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Accessories Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets? Part 4

Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets? Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Andrew Rhee 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.

Andrew is hidden among the ferns with his KWA KM4 RIS airsoft rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today, I’ll finish the accuracy test at 50 yards.

This report is about how .22-caliber CB caps stand up to an air rifle in four areas: cost of ammunition, power, accuracy and sound. To-date, we’ve learned that the air rifle I’m using is just about as powerful as the most powerful CB cap and that it’s as quiet as the quietest CB cap that might be used. One specialty CB cap (the Aguila Colibri) is quieter, but so low powered that it wasn’t used in this test. It’s strictly for .22 handguns.

First, I tested the accuracy of the AirForce Talon SS, which is my control air rifle. It has to endure the same wind and lighting as the CB caps, so the results should not be skewed.

If you’ve been following this report, you know that I’ve been having trouble loading CB caps into the chamber of my Ruger 10/22 — one of three rifles I selected to test the accuracy of CB caps. I chose a 10/22 because I had one (always a good reason) and because I thought it represented what the average guy might use if he wanted to shoot a CB cap. However, that was before I discovered what a royal pain it is to load CB caps into a 10/22! Yes, it can be done and I actually did it many times, but it’s so frustrating that I finally gave up and removed the 10/22 from this test.

Before making that decision, though, I even went to the bother of converting my rifle to the custom configuration with the custom stock and bull barrel from Butler Creek. Then, I rediscovered this nasty fact. So, I bounced that rifle as well before firing the first shot. But that left me with no scoped rifles in .22 rimfire. My Remington 521T has target aperture sights, as does the Winchester Winder musket. I wanted to keep things as even as possible between the firearms and the air rifle that wears a Leapers 3-12x44AO SWAT scope, but it was not to be.

The Winder musket
Another rifle whose accuracy I haven’t yet reported in this test is the Winchester Winder musket. This is a Winchester Low Wall action chambered for .22 Short, and I selected it for two reasons. First, it was made as a target rifle, and as such should be pretty accurate. Second, because it’s chambered for the .22 Short round, it’s perfect for the CCI CB Short cartridge, as well as being better for the ultra-short RWS CB caps and BB caps. Shooting these rounds in a rifle chambered for long rifle ammunition is putting them at a decided disadvantage, because they have to traverse the length of the chamber before encountering the rifling. When doing that, it’s possible the bullets could tip slightly before they engage the rifling.

Though the Winder musket dates from before 1920, it’s still a highly accurate target rifle, as this test showed.

The Winder’s performance was pretty surprising. It out-shot both the Remington 521T target rifle AND the scoped Ruger 10/22. Not by just a little. With CCI CB Shorts, the Winder posted a 2.714-inch 10-shot group! While not in the same class as the air rifle, that’s not bad. It was the tightest group made by any of the CB cap and BB cap ammunition in any rifle at 50 yards.

Not bad for just priming compound at 50 yards! This group of 10 CCI CB Short rounds from the Winder musket measures 2.714 inches across centers.

With RWS CB caps, the Winder put 10 into a group measuring about 3.577 inches. I have to say “about” because one round strayed off the target paper and I wrote a note on the target that it was an inch to the right. The Winder has no lock on the windage adjustment, and I guess I’d rubbed it against the rifle case when pulling it out at the range. That rolled the windage adjustment too far to the right, which put the group in the upper right corner of the target. When I started shooting, the shots were close enough and far enough on the paper that I thought I could get them all on. Since it takes me up to 15 minutes to complete one group, while waiting for the perfect time to shoot, I decided to go with this group as is.

Nine of 10 RWS CB caps made it through this target from the Winder musket. Shot No. 9 just nicked the right edge of the paper. The tenth shot was about an inch to the right of the target paper. Actual group size was about 3.577 inches.

The RWS BB caps performed much differently than the CB caps in the Winder. Only 8 of 10 made it onto the paper, even though this group is well-centered on the target. Again, I have no idea how large the total group is, but the 8 shots I do have are spread out about 7.25 inches.

Adding the Stevens Armory 414 target rifle
I did add a third rifle to the firearm side since the 10/22 was removed. It’s a Stevens Armory 414 target rifle that was popular before World War II. It’s a single-shot lever-action that’s based on the popular Stevens No. 44 action. Mine has an adjustable target tang sight and a very odd front aperture that looks like it should be lethal.

The four rifles used in this test (top to bottom): AirForce Talon SS, Winchester Winder musket, Stevens Armory 414 and Remington 521T.

The front aperture on the Stevens Armory rifle is one of the smallest I’ve ever seen.

