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Education / Training › Benjamin 397C: Part 1

Benjamin 397C: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Photos and tests by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Today, we’ll begin a look at a strange duck. It’s an airgun model that is still current, but this variation is a relatively little-known offshoot that, because of its nature, is a completely different airgun. I’m referring to the Benjamin 397C. I linked to the Benjamin 397, which is the parent model and is still available for sale, because the “C” or carbine version of this multi-pump pneumatic isn’t made anymore. It was made and sold between 1994 and 1998, but not a lot of them were made. That’s the gun we’re studying today — the 397C that’s different than the longer 397, as this report will show.

The Benjamin 397C (right) is noticeably shorter and smaller than the 397 long gun. It’s three inches shorter and more than a full pound lighter than the rifle we know today.

Mac bought two brand new 397Cs at an airgun show several years ago. He has since gotten rid of one, but he holds on to the other because he’s grown to like it so much.

The carbine is 33 inches overall with a 16-inch barrel. The length of pull is a short 12-1/4 inches, but it’s comfortable for most adults in the offhand position. It weighs 4 lbs. 4 oz.

Design limitations
Because the 397C is a carbine and must be shorter than the long gun model, by definition of what a carbine is, it must also suffer the limitations that come with it. As regular readers of this blog know, pneumatic guns derive their power partly through the length of their barrels. Just as in the 19th century, a firearm rifle with a longer barrel was often more efficient and got more power from the same load than a shorter rifle when all things were equal, so any pneumatic will suffer from a power loss when its barrel is shortened. This is one time when physics will not give in to design.

Additionally, the pump mechanism and air reservoir were also shortened to make this carbine, so these two facts will affect performance as well. The bottom line is: don’t shorten the barrel if you want to get maximum efficiency from a pneumatic powerplant, anymore than you would shorten the barrel of a black powder rifle and not expect a similar power loss. Heck, for the same reason, the U.S. Army has discovered to its chagrin that the compact M4 carbine hamstrings the performance of the 5.56mm round that’s standard in the M16.

Design benefits
On the other hand, carbines are much handier to hold and to use. Mac pointed out that his 397C is a delightful airgun that he pulls out often when guests come over to shoot. Everybody likes the compact, light feel of the gun; and until you shoot it over a chronograph, you don’t notice the power loss. All things considered, Mac likes the carbine size over that of the full-sized rifle.

Because it comes from an older period in the life cycle of the 397, this carbine has the rocker-style safety that has a tab on either side of the receiver. It’s called a rocker safety because when the action is out of the stock you can see that the safety mechanism rocks from side to side as the Safe and Fire tabs are pressed.

The 397C has the old-style rocker safety that shooters love.

Like all other Benjamin pneumatics, the 397C is almost completely ambidextrous. The bolt is on the right side and cannot be switched, but the gun’s simple lines and the way the safety works combine to make it easy to operate from either side.

Like the full-sized 397, the carbine is recommended for a maximum of eight pumps and no more. Being a multi-pump, it can get along with fewer, depending on the situation. Three pumps for indoor target practice at close range and five if you want to shoot farther. Mac measured the effort required for the pump strokes and found that it takes 10 lbs. at stroke number two, 18 lbs. at stroke four, 24 lbs. at stroke six and 30 lbs. at stroke eight. That makes it somewhat easier to pump than the full-sized rifle, which requires about 35 lbs. for the eighth stroke. Of course, that means that less air is being compressed with every stroke.

Williams peep sight
Many of you know that Mac likes peep sights on his rifles, and Benjamin multi-pumps are made at the factory to accept them. When he purchased the gun, it had the Williams peep sight that is made specifically for Benjamin and Sheridan air rifles.

The Williams receiver sight is specially made to mount on the Benjamin and Sheridan pneumatics.

Two maintenance procedures
One thing the readers of this blog should have learned by now is that most CO2 and pneumatic guns require frequent oiling to keep the interior seals fresh and doing their job. But a quirk of marking on the rifle confuses many owners. The air intake hole has the words AIR HOLE DO NOT OIL stamped next to it, and many owners assume that means they are not to oil the rifle at all. In fact, oiling is one of two maintenance procedures that keeps the rifle operating for many decades. But you don’t oil through the small air hole. Instead, you extend the pump handle as far as it will go, which draws out the pump piston head as far as it can come. The pump head gets the oil. Three or four drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the pump piston head every six months will keep the rifle working properly for a long time.

When the pump handle is opened all the way, the pump piston head comes as far out of the pump mechanism as possible without disassembling the airgun. Put three or four drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the piston head at the end of the pump slot and then work the pump handle back and forth to spread the oil to the inner walls of the compression chamber.

The second maintenance procedure for this rifle is to always store it with a pump of air in the gun. That keeps both the inlet and firing valves shut against airborne contamination, and the seals will stay fresh for many years.

Mac promised to test both velocity and accuracy for us in the weeks to come. We’ll have a chance to look at this less-common type of Benjamin pneumatic and compare it with the longer rifle of today.

