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Great expectations!

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Adrian Cataldo Beltran 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!

Adrian Cataldo Beltran is the BSOTW.

This is the second time I’ve used this title for a blog. The last time was a blog I did back in July 2007, almost five years ago. In that report, I was mostly addressing the expectations of accuracy that new airgunners have and how they relate to reality. Today, I want to look at something different.

Today I want to look at our secret hopes — those unspoken agendas that push us and direct us toward gun purchases that can sometimes disappoint us. I had one of these happen to me just this week.

When I was a boy back in the 1950s, I loved the Winchester model 61 slide-action .22 repeater — what we kids called a pump gun in those days. I loved it because every time I got to shoot one, which wasn’t that often, the rifle spoke to me. It was just the right size, with a slick action that seemed to bespeak rapid-fire accuracy. Since I never shot at anything smaller than a soup can, I don’t suppose that real accuracy ever came into question, but that gun just SEEMED accurate to me.

As a young adult in the middle 1970s, I had the opportunity to buy a 98 percent model 61 that had been produced in 1953. It still had the original box and cost the exorbitant price of $250, but I knew it was worth every penny. I didn’t actually shoot it that much, but I shot it enough to know that my childhood imagination had amplified the rifle’s true capabilities. It was accurate enough for what it was, but it was no tack-driver. Anyhow, the day finally came when I was forced to sell it before I apparently fulfilled my fascination for the gun — because a couple years ago I had a chance to buy another one in very good shape (call it a 75-percent gun) for just $550. This time I could afford the gun, but I didn’t act quick enough and the opportunity passed.

Last week I passed the pawn shop where I had seen the model 61 for sale, and once more the same childish thoughts flashed through my mind. And here’s the point of what I’m telling you. I now own a Marlin model 39A that is even slicker than the Winchester, and a Remington model 37 target rifle whose accuracy can embarrass almost every other .22 on earth. So why does my heart still yearn for the old pump gun that I know can’t compete with the guns I have? I think it’s that eternal desire to return to my childhood!

I had the exact same experience with a Daisy No. 25 slide-action BB gun, only this time I actually acquired nine of the things — all in beautiful, collectible condition. Owning them for over two decades allowed me to purge the demons from my past; and a couple years ago, I started quietly selling off that collection. The void in my heart had been filled.

At one time, I had the itch for a Colt Woodsman .22 pistol, because as a youngster I shot my uncle’s gun and did very well with it at 25 yards. From the prone position with a two-hand hold, that pistol grouped like a fine .22 rifle! But I’ve owned several Woodsman pistols over the years, and the experience has filled that pothole in my character. I know now that a Ruger Mark II can be just as accurate and just as reliable for one-quarter the price.

The longest itch I ever had was for the M1 Carbine, because I still have it even though I own one! I have owned several, and all have been good shooters — if not terribly accurate. But something about the little semiautomatic action that’s still impossible for gunmakers to build (no semiautomatic rifle has ever been made that was as light and powerful as the M1 Carbine) turns me on! I cannot pass one by. It’s as though I need to own them all, even though I have whittled my own “collection” down to just one good gun.

The strangest itch I ever had was for one specific gun. Years ago, I acquired a Trapdoor Springfield rifle that was in NRA antique good condition. It wasn’t anything to look at; but the bore was great, and it was fun to shoot. But I tired of that hard-kicking rifle after many years and eventually traded it away. Then, seller’s remorse set in. A year later, when I saw it up for sale, I bought it back. And I had it for several more years until I traded it away a second time. Then, a couple months later, I learned that the new owner intended selling it because the barrel was too long for him, so I traded for it, again. I also own a really accurate scoped .45-70 rolling block that I shoot all the time, but apparently I cannot stand to not also own this tired-looking old Trapdoor. Like a prized horse that’s been put out to pasture, I guess this one will remain with me until my estate sells it!

The point of this report
What I’m driving at today is that all shooters carry some baggage. For me, it’s the Winchester 61 and the others I’ve mentioned; but for you, a Browning Auto 5 may light your fire, or perhaps you find Lugers fascinating! I know that Mac has a soft spot for any shotgun in .410 caliber. Somewhere on the path of life, we have an experience or even just a fascination, and it starts the pot inside us brewing with lust.

BB’s Kryptonite
Old B.B. Pelletier still has a couple voids left in his soul besides the Winchester. One would be a beautiful blue H&R model 999 Sportsman .22 revolver. There’s just something mystical about that break-open design that fascinates me! I have the good sense to know that I couldn’t possibly shoot it any better than any other top-quality revolver, but something about it still haunts me. I have never even fired one shot from a 999, so of course the thing is really buried deeply under my saddle! I fantasize about breaking open the action and watching those nine empty cases extract from the cylinder, as if by magic. It’s not a healthy wish, but this one’s on my bucket list.

For some asinine reason, I’m fascinated by the Johnson semiautomatic battle rifle of World War II. They’re all selling for way over $2,000 these days, and good ones go for much more; so this is an itch I don’t ever expect to scratch — but it’s still there. I would probably be underwhelmed by one if I shot it, because I’ve shot the Garand (another itch that has been satisfied many times!), but I guess you want most the things you can’t have.

Oh, and for some dumb reason, I find I cannot look away from an 8mm Hakim battle rifle. I know it’s because I’ve owned so many of the air rifle trainers, but the phrase “the poor man’s Garand” has sunk its hook firmly into my lips. I’ve come very close to pulling the trigger on several fine-looking Hakims in the past but was always put off by their poor bores that resulted from firing corrosive 8mm military ammunition.

