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Education / Training Christmas gift list 2009 – Part 4

Christmas gift list 2009 – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today, I’m finishing the gift list. The price limit is lifted, so it’s everything above $150.

Please bear in mind that these are my own personal picks–the ones I believe in. You may have a favorite that didn’t make this list, for which I am sorry, but these are the guns I believe in. If they’re not in stock as of this day, they may not show up on the website. In that case I will not list them.

The prices are going to jump around a lot as you go through this list. Now you understand why.

Air Arms TX200 in .177 caliber. I don’t know if the .22 caliber is as nice, but what I DO know is that I’ve recommended this air rifle to more than 100 people and have never heard a bad thing about it. Once someone had a problem with one new gun, but Pyramyd AIR replaced it and the next one was perfect. That’s out of more than 100 sales of which I have personal knowledge. Don’t read into this recommendation and apply it to anything other than the TX200 in .177 caliber. Beech or walnut stock are the same, except that walnut is both softer and lighter than beech. I have owned both. This is an air rifle for the rest of your life. Adults only.

Let me just get this out of the way now and say that the RWS Diana 54 is the only current spring rifle that I feel to be equivalent to the TX200. Let me qualify that. The TX is built and finished better than the 54, but the 54 has large patches of beautiful checkering, it’s completely recoilless and it is as accurate as the TX–if not more accurate. The 54 is a large air rifle, and I would get it in .22 caliber because of the power potential, but .177 is also very nice. Adults only.

Now for my best new air rifle recommendation, the Air Venturi Bronco. I developed this rifle for Pyramyd AIR, and in the coming weeks I will blog it thoroughly for you. You will see that the price of $126 places it in the lower price range, but I can’t let the year end without it being on my list. I have a lot to tell you about my thinking as I was developing this rifle, but for now I will tease you by saying this–I tried to create an affordable Beeman R7. Another way to look at it is a modern blend of the Diana 27 and the Beeman C1. It’s coming from Mexico and who knows how long it will take to clear Customs at the border, so this probably won’t be making it here in time for Christmas, but if you get any money gifts this year, you might want to earmark them for one of these. Suited and developed for older youth (12+) and adults. An all-day plinking rifle.

The AirForce Condor is one of the most powerful smallbore air rifles made. It’s also quite accurate. You’ll need the means to fill the gun, and I recommend the carbon fiber tank listed below. And you do need a scope. My recommendation is for .22 caliber, only. Adults only.

The Benjamin Discovery combo that comes with the hand pump is still the best entry into precharged pneumatic airguns. Everything needed to start shooting comes in one box. And the price is unbeatable. Teens and adults.

Just as the Discovery was the big new gun in 2008, nothing equalled the reception of the new Benjamin Marauder in 2009. If you can get the money and want a PCP, this is the one to get. It will give you pride in America. Teens and adults.

For a delightful gun at a reasonable price, the .22-caliber Benjamin 392 pump and the .177-caliber Benjamin 397 are both classics. Suited to older kids and adults. Get ’em without scopes and learn how to shoot.

For a great affordable gas springer, the Crosman Nitro Piston Short Stroke is the best deal in town. Adults only because of cocking effort.

If you want a traditional looking PCP, the Hammerli Pneuma is hard to beat. It’s powerful, accurate and well put together. Teens and adults and don’t forget the air supply.

For a breakbarrel spring rifle of moderate power, it’s hard to beat the Mendoza RM-200. It’s accurate, has a great trigger and yet it’s not a blistering magnum rifle. Great in either caliber. Teens and adults.

If you want to try out big bore, the Career Dragon Slayer is a super first gun. It’s powerful, yet civilized. Don’t forget the air because these rifles really use it. You won’t find ammo anywhere but here at Pyramyd AIR. Adults.

I know they’re expensive guns for their power level, but the Walther lever action Wells Fargo model and scoped version of the standard model are on a closeout special right now. This is the only 1894-style lever action still selling, and this is the best price in years. I love my carbine that I got years ago. Teens and adults.

For a good, inexpensive spring gun, it’s hard to beat the RWS Diana 34P. Great piece at a great price. Adults.

