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Education / Training The need for speed!

The need for speed!

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Daniel Page 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!

Pyramyd AIR Big Shot of the Week

Daniel Page won the BSOTW. Looks like we have 10-meter pistol shooter in the making!

When I was a boy growing up in Ohio, I was obsessed with guns. Most of the time, I didn’t exactly have any I could call my own; or if I did, I wasn’t able to shoot them very often. But I remained obsessed. While other boys my age were quoting baseball statistics, I was rattling off ballistics data with the same enthusiasm — with no one to listen.

I always looked for an edge in my guns — a way to trump the competition that didn’t actually exist. And I found one. While poring through a Stoeger’s catalog, I stumbled across a little-known cartridge — the .22 short gallery round. It had a muzzle velocity of 1,710 f.p.s., which was well above any other .22 rimfire ammo except for the .22 Winchester Magnum — and remains so to this day.

The round featured a 15-grain frangible bullet, but frangible was a big word, so the Winchester marketing department substituted the words disintegrating and composition to dumb down the copy. This “bullet” was a combination of lead dust and compressed wax that was swaged into bullet form and stuffed into the tiny short cartridge case. The wax made it self-lubricating and also ensured that when it hit anything hard it exploded into dust instead of ricocheting — the perfect round for a shooting gallery that operates in a confined space. I believe the extra velocity was there to assist in the total destruction of the bullet.

Once I knew about it, I had to have this cartridge. I just knew it would give me the edge over all my competition, which I have already acknowledged was nonexistent. I went in to Akron and visited a gun store. They were able to find the round in their catalogs; so after a couple weeks’ wait, a brand new box of 250 rounds was mine. Two-hundred fifty rounds! This was way before the value cartons of ammo were sold!

It must have been around 1961 or so because we’d moved to the country, where I could shoot — and I’d finally wangled a .22 rimfire of my own from my mother (who never let me have a BB gun). Of course, I factored velocity into that purchase, too, and the gun I wound up with was the Winchester 67A — a single-shot that had a 27-inch barrel. I just knew that long tube was giving me velocity that only Roy Weatherby had ever seen — especially with my new hyper-velocity ammo.

Then, I set about discovering all that this marvelous round could do. Right away, I found that the bullet was most accurate while it remained in the barrel. So, for the first 27 inches I could count on every bullet going exactly where that barrel pointed — sort of like driving your car in the fog by keeping it centered between the turn signals. Once free of the muzzle, though, the bullet had a mind of its own. Perhaps that’s why shooting galleries have three walls.

In short, my little experiment was a flop. The additional speed did nothing for accuracy. Though, I didn’t know it at the time, the extra-long barrel on my rifle was slowing the bullet down a lot because it ran out of steam about halfway down the bore. But at least I had the privledge of paying $5.60 for those 250 rounds at a time when .22 short high-speed round would have cost perhaps a third as much. But wait, there’s more! My little story isn’t over, just yet.

NOW they tell me!
It wasn’t until I researched this blog yesterday that I discovered there were actually two different galley rounds. One had the high-velocity lightweight bullet while the other — the one I have (of course) — has a conventional-weight disintegrating bullet that exits the muzzle of a normal-length barrel at 1,045 f.p.s. and probably slower in the longer barrel of my musketoon. That’s slower than the standard .22 short high-speed round that all my friends — the ones who could quote baseball statistics — shot in their .22 rifles with conventional barrels!

22 short gallery ammo
The joke was on me all along! My gallery ammo was not the hyper-velocity round I believed it to be. But at least I got to pay three times too much for it. Getting over 1,700 f.p.s. in a .22 rimfire is the stuff of a young boy’s dreams.

Where am I going with this?
Is there a purpose to my humiliation — beyond the need to publicly embarrass myself? Why, yes there is! I just returned from the Roanoke airgun show where I got to watch all manner of airgunners — from the very new to the old and infirm — in their natural habitat. While there, I noticed that a great many of the new ones — those who have been in the hobby for the past 11 minutes or so — seem to be impressed with speed. And the old silverbacks, among whom I am numbered, gaze fondly at airguns like the Diana 27 and the Slavia 630, and wonder if they can be tuned down to cock with less force.

We, of the “Been there, done that” club, have already suffered the hard-cocking, tooth-jarring magnum guns that only seem to exist for the purpose of bragging rights. It was obvious at the airgun show when you observed who was interested in what. If the gun on the table was a “Bow of Hercules” springer with its mainspring borrowed from a one-ton pickup truck, the experienced guys avoided it while exchanging knowing looks, and the newer airgunners stood mesmerized in front of it in a pool of their own drool. And, if the gun was a “Pansy Special” with a mainspring taken from a retractible ballpoint pen, the veterans all teared up while the new guys steered a wide path around it. Nobody came out and criticized anyone for their beliefs, but those who have had the powerful guns in the past knew that the new guys had a lesson or two coming.

