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Education / Training “What they oughta do…”

“What they oughta do…”

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Blind Land 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!

Blind Land is this week’s BSOTW. It looks like he’s holding an AirForce Condor.

As an airgun writer, I often have people contact me with their ideas for new airguns and related equipment. The ideas they bring range from half-baked daydreams they hope I’ll somehow implement for them to working prototypes in which they’ve invested both time and money to develop.

The daydreamers are usually pretty easy to deal with. They have asked me to “help” them with their idea; but after a short session of pointed questions, it becomes obvious they don’t even know what they’re asking for. These, I can discharge quickly.

But the fellow who has designed, built and tested a prototype airgun is a whole different situation. This guy is invested in what he’s got, and he usually wants me to agree that it’s as good as he thinks. It seldom is.

I’m not going to name any names or make any veiled references in this report. If you’ve presented an idea to me in the past, you can relax. Allow me to tell you what I look for in a new idea. I think my criteria are simple enough for anyone to understand and apply, and I know for a fact that they’re the same criteria that the rest of the industry will use when you bring them your inventions.

1. Is it really new?
This one applies to those who believe they’ve built a better mousetrap. Many times, an inventor will dream something up, never realizing that it has been done before. Sometimes, it’s been done to death, and the inventor hasn’t got a clue. That really leaves me wondering how smart the inventor is. With today’s resources, there’s no excuse for not finding out everything you can before you launch into a development.

A case in point happens every few years when someone gets the bright idea to power pellets or BBs with firearm primers or percussion caps. To them, this seems to be a moment of cosmic awareness — as though they’ve solved the cold-fusion problem, when in reality shooters have been doing this since 1840!

The Flobert and zimmerstutzen rifles both have their roots in this technology, and target shooters were adapting their muzzleloaders to use primers instead of percussion caps in the 1870s. But the inventor who has come up with the idea on his own doesn’t know this and thinks he’s solved for pi out to the final decimal. “The internet? Nah, I’m too old for computers. I leave that to my grandkids!”

But if what you’ve done is something that has really never been done before, I will listen. If you have a spring rifle that cocks with 10 lbs. of effort and generates 30 foot-pounds of energy, you have my attention.

2. Will people pay money for it?
Sure, the inventor is proud of the rifle he’s made for himself, but would anyone else pay money for one just like it? This is a tough one, because the inventor is obviously proud of the fruit of his labors. So proud, in fact, that he’s pressured all of his friends into making offers to buy one just like it, and sometimes even his mom. If and when he ever makes the second one, however, his friends scatter like cockroaches when the lights come on. His mother can’t run away and does buy one, but only because he’s her boy. They find it in her attic, along with an ashtray that looks like a hand print, when they hold the estate sale.

When someone like this takes his new baby to a company to sell it and retire to the Bahamas, he gets a dose of the cold shoulder. Men in suits who obviously don’t know how long and hard he worked to build this gun tell him there’s no money in it. He tells them he’s sure they can sell 200 of them if they price it at $1,000 and they respond by telling him that it needs to cost $200 and they need to sell 2,000 in the first year. He wonders how they will be able to pay him his $25 royalty per gun at that price, and then realizes they have no intention of doing so. They offer him 30 percent of the money he has invested in the gun, and he leaves without making a deal.

If you build something on your own speculation, when you are done nobody owes you anything for it. Sometimes, you wind up building the very thing millions of people want, like James Dyson. Often, though, you make a thing no one but mom will be proud of, like the Apple Lisa.

Why would anyone want it?
An inventor reads that California is about to outlaw all ammunition that contains lead, so he invents a “pellet” made of bismuth that has a flexible wrapper of PTFE. You load the gun by taking a PTFE wrapper and grabbing a bismuth ball with it. You twist the ends of the PTFE wrapper until they’ll go into the barrel of a breakbarrel rifle. The wrapped ball looks like a comet in flight, with its tail extending back.

A short stick-like device is used to stuff the rest of the projectile into the bore, kind of like short-starting a patched ball, only this is easier because the PTFE is slicker than greased linen. The inventor has worked on this project for six months and is totally immersed in it, but every time he tries to explain it to someone they always ask stupid questions, like, “Why would anyone want it?”

Don’t they see that this is the way around the upcoming California anti-lead laws?

They ask him why he uses the PTFE wrapper since bismuth is non-toxic. Well, it is non-toxic, but it’s also a lot harder than lead; and if the ball were bore-sized, you couldn’t get it into the barrel. The PTFE wrapper is like a patch that takes the rifling and makes the ball spin.

Does the PTFE wrapper fall away like a patch or sabot after the ball exits the muzzle? No, he hasn’t figured how to do that, yet. But surely the engineers at the big airgun companies will be able to solve that problem.

Is it accurate with its tail flapping behind the ball in flight? It’s almost as accurate as a steel BB out to 15 feet. After that it starts to degrade…until 30 feet, when the groups are 5 inches or more.

And why would anyone want this?

Don’t you know that California is about to outlaw lead ammunition?

Here’s the lesson: Never do something because of what a state might do.

I know what will sell because I use it myself!
The inventor has created a quirky airgun that he uses all the time. He has become very proficient with it and can do virtually anything he wants with it. So, it’s time to sell his invention to one of the big companies.

— If it’s a big-bore airgun that produces 200 foot-pounds at the muzzle, they don’t want it because big-bore customers want more power than that. He argues that 200 foot-pounds is all that’s needed, but they counter with the fact that buyers don’t agree. More is better to a big-bore airgun buyer. His gun is like an AA-fuel dragster that tops out at 140 mph. Nobody wants one!

— If it’s a 10-meter target rifle that will sell for under $700 and has a Lothar Walther barrel but a trigger that’s not adjustable and only goes as light as 2 lbs., they don’t want it because their customers all want adjustable triggers that break very light. They couldn’t sell even one gun like the one he’s made because of the trigger. The fact that he’s shown them 5 one-hole groups shot at 10 meters is meaningless. They can’t sell a target gun that doesn’t have an adjustable trigger.

