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Education / Training B.B.’s Christmas gift suggestions for 2012: Part 1

B.B.’s Christmas gift suggestions for 2012: Part 1

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

Announcement: Mark Barnes 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

Mark Barnes is this week’s Big Shot of the Week on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.

At last, we’ve come to the day when I get to spend your money or suggest gifts for you! Knowing what an enabler I am, you must appreciate what a rush this report is for me.

Pyramyd AIR Champion heavy-duty trap
Champion heavy-duty trap

Pellet trap
I will dive right in with my first suggestion — a Champion Heavy Duty Metal trap. If you don’t yet own one of these, you need one. They cost $42 when I bought mine in the early 1990s, and time is a-wastin’ for you to get yours. Yes, they’re pricey for what they are, but this is the last trap you’ll ever need for any smallbore air rifle. It’s rated to stop standard-speed .22 long rifle bullets, so you know that nothing your airguns can toss at it is going to do any damage. Mine has uncounted shots on it, and it’s still in near-perfect condition — except for the paint. I’ve emptied about half a ton of lead from this trap over the years; and, yes, that was all melted down to be reused in cast bullets. The last 100 pounds of it is still waiting to be melted. This trap is big, heavy and hard to love — except when you’ve been using it for several years, and you finally realize what a tremendous piece of equipment it really is! Not for steel BBs!

Leapers UTG Accushot pellet & BB trap
Leapers UTG Accushot pellet & BB trap

BB traps
Crosman no longer sells their famous model 850/852 pellet and BB trap, so the Leapers UTG Pellet & BB trap is the only game in town. That is, if you want to have ballistic curtains that you can replace. I destroyed my Crosman trap after about 100,000 shots with steel BBs and low-velocity lead pellets, and I hope Santa remembers that this year. I hope Leapers never drops this trap from their line, as it’s the most valuable, flexible BB trap I know of.

Winchester airgun target cube
Winchester airgun target cube

I’m not big into BB guns, but this blog affords the opportunity to shoot steel BBs a lot more than I normally would. When the Crosman trap finally gave up the ghost, I asked Pyramyd AIR to send me a Winchester Airgun Target Cube for BBs and Pellets. I’ve used this target trap with both BBs and pellets much of this year. Some of the pellets were leaving the muzzle at speeds over 800 f.p.s. There’s a steel plate inside the cube for higher-speed pellets, and the BB side is rated to 350 f.p.s. I would estimate I have around 1,000 total shots on the cube, and it’s still going strong. I use it every time there’s another BB gun to test because I have no other BB trap — at the moment. It stops all the BBs cold, with not one of them falling to the floor, which is a big advantage to an in-home range. I would be careful to hit this cube straight-on, rather than at an angle, just so the BBs have to penetrate as much of the foam as possible.

Here’s another item that we all need, yet find difficult to buy for ourselves. But I want to make a little analogy here. Not buying a chronograph and living in perpetual doubt about the velocity of your airguns is like being the “modern” guy or gal who laughs at those of us who wear wristwatches, because cell phones display more accurate time. All well and good, but why do these people (Edith) keep asking me what time it is?

Shooting Chrony Alpha chronograph
Shooting Chrony Alpha chronograph

I could give you lots of reasons why you need a chronograph, such as keeping tabs on a spring gun’s health and calculating the ideal fill pressure and shot count for a PCP, but that has all been done many times in this blog. Let’s just agree that a chronograph is wonderful, too, for every airgunner and leave it at that.

Shooting Chrony Alpha Master chronograph
Shooting Chrony Alpha Master chronograph

My choice for you would be a Shooting Chrony Alpha model, which is what I use all the time. I selected the Alpha model over the cheaper F-1 model because the Alpha has a built-in calculator that does simple statistics for you. The F-1 also does give both the high and low shots plus the average. If that’s all you need, it’s a wonderful value.

If you don’t mind spending a little more money, the Alpha Master with its remote readout that allows you to be up at 15 feet from the skyscreens is great for those who also want to chronograph firearms. Sometimes with powerful centerfires you do need to be several feet back from the start screen.

Blue Book of Airguns

Blue Book of Airguns
Blue Book of Airguns

For those who are finding that this airgun hobby keeps growing and expanding, the Blue Book of Airguns, 10th Edition is a nice reference to have. There’s great information about many of the vintage airguns we talk about in the blog, plus all sorts of other useful stuff such as the crossover names for multi-branded guns like those made by Diana. The 10th edition also has a very special article by Dr. Robert Beeman about the Lewis & Clark airgun. Doctor Beeman has done more research on the Lewis & Clark airgun than anyone and has uncovered a wealth of information for a book he’s writing on the subject. This article is a sneak preview of all he’s learned.

Well, am I ever going to recommend any airguns? Yes, I’ll get to that right now. But these first gifts are the ones I believe people really need but will not buy for themselves.

I have to be very careful about the guns I recommend because sometimes newer airgunners put a lot of faith in what I say. That’s not necessarily warranted; but I’m aware that a few people are doing it, so I watch what I say. I know that for many of you, one airgun may be all you buy. If that’s the case, I want it to be the best representative it can possibly be, and I don’t mean just FOR THE PRICE. A poor choice is a poor choice at any price, and I will not get into a game of rating “value” according to the price of something. If I recommend it, I believe the item has to stand on its own.

