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Education / Training What’s for Christmas? Part 1

What’s for Christmas? Part 1

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

I know the Christmas holiday is a long way off, but this year it comes upon us faster than usual. Thanksgiving will be very late this year (November 28), and since that day traditionally kicks off the Christmas shopping season, many people will be jammed because of too little time left. So, I’m starting my Christmas shopping blog a couple weeks early.

Stocking stuffers/small, neat gifts

Things in this category are gifts that don’t cost a lot but will have great meaning to airgunners. Some of them are things that shooters won’t buy for themselves.

Leapers UTG pellet & BB trapLeapers UTG pellet & BB trap
The Leapers UTG pellet & BB trap is the best trap for BBs, and it also works for lower-velocity pellet guns. I used to tout Crosman’s model 850 pellet/BB trap. Well, they removed it from the market and replaced it with a model 852 trap that they say is only good for pellets. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the Leapers and Crosman traps, except the Leapers trap is a few dollars more. How’s that for a switch?

But Leapers does recommend their trap for BBs, plus they sell replacement ballistic curtains for just a few dollars for the inevitable time when you shoot through them.

I’ve been using a Leapers trap for the past 4 months, and I do plan on reporting on it; but if you want the absolute best BB/pellet trap you can get, this is it!

Winchester Airgun Target Cube for BBs and pellets
For about half the money the Leapers trap costs, the Winchester Airgun Target Cube for BBs and pellets is a good BB trap that also works for pellets. I’ve reported on this trap in many reports on BB guns and even for some pellet guns. My trap now has several thousand shots in it, and the styrofoam is starting to flake off when hit, but it’s still useable.

The beauty of this trap is that it’s completely quiet. So, you get the same response as though you are shooting at an Air Venturi Quiet Pellet Trap, but at a greatly reduced price. The trap can take hits up to higher velocities because it has a steel plate embedded inside, but I recommend using it for lower-velocity BB guns and pellet guns.

Gamo squirrel field target
As long as we’re looking at things to shoot at, don’t forget the Gamo squirrel field target. This is a fine field target for low-powered airguns that prodiuce less than 12 foot-pounds of energy. It gives you something to shoot at in the yard, and the kill-zone reducers allow you to change the target as your shooting improves.

I don’t recommend this target for a club or for match use, but for informal field target practice it is perfect. It costs half of what a stronger field target costs.

Gifts under $50

This category is for those gifts that cost a little more but still represent a wonderful value to most airgunners.

Beeman P17 air pistolBeeman P17
My first pick is the Beeman P17 pistol. This single-stroke pneumatic air pistol is accurate, has a wonderful trigger and is quiet enough for shooting inside the home. Some find pumping it a little hard, so consider that; and there are reports that some guns have pump problems that allow the compressed air to leak out. I haven’t run into one that had a problem yet, but there’s a simple fix all over the internet, so don’t let that dissuade you.

S&W M&P 45 BB and pellet pistol
The S&W M&P pistol is a great buy for under $50. It’s a BB pistol I’ve reviewed and found to be an exceptional value. It’s accurate for a BB pistol, and it looks and feels like the firearm it copies. And it also shoots pellets! What a great buy for so little money! [Note from B.B.: This pistol was below $50 when this report was written and edited, but the price increased before it was published. I left it here because it’s such a nice gun, but it now costs over $50.]

Colt Defender BB pistol
I found the Colt Defender BB pistol to be a wonderful BB pistol when I reviewed it.

Gifts under $100

Let’s look at some gifts for under $100. These are things airgunners probably want but may not remember to ask for — so you need to ask them.

Champion Heavy Duty trap
The Champion Heavy-Duty trap should be an essential part of every airgunner’s equipment. They will only need one of these, and it’ll last for the rest of their lives. My own trap is close to 20 years old and must have half a million shots on it, but it still works like new! It can take rounds from a .22 long rifle and still not dent or blemish, so you know no smallbore air rifle can possibly hurt it.

Crosman 1077
The Crosman 1077 CO2 rifle is Crosman’s homage to the Ruger 1022. And, like that famous rimfire, the 1077 has become a classic in its own right. It’s a fun plinker, and the stiff double-action trigger (this rifle is really a revolver) lightens and smooths with use. It’s also surprisingly accurate — way beyond what the price indicates.

Umarex Morph 3XUmarex Morph 3X CO2 gun
The Umarex Morph 3X CO2 gun isn’t for everyone; but if your shooter likes gadgets, it might be for him. It gets its name from the way it changes from a BB pistol to a BB carbine. It also has adjustable power that compliments the barrel length options. Just seeing what it can be made to do will occupy a lot of time.

Umarex Steel Storm
If your shooter likes full-auto, consider giving him the Umarex Steel Storm. Although it’s a pistol and doesn’t have a shoulder stock, the Steel Storm is quite accurate with BBs in the semiautomatic mode. It’s a very affordable BB automatic, although it’s limited to 6-round bursts in full-auto.

Gifts a little over $100

Instead of giving you a list with price breaks from zero to infinity, I’m doing this in a more rational way. This is the way people shop — or at least they should shop. There are a couple items for a little over $100 that make wonderful gifts, but they don’t belong in an under $300 category. You’ll see what I mean when you look at them.

Dan Wesson BB revolverDan Wesson BB revolver
I really enjoyed testing the Dan Wesson BB revolver. It’s a CO2 revolver that functions just like the firearm it copies. They come in barrel lengths of 2-1/2 inches, 4 inches, 6 inches and the one I like the best — the 8-inch barrel. Loading is very realistic, and the accuracy is quite good. Read about it here.

Air Venturi Bronco
You knew I had to put the Air Venturi Bronco on the list. For $130, it’s the best value you can find in a spring-piston airgun. The stocks are now stained a darker brown color, so those who didn’t like the blonde stock will now get their wish. It’s great for older youth as well as adults. A wonderful all-day plinker!

