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Accessories β€Ί The new best airguns for the money: Part 1

The new best airguns for the money: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Blog reader Kevin Lentz asked for this report; but as soon as he posted his request, it was seconded by a couple other readers. The first time I did a report with this title was way back in 2007, and that was a four-parter. This time, I’ll hold it to just two parts to save some time, because there are a lot of new models coming out at this time of year. Kevin revised the categories just a little and I went with his suggestions.

Guns under $150: Air rifles
A couple guns that used to be in this category have fallen off the list, in my opinion. They did so due to major changes in product quality. Even at this low level, a gun has to shine to make the list.

Crosman’s 1077 is a wonderful 12-shot CO2 repeater. It’s accurate, reliable and a lot of fun to shoot. This budget rifle is accurate enough to benefit from a scope.

The Crosman M4-177 multi-pump is another wonderful value for the price. It’s accurate, has a tactical look and is very rugged. As a bonus, this is a five-shot repeater!

The Gamo Lady Recon makes the list for its accuracy, ease of operation and the fact that it comes with open sights. The plain Recon doesn’t have open sights and misses the list for the lack. This is a lot of youth air rifle for the money, but I suppose only girls will like it because of the pink color.

Stoeger’s X5 makes the list for accuracy and build quality. The one drawback with this one is the heavy trigger. But if you get past that, this is a lot of airgun for the money.

Daisy’s Powerline 953 TargetPro is a budget version of that company’s 853 target rifle. Though it lacks the Lothar Walther barrel, the 953 manages to do quite well with its domestic barrel. It’s a great way to get into target shooting without spending a bundle.

Buy the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 only if you like hitting what you shoot at. Billed as the world’s most accurate BB gun and the only gun used in the International BB Gun Championships (because nothing else can compete with it), the 499 is every target shooter’s dream. Sure, it’s a BB gun, but one that will put 10 shots inside Roosevelt’s head on a dime offhand at 5 yards.

And the winner among air rifles in this price range is the Air Venturi Bronco. It is, without question, the most accurate pellet rifle under $150, and it has the best trigger of the category as well.

What can I say? I love this air rifle.

Guns under $150: Air pistols
For informal target shooting, you can’t do any better than Beeman’s P17 single-stroke pistol. It’s a Chinese-made copy of the German-made Beeman P3 that costs many times more, yet the P17 holds its own on power and accuracy. A few of them have been known to have reliability issues; but if you oil yours with Pellgunoil, I think you’ll get past that. I’ve owned two, and both were perfect.

There used to be several different models of this next gun to choose from, but the last one standing is the Crosman 357W. A pellet revolver for under $50, this CO2-powered gun has inspired shooters for decades. It has the accuracy you want and ease of operation, plus it’s a pellet revolver!

Another super buy is the Crosman 2240 .22-caliber single-shot pistol. This gun is the direct descendant of Crosman pistols dating all the way back to the 1940s. It’s accurate, powerful and a wonderful value.

The Crosman 1377C is a classic multi-pump air pistol selling for half the price of most other pump guns. It has the power and accuracy to hold its own against challengers selling at more than twice the price. Plus, it’s the basis of many hobby airgunners’ projects.

The Makarov BB pistol is the best BB pistol in this or any other price category. It’s accurate, reliable and extremely realistic. If you like to hit what you shoot at and want to shoot BBs, this is the gun to buy!

If you want a fun, realistic BB revolver, they don’t get any better than the Dan Wesson BB revolver. I’ve linked to the 8-inch barreled gun, but all the barrel lengths and finishes cost the same and provide the same great service.

Guns $150-250: Air rifles
Not as many guns in this price category, because I hold them to a higher standard. With guns like the Bronco and the Beeman P17 out there, most higher-priced guns can’t deliver.

Hatsan recently decided to go it alone in the U.S., but I haven’t had a chance to test anything they offer. Back when they were making guns for whatever conglomerate financial organization owned Webley at the time, who knows what craziness they were forced to make? So, they should be given the chance to make and sell good guns on their own. Time will tell, but this year I have no information, so they didn’t make the list.

With all the product-cheapening that’s been going on, it’s been difficult to see that the Diana RWS 34P has progressively morphed into a fine air rifle. The barrel got better, the trigger did the same and the powerplant went from a cheap buzzy nightmare in the 1980s to a dream gun in 2012. Diana avoided the Gamo pitfall of going to more power, and, instead, they concentrated on giving us a great rifle with reasonable power and splendid accuracy. You do need to use the artillery hold to get it, though. This one deserves credit for being a wonderful air rifle. When I list the 34P, I’m actually including all 34 rifles.

Guns $150-250: Air pistols
Same thing goes for air pistols as for rifles. Too much competition from the lower-price category and not enough innovation and quality in this one.

I can’t say enough good things about the Smith & Wesson 586 4-inch CO2 revolver. It’s a “real” gun! Get one if you like fine double- and single-action triggers, smooth revolver actions plus stunning accuracy. The realism cannot be faulted. Same thing goes for the 6-inch barreled gun.

Some of you may remember my story about telling the then-president of Crosman why airgunners would drop $150 on a handgun he sold for $39.95. Well, he left the company, and the new management decided to build these modified guns themselves! The Crosman 2300S is one such gun. It’s based on the 2240 frame, but has a boatload of high-value appointments that are just what most airgunners want. Can’t beat it for the price.

I’m going to include the Daisy Avanti 747 Triumph Match, which is somewhat quirky and more than a little clunky, but it’s the lowest-cost real target pistol available. The Lothar Walther barrel is what makes it rank above the nearly identical 717. And, Daisy, could you please give this gun a couple more names? I can still pronounce it without taking a breath.

What’s this? I put the Beeman P17 on this list for under $150 and I’m also putting the Beeman P3 on the same list? Yep. This one is good, too. Better trigger than the P17 and just as accurate and powerful. Want a better gun? Get a P3.

Well, that’s my list. You might ask me what the criteria were to make the list. Simple. These are the airguns I can recommend and not hear anything bad about them. That doesn’t mean that everyone likes all of them. It means that the guns, themselves, don’t have any bad habits or features that make people mad at me for recommending them. Next time, I’ll do a $250-500 list and an unlimited one. You think I was picky today? Just wait.

A note from Edith: This is a G-rated site
Recently, I’ve noticed some acronyms creeping in that aren’t G-rated. If you have a budding young airgunner that you’ve encouraged to read the blog and the comments, do you want to have to explain to him what those initials mean? Probably not, so it’s best if we don’t use those colorful words/acronyms in our comments.

Also, when symbols have to replace letters in a word because the word is offensive, please don’t use that word…with or without symbols. I appreciate your help in keeping Airgun Academy a G-rated site and a place where airgunners of every age can comfortably ask questions and grow to love the shooting sports.

129 thoughts on “The new best airguns for the money: Part 1”

  1. BOO on the Crosman 1077 rather than the DAisy 880. Sure the scope that comes with the 880 is junque, but the rifle is easy to pump – easier than the Crosman 760! – and it’s very accurate. I had a Crosman 1077, AKA the “shootemupski” and was not impressed with the accuracy or velocity. Also, with the 1077, you’re going to be buying CO2 cartridges, is this good for a budget gun?