In airguns, my secret desire is to own another Sheridan Supergrade multi-pump pneumatic. I owned one years ago and learned that it was no more powerful nor more accurate than a simple Blue Streak, but something about the robust styling of the gun still attracts me. Years ago, I was forced to sell the one I had for economic reasons, so the fascination was never completely satisfied. And I sold it just after the prices began to rise. I told myself I would buy another one when I could, and then I encountered the super-inflationary price increases of recent years.

A couple years back, I had the chance to buy a nice Supergrade at the Roanoke airgun show and I even (momentarily) had the money to buy it! But something inside stopped me from forking over the cash. And that was two weeks before I made the landmark trade for my Ballard rifle — so I guess the still small voice I listened to was the voice of reason that time! I had to use the cash to buy several things that were used in that trade, so it was either the Ballard or the Supergrade.

To quote Minnie Pearl, “I’m done playin’ now!” I want to spend the rest of this weekend reading about what turns YOUR crank!

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.

79 thoughts on “Great expectations!”

  1. I’d like to start things off by passing on a quote from the current issue of “American Rifleman”.

    “Life’s too short to shoot an ugly gun”: Joseph L. Kurtenbach.


    • I know that I’m posting to a blog that’s 1,836 days old, but you’d be surprised how many readers go through these old entries.

      The “ONE” gun I have to own would be the Colt Python 8″ Target model in Royal Blue Finish. This is simply the most beautiful Revolver ever made IMHO!

      Tom my 1st Rifle I received from my Father was a Model 39A. I loved that gun until it was stolen some 15 years ago, and 1 day I will get myself another. It was a very accurate rifle for the price point.


  2. B.B.,

    I have a question about how the Remington 37 compares with the 40-X. I read an article about the history of the 40-X which stated that it was designed to beat the Winchester 52, making it the worlds most accurate target rifle. This of course was before Anschutz began to dominate the smallbore world. Would you say that the 37 is more accurate than the 40-X?

    I have no experience with the 37, but have shot a 40-X, serial number 113, with a 28 inch bull barrel. It was very accurate!


    • Victor,

      I have no experience with the Remington model 40, but I know Remington felt it was an advancement over the model 37. Perhaps not in overall accuracy, but in smaller things like trigger and lock time.

      I have shot a couple dozen target-grade model 52 Winchesters and can honestly say that the Remington model 37 is at least as accurate as any 52s I have fired. My 37 has the “Miracle trigger” that has to be seen to be appreciated. The blade doesn’t move, but the trigger fires the gun with complete control.

      As for the other rifles like Anschutz, Weihrauch, Krico, Walther, etc., again I know they are all very accurate, but I haven’t got the personal experience to make any comment.


      • B.B.,

        During the 70’s, I didn’t see any Remingtons in competition, except for the one I started with. I did see a few Winchesters. The field was dominated by Anschutz’s. However, George Stidworthy (The 1600 King) used a Winchester 52, but never used the original barrel, so that doesn’t count, in my opinion.

        I had a long conversation last week with Rance Spurlock (whom I buy all of my firearms from) about three rifles; Remington 40-X, Winchester 52, and Anschutz 1413. Rance is the most knowledgeable firearms dealer that I’ve met since moving to southern Nevada. He’s also the nicest and most accessible owner that I’ve met. He personally used a Winchester Model 52 and Anschutz 1413 in competition, and preferred the Winchester. He found that the Winchester was much more sensitive to internal temperature, so it had to be warmed up. After that, it performed very well.

        In any case, these older rifles are very fine. It’s a shame that Remington and Winchester surrendered to manufacturers like Anschutz, Walther, and FWB. Maybe you can provide some insights as to why American manufacturers just gave up like this? I certainly would appreciate a report on this specific topic, if at all possible.


          • B.B.,
            That would be my first inclination, except that there was a lot of pride riding on this type of product by these particular manufacturers. Literally dozens of records were once held by target rifles made by these manufacturers. Remington and Winchester rifles are as big a part of “Americana” as the Yankees and the Dodges. Where’s the pride? What happened to it?

            • Hold everything. I thought the Anschutz has won more medals than all other rifles combined. I didn’t think it was even a contest. Hence my big investment into it as the ultimate rifle.


              • Matt61,
                We’re talking about why Winchester and Remington relinquished their market to Anschutz, seemingly without putting up much of a fight once Anschutz stepped in. There was a time, probably up to the late 50’s when Remington and Winchester were America’s favorite target rifles.

                Doesn’t make sense to me. These companies are institutions, and I would have thought, with all of the expertise imaginable.

                  • Chuck,
                    I’m sure that’s the case, but considering the long history, reputation, and success of these gun manufacturers, you’d think they’d at least try to compete. Americans love to shoot, and smallbore is still a big deal with many Americans. There’s virtually no presence on the part of Remington and Winchester anymore. I think it’s shameful, and makes me question those two brands. Maybe that’s why I’m inclined to by other brands like Savage and Ruger. You have to go “custom shop”, and spend 4 times as much for a comparable Remington or Winchester. I guess it really is all about the money.

  3. My first rifle was the 61. I loved it. I did this trick where I would load it full of shorts (remember when shorts still cost less than longs and long rifles?), then hold the trigger back and pump all of them through as fast as I could, in the peach orchard out back of our farmhouse. For a kid, this was firepower. When it came time to teach my kids to shoot, my dad returned it to me. Only then I discovered that all the shorts and BB and CB caps had eroded the throat so it wouldn’t eject reliably. I sold it.

