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Gun-buying tips and scam alerts

by B.B. Pelletier

There’s a new podcast up on the website.

I wrote this report because of a transaction I made this past weekend. I had traded a rifle to someone and saw it listed on an internet trading site. The description was much nicer than the gun I traded, but the seller’s email was the same as the guy I had done business with. I did want the gun back, so I asked if he had gotten it from me and I made a cash offer. It was the same gun, though from the description it was obvious that the seller had learned much more about my rifle in the six months he had it than I had in the eight years I had owned it previously. More, in fact, than could be substantiated or even was true!

Creative writing
First lesson. People don’t always tell the truth! No, it’s true! People will sometimes fabricate stories to get other people to act in a way contrary to their instincts. Exhibit A: politics! The state rests.

My rifle, which had been a beater-shooter when I owned it had miraculously “…been through a factory rebuild….” Hogwash! The “factory” that built the gun was the Springfield Arsenal. It was a Trapdoor Springfield. They would have covered the gun with a rash of special marks if they ever so much as saw it again. It was just a beater whose stock someone had sanded to remove the inspector’s cartouche and then sealed the wood with 147 coats of Tru Oil. End of story. I was the one who installed a period-incorrect Buffington rear sight for the extra aiming precision. So, that was the extent of the “factory rebuild”–a Bubba refinish of the wood and the wrong rear sight.

You know the same thing happens with used airguns. Here are a few common ones decoded for your amusement.

“In excellent condition for its age.” MEANING: This gun is a real dog, and I want you to overlook that, in the belief that age, alone, is harmful to wood and metal.

For a CO2 gun – “I don’t know if it holds because I don’t have a CO2 capsule.” MEANING: The gun leaks like a sieve. Or, I’m too lazy to buy a CO2 cartridge at the discount store to test it. Please believe that you have at least a chance that the gun may hold.

“…has been played with.” MEANING: This gun was dragged behind a logging truck for two days before someone doused it with gasoline and struck a match.

Has the typical damage to the breech (barrel/bluing/grips/sights/stock… or any other part they want you to believe is common for this model).” MEANING: This one ain’t perfect. I want you to accept this dog in the belief that all these guns are dogs in the same way this one is.

Lovingly restored…” MEANING: There’s nothing original left on this gun. And it was probably refinished as a summer camp project.

Finish has turned to patina.” MEANING: It’s a rust bucket.

There’s no limit to the creativity that some people will reveal in an attempt to sell or trade their goods.

“Why is the stock cracked at the stock screw holes?” you ask of a dealer at an airgun show. “I think this one came from that bad batch of wood they (whoever made the gun) got back in the ’70s (’80s, ’90s, etc.).” TRUTH: It cracked when I pulled the trigger with the barrel broken open, just to see how fast it would close. Please don’t look at the barrel!

Popular mail-order scams
The guy you contact has several email addresses. Not bad by itself, but he keeps switching them as the transaction progresses. He lives in Florida, but asks for the money order to be sent to Pennsylvania, where he’s staying for the winter. Yes, this very thing just happened on a website I frequent and the buyer was wise enough to stop the transaction in time and post a warning on the site. Oh, and the “seller” used photos borrowed from other transactions still listed on the same website.

“You send the money and I’ll send the gun at the same time.” Watch out for this one. I have done this with several people, but neither party mentioned it during the transaction. We (one of us) just did it, because we trusted the other person. When someone TELLS you they will do this, watch out. Why are they telling you that? Why are they even doing it? Are they trying to make you think they are really a good guy? It falls under the Shakespeare quote, “…the lady doth protest too much.” MEANING: If she says that, she probably feels guilty about something related to it.

“Looks just like this one taken from their website.” This is a tough call, because there are people who cannot get a digital camera to work for them, or cannot fathom how photos are posted. The best they can do is borrow the addresses of photos already posted. Of course, the danger is that the seller is simply hiding behind this excuse and doesn’t want you to see the goods before he has your money.

Worth a thousand words? Not always.
And here’s a dirty little trick that I avoid like the plague. The photos of the gun for sale are dark and taken from a distance. Any closeups are so blurry that no detail is visible. “Oh, come on,” you say. “Cut the guy some slack. Not everyone can use a camera as well as you.”

That’s true. I use a camera every day, so over time I’ve learned how to use it. So, why am I so against blurry pictures?

For starters, I have been scammed by them, and had my eyes opened. And second, because I know at least one big-time airgun dealer who uses this scam all the time. It’s his trademark. So, no blurry pictures for me!

By the way, the same dealer will have a gun that’s been put together from mismatched parts on his sales table and when asked a pointed question, such as,”Is this thing real?” he’ll answer something like, “Well, that’s the only one like it that I’ve ever seen. It could be something special.” Yeah, so if he believes that, why isn’t he putting it in his collection? Why is he selling it?

The other side of the coin…
But I must admit that there are many airgunners who go out of their way to describe each and every possible flaw their guns have. You might think they’re trying to kill the sale; but after you get to know them, you understand that it’s just their way. And THAT, my friends, is the biggest tip I can give you today. Know the seller.

