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Competition All guns are not accurate

All guns are not accurate

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Could it be?
• Presumption
• The test target
• The Emperor’s New Clothes
• Behind the curtain
• The point

This report is for my wife, Edith. She has suggested it many times in the past few years. Today, I’ll try to address it.

Edith tells me that when she worked at a major sporting goods catalog sales company years ago, she was shocked by some of the questions their call center got. The most shocking was when someone would call and say they had just purchased a certain model of firearm and would the call center please tell them what ammunition it used? This didn’t happen just one time — it happened often enough that it made an impression on her.

Folks, the caliber of ammunition is marked right on most new guns sold today, and it’s certainly marked on the box and the owner’s manual. Yet, here was a person with this information in their hand asking what kind of ammo they needed.

Edith has been telling me she believes that many people think all firearms, and airguns by extension, are perfectly accurate. That, if you put the gun’s sights on a target, you will hit it — period!

Could it be?
I had a hard time accepting that until I thought about it. I’ve been around guns all my life, and I’ve been shooting them for more than half a century, so of course I know the score. But could it be possible that some people don’t know that not every gun is accurate? To those people, would the other features like velocity (I’m talking airguns now) and styling be the important things, because accuracy is a given? Is that why marketing departments concentrate on the things that really don’t count for much — colors, camouflage, accessories etc. — because they can’t stand behind the accuracy that isn’t there?

Several things mitigate against today’s person knowing about the accuracy of a gun. Let’s look at the most influential — television and the movies. We all know that these forms of entertainment exaggerate the accuracy of guns. Seldom do they show what’s true, because the story plays better if every shot is fantastic. So, super-spook Jason Bourne falls down a five-story stairwell and shoots the bad guy between the eyes…and he’s running up the stairs with a handgun as he passes him his way down. And Matthew Quigley can hit an oaken bucket a quarter-mile away, shooting a 12-lb. Sharps rifle offhand.

Most people haven’t shot a gun in their lives. Or if they have, it was so long ago they don’t remember much. So, they buy into the Hollywood fiction of infinitely accurate guns.

Why, then, does a man (and I mean nearly EVERY man) walk up to within 15 feet of a paper target on the 25-yard pistol range to shoot 5 shots from his concealed carry revolver? Shouldn’t he be shooting them from his hip, back at the 25-yard line? Don’t bother telling me that snub-nosed revolvers are that accurate. I’m saying that most people think they are. But perhaps they really don’t.

Is it possible that most people KNOW instinctively that most guns are not that accurate, but they refuse to believe it on a social level? In other words an anonymous poster on a chat forum can shoot a quarter-inch group at 50 yards with his Benjamin Marauder, but when you see him in person at the range, he can’t seem to keep them all on the paper? He lies to himself so much that when he is confronted by the truth, he sloughs it off as passé.

Or is there more going on? I knew a man who believed that he was 6 feet 2 inches tall. I am 5 foot 11 inches on a good day, and I could look this man in the eye. We were the same height. Yet nothing could dissuade him from believing that he was 6 foot 2.

I have known people who think that 5 yards is 20 yards. The reason I know better is because I was in the marching band in high school. We had to march a certain number of steps between every 5-yard line on the football field to keep our lines straight while moving. Then, a stint in the Army reinforced it. On tank ranges, I learned to estimate distance out to 1200 yards pretty well.

But without this training some people haven’t got a clue how far certain distances are. They tend to over-estimate the close distances and under-estimate the far ones. So, 50 yards becomes 200 yards and so on. I am not kidding.

When I was a kid in the 1950s, most American cars had speedometers that went up to 120 mph. The cars they were in might not go faster than 90, but seeing that number on an instrument in the dashboard made you feel like it was possible. The manufacturers didn’t come out and say their cars would go that fast. But, if you wanted to believe that your 1956 Chevy 210 with its inline 6 was capable of doing that, they weren’t about to tell you different.

This concept translates directly over to firearms and airguns. Gamo is so proud to tell its customers that such-and-such a rifle will shoot a pellet at up to 1,600 f.p.s. The unknowing customers are thrilled, thinking that the accuracy is a given. Surely no gun company would make a gun that was NOT accurate — would they? That doesn’t make sense! So they get both the accuracy and high velocity. What’s not to like? Yes, there are more than a few people who think that way, and they are the constant targets of presumptive marketing.

But airgun companies do make guns that aren’t accurate. They make a lot of them. In fact, it is the accurate airgun that is the rarity, which is why I place so much emphasis on testing it when I look at a new gun.

If Col. Townsend Whelen said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting,” don’t you think there had to be some inaccurate rifles around to prompt his statement? If Dr. F. W. Mann spent 37 years of his life compiling data that he then reported in his book, “The Bullet’s Flight, From Powder to Target,” don’t you suppose something drove him to do so? He didn’t do it for the money.

