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How are airguns designed?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

AirForce Texan big bore air rifle: Part 1
AirForce Texan big bore air rifle: Part 2

This report covers:

• How the Texan was designed
• Establish the power baseline
• Accuracy
• Tradeoffs
• Testing
• The point
• Last point

I’m excited about today’s topic because it gives me a chance to do many things I’ve wanted to do. I linked this blog to the AirForce Texan because today’s topic arose from a comment posted to that report. Blog reader Kevin Wilmeth said the following.

“I would presume from that [my comment that the 34-inch barrel was selected by AirForce for several good reasons], that AirForce had their performance target identified beforehand, and built the barrel to fit it.

And I’m absolutely with you on kinetic energy having some significant limitations as a measure of hunting performance on medium game. I look forward to what’s coming!”

Kevin, you’ve been inside my head! You’ve made 2 really good comments here — each of which deserves an entire blog report to answer. I will address the comment about kinetic energy in a future report. Today, I want to talk about how airguns are designed.

How the Texan was designed
I was not a part of the Texan design team, but I did participate in the early testing of the rifle and did discuss the gun’s design with AirForce engineers at some length. Let’s start with the power.

Establish the power baseline
Dennis Quackenbush has pretty well established where the big bore muzzle energy bar needs to be set with his Outlaw Long Action rifles. To date he’s built and delivered over 1,600 of them. Compare that to the small handfuls of guns that other boutique big bore airgun makers have produced, and it’s easy to see that Quackenbush is the long pole in the tent. His .458 rifles produce around 500 foot-pounds. Yes, there are other big bores that produce even more energy than that, but as I’ve said, they aren’t being made in the numbers that Dennis’ rifles are. So, 500 foot-pounds is the established benchmark.

What about the Korean big bore guns, you ask? Haven’t they sold in even greater numbers than Quackenbush’s rifles? I really don’t know the answer, but I suspect they have. But the Korean guns have several drawbacks. First, they max out around the 200 foot-pound mark, give or take. And second, they are made with 0.451- to .452-inch bores that can only use pistol, bullets (.45 ACP bullets). Those bullets are ideal for 200 foot-pounds, but they’re not heavy enough to achieve the 500 foot-pound level we’re talking about.

Yes, those rifles will kill deer — that isn’t the question. The question is: What power level do American airgunners want from a big bore air rifle? The answer is 500 foot-pounds. If you don’t understand that, then the rest of today’s report will not make any sense.

I guess I’m saying that the energy level of a .458 big bore airgun has been established by convention — in the same way that the .223 Remington/5.56mm cartridge is so widely accepted by American hunters — despite its weak ballistics. Ten million ARs can’t be wrong!

Okay, so with the energy established, the next thing AirForce was after was accuracy. What do you expect from a .458 big bore air rifle? The couch commandos want half-inch groups at 100 yards, while the hunters are willing to settle for 3 inches. But if you’re about to launch a brand new big bore that you’re betting the farm on, you want to attract as many buyers as possible. So, how much accuracy is enough?

This is where the 34-inch barrel comes into play. AirForce tested other barrel lengths, and at close range all of them were acceptably accurate. But at long range, which I’ll now define as 100 yards and beyond, the 34-inch barrel had an edge. They figured that 100 yards would become the new standard, if it isn’t already.

Now, guess what length is the the maximum length that a barrel can be rifled with technology that’s affordable? Time’s up! If you guessed 34 inches, you would be wrong. As it turns out, 34 inches is beyond the capability of most rifling machines. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m saying that those companies that make rifle barrels and have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their barrel-making machinery can’t do it. Or at least they aren’t doing it.

Figure 80 percent of the barrel makers in the world can’t or won’t produce a 34-inch barrel. I’m not talking about old Zeke Graybeard up in Buzzard Hollow, West Virginia, who makes flintlock barrels that are 48 inches long. Zeke can make 34-inch barrels in his sleep. Takes him about a full day to make one barrel, and he charges $300-500 to do it. When AirForce comes along and wants to buy 500 barrels, old Zeke looks at the calendar and says he probably won’t live long enough to make them all. And AirForce needs those 500 barrels delivered over the next 6 months! So the Zekes of the world are out as far as suppliers of barrels for AirForce are concerned.

Now, Remington can turn out a barrel every 3 minutes on each of their 41 hammer-forging machines. And those machines can accept a mandrel (a hardened steel rod with a negative impression of the inside of the barrel) of up to 26.25 inches in length. You want to buy 500 34-inch .458 barrels from Remington? Fine, just give them $250,000 to install a specially built hammer-forging machine that can accept the longer mandrel, and, oh yes, you’ll have to pay to have that mandrel made, as well. Figure $400,000 to set them up to make your barrels.

Are you seeing where this is going? There just aren’t that many places that can supply 34-inch barrels. You can argue this point all you want and send me links to companies that supply barrel liners — I’m telling you what AirForce just went through to get 34-inch barrels for the Texan.

Okay, let’s say you locate a source of 34-inch barrels. What’s the ideal rifling twist rate for your new rifle? Well, the “books” say a lot of things, but the only way to know for sure is to test them all. So, that’s what AirForce did. I thought a 1:18″ twist would be the best, and they thought it would be either 1:20″ or 1:22″. In the end, the 1:20″ twist seemed to work the best. But it was a compromise of many things.

A faster twist means more rotational friction on the bullet and slower velocities. A slower twist gains velocity but may not stabilize longer, heavier bullets out at longer ranges. What do you do? What if there’s a super-accurate bullet that weighs 300 grains and produces 415 foot-pounds in a 1:22″ twist barrel, but the 1:20″ twist barrel will also handle a 405-grain bullet and get you 500 foot-pounds, while it’s only a little less accurate with the 300-grainer? These are the kinds of decisions AirForce had to make with each design change they made — and there were hundreds of them!

And, really, when you get down to it, tradeoffs are a major part of design work. The first thing is to figure out how to make something work, then you have to figure out the best way to make it work and finally you have to figure out how to produce whatever you came up with.

So, the design is underway, and you have a prototype built. Now, it’s time to test it. Here’s a good question: How do you know during testing whether the person doing the testing is any good, or if he’s more of a hindrance than a help? How do you know the test is being done right? Well, the fact is — you don’t. Your head engineer may also be a lousy shot! You hope not, but that does happen. What you need are many tests by several people. To get that, you need to build several rifles — not just a single prototype. And it goes on and on ad nauseum.

The point
I am going to stop here and make a huge point. Some readers may have thought that all this development work was done on CAD computers by a phalanx of scientific types in white lab coats. In fact — that’s an inside joke among airgun manufacturers! There is some of that, but what you’ve read to this point is by far the more accurate description of how this process unfolds. There ain’t no board of governors that writes up all the performance parameters so you know exactly what has to be built. It’s people like you and me making educated guesses. But the difference is that when these folks guess wrong, whole companies go out of business. So, people who have a record of guessing right are listened to, and the blue-sky dreamers are tuned out.

The other day someone asked me on this blog how far a bullet from a Texan would travel, and I guessed a 405-grain slug might travel between 1,500 and 2,000 yards. Right away, I was criticized by another reader who informed me there was no way a subsonic bullet could possible travel that far.

