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Finding the good stuff

by B.B. Pelletier

Update on Tom/B.B.: They drained his cyst through a tube, an incredible amount of fluid exited his body and he’s now looking trimmer. In fact, he looks and feels 1,000% better than he did on the Tuesday he was discharged from his first hospitalization. Things are looking up, and I can’t stop smiling!

Today, I’m doing a guest blog. I’ve done them before and thought it was time I expressed myself again. B.B. has asked me to bring my laptop to his hospital room so he can dictate blogs to me. He was quite insistent about it, so I guess I better comply!

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

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.

Now, here’s my guest blog.

by Edith Gaylord

Have you ever read Pyramyd Air’s customer product reviews to find just the right product? If not, you may be missing out on some of the best gear out there. Sure, B.B. will tell you what he knows, and the readers of this blog will give you great advice based on their experiences. But we can’t test everything, and that’s where the customer reviews come in.


Are you reading the customer product reviews to find hidden airgunning treasures? Believe it or not, the Gamo Big Cat is one of them!

One of the best examples of a product that has gotten super reviews is the Gamo Big Cat 1200. B.B. did a 4-part blog on the Big Cat over a year ago because I told him it had 50 reviews and seemed to have hit a home run with almost every reviewer. While his review found some things that weren’t perfect, lots of airgunners didn’t agree with him. The customer reviews have now grown to 106…and they all still rave about this rifle, with the rating being 5 out of 5 stars. You won’t win a field target match with it, but it’s a great critter gitter and doesn’t appear to be overly fussy about hold or stuck on just one type of pellet. It’s a real bargain–and a lot of airgunners agree with that. While some reviewers would like to change the trigger, there are plenty of people who have no problem with the factory trigger.


It’s only $35.99, yet the Crosman C11 gets great reviews! Don’t have one? You’re missing out.

The Crosman C11 CO2 BB gun is another gun that proves you don’t have to spend a lot to have a lot of fun. There are 62 reviews for it, and it gets 5 out of 5 stars. While most people shoot it just for fun, others are using it to maintain firearm proficiency. The fact that this gun shoots steel BBs yet people are impressed with its accuracy says a lot. Oh, sure, there are other BB guns that shoot well, but they usually cost more.

I probably wouldn’t get away with this next item if B.B. were here, but he’s not–so I’ll do it: Crosman Premiers. Yes, the ones in the box are from one die lot. Yes, they’re great pellets. BUT, the Premiers in the tin are getting fantastic reviews from shooters! For instance, the .22 cal. Premier hollowpoints have 88 reviews and getting 4.5 out of 5 stars. You’re not going to use them for any type of competition, but they’re fine, accurate pellets that have seriously impressed airgunners. The .22 cal. Crosman Premiers in the box (the only Premiers B.B. endorses) have 40 reviews and also 4 out of 5 stars. I realize that the boxed Premiers are domes while the others are hollowpoints, but there are plenty of delighted shooters who think the Premiers in the tin are great pellets.


I’ve never found a person who didn’t like the TX200.

And, now, for something a little different: the TX200. B.B. lists this among his favorite guns. In fact, I believe it’s his favorite production springer of all time (even beating out the Beeman R1). There are plenty of other airgunners who agree, and the 34 customer reviews that give this gun 5 out of 5 stars are a testimony to its universal appeal. What you may not know is that this gun also ranks No. 1 with Pyramyd AIR employees. These are people who are exposed to hundreds of guns, yet the TX200 stands out as the top gun. In fact, I believe the TX200 has been in that top spot since the list of favorite employee products has been in existence. It’s really hard to knock a gun that does everything well.

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.

96 thoughts on “Finding the good stuff”

  1. Good Morning Guest Blogger,:)

    That's great news about Tom, but arn't there easier ways of becoming slimmer and trimer? However, I'm not one to talk. In my case though, it's a ice cream pot rather than the ubiquitous beer belly.

    Thank you for the reminder to check out PA's customer reviews. I for one don't check them out that much, unless I'm really looking for something.

    Mr B.

  2. Edith,
    Great news about Tom and I really hope he is 100% soon.
    I have a little bit of a rant about the pyramyd reviews…. I used to read them when I was first getting back into airgunning a few years ago but doesn't it seem odd that almost all of them are positive and hardly any negatives. I have tried to leave several reviews on the Webley Jaguar and all have been declined. I also tried to leave a couple reviews on another rifle and my negative got declined so I wrote a positive on the same rifle and it got accepted. Just makes me think that Pyramyd really doesonly post good reviews to push their products.

  3. David,

    I will say that I have posted reviews that recommend people not buy the product, but done in a balanced and fair way, and they were always posted. I have also seen many blunt, negative reviews on pellets that are posted.

    I think the broader issue is with the perspective of the reviewer – for example, a newbie may think that consitently hitting cans at 20 yards is a sign of great accuracy, and judge power by comparing it to a friend's Red Ryder they shot before . . . .

    I find many of the reviews seem to be more of a reflection of the enthusiasm of the person rather than a reflection of the product, and this clearly skews the average rating. I find it much more valuble to read the actual words rather than look at the number ratings.

    Alan in MI

  4. Edith…
    First, I'm glad Tom is feeling better again. I hope all these problems will stop once he gets his surgery done.

    It depends a lot how the reviews are written. Many don't really tell you anything. Others sound like they are impressed that they can shoot somewhere in the general direction of the target.
    I don't worry too much about little cosmetic things, or the stuff that is more "personal preference". I want to see a high percentage of reviews that indicate that a product delivers performance and a high degree of reliability. I also like to see products that don't have common complaint issues.
    There are some common complaints that are simply personal preference items…such as plastic triggers and plastic sights. As long as they are durable enough to do the job, then they are good enough.


  5. Chuck,

    I will go out on a limb and risk getting on Tom's dark side permanently, but… if you want a light, crisp, easy to cock, sweet-shooting springer, the Weihrauch HW30S beats the Air Venturi Bronco hands down. Of course, it is well over twice the price.