Diana makes a great youth rifle too. The RWS Diana Schutze is a rifle that harkens back to the 1980s with its classic styling and accuracy. Suited for children from 12+ to adult.

If you want power in a spring gun for the right price, look no farther than the RWS Diana 48. Get it in .22 for power and .177 for other things, like inexpensive ammo costs. Suited to adults.

For target shooters, the Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle has to be considered. It has features not found in other guns for sale today, and if bullseye shooting is your game, this is what you want. Kids from 8 and up, depending on the level of physical development (i.e., their size and strength). Buy target pellets.

I know I haven’t written about the Edge target rifle yet, but when I do you will find out why it is also on this list. It’s totally different from the Crosman Challenger, having different features and certainly a different look. If you are inclined in this direction, let me give you a gentle push. Kids from 8 and up, depending on the level of physical development.

Beeman’s Beeman HW 70A is a breakbarrel classic pistol that will give years of trouble-free operation. Like all Weihrauchs these days, it’s pricey, but you get what you pay for. Adults.

If you want a pistol to keep for life, consider the Weihrauch HW 75. This single-stroke is incredibly accurate and has a light, crisp trigger. Adjustable sights. The grips are stippled walnut. Adults.

Beeman’s P1 is a spring pistol that’s been at the top of the air pistol market for over a decade. A great trigger and wonderful accuracy compliment the 1911-style grip. Adjustable sights move your group to the point of aim. Adults.

For target shooters, the Gamo Compact is one of just two recommendations I have. It’s a lightweight, inexpensive target-grade pistol. Suited to adults needing a lighter target pistol.

In case you guessed, the IZH 46M is the other target pistol I’m recommending. If you can handle the weight, it’s the better target pistol, but 80 percent of shooters today think it’s too heavy when held in one hand. This is pretty close to a world-class competition pistol. Adults.

I see there may be a few RWS Diana 5G Magnums remaining in stock somewhere. For the price, it’s a wonderful informal plinker and all-around air pistol. Adults.

As far as action pistols go, it’s hard to beat the S&W 586 revolver. It’s so realistic and right! I like the 6-inch barrel for the extra velocity it offers. Don’t forget to buy extra CO2 cartridges when you buy one. Teens and adults.

If you just want to go nuts with a beautiful action pistol, you would be justified in buying a Walther CP88 with walnut grips. Just look at the picture to see what I mean. If it doesn’t speak to you, don’t buy the gun. Teens and adults.

While I’m not a big fan of full-dressed action pistols, I did grow fond of the Walther Nighthawk while filming the action pistol episode of American Airgunner. It’s got a lot of neat stuff. If you like guns like that, this is a very good one. Teens and adults.

The Colt 1911A1 pistol is a favorite of mine. I don’t accessorize it and just use the open sights it comes with. I find this gun to be one of the most accurate Umarex action pellet pistols going. Only the S&W 586 and the Magnum Research Desert Eagle are more accurate, in my experience. Teens and adults.

Other stuff
For equipment that you really need but don’t give a second thought to after you’ve acquired it, the 88-cubic-foot carbon fiber air tank ranks at the top of the list. It’s as useful as a fine pair of leather boots that have been well broken-in, and it’s just as expensive, too. Gripe if you must, but unless you just shoot a Benjamin Discovery, you really need this tank. It fills nine times as many guns as a 3000 psi scuba tank and weighs half as much.

For those who own an AirForce rifle, the AirForce TC1 rifle case is practically a must-have. It can be adjusted to fit all of your gear for traveling, plus it looks so cool. A real dress-up for your Condor! I’ll be blogging it in the future.

Well, that’s my Christmas list for 2009. I hope it’s of some help to those who are buying gifts for airgunners. And don’t forget that Pyramyd AIR has a different Gift Guide that is much larger than my lists.

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 4”

  1. The Air Arms website shows a lower priced LH beech stock for the TX200, so why doesn't Pyrmyd Air carry it. You'd think Pyrmyd Air, the largest air gun dealer in the US, could afford to carry one or two TX200s with LH beech stocks, instead of stinging lefties an EXTRA $100 for the walnut stock. Does someone at Pyrmyd Air dislike lefties for reason?

