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The making of Tom Gaylord

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

A number of our blog readers suggested this report in various different ways. GunFun1 asked about the darts that might have been used in the old Tyrolean bugelspanner I wrote about. What did they look like, and why were they so accurate? He also talked about making a bugelspanner room in his house, where he could shoot the bugelspanner to his heart’s content.

Several others asked about the darts and wondered why I thought darts were more accurate than pellets. Today’s report is not about the darts, although I must share some exciting news with you on that front. Larry Hannusch, who is without a doubt the leading writer of vintage and antique airguns, read about my bugelspanner and is sending me some original pre-war darts that I can show you. So, there will be a Part 2 to that report, thanks to Larry, who also helped me remember how to disassemble a bugelspanner. I hope to take it apart for you and show you the insides in the same report.

But let’s go back to the notion of a bugelspanner room. That put me in mind of my past experience with guns — indeed, all of it. And that brings me to the story of how I became who I am.

Where it all started
I started out very young, as I’m sure you must have guessed. I was a very curious lad who was also quite naive — more prone to believe legend and myth than facts. I wanted Paladin to be faster on the draw than anyone else. I wanted Superman to be real (I mean the real Superman, George Reeves, who was killed June 16, 1959, by a 9mm bullet in the head under suspicious circumstances). And I sort of liked guns — sort of.

Then, I was given a subscription to Guns & Ammo magazine as a Christmas present. On the cover of the first issue was the picture of a zimmerstutzen rifle. Inside, I read the story of shooting these curious parlor rifles on cold winter evenings high in the alps. I guess that shooting was very similar to the circumstances under which our parents walked to school — uphill both ways for 10 miles and always in the snow! For some reason, when you talk about target shooting in Germany it’s always associated with beer and it’s perpetually winter.

Whatever the magic was, I was smitten. I wanted a zimmerstutzen in the very worst way! Maybe that’s why I considered a career in the Army and embraced my first overseas posting to Erlangen, Germany, a suburb of Nürnberg. I knew I was going to northern Bavaria, so I pictured all the men wearing lederhosen and the women in dirndls. In my mind, Chevy Chase’s European Vacation was about right.

Well, culture shock set in when I saw what Germany was really like. I felt like a refugee from Afganistan when walking amongst those upscale, sophisticated Deutchlanders, whose spoken English was better than mine! I spent nearly 4 years there and never saw a vintage zimmerstutzen, though I saw plenty of modern ones made on .22 rimfire bolt-action rifles. I lived in the hometown of the famous BSF airgun factory for 42 months without knowing it; and when I returned home, I was no further along in my quest than before I went.

But once back in California, I did buy a German Aydt falling-block rifle chambered in .22 long rifle. It was a Tyrolean-style rifle. too, just not in the traditional 4mm zimmerstutzen caliber. So, I set up a Sheridan target trap (Sheridan once made a .22 rimfire trap) in a schrank (a freestanding cabinet that serves as a closet in Germany) in the living room of my government quarters at Fort Knox. Then, I stood in my dining room and fired CB caps into the target from about 19 feet away. This was all offhand, of course.

target trap in schrank
The very target trap and schrank at which I shot back in the 1970s. I kept the schrank and the trap but sold the rifle. Where are my priorities? Zimmerstutzen target came from collector Gary Staup.

BB cap and 22 long rifle cartridge
The 4mm zimmerstutzen cartridge (left) is dwarfed by the .22 long rifle cartridge.

The rifle had a 5-lever double-set trigger, which was especially fine. And its 28-inch barrel ate nearly all the discharge sound of the CB cap cartridges I shot, so it was quiet enough for indoors. I’m describing to you my “bugelspanner room.” I didn’t shoot when the family was home, for safety reasons; and, in truth, I didn’t shoot this way very much. But in my mind, I’d finally gotten my zimmerstutzen. All I needed was a keg of beer in the dining room!

In those days, I didn’t take very many pictures, so there’s no picture of that gun. But it looked very much like my new Bugelspanner, so I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

Then I got divorced, left the Army and had to sell all my guns to pay bills. Then I met Edith and got married again. Then she suggested I write about airguns and I did. Then I happened to stumble across an airgun owner who was puzzled as to what gun he had. It turned out he had a real zimmerstutzen — which I bought, tested and wrote about. While researching the topic, I met John Gary Staup, America’s foremost schuetzen and zimmerstutzen collector, and he helped me research the article that I eventually published in Airgun Revue No. 2. It was the longest article about zimmerstutzen rifles ever printed in the English language, as far as Gary or I were able to determine. And that article is posted for you on this website in its entirety.

my first zimmerstutzen
My first zimmerstutzen, and the one that I wrote about the most. It was 4.3mm caliber and used separate ammunition.

How accurate?
Of course I tested the zimmerstutzen for accuracy. After searching for one for so many years, I’d high hopes for stunning accuracy. Zimmerstutzens shoot at 15 meters instead of the 10 meters we’re used to; but when I tried mine, it was on my standard 10-meter range. The accuracy wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. First, of course, those round lead balls tear ragged holes in the target paper, unlike the wadcutters that target air rifles use. The targets look worse and are much harder to score. Five shots went into about a half-inch or so.