When I made that “guess,” I had in mind the 1992 Army experiment done at the Yuma Proving Grounds that used millimeter wave radar to track the flight of blackpowder bullets fired from buffalo rifles of the 1870s. A forensic scientist at Yuma had written a paper that claimed it would have been impossible for buffalo hunter Billy Dixon to shoot an Indian off his horse at 1,538 yards (at the second battle of Adobe Walls, June1874), because the 50-90 Sharps rifle he used could not shoot that far.

Well, the Army scientists discovered in this test that subsonic bullets will not only shoot that far, but many times farther! And my prediction of the range the Texan will shoot a 405-grain bullet turned out to be conservative. According to blog reader JimQwerty123, Chairgun software says it will shoot to beyond 2,300 yards.

The point is that I make guesses, but usually they’re based on my experience. Yesterday, I admitted to blog reader Claude that I was wrong about the penetration potential of a BB fired from the Colt Single Action Army revolver, so I’m not always right. But when I’m advising a manufacturer like AirForce on a project, I know how high the stakes are and try very hard to minimize any mistakes. If it’s a question of personal taste, like what I think of black rifles, I tell them my prejudices up front. But when it comes to what will work, and more importantly, what will sell in today’s airgun market, I’m very careful about what I say.

Last point
In 2006 I took an idea for a precharged airgun to Crosman. They were not in the precharged airgun business at that time, and in fact they had made some marketing blunders by rebadging certain European precharged guns in their recent past. But I knew they wanted to get into the precharged arena and thought I had the ideal vehicle to do that.

So, I made a PowerPoint presentation to them at the SHOT Show that outlined a precharged rifle I thought they should build. I thought it should fill to a maximum pressure below 2,000 psi to make it easier to fill with a hand pump. And there were a host of other performance parameters I thought it should have.

But I went farther than that. I felt Crosman should use this simple PCP to build their internal manufacturing capability to make PCP airguns in general. Stop buying from other companies and make them right there in-house.

I was met by a lot of skepticism. A 2,000 psi fill — was I out of my mind? Didn’t I realize that a .177 air rifle HAS to shoot 1,000 f.p.s. to be successful? I said that I did realize that, and that my rifle could do that on 2,000 psi air. I knew it could because I owned a USFT rifle that shot heavy .177 Kodiak pellets at more than 900 f.p.s. and got 55 shots on one 1,650 psi charge of air. But they weren’t sure.

A month later they flew me in to New Bloomfield, NY, to discuss the project further. I carried a device in my suitcase that I was going to use to demonstrate the possibility of my idea. It was a hose with an inline step-down regulator that attached to a scuba tank on one end and a Benjamin AS 392T CO2 rifle on the other. I would demonstrate how an air rifle could do all I’d promised right there in their war room (that’s what they called their conference room).

But I didn’t have to. Crosman has an engineer named Ed Schultz, who’s forgotten more about airguns than most engineers will ever know. In the month between our conversations, he’d prototyped two Crosman 2260 rifles — one in .177 and the other in .22 — and had them shooting exactly as I’d promised. Not only was the .177 getting 1,000 f.p.s. — it was also getting more than 20 good shots per fill!

Folks, on that day I was received like Moses pointing the way to the promised land! Every executive at Crosman was now convinced that this was the way to go and the rest of the story — well, that rifle became the Benjamin Discovery.

So — Kevin Wilmeth — do you see what you did? You scratched my itchy spot, and I had to respond. Airguns are designed in a number of different ways. Some are as simple as sitting down with a Chinese airgun factory and selecting models from their catalog, then adding the features you desire. The biggest decisions to be made are the graphics that will go on the outside of the box.

What I just described for you is the real way airguns get designed. Someone has an idea, and a lot of work is done to turn it into something nice. Just be sure you know what “nice” is before you spend the time and money to get there!

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

161 thoughts on “How are airguns designed?”

  1. BB
    Your words are absalutly true and dead on.

    The same senerio has unfolded many times over in a different way at the machine shop I have worked at for over 30 years.

    Many things have to be tryed but you have to minimize those many things with knowledge. And knowledge doesn’t just happen overnight. Knowledge is acquired. And when someone looks to get something done and right and with cost effectiveness in my the person that has a proven track record over time will most of the time be chosen.

    Its when that person is not chosen is when important pieces of the puzzle can be left out.

    I totally love today’s blog.

    • And when someone looks to get something done and right and with cost effectiveness in (mind) the person that has the track record overtime will most of the time be chosen.

      I had to say that again because it didn’t have the right word in place. Sorry.

      • Gunfun
        One down and one to go. I just got the Titan and AGD does pack their pellets the same as PA does now anyway as mine were in the same black foam packaging as PA uses.

        My 48 is out for delivery now also so it should be here anywhere from 2 to 5 pm today so I am going to get the titan ready to shoot some to see if it is the same as the one you got from me and will let you know.


        • Buldawg
          I haven’t got pellets from AGD in a long ,long time so that’s good to know.

          And text me later and let me know what trigger your 48 has for sure when you get it. And text me some target pictures later.

          I’m out shooting now. Its windy as I don’t know what today. Pretty much 10-15 mph steady wind and gusts to 25 mph.

          Going to see what the LGU,TX and Monsoons made of today. Gonna see how they do in the wind.

          • Gunfun
            its about the same here today as far as the wind is concerned so I don’t know that my targets will be of any real useful info as I am going to shoot the Titan some here at first just to see if it shoots like the Vitamin and then get the scope mounted and sighted in so I don’t know if I will have any targets that are a good representation of its true accuracy with the wind and having two guns to shoot and sort out.

            but I will let you know what my thought are on them both that’s for sure. If you get a chance read the post I left for BB about Beemans new dual caliber gun that has both a 177 and 22 caliber barrel in the same gun that do not need to be swapped out like there earlier dual calibers and it can be shot either singularly in 177 then 22 or both at the same time as it has a switch that allows you to decide if you shoot one pellet at a time or both together, Its a novel idea that may or may not catch on as I am sure it will depend on how accurate it is and my question is if both pellets hit at the same POI or do they hit at the space set by the barrel arrangements. see the link below.



                  • BW
                    It would surprise me for both to be accurate as it hard enough to make one barrel that shoots accurately in a gun much less two in one gun. If it indeed does shoot accurately out of both barrels then their quality control and machining tolerances are way above the normal for most manufactures of mass produced products

                    It could be done no doubt but since we have no cost figure for it there is no way to determine if they went above the normal to build this gun. I highly doubt that the costs involved to produce a one of a kind custom type gun was not spent to make this gun as its looks alone do not warrant that much money spent in its development as it looks like another Buck Rogers space gun in my opinion.


                    • I was going for a O/U /BP .45 when I stumbled across this site the 1st time. I was all but sold on that 2nd shot! That’s been quite a while now, but somehow I miraculously remembered I liked my guns to be sweet & innocent 😉
                      Glad to be here!

                • You all need to slow down for a second.

                  Everybody likes .22 caliber for hunting. Right.

                  Then people like field target shooting .177 caliber.

                  Each caliber has its advantage over the other for a specific type of use.

                  If I was a person that was on a budget and I only wanted to buy one air gun this could fill the purpose.

                  And its not that big of deal to have the amount of turret adjustment clicks written down on you cheat sheet for what caliber you are going to shoot for that day. That is just as simple as writing down hold over or under on your cheat sheet.

                  It all boils down to the final question. Did they make a quality gun that can produce respectable groups in either caliber.