    I also had as my first shotgun, a beautiful little Stevens-Fox SxS in .410. I loved that too…rolled a lot of TN rabbits and killed a number of henhouse blacksnakes with it. It was stolen while I was in Vietnam and I still miss it.

    In airguns, well there are quite a few. The one I miss most is my Crosman SSP 250, with all three bbls and a Crosman skeleton stock.

    • Bob,

      I worry about Mick. That Farco “PCP” he is showing is a standard Farco CO2 shotgun that I have owned in the past. It is not rated for precharged pressures! A couple American builders modified their Farcos to run on air. One of them ran his at 1,200 psi, which is relatively safe, but another ran his at 3,000 psi. Since the Farco is made from solid brass, that is an accident waiting to happen!


  4. I don’t think there is anything that I have always wanted, as far as any particular model goes.
    I have done a lot of looking for something that I might like with accuracy and good build quality. I have been disappointed a lot of times.
    I like rifles. Could care less about handguns or BB guns. Don’t have any itch for collectibles.
    I generally have little use for repeaters, silencers, semi/full auto.
    The more I see that is available, and the more I learn about them, the less I can find that is of any interest at all.


  5. I yearn for an AR15/M4 style firearm (powder burner). I can easily afford to buy one. But…. I have no place to shoot it. Sure there are ranges, but to pack up the gun, the ammo and all the other ancillary crap that goes with a trip to the range, and then driving an hour…. nope. I yearn, but my practicality supersedes.

    I wanted an olympic rated air gun. And fulfilled that ache with an FWB 700 Alu. It did not disappoint and remains my favorite.

    I’m a sucker for an accurate pistol or rifle, and I read on here, and the airgun forums that such-and-such is a “tack driver”, “a stacker”, “the most accurate rifle I ever shot” and I HAVE to have it. Needless to say, I’ve been disappointed more times than I’ve been satisfied. I have a few guns that were not “all that”. But then I’ve got guns that I had no expectation of, that have been very satisfying shooters.

    So I guess it all works out. When you buy a fifty dollar air gun you’re going to get fifty dollar accuracy; despite what you had worked up in your mind.

    • chasblock,

      Wouldn’t the MAR177 satisfy your need for an AR rifle? And you could get a firearm upper to go with it, for when you could actually get to the range.

      I found my entire opinion of the AR rifles changed after I built the lower receiver for the MAR177. Now I find myself wanting to shoot the AR as a firearm, also.

      As for dissatisfaction with guns that other tout highly, I understand completely. I think that sometimes I yearn to shoot these guns, just to get a bead on the value of others’ opinions.


      • Yes, B.B., I followed your blog on the MAR177 very closely, and I think it would indeed satisfy my desires. I’m still strongly considering it. I just need to do more research on the black rifles and go out with one of my buddies that has one to actually shoot one. I may find out I don’t really like it after all…. though the Crosman M4-177 (which I have) shows me how much fun these guns can be to shoot.

        • chasblock,

          I must admit that I dislike the cheezy feeling of an AR during firing. But that may be held over from the days when they couldn’t hit anything.

          I am considering the 6.8 for my first upper, though a 5.56 probably makes more sense, since the ammo is dirt-cheap. If I find that I like the gun I will consider getting a .300 Blackout and a silencer to go with it, because silencers are now becoming legal to hunt with.


    • Chasblock – do you have a basement? The AR with a .22LR upper (under $400) isn’t that loud, and it’s not too difficult to set up a range in the basement…

      • Vince, yes I do have a basement… measured it out and I could put a 10 meter range down there.

        Just one problem….my wife and I are “cat people”…. so with 8 of the furry little hoodlums having the run of the house, and the fact that their “facilities” are down there, that pretty much precludes any type of range.

        So… I’m relegated to my 1/2 acre lot in the back yard surrounded by neighbors (who, by the way, don’t seem to object to my airgun hobby). But I fear the crack of a .22, even muted, would meet with some resistance; especially when they see I’m shooting a black rifle out there. Plus, I’m in Maryland, only a step below New Jersey, in it’s hatred of anything firearm related.

  6. B.B.

    Great name for an article as today is indeed a day of great expectations. Today I go to delivery service storage to receive package with parts. And I hope Sunday will be day of boasting and pics.


    PS Today’s the easiest check ever: 2+2= 🙂

  7. Hi BB,
    This is my favorite blog of the week. For the main part I have turned off my firearm wants and desired. One gun that I had and liked that I wish I could get again is an old Star PD. I really liked the one I had. It was more comfortable to shoot and a compact 1911 and I shot it better. I am left handed and I don’t think I ever saw anyone offer a left handed or ambi safety for a PD and that is the reason I sold it. My dad has a Swedish Mauser that I hope to get from him sometime. I don’t enjoy shooting high powered guns but I have just read so much about how accurate those guns are that I have always wanted one.

    As far as airguns go, I want an Air Arms Shamal. I passed on a beauty at Little Rock years ago that has haunted me ever since. The reason I didn’t buy it was that I am left handed and the right handed roll over cheek piece made it very uncomfortable to shoot left handed.

    Have a good weekend everyone,

    David Enoch

    • David,

      I have a Ballister-Molina .45 that is as smooth as butter! It doesn’t have a grip safety, so you can’t hold it “wrong,” and it shoots as well as a Colt .45. I don’t know if the Colt (genuine 1911A1) ambidextrous safeties will fit it or not, but if they will, this would be a wonderful gun for you.

      We’ll have to get you over to my gun club some day and try the thing out.

