Home Blog  
Education / Training Shooting the breeze – Part 2

Shooting the breeze – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Just a reminder that the “Shooting the breeze” series is meant as humor. I made up everything just to entertain you. All names, businesses and locations are fictitious. Enjoy!

August 1995
Paper moon
The Billabong Air Gun Company announced today a departure from wasteful manufacturing practices of the past. After years-long search for a less costly material to replace the expensive synthetics and plastics now used in airguns, the company believes they have found at least a partial answer in paper. That’s right–paper!

Billabong production engineers propose to begin manufacture of a brand new design of CO2 rifle targeted at their brisk discount store trade. Many of the structural components will be made from a proprietary paper-based product that company researches say is as strong and workable as plastic. Parts like valve bodies and receivers, once made of costly resin-based materials, can now be fabricated from what is essentially a modern derivative of that old grade-school favorite–paper mache. Where additional strength is required, the parts will be lined with inexpensive stamped foil sleeves and reinforcements; but the structural members will be entirely comprised of the remarkable new cellulose material. “Our new paper buttstocks are virtually indistinguishable from genuine plastic,” company officials reported. “They even warp and separate in warm weather–just like the real thing! Kids won’t be able to tell the difference.”

Billabong President Harleigh Werthit said that the new material solves another problem the company has long struggled with–obsolescence. The new gun, when abandoned for a month in the back yard by young owners, rapidly assumes the appearance of the environment, leaving only the tiniest handful of non-bio-degradable parts to mark its one-time existence. One pass with a lawnmower and the gun is history. He concluded, “Billabong is committed to making concerns about quality a thing of the past.”

October 1995
Phargone’s aural chronograph
How many of you determine your airgun’s velocity by the sound of the shot? This is a very common practice among airgunners, because it eliminates the need for an expensive chronograph that nobody knows how to use, anyway.

Professor Elvis B. Phargone has just released a CD of typical airgun shot sounds accompanied by a table of corresponding velocities. Now, you can fine-tune your ears to real precision.

“The human ear can distinguish velocity differences as small as 25 f.p.s.,” noted the famous researcher from his Breakwynd, Indiana, laboratory. “With my CD a-helpin’ them, they’ll be able to get it down to 10. I personally calibrated each shot with my own ears, which are especially sensitive. I never had a chrono ’cause I don’t need one.

Included on the new release are Phargone’s back-door-to-hickory-tree velocity tables, his “hiss-bang” CO2 pressure gauge and a new method he calls the “garbage can” system. “You’d be surprised how good you can tell sounds when your head is stuck halfway down an empty metal can.”

When questioned about the accuracy of aural chronographing, professor Phargone replied, “Heck, it’s no big deal. Doctors have been putting thermometers there for years.”

December 1995
How to turn your valuable firearms into quality pellet guns in four easy steps!
Did you know that you may have a valuable air rifle lurking in your gun collection? Elvis B. Phargone tells our readers that almost every quality-made .22 rifle can easily be turned into an accurate pellet shooter with just a little diligent work.

“I take a Winchester model 63 automatic, and I make an insert for the breech to hold a shotgun primer. All I have to do is insert a pellet up the barrel, slide in the insert with a fresh primer, close the action and shoot. The whole operation takes less than a minute, and I get real good power from the pellet, too. With hot primers, I can get a .22 Crosman Premier pellet goin’ 475 f.p.s. with no sweat.

“Of course, getting the insert out of the breech is a bother, but I made a thin ramrod that does the trick in nothin’ flat. You bang it out of the gun with the ramrod, pick it up and just pry out the old primer with a jackknife, clean the insert with a brass brush, put in a new primer and she’s ready to go again. I can put two shots downrange in less than five minutes, and I don’t have to buy an expensive pellet rifle!”

With the holidays approaching, readers will want to scout for Winchester 63s and Remington 141s they can convert to pellet shooters. Professor Phargone even thinks the Belgian-made Browning .22 automatic would work, though he cautions not to convert a grade IV. The conversion could lower the gun’s intrinsic value a bit.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

42 thoughts on “Shooting the breeze – Part 2”

  1. Wayne,

    I hear you on dialing back the scope power. At my skill level, even 9x serves mainly to illustrate how wobbly I am.