— If it’s a field target rifle that shoots .177 pellets at 1,050 f.p.s.,  they don’t want it because their buyers are wanting competition rifles that top out at 12 foot-pounds and less. He may have won three local championships with his gun — they’re still not interested.

This kind of inventor is like the salmon who argues with the grizzly bear that he cannot be eaten because he hasn’t spawned yet!

As I said in the beginning, I get people with ideas like these approaching me all the time. It’s turned me into a cynic. But every once in awhile, someone comes along and shows me something that I haven’t seen before. Or I get an idea of my own that I feel has merit.

I’ll leave you with the few principles that I use to evaluate every new idea.

1. Can it be produced inexpensively?
An accurate and reliable PCP that retails for about $100 comes to mind.

2. Does it do something that has never been done before, or does it do something better than anything has ever done it?
A 30 foot-pound spring rifle that takes 10 lbs. of effort to cock would be nice.

3. Is this an idea that people have been asking for?
An accurate .25-caliber multi-pump pneumatic that will retail for under $300 would be a winner.

4. Have I seen the idea perform and does it live up to everything that has been said about it?
Lloyd Sikes proved to me that he could get a huge number of big-bore shots on very little air.

5. Is the person with the idea stable, or is he a loose cannon on deck?
Duskwight did exactly what he said he would do with his Duskcombe spring rifle.

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.

111 thoughts on ““What they oughta do…””

  1. He tells them he’s sure they can sell 200 of them if they price it at $1,000 and they respond by telling him that it needs to cost $200 and they need to sell 2,000 in the first year. He wonders how they will be able to pay him his $25 royalty per gun at that price, and then realizes they have no intention of doing so. They offer him 30 percent of the money he has invested in the gun, and he leaves without making a deal.,

    Find a copy of the late 70s “Wheels” mini-series, and force him to watch a loop of the section discussing the noise problem of the new car design (and the “small” cost of the small metal brace that is needed to remove the noise) until he gets the point…

    • I believe there is Bismuth alloy shot for waterfowl shooting, as per law to avoid lead shot for waterfowl shooting. Bismuth pellets is not a dumb idea, I guess, since it is already in use.

      • Pete,

        This is a problem of imprecise terminology. When I use the term “pellet,” I refer to a single projectile that fills the bore and is guided by rotation imparted by the twist of rifling. The pellet you refer to is a shotgun shot. It is not filling the bore (except en mass) and is not guided by rifling-imparted spin.

        Bismuth works (marginally, compared to lead) when used as shotgun shot, but far less well when used for an air rifle pellet. That is because it is generally too hard to load by hand. It won’t allow the rifling to engrave it with just the normal pressure of the thumb.


        • B.B. Thanks for the information. Lead and Bismuth both are 2~2.5 on the Moh’s scale, but Bi is brittle and lead is very malleable. Have not checked melting temperatures or Sp.Gravity, but that would be different also. So, I stand informed !

  2. WOW!

    Talk about a topic that can be chewed over several weekends not just this one.

    “What they outta do” is more often presented as “Why can’t airgun manufacturers do”. I see these hypotheticals frequently on airgun forums.

    Nowadays it’s mostly about pcp’s….”My gun can do 102fpe with the claymore mag 93gr pellets but my shot count is only around 45. Does anyone know how I can adjust my hammer spring or know of a regulator to get a higher shot count and less ES and improve SD?” Yes, buy a powder burner. I appreciate passion for airguns. I understand the niche for big bore airguns. I respect some folks desire to do an end run around regulations that may allow airguns to slipe through.

    Lloyd you’re missed. I’m proud to have met you. What the Rogue has done is ground breaking. Where does the technology go from here?

    Here’s my “What they outta do”:

    1-Make a bb more stable in flight by basic redesign. Dimples, chemically impregnated, could accomplish this. How many bb’s are sold worldwide annually? I’ll take a .0001 per BB compensation for my idea.

    2-A .22 caliber breakbarrel that emulates the fwb 127. I’d suggest using the same stroke, a green mountain barrel along with breech seals, piston seals and spring from Maccari that were designed by him in the aftermarket kits for the fwb 127. A stock duplicator that could provide his design with or without (laser cut) checkering as well as his tyro stock design that are already in CAD form would be a homerun. JM would have to be part of this JV but it makes sense that he would be a willing participant assuming fair and just compensation.

    Those are my ideas. Ridicule them or steal them and take them to fruition.


    • Kevin, I have examined Daisy BBs under 10x power and they look like golf balls, dimples and all, to me. Then, check out Crosman BBs. I use only Daisy BBs. Issue One..solved…

      • Pete,
        Are the dimples random or patterned? If you look at a golf ball you’ll see there is “intelligent” design in the dimple patterns. This would have to be pressed into the bb consistently every time.

        • Chuck, sorry for the rude answer. Yes, a nice BB surface pattern similar to a PGA golf ball would be ideal, I agree. It could be done with our modern know how but at what market price. That BB improvement and better straight barrels and clean bores would aid also. This all comes at a cost to the consumer, we well know. Interesting subject.

          • “Pebbled” BBs — probably would be horrendous cost.

            After all, currently BBs are basically cut from a wire and spun in a drum with abrasives to spherize and size them, before they get plated. Dimples would imply some sort of precision stamping or casting operation, which if done after sizing/plating may knock them out-of-round, or if done before sizing would be worn out by the spherizing step.

            I’d suggest, before revising the entire machinery for BB manufacture, seeing if one could steal from the AirSoft world — start with some sort of “hop-up” mechanism in the barrel to apply back-spin, flattening the trajectory (and applying some uniformity to the BB motion, over random spin in a smooth-bore barrel)

  3. BB,

    Nice topic! I not going to pitch a new idea, but I do have an odd result with our newly discovered Baracuda Green Pellets that I thought I’d share. . . .

    Preliminary tests with my LW barreled .22 Marauder looked good at short range, but with the light weight pellets traveling at 1000 fps, I decided to retune for a more reasonable speed before trying them at longer distances. I did that over the weekend – 40 shots at about 870 fps with less than 10 fps of ES. So I set up for 50 yard benchrest tests on a calm evening with front and year bags, and I ended up only shooting one 10 shot group because it yielded the strangest results I have seen before.

