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What kind of airgunner are you? Gun or Skill Focused?

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Andy Huggins 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 Andy says about his submission: Found this in the garage, it’s my dad’s old BB gun he got when he was 9. It needed a little work; but within an hour, I had it shooting good as new! It’s a Daisy model 30-30 Buffalo Bill Scout.

One of our blog readers mentioned the excellent book Yours Truly, Harvey Donaldson, and I purchased it. It’s a compendium of articles that Donaldson wrote for Handloader magazine, a few special articles he wrote for American Rifleman back in the 1930s and some correspondence he had with various notable shooting magazine editors. I found the book so interesting that I’ve already given two copies as presents to other shooters.

For those not familiar with the name, Harvey Donaldson is well known as a shooter, writer and developer of many wildcat cartridges — including his best-known .219 Donaldson Wasp. He was able to get 12,000+ rounds from a .220 Swift with each delivering in excess of 4,000 f.p.s. –and still group five shots inside a nickel at 100 yards. Today’s handloaders don’t have a clue or have forgotten about the knowledge men like this have given us.

Among the hundreds of treasures in this book, Donaldson makes the casual comment in one of his letters that Dr. F.W. Mann, who authored The Bullet’s Flight From Powder to Target, wasn’t a very good shooter. He also wasn’t a very good reloader. That’s why (according to Donaldson) Mann had to resort to his Shooting Gibralter concrete pier gun rest that weighed in excess of 3,000 lbs. and was sunk permanently in the ground. Donaldson says any good benchrest shooter could outshoot the groups Mann got using his rest.

That got me thinking. I have always thought of Dr. Mann as the penultimate shooter, and here is Harvey Donaldson, whose shooting credentials are impeccable, saying Mann wasn’t a shooter at all. He was a scientist.

Then it dawned on me. Some people like to shoot to see how well they can do, while others, like me, like to shoot to see how well the gun can do. Mann was obsessed with the quest to discover why all bullets do not fly to the exact same point of impact. He never discovered the reason, but along the way he did discover many things that we now take for granted:

1. Uniformity of the bullet’s base is extremely important to accuracy.

2. A bullet’s nose can be grossly deformed without affecting accuracy one bit.

3. The orientation of the rifle’s action must be consistent from shot to shot for the best accuracy.

4. A bullet can stray from the boreline in any direction on its way to the target and still hit the target exactly in the center.

Mann was an experimenter whose focus was on the gun and ammunition, rather than his own abilities. Not all shooters are like that.

Olympic and world-class target shooters tend to focus on their own abilities, to the point that they seem to assume the rifle or pistol they use is capable of perfect accuracy. Of course, they do test ammunition; but once they find what works, they buy it in quantity and concentrate on their own skills.

On the other hand, I tend to shoot from a bench more often than not. I want to see what the gun can do, and I’m not overly concerned about my own shooting skills.

In fact, I am just an average shot. If you were to plink with me, you’d soon discover that I can’t shoot any better than you and perhaps a lot worse than many of you. When I test an airgun for this blog, you don’t care how well I shoot. You want to know how well you can expect that gun to shoot. The benchrest takes as much of me out of the equation as possible and gives you a more objective picture of the gun’s performance.

Of course, you have to know how to shoot from a bench, and I have had lots of practice at that. Maybe I might seem like a good shooter to some people, but that’s only when I am as far removed from the shooting as possible. In truth, I am really a lot more like Dr. Mann, in that I’m more interested in the performance of the airguns than in my own ability to shoot.

But there are many shooters who are the opposite. They want to know how well they can shoot, and the rifle is just what they use to measure it. Of course, they’re aware that all guns are not perfectly accurate; and, yes, they do go through the same sort of search to find one that suits them best. Once they find it, all focus shifts back to their ability to shoot rather than whether or not that rifle can be made to shoot any better.

These shooters are not all shooting offhand, either. Some shoot from the prone position, others from the sitting position and many will take a rest wherever they can find it. Some of them even use crossed sticks as a portable steady rest in the field.

Let’s compare these people to our American 2x Gold Medalist Olympic champion rifle shooter — Gary Anderson. They first want a gun and ammunition they can trust; and after that, it’s all up to them and their skills with the gun.

Let me give you a couple variations on this theme to better illustrate what I’m saying. There’s the guy who receives his airgun and plops down in front of a chrongraph with a tin of pellets, first thing. For him, life is complete. He’ll sit there shooting thousands of rounds across the skyscreens as he inputs the results into endless spreadsheets of data to discuss on his favorite forum. He’s like Dr. Mann. He’s interested in one aspect of performance to the near-exclusion of all others.

The next guy buys the very same airgun and starts shooting it at targets immediately. He’s the guy who puts 80,000 shots on a gun and can talk about longevity issues that the rest of us will never live long enough to see. Where some of us live in the hopes of a good tuneup on our airguns, this guy has already performed four on his and has the parts on hand for the next two. To him, a tuneup is unavoidable downtime when he would rather be out shooting. He’s like Gary Anderson. He’s a shooter.

Another guy buys the same airgun and never shoots the first shot out of it. He tears it down and modifies it in ways that have either been recommended to him on the internet or that seem like the best way to go. Some of these guys have the rifle shipped to a certain airgun tuner and let him apply his magic before they ever set eyes upon their gun for the first time.

Then, there’s the guy why buys the same gun, sights it in with a good pellet and immediately starts hunting everything within sight. His gun is a tool, like his game caller and his rangefinder. He, too, is a shooter, but he doesn’t collect his shooting experiences as scores on targets, pictures of groups or numbers on a graph. Rather, he has an endless supply of memories of this hunt and that, what went right and what went wrong.

Does that explain it?
Does that, perhaps, explain why one shooter can be delighted with a rifle that shoots a certain pellet at 1,050 f.p.s. into a one-inch group at 30 yards and another cannot be satisfied until the same model rifle is tuned down to 850 f.p.s. and can put them all into a dime at 50 yards? Does it explain why a twangy firing cycle is so disturbing to one shooter, yet another can brush it off because the rifle puts them all where he wants them to go?

We’re complex
I am not saying that any of this is all one way and none of the other. But people do exhibit certain tendencies. Lloyd Sykes worked for years on the dynamics of an electronically controlled air valve, and now the world enjoys the Benjamin Rogue. Lloyd is a definite Dr. Mann. On the other hand, blog reader CowboyStar Dad tells us how many tens of thousands of shots he has on each of his guns. He wears out the mainspring in his IZH 61. He is a Gary Anderson-type shooter.

Knowing that these types of people exist may help us understand where someone is coming from when they ask a “simple” question…

Hi. I’m new to airgunning, and I would like to try out one of these new air rifles I keep reading about. I don’t want to spend too much money until I know that airgunning is for me, so can you make some recommendations of guns that cost under $300?

Yes, I can recommend some guns, but what do you want to do with one?

Person 1. I want to shoot tin cans and other targets around the manure pile. I have been shooting a .22; but there are some houses going in down the road, and I want to throttle back for safety.

Person 2. I’m fascinated by the thought of plain old air pushing a pellet to 1,400 f.p.s. I want to see what’s possible.

Person 3. My yard is infested with tree rats that I want to eradicate. After that, I plan on taking my show on the road and cleaning out the whole woods.

Person 4. I used to shoot target rifle on the ROTC team, and I’d like to get back into it but still be able to shoot at home because I don’t have a rifle range.

Leigh Wilcox, the founder of Airgun Express, used to say that airgun targets had to bleed, break or fall. Maybe they did for him, but I’m not ready to shoot at targets just yet. I’m still concerned why there is a twang upon firing and why my velocity is only 761 f.p.s. when others report over 840 f.p.s. from the same gun shooting the same pellet.

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.

129 thoughts on “What kind of airgunner are you? Gun or Skill Focused?”

  1. Excellent. Finally an article that makes me admit what kind of airgunner I am so you can more accurately prescribe an air gun purchase for me. Thank you.

    I’m #5. A Harvey Donaldson wannabe. I’m the air gunner that wants an air gun that with the right ammo and right tune will be out of the equation for accuracy. i.e., I know the gun is accurate with the right ammo I just need to perfect my shooting skills. Once they’re perfected at 25 yards I’ll move to 50 yards, then further. Inner competition. Zen.

    I’ll add a catagory #6. “I’d like to get my kids into shooting but have limited funds and distance but would like this gun to be easily accurate so we can share the same passion and enjoy some quality time together. Short LOP is a must.”


    ps-What would you recommend as air gun for catagory 5? Thank you.

