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Education / Training Lookalike airguns: Part 1

Lookalike airguns: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Aliabas Abas 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.

Aliabas’ winning photo. Looks like he’s got a Gamo.

I had a different blog prepared for today, but I can’t use it because the products haven’t arrived at Pyramyd AIR yet, and I don’t want to talk about something that you can’t get.

Yesterday’s blog got me thinking about lookalike airguns. I mentioned that Crosman had made the M1 Carbine BB gun that I love so much, and they made a host of others like the SA-6 that resembles a Colt SAA revolver, and the 38-T and 38-C revolvers that look something like Smith & Wessons.

Today, I want to talk about many airguns that are lookalikes. Some of these are airguns that are seldom seen, though they exist in quantity, while others are very unique. Let’s go!

I owned a Makarov BB pistol before I ever bought the actual firearm. And the pistol I owned was made on a genuine Makarov firearm frame. Then, I got a Bulgarian Mak in 9x18mm that hasn’t jammed or failed to feed one time in close to a thousand rounds. It’s accurate and has a soft recoil.What a great gun it is!

Then to my surprise, Umarex brought out their Makarov BB pistol, and it turned out to be a superior airgun. If you ever saw the American Airgunner TV show, it was the Makarov that I used to teach Crystal Ackley to shoot. And after a single lesson, she started out-shooting Paul Capello, me and even a national silhouette champion — WITH HIS OWN AIRGUN!

Mak firearm at top, then the first BB gun Mak that was made on a firearm frame and the Umarex Mak on the bottom. When I put these away, I got confused and put the Umarex gun in my nightstand, where the firearm should be!

M1911 A1
I was a 1911 fan long before Umarex brought out their CO2 version of the Colt M1911 A1, which is why I got one to keep forever. The realism is astounding. Of course, today I could say the same about many new BB pistols, because the 1911 is one of the most-copied firearms of all time.

Taurus PT 1911 on top, genuine World War I 1911 in the center and Umarex Colt 1911 A1 CO2 pistol at the bottom.

The Walther PPK/S is the airgun that got me interested in lookalikes. I owned the Crosman M1 Carbine; but when I got the WaltherPPK/S, I decided that I also had to own the firearm, as well. So I got a .22-caliber PPK/S that’s a bit of a rarity on its own.

Both are genuine Walther PPK/S pistols. Top is a .22 rimfire. Bottom is a BB pistol.

M1 Carbine
I’ve owned three Crosman M1 Carbines. The first had a wood stock, which was only made in the first two years of production (1966-1967). Then I owned one with a Croswood (plastic) stock, but I let it get away. Then Mac gifted me the one I own today, which also has the Croswood stock and the original box.

I would own this even if it weren’t any good as an airgun because of the association with the military rifle, but the irony is that this is also one heck of a BB gun! It’s powerful and accurate and has fully adjustable sights. What’s not to love?

The M1 Carbine is so very popular that besides the 6 million that were produced during World War II, there have been millions more made commercially after the war. They’re still being made today! And some of these commercial guns are in calibers other than .30 Carbine. My .22 Long Rifle German-made Erma made for Iver Johnson is one such gun. So, here were have an original firearm, a copy that is also a firearm, as well as an airgun copy.

Genuine military carbine on top, then an Erma .22 carbine and the Crosman BB gun at the bottiom.

Walther Lever Action
The Walther Lever Action is a copy of the iconic Winchester 1894 lever action rifle that ushered in the era of smokeless powder for the maker. Except for the butt that is larger to house the 88-gram CO2 cartridge, it’s very similar to the firearm. Not only is this air rifle a close copy of the firearm, it’s also very accurate and a fun gun in its own right! While pricy, it’s worth it if you value the similarity to both the look and operation of the firearm it mimics.

A Winchester 1894 30-30 on top and a Walther Lever Action at the bottom. The firearm has a side-mounted scope, because it ejects empty cartridge cases straight up.

Daisy model 26
Not to be outdone, Daisy had its own lookalikes — starting with the 1894 lever-action and progressing to a copy of the BB gun you’re about to see. They copied the Remington Fieldmaster 572 — a slide-action (pump) — .22. Why they chose that particular model, I don’t think we’ll ever know. When I asked at Daisy, they told me that firearm was such a classic! Yeah! Like a Hudson Hornet is a classic car! Anyhow, they made a beautiful lookalike BB gun that was first marketed as the model 26 for reasons no one seems to know, and then as the model 572, which is understandable. The guns are identical, but the model change allows collectors to date their guns to a certain degree.

Daisy’s model 26 was the first copy of the Remington Fieldmaster 572. Daisy later changed their model number to 572.

Something really odd
Up to this point, you could buy any of these airguns or firearms within a couple of months of diligent searching here in the United States. Now I want to show you something that I bet you’ve never seen and were not even aware that it existed. Even advanced airgun collectors do not know about what you’re about to see.

In 1976, this country celebrated its 200th anniversary and the party was huge. I was in Germany at the time, so I missed it, but I see the reruns on TV all the time.

One gun manufacturer — called Ultra-Hi — had been manufacturing black powder guns in Japan and decided to make an airgun to commemorate the bicentennial. An underlever BB gun was made that looked very much like an 1840s caplock rifle. Airgun collectors know about the Pioneer ’76 and consider it very collectible.

