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Ammo Can used airguns also be good ones?

Can used airguns also be good ones?

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

Today’s report is a guest blog from reader /Dave. He’s going to tell us about his recent experience with a fine precharged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Take it away, /Dave.

Most of you know me as /Dave. I used to be known here as Shooter, until someone was nice enough to recommend the movie of the same name to me. I immediately changed to /Dave because I’m simply not, and never will be, in that league. Please excuse the pictures, they are from my phone.

I have known a lot of people in my life who absolutely must have new when it comes to buying anything. Guns, cars, bicycles…doesn’t matter — anything, really. As if used is somehow not as good, is damaged or is missing the right aura. To them, if it’s not new, it just isn’t right. For those people, I write the following report; as proof that used things are not all bad. This is one of my better experiences with used stuff.

A couple months ago, I bought a used Air Arms S410E bolt-action .22-caliber (FAC version) air rifle from the Yellow Forum classifieds. It showed great promise while I was shooting it and getting to know it in my basement’s 9.50-yard range, but I longed to try it out at a longer range in a relaxed setting, like my backyard. My neighbors are mostly okay with me shooting outside. To make sure they aren’t bothered, I wait to shoot until I have days off during the week when they’re at work.

Dave's new Air Arms S410E
Dave’s new/old Air Arms S410E air rifle.

I can get a measured 27 yards from the end of my muzzle on my kitchen countertop to the target near the back fence. A friend recently gave me a mechanical rifle rest that he wasn’t using anymore, so I gave that a try. The countertop makes for a nice place to put the rest when you clamp a wide board to it. I usually shoot off a monopod while standing or sitting, so this was much more solid than what I’m used to.

Dave's range
Shooting range from behind the rifle. Sshhh! Don’t tell the wife.

Here’s a look through the new scope I also got from the Yellow Forum classifieds (from a different guy). He bought it, never even took it out of the box and decided to sell it. It has a range-estimating reticle and mil-dots that I have yet to learn to use. So far, I just use the sidewheel focus knob. It seems close enough for government work. There are 36 colors for the reticle illumination! Haven’t tried those out, either.

view through the scope

The view through new, secondhand scope (bought from Yellow but the box was still factory sealed) — UTG Accushot SWAT IE 3-12x44mm, IR, side focus, 30mm tube and set on about 7x. Looks out of focus on the picture, but it’s really clear and in focus when looking through it with my eyes. Sidewheel set on about 26 yds, so it’s not too far off on the factory markings after adjusting the diopter for my eyes.

My backstop is a piece of plywood behind an old crate, and inside — you guessed it — a pile of phone books still in their wrappers!

Backstop at 27 yards.

OK, on to business….

When I received my gun, I immediately pumped it up to its maximum fill of 200 bar (approximately 2900 psi) and started the chronograph testing. Blog reader Kevin Lentz accurately predicted that the sweet spot on the fill would be about 180-190 Bar. Above that, the valve is getting air locked, reducing the velocity of the pellets. I didn’t save the results from my chronograph, a Competition Electronics ProChronoDigital, but I did figure the muzzle energy with each string’s average using this Pyramyd Air’s handy online calculator. With various pellets, it produces anywhere from 26 to 30+ foot-pounds. Lighter pellets generate less, and the heavier ones generate more energy, as is typical with a PCP airgun. This gun doesn’t really start falling off the pressure curve (losing power and velocity) until around 110-120 bar (about 1600 psi), after 60 or more shots.

Pumping it back up to around 190 bar on the gauge takes somewhere around 150 strokes of my Benjamin hand pump. Sounds like a lot, huh? It’s really only 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 pump strokes per shot. I’d call that pretty efficient in terms of energy transfer! While pumping the gun up, I noticed that the gauge on my pump and the gauge on the gun disagreed, so I go by the higher of the two readings just to be safe. That happens to be from the gauge on my pump. During the last couple of months since I received the gun, it hasn’t leaked down any noticeable amount, so I think we’re good there. Chalk one up for used equipment!

What about the accuracy? That’s what airgunning is all about isn’t it? OK, then, on to the shooting results.

At 27 yards on a mostly windless day and shooting off my mechanical rest, I think it does well. As I said, the mechanical rifle rest is a lot more solid than what I’m accustomed to. It doesn’t adjust from side to side except by sliding the back end around, but it has a very fine elevation screw, allowing me to dial in the height very easily. It also has very thick felt v-pads on the front and rear to allow a non-marring, but freely sliding surface to support both the forearm and the butt of the rifle. While shooting my groups, I was also adjusting the scope a bit to get it closer to what I wanted. The clip on this gun holds 10 rounds, so it’s easy to shoot groups of 10. I’ll give both edge-to-edge and center-to-center group measurements for your comprehension. Generally speaking, I think that center-to-center is the standard.