  2. Hello B.B. and fellow air gunners. It has been an great summer and I was not able to get to a computer for a couple of weeks. Only a very few things , like this blog did I miss. So, I have some catch up reading to do. Today’s blog strikes a chord with me. I love shooting at 20 meters at small plastic aspirin bottles for my rifles, and Pepsi cans for my pistols. I suppose this qualifies me as a “Person1”. I love taking them apart as well. I haven’t tuned one up yet, but it is a good feeling to know I probably have the knowledge and tools to do so. Again, thanks to you, B.B. and Keven and Twotalon and…..etc.
    One question I have for you. I have a chance to get an HW77 in .177 cal. , in either the carbine or the longer barrel. The price is the same either way. Are there advantages to one over the other. I know that the carbine weighs a smidgen more. And I love my HW77 in .22 cal. Thank you again for an informative and thought provoking article.

  3. I shoot because I’m an optimist. As they say, “The difficult, I do right now. The impossible just takes a little while.” I’m never discouraged. The answer is there somewhere.

  4. I loved today’s blog. Perfect Friday topic, it should have folks talking all weekend long.

    A few points:

    1. As for you being an average shooter, I have to cry foul. I have seen some of your groups, and unless you actually do have an oversized novelty dime, or use photoshop, you are indeed an above average shot to say the least. Don’t let Mac’s shooting discourage you. 😉

    2. The answer to the fellow’s question is the Weihrauch HW30S. At that price point there is no better rifle. And you can get it at PA for under $300 if you know the secret handshake. Unless all they want is pure power, then they can buy a Gamo Wildebeast Extreme or whatever.

    3. Shooting around the manure pile? Where in the heck did that come from? I don’t have a manure pile. Should I get one?

    • Slinging,

      Having you push HW’s almost brings a tear to my eye. The old HW50S picked up off GB for $130.00 is due back from Rich in Mich today. I also found a 90% + example for $240.00. The deals out their right now are crazy.

      Now for a bit of an upset I am getting another Disco. I found factory re-furbs for $150.00 and that is the price I felt one of those babies was worth when I first held it.

      • Volvo

        Well… it seems as though we have both been caught with our hands in the cookie jar, so to speak. Me pushing the HW30S, and you spending good hard-earned money on a gun you so famously poo-pooed:


        For backyard shooting I highly suggest TKO’s LDC. It quiets the report to almost Marauder levels. I also suggest the 3 screw trigger mod.


        or you can buy a kit from TKO. When you are done making these refinements, let me know how much you are selling it for in a couple of weeks.

        This puts the HW50 count at three, does it not? I really like the HW55 I got from Carel in the Netherlands. It is easily among my favorites. It even comes with a big ingot of lead in the forestock which I can melt down into pellets in a pinch.

        • Slinging,

          Counting my number of HW50s is like a Bartender counting a guys shots of whiskey, but yes you are correct. I don’t plan on keeping all three – surprise, but you can bet I will hold on to the best value.

          Paul Watts still has the Beeman, so it may be awhile before I can pick the winner.

          As far as the Disco,would I be outlandish enough to use that as the target for the HW50 shoot off?
          Time will tell.

  5. I never worried about what category I am in. I am a lone wolf in a world of people who think that everyone has to fit into some kind of “profile”. I go my own way.


  6. BB: Out of the several hundered books in my personal libary , Harvey’s book is one I treasure . Another firearms book that will help air gun shooters , especially air pistol shooters is the book “Experiments Of A Handgunner”, by Walter Roper ( ISBN: 0-935632-78-6, reprinted in1989 by Wolfe Publishing). Especially look at chapters 47-52 which deal specifically with airguns , even an airgun of Roper’s own design. Many similarities between what you and Roper were/are trying to teach us with your writings. For rimfire shooters one of the best early writers on RF shooting was C.S. Landis. His book “Hunting With The Twenty-Two” published by Small Arms Techical Publishing Company in 1950( a Thomas G. Samworth book) is one. The same writer wrote extensively on .22 cal varmit rifles . Two other of his books I have and have read, are “.22 Caliber Rifle Shooting” and “Twenty Two Caliber Varmit Rifles” ( ISBN: 0-935632-97-2) ( also reprinted by Wolfe). Landis also wrote ” Woodchucks and Woodchuck Rifles” ( ISBN:0-935632-62-X).Another is ” Practical Dope On the .22″ by F.C. Ness ( ISBN :0-935632-80-8). Like Donaldson and Mann , they were there at the begining . Many of the airgun shooters who post on the popular forums and take for granted what has been done ,would be better off buying some of these books on the web than buying another gun. Even though some of these books cost the same as a good springer or cheap PCP. They would learn why their gun is what it is ,and how to shoot and hit stuff , no matter how deep their pockets are or what their own personal limitations may be. Take care ,Robert.

    • Robert,

      I bought Roper’s book a few years ago. The others I have yet to acquire, but thank you for sending those titles.

      I find that reading these old masters teaches me things about shooting that have universal application, no matter what you shoot.

      Today I begin the inquiry of a custom Hoch nose-pour bullet mold designed to cast a .38-55 bullet expressly designed for breech-seating. I think with that and a couple other refinements I will be able to break an inch for ten shots ay 100 yards with my Ballard. I have Donaldson to thank for that, because he put me on the road to this investigation.

      When I have a quest like this ahead of me, life is good. It’s like reading a really good book that’s really long.


      • BB: I post the titles to help , and I’m fortunate to actually own all those books. Maybe others could get the books to read on their Kindle or other reading gadgets, or perhaps even the library. Many are expensive and out of print, even the reprints from Wolfe. Good luck , and enjoy your quest. I think Paul Matthews had a nose pour mould for his cast bullets. He mentions it some of his
        books on the subject. I still have my own project (dream!) of re-barreling my #3 Ruger in .223 to .38-55, but it’s on the back burner for now for various reasons.

        • Robert,

          Okay, you own a Ruger No. 3. How would you rate it? When you open the action does the block stay down out of the way, or does it flip halfway back up like some cheap European Sharps rifles I’ve seen?

          And is the trigger good? I’ve heard it is very good, but I trust whatever you have to say.

          I can get either a No. 1 or a No. 3 at a gun show for a reasonable amount of money. All of them would have to be rebarreled because none of them (except perhaps the 7X57) come in a caliber I’m interested in. But making a .32/40 out of one of these sounds like a real great way to avoid the thousands for a modern Schuetzen like a Shuttleworth.


          • I have owned a couple Ruger No. 1’s over the years. They seem to be either tack drivers or they shoot “patterns”. I understand that it has to do with how the fore end is fitted. I would “try before I buy” unless it is going to be rebarreled.


          • BB: the block stays down , and you can load ,un-load it with the safety on or off. The trigger is as good as the ones on the number 1’s, and it is the same. They clean up nice.They are the same except for the stocks which is a straight grip, on mine the aluminum butt plate is replaced by a steel after market one. I also removed the carbine style barrel band and fiddled with the forend bedding and screw tension. I left it off for good. I like the #3 lever better than the one on the #1 and I like the straight grip stock. The #3 points like my old NRA sporterized A303 Smith Corona Springfield. It would be better if the butt plate were a rubber pad, although in the .223 I have ,recoil isn’t an issue. The problem is the cost of re-barreling starts at around $600 bucks for a plain barrel similar to the factory tube. You do the stock work and make a new forend. If you make that a tapered octagon, and add bases, and your looking at well over a grand plus on your gun. I’ve been seeing a couple .32-40 and .38-55 # 1’s for sale in the $600-$800 range. Ruger made a few. Also saw a .38-55 #3 as well for sale, that went for around $600 . So my conumdrum is do I sell my #3 and buy what I want with the money, or sit on it and just buy another #1 in .38-55 and change the lever and stock myself to suit me ? I also have entertained the thought of learning how to do the whole thing myself. BTW, the accuracy issue with the Ruger is the barrels more than anything. Some have more free-bore than others. Ruger didn’t always make their barrels and things varied.Mine shoot very well for me especially my .458.

