and counting of on again off
    again rain here on the west side:(


    Put me down for a fat heads cap and
    xxl tee shirt whatever you decide on for a slogan.:)


  38. Thanks all..
    these are all great…

    I really love that one!..

    This will be fun. I'm looking into using a lot of them..

    Do you folks want pom poms on your hat too? .. I went for 2" red on the green hat.. they come in 1", 2" and 1/2" clusters like grapes.. I almost went for grapes.. but worried about the wind blowing me off my shots..

    HHHmm ..
    I just got a vision of a bikini/pom pom version tees..
    Will we need some of those too?..
    Beth, Edith.. Jane… We will need some short slogans…

    I'll also have the flower covered, volvo powered, microbus pick you all up on the way to Texas..

    I'm sure when we get to the border.. the police escort will pick us up and guide us into the contest.. or somewhere straight jackets will be waiting..

    but of course, I shoot without a jacket or harness, so I'll skip mine..

    Wacky Wayne,

    Un-hammering the plowshares.. into field target guns… and working for myself!

  39. "In answer to your front barrel band question, it's there to protect the barrel from a powerful blow. Because it's anchored so far back, a strong side blow could possibly bend it. Well the front band limits how far it can travel in any direction.

    I had thought that was the reason for it, but I called Ed Schultz at Crosman and verified it for you."

    Thank you, BB, for taking the time to do that.


  40. "I'll also have the flower covered, volvo powered, microbus pick you all up on the way to Texas…."

    Hi wayne,

    Pick me up on the way, too, wilya? I'm on Maui. (Only a little out of your way…) I'm handy to have on long trips…I can cook and I know all the words to the Beatles' songs.

  41. Wayne,

    Mike Sporer, a top silhouette competitor, told me that he waivers in the offhand position. He says the waiver follows a predictable path. He has learned to snipe his shots as the waiver passes the target.

    I'm not an offhand rifle shooter by any means, so I pass this along for what it is worth.


  42. B.B.


    That is just what I've been "trying" to do!!!


    No problem… Volvo powered, flowered, microbuses travel well on water…. but we will have to leave early to pick you up.. 🙂

    Cooking is good! Singing is Good… Beatles singing is very good!

    Wacky Wayne

  43. Wayne,

    Here are some slogans that jump to mind:

    Washington Air Heads
    Washington Pelletheads [in reference to Mike Holloway, the original–but now defunct–Pellethead]
    Washington Air Shooters

    Edith [no bikini, no pom-poms, please!]

  44. Guys:

    I'm going to add just one more comment to the wavering sight issue. When I tried 100-yard .22 NRA competition shooting for the first time a week ago, I found I could see the front sight (through a peep rear) and the 8" bull OK, but the waver of the blade was just like what I see of my red-dot sight when shooting a pistol offhand. Plus, the blade jumped up and down with my heartbeat (so that's why those other guys had on funny coats and left-hand gloves!).

    Then, the value of the pistol shooting experience came to the front, and I knew enough not to panic at the phenomenon of a wavering sight.

    I settled it as best I could–trying for the six o'clock hold B.B. explained in his 10 meter handgun blogs last year–and squeezed the light target-rifle trigger.

    Darned if it didn't work the way it is supposed to: I managed to score WAY better than I ever dreamed I could.

    I guess the point about not letting the waver bother you is one of the strong lessons. If you can get the sight calm and almost stopped before you break the trigger, more power to you, but you can still shoot pretty well if you have some remaining degree of waver.

    Thanks to all for your comments on this issue.


  45. Wayne,

    Forget my previous posting, since I see you're from Oregon, not Washington. I always thought Wacky Wayne from Washington was a clever bit of alliteration, except that now I see it doesn't make any sense for someone from Oregon.

    I think I need a nap!


  46. Edith,

    It would have been great… and great ideas if I move.. or franchise!!

    ..you might have scanned my trip to Washington State to compete this Saturday…

    But anyway.. how's this for "a clever bit of alliteration"..

    When I get my next business going making wood houseboats… the name for the boats .. (and please don't anyone steal it from me.. I'll be heart broken).. will be..

    Wacky Waynes' Wonderful Water Wagon ..

    and the web address would be what?


    Oh no… I just revealed alllllllllllll

    or you could just buy in now and not compete with me..

  47. [a rather friendly chap suggested I re-post this question here for better visibility]


    Thanks so much for the wealth of information here. Unfortunately, I’m experiencing info overload. I’m a budding new air gunner in the market for an air rifle and I’m desperately seeking some advice/recommendations.

    I’m looking for a quality rifle that is going punch paper without remorse and stay around the $300 mark. It needs to hold its own on the rifle range and be fun to shoot at variable ranges (10 – 25 – 50? yards). I don’t have a power plant/action preference (except no PCP or CO2) and I’m not afraid to work so cocking effort isn’t a big concern. Wood stock is preferable. I have some experience shooting but I’m still pretty green so something both forgiving and has room for me to grow into it.

    I’ve considered everything from a Benjamin 397 to a RWS 48 or 52 although the latter are pushing my budget.

    the “Newbie”

  48. Hello,
    I am new to Air Rifles, and would like to start a Competition Air Rifle club in Tucson, Arizona. Although I do not have an Indoor facility to train any kids, was told that I cannot train a competitive Air Rifle team outdoors, I have had several people offer support and even offered me grant money to purchase equipment to get started.
    I am looking at the Daisy 853 Sporter Air Rifle rather than the CO2 rifles, mainly because you have to purchase a CO2 tank and you need a place to store the tank.
    This may be a dumb question but, can you tell me more about the hand pump used with the Crosman Challenger 2009? Is CO2 better than using the hand pump? Could I purchase a handpump and Crosman Challengers for a Competitive Air Rifle Club?

    Thanks for your help,

    Mike from Tucson, Az

  49. Mike,

    CO2 is not the best for target guns because it has problems with velocity continuity. Air, on the other hand is perfect. The Challenger 2009 (renamed by Crosman as the Challenger PCP) is perfect for your new club.

    This blog is not run by Pyramyd AIR, however your question about purchasing club guns is one they would be happy to discuss. Call them at 888-262-4867 and ask to speak to Patrick about your club purchase.


  50. I have two questions about the Challenger 2009.

    Since I will use it with a scope, does the scope interfere with loading?

    I have not seen "dry firing" mentioned. Is it set up for dry firing?



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