What they don’t know is that Ultra-Hi copied one of their own black powder rifles when designing this BB gun. Here, for the first time, you’ll see both the BB gun and the muzzleloading rifle it copied.

Here’s an airgun and firearm pair nobody knows about. The Ultra-Hi Pioneer ’76 on top is a BB gun that is well-known among collectors. The Ultra-Hi .45-caliber percussion rifle underneath is the gun nobody knows about. Both guns have fake brass-colored plates where there should be patchboxes, and both rifles have stocks made from two separate pieces of wood to save money. The brass strip on both stocks hides that fact.

What comes next?
I made this Part 1 in case this is a subject that interests you readers. This is an area of airgun collecting that’s nearly ignored, because airgun collectors often don’t like firearms and firearm collectors don’t care for airguns, as a rule.

I’ll watch your reactions to what I’ve shown today to determine if it’s worth pursuing this subject any farther, but from the response to yesterday’s report on the Crosman M4-177 Multi-Pump Air Rifle, it looks like it might be.

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.

103 thoughts on “Lookalike airguns: Part 1”

  1. I unfortunately passed on an Ultra Hi Pioneer just recently on the YF classifieds.I regretted it then and still do.How very unique! Very enjoyable blog BB.Please do more on this topic…..here is my vote.
    Where is the UZI?

  2. I second the vote for the UZI! I ordered one from PA last summer and with the help of a mod I saw on utube, I’m able to use all three positions on the selector switch now. I wanted the UZI the first time I saw it, but the deal breaker was the selector switch. I ordered three extra magazines for it and I found an original UZI mag. pouch and sling for it on the internet. I love Airguns & Firearms. I wish I could afford both, but that’s not possible right now. I have several other look a like airguns, but the UZI is my favorite.

  3. BB

    I am happy that writing this blog alerted you about the confusion over your Makarovs. It would be a shame to shoot an intruder, only to shoot their eye out! On the other hand, it is far more likely Edith would have dropped him already with her custom Glock. Or is she using the Wilson Combat these days? Maybe I am remembering the carry gun vs. the nightstand gun. Sometimes I get confused.

    • SL,

      I still carry the Glock. If I carried one of the 1911s in my purse, it would be way too heavy. If we ever get open carry in Texas, I’ll put on a holster & wear a 1911 that way.

      I have no idea what’s in my nightstand these days. Tom moves things around and tells me, but it’s too much to remember day-to-day and week-to-week. All I know is that there’s at least one 1911 in my nightstand, as Tom knows what I like. I’ve told him more than once that he can take back his Wilson Combat for his side of the bed, but he’d have to give me the Taurus 1911 for my side. Both are his guns, but that’s the price he has to pay for selling/trading the vintage 1911 I had in my nightstand (he didn’t like the trigger on it, but I liked it very much). Unpopular decisions have a price tag. Speaking of unpopular decisions….

      When we lived in Maryland, Tom went to a local gun show at the county fairgrounds. He came home and told me that there was an air rifle he really wanted. At that time, we owed a boatload of $ to the IRS, and I told him that it made no sense for us to spend hundreds on non-essentials just because he wanted something. Tom bought the gun anyway. He came home and showed it to me. I refused to look at it or listen to his description about it…he was SO proud of his purchase. I’m pretty sure this was before we started “The Airgun Letter.” In fact, I refused to ever look at it. He tried many times to tell me about it, but I told him that I’m not interested. To this day, I don’t know the brand or model or if it was a good deal or what it looked like. I believe it was a few years later that Tom told me he sold the gun. He said he got rid of it because of my behavior. Sometimes, negative reinforcement works 🙂

      To this day, every time he says he’s trading or selling a firearm, I almost always ask him if it’s my Winchester 1894, which you saw in today’s blog. It’s mine, I told him to buy it when I saw it in the gun store and I’m not letting it go. It fits me better than any rifle we own.


      • Edith,

        The “hated” air rifle was a first-model BSA underlever with a number 2 (.22 caliber) bore. It was made prior to 1914 and was in very good condition.

        The Taurus PT 1911 is in your nightstand, loaded, with a second loaded clip beside it. The Wilson is in my nightstand.

        No, I won’t sell your Winchester lever action, but an 1894 with a scope is an abomination, in my opinion. But it does work well and is quite accurate.


        • I’m with you BB! My 1955 vintage 30-30 Winchester carbine has a receiver sight on it. Also, nice 1911, I see it still has all the 1911 features without the 1911A1 “Improvements” being added as you see on some of the old guns. Are the grips original too?

          I also have a Luger P08 in 9mm. It is date stamped 1910. Question for the day, what is kind of unique about that date stamp?


          • Mike,

            The grips are original to the gun as it came from the NRA in 1960, which means the Army released it that way. But originally I think it would have had wood grips. Sort of like an M1 Carbine that has all the parts from one manufacturer. They never were made that way, but collectors have been reassembling them that way since the 1960s.

            As for the Luger, that was the first year they dated the chamber. It was a commercial model drafted for military issue. It’s a very valuable Luger — worth much more than those with slightly later dates.

            How’d I do?