    • I see where you’re coming from. If I find a pellet that has a defect I will usually shoot it through my daisy 901 “the beater gun” and notice no difference in accuracy if the target is within 20 yards. If the target is at a longer range the trajectory of the pellet will be in a spiraling arc rather than just the plain arc we’re used to seeing. I think this is due to balance rather than aerodynamics but I could be wrong

  7. B.B.,
    Well, you’ve definitely got me pegged…. a number 2 for sure. I think my tag line should be, “I’ve never seen an airgun I didn’t want to take apart.” If all I could do with airguns was target shoot, I’d probably just have one, and it would be collecting dust. I know I still spend 10 to 20 hours a week modifying and making and trying new things, all related to the airgun addiction, LOL.
    But seriously, that is something that I think makes airguns so special: there is something there for just about everyone, whether you fit into one of the 4 descriptions, or like TT, you always check the box that says “none of the above.”

    • Lloyd,

      If we didn’t have people like you, where would all the good new ideas come from? China? Ha, ha!

      I know what shooters seem to want, but I’m darned if I can turn anything out. But that’s where a guy like you is so valuable. My job is to get guys like you to be as enthusiastic about the vision as I am. To put your creative talents to work to make a dream come true. Because that’s when something will happen.

      However in your case, you both had the vision and also executed it. That’s a double threat.


      • Well BB, you certainly did your job. I had the tunnel vision, but you had the BIG vision, and the contagious enthusiasm. Sometimes good ideas just fizzle because they never get to the person who knows what to do with them.

  8. Great subject! And of particular interest to yours truly because of something I wrote yesterday to a friend whose R-7 I’m re-tuning and who was fretting about the crown on his barrel.

    I feel that many people leap to the conclusion that the have a bad crown when the real culprit is inconsistent pellets skirts!

    Now it’s time to go examine a crown. Cheers, Tom @ Buzzard Bluff

  9. I have an opportunity to buy a used Bushnell 4200 8x32x40 for a little more than a new Leapers 8x32x56 or Hawke (non tactical) 6x24x50. The 4200 is about 2 years old and has a smaller objective, but may have better glass & coatings (it’s new price is about $200 higher than the other 2). The Bushnell is AO, and the other two are side wheel. Which scope is likely to allow the most accurate range-finding in the woods ?


    • JohnG10,

      The Bushnell is a very high-quality scope and definitely worth the asking price. It will be the most accurate for range-finding.

      However, range-finding is given a lot more attention than it deserves. I believe that if the ranges to every target in a field target match were published so that each competitor knew what they were, the scores would not change. The same people would win and the high score would always drop a target or two.

      Knowing the range to the target is just one of many important factors in a match.


    • The one with the highest magnification should give you the best range finding.
      Ease of range finding will be best with a sidewheel because you don’t have as much “reach” problem.
      Sidewheels have a nasty tendenct to loosen from recoil on a springe with some scopes.
      Sidewheels that can be indexed around the outer part of the wheel can be more precisely marked.
      Larger objectives work better in dim light like you have in the woods this time of year.
      Higher magnification cuts down the light.
      When you squirrel hunt you will be taking elevated shots a lot of the time and will not have time to fool with ranging in the first place. You may end up saying “screw it” and just set range to 25yds and magnification to 6X.

      How’s that for a worthless answer?


      • I like your answer twotalon, especially the last bit of it. I’m just now picking up a Ruger 10/22 Sporter for squirrel hunting and, in the interest of keeping things simple and (especially) light, was considering a basic but decent quality 6X scope instead of something heavier and more complicated such as the Leapers 4-12×44 AO/IR which resides on my RWS 350. That one weighs almost 2 pounds (gun and scope total 10.5 lbs!), but I see other scopes come in at around 15 to 18 ounces. Any suggestions for something light that’s well-suited to a rimfire or an Air Arms S510 Carbine (my next purchase when funds allow). Thanks!

        • I am reluctant to suggest any particular scope, since I have not tried enough different kinds.
          I would not go too dirt cheap on price though. The real cheap stuff has crap for optics. You don’t have too much parallax trouble with the lower powered scopes. They are usually set for 50 yds, but stay pretty clean until you get pretty close, where you need to use a bit of holdover.
          I would maybe say a moderately priced Bushy should do the job. Killed a lot of tree rats with a 4x Sportview.


        • A good question might be…how far do you usually shoot squirrel? Most of the woods around here are thick enough that most shots run around 25yds plus and minus a bit. A high magnification scope will drive you nuts in this situation. Dropping to 4x is a good place to be most of the time.
          You do have to watch out that you don’t get a 100 yd scope, or the parallax will kill you at these ranges.

          In more open woods where you can end up with some long shots, you might want to have a bit more magnification available and an AO.
          Lets say, preset at 25yd focus and 4x for closer range hunting but have 6-8x available for out around 50 yds or so. Calibrate the AO with an index marker at both 25 and 50 so you can do a quick and adequate adjustment if you need to.
          AO scopes have a bad tendency to be WAY wrong and need to be indexed for a few distances for hunting purposes. Most of the time being off +- 1/4 inch or so from parallax is not going to hurt anything except the squirrel. You don’t have to get the parallax zeroed all the way out. You are not shooting competition so a bit of error don’t make crap.

          Of the scopes I have been using, I think I would use another Hawke 3-9×40 Airmax. Not very heavy and the optics are pretty clean. Crosshairs about the right width. Getting hard to find a fixed mag scope that turns me on.


          • Thanks for the reply and I would say 20 – 40 yards is squirrel range here in the thick Connecticut woods. I think anything beyond 6x isn’t needed for that but when at the range, a 3-9x would be more useful. I’m going to check out the Hawkes and Bushys as well as some Leapers.

            • Ken

              I got out yesterday and indexed two scopes. The Hawke 3-9×40 and a Leapers 3-9 TS scope. Both AO. The Leapers came with a sun shade. Very handy at times, but turret adjustments are a pain. You need to use a 3mm allen to adjust them.

              Anyway, the AO on both was very close to being right on both through 20-50yds. I added more index marks for 5 yd increments. Not really needed for hunting, but useful when setting up targets for fine zero adjustments and pellet testing.

              Did a little playing around with looking at parallax at different distances and different magnification settings while I was at it.

              For ranging in the woods, these scopes are about useless. Not enough magnification. If you can guess the distance anywhere near right, it will be no problem for typical squirrel hunting. Particularly at 4x.

              If I think I need to worry about distance to any degree, I will pack along a range finder and range a few landmarks before the shooting starts. That way I don’t need to fool around trying to range targets when I should be pulling the trigger instead.


  10. JohnG,

    In my experience the Hawkes are not good at range finding. I have asked here and other forums, and have yet to get a logical explanation. What makes them poor is that the target remains clear even when the distance setting on the AO is off.

    My youngest days were spent shooting groundhogs that over ran my area of Ohio with a .22 Hornet. The diminutive Hornet needed that AO scope bad and so do pellet rifles. Get the Bushy.

    • I’d agree with Volvo.
      I really like my Hawke…nice and clear and seems to be well made.
      But once you focus the eyepiece it seems everything from about 10m up is clear.
      I haven’t had experiece with higher end scopes, but I was hoping that it would be like my camera lenses…that there would be a dropoff in sharpness before and after my aimpoint so I would have an idea of when the AO was properly set.
      In my quest for tight groups I have found this an issues…even being out a few feet seems to make a difference in controlling parallax error…to the point that I range my targets and try and set the distance as precisely as I can.

      • CowBoyStar Dad,

        Most other scopes with an AO will give you a blurry picture when you are just a few feet off, which is what you want.

        I only use Hawkes on rifles that never leave my back yard, as I know all the distances by memory.

    • Until I found this place, I NEVER considered using an AO scope as a “rangefinder”…

      On the contrary, I’d determine the range some other way (tape measure; ultrasonic tape measure if indoors [and if I can find], IR laser field rangefinder) and then transfer the result to the scope. At the time, my understanding was that the AO was meant to set the reticle on the same image plane as the target so that one did not have parallax problems from not having a perfectly centered eye position.

      Rangefinding is what most mil-dot /dots/ are for — computing based upon known target size subtending a number of dots at a known magnification ratio.

