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Ammo Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 4

Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Now that Vince has tuned the Sterling, it’s time to see how she shoots.

It’s time to see how the Sterling underlever rifle shoots. Benjamin put Lothar Walther barrels on these rifles, so I’m hoping the pedigree will show in today’s test. Vince got the velocity back up to a respectable level, as we saw in Part 3 (and Vince showed you what he did to the gun in his guest blog about the Sterling), so there should be nothing to prevent the gun from shooting its best.

When I went to mount a scope, I saw that the Sterling has two vertical holes that can be used for a scope stop. They’re located where the front ring needs to be, but with two-piece rings that presents no problem.

There are two vertical holes for a scope stop on top of the Sterling scope rail. They require the stop to be positioned forward, so I used the front ring of a two-piece ring set.

Since I wanted to give the rifle every chance to shine, I selected the Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope for this test. This is the finest of all the scopes I have available for testing, so the Sterling is getting the absolute best of everything.

All shooting was done from a rest at 25 yards. I used my indoor range, so nothing got in the way of the Sterling this day. As usual, all groups contain t10 shots.

H&N Neue Spitzkugel
I thought I would give a pointed pellet a chance this time, as I seldom use them. The H&N Neue Spitzkugel (new pointed bullet) has a very shallow point and looks almost like a wadcutter at first glance. Pointed pellets are most often inaccurate, so I usually don’t bother with them, but it’s always nice to check from time to time to see if there have been any advances.

Well, 10 H&N Neue Spitzkugel pellets made only a mediocre group at 25 yards. With some breakbarrels, this would be pretty good, but I expect more than this 1.146-inch group from this Sterling. The shot at the left is a called flyer, resulting from an inconsistent hold — the only one of the test.

While loading, I noticed that the skirts didn’t always want to go into the loading trough unless I pressed them in with my thumb. The trough is probably on the small side for larger pellet skirts. This made me watch that the pellets didn’t flip backwards before the bolt pushed them into the breech.

I also had plenty of time to observe the Sterling’s trigger. It seems to be a single-stage, but the pull is short enough. There’s some slight creep, but you need a target-shooter’s trigger finger to feel it. Overall, it was good enough for very precise shooting without disturbing the aim. If I pull the gauge very slowly, the trigger breaks between 2 lbs., 3 oz. and 2 lbs., 5 oz., which is plenty light enough for good work. I said it was 2 lbs., 8 ozs. in Part 3, but that was when it was pulled more deliberately.  I know Vince had a hand in making it so nice, because Sterling triggers have a reputation for being crude and not so good.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain
Next I tried some 8.4-grain JSB Exact domes. They’re at the upper limit of weight of I would choose for a gun of this power, but sometimes that’s a plus. Not this time, though, because 10 went into a 0.788-inch group at 25 yards. That’s okay for many breakbarrels — but from a fixed-barrel rifle that has a Lothar Walther barrel, I expect more.

Getting better but this 0.788-inch, 10-shot group is still not as good as expected for the Sterling.

Shot cycle and hold
The Sterling shoots with a very pronounced forward jump — reminiscent of spring guns of the 1970s. It feels like the stroke is long, and the piston is heavy. On the other hand, the rifle lies completely dead in my hand, so applying the artillery hold is easy. My off hand touched the triggerguard, yet I could still feel the cocking slot of the stock on my palm. That means the stock is cut far to the back, which means Vince did a wonderful job of deadening the powerplant to get the rifle as smooth as it is. I just wish airgun makers today would go to the same trouble instead of mounting everything in rubber to deaden the vibration that’s still in their guns.

Crosman Premier lites
Next up was the venerable 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellet that often wins the race in these tests. This was the only pellet of the four tested that fit into the loading trough without a push, yet it was also the pellet that gave the most trouble by flipping backwards in the trough.

This time, I got the results I was hoping for, though the group is more open than I would have liked. Look at the group and read the caption, though, because you’ll be surprised where most shots went.

More like it! The group of 10 Crosman Premier lites measures 0.606 inches between centers, but the surprise is in the largest hole in the center of the group. Six shots went through that one hole! Now, we’re talking!

Scope not mounted perfectly
By this time, I noticed that I’d mounted the scope a little too far to the rear, and the high mounts I used were not needed. Repositioning the scope in lower mounts would make the rifle easier to shoot — though I don’t think it would affect the accuracy. However, if I were to keep a scope on this rifle (and it can’t be this wonderful Hawke, as I need it for other tests) I would remount whatever scope I used.

JSB Exact RS
The last pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS. You might recall that this pellet is one of Kevin’s favorites, and we have seen it do amazing things with some spring guns in the past. The report I did a while back on the Beeman R8 was the most dramatic example of the capability of the RS.

