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Ammo Fred does some accuracy testing

Fred does some accuracy testing

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start, I have a couple new things for you. First, February podcast is up. Yes, I said February! March’s podcast will go up shortly. Sorry February’s late, but we had technical glitches and some time issues.

Next, there’s a new article on Pyramyd Air’s website from one of my Airgun Revue magazines. It’s about Zimmerstutzens, which are in a class somewhere between airguns and firearms.

Blog reader Fred decided to see how his guns shot. So he took ’em all out and…well, that’s really the blog. I’ll let him tell it.

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

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

by Fred Nemiroff, aka Fred PRoNJ

My collection of air rifles is growing. This sport truly is addictive; and while I don’t have nearly as many rifles as some others, I shoot the ones I have on a regular basis. My philosophy with motorcycles is to ride ’em and not hide ’em. I feel the same way with my air rifles –- use them and don’t let them gather dust. While I know which of my rifles are supposed to be the most accurate, it wasn’t clear in my mind how they stacked up to each other. With snow on the ground and my local range closed, I was reduced to shooting in the basement, a 28-ft range. That is, with the target at the extreme opposite diagonal and me squeezed into a corner between a bookshelf and the electric panel access, shooting carefully past the lolly column and the treadmill. Not the best way to analyze accuracy, but it’s what I have to work with.

One of the first things I do when I purchase a rifle is to determine which pellet provides the greatest accuracy. Armed with that knowledge and the pellet supply on one of the bookshelves, my contest started. I relegated the competition to 7 scoped rifles. My shooting technique involved standing with my left arm resting on a makeshift stand and the rifle resting on my left arm. I found that this was superior using my left hand to support the rifle while the elbow rests on the solid stand. Plus, this seems to be the method most used in field target competition. The competitors are sitting on the ground, their left arm is resting on their knees and their rifle is resting on their arm.

RWS 46 air rifle

First up was the first spring-piston rifle I purchased, an RWS 46 in .22 cal. For those that may not be familiar with it, the 46 is an underlever rifle with a unique pop-up loading port.

Here’s the loading port, but the transfer port is extremely long. Shown open.

My 46 prefers RWS Super-H-Point pellets weighing 14.2 grains. Average muzzle velocity was a surprising 682 fps which translates to 15 ft-lbs. With that very long transfer port, this is supposed to be a moderately powered rifle producing around 10 ft-lbs. When I tested it several years ago, that’s what I was getting. I was so surprised by the velocity and power, I shot another series of 5 pellets past my Chrony Alpha and recalculated the results. Why this rifle is shooting at this level, I can’t explain — but I’m not complaining! The rifle produced a group of .452 inches. Subtracting the width of the pellet head (.22 cal) produced a center-to-center group of .232 inches.

RWS Super-H-Point pellets from my RWS 46.

RWS Super-H-Point pellets shot from by Discovery rifle.

The next rifle I tried was the .22 cal Benjamin Discovery. I’ve modified the Discovery with the TKO trigger and Mike’s muzzle brake. It’s made the rifle into a great shooter -– superb trigger now and no hearing protection required when shot in the basement. This rifle shoots RWS Super-H-Points, Crosman Premier domes and JSB Exact (Jumbo’s) all equally well. Muzzle velocity is 791 fps and with the JSB Exact Jumbo pellets, produces 22 ft-lbs at the muzzle. However, in my test, the Discovery using Super-H-Points gave me a group of .52 inches. Center-to-center spec is .30 inches. Not what I expected, but perhaps the TKO muzzlebrake has something to do with it. I’d take it off to retry, but it’s so darned loud that I decided to leave it alone. I’ll retry when I have more time without the brake and with other pellets. On to the next rifle.

My re-calibrated Benjamin Marauder in .177, shooting Crosman Premiers Ultra Magnum pellets (10.5 grains ) at around 810 fps, produces approximately 14 ft-lbs of energy. It’s the winner. I detuned the rifle to obtain up to 50 shots at this velocity +/-25 fps. The group was .348 inches or .171 inches center-to-center.

That’s 5 .177 pellets from my Benjy Marauder.

One of my newest acquisitions, the Benjamin Nitro Piston XL Trail Hardwood, gave me a lot of grief trying to find a pellet that it would like. I finally discovered the .22 cal. H&N Baracuda pellets. The pellet weighs 21.14 grains and exits the muzzle at 620 fps (average) and produces 18 ft-lbs of energy. Great — if I could hit what I was shooting at.

At the distance of 28 feet, it produced a very poor group of .833 inches. Center-to-center is .613 inches and would prove to be the worst of the collection.

Ouch! This is pretty big.

OK, time for the next German rifle, my RWS 52 in .177. This is a magnum-powered sidelever with a moving compression chamber.

RWS 52 air rifle

It was the most accurate spring-piston rifle, but I hadn’t tested it against the HW’s. Using JSB Exacts weighing 10.35 grains showed 887 fps on the Chrony Alpha, which translated to 18 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. The 52 gave me a group of .412 inches. Center-to-center measurements were .235 inches. A big, heavy rifle, and it can shoot.

JSB Exacts from my RWS 52 sidelever.

