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Ammo Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets? Part 3

Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets? Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Tyler McCorkle is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card.

Here’s what Tyler says about his submission: Me (FR3AK) from the well-known team of Valhalla ODA (Operational Detachment Airsoft) at the annual Vietnam Patrol game at the CDWC field.

Part 1
Part 2

Let’s look at the accuracy of CB caps for the first time. This is a large test that isn’t even halfway completed at this point, so there’s still quite a lot to learn; and from my perspective, there has already been a lot of learning. Starting today, much of what I thought I knew for sure about CB caps is going away.

Some .22 rifles are not made to shoot CB caps
Before I started this test, I thought I could load a CB cap in just about any .22 rifle and get away with it. This test has shown that’s untrue. I’ll begin with a rifle I selected because I thought it was the standard of modern .22s — the Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic.

The 10/22 is not the most accurate rimfire rifle around, and nobody claims that it is. But it probably has more add-ons and aftermarket modifications than the next 10 most-popular .22s put together. The 10/22 aftermarket is almost as large and brisk as that of the AR-15 — the amazing, morphing black gun.

You can throw money at your 10/22 and turn it into a credible shooter for action matches, like the Chevy Sportsman Team Challenge, or you can literally paint it purple with colorful stocks and barrel options. If you have a wild hair and too much disposable cash, you can even lash several 10/22s together into a McGyver’s Gatling Gun. Yes, you can do just about anything with a Ruger 10.22 — except, maybe shoot CB caps in it.

Oh, they’ll fire once you’ve figured out the three-handed way of loading them into the breech. I even had suggestions on special loading tools to make loading easier, but loading is such a pain that I recommend finding a different rifle.

The rifle I thought would represent the everyman’s .22 turned out not to work well at all. However, I’m not stopping there. I have a Butler Creek bull barrel and a custom thumbhole stock that turns my stanrard rifle into a wannabe target shooter. The test will continue with the same rifle in that configuration.

I’ll also add the Stevens Armory 414 target rifle into the mix of rifles being tested to take the place of the standard 10/22. This is a single-shot target rifle that was popular before World War II, and I’m adding it just to keep the competition stiff. I’ll show you all the rifles when I report their accuracy, but today we’re only looking at the results of the Ruger 10/22 and the Remington 521T.

Airgun first
The baseline of the test is my AirForce Talon SS, fitted with an optional .22-caliber, 24-inch barrel. The range is 50 yards, and I shot the Talon on the same day as the rifles I’m testing.

Longtime blog readers know that this rifle posted a 10-shot group under a half-inch about a month ago. On the day I tested it with the CB caps, though, the wind must have had a greater influence, because the groups were all much larger. I shot the JSB Exact Jumbos domes weighing 18.1 grains, and the best 10-shot group went just under one inch. The worst was about 1.5 inches on this same day. So, that’s the baseline against which the CB caps are shooting.

The best group of 10 JSB 18-grain Exacts groups 0.957 inches on this day.

Ruger 10/22
The Ruger was next, and right away I discovered that loading it needed three hands. One to hold the rifle, the second to hold back the bolt and the third to load the CB cap. Yes, the 10/22 does have a bolt hold-open device, but it’s the very definition of a poor design. I never bothered modifying it because I never really used it before this test.

The rifle was equipped with a Centerpoint 8-32x56AO scope, and, naturally, it was set all the way up. While this may seem a little biased against the other .22s, which have open sights, the Talon SS does have a 16X scope, so this balances against that. When I swap in the bull barrel and different stock, this rifle will still be wearing this scope.

However, that didn’t matter, because the groups from the Ruger were so large that I can’t show most of them here. In one case, bullets landed on two different 12-inch paper targets. That, plus the difficulty of loading each round is why the standard Ruger 10/22 has been eliminated from this test. I did get one promising group from the CCI Mini CB caps. Ten shots measure 3.475 inches at 50 yards. That group was the one that opened my eyes and made me realize that there might be something to these caps after all.

I know that people who use CB caps are not shooting 50-yard groups. They’re interested in protecting the bird feeder from a ravaging squirrel without making a lot of noise. If the feeder is closer than 50 yards, it might just be possible to do.

Not bad for a CB cap at 50 yards! These are 10 CCI Mini CB caps shot from a Ruger 10/22. I didn’t expect to see this much accuracy from CB caps at this range.

Only two rounds were tested in the 10/22 — the Super Colibris from Aguila and the CCI CB caps. I did try to shoot a group of regular Colibris, but that’s when I learned that they were not meant for rifles at all. The Super Colibris gave a group a little larger than 12 inches, and I’m not showing that here. As far as I’m concerned, they do not work well enough in a 10/22 at 50 yards to be considered. The CCI Mini CB caps, on the other hand, do show some promise.

Remington 521T
Next I tried the Remington 521T that I thought would bury the Ruger. Well, the best-laid plans oft go astray, I guess, because this rifle shot a slightly larger group of 10 CCI Mini CB caps. This group measured 4.013 inches.

This group of 10 CCI Mini CB caps measures 4.013 inches. It was shot by the Remington 521T at 50 yards.

As with the Ruger, the Remington also got much larger groups with the Aguila Super Colibri CB caps. They were over 7 inches, making them unsuitable for shooting at this distance. The reason the 521 gets to stay in the test is because loading it is far easier than loading the 10/22. I’m still going to test my custom 10/22, which will be just as hard to load as the standard rifle; if I get better accuracy, that rifle will bear the 10/22 standard for the entire test. If not, the Stevens Armory 414 will have to substitute, I guess.

That is a lot for you to digest, so I’ll stop here. In the next part, I’ll show you how the Winder Musket did with CCI Mini Short CB caps and with both types of RWS caps. The results will surprise you, I think. I know I’m surprised by what both of the rifles shown today were able to do.