Air Venturi Bronco spring-piston air rifle
Air Venturi Bronco

Air Venturi Bronco
I recommend the Air Venturi Bronco. It’s a low-cost breakbarrel spring rifle that has a lot going for it. It’s accurate, easy to cock, sized for older kids as well as adults and has a wonderful trigger. It’s not a powerful air rifle, but I don’t think there is a better all-around air rifle on the market today.

Gamo Whisper spring-piston air rifle
Gamo Whisper air rifle

Gamo Whisper
I’ll bet this choice surprises a lot of people — especially the folks at Gamo, who may think I’m overly critical of their airguns. The fact is that they hit the nail on the head, with the Whisper and I find it to be a very fine airgun! I love the fat muzzlebrake that contains their baffled silencer; and regardless of whether or not it makes the gun any quieter (it does), it is the handiest cocking handle on the market. The only two things that would make the Whisper better are a gas spring and a better trigger. Pyramyd AIR lists the Whisper with a Crosman Nitro Piston conversion in a different section of their website, which I find terribly confusing. But it is there, so don’t overlook it. The gas spring removes all vibration from the gun, which the standard Whisper does have. The better trigger we’ll just have to wait on.

Crosman used to have a Nitro Piston lower-velocity rifle that I would have also chosen for a gift, and for a very short time they also listed a Benjamin Legacy in .22 caliber that was one of the very finest spring rifles they ever offered. Sadly, both have been discontinued. If any other maker decides to de-tune a gas spring air rifle, there’s a market for it. Perhaps, the sales at the discount stores wouldn’t justify it, but educated buyers like those who read this blog could sustain steady sales, I believe. The Bronco got off to a slow start; but now that the word has circulated throughout the airgun community, I think the sales have picked up to the sustainment level.

Air Arms TX200 MKIII underlever air rifle
Air Arms TX200 MKIII

Air Arms TX200
You don’t have to ask because here it is. You have a bunch of money and want the absolute best spring gun — it’s the TX200 Mark III. Not the Hunter Carbine or the Pro-Sport — just the Mark III. This air rifle is built the way you think they all ought to be built. The metal is deeply blued, and the wood is flawless. The trigger is like the Rekord, only in its finest incarnation. Yes it costs a lot; but if you want the best, this is it.

Benjamin Discovery PCP air rifle with hand pump
Benjamin Discovery PCP with hand pump

Benjamin Discovery
I know, it sounds like bragging to promote a gun I had a hand in designing, but the fact is that Crosman carried out my wishes for the Benjamin Discovery almost to the letter. I was so proud of it that I wanted my name to go on it! Yes, the Marauder that I will get to next is quieter, more accurate and has a better trigger. But as a way of getting into the mysterious world of PCP airguns for little money, nothing can beat the Disco. If you do your part, it’ll shoot groups of 10 that are smaller than an inch at 50 yards. I linked to the combo that includes the hand pump because, frankly, I think this is the best way to learn about PCP airguns. And the price is right!

Benjamin Marauder precharged pneumatic airgun
Benjamin Marauder PCP

Benjamin Marauder
Crosman got their revenge on me when they introduced the Benjamin Marauder and everyone said it was the gun they should have built in the first place. They wanted to build it first, but I convinced them to start with the Discovery and gain some experience before tackling a more complex airgun like the Marauder. The Benjamin Marauder certainly is without equal. It has a fine adjustable trigger, splendid accuracy, is very quiet to shoot, and the fill pressure and velocity are both adjustable. What more can you ask for? Maybe the stock is on the fat side, but far be it from me to criticize the rifle that has changed the world of PCP airguns. Every PCP manufacturer has benefitted from the Marauder because it opened the world to the “dark side” — precharged airguns. I won’t suggest a caliber because each one has its champions. I’ve shot them all and they’re all best buys.

AirForce Talon SS precharged pneumatic air rifle
AirForce Talon SS

AirForce Talon SS
If you like the black rifle look and can shoot a single-shot, then it doesn’t get any better than the Talon SS from AirForce airguns. As I’ve pointed out in numerous reports, this isn’t just an air rifle — its a whole shooting system. You can change calibers and barrel lengths and run on either air or CO2. And the gun accepts an entire host of accessories. Some folks do not like the black rifle styling. That’s fine. If they want a conventional style there are certainly many air rifles to choose from. But for all those who only care where the pellet goes each time, the SS wins hands-down.

Daisy Avanti 853, AirForce Edge, Crosman Challenger
Daisy Avanti 853 at top, AirForce Edge in the middle and Crosman Challenger at the bottom

AirForce Edge & Crosman Challenger PCP
If you want a nice target rifle without paying a fortune, there used to be just one choice — the Daisy Avanti 853. It still exists, of course, and there are hundreds of thousands of them still in the hands of junior shooters all around the country, but its time has passed. I say that because the rifle’s trigger is poor and can only be modified to be okay, at its best. Two other 10-meter junior rifles have kicked it out of the nest. The Edge from AirForce is the first of these.

The Edge is an entirely new rifle from AirForce and incorporates their new target sights, as well. While the price is on the high side, you’re getting $170 worth of target sights included in that. I have tested the Edge and found it to be one of the two best youth target rifles available today. You’ll get an incredible 100+ shots from the tiny air reservoir, and filling it from a hand pump is relatively east for an adult. A dry-fire mechanism is built into the trigger so you can practice without firing a shot, which all target shooters need to be able to do. The trigger cannot be any better than this is — literally — since it’s limited by the NRA and CMP competition rules. If you like ergonomics, no junior target rifle comes close to the flexibility of the Edge. It even lets you to weight the rifle perfectly according to each shooter’s preference — up to the maximum permitted overall weight.

