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More great expectations

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

Great expectations
Great expectations

Great expectations!

Sometimes, you find something works, and you stick with it. Apparently, the title of this report is one such thing. I seem to keep coming up with this title, yet my reports don’t seem to be related. Oh, well, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Today’s report is going to sound like a Friday blog, but that isn’t intentional. I just have a couple random things to say, and it’s going to come out that way.

I’ll start with the real reason for today’s report — new airgunners. Five years ago, we also got new airgunners; but back then they came from everywhere — not from one particular place. Some were people wanting to learn the basics of shooting, others were firearm shooters who wanted to try airguns for a change and others were people who had shot airguns in their youth and wanted to see where things had progressed since then.

Today, it’s different. The bulk of our new airgunners are now coming from the firearms side of the shooting sports. They’ve been shooting firearms for a while (some longer than others, obviously), but they admit they’re new to airguns and want to learn. Oh, they were always aware that airguns were out there, but they didn’t give them much thought. That changed when the ammo supplies dried up here in the U.S. These people like to shoot, and they see airguns as a way of doing that without hindrance.

I know this from the comments we’re getting on the blog, plus the number of new readers who are commenting for the first time. I noticed that whenever I write a report about something fundamental, there’s lots of discussion. Five years ago, I got more criticism that I wasn’t reviewing airguns as much as readers expected; but today, I’m getting real questions about the fundamentals of shooting. I think that’s great because we can all stand to learn more about our sport — me included. Just because I write this stuff doesn’t mean I necessarily know any more about it than anybody else. I’m just the guide on this trip — not the destination.

So, I visited a local large sporting goods chain store last Saturday. It’s Academy Sports, for those who know it. And I noticed that their shelves were packed with all kinds of shotgun ammunition, plus a healthy variety of rifle ammo (considering recent times). Looking at things like this is something I do a lot these days to find out where we are in terms of the availability of ammunition.

Then, my eyes fell on several plastic-looking bows. Now, I know next to nothing about bows. I’ve owned them and shot them, but I was never what you would call an archer. So, I’m looking at these plastic bows and let me tell you what I saw. They looked cool! Two were compound bows with pulleys, and one of them was priced at around $45, while the other was a whopping $95! I may not be an archer, but I know that a compound bow should cost several hundred dollars. Yet here were two of them for under a hundred each, and they looked good.

That was when it hit me — for me this experience was just like a firearm shooter looking at a super-powerful breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle from China! I know why those kinds of airguns are not special — I’ve had hundreds of experiences with them and could write a book of warnings about what you get for $129 from a discount sporting goods store. But the firearm shooter who considers them seriously for the first time doesn’t know what he’s looking at. He needs help — just like I needed help with the bows.

These two black plastic bows (each was stapled to a colorful cardboard backer, if that gives you any sense of their quality) looked very cool. So — that is what it must feel like to be a new airgunner and wonder why a Walther LGV Challenger costs so much more than a Winchester 1028 air rifle combo, when, according to the description, it doesn’t shoot nearly as fast, nor does it come with a scope!

I wanted to ask someone right then and there what the differences were between these cheap compound bows and a good one, but I knew that no salesperson in the store could answer that for me. And any customer who might try to help might be as confused as I was — but perhaps 6 months farther along the trail of tears — learning about bows the hard way.

So, I will continue to write about the fundamentals of both airguns and of shooting, along with the detailed tests of airguns…because I know there are many people who need to hear this stuff — and some who should know better also need to hear it again.

A related thought
I’ve been thinking of visiting a new archery store that opened several months ago — just to see what’s new. More specifically, I want to know about new crossbows. I haven’t been in this store yet, but conversations from several archers have led me to believe that perhaps they do not even carry crossbows! Know why? Because people who shoot longbows think very poorly of crossbows.

Is it possible that a retail store — one that has been established for the purpose of succeeding and making its owner money — would not carry a product that most people believe to be in the same realm? After all — both longbow and crossbow have the word “bow” in their names.

Yes, it’s very possible. There may be such an animosity between longbow archers and those who shoot crossbows that the store owner might think he would drive away longbow customers from his store if he carried products from “the dark side.”

I used that term, the dark side, on purpose because that’s the term airgunners use to describe precharged pneumatics (PCP). Although they’re the oldest branch of airguns, those who shoot spring guns feel somehow that PCPs are the newcomers. And they are, if you only look at the modern ones that started in the UK in 1980. But PCPs date all the way back to the mid-1500s, while spring-piston airguns date from around the middle of the 19th century. Precharged pneumatics are, in fact, 300 years older than spring-piston guns, no matter how you feel about them.

My point is not to debate the history of the two powerplants. Rather, it is to point out that a schism exists right in the heart of the shooting sports. More specifically, within the heart of airguns that are only a pimple on the skin of the shooting sports. Arguing about the legitimacy of PCPs versus springers is like two fleas arguing whose dog it is. And, given the current political climate we are suffering in the United States, the dog has just been sprayed for fleas!

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 Airgunsโ„ข for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

98 thoughts on “More great expectations”

  1. B.B.,

    I think that a lot of us have been attracted to airguns because we like to shoot. It’s great that they are cheap to shoot, but even greater that probably most of us can do it within the perimeter of our homes, including inside.

    Again, in my dreams air-gunning would be at least as popular as bowling, with airgun ranges in every city.

    I’d also like to see more airgun manufacturers make replicas of popular hunting rifles, pretty much like airsoft replicas of so many firearms. That way hunters (all kinds) can have something to practice at home, or more cheaply outdoors. I realize that not every gun can have a replica, so it would be up to firearm manufacturers to make recommendations. At present there is a plethora of airsoft replicas.

    Even before the current climate I’ve been saying that more shooters need proper training. There are a lot of people who are fearful of guns. The cure for this, I think, is education or demystification. One possible solution is to introduce more younger people to airguns. It’s best of this happens within a qualified organization. It would be more difficult to change the minds of older people, than to create a whole new generation of shooters. The gun culture has to be one that screams/projects safety, responsibility, and respect (just like what I went through as a young teen). Again, it’s often times harder to teach an old dog new tricks, while at the same time it’s easier to mold young minds to high ideals and standards.

    I truly believe in this vision of a positive future for shooting sports. It’s about a healthy culture, just like the one I knew 35 years ago. Difference being that it almost has to be self-perpetuating and self-sustaining, which means that it can’t require that participants have deep pockets. Organized shooting sports cannot be made popular unless they are accessible. They also have no hope of coming to fruition without proper leadership and organization.

    Millions of kids love baseball, but baseball would be nothing without organized programs. Millions of kids love shooting. We’re born with a desire, appreciation, and even instinct for hitting our mark. What kid wouldn’t get a thrill out of taking a few shots from a gun, whether it be at a carnival or somewhere else? Kids love shooting guns as much as they love certain sports. But where do they get access to shooting (I’m talking about those who’s parents aren’t themselves shooters)? Even if a kid grows up around guns, how does he/she take it to the next level (e.g., competition)? There either isn’t something available to them, or it isn’t obvious. In this economy, cost a big factor for many families. The cost of airgun ammo is the mitigating factor that needs to be stressed.

    There can’t be a future without the right vision. This vision must be positive, inclusive, and even inspiring. It may be that the airgun manufacturers have figured out how they can help make this happen. It may be that the current crop of products aren’t what is needed to make this happen. It maybe that no one has the right vision, yet.

    Maybe you first need vision, then maybe you can talk about expectations. The current climate doesn’t have to define the future. Maybe the right leadership simply doesn’t exist.


    • I think everybody associates target shooting with fun. The hang-up is the danger of guns. The fact is they are dangerous, but that’s not ultimately a reason not to use them. There is great potential for the enjoyment of shooting if we could just tap into it.


      • Matt61,

        Everything you said was perfectly stated, and another point that I wanted to make. Guns are dangerous, but that’s not reason enough to use enjoy them.

        I spent years trying to offset the fear of guns, and especially the idea of kids learning to shoot them. I mentioned a couple things about this last week. I’m still arguing that the city should keep their range and Hunter Safety program because it’s very likely that there is at least one gun per household these days.

        In my first attempt to try to convince the city (council, mayor, and professional staff) to keep their range, and especially their junior marksmanship program, I explained how almost everyone loves shooting, but unlike other sports, there’s little support for it, so it usually gets dropped.

        I explained that I honestly never looked at any of my guns as “weapons”. They were fine instruments that provided a means for me to demonstrate my performance, both mentally and physically. I likened my fine target rifles to fine instruments. I believe all of these things, because THAT was my experience. A lot of money went into supporting my very expensive habit, and that never escaped me. Winning was important, but very rarely the thing that was on my mind, and never during a match.

        The love and care that B.B., demonstrates with guns like his Ballard, is exactly how I related to my competition equipment. Organized shooting is an activity of great purity. It is both an art and a science. I wonder how many can truly comprehend this. I think that some shooters can, like probably most of the guys here on this blog, but not most shooters.

        Competitive marksmanship is a highly detailed and sophisticated activity. It’s the kind of activity that changes how you think and do things. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but for the those for whom it is, it’s like no other activity. If you weren’t neurotic before, you will be later.