  6. About writing a review:

    Writing meaningful reviews is not as easy as some may believe. First, it requires the writer to be well versed on the product's performance, attributes and features. Then it requires the writer to put those observations in a brief, well written format. That's why Tom's reviews always get 4 stars.
    In fact, the star system is the best way to rate reviews so others can easily find those that are informative and useful. Unfortunately (and I'm as guilty as anyone) readers don't always express their opinions about a review. We can be our own best resource and take the time to rate reviews we read, so those that follow us can benefit from our experience and judgement.

  7. Edith

    Draining dirty fluids periodically is essential maintenance for any old clunker.

    Ahem, it is also good for brilliant, strapping, airgun blog writers.(don't wanna end up in the same boat with AlanL)


    Next time you would like to avoid being left alone on the trail, ride up to Miss Bikeshort's 7 o'clock and put your hand under the saddle ( the BIKE'S saddle, not hers!!) Presto. You hold her back and she won't be able to leave you behind. Did I just say behind? Dang this spring weather.

    Alternatively, you could quit slackin' with the motorcycles and ride your bike more often;^)

    It goes without saying, I would never use the above procedure in the manner described. That would be ungentlemanly, and completely against my nature. I only do it for cheating in bike races.

  8. RE: Reviews

    Read the long ones. It's hard to stretch "Me Like" out to five paragraphs.

    Gene's tip about reading the reviews of the reviews is also good.

  9. David, now that you mention it I've put quite a few reviews up on pyramydair.com, and the only one that ever got rejected was a review of Premier Pointed pellets. I rated them as being very poor because of the horrible accuracy I was getting out of them. The rejection was accompanied by a generic 'Your review may have been rejected because…' message that gave me NO indication as to why it was refused.

    With regards to boxed vs. tinned Premiers… in .177, the relative cost (pellets per dollar) is 54 vs. 61. Not much difference there. But in .22 – the relative costs are 27 vs. 56.

    So why are the prices similar in the smaller caliber, but so vastly different in the larger?

  10. Continued from yesterday' blog:

    RikiB – I'm with you buddy. When I ride my motorcycle, I wear a full coverage suit made by Aerostich with armor in the shoulders, knees and elbows along with a full coverage helmet. That girl, however, was on a bicycle, as was I.

    Slinging Lead – her boyfriend appeared much bigger than me so grabbing the saddle was not an option :). Actually, she appeared to be pretty big as well.

    Wayne – the speed differential was probably due to a 25 year difference in lungs, heart and legs.Lots of wear and tear on my stuff. I'm just not the climber I would like to be. However, I'm murder on descents, reaching 40 mph in shorts and t-shirt and a stupid little bicycle helmet. I'd never ride my motorcycles dressed like that!

    Fred PRoNJ

  11. Edith,

    So Tom wants a a laptop in the hospital to dictate blogs ?

    Tom is an incredible man. If his current health status puts a smile on on your face, I'd guess (and I am sure others will agree) you decide on that.

    Yeah we sure miss you Tom, but more than that we want you in the best shape you can be.


  12. Great good morning All.

    I do think it's hard for PA to post negative reviews. I think they need to be very well written and mixed in with the things one likes about the gun too.

    I liked the HW77 a little more than the TX200. Both are very good guns. If you like a springer at all. The HW77 fits me better and I like the trigger just a little more. But you sure see the TX200 a lot at the FT matches. Consider them both if your in the market for a fine spring gun.

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  13. Fred,

    Ok, I get the picture better now. You made the right choice, not "grabbing":-)

    I'm impressed you ride a bike at all! Good for you. Most likely, really good for you! Excellent workout while you enjoy the "scenery".. it's a good life.


    I've been intrigued by the QB78 and all the mods folks do to them. I think it was Carlos at the nationals that had cut one down into a field target pistol for the match. But I've not even held one, let alone shot one. Maybe, I should.

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  14. When I wrote the reviews about the Webley Jaguar that got rejected by Pyramyd I DID list several things that I DID like about the rifle. I listed that it was not twangy and power and accuracy was good… My only complaint was about the thin plastic stock that cracked in less than 100 shots and I thought it would be fair for pyramyd to list that weak spot on the Jaguar so others will be warned. It is no different than all the people talking about cracks on their Walther Hunter models that are posted in reviews. Weird how the same comapny ( Hatsan ) makes them and the Jaguar and also the Dasiy Powerline 1000. All models have the same reputation for their stocks being too thin and a lot of reviews have been done on several websites complaining about this.

  15. My rule of thumb is look at whether a reviewer has taken the time to list good and bad aspects. Reviews that are "favorable" with some minor (to the reviewer and me) annoyances are likely valid and useful. If the review is all good, probably its a kid or first-timer. If all-bad, its usually a grumpy guy or a know-it-all.

    More information is always better than less, but you have to be extremely critical when reading customer reviews.

    For example, need an accurate, powerful gun with nice wood stock — try the Red Ryder:)!

    The pellet reviews are the most amazing — pellets are criticized for being in screw-top tins, for not being in screw-top tins, for having signs of mold-flash but noting that it doesn't affect the accuracy, for being dirty with (gasp) "lead dust" (actually a graphite lubricant) and not being lubricated, etc.

    I would place reviews like the TX200 in the near useless category, just because no one wants the be the bonehead that doesn't get "it" or broke a TX.

  16. David,

    I read & approve/decline all gun reviews. Someone else takes care of the ammo & accy reviews. I know your reviews and declined them 3x. I have approved PLENTY of negative reviews. Sometimes, the things said in reviews are so bad, but I approve them anyway. Some people say there are no good things about a gun and then their negative comments run about 1000 words. No kidding! But…(you knew there was a "but" 🙂

    When a person provides a review that is mostly negative or very damaging to a product, the first thing I do is check to see if the person bought the gun from Pyramyd AIR. Buying products from the competition & then coming onto Pyramyd Air's site and damning the product isn't fair to Pyramyd AIR. Do you agree? If you have bad things to say about a product, why don't you post it on the site where you bought it? Maybe that merchant doesn't allow customer reviews. That's hardly Pyramyd Air's problem, nor is it Pyramyd Air's duty to approve a negative review for a gun they didn't sell you.

