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Seasons of an airgunner’s life

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Allen Baltzer is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card! Congratulations!

Allen Baltzer is the Big Shot of the Week. Here he’s shooting his Umarex SA177 CO2 pistol.

Before I begin today’s report, I have to tell you that this coming Monday I will show you something truly astounding. I tested an airgun at the range yesterday, and the results were so surprising that I had one target witnessed. But I told the guy who signed it to never speak of it, because people will think he is a liar—just like me.

That’s coming Monday. Now, for today.

Lately, I noticed that my viewpoint on air guns and firearms in general has taken a new turn. I now find myself wanting to trim down my personal collection of airguns and firearms and to devote more time to fewer guns. If a gun isn’t interesting, I don’t have time for it. I’ve always been driven by the clock, but recently it’s become very pronounced. If a gun can’t justify itself, in terms of shooting fun or value, I don’t need it.

That’s not what things were like back when I started out in the shooting sports in the 1960s. Skipping over my youth and going right to early adulthood, it was in my early 20s when I was in college that I got interested in firearms, mostly because of my job at Frontier Village amusement park. Back then, I wanted to try everything, sometimes just to see if it was really all that people said or wrote about it, and other times just because I was fascinated. I wanted to try a .375 Holland & Hollandto see if it would knock me down (it didn’t) and a .458 Winchester Magnum for the same reason. The .458 was sobering, but I was a reloader at the time and soon found that a certain lead bullet and a small charge of a certain smokeless powder gave spectacular results at 100 yards. I never shot a full-bore .458, again.

Then, I got commissioned and went to Germany with the Army, where I became interested in airguns through the writings of Robert Beeman in the first edition of Airgun Digest. Ironically, I was stationed in Erlangen, a city near Nürnberg and the home of the airgun manufacturer, Bayerische Sportwaffenfabrik (BSF), though I was unaware of that fact while I lived there. Instead, it was in the walled city of Rothenberg on the Tauber that I found and bought a Diana Model 10 target pistol. That pistol turned out to be so sweet-shooting that it changed my outlook on airguns forever.

Beeman was telling me in Airgun Digest about the guns I was probably passing in the night without actually seeing, and there I sat in Germany, pining for the day when I could return home to California and visit the Beeman store to buy a German air rifle! Talk about irony!

I did return to San Jose in December 1976, and the first thing I did was drive up to see the Beeman store in Santa Rosa. I bought a Feinwerkbau 124D after considerable angst deciding between it and an HW35 Luxus. It was my Christmas present to myself.

After that, it was a slow but steady ramp-up to full-blown airgun collector status, which happened around 1990. At that juncture, I wanted one of every airgun that existed, and I had no idea what existed. We didn’t have the Blue Book in those days, so my education was one of trial and error while reading everything about airguns I could find.

For the next 10-15 years, I was an active collector; and because I was also writing about them, my finds provided the perfect research material! When I discovered the Crosman 600 pistol, for example, I didn’t just want one — I wanted all three major variations! I met the movers and shakers among the American airgun collectors. Even though I made some costly mistakes, my lucky finds overshadowed them, keeping me on an even financial keel.

But about a year or so ago, the thrill of finding new guns left me, or at least it greatly diminished. Instead of many new guns, I found I am now more interested in fewer guns with which I can spend more serious time. The Ballard probably pushed me in that direction and made it easier to get rid of other guns I once thought I would never sell.

I do still have some items of interest, but now they tend to be the more important pieces that will also cost more, like the vintage 10-meter rifles I’ve been testing. The number of new guns I buy has dropped, and the pace of acquisition has slowed, but the enjoyment level has increased. I can see a day coming when I will own only a handful of guns, but enjoy the shooting sports immensely. Many of my friends are doing and feeling the exact same thing, so I believe this has to be linked to our age.

I still understand and appreciate the raw desire a person new to the hobby can exhibit for a certain gun, however. That comes through loud and clear even when the gun in question isn’t my taste. I can certainly understand how it can appeal to others.

I think there are “seasons” to an airgunner’s life, or journey through this hobby. At different times different things will be of primary importance. This might be related to the chronological age of the person, rather than to their level of experience. In other words, two 50-year-olds are more likely to view things the same, despite one of them being an experienced veteran and the other a newbie. I think this must be the case, because I’m also experiencing the same sort of thing in other areas of personal interest.

I read about Matt61’s broad firearms interests in the daily comments and am reminded of my own similar interests when I was his age. However, some of those interests, such as the fascination with the M1 Garand design or seeing beauty in the No. 4 Lee Enfield rifle, seem to be timeless — at least so far.

Many years ago, there was a book about maintaining Volkswagen cars titled,  How To Keep Your Volkswager Alive — A manual of step by step procedures for the Compleat Idiot by John Muir. We called it the idiot’s book, for short. The author rambled on about karma and stuff that a straight-laced Army officer shouldn’t have been interested in, but I was! There were technical illustrations throughout the book, but there were also lots of other drawings that looked like Grateful Dead concert posters.

The point is that even though Muir and I probably didn’t see eye-to-eye on many subjects and probably didn’t support the same political ideals, I have to acknowledge that he wrote the finest car maintenance book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I needed the info he was writing; but as an added benefit, he managed to put it into terms I could comprehend. Perhaps that made me an idiot, but I was so happy just to learn this stuff that I didn’t care what label I got.

Sometimes, it’s the subject (airguns in this case) that validates our interests and draws us together. But as we age, our outlook on many things changes. I still like airguns and shooting, but probably not in the same way that many of my readers do — especially if we are separated by several decades of life. So, I’ll continue to review and test airguns as I have all along, but please bear with me when I reflect on the world as I see it. It’s the same world that you see, only seen through older eyes.

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.

190 thoughts on “Seasons of an airgunner’s life”

  1. I think that sounds like a great season to be in. My collection is maintained only in my memory, I keep only one airgun at a time. I get one, use it until it proves that it is not as interesting as the ol’ faithful 94, then sell it and figure out what comes next. One day I may find an airgun that I like better than the 94 and then I’ll have to keep two, but until then, beware of the man with one gun!

  2. B.B.,
    Thank you for this. A view from a vantage point I have yet experienced. Retrospective, introspective, personal. Really good stuff. I too wanted every airgun, at least the models in my tattered Beeman catalog. I also read Muir’s book, one copy in the bug, one in my crappy apartment.
    I only own three airguns now; maybe in twenty years I will be intelligent enough whittle it down to only one.

  3. I’d like to be able to do that but I just can’t. I keep telling myself I could/should let go of this or that airgun but just can’t seem to do it… And there’s always a good reason to keep it!
    It might not be worth much so I might as well keep it or sometimes I’ll get the pistol or rifle out and remember how it is to hold, then I’ll put a few pellets thru it and then I’m toasted, it goes back to it’s hibernation until the next time I think about selling it but it’s OK right? Because the longer I keep them, the more collectible they will be no?

    Maybe in a few years when I’m a few decades older and I closer to be as wise and clever as you are Tom. But until then… I’ll keep hoarding airguns.


  4. My computer was down for a day, so I missed yesterday’s exciting discussion until tonight. If I may, there is a thought I’d like to express concerning the Hodges Catapult Gun.

    The blog stated that the gun was used as a ship’s foraging gun. A stealthy weapon that would not alert obnoxious natives. There is another possible use for this gun that struck me as obvious from the moment I read about it.

    It would have provided many hours of cheap and useful entertainment to the ship’s crew. They could use it for rat hunts inside the ship’s hull. The sailors could safely shoot rats without fear of shooting holes through the ship’s wooden hull.

    There would be a danger of projectiles bouncing back off the stout oak walls, but the use of lead balls (which would absorb energy by flattening on impact) would reduce the danger of “shooting your eye out”.

    Ever wonder why so many pirates wore eye patches?


  5. I felt the same about my SSP-250. This was back in the 1980’s, when I was buying every airgun I could lay my hands on, and my zeal was being fed by a friend who rebuilt them and offered me the classics, like the 600. But the 250 was what I shot the most, and this allowed me to become so familiar with it that my confidence in hitting everything I aimed at, included a friend asking me to shoot a balloon out of his mouth, was huge. I KNEW I could do it, based on my history with the gun (and the fact that I aimed at the large balloon’s tip, as far from my friend’s face as possible and kids don’t try this at home). The 250 is long gone but I’ve replaced it with a Crosman 2250, which feels so similar.

    When I was a kid I only had one airgun at a time, but I shot it almost daily. I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm. I finally cut the sights off my Daisy #25 because they got in the way. I had gotten used to aiming along the left side of the gun and watching the BB in flight. Things like this inspire confidence in a way that having a lot of airguns (like I do now) and never getting to shoot them all regularly ever will.

    Of course, having said this, I have to admit to buying a new Daisy 25 last week. And a Red Ryder a couple years ago. I cannot tell you how great it feels to have enough money now to walk into K-Mart and walk out with the guns I had as a kid.

    Just my 2 centavos.

  6. I’ve got two mutually opposing tendencies that apply here. I have a hoarding instinct which makes me want to collect MORE, MORE, MORE STUFF! And a simplification instinct which longs to have only a very few, but cherished and much used possessions. The result is that clutter is kept under control (lots of books and records though) but there is a drawback in that there are a few things that I genuinely regret selling.

    • nowhere,

      I should have mentioned the regret. I think that is seasonal, as well. For decades I mourned the loss of a few specific airguns and firearms, but where I am now I wouldn’t buy them back if I could. I have actually been tested on this by people who have approached me to buy back certain old guns I once thought the world of.


  7. I think the variables are almost limitless – age, length of experience, wealth, outlook on life, and so on that influence our interests in most endeavors.

    I was fine with a single R1 for a decade, but somehow ended up with a modest collection of around fifty air rifles 25 years later.

    Now I have about a half dozen, and it still seems like too much.

    Currently I enjoy playing Angry Birds a good bit. All that experience shooting air guns with rainbow trajectories gives me a bit of an advamtage.

  8. Hang Tags

    B.B. has a gifted writing style that always makes me feel that he’s across the table in my favorite tavern and we both have a cold beer in front of us. It’s a fantasy of course.

    Today is different. He really is speaking to me like an old friend that has reached the same intersection in life at the same time and we’re sharing navigation coordinates in order to determine the smartest route.

    I put hang tags on all of my guns and loop them by the strings on the trigger guard. I put date purchased, preferred rounds, serial no., price paid, etc.

    If I told you the number of guns I had 4 years ago you would think I was either boasting or lying. The number doesn’t matter but I realized that I had more firearms than I needed. I started selling firearms to fuel my airgun buying account.

    Since I have great airgun ranges a few steps outside my door I wanted to try every airgun ever made. I’ve come close. To be clear, I’m not a collector. I’m only interested in accurate guns. I’ve learned an awful lot.

    I’ve sold more guns in the last 4 years than I’ve bought. I buy shipping boxes, packing material and tape in bulk from uline. I made a shipping table in my garage. I remove the hang tags before shipping a gun and have almost filled two large coffee cans with hang tags.

    The season of my gun life is to simplify. I have many interests and multiple duties for guns but very specific criteria. Fit and accuracy being foremost. I like to think I’m being ruthless with my criteria but it’s tough with some guns that I have some lengthy memories with LOL!

