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What is accuracy?

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

Announcement: Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Month for February is Tyrone Daye. He’ll receive a $100 gift card. Congratulations! If you’d like a chance to be the next Big Shot, you can enter on Pyramyd Air’s Facebook page.

Pyramyd Air's Big Shot of the Month on the airgun facebook page

Tyrone Daye is the Big Shot of the Month on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.

I’m writing this on the heels of writing several reports that deal with accuracy. One was a test of the Cometa Fusion Premier Star in .22 caliber that I struggled with for many months. Another was the most recent part of the Twist-rate test, which taught me a lesson or two. Just yesterday, I shot a smoothbore Diana 25 that I thought would do well to group 10 pellets in 1.5 inches at 10 meters and was shocked when it grouped 10 pellets in one-third inch!

All the while during these tests, I was thinking about accuracy. What is it and how do I test it, so I’m getting the results I think I am, instead of proving some expectation of mine and missing the boat altogether?

Last week, I made an offhand remark to someone that R. Lee Ermey (Gunny) and I have two different outlooks on accuracy. He’s concerned about hitting a bullseye target at 600 yards with a battle rifle — and believe me, that isn’t an easy thing to do with any rifle. But I said I was concerned with the “ultimate accuracy” of a rifle, if that means anything. What I was trying to say was that my accuracy concerns are how close a certain gun can group 10 shots at a given distance. Ermey wants to hit the target and score high, and I want to put 10 shots into a small group. You might think we’re after the same thing, but we’re not.

I don’t really care where my shots go, as long as they’re all together because I can always adjust the sights to move the group wherever I want. Gunny says he wants to hit the target in the center to get the highest score, because a score is what he is after. A tight 10-shot group that’s out in the white would not be good for him. But it’s fine for me.

I say that if the rifle can group them well, I can always hit the target. But is that true? Perhaps not. Hunters and long-range benchrest shooters both know that if you don’t know how to account for the effects of wind on the bullet in flight, you may have the most accurate rifle and still miss your target. And you can’t get used to 7 different rifles that shoot seven different types of ammunition. You can learn one gun well, which is why we say, “Beware of the man with just one gun — he probably knows how to use it.”

The effects of tiring
During my testing, I often worry if I’m doing my best. At the start of any shooting test, I wonder if I’ve settled down enough to say that my results are the best I can do. Or am I handicapping the gun I’m testing because I’m not yet in the groove?

Later on in the test, I worry about tiring out and becoming sloppy. This is a real concern with some powerful spring guns that are physically very tiring to shoot. That little Diana 25 was a breeze to shoot, because the gun did not fight me at every turn. I just relaxed and shot. And the Talon SS that I shot 120 times in the twist-rate test was so easy to shoot that I never took my face from the gun once a group was started. I just opened the bolt, loaded and shot while looking at the target through the scope all the time. Nothing could have been easier.

The Cometa Fusion, in sharp contrast, required all the hold technique I could muster, and even then it felt twitchy. Forty shots with a gun like that is a hard day’s work. But before we crucify the Fusion or any other powerful springer, there’s something else to consider — accuracy.

If I’m confident that a certain gun with a certain load is going to shoot where I expect it to, the gun can be a Missouri mule to shoot and I don’t care. My 1903A3 Springfield rifle is such a rifle. Its buttstock is too short for me by two inches, and the comb is also too low…so the rifle socks me in the kisser every time I pull the trigger. But it’s so darned accurate that I don’t mind the abuse. As funny as it may seem, I can put up with a lot if a gun will lay them in where they’re supposed to go.

My Ballard rifle is another one that kicks me pretty bad. The stock drops away from the face too much, which gives it a running start when the recoil starts. And I have to have my kisser next to the tang sight to get the best results, so I’m just asking for it. But the rifle does shoot well, and that’s all I really care about. I want it to shoot better, but I will suffer the side effects of recoil in return for what I get.

Ballard firearm
As pretty as it looks, this 38-55 Ballard kicks pretty hard!

I guess it’s something like a woman giving birth. During the process, she is acutely aware of all that is happening, and things don’t seem that good; but if everything turns out well, she soon forgets what she had to go through. Don’t read that remark to your wife, though, because I think I’ve taken too much license with an analogy.

What about plinking?
Lest you think I’m being too toffee-nosed about shooting, I like to plink as much as the next guy. But I like doing it with a rifle that hits the target every time. I’ve had guns that looked horrible on paper; but when it came time to bounce the Coke can, they could do it every time. Or, hit dirt clods on the berm. Or (shudder) break glass bottles — not that I ever did that. I’m just saying!

A bullet hole two inches from a group at 50 yards brings a frown, but when I’m shooting a Winchester model 61 pump and I hit just under the small dirt clod, the spray of dirt tells me to adjust up. So, I shuck the forearm to load another round and try to disintegrate the clod. I would hate to see what that looks like on paper, but if I know where a certain rifle shoots with a certain cartridge, why, I’m Annie Oakley without the dress!

So — where do the bullets belong?
They belong on target — right? So, why don’t they go there when the gun is known to be accurate? Here’s something to think about. Two guys have a gun battle at 20 feet. Each one empties his gun at the other guy with a total of 31 rounds being expended. And neither party gets a scratch. Yet their guns are both accurate. Why is that? It’s called “buck fever,” though I imagine law enforcement has other terms for it. And it happens all the time.

The more politically correct version is that the youngster on his first hunt cannot place a bullet in the deer’s body, even though he’s demonstrated an ability to do so numerous times. You can’t hit what you want to miss.

Accuracy has little to do with the willingness to discharge a bullet into an animal or person. Some people aren’t bothered by it in the slightest. Wild Bill Hickok was notorious for being able to shoot men. Contrary to myth, he wasn’t always the fastest gun. But he always had the fortitude to do the job, while his opponents did not for various reasons.

So — the good hunter is not necessarily the most accurate shooter, nor is he the shooter with the most accurate gun. Accuracy matters to some extent, but intent is more of a determinant than how ultimately accurate the gun is.

The target shooter may never fill his game ticket, and the good hunter may miss the bull altogether. Don’t confuse accuracy with success or intent.

My brother-in-law believes that accuracy is when the bullet hits the center of the bullseye, and he’s right. But so am I when I believe that a tight group outside the bull is also an aspect of accuracy. Like so many things, your definition of accuracy depends on what you mean and what you intend to do.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

146 thoughts on “What is accuracy?”

  1. RE: the Ballard photo… OUCH!

    I don’t think I’ve seen a stock dive that fast on anything built in the last 150-200 years… Maybe on an arquebus.

    As for the daily subject… Are we reopening the difference between accuracy and precision?

  2. B.B.,

    Your criteria for what is accurate is very broad, and I understand your points. While I have my own strict idea of what is accurate, I’m sure that the spread of definitions for what is accurate among PA customers is probably even more broad than yours.

    As they say, all things are great by comparison. That criteria alone is different than the set that you’ve provided, and yet a standard for so many customers. Many a customer will label a particular rifle “accurate” because it’s more accurate than the last rifle that they bought, or maybe more accurate than a friends.

    Some define “accurate” simply because they were able to hit an object (e.g., beer can, or washing machine) more times than they could with some other air-gun.

    For yet others, a gun is only accurate if THEY can shoot it accurately. Doesn’t matter if everyone on the planet has proclaimed a certain gun accurate. If it doesn’t perform for them, for whatever reason (trigger, stock, balance, sights, etc.), it just isn’t accurate. Wouldn’t matter if their daughter picked it up and proved that it was a tack-driver.

    In a nutshell, for so many “accuracy” is in the eye of the beholder, and nothing that you or I might tell them will matter.


    • I’ll come out on the side of objectivity, and say that there is such a thing as the intrinsic accuracy of a gun. I love my Ruger Single Six, but my Dad cannot hit 3’X3′ cardboard at 25 yards with it. I finally figured out that he was not using the rear sight, just the front sight. But that doesn’t seem to help much. He’s a decent shot with my other guns including the 1911, especially considering his eyesight. So what he’s doing is a mystery. Perhaps the intrinsic accuracy of a gun can be defined as what it can achieve with the best of shooters. It goes downhill from there because of the individual. You will not find a counterexample where a distinguished NRA shooter can’t shoot with a gun that someone else can shoot who doesn’t have the same measurable shooting skills.


      • Matt61,

        Ok, so now we know that he wasn’t using the rear sight, which is a BIG no-no. We say that the focus is on the front sight, not because we DON’T use the rear sight, but rather because the rear sight is fixed against our hand. The next question is, Is your father looking at the target? Remember, the target should be a blur, while the sights should ALWAYS be CLEARLY aligned.