    The first shot came in a little high and left of the POA, just as I wanted it to (to preserve the aim point) and right about where expected (I guessed at the BC to predict the scope adjustment). The second shot hit over 5” away, very low and more to the left – “oh well, doesn’t look promising” was my wry thought, but I figured I’d shoot the whole mag anyways.

    The third shot went into the first pellet’s hole! The fourth landed right next to it, expanding it slightly. Then the fifth went and nestled right next to that far away second shot! So I proceeded with the rest of the shots, and I ended up with the following:

    10 shots – 5.2” ctc, but within that:
    The main group: 5 shots at 0.23” ctc right where expected on the paper
    The second group: 3 shots at 0.32” ctc over 5” away (low and left)
    Two “flyers” – one each about an inch off of each of the two “sub-groups” above

    Here is a picture of it: http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc389/hkydad/P1420691.jpg

    The pellets certainly take much more effort to seat than normal JSB 18.1s, so I figure something must be happening some of the time (although in a very repeatable manner!) that is causing this great divergence, and maybe even the flyers. Any thoughts would be appreciated, because if I can get these to work as well as the main sub-group indicates, I’d love it – with 40 shots at 22 FPE on a fill!

    I didn’t shoot more than the one group, as I wanted to see if I could figure out what was going on before blowing through more pellets, plus I didn’t want to mess up the data preserved on the paper (normally I shoot ten at each bull). So I switched targets and then started shooting the JSBs and the results were normal.

    I’m thinking of putting my stock barrel back in and trying that at some point – it shoots 5.53 Baracudas quite well, but not as well as the LW shoots the JSBs. The other data point would be interesting – I pushed a few pellets through the stock barrel, and they move through it much easier than they do in the LW (maybe too easy, but the rifling marks look consistent). Any thoughts?

    • Alan,

      Wow! You’re an honest man. Most people would take the five-shot group and call it macaroni.

      Have you thought of weight-sorting these pellets? Did you inspect the pellet skirts for swarf?

      People ask me these things all the time, so I thought I would pass the kindness along. 😉


      • BB,

        I did not weight sort these, but I previously mentioned that I sample tested 30 of them and they all fell within 0.12 grains, for a range of ~12.53 and 12.65, if I recall correctly. I visually inspected each one that I loaded in the mag and they all looked good – as they all do, being harder they definately deform less. Bottom line, these are the most consistent pellets I have ever handled, which is probablay aided by both their hardness and lower density. I basically shot them the same way I shoot the JSBs, and those typically group with 10 under 0.6″ or better at 50 yards (with 8 of the ten usually inside 0.4″).

        As for the honesty, I see no point in lying to anyone about this, let alone myself. There is no opportunity to learn or improve that way . . . .

        Alan in MI

        • Alan,

          when I shot a bench rest competition, I was told to load each bullet individually in the bolt action rifle I was loaned. When I asked why not just use the magazine, I was told there was too much of a chance of nicking the bullet and destroying the accuracy. If I read your comment properly, it appears you used the Marauder circular magazine? If this is correct, I would suggest trying your test again but load each pellet directly into the barrel. You can get a tray for doing that.

          Fred DPRoNJ

          • Fred,

            Thanks for the thought – I do have a tray, and I have previously tested it for differences in accuracy as compared to my mags with JSB 15.9, 18.1, and Polymags, and it showed no statistical difference. Add to the equation the hardness of the Greens, and I don’t think the mag itself could be damaging the pellet in any way since it did not do so withthe lighter pellets.

            My inclination is that the pellet is somehow engaging the rifling in two different ways, and that is what is leading to the divergent results. It just might be that the mag could be involved in that, so I will test it.

            • Alan,

              I was led to believe that the bullet might be deformed or cut when the bolt pushed the round into the breech of the barrel by the barrel breech. Perhaps something similar is going on with your rifle – as the bolt pushed the pellet into the breech, it’s not lined up accurately and might be getting deformed or cut from a sharp edge? Good Luck.

              Fred DPRoNJ

            • Yeah, the LW barrels are very “bitey”, aren’t they? It wouldn’t surprise me if this had different effects on the harder alloys than on soft lead.

              Whatever the cause, those two distinct groups, so far apart, are really wild!


            • Alan,

              Could not this idea (that the feeding mechanism is somehow damaging the pellet) be tested simply by loading up a magazine and cycling the mechanism? Then remove the magazine while the pellet is still in the leade, and gently push the pellet back out through the breech with a cleaning rod inserted through the muzzle.

              Any damage to the pellet incurred in cycling the mechanism will then be apparent. In the case of a rotary or tray-type magazine, you should probably check pellets loaded from each position, in case the problem lies in the magazine and not in the breech.


              • Alan,
                Here’s another thought along with Desertdwellres:

                Could it be that the heads of some of the pellets are protruding out of the front of the magazine and scraping on the breech block or whatever metal is there as the magazine rotates?

              • I should clarify that Wulfraed’s suggestion was for a feeding problem while mine would be a rotating magazine problem. I hope it didn’t look like I was re-stating the same answer.

          • Given the way the Marauder magazines function, I’d expect any alignment problems would be similar for all pellets, and any nicks or markings made on the pellets would then be similar.

            When the bolt is retracted, the inner core of the magazine rotates until the next pellet is pressed against a fixed ledge; that ledge controls the alignment of the pellet with the bolt/bore.

            The bolt-action rifle magazine was a column feed, and relies on the bullet nose tilting upwards toward the chamber. Depending on the rate of cycling the bolt, it is possible that the bullet tip could scrape the bottom of the chamber wall (a flat entry), scrape the mid-point of the chamber top (nominal entry), or hit the top chamber mouth (which can, for some bullet shapes, jam the action as the bullet tries to split between going up and going in).

    • Allan,
      Nice shooting. I no longer shoot at paper with multiple targets. I find it distracting. I am like the spearfisherman who encounters a scool of fish and find it very difficult to focus on any one individual fish and eventually lets fly at the middle of the whole school and seldom hit any. I would shoot a great group at one target, say at 12-o-clock, then right after switch to another at 11-o-clock and spray pellets all over the paper.