Yes, most guns are not that accurate, and, no, I’m not going to get into a discussion of what I mean by accuracy. You either know what it is or else you’re one of those I am referring to in this report. Debating the precise meaning of a subjective term like accuracy is like trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The player on first base is named Who — end of discussion!

What’s wrong with presumption?
Barrels are not drilled straight. They are not connected in a straight and parallel orientation with the receiver that holds them. Barrels touch the stock and absorb vibrations when the gun fires. Or they touch the reservoir (or are connected by barrel bands) and flex as the reservoir flexes when the internal pressure rises and falls.

If the door on my house moves with changes in temperature and humidity, what prevents a wooden gun stock from doing the same? If it’s touching the barrel as it moves, what do you think happens?

A hundred years ago, most savvy buyers knew that no Colt Single Action revolver ever came from the factory with the sights perfectly aligned. You bought the gun, then went to the range and shot it at a target. You picked the distance you were most interested in.

Then, you bent the front sight blade in the direction opposite where you wanted the bullet to go! Yes, I said bent! In fact, I read a huge article in Gun Digest a few years ago written by a man who made a hydraulic jig that he took to the range just to bend the front sight blades on all his single actions.

In other words, my friends, Colt knowingly sold a handgun that did not shoot to the point of aim! They did so for over a century, and, in fact, are still doing so today. And no one is complaining. In fact, everyone is praising Colt for this wonderful timeless design — this design that has to have its front sight blade bent by the user!

The test target
Here is a misperception that’s a burr under my saddle blanket. Cooper Firearms makes bolt-action rifles that are well-regarded for their accuracy. In fact, the company claims that all of their centerfire rifles are capable of putting 3 shots inside a half-inch at 100 yards. They even supply a test target with each rifle that shows what that rifle did at the factory.

That target has a lot on information on it — the date it was shot, the shooter, the bullet that was used, the powder that was used, the caliber and serial number of the gun that shot it. Curiously, the distance at which the target was shot is missing from the target. That seems odd to me. The company claims all their centerfires shoot 3 shots in a half-inch or less at 100 yards — shouldn’t they proudly display the range at which the target was shot? Its absence makes me wonder.

Cooper target
This is an actual test target that was packaged with a Cooper centerfire rifle. I’ve cropped out the serial number and the other information. Nowhere on this target is given the range it was shot, though the implication is that it was 100 yards.

The other thing that amazes me is that every target Cooper sends out has the group in the center of a small paper target. How do they do that? If the target is really 100 yards distant, are they that good at boresighting — making every group hit the center of the target on the first try? Or does the tester just do a lot of walking?

The Emperor’s New Clothes
I hope the fairytale of The Emperor’s New Clothes is well-known around the world. If not, the point of the story is that sometimes people say they believe things that are not true. And when they act on those beliefs, strange things happen!

When the naked emperor walks by, the little boy shouts, “The emperor isn’t wearing clothes!” and the royal spin-doctor replies, “It isn’t so much that he isn’t wearing any clothes, as he has taken his clothes to a new minimalist peak.”

In management dynamics, this story was modernized into something called The Abilene Paradox. The premise remained the same but was stated more clearly — People will decide on a course of action in a group that each of them disagrees with privately. In short, you have a form of what is called political correctness — the fear of telling the truth because of who it might offend. Don’t rock the boat.

We live in an age where the emperor is walking around naked and being praised for his beautiful new clothes. The M4 rifle continues to be procured by the same army that acknowledges it is a highly specialized weapon that is completely unsuited for general battlefield use. But the procurement contract is in place, and you know how difficult those can be to initiate! Better to buy something you don’t need than to not be able to purchase something at all. At least you’ll have something.

Behind the curtain
Now, I’ll let you peek behind the wizard’s curtain and see the world though my eyes. I get new readers from time to time who come into airguns with their credit cards in hand and their minds made up. They want that new Bow of Hercules breakbarrel that shoots .25-caliber pellets at 1,000 f.p.s. They’re going after big game, and they want all the smashing power they can get — but in a self-contained rifle, please. “I don’t have time to mess with scuba tanks and dive shops.”

I just smile. I know that in 6 months these guys will either be building model rockets or else they will be turning to the “dark side” and getting into precharged pneumatics. Why? Because their .25-caliber Mashemflat Magnum was too hard to cock more than 10 times in a row, had a horrible trigger, kicked like a Missouri mule and wasn’t accurate. Top that off with pellets that cost almost as much as rimfire rounds, and you have a thoroughly dissatisfied customer who can now give a lecture on how not to get into airgunning.

I know this because, like Old Man River, I been rollin’ along for awhile. I’ve seen all this before.

The point
The point of this report is that not all airguns are accurate. That’s why I test them for you. Not only do I want to find out how accurate they all are, I also want to find out which ones are easy to shoot accurately. I go on and on about the TX200 and the Talon SS for this very reason.

269 thoughts on “All guns are not accurate”

  1. Couple of points. As for the main premise of the blog, you may be preaching to the choir here.

    But I liked the point about how people view things. I’m 5 foot 8 inches, and somehow stand eye to eye with a number of people who swear they are 6 foot even.