I scan the Yellow Forum classified ads almost every day looking for interesting things. That was where that beautiful Hy Score 801 came from. The Yellow Forum classified ads has a database of comments about buyers and sellers that they call the Board of Inquiry, or BOI. You can go there and research any buyer or seller who has sold before. And if you cannot find a person in the BOI database, my radar starts becoming sensitive. Would a person change their name because of a poor reputation? You bet they would. They’d change their name, email address, even where they claimed to live, if it allowed them the latitude to do one more dirty deal.

Paypal–yes or no?
If you’re buying on Ebay, the seller better take Paypal. If not, be suspicious. However, on the gun auction sites or airgun classified sites, don’t expect to use Paypal. Very few do. There’s a huge grassroots movement against Paypal because of eBay’s anti-gun policies.

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.

75 thoughts on “Gun-buying tips and scam alerts”

  1. B.B.
    I certainly would not make a good collector….I like to buy things new..
    At least things SHOULD be actually new and unused, and not stolen or broken.
    God knows I have bought enough new stuff that is junk.
    I would have to know someone really well to buy anything from them. I know one guy down the street who I would never buy from even if I knew for a fact that the item was not stolen or broken.

    There are also typical comments by the seller….
    "new in box", "never used", "used for only an hour", "just had it tuned"….
    You could probably think of many more.

    Anyone as old as I am should have learned a long time ago not to be too trusting. I may miss some good deals, but I feel much better doing things my way.


  2. B.B.–If you have a rifle that you want to look better what are the do's and dont's when it comes to refinishing a wood stock? I would assume most are stained with a wax finish so no heavy stripping -removal of varnish or polyurethane-is needed.Thanks , Scott298

  3. BB,this one's right on the money…and infuriating.I think if potential buyers refer back to this alot of shadyness can be avoided.I have recently seen many Co2 guns that I immediately passed on because the same seller offered them and hid behind the same"due to the nature of co2 guns…."or I don't have any co2 on hand but I think…..To mask the fact that they LEAKED,but he preferred to sell them for the "shoots like new" price!Ironic that a guy can have 10 co2 guns listed,but not have any co2.I am also wary of anyone with an expensive airgun listed who claims to know nothing about it,doesn't have a charge adapter or claims it shot great two years ago!!! Twotalon,you're too funny!Happy Birthday Wayne!

  4. BB,
    Describing an airgun I plan to sell is very hard for me. I can describe every flaw to the point that a nice rifle sounds like a junker. On the other hand, others may notice something about a rifle that I have not noticed.

    Some have recommended the firearms grading scale but there seems to be to large gaps between the different grades. And, how old does a gun need to be to go from the modern gun grading scale to the older gun category?

    One thing I have noticed is that I will see flaws in a gun I take outside that I will not notice inside the house. Another thing I have learned is that any dust on a gun will look like the finish is missing in a photograph. One last tip is not to buy a gun from a pawn shop over the internet. Pawn brokers see so many trashed guns that a pretty beat up gun can look pretty nice to them.

    I have only bought two guns out of over a 100 that I thought were grossly exaggerated. One I returned and the other I was afraid to return because I didn't think I would get my money back. I have made many friends from buying guns over the internet. It gives you a chance to get to know a guy who shares the same hobby as you but lives too far away for you ever to meet them in person.

    I like to try to find out the history of guns I own. I always ask the person I buy the gun from if they bought it new or used. If they bought it used I ask who they bought it from. I also ask about any work that has been done to the gun. Once you know who has owned the gun you can often search the yellow forum and even the AGLF and find previous owners post about the gun. I can track a few guns back through several owners and through hunting adventures, testing, tunes, spring replacements, etc. I find this interesting. If I know any history about a gun I sell, I try to pass it on to the new owner.

    Don't be afraid to buy used guns. For me, it has been a great experience.

    David Enoch

  5. Good useful info. I have never bought a used gun of any kind, yet. I'm so uneducated about what to look for that I wouldn't trust myself or a seller. However, most contributors on this blog would be the exception to that.


  6. B.B.:
    Thanks for the clarification on the 54 vs TX200 preference. Interesting, the caliber difference.

    Everything you have said about buying guns online is right on the money. I have experienced all the same things over the years, but with coins. Buying over the internet is very much a game of 'caveat emptor'. Clear and generous photographs and an eBay feedback of MINIMUM 99.5% positive is a must. Anything greater than 0.5% negative is a big red flag, and especially look at the gray neutrals too.

    Question: If you travel to an airgun show by air, do you pack your guns in your suitcase and declare them to security, or do you ship them to yourself in advance, to your hotel?

    -Alan in Florida

  7. CJr,You couldn't be more right about that!I have a dozen guns that came from fellow blog readers.I am thrilled with every one!Another great reassurance is the BOI,or board of inquiry on the yellow classifieds.How you pay can also protect you…and print everything,the ad,the Emails,as a practice.It can help bolster your position as well.Did you catch up to that barracuda?

  8. Morning B.B.,

    One of my all times favorites is I bought the gun new six months ago and have never fired it.

    Makes as much sense to me as someone saying we got married six months ago, but haven't as yet…

    Seriously though this is a great topic. Anyone wanta share a real life experience as a warning for us?

    Mr B

  9. Scott,

    You must have missed the HUGE discussion we all had about refinishing wood stocks a couple weeks back. Kevin showed us all how it's done, and he provided links to his work, so we could watch.

    Several other readers have taken up Kevin's ideas and tried refinishing stocks of their own.