My first group with .22-caliber JSB Exact Jumbo, 5.52mm head, 15.9-grain domed pellets measures about 5/8″ from edge-to-edge, giving me just over 3/8″ center-to-center. You might notice I don’t use calipers. Although I own several, I just use a tape for my groups since that’s usually what I have handy. This same pellet duplicated this group a couple of clips later and is the best pellet of the 4 types shot today at this distance.

Used airguns
First group of the day, 10 rounds. It’s also the 2nd best of the day!

My second group was with Air Arms Falcon pellets, 5.52mm head, 13.43-grains, domed pellets. These gave me a 10-shot group of 11/16″ edge-to-edge, or about 7/16″ center-to-center.

Used airguns
The second group was with JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes. It’s pretty good!

The third group was with Crosman Premier .22, 5.50mm head, domed pellets. These are from the box, not the tin. These weren’t terrible at 13/16″ edge-to-edge, or about 9/16″ center-to-center. I think I’ve found something other than my 2240 that will shoot these CP’s with acceptable accuracy!

The fourth group was from the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy, 5.50mm head, 18.1 grain, domed pellets. At 5/8″ edge-to-edge, or about 3/8″ center-to-center, these matched the 15.89-grain JSBs. Two good choices!

My fifth group was a repeat with the JSB Exact Jumbo .22, 5.52mm head, 15.89-grain, domed pellets from the first group. This was my best group of the day at 9/16″ edge-to-edge, or about 5/16″ center-to-center!

My sixth group was a repeat with the JSB Exact Jumbos from the first and fifth group. I just wanted to verify that I was sighted in at 27 yards. This group is in the upper left of the following picture. The group size is a bit larger due to the fact that I shot away my aim point.

Used airguns
Six 10-shot groups on one fill. One-hundred fifty strokes of the Benjamin handpump to refill to 190 bar from about 110-120 bar. I think that the JSB Exact Jumbo 15.89-grain pellet is the winner of the day. Last group is upper left after scope adjustments.

As you can see, each of the six groups can be completely or almost completely covered by a dime. The largest can be covered with a nickel. All are pretty round, and these are consecutive group; so I’d say this rifle isn’t too pellet picky. Cost for this set-up was less than $600 for the gun and 2 clips plus $100 for the scope. The Accushot scope mounts I already had laying around. All of the pellets that I used today were purchased from Pyramyd AIR at one time or another. Can’t beat their 4 for the price of 3 deal!

Am I happy with this gun? Absolutely! But, back to the original question: “Can you get a good, used gun?” Of course! This isn’t my only used gun purchase. Nearly all of my higher end guns are used (I call them higher end but, in fact, they’re more middle range), either acquired from the Yellow Forum classifieds or from Pyramyd Air’s Reman/Refurb/Open Box or Used Gun section. Either I’ve had great luck or this is the norm for me, with the bad apples being the occasional exception.

One of the things that ups my success versus “oops, I shouldn’t have done that” rate is research. In this case, I’d witnessed an S410 FAC sidelever in action. I know that Air Arms has a pretty much stellar reputation; and, from looking at going prices, I knew this one was a pretty good deal — even if it is a bolt-action and the stock isn’t walnut. Not a screaming deal; but at arm’s length, everyone walks away happy deal. I also buy new guns and other things, but I fully intend to keep saving money by careful shopping in the used, remanufactured and refurbished aisles! So can you. You’ll need just a little patience and act quickly when you notice something!

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.

54 thoughts on “Can used airguns also be good ones?”

  1. All my life I have had Muscle cars. Probably 95% of my purchases was through recommendations from people I new. That way I got a pretty honest evaluation of what I was looking at purchasing.

    Well even with my other Hobby with R/C Airplanes. Had a little better idea of what I was getting when I purchased or traded a Airplane. Usually got to see it fly. And new the person I was getting it from. And how it was built.

    But as far as guns are concerned. I think I would be a little suspicious about buying a airgun from somebody.

    First problem I would have with it is. More than likely I wouldn’t get to shoot it before I purchased it.
    And if it was from somebody that didn’t have some type of good reputation with air guns I wouldn’t purchase the gun no matter how bad I wanted it.

