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Education / Training Single mom teaches children to shoot – Part 1

Single mom teaches children to shoot – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Update on Tom/B.B.: The doctor in charge of Tom’s case says he’s healthy enough to go home shortly. They’ll be tying up some loose ends over the next few days.

B.B. wrote today’s blog.

Today’s blog was inspired by a reader named Cathy, who asked for help in the comment section of video No. 4. She has twin 7-year-old boys who want to learn how to shoot. I wanted to answer her and all the other single moms who are in the same situation. However, the info I’m providing is applicable to anyone who wants to teach kids to shoot. There’s a lot to this, so this is going to be a multi-part series.

Before we launch into how to do this, let’s take a moment. You need to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. And, your kids do, too. What is there about shooting that interests you? Do you want your family to have a complete gun safety education? Are one or more of your children actually interested in shooting? Maybe another reason?

Shooting training cannot be over-estimated in value. The more education people have about guns in general, the safer they will be when handling them. Airguns make a wonderful entree into the world of shooting education. If one or more of your children are actually interested in learning to shoot, then you need to establish what kind of shooting they’re interested in because there are so many types. Target shooting is the most common and probably the one that brought them to this, but some kids want to learn to hunt. Each type of shooting requires a different type of education. And, in some cases, airguns may be entirely unsuited to training. For example, if your child wants to shoot international sporting clays, there’s no airgun that he can use for that endeavor. But, if you just want to put a hole in a piece of paper as close to the center as possible, then nothing is better than a pellet gun.

In many parts of the U.S., hunting is considered a really big deal. Some states make the opening day of the season an unofficial state holiday for schools. This has a tremendous attraction for teenage boys. And, if it’s the reason your child wants to shoot, then, once again, an airgun might be good to teach him safety and the basics, but you need to find a firearm instructor and get him enrolled in a hunter safety education course run by the NRA.

Once you establish why you want to shoot, you need to talk to your kids about the shooting sports. We talk so much about a driver’s license and the responsibility that it conveys upon a young person that gets one, but a firearm or airgun conveys similar responsibility with no age restrictions, and this is something that needs to be considered. Mistakes with firearms and airguns are simply not tolerable. There’s no going back when a mistake is made. Therefore, you, as the parent, will have to stay one step ahead of your kids during this education program.

There are so many kinds of safety to consider when shooting. But the main types with airguns are eye safety, range safety and gun-handling safety. For eye safety, everyone must wear approved safety glasses. The ones on Pyramyd Air’s website will do the job.

As far as range safety goes, I’ll describe in its entirety. And the same with gun-handling safety.

Range safety
A range is a place where you shoot. It can be formal or informal. It can have as few as one shooter or as many as several hundred. There’s no time to learn about range safety when you’re at the range. You have to know this before arrival.

Guns are always pointed down range, unless they’re unloaded and standing in approved gun racks at the rear of the range. Each firing point may have one gun that’s currently in use, and that gun has to be unloaded and pointed down range at all times until you start shooting. If the range has several people (and a parent with 2 kids would be 3 people), then there has to be someone in charge of the range. Everyone else using the range must follow the orders and instructions of the person running the range. However, every person on the range should be considered a deputy safety officer. Each of them being vigilant to keep the range safe at all times. Here are things to look for:

  1. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. This applies whether the gun is loaded or unloaded.
  2. Airguns unloaded and pointed down range.
  3. No handling of guns on the range while other people are forward of the firing line.
  4. Absolutely no clowning around.
  5. All ranges should follow the NRA’s basic 10 rules of gun-handling safety.

One final word on range safety. Long guns are much easier to control and monitor than handguns. So, if you have a handgun on the range, you need to be doubly aware of where it is at all times.

Something I like to do while training new shooters is to make them aware of the safety rules, deputize them as safety officers, and then violate a rule and see what they say. Most kids will figure out that this is a game and will really enjoy telling an adult what to do. If you can get them behind you like this, you’re going a long way toward safe gun handling.

Safe gun handling
This is the etiquette side of gun safety. The responsible shooter never picks up a gun without first asking permission of the owner. If they say NO for any reason, just back off and go somewhere else.

The first thing you do when picking up a gun is to unload it. If you don’t know how the gun works, ask the owner to unload it for you or to check that it’s unloaded. Next, be conscious of where the muzzle points at all times. Do not swing a gun or pass a gun in such a way that the muzzle would point at any person at any time.

What caliber is it?
This blog posting is getting very long yet it’s only part 1, and I’ve only skimmed the surface to get you started. But, this one last subject I have to get out. It probably doesn’t fit here, but I don’t know where else to put it.

When Edith worked at a large online sporting goods retailer, a common question for the tech dept. was, “I just bought this gun. What caliber is it and what ammunition do I need for it?”

For gosh sakes, if you’re going to shoot a pellet gun, find out what caliber it is, find out what gets shot in it and what kind of power source it uses. Don’t order airguns without knowing exactly what they need in terms of ammunition and power source. It takes a little research, but the info is on the website. In fact, you’ll find more than a little info to answer all your questions. And, when you can’t find what you need, you have this blog.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

83 thoughts on “Single mom teaches children to shoot – Part 1”

  1. Please listen to what BB says in this blog. I know from past blogs that he has a lot of experience on gun ranges both in the army and in civilian life. He’s probably seen it all. This guy knows what he is talking about!!!

  2. Tom.

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better! You picked a great subject today, and made a step by step beginners guide. Thanks I’m going to print it out and make some signs for our range.

    I had no idea what I was getting into when I let you talk me into starting a field target club here:-) Directing a fun match is one thing, but this regional west coast contest is a big project. And I’m wacky enough to make it 3-1/2 days of shooting….

    “Oak Alley” Memorial Weekend Shootout – May 29th, 30th & 31st in Ashland, Oregon- AAFTA Grand Prix event & Triathlon event
    There will be six classes folks can compete in. (1) Open 20fpe PCP. (2) . International 12fpe PCP. (3). Piston Rifle. (4). Hunter. (5). Pistol (maybe scoped and unscoped) (6). Bench Rest.

