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Ammo Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 2

Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Today, we’ll look at the velocity this Sterling HR-81 underlever air rifle produces. You’ll recall that this airgun started out as a UK rifle, so the power was limited to 12 foot-pounds. Benjamin-Sheridan didn’t change that when they took over manufacture in 1994. The U.S. production ended in 1994 when Crosman bought the Benjamin company. So, an American Sterling rifle is probably a pretty rare airgun.

I finally had the opportunity to test and evaluate the Sterling trigger. It’s single-stage with lots of creep before the release. The trigger-pull measured 40 oz.; because of the creep, it felt like more. The safety is manual, which I really like. When it’s applied, it just blocks the trigger from moving.

Firing behavior
The rifle fires with a solid thunk and no vibration to speak of. That’s probably due to the tune that Jim Grossman put on this particular gun, because all the online reviews I read about Sterlings criticized the vibration a lot. This one is solid.

The underlever
The underlever releases by pulling back on a knurled handle located at the end of the underlever. Unfortunately, the handle must also be manually pulled back to return the underlever to the stowed position. This slows the cocking process just a little. The rifle cocks with 25 lbs. of force; and because there’s no anti-beartrap device (nor is one needed, because of the bolt-action loading), it’s possible to uncock the rifle.

The lever catch has to be pulled back to both extract the lever for cocking and to put it back.

Velocity test
Now, I’ll go through the velocity test. I did warm up the powerplant with two shots before starting the first string.

Falcon pellets
The first pellets I tested were Falcon pellets from Air Arms. At 7.33 grains, they’re a very lightweight domed pellet, yet they’ve also been among the more accurate pellets in a number of other rifles. In the Sterling, they averaged 626 f.p.s., but the range went from 506 all the way to 653 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 147 f.p.s. That one slow shot was not an anomaly, either, because there was another shot that registered only 614 f.p.s. The bulk of the shots went in the 630s and 640s, but there was another slower shot, so the 506, while surprising, was not a complete fluke. At the average velocity, the rifle generated 6.38 foot-pounds.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets
The JSB 8.4-grain dome pellets averaged 597 f.p.s. in the Sterling, but, again, the spread was pretty large. It ranged from 564 to 625, with half the shots in the 600s. The spread was 61 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy generated was 6.65 foot-pounds. It’s interesting that this pellet, which is heavier than the Falcon, also generated slightly more energy. Usually a heavier pellet will make less energy in a spring gun.

Crosman 7.9-grain Premiers
The next pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier lite 7.9-grain dome. It averaged 580 f.p.s. in the Sterling and once more the spread was huge. It ranged from a low of 467 f.p.s. to a high of 611 f.p.s., which is a total of 144 f.p.s. At the average velocity the energy was 5.90 foot-pounds.

A little less energy than I expected from this rifle. And, the wild velocity variance is anybody’s guess. However, I had a theory that it could be pellet skirts that weren’t sealing well. So, I conducted a little experiment. I used a ball-end pellet seating tool to enlarge the skirts on 10 of the lightweight Falcon pellets and chronographed them again.

Second test after enlarging the skirts
Well, I was wrong. I enlarged the skirts to the point that the pellets had to be pressed down into the loading trough. Even with that, the average velocity was 584 f.p.s. The spread went from 496 to 648 f.p.s., a range of 152 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was just 5.55 foot-pounds. Obviously, something else is at work here. Tight pellets are not the answer to tighter velocity spreads.

I’m hoping I’ll find the rifle accurate — though, with 100 foot-second spreads, I can’t hope for much past about 20 yards. The rifle has a Lothar Walther barrel, so maybe it’s a tackdriver in spite of the numbers. We shall see.

89 thoughts on “Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 2”

  1. BB,

    Do you think the piston seal may be missing a small piece or is otherwise damaged? That would account for the velocity variation. I had a springer which was doing the same thing and it turned out to be a damaged seal.

  2. Morning B.B.,

    I’m puzzled by the velocity variation, because you said in Part 1 that this gun received a tune by Jim Grossman. I can not imagine that the piston seal went bad after he tuned this gun.


  3. Could be the piston seal, but there are also 2 breech seals – one between the compression tube and the barrel, and the other on the bolt. Normally I’d expect one of these going bad to result in consistently low velocities, not in wild swings like this one is exhibiting – but they still might be checking out.

  4. Matt61,

    I know a little about centerfires but just a passing knowledge of rimfires.

