BB’s favorite airguns

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report includes:

• My tastes change all the time
• Easy cocking
• Diana 27
• Accuracy
• TalonSS
• Daisy 499
• Quirky-ness

Today’s report was suggested by blog reader Joe and seconded by RidgeRunner. I accepted their recommendation gladly because I’m testing so many other things all the time that I don’t get enough chances to really appreciate the airguns I truly love. I know — poor me, right? Most of you would kill to have my job — and don’t think I don’t appreciate how really great I have it!

But there are some airguns that I like better than all the others; and whenever I get the opportunity to shoot them or even just to talk about them, it’s a special treat. So, today is my day for fun.

My tastes change all the time
I suppose it’s only natural that my tastes change from time to time. Don’t most people’s? If I wrote about an airgun I loved in 2006 and someone reads that report today, they may be surprised to find that airgun is no longer at the top of my list. Does that make sense? I think it does, but I can’t tell you how many times I get letters and emails saying, “I just read what you wrote in The Airgun Letter 1998 and now I see that in your blog 2011 you seem to contradict yourself! Please tell me what I am missing.”

You are missing the passage of time, my friend. Things change.

On the other hand, there are some things that never seem to change. Perhaps, I should write my list of favorites from that perspective.

Easy cocking
I have always liked airguns that are easy to cock. Therefore, air rifles like the Diana model 27 cannot fail to be on my list. And the FWB 300S is also very easy to cock. And so is my Beeman R8, which was the same as the HW50S of the 1990s, which, in turn, had the same powerplant as the HW55 target rifle. Of course, there are a large number of airguns that are easy to cock, so this one factor doesn’t put them on my list. It’s just one checkmark they need.

I have many airguns that are easy to cock. The Diana 27 and the Beeman R8 make my list. Many of the others don’t.

Diana 27
I refer to the Diana 27 often, but it’s been years since I tested one for you. Actually, I did a 10-part report back in 2009; and when I checked it for this report, I discovered that in all 10 parts I never looked at the accuracy! I may have to rectify that in the near future.

Diana 27
My Diana 27 is actually a Hy-Score model 807. These were only made in .22 caliber for Hy-Score and Winchester.

The Diana 25 is quite similar to the 27, though slightly less powerful. I’ve tested Diana 25s in many flavors, including a pre-war smoothbore. They’re nice guns, as well, but for me the 27 came first and will always hold a soft spot in my heart.

I bought my first Diana 27 (actually a Hy-Score 807) when I was still in the Army at Ft. Knox. It was a rusty gun I gave all of $18 for, but I knew to oil the piston seal and the power came up when I did. I shot that rifle for several years and gave it to a friend when I left the Army in 1981.

My current 27 is also a Hy-Score 807 that I bought at the Winston-Salem Airgun show in 1993. I paid $110 for this one because it’s in much better condition and also because by the 27 was starting to be recognized as a classic by that time. The Hy-Score 807 came only in .22 caliber, so that’s what mine is. Over the years, I’ve also owned several .177-caliber model 27s, but for some reason I don’t warm up to them in that caliber. The 10-part report I linked to is on a .177-model 27, and I don’t think I still have that rifle!

So, when it comes down to it, I’ve done several fluff pieces about my .22-caliber model 27, but never a solid report that uses the format we’ve come to know. I guess it’s long overdue. Hurrah!

Accuracy
Airguns have to be accurate, or I’m not interested. Both the Diana 27 and the Beeman R8 are accurate. But I have other accurate airguns. My FWB 300S is very accurate — and also easy to cock. But it’s so big and heavy that it doesn’t make my list. My Air Arms TX200 Mk III is also very accurate, but it’s hard to cock. And it’s heavy! Even so, it makes the list. Why? I can’t really tell you, although I can make a guess. The TX200 is consistent.

The TX is the kind of gun I can just pick up and do almost anything with. It will shoot off a sandbag rest or off a monopod in a field target match. If I use the right pellets, it will outshoot the FWB 300S at every distance. But that’s not why it made my list. I can’t really tell you why the TX200 made my list, but it did. Maybe it’s because of all the thought that went into its design. Perhaps, it’s the additional care that went into finishing the metal parts. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because whenever I pick up the TX200, I know that I’m going to make the shot.

Talon SS
Reliability is why the AirForce Talon SS makes my list, as well. My rifle now sports an optional 24-inch .22-caliber barrel, and I’ve enclosed it in a bloop tube that lowers the sound of the report significantly. It isn’t the quietest airgun I’ve ever shot, but it’s the quietest reliable airgun — that’s for sure. It’s the quietest, most reliable, lightest-weight air rifle I own that’s also the easiest to cock. It holds air forever. I know exactly where to adjust the power to get maximum accuracy from this rifle. And I figured out the trigger so many years ago that it’s second nature to me today. I just pick up may Talon SS and hit the target — whatever it is.

TalonSS
The Talon SS is famous for being the first PCP with an intentionally shrouded barrel. It’s lightweight, powerful, accurate and, above all, reliable.

I remember back when I was working for AirForce Airguns, I would be asked to sight-in a rifle for a special customer from time to time. These were often business partners who became interested in our rifles and wanted to get one. The operations manager, Yvette, would ask me to mount a certain scope on a certain rifle for a customer who was sitting in her office. I got so used to this that I could unbox everything, mount the scope, fill the gun and sight it in — all in about 30 minutes.

If the rifle was a .22-caliber Talon SS, which it was 90 percent of the time (at least until the Condor came out in 2004), I knew I was going to blow away the customer with his new rifle! This is when I developed my special 10-minute sight-in procedure that I still use today.

When I was finished, I would take the 5-shot group I’d shot at 23 yards (the maximum safe indoor distance I was able to get in the old AirForce shop) along with the new scoped rifle and show it to the customer. Invariably, the group was 0.20 inches, or so, and never failed to impress the new owner. I would show them the cardboard box of .22-caliber Crosman Premiers I used and give them the address to Pyramyd Air’s website, where they could be purchased.