        • Okay, who forgot to set up the hidden cameras… I think I’m tuned in to a new reality TV show

          Sorry… just the incongruity of the two of you holding a discussion on-line got to my quirky senses.

  4. Real nice examples BB
    Like a moth to a flame I used to be drawn to airguns that look most like a firearm.
    So bad,I took to wearing blinkers when I went into the gun shop so I could focus on what I was actually in there for.
    Thought I was over that sort of thing till I saw your pics.
    Many thanks 🙂

  5. I love look alikes, partly because the real thing is so hard to get here I suppose, the only replica rifle I own is a daisy made Winchester 1894 that I got thanks to the article you wrote in Airgun Illustrated, you said “if you want to be seen shooting a BB gun get the Winchester if you only want to shoot a BB gun get a Red Ryder” I tought the copy looked MUCH better so I bought one and only bought a RR a few years ago.

    I have a lot more pistols copy’s, I don’t shoot them much since I got the 3 blow back guns from cybergun (with which Palco Sport gives a REALLY crappy service by the way) with the real single action but for some reason I just can’t get rid of the old ones…

    Right now I’m trying NOT to buy the Dan Wesson (mainly because I’m not sure which model to get, 2.4″/4″/6″/8″ in chrome or black) I almost convinced myself I didn’t need one.

    I also need to find a way to display them without freaking people out.

    Replicas have took a hit here in Canada in the last few weeks, according to the laws here (if I understand them right) it is the receiver that is deemed a firearm and we had a bunch of AK’s replica made with the firearm receiver so it didn’t mather if it could easily be made into the firearm or not, the receiver is the firearm and since that “incident” some stores pulled ALL replicas from the shelves not wanting to see the swat team crashing in and handcuffing them (and it’s quite understandable) as it did happen to a few importers and sellers, everything (airguns, legally owned and registered firearms, computers, drives etc) was returned to them but it’s still a pain.

    My vote goes for more replica articles (in case it wasn’t apparent 😉 )


  6. Convoluted tale of a ’94

    20 something years ago a friend who remodeled older homes asked me if I wanted a Winchester M-94 that he’d found walled up between studs in a home he’d contracted to remodel. The new owner wanted nothing to do with it so I paid the princely sum of $50 for it. Before accusing me of Grand Theft please be aware that it was a sad looking example in need of much TLC. Surface rust and a bit of pitting on one side of the barrel near the front sight eventually yielded to chemicals, steel wool and elbow grease but it was never going to be a sterling example of the breed even tho the internals and function were impeccable.

    Flash forward a few years——

    My attorney—having just lost his a$$ and all his fixtures in a particularly nasty divorce—was facing opening of deer season with no rifle or way to acquire one so I gave him the rough but functional M-94 to help him “get back on his feet” both practically and emotionally.

    Flash forward a few more years—–

    Having survived and prospered (attorneys do that you know ;o)) he gave it back to me. I took that as a ‘sign’ that it belonged with me and put a Williams peep on it. It has rewarded me with uncanny accuracy for the breed. This time it stays until I’m gone! Tom

  7. Asking us if we want more is similar to asking who wants seconds at Thanksgiving. With mouth still full of verbiage we nod and say yes.

    Topic wise, I think there are a couple points to consider. Certainly replicas appeal to those who own the real thing and want a copy for extended practice or show. Next you have the crowd who cannot or do not want to own the real deal for whatever reason, so they will embrace a look alike.

    But the issue is potentially the resulting confusion a replica can cause. Based on my own personal experience as a kid, when the police caught me with my Daisy 881 after we moved to the city, little drama occurred. Easy to ID just like the majority of airguns of the day, they simply told me to head back home.

    I give any handgun an automatic pass since even real ones look like toys with the advent of all the polymer designs. At 50 feet it is nearly impossible to tell what is going on, so no one should brandish any BB or pellet side arm in public – where they would not do the same with the powder burning equivalent.

    The AR replica is really the one I think that has greatest potential for a mistaken identity that could go wrong. Perhaps in some areas the Winchester 94 might cause a little stir, but lever based BB guns have been around forever.

    Speaking of which we get to Edith’s 94, as much as I like glass on everything a small tear ran down my cheek at the sight of that scope resting on the receiver. However, since it appears these photos were taken on a camo bed comforter all is well. My wife would never allow such a thing.

    Edith, perhaps Tom will indulge you with a second lever gun if you don’t already own another. The Winchester 92 can be even more fun than a 94 for when it comes to plinking and overall fun. The real deal is expensive but these modern day copies in .38 /.357 can usually be found at bargain prices. Just please leave this one au naturel:


          • Edith,

            Before we met I defended our way of life and fought for truth, justice and the American way. And I sometimes slept in a poncho. On cold nights. When it rained. And I had to walk 12 miles to school uphill both ways in the snow.


            • …while being whipped by evil, giant winged monkeys.

              I was going to comment on the camo background myself. I like it. It is way better than some filthy old towel. But not quite as good as freshly steam-cleaned Berber carpeting. It could also double as a cape, while you are defending truth and justice and all that.

