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Education / Training How and when PA got started – Part 4

How and when PA got started – Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Before we start, I have an announcement. On Friday, I’ll be answering airgun questions on Facebook on this Pyramyd AIR Facebook page. To see the discussion that runs from 10-11 a.m., Eastern, you must have a free Facebook account. You do not have to be a recognized Friend of Pyramyd AIR to ask a question.

If you want to set up a Facebook account, register on the link provided above. Once you have an account, sign in and then click on the link above once more to go to the page. Please join me on Friday, if you’re able!

Today, you’ll read Part 4 of how Pyramyd AIR began. This story is written by the company’s owner and founder, Joshua Ungier.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

How and when PA got started – Part 4

by Joshua Ungier

This story picks up at the point where I left you at the end of Part 3 in January.

We landed at Sheremetyevo-1 airport just after 1800 hours. Moscow was frozen solid. We hailed a taxi. It was an old Volga, with its windshield cracked all the way across. Bone-chilling cold and howling wind forced snow to fly parallel to the ground. Narrow streets were funneling and amplifying the howling wind to a dangerous velocity. Any debris not pinned under ice and snow was airborne. The sidewalks were empty. Walking was impossible.

GAZ-24 “Volga” prototype in 1967.

Snow and ice piled up in front of the hotel entrance were blocking the door. “Do not worry. I will get you to the door” our driver announced. Before we realized it, he drove up onto the sidewalk to the door of the lobby. We all laughed.

“Why are you laughing? There are no pedestrians, so I drive!” He handled our heavy suitcases with moves of a practiced juggler. We doubled his pay in dollars. He drove off happy. “If you need me, I will come back tomorrow.” He said. We were not so sure about that.

We entered the hotel lobby through a meandering glass corridor through which we funneled into a single file. With the glass walls on both sides of us, we were scrutinized at all times by the hotel “security.” We felt like we were in a fish tank. At the end of the walkway, a video camera with a red light blinking furiously copied every move we made.

Further down the corridor, a bored and scruffy gorilla, dressed as a guard, demanded, “Dokumenty.” We all obliged. He glanced at our passport photos and our faces repeatedly. Clearly aggressive and irritated by something, he shoved them back to us. We stood there waiting for further abuse. It came swiftly.

Glaring at us he demanded: “Kto mezdu wami govorit po Russki?” (Who among you speaks Russian?) As rehearsed, we looked at each other, reached into our pockets and pulled out pocket-sized dictionaries. Although I speak Russian fluently, I decided to pretend I did not. Just for fun.

Pretending not to understand what he said I shrug my shoulders with a look of total ignorance and offered him my dictionary opened to the Russian – English page. Without accepting it, he continued in broken English “You speak Russian?” It could have been an act. Or may be not.

“No one here does” I replied quickly before someone pointed to me.

“Nu. Poshli togda!” Meaning “Mosey on now.” he growled. As we turned to walk away he said loudly enough for all in the room to hear: “Amerikanskiye svolochi. Parazity.” What an ass I thought. I did not turn around. I am sure that is what he wanted.

“What did he say?” they all asked.

A few steps away from the guard’s ear, I translated in a whisper, “American scum. Parasites. He really does not like us, does he?”

The elevator took us up to the ninth floor. A smell of cheap cigarettes wafted through the dark and dingy corridor. At the end of the long corridor behind an old desk sat a homely old woman. As soon as she saw us, she began to scribble something in a thick journal. She was in charge of the floor. A chaperone, you might say. With her pencil, she wrote down who we were, where we went, when and with whom we arrived.

Unmarried women were not allowed alone in a room with a man. To have that privilege you must bring proof of marriage in a form of a certificate or pay a bribe to the guard downstairs and to the “chaperone” on your floor.

We retired to our rooms. After a rusty brown-water shower and a sleeping pill, I flipped on the TV. A horror movie! John Wayne talking to George Kennedy in Russian. The Duke, dubbed! Is there no end to blasphemy? I promptly turned off the tube. Whew! The next morning I arose and prepared for the day.

Our departure for the USA was not scheduled until early the following morning, so we had a whole day in Moscow to ourselves. Around 8 a.m., we all gathered in the hotel lobby and planned the rest of the day. We all agreed to meet at Pizza Hut at 1600 hrs. Yes, I said the Pizza Hut. My friend implied that he had heard we could order beer with our pizza.

Every cab driver in Moscow knows where the Pizza Hut is located a “concierge” assured us. Having all day to ourselves, we all split up and drove off in different directions. I stopped at a McDonald’s. Yes. There are several of them in Moscow. The first one opened 20 years ago. Although I am not normally a Big Mac lover, I could not help it! I needed it! Well…a Big Mac in Moscow tastes exactly like it does in USA. For a while I was back home. Oh…home!