Yet to come
In future tests, I’ll shorten the distance to 25 yards and then to 10 yards to show where CB caps can possibly do their best work. I know those who are interested in this subject must think I’m serializing it to keep you on the hook, but that’s not what’s happening. There are so many rifles and so much different ammunition to track that I am going through the results in a stepwise manner to make certain that everything gets looked at correctly.

I’ve already learned far more about the performance potential of .22 CB caps than I’ve ever read anywhere. By the time this test is complete, we’ll all know a lot more than has ever been published about this short-range ammunition.

There’s one additional benefit from this test. Readers are starting to ask a lot of questions about the fundamentals of accuracy and why certain airguns do what they do. On Monday, the blog will address a fundamental question that came in from the Pyramyd AIR facebook page. Stuff like this cannot help but advance all of us in our understanding of the mechanics behind the accurate gun.

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.

99 thoughts on “Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets? Part 3”

      • Thank you, all of you. I was a bit over-tired last night when I wrote the posts, and it shows in my failed attempts to be funny. The fact is, that I was writing my resignation letter when they told me they wanted me out. I didn’t like the place, and had lots of free-lance opportunities I had been forced to turn down because of conflicts of interest.

        So I’m glad to be gone. Besides, at my age pensions are beginning to kick in, so the financial hit isn’t as great as it might be. I’m taking the next week off — a long-planned trip for a college 50th reunion — and then will start reactivating my consultant practice.


        • Pete,
          I’m sorry about your situation. I know what it’s like to work in bad environments. Unfortunately, they aren’t rare. I will quit anyplace that causes me to lower my standards. I love what I do, and am not one who works by the clock. But when I get to where I’m like everyone else, watching the clock to get out, I know it’s time to leave. Politics in the work place is an enormous drain on good resources. A bad corporate culture cannot be changed by a single individual. I have been saying for over 25 years, “I wish all my problems were technical”. Being the best is not enough in the “real world”. The best don’t always win. I can tell you so many stories that many would find truly unbelievable. I’m sure that you can too.

          If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the course of my career, it’s that change is always good. I’ve even been most productive starting in a crappy company. Over time, you realize that the place doesn’t deserve you, but it’s always worth it to live by passion, and always do your best. Change is always good, provided that you embrace new opportunities do your best. Never look back.

          Clear your mind, regain your spirits, and remember who you are.
          Good luck,

        • Ah… It was a race to be last situation… <G>

          Pension is my killer point — I can’t draw early retirement until May of 2013, so need to find some way to struggle through for a year and a half or so…

          At least (unless they change the rules in the next few weeks), taking early retirement after a lay-off does not have the penalty of early retirement after a voluntary departure. If I were to quit on my own, and draw retirement starting May 2013, I’d be getting (pretax) about $1500 a month (if I wait until 2019 or later, there would be no reduction). Having been laid-off, the 2013 benefit is more like $4100 a month.

        • Pete if you are getting published in “Nature”, you’re not a lightweight.

          My impression right now is, you’ve until the layoff been a security guard moonlighting as atomic theorist. Am I right?

          • My waistline & my doc say I’m too much of a heavy weight … but I’ve lost about 30 pounds in the last 15-18 months.

            In real life I had a first career as a high energy nuclear experimentalist and a professor at LSU; then my second career was in DC where I wound up as chief scientist of the old Arms Control & Disarmament Agency, and later was Joe Biden’s science adviser on the Senate Foreign Relations Cmte. I was kept on for a year after the Dems lost the Senate at the end of 2002, and then became a prof of science & security in London.

            Flobert’s guess wasn’t so far off.

    • PeteZ, I was sorry to read about your post. It tends to prove for me how government is the very definition of bureaucracy. However, I have to say I wasn’t hugely upset because a guy with your capabilities is sure to find more and better opportunities. That was the case with my last job where after working hard for seven years, I was forced out by characters who, as I came to understand them, I didn’t want to work with anyway. It was like Plato’s Cave where what seemed to be the whole world turned out to be a dim, dull flickering realm of shadows which was exchanged of one filled with marvelous light! As another Biblical reference, you want to be like one of the Old Testament prophets who shakes the dust of one town from his feet and moves on.

      I wonder if I have an insight into our wretched political condition at the highest levels. All those people hate each other, but they cannot escape. They insult and condemn each other in the news and then have to work endless hours for the highest stakes. No wonder they act the way they do. That kind of work environment would send me right off my rocker.


      • Ah bureaucracy. I have an old fable to tell, true story in fact:

        About 4 years ago my wife and I were in Quebec City and saw an exhibit called “Treasures of Ancient Syria.” The jewel in the crown was a small metal object, silver and polished about 7-8 cm across which was the earliest known representation of the human face in metal.

        But the most impressive were two cuneiform tablets. The first was a record by some national official reporting to the government on his recent fact-finding trip to one of the provinces. Found with it another tablet on which he had engraved his expenses — food, lodging, horses, whatever. These were, respectively, the earliest known trip report and the earliest known expense voucher.

        All that was missing was a tablet rejecting the expense report for charging over perdiem and using a first class chariot. I joke about the rejection notice, but I am representing the other tablets accurately.

        • Good heavens, bureaucracy will be hard to eviscerate if it goes back this far. You wonder if they were keeping records in the caves. And apparently, libraries (my profession) were originally filled with government records like this. The move to the people is a recent development that grew out of a democratic consciousness in the nineteenth century. Well, in ancient Syria, I would never have made it.


          • Sorry about your bad news Pete.
            We could sure do with a smart fella like you back over here again though.
            Not just my opinion but that of the CEO of Google no less.
            Science as an academic subject in Britain has been badly neglected and needs re energising.
            Pack some decent food and get on a plane to London 🙂

            • Dave,

              Science in the UK is in horrendous shape. A project I am involved with and that was likely to produce some really interesting gadgets (commercial ones!) was terminated. Not because the work was poor but because the money just isn’t there. Same in every lab all over the country. It’s not that great here either.