      I’m not interested in letting this pistol go, but I do know that Ballister-Molinas are much less expensive than most other 1911-type guns. There will be a Dallas Arms Collector’s show at Market Hall on June 9 & 10 and I will have a table there. I can bring the pistol to the show for you to see.


      • BB,

        Read this:


        The last comment on this link makes me believe there is an Argentina B-M licensed by Colt and a private venture Spanish B-M design. The latter may not be compatible with the Colt.

        Here’s an excerpt:

        ” There is some confusion between the Argentine B-M and the Colt copies made under license in a government factory in Argentina for the Argentine armed forces. The latter are copies of the Colt, made with Colt-supplied machinery and tooling; all parts interchange with Colts. The Ballester-Molina was a private venture, and derived in most part from Spanish designs. It is simply a different gun from the Colt.”

        I don’t know how you would be able to tell the difference.


  8. Back in the late ’70’s, I decided to satisfy my itch for firearms. Growing up in NYC, owning a pistol was forbidden. I had become good friends with my College fencing coach when I went to school in NJ and, aside from having been a professional motorcycle racer in his youth (boards and dirt track), was a collector of arms himself and he advised me to buy a .22 and go shooting with him on weekends. The pistol I fell in love with and decided was for me was the Colt Woodsman. That is, until I priced it. Even back then, it was over $500. Much cheaper to pick up that High Standard Victor. Back then, all we ever did was plink at soda cans and then, not much over 10 yards. Believe it or not, I never sighted that gun in until recently when I joined the local pistol league. Any skills I had 40 years ago have since deteriorated and I’m struggling to learn how to shoot this pistol accurately but that Woodsman still beckons. One of these days……

    Fred DPRoNJ

  9. That’s the good thing in never selling anything, you don’t miss it! But you’re out of cash for newer buys and you don’t know where to put them.
    I would really like to own a lot of firearms but the paper work and hoop jumping is a huge turn off for me and I can live with airguns only so airguns it is for me. I would really like a Marauder rifle and pistol but other PCP’s (I have a 3rd one coming in early June, it was hard, long and complicated (mainly for the importer) but I think it will be worth the wait) help fill that void in my life.

    I would consider selling a few rifles and maybe a pistol or two but I now have a nice little collection of CO2 pistol (a bit over 20 now) that are all keepers, I was considering selling a bunch of those I wasn’t shooting but I like having a bunch of pistols, they’re the same size as the real thing and I can shoot them in my backyard anytime I want and they’re the closest thing I can get to the powder burners they closely copy. I’ll soon add the Browning Hi-Power and the Crosman Tokarev copy to that small collection. Most of what I could sell is worth more to me in the gun safe than the money they would bring, my IZH-60 for example, with it’s beautiful muzzle brake and the soon to be installed gas ram could be worth maybe 120$ or 75$ without the gas ram but (to me anyways) it has more value as MY gun. I’m not sure I’m wording this the right way…

    If I sold everything I’m not using or sentimentaly attached to maybe I could get somewhere around a 1000$ but then I wouldn’t be an airgunaholic anymore, I would know exactly how many airguns I have and I like having a bunch of different type of airguns (springers, gas rams, CO2, PCP’s, single pump, multi-pump) I’m the same with cars and music (my two other main interest) I can’t be satisfied with one kind, I have to try and I actually like all kinds of different things for different reasons.
    A big, bulky, slow truck is great but so is a small, nimble corner carver. If the lottery hits home Jay Leno better watch out ’cause I’m coming for him and his car collection!

    What I’m trying to say is I admire those who can be satisfied with a few guns, I can’t, I want them all. They’re all sweet mecanical marvel pieces to me.
    I like one thing with clear plastic airsoft guns and I bought one or two because of that. You can see all the little parts move inside, kinda like the model engines they sold that you could assemble and see the crank turn and pistons go up and down and the valves opening and closing and I love it.


  10. In guns there are no more that I will ever need ,and I have many that I wanted and have now acquired, but don’t need. In my youth, I was lucky to have lived next to a gun shop and was smart enough to grab the few treasures that came along when the stuff was cheap and folks were oblivious to their worth. Now I mainly look for examples of guns that I still admire mostly for their utility to me or some connection with my past , a event, or someone whom I have a connection to. That is what makes them speak to me, not how they look ,or the things reputation in the field .or on the target range. I could trade some guns I own now and get much better ones for my purposes now , but the ones that would bring the most money and interest from the pickers would make me miss them the most. The ones that I buy now are often examples of guns that I already have, maybe with some variation that I like, yet I don’t specialize or try to collect every variation of a make or model. I also use my guns and carry them into the field where they get dinged and could be lost , like that H&R 999 that you mentioned today BB. I sometimes carry it into the swamps while water trapping. It’s are like an old friend and if God forbid, I lost it in the muddy water, it would be like the death of a dear friend that I buried at sea. I could accept that though . I don’t care what they are worth in money now . I’m not parking my stuff in a safe , and the collectors and pickers will lose money on my stuff . Folks talk about investments today as if they’ll live forever. Maybe they will have saddle bags on their coffins. BTW, you are right, the H&R 999 is not a better shooter than even the cheaper H&R 922. They are cut from the same cloth.

    • Robert,

      Well thanks for saying that about the 999’s accuracy. I have certainly owned and shot a few 922s. The second rattlesnake I killed was with a 922 and I shot it between the eyes at 15 feet. That was when I learned that most snakes will align themselves with the bore of a gun, seeing it as the threat. If you take your time, Mr. Snake will do all the work!