        Outside of sight alignment (assuming perfect NPA, and thus good sight picture – which we never actually see the Sight-Picture while taking a shot), the only other things that could be hurting your father’s ability to shoot that particular gun well, are his possible lack of Follow-Through, or his gripping of that pistol. Well, follow-through is required no matter what you’re shooting, including bows, bowling, etc.

        A bad gripping of the gun will cause the gun’s pointing angle to change as a function of trigger pull, including general hand-muscle contraction.


  3. OMG , i just typed out all this waffle about my thinking on accuracy and how it’s every man to his own, then some stuff about accuracy in the hunt. Then i pop out the back yard for 5 seconds to tell the dogs to stop barking at the chickens, and my 2 year old daughter comes in and deletes the lot. So you you can thank her for saving you from a long and boring semi-thesis from yours truly.

    Damned fine article my dear chap as i can see this turning into a very long and interesting debate, so TTFN for now and have a splendid day. I’m off on a nice walk with the wee lass.

    best wishes, wing commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

    • Has happened to me many times, and I didn’t need a young child to delete. I managed to do it all by myself. The only thing to do is write it all over again. 🙂


  4. To me, accuracy is an FWB 700 Alu at ten meters with an H&N Finale Match Rifle Pellet.

    Anything else is just plinking…. fun…. but just plinking.

    I’m too much of a perfectionist. 🙂

  5. I asked this very question when I first discovered this blog, and while I received many insightful answers I have to admit I was looking for something a bit more concrete than “whatever feels right to you.” (to paraphrase)
    Is a gun capable of shooting 3/8″ groups at 25 yards considered accurate? What about at 50 yards? My Disco will routinely shoot one-hole groups at 75′ without much effort on my part. At first I thought that was darned impressive, but then again 75′ is not a very great distance. I can tell you there are 2 things I have learned shooting airguns: First, the guns themselves are a LOT more accurate than I thought they would be. Second, any real accuracy lies in the pellet itself.
    The trouble is fliers. When I shoot a firearm I KNOW when I’ve pulled a shot and can call the flier long before it hits the paper. With an airgun I’ll get random fliers seemingly out of the blue.
    So, lets say a particular pistol will shoot inch-sized groups all day long but throws a flier every 10 or 15 rounds. Is that an ‘accurate’ gun?

    • dangerdongle,

      You are on the right path, but have a ways to travel. I say that because a pellet gun will give you a better ability to call your shots than a firearm. If you are throwing wild shots that are not called fliers and you are shooting with good technique, then the pellet is suspect. My advice is to sort that pellet by weight and shoot only the ones that weigh the same. Also look inside their skirts for lead swarf, and throw those out, because the swarf can ad weight and put a bad pellet into the good pile.

      That should solve the problem.

      Want to cry like a baby? Shoot .22 rimfire from an accurate rifle. The .22 rimfire round is the cartridge that’s most prone to throw an unexpected flier of any that I know. And, because it is a rimfire and cannot be handloaded, nothing that can be done about it. Even the expensive ammo is known to do this.


      • So true, and the most common reason is bullet with a split in the base, which as you say cannot be detected by weighing them or any visual inspection. If you get some .22 RF ammo that throws fliers ,tear some down and I will bet that the bullet will have a defect on the base .

      • Sorting 250 or more of those tiny rascals is going to seriously cut into my shootin’ time! I’m willing to give it a go though…While I’ll never be able to shoot as well (read ‘precisely’) as you gents here I learned to live with my limitations long ago and am happy enough with what I’m capable of. But unless I’m hunting, I always shoot paper for accuracy. It’s a bit of an obsession really. (I say I’m committed-my wife says I should be!) Naturally fliers drive me to distraction.

      • You’re kidding. I just knew about the most accurate cartridge part. What about a particular caliber could make it prone to do that in spite of all manufacturing methods? What do the Olympians do?


    • dangerdongle,
      Accurate is when every shot of ten goes into the same hole and you can’t tell the difference…then you go from there as to HOW accurate you or your gun is. Everything from there on is a matter of placement adjustment.

      • Now there’s a concrete answer!!
        I’ll admit that’s kinda what I was looking for-“Accuracy=1/2″@100 yards, 1″@ 200 yards, etc etc.” All neatly categorized in chart form. : )

  6. BB,

    In a nutshell… Accuracy to me is being able to hit the bull (or the bull) 1st time, every time and repeatedly (groups). A gun must group well before out can hit the bull with consistency, but your right, the human factor is a whole ‘nother variable… I don’t have just one gun, but rather different guns that are optimized for different jobs. Therefore I don’t believe I’ll ever be an olympic class shooter with any of them. As familiar as I am with all of them, they are still “new guns” when I first pick them up again after some time away shooting others…

    I can relate to putting up with the bad for the good. My 513M is a great example of that. It knocks the snot out of me every time I shoot it, yet it hits the target every time!


  7. Technically, you and R. Lee are talking about two different things, precision and accuracy. Precision is getting the same result every time. Accuracy is getting the anticipated result. You want a precise rifle that shoots to the exact same spot over and over. R. Lee wants an accurate rifle that shoots where he’s aiming. A cloverleaf group outside the black = precision. An open group inside the bull = accuracy. My M1 Garand is accurate, it will shoot a 10 every time if I do my part. But I would hardly call it precise. I know…I’m splitting hairs. Ultimately what we all want is a gun that is both accurate and precise.

  8. I wish someone would discuss accuracy with all the commenters on the various product pages. If you believe what you read, EVERY gun is accurate. Watch YOUTUBE gun videos? EVERY gun is accurate, particularly when the video doesn’t show you how it shoots. When people spend hard earned cash on a gun they don’t want to admit it isn’t accurate, no matter how you define accuracy. Since I read this blog to learn about airguns, I’m on board with BB. Let me know the best groups the gun can provide. I use my airguns for dispatching things. I want to know where the 1 inch group is, because that limits my shots when I’m hunting. For my Nitro Venom Dusk .177 that is 25 to 30 yards. For a guy with a Disco, I expect that it’s out to possibly 50 yards. For those with an Airforce Condor, even farther than that? Anyways I wish every day’s blog was a TEST #3. But BB knows how to keep us coming back, like a teaser on TV right before the commercial…..wait for it….wait for it……AARGH!!! 🙂

  9. You try all the different holds, deep seating, weight of the air rifle, and also no same brand, same model rifle ever shoot identically. But you get your rifle and learn to shoot it to a satisfactory method that suits you, you learn to know your guns and have your own methods that give you the results you so desire. Of course there are those guns that are only good for tin can accuracy at 10 yards or nearly knock your teeth out every time you shoot it, but hey, is that not what these blogs and comments are all about.


    fondest regards, wing commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

  10. “Beware of the man with just one gun — he probably knows how to use it.” This certainly can be true and certainly was 50 years ago. But today………I have knowen many folks that owned one gun and could not hit S–t with it. It’s probably because they almost never shoot and have not had any kind of training on the correct techniques. I see a number of these people at the range during sight in days prior to our deer season.

    Today, if their one gun is a .22 rimfire, they are in a panic since they can’t find any ammo for it!

    Now, on the other hand, most people that like to shoot airguns can really shoot well!

    Happy Friday!


  11. B.B.

    First thank you for your experiment. I didn’t do it in time – I’m sorry for that. Spent some time drawing graphs on correlations between your results, graphs are quite clear, but I can see almost no clear system. Well, I’m not much in math 🙂 and waiting for factory barrel results.

    And one more thing. Right now I’m reading and translating for myself Air Rifle Benchrest rules. There a term “return to battery” is used. And this thing is crossed out like that: “Return to battery shall NOT be permitted”. Can you pleast tell me in simple terms – what is it, to check if I understand it correct way.
    To me it means that no moving barrel system rifle is allowed into competition. If so – does this prohibition include models like RWS-54 or FWB-300 where barrel is actually still, but the whole action is moving?

    Thanks in advance.


    • duskwight,

      One more thing return to battery could mean, and I think it does, because I saw the same thing in BR 50 that Edith used to shoot.

      The entire gun can be resting on a movable rest and either the gun itself, or the rest, can be situated on the bench so a “return to battery” would essentially place the muzzle in the exact same position every time.

      I guess a machine rest from the 19th century is the easiest way to explain it. They used to attach the rest to the barrel of the gun, then after the recoil, the shooter would slide the muzzle rest forward until it stopped against a cleat that was attached to the bench and he was in the same position as before the shot.

      I hope that helps?


