How hard is it to make a great springer?

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

Announcement: Maheen Na 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

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

Blog reader J-F suggested this blog, and other readers chimed in with their approval. Since this is a topic that I’ve been quietly studying for more than a decade, I welcomed the opportunity to talk about it today.

The thing that got me started wondering about this topic was a tuneup kit for the Beeman R1/HW 80 made by Ivan Hancock. Called the Mag 80 Laza kit, it took my R1 to almost 23 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, yet when it fired it felt like a 10 foot-pound gun. There was no recoil, no vibration — no sensation of power. It’s what I call a balanced tune because it masked the power in the ultra-smooth behavior. That rifle also had Hancock’s Venom Mach II trigger, which is highly refined and based on the Rekord, so the trigger was perfect, as well.

The Mag 80 Laza kit tune required 50 lbs. of cocking effort, plus the rifle is very large and heavy. From those perspectives, it was not ideal. But in all other respects, it was a dream to shoot. That started me wondering what makes a great spring-piston air rifle.

Power
I’ve noticed that power does affect the performance of a spring gun, but it isn’t a linear relationship. There are plenty of weak Chinese springers that will testify to that fact! What I’ve noticed is that the likelihood of good performance diminishes rapidly as power increases. To put it simply, it’s much easier to make a 6 foot-pound spring gun that performs well than it is to make one that produces 20 foot-pounds. But that’s NOT a guarantee that 6 foot-pound guns are all good or that 20 foot-pound guns are all bad. My Whiscombe generates very close to 30 foot-pounds in .25 caliber and is still very smooth.

Vibration is one killer of great performance. I have an HW 55SF, a target rifle made without the barrel lock common to most HW 55s. It’s really just an HW 50 with HW 55 markings, but it’s a recognized model. And as soft as it shoots, it buzzes. That is very disturbing — to have a super-accurate, easy-cocking target rifle that feels like a bottle of mad wasps when it fires.

And, yet, the aforementioned Beeman R1 with the Mag 80 Laza kit and triple the power was super-smooth. Go figure!

The point I’m trying to make is that vibration ruins a shooter’s impression of the gun — no matter how accurate it may be. And, as the power increases, so does the likelihood of vibration because the parts are all under greater stress. While low power is not a guarantee of good performance, a lot of power does make smoothness that much harder to achieve.

But power has another bad aspect: Recoil! I have an HW 55 CM that does not vibrate, but it has a jarring thump when it fires. Maybe that IS a kind of vibration, but it’s felt in the face as a slap delivered through the cheekpiece of the stock. My Beeman R1 with the Mag 80 Laza kit did not recoil as much as this puny little HW 55. Once again — go figure!

Mac has entrusted me to tune his HW 55 Tyrolean that he says is near coil-bound. I can do that by simply shortening the mainspring, but guess what? The cupped cheekpiece on the Tyrolean stock will knock his teeth out! He doesn’t know that because he owns several other Tyrolean spring rifles that all shoot very nice, but what he hasn’t considered is that all of them have the sledge anti-recoil system installed in the stock. That isolates the shooter from the recoil that would slap him in the face with every shot.

Lastly, I have a Beeman R8 that’s been tuned to just more than the power of an HW 55. That rifle has a Tyrolean stock, as well, but all the right things were done to eliminate vibration and recoil, and it’s a sheer dream to shoot.

Beeman R8 profile left
My Beeman R8 has a Tyrolean stock, but the powerplant is tuned so well that you don’t notice any vibration or recoil.

When we consider power in a spring rifle, we need to understand what it does to the shooting behavior. Yes, there are powerful spring rifles that do shoot smoothly, but they didn’t happen as a happy accident during manufacture! They had to be engineered very carefully from the start to eliminate excess vibration and recoil.

Cocking effort
I could have lumped cocking effort with power because it does relate, but I wanted to address it separately — as a way of comparing how the right cocking effort contributes to your enjoyment of a spring gun. I guess the poster child for good cocking effort has to be the Diana 27. It cocks so easily that you want to shoot the rifle all day long. Then, when you do shoot it — if it’s has been tuned properly, which is nothing more than a good lubrication for a model 27 — it neither vibrates nor recoils. That will put a smile on your face every time! Add in a properly adjusted trigger, and the Diana model 27 may well be the most pleasant spring rifle in the world. But others are nice, too.

The FWB 124 cocks very easily for the power. Its firing behavior is both buzzy and has some recoil, but that can be tuned out. A properly tuned and adjusted FWB 124 is a dream to shoot.

The Air Venturi Bronco is another winner. I selected the action after shooting the original Bronco (RM-10 made by Mendoza), which was a youth-sized rifle with a horrible Euro-modern stock. The cocking effort was/is light, the trigger is light and positive, and the vibration is at a minimum. There’s a little recoil, but I’m guessing there doesn’t need to be. The Bronco is very close to an ideal spring rifle.

Blog reader Duskwight is building a dual-opposed piston spring rifle that’s based on the Whiscombe rifle, in concept. The design is entirely his own, but he wondered if gas springs might make a significant difference. I can tell him they will because gas springs do eliminate a lot of the spurious vibration that goes with the spring-piston powerplant. As smooth as my Whiscombe is, it still vibrates a little when fired. I’m betting the “Duskcombe” is going to be entirely neutral when it fires.

So, a gas spring is good for canceling vibration. Does that mean it’s also the best solution for a spring-piston rifle? Yes and no because a gas spring changes the cocking effort no matter how hard or easy it is to cock. A metal spring increases in effort as the spring compresses. It’s easy in the beginning when the mechanical advantage is low and harder toward the end when the mechanical advantage is high. But a gas spring has the same resistance throughout the entire cocking stroke. Even a light gas spring starts out hard at first. Therefore, I don’t think that a gas spring should be used on the ideal air rifle…unless a superior cocking linkage can be found to correct the gas spring’s problem.

Size and weight
I have a Walther LGV Olympia target rifle that’s a breakbarrel springer. The cocking effort is about 15 pounds, which makes it a winner. And the rifle neither vibrates nor does it recoil. It’s a target rifle, so you know it’s accurate. Even the trigger is about perfect. It’s the perfect spring gun, right? Wrong! The Walther LGV Olympia is very large. At 10.5 lbs., it’s also quite heavy. You wouldn’t want to lug it around all day no matter how much fun it is to shoot. Size does matter; and in this case, smaller and lighter wins the day for a general purpose airgun.

Walther LGV Olympia
The Walther LGV Olympia target rifle has just about everything you want in a spring gun, but the package is too large and heavy for general use.

Once more, the Diana 27 comes to the forefront. It’s not just light at just over 6 lbs., it’s also sized right. The forearm and pistol grip are both slim enough to almost be called dainty…but not quite. The BSF 55 was small and light and had a great trigger. But it was somewhat hard to cock, where the FWB 124 with the same power was much easier to cock. But it was also heavier, so there was a tradeoff.

Diana model 27 breakbarrel air rifle
When all is said and done, the Diana 27 may be the best air rifle ever made.

Remember the topic
Everything in this report is resolved by the right PCP. But the title says we’re talking about spring guns, so that doesn’t count.

How hard is it to make a great springer?
To be great, in my opinion, the gun must:
— be light
— have a slender and well-shaped stock
— be easy to cock
— not have any vibration
— be relatively free from recoil
— have a great trigger
— be accurate

Getting all of that in one package is a daunting challenge. And it isn’t as straightforward as you think it should be, either. You take a “perfect” gun to a well-run airgun factory and ask them to produce it, and they’ll get it wrong every time. They will first take your perfect gun apart and analyze it. Then, they’ll try to match what they see, component by component, to their manufacturing processes. I’ll give you a couple examples.

Your gun has a trigger with contact surfaces that are polished to a mirror finish and hardened to Rockwell 66C. Company A is examining the rifle and uses a CNC mill to make their trigger parts, and they can get a good finish but not one as good as what’s on the trigger you have given them. To do that would require a $35,000 investment in new machinery and tooling. But worse than that, they would have to slow down production to get your level of finish, so each trigger they make would cost about $29 instead of the $17 it cost in the rifle you gave them.

Company B is another reputable airgun maker who looks at your rifle. They don’t like to finish steel parts by hand, preferring instead to tumble them in a graduated set of vibratory tumblers that progressively put a satin luster on the metal before bluing. They don’t employ any hand polishers, nor do they have the machinery needed for polishing the parts. They tell you what they can do, but it falls short of your expectations.