If your shooter wants a full-auto BB gun, I think the Electronic Burst of Steel (EBOS) from Umarex has no equal. It’s accurate, powerful, reliable and everything works as it should. Yes, it’s over $100, but it’s worth it! You can read about it here.

Gifts under $300

This category is much harder to pick for because so much personal taste is involved. But this is my blog, so I get to pick ’em!

Diana RWS 34P
I really like the Diana 34P imported by RWS USA. I don’t care for the 34P Compact because the shorter barrel makes it harder to cock. I like the standard 34P. I also dislike its fiberoptic sights, but most people will scope their rifle, so that doesn’t really matter.

Diana has made vast improvements in the model 34 over the years, and I think it has evolved into the best value for the money. If you want power and accuracy at a bargain price, the Diana 34P is for you. If you want a wood stock, get the regular Diana 34. It’s still under $300.

Benjamin Discovery + hand pumpBenjamin Discovery
The best deal around in a precharged rifle has got to be the Benjamin Discovery. It also requires a way to put pressurized air into the gun, and that can be either a hand pump or a scuba tank, so this gift may also entail additional items for your shooter. It’s a big decision, but the Discovery is really the easiest way to get into precharged airguns. And if you do decide to get a Discovery, know that there is a package deal that includes both the rifle and hand pump at a significant savings. Of course it takes you out of the under $300 category.

Shop Outdoor Gear

Gifts without limit

I’m not going to list the most expensive things here. I’m just going to list the few things that I would recommend that are more than $300.

Beeman P1 pistolBeeman P1 pistol
For your handgunner, I recommend the Beeman P1 pistol. This spring-piston pistol is a wonderful target gun for everything short of full-blown 10-meter competition. It features 2 power levels and a wonderfully adjustable trigger. At the time of publication, this pistol is selling for $460.

Benjamin Marauder
Then we come to the Benjamin Marauder precharged air rifle. It comes in .177, .22 and .25 calibers. It’s very quiet, has a wonderfully adjustable trigger, is quite accurate and has more adjustability than many European air rifles costing over a thousand dollars. As this is published, the Marauder sells for $470, which has to be the best PCP value around.

AirForce Talon SS
The Talon SS from AirForce Airguns is a stunningly accurate PCP that allows the user to change calibers as well as barrel lengths in minutes. It isn’t one rifle — it’s a whole shooting system! It was the first PCP to use a shroud to reduce the muzzle report, and it was one of the first to offer adjustable power. This is the kind of airgun a shooter joins with in a serious way because it can be so many different things. At the time of publication, the Talon SS retailed for $575.

Air Arms TX200 Mark III
The last gift I will put on today’s list is the always-popular Air Arms TX200 Mark III. It would be difficult to think of a finer gift for an airgunner. Even the inveterate PCP owner needs one of these, just to know how high the spring-piston bar can be raised. Beazer — feel free to chime in, being a new TX200 owner and all.

Now that I’ve given you my list, I expect to hear from you on those things I failed to mention. I’ll come back and do a second list in a week or so, and I’ll consider all that you say. There are gifts I intentionally left off this report, but I also want to hear what you guys think.

Remember, the 2013 Christmas season will be brief because of how late Thanksgiving is this year. No matter if you’re a gift-giver or a hopeful gift recipient, the time to act is right now. And if you thought of buying one of the last Sheridan Blue Streaks (because Crosman has stopped making them), the opportunity is quickly disappearing. Pyramyd AIR is sold out at present but will get a final shipment of this venerable multi-pump around Dec. 6. If you want one, pre-order it. Cause once they’re in stock, they’ll vaporize pretty quickly.

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

121 thoughts on “What’s for Christmas? Part 1”

  1. Howdy Mr. BB, Ms Edith & the Gang! Yup, gonna need a bigger stocking. Only thing I’m qualified to say about my T-Rex at this point is, I’m not worthy. It’s such a flawless piece that shooting it is like a religious experience. It’s so far above my skill level, that I can’t help but want to get better in order to be able to use all of it’s potential. The only negative my T-Rex has, is me. But I’m gettin’ better & alot of practice & Mr. T. are the reason. Mr. BB, watchin’ over your shoulder as ya “unwrap” a brandy newbie T-Rex, examine it & put it through it’s paces as only Mr. Myagi can, is my Christmas present. Thanx, sir. Have a great weekend ya’ll. Shoot/ride safe.

    • Sorry Beazer not tryn’ to steal your line. But Mr.BB you went and really done it this time didn’t you.

      I ain’t no fortune teller but I think (not bet) this will be a good Friday blog. And the ole brain just processed about 10 things at once after readn’ your blog.
      Too, too many topics to talk about here. But what better place!

      Two things that keep over ridn’ the others is about the T-Rex and my first firearm I received for X-mas.
      I had pellet guns and other shooting devices as a kid. I dreamed about getting one of those German springer’s that I seen in mail order catalogs. But I could never quite afford as a 10 year old with my grass cutting jobs.

      I will never forget when I woke up Christmas morning and we started opening up presents. I can remember my dad kept pushing a couple of presents aside. (I’m sure the guy in the Red outfit told my dad what they were).
      So we finally got down to the last two. My brother opened his while I opened mine. He got a Crosman 760 (he was younger than me) And I got my Winchester model 190 .22 cal. semi-automatic rifle.

      It feels like it is Christmas 1971 today everytime I think about it. Can’t never forget what that Christmas felt like. I was so happy.

      And now Mr. Beazer the T-Rex. I hope the guy in the Red outfit is listening right now. Because I hope he brings me one. And maybe one of those German guns too. 😉

  2. Now I have been seriously considering the RWS 34P Compact for the very reason that the barrel is shorter. I do realize that it will be harder to cock, but I think I can deal with that. My major concern is whether it is still a RWS made to past RWS standards. It says Umarex on it now.

