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Ammo Pellet velocity versus accuracy test: Part 8

Pellet velocity versus accuracy test: Part 8

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Aaron Weinstein 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.

Aaron’s winning photo. He’s holding a GSG 92 CO2 BB pistol made by an airsoft manufacturer that now also produces realistic lookalike airguns.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

This is an exploration into the theory that high velocity reduces pellet accuracy when it reaches and exceeds the transonic speed region, or about Mach 0.8 to 1.2. We have thus far examined four different .177 pellets at three different speed levels, produced by shooting them in a Whiscombe JW75 spring rifle. Because all pellets have been fired in the same barrel and powered by the same powerplant, the conditions have remained the same, except for their velocities. That was altered by the use of air transfer ports of varying sizes, that passed the compressed air at differing rates.

In this fourth test, I’ll reduce the velocity of the four pellets even more, to as low as I am able to go with this rifle. Then, we’ll have four sets of groups to examine for each of the four pellets. While that isn’t enough testing to prove anything conclusively, it should provide a good indicator of what happens when pellets are both within and outside of the transonic velocity range. The current theory says that pellets are not designed for transonic or supersonic flight and will be less accurate at those speeds than they will at speeds that are less than transonic.

I’ll record the velocities of all four pellets today and then shoot them for accuracy in the next report. We’ll have at least one additional report in which all the results are compared and, to the extent possible, analyzed.

Pause to reflect
Before I start today’s test, I’d like to take a moment to reflect. Although what I’m doing seems normal, but in 50 years it may seem quite exotic. By using a handmade air rifle like the Whiscombe, it’s as if I were shopping for a violin on the streets of Cremona in 1710 and was able to sample the works of Antonio Stradivari as they came fresh from the maker’s hand. Or perhaps more to the point, as though I were able to buy a target rifle with all the supporting equipment directly from Harry Pope. From the accounts I’ve read, shooters who were able to do just that back in Pope’s time revered his rifles as much as today’s airgunners revere a Whiscombe.

What will readers of the future think about our familiar association with an airgun that, by then, will have assumed an elevated cult status? Indeed, it’s almost in that position today. It’s also the perfect tool for conducting the very experiment I’m now reporting, because it can do everything we need while avoiding bias.

Some readers have suggested that just the fact that it’s a Whiscombe brings bias to the table. They say that because this rifle is so well made, it doesn’t necessarily represent most airguns and may be able to tolerate and even ignore the physical constraints we’re testing. I disagree.

The most accurate rifle in the world is still subject to the laws of the physical world. A bullet or pellet in free ballistic flight doesn’t know or care what sent it on its way. If that projectile is unstable for any reason, it’s going to behave just like a top spinning on a flat table. It’ll wobble and move in the direction in which its instability forces.

In fact, because the Whiscombe is so accurate it should be even easier to see those natural laws in action — if they actually work the way we think they do — because the gun doesn’t have all the extraneous “noise” that normally accompanies a spring-piston airgun. By “noise,” I’m referring to the extra vibrations that influence a rougher gun at the moment of, and just after, firing.

Today’s test
The transfer port limiter I installed for this test is the same one that was in the rifle when it was sent to me. So, we should see a large drop in the velocities of all four pellets. Accuracy testing should then prove very interesting.

The first pellet tested was the Beeman Devastator. They averaged just 772 f.p.s. with this transfer port limiter. The spread went from a low of 767 to a high of 779 f.p.s., so 12-foot-seconds from low to high. At the average velocity, they were generating 9.4 foot-pounds. That’s a velocity loss of 200 f.p.s. from the last test, which should do something to the group size.

Next, I tried Crosman Premier lites. This 7.9-grain domed pellet was pretty accurate pellet in the last two tests, but this time the velocity dropped to an average of 732 f.p.s. That’s about 185 f.p.s. slower than last time. It will be very interesting to see what effect, if any, that has on their accuracy. The spread went from 726 to 736 f.p.s. and the muzzle energy was also 9.4 foot-pounds.

Next up were the most accurate pellets thus far — the Beeman Kodiaks. These averaged 658 f.p.s., with a spread from 655 to 661 f.p.s. That’s an extremely tight 6 foot-second difference between the slowest and fastest pellet in the ten-shot string! And they generated 10 foot-pounds on the nose! That’s more than the two lighter pellets, which isn’t supposed to happen in a spring-piston gun. But it’s exactly what happened last time, as well, so there is consistency.

The final pellet I shot was the heavy 16.1-grain Eun Jin dome. This pellet is really too heavy for the powerplant, when it is set at this level, but we want to see what happens to all pellets on all power settings, so we have to test this one, too. They averaged 501 f.p.s. and ranged from 499 to 504 f.p.s., a five foot-second difference. They weren’t too accurate last time, and I expect them to get worse this time. The muzzle energy was 8.98 foot-pounds, which puts it last in terms of power. That remains the same as it has been throughout this test.

This sets us up for the next accuracy test, which should be most interesting, given the great velocity reductions we’re seeing. But I wonder if people will accept the results, knowing that they were obtained with a Whiscombe. As I said in the beginning of this report, all I think the Whiscombe does is give us a clear picture of the results. But we shall see.

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.

147 thoughts on “Pellet velocity versus accuracy test: Part 8”

  1. B.B.,

    This test is groundbreaking, important and will be referenced for many years to come. Thanks.

    Prior to this exhaustive test, what barrel, which transfer port and what pellet was the ‘go to set up” in your Whiscombe JW75?

    Has this test proven another combination that’s better? I’m guessing that it hasn’t since you haven’t allowed the HOTS to enter into the equation.


      • Good one, BB! ” because I don’t use the Whiscombe that much”

        That’s what happens when you have 184.326 airguns in your closet….

        This is a valid test in my mind, and using the Whiscombe only reinforces that validity. I guess you could use something with a Theobin gas ram that you can vary the pressure in next time (if you or someone ever wanted to duplicate this experiment…), but I wonder if the velocity could be varied that much since the swept volume stays the same in those.