  12. Ooh! I’m so looking forward to next weeks blogs, running several series at one time certainly put that big element of surprise into it. this way you keep all the people happy all the time, best of both worlds and certainly how i like to see them appear.

    fight back,

    the down trodden masses of the workers collective and air rifle toting Tetleyites.

    Retake the day, the scopes are certainly cheap enough nowadays

  13. I guess it’s something like a woman giving birth. During the process, she is acutely aware of all that is happening, and things don’t seem that good; but if everything turns out well, she soon forgets what she had to go through. Don’t read that remark to your wife, though, because I think I’ve taken too much license with an analogy.

    And this is also how we know that a kick in the nuts is more painful than giving birth. Don’t believe me? Ask a guy who has been kicked in the nuts if he wants a second one… no mather how long it’s been he’ll always say no 😉

    Accuracy for me is what the gun can do. ie: gun X can do Y
    It’s up to us to see if that gun is accurate enough for our needs.

    A RedRyder is accurate on pop cans at 20feet, I’m not trying to cut a dandelion with it, I’m trying to hit a can.
    The Hatsan AT-44 is accurate because I can cut dandelions with it and write my name in pellet holes on the board at 40 feet.

    So is the Hatsan more accurate? Yes and no, it’s not built the same way, for the same purpose, at the same price, doesn’t shoot the same ammo etc.
    So are both rifles accurate? They both have “some” accuracy.
    I don’t know if you guys can understand what I mean or if it just seems like blubber, I’m having a hard time putting in english words what I’m trying to say… here.


        • It’s all your fault. You guys are too interesting, and I cannot restrain myself from responding beyond all sense and reason. 🙂

          Haven’t penetrated the world of French gun writing, you’re right. 🙂 But on this subject, I have been wondering why French firearms are conspicuously missing from the mainstream. You’ve got British, German, Russian, and Eastern Europe well-represented. Why not French? They certainly saw enough fighting. But it seems like after the Minie Ball and the 1888 Lebel, French gunmaking kind of dropped off the map.


          • I’m sorry but I can’t help much with the french firearm manufacturer as I’m not french as in living in France. I’m french as in french speaking Canadian.
            I think I sometimes write more because I’m affraid my point isn’t getting across and sometimes I’m not sure I’m using the right words or the words I’m using might have a an unknown meaning to me.

            In french we have many words to describe one thing as opposed to the english language which has one word describing many things.


    • Accuracy for me is what the gun can do. ie: gun X can do Y

      Precision is what the gun can do… Accuracy is what I can do with that precision.

      Weld the gun to the fender of an M-60 tank… The result of shooting a group should show the inherent repeatability/precision of the gun (it sure isn’t going to bounce around due to changes in hold). Adjust the sights to point of impact.

      Accuracy is then a matter of my being able to hold the gun such that it is consistent enough to reproduce that unmoving point of aim (since we’ve aligned the sights to the “machine” rest, either I am not holding the sights in the same position, or I’m wobbling during the release)

      Or (hmmm, I don’t think it came up during my lay-off, so it must have been two years ago)…

      A 1/4″ group in the 7 ring is precise but not accurate (presuming the point of aim is the X ring). A 2+” group whose center is in the X is accurate but not precise. By extrapolation, a 1/4″ group in the X is precise and accurate; a 2+” group centered at, say, 5 o’clock in the 7 ring is not precise and not accurate.

    • The Hatsan AT-44 is accurate because I can cut dandelions with it and write my name in pellet holes on the board at 40 feet.

      “Good day, Mr. Holmes”

      Though I doubt the sitting room at 221B Baker Street was 40 feet across. And I doubt any current day landlord would put up with a lessee using a target pistol to put pockmarks on the wall.

  14. Terminology is important if we’re going to communicate well.

    I’m with Herb on this one.

    Accuracy and precision are different.

    Accuracy is about your point of aim being the same as your point of impact. 10 shots that land on your bullseye is an accurate gun.

    Precision is about how close those 10 shots are to one another.

    In my opinion, a gun that puts 10 shots into a 0.277″ group two inches outside of the bullseye is precise but it’s not accurate. Yet. Once you adjust your scope and sights properly and put those 10 shots in the middle of your bullseye I would say you have an accurate and precise gun.

    I have a .300 weatherby that can put 5 shots into a six inch group on a twelve inch bullseye at 300 yards. I call that accurate but not precise.

    From my perspective, B.B. IS NOT concerned with the “ultimate accuracy” of a rifle (because he doesn’t want to blow out his aimpoint in order to be able to show us what the guns are capable of doing) he’s concerned with the “ultimate precision” of a rifle. This is the reason he owns every pellet that has ever been made and why he tries so many different holds, trigger pulls, etc.


    • Oops, forgot a thought. B.B.’s dimension to accuracy about “buck fever” is spot on and triggered a memory.

      Mike has been a friend for almost 30 years. He’s into horses. Was an instructor and director at Westernaires for decades. Been part of the exclusive Roundup Riders for as long as I can remember. Real Colorado cowboy.

      He shoots trap but doesn’t hunt or fish. He’s taken first place in the trap shoots at the Roundup Ride many times. He can shoot clay.

      About 15 years ago I invited him to join us on one of our long weekend pheasant/quail hunts that required driving to Kansas. He accepted. We had 20-25 guys and probably 10 dogs. Larry and I always scouted the area around Colby a month or so before opening day and lined up permission on the best ground since we knew most of the farmers. We had good weather and got lots of birds as usual. Mike went through at least 2 boxes of shells and didn’t hit one bird.

      His gun was still accurate, he still had the ability but since pheasants/quail aren’t called like clay this “real world” dimension to shooting made the shooter inaccurate.

      Are there levels of accuracy?


      • But of course there are levels! There is the “accuracy” of the ammunition, the accuracy of the firearm, and the accuracy of the shooter.

        When BB talks accuracy, I know he means group size. But he is a great “constant” in the equation. So when he writes about an accurate or inaccurate rifle, I give him credence. For most of the yahoos on YouTube, no such confidence. 🙂

        PS – Never was pheasant hunting. But enjoyed quail and dove hunting with my Dad. Skeet would be more like quail hunting than trap, but still quail are more unpredictable than clay targets.

        Nothing like flushing a covey of quail. Walking towards dogs listening to your feet crunch – then chaos! What a rush.

        • Herb,

          You make good points about defining levels of accuracy.

          We’re on the same page when it comes to B.B. talking about accuracy. I’ve abandoned most airgun forums since I no longer have the time or desire to sift through the white noise to get to the truth. Reminds me of the cable show Gold Rush where you must run tons of material to get a few ounces of something worthwhile. I can come here and get the straight truth without needing a sluice box.

          “Nothing like flushing a covey of quail” You’re a man after my heart. Hunting upland game is by far my favorite activity for so many reasons. The first real hunting I did was hunting pheasants on the eastern plains of Colorado when I was 6 or 7. We rarely got into quail back then but what a treat. Nothing like a pheasant busting cover 3 feet from you. Strong birds. Tough birds. Delicious birds. We ate pheasant as our Thanksgiving bird until I was well into my teens. Quail is just as good eating if fixed right.

          Haven’t been bird hunting for many years since my old dog died and his son, that we still own, is now 15 years old and am surprised he made it past Christmas. My wife and I told each other that we wouldn’t put devo down until after my daughters birthday since she adores that dog. Her birthday was last week. Not looking forward to this.


      • Hmmm… Today I am representing a personage commonly represented as having reddish skin, small horns, and a tail (cloven hooves optional)….

        How was this person at skeet? Trap tends to represent migratory game birds (geese/ducks) which tend to fly in straight lines, from predictable angles.

        Skeet more closely represents the pheasant/quail hunt, where birds pop up at unknown angles.

        Skeet guns tend to be short — 26″ barrels for rapid directional change, vs trap guns with 30+” barrels (longer sight plane, smoother tracking). Light chokes (improved cylinder) vs tight chokes (full and tighter).

        • Wulfraed,

          This “person” is my good friend Mike Skelton. Don’t know if he ever shot skeet. I’m not going to ask him.

          My point was not about trap shooting vs. skeet (I’ve shot both as well as five stand and sporting clays) but how actual “in the field” real experience has an affect on accuracy. My very personal sharing of this story was more about “buck fever” and its effects on accuracy rather than Mikes resume in shooting shotguns.

          Although I understand your analogy that skeet shooting better simulates shooting at pheasant/quail vs. trap I think you missed my point.

          Since we are now talking about real world hunting I’m assuming that we can agree that typical skeet guns that “tend to be short — 26″ barrels for rapid directional change” (your words) are far less than ideal for real world application (i.e. hunting upland game in fall conditions)?