Now, it was time to shoot the new rifle at 50 yards with both the Aguila Super Colibri CB caps and the CCI CB Longs. This was done a week ago, and I saved the results for today’s report.

The results
The results are really horrible! The Aguila Super Colibis managed to hit the 10.5″x12″ target paper 3 out of 10 times. For those on the metric system, the target paper measures 268mm by about 350mm! I have no way of knowing for certain what the group size actually is, but let’s conservatively call it a 15-inch group! I’m not going to bother showing you the target paper with three holes.

Next, I tried CCI CB Longs and got somewhat better results, though they’re still nothing spectacular. Ten shots made a group that measures just over 9 inches at 50 yards. At least all the shots were on the paper!

This got me wondering whether this particular rifle is accurate with anything, so I shot a group of 9 Wolf Match Target .22 long rifle cartridges. It would have been 10, but one cartridge failed to fire in three attempts. Rimfires! Naturally, that was the last of that brand of cartridge on hand. The group is small enough (0.978 inches) to indicate that the rifle can shoot, and I still have no idea what the best round for this rifle might be.

Nine Wolf Match Target rounds went into this group, which is under an inch; so, the rifle can shoot with the right ammunition.

Summary for CB caps against air rifles at 50 yards
The Talon SS air rifle with an optional 24-inch, .22-caliber barrel and bloop tube shot groups in the three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter-inch range at 50 yards. This rifle is a proven entity, and this level of performance is not unusual. Since it was shot on the same day as the CB caps, both were shot under the same conditions; so, we can cancel the wind and lighting as factors.

The best performance from the firearms was realized by the CCI CB Shorts shot in the Winder musket, and they made a 10-shot group that was just over 2.70 inches. The Ruger 10/22 that I eliminated because of loading difficulties turned in the second-best group, and the RWS CB caps in the Winder musket were close behind. After that, the group sizes increased very quickly. Most of the rest of the groups were too large to measure because several shots were off the paper and lost.

The bottom line for 50-yard shooting with CB caps is that they cannot keep pace with a good PCP air rifle. There’s something else you have to consider. If you grab a .22 rimfire to shoot just one CB cap, the rifle will not be sighted-in for that round. I spent a lot of time getting my shots on target at 50 yards. When I switched back to standard .22 long rifle ammunition with the Stevens Armory 414, the sights had to be adjusted a lot in both directions.

With an air rifle, you’ll always be on target, provided the rifle is sighted-in. So, just grab the gun, load it and take the shot. At distances as far as 50 yards, this makes all the difference in the world, because Mr. Rat is not going to sit still while you adjust your sights.

I must say that I was surprised by the tightest CB cap groups shot with both the Winder musket and the Remington 521T. I couldn’t have predicted that level of accuracy for them at 50 yards.

Next time, we’ll move in to 25 yards — and I already know the results are going to amaze you.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

53 thoughts on “Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets? Part 4”

  1. BB,
    As usual, thanks for the very informative report. The collection of unusual (to me anyway) 22 rimfire rifles is a real treat, also. This article, along with the one yesterday about crown and the numerous other articles about accuracy still leave me unsure of what makes an accurate rifle, or accurate ammunition, for that matter. I believe that it must be a combination of many different factors that all dovetail together in exactly the right manner that produces that winning combination.
    Comparing the two targets from the beautiful Winder musket, the CCI CB target shows a more or less linear vertical pattern which I would expect from an inconsistency in velocity. OK, that makes sense to me. But the next target with the RWS CBs shows a much more random pattern slightly larger than the CCIs. Let’s say that the largest dimension in the RWS pattern is maybe a third larger, but the area of the pattern is about 3 times as large. So to me, it looks like there is an additional element of …. maybe…..bullet inconsistency that spreads the RWS right to left in addition to vertically.
    It just seems that even though many people know how to build accurate rifles, it is difficult to quantify how each element adds to the accuracy. It is fascinating, but also a little frustrating.
    Do you have thoughts on the difference between the CCI and RWS patterns?
    Thanks again,

    • Lloyd,

      Are you unsure of what makes an accurate rifle? Join the club! That’s what Mann’s book is all about. And all these other books that are now coming out of the woodwork seem to be searching for the same thing.

      I can say this about CCI and RWS CB caps so far. The CCI caps are amazingly consistent. I would not have believed how consistent they could be before doing this test. And let’s face it, I have only used three .22 rifles for the test. Four, if you count the 10/22, with which I did shoot a good CCI group at 50 yards. Who is to say I have used the best rifle to test each type of ammunition?