I find that the longer I remain in this hobby, the more things I know about what not to do. But the receptiveness toward any of this hard-won wisdom is inversely proportional to the age of the person or the time they have spent in the hobby. I have found that there are a great many things I simply cannot say to a new airgunner without turning them off completely. I now let them make their mistakes and try to be there when they need some encouragement to stick with airgunning instead of finding something new. This hobby has a bucket-list of fascinating things one ought to see and do before deciding to move on.

It’s not just airgunners, either!
I was talking to a Texas champion archer today, and he said the same thing without me prompting him. He said he wins tournaments partly because many of the younger competitors still use hunting bows that they have set up for competition. They have draw weights of 70 lbs., which makes their arrows go very fast, but also destroys their fine edge as far as stability is concerned. And he told me the funny thing is that these guys don’t even need such a heavy draw weight to kill deer! He says Ted Nugent hunts deer with a bow many would consider a woman’s bow. It has a draw weight of about 45 lbs. And it handles his business very well.

Oh, well. W.D.M. “Karamojo” Bell killed over 1,000 elephants — mostly with the 7mm Mauser (he called it the .275 Rigby) cartridge, yet gun writers will tell you even today that the .458 Winchester Magnum is a “mouse gun,” not worthy of taking on safari. I guess that’s what sells magazines, because this debate has been raging all my life. From what I read, it went on long before I was born.

The downside is when a guy spends all his money to acquire a “Mangel-em Magnum,” only to discover all the baggage that comes with it. He’s now tapped out of cash, and the only airgun he has requires a clearance from the local sheriff’s office to cock and load. He thought he was getting into airgunning — not tank gunnery!

That guy is on my mind constantly. He’s the guy I’m trying to save for our hobby by showing a kinder, gentler way. Then, if he wants to lob bowling balls into the local supermarket parking lot after he knows the civilized side of airgunning, I step away.

69 thoughts on “The need for speed!”

  1. What good is 500+ FPE if you cannot hit what you are aiming at.

    Back in 2005 I think it was, I went to the Roanoke show to buy my first air rifle. Gary Barnes was there and I was going to order a .58 Bison. I talked with him a bit and then he asked me this question; “What are you going to do with this air rifle?”. I guess my answer was not the right one because he guided me to a dealer’s table with an assortment of large and small bore rifles, none of which I liked.

    I did not buy an air rifle that day. I did not buy an air rifle that year. I though long and hard about that question. At the 2009 Roanoke show I bought my first air rifle, a Gamo CFX.

    It has since moved on and so have I. I find the low power and superb accuracy of 10 meter air guns more my cup of tea. I did pick up a Talon SS this year, but I will likely be tuning it down quite a bit.

    • Ridgerunner,
      I have a Talon SS .177 and have used both CO2 and air with it and it is a very likeable rifle. I am exclusively using HPA now. I set it at low velocity for 10m and it is a very accurate rifle. I use Crosman Premier cardboard box pellets exclusively.

  2. B.B.

    Problem with Karamojo Bell is that he sawed in two many elephant skulls to learn the exact location of animal’s brain – elephants have a complex yet not very big brain – only about 1.5 times larger than human buried deep inside their skull.
    Studying this, calculating angles and being a true crackshot Bell used an excellent penetrating ability of “Spanish Mauser” to deliver a single instant killing shot through the brain.
    And now imagine a modern hunter who is told to achieve Bell’s accuracy, stealth and judgement in estimating angles – most men today don’t like to wait and walk a long road to perfection. So they choose an anti-tank caliber that gives some guarantee even with a failed shot.

    Trouble with magnum airgun is that it promises some Chuck Norris stuff – fast and easy. Cheap, bucket-piercing springer, the stuff lures noobs like flies to honey. I completely agree with you when you say “bragging guns”, as they are made for “bragging noob” type of fellows. Of course, one can learn to shoot them laser-accurate, but that is a _long way_, thing that scares and disappoints noobs.

    I’ve got an example right now. My colleague bought Diana-350 and asked me if anything was wrong with the rifle, as he literally could not reliably hit a coke can in 25 m. I took his rifle and “killed” bottlecap 5 times in a row – but that was extremely uncomfortable and hard. I said – “It’s just training”. Then I told him that proper training requires at least 100 shots per session and if he’s ok with cocking this howitzer for 100 times – ok, he must train with it. That made possible persuading him to sell this bucketbuster to someone else and then buy HW 97 that I tuned for him. It was a miracle – ha-ha – somehow rifle began to draw groups no bigger than a dime and training brought better and better results!