          I gotta ask you, Have you hunted quail, pheasant, duck, goose, partridge, grouse, prairie chicken, turkey, dove, etc. ? If not all of the above, which have you hunted?

          If you’ve actually hunted these birds in the typical fall seasons I’d really like to talk about changing chokes during the day based on conditions with you.


          • Sorry — I have a case full of guns, but have never hunted… Haven’t gone fishing since the early 70s either.

            Cleaning the kill is what stops me (in the 70s my father did the cleaning). Heck, I have enough problems getting my hands on supermarket meat for anything more complex than “unwrap, toss on contact grill” (it’s only been in the last year that I’ve managed more than one slow-cooker roast a year).

            I should take my shotgun barrel to a gun-smith. There’s an artifact just ahead of the chamber which is either a gouge from a hard steel cleaning rod — or an incipient split under the ventilated rib. To my poor eyes, it looks wider than it is deep, leading to the belief that it is a gouge — but really needs a directional bore-scope to be sure. In the meantime, I did buy a replacement barrel — but it’s not the same; My 870 is an older 2.75″ only model, but all replacement barrels are 3″ chambers; the original barrel has a Cutts Compensator with Skeet and Imp.Cyl chokes vs plain RemChokes on the new barrel.

            • Wulfraed,

              With regards to hunting, fishing, cleaning, and meat, it sounds like we’ve walked in the same shoes. However, at this point I’m ready, willing, and I hopefully, able to try dealing with the catch.


              • If it weren’t for the cleaning, I could have poached a turkey or two…

                Open the basement window, remove the screen, set up the .177 Marauder on a rest, and wait for 13 local wild turkeys to make their daily food run… I’d have to aim high — because the distance would be around 15-20 FEET.

                Same for squirrels — spread some sunflower seeds off the patio and wait. How the news gets out I don’t know, but I see them coming from around the building, from the hotels down the block, etc. 10-15 fox squirrels in a 20×20 foot area.

    • Kevin,

      I’m with you and Herb with respect to the definitions of accuracy versus precision. Of course, to the competitive marksman, accuracy and precision are synonymous with each other.

      Wow! What a rich, well rounded, shooting existence you live! I’m very impressed, and envious.

      Do you every shoot muzzle-loaders? if so, is there ever a time when a muzzle-loader is the right choice, versus other types of rifles?

      Why would one want a muzzle-loader? Is there a particular “fun factor”, or would the reason be purely practical?


        • B.B.,

          I wouldn’t be bothered at all. Here’s how I look at it. When you hunt, the goal is to have a one shot kill. Also, taking quick successive shots hurts accuracy, since a shot fired from a cold barrel is going to have a different impact point than that from a warm barrel. So, when practicing with a high powered rifle, you should take shots at intervals of around 10 minutes (or so I’ve heard). This allows for consistent impact points, and saves the life of the barrel. Well, if my goal is a single shot kill, AND I’m willing to wait 10 minutes between shots when practicing, then it wouldn’t kill me to do something within that 10 minutes.

          A buddy of mine use to go hunting with a bow and arrow, but after several years of not getting his deer, he switched to a muzzle-loader and finally got his deer. He apparently is always able to get within 75 yards, so he was able to achieve a one shot kill. Also, my understanding is that sometimes hunting with muzzle-loaders is allowed when hunting with other rifles isn’t.

          I but I still wonder why one would choose a muzzle-loader, when a high-power rifle like a .306 would do?


            • BB,
              I’d be surprised if you haven’t had a dozen or so wildcat .306’s :)! By that I mean you do seem to go for the road less taken when it comes to cartridges. Seriously, I don’t know of any .306 calibers, but if there were some, I can imagine months of magazine articles from the gun writers comparing the “superior penetration and flatter trajectory” of the .306 to “game thumpin’ knock-down power” of .308, even is they used the same brass :)!

          • Victor,
            Aside from costs, why do people shoot springers when PCP’s are available? Muzzleloaders come in many different guises. The inlines are probably comparable to some of the milder centerfire rounds, and just as accurate if a scope is used. The main reason people use those is to take advantage of extra weeks of a hunting season w/o really giving up anything. When you get to the more traditional sidelocks shooting roundballs with open sights, the challenge goes up substantially, although if properly configured, loaded, etc., a caplock is about the same as shooting a .22LR, with quite a bit longer lethal range (depends on caliber, velocity, etc.). A flintlock is no less accurate, but it adds a fair bit of lock time (no matter what anybody says) and an explosion near your face (it may or may not bother you), not to mention a good deal of tinkering to keep it shooting optimally. Once you shoot a flintlock, you may not admit it, but everything else seems like cheating. I think you would enjoy the challenge, having mastered all the fundamentals. I’ve enjoyed shooting my flintlock in matches for about 2 years. It has sights that make match shooting extremely difficult, along with all its other idiosyncrasies, so I enjoy a “win” all the more on the rare occasion it happens. I plan to go after a bear with it before I die.

            For hunting, I guess if you enjoy killing things with convenience from 300 yards away, like target practice with live animals, a traditional muzzleloader is not a good option. If you enjoy the hunting as much or more than the shooting, it might be worth a try. And even if you don’t like hunting that much, traditional ML’er matches are fairly common, and it is one of the few events where people not only shoot offhand only, but with open sights. Then there are chunk matches, x-stick matches, bench matches, quite a few variations as far as target shooting. There are “almost” professional (i.e. very serious) shooters, but the barriers to entry are quite low compared to things like c/f benchrest and Olympic smallbore.

            • Muzzleloaders are great fun. I have shot traditional cap locks and flintlocks since the mid 1970’s. Back then, they were also very inexpensive to shoot. Black powder was $4.00 per pound and caps were $1.00 per 100. We cast our own balls from scrap lead and cut our patches from pillow ticking bought by the yard. We bought patch lube but it was only about $3.00 and would last a long time. We shot a lot. I don’t do as much with muzzleloaders today but still shoot some. With ammo prices up and getting scarce at least for the time being, I’ll probably be shooting them more this year. I still have a fair supply of powder, lead, caps, and flints. BTW, my Pedersoli .36 flintlock goes off almost as fast as a caplock.


              • Mike,
                Powder has gone up a LOT, but it is still pretty affordable for smaller calibers; for matches, I usually use water for a patch lube and make my own patch strips to cut at muzzle, pretty cheap :). I appreciate what you are saying about the flint going off almost as fast as a flintlock — that is a valid perception (although I think tests show an order of magnitude difference), but over the course of a 20 or so shot match, it can be a challenge to maintain “optimal”, given all the other things going on and sometimes even the best get pestered by weather, fouling, etc.. One guy I know can hit 9 or 10 on a hangfire — he just doesn’t move at all.

            • BG_Farmer,

              After shooting a small-bore match down at Camp Pendleton, I stopped by to watch a flintlock match on the base. I was amazed at what those guys could do with “Kentucky Windage”! It was like watching a professional baseball pitcher throw a side-armed curve ball right into the strike-zone. Very impressive!

              The reason I brought up the subject of muzzleloaders is that I got an add today for a couple of Savage 0.50 caliber muzzleloaders. They do look like fun. Plus I am a very patient guy, so the process wouldn’t bore me much. Just kicking the idea around of trying one out.


              • Victor,
                Those are probably inlines. They don’t shoot balls, and the bullets (or sabots) are pretty expensive. They don’t give you much of the “old-timey” muzzleloader feel, in my opinion. Probably it is best to start with a modest percussion sidelock, learn most of the loading rigamarole, get all the accessories, etc., then either stick with nicer caplock (many people never shoot flint) or get a flintlock when you are comfortable with the other stuff and if you like it. The balls (patched) are relatively inexpensive, and you don’t need the huge loads of powder that the inlines require. I think we figured recently that a .50 caliber shooting patched round balls is about $0.25 a shot. A .32, .36, or even .40, is substantially cheaper, in terms of lead and powder. .32 and .36, for example often shoot one ball of buckshot (can’t remember the numbers right now), which is available in 5lb. bags.

                  • That sounds about right. #000 (.350″) is what a .36 can use (I had to look it up). I need to start casting my own, esp. .50’s. I usually use swaged balls (they may not be the best but they are fairly consistent; one of the big suppliers of hand casts has had some consistency issues lately), but a friend of mine cast up 200 .490’s for a woodswalk prize (which I took, as I was low on ammo) and they shoot very well; for some reason my GM .50 barrel prefers .490’s by a big margin, which is weird as .495’s would seem a better choice, but there it is. I need to see what mold he uses. Another of my club members is a plumber, and he brings in a good amount of pure lead fairly often, also, and we can reclaim quite a few from the berm after several matches.