    Just me. I hate spending my hard earned money in the wrong places in this day and age if you know what I mean. I defiantly t h i n k before I buy in all aspects of life now. 15 years ago didn’t even give it a thought when I was buying something. Now days you pretty well have to watch your money.

    • Gunfun1,

      That’s what I like about this blog. People from all over having the same interests and able to speak without fear of not fitting in. I know what you mean by not trusting, but if you think about it, a lot more can be wrong with a car. I was really nervous when I first decided to jump in to the used airgun market, but I’d had really good luck with used firearms so I went ahead. Now I’m glad I did, having acquired a used HW57, HW90, Discovery, and now this AA S410e. None of these had any real issues to speak of. I’ve actually had more trouble with new airguns not performing than used.

      Rc 3d helicopters are my thing. Getting into planes a bit and now pretty heavy into FPV.


    • Where did you happen to purchase your RC planes from? I got a $120 one a couple years back, yet to see the front wheel lift off the ground. Tried so many times, ended up throwing it off my second story deck. Still didn’t fly of course, so I resulted to shooting it with my airgun, now it’s totaled. Surprised to see shooting it didn’t help it fly. I was hoping you could point me in the right direction, as I don’t want to waste money on a new worthless one.

      • KevinV,

        I don’t know where Gunfun1 gets his, but I get mine online, new from an rc shop or build them from flat foam and carbon fiber roofs and tubes. The motors, esc’s, servos and receivers are an investment, but they usually survive more than one crash. Greet a decent transmitter as these last a long time. I’d suggest a simple 3 channel EasyStar or something like it. Easy to fly and is pretty crash resistant. Or get a 4 channel foam trainer model and disable the ailerons while you get used to flying. Then you have something to grow into. Again, internet research is valuable, but actually visiting a decent rc hobby shop and chatting with an electric plane guy there can get you pointed in the right direction a lot faster.


        • Kevin and Dave. The only thing I fly now days is the flat epp foam electrics. I mostly fly 3D aerobatics now.

          I have flown since I was a kid. Probably about 10 years old. Use to fly fuel planes. Every thing from aerobatic planes (Extra 300’s) to the 40 size Quicky 500 Pylon planes and warbirds with the Nelson and Rossi engines. And the club that I flew at we made are own 1/2 A pylon planes and used the Cox Tee-Dee engines . And the club also had fun fly’s that was different type of things you would have do with your plane for points.(spot land on a bulls eye,bomb drop, fly limbo, lower you go under the pole without touching the ground the more points you get and I would do it inverted for even more points).

          But as far as where I get them now days Is Grayson Hobbies. And sometimes Hobby Lobby or Tower Hobby’s. But the motor,speed controller combinations that Grayson Hobbies have put together as a package have been the most powerful and efficient that I have seen. And the cost is by far the cheapest.
          And one of the other places that I order from is Hobby King. They have all kinds of stuff also. But I have found that their Turnagy brand Li poly battery’s are the most powerful and the cheapest battery packs that I can find anywhere.

          And Dave I fly Helicopters too. Kind of did them off and on through time. And the ones I started on was the 30 size fuel copters. I now fly the micro electrics. I ain’t that good with the copters though as I am with the planes. But I defiantly like the electric copters better than the old fuel ones.

          And last but not least I do purchase the re-manufactured Crosman 1377 pistols when I find them for sale. I use the trigger grip assembly on the Marauder rifles with a 1399 stock. You cant buy the trigger grip assembly as a whole unit from Crosman.

          Then something I done with one of the 1377 pistols is. I took a Discovery stock and cut it in half in the right place and drilled it and routed it out and used it for the front part for the new pump handle.
          Then I put the Disco trigger and back part of the stock on it.
          Then drilled out the front plastic piece of the sight so the Disco barrel would go through it. And used the Disco receiver with just the one bigger back screw holding the barrel on also with the front sight place.
          I didn’t worry about the little flat head screw that is in the spot were you you load the pellet because it is in different spot.
          About 15 pumps and the 8.3 Superdomes in .177 cal. I’m getting around 670 fps on the Chrony. And the gun is fairly quiet but pretty accurate. I shoot this gun in the basement at 10 yrds using a red dot sight. So it is a pretty fun gun.
          Oh and I destroyed the Disco trying to mod it. So that’s how the parts ended up making the above gun.