      Regarding the RWS caps, I had zero hope that they would do anything at all, so what I see thus far blows me away! They are NOT .22 caliber, but 6 mm! Yes, that’s true. They are too big for the bore, but because they are made of pure lead, those projectiles are swaging themselves down to bore size when they pass through the barrel.

      Then there is the issue of the overly short case. It’s shorter than even a .22 Short case. So they clearly don’t even fit the chamber of the .22 Short Winder. And yet, you see the results.

      The RWS caps are primed with the hottest priming compound of all the rounds tested. That may be the reason they are doing as well as they are. They just overpower all the obstacles and git ‘er done!

      On the other hand, the RWS BB caps have the same weight projectile as the CB caps and are almost as hot and yet they are all over the place in the same rifle!

      I don’t know, either. But this sure has been an interesting test. 🙂


      • BB,
        Definitely an interesting test! All of the gut predictions from the airgunners that the Talon would kick butt have certainly become a reality, but what is showing up with the CB and BB caps is not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting to see useless groups across the board but it is much more complex than that. BB, thanks for taking on this challenge. It continues to be very eye opening.

      • BB,

        An interesting and timely article. I was at my brothers place in the country Saturday and he was showing me his Henry lever action rifle with cb caps. He bought them because he says his gamo is no longer accurate (which I promptly disproved) and that it did not hit hard enough to kill squirrels any longer.

        He then proceeded to show me his Henry would hit 1″ spinners at 30 yards with regularity. I would say maybe he did like 7 of 10 shots were hits and the cb caps would spin the target like a whirlwind 3 – 5 revolutions. His gamo big cat in his hand did about 2 out of 10 at the same range but only slightly pushed the spinners except for one lone round which spun it like the cb caps did? I got a little better results with his gamo with 10 X 10 hits, but the targets did not spin?

        So, first do you think there is some thing wrong with his game and if so what possibly? His accuracy results are a result of his inconsistent resting of the gun on his hand. Many times he actually had the BARREL resting on his hand. Once I showed him you need to be consistent with all things including hand placement and cheek weld and breath control he did much better. So it is not the accuracy but rather the power which is in question.

        Second, at least at 30 yards I was impressed with the results of his Henry rifle. It even fed them well but he was having some problems with erratic extraction. Far better than I would have expected for the accuracy. But no where near to the accuracy of my two pcp’s. Both my Sumatra 2500 carbine in .177 and my Disco in .22 hit 10 X 10 on the 1″ spinners and spun them like the cb caps did at 30 yards. And at 50 yards there was no comparison with the two pcp’s doing around 8 X 10 hits with good spin and the Henry doing 0 X 10 hits. All this from a rest of a rickety old rotting table he has outside.

        He plans on using the Henry for squirrels at short range till he can get another pellet gun or fix the Gamo.

        Do you think there is a problem with this Gamo?

        • pcp4me,

          Well I think the Gamo was hitting the spinners out of the sweet spot, except for that one time it spun them. The Henry performs well at 30 yards. Just wait until the next report, when you see what can be done. I think it will surprise everybody.

          But a PCP will still out-shoot a CB cap, even at 25 yards.

        • I have a little Henry lever-action too, and it’s a really neat little gun. Indeed it feeds CB’s just fine.

          CB’s have proven most useful to me for small game; they are only going to annoy a possum. I’ve not tried them on squirrels because I’m not going to shoot upward with that weight of a projectile. To me that’s airgun work, if you miss etc the pellet loses velocity very quickly and becomes harmless. The one place the CBs shine for me is, if you need to kill a chicken you can’t catch (game cocks tend to roost high in the trees at night and in general are hard to catch) and don’t want to ruin the meat, you take a CB and shoot ‘im through the heart/lung area, he takes a few steps and lies down and goes to sleep, and there you are. Coq au vin time.

          I think the guy shooting the Gamo Big Cat needs to learn the artillery hold and consistency. My Delta is the Big Cat’s little brother, and I’ve benefited a lot by learning to hold it lightly. As B.B.’s pointed out, there’s a lot going on in a springer before the pellet leaves the barrel.

      • BB,

        Since my brothers rifle was chambered for shorts, longs and long rifles according to the stamping of the gun it seems to have done much better in the feeding and even extraction of the cb shorts than the Ruger 10/22 or maybe even some of the other guns you tested.

        Maybe tubular magazine guns designed to feed all three rounds would do better. Are there any really accurate guns with tubular magazines designed for all three rounds and can be scoped that you could use? Oh, the scope is mandatory. With my aging eyes I can shoot way better with a scope than I can with iron sights, even the target aperture sights. Bet the same goes for you.

