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From the greatest to the least

by B.B. Pelletier

I was in Wal-Mart the other day and a guy was looking at the airguns, so I struck up a conversation. He was looking at a Crosman M4-177 for eliminating pest birds; and when I tried to steer him toward a more powerful breakbarrel in .22 caliber, he had a fit over the price. Apparently $145 is the Rolls Royce of airguns for him!

So, today I thought I’d reflect a bit on the cost of things — some expensive and some cheap, but all very good. We have a growing contingent of firearms shooters who have found this blog and I’m doing this for them.

The most expensive?
Well, let’s be realistic. There’s only one air rifle that was carried by Lewis & Clark,  and Dr. Beeman has donated it to the U.S. Army War College museum. It’s value is well over a million dollars; but since there’s only one, it doesn’t really count in today’s discussion.

I’m also not talking about the collectible airguns that are available in greater numbers. A complete Plymouth Iron Windmill BB gun, the predecessor to the Daisy line, has commanded as much as $10,000. But second model Daisys are even rarer, because they were so prone to break. I’ve seen one change hands for $16,000, and that was close to a decade ago. But, for today, I want to talk about guns that are generally available.

When Edith and I bought our JW75 with four barrels and the Harmonic Optimized Tuning System (HOTS) on each of them, the cost was $2,100. That was in 1996. The cost did increase after that; but when John Whiscombe stopped making his rifle several years ago, the price took off like a rocket. Today, it’s hard to find a single-barrel Whiscombe rifle with no frills for under $3,000, and full sets like ours will certainly bring a lot more.

You can’t buy a new Whiscombe rifle anymore, so used rifles command top dollar.

So, are Whiscombes the most expensive air rifles? Hardly. There are all sorts of custom airgun makers around the world who offer almost whatever the traffic will bear. I’ve seen single rifles in Europe priced at over $8,000, and that was five years ago. Who knows where it all ends? The point is, air rifles can cost a bundle if that’s what you’re looking for.

Back to earth, some of the more expensive production air rifles today are made by the target rifle companies, where top models retail for nearly $3,000. And they’re built for a specific purpose — not for general shooting. The FWB 700 Alu, for example, is a very expensive air rifle that cannot be used for most popular airgun pursuits like hunting and plinking. But for punching holes in paper, it’s one of the best. The same can be said for top target rifles from Steyr, Walther, Anschütz and a couple others.

The FWB 700 Alu looks like an expensive air rifle!

For the sport of field target, it’s difficult to top the Air Arms EV2 precharged competition rifle. It has won and placed at the world level many times in recent years and is one of those rifles shooters tend to covet.

The Air Arms EV2 has won its share of top honors in field target.

In sporting rifles, Daystate and FX Airguns are among the most expensive brands. And now their top models are around $2,000 or less. Fifteen years ago, the number of makers of these rifles was much greater, but many brands have left the market.

Do you have to spend so much?
Of course you don’t! There are plenty of fine air rifles that cost considerably less than those mentioned and still deliver a boatload of options and value. But that isn’t today’s topic. We’re looking at the most expensive and the least expensive.

How low can you go?
Speaking of the least expensive, what can you get for very little money? How about a Beeman P17 pistol? For under $50, Pyramyd AIR will sell you an air pistol that’s so accurate you cannot outshoot it — I don’t care who you are. This is a pistol that you can learn on and use to take your handgun shooting to the next level. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why Beeman doesn’t triple the price and bring this out as a pseudo-10-meter target pistol! All the foundation is there. Gamo did the same thing with their Compact pistol, and this one costs one-fifth as much! They could easily add target grips and sights and have a wonderful, inexpensive target pistol, but I guess they just don’t see the potential.

For the money, you can’t buy a better air pistol than the Beeman P17.

I wish I had an air rifle to list for under $100. They exist, but none of them are what I would call really exemplary. But the Air Venturi Bronco is the finest low-cost air rifle I know of. It has accuracy equal to or better than a Beeman R7, a great trigger, nice size and is generally a fine rifle for older youth and adults.

Air Venturi’s Bronco is the air rifle to beat on the low end of the price spectrum.

The bottom line
And now you’ve guessed my agenda with this report. It wasn’t just about the most expensive and the least expensive. The guns I listed are also among the best of their types in the world. Sure, I could compare the Benjamin Marauder to some of the expensive PCPs and make a case for it being just as good functionally, but that wasn’t what this report was about. It was to define the limits of cost in our hobby for all the new readers who come over from the world of firearms.

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.

129 thoughts on “From the greatest to the least”

  1. Cheap is not always cheap.

    “Leave well enough alone.”

    I would guess the first time I learned that the hard way was with a model car, but it’s been too many years to say for sure. Maybe it was the darn glue they gave us to use.
    And the most recent occurrence was about a week ago.

    I have a TV guide sitting on a desk that hails from 1962, and appropriately the actor on the cover is wearing a cowboy hat. Westerns started to dwindle as the ’60’s progressed but my dreams of being a cowboy did not.
    And that is still the case today, and as such I could not pass up an Uberti 1873 Peacemaker copy for a mere $250.

