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Education / Training Something from nothing – Part 2

Something from nothing – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

I’m actually at the Roanoke Airgun Expo today, and writing this report has really started my juices flowing! I wanted to tell you about strategies to use on airgun dealers in this part, but while I was driving here I got inspired to write something else for today.

I got a question from a new reader that went like this,”I’m going to a gun show, and I’m a novice collector. What should I look for?” I wrote him some half-hearted reply, because how can I really help that guy? I have no idea what will be at that gun show. And then it hit me–the subject of today’s report.

I never know what’s going to turn up at ANY show!
And that’s the real answer. Since no one can predict what will show up, don’t plan on anything. Just be there and have cash or trade goods or both.

When the show opens at about 6:30 a.m. for the dealers to start bringing in all their guns, the buying and selling starts. Advanced collectors will pay for the price for a table just to get in the door at this time. They won’t actually have a table, but many of they’re ready to spend.

Some deals will have been made before the show and all that’s taking place is inspection, payment and delivery. It breaks your heart when this happens in front of you, and a gun you really wanted is sold under your nose without a word being spoken.The solution is to get to know the dealers of the kind of guns you want; next time, you’ll be the lucky guy.

But what I like to do is peruse all the tables in search of great bargains. That sounds so simple and straightforward that you probably think everybody is doing the same thing, and maybe they are–but when one guy wants a Nightforce scope and another wants a Crosman 120 multi-pump, there’s a lot of latitude! As an airgun writer, I try to keep my mind open to the good deals in all categories, even those that I personally am not interested in. For example, I don’t care much for action pistols, but when I see someone willing to sell a Colt 1911A1 for $80, I know it’s a good deal.

But something like that is just run-of-the-mill. A GREAT deal is when a local doctor backs his car up to the front door and starts offloading the like-new spring guns he has been buying since the 1980s. He has all the paper and the boxes for each gun (I love anal people when I’m buying something from them, don’t you?), and he wants exactly what he paid for each gun. So, someone goes home with a 1983 Beeman R1 for less than $300. THAT is a great deal, in my book. That scenario actually happened at the an airgun show and I mentioned it in my report on the2007 Airgun Expo in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Another thing that always happens is several people will walk the floor searching for someone to give them cash for their airguns. Again at Little Rock, this happened to me about 12 years back. A guy brought me three Daisy .118 Targeteers and six tin containers of the steel shot for them. The containers were commonly selling for $10 each at that time, but the guy asked for $100 for the whole bunch. There was at least $300 worth in that bunch. I knew he really needed the money, so I bought it. I spent my trip food money to get it, so I turned around and sold two guns and four tins of shot for $100–giving someone else a chance to get a good deal, too.

At one Winston-Salem show, the forerunner of Roanoke, a man walked in with a genuine Girandoni Austrian military repeater. A well-known American collector low-balled him with an $1,800 offer, so he stormed away and sold it to a British collector five minutes later for $3,500 cash! I know because the sale took place in front of my table! That rifle is worth over $50,000 today, and even back then it was worth about $15,000. The collector who low-balled the guy kicked himself, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. It’s assumed that everybody is a big boy at these shows.

I remember a show at which a husband and wife in the business had a pile of Johnson Target Guns in their original boxes with all the parts and paperwork. They were asking $100 for each of the approximately 20 boxes they had. Now, when something like that happens, it’s just wrong to be so focused on finding an R9 in .20 caliber that you miss the opportunity of a lifetime. I remember another show where a guy had well over 50 new-in-the-box S&W 78G and 79G pistols. He was also asking $100 each. That is not the time to try to complete your Diana model 27 collection. If the deal presents itself and you’re at all interested or if you’re just smart enough to know that you can triple your money in a couple years–TAKE THE DEAL.

I once located a second-model Crosman pump rifle left over from the Crosman morgue. The rifle didn’t work. I tried to be as honest as I could, since I was buying it from the wife of an airgun dealer close by. I offered her $150 cash money and she accepted readily. Inside one month I resold it for $600, because I knew who really wanted it. Had I wanted to, I could have dragged my feet and gotten $1,500, by talking it up and pitting one collector against another, but that’s not my style.

My wife bought an 1800s BB pistol for $5 at a local flea market. At the Damascus airgun show about a year later she sold it to a collector for $400. He restored it (refinished with paint) and sold it for $1,100 to another collector who knew it was restored. An original with the same finish is worth about $7,500.

One more dynamic that I see at almost every show is the guy with that one gun you really want. He has priced it at the high end of what’s acceptable, and it sat on his table throughout the show. Lots of lookers and failed trades, but at the end, it’s still there. Now, he would much rather go home with cash in his pocket than drag that gun back and store it for another year. So, a good offer right as he is starting to pack up often wins the day. To do this one, you have to be there for the whole show, and this is one of the benefits of doing that.

