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Competition Nelson Lewis combination gun: Part 3

Nelson Lewis combination gun: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

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

Dave Cole is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week contest on their airgun facebook page.

Part 1
Part 2

Nelson Lewis combination gun, made in Troy, NY, around 1850-1870. Rifle is .38 caliber; shotgun is 14 gauge.

Today, I’ll show you the results of the last two outings with this unusual combination gun. Lessons have been learned.

Before we get to today’s test report, I’d like to share a little more background on the gun’s maker, Nelson Lewis of Troy, New York.

The big match
As readers of the internet, you’re all aware that sometimes tempers flare and conversations become heated on the web. Would it surprise you to learn that this is nothing new? One hundred sixty-eight years ago there was a famous confrontation in the internet of that day — the newspaper — between Nelson Lewis and another noted gun maker, Morgan James of Utica, New York. Nelson Lewis had heard rumors that one or more of his fellow gun makers (presumably Morgan James, from the events that followed) had said he had not made the rifle he had used to beat a Mr. Williamson in a rifle match the September before. This was in the Feb. 18, 1854, edition of Spirit of the Times/A Chronicle of the Turf, Field Sports, Aquatics, Agriculture and the Stage, published in New York City. Lewis challenged whoever was spreading these rumors to put up or shut up.

Morgan James accepted the challenge, and the two men began a public correspondence in the newspaper that was not unlike what we see on the chat forums today.

Morgan James was also a famous rifle maker and a contemporary of Nelson Lewis. Like Lewis, he made long-range target rifles that were used by snipers in the Civil War. Many of James’ long-range guns were so heavy they could only be shot from a bench rest that was included as part of their equipment. He was justifiably proud of the rifles he made, as well as his own marksmanship (as was Nelson Lewis); so when he read what Lewis accused him of, he attacked with a letter of his own to the editor of the cited publication.

To make a long story short, the two men exchanged challenges in the paper, and they finally agreed to shoot five each of their rifles against each other with each maker and one or more of his friends doing the shooting. One-hundred dollars was put up for each rifle in the contest, so each maker had five hundred dollars at stake.

Morgan James and his shooters won all five matches and Lewis paid him the money (I believe); but in the end, Lewis was a sore looser. He wrote a final letter to the editor, citing the fact that Morgan James’ rifles were all heavier than his (15-18 pounds against 10-13 pounds) and of a larger caliber (.43 to .48 caliber compared to .36 to .38 caliber), plus James and his partner shot from a machine rest — but their rifles weren’t clamped down, while Lewis and his shooters all shot from common shooting benches. And Morgan James had some sort of elaborate wind gauge on the range that was operated by a separate man who reported the wind to each shooter, so he didn’t have to look at the flags. Lewis and his shooters used the common range flags that had always been used, and each shooter watched the one flag for himself.

From his report, Nelson Lewis seems to have been at a disadvantage, but why he didn’t pin down the details of the contest beforehand with so much money at stake (approximately $13,500 in 2012 purchasing power) is a mystery. He certainly should have. He claimed he thought the match was to be with hunting rifles that could reasonably be carried afield, but the small calibers he chose are a real puzzle! Morgan James did nothing wrong except to try his best to win.

So things haven’t changed, even though a century and a half has passed. Shooters still get hot under the collar and makers will do anything to defend their reputations. This is why I enjoy reading real history — because it shows that people don’t change, even though their technology does.

Enough history. Let’s go to the range.

This time, the gun was ready for the range. The loading and cleaning procedures have been worked out.

Patch problem solved
The second time I took the Nelson Lewis gun to the range, I’d solved the patch problem. Instead of the too-thick patch material I had been using the first time out, I discovered that handkerchief linen from Ireland was both the correct thickness and also was tough enough to do the job in this rifle. I cut my patches by placing a nickel over the material and cutting around it. That gives me a patch of just the right size. And when the ball is seated, I can press it into the bore with my thumb — exactly as the old masters reported a century ago.

The thinner patches fit the balls perfectly, so they can be pressed into the muzzle with the thumb as the masters of old recommend.

The proof that this material works well is seen in the patches I recovered after shooting. They are textbook examples of what a good patch should look like.

The fired patches look good. Irish handkerchief linen is strong, yet thin.