    Bench Rest doesn’t seem to fit into the scoring, so, I will leave it out of the Triathlon. That leaves you five classes, maybe six if enough pistol shooters show up in both open and scoped, to pick at least three classes to have your score added in to compete in the Triathlon. You could shoot all five classes and only your three best scores will count. Each event, except Bench Rest, will have a possible score of 45 times two days. So, the best Triathlon score would be 270.

    In order to make this possible, I’m having two chances on Sat. and Sun. for the rifle events. First time will be at 7:00 am with sight in open at 6:00am, safety meeting at 6:45 on both days. Then second chance same day will be at 11:00am. That should give a little, (very little), break for the ones who are shooting the course twice that day. The pistol finals or Bench Rest first round will be on Sat. & Sun. afternoons at 4:00pm, so that would be three events in one day at least on Saturday for the Triathlon competitor.

    Friday afternoon “Sun Down” Pistol Field Target Shoot.

    Register by 2:00 pm Friday 29th in person or by email in advance. $10 covers this event and Saturday’s Pistols finals, or $35 (before May 20th $40 after), all events, all days, and free onsite camping.
    Sight in at 3:00 pm. Safety meeting 3:45. Meet starts at 4:00pm when the sun is in our eyes partners, so think about that!

    It’s going be 45 shots, one shot per target, three targets per lane, 15 lanes. 10 to 35 yards, ¾ to 1-1/2” kill zones. I will check for pistols over 20fpe. I’m going to try to make the targets fall with 3-4 ft lbs. on the paddle and not fall with 22fpe on the face plate. (wish me luck!)!

    This is an open class event, set your scopes at 12 power or less. If 4 or more come to shoot with open sites, we will score and award accordingly. Open class to me, means with no rules about hanging tanks or resting the pistol any which way you want. Use any support from BODY (not ground) to gun you want. Pinch the pistol grip in your knees, I don’t care. Barrels not over 15” please. I will force some standing shots with obstructions. Let’s NOT extend hardware to the hip for these standing shots.
    AWARDS in the following classes, if 4 or more shoot in a class.
    Awards will be after each event, so folks can leave if they have to.

    1st – 3rd. in Open PCP, Piston, Hunter, International PCP, and Bench Rest.

    1st-2nd in Pistol Iron/Red dot & Pistol Scoped.

    Saturday Morning-“Sun UP” – 45 shot, Rifle 1st round.

    There will be two times the course can be shot each day. All class shooters will have a chance to shoot the course in different classes at 7:00 am & 11:00am. Sight in open 1 hour before, and safety meeting will be 15 minutes before the meet.

    Sign IN then Sight in begins at 6:00 am. Safety meeting @ 6:45. Meet starts at 7:00 & 11:00 am.

    This is an open class event, (20 ft lbs or less, I’ll be checking so don’t be close please, we are at 2,700 ft. elevation.) 10-55 yards 3/8″ to 1-1/2″ kill zones. 45 shots, one shot per target, 3 targets per lane & 15 lanes. If 4 or more come to shoot in Piston, hunter, or international 12fpe no harness class, we will score and award accordingly. Again, I will force some kneeling and standing shots with
    obstructions. Otherwise shoot prone, sitting, kneeing or standing, whatever it takes to see the kill zone. On a kneeling shot, you have to have your gun supported by hand and arm is held at an angle, as in a standing offhand shot . Don’t forget the sun can be in your eyes morning too, and at the same time as targets are in the shade. Be ready, I’m planning a few tough ones.

    Saturday afternoon “Sun Down” Pistol Field Target finals Shoot.

    We will use the same rules and targets as Friday, just 45 more shots to decide the winners for the meet.
    Sight in at 3:00 pm. Safety meeting at 3:45. Meet starts at 4:00pm cowpokes!
    Pistol Field Target Awards after the match.
    ——————————————————————————— Sunday Morning, May 30th “Sun UP” 45 shot, Rifle Finals shoot.

    There will be two times the course can be shot each day. All class shooters will have a chance to shoot the course at 7:00 am, and if they choose to, they can later shoot the course in other classes a little later at 11:00 am.

    The second day finals 45 shot event, hopefully will be on a different set of targets I’m planning to set up in the creek canyon for up and down hill shots.

    Sunday afternoon, May 30th- Bench Rest 50 yards, 30 shots, 25 minutes?? Paper Shoot – Round One.


    Monday Morning, May 31th- Memorial Day morning “THANKS TO OUR VETERANS” Breakfast Starts with silent moments at 7:30am – Breakfast at 8 am. “free” for all… and that doesn’t mean food fight! 

    Monday Morning, May 31th
    Bench Rest Finals- Tim & LDs rules. – Round Two.

    The Bench Rest Awards will be after the match. Shoot off in case of a tie.
    Monday afternoon will be picnic and other fun stuff for kids and adults.

  3. Well, the previous comment was not intended for Edith specifically but in my haste to post I overlooked the name box. Not that Edith or any of us do not need reminded of safety concerns. A refresher course on the subject is always helpful.

  4. WackoWayne,
    I sure wish I lived closer to Ashland, for many reasons, but the main one would be to shoot at your range. Someday, I’d just like to ride out there and surprise you. I think I can hide an air rifle on my motorcycle.

      • Chuck,

        For the rifle field target course we set the steel targets at 10 to 55 yards with “kill zones”, or holes in the steel face plates, ranging from 3/8″ to 1-1/2″. The pellet must cleanly go through the hole and strike the paddle to make the target fall. If the pellet nicks the side of the hole, it hits the paddle at an angle and the target won’t fall.

        This can be a nightmare for the match director if some shooters think they made a clean hit and “wants/needs that point”, and so, wants to call a cold line and have the range master go check if the target is faulty. We finally learned to just mark it with a “P” for protest, and see if the next shooters make it fall, if others complain and no one makes it fall, we give the point to everyone, or no one.