                  • Gunfun
                    Its back to that million dollar question is it accurate with both barrels or not and if so then it may be a good starter gun as you stated.

                    It is in fact a break barrel gun so it just depends on if they did their homework with its design and it works like it should so if BB does get to test it we will have our answer.

                    I am not saying it is a bad design or gun, but rather just as you say all the time I am skeptical that it can in fact be accurate with both barrels. I will say I am not into the olive drab green Buck Rogers look though. as you know I like it plain and function able not all fancied up.


                    • Buldawg
                      It has definatly got to be better than replaceable barrels held in with one bolt like their old design.

                      At least the barrels are in place and locked in.

                      And the best thing that could be said right now is we will have to see.

                      You know as well as I do if its a good design people will say. Well also goes for if it is a bad design. People will say.

                      You never know you and me just may end up with one at some point in time to decide if it will be a keeper or not.

                      You know what I mean.

                    • Gunfun
                      Yea barrels that are fixed in the gun are much better than interchangeable ones as over time there has to be wear that allows for misalignment.

                      We do have to wait and see how it performs but I can say right now I will not own one as I do not care for its looks at all as its the old mattelomatic Buck Rogers space looking gun and I like mine plain janes.


                    • Gunfun
                      yea I searched for serial number date info and it turn out the early Diana’s up until about 08 or 09 have a date code stamped into the action just above the stock line on the left side above the trigger in the form of the month and year so mine is stamped 03 08 for march of 88.

                      It does not appear to be nearly 27 years old that’s for sure as you saw the pics and it did not look that old so I do think I believe him when he said it was only shot once as it did diesel for the first 3 or 4 shots today. I got the scope mounted and just have to align and set the eye relief tomorrow in the daylight and secure the screws and start shooting for grouping and then sight it in . I think I will do very well with it.

                      I am reassuring you that if I do decide to let it go you will be the first to be told.


                  • Gunfun
                    Just checked my date code on the 48 and it was made in March of 1988 so it is almost 27 years old and still shoot like new so I do believe him when he said it was only shot once.


                    • Buldawg
                      88 you say. Well from what you said earlier when we talked that it was hitting hard that means they did not shoot it much or took care of it or both.

                      Sounds like a cool gun.

                      And you know what I said before. Let me know if you decide to get rid of it. I’m interested.

                    • Buldawg
                      I keep hearing if both barrels are accurate.

                      Does that mean that one barrel will only be able to produce a good group? A good group is what a accurate gun or barrel is.

                      Sighting in is what makes a accurate gun or barrel that groups good hit the poa.

                      It doesn’t matter where the barrel is placed in relation to the sighting device.

                    • Reb
                      That’s funny you say that. I was talking to Buldawg on the phone earlier today that my brother got one of them pistols called the judge I believe.

                      Its a stubby revolver that shoots a 410 shot gun shell or a 45 bullet.

                      How’s that for a home defense pistol.

                    • My apologies if I missed a part of the conversation here. I’ve certainly had my attention drawn in a lot of different directions in the last few days! 🙂

                      What’s the .45/410 close enough for?

            • Buldawg
              I will say that I like it better then the old interchangeable barrel design they had. I did not like that design at all

              And I think this new system will work its just like having two guns in one.

              And yes the poi verses poa would have to be different if both barrels are parallel to each other.

              If they have both barrels positioned so they point towards each other there would be a place at one given distance were the pellets poi would intersect the poa.

              So that would have to be tested.

              I do know that Baretta made a double barrel I believe 9mm pistol that can be shot one barrel at a time or both together. And they did specify that the barrels were positioned in a way that the poi was the same at a given distance.

              So that will be interesting to learn about as people get the dual barrel Beeman.

              • Gunfun
                It will be interesting to see just how they did align the two barrels as to whether it is parallel or to intersect at a given distance.

                I was not aware that Baretta made a pistol with two barrels that were side by side in 9mm and that would be one heck of an assailant stopper getting hit by two 9mm at once.

                I am hoping BB gets a chance to test the new Beeman to see just how they did set the barrels in the gun.


                • Buldawg
                  I watched a show on tv about the Baretta in the last year. So I don’t know if that is a recent show or a older rerun. So maybe the pistol has not been released yet. But more than likely I think its old news.

                  But it sure was fun watching them shoot the gun.

                  All I can say is he was hitting just above the 6 o’clock position and ended above the 12 o’clock position when he was done firing.

                  Sounds like fun to me.

                  • Gunfun
                    Yea it sounds like it would be fun for sure. I just sent you a couple texts with pics of the target that I shot with the Titan at 35 yards and it is a keeper and I believe it will get much better as I shoot it.

                    it is night and day difference between it being a regular NP and the NP2 that I sent back at Christmas as there is no comparison as to how they shoot with the NP being much tamer in it shot cycle and accuracy than the NP2 was with both being brand new so Crosman in my opinion dropped the ball big time with the NP2.


                  • BW
                    I cannot hit much of anything with my original 1911 45 with one barrel but then it is 100 years old also and has never been accurized either, but the innovation that we are seeing in guns nowadays never ceases to amaze me as to the imagination that some people have.

                    My only question is it actually capable of hitting what you aim at but then with two bullets shot at one I guess it does double your odds of at least one bullet hitting the target. I like 45s so don’t get me wrong but 8 rounds even times two is still not enough bullets to make me feel comfortable so I will stick with my P89 Ruger with 15 +one capacity with my 10 extra mags for a total of 150 round in less that three minutes.


                    • It’s obviously not meant to be a target gun…

                      As a personal defense gun, that likely means shooting distances around 7-15 yards, with a target zone considered around 8″ diameter (my CCW class used blank 8.5×11 sheets of paper as the target — keeping shots on the paper was sufficient).

                • BD,

                  You need to visit my Facebook site. There I show the Dueller — a double barreled .45 ACP that has a twin slide and two mags welded together. Yes, it shoots both cartridges at the same time!

                  Look for The Godfather of Airguns.


                  • BB
                    I was just commenting on what GF1 had stated about the double barreled pistol as he thought he remembered it being a 9mm, but Baron Wulfraed put a link here to the 45 you are talking about and I believe it is the same one that GF1 was talking about so my mistake in stating it was a 9mm as I never knew the 45 even existed as well.

                    I would go to your Facebook site but I do not do social media of any kind and have no interest in doing so but I do stand corrected as that 45 is quite a clever innovation and would be fun to shoot but still curious as if it is accurate and if so at what distances. I have always heard that the colt 45 1911 was designed as an officers last chance in keeping himself from being captured. My father was in both the Korean war and WWII as a copilot in the B-26 bombers, but he never talked much about the wars other than to sat they limped their plane back to base to many times to count.

                    I do own an original colt model 1911 that was used in WWI by a Perkins Campbell that a friend of mines father pickup from the deceased in soldier in 1917 and brought home with him. When his father passed his mother sold all of his guns and I was lucky enough to purchase the 45 for 100 bucks with an extra barrel four magazines and the original cavalry flap over holster with the soldiers name and date stamped into the back of the leather and also got a two mag belt pouch and three boxes of military ammo. the serial number on the gun matches up to a batch of 5000 produced by the Springfield armory in 1914. Its still in it original condition and was only shot about 20 times by me and now is just kept as a testament to the loss of life that our country suffered in the wars we have fought.


                  • Edith
                    I had to reply here as there is no reply button below your post.