      And then there’s my cheap Leatherwood BDC Sporter (the current ones seem to have dropped the detailed reticle)… grids in inches/centimeters… Adjust the zoom until the target fills the proper size, and you’ve simultaneously adjusted the tilt of the scope to compensate for bullet drop at range (you do need to first preset the cam to the zoom ring based on bullet dynamics); theoretically, no need for hold-over (but no AO, so only usable in the >100 yard range out to maybe 600 yards, where parallax error is not that great)

    • Volvo,
      I agree — the constant clarity seems inexplicable. The only thing I can think of is an unintentional (probably) aperture stop that increased the effective f/ratio and thus depth of field. There was a really popular small telescope maybe 10 years ago that users just swooned over, saying it was an achromatic doublet that rivalled a simple apochromatic design. It took some curious soul to take one apart and measure everything to find that the focuser tube was obstructing the effective aperture. Once you shortened the focuser tube and got full aperture, it performed like pretty much ever other comparable achromat of the same size. The funny thing is that people did not notice the dim image until they found out about the problem. That is the only thing I can think of offhand, as the larger the objective, the faster/shorter the f/ratio and the shorter the depth of field, which is better for rangefinding.

  11. B.B.

    If we are all shaped by early experiences, I think some of your mind set comes from the Daisy 25 that you gave up on and sold and then that pile of parts returned to haunt you.

    Your desire to make every rifle shoot is certainly one of your unique traits.

  12. These are you’re best articles B.B.!
    When you get all philosophical… 😉
    Though I enjoy, and learn from your airgun tests, all they usually do is :
    a) confirm I’ve made the proper choices in my collection
    b) make me drool over something I can’t afford
    c) dismiss a gun that perhaps I’d had my eye on

    But these articles (or ones like the recent musings on supersonic pellets) appeal, I think to everyone who is a shooter at heart…no matter what their reason for shooting.
    You’re right, I shoot a lot. I toss my empty pellet tins into a cardboard box when there empty and it’s full…I figure I put close to 2000 pellets a month through my guns…minimum. And though some have many thousands of shots, because I give them routine maintenance and try to buy, though not the best, not cheap quality I’ve had very few problems. So I don’t have to be a tinkerer (which would be my downfall anyway).

    I feel I’m a mix of some of your ‘shooting types’. I do like to try and wring the best accuracy out of ‘me’. I don’t spend a lot of money getting my guns tuned, nor have expensive bench rest setups that cost more than my guns…but I’ll spend hours trying to perfect my hold, my breathing and I constantly try and settle my mental state before I shoot.
    And yet my most cherished moments, I know, will be those days spent in the woods or at the range with my two young sons as they dance tin cans across the field (or shoot spinners at the range) and then barbecue some hot dogs after whilewords they compare their targets.

    • CSD in the airgun test you forgot the ones that make us drool, that we can afford but aren’t allowed here.
      Those are the worst for me, yet once in a while I’ll go back and read the Benjamin Marauder reports and ponder moving south of the border or maybe rent a small appartment only to keep airguns.
      If the group was large enough we could buy a little cabin somewhere appropiate and go shooting once in a while, a kind of shooters dream time share and buy the illegal in Canada rifles and just leave them properly locked at the cabin when we leave.
      I’m an hour from the US border.

      • Yeah, there are two or three shrouded (silenced…OMG a terrorist weapon if ever there was one) airguns that I’d love to own.
        As bad a rap as the Gamo’s get there is one of their SOCOM models that just looks so damned…well…SOCOM, that I’d love to own it…but alas the feds think I’ll try and blow up a dam or an airport with it.
        Which brings me to another rant…this whole over-reaction to 9/11 (so hard to believe that the 10 anniversary is only days away).
        On vacation a couple of weeks ago we camped for a week in Revelstoke, British Columbia. One of the things we wanted to tour was the Revelstoke Dam. Now for you guys south of the border imagine the Hoover Dam about 5 miles outside of Lake Tahoe…a towering idifice minutes away from a resort town in the middle of the Rockies.
        So…the tour involves a learning centre and then a walking tour into the dam, up an elevator inside the dam and a looksee at the top.
        Well, damn (as opposed to dam) if we didn’t have to leave our cameras and phones with cameras at the desk.
        So…Revelstoke is a small resort town in the middle of the Rockies, hundreds of kilometers from anything major.
        Really…are there guys hanging around some Islamist school in Pakistan who are thinking…’we really need to blow up that little resort town of 5000 in Canada’?

  13. Off topic, but I have to rant a bit because I’m p****d.
    As I’ve stated before I’m Dutch.
    We’re lucky enough that as far as caliber and power there are no restrictions over here.
    Just the one rule (that causes enough trouble as it is): If it looks like an existing firearm it’s illegal.

    But now….. some @#$% has gotten his/her paws on a big bore air rifle.
    Now don’t think I’m jealous (OK I am, I really, really want one, or more.), but the @#$% goes to a highway settles in and shoots at cars……so far no-one is hurt but there are 40+ cars with their rear- window or side-windows shot out.

    These are the type of people that give air-gunners and powder-burners a bad name.
    I can almost smell all the red tape and other laws that the politicians ore dreaming up to “Put a stop to dangerous weapons”.

    Changing the airgun laws?
    Sure, change it to : 1 – all airguns are legal.
    2 – When transported airguns must be properly stored.
    3 – When used while committing a crime sentencing will be as for crimes
    committed with a firearm.

    But I dread what the politicos are going to come up with.

    Rant over, have a great weekend with lots of shooting fun.


    • Wildey:
      Really sorry to hear that.
      It is quite possible,if not probable your government will go the same route as Britain’s.
      I think the alternative to banning or restricting air guns and firearms,is to explore why our modern societies turn out so many nut jobs and criminals and then do something about it.
      That of course it just too much for those in charge to contemplate.Banning things is far easier.

    • The reactions that you fear seem to be common in all countries – they are very common here in the US.

      It does not matter if it is airguns, vehicles, or even tools – if somebody does something stupid with them, what they did is almost always already illegal. But that is not good enough – the government wants to make it “more illegal”, as if breaking three laws in doing what they were doing is more of a deterrent than breaking two.

      Everything about what your nutcase did was illegal – doesn’t matter if it was a big bore or firearm, or even a Red Rider, a slingshot, or even plain old thrown rocks. There is no reason to pass more laws as a result of what he did . . . .

      That said, I personally would support option 3 (sentencing the same as with a firearm). If anyone wants to do something that stupid (not to mention illegal and immoral) they deserve it, and supporting some kind of change makes us look “more reasonable” too.

      Alan in MI

    • I feel your pain my friend.
      Number 3 makes so much sense they probably won’t even think about it…
      The same law exists here (in Canada) if a crime is commited with a gun (firearm, airgun, airsoft, watergun, sculpted piece of wood or your finger inside you coat pocket) your going to jail.

      I don’t get all the banning of things, it’s SO stupid, to cure drunk driving they don’t ban cars and/or alcool, when not combined they can both be very enjoyable… It’s the driving WITH the drinking that’s punishable. It should be the same thing for aiguns, when done properly they can be so enjoyable why so much limitation.


    • I sympathize. This insurgent style harassment of passers-by is always infuriating. My brother was riding his bike one day when he felt this shooting pain in his leg. He looked up and some kids were fleeing around a corner holding slingshots. But then there was a case I read about in California the other day. Some kids were throwing rocks at cars, when someone fired back from a moving vehicle with a crossbow! Hit the kid although his injuries were not life-threatening….


      • GOOD!

        Though this state is probably looking for the crossbow user to slap him in jail, while giving candy to the punk.

        I think part of the problem is the over-protectiveness of present society stifling experience. If you’ve been raised in a safety bubble you don’t learn that things and actions can cause harm.

        How many remember making skateboards out of an steel-wheeled clamp-on skate and a plank, and running down a moderately steep street with it… With no helmets or pads?

  14. BB:
    Well I did used to wonder in my early days reading your blog.
    You would do an accuracy test of a rifle/pellet and be pleased with the result even though somtimes the group was not on the bull.
    To an ignoramus like myself,I would wonder what there was to be pleased about.
    Now I get it.
    It wasn’t about you but what the rifle/pellet was capable of.
    If a gun can group,then you or someone else with practice can hit the bull all day long.
    Not saying though you haven’t posted some very impressive target shooting examples as well BB
    I would be well pleased.
    As it stands I am ‘a modest man with plenty to be modest about’ :)(HT Winston Churchill)

    • Dave,

      You and my brother-in-law both had the same impression of that kind of shooting.

      I was tempted to show him how easy it is to Photoshop the target so that the groups are always dead-center, but Edith convinced me it wasn’t worth the effort.