    Will somebody please help Scott, as I am not the person to answer this?


  10. Mr. B.,

    Yeah, that new but unfired thing always bothered me, too. Now, I DO have a couple firearms that I haven't shot yet, but I sure as heck won't get rid of them before seeing how well they shoot. The trouble of getting out to the range has kept me from shooting them. But with airguns I find a way, unless they are big bores, in which case I also have to go to the range.


  11. Alan,

    You have just hit on the main reason why I DRIVE to all the airgun shows. Even if they are 1,500 miles away, I know I will probably be bringing things back with me. So I buy a table and of course I take airguns with me for the show.

    Back when I did fly to some shows I had to pass on buying airguns, including a couple super deals, which is when I resolved to always drive in the future. The seller can arrange to ship the gun, but in my experience most of them don't want to.


  12. Being honest doesn't always pay off. I recently wanted to sell a RWS 92 and was completely honest about the condition of the air rifle. "linkages 'pop' during cocking cycle, but doesnt affect accuracy or performance" "Factory refurbished (true in this case.)" "Comes with scope that has bad parallax problem." "Medium powered Rifle is very accurate and would make a great plinker."

    Guess what – no takers.

    Or this one that I posted online yesterday:

    FREE to good home: two small dogs will pee in your house, bite your children, attack your neighbors and their dogs, shed exessively. Not appropriately socialized and know no tricks.

    Guess what – no takers again.

    Maybe I'm too honest.

  13. Frank B.
    No barracuda yet. Yesterday was a orientation dive with the dive operator. Lawyers must have been circling around because this is the first time it's been required since I've been coming here. Dove with then last year and didn't have to do it.

    Surface temp 84F water temp 79F.

    Spotted Drum
    Sharp Tail eel
    large French Angel
    Trumpet Fish
    Midnight Parrot
    Flamingo Tongue
    100 other species

    Going out again this afternoon so will probably see some barracuda then, hopefully some Spotted Eagle rays, too. Rays are hard to find.


  14. Other tips on buying used guns I've learned the hard way:

    1-I like to talk to the seller on the phone. Pointed questions about the history of the gun, location of all dings and scraps bigger than a pin head, velocity it's shooting, best pellet, etc. will help your tuition to make a better choice

    2-Return policy. I'll pay shipping both ways, promise not to take the gun apart and expect the seller to refund my money if I'm not satisfied. Also part of the phone conversation with seller

    3-Payment. If seller doesn't take paypal suggest gunpal. Similar buyer protection, lesser fees than paypal and a gun friendly electronic payment option. Only by default will I consider standing in line and getting a USPS money order then mailing it. No other form of payment is acceptable to me.

    ps-"gun is in good condition for its' age" is a phrase that sends me into orbit. What does this mean? It's been a field/hunting gun everyday for the last 20 years or it has sat in a gun safe unused and needs to be resealed?

    Blue book of firearms and the blue book of airguns both have a rating system, complete with examples well photographed. Wish people would learn this rating system and at least use it. It's not perfect but a good scale to start from for buyers and sellers.


  15. Scott298,

    Re: Stock refinishing

    Look in the comments over the past 3 weeks. BG_Farmer and I had a wonderful, friendly debate about stock refinishing options.

    The first step in your refinish is to determine what finish is on your gun and what type of wood you have. That narrows your options.

    The next step is to identify your goal. What do you mean by "want the stock to look better"? Is is just dinged up and dirty? Is the finish satin and you want high gloss? OR do you hate the color and want to strip it down to bare wood and start over?


  16. B.B.

    Great advice as usual. I have to agree that it's worth the risk to deal with used guns, just for the new friends one can make. And the challenge of asking the right questions.. that's really the key!


    Thanks, and happy birthday back at ya.

    Right now, I'm packin up to go into the placer gold mining claim and see if it's something we want to get involved with… hopefully back late tonight!

    Sounds like lots of fun with a chance of a big score! Walk in wilderness in steep, rugged, coastal mountains, crystal clear creeks and rivers full of trout, steelhead, and salmon.. Cougar, bear, deer, elk, turkey, grouse… etc. Wild foods abound, medical and great eating mushrooms too….

    .. oh and there's gold in them there hills!! and creeks!

    The plan is to make it part of the Ashland Air Rifle Range, for extended stay adventures!

    Wacky Wayne, Ashland, Air Rifle Range

    off I go now..

  17. Fused

    Good to see you around.


    All those refinishing chemicals must have gotten to Kevin, because the stock refinishing discussion started way back in early December 2009. Kevin opened the can of worms I believe by posting the following link:


    Thereafter, so much stock refinishing expertise was being exchanged, it was enough to make a cyclops go cross-eyed.

  18. Chuck

    Big deal. Here its 38 degrees and drizzling under cloudy skies, wait… I see your point. No big deal, today I saw a Stingray, a Bronco, an Avalanche, AND a Thunderbird. Top that.

    WV: trists. Whoa! Kinky!

  19. BB, on the subject of Paypal and airgun purchases. There is a lot of talk on the forums about Paypal being a big "no, no" for airgun purchases. Some folks have even reported having their accounts revoked for doing so. If this is the case than why can I pay for my Pyramyd AIR arigun purcahses with Paypal?