  2. Please be sure to include a top of the line wadcutter match pellet. RWS R-10 heavy and H&N Finale Match rifle are both fine. Use them at all distances, even if drag makes POI drop at long range. I think you could be surprised.


  3. Be sure to include a premium ten meter match wadcutter. Either the RWS R-10 or the H and N Finale Match should do it. Both is better, of course. Choose the ‘rifle’ weights, and be sure to test them at ten meters and ALL other distances. You could well get a surprise!


  4. Please stop using the newly-coined term “foot-second”! In science, that means feet x seconds, not feet divided by seconds. “Ft-lbs” is correct in that it does in fact mean feet x lbs.

    Please don’t let ease of writing come before correctness.



    PS – If you are searching for a more readable/writable way to present this data, I suggest following protocol used in scientific papers. If this were a scientific paper, you would probably not write f.p.s. as often as occurs in this blog. Likely, the term would be fps, and once you introduce it, in a sentence at least, you would not need to repeat it. e.g. – The xyz rifle shot this pellet at 758 to 768 fps, resulting in an extreme spread of 10 and a standard deviation of 1.7.

    That’s what I would do in order to make it more readable (and writable!)

    Thanks for all your great work.

  5. Morning B.B.,

    To anyone who would say that your Whiscombe is “too good” for this test, I say balderdash–would you prefer a cavity in one of your teeth drilled out by an old fashion cable driven drill burr or the modern high speed water turbine driven burr?

    Please get to part 9 ASAP!


  6. Please stop using the term foot-seconds as it is completely incorrect in this context. That term means feet multiplied by seconds, not feet divided by seconds.

    Foot-lbs is, in this context, correct, and does not mean or need to mean feet divided by pounds.

    I feel it is important to say this, because you are very influential in that many many airgunners read your daily blog, and I would hate to see this incorrect terminology creep into our venacular.

    Thanks for all your great work.


    PS – In order to write in a more readable/writable fashion, which I believe you are seeking to do, I recommend following protocol that would be used in a scientific paper. In this case, f.p.s. would become fps and would only be used once, after its initial introduction in a sentence. For example, you could write “XYZ airgun shot the CPL at 758 to 768 fps, with an extreme spread of 10 and a standard deviation of 1.7.”

    Hope that helps. Read your blog daily.

    • Your issue with the foot seconds deal reminds me of the folks who take other shooters to task for using the term “pump action” when referring to “pump” shotguns and rifles, and saying that they are actually slide actions. That may be true strictly speaking, but there is a common venacular among shooters and firearms enthusists that is culturally appealing and common. I think that BB and other interesting writers know that , and it is why they are so well liked and understood by other shooting and gun enthusists.

      • Robert, I can see that there are many times this kind of thing happens. In my mind, pump action vs. slide action is a good argument, but ultimately it’s just about the words used in the description.

        If we are going to use units of measurement, however, there are long-standing conventions that are used globablly and in all areas of science and engineering. Because of these, we all use the term ft-lb, and know what it means.

        To be honest, I have read this blog on and off for years, and have been reading firearms literature for decades, again, on and off, and this was the first time I ever came across this particular term. It surprised me, that’s all. I was just trying to be helpful, because I know Tom is all about providing information, not promoting confusion.

        Sorry all for the original double posting on this topic. Something went wrong and my original post didn’t show up right away.

        • MikeB,

          All your comments go straight to the spam folder. I don’t know why. The spam folder is an odd thing.

          Some other people have the same issues, while others have only some of their comments going to the spam folder. That’s why I monitor the blog comments every few minutes so I can pull the spam that manages to get posted and approve the legitimate comments that end up in the spam folder.


          • It sounds like this blog is a lot of hard work!

            I’ve got a (boring) blog going but just like 99% of the Internet, hardly anyone reads it, and most are telling me they can’t comment at all.

            As I like to say, the Internet is becoming less interconnected, and less of a network of two-way communication.

            When it’s gone, this site will be something I will always remember as one of its brightest spots.

            • Right, the attrition rate for blogs and websites generally would make small business look like a sure thing. This blog must be in the top 1% or .5% of its kind. 🙂


              • I agree, this site is an example of how the Internet should work, and yet look at the extreme effort Edith and B.B. have to put in, daily, for many hours, to make a basic site like this work.

                I forecast that in 10 years, the Internet is going to be like Pac-Man, “Hey remember that thing….?”

                • I don’t think internet is going anywhere, it won’t be gone in 10 (or 20) years.

                  Television is still here, Movie theatres are still here, radio is still here and PacMan may be gone but the medium is stronger than ever, video games have evolve into awesome thing with incredible graphics and terrain you can explore and play with but they’re far from being gone.

                  When TV appeared radio was supposed to die and it was supposed to die again when satelite radio came in and again with the MP3 players… Yet I listen to radio every day while i drive and when I’m at work.

                  Same thing with movie theaters, when VHS and Beta started… Then when DVD’s and internet appeared, yet we now have MEGA theaters with 15 different movies playing at the same time on different screens in 3D.

                  Internet may change but with cellphones coming into play now it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.
                  The next step (and it’s already starting) is bringing all of these together.


  7. BB,
    I agree that your Whiscombe is not “to good” for this test. However there seems to be a lot of people that believe that twist rate and number of lands combined with velocity have much to do with accuracy. Out of curiosity would you happen to know what the twist rate and number of lands of your .177 barrel?

    • caveman,

      The twist rate is 1:16″, which is common among most airguns.

      Dennis Quackenbush is making me a set of barrels with different twist rates so I can test exactly what you are referring to, but in my experience, the diabolo pellet shape trumps twist rate.


  8. I have had the opportunity to shoot several different Whiscombe rifles, 50s through 80s. My favorite was a 50 tilt barrel. I have to admit though that I just never warmed up to these rifles. I don’t care for the looks, the heavy weight, or the multiple cocking strokes. Also, a friend had three of them have mechanical failures and each had to be sent overseas for repairs. I have to wonder how repairs like these will be handled in the future.