          • BB,

            Yeah, I saw that, but I attribute the accuracy of the winder to the shorter chamber and it’s heritage as a target rifle. Just like different pellets behave differently in the same gun, so the same ammo will behave differently in different guns.

            I had a dramatic confirmation of that last night when I was testing my RWS Diana 6M recoiless pistol with different ammo. RWS R 10 pistol match ammo shot one hole groups rested at 25′ so I reasoned that H & N Finale match pistol pellets might do as well or better. Not so! They shot shot gun patterns. I simply could not believe how badly really great match pellets performed in a really great gun!

            A more appropriate comparison would be the winder scoped and not scoped if that were possible. But the winder does not appear to be set up for scope use.

            Btw BB, I have realized a couple of childhood dreams recently through trades and selling some unused guns to get cash for my wants. Within the last 2 months I picked up that giss system RWS 6 M. This one came with fully adjustable wood target grips and has a trigger to droll over. Wanted one of those ever since Beeman started selling them.

            Also have a Crosman 600 in really great condition on it’s way to me. I have also wanted one of those since it came out.

            Ditto for an AR2078 in excellent used condition. Got a great deal on it on yellow air guns classifieds. Sweet shooting gun but am having a heck of a time adjusting to the aperture sights.

            And finally I have purchased a Titan GP. Wanted a gas piston ever since they came out and this one was my shortest wait on my wants list. Got a great deal on it from Airgunsdaily.com for $100 shipped and I love it. Two of my brothers also loved it so much they bought one!

            So life is sweet and am currently looking forward to selling or trading some other guns for a pcp repeating or semi-automatic rifle. Want a semi, but only ones available are FX monsoon and Revolution and those both are a bit heavy for my tastes.

      • I’m sure that any number of things are important to a rifle’s accuracy, but maybe a starting point would be to see that some things are generally more important than others. The makers of Tango tactical rifles which guarantee 1/4 MOA groups (!) claim that their research shows that correct headspacing is most important. Their evidence is that this is why military rifles with loose tolerances can be more accurate than expected. The Savage rifles would support this point. Another claim is that a floating bolt head design that helps to lock the cartridge into the chamber is also important. The movable bolt head on the Mosin Nagant rifles are supposed to contribute to their accuracy, and again the Savage rifles have a floating bolt head.

        One might infer that it is the things at the start of the firing cycle that determine everything that are most important. So in addition to the headspacing, and the bolt head, you might add a good trigger. Once the bullet goes crashing down the barrel perhaps things get less important. So, while bedding and firelapping the barrel and blueprinting the action might not hurt, maybe they are less important. As for the business with the crown, choked barrels which tighten a grip on the projectile before they exit the muzzle in flight seem to have a good record, so this could be indirect evidence for the importance of a crown. So, maybe the key issue is not the start of the firing cycle but critical transitions in the shot–like the start and then the exit of the projectile from the barrel into free flight. Of course there are other things going on but maybe there is a distinction to between the sheep and the goats in terms of important causes.


  2. BB,

    This was an interesting test for sure. Enjoyed it to the end. That picture of you and your Talon SS is a mind bender. I have never had a top view of a Talon and it took me half a cup of coffee and two sets of glasses before I realized that the hollow section on top behind the moderator to the breech was a reflection of the scope! Duh. 😉


  3. I was sloppy in my language in my last comment yesterday. It’s really unlikely that the air exiting from an air rifle will be supersonic, and it’s even less likely to form a true shock wave. It might not even move more rapidly than a pellet.


    • Pete,
      The analysis of why things are happening is very important, but I often find my personal knowledge base lacking. The concise and scientific bent of your comments help to diminish that, and I always find them interesting.
      Thank you,

  4. I can’t help it. Shooting CB caps in a gun chambered and rifled for .22 LR conjures up the image of shooting a projectile through a funnel. I’m amazed that the winder and 521T did that well. Let’s not overlook the disadvantage these guns have in my hands with open sights. Interesting test.

    I have high hopes for the stevens armory with wolf match ammo once the barrel is seasoned with this greasy stuff.

    Yes, the MTM Shooting Benches are hard on elbows during long shooting sessions. I went to the thrift store (my favorite shopping places) and bought a bag of hand towels for my elbows. I put a section of non skid rubber mat material (folks use this to keep throw rugs from moving around on hardwood floors and also use it on the shelving in their motorhomes to keep dishes/glasses from moving around during travel) on top of my shooting bench to hold the hand towels in place. My elbows are now healing nicely.