    Brian in Pa

    I find the subject today quite interesting since I currently have 2 guns listed on the Yellow classifieds.

  20. Kevin, BG_Farmer, and all others who provided great assistance,

    My R10 stock is just about finished. It needs a final polish and a rear aperture, then it will be ready for the snow to stop! Latest pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/pokorski/BeemanR10Refinish#


    Take a look through the pics to see the transformation. Started with a badly scuffed original finish on Beech.
    – 5 applications of Mostenbocker's Liftoff Paint and Varnish Remover. It's water-based, safe to use inside/limited ventilation. Worked best with a nylon stripping pad.
    – Sanded lightly up to 600 Grit wet/dry
    – Cleaned with MEK
    – Recut the checkering using Dembart tools from Brownell's
    – Stained Maple using Laurel Mountain Forge dye-based stain
    – Applied 3-4 coats of JM's Royal London Oil using wet-dry, then 00 and 000 synthetic pads to build up a mud and fill in the grain
    – Reinforced a potential crack at the end of the cocking slot with a layer of fiberglass inside the slot
    – Applied ~15 additional coats of RLO using gauze and a very few drops per coat, 2 coats per day
    – After 3-4 days, let the finish sit for 3-4 days and polished with JM's Stock Mud

    Easiest way to search the comments is through Google's Reader. Subscribe to

    Next up: I have a FWB300 on the way that will need a stock refinish. Seems the only shooting I've been able to do over the last 2 months has been in the basement!

  21. "Only shot 5 times"

    That description is quite common on an internet firearms classified I use. "5 times" = 5 range trips. A semi-auto military rifle may have had several thousand rounds of fired in those "5 times".Ditto a rimfire rifle or pistol.Every time I ask about those "5 times" the seller has been presumably honest about it.I just watch out for the gun that was shot the same number of times as it's capacity, say a revolver "6 times" or a 1911 "7 or 8 times". Occasionally a pocket pistol purchased for a wife or girl friend may only have been shot a few rounds in a single range trip and the seller uses the same language about "times" meaning rounds fired.

  22. 5-times,

    The exception to this, and I always laugh when I read it, is when the caliber of the gun dictates shooting it only once.

    I can't tell you how many S&W 500 Magnums and .454 Casulls I have seen advertised as "Only shot 5 or 6 times. Most of a box of ammo comes with the gun."

    The NEF rifle in S&W 500 Mag. is getting to be like that, too. I see them for sale or trade a lot on the sites I frequent.


  23. Jay,

    Well done. I really like what I see in your latest photos. Thanks for taking the time to share your progress.

    It seems that you have empowered yourself and are completely confident and enthusiastic about immediately taking on your next stock refinishing project (FWB 300).

    Hope those that may be intimidated by the thought of refinishing their stocks gain confidence in your first hand experience. Little time, little patience and a little knowledge is all it takes.

    I'm sure that your next stock refinishing project will take much less time.


  24. Kevin and BB,

    Not something I would have attempted without everyone's assistance, and I certainly learned a great deal along the way. The finish is a long way from perfect, but then, I bought it to shoot.

    As for the 300, I'm planning to shoot it inside through the rest of the winter, then refinish in the summer while I can shoot the R10 outside! 12" this weekend, and it's coming down hard right now.

    Many Thanks,


  25. B.B.:
    Reading through your Air Force Edge post Part7 of 2/1/10, I bethought me to try and find you those JSB 4.52mm pellets. I googled the exact part number for this pellet and came up with at least one site in Mexico and another in the Czech Republic that'll let you order on line. The one in Mexico states they'll distribute anywhere in the world and seems to be a serious site:
    Good luck!
    -Alan in FL

  26. BB,I know you don't have much use for Youtube,but I want to give you a good laugh!Please,when you get a chance….go there and search "T-rex rifle",then imagine that rifle being sold as "shot a few times…"

  27. Regarding buying and selling used air guns; I guess I've been pretty lucky. I've yet to have a bad deal, either as a buyer or a seller. (And I've had well over 100 air guns through my revolving-door collection.) I rarely buy from auction sites. When selling, I try to describe as best as I can, and usually include several pictures in the add. I pack my sold guns the way I would want to receive them, and also take care so that the same packaging could be re-used if the buyer wishes to return the gun. I always offer to buy the gun back if the buyer is not satisfied, (making clear that return shipping is the responsibility of the buyer.) I sometimes ship before receiving funds, but only if I've dealt with that person before, or they have a known reputation in the hobby. There's a finite number of used air rifles out there, and a small handful of guys like us who are interested in them. The Yellow Forum BOI is a great tool.

    And this I can not stress enough: the telephone is a wonderful tool for getting a comfortable feel for either a buyer or a seller. There's something much less anonymous about a voice on the other end, and often you can tell from the conversation whether the other guy is knowledgeable, or just trying to dump something. If the other party is averse to a phone call, I usually won't proceed with the deal.

    Jim in PGH

  28. B.B.

    Wow, that's a jungle out there. That's why I get only new production guns after much thought and keep them forever.

    There is a humorous side to this like a Ziggy cartoon I read once. Ziggy, the orange creature, goes into a short order diner where an enormous, hairy cook with tattooed arms says something like "Welcome to our establishment of top quality food and service" grabbing a hot dog with his fist and putting it into a pan of water. When it's done, he stabs it with a fork and drops it onto a plate–"Here is your order served for your dining pleasure. We hope you come again."