        • Victor,

          Would parents rather their children know nothing about guns? I doubt it. What they want is for their children to have no interest in guns. For the most part, that’s not going to happen, so they might as well make sure their kids know enough to make good decisions and stay out of trouble. Forbidden fruit is the sweetest…and the most tempting.


          • Edith,

            You are exactly right, and THAT is the battle that I fought for years. I mentioned last week that the then mayor of the city, who’s dream-child was the junior marksmanship program, use to take me on tour to demonstrate just how sophisticated competitive marksmanship was. Sometimes I would do demonstrations while a bunch of business men sat around me at their restaurant tables. The reaction was always the same. None of them had any idea that such a sport existed.

            Education is one thing, but the demystification is something entirely different. There is so much more to shooting than most can imagine. But in order to raise the level of appreciation beyond prejudice and fear, you have to go beyond just recreational shooting, you have to go into the art and science of shooting.

            Back in the late 60’s, early 70’s, most parents thought that a shooting program for kids was going to create “terrorist” (REALLY). And yet, because of the ultra wisdom and professionalism of the mayor and his staff, they succeeded in creating one of the best programs of it’s kind. Not once did any of them politicize shooting. Not once did they talk about guns as weapons. They, through their wisdom and maturity, knew that in order for them to achieve the mayors dreams they had to build bridges and do nothing that could possibly alienate or exclude anyone. They knew that all they needed was a chance to prove that this was good for the community. And their dreams came true. We were eventually making headlines in local newspapers. The city was not only proud of what we were accomplishing, but also giving us awards of appreciation. Then our funding grew, allowing us to move up to newer and better equipment. We didn’t even have shooting mats at first. We used ugly blankets. We eventually got custom shooting jackets, among other things.

            Times have changed, and not all for the better. During the city council sessions, where efforts were made to try to save the program, too many proponents of the range spoke about guns as weapons, or about the program as training for the military. There was so much anger about 2nd Amendment rights, and fear. The points changed and everyone lost sight of the fact that there was a greater good that could be accomplished. Throughout my entire experience in organized shooting, no one politicized shooting, and that was during the end of the Vietnam War, when people were very passionate on both sides of the issue. My coaches, and the mayor NEVER said a single thing to make me aware of their political leaning. It NEVER happened. These days the air is poisoned with toxic fumes, and hardly anyone is talking about how things could move forward in a positive and meaningful way for EVERYONE. Instead, now it’s almost cult-like, where you’re either with us 100%, or your against us.

            In the past, people feared guns, but could be educated. Now people fear guns, and feel that guns are for “other types of people”. They are now less universally acceptable.


            • I think people can still be educated (and I may very well be wrong about this but I hope I’m not) and what you did then di just that and I think that given the right condition it could still be done.
              You won’t do much good by forcing something down peoples throat, the fact that you’re right or wrong doesn’t make a difference, you’re still forcing people to accept it.
              I think non-gun people need to be shown that there is something else to guns than military and hunting.
              To them hunting is barbarian and so is the military where an olympic sport is more noble and acceptable and just like with todays blog you can compare it to archery (which I often do). Some people will get it, some won’t and some are just so convinced they’re right that they just don’t listen.
              That’s where you need to be patient and work with them, ALL of them and NEVER give into their ways and tell them they’re wrong (even if you think they are) and try and slowly make them realize that guns aren’t so bad after all.


              • J-F,

                You are right. No one should try to shove anything down anyone’s throats. My coaches didn’t, and neither did I. What I always tried to do was to demonstrate the beauty and elegance of shooting. That’s why I often compared precision shooting with playing a fine instrument expertly. As far as I’m still concerned, it’s about the sport, and in particular the art and science of shooting. Try to shove anything else down the throats of young minds, and the whole thing is spoiled. And like anything that spoils, there is a stench to it.


                • The (gun) world would be a better place if there was more people like you, your coatches and the elected officials who believed in you and the shooting sports.

                  When you go into something you have a passion for like shooting or music (I think you’re right and the analogy fits perfectly) it’s very hard to master and will bring years of enjoyment. They can be enjoyed as a hobby, a pro or semi-pro level. If you have the passion it will keep you going and you will be able to bring more and more people to enjoy it the same way you have. I will try to bring my kids to like shooting sports as much as I like it and I wished I was given that opportunity when I was younger.
                  Maybe I would have sucked at competion levels but I sure would have tried my best!
                  I hope my kids can find something they have a passion for at a younger have that I have and that I will be able to support them financially to the full extent of what they can achieve.


  2. B.B. and All,

    To Victor I say, as the British might, Here, here! (O.K., I agree with 99 percent of Victor’s thoughts, but it is the 99 percent I choose to embrace, and the remaining 1 percent I will choose to cheerily and respectfully ignore.)

    While my family does come from both a law enforcement and deer / waterfowl hunting lineage, my own upbringing is not one of gun ownership. Nevertheless, please indulge my making a sweeping observation and comment.

    I find ALL of the reports on this blog fascinating, to one degree or another, and I have read every one of them over the past several years. Most of them I have read multiple times. I am not a “powder-burner,” but I nevertheless find blog entries on this site that discuss “real” firearms interesting and instructive. And I have a couple archery bows, although I’ve never devoted the time and discipline to do the art of archery the justice it deserves. Someday, perhaps.

    For the past few years, my interest has been focused on something I did with my late father when I was a boy and he was still among us: air-gunning.

    Several years ago, mostly from this blog, I learned, to my delight, that airguns are far much more than I had assumed. They are Olympic events and a competitive sport in a number of widely different events at a non-Olympic and yet world-class level. Air gunning was also, I learned, a much studied and passionately practiced avocation of many adults. These devotees, I came to learn, are quite erudite, sophisticated, and educated folks. Someday I hope to be worthy to stand amid their ranks. In the meantime I am thankful that they indulge my ignorant but earnest questions and observations in this forum.

    The bulk of my education in what has become MY passion of the past few years has come through the online teaching of a man I have never met personally (although I hope someday to do so): Tom Gaylord.

    While I have lost my father, and Mr. Gaylord is half a generation too young to have been my father, B.B. (Tom Gaylord) has, online, mentored me in the art and science of air-gunning as my father would have, were he yet alive and expert in the field, as Tom certainly is (his modesty notwithstanding).

    I also must thank all of the other barflies in this tavern (it’s a WI/IL thing), especially Vince, Victor, John, Pete, and TwoTalon. But there are many others, too, of course. Last week was a crazy, emotional week on this blog. Nothing makes me expect things in the real world to get less contentious in the foreseeable future. Perhaps that is why I feel the need to reach out to embrace all of you in what could be called a fellowship of the air.

    And so . . .

    Peace (except to varmints, tree-rats, spinners, Mentos, shell casings, and targets),


      • B.B.,

        I do not own any firearms, but I certainly have no problem with them or with others owning them. Many people conclude I am a firearm enthusiast because I have read quite a bit about them and am able to discuss them somewhat intelligently.

        Also, as I wrote before, firearms have been a big part of my family, just not my immediate one. Still, my dad qualified Expert in basic training with the Colt 1911. He had never shot a handgun before (or after) in his life. Rifles and shotguns, of course, when he was growing up. He said he was handed a Colt 1911 and simply told to point it at the target and shoot until there were no more bullets. So that’s what he did, and at 25 yards he ended up with a small single-hole group. The Sergeant was agog. My dad was handed a second magazine. He had to ask how to put it in the gun! His second group was another single, small hole. (With the Garand he barely qualified, by the way.)

        Back to my point, guns ARE fascinating, even to someone who is not especially drawn to them, such as me. Unusual, extraordinary, and exceptionally well designed/made firearms should appeal to a person at the very least as a marvelous machines and perhaps even as works of art. Your Ballard is an excellent example. It is simply beautiful. AND it is simply extraordinary for what it is capable of. It is like a Patek Philippe watch or a Ferrari.

        Here is an example of a firearm which I find fascinating because it is so extreme, a 2-Bore shotgun that’s SEVEN FEET LONG: http://indiansforguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=9523

        Now how cool is THAT? It doesn’t make me want to buy a shotgun or even shoot one, but how could anyone not find that amazing?


    • Michael,

      I was pretty much like most kids. Put a gun in my hands and a target to shoot at, and I’d gladly take a crack at it. There was a shooting range at the bottom floor of a recreation center that I frequented. They didn’t allow kids down there, unless accompanied by a parent, so it remained a bit of a mystery to a bunch of us for years. Then one day a park staff took us down to meet the range-masters. They briefly explained their junior marksmanship program, and went over the various qualification medals, and matches, including qualifying for the Nationals. About 10 of us signed up.

      The range masters were wore uniforms, were well spoken, and in general highly professional. Jim was a former Marine drill instructor, and Stan was a retired Coast guardsmen. Stan was also a very accomplished pistol shooter, holding many national and world records. What struck me most over the years of growing up under their mentorship was their character. I had participated in many sports, and had only once experience a coach that was their equal in terms of objectivity, insight, professionalism, and character. Decades later, after my nephew had earned his Distinguished Expert award, I was asked to write about my experiences as a competitive marksman, and all I could think about was my coaches. I forget the exact title name of my article, but it was something about how my shooting coaches were “Men Among Men”.