  2. Hello /Dave. You have purchased one of the better pcp guns made for $600.00. The pictures of the targets displaying the accuracy confirm the rifle is top notch too. And so it should be with a Lothar Walther barrel. I actually prefer the bolt to the newer lever action. I think it gives the action more of a ‘gun’ look. But this is merely aesthetics, and do nothing for accuracy. I also had to laugh at your indoor/outdoor shooting range. I to have a similar setup that gives me 5 extra meters, making 25 meters total. I installed a 180 degree mirror outside to let me know if someone is coming around the back on either side of the house. Safety first I always say.
    My Dad, being a product of the 1930’s depression, had to make do with many second and third hand goods when he was growing up. He was quite firm on us buying new and not second hand. I remember when I was 10 years old, I had to save up $40.00 for a brand new bike, while my friends got around just fine with their $10.00 police auction bikes. I believe it was a matter of pride that his family would not feel the shame of having to rely on anything second hand. It was a matter of perspective, and not quality.
    Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you have many years of shooting small one hole groups.
    Caio Titus

    • Nice idea on the mirror, Titus!

      My backyard is surrounded by a 6 ft fence that has gates which can only be opened from the inside. So I feel ok about it. The dogs have to stay inside in a bedroom, but they’ve learned that they get treats when I’m done, so they don’t mind.


  3. The only airguns I have purchased new was a Crosman 1044 and my Izzy 46M and the price at which I bought them was incredible.

    Most mid and high price airguns are purchased by experienced airgun owners and are usually properly handled and cared for.

    The low end ones are usually the ones that have been purchased by newbies who have no idea about the proper care and feeding of airguns. These are where you usually find the sproingers that have been “dry” fired or the break barrel that was fired with the barrel down. But this is also where you find the guy who does not understand the proper way to shoot sproingers and is disgusted with the @#%$!&%$@#!!! thing and just wants to get rid of it.

    There are shysters out there who will sell you junk or nothing at all if they can and you need to be diligent and not just with airguns, but some great deals can be had on some airguns that for all practical purposes are new.

    • RR,

      So far I’ve managed to avoid the shysters. Mostly because most of the guys on the Yellow are pretty brutally honest about what they’re selling and are on the boi with feedback. American Airgun Classified have many of the same sellers since the Yellow and AAC are linked but has a few more scammers. The scammers are pretty obvious though. Google and Googlemaps is your friend when doing research on who you’re sending your hard earned cash to. And of course PA is very trustworthy!


  4. /Dave,

    An excellent blog (and good shooting)!

    You mention your concern about what I call the “loudness : neighbor” ratio. I believe my neighbors will put up with my backyard target practice so long as they do not actually see the air gun and so long as the shots are quiet enough that they can only just barely hear them if they are on their patio. I am being cautious in estimating how much I can get away with, so I always try to be quieter than I think I probably need to be.

    Because you have so much experience, both indoor and semi-outdoor (with likely much of the air blast volume directed out the door, I’d think), with the S410E, about how loud is it when set at the lowest power settings? It does have something of a built in shroud, no?


    • Michael ,

      Thanks! I’m probably overly cautious on the noise due on part to where I live. All of my neighbors are pretty quiet so I try to return the favor… This S410E is quiet enough that I can shoot in my basement without any hearing protection. It does have a built in shroud and no way to adjust the power down that I know of. Most of what I hear when I shot is the ping of the striker.


  5. /Dave…

    Glad you got your hands on a good one. I have enough trouble getting new ones from dealers in the first place. The idea of getting them from the classifieds worries me a lot more.


  6. I loved buying used. Being in Canada we have a smaller market because well there is fewer of us but there’s a lot less shooters here so we might have to wait and search a little harder to find deals with the most popular online ads sites refusing to sell guns it gets even harder.

    But still I have found some duds but also some awesome ones. My Diana 24, Slavia 618, Umarex Desert Eagle not to mention my greatly prices FAS 609 pistol. Pictures don’t tell the whole truth but if the finish on the gun is impecable it’s because the owner took good care of it and if he takes good care of the exterior he probably took good care of the rest of the gun too.

    I don’t think I regret a single of my used buys (contrary to the new ones).


    • J-F,

      Pictures really don’t tell the whole story. I always use any available tools like the Yellow BOI and AAC’s DNS tracker along with Google and Google maps to help me with the legitimacy and reputation factors before committing to a buy and actually sending money. One seller’s address came up as the UPS store and that made me a little nervous, but I looked at the fact that he was selling airguns as a small business and took that into consideration. I had him email me a “hostage” picture with my name and the date printed on a piece of paper along with the rifle. He did and in the end, I took the chance and he sent me my new Slavia 634 .22!