                    I look forward to that becoming a real good way to see what is posted to the social media sites without actually having to use them. I just don’t use social media as my wife used Facebook for awhile to stay in touch with family but it only served to create nothing but disagreements and fussing within the family so she shut here account down and has not used it since and as for me I am old Skool and I will either email, text or talk on the phone but that is the extent of my desires to use the internet or smart phones for communication with friends and family.

                    Hope you get it to work as you state you want it to as I will give it a look see and decide from there if it is acceptable for my needs.


                    • BD,

                      I’m creating a website for The Godfather of Airguns (I have 8 domain names reserved 🙂 ) and will post everything from our socnet sites (and more) on those web pages.


                  • BB
                    So I was not entirely wrong and I would like to see one in person and know if it shoots as good as the video that Baron Wulfraed put a link to for the 45 as it shows them shooting it but does not show what they shot at or how the bullets grouped so it is still uncertain if it is good for anything but point plank ranges.


                  • Edith
                    That’s sound very cool and I am looking forward to checking the websites out as I do surf the web so that would be right up my alley and a lot of others as well I believe.

                    Eagerly awaiting there unveiling.


        • I think I’ll take you up on reassembling my 3120, after looking at it’s similarities to many other Benji’s. If you do get it rolling I can guarantee it’ll be a blast to not have to fumble with ammo between shots! I gotta couple twofers outta it after replacing the necessary parts and cleaning out the RTV some Dip tried to seal it with.
          But I was informed today that my second installment on back-pay wouldn’t be until May, which definitely puts me in the paycheck to paycheck category.
          We’ll discuss the particulars via e-mail.Cool ?


    • GF1,

      I just found the email notification of the tune job you did on the 300 in my spam folder.

      It sounds like the hone job did it up right. The seal on the end of the piston is really no more than a bumper. I am surprised that shortening the spring upped the power. That would seem almost counterintuitive, but it seems your experience with engines helped out.

      I am glad you are enjoying it so much. The stocks are really very ergonomic. I have not touched the other one yet. Maybe I will fool with it some while watching the game this weekend.

      • RR
        I’m just totally enjoying shooting the 300s.

        Its easier to cock now,it hardly even bumps the recoil system. It has a very calm shot cycle now.

        Yes that was something that happened on the old high rpm high compression engines back in the day.

        Blow by. The pistons were moving at such a high speed that the rings didn’t have time to seal and make compression. But there is a little more involved on a engine. If you have 350 cubic inches above the piston you have t evacuate 350 cubinches of pressure below the piston for the rings to seal. Thats what the pcv valve does on a engine. Known as positive crankcase ventilation.

        But anyway yes I believe the excess spring pressure that the 300s had was pushing the piston so hard and fast that it did not leave time for the cast iron ring to seat and seal when the gun fired.

        I don’t know how much research you have done on the parts for the 300s but I found that FWB does offer a zero gap ring tune kit for the 300s. That ring would probably benefit from the heavier factory spring.

        But I do believe that the lighter spring has other benefits beside recoil reduction and and better sealing. I can use my pointing finger on the cocking arm and cock the gun that way. So that means that the arm is less stressed along with the sliding breech cover.

        As we said in drag racing. Sometimes you have to slow down to go faster. Power is nothing if you can’t use it. Just like your saying what is 500 fpe if you can’t hit something with it.

        • GF1,

          Another little thing I was thinking was about the bumper. If you were to shave it down a bit, you would increase the swept volume of air and possibly increase the performance just a little bit more. Sort of like shaving a head.

          • RR
            I do believe your right.

            Another thing that would speed the air flow up to the barrel or pellet would be to chamfer the piston side of the transfer port hole. And it could be possibly done with 3 or 4 different angles or chamfers if think in those terms.

            That would have the same effect as a 3 or 4 angle valve job. It would help transition the air from that flat surface to the hole of the transfer port. It could even be a radius in the case of or air guns. And then polish the radius and transfer port through hole.

            That would ease the air flow to transfer to the barrel more efficiently.

            Which should equal a higher performance to the components that are already in place in the system.

            See high performance really isn’t a bad phrase. Were not hot rodding the air gun were just making it work better.

              • Reb
                A bad thing would be opening the hole up in the transfer port of a spring gun. That hole has to be kept at a certain size to keep the pressure directed in the opening of the back of the pellet.

                If that hole is opened to big it is just like when the port in the head of a car engine is smaller then the intake manifold port. The air flow will hit that smaller diameter and disrupt the air flow.

                But now if we go on the piston side of the air gun compression cylinder and we look at the transfer port hole (and notice its called a port). If we break the sharp corner off the transfer port hole without touching the hole diameter it will aid in air flow.

                And it can be sort of looked at as a jet. But I like to think of it more as a venturi. A venturi usually has a bigger entrance diameter and transustions to a smaller diameter. Then it stays that diameter or gets a little bigger.

                If you are reasonable and only remove a minimal amount of material on the transfer port you can turn it into a venturi. A venturi is designed to speed up air flow.

                • I remember everybody talking about the Demon carbs and how tunable they were but never got my hands on one. I think those days are over for me as well as the Motorcycles. I was just cautioning you to go easy on it.
                  I’ve read that my QB- 36 would probably benefit from a restrictor.

                  • Reb
                    I knew you were watching out for me. 🙂

                    And the Demon carbs were basically a Holly double pumper and yes if I remember right you could put inserts in the bores to change venturi size.

                    And as we were just talking another variable to get to match up to get your combination working right. Or mess your combination up.

                    Balance, its all about balance. Its all got to work together.

  2. Awesome sauce. Very educational as usual, B.B.–thank you again. I rather like that the stories seem perfectly understandable, and even familiar: I have heard a few similar ones from the firearm world as well. And as anyone who has seen me spew forth comments here has probably picked up, I also love the art of intentional design. I find the story of the production Steyr (Mannlicher) Scout, with its historical twists and turns, to be utterly fascinating in and of itself, and especially capped off with the idea that the gun was fully designed beforehand, presenting a substantial risk for anyone bringing it to market. Jeff Cooper was as vocal as possible in lauding Mannlicher for taking that risk and making the result as magnificent as it was, and I understand better why, now. (The Scout still remains a niche item more than a mainstream one, but that may make the story the more remarkable for all the investment in tooling…)

    • Kevin,

      Though you feel the Texan is a bit long for your taste and if a shroud was to be added, it would be even longer, but as you are aware, it should be given some serious consideration. A long rifle has a 42 inch barrel. As you pointed out, though it would not be much fun for target shooting if all you have is a hand pump, for survival hunting it should be very nice indeed.

      With basic casting equipment and molds and a good quality hand pump it would be cheap and easy to feed and the power level would easily allow you to take deer, caribou and possibly moose at 100 yards. Although I would discourage doing so for quite obvious reasons, in a dire situation a well placed shot would have sufficient power to bring down a brown bear. I would hope that you had a backup plan in such a situation though, just in case.

      • I’ll be the first to admit I’m opinionated on…well, let’s be honest, everything. The flip side is that there is always a reason for my choices, even if nobody else may agree with it. 🙂

        I always have a backup plan, for sure. And although I’d like to think I’d not take after an Alaskan brownie on purpose with something so light, the word “never” is arguably the most dangerous word in the English language, and I’d sure as heck rather have two precision shots from the Texan than wishful thinking.