    I own a few rimfires including your suggested 10/22. I like that the 10/22 is so modular. The gun shoots well but it doesn’t evoke a lot of emotion from me. True rimfire target rifles have their place but I’m gravitating more towards plinking with newbies for most of my shooting. Still like to get together with seasoned shooters to see what kind of accuracy can be had with our guns on any given day though.

    It was impressive to me the number of readers and writers here that have first hand knowledge and made interesting suggestions about rimfire rifles. Gotta love this place.

    kid again,

    The new rimfire rifle I chose, with the aid of many here, isn’t a savage or a ruger.


    • Kevin, yes, I’ve seen the many accessories for the 10/22 including the Gatling gun. Many are tactically-oriented, but they do not fit bull barrels which are necessary for that extra bit of accuracy which for me is more important than modularity. One reason I like the 10/22 light target/target varmint is that it has an intermediate weight barrel which allows accuracy while preserving handling. I guess one’s feeling for a rifle is hard to predict. When are you going to reveal your new rifle?


    • Kevin : Good luck with your new aquistion, and I would be interested in what you find out about it. I just came back from a local gun store and I looked at one of those new S&W .22 RF AR clones again. All plastic , and I wonder about that feed ramp area, but man is it ever a cute little plinker. My oldest was with me (he’s 10), and he just fell in love with it. Its just like his Crosman air soft AR. Anybody on the blog have one ,or an opinion on them?

      • Robert, I don’t own one of the S&W15-22’s, but I have done a little research on it and some of the other AR 22lr clones. If I was going to get one the S&W would be my first pick. It is made of polymer (you can’t call it plastic and charge $500), weights about 5.5 pounds (or approximately a pound or so less than real AR), and is slightly smaller to prevent the upper or lower being interchanged with centerfire counterparts. The barrels are match grade and supplied by their Thompson Center division. They use special S&W magazines. Currently there are 10 models available including Performance Center and Magpul models.

        I had the opportunity to inspect one at a S&W field day with one of their company reps. The big advantage of the 15-22 is all the operating controls work just like a centerfire AR. Also, the guns will accept most aftermarket AR accessories including aftermarket trigger assembly upgrades. The only caution if mounting optics or other items to the polymer/plastic rails is don’t overtighten.

        There are other companies making AR variants including Umarex and Ruger, but the operating controls on those guns are either different or nonfunctional.

        The main reason I have not purchased one is I have been running a 22lr conversion kit in a AR I have setup solely for that purpose. The problem with the conversion kit is accuracy a 25 yards is only 2 inches or so due to differences in twist and bore size. I have no doubt the S&W15-22 would do better than that and if I ever decide to switch the AR back to centerfire the S&W would be my first pick as a rimfire replacement…..Bub

      • Hah! Now that’s a good one! He likes the .22 AR firearm because it’s a realistic reproduction of his Airsoft AR. Have we now gone full circle? The kid has good taste. Does anything look as mean and cool at the same time as the “Black Rifles”? If only…in my day… your son is sooooo lucky! Not only technology wise but dad wise.

        • Bub& Chuck : Bub:thank-you for the information on the S&W . I ‘ve looked at that a couple of times in the past year, and although I’m more of a vintage guy, I like it. I have never owned a AR-15 varient rifle so I have little experience with them. Of course, it has to be NY compliant to be sold here , no adjustable stock and only 10 round magazines. I can see where the accuracy would be an issue without a dedicated RF platform.
          Chuck : Thanks for the dad compliment. I had my kids late in life, I was 42 when my oldest was born. We had been married for several years before he came along. I also have been the stay at home parent as I’m self employed. We didn’t do the day care thing. I will also say that there is little support in the school systems for dads. Everything is geared more towards moms or day care. It’s interesting when I have to do things at the school. I even got invited to grandparents day once, and have distinction of being the oldest dad of any at my sons school. Despite that, I think that being older and somewhat settled, has enabled us to be able to offer our kids a more stable enviroment to grow up in ,Robert.

  5. off topic:
    I’m happily sad 😉
    My oldest (10 yrs) came in 2nd overall (out of 19 competitors) in his first archery comptetion this weekend…a nice trophy sits on our mantel now.
    Sad because on the way home he told me he really likes shooting bow more than guns (of course not really sad…I’m one proud dad)

    • CowBoyStar Dad,

      I agree with Matt61, your son doesn’t have to choose between archery and shooting. I also competed in archery, and loved it. In my experience, they each have something to offer and appreciate. For me, I loved shooting long distance because it was a nice experience to watch the arrow fly until it hit it’s mark and reported a nice little clap. In essence, you can appreciate the execution even AFTER completion. You can’t really do that with a rifle (it’s much more instantaneous).