Speaking of packing, know that airgun shows keep strange hours. The dealers all wait for the show and dream about it all year long, yet when they get there they immediately start making plans to leave. Airgun shows always break up before they’re supposed to. And by always, I mean 100 percent–no exceptions. So, don’t arrive late on the last day!

I got a million stories like these, but this will do for now. I’m at the Roanoke show today, along with a few hundred other avid airgunners. Let’s see what treasures I find this year! The point of this report is that no amount of searching at a show can help you do what I have just reported. You have to go, look around and listen, too, and the deals will make themselves known.

I’ll finish with an anecdote I use to illustrate the new airgunner with the attention deficit problem. Years ago, I took my young sons to see the Harlem Globetrotters play a game at a local high school gym. Some of the players were standing at the entrance to greet the audience. My two sons were about 8 and 4 at the time, so they weren’t very tall. As we were walking past the Globetrotter center, who stood 7’1″, my oldest boy asked me in a loud voice, “Dad, do you think we will get to see any of the players close up?” When he asked that question, his head was nearly touching the knee of the Globetrotter center. I looked up at the player and we both smiled, because the crowd was pushing us past one another. Ships that pass in the night! Don’t be like that when you look for airguns.

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.

72 thoughts on “Something from nothing – Part 2”

  1. It turns out my repair depot is able to fix the Crosman Shiloh I was given a couple of weeks ago. Needed a new seal and some other small part that he had in his old parts bin.
    Looking forward to getting it next week.
    So what I'm wondering is if anyone has any data or experience with this gun. What can I expect in the way of accuracy (compared to my Walther CP99 for example) and power?
    CowBoyStar Dad

  2. Tom called me earlier this morning after he'd set up his table at the show. Some trading has already occurred. The doors don't open for a few more hours, so lots more could change hands by then. His favorite acquisition so far is a used Morini 10-meter pistol.


  3. Brian,
    Hope you like the S&W 586. I sure like mine. I'm interested in your comparison of the two barrel lengths, also. If you shoot farther than 10m it sounds like others will be interested in accuracy during rapid fire. At 10m and less, which is my shooting distance, there's not much loss.

    I agree with Kevin. Let's take this over to the current blog he showed you so more people can see your results.


  4. It wasn't at Roanoke but… i did pick up a used .177 RWS 34 at a popular firearm dealer here in Michigan yesterday. They had it marked at $195 and I got them down to $170. I know that's probably on the high end for a used 34, but it is in great shape. i can't find a physical defect on it. It was made in April of 07 and has the T 05 trigger. From my limited experience, the gun doesn't seem broken in, so between that and the excellent condition of the wood and metal, I doubt it was ever shot very much. I found it out on one of the racks, so I asked the guy at the store about it and he said "Huh,I didn't know we had used airguns here." 🙂


  5. BB,
    I don't really think you can learn an instinct for trading and bargaining, but thanks for trying to teach us. One of my brothers, when he was about 10, started with a goat ($10 cash value on the high-side) and ended up with a truck, several horses, and a car by the time he was 14 or 15. He drove the truck when he got old enough (just so I don't offend those that haven't lived in a free country:)) for about 4 years and then sold it back to the guy he got it from, at a profit:).

  6. B.B.

    I think BG_Farmer has a point that some people are just very good at bargaining, although I suppose you could learn it somewhat if you wanted. I sounds like a prerequisite is knowing a lot about airguns. Otherwise, the opportunity seems there to get really shafted.

    Edith, out of your knowledge of cats, I was wondering if you know whether they carry diseases. I was trying to shoo a neighbor's cat out of my place this morning, and the darned thing bit me right on the wrist and drew blood. I can see outlines of its mouth on my wrist. It's not a feral cat and has a collar. I just washed the cut with soap and water.


    • I forget the name but there’s a viral infection caused by many feline bites and it hits fast and hard. I got bit between the knuckles on my right hand one night by my brother’s cat and by the time I woke up the next morning it was draining Lotsa peroxide,2 weeks and a big hole later I got to where I could sign my check again. I think it’s got something to do with them pawing their poo and then cleaning their paws with their tounges.:(Yuck!

      • Reb,

        You can get cat bite fever and cat scratch fever. I had cat bite fever in 1979. It does, indeed, move fast. Whether it’s a scratch or a bite, it comes from foreign materials being injected into your body thru teeth or claws. It doesn’t have to come from a litter box. Mine came from a kitten that barely took a nip out of me (I’d adopted a feral kitten). In fact, I don’t even remember the bite bleeding.

        Yet, within a few hours, a stiffness crept up my arm. I went to the ER, where they gave me a shot of penicillin and a prescription for penicillin pills to take for several days. The stiffness left very quickly and there was no residual effect from the bite.

        I would never let an animal bite go for very long without getting medical attention. If you don’t take care of it in time, you could end up with an amputation and/or some serious illnesses (even if the swelling/pain has dissipated). Here’s an article about
        cat scratch fever and one about
        cat bite fever.