    Despite all the chicanery, it's amazing what kind of generosity and good service you get if you look carefully. Rich Imhoff gave me great prices and told me that he has never been cheated by an airgunner and Mike Melick did the same for me in tuning my IZH 61.


  29. Victor and Trout Underground, how is that T-shaped bolt on the Challenger working for you? Pictures suggest that it is a little cramped and awkward to use. If the Challenger is heavier than the Edge that would be a plus for me. I suspect when all is done that both rifles are very comparable.

    Regarding the M1, it would be a challenge to carry on a battlefield. However, in all the after-action reports I've read, there are very few complaints about its weight. In fact, people tend to rave about the BAR which weighs 15 pounds. I guess with the effect of adrenaline, you tend to forget about weight.

    Plus, as pointed out, the M1 is no end of fun. With my rifle laid out on my Beeman sand bags, a young boy came up cautiously with round eyes and said, "Is that an M1 Garand?!" Haw haw. Pretty cool. The shooting experience is a symphony. The discharge is a distinct coughing roar (a lion among the dogs) and then you hear that clip fly, Sproing! I would recommend this rifle to anyone.

    BG_Farmer, yes, let's point towards a rematch, and you can bring your air rifle next time.


  30. Buying new is nice. As for used, well no one will give up a winner for nothing. Buying used isn't so bad if you find someone with a good history and are in the book so you can call and send a check too. Face to face would be better.

    I've boughten a custom Benji Disco, a Daisy 622x CO2 Pistol, a 1077 and a Mendoza 650 (crosman BB scout) BB gun from people online. All were in the condition as stated and worth the money.

    BOI is a good tool on the yellow forum. Also, check out people's blog records to see if they really are a airgun shooter.

    If it sound too good to be true….then it probably is and most good deals are gone in a nanosecond online.

    Online shops are a good tool to check out prices of new airguns. Sometimes new is not that more than used and may want to consider new instead. hint hint PA lol!!!! Do I get a discount now for saying that…he he he!!!!

  31. Anonymous (Matt61),

    I don't own a Challenger, but that would be my choice. I like the fact that it's heavier, built more like a standard rifle, and from what I had read, it's super accurate.

    Regarding the M1, it's good that it is in fact heavy. It would be murder to fire a gun with that much recoil if it were light. I have fired a Springfield .306 that was much lighter and had a small stock. Fun to shoot, but you really feel the kick. Before anyone shoots either of these high power rifles, they should first learn how to hold it properly.

    When I first went through training for competition with an M1, there was a guy who didn't understand that it was best to hold it tight against thre shoulder. These rifles had apperture (peep) sights. This guy was afraid of the recoil, so he held the rifle away from his shoulder. When the gun went off, the kick caused the round apperture sight to cut a ring around his eye. It wasn't very pretty. He was shooting on my right side so I watched the whole thing. Yikes!


  32. Victor and Matt,

    There are two schools of thought about the Garand's recoil. Some feel it kicks like a mule. I personally cannot feel as much recoil from a Garand than from a .223 in a bolt-action rifle.

    Both schools are correct. The time over which the Garand recoils is many many times longer than that of a bolt-action rifle like the Springdfield 1903. So, where that rifle is universally considered to be a kicker, many people like me cannot feel the Garand's recoil. In fact, it has a reputation for being a soft-kicker.

    Research it online and you will find other soft-recoiling rifles compared to the Garand, which is considered the gold standard. The Hakim, for example, is said to kick even less than a Garand–probably because the recoil impulse is even longer.

    I have carried Garands all day and they do get heavy, but that is what the sling is for. Actually an overnight pack is so much heavier than a Garand that you don't really mind the weigh that much. However, you can feel the difference when moving to an M16.

    As for shooting, my Garand is more pleasant to shoot 50 rounds off a bench than my .223 single-shot is shooting 20 rounds. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but that is my impression.

    Of course there are those who say a 1911 pistol recoils, when I feel it is a pussycat. Especially compared to a .357 revolver with full-house loads.


  33. B.B.:
    I bought a Crosman 1377 a couple of weeks ago, and am finally about to extract it from its plastic tomb. In your 2008 review of this pistol you suggested oiling the pump head with Pellgun oil. Will 3-in-1 oil do too? Or Ballistol (from an eyedropper, not sprayed)? Or is Pellgun really better for this purpose? (Probably a silly question, but being a novice I don't want to screw it up before I even fire my first shot from it!)
    -Alan in FL

  34. As far as buying on eBay goes, a couple more tips:

    1. Something that might be worth trying is searching eBay for listings that have main key words misspelled in the title. Sites like ebuyersedge.com (typojoe.com, etc) will search ebay for common misspellings of keywords you enter.

    Most searchers will never see these misspelled listings, reducing the competition and most likely ending price.

    (1.5. Set up saved ebay searches) Ebuyersedge also gives you the option of saving your favorite searches, then sending you an email when an item is listed matching one your saved searches, giving you a jump on other potential buyers.

    This works best with 'Buy It Now's, but is also effective with auctions.

    2. Whenever you send a question to a seller, use the "Ask a question" link that is on a page of another item they're selling that you're not interested in.