    Here’s the interesting part you’ve been patiently waiting for. I never regretted the acquisition of any gun. It always taught me something. I only regreted selling one firearm and one airgun.


    Great topic for the weekend. Looking forward to Monday. I’m intrigued.


      • B.B.,

        You really delight in keeping me in suspense. 🙂 You also know that patience is not part of my dna. Well, I guess the good news is that it’s going to be a long weekend.

        BTW, another great article today.


        • I don’t have a clue what B.B. will present on Monday, but at least the Lyrica will keep me from waiting on needles and pins. Still, I will wait on baited breath.
          And I am sure it won’t be like my soul food experience. I remember hearing about soul food and I really wanted to sample this exotic cuisine. Having grown up and living in the south you can imagine my disappointment when I had the opportunity (which was every day).

        • Matt61,

          B.B. gave us 4 clues.

          1-It’s an airgun
          2-It happened at the range so it’s likely that he was shooting beyond his normal 25 yards at home.
          3-It shot very small groups since he had someone witness his targets
          4-He said I have more reason than most to be interested. I have no idea what this means.


    • B.B., re Monday’s post, you are a consummate tease!

      Kevin, I think you may have mentioned them in the past, but could you remind us what your two regretful sales were?


        • Kevin,through it all you have given of yourself freely……if I had that HW55 T PW adv. it would be on its way back to you.You know how to “play nice with others” and don’t deserve regret.

          • Frank B,

            Nice of you to say so. Thanks.

            I’m not sweating it. It was a good lesson. I’ve probably sold 4 or 5 HW55 Tyroleans but I shouldn’t have sold that one. Live and learn. I still have a few left that Paul tuned including a HW55TF. I’ll get by 😉


  9. I used to have a large collection of military and fantasy fighting knives (I coveted that knife you picked up in Roanoke). Of that collection, I now only have a Navy divers knife. When I went to buy my first air rifle, I was asked the question “What do you want to do with this air rifle?”.

    I did not buy one that day. When I finally did, I was past the stage of wanting them all. I own four air guns and want to sell two of them. Then I will buy one more because I know the answer to that question and have a pretty good idea what I “need”.

    I think we all go through these phases on our journey towards maturity. One day I might reach there.

  10. B.B.’s comments hit home here too. I finally have a R7, just like the one that a good friend loaned me over a summer many, many airguns ago. Also an R9, the lines of which have always “spoken” to me. Recently a HW77K joined the group, needing a bit of help due to the fact it was in the dealers rack so long that the grease in the Rekord trigger had gotten a bit thicker than should be allowed. An Airforce SS changed over to .22 with a long barrel, Edge, Marauder pistol, etc., etc.

    There is a point to my ramblings. I “met” B.B. many years ago through The Airgun Letter. Shared some ideas with him. Got ten times the number of ideas back from him that have served me well.

    It’s not just about the airguns that we have all had, have now, or wish to have. It’s about good friends to enjoy the sport with, boast with, compete with, and learn from. Thanks B.B.

  11. In all this talk about maturity of interest and simplifying your life , be cautious in what you let go of, and where you could end up at. In my gun collecting I’ve been very lucky ,but I started earlier than most . I used to dream of the days of the pre 68 surplus gun utopia that existed while I was in diapers , but only knew of through my father’s old gun magazines. By the time the late 1970’s rolled around, and I had a job and money, I went at it with a passion. I also lived right next store to a rural gun shop. I would watch the racks and listen to the customers as they traded their guns in on the latest trend. I then ruthlessly preyed on them. I learned to predict trends, and when the mid 1980’s rolled around and the dollar got a little strong , I spent a lot of money for a lot of eastern Europe’s treasure that I knew would be the last gasp of the surplus treasure trove that I missed . Didn’t own but three or four airguns then, as I was too fixated in firearms. As my interests escalated, I started to read even more and a book by C.S. Landis called “Hunting With The .22″ purchased from the personal collection of the owner of the gun shop that was next to my parents home was put out for sale when the shop went out of business. That book changed my direction and I went to collecting .22’s and small game rifles. That ultimately morphed into exploring the air rifle and eventually hunting with them. Now past fifty with two young children under ten , I don’t have the money to spend like I did , but I still collect. I haven’t sold a lot because I want my boys to be able to try what I have. I also see that there will very soon come a time where what we are able to do now with guns will end. The guns will become more expensive , the regulation will be tighter , and places to shoot them will vanish. Those $500 TX’s and M-Rods, and $200 Diana 34’s are not going to be there, just like the Mausers I bought for $50 -$75 aren’t now. Or for that matter,the land I bought for $1000 an acre either. As far as the references to being more mature as we get older and that we should simplify , I’m not so sure of. It’s like a lot of the old guy’s around here who sell their house and move to a Florida condo, and then spend the rest of their days sipping cheap coffee at a McDonalds at a strip mall ,while discussing stuff they USED to do. I rehab their houses so I see that, and what they give up because some banker or their greedy relatives don’t want to see them” burdened” by their processions. So I don’t buy too much into the part that you need to leave with less, or need less as you enter your Autumn. Fight it…

    • Robert from Arcade,

      When Tom was ill and in the hospital, he had a lot of time to think. When he came home from the hospital, he went crazy buying/selling guns. With an IV in his arm (which was how he was fed) and daily visits from the home care nurse, he traded/bought/sold so many guns that we needed a revolving front door. He’d been deprived of trades & buying for so many months that he could no longer take it. Once he was home, there wasn’t a day that passed without some stranger from TexasGunTrader.com ringing our doorbell…gun in hand or money in his pocket & ready to buy whatever Tom was selling.

      So, his need to move guns out of his collection is a relatively recent epiphany, but I’m not 100% convinced it’s the final incarnation of his mindset about guns. It may be. Or not. Time will tell.


      • Edith:
        Before my father passed away a few years ago, he was quite sick for a period of five or six years prior to his death. he was an avid gun collector with no real sense of direction. He just collected what he liked. When my siblings would buy him shirts and nicknacs for gifts, I would buy him books on shooting and guns. I did this even when he could no longer walk to go and shoot. It kept him going , and I bought him things as diverse as a 2240 CO2 pistol to a Springfield rifle . My family thought it was such a waste of my money. Even before he got very sick, some of them also felt he had wasted his money on an expensive hobby he had little time to enjoy. You would have had to be there when I gave him a Savage 93 rifle in .17HRM for Christmas one year. I bought one of the first ones off the shelf that I could find. It is a cheap gun ,but was in a caliber he hadn’t experienced, and as luck would have it , he never did. But,it kept him going and made his year. My point is ,be very careful about paring back on your possessions that are linked to your passions, despite the current mantra of frugality and living lite. You will suffer a fate worst than death, and it will make your road to the end more difficult. I see this often in older hunters that quit hunting because they equate their zeal for it in their youth, as something that was immature and perhaps wrong. They rationalize their decision by saying that they appreciate life more, and lose sight of why they really hunted. I submit that Tom ‘s recovery was linked to the anticipation of those trades he made while he was ill.

      • Edith,

        I guess I should have added to the report that I don’t think the journey is over yet. You mentioned that to me, but I left it out.

        Just because I am simplifying at this stage doesn’t mean that I will never buy another firearm or airgun.

        Folks, Edith is aware that I am currently selling off some guns to collect the money for a huge purchase. It’s a black powder firearm made sometime in the 1850-1870 timeframe, and it’s made by one of the most famous of the old makers. No, it’s not a Pope.

        To get this gun I will have to part with at least 6-8 fine collectible items. As I have looked at what I can sell and not regret afterward, things have come into very sharp focus. There are some firearms I own, for instance, like a .44 Magnum Ruger Super Blackhawk old model in 96-percent condition that I seldom, if ever, shoot. But the beautiful deep polish of the metal and the butter-smooth action are so fine that I know I can’t let it go. I actually traded it to Mac last year and then bought it back from him the same year because I couldn’t bear to let it go yet.

        And I have a 5.7 Johnson Spitfire rifle that’s made on a genuine M1 Carbine action. It is is as finicky to operate and load for as a Ferrari would be to drive to the store every day. But it’s also so accurate that I can’t part with it.

        I have an Enfield No. 4 that looks like it was rescued from a burned building, but I love the care and attention to detail the makers put into the gun, so it has to stay, too. Sometimes I just hold it on my lap while watching television. Haven’t actually shot it in five years.

        On the other hand, my FWB 150, which I discovered and had rebuilt right here on the blog, is not quite as nice to shoot as my FWB 300S. So it’s going on the block this year. The FWB 124 in the box that I have written so much about over the years no longer holds any fascination for me, so it’s going, too.

        In the past whenever I sold a firearm or airgun it was replaced by one or more new acquisitions. Now, though, I’m going to let the cupboard get bare, because I cannot devote my attention to that many things. But I will still pull the Super Blackhawk out of the closet from time to time — just to appreciate the butter-smooth action. I guess that’s how it works (for me) at this time.


      • Sounds like my Dad and his buying of books.

        It had occurred to me that my frantic desire for guns was something to restrain not unlike the vice of gluttony. But then, I thought about it another way. When all-time great boxer Sugar Ray Robinson accidentally killed someone in the ring, he became very depressed and thought about quitting the sport. But then a priest told him that God would not have given him this boxing talent without intending him to use it, and that made him feel better.

        So, by that line of reasoning, maybe the raging thirst for guns should be gratified up to a point.


    • Robert from Arcade,

      “Now past fifty with two young children under ten, I don’t have the money to spend like I did , but I still collect. I haven’t sold a lot because I want my boys to be able to try what I have.”

      I can relate to that! I also agree with you on the cost and direction of this hobby in the future.
      However when I look at the treasures (mainly tools and books that my kids have no interest in) that I’ve collected over the years I figure when I’m gone my kids may keep a few things for sentimental value but the rest of the stuff will go for pennies on the dollar at the estate sale. I’m not saying your boys will not show interest in your hobby I just hope you’re not disappointed if they don’t.I think the fact that you are a living example to them of taking a hobby beyond a passing fad or just scratching the surface will be far more valuable to them.

      “So I don’t buy too much into the part that you need to leave with less, or need less as you enter your Autumn. Fight it…”

      If you mean less stuff by “less” then heck ya it’s just stuff!

      • Yes, as you say it is only stuff and I did intend that folks read more into my reply than that. In particular pay attention to my observation on older hunters in my second reply.

        • Yes that hit home too as well as talking about the things they USED to do. They say it is better to love and lost than to never have loved at all. I miss the warm autumn days of upland bird hunting and early winter days spent in a duck blind but they have bin replaced with competition shooting. Guns used to be a tool (or excuse) of my days afield. I envy you your knowledge of guns since my kids got into competitive shooting I have bin on a steep learning curve about precision rifles.

  12. Certainly since I moved out my parents house,I have never had more than two airguns at any one time.
    Often it would be one rifle and the occassional pistol.Sometimes,nothing at all.
    Space,time and money have always been factors and still are I’m afraid.
    The result has been,I get used to shooting a springer,then have to get used to PCP then back again to a springer.
    I get proficiant with a scope then have to re learn shooting with open sights..and so on and so forth.
    You can see a pattern emerging here because I am having to sell one type of air gun to fund another.
    My last purchase being a one shot deal(pardon the pun)had to be right.
    Objective: Get an air rifle that is accurate and powerful enough to flop a bunny at 40 yards using open sights.
    (Tin cans,paper targets etc are a bonus)
    Price:This is the big one really so for my money,metaphoricaly speaking, I went for an entry level Mercedes rather than a mid range Toyota and got the HW99s/50s.
    This very wise decision was reached thanks to BB and you guy’s on here.Many thanks to you all.

