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Getting started in airguns

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

Today’s report goes out to all those readers who are just getting into airguns, as well as those who have been in airguns awhile but feel there are many things they’re either missing or don’t fully understand.

We have a new blog reader who goes by the name Essbee. For the past week, he’s been asking the kind of specific questions that tell me he doesn’t understand something as well as he would like to. Then yesterday, he sent in this set of questions:

Thanks. How does The Benjamin Marauder compare with German guns (RWS & Weihrauch) in terms of quality and durability and ease too. No doubt the Germans are pricey in PCP hence ruled out but their quality is no problem. Could I have a report for or against on the quality of Benjamin Marauder as compared to German technology and craftsmanship.

What are the chances the gas will leak on PCP guns. If it does how will it be fixed and at what cost? In contrast the air springers have no such problem. What do you say on this? What is the record at your end of PCP repairs vs air springers?

Hence I was comparing an RWS 34, RWS 350 Magnum and RWS Air King 54. Considering the cocking effort, weight and velocity it seems RWS 34 stands up very well in .22 with longer barrel. Am I correct? For hunting which is the best?

How do I answer this?
If you read the questions, you’ll see they’re a combination of technical questions and requests for my subjective opinions. I find it very difficult to answer questions like these because they require more time and space than we have available. So, what I do is try to guess about who’s asking the question, then answer from that standpoint as best I can.

New airgunners come from a variety of backgrounds. They can be youngsters who have never really sampled the shooting sports at all. Everything is a mystery to them. Or they can be adults who may know about the shooting sports but have never really participated in them. You might think that would make them the same as the youngsters, but it doesn’t. Adults do have some life experience to relate to, so they can understand things that youngsters haven’t experienced yet. My answers to adults have to be slightly different than the same answers to youngsters.

The questions can also come from adults with lots of shooting experience but who are just getting into airguns. When that’s the case, we have a common basis of shooting upon which to build, but they still won’t be familiar with things like the artillery hold or with canting issues at close range.

Some of these adults may have served in the armed forces and may be even more familiar with firearms than most people. That makes my answers even more difficult because there are things about airguns that the military never thought of.

Some of the questions come from law enforcement officers, both retired and active duty. They’ll have an even different viewpoint, and my answers will have to be presented differently.

So — how do you get into airguns?
I obviously can’t answer everyone in the same way. But I do think there are fundamental things that ALL new airgunners need to think about. So here we go.

1. Start small
Don’t buy that super-duper ultra-magnum that you see advertised. Forget the advertising hype, unless all you want is something to brag about. If that’s what drives you, go somewhere else because I can’t help you. I’m in this for the enjoyment of the hobby — not for posturing, looking good or counting coup.

Get a weak but accurate airgun as your first gun, and then learn to shoot it. Forget scopes unless you’re almost legally blind. Learn to shoot with open sights. Learn to follow-through on every shot. Learn to call your shots, which is to state where they went before you look through the spotting scope.

I would tell you to get a Diana model 27, but they don’t make them anymore; and many of you would rather purchase a new gun. Okay, get an Air Venturi Bronco. That rifle was created to be the modern equivalent of the Diana 27. Is it? Probably not, because there are too many things that aren’t the same. But the Bronco is accurate, it has a good trigger, it’s both light and easy to cock, and it comes in .177 caliber so the pellets are cheap. And the rifle, itself, is a great bargain.

Want a different choice? Okay, consider a Stoeger X5. For around $90, you get everything the Bronco has except the great trigger and some of the accuracy. But it’s very good and is a wonderful way to break into airgunning. Find something like that.

Want an air pistol? How about a Beeman P17? Oh, you can find bad reports about this pistol if you look, but they number in the dozens, while thousands of pistols have been sold. I have had 2 and both were quite reliable. One was a test gun from Pyramyd AIR and I bought the other one after returning the test gun. The one I have now has many shots on the clock, as well as many years on it, and still performs as good as it did when it was new.

Want a spring pistol? Try the Ruger Mark 1 pellet pistol. It’s inexpensive, accurate, easy to cock, and the trigger–while heavy–is manageable.

The point
I said to start small with a low-powered pellet gun and learn how to shoot it. That’s the best advice I can give anyone who wants to get into this hobby. Yes, the powerful guns are neat and the super-accurate guns are a ball to shoot, but they also require some understanding that only comes with practice. I want you to get as much trigger time as possible, and a lightweight, inexpensive, accurate gun is the way to do that.

2. Buy good pellets
I know that saving money is a good thing, but I don’t want you to miss out on the thrill of a lifetime just so you can save a dollar a tin on bargain pellets. Stop kidding yourself that you can buy good pellets at a discount store. That was never the case, and today it’s quite far from the truth. You might be able to buy some adequate pellets at a discount store, but where does that leave you? With a Bronco that shoots 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards instead of one that shoots 3/4-inch groups. Is that what you want? You know the best way to save money is to never shoot at all. If you’re going to shoot, give yourself a chance of hitting.

3. Stop fighting the trends and start applying yourself
A popular definition of a crazy person is one who keeps doing the same things and hopes for different results. I see shooters who aren’t using the artillery hold because they say it’s too hard. Well, of course it’s hard, but all the best shots do it. Don’t you want to see what kind of shot you can be? If you try to buck the trend and avoid things like the artillery hold, you’re acting like a NASCAR wannabe who doesn’t like cars that are set up for the racetrack. Sure they’re hard to drive, but they’re also the only kind of cars that win the races!

You want to shoot groups at 100 yards, but you don’t want to use a scope level. Great. That’s like an ice-skater who wants to be in Hush Puppies all day because the skates hurt his ankles. You can’t shoot tight groups at 100 yards without leveling your rifle for every shot. So, if you don’t use a scope level, you’ll have to find some other way of doing it.

4. Shoot
I know it sounds simple, but just shoot. That’s why you decided to get into airgunning in the first place. It’s so easy to shoot at home. I fire from 100 to 1,000 rounds each and every week.

The more you shoot, the more chances you have to improve. Not that all people do improve, mind you, but at least you have the chance.