    Now, if you bought the gun from Pyramyd AIR but provided a different or bogus email address than the one you used to post your review, then chances are good that you did not show up as a purchaser of the product. If we check by first and/or last name instead of email address, then we might find you, but not all people provide their correct first/last names when doing their reviews, so that's one more way we can't verify your purchase.

    Keep in mind that you've got to say a bunch of really bad things in order for that review to be declined. I try to be fair. For instance, if someone writes a review that a Gamo gun's trigger stinks, I'll approve the review even if they didn't buy the gun from us. If someone complains that Pyramyd AIR gave them bad service, I'll verify that they really made a purchase from us, approve the review and then forward the info to customer service so they can call or email with a followup to see how they can make things right.

    However, if you bought a gun from someone else and write up a review that says this is the worst gun in the world, don't buy it, it'll break, it arrived broken, the safety doesn't work and the barrel is bent…well, I'm not going to approve that review. Besides the fact that you bought the gun from a competitor, it's also possible that they sent you a used or broken gun but refuse to accept a return because they have a no-return policy. Pyramyd AIR has a VERY liberal return policy, so you could have resolved your issue & gotten a refund if you'd bought it from us.

    I have more to write, but I'll end it here. I could go on & on but this is already too long.


  17. Vince

    You underestimate the irresistible allure of the [REJECT] stamp. If only I had such power. I would walk the earth, brandishing my rubber stamp, rejecting damn near everything. "Take that, I sit in judgement of you" is what I would say. I would run out of ink before lunch.

    The fact that Edith is the sole possessor of the [REJECT] stamp changes everything. Her post illuminates the intricacies and difficulties regarding evaluating evaluations.

    Some people, when dissatisfied, will complain endlessly, even if they have not pursued recourse.

    If satisfied they say nothing. That reminds me, I have some reviews to post.


    Boyfriend, shmoyfriend. Were they riding a TANDEM bicycle? If not, then she is fair game. He probably doesn't even own a motorcycle! BTW if there is a Mrs. FRED, you should be ashamed.


    Never had a QB78? Why not order a couple dozen? Only joking. My bitterness is matched only by my admiration.

    Someday, Mrs. Slinging Lead is bound to find my unsanctioned airgun stash. This will be a very dark day. When that day comes, my only response is likely to be, "Uh…uh.. WAYNE! and…uh…uh…uh..FRANK B!" Sorry to have to sell you guys out.

    Slinging Lead

  18. One more thing…you can't always determine the reviews by the stars. Most reviewers understand that 5 is good and 1 is bad. But, we had a guy write a glowing review about a gun but gave it only 1 star in each of the 3 categories. So, reading the actual reviews is the way to go. 99.9% of the time, the stars are correctly selected, but if there are just a couple reviews for a product and one of the reviewers didn't understand the star rating system, well that product will look bad star-wise.


  19. Slinging Lead, it appears that Edith didn't reject that review – because it was an AMMO review. But apparently she's accepted all my other reviews, which were on guns.

    But Edith, I'd like to say something about where the gun gets purchased… simple fact is that I CAN'T buy guns from pyramydair, since they don't ship to my home state. But that doesn't stop me from offering up my opinions on various models.

    I do know what you mean about the 'neg neg' reviews… that's like picking up a new car that happens to have a flat tire, then telling everyone that the handling stinks.

    Although my favorites are the ones who never even shot the gun – 'I opened the box, saw the cheap plastic sights and trigger and sent it back. The gun stinks!'. Perhaps my all-time fav is the guy on reviewcentre.com who panned a BB pistol that he never shot or even held – because some idiot was brandishing it in public and got himself shot by the police. His rationale was that it looked so real that it was unsafe.

  20. SL,
    You aren't a bonehead because you told the truth:). One of the world's foremost authorities on air rifles has made some highly critical remarks about the Tx200 design in the past, which is not to say that they aren't good, just not perfect. They are up to MkIII, now:).

    That's a good point. Add that some are "conservative" when it comes to giving stars, and others are "liberal", while still others are so analytical that they try to use the weighting of their stars to affect the total score, i.e. assign 5 when they would want to give just 4, etc.

    Also, beware reviews of products at the extremes of either price or popularity.

    Cheap is likely to attract people who break things in the process of learning or are over-exuberant with their new hobby. Sadly, there are quite a few really good products that get a bad name because they are a "first" rifle and never get checked out by more experienced shooters.

    Popular/unpopular is likely to have an element of self-fulfillment in it.

    Expensive may be overrated just because it is likely to be handled by more experienced users, who tend to break things less and work around minor issues so unconsciously that they no longer notice them, especially if there is an expectation of quality.

    I really liked your point about the Gamo. With that many good reviews in contrast to the almost universal censure of "experts" (try talking about your Gamo on the YF), it is undoubtedly filling a need well; the potential customer just needs to understand what his needs are while evaluating reviews.

  21. Slinging Lead,

    Yes, I own the gun REJECT stamp 🙂 I used to have to check on purchases every 30 or 40 reviews. Now, it's every 3-5 reviews. For instance, last Saturday night, I read 15 reviews & ALL were extremely negative and had to wait for verification that the product was purchased from us.

    So, Pyramyd Air's reviews are catching a lot of attention, but sometimes it's from people who have an ax to grind and they think they can come here to do it. They have to get past me…and you know that's not gonna happen!


  22. Edith

    Re: "Negative Reviews of Products"

    As I noted to you last week, I recently purchased a Colt 1911 from PA even though the price was slightly higher than several of the PA competitors. Why…? PA credibility and customer service.

    Turns out, the Colt pistol has some mfg. defects and misfire problems. I phoned PA yesterday, gave a brief description of the problem to Fernando, and he immediately gave me a return number, a pre-paid UPS label (by email) and they are sending another pistol to me in exchange(the Walther CP88 in this case).

    Guess I'm just saying that your comments about PA standing behind products is all true, and they actually care about their customers satisfaction. I'm guessing that PA would take to heart any negative product reviews and want to make it right if the gun was bought from them?

    Brian in Idaho

  23. Brian,

    Not only does Pyramyd AIR take to heart the negative reviews, they also pay attention to the product comments on this blog. For instance, the other day, someone posted a comment that the Air Venuri adapter was leaky or shoddy. I immediately sent that to several people at Pyramyd AIR to investigate & we're still evaluating that product to see if there really is something wrong or that can be improved.