The gun was very loud, and the velocity of the 7-grain lead balls was highly variable — from 800 to over 1,000 f.p.s. It wasn’t as pleasant as the myth I’d created in my mind over the years, which was a real let-down. Vintage target air rifles were more accurate than this thing I had been pursuing for over 3 decades. It kind of took the wind out of my sails. I did have a second zimmer for a short while; but I bought it as an investment, only, and I never fired it.

When I saw the Tyrolean bugelspanner  of airgun collector Don Raitzer on display at an airgun show, my interest piqued, again. Bugelspanners are not known for their accuracy, so why was this one outfitted for extreme competition? I also saw Larry Hannusch’s Tyrolean bugelspanner at the same show and got to wondering. What were these strange things all about? Who uses a paddleboat to go water-skiing? Photos of both those guns are in the linked zimmerstutzen article, if you’re interested.

When I say things like my interest piqued, I don’t mean that the subject occupied my every waking moment. More like every couple of months I would give it a casual thought. So, things moved very slowly while these thoughts percolated on the back burner of my mind. A few weeks ago, when the opportunity to own a Tyrolean bugelspanner arose, I was spring-loaded for it.

Which brings us to the present time. I now know that zimmerstutzens were accurate for their time, but they weren’t better than the 10-meter target air rifles we have today. They weren’t infallible. And it’s my guess that the dart guns of the 18th and 19th centuries were also not as accurate as the reports make them out to be.

So, I’m still wondering why anyone would go to the effort and expense of making a dart gun with all the features of a super-accurate offhand competition gun. And I guess that’s what keeps this hobby fresh and exciting for me.

Buglespanner spring-piston air rifle

Why did the makers put so much accuracy potential into a smoothbore dart gun?

This is just one of the things that defines me. My time working as a ride operator and deputy marshall at Frontier Village amusement park in San Jose, California, is another part. That was when I read Elmer Keith from cover to cover and shot guns for a living as part of the hourly gunfights in the park. But what made me a lover of quirky single-shot rifles was my 30-year saga in search of the German zimmerstutzen.

80 thoughts on “The making of Tom Gaylord”

  1. BB, started my day with your blog this a.m. A great start too – and a meaningful glimpse of ‘the man behind the guns’. More soon please

    Just bought a 3 or 4 year old Daystate Huntsman, which came to the shoulder like the perfect dancing partner, very attractive wood too. Could be the start of something big.

    Have a very good day all here.

    • Slinger
      I wasn’t going to bring this up. But since you brought up the Daystate Huntsman (and cool name at that).
      I’m going to tell what I get to play with this weekend. My buddy’s FX Monsoon with the black synthetic stock in .22 caliber.
      Yes! Was hoping this would happen. 🙂 Yes!
      And my weekend starts Friday.

      • Gunfun, looks like you’ll live up to your name this weekend. A UK reviewer says the Monsoon is a 30 fpe naildriver that likesJSBs.

        FX’s UK importers have just released the ‘Bobcat’ & ‘Indy’ bullpups over here.

        In retirement, so my weekend will start with the Huntsman on chrono in the yard followed by rough woodland ranges on Saturday, Sunday.

        Have fun. stay safe!

      • Gunfun1, can we hope for a blog post review of your Daystate Huntsman any time soon?
        I am currently teared apart between Huntsman Regal, MK4 IS, and AA S510.
        I know best solution would be buy it all :), but, you know, I am not in the ideal world… 🙂

        • Ariel, Gentlemen, (Ladies too, Edith Ma’am.) The path of true love don’t always run to plan, or the potentially perfect week-end neither. My first ever fill of the Huntsman was from a newly charged 300bar 12 litre cylinder. The gun has a male probe to fit the Foster spring loaded adapter. However once there was 200 bar in the gun, the Foster remained under pressure & wouldn’t uncouple.

          Lost three ‘gun-fills’ of air, as the only way I could uncouple, was to bleed the gun empty. Took the valve off the gun, found no grit near the seal, but then achieved a proper fill. 2 hours target time lost tho’; & so to lunch. After lunch, the magazine wouldn’t index & jammed in the breech.

          As you may know these mags have been slated many times for poor performance, but Daystate has not changed them much over the years, So we must have have faith. (Do I remember BB explaining how to re-sequence the rotor on these?)

          Replaced mag with single shot tray after an hour’s worth of gentle bolt jiggling, but now it’s pouring with rain. Never mind! Shot 50 pellets through the (open) kitchen window,at paper 12 yards away. Before the light failed, achieved several 3 & 5-shot groups that my little finger nail would cover.

          A good ‘learning’ day, went to bed happy.

      • Slinger has the Daystate Huntsman And I have got the FX Monsoon for the weekend.

        And I did get up this morning to shoot the Monsoon.
        The semi automatic is very cool. I can empty the 12 round magazine as fast as I can pull the trigger.

        But its definitely picky about fill pressure. If you fill it up too much it wont cycle the bolt and the same if it gets to low.
        So it was actually pretty easy to figure out the fill pressure. It ended up that I could get 2 magazines fired with out worry about the cycling of the bolt. It could probably get 3 magazines but I didn’t feel like taking the mag out and firing the pellet that’s left in the chamber sometimes. You got to be careful with that because it can fire that pellet if you cock the bolt back and engage the trigger.