    As for the emperor’s clothes, it struck me that you are speaking of modern politics. Nobody likes the politicians we have, but they vote for them, believing that they are the only candidate who is “electable”. It’s a mass delusion, where everyone participates in the self fulfilling prophecy,

    I don’t know if you have ever read anything by Douglas Adams, but he was a brilliant satirist, and he had a brilliant scene in one of his books about that. I’m on my phone right now but I’ll try to find it tomorrow morning and post it up. Anyone who has read it, I’m talking about the planet ruled by the lizards.

    • “It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
      “You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
      “No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
      “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
      “I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
      “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
      “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
      “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
      “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
      “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
      “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
      “I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”
      “I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”
      Ford shrugged again.
      “Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”
      “But that’s terrible,” said Arthur.
      “Listen, bud,” said Ford, “if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say ‘That’s terrible’ I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”

      Douglas Adams always had something bright to say about politics.

      • Tim
        So when are we going to get rid of the Lizards, Oh yea we have to have snakes to get rid of the lizards, then who gets rid of the snakes. I guess then we need some mongoose to get rid of the snakes.

        It seems we are caught in that never ending circle of slow and agonizing death to the point that we don’t even know we are dying and those few that do will not stand together and stop the cycle of defeat.

        All it takes for evil to triumph over good is for a few good men to do nothing.


        • Wow, a political thread that right and left can both get behind! As for the substance of the blog, I recently tried shooting some three shot groups again. I was surprised just how deadly accurate I could make myself look if I did that and selected the best groups. It’s been a long time since this blog convinced me to shoot lots of ten-shot groups to judge the accuracy of the gun and myself so I had forgotten the difference it makes! Personally I like “self-contained” airguns myself but since all I want is enough power to shoot accurately and put a clean hole in paper (though I am considering trying field target this year too) I don’t run into the “bow of Heracles” problem.

          • Nowhere
            I think you will like FT very much as I just started it in November and have enjoyed the four matches I have shot in so far other than the sub freezing temps in the last two matches as it gets hard to be accurate when you cannot feel the trigger or stop shivering to keep the scope on target.

            You most definitely need to become very comfortable with your gun and learn to develop breathing and relaxation skills to stay on target. My self I have some health issues that make it hard to control my breathing and heart rate for consistent shooting but so far I have improved my score each match shot so as long as I continue to improve I am making progress.

            Its mainly for the fun and camaraderie that I am doing it now as I am no threat to the more experienced and better skilled shooters yet by any means but in time I may get good enough to place above last which will be an much celebrated occurrence when it happens. But right now its all just for fun and enjoyment .

            Try it you will like it.


  2. I owned a Cooper 21 years ago and it was quite accurate, interestingly enough they used to put the range on the target. I believe it was listed as 48 yards, the length of the shooting range in the basement of their main building. I quietly disappeared from their targets, due to controversy over how can they tell how accurate it is at 100 yards, by firing it less than 50 yards. There are people who still discuss the targets, and their validity…

      • B.B.,

        I agree with you about the lack of knowledge and misperceptions of many shooters, and the poor accuracy potential of many firearms and air guns.

        No argument from me about Cooper not recording the range on test targets, or test firing them at short ranges. However, Cooper rifles have a reputation for accuracy and quality. My Cooper .280 was the second most accurate and consistent rifle I’ve owned. They are expensive and might not be for everyone, but mine was accurate and well made. I’d gladly own another one.


  3. A few years back I was at an indoor range working with my instructor trying to unlearn some bad habits. A number of shooters had come and gone during the two hours or so we had been there. Most had come in fired a few rounds and left. When we were about to leave the range he said he likes to walk around and see what other shooters’ target looked like. Motioning for me to join him we inspected the other shooters results. Most of their shots were all over the targets and neither of us remembered any shooting the full 25 yard length of the range. IMO from what I’ve seen most guns are more accurate than most shooters myself included. Having said that few guns come from the factory that can’t benefit from some tuning or upgrades (especially good sights and triggers) and there are some that just won’t shoot worth a dime no matter what you do.

  4. Hope I haven’t written about this before here. When we lived in Bonney Lake, Washington (for 24 years), we had an indoor range in the next town of Sumner. I got to know the older gent behind the counter, and ordered and bought my share of guns from him there. They had rental guns you could try out. Milt was my friends name. I happened to see a 4 inch Colt revolver. Can’t remember the model, but this one caught my attention as it had been milled out on top, and someone had mounted a 2 power crosshair pistol scope on it. It was a .38 special, and I shot a lot of that caliber and .357 magnum. I happened to have a bov of handloads in that caliber using my favorite target bullet and powder. The load used Hornady hollow based wad cutters, and had shown to shoot great in about any .38 or .357 I had. I asked Milt if I could try that gun out. Noone else had shown any interest in it, and he said sure, no charge. I kneeled down in the range room, and ran the target all the way back and started shooting carefully to see what this strange gun could do. When I saw the targets, I immediatly bought that gun with scope and mount. Took it next to the Paul Bunyan Club, where I was a member, and competed there in 200 meter IHMSA mettalic silhouette matches with handguns. I shot the little Colt at 25 yards with that handload. With that load, off a rest, the little 4 inch barelled Colt would stack them into the same hole till I screwed up.