      But I still fantasize about breaking that 999 open and watching the shiny cases extract.


    • Robert,
      A ML’ing buddy of mine has already jokingly “willed” all his collected parts to me, and his wife who was nearby at the time seemed happy to know what to do with those treasures :)! Ask your son(s and/or daughters, etc.) what they want, then leave the rest to friends (especially younger ones) you know will use them as you have. That’s my plan, although I hope to be as late to my demise as I am to every other “scheduled” event :).

  11. Great Expectations courtesy of the World Wide Web

    I’m a newbie airgunner. Didn’t have the exposure to airguns as a kid since I grew up with a rimfire in my hands. Became my best friend. Shooting powder burners was a big part of my life from a young age.

    We weren’t rich. My rimfire was my only gun for a long time. When I started hunting big game I spent a lot of time building a 30-06. That was replaced years later with a stock .300 weatherby. Only owned and only used 2 centerfires for almost 25 years of big game hunting. Went waterfowl and upland bird hunting with a plastic stocked 16 gauge that was a hand me down for first 10 years or so. Replaced that with a new 12 gauge charles daly. Hunted with that until lead restrictions forced me to buy a browning citori. I wasn’t a firearm collector/hoarder primarily because I was driven to purchases for specific tasks and because I couldn’t afford more than one tool for a job.

    I went through a period of buying old colts. Mostly bisleys. I’ve been selling those for the last several years since that’s out of my system.

    I quit shooting all guns for about 10 years. Quit hunting big game and only went upland bird hunting once or twice a year. When the old dog died I quit upland bird hunting. Never went to a shooting range much and those gun ranges that were close to me had closed. Had a pest problem a few years ago and a firearm was not an option as a solution.

    Enter airguns. I got hooked. Realized that I still like to shoot. I’ve had fun with trying many different airguns. I like accurate guns but have kept some of the smaller rifles since they may not be laser accurate they just fit me and are fun to shoot. It was an interesting learning experience to finally accept what many internet airgun jockies consider accurate. I take these posts with a grain of salt today since I learned that these “experts” have only owned 2 or 3 airguns but they know they’re the best LOL! The internet seems to have made everyone an expert.

    Last few years I’ve acquired a handful of rimfires and have been reliving my youth. I’ve justified multiple rimfires since I’m teaching some of the kids at our club how to shoot safely and accurately. It’s almost as much fun for me to see these kids explode a potato and then smile broadly as it is for me to do it. My winchester 61 is picky about ammo but out to 50 yards is amazingly accurate. The browning T Bolt that a good friend let me have for a song can edge it out most of the time though.

    Sold 2 H & R Sportsmans recently. Clever design, tight fitting guns that feel good in the hand but neither could hit the broadside of a barn no matter what ammo I used. Don’t miss those.

    I still buy a few guns here and there but my motivation is primarily to re-sell at a profit. Guess I’ve filled my niches’ since I don’t have a burning desire to acquire any gun. That could change tomorrow though.


    • Kevin,

      Ouch, on the 999’s accuracy! That would be a deal-killer for me. I just assumed they were accurate.

      I owned a K22 with an 8-38″ barrel many years ago, but it couldn’t keep up with an S&W model 46 pistol I owned, so it went bye-bye.

      Glad to hear your 61 is that accurate. Maybe I didn’t give mine a good enough chance.

      As for the Colt Bisley’s I converted a first gen (I know — don’t say it!) .38-40 to .45 Colt and slicked it up for the gunfights at Frontier Village. I was “Fanner 50” because I couldn’t thumb the hammer of a regular SAA very fast. But the lower Bisley hammer was perfect, so I had the gun converted to fanning use, with enlarged bolt stops and a larger bolt. Naturally I had it buffed and nickel-plated to show off my pearl grips. Talk about your dimestore cowboy!


      • B.B.,

        Didn’t mean to throw cold water on your sportsman desire. BTW, both of the sportsmans I had were in very good condition. Very little use. Barrels were not shot out.

        My rimfires and their notes are at my place in the mountains. I’ll try to remember to look up what ammo I feed the 61. It is fussy. There’s only one type I now use in that wonderful gun.

        Regarding your first generation bisley, umm, I did some crazy things in my youth too. 😉 Just hope you’re keeping your new saa stock.


        • BB, while I haven’t owned a H&R 999, reports from friends and an old NRA test report say the accuracy is not the best. If you ever decide to buy one, shoot it first. As to what ammo to test any .22 LR with it is Wolf Match Extra. Everything and I mean every thing will shoot it well. Some guns will shoot it so well it will amaze you. In our local .22 bench rest match’s, 95% of the shooters use it.’

          If you want a accurate light kicking load for your Trapdoor, send me an email and I’ll send you the load.

          Also, you said, “But something about the little semiautomatic action that’s still impossible for gun makers to build (no semiautomatic rifle has ever been made that was as light and powerful as the M1 Carbine)…….” My Colt CAR-15 SP1 is real close. It’s 1/2 pound heavier but a lot more power full.

          One type of gun I really like is the Remington Nylon 66 22 LR. They are accurate, and as reliable as a AK-47. I have two of them. 🙂


  12. “I think it’s that eternal desire to return to my childhood!”

    You don’t know how close to me this article is. ( Edith, do you have a tissue?)

    I brought my early 1970’s Daisy 880 to my home from my childhood home this Winter. It still has the white tape to hold the handle on, that I applied some 40 years ago. I thought it was in need of repair, until I remembered I had to open the bolt before I could pump it up. With Hobby’s, it is a very accurate rifle at 10M. It is surreal to shoulder it. The trigger is very light, probably about wore out.