Next came the Beeman R9. This is the Goldfinger model in .20 cal that I bought at the Roanoke Show last year. The R-9 likes JSB Exacts, which weigh 13.8 grains. Pushed out the barrel at 716 fps, they produce just under 16 ft-lbs — but couldn’t catch the RWS 52. The group I got was .442 inches (.242 inches center-to-center). Well, we’re talking .01 inches difference here, which can easily be attributed to my measuring technique or the way the paper target tore. Plus, the R9 doesn’t have near the pellets down it’s barrel that the RWS 52 has. I figure it’s a toss up with the R9 only going to get better as more pellets travel down it’s barrel.

The bottom most hole just to the right of the number 8 –- within the 8 ring — I’m calling a flier.

Last up was the HW50S, the newest spring-piston rifle in my treasure trove. With a Leapers 5th Gen Bug Buster scope and exhibiting the most “twang” of all my springers, it put 5 .177 cal H&N Baracuda pellets into a .424-inch group (.247 inches center-to-center). Velocity for this pellet is 704 fps, and energy was just under 12 ft-lbs.

I think I can do better, but still — I’m happy with this group

To me, the Marauder is the most accurate PCP I have with the RWS 52 and HW50S vying for top honors in the spring-piston class…being pushed by the R9. Why did the Benjamin Nitro Piston produce such a horrible group at 28 feet? This started me on the path to research accuracy and what, if anything, I could do for it.

91 thoughts on “Fred does some accuracy testing”

  1. Fred,
    Nice collection! I’m out on a limb, but I’d look at the barrel lockup on the Nitro Piston Trail. Pivot bolt? Or maybe the breech seal needs to be shimmed a bit?

    • Derrick,

      I have a second blog coming and don’t want to give away the answer. Yet. However, Kevin did comment either in yesterday’s comments or over the weekend as to what needs to be done typcially to the Nitro line of air rifles to improve accuracy.

      Fred PRoNJ

  2. Nice shooting. Can you explain the TKO muzzlebrake in more detail? I know suppressors are a tricky subject and I’m interested in knowing how the muzzlebrake reduces noise and whether or not a tax stamp is required to own one.


    • Bub,

      it’s slip on plastic/carbon fiber look alike tube that comes in 3 sizes. Best to navigate over to to http://www.tko22.com and judge for yourself. BB has written a column on muzzle breaks and silencers and I suggest you read it and decide for yourself what to do.


      Fred PRoNJ

      • I have always kind of chuckled about people calling their silencer’s LDCs – Lead Dust Collectors – but I have to say that I took the baffles out of my Marauder the other day, and I was stunned at the amount of fine lead dust that had accumulated in there! I carefully wiped down the baffles, and the same for the inside of the shroud, and the tissues that I used for it were covered in dust.

        Anyways, apart from the potential legal concerns, I now think they are a real good idea for indoor shooting for that reason alone.

        Alan in MI

          • That’s good news – it sure looked like graphite, too, but there were definately a few small lead flakes in there, just like we see in pellet tins. I guess loose lead in the skirt can get trapped in the baffles.

            but it’s good to know that proably 95% of it is not lead.

            Alan in MI

  3. Super cool stuff, thanks Fred. If you take the winner and loser out, the pack fill were amazingly close. When it warms up, a rematch to 50 meters would be fun. And drag out those Weihrauchs!

    • Yes, 50 yards will definitely separate the men from the boys. Unfortunately, when the local range opens up here in April, I still only get 35 yards to play with which is more than enough for air rifles. I figure 50 yards and the ballistics will start to approximate an artillery round’s path!

      Fred PRoNJ

  4. Nice collection Fred.
    Not too surprising that the Benji was at the back of the pack. It’s supposed to be one of the ‘mega magnums’. I understand that they tend to be tough to work with.

    That small basement shooting is not very satisfying is it? I can only get about the same distance you can…a little less than 10yds. Not a good time of the year to take it outside.

    A Disco is loud without a silencer? Try Condor power in the basement. YEEEEOOOOOWWWW!


  5. Edith, I seem to have put the wrong title on the Discovery target (4th photo). I shot the Disco with Super H’s, not Benjamin pellets. Perhaps we can change before the rest of the group wakes up and notices my faux pax?

    Fred PRoNJ

    • FPRNJ

      Just checkin-in late, actually had to work today!

      Nice report, it’s fun to see others collections and see what the owner likes most about each gun.

      PS did you say that the Benjamin 397 was (is) your first airgun? What do you think of it overall, pumping effort, accuracy etc? Upsides/downsides?

      • Brian,

        as BB pointed out yesterday, it’s really the 392 (.22 cal). Since I’ve always shot this rifle with iron sights, first the stock sight and then the Williams, I don’t have any issues with accuracy. However, I have never gotten an open sight group that would match Mac! So take my acceptance of accuracy in accordance with the sights I use. When I’m punching holes in paper, I only pump it 3 times. Pumping 5 or 6 times for 10 shot groups got old real quick but it’s still a great close-in hunting rifle when your scoped rifles can’t be used. That’s probably the biggest and only complaint and it’s what drove me to buy a spring piston rifle – enough pumping!