      I competed during during what I now see as a sort of “Golden Era” of shooting, with many of the greatest record holders. I hung out with, ate meals, and traveled with some of the best people that I would ever know, many of which were also among the best shooters in the country, and even the world.

      I was extremely lucky in that our region (southern California) had many of the best shooters in the country. All of them were very cool people. Overall, the shooting culture was probably as close to ideal as one could get. It was positive, everyone got along, and the adults were mature.

      Back then there were so many tournaments, and we shot everything we could, no matter where. I can’t tell you how many, but I know that I won over a 130 awards at the local, state, and national level. Our leagues were as tough as anything on the national level, so back then southern California was the place to be.

      It was all positive, no one kept secrets, and the level of sportsmanship was amazing. I never saw fighting or bickering, and except for one tournament, I never saw gamesmanship. Again, it was all about high ideals and standards, and those things were truly met. I can honestly say that during that entire time, NO ONE brought up politics. No one spoiled the purity of our purpose with that nonsense. It was 100% about the art and science of shooting. That purity translated into how everything else in my life could be viewed, and that made it a truly profound experience.

      I wonder if that can possible exist today. I somehow doubt it. Well, at least not with the current adult mentality and leadership. Politics has a way of lowering the standards of everything that it touches.


  3. Funny you’d mention crossbows. I’m thinking of taking the archery plunge myself since, as evidenced by a visit from my local code patrol over the weekend, my neighbors apparently are not as ok with my shooting in the backyard as I thought. Just a simple recurve will do, but finding good reliable info is difficult-the net’s great, but sometimes there’s too much information and it becomes overwhelming. If anyone is aware of BB’s counterpart in the bow & arrow world I’d sure appreciate a link or two!

    • dd,

      I’m not that counterpart, but what helped me greatly back in the 80’s was going to a specialized archery shop/range. Not the local sporting goods store where they had stuff from Fred Bear and little else (not bad bows, but heavy and I already had one). Between magazine reviews and them, I ended up with a Golden Eagle Hunter (wheels, not cams) which is huge, slow and heavy by today’s standards, but has served me well for almost 30 years now. New string and a tune up now and again, new arrows after I shot the nocks off and dent up the old ones and I’m good to go! There are lots of different criteria for choosing arrows, so be sure to get their advice on that as well. Don’t just buy something off the shelf at the local sporting goods store.


      • Thank you Dave, I’ll keep your advice in mind while I poke around. What I’m finding out so far is pretty much like anything else….One camp says “Get ‘such & such’ brand, the rest are junk, while another claims the junk bows are best. A gent I see at the local watering hole on occasion even said I was wasting time buying anything other than a compound bow, even though he knows full well I have no intention of hunting with the thing.
        Maybe I’ll just stick with airgunning and buy all the neighbors ear plugs!

        • Yeah, you’ll get a lot of that. Those people are just as bad as us airgunners when it comes to preferences. Best thing is to go to a range and try out what you can while getting some expert, “non-commissioned” advice. You’ll find the right one, or have a ton of fun trying!

        • dangerdongle, as I wrote to B.B., Traditional Bowhunter and Primitive Archer are both still selling hard copies of magazine issues. There are even clubs devoted traditional archery (although your . Check out this site for a list. http://www.oldbow.com/traditional_clubs.htm
          Apparently these folks don’t know they are wasting their time, despite what you watering hole associate may say. ~Ken

      • Dave, although I haven’t shot it in years, I still have the Bear Alaskan I bought back in 1977. It is a dinosaur compared to today’s bows but it packed a punch and gave me a lot of pleasure. I am quite sure your Golden Eagle has been good to you. I like today’s bows but I’m in no hurry to buy one. I know there are other differences (R&D marches on) but the most observable aspect is that the axle to axle length is shorter by several inches. ~Ken

  4. What really gets in my gut, are the pseudo-intellectual airgunners. Not so much on this blog of course, but more on the airgun discussion forums. These so-called self-proclaimed *experts* know it all and aren’t afraid to let everyone know that they know it *all*.

    For example, the new line of Walther LGV’s. I have seen so many people negatively criticizing this rifle, that it just makes me shake my head side-to-side. These *experts* know all about this rifle, even though they’ve never seen one much less picked one up, much less actually shot it. I even saw one *expert* try to convince people that the rifles were made by Hatsan!

    I’m stepping off my soapbox now….just had to vent a bit about people who proclaim that they know so much, but actually know so little.

    At least I know, when I come to this blog I can actually see the empirical and detailed research that is done prior to writing.

  5. BB, stay away from those low ball compounds (I know you will)! Good Compound Bows will run over $900.00 by the time you get them set up to shoot. Modern Crossbows are great for hunting.


        • Worry more about super-cheap arrows — if used with a moderately good bow. Super-cheap arrows don’t have the best spine — and can flex badly under the acceleration of the string. Bad enough that most bows are not central shoot, so you already have a flexing force on the shaft, but add a light spine on a hunting bow and you could get a shattered shaft.

          I’ve described, in the past, how using a mere 45lb compound (with a 50% let-off, so initial acceleration would have been about 25lb) and a campus provided arrow had the arrow swinging (from my view) two to three targets to the left and then curving back to hit the target I’d aimed at. The campus bows were cheap fiberglass recurves running 20-30lb pull max. (Made the class kind of interesting — half students using campus bows, half using personal hunting bows [class was offered in the fall, just before bow season]… Hunting bows were at point blank while the campus bows were lobbing arrows… at 10-15 YARDS. Think we eventually got back to 25 yards…)

  6. B.B.

    I’m back and quite in time with the last part of your latest blog.
    I ran from Portugal to Vienna via Brussels – I believe that was my coldest vacation in Portugal if not the coldest ever so far. Austria was no better in means of rain, but much better in means of museums – Rembrandt, Bruegel, Durer, Cranach etc.

    3 days ago I was in Vienna’s military museum where I was able to see and make photos (although bad ones) of 2 specimen of Girandoni M1780 repeating air rifle. Shoots .46 balls with very good accuracy and energy of ACP .45. Makes 20 (!) “useful” shots in a row from tube magazine, with reservoir containing enough air for 30. I must underline the fact that it was an Austrian army standard issue for Jager troops. All that in the age of black powder, 100-yard volley fire and 1-shot-per 45 seconds fire rate.

    Girandony can be named “XVIII-century Condor/Talon” due to its design: straight-line, reservoir in buttstock. As for me I find it most adequate and space-effective design for PCP rifles. And for those who blame PCP hand pumps for being bulky, they must see Girandoni pump. It’s about 3 m high, looks and weighs like an old printing press (made some bad quality photos). Or make more than 1000 strokes with little single-stage hand pump.


  7. I live in a small town in upstate NY. The shooting sports,especially hunting are very important and popular ,so much so, that before the deer season opener was changed to a saturday there would be virtually nobody in school or at work. Yet, there is not a single shooting program in our very large school system. Indeed,school facilities aren’t even used to teach the mandated and necessary hunter safety training required to get your first hunting license. There is about zero chance that an organized school competion/training shooting program could ever be started because of the political bias of the very few in charge.We have nearly all but three I believe ,of the 62 counties in my state that oppose the new SAFE Act which makes crimminals out of ordinary folks who shoot guns. One man caused this to happen and hardly any came out to vote in the general election to oppose him. I know many dedicated hunters who actually voted for him. Yet it is law now and will further destroy interest in shooting. The why is because that shooters are allowing this to happen by not getting involved with the political process . Plato said it best” One of the penaties of not particapating in politics is that you will be govened by your inferiors”. It is not lack of money in this primarily blue collar town that I live in . Folks still find the money to buy $50,000 pick-up trucks, and numerous other toys . They spend thousands to go watch other people play games at the stadium . So it isn’t the lack of money. As far as long bows and cross bows here. We had a brief crossbow season here for the last two years. The opposition is intensely political there too. The longbow folks don’t want the crossbow folks taking deer in their special early season. So the crossbows were only legal in the rifle season. So only the die hard folks used them and the season faded away ,for now anyway. I notice on many of the airgun forums that generally the political view is that of one that leans left , and like it or not, left leaning politicians favor gun restrictions. Many do not like the NRA, yet clamor for a powerful shooting sport advocate for schools and clubs. Victors comments above mention that demistification regarding guns and gun safety education is needed from a powerful organization. The NRA does that already. Yet ,many shooters hate them because they are also ( really only recently in the last 35 years or so) a political group. It isn’t just the kids who need training and inspiration to start shooting. I would argue that it is the adults that we have to get focused on more . They are the ones voting now and that is where the money is .

    • Robert,

      Well said about the NRA. I don’t understand why they are so reviled, given all the good they do for us. Of course they are political. Try doing anything with the government today from a non-political standpoint and see how far you get. Let’s all hold a bake sale.


  8. B.B.

    You need to stay away from cheap bows. They have improperly matched limbs, twisty limbs and risers , and are sure to frustrate and disappoint you. They do not hold up well either…..generally poor construction.
    There is also what looks like a speed and power race in bows. Too much draw weight and radical cams make them hard to shoot.