              Let me try to put the lid back on this can of worms I seem to have opened. Edith– us males are stricken with the Y chromosome, which leads us to do boneheaded things that we will never hear the end of. It’s not our fault, it’s genetics. But then again, sometimes our absurd behavior is kind of endearing, right? And how many guys know that 1910 was the year that Luger started date stamping their guns? He also left you an extra loaded magazine in your nightstand. Doesn’t that mean something? I’ll tell you what it means. Love.

              BB– I am extremely remiss in not wishing you a Happy Veteran’s Day, and thanking you for your service. Our servicemen are truly the best America has to offer.

    • Volvo,
      Glad to hear you are still enjoying your Puma! I have wanted one of the similar Marlins for a long while, but I am just too cheap to justify it. If you’ve kept one this long, I may just take a crowbar to my wallet and buy one — it must be good :)! Do you think I would like the Puma as well as the Marlin?

      • BG Farmer,

        The Puma and Marlin are different animals, the Puma is small even for a carbine – just like the Winchester 92 it imitates. I looked at the Marlins, but you don’t need a beefed up receiver and heavy barrel to handle a .357 magnum – plus they were a bit more cash. I found a NOS Brazilian version on Gun broker that was a real bargain. The new Italian version runs a good bit more, so the decision is tougher than when I bought.

        The Puma replaced a Winchester 9410 that went during the great sell off and for me at less than half the cost and at least as much fun, it’s a winner.

        I also have a few handguns in .357, so I can stock fewer ammo variates – another plus.

  8. Hi BB,
    I enjoyed your blog today. I don’t see myself ever collecting the lookalikes unless they were more serious airguns. But, I don’t have to want to collect these myself to like reading about them in the blog.

    Your blog does make me want to try a real Makarov though. My dad has one but I don’t think I have ever shot it.

    I have tried to talk Mike Reames into making a single shot per fill muzzle loader with a carbon fiber tank hidden in a powder horn. It would work just like a regular muzzle loader except you would use air instead of black powder to power it. Ron Sauls suggested a rotating dump valve that could be built with the exposed hammer to open when the trigger was pulled and the hammer drops. That’s what you call smokeless powder. I think that something like this would be fun to hunt or plink with.

    David Enoch

  9. Oh I was waiting for a blog post like this! Kudos BB!
    “But wait!… There’s more!…..”
    There’s so many wonderful Umarex copies of actual modern firearms available! As I was practicing some handling skills last night with the CP99 Compact, for a fleeting moment thought I should go out and buy the “real deal.” (but a quick look on the gun auction sites brought me back down to earth… eh.. maybe next year)

  10. BB, Nice subject today. I enjoy the quality bb gun repro’s. Don’t shoot ’em or collect ’em, but I do think that they are amazing, especially the Mak that is made from the real thing.


  11. B.B.

    What I really miss is a full-cylinder pellet revolver like Gamo R77. I have a soft spot for revolvers, but dislike BB models, after all they are prohibited at the ranges due to high probability of ricochet with steel balls. I guess I should wait for that S&W model that was under review in this blog and see if it is good with pellets and rifled barrel.


  12. A public service announcement…..and a pitch for PA…

    You say you could not kill any living thing no matter how much torment you have to endure?
    PA has “Fly Paper” targets !!!
    Yes, you too can relieve the stress and frustration inflicted by the vermin that we love to hate !!
    You can plug a bug any time of year in the comfort of your home without shedding a drop of blood from these wonderful vermin. Relieve that stress ! Kill ’em all without killing anything.

    Now they need “Spider Paper” so Edith can keep in practice.


  13. Since today is about collecting…..I will share my morning with you guys.My collecting these days is very limited.I have NO more money for shopping the airgun classifieds.I have spent it all,to the point that anything “new” that gets added requires me to sell something first.My “pickers”,locals that know I’m the go -to guy for airguns….still find stuff for me to research and I still offer more than non-airgun buyers would.So this morning an old fellow aproached me drinking coffee at the diner and proudly anounced he had one for me to look at.It was a Crosman “Bullseye” model 105 multi-pump .177 pistol
    in darn good condition for its age.It was made between ’47 and ’53,and functions like new.He also showed me a gold colored Seiko Chronograph watch in nice condition that he confessed he paid $5 for! I made a deal and swapped him for a white gold bracelet I scooped up last week for a whopping $3! So even nearly broke,I turned $3 into a sweet Crosman pistol and a Seiko 7A28 chronograph watch
    that turns out has a 15 jewel mvmt. and was the worlds first Quartz Analog chronograph ! Some days things just go your way! Man that was a great cup of coffee…..

    • Frank,

      Congrats on the gun and the watch. I’m a watch guy, too. I would love to own a real Rolex, but I confess that if I ever had that much discretionary cash I wouldn’t spend it that way. I’m wearing a Chinese knockoff Rolex clone with an automatic movement that loses about a minute a week. It’s one of the best automatics I have ever owned.

      My Seiko analog sits around because I have lost so much weight that the bracelet no longer fits. It’s a simple and cheap job for a jeweler to fix, but I haven’t done it yet because this fake Rolex is such a doll.