  5. Lloyd and BB,

    you struck a chord with your comment, “what makes an accurate rifle”? After my struggles with my crowning project, I have become very interested in this topic. Obviously people in the industry know what has to be done to make an accurate rifle. When I hear FWB, Diana, Weirauch and Airforce, I think excellent accuracy. When I hear Gamo, I think “mediocrity”. When Crosman comes up, I need to know where the rifle was built and how much it goes for before I form an opinion as to whether it will be an accurate rifle or not. But exactly what is involved is a mystery, at least to me.

    As things are a bit on the slow side today, I did a search on accurate rifle barrels and came up with this article. It was written for a magazine back in 2001 – Varmint Hunter Magazine – and written by a John Havilind.

    It’s not a long read and there are a number of factors the builder, Dan Lilja, brings up but one glaring omission is present. See if you realize what it is:


    I wonder if he’d make air rifle barrels?

    Fred PRoNJ

      • Hey Lloyd,

        Momma Sykes didn’t raise any stupid kids. You hit the 10 ring with that comment, Lloyd. But, look to the right of the article at the first paragraph. Lilja says that “your own gunsmith has to crown, thread ….. the barrel” except perhaps for the drop-in replacement barrels for the 10-22 Ruger.

        Fred PRoNJ

    • Fred,

      Got it! No crown talk. I think we may be onto something here. I have watched a video of a borescope being pulled through a Lilja barrel and you cannot tell the barrel is moving. A Remington factory barrel, by contrast, looks like a pickup truck without springs driving down a dirt road.

      Lilja barrel start at around $375 and go up, but they are worth every penny.


  6. BB,
    Another great article. I was so relieved to see you include the results of the Wolf Match cartridges. As I read the CB results I kept thinking and preparing to ask, so what can this rifles do normally? And there you were, light years ahead of me, as usual.

    • Chuck,

      That one was so obvious even I saw it! I haven’t shot the Stevens much, and the CB caps are the only serious shooting I have done with it at 50 yards. I shot that group just to see if the gun was a dog. As pretty as it is, I wouldn’t hold onto it for a minute if it couldn’t shoot.


  7. Nice winning photo. BUT, the orange tip gives him away…. I’d say B.B. on the Talon is at least as good a photo. The camera is where you really do not want to be.

    It was nice to see the Wolf Match Target ammo do well. I’ve got 5000 rounds, so I’ll be eager to see if I have any misfires. No trouble so far after about 500.

    B.B., the Frank Mann test of holding the plank in front of the muzzle sounds like an extreme case of shooting into a headwind, and David Tubb’s advice for this situation is: pay no attention. Unless there is a sideways component to the wind, it should have no effect on bullet placement (except at extreme ranges where the bullet will drop low because of reduced velocity). So, I still don’t see this test as very relevant to a nicked muzzle. With Frank Mann, one is tempted to think of the Druids about whom it was said: Nobody knows who they were or what they were doing. Heh, heh, just kidding. Mann obviously did valuable work, but some of it has a crank-like appearance.

    Wulfraed, yes, agreed that the ogive strictly speaking refers to bullet shape based on mathematical functions, and that’s useful to know that the secant refers to a gradual taper and the tangent to a straight taper (or is it the other way around). That is a useful observation that I had missed. But it seems to me that in conversation “ogive” is more commonly used to mean the ring-shaped area where the bullet meets the rifling. The fact is, though, that the two notions are actually different versions of the same thing since the taper determines the meeting point of bullet and rifling. That is quite the ingenious method of finding the ogive taper point without chambering the round. However, there remains a small problem in that a precise measurement would require touching with the measuring device and disrupting the oil line that you are trying to measure. As for chamber length, that is easily found with a bullet seating depth gauge from Sinclair International. I plan to get one, but first I need to reduce the variation in my bullet seating depth to make this worthwhile. As a related note, David Tubb uses what he calls “soft seating” of his bullets which seems to mean seating the bullets slightly long so that the rifle bolt itself squeezes them the last tiny bit into the case. I suppose the idea here is to completely eliminate any jump to the rifling. Anyway, willy nilly, people are figuring out their chamber length to a very high degree of precision.

    On the subject of dangerous game at close ranges, here is the famous tiger attack video that some might have seen that approximates a lion charging 50 yards in 2 seconds.


    Note the hypnotic, balletic grace of the tiger as she closes the distance. And note too the reaction of the target. I believe he was an experienced animal handler, and I would say that his small motor control has gone all to pieces.