      • B.B.

        It’s something like airguns…keep it moderate to mild, and spend some money. Stay away from megapower. Lean more toward the target side where smoothness and shootability are the best attributes.


      • B.B., although the compound bows you saw may have been marketed for adults, they sound like the youth oriented bows I have seen in Academy. Here is an overview by Outdoor Life; there are 13 pages with brief but informative sections for eleven bows. The last page give an overview of the protocol used for testing and review. Sure enough, their top pick retails for $950. On the flip side, Traditional Bowhunter and Primitive Archer magazines continue to sell hard copy issues.



      • My first bow (compound) ran me around $45… But that was around 1978-79, and I had an employee discount at Sears. Bow was made by Outers. Only about 45lb pull, maybe up to 50lb (there was /some/ adjustment range on the limbs) and the draw length was a tad short for proper usage (about an inch short for me, so my release hand was a tad forward from desired position).

        But it sufficed for the college 1-credit Archery class — we were allowed to use 5 “recreation” classes for distribution credits and I started with the dangerous ones: fencing, archery, golf… though the bicycling was the most dangerous to me (soft/gravel shoulder, and idiot in large car was hanging about two feet off my rear tire — and I was trying to give him room to pass by riding about 2 inches from the gravel — after I spilled in the shoulder is when they passed me… But I had to loosen the rear brake cable severely to make it back due to the warp in the rim; I used to have that bike trued up well enough that a business card would not slide between rim and brake pads).

        Don’t know what a $50 compound (1978 $$) would be today… I think I paid around $300 for a Browning about 20 years ago (and passed the Outers on to a coworker for a $100 or something like that). Still haven’t actually /used/ the Browning, but it has, as I recall, adjustments for draw length, pull weight, and let-off ratio. (multiple detent holes for the cable, bolts tensioning the limbs, and cams that could be rotated relative to the detents — respectively, as I recall).

        And that description of adjustments is likely sufficient to scare someone looking at the subject for the first time… The next concept (and my Browning is NOT one of these, as I recall) are compound bows with the grip and arrow rest having large enough offsets to center the arrow in line with the limbs. Most bows have a slight offset to the left — as the string snaps forward, the arrow is torqued to the left.

  9. Off topic, as usual….crossbows…ugh. As a bowhunter of whitetails, I fear the day that crossbows are allowed on a general basis in my home state (currently, only allowed for the folks that have some sort of physical issue that prevents them from using a compound bow). Shotgun/Rifle season is pure chaos where I live. Many of those hunters wouldn’t dream of bowhunting….I’ve been told it’s “too much work, too difficult”. Allowing crossbows will bring a bunch of those casual run n gunners into the woods….there’d be treestands every 50 yards. Like I said….UGH.

    • se mn airgunner, I agree with the part about casual archers you refer to , but here we have deer problem, especially in the burbs and semi -rural areas where it is illegal (and generally un-safe to have a weapon that will carry far). There are many areas where cross bows would be an effective tool for deer control and casual hunting would provide money for other projects for local DNR. What your comment does is illustrate the problem I was referring to above. We segregate and demonize groups of the same disipline due to gamemanship. I remember when compounds were fought over for use in the archery only season as being “un-sportsman like”. A dead deer is a dead deer, if taken cleanly does it matter what you use? Hell, I wouldn’t care if you use a atal. BTW, I use a long bow, but have tried the compounds, just don’t care for the tech crap/look. Of course ,I don’t even have a cell phone anymore either.

      • Didn’t want to sound so judgmental, sorry about that…..I don’t have anything against a crossbow as a tool, I just like the fact that for roughly two months the woods are quiet and without a lot of traffic. Come gun season, it’s a sea of blaze orange around here. Guys shooting wildly, shouting to their buddies, ignoring property lines, you name it. Not all “gunners” are that way, typically it’s the ones that commute down from the Cities that need to get a deer by hook or by crook. Last thing I need is more of those guys during my serene archery season. And I think shooting a traditional long bow is awesome….I’ve been pining about that for awhile now, but I think I’ll need a BUNCH of practice before I’d try it.

        • You will. But that’s the fun part. I got my foundation with the longbow in western Minnesota, shooting in the summer while positively covered with mosquitoes and bugs. But with my clothes tucked in and smeared with repellant and a net for my head, I wasn’t fazed at all.


      • Also, I don’t think crossbows are “unfair” at all….To me, the challenge in hunting should be to get close enough to your quarry without it knowing. Once you achieve that, fairness is out the window. You want the cleanest, quickest kill you can get….and if that means some folks need a crossbow, so be it. But like I implied in my other posts….I’m just being selfish!!!

        • se mn , I have had similar issues with hunters ,and snowmobliers,dirt bikers, ATV riders,and other tresspassers ect…, on my property as well. Most were actually locals that have come to regard the local deer population as “Theirs” , and all the huntable land around as “Their” territory ,even if they don’t own it or have permission to be there. In any group there will be the jerks. Run any event or go to any professional sports venue and there will always be the few that will cause havoc. What happens is that these few are what either side focus on when being judgemental about hunting and shooting. Break a window with a baseball and someone gets mad (rightfully so I might add) ,but it isn’t newsworthy. Break the same window with a bb, or shoot a deer legally with a crossbow or whatever and have it drop dead at the edge of the local park, that borders the farm where it was shot , and it is an outrage. As a society we are now conditioned to believe every shooting of anything is a criminal event ,even if within the law, by the media. We say hunters who are slobs are bad ( which is true)and because of that all hunters in the eyes of the non-hunting public are also bad. Then , we as responsible shooting and hunting enthusiasts develop rules and safety courses and protocol to address those issues. Problem is, those same ideas are used against us as they morph into gun control. So the evil looking black rifle is somehow less “sporting ” than BB’s Ballard. The “silent ,deadly accurate crossbow ,that can be shot by just anyone who can tie their shoes by themselves, is somehow less sporting. This is all crap. We are our own worse enemies. First we must stick together , then through peer pressure eliminate the scum.

            • TT , yeah I think it’s similar. Curious observation that I’ve noticed about anti- hunters is that if they see a dead deer in the back of a truck during the season they are outraged, and often a letter to the editor will show up in the local paper about that. But, they will drive past numerous dead deer and other wildlife wasted alongside on the road and never say anything . Another thing that bugs me about the gun control folks, and the folks who make the rules up regarding hunting laws, is that they always want me to give up something ,but why is it that they never have to give up anything in return?

              • RFA,

                They want you to give up things because they’re right and you’re wrong, they know what’s best, you don’t know anything and you don’t think the way they do…so you MUST be wrong! Does that about cover it? ๐Ÿ™‚

                Like you, I’m sick and tired of people telling me how to think, what to say, what to do and how to live. This country became great because the people are self-motivated, take the initiative to think for themselves, do whatever it takes to get by without gov’t help and do the right thing more often than doing the wrong thing. if others want to give orders, let them have kids and tell THEM what to do. I’m an adult and don’t need their so-called guidance.


                • It seems the NRA is doing the same thing. I’m not a big fan of the “if you’re not with us you’re against us” rhetoric. There seems to be no grey zone.
                  Even if I’m not in the US I’m a member of the NRA, I subscribe to some of their publications, receiving the news letters and emails alerts.
                  The NRA is also telling each of their members what to think, what to say and think.
                  I don’t think it’s always all black or white, there’s often a lot of grey but no one seem to care about it, both side of the fence seem to be guilty of that.
                  I think the NRA is playing the anti-gun crowd game by camping themselves on their position and saying people who don’t own, want and shoot guns are apparently evil.
                  Both side seem to have a “my way or the highway” attitude which won’t be resolved anytime soon. I think something can be said for compromise, by giving something each side shake hands and have the impression to have won and leaves with the intention to be able to get maybe a little bit more next time they negociate.
                  Extremist bug me wathever side they’re on. Why confronting anti-gun people? Educate those that will listen! I know it’s a never ending battle and it will be long but I think it’s the only way to move foward and not have each side bragging they are the ones who are right and the other side is wrong.

                  Not all anti-guns people are bad, some of us even used to be anti-gun and some may still be anti-firearm or anti-carry or … but I think education is the key and education doesn’t start with “I’m right, you’re wrong, listen and do as I say” which everyone seems to be doing right now.


                  • J-F,

                    We will have to agree to disagree. It is black and white in my book. It’s crystal clear.

                    I’ve given an incredible amount of thought to this. I don’t consider myself an extremist, but a 10-min. conversation with me will probably convince you otherwise. I’m an active, involved citizen who believes that if you do not stand your ground, it will be taken away from you.

                    I cannot agree with you that the NRA is trying to tell people what to think or say. I have a mind of my own and am a very strong-willed woman. I have no issue with dissent. I DO have issue with dissenters telling me I MUST change because their way is THE right way.

                    The NRA simply tells people what they stand for. You can agree or not. Politicians, on the other hand, are now talking about prosecuting people for not saying things the pols think are correct and for saying things the pols don’t agree with. Let’s keep in mind that the NRA represents individuals who are being attacked by politicians who want to curtail the ordinary gun owner’s rights because someone else is behaving like an idiot with their guns. That’s like limiting my ability to consume alcohol because some other guy got drunk and killed a bunch of people. How does curtailing my consumption change the acts of others?