The Crosman Challenger PCP is the other great youth 10-meter target gun. This rifle doesn’t have sights that are as nice as those on the Edge; but in all other ways, it’s just as good. It’s a tack-driver, and I’ve proven that in a test. You’ll also get more than 100 shots on a fill with the Challenger PCP, and the trigger is very good, though it’s also constrained to the minimum weight requirement of 1.5 lbs.

The Challenger is very adjustable, as well. The pull of the stock has a wide range of adjustability and the buttplate can be canted sideways for comfort. All things considered, I think either this rifle or the Edge would make a wonderful Christmas gift for the target shooter — both young and old.

I told Edith that I could get everything into a single report this year, but that was wrong. I still have a lot more to do, so look for part 2 next week.

98 thoughts on “B.B.’s Christmas gift suggestions for 2012: Part 1”

  1. I agree with the two traps! My Champion/Outers trap is eternal and well worth the cost. Very heavy so get it locally if available. The UTG/Crosman trap is great for BBs but cannot be used with pellets at even 700fps without penetrating the fabric screens.


    • Even at 500fps pellets will rip the fabric. BB’s only for the curtain type of trap (or remove the curtain, the back plate is solid enough to handle low to mid power pellets and you won’t damage the fabric).

      Don’t worry about the NBA/BB, I always make typos or forget a word when I’m typing. My mind is faster than my fingers so I’ll sometimes get ahead of myself and skip a word and only catch it once it’s been posted (which is why some of us asked for an “edit” (or “Edith”? 😉 ) or at least a preview feature.
      This happens to me more often when I’m using my phone, smart phone they say…


  2. Tom,
    I couldn’t agree more on your list so far. I am familiar with all of them except the Champion and Winchester targets and I have the Daisy 953 rather than the 853. I have added the ballistic curtains for my current trap and the Champion for my next trap to my wish list and also the TX 200 MKIII. You do realize, I and another reader of this blog, who specifically told you yesterday never to mention that rifle again, have been totally disregarded again. Your only hope is if Santa comes to your rescue.

    As one of your chief whiners I have a complaint about the PA wishlist page. The items I have on there have exceeded the limit of one page and I am unable to figure out how to go to the next page of my wish items. If I want my latest items to show up I have to delete a previous one. Is this a feature or an oversight?

  3. And once again….. I wish my Jeep didn’t need quite so many parts this year. The Christmas list looks like a little bit of heaven! 🙂 I wish I was wealthy along with being rich…


  4. From this list, I have a Discovery and a Marauder. Love ’em both!

    I finally picked up a chronograph earlier this year, when my Marauder started shooting higher and flatter than usual (it’s tuned for 11.5 fpe, and had drifted up around 14). I wound up with a ProChrono Digital and its USB interface. I absolutely adore the direct-to-computer interface. It really takes the tedium out of measuring long PCP shot strings. My pea-shooter M-rod gets 48 match-grade shots, or ~90 plinking-grade shots. Hand-transcribing a string like that, compared to plunking it right into an excel chart, gets old fast! I’d say that B.B. should get one, but I believe the USB adapter and software only supports Windows 🙁

    I also have the Air Venturi A.G.E. Quiet Pellet Trap and like it very much. I’ve had it for two years, and it’s never failed to catch a shot. I know a lot of folks like to build their own duct seal traps, but I just couldn’t be bothered. I love the way the Air Venturi trap is sized for a standard-size 10m target to slide right in.


    • GenghisJan,
      On the subject of duct seal pellet traps:

      The main advantages are you can build them to any size you desire and they are quiet and last many thousands of shots. The only disadvantage I’ve noticed so far is that it is difficult to retrieve the pellets if you want to melt them down for other uses, which is where I am now. I like to melt them into small ingots but haven’t thought of a use for them yet except maybe fishing jigs since I don’t make reloads.

      I have a Crosman 852 pellet trap that I place in front of my duct seal trap now. The duct seal catches those rare errant shots I make (which I never do anymore) and those my grandkids make. It is very easy to retrieve pellets from the Crosman trap but there is still a lot of paper and cardboard chips mixed in with the lead that needs to be slagged off when melting. This trap has three cloth ballistic curtains, the front one being of a different and lighter material than the other two, and it is now totally destroyed after about 1,500 shots. The other two are still in good shape. Replacement curtains cost around $5 with $8 shipping so that is not good and the only detractor with this trap. It is quiet also, with only the noise of the pellet hitting the target and cardboard backing I put behind the target.

      My Crosman trap looks just like the Leapers that Tom is showing except for the way the target is held in front. His shows brackets where mine has pegs that pin the cardboard and target to the trap. I like having the cardboard backing because it’s easy to Scotch tape any size target to it since my pellet holes are no larger than 2″. It’s even large enough to hold the targets I used to use for the online competition that had 30 bulls.

      I like the idea of the Champion trap and I wonder if I could practice with my Ruger MKIII .22LR on my indoor range. The noise wouldn’t be too much of an issue but the smoke and fumes might.

      • I like the idea of the Champion trap and I wonder if I could practice with my Ruger MKIII .22LR on my indoor range. The noise wouldn’t be too much of an issue but the smoke and fumes might.