    So maybe our guns are somehow meters (or indicators) of our maturity, our knowledge and control we have over our sudden wishes. Hmmm… I’ve got an idea – maybe we should share pics of our favorite or air rifles we work most with, and try to anticipate what they tell about us? 🙂


    • First snow is falling right now as I type. That means open-air season is over, time to move under the roof. Winter is the time of announces and presentation of new models – and I hope mine among them.

      • Picture of your favorite air rifle? That’s an impossible request for me, Duskwright. That depends on what day of the week it is! This weekend, I have to clean out my rain gutters, stack sandbags, make sure my generator is working and buy a spare sump pump. The papers and the National Hurricane Service are predicting the “mother of all storms” will hit New Jersey Sunday through Wednesday.

        Hey, good thing BB talked about a “bug-out” bag earlier this week. I might have to put that advice to use!

        Fred DPRoNJ – still above water

        • Comrade Fred,

          I hope that this horrid forecast is just another piece of capitalist propaganda so your determination and optimism will prevail over any weather. I pray that bad time will be not as bad as media say and no harm will be done to you or Mac and all your neighbours.


          • Spasibo, Comrade Duskwright. I think this is all a Socialistic plot by the Mayor of New York City, Comrade Mayor Bloomberg. I’m hoping that the storm gets pushed out to sea but I am ready for it if it comes ashore.

            Waiting very impatiently for the Duskcomb’s first shot at a target when mounted in the stock.

            Fred of the Democratik Peoples Republik of New Jersey

    • duskwight,

      I guess I’m with Fred on the favorites. It seems to change with the weather, day, underwear, etc… I have a hard time getting rid of even the guns that I’m not so fond of… But at least this “one shot” groups test is helping me decide which ones I definitely keep! That test also is teaching me that I’m really a mediocre shot, no matter what I may wish. We also got a bit of snow the past day or so. And as usual, I’m not quite ready for it. So, off to do my “one shot test and then replace u-joints in my Jeep. (at least I have my priorities straight… 😉 ). Looking forward to pics of the duskcombe!


    • Ok, I think today I removed the biggest amount of wood since I started working on my piece. I trimmed down the butt, taking off almost 8 mm from each side and streamlining grip-butt and grip-butt-rear forend transition areas. Lots of chisels, lots of rasp files and sandpaper.
      It slowly starts to take planned shape.


        • Okay, 2 days of work since my last report and today it was “big chip” day again. I guess I removed almost as much as on October 26.
          Butt is almost there, ready for installing the adjustable buttplate and drilling holes for what Gamo used to call “chick piece” on their website 🙂
          I blew of dust from my tiny plane and started faceting and rounding the stock. The task was to cut off as many wood as possible and at the same time make it straight. Well, beautiful laminate structure is also revealed this way 🙂 I started working and finally came to a solution on how it will look finished. I think to make it a mix of straight facets and soft curves, all facets towards metal and all curves towards me.
          I decided to somewhat re-shape the cheekpiece and to make it a bit lower after test-sighting the rifle. Tomorrow I will start working on it.

          Pics: http://i46.tinypic.com/359esmr.jpg and http://i48.tinypic.com/bg8wox.jpg


          • duskwight,
            That’s-a very nice-a! That laminate looks pretty cool. I thought about doing that for a pistol grip. I made one for my IZH-46M about a year ago since a left hand grip wasn’t available for it then. It came out reasonably nice and I still use it today, but it is pine with no personality and still needs honed in places. I got some interesting wood and some ideas from a guy named Derrick on this blog and that grip is still under construction. I hit a couple snags with it and I keep waiting for inspiration but before it arrives I take off on my motorcycle for a few weeks instead. You’re doing a nice job.

            • chuckj

              From what I know pistol grips are much more difficult than rifle stocks – smaller piece with less tolerances and greater demands for conformity, after all that’s all that is between you and the bullseye. How did you do the bedding on your grip and did you use screw pillars for mounting of the action into your new grip?
              Some time in the summer, I plan to try to make some wild-colored stabilized wood laminate. But to do so I must find 2 pieces of thick glass, to dye and dry colored veneer sheets the right way. And read, and read, and try 🙂


              • duskwight,
                Here is how I did the pistol grip:


                I did not use any bedding material. The grip is actually held with three screws. If you look at the tang where the grips attache you’ll see two screw holes in it. A screw is inserted through each grip half, one on each side, and tightened into the tang and a third screw is inserted below the tang that goes through both grip halves.

                I believe this third screw might be what you are calling a screw pillar. This screw is in two pieces where one screws into the other to hold the grip halves together.

                You can see by the last picture that I had fun doing this. This picture doesn’t show the palm shelf, but there is one. After publishing this article I stripped the grips and stained them like walnut. The silver paint gave the grip a sticky feeling and I didn’t like that.