    • Neither RWS nor Umarex have anything to do with the manufacture of the 34P. The rifle is made by Diana in Germany. RWS is the exporter. They don’t make anything. Just like Beeman airguns who stamp their name into Weihrauchs but don’t build them, RWS has nothing to do with the making of Dianas. Umarex is the distributor for the Diana guns in America. Again, Umarex has nothing to do with the manufacturing. If you are worried about the quality of current Diana guns, fear not. The only thing that Umarex can screw up on a Diana is after sale service (in America.)

      P.S. Where are you seeing that Umarex is printed on the Dianas? The photos on PA’s website don’t show Umarex printed on them anywhere that I can see. My personal Diana 34P does not have Umarex printed on it either.

      • It says Umarex on the side of the barrel of the Compact. My concern is that I know the scope is manufactured by Wang Po Industries and I am afraid that the rest of it is also. I will look it over again and see if I can see that the rifle itself is made in Germany. Fortunately, I know that when I order it and it is made by Wang Po Industries, PA will take it back.

        • RR

          When you order a package deal on any lower priced gun, you don’t need to expect that the scope is going to be top of the line stuff. You can expect the scope to be junk. It’s best to order a good rifle and a good scope separately . Expect to need a drooper mount too, unless you want to shim.


          • For sure. Yes, I am well aware of the package deal scopes. I just wish I could order it without the scope and mounts. I have heard unfavorable reports concerning the mount also.

            • RR

              Yeah, the included mounts on package deals can be anywhere between poor and worthless . I would rather build the system myself rather than pay extra for the junk accessories that I will not use anyway and spend extra for the stuff I want to do it up at least decent.


            • RR
              I give those freebee scopes that come with a gun to my kids and put them on their guns. That way I don’t worry about them knocking around a good scope. And they each have one of their own that they use as little hand held spotting scopes.

      • On closer inspection of the photo I am referring to, it may not say Umarex, but may be a serial number or some such that begins with a U. But like I said previously, if it is made by Wang Po Industries, PA will take it back. Great customer service!

      • That is reassuring to know. With so many companies buying from Wang Po Industries and then putting their label on it, it is nice to know that some of the quality stuff still is.

  3. There’s a mix up between M&P pistols.

    The one under 50$ only shoots BB’s and the one reviewed that shoots BB’s and pellets is 60$ (still a good price).



  4. The Winchester Airgun Target Cube for BBs and pellets, while it may make a good BB trap, I’ve had a different experience with it. I’ve shot maybe 100 BB’s and already the Styrofoam is falling out. I’ve repaired it with duct tape.

    I’d like to add a great item to the list, the EyePal Peep Sight, Master Kit. This thing is phenomenal for those of us with less than perfect vision. Plus, it fits very nicely in a Christmas stocking!


  5. Hello B.B. et all,
    Let me tell you something special about the RWS 34 pro compact. The muzzle brake has 2 positions. It can be extended outward and essentially becomes what lookes like a moderator without baffles. The extra length and large diameter grip greatly reduce the cocking effort and perceived force on the palm of your hand. The ball detent in the breech block is wonderfully smooth and the mass of the muzzle brake in the extended position smooths out both your aiming and the barrel lockup.

    In addition, the barrel is choked. Mine likes the barracuda match with the 4.53 mm head size and shoots them around 805 fps. The metal finish is matte black and just beautiful.

    The butt is hollow. For bench shooting, sometimes I stuff a bag of old pellets in there to add mass and stability.

    • Feinwerk,
      My main complaint against the 34 compact was that the muzzle brake is solid steel and weights a ton. I would through that billet of steel away and replace it with something made of aluminum or plastic.
      David Enoch

  6. Reading Gunfun1’s comment above brings to mind another couple of gifts under $50 but I’m afraid PA may not sell it. Do consider buying the DVD, “A Christmas Story” or if you can overlook the mostly poor acting, “Quigley Down Under”. More stuffers? A 4 tin order of high end pellets like H & N’s, JSB’s and Crossman Premiers. Obviously there are other choices and apologies to those manufacturers I haven’t mentioned.

    Me, I guess I need to add a P34 to my collection in .22 cal. Oh, maybe a P1. Hey, that P17 looks really affordable. How much money do I have to spend? So many choices, not enough dough. Sigh….

    Fred DPRoNJ

  7. B.B.,

    Yesterday, you wrote about scopes, and I wanted to write to you and others about my recent experience.

    I’ve been shooting a new TX200 .22 with BKL mount and Leupold Vari-X II 3×9 EFR. My groups average 1″ to 1.1″ at 25 yards with a variety of quality pellets. Not very good, and the rifle would not hold zero. I am a novice spring piston shooter, and learning the artillery hold while diagnosing the problem has been frustrating. Well, compared to life’s other challenges, these are all good problems to have! The piston seal broke and was repaired by Pyramyd. I briefly mounted a Leupold FX-3 12x on the TX, and groups seemed better, but of course, the scope doesn’t focus under 50 yards. I added a Beeman scope stop after it was clear the scope mount was slipping. David Slade tuned the rifle, and it is smoother and more pleasant to shoot, but my groups are still around one inch at 25 yards. I cleaned the bore with JB Paste, tried different pellets, tightened stock screws, tried different holds, and then the Leupold EFR reticule broke. I had long suspected the scope had failed before the reticule broke, and was already planning to send it back to Leupold. I ordered a Hawke 4.5-16x and BKL two-piece, double-strap mount, and then read your blog about Leupold Vari-X II scopes and recommending the Hawke I had just purchased.

    I’ve been blessed with some accurate firearms with quality scopes, but I am a novice air gunner and this is the first time I’ve purchased an Asian scope. I would prefer a US-made scope. Are any suitable for a quality, spring piston rifle?

    I suspect my journey is not far different then that of other experienced shooters discovering air gunning. The last six months and 4,000 pellets have been interesting, and after this first and lengthy post to your blog, I owe you and others a follow-up note about the new Hawke scope and whether I can shoot better groups with my TX.

    Some of your photos show a broad, flat sandbag rest that seems to work well. What brand is it?