      What I like about both is that they are individual sports, without all of the politics. They are complimentary sports. You can learn something from each that might help with the other. Follow through, natural point of aim, timing/pace, and concentration are just a few things that come to mind.


    • Don’t get me wrong…I am nothing but happy for him. And the ‘gun’ remark was in jest. I feel that whatever the boys want to pursue, I’ll support…even bank breaking hockey (though neither shows any interest whatsoever in that sport).
      I too like the ‘individual’ pursuit idea of all the shooting sports. It is nice to go to a competition and all the parents were friendly and talkative…no hockey parents here!
      One note of interest. There was a display of Kyudo archery, a form of Japanese martial art using bow and arrow. Very interesting.

  6. Edith,

    I tried to order from Pyramid Air early yesterday. It seems they no longer take pay pal? Do you know when this happened and why? They now seem to be accepting ebillme, but no option for pay pal.

    This all happened before the announcement their site was down.

  7. BB,
    I’ve had a broken spring give erratic velocities like this, but cocking the gun gave a hint that something wasn’t right internally.
    Does the gun cock nice and smooth?

  8. I placed an order with Pyramyd AIR and one of the items was back-ordered. I just went to call them to switch it out for something else and couldn’t get through. I then e-mailed them and was sent an auto-response stating that the power is out over there. And I thought they were ignoring me. haha.

  9. To Joshua Ungier:

    I was struck by Kit Carson’s comment above. The power failed and your business went down. That happened once too often to me. Solution: 150 KW Generac generator with three 1500 gal. buried propane tanks. Power fails frequently in South Florida (hurricane or no hurricane.) Generator restores all power to building (including A/C units) within 10 seconds. Meanwhile, all computers, servers and telephone system stay up on UPS backups. All 50 employees stay on the job and zero business interruption. Cost: $110K. Value: Who knows. Peace of mind: Priceless. Just a thought.


    • Yes, you do need a back up. It was wise of you to prepare. On a much smaller scale for my home, I use deep cycle batteries and power inverters. I can recharge the batteries on my old truck if necessary. But, it most often does not last too long so I can bring the batteries back up with an AC charger. I also have a wood furnace since it gets cold in the UP of Michigan.


  10. Slinging Lead:

    I finally got around to unpacking my new Blue Streak this weekend. Nice factory carton. Nice instructions. All stock screws tight. Stock finish really nice. Put Pellgun oil on all pump arm joints and what I imagined was the pump head seal (just forward of a little hole that says DO NOT OIL!)
    Pumping: Very smooth but hard as hell. Beyond four pumps it’s a real effort. Beyond three after a few shots. Gets old very fast. Shot ten shots. Loud as hell. Don’t think it was dieseling as I observed no smoke. Rifle accurate (for me at least.) Slathered (make that rubbed) Ballistol all over the outside, put two pumps of air in it and put it back in its box, never to be shot again. Unless B.B’s survival situation comes to pass I don’t see myself reaching for it again. I’m just too lazy. Back to my easy cocking, sweet shooting HW30 and RWS 350.


    • Alan

      Thanks for the mini review. What pellets were you using?

      I totally agree with you about the springers. They are my favorite guns to shoot. I like the ritual of cocking, loading, returning the lever home, clicking off the safety and firing. Very therapeutic. I like a little bit of recoil as well.

      I like my pumpers ( I took out an unruly squirrel from the bird feeder this morning with the 1377/2289 ) and my PCPs but I love my springers.

      You can rest easy you are ready for any survival situation!

  11. B.B., yes, that was quite an airsoft pistol and blowback no less. I was surprised at its power, and I did see those groups although I didn’t really get a sense of the distance. But if the accuracy is so important then that does raise the question of why not use pellets instead of building such a structure on the shakier foundation of airsoft. On the other hand, for silhouette shooting maybe the difference does not really matter, and maybe the Asian country the guy is from has restrictions on pellet guns.