                • I see now. Very nice stuff indeed.
                  By pillars I meant metal inserts for screws – to make things hold together metal-metal, not metal-wood way. This is more suitable for firearms or springers, where wood acts as a sort of gun carriage for the gun itself, but since it’s a single-stroke loads are not this great and sharp, so it can be ommitted.

                  On silver paint issue – yes, I know this nasty feeling when it sticks to your palm. In my case when I needed to make a painted stock I stumbled upon some old tech. I bought some fine sifted quartz sand, heated it to get rid of moisture and any oil and mixed it into paint. The result was somewhat like sandpaper – very “grippy” and no sweat collecting under my palm, as sand provided microventilation.


        • Wulfraed,
          You reminded me of an Animal Planet show I recorded recently. Scientists dragged a dead elephant near a croc infested lake and set up cameras to see what kind of animals would eat it and how long it would take. It sat for a day or two and crocs, vultures and hyenas checked it out but nothing tried to eat it. Then after another couple days a croc finally bit off a private part which opened up the carcass and the hyenas finally came in and feasted. I think it took a month to eat the whole thing and maggots did most of the cleanup. Apparently the skin was too tough for the animals to break open until it rotted a bit and swelled and when the croc did its job the carcass popped open and let the other animals in. There were crocs, hyenas, vultures, jackals, cheetahs, lions, and various insects, mostly flies and their maggots. The scientists were really excited about the whole deal. I think the hyenas got hold of a Cheaper Than Dirt catalog and ordered hand grenades for the next elephant.

  3. I tried some of those gallery rounds a long time ago. I may have them confused with some CB caps I tried once in that they came in a little plastic bag like airline peanuts. Maybe both came in the bags.
    I want to say that they were Remington and were called “gallery splatterless or spatterless”. I could be wrong about the brand. They were the fast ones.

    They were about worthless. They had extremely hard and brittle heads.

    They did have an unexpected benefit….
    My H&R revolver was a lead shaver (cylinder sat with the chambers a bit lower than the bore) , and also leaded quickly just in front of the forcing cone. The gallery ammo often fragmented and came out the muzzle in pieces (shotgun).
    Every time I loaded, I also included one gallery round. They scraped the lead out of the bore. By the time I ran out of them, the bore no longer leaded up. Must have a polishing effect.


    • TT,

      There were two marketing terms. “Spatterless” was Remington’s, I think, and “Kant Splash” was Winchester’s.

      I never thought of using these for cleaning the bore. Since my box is still almost full, I’ll have to try it.


      • B.B.

        Like I said…these were very hard. They took the heavy leading out.
        This is something like maybe shooting some of those rock hard pot metal wadcutters to remove severe leading in an airgun.


  4. I don’t have any of the megamagnum rifles. Many run in the 800s for fps in .177, and around 700 in .22. This is with lead and not pot metal.
    They are not too hard to live with. The hardest cocking are the 97K (short lever), and the 48 (difficult direction of motion).
    I have had trouble keeping the scopes tied down on some of them. I have busted some scopes. Why would I want anything more brutal ?


  5. No magnum shooters for me. Sure, it’s fun to shoot a powerful springer rifle, but for those long and enjoyable shooting sessions, I’ll take my little Norica 56 any day. RC

  6. Tom
    Wish you lived next door when I was growing up. I used to read a Hornady reloading manual every night before bed. My dad would not let me have a BB. He said I could only have a 22 single shot. Man I really wanted a lever action like John Wayne. Then I found Ithaca model 49 lever action single shot. The bullets I used only Remington cause they were gold!

    Going on a spring Black Bear hunt in Alaska next year. My buddy’s are taking 338 & 300 Mags. I’m just going to use my obsolete 06.

    Now days the Bronco get shot a lot more. My daughters 14 and 20 never shoot anything but the Bronco.

  7. With the aid of this blog I’ve learned that there are as many facets and dimensions to airgunning as there are people that want to shoot airguns. Something for everyone.

    I admire and respect FT shooters. But even within this highly specialized and strict rule laden segment of the hobby there are multiple options for pistols and rifles.

    Airgun benchrest shooters seem to be on the cutting edge of technology since their barrels, actions, scopes, etc. are driven by supreme accuracy.

    It’s interesting to watch the new large bore multi shot introductions like the wolverine and FX gun that supposed to hit our shores soon. These manufacturers teaming up with a company like JSB to design a new caliber pellet seems to be stretching the large bore options into a bigger space.

    The die hard magnum springer guys that still want to push the limits are the toughest for me to understand. A 60 lb. cocking effort, a shot cycle that rattles my fillings, breaks my scopes and requires checking stock screws every 5 shots in exchange for 2″ groups at 30 yards is not fun for me.

    A medium powered springer, with a great tune, good trigger, that is very accurate is the pinnacle of this hobby for me. When I’m shooting one of these great airguns I lose track of time.

    Something for everyone.