    My only issue with six shooter was the matte finish that I am sure never graced a Colt. My knee jerk solution was to distress the finish and create an aged looked. Wisely, both Kevin and BG Farmer quickly jumped in before I trashed the SA with Naval Jelly, well at least for awhile anyway.
    Some Flitz and an abrasive cleaning cloth for stainless steel did a pretty nice job of simulating wear. It was okay or one could say “well enough”

    But the white vinegar in the panty called me, saying “why settle”? What happened next cannot be fully depicted in the time I have, but suffice to say it was not pretty. In the end I was breaking the monstrosity in pieces so I could dispose of it in separate places, not unlike a young Vito Corleone on the roof. The difference is my only crime was poor workmanship.

    All that’s left is the barrel, and I’ll bury it in the backyard when the weather warms up a bit.
    Good thing it was cheap…

      • Haha I completely forgot there’s a regular here named Volvo!

        I just bought a Volvo!

        It’s an 850 wagon with scratches all over and plenty of rattles to track down. I love it.

        • SL, I haven’t been able to read everything the past few days. It’s good to see your post. I hope things are well for you, considering all that has been happening.


        • Slinging,

          Thats the sad part, it shot to point of aim and made a tiny little group which is unusual for me. I am not much of a handgun shooter. Liked the feel better than my larger framed and longer Ruger.

          Now I need to decide if I get another Uberti with a better finish or give a New Ruger Vaquero a try.

          They are about the same $ at around $500.

      • Volvo, please forgive me. Here I am responding to your correction and I am still trying to stop laughing. You don’t know how much I needed this. I’ll be brief. Most here know that I had a couple of discs replaced in my neck a couple of weeks ago. I am doing well, all things considered. However, Monday evening my wife, “threw a clot” as she expresses it. The situation was scary but never reach a critical point. It started when she looked at me and asked what had happened to my neck. The next 15 minutes were spent trying to discover what reality is. We got help quickly. After about three hours she was doing better. Yesterday, she was doing well cognitively. I am relieved, to say the least.

        Anyway, please know that your typo has given me the first comic relief I have had in a few days. And I do mean in a light hearted way.


      • Volvo,

        I asked Pyramyd AIR for an edit feature at some time in the past, but I think they said there was no such plug-in for WordPress or the plug-in caused problems on the blog. I’ve just sent another email asking if this might now be available/compatible.

        Sometimes, typos are a lot more entertaining than what the writer originally intended…as is the case this time 🙂


      • Kevin,

        Yes, it got real bad real fast.

        The finish was just part of the issue, the bigger concern was that the cylinder pin would not come out.
        No way I could return it, and I was not willing to take it to a gunsmith the way it looked. ( I tried a couple different cold blues, etc. The more I tried the worse it looked)

        Finally I operated, good thing I am not a surgeon.

        • Volvo,

          At least take what’s left to a gun shop with a good smith and trade it for some ammo.

          You’re making the frugal guy locked inside of me scream.


          • Kevin, I like my idea better:

            It goes in a shallow grave and 50 years from now an 8 year old boy digs it up while playing with a dump truck in the back yard. He thinks it is a couple hundred years old and was used by a real cowboy. He cherishes it as a treasure for the rest of this life.

              • Or, someone like BB or myself stumble across it while treasure hunting with our metal detectors and think we’ve uncovered a rare find. For me, any find is rare.

                Fred DPRoNJ

                  • Deal. What about you, BB? Interested in giving the air rifles a rest for a day or two? TT, what part of the country are you in? By the way, what the heck is a can slaw?

                    I specialize in aluminum siding scrap.

                    Fred DPRoNJ

                    • Fred…

                      I am in Ohio. I have to pay sales tax when I get stuff from PA.

                      Got my share of siding scrap in some places. Got a bunch of copper roofing tabs at one place.
                      Have not detected for a long time now. Found quite a few .22 bullets, brass, and shotgun shells (remains of the paper ones)in the woods.

                      Can slaw…when an aluminum can gets into a lawn mower and seeds the whole area with pieces of all sizes.


        • Volvo,
          You are breaking my heart. I feel bad about mentioning the vinegar, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how you could have done anything that would destroy the gun that way — worst case it would need a little polishing and rebluing. Did the pin removal cause the destruction? More details, else I’ll be consumed by guilt! If it were air or BP, I would offer to fix it cosmetically, but I don’t think I can work on a cartridge gun (don’t know the legal requirements). I hope a gunsmith can fix it and maybe put a new finish on it, though I like your “buried treasure” image — just don’t like to see you lose your money that way.

          • BG Farmer,

            You actually helped prolonged the Uberti’s fate, so no worries!
            ( I could of destroyed it before I ever shot it )

            Yes, the cylinder pin was the final nail in the coffin.

            If I get a chance I’ll try and post a pic of the remains, however it will definitely mean my career as a six gun tuner will be over before it starts.

  2. Maybe a lot of the firearms shooters are like I was when I got my first airgun (very long time ago). They have no experience at all with airguns (or very limited experience). They have no concept of differences in quality or suitability for any particular purpose. They don’t know that they are not all alike. They will probably have expectations that are either way too low or way too high for any model they see at China-Mart , or even PA. Then there is that wonderful selection of pellets that are locally available which are almost guaranteed to convince anyone that there is not much to be expected from airguns, so why waste money on better models.


      • flobert

        Unfortunately, you will likely find only one pellet available at Wally World in .22 and that is if you are lucky. If that one pellet doesn’t work, the uninitiated will declare the effort as a failure. Who would suspect that Czech pellets that can usually only be ordered online would make such a huge difference.