      • Pete,
        I’ve noticed the same, or at least similar problem, with multiple targets on one sheet. There seems to be certain targets, mostly near the bottom of the sheet, that produce a different, minute poi. I have tested this by re-shooting at a previous target, which one-holes, then at the offending one, which one-holes also into that different poi. This could be because of the change in hold, or it could be the confusion you mention. I do find it a little difficult, with the thirty bull target sheets, finding the correct internal targets while sighting through a scope. The edge ones are easy to find and count down or over to but I usually get lost trying to find that one that is three over and three down, for instance. I think that breaks concentration.

        • I know what you mean, Chuck, but I don’t have that problem at 50 yards since my scope only goes to 16x. I’d like more, but I don’t want to give of the field of view for closer range pesting.

          So to bring it back on topic, “they oughta’ bring out a scope with with a range of 3-50x so it can do everything we need, but it shouldn’t cost more than $100 tops. I know they can do it ’cause I saw a telescope at Wal-Mart with a huge zoom range and it had pictures of Saturn on the box that were huge and as clear as anything and it only cost $99. If they can do it on that then they sure could do it on a scope.”

          Alan in MI

          • Please… Don’t get me started on telescopes…

            I still remember a newspaper (or was it TV Guide) advert for a “600% magnification!” scope.

            For mathematically challenged: 600% is only 6X… What the advertisement was selling as a “telescope” was the FINDER SCOPE normally supplied with $100 department store junk telescopes. (Okay, legally, even the finder IS a telescope…)

    • B.B. did a blog quite a while ago when he was laid up. Mac was doing the shooting for him. I think it was a springer…
      The rifle was shooting groups within groups. Mac observed that pellets of different fit caused these multiple groups.

      May be a possibility with these hard pellets.


      • I think this may be it too. I took the ten pellets that I chambered and then tapped back out with a rod and inspected them like crazy, but could see no difference. So as a last ditch I set up a “roll test” like Harry Fuller has posted about on the Yellow. I rolled them all about ten inches on glass from a controlled start point (they went pretty straight having been chambered already), and sure enough they went to three close but different adjacent locations, with five in one, four in the other, and one in the third – roughly the same distribution as the target I posted.

        So then I rolled a bunch more out of the tin (these turn about 90 degrees in four or five inches – the other’s rolled almost straight) and found the same kind of pattern and distribution. So I was ready to test something but then while doing something else a pipe fell on my toes and took me out of commission ( not a huge pipe but big enough to hurt a lot; I’ll be fine – just bruised and limping). So no more shooting last night . . . .

        I was thinking that I’ll need to do the chamber test on lead pellets too and see how uniform those come out. It could end up being that head size has a bigger effect on harder pellets, maybe due to springback or something. I don’t know for sure yet, but that is what I’m thinking. I’ll test it out at some point, but it might be a while before I get back to it now.

        I may still do the water test at some point too.

        • Differences in pellet fit can drive some guns nuts. What gets even stranger is that minor fit differences does not matter with some kinds of pellets, while it makes a whole bunch of difference with other pellets…..with the same rifle. I don’t know if this is only or predominantly with springers, or if the same happens with PCPs.
          One thing for sure….
          Harder pellets rub the barrel harder…hitting the little bumps in the barrel harder than softer lead would. More vibration. This could make the hard lead pellet fit more critical.


  4. I have seen a bunch of hair brained ideas repeatedly pop up . It is clear that the people with these ideas don’t have a clue. What’s even worse is that at least half of those who respond to such posts don’t have a clue either.
    Makes me hesitant to even consider asking for advice about anything.


    • tt,

      I usually won’t ask in a forum either. I just read… I am wary of the noob who tries to help, but doesn’t have the experience to really do so and ends up confusing the issue at hand. Doesn’t matter whether it’s airguns, electronics, our whatever, there are an abundance of these posts in any forum. Makes it difficult to weed out the bad from the good info. Especially for someone new. That’s one reason I hang around here. Not so much of that. (along with all of the good people!) 🙂


  5. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/09/dc-musician-orders-tv-gets-assault-rifle-instead/?test=latestnews#

    The above story is interesting. Guy ordered a TV and got a SIG assault rifle.

    Years ago, before I started doing work for Pyramyd AIR, I worked for another company that had a drop-shipper for some products. That drop-shipper was also a wholesaler and sold firearms to gun stores. One day, they were supposed to drop-ship a Plano hard case to a customer. Instead, the customer got a $1,500 firearm. The customer was honest and called the company & told them about the mistake and the gun was returned.

    Hard to believe that someone in the warehouse could pick up a box supposedly containing a plastic Plano rifle case and not notice that it’s 10x heavier.


    • Edith,

      That would really test a guy’s honesty in the old days before better package tracking. These days, if you decided to keep it, you’ve be left wondering when (not so much if) someone would come looking for it…


    • I think a number of those folks that work in a warehouse only look at the stock number and ship it. If they were given the wrong number or they read it wrong problems occur!


    • I think they handle so many boxes that they just don’t look at what’s on the box anymore, they just pick the number and ship it.
      One of my friends ordered a brand new computer from Dell, top of the line super expensive computer.
      They didn’t built it like he asked so they sent a new one with the first error corrected but a second one made, again new computer in the mail with yet a third error in the build. They sent a tech in between new computers and always sent a new computer before asking for the old one and I predicted what happened when he got the second computer, they’ll mess up somewhere and you’re gonna be left with an extra computer and that’s exactly what happened. The tech left with some parts, brung back some other parts, left with a computer, others were picked up by UPS, the Dell employee they talked to changed and a computer was forgotten and since I helped him out he gave me the extra one 😀


  6. I suppose the pic of the week is supposed to be a Special Forces soldier disguised in the native garb. . . It still gives me the creeps.