    As for the speed, he was certainly good, but his speed did not stand out for me compared to IPSC firearms competitors that I’ve seen. It seems to me that the draw is faster for a two-handed hold if you mirror the shooting hand with the other hand, join the two at the midsection and push out together. I’ve seen even Bill Wilson draw his 1911 with mostly one hand and it looks awkward and unbalanced.

    I was so inspired about the SR-71 that I flew it in my flight simulator the other day. I rounded the island of Oahu in a few minutes then landed on the reef runway of Honolulu International Airport at what looked to be about 400 mph, popped the chute, and greased it in there. Very entertaining.


      • On a similar note (having absolutely nothing to do with airguns) a modern Formula 1 engine is completely seized at ambient temperatures, and needs to have hot coolant and oil circulated through it for a while before it will even turn over. THOSE are manufacturing tolerances!

        • I heard a story years and years ago (could be apocryphal) that Rolls Royce, being intrigued by the smooth-shifting automatic transmissions in American cars, smoother by far than in their own models, bought a GM transmission, took it apart and remachined everything to their own exacting tolerances. Then they put it together again and it promptly seized. The nice loose rough & ready American tolerances was exactly what these transmissions liked best, and how they ran smoothest. So much for tight tolerances!

          • Smooth shifting automatic transmissions are high wear designs. A smooth shift tends to mean LOTS of time with the clutch belts of both the “from” and the “to” gear sets slipping.

            One gets longer life (or at least, cleaner fluid) with a hard/abrupt transition — the “from” releases completely as the “to” engages. There’s a reason taxis and other heavy usage fleets seem to clunk so much — the transmission was turned to reduce time in the “gaps” where two belts are both trying to control the gearing.

            Of course, these days with some small cars having CVT options, most automatics being four speeds, and adding lock-up torque converters, things aren’t quite as slush-box as the <80s.

            Someday I'll figure out if the Grey Wolf goes into lock-up or shifts to fourth at 42mph… There's a small RPM dip around 37mph but at 42mph the tach goes from 2100 to 1400 — either there's a lot of converter slippage before lock-up, or fourth is a massive overdrive ratio.

        • Well when you have a V8 engine running at 18 000 RPM and it has to last for 3 races it better be well made.
          I love seeing those “small” (2.4 L) screeming around the race track. The start of the season has been delayed 🙁 and will take place in Australia instead of Bahrain where it was supposed to take place.

          Have you heard when they make the engines “sing” using the engine hooked up to a computer controlling the throttle and varying the engine RPM they can (kinda) play music. Look it up on you tube, worth it for any car racing fan.


          • Yes, I’ve seen/heard those. Amazing.

            In an attempt (albeit weak) to bring this back to airguns, all modern F1 engines use compressed air, IE gas-rams in lieu of valve springs. The reason behind that is that metal springs take too much time to decompress and open a valve when operating at 18,000 RPM. The metal in a spring simply can’t move fast enough. Amazing stuff. But it does relate to our humble passion, and there may be some truth to the rumor of lesser lock time with gas-ram guns, but I doubt they are under the same stress levels and cycle times of a modern F1 engine.

    • Matt61

      It’s good to see you came around about the SR-71. I thought about giving you a keyboard lashing, but I didn’t have the energy.

      Here are some interesting facts.

      It is meant to fly always at near full speed (2100mph) as it gets its best fuel milage that way.

      Cruising altitude 80,000 feet. mach 3.2

      The only fuel tanks on board are the open voids in the fuselage, many of which are made from corrugated titanium plates, which indeed leak fuel onto the tarmac until the outside of the plane reaches its operating temperature of 600 degrees F and the plates expand and seal in the fuel. It is for this reason that the Blackbird must immediately receive an in-air refueling after taking off and doing a sprint to heat up the plane.

      Commissioned by Eisenhower, designed by Kelly Johnson.

      Weapons were not affixed because the plane moved faster than the weapons of the time.

      It used a fuel especially formulated for the SR-71.

      Originally the plane was to be left the raw titanium color (silvery) but they discovered that painting it a dark color caused the heat to be dissipated more quickly.

      It was billed as an ‘interceptor’ when finally introduced to try and hide its spy plane intent.

      Each flight of the jet heat tempers the skin, making it stronger and negating the impact of occasional damage.

      Much of the titanium used in construction had to be purchased from the Soviet Union, the very people we were building it to spy on.

      • I have heard rumors of a new hypersonic aircraft called the “Aurora”. It may use an engine called a “Scram Jet”. Others will know more about this than I. I didn’t Google it………….yet.