The Talon SS never failed to deliver accuracy and power. Because of that, it earned a spot on my permanent list. While my current SS sports a longer barrel, my rifle was produced so early in 2001 that it doesn’t even have a power scale etched on the adjustment window. No bother, though, because I keep it set at one power level all the time. The trigger that’s been the object of some ridicule from those who compare it to European PCP rifle triggers on guns costing over $1,000, has smoothed out over tens of thousands of shots to the point that it’s ideal. I know how to build every part of this rifle, and yet in 13 years I’ve never had this one apart. What does that tell you about reliability and longevity?

Daisy 499
The last super-accurate airgun on my list is the Avanti 499 Champion from Daisy. When I first learned of this legendary BB gun’s accuracy, I had to get one to test. This was back in the days of The Airgun Letter, and I only intended to test the gun and then return it to Daisy. They sent me a gun and a package of what was called Number 515 Precision Ground Shot at the time. Today, it’s called Avanti Precision Ground Shot.

Daisy 499
Daisy’s 499 is known as the world’s most accurate BB gun.

Neither the 499 nor the shot could be bought by the public at the time. To purchase one, you had to belong to an accredited junior marksmanship team and the team coach had to vouch for you. Joe Murfin, Daisy’s VP of marketing, told me the 499 was hand-built and would cost too much if they tried to sell it for a profit. After I tested one and found out how truly accurate it is, I told Joe I thought they should sell it to the public at any price — there would always be people like me who only care about accuracy and would pay to get it.

It turns out that what Joe meant was that the 499 would have to cost $70, retail, if they were to market it. I was flabbergasted! Was that all that was holding him back? I thought he meant the gun would have to cost $250 or something! It turned out that Joe was so focused on his sales to the large discount stores, where every penny is watched, that he overlooked the far smaller real airgun market. To tell the entire truth, though, building more 499s also meant Daisy had to restructure their production lines to accommodate the additional labor this gun requires. So, it wasn’t just a lapse of reasoning.

I suggested they try a retail campaign with just one dealer for starters. There was a new airgun retailer in Cleveland called Pyramyd Air, and I knew they were open to trying new things. If I told them how good this target gun was, I felt sure they could sell some. I would send them some of the readers of my newsletter, for starters.

Well, the rest is history. Daisy now sells the 499 at retail, and over the years they added what was an option at the time — the target rear sight. They also had to ramp up production on the special BBs, but their price still keeps the quantities low enough that they can keep up.

My friend Otho tried out my 499 last Christmas and was astounded by the accuracy. He is my age and wears prescription glasses. And, like many of us, he says he can’t see open sights anymore. But when he put 5 BBs into one-tenth of an inch at 15 feet in my garage, he saw that his shooting days weren’t over quite yet. He ended up buying five 499s last Christmas season — 4 as presents for his family and friends, and 1 for himself. This past summer he sat on his porch and killed grasshoppers at ranges out to 20 yards with his gun!

Last 499 story. One of my Airgun Letter readers restocked his. He built a Tyrolean stock with a high cupped cheekpiece and a deep hooked buttplate. And he made the pull longer to suit himself. Can you imagine that? It would never be worth the effort he put into it, but what a joy it would be — shooting something like that!

Quirky-ness
There is also a category of guns that are quirky. They’re also accurate or I couldn’t love them, but it’s how they’re built that really attracts me. Leading this list is the .22-caliber Hakim trainer that was built by Anschütz in 1954. This rifle copies the action that was invented by BSA in the late 1940s and is seen in their Airsporter line. The Falke 90 also copies this same action. But for some reason, I like the Hakim the best. It’s quite accurate at close range, but I think it’s the quirky-ness that puts it over the top.

Hakim
My current Hakim has a beautiful handmade walnut stock. Where most Hakims are ugly, this one is quite attractive.

I certainly reported enough about the Hakim this year, so I’ll move on. What about air pistols? Surely, there are some on my list?

Yes, there are. The first one is probably the airgun I’ve owned the longest. I bought this Webley straight-grip Senior at a gun show in Kentucky when I was stationed at Ft. Knox. Then, I installed a new breech seal. It’s a .22 and isn’t very fast or accurate for that matter, but I love the all-steel construction and the gorgeous single-stage trigger. This pistol doesn’t get shot a lot, but whenever I need to smile, it’s right there in a drawer, waiting to be held.

Webley Senior
My Webley Senior is a lot like the Webley Mark VI revolver we’ve been looking at. It’s big and solid and feels great to hold!

Next, I can’t overlook my Beeman P1 pistol. Whenever I need an air pistol that can do things, this is the one I reach for. You can still buy one today, but they’re expensive — so people pass them by. I think that is a big mistake. While it isn’t my most favorite airgun, the P1 is one I can never let go.

Another air pistol that’s a keeper is my Crosman Mark I Target. When Crosman decided to copy the Ruger Mark I pistol, little did they realize their airgun copy would surpass the original! The pistol has a gorgeous adjustable trigger, adjustable sights and adjustable power that has two settings, once adjusted.

Crosman Mark I Target
My Crosman Mark I Target pistol has been pleasing me for more than 20 years.

The final airgun on my list is the BSA Scorpion pistol I acquired this year at a gun show. I’d read so much about the gun for many years, but it’s so powerful that I thought it would be a monster to shoot. Instead, it’s a dream, with little recoil and no harsh buzzing. And it’s quite accurate — enough to give the P1 a run for the money!

BSA Scorpion
Big BSA Scorpion is really a smooth, accurate air pistol!

Well, that’s it. Did I leave something off that you hoped for? Well, there are airguns I no longer have, but I do remember. One of them resides with reader Robert of Arcade and is a quirky Sterling HR81 underlever rifle that I always thought was neat. Another was a Diana 75 T01 target rifle I used to own years ago. And a third one was a Crosman 160 in the box that was purchased by the U.S. Air Force for marksmanship training. When I bought it, it hadn’t been fired since leaving the Crosman factory.

There are probably many others I’ve forgotten. How about you? What are your all-time favorites?

89 thoughts on “BB’s favorite airguns

  1. BB
    What a report!

    I have some of the guns you have and some I don’t have.

    That is something I have found with airguns, race cars, radio control air planes and other things. My favorite list changes all the time.

