Airgunner Christmas gifts for 2014: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

• Nice air rifles
• Nice air pistols
• There will be more

A lot has changed since I did this last year, and I’m going to do it differently this time. Not so much structure, but I’ll list gifts in certain price ranges. This year I’m going to tell you what I would want, if I were you. If something is left off this year’s list, be sure to speak up!

Nice air rifles
Let’s start low and work our way up. Multi-pumps are among the least expensive rifles, and I would pick the Crosman M4-177. When I tested it I liked it so much that I bought the test rifle. It’s accurate, has good sights and feels as good as a black rifle can.

Crosman M4-177
Crosman M4-177

 

If your taste runs to conventional rifles, the Crosman 2100B is hard to beat. Remember, it’s the rifle Dennis Quackenbush picked as the basis of the $100 PCP.

 

Crosman 2100B
Crosman 2100B

If you have a little more to spend, the Air Venturi Bronco is a good pick. It has a great trigger and good accuracy, plus it fits both adults and older kids. It’s also very easy to cock. My only regret is the blonde stock finish is no longer available.

Air Venturi Bronco
Air Venturi Bronco

Another rifle I would always recommend is the Diana RWS 34P that we just started reviewing, again. It has power, accuracy, a good trigger and the feel of an adult precision air rifle. I don’t think there’s a better choice in this price range.

Diana RWS 34P
Diana RWS 34P

Okay, if you want to test the exotic waters of the precharged pneumatic world, my first choice would have to be the Benjamin Discovery. If this is your first PCP, let’s cut right to the chase and get the version that comes with the hand pump. The rifle needs only 2000 psi, so most adults and teenagers will be able to fill it. I can’t think of a better way to get your feet wet. If you feel you’ve outgrown it later on, you don’t have to sell it. Just do what I did — upgrade with Lloyd Sikes’ Disco Double kit. All the information you need is in my 7-part series.

Benjamin Discovery
Benjamin Discovery and hand pump.

Want the world and can afford it? Then you know my next pick, which will be the last rifle for this report. How can you not know that I would recommend the fabulous Air Arms TX200 Mark III? It brings you accuracy, power, reliability, a great trigger, smooth operation and heirloom quality wrapped in a beautiful package. No tuning required!

Air Arms TX200 Mark III
Air Arms TX200 Mark III. This one has an optional walnut stock.

That’s my rifle list for this report, but there will be more in the next report. Be sure to leave a picture of your desired gift in the pages of mom’s Look magazine, where she’ll be sure to find it!

Nice air pistols
Starting low, again, my first pick has to be the Beeman P17 single-stroke pneumatic air pistol. I’ve had several of these that gave me no problem, and the one I own is still shooting well; but there have been reports that this pistol develops leaks. The fix is apparently quite simple and is explained several places online. I just want you to know that. The P17 is a Chinese version of the more expensive Beeman P3 pistol, which is made in Germany.

Beeman P17
Beeman P17 single-stroke pistol is an economy version of the Beeman P3.

For a little more money, you can’t go wrong with Crosman’s 1377 multi-pump pistol. It gives you accuracy, power and the ability to vary the power with the number of pump strokes. It’s a classic. If you want greater power, choose the 1322, which is .22 caliber.

Crosman 1377
Crosman 1377 multi-pump pistol also comes in .22 caliber as the 1322.

Let’s move up a little to 3 BB pistols that I’m wild about. The first one is the Dan Wesson. I like the one with the 8-inch barrel because that’s what I would want in a firearm. I like the way this revolver shoots, handles, loads and looks. And it’s accurate.

Ban Wesson
Dan Wesson BB revolver

The next pistol I like is the new Legends P.08 with blowback. In fact, I love this airgun! It’s so realistic! How it was built to be so realistic and yet still so affordable is beyond me. If you like Lugers, this one is for you!

Legends P.08 with blowback
Legends P.08 with blowback from Umarex USA is a winner!