        Lead dust may be a health hazard… At close range there is some back-splatter (heck, at really close range even pellets spatter — I’ve had targets that look like they had been pressed into 60grit sand-paper, from just a few pellets).

        • Wulfraed,
          You are most likely right about the lead dust issue. I think I want to avoid that. On the pellet splatter issue, I have first hand knowledge of that and have mentioned it before on this blog. I have Styrofoam like ceiling tiles and directly above my metal resettable squirrel target they have splatter marks and even pieces of lead stuck in them. Yes, pellets definitely do splatter, and I shoot it with .177 exclusively at 10m, and the rifles used are in the neighborhood of 700fps.

      • ChuckJ, I’ve sporadically used mine for .22LR or short in the basement. Usually it’s just for testing after repair, but sometimes I’ve done some extended shooting as well.

        Powder fumes/smoke are never an issue. Lead dust? I find it hard to believe that heavy lead dust stays airborne long enough to make it back to where I’m shooting. I’ve certainly never noticed anything.

        Noise is the only issue.

        • Vince,
          I wasn’t concerned about me breathing the lead dust since I will be 30 feet from it but I am wondering about the accumulation of lead dust in the target area, in the carpet or near by furniture where kids or others may eventually be sitting. There seems to be a consensus about harmful effects to children ingesting lead from lead paint so this might be an issue here as well if they’re sitting in it. One might even think that vacuuming the carpets in the area could also spread the dust if a Hepa filter doesn’t prevent that or is defective.

          • Vince and Chuck,

            I never gave lead dust a thought as to hazard given age and typical open air arenas where I shoot. However, the President of the target shooting league showed up one night wearing a dust filter. Seems in a physical he just had, the lead concentration in his blood stream was around 23 micrograms per dcl (?) and he said 4 to 6 was normal and acceptable (I think I have the numbers wrong as the internet says under 20 is acceptable in an adult). He blamed it on his 3 days a week target shooting – both in and outdoors. The doctor said the body would filter the lead content out over time but to wear the mask to prevent inhaling any more dust. I may have the number wrong for him but he was wearing that mask.

            Take it for what it’s worth.

            Fred DPRoNJ

            • Fred,
              Good to know. I think treating the cause and not the symptom is the solution. Correct me if I’m wrong here. The only reason for the lead dust exposure is because the bullet is shattering when it hits the metal trap. Therefore, if I use a material that absorbs the bullet without it shattering it’s not a problem.

              There is a product sold by Law Enforcement Targets that is a 40lb block of fibrous material 2’x2’x2″. It is supposed to stop thousands of rounds of, up to 9mm, bullets. I have one of these but haven’t tried it on firearms.

              I tried it with my .177 rifles but the pellets bounced back and didn’t embed. I tried it with my .22 Marauder and it held the pellet but, after experiencing the .177 ricochets, my confidence level is not very high with .22 pellets consistently being absorbed. Especially when the fps begins to decrease over an air fill. Dangerous experimentation needs to be done to verify this.

              If you remember Jane our rocket scientist reader (Hi Jane, haven’t heard from you in quite a while), she said she uses one but I don’t know all details of her setup. Would love to know more. You there Jane?

              All that being said, I would think the lead dust problem would be resolved. And with the smoke and noise (with proper hearing protection, of course) not being a problem (need more reassurance here with the smoke issue), indoor, in house, in basement, firearm shooting may be a possibility.

              Still sounds dangerous to test all this out, though. Any volunteers?


            • Fred,

              insufficient ventilation is sometimes an issue with indoor ranges. Even with proper ventilation, there can be issues if the back-stops aren’t cleaned regularly. I believe that the NRA will provide both analysis (w/readings) and suggestions for free, if a range request such a service. I would expect this to be less of an issue with an outdoor range. I’m guessing that maintenance schedules could be more relaxed.


  5. Must haves for every airgunner IMHO:

    1-Ballistol (because I hate rust)
    2-A dewey cleaning rod, brass brush, jb bore paste & loop (because this has cured accuracy problems in so many of my guns)
    3-A decent gunsmith tool kit (because there’s no reason for a rounded allen head screw or buggered stock screw) One of my pet peeves is folks that work on screws with a regular screwdriver rather than a hollow ground.
    4-A decent gun vise (useful for mounting scopes and working on your guns in general)

    These are the things I use every time I’m around my guns.


  6. I was very pleased to see two items I already own, in the list. The Marauder,, which I obtained this week,, and still need to scope,, and the Challenger I have owned,, and shot in competition with great success. The pellet traps will probably be my next purchase, if I can’t find a way of getting the wife to get me one for Christmas.

    Kevin’s post has merit, too. He has used brand names for 1 and 2,,,, how about providing your thoughts on 3 and 4?
    This may not be the place,, but in the realm of pellet traps,,, if you were to design one,, what might be your specifications? Being one who has the proclivity of building things,, I would love to know where to start on such a project.

  7. It’s rated to stop standard-speed .22 long rifle bullets, so you know that nothing your airguns can toss at it is going to do any damage.

    I think mine has the “Outers” name on the label… And it /is/ possible to damage one if you hit low — my RWS Diana m54 .22 put a nasty dent on the rounded metal that makes up the lead reservoir! {Shows how badly zeroed that scope was…}

    If you don’t mind spending a little more money, the Alpha Master with its remote readout that allows you to be up at 15 feet from the skyscreens is great for those who also want to chronograph firearms.