  8. BB said “..tooth-jarring magnum guns “, and Kevin just wrote.”…a shot cycle that rattles my fillings.”

    I have been putting off saying this, but I think my mag springers made me lose 2 teeth. Both on my right side, I shoot right handed. I must have shot some 4-5 thousand shots through the mag springers. Can the vibration do this? I got back into air rifles 3 year ago and this year I lost 2 teeth. I did notice last year I was getting some right side headaches kinda in the sinus area, and headaches are almost a non issue with me. The headaches stopped when I started to shoot CO2 and multipumps, more than the springers. My springers are $100 guns, and the shot cycle is far from smooth.


    • I myself had wondered about hearing damage from springers that was transmitted through vibrations into my face, thus circumventing my earmuffs. Hadn’t heard about jarring teeth loose. It may be possible over time, but I still suspect those teeth were ready to come out anyway. And you must have some heavy-duty spring gun. If there’s a cure, I suspect it is related to what they say about concussions in football. The real damage is done by repeat hits before a recovery is complete. So, just space out your shooting, an you’ll be fun. My most accurate rifle, the B30, is shot very little. Most of the shooting is done with my IZH 61.


  9. I have the results of my “Cold Rifle Test”.


    I don’t really know what it proves. I’ll leave that up to Tom and you readers. Are these the results of the rifles or of me? I hope the descriptions I wrote on the target explain it all.

    I shot one bull a day, with each rifle, at 10 meters, in the morning, indoors, ambient temp 70F.

    Notice the bottom row. On this one, after completing the 10 day “Cold” test, I shot 5 “warm up” shots with their respective pellets and then shot a 10 shot group for each. It took me only about 5 minutes to shoot these two groups.

    I forgot to put the dime on the target, but a dime is larger than the white ring and covers about half of the outer grey ring. Notice the Bronco’s shot #9. I don’t have an explanation for that nor for #8. Shots # 6, 7, 8, and 9 were taken the four days after I got back from my motorcycle trip. Maybe I was still buzzed from the trip. The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway were fantastic. The leaves were about 80% turned.

    That 4th bull on the bottom row marked “Not part of the test” was a sanity check after the wild shot on the Bronco’s 8th bull. I still don’t know if it was me or the rifle. I suspect me. I really don’t know what happened to shot 9. I know I was holding the rifle at the time, but surely that couldn’t have come from me.

    • chuckj,

      Thanks for doing this.

      When comparing the first shots out of a cold barrel vs. your 10 shot groups it indicates a difference of accuracy between a cold gun and a warmed up gun in both your bronco and challenger.

      Were you shooting with peep sights, open sights or a scope at 10 meters?

      What did you take away from this?


    • Chuck,

      How appropriate! I will be reporting on the 10-shot test on Monday, so your report is very timely.

      I used a different approach to capture the same data as you. We’ll see if it makes more sense or less.

      As far as the shooting goes, I have to say, it is very difficult to shoot every shot perfectly! I am finding that it takes 2-4 minutes for each shot, to allow me to settle in and get everything right. And each first shot is also a cold shot for me. I’m in a constant state of not being warmed up to the task. This is perhaps the most challenging shooting I have ever done.


  10. Bless me Father B.B. for I have sinned. As a “Silver Back” in life & a beginner in this art, I bought my first air rifle for all the wrong reasons. While researching why I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn even if I was standing in it, I discovered this blog & now realize yeah, I bought the wrong gun (& stuff) for the wrong reasons, but more importantly, I also discovered I was never a good shot with whatever I was tryin’ ta shoot ta start with! I’m here every day, usually twice a day so I don’t miss any comments & am relearning the very basics of shooting, thanx to you, Victor (thank you sir) & the rest of the gang. Now I’ve aquired a small collection of firearms I’ve always wanted, but never bothered, cuz I couldn’t shoot ’em anyway, but now, I’m learning. I study & practice at home on my “Jr. Sniper” Training range with my air guns w/ALL the bells & whistles (must need a trigger upgrade, better scope, level, etc., etc., etc.) & an incredible collection of pellets (yup, can’t be me, must be the pellets) & focus on shot execution, which my Mr. Wrong forces me ta do. Now every time I go out to the firing range, I’m seeing a marked improvement in my abilities. Now my “Gotta have it” list consists of a TX & a TalonSS which I will have when I get good enough to appreciate & apply what they can do. Bottom line to all this drivel, I learn something from everything you write, Mr. B.B. & all of the input from the gang has opened up a whole new world for me. I have seen the light! Thanx y’all. Have a great weekend. Shoot/ride safe.

    • Beazer,

      Enjoyed your comment because I think it speaks for many (or most) of us. Sometimes, it’s the gun or the pellets or the sights/scope. But, there’s also a good chance it’s the shooter. Once the shooter accepts that it might be him, that’s when real progress can take place. It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction!