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks for your blog and others comments. I read them daily and enjoy them much.


    • RB7,

      I suspect you have been following the series of reports I have been writing oj the TX 200? If so, you know the Hawke scope is fine. It will be much clearer than your Vari-X II, which isn’t that clear.

      But one-inch groups at 25 yards isn’t as good as the rifle can do. Have you tried Crosman Premier pellets in the brown cardboard box yet?

      The sandbag seen in the pictures is something that was handmade and sold at gun shows years ago. I don’t even know if they are still in business. By the way, it’s filled with crushed walnut shells rather than sand and it weighs half as much.

      I don’t have any experience with the .22 TX 200, but maybe some of your readers can help. I would expect your rifle to put all its shots on a dime at that distance.


    • Hello RB7 and congratulations on your purchase of a TX 200. I have many springers, but my TX 200’s have become my favorites. So sorry to hear of all your troubles. I also have a TX 200 MKIII in .22 cal. The best pellet in my rifle is the boxed Premiers. I’m using the Air Force 4-16×50 scope with the target turrets, Air Force rings w/scope stop pin (one of B.B.’s picks) and have been delighted with it.

      My biggest accuracy trick for springers is to stick one of those small rubber bumper foot things to the back of the wrist of the stock. This becomes what I call ‘the accuracy button’, and is a way to provide consistent thumb placement for the trigger hand. The corresponding trigger technique is to squeeze the trigger between forefinger and thumb only, minimizing contact with the stock from the other parts of the trigger hand. This prevents pulling off target as the gun jumps against your hand during its firing cycle.

      The second biggest factor is light but consistent shoulder pressure, and minimal cheek pressure, always supporting the gun on its centerline with the off hand or bag. I use a short bag about 2″ forward of the trigger guard, with the muzzle being slightly heavy.

      I hope that helps you so far. I do my own tuning, and the TX 200’s are hands-down the easiest dang rifle out there to take apart and tune/inspect. You don’t need a spring compressor or any other specialty tools.

      And finally, I lube all my pellets using Krytech ‘finish line’ wax. I put 20 drops into a large ceramic soup bowl and quickly dump in the whole container of pellets. You have to act fast because the solvent in the wax evaporates quickly. Then you ‘saute’ the pellets using the same motion that you do for stir fry, pushing the bowl back-and-forth in a way that makes them jump up on one wall and fall back on themselves, mixing all up. Mmm,stir fry pellets anyone? Tasty. Ha ha – well, that’s my technique, and this helps keep the rifle bores very clean and consistently lubricated.

      Speaking of bores, get some cleaning pellets. My technique for those is to load 2 cleaning pellets first, followed by a single pellet. NEVER fire a springer with cleaning pellets only! There’s not enough resistance without a pellet and the piston will slam! You can also make your own bore snake with some insulated #22 ga copper wire. Fold it over double and twist it, leaving an eye at one end. You push the eye into the muzzle until it comes out the breech. Then you can insert cleaning patches in the eye and pull them through the bore for good cleaning action. Use enough patch or fold it over enough times to make it a snug fit. Repeat until they come out clean. I use a little RWS silicone chamber oil on the patches sometimes for cleaning.



      • i like your idea of the copper wire, but i use 20-30 pound fluorocarbon fishing line, cut it to 4 times the barrel length and tie my home made cleaning patches(cut up cotton sock, t-shirts or any other rag duty apparel) in the middle of the line. the reason this works so well is you can thread the line through the breach of most break barrels just by opening them but not having to cock it fully. under/side lever springer’s i can’t vouch for. Anyways the second benefit being you can move the patch forward and back until it’s black with no worries of dinging, denting or otherwise damaging your barrel or other important parts of your rifle. this technique should work well with bolt action pcp’s as well.

        • When I was a kid, my dad bought a 5mm magnum, but there were no cleaning kits for it to be found, so my dad made one. He took a nylon string and tied a loop in one end and hammered a split shot into a cylinder that fit through the bore on the other end. We never did bother getting a rod for it.

          Fast forward forty some years and I get into air guns. Out comes some braided kite line and the tackle box. Not only is it good for cleaning bores, you can hang it near your target and get a visual vertical reference.

  8. My preferred thing for christmas would be a gift certificate to the places I frequent online so I can get the gun pieces I need. Of course that never seems to happen. I always seem to get a new winter coat or more tools. I have several coats in new condition and I know that this year I’ll add another one to the collection. I have several tool boxes full of tools, and I know I’ll probably need to get another tool box this year.

      • Tools are always good. But the big issue is they are always those cheap made in china tools that break the first time you try and use them. If I must have tools I seriously wish they were some nice american made case hardened tools that could survive a nuclear blast. Every year my mom calls me out to fix some yard or garden equipment that broke. It never fails that I’ll have to put some serious pressure into a stuck bolt. If I were to use these cheap chinese tools I’d end up losing skin on my hands and possible breaking a finger or two when a socket breaks. I know this because it has happened before. It would just be so much better to have a gift certificate to go get the gun parts or tools I need.

  9. This is a FANTASTIC LIST! I’ll take one of each, please 😉

    Glad you put the RWS 34P on there. It was my first nice springer purchase. I can’t wait to get my first PCP eventually.

    • If you are going for a pcp, I highly recommend a ,22 cal discovery. They are a bit underpowered out of the box, but with a bit of time and effort they can be tuned to be a formidable hunting tool. They have to be one of the most upgradable pcp guns on the market.

        • You can always ask somebody that does upgrades. I’ll be happy to show you where to find parts to upgrade the thing. If you don’t have the ability to pull the disco apart and upgrade it, I’d be happy to do it for you. The first thing I would ask is “what do you want it to do?” I can set it up so you get lots more shots with less power or I can tune it until it’s better than a Marauder and able to drop a coyote at 50 yards. I can increase your shot count with a double tank, fit it with a thumbhole stock…..Or I can tell you where to get the best parts for your needs. That’s the thing I like about the disco, it can literally be anything you want it to be.