        And really, for stopping a charge, the primary consideration is penetration anyway, not necessarily raw power. Lots of people have heard the stories of WDM Bell’s hundreds of elephants, but the most impressive thing I have ever seen in this regard is a huge brown bear skull in a humble little glass case at the Rhode House pizza joint in Glennallen, Alaska. It has a single 7mm hole perfectly centered between the eyes, and the accompanying placard tells the tale of the small woman who was seen to coolly place that single shot from a 7×57 Mauser, in full charge, at less than ten yards’ distance. That was on my first trip to Alaska, and the family was traveling through town enroute to Anchorage; I was thoroughly impressed, and in a bit of chitchat with the waiter I commented that it would be fascinating to meet such a cool hand.

        “Yeah? Well, she’s making your pizza now.” I love Alaska stories. There are a lot of them. 🙂

  3. And kudos to you Visionary BB! Because the Discovery is one of my most beloved guns in my Rack to Date!
    If the Texan end up to being what its hoping to be? It might as well be my first Big Bore Airgun!

  4. Good topic today. I always find it interesting to know the story of how things are conceived, designed and produced.

    Somewhat related to that, I would love to see an article about the various stock styles on air rifles, how they came to be and what functions the features perform. Personally I find the style of stock used on 10M rifles – back when they were made of wood anyways – to be extremely comfortable. My FWB 602 fits so well it feels almost like I’m sitting myself down in the world’s most comfortable chaise lounge when I shoulder it and I’ve always wondered why that sort of stock is so seldom seen on anything but a 10M rifle. I would have loved it if my Weihrauch springers had been available with a stock shaped like the HW-55 Custom Match you tested a while back.

      • BB
        I am interested on your thoughts on the new Beeman dual precision air gun unveiled at this years Shot show and also would like to know if you will be reporting on it anytime this year.

        I find it interesting if not odd as to what their marketing people are thinking by making a air gun that shoots 177 and 22 caliber pellets at the same time with out the need to change barrels.

        I guess it could be a double your chance for hitting your target sort of idea. I am also interested if the two pellets will hit the same POI or are the barrels designed to shoot at different POAs set by the barrel spacing in the design.


      • BB
        Your description of how the design of air guns ring very true in the world of motorcycle development and research as we would get new design in that you could tell right off if the person that designed the part or system was a good shot so to speak or could not hit the broad side of a barn.

        I worked with one engineer from England that was very good at his job and I believe the sole reason for that and this is also most likely why the British air guns are of such high quality.

        To get your engineering degree in England it is required for the engineer to spend one year as a mechanic/technician and in that year is required to take a design or system of what ever field of engineering they are majoring in and start from scratch in the entire process of design, manufacture and testing of the chosen part or system until it is a proven and validated final product or system.

        That if implemented here in the US would ensure that all engineers had a hands on knowledge of the entire process that is involved in research and development of any new product or design. This engineer was one that I work very closely with on all of his projects and designs to insure that they in fact performed as he intended them to do and he asked for me exclusively when starting the testing of any new part or system as he new that his and my thought process and methods for perfection were very well aligned and would not question my reports or suggestion for changes or revisions of his parts or systems being tested.

        So I am in agreement with you that its is the utmost importance that the person shooting the gun so to speak be at least capable of hitting his intended target consistently.


      • Thanks for the link! I did a search but couldn’t refine it enough so I ended up with too many returns. As a result I read a lot of interesting stuff in the older articles but never came across that one.

    • I saw a video report from Jim Chapman at the SHOT Show about this air rifle. The prototype has already been used to kill wild hogs, red deer and a black bear. This is a seriously powerful air rifle. To the best of my knowledge, there is no real reason that with proper shot placement within a reasonable range, you could kill anything that walks the face of the Earth with this air rifle.

      What is a reasonable range? I know there are a bunch out there who will end up trying to kill wild hogs at 500 yards with this rifle and one or two of them might even pull it off. These are also the same bunch who wound a bunch of animals that crawl off somewhere and die a slow death.

      My definition of a reasonable range with this air rifle is one hundred yards or less. With what hints about the accuracy that BB has been dropping, you should have no problem with a heart shot at that range and with the penetration that honker slug will have, it should pass clear through most large game.

      Me, should I get this artillery piece and decide to use it for hunting will likely tune it and my skills for the brain case. A sledge hammer side the head works pretty good.

    • Bob,

      Here in the U.S. there are lots of animals that can be hunted with a .458 air rifle. Wild hogs are epidemic in several U.S. states and airguns are a good way to take them down. The locals here in Texas kill many of them each year.

      We also have exotic game ranches where the state hunting laws do not apply. Airguns are very popular at those places.

      And here in Texas, a small version of the whitetail deer is overrunning the easter part of the state. Larry Hannusch has killed many of them with a genuine Lowrenz air rifle from the early 1800s.


  5. BB,

    I feel we owe a big thanks to Dennis Quackenbush for what he has done to advance modern big bore air rifles. He has shown the air rifle companies that there is a marketplace for big bore and has set a very high bar for them to achieve. I also know that he and John McCaslin have had a least one rather long conversation about building big bores and I am sure Dennis has been a valuable source of information throughout the development of this air rifle.

    • RR,

      The whole world owes a debt to Dennis for all he has done. Though John’s Texan is nothing like Dennis’ Outlaw, you can be sure that it was the benchmark.

      Dennis is one of the greatest visionaries of this golden age of airgunning.


  6. Hi BB,
    I met a couple of the Crosman Engineers at the Arkansas show a few years ago. I learned a lot about how an airgun was designed those two days. There are so many more things to think about than I had ever considered.

    I am excited for the guys and gals at AirForce. The SS Condor has been a hit and I see Texan will be another one. I know they are building a new plant to give them more room to streamline their production and to give them room for new products. Tell them to make sure they include an indoor 100 yard range for you to use.

    David Enoch

    David Enoch

          • Sam
            I guess I need to install that Hawke Chairgun Pro app on my phone. I got it on my lap top but I’m not going to be around it for a while.

            Could of plugged some numbers in and it would show how high the projectile would fly.

            I may mess around with that later and plug some numbers in for the Texan.

            • GunFun,

              I think you could just sight in into a pellet trap of some sort and walk it back, adjusting your sights as you go. Then you won’t be far enough off to shoot your roof- unless you make a big change in projectile weight.

              For something of that power level, or much higher, from experience, sand makes a great bullet stoper.

              • Sam
                I never tried this out at 100 yards but I tried this out to 50 yards with various small bore air guns with good results.

                Get 5 pieces of note book paper and make a dot with a marker in the center of each paper. Put the papers out at 10,20,30,40 and 50 yards.

                Shoot at least 5 shots at each target paper at the dot you drew on the paper. Then go out and label each paper what yardage it was at. Like 10 yards for the paper that was at 10 yards and so on.

                Then lay from left to right the papers in order on a table from 10-50 yards. Then circle the group of 5 shots. Then play connect the dots. Basically draw a line starting at the 10 yard group you circled to the 20 yard group and so on up to the 50 yard target.

                Now when yo look at the line you drew it will show the trajectory of that pellet at those specific yards. And now you can also visually see what hold over or under you need to use at that distance.

                What we did is basically what Chairgun does but we did it in real life.

                • Set up 5 stands with large sheets of thin paper…

                  Start with a laser pointer (probably green to make it through the daylight) leveled at the shooting position.