  12. Conor

    Sorry I missed the discussion about converting your 2240 to .177 yesterday. Usually I am just dying to comment on the few subjects I know anything about!

    As far as the conversion goes, you will need a barrel, a bolt and an o-ring. On the bolts I have ordered, the o-ring was already installed on it, but I don’t know if I was just lucky.

    The bolt handle will not unscrew from the bolt if it is anything like mine, but never fear the bottom of the plastic breech pops out to allow installation of the .177 cal bolt, that should come with a handle of its own that does screw on and off. You will not need to order a new breech, but the metal ones are better.

    You will need to call Crosman to order the parts, you will not be able to order them from their website. 1-800-7AIRGUN (724-7486)

    Part numbers

    #1377a062 — .177 cal bolt
    #397-062 —– .177cal bolt o-ring
    #1377-025 —- 10.25″ barrel
    #2300-102 —- 10.1″ Lothar Walther Match barrel
    #1760-001 — 24″ barrel

    If you need any more help, feel free to ask.

  13. B.B., ALL,


    I have a question regarding the making of a firearm “permanently inoperable or disabled”, and still recoup value from that firearm. How would one do that “permanently” and still keep the firearm valuable?

    Any suggestions?

    Here’s what’s going on. The marksmanship program that I participated in is being shut down completely, and they want to get rid of my rifles. I’ve asked for them, and the City is considering giving them to me. However, apparently, there are legal complications with the “handing over of publicly owned firearms to a private individual for a private purpose”.

    How can they “permanently” do this, and have the firearm still worth obtaining from them? I suggested the removal of the firing pin, but that doesn’t seem “permanent” to me, as it can be fixed. I don’t think I understand this language very well. I would greatly appreciate any good advice that I can relay to the city that sponsored my participation, so that I can get these firearms, and not have them go to waste (which is very possible).


    • Victor, have them send all the rifles to me, I “promise” to disable them

      What types of rifles are these? Anyway, the U.S. Govt makes firearms permanently inoperable (they don’t use the word disabled) by “disfiguring, dismantling, welding or hot forming the gun action and/or barrel in a manner that renders the weapon permanently inoperable”.

      Those were hard words to type! What municipality is this?

    • Forgot to add that the guns will have $0 value if you follow the above definition.

      Tell them that you will lead-fill the barrels and we can deal with that later based on availability of a furnace.

    • PSS you said “my firearms” and I’m guessing that means as range master or custodian but not owner?

      Is your city out of money or have the gun haters just slashed the budget to be PC?

      • I would go with leading the barrels. That should make the city happy and allow you to retain the value since once they are yours……….well, you can do what you want with them. 🙂 If the barrels/receivers are cut, then they are only good for the remaining parts. Sometimes the remaining parts can be worth as much as the complete firearm. That is similar to trying to build a car with replacement parts. It costs many times more than just buying a new one.


      • Brian in Idaho,

        I responded with my own suggestions (assuming a less destructive language) and request for clearer, more realistic, language. They have admitted that their use of language was premature and hopefully unnecessary. The rifles are all Anschutz.

        Apparently, they, like probably hundreds of other municipalities, are suffering from a budget crises. I happen to know that this budget crises is very real. However, the whole thrust towards dismantling the marksmanship program and shutting down the range was initiated by an ex-range-master with a self-serving, agenda. He tried to get money because of lead poisoning that he claims to be suffering from. His made his claims public, alarmed residents nearby, resulting in this movement to shut the range down. That fight was poorly handled on both sides, making it too easy to follow through with ending of the marksmanship program all together. So the real culprit was one of “our own”, as it turned out. The firearms were the original set of Anschutz rifles that I personally used in competition. I didn’t own them, but I was the only person with access to them (under lock and key) for all the years that I competed.

        I understand the motivation for the language that they are using. They want to give me the guns, so they are grabbing at straws for ways to do this without too much legal complexity or headaches. I’m asking for help here because I know that there must be some middle ground for making this deal happen. Buy the way, I have also offered to buy the guns. They seem to want to “donate” them to me because I had an extensive list of accomplishments as a competitor. I keep stressing that my primary wish would be for them to continue the junior marksmanship program. If not, then my next wish would be to make sure that they find a good home, as opposed to being given to people who can’t, or wouldn’t know how to, get the most out of them.