                    When it comes to extremism, I shall quote former Senator Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!” And, “Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

                    Last, but not least, I’ll quote the Bible (Revelations 3:16) because it is the source for my beliefs: “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

                    I’m tired of the anti-gun people telling me I have to give up my Constitutional rights because they claim it’ll reduce crime. Where’s the proof? Why are cities with the tightest gun controls also the ones with the highest murder rate? When we lived in Maryland, carjackings happened every day and people got killed. It won’t be like that in Texas, cause a carjacker could be staring down the barrel of .45. Criminals want easy targets, not armed citizens.

                    I remain resolute and support the NRA’s mission 100%.


    • I wouldn’t worry too much about crossbows. They became legal here in Michigan and none of those problems have surfaced. For one thing, they aren’t cheap so the low dollar crowd won’t be buying them. Also, effective range is about the same as a good compound bow.


  10. and I just read about someone who has designed a crossbow to fit on an AR lower. BB, he probably did this for you given how you have finally fallen in love with the dark side – aka black rifles :).

    As for why the NRA is so reviled, it’s the agenda that the general print and electronic media have against someone who can also buy “ink by the barrel” and expose them for the yellow journalists they really are by publishing slanted, inaccurate and outright lies in their quest to have all firearms banned. It really is up to all of us to flood our local papers’ letters to the editors section pointing out that a goodly number of readers recognize their agenda and how they are trying to achieve it.

    Fred DPRoNJ

  11. “Today, itโ€™s different. The bulk of our new airgunners are now coming from the firearms side of the shooting sports.” Well, B.B. you hit the nail on my head with this line! First, a little history. I was around 8 -10 years old and wanted a Red Ryder BB gun so bad I . . . you know the rest. My parents had no background in shooting sports. My Dad, in particular, had little time for recreation of any sort as he worked two jobs most of his life. The answer to my Red Ryder request? NO, you will put someone’s eye out with one of those! ๐Ÿ™‚ End of story.

    Fast forward a few years. I got my college degree (by working and with scholarship money) got a job, got married, and soon found an NRA Hunter Safety course. Bought my first shotgun, hunting duds, and was off on a long delayed adventure with firearms. As the most recent gun control debates surfaced, I found that firearms shooting, read ammo, was becoming increasingly more difficult to find and expensive (even though I reload shotgun).

    Some months ago, a dear friend from ‘up north’ (we moved to the sunny south nine years ago) told me, I have purchased an air rifle and it is a HOOT to SHOOT! A couple of days later, I too had an air rifle – Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk .22cal. I can’t put it down! Haven’t touched (shot) my shotguns in some time.

    I found this great site a few weeks ago and make it the first stop on my morning computer rounds. I’m reading everything I can find on air gunning and having tons of fun. I’ve now ordered additional pellets of various weights and shapes and look forward to punching more holes in lots of paper. To say the bug has bit is somewhat of an understatement. Will I shoot my shotguns again? Of course. Trap and skeet are still fun but I can’t imagine that air gunning will not take an elevated place in my shooting choices from now on.

    My only hope is that the gun control issue does not go completely nuts and extends to the air gun world. You know, it could happen in this crazy PC world. Those darn air guns could put someone’s eye out!

    Thanks B.B. for your expertise. I will continue to tap it through your blogs as well as the super Pyramid Air site. Gotta go now, my air rifle just woke up and wants to play!

    • D. Minch,

      Welcome to the blog and to the shooting sports. I’m so happy to hear your story, as it verifies what I said in this report. This is what I am seeing today, and although it will probably change with time, I think we will get quite a few airgunners out of it.


  12. BB,

    What a hoot today!

    Remember the old video stores? There was a “back room” where they kept the naughty stuff. Maybe the bow store could have such a back room for crossbows. “We don’t really like it, but we have to do it for the extra money…” LOL


  13. Good evening Tom.

    One of my great expectations is a PCP BB gun. Something like the Umarex Steel Force (which looks very much like a replica of the Heckler & Koch 416), but with a PCP power plant and still shooting 4.5 mm BB’s. There should be enough space above the barrel, in the butt, in the “magazine” or in the pistol grip to hide the air cylinder. You should be able to shoot a lot of 5 gr. BB’s at around 600 FPS without the pesky reloading of the CO2 cartridges. Automatic shooting will be much more fun as well as cheaper in the long run, even taking the higher initial cost into consideration. This should also work for submachinegun replicas, e.g. Uzi and H&K MP5.

    Why do we have nothing like this?

    Regards from a sunny South Africa.

    • Vasco,

      I think the reason things like this don’t exist is the people who want them don’t want to pay real money for a gun. They want it at a hundred dollars, when it might take 400 to make it pay.

      But that’s just a guess.


      • Rhe Benjamin Discovery costs $260 and the Hatsan AT44-10 $400. I would love paying that for a full auto, full metal BB assault “rifle”. What do you think, guys?

        • BBs? Sorry… If the whole idea is just to spew “ammo” at a high rate of fire, my AEG M-14 AirSoft will suffice. Less dangerous to bystanders, and just as much fun (and “less dangerous” is relative — my father decided to hang a paper bag from the basement ceiling — those “safe” 20gm AirSoft balls went through the bag — and as he discovered a few days later, on full auto, they also shot out the basement window!)

          Now if you can get a full auto PELLET feed to work… knock on my door.

  14. I was at Bass Pro shops a few weeks ago with a friend. He commented he’d love to try shooting a crossbow once. They had a shooting range for that purpose in back. So I rounded up a salesman and asked if we could try one. My buddy chickened out for no reason I could determine so I gave it a whirl. It was a nice bow too. compound bow, all tactical, twin bow arms, scope and all. I found that the thing was hard hitting and accurate as all get out. I found I could tack drive the bolts with it since it was so much like an airgun to me. I was impressed, but not impressed enough to part with $600.00 for one. As it is, I have way too much on my plate. I have to start paying down some bills. Some are just plain stupid and wrong! I don’t drive and do not have a license, yet the city of Grand Rapids, MI is forcing me to pay $150.00 in parking tickets for a car I do not own in I city I do not go to more than once every 10-15 years. If you ever visit Michigan, avoid Grand Rapids. Very corrupt city.

  15. I’ve just gotten back into archery myself and the analogy with airgunning is clear. My brother does not care for firearms. He doesn’t like the noise or the power and will not go higher than a .22LR. He wasn’t tempted at all when I put a whole magazine downrange with an AK47. However, he likes archery a lot (as experienced on a brief visit to a range during a business trip). So, for my upcoming visit, I sent him a good starter bow and all the accessories. He was astounded at the price. So was I! But there’s no way around it if you want quality–as I have learned myself with guns of all types. My brother was introducing his girls to a Walmart bow that cost $5! He was amazed at the level of quality you get for more money, and it was a pleasure to watch his reaction on Skype. Thanks to my airgunning and blogging, I have no doubt the investment will keep paying off when we go to shoot.

    Have never understood the attraction to crossbows. They are a fine piece of machinery with an interesting history. Anna Comnena, princess of Constantinople/Istanbul in the 13 century wrote with amazement of the power of the crossbows used by the European crusaders. The East used recurve bows which were more powerful than the longbow but not anything like the crossbow. She wrote that the crossbows could shoot their bolts right through a wall. It makes for interesting reading which you can probably Google. Incidentally, on the relationship between the recurve and the longbow, what is called the deflex/reflex design in modern longbows is apparently an adoption of the recurve design. The limbs are refused very slightly outward to reduce the hand shock that you get with the pure longbow design, so the crusaders learned too. Anyway, notwithstanding the history of the crossbow, I can’t see the appeal myself. It’s slower to load, so you don’t have as much fun. And the shooting experience with the stock and trigger are reminiscent of a gun but is not really that either. For an example of the enjoyment of pure archery which could not be reproduced by any crossbow have a look at this.


    Coming from Russia, I imagine this rapid fire technique was copied from Asiatic horsemen shooting while mounted. And incidentally, I’ll take a film of this very skilled woman over the cheesecake videos of ignorant women hitting themselves in the head with guns that they’re not trained to shoot while their boyfriends laugh about it.

    B.B., you say that reloading at a gun range increases your concentration on your work? It seems to me that would be effect and not cause and that you would have to work especially hard to achieve that state. But maybe you should take this new IQ test. It correlates vision with IQ to a very high degree. You give a subject a bunch of things to look at. Those who score well on elements they are supposed to be looking at and very poorly on what they are not supposed to be looking at correlate well with high IQ. What’s being tested apparently is your ability to focus.

    I forgot to raise a question about Friday’s pic of the week with the woman shooting from sandbags. I’ve noticed a pattern for those shooting assault rifles standing to fully extend the offhand along the stock the way she is doing. I don’t like this. It looks awkward and unaesthetic. You certainly don’t see anything like this with target technique. My only explanation is that this locked arm stabilizes the weapon in rapid fire which is one thing you may be doing with an assault rifle. However, even if that’s the case, is there a reason why you would be doing this benchrested as the woman is doing?