I asked the driver to stay with me for the rest of the day. I gave him $100 to do so. He eagerly agreed. “There is another $50 for you at the end of the day,” I said. I was not worried now that he would split as soon as I got out of the cab. We were driving by Tretiyakowskaya Galeria–an amazing art gallery. I got lost. The cab with its engine running was always waiting for me. In broken English, he asked me if I would like to see a new international sporting goods store that opened the week before. It was just around the corner. I agreed.

I do not remember the name of the store, but it was big–very big. The walls were emblazoned by statuesque figures of men and women in perfect physical shape and beauty. Some were holding tennis rackets others were shown with bows or rifles. Other posters were of water skiers.

On the opposite wall there were posters of young men and women holding, what appeared to be competition pistols. Above that area, a poster proclaimed “Vozdushnoje oruzje” or “Air Guns.” The store was crowded. The cold outside made people linger longer than usual. Some people were waiting for a bus that stops outside the door.

I was standing in the middle of the store looking around when I noticed cameras all over the place. There was a mirror behind each cash register that I am almost positive was a one-way mirror. Each of them was crudely framed with a cheap plastic strap. Light seeping through a crack between the wall and the mirror gave away its function.

I felt a tap on my shoulder. I stepped forward two steps and then turned around. In front of me stood a middle-aged man. His jacket showed its age by the intensity of brown-colored spots made by coffee spilled over the ages. He reeked of cheap tobacco and beer. A technique he probably used to mask his body odor. “What do you want?” I asked, clearly disturbed by him.

A familiar word came out of his mouth, “Dokumenty.”

I was just about to snap and tell him what to do with himself when I realized that Americans are a welcome addition to the local jails. So, I produced my passport. He looked at me and than at the photograph a dozen times. “It is me. I did not shave this morning.” I said it in English. He looked up for the last time and handed back my passport, at which point I figured we were finished. It took me a while, walking through the crowd, to get over to the airgun counter.

A large counter across the showroom had a dozen air pistols under glass. Most were German and French. Several Russian air pistols were intermixed among them. I recognized none. A line of air rifle barrels was propped up against the wall. Among them was the familiar IZH 60 I had seen earlier in Tashkent.

I took out a pocket-sized camera borrowed from my friend and pointed it at the display. Almost immediately the foul smell materialized at my side. “No photo! No photo. Nielzia!” or “Not permitted!” I put away the camera.

“May I take a look?” I asked in English.

A young woman behind the counter looked at me and said “Izvenitie?” (Excuse me?) The man translated for her my request. I looked at him a bit surprised.

“I talk great English good. Right?”

“Riiight” I said. “You sure does.” He smiled, pleased with himself.

The young lady handed me the rifle. This time I examined the rifle more thoroughly than in Tashkent. I was clearly surprised. Light rifle, extendable stock. A modern-looking gun. The walls were covered with Chinese air guns. There were a few French and East German air guns. The Slavia 630 and 631 were also well-represented.

“Do you have any American airguns?” I asked the woman.

She understood the word American. “No. No American .”

“Strange!” I thought out loud. “What about Crosman or Beeman? How about Daisy?”

“No. No American.”

A young man standing next to me looked at me curiously.

“Are you American?” He asked in English.

“Yes I am.”

“We need American rifles.” He said. “I see them in magazines.”

My smelly shadow never left my side. “Don’t you have something better to do than to follow me around?” I said quietly.

“Don’t be stupid” he replied. “Now everyone knows you are an American. You look like an American and smell like an American. I am protecting you.”

“You smell my soap, Irish Spring, and my American mouth wash. You know what soap is. Don’t you,” I replied. He spat on the floor, cursed me loudly in Russian (I will not translate this part!) and walked away. I spent another fifteen minutes looking around, then left the store. My cab was waiting with its engine running.

“Pizza Hut!” I announced.

“Net problemy,” responded the driver.

We all showed up on time. We had pizza with beer! Yes! You can buy beer with pizza in Moscow.

It was a tight squeeze in the cab on the way back to the hotel. And when we arrived they had another surprise for us. While we were out being tourists, our rooms were ransacked. My Cannon, along with rolls of the films from Tashkent, were gone. My favorite black cowboy hat along with my parka and some other items were also missing. Apparently, the safe combination and the room key are available to more people than just me.

The rest of the party did not fare any better. I called for the hotel “security” and told him what had happened. He arrived at my room a few minutes later.

“The floor supervisor (the lady at the end of the corridor) saw nothing, heard nothing, and knows nothing,” he said. Just like Sergeant Shultz! I thought.

The policy of keeping passports and airline tickets with us at all times paid off. We could still leave Moscow. I asked the driver to come back the next day with another cab to accommodate all of us, plus our now less-full baggage.