      • flobert, I believe the .22 B.B. wrote about is the same one we know but I haven’t seen any on the shelves since Christmas. I was in a Walmart last evening on the way home from the hospital (with friend as I am not supposed to drive at all and would be a fool to try it right now). There was a 20 something fellow looking at the stock. I am blocking on the name of the .177 Crosman break barrel he left with but I was satisfied that he made the best choice among the available options (from my perspective, of course).

        I am saving up, but even $150.00 is not pocket change for me.


  3. Fair enough when someone is new to a hobby they will often hedge their bets and choose the cheaper option.
    The lucky few with more money than sense will jump straight in and get top of the range gear,find the hobby is not for them and sell the gear at a massive loss.
    What I used to be was a guy who obviously loved air gunning but still went for the cheaper option.
    This failure to commit has cost me more in the long run with all the messing around.
    Thank goodness I’ve finaly seen the light and from henceforth every purchase I make will be a keeper.

    My PCP shooting son in law has stepped from the ‘darkside’ a little and bought himself a break barrel springer yesterday.
    You guessed it.The HW50s/99s like mine.
    No pressure on him by me but I must say what a cracking salesman I would make 🙂

    • Dave

      “Cheaper” cost me a lot of money. “Better” was unknown to me. I thought it was luck of the draw. I spend money now to stack the deck.


      • Twotalon,
        And as you will know,to get ‘Better’ doesn’t mean having to spend loads extra either.
        I have made some daft choice purchases to save less than a 100 bucks…madness I tell ye.

        • Dave,

          Save a hundred bucks…. Sounds like me…. I agonized over a Benji 317 for $80, used, but thought nothing of spending $900 on an rc helicopter setup a few years ago, also used… I think it’s more a master of perspective from my wallet’s point of view at the time than anything else for me.


          • Worse yet. Folks will spend $400 dollars or more to WATCH! someone they don’t know play a game, but then deny themselves the tools to play the game themselves. There is little hope for them to ever become proficient at the game.

  4. New airgunners need to realize that airguns are different that firearms ,they serve a different purpose, occcupy different spaces in a shooters evolution. Also ,I find that many shooters today are very vain. Gun proud as I call it.You see endless comments on the forums like ” Diana’s are cheap because they have a plastic trigger blade, or it’s made in Mexico or China so it’s bad. Beeman fed on this in their catalogs,( like the tap the cap deal ). I have old HW Beeman’s and a Bronco , and enjoy quality , but also I know you can have fun without spending a fortune. You do have to spend some money and you will bump your head a bit if you have the interest to stay with the hobby. My advice to shooters who want to get into airgunning is to feed their desires the best way they can .

  5. I’m lucky enough to own an FWB 700 Alu, in blue. It is probably the finest piece of workmanship you will ever find in the airgun world. A pleasure to shoot, and definite eye candy. I’ve outfitted it with a Leopold scope and absolutely love shooting it. Needless to say, it’s my favorite, as it should be.

    I also recently bought the Bronco. Just got it last week, so I haven’t been able yet to put it thru it’s paces. Put a Hawk scope on it. Beware scoping this rifle, you need a short scope. Put my Hawke on it, and couldn’t break the barrel… live an learn. Had to back the scope on the rail to clear it. I probably never would have bought the Bronco if B.B. hadn’t sung it’s praises on here!

    I also have some high end guns, that I hate, the HW50, and Beeman P11 come to mind. And I have some low end guns I love, the Remington Vantage and Crosman G1 Extreme come to mind.

    • We all know what a fine, fine gun the Bronco is, but talking about cheap fun, my Daisy 880 at $40 or so is good clean fun, much more accurate and I think better velocity than my Gamo Delta, and it won’t kill scopes, so if I had a nice old Weaver K4 I could use it on this gun. The trigger isn’t as terrible as the one on the Delta either.

  6. I couldn’t resist a cheap airgun to save my life and most of the ones I bought were awesome guns especially considering the money they cost me. Of course the P17 and Bronco are great airguns but so is the IZH-60/61, even without the spare spring and adjustable trigger it’s a fun, cheap and very accurate airgun, the RedRyder and Marlin cowboy rifle are great little back yard plinkers, can’t miss a soda can at 30 feet.

    Of course some of the cheap airguns I have bought were mistakes, among them a marksman pump BB gun, what a crappy gun, I should have known better but it was cheap and on clearance and the deal included a Crosman 760, I don’t like either, they’re in the purgatory gun cabinet downstairs and aren’t used and the Beretta Elite II… I’m repulsed by the thing, I bought it while on vacation in the US I tried it and it worked great but wasn’t to my taste but decided to keep it anyways. It stopped working about a week after coming back… returning it would have costed me over twice it’s worth in gas and even more in time so I keep it as proof of my stupidity.

    I’ve also started paying more and more money on airguns spending close to a thousand on two airguns in a few very short months, I can’t help but to feel a little guilty about spending so much on a hobby but my wife encourages me to buy them as she knows I’ll enjoy them (she’s great isn’t she) and she’s right, now that they’re here I don’t regret buying them at all and wouldn’t sell them.
    I should sell some but can’t bring myself to it, but that’s another story.

    Ugh: please complete the capchat


    • my mistakes:

      Crosman 1377 pistol – junque in my opinion, I know some fine customized guns are based on it, but it just turned me off.

      Gamo Delta. I guess it’s OK for what it is, and I plan to do some things to it to accurize it, but it’s just sort of Meh. Cost me 3 Daisy 880’s.