              I would have stayed in London, but I hit mandatory retirement age.

  1. B.B.

    Something about my 521T that I found out a long time ago………..
    Never switch ammo. You can expect to shoot most if not more than a box to get it shooting again. Same thing with barrel cleaning.
    Same thing with a 552 I had before that.

    Unless you shoot the same ammo ALL of the time, you can expect to have less than optimum accuracy out of any kind of ammo.

    So where does this leave the shooter who loads a CB once in a while, but usually uses LRs? He buggers the accuracy potential of both. All it takes is just one shot to alter the lube/fouling consistency of the chamber and bore.


  2. I think this is why CB Longs were come up with, you just load up that 10/22 mag and cycle the bolt manually for each shot and they’ll load OK.

    The only thing I’ve found CB Longs to actually be useful for, as I mentioned, was to kill semi-feral and thus otherwise uncatchable, chickens without making much noise or ruining any meat. Shoot ’em right through the middle. They don’t feel so good, take a few steps, lie down, and go to sleep. CB’s are not up to possums though, and since their accuracy stinks, I’m not sure they’re good for much of anything beyond 10 yards or so. I guess for a family plinking session with a good backstop, but they’re expensive for that. Better to get everyone airguns. Can’t have too many airguns!

    • For the test it is probably better to load directly into the chamber one at a time. Some .22 RF magazines deform bullets as they are stripped from the magazine. Bullet deformation destroys accuracy. Something to watch for with some .22 RF bullet types and some guns, particularily auto-loading ones.

    • flobert,

      Thanks for reminding me! I should have put that in the report. I DID load the 10/22 mag several times and every time I got a jam that ruined bullets and took minutes to clear. The 10/22 mag cannot feed these shorter rounds.


  3. B.B.

    An afterthought…..wish I could go back and edit, but…

    I know it will depend on exactly which rifle, just as it does with airguns……….

    I don’t want to complicate things for your testing, but what happens when you switch back and forth between CB and LR? Like most would do instead of just shooting the same kind of ammo all the time.
    Keep the barrel from becoming stabilized in fouling condition. It should shoot worse.

    Could be wrong about this, but from what I have seen, I doubt it.


    • I’m with TT on this, as I’ve also seen the same thing in my cast bullet loads and muzzle loaders before. Maybe pick one gun that shows promise with the CB’s and then shoot a group with the regular .22 LR it performs best with for comparasion. Problem is that would only be for that one gun , but would put another idea out there that there ARE issues that folks should keep in mind about ammunition that have more to due with accuracy than power and price of it, which I guess is what this series is about.

    • twotalon and Robert,

      Perhaps this will make a nice follow-on test after this one is complete, but for now I am doing so much shooting just to get the results that I am getting that there is no time to do more.

      Besides, I can hear the argument now. “Are you saying that before I shoot the squirrel in the bird feeder I have to shoot half a box of CB caps to condition the barrel? Because I normally don’t shoot CB caps in my rifle.”

      You see, guys, these rifles and cartridges are up against an air rifle that I just load and shoot with no preparation. That is the test I am conducting at present.


      • BB,

        Heck of a comprehensive test on CB caps. Great job, I enjoy this. Bottom line though is those things give very poor accuracy in most guns! That has been my continued experience going back to the early 1960’s. I would check them out in every new .22 lr I got ever going all the way up to now and never found one shooting under 6″ groups at 50 yards.

        Not even from a Ruger 10/22 which I did extensive modifications to and which with CCI mini-mag lr ammo would print sub .5″ groups at 50 yards all day from a solid rest with no wind. And man are you correct about needing three hands to load that thing. I finally installed an after market devise to hold the bolt open and that worked wonders. But alas it was no better with the CB caps than any other gun.

        Maybe some one could find some gun which shoots them well or custom engineer a gun. Custom chamber, custom magazine to feed them well. But to what avail? All my air gun rifles will beat the cb caps by a good margin.

        Even if you could hit small game (squirrels, starlings, grackles, etc.) at 10 yards with them, what advantage is it? Just get a good disco and your problems are solved.

        I think my disco is the most accurate air rifle so far, baring my custom MA 2300S, which won’t shoot as accurately at 50 yards. At 25 yards it will beat the disco, but accuracy drops off considerably at 50 yards. Dunno why? Is it the lower velocities? Cause I see the same thing with my Crosman night stalker and 1077. Not as much drop off in accuracy as the MA 2300S custom but noticeable.

        • I’m actually considering a Benjamin “nitro piston” rifle, long story but I may buy a friend one and if I do I’ll have to buy one for myself. Sounds like any decent airgun can deliver good power with much better accuracy than CB shorts/longs in a barrel/action designed for Long Rifles.

  4. BB; You mentioned that a high velocity pellet in a brake-barrel airgun is an especially bad combination as far as accuracy goes. Might a sliding breach gun do better?

  5. On the subject of small detonations.
    I saw a youtube clip,where a young fella induced dieseling by putting a small drop of oil in the back of his pellets.
    Would this damage an air rifle in the same way as dieseling in the compression chamber does?

    • It’s gonna hurt something.

      The extra heat and pressure is still going to burn at the breech seal, and go back into the compression chamber through the transfer port. Fire squirting against the piston seal and beating both the piston seal and spring.

      Ever recover a pellet that was shot with a detonation? Not pretty.


      • Thank you Gents,
        Well I wont be trying that then 🙂

        By the way I was lucky enough to shoot a 10/22 at the local gun club I was a member of a few years back.
        (The only semi auto’s we can own or shoot are 3 round shotguns and 22lr rifles)
        I loved that Ruger and can see why it is a best seller in the USA.