    For this test what you want is to take the rifle out of the equation and the Whiscombe is very good for this. The Whiscombe’s counterbalanced pistons reduce vibration to near PCP levels. The thing this test cannot account for individual gun pellet preference. I don’t know how much this will influence the results. I cannot think of any way to eliminate this problem.

    Have a good weekend everyone,

    David Enoch

    David Enoch

    • Interesting point David.Maybe if I send BB my .177 barrel it would offer further perspective.That is something I would happily do,but I don’t think BB needs my help filling his calender! 🙂

  9. Pyramyd AIR has lowered the price on the Gamo Big Cat 1250 (.177 & .22 calibers) for this weekend. Plus, they’ve increased the discount on their large pre-packaged deal by more than 2 times the regular discount.

    Personally, I was stunned at the price reduction (cause it was already pretty low) and then completely floored when they made the huge increase to the pre-packaged deal discount. If you’re interested or need to buy an airgunner a gift, here’s the link:


    From there, you can click on the link for the pre-packaged deal.

    The reduced prices and big discount on the pre-packaged deal are good thru next Monday. After that, you’ll pay more!


  10. B.B.

    I read all the posts carefully and write down every piece of data and try to predict the results of this test as I’m building a sort of statistics.
    Not long ago I realized that there must be another variable in this equation – distance. I suspect (I feel) that there’s a certain distance past the muzzle where pellet starts to tumble as spin/speed proportion pass down below some certain number.
    I noticed that some rifles (springers, I always mean springers) are dead accurate @ 25 m, but start to miss wildly @ 50 out of proportion to average “cone” of deviations. Change of pellet type (read – speed and aerodynamics) sometimes cures this. Well, it is all just theory and I may be very wrong, as I didn’t have enough statistics to prove my observations.


    I wonder if some day I’ll be able to use my project rifle as a test platform like JWs 😉

    • duskwight,

      You’re right about stability being so “razor-edged”. Especially in firearms. In schuetzen shooting where .28 to .38 caliber rifles shoot for the smallest groups they can make at 200 yards, if they see the hint of a tumbling bullet at 200 yards they will increase the powder charge by half a grain or so. That’s usually all it takes to shoot a ten-shot group that’s two inches or less. Yet at 300 yards the bullets from the same loads might spread out to 18 inches or more.

      With pellets, though I think it must be less well-defined. I think the high drag of the pellet keeps it stable longer than the rotational speed. I don’t know that, of course, I’m just guessing.

      A friend, Dennis Quackenbush, is going to rifle two barrels for me to test against a commercial barrel in a gun that allows barrel changing. I will test it out at least as far as 50 yards and hopefully we will see some differences.

      I bet the Duskcombe is a wonderful testbed. As the inventor I’m sure you will know how to reconfigure it to make anything you need.


      • B.B.

        So, as far as I got it Quackenbush barrels will have a different spin rates – one above and one below factory barrel’s? That would be really nice to have this kind of experiment.
        Just below Herb mentioned “helix” destabilisation pattern, it matches well with what I’ve read so maybe there’s no “tumble” moment like the bullet but a time of “helix” – pellet still travels head wise towards the target, but makes an ever-increasing circular movement around the main line of its flight if we look towards the shooter. That fits quite well both with drag-stabilisation (head towards target) and over-spin that Herb mentioned.
        Anyway, I’m not much in physics and it’s all just my musings (ravings? 🙂 )


        • duskwight,

          Yes, that is how the twist rate experiment will go. I will use a factory barrel to establish accuracy for the gun, then switch to a barrel with a slower twist and do the same. Then I’ll try a faster twist barrel.

          I’m thinking that I will try my darndest to get the most accuracy from every barrel. If that means using different pellets or a different power setting for each barrel, so be it. The only thing that will remain the same for all three barrels is the distance. I’m thinking 50 yards. This will probably take a while to conduct all the shooting required to get conclusive results.

          As far as the helical pellet flight, I have seen it through the scope many times. I have always called it a spiral, but you can definitely see the pellet move in a circle in the same direction as the direction of the rifling.


          • BB,

            In the video link I posted below, it sure looks like to me that the pellets are flying in a counter-clockwise helix (spiral).

            Given both have a right hand twist, bullets and pellets would be different. Bullets would fly in clockwise helix, pellets would fly in counter-clockwise helix. Bullets have center of pressure (CoP) in front of center of gravity (CoG), but pellets have CoG in front of CoP.


    • duskwight,

      I have noticed the same thing with a scoped IZH-46M. At 25 yards the best pellet will group around .3 inches (8mm) c-t-c. At 50 yards the same pellet will not group under 2 inches (50mm), even with no wind. Given the low muzzle velocity, the pellet is traveling under 300 fps for a good part of the way.


    • RE: Pellets & distance

      Yrrah (Harry) on the yellow proposed that it isn’t IF, but at what distance a pellet will start to become unstable and fly in a chaotic helix. His point was that spin (rev/sec) doesn’t slow like forward velocity (ft/sec), so you get to some point down range where the pellet is over-spun and starts to yaw greatly. Makes sense to me.

      You obviously could over-spin a pellet at 10 yards too, but that would either take a barrel with a very high twist rate, OR a great velocity. BB’s data suggests that going over sound barrier isn’t necessarily a show stopper.

      I’d now guess going super-sonic is a particular problem for pellet because you create so much spin (rev/sec). Remember that BC isn’t really a constant. So as you get near speed of sound BC goes down. So the pellet’s forward velocity slows more per foot of range that if the pellet was shot sub-sonic.

      What we don’t have is a good way to estimate when a pellet is over-spun. If we plot spin vs velocity we should be able to determine two regions, one stable and one unstable. It would seem that the higher the velocity, the higher the spin rate could be yet have the pellet stable. So it would seem that there would be some sort of curve which would define the two regions.

      Note of course that you don’t have to spin a pellet at all not to get it to tumble. With a pellet flying in a helix then the group size isn’t geometrically proportional to distance. So the “instability” mode for a pellet is flying in a helix, not tumbling.