And it didn’t disappoint this time, either! Ten RS pellets went into a group measuring just 0.41 inches at 25 yards! That’s game, set and match as far as I’m concerned. The Benjamin Sterling has proven itself to be a very accurate underlever spring rifle that warrants special attention from shooters as well as collectors.

Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 0.41 inches at 25 yards, proving beyond a doubt that the Sterling can shoot!

This test series has been long and rewarding. Thanks to Vince, we now know what a Benjamin Sterling can do under the right conditions. I’m sorry this rifle is no longer available. Except for the lower power and stiffer trigger, it could hold its own with a TX200. When I usually do these reports on vintage airguns, we get to see a lot of warts, but the Sterling doesn’t have as many as I was prepared to see. Without a doubt, Vince’s work has a lot to do with that.

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 “Sterling HR-81 .177 underlever air rifle: Part 4”

  1. BB: I’ve really enjoyed this series because the Sterling is a gun that I always wanted ,but couldn’t afford back when they were available. Also , Derrick has been tearing down a .20 cal Sterling over on his blog. Looking at these being torn down shows that the design of the piston was a weak point with that bumper they glued on the front end. Vince’s solution on using a leather bumper that was screwed on , was so simple and obvious that I have to wonder why a gun so well put together would use glue.

    • The RS pellets seem a good choice in lower powered guns. You might beat a higher powered gun to death with them.

      RS…Light, domed, consistent fit. They will have to fit without being drop in loose.
      My R7s like them.


    • For higher powered rifles, you might try FTT.
      So far, my higher powered rifles like the weight. In .22, a tighter fit along with the extra weight works out best. In .177 the fit does not need to be as tight.

      Always worth a try.


      • My .25 springer likes those FTT also . Good wt. for a springer in .25 so you get some reasonable velocities and trajectory that is good to 30 yards or so. At over 15 yards they will not usually pass through on body shots on grey squirrels, and autopsy shows little deformation of the pellets.

        • I wish PA had a bit more of a selection of FTT.
          Would like to see 4.51 mm in .177, and 5.51 & 5.52 mm in .22.
          What I have used so far works, but would like something that I think might be just a bit better.

          I also like the way they deal with wind. Quite reasonable.


          • Me too… They are also not as hard lead as premiers as I have never felt the need to lube them like I do all my Crosman pellets. They seem harder than JSB’s though, as those show more deformation on animate targets. I know autopsy is gross to some people ,but if youwant to know what a bullet does ,you got to roll up your sleeves and go there.

            • Well, if you gonna eat the critter anyway, you gotta clean it first…..or have someone else do the dirty work for you. Then again, I’m not too sure about people in some parts of the country cleaning it first.
              My wife will eat tree rats and bambi, but won’t do the “other” part of the job.
              I get to kill, clean, and cook. We both eat. She would cook, but likes the way I do it.


              • My wife will finally eat the venison, and will help me wrap and grind it, but it took awhile for that to happen . My son and I will eat small game. She will not, and will not clean it. She has helped me retrieve it though. I trap a bit, for extra income and putting up pelts IS messy and somewhat gross. I’ve eaten squirrel, woodchuck, raccoon, rabbits, muskrat, and all matter of small birds. I’ve caught literally hundreds of oppossums, and that is one animal I would avoid eating, except in a emergency. They eat a lot of rotten dead stuff . I hate putting up possums and coyotes, they stink. On the other hand, muskrat is very good. they are easy to skin and put up, and their pelts bring like $8.00 apiece now. One muskrat pelt = about one tin of FTT your choice of caliber.I live right next door to a deer processor , and you would be surprised at just how many “hunters” bring in deer they don’t field dress properly. Makes me laugh when these folks give “survival” advice on preparing game when the topic comes up on the forums. Some would faint at the sight of my fleshing beam while in use.

                • Yeah….you don’t do a Michael Meyers imitation when cleaning game…..yuck!

                  I always end up with a little hair on the meat though. Just adds fiber to the diet.


                  • TT; When you get a deer , take the hide off as soon as possible and then use a basting brush and white vinegar to wipe and wash out the body cavity. Helps with the bacteria that can cause the bad taste . Getting the carcass cooled down as quick as possible and being as clean as you can is the best thing.

            • BTW,based on many disections of and retreivals of pellets fired from springers in all cals and MSP ‘s, I’ve never found a pellet that had more than flattened or a slightly bent nose after hitting any furred small game . The jury is still out on the predator pellets. I bought a selection of .177,.22, and .20 to try, but the one squirrel I shot with the Sheridan using a predator pellet was a pass through, and my ,22 cal 48 doesn’t like them. Maybe with a PCP gun you would see expansion but I have no experience with those so I have no opinion. Also ,Gamo .22 RB in the Crosman 120 is more damaging than the pelletson game. Absolutely flattens pest birds like starlings.

              • Robert from Arcade,

                Something to try with the Predator Polymags.