And so it goes. Company after company can make most of what you want, but not everything. This is one reason people cash in their retirement plans and start their own companies to “do it right!” Sometimes, it works and a Weatherby is born. But usually it results in a failed attempt to make something so simple that they wondered why nobody was doing it before they came along. Then they got educated — at a great cost.

I think I know how to make a single good air rifle. Making them in volume is the real trick!

134 thoughts on “How hard is it to make a great springer?

  1. Manufacturing to a price point

    To the uninformed (read ME) it seems that with all the great advances in technology (like cnc, sunnen hones, better quality seals with NASA compounds, etc., etc.) and ease of marketing (primarily with the internet) that we would have better springers than the Diana 27, FWB 124, etc. that ceased production almost 30 years ago. With rare exception we don’t.

    We have better pcp’s. The apparent market demand for power and ease of shooting has now allowed for successful sales of many pcp’s that exceed $1,500.00.

    My passion for airguns is rooted in springers. I like that they’re self contained. I like the cocking routine. I like that if they’re properly tuned they turn into a fine instrument that can be played well by even a novice like me. There’s a zen in shooting a springer that can’t be achieved by shooting a CO2 airgun nor a pcp since you’re interrupted by a necessary fill.

    I won’t sell my pcp’s since they’re tools for jobs that springers can’t perform.

    In my view the days of quality springer introductions is over. Synthetic stocks, ho hum triggers, passe bluing, fiber optic sights, non adjustable pivot bolts, lack of adjustable butt plates, etc. rules the springer production since they are now manufactured to a price point.

    I’m a vintage springer guy for these reasons and more. I really like vintage 10 meter guns since my priority in shooting is accuracy. Don’t get me wrong. I like to plink too. Not all of my airguns can put 10 shots under a dime at 25 yards.

    Speaking of vintage 10 meter guns B.B. mentioned his great example of the Walther LGV Olympia. Yes, in full dress at 10.5 lbs it’s not an ideal springer for most folks. BUT, you can put this gun on a crash diet to reduce weight. By removing the heavy barrel sleeve, removing the lead (could be cast iron depending on vintage) weight in the forestock and removing the front and rear sight you can eliminate 2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs of weight (difference being the size of the barrel sleeve that’s installed since there were two different weights). Now you’ve converted this heavy 10 meter match gun into a sporter configuration! Even after adding a lightweight scope you’re getting a sporter that will rival anything made today for accuracy, cocking effort and weight in that fpe catagory.

    Which leads me to ask, has anyone shot the NEW Walther LGV? This new springer sporter is the first german Walther introduction in over 30? years. Would appreciate comments from anyone that has shot one of these new Walther LGV’s. Thanks.

    kevin


  2. G’day BB,
    I thought spring/strut air rifles recoiled forwards. I don’t believe I have ever felt shoulder recoil from an air rifle even with the Eliminator.
    I just found out some shotgun cartridges left in the sun do kick more, about 50-100fps.
    Cheers Bob


    • Bob

      It is my understanding that spring rifles recoil backward and forward. This is what makes them break scopes that are made for powder burners.

      When the trigger is pulled, the piston is driven forward by the spring. Newton’s law dictates that an equal and opposite reaction to the piston is exerted on the rifle. This results in rearward recoil. The heavier the rifle, the less this recoil is felt. The piston then reaches the end of its forward travel, and pushes the rifle in the forward recoil cycle. The rear recoil is thereby interrupted by the forward recoil. This results in increased force, which is why airgun scopes are built sturdier than those made for powder burners.


      • SL

        Just to add my 2 cents.
        Adding stock weight can actually increase single piston rifle’s performance powerwise. Compared to standard stock my “shillelagh” stock gives additional somewhat 5 m/s to CFX action. Higher stock inertia not only reduces felt rearward recoi, but “cleans equations” in piston-cylinder interaction, making it more effextive as if the piston and spring were starting from a solid concrete or heavy steel plate.
        Another stuff is forward recoil and piston’s backjump. In fact in powerful rifles it compesses the air so hard that air dumps all the piston’s inertia and for a moment begins to drive it back against the spring. So forward kick is like two-stage. Gas springs and heavy pistons (they have more linear performance compared to steel ones) can help to somewhat reduce that effect, but not completely, rising engine’s efficiency. I’ve heard about people experimenting with “space hammer” kickback reducers (steel shot containers) – but that was just me hering something, no resuls published.

        duskwight



    • Bob,

      Slinging Lead got it right. They kick in both directions. And a few kick to the rear, as twotalon said. But I wasn’t referring to the direction of the recoil. Because along with front and back, they also kick out to the side and slap you in the face — or at least some guns do. Even a forward recoil can be bad when it does that.

      B.B.


    • Hey Bob,

      to add an additional 2 cents, I have an RWS 350 for sale that feels like firing a centerfire. It will give you a real kick in the shoulder that you’ve been missing!

      Fred DPRoNJ


    • Bob from OZ,
      I have four spring rifle models. From experience I can tell you that my Ruger Air Hawk and even my IZH-61 do indeed recoil. My grandkids complained of the 61 hurting their shoulder when they first started shooting them. And, as others have mentioned, a spring rifle recoils both forward and back. Or more accurately back and forward.
      -Chuckj


  3. BB. Will be very interested to see if you get to review the new Walther LGV which is causing a lot of comment over the pond. By all accounts very smooth indeed, though not light, Walther have spent a lot of time and money developing a brand new springer for the market. Heres a link to Walther http://walther-lgv.com/



    • Oliver,

      No doubt I will test the new LGV sometime. But what a hosed-up website they put it on! It takes a programmer to find anything, and when you do the text keeps changing on its own as you try to read it. The site, alone, discourages me.

      I dislike it when a company re-uses a model name, simply because it has fetch, but the new gun bears very little resemblance to the old one. That’s the case with the new LGV — at least as far as I can see. It looks like they are trying to sell me a sporting rifle that has a target rifle name. Sort of like when Haemmerli — a once-famous Swiss maker of fine guns — migrated to China!

      I will say this — the technology of the new LGV looks intriguing. And I read what they said about it on the website. It reads like they have given the new gun a great amount of thought. But I’m going to evaluate it by the criteria listed in today’s report. If it doesn’t cut the mustard, I will report it — regardless of the name on the outside.

      B.B.




          • Thats the downside of CAD/CAM manufacturing, under the surface non functional operations receive no attention. The made in Germany label is used much like my Hammerli 850 magnum. It’s well designed and damn accurate but its still a great barrel with a pot metal receiver. Its clever CAM design works well but your not going to confuse the build with old school manufacturing. One of the aspects of ISO 9000x factory specifications that isn’t talked about is the ultimate portability of a product. The label owner of a product label say Webley, Hammerli, Ruger or Walther can simply shift production to anywhere in the world. The made in Germany label indicates a bunch of white shirt & tie aproned machinists carefully crafting each and every part. The truth, the entire thing can be pieced out to multiple job shops and assembled without any aspect of the “real” Walther gun maker touching it.

            That said, the positive “potential” aspects are affordability ( This can be negated by the brand owner extracting a premium for a name ). Also using CAD/CAM you can push the performance envelope and incorporate new ideas much more affordably while non functional aspects can be given more cost effective treatment.



  4. One of the best springers ever the Diana 27, agree completely and at 200meters per second not at all anemic. The LGV is very nice but it just feels so cumbersome.
    If you are looking for a nice middle way perhaps the good old Walther 55 or the slender version of the Walther 53 is a nice alternative.
    Anschutz also made a nice springer at some time called the 335 and also the 333 which is less common, the wood on the anschutz is very poor compared to those very nice walther stocks though. But somehow these rifles are all at least 30 years out of production… That does make you wonder doesn’t it?


    • Carel,

      Excellent points.

      The walther 53 in sporter stock (not the match stock it was also offered with) with a rifled barrel and match diopter is one of my favorite springers. The late model diana 27 is huge in comparison. For those that put a walther 53 on their radar be aware this is a 5 fpe gun, same came with a smooth bore (you don’t want a smooth bore) and the bulky match stock cancels the beauty of what I really like about the LG53 in the sporter stock.

      The Anschutz models 333 and 335 are great guns that are still inexpensive (when you can find them). The Anschutz model 330 is the slimmer/trimmer version of the 335 and is a springer that you can shoot all day with a smile on your face. DO NOT buy an Anschutz model 35. Very disappointing, cobbled together airgun.

      kevin


      • Here’s some more tips for those that would like to try an Anschutz model 333 or 335.