      • Herb

        Wish I could have a 3-accelerometer and transmitter assembly small and light enough to be shot as a pellet 🙂 And yes, you’re right about helix – some time ago I’ve read some observations on that helix trajectory and that describes sudden decrease in accuracy quite well.


        • Duskwight,

          How about video? below is a link to Harry’s video. The Gamo’s are Pellet B. They fly OK for about 40 yards then start to fly in a helix for the last 30 yards or so. the video was taken at 600 frames per second (fps), then played at 30 fps.


          I’ve tried to convince the guys to mount the camera on a spotting scope above the rifle to remove all the shaking.

          • Herb,

            Wow, that’s some video!
            I think a good way to enhance it is to get some “grid” lighting over the scene, so it could work like stroboscope. Ok, anyway, that’s great vid anyway.
            Did they try to play with distance or to measure/change speeds? Guess Condor would be perfect for that task.


            • I don’t remember the rifle that Harry used, but I don’t remember it being particularly adjustable for muzzle velocity. The distance was 70 yards, but Harry has shot pellets out to 200 yards. He is very interested in long distance shooting.

              Since the video was shot outside in daylight spectroscopic lighting would be impossible. (You’d need dark between strobes.) You couldn’t see anything if you were trying to film the pellet perpendicular to its path without spectroscopic lighting if you were shooting at only 600 frames per sec (fps). The rather low speed (600 fps) works because the precession rate is slow, and the filming is being done from behind the pellet.

              Harry didn’t bother with timing, but you could from the video itself. Working backwards from the impact time, and knowing the muzzle velocity and BC would get you in the ballpark of the distance downrange where the pellet starts to fly in a helix.


    • Duskwight, that is a good point in concept, but it does challenge our long-held belief that pellet behavior, specifically the degradation of accuracy, follows a similar pattern. In other words, pellets start out accurate then lose accuracy. I don’t believe that we’ve come up with a mechanism whereby pellets can increase accuracy at some point distant from the barrel. Even if they did, we would never know because their accuracy would begin randomly when the pellet is in some orientation different from optimal (otherwise they would be accurate from the start), so their straighter line of travel could be aimed in any direction the pellet might happen to be. So, I’m guessing that while accuracy may degrade faster or slower, you won’t have accuracy sweet spots at different distances to complicate the results. But, that’s why we have experimental testing. 🙂


      • Matt,

        The only thing I noticed for accuracy (in “minus shooter” situation, which means “past the barrel”) is decrease. However, it foolows a certain graph – well, thinking right now I suspect that it looks as a sort of parabola branch, as pellet speed follows this graph – with the area (not point) where it drops down so rapidly that the observer can see a sort of blowout instability. Well, it’s just my musings.
        And right – we must experiment 🙂


  11. B.B., I think you’re on strong ground with the Whiscombe. It’s accuracy will only serve to isolate the experimental variable of velocity rather than introducing some new and irreproducible element.

    Mike, yes, the cases and primers popping out was an unpleasant surprise. However, it’s not a question of a shellholder because there really isn’t one with my revolutionary new handprimer from RCBS. Instead, there are spring loaded jaws that snap shut on the case, sort of like one size fits all. It takes a fair amount of pressure to force the case in from the side. What I realized was that I was applying it a little too much pressure and forcing the case all the way through to the point where it was slightly out of position. I will be watching this carefully in the future I can tell you. Overall, I’m still pleased with the hand primer. The primers are embedded into a plastic strip which is then fed into the tool. Each hand press advances the strip and seats the primer in the case. I can pretend I’m firing a machine gun! Or I can pretend that I’m a protein processing a strand of DNA one molecule at a time. I understand this process takes place incredibly fast like 60 per second.

    Kevin, got your email. The scan is forthcoming.

    Say, I’m wondering if anyone has information on the importance of how many rifling grooves there are in a barrel. I hear of 2 and 4 grooves. What’s the difference? I tend to think that more grooves are better and give you more grip on the projectile, but that’s just a guess.

    In Hawaii, the big wave surfers say that once you surf a big wave, the thrill is such that nothing can go wrong with the rest of your day. I’ve found that true of the three dots I shoot at each night–10 rounds per dot. There was high drama the other day. I started slow on the first dot. Came on strong for number two. On number three, I was doing great when I threw out number 9. Arggghhhh! But then for number 10, I stopped struggling and just floated. Then the water began singing with energy. I felt an immense presence. And then CHOMP–the Jaws of the Subconscious and a dead center shot. (Okay, I got that last part out of a romance novel about which I will say no more. :-))


    • Matt,

      Belt fed DNA factories! I saw that video in a lecture series that my wife got from the library.

      Not sure about those jaws. Sounds dangerous to me. Probably lose a finger our two….


    • Matt : I have two Springfield .30-06s. One is a Smith Corona with 4 grooves and one is a Remington with 2 groove barrel. Both are A3-03’s . I see no difference in accuracy between the two that can be attributed to the number of grooves.

        • BB: You made me pull out my copy of “The Springfield 1903 Rifles” by Lt Col. William S. Brophy,USAR, Stackpole Books, copywrite 1985, ISBN 0-8117-0872-1. In it on page 190, he inditcates that that was indeed the case. He also says that some Smith Corona barrels were six groove and manufactured by High Standard . There were no 2-groove High standard, Springfield armory, Rock Island Armory, or Sedgley barrels made. Remington produced both 2 and 4 groove barrels in 1903A3 and 1903A4 barrels during the same period. It was strictly a cost cutting measure that didn’t affect accuracy in practical use. There you have my gun triva contribution for the day! BTW, I once handled a Sedgley Springfield and it was heavy for a sporter ,but it was superb otherwise.

          • Robert,

            Regarding the weight of the Sedgley sporter, remember my remark about the weight of sporting rifles of a century ago? I think most readers thought I was mistaken about that but were too polite to comment. Yes, Winchester 1894s and Savage 99s are lighter, but there were also many rifles that were not. The Sedgely is one of them. Heck, even a Marlin 1881 lever-action will top ten pounds, I think.