The 397C is another example of a rare type of airgun that’s still relatively unknown and still available for a good price. While it may not be your cup of tea, it gives us all hope that the field of airgun collecting is not just reserved for those with deep pockets and access to vintage airguns.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

85 thoughts on “Benjamin 397C: Part 1”

  1. BB.,

    I’m concerned that your last photograph insinuates that oil is to go into the hole that clearly states “DO NOT OIL”. Yes, I know you’ve clearly photographed and stated for many years where the pump head is and where to oil but this picture seems confusing to the uninitiated. After awhile we assume.

    I had no idea that a 397 carbine existed. There are so many current examples of my regression to my youth I’ve lost count. One that keeps repeating is my appreciation for lightweight and compact. Carbine and youth guns in their descriptions get my attention lately. Bullpups certainly fall in this catagory but a cheek weld to steel has been a turnoff until the last 24 hours.

    Erik came up to our cabin this weekend and we shot his edgun out to 100 yards. NO WIND,

    • For some reason I got automatically posted. To finish the story, we shot 15.8gr jsb’s, unsorted, unweighed, and got 5 shot groups that could be covered with a jfk half dollar! I’ve shot those groups with my AA S410 but with a better scope and with weighed pellets. I can’t stand a cheek weld on the breech, don’t like the edguns trigger, the stock looks like a 7th grade shop class project but can’t help but be impressed with the performance. I stared at this frankenstein gun afterwords and can’t help but be amazed and repulsed at the sametime.


  2. Matt61,

    I read your comments over the weekend that confirmed you’ve taken the plunge into reloading. Congratulations!

    I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. You are now empowered. You’re off the nipple.

    Waiting for “the best ammo for your gun” to come available, at a decent price, is a thing of the past now. Creating the best ammo for your gun is ahead of you.

    Since you’re now the manufacturer you have to think beyond buying primers, powder, cases, bullets by the box and think about manufacturing by the cases. When you think in these terms, not only do you provide for your future needs for the range but you are prepared when no ammo or products to produce ammo may be extinct.

    As importantly, when you think of yourself as a manufacturer and buy in large bulk, hazmat fees seem miniscule. My analogy is shipping costs for a $20.00 item (without hazmat fees). You gulp when you realize that shipping costs are 25%-35% of your purchase. You do one of two things. Either buy it locally (if possible) and pay local and state tax or buy it in large quantity to justify the diminishing cost of hazmat and shipping costs.


    • Kevin, thanks for your support. Hope you don’t mind me calling on your expertise at some point. I may be off the nipple, but where exactly am I now? 🙂 The first consideration is getting the darn thing set-up, and the answer with the gizmo I’m seeing is not obvious. On the other hand, I will take the leisurely approach to my new tools and will weigh all sorts of things with my new scale and measure things with my new calipers. Yes, I do believe that, as B.B. said, the way to overcome the HAZMAT fee is to buy in bulk as there is nowhere nearby that will make traveling to purchase powder feasible. Wayne, take note. We might get you reloading next.

      Edith, you are so on top of things. So that’s what happened to my 3X submitted comment. Something odd about that comment to get it deleted for you too after all that. Was it something I said? 🙂 Thanks for your offer but no need for us to trade text. I think the essence of the note was as follows.

      B.B., Luke has me dead to rights for sure. Beneath the vistas of mathematical abstraction, I was undone by arithmetic. (Did you know by the way that Friedrich Gauss, the ultimate mathematician, known as the Prince of Mathematics, claimed that arithmetic was foremost of the mathematical fields? Now we know why.) In addition to getting blindsided by the HAZMAT fee, I made the fatal assumption that one pound of powder was good for an infinite number of charges measured in grains. But I find that at 51.5 grains, I only get 140 shots for a 30-06 and that is assuming I don’t screw up any which seems optimistic. I had been moving toward the idea of buying in bulk (although this will stress my storage system). So, thanks for the tips. But why does every money-saving idea seem to draw me in deeper? 🙂 The whole thing has me scurrying back to airguns with their great convenience.


  3. Hi guys !
    Interesting stuff about horizontal stripes on wooden part of the rifle -i love it(i don’t know is that something that is considered A grade on a wood or less ??? ) my Slavia 631 have these stripes but 634 and Diana 34 are stripe-less .Dont know why but i just love these details on wood ……

    Slinging Lead -in retrospective (answer) -YES you are right on the money -Slavia airguns “flaw “is that trigger adjustment metal part is easy to broke (on 634 mine was broken after just one or two months )but now i shoot without it ,i don’t know is it bad but i can’t find this part anywhere …

    • Milan,

      Yes, the standard rifle shown above has a remarkable grain, doesn’t it? Benjamin never sorted their stocks by grade, so occasionally a beautiful stock like this would appear when the box was opened. It all came down to luck, and collectors prize these stocks.

      The forearms seldom match the butts, because Benjamin doesn’t take the time to sort them. They just slap on whatever is the next piece of wood and go with it. So when a rifle has a beautiful stock and forearm, it is a very rare thing.