        It’s important to test the targets and make sure they work for the low power guns on the long shots. One of our shooters is using an FWB 600 at 6fpe!!! He is making them fall at 52 yards. He’s my target tester!

        The pistol course is set from 10 to 35 yards with 3/4″ to 2″ kill zones. Folks can compete in 20fpe and under or 10fpe and under classes, scoped or open sights.

        Wacky Wayne
        Match Director,
        Ashland Air Rifle Range

        • Wayne,
          I have one of those squirrels on my 10m indoor range. Some day I’ll have to take it to the outdoor range and try it a 50 yds. I’m sure I’ll be mortified 🙂

  5. Sounds like fun, Wayne. Just a little too far away — for some reason I was thinking you were in Ashland, KY. That’s an easy drive froM NY. Oregun is a whole different matter.

    BB — Glad you’re almost out of the hospital. They’re awful places, though better than the alternative, I guess.

    I didn’t know the NRA’s 10 rules of gun safety, looking around online, they seem to be:

    1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
    2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
    3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
    4. Know your target and what is beyond.
    5. Know how to use the gun safely.
    6. Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
    7. Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.
    8. Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
    9. Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
    10 Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

    I much prefer Jeff Cooper’s 4 Rules:

    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

    • CB,

      I like the condensed rules too – thanks for posting both. Similarly, I was hoping for Ashland, NE, since I have in-laws in Omaha. There must be an Ashland in every state.

      – Orin

      • I was able to find 40 states with an Ashland. It is probably safe to assume there is an Ashland in every state. I don’t know how Wayne finds time to direct ranges in all of them.

  6. Im glad that our host is felling better,and areally helpfull blog for yung guys that s getting they first airgun and for all of us to not forget -safety first

  7. Hey this one is for Vince-becouse he had Yugo once as he say AND FOR ALL OF YOU IF YOU DID NOT KNOW:) -what is the link between car (yugo) and weapons-well it is factory.Brand name for the car was Crvena Zastava(red flag),for the weapons too because it was the same factory- one part was making the cars other weapons (air and fire)-all i heard is it was a good quality metal an sturdy guns you know the russian way.In NATO bombarding of Belgrade(Beograd) 1999 factory take a hit so i dont know do they work now,all i know that -yes they still made yugo and FIAT PUNTO

  8. BB and Edith:
    When I was a kid I did a lot of hospital time and this is what I found.
    The days I was admitted all the kids on the ward had fish&chips for tea except me because of any forthcoming ops.
    It didn’t matter how long I was in they never had fish&chips on the menu except on the days when I was discharged 🙁
    For an accurate forecast of your release from hospital BB it will probably be on the day you were looking forward to something good.
    Descent meal,bed bath,that pretty nurse coming back on shift. 🙂

    Teaching kids to shoot is a fine example of teaching discipline and responsibility as well.
    Kids will and do rise to the challenge and appreciate it.
    I found when doing contract driving for our local education dept that even the most troubled teenagers who lived very chaotic lives appreciated the discipline I demanded in my Taxi.
    It was not a one way street though,I gave them my trust in return and none of them let me down.
    They all handled the responsibility of being trusted admirably.

    I used to have a Skoda Estelle,in fact I had two over time.
    Skoda which is based in Czechoslovakia built Tanks for the Germans in WWII.
    Not the best tank but the most reliable in the German inventory by all counts.
    The car was as tough as old boots and there was not one part which could not be accessed or repaired by a half competent owner.
    When on holiday in Rovinj,Croatia I had my photo taken stood next to a cop car which was a Yugo.The coppers inside didn’t look very happy though 🙂
    This was in 1990 when Communist rule was still sort of in charge.

    • Croatia-Serbia:
      Yes indeed I am from the United Kingdom.
      The Limit for air rifles is 12ft pounds in this country 🙁
      Saying that though,thanks to the good folk on here I have learned that Power is not everything.
      Take BG Farmers article yesterday as an example.
      A BB gun can stir as much emotion and be as appreciated as even the most powerful PCP.

      Sorry if I confused you as to why the cops in the YUGO didn’t look happy.
      It wasn’t the car they were in but the fact they were getting their photo taken with me,the jerk English tourist 🙂

      • Yes i understand that! We here have old rock song for that “policija trenira strogoću”that means police is training how to be strict :)and there is a reason why i asked that -in Bosnia,Serbia and i think Slovenia they limited power to(i dont areally understand that feet per second stuf we here use more meter per second) to 175 m/s,only in Croatia still pass EVERY airgun or bow with no papirology.

  9. For the first gun it s best to buy some of competition airguns you know 175 m/s would be enaught speed(4,5 cal).There is several reasons it is easier to open is main and don t forget safety ON the gun is also important-here i would racomend something like Slavija 630 or 631 but where you are some of dianas

  10. Cathy, if you’re out there….

    I’m wondering if your biggest difficulty is going to be finding something suitably sized for your little fella’s. New guns? The Gamo Delta is the closest that comes to mind, but it might be a little hard to cock for them. I’m thinking that a Delta ‘de-tuned’ to about 350fps might be the ticket. Years ago Slavia used to make the models 618 and 618, and Diana the similar-sized Model 23, and they were all quite capable of sub-1″ accuracy at 10 yards. Excellent youth trainers. Unfortunately they seem to be relegated to the used market now.

    If you’re reading this blog, why don’t you chime in and say “Hi!”? We’d love to hear from you…

  11. Good morning everyone!

    Wayne, Now I know why you’ve been kinda absent and I thought it was because of work stuff. It was both work and “work” that was keeping you busy. Like Chuck and a whole bunch more of us I’d like to be there also. I’ll have to really read your post when I get back home.

    I will add a little gun safety when I get back home later today. It’s something I learned 52 or so years ago. Works extremely well with kids of all ages.

    Mr B.

    • Mr. B,
      Yes, I’m busy with both the raised bed business, and preparing for the major 4 day air gun contest at the end of the month. An AAFTA regional event that collects shooters scores for a Grand Prix Total is much different than the “Fun” shoots I’ve held so far. I’m enlarging the course for pistol field target, bench rest, and more targets in the rifle FT range too, so we can shoot only one shot per target. Most clubs have been shooting 2 shots per target, so that means half as many targets and lanes.