    That’s when I learned that barrel length, though very important, didn’t always mean what I thought. As in, a longer tube = more velocity, and tighter groups. Not so. That little Colt could out group much longer tubed revolvers that I owned, and was still pretty tight even at 50 yards. It didn’t have the power to compete in NRA Hunter Pistol, and the bullet dropped so far at 100 meteres that it wasn’t at all practical. But that gun, with creampuff handloads with that bullet and Bullseye powder, was quite a combination, just to punch paper with.

    My most accurate handgun was my Thompson Center Contender with 10″ tube in 30-30. I shot that for years once I found the tack driving, and powerful load that would topple the 200 meter steel rams reliably. I worked up a great load and stuck with it for years. The 30-30 is not a rip roaring rifle load. But, try it in a handgun!! 147 grain jacketed bullet over a stout charge of Accurate Arms 5744 powder did the job for me.

    Sometimes I bought a gun, tried everything in the way of handloads, and just could never get a decent group. Had a Ruger Redhawk like that. I had to give up and traded it in on something else. I gave the gun every chance to show me some promise, and it just would not do it. Off it went.

    • Hi Jon,
      I enjoyed your comments. It was a trip down memory lane for me.

      My daughter, Christy, and I also shot big bore pistol IHMSA matches back in the late 70’s and early 80’s at the Corpus Christi Pistol and Rifle Club. It was great training to learn to shoot at distances up to 200 meters with open sighted pistols. I had the same experience with my Red Hawk .44 magnum. I just could not find a load that was accurate at that distance. Everyone shot 10″ barreled Ruger Black Hawks looking for a perfect score.

      I also had a similar experience as you, but with a 4″ .44 magnum revolver. It came with a well worn police holster and the blue was about gone. It had been for sale at our local gun shop for a long time and I got a great deal on it. My dad helped me work on a load that I could handle and came up with one using Bulls eye powder. A natural choice for him because he loaded for bulls eye NRA matches. I shot it off hand on the 25 yard line and it was a tack driver. I couldn’t have been happier. With a light load it was a dream to shoot. Then my dad told me to check the bore. He had discovered that it was badly leaded. I was crushed, but understood that we had altered the ammo to a point that it was no longer practical. It was a very good lesson.

      By the way, my daughter’s favorite hunting pistol is her Thompson Contender 10″ barrel .357 maximum. I have lost track of how many whitetails she has taken with it.

      • Thanks for the comments, Jerry. I handloaded a lot of .357 Maximum for my brother in law, and a lot of 32-20. He had those two barells for hic Contender. We shot 100 meter silhouette matches one a month, and he didn’t handload, so I did up all his ammuntion. My gun of choice was a TC Contender in .357 magnum. I did a lot of work developing a load for the 100 meter matches. Believe it or not, I used Federal .38 special brass, Winchester 110 grain jhp bullets, over a modest charge of Bullseye powder. I put an old Aimpoint of the gun. That thing won me a LOT of money over the 2-3 years we went to the unsanctioned matches at the Tacoma Sportsman’s Club. I used the same gun for NRA Hunter Pistol and did well with it. I don’t know why I got the best results with the Federal .38 special brass, over full length .357 magum brass, but I did. In the 200 meter stuff, I went to my 10″ Contender in 30-30. One time, I hit a 200 meter ram and it didn’t fall. Must have been a low hit. Had a lot of fun in those days!! Whatever happened to IHMSA anyway??

      • Jerry in Texas,

        You didn’t say which brand of .44 mag that you had, or your specific load (bullet,powder weight) but regardless, once the leading was removed from the barrel, the accuracy should have returned.

        Bullseye used to be the fastest burning pistol powder available and is a very popular propellant for target loads in large caliber handguns. I didn’t load many target loads for my handguns but did use Bullseye exclusively in a stiff load for my 9 mm UZI SMG consisting of a 124 grain FMJ over 5 grains of powder.

        What bullets were you using, cast or factory swaged? From your description of the revolver, it sounds like it had been well used. was the timing correct? Incorrect timing is most noticeable when the revolver is SLOWLY cocked single action and the bolt doesn’t fully drop into the bolt notch in the cylinder.