                  Walk the farthest stand out and set it up with the laser near the center. Use a bubble level to set up a small cross hair.

                  Repeat for each stand as you move closer to the shooting station.

                  When done, you have all targets with dots/crosses at the identical height.

                  Now replace the laser with the leveled gun (well, with the sight plane leveled, the barrel will likely have some upward slope). Even better if the laser is a laser boresighter that was in a rested gun — if you don’t move the gun removing the boresighter all impact points should be at or below the laser line (ignore your sight line) so put the stands with the dots in the upper part of the paper.

                  Fire one shot — it should penetrate all sheets of paper (hence the need for thin paper — and massive projectile to reduce the velocity drop on penetrating each sheet).

                  Collect the sheets, align them on the dot/crosses, and project a bright light on the back, you should be able to see the trajectory change…

                  • Wulfraed
                    But that don’t give the pellets true trajectory.

                    You just pointed lines from the barrel to intersect with the scopes aim point.

                    That’s not the same as the pellet flying out of the barrel.

                    Or maybe I’m missing what your trying to point out.

                    • Where do I ever mention a scope…

                      I use the laser (and level) to produce the straight baseline from barrel to last stand, with markings for each intermediate distance.

                      If using a laser boresighter, it defines the HIGHEST point the projectile will ever be (since it is aligned with the barrel bore, and the projectile will be dropping from moment it exits). NO SIGHTS INVOLVED.

                      It removes the inherent uncertainty of having to actually sight on a spot at each varying distance as you have just one projectile penetrating all the ranged stands.

                      The straight line is the dots as based upon the laser. The trajectory is the difference in penetration point from the laser dot. The cross-hairs drawn using the level ensure that any mis-alignment (crooked paper on stand) is taken out of the evaluation.

                  • BW
                    I realize it not supposed to be a real accurate gun as my 45 is not at all accurate and like you say is for very close ranges.

                    I still prefer my 9mm Ruger with the high capacity magizines over a 45 as I have a 8 shot 380 colt mustang as well that fits in a back pocket very nicely but it just does not have the shot count to be a good CCW weapon for me.

                    The recoil of a double barreled 45 would be difficult to keep on target as well so although it looks cool I don’t really see the advantage to it as compared to a 15+1 round pistol myself.


            • Yea,

              You know more than me, I still have to do that. I’ve done 25/50/100/150 (and up to 300 in the army, but the standard was low) with CF rifle but not yet with pellet gun.

              • Sam
                Its pretty cool how it works out.

                I try to do that trajectory plotting with each one of my air guns I get after I figure out the pellet that groups the best.

                I like to shoot so its just another test that’s fun to do. For me anyway.

            • Gunfun1,

              On my ChairGun Pro app, I get a maximum height of 7.42” above POA at 50 yards with the following variable plugged in:
              Weight: 405 gr
              BC: .30
              Muzzle velocity: 750
              Far zero: 100 yard

              In regards to maximum range, ChairGun reports a maximum range of 2,357 yards for a 405 grain bullet with a BC of .30 and a muzzle velocity of 750 at an angle of 36 degrees. It lists terminal energy as 209 foot pounds. Maximum height is listed as 1841 feet at 1367 yards.


  7. B.B.,

    Why was the 34″ barrel more accurate? It’s clear to me that it gives more velocity than a shorter tube, but in general, I expect a shorter, stiffer barrel to be more accurate.

    I look forward to your future reports about .458 caliber air rifles. I’m especially interested in soft lead bullets of ~220 – 250 grains.

    Thank you for another great report.


    • Considering the reception the Old Testament Moses received (40 years with an unruly mob, forbidden to enter the land, etc.) I’m fairly certain this was a reference to

      John Moses Browning

      {And for anyone wondering — the real world has interfered with my free time to read the comments… But I planned to make a response to the Moses reference so…

      May not be reading any responses, unfortunately}

  8. BB,
    You said “Your head engineer may also be a lousy shot! You hope not, but that does happen. What you need are many tests by several people. To get that, you need to build several rifles…”

    Why not just lock the rifle into a vise and test it, this is a PCP airgun?

    • Joe,

      Testing a rifle is a vise is similar to testing an car on a dynamometer. You do get results that are valid, but they don’t tell the whole story.

      When AirForce tested the Edge gtarget rifle I shot it hand-held in a rest and John McCaslin shot the same rifle locked in a vise. Our results were the same. In other words, I can hold the rifle (rested) as well as a vise. But my shots took longer than his.

      You use a vise when you need to do a lot of shooting very fast, but you use a human when you want o know how the gun really shoots.

      Also, with the heavy recoil of the Texan, shooting in a vise isn’t that practical.


      • BB,
        I agreed with what you said. But during testing, you do want to minimize the number of variables that affects the outcome, one such variable is the shooter. German gun manufacturers like Anschutz, lock their rifles without the stock into a Vise to check that it shoots. If it does within their specification, they ship the gun. Most competitive shooters KNOWS that a good competitive shooter can shoot a tighter group than that gun can on a vise. If you test a gun using a vise and a human, mostly likely it will be different.

        • Joe,

          Actually, German target gun manufacturers do not lock their guns in vises to test them for accuracy. They have humans shoot them hand-held. Yes, those tiny test targets are produced by human beings. Robert Beeman actually witnessed this when he visited Feinwerkbau.

          Where they may use vises it to test one type of ammo against another, because, as I have said, shooting from a vise is faster than hand-held.


          • BB,
            FWB must of hire world class shooters because I own several FWB 10-meter airguns and the groups in those test target are very tight. Perhaps that is WHY FWB charge so much for their guns. With that said, I much perfer buying a gun with a test target shot from a vise like Anschutz. Because I know if that gun shoots well in a vise, a good shooter can achieve even a tighter group, and those groups are about the same size as my FWB airguns groups.

  9. I hate to admit it but it took me a long time to warm up to the Air force guns. I have a esthetics issue with guns, I like more traditional looks with some innovation being OK, but found it hard to get past the ray gun looks and possibly uncomfortable stock shapes. What wins out over all that is performance and again innovation and Air force has that in spades. It is truly remarkable what the company has done and is still doing today. Their rifles are hugely popular and tuners and shooters everywhere are enjoying the benefits of great air rifle designs. The Texan is just another fantastic story of their tireless work and dedication to the airgun world.
    I know I haven’t chimed in as much but I’m still here soaking up the knowledge and reading everyday. Thanks B.B. and everybody.

  10. BB, I love when you tell us about the engineering process of creating a new product like this. I have been a Product Engineer for many years (before turning towards Quality), and I know very well the decision making process involved in new product development.
    As a matter of fact, I believe few things in life really start out as a blank, white sheet of paper. Just like Quackenbush’s rifles set the standards that Air Force decided to pursuit with the Texan, many product developers are also trying to recreate the same performance levels with a different product solution, like trying to solve a mathematical problem using different formulas to achieve the same result. Even the performance goals may not prove themselves right down the road, and many design twists latter, the engineers come up with “what is possible” and not exactly “what we wanted”. With a few good engineering tools, like Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and Design of Experiments (DoE), an engineering team can make better decisions from the start, but again, it’s all “educated guess” until the product materialises itself in prototype and can be put to test and validates all those crazy assumptions.
    If the market is gonna buy it, well… that’s a different story. Performance has a price, and the big question is who is willing to pay for it.