  2. BB,
    That's not fair saying something is a cross between a Diana 27 and a C1. You are hitting two of my favorite soft spots. I don't know if you saw the C1 style QB78 and Disco stocks that Jim Chapman has had made. I really like those. I have thought of having a C1 type stock made for a Diana 27 but I think if I have a custom stock made for a Diana 27, it will be along the lines of the Belgium Hyscore 801 instead. It has a real long gentle sloping pistol grip which is almost as straight as a C1.

    I have figured out that the straight wrist type stock works well for me because I hold the elbow of my trigger arm up high. That's how I used to see shooters hold their guns in old American Rifleman magazines and I copied that style. If you hold your elbow on the trigger arm close to your body, a vertical pistol grip is more comfortable. Holding my elbow up is also the reason the Marauder stock seems to long for me. When you hold your elbow up, it shortens your pull by a couple of inches.

    I am looking forward to the review on the Bronco. It looks and sounds interesting.

    David Enoch

  3. Pyramyd AIR used to sell TX200s with LH beech stocks, but they didn't sell enough of them to make it worthwhile to continue to stock them. I guess most LH TX200 buyers want the walnut stock.


  4. Tom if the A.F. Edge isn't out before the end of December, you better serve yourself a double big serving of piping hot crow. I don't want to hear anything about "Which two weeks" either.

  5. I really like these annually updated Christmas lists since they're beneficial throughout the coming year as Birthday lists as well.

    Shouldn't the title of todays article be Part 4 instead of Part 3?

    The new Air Venturi Bronco has my attention. I assume that the weight isn't listed under Specs on Pyramyd Air's website because they want the gun in their hands to weigh it before making representations?

    Can't wait for the article on the new Air Venturi Bronco. Looks like a winner.


  6. My present that I'm hoping for this Christmas season is….

    That everyone be kind to one another and remember the real reason for this festive season.

    Happy Holidays to one and all.


  7. To Kevin and all,I'm sorry…No pictures yet.I have to buy a camera first.My good camera is missing in action.The stock is really coming along nicely.The black graining is stunning!I'll go get a camera today,I promise!!

  8. I continue to receive the blog comments specifically to backup Tom's monitoring. I deleted the comments immediately, but you have to refresh/reload your page to see that. Also, Blogger takes a few minutes to make the removal.


  9. [Fred: I removed your original post, and you know why. This is your comment minus the last sentence.–Edith]


    you brought up one of my weaknesses again, the Beeman P-1. I keep on thinking of the one that was on sale at Roanoke for $300 versus the new one for $600 and, given that my first choice of an IZH46 was not for sale, I should have grabbed that P-1. Always next year, I guess.

    Woulda – coulda – shoulda.

    Story of my life!


  10. Kevin,while searching through my gadgets I found the tailcap assembly with remote trigger pad for the Walther flashlight.I'll send it out to you,you may find a use for it?! I second your Holiday wishes!Work for money,Live for people!!!

  11. B.B.

    I assume your recommendation on the Diana 34P would apply to the regular 34 as well since I also assume it has the same powerplant, just a different stock, yes? Thanks.

  12. 34P vs 34,

    Yes, they are the same. There have been changes in the open sights, and this is confusing. I guess you get whatever comes out of the box. But at this time that should be a post with no fiberoptics–my choice for open sights.


  13. BB,
    This list has some really nice rifles on it. I saw the Bronco the other night, and will be keeping my eye on it. If I flute the comb and stain it a little darker, it could be my son's first someday… Like David, I always thought a pistol grip was a necessary evil, but after having no choice with my BP, it is a none issue at most, and I may actually like the straight grip better.

  14. Well Mr. B.B., I dropped the hammer on the RWS 48 combo this morning. This is my second air gun and quite a leap upward from the inexpensive Gamo I have been shooting with my 13 year old grandson.

    I'm getting the 22 cal. per your advice and a good supply of JSB Exacts and also a few RWS Meisterkugeln.

    I have read and reread your reviews and feel confident with this choice, but I would also appreciate any further information you could impart concerning break-in and future care.

    Thank you so much for your tireless efforts in maintaining a great blog for new and old air gunners alike.