        Fred PRoNJ

        • Thanks Fred, I got similar comments from Tim McMurray at MAC 1. He basically said that I would learn that 3 pumps is 10 meters, 5 is 25 meters, etc. And hunting power is 8 to 10.

      • FWIW, I recently picked up a slightly used 392 even though I don’t like multi-pumps. It’s something of an American classic, so I sorta figured I oughta have one.

        It reminds me why I don’t like MPP’s! Lots of work, although the ‘real’ bolt action is kinda cool. Firing cycle is ever so calm compared to springers, of course, although I am only getting so-so accuracy from mine. I’ll write that off to not finding the right pellet for it yet, so don’t let that color your judgment.

  6. FredPRoNJ,

    Your guns appear to be breeding while you’re away!

    I remember that very nice R9 Goldfinger in Roanoke. I know your R9 is .20 cal and your HW50 is .177 but what was the impetus to recently acquire the HW50?


    • The HW50S was also acquired at Roanoke – last minute decision because (a) Gene of PA offered me a very good deal with the Nitro and (b) he took credit cards ( I was low on cash). Besides, I needed to even out the Diana versus HW collection numbers. My buddy, Tom the Seal pointed out to me just how much I spent during the car ride home. See if I bring that big lug again.

      Fred PRoNJ

      • FredPRoNJ,

        Didn’t know you found 3 new airguns at Roanoke! Last time I saw you you were cradling that fine R9. Yep, maybe you should leave the big lug at home when you go to Roanoke this year LOL!


  7. Fred,

    Impressive collection. My tastes have changed over the years and my collection is full of junk, need to buy new rifles! Your report was well written and informative, another point of envy. You’re another candidate for that 200′ building Lloyd was talking about yesterday. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Uh, not trying to be a wet blanket here, but I am curious. The indoor range I used to shoot at had a prominent sign stating that the range prohibited airguns with velocities over 600 fps. When I asked why, I was told that at higher velocities, the lead pellets would not simply squash but would fragment into large and small pieces, some small enough to cause a lead hazard to shooters.

    So, is this another OSHA interference in our lives, a question of degree and amount, a function of the type of target trap used or bogus information?


    • Jim,

      It’s not bogus. It does happen exactly that way. And above 750 f.p.s. some of the lead flashes to incandescence and becomes lead vapor. The rest becomes dust.

      But there is no OSHA policy. It’s just that range’s policy.

      Also, when they have a velocity limitation like that they probably don’t have the backstops to handle the higher speeds.


    • Jim,
      I don’t know how much of a poison hazard lead fragments are but I can attest to the fact they indeed do fragment. My acoustic ceiling is peppered with lead fragments above my metal targets and I do find some fragments in the carpeting now and then as far as three feet from the target area. I don’t think it’s taking as much as 600fps to do it either.


    • Jim,

      I too get splatters of lead from my more powerful springers, and I always put a cardboard backer behind my targets. I use a Champion trap that is capable of handling .22 caliber bullets. At high velocities, pellets almost disintegrate. BTW, this trap will handle .22 cal firearm with no problem.

      Have any idea as to how much lead might get sprayed at the muzzle?


          • SL and Victor,

            I don’t know if you saw my reply post above to Bub and Fred, but I was stunned at the amount of fine lead dust I found in my Marauder’s baffles when I took them out a few days ago. That was probably after a few thousand rounds ( bought it used and have put probably 800 though it myself so far), but the amount was still much more than I expected – not piles, but every surface was covered in the stuff, and it was fine, like graphite powder.

            I think an LDC is definately worth it for both reasons, but of course there are other factors to consider . . . .

            Alan in MI

            • Alan in MI

              I was just being a smart a…..lec. I bought it primarily to keep from freaking out the cats as much when shooting inside. It does a very good job at that.

              I am happy to know it does collect the fine spray of lead dust ( I shoot a Marauder too ) for the health of the cats’ sake, and mine as well. Thanks.

    • Jim, this scenario of lead dust and vapor which you rightly point out gives me the creeps as an indoor shooter. Paul Imhoff tested my B30 at 900 fps. As another protection against lead dust, I think that shooting into duct seal can help your odds. The pellet will just bury itself instead of fragmenting. This effect will be offset somewhat when your duct seal is as seasoned as mine is and chock full of pellets. But I also attach targets on top of each other so that the pellet goes through several layers of paper before even reaching the duct seal. I also wear a surgical mask when working around the targets, vacuum up the range after each shooting, and open the windows and run the fan all night long. Hope it all works out in the end.


      • Matt,

        When I was tuning my Marauder, it was not uncommon for pellets to go into the exact same hole in my duct seal trap, since the gun was rested and the trap was just on the other side of the Chrony.

        On those occasions, I saw the flash BB wrote about, plus heard a noticable sharp pop too. There were fragments of pellets coming back out too, even if the pellet was slightly offset and no flash occured. Bottom line – when pellets hit another pellet, a duct seal trap won’t stop fragments from coming out, and I don’t think a piece of paper will do much to stop it either. I felt a few fragments hit me and I was about six feet from the trap (I now move the gun and/or trap around on each shot when doing this to minimize the chance of this happening).