  6. Time to sound like a broken record, but if anyone owns a .22 caliber revolver – single or double action – the long CB caps can provide a good bit of fun and are no more difficult to contain then a pellet. The std Colibri sound like the cap guns I played with in the ’60s, but they lack in accuracy. They may work a little better in a .22 only designated barrel, my revolver handles .22 magnums too. However, think about the power range, from CB caps to .22 magnum all out of one piece.

    Maybe in part 6 you could try CB’s out of a handgun?

    All this talk about then has made me research a rifle platform, and this is what I have come up with:


    The Savage Mark II FV SR – it has a threaded 16 inch barrel so a silencer can be attached without being overly long. I know it takes awhile to get the permit for one but it would be worth the wait. I have to think CB’s out of this could be fun. Not sure if they would feed out of the magazine since it is not designated short, long, and LR like many of the Marlin’s.

    I think this will be under the Christmas tree.

      • That sounds good. I think handgun practice without having to go to a range is one of the better uses for CB caps. They are definitely a niche product that can fill a unique need, if it exists. It is a product that you kind of have to back into.

        However, it was interesting to see your results at 50 yards as I have never bothered with them outside – only in the confines of my basement. I just popped a moving Chipmunk ( about the size of a Twinkie – except with fur ) that was at about 45 yards the other day with the FX Cyclone, think I will stick with it or one of the HW’s for pesky critters.

        Seeing your long range results, if I get the Savage I will probably try target speed ammo or the subsonic stuff. Do you know if a rifle needs a special twist to shoot the 60 grain LR product?

    • Savage all the way. I would have one of these if I didn’t already have my Savage 10FP. What is the SR designation? Suppressed Rifle because it has threads for a suppressor? My 10FP has been replaced with one that has an SR designation but otherwise is the same.


      • Matt,

        I have not owned a Savage since I was a kid, actually it was an entry level Savage-Stevens single shot. I hated that gun at the time due to the single shot feature, but realize know that it was a good choice for an 11 year old. I bought a military style ammo belt so I could have back up rounds at the ready and did get pretty qiuck, but I sold it as soon as I could save enough money for a 10/22. ( about 3 years ). I took that same belt and added pockets for extra 10/22 magazines along with putting tape over the hook style clasp that had scratched the heck out of the little Stevens. Sweet little set up, I was ready for Zombies.

        Anyway, I have ready that the Savages are one of the best deals out their currently with their accu-triggers.
        I think having a suppressed rimfire would be a hoot, and the price should not be bad if I put it together in stages.

      • I thought you had one, I have read almost all positive feedback on them. Plus I don’t know of any other massed produced .22 that has a pre-threaded barrel for a $280.00 street price? I know applying for the silencer permit is no doubt going to be a hassle, but I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

        My guess is when you apply for the FFL for the rifle they save the names and raid your home at midnight to make sure you have a permit if you are using those threads. ; )

        • Volvo,
          I don’t even order ammo due to paranoia! I think you will like the Savage as long as you expect a shooter and not a bespoke quality looker. Mine had a spongy safety that was a simple fix (bend a spring a tiny bit), and I went through it with moly after a couple of outings (applied especially to where I could see wear after it deburred itself a little). I think I also “clearanced” the barrel from stock to a business card or so. Don’t know if anything was necessary as it shot good from the get go, but none of it took much time or any money to speak of:). Otherwise, all it does is shoot. It actually got boring at 50 yards, so I’ve gone to 100 for fun with it the last couple of times; I have to admit that it has sat idle too much since my ML’ing obsession, although I’ve been tempted to try running it in the local rimfire BR competition. If we had rimfire silhouette, it would get used a lot, although the heavy barrel might disqualify me from the level I’d be competitive at :). 6-24x40AO scope is nice fit with what it can do groupwise, and you don’t need a spotting scope to see hits. Oh yeah, the bases are a notch lower than most, so I needed a step higher rings than normal (high or extra high versus medium for the 40mm obj. in Weaver Top Mounts) — there was some confusion about that on the early BV’s, but they probably changed it by now. Don’t know how much of that applies to you, but it might give you some idea of what to expect. In reading, my experience with BV was basically in line with most.

          • BG_Farmer. How do you get you ammo if you don’t order? Do you get it all locally and does that protect you more than ordering? I’ve ordered so much stuff online that my security is probably a lost cause.


  7. Our photo winner is geared up well although he may want to change his choice of camo to blend in better. 🙂 Looks like a buggy environment too. What are the rules of airsoft anyway? One hit with a pellet is supposed have the same effect as a bullet in the same location on your honor?

    B.B., are you being a little hard on the 10/22? I’ve heard that you can accurize this very well–I would think down to 1 MOA. And unlike the AR platform it is extremely reliable. Thanks for the reassurance about the Mosin barrel. It will stay clean on my watch as soon as I can find a cleaning rod long enough for it. 🙂

    Victor, your range sounds ideal, and you and the rest of the blog are putting together some real fantasy shooting vacations for me. First, I will stop by the Wayne Burns Ashland shooting range, home of our world-class field target shooter. Next, I’ll drop by your secret range in Nevada. Then, it’s off to Kentucky to try out BG_Farmer’s blackpowder shooting walks. For all this I would need a motorcycle like Chuck or Fred has. What guns would you have for me to try out there in Nevada? Don’t you have a top of the line Feinwerkbau although that is not really suited to an outdoor range. And then there’s the much storied CFX. Maybe we can even have a friendly match with a handicap something like this. I shoot the Anschutz 1907 from a rest at 25 yards. You can do offhand with the Lee-Enfield with battle sight at 100 yards. 🙂

    Regarding the P-38, I’ve heard that they could be flown quite easily with only one engine. There was even a case of an early model that had one engine shot out in a dogfight with Zeros and then outran them with its remaining engine. You could even land with one engine, but one thing you could not do very well was takeoff with one. That turned out to be fatal for a well-known pilot on the television series Warbirds. I watched him flying a P-38 and singing its praises. But the story is that one day an engine failed on take-off and for all his experience there was nothing he could do. As another fatal irony, I understand that Dick Bong, all-time high scoring American ace from WWII who attained his score in a P-38 was killed when taking off in a P-80 jet that he was testing because he forgot to throw a switch. It was all pilot error, and after mastering the complexities of the P-38 in the most difficult circumstances, he died because of a simple error in a controlled environment. Well, it’s hard to remember not to forget.