    The “Master” versions also save one from nasty repair costs should one hit low (yes, another low hit — different situation; since I was shooting indoors at 15 feet I had to fit the scope view under the LED emitter sky-screen (optional) while getting the barrel high enough to clear the base… That’s a tight fit with a Condor). I’ve got the Beta Master model (Blue paint) which, as I recall, has more memory (six 10-shot strings can be saved). I also have the optional printer though I should see if that still works — it fell off the table once and I had to take it apart to try to free up/reset the print head drive system.

    the Blue Book of Airguns, 10th Edition


    There’s a 10th edition now! I’m still recovering from buying the 9th edition (along with the firearms books — I needed to evaluate my collection WRT NRA ArmsCare insurance coverage)

    If you want a nice target rifle without paying a fortune, there used to be just one choice — the Daisy Avanti 853. It still exists, of course, and there are hundreds of thousands of them still in the hands of junior shooters all around the country, but its time has passed.

    If the 853 is passe, just think about how stale THIS item is (hmm, do img tags make it through the software; blockquote tags make it…)


    That is NOT an 853… It’s the one-year (~1983) US Shooting Team Daisy Powerline 953… A sheep in wolf’s clothing… The sights and stock of the 853, with the early 80s 953 barrel and action (BB fill port blocked off, but has the magnetic BB feed probe and feed groove; no 5-shot pellet magazine — single shot only).

    Looks like I have 3 + 2 halves of your part one listing: trap, chronograph, and Marauder… The halves being the above USST 953, and the Condor instead of Talon SS

  8. B.B.,

    Good wish list. I love my Champion pellet trap. Even .22 rimfires leave just a scratch. I am surprised by the inclusion of the Gamo Whisper. I went back and read your review. Wow! Those were impressive groups at 25 yards with wadcutters of all things, including Gamo Match pellets!


  9. I have one of the Champion traps and I can second your recommendation. It does “clank” loudly when catching a .25 cal pellet from a powerful airgun; a bag of grass seed leaning on the back of the trap quiets things considerably.

    The one airgun on your list I really want is the TX200. I have not decided which caliber, but it will have the walnut stock. Just a matter of time!

    Paul in Liberty County

    • Paul,

      Just spread a thin (1″) layer of duct seal on the ceiling of your champions/outers bullet trap. You’ll be shocked at how much it quiets the impact. Doesn’t wear out as fast as you would expect either.


  10. I can vouch for the heavy duty pellet trap that was worth every penny. I have absolute confidence in it. I have this crazy notion of wondering at what caliber and distance the trap would fail at, but I’m certainly not going to experiment with mine. I’m sure it laughs at my .177 pellets behind its wall of duct seal.

    I see that the Challenger has a more advanced look. But the question is whether it is more accurate than the Edge. My impression from awhile ago is that the Challenger is the clear favorite among youth shooters. True?

    I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal yesterday as much as I enjoyed my microwavable stuffing. Always trust the pros I say. Heh heh.


    • I believe the bullet trap is rated for .22 standard velocity at 50 feet…

      Muzzle Energy for standard velocity 40gr long rifle is about 112ft-lbs… Perverting ChairGun Pro (ignoring the ballistic coefficient, for example — just stuffing in the 40gr and 1125fps) shows ~100ft-lbs at 50 feet (101 @ 15 yards, 98 at 20 yards).

      My Condor, at setting 8-0, with 32gr Eun Jins only managed 930fps, giving a mere 63ft-lbs muzzle… So that bullet trap should be usable at short range…

    • The earlier Challengers ( without the Walther Lothar barrels) are used by the VA in their shooting programs. I shot against a lot of them at the Wheelchair Games, in Richmond, this year. I can only vouch for mine,, which has the WL barrel,, and have shot a number of 99s,,, but no 100s yet.

      So far,, it’s still more accurate than I am.

  11. Just look at those two shooters in the pic of the week. Aren’t their right arms awfully flush with the bodies? I thought they were supposed to stick out more. Individual variation I suppose.


    • Matt61,

      Dropping the elbow is fine. Remember what you wrote about David Tubb? He raises his arm to place the rifle into position, and then he drops his arm to lock it into position. This is the same thing that I did/do. I was taught to raise my elbow, and keep the elbow raised. But I eventually realized the same thing that Tubb’s does. What doesn’t work so well is never raising the elbow and then trying to position the rifle. Some people still prefer to keep the elbow up, but not all. The important thing is that first raising the elbow helps you consistently find the correct position.

      I have found that an important difference between the “correct” butt-stock placement, which is in a pit made by muscle when raising the elbow , and an “incorrect” placement is that when placing the butt-stock into the pit, the rifle tends to consistently stay centered. If you miss this pit, then the rifle will sometimes want to drift to the right, or seem to favor an aim-point off to the right. It simply isn’t as solid.

      In any case, David Tubb describes his procedure, and hi final position would probably look like that taken by these two girls. You just don’t see how they lock the rifle into position, as Tubb describes.


  12. Also, I see that the pic of the week shooters are using that hold with the front hand reversed so that the fingers are pointing left instead of right. R. Lee Ermey shoots like that. It looks very unnatural.


    • Matt61,

      If you’re going to shoot offhand, resting bone on bone (elbow on hip bone), gives a good foundation. A “reverse grip” with your offhand is an easy way to keep that elbow in tight to allow it to rest on your hip bone.