      • Milan

        I continue to be amazed at the accuracy of the CZ/Slavia rifles. At their pricepoint, they have no right to be this accurate. Thanks for your frequent mention of these guns, it was largely your input that got me interested in these gems.

        If you can’t find a replacement trigger guard over there, I guess I can give up all hope of finding one over here. No big deal, it doesn’t look like it is going anywhere.

      • B.B. i have already noticed that -i actually have two Slavia(s) 631 one is in my ex step father house( i doubt he will ever return it back to me ,but on the brighter side my mother did manage to divorce him…..)that one has beautiful stripes on dark walnut wood and the one i have is much brighter

        • The stock is what makes my 631 my most cherished gun. My other guns (an Avanti, a Crosman and a couple of BAM’s) all have plain beech stocks.
          The Slavia also has beech (according to the website)…yet it is unlike other stock I’ve seen. It looks like tiger stripes…beautiful stripes wrapping around the stock on both sides for most of its length.
          Absolutely gorgeous.

  4. 2 all who plan to purchase duskcombe

    Guys, I’m very glad about your support and I heartily thank you for it.
    But there are things that become more and more clear to me, so let me share some of my thoughts with you.
    What I’m doing right now is an experiment – a lucky one, I hope, as failure is not an option. As far as now it cost me about $ 900. And it’s going to cost more.
    I’m in dire need of money and what is much worse – time and “hitting power” (people are HEAVY, I spend very much time just to make them think with their heads and show some initiative) to finish even this very rifle, so I think it’s quite clear – I won’t be able to make series.
    Right now I’m afraid I’ve got much more to worry about – with this one I got to the edge of my current skill and I think have my rear part hanging over the edge 🙂 I won’t be able to make anything radically better in some time, as I don’t have any CNC tools and so on.
    And all that is just about making it, not selling across 2 borders and 10000 kilometers 😉
    I’ll keep you updated every time I get a new part or make some improvement, so watch for pics. I hope I’ll post photos of synchro assembly in 2 or 3 weeks.


    • duskwight,

      You sound stressed! Do think that this is a homework assignment for school. You are supposed to have fun doing this, and if you are not having fun, set it aside.

      Take your time and enjoy what you are doing. No need to report on a regular basis. Just tell us when something good happens.

      You are more important than this rifle. Remember that. 😉


      • B.B.

        Well, I’m not stressed, I just tried to explain that in current circumstances series are impossible. Maybe it was a bit too emotional 🙂 But trust me, hardships do not stop this easily. Every challenge is an entertainment. So my attitude is rather “So they got us surrounded again…”


    • Duskwight, take heart. I just successfully soldered! With your skills all things are possible. I feel like a caveman who has just discovered fire. The way the lead and tin droplets solidify instantly when they fall off the iron reminds me of the super-advanced terminator in the last Arnold film of the series. Parts can get cut off his body which just turn into droplets and later get reabsorbed into him. On another note, there is a Stephen Hunter novel where a renegade general is forcing a welder to cut into a safe at a U.S. missile base in order to launch a missile and start a World War. The welder is proceeding under duress, but at the critical moment, he turns his welding torch at 50,000 degrees right on the general (which I had been waiting for him to do)! As they say in another context in the novel, with welding you can do anything. Anyway, I digress. Your project might require some patience, but I wouldn’t give up on it.


      • Matt,

        Some interesting stuff for you: [img]http://talks.guns.ru/forums/icons/forum_pictures/004723/4723782.jpg[/img] springers disuised as Mosins. Pretty safe and cheap way to be in touch with history 😉 To this date it’s the most accurate conversion I’ve seen.


  5. HW50(not)S First Impresssions

    Yup, that’s right. I ordered a Weihrauch HW50S and just like with my HW30, again I got a rifle advertised as the ‘S’ model without any ‘S’ attached to the model number. The rifle does have the Rekord trigger, so it is therefore (supposedly) the ‘S’ model, whatever that’s supposed to mean. When I ruminated on this in the past regarding the HW30S, the ‘S’ was promptly removed from the description on PA’s site and it was thereafter sold as an HW30.

    Other than one rip at the tongue tab in the unsealed factory box, the rifle and contents were pristine. It was disappointing to find alongside the Weihrauch manuals also a Beeman instruction sheet, which is nothing more than a photocopy of a photocopy. I thought only rifles sold as Beeman ‘R’-something would come so equipped, but perhaps Weihrauch already includes this in guns sent to the States, or perhaps PA adds it in. No way to tell since the factory box is not sealed and was obviously opened carelessly at least once before it came to me.

    Stock screws needed a quarter turn. After a liberal coat of Ballistol over everything (including the nice smooth stock) I cracked open the barrel in order to pull out and rotate the rear sight plate to the smallest square notch; then I changed the conical front sight insert for the small straight one. Next I proceeded to load my first JSB Exact heavy pellet and it practically fell through the barrel. This pellet fit so loosely I feared it might fall out again while closing the barrel with the rifle pointing up. Yet the JSB’s all stayed in position, and I don’t think I mashed any skirts from any of them slipping back. This rifle is a clone or twin of the HW30, just a little bigger and heavier, but much harder to cock, yet not inordinately so. For instance, I feel I could carry this rifle in the field all day, whereas I would think twice about doing so with an RWS Diana 350.

