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Education / Training The Bronco from Air Venturi – Part 5

The Bronco from Air Venturi – Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

The entries for Pyramyd Air’s February contest are posted on Airgun Arena. Thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations to the winners!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Air Venturi Bronco.

Today, I’ll test the Air Venturi Bronco with a better scope. Last time, I used a scope adjusted for 100-yard parallax and the target wasn’t too clear. This time, I mounted a Leapers 3-9×40 AO scope with an illuminated reticle. My scope was an older version of this same scope.


Leapers 3-9×40 scope fit the Bronco well.

A delight to shoot
I’d forgotten how comfortable the Bronco is to shoot. Rediscovering that was so pleasurable that I did some additional experiments for you. For starters, I held the rifle like a deer rifle, the way a new airgunner might. The Bronco responded with half-dollar-sized groups at 25 yards. While those look good to new shooters, the rifle is capable of much better accuracy. The tight hold works, but only to a point.

Then, I shot with the rifle rested directly on the bag. Sprayed pellets all over the place, just as you would expect.

I read on one of the forums that someone thought the wrist was too thick for younger shooters. Well, of course it is! If they hold the rifle like a deer rifle, the wrist is way too thick. But that’s not the way to hold a breakbarrel springer. You have to pretend you’re holding a 1903 Springfield and place your thumb along the wrist rather than over it. Then, the artillery hold will start paying off.


This is the wrong way to hold a spring rifle. Get that thumb off the wrist.


This is the proper way to rest the thumb on a spring rifle wrist.

The bottom line is the Bronco likes a light artillery hold the best.

Premier Lites
The Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellet grouped acceptably well at 25 yards, though I did feel that a repeatable light hold was crucial to good accuracy. Fail to hold it that way, and pellets stray from the group.


Ten Premiers at 25 yards with the proper “dead” hold technique.


Ten Premiers at 25 yards. Seven with the proper “dead” hold technique and three with the thumb rested over the wrist. The scope was adjusted from the first group.

I also tried a bucket load of other pellets, searching for one that was more tolerable of the hold than Premier Lites. I tried Premier heavies, Gamo Match, Air Arms domes, JSB Exact domes in the 8.4-grain weight and Gamo Master Points. Like last time, the JSBs showed some promise, though the Premier lites clearly beat them in 10-shot groups. Then, I found what I was looking for.

Years ago, I owned a .458 Winchester Magnum rifle (an elephant rifle) for which I handloaded. My load was so soft that it hardly recoiled, yet it always sent the 550-grain lead bullet to the same place. It was a delight to shoot. Most Hakim air rifles will do the same thing with RWS Superpoints. Well, I found what the Bronco likes.

Beeman Kodiaks, which are also H&N Baracudas, need very little in the way of an artillery hold, yet they seem to go to the same place every time. They’re no more accurate than Premier Lites, but they sure are easier to shoot in this rifle! They’re my top pick for pellets, now that I’ve tested them.


Ten Kodiaks with a sloppy artillery hold. They all seem to want to go to the same place.

The next test will be with a Mendoza peep sight mounted. This will be as much a test of that specific sight as of the Bronco.

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.

81 thoughts on “The Bronco from Air Venturi – Part 5”

  1. Beeman Kodiaks aka H&N Baracudas are my favorite pellet. I buy the MATCH version so that all the tins are from the same batch and I have the assurance they are test fired with very tight manufacturing tolerances.

    I shoot them in a RWS 350, Crosman 1377, and Talon SS 177 and each gun just loves them.

    You made a note in the past that low / medium powered stringers can suffer from the heavy 10.5gn Kodiaks. Something to do with piston bounce? Is that the case with the Bronco?


  2. I did some research. Heavy pellets aren't necessarily bad for a light/med springer but you describe how they can be inefficient through a behavior called "piston bounce". Here's your two part series:




  3. B.B.,

    Your link points to the plain round nose 10.65 grain Baracudas. Are the Baracuda Match 10.65 grain round nose the same pellet, just put through a higher level of quality control?

    I also noticed you used a one-piece mount for your scope. Do you prefer this for the Bronco, or was it just the first one you laid hands on?


  4. At last, the missing link from my understanding of the artillery hold! I've been draping my thumb over the wrist all along. Will try out and see if it improves things.

  5. AlanL,

    Yes, the Match are the same but they have much tighter tolerances and each batch is test fired and the tins are labeled. I buy 8 tins at a time to make use of the PA free tin and to ensure all 4K rounds are identical. I test fire the first tin and after 20 rounds I know all of them are good.

    Buy a tin of each and look at the pellet, there's a world of difference. Also the Match seem to slip into my bore without a fight.