I’ve found that 20 shots on your own is worth a lot more than 20 conversations about shooting on the internet. Go on and have the conversations — but do the shooting, too.

This is what I would tell a new airgunner. Too often — always, in fact — they come to me with their eyes sparkling with thoughts of buying this or that mega-magnum rifle, I know they’re heading for disaster. I cringe when I see this because I know the conversations we’re going to have much later when all they’ve done finally sinks in and they realize this wasn’t the way to go.

Here’s a little story to illustrate what I’ve been saying. I watch certain internet gun sales websites and from time to time certain guns are listed. Let’s single out the Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum for this story. When I see the ad, I can guess what it will say. This fine gun is almost new in the box. It’s only been fired a few times. Comes with a fresh box of ammunition and only 6 cartridges have been fired. Now, why do you suppose that is?

109 thoughts on “Getting started in airguns”

  1. Hello B.B.
    I hope you are well. I am going to try loosening and then tightening my scope onto my rifle in the prescribed manner in an attempt to set the scope in line with the axis of the bore. I have fallen in love with shooting this SLR 98. I have discovered the appropriate hand locations and now i can shoot 1 inch 7 shot (the mag holds 7) groups at 50 yards! It is incredibly rewarding when this happens! Now, i am set to learning how to to mount a scope appropriately and to purchasing a mil-dot scope, as the swift 4-12X44 currently mounted on the Theoben in a duplex (dad’s preference). Thanks for your great blog! I have enjoyed watching my groups shrink as my knowledge increases.

  2. “Now, why do you suppose that is?”

    IMHO, because although a patriot and similar magnums have bragging rights they’re punishing to shoot and require technique that is torture to master.

    Rearward recoil in a magnum powderburner is one thing. Having an airgun that requires a loose hold that jumps around during the firing cycle like a great white shark out of water is another kettle of fish.

    The “fun” in airguns for me is accuracy which generally translates into mastering a hold and ammo preference which takes time with even sedate springers. The “fun” in airguns is also enjoying the option of shooting long range with pcp’s which is primarily learning the power curve and preferred ammo. Being able to do this on your own property or nearby property without having to go to a range is appealing. Fun.

    Power/FPE without accuracy never made sense to me. I respect those that need/want/desire punishing power but I’ve met too many that brag about their guns knockdown power that can’t hit a killzone and for this reason I don’t think I’ll ever connect with these folks. Different strokes for different folks.


  3. Unbelievable. That is about the best essay I think I’ve ever read on Pyramid-Air. If you want to shoot, and you want to shoot well – if you really want to master “the art of the rifle” or the pistol – follow the above instructions.

    To the letter.

    You want to be a “shooter?” You want to run a Remington 700 or an M4, a 1911 or a Sig? Know this – the pro’s run air guns. All the time. Soldiers and cops, hunters and snipers. Dry fire. Live fire. Airsoft or air guns. Lots of rounds. Every day.

    It’s called “habitual association.”

    It’s all about trigger time – the coolest, most rewarding physical activity imaginable. The more time you spend shooting, the more time you spend running a rifle, or gripping a pistol, the more time you spend working the trigger, the better you shoot. Period.

    Article is spot on. Start small. Quality over everything. Get an air gun that can out shoot you. Don’t believe the hype. Don’t drink the velocity Kool-Aid. Disregard the cool guy gadgets. First purchase? Start with a low power, high quality air gun. Get the best pellets you can afford. And shoot.

    A lot.

    The only other advice I can add is “get in front of the trigger.” Learn the “artillery hold;” a term evidently coined by the author of this article, and learn to hold the rifle steady and gentle. Teach yourself to press the trigger straight back to your chest. Don’t find yourself “behind the trigger.” Don’t hesitate. Accept the wobble. Your sight picture is not going to get steadier. Get in front of the trigger.

    Acquire and fire.

    A lot.

    Been following your work a long time, Gaylord. Well done.


          • TT
            The Silver Bullet for me.

            Jason movie. Good movie for a Friday night. I use to watch those old Horror movies with my wife all the time.

            We stopped watching them together after she got scared and jumped out of the chair with her arms swinging and punched me in the eye.
            Same thing happened when we were dating when we were kids. We went to a Haunted House thing on Halloween and half way through she punched me in the nose.
            No more Haunted Houses after that.

            But whats up.
            Did you do anymore testing with the heat affecting the gun?
            I had a really nice day today shooting. Shot a couple times throughout the day and with my daughters when they got home from school. And I made sure we shot in the shade. Guns shot very consistent today.

            • GF1

              Been tied up a bit with some colder than normal weather and getting a few other things done.
              Temp is supposed to start getting back up in the next week. Been like late September around here.
              Still need to see if a PCP cools when fired . Would like to see what kind of P.O.I. changes I get as a gun heats up or cools down from the air temp changes, but have to have the right day and no (or extremely light) wind. Then there is the valve issue with temperature changes. Have to drag the chrono along (maybe) . Do I just look for a bad reading on the first shot after every 10 degrees of temperature change, or should I just watch P.O.I. ? Maybe both. That’s a lot of sitting around and waiting.
              Anything that I come up with would be considered a general trend under the specific conditions with that particular rifle . I could be a bit sloppy about it as long as there is not something that I overlook that is going to give me totally bogus results. I generally want to see if things are going to happen as I suspect, and if anything turns out to be extreme enough to be noteworthy.

              Did get in some weed trimming and grasshopper hunting a couple days ago. Seasonal plinking targets.


              • TT
                Grasshopper hunting sounds like fun. I haven’t done that in a while. Not to many this year for some reason.
                I shoot dandelions when they still have the yellow flowers on them before they turn into the seeds and fly all over the yard.
                I told my wife I was going out to do some yard work one day.
                She came out and said I thought you were doing yard work but your out here shooting.
                I said I am doing yard work. I’m shooting the dandelions. She laughed and shook her head.

                • GF1

                  Dandelions are cool. Some times I shoot the seed heads before they open up, and other times I shoot the stems. Buckhorns are fun for shooting the heads too, or trying to clip the stem right below the head.

                  I like the poke weeds for shooting. Only the smallest stems will clip with a .177 in one shot. You have to shoot a row of holes across the larger stems to knock them down. Fun to start at the top and start cutting them up like tree trimmers take apart a tree.

