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Education / Training Christmas gift list 2009 – Part 3

Christmas gift list 2009 – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Today, I’m setting the price bar at $150, so there will be more suggestions. I will organize them by rifles, pistols and other stuff. Remember, these are just MY suggestions. Don’t forget the Pyramyd AIR Christmas Gift Guide.

We’ll start with the Daisy Avanti Champion 499. That mouthful of a name is for the world’s most accurate BB gun. Made for kids as young as eight, this is the only gun used at the International BB gun Championships held at Bowling Green, Kentucky, each year. Plenty of adults will like this one, too, as it is super-accurate at the specified distance of 5 meters (16.4 feet). If you buy this gun, also buy the right ammunition and plenty of the official targets.

Staying with youth rifles a moment longer, consider the Hammerli 490 Express. Suitable for kids 10 and older but also loved by adults. It’s light, easy to cock but has a hard trigger. Very accurate with most quality pellets.

Another great youth rifle pair are the Gamo Recon and the slightly different Lady Recon, which has a pink stock and open sights. These rifles are light, accurate, easy to cock and a real value. For youth 10 or older but not suited to adults because of the short stocks.

Stepping out of the youth category, we come to the Benjamin 392. It’s a .22 multi-pump. If you want it in .177 caliber, get the Benjamin 397. Both are American classic air rifles. Suitable for teens and adults. Use with Crosman Premier pellets in the appropriate caliber (.177 cal and .22 cal).

The Crosman 1077 is a classic CO2 rifle suited to kids from 12 to 100. It’s a super value, but don’t forget that CO2 is temperature-dependent so this is not a cold-weather gun. Also, buy Crosman pellets and plenty of CO2 cartridges.

The Crosman 2100 is a super value multi-pump pneumatic. Suited to youngsters 12 and older and adults, the 2100 shoots both BBs and pellets. I recommend it for pellets, alone, because of the accuracy potential. Use Crosman pellets.

Crosman’s 2260 is the rifle they turned into the famous Benjamin Discovery PCP, so you know it’s a winner. A CO2 gun, as well, and in .22 caliber. Shoot it with Crosman Premier pellets or JSB Exact domes. Suited to teens and adults.

Another great multi-pump is the Daisy 22SG. Comes with both a scope and open sights. For the money, you get more than with any other multi-pump. This one is in .22 caliber and is suited to close-range hunting (25 yards and less). Nothing wrong with Daisy’s pointed Precision Max pellets. For teens and adults.

For general plinking and all-around fun, the Daisy 953 is hard to beat. Suited to kids 12 and up and adult, the 953 is adult-sized in the stock, so be advised. It’s accurate, fun to shoot and not too loud, so it’s an indoors rifle, too.

The Gamo Big Cat 1200 is a great entry-level spring rifle for adults. Forget the high-velocity hype and go with proven Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets.

I cannot say enough good things about the single-shot IZH 60 rifle or its repeating sibling, the IZH 61. Suited for children 8 and older, all the way up to adults. These are accurate rifles and well-suited to use indoors. They’re quiet and relatively low-powered. Real Russian technology. Gamo Match pellets

Another super buy in a breakbarrel springer is Mendoza’s RM-200. Available in either .177 or .22, it’s light, easy to cock, and has the accuracy you expect from a Mendoza. Suited for teens and adults. Crosman Premiers in either caliber.

Owners rate the Ruger Air Hawk combo very high for value. It’s an entry-level breakbarrel suited to teens and adults. Crosman Premiers.

The Daisy Avanti 717 Triumph Match is a great indoor target pistol. It’s quiet and easy to pump, plus it’s quite accurate. This is for adults who can handle a heavier handgun, because it’s quite heavy and intended for a one-hand hold. I recommend Gamo Match pellets.

The Benjamin HB 17 is a multi-pump pistol that’s all American. Not terribly accurate or powerful, this pistol is all brass and wood, harkening to a day when things were made to last. It’s just a great plinker. Teens and adults. Use Gamo Match pellets.

I can’t go past the Benjamin EB 22 CO2 pistol. Another great piece of Americana. I picked this one in .22 because that’s the only caliber it comes in and also because CO2 is more powerful in a pistol than air in a multi-pump pistol. Teens and adults. Use Gamo Match pellets.

For action shooters, the Drozd is hard to top. It’s semi- and full-auto, but restricted to bursts of 3 or 6 rounds, only. Shoots steel BBs and is powered by CO2 cartridges. Teens to adult; because of the steel BBs, make certain that everyone wears safety glasses.

Got someone who likes action handguns? Get them a Magnum Research Desert Eagle pellet pistol. It’s one of the most accurate repeating pellet pistols I have ever tested. Gamo Match pellets and lots of CO2 cartridges, because this one is a gas hog with its real blowback action. Great for shooters with large hands. The grip is enormous!