        • Bugbuster,
          Thanks for your comments. That was a long time ago, at least 35 years. I bought the pistol on a whim and did not keep it very long. I was concentrating on long range pistol shooting and it did not fit in with my goals. I mentioned it because I was very surprised at the accuracy it had for a 4″ .44 magnum revolver. My dad loaded a lot of .45 ACP ammo and used Bullseye powder frequently. He also cast his own .45 wad cutter bullets, but i don’t remember him casting .44 bullets, so I am assuming that we bought them. I also do not remember if we inspected the barrel before we shot it to see if it was leaded. I do know I amazed myself when firing on the 25 yard line with a two handed hold, which I used for long range IHMSA standing competition. I only remember shooting it that one time and when we got home my dad discovered the leaded barrel. I assumed it was from the light load he had used to keep recoil down. I do not think the barrel was leaded when I bought the gun because my dad would have checked it out. He was the inquisitive one. The pistol was well worn and might not have been locking up correctly when manually cocked, but it sure shot accurately if it was.

          Also, I am intrigued by your “user name” Bug Buster. I have an indoor range that I shoot my air guns in and have found that the UTG “Bub Buster” scopes work great for shooting closer than 10 yards. I have two 3X9’s that I have put on my Marauder pistol and FX Cyclone rifle. I am getting ready to buy a third to mount on my AirForce Talon SS. It rests on the wall gun rack now with the AirForce scope on it but gets seldom used because it won’t focus in my short indoor range. I have found I can shoot every day and enjoy my air rifles much better by using the little “Bug Buster” scopes. For those who say it is no challenge to shoot at 5 yards, I tell them that everything is relative, and it is. A 1/8″ black dot can be as hard to hit off hand at 5 yards as a larger black circle at 50 or 100 yards. Anyway, I was just wondering if you also use them.

          • Jerry In Texas,

            I chose Bugbuster because in my neck of the woods, we have a very destructive insect which is a carpenter bee. They are about the size of a bumble bee and the females bore deep holes into any untreated wood to lay their eggs. Over time, and unless the problem is promptly addressed, the holes only become deeper and they seriously weaken the load bearing ability of the lumber. To make matters even worse, the woodpeckers then excavate the sides of the boards, tearing out large sections in search of the larvae! The male bee is very territorial and actively protects his turf against any other insect. It has a habit of hovering for very brief periods of time which makes it vulnerable to a well placed shot by a pellet rifle with open sights. Trust me, I missed many more than I hit, but the hits were spectacular, splat, instant disintegration! This was over three decades ago and the rifle was a Daisy Powerline model 922 pneumatic. I was able to repeat this feat a couple of years ago on feeding bumblebees using a Chinese TS 45 side lever with open sights near identical to an SKS rifle. This time, I missed very few, hence my user name.

            Yes, I have two 3-9×32 Bugbuster scopes myself. I prefer the original red/green model over the EZ-TAP version, too many things to possibly fail down the road, my opinion, I wish Leapers would offer non illuminated scopes. One is mounted on a Chinese QB 58 FC side lever with a cantilever mount. This is a very well made (very nice wooden stock) short stroke spring piston air rifle that can only accept a compact scope otherwise, the loading port will be obstructed. The cantilever mount was necessary to move the scope further to the rear to obtain the proper eye relief. FYI, the rifle costs under $90, plus shipping and is supposed to shoot at 750 FPS with standard weight pellets in .177 caliber.

            At the close range that you are shooting, a really nice rifle would be a IZH 60/61. I bought one for my granddaughters and it will stack pellets at 17′, rested of course with aperture sights. It is a semi-bullpup side lever and super easy to cock. It is designed for 10 meter shooting. In all honesty though, I bought two more after that one and they don’t shoot as accurately as the first one, but not too bad.

            You are shooting some pretty powerful AG’s at a relatively short range, what are you using for a trap/backstop? Personally, I believe that you may not have enough elevation adjustment in the Bugbuster scope mounted on the AirForce Talon at that range. At 5 yards, a 1″ adjustment will require 80 clicks or so, you may have to have a special mounting rail made with a whole lot of “droop” compensation built in to get your POA and POI to intersect at that range.

            If you are hitting .125 diameter targets consistently at 5 yards offhand, I would consider you a “hard holder”, that is the equivalent of a 2.5″ bull at a 100, that is excellent shooting in my book! I used to shoot service rifle (M-14) on the First Army Reserve Rifle Team and I called mine “awful hand” most of the time!

            Here a couple of ideas which you may wish to try. The “old fashioned” lead pencils with erasers along with an ink pad make nice, round aiming points and Styrofoam plates work well for shooting groups, the holes are clean and easy to measure accurately, much better than paper (mount them with the bottom facing you).


    • Hi Jon. I too, competed in big bore pistol IHMSA. I used a wildcat 7mm TCU in a T/C Contender. The guy I bought the dies and barrel from supplied handloads to the local police force. He also told me he could hit targets at a longer range with his snubnose .38 than I or anyone had ever believed possible. Serious guy, and I believed him.

      • Hi B.B.
        I still read the blog almost everyday,just haven’t had anything to input lately.