I also discovered that the powder charge could be increased a little with no detriment to accuracy. Now, the bullet gets downrange faster, which I can tell by listening to the sound of the ball striking the target at 50 yards. That may not be scientific, but it does work!

I also took the advice of Ned Roberts, who says to fill the powder measure to heaping, then wipe a straightedge across the top to level the powder. This gives a consistent amount of powder from shot to shot.

Fill the powder measure to heaping.

Then wipe a straightedge (like a knife blade) across the top of the measure to level the powder. This is called “stricken measure” in Ned Roberts’ book.

A tiny funnel Mac gave me is perfect for pouring the measured powder into the rifle barrel.

The new cleaning process
I clean the barrel after each shot. I did that the first time out, but I’ve added a few steps for a more thorough result. First, the bore is swabbed with a wet patch, followed by a brass brush, then another wet patch. These are followed by two dry patches that leave the bore sparkling clean and dry after every shot. It takes about three minutes to clean the bore this way, but that’s nothing when you’re shooting a muzzleloader.

The final thing I tried was patches lubricated both with grease and saliva. Grease is used for the patches of balls in hunting guns, where the ball will be in the barrel a long time. Saliva is supposed to give a slight edge in accuracy, but it dries out over time and also can promote rust in the bore — two good reasons why saliva is used only for target shooting.

I had high hopes that all these things would give me better groups than the first time out, but they didn’t! Something was missing.

Group fired with greased patches on June 16. Fifty yards.

Group fired with saliva-wet patches on Jun 16. Also 50 yards. No improvement.

Mac suggested that since this is a combination gun, perhaps shooting it as often as once every five minutes was letting the rifle barrel heat up enough to warp against the cold shotgun barrel. If this is a meat gun, then shouldn’t the first shot from a cold rifle be right on target? It was the best suggestion anyone had given me; so when I went to the range again this week, I did everything the same except that I waited 20-25 minutes between shots to give the gun plenty of time to cool off.

The first 4 shots went into the best group I’d seen to this point, but shot 5 went wild at 9 o’clock, ruining the group. I held as perfectly as I know how for all 5 shots, and I’ve held 5 shots in three-tenths of an inch with target sights at 50 yards this year with a .22 rimfire — so it’s not me!

Group fired with saliva-wetted patches and waiting a minimum of 20 minutes between shots. Shot at 50 yards on July 12, 2012. Four close shots, but the fifth shot opened the group to the size of the others. So this is no real improvement.

I’m now thinking that the rifling twist in this gun (remember it has a gain twist) is too fast for round balls, and that the gun wants to shoot conical bullets. A patched picket bullet is what the rifle is supposed to shoot. I’ve avoided shooting the picket bullet that came with the rifle, because making them in the manual swaging dies is a lot of hard work. But now it seems I have to try something other than round balls. We’ll see what happens next time!

Why am I doing this?
If you’re a new reader of this blog, you must be wondering if I’ve lost my mind — reporting on a 150-year-old muzzle loading firearm in an airgun blog. Here’s why I do it. Airguns don’t hold a lot of secrets from me. I’ve been around them long enough to have gotten comfortable with them and their ways. I’m not saying that I know everything there is to know, but perhaps I have become too familiar with airguns to remember all those confusing steps that baffled me when I first encountered them.

This antique firearm, on the other hand, is as foreign to me as it is to you. I’m discovering how to shoot this gun successfully and letting you watch me while I do it, so maybe you can relate to the things that stump me. This old black powder gun puts you and me on equal footing as shooters. That’s why I report on it — so you can watch me stumble around and get confused by the same things that are perhaps confusing to you.

I could just spout off a bunch of words that I read in some book and let you think I know what I’m talking about, but I prefer to do it this way. I know this approach bothers some people who wish I would just stick to airguns, but to my way of thinking, all shooting is interrelated. The more you know about all shooting subjects, the more you know about any specific subject. People who disregard black powder guns, for instance, lack a firm understanding of how pneumatics work because they’re very similar. And a poor crown will harm the accuracy of a .223 as much as it will a .177 pellet rifle.

I try to limit these reports to a minimum, but I will continue to make them from time to time because I have to. They are in me, and they have to come out.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

63 thoughts on “Nelson Lewis combination gun: Part 3”

  1. B.B.

    There are a couple things that itch me so far about what you are doing.

    First, with the caliber that this gun has….
    Seems like a grey area as to which powder granulation to use….FFg or FFFg.