      The funny thing is, he is a geologist who finds oil wells by all sorts of means other than simply drilling a well, so I’d think he would understand what I’m doing. 🙂


    • I think we forget how hard it is for beginners to differentiate between group size and bullseyes. I don’t know if my highly competitive Dad has figured it out yet. After examining one target we both shot with the same rifle (the Savage 10FP), he said, “I’m closer to the center.” I replied that my group was smaller and that we just had different zeros. Then, he said, “I had the better zero.” I had zeroed the rifle so that he would be centered on target!!


      • Matt,

        Wow, that is a classic case of not understanding what accuracy is. He may never change. I have met a few people who just didn’t understand the difference between the particular zero of a gun and how close all the shots landed, and they seemed closed to additional information.

        But your father may be very happy doing what he is doing, so I’d say let him have his fun.


    • Dave,
      Respectfully LOL! You made me remember an incident at the shooting range last year. I was sighting in my 10/22 and Ruger target pistol. I was getting decent 1/4 inch groups and showed them to a fellow shooter. I was demonstrating to him the differences in groups obtained by the different brands I was trying. He remarked that my guns were no good and none of the groups were any good because not one hit the bullseye. When I explained that I wasn’t trying to hit the bulls eye I got one of those “yeah, sure” reactions.

  15. Well, BB, you’ve done it again. I enjoy reading most of your blog posts, (you can’t please all the people all of the time) but this one really kicked the lid off of the worm can. I’m not surprised that you got a large response today, this blog has meaning for every reader.

    For instance, I’m another average shooter who’s trying to get better. I’m lucky enough to have a machine shop available to try various modifications and “improvements” as they occur to me. I test extensively to find the best pellet/gun combinations, etc, but now I’m wondering what a really good target rifle would do – maybe a Walther LG400.

    I could ramble on some more, but I’ll just say – WELL DONE!!


  16. Great photo today. That is classic Americana, and I’ll give the young fellow credit for knowing how to fix an airgun at his young age.

    I’m gaining respect for Frank Mann now if he can actually make good on all his four points. #1 about the bullet’s base I can believe after inspecting the beautiful boat tail bases of my Sierra Match King bullets. #2 seems to fly in the face of the hollowpoint design for target bullets. That hollow tip is supposed to accomplish something, right? #4 is the most astonishing. Is he claiming that a bullet can exit the muzzle with a sideways component to the target and somehow reverse course to hit the target dead center? That passes belief and I would be tempted to brave his prose and read his discussion about this but not now.

    Otherwise, today’s post has me receipted and filed: shoots out his mainsprings and sends his guns to professional tuners. 🙂

    No, by no means starting my own airgun blog. I just get carried away B.B., and it’s all your fault. 🙂 The fact is I would probably be burned alive on any other blog for going off-topic, and anyway, if I started my own blog, readers would quickly see that I am a sponge rather than a source of information. However, I can say that even with my longest posts, it only takes a couple flicks of the scrollwheel and less than a second to move past me. I have tested. 🙂

    BG_Farmer, another principle by you about back-up supplies!

    J-F, and another one for you with the multicultural angle. I have quite a little UN going with my guns from China, Russia, Germany, England, and the U.S.

    Victor, I’m in agreement about the hidden potential of most people. How about this for a bit of remote coaching. There I was the other night working my Daisy 747 pistol. The first few ten shot groups were a disgrace, but for the final two, they clicked into place. Except for one called flier I had about 9 pretty much on top of each other. Onto the next target and I had the same tight group for 5. With number 6 coming up, I thought, “Oh no, I’m coming close to wrapping up another fantastic group way beyond my capabilities. How can I possibly repeat the micro-decisions and movements that I’ve done for the last 15 odd shots?” But then another voice says, “There is no next shot. Concentrate on the upcoming shot. Focus on process without emotional investment in the results. All blends outward in every direction into infinite.” So, I release the shot and throw it about an inch left at 20 feet.

    Duskwight, I believe the M-16 model is too fragile for sustained hand-to-had combat, but the real problem that extends also to the AK47 is that the pistol grip severely hampers using the butt, certainly for the vertical butt stroke. It is kind of ironic that the assault rifle model is at the forefront of the Close Quarter Battle Doctrine but much clumsier to use for hand-to-hand combat than the traditional design. Those are really slick looking professional parts you have for your project. I’ll be eager to see the final product.


    • #4 is the most astonishing. Is he claiming that a bullet can exit the muzzle with a sideways component to the target and somehow reverse course to hit the target dead center?

      I can visualize it — it’s that precessing gyroscope effect again. Whether this visualization is proper is a different matter.

      If using one of the longer/slender looking bullet designs, at some point in the trajectory the spin axis (and nose) will not be pointing along the flight path (nose pointing forward up, but bullet moving forward down). Air resistance will then be trying to push the nose of the bullet to the side depending on center of gravity vs center of drag — but gyroscopic forces will cause it to precess 90 degrees away from the direction the air is pushing it… Add Bernoulli (curve ball) effects because you now have air flow coming over the opposing sides, not just nose to tail, and it could result in a spiral… If one is sighted for a particular distance, one has compensated for that spiral at that distance.

      • Wulfraed, yes, I can imagine a bullet pointed away from the target as part of precession and still hitting the point of aim, but a bullet whose center of mass is moving sideways relative to the bore is harder for me to see. It all gets down to how much precession induces a spiral in the bullet’s pathway for which one needs data. With all the film clips one sees of bullets/ammo/pellets exiting muzzles in slow motion (doesn’t PA or American Airgunner have something like this?), it seems like one should be able to to film this phenomenon directly–unless these clips I’m referring to are based on special effects.


    • Matt61,

      It was too late. You were carrying your performance history like a wave swelling to a peak, and then when you wanted so badly to repeat your success by making a conscious effort to suddenly do what you should have been doing all along, you were riding the crest, and everything came crashing down. But you are aware of what you should be doing. Shots down range are like spilled milk. They’re done and over, good or bad. Future shots don’t exist, and can’t help you. The only shot that matters is the one you’re executing.

      OK. So now you know what you can do. You’ve surprised yourself by getting a taste of your real potential. Now you need to go out and do it again, this time giving each individual shot it’s own due respect, as it deserves, but this time without expectations from the beginning. Just learning to overcome yourself mentally in this specific context will require it’s own effort through practice. Understand that the goal is not to beat the string, like a hitting streak, but to beat the mental disturbance that causes success to be an issue.

      When you have a nice streak, and then blow a shot, don’t give that bad shot special significance. With the right psychology, those blown shots will become more random, and eventually dwindle in number. Only practice can do this for you.


      • Victor, well said. I was flooded with emotion. But after the one bad shot, I did put the remaining four on target which made me feel better. Someone on the blog mentioned an elite shooting event where some competitor shot an 8. It put him out of the running to win and also disgusted him so much that he packed up his stuff on the spot and just watched the rest of the competition. I guess that could indicate extraordinarily high standards but it seems like I bad move to me. I believe that you should just press on with the competition and get out of it whatever I could.

        Did you and Lloyd ever come up with a personality profile to diagnose a talented shooter? I read about how someone attempted to do this for people who could successfully complete qualification as a Navy Seal but they mostly failed. There wasn’t any predictor save possibly a generally phlegmatic personality that did not get rattled. I bet that would apply to being a good shooter too although there was the case of Wang, the Chinese pistol shooter who collapsed in international competition when he came in second. He was clearly strung out. Nevertheless, I suspect as indicated by your evaluation of me that a phlegmatic, steady temperament is a good buffer not only against extreme nervousness and a sense of intimidation but also against the giddy, manic feeling that accompanies a run of success. The Germans are supposed to have a saying along the lines of: “It takes strong bones to bear good fortune.” This was dramatized too in the Paul Newman film, Hustler, where as a young novice he is taking on a famous pro, Minnesota Fats, played by Jackie Gleason. Newman is winning when he starts laughing uncontrollably like an idiot and loses.