    Sincerely, Rick

  15. Rick,

    Her is my advice:

    Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it. Don't let anything get in the way of shooting it. It doesn't need to be oiled, have the barrel cleaned or the powerplant tuned. Put five thousand rounds through the gun and then YOU can tell ME what kind of gun it is.

    If this is also your first non-breakbarrel, remember that the hold won't be as sensitive. Those small groups will be easier to shoot.

    Tell us how you like your new rifle.



  16. Rick
    I just got a 48 recently, but have not shot it much due to certain personal problems.
    I find it to be hefty and solid. Good finish and fit. No twang, but a slight ping.

    Accuracy with .22 cp looks good for as well as I can see to shoot.
    Very steady to hold on target.

    Will be strange cocking and loading for a bit.
    Shape of the stock and the weight of the gun make handling a bit tricky at first, but not hard to get used to.

    Like the trigger on mine. Not target, but nice hunting trigger.
    Lighter and smoother than expected.

  17. FrankB.,
    Are you sanding only or shaping also? What final grade grit are you going for? It sounds like a beautiful piece of wood — I went up to ARH site and looked at some of the gallery pictures; there is some stunning figure in many of them. RLO sounds interesting. If that's what you use, let us know how it turns out.

    I gathered from your comment yesterday that I might have been insensitive in my opinion on DIY stippling vs. sent off checkering. The intent was not to offend anyone (sorry if it did); I simply wanted to give FrankB some support for doing it himself if he decided to.

  18. BG_Farmer
    Finished treatment 3 weeks ago.

    Eye surgery tomorrow to get rid of the cataract in my right eye. Left eye probably early January.

    Man, I can't see crap right now.


  19. B.B.

    Great list….
    I, like Kevin, really enjoy seeing your choices each year now.

    Again, you've helped design an air gun for a growing market segment. The Bronco sounds like a winner, especially if it's coming from Mendoza, (you said Mexico, but I'm assuming Mendoza). They can do it right. I like their triggers, build, stocks and barrel accuracy.

    How much different will it be than the RM200?.. which is also on your list and mine too!

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  20. TwoTalon,

    Wow, that's good to hear that your done with all your treatments. You should start feeling better and better all the time now, although it may take a while to recover all your energy. Good luck with the eye surgery tomorrow — you'll be even better with open sights once the cataracts are gone.

  21. BG_Farmer,

    I fire yes men.

    You're one of the reasons that I enjoy this blog. Your comments are well thought out, never shot from the hip, and lucid.

    You usually speak from a different perspective and it's appreciated. YOU can never offend me.

    Your comment to Frank B was taken in the spirit it was intended by me.

    Happy Holidays!


  22. twotalon,

    It's hard to understand sometimes why we're made to suffer.

    It is my hope and prayer that you are drawing strength during these times from your beliefs.

    You're not missing much not being able to see crap.


  23. BG_Farmer
    I have the 48 sighted in pretty well at 22 yds…the distance from my back door to the crab apple tree in my back yard. A little touch up should be all that will be necessary.
    Can't let the TSS get all the action.

    When the snow covers the ground, the starlings will come.


  24. Now here's a real drool list!!!!

    TX200: I know, I read, "now don't read anything into this…", but then I thought, Does this include the TX200 HC? They have different specs but are they both as accurate?

    Career Dragon Slayer: Drool…Drool! Gotta have one!

    Walther Lever Action: Whaaaat? The scoped version ($375)is cheaper than the unscoped version ($420)? How did that happen? I have one, unscoped…must have for any collector.

    Challenger/Edge: Oh, gosh!! I don't know what to do. "Let me give you a gentle push", says BB. Yeah, but which way?! OK, I assume over the Edge.

    Carbon fiber tank: I really want one of these. Ever lug around even the aluminum scuba 88's? HEAVY! Price is too high, though.
    Scuba ($160), CF ($695).

    AirForce TC1 rifle case: Now that's cool. Hard to find a good reasonable priced case for my Talon SS. I wish this one was, but I assume still not for long term storage?

    Pistols galore, Santa, some more?


  25. Kevin,
    Thanks, I'm glad you're not mad at me, but you made me blush; I will grant you "different" is accurate:). You contribute a lot of knowledge and experience to the blog, and I'm glad you're here. The fact that we don't always look at things the same way actually increases my enjoyment.