    Some time’s my list changes for many ressons. That’s hard to explain. But the thing is that keeps coming up is how much I enjoy a particular thing.

    I can pick up a different gun that I have or even ones that have gone and they all have something about them that made me learn something.

    So I say even the low cost plinkers all the way up to the high dollar guns have a meaning. The ones I have had and the ones I read about that I will probably never have or may get.

    Times change and so does everything else but there will always be memories that can never change.

    Oh and one last thing. I remember asking about the 124 and why you don’t right about that wonderful gun. You told me you were asked to stop. What a shame. Don’t never stop talking about a airgun you have talked about in the past. Every new person that reads this blog its a new day for them.

    I want to here more about the 124. And my memory is getting bad but it was the 124 and not the 27 that I’m thinking about.

    Anyway again a nice write today.



      • BB
        That will be great. I do hope you find a barrel. Maybe that’s how you could start out the report again.

        How you came about the barrel and how to replace it.

        I will be looking forward to the report. Thanks



      • BB
        Yes the 124 is one of the best air guns out there and I am slowly grinding my teeth away until the friend of mine is willing to sell me his. Its the one I asked you about 6 months ago on taking it apart to re4build and you gave me the same link above to guide me thru it.

        It is also the one you said that if I did not want it that you would take it, well I don’t want to hurt your feelings but it will not get out of my hands once they have a firm grasp on it that I can assure you of and it is one I would pay 900 dollars for .

        BD


        • Buldawg
          I think I told you I like the bearing trigger mod in the Vitamin as we are calling it.

          And it shoots nice, really a tame nitro gun. You can tell’m why we call it that if you want. 🙂


          • Gunfun
            That’s the way my first spring gun shoots and I am talking about my Firepower which is a coil spring gun and that’s what prompted to buy the Crosman Nitro Venom and then the Benjamin Nitro Titan GP that has now morphed into your hands as a Crosman Venom stocked Benjamin Nitro Titan GP or as we have named the Vitamin. That’s the same as all my break barrel spring guns shoot as it does not matter if it is the coil spring Firepower or my Nitro Venom and now your Vitamin.

            Yes you did tell me you liked the bearing trigger as I was hopping you would because for just a couple bucks it makes a world of difference in how the trigger in crosmans break barrel guns feel and release without that gritty creepy feel that mine had before I tried the bearings.

            I am glad you like it and let me know what kind of groups you get with it tomorrow when you get to shoot it more as I think it will be right there with your TX and LGU in accuracy.

            BD


            • Buldawg
              What little I shot it today sighting the scope it seems to be a nice shooter.

              Tomorrow I plan to get it on some paper and see what its about.

              And if its there with my TX and LGU in accuracy I will never get rid of the Vitamin.

              And what did we say now I got a excuse to get my Vitamin for the day. Or was that a Vitamin a day helps keep the doctor away. Something like that we said.


              • Gunfun
                its one Vitamin shot a day keeps the doctor away.

                I hope you are surprised as well as me being surprised that it does shoot as good as your TX and LGU.

                I did tell you I bought another 22 cal Venom dusk off ebay for 75 bucks didn’t I as just liked that 22 so much I had to get another one and I just hope it shoot as good as the Vitamin does or it will get parts swapped around to get it to shoot that way. I really hated to let it go but I needed a bottle also so I think it has worked out good for both of us.

                So shot your Vitamin everyday to keep the doc away .

                BD


                • Buldawg
                  The LGU has some bump to it. The Vitamin has a bit more than the LGU.

                  Now the TX has really surprised me after I started playing with that Vortek spring length and altrnate stacking those rubber and flat steel washers. All the TX does now is bump forward and down a very,very little bit if I free hand shoot it. If I have it supported on a rest or my bi-pod I feel and hear nothing when it shoots. And there is absalutly no rearward recoil.

                  I think when its rested now that the downward recoil forward is actually helping hold the gun in position on the rest or bipod.

                  I know when shot un supported it sure is different to feel a gun recoil forward instead of back. I think with the 1/16″ free play I have in the spring when its relaxed is kind of acting like that slide system on the 54 Air King.

                  All I know after this last weekend of messing with the tune its a smoothest I got now that’s a spring gun. I know the shot cycle is quieter than my 54 now and no recoil what so ever when rested.

                  Right now the Vitamin cant compete with the TX’s shot cycle but tomorrow I will sure see if it trys to group as good as the TX.


                  • Gunfun
                    I was not expecting the Vitamin to come close to comparing with the TX or LGU in the recoil department just the accuracy wise. I know it will never be as smooth as either one of those but I would like to think it is as accurate as they are, but you will know tomorrow.

                    I hope it does group as good or at least very close to as good because I know it was a good shooter for me and not real hold sensitive as I do 90% of my shooting from a rested bag position.

                    I was looking at the crosman nitro rear spring guide that I got to fit the hatsan gas ram into the firepower with and it looks like with a little machining on the spring guide and the OD of the ram and some clever fitment trickery it will fit and be just about like the TX with no preload or if at all the most it would be is 1.8 inch. I am going to have to make a front guide for the rod portion of the ram to keep it centered in the piston but I still have some of the black delrin left over from making the rear spring guides in the B-3s. and then I want to lighten the piston as much as possible to reduce recoil and increase the acceleration of the piston without adding felt recoil.

                    BD


                    • Buldawg
                      The tame shot cycle makes it more forgiving with your hold also.

                      And yes that experiment I did at work last week with a air cylinder and piston showed something that’s for sure. The lighter piston spiked the pressure higher on the air gauge and I didn’t feel as much forward bump. Kind of like what a light pellet verses a heavy pellet does the heavier pellet retains more energy. The lighter pellet has less retained energy and yes with the lighter piston it can accelerate faster in a given distance.

                      So like I mentioned the other day on the blog that’s my second part of the mod on my TX. I’m going to buy another piston and mill slots out in it and try that next in the TX. I think it would be wrong if I didn’t try.

                      And yes I still have all the stock pieces to put the gun back to original. All the stuff I have been modifying is from what comes in the Vortek kit.

                      I think that the velocity should even pick up some with the lighter piston.