  6. B.B.,

    Great quip on the 150 mph Corvette tractor. But it didn't touch the question I was asking. I'm a physicist with some aerospace experience long ago. Of course I know that you can't just clip the nose off a round-nose Premier and have a good wadcutter!

    But you can use the basic Premier philosophy and come up with a heck of a good wadcutter, and in fact Crosman did long ago. How do I know? Because after shooting some round-nose Premiers in my old 300S I called Crosman and asked what was the equivalent wadcutter? After a long pause the man at the other end said, well, Crosman had made a run of "Premier Wadcutters" as an experiment, and if I wanted to try he would send me a sample.

    A few days later USPS delivered a red plastic container labeled Premier Wadcutter 4.5mm/.177 in with 250 beautiful wadcutter pellets inside. They were fabulous, easily as good as the 4.51mm R-10s that were making one hole groups off sandbags (gun lightly rested on bags, not held down).

    I rationed that ammunition, but finally it was gone, and Crosman never brought it to market.

    Why not? I suppose it was an expensive niche product, but if they could have convinced the national team to try them and go with them, it would have opened up a larger market abroad, and done wonders for the international prestige of American products.

    So it can be done.


  7. Pete,


    I've tried these, and personally I don't understand all the good reviews. They just never shot that good in anything I tried them in.

  8. Back to the future.

    While my Delorean looks more like a Chevy Impala, it truly must have magical properties. I am not sure at what point I went through the time warp, but I suspect it was while I was on I-271.

    My destination also held an additional surprise, as behind the counter stood Derrick38. I was the proverbial kid in a candy store, and Derrick was the most gracious host. I won’t bore everyone with details of airguns from 1982 still new in the box or pellets that were discontinued ages ago. Let’s just say I was wide eyed for the entire 3 ½ hours.

    I left with a BSF 55 that is a wonderful 95% example.

    Derrick, thanks again for wonderful afternoon and the pellets.

  9. Off topic,

    These days, (thanks to BB) I was shooting again and again my old Fwb 124. A good springer is a delight. Then I had an idea. I grabbed some 8 or 10 useless x-ray films, put them in an envelope, and they made and good pellet trap. When there were too many holes, simply switched the envelope, using some balls of wrinkled paper to separate the envelope and the films, to avoid ricochet. I worked flawlessly, even 10 shots in the same place with the s410 at full power didn't make out.

    I think I will visit again my friends at the radiology department


  10. Vince —


    I had somehow missed that Crosman was now producing a wadcutter with the Premier Match name on it. As I read the reviews those pellets are not in the "match" category — two many deformed, for one. And none of the reviewers reported using a match gun, rifle or pistol.

    I don't think these can be quite what I shot (many!) years ago. At the time Crosman had "recently" (a year or so) discontinued the Skanaker pistol, and I was trying to chase down somebody with NOS. Or even get one from the factory. So it was way back. And those pellets were extremely good, right up with Finale Match and R-10 in custom sizes.

    That was before my shooting deteriorated due to some damaged disks in my neck and consequent weakness and tremors. At long last I've had surgery that might have done a repair; I'll be allowed to handle a rifle once again next week, but rehab is months long.

    But I guess I'll be shooting European pellets. R-10 or JSB (unless somebody tells me there are better ones!).


  11. Thanks for the advice on the Rws 52 that was dry fired. by the way Pyramyd is the best online store, but why do you not carry Theoben air rifles or daystate? just thought i would ask

  12. Kevin,

    They had an R-5 but wanted full retail of $565.00. Since we all know retail is for suckers I passed. On an even less serious note after 3 hours in the store I looked at Derrick and in my best business voice told him I decided on the Gamo Whisper for my purchase.
    The momentary look on his face was priceless. : )

  13. Volvo,

    You're killing me. Sounds like a fun day at derricks.

    Interested in hearing your take on the BSF 55. Is it an n? (walnut?)

    I don't have a "derrick" store near me so I envy you. However, on Tuesday morning Marshall stopped by my place. Marshall was one of the airgunners that attended my airgun shoot last fall.

    Marshall has been busy collecting 10 meter guns too. He brought over an LG 55, an LGV Olympia and an FWB 300S. We planned on mounting a couple of my short scopes on his guns to see what mounts and what kind of scopes he could consider for his guns. We swapped barrel weights on the two walthers and looked through lots of scopes.

    All of the sudden 4 hours had passed and we had a stack of targets with little holes in them. He's an old firearm guy and flyrod fisherman. He just returned from a fishing trip in belize. We swapped stories shot airguns and acted like kids.

    Seems to me that airguns are also time machines.


  14. Pete, if you want I can send you some to try. I got a couple of tins of them, and I haven't observed them shooting any better than the 'Copperhead' wadcutters. I've houd that the domed Premiers – even the Hollow Point's in the tins – are far superior.