                  Sometimes I plink the crab apples in the back yard. This kind gets covered with them and they stay on until spring . The starlings eat them in the winter when they get hungry. The little “apples” get no larger than 1/2 ” wide. When the ground is covered with ice or snow, the black vermin zoom in to stuff their ugly faces. Many die from lead poisoning.

                  Need some yellow jackets for fun. Some ripe sweet apples or pears would do the trick. A bit early for that right now.


                • I’m happy to know I’m not alone doing that!
                  Weeds are great reactive targets.
                  I tell my wife I’m going to take care of the wasps and when she comes outside I have a pellet gun in one hand and the electric fly swatter in the other.


            • What bugged me about the Jason movies and supernatural horror films in general is villains who cannot be shot, stabbed, or blown into submission. Not fair. For the Blair Witch Project, my fantasy was to sneak an arsenal into my tent, and as soon as weird things happened in the bush to open up. With the morning light, come what may, there would not be a lot of shrubbery within a considerable radius.


  4. Dear B.B.

    Great article Sir! You don’t mince your words and thats much appreciated. I have been shooting Airguns since I was 10 but the finer points and Correct Techniques have been learned from you.My shooting is getting better daily & am getting great groups.Also my knowledge on the subject has increased greatly. Thanks a Mil for your good advice.


    • Errol,

      Thanks for the comments, but bear in mind that I am no expert, when it comes to shooting. I still make lots of mistakes and I still learn a lot from the rest of you on this blog. I’m an average rifleman and a good pistol shot, but I’m now fighting the inevitable ravages of time and have to work harder for every good shot I make.

      My “knowledge” comes mostly from reading the greats like Keith, Roper, Whelen and so on, and then trying to put what they say into practice.

      This is not false modesty — it’s the truth. If you came to shoot with me you would see it firsthand.

      But I will continue to spread the word as I know it, and with the help of you guys, we’ll advance this hobby!


      • Hi, B.B. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months. Learned a lot. Thank you. What are the classics? What did you read to teach yourself to shoot?


      • Yes, you are an expert, B.B., and here is the proof and how I plan to deploy you! I just found an indoor range to take my Dad to so that I can figure out why he is not on paper at 25 yards with the Ruger Single Six. What do you know, but I’m getting objections. He doesn’t like the .22, but he’s fine with shooting the SW1911 at 25 yards and missing the paper with most of his shots.

        So, I’ll say that my shooting mentor first disassembled a 1911 when he was 15 years old, has prospected for gold in California with a 1911 strapped on and even shot a snake with one of them, had a career in the army, gunsmithed 1911s himself, busted clods with pistols at ridiculous distances and done much more. And even he, so far as I know, doesn’t often shoot full-power loads with the .45 ACP at 25 yards. Even if he does, all the more reason for you (Dad) to start out at a short distance…


      • Dear B.B.

        Sorry for the late reply. You are being very modest Sir cos your vast experience is so obvious. But I agree that we don’t stop learning & if we are humble enough to be open to others we can learn so much more. As for me the truth is I’ve got the best education on airguns from you. Its hard to explain the great satisfaction of putting into practice & having it work great for me. Please keep up the good work Sir, and please remember age is only a number if your heart is young & good. Sure wish we could meet someday & shoot together. It is the First Thing on my agenda if ever I get the chance of visiting the good ol US of A.


  5. If I may add, shoot with someone better than you. One of my shooting buddy is an old hunter, tough basta*d but thanks to him I rarely miss a humane kill shot now. He always said “Either improve your shooting or stalking. Make a shoot where you can confidently hit kill zone off hand, and no further than
    that (distance).”

    It took me quite a while before graduating from shooting and stalking rats at trash can 10m away.

    • Lee,

      That’s very good advice. Your buddy is a good one. I have had a couple good buddies like that. Mac was a far better rifle shot than me and kept me on my toes at the range. And Otho is a great rifle and pistol shot. I can never relax when I shoot with him, because I would embarrass myself.


  6. B.B.

    Yeah, those are a lot of questions to ask. Hard to give simple and clean cut answers to some. Then there are other questions that require more information because an answer cannot be given without some very specific information being given in the first place.


  7. So much for lead pellets being inert in the intestinal tract. See:

    Yahoo isn’t a great place for medical information, but I accept this story on face value. The problem is that the pellets were trapped in the the intestinal tract in the appendix. So lead was leached over a very long time. If the pellets had just passed through, then the lead exposure would have been so minimal as to be undetectable.

    Chemically lead behaves like calcium. So anything with calcium also has traces of lead. So having some lead in the body is impossible to avoid.

  8. B.B.,

    Great article! Had I not re-discovered airguns a few years ago, I would have lost an enormous opportunity to shoot again as often as I desired, or could.

    And proficiency really is about trigger time. The more you shoot, the better you get a feel for what works, and possibly more importantly, nuance in trigger control.

    Although I already had a lot of experience shooting, I’ve learned some invaluable lessons here in this blog that I wish I knew back in my competition days. I honestly believe that I would have been a better competitor back then, had I learned to think about shooting as I do now.

    Again, my dream is to see the day when airgun ranges are as pervasive as bowling alleys. By the way, if I’m not mistaken, I believe that we now have more shooting ranges than we have bowling alleys. What I’d like to see are more venues for kids to get involved in shooting sports, and not just plinking or firing rounds down range, but actually learning the finer points of shooting.


    • Wasn’t there a time when gallery shooting was a lot more popular than now? Maybe that was part of a circus culture that has declined. You could argue that the video/online gaming technology has absorbed the shooting interest in guns. But that is more combat-oriented without the feel or recoil of the gun anyway. I asked one guy, a Marine, who wanted to go shooting with me if he had ever fired an M1 Garand, and he said only in some video game.


      • Matt61,

        Yes! Gallery shooting use to be more popular, but that was because more carnivals offered it as an attraction. These days about the only thing I ever see is are the guns that fire a light. The last time I saw a shooting gallery where you actually fired a projectile was maybe 15 years ago. This was at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, where you shot a cross-bow. That was a tough one because you had to fire an arrow within a small star without touching the boundary line, and the edges of that boundary line were just a hair larger than the diameter of the arrow.