        Oh and the fill pressure worked out to be 2300 psi down to 1600 psi with the Crosman Premiers at 14.3 grns. And I didn’t get to chrony it this morning but I’m going to after lunch.

        And I was just plinking while I was getting use to the gun (and yep semi-auto is cool stuff; I was making a beverage can dance). So I will try some targets after I chrony the gun.

        The only downfall I see about the gun is if you ain’t got a buddy bottle your going to be doing a lot of hand pumping. Not because of a high fill pressure (but because how fast you can empty magazines). And I don’t know if all the Monsoon are lucky enough to work out to the lower fill pressure like this gun I’m shooting. But that makes me happy.

        • I did get to go out and shoot the Monsoon more after lunch.

          It chronyed at 909 down to 882 fps with the 14.3 Crosman premiers. That was one 12 shot magazine.
          So 26 fpe on the 1st shot and 25 fpe on the 12th shot.
          The JSB Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.13’s went 880 down to 845 fps. So the fpe on that 12 shot magazine was 31 fpe down to 29 fpe.

          And I did shoot the second magazine with both pellets and each progressive shot averaged about 3 fps drop with each shot. The Crosman was at 843 fps and 23 fpe. The JSB was at 809 fps and 26 fpe on the last shot fired of the 2nd magazine. It seams the gun likes the heavier pellet also. You can hear the action changing sound as you get lower on the fill pressure. And it seems the back pressure from the heavier pellet made the action work better. Probably could get the 3rd magazine without worry about the action not cycling.

          As far as groups go both pellets were pretty equal with the JSB’s being just a little better. Both groups were just a hair over 1.000″. I shot 10 shot groups and it was like there was 3 little mini groups that made the final group the shape of a peace sign. Oh and that was at 50 yards. And the gun does have recoil because of the bolt cycling when you shoot. So its kind of like shooting a springer. Its not smooth like a PCP gun is.

          I didn’t pay attention to that when I was plinking in the morning. But it sure showed up when I was shooting the targets. So I did shoot 1 more magazine with each brand pellet. And I topped the gun off before I shot the next magazine with the other brand pellet using the artillery hold this time.

          Yep now the gun is working. I was hopping for better but wasn’t sure it was going to happen with the smooth twist barrel. I never experienced that type of barrel before. So I didn’t know what to expect.
          Now a good round group with all the pellets touching. The premiers went .950″ and the JSB’s about .800″ at 50 yards. And I think the gun is better than me. I’m going to shoot it some more over the weekend and see if I can get better with the gun.

          And one of the questions I always ask about a gun and I almost even forgot to say something.
          How loud is the gun? Well its pretty equal in sound to my 25 M-rod.

          But the thing I don’t like about the gun is the price. This dang gun is expensive but it does compare to the Evanix guns in its class as far as price goes. But I like the fact that you don’t have to recharge the battery to shoot the Monsoon. And the Monsoon is made in Sweden so that should say something about the quality of the gun. And that’s that.

  2. BB
    I was reading and I kept hearing a voice in the back of my head saying Go BB. We always joke at work about drinking beer and shooting when we get together. I got a good story about that. And I wasn’t going to tell it. But yes I will.

    We just moved into the house we now live in. So we were having a bon fire and BBQ and of course breverages. We (people from work, friends and relatives) were shooting in the garage with the air guns then we went outside (the adults). Kids were inside doing the slot car track and playing video games and playing pool as well as some adults.
    Next thing I knew here comes the neighbors. They asked what was up and we talked a bit and next thing comes up is I find out they shoot. We were shooting more than air guns after that and all I know is that was a late late fun night. And that I got the best neighbors somebody could want.

    And BB its cool you kept your schrank and target trap.
    And the article you posted in the past will always be a good read about these guns.

    Maybe that is one of the mysteries with this gun. Maybe people weren’t suppose to be shooting where they were. So not to much attention was drawn to this type of shooting but a select few that found out that they had the same interest. And was shooting in their houses and who knows what other kind of places.
    And the guns were lower powered so when something might of happened and they got caught (oh no) the guns got over looked and brushed aside. You know like modern day BB guns. 😉 😉 .

    But the other part of the mystery. Maybe the .25 caliber dart was way accurate compared to the other darts and ammo that was made in the day for those guns. And the original owner that purchased your gun back then had it made to his specs. Knowing it was going to kick some butt when he showed up to a formal get together or such. You know a sleeper gun. One of those guns that you would never expect to perform the way it does.

    I could keep going on and on about this. I love this stuff. Most of the time when I get into a specific project or hobby I like to have that particular object perform its best and make it look like it was a very simple thing to do. But man o man only if they knew what work I put into it.

    Well BB I don’t know about you but for me most of the time its a fine line between passion and obsession. And what better way to keep the ole soul alive. If you know what I mean.