      • Ha! So we share that too.I had a knockoff Rolex for about 10 years and wore it daily…..finally gave up the ghost and I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out.It’s carcass is around here somewhere,god knows where.I’ll send a picture of the Seiko,it’s a very nice looking watch.That’s how I hedge my “bets”,I buy things I like for no more than I want to pay and hope I hit a dinger.Getting the worlds first Quartz analog marriage for about 35$ IS a dinger where I’m from.I just need a new band.It times accurately to a 20th of a second!

  14. B.B.

    Another vote to continue with a Part 2. I don’t have any firearm copy rifles but both of the air pistols I have are firearm copys. The S&W 586 6″ barrel and Walther CP88 6″ barrel; I try to get each one out at least once a month to keep in practice. Both are accurate, reliable and fun to plink with.

    One firearm I would like to see an airgun replica of is the Ruger Mark III (now) .22 rimfire target pistol. These pistols (as the Mark I, II or III) have been around a long time and I’m sure are one of the best selling pistols of all time (in the U.S.) in any caliber. B.B., next time you have the ear of a Umarex rep. see if you can’t work your charms,….or maybe ask Edith too. Thanks.

    David H

  15. BB,
    Please do another sometime, as far as I’m concerned.

    Those Ultra-Hi’s are something else. In some ways the BB gun is more realistic than the actual caplock, which appears to have a drip-bar style lock (instead of wood above the front of the lock, there should be a metal piece soldered on the barrel that keeps cap spatter from messing up the wood) and a plate on the buttstock that can’t decide whether it is a fake patchbox or a fake capbox! The BB gun has a credible faux capbox, and the lock is better-looking. Oh yeah, it appears the caplock has the front sight on backwards — probably the way they made them :). I actually thought at first that one of them was the toy I had as a kid that shot cork balls under cap power — 0.0001fpe.

    I agree with the sentiment that the two piece stock is to save money, but you may or may not know that there were actual takedown models in the 1800’s that likely sold at a premium. They would have a split stock, usually in conjunction with a hooked breech, so that you could easily split the rifle by removing the ramrod and one wedge or pin and have just the barrel and piece of forestock for cleaning or whatever. Interesting that all the early European reproductions (and some of the Japanese ones) siezed on that fairly rare feature for American longrifles. I expect it might have been more common in Europe (back when they still were allowed guns), but don’t know for sure.

    Finally, there is a man named Dennis Priddy who builds really nice big-bore, fullstock MLing airguns with ball tanks and shoots patched round balls out of them. I think you ought to talk to him sometime. I met him at this year’s Contemporary Longrifle Association (CLA) show in Lexington, and he is pretty knowledgeable and enthusiastic about both air and fire-power — should be somebody you’d get along with well :). I have his contact information somewhere if you want it.

    • Now that is something sorely needed by more folks than even know they need one!! Thanks for yet another excellent heads up Kevin.Now we just need a foster male nipple suitably designed for HPA with a rebuildable check valve.It sure would make it easier to service intake leaks.If it impeded flow somewhat it would make it easier for newbies to fill without cooking the O-rings from excess heat buildup.

      • Frank B.,

        How very true.

        I’m amazed at how many shooters max out the range of adjustment in their scopes and then wonder why there gun is shooting all over the place. I had an airgunner that I know has been around for years email me privately and ask “How do I shim a scope?”

        Don’t misunderstand me, I really enjoy helping guys with problems since so many helped and continue to help me but I often wonder how many guys with all these airguns actually shoot them at a variety of distances!!!

        Had another guy last night argue with me about range of adjustment in scopes. Tried explaining moa in 1/4 vs. 1/2 click value and the difference of range of adjustment between 100 yards and 25 yards. Basic math but he refused to let go of his old understanding. Maybe my explanation wasn’t clear. Needless to say he didn’t buy the scope I had for sale on the yellow LOL!


  16. B.B.

    Good news.
    A set of parts is going to be ready by the end of this month – piston interceptor, interceptor mount, breech, breech control assembly, receiver plug and the rest – axis, springs etc.
    I found a new crew to produce pistons, piston rings and receiver and ordered them. God help them if they try to stiff me 🙂 Late stiffer got his reputation annihilated and orders from others called back. Just like I like to quote – Noli me tangere!
    Next weekend I’m going to make final job on body assembly (prior to blueing it) and present some pics.


  17. Way off topic… Does anyone know at what power the 6 mil Leapers reticle is accurate at for actually using the mil dots in range estimation? I can’t find my manual that came with it and NOTHING on the net has that info. It’s a 30mm, 3-12×44 full size AO non illuminated scope. When I bought it years ago I was under the impression 10x was but it’s not working out in field use. I tried 12x also but am not coming up with good math there either.


  18. Wulfraed,

    Yes, 10x is what I was thinking. The manual I have is generic for all three size scopes in the series, 3-12×44, 4-16×56, and 16×56 and all it says is to adjust to the highest power and count how many dots your known sized target is. 🙁 At 10x if I recall, 36″ target one mil wide on the reticle is 100x away (in yds) as the power setting, if the reticle is true at 10x. Or 6′ target at 2mils is 100x way as the power.