      Beeman P17? I think it’s called? The one talked about here, got it cheep at Wal-Mart, it’s actually nice for what it is, but the cocking effort is high and I’m finding my 50-year-old wrists don’t like some things…. Huge bang-for-the-buck if your wrists are up to it, but I sold mine off. Cost me I think about 1.5 Daisy 880s.

      Crosman shootemupski rifle. You know the one! Poor velocity, poor accuracy, not enough velocity for pests, I’d probably have thought it was da bomb at age 10. With spare mags and CO2, cost about 2-3 Daisy 880s.

      Ones I’m glad I got:

      Daisy 880. The scope it comes with is poo, ultimately a LER Leupold would be great to put on it.

      Daisy Red Ryder – talk about fun! Minute-of-goose-butt accuracy out to pretty dang far away, same dimensions as my Henry lever-action .22 carbine. Heck on cat-food cans, Necco wafers, any ol’ backyard target. Fun, fun, fun. Get the one with the medal in the stock and the saddle ring, sorry so far no compass and thing which tells time.

      • I sure got a kick out of you valuing guns in terms of how many Daisy 880’s they cost. I share your affinity for the 880. I have two of them, plus a Daisy 856.

        They are all pretty accurate out to 30 yards. Beyond that…..well, not so much. I like that they don’t beat up scopes.

        What pellets do you find work best in them? I shoot several varieties, but find the Crosman Destroyers to be good performers at short distances.


        • I just opened a tin of RWS Diabolo Basics so that’s what I’m using. Nice little hobby/target flat nose.

          According to BB’s testing, even the FWB 300’s aren’t very accurate much past their 10-meter “precision zone”. So I’d not expect the humble 880 to be a “Quigley” type pellet gun.

    • J-F, I purchased an Elite II also. It lasted about 3 or 4 Co2 cartridges worth of shooting and then gave it up. It was out of warranty by the time it died and exchange cost was more than I paid for it. Live and learn. I disassembled it and threw it in the trash. Toby

  7. Oh boy, are you guys talking directly to me.

    When I was a youngster, my parents were convinced that BB guns were synonymous with “putting one’s eye out” and consequently they didn’t exist in my life. The Army taught me how to shoot and I loved it, and that was target shooting. Now, as an aging senior citizen, I have taken the advice of my doctor, believe it or not, and have taken up my first pistol. (Get outdoors and get some exercise, he said. Improve your hand-eye coordination, he said. Develop deeper concentration and keep your mind active, he said.) I love it. But, with what do I start? How much is this going to cost? Who do I listen to? Lucky for me, I found this blog and so you guys have become my mentors. I read every word. I even take notes. I have graduated from the Air Gun Academy several times. I have watched more YouTube videos in the last 9 months than I did in the previous 9 years. There is plenty of information on the web if a person is willing to take the time to sort through it all.

    I live in an area where we generally have a real winter with ice and snow and daytime temps way below the shooting temps for CO2. So, it became obvious very quickly that It might be a good idea to try to acquire one of each basic type of pistol: C02, single pump, multiple pump and a springer. (For me, PCPs are out … too expensive and too much junk to haul around.) That’s four pistols. If I set an upper limit of about $75 for each one on average, I could have a full experience, get to know the products, make a year round effort out of this, and not spend more than $300. Well, that $300 turned out to be about right for starters as I shopped real hard, took every discount and free shipping I could get, and by the time I added in all the other elements that go into starting out, I was not too far off. (Make that not too far over!) I have not bought a springer pistol yet but I am looking for a Tech Force 35 under-lever to see how I can deal with that. I bought a Crosman 2240 and a 1377 along with the Beeman P17. I bought some mounts, a red dot sight and a Hawk pistol scope when they were on sale. I keep moving them around to get used to mounting and sighting in. I’m doing alright so far. Oh, my Christmas present from the family last December was a Dan Wesson 8 inch. Can you see the smile?

    Well, I am settling in now. I have discovered that I like 10 meter for lots of reasons. I have discovered that I can disassemble a pistol, polish the sear, replace o-rings, take care of lubing, adjust the trigger, change barrels and gas valves and still keep everything working. I have a basic assortment of pellets, but there are so many of them that I have stuck to reading BB’s recommendations and then stay with that. Someday maybe I will become a pellet guru, but, for now, that’s what I have you guys for. Say BB, how would you like to publish a chart with your favorite guns in one column and your favorite pellet for that gun in the next?.

    Just this past weekend I decided that before the end of this coming summer, I will make an investment in the next step up. I am thinking about pistols similar in price and abilities to the Daisy Avanti 747 Match or a Crosman 2300S or something in that class but add really good sights. If I can manage to hit the Lottery, maybe I can begin to look beyond that. But, for now, price is a serious consideration. Wait! I also want a shooting bench. Hmmm. Maybe I need to go back to work.

    This turned into more than what I intended. I just wanted to thank you, Edith and BB, and all you other guys, for sharing your knowledge and opinions. If I were to ask only one thing, that would be for you really experienced guys to keep in mind that the new guys out here don’t always have an understanding or appreciation for what you are talking about, especially when it comes to old guns. So, you would make me happy if you give me too much information rather than not enough. Or, maybe I should just give in and buy Dr. Beeman’s book.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Bloomington, Indiana

    • NRS — John,

      We’ve already welcomed you to the blog, I believe, but if not, welcome! What a revelation you wrote! Obviously you are going to be an airgunner for a long time.