    On the Lady Norelco or whatever that pink one is, that looks like a winner. That stock can always be painted, satin-finish Krylon wears like iron.

    I’d also nominate the Gamo Delta which is often available for under $100.

  2. Thank You Edith for the “mind your manners” admonition. I am a Bible Believing Christian and simple words or lack of them..turn me off. I will and have “thumbs down” a site or video after the first foul word was said, meant or implied! Thank You…”Thumbs Up!!” Let’s keep it “G”. shawn
    p.s. Good article BB πŸ™‚

  3. Hello Edith and fellow Airgunners. I just wanted to add my vote for keeping out “implied words”. My Mother used to say that if you can’t explain things without a “harsh” word, then she didn’t want to hear it at all. I am not a Bible Believing Christian, however we all live in this world together and have to interact no matter what belief you have chosen to live by. Good manners and grammar go hand in hand. O.K. , off the soap box and head for bed. ‘Nite all.

  4. Hi,

    I have to agree with what Edith said about harsh words. When I first found this blog many years ago I was a younger fella. So it would be great if it stayed the same because the respect and “family” feeling here was what made me keep coming and reading/commenting.


    • I am sure you are correct that this is a B40. I have no experience with them. I know they lack the quality of the TX200 (which will likely keep me from buying one), but do they shoot well?

      I’m with B.B. in bemoaning the American business model of cutting quality to save cost when the real problem is the high overhead of the top heavy management. If most of the redundant, overpaid “white collars” were eliminated, you would be amazed at how much money is saved. It might even lower costs to the point that it would be profitable to make quality products again the the USA. Of course, something like this might mean more Chinese would loose their jobs and we would not want that.

      Oops, sorry, back to air guns. Though I find the TX200 a little bit beyond my budget, I would rather save up my pennies than buy a cheap (price and quality) imitation of the real thing. Sorry Crosman. You started doing good, but now I am seeing the downhill slide caused by upper management. I had best get a Marauder while they are still worth owning.

      • RidgeRunner,

        I second you on white collar cuts. Sometimes those “effective managers” effectively manage business down to its grave. Worst of all – most of them never dusted their snow-white cuffs with lead dust, iron raspings, gunpowder residue or grease – and they seem to be proud about it! My wish is “For gunners, by gunners” phylosophy and a monthly week with hammer and file for each and every “manager”. Let them be dirty-handed, as blood, circulating back to the brain via dirty working hands brings up some fresh and brilliant ideas about making money from steel, not uncompressed air.
        And man, you are right about saving. Dad always told me – “You’re not so rich to buy cheap things, just to own them. Save money, study the market and get what you need and _the_ best available, to serve you for ages”.


      • RidgeRunner

        The TX200 excels in every aspect of its build. Due to the incredibly high quality of that gun it makes the B40 seem a galaxy away in terms of quality by comparison. But the B40 is no slouch.

        BB tested the B40 against his TX200 in this


        report. The B40 won! Conditions were not great for shooting the day the test was conducted, but the copy shot better.

        I have a B40 in .177 that had a once over by Mike Mellick, and it is fantastic air rifle. The quality is much better than most Chinese made rifles. It is solid as a rock, and is as heavy as one too. If you can find one for a good price, I wouldn’t hesitate.

        • You had it reworked to improve it. I have thought of reworking my CFX (which shoots REAL nice) but why not take that money I would invest in such and buy one that is better? I am not trying to be critical of what you have done. Part of me really wants to see just how far I can take the CFX, but I know I can take it just so far and then to go farther I will need a different air rifle.

          • I bought the B40 used. The fella who owned it before me bought it from an airgun outlet that had Mike check all their guns. It wasn’t a tune as far as I know.

            But I am not trying to convince anybody to buy a BAM rather than the higher quality rifle it copies. Only that the BAM rifles I have experience with are indeed good rifles, if you don’t have a problem with buying Chinese.

            Anyone who buys a TX200 will not be disappointed they did not buy a B40 instead. The reverse would not be true.

      • Nice to see the BAM B40 become available again, hopefully the “Benjamin” branding doesn’t cost too much. The 1720T looks interesting, I have a 1701p already as well as a Maurader pistol. It looks to be an in between model but it may fail at that price like the Katana did, as it looks like a single shot Marauder pistol with an better barrel and in .177.

        Anyone know if the Stoeger X5 is a B12, I have seen it listed as such elsewhere. I have two of B12’s and have given several more to relatives. A great deal for under $80 from other vendors. The trigger isn’t bad with a little work at least on the half dozen I have experience with.

        • Robert

          Or, there are a few other ways to make it, even for “center hook” solutions like Diana’s:

          2-rod gas ram

          They are costy, but they quite well worth their money. I can send you some links if you like.


          • Duskwright: You are right of course . I was perhaps remiss in giving such a general reply, but the expensive part of such a conversion would rule it out for most folks . Hope your gun that you are building is going well.

            • Robert,

              Yes, you are right – cost is the scarecrow, however airgun addicts will do whatever it takes to improve performance. If not – they are not true addicts πŸ™‚
              My project goes slow – this or the beginning of the next week I hope I’ll get my pistons. However some perspectives opened in past two weeks so maybe it will make a sudden leap forward. I’ll post some photos in case of any significant progress.


              • And we hope the gas piston does not tear his rifle apart like it did my CFX. I had PA install one in my CFX. They had to modify a scope mount so that it would grip tighter than normal. I had to locktite the screws in my GRT trigger. Then I had a catastrophic detonation that destroyed all of my seals. Fortunately, PA was gracious enough to remove the gas piston, install new seals and my old spring and refund my money. I for one am not impressed with gas pistons but I cannot sing enough praises for PA’s customer service!

                • RidgeRunner

                  I guess it’s not the gas ram. I’m sorry to say that but it’s actually you, who did not double-check the rifle after receivng it from PA. Cylinder must be dry on the inside – that needs no proof (well, you got one against your will).
                  Every time your rifle was in other person’s hands you must inspect it yourself as God has no hands but yours to ensure your safety and well-being. PA worker could have made a mistake or he could have been tired, hadn’t washed his hands, dropped the seal into oil or anything else – still, oil got into compression volume and you got yourself a nice scale model of a stocked Diesel engine.
                  That could happen with _any_ spring that has enough power for the pressure to go beyond flash point.

                  Hey, I’ve got an idea! Maybe B.B. will let me say some words on my oiling experience and things taught to me by gurus – the way to oil your springer for those who maintain their rifles themselves.

    • Looks nice! I hope Crosman will actually “make” these. Not just start picking up other peoples junk (or not junk) and rebranding them…. I really wanted a Sterling without the thumb guillotine though…..

