2011 Christmas gift ideas
by B.B. Pelletier
This is a report I do every year to help wives and friends of airgunners with gift suggestions. There have been a lot of exciting new guns this year, and I’ll mention the ones I would pick, as well as a couple classics.
Dan Wesson revolver
One of the hottest, most desirable new guns is the Dan Wesson revolver. I’ve reported on the one that has an 8-inch barrel, but there are also revolvers with 6-inch, 4-inch and 2.5-inch barrels. These guns have the same mechanism and operate the same, but there are finish and slight design differences. Also, the shorter the barrel, the slower the velocity. They’re all priced the same, so ask your airgunner what he or she likes best and go for it. I haven’t seen a BB revolver this nice — ever! Be sure to also buy lots of CO2 cartridges and Daisy zinc-plated BBs so the fun will last. If your shooter doesn’t have a BB trap (a metal pellet trap will NOT work safely), get the Crosman 850/852 BB/pellet trap.
Crosman M4-177 multi-pump rifle
This is another new airgun that’s been a real doorbuster at Pyramyd Air this year. Crosman’s M4-177 multi-pump pneumatic rifle is based on their classic model 760 Pumpmaster; but unlike that gun, this one features a rifled barrel. When I tested it a week ago, it was surprisingly accurate with lead pellets. It’s also good with steel BBs, but BBs are never as accurate as pellets. Like the Dan Wesson revolvers, the M4 is selling fast, so order soon to ensure you get one in time for the holidays. Keep in mind that the gun you’ll get will be marked M417, which was the original name. Beginning in January, Crosman will start shipping guns marked M4-177, making the M417-marked guns collector items.
Beeman P17 pistol
The Beeman P17 pistol is a classic! It’s a Chinese copy of the German-made Beeman P3 pistol, but in all our testing, this one has proven to be just as accurate and powerful. The price is incredible for what you get. I’ve owned two and find them stunning in performance. If your airgunner is a target shooter or just likes to plink in the yard, here’s a gun for under $40 that will thrill everyone who shoots it.
Air Venturi Bronco
The three guns listed so far are ideal for use in the house, as long as there’s a safe range. They’re relatively quiet, and their power is suited to target shooting at close range. There’s one more pellet rifle to add to this list, and that’s the Bronco from Air Venturi. It’s super-accurate, quiet, easy to cock and built for older youth and adults, alike. The straight comb of the Western-style stock makes sighting with the open sights a breeze because the rifle comes up so naturally. The Bronco is one of those “heirloom” airguns that your kids will hand down to their grandchildren in time, yet it’s surprisingly affordable. There isn’t a spring-piston air rifle at twice the price that’s as nice.
Non-airgun stuff that most airgunners need
If you really want to surprise your airgunner, give something unexpected. Most of us begrudge buying airgun accessories, yet we tend to use them for decades once we have them. By giving them as gifts, you overcome the shooter’s reluctance to treat himself to something he probably really needs.
All airgunners need a table, or what we call a bench, to support our rifles when we sight in. Most of us shoot off a bench more than any other way, and for those shooters this item is ideal. The MTM Case-Gard Predator shooting table is lightweight, sturdy and highly portable so your shooter can use it wherever he shoots. Indoors and out, this is a very handy accessory for the shooter who’s hard to satisfy.
The MTM Case Gard Predator rifle rest is one of the better deals in the non-airgun category. It’s priced for just a fraction of what rifle rests normally cost, yet I have found it works better than many rests costing $200 and up. It’s lightweight, highly portable, adjustable and easy to set up. The one thing it does not do is absorb recoil. If your shooter needs something to do that, this isn’t the rest to buy. But for all other rifle rest jobs, this is a good one.
Here’s an item that airgunners won’t usually buy for themselves, yet they all need one! It’s a pellet trap. There are many grades of pellet traps; but if you just want one trap that does it all, get this Champion heavy-duty metal trap. It’ll stop bullets from rimfire rifles that are far more powerful than the most powerful smallbore air rifle, so there’s absolutely no worries if your shooter uses a trap like this. I’ve shot through several lesser traps in my career, but my heavy duty metal trap has taken over a quarter million hits and still works like new. It was some of the best money I ever spent.
We always need those gifts that cost very little but mean a lot, and with airguns there are plenty of them. I’m not going to recommend pellets, because they need to be ordered by caliber, and it matters greatly from gun to gun what you use. So, pellets are best left to the airgunner to pick.
Can’t have too many targets. We need them for both rifles and pistols. There are different sizes for each because of accuracy and aiming issues. For air rifles, I like the Champion 12-bull air rifle target. They come in a pack of 100, but I cut them up with scissors and get many times the number of targets from a pack. For air pistols, I like the National Target single-bull air pistol target. I buy several packs of 100 at a time, because this is one of the most useful targets I have. I can also use them for air rifles out to 100 yards.
I also like the novel Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C targets that turn from black to green when hit. They are fun at close range for testing action pistols and at long range, where they show the hits more vividly than any other kind of target. They’re pricier than other kinds of targets but are excellent for rewarding yourself when you want to have extra fun at the range.
I like the Walther CSL50 rechargeable flashlight. It’s main value is that it lives in your car’s cigarette lighter, where it charges when the car is running (and doesn’t when your car is off) and is always there to grab. It’s bright enough for any task and probably the first thing you’ll reach for on that dark and stormy night when things go bad. You don’t even have to be an airgunner to want this one!
If you want a conventional tactical flashlight, try the Walther flashlight. It puts out 60 lumens of light, which is borderline for night defense, but it will turn night into day for anything you need. You can also inspect guns with this light. I even use one of similar brightness for “painting” my photos with light. It runs on 2 CR123A batteries and lasts a long time if used sparingly. I get about a year’s use from a set of batteries in mine. Again, this is a gift you can enjoy even if you’re not an airgunner.
I shouldn’t do this, but I also recommend the Walther black tactical folder. I like knives. Although this isn’t exactly my classic style, I got it because I couldn’t say no. It’s the coolest looking folding knife I own — and as a collector, I own quite a few folders. It just feels good and substantial in your hand; and if your airgunner likes knives, I think this one will please him or her.
Well, that’s my list for this year. Of course, there’s a lot more, but these are the things I think are universal enough to please even the most jaded airgunner. If you don’t have other ideas, this will give you a place to start.