    Daisy #25 you say? I don’t have my original 25, but I found an old one at a garage sale. My 880 replaced the #25.

    My older cousin had a Benji 392, or whatever they called them 40 years ago. I have always wanted one, even though for a few decades I did not know that fire was still a burning. Now I feel like a 16 year old, in my 12 year old eyes.

    H&R you say?? After the #25 and the 880, I got my first firearm. H&R topper Jr., 20ga with a hammer. I still have it. I have not shot it since the 1970’s. It was “lost” for years until someone found it in their gun safe. It would be passed from kid to kid in my little home town. So it has been shot, just not by me.

    One more, an Ithaca 12 ga. I had never even touched it. But looked at it in the gun rack for hours. I have no idea what happened to it, it was Dad’s. I have to ask some kin folks what model it is, before it is too late.

  13. Off topic… Where is the logic in this?
    I decided to reduce spring length from 10.25″ down to 9.25″ to see if that reduces unwanted spring movements. I expected a reduction in fps. Well, the opposite happened. fps on 10.3 grain pellets went up from 810 to 845. The action is smoother, and three 5 shot groups improved at 20 yards. How can that be possible? So I went ahead and installed a new uncut spring purchased at the same time as the one I cut (same lot ?), at it produced 815 fps which is very close to the stock spring. Three 5 shot groups were very similar to the stock spring. All new springs were conditioned for 2 hours (compressed using a long bolt). I can also confirm that 8.3 grain pellets also went up with the shorter spring. I made no other alterations. Just lightly sanded the springs with 600 grit, made sure there were no burrs on the spring ends ends, and used a few drops of RWS spring oil. Cocking is easier and installing the shorter spring was easier.

    • TC,

      I stayed out of this discussion when you were talking about cutting the mainspring, but I wanted to tell you that you might not see any loss of velocity at all. Velocity is not generated by the power of the mainspring. It’s generated by the swept volume of the compression cylinder. As long as the mainspring has enough power to function the piston reliably, and yours seems to, the power will stay pretty much the same. This is how tuners make guns shoot smoother and better.

      As for the velocity increase, I think it is too soon to tell if that will remain. Any time you tear a gun down and assemble it again, there is new lubrication that gets the gun dieseling once again. Shoot a thousand shots before you decide what the velocity is.


      • BB,
        Wow, thank you for taking the time to explain this. What appears simple, is not. Now down to 1″ groupings now at 40 yards vs. 1.25″ (5 shot) using the same 1″ solid black circles. I have no way to prove this, but now when the spring is released, I feel less vibration on my cheek. Almost like the stock was twisting and bumping my cheek when using a light hold. Very happy with the results. Time to refine my hold and see if I can do the same at 50 yards. I appreciate your candid answers.

          • BB,
            Good call on the dieseling — that is what some tuners call “significant improvement” or “proven performance” — you might want to turn him on to Slick 50 :)! I told him yesterday it probably wouldn’t lose much power, but I didn’t expect it to gain fps! Lubing the spring with oil instead of tarring also probably retained more of the spring’s energy. Slick 50 is a joke, TC; please don’t try it!

            • BG_Farmer,
              What doesn’t make sense is that I also installed a brand new full length spring and retested. I oiled it the same way as the cut spring. I did not use any RWS chamber oil or slick 50 :-), just a drop or two of RWS spring oil on the spring. So if I had any dieseling, I would have expected similar results with both springs. After 120 shots, velocity remains the same. Another 820 to go according to BB. I’ll let my wife know those are ordered by the Dr. BB and are of highest priority. I had to readjust the scope down by 12 clicks to match the same hitting point at 40 yards. I’m finding that mechanical noise is a little longer in duration, but not as sharp. I can now hold the stock tight to my cheek with less jolt. When the piston stops, and the spring has reached full extension, is the pellet travelling in the barrel?

              • TC,

                In some guns the pellet has just started. In others it is about to start. It is a relationship of the weight of the piston to the weight and fit of the pellet, so with some pellets it gets started earlier than others.

                The important point to remember is the gun is moving and vibrating as the pellet is traversing the barrel.


                • BB,
                  Now I’m starting to see the light. All the mechanical movements impacts accuracy because the pellet has not yet left the barrel. Proper hold both during and after the shot impact accuracy. If in my experiment I reduced some of the mechanical movements, then the rifle is a little less hold sensitive. With this knowledge, I need to focus my attention on making sure I stay on target after the trigger is pulled. Between you and BG-Farmer, I’ll be able to reach my goal of 1″ groups at 50 yards with a springer!!! I hope all my questions are acceptable and helpful to others.

  14. Off topic (but fun)!
    Man…I is so out of shape.
    And just how bad was pointed out yesterday.
    As many reading will recall I get to, in my job, wangle some pretty cool ‘day excursion’…Leopard tank rides, military shooting ranges, etc.
    Yesterday I had a chance to be involved in an Alberta Police Tactical competition.
    An example of one of the events:
    Two 60lb weights (a steel ball with a welded on handle)…on in each hand.
    Sprint 25 years with the weight, drop said weight, sprint 50 yards, turn around, come back, pick up weights, sprint 25 yards to the firing line and shoot 5 8″ plates at 15 yds with your 9mm/.40cal.
    In about a minute.
    Oh…by the way, all the time tied to your partner with a 4’ rope.
    I’d have been panting on the ground after the first 25 yd sprint with weights…let alone shooting accurately.