  3. BB
    After your first report on your new Bugelspanner. I did a quick search on the net. It was a georgous looking springer! I thought what and odd looking spring but it looked remotely familiar? Until someone brought up the fact that it was similar to a clipping shear spring. At first my mind was racing trying to think how such an odd looking thing could work in an airgun, But your explaination cleared it all up. On my net search I ran across an article in Swiss I believe! It’s a PDF with nice pictures and a picture of the darts. I hope I’m not violating any blog rules? Please let me know. http://www.luftvapenbladet.com/images/Artiklar/original%20will.pdf. From the looks of your Bugelspanner it was top of the line! All most all for sale like yours were pretty beaten up. All I had seen were missing the front site or both. Yours looks great!

    • Cool find! It also illustrates my thoughts.

      That Kentucky long rifle you see in the museum with all of the fancy brass and inlaid german silver and mother of pearl belonged to some landed gentry who had it made so he could brag to his buddies. There is a good chance he did not even shoot it. It was just for looking at. That is why it is in such great shape. You can bet Dan’l didn’t fight Injuns with it.

      The bugelspanners, zimmerstuzens, etc. that we drool over nowadays were made for the uppercrusters who only pulled them out on rare occasions. They have such fine quality sights because those who were buying them had the money for such fine quality sights, not because the rifle was capable of fully utilizing such sights. They also bought Mercedes instead of VWs for the same reason.

      That cheapo bugelspanner at the top of the ad probably shot just as well as the one at the bottom, but Baron Von Schiztelgruber would not be able to brag to Baron Von Dudelviemer as much with it.

    • Greg,

      Your find intrigued me as well, so I had to do my own search. I think you have a modern Swedish article that has pictures from old catalogs (German for the MK priced items -pg 6 and Swedish for the KR priced item -pg 7). The velocity was only an estimate as the author mentioned a broken chrony. I also bumped into this ad for darts that quotes prices in what I think are German Reich marks – which should estimate the time frame of publication. One up from the bottom are special precision darts for bugelspanners (in what seem to be multiple calibers). It makes me wonder if accuracy was the sales ‘buzzword’ that predated today’s claims of velocity?


  4. Fred DPRoNJ,

    Forgive my eavesdropping on your conversation with Pop’s SLR, but you mentioned to him that “The Beeman R7 is crazy accurate and gives great power for hunting”. Did you mistype and mean R9 or is NJ so “democratic” that wild game expires at the very sight of something that resembles a firearm?

    Oh, by the way, you might want to forget my invitation to move to VA. Our new governor and his cronies are likely going to do their best to make this the DPRoVA.

    • Yes, Finally someone else who knows about the undemocratic socialist
      non republic of nj”Small caps intentional”VA is next.I was lucky to get out and now live in freedom
      Even bb guns need a pistol permit and almost two to three months to get it,and now one gun a month
      no sales on Sundays,or after six, etc. etc etc.I wonder how many gun owners voted for the demorats?
      While now they’ll find out.Look at ombama care”and the shortage of ammo,reloading equip.guns
      never ending new laws upon laws that won’t work anyway.Goatboy knows,The 12 lb. limit in power
      but still not as bad as nj”I’ll never forget my first day in PA when I bought my first gun in freedom and not
      having to wait three to six months and endure the red tape and looks of the police, and even when the permit came in,sometimes they would take weeks to notify you it was in,and they have a ninety day limit,or you have to reapply.God forbid you get caught shooting in you yard”You go to jail and face legal costs,and treated like a criminal,The only way to get the latest air guns is to go out of state and sneak them in and you will be looking over your shoulder the rest of your life,and stand to lose the rest of your collection because you have a Marksman Air pistol you bought out of state and snuck in.There is not enough space to list how bad nj is,I think it is worse than calif.All since 1934 when, cap guns,slingshots,air,spring,elastic band guns,blowguns were outlawed, But in 1966 all air guns were considered fire arms and a pistol permit and a fire arms id card for long guns was enacted,Prior it was only a minor infraction to get caught with a bb gun.Now you’ll be in the same hot water as if you shot a .44 mag in your yard instead of a bb gun.Good luck to all who are stuck there”You’ll need it”

    • RR, yeah, it’s the R-9 I have with the gold trigger and it’s very accurate. I still like Charlottesville, VA very much but if I had to move tomorrow, I’d end up in Greenville, SC. Don’t withdraw that invitation just yet.

      Hawaiian Eye, if you’re now monitoring the blog, last night I shot the RWS 350 with the H& N Baracuda – 4.5mm head size (10.65 gr), the JSB Exact (10.65 gr) and JSB Exact (7.65 gr?). I’m at work so forgive me if the weight is off. All produced a rounded, single hole at 28′. Which is the smallest will have to wait for this weekend. I plan to shoot the Baracuda in 4.51 and 4.52 mm head sizes as well as Crosman Premiers (tin and box) heavies (also 10+ gr) and will have some information for you probably Sunday as to group sizes. I’m also going to measure the cocking effort on the bathroom scale but will have to wait for wifey to be out of the house. She might raise an objection or two.

      Fred DPRoNJ

  5. B.B.,

    It was quite a pleasure to read this morning’s installment. I had pieced a vision of your entree into target shooting from bits and pieces of your blog over the past few years, but it was all unconnected fragments including your service in Germany as well as your pistol qualifying range duty, your quest for a Beeman R-1 that turned into a purchase of a C-1, and so on.