                Remove the plastic tip. This improved my accuracy somewhat in a couple springers and eliminated over penetration on squirrels at 20 yards doing about 600fps, .22 cal. The wound channel was greater than wadcutters and of course domed pellets.

                Predators have never been the most accurate pellet in any of my guns but for me they’re purpose built and the accuracy is good enough out to 20 yards for my .22 cal back door squirrel gun.


                • Kevin : I have not done as you have described but years ago we used to seat the old crosman ashcans backwards and shoot rats with them. They were quite lethal,but the range was very short,like 25 feet at most, and rats aren’t that tough. When we discovered the round nose English brand Bulldog pellets our effective rage and lethality doubled. The one old ARH booklet that my father had and I still have, used to recomend target grade wadcutter pellets as fodder for squirrel shooting out to 25 yards. Like you, I have never found a wadctter type pellet as accurate beyond short range in any of my guns.The pedator pellets without their witches hat tip ,looks a lot like a crow magnum pellet. The only gun I have that will shoot those acceptably is my R-10 ,de-tuned by me to shoot at 850FPS . I find that a squirrel shot(double lung hit) with my Diana .177 24 and a JSB Exact, shows no more reaction to the shot than one shot with my Diana 34 using JSB jumbos. Both will usually be a pass through and while the wound will be slightly bigger with the .22 , the squirrel will get there (as in dead) no quicker. On the other hand, one shot with the BSA .25 (14 ft/lbs)will hardly ever be a pass through and it does knock the squirrel down. Personally ,I shoot what a particular gun likes as to accurracy, and have conceded that for springers and lower powered airguns , pellets do not expand enough to matter. You have a lot of experience with the PCP but I don’t, so I will not offer an opinion on their performance on game with any type of pellets.

                  • Robert,

                    Never had an airgun that shot crow magnums worth a hoot. Nice to know you have a gun that shoots them ok. I’ve given up on the crow magnum pellets. I should melt them down and use them for fishing sinkers.


      • I’m going to second the H & N FTT and Beeman FTS pellets in the FWB 124. They were as accurate and sometimes more accurate than the crosman premiers in the cardboard box shot out of the numerous fwb 124’s I owned.


  2. BB: really interesting series on the Sterling. Nice to see that it can shoot so well. Makes you wonder whether the Sterling would sell today, although maybe not since it won’t give 1200 FPS.

    The JSB RS pellets seem to excel in lower-power guns; they are very accurate in my Crosman 113 and IZH-46M. With the Neue Spitz pellets, I have had better luck in the .22 version; none of my .177 guns seem to like them.

    Bonus from Derrick’s blog: he has a photo of a cutaway Sterling that shows the breech and transfer port internals.

    Paul in Liberty County

  3. Here’s a little OTfirearms triva. Back in the late 1970’s there was another Sterling . It was a .22 and .25 cal semi -auto pocket pistol that was all steel and made also in stainless steel. I have had one for 30 years in .22lr cal in stainless, and while it has just a groove for sights, I can keep them all on a pop can at 10 yards. I have carried mine fishing and hiking and it is great for those situations where you want something that shoots but aren’t hunting. Sterling was located in my neck of the woods near Lockport ,NY. they also supposedly manufactured a cute .380 DA auto pistol ,but I’ve never seen one except in pictures.

  4. I have great hopes this summer for the Exact RS’s that I’ve been testing in my Slavia. It has been too cold to get outdoors this month (a spell of minus 30F really keeps me indoors), but at 10m I’m getting 5 shot groups that are truly ‘1-holers’…so I’m thinking at 30m I should be able to get 1/2″ groups which I’d be very pleased with.
    Also…thanks to all who responded to me about the guitar cracks yesterday. I stopped in at a music store last night and there tech said the cracks were minor enough that if I forced a bit of woodworkers glue into them I should be fine. Also picked up one of the soundhole humidifiers.
    But it really doesn’t matter ’cause I can’t play the thing worth crap. I’ve been trying to self-teach myself for a number of years now and it’s pretty hopeless. What doesn’t help is that last year the oldest boy (just turned 11) received an electric guitar last year for Christmas.
    He’s already far surpassed my playing 😉

  5. As the good Colonel said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” The Sterling HR-81 is certainly interesting.

    Note to self….send all the rest of my guns to vince for work.


      • B.B.,

        I’m noticing all the similarities between the R8 and the Sterling HR-81.

        It’s readily apparent that you have two airguns that do the same thing the same way. Since the Sterling is a tad more powerful it’s clear that the time has come to pass that R8 along to someone else.

        Would you trade for a B3-1 in pretty good condition?


        • Kevin,

          Oh, I have ALWAYS wanted a real B3! Not a B3-1, mind you. I don’t want a substitute. But if you’ve got the real B3 with the orange shellac finish and genuine cracked plastic parts, you’ve given me something serious to think about!