      • Of course! From trusted sellers was a given. I’ve had guns sent to me COD too. I’m a trusted buyer with a lot of buys on our Canadian Airgun Forum and also a lot of posts I’m not going to let that reputation go for a gun so I also had a gun sent to me for free, some sellers even offer it. And I pay upon receiving the gun. We also have advantages to dealing in a smaller market, we get to know each other, if the seller has been in airgunning for a while chances are we already have dealt with common people either close to him or me.


  7. Let me add my kudos for a nicely written blog, /Dave. I, too have just started looking for bargains on various sites and so far, have been outbid on two TX 200 Air Arm rifles (by $5 on each) as BB knows (he’s been cheering me on). My problem was timing and perhaps trying too hard to get the “deal of the century”. But at least I’m patient and will keep on looking. As for RC helicopters, I had bought one of the two channel coax jobs and was having fun. My wife decided to reward me and bought a 4 channel Walkera from Hong Kong. All I can say to the rest of the blog is that the remote control looked like something off of the Lunar Lander. This craft had variable pitch, all manner of trims and things I still don’t know about plus the skimpy manual is written in Chinglish. Took me 5 seconds to have the chopper lift off, do a flip and destroy all the blades, the tail boom and strip one of the main nylon driving gears. Sigh……

    ON another topic, got to the local range yesterday and shot my .22 High Standard pistol with the red dot properly adjusted. Success – some very nice groupings so that was the problem (red dot reticle knob twisted between two choices of reticles). Now to wait for the Wednesday night 25 yard bullseye competition meet.

    Fred DPRoNJ

  8. Thanks for this blog, Dave

    In my experience when it comes to used airguns people are more important than time. Careful and know-how use, service and storage can give you a 40-year-old airgun in excellent working condition, yet another day an idiot can ruin a new rifle with a single “successful” steel BB down its barrel or steel “cleaning rod”.
    People build reputation so I’d rather buy from a fellow forum member known for being caring and honest airgunner than from a newcomer.
    And sometimes slightly “used” airgun means it’s broken in – and that’s actually even better than new, especially for springers. Of course, when you buy something used – you buy everything that you see and feel with your hands and eyes – and also everything that you’ve missed 😉
    I also noted a tendency that modern day guns are made “cheaper” thus their “survivability” is lower. The better the steel and finish, the less use will be seen if it’s used, so more expensive guns tend to survive better. Well, a $750 rifle is really something that attracts care or else its owner must have more millions than IQ points.


    • Spasibo vam bolshoi, duskwight! I think that the owners with more millions than IQ points are rarer than those who will take care of their investment. Research is your friend!


  9. Nice write up, Dave! Buying used was the only way to acquire some of the airguns I’ve coveted over the years. It’s been a couple decades since the Crosman MK1/MK2 or the 600 semi-auto was in production.

  10. Nice shooting. I guess you have to be a bit discriminating when you buy used. A pricy gun will likely have been taken care of when you never know what abuse a kid put a cheaper gun through. My friend Dan admitted to firing small pebbles through his old daisy then wanted to try and trade me for one of my cheaper guns. No way I’d do it. That gun had been severely abused. Last year I agreed to take a Crosman AIR 17 as partial payment for some work I was doing on another guy’s airgun (turned out great!). The AIR17 was all rusty and corroded as if it was stored in a damp location. The other day I spent an hour with steel wool working the rust off the gun. I’m still in for a few more hours of work before I can start blueing the gun. This thing has no doubt been in the hands of a kid and not been taken care of. However it is fairly accurate. The only reason I agreed to take the gun was purely for sentimental value, which is rare for me. Everybody that knows me knows I am one of the people that does not buy used guns. (there area few exceptions such as pistols with rifled bores since I can’t see going through all the paperwork as if it were a real gun for a pellet pistol that has around 450 fps, not lethal.) I hadf an AIR17 which I got a few months before I joined the army purely for a bit of practice before I got my hands on the m-16. (closest I could get at the time.) I had that gun all the way until I got married. Then my dad had it for several years and eventually threw it away. So this AIR17 was as close as I could get to having some of my childhood back. Something that is very rare to find as there is very little of my past left.

    • John,

      Sentimentality isn’t always a bad thing. I got a Daisy 1894 bb gun from Vince that I’ve enjoyed because while not really accurate, it’s about the same as my first Daisy 1894 bb gun that my dad gave me when I was a kid! Come to think of it, I may have shot small pebbles through that one too….. 😉


      • When it comes to airguns I’m not normally very sentimental. I just prefer new because then if there is something wrong with it, I have a warranty. That warranty was put to some pretty heavy use with my Crosman Nightstalker. I must have gone through at least a dozen bad ones before I got one that holds it’s co2 and actually works. I just pulled my nightstalker out of storage the other day and found after 3 years of not being used it was still holding co2. That is one gun I will not part with now since those were notorious for flimsy seals and valves. I suspect that was one reason they stopped making the things. Most seemed to be junk. My nightstalker seems to be one of the rare good ones.