            Pick up a Winchester 1907 sometime. While it’s not a ten-pounder, the darn little carbine is a real boat anchor! They say it was the inspiration for the M1 Carbine, but if so they had to lose three pounds before proceeding. And I have a custom Schmidt Rubin sporter that goes 9.5 lbs. if it’s a ounce!

            I just got an 03-A3 from Mac that’s a Remington with a 4-groove barrel. I have never seen a 1903-based rifle that was as accurate as this one! I think with the right rounds I can shoot a one-inch group at 100 yards with open sights with it.

            All my youth I denigrated the 03-A3 because of the stamped parts. If only I had known what beautiful rifles they really are!


            • BB: You got that right, the Sedgely must have weighed 12 pounds with the 4x Leupold scope it wore. My Remington came to me sporterized with a Lyman receiver sight and a full length stock. It is also very accurate, and surprisingly it will shoot the .32 acp pistol cartridge in a MCA adapter to the same point of impact that the full power loads do at 25 yards. Never had one stick in the bore either, despite my in inital misgivings . The Smith Corona was the first center fire gun that I bought . It is also very accurate and came with a (NRA style) home sporterized military stock. It cost me like $75 back in the day (1975 I think). I re-stocked it with a Rienhart Fagens sporter stock years ago , and bought a milled trigger guard for it . It is stock military otherwise, and could go back there anytime as I have the parts. Never found the reason to change the excellent receiver sight the the Smith Corona wears as a battle sight. My old man taught both my brother and I to shoot with his DCM 1903 Springfield and DCM AP surplus .30-06 ammo when we were just little boys. Turned my shoulder blue but I loved that old gun.

      • I know virtually nothing about gun barrels, but I would imagine that the difference between 2 versus 4 grooves would have to be correspondingly offset by the twist rate. One way that I might analyze this is by considering what would be wrong with going with, say, 8 grooves, aside from surface area? Imagine a large enough bore where there was enough surface area so that either could be used. I would imagine that 8 would be better for a particular number of grains and a certain twist rate.

        But more lands and grooves means more surface area, which means more friction. Of course, you need friction to cause the desired spin needed to stabilize the projectile. Fewer grooves would likely need a higher twist rate which, again, would introduced a desired friction. So there must be some trade-off as to whether you use 2 or 4 grooves. Could the trade-off be driven by manufacturer costs? Don’t know?

        Just thinking out loud. 🙂

    • Well, that explains it. It would seem that RCBS hasn’t got all the bugs out of that system. I use the Lee primer. Simple but effective. It works with all brands of primers, the tray will hold 100. No need for the “strip”.


  12. The idiocy continues!!!

    I decided to try a “patched bullet” approach to my idiotic quest to shoot .22 pellets out of my Ruger Single-Six.

    I took the paper sleeve from a soda straw, obtained at my local greasy spoon, and cut squares. Then I took the .22lr cylinder and put a patch, then .22 pellet, into each chamber. It takes some wiggling and then they go in firmly. Then into the gun and followed each with primed .22 “Remington Golden Bullet” 550-pack rounds. Then tried it out on an aluminum cat food can at 5-6 yards, hit it every time, once I figured out the gun needs a “12 O’clock hold” for this, got the last two dead-center.

    No gun jams, decent velocity according to the ol’ ear-chronometer, will ruin a starling’s day. A little loud, too. Considering it’s just primer. My earlier tests used CB Long primed brass and that was very quiet, but also seemed to be very slow. This particular brass may yield good results out of a longer barrel, although with my bolt action and my lever action rifles, loading involves tweezers and the “patch” may make it effectively not feasable.

    I should mention that I bought the 550-round promo pack for stupid stuff like this, being a bit of an ammo snob, I’d normally not buy it.

    The idea of using a soda-straw paper cover came when I was thinking about how a buddy of mine told me he used to have friends saving ’em in high school, because they made good fuse paper.

    • OK what I mean is, I’m using just the primed brass, pull the bullet and dump out the powder.

      The square of straw-wrapper is put over the chamber hole, the pellet inserted so it pushes that in. It’s a nice firm fit. Then I stick the primed brass in.

      This seems to have solved the loose-fit problem and no Cream Of Wheat needed 😉

          • I have some of those around here somewhere. The heads are so small I could probably use them in my Sheridan. Worthless for any of my .22 guns.

            The .177 Daisys are also seriously undersize. Also worthless.


            • Interesting!

              I can get RWS etc. pellets also, very high-priced out here of course. To give you an idea of the remoteness, I’m about 30 miles from Google and it often takes minutes to load, and I’d borrowed the car yesterday and was out doing errands, came back when it was dark and found myself wishing people’d put reflectors on their horses!

    • Yeow, I’ll give you credit for having the guts and know-how to even attempt this, but I wince to think of what that marvelous weapon might be going through. I paid over $600 out the door for mine including the outrageous tax and transfer fees in California, but boy was it worth it. It is unsurpassed for shooting enjoyment. The near target-grade chambering has trouble with anything other than match ammo, so I use only Wolf Target Match. Take care of that gun and yourself too during this experiment.


      • You have a Single-Six also? I find it’s a pretty nice gun. Nice trigger. But what can go wrong? It’s just the priming compound alone, and a pellet.

        I’m sad to say I didn’t do any more research today, I got all wound up in the idea of making and selling wreaths, and it turns out that between the time making ’em, and the time selling ’em, I’d be making $2-$3 an hour. Now, $2-$3 an hour isn’t bad pay in this Depression but I can make $2-$3 an hour playing street music and I like that more.

        I felt kind of frustrated so I got involved sorting out a big tub of “stuff” that’s part of the even bigger pile of “stuff” I’ve recently acquired, and used up the rest of the daylight.

      • Matt I should add, my Single-Six cost me about $500, I had to take a silly test (aced it) to get a “gun buying card”, the price on the gun was $450 and it was used but really minty, has both cylinders and wooden grips as opposed to the now-standard plastic jobs.

        I’ve got a holster I ordered from Ruger, haven’t tried it out yet. Looks like a good one though.