      As for my column of favorite guns and the best pellets for each, I have a small confession. I probably shoot more than most people and I haven’t got a clue about what pellets go with which guns.

      When I want to shoot I have a range of pellets I know to be exemplary, and I choose some from them. I trust the pellets enough to risk it, I guess.

      For example, if I were about to shoot a .25 caliber rifle I would choose the new Benjamin domes that look like Crosman Premiers and the JSB Exact Kings. Only if both those pellets were not accurate would I even consider shooting something else in that caliber.


    • But, with what do I start?

      Given that lead-in, I was expecting to read that your first choices were something like a Dessert Eagle in .50AE, or a .454 Casull or .480 Ruger

      I seem to recall reading that the primary difference between the Daisy 747 and the Daisy 717 is just the barrel…

      • Hm, sometimes I’m the Dessert Eagle if there are cream puffs in the offing!

        Guns I want to get:

        That Crosman 2300S, or is it the 2300T? The one with the nice iron sites.

        A nice PCP. Someday.

        • It’s best I don’t look at my future wanted guns… I want so many!
          The next one will probably be a DanWesson 6inch (it’s not what you’ve got it’s what you do with it) and my next big purchase will probably be a Crosman Silhouette pistol, that PCP slope sure is slippery.
          Add a few action pistols coming out soon (the Crosman Tokarev BB gun, the Browning Hi Power Mark III to name a few), sadly the new Daisy/Winchester M14 carbine won’t be available to us Canadians because it’s shooting too fast. Almost forgot a break barrel pistol, the IZH-53 pistol and the Benjamin nitro piston seem interesting.

          I’m probably forgeting a few I wanted to try out… I need more time, money and storage space.


      • Greetings …

        According to the PA comparison feature, the extra $50 gets a LW barrel and a two stage trigger instead of a single. I’d go for that.

    • It’s a bit more money, but why not try to pick up a used IZH-46M single stroke pneumatic pistol. It’s a real 10 meter target gun, with one of the best triggers this side of the multi-thousand dollar crowd. Mine sure out shoots me.


      • Pete and Dave …

        If you guys will ask yourselves what it would take to get you to part with yours, then you will understand why it is going to be a while before I even get to consider a 46-M. But, I agree with your suggestion and it is now on my Buckett List.

    • John, if you can do all that stuff with a pistol, then, as Darth Vader would say, “[You] have come full circle” and the student has become the master.

      I believe at some point I had the ambition to try all different kinds of pellets, but I ended up sticking with the first ones that worked. There doesn’t seem to be a huge variation, probably because of the distance I shoot at.


  8. I’ve always found that somewhere in the middle is where I want to be…as long as I do my homework.
    The Slavia 631, Avanti 853c, Gamo Compact, and a Umarex Colt. None classify as expensive…or fancy. But they all cost just enough to be of reasonable quality, sturdy and accurate.
    Most of my purchases are made that way…my sound system (Tivoli Audio) fills a room with sound…but isn’t fancy…my minivan gets me around just fine.
    But I gotta admit…if I won the lottery tomorrow most of these things would be quickly donated to deserving folk…bling does have it’s appeal 😉

  9. The Beeman P17 is being sold by Pyramyd AIR for $35.99. That’s a deal for sure. Some folks really do cheap out when trying something new then aren’t happy with it, no surprise there. I have a friend that is looking for his first air rifle. I have managed to steer him away from the real junk. He will be a lot happier with one of the better break barrels for sure.


  10. Great news, B.B. and Edith! Sounds like you can move back to Maryland now. A federal judge recently ruled against MD in a suit against its “may issue” carry law. The Sun reports that legal wonks think the recent ruling is very likely to withstand appeal, so MD will probably soon be a “shall issue” state.

    Now, when shopping Maryland real estate, may I suggest steering clear of properties in close proximity to psychos and wackjobs? Alas, I suppose that rules out the lovely house next door to me…


  11. BB, Edith et al

    I was first drawn to this blog back sometime in 2007 when I was having difficulty with scope creep on a powerful springer. Thanks to the info I gleaned from BB’s writings, I solved the problem and have since made several modifications to the rifle.

    After that experience, I went back and read all of the blogs back to March 2005 over the course of several months and have read each and every one since. Until very recently, I have not however been reading the comments following each blog publication. Although it is like attending a meeting with no agenda, I find that I have been missing a lot.

    What prompted me to write was the recent query from Annie in Holland and the response that she received. Maybe not what she was hoping to hear, but honest factual responses. Let me leave my own. Annie, may you have many years of blissful enjoyment and agonizing frustration with the air gun obsession.


  12. Finally a day good enough to get outside for some shooting…or at least almost outside. It’s almost warm, not raining, but very windy. The air is full of bugs. Was shooting inside my father in law’s barn. Did some 20 yd sighting in on two different rifles with just one kind of pellet used for each.

    Did R7 #1 first, then R9 #2 second.

    Was just finishing with the R9 when I got a sudden impulse to do something bad. There was this fly….
    It was a shameful thing to do thing to do. Not very sporting at all. One that I wacked last year was with a .177 R9 at 37 yds. Here I was with a .22 R9 at only 20.
    Of course there is the matter of needless overkill. Totally shameful behavior.



    • I wanted to make some sugar sirup this summer to try myself at wasp and fly hunting. I’ve been hunting wasps for a few years with my 747, my Alecto and now my FAS pistol. I love it when I’m able to get one in flight.