      From what I hear most international clubs shoot one shot per target, and 3 targets per lane. It’s much more difficult without the second follow up shot, after you see where that first one went. And you have to find the target and range and adjust twice as often.
      We have to time the shooters for these events too. So I had to by timers, as well as more targets, kite reels, dacron line, build more target boxes and clear and maintain more shooting lanes.

      And keep it posted on the yellow, so all can find it, and answer emails about registration.

      I’m tired just writing about it:-)

      And, now that I’ve offered the Triathlon, I have to compete in it!…. so now I have to practice pistol, 12fpe with #44, and 20fpe with USFT#6!

      It’s a good thing I’ve got lots of help:-)

      Wacky Wayne,
      Match Director,
      Ashland Air Rifle Range

  12. If I remember right, the first two rules were….
    “Keep that $$%%^^&&** M16 pointed down range”.
    “Don’t put that *&*&^%%$ M16 on full automatic”.


  13. Croatia-Serbia:
    This where I crash at the first hurdle on saying anything technical 🙂
    The 12Ft pounds does not relate to speed the pellet travels but the power that is developed by the rifle….I think.
    More far worthy guys than me on this site can give you the full explanation as to how one relates to the other.
    In fact I would also be most interested to know what an average 12ft pound rifle firing an average pellet will do in terms of speed?
    Just to see what I am missing out on fella’s,you understand 🙂

  14. DaveUK:

    I’ve found my Gamo CFX (.177 cal) to run very close to that 12ftlbs limit when I shoot H&N field target Trophies. 8.64 grn – 790 FPS = 11.98 ftlbs.

    Other pellets run just a bit over the 12ftlbs mark, i.e. the crow magnums run over 13 and the Beeman Field Target Specials (same as H&N field target specials) run just over 12 @ 12.11 ftlbs.

    I’m sure you all know that PyramydAir has a great calculator on their site where you can get the formula or plug in the values and get the foot pounds for whatever you are shooting. But just in case, here is the link: /article/What_is_Muzzle_Energy_August_2003/5



    • PowerMacVT,
      Thank you sir,I have done some number crunching.
      Not very precise I am afraid because although I know the grain of .22 pellet(Thanks PA) I have assumed the poundage to be our max limit for want of any other figure.
      I have no chrono,scales,or believe it or not,a bleedin calculator with a square root facility.
      Never mind this is what came back.
      12×450240 divided by 12.65 pressing the square root on my brothers calculator over the phone in Devon the figure is, 653.53 feet per second.
      I know that will be a ball park figure,what with no precise data on my rifle.
      However it is nice to know roughly where I stand 🙁
      Thank you again.

  15. Dave that s why we have our experts here :)!My diana 34 22 cal(5.5) classic speed is 210 m/s and diana mod 31 is also 210 m/s now i read that it can deliver 800 fps -No way! then i find it s high 500fps mid 600 fps then again i find it s 740fps and i am confused….okay it depends from pellet to pellet but what is a min and max fps can 34 deliver???Thank you. ps. help Dave i kinda would like to know that too

    • Croatia-Serbia,

      The foot pound calculator that someone provided you above is easy IF you have a chronograph to plug in your fps (feet per second) into the formula. If you don’t have a chronograph you can still very closely calculate the fps in your gun. Use this formula:


      You must use the target that is linked to the left. You must also fill out the correct bc (ballistic coefficient) for the pellet you are using. At the top of the page I gave you a link to there are “bc sources” to obtain this number for the type of pellet you’re using. Hope this helps.


  16. Rick,
    I ran across this accidentally a few months back:
    I found it pretty useful, although I am not sure why PA does not have it more visible…

  17. For most purposes, the manual supplied with most airguns will give you about everything you need to know about safe operation and proper maintenance.

    As an example, you can download and read the manual for the Red Ryder. They cover pretty much the same things that any other manufacturer is going to say, with a few exceptions as pertain to a specific model of gun.

    They cover everything they can think of to help prevent law siuts that stem from ignorant or downright stupid acts that result in injury or property damage.


  18. With my two boys who are six and nine now, I wanted them to learn the basics of responsible gun handling from me and not the playstation, or in the school yard. They initally wanted to learn to shoot because I was shooting, and children like to emulate adults and spend time with them. They also will especially like to hit the target with a gun that behaves just like Dad’s. Also if you have any guns in your house, it’s your responsibility make your children aware of the fact that they could be dangerous if mis-handled, just like any number of other things commonly in the home, that could be dangerous.
    As to guns suitable for training, I started with my QB-78 from a bench rested position, and I used a scope, and real paper targets. This was after a short talk on sight picture, and how not to point the gun anywhere except down range. Kids will get the part about the cross hairs on the center dot idea real quick. My kids were getting groups within the first fill of CO2 in the gun ,and hitting small reactive targets easily shortly afterwards. They also displayed safe gun handling from the get go because they didn’t struggle to make the gun ready for firing, and the gun being rested ,allowed them to consentrate on sight picture and not be struggling with the weight or fit of the piece. In my opinion a spring airgun of any kind is a poor choice for teaching young children initial shooting techinques. The recoil upon firing , and the fact that most kids will not be able to safely cock them , precludes them in my book for inital training. I chose the CO 2 powered QB, because it is cheap, (under $100 bucks with a scope). It also has a wooden stock which can be shortened easily, has no recoil, is a single shot bolt action that is similar to the .22RF firearms type, and could be scoped. It can also be used for short range pesting , as it has the power to do so humanely. They can grow with it, as it is adult oriented. The Crosman 1760 or 2260 would also be a very good choice. For a little more money I would recomend their steel breech version if you could afford it. The Crosman also has the advantage of using only one Co2 cartridge to achieve the same power and number of shots.
    After learning these basics my boys now have their own BB guns. They keep them in their rooms stored safely in a gun rack, but are only allowed to shoot with my supervision. They so far ,have not violated this rule. They know that there would be severe consequences for doing so. Malfunctions in behavior are not tolerated here, and they know that! My oldest has a second hand Gamo Recon and a Daisy 880, that he is strong enough to cock safely now. He is able to make hits with these and is shooting off hand and at ranges up to 25 yards. They are both interested in trying other types of pellet guns and are becoming aware of the handling differences. Last nite we played a game with the 880 where we started with a small plastic pill bottle at 10 meters and rolled it towards the 25 yard backstop with no misses. A miss and you lost your turn to the next guy. It’s gratifying to me see them make hits, and know that they were paying attention.