        I have 3 types of .22 pellets, I’m thinking of doing some testing for accuracy, maybe what they do on the ‘soft pine chronograph’, do some sort of a write-up, and put it on my excessively boring blog. If more than 5 people read that thing, Nytol sales would plummet. http://alexswoodshed.blogspot.com I believe but ….. I warned y’all.

        • flobert,
          Very well writen blog. I can’t figure you out and maybe that’s what you’re after. You must be happy and doing what you like because you certainly have the aptitude for more. BTW, you only have to beat the store prices by a couple dollars to make your wreaths attractive to shoppers and the resulting $8/hr seems reasonable: You are saving customers gas money, no waiting in line, and the inconvenience of hauling the wreath out of the store. I’d love to see a video of you riding a bicycle down the street with 30 wreaths attached.

          • Well, the blog’s got to be confusing as hell, for one it’s inspired by http://daniels-new-blog.blogspot.com who’s a street musician, and I thought the *only* money-making thing I’d be able to do for about the next 5 months would be to make and sell and play, flutes made out of PVC and other materials. So, it was going to be devoted to my flutes, playing ’em, my experiences busking with ’em, etc. Then I get the bright idea that if I make a rediculous offer for this huge pile of test equipment this place locally has, that I could borrow the money to buy the stuff, and sell it for several times what I pay. That, astoundingly, turned out to work! So then the flutes were set aside and I’ve been busy with that! Then, a friend calls and a circuit board contract he’s been talking about giving me for over a year, is actually becoming real. Then I figure I’ve got a couple of slack weeks, why not try doing wreaths? Well, I’ve concluded it would be an awful lot of actual work for little money, and I’ve got better ways to make serious money, and more fun ways to make piddly money. Plus, I’m not sure, but I might be allergic to the friggin’ pine needles! I was snorking and snuffling all day yesterday, it was awful. It finally stopped when I got away from the needles. I’m gonna rub and sniff some today and see if it make me all stuffed up, if it does than I’ll know for sure.

            Also, I live a rather rustic life – the life many of you will be in a few years, but you aren’t there yet. And there are all sorts of asides about how I live.

            The end result is the blog’s all over the place. Interesting to write, maybe, probably boring and confusing to read. I should actually have more than one blog. One devoted to the electronics, with an inventory of what I have. One on my various projects, stuff I build, experiment with, etc. And one devoted to the prepper way of life.

            Can’t say I didn’t warn you though!

              • Yeah it’s amazing. I’m not living in a teeny apartment where I have to be careful of everything I do, I have a lifetime’s experiences with interesting things, so I’ve developed interests, and I have free time. The result is ….. a confusing blog.

                • Sorry, I wan’t passing judgement. I didn’t mean to say your blog was confusing. It is slices of your life that you consider worthy of sharing and you do it well and with a sense of humor. What I meant was it is difficult to figure out who YOU are from your blog. I mean, the realms of wreath maker, busker, electronic component broker and circuit board maker are pretty radical, don’t you think? 🙂

                  • Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous. When I was 6 years old, I liked to do certain things: I liked to collect stuff, from nuts’n’bolts found on the road which fascinated me, to seashells. I also liked to make things. I was making or “inventing” stuff as far back as I can remember. And, I also liked “stuff that goes fast” whether I was on it, like a bicycle, or something that went fast on its own, like a toy airplane, stick that throws really good spear-style, etc. So, that developed into, I think, both my “motorcycle period” in my 20s, and my fascination with guns.

                    Frankly that blog is quite scattered. I was really only going to be about busking and various incidental things connected with that. There are not that many good, continuous, busking blogs online. Daniel’s stands out in this respect, and in fact I’ve decided I’m going to send him spare strings etc each month, a sort of care package, because he’s out there slogging away for comically small amounts of money. I imagine that could be me if I tried making a go of it as a busker *shudder*.

                    Just one blog about electronic/engineering equipment could be a lot of fun since there’s so much to write about.

                    • Hello Flobert. I was just reading your blog. Something like a daily diary. My daughter has kept one for years. I think this is a great way for people to comment on the times in which we live. Just think of the historical significance of the Diary’s of Samuel Peeps. His comment on the Black Plague in London really puts an “every man’s” view on the subject. So just keep it up. The readers will come. I, for one will visit you now and then. Now I know you have a blog.

            • Chuck and Titus: I just finished going through and taking the boring and stupid stuff out. It’s just about the DIY stuff I do now. Yes I kept the post about shooting pellets out of a Ruger Single-Six, now it’s Shooting Pellets Out Of a Ruger Single-Six Part 1 in fine B.B. style! Who knows how many parts I can stretch it out to! In fact, I was thinking of approaching B.B. about publishing it here, but, not only is it stupid and idiotic, it’s not an airgun!

              I’ve started another blog which will be about the technical equipment I seem to have fallen right back to making a living dealing in. So far it’s just a name and one post as a marker, but it’s probably going to get the most attention. My profile on there is probably going to be used to keep a current list of what I have. Then the blog posts will be how-to’s, discussions of various equipment, etc.

  13. OT…
    Well, they say one should always end on a high note…which means I’ve fired my last pellet tonight 😉
    Just kidding!!
    Our informal group (6 were there tonight)gets together every two weeks to shoot an abbreviated indoor match.
    Air rifle…20 shots in 30 minutes at 10m.
    Today I managed 20 10’s.
    Stood everyone for drinks at the local pub afterwords.

      • Thanks flobert. Yup, UIT target with an 853c (with a tuned trigger and upgraded diopter).
        Gotta admit, In our group I’m one of the better shooters…but last night there was definitely a lot of the planets being aligned and the gods/goddesses smiling.
        That was definitely out of the ordinary…but I’ll take it 😉

        • I take it you’re shooting standing, right? OK the UIT 10m air rifle is 60 shots standing. A world-class athlete will shoot that in the 590s. They are very happy to see 10-shot strings of 100. This is using the latest and greatest rifle, jacket, etc. We’re talking 5 grand worth of equipment.