    • Great to hear Beaz, and it certainly strikes a chord with me and probably most shooters, so no drivel at all. You’re right to attend to Victor’s comments for real elite shooting. I myself have elected to carve a different path–a simple methodology that is guaranteed to keep someone out of the gutter which I know about from long experience. Hold your breath, same approach to target, hold the sight picture rather than picking it off on the fly, follow through, get it all done within five seconds, make it the same each time. You cannot fail to be at least okay. 🙂


    • Beazer,

      You know that it’s MY pleasure. There are few things that I enjoy more than to help my friends develop their shooting skills. As I’ve mentioned before, shooting is about problem solving and no one can get into your head, and thus your experience, like yourself. We can help you with the fundamentals, but your experience is very personal so when a problem comes up, it will often require insightful observations and a little bit of creativity. But as you know, the cardinal rule of shooting, as taught by my pistol coach Stan Hulstrom, is;

      “Deliberately squeeze the trigger such that you cause the gun to go off without disturbing your sight-alignment”. And always remember to FOLLOW-THROUGH!

      Don’t let your wobble become a distraction, causing you to fail to execute by this cardinal rule. Being able to produce a group that reflects pure wobble-area is a real accomplishment, so take things one step at a time. Before you get caught up in things like scores, achieve this one thing.

      Always a pleasure, Beazer!

  11. Beazer,

    You speak for all of us, because inside we all face the same challenges. And, believe me, I, too, have sinned! That’s why I recognize a sinner so quickly. They look just like me.

    Hang in there and we’ll all get where we’re going.


    • Mr. B.B., Ms. Edith, Thanx for your comments, I’m honored. Lookin’ back, I realize that everytime I got a new tin of pellets I hadn’t tried yet, a trigger, a new & improved scope or any other gotta grab it gadget, geez, I’da put curb feelers on it (a “Silver Back” joke) if I’d read somewhere that it’d help! My gun did shoot a little better…for about a minute. Then IT went right back ta where IT had been. Yup, all mental. Only when Victor took pity on me & shared some of his knowledge about the very basics of shooting, did the light come on & I realized the only thing wrong with my gun was on the butt end!?! Ya can practice a bad golf swing all day, but only thing that’ll happen is, ya get pretty good at a really bad golf swing. Like Ms. Edith sez, when your bike won’t run, yeah it might be in the engine, but ya really oughta check the tank first. Again, Mr. B.B., Ms. Edith & the gang. Thanx. Shoot/ride safe,

  12. Please entertain a question from an older gun review,,not sure where to post such a question: on the current blog or go back to the original blog. I’ll start with the present blog.

    Daisy Powerline 953 Target Pro from 2009: Does this rifle have little O-rings on the bolt that also acts as the breech seal?

    I have an older 853 which only has a machined surface on the pellet pusher end of the nylon bolt and it leaks badly: Tissue test shreds the tissue. I’ve tried several home brewed options to remedy this leak to no avail. Rubber O-ring would be the best solution in my mind. I tried some after market O-rings and nothing fits properly. I was wondering if Daisy has made that improvement.

    Thanks for going back in time for me.

    • neric,

      If you put o-rings on the 953, what did they fit into? Are there o-ring channels cut into the bolt probe on the 953? If not, no o-ring will ever fit or seal.

      You probably need a new bolt. I would call the tech department at Pyramyd AIR and diuscuss it with them. Or tyou could just call Daisy Customer Service.


      • I cut my own rings into the 853 bolt probe,,it was one of my home brew ideas,,,it didn’t work,,and I am convinced no O-ring will ever work on the 853.

        I successfully filled in the grooves I cut with JB Weld and for a few months that worked well. (I molded the JB Weld while it was still pliable by shoving it gently into the breech and trimmed off the excess. It worked amazingly well,,,for a while.)

        This is why I was hoping you might remember if the 953 has rubber O-rings in it’s bolt probe for the breech seal.

        I will contact PA for these details. If the 953 has improved breech sealing I will buy one. I love the 853,,,I shoot indoors mostly in my silver back -no need for speed – glory days. I am betting the hopefully new improved bolt will fit into the my older 853 as you mentioned the 953 has the same power plant as the 853.

        Thanks for your prompt answer.

        • Probably not of any help… I took a look at my 953 — for some reason my mind thought there was an o-ring on that model… Of course, mine is early 80s — when the stock 953 was “dual fuel” (pellet and BB); though mine has the BB loading gate permanently closed (I have the one-year US Shooting Team special edition — 953 action with 853 stock/peep-aperture sights/shooting sling). My bolt still has the magnetic BB pick-up tip, and I can’t even tell if that is inside a plastic or metal sleeve (I’m not taking a knife to it to see it it cuts).

          No o-ring on that version.