    Yes, there are crank inventors out there. I was teaching a composition class and an older student met with me to tell me that he had solved global warming. And after showing me his manifesto, he wanted me to sign a document verifying that he had solved the problem. Turned out that he was a smart guy, a computer programmer, who had some kind of head injury. On the other hand, no one said that capitalism was easy, and any legitimate inventor is going to find a lot of people ready to take credit and money for his work and give him nothing. I believe this was the basis of the Phantom of the Opera story. A musical genius spends ten years of his life producing an opera then has it stolen from him by an unscrupulous agent, and he flips out. Closer to home, there is John Garand who labored for 20 years to produce his masterpiece, but when in WWII, a bill was passed to recognize him and award him with money it was voted down.

    So, it’s nice to see that our very own Lloyd has navigated the pitfalls and got his idea into production. It’s very gratifying to see the ads in various publications.


    • Matt have you seen the vid of the girl who had solved global warming? She wanted to instal giant AC along highways and in fields so it would cool the earth… I’m not going to mention the color of her hair 😉

      John Garand was French-Canadian until his family moved to the US to find work, he probably never would have made his rifle if they had stayed here so I guess all things being considered maybe it’s not THAT bad…


  7. I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done before. I am however making an already proven item better, which many people have in fact done. I noticed that the airgun industry is having a total love affair with PLASTIC. I’ve never heard a serious airgunner say “Oh, how I just love plastic! Please make the entire gun out of plastic! I’ll buy 30 of them!” I hear airgunners complain about plastic. So I take guns like the 1377, strip all the plastic off them, replace it with fine wood, stainless steel, quality sights, custom triggers, carbon fiber ect, and sell them to people that want them. I turn them into very nice rifles… accurate as I can find too. They aren’t a $60.00 gun anymore, but I figure someone that wants something nice quality and can afford it isn’t 18 working minimum wage washing trays at burger king. I’m not making a fortune doing what I do, but I’m making enough to pay the rent. The point is, i’m giving serious airgunners something they want. A very nice air rifle for a fairly decent price. I sell them for $650 per gun but only make around $50 per gun since the rest goes into custom machined parts.

    • John,

      Airgunners complain about plastic, but they vote with their wallets. And the plastic-y guns are selling. Like hotcakes. You have to pay more for guns made of steel and wood. Most people opt to pay less if given the choice.


      • Herein lies the difference between me and the artist. I buy a gun to shoot. If plastic doesn’t affect the shot, I appreciate and prefer the decreased cost.

  8. Yes, so true. They do buy these plastic guns up. It’s what is on the market for cheap. Like I said, I put about $600 into what I do and make a $50.00 for doing it per gun. I don’t put out thousands of production run guns per day. I turn out a few dozen built to customer ‘s preferences a year. I have some very nice guns I have sold, but they aren’t an every person’s gun like the winchester M-17 or the crosman m4-177. Think of what I do is like a ferarri, vs. a ford.

  9. They do cheap out. A friend’s father just bought an air rifle. He bought the cheapest one they had in the store. It didn’t work for him, of course, poor groups. He called and I told him to take it back and buy a better one. He did and so far everything is working. I say so far since what he bought was a “better” bottom feeder.


    • Mike,
      I think you hit the reason for most people ending up disliking plastic – the totally-cheap-out factor. But, in my opinion, even though a gun has some plastic parts it doesn’t mean it’s a cheap-o gun or an inaccurate one. Even my most cherished Marauder has a plastic magazine. Pretty mild example, that. Maybe I should make a list of the plastic parts my guns have that do or don’t bother me.

      This weekend I finished up my traveling for the year so later today I’m getting my guns out of “security-lock-down”. I think I’ll examine them for plastic and see which parts irritate me or not and why. I’ll bet there are parts I didn’t even know were plastic. The Daisy 953 comes to mind. Love that gun, too!


      • Heh… I better check the lock on my gun cabinet — before you come lusting after my ancient Daisy 953 (I have the 1984 US Shooting Team edition: basically a 953 action fitted out with 853 trim [peep/globe, wood stock, shooting sling, and with the {at the time the 953 was dual ammo} BB loading port blocked].

        Plastic… trigger, pump handle, maybe bolt handle…

  10. Alan in MI,

    Just a couple of guesses; others feel free to chime in. Could the baracuda greens be spiraling as they go downrange? You can test for this by shooting a 10 shot group at 40 yards and another at 30 yards. If your group(s) POI moves around in both X and Y planes relative to your POA you may have spiraling.

    Another guess is that some of the pellets may be grazing the exit hole at the muzzle. I have heard of this happening with the Marauder and other baffled pcp’s. A close inspection with a magnifier and bright light may reveal evidence of this.

    Let us know if you figure out this quandry. David H.

    • Thanks, David – I’ll give that a try.

      But I bet I’ll end up with the smaller sub group-being the ones that spiral with the main group still being good, which will still leave me looking for the cause. I say this because that main group was within half an inch of where ballistics software said it would be on a pure analytical basis.

      Here is what I did – I had the gun and scope set for a good PBR zero of 38 yards with the 18.1 JSBs going at 910. I used drop tables to figure the comparable zero distance for the 870 fps Green with it’s estimated BC (60% of a regular Baracuda, given the same shape but at 60% of the weight), then looked up the clicks needed for 50 yards with that zero, dialed it in and then changed the gun to that tune level and fired. The shots went almost exactly where I expected (well, the good ones anyways) without ever zeroing the scope at all with that pellet or at that tune (which is why I started in the middle of the target page, just in case it shot horribly). The odds of a spiral landing there are pretty long, so I’m pretty confident that those were flying true. But I will test it when the weather cooperates.

      Thanks again!

        • Thanks, Les. Any idea how deep I need the water to be to stop them? I have pulled a few out of the duct seal and it is amazing how unscathed they are (other than the rifling marks) – they almost look good enough to shoot again 😉

          I tried your idea of cycling pellets into the barrel, and then pushing them back out with a rod. I did a full mags worth, and I’ve looked at them under a magnifying glass and I really don’t see any difference between them. The one thing I did notice was looking inside the skirt – the Baracuda pellets have a deep cone such that the bolt probe does not land on a flat like with the JSBs (the lead ones have this too), and I can see that the bolt probe pushes on the sides with a slight ring where it digs in a bit from the hard loading. It is clear that if they engage the probe at an angle, they could load off axis slightly and thus be primed for precession, which could lead to spiraling. But looking at the head and the skirts, I don’t see signs of that – I even rolled them on glass and they look good (of course there is a big difference between the ~180 rpm of rolling vs. the ~36000 rpm of a shot).