  13. I am LOVING the latest discussions. As a sport, we not only need to have discussions on how individual guns perform, but how we can pursue the sport and promote it to newcomers. As a young entry to the sport myself, I find myself CONSTANTLY re-evaluating my attitudes to the sport, usually prompted by an “old-timer” who has been there and know what’s going on. So, to all you “old-timers,” you have my gratitude.

    On a completely unrelated note, I recently saw a bit of footage from inside the BSA factory. Here’s a youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU8FKd5y5qY

    My specific question comes regarding the testing of a breakbarrel rifle starting at 16:58-17:17. The barrel is clamped in a vice, and the stock of the rifle is used as the “cocking arm” to test fire the rifle several times. With all we know about springer recoil and the artillery hold, can this method be used to determine the accuracy of a rifle, removing shooter error? Or would this method present the same variations that come with shooting a springer off of any hard rest? The reason I am asking is that I am trying to baseline the performance of a cheap springer, and want to remove myself from the equation. If I can determine that the rifle is accurate, and when the groups spread is it either me or the pellet, then it will aid me greatly in my pursuit to becoming a competent springer shooter.

    • JMDavis984,

      I wish I had found a bunch of old guys willing to share their mistakes with me when I was younger. But when the forum is man-talk at the rifle range or club, instead of this safe, semi-hidden patter on the internet, most guys tend to puff up their chests and expand their feathers while doing a ritualized dance. So, except for your very best friends, you don’t get to hear the truth that often.

      As for clamping a barrel (of a breakbarrel) in a vice and using the action to cock and fire the gun repeatedly, what will that tell you? It will probably tell you how that rifle performs when the barrel is clamped in a rigid steel vise.

      I did something similar a couple weeks back with the Whiscombe rifle, by adjusting the HOTS vibration tuner with a certain pellet at a certain velocity. You can read the report here:


      I hope that helps.


      • So it won’t help me develop a baseline? All I want to do is see the differences between “as good as it gets” and changes I make to my hold, or pellet differences. I have no experience shooting springers, and want to SEE the differences made by the correct hold and pellet vs incorrect.

        • JMDavis984,

          I don’t think it’s worth the trouble. But if it sounds like a good idea to you, go for it.

          I think if you learn to shoot your springer the old-fashioned way, in the end you will be a better shot fot it and you won’t have the doubt that concerns you now.


      • But would you have listened b.b. 😉 ?
        I know that I feel I have some (maybe not much) wisdom to impart these days…but a lot of young people don’t want to listen, and I can see there point…we all have to make our mistakes to learn from them.
        I know I had some wonderful advice when I was younger that, if I’d taken it I’d be better off today.
        And I recently had this experience.
        I have an acquaintance…someone I know through work. She is younger than I…her and her life partner are both their mid 20’s. They have just had the offer of a lifetime. They are renting a very nice little house in a quaint little district in the city I live in.
        For a very reasonable price. Like REALLY reasonable.
        They’ve lived there 5 years now and get along really well with their landlord. His family is in Hong Kong, and due to family matters he has to return their, probably permanently.
        He made this young woman this offer…(he has 4 years left on the mortgage. He is well off and doesn’t need the money, combined with the fact that he has to return immediately so wants to tie everything up in the next week or so)…if they continue to pay the rent for the next 4 years (their rent covers the mortgage payment) he will sign over the house.
        In essence the house will be theirs. So they will have paid rent for a total of nine years and will have a house and a paid off 25 year mortgage.
        A no brainer…right?
        I’ve told her…this is the deal of a lifetime…at 32 years old she’ll own her house outright.
        Her response…she’s not ready for the responsibility of home ownership…and she told me I’m being ‘ageist’ for thinking I know better than her what she should do here.
        Go figure.

        • cowboystar dad,

          We can learn some things from others, but I think we mostly learn from our own mistakes and triumphs. Everyone’s on the same journey, but we’re all taking different trains. Some get off at the first stop and never get back on again. Others pass by all the stops. When they see the end of the journey is upon them & no more stops are available, they realize they missed out on the best part of the journey.

          Lessons other learned in their teens are just now sinking in and making an impression on me. Yet, I’ve learned lessons early on in life that others will never learn no matter how long they live. I am who I am and make the decisions that I make because of every mistake & triumph that I have in my personal experience.

          People are not inclined to learn from the mistakes or triumphs of others. As a whole, people are pretty intent on making their own paths as though no one else has traveled that path before. When, in fact, millions have traveled the same path.

          Animals have instincts that guide them. Man seems to lack a similar set of instincts. We have the power to choose. Generally speaking, animals follow their instincts.


      • Reminds me of when I had to do with national-level rowers in college. Never have I experienced anything like the physical misery of serious crew training day after day. But to my amazement, the real studs were not particularly macho. They moaned and complained all the time although they never failed to perform. It’s like after what they put out, any posturing was unnecessary and silly. That was quite the revelation to me about the truly tough and about higher-level personal development in general.


  14. I guess I’m at the stage of, “I’m still searching for the ones I like, while really liking the guns I’ve acquired.” (with a few exceptions) So, I have a few too many to give attention to all, but am acquiring more while looking for those that I enjoy the most. So far, I’m not making any real progress with my decisions on which to sell except to say I’ll most likely keep my HW57 for sure. The trouble is, like BB says, each one has its merits. Whether being a dead reliable, but somewhat harsh springer like my 513, or being something I’d feel comfortable giving to a neighbor kid like my new 760, or any in between. How do you make this decision?

  15. Wow, this has been week of excellent, thoughtful posts.
    At 57 I’ve been going through the same thinking the last few years as you speak of.
    My ‘passions’ that are important are shooting, photography and books (reading).
    Over the past couple of years I’ve pared down all three so that I only have what I really need or in some cases truly enjoy.
    I’ve divested myself of an extensive camera system (Nikon) comprising 2 bodies and 8 lenses. I now have a Leica rangefinder and two lenses and find myself enjoying photographing like I haven’t since 15 years ago. Some of it has to do with not wanting to cart around a 35lb camera bag.
    I am a voracious reader and collector of books. Not an e-reader kinda guy…I like the tactile feeling of paper. But over the last couple of years I’ve culled about 200 books from my library (about 1/2) keeping only the books I know I need for research (mostly military history and shooting) and the fiction that I know the boys will likely enjoy when they are older…such classics as Lord of the Rings and the Tales of Narnia.
    And lately I’ve donated a couple of my airguns that I just know I won’t shoot (the B9 bullpup, and older, but in good shape Slavia 618 and Marksman b.b. gun) to our local scouting troop.
    I’ve reached that point where less can truly be more.

    • CSD,

      Concerning books, Edith and I sold off a couple hundred pounds at our local Half-Price Bookstore a few months ago. But don’t take my Earth’s Children series, by Jean Auel away! I go through them all (there are now six, starting with The Clan of the Cave Bear) every couple years.

      At one time I owned a couple medium-format cameras and a host of Nikon stuff. Mac sold all of it for me through eBay, and I now have just a single Canon G11 that I use for everything.

      I guess this is just the way things happen.


      • Wow, that’s funny. My wife has the complete Clan of the Cave Bear series (we kept these).
        I’d never heard of them till I met her…small world.
        BTW…what medium format did you have? At one time I had an old twin lens Rollieflex that though I didn’t use much had a wonderful lens.
        About 10 years ago I was having a dilemma…keep it or sell it…but a thoughtful thief who broke into my house decided the issue for me 🙁

        • CSD,

          I first bought a Rolliflex 3.5F Planar to use for two-page spreads because of the larger 6×7 format, but when I couldn’t get the exact focus I needed, I broke down and bought a Mamiya RB 67. Had to mount it 8 feet high to get a complete rifle in frame, which prompted me to trade for a Benbo tripod, and that was how I first met Mac. He wanted a Webley Patriot I had, and I needed a tripod that could hold the world, because as you know, the RB 67 can double as sleeping quarters when you are on the road!


      • So, it’s true. You really do like Clan of the Cave Bear. I remember seeing that on a site about you but was not sure if it was for real. Now, what might be the source of this interest? 🙂 We’ve got the survival techniques, the hunting. I’d say those old cavemen knew a thing or to if we’re to believe all of this. Is Jean Auel still writing the series? She’s quite the inspiration for aspiring writers. I understand that she was some kind of housewife with no training at all. But she researched all the stuff on her own and became a sensation and very wealthy.


        • Matt,

          Yes, I think Clan of the Cave Bear is my all-time favorite novel. Jean Auel did an incredible amount of personal research before she wrote that novel, and in it she attempted to put us inside a caveman tribe, while viewing it as a normal part of our lives. That is actually impossible, but she managed to do it.

          She gave these primitive people a society and all the human attributes that we know are part of everyone, but which we sometimes cannot see when others are so very different than ourselves.

          She set out to write six novels in the Earth Children series, and number six was published just a couple years ago. I have waited for it since first reading Clan of the Cave Bear, way back in 1980.


          • I have to agree. Next to Stephen King’s The Stand, which I read 3 times, I liked the Earth’s Children series the best and have read them all twice. Except for the last one which I only read once. (on my phone the first day it was available). Ms. Auel is a great story teller who makes reading effortless. Like watching a movie in your head.


          • /Dave, isn’t The Stand about some apocalyptic scenario? Too depressing for me.

            So, B.B. are you a fan of the film Quest for Fire? A highly unusual movie. I hardly knew what to make of it when I first saw it. But I would say that the general reaction that has coalesced is similar to yours to Clan of the Cave Bear. Those cavemen were pretty gross. But darn it if by the end of the film, you could look past their sloping foreheads and over-the-top behavior and actually discern personalities and humanity. Had that reinforced recently with the Gina Carano film, Haywire. The mixed martial arts fighting style she uses involves a lot of grappling moves where one is twined around the other’s body. The main countermove that has evolved in the short time since this technique has entered serious professional competition is to stand up and slam the grappler into a wall to make them let go, and there was plenty of that in the movie. That technique was also replicated at the beginning of Quest for Fire when one of the caveman leaps on the back of a hairier and more primitive caveman who finally succeeds in bashing him against the cave wall. So, things apparently haven’t changed much…


  16. Wow! What a topic! Being physically limited, like I have been recently, I’ve had lots of time to think about life and priorities. I’m a bit of a mixed bag with regards to this topic. I was a passionate shooter 35 years ago, then stopped cold. The trajectory of my career as a competitive marksman was pointing high, and I was being taught by some of the best. So much knowledge was being accumulated, as I sucked every bit of it up like a sponge. Then I simply cut myself off for 30+ years.

    For those 30+ years, my entire focus was on my career and family, with my career sucking up most of my time and energy, sadly. Then a couple years ago I realized that I had made a huge mistake in life. I should never have cut myself off from the one thing that I’ve never loved so more than anything (aside from family). I never stopped loving shooting. That passion had never left me, and continued to burn inside of me. I knew this when I bought my son his 397P. I found that I could shoot it all day.