  7. Matt61,

    Of course, rabies is still an issue with cats. You can also get cat bite fever, which I once got. I got the bite early in the morning but cleansed it thoroughly. Within a few hours, I noticed that my arm was feeling stiff & achy. It got worse, so I went to the emergency room. They gave me an injection of penicillin, which stopped the immediate spread of the infection. This happened in 1979, so I don't remember if I had to take penicillin pills in addition to that.

    You can also get cat scratch fever. Same concept, but it's a different type of germ. Never had it, but you'd still need to get it treated.

    While I adore animals, I would not take any bite lightly. If I were in your shoes, I would locate the cat's owner & verify that the animal has current rabies shots. If you can't locate the owner, you should contact animal control and give them a description of the animal. They may find it wandering around the neighborhood & pick it up. If you don't do anything about it, not only are you in danger but also children playing in the area could be bitten.


  8. Matt,
    Get it looked at. I was fixing fence last year and got stung on the elbow by a wasp (I get stung fairly often). I ignored it as usual, then the next day had an arm swell from the shoulder to the hand — infection treated with antibiotics and steroids, similar to what they gave me for my snakebite a few years ago (which I also waited too long on):). The other time I didn't go in was when my jack got moody because his playmate was being taken away and bit me on the tricep. I wasn't worried about rabies (he gets vaccinated), but the whole arm turned black for a few days — should have gone in for that, also:). Notice a trend? Get it checked.

  9. I'm new to this airgun stuff and I have allot of questions.

    1. I'd like to get in to the 10meter pistol shooting how do I find out if there is any in my area?

    2. From the looks of things I think I'm going to purchase a izh46 should I get one with the red dot? I'm 52 and the sights aren't as clear as they once were.

    I have about 100 more airgun questions but that's all for now.

  10. ewr777…if your talking about any kind of competitive 10m shooting the red dot is a no-no.
    For strictly informal shooting you could use one (though they are difficult to fit to most 10m pistols without modification). But even a club level they'll not be allowed.
    Try looking into proper shooting glasses. Not the safety glass type, but a proper target shooting glass (Varga's are inexpensive and popular). Then find an opticial who will grind the lens (it only has a lens on your dominant eye side) for the proper distance to your front sight on the pistol.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPfX7gyvFxU

    The devil went down to Roanoke, he was looking for a soul to steal.
    He was in a bind 'cos he was way behind: he was willin' to make a deal.
    When he came across this young man sawin' on a airgun and shootin' it hot.
    And the devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said: "Boy let me tell you what:
    "I bet you didn't know it, but I'm a airgun shooter too.
    "And if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you.
    "Now you shoot a pretty good aigun, boy, but give the devil his due:
    "I bet an R1 of gold against your soul, 'cos I think I'm better than you."
    The boy said: "My name's Tommy and it might be a sin,
    "But I'll take your bet, your gonna regret, 'cos I'm the best that's ever been."

    Tommy you sharpen up your sight and shoot your airgun well.
    'Cos hells broke loose in Georgia and the devil deals in hell.
    And if you win you get this shiny R1 made of gold.
    But if you lose, the devil gets your soul.

    The devil opened up his case and he said: "I'll start the fun."
    And fire flew from his fingertips as he lined up his gun.
    And he pulled along the creepy trigger and it made an evil hiss.
    Then a band of demons joined in and it sounded something like this.
    When the devil finished, Tommy said: "Well you're pretty good ol' son.
    "But if you'll sit down in that chair, right there, and let me show you how its done."

    Fire on the range, run boys, run.
    The devil's in the house of the risin' sun.
    Chicken in the bread pin, pickin' out dough.
    "Granny, does your dog bite?"
    "No, child, no."

    The devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat.
    He laid that golden R1 on the ground at Tommy's feet.
    Tommy said: "Devil just come on back if you ever want to try again.
    "I told you once, you son of a gun, I'm the best that's ever been."

    And he shouted fire on the range, run boys, run.
    The devil's in the house of the risin' sun.
    Chicken in the bread pin pickin' out dough.
    "Granny, does your dog bite?"
    "No, child, no."

  12. Edith,

    I got hijacked.

    Cat report, thanks for your concern. I went to the doctor, and he said that 80% of cat bites get infected. But it looks like I'm in the lucky 20% since the bite was so superficial.

    BG_Farmer, you are really living the frontier life with the wild animals and the blackpowder rifle.


  13. Brian,

    Hope you make it to this spot. Let me know if you did.

    Good report on the S&W. I wonder if the longer barrel would make much difference at a longer range? Technically it should but sometimes things don't do what they should.

    I do not have a favorite pellet for my 586. I shoot at such close range that it doesn't matter. So I get by on the cheap and pretty much drain a CO2 cart before there is not enough pressure for the next shot. This usually causes the last pellet to jam half way between the magazine and the barrel. You can't turn the magazine or eject it at that point but a thick weed whacker line down the barrel will force the pellet back into the magazine and it can then be ejected.