On the way to the airport the next morning, to kill time, I spoke to Jethro about the airguns. He said he had a dozen at home and on the farm. They were to keeps pests away and so on. Apparently, everyone in my group except my partner and me had airguns.

Fourteen hours later, I was home to a hot shower, bagels and cream cheese with lox and tomatoes and sweet onions. Just what the doctor ordered.

The next morning on the way to the office, I got a call from Joshi. He loved the samples from Uzbekistan, so I was done. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sign: “Atlantic Gun and Tackle.” Why not stop in? There was not a single Russian, German, French or Czech airgun in the place. However, there were lots of Crosman, Beeman and Daisy guns.

I finished my marble and lumber obligations and never looked back.

Then I started thinking about airguns in earnest.

A few trips later to Russia, I found a partner to import American airguns to Russia while I imported Russian airguns to USA. The deal did not work out, and I decided to start on my own.

And that’s how Pyramyd AIR got started. It started in the basement of my house.

But that’s another story….In my next and last installment, I will try to go into more detail as time and memory permit.

To my wonderful readers.

I so appreciate your interest and words of support for my writing. I am not a writer by any means. In my own way, I wanted to share some of my memories from years past. Some of the things I remember are hard to describe in words. How does one describe hundreds of 60-ft. high transmission towers standing in a row cowered with a thin coating of ice looking like ghosts against an intensely blue cloudless sky, temperature of -43C, (six degrees warmer than an hour before) wires hung low and parallel to the road and coated with a paper-thin blanket of ice? With the slightest touch of wind, a crackle of broken ice showers down like cut diamonds. That is what went on for miles.

As I remember any interesting vignettes from my trips, I will be glad to continue to share them with you.


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.

67 thoughts on “How and when PA got started – Part 4”

  1. Very nice, and a pleasure to read.
    …I think you did a pretty good job here…
    I so appreciate your interest and words of support for my writing. I am not a writer by any means. In my own way, I wanted to share some of my memories from years past. Some of the things I remember are hard to describe in words. How does one describe hundreds of 60-ft. high transmission towers standing in a row cowered with a thin coating of ice looking like ghosts against an intensely blue cloudless sky, temperature of -43C, (six degrees warmer than an hour before) wires hung low and parallel to the road and coated with a paper-thin blanket of ice? With the slightest touch of wind, a crackle of broken ice showers down like cut diamonds. That is what went on for miles.

  2. Hey BB,

    Just wanted to say thanks for all of your information you've given us.

    I just finished, successfully, taking apart a break barrel (RSW 92) and smoothed out the trigger a LOT,,very smooth now. It was full of creep. It is still a cheap trigger but at least I know when it is going to release now. I referred back to a lot of your previous posts. Couldn't have done it with out your help.

    That 92 is a sweet little shooter,,,definitely worth keeping now.

    Thanks again

  3. Eric,

    The first one is always the hardest. It's where you lose your fear of these guns and realize they aren't that hard to work on. And the pride of doing a good job makes you ready to take on the next project (s).



  4. B.B. and Mr. B,

    Thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions yesterday regarding my Avanti 449. I did drop three Q-tips down the barrel, that cleaned it out and I checked the screws and they were fine. The thing that seemed to work was to just shoot the gun as prescribed by B.B. By the end of last night it came right back around again and it's shooting like a champion. I really appreciate the help.


  5. Joshua,
    I have really enjoyed reading this. I really wish you would write a book. I think you are much better at writing than you think. Your descriptions make me feel like I am there.

    Were the IZH 60 guns imported by a place called Big Bear or something like that? I think Bear was part of the name.


    David Enoch

  6. Joshua –
    After reading your first post about how Pyramid Air got started, I have watched anxiously for each new chapter. Fascinating reading. My wife is not particularly interested in airguns, but was truly impressed with both your story and your descriptive writing style. The same goes for me, but I am also extremely impressed with your memory. How in the world do you manage to recall such detail? Do you journal? If you do, then you are already on your way to writing the book that readers of this blog have been encouraging you to write. I would add my name to that list.
    – Jim in KS

  7. Life is all about convergence. Mr Ungier converged with a Russian sporting goods store shopper, identified a business opportunity and the rest is history.

    I feel the same way on a smaller scale. One day about a year and a half ago I converged with a cheap, chinese made springer and now I spend all my free time reading this blog and spend all my extra money on airguns. Convergance.

    Now if we could only find a way for Wayne to converge with a certain USFT Rifle…

    Great Story Mr Ungier!

    -Aaron in MI

  8. Josh,

    Exceptional writing. I'm fascinated by the story. Keep it coming.

    An odd note: I was in Atlantic Gun and Tackle last Friday in Bedford. The airgun selection apparently isn't what it used to be.