    Back when I had a 60 yard outdoor range I was shooting groups with regular Premiers and the cheaper hollow points, and generally found that they shot comparably – even with regards to POI. Which tells me that the 'hollow point' part doesn't drag them down as much as I'd have thought.

    And very often the paper that got torn away would have a tiny little circle imprinted on it. This is where the hole in the nose of the pellet hit and left a lead mark on the paper (like a pencil mark). This told me that they weren't tumbling in flight!

  15. Weighing pellets…

    I have done similar testing on 5 Broncos now.
    The first one was not hold sensitive… not in the slightest!

    1/2" groups right out of the box at 20 yards easy.. and some were 3/8" with un-weighed pellets Air Arms and JSBs. No special hold, really just the opposite, any hold, firm to the bench or laying loose gave me great groups!

    When I couldn't repeat with the other new Broncos, I wrote Paul and Tom an email warning of quality issues. I'm no master of the artillery hold!.. and don't want springers that need it! That's why most of my inventory is now PCPs.

    My point is, now I'm getting that the bronco does need a special hold.. or at least most of them do.

    So by accident, one came "tuned" from the factory…. a special gun!

    And instead of returning the broncos that aren't grouping, I sent one to Vince to see what he could do on a tune.. soon we will see! .. and the others we will try to learn the proper hold and see how that helps.

    B.B. thanks for the lesson on the proper hold… but the Bronco CAN give great groups without it! .. but not always it appears.

    I also found when I weighed the pellets the groups tighten way up, even with the "non-grouping" broncos and no special hold.

    JSB 8.44 gr weighed on a percentage…

    2% were at 7.55 grains

    16% were 7.30

    15% were 7.35

    17% were 8.0

    16% 8.45

    17% were 8.50

    14% were 8.55 grains

    2% were 8.6 grains

    and 1% was 8.65 grains!!!

    That is "weigh" too much difference.. (now I know why Tim and LD said to weigh my pellets) and has a lot to do with group sizes!!!! especially up and down.. but even in my best PCPs, I see side movement in lighter or heavier pellets.. it's not all up and down.. for some reason different weight pellets move sideways too… why???

    Food For Thought..

    Wacky Wayne, Match Director, Ashland Air Rifle Range

  16. AlanL,

    Yes that scope was the easiest to mount and so was the mount. No magic there.

    Baracuda and Baracuda Match have never had different results in all my tests, so I go for whichever is cheaper. That includes both types of Kodiaks.

    The copper-plated pellets, however, have proven less accurate in all guns.


  17. Wayne,
    When I started with air rifles I weighed pellets because I needed to eliminate all the bad variables that were out to discourage me. As I got to shooting better I weighed less and less because I thought the impact was negligible. Now that I'm actually trying to shoot precision in an eMatch, and not just good, I'm thinking that weighing should be something I should be doing again.

    From my experience of previous weighing I found the same/similar results that you have. I bought some small Plano boxes for holding fishing lures that had six compartments thinking that would be enough to hold variations to the tenths of a grain. And quickly found out I needed more compartments. I was shocked to see such a disparity in pellet weights from the same tin.

    I have never weighed the boxed CPs. I bought those after I quit weighing. Now it's going to be interesting to see how much of a variation these have.


  18. Pete,

    That man you spoke to was no doubt the inventor of the Premier. He used to come to airguns shows and I talked to him about the development of Premiers. There was a lot of ballistic design and aerodynamics that went into that pellet.

    If he also made a wadcutter, it would have been very special. I'm sorry that I don't know about it.


  19. The funniest part of Volvo walking in–aside from his celebrity status–I had a USPS flat rate box addressed to him on the counter to get those .20 cal Beeman Ram Jets he was trying to locate.

    When he told me he was taking the Whisper, I told him I was gonna have to break his trigger finger.

    Since we decided the R5's (we actually found 3 of them–one with a personal note from Dr. Beeman including some racy pictures of Boswell) we elected to modify them to make them easier to sell. Cutting the stocks off at the grips certainly made them easier to transport and get them in and out of cars. Throwing the sights away and installing BSA lasers also seems to make them more appealing to the tactical crowd–as did refinishing the cut down wood with truck bed liner.

    Anyway, with the aforementioned modifications, we believe we've easily doubled the perceived value of the guns. Reaming out the barrels to the more readily available .22 will be the next step. Wonder if those Track of the Wolf liners would fit?

  20. B.B.

    Wow, those are great stories that won the contest.

    Nice shooting with the Bronco and good luck getting the Mendoza sight mounted.