    For me one of the compelling aspects of the kind of airgunning I do — paper-punching and plinking — is similar to your zimmerstutzen quest. I love the idea that a precision rifle can be inexpensively and safely shot indoors for hours of recreation in complete privacy.

    I also associate the plinking part of airgunning with fond memories of my youth of my dad and I walking along rural railroad tracks with a Marksman MPR air pistol. We would plink at the railroad and hobo debris along the tracks for hours and have wonderful long conversations about nothing in particular.

    I still have and cherish that pellet/BB gun, along with those memories. And I still love to take it out of the drawer and heft it every now and then. Whenever someone writes that a gun is “very pointable,” I know what they mean, and I think of the weight and balance of that MPR.

    Thanks very much for this report.


  6. BB, I have to post this 🙂

    Today I finally got my PAL (I am Canadian) !!!
    Now I can finally buy the gun that started all of my airguns shooting interest and research – TX200 !!!

    To say I am happy, is to say nothing 🙂


    • Howdy Ariel, Atta boy & congratz! Got mine a couple months ago, after a few years of tryin’ ta get my skills ta the level to fully appreciate it. Can’t really understand a new ‘Vette unless ya’ve driven a Vega for awhile. Fred D told me while I wuz waitin’ for mine that all the great things I’d read/heard about the T-reX were wrong, it’s way better. He wuz half right, it’s way, WAY better. Shoot/ride safe.

  7. Great story, BB

    I always say – life can give better plots than any big name writer. Trust me, I write for my money, my own amusement and for the fun of my friends 🙂

    Oh well… Today I finally laid my hands on MY case of zimmerstutzen – the FWB-300S. It is still in cardboard, disassembled, but in a few hours, he-he… I’m postponing this moment – what do some hours mean after waiting for 11 months? A gift to myself, a well-seasoned one. I’m going to reassemble it, install new springs and seals and try tomorrow at the range, 10 m with diopter and H+N pellets.


    • Call it a slight case of scizophrenia – answering one’s own posting.

      OK, I assembled it from a bunch of parts, replaced all seals and springs, re-lubed it and it assembled right way from the first try. Quite a logical design, however some parts need to be made more fool-proof. For some reason some people call this rifle a spaceship. Well, it’s either Ansari and X-Prize are for retarded, or spaceships are much simpler than I thought 🙂
      I plan to test it tomorrow.


      • I am envious. I have been wanting one for some time, but have not been able to scrape up enough change for one. It seems every time I am almost there some hafta gets in the way of my wanna.

        • RidgeRunner

          I know the feeling all too well. However some determination and some time can cure it. In fact it’s not this expensive, try egun.de, they must sell overseas, it’s less than 300 bucks sometimemes. And keep in mind to order a spares kit at the same time, as most such rifles are a bit too old to do a proper rock’n’roll. If you see a blue chamber/barrel seal that means it really is. New ones are green. You can order them right at the factory, sales people are very nice and post service works excellent, just give them exact parts codes or in your case – they know what a regular spares kit for FWB-300S is. Stripping and reassembling it can be a bit more complex than Gamo, but still it’s _very_ logical and there are a lot of video tutorials on YouTube.


      • Ok, testing.
        I’m not a great offhand shooter and don’t have eyes good enough for diopter (myopia + slight astigmia) but the rifle compensates all that. 10 shots in half-inch group. Cocks smoothly, everything works perfect, no felt recoil and a constant speed of 192 m/s with JSB RS 4.52 pellets, 8.5 J of energy.

        By the way, did anybody try JSB Beast? Seems to be a .177 answer to any hunting purpose, at 1.050 g


  8. “Why did the makers put so much accuracy potential into a smoothbore dart gun?”

    Good question. Don’t know. My guess is because they’re Germans. ps-I’m german. My wife is german.

    My analogy is an ornate, wooden gear wall clock from the Black Forest vs. a precision time piece like a Jaeger-LeCoultre wall clock that is minimalist in design. The Jaeger may keep better time (more precise) but I’ll choose the craftsmanship from the Black Forest.


  9. Howdy Mr. BB/Myagi/Wizard, thanx for the glimpse behind the curtain, sir. Ms. Edith, get better, we need ya. And the Gang, ya’ll have a great weekend. Shoot/ride safe.

  10. My journey started out around 8 years old with a Crosman 760 (It still fires today and I have passed it down to another generation. But that gun is responsible for taking me on an amazing journey even though it sat in an attic for many years. All the thousands of bb’s I fired into a bb trap shredding pop cans paid off later in life. When I got to the army and figured out the sights on my M-16 I never missed a target. That got me noticed and invited to J.F.K. Special warfare school. From there I got picked up by 3rd Armor Division in Germany (Freedberg) I got an invite to the Army C.A.T. team which is the military version of the olympics. I was there in Germany and literally was at the Berlin Wall when it was torn down. I had pieces of it until my kids took them to school and lost them. Later when I left the army I got recalled for Desert Storm. My skills were needed. (Granted I was only there a week, but enough to add a few ribbons to my collection. Several years later I got the honor of guarding the Vice President of the United States at the Olympics opening ceremonies in 1996, and after that assigned to guard the U.S. Women’s Gymnastic Team. My wife was jealous and angry that I enjoyed my time at the olympics and burned the pictures. She was abusive. And now because of that first Crosman 760 I’m building, upgrading, and repairing airguns. None of that might have happened if I had not gotten that 760 for christmas. Most of my collection would make my 760 look fairly weak now, but starting out you can’t beat the 760.