    Second, your loading procedure….
    I am amazed that you can start a ball with thumb pressure only, but the patch does not blow out. A previous pic of the muzzle shows that the bore has some pretty good teeth. This would indicate that you would need a pretty thick patch and a tight fitting ball that would be impossible to load with thumb pressure.
    The only way that I can see that a ball loading that easy and not blowing the patch would be to beat the crap out of the ball with the ramrod once the ball is against the powder to mash the ball out tight in the bore.


    • TT,

      I thought like you before now. But Ned Roberts, the inventor of the .257 Roberts cartridge, wrote a book about the Cap Lock Muzzle Loading Rifle and he says the ball should be pushed into the muzzle with thumb pressure, alone.

      I have now done it both ways (good-fitting patch and tight patch) and see no difference in accuracy. And the good-fitting patch is definitely much easier to load.

      I hadn’t though of the powder granulation, so that was a good thought. Thank you! I will try some 3F powder the next time I get out to the range. I certainly don’t have to wait 20 minutes between shots, so it won’t be such a chore to shoot the rifle next time.


  2. BB;
    First, don’t quit writing about firearms on the blog ! The diversity and the discussion that it generates is why I come here. If you only wrote about bb action pistols ,I wouldn’t bother participating. I know that you have a job to do ,but the off topic articles are what makes this blog the most interesting on the web. That, and the lack of personal baggage and the perpetual pisssing match that seems to dominate and skew any reasonable discussion on other forums.
    On your patches your using for your combination gun. I think that they are a little small in dia. for the ball. In the picture of the recovered patches, the two lower ones look as if the ball is running off to one side as it is seated. That would throw a shot. Why don’t you just seat your ball on top of the material , and use a patch knife to cut off the excess material after you seat the ball flush with the muzzle of the gun. Give it a twist and just nip it off. Two Talon has a good point about the material being a little on the thin side .

    • Robert,

      Yes, there is so much to learn about this rifle. And yes, I did notice that a couple patches were off-center. I wondered about that.

      I have always loaded balls with a patch knife, the way you describe, but it does leave scratches on the muzzle that I want to avoid. Also, Nelson Lewis provided a patch for this rifle of approximately the size I am using. I don’t have his original patch, you understand, but the gun did have two old patches in the patch box when I got it. So patches of the size I’m now loading have been used in the past. Those old patches were also as thin as the Irish linen, so I don’t think that is wrong, either.

      Like I said in the report, trying to learn the secrets of this old gun puts me on par with everyone! And I’m showing you all the warts as they come. There have been other targets, but they were essentially the same as the ones I picked to show.

      And, Robert, I haven’t forgotten that I promised you to review the Sheridan Knocabout one day. I have put it off more than once, due to the schedule or because I didn’t want to run too many firearm reports together, but I will get to it. I’m as interested in the results as you are.


      • BB: Will be looking forward to the report on the Sheridan Knocabout, always wondered why that one isn’t re-introduced by some maker today. A lot of rural folks still have a use for a inexpensive single shot .22 RF pistol. Bet it could be made for around $100-125 bucks ,even today. Even would make a good trainer for beginners.

  3. B.B.

    The fifth shot throwing the group off… That is Mr. Mann’s X Error at work!
    The one thing this reinforces, in my opinion, is the need to improve our current evaluation of accuracy using group sizes only.


  4. BB,
    I agree in essence with what both TwoTalon and Robert said — I don’t think you have exhausted all the possibilities yet for patched round ball. I’ve not spent a lot of time researching Picket bullets, but it does seem like a good chance that your rifling is suitable for round ball as well, as pickets were patched and a transitional form. The fact that it is a double gun at least partly intended for hunting may be another sign, as patched round balls are more practical in the field than picket apparently, esp. on reloads. Measure the twist rate — the gain twist will make that difficult, but you should be able to get an “average” over the length, as well as “averages” for, say, the first 8 inches and the last 8 inches.

    I think you said the groove depth might be 0.004″, but it looks deeper than that to me, so a thick patch could work better. Those patches look thin and scorched –must be some good material not to tear. I never like to see light through a patch, either when it is new or shot; a good patch should be practically reusable (seriously). Also, if you don’t cut at muzzle, you need to pre-cut them a tad larger so that they stay centered more easily (as Robert points out — a couple look lopsided).