            • I personally like the disco better than the marauder simply because it is so much easier to turn into what you want it to be. I have one for sale right now that is everything the marauder is but better, I have it quiet, powerful, and adjustable and not as bulky as the marauder. When I sell it I’m starting to build another one that you’ll never recognize as a discovery. I ordered a hand carved thumbhole stock for it which is where I’m starting this build. By the time I’m done this thing will have more power than a marauder and gets more shots than the marauder and be a beautiful piece. It will have a beautiful 3 color laminate stock, I’m doing a hydro dip on the air tubes with a ghostly skulls pattern and all the power upgrades I can find. I’m even looking at adding some stainless steel bling to this gun.

                • I am planning on a .22. Some of the design is a bit up in the air still, but when I’m done the gun will be worth a substantially greater amount of money than what I started with. I may sell it ans build another even better one once it’s done and I shot it a few times. I just ordered the hand carved stock last night. I’m now at the point of no return on this build. To me building the guns is always more fun than shooting them although I do enjoy shooting them too. I just like building things too much.

                  • i know you’ll give updates every so often so if it’s still around this spring and your feeling itchy to build another let me know and we may be able to work something out.

                    • I build for people all the time. All you have to do is e-mail me at infidelairguns@hotmail.com. Tell me what you want me to do with it and I get it done. Keep in mind some stuff will cost a bit more but it can make a good gun an excellent gun. I can make a gun just about any way you want it to look. I’ve even made airguns look like star wars laser guns and guns you’d expect to see James Bond holding in one hand and his Bond girl on the other arm.

  10. BB and Edith,
    Merry Christmas! My wife is trying to do some early Christmas shopping herself.
    Your blog today brings up an interesting subject. Some of the airguns you love are guns I have never been able to properly appreciate. I have bought hand sold half a dozen P1 pistols. For some reason they are just not for me. I have only had a couple TX rifles but again, I didn’t enjoy them. I have not owned a Marauder but I have never felt comfortable with the stock. I think the new version my take care of that.

    So, my suggestion for a blog: What guns has BB never been able to fall in love with even though most everyone else loved them? I am sure there are a few that fit the category.

  11. BB,
    P17 — check; probably the best deal in airguns, and I’m not really a “pistol guy”. D34P — check, although if you are short on funds and willing to roll the dice, I think the Ruger Blackhawk is actually more fun to shoot due to slimmer stock (which ironically is virtually identical to the old 34 Panther). The fiber optic sights on either are quite fine — I guess this old dog learned another new trick (I’ve already decided good plastic stock is better than inferior walnut or beech stock for field use). 34P’s main caveat, at least in my case is the amount of break-in required (count on a tin, then it will be quite nice) and the lack of an articulated cocking link.

    Another gift I enjoy getting is several tins/boxes of pellets (I have to make a wish list). Also, the Beeman animal silhouette targets are a fun thing to have.

    Interesting about the discontinuance of the Blue Streak. I played with several of those multipumps as a kid and found them awkward and clumsy (I was too, as a kid :)) — this is just my personal reaction, but they all seem to have a cult following and there don’t seem to be any viable modern alternatives (it looks like the Ruger MSP rifle was pulled ?)!

    • BG

      Here is an anecdote that is true, in contrast to the satire and sarcasm that I am usually spouting. A couple of weeks ago my brother went out of town and left me with his dog take care of and his Diana 48 to sight in. The dog is a well behaved old boxer that is no problem except for the near constant farting, so that was OK, and I own a Diana 52 (same action different stock) that I had no problem sighting in, so I figured the 48 would also be a piece of cake. Wrong.

      First things first, I took off the scope to eliminate it as the source of the problem. My groups at 10 yards with the open sights were 1″ to 2″ wide. I set aside his pellets (JSB monsters) and tried several moderate weight pellets of my own. I was able to get the groups down to between 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Better but not good.

      I began to think that I was fatigued or going blind or just couldn’t shoot open sights worth a damn. So I grabbed my nearest rifle with open sights which is a ’70s era Sheridan blue streak that I keep under the couch. Five shots went straight into my POA which was a black dot drawn with a Sharpie the size of half a dime. I repeated these results on another small dot.

      Which brings me at long last to my point. These old Sheridans are phenomenal. That is not to say I enjoy the clack, clack, clack of pumping them. Shooting for groups is very tedious. Constant pumping can eventually leave you shaky and compromise accuracy. But for plinking or light hunting they are hard to beat. When you are plinking with a friend you pump it up while waiting for your turn to shoot, and don’t even notice you are doing it. Predictably, the old ones are better, as the triggers are metal, lighter, and less creepy. I am not saying you are wrong for not liking them, just that their cult following is well earned.

      As a side note, I think the Diana has a broken spring. I felt scraping a few times on the cocking stroke.

      • SL

        My 48 was put together dry, or seemed dry . Heard reports of Diana guns being dry and galling the metal. The spring kinked up on both ends . Has a Vortek in it now.
        Produces the most power on Superdomes and hollow points, but does not shoot them very good. It shot best with FTS before they got the size back down to the advertised 5.50 . FTT 5.53 does about the best now, followed by CP and 16 gr exacts.
        The crown was not very clean , but I fixed that.


        • TT

          Yeah, I have heard that too, about the Dianas being put together dry. I suppose that is even worse than greasing with the fetid sludge that Weihrauch uses. My 52 doesn’t seem to have any issues, but I bought it used, so as far as I know it may have received a lube tune already.

          I think I tried every type of .22 pellet I had on hand, but 1/2 inch at 10 yards was about the best I could get. It took so long, by the time I finally shrunk the groups down that far, they actually started to look good!

          • SL

            A half inch at 10 is pretty poor. A chrono check, and an inspection of the spring for being broken is in order. Check that the cocking arm has a bit of resistance to closing in the last inch or so, and that it snaps shut.