        I’m going to find out soon what recommendations will be considered. I’d just like to come to the table with my own best recommendations.

        • They are worried that those rifles might hurt/kill someone or used to rob a bank. What if you and an attorney and maybe the city attorney get together and see if y’all can get it all legal that the city will not be held responsible for anything. Will take some work but I would hope they will not destroy any guns. What a waste that would be.

  14. I took my Savage Mark II BV rimfire to the indoor 50 ft range today determined to find a cartridge that would shoot well in it to prepare for the summer’s bullseye competition. I shot it off a sand bag rested on top of an army ammo box. I tried about seven different types including Remington, Federal, Fiocchi, and CCI. Danged if they all but one didn’t shoot 1/4″ or less 5 shot group. Actually they were single holes rather than groups of holes. The only one that didn’t was a Federal Value Pack. It shot a 1/2″ and a 3/4″ group. The one that astounded me was the Remington Thunderbolt. They were cheap, I got them on sale for $1.99. With them I shot a couple 1/4″ outside diameter 5 shot groups and a 1/4″ wide by 1/2″ long outside diameter 25 shot group. I could have done even better if I had taken my Predator gun rest.

    This rifle likes about everything. The thing is, last Sunday I ordered on the internet twelve different types of cartridges recommended by you all over the last year and it turns out maybe I didn’t need to. I’ve got a ton of Thunderbolts and they’re plentiful and cheap in my area.

    Here’s the caveat, though. In the summer, the outdoor target competition is 50 yards standing unsupported not 50 feet benched. I have a feeling things will be a little different then. I have a feeling 50 yards benched will be a little different, even.

    I’m very happy with this rifle and the bolt has loosened up some, too. However, last night I carefully put some molly on the bolt handle where it rubs against the reciever and I think this is responsible for most of the loosening.


    • Now that’s what I like to hear — yours shoots better than mine (or maybe you shooter better than I — I have about a five minute attention span from the bench), but I like the way mine digests anything you put in it, too. Federal 550 pack is weak in mine also, although the AM22 shoots well and the Gold Medal Target (I think) a guy at the range had shot one hole (he wanted to try my rifle); he left that day to go to Bud’s and buy a Mk. II BV. Sounds to me like you will learn to live with that bolt cocking on open :). I think you did the moly right — let it wear in a little and then put moly on the bright spots.

          • Chuck,

            after my benchrest competition this past weekend at Charlotte Rifle and Pistol Club, 50 yards is a minimum. I was shooting .75 inch groups (total, not c to c). If at all possible, do your testing at 100 yards. It really separates the men from the boys. My groups, with the hurricane blowing down there, grew to 3″ plus!

            Fred PRoNJ

            • Fred,
              That’s good shooting! Was that .22 and if so what and what ammo. I’m sure I don’t come close to owning every brand. I just got my cartridge shipment of twelve more brands today so tomorrow I’ll have a lot of shooting to do. Unfortunately it’ll still be at 50 feet. It’s still near freezing here at times but the warming trend has started…itch…itch…chompin at the bits…come on spring!

              • Chuck,

                Thank you for your kind words but allmost everyone else shot MUCH better than me. I finished next to last. it was a benchrest competition. I was using my friends Remington 513 scoped rifle (don’t know if it was the T model or not) and Wolf ammo. Again I’m not sure which line of ammo it was. He had brought both lines with him (Match and Target?). All .22.

                Fred PRoNJ

    • Chuck,

      Was this with iron sights, or any (scoped)?

      Also, is there any reason why you are not adverse to sticking to lead only bullets? According to my Hoppes gun care booklet, if you don’t use lead bullets, then you have to take greater care in maintaining your firearm. I was advised decades ago to only use lead bullets in my target rifles, so I’ve never strayed from that advice, even with my Ruger 10/22 Target model. By no means do I consider myself an expert in this matter, but I have pretty much blindly followed the advice given to me by others that I thought knew what they were talking about (not that I absolutely know that they did).

      Another thing that I’ve read a lot about in the past year is how rifles get more accurate with use. The reason being that the lead polishes the barrel (assuming good cleaning habits). The thing is, I’ve only heard this said for lead bullets.


      • Victor,
        I have the Savage scoped. That way it is easier for me to find the right cartridge without a lot of my influence. But I think for 50 yard shooting I will stay with the scope at first. I may change my mind once I get more range time outdoors. My Savage didn’t even come with iron sights and right now I don’t know what to do about that except use a scope or a dot sight. I really enjoy open sights on my IZH-46M but that a pistol and is only 10m shooting. I haven’t done any iron sight rifle shooting beyond 10m.