      On the subject of bad words. Bad/harsh words are just words. Sometimes there seems to be no other word to use that will convey strong emotion such as the writer is feeling. Used properly, they are a valuable tool (such as in an emergency situation). Used improperly, all they convey is the speaker’s inability to express themselves in a socially acceptable manner. Sometimes, I’m guilty of this. I do enjoy this site because of the lack of foul language, which contributes to its family atmosphere. Let’s keep it that way! Edith is right. There are young impressionable minds watching us, and we should be teaching them how to interact with each other in a civil, “adult” manner, along with whatever airgun or other knowledge we are trying to impart.


    • Knew that was going to happen sooner or latter . Say what you will about Chinese guns ,but any of the BAM models are contenders IF the price point is reasonable, and the parts are available. Crosman seems to be able to make that happen. I’ll take a Crosman branded Chinese gun over any other because they answer their phone if there’s an issue.

      • Consider getting your BAM guns tuned. Either they will be discovered to have a major flaw or they will be turned into first-rate guns–probably the latter. I can’t say enough about my tuned B30.


    • Some nice stuff for sure in there!
      I want to try the nitro piston pistol: https://www.crosman.com/airguns/pistol/BBP77 I was talking about wanting one only a few weeks ago!
      Not sure how the new “turbo” pump operates, I hope it’s better than the original one and the people who are supposed to fix it don’t recommend motor oil to lube this one!
      I’m probably going to buy one of the Tokarev look alike too, they look pretty good: https://www.crosman.com/airguns/pistols/UC-TT
      The one I don’t get is the new PCP pistol: https://www.crosman.com/airguns/pistols/1720T they already had the silhouette pistol in .177 they took every thing from the Marauder pistol exept for one of the most interesting part, the repeater breech and mag!

      If the new Crosman is a sign of how the SHOT show is, I can’t wait to see what other manufacturers come out with.


  5. Geez, you never miss an oppotunity to plug your Bronco, do you? I’m sure it’s a fine gun, but you should tone it down a bit, lest you lose some credibility. I almost bought one, but I don’t like the straight stock; it pretty much relegates it to offhand shooting only. It’s a wrist-killer otherwise. Went with the HW30s instead, which is a little better, but admittedly over twice as expensive.

    I believe there are aftermarket triggers to replace the horrible stock unit of the X5. Maybe the same one I put in my X20. If interested, search for ‘GRT trigger’ or ‘GTX trigger’. By the way, the X20 and X10 are also great airguns; very accurate.

    • Smaug,

      The thing you have to understand is the Bronco is as good as I say it is! If Diana still made the 27 I would be touting it. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have developed the Bronco if the 27 was still in production.

      Just because I say something is good doesn’t make it a lie.


      • Wasn’t accusing you of lying. I just thought it was self-serving. (probably in ADDITION to being true) I’ll reply to these other replies too, as they’re very good.

      • B.B.,

        Lately I’ve been considering the purchase of a Bronco for my 13-year old son and would appreciate your input relative to a comparison between the Bronco vs. the Air Venturi Avenger 1100 which I’ve discovered advertised on another vendors website for less than two Andrew Jackson’s ($36) more @ $162 vs. $126 for a Bronco.

        Note that through some research I am already aware of the following:

        1) both rifles are manufactured by Mendoza
        2) according to Pyramid Air’s website the Avenger (and similar Mendoza RM-600) have been discontinued.
        3) the Avenger is a bit heavier and more powerful vs. the Bronco. However, based on reviews I’ve read it seems both may have similar triggers and s/b similar in accuracy.

        I should also mention that my son is already taller and weighs more than me (I’m 5’7 & 145 lbs). So the purchase of a child-size air rifle for him is not really necessary IMO. Also, my son already has gained some shooting experience while using my Swift-scoped (3-9x40AO) Beeman R-7. I’m just not ready to turn over my immaculate (and relatively expensive) R-7 over to him…at least not yet. I’d also like for him to get some experience while shooting w/open sights since thanks to his Dad’s poor vision he’s so far been limited to viewing targets thorough a relatively good-quality scope!

        To me, the modest addition in price for what on the surface at least appears to be a more powerful and heavier, but otherwise relatively similar air rifle warrants consideration.

        Your comments and impressions relative to this comparison would be appreciated.

        • Carey T, the two guns are really in a different class and you’d do well to consider its intended use. Where are you shooting? How far are you shooting? What are you shooting at?

          The Bronco isn’t “child sized”, at over 6 lbs it’s a lightweight but still an adult gun. If you’re shooting indoors, or outdoors in a suburban environment and closer ranges the Bronco is far more practical (and less tiring to boot). If you’re punching paper or cans at 25 yards it’s more fun. But if you’re doing 50+ yards or hunting, definitely go for the power.

          • Thanks for your comments Vince. I realize the two air rifles are not from the same class and am aware that the Avenger 1100 weighs ~.8 lbs more and is 5″ longer than a Bronco.

            Also, to answer your questions the rifle would be used primarily by my son for target practice in the back yard (I live in a heavily wooded area in the suburbs in a subdivision w/lots 1-5 acre lots), plus some pl-inking along with some pest control and perhaps an occasional squirrel.

            I realize the Bronco’s firing characteristics are probably a bit milder, that it would easier to cock and will be lighter to handle vs. the Avenger 1100. However, as previously noted my son is already a teenager and IMO is physically large and strong enough to handle a mid-sized springer like the Avenger.

            I’ve also considered some comments made by Rick Eutsler’s in his review of the Avenger 1100 such as:

            β€œ….easy to cock…easy to shoot…accurate…can shoot it all day and not get tired,…great option for some fun in the back yard or for light pest control”, etc.

            So based on these comments I’m wondering if for only a few $$ more an Avenger 1100 might prove to be a bit more versatile for my son long-term, while still retaining many of the advantages for which the Bronco seems to be developing a reputation.

            I’ve read

      • After re-reading reviews for the Air Venturi Bronco and Avenger 1100 I decided to order a Bronco for my son. Sounds like the Bronco’s firing behavior, light cocking effort and light weight should make it a fine training rifle for him…and I already have my R-7 plus another Beeman magnum (RX-1) available for hunting as needed.

        BB’s recommendations haven’t led me wrong so far, and I’m predicting this one won’t either!

        Carey T

        • Carey,
          You have made the right decision. There probably is no air rifle that does it all. Personally I would say “is” rather than “probably” but I’m sure I’d take flack for that because I don’t know them all. As you said you have the hunter so now I say you need a funner. The Bronco will be a funner. One rifle that would be funner than the Bronco would be a PCP (more cost, I know) like the Marauder ($470) or Discovery ($260). There’s extra expense for getting air into it ($129 for pump, ~$120 for scuba tank, $78 for fill adapter) but in my mind it is worth the extra $$. If you choose to go PCP some day (and you really should) invest in a scuba tank or some such because in my opinion manual pumps will eventually discourage you from shooting .

          • Thanks for the words of support Chuck!

            Actually I already have another “funner” rifle in my arsenal (Beeman R-7), but as previously mentioned I’m unwilling to simply turn it over to my son just yet unless I’m available to supervise how he will handle and take care of it.