    Maybe send the seller an offer to end the auction early. All they can do is say no.

    3. If you bid on an ebay auction, use a sniping service (hidbid.com, bidball.com, etc.) to avoid bidding wars, and hopefully save some money by not drawing early attention, and not giving manual 'nibbling' snipers a chance to react.

  35. Cindy,

    STOP! You are giving away my super-secret tips!

    Seriously, I have found more Daisy BB guns under the name Daisey than under the correct name. And Crosman is spelled with an extra "s" at least as often as the right way.

    Gun guys, search for Anschultz guns, Leopold scopes, and Walter guns. You'll find them.

    Thanks for your comments,


  36. TO ALL

    Just a comment about the blog in general…..unorganized, lots of opinions, loaded with goofy stuff, but the best that is out there, by some people who sense the real world. I am not an air gun expert and only own 5, including a Red Ryder I had as a kid almost 60 years ago. Throw in a Benjamin Silver streak, and old Daisy Plainsman CO2, a .177 RWS, and a "silenced" Brit .177 with a scope that sees the craters on a fly landing on the moon….not to forget the supposedly build it yourself Crossman that is due here at any time— thanks to one of your suggestions. I am not new to the firearms shooting and collecting though as my inventory exceeds 900 of the things that go bang. I found that sellers lie in any way they can to sell something. I play a lot with WWI and WWII stuff and have most of the original ordinance gages. I haul them out whenever I get serious about a purchase. Usually the seller gets very quiet when he sees me measure muzzle wear, throat erosion look at a bore through a scope or check serial number or parts drawing numbers. Once that is done, then we talk about a purchase– at a fair price. As far as online, insure you have a return privilege and document that privilege via mail. There are tons of counterfeit parts out there…..I built my own Springfield 1903 A3 which to the experts looks real. Well in a way it is, except it has a Kreiger match barrel….and yes it has the Ordinance Cartouches and markings, and even a Ordinance lead seal on it to show it is "unissued". I did that just to show people that cheating is possible. Be aware more of to whom you deal than the product for the initial contact. Spread the word as to who is a cheat. Word of mouth is great at the Gun Shows I attend. I've had three quarters of a century to mess with this stuff, and am a babe in the woods compared to the scam artists out there. Tom, your writings in SGN and on this site help us all sort out the fly specs from the pepper.

    OK I'll get off the table now.

  37. Joe 3006,

    Now, THAT was a comment! You can get up on your table any time you care to, to tell us something like that.

    I know the blog seems disorganized, but another way of looking at it is as an extended gun show/bull session. And the guys and gals on this blog are some of the most experiences people in the world. Plus they won't dis a new person.

    It's a great place to hang out.

    I shoot firearms as often as I can, and though I don't have anything like what you do, I love the military guns for their quality and innovation. I just bought back a Trapdoor Springfield that is nothing more than a shooter, but whenever I hold it my mind runs the History Channel in my head–the result of a large gun library. I really love looking at an M1 Carbine and thinking about the crash production program the Government and industry went through to get over 6 million of them built in a few shirt years. And, can't nobody touch them today, it would seem. Similar carbines always weigh a lot more.

    Tell us more, Joe,


  38. B.B.:
    Last time I bug you for a long time to come, I hope: For the .22 cal. Diana 54 I have selected the following:

    AFU1035 [PY-A-429] Air Force 4-16x50AO scope with the 1" tube (wish they had a 30mm!)

    Your MNT-DN460 [PY-A-2297] UTG scope base for Diana rifles.

    RGWM-25M4 [PY-A-789] MEDIUM 1" see-through Weaver two-piece rings.

    Is this a good combination? Or should I get the LOW rings?

    Lastly, do you agree with Kevin's choice of the JSB Exacts in the blue tin for the .22 cal Diana 54?

    Thanks as always….

    -Alan in FL

  39. B.B.:

    By the way, I'm planning on making my own 18" deep pellet trap box out of a frame of 2×4's with double 1" marine plywood backplates. I will then fill the box with damp sawdust, compacted as much as I can by standing on it. Then I'll slide a heavy cardstock card down grooves in the 2×4 frame at the opening to hold the sawdust in place when I tip it up. This'll serve as the backing for my paper target. A wide clipboard clamp to hold the protruding edge of the cardstock and target completes the mental picture I have.

    Do you think that my proposed design will stop even a pointed pellet?

    (The only reason for wanting to build this contraption is that the only pellet trap I saw that is suitable for a .22 cal pellet from a magnum is the heavy duty steel one that you like, but this is very noisy and will rust if I keep it outdoors. I don't want to risk annoying the neighbors.)

    -Alan in FL

  40. Alan

    "I will then fill the box with damp sawdust, compacted as much as I can by standing on it."

    You may want to line the box with heavy Vis-Queen or poly-vinyl sheet before doing the "sawdust dance". The wet sawdust will soak that plywood and 2×4 timber overnight!

    Also, if you are worried about .22 mag penetration, put a piece of sheet steel on the back stop portion of the 2×4's, inside.

    Brian in Idaho

  41. Alan,

    I have never tried that combination before, but the Diana droop-correcting base is so high that is should give you plenty of clearance with medium mounts. A Pyramyd AIR salesperson could have it checked for you, to make sure everything goes together. That's what I would do.

