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Roundball accuracy in smoothbores

# Roundball accuracy in smoothbores

by B.B. Pelletier

I’m now back home. My surgery was successful, and I’m on the mend and on the road to complete health. While I’m tired, I feel better and have more energy than when I was in the hospital. I’ll be able to address some blog questions but not all. I’d sure appreciate any help our regular blog readers could give in answering some of the questions.

A fair question to ask is why roundballs are not as accurate in smoothbores as they are in rifles. While it may seem counterintuitive to most people that a spherical object could need stability in flight, in fact it does. When you spin a spherical object, you’re promoting stability by averaging the instability in the object. Here’s what I mean by that. When you spin a sphere, you set up an arbitrary north-south pole. And, whether or not the object is fully stabilized by this spin, it’s more stable than if it had no spin at all. That’s because you’re making the heavier and lighter parts of the sphere rotate around the spin axis.

Now, to be sure, there’ll be one spin axis that every sphere likes better than any other, but the probability of you finding that axis when loading a sphere into a rifle is quite small. The Earth isn’t stable. It precesses the axis around an arc of 22.1 to 24.5 degrees every 26,000 years.

Something probably closer to home, at least for those in the U.S., would me a major league baseball pitcher who throws a leather-covered spheroid in a certain way to make it do specific things. For example, if he rotates it fast around the axis of the seams, he creates a low-pressure area on one side of the baseball. That causes the baseball to move in a certain direction that we’ve come to call a curve ball. But, this same trick can be used on other axes to cancel drag; and when that happens, the pitcher throws a fast ball.

But this isn’t a lesson on the Earth or baseballs. We’re talking about round spherical objects shot from guns. What can you expect from them? Well, one thing we’ve recently learned from the unusual world of airsoft is how to throw a fast ball. I don’t mean a baseball-type fast ball, I mean a perfectly smooth spherical shape thrown as a fast ball. We simply stop the top of the ball from moving as it goes down the barrel, which makes the bottom of the ball spin upwards. The ball then goes straight much farther and doesn’t curve to the left or right. This is what hop-up does. But, we don’t have hop-up BB guns except for a few that are now being produce with the BAXS-type hop-up. While it may be interesting to pursue that technology in relation to BB accuracy, that’s not what I want to do in today’s report. I want to talk about what people have been doing all along to get an accurate smoothbore BB gun.

“The world’s most accurate BB gun” – the Daisy Avanti 499 Champion.

Back before the Daisy 499 came out, there were two other models that were used for the International BB Gun Championships. Both were Daisys, and one was the model 99 and the other was the model 299. While I’ve never owned a 299, I have owned a 99 and can tell you that it’s about as accurate as the recent Chinese-made Daisy No. 25 I tested, i.e., it could group 10 shots inside an inch at 15 feet. But, that falls far short of what we know is possible, so what’s made the difference?

Coaches used to run through their shot tubes and test each of them in their guns and return them to Daisy for other shot tubes when they wouldn’t hold a certain level of accuracy. This got to be so prevalent that Daisy caught on and figured out what they were doing was looking for the shot tubes that were the best fit to the BB. By “best fit,” I mean two things. They were the tightest and they were the most uniform. So, Daisy undertook the design of a radical new BB gun — the one that was to become famous at the “the world’s most accurate BB gun.”

The 499 is unique in that it’s one of the few BB guns that have been made in recent years as a single-shot. It’s also a muzzleloader. When a BB is dropped down the muzzle, it can take 3-5 seconds to roll all the way down the bore to the magnetic seat at the bottom. So, we know the bore is tight. The muzzle velocity is in the 250 fps range, which tells us that high velocity is not a requirement for close-range accuracy. But, the fit of the BB to the bore of the gun certainly is.

I’m telling you this because I’ve recently discovered that the new RWS BBs that are so smooth on the outside are also slightly larger than the Avanti Precision Ground Shot made for the 499. So, I intend to conduct a side-by-side accuracy test between them and the Daisy shot. I’ll test them in a 499 and also in the new No. 25 pump gun that we now know is so accurate. This should be a very interesting and thought-provoking test.