        Wow! video games supplanting real shooting! I never considered that possibility. You know, I’ve always wondered why video game makers don’t make more realistic games for target shooters, that include better guns that the cheap plastic ones that usually come with the units.

        Back when Nintendo first came out with their home units, I played Duck Hunt for awhile. Trouble was, it was too easy. I could play that game forever (meaning hours) and not lose. It was fun, but got boring. I thought it was a great idea, but needed a lot of improvement.


        • You probably needed a jumbo TV…

          Those “rifle/shotgun/pistol” units tended to have a rather broad field of view, and could detect the electron beam scan over large (relatively) part of a small screen. Doubling the dimensions of the screen would make the hot-spot one quarter the size (presuming you didn’t change distance to the screen).

          Hmmm, do those old units even work with modern LCD displays?

            • I suspect it wouldn’t — no CRT beam radiation to detect, LCDs run at higher scan rates, etc.

              I still have one CRT that might work — a 17″ Iiyama multiscan (when multiscan meant NTSC up to 40kHz, none of these 70+ kHz models). And that is flaky — it was my Amiga monitor, needing NTSC (640×480)for boot-up resolution then transitioning to my high resolution graphics card (if 800×600 or maybe 1024×768 is high resolution)… It no longer expands NTSC to full screen.

    • Victor
      I have heard you make the comment before about how you would like to see airgun ranges become as popular as bowling alleys.
      I think that would be great.

      When I was a kid the slot car tracks were popular. And there was almost one in every city in our area at one time.
      Then they faded away. We had one open up about 10 years ago by us and we went to it for awhile then it closed up. When it first opened it was always jam packed. At the end hardly anybody was there.
      I almost bought the place and was going to give it a face lift and try to market it a bit to get the word out. Guess what I chickened out.

      I guess if you got some money to back you the airgun range could be possible. All through time the different hobbies that I have been involved in I wanted to open a business associated with the hobby. And I didn’t. Who knows maybe I could of had a nice business by now.

      I would say if the opportunity was to come about or if I really put it to it a airgun range could be a possibility. I wonder if more people out there have the opportunity to try something and they ain’t taking the chance.

      • Gunfun1,

        We now have lots of gun ranges in the area. Trouble is, the prices have gone up. The range I once frequented have raised their prices from $7 per day to $20 per day. Why pay so much when there are lots of desert spots available. Of course, in the summer, indoor ranges should be doing fine. It’s been pretty hot in southern Nevada.

        As for airgun ranges, I think it’s a great idea, it just needs to be done right. I think that there’s always a customer base for it, but they need a little direction. My my own experience, kids won’t try formal shooting unless someone tells them about it. They are already excited about it, but don’t yet know it. Someone has to lead them to the well of enjoyment.

        • Cheep, cheep…

          I think one of the local pistol ranges that is open to the public is around $20 per HOUR.

          Most all the ranges in the vicinity are members-only… And I still want to see if I can locate the one the next county east — which is the only range I saw that, while members-only, was relatively useful (by which I mean, not pistol only, or not clay birds, etc. — though if someone shows up and raised the archery flag it means the gun ranges are closed for the period)

          • Wulfraed,

            $20 per hour is OBSCENE! If ranges in my area charged that much, I’d get into air-gunning. 🙂
            Actually, I just found out that the country range only charges $7 per day. That’s great because it use to be $12. Only problem with that is that the range is an hour away, whereas I can shoot in the desert, which is only about 20 minutes away. The country range is very nice.


            • The point is to have it available and somehow make it exciting for a new person to shoot.
              Don’t get me wrong I like popping paper too.

              We mix it up sometimes with the guys I shoot with to make the bulls eye the bad score. We will call the outer ring at lets say the 3 o’clock position the high score. It changes things up a bit.(BB that’s why I didn’t know how to answer what calling a shot meant).

              But it would be nice to go around the corner and shoot a gun at a facility. I’m sure there would be people that would appreciate that. Convenience is always nice.

  9. The last few sentences in this kind of describe my collection even though I have been in the sport for decades. I see an all new gun I decide I want to try it out. It’s a fine gun and I like it, but I have so many other guns that I like too that the new gun more or less gets lost in the crowd. I recently went through my collection and decided to sell the majority of it since I have too many guns and can’t possibly shoot them all. Many are still in the original boxes and still in new condition. A few I found lacking like the MK-177 so I made a few changes to make it a bit more user friendly. Like i found I had to fight the gun to open the pump for each pump. So I found the reason for this and fixed that with a dremel. I also found the storage in the butt stock almost impossible to access so I cut a small notch in the bottom of the rubber so I had a place I could pry the rubber butt plate off. But I cannot fix that left handed cocking knob and I am a right handed shooter so this gun is annoying and I want to sell it. Others have just been sitting too long unused while I moved on to bigger better things, built my own custom guns and even actual firearms which is where my actual passion is. When I build it (airguns only) I shoot it a few times, sell it and go on to the next build.

  10. B.B., Very good read. I agree all the way. Although I’m nearing 50 years old and have shot firearms since I was around 10 years old and bb/air guns since I could hold one up, I too learn so much on your blog. I guess I’m what you call a professional plinker. I never considered all the mechanics involved in shooting and the different air guns until I happened upon your blogs one day. Oh I was hungry for information. Oh I read several different posts from people, but most are just that, opinions. It’s just much harder to get info on air guns vs. powder guns.

    Edith, when I click on the word/link for Stoeger X5 to reread the latest buzz, it comes up not found. All the others work. Although I’ve read all them in the past, I like to refresh myself on them. Maybe you could tell someone at PA. Thank You, Bradly

  11. Mr Gaylord,,you knowledge, contributions and passion for this sport are very much appreciated and have help me a lot in this sport…As you have metioned in the past i am one of the firearm/ archery hunters that got into airgun due to more areas available to shoot, price and fun..I grew up as a country boy shooting them but you have opened my eyes on this stuff..wow…anyway what i am curious about is spring airguns utilizing some of the vibration dampening products us bowhunters use to stop vibration on our bow limbs..the elastomer rubber limbsavers have a pretty good(within reason) proven affects on vibration frequency and duration…i have an .22 hw97 that i placed a pair of these limbsavers on each side of the flat metal of the breach..now i have no high tech equipment to verify anything but it “feels” a bit better but I would LOVE to hear any ideas or testing in regard to such things for spring guns as the concept would appear valid..!?!