                      Will see how part 2 how’s after I mill the slots in a new piston.


                  • Gunfun
                    Were going to have to take it to the bottom after this post as you have no more reply button.

                    But I was going to ask you about doing the same to my piston in the firepower once I get the ram and everything else worked out so that it would be as light as possible.
                    Right know it has only the slot for the cocking linkage in the piston tube and there could be at least a 1/4 pound taken out easily if not more and it is easy enough to get another one if I need to,

                    BD


  2. I got to shoot a Crosman Mark I for the first time at the end of last year. I was pretty impressed with it in general. Also, if the plastic grips on more new pistols had the look and feel of those thick swirly items on the Mark I I would be happy with plastic and not feel the desire for wooden grips!

    As for the 499, the fact that I own a really nice FWB 602 doesn’t stop my 499 from getting used regularly speaks well of it. For some reason I really like the fact that it has to be muzzle-loaded.

    I just had a day at the range shooting powder burners courtesy of a couple of friends. It was lots of fun but it certainly reminded me of some of the things I really like about airguns. I’ve gotten to the point where I can actually feel the recoil on my 602 so you can imagine what the Mosin-Nagant and Mauser felt like to me! I also had my first chance to shoot a real 1911 and the “1911 grip” I learned about here and have been using with my air pistols worked beautifully with the genuine article.


  3. My first BB rifle was a western style lever action. I was in 3rd grade, (1969). As best I remember, it had the design lines of a Henry Golden Boy with an octagonal barrel, brass colored receiver, plastic stock and believe the BB’s loaded in the tube under the barrel and had some sort of a spring feed. No idea of brand name, but if I had to guess,..Daisy.

    I would love to see a picture of this again if any one can post it. I tried some searching and was unable to turn anything up.

    If someone made an air rifle with the above description, higher end of coarse, I would buy it in a heart beat!


  4. My “go to” air rifle is my HW35, in 22….35 years old and going strong, people wonder why it’s the longest serving sporter out there, those people never owned one..tuned for 600fps in 22 it will group like a TX200 with a quick lock time and just a gentle pulse on firing
    Second is the Diana 52, can you think of a 21 ft/lb air rifle that only takes 28lb of cocking effort and will group half inch at 45 yards?….the inventor of the sliding compression tube….and utterly under rated will match a TX almost shot for shot, have half as much power again…..and yet be easier to cock!!!!!!!!
    Third, like BB, is the Diana 27, I sold a smoothbore 27 a few years back and am looking for a nice rifled one, with a mind to tuning it for smoothness.
    And, the Airsporter, an E type of a gun, especially in it’s Mk1 to Mk3 guises, with amazingly integrated styling, rolling wave trigger guard, matching the curves on the fore end, compression tube cap, and trigger….a nice firing cycle and good accuracy for a tap loader…….Hakim Schmakim….nothing like having the real thing.


  5. BB,good morning sir.Can this Bloop Tube fit my 25 cal. Escape? If so do I go to Airforce for this? I would like to make it whisper instead of bark. 62 squirrels and counting with it so far this season. only one escape. 25 cal. has no mercy!


    • Steve,

      No doubt someone makes a bloop tube for an Escape, but as powerful as that rifle is, it’s still going to be louder than the Talon SS. The Escape is twice as powerful as the Talon SS that only produces 45 ft. lbs. with a 24 inch bbl.

      B.B.


  6. B.B.,
    I love reading about your airguns, favorite or not. Since meeting you in Ft. Worth, I know your passion for air guns is sincere.

    My favorite airguns that I still have are my Feinwerkbau 80 target pistol, Beeman HW77 with original Beeman Blue Ribbon scope and a Beeman R7.

    The Feinwerkbau was reconditioned at Pyramyd Air and is like new again. It always shoots the same and is completely predictable. I love that air pistol.

    The HW77 is showing it’s age and the fact that my kids and all of the neighborhood kids, had a hand in shooting it. The cocking under lever is bent a little and the ball bearing that used to hold it in place after it is cocked, is missing. I use a piece of velcro to hold it in place, now. It shoots great, but doesn’t get shot very often. If I had to trust one air rifle to make a life saving shot, that would be the one. It always shoots and hits where I aim.

    The Beeman R7 has a rust pitted barrel (outside surface) and the stock is scratched, again from many kids learning to shoot with it. But, it is very easy to cock and will hit where you aim……every time.

    One air pistol, from my youth, that I wish I still had was a Plainsman semi-auto CO2 repeater. It was a blast to shoot and pretty accurate for a smooth bore BB pistol. Unfortunately, as a kid, I decided to take it apart to see how it worked, but forgot I still had a CO2 cartridge in it and as I started to remove the last screw, it blew up in my hands. Parts went everywhere. I never found enough to put it back together again. Another of life’s lessons learned.


    • Jerry,

      You are in luck today! I have a Plainsman in the box, resealed and it has all the orig=inal literature. It is a collector’s dream. I didn’t have it at the Ft. Worth show because I forgot to take it, but I have been taking it to airgun shows for 2 years now and nobody has been interested.

      Read about it here.

      /blog/2010/01/healthways-plainsman-bb-gun-part-4/

      B.B.


      • I was a fool and sold the Spain made Oklahoma I got from a friend, that was a king of quirkyness, and could’ve been made to shoot very well, but was missing parts and when the car needs gas… stuff happens. They aren’t uncommon but its one of those things where you’d have kept it but not go out of your way to get one. I got my air magnum from pyramyd, with the heavy spring I got for the hatsan I have successfully reclaimed my long lost talon magnum! Thing is actually a shooter! Hitting within an inch at 25yds unofficial quick sight in, and puts lead through 3/4″ pine board! The spring that came in it will get the 95 back up and running as soon as I can get the endcap to gunfun, so now have 3 great breakbarrels and the long barrel 1377. Finally making good on my promise to actually KEEP guns and get a collection going, and in good timing when Im getting guns worth keeping. I read that piston and breech seals were the only problems in the rugers and glad I did my homework, the tube had metal chunks that would’ve killed it fast, but got it cleaned lubed and tuned before firing a single shot.