    I had given my career my all, and only in recent years had realized that this was too much. I had sacrificed myself for others, and never considered me (I’m not referring to my family). My priorities have now done a complete 180. It’s as if I’m trying to make up for all the lost time invested in building a career. I’m now allowing myself to enjoy shooting again. The recent stretch of bad luck with my health has helped to set me straight. Life is short, and I’ve satisfied my obligations. Both of my kids have now gone through college, and I no longer have anything to prove to anyone else. It’s time for me to enjoy the things, and people, that I love like never before.

    As an airgunner, I wasn’t one who felt a need to own everything under the Sun, but I did want to sample a few. I could have stopped at my FWB 700 ALU, but decided to try a few springers. I love them all. My highest priority is to get back on my feet, AND SHOOT. I’m going to take A LOT of time off, and enjoy myself. I may choose to dabble in work sometime in the future, but next time it will be entirely on my terms, and more as a hobby than an obligation. The number one priority for MY TIME is shooting and my granddaughter.

    I’ll be 53 this month, and definitely not nearly as wise as B.B., Edith, and others here, but I’m trying to learn. I love this place! I’m truly humbled by “our gang” (as Beazer might say).


    • Victor, wow, that sounds like the superego gotten out of hand. I can’t imagine how you shut things down completely from shooting with the progress you made. Well, this sounds like an interesting phase indeed to live all for you! And very well-deserved from the sound of it.

      It’s never too late and perhaps you can draw a certain inspiration from a story. In the building where I grew up, there is a guy a few doors named “Bond.” My brother and I used to laugh about him because he had a British accent, just like the super-spy, but in every other respect he was the blandest and mildest of men. He was much overshadowed by his wife who, from what I gathered, was a Russian emigre from the war years. So, she was like a direct connection to the Eastern Front! Well, the wife finally passed away, leaving Mr. Bond to his own devices in his later years. Well, all of a sudden I hear from my parents that he approached them to ask for a meeting. Out of this came a most surprising tale in the nature of a confession. It turned out that in his younger days, he had done a stint as a policeman in the Hong Kong region. He had gotten himself into an impossibly tangled relationship with a Chinese woman who was out-of-bounds for any number of reasons and the whole affair ended when the woman was spirited away by the family and Mr. Bond was beaten to a pulp by vengeful brothers. He claims he still has difficulty breathing from the injuries. Through a complicated set of circumstances he caught up these brothers in his professional capacity, and he bumped them off so to speak. I believe it was with his Webley sidearm.

      Well, it turned out that this flaming passionate spirit had never really disappeared but only been dozing. Now widowed and retired from his career as an aircraft mechanic, Mr. Bond began stepping out with various women decades younger. He sported new clothes and an enormous expensive watch which he claimed had all been purchased for him by his younger women friends if you can believe that. (I thought it worked the other way.) He bought a new car. He gained a bit of weight. We’re sort of hanging on his next exploit.


      • Matt61,
        Subconsciously, my work became a vehicle for continuing of my competitiveness. To be clear, I’m not your alpha-male, super aggressive, type. At least with people. I worked hard within myself by constantly seeking better ways of doing things, and making myself more competitive in the market place. I had a “failure is not an option” type of mentality, and it served me very well. I was the same at work as I was a shooter. I was the same way in pretty much everything that I did. I also have strong beliefs about things like sportsmanship and ethics, so I’ve never stepped on anyone’s back. I’ve always tried to earn my position. But looking back, I probably could have relaxed a bit more. My saving grace is that when I look at my kids, I see two very beautiful human beings. Unspoiled, loving, responsible, and down to Earth. My hopes for them are that they live their lives much wiser and happier than I did.


        • Victor, I’m not sure of the details, but apparently there’s something wrong with your health, or your legs, or both.

          I had a sobering experience lately, I bought a “muscle bike” motorcycle and learned, it takes serious muscle to ride it! It kicked my butt! I’ve decided it’s too much trouble and am selling it, I’ll get something practical like a station wagon. BUT …. a friend lent me his copy of a book called “Younger Next Year” which ought to be required reading for anyone turning 50 (as I do this year) or getting near to 50. The essential lesson is, you can live to 75, but you can be miserable, or you can live to 75, and be fairly happy until something sudden gets you, exercise can’t prevent pancreatic cancer, a runaway bus, etc. If you exercise, you can live a fairly non-painful life. To me, it means going back to my old “program” of all kinds’a stuff like chin-ups and push-ups and running, I “get” to go back to being Mr. Muscly guy. In your case, if something has laid you low, it may mean swimming, it may mean a rowing machine, it may mean getting one of those “quickie’ wheelchairs and building your fitness from the top down. But exercise can have almost-miraculous results. I saw it with my dad; the world saw it with Elvis way back when.

          I hope you can get back on your feet and back to tearing it up (in the form of teeny tiny holes) at the range.

          • flobert,
            Let me give you some advice. After 50 don’t take up running. Exercise is very important to the over 50’s, but find a non-shock exercise, like your bicycle or a stationary bike or a stair master or power walking (I know, it looks goofy). I’m not talking about being a runner and running past the age of 50 (however, it could apply there, too). I’m talking about beginning to run at 50. It causes too much of a shock on the knee joints and that’s where arthritis loves to attack. Any joint damage attracts arthritis like bugs to a bug zapper.

              • flobert,
                Unfortunately, damage does not show up for a long time and sometimes not for a very long time. It is slow to grow. It seems to want to develop frequently in joint areas that have had damage done in the past and sometimes that damage was done many years ago. Today, there is no cure for arthritis but there is a lot of snakeoil.

                Read this but don’t stop there:


                re-read these parts: …the cause of most arthritis is unknown and may well be the result of more than one cause….For those cases in which a cause of arthritis can be found, trauma is the most common culprit.

                It’s not a whole lot of fun (physically) growing old and the worst part is the brain still thinks it’s young enough to do the things it could do when it really was young.


            • Chuck, I would generally agree about the jarring effect of running with one huge qualifier. I believe it is okay if you use a technique called ChiRunning, which you can Google, which is closely related to the movement now for barefoot running. In brief, the footgear is incidental. Bare feet are only important insofar as they affect body posture. The irony is that modern cushioned running shoes by protecting the feet, make your body less sensitive to pounding, so that you ultimately absorb much more damage over the longer time. (It’s not unlike boxing gloves which by protecting the face of the opponent from cuts and the boxer’s knuckles from breaking actually increase brain damage by enabling repeated shots to the head which you really can’t do without gloves.) The basic idea of ChiRunning is not to use leg muscles to bound along which tires you quickly and creates an up and down jackhammer motion. You want to preserve an upright posture and then lean slightly from the ankles so that gravity pushes you along. There are some other details but that’s the main idea. If it sounds weird, all the African distance runners who clean up at the Olympics run this way since they mostly grew up running in bare feet and needed to develop the most economical style. Also all kids naturally run this way with their bodies tilted slightly forward and their legs following through behind. They seem to lose this natural technique as they get heavier and more sedentary. The barefoot running business is not a new thing but more like a return to your roots. I was quite convinced by the founder of ChiRunning who is in his 50s or 60s and is a nationally ranked ultramarathoner. (I’ve had to do with him, and he’s a very cool guy.) He runs a marathon on his own every weekend for fun and never has an injury. He says that if you look at the way our bodies are formed with the legs so large and strong compared to the rest of the body, the conclusion is inescapable that we were formed to run most of the time. So, it doesn’t make sense that injuries are a natural part of running. In fact, it is probably intrinsically unhealthy not to run or maintain some high level of activity.

              As for alternatives, there is an interesting way of ranking activity. What do you take to be the most demanding sport in terms of sheer effort? One measure of this is what’s called the VO2 which is oxygen consumption. That burning sensation in the lungs and general fatigue is pretty universal as a performance limiter in many sports. By that criteria, the most difficult is X-country skiing and second place is rowing. I always enjoyed X-country skiing although I never did it at a competitive level. But I can identify with the rowing. One participant described it as “arms leaden, legs on fire” and that was about right for college. There was nowhere to escape. All the muscles were drained from maximum exertion on each stroke. They burned from lack of oxygen and you were sucking wind desperately the whole time. Also, somewhere in the middle of all this, I realized that I was not a team player. I didn’t want people depending on me. I didn’t want to depend on others. I wanted to do my own thing. Anyway, I had large exposure to the Concept II and it will get you in shape. However, there is a certain amount of technique required. Basically, you press the legs down and then swing the back and the arms–essentially like cleaning a barbell while rotated 90 degrees into a sitting position. You will get some benefit without knowing all this but substantially less than if you did and there is some possibility of injuring your back. So be careful.

              I would also very much recommend the kettlebell. It takes a good deal of technique, but I was able to learn it easily enough from an instructional video. Once you know this, there are enormous benefits to every aspect of fitness that you can think of and all realized in a very short time. The Russians do it again (although I think the Chinese have a long tradition with this equipment too.) Every time I visit home, my Mom says that I am getting more enormous, and I would like to keep it that way. Anyway, a large subject, but I would say that there is no reason not to keep growing and learning. (Victor, perhaps the martial arts may be a way to proceed. I know that Karate, while very effective for fighting, can be a little hard on the body. But Tai Chi might be the way to go and fix up your back in the process. I used to have back problems myself as a result of the rheumatoid arthritis, but that has cleared up with certain soft style forms that I do as part of my martial art.) Even though I can’t do all the things I could when I was younger, I am a smarter athlete and in better overall condition. There’s a lot to be said for “muscle maturity.”


          • flobert,

            I appreciate the good advice, personal story, and insights. YES! Exercise is going to become a priority like before. I was once a bit of a fitness nut until I started working long hours with a long commute. Actually, it started (life without exercise) before that when I got into that car accident. There was so much serious damage, especially to my heart, that doctors didn’t want me to do ANYTHING for over a year. The day before the accident I ran a mile in under 6 minutes. These days doctors are more inclined to recommend more, not less, activity. A few months ago, I saw one young doctor who wants to do several types of surgeries on my back. I was very leery about this, so I just got a second opinion from a highly recommended, and much more senior surgeon. As it turns out, this older, more experienced surgeon evaluates other surgeons, and completely disagreed with the younger doctor, and for many good reasons that he was able to explain. A couple days ago I saw my pain management doctor, and everything that he had to say was completely consistent with the more experienced surgeon. The bottom line is that they both want to see me recover WITHOUT surgery. They both are taking conservative paths, just like my primary physician in CA would. I’ll just need to tough it out as soon as I’m back on my feet. This will be a case of no pain, no gain. I’ve been through that before, but I must say that it’s a bit intimidating.

            I’m going to take some serious time off and focus on ME. I want to get back to shooting those tiny groups, because I still can. How long someone will live is hard to say, so I won’t even think about that. For sure, I don’t want to live out the rest of my life in pain. You’re advice is extremely good!

            Thanks again,

              • Edith,
                No, I’ve not considered hypnosis. I think can get myself to the point of feeling fine almost all of the time, but will take some patience and hard work. I just need to take things one step at a time. I feel VERY optimistic about the future and plan on spending a LOT of time shooting, either here at home, out in the desert, or at the range. I’ve earned it! Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll look into it.

            • If you have the money, consider something called the Concept ][ rowing machine. About $1500 or so and worth every DANG penny.