            My investment (so far) in the Bronco is about 70% less than what I’ve spent on my Swift scoped R-7 which was purchased nearly 9-years ago. So whether due to “youthful exuberance” or simple carelessness, should some scratches and dings show up on the Bronco it won’t be such a “…Dad is really going to be mad!” situation for my son…and I won’t need to be concerned about a rise in my blood pressure either!

            Note that so far I’ve kept my Beeman R-7 and 18-year-old RX-1 pristine despite more than a few years of considerable use and I’d really would like for them to remain so.

            One of these days I may decide to invest the $$ necessary for a PCP and related gear, but these days I have relatively few opportunities to use the airguns and firearms I have now. Actually, along with the Bronco and four tins of pellets, I just ordered a new piston seal for my Beeman RX-1 to replace one destroyed some years back after adding a few (apparently “a few too many”) drops of chamber oil which led to some destructive dieseling activity.

            I also need to repair (or ship to be repaired) my early 90’s RWS Model 6G pistol which also appears to be need of fresh piston seals or perhaps a good tuning.

    • I own the Bronco and a Diana 240 which is a detuned for Canadian market Diana airgun and they are VERY close, it’s at least as good as Tom says it is if not better.
      The trigger on the Bronco is a little better than the Diana but it has a very little bit of spring buzz which the Diana doesn’t have. I consider them equals after shooting them together.
      I think the Bronco is probably the best deal available right now, there are prettier rifles and more accuracte rifles but in the price range I think it’s unbeatable, ask other owners.

      I would have included the IZH-60/61 in the list, it’s very different from the Bronco but it’s still a very nice airgun for 100$.


    • Smaug,

      Just in case you think B.B. is self-serving about the Bronco…he gets nothing for endorsing it. He got nothing for designing it. No commissions, bonuses or royalties are paid when a Bronco sells.

      But I have to warn you…the Discovery will probably be in an upcoming report, and B.B. brought that idea to Crosman.

      One of the reasons he touts the Bronco is because it’s a gun that he’d want to buy all day long. That’s how he develops guns. Same with the Disco. He didn’t want to be associated with something he wouldn’t want to buy or recommend to a friend.

      I know it sounds funny coming from me since I’m his wife. However, I’ve been married to that man for almost 30 years, and the one thing I know is that he’s not going to recommend a gun that he doesn’t believe in and that he wouldn’t want to own. So, his recommendations are sincere. He gives no quarter to bogus recommendations and endorsements. He cannot be bought (or even rented!).

      FWIW, I cannot accurately shoot most rifles because of the stocks (I can’t ever seem to get my head positioned properly). Then, I discovered that the Winchester 94 stock is a perfect fit. And the fact that the Bronco has the same stock is what makes it possible for me to comfortably hold & shoot the gun. So, I happen to agree with B.B. on this recommendation. And…as you probably know, wives RARELY agree with their husbands πŸ™‚


          • Pete Z,

            Actually, I agree with you πŸ™‚ On the other hand, I’ve been married longer than any of our siblings. The prognosis for a long-lasting marriage wasn’t so good, so 30 years is an incredible achievement. Especially when you consider that we hardly knew each other before getting married. He proposed on the second date, & we married 1 month after our first date. No one thought it would last. In fact, many of the naysayers who provided “sage” marital advice have remarried & divorced during that time. When something is right, it’s right…no matter who thinks it’s wrong πŸ™‚


            • Edith, problems with your head position on the stock? Try this.

              Insure that when you bring the rifle to your shoulder, you first bring it to eye level and keep your head upright. Don’t lean over. Once the sights are at eye level, bring it straight back. You can then make any minor adjustments needed by moving your shoulder a little but keep you head upright. It will also help to keep your left arm directly under the rifle (Right arm if you are left handed). If you aren’t already doing these things it will make a big difference in the ease of lining things up.


              • Mike,

                Thanks. It doesn’t help. Here’s the issue. Imagine I’m ET :-O

                My neck is really, really, really long. I’ve spent a lifetime wearing turtlenecks to cover it up.

                When I bring the gun up so the sights are level with my eye, the very bottom tip of the buttpad barely drops low enough to touch my shoulder. That means I need an adjustable buttpad. We don’t have one. I suppose we could order one, but then we’d have change buttpads on guns.

                The Western-style stock on the Winchester 1894 and the Bronco seem to drop pretty far down, making it easy for me to hold, sight & shoot. I do better with a scoped gun, as the scope is mounted higher than the open sights.

                It looks like the cobbler’s wife has no shoes!


      • The first center fire rifle I ever shot was my old mans .30-06 Springfield with straight grip stock. It did have a Lyman receiver sight but was stock military otherwise straight from the DCM. It’s a lot easier for folks of smaller stature to handle in all four positions, not just off-hand. Most military bolt action rifles had straight grip stocks with a slightly less than standard length of pull.

      • Edith, thanks for the great in-depth reply. You were right, I did think a large part of his like for the gun was self-serving. I presumed he got royalties for each one sold, since he masterminded the variances from the Mendoza donor gun. I didn’t doubt that it was a good gun, I just felt like there are probably many other equally good guns that are not getting mentioned because he’s plugging the Bronco so hard. πŸ˜‰ For instance, what about the Mendoza on which it is based? Some folks don’t mind a funky stock design. Look at how well the thumbhole guns are doing now. They used to be considered funky, and now they’re mainstream. I’m glad to read that you like the Bronco. Now I can use this as an excuse to open my mind and buy one. “For my wife”, of course. πŸ˜‰

          • Edith,

            I assumed that Tom had some financial interest in the Bronco, basically following Dr. Johnson’s age-old logic that nobody but a fool would write except for money, and extending that to designing hardware. I guess I was wrong. Apologies.

            • Pete Z,

              Fools, we may be!

              Here’s the basic info. We have an exclusive contract with Pyramyd AIR. We gave up all work for other airgun retailers to do that. We saw Pyramyd AIR as the mover & shaker for the future of airgunning in America, and we wanted to be part of that. No other retailer wanted growth as much or was poised to do great things. We came to a mutual agreement.

              We knew owner Josh Ungier for about 10 years before we did any work for his company. He is a man of his word. His word is his bond. You can take his word to the bank. Val Gamerman, president of PA, is of identical trustworthiness. I look at people this way: If I trust them enough to give them power of attorney over my finances and medical power of attorney, then they’re trustworthy. Both men fulfill those requirements. I know few people…relative, friend or acquaintance…about which I can say the same thing. We are happy with our compensation and ask for nothing in addition.

              On the other hand, we’re not complete fools πŸ™‚ We’ve contracted with other companies for other ideas and have gotten the compensation we stipulated. In no cases do we receive any royalties. We simply get consulting fees once they decide they like our ideas. We are not rich folks…although we’d like to be πŸ™‚

              I don’t like sharing our financial info, but I can see that it might appear to be a conflict of interest if we recommend a product that we’ve been involved with. In fact, that’s also the reason Tom tells you in the blog if he’s been involved with the development of a product…like the Disco. The Rogue was not Tom’s idea, it was Lloyd’s. Again, no royalties are involved.