          I’m not sure where to go with this. I’ll probably try the tray, but I sure love the convenience of the magazine . . .

          • I would think two to three feet of water would be plenty.

            Good observation on the probe into the skirt. I hadn’t thought of that: it could definitely make a difference if the pellets were being pushed in off-center.

            There could be a great difference between pellets of different brands in that respect.


            • Yeah, but the story line was that the more supersonic it went, the shorter it went. As I recall, a 9mm pistol round was still lethal around 7 feet or so . . . . so I tend to think I need at least 3 feet to stop it.

              I don’t have anthing that I can use that even gives me two feet, let alone 3 or more, unless I go buy a long PVC pipe. Then when I stand on a ladder shooting down into it, I’m sure the neighbors will think I lost it . . . . 🙂

              • Alan,
                I did your water shot test. I used a bucket that had one foot of water in it and a duct seal pug, with the plastic wrapper still around it, in the bottom of the bucket.

                I first shot my .177 IZH-46M using a 10.5gr Crosman Premier. For the first shot I held the pistol about one foot above the water. The pellet made a small dent in the pug but did not pierce the plastic wrapper. The neither the pellet head nor the skirt looked deformed. I made a second shot three feet above the water and the pellet barely dented the plastic wrapper and stood on its nose in the dent. I shot a third at four feet and I could barely tell where the pellet hit. None of these shots looked like they deformed the pellet and the rifling groves were visible in the skirt.

                I next filled my .22 Marauder to 2600psi (thats all the pressure I had in the scuba tank) and shot a 14.3gr Crosman Premier from four feet above the water. The pellet completely embedded in the pug but the skirt was flush with surface of the plastic wrapper.

                I think two feet of water would stop your pellet nicely. Three at the most. Just be aware of the splash. The .22 got just a drop of water on the muzzle at four feet.


                • I use a tall kitchen trash can full of water with a plastic bag stretched over the top for splash supression. It helps to leave just a bit of air space between the plastic and the water so there will not be as much splash back out through the holes.
                  I bought it initially for that sole purpose.


  11. Edith,
    You know, it’s really a shame that PA requires that its customers must have a Facebook account in order to participate in things like its “Name it & win it” promotion. I’ll never create a Facebook account so customers like me are automatically excluded from being active. Oh, well!

    • That makes two of us… And Twitter is also out…

      Heck, I’ve spent 10 months as an unemployed software engineer and I abhor so-called “social media” so much I don’t even have a LinkedIn account — even though I’ve encountered at least one company web site that would prefer to pull personal information from LinkedIn rather than having an applicant fill in half a dozen web-forms.

      I’ve purchased two books about LinkedIn, and still don’t see what it gains me… Their client profile is basically a reformatted resume, and now that I’m back in MI I’m 2000 miles from anyone that could be a “link” — and have no plans to relocate back even if some “link” could get me a job at $200000/year. I’d have to look at my HS yearbook (a 36 year old document) to even find candidate names locally.

      • Addendum: Don’t suggest texting from cell phone either… My $76/month cell phone plan charges 20cents per text (and I’m not going to change it — I’m grandfathered into the $30 unlimited data plan; sending/receiving SMTP email doesn’t cost extra on my Blackberry…)

      • Wulfraed,
        I know nothing about twitter, but I do have a linkedin account. I’ve recently been thinking of deleting that. I don’t really use it, but when I did it felt like a time-sink.

    • Me three. I just used Adblock on an oft-used website (finance.yahoo.com) to disable a Facebook script that was hanging up my browser. And i don’t even know what a “script” is but Adblock is intuitive enough that it worked…for now. Facebook is an insidious i-net infection. Unacceptable.


      • Yes! And by doing so, they are alienating many potential customers. I believe that the use of Facebook this way will eventually result in a backlash wave against both these businesses, and then Facebook.

    • Me 4… I don’t have a FaceBook, Twitter, or any strictly social/business based account. I belong to a few forums, but my interests brought me there. Perhaps I should have followed my first instincts a kid and become a hermit with a cave full of books…


      • /Dave,
        Get yourself a Nook and eliminate all those paper books. It’s easier to carry up to that mountain cave. No, I don’t know how to charge a Nook from a cave. Maybe get a geo-thermal hook-up. You could get a car battery but then who wants to haul that up and down a mountain every month?

    • Victor,

      I forwarded your comment to Pyramyd Air’s marketing team. They need to know how some people feel.

      I have facebook & twitter accounts to better perform my work at Pyramyd AIR. My account is linked only to my Pyramyd AIR work/address. I’ve never written one thing on twitter.

      On Pyramyd Air’s facebook page, I do reply…but my own facebook page is private.

      I’ve friended only Pyramyd AIR and 2 other people. I friended them before thinking about it. Nothing wrong with the ones I friended, but that’s where it ends. I haven’t even friended my brother, his 2 sons or any other relatives.

      Companies I deal with all the time have asked me to friend them, but I just ignore the requests. For those who continue to ask me to friend them…please know that it’s not personal that I’m not going to friend you.

      I agree with the /Dave about living in a cave with a bunch of books. I’ve often said I’d have no problem being a hermit. Right now, that sounds even more appealing than it usually does. So does sleeping for 3 months 🙂


      • Edith,
        Boy would I like to sleep for 3 months. Sleep is something that I’m lucky to get much of, and especially on a regular basis. Also, I am trying to create my cave so that I can spend all my time with a bunch of books.

        I appreciate you letting marketing know. I, like so many with too much to do, really don’t need another thing to log into and keep track of. Certainly not facebook.

  12. I don’t even have a cell phone anymore. I don’t want to be “connected”. A lot of folks today, over estimate their importance. Some of them are now opining that those of us that abhor social media , may have a “problem”.