          Of course it must diesel and must smell like frying bacon.


          • B.B.,

            Regarding our pending trade…….I have searched the wideworld this evening and found it! THE airgun of your dreams. The description is very tantalizing:

            “You are viewing a high grade unmarked single shot high powered air rifle in caliber 177. The 17-1/2” barrel has a globed post front sight with a sliding fully adjustable rear and has a “bright mint” bore. It has single pump bottom lever and functions perfect. All the rust-free metal parts retain approx. 100% of the orig. blue finish. At 600 FPS this rifle propels the pellets at 22RF velocities and travel up to 275 yds. The blond hard wood pistol grip finger grooved stock has a high gloss finish with a cheek piece and factory black rubber butt-plate. There are no cracks, just a few shallow handling marks. A nice air rifle that you can have a lot of fun with it and in “nice & clean” cond. overall”

            I’m confident the pictures will have you drooling:


            Since I’m sure you will leap at this chance to trade the R8 for this “Vintage high grade high powered air rifle” that “propels the pellets at 22RF velocities and travel up to 275 yds.” I’m putting the wheels in motion to conclude our trade. Please start packing up the R8.


      • I hoped you’d say that. 😉 In the beginning 10mo ago, I dry-fired my Benj Trail NP the first time on purpose out of ignorance (the fool who persists in foolishness will become wise)…and later 2 more times accidentally. Eventually during my first diy tune, I found piston seal material missing at 12 o’clock region where the seal face meets the transfer port…not surprising…still the typical temporary dieseling of the brand new gun may have contributed to that damage. If I had it to do over again, would have cleaned the new bore and used heavier pellets to prevent damage. But found no evidence of metal-to-metal contact on the piston’s metal face. So I believe/hope that even tho dry-fired, the piston still bounced off an air cushion, tho not as plush as normal.

        I installed a new oem piston seal which upon examination after several hundred rounds involving no dieseling and no dry-firing showed similar but much less damage. I then rotated that seal bringing a fresh undamaged portion opposite the port AND during the same tear-down installed JM teflon buttons. An immediate loss of ~15fps occurred due to the tighter fit. (I don’t miss the 15fps.)

        Next tear-down revealed no seal damage. I wonder if the gasram is too-powerful a substitute for the spring the action was originally designed to…and hence the oem-seal damage reported by other owners…but i am an statistically invalid sample of 1ea newbie. Have you held forth on related subjects elsewhere? I have the Cardew’s book. Eventually I will try an aftermarket seal…not to regain fps but out of curiosity.

  6. Got a shipment from PA an hour ago. No guns this time. Just odds and ends.
    Got the “fly paper” targets. Did not pay attention to how big they were gonna be. BIG paper with BIG flies. Not as big as horseflies, but a little bigger than deer flies. Have seen flies about this size before, but don’t know just what “brand” they are.


  7. Nice shooting, B.B. Makes me long for a real 25 yard range instead of my hothouse laboratory. Nevertheless, I’ve had some high drama there recently. After tens of thousands of shots, for no particular reason, I started flinching shots from my B30, an absolute day one mistake. Unbelievable. I would have been quite upset had I not noticed the same thing in martial arts. You can repeat a sequence of moves thousands of times on auto-pilot and then suddenly forget. Anyway, my response with the B30 was to bear down and be more deliberate with my shooting sequence and…it got worse!

    Then, playing it cool, I decided against my impulse to go the the IZH 61 instead of continuing to hammer away with the B30. The shots went where they were supposed to. And then it became clear. The IZH 61 revealed that right before my eyes, my follow-through had evaporated–probably out of an excessive concern for getting the shot on target. I ran another series with the B30, and it shot as well as ever. So, I conclude that the antidote to the flinch is the follow-through. Also, the IZH 61 comes through again as a training device. As for the forgetting business, I’ve come to realize in martial arts that this is not so much a lapse as part of the training process. As you grope to recall, you arrive at a deeper understanding than before. I’m certainly burning with determination now to concentrate on follow-through.

    Kenholmz, you make basic training sound fun. I had two 20 round magazines to shoot in an M-16 as part of a JROTC visit to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. One magazine was for semi-auto; the other was full-auto. Basically, I missed all the targets except for the one at 300 yards. I remember casually putting the front sight on the target, squeezing the trigger, and down it went. Totally Jaws of the Subconscious. Even the rather contemptuous soldier who was handing me the magazines was impressed. Naturally, I couldn’t repeat the shot. As for tracers, I got to fire the Vulcan 20mm anti-aircraft gun mounted on a tank. We had 30 rounds allotted which was quite a lot of money, but it all went in a buzz within seconds. This was done at night, and it looked like Star Wars. I was puzzled at how many of the tracers seemed to fly in all directions at the end of the range. I suppose they were ricochets although I’m surprised this happened with such a heavy round. It looked exactly like the tracers from the M1 at about 1:38 of the following video.