    • The instructions given on the bottom of the Leapers page (I hate dynamic HTML — you can’t link to the sub-pages, the link takes you to the main page and you need to select “reticle” and scroll down)… Where was I…

      The equation given basically turns the multiplier into “1” if the power is set to 10x, leaving you with “target width” (yds or meters should work the same, as long as you expect the end result in that measurement) divided by #of mil-dots spanned * 1000

      So for your 36″ (1yd) target spanning 1mil-dot (starts on one dot, ends on second dot) at 10X setting you’d get 1000yds

      If not using the “unity” magnification, you’d have the additional factor of mag/10…

      So, 36″, 1mil-dot, 12X magnification, you’d get 1200 yards (the 10X distance * 12/10 )

      Note that it is 1000 yards baseline, not 100 yards.

      • Wulfraed,

        Ok, simplified, the range of a 6′ target covering 2mils on the reticle at whatever the power ring says, is going to be 100x. (that is to say ‘times’, not yards) If the ring says 10, then it’s 1000yds, right? Of course if it’s 1200 then we would know the reticle is based on 12x. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to go to my impromptu range with a 100′ tape measure, but that’s what it looks like. It’s only flat out to 200yds, so I promise not to use a 6′ person for a target! 😉 I think we are saying the same thing here, aren’t we?


        • Is mil-dot ranging even usable at pellet distances…

          Using the extremes for body length shown at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_squirrel (I’m using them because they are the type that feast on spilled seeds from the bird feeders in my parent’s back yard), and taking using 30 yards as the limit for hunting distance [these are rather large critters]…

          A 10″ body (subtracting the tail length) with a 10X scope would span

          (10/36) / m * 1000 = 30
          (10 / 36) * 1000 = 30m
          (10 / 36) * 1000 / 30 = m
          (10 / 36) * 100 / 3 = m

          m = 9.25 mil dots

          On a common * * * * + * * * * reticle, that basically means the squirrel body spans the whole width of the dots (less the side posts on the cross hairs).

          Lets work the other direction, and assume 9 mil-dot span.

          (10 / 36) / 9 * 1000 => 30.86 yards for the small squirrel.
          (14 / 36) / 9 * 1000 => 43.21 yards for the larger squirrel

          So, for the range in size of fox squirrels (where the large ones are 40% longer than the smaller ones), at air gun distances, one could have 13 yard spread of distances using mil-dot ranging. IOW, if the “common” fox squirrel in one’s area tends to the small size, and one is comfortable with a 30 yard shoot — encountering a solitary large one and ranging via mil-dots will likely result in a miss, or a non-immediately fatal hit (and maybe not even fatal at all). {I’ll concede that, for a given locale, most of the adult fox squirrels will probably be similar sizes — but one would have to learn just what that typical size is to use mil-dot ranging. Coyotes don’t have a near 50% size variance, and ranging on them may be more useful}

          • Wulfraed (& Shakey),

            I didn’t do the math before I used the example of 6′ filling 2mils AND at 10 power. Thanks for checking me on that. I just wanted to know what the correct power for the Leapers reticle would be to do so. Check with ya later… I’ve got some math to do!!


          • Wulfraed,

            Ok, I did the math… I think I’m right. For example; there’s a 5′ 8″ man with 4″ of towel wrapped on his head, prone in the road, burying an IED. He’s filling 2 mil dots on the reticle and the scope is at power 10.

            6′ target = 2yds.
            2yds divided by 2mils equals 1.
            1 times 10 power = 10.
            10 times 100 = 1000yds.

            I don’t know what I missed, other than this is out of range for an airgun. If the same guy was planting an IED and taking up 4mils, he’d be ranged at 500 yds, right? If this was a 36″ coyote taking up 4 mils it would be ranged at 250yds. If the terrorist was taking up 2 mils and you had to adjust the power ring to 6.5 to fit, then he’d be at 650yds.

            6′ = 2yds
            2yds divide by 2 mils =1
            1x 6.5 power = 6.5
            6.5 x 100 = 650

            The only thing that changes is you’re not guessing the fraction of mil dot space being covered. I’m not taking anything away from you on your comment, just letting you know what’s in my head. The proper way to estimate range through the scope is the way you’ve laid it out, it’s by the book and more accurate, and it’s what I will be trying to grasp after 30+ years of forgetting it!


            • Forgot to mention that I was unable to go to range today to check the reticle against ranging math. I’m pretty sure I will figure it out with the formula you gave me.


              • I’d suggest picking something that spans many dots (to reduce error within dots — if using a single span, and your end point is a 1/4 dot off, the end error is much bigger than if you spanned 9 dots, and had a 1/4 dot error)

                You could probably use a spreadsheet with the equation to build your own table…

                Oh, and may be able to test at shorter ranges… say 25 yards…

                (x / 36) / 9 *1000 = 25
                (x / 36) / 9 = (25 / 1000)
                x / 36 = (25 / 1000) * 9
                x = (25 / 1000) * 9 * 36

                If I did this correctly, at 25 yards, an 8.1″ target should span 9 mil-dots. (four dots each side of center), presuming the unity is 10X on the scope (and at 12.5 yards, a 4.05″ target should fit the 9 dots).