    If the customer isn't happy, Pyramyd AIR isn't happy. That's the bottom line!


  24. BG Farmer

    re "Reviews"

    You are very correct about the quality of so many reviews out there in cyber-space.

    Often, you can tell by the wording and lack of punctuation that many reviewers are let's say… less than mature in age if not (also) in mindset. I recently read a review on the RWS Model 52 Rifle that went something like "this gun is awesome, I can't wait to try the super light pellets to get it supersonic, I will probably start shooting it tomorrow."

    1) What the heck does "awesome" mean? I thought that was what gen-X slackers at Starbucks say when they suck down a de-caf Latte?
    2) "get it supersonic" The rifle? The pellets? His intellect?
    3) "I will probably start shooting it tomorrow." Really!? You mean you are reviewing a rifle and giving it 5 stars and you have not even shot it?

    If this was a 16 yr old (or younger) person, I can understand all this. My guess is, it's a 29 yr old living in Mom's basement and shooting holes in her walls with air pistols while playing Madden 2010 on-line with his (out of work) buddies!

    Not stereotyping, just a hunch!

    As Edith said "read the reviews thoroughly" the star ratings and the context will tell all. Caveat Emptor.

    Brian in Idaho

  25. Edith,

    Do you know when PA is expecting more RWS pellet? I waited to long, it appears, to order more ammo.

    I suppose I could take the opportunity to try another brand, but I'm of the "ain't broke; don't fix" persuasion.


  26. Edith,

    Great news about Tom, except for the pain he had to go through. Sounds like they've found the underlying cause of his problems, and he will be good as new in no time.

    Interesting about the Gamo Big Cat. That was not on my radar. It reminds me of the frenzy about the Gamo CFX which then subsided. I appreciate very much the PA employee reviews as coming from a discriminating group of people. The uniform raves of the TX200 have my attention.

    Regarding reviews, I found it generally true online that you can't rely on any one review but in the aggregate, there can hardly fail to be some truth there.

    Regarding the plasma state of air in the firing process, I would be surprised if air even reaches that state. My understanding is that you only get plasma in really extreme temperatures in a laboratory or on the sun. Secondly, it is my suspicion that most things about an airgun's function can be found through energy calculations about what is going in and coming out without details of exactly what is going on in the middle. So, I doubt that a plasma state, if it exists, is all that important, but I would be interested in hearing more.

    On the subject of bikes, I just had pay 200 clams to replace a rear wheel with broken spokes a year after I purchased it. My riding is very benign on well-maintained bike paths, so I can't imagine the expense of riding a bike really hard.

    Wayne, are we about to see the official opening of the Ashland Air Rifle Range?


  27. Never mind,

    If you click the "Preorder" button it tells you the estimated date is 5/14/2010, rather longer off than I can stand unless I stop shooting. ;-(


  28. Edith…
    I have purchased a lot of things from PA, but I don't think I have written reviews on more than just a couple things.
    Most of the things already had a lot of reviews that echoed my thoughts, so no real point adding to the list.

    Have been just a few parts mixups, but they handled the problems promptly. A couple of them were not PA fault at all…wrong label from the factory, or defective from the factory….and they were rare defects not expected from those companies.

    So no complaints about PA.

    I also think that it may be better to order around the middle of the week when they are not rushed so much.


  29. I completely applaud Edith for her criteria for posting reviews.
    Ohhhh…I just went through this with someone on 'the other' forum I frequent (which is Canadian…which I am).
    They 'reviewed' the Avanti 853c and gave it a poor review because the fit and finish out of the box was not up to their expectation.
    Hadn't fired a shot through it, but claimed it wasn't worth the $300.
    When I pointed out that one buys this gun for its accuracy, not it's looks their response basically was 'everyone needs to know how you feel when you open the box'.
    CowBoyStar Dad
    p.s. glad Tom is feeling better, though he'd better watch out…Edith moderates a damn fine blog herself!!

  30. Interesting about the Gamo Big Cat. It was not on my radar either. I started reading the reviews and based on them thought that I should get an upgraded scope, mount and trigger. It was then that I realized that the cost would be almost that of a RWS 34 striker combo. Still $50 less but close enough for me to think that there is real value in the 34. Just thinking out loud…

    Very interesting also to get a behind the scenes view of the review approval process. Thanks for sharing Edith.

    Hope B.B. is feeling better. Please give him my warmest regards.

  31. Interesting about the Gamo Big Cat. It was not on my radar either. I started reading the reviews and based on them thought that I should get an upgraded scope, mount and trigger. It was then that I realized that the cost would be almost that of a RWS 34 striker combo. Still $50 less but close enough for me to think that there is real value in the 34. Just thinking out loud…

    Very interesting also to get a behind the scenes view of the review approval process. Thanks for sharing Edith.

    Hope B.B. is feeling better. Please give him my warmest regards.

  32. Hi Edith,

    I am one of those who takes the reviews very seriously, and my purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by them. I read carefully, and "between the lines" in some cases.

    I also only post a review once I feel I can really opine intelligently on the item, and not upon opening the carton and getting that first brand new whiff.

    But in future I will make sure to include cats in all my reviews!!! Umm… "I hate this rifle, it's a dirty rotten no good flimsy piece of … but my cat loves to snuggle up with it, she really likes the feel of that cheap plastic stock!" 😉


    You are wrong about not posting your reviews. First, you are a very experienced airgunner and your opinions are valuable. Secondly, the newest reviews are posted at the top, so your reviews will carry weight, until over time they are displaced ever further down.

    Edith, if tweaking the software for the review posts is at all a possibility, I would suggest that those reviews that have been themselves rated as most useful by other customers be given greater prominence and kept near the top. That way the most valuable reviews (whether good, bad or indifferent) get the exposure that they deserve.

    Finally, hats off to you for all that you do– not only do you manage the website but also vet the reviews, take care of a dozen cats… and Tom!


  33. Matt61

    Your bike maintenance expense sounds VERY suspect. Derrick38 and I have heard this one a hundred times each. It is called JRA. 'Just Riding Along'.