    However, the titular hero of my book, Gilligan’s Last Elephant, in fact is quite capable of shooting down charging animals at the last split second and actually does this routinely with charging lions. As the book says, “he just waited, then let them have it in the right place and down they went.” So, there are people who can do this–I just wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a pro. My position on controlled round feeding for dangerous game is that of course it is superior to push feeding. But it’s often talked about in a way that makes it sound like working a bolt in the face of a truly dangerous animal is just another tool in the hunter’s toolbox. But it seems to me that the closer you get to the point where you absolutely need that follow-up shot with no delay, the closer you get to where you are probably toast anyway, controlled round feeding or no. This is the province of the super high level professional.

    The more interesting theme from the book is the notion of fear. Apparently, in the dynamics of extreme fear, it is possible for an otherwise brave person to go to pieces for no apparent reason. Why? The answer has to do with a point in the novel, 1984, that I’ve found very interesting. The book claims that every person has some particular fear that they are simply not able to face. It has nothing to do with willpower or character; one’s temperament simply does not allow one to resist. In the case of Winston, the hero of 1984, it is a fear of being eaten alive by rats. (I would say that would be a pretty general one.) Anyway, lo and behold, something of the same idea appears in the novel. The idea is that one doesn’t really conquer fear but displaces it through training and conditioning. But where it is pushed out from one area, it will pop up in another and will often find someplace to reside where you don’t expect. In Gilligan’s case it is his fear of elephants which he cannot face although he can do all sorts of incredible things like kill lions with a knife and even enjoy both of the World Wars that he fought in. So, what emerges in the case of risk/fear technicians like him and an American veteran who features in the book is a “mania” and obsession about courage and whether someday you will wake up and just not have it any more. So another reason for the bolt-action rifle with dangerous game, may be because certain people like to test themselves and ride the edge of danger which is where a bolt-action rifle will put them. I suppose we don’t have to worry about this with airgunning unless charged by a rabid raccoon or beaver. Anyway, in the novel, needless to say, Gilligan does meet up with his elephant again. As he stalks it, the narrative writes, “Suddenly, the bull’s little eyes seemed to look at him and say, ‘So, you’ve come at last have you, chum? Go ahead, shoot me. Shoot yourself too. No blood on these tusks now, but it’s there isn’t it?” For the outcome, you’ll have to read the book. Ha ha. No kidding, it’s a very good read. As readers of the blog are no doubt aware, it is very uncommon to find knowledge of guns joined with truly good writing. Another rare instance of this is Stephen Hunter with his Bob Lee Swagger novels. But Gerald Hanley and his novels about Africa is in a different class altogether. Hemmingway considered Hanley to be his superior, and I think he was probably right. Anyway, Gilligan’s Last Elephant is an obscure work that used to require archival research to find but is now available from Amazon for $3.

    Now, then, on the subject of the super-macho, read on if you dare, but at your own risk.

    Go back while you can.

    Advance further at your own risk for which I take no responsibility.


    Okay, in his memoir Warriors and Strangers which details fighting the Italians in Somalia in WWII, Hanley describes how the lives of the soldiers depended on finding waterholes out in the desert. They couldn’t afford to be picky. The trouble was that some of the waterholes had fine particles of gypsum and other minerals suspended in the water. And when it came time to void the water, these particles would do severe damage to the urethra to the accompaniment of copious amounts of blood and extreme agony. Yeow. That is some tough country.


    • Wulfraed, yes, agreed that the ogive strictly speaking refers to bullet shape based on mathematical functions, and that’s useful to know that the secant refers to a gradual taper and the tangent to a straight taper (or is it the other way around). That is a useful observation that I had missed.

      The rate of taper, based on the illustrations I glanced at, isn’t really relevant to the tangent/secant difference. Secant appeared to be, if you will, disjoint at the transition from cylinder to taper. There is a distinct, and likely visible, “ring”. More complex way to look at it is, say a fictional .270 “wadcutter” (flat nose the full caliber diameter), then take a .308 tangential and cut off the nose at the point where the diameter is .270; graft that onto the end of the wadcutter.

      As a related note, David Tubb uses what he calls “soft seating” of his bullets which seems to mean seating the bullets slightly long so that the rifle bolt itself squeezes them the last tiny bit into the case. I suppose the idea here is to completely eliminate any jump to the rifling. Anyway, willy nilly, people are figuring out their chamber length to a very high degree of precision.

      Not a technique to use on a magazine fed repeater in the field. Bench rest work with just one cartridge at a time, yes.

      Back in the late 70s or early 80s one of the gun magazines had an article on an elephant pruning assignment. Hunter was using box magazine bolt-action. He refilled the magazine after every kill — typically one or two shots needed. Magazine held four rounds. Had a situation where he needed to use more than two rounds — The next round went off with a harsher recoil and totally different behavior (and just gave the elephant a headache). Guide finished off the elephant.