    • Jerry, I read about you exploding pistol and had to laugh. That same thing happened to me. When I was younger, I bought one of the first Crosman 357 revolvers to come out. I was young and thought I could “improve” things a bit. I too forgot about having a “charged” co2 cart in it. BOOM!. It was very loud and parts went everywhere. Never could find all the parts or get with I found back together again. Lucky I didn’t put an eye out. If I did, who would believe it wasn’t from the bb/pellet but parts exploding LOL. Some just have to learn the hard way. Bradly


  7. BB: The Sterling HR81 is still thinning the herds of huge eastern grey squirrels here in Arcade, along with a little help from Daisy my beagle. I. have a nice Hawke scope on her now recommended in the blog by you and purchased from PA. Paint balls at 25 yards are not safe, and are almost too easy a target for my boys.. Vince’s repair is holding up well. I also like quirky, and the Sterling sits right beside a Diana 46 E in .22 cal , another underlever that also shoots like a Air Arms TX. I bought that one based on the blog you wrote on them back several years ago in the old blogger format Thank-you for the opportunity to pry that one away from you.


    • Robert,

      I’m glad to hear the Sterling is still doing well. I really did like the design of that rifle. And I was so pleased when you discovered the secrets of making her a tackdriver.

      May she continue to shoot well for many years to come!

      B.B.


      • If you like Sterling HR81/83 air rifles, then I highly recommend reading the two books by James Edmiston about his time as the owner of Sterling and BSA. It includes the development of the HR81/83 and how it came to have it’s quirky design features. It also shows how awful other members of the gun trade were at giving him advice. They told him there was no future in making underlever air rifles. Then the HW77 and TX200 turned up and revolutionised airgun design…James Edmiston now owns a shotgun company in England is often to be found at shooting shows or game fairs. He is a very amiable and humourous gent considering the injustices that the British government inflicted upon him.


  8. B.B. , P.A. , and all

    I found something in the paper this morning that adds credibility to claims of more legislation for brightly colored airguns.
    It says that State rep. Alicia Reece D-Cincinatti has a bill that would require all look alikes to be brightly colored.
    From Advertiser Tribune , Tiffin Oh. .

    twotalon


    • I’m sure that will be a big help. What’s to stop a person from painting a AR15 Rifle Orange? “Oh, it’s OK, that gun is orange, It must be an airgun.” These people never think.

      Mike


  9. BB and others I have a question.

    Does anybody own or have shot a Diana 430 Stutzen preferably in .22 caliber? There is no reviews shown in the description of the gun on the Pyramyd Air page.

    it looks like a nice gun but I wonder why no reviews.



      • BB
        I’m guessing it has the same action as the 430. The barrels show to be the same length.

        I wonder if they have the barrel droop like other Diana models. It would probably be safe to say that a UTG barrel droop mount would be needed I guess the one that is for the T06 trigger. It doesn’t say anything in the description of either gun about what scope mount compensator to use unless I’m over looking it.

        I guess I should be asking the P.A. tech department though probably.


    • GF,
      There are a few reviews in the Brit Press which should show up on a Google search. They seem to be quite positve and if one likes the Mannlicher style full stock (which I do,) it should be a serious contender. Had I not recently purchased a Air Arms ProSport, I may well have gone for the Stutzen myself.
      On one of the reviews, the writer had somehow reformed and moved the middle barrel open sight back to the rear-rail postion to make a receiver peep-sight.
      Worth looking into.
      David


  10. My all-time favorite was a Crosman 1400. Unfortunately 30 years ago neither this blog nor the internet existed. We did not know anything about lubrication using Pellgun Oil, neither did we know we had to store it with at least a pump of air. So the inevitable happened and one day it would not hold air anymore. Since we were on the other side of the Pacific we just simply could not order parts from Crosman. So we salvaged it by transferring the barrel to another CO2 rifle which unfortunately got seized along with the assets of the gunsmith when his business failed.

    Bugbuster,
    I’m currently using a Crosman 160 pattern air rifle made by Armscor. They just discontinued manufacture of their air rifles to focus on their gunmaking business. According to local lore the company used the same barrels for firearms and airguns which is why our .22 cal pellets are oversized. It shoots quite well especially when we got it detuned by another gunsmith. 5-shot group at ten meters using a scope on a bench puts out pellets when everything goes right into a quarter of an inch ctc. We shoot mainly .22 but I am also reviving other CO2 airguns we still have which are in .177 cal. With those we are going to have to use mainly imported pellets (Gamo if I recall) as that there few suppliers of local pellets in that caliber.


    • Siraniko
      My first air gun was a 1400 and I still have it today and I have heard that they should be stored with a least one pump air in them also but I have never stored any of my pump guns with a pump of air in them and still don’t to this day. I did however always lubricate the felt packing right behind the pump cup with pell gun oil when I had some but you can use the old regular automatic transmission fluids like what older ford and chevys would take in the 70s and 80s as it is basically the same as pell gun oil.

      My 1400 set in my closet for 20 plus years until a year ago and when I got it out and lubed the felt packing and pump cup it pumped right up and shot the same as it did before putting it in the closet 20 years ago so maybe I just got lucky I don’t. I have never stored my pumper with a pump a air in them.

      I did rebuild my 1400 just because I could still get the parts to do so but it did not really need it and I have a complete rebuild kit including the valve bodies themselves for if it ever needs it in the future.

      I don’t know if you have access to Ebay but you can still find stuff there for the 1400 and here is another site that has most parts still available for them.

      http://jgairguns.biz/catalog/index.php

      BD


      • Thanks Buldawg76, but it really is too late. The parts are simply gone after 30 years. Unlike on your side of the Pacific in my country until only recently airguns were classified as firearms. Until now due to poor wording of the laws airguns and airsoft are in the grey area. Recognized as not real firearms but subject to rules and regulations when you are caught without a good explanation why you are bringing one outside of your residence.

        Now with greater awareness on the care and handling of airguns I have no intention of any of our guns become a doorstop.


        • Siraniko
          I am sorry to hear that as the 1400s are one fine air gun and I know I out mine thru as much abuse as any 8 year old living in the Florida waterways could possible have done as it was dropped in the water several times and in sand ,dirt you name it and all I would do is dry it off and blow the dirt and sand off wipe it down and out it up never leaving a single pump of air in it during storage.