    • Matt61,

      During the season premier of Top Shot I noticed that some of the shooters were using the long banana clip like a palm rest, and not extending their arm out. In fact, a season or two again, the winner used the offhand stance that we are familiar with for small-bore shooting most of the time. I would be inclined to use what I know works for bulls-eye shooting, but it doesn’t make sense for something like shotgun shooting, where you’re swinging the gun.


    • Matt, I don’t really know about the attraction most things, crossbows and other bows included. Aside from the utilitarian uses of procuring meat and fighting wars (and it would take a cataclysm to return such earlier forms of warfare), it seems to be a matter of personal interest and/or politics whichever you decide. That said, in the ancient art of war there is no question that long bow archers could and did shoot far more arrows per minute than crossbow shooters. It seems to me that those after the perfect score are willing to spend a great deal of time and money to that end, whether they shoot firearms, airguns, bows or crossbows. And I assume there is something similar going on with those who hunt with these projectile hurling tools. Here is a page from the web site of a Swiss target crossbow manufacturer; the prices are in Swiss francs so the number goes up a bit when calculating American dollars.


    • Have never understood the attraction to crossbows. They are a fine piece of machinery with an interesting history. Anna Comnena, princess of Constantinople/Istanbul in the 13 century wrote with amazement of the power of the crossbows used by the European crusaders. The East used recurve bows which were more powerful than the longbow but not anything like the crossbow. She wrote that the crossbows could shoot their bolts right through a wall.

      The bows used in the south-east Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey, Persia) were composite bows. A laminate of horn, wood, and sinew (or similar). The horn resists compression, while the sinew resists stretching. Problem: the glue used to produce the laminate doesn’t like high humidity!

      These composite bows tended to be short, and the draw was more to the center of one’s chest (that is, hold the bow directly in front of you, not to the full left, and draw straight back to your chest). Okay, longer composites may need the classical side pose, but from horse back the shorter ones with the chest draw were quite usable.

      Crossbows had power — but a slow firing rate. At a minimum one has a foot stirrup while pulling the string up to cocking point; and that is on a weak cross-bow. The more powerful needed articulated levers, and the most powerful used hand crank winches to cock.

      A traditional (English/Welsh) longbow may have had less power, but since one didn’t have to lower the bow (to put a foot in the stirrup), affix a cocking assist, cock the string, unhook the cocking assist, raise the bow, put a bolt in the channel, and then aim… vs… set an arrow into the rest, nock the arrow, draw, aim, release… the longbow wins in putting lots of arrows into the air. The crossbow, however, was the choice when you pressed the serfs into combat — no need to spend a lifetime training and building muscles.

  16. BB,

    I appreciate your comparison of the bows to airguns. That does help bring the issue to something that I can relate to. But, even now, I would be more likely to buy a cheap airgun than a cheap bow. Hopefully, firearms people will be the same about airguns. If it’s something I know nothing about, I don’t want to go cheap. If it is something I am familiar with, I know what I am getting into when I buy a cheap airgun. On the subject of “the Dark Side”, I think most airgunners are long past being serious about it. The Disco changed the US market forever (thanks to BB and Crosman). Now, so many airgunners own PCPs that they are at least as common as springers and probably compose a larger percentage of purchases than springers among airgunners.

    I found reference to an old article you had written in the Airgun Letters or Airgun Review about the BSA Superstar. I would appreciate it if you might republish that article here. I recently bought a 22 Cal Superstar and I am really liking it. It was tuned by Russ Best and is a sweet shooter. It is lighter weight than the TX or HW97 and I like the loading procedure better. I might prefer it in .177 but it is another neat BSA airgun.

  17. Edith how can it be black and white only? The fact that someone isn’t pro gun doesn’t mean he or she is anti-gun! I’m not taking about defending rights or taking rights away here, rights should not be touched.
    I’m talking about people who can be worked with and most people CAN be educated. I know, most of my mothers side of the family is against guns in general but thru work, patience and an open mind I was able to convert some of them, others I’m still working on, I’ll never give up, I’m not always bugging them with it either. Slow and steady wins the race.
    You can yell louder than everyone but no one will listen to someone who’s shouting.
    When I’m getting my NRA newsletter I feel like they’re preaching to the wrong person. I’m already convinced guns aren’t bad and when they’re telling me who to vote for they’re not telling me to make an educated choice, they’re telling me this or that person is bad and will hurt you, they’re playing the other guys game and given the huge media following the other guys have, it’s a game they might end-up losing.

    I feel the way things are now not much progress is being made on the pro gun side and since there is a lot of people who are ignorant about guns and the anti-gun crowd is huge they’re winning them over on fear alone. People don’t seem to have any fear on losing their rights so I think the NRA needs to find a new way to convert people who don’t know where they stand and I think like Victor said that education is the best way to do it.

    I believe ducated people will make the right choice.


    • J-F,

      You’re comparing apples & monkeys ๐Ÿ™‚

      Trying to persuade someone else agree with you is what we all try to do. How is that a grey area? How is that being on the fence?

      You feel the NRA isn’t preaching your message. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. From what I see membership-wise, you are in the minority. I don’t want the NRA to change its strategy to coincide with the wishes of the minority. I belong to the NRA because they represent my feelings. Apparently, I’m in the majority. There are other organizations that may more closely represent your views, so you should endorse and support them rather than suggesting the NRA come around to your way of thinking.


      • I just think they should seek out new members thru education rather than fear of losing some rights.

        This blog is about educating people and showing to them what is available to them outhere and I think it’s the very best way to win people over and why this blog has new people coming in all the time and why there isn’t much argumentation or fight among people coming here.

        How many people have made choices they wouldn’t have made before thanks to this blog?

        I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m saying there’s other ways to do things. I feel like we as gun fans are lowering ourselves to the level of anti gun people when we try to put fear into those who don’t like them. I feel like we could do better than adopting their tactics.

        It’s just the way I feel, I’m not saying I’m right and others are wrong or that I know things others don’t.
        I’m kinda looking at this from a spectator point of view as I’m not in the US but I try to educate myself the best I can on this topic and I’m just trying to provide an outside point of view on the topic for what it’s worth.


        • J-F,

          The possibility we could lose the right to own guns is real. It may not happen all at once, but rather through tiny steps that appear innocent. As a Canadian, you should understand this better than the rest of us because you’ve seen it happen already. Has polite discourse with the opposition gotten Canadian shooters anything? Australia? England? Every time some moron does some bad thing with a gun, they tighten the noose on people who have done nothing with their guns. That is a fact. That’s why they use fear…because it’s real. They ARE trying to take away our rights, so that’s why they use that as their mantra.

          Take a look at what NY state has recently done.

          I just talked to a guy on FB who now can’t use his hunting firearms in California because of a new law that a removable mag now makes him a criminal. The fear is legitimate. The threat is real.

          Again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. While helping someone see your side is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, you don’t give up ground to appease them.

          As I said before, we’ll have to agree to disagree.


          • I’m not sure we’re fully understanding each other here. I may be wording things the wrong way.

            I know the treat is real and you shouldn’t let anti-gun people strip you of any rights!

            When I said to not use fear as an argument I meant educating people on why they shouldn’t let their right go and I feel it’s not done enough. I often see just the usual “do this, don’t do that” stuff but rarely WHY this or that should be done. I think the more details and the more things are explained (to a certain point) the better the chances of people rallying behind you are. Telling people who to vote for (or who not to vote for) isn’t explaining, it’s trying to scare them into the voting booth.

            Canadians finally were able to make the pendulum swing the other way (in favor of gun owners) and even tought there’s still a long way to go and things could be WAY better it’s proof we CAN go foward and we CAN win some battles, it was a small step and in time we can probably win other battles IF we fight them right…
            We need to fight together, there’s too much separation between (please put “some” in front of every group as I don’t want to generalise) the hunters who think target shooters are pansies and the target shooters who think hunters are barbarian and the black rifle crowd who people think are all freaks who are trying to compensate for some smaller parts of their anatomy.
            We’re all in this together and rather than trying to pull the blanket all for ourselves we should be trying to cover as many people as we can with it and once we’re all pulling together we can find a way to extend that blanket little by little.

            It CAN be done and if done the right way with the right people it can keep the knee jerk reactions down to a minimum.


      • Edith,

        In my observation, the NRA of today is not the NRA of just a few decades ago. I see them as almost purely a gun lobby. As such, I don’t believe that they care who gets guns, so long as sales are made. They have deteriorated as an organization when they became a political group. The minute they started telling people how to vote, they lost all credibility with me. The propaganda video’s that they approved and ran during the last election should have been embarrassing to them.

        The point to my recent comments is that no one represents the shooting sports today like they did in the past, except for maybe USA Shooting. Newer generations are going to see the NRA similarly to how J-F and I do, and that will be very bad for the NRA. The NRA, like most politicians, have become so shorted sighted, that they will limit their overall acceptance, and that will have consequences. Frankly, I believe that the current NRA “leadership” are incompetent fools, but that’s just my opinion.