And, finally, although I haven’t fully tested it, yet, I have to select the new Umarex M712 pistol. I like it already from the little shooting that I’ve done. This thing rocks; and if you like full-auto guns, how can you not own one of these? It’s heavy, realistic and functions just like the firearm.

Umarex M712 pistol
Legends M712 pistol is both full-auto and semiauto. Very realistic!

There will be more
I’m just getting started today, so you’ll have time to hide those pictures where mom is sure to find them. There are more picks, plus some things you need that aren’t guns at all.

70 thoughts on “Airgunner Christmas gifts for 2014: Part 1

  1. Nice picks! Maybe that 34-p is the light weight springer I’m looking for? I’d love to have a M712 but I don’t see a practical use for it other than rapid BB & Co2 disposal! Still holding out for my 2240 project. What’s another year?


  2. I think my next purchase is either going to be a 25 cal Synrod or the Air Arms TX 200 MKIII, but both will have to wait till after Santa has come and gone. My birthday is in January so that may be a perfect time to chose.

    Buldawg


    • The TX200 MKIII with a right hand walnut stock in .22 is on my short list also. Hint, hint.

      I have looked at XP Airguns before and I am not ruling them out, but the PCP I am wanting would be considered quite exotic nowadays. What I have in mind is a .357 muzzleloader with a 36-42 inch barrel and a Leige lock type action with an operating pressure of 1000-2000 PSI.

      Mike Reames makes a CO2 rifle that is very close to what I want. Gary Barnes used to make one that was almost exactly what I wanted, but I did not know it at the time. Whatever you do, do not mention Leige lock to Dennis Quackenbush.

      I do have access to a quite extensive machine shop. I guess I will just have to put an inexpensive CAD program on my wish list and see what I can draw up this winter.




      • RR
        I am leaning more towards the 25 cal synrod because I would be hunting with it as well as target and plinking.

        I would be afraid to take a beautiful stocked TX 200 out in the woods and risk scratching it or worse dropping it an the dirt or creek bed.

        I am not familiar with what a Leige lock action is or how it would work and why a muzzle loader for an air gun or are we talking about a powder burner as in black powder or what.

        Why not mention Leige lock to Dennis?

        My next item on the wish list would be a smithy 3 in1 mill/drill/lathe setup so I can make the parts and pieces I want/need at home as I need to.

        Buldawg.



          • Reb
            Yea It will take some time to remember all the things I learned in the 2 year machinist class I had at Harley that one of the other mechanics taught us that was a master machinist before he worked Harley.

            I will get it all in good time and then can do most everything I need to here at home, and maybe make some extra income by doing some work for others also.

            Buldawg


    • buldawg
      The TX 200 is definitely a nice springer that’s for sure. One day when I get all my wants in line I will have one.

      But if you hunt,target shoot and plink that .25 cal. synthetic stock Marauder will do it. Plus you wont have to worry about how you handle it everytime you pick it up like if you had that beautiful wood stock and bluing on the TX. I would be afraid to take it out in the woods or brush. Heck I’m over protective of my 54 Air King and my HW50s. Their my baby’s. You can almost see yourself in the wood I got them so polished up. They are the complete opposite of that 2240 conversion gun you got from me. That one was the knock it around gun but surprise the heck out of you gun when you shoot it. All I can say is that gun is accurate for some reason.


      • Gunfun
        I do not own any fancy stocked air guns and only a few firearms that I would consider to have a fancy style stocks and those were handed down to me by my father and grandfather. They do not get shot very often at all as they have more of a sentimental value to me and are also somewhat of collector pieces because they date back to 1899 and up.

        So it would most likely be a 25 cal synrod first and then the TX or another higher end springer or PCP, but that will not be until my disability comes thru and I really need a 3 in 1 mill/lathe so that I can make the parts I have to buy know to mod my guns, but after the 25 cal synrod as I really need the synrod for a 25 cal gun.