      • I am not good at moving targets.
        Ripe apples, and probably pears will work. Yellow jackets love both. Shoot a hole in it and let a light breeze move the scent around. They will come. Only problem is finding really ripe and juicy apples and pears this time of year.
        Maybe some canned pears, or maybe peaches or apricots. That should get the little vultures drooling.


      • kevin…

        Not everyone pays $500 for fly swatters. That’s before the extra money for kits, scopes, and mounts.

        But sometimes it just feels so good to kill something.

        There are plenty of guys who have made longer shots, but any fly that is dead is a good one. The yellow jackets probably don’t like the idea. Not much left to scavenge.


  13. I’m pretty much signing off until Saturday or Sunday, as my surgery is at 1:00 PM tomorrow, and I have lots to do to get ready for it. For any docs reading this, it’s a complete parotidectomy on the right side for an acinic cell tumor. The doc hopes to send me home on Friday after just a night for observation.

    As time permits, I’ll lurk today.


  14. Nice to see a list of the champs in all categories. What about the USFT? I thought that was the ultimate field target rifle. The level of shooting at the world field target championships is frightening to contemplate.

    B.B. isn’t the Whiscombe as accurate as a pcp? I don’t believe I’m temperamentally suited to that rifle if one dry-fire can wipe out your investment.

    Duskwight, we’ll expect the same from the Duskcombe. By the way, I was reading in another part of the Peter the Great book about a grand tour of Europe done by that ruler. It says that in Holland, the Dutch were astonished because when they took the Russian entourage onto their frozen canals in the middle of winter, some of them fell through the ice for some reason. But when they were fished out, all they asked for was a shot of vodka, and they were ready to go. Know anyone like that? 🙂 This book is very scrupulous about its research, so I’m not inclined to dismiss this story as I would otherwise.

    Ah, yes, I’ve just had a spell of exulting over my guns. The smooth wood, the satisfying click of the action, the feel of them, the way the sights come up on target. I can’t imagine selling any of my collection. So, I don’t expect much more of the giddy feeling of a new acquisition, and that phase has worn off of my current collection. But now I am enjoying the familiarity with each gun and knowing just how they look, feel, and behave. Old love is best….


    • Matt,

      I second B.B. on Whiscombe – just because it’s no PCP at all – and I must warn you that duskcombe has not yet made a single shot 😉

      It all may end up as a collection of very precise and expensive parts that just doesn’t work at all, or works bad or gradually kills itself with every shot. IF I’ll be able to finish it, IF I made no original mistakes in its design, IF it can go through cock-load-shot cycle without killing itself and somebody else in process, IF it’ll be strong enough to go through the breaking-in process (I’d say 500 shots). Well, I think you see it’s enough “if”s. Despite sometimes best is not enough I’m doing my best to make it and to make it work. I’ll be happy if it’ll produce a shot, extatic if I could compare it to my “shillelagh” level and I’ll be on cloud 9 if it does better.


    • They’ve got one also at my local Pamida store. We are not a big enough town to have a Wal-Mart.

      Pamida was bought by Shopko. I don’t know if Shopko will carry air guns. I do know Pamida is quitting giving their military discount because Shopko doesn’t do it.

      I got my discount yesterday, but was told “This is the last time”.

      Pamida’s downtown competitor, ALCO, still gives a military discount, plus a “geezer discount” on Mondays. Their air gun selection is even more pathetic than Pamida’s.


  15. B.B.

    I must confess I could not resist the charisma of Dan Wesson 8-inch model so I bought it. Looks and feels good in hand, knowing my obsession with long revolvers. Too much “Magnificient Seven” and Sergio Leone in my childhood I suppose 🙂
    I think I’ll rework it into rifled barrel and pellets, rear-position in the cartridge. Then we’ll see about accuracy.


  16. Since there is some subjectivity regarding what defines a good, or not so good, airgun, I don’t agree with some of the opinions expressed. I’ve been lucky in that other than my Diana LP-8, I haven’t spent much on air pistols, yet, either pellet or bb, they’re all fine shooters, and all, even my Dan Wesson 8″, were in the $50 – $100 range. I do look around for the best deal, though I’ve given PA plenty of business; I really enjoy their 10% off coupons, and if I’m looking, I pounce. I am, however, strictly a target shooter, and I don’t care for plastic all that much, my stressed credit card included. Another interesting blog. RC

  17. Hello B.B. and fellow airgun aficionados. Another interesting blog, and comments. I think the main reason for my interest in this blog, is the level of maturity of it’s readers. I have tried others, but inevitably quit when someone pipes up “I shot a 1 inch group at 50 meters with my Waly-Mart Special”. Or something equally asinine. This group seems to call em as they see em. No frills or needless bragging. To all who have had or are experiencing medical procedures, I send you Good Vibes from the not so white North.

  18. Metal detectors,

    I used to be a TH’er. I have a Whites 6000Di and a Minelab. I like the Whites better because it is analog and I can understand the return signals better.

    I once wrote a few articles for Treasure Hunter magazine. Edith and I used to go out all the time. I still remember the day we found a gold class ring — she went through the roof! And when we hit a honey hole of quarters around some old parking meters I thought she was going to pitch a tent right there!

    I would have to tune my ears up again to find anything deeper than a few inches in sweet ground, but back in the day I could find silver at 9 inches with a Daytona Rangar.