  9. Joshua,

    For someone who says he can't write, I'd say you do extremely well.

    What you went through in Russia to get PA started I can't believe. I remember the scary guards from the Communist bloc that look like James Bond villains. That takes some guts to have fun with that guy. I try to imagine being in American in a Russian jail, and I can't. That seems about as bad as it can possibly get. As I trace the story of PA, it seems like it should be a natural for importing IZH guns directly.

    Knife sharpeners, I need to clarify yesterday a little bit. As I progress with the dvds, I see that for the three finger test, the super sharp will not slide in the fingers (otherwise it would cut them). The edge holds the fingers and your brain tells you to stop moving. It is the very dull blades that your fingers can travel along. What I said yesterday did not really conflict but gave a misleading impression.

    How about this? The ultimate samurai says that there is no use for serrations and that they don't do anything that a plain edge cannot do better. The reason people like serrated steak knives he said is that they like the sensation of ripping into their food instead of cutting. Furthermore, the ceramic of plates being harder than steel will dull a plain edge but but just twist the serrations and make them more capable of ripping. Anyone have a use for serrations? I haven't found one, but my cutting is all recreational.

    Reloaders, I could use your help. If I was fully set up to reload and wanted to do a new caliber, how much would it cost me? No need to tell me which equipment I need as I wouldn't understand.


  10. AlanL,

    Thanks for the link. I am pressed for time (he says typing out another blog comment) so haven't had a chance to look. But I can say that I meant what Jay was describing–standard deviation in terms of 1, 2, 3. 1 is 66% of the standard curve, 2 is something else, and 3 is about 99%. Anyway, Herb has arrived and can answer all your questions about statistics.

    Kevin, those days seem to arrive. Perhaps it is a statistical thing.


  11. Matt61,

    Knife sharpening has to be a black art. No matter what I try, electric or stones or that hand-held sword looking thingie, my knives ALWAYS seem to get duller instead of sharper. By the time I'm done with a knife, all I can do is a crush a tomato with it instead of slicing it, and all my wife wants to do is stick me with it!


    Rookie question: For 10m field target, is that the distance from muzzle to target paper, or from the breech to the target? Or from your toetips on a line in the sand? This could easily mean a whole meter difference!

    I couldn't find this info anywhere. Believe me, I tried.


  12. Matt,

    Once you are set up for reloading a new caliber costs between $15 and $100, depending on the caliber and which dies you need. That is usually all a new caliber takes. If you bought wisely to set up, you downstream cost will be lower.

    Some bottleneck calibers are prone to stretching their cases and will have to be trimmed, which is a small additional cost.


  13. AlanL,

    Buy a warthog v-sharp for you and your knives. Idiot proof. Can't help but sharpen your knives. Read about it here:



  14. AlanL,

    The firing line is set up so that the shooter with the longest arms will not have his muzzle closer than 10 meters from the target. A foot or so either way makes no practical difference to anyone, but the line is set up formally.

  15. Matt61,

    When I had more time, I used to bake all of our bread. I am unaware of any unserrated knife, regardless of how sharp, that can evenly, cleanly and reliably make consistent bread slices. Bread-slicing knives are long, thin varieties with finely serrated edges. They do the job quite nicely.

    These days, I use only Opinel knives, and they're unserrated. However, I still have a bread knife for the day when I will, once again, have the time to bake again.


  16. Kevin,

    Thanks- will definitely try that sharpener. And it looks cool to boot!

    I just re-read what you said happened to your daughter, so I looked up spiral fracture and cringed. My mother is 90 and fell off a step ladder in her closet trying to lift a small suitcase onto the top shelf. Stubborn as a mule, she wouldn't ask for help. Broke her left leg below the knee in 47 places, including all cracks, hairlines and big breaks. Doc applied the Ilizarov Technique- a carbon fiber birdcage with stainless steel bicycle spokes through the bone. 3 weeks later she's out of the wheelchair and a few months of therapy and she's running around like a spring chicken again. This invention by a Russian doctor makes certain the bone heals properly and the leg stays the same length as before the injury. I bring this up because I am concerned for your daughter: Make sure you get second and third opinions on whether a simple cast is sufficient for a spiral fracture. We wouldn't want her leg to end up healed but a quarter inch shorter or something. I know nothing about medicine so maybe my concerns are all poppycock, but better safe than sorry. I feel like you guys are all family to me now, after only a few days on this blog.


  17. Matt, Edith,

    I agree with Edith. I have a fine, serrated bread knife that I would not trade for anything when slicing bread. it's not bad on tomatoes, either, although I've always preferred ceramic knives for them.

  18. AlanL,

    Thanks for the advice. The nuero-surgeon that is now in charge of danielle's leg came highly recommended by our neighbor. He's also a surgeon.