          I was just lucky enough that a friend of mine gave me another 1400 just like the one I have had since new and it is now in working order as well.

          BD


  11. I do not have near the experience with various airguns as I would like, but as of today’s typing, I have to say my 1906 BSA is my favorite air rifle. At the moment it is my go to and has a place of honor hanging on the wall with a Wilkins pellet pouch, ready when I am.

    My favorite and at the moment only air pistol is my Izzy. To have a more accurate air pistol would require spending in the neighborhood of $2000. Now I would like to pick up a Lincoln Jefferies, so if any of you guys have one laying around collecting dust and rust, let me know. 😉


  12. BB, my favorite air gun isn’t the most accurate. It isn’t the most powerful (by a long shot). It’s my first every bb gun my parents bought me for Christmas in 1976. A Daisy Red Ryder. I still have her and shoot her often. I don’t know what it is about her, I guess she just brings back my youth. As a child, that gun won more wars than any gun. Be it the little green (sometimes tan) army men or the plastic cowboy and Indian set. Maybe it was the “model” cars I had (the models you had to glue together), that in my mind, Bonnie and Clyde was driving and my Red Ryder would take out . No that’s not it. Maybe it’s just because I still enjoy holding and shooting her. Either way, I have air guns/firearms much better, but I just like this one for whatever reason.


  13. That’s right, rub it in that you have one of the best jobs in the world. 🙂 What is one of the best parts of my day at the very end is your workday. Fascinating report, and I learned a lot of new things about guns which I’ve heard of for what must be about 10 years on the blog.

    How interesting about cocking effort. One reason I’m so fond of the IZH 61 is that light lever throw that is almost like working a bolt-action rifle, but heavy cocking effort need not be a deterrent. Just as Jack Dempsey learned how to throw his bodyweight in to punches with his mysterious “falling step,” I have been studying ways of channeling martial arts “ki” power into cocking powerful airguns. I’ve only had a chance to practice on my sidelever B30. The basics of the technique are to first mount the buttstock on the thigh in the approved way. Sag the bodyweight to get it in motion. Then waiting for the last moment for the wave to crest (moving late but quick as advised by Bruce Lee), transmit the bodyweight to the lever with an explosive opening movement. It will feel like nothing. I fantasize about testing my method against the Webley and other heavy cocking breakbarrels. Maybe the B30 isn’t stiff enough to provide a real challenge.

    I agree about accuracy. My solution was to get my Anschutz, so that way I would have ultimate accuracy whenever I wanted. Also, I agree that the summit of appeal and affection is that it cannot be described. Is this not the essence of true looooooove…. 🙂 If it is reducible to exact description then its not really love but commodification. Witness the horrendous incident of two deranged dentists married to each other. They were having difficulties, so they decided to talk things through. The husband took most of the time to go point-by-point explaining the wife’s shortcomings relative to other individuals. Painful! It didn’t end well with the wife eventually driving over the husband with a car and getting sent up. Anyone, the point is that the essence of desire is the ineffable. It’s partly why I’m so drawn to the M1 Garand. In part, it really is because that gun is a rifle of genius. This is an objective quality although not easy to describe either, but part of my reaction is no doubt subjective as well.

    Baron Wulfraed, thanks for the info on Sir Hilary. Perhaps this is a woman that I’ve seen on YouTube in sparring matches. One of these take place in the middle of a kind of medieval banquet with the arena formed by dining tables arranged in a square. It all looked good, but every so often for no clear reason, the man and woman fighters would put their weapons on the ground, raise their arms and dance in a circle around the weapons to uproarious laughter. Any ideas what they heck was going on?

    Don’t rule out the cutting and slicing power of Western swords. Have you heard of the Five Meisterhau or Masterstrikes against which there was no defense when done properly? They sound like the crane technique from the Karate Kid and these sword techniques were invented by some sinister old man from Germany named Johannes Leichtenauer whose methods held sway for most of the middle ages. The master strikes are:

    zornhau – The strike of wrath
    zwerchahu – The crossing strike
    krumphau – The crooked strike
    schielhau – The squint strike
    scheitelhau – The crown strike

    Appreciate your heritage, Edith and Kevin! I think that making a Hollywood movie with genuine medieval sword techniques would be a sure bet for box office success, even more than The Battle of Five Armies.

    Matt61


    • Baron Wulfraed, thanks for the info on Sir Hilary. Perhaps this is a woman that I’ve seen on YouTube in sparring matches.

      Couldn’t say — the last time I saw her would have been around 1992 or thereabouts; and she’d likely been active in the SCA for some 20 years by that time…


  14. B.B.,

    At first I was somewhat surprised by your list, mainly because there were a couple of guns I was totally unfamiliar with and also because my list would only include one gun that is in your list despite the fact I own three of the guns on your list. That one gun is the Beeman P1. Also, I am surprised that there aren’t many more guns on your list. Mine includes quite a few more than yours. Plus, your list includes several guns that aren’t even in production anymore. I don’t own a single gun that could be considered “vintage”, not yet anyway.

    But then I started to think about the reasons why. To begin with, I bought my first air gun (as an adult) only 2 1/2 yrs. ago so I am a relative newcomer to the sport. But, I was bitten extremely hard by the air gun bug immediately and consequently I have a large collection of rifles and handguns anyway. Another thing is that almost from the very beginning I focused on guns that are very, very accurate.

    So, I believe our lists are very different primarily for these reasons:
    I am a relative newcomer to the sport.
    I don’t own any vintage guns.
    I have been laser beam focused on accuracy.

    You asked what our favorite guns are so I am going to give you my list by powerplant for rifles and then handguns. I’m not going to get into why a gun is my favorite or this post will be longer than yours. My favorites are as follows:

    PCP’s
    Rapid Air Weapons TM1000 (in a benchrest style stock)
    Daystate Airwolf MCT
    FX Royale 400
    Air Arms S400 MPR FT

    Springers
    Walther LGV Master Ultra
    Weihrauch HW30S
    Air Arms TX200
    Beeman R9
    IZH 61 (quirky but I love it)
    Handguns
    Crosman Silhouette
    Crosman 1720T
    Beeman P1
    Beeman P3

    Truth is, I have many more handguns (especially the replicas that I love playing with) and I happen to love CO2 rifles. But the list above are my best and therefore my favorites.