    • It’ s amazing how we can lose something like this in such a short time.
      I’ve found that every once and while I’ll just start shooting like…crap!! (I remember…we’re trying to stay G rated 😉 )
      My first thought are always so counterproductive…I start yarding on the adjustment knobs on my rear diopter.
      Which just makes matters so much worse.
      Eventually the knobs get returned to where they were and I just start REALLY concentrating on how I’n holding the gun and my follow through and like magic the pellets start going where they are supposed to.
      (I find that even shifting my shooting hold so that my eye is an inch or so further from the diopter can have a dramatic impact on my results)
      As as aside last week my oldest was having one of ‘those days’ at his archery class. His coach (who’s and ex local recurve champ) pointed out a few things he should be doing and than told us that as far as he’s concerned it takes 1000 shots for something to become completely natural. He said that when he coaches competition archers he gives them something to work on…and they work on it for 1000 shots before he gives them the next thing to work on.

    • Matt61, sound like you had a bit of fun yourself. Matt, the fact is basic training was serious business and at the time I definitely accepted it as serious. And I took the D.I.s seriously. Some of it is definitely fun to remember. Then, as now, I stand back and observe. People often under estimate me in the beginning (not that I am anything exceptional). During a first aid class there was a question that came up and despite a lot of talking no one was getting close to answering the question. Then the D.I. says in his calculated drone, “I’ll bet Holmes knows”. I did know and I did answer the question. I wasn’t sure if he said that to encourage me to participate or if he was turning me into a target. I suppose I was just hypersensitive or paranoid because it was a non issue (although there were other issues).
      I did have a few guys who began to taunt me. They accused me of not bathing and having bad body odor. I bathed daily, with soap. If I had B.O. that was offensive, I don’t know what the cause was or why these few could detect it while others seemed to notice nothing. While on bivouac one started that song and dance. I had my M16 in hand and came withing a couple of inches of delivering a butt stroke to the face before I pulled it. I can still see his face. That incident cost me 25 push ups for hassling the platoon leader who hurried over to intervene. Nothing was ever said of the close call. The fellow who almost suffered the result of training hated me but he also avoided me for the next few weeks we had to suffer each other. I did make an overture of a truce and he said something I couldn’t comprehend and put some physical distance between us. I had only pulled that butt stroke because I knew it would cost me, not to spare that fellow. But I would have regretted it later even if no one else punished me. The issue wasn’t worth it.
      In POW training I didn’t say a word until the worst was over. I didn’t know at the time that, under the Geneva Convention, we are required to offer some basic information if captured and questioned. To say nothing earn the status of spy, for which there is now expectation of civil treatment. The D.I. was puffing on a large cigar. He blew smoke in my face, he put the glowing end of the cigar within an inch of my eye. I said nothing. Then he ordered me to get down on my knees, but to other wise sit up straight. He had me look upward, then took my canteen and poured the water into my face and nose. This was torture, but it wasn’t a lot of fun at the moment. Then he decided to leave me alone, but first he had me lean back just far enough to be uncomfortable. There he left me. I was one of the first to be chosen for the treatment, so this left me with time to watch the activities going on around me. Some of my peers had to keep oinking like a pig and going through this mud puddle repeatedly. One fellow lost it and this officer had to repeat at least three times, “I am captain Smith of the United States Army and this drill of over for you!” I did the best I could to try to get some comfort without drawing undue attention to myself. When the “torture” was over we had to get in formation again. When I tried to get up I had not feeling or control over my legs. The office had a couple of guys hold me up and help me walk around until I could manage on my own. The harassment never ended. We were dished out food into our personal dish, the one that fits over the bottom of the canteen. Some of us didn’t have our eating utensils with us. When the first fellow got the riot act from a D.I. I managed to get my food eaten with two frantic scoops with my hand, after which I wiped my hand and looked as innocent as a new born puppy. Close call, though. LOL!
      Once at the range, I had failed to clear the breech when the D.I. came to check me out and slide the rod through the muzzle. Whether real or feigned, the D.I. seemed deadly serious as the demanded, “Holmes, are your trying to kill me? Do you have something against me?! Do you hate me for some reason” All I could say is, “No, Drill Sergeant”.
      So yes, Matt, now I look back and enjoy a laugh and it does seem like fun…but I never doubted the seriousness of what we were doing.
      After basic, I went to school at the Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. After that I was sent to the battle zone known as Washington, D.C. for three years. Of that experience I always say, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” and I don’t speak much about it.

      • Matt61, I hate typos and dropped letters. I meant to say, “this wasn’t torture but it wasn’t a lot of fun…”
        It was harassment and threats, but it wasn’t torture.