    Most of my practice is about someone or something breaking and entering my house. The 586 helps me develop hand eye coordination for when I have to use a fire arm.

    BTW, you are still on an article that is about 6 days old. To always get the current day's article cut and paste the following link into your browser and the bookmark it for future use. This link will always take you to the most current posting where all comments are welcome. We do not worry about being off topic on this blog. everything goes.


    I'll post my comment there as well.


  14. Here's the last comments from Brian on an old post. He just bought a S&W 586:

    At October 23, 2009 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just received this fine piece from Pyramid. Bought the 6" bbl version with the accessory 4" bbl and extra cylinders/magazines.

    The packaging/case is great. I have room for the 4" bbl, pellets, Co2 etc etc etc; all in a hard case.

    The pistol is the best quality of all my air pistols, bar-none. It rivals my S&W Model 27 .357 magnum in weight and size and I actually think the trigger is better.

    Will post again after 200 or 300 rounds down range.


    At October 23, 2009 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just finished a 120 round shooting session with the new S&S 586. 6 inch barrel tonight, no sandbag or steady rest but… sitting down eye-level with the target and backstop. Two hand hold, open sights and Gamo Match pellets.

    Putting 8 out of 10 shots into a 1-1/2 inch target dot at 10 meters. Used single action mode except for a few shots. Double action is going to take some practice to control the aimpoint more steadily.

    Tried RWS Superdomes but… they fit way too tight in the magazine so didn't bother loading up. Gamo Match and Premier pointed seem to fit well and I think the lead alloys are softer than the RWS too. The magazines are well designed and should accomodate all shapes of pellet noses (as long as the diameter is not too tight). The Gamo Match wadcutter pellet length only occupies about 2/3 of the length/depth of each chamber when pushed flush at the back of the magazine so, pointed and longer round nose pellets should have plenty of space too.

    I had no issues with the sights, the grips or any of the Co2 loading mechanisms and the cylinder crane is as smooth to operate as my S&W model 27 firearm. BTW the change from the 4" to 6" barrel required very little sight adjustment at 10 meters. This is impressive, as it shows me that the barrel threads and barrel shroud alignment are nearly identical from one barrel length to another. Good machining repeatability by Umarex/Walther, or as Sham-Wow Vince would say… "you know the Germans make good stuff…".

    Well.. enough for tonight. Off to Walmart tomorrow for a 25 pack of Crosman Co2 and a few 1000 pellets. Man, this pistol is fun.

    Brian in Idaho

    At October 23, 2009 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry… that would be S&W as in Smith & Wesson not S&S as in the V Twin engine guys.

    Brian in Idaho


  15. Fred,
    Found a couple more bonus' by adding the bi-pod to the Disco.

    Can fill the gun without laying it on the side. Just fold up the legs and let it stand on the bi-pod base and the butt plate. Works great. If you can rest the butt on something several inches high you can leave the bi-pod legs extended.

    The other is the thumb screw makes a great caddy for the fill nipple cover. Just pop it on the thumb screw and it will be there when your done filling. Better than putting it in your pocket and then fogetting to put it back.

    Sometimes it is the little things.

  16. Speaking of my Disco I read on the Yellow about bedding the air tube in the stock improving accuracy.

    So I did it and it did. What it helped with was the wandering POI. Every fill seemed to have a new POI. It still does but the shift is very small (shooting at 30-yards).

    Of course a claim of success can not be made until it is tested for a month or so under various temerature and humidity conditions.


  17. Herb, Jane, and All,

    After reading all the comments for awhile about group size, and the flight of the pellet, one thing has been bothering me, that I might have missed.

    When a perfect pellet leaves a rifled barrel, it is spinning around the central axis of the circumference and the weight, I think.

    However, by weighing pellets, we know that the weight is not the same for all pellets. There could be very tiny flaws or air pockets within the pellet, making the central axis of the weight different from the central axis of the circumference.

    When this uneven pellet leaves a rifled barrel, does it wobble around the circumference axis until POA, or does it try to stabilize around the axis of the weight, and follow the path of the weight axis to a different POI?



  18. Boyd,

    If the axis for the angular moment of inertia of a pellet isn't co-axial with the geometric central axis, then the pellet will drift. In the barrel of course the two axis would be forced to be co-axial.

    I got in a discussion about this on the yellow forum. The example that was given to me was this. Think of sitting on the hood of a car spinning a weight on a string. At some point you cut the string. The weight will be go off in the direction tangent to the circle at the point you cut the string.

    I also believe that the imbalance would cause the pellet to precess. Any precession wouldn't just interact with the weight imbalance but would also interact with the aerodynamic flow around the pellet. So as the rate of precession slowed, the pellet could start to travel in a spiral.