    G&G



      • B.B.,

        I would like very much indeed to meet you and shoot some of your vintage guns. One thing I did not mention is that I practice a lot. I seem to have stumbled upon a sport that I have a natural talent for at a late age (I am 62). When I found an airgun club near me about 8 months ago that really accelerated things. I am not bragging but simply trying to demonstrate my love for this sport but, I have won every match our club has held since joining. Last month that included a rifle instructor for the USMC who happens to be into airguns. We are going to Tampa in January for our first road match against another club. I have just started sending in my targets to the USARB for scoring. They have only posted one so far but that was a 250 with 11 X’s at 25 meters. I plan on getting into some regional matches soon.

        I really hope I can meet you some day. You have played a major role in my development in airgunning. Almost a mentor in absentia.

        G&G


  15. BB:
    My favorite air rifle is the Crosman Challenger 2009. At 10 meter it’s an extremely accurate rifle. ¼ inch groups is the norm. My junior’s love it way over the Avanti 853. The majority of junior and even adult shooters will likely never outgrow this rifle’s accuracy.

    For NMAR events, and indoor high power practice, my favorite “air rifle” in the MAR 177 upper in a Rock River lower. Both the Challenger and the MAR have Lothar Walther barrels and both have a sweet spot of 1900 psi that’s good for an entire match.

    As I get further into silhouette competition, I’d like to know s are there gas piston rifles on the market that are in the same class as the Air Arm TX 200?

    Bill Schooley A/K/A 10 Meter Shooter


  16. B.B., based on your recommendation, I bought a Daisy 499 from Pyramyd Air for my pastor’s son. I’ve been testing it for him, and the accuracy is amazing (just as you said). Offhand, I can get single-hole groups at 15 feet…too cool! I just have one question for you. Do you know of a good BB holder to use to hold the extra ammo when shooting this gun? Thanks.
    take care & God bless,
    dave


  17. RE BB’s remarks “I would be asked to sight-in a rifle for a special customer from time to time. … I got so used to this that I could unbox everything, mount the scope, fill the gun and sight it in — all in about 30 minutes.”

    Over my career I have found that the reward for doing good work is more work.


  18. B.B.

    I had never seen the 10 minute sight in article have to try it out with my next rifle. Sure took longer than 10 minutes to get the HW50S sighted in using my method.

    The Daisy 499 was never on my list but having read Tim Smith’s report in the last issue of Airgun Hobbyist on the National BB Gun Championship and your inclusion on this favorite list just may get one. Sounds like the perfect indoor rifle for cold winter days.

    And that brings to mind a question. What is the lowest temperature you recommend for shooting springers outdoors? I know the cold will thicken the lubrication and slow the gun up to some extent but can the cold cause the gun to stiffen up to the point you risk damaging the gun?

    As for my favorite its gotta be my Beeman P17. How can you not like a $40 gun that shoots this well and needs nothing but a tin of pellets to keep it happy?

    David


    • David,

      Did Edith call you? She berated me yesterday for not including the P17 on my list.

      I guess my list isn’t just about fine airguns — it’s about those guns I really do love. A lot of guns I like very much and would never sell didn’t make it, and the P17 is one of them.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        You always have to qualify these lists either by number or type of gun, someones favorite is always is always going to be left off. The thing is I came away with some good information today and that I think is why you write and we read the blog, sharing of airgun knowledge.

        David


  19. Hi BB,
    Favorites, what a fun topic. I did a he-he when I saw the Scorpion on your list. I want to take partial credit for that. I told you several years ago how much I liked them.

    Anyway,
    Here are my favorites:
    Low Power springer rifles: Diana 27 and HW55. The HW55 was my first airgun purchase used upon the recommendation of Mike Driskoll on the old AGLF. The Diana 27 came at the recommendation of Mike Driskoll and Ross Best. I love the slim profile of the 27. You can grasp the gun easily with one hand around the receiver and forearm. It just feels right. My only complaint with the 27 is that the trigger guard hits my middle finger and after a while that gets sore.

    Mid Power springer rifles: I love the whole BSA Supersport Line, the earlier English models, not the XL models. My favorite of the Supersports is my BSA Supersport Lightning which is a short carbine with a large muzzle brake on it. The Lightning has been my favorite springer for the past 10 years. It is kind of stiff to cock but not harder than a C1 or R9. The Supersport line of guns are about the size and weight of R7s but in the power range of the C1 or R9. Plus, they shoot very nicely and are very accurate.

    PCPs: My two favorite PCPs are my Mac1 USFT Hunter and my AA S200. I love the looks and mechanical-ness, if that’ a word, of the USFT. I love the swing breech and that big exposed hammer. That mechanism adds to my shooting pleasure. The S200 is so light and so accurate. It’s the R-7 or Diana 27 of PCPs.

    Pistols: I have three favorites, the Webley Tempest, the BSA Scorpion, and the Mac1 made Crosman Mk1 LD. The Webley Tempest is a fun challenge that fits in your front pocket. I like shooting it. The BSA Scorpion is a big neat break barrel pistol with a nice trigger. I keep a scope on mine. For some reason I can shoot the Scorpion much better than I can a P1. My Mac1 Crosman Mk1 LD is the most consistent airgun I own, bar none. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since I shot it last, it always hits where I aim it.

    Honorable mentions:
    BSA Superstar, Crosman 180, Crosman Mk1, and S&W 78.