        The Anschutz 333 was also badged and sold as a Crosman Challenger model 6300 and the Anschutz model 335 was also badged and sold as a Crosman Challenger model 6500. The Crosman models usually sell for much less than the Anschutz models although they’re the same guns.

        kevin


  5. All,

    I gain more and more understanding of the “springer” air-rifle story. I once had a very old air-rifle that was in poor condition. I don’t know what it was and if I can get a chance to talk to my uncle, to whom the rife belonged, I will ask him. Oops, sidetracked. My point is this, I didn’t want the rifle because I didn’t think it was very powerful. I didn’t realize in my youth that; first it could be old and in need of repair; two it could be the it was MEANT to shoot the way it did (I.E weak). Thanks to you all and YOU Mr. Gaylord, for all of us that are now learning new things that we THOUGHT we knew.

    Sincerely,

    Chris


    • Chris,

      Your comment means a lot to me, because it indicates that I got through to someone. You now appreciate that many of the old guns were made to shoot slower, and as a result, they were easier to shoot and more fun, as well. I hope you get a chance to shoot a good Diana 27 sometime.

      B.B.


  6. We are in “agreeance” today. Light and slim were at the top of your list and they are on mine as well.
    There is something so right about being able to wrap your hand around the receiver and forearm of a Diana 27 can carry it like you might carry a single shot shotgun.

    When it comes to easy cocking and trigger, My HW55 is tops. I think I could cock my HW55 with my fingernail without hurting it. The 55 has a match trigger, and my HW55 has about the best firing cycle I have ever felt.

    These days I opt for a little more power than the Diana 27 though. The BSA Supersport is probably at the top of my list. It’s not as nicely finished as an R-9, doesn’t quite have as much power, doesn’t have as good a trigger but it weighs about 6 pounds, shoots smoothly, and is as accurate as an R-9.

    You didn’t mention one of my qualifications and that is either a manual set safety or no safety at all. I hate auto set safeties!

    Great blog!

    David Enoch


    • David,

      There were things I didn’t mention. Most were because of space and time. Safeties are always a pain and I enjoy rifles that leave them off entirely. Sights were another whole report’s worth of topic that I avoided. And I went light on the finish and quality of wood, mostly because once the gun is in your hands, those things take second place to accuracy and the general ease of shooting.

      I don’t know why, but you have given me a wonderful idea. What if a TX 200 stock were reduced by a professional stock man so the wood was slender and light? Would that make it a nicer rifle? I think it might. If you could take off 1.5 pounds of weight from a TX 200 Mark III, how nice would it be?

      B.B.


      • Here I am with my Bronco (which I like very, very much). I cock the barrel (easy), insert a pellet and snap the barrel shut, point the rifle down range, lightly rest the rifle on my palm which is carefully placed on a bag rest, take three deep breaths, exhale the third one about one third, acquire a great sight picture, gently squeeze the trigger…crap!!! forgot to release the automatic safety!!! with a blast of air forcefully exhale the third breath gasping and cursing, release the auto safety, and lament the perfect shot lost.
        -Chuckj


  7. I wonder if Hancock offers an install for his tune up kit? Some of us are not that adept in
    doing it.I would hate to try it on my R1 that I have had since 1986 and ruin it.
    I don’t have a spring compressor nor the expertise to try it.


    • NNJ Mike,

      Oh, yes! Hancock did offer complete guns. They were pricy, with his Mach II (a TX 200 clone) going for $2,000 to 4,000 and his Mach I (a super-tuned HW 80) going for $1,500. And yes, he would tune your rifle for a lot less money, but it still wasn’t cheap.

      But Paul Watts can do the same thing for you today. And Paul is in the U.S. and is still doing tunes, where Ivan no longer is — as far as I know.

      B.B.


  8. B.B. –

    This is one of the more far-reaching blog entries that you have posted in a while. Feeling philosophical, are we? So am I.

    There’s an old adage that states that brightly colored and fancy fishing lures aren’t designed to catch fish. They are designed to catch fishermen. The same goes for guns and shooters. Any business has as its primary goal to make money. Making a product only serves as a means to that end. With that thought in mind, I kind of wonder if we aren’t dreaming the impossible dream when we speculate about what it would take to manufacture a spring powered airgun that is perfect… straight from the box.

    Our problem is further complicated when you consider that the definition of “perfect” changes with every shooter. It seems like a forgone conclusion that almost any new springer is going to need some additional work before it becomes the gun that you thought you were getting in the first place. While some shooters will buy a gun and look for ways to reduce the weight, others will buy the same gun and look for ways to add weight. Perhaps the solution lies in manufacturing a spring powered airgun that is easier to tune and modify.

    Believe it or not, the manufacturing model that I suspect might come closest to providing the spring gun shooter with what they need is exemplified by the AR-15. When a shooter starts looking at one of these rifles, they recognize that it is only a starting point, not perfection. The manufacturers recognize this, and the result is a nearly unlimited aftermarket. In the end, each AR-15 has the potential to be “perfect” for a particular shooter.

    I’m not an engineer. I’m actually a photographer. I can tell you now that there is not such a thing as a perfect camera. Depending on the assignment, however, I can quickly assemble the right camera for the job. Modern cameras have evolved into a modular system, not unlike the AR-15 rifle. I’m thinking that some sort of modular approach to spring rifles might present the most agreeable solution to our challenge. Imagine being able to break your rifle open and change out a pre-loaded spring assembly, quickly and safely. Stock components, optics and sights, even caliber changes could even be handled the same way. Airgun manufacturers and aftermarket manufacturers would both benefit from the inevitable upgrade and support market. BTW, mil-spec standardization and the interchangeability that goes with it is the engine that drives the AR-15 market. Airgun manufacturers can’t seem to agree on anything. And we all suffer for it.

    The last comment that I have is that this will be expensive. Better usually is. Yet we pay premium prices for the things that we really want. Anybody here getting a new smart phone or tablet for Christmas? Here’s the philosophical part. The best potential for long-term profit isn’t in making things that are cheap… it’s in making things that are “worth it” to the consumer.

    Respectfully,
    – Jim


  9. BB,
    [When] will PA get the new Diana sub-34 (e.g. 270) rifles? They appear to have the TO6 trigger now (I think the old Schutze was direct sear, which was probably sad for the price) and should be quite nice in all the ways that should matter to a lot of us. Seems like you ought to try them since the 27 seems like one of your favorites — maybe they haven’t gone to weeds even now.



      • BB,
        Between their site (authoritative?), Umarex, etc., I am thoroughly befuddled; Umarex actually labels the Schutze page “270 classic”, but I think it is out of date! The 240 classic (currently listed as TO5 on Diana’s website, but I think that might be behind times) looks a lot like what you like in the old 27 and the 280 is probably at even better power level than 34 in reality! Both look very nice. I guess there is not a 270 right now…


  10. Your post today is very apropos.
    Gotta admit, I’ve spent the summer being enamored with the powderburners we purchased this year (my first foray into PB’s in 20 years). The Savage .22WMR is all sorted out (all it took was a scope 2x the cost of the gun 😉 ), the boys Savage .22 and a Mossberg AR. And under the Christmas tree this year is the GSG 1911 (again, .22LR).
    But the past month has been brutally cold here in Alberta…we’ve not seen a temp above freezing since early November and the last week or so has found me back in the basement in the evenings with the scoped Slavia 631.
    Though not in the category of some of the guns mentioned here…it is no nice never the less and meets many of the criteria. As I’ve mentioned before I lucked out on the stock on mine…it is gorgeous! The bluing is good and all those little extras you mention…the adjustable pivot bolt, the very positive chisel barrel detent and its barrel (it will literally put 5 Exact RS’s into one 1/4″ hole at 30′)…plus the fact that it is completely self contained make it the one airgun that I would never, ever get rid of.
    It is destined to become a family heirloom, along with the boys Red Ryder’s that started us on this journey 6 years ago.
    A journey made much more pleasant because of this blog, b.b. and Edith.


    • Mossberg AR, huh? I heard good things about it as ARs go. What do you think? So, you’re up in the snow in Canada. What a perfect setting for my Enfield No.4 and also for my Mosin 91/30 sniper rifle! I’m jealous.