                • BG_Farmer,

                  The guys I watched were shooting balls. In fact, it was a windy day, which is why they were demonstrating such amazing ability using Kentucky Windage. From behind, you could clearly see these guys point several degrees off from the target, which looked like an upright 2×4.


                  • Victor,
                    I’m sorry; I was confusing. I meant the Savages you saw the ad for were probably inlines. Those flintlocks at Camp Perry were no doubt the real deal, shooting patched balls. It is amazing what a good shot can do with the most primitive flintlock. I checked the record scores for the National (NMLRA) shoots, and even on the strictly primitive (flintlock, fixed sights, several other restrictions), 50’s with X’s were the rule on the 50 yard small target, which is a real trial to shoot sometimes (it is OK at 25 yards :)).

          • Lol, I always chose a muzzle loader for the sport. I was always able to get with in 35 yards of a deer, and that was still hunting. In fact, my longest kill was 22 yards. And I killed around 15 or 20 deer before I became disabled.

            My one ambition is to take one with an air rifle. But I need a relative or friend with a four wheeler I can use and maybe a permit to shoot from a vehicle. (The 4 wheeler)

            Oh, and yes, I also need a big bore air rifle.

      • Victor,

        I’ve shot muzzleloaders. Never owned a muzzleloader.

        Had a 1874 Sharps Shiloh .45-70 (falling block) for years. Wonderful gun. Very well built. Just opening that bank vault action always made me smile. Had a heck of a time keeping a leatherwood scope on that gun but finally worked through that issue.

        When I first got that gun I shot ffg. What a mess. Tried several smokeless powders and settled on AA 5574. Not the cleanest but it worked well in that gun. After 5 or 6 years of not shooting that gun I recently sold it to a guy that had begged me for that gun for years.


        • Kevin,

          That certainly was very gracious of you to sell that gun to your friend, considering that you actually did appreciate it. I’m not surprised that you would do such a thing. To be so non-materialistic, or unselfish, is a real sign of character. We know you love your guns!


          • Victor,

            Appreciate the kind words but I’m not as altruistic as you think.

            He paid what the gun was worth.

            My decisions to sell guns over the past year or two has been pretty easy. If I haven’t shot the gun in 5 or 6 years and don’t think I’ll shoot it for 5 or 6 more years it’s been sold. Not sure what changed but I no longer need to own guns for the sake of owning them. Call it simplifying ones life. I even sold one of my gun safes a few weeks ago.


  15. BB or Edith,

    It seems that PA no longer stocks full-auto pellet rifles like the Evanix’s. Is this just a response to the unfortunate Sandy Hook incident and others, or some lawyer driven liability thing or what? I apologize if this has been answered already but if it was, I missed it.


  16. B.B.,

    “It’s called buck fever, though I imagine law enforcement has other terms for it. And it happens all the time.”

    Law enforcement does indeed have a name for it: “Spray and Pray.”

    The peace officers who have discharged their weapons in the line of duty and described it to me, with the exception of one officer, all said essentially the same thing. First, all training with firearms in general and in instinct shooting exercises, goes completely out the window. Second, all they can see is the offender’s gun, and they have no thought of the offender as a person. Third, they take cover or run for cover while shooting as many times at the other gun as quickly as they can. Yep, they point in the bad guy’s gun’s direction and empty their weapon. Finally, when it’s over, whether they’ve been shot or not (two I’ve known had been shot), they absolutely cannot stop shaking for a time. Their adrenals dumped it all at once.

    As for Hickok, he supposedly was accurate because he was, ahem, precise, and he wasn’t reportedly fast at all. He was abnormal in that he would deliberately, precisely aim and shoot, while his opponent was having an adrenaline-induced pray and spray or fumbling with his gun excitedly.

    I might be wrong, but I remember reading that Hickock shot and killed six men, one of them, a deputy, accidentally, and another a drunk brawler who probably was unarmed. But the rest were pretty much like in the movies. I believe he won the only actual, in-the-middle-of the-street gun duel ever to take place in the Old West, and that encounter created the whole Western face-to-face gun duel myth.

    The most famous Old West gunfight, at the O.K. Corral, was really little more than an Earp-engineered ambush, and the whole thing took place in a vacant lot about the size of a two-car garage (next to the O.K. livery stable).

    For what it’s worth, besides my grandpa’s Daisy 25 (first or second variant), my favorite airgun is my Daisy 179, seriously. I would never part with it, although my Crosman Shiloh is admittedly more Hickokian.


      • Vince,

        I’m cracking up, because of the many funny descriptions of the 179’s performance, THAT is the best. “My 179 shoots a bit on the weak side — negative 30 fps.”

        Almost one year ago B.B. mentioned the Daisy 179 and other catapult guns in his essay “What IS an Airgun?” Here is the URL: /blog/2012/02/what-is-an-airgun/


      • Vince,

        I tried to post a reply earlier, but for some reason it didn’t take.

        Your comment about the Daisy 179, a catapult gun of course, and therefore an airgun only in the opinion of some, cracked me up. At first I thought you wrote that it WAS a vacuum. As in, “My 179 shoots pretty weak, about negative 30 fps!”

        Most Daisy 179s COULD probably serve to suck up dust from computer keyboards, LOL.

        But mine feels and looks cool, and it is deadly accurate to 12 feet. No aluminum cans are safe from being dented when I brandish it.


    • I’m reminded of Gene Hackman explaining gunfighting to a journalist in Unforgiven.

      Gene: There, that’s about as fast as I can draw and shoot.
      Journalist: But what if the other guy is faster.
      Gene: Then, he’ll be rushing and he’ll miss.
      Journalist: What if he hits?
      Gene: (Big smile) Then you’re dead.


  17. I thought I’d like to weigh in on this one…blubber,blubber….Also;Accuracy ,as employed in our language ,is an adjective used to describe.Like many adjectives it is a general comparison of two or more things.One gun is less,as,or more accurate than another known gun.Or it may be a comparison to a stated set of accuracy conditions.This is where it can have the most precise meaning for us because we can include definite measurements and feel secure in knowing how much.If we didn’t use it this way ,it would be a term that stands for a specific condition and either a gun would make the cut,or it wouldn’t.Then the accurate gun might be one that can be made to hit where you want it to,hole in hole,every time and at any range you want.I guess that is why we use it as a comparison.–How accurate a gun is for us is divided by it’s sighting system and how we interact with that.How we fit the gun,it’s weight and it’s trigger characteristics add or subtract in their own way.How the projectiles suit the gun are further limiting factors as to how accurate a gun is for us.This doesn’t leave much for the gun to have to live up to in order to be accurate except it’s signature vibration and quality of make.BB tries to neutralize all these dividing and subtracting factors and use what we all can easily employ in the use of a particular gun when we get one,and then he shows us what we can reasonably expect from it.He shows us it’s accuracy.That is what accuracy means to me on this blog.That’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ to it.Blubber,blubber,blubber.-Tin Can Man-

  18. I would say I’m a pretty accurate shot. With my .177 AA Shamal i can at 30 yards punch a half inch hole with ten shots, bit of wind and compensate through the scope and still in the same hole. Change the distance 10 yards either way even with a breeze and still hit that spot, though at 40 it may become 3/4 inch hole. According to B.B.’s definition that gun is accurate, but i have to be accurate too with that rifle and i have spent a lot of time getting to know it so i don’t do to bad at all. This rifle is consist ant in its shot placement.

    My .22 HW35 luxus is not so consist ant in its shot placement as every shot fired at the bull will land around the bull but never hit it, but still giving me an inch and a bit spread at 30 yards, it can also said to be consist ant and as I’ve had this rifle even longer I’m pretty accurate with that also. I would confidently take bunnies at 25 to 30 yards but no further as i would only consider head shots, i like the HW for bunnies, squirrels and corvids, and the Shamal for pigeons and bunnies past 25 yards. With 11.5 ft/lb i want a clean kill as on rare occasions i injure i tend to get a little upset for the poor wee beastie.

    the .22 Relum Tely is consistent and also Crosman 1077 and can on the whole hit jar lids hanging on string at the bottom of the garden, though i know to take the next shot with the 1077 aimed a fraction higher if I’m shooting fairly rapidly and i reckon I’m fairly accurate with those. The Relum with its 8.5 ft/lb is a splendid ratter at 15 yards and under with RWS hobbies, just as i have found the most consistent pellet for each of my guns so far.