But, that’s not really what this report is about, is it? The title says “roundball accuracy in smoothbores.” I’ve told you this before, but here’s a reminder that in the mid-19th century, there was a club in Ohio that attempted to see what type of accuracy they could get from roundball shooters in smoothbore guns. I don’t have a lot of data on their success, but I believe we’re talking about a couple of inches at 50 yards. Of course, the tightness of the patch would be a factor, the positioning and size of the sprue (the small flat spot left by the cut-off plate used to cast the ball) would matter as well as the homogeneity of the ball itself. That is, there should be no air voids or deposits of crystalized metal inside the lead ball.

For many years, I’ve given some thought to testing a round lead ball shooter. However, if a more homogeneous steel ball is available, I don’t want to waste my time chasing homemade artifacts over which I have little control except for sorting. So, it may be that we have a super-accurate BB that can now answer the question, “Can a roundball be accurate in a smoothbore barrel?” Or, perhaps, the better question is, “How accurate can a roundball be in a smoothbore?”

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.
Categories Ammo, Education / Training

### 78 thoughts on “Roundball accuracy in smoothbores”

1. B.B.

I know that I have mentioned this somewhere a while back…

In my younger years when I only had a Daisy 25 and had to shoot whatever bb shot my father brought home, I really liked it when he brought me some federal (I think) bbs. They were very smooth copper plated shot that did not have the surface deformities of the other stuff. They fit tighter in the barrel and shot much better than the other stuff.

There were two different factors at work here…
They were more more perfect in shape, and were larger than Daisy and Crosman. They looked like copper ball bearings.

twotalon

2. Morning B.B.,

WELCOME BACK! Nice to see you running this cyber-ship from the command chair rather than from a remote in sick bay.

Bruce

3. Welcome home BB.
Thinking about a loose BB as opposed to one with a tighter fit this is what I think happens.
As the BB travels up the bore it skids instead of rolls.
It may start in a counter clockwise roll along the bottom of the barrel,touches the top of barrel,skids,which then may impart back spin in a clockwise direction and so on and so forth till it leaves the muzzle.
Added to which loss of air pressure and velocity.
A very precise barrel and very precise BB’s to go through it would be the way to go I think.
Like those coaches were trying to achieve.
Best wishes,
DaveUK

• Aside from any spin directional changes…

The looser the fit, the larger the angle of deflection will be as the bb bounces around in the bore. As it leaves the muzzle, the angle of deflection from straight forward would be greater on the last bounce.

twotalon

4. BB:
A rifle bullet spins in a spiral where a BB or ball will spin in a direction or not at all.Left,right,back,forward.
That will put bias into its trajectory I would have thought.

Guess who has been drinking too much coffee this morning? lol
DaveUK

• BB:
Do you think the key to more predictable and possibly accurate BB shooting is to stop the ball spinning at all?
Grease the BBs maybe?
DaveUK

• Dave : I’m not BB but shallow rifling and slow twist , is the key to RB accuracy and is much better than no rifling. Your British big game and Ivory hunters of the late 19th century often favored very large smooth bore RB shooters and other guns having rifling of only two grooves and a very ,very slow twist rates. A modern equivilent muzzle loader RB shooter along these lines, has been produced by October Company which was a.69 cal rifled barrel gun with a 1:104 rifling twist. Putting a spin on the ball will always increase stability in flight and tighten grouping,Robert.

What I should have added is ‘when fired from a smooth bore’.Sorry.
It’s hard to explain what I mean but here goes.
Twist in the rifling will make the ball fly in a spiral motion around an axis facing the target(east west).
I am guessing that with a smooth bore the twist or spin of the ball will be on an axis unlikely to be facing the target.North south or any point in between.
Therefore to make the ball’s trajectory more predictable from a smooth bore remove the unpredictable spin.
That sort of thing.
DaveUK

• Robert,
Those very slow twist barrels also allowed (sometimes required) very heavy loads (high velocity) to shoot accurately, which is a good thing with dangerous game. Conversely, faster (but still relatively slow) twists allow lighter loads. There is some evidence that approx. 1:48 was as close to a standard as you can get in some older American long rifles, and that the twist rate was somewhat independent of caliber. I’m willing to believe that is the case, because there is also a tradition (substantiated by measures that accompany the rifles in many cases) that the load used was based on the guide of #grains=caliber. This guideline is usually not enough powder for long range accuracy in today’s round ball barrels, but they tend to be slower in twist, especially as caliber increases, e.g. 1:66 or 1:70 for .50 cal. No real point to my rambling, except I’ve been thinking that big bore air rifles shooting PRB’s would likely need a faster twist than BP RB barrels due to their low velocities, and I thought it might be something interesting to you.