    Slinging Lead, you are a genius with that golf clip and I am doing my part to make it go viral. That guy is like one of the mutant X-men. Why isn’t he number one in the world? Some of those tricks look foolishly rash like he could be charged with manslaughter if he missed. If someone gets hit in the head with a golf ball from 40 yards away, couldn’t they die?


    • Matt61:
      I’ve done paintballing a few times and if the rules are the same as airsoft,a hit anywhere on the body and the player must leave the field.
      To discourage head/face shots,those hits don’t count.
      We were also told that if we drop or find any paintballs on the ground,leave them.
      They can get damp,swell up and burst in the gun.
      A rule I would have adhered to if a fluke shot hadn’t blown the lid off my hopper(magazine)spilling my paintballs all over the place.
      Battle raging all around,I’m on the floor with my butt in the air like a chicken in the corn,sorting out paintballs.
      That is when I got shot.Ouch!!

      • I don’t want to ask where you got shot. I guess paying a small price in pain is part of paintball, but I don’t know if that’s for me. I remember games of dodgeball as a kid where I saw sadistic grins behind balls that were hurled as hard as possible. I might be tempted to forget the guns and engage in a bit of close quarters battle.

        Say, I’ve been thinking about getting into the culture of the Lee-Enfield but hunting around for a bit of the original kit. And what better way than the original rations. Do you have any idea what “bully beef” is which is supposed to have been part of the British field rations? When I was in high school, I had some American C rations which actually didn’t taste so bad if a bit salty. I was surprised at how they made the effort to make little desserts and snacks. But now we’re getting on to three-quarters of a century since the manufacture of these rations, and I understand that bully beef did not taste that great even in pristine form.


        • I’m not a P-38 pilot (Or any other kind) but my history of the P-38 said you could survive losing an engine on take off if you cut power on the good one, compensated for the torque, and re-applied the power. That sounds really hard to do in the couple seconds you would probably have.


        • Matt61:
          ‘Bully Beef’ is basicaly tinned corned beef but with a much higher ratio of fat to meat.
          In hot enviroments or weather,the fat would melt down and turn the bully beef into something akin to what blocks sinks.Mmmm tasty.

  8. Matt,

    You may have missed the mention, but I HAVE accurized my 10/22 down to one MOA. And that was with a proper ten-shot group, too. I never reported it in the blog, but I wrote five feature articles for Shotgun News that were titled, “What can you do with a 10/22.

    This was several years ago and the response to them was underwhelming. Apparently people like to get ’em, mod ’em and shoot ’em and please keep your opinions to yourself. I had planned to write features about a 10/22 modified for the .22 Short, one modded for the 60-grain Aguila SSS cartridge and one for the .17 HM2, but with the crickets chirping I reckoned that I missed the boat.

    The problem is that the bore of the factory Ruger gun does not like most CB caps. nly the CCI CB Longs were okay, and they are too hard to single-load and will not feed from the magazine, so too much trouble to bother with.


    • That’s mighty strange about the underwhelming response. People will talk forever about their mods to the AR-15, even when they are apparently doing the same thing over and over again. A whole industry–certainly in the area of gun magazines is built on such. I’d expect people to do the same for the Ruger 10/22. I myself am especially intrigued by the machine gun made up of two 10/22s together with an anti-aircraft sight although in YouTube videos it seems to run kind of rough and doesn’t quite fulfill its appearance.


  9. With the long jump to lands and the wrong spin rate for the weight, it would be a miracle to get caps to shoot right in any standard .22. CBs are good can-bouncing loads for revolvers, or training kids with a Cricket single – that’s pretty much it. 50 yards is way out of reach. Methinks thou dost expect too much!

  10. Hold Sensitivity of Break-barrels vs Under-levers:

    Many peoples experience is that break-barrels are more hold sensitive than under-levers. ie: Break-barrels demand a looser hold to prevent the barrel from being at a different spot when the pellet exits, and are also pickier about whether the front hand is near the trigger guard versus farther forward.

    However, these two videos are pretty compelling evidence that the pellet has left the barrel before the forward part of the recoil or the resulting vertical bounce could effect it.

    There must be a flaw in the logic somewhere since it contradicts many people’s experience ? Does anyone know WHY a break-barrel is more hold sensitive than an under-lever ?


    • I know too little why, but will mention a possibility or two.

      Underlevers are usually heavier.
      The barrel lockup solidness is not an issue with underlevers.

      Now, take a look at my R9.
      Lighter than my 97K. I zeroed both a few days ago at 35 yds from a bench rest. BOTH require that I keep the rest or my hand BEHIND the cocking slot. You get no slack from either one about this.

      I had a good group going at 35 with the R9 until I dropped the last shot. I knew it because I know when I pull a shot.
      Could not see the holes because I have a secondary cataract in my shooting eye that blurrs the target. Upon looking at the target, I could see that I had blown a good group with the last shot. Just over 3/8″. The first 4 measured 1/4″.
      The 97 did not do as well, but the sun was getting brighter and really doing in my vision.