For BB pistols, consider the SIG Sauer SP2022. It was very accurate in testing. Get CO2 cartridges and steel BBs to go with it. Ages 12 to adult. Wear eye protection.

My absolute top action BB pistol is the Makarov BB pistol. Superior accuracy and lots of shots. Buy lots of CO2 cartridges and BBs. Ages 12 to adult. Use eye protection.

Second only to the Makarov is the Tanfoglio 1911 BB pistol. Another accurate gun. 12 and up. CO2. Steel BBs. Use eye protection.

Other stuff
I’ve already recommended a chronograph, so the number one “other stuff” item on this list has to be a Heavy Duty metal bullet trap. Your airgunner won’t buy it for himself, and he will regard it like sox on Christmas day, but every time he uses it for the rest of his life he will appreciate this thoughtful gift that will never wear out. All ages.

To preserve the domestic tranquility (i.e., peace and quiet) around the house, the Quiet Pellet Trap is superb! With a lot of guns, the sound of the pellet hitting the trap is the loudest sound. This will end that. It’s not cheap, but true peace always comes at a price. All ages and this one is suited for steel BBs.

Wanna save a bundle? Buy two Impact Putty packages and let your handy airgunner build his own quiet trap.

Whew! That’s quite a list. Hopefully it will be of some help. And don’t forget that the earlier parts linked at the start of this report are also good lists to consider.

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.

51 thoughts on “Christmas gift list 2009 – Part 3”

  1. B.B.,

    Great blog. I told my wife to read it for gift ideas for me…

    On another note, Gamo has started to import the BSA Sportsman w/ the Scorpion sythetic stock under the name Gamo Dynamax .177 Multishot Pre-Charged Pneumatic Gun. Will PA be selling this rifle?

  2. BB,
    My number one on the under $150 list would be the Browning 800 Magnum pistol. I shot the one that was given as a door prize at LASSO. I was hitting with it offhand pretty well. I would like to see what one would feel like if cleaned up and smoothed out.
    David Enoch

  3. B.B.,

    You must like the Heavy Duty Pellet/Bullet Trap as much as I do since it's on your Part I list and again today on Part 3.

    The heavy duty pellet/bullet trap is one of those rare items today that you only have to buy once and will do the job for a lifetime. I spread a little duct seal on the sloped roof of mine to quiet it down and it works like a charm. I paint mine, in place, every fall but it stays outdoors year round.


  4. On today's pyramyd homepage,the IZH Drozd is prefaced with "Big BB hopper…shoot more,reload less".I think this belongs on one of the other variants,not the 30 rd. clip model??

  5. B.B.

    I was pleased to see that, according to a recent PA promotional, the Crosman 1077 is the number one selling rifle in their inventory. Deservedly so. And the cold-weather need not deter anyone since you can shoot it indoors like I do. Just make sure you have a good trap like the Quiet Pellet Trap with impact putty.

    I would like to vouch for the Walther CP99 pistol and derivatives. This is a fantastic gun in my opinion. My surprise break is even overcoming the double-action trigger which, despite limitations, is fairly predictable.

    I've learned to hover. 🙂

    All, my Truglo 40mm red dot sight arrived for $50 on sale from Cabela's. It looks good except the red dot is kind of messy-looking–more like a spark than a clearly defined circle. Maybe this is where the $500 Trijicon scopes are different.

    Wayne, lucky man to have sightings of black bears. My fantasy is to prepare a small mountain of shelled pistachio nuts and watch them tuck in from a concealed vantage point. Fascinating animals. I suspect that you're not in serious danger from them and scaring them off with a .357 magnum will work fine. Apparently, one of their instinctive defenses is to charge the threat, stop short and slam down their paws. It works well for animal life but will get them blown away by an armed human. It's a shame but you obviously shouldn't take unnecessary chances either.

    Supposing that the one in 100,000 insane, predaceous black bears (of which only one or two have ever been recorded) is out to get you, you would probably never even know what hit you since they sneak up from behind. Obviously take precautions, but I wouldn't worry about it.


  6. There's no turning back now…I just purchased from Jim Maccari a do-it yourself stock blank.It is for my new FWB 124.I wish you all could see it but they took the picture down the minuite it sold…It's Himilayan burl Walnut.Honey golden wood with black burl woodgrain…I've never seen anything like it!!!Exotic stocks have always fascinated me,and this will be a great winter project requiring much patience.Wish me luck y'all…Frank B

  7. Frank B,

    The stock sounds very exotic. Just what Maccarri is known for. You planning on using the waterlox method of finishing the stock or some other?