    We are concerned since the x-ray, mri's etc can't tell if the fracture reached the growth plate. She just turned 7 and if it reached her growth plate that can be problematic.


  19. Edith,

    Agree with you on a serrated knife for bread. Lack of bread in The ultimate samurai's world undoubtedly jaded his appreciation for a serrated knife.

    Nothing like homemade bread. It's one of those smells that immediately create many warm memories for me.

    The ciabatta sp? at whole foods isn't bad though.


  20. Mr. Ungier,

    Fascinating stuff as usual; another vote for a book! It's absolutely hearbreaking that you had your film stolen. I hope you made it out with enough to make your book a big coffee table affair with lots of pics!

    Joe 3006: I married Clint McKee's neice eight-odd years ago. Great guy, and very passionate about his work. I must admit that I was just a little bit disappointed after the wedding to have received just a few dinner plates from him off of our registry. Let this be a lesson to anybody with wedding plans: every good wedding registry should include a Garand!


  21. Mr. Ungier,

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is a fascinating one that you tell in enjoyable detail. Please continue.

    I re-read all of the previous parts today before this part. Fascinating!

    Eagerly waiting you next sharing.


  22. Hi folks,

    I want to share a couple of posts that appearerd today under an old blog.


    I want to thank you for your recommendation. I just received my father's Crosman Model 101 which I believe he purchased around 1927. Rick Willnecker at Precision Pellet restored this gun for me and I am so happy. I wanted to shoot this gun in the 1940's when I was ten years old and would go hunting with my dad! Thanks to Rick's excellent work I finally got to shoot it yesterday afternoon in my New Mexico backyard, where the temperature was about 70 degrees. At the age of 73 it was a long wait but a real pleasure! Thanks again for your assistance!

    Jim in New Mexico


    You are the reason this blog exists. Your story is our success,

    Congratulations on going part of the way home again.


  23. Josh,
    That is good reading. 90% of writing style is having anything worth saying, so you're in really good shape.

    Serrations are useful for bread and tomato slicing as mentioned, and its always handy to have one in the kitchen for odd tasks. I have a "ginsu" type knife as seen on TV that is good for, especially, dividing portions of frozen meat (e.g., hamburger) and vegetables (e.g. spinach) so that I don't have to thaw 2 or 3 times what is needed. One thing I would note about the serrations is that the blade can be somewhat thicker and sturdier and still "cut" (really saw).

  24. Joshua,

    You may not think of yourself as a gifted writer, but you have a great talent for storytelling. I have a great interest in the topic, having done some work in Ukraina, and I've thoroughly enjoyed every installment of your story.


  25. Matt61,

    I've noticed that if the knife edge is stropped and has a very fine polish it doesn't "grab" the way a slightly toothier edge will. I like the Spyderco ceramic system for quick edge touch-ups–and yeah, I like serrations. There's more cutting edge in a serrated blade and they stay sharper longer at work when cutting boxes, nylon strapping, rope, opening plastic blister packs, zip ties… They're a bit harder to resharpen–but the Spyderco triangles make that easy. Plain-edged blades lose their edge almost immediately when trying to slice through zip ties. The edge just rounds right over whereas the serration tears right through. Extremely sharp straight blades "push" cut better than slice. Think about a good, sharp wood chisels leaving a polished surface from the cut.

  26. Joshua,

    I too really enjoyed your great descriptions of Russia, both people and places.
    Who needs the pictures, your words let me see it all anyway!

    Wacky Wayne,
    Match Director, Ashland Air Rifle Range

  27. B.B.

    That's quite a difference in price between calibers although they are all reasonable. Does the difference have to do with availability as in .270 equipment would be cheaper than 6mmXC?

    Edith and Kevin, a good cultural point. Out in rural Japan, I expect that the master bladesmith did not cut a lot of bread. I've also associated serrations with tearing hard materials–like plastic bottles. Do serrations cut both more finely (bread) and more forcefully (plastic) than a plain edge?

    Derrick38, the master bladesmith's terminology on edge teeth and whether they grab or not gets a little murky. I suppose this is where the experience comes into play. I'm glad to find reasons not to grind the serrations off my folding knife.

    AlanL, I'm in your boat with the sharpening. The master counsels patience…. You can also consult, Frank B., our local expert who is a fund of information and whose knives will do anything you want them to do. The knife he gave me is my standard for progress.

    All, I looked up the admission test to become a master of the American Bladesmith Society. The Japanese bladesmith entered and got admitted right away. You need to hand forge a blade then use it to cut through an inch thick hemp rope in one swipe; chop a 2X4 in half two times; then shave hair off your arm with no stropping or touching up of any sort. Anyway, the Japanese blademaster is not the only one of his kind. One such character, as I read, was the original creator the Bowie knife, a fellow named Black. He forged great knives for years jealously guarding his secrets, but when it came time to pass on his secrets at advanced age he could only remember that there were 10 steps….