      When they examined the elephant, they found the entrance hole for the bullet, but in only went in about an inch — did NOT penetrate the skull, but turned sideways and slid between thick skin and skull until it stopped somewhere half way around the elephant’s skull.

      Examining the rifle — it was discovered that the fourth cartridge was something like a quarter inch shorter (if not more) than a fresh cartridge. The recoil of gun and magazine was pushing the bullets deeper into the case, so after a day of culling the herd, the bottom rounds that had been there all day now had a compressed powder charge causing wildly dangerous pressures.

      • Yes, agreed, that the significance of the straight taper is in creating a defined angle with the straight cylindrical sides of the bullet.

        Okay, a quarter-inch difference in bullet seating definitely does not meet my standards. 🙂


  8. Next time, we’ll move in to 25 yards — and I already know the results are going to amaze you

    Not giving much away, are you… There are two possibilities:

    Either the 25 yard CB caps are MORE accurate than the air gun, or

    The CB caps are more accurate at 50 yards than they are at 25 yards.

    Any other result is just simple projection of a conical spread at different distances <G>

  9. B.B.,

    It seems to me that if you don’t already have a .22 long rifle that can shoot these CB caps, then there isn’t much reason for go this route on it’s own. They offer little other than limitations in every aspect of their possible application. I’d either go air-rifle, or subsonic .22, and wouldn’t even consider these.

    Your pictures indicate that these bullets are not tumbling. They also, for the most part, form evenly spread groups (I had considered a knuckle ball effect, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, otherwise the groups would be crazy wild). I wonder if they exhibit that spiraling trajectory that makes predicting accuracy between 25 and 50 yards impossible?

    This ammo, to me, is the dodo of ammo’s. The only reason that they deserve to exist is because they are (or should be) an endangered species. lol 🙂


  10. RE: ogive Discussion

    Imagine a cross-section of a barrel. You end up with two parallel lines.

    Now draw a line “A” perpendicular to the two. On line “A” I go some distance D below the top line of the bore and draw a circle of diameter D. Do the same thing by going distance D above bottom line. The two circles segments that form the “nose” are tangent to the boreline. Hence tangent ogive.

    Now if I use my circle of diameter D at any point other than a distance D away, the then boreline cuts the circle in two places. A line that cuts a circle in two places is known as a secant line. Hence secant ogive.

    The text description doesn’t have the nice pictures but I hope the additional explanation helps.

    • This clearly fake.
      1-Not enough blondes
      2-Some are too smart to be miss
      3-Not many look good enough to stand a chance in a miss contest


      Disclaimer : this is a joke and was not meant to hurt anyones feeling, my mother is blonde and my wife sometimes is depending on what color she picks and they’re both very smarter than me.

  11. Chuck and J-F, I’m inclined, upon reflection, to agree with you that this is too over the top to be real, and the world is a slightly less interesting place. But hold on. Remember Miss Vermont who said, “Is this a joke?” Would that indicate it’s real? Anyway, regardless, some of those comments stand on their own, and in the spirit of the contest, one wonders how to rank them. “There are two sides to this equation. On the one hand, there is math, and on the other hand, there is…non-math.” “We don’t know the square root of 16. Nobody does.” “Math should be left completely out of the equation!”


  12. Does anyone have any recommendations for a peep sight for a Gamo Delta? I’m thinking of putting a hood (can use just about anything) over the front, post, sight, and then just want an aperture of some type on for the rear. For target shooting I, like almost everyone, prefer a ring front sight, but a ring is teh suxxors for field shooting. So the post front that’s on there will be great, I just want to put a hood on it to make it more consistently a silhouette under various light conditions.

    I’m thinking Pyramyd sells a peep rear sight that will work, or I can try making one somehow.

  13. Wow, just did some looking around and it looks like that Mendoza aperture sight you guys sell is the ticket.

    I could actually use 3 of them, one for my Gamo, one for my Marlin, and one for my Henry. If there’s one rifle that should be scoped around here, it’s the Marlin bolt action, but all I use it for right now is putting down possums etc. I trap. I have dreams of a fixed-power Leupold for it, maybe a 6X or the traditional 4X. But that’s longer-term. The Henry was gotten in anticipation of middle-of-the-night coon action, but they sense my evil intentions and are staying away. It’s a little high-tech, but a laser would be cool on it. As it is, the existing sights aren’t bad, and it’s fine for Rascal as it is, hold a flashlight under the forearm and the sights are outlined quite well at night.