    Therefore if i see a rifle that produces a consistently good group, i know once i have handled and experimented with different firing techniques that then that rifle is accurate for me. I have a BSA Meteor that has a problem with the forks slaying out ever so slightly so the the barrel end moves from side to side a tiny bit, that rifle is in no way consistent and no amount of skill have will make it accurate when fired. but a few days in a bench vice may stop this, and if that don’t work then I’ll make some shims for it hoping it will retain its original shot consistently when fixed.

    The person firing the gun is responsible for whatever degree of accuracy there is when firing a consistently reliable rifle or pistol, well that’s my take on it anyway. I would reckon someone hitting 5 12 inch iron plates with a BB gun at 5/10 yards , in a matter of seconds accurate but he does it a lot easier with a pistol that produces a good shot placement.


    Yours most excitedly, wing commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

    P.S. I’m most excited as a friend of mine is giving me a Sharps Innova and a few other interesting air rifles today, so it looks like i’ll be seaeching through those archives over the next few weeks.

  19. Back when I lived in New Orleans there was a situation just like you described BB.After a high speed chase through part of the city,two criminals who had pulled an armed robbery were pinned down by two uniformed officers.The crooks were in a Chevy S10 pick up truck.Both officers emptied their guns firing over 30 shots……..”nobody was injured”!!!!!! Kind of like that scene in Pulp Fiction.LOL

  20. Since defining accuracy is the topic, how about some of the expressions used frequently ????

    How about “stacking pellets” ???? Would that be this ???

    How about “one hole groups” ??? No pic, but think about this….
    Draw a 2″ circle and try to shoot out the entire circle just leaving an empty hole without any pellets outside the hole ? Fliers would require a little extra clipping to get the holes connected to the rest of the hole. I can see myself ending up with a 6″ one hole group at the expense of three or four tins of pellets by the time it’s done. But I can claim that my rifle shoots “one hole groups”.


  21. Sorry for getting out of topic. This might sound like an oxymoron to some, but I am trying to assess which product (s) would be a better buy in terms of quality and reliability: Benjamin nitro rifle series (Chinese), Hatsan 125 rifles (Turkish), or the Gamo Whisper Series (Spain)?. Thanks.

    • Rob,

      I have a Titan GP w/NP (nitro-piston) that I love. Others feel the same as I about the Titan, while some hate it.

      I own a Gamo Silent Cat, which at first I didn’t think much of because it wasn’t as accurate as my Gamo CF-X (a real tack-driver). But over time I realized that it was still a pretty accurate rifle, and more importantly (I would find out much later) was not picky about pellets. Much to my surprise, 5 different pellets were reasonably accurate and with the same point of impact. This makes this gun my best plinker! Because it likes Crosman Destroyers, which I can buy very cheap, it’s my best economical gun also. The question is, how similar are the Whisper Series to the Silent Cat.

      I’ve never owned a Hatsan, but based on several reviews, including B.B.’s, I wouldn’t consider anything but a PCP by Hatsan.


      • Rob,

        If it’s value, reliability and (build) quality you are looking for, fair enough, but accuracy SHOULD be part of it, too, or why bother? Who was it who wrote that only accurate guns are interesting? Smart guy, whoever it was.

        You’re apparently looking at rifles and combos priced between $200 and $300. This is EASY, in my opinion. I’m with Mike. Buy the Diana RWS 34 for $219.95 with iron sights only, or the Diana RWS 34 Striker Combo for $269.99 if you want a scope.

        VERY good build quality, reliability, accuracy, trigger, and classic looks, plus it will have resale value should you sell it, or, if you choose never to sell it, with proper maintenance it can be passed on after you and everyone else posting on this board are gone. To do better than a Diana – RWS, you’d have to go with Weihrauch or Air Arms and spend two to three times as much.

        China, Turkey, or Spain? My answer is Germany.


        • Thank you all for your replies. In my original post I did not mention that I was choosing those brands for the sole purpose of buying a rifle with a “gas spring” in the 200-300’s dollars. I already own a Diana 34 in .22 which, I gather it is a much better gun. I am just curious enough to try a “gas spring” rifle to check what it’s all about (of course, I cannot afford a Theoben or the Weihrauch HW90 gas spring).

          • Rob,

            Well, thank you for the clarification. I would avoid most gas spring guns in that price range. Only a few that were tuned to shoot in the lower power range have worked well in my tests. The higher-powered guns scattered their shots wildly, compared to a well-made steel spring gun.

            The one gun that I can remember working well was a Gamo Whisper — but the one with the Air Venturi (and later, the Crosman Nitro Piston) gas spring, not the Gamo gas spring.


            • Huh? I have a .22 Titan GP which will shoot 1″ 50 yard groups all day long, and when the cross hairs settle on a squirrel up to 50 yards away, the squirrel don’t know that gun isn’t “accurate”! Seems last time I looked those guns had gas springs?

              And mine chronos at 730 fps with 14.3 chps. Is that “low power”?

              I have also seen and shot 2 other Titan GP’s that did similarly. One even was shooting 756 fps average. The other was 723 fps average.

              All were very accurate according to my definition. None “sprayed” pellets.

              Now I have come in contact with 10 of the much higher priced XL’s and not one of them was even acceptable in my eyes. THEY “sprayed” pellets! Btw, they chronoed in the same range as the Titan GP’s!

  22. I tend to be more of an R. Lee Ermy type of shooter. If I put something in my crosshairs and take the shot and I miss, it’s just that, a miss. My bullseye is usually moving around when I’m varmint hunting so depending on the varmint it is a hit or miss affair. A feeding groundhog gives me enough time to get a good kill shot. A squirrel with ADHD (and they all have it) my chances of getting the erratically moving thing drop significantly since my time to acquire a target is very limited. I don’t get the luxury of shooting at a target that doesn’t move and is a set distance away. My target moves left to right, nearer and farther, up and down and all kinds of other ways including into a hole in the ground. I bet that kind of target would drive a static target shooter insane. That and I have to wait on my target to show itself which could be in a few minutes or I might have to wait all day.

      • I can be found most of the summer out at local farms doing pest control and predator control for local farmers. Since I live in an apartment shooting squirrels in my back yard is a frowned upon activity unfortunately. In this day of politically frightened people shooting a squirrel might get a SWAT response breaking down my door.

        • Yeah…. Don’t want that! It’s illegal to shoot airguns outside where I live in the suburbs too, but I can get away with it because I have good neighbors. I’ve talked to them all and don’t shoot outside unless it’s a weekday in the middle of a work day so no one is home to be bothered anyway.


          • Around here it’s best if I don’t do it. There have already been 2 shootings around me in the last few years. One was a guy murdered his girlfriend then shot himself, the other was in my apartment building a few weeks before that sandy hook business> A couple of g-banger wanna be-s busted in the apartment next to mine demanded money then shot my neighbor. He survived but his femur was shattered. So we now have a bit more of a police presence around since there is also a school very close to me. Let a cop see an air rifle being fired and Now after Sandy Hook I’d no doubt have every cop in town surrounding me. That’s just not in my daily plans any day of the week.

              • I won’t ans can’t leave my home. First of all, If I leave that gives common street thugs the victory and power over me. Being as well armed and trained as I am, that won’t happen. Second it’s the perfect location. Banks are right across the street as is a fast food place and a large Walmart like store. The movie theater is a block away. I don’t own a car or do I need one living where I live. So I deal with a few indignities I’m very well armed in case of emergency and very well trained on how to use said arms. I’m safer than many of my neighbors.

  23. I was going to stay away from AR’s, but I seem to have acquired a free empty lower, upper w/barrel, bolt, and A2 style stock while trading away my Desert Eagle .44 mag back to the guy I got it from 10 years ago. So, darn…. I have to fill the lower with a trigger, safety and whatever else belongs there. And find ammo/reloading supplies for the thing. Shoot! Darn! And other assorted words…. Another project on top of trying to find ammo and reloading supplies for the .45 Hi Cap that I got as part of the trade. 😉


      • I’ve already found what I need, Matt. People have cleaned out the cheap stuff, but the higher end parts remain. As far as ammo, I already have the dies, bullets, powder and primers. I can still get used cases for now. I also have friends with piles of this stuff who don’t reload, but will save brass for me.


  24. Are values of quality Airguns also being affected by recent gun legislation like firearms?

    I’ve been busy with life and have not had a chance to follow up on any email alerts that show up from gun auction sites in my inbox. Since I had some time tonight I’m working my way through these alerts and see an amazing trend. It seems that vintage airguns that have a reputation of being well made and accurate are surging in value. I just clicked through over 40 emails and am shocked at prices.

    The recent run on firearms and ammunition is commonly known and thanks to that great salesman bo can be understood. But airguns?