      • kenholmz,
        I went through two weeks of survival training in Puget Sound as part of Navy flight training in the 60’s. I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement afterwards. They said they couldn’t discharge me when my tour was up if I didn’t sign. I wonder how binding that document is today? At any rate, for perceived legal reasons, treatment was extremely fair and the experience was fun and very comfortable. I was never tortured, starved, made to sleep in the snow or have my head put underwater. The Prime Rib dinners were excellent, the dancing girls were cute and the wine was superb. Perhaps I’ve said too much.

        • Chuck,

          I have notified the prime rib police and they will be knocking on your door very soon. It appears you have violated the NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

          Fred PRoNJ

        • Chuck, if I understand your post correctly, I will never know what you experienced during survival training. I confess I would like to know…but as I tell people (about what I don’t tell people), “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill myself.”


            • Chuck, back in ’90 I was working with the Texas Youth Commission (the name has changed now; I wasn’t part of the problems you can easily read about on the web). Anyway, we were given self defense training by a fellow whose name escapes me just now. He was very good. Keep in mind, this was not self defense for the streets (although it could be). Rather the idea was to deescalate a situation and do no more than necessary to make that happen. It was more akin to the philosophy of Akido.
              We did an exercise in which we were paired off with one other person. We each took a turn telling the other person in our best, loudest, most commanding voice (I am still proud of mine even now), “Leave now, or I will hurt you!”
              I was teamed with a congenial fellow who outweighed me by at least 20 pounds and he was healthy and fit. He went first and I cooperated fully. Then it was my turn. In my most voluminous and commanding voices (of which I am quite proud; others can testify to the veracity of that proclamation) I roared, “Leave now or you will hurt me”. He was literally rolling on the floor (and I could have exited, stage right). Would this give me an edge on the street; I don’t know, at least not yet. Regrettably, I am not as fit and fast as I was in ’90.

              I’ll not be surprised if you know that Samurai and demon (or daemon) have as their primary meaning, “servant”. Now, you’ve influenced me to go home and watch Samurai I, II, and III (if I didn’t have higher priorities right now, dang it).

              Have a good one,

  8. Okay, lets ramp this up a notch, technology wise.
    Just picked up a Kestrel windmeter. That with Chairgun loaded on my i-Pod means I’m all set for making those long shots this spring 🙂

    • I look forward to your report. Of course, I beg you to start on inanimate objects (and I expect you intend to). Not long ago, I read a customer review in which the write said of small animals, “kill at 60 yards, wound at 90.” I wanted to do some wounding of my own upon reading that.

      • No fear of that Ken.
        Though I have nothing against humane hunting, it’s not for me. I’m a paper puncher (including different kinds of reative targets) at heart.
        As I’ve mentioned before, last summer I was out shooting one day when a groundsquirrel literally walked across the ground in front of us…about 25 yards out and just sat there for a moment.
        It just seemed too easy to pass up so I put the crosshairs on his skull (I have my Slavia zeroed to 30m) and let fly…he dropped without so much as a shudder.
        I felt guilty for a week afterword…went so far as to wonder if there were any little baby squirrels running around wondering where mom or dad was.
        I know it sounds pathetic to some…but it’s who I am.

        • CSD, no it doesn’t sound pathetic. Like you I have nothing against ethical, humane hunting. Right now I won’t shoot at any animal. But that has not always been so and I know I may hunt again, whether for food or to deal with a difficult situation, but never just to kill. It bothers me to watch a video where some guy gets ecstatic over having just killed some animal, like he just scored the winning touch down for his team or something. But there is little I would say or do in most situations. I may go hog hunting here in Texas, with the plan to have it butchered and eaten. I still eat meat so I can’t hide from the fact that someone kills the animal I am cooking.
          For my twelfth birthday I received an archery set. The bow was a simple wooden bow. In our front yard I saw a sparrow fly into the newly planted oak tree. I took aim and released an arrow that skewed the bird. I cried for three days, and like you I wondered if there were young whom I had orphaned. This has never left me although I have hunted for food or taken out starlings and rats that were overrunning some property. And yet, I would never WANT to wound an animal. There was one situation in which I believe I hit a few rabbits with my Sheridan and wounded them before I realized what I was doing. They disappeared into the bush, but the thud I heard suggested I had hit them, but not where I should have. That bothers me still.
          I am pro hunting, but I will not easily tolerate someone who brags about wounding animals, nor do I have any respect for anyone who kills just for some orgasmic pleasure.

          I do look forward to you report. It sounds like you will have some enjoyable shooting.