            I have heard that the stock springs do not live long.

            Look for 800 +- a bit with mid weight pellets.


            • TT

              1/2 inch at 10 yards is horrible, even considering my sub standard shooting skills with open sights. They just looked better, after shooting so many 1″+ groups.

              He took the gun with him when he returned, so I don’t have it anymore. But the cocking arm did snap closed sufficiently tight. I have also heard that the stock springs don’t last long for the 48/52/54. Perhaps it has something to do with the power level. I haven’t heard the same things about the 34.

      • Slinging Lead,
        This is exactly what I was talking about: Even though I do not particularly enjoy the Benjamin/Sheridan type MSP experirience, they have a cult like following and durable construction to justify the premium. I don’t understand why a company would drop a classic, except if it costs too much to manufacture to make a profit.

        Check the Diana for a broken spring, but it may just need some time and/or lube (Possibly use our buddy Volvo’s through-the-slot tar trick if the spring looks OK). My 34P was quite disappointing on the first few shots, even though I had (after a disappointment with the Ruger Blackhawk) paid extra for Pyramyd to check that it was properly lubed and shoot it for basic functionality (as I didn’t want to have to send another rifle back). It didn’t really settle down until 50 or so pellets, and continued improving through most of a tin. Although I don’t enjoy it the way I did the Blackhawk (maybe I’m just a cheap-thrill kind of guy), there is really nothing to complain about now that it is broken in, but I wonder if Diana wouldn’t be ahead to add another $10 to the cost and have it be a little smoother from the factory. I am guessing that is where a lot of the seemingly incongruous complaints about them being junk or not as good as some other brand comes from.

        • BG

          My brother has had the 48 for 6 or 7 years now, so it is broken in. The reason he asked me to sight it in is that it seemed to suddenly lose accuracy, which seemed to coincide with one of his ‘turret twisting’ friends getting ahold of it. He was getting frustrated and wanted a fresh perspective.

          When I first started shooting it, it was hitting about 14 inches high with open sights! The scope was also seriously caddywampus, so his friend had done him no favors. But I think the problems run deeper than that. I am certain that I felt a distinct roughness and scraping while cocking a few times. This roughness went away, which makes me think that the broken part of the spring settled in a place so that it no longer scraped.

          The 48 is a side lever, so I don’t think it has a cocking slot in which to apply grease, at least none that I can see. Besides, I don’t think Volvo would grant me a license for his patented cocking-slot greasing technique! 😉

          Alas, I only had the gun for a weekend, he took it with him when he picked up his flatulent dog. So checking the spring will be up to him.

          I wish I could reunite you with that Ruger Blackhawk. You seem to have some regrets about that. What was it that made you return it? I have forgotten.

          • Broken spring or his friend dry-fired it and toasted the piston seal :)! Good point on the slot — I need to check my wife’s QB88 and see how that works, as it has been a while.

            The Blackhawk had marked barrel runout which I didn’t notice at first because I was having so much fun shooting it at 10 or 20 yards — it was eerily accurate for its power and would eat up the inner rings on the 10M AR targets (and that is a feat considering my precipitous decline in shooting skill offhand lately). As I was researching a way to bend the barrel or otherwise rescue it, it started spitting out pieces of piston seal and making funny noise. Since it had to go back and my 36-2 was not at 100% (so I needed something that would work), I decided to go the low-risk D34P route, but have missed the Blackhawk ever since. I’m still thinking about selling the 34 and getting another. I don’t mind fixing internals as long as I can get one with a bore that is concentric. The Blackhawk had smoother cocking, better firing behaviour (until the seal let go of course) and better accuracy out of the box than the D34 has now, and the stock was a real delight, not clunky and fat (like me and most other air rifles) :).

            • BG

              Another thing about 48/52/54s. They have horrible open sights. The rear is not so bad, but the front post is so wide it barely lets any light in on either side when framed by the rear notch. You then have to concentrate very hard to get the (blurry) target centered over the huge front notch. It must be the fattest front sight I have ever seen. The fiber optics on the 34 are target sights by comparison.

      • Just send the RWS 48 to Rich Imhoff, and he will straight it out. My B30 is fabulously accurate and reliable since he worked on it, and I’ve been told numbers of times that it doesn’t compare to the RWS 48 which it copies.


  12. Considering the price, every airgunner should get a Air Venturi pellet pen and seater in there stocking. Also consider putting a chronograph on your second report, there are more than a few in the 100 dollar range and we all need one.

  13. The Champion Heavy-Duty trap should be an essential part of every airgunner’s equipment. They will only need one of these, and it’ll last for the rest of their lives. My own trap is close to 20 years old and must have half a million shots on it, but it still works like new! It can take rounds from a .22 long rifle and still not dent or blemish, so you know no smallbore air rifle can possibly hurt it.

    As long as you hit in the target opening (and hence the sloping back wall).

    My Diana m54 (.22) was hitting low… It shattered a marker pen AND put a dent into the lead catch area (the rounded lip at the bottom). Granted, distance was a tad shorter than 10m — more like 23 feet.

    • The first Ruger Air Hawk Pyramyd AIR sent me had a defective scope and was shooting very high. Destroyed the clip and put a nice dent in the hanger that holds the clip on my Champion Heavy-Duty trap. Pyramyd sent me a new Ruger and I made a trip to Staples for a new clip. Problem solved.

  14. I would like to hear about the different brands and types of pellet traps that are available. And if any body has made their own.

    Mostly interested in the quiet traps though.

    • Well, i haven’t made my own yet. Most of my shooting uses a scrub pine or piece of plywood for a backer. Though i would imagine if you have some nails, a hammer, and even hand saw you could make a box similar to the Venturi Quiet Pellet Trap, and just use modeling clay instead of the ballistic putty they provide( i wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same thing.) Just my idea for those on a budget or that simply enjoy making what they use.