        I have since taken to actually cleaning out the trap. It is easy to do if you do it every couple of hundred pellets shooting offhand (or less if you are benchresting) it is opretty easy. The first time was more effort – I just pulled out hunks of seal and removed the pellets, and then reloaded the loose duct seal back in (proablaby well over a thousand pellets came out, but not all). Having each pellet hit a clean part of the trap clearly prevents all fragmentation and vaporization.

        I also found the added advantage of doing so is that once the duct seal is smoothed out after cleaning (I roll it with a bit of pipe), a paper target can be placed directly on it and it sticks – then even domed pellets cut holes as clean as a wadcutter!

        Alan in MI

  9. Fred,
    Excellent article! I enjoyed your efforts. However, I just knew the Marauder would be the best. 🙂 Also, I’m going to order those Ultra-magnums (thank you for that) but right now they’re out-of-stock. I’m pleased to see how good you are with those springers. You’ve re-piqued my curiosity and re-ignited a small ember.


    • Chuck,

      you’re very kind. I thought I was acceptable but I’ve got to tell you after my taste of competition the other week down in NC with the .22 rimfire, I’ve got a lot of practicing to do!

      Fred PRoNJ

  10. Great report Fred.
    Having a vested interest myself in the British version of the HW50s it’s always good to see it perform well.
    Kind of validates one’s own choice.
    My one complaint of the Brit version(HW99s) is that the foresight has a fixed post,which is a little on the thick side.
    The HW50s foresight would be more desirable.
    My Dad’s Webley Eclipse under leaver also features a pop up transfer/loading port.
    His though could do with some new seals I think.
    By the way that story of the sleeping Raccoon which turned out to be a dead Possum was a classic 🙂

    • Dave

      Does your barrel have a dovetail on the end of it that the front sight mounts to? If so, there are any number of sights with inserts that could mount to it. I purchased a cheap airgun recently that had target sights with a globe front sight, with an insert that came to a very sharp point. This allowed me to shoot the best open sight groups I have ever shot. (I think)

      Alternatively, you could file the edges of stock front sight you already have to a point. You could then treat the edges with something to make it blend in.

      I really don’t think you would like the fiber optic sights you were looking for earlier over the long run. Kinda cool and good for hunting in intermediate light, but not so great for lining up terribly accurate shots.

      I am happy to hear of others positive experiences with the new version of the HW99/HW50S. Not because it validates my purchase, but because others have had the same positive experience I did, despite a good deal of bad press.

      I understand that Weihrauch slipped up by naming the gun after a former model that is not constructed the same. I also understand that the gun is a little hard to cock at first, and more than a little buzzy from the outset. But I haven’t seen too many complaints about accuracy from those who own them. Also mine shoots smoother the more I shoot it, which is not alot because I have a few airguns at this point. Eventually I will get around to putting some tar on the spring.

      It has a classically shaped stock that is somewhat svelte, that makes the rifle about the perfect weight. I love mine. It likes H&N Field Target Trophy and JSB Diablo Exacts. It is not the only HW made rifle I own, but among the best.

  11. Pretty nice collection there Fred,

    I don’t know if I got a good one or if the lower velocity (495 advertised fps in .22) makes easier to shoot but I’m getting pretty decent result with my Trail NP. Well not so good with the Gamo but the Crosman Cheapies gave me pretty decent result.
    (sorry for the pic quality, it was taken with my phone, I was in the garage and didn’t have my camera with me) the groups were shot at 10m.

    I can’t wait to try out my new (to me) Diana 24. It shoots pretty well and I think it will give me good accuracy. When I got it I was scared because there was LOTS of movement inside the box, I could hear little pieces of something move around and was beginning to think the previous owner had packed it in bean bags… The guy actually gave me his 3 boxes of pellets (with the rifle soft case and 90 out of a 100 box of Gamo targets), one of the pellets box got squished and emptied itself all over inside the box, luckily it didn’t damage or scratch the rifle.


  12. I really like the new podcast on the similarities between airguns and blackpowder. Very interesting comparisons.

    In the podcast B.B. mentions his Marlin Ballard .38-40. Guess he bought another to keep the .38-55 company LOL!


      • Darn. I wanted (want) another Marlin Ballard blog.

        Bought a first year production 94/22 yesterday. Hope to have it in a few weeks. Thanks again for your help.


        • Kevin : you are going to like that 94/22. I have a magnum version of the same gun. Very smooth action,better than the Marlin 39 . There is also a good article in the 2007 Gun Digest on the 94/22 ,called “Winchester’s Last Rimfire” by Jim House. It’s a good read,Robert.

          • Robert from Arcade,

            Thanks for the re-assurance. I’ve got a 94 in .30-30 that has been a fine gun. One of my gun stores nearby has a 94/22 in .22 magnum that was manufactured in 1973. Stock finish and bluing on that early gun was very impressive. I opted for the .22 short, long, long rifle calibers gun.

            I think I read that article by Jim House on the internet. Might have been a different one but it was definately by Jim House. I read so much in the past week about the bl 22, 94/22 and 39a my head is spinning.