        As a related point, my experience makes me think about the whole notion of desire and “wanting it” as a component of success. Of course, you have to want something to win and I would say that it’s an indispensable part of a training program. I heard of an anecdote about fencing where a talented young fencer was examined by a famous professional who told him that he would never amount to anything. So, the guy quit serious competing. Years later he ran into the pro and told him how his evaluation was a turning point for his career. The pro replied, “Oh, I didn’t even look at your fencing. If you had had the drive to succeed, you wouldn’t have paid any attention to me.” (!) Nice. Anyway, desire is important for training but at the critical moment as I’ve experienced myself it can actually mess you up. There is an extensive body of martial arts teaching I’m sure you’re aware of that the highest level of performance results from a detached, calm attitude. It sounds un-Western but in fact it is well-known among boxers that it is important to close off your emotions when fighting so that you won’t be distracted. There might even be a spiritual dimension. It is said that when the Lord Buddha was meditating his way towards Enlightenment, he conquered all of his weaknesses until the last and greatest one which was…pride in being such a holy person! It was only when he let this go that he really broke through to become a Buddha. So, the ego and the self need to be overcome. I don’t know that all this is relevant in taking a shot, but clearly there is the issue of somehow cultivating a detached attitude within your focused effort. Anyway, my approach to this is to keep shooting and shooting. 🙂


        • Matt61,
          I think you’ve got it. Dropping a point is not the end of the world, and having a streak means nothing with regards to future shots. I can imagine a couple ways to overcome this problem of getting psyched out because of the past or future. One way is to look forward to being in this situation where you realize that a streak is in progress, and practicing to then overcome it by focusing a single shot, as you’re normally already doing. Another is allow yourself to pressure yourself at each shot, by telling yourself that the current shot means everything, and then focusing as you should. Basically make a conscious effort to overcome that pressure situation.

          Lloyd and I never really tried to figure out the desired personality type. He had just mentioned that such a test existed. For sure, a good temperament matters. I know highly competitive shooters who might throw a tantrum if they lose a big match, but that part of their personality never comes close to manifesting itself while on the line. The same goes for wanting to win very badly, and transferring that into pressure while on the line. I know shooters who really wanted something (e.g., making an Olympics, or setting a world record), but while on the line can produce performance on demand. Now the situation about the Chinese guy, Wang, who collapsed is something else. That kind of “want” must have affected his capacity to shoot his best, even if just a tiny bit, which was enough to cost him the match.

          Guys who really “want” something, translate that want into practical action, like designing practice sessions to solve specific problems, or physical training, and possibly mental training to develop a supremely positive and mental psychology. If I were coaching shooters, that’s what I would do. I would also make sure that they have at least one practice match a week. Taking such a high level of tension into a match can’t be healthy. More than wanting to win, you should want to feel confident that you have mastered single shot execution.

          Matt, the bottom line is that when you’re shooting 90+% 10’s, you’re biggest issue’s are probably psychological, and 90+% of that is losing focus. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – if you have good ability, you’re dropping points because you’re allowing yourself to lose solid focus. Having too much on your mind, regardless of what it is, will affect your focus, and cause you to make mistakes. Those mistakes might be so small that you can’t clearly see what they are, but the fact that you dropped a point is proof that you were distracted within you’re own mind.

          This is one reason why competitive marksmen try to establish a rhythm that might include counting breaths between shoots, or running a quick mental check list, including how relaxed they are. Again, my pistol coach Stan Hulstrom said (speaking to men), you should never take a shot unless certain parts of the male anatomy were so relaxed that they were in a certain state. He was very serious about monitoring your bodies relaxation state. The only way to achieve a high level of consistency of perfect individual shot execution is through practice.


    • The match bullets are hollow pointed because the bullet jacket is formed front the rear. This leaves the base of the bullet jacketed with no lead exposed at the base and just a small opening at the front.

      As to use of the bayonet on a rifle equipped with a pistol grip, the stock is gripped behind the receiver, not at the pistol grip.


      • Matt61:
        The British army still train our soldiers in the use of the bayonet but I have to tell you a tale told to my dad by an ex army buddy who served in one of the Scottish regiments.
        His drill instructor had laid out all manner of weapons and one by one went through them explaining there use.
        After his presentation ended he asked if anyone had any questions.
        One squaddie put his hand up and asked why the instructor hadn’t mentioned the bayonet on the table.
        The instructor picked up the bayonet and In his thick Scottish accent said,
        “Aye laddie,the bayonet….you ever get close enough to use one of these,you’re in the ***t”

        • Yeah, I would agree. In the book by the Josef Sepp Allred, the German sniper on the Eastern Front, he describes hand-to-hand fighting in the trenches. There is a Russian soldier like Bruce Lee who vanquishes six German soldiers one after another with his quick “cat-like” movement with his bayoneted rifle. But then he gets shot from behind.


      • Mike, I’m sure that’s true as a manufacturing process, but I thought that hollow-points were made on match bullets to move the center of gravity of the bullet rearwards (more central) and make it more stable in flight. So, if you deformed or eliminated the hollow point that performance benefit would be lost.

        As to the grip on the buttstock, yes that would be better but it would require you to shift your grip from the pistol grip to the buttstock at a critical moment which is slower than a traditional stock where you hand is already in place while in the shooting position. I’ve seen techniques where people perform a buttstroke with their hand on the pistol grip. The buttstock just peeks past the elbow, so it could technically work. But the range of motion is restricted and there is the danger of missing your strike and damaging your elbow.


  17. Good blog today!

    I just had to comment today seeing as I’m the “Big Shot of The Week” and I’d like to say thanks to whoever picks it!

    I got dads gun shooting for about a week but after that it started to deteriorate. To me it seems like a broken or just worn out spring considering its 45 years old and probably has thousands of rounds through it. I love working on old stuff whether it be cars, guns, or furniture; but when something’s broke and there’s no off the shelf parts available it can be a hassle to get them working again. I’m not giving up, in fact I think I’ll tear into it and hopefully have it fixed in time for a birthday present for my father. A daisy red ryder spring can’t be too far off so I’m sure I can fashion something.

    By the way, I’m definitely person 1. Shooting empty shell casings or bottle caps is a blast no matter what gun. The way I actually got hooked on airguns is when my dad and I would act like the sand box was a football field. We’d put a bottle cap in the middle and each get four shots to try to get the bottle cap into our “endzone”.

    • Andrew, again I’ll give you credit for fixing up old guns. I’m sure B.B. could give you advice on this particular model if you come up with a specific question after disassembling the gun. So could Vince and any number of other guys here. Otherwise, you can take my approach and send it to a professional like Mike Melick or Rich Imhoff. Those guys are ingenious and very reasonably priced.


  18. BB,

    I don’t fit any of those 4. Think I am #10: “Dunno what the hell I want, but it needs to be a pcp, repeater, more accurate than any other airgun around, weigh about 7 – 7.5 # WITH a really good 6 – 24 X ? AO side wheel parallax scope (might compromise with a 4 X 12 or 4 X 16), have a true match grade adjustable trigger, have in the range of 40 – 85 fpe, and cost less than $1000 and the more less the better!” type of guy.

    Does such a thing exist? If not could some one modify an existing gun to do that?

    Would also like same in a pistol, but lower power for the scope and power in range of 25 – 35 fpe. Think a p-rod with two stocks, one a true pistol and the other a carbine stock and some mods to boost the power might work for the pistol.

  19. BB,
    I’m trying not to take the manure pile comment too personally or mean-spirited. My perspective is that what an airgun can do for me as well as or better than a firearm at a reasonably competitive price, it will do; otherwise I will shoot what works better unless I’m just curious. As I’ve said before, I probably am not a true airgunner, just a guy that likes to shoot airguns where they fit. For me, that means that airguns are fun, safe, educational, and cost-effective at relatively short ranges, then the rimfires, the ML’ers, and the centerfires take over. As for discipline, I don’t think 25-50 yard targets offhand with a springer or a flintlock with open sights is any less challenging than benchrested and scoped at 50-100. It is also more fun for some of us.

    For anything that shoots, I think there are two groups (disregarding some overlap as the distinction is not perfect), the shooters and the gun nuts. Shooters shoot (targets, silhouettes, tin cans, game, whatever), and only mess with a “gun” or buy a new one if it is required to do what they need or want it to do. Gun nuts simply love the idea of guns (not always the shooting part) and go ga-ga over every different nuance of hardware, fineness of finish, theoretical possiblity, marginal technical development, etc. It seems like they are constantly upgrading their hardware or trying something new looking for the edge that they might also gain with practice. In a sense, the gun nuts drive the market and drop innovations like mouse scat; that benefits the shooters as well, perhaps more, as they take the time to exploit the technology.

    • BG_Farmer,

      I had to re-read the blog to see why you would take the “manure pile” personally, and I still don’t know. Not sure how you might construe it as mean-spirited. B.B. likes to toss little firecrackers on the path of life to get everyone’s attention. This was one of them.