• BG farmer ,I like your rambling, and you do make a vaild point. I have researched this and agree completely with what you said. Baker used a 4 bore with a very slow twist, two groove rifling, with a 3oz ball and 12 drams of black powder, for some of his hunting of elephants. He claimed that they would drop instantly at the shot. I think it would also drop most shooters to touch off such a load. I have used a .45 cal muzzle loader with a 1:48″ twist and a load of 70 grs of black powder shooting a .445 dia patched RB, and found it quite accurate. This would be similar in power to what the .45 big bore air guns used today produce at the muzzle. Accuracy was quite good to 100 yards . The energy produced at that range, was like 300ft/lbs or so, marginal, but will kill a deer when placed in the rib cage area. Personally I will not use a RB for shooting deer unless it is at least .50 cal and my favorite is .54. The load in my .54 cal Kodiak double is 90 grs of black powder, or equivilent load by volume of pyrodex RS. In that heavy gun ,it is not punishing to shoot, Robert.

• I’d like to try one of those 4-bores, but I want to see you shoot it first, just so I know what to do :). I’m stuck on .50 caliber now as a nice middle of the road solution, but I will branch out someday, probably not to 4-bore, though, unless its a PCP.

• A non-spinning BB would ‘break’ in an unpredictable manner. Going back to B.B.’s baseball analogy, a pitcher who throws a knuckleball (grabbing it with his fingertips) tries to throw the ball with as little spin as possible. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knuckleball

The knuckleball will spin on some random axis, creating low pressure and a curve. A knuckleballer’s success relies on the batter’s inability to predict where the ball will cross the plate. The knuckleball is a difficult pitch to throw because it is hard to get enough control so that it will tempt the batter to swing, but not get away from the catcher.

“I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait’ll it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up.” ― broadcaster and former catcher Bob Uecker

Don’t know if there’s a similar situation in cricket.

Jim

5. Welcome home B.B. !!!!

There is something that I have thought about many times.
The air tube that is hooked to the piston and pushes and follows the bb part way down the barrel….
This part on my 25 was cupped to fit the shape of a bb after many thousands of shots. It seems likely that this gave the bb a more consistent direction of travel as it started through the bore.

twotalon

6. Welcome Home BB, glad to hear that you feel so good and we appreciate your fervor to get back at it! Don’t forget those needed cat-naps and lot’s of liquids.

7. BB: Good to see you back! The round ball accuracy in smooth bores depends on fit of the ball in the bore and the uniformity of that bore, as in the Avanti 499 BBgun you mention above, and that some muzzle loaders and shotguns have also proven. Another is the velocity and weight of the RB ,because the balance between velocity and projectial weight determines the effects on wind and resulting deflection on the RB . As the range increases and velocity decreases, the ball loses stability and accuracy suffers, especially in a smooth bore gun of small caliber,Robert.

8. I wonder how a Benjamin 340 BB compares to the Daisy 499? The Benjamin 340 is the same gun as the 342 or 347 but is made for BBs. I was messing with mine a month or so ago and got about 2″ groups at 25 yards. I have not done any close up shooting with it.

I am also glad you are back home and on the mend.

David Enoch

• I think that Crosman should offer a peep sighted repeating version of the 392 (a 395 ,perhaps?) in .25 cal with a slow twist rifling in the barrel to stablilize swaged lead .25 cal RB . Velocity should be around 750 fps. It should also be able to shoot their Benjamin .25 cal pellet single loaded. It would be a terrific pest gun for ranges out to 25-30 yards. The lead RB will out penetrate most any pellet in the lower power pneumatic airguns, and really imparts a lot of terminal effect to small pest targets. I have a mod 120 that has a rusted out barrel which will also shot 2″ groups at 20 yards, with Gamo .22 lead RB. I’ve even got some groups at 10 yards that were nickle sized for five shots. Tried for ten shot groups but one or two would always open the group up to 1 1/2″ or so. Despite this, I still I don’t miss a starling much with it, Robert.