    • Gf1,

      I made my own quiet trap. I used an old, blow-molded, car tool case rescued from the neighbor’s trash. I screwed on a half inch piece of plywood inside and covered that with 2 old license plates, then covered that with 16 lbs of duct seal (never hardening stiff putty available at electrical supply stores at a little over a buck a pound. No it is not modeling clay). I have a thick piece of steel for a weight in the bottom to hold the empty half of the case down and flat. I can hang 2 letter sized paper targets over the trap side by side, so I’m not constantly changing targets and I can shoot my 30 ft/lbs S410E at it with no worries about over penetration. I dig out the old lead about once every other month and massage the duct deal back in place to cover the craters. It’s really quiet. When shooting, I only hear a faint “splut” when the pellet hits the target. I think the paper makes more noise when the pellet passes through it!


  15. GF1, I am going to be making one tomorrow in my yard. Basically its going to be a large box(already made) that will hold 2 bales of hay. ITs gong to be about 4feet by 4feet. I am hanging indoor/outdoor carpet on the back behind the bales so nothing should get thru. Infront of it, I am going to make a cardboard target frame, so all the pellets just go thru my target, and into the hay. I will take some pics when I am done. My only downside is that I only have about 20 yards for a range, but atleast I will have a place to do a lot of shooting.

    For a quiet indoor pellet trap, go to a home supply store like Home Depot. Pick up a metal electrical junction box about 10inches by 10inches, or whatever size you want. Then buy enough plugs of duct seal, sold there in the electrical supply section that will fill it. They go for about $2 $3 for a plug. You will need about 10 or more to fill the box. Then just shoot into that. If its atleast 2″ deep, it will stop any pellet.

  16. I have a box that is about a 20” square.

    I have a 1/8” thick steel plate laying in the bottom.

    Then I cut 2×4’s and lay across the bottom.

    Then I take a brown paper grocery bag and wad up a bunch of Wal-Mart plastic bags or similar bags.Then I start packing them tight into the paper bag. Then make it fit in the box.

    After that I cut a piece of card board from like a 18 pack of my favorite beverage.(20″x20″) And put it in the box. I tape it in with the clear packing tape in 4 places.
    Then I will tape my target on with masking tape.

    All I ever have to replace is the card board from the 18 pack beverage container. Cut one out again and tape it in and its ready to go again. Every once in a while I take and add more plastic bags in the holes it makes if you keep shooting in the same place.

    The biggest round that I have shot at it is the .22 cal. Long Rifles from my Winchester 190. Some will make it through the plastic and into the 2×4’s. Some of the 22’s made it to the 1/8″ plate but never through it (not even dented) just stuck out the back side of the wood.
    That was at 50 yards.

    I have shot my .25 M rod at it in the garage which is right at 10 yards. And never made it into the metal plate. The pellets were stuck in the 2×4’s. And outside at 50 yards the pellets are just stuck in the wood maybe 1/4 of a inch. So I guess its doing the job. And its actually pretty quiet when the pellet hits. Kind of makes a low sounding thump noise.

  17. That’s the best rationalization I’ve heard for advertising for Christmas before Halloween. I don’t suppose there’s a pitch to be made for airguns over Halloween unless you wanted to push zombie targets.

    The Crosman 850 never did much for me although shooting it at under 10 yards with a 900fps rifle was outside of the design specs I admit. The pellets put huge dents in the metal plate and finally pushed it right off the frame despite a thick barrier of duct seal. On the other hand, the .22LR bullet trap has set my mind at ease permanently about a backstop and was worth every penny.

    The list made me wonder if the Talon SS is more accurate than the Benjamin Marauder. My sense is that the Marauder is more accurate than anything except a USFT rifle or a Feinwerkbau.

    Conspicuously missing from this list is the IZH 61! As I remember the reports, this was originally the single best buy under $100. Then the judgment was qualified to apply only to older models with the metal (not the plastic) receiver. Then an old metal one was tested and shown to do no better than the plastic. This would seem to validate the current version of the rifle wouldn’t you say?… Anyway, I have additional proof. Within the last week or so, I’ve finally started to notice how my heartbeat is affecting the rifle. That only took about 120,000 shots. So there is something to the myth. At some point I began noticing that the movement of the rifle was related to my heartbeat. Mostly I ignored it as part of my wobble area since it is very subtle. The few times I have timed the shot with the heartbeat was with the Jaws of the Subconscious. Chomp. My conscious mind could never have kept up. To even notice the effect of heartbeat on the gun tells me that it has to have some threshold of accuracy, let alone actually using the heartbeat to place the shot. And while the Bronco is very likely more accurate per shot there’s no way it can keep up with the volume of fire. And here is a principle that the Russians learned in WWII through the venue of their tank production: quantity beyond a certain point becomes a quality in its own right.

    It just occurred to me that the U.S. did not have what you would call a sniping tradition in WWII. The Springfield ’03 was accurate enough, and the sniper Garand was probably serviceable if undistinguished. And no doubt there were extraordinary individual shots. But the big aces with individual recognition only appeared during the Vietnam War and later. In WWII, all you hear about is the Russians, the Germans, and maybe the British in terms of their equipment, their effort, and star individuals. Is that right?


    • Matt

      Who knew you liked the 61 so much? I never would have guessed! 😉

      You are right about the American sniper program. I saw a show on the military channel once that was an analysis of the US snipers from WWI to present. The trend was that snipers were (eventually) cultivated in war time, but once the war was over, sniper training all but disappeared from all branches of the armed services, essentially the program had to be built from scratch for every conflict. It wasn’t until after Vietnam that the military retained any real training program specifically for snipers. Stupid.

      It was a great show. It had a good bit of commentary from the legendary Carlos Hathcock. Good southern boys are the lynchpin of our proud military tradition.

      • B.B.
        I was pretty sure that was the case when I opted for the 392 over the Blue Streak. Already had several .22 cal air guns didn’t want to add a third pellet size to the two I already had and the 392 was lower in price. You should add the Williams Peep sight to your list big improvement over the stock rear sight, I like shooting my 392 open sight much more since I installed one on my rifle.
        So are we going to see gift list part 2 the accuracy results for the Umarex Fusion CO2 rifle or a surprise on Monday?