    Powder charge — if the final twist rate is relatively fast (i.e. much faster than 1:48), you may need to drop the powder charge. Most likely, however, you may need to increase it. Of course, there is no one right answer, because the amount of powder you can use varies by granulation and patch suitability as well. I won’t stop trying powder charges until I’ve well exceeded 1/2 ball weight.

    3F is a must try for this caliber, but it will blow patches more than 2f, so that’s another reason for thicker patches. And Swiss 3F is the only thing even remotely likely to shoot well at longer ranges with the grains=caliber rule.

    I’ve never seen great 50 yard accuracy from a ball and patch that can be thumb started, although I have used such loads when they were expedient. What are those groups sizes? The last one looks like it could be well under 2″ discounting the flyer — that may be actually quite good considering how many variable seem “sub-optimal” currently. I use a mallet to load for targets most times (although I can load with just a sharp whack to the short starter, but it hurts).

    I would encourage you to keep trying on the round balls, at least until you can get near a consistent group around 2″ at 50 yards.

    Finally, I realize not all of this is practical with an antique, so it is just offered for ideas.

    • BG_Farmer,

      Yes, I guess I haven’t tried everything yet. I think I will try the finer powder next.

      The four shots measure 1.693″ between centers, so you are correct. If the fifth shot had landed in the center of that group, my report would have been much different than it is. I felt so confident when I shot that final shot and I took great care to make it as good as possible.

      As for round ball accuracy, I once owned a .45-caliber vintage rifle that would put ten balls into an inch at that distance. I did use pillow ticking and cut the patch at the muzzle, as Robert mentioned. I also own a TC .32 cal. muzzleloader that I believe can put five balls into an inch at this distance. I’m now going to shoot that rifle again and see if I am remembering correctly.

      Because this Nelson Lewis rifle should at least be able to equal a modern replica rifle, don’t you think?


      • BB,
        Just switching to Swiss (I’d try 3F first, but their 2F is a finer granulation than Goex also) might do the trick to get it under 2″ or even 1.5″. I assume that final shot could just be one of the lopsided patches. Part of the fun is the slow pace; part of the frustration can be the slow pace, i.e., everything needs to be exactly the same from shot to shot and you are the only one that can do it. Don’t discount the effects of wind, either, and temperature and humidity can make a load behave differently also. All this on top of the challenge of open sights.

        This is just my take, but consistent 5 shot/1.5″ groups @ 50 yards is considered good to very good RB accuracy by most (though probably not the dedicated bench shooters). 1″ is excellent, and I’ve heard that that type of group (translated to a string) can win a chunk match (60 yards). As to whether an original should be able to outshoot a modern replica, I don’t know — depends on which of each you have and their condition and loading…! I think a lot of people try roundballs and either get really lucky the first time or really unlucky. If the first, they think its easy; if the second, they say that roundballs are inaccurate. The truth is that neither is true and load development is sometimes tedious but usually successful unless there is something fundamentally wrong, but there are a lot of variables to integrate. Make it a relatively long term project and enjoy it — I think we are all enjoying the ride.

        PS — I think Robert’s idea of twisting and snipping the patch at muzzle could prevent marring it with a knife but still give you more uniform patches. I don’t think a short starter and a mallet used gently will hurt anything.

  5. When you test the shotgun barrel, cut four slits in the over the shot card. I have found that this will allow the card to catch the air and move out of the way of the shot charge. If the card stays in front of the shot charge, it can cause a “hole” in the center of the pattern.


  6. The following question was sent to the wrong address, so I am posting it here for the writer:

    A few weeks ago while going down over a bank carrying my Walther Talon Magnum, I slipped and fell and about my whole weight went on the gun which landed on the rocks, ouch! I thought I broke my arm at first but it wasn’t. The gun on the other hand got some pretty nasty scrapes on the barrel and stock.

    Luck the scope didn’t get hurt in anyway. I figured for sure the gun would be off from where it was shot in after that big fall, but after taking a few shots it seemed to be still right on the mark, until……..

    I got the gun out last week and fired a few shots through it at 25 yards and the gun was shooting all over the place. Most were “close” grouping, but then I’d get some really weird shots. I couldn’t get the gun sighted in at 25 yards to hit a 3/4″ bulls eye which I usually do.