    Since you have plans to dress up that fine FWB 124 have you considered replacing the hardware? Tim Einck makes aftermarket triggers and guards for the FWB 124/127's. He does polished stainless, bronze and gold (high polished brass). I think a gold trigger and guard would compliment the brass screw cups and be stunning against the Honey golden woodstock with black burl accents.


  8. How about this for a Christmas gift? A questionaire by B.B. (and others as they see fit) about 'What are you going to use your airgun for?' Some serious thinking on the part of a new airgunner on this subject would reduce the 'all in one gun' syndrome. We all want lots of airguns because there are many uses for them. Newbies just want to 'go fast'. I think all of us who have been around awhile would agree that speed is not the be all end all of airguns.

    B.B., give the new guys & gals a questionaire to complete that would send them to a group of appropriate airguns.

    Merry Christmas to all!!

    Al Pellet

  9. Kevin,I will be winging this…If you call getting all the advice I can get,from all my resources and suggestions.This is a hole my browser history saw coming from a mile away,if you know what I mean!!I like the hardware idea,but I'd like to patina the brass and a bronze cast guard.I like that classy,don't look at me,i'm a mess look,it draws you into details.which of course have to be crisp lines….Frank B

  10. Frank B,

    The wood is saying to me that I need to see its picture ASAP. Is it a raw blank, semi inletted or what?

    I've had much success using plain old boiled linseed oil and lots of hand rubbing on a couple of stocks.

    Mr B.

  11. Mr B,they pulled the pic when it sold…Trust me its beautiful!the black figuring was dense,asymmetrical and Like a photo-negative of a plume of cigar smoke meandering through three dimentions.Sweet as a spotted pup! Frank B

  12. Frank B.,

    I haven't gotten around to purchasing the stropping belt although I have a nice Russian leather one in mind. In the meantime, I've been honing and honing on my fine stone and your ceramic rod. I think I'm on the right track but have not shaved anything yet.

    When funds permit, I'll get the Russian leather belt and follow all of your suggestions.

    That stock sounds great. If you do your work the way you sharpen knives, you will have no problem.


  13. BB,
    I'm looking for a Lady Recon under the tree:). I can vouch for the Hammerli 490 — mines still going strong after 2 years and thousands of pellets. Trigger is really nice after some wear and moly.

    Twenty or more years ago, I lived several summers in the mountains of SW Virginia, where there were definitely black bears — there was one killed on the place I stayed. Never saw one there, and that included going outside for all my toiletry needs:). I think they only tend to be trouble when you come between them and food, such as when field-dressing a deer or something like that.

    I do remember as a kid going to the Smokies and stopping by the side of the road where another family was feeding a mother bear and her cubs down a bank (really bad idea). My brother jumped out of the car and scrambled down to pet one, causing my mother to go into a fit. When my brother got back to the car, I think his self-esteem was bruised pretty badly, and I think the bear was terrified:).

  14. …Oh,and its inletted because I don't have the confidence yet…It's a 625$ piece of wood,they called "super,super select" or something like that.Some wood raw blanks can cost as much as 5,000$ for Turkish carcassian walnut and others.I've used pumice and rotten stone rubs before with linseed or tung oil.Again,I'm looking for ideas…

  15. Frank B,

    Are you talking about high color anodizing on the trigger and guard?

    I've never finished a maccarri stock but two Colorado airgunners that came to my place for the shoot have probably finished 10 maccarri stocks between them. There's another local that has made and finished hundreds of custom stocks for the past 30 years. Mostly firearms but has done a lot of custom airgun stocks and airgun stock repairs.

    Do a search on the yellow for FourRings, James Mills aka Jamie Mills and Heywood for stock finishing tips.

    They all have a couple things in common when finishing a stock…Waterlux and Royal London Oil. If you could see some of the stocks these guys have finished you'd be a believer too.

  16. Frank B,

    I had to go read about the royal london oil and I am probably all wrong, but it sure sounded like the system used to apply it would work with toung oil, linseed, etc. Next time I've got a piece of wood to finsh that's what I'm going to try.

    Mr B.

  17. Well I'm not very adept with my laptop,I need to get a tutor or something…With a non-clickable link for the Renisance wax,I just googled the site.however I managed to find the wax,some graduated abrasives that go up to 12,000 and of course Waterlox.I have already ordered J. Macarri's Royal London Oil,and stock mudd. BTW,I too loved today's Blog…My dad had a model 25 up in a closet.He found out I used it…and gave me a big fat lip.The stupid thing was it hadn't been maintained and I could throw a BB faster:) Frank B

  18. B.B,

    Per your recommendation, I went and bought a Gamo Recon for my son and so far I've been really happy with it.

    One thing is, the Gamo Recon is advertised as having a trigger adjustment but it doesn't appear to be the case on the actual rifle. There's no screw where a screw should be. Did Gamo change their design?