  19. Alan L.:
    Lead round balls cannot be picked up and held by the magnetic feeding mechanism found in almost all BB guns made now. However , I have used .177 lead RB in my Crosman model 357 clips and they will work ,but are less accurate than pellets.

  20. B.B., great post. I’m so glad that the single mom is getting the attention she deserves with such a fine and broadly applicable question. On the subject of safety, my big insight (which I think is somewhere under the NRA’s 10 rules) is that you not only want to control the gun, but you want to devote equal attention to the ammunition. Without ammo, the gun is just an inert hunk of metal. All my ammo is safely packed away except for the moment when it is in the gun and fired off (I think that’s another of the NRA’s 10 rules). Of course if you are learning to hunt or train for self-defense, it gets more complicated, but for target shooting and learning to shoot, the system works well and is almost foolproof.

    Incidentally, my short answer to the original question was Daisy 499 and Bronco or IZH 61.

    The subject here reminds me of CowboyStar Dad’s excellent comment yesterday which I wanted to reply to but was foiled by the blogging software. Anyway, I can identify with the father/son relationship. Over the year’s my Dad would mention an interest in guns like shooting our Winchester 1894 or buying a Glock, but I was not in a position to help him out (even coming down strongly against guns at the time). Now, I’m wondering if what could have been spread out over the years will have the same effect right now. The Single Six is not the only surprise he will be getting when I show up next month. Insofar as guns can increase the savor of individual moments like this, they must be good. Single mom take note. 🙂 You may want to go shooting with your kids.

    PeteZ, well I guess the Raab’s can shoot a lick. And I guess Mrs. Raab with her Distinguished ranking and Nathan Hale trophy is one version of the ideal shooting woman! Clint Fowler, my M1 guru, won a Nathan Hale trophy, and I’m glad he built my gun. Share the wealth and pass on a few tips from the masters if you can. 🙂 That would make for an interesting guest blog to hear how the pros have changed your shooting.

    Regarding BOB, thanks for the feedback. The answer I found is that BOB stands for Bolt Over Base. It’s when the bolt is advanced so as to cover a cartridge and prevent if from feeding. It’s why my Savage was not feeding before I learned how to retract the bolt completely and also appears in many gun tests of semi-autos. I don’t know that it has any relevance to any airgun powerplant. I’ve seen exactly two references to this phenomenon so it’s not just one person’s creation but I like the other suggestions better.

    Croatia-Serbia, does the Yugo car have anything to do with the Yugo M48? I’ve sometimes thought that this would be the vintage Mauser I would get if I decided to have one.

    • In fact i dont know what they ment when they named Yugo M48 but i think that is probably more likely ( 1948 FIRST WAS MADE) but i suspect that name is root of name of former YUGOSLAVIJA that was then yust formed after WW2-and yes it is based on german MAUSER

  21. BG_Farmer,

    Re recommendation on a Disco:

    First, thanks for the recommendation – I know that it took a lot for you to recommend a PCP! I had considered it, and I like the price of the combo (I have no PCP gear yet, so need the pump), but I would need to get a TKO LDC for my use indoors, as well as outdoors for that matter. With the LDC it is still a great cost package, but I worry about the LDC here in MI. I figure I am better off getting a fully shrouded PCP so that I don’t have to worry about it, thus the Marauder is the most cost effective choice. Of course, I would love to get the Air Arms S410, but that is a whole other budget level altogether. The easy power adjustment is a great feature given my use.

    Alan in MI

    • Alan in MI,
      I forgot Michigan’s hardcore stance on things. Even here, I would have the same reluctance to install some devices. The Marauder does sound like a good choice, especially for your target work, and it has plenty of power for other stuff as well. Its just a “tiny bit more” in the eyes or rich marketing guys:).

      Regarding my resistance to PCP’s — mainly its because I’m cheap and lazy, so take my position with a grain of salt: in my situation a .22LR (+ other goodies) does everything a PCP can do for hunting and varmint control, and I would only buy a PCP if it was significantly quieter, thus allowing me to practice/play more without bothering anybody. In that case, the springers work just fine and they are already bought:).

  22. Good afternoon
    I have a marauder .177 with around 5000 shots through it and it still works great. It’s one of the most accurate rifles I have ever shot. The other day the bolt handle fell off, I contacked crosman on there webstie and in two days they shipped me a new one free of charge. What great service!

  23. Edith,
    So glad to hear Tom is doing better. The Lord was getting lots of prayer requests and he seems to have heard the outcry.

    Have a blog enhancement request. Would like to have an option for lager text. Old eyes you know.

    The CONT+ tool makes it larger but then you have to scroll left and right to see it all.

  24. Mr B.

    I have a question for you, and any other muzzle-loadin’, lead ball usin’, black powder users. In yesterday’s post you stated that a round lead ball benefits from the spin imparted by rifling.

    On the other hand, the worlds most accurate BB rifle is the smooth-bore Daisy 499. Does a spin put on a BB not improve accuracy? I understand that a steel BB will wear away at the rifling of a steel barrel, and that the BB does not quite fit the barrel the same as a pellet, nevertheless– some spin is better than nothing, is it not?

    To be brief, (HA! too late) I have read many times that “a gun that can shoot pellets and BBs will be a compromise for both.”