    It goes something like this:

    "I was JUST RIDING ALONG on my $8000 downhill mountainbike with 8 inches of suspension travel down my driveway and I swerved around the newspaper. Suddenly, my bike frame broke in half, my cranks shattered and my rims tacoed, and my spokes shot out like porcupine quills."

    Broken spokes? Benign bike paths?
    Seven foot drops are not benign.

    Since you are a librarian, and a friend of the blog, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Derrick has to fix these things for a living so he might not be so generous.

    I can only guess that your spokes were improperly tensioned. I have broken a couple spokes on only a few occasions…and I was REALLY trying;^)

    Brian in Idaho

    Your post was…AWESOME!

    barista = pretentious coffee store clerk.

    As far as Starbucks is concerned, I would rather fill my mouth with coffee beans and 4 cups of boiling water, than drink their overpriced swill.

    RE: Reviews, Part II

    The Air Arms TX200 is accurate, smooth, and beautiful. It is worth saving up for a while. Plus, it is totally awesome.

  34. Matt61,

    I have you beaten. Last year, "just riding along", downhill, in excess of 25 mph, I hit a pothole. Thanks to incredible riding skills and a little luck, I stayed upright. Well maybe a little skill and a lot of luck. Only cost me $150 for a new front wheel. Two months later, I snagged another pothole. That one cost $200 for another new front wheel. This time, however, I insisted on a Shimano hub as while the rim wasn't bent, I put a notch in the wheels' outer bearing race! Beware of no-name, Chinese hubs which are common on department store bikes.

    Back to topic – I put more weight on the comments and reviews of this blog than I do on the comments and reviews on PA's website. I know of the expertise contained herein. When Vince, Wayne or some of the others cite a criticism, I sit up and take notice. Speaking of reviews, Slinging Lead, Edith and Derrick will like this one. Last year, I found a great buy from one of the on-line bicycle shops for tubes – 6 for $14. within 2 months,all six were history. 4valve failures (the cores all broke – too brittle) and two pinch flats. The Chinese tubes were paper thin and the valves were anodized, white metal made to look like brass.

    I wrote a review on that vendors' website saying, "don't buy these tubes". Not only didn't they publish my review but they dropped me from their e-mails! I don't understand it 🙂 Proving once again, you get what you pay for.

    Fred PRoNJ

  35. FRED

    I bought the same tubes!

    I wish I lived in New Jersey. I would love to become your bicycle mechanic. A freaking pothole? Do you know how many times I have gone ass over tea kettle, and sowed vast fields of scabs, with NO wheel damage?

    Once, in my youth, I ran into a curb full speed, drunk as a skunk, on my hardtail MB. The tube exploded spectacularly, but nary a dent to the wheel. I removed the tube, cut it at the puncture, and tied the two ends in a tight knot. You then have a very ugly tire tube that holds air. (two punctures is called a snake bite)

    A bent rim can easily be fixed with brute force and spoke tensioning. You can fix bent rims trailside by slamming them against a rock to get them close to true.

    If you are buying bicycles from Wallyworld and the like, then you get what you pay for. The people that put their bikes together, can't change the oil in their cars. It is better to spend a little more up front, and go to a specialist.

  36. Hi Edith,

    Tom raves, and others, rave about Beeman M2M moly grease, and yet PA no longer carries it.

    My question is, can I use just any "moly" grease, i.e., is there anything about the Beeman moly grease that is special to guns?


  37. All this talk about mountain bikes. The only rim problem I had with my Kona Fire Mountain bike was at an abrupt end to a trail I was unfamiliar with. About a 3ft drop to another trail, but I hit front end first on a jagged piece of volcanic rock fracturing the rim. Long walk back. Kona makes a nice solid bike, without $1000+ price tags. Wish I still had mine. X-wife took in divorce with everything else except my clothes and motorcycle (my lawyer was useless).

  38. Dang it!!!! I just got started lusting after Edith's TX200 and now AlanL has me lusting after his Weihrauch HW30S. Such is the life of an airgun addict. Anybody else got any airguns to lust after?

  39. Might be a little hard to get into mountain biking down here in SWGA. Back trails okay, mountains not in the area. Providence Canyons (Georgia's Little Grand Canyon) I don't believe allows biking. Stone Mountain quite a distance away.

  40. I hope I'm allowed to post this it is on the news here. IF NOT SOMEONE LET ME KNOW SO I CAN DELETE IT!

    WXFL Fox 31 report:
    The Albany City Commission voted today to suspend City Attorney Nathan Davis for three days without pay.

    Davis is being suspended for having a handgun and a large knife in his desk on city property. In a letter to the Albany City Commission dated April 5th, City Manager Al Lott stated that a gun and a large knife suitable for combat had been found in Davis' desk.

    Davis removed the weapons before Lott’s letter was sent, but Davis admitted that he did bring the weapons to work, stating that he didn't know whether or not it was illegal. There is currently nothing listed in the city's personnel manual about proper procedure for this type situation. City commissioners say they're updating that manual and will give this issue some consideration.

    This is Albany, Ga not New York


  41. tunnel engineer,

    I read this on the second review of the Air Venturi adapter on PA's review section of it:

    "Things I would have changed:Pressure is given in bars only. This is NOT a problem for my AA S410 Xtra Fac, as my read out on the gun is in Bar. If you need a dual readout you can easily replace the gauge."

    If you don't normally read in bars this would be a problem for you or at least an extra cost for the proper gauge.


  42. Victor, 'moly grease' (such as that sold for automotive CV joints) contains a few percent moly. Moly PASTE, on the other hand, is usually 60% or better moly solids, and thus a lot more expensive.

    The stuff I use is 70% moly, and I get it from tsmoly.com.

  43. Edith/Tom,

    Dang. I just barely got my belated glad-to-hear-things-are-better comment out there before things got all mucked up again. At least today is looking up from yesterday. Keep getting better, Tom.