9. B.B.,

I wanted to wait til you were actually home and truly on the mend before congratulating you on your successful procedure, for fear of jinxing anything. I remember telling you way back in March that your upcoming procedure was nothing to sneeze at and to go for the very best in medical care. You didn’t and it nearly cost you very dear. Today I am glad that this ordeal is at last truly behind you and that you will soon be fully back in the pink of things.

On the subject of round balls, back in June I played with the H&N precision copper coated round balls which I prefer to bb’s of any kind. I tested them in rifled barrels and found that the 4.5 mm balls easily roll 2 inches down the barrel of the Bronco, which, of course, does wonders for your velocity. Fire… hello??? … splat! Big delay in getting to target and accuracy all over the place. For the Bronco definitely go for 4.52 mm (at least!)

In the HW30S the 4.50 balls fit snugly and make a very satisfyingly loud splat on target. I definitely would not even try oversize balls in the HW 30. Surprisingly little open sight adjustment is needed between CP lights and H&N precision balls. I didn’t chrony the balls but have a feeling they hit hard. I lined up three dead 9-volt batteries at 15 yards and blew them all away dead nuts on, with a nice dent in each. They make great reactive targets, especially when hung from strings. Back in June Edith had mentioned that PA hopefully might start carrying these precision balls but today only the lead balls are available.

-AlanL

10. The analogy of the variety of spins that can be imparted on a baseball depending on the release is appropriate. When one compares this to shooting a B.B. out of a gun it leads to shot tube improvement questions, i.e., tighter fit better? would a small amount rifling be an improvement? etc.

This article made me think about the evolution of the golf ball. The ammo itself. It was in the 1840’s that golf balls started being made from gutta percha. Prior to this the game played with featheries (small bags stuffed tightly with feathers). The increase in distance that you could hit a gutta percha ball vs. a featherie was dramatic but because of the increase in distance they quickly found out that a perfectly smooth surface on a golf ball made for a wildly inaccurate projectile. Scoring and dimpling the surface of the golf ball began and to this day the dimpling patterns on golf balls are still being perfected.

I have to assume that imparting a dimpling pattern of any type on a bb would be cost prohibitive but it’s an interesting variable to think about in this accuracy equation.

kevin

• Dimpling sounds like the reverse of the carbuncles on humpback whales which are used to decrease turbulence and make their swimming more efficient. I think we talked about using carbuncles in the design of the air transfer port (at least I did :-)). But I think that putting dimples on the bb would be interesting too.

Matt61

• Kevin,
On a BB, its hard to imagine doing cost effectively, but on a larger ball, might be worth a “shot”. It might be a way to offset some of the losses introduced by reduced weight in lead-free balls, which have become required in some places.

Matt,
I don’t think dimples are the reverse of the carbuncles at all in terms of function. Both cause the formation of a static layer of air (or water) with a smooth “laminar” flow over it, decreasing drag.

11. B.B.

Welcome back and congratulations! I’m glad it all went smooth and I hope that’ll put an end to your health issues for a long time.

duskwight

• Hmm these seem quite nice, I wonder how long it will be before they’re mass produced…

J-F

• kevin

Seems to be a nice very useful thing. I’d like to test one if I could.
Its advantages are obvious: recoil-proof, simple as a hammer and very light. A hunter’s choice IMO and very useful for visually disadvantaged people like me to use with iron sights.

duskwight

• kevin,

Looks like they’ve got a winner in this Micro Sight. I wonder how critical the distance is from it to the front sight? I sure would like one on my M1 Carbine and Number 1 and Number 2 son would use one in place of the flip up rear sights they’re currently using.

Bruce

• Wow, my aging eyes needs that bad! Hope they get it on the market soon and don’t make it cost a fortune with all their “development” costs!

• Micro sight? Wow, there’s a billion dollars waiting to be made! I wonder how it will work for all the different focasl lenghts we all have with our collective aging eyes? Does one lens really work for all of us?
-Chuck

12. Glad your home and out of the hospital BB. It’s so much better at home.

I got my detuned Webley Alecto in .22 (longer .177 barrels are quite easy and cheap to buy) there is some simple disassembly and a screw to turn to bring it back up to higher levels of velocities, right now when pumping more than once the air simply comes out a small valve.
I tried it in the indoor range last night and accuracy was all over the place, I can’t seem to see the sights. It’s my first time shooting pistol inside, I’ve only shot scoped rifles without any obvious problems.
How should the lighting be? Should it be coming from above, sides or from behind me? I currently have neons over my head as well as above the target but I have some halogen lamps I can easily move around.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I still don’t know how someone could get that kind of accuracy out of a model 25, I’m getting between 4 and 5 inches groups at 10m, I know when it was tested it was at shorter range but I’m getting similar results at closer ranges. I’ll try the Marlin Cowboy BB gun next week to see what I can get out of it.