    My questions I wanted to ask you is:

    1. Could a fall like this bend the barrel?

    2. How would I go about checking to see if its bent?

    This gun used to be right on the mark and at this point I’m pretty dissapointed on the way its now shooting.

    Again sorry to contact you in this way but I need an answer from someone with a lot of expirence with airguns.

    Thank you for your time and and help or suggestions in this matter.


    • David,

      Yes that fall might have bent the barrel, but a bent barrel doesn’t through shots randomly. They go to a different place, but group normally. If you doubt that, read this report and look at the bottom photo:


      To see if the barrel is bent, open it and look through it at a bright, even light source like the sky. If you see a dark shadow in one place in the barrel, it is probably bent. It will be localized and will not circle the entire barrel.

      But I don’t think your problem is a bent barrel. How long has it been since the barrel was cleaned? And I mean cleaned with the brass bore brush and JB paste? That is more likely the cause for the recent inaccuracy.


    • David,

      I’m not BB, but this may help.

      Your barrel is probably not bent. If it is, your groups will just be of as a group in the direction of the bend (which really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Barrels can be re-bent). This sounds like something else. Check your screws for tightness, and if that doesn’t help, it may be that you’ve damaged the scope internally. You might try a new one or a known good one.

  7. C’mon now! Dave Cole is not a good name for a little girl! (just kidding) Congrats!


    Your reports on the Nelson Lewis are making me want to go build another bp gun. And I thought I had gotten rid of that stinky habit… Keep it up! Looking forward to the results of your next outing with it too!


  8. Change of topic – a while back, someone on this blog remarked that the early photos of Sean Connery posing as James Bond with a handgun was not a firearm but an air pistol. Yesterday, the local paper carried the photo in celebration of Comic-Con – a convention for old time comics and pop culture and the fact that Bond is now 50 years old. A close examination confirmed that Connery is not posing with a firearm but with an air pistol. Research in my Blue Book revealed the pistol to be a Walther LP 53 breakbarrel .177 pistol. There, now I’m happy.

    Fred DPRoNJ

      • So the Quakenbush .25 IS finished, darn.
        As for BP bothering me, well this is an airgun blog. I don’t think there is such a dearth of AIRGUN subjects that 1 of 5 blog entries per week should be used on a subject that isn’t AIRguns.

        • Jonnie,

          Calling it 1 in 5 is simply a distortion of the facts and is not fair. The last powerburner blog before this was over month ago back on June 8th – and it happened to be Part 2 on this gun, so it’s not like this blog is full of lots of PB posts taking away from airgun topics.

          Everybody has different wants and needs. I personally don’t own or shoot and PBs – I’m pure airgun. But I agree with BB completely. I find great information in blog entries like this that helps me a lot. And the more realistic rate of about 1 per month is not overdoing it – if you don’t like it, skip it.

          Interestingly, since I have no desire or interest in spending time with BBs (as opposed to BB himself, if I am ever fortunate enough to meet him or his wonderful bride), w pressed for time I often skip the BB pistol blogs and come right back the next day. So just looking at my airgun interests, there are more airgun blogs that I tend to “skip” than powder burner blogs . . . . and as I said, the PB blogs have more useful info for me than the BB gun blogs do!

          Alan in MI

          • I’ve had a lot difficulty keeping up with the blog the past month. I have just returned from a 9,000 mile motorcycle trip from Illinois to Alaska. Yes, I’m bragging, too. Awesome trip and my second one. I’d do it again in a couple years. Needless to say, I now have buns of steel. All motels say they have wifi, and they do, but it doesn’t always connect or perform very well and some of the more expensive ones charge $6 for a connection where my cheap-gene kicks in.

            Alan, I’ve tried to do as you say and skip the topics I’m not interested in but I quickly found out that I was missing out on a lot of information and handy airgun tip gems that are “hidden” in them. BB always finds a way to relate whatever topic back to airguns and not only that but the comments section always has someone going off topic and generating valuable airgun discussions (and some are entertaining as well). I do not want to miss those discussions so I read everything.

            So, once again BB gets my blessing for writing about anything he wishes to write about and I’ll read it and I’ll read your comments, too.

            • Chuck,

              Sounds like an awesome trip! I’d love to be able to do something like that – just too busy with work and family stuff . . . .