    Today’s was a great blog, and I'm glad to know that the person who holds the key to the review approval process is not a whole committee of people. I’ve had two reviews rejected, and both reasons were explained in an e-mail, and were completely justifiable. The first one was actually my first PA review ever… on a Big Cat 1200 that I bought from Wal-Mart. I really was just trying to share information, but I can’t believe it didn't occur to me that PA might not want my criticism of another vendor’s product. The second was because I said something along the lines of a scope being so rugged that you could probably use it as a carry handle without affecting the zero. Obviously the claim was not meant to be taken at face value, but I can totally understand the safety/liability factor, and a new, impressionable airgunner might respond more literally. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little frustrated by the rejections, because I always put a lot of thought and time into my reviews, but I was glad that both denials came back with specific reasons.

    Like AlanL, my purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by reviews. So thank you for taking the extra time/effort to ensure the PA website is not flooded with drivel. Also, I really like the ability to comment on reviews. I don’t know if the feature was always there and I just missed it, or if it was a recent addition, but it seems to be increasing in popularity.

    – Orin

  44. AlanL,

    I like your idea about putting highest-rated (most useful) reviews at the top, similarly to how Amazon does it. The only concern might be that as manufacturers alter their product, for better or worse, those reviews might not be as indicative of the product as some of the newer ones that haven't received much feedback. A good example is the aforementioned Wal-Mart Big Cat 1200. The first one I bought, I loved, but something in the cocking linkage broke. I returned it and found out that the replacement was like a whole other gun: cheap, ugly GAMO scope and rings (instead of the less-cheap BSA’s that came with the original), stock that probably contained 30% less material than the original (making it flimsy and hollow feeling), and a new ugly plastic cap on the rear of the compression chamber. Also, there was a sticker covering the 1200 FPS etching that said 1200 FPS PBA, 1000 FPS Lead. Yes, a sticker. While both these guns shot the same, I would have rated the fit and finish on the replacement completely differently than I did the original. I’m rambling, but I guess the point I should be getting to is that reviews in order by date might reflect changes in manufacturing more accurately.

    – Orin

  45. Orin,

    If you wrote a comment that wasn't published because you mentioned another dealer, you can always hit REPLY to the email and tell them that you would like someone to delete the offending part and then approve the comment. I've done that before when asked by a customer. We don't edit reviews at all unless the customer emails us & asks us to do so.


  46. Edith,

    Oh, thanks. I didn't know that was an option. But hopefully it's a moot point. I don't plan on having any more reviews rejected, now that I know who to bribe. 🙂

    – Orin

  47. Being a former cross country runner, I used to train with mountain bike racers. I tried one race at Lutsen Ski resort…….I saw people jumping off cliffs, moguling through boulders and breaking front axels at full speed down a huge hill…then I remembered…I have no health insurance…the ambulences were filling up fast and that the foam helmet, plastic body guards and a pair of gloves were going to do nothing at full impact.

    Needless to say, I was ran off course, went down a steep embankment of trees, flipped my bike and landed in a creek. Even with the required protective cup, I could have sang suprano for a week.

    I had one freind had to get stitches in his head. One roommate dislocated his shoulder and another roommate, who broke his front hub going down hill, spained his knee. One roommate chickened out after he saw someone crash.

    Until Lutsen, We thought we pretty crazy, until we saw professional mountain bikers. Now they were crazy.

  48. Orin,

    You think you can bribe me? Next month, Tom & I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary, and during that time he's never found a way to bribe me to do anything. I am immune 🙂


  49. Edith,

    I do believe you are savvy enough to be unbribable, and after 28 years of marriage, I also have to believe Tom is smart enough not to try too hard. 🙂

    – Orin

  50. Orin
    I must agree that most recent reviews should be placed at the top. No one wants to purchase a product based on reviews, then find that the manufacturer had changed the product.

    Also on "reviews" I looked back on a negative review that I had provided, it was published (1 star review). Another reviewer gave it 1 star rating and praised the product. So I guess it really goes to show that you can not read the stars, read the review.

  51. Orin, I suspect that it's probably comparable. As for the price – Maccarri's is $8, but I don't know how much he's selling for that amount.

    The last time I bought moly paste was a few years back, and the prices seem to have gone up quite a bit back then.

  52. Slinging Lead,

    you're hired. Remember I'm not on a mountain bike with 40mm tires but a road bike with 23mm high pressure rubber (C700's). Do you do mail order? I'll be glad to go through you for parts and other goodies (I'm thinking of ordering a second Crank Bros clipless pedal assembly for my spare road bike). I like MB pedals and shoes over road shoes as they're so much easier to walk around in plus I like being able to get my foot out of the pedal at a stop. It's really embarrassing to come to a full stop and fall over because your feet are stuck in the pedal clips. Kind of like Arte Johnson in Laugh-In on that little tricycle.

    Apologies to the Blog for really going off-topic here.


    Fred PRoNJ

  53. Matt61,

    Well, the Ashland Air Rifle Range is not "OPEN" to the public. Not at this time anyway.

    We have events for folks who sign up for a contest. They have to sign a "release/hold harmless" form to shoot in the contest.

    Our club is a LLC, (limited liability company) so the members can come to the range and shoot when ever they want…

    ..otherwise, you have to join (buy in) .. buying in also lets you use the companies guns too, you check them out like a library, up to 90% of your investment..

    ..or just come to the events and sign the form… and bring your own air gun… (under 20fpe for contests)

    Wacky Wayne, Ashland Air Rifle Range

  54. Mountain biking, I did it for fun, maybe now it is just called trail riding (back then it was mountain biking, not racing). The one that amazes me is the BMX, especially in the youths. They must be so physically fit for those races, and extremely coordinated. I like watching the motorcycles, but to see these kids peddling it out is amazing.

  55. Bg farmer,

    You are too kind; you said “One of the world's foremost authorities on air rifles has made some highly critical remarks about the Tx200 design in the past”

    Anyway, did you get a package today? If so, let me know what you think.

    You said “if you want a light, crisp, easy to cock, sweet-shooting springer, the Weihrauch HW30S beats the Air Venturi Bronco hands down” you will now be known as “Captain Obvious”

    Remember, sell off that RWS stuff and get another HW along with an FX Cyclone, assuming you are flush with cash. In the end you will save $$$$$.