                The calculations I performed assume the calibration point is the scope power at which the power-factor becomes a multiplier of 1 (hence drops out). Full equation again:

                (target_width / mil_dots_spanned) * 1000 * (scope_power / calibration_power) = distance [in target_width units]

                A can of Green Giant “MexiCorn” is 3.5″ tall…

                (3.5 / 36) / 9 *1000 = x

                So… if the can fits 9 mil-dots the distance would be 10.8 yards (388.888888889 inches)…

                With the can at 10.8 yards, adjust the scope power to fit the 9 mil-dots; if it isn’t 10X it would imply you have a uncommon calibration value… a 3-9X scope (as one of mine) probably uses 9X as the calibration value (but… may still use 10X as unity meaning one MUST multiply the pre-distance by 0.9 when using max power). {and I just got confusing there}

                • Wulfraed,

                  I follow you. It’s funny you mention a food can, as I have one the same size ready for the range.
                  Yes, I was planing on using several ranges. I also have targets that measure 6′, 4′, 3′, 9″, 3.5″. The 3′ one is marked for smaller sizes too, 30″, 24″, 20″. With my recent budget of $0.00, I can’t go shopping on ‘Black Friday’, so, it looks like Friday for the range. I did this a few years back but couldn’t get a grasp on the math for some reason. Thanks for input!


                • Wulfraed,

                  I follow you. It’s funny you mention a food can, as I have one the same size ready for the range.
                  Yes, I was planing on using several ranges. I also have targets that measure 6′, 4′, 3′, 9″, 3.5″. The 3′ one is marked for smaller sizes too, 30″, 24″, 20″. With my recent budget of $0.00, I can’t go shopping on ‘Black Friday’, so, it looks like Friday for the range. I did this a few years back but couldn’t get a grasp on the math for some reason. Thanks for input!


      • Wulfraed,

        FYI, I got a response from Leapers today on the reticle question. Thank you for contacting us with your question, in general:

        1. For scope with magnification larger than 10X, it will require to set at 10X to use the provided referenced mil-dot chart for range estimating.

        2. For scope with magnification less than 10X, it will require to set at highest power to use the provided referenced mil-dot chart for range estimating.

        3. No matter it is a 6-dot or a 9-dot rectile, the fundamental of Mil-dot is at the standard:

        ARMY: 1 mil = 3.53” at 100 yards, when scope set at 10X

        USMC: 1 mil = 3.6” at 100 yards, when scope set at 10X

        4. Leapers optics follow USMC standard which is easier to operate on field.

        5. Considering the reading tolerance, follow either standard would probably be accurate enough to use the ballistic program you mentioned.

        6. Please be aware that above data are based on 10X. If a scope does not offer a 10X setting, you would need to factor in the magnification difference. For example, a 4X scope with USMC mil-dot reticle would have to use formula as below,

        1 mil=3.6”x d, where d=10X/4X

        As long as the center to center distance between two adjacent dots on the reticle follow either standard, I believe you should be able to run the ballistic program unless it has a unique requirement.

        Hope this information help. Thanks,

        So, I guess 10x it is…


  19. Hi guys !
    Greetings from Vukovar Croatia 🙂 !I have a question for all of you knowledgeable owners of Disco -what do you guys think about Benjamin Discovery i am still not sure about “the dark side ” 😉 ?
    Slinging Lead – are you still satisfied with your Slavia , do you have any new rifles in your arsenal 🙂 !?

    • Hey Milan, glad to see you here! How are you doing?
      Do you have any news from Rickib? I tried emailing him a few times but got no answer 🙁

      I recently made the cross to the dark side with a Hatsan AT-44 10 shot repeater and I LOVE IT, the dark side is awesome, my rifle is a detuned for Canada model so I have to pump it around once for each shot I make so after 60 shots the pumping to get it back to 200 bar/2900 psi isn’t that bad at all, if it was full power, it woupd dump more air with each shot and I would have a lot less shot per fill and I would go straight to a scuba set up, the disco being 2000psi it’s probably easier to pump.

      Glad to see you back 😀


    • Milan,

      I wasn’t going to comment until someone else did, because the Discovery was my baby. I took the design concept to Crosman and after they understood my concept they prototyped it in a couple days.

      When I went back to discuss the idea further, they showed me the prototype they had built from a 2260 (CO2 rifle). They did it in a couple days, as I said, but they wanted to see if it was actually possible to get high velocity from lower air pressure, because that was the foundation upon which the rifle was built.

      The idea was to make a precharged rifle that would be easy to pump. I knew the pumping is fairly easy until you get up past 2,000 psi, so I told them I thought they should target 1,800 psi as the max fill. They decided to go with 2,000 and it works very well. They were shocked to get 25 good shots from a 2,000 psi fill, but all they were doing was shifting the power curve to a lower pressure.

      They still got the same number of shots at the same power as they would have if the valve had been tuned for a 3,000 psi fill. I knew they would, because I had a .25-caliber rifle made by Gary Barnes that got 10 good shots on an 800 psi fill. It all hinges on how the valve is set up.

      I also owned a USFT rifle that got 55 powerful shots on a fill of 1,650 psi, so there was never any doubt this would succeed. But Crosman had never ventured into the world of PCPs beyond an unsuccessful attempt to import and rebadge some British PCPs that they really didn’t understand, so this was very thin ice in the beginning.