        With a used airgun I don’t have that warranty so if something is wrong with it I am out the money and have a broken gun. Sometimes I can fix them, sometimes I cannot. Like a used Crosman C11 pistol I bought. 15 shots and the trigger return spring snapped. I tried to fix it but couldn’t get a new spring and ended up tossing the gun in the trash in pieces.

        • I understand wanting a warranty, especially with the hassles of getting anything in Michigan and needing to treat airguns as firearms… I try to do research and get some type of guarantee when I buy used. Cheaper airguns I buy new because of the abuse risk, the lack of guarantee, etc. I think the risk is justified on higher value airguns for me because I can fix almost anything and the cost of what I can’t fix will be a smaller total when factored in with the cost of the gun. Maybe not so much for others who don’t have my capabilities.


          • In the gun you are using for an example It seems to be fine to buy one of those used. You save some money on the gun you want. It has been cared for and likely properly maintained. In order for me to have something like that I have to seriously sacrafice to the point I can’t justify the purchase. So I stick with the guns in the price range of $200-$300. My biggest airgun splurge was on my condor a few years ago. I have no regrets on that one. It’s about the only one I use now. Everything else is collecting dust or I collect it because of what it looks like. I’m digging the tactical airgun look. I put them all in the rack in the order that they came off the assembly line. AIR17 at the top, then nightstalker then M417, then MK-177….Kind of like an anthology of the breed.

  11. Nice shooting, Dave, and interesting to hear about your range set-up. I’ve gone back and forth on used myself as I might have mentioned. When I saw that 6 inch barrel SW686 in the case, I had to get it. I was delighted until I found that the grip wiggled ever so slightly. The “master gunsmith” told me that I would have to live with it. Here seemed to be a classic case of getting burned with used. But then the SW customer service explained what the problem was and sent me a new set of Uncle Mike’s grips at a discount. I put them on, and now she’s as solid as a rock. And I’m firmly in the camp of the discriminating used purchase.

    Edith, your mom’s behavior that you described last week was outrageous. I can see how power can get equated with tyranny after that experience.

    I’ve been traveling and about the blog’s business. How about a 2 for 1 guest blog. So, there I am visiting my brother in Kentucky, and we go over to a gathering in a house owned by someone we met before: this the is the fellow who decapitated a groundhog at 1300 yards. At first, he didn’t recognize me. But then he remembered and asked if I shot. When I said that I did, he responded, “You don’t shoot. I shoot.” And then he gives a flash of the pearly whites before sliding out of view. (!) So, how’s that for an opening salvo. Soon enough he was back. Let’s play the game of find the falsehoods in the following.

    This fellow was posted in Hawaii for two years during the Vietnam War where he underwent sniper training without being deployed. Now, he claims to be able to put 5 shots in a silver dollar at 1500 yards with a .308. His son, a most unprepossessing boy of 12 who looks like he’s 9, is supposedly able to hit a bottlecap without fail at what looked to be at least 200 yards away from the balcony. The guy’s favorite rifle now is what he calls “Nelly.” This is a 22-250 rifle with which he shoots at 1300 yards. I asked him what kind of action it had. He responded that it had an fps of over 4400. It also had a Leupold scope that cost $200 more than the rifle. I asked him what power scope he used, and he said, “You’ll see.” The secret to the rifle’s fabulous 1000+ yard performance, he said, was a special “ballistic” load known only to him. I asked him what bullet weight he used and he said 35 grains. He also said that the bullet was enclosed in nylon which is a new one to me. For .308, he said his ballistic load was 55 grains. (B.B. note well, the next time you’re choosing a bullet weight for your AR-15). Since he said he was planning to go deer hunting with his son, I asked him about bullet penetration with his bullet weights. He said that didn’t mean anything since he and his son were going to shoot all their deer in the head.