  11. Well, a little ‘range’ report’ from yesterdays outing with our local police Sniper Team (clients of mine).
    As mentioned earlier myself and my two sons (10 & 12) were invited out to shoot some of their guns.
    Winter hit last week so there was about 6cm (3″?) of snow on the ground and the temp was right around the freezing mark, so warm weather gear was in order.
    Otherwise it was fine day, slightly overcast with no wind.
    First up, their Sig P226 in 9mm. Great pistol in my mind. Light recoil, even the 10 year old had no trouble with it (he hates our friends .45ACP because of the kick). As a service pistol it just seemed ‘nicer’ than the usual Glock’s. And I gotta admit, though I like the 1911 platform, I think I would go with 9mm instead of 45ACP.
    Next up…Suppressed Steyr SSG 69 in .308.
    Now up here in Canada NO ONE other than the authorities can own a suppressor.
    So I can’t have one, but after yesterday I’m in love with them. I’ve shot .308 before so knew what to compare it to. This thing was no louder than my sons .22 Marlins. And I swear the kick was not all that much more than my .22WMR.
    And now to brag. They put my 12 year old behind the rife. It was zero’d at 100m. There was an 8″ steel plate at 300m. My police sniper friend told my son to dial in 5 clicks on the turret and ‘hold a bit to the left for the wind.
    BANG…and about 1/2 second later…PING!
    And he followed it up with a second.
    The 10 year old missed his first shot but nailed it on the second.
    Finally we shot a Daniel Defense in .300 Blackout. Can’t really say much as it was having feeding issues. But gotta admit, with the short carbine barrel the recoil was more than a little uncomfortable for my, and neither of the boys liked shooting it…though they love shooting a .223.
    Afterwords we got to play with their new toy…a virtually silent remote control camera/helicopter drone. Really, this thing could be hovering 10 feet behind you and you’d have no idea it was there.
    All in all…a pretty darned good day.

    • WOW! How great that must be! I hope your kids realise that they’re experiencing what very few people especially us Canadians have experienced and your son seems to have a natural shooting talent (kinda like in Django unchained when Django hits Big Daddy with the rifle).


  12. And now for something totally different. Wednesday night at the pistol league, we had a fun night. It was bring your bug-out gun and we’ll shoot at paper from 10 yards. Bringing my Mauser HSC (380 semi) and my ammo which had gotten a bit “wet” (well it was under 18 inches of water for a day), I found out that over 1/2 the rounds would not fire! So in between reading posts now, I’m using the kinetic hammer and unloading all my ammo. What fun (sarcasm added).

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Fred
      Well that’s a bummer. But I guess if you look at it another way. You will have all new fresh ammo when your done.

      Hmm maybe air guns are the way to go for a bug-out gun.

    • Comrade Fred!

      That’s unthinkable! And if Party ordered you to shoot some enemies of our people and glorious Motherland? What would you say? “Sorry, comrade, I got a wet ammo :(”

      A friend of mine stole his girlfriend’s nail polish to seal his ammo. One ring around neck and another around piston. And he stores it in empty plastic water bottles, oiled and sealed with some heavy tar at the bottleneck. Simple and quite convenient.


      • Comrade General Duskwright,

        please allow me one more chance before sending me off to to Gulag or worse – an early warning radar station somewhere in Siberia. The nail polish idea is excellent! Of course, with purchase of new Japanese generator, I do not expect 8 cm of water in my basement again when the power goes out and my sump pump sits underwater very happily.

        Fred DPRoNJ

  13. Speaking of sliding compression chambers, on air rifles like the TX and 97K, does the chamber push the piston back until it latches or does the lever engage the chamber and piston both?

    While we are on the subject, what keeps the piston straight with the chamber?

    • RidgeRunner

      Most times it’s compression chamber that pushes the piston. Piston may have a long slot that positions it the right way, the end of a cocking link enters there (in case of “hook” central rod or “side grip/side slot” trigger system) or the piston can be completely symmetrical and there’s no difference how it turns inside the compression chamber (in case of “mushroom” central rod trigger).


  14. Well, here’s an interesting subject arrived at through one thing and another. The making of Tom Gaylord has many threads that can only be unraveled bit by bit. So, is a fin-stabilized dart more accurate than a rifled pellet? Or a round ball? The answer is not obvious to me. Surely, the old parlor shooting was done offhand and not benchrested. If so, then the half inch accuracy is not so bad. It does crack me up to see people at the 7 yard pistol shooting line with their rimfire rifles rested on bags and themselves bent over at awkward angles because there are no seats at that line.