  19. Buggy,
    I checked my Recon and I don't remember an adjustment screw there either. The picture in the manual shows one but the back of the trigger is hollow and I don't remember an adjustment screw. I can't say 100% because I replaced my trigger with a GRT-III trigger from http://www.charliedatuna.com for $30 total. I looked in the gun and at the old trigger and I don't see anything that looks like an adjustment. Sorry I can't be more sure of myself. Get the GRT it's easy to install and you'll really like it. It has two adjustments, one for 1st & one for 2nd stage. I haven't messed with mine since I installed it but I will some day just because it's there.


  20. B.B and Chuck,

    I'm not sure what you mean "inside the trigger guard". I've shot with the CFX before and I know that the adjustment screw for Gamo's are usually just behind the trigger blade.

    I have a picture of the trigger part of my recon at


    As you can see, there's nothing there. I'm told the big "star" screw behind the triggerguard is to remove the stock.

    Anyway, if the Recon keeps shooting as well as it does now, I may actually get a GRT trigger.

    PS: checking the specs of the Recon on Pyramidair and Gamo, I saw that the rifle is not advertised as having an adjustable trigger!

  21. BB, that screw under the taped over hole is the stock screw not an adjustment screw.

    Good idea putting tape over that hole. That hole always irritates my hand when it rubs against it. I tried to smooth it out around the edge but it still irritates. I'm going to try some tape.


  22. BB,
    If you look where the red arrow is pointing in his picture, that's where the owner's manual says is the location of the adjustment screw. It's supposed to be back in behind the trigger somewhere. I don't believe that screw exists in our version of the gun.


  23. Chuck,

    Since you have the GRT trigger on your Recon, can I safely assume that the custom trigger will also work on mine even though the trigger assembly doesn't appear to have an adjustment?

    Although I have to say, the stock trigger is pretty nice.


  24. Buggy,
    Yes, it will work. I believe my old trigger is just like yours. But no matter because I think it work regardless. charliedatuna says it'll work on any late model Gamo.

    I didn't like the stock trigger on mine. It didn't hit my finger right and I was always pressing on the point of the trigger.

    If you get the GRT make sure you understand the directions before starting so you don't remove the wrong pins. They are on the website I sent you in a previous comment, pictures included. You can read them and see if you think you can do it. It's really pretty simple.


  25. B.B.,

    I saw your article on the 392/397. In it you provided a table showing the pellet velocity for each number of pumps, starting at 3 (I believe). Prior to seeing this article I was wondering what such a table would look like for the 397.

    Have you generated a table for the 397? I'd appreciate seeing a table for between 4 and 7 pumps, if you have it.

    I'm also curious as to which velocity you think would produce the best accuracy with good wadcutter pellets.


  26. Victor,

    I have done very little with the 397. I have no velocity figures for one.

    I think 4 or 5 pumps usually produces the most accurate shots with them, but that's just from a light smattering of shooting. I really haven't looked into the .177s that much.


  27. Hi B.B.,

    Hope you don't mind a semi random question…

    I bought a Makarov from Pyramyd as a training tool and I love it! Shoots accurately at 15 ft, weight is pretty spot on.

    I am now looking for a good blowback BB pistol that shoots pretty tight groups to practice double taps. I was looking at maybe the Walther PPK/S but the reviews seem to look poorly on its accuracy.

    Any suggestions?


  28. Daniel,

    Does it have to be a BB pistol? If so, I guess the Walther CP99 Compact will work best. Not the CP99, though, because that is a pellet pistol and it doesn't have blowback.

    The Walther PPK/S will group inside 5 inches at 12 feet. If that is good enough, then it is a fine training tool. In fact, I have sold both the air pistol AND the firearm just by letting people shoot the BB gun a few times.

    Use Shoot-N-C targets and you'll be able to keep score easily.


  29. Thanks for the suggestions. 5 inches is pretty good for a blowback BB pistol, but I was hoping to get a little better. Does the CP99 compact group better?

    It's probably easier to get tight groups with a blowback pellet pistol… The only deal is that I shoot indoors and have a new baby crawling around, so I don't want to be using any lead based ammo. I've tried non-lead ammo before and haven't had too much luck with it.

    If you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear it.


  30. Daniel,

    Yes, of the blowback BB pistols, I think the CP 99 Compact will outshoot the PPK/S.

    I understand the reluctance to use lead pellets.

    Another possibility would be a good airsoft pistol, though I hesitate to recommend it around a crawling baby because the 6mm plastic BBs would probably be ingested right away.


  31. I never even thought of using an airsoft pistol… I always assumed that they simply weren't accurate enough for groupings. I guess that's not true?

    Hah! Good point about the plastic pellets though…

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