    To warm things up, he brought out an air rifle which he had used to exterminate some muskrats below the balcony. He said it was a Gamo. I asked him if it was the Whisper and he said, “Heck no, they wanted $300 for that.” Looking at it more carefully, it appeared to be the Gamo Rocket. To demonstrate its capabilities, he opened the breech only to find it already loaded with a pellet. Surprise. So, he fired that off. Then, without missing a beat, he cocks the gun and dry fires it with a big smile. Hear that metal shrieking. This was to show that the rifle was almost as loud as a .22. Then he revealed the secret to the rifle’s performance. A bag of gold-plated Raptor pellets. These got up to 1600 fps which he said is half the velocity of an AK47! With this ammo, he head shot a muskrat at what looked to be about 25 yards horizontal distance, although he fired from a pretty severe downward angle from his third floor. He did this from back in the room with the window mostly closed and from an offhand position. The four swimming muskrats, he got using a rest. He claimed that he aimed ahead of them and fired when they crossed his aimpoint.

    Finally, he brought out Nelly which looked like a package gun. It was a Remington 700 action with a synthetic stock, fluted stainless steel barrel and what looked to be a Harris bipod. He opened and closed the action and left it cocked. Looking at the scope, I saw a magnification of 20X on the focus knob and said so. He smirked and said, “It’s 50.” Looking closer I saw 6X20 by 50mm. He also showed a round of the mysterious ballistic ammo and a regular round for comparison. The regular round was brass-cased with a flattened head and a black tip. The ballistic ammo was about the same dimensions but it appeared to have a nickel plated case. The bullet was pointed spitzer with a kind of beige or off-white tip. All new to me.

    Later he confessed that he wasn’t a pistol guy because snipers like him did not do close-quarters combat but shot their targets at long-range. However, he claimed to own a match-grade Browning 9mm which he would set against any combat caliber. “You take your 44 magnum, and I’ll take my Browning out to that golf course (next door) and we’ll see who ends up friggin dead,” he shouted. “I’ll shoot you four times in the friggin head!” And in case his Browning didn’t finish the job at close-quarters, he claimed to have Tae Kwon Do training and had made it all the way to green belt.

    This was all by way of a social gathering. I cannot believe that anyone lives with a guy like this. BG_Farmer, if not for you, I might have to start wondering about the great state of Kentucky.

    What I really wish is if this guy could meet B.B. O, B.B., make it come true. What would you say to a fellow like this?


    • Matt, that guy sounds like about every tenth person I run into at any given gun show. Seems like they’re all the greatest shots in the world and every shot they make borders on the impossible/spectacular. After hearing these incredible boasts of shooting prowess and being able to shoot the sweat off a fly’s eye at 100 yards(–at least!) I always try to act duly impressed (and duly amazed)–then ask what’s their current NRA classification for competition? I also find that it’s helpful to ask questions like, “Well, then, so what do you think about the new precision rifles from Bleiker or do you prefer the current crop of “tube guns”?

      • It’s a bird, it’s a plane? No, it’s… Super Phony!

        A guy on the CAF said he got a hit on a moving target moving at around 25 km/h (around 15 mph) on his 3rd shot with a Barrett rifle with a 24X Leupold scope and his spotter had a 60X spotting scope and laser range finder. First shot missed but picked up a bit of dust, second shot hit the hood and 3rd shot made it to the target.
        I think it’s true but legit or not it’s a great story!


    • Sounds like someone I used to work with, Matt…. I usually just nod my head and agree and see how far I can get their head to expand before it blows up.


    • What a fun guy. I would have asked for a demonstration.

      Dave, that was a good article you wrote. I must have had a couple hundred airguns come and go during my airgun days and almost all of the airguns and scopes have been bought used. I try to keep a mental note of what airguns are really good and after a few years everyone wants something new and I pick up yesterday’s great guns. It’s a great way to get to try a lot of airguns. Most get sent on down the line but a few each year seem to find a new home in my closet.

      David Enoch

      • Thanks, David! I think this one’s a keeper for me! I knew Air Arms has a great reputation, so when I saw this one, I jumped on it right away. No regrets here!


    • Matt,
      There are a few everywhere (not just KY), but he sounds extreme and a little deranged. I’m guessing he is one of those people who lie pathologically no matter what the topic, and he thought shooting would impress you. Or, his laser rangefinder reads in feet instead of yards :)!

  12. /Dave,

    Excellent blog and shooting! I’m jealous. A 27 yard backyard range! And that rifle is beautiful. I’m very happy for you that it’s proven to be a keeper.

    Based on your excellent and consistent shooting, I think you’ve proven yourself worthy of the name “Shooter”.