        • Kevin,
          I see you are going to try the rest before you buy the best (39a) :). Just kidding, 9422 is a fine choice, especially since you like your W94 .30-30. I’ve always been partial to Marlin levers, but the Winchesters are nice too. I think Robert is right about the Winchester action being slicker sometimes, but I’ve always like the solid sound the Marlins make, esp. the 336’s.

          I found an article for Kevin the other day that compared 39 and 9422 and one interesting point it made was that the 9422 was designed from beginning for .22 mag., whereas Marlin adapted the 1892 for its lever-action .22 mag.

          • BG_Farmer,

            I had a chance to shoulder and older (late 1950’s) 39a. Pre-golden. It was heavy compared to the 94/22 and didn’t balance well. Although I usually like a front heavy gun the 39a was a fight to keep on target. Maybe the carbine version would be wonderful. The reports on the actions is spot on. The marlin was very mechanical, metal on metal, whereas the 94/22 (magnum version I tried) was slick/effortless. I’d still like to shoulder and shoot a marlin carbine version.


  13. Fred,

    Very nice collection. Sure, you can’t take them outdoors, for now, but at least you can fire them indoors. Can’t say the same for a firearm. That’s what I find so attractive about air-guns. Good job!


  14. Kevin/BB,

    NPSS Accuracy at 15 yards (crown/muzzle break issue?)

    Here are 5 groupings of 10 shots each out of a newish .177 Remington NPSS (have not cleaned/oiled the barrel, stock scope is tight, crown looks a little rough). A: RWS Hobbys, B: Gamo TS-10, C: SWS SuperDome, D: CPU Mag, E: JSB Exacts


    Fred is a much better shot than I am, but was expecting a little better accuracy at this range with lose artillery hold. Normal that Wadcutters would be low, Beeman Coated HP are worse.

    • MDMat,

      That picture helps alot. Thank you.

      I think you might also have some parallax problems with your scope. Does your scope have an AO? Have you done the head bob to check for parallax? Have you adjusted your ocular to minimize parallax?

      I would also suggest carefully cleaning the barrel with a bronze/brass brush loaded with JB Bore paste. 20 strokes in both directions then run cleaning patches through until they come out clean. Then tighten all your scope and stock screws and shot 5 groups of 10 shots with your best pellet (superdomes?).


      • Kevin, Parallex is the issue! Tried all the parallax and ocular focus combinations adjustments on the stock Center Point scope (3-9X40AO) as well as different magnifications. At 15 yards, I can not get it right, moving 1-2 inches each way on the target! Never seen this that bad with my Leapers Bug Buster and Barska.

        Bad scope or am I missing a secret setting/ring?

    • MDMat,

      At 10 meters, I get one hole groups out of my Titan GP. Maybe not single pellet hole size groups, but definitely one hole groups. I’ll have to try it at 20 yards to see how well it does at that distance.


    • MDMat

      Ditto what Kevin said. I don’t own a Crosman airgun that hasn’t benefited greatly from a barrel cleaning. Also I don’t think that gun is EVER going to like those Gamos.

  15. B.B., All,

    I just found out that our range, Desert Hills Shooting Club, is building an INDOOR test range that goes up to 100 yards. This will be a great facility for testing air-guns, pellets, smallbore rifles, target ammo, etc..


      • Matt61,

        I think you’re right on both counts. I don’t know the details yet, but I was allowed in to see it from the inside. It’s a building that’s being converted for this purpose. I believe that there will be one or two lanes at 100 yards, a few at 75 yards, and a few more at 50 yards. From the design, my guess is that it will primarily be used for testing from a rest.

        If I were them (the Desert Hills Shooting Club), I’d also sell high end target ammo, like Eley. That way shooters can test different lots of ammo, in an almost perfect environment, to decided what shoots best in their particular rifles. This is what they do at the Eley factory, and I don’t know of anyone who provides such a facility here in the states.


        • Victor,
          That is a great idea — I’ve had my newest rimfire for almost a good while now, and only managed to shoot one time under great conditions; makes finding right ammunition difficult. I would gladly pay a small fee at my club to use a fully enclosed (at least windproof) lane at 50 yards, and would be happy to buy small boxes of whatever ammo they could carry.

          • BG_Farmer,

            Even Eley Tenex can vary WILDLY from lot number to lot number. I know this from experience. My understanding is that Eley Black is just Eley Red that didn’t pass some criteria. Lots of shooters claim that Black shoots at least as good as Red in their rifles. Others claim that even less expensive target ammo works best for them. Currently, the closest distributor of Eley is somewhere in Texas. When I competed, it was Arizona. Southern Nevada is relatively centrally located for people in the south-west. We would just need to host a good tournament here so that shooters would have more than one reason to visit. While here, they could test a few lots to find what works best for them.


  16. FredProNJ, thanks great blog. I can identify since my range is about 25 feet taking the diagonal of my room. In an earlier era we would have been zimmerstutzen or gallery shooters. Glad to see the fine performance of the Marauder and RWS 52. I thought that a muzzle brake typically made things louder. At least for firearms, it tames muzzle flip by venting gases sideways and backwards. I experienced this standing near a guy shooting a .338 Lapua Magnum. Ow.

    pcp4me, I read your comments on religion with interest and must disagree with you on one point. Is it all simple? Hardly. I’ve been especially mystified by that passage which says that lusting after a woman in your heart is the same thing as committing adultery for real….