      Matt61


      • Yup, so far I’m pleased with the Mossberg.
        It was purchased to placate the kids 😉 they play so much Call of Duty and such that they wanted our next gun to be an M4 variant…and I watch too many documentarys on the current world situation that I’ve come to like the AR platform as well. (I’m going to take this chance to wave the flag for all of my American friends on this and other forums. A good friend of mine just returned from doing a video documentary on the 101st Airbornes Medivac’s in Afghanistan. A world I wouldn’t want to be in…and as he says not at all like playing a video game, which of course I knew. But hearing his stories…I admire all the troops…of all nations who are fighting to ensure that the agenda of radicals of any ilk are kept at bay)
        Anyhoo…the Mossberg was purchased because it was very reasonably priced and from my past experiences years ago I know they were dependable. My dad’s collection included a couple of Mossberg centerfires and shotguns and I cut me teeth in the early 70’s on a Mossberg rimfire.
        As to your other comment…yup…cold and we’ve had much more snow than is usual for this time of year. A couple of weeks ago I braved well below zero temps for an afternoon at the range and thought to myself that Stalingrad really must of been hell. I’d read stories of German soldiers walking away to take a pee break in the middle of the night and being found the next morning frozen to death. Proved to myself that I was a wimp…after about an hours shooting I was more than ready to pack up and head for home and a hot latte.
        By the way Matt, you’ve asked before about the Savage WMR and I can only say that now I am extremely pleased…it has become my favorite gun (it and the Slavia).
        With the addition of a Hawke Sidewinder Tactical scope, decent rings and a scope level it is now easily shooting sub MOA. I credit most of the improvement to the scope. The scope it was kitted with, an inexpensive Bushnell was preset to be parallax free at 50 yds and I think that was my problem at the longer distances. I’ve tried some ‘distance’ shooting (200m) and been pleased…groups of under 3″ are pretty easy and I think next summer I can improve upon that.


        • I’ll want to hear more about that Mossberg AR as time goes by. Was anyone else out there on the snowy range? Yes, the Eastern Front was truly epic in every way. That’s one reason I’m drawn to a Russian-capture Mauser.

          With what I’ve learned about the .22 WMR as a hunting cartridge, I wasn’t holding out much hope for accuracy, but it looks like you’ve found it.

          Matt61


  11. That’s a pretty big gun for little Maheen! But he sure looks pleased with it!

    I’ve had two Beeman RS2’s. The first one literally shook itself apart, breaking its scope, shedding screws, and making my teeth hurt. I exchanged it for another new one.

    This one was harsh initially, but fortunately settled down. The best thing I ever did with it was to fit it with the .22 barrel. It is now a smooth shooter and one of my favorite guns.

    My experience with the Bronco safety is the same as Chuckj’s. When you have an automatic safety, it is easy to get into the habit of releasing the safety as soon as the gun is cocked. That really defeats the purpose of the safety. And the safety indicates it is off after the gun is fired, and cannot be reset until it is cocked again. This might not sound important, but it makes it so one cannot tell if the gun is in a fired and empty condition, or if it is in a cocked and loaded condition.
    My only criticism of this otherwise excellent spring gun.

    Les


  12. Those of us who grew up on the Daisy 1894 are pre-conditioned to this kind of automatic safety. To this day, I often go to thumb back the already cocked hammer of any Winchester lever action.


    • Rich,

      Thanks! I remember that half cock safety now! I’d forgotten about that! When I got my 1894 as my first bb gun, it almost looked as big to me as little Maheen’s does to him in the pic above! I don’t have a Winchester today, but when I shot a friend’s, I remember looking at the hammer as though I needed to do something with it. My thumb didn’t remember though….

      /Dave


      • There is a lot to be said for the lever gun, even in today’s world of assault rifles and long range rifles. Light, slender well shaped stock, good trigger, fairly low recoil, decent short range accuracy. The only powder burners I still use are a 92 and a Henry in 22lr. I guess since lever guns used to be in everyone’s pick up rack and campsite they have always been my idea of a go to fun gun, which is the sort of thing that the Bronco and guns like it from the past like the Diana 27 are in the air gun world.


        • Got to agree with that! Lever guns are fun! I’m still trying to think of a way to weasel his Winchester away from him. I should just go get my own, but you know….. I like that one!

          /Dave


  13. duskwight certainly knows what it takes to make an air rifle come together! I started a “too ambitious” of a project like that myself a couple of years ago. Mine will be a cross between a Nibecker Quigley, a Whiscombe, and an FX Independence. Nothing more than just a collection of materials and rough drawings now, I hope I will be able to bring all of those ideas into one harmonious, working gun someday. Individual pieces, as I’m sure duskwight would tell you, are relatively easy, but designing them to all work together isn’t easy. Especially when life gets in the way so often…

    /Dave


  14. OT

    Rant……

    I hate all of these facebook, twitter and such buttons. Seems like every other time I touch the screen on my phone it thinks I’m trying to go to fb or a twit page. I don’t use any of them but the stupid buttons always seem to be located near a link that I want to use! Aaauuuurrrrrrgggghhhh!

    /Rant

    Edith, delete if you want. Just needed to get this off my chest….

    /Dave


    • /Dave,

      That’s why I won’t bother to get one of the new-fangled phones that mimic a PC and that are trying to force me into a whole world of useless and senseless things that I really don’t need. That takes care of “want” to a certain degree.

      Victor


      • I resisted for a long time. Finally gave in when my company decided to cut off our web based email access. Like hotmail… So I got one for that and found that I really like having the ability to look things up anywhere right in my pocket! 🙂


    • I wouldn’t know the first thing about these new phones. I just use the most basic function on my cellphone which is to call people. Some guy recently asked me to text him and started laughing when I told him that I don’t know how.

      Another problem with the smartphones is that they are conversation killers. It doesn’t take much for someone to pull one out and check some fact that came up.

      Matt61


      • Ah but it settles so many arguments!
        You know that guy that played in that old movie with what was his name? A few clicks (even if doesn’t really “click” anymore) and TADA, you got your answer. When talking to someone about something they don’t know, you can SHOW them.

        I found myself using less of my computer since getting a smart phone.

        J-F


        • Well something is drawing people to those little hand-held devices including a guy I saw texting on a bike with no hands!? What about the size of the words? They look awfully small and hard to read.

          Matt61


    • Just move the icons for the apps you don’t use to a folder. No more clicking on unwanted apps and you can then move the folders to another page so they’re out of the way.

      J-F


  15. B.B.,

    Frankly I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the R-7, given how you used to praise the gun in the past. Granted, the gun is on the low end of power, but the cocking effort is very pleasant, and the Rekord trigger is matchless among factory-made models. Recoil is virtually non-existent and vibration is minimal. Additionally, the stock is slim, light, and easy to handle. And, of course, few would dispute that it is an accurate gun. Is your reason for not mentioning it due to the lack of open sights on the most recent version?

    If I could take the liberty of adding to your list of requirements for a spring gun, I would suggest the following: (1) It must be able to withstand use over time. No doubt one of the reasons you like the Diana 27 so much is because it is still working decades after it was made. Naturally, I need not tell you what factors make for long-lasting quality in an airgun, but to the manufacturers may I say, “wood and metal.” (2) It must be somewhat easy to repair. Eventually springs and seals wear out and, if the gun is going to last multiple generations the way that Beemans, Dianas, and FWBs have, the gun must lend itself to a repair job that doesn’t require a brain surgeon.

    By the way, thanks for doing this report. I agree with Kevin in my appreciation of springers being entirely self-contained; no need to change CO2 cartridges or to stop and pump. However, unlike other types of airguns, they seem to be prone to a lot of different factors (mainly stemming from vibration, recoil, and the ever-present push from manufacturers toward cheaper parts and higher velocities) that can lead to less than ideal models. Your report was very helpful; I only wish you had posted it three years ago before I bought my first powerhouse springer with a lousy trigger and more than its fair share of vibration and recoil!



      • I was wondering when someone was going to mention the R7. That series Mac wrote was certainly a disappointment in terms of the rifle’s performance. Perhaps Beeman has become Weihrauch’s outlet store? It is my opinion that the R7’s kissing cousin, the Weihrauch HW30s is a much better value. It ships with the best open sights I have seen on a springer. Since both front and rear sights are mounted on the barrel, they negate the impact of barrel droop, should the rifle have any. The front globe sight comes with 5 different inserts to suit the shooter’s preference. It has been my experience that the iron sights on this gun do not interfere in any way with the use of a scope, so they can be left in place even if one chooses to scope the rifle. The HW30 is also $60 cheaper, so… same action, same trigger, better rifle, less money. The cocking stroke and lock up on mine are as smooth as silk and the accuracy seems much better than the R7 Mac tested.