              I probably should have been more clear, because I agree with you. Most days I simply don’t have time to read the blog and comments, so I often have “catch up days” where I try to read through several days of the stuff I’ve missed. If one particular main blog topic is one that does not interest me much (sorry BB), I just skip on to the comments and read through them, trying to work my way though most of what I have missed.

              Of course, if I can find the time on a weekday, I pretty much read whatever the blog is for the day regardless of topic!

              Alan in MI

            • Congratulations on a great trip and returning home safe and sound. Alaska is one of the few trips I’ve never taken and hope to do on a bike when I retire.

              Fred DPRoNJ

              • Alan Fred,
                Let me know when you’re ready to go. Don’t be afraid to do it. All the roads are passable on any kind of bike. Some are pretty rough and there are patches of gravel and some construction with one lane roads and “follow me cars” but I’d say 90% is reasonable paved roads and the scenery in many places is absolutely fabulous. Especially the first 100 miles out of Haines, and the first 70 miles out of Valdez, and the road to Skagway. The gravel spots are not deep, soft gravel but more like hard packed gravel with a layer of gravel spread on top. It’s just a very long trip. I left home June 14th and just got back July 10th and there was still more I wanted to do there but the weather wouldn’t cooperate.

                • Chuck,

                  Glad ya returned home safe!

                  That’s a trip I’d like to do on a bike, in a camper, or even a car someday! But there is no way I’m doing it on my 1100 Katana. It’s fun to ride, but it beats the heck out of me after about an hour or so…


                  • /Dave,
                    I ride a Harley Heritage Softail Classic. You don’t see as many Harley’s in Alaska as you do BMWs, Suzuki V-Storms or any Asian bike that can climb a tree. I don’t know how comfortable those bikes are because my legs aren’t long enough to get on them. With my Harley I have about 10 different leg and seat combinations to relieve the pressure points on my posterior. The riders I see on the above mentioned bikes all look like they are in the same position all the time. That would be very hard for me to do 8-10 hours a day for 30 days, maybe even impossible. Yet, I see a lot of guys doing it.

                    This year, there were a lot of Honda Goldwings on the road. I even met a couple guys in Anchorage from Brazil who flew into New Orleans, rented Goldwings, and were riding them to Prudhoe Bay above the arctic Circle. I wonder if they told the renter they were going to do that? Those bikes may never be the same. So, if you see a good deal on a couple Goldwings in New Orleans think of that. That is if they ever make it back.

                    Since this is an airgun blog not a motorcycle blog I’ll end with some airgun laments. I’m having airgun withdrawals and I’d love to test out some of those non-lead pellets. Before I left on my trip I packed my guns away so burglars and grandchildren couldn’t get at them since I expected to be gone for a month, and my kids with kids keep an eye on the place. I have a week long fishing trip coming up soon so I want to keep them packed away until after that. They are too hard to get at so I’ll have to wait.

                    I, too, noticed the size of the rifle the young girl was holding in the picture and am curious as to what it is.


        • I have to agree with Alan in the power burning stuff. I don’t own or shoot any PB guns either but I still like the PB blog once in a while especially since it’s not just firearm because BB wants to talk firearm but it’s always some interesting piece of firearm and often firearm history.

          Like Alan said you can skip them, we all have different interests, I’m not a big fan of magnum springers, it’s just not my cup of tea.

          You can skip them or you can read them and see if you find bits of info you can use and the comments can be as good a source of information as the blog itself sometimes.


          • One other thing to consider – while I, also, occasionally come across topics that hold no interest for me, because the Blog welcomes “off-topic” comments, you can pick up some great educational items from the numerous, experienced experts that participate on this blog. This blog has been one of the greatest “finds” I have made on the internet – as have air rifles!

            Fred DPRoNJ

  9. It looks like blackpowder shooting is more craft than science. Interesting about the target shooting rivalry. At least, they didn’t try to resolve things by dueling each other. And I guess they were finding out back then just how hard it is to create a truly airtight experiment.

    Mike, yes, the Glock has a fine record no doubt. But here are two distaff observations. You will recall the YouTube video of the DEA agent demonstrating his Glock for a class. His narration went like this: “This here is a Glock .40. You all have heard of Fifty-Cent, Ice-T? They all carry Glock 40s. I am the only one in this room that is professional enough, that I know of, to carry this weapon.” Boom, he shoots himself in the foot. And then, “Is everybody okay? That’s how accidents happen…” Also, Col. Jeff Cooper agreed that the Glock was the ideal weapon for law enforcement precisely because it is simple…. Heh, heh. 🙂 Well, that’s his opinion. For myself, I rented a Glock when I rented the Beretta and was quite impressed. It’s a fine pistol.