    • BG_Farmer,

      I grew up in Stow, Ohio, in the early 1950s. My family had a small farmette, as they were called back then. And on that farmette was a manure pile. Trash tended to accumulate around it and that’s where my father shot his Benjamin pellet pistol.

      The manure pile was something from my childhood. Every spring after I turned six I had to haul manure water to all the young corn stalks. I mention that just in case you think I’m kidding about the pile.


      • BB,

        Dang! You brought back a memory I sure did not want to come back hauling manure water to plants!

        A truly foul task indeed and one I would rather have stayed buried in my mind! Man I hated that! Did not think too kindly of my dad either, for making us do that. He did not carry it. Had three strapping young lads to do it!


        OH well, you opened up a really smelly topic there!!!

        • pcp4me,

          Dang! I thought I was the only guy who ever had to haul manure water.

          I guess our dads were organic farmers, of sorts. I can still remember watering all the plants on warm spring evenings with my dad standing by a 55-gallon drum full of the essence of manure water, and for some reason, I was the only one hauling the water!

          My dad also used to take alfalfa pills as supplements. I laughed at him for 30 years for doing that until meeting Edith, who now stuffs me full of all sorts of supplements.


    • BB & Edith,
      I should have put a smiley face on the manure pile comment. The reason it hit a little close to home is that the reasoning is more or less the same as what I told BB when I joined the blog, minus the manure pile which seemed a little gratuitous if not patronizing somehow having no context. No big deal. Actually, that would make a good berm for pellets, if I needed one, a sort of splat and sniff target backer :).

      • Personally, I love the thought of shooting at mushrooms (toadstools) sprouting from the manure pile.
        What wonderful reactive targets they would make! And their white caps would show up so well against the dark background!


  20. It begins. The fun of fall. I have been shooting the Diana 34 (.22), the Diana 52 (177), and the scoped Sheridan “C” off the back deck at the catails that line the East side of my yard. They are about 35 yards out and they make great off hand targets. I get more new ones every year! Our early goose season is on and I’ll be hunting next Monday with a friend and his two sons. It’s great to get the kids out. I remember what it was like when I was young and had a chance to go hunting. Also coming up fast is our two day end of the year Cowboy Action Match. Always a great time. Then I’ll be………well there’s more to come. I might even work a little!


    • This sounds pretty cool. I have fond memories of my little forest preserve in Minnesota where I would practice airgunning, archery, knife throwing, and sword strikes (with a machete on the bushes)–quite the little playground. Amazing how nature could surround you only a few feet from the house. I saw an owl flying along with some little animal struggling in its claws. And once a red squirrel crawled down a trunk towards me and I suppose tried to intimidate me with these squeaky clicking noises.


  21. Hi all,

    I’m still a newbie here, and I have a dumb question (even though B.B. says there are no dumb questions.) How does this blog thing work? I’m used to forums, where we have threads and try to keep people from changing the subject or “hijacking” the thread. If I do a search, assuming the forum has good software, and assuming the thread wasn’t terribly hijacked, I can more or less follow a discussion about a single subject. Now, when I joined this group, it was because I emailed B.B. a rather long private email about my FWB 124. Rather than answer me privately, he moved it to the blog, answered me here, and several other members graciously added their thoughts. Thank you all for that, by the way!

    So, I have some more questions and comments. Do I simply attach them to the “post of the day” regardless of if they have anything to do with the subject of the post? Not to complain, but that seems rather random, and thus difficult to find good “old” information.

    Thanks all,
    Gun Doc

    • I believe that if you post a question on a past blog, B.B., and maybe others will find it and answer you if it hasn’t been answered already. Otherwise, the range of subjects here has eluded any indexing system that we’ve been able to come up with. But the variety can work in your favor. If you just ask your question on the most recent post, you will get responses. It’s sort of like the difference between the lockstep phalanxes of the ancient Greek armies and the more sophisticated open formations of the Romans. Or so we hope. 🙂


  22. Gun Doc,

    You can search B.B.’s old blogs for subject matter, and if it doesn’t turn up just ask on the post of the day. You will find that many are happy to share their opinions.

  23. OK, here goes:

    First, thanks all for the great advice so far!

    As for searching, I may be doing something wrong. I am interested in a Hammerli 490 (see below.) I can find B.B.’s articles on that rifle easier on Google than I can searching this blog. Why is that?

    My FWB 124 really needs only a piston seal, but from what I have learned here I am going to treat it to a Maccari Pro Mac Kit and maybe one of his triggers. I’m interested in anyone’s thoughts on that.

    I have decided to go with BKL rings as they are Texan and so am I 😉 I was considering the Sportsmatch rings for the 124, but they are not easy to get (unless I am missing something.) Plus, there is still that Texan thing. Scope will be either an old Tasco (Japan) 2-7x airgun scope, Leupold 3-9x AO (full size, not the compact), or Leupold 3.5-10x AO.

    On a separate subject, I have always been intrigued by Leon Measure’s “Shoot Where You Look” program (yet another Texan thing . . . must be a theme in this post . . .) I was looking for a gun to dedicate to that purpose. You must remove the sights. You would think a cheap inaccurate BB gun would do, but then some of the claims about how accurate you can get with practice, despite the lack of sights, pretty much requires an accurate rifle. I tried it years ago with a Red Ryder and pretty quickly figured out the expectation was that one could get better than that gun would shoot WITH sights! The Daisy 499 is a choice, but I was thinking of a Hammerli 490. Inexpensive, easy to cock, cheap to shoot, plenty powerful for the purpose, should be accurate enough, looks easy to remove the sights, and the unrefined trigger shouldn’t be a big deal for this type of shooting. I’m interested in anyone’s thoughts on my choice.

    Thanks again all,
    Gun Doc

    • Gun Doc,

      As far as the blog, Edith should probably field that one.

      The FWB 124 will benefit from a JM kit as you suspect. I had the Old School Arctic installed in mine, which I believe is the most popular for the 124. You should buy Jim’s sample lubes when you order the kit if you are installing it yourself. The trigger can be tuned, but will never be up to par with the Rekord that the HW’s boast, that said it will get you by.

      As far as instinctive shooting, something that offers multiple shots may be nice. I have a 499 and waiting for the BB to roll down the shot tube makes for slow action. The same could be said for a break barrel. The Crosman 1077 might be worth of a look, I owned one with a wood stock that was surprisingly accurate and you can stuff the 8 shot magazines ahead of time.

      • Gun Doc

        Being a Texan, you might like the Air Venturi Bronco. Its got western styling, beautiful bluing, and the sights can easily be removed and replaced. Accuracy is phenomenal for a gun at its price or three times its price. Best of all it has a great trigger. Did I mention it was designed by a Texan?

        The PA blog is probably much different than others you are used to. First off and foremost, people here are polite, and respect each other even when they fervently disagree. Who knows, the guy who is ticking you off today, might have the answer to a vexing problem tomorrow. I have to admit, there ARE dumb questions, but I am the one asking most of them. Nothing is really off topic. Just about everything is fair game, but it all comes down to airguns in the end. Jerks are given no quarter, and will probably be deleted by our fair moderator.

        The unique format of this blog makes it more difficult to focus on specific topics like you find in the threads of most blogs or forums. The trade off is that you will learn things you had no intention of learning. I can’t stress how valuable that is.

        The blog underwent a format change a little while back and the new search feature does not work all that well just yet. When searching, I usually click on one of the links under ‘Historical Archives’ links on the right hand side of the page. This will take you to the older posts on the Blogger site. The search box on this page works much better. Otherwise, use the Advanced Search function of Goofle by entering the blog address (/blog//) in the field provided. The search box on the current blog is almost useless.

        Let us know what you decide on, and how you like it.

  24. Gun Doc, I think we’ve all found that the blog can be searched faster through Google than through the blog’s own search engine. I attribute this to Google’s super-powered algorithm and resources, but it’s what we commonly do.

    ‘Fraid I can’t answer the detailed questions about the rifle and rings, but there are people here who can. 🙂

    I’m not familiar with the Leon Measure program, but it sounds like Lucky McDaniel’s Instinct Shooting Program that B.B. blogged awhile ago and that you can find on Google. Based on that blog, I read Lucky McDaniel’s books

    * Instinct Shooting, by Mike Jennings, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1959
    * Lucky McDaniel’s Secrets to Shooting, by Lucky McDaniel and Bill Reece, Columbus, Georgia 31904: Waldrup Printing Company, 1980

    These and a lot of information are in the Wikipedia entry on Lucky McDaniel. In the books, McDaniel makes a very big deal about how his method is more important than the gun. He outshoots some guy who had guns custom made in England, and he would perform his own demonstrations by loading his bb guns with matches and hitting targets. It depends on what kind of shooting you are doing, but the impression is that the gun’s accuracy is not that important. Anyway, B.B. just picked up a Lucky McDaniel shooting set and has promised to blog it, so more info is on the way.