  12. I have not yet had a chance to test any true accuracy as of yet…as you know the hw97 is pretty smooth anyway and the difference may in reality so miniscule that only high tech equipment could even verify it, but in concept it makes sense…though i have never posted before i very much enjoy reading your blogs and i remember you mentioning in the past feeling the “buzz” of the stock on your check with certain guns and holds..it would seem this is where the most help would come..obviously the small limbsaver would not change recoil but those “buss” feeling should die out…i am isually not one to jump on gadget bandwagons but withing the archery world it is a fairly trusted and believed in technology for stopping vibration…honestly the limbsavers look out of place on the side of the gun but im about function and had already camo spray painted my hw97 the first week so i dont go by looks..LOL….

    Within the airgun springer world maybe this vibration dampening could be applied within the stock or portion of the gun so it would be more visually pleasing,,yet still provide a benifit..I know you mention how airgun technology is always assumed to be at its peak but something comes along to change that…this may not add fps but if it makes even a cheaper gun go “thunk” instead of “twang” that would be very good.

    • shaun,

      You are getting me interested! I’d like to see how you are doing this.

      I really like the idea of trying to make a cheap spring gun shoot better through vibration reduction. If that is possible and feasible (i.e. the gun doesn’t need to be so encumbered with foreign parts that it defeats the intent), then this might be something to look into.


    • Shaun, that is very interesting! I never paid much attention to the “Buzz” of my break barrel until I happened on B.B.’s blog/posts. Now it bothers me LOL. I seem to even notice it more on my BB guns than a pellet rifle. The Red Ryders I own really buzz to me now. I guess they seem worse cause I don’t feel them (there is no kick) and on the break barrel there is “Kick” and more thump that maybe drown out the buzz that I notice on the Daisy. Or it’s all in my head HA!

  13. Mr Gaylord…first i apologise as i am typing from my phone..I would love to do a report but would like to do it right and with documented evidence of any change…I have mounted the Limbsavers on the flat side of the breach, one on each side..I had an extra set of them for my bow sitting around and figured in theory it should work..I use the ones by Sims Limbsaver that look like mushrooms with stic-on bases..I am also going to take off the buttplate to see if feasible to place anything inside..based on testing and real world us by many i have no doubt the ones i added have some affect on vibration frequency and duration but the hw97 is so smooth its tuff to prove..I have one bow made by Mathews archery that uses small brass weights,suspended within “rubber web frames, inside the metal riser that reduce vibration also and the video and in person demonstration of the vibration reduction is very noticable..various videos can be found showing items bei.g dropped with and without the dampners and it goes from a metal ringing to a almost solid “thud”…

    As far as my hw it “feels” like it just goes a smidge more like a “thump” but again at this point it is subjective…

    Inside the buttstock of a gun provides some options to mount out of veiw…in archery we have really been around vibration reduction and spring guns, and the number of them out there, would seem a perfect application…

    I know someone mentioned some of the barrel attachements though i think that is more for barrel tuning of harmonics…i am talking of removing the “twang/buzz” with simple dampners instead of expensive tunes…

    • shaun,

      Yes, we are talking about 2 different things here. One is reducing the buzz upon firing to make the gun more comfortable, while the other is the reduce the vibration patters (or maybe just to change them to a more favorable patter) so the pellet leaves when the muzzle is in the same place every time. That could improve accuracy, if it was done right.


  14. Thanks BB this is the solid advise I wish I came across years ago’ it would of saved a
    Lot of frustration an kept a Chinese under lever out of the rubbish bin that might not of been so bad anyway.
    Artillery hold question if anyone can help ?
    I don’t think my hw 95k is all that hold sensitive but depending on how hard or soft the rifle is held the shots rise and fall so which hold do I zero with bearing in mind I do a small amount of pest control not just bench rest and shooting with a shouldered gun feeling easier more natural .? Thanks

    • Peter,

      More than likely, the problem when shooting from a bench is where your off hand is placed. Try it back, touching the triggerguard and forward, touching the cocking slot. Somewhere in there is the right spot.

      Also try resting the gun on the back of your fingers when rested. A few rifles need this hold.


  15. Well my interest in this “Vibration reduction” and wanting to provide you with solid results led me to contact the VP of marketing at Limbsaver(Allan Lotton)to inquire about obtaining actual measured results related to placing these dampeners on spring airguns. He did email me back asking me to contact him on Wednesday and I very much plan to do so.. I would love to see what affect dampeners have and provide a real life data record of that, but obviously I don’t have that equipment.

    I am starting to mentally work around the idea of small weight suspended in rubber inserts( As I mentioned earlier that Mathews Archery had done with their bow risers). This could be hidden within the buttock of the synthetic stocks. Even just elastomer inserts would have potential, as road bicycles have used such inserts in seat post and specific locations to kill off vibration, so there is real merit here..

    As you mentioned there is also the barrel harmonics side, which has such slip on barrel attachments for firearms tuning for accuracy so that is another road to maybe explore.

    From the standpoint of “twang/buzz” I can’t wait to see if I we can get an actual measured record of this… As someone mentioned the awesome little RedRyder would be a great medium since it does not have enough weight to stop the buzz itself..

  16. I wonder how many Crosman 760’s have been sold throughout time.

    That was my first airgun. Still got it and me and my daughters took turns shooting it today.

    Talk about a versatile gun. Pump it up for whatever fps you want it to shoot for the type of shooting you are doing. And also very smooth to shoot. No vibration or kick. And cheap.

    You don’t hear to much of people shooting the pump guns anymore. I like them.
    I got my 1377 pistol with the 1399 stock on it with a .177 cal. Discovery receiver and barrel.
    It’s a nice shooting gun. And very light. Makes it easy for kids to hold and shoot.