    I'll recant an earlier comment and say that I'm all in favor of the Springfield '03. Now the fact that the action is a virtual Mauser copy is a great asset. You get a Mauser and a piece of American history in the most popular caliber of all time. Was your .458 Winchester the Springfield with which you put 10 shots into a hole at 100 yards? What is your opinion of the Springfield ladder sights? I've heard them called the worst sights ever put on a military rifle, but that doesn't seem consistent with the record of long range accuracy.

    Wayne, it might help to think of the artillery hold less as a special skill than an absence. All you do is keep the rifle supported and that's all. No gripping, no tension, no nothing. Just let it lay there. If the artillery hold were truly difficult, I wouldn't fool with it.

    B.B. vindicated!

    So there I was looking over another book on point shooting. Lo and behold this one was co-authored by Rex Applegate with a publication date in the late 90s. I thought Rex Applegate was a WWII figure. He was, but as of the late 90s, he was as sharp as ever and filled with a mission to fight against the "modern technique" of pistol shooting. He comes out firmly in favor of the Isosceles stance over the Weaver method if you have enough time and distance for two hands. But for self-defense, he mostly advocates one-handed shooting without sights. His method differs slightly from Lucky McDaniel's instinct shooting with a rifle in that you look right at the target instead of slightly above to compensate for parallax from holding the rifle at the shoulder.

    Anyway, the method is to look at the target, raise the gun to eye level and fire. That's it. The method is almost verbatim from a handwritten note that Applegate discovered from Wild Bill Hickok himself. W.E. Fairbairne, trainer of British commandos and noted shootist himself, also advocated this method.

    Point shooting is no end of fun for both airguns and airsoft and really adds a dimension beyond target shooting for pure accuracy. It's amazing to see what the body can do.


  21. Matt,

    So may questions!

    Yes, the .458 was a Springfield conversion with a Douglas barrel.

    The Springfield sight has the reputation of being one of the finest sights ever put on a bolt-action military rifle. It is a successor to the famous Buffington sight that was on the Trapdoor Springfield. Just ask old Marines what they think of it!

    Whoever said the Springfield sights aren't good is no real rifleman. Yes a Garand sight is quicker to use, but it's not nearly as accurate unless it's a national match sight.


  22. Derrick38,
    I dare say that in just a few hours together you picked up some of my best qualities. I’d recognize that sarcasm and cavalier attitude anywhere.
    I think next we need a ten meter shoot off. Me with my Gamo, beat up 20 year old scope and Chinese pellets against you and the best German equipment you can bring. I'll spot you ten points to be fair.(I am trying to develop your cockiness now)

    In all seriousness, thank again.

    Never would have guessed Kodiak’s in such a soft shooter. How does it sound with them? Usually you can hear when you stumble on the weight a rifle prefers.

    Just in case you’re wondering how the above mentioned shop could it exist, it is simply the perfect storm. My take is the elderly owner is more of a craftsman than a salesman, FIFO is clearly not practiced, they do accept credit cards or believe in the internet, inventory was clearly hit or miss, the location is more conducive to selling Crosman’s, Daisy’s and Gamo’s, and on and on. I guess it’s the same way a jewels are created in nature – everything is just so.

  23. Volvo meant to say do NOT accept credit cards…

    No way am I shooting against you for anything except fun. Even I can recognize a ringer. What's that old saying? If you can't spot the sucker, then the sucker is YOU?

    FrankB–check your email.

  24. derrick38,

    Don't think I'll be able to recognize those R5's after your "fancy customization". Did you mean to say that you DO NOT accept credit cards from volvo? LOL!!


    You seem to have become a master at finding NOS.

    From what I'm reading you've replaced your vocation and income by becoming an airgun shooting hustler?

    Think I'll keep my day job.


  25. Kevin,

    They call me “Ohio Fats”. As part of my act I tried to fill up the Disco by mouth like a birthday party balloon. No surprise, I had enough hot air to get it to 1800psi.

    I did find the cash only policy a little suspicious, especially since Derrick was holding the CC processing machine behind his back. That’s ok however. Seems he forgot about my uncle Vince, the ink was just barely dry on those double sawbucks.


    (I need better gas mileage)

  26. Don't know but I'm still thinking about tumbling those pellets to get rid of untrimmed edges. My wife has an old plastic rock tumbler that she used to use for jewelry. I'm thinking if I dump a tin of pellets in it let it rotate a short time then pour the pellets into a small strainer to shake off dust before returning them to the tin I should have some pretty uniform pellets. As I mentioned in an earlier post my Gamo magnum skirts were nowhere near uniform, maybe I'll practice with a 1/2 tin first.

  27. If that place had a credit card machine it would have a hand crank. Anyway, I appreciate your help getting those old R5 things into the compactor for disposal. Man, what a noise that made. At least there's now room for TV to run the PBA hog video.