        No this isn’t something you promised it was just discussed a time or two
        in passing.I will make a prediction now and say that in each power plant
        the airsoft will be nominally better than a similar type plant for a bb gun
        unless compared to a 499 :).
        My only reason for thinking this is because I “think?” the airsoft bbl.’s are made for their
        ammo’s caliber where most bb guns (but not all) are made to pellet gun specs.
        Of course that doesn’t take into account hop-up systems that need to be adjusted for best performance of the different weights of ammo used.hmmmm

          • B.B.
            Okie doke 🙂

            I only have 1 airsoft now,an HK45 green gas and I can say for sure I can hit much
            better with it than any Red Ryder I’ve shot.I can’t remember if my 760 self cocker will do better but I don’t think so.I’ve gotta replace the pump cup on the 760
            so I can compare them.

            Boy todays blog really seems to have struck a chord with folks.
            It’s been fun and educational reading all the accuracy comments. 🙂

  5. B.B.,

    Great article. As stated before, some of your best ones are the ones that have nothing to do with any particular air gun.

    You stated in your article that people often mis-judge range estimations.

    Question,…Is there a method(s), other than range finders, parralex usage or actual measurements,… to estimate yardage? I think that if any exist, and yes, maybe less accurate than the afore mentioned methods, that they would be of general interest to your readers.

    Thanks, Chris

    • >Great article. As stated before, some of your best ones
      >are the ones that have nothing to do with any particular air gun.

      I’ve always said that anything can be made interesting by a great writer, Chris!

      • Cal
        Yea Bb left this one pretty open when he wrote it.

        I actually caught myself laughing with some of the things he stated.

        You know what my favorite saying is

        Time Will Tell.

        I love when people say how something should be but never really exsperiance what they are talking about.

        Kind of like saying you drive a Ferrari and its really a Volkswagen.

        Oh and I have nothing against Volkswagen’s. I had a few. And ain’t the engines in the rear like some Ferrari’s. 😉

          • TT
            I had a bug I bought from a guy back in the 80’s. It was made into a Baja bug.

            Had skinny front tires that looked like dirt bike knobbys and rear truck mudder tires. It had the 1800 bus motor in it if I remember right with two carbs and a header.

            That thing would go through or over snow,deep mud,water holes. My buddy lived by a old strip mine back then and it was 4 wheeling,fishing,shooting heaven. Fun stuff.

        • Gunfun
          Ferraris are mid engine cars and front engine cars, they never made a rear engine car. I have seen some very fast VWs in my time also and I always love the sound of a pissed of bumble bee kinda reminds me of my pissed off KZ1000 with it ear piercing howl at 10,000 rpm.

          Just had to correct you as a Ferrari purist would be in a tizzy with you calling it rear engine car LOL.


            • Ben
              I have a 77 kz1000 that has been built to bullet proof specs with a falicon balanced and welded crank, 1075 bore kit, ported and polished head with manley valves and springs with 650 under bucket shims and buckets, web 425 lift cams and adjustable cam gears and adjustable cam chain adjuster, MRE race cut trans and lock up clutch, 36 mm mikuni flatslide carbs and k&n filters, old warrior reversion header, kick starter gears and shafts removed, lower cam chain guide and bridged center main cap, dyna S ignition with dynojet coil packs, low profile oil filter cover, Kosman lengthened swingarm with a 3.5 inch NHRA approved rear wheel with the 140 tire screwed to the rim, rear set foot controls and 10,000 rpm rev limiter and the bike weighs 450 pounds full of fuel and oil and with the slick and wheelie bar does 9.5 second 1/4 miles. it has been converted back to street legal trim and is my BUSA killer from stop light to stop ligjht. It is may means to satisfy the need for speed when the urge hits and with the warrior header sound like a whaling banshee at 10,000 rpm with the open header.

              nothing sound like an old KZ with an open header at max rpms and is music to my ears.


              • Sweet music indeed Buldawg, I have a small collection of KZ’s. I have two 650’s with consecutive numbers and consecutive original licensece plates. The one I ride often however is a 79 1000. Pretty much bone stock, except for the super trap on the exhaust. It wrecks the sound but I like the back pressure and the added low end on the torque curve. Yours sounds like an absolute beast. I’ll bet walking away from ‘Busa’s and zx14’s never gets old. Your machine sounds like more machine than I want to handle. And I love to ride. Hoping on a KZ 750 triple is on my bucket list however.

                • Ben
                  I have an old Warrior header on my KZ that is an reversion header rather than a scavenge header like all 4 into 1 are and what that means is with a 4 into 1 like your Supertrapp that you have baffles in is that without a baffle to create back pressure it will overscavenge at the lower rpms and actually suck out some of the fresh fuel mixture entering the cylinders thus causing the loss of low end torque. The Warrior header uses the engines own firing impulses to create that back pressure to keep the fresh fuel from being sucked out of the cylinders at low rpm but does not affect the high end like your Supertrapp does with the baffles in it.