              To-date, the only royalty checks we get are for the gas well they discovered in our housing development. The developer forgot to snag our mineral rights when they sold us the house. We live on a postage stamp, so it’s not much πŸ™‚


              • Edith,

                Thanks. Much more info than I wanted; and then I was entitled to ask for.

                I had oil on my property in Baton Rouge, but the mineral rights had been severed decades before. There’s likely gas under my house in VA, but once again the mineral…


              • I think you have disclosed enough financial information for all of us. I am writing this, however, because I appreciate the other information you included. After I bought my Benjamin Titan (without research) all of my research kept leading back to this blog (there are others and I do appreciate Rick also, but heck, even he shows up here, sort of :).

                I am pleased with my Titan. I know what I have. I am only shooting paper while I learn more about it and about myself. I have read a lot of the archived posts and I may yet read them all before I’m done (with some prioritizing). In the late 70’s all I had was what I could get printed on paper (mostly from ARH and Beeman). Now, I read some Yellow, some GTA and a few others who post what amount to articles (as here). You and B.B. are not the only ones, but you do offer something special, that, je ne sais quoi.

          • I also assumed Tom was getting some kind of monetary compensation for creating it and the same thing with the Discovery.
            I also tought Lloyd was getting some good money for his Rogue and honestly I think they would deserve it!

            If not royalty then some kind of bonus for creating some great new rifles that are selling so well.

            It’s a shame the Bronco isn’t sold in Canada, I’d lovr to be able to reccomend this very nice rifle to new buyers. Not every one is ready to spend the money needed to get a Diana rifle so a lot of them end up buying cheap Crosman rifles that will need custom work (and money) done to them in order to reach a fraction of the greatness the Bronco achieves so easily.


              • I know you guys aren’t dumb and you guys get paid but I always tought the company kinda own that to you especially with a gun like the Discovery that gets so many sold around the world. I don’t know how many broncos were sold compared to the first estimated sales figures but a bonus if they are exceded would be nice and i think merited.
                I also hope the Rogue is doing well, I don’t hear much about it because it isn’t (and will never be) sold here because of the shroud and the fact that’s it’s a hunting rifle and i don’t hunt… But I still think it’s an airgun revolution right in front of us and I hope it someday (soon) trickles down to more humble and smaller caliber guns (Challenger?).


                • J-F,
                  I’d buy an electronic Challenger – eChallenger. I don’t think it needs to be. I don’t see how adding the e would make it more accurate but I would go for the novelty of owning one and it would be a great one to start with, too.

        • I salute you, Smaug. You bring a tear to my eye (I assume you think I joking). Being able to consider new information that challenges out assumptions, and to change our understanding, is a hallmark of being able to think critically. Critical thinking is greatly needed at every level in our world today.


      • Well said, Edith. I didn’t write my brief, eloquent response (its my delusion and I’m sticking to it) directly to Smaug. I would do it now but everything has been said. In “The Hobbit”, Smaug was an ill tempered dragon that wanted what others have. I hope this Smaug is more civilized.

        About your 30 years with Tom; outstanding! My wife and I will make 36 years in April. I have to give her serious credit for putting up with me when I was not worth putting up with. As I write this I feel a sense of shame, but I think it is good that I just write it and go on from here.

        I wish you both many more good years together.


        • Actually, I thought Smaug from the Hobbit was kind of funny. Favorite quote: “Then I was young and weak. Now I am old. Old and strong.” And note well how he was brought down with a kind of super skeet shot which should resonate with all shooters.

          Smaug, I think the B.B. repeats his recommendation of the Bronco because there is a turnover with blog readers and because it is really that good. As Muhammad Ali said, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” You’ll find that B.B.’s integrity is absolute.


    • Shameless plug for an airgun with a classic western carbine design?

      Makes me sad for gun enthusiasts that put limitations on themselves. A western carbine belongs in everyones lineup whether it’s a vintage saddle gun like the enormously popular Winchester 94 or the classic Marlin 39 or a Beeman C1.

      If every gun you own has a pistol grip you’re shortchanging your shooting experience IMHO. A quick point and shoot carbine with a straight comb, no pistol grip is just plain fun. You can shoot this stock style off a bench by placing your thumb of your trigger hand behind the trigger guard. No more wrist-killer. Learn to shoot a true western carbine and you won’t want to sit down.

      At the price point the bronco doesn’t have any peers. A short carbine with a short LOP (12 3/4″ on the bronco!), it’s ambidextrous, has a high straight comb, iron sights with adjustable rear notch (no fiber optics on this one), has a 11mm dovetail with scope stop hole for those non-traditionalists that need to scope a western saddle gun (hmmmm, Edith?), good trigger and accurate.

      I’ve also always had a thing for blonds but was reluctant to mention this since it makes me appear shallow.


      • Hi Kevin. I haven’t closed my mind to straight-stocked rifles. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a Marlin 1894 in 44 Magnum that I just love. I have to admit, it is scoped though. (Pentax 4×32) It makes it a lot easier to hit small targets at longer ranges, even if it does add some weight. The balance is still there. I think I will try one of these Bronci after all, and try it offhand, unscoped first. Then, maybe a peep sight, which should make it easier to shoot accurately without adding any weight or messing up the balance of the gun. If anything, maybe a 6x Bugbuster scope with an offset rail would be the ticket. I like scopes, especially for small targets. (and I have 20/20 vision too)

      • I enjoy with Winchester 94 shooting offhand, but I don’t have a problem with it either from a bench. Seems like I should, but I don’t. It is a rifle of genius.


        • Matt61: If you like the Winchester 94, you should look up the book “Winchester’s .30-30 Model 94 ” by Sam Fadala,copy right 1986, Stackpole Books, ISBN 0-8117-1905-7. You would enjoy the book for sure ,especially now that you handload. Truth be told, it’s probably all the rifle most of us really need.

  6. I echo the Beeman P17 for a budget pistol. Mileage may vary and, after a season, mine went south. Thankfully, however, it is a moderate tinkerer’s pistol and life can be added to it. It’s a very good pistol for target training in the basement as it’s power level and noise level is quite manageable.

  7. I bought my youngest son a Bronco this past summer and it is a fine gun for anyone wanting a mild shooter. Enough wood in the stock to pare down for a good fit to the shooter. Can’t agree with the P17 pistol, mine lasted three shots and the pin the trigger spring hooks over was broken. Three others from the same lot also went back for various issues. Maybe we all had a Karma issue that day ,but the experience soured me on those. We also have a Gamo Recon for son number one and it has been trouble free but we had to buy a good scope. The trigger is terrible though compared to the Bronco. I agree on changing the trigger in the Gamo and clones with one of the aftermarket units. I have a GRT in a G-1 Extreme and it was the only solution at that time, but the redesigned GTX is better. The second stage is so vague in the GRT that it is non-existent, and the trigger adjusting screws are crude compared to the GTX. The 2240 is a winner for sure IMO, it is the Ruger 10-22 of the airgun world. Everyone else is just trying to catch up .