  28. The Bronco cannot accept a gas spring. That would really run contrary to the easy cocking nature of the gun and would offer no real advantage, when you consider the low cost of the gun. Adding $100 to the price would make it too expensive for the market..


  29. B.B.

    Thanks, more points in favor of the Springfield 1903. I would talk to old Marines if I could find them about this and many other things.

    We need to recruit the story contest winners for the blog. We could say something like: In addition to your awards as a special perk, you get to join the PA blog. Have your writing read by a worldwide audience–what many failed writers can only fantasize about. And it's all free….:-)

    Okay, I finished the point-shooting book and I'm convinced and will be changing my method completely. Statistics, that you've probably heard before, say that 88% of gunfights take place within 20 feet (my gun range!) so your blue man target is very relevant. The only part that I can't figure out is the draw. You are not supposed to draw the gun high, then push the gun straight at the target as I've read elsewhere. Shoving the gun straight out is supposed to make the muzzle drop when you reach full extension. Instead, you extend the gun down and arc it up to the line of sight. This seems unnatural and longer to do but apparently not.

    rikib, I suspect tumbling pellets would be more destructive than helpful. It doesn't take much to deform them.


  30. I just took delivery of a Gamo Squirrel Field target.


    What a really nifty target! Did I say nifty? I haven't said that word since 1959. Anyway, this is a really great target system. Everything is included, even 150 feet of string to reset it. It comes with 4 different size bulls eye rings from 1 1/8" down to 3/8". It took me 4 shots to realize 3/8" was my speed. The box calls that size Expert. Yeah, right!

    I took the 15" x 12" box it was shipped in and cut the face off it and filled it with duct seal pugs so I could have a safe backstop for shooting into. Took 15 pugs. I then set the target itself on top of a 2 foot high cardboard box and then set the backstop I just made on top of the back bracket of the target. Now the target is secure enough to pull the resetting cord without tipping over the target. It is so secure with the 15 lb weight of the backstop on it that it won't even move a little bit. I'm thinking of buying 5 more so I can have a separate target system for each field target animal.

    This is something that I can take easily out to the outdoor range and set up in a couple minutes.


  31. BB,
    In my very limited experience with scopes and springers, it seems that changing the balance can affect the hold sensistivity, for better or worse. A scope shifts the balance point back, possibly making the muzzle jumpy. Just my weird observation for the day — not a lot of basis for it. Springers are too much fun w/o scopes.

    Looking at Track of the Wolf, eh? Trust me, its a habit you may not want to start. I just got a box of parts for a pistol companion to my rifle (cheap practice for my stock shaping and inletting skills) — for the next few weeks I'll be surly, and hyper-arthritic:). I can see from your airgun blog that you might be an easy mark for them.

  32. Derrick38,

    I have just confirmed that the RWS Diana factory scope mount on Models 48/52/54 is indeed (as you had said) attached to the receiver tube with rivets, not screws, despite the highly deceiving phillips heads on these rivets. Moreover, they are glued as well.


  33. Derrick38,

    Those rivets can be deceiving. They are from the same specification as aircraft rivets and the "phillips head" impression is actually a manufacturing identification symbol for high-strength alloy. In aircraft, you will see many of these and also some with two dimples or just one etc.

    Next time you are near a general avaiation airport, take a look at a small Cessna fuselage, you will see about 2000 of those same rivets in the sheet metal.

    Brian in Idaho

  34. Chuck,

    Congratulations on buying a squirrel.

    I really like those targets. Having an assortment of bullseye rings in different sizes for different distances makes for varying challenges. The bent finger of metal on the back of these rings designed for hanging on the faceplate works better/stays put if you bend it down a little.

    The paddle gets shot up pretty quick. I repainted mine for awhile and got tired of that. I then used this tape stuck it on with scotch tape:


    Then I read what a lot of ft guys do. Take a wire brush (attachment on a dremel is what I used) and take all the paint off the paddle and make it shiney/reflective. Then paint the backside of the faceplate orange. Orange paint reflects onto the paddle and no more taping or painting the paddle.


  35. BB

    It must be fate that I received my Bronco today, along with a Leapers Golden Image 3-9 x 32 scope & 2 pc. Accushot rings, as well as other various goodies and pellets to try in it. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of plastic parts on a gun this inexpensive. After only 50-60 shots I found out just how accurate this little filly is. I got a 3/8" 5 shot group at 15 yards with JSB Exact 8.4 gr pellets. Very, very pleased with the performance so far. Ergonomically though the gun doesn't fit me very well. Who knows, I may put another stock on it at some point. Thanks for a great little plinker Tom.

    David H.

  36. Chuck,

    Yes, If one is serious about groups, especially past 25 yards… weighing pellets seems to be a must. The CPH 10.5 vary a lot too… but not quite so much in the little testing I'm done on the boxed ones from die #8.