  11. Tom,

    There is considerable wisdom to be taken away from your multiple examples of an expert making an educated guess and every now and then being proven incorrect by the actual in-the-field experiment.

    When Teller and Oppenheimer, etc. were doing all of their problem solving on blackboards at the University of Chicago in the 1940s, they understood that what was certain in chalk on slate nevertheless had to be proven or disproven in the material world. Kinda bold that the very first splitting of an atom by man was done directly under the floor of the basketball court in the fieldhouse of the University of Chicago!


  12. Sir: I’m sure your familiar with AR-15 (m-16) TESTS! Distance with high velocity does generate stabilization. Whatever power source? Air, powder or water? Longer barrels have always been better for siting (POA)? Longer barrels in shotguns hold tighter more precise patterns! Please correct where needed! Semper fi!

    • It’s not that straightforward. An m4 is just as accurate as an m16a2. If a projectile doesn’t have enough stability due to having less muzzle velocity, it actually lost stability because it lost spin RPM- so how do you get RPM back up?

      Now if we’re talking sight radius…

  13. BB,
    This is a very interesting article that opens up many questions, thanks.
    In your article you said “…how much accuracy is enough?”
    I could find where in your article that you answer that question, where?

    • Joe,

      That was an open-ended question that has no answer. It cannot be answered because no matter what you say, someone can argue that it is wrong. That’s why I didn’t answer it.

      This is a journalistic technique that causes the reader to imagine what the answer might be — and then realize that there isn’t any one answer that is right.


      • BB,
        Again I agreed with you, BUT a gun manufacturer should have some requirement that say what kind of accuracy they want a specific gun to have, even if they DON’T provide customers with a test target for each gun they sell. That requirement can be based on Market research or what customers want or even what the manufacturer deem acceptable regardless of what customers want.
        So I guess AirForce do NOT have this accuracy requirement???
        If not, I think this is a bad way to sell an airguns.

  14. BB,
    You said “Some readers may have thought that all this development work was done on CAD computers by a phalanx of scientific types in white lab coats….”
    I thought airgun manufacturers are using CNC machines to produce their airguns and as such, they must have the geometric design in a CAD file in order for the CNC machines to produce the gun. Is this not so?

    • Joe,

      Yes, the CAD-CAM systems do work great for designing the piece parts. But they are nearly useless for designing the fundamental concepts.

      So the concepts are designed first, then they are made to work on the CAD systems and then refined there.


  15. BB,
    You said “… by a phalanx of scientific types in white lab coats.”
    I always thought that an airgun manufacturers have a team of college degree and trained engineers to design an airgun using math and scientific theory such as Thermodynamics…etc., but you make it sound like it is just a group regular people with knowledge and personal experiences of how an airgun works and during a new airgun design, they would said, we know that the valve work like this with 3000psi pressure, so lets try this valve modification and see if it can work at 2000 psi pressure. Is this scenario correct?

    Thanks you for this article. It was very interesting to me. It ranks right up there with your other article “Starting your own Airgun business.”

    • Joe,

      Like anywhere else, there are some people in airgun companies with degrees and others with skills but no degrees. College degrees are no assurance of creativity.

      I could name quite a few airgun makers who did not attend college, and a few with degrees in disciplines other than engineering.

      Dennis Quackenbush is a tool and diemaker. I don’t think he has a degree, but if so, it wasn’t that but was his experience as a master machinist that has helped him design and build airguns. Whenever I ask Dennis a technical question he responds by doing the calculations and referring to his machinists’ handbook.


  16. I think I missed how Air Force managed to get its 34 inch barrels with all the obstacles. That sounded like an insuperable problem. Yes, beware of people talking theoretically about what projectiles can and cannot do. A retired physics professor told me that with the energies involved, he did not see how a diablo pellet could travel much further than 100 yards. I believe that there were French engineers who proved mathematically that bumblebees cannot fly. And yet they can.

    Pete, thanks for the info on Rifle magazine. I had a look and I see that it is a gun magazine of an earlier era with a sense of craft that is focused on hunting and rifle performance with no interest in the tactical movement. That must be why I have not seen it on magazine stands. Yes, I try to keep up with Guns & Ammo and some of the other major publications.


    • Matt61,
      I too missed the part where they figured out how it COULD be done. I also find it intriguing how math says the Bumlebee and B-52 will never fly, but it happens everyday!
      But I gave up on magazine collecting after my Hot Rod days,. If you wanna library you gotta have a way to keep it organized better than spread out on the coffee table.I promise to work on that in the future.


  17. BB:

    In your blog you mentioned the difficulty and expense in manufacturing a 34” rifled barrel. It seems like I read recently of an air rifle in which only the last few inches of the barrel was rifled. (I can’t remember the manufacturer.) Would this make the manufacture of a 34” barrel less expensive? How would having only the last few inches rifled affect accuracy?



  18. > I will address the comment about kinetic energy in a future report.

    I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the subject, B.B.!

    For “knockdown power” (I think “killing effectiveness” is actually a more appropriate term, though perhaps not PC and so many people say “knockdown”), I like the WAVE formula discussed in the Mel Tappan classic, “Survival Guns.”

    Effectiveness = W x A x V x E


    weight (more correctly, mass) X caliber cross sectional area X velocity X bullet efficiency

    Bullet efficiency is 1.0 for a non-expanding bullet, like an FMJ, and can be as high as 1.25 for a good expanding bullet. It is really a “fudge factor,” though its inclusion is certainly relevant.

    Note that WAVE is proportional to the square of the caliber (pi X radius ^2), which I think is the key to the formula’s improvement over energy metrics (energy being proportional to the square of the bullet speed/velocity). The bigger the hole, the greater the tissue damage and the faster the blood loss! As I once read somewhere, big horn sheep butting horns expend more energy than a hunting rifle round, but the impacts from their spats are rarely fatal!

    There are other similar formulas but WAVE is easy to remember.


      • Yes–you did, B.B.! I’ll just be pleased to see it here and shared with the others too.

        P.S. Much of my casting and reloading gear and supplies are in storage, ATM, but I’ll send a few Gould Express bullets to you, if I can find some that I’ve not resized down in diameter, when I get that new flexible 3D-printed piston seal ready to go (and maybe some of the other stuff I’m working-on).


  19. You said, “I guess I’m saying that the energy level of a .458 big bore airgun has been established by convention — in the same way that the .223 Remington/5.56mm cartridge is so widely accepted by American hunters — despite its weak ballistics. Ten million ARs can’t be wrong!”

    I’m not a hunter, so I have no personal knowledge of what’s being used in the field. I know the 5.56 AR-type rifle is very popular, but are those rifles actually being used for hunting? And if so, for hunting what game?

    I’m quite out of touch. The only one I’ve ever seen being fired that wasn’t an M16 was at the NRA range in 1999. I was there with a bunch of computer programmers, and I brought my Beeman P-1.

    The frail-looking young woman next to me was shooting an AR. I’d fired an M16 enough in the Army to know what to expect of its recoil, and I was amazed to see her stagger backwards from the recoil each time she fired the rifle, as if it was some kind of elephant gun, and it was pretty obvious looking at her she wasn’t a soldier or an outdoorswoman. Curious, I asked her what purpose she had the rifle for, and she said “Y2K Survivalism.”

    I wonder how many of the ten million are like her, rather than shooters or hunters.