    Preview for next week’s Pacific showed flame throwers. Finally.

  56. Edith,
    Everyone has their price, sometimes they just don’t know what it is. Sounds like I should help Tom out. Personally, I relish a good bribe and I’m cheap too!

  57. rikib,

    I would encourage folks to form a LLC for any business venture. Being an employee in today's world is really sucking hind tit.

    Start your own online business.. get in now while there is still room.

    You'd be surprised how easy it is to make it work online. Google ad words can get your product or service seen for a low cost per sale… of course your product must satisfy customers… or your done.. real fast.. but if it does, your growing real fast!

    Wacky Wayne, MD. Ashland Air Rifle Range

  58. Volvo,

    Too kind? That was some of the best reading ever, but it would seem prudent to let the matter rest at this point:).

    You have mail re:package, imaginatively subject-titled, "The Package". On reflection, that may not have been a good idea, given the internet these days; hope a spam filter didn't eat it. Check your inbox. Short version, looks great, and there's a very happy little camper here. I'll resend and/or elaborate if you don't get my mail.

  59. Fred,
    My kid's bicycle was going through one of the cheap tubes a week at one point last summer, until the Walmart here re-stocked the better tubes. The bike itself wasn't bad at all (how much do you want to spend on a bike that will be outgrown in 2 years?), but the assembly needed a do-over and the rear tire (which didn't fit the rim too well) actually blew up in the tread area when he applied the breaks. Shoddy.

    When I was younger(and leaner), I rode a bike with 27×1@115psi: like riding steel rails, but it didn't take much to blow them:).

  60. Orin,

    You raise a very valid point. I too incline towards having the most recent reviews first, as timeliness may beat quality in terms of usefulness over time.


    How about this for a tweak: incorporate a "sort by" option that'll let us look at reviews by date, by rating (of the reviews themselves) and by rating (as per the reviews).


    Oh boy, that makes twice now I've come perilously close to skating off the edge of your love and admiration, uh, make that patience and compassion. Man, I need to stay on my toes around you! Have pity on the newbie for crying out loud!

    Chuck: Just buy the HW already!


  61. Slinging Lead,

    About 150 pounds ago, I used to ride a lot. It's not just the tubes that blow these days, but the glue for the patches (and the dang patches) too. When I rode my Koga Miyata in Germany (1983) I never had problems with patches and glue. Now I can't get 'em to stick.

    I still regret the Mercian frame in fluorescent purple that I never bought ($600 in 1977). I never saw such a good bike again. Instead I went for a Viscount, a tank that lasted me all through my college years until I gave it to a "friend" for safekeeping during the summer break.


  62. Wayne
    Definitely not interested in starting my own business! Even though I'm a retired disabled vet it seems like I don't have a moment of peace during the day with all our adopted pets. Well maybe we could open an animal shelter. Maybe that is why I'm on here so late at night, they all finally settle down.

  63. AlanL,

    It is true that I have tried to rush your training, while I have stood by when others have made similar faux pas in the past. I guess I see the potential in you to become a genuine airgun guy and I need to find a replacement for myself as quickly as possible.

  64. Volvo,

    Why? Where the heck are you going? This new job of yours gonna take take you from us or what?

    Get yourself appointed official pigeon shooter at the construction sites!

    Which reminds me, have you ever read the story at the beginning of the 7th edition of the Blue Book of Air Guns about shooting pigeons on the courthouse?


  65. RikiB,

    An LLC is also used for protection, anonymity, etc. For instance, you could start a “company” that specialized in caring for aging, cranky cats and dogs. You don't have to actually advertise or sell bonds, or even be available to the public. But if one of your pets bit somebody or tore up something valuable, there would be limitations on what the owner could go after you for (hence, "Limited Liability Company"). I can't remember all the particulars, but I'm pretty sure your primary residence would be protected. Essentially, the corporation takes the hit, not the person. Not that I'm trying to goad you out of (rough estimates) the $200-$300 it takes to start, the $125/yr it takes to maintain, or the $75 it takes to dissolve an LLC. But in certain cases, it makes sense.

    – Orin

  66. Edith,

    You mean you turned down a sick man? Wow, if Tom couldn't effectively play the hospital pity card, maybe I gave him too much credit. You're rock solid, woman!

    Ok, different tactic. How well do you hold up against groveling?

    – Orin

  67. Vince,

    Thanks for the info regarding moly grease. Before I saw your response, I went to AutoZone to check out what they had. They had a good selection of product with moly. I explained what I needed the grease for and they recommended …

    Lucus Semi-Synthetic Assembly Lube

    This contains "Zinc, Moly and other high pressure additives". This is suppose be an excellent rust inhibitor, good for long term storage, is compatible with all oils, and is super slick and tacky. It sounded good, and was what they recommened, so I bought it and tried it.

    I used it to lighten the trigger pull on my Gamo Compact. It definitely made a difference, as the unlubricated trigger was a bear to fight.

    I found that after applying this grease, I was better able to study what was going on during a shot and finally figured out the best hand control, placement, and alignment needed to squeeze the trigger straight back while allowing me to focus on my sight alignment throughout the shot. It's now much easier to consistently get a smooth shot off, and really follow-through.

    It wasn't just the weight of the trigger pull, but the apparent roughness of it that made it difficult to execute a good trigger squeeze.

    This gun has virtually no recoil, but because of the strain, I would sometimes see what appeared like recoil, and thus not being able to follow through.

    I'm finding that to really master a gun like this, you have to methodically solve various problems. In my case, I first had to take my Dremel tool and customize the grip. What a difference! I can better reach the trigger now, and it's much easier to hold the gun. The next thing was applying grease to both lighten and smoothen the trigger.

    After these two solutions, I found myself better able to analyze the mechanics of my execution. Now I just need more practice.

    I've drawn up my own targets using PowerPoint. I created a 23 foot equivalent of the official 10 meter air pistol target, as that's the length of my garage. I'm shooting much better now and can see great potential. Again, I just need more practice.


  68. Anyone know why gunbroker.com (auctions) has such high opening bids on their firearms. I mean no one places any bids, the opening bid prices can be almost $100 more than on line dealers. Occasionally you will see bids, but on something that started at maybe $99, but reserve is never met. Has anyone every dealt with these people?