    Joe McDaniel was nice enough to let me take some shots with his Steyr, mounted with a 35x Leupold. I shot it offhand, and spent quite a lot of time just finding the thing I wanted to shoot (you call that a "target," right?). It doesn't help that I'm still not comfy with keeping my off eye open while looking down a scope.

    I think my main albatross at the moment is having a fixed 100yd parallax scope. I had never really noticed how unfocused it can be before trying to aim at some of those absurd FT targets.

    One time, at my maiden FT match this past Saturday, I was going for this target which at least to my eye looked really really tough. Maybe it was one of the longer-range 3/8" targets on the course; I could barely make out the killzone. I thought I had a pretty good feel for how to hold for the range and the breeze at the time. I did my best to steady myself, squeezed off the shot, and for just a moment was really proud to see the pellet hit exactly what I was aiming at… which was never the killzone in the first place, but a splat of lead from another shot.

    At least that was a private embarrassment compared to the time when I briefly thought I had nailed the long-range target on one lane, only to realize that I had actually nailed the medium-range target in the next lane over. Lucky for me it was a small crowd and nobody was shooting that lane at the time. I was very pleased to get a 30/60 my first time out, which probably translates to "there were 15 extremely easy targets on the DIFTA course last Saturday."

    PS, B.B.: Long Tom: 2; me: 0


  2. I got the IZH-61 out yesterday because it was on my mind after yesterday's comments on PCP zealotry. It is still fun to shoot. I have the 6x BugBuster on it.

    I don't remember my previous comments from days-gone-by about pellet selection but yesterday I was shooting 1/4" 5 shot groups with RWS R-10, RWS Hobbys, and Beeman H&N Waddcutters. I couldn't get JSB Exacts less than 1/2".

    I have been neglecting Mr. T (Talon SS) since Ms. M (Marauder) moved in with me so I think today I'll take him out for a drink. He was a good wing man and introduced me to Ms. M but now he's paying the price. Funny how when you hook up with a classy dame all your other friends take a back seat.


  3. DB,

    I've been meaning to ask about your experiences mounting swivel studs to your Disco. I've been wanting to fit a proper sling (though that Gamo Gun Buddy looks a nice alternative), and a bipod sounds fun, too. But I am very furtive about allowing myself near the stock with a drill.

    What level of woodworking incompetence do you think the stock might survive?

    Too bad Wayne doesn't have a pile of factory Disco stocks alongside the Marauder ones. Even I could probably get it right on the fourth or fifth try…


  4. Jan,

    30/60 on your first match with your current equipment, and experience level, is very good shooting! .. but I know, if your like me, it's more about the group of great people that come together at a contest!

    Your so lucky to be in such great company! Joe was so fun to shoot with at the nationals, he's a great guy with loads of free good advice to offer!

    Mounting the studs on the disco shouldn't be hard, just be sure to drill a small enough hole.. you can always make it larger 🙂 if you think it might split, the hole should be just a little smaller than the inside body of the screw, not the threads.. you also might use a little super glue to hold the screws from backing out.. if your sure you have it where you want it!

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  5. Mr B.
    Never know for sure…the manual is about worthless.
    Only a very faint smell of burned oil (or something) after firing. Could be lubed with anything or nothing for all I know.

    One chemo and a dozen radiations to go. Maybe can get the cataracts fixed then.

    Like the open sights on the 48, but can't see the target too well right now. Like trying to shoot at something in severe fog.

    Oil…word verification..flamsto (flames too ?)


  6. B.B.

    Paper eh? It reminds me of comment I used to hear when my Dad was driving. "You drive like a man with a paper a—!"

    Chuck, yes my IZH 61 loves the RWS Hobbys like my Savage 10FP likes its Black Hills.

    Wayne, I'm deep in the lore of wind reading for highpower shooting–all without having done a bit of it for real. What are you methods for reading wind on the field target course?


  7. Jan,

    There are bipods that can be attached to a front sling swivel stud. You need to make very certain that the stud is perfectly square though or your bipod will cant your gun. Not only will this provide another variable in shooting accuracy but it will also place stress on your stock and stud.