    • Steve,

      Yes, the AR with its .223 round is now a popular hunting rifle — at least if you believe the gun magazines. Whitetail deer, and varmints are the most common targets.

      That story of the woman being pushed by the recoil of an AR is amazing! She must have been really tiny and not had a good sense of balance.


  20. Regarding the humor of a gun manufacturer having a “war room”

    At least when I was at Lockheed, “war” was an acronym for Weekly Activity Report.

    A WAR Room was a room set aside for small department/team meetings to review the prior week’s progress, and discuss the plans for the upcoming week.

  21. Cal posted this but it went to spam and was lost, so I am posting it for him.

    >And my prediction of the range the Texan will shoot a 405-grain bullet turned
    >out to be conservative. According to blog reader JimQwerty123, Chairgun
    >software says it will shoot to beyond 2,300 yards.

    I have a Lyman 457122 mold (the famous Gould Express bullet). It’s my best long-range performer for .45 inline muzzleloader hunts. My Quickload/Quicktarget sofftware says that this 330 gr. bullet’s maximum range is 2363 yards when launched at 795 fps at 1500′ and standard Army meteorologic conditions.

    Now why would I want to buy a Texan to shoot a Gould Express bullet when my much less expensive inline muzzleloader can launch it at nearly twice 795 fps and be used to easily take whitetail at 200 yards–even with its muzzleloader hunt-required open sights? (My max load is 1500+ fps though 1300 fps loads are preferred for accuracy). I really can’t tell you–I just do!!!


  22. Gunfun
    You know how hard it is to make the bore of one barrel true to it axis so the odds that two barrel bores being in exactly the same plane in relation to each other as well as the barrels own axis is multiplied greatly with both barrels in the same piece.

    I know there are double barrel and over under shotguns like the Beeman is but shotguns are not required to hit a precise POA but rather cover a area within a close proximity to the POA.

    So that is my concern is if they are producing the barrel assy to a precision tolerance that would allow both pellets to hit the same POI at any given distance because if you scope the gun and sight for one or the other pellet there are very high odds that both pellets will not hit the same exact distances apart as is the barrel spacing. Plus you also know that 177 and 22s both have very different trajectories so it would be just about impossible to sight it to be accurate with both pellets as the velocities could be quite different between the two as well. Since it is a break barrel and uses a piston with either a spring or gas ram it just boils down to the old issue with sighting all guns as there are so many variables in getting one barrel to be consistently accurate that having two barrels fixed together multiplies those variables by 4 to 5 times.


    • Buldawg
      All good points you made.

      And I got a idea I wonder if they thought about. And it looks like maybe they did. Use the open sights let’s say for the bottom barrel. Then get some of those scope rings you can see through and mount you a scope on the gun. Then the scope would be used for the top barrel.

      That should work for shooting each caliber separately.

      But It don’t matter how good of a shot I am with both eyes open after all these years. I will never be able to use both eyes at the same time for the open sight and the scope to shoot both barrels at the same time. 🙂

      • Gunfun
        That could be an option for people with good eye sight as in younger eyes than we have and would allow for the likely variations in barrel alignments. But I like you cannot see much over 30 feet with open sights to hit with any real consistency so open sights would only be good for close range.

        The barrel arrangement is with the 22 on top and the 177 below so I think it would be better to sight the lower barrel with the scope and use the open sights for the top 22 cal barrel since the 177 would likely shoot flatter and be more accurate at greater distances. But there again there are still many variables we don’t even now yet so at this point it is all just speculation.

        I am curious if it has a larger compression chamber to account for having to propel two pellets at the same time with a decent velocity and if so then does that mean it will be a magnum gun when shooting it a single pellet at a time. I also would like to know its shot cycle and recoil characteristics as well so I do hope BB gets one to test for us in the future.

        Got to secure my scope on the 48 and do some grouping/ sighting in with it while the day is still nice and fairly warm as it is supposed to be nice tomorrow and then start to rain/ snow flurries on Saturday night into Sunday. My son will be here later today so I most likely will not get much shooting time by myself to sight undistracted, but I would rather spend time with him and his son that lives here and is the 8 year old grandson so we will probably shoot some but it will be for fun and not serious target shooting.


        • Buldawg
          I was wondering about the shot cycle also and how much more power it would take to shoot both barrels at the same time. I may have overlooked it but dies it say anywhere how many fps the gun shots at.

          I hope BB does review the gun just to learn some more about the gun. I feel there is something we are missing as to why they chose to build the gun.

          And I’m getting ready to go out to shoot here in a minute. Sunny and calm out here today but only 32 degrees. And our snow is coming Saturday night. They say 3-5″ so will see how that turns out.

          • gunfun
            The article does not state what the fps is or anything but that it has a 177 and 22 cal barrels in one gun so there is a whole lot unknown.

            I am hoping BB does get to review it as well.

            Just got done shooting the 48 and it was grouping very good till the front sight loosened up that I had tightened last night and did not realize it had till it got to cold in the shade and I quit shooting because it was hitting all over the place. when I wiped the gun down with my oily rag and wiped the site it was loose again. so I may just take it off and see if it has any affect on the gun grouping without it as it is metal and most likely will put a muzzle brake on in place of it.


              • Gunfun
                I did put the Hammers 3x9x40AO scope on it just like the Vitamin you have has on it. I mean the front iron sight came loose as it one set screw holding it on the barrel in a dovetail groove to keep it aligned with so it was vibrating when shooting and causing the pellets to hit at sporadic POIs.

                I will take it and the rear sight off and see if it affects the grouping without it on the end of the barrel and if it does then it will go back on till I can get a plain brake to replace it with to keep the weight balanced the same.

                I will text pics of the target and the grouping it was getting. It does not have barrel droop as I had to adjust the elevation down by 1 full turn and the windage by only 1/4 turn to the left get it hitting in the bulls. I had the issue with it stopping grouping when I switched to a plain white paper with 9 1/2 circles drawn on it and hit in the circles on the first two shots then it started throwing out flyers all over the place so as it was getting colder and I was cold also which may have contributed some as well I called it a day and quit .

                My son got here about 30 minutes later so it was good timing anyway. I will take the front sight off and see if it stops the flyers.


  23. Thanks for this article BB (in fact, thanks for the entire Blog, is awesome to read the vast quantity of data and knowledge that contains) When I look at first time this article’s Title it caught my attention because my job is as designer (Mayor appliances, not guns :\ ) and as designer I know main activities focused on understand costumer needs and translate this data in to Design requirements. This said, I have a question in regards air guns: Why in some of the finest air rifles, the Open Sights are not presented? Not even in some of the “standard” brands? I love to shoot airguns since I was a child and I have never dispense with a good set of Open sights. Airguns are not always used on long distances or trying to achieve the maximum precision (at long distances). They are used often in the field all day long and sometimes, something more rugged than Scopes is needed when you need to rest the gun on ground, Etc. Is there a mayor reason to don’t include open sights in the design criteria of airguns? Thank, again and enjoy your Turkey Holiday! (today is 11/24/16). P.S. Sorry for my English, again.

    • Arvizu,

      Why are some airguns offered with no open sights? Because the people offering them do not understand the market.

      They feel the sights add cost to the gun and they think people shop based on cost, alone. They fail to recognize that when an item costs a lot, people are not buying it based on cost. They should make open sights an option, at least.


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