    Kevin, your medallions do sound to die for. It’s like this Japanese movie I saw called Departures where a guy eats some of his own cooking and says, “I’m so good I hate myself.” Onions I love. Alcohol in food I’m warming up to slowly. A dash in egg nog is good without adding much. But there is a fantastic new recipe for vodka in pasta sauce (with mascarpone cheese) that is just terrific. The sauce is a light red, almost pink. Truly wonderful.

    B.B., I’ve heard that the HK USP is basically the same design as the SOCOM offensive pistol that passed such extraordinary and stringent requirements (and then turned out to be relatively unused). But reviews say that its more a matter of feel and shooter/gun interface, so the wondrous mechanism doesn’t guarantee anything. My only gripe about the 1911 is that very occasionally while hooking my thumb over the thumb safety, the grip safety will not engage, and I will get a failure to fire. This is no problem at the range, but in self-defense could be fatal. Have you had that problem? What Edith wants, she should get….

    Victor, I agree generally about the value of high, fancy kicks. But it seems to me that the first rule of the combat environment is that ANYTHING can happen, so there is a risk of complacency in ruling out high kicks or any technique absolutely. The MMA craze supposedly showed the impracticality of high kicks, but almost 20 years after the start of this movement, the last big match (Anderson/Belfort) was won by a high kick. Also in rolling around on the ground or fighting off-balance and at all different angles as one may have to, the mechanics of even restricted kicks start to look a lot like the more exotic kicks making them good as training aids even if they are not so practical. I’ve also taken to watching YouTube videos of police. There is one video of prisoners fighting Russian police, and one of the police takes out a guy from the side with a jumping kick. Another courtroom camera shows someone pulling a knife and one of the bailiff disarms him with a jumping kick. I’ve also been kicked enough in the head by high and spinning kicks to know that they are not to be ruled out. Generally, I would classify them like 3 point shots in basketball. Not a staple and generally a low percentage shot, but there are circumstances where they are worth taking. And sometimes they can win your game for you.

    Thanks for your comments about the sitting position. I’m definitely one for the open leg position. The cross-legged positions I’ve seen look like hell on the lower back. What do you think about the statistic that elite shooters generally release their shot within three seconds of chambering it? That doesn’t sound like your episode where you had all the scopes on you in your last shot in the finals.


    • After the medallions are cooked you deglaze the pan with the cognac and then ignite and immediatly burn off the alcohol. Add mushrooms and finish the sauce, off the fire, with a little heavy cream. Mashed potatoes or noodles on the side with the gravy added to them as well. Makes my mouth water just thinking about that dish.


    • Matt61,
      Yes, generally speaking, they are higher risk. And yes, anything goes, but timing is everything. You can’t be predictable, and you can’t expose youself to someone who is poised and ready to counter you. One detail that I left out, but was thinking about, was that the type of high kick matters. What was so effective about the Anderson kick was the fact that it was classic Okinawan style (straight, like a punch). Sweeping, or round house, kicks are easier to block or catch, but they do have more power. This particular kick came almost straight in, like a punch. To Belfort, it was as if Anderson had a third arm, and that’s part of the goal.

      Regarding 3 seconds per shot, that all depends. For one thing, it depends on whether the shooter decides to actually take the shot. I’ve watched some of the greatest shooters of all time take a full minute and a half per shot. They can be very picky. Sure, if everything looks perfect after loading the bullet, you should take the shot, but that’s not always the case. Maybe for prone shooting that’s more true, but not for position shooting.


    • Matt61,

      Remember, it’s been over 30 years since I last competed. However, I think that what you said about 3 seconds is probably more true than not. Two years before winning that one state championship that you cited, I won that same match, but with a lower score. I dropped two points for the match, which was a relatively low score for winning such a match. However, the situation was almost exactly the same. In both cases there were 3 shooters behind me by one point, and all had more X’s. Had I dropped one extra point, I would have ended up in 4th place, and not state champion. Also, in both cases, I knew that it was close, so I was nervous going into the last target. I don’t remember being as nervous as I was the second time around, but I must have been, now that I think about it, because I dropped a point in my last target, which was for 50 yards. In my last few years competing, I don’t remember dropping a point at 50 yards, except for that match. The mistake that I made the first time around was that I did NOT take my time during the final target. Lack of experience, I guess.

      Time matters a great deal. When I watched Lanny Basham make the 1976 Olympic team (and later win Gold), the one thing that really stood out in my mind was how much time he took per shot. For a non-shooter, watching him shoot would definitely be like watching grass grow.

      Also, a buddy of mine, Dave Kimes, won a World Championship, knowing that he had to clean his last 12 shots in the kneeling position. The guy he had to beat was standing behind him pretty much assuming that Dave would have to drop at least one point. Dave took his time, really pushing the clock, and did in fact clean the final set of shots to become World Champion.