    Now, I have zero experience with the droop correcting base on the 54. It should work fine, but again, I would ask a Pyramyd AIR salesperson to ask one of the techs what they think. The 54 may not have a big droop problem.


  42. Alan,

    Your pellet trap reminds me of the M1 Carbine manufacturer that shot through theor outer factory walls during testing. They used 10 FEET of dry sand that would not form tunnels when bullets passed through. By shooting at the same place with each rifle it only took a short time before they were spraying bullets across the street. Fortunately that happened at night, and they then built a proper bullet trap inside their plant.

    I'm suggesting a heavy duty steel trap for the 54, because it needs one. Yes it will eventually rust away, but you will have passed away decades before it does.

    I set my trap outside every time I shoot.


  43. BB,
    I'm a bit like TwoTalon in that I don't trust my trading abilities enough to wheel in deal, and so just end up buying what I want (sorta:)) new, but your article is a useful entry as always.

    I am guilty of perusing ads and laughing at the caveats, provisos and discrepancies:).

    I demand justice, sir:)! Let me get my smokepole back together and practice with the 36-2. I think I may have shot a grand total of 4 or 5 groups (in any position) with the 36-2 — it is my can and tin chicken machine, so it will give me a good excuse to practice. The 490 might also work, although it is running out of juice by 25 yards with wadcutters, and I haven't really explored other pellet options with it. Industry (aka Beeman:)) versus BAM.

    That looks great, better than the original when new in my opinion. Even in the pictures, I can see the nice figure in the beech and like the color you picked a lot. Thank you for showing us the final product and for letting us follow the process.

  44. Alan:

    I love your idea on a pellet trap, my father and I tried all sorts contraptions till I discovered "LE Targets" ballistic rubber panels.

    A 2ft x 2ft panel, only 2-inches thick, will stop any 22cal pellet you throw at it. My Career Infinity is able to drill through it when on a test bench at point-blank range, but it takes over 30 to 40 shots into the same hole before the first one sneaks slowly out the back. (and that is 50ft-lbs of energy per shot)

    My indoor "range" set up, at 40 feet, has stopped every pellet I've shot at it, for nearly 2 years.

    You may want to investigate – they're cheap, waterproof, dead-silent, and small.

    best regards,

    Jane Hansen

  45. Perhaps I can add to this that the best way to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions is to use a bona fide online escrow company. Although it does add some cost, that will take uncertainty out of the transaction.

    For my money, the best bona fide online escrow (and there seems to be ten fraudulent escrow sites for every bona fide one) is probably Escrow.com (http://escrow.com). In fact, it’s the only one that eBay recommends.

    Take care,

    Ulf Wolf

  46. Jane and Alan,
    I have one of these LE ballistic rubber panels also. They work great for my Marauder using .22. However, they are not usable for any of the .177 I have. The Marauder will penetrate about 1/4" but the .177 bounce back in my face. My most powerful .177 is the Ruger AirHawk but I haven't tried it because the Talon SS on CO2 will bounce back at me.

    So beware!!!


  47. B.B.

    Yes, I neglected to say that, for my money, the M1 Garand is the defining rifle of the 20th century linking the full power battle rifles of the 98 Mauser design to the high capacity semiautos of recent decades and very hard to beat by either.

    Recoil doesn't bother me and the rifle is fun to shoot, but the muzzle definitely jumps off target more than an air rifle. You actually own a .223? 🙂 On the subject of buying, I am awaiting delivery on a cool accessory to the M1 that I will report on in due course.

    Joe Springfield, your rebuilt Springfield really sounds like something, especially since supplies of the originals have dried up. I understand that the Gibbs company is tooling up to offer restored and rebuilt Springfield 03s from WWII actions at reasonable prices. They have already put out an A3A4 sniper model that has a long waiting list.

    BG_Farmer, at your service. Let me know when you've got your sight filed to your satisfaction and get more time on your air rifles. I've been thinking about taking my IZH 61 out to the range again.

    On the subject of competition, my Dad reports news of a new shooting phenomenon in Hawaii. A 16 year old girl, daughter of a corrections officer went out to the range for the first time in her life and with a .22 pistol hit 44/50 bullseyes at 25 yards. Upon closer examination, she has amazed veteran Marine snipers and is now being groomed as Olympic material.


  48. Alan,

    another idea for a backstop is buying two very cheap foam pillows from the local bigbox store, stuff them in a cardboard box that a ream of computer paper comes in, duct tape it together and put a piece of plywood behind as a failsafe. I've shot my Discovery, RWS52 and 350 without any pellets penetrating through and out the back. However, it doesn't work too well with my IZH46 target pistol when you miss the box, the plywood and have to resort to the sheetrock to stop it. Having a container of spackling compound on hand before the wifey spies the hole is very handy.

    Fred PRoNJ

  49. derrick38

    Its a deluxe. I actually have one in 19" and one in 18".

    For the road I have a Kelly bonestock. I used to have a titanium Eddy Merckx by Litespeed with campy group. I took Brasso and a felt rag to all the campy parts and they looked like they were made by Tiffany. Unfortunately it was too small for me, which took me 4 years to admit.

    Ultimately I sold it on Ebay, where I bought it, for 400 bucks more than I paid for it. I didn't even put new tires on it. The new buyer was local, and I invited him over to pick it up. He loved it so much, he was suspicious.