        Buldawg


        • buldawg
          The 54 and the 50 are the factory stock. But I took some 000 steel wool to them and did a combination of that Old English dark wood stain polish and then some lemon pledge. And buffed each with a soft cotton cloth. I have done the polishes the last 4 times now after I was finished shooting. Then put them up in the gun cabinet till the next weekend of shooting.

          I don’t know if that’s the right things to be using on a gun but that’s what my dad did to the guitars he made. It makes them feel like they are satin soft when you touch them and have a brilliant shine. You can see depth in the finish of the wood. I’m sure people out there are going oh my gosh you did what to that gun. But I’m just saying what I know it does.


          • Gunfun
            I don’t go to all that trouble with my guns I just wipe them all down with a good gun oil stock and all and put them up. I guess that is why I don’t care for a fancy stock because it requires more care and proper coatings to look it best. I am more of function over form type of guy.

            Buldawg



              • Gunfun
                I do have a couple pedigrees in my stable and I used to rub them down with linseed oil years ago when I shot them some so I have done as you said years ago, just not recently.
                I do have an original Browning 22LR breakdown bottom eject like the one that Norinco copied years ago that my mom bought my dad for Christmas back in 1956 when I was born for 150 bucks and also a model 99 savage rotary mag lever action in 303 savage caliber that was given to me by my grandfather. I also have a very old Winchester clip fed bolt action bull barreled 22lr of my grandfathers and of coarse the model 1911 that was a military issued pistol made in 1914 by Springfield armory in the quantity of 5000 made for that run for the military.

                Buldawg



                  • Gunfun
                    My only pedigreed air gun would be my old trusty 1400 that is still as good as the day I bought it 45 years ago.

                    I just got done cleaning off the top of one of my tool boxes to be ready for my setup of the fill station and just got updates on tracking that shows both compressors will be here Monday. so all I have to do is make the connections between the two with the water separator/filter in between and I will be filling my tanks as needed at home.

                    I wish it was Monday already, except I will be at the hospital with my wife while she has the heart cath done and hope it is all good news.

                    Buldawg


                    • buldawg
                      We got home from that 2pm appointment at 5 pm with the oldest daughter. Everything good so far. They believe that the head aches/ migraines are mostly because of her eating and sleep habits and the tea that she drinks. Oh and exercise. They did a bunch of tests and wouldn’t let us leave til they had the results. So I’m glad that everything is ok but now I’m going to be broke when I get the bill.

                      And what is funny she is the health conscious one. No soda,drinks water,eats fruit,drinks juice,counts calories and likes vegetables.

                      They said all it takes is the body to get out of balance and make a habit change and it will throw things out of sack.



                  • Gunfun
                    I just got back on my PC and got your response from the docs and yea it does not take much to throw the body out of whack especially teenager since their bodies are changing so fast growing up. It does not help that almost everything we eat nowadays has GMOs in it that are actually pesticides and poisons that we are consuming every day. I mean when a corn or wheat plant produces it own pesticide to keep bugs from eating it and then it is harvested and we eat it we are eating that same pesticide that the plant produces and also that same plants seeds that it gives off to keep it producing are sterile so the farmers have to bujy new seeds each years from Monsanto.

                    Buldawg


  3. I always keep passing over the Bronco. I like the way the trigger works with the double blade. Does that help make a smoother pull.

    And I believe BB said what they have in stock will be it and then no more. Correct me if I’m wrong.



    • Gunfun1 and RidgeRunner,

      From what Tom wrote and what the P.A. pictures show, the Bronco isstill available, along with its western style stock, but the stock is now stained a light brown instead of the blonde finish.

      I have a Bronco from the first run, and it is wonderful. The trigger is smooth and light with the second blade providing a second stage, and it cocks almost effortlessly. Accurate, too.

      If you are on the fence about getting one, it’s time to jump off the fence on the “buy a Bronco” side.

      Michael


      • Michael
        Thanks for the info about the gun. Especially the trigger. I often wondered how well it worked.

        And by no means on the fence about the gun. I think its a nice little package. It just seems that some other thing I want comes into play and I don’t get one. That would be a nice little gun to go under the tree this year.