    Also nice for pest control in barns and such. Pump them up enough to get the job done. But not to much to damage the surroundings.

    After all ain’t they self contained pcps?

        • GF1,

          Sharp was a Japanese company that made several different multi-pump pneumatics. The Ace was the top model they made. Their rifles were considered to be the quality equivalents of the Sheridan Supergrade, plus the Ace produced over 20 foot-pounds in American trim.

          What I meant by that remark is the U.S. is ready for a top-qiality multi-pump that costs several hundred dollars and has Marauder-like performance.


          • BB
            Really, 20 ft.lbs. ! That’s interesting.

            I think the idea of a pump gun equivalent to a Marauder would be fantastic.
            I would have one for sure if it was made. Even if the cost was in the Marauder price range.

            Just think if you went on vacation. No more air tanks to carry. Or for the fact of the worry about how to get the tanks or guns filled other than the hand pump. The more I think about this the more I want one.

            A .25 cal. pump gun that could maybe get 50 ft. lbs. of energy. Ain’t that a nice dream.

  17. B.B.

    I’ve only been shooting about a year wish I had read something like this when I got started. Did a few dumb things early on like getting a .22 cal breakbarrel pistol to go after the ground hog in my yard, bought a semiautomatic CO2 pistol in the fall only to find out it was not usable for out door shooting in cold weather. So I got a Beeman P17 based your recommendation and found it to be just as accurate as my $200 CO2 pistol.
    Buying better pellets, yeah I got quite a few tins of Gamo, Daisy and Crosman pellets from Wal Mart before I started ordering better pellets. Wow I’m now shooting groups under 1″ with H&N, JSB and RWS pellets with my .22 cal Benjamin Trail NP and .177 cal Ruger Air Hawk using the artillery hold.

      • BB.

        The artillery hold works but is hard to master. Initially I found I was reverting to the stranglehold or leaning in with my cheek against the stock. It was frustrating I would get a nice group of may be 5 or 6 out of 10 couldn’t figure out why. I still need to force myself to relax between shots but the fliers are not as common and not as off the mark.
        You mentioned calling your shots and follow through could you explain both, not sure I understand what they are.

        • David
          Not quite sure about what calling a shot means. Could mean a couple of different things. BB has the best answer for that.

          And what I call follow through is if you sight your target. When you pull the trigger after the gun is fired. Keep looking through the sights at your spot you aimed at and see if you are still lined up as if you were going to pull the trigger for another shot.

          Maybe there is another definition but that’s what we always called it as I was growing up.

        • David,

          Calling a shot means you are able to say where the shot went because you were concentrating on the front sight when the shot fired. I guess I should say that you were concentrating on the sight picture, though the front sight is the most important component of the sight picture.

          Following through means that you remain on target (still aiming at the target) after the shot fires. If you follow through you will have a much better opportunity to call the shot.

          When you can call the shot, you will be able to group your shots much closer, because you know what the sight picture should look like and you watched it as the shot fired.

          I think this warrants a blog of its own, so tomorrow it’s for you.


          • B.B.

            Thanks, I think I have a better understanding now but please go ahead with the blog for Monday. I just installed a Williams Peep Sight on my 392 so this is the gun I grabbed this morning. First time out with this setup I tore a .91″ hole in a shoot n see target. They just kept going in the same area and I just kept going, 31 shots then got chased by rain back inside. Promising start and checking my notes the RWS Superdomes I grabbed are not the favorite of my 392.
            I have to say the Williams Peep Sight should be a factory installed option for the Benjamin 392. I was very frustrated with the stock sight and gave up using the 392 with open sights.

      • Must say that there was never any resistance from me about the artillery hold. I was skeptical and ran my own form of trials against my current method. But when the definitive results came in, I was on it like a rat to cheese.


  18. Re limbsavers, my Benj Trail NP (not XL) is gas rammed so no buzz. With shroud removed, an SVL Limbsaver Sporter Barrel De-Resonator (“Fits 1/2″ to 7/8″ Barrel Diameter”) is tight fit on the 14mm diam Trail barrel. Rubbing alcohol is the trick for making it slide easily. My experimenting so far has not confirmed its claim to tighten groups but I have not been very rigorous. Lots of testimonials out there and lots of variables.

    • John,

      Just to check out the theory, a while back I tried rubber banding a small piece of roofing lead sheet to the barrel of my Slavia 634 .22. Shrunk my groups by half. I still have it on there, but it looks pretty weird…. One day it’ll get replaced by a de-resonator.


  19. I was once speaking to a world-renowned scholar of Chinese and asked a question, and he responded, “That’s the wrong question.” Normally, I find that response evasive and irritating. But the questions from this blog post make me wonder if the old guy was on to something. It may be best to tell someone when their questions are misguided and make no sense. You don’t compare a single gun model with a whole class of technology–especially one that is so ill-defined and stereotyped as German technology. You could tell them that they need to compare apples to apples like pcps to pcps. Or you could make it simple and say that the technology of the German companies is beyond reproach and so is that of Benjamin at the level of the Marauder, so there is nothing to be gained from the comparison.

    Otherwise, B.B.’s response was beyond reproach. I would only suggest “IZH 61” as another simple answer to the newcomer. 🙂 It’s plenty accurate for any new shooter and the magazine capacity is all to the end of putting out more shots. No single-shot gun will keep up with it in that respect. On the subject of volume of shooting, I’m just getting back into my regular routine which has been disrupted by a variety of things for over a month and I’m really noticing the difference. Each day has high, not to say, epic drama within the 5 yard confines of my shooting range. It’s good to meditate on before going to sleep to examine lessons learned, to exult in the triumphs, to plan new stratagems against the failures. And the first thing I do in the morning is check the last evening’s target to see if the morning light makes it look any better.

    Victor, thanks for the info about .22 barrels. I was only hoping for the barrel to maintain, not to get even better than before! Also buried in my question was whether concentration of firing would make any difference. Someone on the blog told me that he had seen brand new barrels ruined in a day that could have lasted for years with proper management. So, I’m wondering if hundreds of shots fired in a day from the Anschutz could do the same damage. I’m guessing probably not, although I’m not going to push it that hard.