        I am lucky enough to have a Diana 27 as well. My particular Diana 27 has no provisions for scope mounting, so with my horrible eyesight I will never be able to realize the true accuracy potential of this gun. I need to pull it apart one day and see if it needs some lube here or there.


        • I’ll second that opinion on the HW-30S! Easy to cock, smooth to fire, accurate and it nicely combines simplicity of design and finish with high quality that makes it a pleasure to use. If it’s a little small for you, just get an HW-50S.

          Several Canadian retailers sell the 21/24/240 Dianas and people seem to love them. I suppose one reason they’re popular up here is that they are good quality rifles that have a sub-500fps muzzle velocity and therefore don’t require the owner to have a firearms license. Weihrauch makes a point of offering their whole line in detuned form but sometimes you have to wait a while for a shipment to come in.

          As for the new Walther LGV… ehh. If they made something that was just like the Olympia LGV shown in the blog (but made with modern production techniques) I would buy it. If Weihrauch brought back the HW-55 Custom Match I would buy one of those too. Sadly, they would probably be lucky to sell a hundred or so of each so I doubt it would ever happen!


  16. Funny about the real magnums and their problems. I bought an Izh 513M in .22 some years ago and despite it being the harshest shooting gun I own, I still like it! By harsh, I mean that it literally knocks my hat off when I pull the trigger and sometimes displaces my glasses too if I’m using a light artillery hold! It likes to be held like a rifle. I could probably tame it down by adding some weight to the stock because it is light even with a scope, but I don’t want too because it puts pellets pretty much where I want them. It’s also pretty easy to cock for the power generated and light enough to not be tiring. But harsh? Oh my….!

    /Dave


  17. I’m finding out that vibration is a real killer!

    After playing with this Ruger Air Hawk, I’m a bit disappointed. Something changed since the first time I shot it, but it isn’t clear as to what. It was treated SEVERAL TIMES with firearm care products and now it vibrates like crazy. Even blue lock-tite won’t make the screws hold.

    I took my scope from my Air Hawk Elite and tried it on the Air Hawk and I found that there is a huge difference due to barrel droop. The Air Hawk and the Air Hawk Elite are very different rifles! I also took my best air-gun scope, a Leapers, from my Marauder and found that the barrel-droop is severe. It took 80 clicks to bring it within 4.5 inches of the aim point (still way too low).

    However, when I put a cheapie scope that came with some other rifle that I bought, it shows that it wants to group. It’s harder to shoot for groups when the aim and impact points are 5 or more inches apart. Any amount of cant will magnify. It appears that extreme vibration is the cause for inaccuracy, because the stock screws get loose within several dozen shots. Barrel-droop is another issue. I also believe that the barrel might have been ruined. It doesn’t look as polished as other air-guns.

    I must say though, that my Air-Hawk Elite shoots very well. It feels good too. It’s very heavy, doesn’t have barrel droop, and doesn’t vibrate a lot. It’s very easy to shoot.

    Victor


    • Victor,
      I’m pretty sure something serious happened to that AirHawk, from the shot cycle you are describing. My first guess would be the piston seal, since you’ve checked the breech seal. Perhaps it was nicked during assembly and/or then your friend’s cleaning solution got into the chamber and aggravated the condition. One other thing is that I’ve read is that the spring is sleeved and the sleeve can be mangled with improper cocking technique. I suppose that could reduce power and make cycle rough also. I don’t know what I’d recommend if the barrel is suspect, i.e. may not be worth part for “tune” in that case, but it is hard to see how a steel barrel could be ruined that quickly — maybe just leaded up or coated with graphite?



      • BG_Farmer,

        “… the sleeve can be mangled with improper cocking technique”.
        That is an amazing and astute correlation! As it turns out, before I shot this rifle, my friend was cocking it ALL WRONG! In fact, he was leaving his arm all black and blue. I’m learning a lot from this troubled rifle, including the fact that a simple fixed magnification scope (even a cheap one) will work better than a more expensive but complex one.

        Thanks!
        Victor



  18. Can the R9 be tuned so that it had enough power for field target, but has so little recoil that the target stays visible until the pellet hits? Is this just a matter of balancing top hat + spacer mass and spring power / length against pellet weight and bore friction? Or is this impossible without increasing the weight to TX proportions, or reducing the power to R7 ranges?
    Thanks.


    • Johng10,

      I’m reasonably sure a hood tuner could get an R9 pretty smooth, but I doubt that it could even have no recoil. They are used a lot on the hunter class of field target right now.

      Funny you mention the TX. The TX already delivers power greater than the R9 with recoil less than the R7. I should have put it on the list of good examples.

      B.B.


      • I shot a tuned pro sport on a few lanes that was powerful enough that the trajectory at 45 yards was so close to the 30 yard zero that I didn’t have to hold over – and I could watch the pellet hit, just like a PCP. I also shot a TX, but it had just enough recoil that I could watch the pellet impact. Unfortunately, my hand is a bit arthritic, and the breech is too far of a reach from the cut out for me to not drop a lot of pellets… the nearest high pressure air fills are an hour away, and I’d rather not have to lug a pump around. Hence my dreams of a break barrel with low enough recoil that I can watch the pellets impact and doesn’t require more than 3” of holdover at 50 yards.

        Do you think a detuned R1 would do that? I’m 5’8” tall. Would the R1 be way to big?

        Thanks.


  19. Talking about making springers…

    All right it’s all put together and ready for tests. Stock is covered with carnauba wax and looks quite good. Everything assembled together for first tests. Well, TD letters after designation might be as well HE – “heavy edition” 🙂 It’s _heavy_, but next ones will be much more refined.
    Sorry – no photos yet, my GF borrowed my camera, but tomorrow evening I’ll have both back 🙂 and make some shots. Tomorrow I’ll take gas springs (ready at last!), install them and try to pop some holes at the pellet stop for a start. Then after tomorrow I’ll go to the range to check for speed and some performance.
    Pics and story to follow.

    duskwight



      • Enough teasing.
        Ladies and gents, let me introduce you DWR-TD also known as the Duscombe!
        http://i49.tinypic.com/293xabr.jpg
        Assembled together for the first time, albeit without cheek-piece adjustment (soon to appear) and powered by 2 gas springs. I put some Premiers 10.5 through it just to test how it works. Well, it works butter-smooth, however 2×50 kg springs are to be recognized and respected – but also very linear and smooth.

        Right now it’s 200 grams lighter – I removed steel springs and their guides (all hail to German hacksaw blades – one blade per one guide, they cut hardened steel quite well and died valiantly, cannot say the same about myself in the process 🙂 ), to install gas springs, and altogether it gave me 200 g economy. Just let me remove some more unneeded metal in several places and I think I will gel another 300 g

        Shot report can be described as dry and low-to-moderate loud, due to barrel shroud and air stripper.

        I did not shoot it through chronograph, but judging from the smell on first 2 shots, we moved to Cardew’s 3-rd class – calm burning without detonation. I carefully estimate power output to be above 16 joules, as my workhorse CFX doesn’t make pellets going through 2 thick glossy magazines (splatter stop and “pellet brake” at the same time) and making a pronounced “wham!” on the backstop – but who knows how much above. Tomorrow will show.

        Tomorrow I will also test this little baby: http://i50.tinypic.com/10r3go2.jpg Custom stuff, very Bladerunner-like and also quite precise – just like I love and that’s the reason why I hunted it down. It took me 2 weeks and also cost me 8′ Dan Wesson – but I don’t feel sorry.

        duskwight


        • duskwight,

          Well, you have done it. You have built a spring-piston air rifle from scratch. And, because “scratch” is also slang for money here in the U.S., I use that term to mean both things.

          The rifle looks compact and ready to go. The power sounds encouraging so far. How is the firing behavior? I mean, is there any vibration? Did you eliminate recoil completely?

          B.B.


          • B.B.

            It doesn’t “behave” at all in fact. I can not feel any vibration or any kind of recoil, be it forward or backward. All I can feel is report combined with very short and metallic sound – and a millisecond later mixed with pellet’s violent splash.

            duskwight


            • duskwight,

              That’s got to feel good to you! This is what you set out to build. And with so little vibration, it’s smoother than a Whiscombe.

              How hard is it to cock?

              B.BN.


              • B.B.

                It’s not actually hard, but a bit uncomfortable. The spring force starts to act on a very shallow angle. I need to make another cocking link, I guess 3-4 mm longer, to allow for more comfortable pull start angle.

                I tested it at the range. It shoots Premiers 10.5 at 228 m/s. The speed is extremely stable – 12 shots in a line through chronograph showed me the same result. I must also try to pump some more air into gas springs to give it more power.