  18. B.B.,

    Thanks for the scoop on the Sheridan! I put one on back order last night. Ever since I was a kid I wanted a Sheridan in .20. So now that I’m 50 I think it’s time! All the trap recommendations are great I have the Champion, the Winchester target cube and I just got the Venturi which I still have to take out of the box. They all serve a purpose! The target cube is almost styrafoam dust in certain places, but a little tape keeps it together. I’ve shot it hundreds and hundreds of times and just tape a new target to it after you make all the printed ones on the cube mince meat. The P17 is an insane great pistol for the cost. I too read about all of the seal problems and such but I’ve never had a problem? I bought a second one just to take apart if I needed to get just one to work. I also have the Beeman P3 which i guess is the original German made to the Chinese made P17 and they almost look and function identical but you pay like a ton more for the P3. Another single shot pellet gun that I like in the $40 dollar range is the Browning buck mark, extremely easy to actuate break barrel pistol. For $70 area the the IZH-53 pistol it has an odd springy sound but it shoots nice. In the low $100 dollar area I love the IZH-60 and 61. Probably the single shot IZH-60 only because the 61’s multi pellet clips are poorly designed but once you get the 5 shot clip in the gun the loose pellets are captive and then it works pretty neat. High end pistols that will make you shoot better than you ever thought you could are the Weirauch HW75, the Beeman P1, and the IZH-46m. Btw the Weirauch is almost as pretty to look at as it is to shoot!

  19. Looking for a little bit of help. There is a Benjamin Marauder that is not holding air. It was fine until it was shot empty and shipped. I seem to recall that if they are empty you need to do something too get the valve to close? Any ideas or thoughts will be appreciated Thanks

  20. I was the seller in the transaction, so I’m not sure what he is using to try and fill it. I bought it awhile back and put one of the blaster stocks on it but it’s still just too heavy for me, so I sold it a few weeks ago. I guess this is the first chance he had to use it and he said it wasn’t holding air. Just trying to help him out as it was holding fine before.

        • Volvo,

          Even if it doesn’t hold air after filling with a scuba or carbon fiber tank suggest to your buyer that he cock and shoot it, eve without a pellet, before it leaks out completely. This can also dislodge the grit.


          • Kevin, thanks for tip.
            But I think he found the leak and it is around the pressure gauge. Must of been the trip from Ohio to Tennessee that did it?
            Anyway, fortunately he sounds experienced enough to make repairs.
            One more plus for springers – never had an issue with any I sold.

            • Volvo,

              Pretty common on the marauders.

              IF your buyer is not as saavy as you believe………..degassing the marauder, removing the gauge and putting a couple extra wraps of teflon tape on the threads then reinstalling usually fixes the leak.

              Some of the gauges shipped have installation threads with very worn tolerances and even this fix won’t work. Crosman has been very good about sending out new gauges with good threads that are so good tolerance wise that with one wrap of teflon tape they seal the leak.


  21. CowBoyStar Dad, I think you’re right. What we have in America is not an ammo shortage but an abundance of hoarders. I’ve been reading an economics book recently, and while the finer details escape me, my understanding of the ammo situation is like this. This can’t go on forever. Soon the hoarders will run out of places to store their loot even if they try to imitate the dragon Smaug and fill up a mountain with it. But what if they are shooting it all off and buying some more? Sooner or later, they are going to run out of money. There can’t be that many millionaires shooting all day long. On the supply side, the ammo makers have held back on expanding production thinking that the trend will go away. But if it keeps up, the basic law of supply and demand and the inherent love of gold must kick in and they will increase production. Basic triangulation of factors indicates that this shortage must end sometime. But in the meanwhile, it’s damned frustrating. It’s enough to make me a hoarder myself.


  22. Greetings B.B. and Fellow Airgunners
    Wow, I hadn’t realized we were so close to all hallows eve. This fall has been unusual in the lack of warm weather here in south western Canada. A typical autumn’s day will have temperatures in the low- mid 20’s c. from mid Sept. up until the middle of Oct. We have experienced temps. no better then 15c in the day, and down to 5 c and bellow at night, with an occasional frost warning thrown in. I have my garden cleaned up, and have taken advantage of the free roadside organic waste pick-up offered by our municipality. Despite this, I need to take a pickup load of garden debris to the dump. I am in full retirement mode, and I look forward to the inevitable jobs that go hand in hand with home ownership. With the yard work over, I have more time to devote to shooting my airguns. I have a target set up at 25 meters, and because my back yard butts up against an empty 15 acre field, I feel quite safe when I shoot. Because of the low, under 500fps velocity, all of my guns are back yard friendly, and besides, my neighbors on either side both own and shoot airguns. We have quite a host of starlings each year, so it is from necessity, and sense of frustrated desperation, we shoot in our back yards. Starlings will peck and destroy corn, cherries, apples, and grapes, to name a few. There are 3 local cherry orchards that pool their funds, and hire a falconer in late June, to patrol their crop. From what I’ve heard, this is a very effective means of starling control. The farmer who owns the field in back of me, uses air cannon, and the nerve shattering squawk box. The squawk box runs off a car battery and emits a loud, piercing combination of starling distress calls, and predator bird calls. This can be set at regular intervals, and goes from dawn to dusk, as is turned on and off by means of a photo sensitive switch. Having a quiet afternoon in the yard can be all but non existent in summer. Fortunately for us, the farmer now chooses to grow alfalfa instead of corn. I know there are others here who can appreciate my frustration with this bird species.
    I will tell my wife about this Christmas list blog when B.B. puts out the second part. I like the fact that my wife can see there are others besides me that enjoy the sport of airguns. Being the only voice for airguns in our circle of friends can be a lonely feeling. This blog and it’s readers are my daily salvation.

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