    One thing that is interesting to me is the direction in which the pellet would precess. It would seem that since the pellet is drag stabilized [Center of gravity (CoG) is in front of the Center of Pressure (CoP) as pellet flies] that the precession would be a retrograde motion (in the opposite direction) compared to the spin. This would seem to indicate that if the pellet did spiral, that the spiral would be a retrograde motion also.

    Hope this helps you out. Hopefully Jane can give a better educated opinion on this matter.


  19. Im looking for something to use in the woods when im hiking. Im looking at an air pistol thats very compact and will be powerful enough to kill snakes such as copperheads. I really dont want to spend much but is an air pistol powerful enough?

  20. ajvenom,

    Thank you, and don't take to heart anything in that hijacked post attributed to me.

    Very amusing video of the cat. However, now bears are my interest. I understand that they will sometimes break into a car, get into the driver's seat, and put their paws on the steering wheel. This is a sign of their powers of observation and intelligence. Supposedly, they are the most intelligent of all mammals except for the great apes. Kevin, you must have encountered a few dumb bears to lower your opinion of them.

    Anonymous, I suspect that any air pistol is too low-powered for a dangerous snake, and certainly for any other kind of animal that could pose a threat. In the very unfortunate event that you have to rely on one, B.B. says that you keep a steady hold right at a snake, and they will automatically align their heads in front of the barrel. Curiosity, I suppose. Then, just press the trigger. As a better alternative for snakes and other small, dangerous animals, I recommend the sjambok. It's a plastic whip that you can Google. The design is traditional African and was used, among other things, for cutting snakes in half. The plastic version was used by the South African riot police–which is quite a recommendation….

    Boyd, I could see some anomaly in weight distribution in a pellet, destabilizing it and creating precession. But it would be a very unusual set of circumstances for the pellet's spin to stabilize around this new center of mass. There are too many things working against it. It looks to me that, depending on the degree, weight imbalances in pellets create a precession which can stay on POA up to a point and then will pull it off POA in some unpredictable way.


  21. Anonymous,

    Copperhead snakes are a protected species.

    When we lived in Maryland, we had all sorts of non-venomous, unprotected snakes trying to live in our garage and basement. Some were pretty large, too. I've shot snakes with pellet rifles, and I wouldn't do it again. I'd use a .45 cal handgun. And I wouldn't shoot a protected species.

    I have two snake stories worth telling.

    About 35 years ago, I lived in Houston & did a daily 10-mile run through Memorial Park. The park was loaded with more venomous snakes than I've ever seen in one place! One time, I didn't notice a snake about 3 feet in front of me. I quickly jumped over it, only to land squarely on top of another snake! Needless to say, I did several more quick jumps & hops…screaming at the top of my lungs all the way! I think the snakes were just as startled as I was and probably just as relieved that they managed to live through it.

    The other happened in our house in Maryland. We'd just ret'd from a family reunion in Las Vegas. Our cats had been boarded, so there weren't supposed to be any living creatures milling about while we were gone. Tom did a walk-through of the house to be sure nothing was amiss, when he came up from our unfinished basement and said that we'd had a visitor. A snake had made its way into the basement & shed its skin, which got caught on a nail head that protruded from the top of wall that divided the basement, but the wall didn't go all the way up to the ceiling. The shed skin hung down the wall like some "Addams family" curtain…and it was 6 ft long! Inside my head, I'm still screaming, even though this happened about 18-20 years ago.


  22. I like snakes and used to keep some in 10 gallon aquarium and feed them night crawlers.

    My snake story,

    About three years ago I was fishing in Ontario, Canada and it was time for shore lunch. My Indian guide was preparing the fire pit for cooking along with the guide from a second boat when they saw a snake under the sticks. They backed off and wouldn't have anything to do with it. I walked up and did my best impersonation of Steve Irwin and grabbed the snake by the tail and held it up in the air at arms length saying, "She's a beauty! What a gorgeous creature!" I tossed it out into the water and watched it swim back a couple times then nudged it off into the woods out of harms way. The guides were in awe of me and for the next couple years called me Snake Man. This was a big step up from the previous year when they called me Snag Man.


  23. shaky,

    Matt61 is correct. A pellet pistol isn't the proper tool to deal with copperheads, rattlers, etc. There are some HPA powered pistols that would be more than adequat, but they're not cheap. Check out what PA has for sale.

    I have a Cold Steel sjambok and it would get me too close to said snakes for a viable snake stopper. I'd use a centerfire revolver with shot shells for snakes if I had to shoot them.

    • I’ve seen many an elder gardener make short work of one with a stubby hoe.but rattlers are worth decent money around round-up season, If you gotta safe place to keep ’em alive ’til then.

  24. Mr. B

    Yes, a revolver with shot shells wouldn't do the job. But just like when Kevin mentioned firing shot out of his Colt Python, I suspect that your rifling would be destroyed. I read about the giant Japanese battleship Yamato in WW2 that had a secret plan to deal with American Navy planes. They had, as last resort, giant shotgun shells for the 18 inch guns which would ruin the barrels after firing. I think they fired them off, but they weren't enough.