        As for the majority, I’ve learned that the majority is often wrong. One just needs to look at the deterioration of this country, caused by BOTH parties, over the past several decades. As they say, in a Democracy we get what we deserve. To me, shooting is a beautiful passion that, again, has had a profound effect on my life. As activities go, nothing comes close. In recent years, I can’t see how the NRA represents me, based on what I’ve seen from them (not the media). I’ll keep my love for shooting without the politics.

        Both side of the gun issue have done horrible jobs. There are valid areas of contention, but both sides have done everything to cloud the issues by throwing everything into the same basket. I can only wonder, is that deliberate, foolishness, or incompetence? Reminds of arguments between theist and atheist. Atheist will take your wost examples of what religion has done (or still does), and paint all people of faith with the same broad stroke. At that point, discussion is pointless because neither side is willing to listen to the other. Truth is, neither side have to adopt the others views, but at the same time neither has to make an enemy out of the other. If both sides have valid beliefs, then both sides can respect each other.

        I can honestly say that I spent years defending shooting sports, but always from a position of substance. The substance is derived from the details of shooting, what it offers, how to achieve goals from it, and how to appreciate it’s beauty. The reason that I still have an open door policy with a city that I haven’t lived in for 17 years is because I have focused on the substance, and not the politics. I have focused on how it benefits the youth of their community. I happen to know that other proponents are no longer welcome because they don’t know what I know about shooting, just it’s politics. Politics has a way of cheapening, or lowering the standards of anything that it touches.

        The NRA has tried to tell me who to vote for, and thus how to think. I’ve never been one to consider what the majority thinks or believes. I also know that my beliefs are in the minority here. I’m sure that some probably can’t stand me. I personally don’t happen to harbor such feelings about anyone else here. Thankfully this blog is about shooting, and more importantly, at a level that I can appreciate. The minute it becomes about pushing some political agenda it’s dead to me.

        I am a shooter. I love shooting more than most can comprehend. I’ve learned to love airguns because of this blog. I love a challenge, which is why I’m almost obsessed with springer’s. In my mind, I’m trying to bridge my experiences and accomplishments with precision class shooting and the kinds of airguns that we often talk about here, including some of the cheaper ones. THAT is what matters to me. I know that I can create more converts by sticking to the substance.

        Politics is the religion of the devil, and all extreme forms of politics are just cults. They mix in a little truth with a whole bunch of confusion and half-truths to cloud issues. Hard to stand for something when you also have to hide something else. That’s politics in general. I’ll stick to the substance of what I love. That requires no justification.


          • Of course the NRA is responding that way because of the attacks from the anti-gun groups but I’m just not sure it’s the best and most efficient way of winning the debate.
            Most of what I see is an escalation from both side of the fence and people who stand in middle will fear the ones that they see as the most agressive and will go along side the one they feel can protect them.
            I fear the anti-gun showing how dangerous the pro-gun can be will win that battle and interviews like Piers Morgan did with Alex Jones shows what I believe to be a bad way to debate about something.
            Alex Jones is screaming and yelling while Morgan is keeping is composure. Watch it muted and tell me which man would you listen to? Jones looked like a crazy lunatic and that’s probably why he was invited.

            Look at Ice-T with it’s now famous “I’ll give up my guns when everybody else does”. You may not like the guy but he kept his calm, he kept his composure and explained his point of view and may have won some people over with his arguments.

            The way I see it now they’re both shouting at each other and trying to shout louder than the other and no one will move foward that way.

            Do you remember when you were a kid and you would get into an argument with someone and your parents would tell you to be the smart one about it? I don’t see who’s being the smart one about it right now, I think the first one to realise this will win the debate. People have had enough fighting and want to see solutions not arguing on who is worst, it will only escalate and in the end everyone will lose.


        • Victor – if it’s substance you want, it is necessary to point out that you’re doing a gross injustice to the NRA and all its members:

          “I don’t believe that they care who gets guns, so long as sales are made.”

          One of the NRA’s biggest beefs is that existing gun laws are not enforced. If a criminal attempts to buy a gun he has just committed a felony. If he tries a NIC check and gets shot down, the ATF now knows BY WHO and WHEN this felony was committed… and yet they virtually NEVER investigate. As it stands, less than 1 out of 1000 NIC failures – all of them probably crimes – are even looked in to.

          The NRA brought this point up with Joe Biden, who brushed it off by saying they “didn’t have the manpower!”.

          And so the NRA asks (quite reasonably): if you’re not even enforcing existing laws, why the hell are they looking to pass more of them? Wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on actually enforcing the laws that already exist?

          So how on earth does this morph into ‘they don’t care who gets guns’???

          • I totally agree about the law part. More laws isn’t the answer yet that’s what we keep getting everywhere. I think that when you look at politicians curriculum you have the explanation, they almost all come from law background with a few coming from finance… not really better huh.

            Maybe the NRA has a problem with their perceived image? Because I also had the impression Victor had and like I said it’s not that I’m not reading the stuff they’re putting out! I am an NRA member and I subscribe to their electronic and print publications.


          • Vince,

            I’m referring to closing loopholes through gun shows. The NRA is taking an all-or-nothing stance, which is cornering them into what is understandingly perceived as extremist. Rather than provide reasonable and responsible contributions in response to the concerns of others, they’ve effectively justified their detractors through their actions. Their response to Columbine and Sandy Hook were absurd and further examples that they are tone deaf and blind to the concerns of Americans who might have appreciated a reasonable response. Again, there will be consequences for their actions, and it will only be their own fault. Perception is everything.

            And, yes, manpower is always an issue when it comes to government, but the further proliferation of guns into a growing populace will only make any kind of management and enforcement that much harder. We live in a society that is increasingly more violent and desperate. Is it really the case that the only reasonable thing to do is to act after the fact, because gun ownership is virtually unregulated? Will there ever be a point when gun ownership should be better managed? At present background checks are discarded after two days. How can it be possible to correlate gun ownership to criminal behavior or dangerous mental disorders after those two days?

            You see, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We see this time and time again, and especially in politics. Polarization is a constant. So the more extreme either or both sides behave, the greater the magnitude of their influence, good or bad. I believe that the NRA could have done things a whole lot better.


            • Victor,

              Please tell me what “loopholes” exist at gun shows? I read this all the time, but I have never seen a loopholes at any gun show I ever attended. Dealers are required to perform all checks and paperwork there, the same as if they were in their store. And private citizens can sell to one another, as long as the state and federal laws are followed.

              So, again, where are the loopholes?


            • I believe your assertion that society is increasingly violent is false (at least as pertains to firearms). I believe we’ve seen a decrease over the past 20 years or so. You are also forgetting that firearms ownership is a Constitutional right… and the same sort of restrictions on THIS right would never be tolerated on any others.

              To the best of my knowledge there is no such thing as a “gun show loophole”. There is an allowance for unregulated private sales, which can just as easily happen outside a gun show as inside. A dealer is required to do a check regardless of where and when he sells.

              But such sales are going to be hard to police. They’d need undercover agents to try to make buys here and there, which is a lot of manpower for relatively little return. If they’re not willing to pursue lawbreakers when all pertinent data and proof is dumped in their lap, what makes anyone think they’ll devote the resources necessary to make THIS work?

              No, something else has to be in play. Convince the people that existing law is insufficient and use that as an excuse for ramping them up. And when the NEW laws don’t help, take them even further. Where will that take us? And will onerous laws that are poorly enforced actually deter the criminal element?

        • Victor, I can see where you are coming from but I must disagree. The NRA is in my opinion doing a good job. Deal with the facts and not on emotions, as hard as it may be. Also, as for telling us who to vote for they supported(as far as I could tell) the lesser of two evils. Just my opinion. Toby

          • Toby,

            I am fully aware of the facts, but the fact that people dying because of guns is a very emotional thing for some people to deal with. I don’t happen to be one who is guided by emotion, but I do understand that those who are affected by guns might be. As for the lessor of two evils, that is purely an opinion and not a fact. We have a growing populace that appears to be getting more violent and desperate. People experience the tensions in their every day life. They are worried or scared. I’m not, but I also won’t be so arrogant as to think that I can speak for anyone but myself. We have a proliferation of guns that is growing every day, and at present nothing can be done to offset the increased potential hazards. NOTHING. Then you have the NRA go and tell the people of Sandy Hook that the solution is to arm the teachers. Really? That is the best that the NRA can do?

            The NRA is painting themselves into a corner that they will not easily get out of. I am a product of the NRA, but not a disciple of the current leadership. All organizations are just a name. It’s the people who provide substance. When the NRA decided to alienate half of the country (at least), they established themselves as lacking the substance that I once thought that they had. When they decided to side with one political party, they proved that they are too foolish to realize that guns don’t know or care whether the person behind it is of one party or another. Even political party’s are just a name, as what they stand for can change over years. Truth of the matter is that over the past several decades, both main political parties have demonstrated that they are two sides of the same physical coin. In the end, policies that almost exclusively benefit the rich are what make their way into law.

            I am not anti-gun. I just believe that the NRA needs some serious fixing.