J-F

• Same here on the Model 25 and at 10 meters, I get a few 2″ groups (2 or 3 shots) and mostly 4″, 5″ and 6″ groups in total.

Is it the way we are holding the gun? The BB quality (as in todays blog) or what else???

I don’t know what the other folks here are experiencing, but I would sure question repeatable, 2″ groups at 10 meters!

I’m going to look at shotgun shot next.

• I can do MUCH better with my RedRyders so I don’t think holding the gun as much difference.
I tried Daisy, Beeman, Copperhead and RWS bb’s and they all grouped between 4.5 and 5 inches.

J-F

• What else? My #25, has an issue with its magazine, it will not screw in properly. I can screw it in tight and the BBs all go to the right, if I unscrew it a little, the BBs will go in another direction. I will order a new magazine and see if that helps, if not, its the gun not allowing the magazine to fit properly. I think that is my problem.

• I have noticed similar with the magazine line up however, unless yours is bent, I would suggest that we have an inherent indexing/alignment issue with the mating threaded part of the valve housing. I’m going to disassemble mine this week and get to fine tuning and some method of indexing to the same position each time. Still, the erratic POI (better said than poor accuracy) is not explained by a bent tube or by poor threading or indexing.

Something (ammo?) is inherently changing the shot to shot POI and I will figure it out eventually.

• Brian in Idaho,

When you screw the shot tube into your 25 do you cock the gun first? That’s what we did as kids cause the tube wouldn’t line up properly if we did not. Naturally one holds the handle in the “pumped” position until the shot tube is screwed in.

Bruce

• Mr. B and Brian,

I’d warn you against cocking the gun before screwing the shot tube in. The reason it works is the long air tube is withdrawn when the gun is cocked, but when it fires it comes forward with the piston. I have broken air tubes off by cocking before screwing in the shot tubes. You really need to fiddle with the shot tube alignment so they remain in line when the gun is cocked.

B.B.

• Shotgun bb shot used to be larger than airgun bb shot is. I inherited a whole bag of the old shotgun shot from my grandfather. It fit tight enough in my old benji smooth bore pumper that it took a bit of force to close the bolt. It shot extremely well compared to steel bb shot and pellets. Sure was a bummer when the bag ran dry.
Don’t know what the current size of shotgun bb shot is. Could be smaller than it used to be.

twotalon

• Lead Shot Size “BB” IS .180″ diameter or .003″ / .007″ larger than the std. steel BB. I’ll try a few to see if they roll thru or work in the mechanism and barrel. Also, will try Gamo .177 lead ball, which should be smaller than the BB lead shotgun shot.

I am tending to lean towards the “dimple” on many steel BBs and the bouncing around the barrel effects as the main culprits of the erratic POI. If any sphere can be forced out of the barrel without bouncing around or behaving randomly in the barrel shot to shot, accuracy at POI has to improve regardless of direction of spin, no spin or other golf-ball type flight theories?

• Sounds like a plan.
The tighter the fit the better up to a point.
The worst that can happen is that the lead shot will get stuck in the barrel. Hard to say what the velocity would be…..The lead will be heavier than the steel shot, but the steel shot will allow more blow by due to the loose fit.

twotalon

• TT exactly!

I reckon there is a point of diminished return, but as you said, “blow-by” losses or slower speed due to weight and air resistance of larger diameter. There is a delta or tipping point, just gotta find it.

I can live with consistent inaccuracy that can be adjusted for (relatively same POI away from dead-center in sights) but can’t live with completely erratic POI (BB goes wherever it goes regardless of sight picture or aim-point) Just no fun after having guns that shoot one hole over and over!

All I want is to knock down beer cans at 10 meters. That’s approximately a 3″ x 5″ target, not much to ask is it?