    I’ve been experimenting with yet another variation in technique. The new killer method of squeezing the trigger and allowing for sight wobble has slowly been leading me into the vice of overstaring my shots. I’m getting way outside the 5 second envelope. Now, I’m starting to wonder if my earlier techniques were entirely wrong after all. They were overly complex and jerky but they encouraged decisiveness. Maybe those first 100,000 shots were not entirely wasted. What I’m trying now is a blend of techniques where I’m blending the new killer methods with some of the decisiveness from before. My range is so short that differences are hard to tell, but last night was promising.

    Wulfraed, my understanding of the tempering process is that it is based on variation in temperature, so I can see how artificial cooling can cause problems. On the other hand, I read a Stephen Hunter novelistic treatment of Annie Oakley in a shooting competition against a famous British shot. She was rotating through rifles whose barrels were placed in water by her assistants to cool them down. Anyone know of the history behind this. And for the Mosins, what happened when they were fired in -30 temperatures or dropped in the snow after firing as they certainly were? You would think that those barrels would turn into wet noodles. But no less an authority than Wayne Van Zwoll has said that there has never been any documented case of a Mosin blowing up. That does make me feel better about the tempering dangers of a sponge. However, I doubt that you are any paranoid than I am, so I’m convinced to leave well enough alone. I’ll just retract the bolt and the let the gun air-cool on its own.

    Saw 2 Guns last week, and I have to confess to being a little disappointed. The movie had all the things I look for: action sequences with no pretense to deeper meaning and even some good actors. I’m not sure what went wrong. I can say that comedy is not a strength for either Denzel Washington or Mark Wahlberg. They just seemed kind of annoying. Otherwise, it’s like things just didn’t quite work right. The action wasn’t quite plausible. The leading lady was unhot. I found myself mildly bored. And why would I think that some of it was silly when I had never thought that about the giant robots of Pacific Rim? It wasn’t a bad film and probably would have broken even with the price if you had subtracted the $27 for my popcorn, drink, and Angus sirloin hot dog.


    • For a few shots before cooling, probably not a concern…

      But if the barrel is heated to the point where you can’t safely grab it with your hand?

      Even if you don’t reach the point of changing temper, the differential cooling could cause temporary changes in point of impact, changes in bore diameter, …

      An old HS Physics prop is a copper (I think) ring attached to a handle with a matching sphere (also on a handle)*. At room temperature the sphere will not pass through the ring. Heat the ring over a bunsen burner, and the sphere goes through with no problem… Now imagine that ring as a long cylinder with one end warm and the other end cold — any you are shoving the ball down it at high speed.

      Besides using layers of soft iron over hard steel, Japanese swords were tempered by covering most of the blade (all but a bit near the edge) with clay, and baking… Then rapidly dipping the blade in cool water (or some sort of oil){Or, for the gory, down the neck of some prisoner}. The clay retains heat, keeping the softer body of the blade from hardening while the exposed edge gets very hard and brittle.

      * {Cenco Scientific also used to sell a cast-iron hollow sphere with a threaded pipe stopper… Used for two projects — a Foucault Pendulum… and an ice bomb [you filled it with water, screwed on the stopper, and proceeded to freeze it… the expanding ice would fracture the cast iron sphere}

    • Oh, yeah… For Annie Oakley, the water dip was probably more to keep the powder residue soft… As I recall, most of her feats were still in the age of black powder.

    • Matt61,

      There was discussion years ago about why newer custom small-bore rifles costing exorbitant amounts were not performing better than much older original manufactured Anschutz barrels. I’m talking about Anschutz rifles that people bought for as low as $700 in the late 60’s to early 70’s, versus new custom rifles with more exotic barrels costing over $5000. The answer, according to a lot of experts, was that properly maintained high quality barrels, the the ones made by Anschutz, were effectively polished over the years. My freestyle Anschutz 1413 was bought used. It was made before all sorts of adjust-ability were introduced into the Anschutz product line. Well, my Anschutz was extremely accurate.

      Regarding shooting technique, there are a lot of elements to good shooting, including timing. Not all details apply to all forms of shooting (guns), but timing certainly is one that does. First you must know what the fundamentals are. Then you practice a great deal to master those fundamentals. Then you practice some more to refine your overall execution, including the timing.

      There are advanced subjects, but those are usually not worth discussing until a shooter has demonstrated real proficiency, and has plateaued out. If the best shooter in the world teaches precisely what he does, he may be leading a beginner astray, because what works for that master is very likely will only work best for him or her. This is something that shooters need to be very careful about.


  20. Here is something to think about for somebody getting into airguns. We talk about types of guns and I was just talking with twotalon about this above.

    When somebody starts shooting they want to see a result when they shoot. It needs to excite them or they wont be back for seconds if you know what I mean.
    We were talking about grasshoppers, dandelions and other things like hedge apples or even wasps like what other people have talked about.

    Here is some other things we shot at when I was growing up on the farm. And I still do with my kids to this day.
    We will take the bad vegetables from the garden and shoot at them. You know the ones the bugs get. Tomatoes, Potatoes, Green peppers and so on. And you don’t have to pick them up when your done shooting at them. They decompose. And they make nice explosions even with pellet guns. So they are kind of exciting to shoot at.

    Here is something I did for the kids when they were learning and I will still surprise them sometimes and have this set up for them when they come home from school.

    I take old soda bottles or cans and 2 liter soda bottles and cut the tops off.
    Then I take and blow up a balloon (the small round ones you use for water balloons).
    You need to get it blown up to the right size with air. Don’t fill it with water. And blow it up for a tight fit. (there’s different ways to get the balloon in there without popping it)
    Put one balloon in the can then pour a 1/4 cup of flour over the balloon.
    The 2 liter soda bottle I put one balloon with the 1/4 cup of flour then another balloon and another 1/4 cup of flower.
    I set them up in different spots and they shoot them. Kind of fun but you can only use them once because the pellet makes a sharp edge inside. I sometimes will flatten out the pellet hole and and put some tape over the hole to keep the sharp edge from popping the balloon. And load them up again.