  8. Hey guys,
    Do any of you know where Greg Davis lives? I was planning on buying a Marauder from Pyramid Air and driving it over to him to have him tune it. If he does not live somewhere close to southern california, I guess I will have to ship it. How much does his service cost? What does he do to the gun? Or could anyone provide me a link to this information? I emailed Greg but he hasn't really answered me yet; I'm guessing he's too busy or something.

  9. John,

    Greg Davis lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona. There is no link to his information. His charges vary depending on what you want done to your gun. Greg is extremely busy right now.

    What do you want him to do to your gun?


  10. Twotalon!!!!!

    Nice to see you, I wish you all the best and get well soon. Crosman chamber oil is silicone lube and I use it on my quest 800 very sparingly. It could help calm down any dieseling you may have.

    Sling studs:

    A gun smith should be able to get a sling stud in square enough for a bipod.

    I didn't like the sound of the glue in detachable ones, so I installed the simple screw in type on a couple of .22 LR rifles. The kits were…grovtec or uncle mikes brands I believe. I just followed the directions and looked at factory mounted studs on other rifles to figure out their placement. The 10/22 kit gave measurements where to place.

    Only two small problem encountered. One was a chip that I covered up with a dark brown marker and then the stud washer. The other was one stud was not quite staight, but I am the only one that can tell. Perhaps you can scribe or use a cutting punch before drilling to eliminate chips. I drilled mine out slowly by hand.

    I've used a gun buddy sling on my springer and some multi pumps and it has worked out pretty well.

    Slings are nice to have when hunting or when you do a lot of walking.

  11. Matt61,

    We use light weight flags on the ends of our guns.. but they are of little use down range..

    The wind is the hardest part about 12fpe international class.. The wind seems to be ever present in levels enough to effect the match… at least at my range in practice and at each of the few matches I've been to.

    One can use a shooting jacket (not a harness to the knees)… or be in shape enough to be comfortable and steady from at least the sitting position.. (standing and kneeling offhand comes later for me.. I'm 30% tops there)..

    But, the wind messes with your mind.. at the nationals the sight in course was out in the open, like most clubs.

    Then the course is in the woods, where you can see the leaves moving up high.. but barley any movement in the bushes on ground level.. on the paper at sight in at 55 yards.. I saw my pellets drift as far as 3" right with a gust.. then the very next shot would be only 1" right.

    10 mins. later, 1/2" left and stay steady like that for awhile and let me adjust and make a nice 1/2" group..

    So, that's in your head when they send you to your lane in the woods!

    To top it off… the course circles around, so you are shooting different directions as you follow the trail.. you can't count on anything!

    I started just ignoring the wind on the first shot on each target, then adjusting if necessary for the second shot… my score showed it!! … for that method isn't worth much when the targets get shot up, later in the match.

    That's why Paul Cray's score blows my mind! 109/120 in the international class.. my hero.. he doesn't even use a jacket! That's 11th overall, competing against the 20fpe harnessed shooters, where the top score was 117/120…
    I came out in a three way tie for 30th if compared with the 20fpe open class and 8th out of 10 in international class. 92/120

    The stories from about the wind and distant shots from the worlds make one cringe!.. To catch up with the rest of the world that only shoots 12fpe in tough conditions all the time, well.. The USA has a ways to go..

    Paul MIGHT have "cleaned" the course if not for the wind! ..of course he's a three time national champ and has won the worlds at least once I believe!

    the wind.. hmmmmm… and how to measure it… with a 12fpe air gun… you tell me!
    ..even 10 yard shots are effected, 50 yards… I just don't know! It's a feeling at best!

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  12. TwoTalon,

    Blessings dude!

    You've got our prayers..

    Smiling as much as possible could well be the best medicine.. even fake smiles produce the best immune system builders for the body… do it as an exercise!!! all together now.. lift the corners of your mouths.. up and down, up and down, up and down.. 1,000 times a day should be about right! … add ha, ha, ha, and an apple.. to seal the deal!

    Wacky Wayne, "MD." Ashland Air Rifle Range (that's match director, not doctor 🙂

  13. TwoTalon,
    I also think silicone chamber oil is OK, unless you have the gun tuned, in which case some tuners say the oil will wash away the more permanent lubricants (probably moly paste) and can lead to "dieseling" fuel creeping past the seal.