  50. Alan in Fl,

    My diana 54 had a lot of droop and the MNT-DN460 drooper mount you've chosen was perfect for it.

    Since you've picked out a big, heavy scope I would strongly urge you to get a good set of rings. You can try the rings you've selected but they didn't have enough clamping force for my 54 and I had a lighter scope on mine. Look into warne, steel rings if the ones you've selected don't work.


  51. Alan in FL

    You want to keep that scope as close to the receiver as possible without it touching. The scope you selected should fit perfectly with LOW rings and the UTG base. Incidentally that scope will be moving toward your head as the sledge moves in its track. Seems like that would effect follow through, but then the rifle has such a reputation for superb accuracy that the effect must be negligible.

    Try the 15.8 JSB Exacts, and RWS pellets.

    Also your scope of choice is out of stock until Feb 15 (estimated). Consider the centerpoint/leapers with the same specs.

    The 1377 is an airgun tinkerer's dream.

  52. Brian in ID:
    Thanks for the tip on using the Vis-Queen or poly-vinyl sheet before doing the "sawdust dance". I was worrying about the damp affecting my wood. Ergo the marine plywood. Also, your idea of lining the back with sheetmetal (sheet steel actually) is great. With that I may be able to forgo the second 1" thick plywood backstop. (I had intended 2 inches of backstop.) Now I wonder whether with damp sawdust and all I might not even be able to lift the darn thing by the time I'm done.

    Ms. Jane:
    That ballistic rubber is another great idea. If stick a panel of that in the back of my box, just before the sheet metal and behind the sawdust I might eliminate the bouncebacks with .177 caliber and still be safe with a high powered .22.)

    I know that the steel trap is the very best. But I just can't have the neighbors jumping up and getting dressed for church every time I actually manage to put a pellet in the trap!

    Thanks for the great tip on the Warne rings. Too bad P.A. doesn't sell them. I am definitely going with your suggestion. As Tom Gaylord once put it in one of his many writings, "only a fool seeks advice from an expert and then ignores it!" Did you select the 'Maxima' fixed ring or another type for your 54? Keeping in mind my scope selection (Air Force 4-16x50AO), would you suggest the Low (1/4") or Medium (3/8") rings?
    And I'm guessing the matte black is what goes best with that Leapers UTG base?

    Kevin, thanks to you and everybody out there for all the time you've taken over these days to school this infant in the sport with your wealth of experience. I really appreciate it!

    -Alan in FL

  53. Alan in FL,

    Yes I used the warne maxima steel rings with the leapers drooper base on my rws 54. The height of your rings will be dictated by the base (as B.B. said the leapers base you chose already gives you some height) and the size of your objective on your scope choice. You chose a Huge objective as I remember (50?) so you need some input from PA's tech department about rings. The objective on the scope I put on my 54 was only 44 since I didn't want my cheek flying in mid air above the stock for a sight picture.


  54. Matt,

    "A 16 year old girl,.. .22 pistol hit 44/50 bullseyes at 25 yards."

    Sounds like a good combination of grooming (taught correct fundamentals), intellect (able to act on knowledge on the spot – think on her own), and an open mind (was able to do what she was taught without question – not hindered by personal bias).

    It seems like we have a real prodigy here.

    I suspect that somewhere in this story lies the influence of an air-gun (pistol).

    In any case, this is a special person, based on my experience. Holding the black is tough for the vast majority of novices, even if well taught. Hitting 10's is something extraordinary.


  55. Pictures are nice to have but I've been burned once or twice when the gun in hand doesn't look quite as nice as the gun on the screen. One has a bit of an odd wood that photographed better than it looks – not the fault of the seller, just what it is. The other looked very clean but turned out to be kind of dull. (This is a pre-WWII gun.) I'm almost guessing it may have been wiped down with alcohol and shot wet. Sort of like oiling a bad bore to make it shine.

    Here's what I like to do to help evaluate a gun seen on the net. First, download the picture. Open with a good photo shop type program and do an "auto adjust". This can make some stocks with a rich, dark grain turn into rather tan, bland guns. Or the other way around. Save back to file and then re-open with Paint. You can sometimes enlarge for more detail and, more importantly, use the "reverse image" function. Suddently, the stock is filled with scratches, nicks and dings, while the metal work shows pitting. It's also useful in bringing out markings.

    So give this a shot. Shopping on the net, you need every edge you can muster.

  56. B.B.

    GREAT post! Everything you said is SO true!

    I've been buying & selling on the auction sites & the Yellow for a few years now & can attest to all of that!

    In fact I JUST bought a MK1 with the box, & mostly because of the box.
    It looked decent in the photos, but when I received it, the ENTIRE box was covered in packing tape!
    You could never tell that by the photos, so I wonder how many pics he had to take to hide it as well as he did.

    I would like to add, that you should ALWAYS ask specific questions!

    "Does this gun shoot AND hold good, & if so, how long has it been holding?"

    "Is it a strong shooter, & what is the FPS?"

    "Are there ANY cracks in the grips or stock, any tears in the box, & has the box been taped up ANYWHERE?"

    And… ASK for MORE PICS!

    I could go on & on, but you get the idea.

    If they're answers are the LEAST bit sketchy, buyer BEWARE!

    Good luck & be smart!


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