    That leaves the Gamo. That thing needs a few improvements, like a trigger job, BETTER SIGHTS, and believe it or not a camo paint job, because crows see a black scary rifle shape from long off, but a light-colored mossy stick? Meh. A peep sight would be an immediate improvement. So just one Mendoza peep would put an immediate smile on my face.

    So, does the Mendoza work on the standard .22 groove, as well as the groove my Gamo has?

  14. B.B.

    I had to replace the scope today. I was so proud about my Leapers 3-12×44 12500 shots life no less than 3 weeks ago, but… Seems like adjustment system went all out of action. It suddenly started to spread pellets across the target with no reasonable pattern and failing to adjust. Iron sights proved that rifle is Ok, so did another scope. I dont’t know what exactly happened to it but I feel my optics man will offer me a handshake for taking it for spare parts 🙂
    I am currently being tempted by an idea of a single-piece machined main cocking lever. It seems I found a way to make it this way – a very elegant and looks-to-be very durable and light part machined from a single piece of steel, aircraft industry style. I hope its price won’t be a cold shower (the best medicine against any temptation). Finally see what’s going to happen with Mod.1 after I’ll finish and test Mod.0 – weight reduction and more weight reduction. More precise calculations of strength, different assembly way, cutting off excess metal where it doesn’t work and other dirty tricks, each allowing to reduce weight. I hope Mod.1 will be at least a pound lighter and as slim as possible.


    • duskwight,

      Don’t you hate it when a trusted scope blows up like that? I know I do. And there seems to be no explanation for it. One by one the good old scopes die and have to be replaced.

      As for the rifle, you must be having the time of your life, watching this thing come into being. Unfortunately your money is probably winking out of existence faster than you can make it.

      Hang in there,


    • In Louisiana you could shoot a burglar dead, and all you had to do was to made certain that he fell inside your house, not outside.

      In the UK it would surely be a forbidden gun crime.

    • The homeowner had 2 guys against him *and* was defending his wife & child, was probably prepared to sell his life dearly in defense of them. I say he deserves a medal & the first concealed -or- open carry permit in England in a long time.

      What is the *matter* with those people over there?

    • Pete,
      This is now the third such case in six months over here.
      Once the facts have been established I think this fella will be ok like in the previous two cases.
      We under law are allowed to use ‘reasonable force’ in the protection of life and property.
      A pretty broad brush law,up to and including killing an intruder if deemed necessary.
      Speaking for myself and probably most other folk here,’Burglar beware’.
      What the Police and Judges think is the last thing on my mind.

    • I’m surprised he had anything to defend /with/…

      Around the time of my last TDY (nearly a decade ago), they were trying to ban kitchen knives larger (and maybe including) steak knives… The proposal was that one should have the butcher cut the meat into sizes that could be handled with dinner knives [so much for a 5 lb pot roast — you can have a 5 lb stew]

      As I recall, even my small Buck pocket knife (blade less than 1.5″) was illegal as the knife was a lock-back design.

      • Wulfraed,

        Your Buck Knife was illegal because all lockback knives are illegal in Britain. Yes, there was a move to ban kitchen knives longer than about 6″ or 8″ (I forget), but the absurdity of the idea finally drove the government to drop it. However, there is a minimum age to buy a knife in the UK. I think it’s 16, but might be higher now.

        Knives are classed as offensive weapons, and cannot be carried if they exceed certain limits I don’t remember (my Swiss Army Knife barely passed) except under certain “appropriate” circumstances. Example: you’re out camping in the woods; you can have a fairly small knife, but when you get back to your car you have to pack it away if memory serves.

        I do not know what Boy Scouts do since as a rule they’re younger than the knife-bearing age. DaveUK, what’s the real scoop?

        • It just seemed so ridiculous since a finger-nail file would be more useful as a stabbing weapon than the thick/stubby Buck knife.

          But then… we are talking the UK, which over 125years has phased from totally unarmed police and an armed populace to an unarmed populace that needs armed police (and then getting into trouble when said armed police aren’t really trained for firearms situations; granted, it’s a form of media filtering but the impression I received during those TDY trips was of: either unarmed police {ho hum, slow news day}, solo armed police under investigation for potential misuse of the firearm, or full up riot response with blast shields, cannons (water, beanbag/rubber bullet, teargas) and roman legion formations… Then again, I’m within 50 miles of cities where protesters argue that police Taser usage is a “deadly weapon” class response)

  15. I have a question about something. If the ak 74 has a longer sight adjustment range than m16 ( 1000 meters comparing to 800 m ) and also a longer effective range (625 comp. to 550) , why everyone says that m16 is the more accurate weapon. Is this because of it’s small recoil, or because of it’s bullet?

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