    • I never went out enough to really learn mine… and not sure when I’ll get it out in Michigan now…

      Whites V3i — fancy color LCD display with separate graphs for primary frequency and two overtone (2.5kHz, 7.5kHz, 21.5kHz as I recall); supposedly gold responds more on the high frequency… Bloody owners manual has more menu options than my Blackberry Pearl cell phone.

      Santa Cruz beach was my normal hunting ground — but I couldn’t get there early enough to beat the locals (not when the highway traffic is moving under 10mph and the pavement is >110degF. Tent pegs, Corona bottle caps, were my usual finds; did have one find that took a bit of investigation to figure out. A cheap ring with “Addis Ababa” in some odd set of glyphs.

  19. I’ve only a minute and I want to use it to say thanks to everyone for you kind words and wishes. My wife continues to do well. She will remain in hospital for a couple more days to insure stability and start her on a medication she has not wanted to take but may need to now. All things considered, we have much to be thankful for today.

    I also want to take a few seconds to wish PeteZ the best. My calendar tells me he has surgery tomorrow.


  20. I don’t know if this counts as an airgun maker or not, but I converted my jewelry making business which was losing money and now am making very nice little multi pump carbines. Everything is done the way I think it should be…no plastic, or at least as little as possible. I use really nice wood stocks and grips, hand milled stainless steel or brass breach units, custom length barrels, and very nice custom muzzlebreaks. I even offer noise supression systems once in a while. I have yet to do ballistics tests but I expect it will perform as good as it looks.

      • The first one should be done around the end of next month. It should be a stunning creation all gleaming stainless steel, beautiful zebra wood, and it is looking like an aluminum and carbon fiber muzzlebreak. The stock i going to be a modified crosman 1399 because there will be an onboard pellet dispenser where I would put a custom wire stock. If it all works out we are talking about a very high end pump gun. I did some math and if my figures are correct top muzzle velocity should be around 700 fps with crosman domed pellets. Looking at the cost for the beast, i couldn’t let one go for less than $500. Of course that will depend on how much custom work the customer wants too.

  21. Wow, in the 50’s for Northern Michigan today! If this keeps up, the snow will be gone. That happened in 2010. No snow by mid March. That was hard on the Snowshoe Hares which were still in season and still white!


    • 65 in Kent county… I finally moved the dung-beetle* from my father’s garage (where it’s been since the first week of December) to my apartment.

      I had to read your post a few times before I figured out that “in season” meant “hunting”… For this furvert “in season” has a different meaning — and “mad as a March hare” derives from the behavior of males in mating season…

  22. Tom, I have aquired a gun I believe to be a primary new york, it has a crank hole, and the pivot breech, but there are alot of differences from the pictures I have seen. I have no crank for it… but if I could, would like to send you a few pics… value your input… Many thanks in advance
    Rolf Demmerle

      • Rolf,

        Your gun appears to be very well made but also repaired and someone has recently wire-brushed it, or sanded it with steel wool. That destroys the value quite a bit. If they hadn’t done that it would be easier to see the repairs against the original parts.

        The locking mechanism is new to me. I haven’t seen that on a Primary NYC before. And the double set triggers is another departure.

        Some of the photos are blurry and I can’t see some of the details I’d like to see, but I can see enough to know that you have a very well made gallery airgun. I think you need to use Wolff’s book to try to identify exactly what you have.


  23. Gene,
    I have the Beeman P17 (thanks to BB’s recommendation) and it loves wadcutter pellets. I’m very accurate with RWS Hobbys, RWS Meisterkugeln, and Gamo Match. The Beeman P17 is very accurate. I shoot 10 meter in my basement and its a blast. I bought a Crosman 357 at the same time, and I find myself shooting the Beeman P17 the most. I keep trying to beat my 10 meter pistol score, so far a high of 88.
    Buy it, its an awesome gun. Thanks BB for recommending it to us. I’ve been reading your blog since 2007.

  24. Bought a Bronco some time ago, on your recommendation. Happy with it, but decided to try using it in 10m open-sight competition (this month). For that, the sights are a bit lacking, but I figured that I’d just have to make do with it. Looking back at the Pyramid site, I now see another Bronco version has surfaced, which includes a Mendoza diopter sight and a riser for the front sight to level out the height. As I only just spotted this, the question now is if I can get them soon enough to use.

    As you’ve mentioned the Bronco several times, it would be helpful if you briefly mention new options or versions to alert the readers. Of course, you can’t keep up with everything, but given your connection to the Bronco…

      • B.B., so that’s why. I couldn’t tell how recent those items were. Pyramid does currently lists those items, though the riser is on pre-order until 3/15. Other reviews on the sight seem okay, so I may go ahead and take a chance. However, I’ll call them first to make sure there’s no issue there.

        While there’s little airgun activity in NM, they added this to the Senior Olympics. As I’m already competing in other areas, figured I’d give this a try . Since you compete in your age group and it starts at the county level, there might be few enough competitors that I qualify by just hitting the target:-) Until I reach the state level, that is.

        I’m also thinking of getting a P17 to maybe compete with a pistol, from your comments on that. I do have a 1377 that could do it easily, but I lost the open sights when adding a steel breech and they don’t allow a scope.

        Thanks again for all your efforts. You are one of the main sources that got me interested in airguns.