    I also have a Cold Steel sjambok. An amazing piece of equipment, but what to do with it? I suppose the missing ingredient for snakes is a high level of skill–sort of like the way the Masai warriors can kill lions with spears. The sjamboks will work on humans though. Once I experimentally slammed the extremely hard handle against a concrete pillar and the lanyard rebounded and lacerated my back.


  25. Boyd, Herb..

    When the inertial axis is not coincident to the geometric axis, a little tug of war developes once the pellet leaves the confines of the barrel, (where it was forced to spin like an off-balance car wheel around the geometric center).

    The aerodynamic forces will create vectors towards the geometric axis, but the diferential densities will drive it towards the intertial axis.

    The resolution of these forces defines a new "dynamic axis" of rotation, and how the pellet flies will depend on this new axis. (Note that the inertial force will tend to dominate the aerodynamic vectors, and we will get less of a problem with wobble, but more of a problem with pitch and yaw).

    Almost always, the new axis is not even parallel to the geometric axis, and the pellet resolves by flying with an induced pitch or yaw.

    This brings us back to our earlier discussion of spin-stabilized pellets fying out of alignment with their flight path. Any pitch or yaw exposes the spinning projectile to magnus effects, and these forces, (the ones that curve baseballs and hook golf balls), will now send the pellet in any number of new directions, which we will observe as drift. Multiple pellets will never drift the same way twice, and using these pellets will produce otherwise inexplicably large groups.

    While this, strictly speaking, is not gyroscopic precession – (that will happen with a perfect pellet as well as an imperfect pellet), we are going to see some of that as well, and this will further alter the dynamic axis and create even more magnus exposure.



  26. i dont think copperheads are protected in my area. I was at my friends farm and he's a police officer. We walked up on a snake and he grabed a shovel and choped its head.

  27. I got back from Roanoke Friday night, wish I could have stayed for Saturday. I did get a chance to meet a lot of interesting people and see some really cool stuff (and even brought some of it home with me). I'll try to get the photos that I took sorted out and up on Photobucket in the next few days.

    Wayne, I see what you mean about BB's negotiating skills. At least there were no ants inside the Civic Center. BB does have an effective set of thumb screws, however.

    BB, my first-born (and only) son will be on his way to you as soon as I can get him boxed up (LOL). Seriously though, thanks for being so gracious. I hope that you have a safe and uneventful drive home.

  28. Jane,

    I have always wondered about the forces that curve baseballs and had supposed it was something complicated having to do with air friction over the surface of the ball. That may be true as far as it goes. But I'm surprised that the culprit is the Magnus force. I thought that force moved projectiles up or down with a wind from the side. Perhaps that is what happens in the case of bullet yaw. But for bullet pitch, I suppose that the relative wind velocity up or down would move the bullet side to side. I guess that would do it. Is that right? Now that I think of it, I believe that the curve described by curve pitches goes laterally and vertically. I read that the famous pitcher, Bob Feller, discovered his famous curve ball when he was playing catch with his father and one of his pitches dipped low and swerved inward, breaking his father's ribs.


  29. I didn't post about snakes . I put up a link to slow motion bullet photography. I have a snake story though. Years repairs ago a neighbor boy about 16 went past our place to an old strip mine pond, he was carrying an old double barrel shotgun said he was going rabbit hunting. I heard a shot and he came back by holding his face and dripping blood,seems he saw a snake got all excited,threw the gun up and fired both barrels at once. As he was firing down hill the gun slid up over his shoulder and the left hammer caught him in the nostril. He had to go to the emergency room for some repairs.

  30. Anonymous,

    Ha ha. Well, that's a pretty good indicator of whether copperheads are protected or not. I actually don't see how you can be expected to identify a snake that is threatening you. Anyway, a sjambok will work better than a shovel. If carrying guns is a problem and you want something portable and concealable, consider the combination of pepper spray and a tactical flashlight. If the pepper spray doesn't get them, any creature will run when its retinas get blasted.


  31. Matt61,

    I have no emperical data to back this up but, thinking about soft lead shot in a rifled steel barrel I gotta say no way the shot is going to distroy the rifling. Perhaps it might cause alot of leading of the bore, but destroy it–no.

    Mr B.

  32. Mr. B

    I guess it has to do with the relative hardness of steel and lead which I couldn't say with precision. If, according to the Dewey cleaning rod company, a steel cleaning rod can "peen" the rifling of a barrel. You would think that there is some risk of damage with shot getting blasted out at high velocity. But I don't know either.

    Jane, you can see the difficulty of analyzing football motion in the following. What could possibly be learned…



  33. I got back from Roanoke last night in driving rain. It was a fun trip with, as Randy said, lots of interesting rifles and pistols. Unfortunately, what I wanted wasn't available (an IZH46 and/or a Crosman Nitro or Challenger). I did pick up a Red Rider BB gun shooters kit for a collector friend of mine (and will tell him not to shoot his eye out).