  69. Victor
    Just wanted to let you know that on Crosman's website they have a variety of targets you can download for free. You may already know that, but thought I would pass it on just in case.

  70. Reviews : I would like to think, views written are true to fact and that even if negative would be a load to be posted. But likes been said that's not so and for "stars" shown, I take them or leave them. By the way, on TX 200 MK111 5 stars, I bought one a month ago, I'm speechless.

  71. rikib,

    Thanks, I saw them. The targets that I make for myself are for competition. In the case of 10 meter air-pistol, I create a scaled down version for a shorter distance. It's a mathematical equivalent of the official target, but more convenient in terms of space requirements.

    In fact, I make the targets with two sides; 5 bulls on the front side, and 4 bulls on the back. The bulls on the back are centered with respect to the open spaces on the front, so there's no conflict.

    As my practice at this point is just to master the fundamentals (I'm not keeping score yet), I shoot between 5 and 10 shots per bull, so I get between 45 and 90 shots per sheet.

    What I've learned thus far is that I've got a good tight wobble area, but my trigger squeeze and hand control need work. I can keep about 70% of my shots within the 9/10 ring, but still lose it on a few.

    I've only gotten back to practicing again this week after a very long layoff, and it's taken me 4 practice sessions, and the recent improvements to the gun, to get to this point. Hopefully it won't take me much more time to keep all shots within the 9 ring. Then I'll start keeping score. But for now, it's all about mastering the fundamentals again.

    Eventually I'd like to take this very inexpensive Gamo Compact air pistol into competition in a year or so, and show that respectable scores can be shot with it. There's no comparison between the Compact and the FWB that I used decades ago, but I think it's capable of shooting 380's out of 400 – At least in my case. I'm sure that others can shoot 390's. It definitely is accurate enough to hit tens without fail, in the right hands.

    Another improvement that I forgot to mention was the addition of weight. I concur with B.B. that the gun is too light at the front, so I added equipment grounding bar kits to both sides of the barrel. These are aluminum bars with screw holes on them. The kit comes with screws, so I can control the amount and distribution of the weight by adding as man screws as I need. The bars are attached to each side of the pistol with velcro.

    Once I master the hand control I probably won't need the weights. Well see.


  72. Rikib, with regards to gunbroker.com – heck, I AM one of those guys! One of the gunbroker guys, that is – not one of those guys who tries to sell Industry B3's for $60.

    I know what you mean – there are a LOT of guys out there trying to catch the occassional, unwary firearms enthusiast who doesn't know anything about the airgun market and who might buy something on a whim.

    But if you sort through all the trash listings like that, you occasssionally come across the genuine, reasonable auction item that generates some serious interest. Those are the ones with bids. Trouble is, I don't know if those auctions constitute more than 10-20% of the total auctions.

  73. Victor, any grease will improve things over the short term. The question really boils down to how well they hold up over the long term. Will it eventually get squished out of the way, requiring frequent reapplication? The high solid content in moly paste tends to get burnished into the metal, where it provides long-lasting lubrication.

    Many automotive greases are meant for applications where 1) the grease is 'captive', and 2) there is a lot of motion and heat that will insure that the grease keeps moving around in its captive space and find its way back to bearing surfaces. CV joints, wheel bearings, and U-joints come to mind.

    The stuff you got? Who knows? It may work fine. Hopefully you'll let us know how long it seems to last. But it also sounds like the trigger mating parts could use a little polishing work to lessen the friction and make it easier on the lube.

    Orin, I believe that the TS moly stuff is sold by weight. If the Maccarri stuff is 1.5 fl oz, that actually translates into something less than 1.5oz weight. Even if it's one-to-one, 1.5 oz for $8 translates into about $43 for 8 oz, or $83 per lb. So if you need a fair bit of it the TSmoly is cheaper, but not by that much.

    One thing that seems to work fairly well for me is my own mix of 'moly mud'… 1 part moly POWDER to 2 or 3 parts Mystic JT6 grease. Seems to do well on the insides of compression tubes, and it doesn't seem prone to dieselling. I suspect that it does a good job of clinging to surfaces where it can't really burn – but where it lubricates well. BUT PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS ANECDOTAL! I HAVE NO TESTING RESULTS TO BACK THIS UP!

  74. Vince,

    Thanks again for the useful info. You're point is well taken regarding to how well the grease stays. That is what I assumed was implied by the claim of being tacky. Of course, I'm sure there are degrees of tackyness.

    For now, I'll assume that what I bought works. If I sense that it's losing its effectiveness after over, say, a thousand shots (or some other extended period), then I'll try the paste.

    B.B. applied the Beeman molly grease to the Gamo Compact that he tested and found that its effect got better over time. This is the opposite of what you and I are concerned about with what I bought. Only time will tell. I wonder why PA no longer carries that moly grease.

    In any case, I'll order the past for future use. For now, I at least have something to show that real improvement to the trigger can be achieved with grease. That was well worth the effort.

    BTW, this Gamo Compact was the first target gun that I've bought in 30 years. With the few improvements that I've made, it's proving to be a very good starter air-pistol for the price.


  75. Victor, I know it was a typo, but the phrase "I'll order the past for future use" really strikes me in a strange way. It somehow sounds both profound and omnipotent. You're not a "Time Lord" by any chance, are you?

  76. Vince,

    Now that is very funny! No, my "Time Lord" days are long past me. However, it is an interesting notion. In the case of shooting, I stopped for around 33 years, but am in fact borrowing from my past for future goals. In that sense, we can in fact access our past for future use. So in a sense, our lives, through the dimension of memory, provide a two way path between path and future. It is an element of the fabric in each individuals"space-time" continuum. He-he 🙂


  77. Edith,

    I haven't been on the front page hear for a while, so I just read about Tom.

    Please tell Tom I wish him a speedy & full recovery, & that he is in my prayers.

    All my best wishes,

    Mike aka – The Big Bore Addict –

  78. Orin,

    FYI.. I have met Edith, & BELIEVE ME!

    When she says…

    "Groveling means nothing to me. I know how to stick to my guns :-)"



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