    Before I bought the wire-stock Daisy, which will not be used, I have never owned a BB gun, not even the venerable Red Ryder. (Kevin is probably rolling his eyes and shaking his head and thinking “no wonder!”) I have been itching for a BB gun lately. I always thought that something like the Crosman 2100b or the Daisy 880 would be the ideal BB gun. Please enlighten me.

    • SlingingLead,

      I just bought a couple of tins of the H&N copper coated 4.5 mm lead balls and I intend to shoot them out of my rifles. I couldn’t find the graphite coated lead balls except in Europe. I know there was an outcry to not shoot steel bb’s out of rifles, but maybe these are ok?


      • AlanL,

        I spoke to AirForce Airguns earlier this year, and they do not recommend shooting copper-coated pellets in their guns, as they say that a copper residue is left in the bore. I’ve not heard anything similar to this from any other manufacturer.

        AirForce discovered this issue when people complained that their rifles started shooting inaccurately. When the guns were sent in for repair, they noticed the copper in the bore. The barrels were cleaned and tested with lead pellets, at which time they shot accurately again. Therefore, whenever someone calls to say their gun has started to shoot inaccurately, the first thing AirForce asks is if they’ve been shooting copper-coated pellets. Most often, that’s been the case, and the gun shoots better after removing the fouling and using only lead pellets.


  25. Hi Edith,

    On the Video page of Pyramyd’s site there is an invitation to email Paul Capello directly with questions. I just wanted to let you know that this does not work. I have never received a reply from Capello, much less answers to any question that I have sent him. Perhaps you should just delete the invitation.

    In Capello’s video review of the CO2-powered AF Condor he states that this is part one of a two part series and that he looks forward to doing a follow up test of the Condor on HPA on a future show. I emailed him to ask whether he had already done that, since I could not find it on the site. I really wanted to see this.


    • HK,
      It looks like not many of us have experience with the Mendozas. I think Wayne likes them and had the model you are asking about or something similar. Maybe he can see this and help you if he knows anything about that model; I know he’s been busy this week, so don’t give up yet.

        • HK,
          You didn’t do anything wrong; hope I didn’t give you that impression.

          First, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t feel ignored — I don’t think that’s what’s going on; its just a matter of luck finding someone with some Mendoza experience (cmp’d to RWS for example). Second, another message related to your question pops up in the reader that many of us use, so that there’s a better chance of someone with something to say seeing it:).

  26. Slinginglead: Yes, a RB does benifit from rifling, slow rifling. The difference between a BB gun and the muzzle loader is that the BB is steel and doesn’t take the rifling as does a snug fitting patched, lead in RB. Also, the reason a 880 or similar is a compromise is that the BB is smaller than the bore. It is bouncing down the bore, skidding really. The 499 shoots better because the shot tube matches the dia of the BB more closely than other BB guns . Also in a firearm, the ball is upset by the ignition of the charge of black powder and this causes the ball to bite into the rifling ,better imparting spin. In a low powered BB gun there is no such upset, and the steel BB cannot bit into the rifling if it does exist.

    • Robert,

      That was a very interesting, informative comment. What do you say to the H&N copper-plated precision lead balls? They come in sizes from 4.3 mm to 4.55 mm.


      • Alan,

        The copper plating will be very thin. On a break-barrel springer you’d jam the ball in the breech which would cause the barrel’s rifling to cut through the copper into the lead. Basically I’d assume that the only purpose of the copper is to keep the lead from oxidizing over time.


        • Herb,
          You’re probably right; if its anything like .22LR bullets — “copper wash” is more properly descriptive. I don’t think it has any effect except making and keeping the bullet attractive to the consumer:).

  27. Another thing about RB. If you take the lead RB and fire it without a patch, you will find that it will be quite possible to get accuracy approaching that of the patched RB in the same gun. I have fired .445 dia RB without a patch in a gun meant to shoot a .440 dia RB with a patch and gotten similar accuracy. It’s all about the projectile fitting the bore,& the twist of the rifling. I have muskets which are smooth bored ,and I can get reasonable groups if the right patch /ball combination is found. This is not as easy as it seems and often takes much experimentation to find the right recipe.

  28. Robert from Arcade

    Thank you for your reply. Everything you said makes perfect sense.

    I have been leaning toward a 499, but the one BB a time vs a multitude of BBs conveniently stored in the gun sends me into in an internal argument that never ends.

    I suppose $35 is not too much to risk for the RR in the meantime if I want a 499 ultimately.

    Thanks again.

  29. AlanL.: I my opinion ,in a air rifle, I would generally lean towards the larger size ball. I have found that if the RB falls to deeply into the bore accuracy will be poor compared to pellets of any kind. The RB has to be close to the source of propulsion, in this case air. You could experiment by shooting them and catching the spent ball in wool, or water and see how they took the rifling. Also ease of loading and accuracy would have to be evaluated on an individual basis.

    • Tighter does seem to be better in both smooth and rifled barrels. Its interesting that you had good luck with no patch in some cases — must have required a substantially larger charge? Even thin patches or slightly undersized balls give no end of accuracy problems.

      • Bg Farmer: No, I actually experimented with this, because I have had on ocassion to re-load fast while hunting. Sometimes a patch in a tight/dirty bore can be frustrating in a tense moment. A gun that has a ball stuck halfway down the bore is just a nice looking club. So I shot groups with both regular size RB without patches and larger ones that fit the bore better to see the difference. I always used the same charge.

        • BG Farmer : I would like to mention also that I agree with you, that poor /loose patch/ ball combos are a source of accuracy problems. However, I have also assembled RB loads for smokeless loads like in the .30-30 using buckshot and plain Hornady .310 dia ball, and gotten very good short range accuracy . Good enough for squirrels out to 40 yards or so.

        • Robert,
          Thanks, its good information to have. I’m working my way up to hunting with traditional ML, but first step is woods walking with minimal equipment. Been working on a load/technique that is “good enough” but loadable without short starter, range rod, etc.:). Incidentally, I’ve read of the ball without patch referred to as standard for quick follow-ups in the old days, e.g., the first shot alerted the bear to your position:).