      • kevin…

        I guess I could never shoot that way. My elbows only go to the bottom of my ribs. In order to get my left elbow down to my hip, I have to do some very uncomfortable twisting of my upper body.
        You might guess that I did not participate in high school athletics… my I.Q. was too high, I did not drool enough, and my knuckles did not drag on the ground. If anyone finds that comment offensive, tooooo baaaaad.

        I might try shooting that way some time this morning to find out how many inches in front of my left foot that the pellet hits the ground.


    • Matt61,

      I think that Kevin is correct about the benefits of twisting the wrists like that. I never used such a hold, but then again I also used the older FWB 300’s, which had an entirely different kind of stock. Modern precision air-rifle competitors apply all sorts of adjustments to fully customize their holds, including sight risers that allow them to keep their necks straight, and adjustable cheek and butt-plates so that they don’t have to contort their upper body into position. Back in the 70’s, we didn’t have adjustable stocks, and we didn’t use risers. We didn’t have adjustable anything, really. We also didn’t have the super stiff jackets and other clothing that they have now (Including underwear!). Back then, jackets had to be so loose that they’d drop a kneeling roll down the jacket and it had to fall straight down and out of the jacket. For the test, the shooter was also required to wear the exact same clothes that they were going to wear during competition, including a sweatshirt (if you wore one under the jacket). It really is like comparing apples and oranges. With all of those restrictions, it’s amazing that the national record was a 399 out of 400 (same target).


    • Matt, you are quite observant. Now that you have pointed out the reverse hold I am attempting to determine whether their thumbs are on the same side as their fingers or maybe the thumb is just not being held up. As to whether that hold can feel natural, it seem that may be a matter of who flexible the wrist is when bent backward like that. My wrists are quite a bit older than theirs and have been broken before. For me the hold probably won’t work well but I can see how it may work better for some than the usual hold. ~Ken

  13. B.B., (and everyone who reads this), now that I have taken the plunge into the dark waters of CO2 I am starting to accumulate used cartridges. They are ferrous so the recyclers I know of don’t want them. I am not the greenest person around (in all three senses of the word) but I would like to recycle these cartridges some who. I was wondering is there is some smooth bore they can be shot out of (tongue in cheek). Any suggestions about this will be most welcome (serious or not). ~Ken

      • Darn it, B.B., where are all of those empty cartridges? There must be many millions of them by now.
        I was just listening to part 1 of your interview with Robert Beeman. I really appreciate that so many things are archived and available today.

        Oops! You are now speaking about dot sights in another podcast. Very interesting! I’ll listen to this podcast a few times.

        Speaking of which…I recently discovered that many classic radio programs are available for our listening pleasure (listening on a trip is where I suspect many people might have time to listen, especially now that so many newer vehicles play mp3 files).

        One source is http://www.dumb.com/oldtimeradio/ which shows that not all at the site is dumb. They appear to want us to listen only on line, but the files are mp3 files and once you click on one you can look at the URL (address) and see how the mp3 files are named. It takes a little time but you can download files for later listening. This site and the next one have all but a few of the classic Gunsmoke episodes and episodes from many, many programs.

        Look at http://classiccinemaonline.com for movie and mp3 files. I am using dial up on a muxed phone line just now and it seems I will have to wait much to long to get the complete main page downloaded. However, when you have the complete page there will be a link (button) on the right hand side that points to classic radio. Easy to listen on line or download. I hope some of you have an interest is this. Otherwise, I apologize for taking up so much space for this subject.


        • kenholmz,
          What a treasure!! This bring back so many old memories of the times my brother and I spent around the ole console radio before TV was even heard of in our house.

          • chuckj, when I wrote I hoped there would be at least one person who would might not know about the sites yet and who might be as elated as I was to stumble upon them. Listen in good health, my friend. I expect there are others who will be pleased to learn of this treasure trove. ~Ken

              • chuckj, I am going to tell you the secret of downloading the mp3 files from dumb.com. I’ll use X-1 as the example. I clicked on the first program in the group. This brings us to a path /oldtimeradio/listen/22916/ followed by more identifying information. Get rid of everything after the number 22916 and ad .”mp3″ to that, yielding 22916.mp3 then change the “listen” to “mp”. You now have /oldtimeradio/mp/22916.mp3 in the address line. Hit enter and if all goes well you will be downloading the file (complete with the title of the episode), whether you have it download automatically or always choose where to download.

                From here you can begin incremented the number by “1”. Repeat until you wear yourself out or reach the end. This way you can save to CD or mp3 player and listen on the go. The program files are freely available, dumb.com is not trying to sell them to you so you can listen guilt free. ~Ken

    • Screw a small wall-hook into the neck, spray paint them with transparent/metal-flake/mica auto paints, and use them as Christmas ornaments (might be a bit heavy for flimsy trees)…

      {A really spur-of-the-moment idea}

      • Wulfraed, you and my wife are on the same page. I know I won’t generate as many empty cartridges as some, but I can only imagine the Christmas tree some may have 🙂


      • Wulfraed,

        Great idea. In fact, you could apply craft glue to the entire surface, roll them in craft glitter, tie a red ribbon around the neck, make a bow & hang it on the tree.. My mind is popping with ideas. A crafter’s paradise of opportunities!


      • Wulfraed,

        That is a good idea. I’m thinking that you could reduce the weight by drilling holes through them? Just make sure there’s little or no pressure remaining.