    I took your's and BB's advice about cutting patches at the muzzle and gave it another try — added a short nub to my homemade ball starter and filed off a cheap pocketknife blade to (literally) razor sharpness. I think its going to work out well, although my last outing was marked with abysmal shooting, for (I believe) unrelated reasons.

    Glad to hear you're almost finished with chemo — that's a big milestone, although our prayers and thoughts will continue to be with you and the radiation is not a picnic. My mother recently finished chemo for breast cancer and is quickly regaining the energy and optimism she lost during it.

  14. BG_Farmer
    My starters are made with metal rods that are ground and lapped to the contour of the balls.

    Pressure is more evenly applied during starting and causes less deformity. A tight fitting ball starts easier this way also.


  15. TwoTalon,
    As I told Matt last night, I think the spotty shooting was caused by a worn, loose cleanout screw on the powder drum — it started spewing out of there, even with just primer. I found a 5x.80x10mm stainless screw with a much beefier head and fuller threads, which I shortened. I'm hoping that is my problem and that the new screw will fix it. As always, your opinion appreciated.

    My short starter is just wood, so I'm fairly hopeful it doesn't deform the ball. My first group of 5 was normal with the muzzle-cut patches and "nubby" starter", as was the first of the second group, after which is when I noticed the leakage getting bad at the cleanout screw.

  16. BB,
    That's great! I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes for you — as always, I'll learn a great deal from your experiences.

    BP does seem to share a certain feeling with springers in particular — lots to figure out and master, but for you it will just be remembering:). Is it cap or flint?

  17. TwoTalon,

    Well-done. With radiation, my Mom was up and out and has never had a recurrence.

    John, how do you know the Marauder even needs a tune? They're supposed to be good out of the box.

    Wayne, well I'll tell you what David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins do. Their methods are very similar, so there must be a body of knowledge out there. You're actually right on with shooting one sighter and then correcting for the second as if the deviation is entirely due to wind. That is how Tubb does it.

    As far as indicators, both make heavy use of mirage which I guess is not relevant at field target distances. Otherwise, it is using flags or anything you can–like leaves I suppose. The word is that wind close to the muzzle has more effect than wind downrange.

    Otherwise, it's a matter of watching wind patterns. Tubb says that the wind goes in cycles of 5-10 mins. So, you don't want to make an instant change but wait and see where the wind settles. And you want to get a sense of which direction the wind is coming from. It can be to either side, quartering (an angle) or "fishtailing" which I guess means switching direction. (I've read that snipers give quartering wind half the value of wind that is directly lateral). You can become like one of those legendary Indian trackers from the Wild West who is so in tune with nature. Anyway, put it all together and see if it does anything for you. I sort of wish I could try this myself.

    With pellets as light as they are I had wondered whether you could apply the same methods as high power. But if some group of FT shooters can compensate for wind, there's obviously a method and I suppose the high power methods are as good as any.


  18. No, it's a caplock. I did have a flintlock many years ago, but it was handmade and the lock was super-fast. That spoiled me, I'm sure.

    I'm not sure about going to black powder, though. I thought I might start with Triple Seven.


  19. My brother-in-law loves black powder deer hunting.

    As for me, it was a summer of crows and starlings for freinds of mine who live out on the farms.

    I do have to say AWSOME JOB FOR PYRAMYD AIR!!!!! I ordered 4 tins of predator .22 on Monday morning and they came Wedsday afternoon. All in good shape. My son was more interested in the packing material then anything airgun related. I plan on hunting rabbits this weekend and going with predators over eun jin points for longer shots. If it were a squirrel in a tree, the eun jin takes them em out like a sledge hammer.

  20. BB,
    Come on, real men shoot real black powder:). That's what my (too?) serious BP friends here say, but I'm just mouthing-off, since I use Pyrodex RS (as do quite a few others), but that's more of an availability and (perhaps) storage safety issue than anything else. Cleanup is non-trivial, but I've got it down to 1/2 hour (including dry time) from unscrewing the tang and running hot water to firing a cap through it at the end.

  21. Matt61,

    I can see what Tubb means about wind in cycles. .. I had arrived early to help and practice in the area of the event for a day or two ahead of time … so I spent a lot of time on the sight in range, trying to finish marking the side wheel at longer distance..

    I was watching the wind cycles so I could get a few groups at least in drop, to mark my wheel….