                Now for the bad part.
                I don’t know yet the exact reason, but it shoots erratically. 3 holes forming an exact cloverleaf and then 2 wild holes 40 mm away – without any system, or with a system that I don’t yet understand. I must see into this more closely and check all the mechanics for vibrations and all connections for being solid. It might be something connected to that short metallic sound it makes on working cycle. If something blings it may generate some parasite vibrations or give some hits to the working parts. I must also re-check how the action sits in a wood – it also might give it some trouble. Well, it’s time to work 🙂

                duskwight


                • duskwight,

                  Cheer up. If it was easy, everybody would do it. Thanks for the cocking effort data. I figured two gas springs had to be hard to cock.

                  Did YOU make those gas springs?

                  B.B.


                  • B.B.

                    No, I’m not that great to make gas springs 🙂 I just asked a friend – he makes them – and he made them for me, built up to my specs.
                    Gas springs are pretty simple stuff, the only difficult thing about making them is everything to be highly polished and completely clean. But if you know how and do it for some years – it’s no trouble at all.

                    duskwight


        • That’s one amasing rifle. It looks crude and solid yet refined and finely crafted.
          Congrats to you on making this happen!

          J-F

          p.s. and that handgun looks incredible too


        • Now we are getting somewhere. This is half of what I have been waiting for…..what it looks like.
          Next….how it shoots. Don’t you dare shoot any junk pellets through that.

          twotalon


        • Nice, duskwight! Really nice!! 😀

          Wood and metal. I like it! Thanks for sharing your journey with all of its pitfalls and joys along the way! And for inspiring all of us with your success. Otlichno!

          /Dave


        • duskwight,
          WOW!!!
          I remember this:

          duskwight Says:
          March 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm
          B.B.

          You are a lucky man to know all these beauties, especially FWB300. It’s a true epitome of a target springer engineering and manufacturing quality. Maybe it shares this place with D-75, but D-75 loses a bit in elegance to FWB 300.

          I finally solved my stock trouble. It would be single-piece wood with steel reinforcements for installing bipod. What really helped me is that my cogwheel box is of the same width with main coupling (while JW’s coupling is more narrow) and my ratchet bars almost completey hides under it when uncocked. So, I’ll just bolt there some aluminium spacers and bingo, all I have to do is to is to cut some grooves for ratchet bars movement when cocking.

          duskwight

          It’s a long grind to get here but you have made it. Your rifle looks great, I’m speechless.



    • Hello Duskwight. I was hoping you would weigh in on todays blog concerning the question J-F put forward, ” How hard can it be” pertaining to building a good spring airgun. B.B.’s reply via the daily blog was most informative. There are so many things that have to come together at the same time. It makes one wonder how anything gets made at all. Let alone made to a high standard of quality. You must have asked yourself the very same question a few dozen times over the two plus years of trials and tribulations. Today, I am pleased for you. Knowing the project is together and ready for that all important first group. The fact you claim it is too heavy is to my mind, what building the perfect gun is all about. After all, you received parts from many places. All the while relying on faith that they would build the parts to your exact specifications, Then having to compromise because of lack of quality control. If I were in your shoes, my hair would not be grey, because I would have torn it out long before. I am also pleased when you tell us the next ones will be lighter. You are a true inventor. You could rest on the laurels of this one gun, and have our unflagging respect for a job well done. As with all true inventors, you are already at work on a new and improved version. Congratulations my Friend. I know it will be placed in a museum someday. Maybe The Hermitage in St. Petersburg? 😉 By the way, I hope the snow has been cleared off the Moscow – St. Petersburg highway. Sounded like quite a storm.
      Caio Titus


  20. Hearing you extol the virtues of the Diana 27, I am curious. I have a Diana 24, purchased about 6 years ago, for $125. I think it is less powerful than the 27, more of a youth gun. But the stock is not short. It is very slender, and very easy to cock. It has a T05 trigger. It is my favorite springer, especially for plinking in my garage. If I didn’t have it, I would buy a Bronco.
    So my question is, how does the 24 compare to the 27?


  21. BB
    It does seem that the Diana 27 is close to the perfect springer. What a pity they don’t make them anymore. Overpowered springers are indeed a chore to shoot. If power is needed PCPs are there. I have an FWB 300S and the accuracy of that thing is simply amazing but good lord it is heavy.


  22. BB

    I just received my Illinois spec Crosman Titan and gave her a go. I am sorry to say I am under impressed at this point.

    I have three Titans now and I am very fond of my .22 GP (Lower Power). This new offering from Crosman is even lower powered yet and also .177 cal as you know. I find the new rifle to be much more difficult to cock than the .22. I can literally cock the .22 with my pinkie. Not so with this lower powered .177. Too bad.

    I have only put 75 shots down range and have not really given it much time yet but I new from the get-go with the .22 that I had a winner and I don’t feel that way with this one.

    On the plus side it does seem to be consistent with velocity. I have only used CPL’s at this point and after the first 20 or so she calmed down to around 670 fps with a very tight spread. I have not shot for accuracy.

    I am becoming convinced that my .22 is just a real gem and fortunately for me nicer than most examples of the Titan. I had really hoped this new .177 would be easy to cock and shoot all day but my example appears to be just as hard to cock as my full powered .22 version which is no fun and hard to shoot accurately.

    I look forward to your review of this model if you do get around to it.


    • My Crosman gas spring rifle also came in on Thursday, so I will start the report next week. The appearance is pretty low for a Crosman, but the cocking effort seems in line with the other two detuned rifles. I will have to check that, of course. None of my gas spring guns can be cocked with one finger, though.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        My Titan can be cocked with one finger (now). It is the higher power .22 version. Used to shoot at 730 fps. Now down to 500 fps.
        Can you say….leaker….?

        twotalon


        • TT,

          I never thought of that. The gas springs are so reliable these days that a leaker is something that isn’t very common — I think. I guess I need to check my rifles again to see where they both are.

          B.B.


          • My curiosity is now piqued.

            I may have to buy an analog bath scale just to test mine. My .22 Lower Power is so easy to cock it is hard to believe. It shoots 14.3 CP’s around 670 fps so I think the power is correct. I can’t say for sure that it hasn’t leaked but it has always been easy to cock.

            It was my first gas spring rifle so I just accepted it as normal. The two Titans I have bought since then are much more difficult to cock.

            This new one is certainly more difficult than either my stock R7 or my Vortek tuned HW30 which are about the same power and way harder than my GF’s Bronco.


            • When the low and high power Titans came out, most people said that the velocity difference was so little that it was hard to tell which one you had. They were just not very consistent.

              twotalon


              • That was my experience as well, the LV pistons seem to shoot 14.3g in the 620-650 range while the refurb FV ones generally shot a in the 720 range. After ordering six or seven sets of Crosman gas springs in the last couple years they have used multiple vendors over time judging by the build finish. There is just a trifle of pressure volume difference and these “springs” are re-purposed tool and die springs, so they have an “acceptable” range that may appear in comparison on any two instances. I’ll take the LV in .22 any day over the HV, its just way to smooth with an after market trigger.

                All that said, for $26 + $4 shipping they are great deal, and with only 1/4″ or so of preload simple for the kitchen table tuner with reasonable care.


  23. I thought that once Robert Beeman reduced everything to a computer model that there were no more secrets. That doesn’t seem to be the case. 🙂 I feel lucky as I am delighted with my two spring rifles to the point of exultation and have never had a bad experience.

    Chuckj, thanks for all of your research about the knives. The guy with the folder with the 7 inch blade will have some explaining to do. 3.5 inches will have to be the length for me since I have no good reasons to carry a longer blade.

    I received my Enfield No. 4 back today, and my gunsmith has done it! He has returned it to its former pristine state where it works just as it should. This leaves me in no doubt of what a good gunsmith can do. I even bought a spike bayonet off of him and when attached it makes for a truly formidable appearance. I must say that my cup runs over. It’s all about the simple things in life like hefting my No. 4 rifle, staring into a fire, and sitting in my man-cave, feeling the edge of my Roman sword while chuckling to myself…

    Now for the next step of shooting the rifle, and here I could use a bit of advice. The .303 ammo is not that easy to come by. The stuff that is not on backorder costs a fortune even at CheaperThanDirt. I ended up springing for almost a whole combat load of Sellier & Bellot ammo which is a company I’ve never used before. All I can find out about them is that their company is extremely old although it has been bought and is not under original management. So what’s the story here? Black Hills ammo is very good. Remington is iffy. And Sellier & Bellot is?…

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      Sellier and Bellot is… S&W, Remington and many other “American” ammo manufacturers you respect. Many of them buy from S&B. S&B is the BIG wheel in ammo these days. And their ammo is clean. It’s non-corrosive, has good brass for reloading and often is as accurate as any ammo I try in my older guns.