        Maybe I will have to do some early Christmas shopping this year and get one and have it well broken in by Christmas time. 🙂


  4. I suppose it’s still early days, but I think the Umarex NPG APX will prove to be a winner among low-priced multipump rifles. I got one last week, based on your reviews, and so far I like it much better than the similarly price Crosman M4-177.

    I have only a six meter range in my basement, which is pretty short, but so far both JSB Exacts and RWS Hobbies give me tiny ten-shot groups: .35 edge to edge, over and over again. That’s off an adjustable benchrest style front rest and a benchrest rear rest and a four-power Bug Buster. Seems extremely good to me and remarkable in a gun under $75 including shipping.


  5. A fun start to the list, and I like your choices. I’m fairly recently avidly back into airguns after two or three decades “off”, and it’s nice to see two of my original shoots still around–the 2100 and 1377. I was going to say that the only one missing from my early days is the 760 (which is also still around!), but I would pick today’s M4-177 over that one, too!



  6. B.B.

    Good start for this year’s list. I purchased a P17 based on a prior year’s gift. Wish they had left the old sights but that just makes mine even more of a keeper. I also have a 1377/PC77, a lot of fun for killing feral cans especially with the optional stock.

    David


  7. This is an excellent list. The First one, the AR look-a-like should make the young ones very happy . The firearm responsible for thousands of G.I. deaths in VietNam. The absence of the Crosman 760 is noted.
    Pete


    • The 760 has been going south for a while, since Crosman started making their receivers outta plastic but the ‘boot to the head’ was when they ditched the rifling. A lot like how”someone” thought that chrome plating M-16 parts was too expensive.


      • Real chrome plating? Yes — I’d consider that too expensive too…

        Any plating process will result in dimensional changes (and chrome plating tends to require two or three other metals underneath — among them a layer of copper plating).

        That means the parts would have to be machined under-sized, and then brought up to final size during the last plating step.

        Same tends to apply to Nickel-plating, though nickel plated pistols tended to only use it for the outer surface — contact surfaces were left bare.

        Anodized, blued, parkerized… All are chemical reactions in the surface layer of the machined part, with no measurable dimensional change.



        • Wulfraed
          Right on the money about chrome plating and anodizing.

          We use to anodize aluminum at work. And we would pay extra to have them do extra prep work with the copper to get a better finish on the chrome work when we restoring the muscle cars.

          The chrome process stacks up. Anodizing just colors the metal.

          Something I have wondered is why powder coating has caught on in the gun world. It is very durable and you can get any kind of color you could dream of.


        • You are correct that it would have to be figured into the machining process to allow for the added material but this problem meant many of our soldiers died in hand to hand combat with a jammed weapon. It wasn’t for show! It was meant to repel the fouling by available ammo as foreseen by the engineers.


      • Our Battletank, M1A, has a smooth bore barrel. Anyway, It is a very nice air gun for those that can not afford to pay for anything more expensive to introduce a child to shooting, perhaps. It is availaable at Wal-Mart and eBay from Crossman ( the new 760-B, 2014 model) with free shipping. I hear no complaints about a Daisy Red Ryder being a smooth bore. That said, It is accurate with pellets. Tin Can accurate. Scroll through PA, you will fid manual air guns with plastic working parts including frames ( recievers)
        If Pyrmyde Air consides it a poor air rifle, I think they should not carry it in their catalog.
        Pete
        Orcutt, California




    • Great idea!I have and would have to consider it for my AM77. I think the breech block would have to be sealed better than a stock 2100 which I’ve already done but lack the equipment and some of the skills and confidence to attempt the conversion on my own.
      If a conversion kit were available it would give the shooter an opportunity to make sure their rifle is accurate enough to warrant conversion. Mine’s ready!

      Reb


  8. I wish my family would want airguns as gifts. Christmas shopping would be very enjoyable! I’ve tried to get them interested, but no dice….
    That’d also be nice if they got ME airguns as gifts…



  9. Buy the best that at you can afford and you’ll never regret it. For a Spring rifle, if you can only afford a Diana 34 buy it, but if you have enough money for a TX, buy that instead of a 34.