    ..too bad the timers were set for 4 shots in 5 mins from butt on ground… one can only wait out the wind so long!

    The strongest wind was on the first day, and shifting from almost direct cross to quarter cross, making it fun to mark the scope.. I ended up making a new side wheel tape on the second day of practice, and really never got it figured out before the match on the 40+ yards shots… and that's where my percentage dropped a lot!

    Kevin and B.B. are laughing and saying "I told you so.. "Be a clicker young man".. make that "newbie old man"… under their breath of course, because they are so polite! .. but "Target Dot Holdover Harry" pushes on..

    ..mostly because of that time issue.. I always had two mins. or more left, while my partners like Joe with the fixed 35 power scope had to range find, read it, adjust the turret, then re-find the target, check the wind.. and fire… 4 shots in 5 minutes.. he was always worried on the last shot and pretty close to time.

    This issue is worst when using the international one shot per target, so you range each target. With two shots on a target like most US clubs use, you don't have to range the second shot.. just find it again and shoot.
    This time issue was another big deal for our team at the worlds.

    With my BSA set on 50 power, even without clicking, I was always close to overtime just finding the darn target!!.. so this is my wacky way of compromise!.. 22 power setting on the scope, and Holdover Harry till the end.. or I get tired of looking like a looser.. like Kevin and B.B. predict!

    This is a very challenging game.. very, very addicting, way too much fun… don't ever try it!!!

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  22. By the way..

    There was a great test done on altitude effect on spring rifles posted today on the yellow FT forum… here is the link.


    It seems the R1 was least effected by the elevation change… and most of the change is after 4,000' in all the guns tested. They are guessing, the R1 is least effected maybe because of the larger spring tube.

    A very interesting report that ties nicely into the limited research we were talking about last year.

    Wacky Wayne MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  23. MrB

    Did you solve the clipping issue on the tube?


    I think you shot far better than you're giving yourself credit. And it sounds like you kept your sense of humor and perspective, too. Congrats and well done!


  24. Derrick,

    I'm for sure enjoying the ride as much as the results.. moving into the top tier of international shooters is a large jump from where I am… so I better enjoy the journey..
    The way folks share knowledge and let you try out their stuff… It's almost like we all are trying to progress as a unit of sorts.. of course it feels great to do well, but the sport is so challenging with so many factors to a winning score, folks just seem to enjoy sharing their equipment and ideas..

    ..it's very bonding.. like I said, "Don't try it".. your life will change!

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  25. derrick38,

    Thanks for asking. I shot 3 turned tube a little, shot 3 more and did that for 360 degrees without success. Tube is on its way to Martin and Van as we speak for repair.

    Went back to internal baffels which work ok, but arn't near the equal of AirHog's tube.

    Mr B.

  26. Jan,
    Drilling for sling studs is easy. Just follow the instructions in the kit. It should tell you exactly what drill size to use and how deep to drill.

    Remember a drill depth stop can be made from tape. just put a wrap or two on the drill bit as a marker for correct depth.


  27. BG_Farmer,

    Cleanup is exactly the reason I am copping out on black powder. It's one thing to clean Colt pistols that disassemble easily. It's quite another to clean a muzzleloader. Anything I can do to avoid that is worth whatever realism I have to give up.


  28. Better send the whole gun in.

    It's quite old…and has many shots fired. the valve stem can wear its hole in the valve, which will let a good blast of co2 leak around the stem and back towards the striker. Hope that's not the case as it's a troublesome fix.

    Have had that problem with an old Benjamin 310. Are two fixes:
    1. An over sized valve stem
    2. Drill out the hole for the valve stem and amke a bushing that fits a standard stem.
    Either works, and #1 is actually easier…but #2 allows standard parts to fit if some time in the future you need to change valve stems.

Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    TEST Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    We have a team of expert technicians and a complete repair shop that are able to service a large variety of brands/models of airguns. Additionally, we are a factory-authorized repair/warranty station for popular brands such as Air Arms, Air Venturi, Crosman, Diana, Seneca, and Weihrauch airguns.

    Our experts also offer exclusive 10-for-$10 Test and 20-for-$20 Service, which evaluates your air gun prior to leaving our warehouse. You'll be able to add these services as you place your order.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

TEST Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.