  28. Joshua,

    Ulysses S. Grant, second Lieutenant General of the army after George Washington and winning general of the first modern war in history supposedly sent in his application to be a Civil War officer with a note saying that he thought he "would be competent to command a regiment." Later in life, he resisted Mark Twain's urging him to write his memoirs because he didn't think he could write. But he did write them, completing the final chapters while dying of throat cancer and was a gigantic success. It doesn't pay to undersell oneself.

    Joe Springfield, I've heard of Clint McKee. Glad to hear of your comments on Clint Fowler. He taught me how to shoot the M1 over the phone. I also like his explanation for his modifications to the M1. One key is that he adjusts the gas system so that the bolt does not move until the bullet leaves the barrel. This makes a lot of sense to me, and the test targets that he gave me which show how the groups change as he adjusted the gas flow appeared to prove his point. It makes me wonder why everyone doesn't do this when they want to customize a semi-auto, but I haven't heard of anyone else who does.


  29. Kevin,

    Sure hope your daughter comes through this OK, and is willing to get back on skis next season. I really feel for you and your family.


    That finish looks great from here. For those who are thinking about it, refinishing a stock can be very rewarding.


  30. OK,I have to share with the group…99.985% of all the cutting edges in existence are serrated.yes,they almost all employ teeth.What varies is the scale!A razor sharp edge,when viewed with magnification higher than about 250x,is a row of teeth,or feathers as they are sometimes called,or serrations…A human hair used as a guage of sharpness requires very small teeth in relation to it's diameter to be "shaved".It is really being sawed off!!The smaller the teeth,the greater amount of cutting accomplished by blade movement.Picture a bandsaw in motion….that is what a hair faces as the blade moves foreward.A shaving edge cuts bread poorly because it's density allows it to compress.If you saw on a tomato skin to begin a cut with an extrenely sharp knife,it is because your chosen saw doesn't cut alot in one pass.A stropped or steeled edge has just had it's teeth restored to all face the edge,putting them back to work.Knowing this should help in understanding sharpening. Frank B

  31. To Gengus, BB, Joshua

    Great story….learned a lot from the blog in general.

    All who reload: it is addictive. Started over 50 years ago with Lee Loader and a hammer….that is how it was done. Ruined the kitchen table. Have RCBS, Dillon, and MEC loaders now, separate heads, Digital scales the works….Can really crank out the rounds though. If you can get carbide dies, doe it. If those bottlenecks stretch, anneal the necks with a propane torch then tip them in water to soften the brass….trim cases judiciously. Learn to use calipers and a Mike. The NRA sells several how to books and materials on reloading as to many reloader suppliers.

    To Gengus…..Clint is a good guy all right. I agree about a Garand should be on all wedding gift lists. If you see Clint, ask him if he still has the Bridge Gage traded to him by a customer years ago….

    To BB….I recontacted PA about the pellet shipping problem. They asked for photos. Thanks to email, I supplied them with proof of their wrapping and the Crosman Box…. they are resending a new box. They go back to a five star rating in my book.

    To all the knife sharpeners….Stones or diamond sharpeners and water and oil and consistant angle is the key. I have some custom Bowie Knives with heavy blades that you can shave with….and I can probe it. They have also seen leather for smoothing the edge. Edith is right on for bread. I have decided that armor should be made of bread, as a regular knife just won't hack a good loaf….only a saw edge will do (I couls not spell serrated)….

    Those tlking about snow….I lived in the DC area, VA side for many years. Gave away my snow shovels and blower when I moved…..Have received pictures from those I gave them to, and they are definitely getting a work out. All that white sunshine.


  32. Matt,
    There is an article about knifemaking and the ABS program in a recent Muzzleblasts issue — if you can get it. The final test at one stage was to bend the blade 90 degrees and see if it returned to straight (there was a little tolerance).

  33. Jay,
    Thank you; it isn't bad in real life, just not the perfect vision I always lose sight of just as a project is winding down:). You are right, it is something everybody ought to give a try — hard to beat the sensation of seeing a rifle that you refinished and did other work on the first time it is all back together.

  34. Kevin,her highness is a beautiful princess….the king and queen must be very proud!The amazing spirit posessed by children…of course she wants to ski again!To be young again…… Frank B

  35. Kevin,

    Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful family, and I'm glad to see your daughter smiling with her cast on. I suspect you'll need more than an air rifle as she gets older!


  36. Kevin,
    You appear to be blessed with a wonderful family. However, there's something I don't understand. With what looks like a lot of help around the place you should have more time to spend helping out on this blog! You'll have plenty of time to spend with your family later.