  30. I’ve been using the lead rounds in my Crosman Shiloh six shooter for a couple of months. It has this PITA loading port with a short ramrod that tends to deform 1/2 the pellets loaded.
    I figured the lead rounds would be much easier to load (they are) plus it is a little more in keeping with the original the Shiloh is a copy of (1851 Navy) which would have used lead balls.
    At 10 metres (Canada, eh) the pellets would group about an inch…the lead rounds would double that. But the ease in loading is well worth it for what is a plinker.

  31. Slinginglead: Look around for a used Daisy Champion 99 BB gun from the 1970’s, if you desire a repeater. They often had tighter shot tubes, because as BB has mentioned , Jaycee’s shooting coaches swaped shot tubes until they got ones that were tighter. I have a 99 that my son has now and it is noticably more accurate than our other regular repeating BB guns.

  32. RWS 40:
    The muzzle brake in my RWS 40 rifle (discontinued) is attached to the barrel with an Allen screw, which presses directly on the barrel. Of course, the blueing gets scratched and it does not really hold well (muzzle brake falls off every so often). Has anyone else had the same experience? I am thinking of drilling a shallow, small hole in the side of the barrel so the allen screw can engage and never have to deal with this again.

    Of course I can just shoot without the muzzle brake, but I feel it helps me somewhat with accuracy. Any thoughts?

    Learning how to shoot:

    I was 13 when my older brother brought a brand new Slavia. My parents, my brother and I went to the backyard to try it. We placed a carboard box on a window sill, that overlooked an alley below, and had at it. We all thought this was a toy, and that the pellets would get lodged in the backof the box. After 6 or 7 shots, picked up the box,and surprise, surprise. Pellets of course went right through it. Fortunately, they all hit the side of the window leaving nice streaks on the new paint. I was fortunate though that this happened this way. Had my parents known the power of the rifle, they would have never let my brother buy it.


  33. AlanL

    Keep us informed of your round ball experiments. Copper is softer than steel, so I can’t see how it could hurt, but I don’t know for certain.

    I am also very interested in your impressions of the Marlin, when you finally get it.

    So many toys… so little time.

  34. I was just looking around out of curiosity and made the following observation:

    The Red Ryder 50th Anniversary Edition came out in 1988. so 1938 to 1988.

    The Red Ryder 70th Anniversary Edition came out in 2010. so 1940 to 2010.

    What gives? How much does Daisy milk these “limited anniversary editions?”

    When will the 75th Anniversary edition come out? 2013 or 2015?


    Thanks for the suggestion re: the Daisy 99. I suspect one finds these things only when not looking for them!

  35. Edith,
    Nothing to do with airgunning. Last night I installed Safari as my secondary browser, I really like it. Problem is I contacted Norton Security today and they told me that firewall will work but not “identity safe” features. Do you know of a program that stores your user id and passwords for different sites that works with Safari? That is what Norton does for me with a master login I can choose to save logins and passwords for each site I go to. Hope this makes sense.


  36. Okay I guess I missed something. Now our name is forced to read “XXXX says:” I guess just saying “From” was to easy. But to each his/her own can’t please everyone 😉

  37. Slinginglead: You are welcome! Your statement that you find such things when you are not looking for them, is part of the mind-set of serious gun collectors. The difference between having or not, is what you are able to do when such accidents occur.

  38. SL,

    In answer to your Daisy questions:

    I have two 880’s, one made in USA and one from China, and a late-production (now out of production) 856. The 856 was basically a simplified version of the 880.
    While the 880’s can shoot both pellets and BB’s, I only shoot pellets because of the danger of ruining the rifling. My 856 is pellet-only, but earlier versions of the 856 could also shoot BB’s as well.

    If you want to shoot BB’s, I suggest you get a gun with a smooth-bore barrel, like the Crosman 760 or the Daisy Red Ryder, Model 25, or the new Marlin saddle gun. The 760 can shoot either BB’s or pellets. The 760 has a large internal magazine that feeds BB’s into a secondary “ready use” magazine. It also has a five-shot “clip” for holding pellets that is advanced and indexed by hand, making it a pellet repeater, sort of. I have one 760, but so far have shot only pellets through it.

    As to the 1938 Red Ryder/Anniversary guns, yes, Daisy is milking it a bit. From what I found on the Daisy website, the Red Ryder was DESIGNED in 1938, but was not put into production and sale until 1940. So, you have two “sets” of potential anniversaries right there. That said, I have two Red Ryders, too. Both 1938B models (current production), one a 70th Anniversary Edition.

    Hope this helps.


  39. I just took delivery of a Savage MkII BV .22LR. The B stands for bull barrel and the V for varmint. Very pretty laminated wood work. Supposed to be a very accurate firearm. I haven’t had time to shoot it yet. Just playing with it (I hope dry fire is ok) it seems rather hard to cock.

    The resistance is while bringing the bolt handle up from the locked position. Once the handle is up it slides smooth and easy back and forth until time to move it down to lock it in again. I can see where the back of the handle rubs against the receiver frame on the way down. I assume this is to make a positive pressure to firmly seal the breech. I’m hoping that this will wear down some with use and become a little easier operate. Anyone have one of these and do you know what I’m talking about? Is yours hard to cock?

    Supposed to be nice tomorrow so I’ll take it out to the range.

    Any favorite ammo I should look for to begin accuracy testing?


    • Chuck,

      IIRC, dry firing a rim-fire is a no-no. The reason being that the firing pin on rim-fires will contact the bore if there is no cartridge to stop it seeing as it comes in at the very edge. If you do this enough times, then the pin could get peened or even might break from impacting the hard steel lip of the bore. Center fire guns don’t have this issue because their firing pin is centered in the bore and there’s nothing for it to impact when dry-firing. You can pick up snap-caps for a .22lr or just use an expended cartridge as a field-expedient.



    • Chuck,

      Its my favorite non-BP rifle.