            • Victor: While you obviously have a great passion for the shooting sport, I think you are greatly mistaken about the NRA ,and more importantly, the implications of the attack on our second amendment rights at this time. The NRA is fighting a battle against fear being escalated by a bunch of cowards using the horrific murders of the children at Sandy Hook and Aurora Colorado to further their agenda . If you cannot believe that the folks in the current administration are not anti-gun ,given their political record by now I don’t know how I could convince you otherwise. You have made your bed and will have to lie in it. I believe that a fear of guns is a emotional disturbance and the current crop of anti-gun laws were a result of playing on these fears by the politicians who always use the knee jerk reaction as a crutch . The NRA has to be aggressive in fighting this because ,while you can have a discussion on taxes , forced health care , or forced immigration, it is harder to fight against an irrational fear of an inanimate object. When Diane Feinstein say she’s afraid of large magazines or a black gun I KNOW she is crazy. So I know that it is impossible to change her mind . Politics is the science of convincing others to believe what you want them to ,and like it or not, it only has two sides.

        • Victor,

          I share your disdain for politics.

          Unfortunately, our elected representatives have used recent events like Sandy Hook to seize the moment and resurrect their dormant agenda’s that are intentionally or unintentionally eroding our second amendment rights. The politicians that have created this groundswell for passing unprecedented gun legislation are successful because they’re realizing that most people, even gun owners that like to shoot, won’t pay attention to the political process (because of their disdain for politics) until it’s too late. Legislation is passed. New laws now exist that further erode our rights to possess guns because of this accurately predicted apathy.

          Our current second amendment battle reminds me of Ben Franklins quote: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

          We’ve had new gun laws recently passed here in Colorado. I spent an enormous amount of time this year attending hearings at the capitol and hearings at Jefferson County. I was greatly impressed by the NRA involvement in our fight. Unfortunately, we have new gun laws that must now be challenged in court.

          Our president of the senate, John Morse (D), played an instrumental role in this restrictive legislation. I’m happy to say that today we officially submitted 16,046 District 11 voter petition signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State for the recall of state Senator John Morse (D-11). We only need the Secretary of State to validate 7,178 voter signatures to complete the recall effort. If the verified count exceeds the required 7,178 signatures, Morse will be given five working days from that time to decide whether or not to resign his office, or face a recall election.

          I hate politics but realize if I don’t pay attention and don’t get involved when necessary the consequences are dire. It’s comforting to know that the NRA is as passionate about the second amendment as I am and appreciate their zealous support in our fight in Colorado.


          • Kevin,

            I’ve described both my passion for shooting and my efforts to save a program that, again, had a profound effect on me and my life. From the beginning, 40 years ago, I was fully aware of the issues and did everything that I could to counter the fears and misunderstandings that people had about guns and shooting. My mentors and coaches were very smart about how they went about promoting our program. We lived in a community that was probably 90+% anti-gun. The city was neither rural, nor the suburbs. It was an industrial city with a relatively small, low-income, residential area. The program was funding by local taxes imposed on this industry, so we had to sell our program to the locals business people as well as the residents. That’s why I was asked to perform demonstrations at various events. We didn’t sit back and wait to counter-punch attacks. We initiated the conversation by conveying what I believe to be the real substance. More than most can imagine, shooting was my world, and I played an active role in trying to keep it alive in my community. Despite an opposing view majority, we succeeded in doing so for another 35 years, and I’m not done.

            More than anything, I’m disappointment with the NRA because I feel that it is playing a losing long-term game. For better or worse (likely both), the views of future generations will change regarding guns and gun-laws. If all that people learn (regardless of the source) is that the NRA’s best answer to tragedies like Sandy Hook is to arm teachers, then the NRA will have done a great disservice to its members, current and future. Vince said that I’ve done a disservice to the NRA. If I have, it isn’t nearly as great as what the NRA has done to itself.


  18. First let me state that as a newcomer I agree that the more teaching of the basics done on this blog the better. However, I wish to stick my two cents in on a couple of other topics mentioned in today’s blog.

    As I just stated I am a beginning air gunner. I was attracted to air guns for several reasons. For one, I believe there is something innately alluring about pushing a projectile with pure, clean and odorless air.

    Please be clear that all I’m about to say next is in reference to myself only. I have no argument with firearms or their devotees. In fact I do intend to buy one soon for personal protection. However, for me it somehow just feels right to use air. I believe the loud blunt force of firearms detracts from the purity of the target shooting sports. I see it as kind of baseball vs football argument. The relatively quiet smack of the hammer with the resultant smack of the target is downright pastoral compared to the report of a firearm. Since target shooting is all I intend to do I will stick with airguns for that purpose.

    Before my next statement let me say that I absolutely love shooting my TX200, Beeman R9, Weihrauch HW30 and several other springers. But regarding the springer vs PCP debate I must say I believe that PCPs are the purest form of air gunning since no mechanical assistance is required to push the pellet, only air. Of course a mechanical device is used to compress the air in a PCP but once you pull the trigger it is air alone that does the job(with the exception of some soundless valves). Yes, I’m aware of the big bore guns and some of the louder magnums but they seem to be the exception not the rule.

    Another reason I started shooting air guns is indeed the fact I can shoot out to 45 yards in my backyard and not disturb the neighbors. Imagine the time and money I save not having to go to a range.
    But, I really wish it were as Victor said and that our sport were at least as popular as bowling. I have been shooting alone for 10 months now and miss the camaraderie and knowledge I would gain shooting with others. We need some airgun ranges around here. Right now there are none.

    Thanks for your patience in listening to me. As for B.B. and all of you other very experienced shooters out there PLEASE continue to feed me all of your knowledge as much as possible. I have no other resources except for other less knowledgeable blogs. No offence intended to you guys.

    • G & G

      I would like to start that I agree with you on most points. I am also a relatively new airgunner in that I have only been in it for 6 years or so. I don’t claim to be an expert, and I will never claim to be one.

      I also love the purity of airguns. I would love to be able to indulge all my powder burning fantasies, but no lottery winnings withstanding, it just isn’t going to happen. Even so, airguns will always be first and primary passion.

      My bone of contention is the statement that the PCP is the purest form of airgunning. I understand that the PCP predates the springer by several hundred years. But in my humble opinion, the purest form of airgunning is a gun, some pellets, and a target. Anything extra needed is… extra things needed. A springer or MPP is a self-contained, target shooting, fun-loving, prey-hunting machine. With emphasis on the self-contained.

      Don’t get me wrong. I own 3 PCPs, and I love them all. However, my first pump went out after 4 fills. This drove home the point that PCPs were useless without a reliable airsource. A spring behind a piston is many times more reliable than a pump (especially in the field) not to mention the bulk of a scuba tank. Most of my springers and MPPs have seen hundreds if not thousands of rounds. All of them without incident.

      That being said, we are both airgunning enthusiasts and as such, are brothers in arms. You must be commended for your taste in springers, as I believe the TX200 and HW30S to be the cream of the crop.

      Obviously, I wish that competitive shooting was at least as popular as bowling. However, the savages don’t use bowling balls or pins as weapons at school massacres. So bowling doesn’t face the sort of uphill battle that recreational shooting does. The reality is that we as shooters will have to fight like hell just to maintain the status quo. Giving in to ANY of the demands of the anti-gun crowd will erode the popularity and legality of shooting firearms or airguns, and start us down the proverbial slippery slope. Foreseeing this, I already own a pair of bowling shoes. Like most sports, it involves using a projectile to hit a desired mark.

  19. Man O man. Alot of different subjects in this blog. And alot I relate to. But BB made a comment above…..”I sensed that was the case. But with no real background, how could I know.”
    Talking about Bows with that comment.
    That’s why I believe that a person with common sense can read the blogs or forums and alot of interesting things can be learned. Can save a person alot of time and and get you to the results your looking for quicker. Among other interesting stories.

    We had a shooting range probably about 2 miles from the farm I grew up on.
    Had all the room in the world needed to shoot at were we lived but my Dad would still go to the range to shoot with his buddies.
    I looked forward to Friday afternoon when it was summer vacation from school because I would get to go with him.
    We did this from I guess when I was probably 7yrs. old till I was around 16yrs. old.
    My Dads friends would bring their kids and we would get to shoot our airguns while they were reloading rounds for their guns and shooting the bull. If you know what I mean.
    My 2nd grade buddy that I grew up with is one of those kids that got to come with their Dad. Still Friends with him to this day.

    And as far as the NRA and government laws are concerned.
    I believe there will be many many more fights throughout time before any thing really good becomes of the arguments.
    And probably nothing good will come about as usual.
    The 2nd amendment is there but I have heard comments elsewhere that its time to rewrite those amendments for the changing times.
    And knowing the government that’s what they will do and just call it some other sort of plan that they have.
    Look at Prohibition and what happened with the legalization of alcohol. How many people died and how many businesses were ruined because of the ignorance of certain people.

    And they say history repeats itself.

    Again responsible people and the not at all responsible ones. It just always seem that they the latter are always there in some shape or form.
    And the ones trying to promote and to make the things available in some sort of fun educational way always tend to have to fight for their freedom to do it. Kind of weird that it works out that way.

    D a r n anyway was going to make this one short and simple. Just couldn’t do it again. Every time I start reading the blogs it makes the brain start remembering things from the past…

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