    On the Field Target forum, they have been talking about bad dies from crosman and JSB both… lot's of rushing around trying to get good pellets.

    But, really, any serious test or shooting should be done with weighed pellets.

    I've set up my crony in front of the gun sighted in on the target… so now I can see POI, FPS and know the weight of the pellet just shot.. Lo and Behold!!

    heavier pellets shoot lower!.. and Slower!! quick tell the world!!

    Now I'm wondering if a pill box with 7 slightly different weights could be used instead of Clicking or holdover????
    One could figure it out using "Chairgun" in a round about way.

    anybody tried this wacky idea??

    Volvo or Vespa

    I have been buying up old Hondas.. a 50 express, 70 C, 90 trails, city and Enduro.. and a 125 Enduro.. and a drumroll.. a Peugeot 103 LVS-U2 MoPed…

    The burro thing isn't working out.. nothing personal.. but we really don't see eye to eye.. (he is a lot shorter don't ya know)..

    I'm gonna try this type of burro next.

    Wacky Wayne, Match Director, Ashland Air Rifle Range

  37. rikib,

    you don't have to clean pellet guns unless they are not grouping….

    Some pellets like crosman will lead up the barrel and if you loose accuracy, then you should think about cleaning.

    I have over 30,000 shots with mostly JSB pellets on my Air Arms S410 and have never once cleaned the barrel.. still puts pellet on pellet 10 in a 1/4" hole at 20 yards… (when they are weighed!!)

    just shoot until you see a loss of accuracy.

    Wacky Wayne,
    Match Director,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  38. B.B.

    On the Broncos I had the most trouble getting to group, the heaviest pellet I tried, the un-weighed 10.5 CPH from the box did the best also…

    Now I will try weighed pellets in all the Broncos that I had trouble grouping the perfect 1/2" 10-shot at 20 yards.

    Really, this is crazy, I'm expecting $1,000 accuracy from a $126 entry level air gun!! When it gives me a taste of the perfect thud on firing, groups that come close to matching my $3,000 PCPs, without the expense or need for HPA support.. I get spoiled and forget what I'm comparing..

    You might have to tune this Bronco to have a perfect little springer that will shoot groups with the best of them at short distance.

    I predict that someone.. maybe me.. will have some field target stocks made for a tuned Bronco.. It's going to be a great started gun for my short range low FPS course.. the kids will kick some adult butt with these sweet little guns.. I can hardly wait to see their faces!!
    Tune away Vince!

    Wayne Burns, Match Director,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  39. Alanl, if you're talking about quality and inherent accuracy – well, they're gonna be about equal. They both use the same trigger, quality barrel, and powerplant type. As for power – well, don't put a lot of stock in the listed velocities. The guns are powerful – but not THAT powerful.

    If you type '460' in the blog 'Search' box you'll come up with BB's reviews on both the .177 and .22 versions.

  40. Wayne,

    Did you hear that Paul Bishop is making FT stocks again?

    Of all the techniques suggested for wringing accuracy out of airguns I'm a believer that weighing pellets has the most impact on shrinking group sizes.

    Do you want to sell your "non hold sensitive bronco"? I'll pay you more than you have in the gun.

    I have a lot of pack burro stories for you when we meet. Candy and Dakota come to mind the quickest.


    Guess my hope for detailed analysis of the BSF 55 is dashed?


    Squirrel tips are best in slow cookers. 😉


    R5's into a compactor? You're the kid that liked pulling wings off of bugs? I think we would have gotten along famously.


  41. Thanks Vince. By now I think I have developed a certain sensitivity to B.B's writing style, and think I can tell when he really likes a gun versus just… likes it. I can't quite put my finger on it, it's a subtle thing, but reading between the lines I think he did not get a warm fuzzy feeling over the 460, though he didn't have anything bad to say about it. My bet is he likes the 52 better. Maybe a lot better. It's a darn shame Diana doesn't make the 52 Luxus any more. That walnut stock with basket weave checkering and ebony grip cap and forearm cap was a beaut.


  42. AlanL,
    Sounds like we'll need a bigger screwdriver. I'd have never guessed they were rivets either. Was just in the right place at the right time when the subject came up.

    Why did you write that in past tense? Is there something ominous I should know?

  43. Wayne,
    For riding, you probably want a well trained Mammoth Jack, which, ironically (despite being called jacks), could come in any of three (or 2.5?:)) gender variants, stud, jenny or gelding. A stud jack would not be a good choice for the beginning to intermediate rider:). I'm pretty sure you would be surprised to see how big some of them can get.

    You might also be surprised how many people ride them, although they are nowhere near as popular (a relative term) for that purpose as even mules.