      You did very well to buy their ammo.

      B.B.



    • Matt,

      There’s not enough space to answer the legality of a knife question.

      Here’s how answer dot com interprets the law:

      Quote:

      Answer:
      The laws in Illinois regarding carrying knives are a little confusing and vague, but generally you’re permitted to carry a knife with a blade up to 3″ without any hassle. Having a knife in your possession while committing a crime, whether or not the knife is being used in the crime, will be grounds for a charge of carrying a dangerous weapon to be added on to the charges related to the crime itself.

      Within the city of Chicago, and perhaps other cities, the blade length limit is 2.5″ rather than 3″.

      Switchblades of any kind, defined as being able to be opened without touching the blade by means of a button or release on the handle, are illegal in most states, including Illinois.
      (720 ILCS 5/24-1,2 States that there is NO limit to a 3″ blade length, but rather knives that are either switchblade or ballistic (propelled blade) in possession commits the offense of unlawful use of a weapon. A knife blade that is thrust open by thumb on the blade itself and not on the handle is not in this category and is therefore able to be longer than 3″) 720 ILCS 5/Article 33A states that “Armed with a dangerous weapon” means that you are carrying a knife with a blade longer than 3″. This in itself is not a crime, but you commit armed violence only when committing a felony with this weapon.

      endquote

      Here’s where the length restriction comes in. This law 720 ILCS 5/24-1,2 does not state any length. However, this law indirectly states length but only in conjunction to doing bodily harm: 720 ILCS 5/33A-2) (from Ch. 38, par. 33A-2) it references a category I and category 2 weapon.

      This following is in reference to an actual criminal case:

      “A person commits armed violence when, while armed with a dangerous weapon, he commits any felony defined by Illinois Law.” 720 ILCS 5/33A-2 (West 1992).(1)

      The legislature defined the term “dangerous weapon” in section 33A-1. Under that section,”[a] person is considered armed with a dangerous weapon *** when he carries on or about his person or is otherwise armed with a category I or category II weapon.” 720 ILCS 5/33A-1(a) (West 1992). A category I weapon is defined as “a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, spring gun, or any other firearm, sawed-off shotgun, a stun gun or taser as defined in paragraph (a) of Section 24-1 of this Code,

      knife with a blade of at least 3 inches in length, dagger,

      dirk, switchblade knife, stiletto, or any other deadly or dangerous weapon or instrument of like nature.” 720 ILCS 5/33A-1(b) (West 1992). A category II weapon is defined as “a bludgeon, blackjack, slungshot, sand-bag, sand-club, metal knuckles, billy or other dangerous weapon of like character.” 720 ILCS 5/33A-1(c) (West 1992).”

      Can you carry a category I weapon? Beats me.

      -Chuckj


      • Note, in the law, slungshot is not a misspelling. It and sand-bag and sand-club are like socks stuffed with the aforementioned items. So, when leaving the beach, make sure to empty the sand out of your socks else you get convicted of a category 1 offense.

        -Chuckj


        • I haven’t heard of a slungshot in quite awhile. This is something out of the 19th century in the period when they were waving Bowie knives at people with their left hand while aiming a revolver in their right hand. The slungshot is some sort of blackjack, right? Considering the times, I picture a single grapeshot in a bag. The most vivid account I read is where some large fine-looking man in a suit happens to encounter an enemy in a hotel and the enemy clobbers him twice in the head with a slungshot. The first guy gets up and while being restrained says something like, “You have the effrontery to assail me with a slungshot?!”

          Matt61



  24. I’m finding one thing to be true in springers. A heavier gun has less recoil. I tested this theory with two guns of the same power. A ruger air hawk and a savage arms enforcer. Both fire at 1000 fps. The air hawk has less recoil being the heavier gun with a solid wood stock. My savage arms enforcer is lighter has a wicked recoil that actually hurts when it fires and is nowhere near as accurate as the ruger. The down side is a heavier gun is a harder gun to lug on a day’s hunting.

    I especially noticed this on my new hatsan 125th. It’s a massively heavy beast that kicks a .177 lead pellet out at 1250 fps and hardly jumps at all. All that power is a bit tough to cock over and over for a day at the range I noticed as well. It’s not a gun I’ll be shooting just for fun once the scope is zeroed in. It will likely do anti-squirrel duty.




      • /Dave,

        Yeah, I just put new tires on the expedition (michelin LTX MS2’s since they have risen above wranglers in consumer reports), had to replace the outer tie rod on left front, 3 weeks ago had an injector go bad so not only did that need to be replaced but two plugs needed to be replaced as well, gas in the engine from the bad injector fouled the advance trak sensor so that needed to be replaced, windshield had to be replaced (Dave, you know about broken windshields in Colorado LOL!) new latitude wipers ($50.00 for both) and my chipper broke during fall clean up 3 weeks ago and a new rotor cost $540.00. No funds for new airgun purchases. 🙁

        This auction motivated me to start looking around the house for things to sell/get rid of that we no longer use. Amazing the amount of stuff we just don’t use (mostly old kid stuff) and haven’t gotten rid of. I’m proud that my daughter bags up clothes, stuffed animals, toys, etc. and labels them for younger friends or thrift stores/donation centers. Nonetheless, we have stuff that just sits.

        Yesterday I used craigslist to list several strollers, backpacks, 2 tricycles, a tow behind bike apparatus, a nursing recliner, a nursing pump (forgot we had that), two old chain saws I haven’t used in years, 3 ladders that have been replaced by one little giant ladder, an old lawn mower, a trash pump, etc. etc. I placed 18 ads with photo’s that took me almost 3 hours.

        The guy that picked up the nursing recliner was the 8th buyer I saw today and yesterday I had 2 buyers show up with cash.

        I don’t know if I’ll be successful in any of my bids in this upcoming quality airgun auction but I’m grateful for the motivation since in the last two days it’s funded my airgun account $1,345.00. I know that I can double that in the next 40 days in anticipation of this airgun auction since I’m also going to list airgun related items on gunbroker and the yellow classifieds. Keep an eye out since I price my stuff very reasonable. 🙂

        kevin


        • I should do the same, Kevin! I have all kings of stuff, but I have a hard time letting it go… Sounds like it works though. Then I’ll need to check out what you have! 🙂

          /Dave


  25. What a great blog.

    I love these smaller springer, the Bronco and Diana are awesome.
    I was tired of the buzzing with my IZH-60, found the shooting cycle so great with my detuned Trail NP (the weight/size and trigger are it’s only flaws but now I know why) that I figured I might try the gas ram conversion. No more buzzing but the rifle is so small and light weight that it recoils badly because the gas ram.

    Springers are great shooters and the ones mentionned here are just made for all afternoon shooting. To me it puts the FUN back in shooting. It gives me back what originally brought me to shooting… having a great time with your airgun.

    CowBoyStarDad I’m sorry about your cold, we’re having it good here, it’s right at the freezing point, the snow comes and melts off, we should be getting some tonight.

    J-F


  26. You guys aren’t going to believe this, but the story is not over with the Enfield No. 4. The gunsmith worked his magic on the bolt and it works just as it should. I loaded up a clip of A Zoom snap caps to try the action, and what do you know but they don’t feed! Looking into the breech, I see that the nose of the top round is not even on the feed ramp. It is right below against a straight surface, so pushing on the bolt is like pushing against a wall. However, this is true of only the right side of the stack of cartridges; that is numbers 1 and 3 in a clip of 5. Number 5 on the bottom actually feeds okay and so do the ones on the left side, numbers 2 and 4. This is utterly baffling since my guy is a specialist in British weapons. He did a lot of extra things like adjusting the windage and sending me a test target and putting coats of lindseed oil on the stock. More to the point, he actually told me that there was a problem with the feeding ramp, and he fixed it.

    So, the snap caps fed from the ramp when it was broken but don’t when it’s fixed? All I can figure is that while the snap caps are supposed to be dimensionally the same as regular cartridges, there can still be problems cycling actions with them. My 1911 will not feed these from a magazine but works perfectly with regular ammo. I can’t get out to the range for a couple weeks, so I’ll have to wait until then to see whether regular ammo will work.