      To really get to the bottom line…..
      Are underlevers inherently easier to shoot? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on the rifle.
      You can’t gorilla grip either and get away with it. Rest, hold, and trigger control are the key. Must be RIGHT for the rifle. And CONSISTENT.


    • JohnG10,

      EH? Looks to me like the gun is recoiling long before the pellet leaves the gun! I for sure would not call this “compelling evidence” to the contrary.

  11. JohnG10,

    The rifle shown in both videos isn’t a breakbarrel. It’s an underlever BAM B-40, which is a copy of the TX 200. That is the rifle I said was very INsensitive to hold.

    In this rifle you are not even seeing the barrel, because it is surrounded by a shroud. So nothing can be seen.


  12. This question was sent to the wrong address, so I have re-posted it here.

    It comes from John,

    Hi Tom!

    I have globe sights on two of my air rifles, and Williams suggests using the FP-AG-TK rear sight which is for rifles with a high line of sight.

    I like the side attachment, and the price of the Mendoza, however, I wonder if the Mendoza is for the low line of sight, as the Williams FP-GR?

    I only see one Williams rear sight on your web site, and I like the peep, not the blade.

    Best regards,

    John Younger NRA LIFE

    • John,

      The Mendoza sight is not as low as a proper Williams sight. You can see the results of that in my test of the Air Venturi Bronco here:


      Everything you want to know is in Part 7.

      The Williams FP series sights are all similar. The GR is the same as the AG (for airgun, which is the one I used) except for how it mounts to the gun.

      You made no mention of what model rifles you are mounting this sight on, but because they are air rifles I would use the AG model and not the GR that requires drilling and tapping two holes in the spring tube.


  13. General question. Has anyone bought a bore snake, and if so, did they use gun cleaning solvent? The instructions don’t say anything about using solving, and I found that running the snake through the barrel dry was tough. Are we suppose to use cleaning solvent?


    • Victor, I use a bore snake for my Winchester 94. It’s been so long that I don’t believe that I have a copy of the directions, but my procedure based on when I did is as follows. The snake has a band of brass bristles around it a couple inches from the lead end. I squirt solvent onto that space. As you pull the snake through, the theory is that the first section lays down the solvent, the bristles scrub like a brush, and the remaining length acts as dry patches–the equal of 167 separate patches on one stroke. However, these stages get mixed up if you do more than one pass with the snake as I believe you should. Maybe with the precision of the snake it doesn’t matter. Clint Fowler was appalled when I suggested cleaning the match-grade M1 he built for me with a snake, so I dropped that idea. But I suspect that the snake will give a good basic cleaning if you put down solvent somewhere–it shouldn’t really matter where–and run the snake a few times.


      • Matt61,
        I’ll try the solvent. That’s what I read from a bunch of reviews at the Midway website, but was still curious because the instructions on my package don’t say anything about using solvent. That seemed very strange to me. After all, the bore snake is made by Hoppe’s.

  14. Slinging Lead, your golf video is causing upset. One avid amateur golfer that I sent it to wants to give up his clubs and quit. I’ve figured out what kind of mutant, the golfer of the video is: The Beast


    The Beast possesses superhuman coordination that allows him to write with both feet at the same time using pencils clasped between his toes. That sounds about right.


    • Matt61

      Yes, that brings me back to my skateboarding and mountain biking days. Some people are just so good, they will blow your mind and make you feel physically ill at the same time.

      I guess that is how Tonya Harding felt when she had her bodyguard smash Nancy Kerrigan in the knee!

  15. Hello,

    Sorry for being off-topic but I was told this was the norm here.

    I’m looking for a newbie-friendly, accurate and durable air rifle. Since I’m Canadian and have no PAL it needs to be detuned/no higher velocity than 500 FPS. I’m mainly looking to do target shooting and plinking, as well as learn the basics of handling and shooting firearms if I ever want my PAL.

    I am not very good with my hands, being a four-eyed law school nerd, so I’d rather it shoot nicely out of the box rather than have to tune-it up for reasonable performance.

    My budget is no more than 250$.

    Thank you


    • Check out the Air Venturi Bronco. Very accurate barrel. Light and precise trigger. 500 fps (ish) velocity. Precise (non fiber optic) sights. Upgrade the rear sight to a peep sight (Crossman version), or add a scope (Leapers or Centerpoint 3-9 etc).

      ps: (Using 8.4 grain pellets rather than 7.9 grain pellets should bring in to less than 500 fps with no tuning necessary).

      • It’s what I was saying last week exactly, I tested my Bronco with several pellets and the rifle isn’t braking the law here (well mine anyways, the one BB tested does) but the rifle unfortunatly isn’t sold in Canada 🙁


    • Tony,
      You’re not off topic. This is an air-gun blog, and you have an air-gun question. As for what is “the norm”, if you look at ANY topic, you’ll see that the topic is covered extensively by anyone, and everyone, who has something to contribute. There’s always room for a little off-topic discussion. Sometimes those off-topic discussions result in enough interest that they become a future topic of discussion. It won’t take long for you to realize that there’s a whole lot of stuff of interest to air-gunners. Welcome to the group!

    • Tony,


      That “C” on the end means it’s the Canadian spec, it is will be easier to shoot then a springer.
      However it is over your budget.

      This one is not:


      Happy shooting

      • The “C” is for “Clip” — it is the 5 shot repeater version.
        The version without the C is single-shot manual ramp model.

        Both use the same barrel and pump cylinder.

    • Tony,

      You are certainly welcome to ask any airgun question here. Welcome to the blog.

      First, in Canada you will not be able to buy an air rifle that exceeds 500 f.p.s. without paperwork, so you don’t need to worry about that. The dealers will handle that for you.