  44. B.B.,

    I just heard from my buddy Scot here in Colorado.

    I've now got reason # 432 t move to Texas.

    I'm sure you know Neal Stepp of International Shooters Services. This appears to be a wonderful source for quality match ammo? First place I've found for multi head diameter H & N pellets.

    Your thoughts please.


  45. Well, BB always tries to look on the best side of a gun, I think. But you're right, when something really tickles him you can usually tell… although I think he was a little more enthusiastic about the .22 than the .177.

    With regards to these guns, I really suspect that the 460 is merely an underlever version of the 48/52, and that a teardown would reveal the same basic gun under the skin. But the 460 is a lot more expensive.

  46. Kevin,

    I've been using Peter, Boris' son at TopGun to make my custom FT stocks for the Air Arms and Marauders… he does real nice work in the $250 to $350 range with nice selected woods.

    I'm feeling a little tied to that first one.. and would love to get it back from Larry. I told him to try it out at home in the evenings..
    That was a big mistake!

    It's not sold.. just lent.. and I sign his pay checks.. so we have some leverage here:-)

    I want to first see what Vince can do with the run of the mill Broncos.. my guess is: not much polishing and tweaking can make these things a super nice gun that can really compete with the big boys. If Vince can make them all like that first one, my belief in springers will be renewed!..
    Darn talking about it made me remember that wonderful thud… and seemingly no recoil at all! Larry.. oh Larry… I need you for a minute..


    JD sent me a series of photos of mule that killed a mountain lion that was about to attack the dogs following behind… This guy gets off the mule to fire a warning shot at the mt. lion, but the lion attacks the dogs..
    But before the lion get close, he finds himself hanging in the air by the base of his tail.. Then the mule whacks the lion on the rocks, stomps the shi.. out of him, lifts him up shakes him more… whacks on the rocks more…. stomps him more.. while the dogs and humans watch in disbelief.. except for the women with the camera.. great photos!!!

    yeah.. I think me want a mule.. that mule would be nice!


    Yes, I like JSB pellets. In the past my groups with un weighed pellets were great.. but recently, I think quality has pooped for JSB and crosman pellet production.

    The forum guys say the reps. say that the factories are back on the good stuff again.. but that's to be seen.. meanwhile, get a scale if real tight groups are important to you.

    Crosman premiers and JSB both are listed by most of the winners of matches… also listed less often are kodiak and beeman FTS

    The crosman pellets do get your fingers dirty and foul your barrel after time. I have washed them in rubbing alcohol, then coat them with coconut oil and this seems to take all the dirtiness away.

    I only use the CPH when I can't get JSB to group for me… or when I need a slightly fatter pellet in a loose/wider barrel.. like these Broncos. Mendoza barrels seem to need fatter pellets.. and their power plants like heavier pellets, as Tom's test showed today.

    Wacky Wayne, Match Director,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  47. Be forewarned, I'm in a bad mood.

    Ft. Hood and now the Pentagon.

    If I were President of the United States Of America I would mandate that all citizens be taught gun safety and be required to bear arms at all times if after a background check they were entitled to carry arms.

    There would be a stiff penalty (fine for first offense and mandatory jail for second offense) for those that were caught without arms that were entitled/expected to carry.

    Is anyone else paying attention?

    Sorry if this is too political but in my opinion political correctness has outlived its' usefulness.

    Time to wake up America! What else is needed for a call to arms?

    The British are coming, the British are coming! United this great land. We're being attacked and everyone is watching American Idol??!!

    Delete this if you must but tonight I feel like I'm gasping for freedom.


  48. Kevin,

    I'm in.. I like to carry my cowboy guns!

    Wacky Wayne..

    glad I don't watch the news.. just would make me angry too… let me know when you need your back covered..

  49. Wacky Wayne, I'm shooting an unmodified 2240 for plinking which of the JSB's would you recommend? I'm returning to this sport after 40yrs hiatus. First tin of pellets I purchased with pistol were Gamo Magnums, not pleased at all with the non-uniformity of skirts.

  50. rikib,
    Forgetting the Gamo skirt non-uniformity for a minute–how did they shoot in your gun? I've found the 2240's to be pretty pellet tolerant.

    I don't think a tumbler will help in the least. I think it'll damage the skirts even more.

  51. rikib,
    I meant to add–if you do try the tumbler–let us know, good or bad what the results are. Just because I have a hunch doesn't mean I'm gonna be right!