    First shot: Trigger nicely adjusted right out of the box. Twang! Buzzzzzzz! Not at all like the HW30, which is totally buzz-free and smooth as butter. Still the twang and buzz of the HW50 is not really annoying– it is very consistent and smooth. From what I’ve read I understand that the buzzing should greatly diminish in 500-1000 shots or so.

    I shot 4 of these JSB Exact domed pellets offhand to test the sights and made a 1.25″ group at 20 yards. For a brand new rifle, unseasoned, and with Espresso nerves and mosquitos buzzing around my sweating face I considered this quite good. For the next ten shots I adopted my favorite shooting stance, which involves gripping a 2″ awning pole with the outboard fingers of my left hand and resting the forearm of the gun in the web of my thumb and forefinger, the forefinger acting as a bumper between barrel and pole. The groups dropped to 1″. But I’m convinced the rifle is much better than me. It was surprisingly well sighted in out of the box.

    I hated the feeling that every JSB pellet might fall out of the breech or drop into the barrel too far so I switched to domed H&N Baracuda Match pellets, my favorite go-to pellet. These fit nicely, tighter than the JSB’s, but not as tight as they do in the HW30, where the Baracudas are a tight fit. Here they were “just right” like Goldilocks’ third bed. Unfortunately my groups didn’t improve at all, and I fiddled with the sight until I got fed up with myself and my aging eyesight.

    I’ve decided I will scope this gun. I’m going to take my medium-sized scope off my 350 and put it on this gun. Once I do I’ll come back to y’all if you are interested.


    • AlanL,

      Yes the HW30S and HW50S do not have the “S” designations on the guns. You know they have the Rekord trigger by looking in the triggerguard and seeing the adjustment screw. Apparently, that’s good enough in the eyes of Weihrauch. Both models sold by Pyramyd AIR are the “S” models.

      To make you happy, I will now go into the HW50S product descriptions & write a short explanation that the guns have Rekord triggers but Weihrauch does not mark the guns with an “S.” Does that work for you?


      • Alan L

        I don’t know how long it has been since HW stopped stamping the barrel block with the ‘S’ but it has been awhile. The only rifles I have seen with the ‘S’ are vintage rifles. Those in the know recognize any HW rifle with the Rekord trigger as the S version. I also suspect that your box was opened so the supplemental Beeman literature could be added.

        I purchased some JSB light pellets some time ago. Out of all the airguns I own, only the TX200 accepts these pellets without them being excessively loose. And this is with the supposedly 4.52mm head size. Using tighter/heavier pellets should reduce the buzz. My HW50S really likes H&N Field Target Trophies, and is outfitted with a Leapers 6-24X50AO.

        The 50 is not a clone or twin of the 30. The HW50 has a good bit more powerful, and a newer design if I am not mistaken.

      • Edith,

        That’s fine, but I already bought a little ‘S’ punch and a big steel mallet, and am practicing my swing for the big bang. Maybe the JSB pellets will feel tight by the time I’m done. What I’m still curious about is the discontinuance of the HW30[S]… any news on that?


          • Oh! I missed that! That’s good news, and that’s the right caliber. The HW30 should never be bought for .22, unless you put a spritz of oil in the compression chamber for each shot! Thanks Edith!

          • Would you by any chance have some kind of idea of when that would be and how much they would be?
            I could get one here for 310$ but it’s a .22 and I would rather get a .177 it would make a nice addition to the growing collection and since I’ll be in the US soon maybe I could order one since I’m not getting the Gamo PT-85 Socom (I know it’s not in the same price range but if you don’t tell my wife it won’t mather).

            I love those accurate, light, easy to cock rifles. My Bronco and Diana 24 are really great little rifles, the Bronco doesn’t have that much to envy the Diana, maybe a little bit more buzz in the firing cycle but still wonderful especially given the awsome price. How many hundreds of those rifles did they sell? It’s a must buy.


            • J-F

              If you like the Bronco and Diana 27, you will love the HW30S. She is a peach. Essentially the same as the Beeman R7, except that the R7 is no longer available with open sights, and the cheek piece is lower on the HW30S. The decision to hold out for a .177 in my opinion is a wise one. You are really gonna dig this.

              I have been trolling for a Diana 27 myself, but folks seem to be holding onto them pretty tight nowadays.

              • My Diana is a 24 not a 27, I don’t know what the differences are (if any) it may just be a lower powered Canadian only Diana.
                I wasn’t sure the R7 was the same as the HW30, I really prefer the way the HW looks. Maybe I dhould really get both…


                • J-F

                  If you still have a hankering for an air pistol, may I suggest the Beeman P3? It is reasonably priced, made by Weihrauch, and fun as all hell. It is a great plinking pistol. The only caveat, it is a little difficult to cock. Accuracy? Watch Paul Capello’s video review of the gun.