    Good pics, good place, good people. It don't get no bettern that.


  37. B.B. & Mrs Gaylord,

    I've got my speech rehearsed for 10 years from now. "Young man, I've been to prison and I'm not afraid to go back. Have my daughter home by 8:27PM and not a minute later or else."

    Thanks for your prayers.


  38. B.B., Joshua is great at describing Moscow 😉

    Funny thing is – in Russian "airgun" is "Pnevmaticheskoye oruzhie" not "Vozdushnoye", and "Who among you speaks Russian?" sounds like "Kto iz vas govorit po-Russki?".
    "Kto mezdu wami govorit po Russki?" sounds like "Does someone who stands between you two speak Russian?" all with wrong cases,
    words and case endings 🙂
    So, well, this kind of "Russian" sounds like direct and very incorrect "vocabulary" translation into Russian, just like "bad Russians" speak in movies. 🙂

    Apart from that – comrade Pelletievsky 🙂 – huge thanks for your blog, it was and is a great source of information for me.
    If you ever happen to visit Moscow – it would be great to shake hands with you or even punch some holes in paper together.

    Cheers from Moscow airgunners, may the Force of Air be with you! 🙂

  39. Kevin,

    I some how missed hearing about your daughter's skiing accident. Danielle and her family are in out prayers.

    I shall have to find and get the ten rules for dating dad's daughter for you.

    Mr B.

  40. B.B.,

    In fact I know at least 4 guys doing that regularly and I'm sure there are more.

    So, you're quite a celebrity here 🙂
    BTW, it's your blog that helped me to decide to upgrade my CFX piece with GTX-III trigger. Some nice addition to LW barrel and custom stock 🙂

    And some more about Joshua's article – actually I don't know any French airguns in ownership or sold here.
    American, Austrian, British, Chinese, Czech, German, S.Korean, all kinds of Russian (I highly recommend you such brands as Demyan, EdGun, Kalibr, they make real cool PCP items) Spanish, Turkish, even some high-end Italian stuff, but no French iron 🙂

  41. Duskwight,

    your comments are VERY interesting. I'm sure most of the regulars of this Blog would love to read your comments on what it's like to be an air gunner in Russia. However not very many of us monitor the older blog comments.

    If I could suggest you move your comments to the current blog, even if it's off-topic, as we say, you would get many responses, not just from myself or BB.

    You probably won't know what I'm talking about now but have you ever heard of the television show here in the US, "Rocky the Flying Squirrel" or "The Bullwinkle Show"?

    Do you know who Boris and Natasha are? (this is just a joke and if you're not familiar with our older television programs, don't worry).

    Fred PRoNJ

  42. duskwight,

    I wondered about the French airguns, too. But I thought that Josh may have seen some Belgian airguns from Rutten and just remembered them as French all these years later. At that time he wouldn't know known who Rutten was, but his company actually carried them for a couple of years.

    Have you read about Josh's young life? It's here:


    and here:



  43. Kevin,

    That's a very beautiful family! And the little princess is adorable beyond words. I can't help feeling your concern.

    Kids at your daughter's age are tough. Real tough. And they must be so to resist the many smacks they receive every day in playing. Even when fractured, their bones have a special behavior. Nature is very wise.

    Although any damage to the growth plate will be problematic, they are rare. And, until I know, only significant damage will cause serious trouble; and that kind of damage most of times would be seen on x-ray films and MRI. I'm almost sure she will do fine.



  44. B.B.,

    I'm not sure if I ever saw Rutten here, however there's a tiny number of Browning Vectis – I'm not sure if they are Belgian or US made.

    Of course I've read Josh's story. Well, nothing unusual, even Big Bad Evil Uncle Joe Stalin isn't unusual. My grandparents' families suffered almost same tribulations, except that they lost almost all men due to Purges first and to War second.

    Just some words about "Stalin, who starved Ukrainians to death". Sorry, I can not be silent on that 🙂
    Actually it's a huge lie, made up by politicians, that this hunger was an instrument of genocide.

    A whole country, EVERYBODY starved those years, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and so on. Across the whole country there was a very bad crop for several years because of bad weather conditions, worsened by mismanagement and poor government.
    This wasn't genocide, no matter what politicians and so-called historians say – death took its toll all over USSR, not just Ukraine, and death is death no matter who you are. So all I ask is to mourn for ALL the dead, not to make a political tool from their suffering.