      1) I wouldn’t dryfire it. It is supposed to be OK, but I’ve read about problems with peened chambers due to variations in manufacturing or some other reason. I think Savage says it is OK, but why risk it. Put a spent shell in the chamber and turn it each time to protect the chamber and the firing pin, if you must, and I know that Accutrigger feels good:).

      2) The cocking will wear in some naturally, I assume, but I tore my down partially and lubed it (and anything else that moved:)) with tiny amount of moly grease and it is really slick. Good time also to adjust and lube trigger. Default is lightest, but I turned my “up” just a little because it seemed a bit crisper that way, but it might just be that I had read too much on it:).

      3) My safety was a little “mushy” — had to bend spring just a bit, now it clicks perfectly; ignore if you don’t have that problem.

      4) Check the action screws and get them snug, but not enough to crush wood. Mine are fine, apparently, just being reasonably tight, but some people report needing exact torque settings. You probably have the later “e-receiver” version as I do; I think it might have fewer problems with the action screws.

      **WARNING: might void warranty**
      5) I fully free floated barrel before ever shooting: with action out, wrap some sandpaper (150 grit is good) around a dowel or broomhandle slightly bigger than barrel and make sure it clears barrel channel. I didn’t worry about resealing because the laminate is mostly glue, but you could put a thin coat of wipe-on poly in there after you check it out. This might void the warranty, though, so check the barrel clearance and/or shoot it first. Mine clears a business card, but a dollar bill is minimum, i.e., slide it between barrel and stock to make sure they aren’t touching.

      Also, the stock mounts are pretty low, so you will need at least one step higher in terms of rings than normal, i.e., low mounted small scope probably needs med. rings. My 42mm AO is using Weaver Quadlock Extra Highs (which are about like some other high mounts), for example. I might be able to get by with Highs, but I got burned on the mediums and the current ring height is working for me. There are other mount options, which are higher and allow lower rings, but mine seem fine, and the combination is holding a pretty large scope with no problems in several hundred (maybe even > 1000) shots.

      Due to having to order “good” ammo, I’ve been shooting mostly CCI minimag solids and Federal Automatch, along with some American Eagle solids, and various cheap hollowpoints. Group size is around 0.5″ with the CCI’s and the Automatch, sometimes better, rarely much worse in good conditions. SK Standard+, Wolf Match, and others shoot even better, from what I’ve been reading. Hope you have more local resources for finding that type of ammo than I do:).

      Check out the Savage section of http://www.rimfirecentral.com for all you might ever want to know. Hope that helps. Have fun — barring a lemon, you are going to love that rifle.

      • Bobby and BGF,
        Thanks for the Savage info. I have at least 6 gun stores within 15 miles of me to shop. One of them is the shop that damaged my CO2 bottle so I’ll be happy to not give them any business. We are supposed to have a huge Bass Pro Shop open in town by Nov 2011. Wonder how that’ll affect the smaller gun stores?

        My Ruger 10/22 and the Savage instructions say to use .22LR only. Does that exclude anything with the word mag in it?

        • Chuck,
          If you are referring to “Mini-Mags” (one of my favorites), they are “magnum” only in the sense that their velocity is slightly higher than standard — they were remarkable at one point in history, perhaps, but pretty mundane now. Not a problem in the BV. Real magnum .22’s (.22WRM? I’m dyslexic!) won’t fit. The hyper velocity .22LR’s (YellowJackets, Stingers, etc.) will probably fit, but they are not a great idea: too long for many chambers and not that accurate by most accounts. Try the Wolf Match Extra or SK Standard+ if you can find it, otherwise, I’ve yet to find anything (and I’ve got a stash of bulk .22’s:)) that shoots truly horribly in the BV. I don’t remember any break-in required, but it might be a good idea to shoot a box of relatively cheap but decent stuff first, just in case.

          We have some of the saddest gun stores in the world in my town (well, one nearby), and just one or maybe 2 (counting the antique gun shop) of the best as well not far away, but they don’t carry much ammo. I would be pleased to see a Bass Pro Shop open!

          • Chuck,

            that’s the .22 I have my eye on when I finally get around to buying a .22. Please let me have your impressions after shooting that Savage for a while.

            Fred PRoNJ

    • Chuck,

      As usual BG_Farmer is on top of this. I don’t own and have never owned a Savage MkII BV .22LR. Had similar problem with my Anschutz 1710 with a milled receiver. It was tight so it got lubed with toilz. Every 500 shots I relubed the bolt. Toilz can be found at http://www.championsbrand.com.

      I agree with BG Farmer that the wolf match target ammo is great for the cost. My Anschutz shoots well the the federal gold medal ultramatch and the cci green tag competition the best.


      • Kevin,
        I just saw you post, but couldn’t look at the site, so forgive me if this is frivolous. Since BB introduced me to M2M, I’ve tried/used it on everything, including the sear of a front-loader, and it out-lubricates and outlasts everything in cases of metal-to-metal contact in my experience, with the added benefit that there is so little “grease” that it doesn’t build up dust. I even put it on the slide of my old Glenfield 60, and it reduced the force to retract the bold an amazing amount over regular lubes in a very short time.

        Unfortunately, M2M seems to be gone with Beeman, but I bet JM’s moly is at least as good. One small jar lasts for years.

  40. Tonight I weighed 104 H&N Baracudas 10.65(?). Interestingly the are printed on the tin as being 10.65gr. Now you would think that since they went to the hundredths on their published weight they’d be close to that. Well, here’s my results.

    9.9gr – 1
    10.0gr – 17
    10.1gr – 48
    10.2gr – 37
    10.3gr – 1

    These, as expected from last night’s spot check, are not even close, either. I cross checked them with the Kodiacs I weighed last night and the Kodiacs still weigh the same as they did last night. So the scale is still calibrated ok. (Last night I checked calibration for the Kodiacs with the Crosman 10.5 I weight the night before and the calibration was still good.) I am 100% confident in the accuracy of the scale. It is not drifting.

    Hopefully I’ll get to shoot them tomorrow. I also will try to get the Kodiac target photo out with the Crosman target photo I put out the other day.


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