    Does anyone else see this recent dramatic upward trend in vintage airgun values or did I just view a 30-40 day anamoly? Here’s one of many examples:


    A recent 342 without box and papers for $394.00?


    • Wow, Kevin! I don’t see anything special about that one. Nice wood and finish… Maybe it has the first gen stealth, platinum/iridium lined ghost barrel. I believe PT Barnum’s words apply here. That and it IS GB, where a guy must keep his back to the wall…


  25. I’m sure if there is some kind of “Incident” involving an airgun it will cause the “Left” of scream for controls. The scream will be even louder if the airgun is a semi-auto or full-auto.

    People are buying every thing that shoots. That said, it should settle down in about 6 months unless something else happens.


    • There was a recent incident. I forget where our even where I read it, but some kid accident shot his friend in the chest with an airgun causing his death. Couple of weeks ago at most. Not real big need since it lacked the blood and gore and sensationalism factors.

      • I believe that the young man was shot when he ran into the line of fire as opposed to the other way around, and I believe that he died of “complications” that developed later, like pneumonia or something similar. In fact, I also seem to remember that he did not go to the hospital until much later as it was thought that his injury wasn’t all that serious. So, there are lots of lessons to be learned from this incident.

      • I wish I would have done my homework before I sent last that post.

        When I wondered if the details were accurate as I stated them, I went to Google to try and find that story. Instead, I found many stories, way too many stories, all involving young people, some age 5, 6 and 7, and fatal injuries from a pellet gun. Many of the stories made reference to the fact that the gun was recommended for people over the age of 18. They also stated most of the time, that the gun was provided by an adult or a gift from an adult.

        It seems that there are many more lessons to be learned than I originally thought … one of them being that age seems not to be a factor in wisdom, judgement, responsibility or common sense.

        • Common sense… A commodity that truly is in short supply these days. 30 years ago I thought people lacked common sense, but they were all geniuses compared with today’s crop…


  26. I don’t see it quieting down any. Here we are getting slammed from all sides. Even seemingly trivial things like a local vol.fire company’s biggest squirrel hunting contest here was attacked by animal rights activist’s from of all places, Austin Texas. Made the local news twice. Anything to do with guns is being attacked.

      • Edith, I use the illustration of the Holly ,NY Vol. Fire Company’s contest to show we are in a fight for our rights that is like no other, and any anti gun or hunting influence no matter where it comes from, should be taken seriously. The last election showed that traditional values and views about shooting sports has changed and we are in a fight that won’t go away. I’m glad I don’t live in NYC either, but it doesn’t change the dynamics of the debate. This isn’t going to die down and not all of us can/ should move.

        • Robert from Arcade,

          I’m just glad I live in Texas. If I lived in a more restrictive state, I would find a way to move. In fact, that’s what we did. We lived in Maryland for 22 years.

          Texas has a thriving economy. Need a job? Come to Texas. We can hardly find enough people to fill jobs. The local food bank had 190 families it supported 10 years ago–when we moved here. Today, they still have only 190 families.

          Need inexpensive housing? Come to Texas.

          Want to own guns without all the local & state strangulations? Come to Texas. You can buy, sell & trade firearms with other private individuals who have Texas residency. Never go thru an FFL. In fact, TexasGunTrader.com has become Tom’s favorite site. We practically need a revolving door to accommodate all the trades going on.

          I can’t think of a reason to NOT live in Texas.

          I’m sorry the rest of the states are having a tough time of it, but I can only influence my congress critters. You have to talk to yours.

          If you live in a state where they think you should run instead of defending your turf & your family, then they think your life is expendable & not worth a hill of beans. Move to Texas. Here, we think life is worth protecting.

          If you know people who think that law enforcement is required/mandated to protect you from harm and must respond, then you need to read this U.S. Supreme Court ruling very, very carefully. It’s proof positive that the police department can stand around & watch criminals break into your house, beat you to death and not have to do anything. Read it. Believe it:



          • Edith,

            So when the FEDERAL government says you can no longer own firearms and must turn yours in or become a felon, where you moving to then? Please, please tell us, we want to move there too!!

            • guest,

              Apparently you are not aware that Texas has already initiated legislation to make federal gun grabbing laws illegal in this state? Federal authorities who attempt to enforce those new laws, should they come to pass, would be arrested.

              You should also know that the movement for Texas to become a separate nation again is gathering momentum, in light of recent events. It had been in motion for years, but recent events have catalyzed the people.


              • When the NRA made suggested better enforcement of existing law to Mr. Biden, he retorted that they simply didn’t have the manpower to do so. Which begs the question… if you can’t really enforce existing laws… why on earth are you looking to make more?

            • guest,

              My parents brought us to the U.S. so we wouldn’t have to live on our knees for the rest of our lives…as they had in 3 other countries. I will fight the good fight and see it thru to the end.

              The pendulum swings both ways…and when it violently swings in one direction, the momentum will quickly bring it back to unexpected levels in the other direction.

              Everyone has to make their own decision about how they’ll handle things. You make yours. I will make mine. Not everyone gives in. Not everyone folds.


  27. Well, this blog is very interesting and full of the weight of experience–something that I’m keenly aware of after my recent conversion to Victor’s killer shooting method. It’s still working by the way. I was waiting see if things would change after the novelty wore off, but no. It only fails when I obviously screw up.

    B.B., it is inconceivable to me that a hard-recoiling gun doesn’t affect you at all–not by dripping into your subconscious and undermining your moral authority bit by bit… 🙂 As for two people at point-blank range unloading and failing to hit each other, that’s called Boondock Saints. But I have to admit that I’m withholding judgment until I see it and will give FrankB’s favorite movie its due.

    I’m going to venture to say the precision/accuracy distinction is not really what underlies what B.B. is talking about relative to R. Lee Ermey. It seems to me that the difference between a group and high score in competition is just a difference in twirling the sights. Otherwise, we’re talking different standards of how tight you want your group to be. What applies to the group applies to the competition shooter for wind reading and everything else. If you include the full range of shooting activities like trap shooting, instinct shooting and so on, there are differences. It is possible to read them as completely different kinds of shooting. But it seems simpler to me to read them as superpositions upon the same shooting fundamentals. (The possible exception may be the trigger slap of shotgunning which Nancy Tompkins considers fundamentally different from orthodox shooting.) So, I might say with a disputatious theologian from Dostoevsky: “Excuse me, but you are being sophistical.” Or I might say this is all a new level of shooting that’s over my head. And that wouldn’t be the first time. 🙂

    Titus Groan, thank you for your kind comments. 🙂 And how prescient. You seem to have guessed at my long history in academia of writing for all sorts of dissatisfied people, myself included, and looking in vain at models that in many cases looked like pomposity or raving nonsense. I finally decided that my ambition was just to say what I had to say and leave it at that. So, it’s gratifying to hear from you. Communication is the greatest reward. 🙂 That is encouraging that you’ve had the experience with retail lunatics too. I’ve thought the same about them. In raging against the world, they are heavily outnumbered.

    Kevin and B.B., you guys are very well-informed about the law, and you can obviously see through me as a guy who has never attended a gun show. I got my information about background checks from the news which says that something like 40% of gun sales take place at gun shows and/or between individuals who just exchange money with no paperwork. My understanding was that the federal legislation being considered would standardize background checks among all the various states. But if gun shows already have mandatory background checks by the feds, what else is left to background check? Private transactions?


    • Matt61,

      Yes, among many other congressional proposed action by obama he is lobbying hard for requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt, reinstating and “strengthening” the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004 (that according to the justice department facts/statistics was ineffective) and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.

      Since there isn’t such a thing as an “assault weapon” proposals include new definitions that will expand what is considered an assault weapon that will make many modern sporting rifles and shotguns illegal like some ruger 10/22’s, many remington 870’s, some mossberg 500, some remington 11 series, etc. etc.

      Misguided legislation by uninformed, inexperienced lawmakers that don’t want to be distracted by facts. They’re more concerned about rushing forward into a past that didn’t have any affect except penalizing law abiding citizens. I watched an interview with feinstein where she said there was no need for hunters to have such a powerful cartridge like the .223! Ignorant. BTW, this gun grab ain’t about hunting diane.

      These politicians remind me of the idiot that was caught in a terrible blizzard. Cold and wet he convinced himself that a good solution was to crap his pants. It made him feel warm for a short while but he soon realized that it wasn’t a solution to to the problem and in fact made it worse in a very short time.


      • Kevin,

        What!? “… powerful cartridge like a .223”! Good Lord! Feinstein apparently doesn’t care about “details”. Politicians! What a pathetic breed! And I’m talking about ALL of them!