  13. That was a great blog, I was away for a week to find this great topic when I came back. I wish I was able to design/modify/adapt airguns and I’m glad some people are able and still do it but I don’t think I have the qualifications to do it. I don’t have any big complaints about any of the airguns I own anyways, only small gripes that I can learn to live with.

    I love “new” stuff, I like and am willing to try and learn new stuff. I see great potential in Lloyd evalve and I hope Crosman makes it work on other platforms and it eventually trickles down to “regular” airguns.

    I find the same thing with facebook, if you read carefully before clicking or unclicking everything you won’t have trouble with it, won’t lose or get your identity stolen. If you don’t “friend” people you don’t know it will be fine. It’s a great way to stay in contact with family & friends that are away and to join contests and see new things in advance. You should see the huge bunch of airgun pics that have been published in the last few days/weeks. They’re really nice.



    • J-F,

      Just about everyone that I know has regretted their facebook accounts. Some will continue to use it because they have a kind of addiction to it. What’s interesting is that people even find being connected to family isn’t always good. The way I see it, if you have family that you don’t care to put effort to communicate with, and visa-versa, then facebook just opens up a whole can of worms. That is what becomes a problem (at least with those that I know who use it). E-mail and phone are all I need.

      I especially reset being forced to use something like Facebook. I simply won’t do it. More than being of zero importance to me, it’s a big negative. I say that because of the many PC’s that I’ve had to clean up because of viruses that friends got while using this kind of thing. Furthermore, a couple years ago when trying to clean up my wife’s laptop and doing research to fix viruses, I learned of the total arrogance of Suckerberg (whatever his name is – I don’t care) and his complete disregard for users of Facebook. I believe that there is a swell of negative feelings about this jerk and his dangerous product. It’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.


      • I understand why you don’t want to do the facebook thing. I spend a few minutes on it everyday, I’m careful of where I click and have a good protection on my computer. Never had a virus (touching wood).
        When I’m talking about staying connected with family and friend, I’m talking about a few old co-workers I stayed in contact with or family members I live far away from and we do send a few emails once in a while but facebook gives an almost everyday contact, a pic of the kid, a hockey tournament (we ARE Canadians eh) a pregnancy or a new job or just everyday stuff we don’t often talk about in emails, over the phone or when we see each other.

        About Zuckerthing and his business etiquette I read something a while ago thta I think applies perfectly to it. It said that in a business if you’re not paying (like on facebook) then you’re not the consumer but the product. And I do know someone who bought something for a game on facebook and did got scammed and ended up paying 5$ per months for a LOT of months before seeing that it was a recuring fee (she did the same thing with Skype).


        • J-F,
          I am by no means a “PC Repair Expert”, but I am often asked by friends and family to help fix problems, most of which are virus related. I can tell you that most people who own a PC know nothing about them, including the dangers of using anything on the internet. Most people WILL click on things that they shouldn’t, or download malicious software. Most know just enough to be dangerous.

          The really bad stuff that I learned about Suckerberg was from a Trend-Micro web-sight, while trying to clean up a virus. As you might know, Trend-Micro provides anti-virus software. They left a bunch of links that allowed their customers to judge for themselves whether or not they should trust facebook. Again, this was a couple years ago. The more I learned about this clown the less I liked him and his product. Everything that I’ve learned since has only confirmed my suspicions that facebook is something that I should have nothing to do with. But that’s just me, and almost everyone that I personally now who’s regretted it.

          • Helping someone WRT virus is my weak point.

            I’ve never been infected by one (not even during the decades when I didn’t run a checker of any sort — and I’m not so sure M$ Security Essentials counts as one either). Closest I’ve ever gotten was a when a 90-day free period of Symantec found two dangerous files… It found those files in the “attachment” directory of Eudora — where I’d have deleted them in a few weeks anyway. The emails they had been part of had already been flagged and deleted by me, manually.

            In one respect, the biggest “virus” I’ve had to work with was the McAfee checker that had come with my newest laptop. I’d installed some extra font files on it and suddenly the McAfee control panel is unable to render text! Rather difficult to change settings, run manual scans, etc. when there are no controls in the window.

            Worse: the UNINSTALLER suffered the same fate. I had to search the registry for McAfee entries, then try to delete the files mentioned along with deleting the registry keys — sometimes having to reboot because a file was “locked” by the OS, but removing the key that referenced it meant the next boot didn’t load it. Took me two afternoons of deleting files, registry keys, running a registry cleaner, and rebooting to get rid of it… And I HAD to do all this in order to gain access to the M$ basic firewall (under Win7, most third party firewalls patch into the OS firewall control panel).

            One of the first things anyone with a Windows machine should do is change the option regarding “known file extensions”. Most Windows systems I’ve seen default to “hide known…” which is how many trojan attacks take place: Stuff “cutedog.jpg.exe” into an email, and the naive recipient only sees “cutedog.jpg” — doesn’t realize that they normally don’t see the .jpg on their machine [it’s a “known” extension], and clicks on the attachment.

            • Wulfraed,
              That’s good advice about “known file extensions”. I won’t click on anything unless it’s from someone that I know and has strong personal context. I’ve gotten over a dozen e-mails from trusted friends that had suspicious links. In each case I wrote my friends that their e-mail had been hijacked (which was the case).

              • If you don’t have an anti-virus software that gets updated daily automatically, consider this free one from AVG. The link is here: http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage. It’s for MS not for Apple. It seems that since Apple has such a small following of the PC market, not many virus’ are written for it but they are out there so be careful what you click on and what sights you visit.

                If you have teenagers, boy you definitely need an anti-virus program. While peer-sharing networks are pretty much gone (for sharing music and video such as Limewire), my daughter got some pretty nasty virus’ that took me days to get rid of. The darn thing saved itself in three different directories and in the MS registry and even changed permissions so you couldn’t delete it unless you stated you had administrative rights (it was called Huntbar toolbar – a tracking virus that also directed you to specific websights when you did a search).

                The idea of showing file types is a good idea: go to Start / control panel / folder options / and then click on the center tab for view. Scan down to show hidden files and folders and click on it.