          You should be able to get 99% of the way there with a decent jacket you buy off of someone, boots etc., and a Feinwerkbau 601 or 602. I saw one of those not long ago on Craig’s List for $800!

          The thing is, if you can shoot like that with that little low-velocity Daisy, you could probably make the national team if you wanted to. US team, who knows, but “national training team” yeah.

            • Thanks guys, but please, do not think this is how I normally shoot.
              An average night for me is more like 185/200. The only reason I posted this is because:
              a) I was really pleased
              b) because it’ll likely never happen again ;-(
              And truthfully I find that I’m probably at my limit. At 57 I find that after 20 shots I’m starting to physically tire. By shot 15 I’m finding I’ll find my hold is starting to waver and in the later shots I’ll have to sometimes lower the gun, take a couple of breaths and refocus/aim because.
              Also if I was a younger and didn’t have a family I might be able to dedicate the time/resources to actually competing on a serious level. But I had my family late, and let me tell you, at 57 an 8 & 10 year old can really wear you out 😉 😉 I manage to practice 3 times a week for about 1.5 hours, but in truth, as much as I love shooting, I love spending time doing things with my boys more 😉
              Especially when it includes airguns!!

    • CSD

      Seems to me that the other 5 should have been buying YOU drinks. I would have.

      Congratulations. That is really outstanding shooting. That would put a smile on my face for months.

  14. ComPLETEly off topic… just purchased a Chiappa 1911-22. Well, sorta bought it. It lives at the range/dealer and is all paid for, but I can’t bring it home until NJ goes through the paperwork and gives me permission to take ownership.

    Shoots pretty well. Almost no recoil – seriously, it’s not much different from shooting a blowback airsoft! Had the occasional stovepipe or other misstep with Winchester bulk ammo, but I’ll be trying a few different kinds to see what it likes best.

    Even though .22LR is not considered a good self-defense round, I wouldn’t feel too bad with this at my side. It’s so darned controllable you can easily blow through 10 rounds almost as fast as you can pull the trigger and still get them more or less on target.

    • I was reading something about how multiple impacts from a machine gun will cause massive systemic shock in a target that is more than the sum of the damage of individual shots. Even without a machine gun, this principle would still favor the small-but-many-philosophy of the 9mm and .223 cartridges for self-defense. Yes, I think you’re in good shape, especially with the fear factor of the 1911 design. On this general subject, a recent gun magazine about some grandmother who defended herself by shooting an attacker in the head with a .22 magnum pistol. Now that cartridge can do some serious damage from what I’ve seen.


      • Oh, no… it’s not gonna be my self-defense gun. That’s still a 38 special with flat-nose wadcutters. Wouldn’t use an auto for self-defense, much prefer the mechanical reliability of the revolver… especially if wifey has to use it.

        I was just musing that it wouldn’t be that bad…

        • From what I understand .22lr is often used by assassins due to the fact that it will penetrate the scull, but not have enough energy to escape the scull, which causes it to corkscrew around in the brain cavity. This ensures that the bullet will not pass through the head without causing fatal injury, as sometimes miraculously happens. At least that’s what the assassins I know say.

    • Vince: Good luck with it and have fun. The conversion unit I had use of for awhile was a blast. The ratio of times that the .45 parts were on the frame was like 15 to 1 in favor of the .22 parts. That experience alone convinced me that it is probably better to have the dedicated .22 version for the average enthusist than swapping the conversion unit back and forth on the same frame. Same logic I apply to those tools that do ten things kinda well ,as opposed to one that does one thing very well. As far as defense goes. I personally don’t want to be shot with anything .

  15. Wow, thanks for the info on the number of grooves in a barrel. Ask a simple question…. 🙂 It would appear that the large number of grooves went the way of superfluous design features like the magazine disconnect and the ladder type sights. My understanding is that the only thing different about the 03-A3 compared to the original was substituting the M1 Garand sights for the old ladder type. I didn’t know about stamped parts. I’m sure both are very fine rifles, but my reservation with the Springfield, in terms of buying one, is the design and history. It is based on the Mauser design and was used in parts of both World Wars and the small wars in between. That’s fine but I wouldn’t get one of these before an original Mauser whose design has never been equaled and which saw action in all theaters of both World Wars. In particular, I’m thinking of one of the Russian-capture Mausers which was actually on the Eastern Front! But here it seems that I’ve missed the curve. Those were available very cheaply when Russia began selling them off a few years ago, but it seems the stocks have dried up only recently. Now isn’t that annoying. Of course if a Springfield were available at anything like those old DCM prices, I would throw down in an instant.

    All right gadget masters, take a look at this.


    It’s like that old Clint Eastwood movie, Firefox, where he steals a Soviet jet that can read minds…. Just think of how this technology could be applied to airguns. Among other things, by reverse-engineering, we could see the Jaws of the Subconscious. /Dave, right you wouldn’t want your fingers to get in the way, but you want those jaws to clamp onto the shooting moment with full power.


  16. Well I’ve acquired another Marauder, this one in .22 – the price was too good to pass on. It didn’t come with a scope or pump but I have those already plus my SCUBA tank. I put on a red dot sight which I normally don’t find easy to use with accuracy. After sighting in at 28′, I proceeded to put 10 shots through the ‘large” dot on the paper – one hole. However, I didn’t like the way the last shot sounded so looked behind my pillow/carton/plywood backed carton. Nice hole in the sheetrock. Good thing I have a nice big bucket of spackle left over from replacing the sheetrock when the basement flooded back in September. Now I need a new piece of plywood.

    Fred PRoNJ

  17. I took the plunge. Actually, more of a tentative footstep into the darkside….. I have a used Disco package on the way from a guy on the yellow. .22 rifle, scope, pump, soft case and some pellets. And a small regulated tank setup from another. the decision to get a Discovery was based largely on the fact that BB was involved in the design from its beginning. Made in the USA, price and reported accuracy and power factored in too. Can’t wait for my Christmas packages to arrive!! 😀


    • /Dave

      The Discovery is an excellent PCP, I won’t part with mine. It is simple to work on as well. Just remember to degass it first.