                  • I already have a HW45 and a P17 (and a Webley Alecto/Zoraki HP-01, F.A.S. 604 Match, Daisy Avanti 747, Benjamin HB17, Crosman 2240, 2289 and around a dozen CO2 “action” pistols).
                    I’ve been wondering if I should buy a P3 or not but I figured that the P17 was good enough for me… of course if a used one showed up for a price that couldn’t be passed… well… it wouldn’t be passed 😀

                    Right now I’m also working on a shoulder stock for the HW45/P1 and since no one carries them anymore I’ll have to make one (would anybody else be interested in one if a made a few?). Does anyone know how much one would be worth? The bluebook says 50% of the price of the pistol, that would be close to 200$ for mint one, seems pricey to me… no?
                    Someone was asking our favorite movie shot of all time (I think it was Chuck) for me it’s Lee Van Cleef in “for a few dollars more” at the very start of the movie, the intro for Lee Van Cleef. The bad guy is running away he uses his Winchester to kill the horse he’s ridding on and again to wound the fugitive he the proceeds to calmly put his shoulder stock on his long barrel revolver and shoot the bad guy right between the eyes, I’ve had a lust for shoulder stock pistol eversince.
                    You can watch it here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY9hb9FkCm0


    • AlanL,

      Congratulations on the new HW50S.
      Since it has the Bavarian stock it is not ideal for scope use along with the HW35, but it will still work. They are just too accurate for iron sights anyway.
      If you want to smooth it out sooner than later, let me know I will give you instructions for the infamous “hacks” tune.

  6. Alanl:
    Just to clarify,is your HW50 in .177 or .22?

    I use the,15.9 grain .22/5.5 JSB Exact Jumbo’s (Red label on the tin) and they are a fairly snug fit in my rifle.
    In Britain the HW50s is sold as the HW99s but with a couple if differences from what I’ve seen so far.
    The HW99s doesn’t have the option to put inserts into the front sight and the ‘S’ is stamped on the barrel block.
    In every other respect it’s accepted as one and the same rifle.
    If you are using the same calibre and pellet as me but it is loose,maybe there is an even more subtle difference between the HW99 and HW50 we have discovered.

    • Dave,

      My HW50 is a .177 with the iron globe sight with removable inserts. The HW99S is not sold by Pyramyd so far as I know, and I don’t know if elsewhere in the US. Since it is capable of a bit over 12 ft-lb, I suspect yours is a modified version for the British market.


      • AlanL:
        It was my bad Alan.The other day when you asked what pellet I recommended for the HW50/99 I assumed you meant in my calibre .22
        Still,a 1 inch group at 20 yards with the JSB’s is not to be sniffed at.
        Especially shooting an unfamiliar new rifle.
        I swear they are some kind of voodoo wonder pellet.

      • AlanL,

        Congratulations on the new HW50. Don’t worry about the lack of an “S” in the stamping. Weihrauch has a long tradition of using blocks that were stamped with all kinds of lettering that didn’t necessarily signify the model. The stocks and rekord trigger are all similar and that’s what counts.

        Yes, a new HW50 needs lots of shots to get broken in. The cocking effort diminishes but even after 1,000 shots I still need to slap the barrel to break it open. Since yours is also a .177 caliber I would strongly suggest that you try the crosman premiers in the cardboard box. The new HW50 in .177 cal I’ve shot quite a bit was very pellet picky but liked the premiers best.

        Keep a close eye on the stock screws. Until the gun breaks in it works the screws loose frequently. I endorse screw cups for the new HW50 for this reason. Well worth the few dollars and little effort.


  7. B.B.,
    Very glad to see this report. I bought a 397P for my son over 15 years ago, and later got the scope mount adapter and the Weaver Peep Sights. Until I started reading this blog just over a year ago, that was the only airgun that I shot (in fact, the ONLY gun I shot for almost 30 years). These are very fine air-guns with decent accuracy. I can’t wait to see Mac’s velocity and accuracy tests, and comparison with today’s standard rifle. I’d really like to know what the recommended pellets are for these guns.

  8. B.B.,
    Off-topic. Last night I was watching the program, “Hogs Gone Wild”, and wondered why so much effort is being made to capture these hogs, as opposed to just killing them. Seems to me that it should be open season on these hogs, as they have become a menace to states like Texas, California, Florida, and Hawaii. They not only destroy land, but are dangerous to other animals, humans, and especially children. Why hunt to capture, when you can make practical sport out of them?

    • Victor,

      Because you can get a lot more minutes for the show by wrestling them than if you just shoot them.

      Bang! Dead pig. Compare that to a bunch of pig wranglers struggling and putting their lives on the line. Which do you think will capture more viewers?

      Plus, we already have hunting shows online, and I’m guessing many of them already show hog hunting.

      If it smells like money, let’s put it on the air (I believe that’s the official motto for all TV-dom).


      • Georgia too. I read a story about feral pigs years ago. They started by saying that if a buck deer and a doe bread, the next year we have 3 deer. When the original buck and doe deer die of old age, we have some 18 deer. A boar and a sow will have multi litters each having multi young. When the original boar and sow die, we end up with some 2800 pigs. Mathematically.