      If there was one area that I still had to master, it was time management during a match. I was only 16 or 17 years old, but was shooting 590’s in ISU prone, and dancing around 1600 in NRA. I had the ability to shoot high scores, but was not as consistent as the guys 10 years, or more, older than me. What I lacked was the maturity that comes with age. In a nutshell, it’s not enough to be able to hold a gun still, you have to overcome mental errors. The mature shooter is more consistent. He/she identifies specific weaknesses, and solves them. Like the trigger squeeze that I described before, his practice must be “deliberate”. There was an interesting article some years ago by Geoffrey Colvin, of Fortune on CNNMoney.com in which he wrote,

      “The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.” It’s activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond ones level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

      For example: Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don’t get better. Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day – that’s deliberate practice.”


      • If you google “what it takes to be great colvin”, you’ll find a PDF version of the article that I mentioned. I think it’s worth downloading. Good stuff if you’re a coach. Good stuff if you need help breaking out of a plateau.

    • Matt,

      “pcp4me, I read your comments on religion with interest and must disagree with you on one point. Is it all simple?” It IS that simple. There are no “big sins”. If it needs to be more difficult try reading Titus 3:5,6. That’s as complicated as it gets. Read the book of Romans in the New Test. Most folks choke on it a bit, but I think you’ve got the intelligence for a good read and you have a lot in common with the author.


      • KA, the Bible is extremely clear that there are indeed ‘big sins’ as opposed to smaller ones. There are some that are even described as crying out to heaven for vengeance. We do know that none of us are perfect in our love or faith, but those failings can indeed be lesser (occasional carelessness or negligence) or greater (willful, premeditated actions that comprise a wholesale rejection of God).

  17. Fred PRoNJ

    I really enjoyed reading your report. I was completely unaware of the Diana 46. Shows you how much I know. Pretty cool. You have indeed acquired a fine assortment of air rifles. Didn’t you have a 350 magnum as well?

    One thing I noticed, some of your rifles have a piece of tape on the stock for repeatable cheekweld and others don’t. The Disco and M-Rod weren’t pictured so I couldn’t check for tape on those. What gives?

    • SL,

      I found with some of my scopes that I can only get a decent image if my head is in exactly the right position. I have a Bushnell Elite scope on my Disco and that’s one of the scopes that is very restrictive as respects checkweld to image so no tape needed. I can’t remember what scope is on the Marauder or if I have a piece of tape on it. I’ll check tonight. I didn’t show photos of those two as I thought the group would be very familiiar with them and so no photo was needed.

      Fred PRoNJ

    • SL,

      yes I do have an RWS 350 but I removed the scope to put it on the Nitro and put the Nitro Centerline scope on another rifle (. I’m losing track here. Because I didn’t have a scope on the 350, or the Benjamin 392, or my CO2 powered Crosman 99 (which is not in the same league as respects accuracy to the others), I didn’t bother to put them in the mix. The 350 is a tough rifle to shoot accurately for me due to the recoil but with iron sights, I don’t seem to be that concerned about it. 🙂

      Fred PRoNJ

  18. BB,
    I loved the article on the Zimmerstutzens. Those and the Stutzens were beautiful rifles. I have seen them before at the big Market Hall gun show. They are really interesting but I don’t see myself getting one. It sounds like shooting them would be a lot more expensive that shooting a FWB300. How loud is your Zimmerstutzens compared to airguns?

    David Enoch

    • David,

      A Zimmer like mine is as loud as a .22 short. The breechloaders are much quieter.

      I will have two tables at the April Market Hall show. Come out and see me. Mac will be there, too.

      And the following weekend, we’ll both have tables at Little Rock. I know you’ll be there.


  19. Fred,
    Great guest blog, as usual. One Thing you said about your .177 M-Rod, I’m hoping you can clarify for me.” I detuned the rifle to obtain up to 50 shots at this velocity +/-25 fps.” When you say “+/- 25 fps” I assume you mean that the vel. spread is from 785fps to 835 fps. Am I correct on this, or did you mean to say that the extreme spread (ES) is 25fps. In which case the vel. spread (ES) would be from 797fps to 833fps. This clarification will be very helpful to me, as I am currently de-tunning my .177 M-Rod For maximum shot count and minimum ES . TIA. JR.

    • JR49,

      your first understanding is correct. From an 825 fps average, my rifle can climb as high as 850 and finally down to 800 fps (numbers are just for example, I think the actual speeds were higher but I can’t remember). I think I can get this spread much closer if I start playing around with the air capacity valve that’s located under the stock. I’ve not touched it and I believe from research including this Blog, the Yellow Forum and from the A-Team’s website, that it’s adjusted as a compromise between high pressure air and CO2 so it could be closed down some.

      When I get around “tuit”.

      Fred PRoNJ

  20. BB and knowledgeable others,

    The other day, I got an FB 124 . It is missing the front sight and the rear sight is there but is missing the adjustment button (the piece that slides up and down the sight ramp). Wood is somewhat scratched and there is minor rust. Rifling looks good, breech seal looks good. I have not cocked it or fired it yet. I did pull the barrel and I do not hear any grinding noises (I am thinking of the spring and piston seal condition).

    Any recommendations before I fire it for the first time? Any recommendations to assess its performance and what I need to do to it?