      I was asked by the CEO if I thought they could sell as many as a thousand rifles in the first year. I told him I thought with the right promotion they could sell as many as two thousand guns in the first year. They ended up selling eight thousand in the first year, and only stopped there because they ran out of time when the year ended.

      They had initially wanted to build something more like the Marauder, but I convinced them they needed to get their feet wet with a basic gun — the Discovery. They were glad they did it that way, because when they came out with the Marauder the next year they understood the manufacturing that was needed to make the more complex rifle.

      It seems strange, but there are a couple real airgunners in the Crosman staff. Ed Schultz, the head of engineering is one of them, and he is very easy to talk to, because he understands the technology very well. Contrast that with everyone at Gamo who behave as though they are selling motorcycles or Italian suits! They know nothing of airginning or what their customers want.

      I heard rumors last year that the Discovery was being discontinued, but I note that it is still being made. I think it must be hard to stop making a product that continues to sell so well. There will always be a need for a basic PCP like the Discovery, because firearm shooters are starting to discover airguns in a major way. We have at least 5 million active firearm shooters in this country, so airgunning is now experiencing a growth surge that it has never before seen. And the Discovery is one of those pivotal airguns that opened the doors.

      I predict that you will enjoy your Discovery.


      • I’m sure they could have sold a thousand in a year here if they would have detuned one for the Canadian market… Now with the quality and price we’re seing from Hatsan I’m not sure it could be possible. They would need to with the Trail NP sold 400$ in big box stores they would need to force them to a price because the stores would try to sell it way too high.


      • That’s great history to learn, thanks for that. I have to admit, I’m right from what is said here. I shot an airgun as a child, but then went to firearms as an adult. When I learned about the Discovery, all that changed. Such a quality airgun available at such a good price – it brought me back. It hooked me on airgunning, no more trips down to the range. Well, ok… It goes to the range right next to my firearms. It also goes into my woods, unlike my firearms. I purchased a Maruader, but couldn’t get it to group as tightly as my Discovery, and sold it (keeping the Discovery). It is my all time favorite field gun, my only gripe is that it’s loud. It has character, feel, charm… it isn’t an appliance. I can’t say more good about the Discovery, and being able to easily hand pump it lets many enter the PCP range without major expense. I think it is ideal in all ways (except noise).

  20. Hi guys !
    I am still here but more like a lurker 😉 !I have a question for all of you Disco owners or other knowledgeable guys -here it is -is it any good- i am considering to buy Benjamin Discovery so yeah i am ready for “the dark side ” 😉
    Slinging Lead -are you satisfied with your Slavia and do you have any new rifles in your arsenal 🙂 !?
    Greetings from Vukovar Croatia !

    • Milan

      It is great to see you back on the blog. Lurk all you want, but pop your head out and say hello sometimes. 😉

      I happen to have a Benjamin Discovery, or at least Mrs Slinging Lead does, hee hee. 😀 , and she likes it almost as much as I do! It is an outstanding gun. You can run it on CO2 or air! and you don’t have to put as much air in it as most PCPs. It is light enough to carry hunting or plinking all day. The trigger can be made to feel very crisp with a little tinkering that you could easily handle. If I had to do it over again, I would have bought two instead of one. It is very accurate and I think you will like it. It is very easy to fill with the pump. Are you buying the combo with the pump included? Or do you have another air source?

      I still have the Slavia 631, and I found a guy here that was selling 634s, so I bought one of those. Oh, and I bought a CZ 200S a while back. I love those Czech guns!

  21. I had some problems with sending messages so now i have sent questions on three places instead one -sorry guys 🙂 !
    J-F -thank you for your warm welcome man 🙂 ,Dave -Hi !Thank you for news about Rikib !Rikib get well soon buddy !
    B.B. HI !Thank you for explanation and Discovery rifle i think i’ll buy it 😉 ,Kid Again -hi man thank you:)
    Slinging Lead – Hi man 🙂 !Did you make a “beer can tune”on your 634 ?

  22. Howdy Pards, Looking at tyhe dates of the above replies I have to wonder if anyone will ever read this, but, what the heck! ! ! I guess you can tell by my name that one of my “look alikes is the Daisy Model 1894 – any variation, but the octagonal barrel, they made for Sears, is the top favorite of all of them! And some more of my favorites is the Pioneer BB 76, made by Ultra-Hi. I don’t know how in the world I missed them for so long, but I never heard of them until in the early 90’s. I bought the first one I ever saw, but there were so many problems with it, I didn’t pay that much attention to some others I saw – Not until I got that first one shootin’ right – then I started looking for them and bought every one I could. Still, I didn’t go after the new, boxed ones, like a dummy, until I noticed they just weren’t coming up for sale very often anymore! No question, there are smarter people on this earth on this earth than this jughead ! ! My other favorites are the Hahn “45”, BB SA Revolver, and, of course the Daisy Double Barrels. I collect, buy, sell, repair, and restore these great guns, but prefer to work on my “Favorites”, as mentioned. You can call me at 541-671=7887, if you need help with yours, and I’ll give you an estimate on the repair, as to time and cost. OR, if you have one of my Favorites for sale be sure to call and tell me what it takes to buy it! Be realistic about it, and I will, no doubt, buy it from you! Yours for more Airgun Fun – Cowboy

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