        Down here some will catch a boar and cut him, also they clip an ear, sell to a hunt club. They say they taste pretty good after he has been cut.

        My 392 loves the JSB 15.9 grain. I still have the stock sights on it.

      • I would like to add in support of my last comment on the pigs is that a hunting show showing the shooting of a pig or two does not compare to the wholesale shooting of every pig in sight in the eyes of the “people”. Personally, I like the idea of culling the herd and don’t identify with those “people” at all.

      • B.B. i understand ….but who is the real culprit here pig or human -feral pigs are smart animals actually domestic pig will grow a fur and become wild faster than any other animal i know of -she will adapt .So just killing is not an option ,in the States where they are pests they will remain so just like big head carp(Asian carp),bullfrog in Australia and many other species ….Here in Europe(including Croatia they are hunting game )

          • I actually live in Europe -in state of Croatia part of ex Yugoslavia 🙂 .No we can’t hunt them all year – they are protected by a hunting law here -i’m not a hunter so i don’t know a details about hunting season and yes they can destroy crops and i love to eat meat what can i do 🙂
            I would love to use english language like Texas(ian) people do (but i’m not that smart)but i have a lot’s of friends from Vukovar Croatia in Texas .

          • Edith,
            Sounds like Texas is my kind of state. They showed where these hogs have spread, and to what density. I believe they said that Texas has some 6 million. There wasn’t a single dot in Nevada, so there’s nothing for me to hunt. I guess that’s a good thing.

    • Edith, B.B.,
      Both of you are making too much sense here. I agree, and figured as much, which is why I asked the question. The show just didn’t make ANY sense to me. These guys are risking life and limb, and that of their precious dogs. These hogs are effectively large rats, except that they are edible. I’d love to pick these buggers off at 200 yards. That would be fun sport to me.

      • At the risk of offending everyone, back in my younger, wilder days when my main transportation was a motorcyle, ah, never mind. We’re getting enough e-mails here without me throwing fuel on the fire. However, this problem looks like a perfect match for Lloyds’ weapon, the Rogue.

        Fred PRoNJ

        • Fred PRoNJ,
          I believe that Gamo did a commercial in which they shoot hogs with a Gamo Hunter Extreme. Maybe Crosman should do something similar in which they showcase the Rogue, and call it “Hogs Gone Rogue”.

            • Fred PRoNJ

              You can’t do a lead in like that and not deliver, its just not fair. My curiosity will be eating away at my insides all day. Is this what you want? Show some pity.


              Nevada huh? I always wondered where you live, but never thought to ask. “Hogs gone Rogue!” Absolutely Hilarious. Almost as funny as BB’s “breeding mechanical bulls” comment. You are right about it sounding like government funded program, the government would probably even spring for the foreplay first. It’s not their money they are wasting, its ours.


              Thanks to you and Mac for this report. It drove me to drag out my Sheridan Blue Streak with rocker safety that I was inspired to buy from your many reports and Edith’s comments. What fun! It takes me back to an era of airgunning that I was never allowed to be a part of. Also it is twice as accurate (and twice as loud) as I remember it being when I first got it. It is truly a classic and I love it. Mine likes JSBs and H&Ns but hates the Crosman premiers. Go figure.

              • Put the hunters on Harleys and you’d end up with “Rogue Hogs Squared”…

                While the exercise would be fruitless, the cows probably wouldn’t object to a bull that lasted longer than 15 seconds…

      • Matt 61 pigs are known to eat people :p no really if somebody is wounded or bleeding they will eat him (or even a small child)just like their grate ancestor Entelodon “horrific pig”-they will take every opportunity to feed them self

      • The danger posed by “wild” feral hogs is off the charts.A domesticated or farm hog,if released into the wild….begins phisically changing in 6 short weeks.The skull itself begins to thicken in places,the hair becomes longer,thicker and darker.The teeth begin growing into razor sharp tusks.This weekend,
        “Manny” was on TV trying to hunt one with only two spears.He is a truly fearless guy,and a very talented freediver.I believe he holds records for freediving.Anyway,he had a 200lb feral hog cornered in a palmetto thicket,and was trying to get a clear shot with two custom spears.The hog charged him.
        He tried to get control but wasn’t successfull.The hog gored his leg,slashing him with a tusk on his leg
        near his artery,and on his forearm.This is a guy who wrestles 12′ + alligators in the swamp! Were it not for the camera man and producer jumping into the tussell,he would have been hurt much worse!
        These animals are very agressive,and very smart.Smart enough to dig up irrigation lines and gnaw through them for water and to wallow in the resulting mud.On the upside,they are free,plentiful and delicious…..harvest them!

        • Sounds like a Were-pig. And just what did the cameraman and producer do when they entered the fray with the 200lb. pig slashing right and left with his tusks?

          It might be worth noting that when Hannibal Lecter’s enemies devise the ultimate torment for him, they settle on pigs as the executioners. I think this was in the book, Cannibal, a sequel to Silence of the Lambs. This one guy breeds several pig lines for optimum characteristics over the course of years and what he comes up with is the size of a small horse that can turn on a dime and with outsize tusks and a murderous, aggressive temperament.