  26. Kevin & Mr B,I had your Email adresses,so you get the first look at my stock progress.camera is brand new,so cut me some slack!!! My laptop is fighting all the way,so if anyone E mails me at frankbpc@aol.com,I can quickly send pics [6].Let me know what you think so far… Fred,I'll send you an Email about the IZH 46m.

  27. Frank B,

    Your custom stock is drop dead gorgeous. I really like fine wood and yours has potential.

    I'm trying to bite my tongue but….the grip would look great with a cap and both the grip and recoil pad would look great with spacer(s) (Ivory maybe white).

    As is typical for walnut the forestock shows the deep pores and grain that needs patient filling with muck/slurry.


    It will be well worth it though no matter how you decide to finish that fine piece of wood.


  28. Wayne,

    Well, for starters, the names are quite different. Bronco is just letters, while RM200 is a combination of letters and numbers. Also, bronco has meaning in the English language, while RM means nothing.

    So there are two differences between the Bronco and the RM200. I guess when I do the report we'll see some more.


  29. Bub,

    I thought about airsoft long and hard. I don't really shoot them enough to have developed a list. Plus, I am a shooter for accuracy, not a gamer. I might like a gun for its accuracy and it might be the worst gaming gun on the market. That's why I didn't do an airsoft list.

    I would recommend the Marui Hi Capa 5.1, the HFC 190 (duel fuel) and from what I hear, the WE 1911s are very nice. The Marui sniper rifle is another clear winner.


  30. BB,

    I appreciate all of the work that you've put into testing these rifles! Having read many of your articles, I'd say that you definitely qualify as an expert on the subject. You have insights that are both rare and precious. That's something that can only be arrived at by passion and thus an expression of love for the subject.

    Regarding the Challenger versus the Daisy Target Pro, or even Avanti, if they can afford it, anyone who truly loves shooting can easily justify spending the extra money for the Challenger. If you truly have "the bug" for shooting, you'll spend as many hours in a day as you can shooting. It's only logical that you make that time as worthwhile as possible.

    Long term, considering the cost of pellets, versus bullets, it will be a worthwhile investment in yourself. One could easily spend $600.00 on something that can't have the long lasting effects of personal achievement that can be derived from developing a skill in something like shooting. It's fun, there's a lot to learn, it's mentally challenging, it provides an opportunity for one to overcome themselves, and thus there's the pride in achievement.

    You can do it alone, or with a group. It has all of the benefits of individual sports. There's no politics, so in the end, you're really only competing against yourself. If you're biggest issue is the pressure of competition, then an opportunity has presented itself for you to overcome yourself. That kind of thing is relevent to all aspects of your life. We can all benefit from a little meditation.

    You're right BB, I think I will be using it for a long time, but by any definition. In my case, it would be in terms of accumulated hours, and not just the spread of time in something like years. Put it another way, I'd be the challenger to the Challenger. 🙂

    Thanks again,

  31. Victor,

    You are right! You will challenge the Challenger 2009, and you'll know that your "opponent" is worthy of the best you can offer for a long time to come.

    Congratulations on your choice of target rifles.

    Welcome to the current blog, where we talk about many things, as you can see.


  32. B.B.,

    I've pre-ordered the Challenger and can't wait to give it a shot (no pun intended).

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm getting back into shooting after a long 30+ year absence, so I actually feel like a novice.

    During my time away I bought a couple air rifles for my kids; the Crossman 760, and the Benjamin 397P. Both of my kids are in college now, but we've spent hours together shooting in the backyard.

    I'm surprised at the accuracy that one can get from a smoothbore rifle like the 760.

    In anycase, now I'm looking at stepping things up a few notches with the Challenger. I'll have to wait a couple of weeks before it's available, but I'll let you know how it goes.


  33. B.B.,

    Will do.

    I'm spending as much time as I can working on my rifle fundamentals with my 397, which is a bit of a challenge. I bought this 397P 15 years ago. Still shoots very well. At the present, I'm getting 0.25" groups at 30 feet with it. The heavy trigger takes some work to master. I'll fully appreciate the Challenger when I get it, and especially once adjusted down per your instruction.


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