  15. The airguns I want back. I mean fixed. Are my dads airguns. A 38T second variant, and the powermaster 760 third variant. They both leak. But they are excellent guns. Thanks dad!

  16. Maybe an FWB 60x (one of the SSP’s), but I never shoot inside. I used to feel bad about that, until I recognized I actually like being outside shooting in all kinds of weather, and it never gets that bad here for long! Really, a TF87 in .22 is more my speed, and I know I can make it work! PCP’s just overlap my rimfires too much, while the tricky springers improve my flintlock shooting!

    Any Marlin lever action, a Savage 99 (or THE Savage 99 in .30-06), any 1790-1810 flintlock from SW Va. or nearby regions. I would like the steel frame rough rider in .22 for fun. Aside from those, my wants are pretty much the same as my “needs” — just not a collector. I don’t even get excited about superficial aesthetics; I hate to admit it, but I’m jealous of the junker Stevens 52 single shot .22 that my brother bought for $30 years ago. We’re going to fix some things on it for my nephew, so he doesn’t get an old piece of …., but if it were mine, I’d probably leave it as is, so I didn’t have to worry about it.

  17. The “poor man’s Garand?” You do know that you can buy an excellent condition M1 Garand from the Civilian Marksmanship Program for $625, right?

    Get one while you still can!

      • Yep, a piece of history is on my wish list – an M1. Depending on finances, maybe, maybe from the CMP towards the end of this year. An M1 carbine, which I believe one of my Uncle’s used in Bataan, is another wish list item but not while I live in Jersey. I believe that short barrelled rifle with the detachable magazine over 10 rounds would qualify as an assault weapon under the law here.

        When I move out of the lovely Democratik People’s Republik of New Jersey …..

        And to all those who served in the Armed Forces, Thank you.

        Fred DPRoNJ

  18. Hi BB and all,My old computer wouldn’t boot up anymore so I had to hook-Up this one.Wow I really missed a lot. We weren’t allowed to have guns as I grew up so I don’t yearn for those old guns.But I do understand how our perseptions change as we grow up,how our sterile amnesia causes us to select the better memories and lose the rest.Then we view it all in the best hue as we look back at it all through our rose colored glasses,and we fool ourselves into thinking it was oh so much better then.Maybe some of it was ;but probably most of it wasn’t.I think BB hit the nail on the head when he said maybe we just want to return to our youth.And why not,ties with family and old friends,some who have passed on and others we’ve lost contact with would be nice to regain.And for most of us our cares and burdens were much lighter than what we wade through these days.I’d like to go back and visit.Gaining that coveted old gun and getting to shoot it,like visiting the old homestead,seems like a much more meaningful way to touch base with our past than just a casual thought could ever provide.I think I can understand that. I yearn for guns they haven’t made yet or else don’t make anymore.I’ve learned a lot from all of you since I became interested in air pellet guns in Nov. of 2011 and found this site.But since I’m still ignorant of so many things I can’t understand why they don’t make a multi-pump airgun that will shoot a .22 lead pellet near subsonic and with a scope able receiver so I can actually take advantage of it’s probable long distance accuracy.Or why they can’t make an under-lever with a smooth powerful nitro piston and put a descent trigger in it and finish it in a light enough weight so I don’t have to lift weights for 2 years before I can hold it up on target long enough for the shot.I’ve got ideas but I,no doubt ,would be trying to reinvent the wheel with things tried and failed;but they make sense to me with the little I understand.Most of you all can satisfy your yearning by finding that old gun somewhere.But I read BB’s blog about what it takes to make a change in a design and with such a small number of us in the market for airguns there is little reason for manufacturers to leave the old designs and strike out on many new ones.I wonder if I’ll ever satisfy my yearnings.Love the gun you’re with–Tin Can Man–

  19. There are a few guns that I would REALLY like to own at least once.

    Air rifle: Diana 75. I love 10M rifles and am fascinated by the complex mechanism of this one.
    Air pistol: It doesn’t exist, but I would love a multi-pump HB-22 style pistol made with Weihrauch level quality.
    Rifle: Rifle No.5 Mk.I. My Dad had a sporterized No.4 Mk.I and this is what I trace my liking for the “Jungle Carbine” to.
    Pistol: Colt 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless. I love the lines and the fact that it seems to be the sort of gun which shows up in Raymond Chandler novels.
    Black Powder: A good Brown Bess replica would satisfy me.

    Wow, that’s a really oddball selection of guns now that I think about it.

  20. To answer BB’s CRANK turning question: I want a Feinwerkbau 800 PCP Air Rifle (I might even settle for a 700). I just need to find that bottle that holds the air-gun genie.

  21. Nice job with the camo for our shooter of the week, but his rifle gives him away.

    As for Great Expectations, it’s worth noting that in the original novel of that name, the great expectations are literally a flop. The hero believes he’s being given the inheritance of a secret wealthy patron, and when the guy reveals himself, he turns out to be a convict from Australia. How do we know he’s a convict? Partly by his habitual use of a concealed clasp knife which he whips out whenever he is threatened. There is also a great, overlooked part in the book about a character who has designed his home in London as a castle. He has a little drawbridge to enter. Inside is a maze to confuse enemies, then gardens and pigs for provisions. And every night, he fires off a cannon from his roof. He’s quite the survivalist.

    B.B., if one of the goals is never to lose your inner child, I guess you’ve succeeded. Since you seem to be newly converted to ARs, do you have a read on the new craze for the slide-action modification to the AR design? Why use a slide when you have semiauto?