• I hope you are talking about EMPTY beer cans.
Then again, I have found a few kinds over the years that would have been better empty.

twotalon

• I just pulled out the RR I bought almost 20 yrs ago and did a 10 shot group in the basement.
25 1/2 feet from muzzle. Daisy milk carton bbs. No warmups. Bench rest with hand between sandbag and stock.
They bounce off the duct seal and drop to the floor.
Man that is a hard trigger compared to what I usually shoot.

twotalon

• twotalon,

Okay, I was planning a surprise with the 499 and now you have expanded it into a two-parter A benchrested 499 at 10 meters.

B.B.

• That might be good. After all, bench resting can be a better test of inherent acuracy than offhand shooting. There is one problem that I have found…
If the bench rest does not put you in a comfortable and relaxed position, it will blow the groups.

Of course I am a poor candidate for shooting open sights in the first place. Shooting indoors with artificial light. Have had cataract surgery so my eyes can’t focus on anything at will, getting old, and the after effects of some particular treatments that I have had.
I can be wicked from a rest with the right rifle if it has a scope and I am comfortable and relaxed.

twotalon

• twotalon,

If the shot gets stuck in the barrel its fps should be zero. LOL

Bruce

• No kidding.
You can also claim that the bb went through the same hole as the last one.

twotalon

• J-F,

On your Alecto, I assume you adjusted the screw on the valve to “detune”? It sounds like the screw was adjusted to far out since it’s dumping all air on pump #2? The Alecto lets a little air out on pumps 2 and 3 and a lot of air out on pump 4 (don’t recommend pumping to 4 pumps) and this is normal according to Erik that has owned 2 Alecto’s and shot his dads Alecto.

For accuracy I think since your sights are well lit and your target is well lit you may need to try different pellets. The .22 cal crosman premier hollow points work best in Erik’s Alecto followed closely by the 13.4 gr. JSB Exact RS pellets. When you shoot with open sights are you focusing on the front blade of your sights and allowing the target to be a little fuzzy?

kevin

• Since I’m Canada the gun is detuned for our market. Luckily it can be easily be brung back to spec.

I’m trying to get the front post clear but I can’t see it properly. When shooting outside (from inside the house as it’s COLD here) I have no problem seeing well and it seems pretty accurate but I don’t want to go back and forth from house to target to put up new targets and see what kind of results I’m getting.

JF

• J-F,

kevin

13. B.B. and Edith:

Very glad you are home and recuperating. Best wishes for a complete recovery.

Jim

14. Hello, everyone,.

This is B.B. I’m sitting at my desk, but I can’t be here long and I have so much to do.

My recovery is miraculous! I have so much to tell you all, including the fact that we discovered the anesthetic/pain-killer that gives me Sundowner’s Syndrome! When I take it in smaller doses for pain, it makes me outwardly paranoid!

I not only had a brilliant surgeon, I had the best nurse I’ve ever had while recovering the past few days. And she is a mom who rides motorcycles and has a son who shoots airsoft. I really hope he gets to read this blog!

If I’ve missed any important messages while out, please reports them here. I will read all the older posts over the next few weeks, so please do not resend well-wishes. But if there are any questions that need an answer, I would like to get to them.

Gotta go for now. Got a blog to write.

B.B.

15. Welcome home, B.B. If one of the main (if not most important) causes of inaccuracy with bb’s is the way they bounce down the shot tube, then I would think that rifling, by virtue of cutting into the bb and holding it, would be the main solution and would do more than spin would. By the way, that is a very interesting and persuasive explanation of the how spin stabilizes a projectile. I asked this same question of a physics professor, and she was baffled. If it takes 3-5 seconds for an Avanti Precision ground shot to work it’s way down the barrel of a Daisy 499, you will need to exercise some patience with your larger RWS shot. That sounds almost as frustrating as waiting for CO2 to warm up.

Matt61

16. BB,
Good to see you are upright! I don’t worry too much about BB gun accuracy, because it is a BB gun :). ours will consistently hit a good sized pill bottle at 25 feet, which is adequate in the application. The 499 probably does about all that can be done with conventional steel BB’s, providing a tight and uniform tube. The general question about roundballs in smoothbores is similar, i.e., if you want to use a smoothbore for some reason (versatility, ease of loading, etc.), what’s wrong with accepting the accuracy of it? Rhetorical question, as I know you are catching up.