    Ok, down with politics, let's get to arms 🙂

    Nothing unusual again about his playthings. I made my first shots from a firearm in 1980's near Smolensk – from a TT-33 pistol. I was 9 that time.
    There was plenty of that stuff even 40 years after the War – even tanks and aircraft buried in bogs and forests.
    TT was in almost mint condition, preserved by the bog – it acts like some sort of preserving agent, guess it was also well-oiled when it got there. It was huge for my then kid's hand, heavy and boy – it was loud 🙂

  45. To continiue – for B.B. and Fred

    My first airgun experience was when I was about 5. It was in shooting gallery in VDNKh (please, don't mix it up with NKVD :)) it's just an exhibition/fair place and a park.
    The weapon was breakbarrel Izh-38 first model (lever barrel lock). Simple, yet beautifully machined and very rugged piece: hammer-forged 6-groove barrel, decent open sights, simple yet comfortable stock, nice action. I believe its "father" was some early "Diana" breakbarrel. I own 3 of them – it's just like old flame to me 🙂
    So, Dad cocked it for me, explained how aim and to pull the trigger, and there it is – my first hit, I remember that sound, my first target was a tiny bell. Ding! 🙂

    Then came some real stuff. Father took me to hunt with him – Vladimir region. I was 13 then, so I was learning and carrying ammo and bag. His Izh-12 12-gauge over-and-under is beautiful, but it did had a kick. I thought it tore my shoulder off that day 🙂
    His friend also gave me some lessons in real "blue shoulder" – he still owns his Mosin carbine 🙂

    So when I grew older, got my own 12-gauge and began earning my own money, I bought my first CO2 plinker – that was Gamo R-77 revolver (I like revolvers for their shape and it's a decent plinker).
    Then came MP-514. Nice stuff, but self-loading mechanism worked poorly, so I converted it into single-shot. Compact and powerful, but I sold it.
    Then some big stuff – I managed to buy Diana-52 and 46 Stutzen at half the price each. I keep 46 for its beauty and shoot it with iron sights. However I couldn't come to terms with 52, so I gave it my friend for his birthday – he is much luckier with it 🙂
    Then I bought .177 CFX Royal. I guess it's THE best cheap springer ever.
    And mine has definitely "she" temper:) With a little help from my friends I modified it – LW barrel, gas spring (local-made), improved sears and GTX-III trigger, custom stock (heavy, made-to-measure fullstock with pistol grip). Guess 5-6 mm @ 25m worth it 🙂
    Now I'm working on some sort of Whiscombe opposing pistons rifle. I saw it in your blog 🙂 and decided that I want some stuff like that.

    BTW, B.B., can you please tell me the diameter of its piston and exact distance between pistons when cocked?

    I also own 1995 metal Izh-60.
    Bad thing they stopped making it metal, now the body is crappy plastic. Good, very precise rifle, perfect for juniors and girls (low bullet energy is an advantage in this case 🙂 ).

    And yes, I'm no fan of PCP's 🙂


  46. Joshua and B.B.–Scott298. I loved the trip to Russia, perhap's your story could become a book one day (and B.B. if one does exist please do not yell at me-just let me know the title.) Reading this blog reminds me of when my wife and I went into business for ourselves. We opener a furniture importing business and were bringing back containers of rustic pine from a factory in Puebla, Mexico. The game plan was to spend 1day at the factory to place my 1st order and make any arrangements for trucking and border crossings, the next 2 were to see the sights and hang out at the local watering holes. When I was done with the factory they took me back to my hotel and told me DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ROOM AT NIGHT! I was told it would not be safe to visit the bar in the hotel lounge, in fact they told me to bolt the door and stick a chair against the door! With that in mind I called the airlines and 24 hours later I landed at JFK. Going abroard can be rewarding and also dangerous. I'd love to tell you what happened when I took my wife with me on my 2nd visit but I've taken up too much time already. Joshua great job, loved reading it-Thank-you, Scott Herlihy aka Scott298

  47. Dear B.B.,
    You are a more accomplished writer than you portray to your readers. Their are certain elements to your writing that are distinguishable from a mere novice.I would suggest that you are a true "Right Brainer" You also have flair for for poetry and creativity. Thus, the self efacing comment, "I'm not much of a writer" doesn't hold water. I enjoy reading your thoughts. I suspect, you're a better wrtiter than a B.B.Gun afficianodo.JMTCW…:)

  48. I hope I finally got it figured out on how to post on the newest blog. I can't find where I posted yesterday about receiving my H&K P30. Is this the newest one? Tough getting old. This is the latest is it not? Steve

  49. Steve,

    Look at the date at the top of this page. It says Tuesday, February 09, 2010. So that report was published Tuesday, a week ago.

    Copy this link:


    Paste that address into the address bar at the top of your browser page and hit "Return" That will take you to today's blog.


  50. It's really greatly written! It got me hooked, is it me or part 5 is not out yet? I did some search on google and nothing came up.

    But anyhow, looking forward in reading more!

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