                  My Warrior header is a 4 into 1 into 2 and has a triangle shaped collector right under the engine that the four pipes collect into and then exits into two megaphones on either side or the rear wheel. It keep my low end torque without sacrificing the high end power and my bike will pull strong to 11,000 rpms but that is right an the edge of valve float and is really not accelerating any faster than keep the rev limit at 10,000 rpms and saving the engine from self destruction at the same time.

                  It will light the rear tire at 10mph by just whacking the Magura 1/4 turn throttle wide open and keep it burning thru second gear as well. Busa and ZX 14s will outrun me top end easily as my bike does 150 and that’s it but unless they have a lengthened swingarm or know how to launch their bike very well which most don’t they have to fight wheeling or flipping over backwards where my bike lifts the front wheel about an inch and sets out to the right and burns and goes.





                  Here is some pics of the beast that has plans in the future to get the 1200 cc big bore kit put in it to make it even more fun to ride.


        • “Kind of like saying you drive a Ferrari and its really a Volkswagen.”

          I always wanted a Ferrari that I put VW medallions on. Can you imagine the looks I’d get? :^>

              • Mike in Atl
                I only worked on one Bradley GT and it was so long ago I cannot remember much but I do not believe it had a VW motor in as that I would remember as I hated to work on VW beetles because they had way to much sheet metal to remove before you could even find if there was an engine under all that tin work.

                They were really only good for sand rails in my opinion but then I am a need for speed kind of guy and a beetle was the farther thing from speed that you could get with out a very fat wallet.


            • I had a Fierogini I was married to for about 2 months. a 383 will put some cahones in one of those Fiero’s and exercise your sphincter all at once, just mash the pedal and pop the clutch

              • Reb
                Yea and I bet you loved to work on that small block crammed in that little engine compartment as the V6 was a tight fit so I know the V8 was shoehorned in there. But I bet it was a handful for sure with a lead foot,


                • It was a short marriage that ended when I walked the owner/customer under it and showed him the cracks that were spiderwebbing throughout the entire rear subframe. But Man what a ride!

    • Chris, USA


      1 mildot represents a given measurement in inches or millimeters at a given magnification.

      Oh yea forgot to say in the past when you talked about some of your groups that you shot and you gave the readings in millimeters. We use the metric standard at work for probably 20 years now.

      And most of the machines we have use metric bolts. The cmm reads out in metric. But or indactors and micrometer’s are still in standard or inches that we use to adjust or set up the machines. So I do a lot of conversion when I work on stuff.

      Rember to multiply or decide by 25.4 and that’s the quick easy number to convert with.

      And didn’t you say you shot some 12 mm groups the other day. But I forgot what distance.

      See I still have half a brain left. Or was that right? 🙂

          • Gunfun
            You are dealing in large dimensions as well as very small dimension so it makes a difference if you are converting several inches to millimeters versus converting thousand of inches to fractions of a millimeter.


            • Buldawg
              Nope it doesn’t matter we use 25.4 all the time at work.

              We hold tolerances down to .0005″ ( a half thousand ) all the time.

              You can carry out past the decimal point as many digits as you like. Like 25.400

              We usually use 4 digits past the decimal point when measuring in inches. The 25.4 just converts your given number.

              • Gunfun
                I guess it really does not matter, but at Harley we used .3937 as a general rule and it was mostly used to convert from standard feeler gauges used to adjust the valves on the Vrods to determine which metric shim size was needed to correct for valve clearances due to valve seat recession and valve face wear as the first motors would lose adjustment every 5000 miles or so until the got the metallurgy right to the point that there was very little wear or seat recession occurring .

                It finally got to the point that valve adjustment intervals were increased up to 25,000 miles instead of every 5000 miles and it was a very detailed and pain in the but to get the covers on and off to set the valves. The first motors had one piece valve covers and required removal of the motor from the frame to adjust and later they made two piece covers that allowed it to be done in the frame but was still time consuming and tedious to complete and since it was shim under bucket it required removal of the cams to change shims. The motor was a Porsche design and therefore was all metric and the typical over designed difficult to work on but very rugged engine with very good power but was just geared way to tall in first gear then very close ratio in the other four gears. First gear would do 70 mph at 9000 rpm redline but the bike would top out at 140 mph so in my opinion it should have been geared lower in first and spread the other four gears out just a little more as the clutch was easily fried due to it having to be slipped so much to get the bike rolling.


                • Valve seat recession? Guess that’s why my SR-500 wanted an adjustment every time I got on it. I personally witnessed what appeared to be about 80mph in 1st gear by a V-rod when I thoroughly upset one of my managers by proving him wrong. I also remember telling him to “keep revvin'”! And “I hope he craters it!”

                  • Reb
                    They will only do 70mph in first gear and at 9000 rpm the rev limiter kicks in and halts any further increase in rpm above 9000 as they will float valves and being an interference motor that could be catastrophic for the upper end of the engine.

                    At the very least you will bend the exhaust valves and the very most there will be valve heads stuck in the top of pistons. The valve stems in those motors are only 8mm and are very easily bent and broken.