        I’m not really adverse to lead. I started using copper jackets because they seemed to jam less often in my Ruger pistol. Shooting for speed, like I am with the pistol, I need to eliminate those jams. For target or bullseye or for the Savage in general lead is fine. However, now that I’ve read your comment I have many reasons to rethink the jacketed bullets. I don’t need to create more work for myself. Thanks for the tip.


        • Chuck,

          I have a Ruger Mark II target pistol that I absolutely love. For pistol, you generally want higher velocity ammo so that the gun cycles properly. I’ve only used Fiocchi pistol ammo and Remington target ammo (from Walmart). The Remington ammo definitely jams with my Ruger pistol. There are two reasons for this; Remington is lower velocity that most other non-target ammo, and failure to cycle increases as the gun gets dirty (especially with lower velocity ammo). Well, now I know that it definitely jams with my Ruger 10/22. However, with the 10/22, I can see that the firing pin should be striking the primer hard enough, so it’s not the guns, but the ammo. If I re-load the round into my magazine, it will usually fire, but sometimes a third attempt is necessary.

          Decades ago, I used the Remington target ammo for all indoor practice. It was very accurate, and I never had a dud. Also, with an Anschutz, I could clean the 50 yard match every time with this ammo. However, reviews that I’ve read seem to indicate that the quality of the primer decreased dramatically when the manufacturing of this particular ammo was moved to Mexico around 2004. My experience, and the experience of others seems to indicate that you can expect one dud per package of 100. Not good. This is unfortunate because I still think that this ammo is accurate. It’s more accurate than the Federal Auto-Match that you get in bulk (325 rounds) at Walmart. I’ve never had a dud with this Federal ammo, and I think it’s reasonably accurate. I’ve shot at least 1950 rounds of this Federal ammo without a single dud. I trust this ammo more than the bulk 550 round package.


  15. Well, I have not posted for a few days now. This is not about guns, but another love. Hope you don’t mind my sharing. I waited till it was late so as to not interfere with other posters.

    More trouble on the pet frontier. Those that know me realize that my wife and I are big time pet and wildlife lovers. Unfortunately, Saturday we had the demise of another cat in about 3-4 weeks by one of our dogs. We had gone out for some shopping together, which we normally don’t do. One of us always stays home, but we were looking at some new appliances.
    We returned home to what looked like a massacre, blood and urine all around one area of the family room. I quickly rushed the cat to the vet’s ER but he didn’t make it.
    Now our troubling decision is what to do about the dog we know is responsible. I know many of you have a quick answer, but we have had this dog about 5-6 years she has grown up with these cats and she sleeps cuddled up with my wife everynight. I’m thinking along the same line as most of you probably are.

    Thanks for listening.


    • rikib,

      Aggressiveness often depends on the kind of dog, it’s health, or daily activity (or lack of).

      1. You might want to have the dog checked out for injury or illness. A hurt dog can become more aggressive.
      2. A dog that has been spaded or neutered at a late age can become more aggressive.
      3. If the dog isn’t getting enough exercise, then boredom can also lead to excessive aggressiveness. If you cannot take it out for walks, or other exercise, then you might want to look into “spring poles”.
      4. Having this history, it now makes sense that you isolate the dog while you and your wife are gone. If you don’t have a kennel, or some other way to isolate the dog, then consider a bathroom.

      Animals, like children, connect with a strict regimen. Follow a pattern religiously, and they will come to know AND appreciate it. It’s not punishment, it’s providing a stable environment. Animals, again, like kids, are very resilient and appreciate a structured environment. Lack of a stable, structured, environment is a form of neglect, and even abuse, of your children and pets.


    • rikib,

      I can sympathize and empathize with your situation. We have a cat who became aggressive and even violent after he was neutered. Our other cats got shredded from time to time. So, we bit the bullet and put him on Prozac 3x a day (5mg each time). He’s much better now but the occasional shredding still happens. Roy Rogers is the cat who’s doing the shredding, and he’s not playing with a full deck. Literally, he’s never been mentally normal. Until we adopted Punky 18 months ago, his attacks on our other cat were infrequent, easily stopped and lasted only a second or two. However, the introduction of a third cat appears to have been too much for Roy.