    So, I’m not the only one with stereotyped images of German mountaineering culture. Actually once I got hold of water repellant pants from the German army that were secured by suspenders rather than a belt. When I put them on, my Dad burst out into a chorus of “Valderee! Valderai! Valderaee!! Valder ha ha ha ha!”… I have always been curious about how the Germans who were deadly enemies in World War II suddenly became overnight allies in the Cold War and just how that was played out in personal interactions. In Stephen Ambrose’s book, Citizen-Soldiers, he said that the American soldiers in Europe found that the people who they felt the most affinity for were not the British, who could seem standoffish or superior, or the French who could be rude and just very different, but their erstwhile enemies, the occupied Germans. Maybe that is because Germans are still the largest single ethnic group in America, I think. Super-sophisticated is not the general image I have of the German demeanor notwithstanding their many great strengths. But I’m sure they seemed less imposing when scattered around with their natural family planning.

    So, B.B., did you ever find gold prospecting in northern California long after the miners had left? But maybe that’s another story.


  15. My wife’s parents were both German as well as her grandma and grandpa on both sides of her family.
    My parents and grand parents were Italian on both sides.

    But some of the things I remember when I was a kid and also throughout time was what went on at the different Holidays.

    We both started dating when I was 20 and she was 18. And her family as well as mine both had a family tradition that was similar. The older members of the family would bring some of there homemade beverages for everybody to sample when there was a get together. And it wasn’t always theirs but maybe a friends good taste so you could kind of show it off. If you know what I mean.

    Her family it was beer. And I will add her grandpa made the best beer that I have tasted to this day.
    My family it was wine and brandy. My dads peach brandy was the best. And he made Dandelion wine also. Yep those dreaded little yellow flowers that turn into more and more if you don’t take care of your lawn.

    But it always seemed that somebody would bring their latest gun or bow and arrow or new toy if you will to the family get together. Her family was bow and arrow and guns. My family it was guns. Hmm now that I think about it maybe that’s why my oldest daughter is good with the bow and arrow. And my youngest is good with guns.

    I remember when I got my Winchester model 190. And I was kind of jealous with that gun. I wanted to show it off at the family get together but at the same time I didn’t want nobody touching it cause it was that special gift I finally got. And I did finally get over that.

    But I wasn’t like that about the Benji .22 cal. pump gun I got as a kid. And it was a special gun in my memory also. But when I got it. I was running around with my buddies when we were kids shooting in the woods.That was kind of my show off gun. Everybody wanted to shoot it. And it was cool to hear what they said when they were shooting it.

    My brother got the Benji from me and it was something to him at the time when I gave it to him.
    And I know my little Winchester 190 ain’t no special gun but I’m definitely going to give it to somebody before I kick the bucket. Hmm I wonder who will get it? And what will they do with it. And I know my wife’s older brother that was a Sheriff got his great grandpas old Colt revolver from when he was a Sheriff.

    And as far as sharing goes. That’s how I’m getting to shoot my buddies Monsoon. He’s shooting my Talon SS. How many people would you trust borrowing your gun? And yep that was the gun he picked to shoot over the weekend.

    • And here is what you should search for the fx barrel straightening video if you want to see it.

      airgun shooting-smooth twist at fx airguns-you tube

      The video is about 21 minutes long but it tells about the barrel straightening in the first 5 minutes or so.

      • That’s the video that put the Independence on my wish list. The pumping looks easy and darn near silent as opposed to a Benji’s loud clacking and you get more than one shot. Seems like the perfect field gun to me. Some day….


        • /Dave
          I think the Independence is cool. You fill it like a normal PCP gun and you can top it off at anytime your shooting it or use its pump system to fill the gun if remember right. And yep its a cool video. That was one of the reasons I wanted to say something about the video.

          But the Independance is not a semi-automatic like the Monsoon. Since I have been shooting the Monsoon it reminds me of my semi-auto Winchester 190. Every time I set up some cans or something now I find myself just emptying the magazines out.

          But I did control myself for 20 shots though. I wanted to see if I could get my groups a little better. I put 2 targets out at 50 yards and shot 10 of the premiers at 1 target and 10 of the JSB at the other target and I did do a little better this time.
          But I had to really concentrate on the shots when I was taking them. Which I guess I should do anyway. But at least I got the Premiers down to .750″ and the JSB down to about .690″ or so. So I guess the gun would be a good hunter with those groups.

          But the gun is definitely a fun one to plink with. I want to just keep pulling off the shots every time I pick the gun up. But I think this time I will take the less accurate Premiers with this gun for the fact of how much pellets you can use up shooting the gun because they are a cheaper pellet.

          And I may just have something in the works to own the Monsoon I’m shooting. I may trade a few of my guns with my buddy for the Monsoon. Will see.

          • I got about 500 pellets through the Monsoon now. And I can fill the gun to 3000psi with no problems. And the gun cycles just fine now through a broad range of fill pressure.

            It easily gets 4 magazines now at the 3000 psi fill. The best I can tell is the action is more free now. Its more easier to cock the gun now then when I first started shooting it.

            And I do own the Monsoon now. Minus a couple of guns and some money. But I defiantly like the gun.