  13. I have found speed isn’t everything in a gun, but there are times when it seriously helps when you absolutely need to punch a hole in the universe and kill that troublesome diving muskrat. I had to deal with one of these so I got out my 900 fps .22 air rifle. It should be perfect for the job. I got a perfect sight picture on the muskrat and took my shot. He dived when he heard the gun and it was a miss. So, I switched it up to my marlin 60 firing a high velocity hollowpoint .22 (1450 fps) Again i lined up the shot perfectly and took the shot. It would have landed if the thing hadn’t have played submarine on me again. In my agravation I changed things up again since my marlin had a crushed spent round now requiring tools to extract it. My next choice was my mossberg 100 ATR. (.270 winchester, 2800 fps) I got him lined up in the crosshairs in my scope at a distance of around 55 yards and took a shot. This time dive or no dive I got him and he was never seen again. If I had to take another shot I would have gone to mt AK-12. (.223 nato at 3600 fps and no recoil. Illuminated scope and gun mounted camera) At this point I’m splitting open the universe to get at that critter and he has no hope of diving before the shot gets there. It depends on your target on what it will take to put a target away. If it’s moving, speed and mass matter since you have to deliver the love before the target isn’t there anymore. A still target, slow and steady will do the trick.

    • My most accurate rifle, the B30, is my most powerful. I imagine a flatter trajectory but don’t know if that’s really a factor. At my 5 yard range, probably not.


      • I don’t mean to pee on your boots, but 5 yards is practically point blank. Windage and ballistic arc don’t really come into play at that distance. At that range I might have been able to kill that muskrat with my air17 although that would never happen. My air 17 is an interesting relic from my childhood. In fact, just about the only artifact left.

  14. Interesting, I hear rave reviews about frangible DRT ammo made from powder. B.B. was just ahead of his time and his resources. 🙂

    The beginning of this blog is very timely. I just saw a news video on Alma Deutscher, a little kid who is supposed to be the next Mozart. At something like age 7, she has composed an entire opera. This means knowing how to play every single instrument in a symphony, knowing how to coordinate them, and even writing the songs (although this last I find almost unbelievable; maybe they got a ghost writer). Along the way, she has surpassed all the developmental achievements of Mozart such as learning to read music and play by the age of 2 instead of 3 and so on. There is something otherworldly about watching her in action. It’s said that she lives and breathes music. So, I got to wondering what it would look like for someone to live and breathe guns. And the answer must be B.B. 🙂

    Thanks for the explanation of fiddleback. I was looking for the shape of a fiddle. What stood out initially were the dark lines running lengthwise along the stock, but Kevin’s “flame” analogy enabled me to find the perpendicular streaks.

    FredDPRofNJ, yes, there was plenty of good advice on the blog about removing dings in stocks along the lines that you mention. But I don’t own an iron, and since I’m sending the gun in anyway for work, I’ll just let the pros do it.

    Similarly, I’m going to say that the Russian peasants have won this one on disassembling the Mosin and removing the barrel bands which seem to be welded on. This precludes me from installing my drop-in trigger. But I’ve watched the video carefully on how one would do it, so I think I’ll call it victory and leave the pedestrian details to the gunsmith.


    • B.B. is one example of living and breathing guns to be sure. I am another. It seems every picture of me as a child I have a toy gun in my hands. Later that turned to bb guns and pellet guns. In the army I excelled on the range. So much so that I trained at J.F.K special warfare center and even was asked to the U.S. Army C.A.T. team (Military style olympics). I build guns, shoot guns, sell them, buy them. As I get older my guns I build get to be more and more powerful. I build pump, co2 and pcp air rifles to sell. My personal collection contains quite a few ak variants to include the all new AK-12 (not even issued to russian troops yet) a few AR variants as well as shotguns, bolt actions, ect. All the AK’s and AR’s are all hand built by me. If that doesn’t fit your definition, I don’t know what does.

  15. BB,
    I went the other route. I took everyone’s advice and bought lower powered airguns first. Now, my favorite springers are more powerful guns like the Supersport, C1, and R9. I can shoot these springers all day if I cock the gun with two hands. It is much more fun to me to shoot well with these light weight and fairly powerful guns than it is to shoot a sedate springer or PCP.

    David Enoch

    • David Enoch,

      You and Bryan are on my short list of airgunners that I take seriously when they write opinions about airguns.

      Although you and Bryan have different tastes in airguns I have great respect for both of your abundant experiences with airguns.

      You said, “It is much more fun to me to shoot well with these light weight and fairly powerful guns than it is to shoot a sedate springer or PCP.”

      This is an interesting statement to me. Can you elaborate? I THINK I understand the pcp part since the added expense and extraneous gear necessary for pcp’s is a turnoff for most airgunners.

