Sticking to the specs – a discussion on common sense
by B.B. Pelletier
Before I begin today, I want to give you a couple of updates. First, the AirForce Edge. Many shooters around the U.S. have gotten stunning results from their Edge rifles, so I suspect there must be something odd with mine. I’m going to look at the rifle very carefully and see what’s what. I will report the results in a second accuracy test. And, don’t worry, that will not eliminate the special surprise I have planned for you.
Next, the Benjamin Katana. I tested the rifle again, and it wasn’t the scope that caused those wild groups. The rifle is back at Crosman for examination. As soon as it returns, I’ll do another accuracy test, including the two long-range pellets I promised to try in Part 3.
Now, on to today’s report.
My Aunt Linda once told me that common sense isn’t that common. I had never heard that expression before, so I thought she was very wise, but I guess the expression has been around for a long time. The truth of it has been around even longer. And, in my capacity as a gross violator and complete disregarder of common sense, I feel I can talk about the value of sticking to the specifications with some credibility. Because nobody has done more damage than I by ignoring them in the past.
Nothing gets under my skin faster than someone who keeps asking what substitutes exist for Crosman Pellgunoil, after I have told them all I know about it. As veterans of this blog have learned, Pellgunoil is 20-weight non-detergent motor oil–or at least that’s what we thought it was until last week, when a reader suggested something to the contrary. I don’t really care what it is! What I know is this: if you lubricate your CO2 guns, multi-pumps and single-strokes with Pellgunoil, or 20-weight non-detergent motor oil, they won’t have seal problems. Use anything else, and you’re a test pilot.
Being a test pilot means you absolutely cannot radio me for help when you’re in an inverted flat spin with a flamed-out engine over the Rocky Mountains. Or when your new CO2 gun starts leaking after you sprayed it with WD-40, Slick-50 or monosodium glutamate. Use Pellgunoil and I will alert Search and Rescue to look for your beacon, or at least I’ll make sure they name a high-school gym after you. Crosman Pellgunoil.
Nitrogen capsules in place of CO2
When I was in the Army, I was the CBR/NBC officer for my armored cavalry troop. That’s the guy who takes the blame when a gas mask is missing. The CBR/NBC NCO is the guy who does all the work. Anyway, I discovered that the Army makes use of nitrogen capsules for certain equipment in the nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) world, and, as an airgunner with a new Daisy 200 pistol, I decided to take advantage. Well, nitrogen is a very dry gas, in case you didn’t know. And, while it is fairly inert, it doesn’t like to be confined by o-rings to the same extent that CO2 does. So, to save 25 cents on a CO2 cartridge, I ruined a relatively new $19.95 BB pistol that, up to that point, had been a great shooter. There I was in Indian territory, hostiles all around and me with only my Randall fighting knife…
Using lead balls in guns made to shoot steel BBs
I get this one sometimes from the older blog reports. The guy wants to shoot lead balls in his BB gun because they will increase the striking energy. Well, they will if they come out of the muzzle. And the heck of it is, due to manufacturing tolerances, some of them will. Just enough to keep intrepid shooters trying long enough to jam their guns with certainty. It’s just a matter of time.
And when they ask me, holding their jammed gun in their paws, it’s obvious they don’t know the difference between a 4.4mm ball and a .177 (4.5mm) ball. They just got some “BBs” from a friend and decided to have a go. Okay, here’s the deal. You’ll get away with it more if you use 4.4mm balls. Less with .177 balls. But if you want more power on target, why not just get a pellet gun and be done with it? I know the answer (impecunious youth), but that doesn’t make me responsible for clearing your jammed barrel. “I can’t find a .177 cleaning rod. Will a coathanger do? I can’t find a coathanger, will a thin welding rod do? I can’t find a thin welding rod, can I just take the barrel to my shop class and burn it out with the oxy-acetylene torch?”
The airgunner who buys pellets only at Wal-Mart
“I just spent $700 on a TX200 with a scope and now I can’t get the thing to shoot worth a damn. My Wal-Mart doesn’t carry Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box, so I just bought some of those gold Gamos in the little rockets (Gamo Raptors). Why isn’t my gun shooting like you said it would?”
Well, here’s another little tip for you. Don’t buy a Porsche Turbo Cabriolet and expect it to run it on 87 octane gasohol from a truck stop. If you own something fine, spend a little money on what you feed it.
“Yeah, but I don’t like to shop on the internet. They steal your credit card!”
So, where did you get the TX200?
“Oh, I got it on the Yellow Classified. But I checked the seller out on the BOI (Board of Inquiry–an archive of comments from buyers and sellers). And he said I could just send him a money order for the gun.”
Okay, let me get this straight. You took a thousand-times BIGGER risk by sending actual money through the mail to someone you don’t know, but you don’t like to use credit cards on the internet because they might steal your identity. Is that right?
Well, here is a diet tip for you. You can eat at McDonald’s for every meal if you want, but drink only diet soda and you won’t gain weight.
Calling an air rifle a BB gun
Here’s a sad but common tale.
Bubba No. 1 calls all airguns “BB guns.”
Bubba No. 2 buys a Gamo Big Cat at a discount store. Bubba 1 is with him at the time.
Bubba 1 calls it a BB gun, so Bubba 2 buys Daisy BBs for it.
I never get this complaint on the blog, because neither Bubba 1 nor Bubba 2 will have anything to do with the internet. But I’m in a gun store where I overhear them talking about it. “I thought you were supposed to put the BBs down that hole in back of the barrel (the air transfer port), because when I put them in the barrel, they rolled right out. I put three in there, but I don’t think they came out when I shot. I can’t hear them rattling around anymore (they are embedded in the piston seal), so I don’t know where they went.”
Yeah, he doesn’t know where to put the BBs in a pellet rifle, but I bet he knows which load to use in his nail gun when he’s working with concrete!
A funny aside that makes me cry
Edith just read the specs from a manufacturer on a new repeating pellet gun they’re bringing out. They claim that it comes with a “BB magazine.” A PELLET gun comes with a BB magazine? I’m not making this up, folks! It’s getting stupider and stupider out here!
There is a movie called Adaptation that is weird because as you watch it you realize that the principal characters are writing it as they go. I mean, they’re writing a script in the movie that turns out to be the movie itself. Sort of like that famous Escher print in which two hands on a piece of paper are drawing one another. Now, try to stay with me, ’cause I’m not cracking up or anything. So, here I am in my office writing about people disregarding the specifications (okay, maybe “fundamentals” is a better term) of the airgun sport and while I am, along comes a manufacturer doing the exact thing I’m writing about –WHILE I’M WRITING IT!
What’s wrong here is that, unlike Bubbas 1 and 2, the employees of an airgun company have a responsibility to know something about airguns. And the ones whose job it is to write about the guns their company makes (manuals, ad copy, things that go on the boxes, etc.) should either know what they’re writing about or they should at least check their facts before signing off on their work. Because the next thing you know, some mom in Paramus, New Jersey, is going to buy that airgun, read what’s on the outside of the box and act on it. If she reads that the gun has a BB magazine, she’s going to think that it shoots BBs. BBs are what she’ll buy, and BBs are what she’ll try to help her kid load into it. She has every right in the world not to be amused upon learning that 20-something Cindy, who helped design the box, doesn’t know the difference between a BB and a pellet.
Well, I have to stop writing now. Cowboy Star Dad just asked me if he could use lead balls in his Crosman Shiloh pellet pistol while I was writing the above paragraph about pellets and BBs. I’m afraid that if I write the name Rod Serling, I might wind up on The Twilight Zone–as the Printer’s Devil.