  52. derrick38, gamo seemed to shoot well for taking out cans. have only used one target so far, been kinda windy but grouping still good for an amateur. I just feel that the non-uniformity maybe leaving excessive lead build up in my barrel maybe not. Just looking for a cleaner pellet. I'm going to get some more pellets and run the rest of these gamo's through a tumbler, let you know if I screw them up more

  53. AlanL,

    I don't know why anyone cares about my opinion of these air rifle, but I personally prefer the Diana 48/52 to the 460 Magnum. They are easier to cock, more compact and I just like how they hold. The sidelevers do torque to the right when fired, but I can live with that.

    Of course the 54 is the highest evolution of the sidelevers. And it doesn't torque to the side. And I prefer them all in .22 caliber.


  54. Kevin,

    A free society means we cannot prevent a**clowns from pulling a gun or knife and using it against a fellow American.

    Given the way my fellow road users drive; I would be concerned about a shootout amongst non-professional personnel.

    And before you ask: I am for 2nd amendment, I believe in concealed carry, and I think guns should continue to be made available to the public… unlike a lot of Euro countries.

    Just my 2 cents, don't take it the wrong way.


  55. BB:

    Hello. I've read and enjoyed your column for several years now, but am not good with computers, so haven't been able to comment until now (I hope).

    Anyway, I would appreciate any input you might have on a project I'm working on with a friend. Years ago I built a PVC potato gun using hair spray like most kids did back in the day. I wasn't impressed with the erratic performance, and gave up on it. However, more and more these days, I see the kids are turning to compressed air (but still using PVC for construction). With pressures as low as 90-100 PSI, they are getting ranges of 100-200 yards, easily. I doubted this, and decided to check it out and build my own test apparatus. To summarize, I used 2-inch schedule 40 steel pipe, with a 10-foot barrel and an equal piece of steel pipe used for the air chamber/reservoir. A simple full-port, 1-inch ball valve separated the reservoir from the barrel. I made up "shells" out of 1.5-inch PVC pipe sections and caps, and filled them with 1.5 pounds of lead bird shot. I charged the reservoir with 200 PSI of nitrogen and yanked the valve open. I was absolutely astonished at the energy. I didn't chrono it, but I've shot enough 400 FPS CO2 pistols over the years to know it was doing right around 380-400 FPS. That test convinced me to build the breech-loading, modern-style artillery piece I've always dreamed of but couldn't have because of the NFA 34 Law and the fact that a powder-burner of that type would be classified as a DD.

    I've decided to patteren the piece after a US M101 105mm howitzer, at roughly 3/4 scale. I've decided the bore will be 73mm, which is just a hair bigger than the OD of 2.5-in PVC. I found a special air compressor that will deliver 420 PSI, and my plans so far include a reservoir of about 0.75 cubic feet and a bore of 31 calibers (a little longer than scale, but I know the longer the better with pneumatics). I will fill the front ends of the PVC shells with cement, and include a ballistically-friendly conical nose protruding from the end, which I hope will drag-stabilize. I will use either a full-port high-pressure 2.5-inch ball valve or a 3-inch high-performance butterfly valve as the firing valve. The valve would be yanked-open by a powerful spring and would be held closed by a simple catch hooked to a lanyard. The main differnce between this version and my test apparatus is that the reservoir and barrel won't be in-line – the reservoir will now be laid under the barrel, like a giant Farco (which is my favorite airgun – I'll tell you about that some other time). The air will now have to turn 180 degrees to enter the bore. Anyway, with more than double the pressure, and over twice the bore cross-sectional area, I am hoping to achieve 8,000-10,000 ft-lbs with a 2.5 pound shell (up to 500 FPS). I'm also hoping to achieve a maximum range of nearly one mile (for when I go up the mountains to my friends BIG place).

    Anyway, do you see any major flaws in my appraoch? I will send photos when it is done (if it works well). It will be several months yet, but I'm very excited.

    Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

    Steve S.

  56. Steve S.,

    Welcome to the blog and here are my comments. Are you aware of Cecil Whiteside's "Largest BB Gun in the World"? It's a near full-scale towed artillery piece that shoots cement-filled soda cans farther than a mile. I featured in is "Airgun Illustrated" magazine and Cecil has brought it to the Roanoke airgun show several times to display.

    Your idea will work, and has already been done. For lighter ammo that doesn't do as much damage, Cecil uses tennis balls. I have seen the gun shoot them out of sight, which was over 500 yards.


  57. When will you do a full review of the new version of the FX T12 Whisper with the twist steel barrel? I know Pyramyd doesn't have it but the early reports sure do look nice. Would be great to see reality in your testing.

    Then, the newer shrouded offerings by Evanix. They look good and have a ton of power. Quiet rifles with power… how about it?

  58. Tom,

    Would the Leapers 5th Gen 4-16x50AO or Leapers 5th Gen 6-24×50 AO Varmint scope fit on the Bronco?

    I couldn't tell from the picture how much clearance was left after you mounted the 3-9×40 AO scope.

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