• BG_Farmer,

If something could be found that would increase the accuracy of anything by a significant margin I wouldn’t call the pursuit a waste of time. Remember that in the 1950s shotgun slugs could barely shoot six inches at 100 yards. Now they are shooting MOA.

B.B.

• BB,
I didn’t say it was a waste of time, but I would be leery of what had to be sacrificed in return and whether there would be much demand. The 499 shoots very accurately, but it is more expensive, slower to load and requires more expensive ammunition for peak accuracy. Further, it requires a different sight (peep) and probably position to take full advantage of that accuracy — I’m guessing that not many full-size people can make it perform to its full potential offhand. My point was only that a \$30 (or so) BB gun often has adequate accuracy, a low price, etc., that makes it suitable for many applications as well as fun.

You point on the slugs is well taken, but I would argue that these modern super-accurate slugs and slug guns came about mainly due to changing demand caused by the “shotgun only” requirements to hunt in many places. Prior to that, whatever demand there was for slugs was apparently met adequately by the old ones, and I doubt many people would have bought the new ones as long as the c/f rifle was a viable option.

• BGF I guess “adequate accuracy” is in the eye (or peep sight) of the beholder?

The model 25s we were chatting about this a.m. are printing erratic shots across 10″ and 12″ dia. targets. By erratic, I mean random POI or holes in the target with little (or no) relationship with the sight picture on the bulls-eye.

Poor accuracy and lack of repeatability are two very different things, and it’s the latter that I can’t accept.

• Brian,
I agree. But I have only read about that type of inaccuracy/inconsistency in BB guns, never experienced it myself; perhaps I’ve been lucky. Most likely I would consider it defective and get another.

• Me either, this is my first BB gun in over 30 years! Still, there is always a cause and effect (or many) and I’m gonna look at a few variables. Ammo of course, but also I have some 17-4 PH precision ground pins at work that are 18″ long and range in diameter from .170″ thru .180″ and are straight within .001″ over 18″. A dia. check of the barrel will be interesting but a straightness check will be even more so!

Still, even a crooked barrel should shoot to nearly same POI if it is fixed in it’s axis, right? Hmm, maybe rifled with matching ammo says yes, but smooth bore with steel BB says No!?

• Sounds like (my kind of geek) fun — go methodically and see what it takes to get it shooting. Maybe you can smooth and polish by loading those pins up with compound, also.

• BG_Farmer,

I agree with you on the demand issue. Who needs a super-accurate BB gun that can shoot a one-inch group at 50 yards? I really do not see a use for that. But, if in pursuing the better BB we discover a fundamental advance like laminar flow improvement, will that not lead to other advances? I don’t know, but it sure is fun to think about.

B.B.

• BB,
Now that does actually sound fun, although people would pick at it even at that! “2 MOA, harumph, only accurate guns are interesting”, I can hear them say! I think I’ve proven myself as ready as any to learn and explore — just wasn’t sure whether you were trying to take my Red Ryders away:)! I’m attached to the silly little things.

17. BB,

So glad to have you back and feeling better! I really enjoyed Mac’s review of the Diana last week, and am anxiously awaiting Part 2 and 3 of your Walther LGV.

This Sunday, I had a brief opportunity to compare these rifles. On the way home from DC, I stopped by to see a friend who lives on the other side of the state. In short, we met on-line through a mutual interest in vintage 10m rifles, then in person at the Roanoke show this year. I was only able to stop for an hour or so Sunday, but I had the chance to shoot both the LGV (which I had stopped by to buy) and two Dianas. I came home with a beautiful LGV Olympia, and I’m now looking forward to adding a Diana breakbarrel to my small collection. I was simply blown away by how effective the GISS system is!

It’s been snowing in the Roanoke area since Saturday, and the wind chill was around 0 this morning. 10m weather for sure!

Jay

• Jay in VA,

Yep, you’re hooked. The petite Olympia is a very fine gun. The smaller LGV Spezial is also fun. Doesn’t sound like the Olympia needs any of your stock refinishing expertise.

Do you have a 10 meter SSP in your collection yet?

kevin

• Jay,

Oh, my gosh! Parts 2 and 3 of the LGV! I wish I had done them before the hospital, because I’m on three weeks of nothing heavier than 10 pounds. I will get back to that report ASAP and you remind me if you have at least read Part 2 by Christmas.