      Animals that are in quarters with too many other animals can be tipped over the edge. You just added another dog that’s a helper dog for you. Are you spending a lot of time with that dog? If so, the dog who kills cats may see his activity as a way to show you and your wife that he needs more attention, needs more private time away from other animals but with you and/or your wife, or doesn’t like to see you and/or your wife spending so much time with the new dog (or any other new animals).

      It could also be due to general overcrowding. Animals need room. Not just outdoors, but also indoors.

      We had a neighbor in Maryland who had a dog. They adopted another one who was very sweet. They found an injured puppy on the street in front of their house and took it in. The second dog who was very sweet all of a sudden nipped at the third dog several years after it had been living there. It just turned. Never know what goes on in an animal’s head…it could be something or nothing. They found a replacement home for the aggressive dog in a household where he’d be the only animal.

      Hormones, illness, injury, change of environment, parasites or just a glimpse of something they felt was the last straw can contribute to aggression. I’m sure there are other reasons, too.

      Something just occurred to me. We had another cat in Maryland, and he was also violent…Monkey. Monk had the exact same personality as Roy. Very clingy to me. Slept with me, as does Roy. Very needy for attention. Will follow me anywhere. Not fear of abandonment but looking for every opportunity to be loved (held/picked up). Until just this moment, I never put 2-and-2 together. Monkey wasn’t normal, either. In fact, he was a wonderful, affectionate cat until after he was neutered. Then, he became a jealous boy & didn’t want anyone else to be available for my affections. We also had a LOT of cats. When I married Tom, I had 10 cats…all indoors, all fixed. Yeah, I’m that crazy cat woman you read about 🙂 Too many animals could be 2 animals or 50…it depends on the individual animal.

      I don’t know if this has helped you, but it certainly has helped me realize that I’ve had 2 cats who were violent and the both had the same personality.


      • Rikib,

        There’s one more thing. The cat in Maryland who had the aggression problems had to be euthanized when he was 17. Not because of the aggression but because of seizures. One day, while working at my computer, I clicked the mouse and the pupils of his eyes dilated immensely and then went back to normal. After several tests, we realized that this happened with every mouse click! Then, we noticed that if we rubbed our feet on the wood floors where a grain of cat litter might be located, he had what appeared to be loss of an ability to stand. He’d spread eagle with all 4 legs. These were small seizures that were happening hundreds of times a day but did not show up until later in life.

        Has your dog been checked for possible seizures? If not, he may be acting out due to some changes in his brain. Just some more things to think about.


        • Edith,
          I appreciate your understanding and your comments. We have not made any decisions yet. The dog, she is a loving dog normally only acts up if both my wife and I go out together. We have had to deal with Animal Control in the past because she climbs our 4 ft. fence, not lately though. She is very protective and would probably do well in a one pet family home. She is approximately 8-10 years old, but still full of energy and love. As I mentioned previously, she loves to cuddle up and sleep with my wife, but boy does she snore (the dog, mostly 🙂 ).

          rikib 🙂

  16. Victor,
    She is an American Bulldog/Pitbull mix, we adopted her from the vet’s office about 5-6 years ago as previous owners just dropped her off and never returned. She was going to be put down way back then. She is spaded and we have 5 other dogs they all get along well, but this particular dog has attack one of our others. We know it is one involved with the cat death as her face and legs are all scratched up.

    They all get plenty of attention and we have a dog flap on our back door so they go in and out as they please into about an acre of fenced yard. My wife even cooks dinner for them, they are so spoiled.

    The vet that was at the ER suggested we bring the dog back to them, but my wife and I both have a good idea of what that means, so we’ve been hesitant.


    p.s. thanks for not complaining about my post being nothing to do with airguns 🙂

    • rikib,

      That dog has a lot of energy, and that is the root of the problem, I think. Dogs, including this mix, are very loving, but unintentionally destructive. We baby sat a pup pitbull for a month and found that it was super sweet but destructive. The owner was not able to take full care of this pup and it ate so much plastic that it died. Some dogs really are like babies and need constant care. Again, it seems that when your dog cannot be supervised, it needs to be isolated. That’s the only suggestion that I can give, aside from the fact that it has so much energy that it needs extra activity.

      Yes, this blog is specific to airguns, but we are an airgun community that have a lot to share, including other interest. In some ways, those other interest tie into the whole of who we are as a community.


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