    We had everybody over my house for 4th. of July this year and every body wanted to keep doing this instead of the fireworks.
    Go figure. Fun with guns over fireworks. And I like fireworks.

    • GF1

      Airgunning in the country is a lot of fun. So many kinds of shooting that you can do, without fear of getting busted by the cops.
      Any range from any kind of position at a lot of different kinds of targets. Make it as easy or hard as you want.

      Improvised reactive targets…
      Some times I line up some small driveway gravel on the top of my target stand, then shoot them off. Something like the R7s will just knock them off, but the TSS turns them into a big puff of powder.
      The little ornamental crab apples are impressive when they blow up with the sun getting low from behind and they throw up a big red mist that rivals the best fire works for beauty.


    • With your fireworks and airgun comment I think you just gave me an idea.
      I think those cap rolls we used as kids would be nice to shoot at. Just staple a roll to a target and you’d be good to go as long as you shoot it in order otherwise it would just rip appart.


      • J-F
        I think I will give that a try and see what happens with the caps. We still got about 5 box’s left from when the kids were young. I guess they will still be good. The caps are probably about 10 yrs. old.

    • GF1

      Just come back from doing a bit of playing.

      With the ambient temperature rising, I shot 10 dry Kodiaks through my Talondor to see what would happen. The dry pellets with a tight fit should have given me as much bore friction as possible.
      Barrel temperature measured just in front of the frame went from 77.5 down to 75.5 degrees. Multiple readings were taken for the best average.

      Tried letting the T200 get hot in the sun and did some shooting over the chrono. First shot was the slowest, but the way the string looked it may be because I changed the curve a bit when I was working on it last week. It did not get hot enough to run the pressure too high for what the curve used to be. Have to call it inconclusive at the moment.


      • TT
        I like shooting the rocks and gravel to. We also save the bottle caps from the soda bottles and shoot at them.

        And I still believe also that the heat of the barrel and pellet can cause some kind of variation when you shoot.

        I just came in from shooting this morning to eat lunch. I did the experiment with covering the scope when I shot. I used the 1720T and the Talon SS.
        I covered both guns with white wash cloth’s with rubber bands holding them in place. It was right at 70 degrees outside and sunny. Filled both guns to the normal fill pressure and used the normal pellets I use for each gun.
        I don’t have anything to measure the gun or scope temperature with but I shot each gun with 20 shots. the POI didn’t change. The metal on the guns were warm though. After the 20 rounds through each.

        I went back in the house and filled the guns back up to there normal fill level and let them cool to the touch on the metal parts.
        Took the wash cloth’s off of the scopes and went back out.The temperature was now a little warmer about 72 degrees.
        Shot the same as above and the metal again was warm on the guns after I was done shooting. And the gun that was waiting to be shot was covered with a white towel and in the shade.

        Well here is what happened after the 20 shots. Both guns was shooting about 1.250″ lower. And I forgot to say I was shooting at 50 yrds. This time though the scope was definitely warmer than the barrel. I think the thinner metal of the scope and the glass lenses helped to warm the scope more than the rest of the gun.
        So I think I may keep my scopes covered and I think I will get me those extended scope shades for the front lense on the scope also.

        • GF1…

          When you tie all the parts together and subject them to different temperatures, you are going to see strange things happen. You adjust the scope, then shoot tomorrow or whenever the rifle is subjected to external influences that are different…..the scope is out of alignment again. Maybe the most important thing is to see that this happens, and what you can do to minimize the problems. You can also look to see where you will have to draw the line before you have to do something.


          • TT
            I don’t adjust my scope after it is set. If I’m satisfied with my scope sighting I use hold over or hold under for elevation and I hold left or right for windage depending on the conditions.

            I like long range shooting. I found that chasing the scope and also trying to compensate for the environment changes gets tricky.

            But like you always say (and believe me I’m listening) you have to be aware of the conditions. Everything changes and it is hard to reproduce the same results.

            You know as well as I do that you have to adjust for conditions if you are going to make your shot count.
            How many times have you grabbed your gun, loaded the pellet and took a shot with out getting a chance to fire the gun once before the shot that is suppose to count. I have done that to many times.
            I even catch myself trying to estimate what the gun is going to shoot like. When you start doing that it is bad business.
            You have to know how your gun is going to perform if you want to be successful.

            You already pointed me in the right direction a number of times.
            And I will say thanks again.

            The only thing I can say is shoot the gun you have and learn how (it shoots).
            The more you shoot it the more you will learn about it.

            • GF1

              Don’t listen to me too much. You might get as skeptical as I am and start to question just about everything. Maybe that’s good, or maybe that’s bad. It does help if you have problems with a gun . Better to figure things out for yourself than to go on some of these websites and get a dozen worthless and misleading answers.

              Have fun.


              • TT
                Remember BB did a blog on just what your talking about a little while back.

                A person has to use common sense.

                And everything that I read that you have wrote about has made sense to me. And I always have been one for experimenting with stuff. And I definitely like to read about what other people are trying.

                But sorry. Next time you talk about something I will just have to listen. 🙂

  21. Funny, the differences in people… We just had the grand opening of 2 new Cabela’s stores here in Denver. Thousands of people lined up, some camped out in the parking lot. No one got trampled, shot, stabbed, our otherwise hurt when the doors opened, unlike Wal-Mart’s at Christmas…..!


    • /Dave

      Isn’t it weird that a bunch of “crazy gun nuts” are much more orderly, peaceful and respectful of others than Christmas rioters jockeying for Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmos, X-Boxes or Nike Airs? Oh, wait. No it isn’t weird at all. That is because lawful gun owners are typically the salt of the earth. People that buy their guns at Cabela’s use them lawfully and with a cool head. Those that shoot innocent people buy their guns off the streets. If I was dumb enough to camp out at a store rather than the woods, I would do it at Cabela’s/Bass Pro rather than any other store (Wal-Mart, Best Buy etc) I would put it to the test, but I have no desire to spend my Thanksgiving evening camping out in a damn parking lot like an idiot instead of at home with family. I have never heard of anyone getting stabbed, shot, or trampled to death at a Cabela’s. I wish I could say the same about Wal-Mart. Like you say, “the differences in people.”

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