B.B.

• Kevin – My primary shooter is now a FWB600, so the SSPs are covered. I had a chance to handle this one at Roanoke, and almost bought it there. It is in fantastic condition, but I had to sleep on it for a month! In many ways, it is what I really wanted out of my R7. At the moment, I’m refinishing the metal and Macarri stock for a HW77k. RLO again?

BB – Looking forward to it, though part 1 was enough to push me over the edge. There are so many great classic rifles out there. All my best!

Jay

18. BB,
While you were out enjoying your stay at the health spa I asked the following question:

“I’m looking for a new, in-the-box, 1911 in .45 (Retorical question: is there any other?) . Today I handled a whole rack of new ones at a new gun store. Just show your FOID at the door and you can handle anything, unpestered. Some of the 1911s fit like a glove. They were all under \$1200, most in the \$700-\$800 range. My question is are any of these under \$1200 guns any good? There were Colts, Sig Saur, Tarus, Springfield, to name a few, if I remember correctly. Does anyone know if any of these are real dogs, trouble prone, I should stay away from?”

Hmm…not sure if there were any Colt’s, now. I need to go back to the store.

I have followed your recommendations in the past. Do you have one for me today? I want it for home security and fun target shooting at the range. Every month we have a bowling pin shoot I want to do.
-Chuck

• Chuck,

I have heard wonderful things about several of the guns you mention, especially the Kimbers and the Springfields. But I found that once I spent some time and a little money on a replacement extractor, the Taurus PT 1911 was wonderful. I’m not sure I like all its MIM parts, though. I guess what I’m saying is that I like it for me. I also own a Wilson Combat CQB Light Rail and I still shoot the Taurus more.

For you, though, I’d have to vote Kimber and buy used if the price is a problem. It is literally impossible to wear out a modern 1911.

B.B.

• BB and Brian and all others who made recommendations,

Thank you very much for the 1911 info! For me the search is now on. I Googled Kimber and saw that they also have a .22 rimfire conversion kit. The range has a .22 auto event also and I’m wondering now if I can swap on the fly and get enough accuracy to enter one gun in two venues.
-Chuck

• Chuck, all of the .45 ACP pistols you noted are good guns. Some of them are just a bit better than others. For purists, i has to be a Colt, for me, the Springfield have always been excellent and of course, there is always Kimber! Occasionally, I have seen comments on-line about availability of Taurus parts if that matters to you.

Look for interchangeability of magazines also, some makers mags don’t always fit in all 1911s.

19. B.B. Welcome back and I am glad your recovery is going well. Just a quick question, where is the Model 499 made?

• Toby,

For certain the 499 is handmade (a lot of care applied during assembly, but no real tuning that I know of) in Rogers, AR. Daisy is fanatical about it as they well should be.

B.B.

• B.B. I am happy to hear that it is made in the USA. It is even better news that it is built in Rogers where all their guns SHOULD be made. I have a couple of their Chinese built cheapos and they are disappointing. Thank you for the info, I will ask Santa to bring me one of these handmade beauty’s for Christmas. Take care of yourself and heal well. Toby.

My duct seal trap has been in use for a while. Duct seal seems to get harder and less sticky with age.
Tonight I found that bb shot only leaves a small dent in the duct seal and falls to the floor.
This would work well for a bb backstop. Just have to let it age for a while. Letting it get a little dusty on the surface would help as well to make it less sticky.

twotalon

• twotalon,
What’s the brand name of your duct seal? I have two different brands. One does harden some after time but the other does not. The one that hardens is Commander by Iberville Products. The one that doesn’t is made by Ideal. Ideal claims it’s non-hardening. After about a year, the Iberville feels like a hard brownie, the Ideal feel like a 1″ thick prime rib. OK, I’m hungry now. Later.
-Chuck

• I have the stuff from PA. Don’t remember the brand right now. Think I still have the wrapper from the last brick in the basement. Will look later.

twotalon

• Chuck,

Not familiar with Ideal duct seal. The duct seal I’ve been happiest with is made by Gardner Bender. One of the traps that has this duct seal has been outside for 2 years and remains pliable.

kevin

• I found the package, but it was shot up too bad to read.
twotalon