    Chuckj, speaking of obscure laws, I go to the main post office in town today to send off my Mosin 91/30, and what happens but the guy tells me that they can’t send firearms. The fact that I’ve sent them two times before from the same place in the last month makes no difference. The post office website says that they can ship long guns unloaded, but there seems to be a whole hierarchy within the post office and some smaller outlets cannot mail them. Bah.

    On the subject of knives, B.B., how does the tanto style blade of the Walther folder you recommended compare with the clip point for general use? It’s my sense that the clip point is more versatile and with its curved edge makes for better cutting which is what you do most of the time with these knives. The tanto design is adapted from a Japanese dagger specialized for piercing through armor, in other words a fighting knife. But using the knife to prepare my box for shipping this morning, I found that the reinforced tanto point is actually quite useful. So, do you find the tanto design serviceable for the things that you do with your knife?

    Matt61


    • Matt,
      I don’t know if you remember my story about UPS’ing a rifle scope back to a dealer? They wouldn’t do it because it was a gun part. However, they said if I said it was a telescope they could do it, so I said it was a telescope.
      -Chuckj


      • About the scope being considered a gun part didn’t someone had trouble flying with a scope in his carry-on?
        I just recently learned that I could have gotten in BIG trouble. Almost every time I went to the US in recent trips I bought a scope or red dot or both and while Canada has no problem with me bringing 2 or 22 (as long as I pay taxes on them if I’m over the allowed limit) BUT the US gov apparently has a problem with me bringing them out of the country (don’t worry US GOV. I WON’T be selling these to terrorists, I’m keeping ALL of them for ME)!
        Apparently they do spot checks at the border to catch people like me who wish to save on scopes.

        Needless to say I won’t be buying anymore scopes in the US 🙁

        J-F


    • Matt

      “Sporting goods” seems to be the term to use when dealing with these pathetic power hungry pencil pushers. Even though their own regulations state that unloaded rifles are legal to ship, many of their clerks will try to stymie the transaction. Even airguns! Quoting the regulation from their own manual will not move these measly clerks. It has been thoroughly discussed on the yellow forum. You would think with all the competition among the shipping companies that they wouldn’t be thinking of excuses to turn away customers. Especially since the USPS is deep in the red.


    • Matt61,

      You need to talk to your smith about the enfield. Somethings not right. I wouldn’t fire the gun if it’s not feeding your snap caps that are the same dimensions.

      As far as the post office not shipping long guns you dealt with a counter person that doesn’t know policy. You need to go back to the post office and ask to speak to the postmaster not just about shipping your long gun but about that postal employee that is uninformed and should be reprimanded for his ignorance of policy. I’ve come across these idiots and don’t know if it’s there personal vendeta’s about guns or just that they’re inept but it forced me to do my shipping business with fedex. Screw the Post Office. They’re just contractors of the Federal Government and deserve to follow the path that they’re going down. It angers me greatly that they present job cuts but hide the overtime that is now allowing mail carriers to make over $100,000 a year because of overtime. Ridiculous.

      Put the postal service out to bid.

      kevin


      • Hi Kevin. Thanks for the word of caution about the Enfield. I had thought about trying real rounds in the rifle before calling the gunsmith, but I will call tomorrow.

        As for the post office, I remember reading from their website that it was okay to mail long guns which is why I was so surprised by the clerk. I had supposed that maybe only certain branches of the post office could send guns, but didn’t expect there to be a problem with this one because it’s the main one in town. I’ll follow up with the manager to find out what’s going on.

        There are implications. The clerk at least directed me to a private mailing company down the road, and I mailed it to them through FedEx. However, the FedEx website has no record of my tracking number and the rep that I called couldn’t find any trace of it either. So, now my Mosin sniper rifle is floating somewhere out in space! Doh!

        Matt61



    • Matt,

      Before you give up on the Enfield, load some real rounds in it and work the bolt FAST! The Enfield is made for speed, and I have found that sometimes working the bolt slow on a gun causes misfeeds, when speeding it up makes it feed smoothly.

      Of course you want to be at a range when you do this.

      B.B.


      • Thanks B.B. I had been thinking of trying some real rounds in the gun. The gunsmith test-fired it 9 times so it should be safe to shoot, and hopefully the problems are restricted to feeding. I’m also hoping that the real rounds will work. But it is a little strange that the snap caps won’t feed at all. I’ve read that the Enfield is one of the few actions that will feed empty cases. And if the bolt-action must be worked fast to function properly that does seem to subtract from its fabled reliability. If you don’t work the action enough on the battlefield, then you will jam? Well, I’ll have to keep plugging away at this…

        Matt61


  27. I have one gun in my collection that everyone simply hates to fire. One shot is enough for anyone that fires my savage arms enforcer. When you fire it, it delivers a sharp hard recoil to your shoulder that seriously hurts. It gets people once and they give it right back and rub their shoulder every time. I’ve never been able to get better than a 2 inch grouping with the thing at 10 meters because it kicks, vibrates and has the lightest trigger i have ever seen. Just touch it and it goes off once the safety is off well before I am ready. It spends most of it’s life gathering dust in the armory.


  28. Dear Tom,

    I have a Diana Model 27 from the mid-1930’s (I am pretty sure–95%–that it’s 1934, but there is a slight margin for error.)

    This gun shoots GREAT. When I got it, I paid a mere 50 bucks for it, because the gun shop that had it was more interested in selling / supporting firearms, and because it was missing the rear sight. Needless to say, I jumped on it. I acquired a rear sight from a 50’s era Diana, and had it machined to fit my gun. Now that it’s sighted it, I shoot dime-sized groups at 10m. I have clocked it at 620 fps. with 8.2 grain RWS Meisterkugeln pellets. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s quite a whollop for such a little gun, is it not? It comes out to 7 fpe, which places it firmly in the “small pest eliminator” category.

    My question is: seeing as how this gun is in working order—and fine working order at that— should I have it tuned? re-blued? Should I try to have the stock sanded / stained / made to look pretty? The appearance of this gun is a bit rough, but performance-wise, it’s a winner, especially considering that it is 78 years old.

    There are two camps of thought: Restoration: Return the gun to its original, straight-from-the-factory appearance, and Collector Value: it’s worth more if you just leave it alone.

    I intend to use this gun—mostly for target practice, because we don’t really have any “pests” that need eliminating—so I am leaning toward restoration. But what I want to know is: what would Tom Gaylord do?


    • Christopher,

      I would leave the gun exactly as it is now and just shoot it. Sanding the stock can remove value. Rebluing destroys all value to a collector.

      If you want to clean and lubricate the gun yourself, then it’s probably a good one to lear on. A 1935 doesn’t have the pesky ball bearing sear that is so hard to assemble.

      B.B.


  29. Hello Tom
    Been a airgunner from airgunletter days and now have a renewed intrest. Always loved/lusted that great R1 after reading your book. Last week I had the incredible good fortune of purchasing a new R1 for a weirdly low price. 1982 low price. No box or papers, just been sitting on a rack. I think its an early run. 2 stop holes old rear sight San Rafael etc. Question is should I begin shooting it or does it have too much potential collector value as a brand new old stock? and If I do what precautions should I take.
    Rob


    • Rob,

      You have a difficult question before you. You do have a very old R1, but are they collectible? I believe they are, but they haven’t risen to a very high value (premium over newer R1s in the same condition) as of this time. How long will it take before they do? I don’t know. But what I do know is that they probably will never gain much of a premium in your lifetime. And shooting is what they were meant to do, so I think I would shoot the gun. Just keep it wiped down with Ballistol and enjoy shooting it. You can even tune it if you like, but if you do change the parts like the piston and guide, I’d keep the originals.

      B.B.


  30. Thanks,
    I was hoping you would reply as such.
    I can’t wait to shoot it. (Christmas gift). Tune it, maybe someday. I took out the HW97 I bought it over a decade ago it had been venomized and was pleased to hit a penny at 35 yds nearly every shot.


  31. hi christoper,
    I just bought a FWB 124 with serial number 5031, please advise when this gun was made? I find it difficult to assemble so that the trigger be broken, where can I buy it? because it is very hard to find in Indonesia

    I paste the image via facebook

    regards


    • Jalu,

      If your rifle is marked 124 and has that serial number it was made in the early part of the 1970s.

      For trigger parts you will have to find a source of used gun parts. Here in the United States the source would be this man:

      John Groenewold, PO Box 830, Mundelein, IL 60060-0830, (847) 566-2365
      http://www.jgairguns.biz

      B.B.


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