    BB pointed out a number of very interesting and favorably priced rifles and pistols and even gave me an idea of perhaps going to an Anschutz 10M pistol. Unfortunately, I'm not ready to drop $8 or $900!

    EWR – I, too would like to try my hand at 10 M pistol competition and am in the market for the IZH 46 or 46M. Problem is they extremely difficult to come by used. An alternative is the Gamo Compact. BB has done reviews on both in this blog. Just use the search option. BB has also discussed competition shooting on the Blog so do a search for it, as well. There are other websites and forums that have the rule book and even competition schedules. Try the Yellow Forum at


    DB – thanks for the info and also the tip about bedding in the rifle.

    BB did threaten me to stay the entire show (I left around noon) as he said that what I was looking for was probably going to walk through the doors just as soon as I left and he would let me know it here on the blog.

  34. Anonymous,

    Each state dictates if the Copperhead is protected in that state. I suggest that you enter the word COPPERHEAD and the name of YOUR STATE into Google to find out if it's protected.

    Regarding a policeman killing a Copperhead…that doesn't actually mean it's legal to kill them. Many police officers are not familiar with game & fish laws. That's the jurisdiction of state (or federal) game wardens.


  35. BB or anybody else,
    When comparing the Talon SS to the Benjamin Marauder, which is better with regards to accuracy and velocity? I know there are a lot more factors to these guns such as price, weight, etc. But I wanted to know which one is more accurate or more powerful in .22 caliber shooting a jsb diabolo exact pellet.

  36. Tim,

    here is a brief review done by BB back in 2005 on the Talon SS:


    Another forum put out the Talon can shoot a 15.74 gr pellet 809 fps producing 23 ft. lbs of energy at the muzzle.

    Here is a link to BB's review of the Marauder:


    I'm giving you Part 5 as the first 4 parts already have links on this screen.

    Very tough choice over two great rifles. Let us know what you choose. Also, use the search function on the Blog – there are more comments to peruse about the Talon and the Marauder than I can list here – no need to thank me, Kevin)


  37. Randy-in-VA,

    Thanks for the pictures. Looks like a great time.


    Was that a skeletonized falcon sitting on your table? Single shot or multi-shot? Did it sell?


  38. Fred,

    Great job.


    I think you'll find after reading the articles that "out of the box" the marauder and the talon SS (12" barrel) are similar in power (20 fpe-22fpe). The differance being the mods available to the talon SS platform. Adding the 24" barrel to the talon SS turns it into a 40fpe gun.

    Up to 50 yards it appears the accuracy of these two guns is equal. With mods to the marauder they can be equal to 75 yards. With the enormous potential to increase the power of the talon SS by adding a longer barrel and several other mods that are constantly being done the nod goes to the talon SS for long range accuracy because of power.


  39. Guys,
    I found something on the interenet that really interested me… Since you guys say the accuracy of the talon ss and marauder are the same the only factor left is the velocity. I found these two pages on the net. The first one is about the talon ss http://www.straightshooters.com/ourtake/ottesttalonss.html

    The second is for the marauder http://www.straightshooters.com/ourtake/ottestmarauder.html

    One thing stood out to me. Why is the marauder more powerful at the muzzle, but when the 50 yard measurements are made the talon ss is far better? This I do not understand. By the way I do not plan on adding any "mods" to whichever rifle I buy. I just need help deciding which rifle is more powerful and accurate, the talon ss or the marauder.

  40. Matt:

    You are correct this way. A bullet spinning and flying perfectly straight will move up or down in response to a cross-wind. Now just picture the same bullet, with no crosswind, but now pitched up severely, exposing its sides to the headwind. The result is the same – the bullet now sees headwind as cross-wind.

    A spinning object flying in a fluid creates a whirlpool of fluid around itself, and experiences a force perpendicular to the line of motion. This is the magnus effect.

    Pitch or yaw are just different directions of the same problem, pitch being vertical and yaw being horizontal.(it's all "yaw" to me).

    Heavy pellets with textured or striated side-bodies bother me, because I believe they will spin the air easier and create more of the "Magnus" whirlpool. I instinctively prefer smooth-sided pellets.

    However, I have never taken the time to test my assumption.



  41. Tim,

    Not sure which pellet you're referring to in the "tests" that you provided links to. You initially asked about the performance of the jsb exacts and this test didn't include jsb exacts in the Talon SS.

    The laser pellets performed similarly. The kodiaks were a little faster in the marauder at the muzzle but "according to the test" were about 11% slower at 50 yards.

    Maybe our resident scientists can offer an expanation. Maybe different chronographs were used? Maybe the two chronographs were switched from short range to long range when these two guns were tested?

    What do you plan on doing with the gun? What distances will you be shooting?