    • Matt61, with the hollow point match bullets, the method of manufacture is used as a way to keep the base of the the bullet uniform and without exposed lead. I understand that this is the main advantage.

      Say, what is your favorite air rifle?


      • Mike, well I only have three air rifles, the Crosman 1077, the IZH 61, and the B30. I like them all and they all have their niches, the 1077 for snap shooting, the B30 for pure accuracy…. But I believe I still like the IZH 61 best since it allows me to pump out the most rounds accurately in a given time, and I think it looks cool. As for air rifles that I wish I owned, probably the Bronco, Marauder, Benjamin 397, Crosman Challenger, RWS 350 magnum and TX200.


  25. Matt61,

    Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

    Volvo, I was planning on buying some of JM’s lubes, but thanks for mentioning it. Do you have any experience with the Maccari stainless steel trigger for the FWB 124? I will give the Crosman 1077 a look.

    Matt61, I must say that if you think about it, you simply MUST have a gun as accurate as you are able aim or point it. I don’t care how “lucky” Lucky McDaniel is or was, he could not possibly predict which direction a shot from an inaccurate gun was going to go, and then compensate. If you are going to claim you can hit aspirins, lifesavers, holes in washers, or whatever, either static or thrown in the air, then your gun has to be able to hit them if aimed with adequate sights. The various programs claim they can teach you to “aim” or point accurately, rapidly and without sights. They don’t claim to be magic or mystical.

    • Don, you’re right but I think it really comes down to what accuracy really means. The Lucky McDaniel style of shooting and all instinct shooting is at very short range, so you wouldn’t need tackdriving accuracy. Give his book a read. Very interesting. Most of his ideas work for me although not all.

      I use the Crosman 1077 for my snap shooting and it works fine.


  26. Don,
    I installed the Maccari SS trigger and old school artic kit in my 124 and found it to be not difficult at all. But you realy should build a spring compresor,makes it a lot less nerve racking and easier to line up things. As far as the trigger goes all I did was drop it in with a little moly lube and adjust the single screw after assembly. The trigger pull greatly improved, not quite HW Rekord but close.

  27. Loren,

    Thanks for the reply. I do plan to put together a spring compressor, at least to take it apart. My understanding is the Maccari kits do not require a spring compressor. Great if they do not, but not a big thing if they do.

    -Gun doc

  28. Your use of the word “penultimate” is curious. It means “next to last in a list.” I don’t think this is what you inteded to say about Dr. Mann. The “ultimate” shooter, perhaps?

  29. I like the idea of categories of shooters and it has me thinking.

    What about the whole benchrest phenomenon? How far back does that go? Back to the time of the shooting galleries when people shot standing up? I’m with BG_Farmer that unless you are a true benchrest fanatic or really testing loads or firearms performance, you’re not accomplishing much. I saw guys in Hawaii with custom guns, handloads and vises which supported the rear end of the stock so all they did was pull the trigger. But they would also take literally 30 seconds for their follow through?! The point???

    Yes, there are those who like to shoot as opposed to play with their guns, but not all are excellent shooters. What about those who shoot a lot but never improve? Apparently, there are many people like that who play golf all the time but suck. Along these lines, I get many strange inquiries and looks when I take my arsenal of guns to the airport when traveling to Hawaii. The questions are always whether I’m a hunter or…wait for it…under military orders. No one guesses the truth that I am a plinker. When I tell them that I shoot targets for fun that probably cements the James Bond theory in their minds.

    And how are we to understand the cowboy action phenomenon that is comparable to airgunning as a growth sport? It is my suspicion that this vibrant activity actually combines several categories. They would be historian/students of culture (reenactors), competitors, and those who use shooting to socialize.

    I suspect that the desire to assume a certain kind of identity is fundamental here and probably to all shooting activities. It underlies the tacticool crowd who will never see a tactical situation in their lives. One report I read about a Soldier of Fortune convention described guys walking around telling each other, “I love your cammies.” Or in Clan of the Cave Bear listed online somewhere as B.B.’s favorite book (True??), there is the hero Ayla. When she takes up the practice of hunting in secret with a sling, the Neanderthals cannot help noticing a change in her demeanor, a keener look to the eyes, a bolder, more graceful step….

    And then there are those after the biggest guns, the most power, and the loudest noise. The SW 500 magnum is a shining example, and it is funny to see the attempts to rescue this idea. The pistols are now being fitted with slings and bipods. In a gunstore I pointed out the SW 500 pistol to a friend, and she said, “That’s obscene.” I don’t know about that but I would agree with the psycho in Dirty Harry who says, “My, that’s a big one.”

    And then there would be the craftsmen. There was a long article I read about a guy who decided to build himself a tactical sniper rifle from the ground up. He went to a gunsmith and agreed on building it around a Remington 700 action and on from there in stupefying detail about shooting the first shot and letting the gun cool to improve the crown. Well, obviously being original was not the plan since that type of gun has been created many times before. And then there was the recent comment in a gun magazine about how the AR-15 was the male “barbie doll.” I suppose they were referring to the accessories but I will say no more.

    And how about the entrepreneurs who enjoy the buying, selling, and acquisition of guns? The point does not seem to be to secure the best gun but the best deal.


  30. Just checking back in. Back late Friday after 6 days in Germany with almost no Internet. All pleasure; no business for a change. A 50th reunion of the kids who were at Stanford’s German campus in 1961 — now that was a hell of a summer to pick to go to Germany if you like excitement.


    • Pete

      Good to have you back. I’d love to go to Germany. Been to England, Italy, France. Did you do any shooting over there?

      Have you any stories of that summer you would like to share? We are all ears.

      • My best stories are of the days around reunification in 1989-90, but I did make several forays into East Berlin in September and November of 1961. Got myself thoroughly frisked crossing back to W. Berlin once, and had this border cop pore over my (sealed, unused) package of Kodachrome film. Drooling, practically and asking me how good it was. I said it was very good, and then smiled and said that if he wanted to try it, he could take mine as a goodwill gesture from the USA. The yellow box disappeared into his pocket. In retrospect I thought… Kodachrome can only be processed in very special labs and there aren’t any behind the iron curtain. Wonder if he ever saw his pictures.

        Also, I nearly got stopped by an E. German soldier when I sneaked a picture of a bunch of tanks.

        And finally, in November I was asked by a German student group if I would lend my passport to be used to help an E. Berlin student escape across the border into West Berlin. I declined, even tho’ several hundred dollars was on offer for the pass. Two of my classmates returned to Berlin when the time at Stanford in Germany was finished. Both worked with the refugee groups; one got caught passing fake papers to an East German and sent to an East German jail for 21 months.

  31. Rangefinding:

    If I use a Leapers/Centerpoint 8x32x56 at 24-32X to range find, and then turn the zoom down to 12-16X to shoot – does the POI change ? If so, how expensive of a scope is needed before the POI doesn’t shift with the zoom setting ? Do any particular mid-priced scopes work best for this (and gather enough light to be used in the woods) ?


    • John

      Adjusting the magnification of a scope should not change the POI. You are not changing the orientation of the internal tube of the scope in relation to the rifle, you are merely changing the length between the lenses to decrease the magnification and increase field of view.

    • John,

      If you are still discussing this in terms of field target, there is no time to do what you suggest. You have 2.5 minutes per target, I believe. That gives you enough time to get into position, range and shoot. Then you must reload and cock and shoot again. No time left for anything else. Believe me, it takes time to fumble for a pellet when you’re sitting on your butt and holding a 10-pound rifle.

      The POI doesn’t change on most good quality scopes anymore when they change power.

      Also, you are way too concerned with light TRANSMISSION (scopes do not gather light) in the woods. That usually isn’t the problem. The problem is seeing between light and dark areas. The contrast can be so great that the dark areas all appear black, and the light can be so bright that your scope flares out and you see nothing but a brown haze. The better the optics, the clearer the target will be, so you want a scope with a clear optical package for deep woods shooting.


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