  10. Great list, B.B. I’ll take them all, please. Next time you’re at the trademark office, maybe consider picking up “Godfather of Airgun Enablers.”

    I picked up the Discovery and pump combo not long after it came out and you reported on it. Next thing I knew, I was badly back into shooting, heavy on the airguns, and deeply addicted to Field Target.

    Had I known how much fun I’d have with PCPs, and known that I had easy nearby tank filling options, I’d have skipped the hand pump and gone straight to the carbon fiber tank that I picked up a year-ish into the addiction. I might have even skipped straight to a somewhat nicer PCP like the Marauder or an Air Arms, though the Disco is terrific and I still have it. It doesn’t get much action compared to the Marauder, the Marauder Pistol with RAI adapter that fits both me and my kids so nicely, and the classic old Walther LGR.

    -Jan

    PS, B.B., my periodic “thank you” for your part in getting DIFTA off the ground. Had some great fun shooting with RacerX the last few matches, and am really stoked about our amazing Fantasy Shoot in a little over a week! The foundation you and the other trailblazers laid years ago is still paying off bigtime!


  11. Difficult for me to believe that the Marauder,, or it’s pistol offspring,, could be left off ANY proposed shopping list. Obviously an accidental oversight. I have the older model,, and am disappointed that the new stock isn’t interchangeable. That adjustable cheek piece would be nice to have.
    Ed


  12. Nice collection. Many are classics and unfortunately devouring them with my eyes does not get them into my hands. I am shocked that the blond stock of the Bronco is no longer available. It had a nice distinctive look.

    Gunfun1, no solution yet to the scope. I am swamped. If I’m absent from the blog, you can generally assume that to be true.

    Edith, what a charming portrait of early marriage. 🙂 I will say that if B.B. didn’t know the information about the chemicals, much less going out on such a limb, that surely this is not common knowledge–much as it should be. And I have something to say in the defense of the Godfather of Airguns. Would you rather have such a sincere interest in your work as was displayed or someone like me who would take no interest in what is used to clean the bathtub or whether it is cleaned at all? Doesn’t its function mean that it cleans itself out? 🙂

    B.B., I have something to pass on to you for this occasion. It was the morning after my graduation dinner from college where I got spectacularly sick in front of the extended family who had traveled hundreds of miles to attend. It was all my grandfather’s fault for bringing a case of champagne and plying me with it all day. I didn’t have much of a memory of the rest of the evening, but the morning after Armageddon was etched very clearly in my mind. My uncle walks in. You really have to visualize this with the avuncular arm around the shoulders. And he says, “With things like that, you just put them behind you and move on.” 🙂 That actually brings to mind another bit of familial support. This was from the same champagne-toting grandfather in another moment. There I was in a personal crisis and a complete funk mostly wrapped around the collapse of my first serious relationship with a girlfriend. My grandfather who was never very talkative and who preferred to express himself through mechanical ingenuity–like cases of champagne–quietly observed me for awhile without saying anything. Then for no particular reason, he walked to my hunched over form, gave me a big slap on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Matt, plenty of fish in the sea!” and walked away. I really did burst out laughing. Could it be that the old truths are best? Or maybe the words are less important than the supporting sentiment? Heh heh.

    Matt61


  13. B.B.

    In the category of “what’s not going to be under my Christmas Tree,” whatever happened to the poor man’s version of the TX-200–the infamous MAV-77? A mystery indeed. Despite the corporate advertising blitz, it seemed to simply vanish from the air gun world. It may make an interesting blog topic: a case study in how not to design and market an air gun. Thanks for the interesting gift suggestions.


  14. Gotta vouch for the disco, put a 1377 hammer spring in it to reduce power a little and made a moderator for it. Whisper quiet and really accurate. I’m 110 pounds and can fill the rifle just fine with the hand pump so don’t worry about that if your hesitant about pumping




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