          • I’m happy not being alone like that!!! Thanks for posting this. If I had to in order to survive I wouldn’t hesitate to kill for food but until then I stick to non-living things. The only living thing I do hunt for is wasps and flies. I love the challenge of getting a wasp mid flight, they’re not too fast when on the prowl for new nesting opportunities in the spring and I don’t want them anywhere near the house. Bees are OK but wasps die.
            I also have a big can problem at my house so I kill those too 😉


            • J-F, I think wasps, flies and cans fall under my “difficult situation” category. If we don’t get them they will get us, period. In fact, when we were looking for a house to buy 22 years ago a red wasp nailed me on the tip of my nose. I was a good 30 feet from their rather large nest. Those red wasp SoCom commandos are serious. It’s kill or be killed :-}

            • J-F, this post editor has a hair trigger. I tabbed back to my e-mail to check something and when I switched back my stuff was already posted. I found nothing to add so, no big deal.


    • Good luck to you.
      I have three appointments for next month already. Might end up being four.
      Followups by two doctors,and an eye checkout by the third. If my left eye is bad enough, then it will be time for the doc to zap another secondary cataract.


      • TT,

        Well, you’re real popular with the medical community. But since they’re mostly checkups, we’re expecting good news. Cataracts. Tom’s oldest sister had hers removed. She has inserts that look very sparkly at a certain angle. First time I saw them, I was rather startled. However, there are a lot more startling things about his sister that quickly make sparkly eyes insignificant in comparison 🙂


        • Edith…

          Yeah, they like my money.

          Had both eyes fixed about 2 yrs ago. Have plastic lenses in both. Had a secondary cataract removed in my right eye last spring. Have a secondary in my left eye that is about bad enough to get it fixed. A couple minutes with a laser is all it takes.
          Just don’t tell me to focus on the front sight. It don’t work with plastic in your eyes.


            • A scope is much better as long as I am not shooting too close. Iron sights are always fuzzy.
              Needless to say, I don’t scope everything, and don’t try to use scopes or opens either one for everything. My eyes are strictly fixed focus.


                • When given a choice, I will use whatever seems right at the time. Always have done that.
                  Like to have a selection of choices available. I don’t always do the same thing every time though. A bit unpredictable.


                  • Like the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”…it’s all about knowing what your options are and even developing options. I doubt you are as unpredictable to someone who knows what intel you are basing your choices on.

      • You are so right; I may be able to take my airgun education on the fast track (including some archived posts). On the other hand, a four or five weeks after surgery I may be so desperate I go in search of a light weight, cheap, CO2 ( I wonder is this app does subscript) rifle or pistol, as long as I don’t violate my recovery program 🙂 I anticipate being back to work by the third week because my work is 90% brain and 10% brawn (chuckle, chuckle). The 10% I will be asking others to perform for a little while, much to my chagrin.

          • Thank you for the offer, however, I have a neighbor that will let me borrow one of his (he has a few). I never really cared much for CO2 (of course I’m speaking of the ones we have known for decades; I don’t have any experience with the larger capacity, greater FPE CO2 guns. (Interesting, the blog app has no problem with CO2 but complains about FPE).

            Have a good one,

              • Mike, I apologize. I was exaggerating. The fact is this surgery is going to leave me with very little discretionary funds, even for you offer. My out of pocket expense is going to be bad news. Not only will I have to recover from surgery, but I will have to recover economically. Both are going to take some time.
                I do appreciate your offer.


        • You should be working 50% time after two or three weeks, but you’ll be in a brace.

          I was allowed to pick up my C-62 at 2.5 months for short times iff I wore the hard plastic collar. 10 to 20 shots per day max. No pistol till’ greater than 3 months, but this was before screws.

          Will they screw you together with stainless or titanium bolts? Helps healing but may decrease ultimate max strength? Your bone,b cadaver bone, or the new mesh stuff? I went for my bone once, then learned how much a battered pelvis hurts. I did go for dead man’s bone the second operation because I was told it was dead sterile and could be shaped more precisely

          Again, much luck.. Mazel Tov.


          • PeteZ, it will be all titanium and the new mesh stuff. The doc also said he would seek permission from the insurance folks so I can have something that promotes bone healing (Velcade, I believe; yes I should have stopped him and gotten a better understanding, but sadly, I didn’t. I need to research this.
            I will still be able to have an MRI.
            As you guys have said, the doc minimized the amount of movement loss I will experience.
            As he mentioned possible problems resulting from surgery, he mentioned paralysis and death. Then he said he has performed this surgery over 1500 times and no one has died. He didn’t mention mention paralysis again, however. LOL. Dr. Gary Kraus is well known and we personally know a couple of people who sing his praises. I could do worse.

            Thanks, again, for you sharing of information and encouragement. I appreciate it.

            I hope all goes well for you.

            • NO doc ever would say he lost a patient. Bug him about mobility.give me an e.mail address and I will Sean you a movie om “movement.”. Fusions rarely wind up with the big Death.

              Demonstrate prone to the doc and ask specifically! Ask about looking behind you in traffic when you’re changing lanes. As if you might get a mild tremor in your shooting hand!