          • As another observation on this fascinating subject, one of the qualifications to become a Kumu Hula which is a grandmaster of Hawaiian hula dancing is to go out armed only with a knife, kill a wild boar, and eat some portion of it raw. They take their dancing seriously! So, let’s have a little respect the next time we see a hula dancer…. 🙂

            Kevin, if one was minded to take out a feral pig with maximal efficiency what rifle would they choose? The classic Winchester 70 30-06 with a scope seems to me good only for open country whereas I believe that pigs favor the brush. The Winchester 1894 seems to have enough power and reliability but might be a little slow with that lever action. What about an M1 Garand? It may be a little heavy but it points very well as I’ve found with a good deal of practice in my shooting room. And it would be totally reliable with my handloads… I wonder why more people don’t hunt with the M1 which, after all, was designed for something very similar to a hunting situation.


            • Matt,

              I don’t know for feral pigs in US, but I’ve seen a still warm wild boar, that ran a very long charge towards a man having 7,62 soft-point through both its lungs and heart. This cute little piglet of almost 200 kg literally sank in its own blood but still was determined to rip someone with its tusks.


            • Matt61,

              I’m not an expert on feral hogs. I’ve been watching the cable channel specials on the blight these pests have become especially in the southern US. Seems that conditions in the last 10 years have been perfect for the population explosion of feral hogs. What sticks in my mind is a map that was shown of the feral hog population 10 years ago and then fast forwarded to present day. A few red dots in southeast US spread like wildfire to the entire southern US all the way to California and now spreading northward.

              I remember seeing the national geographic special years ago on the killing of hogzilla. A freak feral hog that was 8 feet long, weighed over 800 lbs. and had 18″ tusks. If I remember he was killed with a 30-06. There are reports of an 11 year old boy that killed a 1,000 ++LB feral hog recently with a .50 caliber handgun.

              Can’t help but be concerned about the destruction and threat to life and property these non indigenous species pose. They’re destroying crops, threatening native species, native habitat and have multiplied to the point where they’re attacking humans. These feral hogs are apparently very aggressive.

              The pictures I’ve seen where these pests are currently infesting are typical of the southern US. Heavy brush without large open spaces. In this environment, for this pest, I’d prefer a 12 gauge with slugs alternated with 00 buck. If I had unlimited resources and was fighting these pests for my livelihood I think I’d have Son Of A Gun (I think that was the program) build me an atv with a machine gun mounted on it like they did for a wounded vet to kill feral hogs.


    • Victor,
      There is a certain element in this country that would crucify the film maker and promoter of a “Kill the Pigs” outing. These “people” would rather see humans be shot for shooting pigs than see pigs be shot for !@#$%^& on humans.

  9. I had a very nice 397 that I had to sell because I felt it wasn’t getting the use it should. I couldn’t pump it because of my carpal tunnel affected hands the hit I would get when the pump handle closed really gave a beating to my hand. I had bought it after reading Tom article in Airgun Illustrated on it. I really didn’t regret it, I’m still a bit sad when I look at the pics I took for the buyer before selling it to him but I know he’s using it the way it should.


  10. Ah yes, I was on the verge of buying this rifle at one point. Isn’t the original Benjamin 397 pretty handy already? I don’t know if I would go for the carbine version since I always liked the variable power of this system and would not want to lose the high end. By the way, in addition to reloading, Kevin has also convinced me of the worth of wood and steel which I am discovering with my surplus rifle craze.

    PeteZ, interesting to hear about your arm adjustments. Did you know that some U.S. army manual says that holding the elbow straight out to the side is the ultimate shooting position which cannot be improved on? I find that I like it myself. I feel very orthogonal and stable, but I can’t answer for anyone else. I wonder if various shooting fashions are driven by novelty whose real effect is not in any particular mechanics but in forcing a new attention to details. There was a very bizarre moment in my high school shooting career where my prone shooting which was fairly abominable was suddenly transformed by a new technique. Instead of centering the front sight in the aperture and fretting about whether it was exactly where it was supposed to be, I put the front sight into the upper left quadrant in what artists would call a more dynamic off-center arrangement. The thing is that it worked for awhile and I was drilling shots perfectly. The coach couldn’t figure it out and it probably sent his blood pressure even higher than it usually was. However, my new method didn’t last and it was back to the fundamentals eventually.

    Mike, interesting about the Type 98 machine gun. So, it’s another German copy just like the Arisaka is essentially a Mauser design. However, the Japanese have added their spin as usual. Without being especially distinguished in any other way, the Arisaka is supposed to be just about the strongest action of the WWII rifles. And the Type 98 must be the fastest-firing machine gun.