        • Victor,

          Diane Feinstein is the epitomy of the peter principle in my opinion. For someone to achieve this level of authority and retain it shivers me to my timbers.

          Not “All of them” but we’re learning quickly across party lines who they “them” are.

          In My Humble Opinion, this is a defining moment in the history of the “United” (will we Unite against this Constitutional Attack?) States.


          • Kevin,

            You are right. What I meant was across party lines. I also believe that the NRA isn’t being particularly smart, nor has it been, since Columbine. You can’t purely preach to the choir, providing no real education value or insights, while attempting a public campaign for such a cause. This is, after all, a political issue. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that the NRA is deliberately playing the 180 degree equivalent of Feinstein to “justify” this historical assault on our Constitution by the real powers that be. Since 9/11, and in particular, starting with the Patriot Act, our Constitutional rights have been under attack. I just don’t see any real, or smart, leadership towards the defense of those rights. What I do see is a perfect game of divide and conquer.


            • Well, the NRA is messing up and shooting itself in the foot because they seem to oppose any kind of gun legislation.

              I would not be opposed to reasonable gun legislation. Meaning a gun owners card issued to me that simply verifies that I have no criminal record, nor have I been committed to a mental institution because I was diagnosed with mental diseases related to being violent or unstable enough that I have a good chance of becoming violent.

              So once issued this goc, I would then be able to walk into any store and buy any legal gun. All the store has to do is check with some government agency to verify the goc has not been revoked. No paperwork required. No government data bases! Any conviction or commitment to mental institution for diagnosed violent tendencies or diseases which could result in such would result is immediate reporting to this agency, and immediate revocation of the goc! An appeal provision would be in effect to keep the govt. honest!

              To protect innocent people, if the government universally revokes all goc’s, then guns can be sold to any one!

              • Meaning a gun owners card issued to me that simply verifies that I have no criminal record, nor have I been committed to a mental institution because I was diagnosed with mental diseases related to being violent or unstable enough that I have a good chance of becoming violent.

                That’s what the existing NICS system is supposed to do already. And supposedly be more up-to-date than some card that might have been issued two years ago.

                Or — Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification Card… Oh yeah — Illinois is where crime ridden Chicago is located. Guess FOIC cards aren’t enough for Chicago.

                Now — if this “gun owner’s card” INCLUDES CONCEALED CARRY PERMISSION, sign me up. (Actually, as I recall, in MI, if you /have/ a CCW, you don’t have to fill out the state permit to purchase paperwork when buying new ones).

                The problem with cards is that they typically mean the government keeps a record of every one who has been issued such a card, and thereby has a list of who to come to when they later decide they want to ban some weapon. If, instead, the government would do the checks, issue the card, and then DESTROY their side of the records, you’d get more takers. Supposedly the NICS is not supposed to keep records beyond a short few days (or that was the original claim) — congress critters want to make it a permanent record.

        • Ah yes… Feinstein…

          Back in her days as mayor of San Fran she made a big push for banning handguns… Including a publicity stunt in which she tossed her pistol over the side of the Golden Gate bridge.

          What she didn’t reveal was that her CCW permit (and of course as mayor she was probably one of only a few in San Fran that ever received a CCW) listed TWO PISTOLS.

          While trying to ban them for everyone in San Fran, she was going to keep her concealed weapon!

    • Matt,

      You have explained the reason why gun owners are so angry with the gun grabbers’ attempts to obfuscate the truth. The fact is, we have laws that do work, and there is no vast underground where a large percentage of gun sales occur. But the media can keep reporting that and, as Hitler discovered, a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.


  28. We have to quit calling these law makers who have sponsored recent firearms bills like we are fighting here (the NYSAFE Act) as “misinformed”, or “inexperienced”. They are anything but, and if you believe otherwise ,I have a bridge I will sell you…

    • Robert from Arcade,

      You’re preaching to the choir.

      My concern when discussing the recent gun legislation and the additional proposed gun legislation is that if I talk down that dimly lit path of what THEIR real motives are and what THEIR agenda really is I risk being labeled a conspiracy theorist and right wing gun nut and everything else I say from that point on falls on deaf ears.

      I’m hopeful that if the dialogue can continue the fallacy and delusion of their logic will be revealed to the majority.


  29. Wow! A lot of rhetoric on “accuracy”. Seems to me there are at least two or possibly more concepts of accuracy in people’s minds.

    The first is what I would call “intrinsic” accuracy. Simply stated, this is the precision that particular gun will deliver independent of human factors. It is the average ctc of several 5 or 10 shot groups fired from a machine rest engineered to eliminate as many variable factors as is humanly possible. Simply put, it is the best this gun/load combo will do independent of human intervention.

    Next we have what I simply call “ME accuracy” This is the average I can do when I pick up the gun out of the machine rest, load it up, and try to duplicate what the gun did in the rest.

    This is dependent on many things, both under my control, as well as due to the design of the gun. For instance, the sighting system. Most people do better with a good scope of medium power than they do with any type of “iron” sights. Also the fit of the gun. Including LOP, height of comb, up or down sweep of stock and many others. The trigger pull has a great influence on this also. As does the shooter’s familiarity with the basics of shooting and his control over them.

    So I might pick up two rifles with the same intrinsic accuracy, and one “feels” good to me, the other doesn’t. And the one that “feels” best is the one I also shoot the closest to what the intrinsic accuracy is. This means I must be able in some way to accurately adjust the gun’s point of impact to coincide with its point of aim!

    So this means I must be able to hit exactly where I am aiming, as well as being able to repeat it multiple times if necessary! So this means if I am hunting squirrels and can steady my cross hairs on a squirrels eye at 50 yards I hit the squirrel’s eye and the same for the next squirrel at 50 yards and the following and the following, yada yada, yada.

    And from experience, some guns lend them selves to this for me way better than others. I have used guns which intrinsically were very accurate, but in my hands, I could not shoot them worth a darn. Other intrinsically accurate guns I could pick up and it seems I never missed with them!!

    A lot of factors weigh in for “ME accuracy”, but the bottom line is I must be able to put my shot where the gun is pointed repeatably. It matters not to me if I can put 5 10 shot groups into an average of .05″ ctc at 25 yards, but my intended target is a squirrel 75 years away and the dot sight on the gun covers up the whole squirrel at that distance. Or the scope on the gun can only be adjusted to a point where the shot is hitting 6 inches high and 4.5 inches to the left!

    In either case, the intrinsic accuracy is there, but not the “ME accuracy”

    And to ME, I don’t care if a gun will put every projectile into the same hole at 100 yards in a machine rest, if I can not pick the gun up and have it do so in my hands, then it simply is not “accurate” to me. Even if it requires some adjustments like the sights, or the stock, assuming it is adjustable, ultimately it must come to the point where in my hands it hits what I am aiming at consistently! Or it is not “accurate”!

    And I think other than the benchresters who shoot strictly for group size, it is the same for the rest of us also. Field target requires me to be able to put my projectile exactly where I am aiming. So does hunting, plinking, competition of other sorts and many other things! The size of our targets may be different, but ultimately we all have some idea that we must be able to hit “xyz” size target at “Z” range before we consider a gun accurate! Most people don’t really give a damn what the gun does on paper under controlled circumstances!

    So rather than get into a heated battle about the accuracy of your gun or mine, let’s just decide what WE want to do with a gun, pick the gun which does it best for US, and commence shooting and enjoying life.

    Case in point, my “go to gun” in .22lr is a Mossberg 715 T. According to most people it is a pos which is just junk and is highly inaccurate. But my gun out of box functions 100% reliably and will shoot 2″ 5 shot groups at 50 yards rapid fire! For a cool, “fun gun” it can’t be beat! But if I am after squirrels, I will go with one of my two pcp guns or my highly modified Ruger 10-22 which shoots 5 shot rested groups at 50 yards of .5″!

    Another case in point! Tons of people tell me my SKS is a junk pos! Not accurate enough to even be considered as a “gun” Yet with the right, off the shelf, cheap ammo it will consistently shoot 1″ groups at 100 yards scoped! POS? In no way! 100% reliable! And not “accurate”? If you believe that, stand out at 100 yards and let me fire at you! Guarantee after the first shot you will never do that again. Or better yet, want to improve your odds? Run as fast as you can zig zag or straight line. And run away from me. Maybe you can get far enough away I can’t hit you! You would not get more than 10 yards before you were down and out for good!

    So let’s don’t argue with others about how accurate their gun is. My own brother laughed his head off when I showed him my SKS. He stopped laughing when he saw the 100 yard groups I shot with him spotting!

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