  21. Fred,
    Interesting blog — you are making the best of the winter weather.

    I had a quick listen to the first section of the BP/airgun comparison podcast (was running around this morning). Interesting — I will try to listen to the rest later. One observation — most of the early muzzleloaders won’t be finished to the same standards as the late 19th century BPCRs; the influence of British guns, and their finish quality in particular, is one thing that lead to the nice finish on rifles like the Ballard. Early longrifles may look fairly crude to people used to those standards, especially in terms of carving and engraving, since the same person often did all the work, whereas European guns were built by groups of very specialized craftsmen. This is one reason I always prefer a slightly underdone rifle — more American :). Also, rust blue and browning wasn’t widely used until the 19th century in US, and hot blue was much later. Early longrifles were finished either bright, which would lose its lustre if not re-polished, or charcoal blued, most of which will rub off within the first 50 years of use, I would guess.

  22. Interesting that your best CTC distance for a springer and second overall wasn’t even mentioned in the summary (RWS 46)??? Mine likes Superpoints, but only shoots them at 656fps.

    • JC, the breech sealing in those models can be a real problem. There’s two seals and not much pressure holding them in place. A little slop in the breech clock hinge and they leak like crazy. I found that replacing them with Buna 70 ‘O’ rings and shimming them out until it takes firm pressure to lock the breech block down helps considerably.

  23. I just got done making my first spring compressor. And it works! I’ve thinking about doing it for years but never had it in me. It’s really not that hard to make at all. Mine doesn’t look as good as B.B.’s but like I said, it works! I have my Remington Vantage all taken a part. Now what? haha.

    There was a few flakes of metal but nothing horrible. Oh and tons of dripping oil not from me. I’ve already cleaned out everything and I plan to give it a moly treatment, is there anywhere I shouldn’t put moly on? Also is there anything I can do to slow the gun down? My Remington kicks like a mule.

    • Kit Carson

      In short, don’t get moly on the face of the piston seal but you do want a light coat on the sides. Use a good quality moly.

      To slow the gun down you could apply Maccarri’s heavy tar to the mainspring. Alternatively, you could buy another spring.

      Take your time and look at everything (cocking slot, shoe, etc.) If it looks rough, polish it down just a little.

      Good job with the spring compressor! Very impressive.

  24. Kevin, I have read B.B.’s series on tuning a spring gun. Thanks for the link though I’m sure I’ll re-read it over the next couple of days. I always find myself going back on these entries always catching something that I over-looked.

    Slinging Lead, I guess if I really want to tone the spring down I will have to replace it or try out Maccarri’s heavy tar . That’s not going to happen any time soon. My funds are almost gone. I will give my rifle a proper lube job, polishing, and cleaning for now. I”m curious to see what changes occur after the gun is put back together. Right now it shoots violently and when I cock it the thing sounds like it scraping the sides.

    I’ve waited years to build this spring compressor after reading about it. Now that I have one I can tinker when ever I can afford to. Thanks for all your help everyone. This blog is awesome!

    • KC, I usually put a very light film of a moly grease on the rearmost part of the inside of the spring tube, and after reinstalling the piston I put a bit more behind it. There’s a side loading on the piston during the cocking cycle, and I like to keep the piston/cylinder wall contact lubricated.

      My ‘moly grease’ is NOT something you’d buy, I mix a light-bodied grease with about 25-30% moly powder. I believe it ‘flows’ inside the gun better than moly paste and is more likely to work its way back to areas where it gets scraped off.

      Heavy tar will smooth out the firing cycle but it’s not going to reduce power that much. If you REALLY want to detune your rifle, there’s a Crosman spring which I think will do nicely. It’s part # C5M77-010, and should be about $5 before shipping. In a Crosman Quest action (and the Vantage is a variant of the Quest) it results in a light cocking effort, calmer firing cycle, while still delivering mid-upper 700’s with medium weight pellets. The spring was originally installed in the Crosman Quest 500X, and is very similar to the spring in the Gamo Delta.

      You can call Crosman at 1 800 724 7486.

      • Vince,

        What a gem of a comment.

        It’s still amazing to me the spot on advice that is unselfishly shared here. If you read other forums regularly the tuners with great experience, like you, are usually very guarded and vague in their replies which in my opinion is a thinly veiled request for work rather than an honest effort to help someone in their reply.

        I’ve visited a lot of forums and count this as number one because of people like you. Thanks.


        • Kev, thanks for your kind words… but I don’t really have ‘great’ experience and there’s a lot of guys who would say that the above suggestions are no good. All I can say is that so far this seems to have worked for me. But you are right – I’m not looking to get rich off this blog!

  25. Vince,

    That sounds like that should be my next plan with the Remington. I think this Crosman spring will be my best way to detune my gun. I can only deal with power while I save up some money for the replacement spring. Yeah, I’m that broke. I’ll write down the part # to use a later day.

    Ever think of selling your “moly grease”? I didn’t know what kind to buy so I went an ordered some Air Venturi Moly Metal-to-Metal Paste from Pyramyd AIR. Is that suitable? There isn’t any reviews yet.

  26. Fred,
    I finally had a chance to check the blog, what a surprise. You’ve assembled a nice group of airguns, and thanks for taking the time to do the testing and write the blog.
    At the end, you’ve listed about 4 of your favorites. If you were forced to, could you limit it one favorite?

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