    • Matt61,
      Each shooters body is different, so there is no one way to hold a rifle in any position. Again, I was trained to hold my elbow straight out, and was similarly told that this was not only “the best” way to do it, but the ONLY way to do it. However, for me, so long as I did just that, I was just another guy showing up to air-rifle tournaments. It just didn’t feel natural to me, so I experimented until I found what did work for me. I learned to drop my elbow such that I had a certain “locked in feel” with my butt-plate. Over the course of a year, my scores climbed 20 points. I was already qualifying for the US International Team Tryouts, but now I was actually winning my state championship, two consecutive years before quiting completely. Again, my rifle coach hated what I was doing, but we couldn’t argue with success.

      Out of curiosity, I just cracked open my copy of “Ways of the Rifle – .22 Three-Position – Air Rifle”, and found that none of the shooters hold their elbow straight out. I also looked at my copy of the “The United States Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Marksmanship Guide”, and found that only Lones Wigger held his arm out straight out. The other shooters, varied considerable, demonstrating how personal position is.

      Now if you asked me how to shoot prone, I have a firm belief that you MUST lift your right knee up (assuming you shoot right handed), and yet, when I look at these same two manuals, I find that some shooters shoot completely flat. I was taught to raise my leg to lift my stomach, thus reducing the overall effects of blood pressure. In the end, all I can say is what works for ME.


  11. ***” Did you know that some U.S. army manual says that holding the elbow straight out to the side is the ultimate shooting position which cannot be improved on? “***

    No actually. Frankly, I’m always dubious of anything which “cannot be improved on.” At least I am skeptical of the “cannot be improved” claim. Human mechanics are so different from person to person, not least because they have to take into account a lifetime of different stresses and minor injuries all of which combine to make generalizations tough. Psychologically, I like the elbow-out position; but the proof is on the target, alas. Odd changes like your novel sight placement always seem to help until the novelty and one’s own belief that they will ‘fix’ things always seem to wear off in my own experience.

    I’m really thinking of getting a “beater” FWB 300. The technology is so sweet. I would like one with a beautiful stock, but I’m not going to get it to hang it on the wall in a case.


    • Pete,if you get one with a bad stock…..please contact me.I have a nice Florida walnut Tyrolean stock
      that I spent alot of time on finishing it.You can have it for what I gave for the raw stock,if interested.

    • I know a doctor who when he retired from pratice worked as a consultant for big corporations. You know how they always tell you to bend the knees to pick-up heavy stuff… Well it’s not always true. They found that it’s sometimes better to do what’s natural to you.
      So experiment and go with what works best for YOU!


    • pete

      With the seat raised on my bench so my elbow gets down and my hold feels much better, it is easier and more comfortable to shoot from. Would like to move the seat forward just a bit, but don’t know if I have the room. The seat is not forward/backward adjustable. The steel used is pretty tough.


  12. I know that Diana airguns have a rep for broken springs. However, unless the 177 model 34 had a broken spring new, right out of the box it should have been good. I didn’t have a crono back then. The new one in 22 is a lot harder to cock. I would say it takes twice the effort. It is also a lot harder than my FWB 124 to cock. I was just wondering if all the new ones are like since have have only shot these two.


  13. Matt61

    Your comment on Friday’s blog about sleep walking with a loaded pistol on the nightstand sparked a memory from several years ago.

    According to Mrs. Slinging Lead I have sleep walked at least 3 times, all during times when I was experiencing deep stress. According to her, on one occasion she was watching TV and I emerged from the bedroom and proceeded to try and relieve myself into the washing machine, which was less than 10 feet from the bathroom. When she interrupted me, understandably distressed, I proceeded to try and reason with her as to why it was perfectly acceptable to urinate into a washing machine. After she freaked out and started to cry, I mumbled something unintelligible, used the toilet in the bathroom and fell fast asleep again. I can only imagine what logic my brain was trying to access while in this state. Needless to say, I do not keep a loaded firearm anywhere near the bed.

    This might be TMI for many. I apologize.

  14. B.B.,
    How does one remove the original rear sight on the 397 without breaking it? Is it possible to remove it, and then possibly reinstall it later? I have the Williams peep, but haven’t found a good way to remove the rear sight, so I can’t fully leverage the benefits of the rear aperture. In my experience, the rear aperture sight provides more information to help sight in.

    • I have not tried it but I read here that you can take it off and replace if ya want. I don’t have the rifle in front of me here at work to be exact in mt response, but it is held on by pressure, like a spring. By tapping on it I think it will slide out.

    • Victor,

      There is no good way to take the sight off. It will always scratch the finish of the barrel and sometimes it will de-solder the barrel to try to move it.

      Everyone who advocates removing the rear sight says you can doit if you are careful, but in my experience, is is not possible. And replacing it after taking it off is futile, unless you can live with the scratched paint.


      • B.B.,
        What you describe is consistent with my experience. I don’t have the hands of a surgeon, so if I don’t restrain myself, I’ll brute force my way through this and likely regret it. That’s why I haven’t followed through with removing it. I’ve only made minor attempts, and then just left it alone.

        Another problem that I have with the 397P, which is chrome, is that it reflects too much sunlight. The rifles that you show are black, a much better surface in my opinion. I think that adding a scope is the best option, but my son prefers iron sights, so iron sights it is. I do like this gun very much, otherwise.

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