              Ask about lingering referred muscle pain.

              You have exactly one spine and one spinal cord, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t given you the quantitative odds to know, and he has surely not described what your real post-op physical condition is likely to be & for how long. Ask, and be sure to take notes. Record if the doc will let you; he’s got a tape running!

              Despite doom and gloom, most patients get a lot better with no lingering effects.

              If you want another name call Dr. Kobrine on H street, NW in DC. He is the man who saved Jim Brady after Reagan was shot. And if I hadn’t been stupid, he would have done my third surgery. He is not a pleasant man, BUT he is a very skilled shooter and big game hunter, so he’ll know exactly what you need to be able to shoot again soon. Use my name. He can work just from your MRI and X-Ray data.

              Going to bed now. Any more gets too private to put up in public too.


              I don’t want to be an interfering S.O.B., but I And my secretary had the same problems. Her doc abraded her Cord, which is worse.

              • Pete, I appreciate all of you input. I wrote a paragraph to you but it has been lost due to a faulty connection. So, here is the abbreviated version. I am satisfied that Dr. Kraus is competent. I appreciate also that while he is a neurosurgeon, he offers alternatives. I am satisfied that this surgery is the best alternative among undesirable alternatives. I am concerned about the possible outcomes, but the probable outcomes for not having this surgery are not desirable, either.
                I thank you for all you have said to me. I will bring up the things you have mentioned before the knife is put to me. And I hope you have good news in the near future. Now, I had best go to bed also.


    • Ken, very good luck! They’re only doing one ” level”, so recovery wont be too bad. FOLLOW ORDERS! Even if they seem dumb.

      Next month I get a CT-scan-guided biopsy of a spit glan that is ‘probably’ benign, but who knows. Same month or in March will get cataract pulled and the secondary in other eye zapped. And if the biopsy is bad, well I’m not planning that yet.

      Ken, if you want a buddy to chat off line about cervical fusions, just ask.

      WAIT a minute: are they doing all three: C5=> c6 =>c7 to you? That is rough! Seriously tell the surgeon that you shoot and what guns and positions. Once I did and off-hand and pistol are fine. Once I forgot, and now I no longer have the flexibility to shoot prone, ever again!

      • Anon, you got it. This is c5 to c7, two levels, two discs. I don’t look forward to it but the alternative appears to be worse now (the risk spinal cord injury needs to be reduced pronto).
        Is that you, Pete?
        I hope all goes well for you, seriously.
        I think we can identify with officer Lewis in the first Robocop; “Murphy, I’m a mess!” Of course, Murphy says, “They’ll fix you, they fix everything.” I hope they do!

  9. I, errr…. sorta forgot to do anything with the trigger….

    In all honestly, though, it’s a simple trigger mechanism and the parts are already pretty well finished – so I don’t know that there’s all that much to be gained there.

  10. Flobert,

    I wanted to give you another opportunity to say “no” to my motorcycle “stuff”. I have a heavy leather jacket and heavy winter gauntlets I can no longer use as they’ve gotten smaller over the years (darn cheap Pakistani leather shrinks) and rather than sell them at a cycle swap meet, thought I’d offer them to you for your winter riding.

    Fred PRoNJ

    • Kevin,

      Thank you for posting that link! It is a great pictorial review of the two models and of the two country’s guns. I like the Benjamin finish better, and having owned an HR 81 by them I can see that the finish quality was quite a bit better.

      It’s also interesting to see that the Benjamin-published velocity is so close to what we actually got.



      • B.B.,

        Agreed. The quality of the walnut, the finish and hand cut checkering on the Benjamin HR 83 really grab me.

        What struck me most is that this is the first one that frakor ever found after quite a bit of looking. frakor is an airgun magnet as you know. This confirms your suspicions about the rarity of the Benjamin marked Sterlings in my mind. Production began in 1994 and discontinued in 1994.

        I’m surprised that these haven’t gone up more in value. Too heavy for the sporter market, ho hum trigger and not enough velocity I suppose. We airgunners are a quirky bunch. Have a great weekend.


  11. Hi BB, Have an original English Sterling HR81 here which was made in 1982, it still shoots H&N FTT in .22 at just over 11ftlbs energy and is pretty accurate by all accounts, not twangy at all unless you try and shoot a pellet that really doesn’t suit it at all( Crosman Premier springs to mind), compared to rivals of a similar age that I also own such as various Original Models 35/45/50 it’s pretty much on a par in all respects aside from style, it isn’t what you’d call an elegant design after all., Keep up the good work, Nick.

    • Nick,

      Welcome to the blog. I really liked my Sterling. I liked how it felt to hold and also how the spring-loaded bolt opened when flipped up.

      I was getting around 9 foot-pounds, so 11 foot-pounds sounds right for a .22.

      Hold onto your gun! I didn’t and I miss mine.


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