    David Enoch


  20. Hi anyone, just skipping through computer and saw this article today, didn’t really look at the comments, so I’m not trying to interrupt or change subject, but my comment is in tune to this article,
    When I was a kid, my only gun was the daisy version of today’s buck, maybe a 105? It had a marbled plastic stock.
    Since I only had one gun, I learned to adapt to the sights, the trigger, and the trajectory which was visible with the naked eye from behind the gun (when I first had it I had to learn to get the best leverage against my knee with the gun upside down to cock the lever because I was so young). Later I was even able to hit One (out of ???) in flight cicada during the 80 or 81 year of the 17 year locust. Mainly, I think some guns not on anybody’s favorite list would have the things we look for if it was our only gun and we learned to work around it’s items that would look like a disqualifier for the favorite list. I dont know if I was able to beat me current day on a target paper group, but I know I was confident of hitting something in the woods at random yardage better than I am now. I’m sure it was from more practice also…


  21. I would have to put the Sheridan “C” Blue Streak on my list. I still have the one my dad bought for me in 1968. It evey has the factory Williams receiver sight. I liked it so well that I bought another to scope a few years back.

    Mike



  22. The only way to buy vintage airguns around here even though this is Los Angeles a huge population area is to go to a lot of gun shows.
    And that is real hit and miss, mostly miss. It would be a waste of time and money to go to gun shows if the only reason to go is for airguns.
    I’d like to get the no longer made Daisy thats like a 880 except 22 and the Crosman thats like a 2100 except 22.


  23. B.B. I own 6 air rifles and 2 air pistols and by far two of my favorites are the last two I bought and the most inexpensive I own. The Crosman 1077 and the Crosman 2240, I can shoot both of these guns all day and get mad when night falls and I can’t shoot anymore. Funny how I chased more and more expensive guns just to come back around to these two, maybe I should have started with them first!
    On a side note I went to a sporting goods store locally about a 30 minute drive that I visit every so often just to see what they have and pickup pellets as they sell some decent brands. I asked the counter guy about a pellet tin ,amongst a mess of stuff, that I had noticed before on my visits, and he hands me the tin. The tin is half screwed on, dented top and bottom, and scotch taped multiple times, and rusting. I look at it and it’s the oldest tin of .177 cal Eley Wasps the world has ever seen… I think I’m going to speak up and ask to look at things more wherever I go because you never know what youay find…



      • Gunfun1 all the pellets in the tin were in great shape! Surprised the heck out of me considering the condition of the tin. They are a pretty cool looking pellet actually and funny thing is I bought a tin of rws Superdome in .22 and they look almost identical. Maybe Buldawg should give the super domes a try.


    • I’m wrong just talked to Buldawg its the Ely magnums in .22 cal. They look like bullets and thats why I thought they could be good still. The .177 wasp are a diablo I believe he said.


    • Ricka
      if you ever run across some 22 caliber Eley magnum pellets that you do not want to buy then buy them for me and I will pay you for them plus plus shipping to me. I am constantly on the lookout for them as my hatsan AT 44 shoot them very well and with good accuracy at fifty yards,

      BD


    • Ricka
      No worries on the 177 wasps or 22s wasps for that matter as I am only interested in the 22 magnums and they come in a 3 inch diameter tin that is black around the outer diameter and yellow in the center of the lid with the word Magnum in large black letters and hold 300 solid no2 pellets is exactly what they say on the tin with word Eley in white on the outer black part of the tin.

      BD


      • Buldawg
        Had to move down here it was to thin and it wouldnt accept my reply.

        We already talked a bit over the weekend about that and I said I would do your piston. The only thing you need to txt me a picture of the side view of the piston and a top veiw as if you were looking down in the piston like if the front was sitting on the table with the piston standing up. I want to see how its designed.


      • Buldawg I will keep my eye out for you but the chances as you know are always slim. I just got lucky that day I guess but have you tried the rws Superdome? I bought them in .22 and was surprised to see they are almost identical to the wasps in .177 I bought.


        • Ricka
          Yea it was just by chance I came across the one I did on ebay and won them in the auction but I don’t even remember what I paid for them now. They were not cheap but not that expensive by some of todays pellets prices, I think I paid 15 or 20 bucks for 300. The superdomes I do have some and they shoot pretty good in my hatsan but are to ligjht and almost go supersonic and definitely go transonic so they are not that accurate out to 50 yards. The reason I want the eley magnums is they look just like a 22LR bullet, weigh 30 grains and my hatsan shoots them at 750 fps and groups inside an inch at 50 yards with them and they have 38 fpe at the target. So just in case you do find some I will buy them from you without question.

          My hatsan tends to like the heavier pellets the best and if I could get 22 cal bullets that were the right diameter for are pellets guns I would buy some 32 grain one to try but they are not the same so I been told. I need to measure some of my 22 bullets and see for myself.

          BD


  24. I agree with you on the Hakim. I bought one at a show about a year ago….never knew they existed. I have a thing for military trainers and this just fit. Mine looks like it was used as a tomato stake at one point but it shoots darn straight and it is quite a unique bit of history…..a very heavy bit of history as well.

    The Avanti is on my short list of airguns….I hope to try one out soon.


  25. BB,

    You might want to reconsider your statement of the TX being more accurate than the 300s at ANY distance. I find that hard to believe. The way I see it, the 300s is the most accurate coiled-springer ever build up to approximately 20 metres. At 10meters standing, the 300s will hold its own against any modern 10m competition pcp or single stroke pneumatic airrifle. My 300s has never been outshot by any sporter rifle.

    When fitted with a huge scope, the fwb is a tremendous hunting rifle.
    Yes, it is low powered, but its accuracy compensates for the lack of power. In fact, the 300s has put more game in the bag than all my other rifles have done together. In my country youre not allowed to hunt with airguns. So, for urban pestcontrol, you simply dont want wounded animals, you want to take them out with the very first shot.

    Maybe its an item for your blog, maybe you wanna do so matchmaking:
    Vintage target rifles vs. Modern sporters!!
    Fwb 300s vs tx 200
    Anschutz LG 380 vs hw 77/97
    Walther lgr MU vs modern lgu
    The “catch weight” at 15 meters.
    That would be fun!!!

    Tip for iron sighted hunting: put the frontpost up side down if you dont want to obscue the view when holding over.
    My .22 hw80 is scoped with anschutz diopter and a self made frontpost insert. Ive put the frontpost upside down….so when holdover is required, you will not block youre view of aim… works fine for me at 40+ meters rabbit en crow shooting.


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