              If I get the cash flow, I’m honestly planning to buy one for the land owner here, he’s an old sprinter and his feet hurt all the time. And riding a bicycle doesn’t do enough for the whole body. Plus he’s 200lbs or so of mostly muscle and wears out bikes. He won’t wear out a Concept ][.

                • They’re amazing machines, and rowers come in one configuration: BIG and STRONG.

                  It’s an off-in-the-future idea, not about to do this now.

                  Right now the project is to get a car, tired of the BBBB (Big Blue Borrowed BMW).

              • flobert,
                That sounds like an interesting machine. I’ll need to check with my doctor to see if rowing is something that I can do. I have multiple types of issues with my lower-back, so I need to be careful about not aggravating it. I was concerned that rowing-like motion could make things worse. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

                • I’ve got some lower back issues of my own, and never had trouble with a rowing machine.

                  This machine has a following, you can go to their site and find gyms that have one. And try it out. The rule is go gently, even what seems like no effort will have you puffing after 10 minutes so you can go very gently at first.

                  There are people who’ve been so overweight that they can’t exercise by most means, who have tried one of those and since it’s pretty gentle on the body, gotten themselves out of their fat-death-spiral.

                  • flobert, I appreciate what you have written here also. It means something for any of us to admit that we are challenged by physical injury or other physical difficulty. We all long to shoot well, to hit our intended target (shot after shot). I know I am among the very people I have written about, the ones who refuse to give up, the ones who meet the challenge (one way or another). And they do so without denying the difficulties.


  17. Okay, B.B. enters the halls of highest spiritual development like the Kung Fu series where he is able to see the universe in a single bean or gun. I’ve grappled with some of the same issues. On any number of occasions, I have been completely consumed by the desire for a gun whether it’s a Daisy 853, a TX200, a Mauser k98k, an SWM&P, a Benjamin Marauder only to have the fire flicker out suddenly later. Just imagine if I had loaded myself down with the actual guns which would be easy at all for me to resell for any number of reasons.

    There is definitely an inflation effect too as pointed out where a larger number of guns just thins out your experience with each. There was a time when all my aspirations were fulfilled in being able to hold and fire my M1. That’s still true but sometimes that experience has only made me acutely conscious that I did not also have a k98, so that pain was the dominant experience!? On the same subject of inflation, in the same article where I read about how the yakuza, the Japanese gangsters are bad marksmen, I read that one of them kept a sort of stable of 15 girlfriends in various cities. I turned out that one of them really detested him and said so in very colorful language. So, once again witness the drawbacks of inflation…

    Duskwight, thanks for the info about the upgraded AK. Looks like exactly what I want except for what some gun magazines describe as the “Munchkin like stock.” (“Them Russians must have some short arms,” says one YouTube video. It’s hilarious.) But I do prefer the slightly longer stock that is fitted on some versions that they claim is modeled on the RPK which I guess is the machine gun version of the AK design. Interesting about the new safety too. One of the very few criticisms I’ve heard of the AK design is the safety. Though positive, it is quite loud which can be a disadvantage if you are trying to be stealthy. Also, apparently, the down position is full-safe, the middle is full-auto, and the top position is semiauto. There was one documented case where a Vietnamese fighter snapped off his safety and got the drop on an American serviceman. Trouble is the Vietnamese fighter had overshot and gone to semiauto instead of full-auto. He didn’t aim the weapon carefully and instead of a burst he released only one shot which missed. The American recovered and shot him before he recovered from his surprise.

    Anyway, my admiration of the AK is guided by a comment by Mikhail Kalashnikov where he observes that the AR-15 has gone through as many modifications as “the hairs in my head.” In contrast, the AK has been virtually unchanged. I think that the new revisions are all to the good in taking advantage of new technology and accessories but the design of genius remains unchanged. Since we essentially copied the Mauser 98 to make the 1903 Springfield, I don’t see why we can’t copy an AK. 🙂 There are good reports about the new SCAR design, but it costs a ton, something like three times a top-level AK and without the fantastic service record.


    • Matt, I know my next ‘struggle’ will be with powderburners.
      My PAL (the Canadian ‘purchase and acquisition license’ ) is in the works…about a month to go according to online tracking.
      I have the first purchase already made…the Savage .22WMR with bull barrel, composite stock, accutrigger and Hawke scope (in case anyone from the RCMP is watching…a friend bought it, has it legally stored and once the paperwork is complete it will be transferred).
      I, and my boys CAN’T wait…but we should be shooting it by spring.
      I already have my dream collection in mind…M1, classic 1911A1 and something like this Savage in .338 http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/models/
      Plus a couple of inexpensive .22LR for the boys.
      Yup…I think I could be happy with ‘only’ those guns 😉

      • For some reason the savage link didn’t work…it’s the model that looks like it would be at home on the back of some SOF guy in the wilds of Afghanistan….don’t need it at all, but damn it looks cool.

      • Congratulations CowBoyStar Dad. Airguns are my preference to shoot, but you can’t get away from the enormous, colorful history of guns, and the fun factor that is tied to their great power. Good choice with the Savages; you’ll love them. Your collection sounds great, but aren’t you missing the Lee-Enfield? Canada’s rifle? I was lucky enough to get an original Long Branch. That action is a distinctively different slant on the bolt-action experience and you won’t want to miss it. The 1911A1 is very historical, but I would consider the modern versions with custom features included, especially that wide thumb rest. Makes a big difference. I know well the Savage model that you mean, the 110 BA. It was designed with extensive input from Savage’s long-distance shooting team that won the 1000 yard world championships. Those guys can hold sub .5 MOA at a 1000 yards with those rifles.


        • Matt, a friend of mine has a Long Branch that has been accuratized by a local well know gunsmith, and it is one nice gun.
          I know it should be on my list (being Canadian and all that), but I’ve just seen one too many WWII flicks with Garands that make it to me the quintessential battle rifle.
          But for the moment those are moot points. As I’ve mentioned in the past my wife is not a gun fan in the least…though she quite recognizes shooting as a legitimate sport/hobby.
          So first the pellet rifles…
          Now the .22…
          And once the boys prove themselves mature enough we’ll move on to centerfires.
          Small steps ever onward 😉

    • The AK selector, full up, in line with the bore, is safe. One click down is auto. Two clicks, full down is semi. As to the short stock, you will be happy you have it when you have on lots of winter clothes and gear. It gets cold in Russia! Those that complain about the stock don’t understand this and some other advantages of having a shorter stock on a general issue rifle.


      • Yes, I got it backwards about the safety, but the Vietcong guy just made the mistake I described in reverse.

        I’ve heard about the heavy clothing for Russian winters, but what about the summers which are terrible hot? One German soldier was complaining about temperatures that were 110 degrees. Actually, my Mosin has never given me any problems even though I am over 6 feet and dry fire it wearing a t-shirt. Length of pull is not a big concern of mine with the Russian guns.


  18. B.B.,
    A wonderfully unusual blog today. Having the time to stop, and think, and reflect, is something that I believe many of us do not do of our own free will. We do it either because the opportunity presents itself and we have no other alternative, or because we are forced into doing that introspection.
    There is a indie documentary called,”The Parking Lot Movie,” filmed near where I live, about the attendants who work the booth in an tiny offbeat parking lot down a hidden alley. Most of them have doctorates in religion or philosophy, and they all love their job because it affords them the opportunity to do what they do best: sit and think. They are (or I am) out of a different mold.

  19. BB, this is one of your finest posts on your blog. Who among us hasn’t refined our interest down to what we need as apposed to what we want? I think, too many of us is the answer. All the excess equipment we acquire doesn’t, in itself, make us any better at what we do, though I suspect many, if not all of us, have fallen prey to the attitude of the more the better. It’s always an awakening when we discover that it’s not what we have, or don’t have, but how we’re going to use what it is we’ve got. To help us along that way, I suggest Eugen Herrigel’s 81 page book, Zen in the Art of Archery – the lessons included are applicable to airgunning too. Thanks for an inspiring day, RC

    • RC,

      This was a strange week. Every time I started writing a report my mind went blank and the post wrote itself. Except for the FWB 300S that required some research, the stuff just poured out on its own.

      Hopefully next week I can contain it and get back to talking about airguns again.


      • BB,

        Why try to contain what we are? Write what you feel. Chances are, since we are all airgunners here, it’s something that we feel too! It’s nice to be able to relate and everything I’ve seen here, relates to airguns anyway. 🙂


      • B.B.,
        Maybe it’s helping that you are refining and limiting the number of guns that you surround yourself with. Maybe having, or wanting, too many guns was a distraction. Maybe deciding to place limits on quantity has helped to clear your mind so that it operates deeper in your soul than at the surface? That may be why you aren’t having to think, and why things are just flowing.

        • Victor,

          “…too many airguns was a distraction.” Hit the nail on the head!

          I’ve always said, jokingly of course, that you can never have too many airguns,…or helicopters for that matter. But, you can. And they definitely CAN be a distraction, as they take up our most precious commodity, time. I always feel pulled to spend a few more minutes shooting this or that one that I haven’t shot for a while, taking time away from other things that I need to do too… That’s why I find myself thinking more about thinning the herd lately, and why BB’s comments and blog here really spoke to me at this time.


  20. BB, I suspect that your line of work has allowed you to try so many airguns that it is hard to impress you these days. That makes me especially interested in Monday’s blog.

    Your job as an airgun writer has raised the bar for you several rungs above where I am at on my road of discovery. One thing I have noticed in your blog over the last couple of years is that you are doing more in depth research and testing on guns you like rather then superficial testing on a lot of guns. By doing that you have opened yourself up to a whole new level of exploration.

    I would like to hear what factors it takes for a gun to be a keeper for you these days.

    Have a good weekend everyone,

    David Enoch

    • David,

      I guess I’m not entirely sure what a gun must be to be a keeper. Accuracy is important, but so is history. And then you have guns like the .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk I mentioned earlier. It is accurate, but unless you are a Ruger fan it hasn’t got any history to speak of. Yet when I cock the action it makes me smile. That counts for something, as well.

      I know this — I don’t pick the gun anymore. The gun picks me.


  21. BB,
    Two great blogs in a row — I almost felt like the page morphed back to the old green Blogger format and I was staying up far too late reading through the backlogs and comments. I won’t claim to have reached your advanced age and enlightenment :), but I realized some time ago that (with a few exceptions) I really couldn’t care less about “guns” in general, but I love shooting and using the ones that prove useful. To me, they are tools for recreation, hunting, and self-defense, artifacts for historical study, symbolic manifestations of liberty, vessels of artistic expression, etc., and I enjoy them that way, but never feel the need for another without first having identified some distinct purpose or place for it. Probably a “nice” distinction as they say, but I’m trying to agree with you and Robert also :)!

  22. Well, I think I know how to continue shooting with really heavy duty springers. It’s all a matter of adapting the Parker Concorde cocking system to the spring airgun 🙂

    Need I say more?


      • B.B., your question about the Concorde cocking system is a good one. Especially since many, if not most or all, of the people who will buy one will likely go hunting in colder (or even sub freezing) weather.

        As for what I wrote, I don’t doubt someone can create a springer that uses the Concorde type system. However, I may not have succeeded at indicating that I think it ludicrous simply because a CO2 airgun using the same canister is likely a better solution.