      Is it the required, added dimension of learned technique to shooting fairly powerful springers like the C1, supersport, R9, etc. that is the attraction? Or is it…?


      • Hi Kevin,
        Thanks for the complement.
        Almost all my shooting is plinking at steel spinners and reset targets. I usually shoot at ranges of 30 to 50 yards which is how far I can shoot at my house. When i shoot a PCP at these ranges I quickly get bored. I shoot a few shots and, yep, it hits right where I point it and I put it away. Shooting any recoiling springer is a challenge. I have to do everything right, from trigger pull, to holding the rifle correctly, to good follow through. This is especially true as you increase to more powerful springers or springers with a high power to weight springers.

        So, the short answer is that I enjoy the challenge

        • David,

          Thanks. Understood.

          There also has to be the added satisfaction in the difference in sound of the “smack” of a powerful springer vs. the “tink” on reset and reactive targets.

          I primarily shoot at my home in the mountains that has an airgun range setup with lots of reactive targets (even a Caldwell shooting gallery with Ben’s smaller targets installed thanks to your endorsement) and that’s where I do most of my shooting. At my place in the city I shoot paper for groups most of the time and have gotten very bored with that. I need to get more reactive and reset targets for my place in town.

          Thanks again David.


  16. I find it really interesting that several of us were denied BB guns as kids! I can definitely be counted in that group! I sure have made up for lost time! When I say I wasn’t allowed them,I mean I had to secretly use those that belonged to friends in my rural neighborhood.I miss those days of summer,shooting a 760 Powermaster at any and every target of opportunity at Matsen’s pond! I have a couple 760’s now,but they just don’t shoot like I remember:)! Over the years,I have kept trying the “lesser” airguns….until someone gave me a “real” adult quality airgun.That one was a Marksman 70 in .22…..that had been shot enough to feel tuned.For those unfamiliar,the Marksman 70 was made by Weirauch using BSF parts,and a Perfekt trigger.It cocked smooth as silk,I can use just my index finger on the muzzel.(I don’t reccomend that technique,I’m using it to quantify the cocking effort)The combination of being well broken in,and having the leverage of a 19 3/4″ barrel undoubtedly both contribute to this.Owning and shooting that gun brought me to the Internet,to learn more about this gun I loved so much.By chance I stumbled on this place,and this wondeful mentor we call “BB”! The rest,as they say…is history.I do love airguns,and really enjoy others that do too.

    • I wanted to add this to what I wrote.I really like shooting my vintage 10M springers,because they behave so well and because if they miss I know it’s me.Add to that my mid powered springers,all the way from the little Slavias and pre-war Haenels to the HW77 and R7 & R9.The smallish older vintage guns have a charm all their own…..to look at them you would swear they would be unshootable by a 6′
      tall adult…..but they are just the opposite!

      • I am with you on that, Frank. I grew up in Tennessee, and don’t remember when I started shooting, or driving. What I do remember is being allowed to take the single shot Winchester out back when I was six. Out back was pretty much an entire mountain top and my targets were squirrels. My Grandfather loved to eat them and would chip in for the ammo. The BB gun came a bit later. Shooting at less than 25% velocity of the .22, I came to appreciate the casual training my Dad gave me, “If you don’t think you can hit it, don’t shoot at it”, and, “Just get closer”. Seems simple enough.

        Even though I am a long way from six, the rules still apply. I don’t attempt to kill groundhogs at 200 yds with my trusty LG 55, or roll soda cans in the yard with a 204 Ruger. Each has it’s place. I get more opportunities to shoot the lower powered airguns. Most of the time it is effortless, not because I am a great marksman, but because I get to do it often as I like.

        My first “serious” airgun was a Diana 45, the big safety old model in .177. The salesman put a few drops of Dri-slide in the transfer port and dry fired it. Man was that loud! That salesman was also the Virginia High Power Rifle champ at the time! Good example of knowing lots about one thing and nothing about another. I did NOT buy the demo rifle. Certainly not a Magnum, but the accuracy was good enough and, as I learned later, was shooting at an appropriate velocity for .177 domes. A lucky accident on my part.

  17. My two cents, from a new guys perspective-It’s not entirely OUR fault. Without the experience to make an informed decision we are forced to rely on word-of-mouth. So, when Mr. BigBox Retailer guy says I “need” at least 1000fps to eradicate squirell, I take him at his word and buy whatever he recommends. (In my case it was the Ruger Airhawk) I know squirell (and crow) can be some tough skinned buggers and have over the years had my share scramble away seemingly unharmed, even though I know that .22lr hit squarely in the kill zone. As has been mentioned, the cost and complexity of pcps is not going to appeal to someone just dipping in a toe for the first time, and the salesguys will gladly steer us away from the ‘lesser’ powered pumpers or C02 while declaring it would be horridly inhumane to hunt with such weapons.

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