      Might I recommend the Slavia 631 and 634 as fine rifles that will shoot great right out of the box? You cannot but the Air Venturi Bronco, because it goes over 500 f.p.s. and therefore does not ship to Canada. Otherwise that would be the rifle I’d recommend.

      The Hammerli 490 is an accurate rifle, but the trigger is very hard and stiff. A Diana 24 would be a nice one, though it might go above your budget. And if you could find one, a Canadian-power HW 30 would be about the best of all, though it would certainly be more than you want to pay. But a used one might be affordable.


      • The HW 30 is around 300$ which isn’t too much over your budget, the Diana 24 isn’t available new as far as I know, if I’m not mistaken it’s been replaced by the 240, if you wish to scope it (or just prefer the tactical look) the Diana Panther 21 with a synthetic stock is a little cheaper than the 240.

        Good shopping,


      • Thanks guys for the replies!

        I can’t find a new Slavia 631 (best I can do is a 630), but I can get a new detuned HW30S for 280$. Unfortunately my budget is very tight so it’s really out of my league at the moment.

        I can get a model 240 for 210$ which is fine. If there are any other options I’d love to know them!


  16. I’m poised to order a TX200 for field target use, and have a few questions.

    I want to ensure that the scope is a very accurate range-finder, and transmits light well enough for forested courses (DIFTA). Which is better: the Leapers 8x32x56 or the Hawke 6x24x50 ?

    What is the maximum scope length that will leave the loading port accessible ?

    What is the best way to clean the barrel without messing up the crown ? (Both the initial JB deburring, and periodic deleading).

    Will lubing the CP’s with Wistcombe honey prevent the leading ? Will it cause any other problems ?


    • JohnG10

      Nice choice. The TX200 is one of the finest springers made.

      First off, you will need to try out a number of pellets to find out what shoots most accurately in your gun. If that pellet is a Crosman Premier, it would indeed be a good idea to lube them since they are alloyed with antimony and will lead up the barrel at the speeds the TX200 will shoot in .177 cal. Pure lead pellets are softer and will not foul the barrel as quickly.

      A beloved regular here and Field Target shooter, Wacky Wayne Burns, uses coconut oil to lube his pellets.

      That leapers scope you mentioned is a monster and will interfere with the loading port.

      The best way to clean the barrel is from the breech end to protect the crown. I have found the best way to do this is to disassemble the rifle. It is not hard to do at all. Short of that, use a bore snake.

      Shoot safe, have fun, and let us know how you are getting along with it.

      • JohnG10
        While I’m no expert at field target I have only used my TX200 for hunter class because any good scope over 12 power would be a real hassle because of the position of the loading port. If I had to use a spring rifle for field target I would go for the RWS 54. I know some some will disagree but I feel that the 54 is just as accurate and and a lot easier to load plus it will take a larger scope. IMHO the Hawke scopes are the best value for the money.


        • JohnG10
          I forgot to mention I would not give up either my TX200 or my RWS Diana 54. The 54 is a bit easier to shoot accurately since you can rest it directly on your paded shooting sticks when doing field target hunter class. This is because of the recoil system on the 54.


          • I just came in from ashooting session with the TX200 and I’ll be darned if it didn’t shoot just as well as the 54 rested directly on the bipod. The bipod I speak of is the one most hunter class shooters here at (MCAFT AL.) use. It is the Stoney Point compact 3 section 16″ to 38″ portable bi pod. Most agree that this works better then the pod directly attached to the forend. I picked up mine at Bass Pro but they are 15 dollars less if you order from Mid South Shooters. The only problem with the TX is the target bounces out of view while with 54 you can watch the pellet take out your target just like you can with a PCP rifle.

            • Interesting- since I’m buying the springer for Hunter FT. I was also considering the R9 or HW 50 break-barrel. But I was assuming that shooting it from the bipod would change the POI &/or open up the groups a lot. Can anyone confirm this is the case ? If it isn’t, I may rather have the “easier loading” R9 or HW 50…

      • Thanks BB. The Hawke 6x24x50 is quite a bit cheaper than the “tactical” series (~$250 vs $400). Is it also brighter than the Leapers 3x32x56 ? Does it focus for range-finding as well as the Leapers ?

        • JohnG10,

          I haven’t tested all the Hawke scopes, so I can’t answer your question about the comparison. But I can tell you that Hawkes are sharper that Leapers and sharpness is what makes rangfinding ework.

          In the mid-’90s people were paying $500 for a 6.5-20 Leupold scope, then paying Premier Reticle to double the power. And that scope is no sharper than the Hawke, if my memory serves me. But it is the Tactical Sidewinder I refer to.


    • I want to ensure that the scope is a very accurate range-finder, and transmits light well enough for forested courses (DIFTA). Which is better: the Leapers 8×32×56 or the Hawke 6×24×50 ?

      The 6-24×50 should appear to be a “brighter” scope, though at low power both of them have exit pupils larger than most folks night-adapted eyes.

      When young, one’s pupils may expand to around 7mm; the more moderated aged are typically limited to 5mm — so a scope with an exit pupil >5mm is “wasting” light that isn’t going into one’s eye.

      The Leapers should range from 7mm@8x to 1.75mm@32x, the Hawke ranges from 8.33mm@6x to 2.08mm@24x

      However, since they different ranges, let’s see what using the shared range would give: @8X we have the Leapers @7mm, and the Hawke @6.25; @24X they are L’ @2.33 and H’ @ 2.08.

      So… within the common shared magnifications, the Leapers should be a hair brighter.

      Presuming maximal light transfer is at 5mm exit pupil and night adapted eyes, the Leapers @11.2X would match the Hawke @10X — all else being equal (lens coatings, baffles to block internal reflections, etc.)