    • Totally agree! Do we know what kind of rifle she’s using? That little thing looks sweet! Or is it a larger rifle and she’s older/taller than I think she is?
      Those are my favorite kind of rifles. I love small low recoil/no buzz springer, I’m thinking of selling my larger one and keeping only the PCP’s, Bronco, IZH-60, Slavia 618 and the like.


  10. This was sent to the wrong address, so I am posting it here:

    Hi Tom,
    Been reading your stuff for years and enjoy it very much. I have a 9 year old son that I am starting out in shooting and found the only rifle that fit him was the daisy model 10. It shoots well, but the cocking lever is too difficult for him and I have to cock it. Of course he wants to do it himself so I thought of getting him something else. What do you think of using a CO2 repeater for new shooters? Its either that or a single pump model.

    Also, I have an RWS 225 pistol that just lost a part (front screw that holds in “recoil spring” ). Do you know of anyone that has parts for these? RWS has nothing.

    Thanks a ton,


    • Brian,

      The Daisy 499 Champion is a single-shot BB gun with the distinction “The world’s most accurate BB gun.” Your son will have no difficulty cocking it, plus it is more accurate than you can imagine. It would be perfect for your son. I can keep ten BBs on Roosevelt’s head on a dime at 5 yards. Here is a report about it:


      I don’t know of any CO2 repeater that would be suitable for a new shooter. Their triggers are generally bad, and repeaters are less safe for a new shooter.

      Regarding your RWS C225, contact Umarex USA for help. You say RWS has nothing, and they are also RWS USA, so if you have contacted them already and they cannot help, then you will have to find a parts gun. It might be easier to find a replacement C225 and let your gun become the parts gun.


      • Brian & B.B.
        Why not go for the IZH Baikal single shot model 60 or the model 61 repeater? I have found my model 60 to be a great training rifle with an adjustable stock good triger and sights and any kid can easily handle cocking it. And now you can get them with target aperature rear sights. I think for an inexpensive little training rifle it can’t be beat.

  11. BB,
    I looked at a picture of the 490 on the PA site:


    and it doesn’t exactly match her rifle.

    The barrel extension (suppressor and sight) is missing and there is something right in front of the forestock (hinge?) that doesn’t appear in the PA picture. I suppose the suppressor and sight could have been removed but the barrel on her rifle still looks longer. Also, the notch created by the butt pad and comb is larger on her rifle. I also think her hand is hiding a very steep comb slope to the pistol grip.


  12. Lots of people seem interested in that little rifle that girl is holding.
    It doesn’t have iron sigths, it seems shorter than the Hammerli and the barrel almost looks like a bull barrel, the diameter seems quite large and the wood on the stock seems to be beautifully carved.


  13. Sorry for the delay in response to the question about the rifle. I’ve been inColorado climbing the summit of Mount Humboldt (14,064 feet ASL) with my son’s Boy Scout troop.

    That’s my daughter Megan. She is holding a Diana 50 with a bug buster scope I bought used for her to shoot 10 meter indoor with me. I’ve since sold it and she now uses my P-Rod I’ve “detuned” to 7FPE so she can get 40 shots on a fill.

    • After a little googling based on dave cole’s comment I came up with the Diana 72 youth rifle that looks more like his daughter’s rifle.


      I like that stock design. I’ll add this to my wish list.


  14. Chuck your right!

    I stand corrected!

    I’ve had too may Dianas in life I guess. The numbers all start to run together after awhile.
    My wife wouldn’t let me name my daughter Diana.
    Wonder why??? 😉

    • First thanks for comming here to tell us about your daughter rifle. I’m the one who contacted you via Facebook.

      I too had doubt about the 50 so I started reserching Diana smaller rifle and also found the 60 and 65 that look very interesting! I think I’ll start looking for one!

      Thanks Chuck for helping find the right one.

      Dave I think Diana would have been very appropriate for your daughter. Crosman or Weihrauch might have seemed weird but Diana is totally acceptable to me 😉


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