    • Ken,

      Wouldn’t the recoil from shooting it damage the work done in your neck? At least until it heals… I think if an archer wants a quick follow up shot, he’d be much better served by a regular bow in the style of his preference… I always thought crossbows were for piercing armor anyway…


      • /Dave…

        Many good compound bows generate more power than a crossbow. Don’t let the high draw weight of a crossbow fool you….it has a short power stroke compared to a compound and does not have as much time to transfer power to the arrow (bolt). Crossbows do not tend to be as accurate as other bows either.


        • twotalon,

          You wrote, “Many good compound bows generate more power than a crossbow. Don’t let the high draw weight of a crossbow fool you….it has a short power stroke compared to a compound and does not have as much time to transfer power to the arrow (bolt). Crossbows do not tend to be as accurate as other bows either”.

          I think you are technically correct to a large degree. I also think you know there is more to the picture than the technical aspects. My father in law had been a hunter since his teen years. Later, after I met him, he decided to also hunt with a compound to take advantage of the archery season. Then due to health problems he was unable to draw the compound. However, crossbows were legal in archery season and he was able to use the cocking system (not the Concorde system, LOL).

          I can’t speak to accuracy, but I can tell you there are numerous hunters and target competition shooters that may disagree.


          • A crossbow takes less talent to shoot.
            The shorter projectiles tend to be less stable due to small flaws in head and fletching alignment compared to full length arrows.


            • twotalon, just for grins:

              “A crossbow takes less talent to shoot.” (Benjamin Discovery vs. Benjamin Trail XP .25)

              “The shorter projectiles tend to be less stable due to small flaws in head and fletching alignment compared to full length arrows.”

              On a serious note, I suspect those who get in to it and stay in it enjoy the challenge (and the rewards).

              twotalon, I love today’s compounds. I don’t care for the idler wheel versions, though. They may be easier to tune and keep tuned but the string does travel and they are just advanced versions of the Dynabow. I want a two cam bow, but I could tolerate a Solo Cam. I’m glad we do have options to choose among, in bows, crossbows, airguns, power guns, and the list goes on.

              Have a great weekend,

                  • Maybe we should warn Edith. If B.B. moves his indoor shooting bench and starts assembling a ballista, there might be collateral damage. The neighbors might wonder why there are huge iron tipped spears sticking out the side of B.B.’s house.


                    • twotalon, that is quite an image you have created! Those huge iron tipped spears would be quite intimidating to the neighbors (and B.B. would be in hot water).

                      See ya on Monday (so cruel of B.B. to create this sense of anticipation).

        • twotalon, here is a web page I think you might like. It is about crossbow hunting (with some comparison to compounds bows) and it reads a lot like a decent page explaining how to do it right when choosing an airgun and pellets. It is complete with caveats regarding manufacturer’s claims.
          There is a link in the speed section that has a similar page for compound bows (albiet, more extensive).

          The site is all archery, so no similar pages for springers and PCPs.


      • /Dave,
        Your last comment to ken about a crossbow sparked a few questions of my own. I have never shot a crossbow so I have a lot to learn about them.

        Does a crossbow recoil more or less than a spring piston air rifle? Which rifles would be a good example for comparison, if any? Or perhaps there is a better comparison to firearms?

        Does it take longer to cock and reload a crossbow than it does to cock and reload a spring-piston single-shot air rifle? I ask this because I don’t hear too many complains about air rifle followup shots, unless everyone is just tired of complaining about it. I’ve never read a review on the PA site where someone said they wished a rifle was faster at followup shots. 🙂

        Is a crossbow, because of its similarity to a rifle and scope, more accurate than a regular bow, which takes a whole different set of skills?

        Is a crossbow easier to learn how to shoot than a regular bow?

        Can a crossbow be shot safely in my basement?

        Can anything be gained by practicing with a crossbow at 10m?

        Will shooting 50 crossbow bolts be as tiring as shooting 50 arrows from a 50 pound draw bow?

        Will shooting 50 bolts be as tiring as shooting 50 pellets from an RWS34?

        Crossbows were great for piercing armor but are they detuned for hunting?

        Okay, that’s enough for now.


        • Chuck, you pose good questions. Most of them I could only hypothesize about and likely be wrong.

          I can answer a couple of them though. Although I wrongly believe that crossbow math competition had made it to the Olympics (it should) it is a sport that has an active membership. The link below is about rules for various archery competitions.


          You will find a section on crossbows noting rules for 10 and 30 meter competition.

          So the answer to your question about being able to shoot a crossbow in your basement and at 10 meters is a definite, “Yes”. I expect there was more to your question. I have no doubt that you know that a crossbow with no more than an certain FPE can definitely be shot in your basement.

          I do think that practicing in your basement with a crossbow can be productive, although you will have to take it to do some longer range shooting and and rank up the FPE for field and hunting use.

          As for tiring out, I suspect repeatedly cocking a crossbow (as we often do with our springers) with a draw weight of 165 pounds, even with a leveraging device will cause some fatigue.

          I have no way to do any comparisons with springers but you do make me wonder.


        • Chuck, I’ll add one more question to the list. I haven’t found any place like B.B.’s blog (yeah, I know it belongs to Pyramydair but he never has much to say here), but I would like to find one that had someone who performs tests and offers reports on crossbows as B.B. does here. However, I do know that the airgun sport has a larger user group to contribute to the support of this blog (nothing is free although freeloaders abound; oh wait, we aren’t talking about Linux, BSD and Windows here).


          • ken,
            re: freeloaders LOL!

            I use the free Blogger application (that Edith used to use for the airgun blog) and the free Just Basic developer product for developing PC programs and I find myself complaining and griping about both and wondering why they don’t do this or that other thing all the while I’m freeloading.

            • Chuck, I can’t quite agree. It may be a matter how we define our terms. For me, you are using something that was made freely available by the author/owner. And to be frustrated a bit because something isn’t the way you prefer or because you think it would have been more logical done another way is what I think we all experiences (even after paying a king’s ransom sometimes).

              I doubt that you are writing the author(s) and lambasting them for not doing something better or differently. The freeloaders I refer to do and they fill blogs with rants that are derogatory to developers and users. And they want it for free. The Windows fanboyz who pollute the blogs don’t mind pirating software even as they tell me that Linux is unusable, and for them, I am sure that is true.

              I won’t think that you are a freeloader until I have irrefutable proof to the contrary.


            • Chuck, my apologies. I did mean to also say it is good for us to provide monetary support to those who provide us with freely available software products we find useful. However, the developers have chosen to use a model that allows each user to freely decide.

              I have purchased boxed set of Suse Linux over the years (before that it was Redhat and one box of BSD). I haven’t since Novell was sold. I have been using OpenSuse since Novell bought Suse (which was SuSe at the time) and created the OpenSuse group. Now I download the latest version and burn it to DVD.

              I haven’t contributed much lately. That is something I will have to consider. I still don’t feel like a freeloader, however. I am abiding by the terms of obtaining and using the product. I must consider what kind and how much support I can provide, if any.

              No, Chuck, I don’t believe you are a freeloader. The freeloader wants it all for free and freely tells the developers and everybody else how crappy their efforts are, all the while providing nothing to help improve the product. Complaining to yourself is a sign you are a normal user 🙂 (On that I don’t mind looking arrogant at all; it’s the price of being right now and then).


            • Chuck, having disconnected and left for a while something has become clear to me. I responded to far more than you addressed. I’ll try to be brief; you did start with the LOL, which probably means “don’t take this too seriously”. Never the less, you spoke of two software packages, both made freely available for free. Chuck, I already told you what I thought about complaining to yourself. My wife does not cuss but she had complained almost continuously since she started working with Office or playing a few card games she like. But she continues on and learns more as she goes. I still think it would help if she would just use the help function once in a while.

              Chuck, the freeloaders all have one thing in common; they have no appreciation of the what another has done with their time, energy, money and other resources that provides the product. In the OS wars the Free and Open Software folks speak of, “free as in beer” and “free as in freedom (libre)”. The freeloaders only recognized the first one with no appreciation for the brew master.

              Apologies for the rant, but I can’t stand the vermin.


        • Chuck,

          The answer to all of your questions is “C.”

          We could write a book answering all of those. And some of those answers would be fun to find out, because I sure don’t know all of them. For the first, I think it’s more like the recoil of a heavy springer. But more of a push both ways instead of a hammer.

          As for shooting one in the basement, as long as you have an adequate backstop, why not?

          As tiring? I would think so, but it depends on the crossbow. Specifics, I don’t know.

          Detuned for hunting? I don’t know, but I’d guess so. Different animals from the medieval ones, but the same….

          I shot a compound a lot, but never really got into crossbows. I never wanted to spend the money on a good crossbow as much as wanting to spend on a new rifle, so the new guns always took precedence.


      • /Dave, you are quite right about me not being able to use any thing that may stress my neck (not for several months). So, I want you to know right off the bat that I wasn’t being serious. I often say or write something without filling in the gaps. Building a CO2 airgun using the same CO2 cylinder makes far more sense than using it to cock a spring airgun, so even though I’m sure it can be done there is little point to it.
        As for what you wrote about archery. The issue is that there are many people who are not able to pull the draw weight of a bow for hunting, whether it is a regular bow or a crossbow.

        About the quick follow up shot, there are hunters who hunt with a single shot rifle (and there are some single shot pistols that can be used). Whether hunting with a powder gun or a crossbow these hunters know they must be able to make the best shot they can.

        As for piercing armor, I believe you are thinking of the medieval times that most of us have learned of.
        But no, crossbows have been used for target competition and field use (including hunting) for a long time. There has been a renewed interest in this country as states have passed laws that are favorable.

        I still like archery, from self bows and long bows, to compounds and crossbows. Human beings are a very curious lot, and they are always coming up with new things and new uses for old things.

        Best to you,

        • I didn’t think you were serious, Ken. But I had to ask out of curiosity. For all I know, the doc might have said that was ok these days….

          I didn’t think of co2 cocking mechanisms as being a sort of wheel chair for airgunners and archers, but that makes sense. No crossbow hunting here in Colorado for archery season. I think they’re allowed during rifle season, but you have to wear fluorescent orange though.


          • /Dave, the doc might say it’s okay, but I doubt it 🙂
            There is so much, /Dave. I would have to search it out but there is a group manufacturing a kind of wheel chair with tracks. Wheel chair isn’t the right word for what it is but it allows some people to go hunting (and other things no doubt) by handling terrain their other mobility chair can’t.
            So, yeah, the Parker Concorde is probably right for someone and it could be any of us in a flash. Of course, if crossbows aren’t my thing, then I won’t fret over it much.

            If you feel like it, look up Gary Guller and Team Everest. Gary lead an expedition with a group of persons with various disabilities to the base camp of Everest. He went on from there to become the first one armed person to reach the summit. It’s http://www.garyguller.com if you want the shortcut. There is a DVD but it doesn’t do justice to being there when he tells the story.

            There is a whole field regarding universal access and assistive technology.

            Or, have you ever heard of the Paralympic Games. It is short for Para Olympics. After the Olympics are over and all of the primer athletes and major television personnel have left, then the others get to use the fields and courses and tracks we all get to watch on television. These others are persons who have handicaps. I watched a video of one; a fellow with no arms was in the swimming competition. He knew it was time to turn and go back when his head hit the end of the pool. Human beings are relentless in their quest for personal fulfillment and meaning (even if the masses remain unaware).