  8. @Smaug, From all I have read and seen the Bronco is one of the best buys in the under $150 category. This is a matter of fact; it was designed and built for youth although there are adults who also like it. If you have to pay 50 to 100% more for an airgun you prefer then you have left the under $150 category and there is no comparison to be made.

    Those of us who are older have seen how television has changed over the years, both in programs and commercials. And now there are lawsuits both about the Janet Jackson incident and the seven forbidden words. It seems the supreme court will take up the seven words. If they reverse the block these seven well soon be added to the television programs in short order. Television mirrors the culture and society we live in.

    This blog is like an oasis (or, if you ever watched Highlander, this is holy ground). Regardless of the metaphor used, there are many other places on the web to write without restraint. Here, it is best that we restrain ourselves because we are here for a purpose: to learn, to teach, to share information and experiences.

    Thank you, Edith, for kindly but firmly reminding us all about the expectations set for this blog.


  9. On the acronyms and not G-rated stuff, english not being my first language I may sometimes let one by without knowing it, I’m not always sure where the line is between g-rated or not so if I do go over said line please tell me about it so I don’t do it again (same thing for gross gramatical errors… they sadly can’t all be typos, SOME have to be my fault).


    • J-F,

      I’ve made some typos that ended up being offensive words (it’s VERY hard to proof your own text). It’s really bad when you’re sending that kind of typo in a business email and to someone you don’t know. Sigh. It sets the tone for future emails…and the tone is not good. Apparently, some people think I’m a swearing sailor who just got off the boat.


      • I thought I heard somewhere that the name of the credit card “VISA” was developed as the result of a massive, expensive search for a word that would not be remotely offensive in any language. Don’t know if that’s true.


        • Apparently my URL for a page on the andrisandassociates site got trapped. I expect VISA was the result of research. Since the URL didn’t go through I want to include a short quote that I think ties in with what you said. Oh, just before this they recommend first checking in your main language to ensure that there is no slang or other words that have inferred meanings that you aren’t aware of.

          “Shortlisted names that survive the English process can then proceed to linguistics checks in other languages relevant to your target market, to be done by a qualified linguistics firm. There is a good chance that one or more names will be disqualified at this stage, as was Truis in our process with retirement home chain Revera – Truis found to mean β€œfemale pig” in French.”

            • Please let me know if you see something specific or that you believe may be the problem. Feedback is vital sometimes. Thank you for approving my posts (and please let me know if you find any to disapprove). I have spent more time here than I intended today. Some students and other things I expected to arrive haven’t and I have just been merrily reading and writing. This is the first day of class for the spring semester. I will be quite busy soon.

          • The female of the pig is in fact “truie” so it was a good idea to reject the name.
            I do this once in a while, it’s localisation where they give something to read and if it has another meaning that could be negative or funny you notify the client.

            When GM came out with the Buick Lacrosse a few ago EVERY french Canadian car critic told them that it a different meaning in french Canadian slang but they still went on with it.


            • J-F, now I am happy I copied that example rather than another. I understand you are French Canadian. When I lived in Washington D.C. many years ago I liked to go to the French Cafe in Georgetown and listen to the French nationals converse. I don’t speak French so I was not eaves dropping. I just enjoyed the atmosphere. I expect I would enjoy sitting in a French Canadian cafe as well.
              Best to you.

  10. I was shooting with a buddy of mine over the weekend. We were talking about the 853 and 953. Neither of us have ever owned one. They sure receive high praise from their owners. I’ve got to try one of these.

    Can someone tell me why the Benjamin 392/397 didn’t make the $150-$250 list. Has something been “cheapened” on these classic pumpers? This is important to me since it’s an airgun I still recommend often but haven’t shot a newer one.


    • I was also surprised that the 392/297 didn’t make the list. True the trigger leaves plenty of room for improvement and pumping past 4 strokes will give many early and pre-teens a struggle (heck, stroke 6, 7 and 8 give me a struggle) but for that price range and the accuracy it has, I’d include it in the under $150 list.

      OTOH, you can’t include them all and I understand that.

      Fred PRoNJ

    • I think that it has to do with power and convenience for the money. Too many springers in that range that offer the same performance, are easy to scope, and take less effort to shoot. Personally I disagree, but I’m probably lonely for feeling that way.

    • Kevin,

      I also wondered the same. I have a newer 397 that will almost stack pellets at 10 yds if I do my part. Crummy lawyer trigger, but not a pellet picky gun. My Disco trigger with all of its shortcomings is better than the 397’s, but for under $150, the 397 is still a great buy!


        • Edith, my first air gun of consequence was a Sheridan Blue Streak I purchased in San Antonio in 1976. I still have it (although I need to have it repaired, which is probably not to difficult but even with all of the picture and research I’m still not ready to take it apart). I still have the little red booklet that came with it. I still have some 5mm Beeman Silver Jets I’d like to run through it.

          I’m not sure what B.B. might think, but perhaps he was influenced by this shooting session:

          Still, I love my Sheridan and will not part with it.

    • Try a 953. They’re just fantastic guns. Decent trigger, (which can be made better with a little home machining) no hold sensitivity, single pump convenience, light weight, outstanding accuracy, the list goes on and on. I probably shouldn’t admit this publicly, but I shoot my 953 better than I shoot my Weihrauch HW30s, which cost over 4x as much, even at 25 yards, where it should be out of its element! 5-shot repeater feature is cool too. Not that it has fast follow-up shots, but it just makes getting the next shot ready much, much easier. To put the icing on the cake, spare clips are very affordable, less than $10 for a 5-pack, I think. The only downside to the 953 is it makes me think of what great things Daisy could accomplish if they kept innovating. They could really give Crosman a run for their money.

      • Smaug,
        Would you share your 953 trigger mod? I love my 953 except for the trigger. There are mods on the inet for the 853 that could work for the 953 as well. Is this is what you’re referring to? Is this what you did? I looked at it but didn’t think it was a very easy thing to do or at least within my perceived competency level.

  11. Kudos on the G-rating Edith.
    If there is one thing I hate it’s having to try and explain some of the garbage that is now on prime-time television to my sons.
    One of many reasons why TV is a very low priority in our home.

  12. Weighing in on the symbols and characters used to express frustration or unprintable words that seem to offend, I typically think of The Christmas Story and Darren McGavin’s (the actor who plays the father) ramblings and shoutings from off-screen when he’s fighting with the house furnace. I like to think that he’s verbalizing the symbols many of us use here to keep from offending those of us sensitive to that type of language or pre-teens or even teenagers who should not be exposed or whose guardians don’t want them exposed. Another example is “Ralphie” pummeling the school bully and his exclamations. I don’t think that scene needs to be cut because some folks might find it offensive. In my opinion, it’s a G rated scene as well.

    To me, using those symbols, like The Christmans Story, is G-rated and I wonder if we’re getting just a bit too PC here.

    Fred PRoNJ

    • Fred,

      I am the antithesis of PC. But that’s not what this is about. In fact, I think the politically correct crowd has never weighed in on the freedom of using off-color language.