      If you are to be shooting around neighbors, I would highly recommend an LDC from TKO. They are relatively inexpensive, and make my Disco sound like a Marauder.

      • Thanks for the suggestions, slinging lead.

        I was looking into getting or making some sort of permanent compensator for it. Also have to pick up the degasser tool. It should all be here by the end of the week! 😀


  18. Edith, if you’re listening in, I have been unable to access PA’s web site. Here’s a sample of what I’m getting:

    HTTP Status 500 –


    type Exception report


    description The server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request.


    org.apache.tapestry5.internal.services.RenderQueueException: Render queue error in BeginRender[ExceptionReport:layoutproductpage.footer.pagelink_12]: Exception assembling root component of page AirGuns: Exception assembling embedded component ‘productsincategorydisplay’ (of type com.pyramydair.web.components.ProductsInCategoryDisplay, within AirGuns): Could not convert ‘product’ into a component parameter binding: Unable to add method void set(java.lang.Object, java.lang.Object) to class $PropertyConduit_1340a2e0b23: [source error] setProduct(com.pyramydair.repositories.Product) not found in com.pyramydair.web.components.ProductsInCategoryDisplay [at classpath:com/pyramydair/web/components/Footer.tml, line 57]

  19. This was sent to the wrong address, so I am posting it here for the reader.

    Hi Tom!

    I’ll be brief and to the point. I have read your articles on why pellet rifles should be sighted in at 20 yds. Of course fps and pellet weight would allow for
    different yardage setups. I Have a pellet rifle that shoots 1100+ fps. My indoor pellet range in my basement is exactly 15 yds. Any way to compensate
    for that lack of an additional 5 yds. when sighting in. Like should I sight in exactly 1/4″ high or something?



    • Steve,

      You can sight your rifle in at any distance you want. You simply get different performance downrange — in the form of a different trajectory.

      If you are attempting to preserve a 20-30 yard zero, which a hunter or field target shooter would try to do, then sighting in at 15 yards you should be hitting high. How high depends on the height of your scope and it’s something that has to be tested after you sight the rifle. No software program like Chairgun can possibly get it exact — only close. If I had to guess I would say that you need to be about a half-inch high at 15 yards to preserve a 20-30 yard zero, but I would have to test that.


      • B.B.,

        Now there’s an idea for a new blog! Sight in an air-rifle at 25 yards with low-rings, then sight in the same gun and scope with high rings, and then go back to the low-rings to see what the difference is, if any. You’re saying that there would be a difference, but how much?


  20. B.B.,
    Off topic but…I bought a Crosman Venom .177, cleaned the bore with Hoppes#9, and have put 300 rounds thru it. Waiting on silicone oil for maintenance that Crosman specifies. (100 pellets late). What’s your take on oiling this gun. Also, have only run dry patches thru it since. I understand you blogged about bore cleaning, but I can’t find it. My slow computer made that chore almost unbearable! How about a link to it, if there is one.
    Can’t wait to experiment with this gun. I have a 10/22 carbine that I bedded the barreled action on and got the trigger pull to about two lb.s with stock parts. Shoots nickel sized 50yd groups with CCI Velocitors when I do my part. Barrel on Crosman is floating already, don’t think that would help. The trigger on Crosman will be my first project. Bye bye warranty! Also ordering a chrono to see if I’m losing fps because of pellet to barrel fit. Seems the looser fitting (JSB’s) are slower than tighter fitting (Premiers).
    Great blog, have been reading it for months now. Gets a little technical for my speed sometimes, but I’m always learning something.

    flobert- ‘gun enthusiast’ sounds better for those who would put that label on us. And I’m from Texas and a gun nut!


    • MTW,

      Why did you clean the bore? The barrel should never get dirty. The black you see is the anti-oxidant on the outside of every pellet. That is not dirt and does not harm the gun or the accuracy.

      Watch these two videos, if you are able:


      If not, here are a couple reports about barrel cleaning:






      As far as oiling the bore/ammo/pellets, you certainly could do it

      The floating business really means that the barrel is loose. Have you taken it out of the gun? That will do it.

      I don’t know what to tell you about that, because your rifle still seems to be very accurate. My advice for owners of guns like the Venom is to just shoot them.


  21. I cleaned the bore before I ever shot it and it was dirty. Ran a dry patch thru it ’cause I didn’t know if I should be cleaning it or not. That’s why I was asking questions on this site. I really wanted to know about putting a drop of Crosman’s silicone oil into compression chamber. How much and how often? Just bad choice of words on my part I guess.
    As far as floating the barrel and the nickel sized groups, I was making reference to the 10/22 Ruger. If I get nickel sized groups outa the Venom at fifty yards, I’ll be writing about that in BOLD LETTERING!

    Thanks for your time.

    • MTW,

      When barrels are dirty in new rifles it’s always best to clean them if they are made of steel. I recommend JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. 20 strokes on a brass bore brush in both directions, then clean the barrel and it should be good to go.

      The loosness can be due to the design. There should be a barrel pivot BOLT, but in some of these Chinese-made guns they use pins and you can’t ever tighten the breech joint.


    • MTW,

      No silicone oil — ever. The piston seal is formulated to never need lubrication.

      Lubricating pistons is an old maintenance act that hasn’t kept pace with the development of newer synthetics. It is rarely needed, if ever, these days. The only time you need to lubricate with silicone oil is when the piston seal honks like a goose as the rifle is cocked, but with a gas spring you’ll never hear that.


  22. Resurrecting an old thread… Only found out there were more in this series after seeing the opening of the latest blog…

    I have to protest the use “foot-second” when describing the range of velocity variation.

    In common usage (as with “foot-pound”), – is taken to be a multiplicative. 10 foot-pound is met by any combination of that produces a value of 10: 10 lbs moved 1 foot, or 1 lb moved 10 feet.

    But 10 foot-second makes no sense under that convention… Heck, I can’t even phrase the two extremes without using a division (1 foot over 10 seconds vs 10 feet over 1 second).

    {Apologies if someone else commented on this — I don’t have time to read all the commentary}

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