    As for expectations, I wouldn’t give up on the capabilities of your early idols. After 80,000 odd rounds, the IZH 61 has yielded up its secret. I had quietly gotten used to throwing the odd shot and the rifle’s somewhat temperamental behavior. But now the answer has been revealed to me as incredibly, blindingly obvious. If the rifle is a bit hold sensitive due to its light weight, the antidote would be whatever is calculated to reverse hold sensitivity. Yes, technique is important, especially the most important part of technique–follow-through! With extra intentionality and follow-through, those shots will go buzzing in on target every time. There is a subtle pitfall which held me up for a long time. With the rifle’s light feel, you try to focus on perfect technique, and this can be interpreted as trying to compensate for all the harmonics and nuances of the shot–a chimera that can never be caught. You want to go in the opposite direction. Stare the shot out of countenance, force it on in there and it will go. It feels almost like a new rifle.

    Otherwise, my gun fantasies are a Russian-capture k98, SWM&P 9mm, SW 686 in .357, Ruger 10/22 Light Target/Varmint, IO AK sporter in 7.62X39mm, Marauder air rifle.

    Counting the minutes until I go see Battleship!


    • As for Great Expectations, it’s worth noting that in the original novel of that name, the great expectations are literally a flop. The hero believes he’s being given the inheritance of a secret wealthy patron, and when the guy reveals himself, he turns out to be a convict from Australia. How do we know he’s a convict?

      You forget to mention that he’s also the person Pip (? — been too long since I read it) inadvertently helped on his escape in the first place.

      • True, Pip did help him to escape but under duress: “You get me them file and them vittles or I’ll tear out your liver!” But the convict was recaptured shortly after.


    • Should have quoted a bit more…

      Since you seem to be newly converted to ARs, do you have a read on the new craze for the slide-action modification to the AR design? Why use a slide when you have semiauto?

      If this is the “slide action” covered in “Zombie Nation”, the rifle is still semi-auto… What slides is the entire receiver [barrel, sights, TRIGGER but NOT the pistol-grip/stock] as part of the semi-auto recoil. If you /don’t/ remove your finger from the trigger guard, when the action slides back forward, it pushes the trigger against your finger and, well, triggers the next round to fire.

      • Well, this is strange. If the action pushes your finger against the trigger, it sounds like full-auto. If not, I don’t see what this adds to regular semi-auto.


        • They supposedly come with a copy of a letter from the BATFE declaring them as “not full-auto”. Each round does entail a full trigger release/press… Some /states/ may object [I’m pretty sure California has some laws against “assists” — to my mind it is similar to the old hand-cranks that clamped to the trigger guard to cycle the trigger via a cam. The trigger/sear are still semi-auto components. (Or fitting a flip-up protrusion to the trigger-guard well of a lever-action, so that the protrusion presses the trigger as the lever reaches lock-up)

  22. Okay, I’m back from Battleship. A critic once wrote that if there was a genre lower than a movie based on a game, he wasn’t aware of it. But I, myself, happened to love this movie. It was very clever they way it incorporated Pear Harbor and the Japanese into the story of a new invasion. Best of all was the range of weaponry from the 16 inch guns to the Phalanx gatling guns to the M2 Browning machine guns all blasting away against the aliens. It was symphonic. Some people are just too critical.


  23. A few questions regarding pellet speeds. Is there a recommended pellet speed range that optimizes dome pellet stability? I’ve seen a few posts on the web that say between 400-800 fps. At what speed does a pellet break the sound barrier? Is it safe to say 1000 fps or higher in most conditions, or can temp and elevation change that very general rule? Thank you.

    • TC,

      There is no pellet speed recommendatiion, except that many experienced shooters like to keep their pellets (domed and otherwise) at of just below 900 f.p.s.

      I just did a recent test of pellets going faster than the sound barrier and proved that speed, alone, doesn’t make diabolo pellets inaccurate.

      The sound barrier is not a constant speed. It depends on altitude, temperature and humidity. At sea level it ranges between about 1,050 f.p.s. and 1,100 f.p.s. on most days.


  24. BB. There should be a system- bonded- by which one could try out air guns for a certain amount of time,with an option to buy,or just return. The fun in this hobby resides,I believe,in the fascination of tinkering with something so simple( a spruced up blow gun) yet so complicated that people like yourself a professional in the world of fire arms get so immersed in this hobby. One thing I do know for certain is that you can have all the firearms you like,but there’s absolutely nothing that compares to shooting an air rifle right in your own back yard more or less when ever you want,with the due precautions,it’s like owning your own target range. Sorry about going off the philosophical edge, I kind of forget the crazy world when I shoot an air gun.

    • Primo,

      There already is such a system.

      Pyramyd AIR sells you an airgun. You try it for 30 days. If you don’t like it, you can return it. There’s no restocking fee if you return the box and all included items in the same condition that you received them.

      If you don’t want to pay for it til you have figured out that you want to keep it, then don’t!

      When you go through the checkout process on Pyramyd Air’s website, there are 9 different payment options you can select. Select Bill Me Later as the way you want to pay, and you’re good to go with NO money out of your pocket until you’ve had a chance to try out your airgun.

      The basic rules for Bill Me Later are: If your purchase is $250 or more, you have 6 months interest-free to pay for it. If your purchase is under $250, you have 25 days of interest-free enjoyment before you have to pay.

      You can find more info about Bill Me Later, including all the fine print, here:


      At this time, the 6 months of interest-free enjoyment is extended only through May 31, 2012, which means you have to make a purchase by May 31 to get that offer. I am unsure if the May 31 date will be extended.


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