      Years ago, a clever road construction company put up a billboard that showed a bunch of symbols where the words would be. It was on a major highway and they apologized for ripping up the road, which seriously messed up rush hour traffic. The sign was up for just one day when they were ordered to take it down & replace it with something traditional. Apparently, a woman who was an elementary school teacher had a bunch of kids in her class ask her what the symbols meant. She had to tell them they were substitutes for bad words that could not be used in public. Until I heard that story, I thought it was ridiculous that they took down the sign. After I heard that story, I realized that we are not all adults. We have vulnerable, eager, open minds amongst us, and we should fill those minds with intelligent conversation, interesting/useful facts, and a curiosity to explore and learn.

      I would like Airgun Academy to be a place where anyone can read and learn without wondering what they’re going to encounter…and Pyramyd AIR backs me 100%.


    • Fred, I just viewed Ralphie pummeling the bully. This scene takes place within a context. No matter how much we enjoy watching Christmas Story, this scene represents a rather serious situation. Ralphie’s expletives were not explicit (as you have noted); still the emotion displayed here is close enough to real. The threats were real in the story. Ralphie’s expletives were, in the story, the consequence of tremendous emotion and behavior. I give Ralphie a standing ovation for taking the bully to task; I’m glad the script allowed him to do that.

      I have been reading posts for several years. Yes, the symbols do somewhat mask the intended word. Unless there is a draconian administrator, the symbols will be replaced with the words at some point. The words, even masked, are by definition meant to be derogatory, demeaning and offensive toward someone or something. Some of those other blog posts I have read for years include a great deal of this directly toward other posters. I used to join in without reserve, but I perceived that I was demeaning myself as well. I began to find other ways to express myself. I didn’t ask anyone else to change, and I don’t now. I just express my thoughts, such as they are.

      You and I can deem something overly restrictive as long as we are not having to administer the blog and keep it on the course it was created to take.


  13. BB,
    This blog post is now in my bookmark tool bar. I get questions about what is the best gun and now I have the list.

    I think this is a posting that should be updated quarterly or at least semi-annually and especially before Christmas.

    Edith, I appreciate the nudge on language. I’m amazed at the poor language we hear on TV and the movies. I always wonder why it was put in there, what benefit does it have to the scene? I am not a prude, mind you, but I don’t think the off color stuff belongs here, either. I spent four years in the Navy so I know how to cuss and wish I had a dollar for every time I did (do) I’d be richer than Warren Buffett. I ain’t no saint now, either, but I still think it does not belong here. What benefit does it add to the blog?


  14. Carey,

    Sorry, but your comment was caught by the spam filter. I originally pulled it out & approved it…and THEN read it. Unfortunately, your comment includes a link to a retailer competing with Pyramyd AIR. Since Airgun Academy is owned and run by Pyramyd AIR, we do not allow links to competing retailers for the same products and I had to pull your comment.

    If you want to resubmit your comment without that link, please feel free to do so. There are many others on the blog who will be able help you select a gun for your son.


  15. Always good to see a list of the best, and if there is such a thing as a direct link to Tom’s Picks do let me know. I can find no better proof of B.B.’s integrity in rating as seeing that the IZH 61 has slipped off his list into the outer darkness where there is a wailing and a gnashing of teeth. I actually can understand because of its hold sensitivity even though this very feature has transmogrified the gun to a higher level trainer for me. But it may not be the best for the new shooter.

    Edith is right to remind us of the better angels of our nature. And in this connection, I will quote something that I may have before but will again because of its relevance. In the book, Heaven is for Real, a young boy who almost died of appendicitis claims that he went to Heaven. He was greeted by angels singing religious hymns. But when he asked them to sing “We Will, We Will Rock You,” they declined. I had a look at the lyrics which I’ve never paid attention to: “…blood on your face, big disgrace….” Yeah, I can see how that would have been a little jarring. πŸ™‚


    • Matt61,

      We ordered 10 copies of “Heaven is for Real” and “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” and gave a copy to every family member at Xmas. Both books start off slow, in my opinion, but are worth every moment once you get to the meat of the story.


  16. Edith,

    After my 1st message failed to show up I realized that I had not registered to participate. So I did so before typing a 2nd reply. Of course I sent the same before reading your response regarding links to Pyramid Air competitors.

    Since I (probably) made a similar reference in my 2nd reply, feel free to remove the same before posting. I’d really prefer that you do so in lieu of having to type a reply for the third time.

    Thank You!

    Carey T

  17. Edith,

    I know that I’m guilty of this use of characters, and very recently, so I sincerely apologize.

    However (not but), the battle between the mental and physical is a huge issue in competition. As I’ve said before, I’m not a hunter, not much of a plinker (until very recently), and I know virtually nothing about guns. What I do know is how to compete and shoot guns very well. However (but), you can read a thousand books on shooting, be taught the fundamentals by the absolutely best, and have the highest scores, in practice, and do poorly in competition. Psychology is a huge factor, but so is the physical body. Both can be our enemy, as we have to overcome them to do well in competition (very different from non-competition). Anyone who’s ever competed knows that competition is very tight, and scores must be very high. As an example, I’ve won 2 state and 1 national by a single point. In those two state championships, had I dropped one more point, I would have ended up in 4th place because 3 other shooters had more X’s (tie breakers). They were all just one point behind me. It takes a lot of practice, knowledge, good equipment (serious investment), and a strong mental attitude.

    I talk about “natural point of aim” because without it, we are fighting our muscles. But that is just one example. When B.B. talks about “artillery hold”, he’s also talking about not fighting our muscles. In fact, you can’t be a great competitive marksman without being in good shape, because our whole bodies can become a distraction if they struggle and fatigue too easily.

    The point that I made about detecting tension is very similar to what you need to do to successfully do the artillery hold. You need to be consciously aware that you’re hand is relaxed, and not interrupting or adversely influencing your shot execution. Same goes for your body. What I find interesting is that this is one piece of advice that EVERYONE that I competed with really appreciated. Trouble is, I’ve never heard or read it anywhere, other than from Stan Hulstrom. Again, it is serious advice, and not an attempt at being crude. This is why the couple of times that I’ve sort of mentioned it, I give my e-mail address for further clarification. But I won’t do it again.

    Again, my sincerest apologies.

  18. I like the Daisy 880’s, and thought they might show up on the list. I also have had no problems with the Powerline adjustable scopes. I think the 856 was actually a little better gun: the fore stock is easier on the hand than the lever, and there is no bb port in the later 856’s for a pellet to fall back into. Both the 880 and the 856 is easier to pump than my 760.

    One of the things I want to buy this year is a Bronco. I hadn’t really considered the possibility of royalties, but can understand the personal pride Tom takes in his input into its design. I would be proud of it, too.

    Last night, I signed up my grandson Nicky and his sister Melanie for the Platte Valley Sharpshooters, a shooting club sponsored by 4-H. Eight to ten year-olds shoot Daisy target bb guns. Eleven year old and up shoot air rifles (I don’t know what kind). Shoots begin Monday night. They will shoot indoors in a building at the county fairgrounds.