      • J-F
        That’s funny you should say that about the Dandelion wine. I think I was around 13 when my dad made some. I didn’t care for it at all either. But at least you heard of it. Some people think I’m crazy when I mention that kind of wine.

        But I have to say his peach brandy was very good.

        And now that I think about it maybe my dad gave me the Dandelion wine to keep me from drinking or something. But I’m definitely a beer person that’s for sure. So If that was his reason. It didn’t work. 🙂

        • I’d rather not think about the consequences of drinking too much of that thing. It must give one hell of a hangover.
          I do make some dandelion salad. It’s pretty good. You have to get the young plants so they don’t taste bad. Mixed with other kind of letuce, with hard boiled eggs and tomatoes like a niçoises salad it’s yummy.

          Apparently you can eat the roots too but I never tried them.


  16. Hawaiian Stan,

    I was hoping to get to the outdoor 30 yard range today but the wind is really blowing here so no go. What I have for you at 28′ for my RWS 350 is this:
    JSB Exact 7.87 gr = .323″ c to c
    JSB Exact 10.3 gr = .198″ c to c!!!!
    Baracuda 10.65 gr 4.50 mm hd – .323″ c to c
    Crosman Premiers in the box – 7.9 gr – .261″ c to c
    Crosman Premiers Ultra mag – 10.5 gr – .823″ c to c
    Baracuda match 4.51mm head – .6355′ c to c

    Looking forward to how you faired with the barrel bending exercise.

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Fred
      That’s around 9 yards I guess. And the JSB 10.3’s is a killer group. And the Crosman Premiers in the box was real nice also.
      What type of sights do you have on the gun? Regardless of what sight you use. Nice groups though.

      • GF1 – I just installed a new Bugbuster Gen III scope on a UTG drooper mount on the RWS 350 – .177. I typically rest my elbow on a stable surface (in this case, a plastic storage bin or bins – 3 high and sit on a chair while I thread my pellet between the basement lolly column and my son’s dining room table currently temporarily stored in the basement. I wish I could have gotten to the range today to see how the groups would have spread out at 30 yards but with the gusty wind here today, it would have been a waste of time.

        Fred DPRoNJ

  17. I like the story bb. several years ago I used to go in south Dakota to buy corn. 1 night the only thing open in a little town where I was buying corn was the local tavern. I went in and had a sandwich and watched the people inside. there was a airgun on the table and a target on the wall. when it was time for another round of beer they all shot to see who bought the next round. now seeing as they had drank a lot and me 1, I took my turn. I drank several free that night. I went back in there a lot after that. id love to get a gun like it as it would give back some memories . I think it was an early Diana like 25 or 27,cant remember as it was in the early 80’s but I also remember a huge round of cheese setting there and everybody getting up n cutting a slice every little bit

  18. BB Pelletier Great story, I am curious if you ever made it to Munich, I was there about 3 weeks ago and didn’t see any air rifle stores, however it is the only country I saw a gun magazine. “Visier” which is interesting in some of the guns and air guns which I have not seen on Pyrmyd air or most sites. anyways How much is a zimmerstutzen and do they still make them? Also will some of the Weihrauch such as the HW 100 and Diana branded air guns reach our shore. They are advertised in Visier, I would like to get a unique high quality .20 piston rifle. Thanks for the story, and they are using air rifles such as RWS 34 overseas for pigeon control which I thought was cool when I was in Iraq.

    • Patrick,

      Welcome to the blog. I have actually written articles for “Visier” magazine. I know the man who was the airgun editor, and is now with Umarex.

      No, I never made it to Munich, except to drive through on my way to Oberammergau.

      I tested the HW 100 for this blog some time ago. read about it here:


      Yes, zimmerstutzens are still being made, although today they are just bolt-action rifles. Get a Waffen Frankonia (Frankonia Jagdt) catalog and you’ll probably see some in there.


  19. Thanks BB, in addition to Visier there was another magazine for rifles maybe you have written for or seen there. I highly recommend you visit Munich if you have time. If I see a zimmerstutzen next time I go there I will try it. Hw 100 looks very interesting.

  20. Hi there,
    > Mr. Gaylord, I’ve been an avid reader of your blogs on air rifles & have been much benefited by your advice given therein.
    > Please do respond to this query asked by many AR lovers here in Mumbai-India…
    > We want to know “while using a sand bag or bean bag” on a bench rest, which is better to get a consistent grouping ….
    1. Lay the fore-end of the AR directly on the sand/bean bag or
    2. Rest the fore-arm holding the AR on the sand/bean bag?
    > Your response will be much appreciated…
    Briha aka Bala Iyer

  21. Briha,

    Welcome to the blog. Do you know Mannish? He lives in Mumbai, too.

    Please be careful using the abbreviation AR to mean air rifle, because to many shooters, AR is short for AR-15, not air rifle.

    If you are talking about spring-piston air rifles, most of them should not be rested directly on a bag. That will cause them to throw their shots around. Rest your hand on the bag and the rifle on your hand. Let the rifle move as much as it wants to when it fires.

    The TX 200 is one of the few spring-piston air rifles that can be rested directly on a sandbag (or beanbag) and still shoot good groups.


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