            It’s all about reaching the summit. The person who must have assistance to cock his (or her) crossbow can potentially do so without another person right there next to them, doing it for them. That other person may be withing a shout or a walkie talkie distance, but they don’t have to stay with the hunter, who may cock his Concorde then wait for quite a while to take the shot. If the conditions aren’t too bad and if the technology works as expected, this hunter may be able to take the shot of his life. If he misses completely, he can re-cock the bow and do it all again (depending on the law and whether the planets are aligned properly).

            Think about the old adage, “you don’t miss the water until the well runs dry”. In this case the water is our good health, our muscles and limbs that work the way we want them to. I have worked with persons who suffered brain injury, from accidents and from assault. It is so difficult to think about things we are not faced with.

            Take care,

          • Hi Pete, good to hear your are back safely and thank you for checking on me.

            Surgery is the week of the 12th but I still don’t have the day. I plan to call Monday and ask for an update, as well as discuss some things. I do look forward to letting everyone know the surgery is done. After that I will attempt to be stoic and not bore everyone with the tales of recovery (a subject with which I know you have intimate knowledge).

            Welcome home,

          • Pete, I want to let you know that I will have surgery the week of the 20th. I need to make a call and get everything straight and worked out. I appreciate your asking and I’ll let you know what happens.


  23. Edith can you tell me why this thing isn’t carried anymore?
    I was thinking of maybe selling a part of my airguns to buy it along with the pistol

    I was also wondering if I could post pages of products not yet available? I love getting a look at those.
    The discontinued rifle came up on a google search but what about products that aren’t available yet? Since they’re already on the website but not available to everyone to see or been announced. If you’d prefer I don’t put them up here I’ll keep them for myself.


    • I think ALFA either has come out with a PCP version or has one in the works. There is a guy in AZ who is pretty much the importer for Czech guns. I can give you a website offline if you like so you can ask.


      • Thanks Pete, I already have the guy name, I found out about that rifle because someone on the Canadian Airgun Forum (C.A.F.) bought one, he bought it from your guy in AZ, he pretty much seems to be the only one who has them available.
        The guy who has one on the CAF warned us to not call that guy in AZ unless we had an empty credit card on hand. One his friends who called the AZ guy only to get some info and he ended up buying 2 rifles 😀


  24. twotalon,

    “A crossbow takes less talent to shoot.”
    I must agree, but it is not only talent. And again, what you are doing comes into play. It takes less effort to draw and hold a target compound than one normally used for hunting. But either way it takes gross and find muscle control as well as numerous other factors.

    And so, once a crossbow is cocked, regardless of whether for match competition or hunting it appears to take less “talent”. But then crossbows are heavier than compounds as a rule. The crossbow is, at this point, the less talented cousin of a good, high power, single shot, hunting or sniping rifle.

    “The shorter projectiles tend to be less stable due to small flaws in head and fletching alignment compared to full length arrows.”

    True, but compare the archery of today with the archery of the early 20th century. Human beings are always thinking of and trying new ways of improving things.


  25. To all my fiends on shore,

    As I look at what I have written this session I must question something. Have I shown the respect I have for all of you as a persons and your knowledge and skills. I hope to offer my thoughts, and at times they may be a rebuttal of something said. More usually, I want to add something to the mix, and I definitely want to let you know when you wrote something that led me to see something from a different perspective or to add to my knowledge.

    Some times I need to slow down, to consider the context more carefully. I replied to twotalon about a reply he made to /Dave. As I look back I see clearly that, in context, two talon was addressing what /Dave wrote about crossbows piercing armor. My reply to twotalon was about crossbows versus compound bows. I responded from a different context. Had I been more astute, I may not have replied to twotalon on that one because he did address /Dave’s statements (and had I replied my post would have been different and likely shorter).

    Good Shabat to all,

  26. Oh boy!! A brand spanking new Slavia 634 (.22) just showed up on my door-step! 😀

    Initial impressions. Nice! Light! Easy to cock. Light trigger, but a bit gritty feeling with a loooong first stage. First few shots at 10 yds are a group, but it’s going to take some work to find the right hold and right pellet. Work I’m looking forward to! 🙂


  27. Can you believe this? For crossbow competition:
    At a match that has a range of 10 meters the entire target is 1.794 inches in diameter with the black area of the target being 1.2 inches in diameter. The bulls-eye is .039 inches (1mm) in diameter. I couldn’t find any reference to the power of a bow so I guess all powers are accepted. However, in Illinois the minimum draw strength for hunting is 125lb.

    But based on these target sizes I think I’ll stick to pellet rifles. Of course it might be easier to hit a 1mm bull with a big fat arrow.

    • Chuck, I think you will find that the target crossbows and equipment is almost nothing like that of a hunting crossbow. Here is a link to the International Crossbow Shooting Union showing the crossbows for the 10 and 30 meter competition.

      Also, take a look at this link. Again, the crossbows here are not the ones you would hunt with.

      I am trying to find specific information on the match target bolts. The IAU link offers some information but I don’t understand it. All I know is that the 10 meter bolts are vaneless, and the main shaft if quite small in diameter.

      I found one more site for an organization, World Crossbow Shooting Association:

      I am still looking for bolt specifics and I am about to give up.

      Anyway, sticking to 10 meter airgun competition seems reasonable to me.


      • ken,
        Thanks for the links.
        Sure looks a lot like air rifle competition doesn’t it – clothes, shoes, etc. ? And a Feinwerkbau crossbow that looks like one, too. Those bolts do look odd.

        • Chuck, my only reference for the clothing and the rifles used in 10 meter today is the picture posted on this blog a few days ago. I noticed the similarity immediately when I connected to the crossbow pages. I’m still into denim and camouflaged fatigues.

          I could not find a single page that addressed the rules regarding the bolts, except that the 10 meter bolts are shorter and smaller in diameter than the 30 meter bolts and neither can have fletching. I think field archery, as I enjoyed in the latter ’70s with my compound is a better fit for me. My Bear Alaskan is archaic when compared to the current crop.

          10-4, good buddy, over and out,

          • ken,
            From your first link for the 10m I found this:

            Must conform to IAU 10 meter Match regulations (Art.205.2)
            Outer diameter 11,0 mm
            Cylinder 4,5 mm diameter (+0,0 / – 0,05 mm) x 10 mm long

            I also found the IAU rules but in German. Go here, open the PDF file and look for rule 205 about Pfeil. I believe it matches what you first link said and it has a dimension diagram of the bolt.


            What’s very interesting is that on this official site the only rules in English are for ISSF and Field match. Is that because us English speaking people don’t shoot 10m or is it that the Europeans just want to make things difficult in order to discourage us from competing 🙂


            • Chuck, I don’t know if the ICSU is deliberately making it harder on us, but one of the first things I did was scan the little map images. The only flag I recognized as being English speaking is the one for Great Britain. With so many countries being represented I suspect that members can get information in their respective languages easily.

              For the 10 meter rules, I saw but don’t understand the bolt information.
              Outer diameter 11,0 mm
              The diameter of what part if 11.0 mm?

              Cylinder 4,5 mm diameter (+0,0 / – 0,05 mm) x 10 mm long
              4.5 mm is what we also refer to as .177 for pellets. 10 mm long seems really short for a bolt, so I suspect I just don’t know what this means.

              I failed to relate this to the picture of the bolt.

              If I really need to understand I’m sure I will find what I need.


              • Ken,
                As you know, I know nothing about crossbows, do speaking from this wealth of knowledge here’s my take on those dimensions:

                The shaft must be whatever floats your boat because I see no reference to shaft length, however, the “head” that screws into the shaft must conform to the IAU rules. For the purpose of this discussion, the head has two parts: the cylinder body that screws into the shaft, that must be 11mm in diameter, and the cylinder front or “point”, if you will, that must be 4.5mm in diameter and 10mm long. There is also a very little tip on that point that must be no more than .5mm. I find it very interesting that the “point” is the same diameter as the .177 pellet. I believe the larger cylinder body is to prevent the bolt from penetrating allowing only the “point” to penetrate making it easy to score the target.

                Perhaps crossbow matches are for those who cannot obtain an evil pellet rifle.

                I will accept any rebuttal to these explanations.


                • No rebuttal here, Chuck. I do think this information harkens back to your earlier comment about the target size. It appears the measurement that counts is the 4.5 mm one that corresponds to the caliber used for 10mm match airgun competition.

                  Well, I think we have beat this one into submission on an airgun blog.


                • It is difficult for me to believe I am having such difficulties finding what I think is easily found information. I finally did but now I have to put it all together.

                  One measurement used for aluminum arrows (the one I learned and used in the latter ’70’s) used a 4 digit code. The first two digits tells us the diameter of the shaft in 1/16″ increments and the second two digits tells us the shaft wall thickness in 1/1000″ increments.

                  For competition, there is more variation than in the crossbow bolts because factors such as draw length and draw weight must be taken into account.

                  Target arrow sizes:
                  1416, 1516, 1616, 1713, 1716, 1813, 1816, 1913, 1916, 2013, 2016, 2114, 2213, 2314, 2315
                  Regardless, these target arrows are referred to as “knitting needles” in archery slang. The point used on the shaft will be flush with the shaft where it attaches and narrow to a point. Among other things the objective was to have your arrow balanced just forward of center.

                  Easton Legacy aluminum hunting arrows come in these sizes:
                  1916, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2117, 2216, 2219
                  The 2117 was my favored shaft. Hunting tips can cause these arrows to balance well forward of center.

                  Of course, using a shaft with an outer diameter of 4.5 mm would not work for crossbow or recurve/compound bow.

                  Mind you, this information is the product of meticulous, painstaking research done in blitz round fashion. I couldn’t depend on memory even for the things I once knew well.

                  The manner in which the rules came to be for each aspect of the sport must be interesting.

                  • ken,
                    If you are nothing else (and I’m convinced you are a lot of other elses) you are tenactious. Thanks for the extra effort for finding that info. I did not know about the numbering scheme so I learned something there.

            • Thanks, Chuck. Now I do understand that the dimensions are related only to the front section of the bolt for the 10 meter and 30 meter rules (which makes sense; I knew the shaft was longer, at least). The shaft remains unaddressed here, but I’m sure there is some information somewhere.

  28. Hi B.B.

    I have a quick question I noticed that my air rifle Beeman HW97K has a very minor disseling when using light pellets for example RWS superdomes and H&N field target trophy pellets will cause minor disseling when shot by minor I mean that if you blow into the breach smoke comes out of the barrel from crown, sometimes there is also very minor smoke traces inside of the chamber where the breach is. With JSB jumbos I get alot of smoke even in chamber, with Beeman Kodiaks or Baracuda Match pellets there is no such effect. I also did not have any problem with RWS superdomes at the beginning but now they seem to cause this smoke issue, my gun is new probably less then 200 shots. is this normal?

    • Alex…
      HW slops on a lot of grease when they put them together. They are opposite to Dianas, which are put together too dry in general. The grease does not blow out or burn off very fast. The piston seal keeps scraping grease to the front of the compression chamber.

      It’s doubtful that it will outright detonate. It will eventually quit smoking.
      Mine needed the barrel cleaned fairly often at first. Just a few dry patches once in a while. It does not like having lube splattered in the bore.

      You are using the right pellets to start with, although Kodiaks are a little on the heavy side.