  19. One final comment on ‘ratings’.
    As I mentioned earlier I’ve just about given up on what is currently offered on mainstream TV (lots of good stuff on the specialty channels). I am especially appalled at what passes for humor these days. It seems that if it isn’t filled with sexual innuendo it just isn’t funny anymore!!??
    For Christmas someone gave us the complete Fawlty Towers series on DVD.
    I have never laughed so much. Although there are a few parts that are a little risque (in that quaint 1970’s British humor way) that I’ve had to explain to the boys…nothing has been so over the top that I’ve used the good old “I don’t know” to a question posed by one of the boys.

  20. Apropos of this discussion you might find this article of interest:

    Mort Walker coined the term “Grawlixes” for Symbol Swearing. “Traditionally includes symbols like stars, angry scribbles, storm clouds (sometimes complete with lightning bolts), swirls, large exclamation points, and skulls. Machine-lettered comics will often just use keyboard characters.”

    Sometimes, that’s all it means.

    • Sometimes that is all it means. I have read comics through the years, and for the greater part the Grawlixes do not occur in a sentence, just as in the example comic panel. Nor are these stories and drawings anything like those found in Heavy Metal. I have Akira at home; I’ll have to look at it and see if they used any profanity or grawlixes. I don’t remember any.

      When some grawlixes are used in the context of a sentence, they take on a more definitive meaning, often quite transparent, whether it is meant to be demeaning or not.

      Some of us have just gotten into a habit of chronic profanity and fail to realize it. Of course, some will cry, “freedom of speech” and censorship, not realizing the first amendment has little to do with taking over someone’s private platform (where the owner has freedom of speech also, including limiting speech on their platform).

      And yes, sometimes that’s all it means. Sometimes.

  21. First of all I’d like to thank B.B. and Edith for this wonderful blog, I’ve been a reader of this blog for years, but have never posted before. Because of the information here I now own a .22 caliber marauder, .22 RWS 350 magnum, 1377 carbine stock with steel breech and an IZH-61. I am extremely pleased with all except the IZH-61, because of it’s extreme hold sensitivity and harsh firing behavior, mine has the plastic breech and non-adjustable trigger. Also the screws on this gun strip very easily as they only attach into plastic and would vibrate loose after every session. Glad to see it didn’t make the list as it has been cheapened by the “bean counters”, how i wish I had one of the steel breeched ones!

    • Matt in NC, I am envious. I have been lusting after a .25 caliber Marauder, but only today I was reading B.B.’s thoughts from July of 2009 about pellet caliber. Unless something has changed greatly, I will no doubt aim for .22 caliber until I have the means to manufacture great .25 caliber pellets πŸ™‚

  22. Kenholmz, in my opinion you can’t go wrong with the Marauder in any caliber. I had a small problem with mine, a leak at the gauge adapter. It was cross threaded and cut the o-ring, called Crosman and parts are on the way free of charge, no questions asked. I could have shipped the gun to them, but couldn’t bear to let it leave my sight as I spent about three days tuning it over a chrony. Worth all the effort as it stacks 10 18.1 grain JSB Exacts (a full mag) into 1\2″ at 50 yards and shoots 30 shots at 900 fps using only 700 psi, 2800 down to 2100 psi with an extreme spread of 23 fps.. I took 8 tree rats with it on opening day this fall, all headshots with 4 shots at 50+ yards, lust no longer and get one.

  23. BB,

    Fairly new airgunner (about 3 years). Love squirrel hunting with my Crosman Phantom, a low level break barrel as you know. Can you PLEASE put to rest two questions that I can’t seem to get a single concise answer on? (1) How long can I leave it cocked without weakening the spring? My research has said anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours. Not very helpful. (2) I live in MN, where it can get quite cold. How much of an effect does very cold weather have on springers?




    I happened to do a test on how long a spring can stay cocked and what happens to it. It was originally a chapter in my R1 book, but I also put a short version into this blog years ago. Read it here:


    I wrote that blog back in 2006, before admitting that I am Tom Gaylord, so don’t get confused by the wording.

    That being said, the steel in your mainspring wire will determine how long it will last. The Phantom probably has a Chinese mainspring inside, so you may get quicker failure than I did in my test. But still, you can leave your rifle cocked for many hours and days before the spring starts to fail.

    Extreme cold does affect springers. What happens is the lubrication on the spring stiffens and slows it down. A gas spring is much better in extreme cold (20 degrees F and below) because it has a lot less lubricant. A PCP is about the most resistant airgun to cold, though when the temp drops below zero degrees F, even they start to slow down.


    • Thanks Tom! I’ve let a few tree rats get away because I was always scared to keep the gun cocked for more than a few minutes. I’d either scare them away when I discharged, or scare them away with all the motion involved in cocking. Now I know I can go on a standard hunt (maybe an hour or two) and leave it cocked until I need the shot. Thanks so much!! Pot pie here I come!!

  25. Kind of surprised that the Beeman RS2 Dual Caliber combo was left out of the under $150 mix. It’s a very serviceable, economical and appealing option for the adult who is just getting into the sport and looking at their first serious airgun. I know loads of people who started out with one of those.

      • Granted I’ve also seen people have to exchange them once or twice to get a decent one, they can’t all be as I see a ton of them go out the door at WalMart and it’s consistently a top seller online. It’s kind of like a starter guitar. Works well enough to learn the basics, but it’s certainly not top of the line either. And your probably not going to find another manufacturer who gives you the opportunity to experiment with both calibers at that price.

        • txspringer,

          And that’s why it didn’t make my list. The guns on my list are reliable gun that I trust to work every time.

          The RS2 is okay for what it is, but it doesn’t open any doors when it comes to performance. As for the dual caliber thing, unless it’s solid and bulletproof, I consider it to be a liability — not a plus.


  26. This may not be the right place but I’m not sure where to ask this question so I am posting it here.

    Today I purchased a Daisy Buck for my daughter. It’s harder to cock than my IZH-61. Is this a matter of breaking in the spring before I give it to her or should I just have a custom stock built for an IZH-61?

    Anybody have any ideas?

    • Mama Hen,

      That Buck won’t get any easier to cock with a break in. The IZH 61 has better cocking linkage with better use of mechanical advantage. I remember lever action BB guns being hard to cock when I was a kid, too.

      You might try a Daisy Avanti 499 Champion, though. It is very easy to cock and is extremely accurate.

      read about it here:



  27. B.B.,
    I’m not sure if I’m posting in the correct spot, but hopefully you’ll come across it… Anyway, I just bought a Daisy Avanti 747 Triumph Match pistol based on your review and others’ comments and love it. I accidentally oiled it with a detergent oil thinking it was non-detergent. Will this likely damage the gun? I’m planning on oiling it with Pellgunoil as soon as it comes in. Should I try and clean the detergent oil out first?

    • Jake,

      I wouldn’t worry about it. Just re-oil with the Pellgunoil when you get it and forget about it. I doubt the little bit of detergent in the oil will do any harm. They just don’t want the gun to start sudsing up when you pump it is all.


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