  42. Anonymous – Talon SS/Marauder,

    What do you want to use the gun for?

    Not knowing that, I will give you my take on the two guns. Both are very accurate. I would not say either has an edge in accuracy. In the hands of a great shot, on a windless day at 50 yards I think either could get 3/4 inch 5 shot groups off a rest quite easily. Maybe even 1/2 inch groups sometimes.

    The Marauder specs give it a 200 fps velocity edge over a stock SS. The SS will cost you more in the long run.

    That said, if you want to use the gun for hunting, the nod goes to the SS as it is considerably lighter and much easier to add accessories. With a good hunting scope, the Marauder will tip the scales at nine pounds or more. The SS should not go over 7 pounds with most any reasonable scope.

    Which would you rather carry around in the woods for hours?

    If you are just wanting it for plinking and occasional back yard pest control in populated areas either will do so pick which appeals the most to you.

    Finally, if noise isn't a factor I would go with a Talon in .22 caliber with an 18 inch barrel.

    When I have the requisite money I plan to buy the Talon SS and another 18 inch barrel in .22 caliber. That way the gun is at home in the burbs and in the boonies.

    Hope this helps.

  43. Guys,
    Thanks for all of your help. I plan on using the gun for small game hunting and sometimes target shooting. I want to be able to shoot up to 100 yards with enough power to kill a woodchuck, rabbit, etc. (medium sized small game).

    If a pellet coming from the .22 benjamin marauder goes 880 fps at the muzzle, its supposed to be faster at 50 yards than the same pellet coming out of a Talon SS going 830 fps at the muzzle at 50 yards right? I don't know these test results from Straight shooter are confusing me haha. Or if you guys can't explain this.. could you tell me perhaps from personal experience or if you know for a fact which gun is more powerful, a Talon SS .22 or a Benjamin Marauder .22 straight out of the box with no modifications except for setting both on their highest possible velocity without losing accuracy and both running on air. I am sorry I am askin so many questions… It's just that I need to be damned sure which rifle is better before I buy it because $700 is a lot of money! Again thanks for your advice.

  44. Tim,

    Overall the Marauder appears more powerful. However it is not a huge difference. On the ratings you should compare muzzle velocity. The other numbers are beneficial in choosing a pellet. The Kodiak having more energy at 50 yards in the Talon is likely an error in testing. While overall their data is helpful, I found mistakes in the SS info in the past. I bought some Napier Hunter pellets they showed that appeared to offer amazing energy in the HW50S when the reality was they were less powerful than most and had terrible accuracy.

    Accuracy I would guess is close to a tie at usable distances. I have a PCP that I shoot in the 24 ft lb range on the medium setting and it is devastating out to 50+ yards. Zeroed at 13.3 yards in my basement it is dead on again at 46.2 which is where most of the bad critters show up in my yard.

    What I would consider more that a slight power edge is the radically different designs. Look at the height between the scope and the barrel on the Talon. What about resting your check? Do you like a traditional stock? The marauder will be longer and heavier.

    At the end of the day assume both are the exact same in power and accuracy, then pick the one that you would want to own. That is the one you will be happiest with.

  45. Tim,
    I forgot, 100 yards will be a stretch for any 24 ft lb rifle. Even moving your zero out to 50 yards you will be 15 to 19 inches low at 100 yards. Instead of between the eyes you would be popping that standing ground hog between the rear legs and that just ain’t right. : )

    Only a little over 3 inch drop at 70 yards with the best pellets, but don’t forget energy also falls off quickly.

    Retraction – my second POI is 42.6

  46. B.B.

    This is from a few days ago. I never tried either of the pellet pistols you recommended, but I did shoot a Ruger .22LR semi auto that looks a lot like the Crosman.
    I may give that one a try down the road.

  47. Tim,

    I'd go with what Volvo said. I own the Talon SS and keep lusting after a Marauder. Then I say why bother cause the Talon is more flexable, but that's with the mods I now have. But the Marauder sure is pretty, accurate, quiet and a repeater.

    All that being said "pick the one you want to own".

    Let us know the what and why of your decision.

    Mr B.

  48. RE: velocity at muzzle and 50 yards for talon ss and marauder

    Interesting problem…

    The data at Straight shooters indicates considerable variation in the BCs for various pellets.

    As was pointed out to me in the yellow forum, it is not clear how the velocity data for the various pellet & rifle combinations was obtained. Was the data for a single shot or the average of multiple shots? Were the chronys properly calibrated and used in the same positions each time? So a virtually infinite number of questions about the data itself exist.

    Even with all of the questions about the validity of the experiment, I also wonder about the BCs. Is the BC for a pellet really a constant independent of velocity? Would different rifles yield different BCs for the same pellet, even if the muzzle velocities were very similar? There is such an interplay between pellet, rifle, and the rifle setup, that these explanations seem to be possibilities also to explain the variation of the BCs for the same pellet.

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