    In the years that I’ve been shooting in my backyard, I’ve only had one neighbor complain about it. He claimed that pellets were going into his back yard, so I immediately invited him into mine so that he could see how that was impossible (I didn’t argue or claim that it was impossible, I just showed him my setup). First of all, I built a portable wall (with a small opening that I shoot through) that prevents me from shooting over the wall in front of me. Second of all, I was shooting from corner to corner in the opposite direction from his wall. Worse case, some pellets might splatter out of my Champion trap, but they tend to collect right in front of the trap (I also staple cardboard backings on all of my targets, covering the entire front).

    This neighbor had just moved in, and was confused by the noise that the Champion trap makes, not the airguns themselves. Once he saw my setup, he apologized and asked that I continue. I then invited him and his son out to shoot. He declined. Those Champion traps are in fact very noisy, and the house behind mine (with the new neighbors) apparently picks up a lot of noise, probably echo to. I wasn’t expecting them to hear much because there is about a 10 foot drop from my house to his.

    Thanks, Shooter!

    • Thank you, Victor! The new-used shooting rest did all the work. My groups either offhand or tested on the mono-pod are nowhere near as nice. I’m really pleased with this rifle because now I know that when I miss, it’s a near certainty that it’s me and not the gun…


      • Shooter, I mean /Dave,

        Knowing precisely how a gun performs is a huge deal in my book, for the reason that you just gave.

        It’s especially nice when a rifle groups in a nice almost circular random pattern, as opposed to some elongated pattern, or with random flyers.

        Yes, I know that the rest helped a lot, but it still required execution on your part. In recent years I’ve developed issues with my trigger squeeze that I didn’t have before, so I have to consciously walk myself through the mechanics.


        • Back to the basics always helps, never hurts! I really need to pull out the Izh 46m and work on my one hand shooting using the basic techniques that both you and BB have described here.

  13. Thanks to all of you guys for being supportive! Man! BB and Edith have a lot off work daily to run this blog and keep all of us coming back!! I’m off to bed now, gotta get up early to work on my day off…..


  14. At 27 yards on a mostly windless day and shooting off my mechanical rest, I think it does well. As I said, the mechanical rifle rest is a lot more solid than what I’m accustomed to. It doesn’t adjust from side to side except by sliding the back end around, but it has a very fine elevation screw, allowing me to dial in the height very easily. It also has very thick felt v-pads on the front and rear to allow a non-marring, but freely sliding surface to support both the forearm and the butt of the rifle. While shooting my groups, I was also adjusting the scope a bit to get it closer to what I wanted. The clip on this gun holds 10 rounds, so it’s easy to shoot groups of 10. I’ll give both edge-to-edge and center-to-center group measurements for your comprehension. Generally speaking, I think that center-to-center is the standard.

  15. I just experienced a used airgun the other day that made me not like used guns all that much more. Somebody took a regulat talon and turned it into a talon ss. You might not think that is such a bad idea. But he had put some oddball size barrel in it so I had to replace the barrel. Normally this is no big deal. But I had to first take about 4 hours to remove the home made baffle system. Then I discovered the thing had a sleeve soldered in it so the barrels had to be replaced by gutting the gun and bringing the barrel out the back of the gun which took another hour and a half. Then I had to get the new .22 cal barrel in the gun which took another 15 minutes. Then I had to put the gun back together which took another 30 minutes. Then I had to take it apart again due to something not working right. (another 10 minutes and another 15 to put it together again.) Then I had to fix a tank leak in the modified tank (another 20 minutes), then I had to fix a foster quick disconnect valve in the modified tank. Then the air pressure gauge needed to be replaced……By the time I was done I had basically rebuilt the entire gun and it still was a rather poor gun which my friend Dan traded a beautiful Marauder for. Basically he got a junk gun for a very nice gun because he had shot my Condor and wanted an airforce gun. Now he’s unhappy with it and wants to trade the gun off but nobody seems to want this “Uncle Pappy’s Root Cellar Frankengun.” I see this kind of stuff all the time which is why I avoid used guns like I avoid a leper colony. I currently have 5 guns in line now that I need to “unmodify” so they work again. Then I have to sit down and do some proper power modifications so they work as my customers want them to work. Most of these guns I’ll be losing money on.

      • Yeah, He thought he had made the gun into a powerful amazing gun. I found with Airforce guns you don’t modify them. They are already well tuned and do a great job right out of the box. All I ever did to mine was add on a few goodies like shrouded that 24″ barrel, add a foregrip and a scope on the tri-rail along with other airforce stuff. But I never messed with the internals. There are certain guns that can be made a bit more powerful like the discovery and the 22xx and 13xx crosmans. But others it’s best to leave them alone.

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