      How is the firing cycle? Mine was a horrible buzzer. It took a Vortek kit to mellow it out. I cleaned out all the excess grease when I did the job.

      See what it does after 500 or so pellets.


      • Actually I cleaned the bore with brush and cotton patches after maybe first 10-20shots just out of curiosity, and bore was not very dirty, took 3 patches to clean it out fully. firing cycle is fine, the only thing I noticed was that there is much more disseling from JSB jumbos, and I attributed it to heat caused by deformation of the skirt when the pellet is fired ( the skirt is very thin also JSB-s may have higher fps), there is no sound of combustion or detonation when JSB-s are fired they just leave a lot of smoke in chamber where the breach is located. the Kodiaks are very accurate I have only 40 feet range but I can put pellets in same hole most of the time with Kodiaks, RWS is almost same quality shots as Kodiaks but because they are lighter they need slight calibration of scope, they usually end up 2-3mm above Kodiak shot, H&N field target was so so it probably has some manufacturing flaw because they consistently end up 0.3” higher and 0.15” to the left. As B.B. mentioned I will go with the Kodiak-s and RWS for the time being, also plan to get myself Prarie Falcon PCP now, and Pyramid Air review underlined that JSB jambos work fantastic with that one so thats where those pellets will go 🙂

        • Alex…

          I have noticed that I get more smoke with pellets that a HW does not like. These are the ones that do not produce velocity and energy as well as some others. JSB and AA pellets have tended to fall into this category. They are soft and fit with little loading resistance. I think this prevents the power plant from developing a good pressure curve. Pellets that fit good and snug and/or have fairly thick skirts have kicked out the best power and consistency. They tend to shoot smoother and produce minimal smoke.


    • Alex,

      All spring-piston air rifles that shoot faster than 600 f.p.s. diesel with every shot. Every shot! So if your rifle DIDN’T diesel, it would be unusual.

      Keep shooting is with the most accurate pellets. The others are just a waste of time and lead. When you have 10,000 shots on the clock, let’s talk again.

      Seriously, you haven’t got a problem.


  29. Ideas needed – please.

    Once again I was drawn into a Gunbroker auction that was too good to pass up. This time the object of my affection was an Uberti 1873 Cattleman Hombre. At $250 for a NIB copy it was difficult to pass up the opportunity to play cowboy. I still have too much ..357 magnum ammo also.

    The grips are an attractive enough hardwood that smoothed out nicely with a little steel wool and paste wax.
    The down side is it has a dull matte finish more appropriate for a utility shotgun on the metal work than a six shooter. Now I knew this going in and what I am hoping for is too somehow make the metal look a 100 years old. The only problem is I have no idea how to go about it. I thought maybe naval jelly would take the finish off and I believe I read if you spray the metal with oil and put it in the oven you get an old looking patina?

    Any thoughts? Thanks.

    • Volvo,

      Whoa there cowboy.

      Yes, naval jelly does a good job of removing the existing finish. Know what finish you’re going to apply to your bare metal before you strip. You don’t want that metal exposed longer than necessary.

      Prep is key. Degreasing, no fingerprints/oil of any kind, etc.

      To choose a finish that will end up looking like the “OLD WEST” in the bottom of your picture I’d suggest talking with Urberti and find out what they use.

      From the small picture it looks like it could be a satin electroless nickel plate. If it is then their Old West model is priced well since this process can be expensive. Neither the prep nor the electroless nickel plate can be done well by you. It would have to be sent off.

      Other options to achieve that satin nickel old west look that you can do at home would be duracoat, aluma-hyde or gunkote. I used gunkote on an old 16 gauge and it’s ok. You’ve got to have an oven and a wife that will tolerate the smell. Haven’t heard great things about aluma-hyde. I hear good things about duracoat.


      • Kevin,
        Thanks for being the voice of reason.

        Edith confirmed the Hombre is no looker, but I don’t want to invest any major coin in a $250 revolver.

        I will ponder this awhile before I jump in with both feet.

    • Volvo,
      One neat finish is to strip then “pickle” the metal with white vinegar (it etches it lightly, depending on how much “character” you want — plug the barrel and protect the functional bits!), which will give you a light gray finish. I don’t know how durable that is because I always boil it, then next use Van’s Instant Blue (look it up) over that, boil it again and then rub it back to blue gray with motor oil and green scrub pad. That gives something that is close to a charcoal blue. The Van’s by itself is wonderful stuff, as you can get anything from a “blue” to a jet black depending on how you apply it. It will wear in places eventually, but it is a pretty durable finish and can be touched up easily. The oil in the oven trick (use vegetable oil — smells much better) is OK, but it always feels a little funny and you need to be careful about how hot you get your metal — you could draw the temper of some hardened parts. Cheap degreaser is non-chlorinated brake cleaner; white vinegar will also work to remove fingerprints and light oil from a piece that hasn’t been in use. I’m not exactly certain about which look you are going for, but maybe some of that will help. Please do look at the Van’s — it is the best stuff I’ve tried and might do what you want.

        • BG Farmer,

          It would not need to be exactly like that “old west” look, I just figured well worn would look better than that funky matte finish.

          I tried to age it a bit with Flitz and a green pad, but apparently the barrel and action are different metals? The barrel started to mellow to a nice grey but the action did not?

          I will slow up a put a little thought in it before I go past the point of no return.

          • That makes sense — that the barrel and cylinder are different from the frame (if I understand correctly). It almost looks that way in the “Old West” picture too when you look for it — probably just different alloys. Not a bad idea to take it slow — I assumed you were doing research for a project you might undertake in a month or so. I should have known you had already started :)!

            I was thinking earlier that the color is pretty close to the lock in this picture:
            That was simply soaked in very dilute mixture of water and Van’s. If you find that the two sections are different components, you can match colors with either amount applied or strength of the mixture. Just thinking — definitely don’t do it right away!

            • BG Farmer,

              That is one pretty rifle you put together!

              I picked up the SA yesterday from the FFL dealer – new one since my cousin’s shop caught fire and blew up awhile back. Neighbors complained about 50 cal BMG rounds being found a 100 yards away.

              Anyway, of course I started working on it…. I’ve had it almost 24 hrs!
              I let you know how it goes.

  30. “I needed the info he was writing; but as an added benefit, he managed to put it into terms I could comprehend.” The airgun world could really benefit now from such authors. It is one thing to know…it is a whole nuther ballgame to be able to teach what you know. Many newbies like me are having to reinvent the airgun wheel simply because a wide body of knowledge is narrowly promulgated.

    • john,

      That’s the whole point of Airgun Academy (incl. this blog, the podcasts & the videos).

      When Tom & I published the Airgun Letter, hoarding of airgun information and knowledge was the order of the day. In fact, Tom was highly criticized and even berated for thinking that he could write about airguns because he wasn’t a 10-meter champion and was not known as an expert to the self-appointed high and mighty in airgundom.

      We frequently got calls from people who asked, “Who is Tom Gaylord?” To which I always replied, “Why, he’s my husband. Would you like to speak to him?” Often, these people were dumfounded when they found themselves talking to a down-to-earth guy who was on a mission to find out more about airguns and wanted to take others along on the ride to knowledge. It’s hard to dislike a person who seeks knowledge & wants to share his findings with others.

      So, we finally broke down the walls of silence and permanently removed the padlock of secrecy from the vault of knowledge carefully guarded by a bunch of people who thought the great unwashed were unworthy of knowledge. The so-called unwashed airgunning public turned out to be a bunch of great people who just wanted to know more.

      We’re doing everything we can — personally and together with Pyramyd AIR — to shine the light of knowledge into every dark hole. It’s what we’re all about.


      • Edith,

        I never did quite understand that mindset of- “I’ve” got a secret (technique, thing, process, etc.) and will let you know only when “I” deem you as being worthy”. I understand business secrecy, but a hobby? Good grief! Nothing turns me off of an activety faster than running into a bunch of these such… Thanks to you and Tom, I don’t have to deal with that here! 🙂


      • Edith,
        I was a champion with both air rifle and air pistol, and I know nothing about these guns. I’ve learned more from Tom than from almost anyone else that I personally knew during my years as a competitor. I have friends who were world and Olympic champions that know even less than I did (or do). What Tom brings to table are dimensions that the vast majority of “10-meter champions” couldn’t touch.

        This is why I don’t like a lot of the other forums. So many of the guys pretend to know something, and speak harshly about great champions and contributors to the sport of competitive marksmanship, as if they know something, when the don’t. I’ve read some really nasty comments about Lones Wigger that were completely false and simply mean spirited. I’ve read comments about “standards”, and such, by guys who’s only accomplishment was being able to afford ultra expensive rifles and equipment, while their skills never took them to the level beyond Expert.

        The contributions of the Gaylords to the topic of airgunning are highly valued and appreciates by me, and I’m sure everyone else here. This blog has actually lit the fire in my belly, making me want to shoot again. I went 33 years without WANTING to buy or shoot another gun for myself until I found this blog.

        Thank you to both of you,

  31. B.B.,
    Please allow me to ask one personal question regarding this topic. Do you feel that age is an issue for you? I personally believe that age has had both negative and positive effects on me, so I’m at least the equal of my younger self in many respects.

    • Victor,

      I think age has made me both a better shooter and more appreciative of fine airguns. I can’t shoot handguns as well anymore, but I’m a more patient rifle shooter. And where I once wanted guns no matter what, now I care more about what I spend time with.


      • B.B.,
        There’s a very important point here. Different from most sports, shooting is more mental, and so requires more maturity. With maturity comes consistency. That’s why shooters tend to peak at a much older age than in other sports. People often judge a young shooter by comparing their scores against an older shooter who has had more time, and thus more opportunity, to mature. A great young shooter will often have a good day where he/she will outscore a great older shooter, but he/she won’t be as consistent over a long match. This is why it’s beneficial that the big matches are shot over several days, effectively taking away the “luck factor”, and favoring the “maturity factor” that is expressed by consistency. Of course, with even more time, the aging process makes it harder for the shooter to keep that edge, as they eventually lack the stamina. But an older shooter will on occasion still have his/her day.

  32. I am a new guy on the block and have not been a part of any of the great conversations I see printed on this blog. I’ve only been into airguns for a month or so. I come from wide open spaces where big bore rifle shooting is the name of the game. Now I live in the suburbs of Ft. Lauderdale and it is illegal to fire big or small bore weapons on anything but a range.
    So…I was given a .22 /.177 Beeman RS2 for my birthday, I’m old, and have been getting familiar with it over the last few weeks. Thanks to Kevin and BB I have begun my learning sequence including the artillery hold and temperature vs grease viscosity. I know I have a long way to go but agree that the age factor is an advantage in shooting. All of the guns of my youth were semi auto and could spit out as many rounds as I could afford as fast as I could afford them. Now the size of the group at 30 to 50 yards with the Beeman and 100 to 1000 yards with the big bores is satisfying and challenging. I’m looking forward to gaining knowledge and accuracy in this new genre.

    • Lawman,

      I have been a shooter for the past 52 years and nothing has taught me more about the fundamentals of good shooting than airguns. The older I get the more I appreciate the ability to put them where I want them, so I understand the attraction you feel.

      Don’t get me wrong — I still enjoy an M1 Carbine and an SKS now and then, but a good single shot really makes my day.

      Welcome to the blog!


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