      • Well, this is going to be interesting. Just received the peep site and riser from Pyramid, which gives me 18 hours to practice until the competition… First shot was R2″ and U1-1/2″, so I took 10 clicks on both height and windage. Second shot overlapped the first. Okay, try 50 clicks…third shot overlapped the first two. Hmm…maybe it’s time to think before I shoot? Maybe because I’m not used to only 10m against 1/4 MOA adjustments? Well, at least it showed I remembered how to shoot the Bronco with a nice group:-)

        Got height adjusted okay, but windage hit the end of the range. Went back to check the riser, and found it had a slight bit of play while tightening. Loosened the front sight riser, then tightened with some pressure on the side. Two more ranging shots, then four overlapping hits in the center. Yah, Bronco (and BB)! At least I won’t be embarrassed tomorrow.

        The aperture seems a bit large for target, but appears to work okay for 10m. I’ll have to wait until I can try this at a longer distance to see.

        Also just got that P17 you recommended. Took about a dozen dry shots before it would pump up the pressure. A nice feel and trigger, but I’d better get me back to the Bronco before the sun goes down, and the hard part will be the standing shots.

      • Well, this blog was really named well, as I certainly saw “The Greatest to the Least” in my first competition meet last Saturday. All the rifles were PCPs (Steyr and others) and they told me some cost over $2K. I picked one up and almost needed two hands to hold it and they needed support poles to shoot standing. The pistols were all match guns.

        Against that I had the Bronco and a brand new P17. A Bronco I’ve shot before with a scope at 30 yds and only had a few hours practice with the new Mendoza peep sight. I was sorta late in deciding to enter this match, but wanted to give it a try. After all, BB said these two will out shoot the shooter…

        I still think the Mendoza aperture is too large for target, but the Bronco shot consistent and well. I felt every error was mine, and not the rifle. The groups were small and I actually managed to take second place in one relay. A caveat here, as you only compete in your age group, so that wasn’t too very difficult.

        With the P17, it was a real struggle. When first ranging, the pellets were flying all over, and I could see them tumbling. Nothing I could do but just keep shooting ranging shots and hope for the best. After nearly a dozen shots, I finally saw a tight group magically appear. Quickly firing for score, I put 14 out of 15 rounds in 3 bulls. I then rested for 2 minutes, and saw the next 3 shots tumble and go wild. Then, the following 12 shots were fine (well, the gun was fine, while I was perhaps a bit off at times). A similar sequence repeated when I moved from seated-rest to standing, which sounds like a temperature issue. I’d guess the valve or the trigger not fully opening it. A lengthened air blast defeats the rifling, and this issue would improve as the air became warmer, which was what happened. But, this forced me to keep shooting at a rapid pace. Still and all, it then lived up to BB’s description.

        Still a pain to load a wadcutter in the P17. The high pump effort either improved just a bit, or I just got more used to it, but it’s reasonable for a single-pump pistol. I need to try a dot of white paint on the sights, as they appear fuzzy to my eyesight. The overall feel, weight and balance of the pistol were really good. It was easy to handle on the standing pistol relay.

        I’ll see what Pyramid has to say about that P17 issue. I set up a 10m range in my house to get some real practice, and will probably take these to the state competition in a few months.

        Update – Pyramid responded quickly with an RMA. But, as I’ve worked on other guns, I decided to pop the cover and do a quick check of the valve stem-trigger coupling. Sure enough, a nut was loose. After tightening it, I put the pistol in the frig for 20 minutes to check it. The first few shots were low, as expected, but grouped well. Then it came up and continued to group nicely. The mechanism inside looks solid and well built, and this is perhaps the least issue I’ve hit with my airguns, so I won’t hold it against them. This one is a keeper.

        • Gerry,
          Did you have to get the front sight spacers for the Mendoza peep on your Bronco? They work good. I wrote a review on them for PA several days ago but nothing has shown up there yet.

          • Chuck: yes I did. I wrote a review last week, which hasn’t shown. The only issue was you have to very carefully manually align them before tightening the screw, or it may be slightly tilted to one side or the other. I see now that PA has them together with the sight as a kit, but I had to order them separately.

              • Oh my, Edith, you do them all? In that case I’ll be patient, as quality is better than quantity.

                And that P17 seems to be getting better every few days now. With the large size of the official 10m targets, I set up a metal plate covered with duct seal. Works just fine for catching the pellets, but the wadcutters don’t penetrate much, so that overlapping shots get deflected to the side. I hadn’t thought about that, so I probably need a couple of pieces of cardboard in front. From my last 8 shots, six of them are touching each other, so the group is probably better than it looks, but I can’t tell.

                • Gerry,

                  I used to do them all. But I gave away the accessories & ammo to someone else. I do just the gun reviews. Still, that’s a lot of work/reading. I fell really far behind about 2 months ago. I had 1,000 unread reviews. It took me 2 weeks to whittle it down to a sane number, and that’s where stands. No matter how many I do in a day, the next day sees that many & more being submitted.


            • Gerry,
              Yes, I put that about lining up the plates in my review, also. I only used 2 plates, however, since I was using the Beeman peep which doesn’t have as much “substructure” as the Mendoza. The screws were not too long for that. I fear if I had only needed one plate the screws would have penetrated the shot tube. Well, maybe malformed it.

  25. Well must admit I love mine , it’s a Ripley AR5s custom built action at 12 ft/lbs , in lovely hand crafted stock by best British stock maker Gary Cane in laminate , topped with with a high end Sightron scope , all in for just over £3,300.( 5.000 us dol )
    Good for target shooting , field target , hunter field target , bunny bashing .
    Would I sell it , NO , even though I have been offered a lot more than it cost me.

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