                This is for those that aren’t familiar enough with their PCs (not Apples) to know how to do what Wilfraued suggests.

                As for Facebook, it has it’s uses but you must be vigilant and check the privacy options – only friends should be allowed to access your page and NEVER say anything on your page you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Remember, many employers now monitor Facebook and if they have a problem with an employee, they will search FB for evidence of dangerous behavior.

                Fred DPRoNJ

                • Fred DPRoNJ,
                  I use Trend Micro. In fact, all professional system administrators that I know personally use Trend Micro.

                  As for facebook, why bother? Way more negatives than positives, from my perspective. Besides, it would be a waste of my time. At best, I can do without it.
                  Thanks for the suggestion,

                  • Victor,

                    My point in mentioning AVG is that you can get it free and it will update itself daily. If folks don’t have to pay, they hopefully are more likely to get it. It’s better than nothing which most folks have.

                    Fred DPRoNJ

  14. Facebook account for me was a big mistake. I now have “unfriended” everyone. I use it only for marchants like Pyramyd AIR and others. BTW, Google is the only social network stock that is selling above its IPO price.

    • Hi Milan,
      Good hearing from you. This is a great blog article today, but not much happening right now. We’re just griping about social media and plastic in our guns right now. Got any thoughts on either of those?

            • J-F,

              in Paterson, NJ (home of Lou Costello of Abbott and Costello), many folks from the depression would order a “Paterson Hi-Ball” – a mix of birch beer and regular beer or root beer if birch wasn’t available.

              I knew several guys (now deceased) that I used to ride motorcycles with, that would order them. Sorry to upset your principles on how one should drink beer.

              Fred DPRoNJ

              • Fred I didn’t want to ruffle yours or anyones feathers. It was a joke (maybe I should have put “bazinga” (for those who watch big bang theory))
                And birch beer is nowhere as sugary as cola. Some people mix regular beer with spruce beer here. One of my friend mixes sprite or similar soft drink with red wine. I personnaly can’t drink it but wathever floats her boat… As long as I don’t have to drink it LOL 😉


  15. B.B.

    Duskwight is in the middle of something 🙁 Still waiting for upper receiver and updating its schematics – it’s now v.4.01.2 for ease of manufacture and tighter dimensions. Waiting, hoping, tearing my hair out. Good news – I stumbled upon another manufacturer, hope he’ll work fine, so I’ll have a good backup.
    In the meantime I finished sketching Mk.1 and its theme song is “to hell with receivers” sung by KISS 🙂 It’ll be way simpler, bullpupped and more powerful, compared to Mk.0. And I hope – cheaper, I’m making extensive studies into technology and trying to combine some solutions.
    Things I’m reading about now are sliding fulcrum designs – I’m still hoping to get over that JW’s two/three stroke cocking with relatively simple means. Anyway, Mk.1 looks good in sketches. Hope it’ll work good as well.


    • Duskwight,

      You could teach a course on airgun design right now, couldn’t you? All those little details are so important when it is you who is removing the metal to see the airgun within.

      I guess the thing that surprises me about all of this is that you still care. Most people would have given up long ago.


      • B.B.

        I told you, I’m stubborn and I believe that my work is true. Quit after all that I have invested and made fror that project? No, that’s not an option for me. All I need is one detail – and the whole thing is complete and ready to be tested – first without a stock, then with stock. I guess it’ll be great to test it.

        Teaching airgun design? Heh, that would be something like Zen. It must start with a good beating – and if a man is stubborn of stupid enough to still wish to go on, then I’ll let him stay and listen 🙂 Or, rather watch and touch already made airguns, studying parts and successful schematics, understanding how parts interact, what proportions and solutions are used. And then another well-balanced beating screaming “Do you still think you can outdo industry?”. If that is not enough for that poor soul to quit – then the learning will begin.


        • Duskwight. Your methodology on teaching airgun design had me in stitches. Your ‘Zen’ method was classic. Have you ever thought of a ‘sub career ‘ as a comedian? I understand most comedians are tortured souls as well. It was the ‘second’ beating that would have me running for the exit. LOL.
          Caio Titus

    • Hello Duskwight. Good to hear all is going relatively as planned. I thought you were designing a bullpup all along. Guess the 60+ years is starting to work on my brain. I’m with B.B. in saying ‘ most people would have given up’. You should be commended on your patience. A little off topic, I had an excellent 5 minuet view of the International Space Station last night at 10:25 p.m. pacific daylight time. If anyone cares to see this Bright man made structure, you can go to NASA’s web sight, type in your location, and then receive exact times, location, and duration for your area. I think this is one of the best things we have cooperated on as the Human Race. So many experiments demand o gravity. The latest Mars pictures are not too shabby either.
      Caio Titus

      • Titus,

        No, this one is rather classic – trigger behind cylinder. Mk.1 is growing out to be bullpup sidelever.

        Watching ISS is great, I usually see it from my countryhouse about 10 P.M. Well, on seeing things – yesterday me and my friend (a fresh HW 97 owner, I teach him shooting) went to forest range some 40 km from my countryhouse. And from there, while practicing, we watched some 15 Su and MiG fighters exercising in preparation for August 12 event, centennial of Russian Air Force. That was LOUD and beautiful.


    • Bullpups are great. Pay close attention to your trigger assembly. With the long linkage, it and be hard to get a good trigger. However, it seems that if anyone can get it right, it’s you.

      Good Luck! 🙂


      • Mike,

        Did I told you that I’m going to use long linkage?
        I’m not yet sure, but I think I got over that problem – by redesigning trigger assembly and placing it in/underside synchro unit. Modelling clay is a better tool than any 3D modelling software 😉


  16. B.B., a year ago you did a three-parter on the latest version of the Tech Force TF99, essentially concluding that it offered a lot for the money but had a buzzy firing behavior and slightly heavy trigger. Have you considered doing a follow-up that takes a look at the gas piston version of the TF-99 that Pyramyd AIR sells? I prefer underlevers to breakbarrels, but there are precious few out there with a gas piston powerplant, and this particular air rifle seems to have the potential for dramatic improvement.

    Michael O.

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