  17. Hello B.B. Off topic, but a couple observations and questions about the breech seals:

    Upon checking the velocity of my RWS 350 as I do periodically, I found I was getting 790’s with CP domes, which is 30-40 fps low for this gun. So, I made a shim from the plastic lid of a coffee can, and velocity returned to the mid-840’s – but suddenly my groups took on a vertical spread! (I have about 8,000 rounds through this gun, and wear of the breech seal is visually evident) Upon gently opening and closing the barrel, I could detect a slight rubberiness – the seal was protruding just a bit too far, causing the barrel to apparently bounce ever so slightly upon firing. I did not want to over-tighten the pivot and risk galling the breech block. I removed the shim, and accuracy returned perfectly. I will see if Glen at Umarex can sell me a couple new breech seals, but for now I’ll take advantage of some down time during Hurricane Irene, and make another shim out of something thinner. I’m thinking of trying the very thin plastic of a report binder cover, we’ll see.

    Have you witnessed this reaction to over-shimming a breech seal before? Do you think there may be an advantage to leaving the barrel cracked open (just the initial “click”, not cocked of course) when not shooting, so the O-ring seal is not being compressed during storage? I’m wondering if this could extend the life of the seal. Thanks to you B.B. (or anyone else) for your input!


    • Ken, overshimming the seal will do that. What happens is that the barrel isn’t closing and latching metal-to-metal (which is consistent from shot to shot), it is bottoming on the seal (trying to compress it too much) and thus closing metal-on-rubber. The trick is to get it shimmed so that it closes metal-on-metal AND compresses the seal sufficiently to prevent leaks.

      If you only gained 50fps, you probably didn’t need that much shimming. Using something thinner would probably fix your problem. Oh – and it might be good to replace the seal, too. I believe it’s a #109 O-ring.

      • Thanks Vince, sounds like you’ve experienced this too. Since posting, I’ve found the breech seals online, and have also for now made a thinner shim out of the plastic sheet I mentioned and it is working well – breech feels like it is locking fully and velocity is where it should be. Won’t have a chance to verify accuracy with any shooting today but maybe tomorrow.

        Getting to know this gun well has been an adventure! Have a great day Vince.

      • Seems to be true B.B. I also went back and read your blog post where Vince Brandolini explained shimming. Since I do not have a proper hole punch at this time, I used an exacto knife but it worked well. So it seems shimming provides a valuable adjustment, but doesn’t want to be overdone – not difficult to accomplish. On to another few thousand rounds!

        • The Xacto knife technique works well for those with steady hands and good eyes! The worst case I ever saw was a ‘refurbished’ P34 in .22 that went from about 600fps to around 730.

          • JohnG10
            If you plan to shoot hunter class they will not allow you to use over 12 power and that means if you have 36 power the power wheel has to stay on 12x,even when you are range finding. This is why I have found the 4-12X40 Hawke to fit my needs perfectly,and IMO the lighted reticle is useless. If you end up with break barrel, you will wish you had gone for the TX or the 54. Save the money on the scope not the rifle. You can shoot 10.2 grain JSB’S with either of these. The HW50 is a little light even with 7.9 or 8.4 grain pellets. Allso with JSB or Air Arms pellet won’t need to lube pellets and rarely clean barrel.

  18. More terminal ballistics info.

    I caught a good-sized possum overnight and shot it with a Remington Subsonic in the head, hoping for a nice quick humane kill. I always take the trap with critter in it to an area that’s safe to shoot a .22 in. I thought I had a nice square-on angle and but the dang bullet apparently glanced off the skull, went down through the cheek, and on through! Look at a possum skull (google images) it’s small, heavily armored, and it’s hard to get a square-on angle. The possum was still alive 15 minutes later so I sighed, got the Marlin out again, and gave him one in the heart/lung area, and it was nighty-night within a reasonable time. He’ll go under an olive tree.

    The reason I write this is, most of the interest in CB shorts and longs is in critter control. I am becoming an avid proponent of:

    Decent-powered pellet guns. Think in terms of the Browning that was just reviewed, etc. I’m considering a .22 job with a nitro piston myself. These are good for SMALL game, such as starlings, squirrels with good shot placement, rats, etc. NOT POSSUMS they are tough!

    Traps: The good old Hav-A-Hart is king. Everyone in the suburbs to rural areas ought to have at least one. The Conibear traps intrigue me, for squirrels. The Hav-A-Hart is a live trap, and fairly humane (an animal will often scratch its nose and paws up trying to get out though) and the Conibear is a KILLING trap, including apparently, KILLING your fingers so those are not for use where you have cats or if you are a concert violinist lol. With the Hav-A-Hart there remains the job of killing the varmint. The advantage is you can take the trap where a shot is safe. A pellet gun can be fine if you’ve caught a rat, or a pest bird (some will go in there). For anything of any size you need a .22 firearm and if you can’t kill it with a pellet you can’t with a CB. Use a decent hollow point round and shoot for the heart/lung area, extensive experience is showing me headshots are much more likely to cause extended suffering.

    To further creep out anyone who’s read this far, professional exterminators swear by Hav-A-Harts and use a sort of hypodermic-on-a-stick to administer a tranquilizer to kill the varmint. This may be more humane than a bullet and certainly it’s quieter. But unless you’re licensed, you probably can’t get anything like this. A method I’m interested with experimenting with to have some sort of airtight box I can stick the trap w/varmint inside, into, and the varmint just goes sleepy-bye. Carbon monoxide or nitrogen are what I’d try. CO can be gotten from charcoal fumes, nitrogen is basically what you have when you take the oxygen out of air (the trace noble gases don’t matter in this) and a chemist was telling me that nitrogen will knock a person right out. This all sounds macabre, but as the economy sends more of us back-to-the-land and more of us are keeping animals and battling pests we used to just ignore, we have to confront the problem of doing things humanely.

    CB shorts/longs – only humane for tin cans!

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