  14. 1 paint them for xmas decorations
    2 solid ammo for CO2 powered spud gun
    (create more ammo as you shoot lol)
    3 fill them with black powder and fuse them for the 4th of july
    (watch out for shrapnel :>} )
    4 string them up as wind chimes
    *5 reactive targets
    Why yes,I am a redneck!

    • JT, we are still laughing about the spud gun, in particular. I have thought about the basement bomber recycling but my wife vetoes that one (I shot myself in the foot once and she expect I’ll do even worse if I try the black powder route). I do like the wind chimes idea (if only I can train them to make different sounds). The wife is all over the Christmas decoration idea. She also wants them for games at events she is part of. She thought about propelling them at holes in plywood with a sling shot but decided that was a bit dangerous. She now wants them so the kids can toss them at baskets (like at the carnivals).

      You know you’re a redneck if…. what you make me think of just now is, “a country boy can survive” 🙂


      • Wulfraed & Edith,GMTA :>}

        Ken,glad yall are having some fun with this
        To get different sounds out of them for chimes just cut to
        different lengths or drill odd numbered holes.
        They would also make neat clappers for bells.

        B.B.,Didn’t you already post about this spud gun on the blog?
        Someone had to have given me the idea because I’m
        not the creative type.I don’t think I’ve ever had an original thought
        in my head! lol

        • JT, speaking of having no original thoughts, it didn’t even occur to me to cut or drill on the cartridges. As an aside, it says cartridges on the box but I keep wanting to call them cylinders or tanks. I suppose size dictates the label. Thanks for the ideas and have a good one. ~Ken

  15. Spud gun,

    Okay, I can’t stay out of it any longer. Such 12-gram CO2 guns exist. The late Fred Liady shot one several times at our Damascus airgun show. It set off the 12-gram cartridge in its breech, then allowed it to shoot out the end of a long tube. It had a pool ball for a handle and I think that was pulled back to pierce the cartridge.

    The cartridge came out at several hundred feet per second and vanished into the sky in less than a second.


    • B.B., if I understand this correctly, you are saying that a full CO2 cartridge propelled itself into the ether. I think Tim Allen would approve. I think I’ll stick to my 60 to70 shots per cartridge for now (but I would like to see one of those “spud guns” in action). ~Ken

      • You mean that thing worked like a mortar? You drop the cartridge into the tube, a sharp pin punctures the seal at the bottom of the tube, and the cartridge takes off?

        Sounds dangerous, fun, and expensive.


        • Les,

          It wasn’t exactly like a mortar. The cartridge didn’t pierce itself by falling onto the pin. There was a spring-loaded pin that was attached to the pool ball handle. You dropped in the cartridge, elevated the muzzle then pulled the pool ball back and let go.

          I have probably told you all too much! 🙂


    • Many years ago I remember my Dad had a ‘race car kit’ that was powered by CO2. It was a wooden model of a race car (not too different from a pinewood derby car) with a cavity in the rear into which you put an 8gr CO2 cartridge. As I remember it came with a tool with a spring-loaded plunger that you placed over the cartridge neck. Pull the knob back, let it go (like launching a pinball ball) and it pierced the cartridge and propelled the car.

      My Dad never actually tried it.

      • Vince, that sounds like a more powerful engine than the compressed air and water we had in those little rockets. It would be interesting to check fps and fpe on one of those kits. ~Ken

      • We built these in junior high wood shop from a block of wood! Raced them in the auditorium aisle like drag races, two cars at a time. They had small eyelets underneath and ran down parallel strings to keep them on course. The instructor had a launcher that used two nails in a piece of wood at the height of the cartridges that he would hit with a hammer to get them going. Students at the finish line with stop watches would record the times and we had run-offs of the winners. Fun stuff!!


        • One of my schoolboy friends had a race car like that. His was made of light blue plastic and looked like an Indy Car of the day. It was hollow to hold a CO2 cartridge. I don’t remember how the cartridge was pierced.

          He lived in a big old Victorian house with a long, screened-in front porch. We would run it down the length of the porch. Only one trip per cartridge. Our fuel budget didn’t last very long.

          My friend was killed in the Navy during the Vietnam War. I still miss him.


  16. Hopefully,, the statute of limitation will protect me after admitting this,,, but,, the cylinders inside fire extinguishers ( also CO2),, will travel about 3/4 of the distance across the Ohio river,, using a similar setup and a hammer.

  17. For all who aspire to see what a cartridge that has been pierced looks like, we did one on American Airgunner, the first season. We used an 88-gram cylinder and ran it on a steel guide wire about 150 feet long. We filmed it with two cameras, but until it was slowed down to about one-quarter the speed, you couldn’t see what it was.


  18. You said Crosman doesn’t make a lower vel. nitro piston rifle anymore? I go to Crosman’s site and see one listed, but out of stock. It’s a Trail NP in 22 cal listed at 495 fps (the reg one is listed at 800 fps). They also list a Benjamin Titan NP (in Stock) in .177 @ 695 fps (also this gun comes with over 1000 fps in reg form). Would these guns not be easier to shoot also?

      • Thanks BB. Maybe I should get the Benjamin Titan NP while they still have it in stock. I just don’t like it as well as the Crosman Trail NP due to the lack of open sights. I’ve noticed a lot of pellet guns now coming without open sights. I think that is a shame. I love open sights. In fact, I’ve took some of the “younger” crowd with me shooting (Rimfire) and they can’t shoot unless it has a scope or red dot on it. Open sights is becoming a lot art with the newer generation! I think everyone ought to learn with open sights first. Plus if your scope/red dot ever got damaged or failed in the field, you’d always have the open sights to “fall’ back on.

        • For what it’s worth,
          I love my C7 Titan Gp (lower power). Easy to cock and drives tacks. Bought a C8 (not lower power) and it is much harder to shoot accurately and much harder to cock. Chrono’s around 30 to 50 fps apart. No comparison the C7 is a winner and the C8 a loser. I have tried hard to make the C8 behave to no avail. I can’t explain it. I would not sell the C7 for $300 and I would not buy a C8 for $30. I am on the lookout for the C7.

          Just my .02

  19. B.B., you may already be familiar with the article I am going to link to. If you aren’t you may not want to look at it until after you perform your tests regarding different twist rates. This article is about airgun accuracy. To quote from the first paragraph, “Accuracy in its simplest sense is nothing but consistency”. I have read enough of your writings to believe you concur, perhaps whole heartedly. The author touches on a number of points and twist rates are prominent. The article is titled Understanding Accuracy Part 1 (I can find no part 2), by Jim Baumann.
    I have checked the spellings and “accuracy” has the extra “r” in some spots, including the URL.

    I found this article while looking for something on different twist rates in airgun rifling, which the author does touch on more than once. I suppose I could have said this earlier on. I do look forward to the results of you test, B.B. ~Ken

  20. Edith,
    I haven’t heard from PA yet about the wishlist capacity. I just installed Google Chrome thinking maybe that would show them all but it doesn’t show more than 50 either. I know 50 seems like a lot but I added all the pellet types I’m interested in testing which adds a bunch.

    Also, I tried to use the comments feed in Chrome for this blog and all I get is html. Has anybody else tried Chrome?

  21. Everyone,

    I have an odd question regarding Beeman coated pellets. Awhile back I was given several tins of the Beeman coated wadcutters. The first thing I noticed about these is that they are very stiff (hard). They don’t feel like lead at all, and in fact feel as if they are made of some kind of ceramic material (I know they aren’t). The benefits touted about these pellets is that they don’t get you hands as dirty.

    My question is, do these hard pellets cause increased wear on rifling? I would hate to ruin the rifling on an accurate airgun? (Does anyone have a negative gut feeling about these, like I do?)


    • Victor,

      That is a question we will have to refer to Pyramyd AIR. But I will say this — I doubt that anything Beeman sells for airguns will hurt the rifling. It might leave a deposit in the bore that has to be cleaned out, but I doubt that it will wear the barrel.



      • B.B.,

        Thanks for your reply on this. I will save the Beeman’s for the end of my test’s.

        Inspired by your test results with the Gamo Whisper, I’m testing a Gamo Silent Cat with different pellets. This rifle never impressed me and was one of my two least accurate rifles, so I’ve designated it a “plinker”. I started my informal testing last night using CP Heavies. 40 shots went into a group of about 0.4″, including a several blown shots. I wasn’t trying to shoot the best groups possible, I just wanted to see how well it shot on the fly. I can tell that it has better potential than I had originally thought.


    • Are you talking about these:


      or these?


      • Vince,

        The first (Beeman Wadcutter). They feel brittle to me. However, I’ve also read reviews where some say that they actually shatter instead of smash like lead pellets. My concern is that airgun barrels (rifling) are not made with the hard steal used for firearms, and yet pellets can move just as fast. I would imagine that airgun rifling is more delicate, and thus requires that owners be more picky. That’s what I’m concerned about.


        • Victor,

          No, airguns have dead-soft steel barrels, just like .22 rimfires. They will last for millions of shots with lead, but with jacketed slugs they will wear out.

          Copper plated lead pellets are not the same as jacketed bullets. The copper is so thin that it deforms with the lead, so no danger. And lead that has been hardened with antimony is also much softer than the steel in a barrel. So once again, no damage.


        • I don’t think you have anything to worry about. In this picture:


          you’ll see three deformed Beeman Coated Wadcutters that came in a tin like the one in the first link. The pellet on the left was wacked with a hammer on the nose, the second on the side. The third was partially melted with a butane torch. They appear to be ordinary lead, and the two on the left squashed with the dull “thud” typical of lead.

  22. B.B., it is interesting to me that this Thanksgiving holiday I have shot each of my airguns. This evening, I so a simple search and land on your blog of February 20th, 2012. I wrote a bit as I prepared to make the trip to the hospital. I was concerned that the surgery would take a toll on my airgun life. Not just physically, but mentally. It has been nine months now and I am reaching the point you predicted, I am feeling much better.

    I also want to thank everyone for the support you offered back then (and now). It means a lot.


  23. B.B.,
    The F-1 Shooting Chrony will only collect velocity data in memory of an attached, and separately purchased ballistic printer or remote control. I have had 2 of these units, and they are excellent, but apparently neither of my F-1s have had the stereo jack needed to use these accessories. The newest one of these F-1s was purchased, new, less than a year ago–so maybe the jack to allow printer or remote use is a very recent addition to the F-1 model?
    Rob T

  24. Great list. I have owned a Talon SS for about 11 years now. It still shoots like the day I bought it. I have also have owned a TX200 for about 8 years. That TX is the most accurate out of the box springer I have ever owned. A brilliant, accurate, quiet and quality airgun. It needs nothing. I will never sell it.

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