                    That’s why I never really cared for the Vrod as it was just geared way to tall in first gear and in turn put more strain on the clutch pack than necessary and would fry clutch packs very easily if allowed to slip to much when launching from a dead stop.


                    • Well maybe my estimate was off by 10mph but that was about 1/8 mile away and I remember the limiter kickin’ in before he got outta it. Used to hear those as well as turbo wastegates all the time while working in that shop.

                  • Reb
                    The Vrod would hit the rev limiter in first before you knew it was that high in the rpm band. They are quick bikes no doubt but just to tall of a first gear for me as you have to slip the clutch way to much to launch good. There are screaming eagle and aftermarket kits to beef up the clutch packs but if they would have just spread the gearing out more it would be a much more fun bike to ride and faster as well.


                    • I understand you know your Harleys but this guy hammered that bike from our shop’s parking lot on Anderson lane to about halfway to 183 and milked 1st gear for everything it was worth. which was too hard on it for a long life. And he didn’t slip the clutch one bit, the back tire is what was doing all the slipping. The limiter sounded suspiciously like a MSD soft touch.

                    • Reb
                      it most definitely appeared he did not care if he blew it up or not and people like that are always the ones to give bikers a bad name with the foolish antics in crowed roads and in city limits.

                      I ride hard and fast but only when there are no cages to create issues for me when I do let it loose for some fun.

                      Check out the reply I left for Ben above for some pics of my KZ 1000 street legal drag bike,


                      Check to reply to

                  • Reb
                    He likely had a screamimng eagle tune kit in it or an aftermarket dynojet controller in between the computer and the harness bot of which would allow for setting the rev limit to whatever you chose and they also richened the fuel mixture as well.
                    He probably had clutch upgrades as well so they can be made fast but if he was revving over 9000 rpm it was just a matter of time before he floated valves and did major engine damage.


                    • This guy was at least the 3rd owner of the bike and it had aftermarket pipes which does require tuning. So who knows what else the previous owners had done to it?

                  • Reb
                    It had to have a tuner in it as with aftermarket pipes it would have run like snot with out a tuner to richen up the fuel mixture as well as correct the timing for to run correct and with all that it very likely did do 80 mph in first but I would wager to say the motor would be short lived if he was over revving it past 9000 rpm.


                    • The rear tire was bald after he’d had it for about a month so he didn’t really care for it well enough to make it last very long.
                      His father owned a bike shop throughout his childhood and he could ride but I suspect he rode ’em all into the ground, whereas I was always tuning on my bikes. It was such a rush when I finally found the reason for the surging on my CB650. After I adjusted the gap on it’s pulser modulator! It’d get sideways @60 mph by dropping 2 notches and hammering the throttle.

      • Gunfunn1,

        Yea, I got the mill-dot thing down, but have yet to put it into practice outside at further ranges.

        My indoor range is 41ft. You may have read the other day that I thought my scope had moved back, but was not sure. I did know what my distance from from the turret “mound” to the front ring was, (4mm.). I re-centered the scope in the rings and moved the mounts up to the middle scope stop. It was at the rear stop.

        I like it better and it shoots better. The cheek piece has no real “form” so to speak, so consistant “cheek plant” is a bit subjective. With the re-mount, it moved the occular lense forward 1/4″.

        As for groups, 15-20mm. was average with some 8’s and 4’s thrown in. Trying 4 pellet types with 4 different weights, all domed. With the re-mount, four 5 shot groups was 11,12,13 and 17mm., all with different pellets.

        I’m getting better and follow through is getting better as well. With almost 400 shots, I was hoping for better. 🙁

        As for the homemade mono-pod, (which is awesome), for 5 shot groups with the same pellet was 44,23,13 and 24mm., which is close to my rested groups. 44 was the first time shooting with it. So,…it does work well!

        • Chris, USA
          I definatly like BB’s mono-pod hold.

          I don’t have a mono-pod to try it with but it works excellent with my bi-pod.

          So you are shooting at a little over 13 yards. Right? So 11mm is around let’s see. 11 devided by 25.4 = .43307087 or let’s just say a .433″ group. I usually only measure my groups using 3 digits past the decimal point.

          So that was with the mono-pod you made then right?

          • Gunfun1,

            With the re-mount, the best was 11,…with the mono-pod the best was 13, as stated above. I did “just” shoot a 8 rested. I have shot 4.

            That’s only 20 shots on the mono-pod. So,.. I still got a lot of practice to do with it.

            As stated above, I was hopeing for better on my skills. 🙁 I want the “stackers” all of you keep talking about. But alas,…I am a “newbie”.

            I am anxious to see how much my 4 types of pellets “open up” at further distances, so I can choose a “best”.

            Adjusting the trigger is next, ..to minimize trigger “pull” on POI.

            • Chris, USA
              As you know there is slot involved with shooting.

              The gun and sights and pellet choice take some work but technique is another thing.

              What’s that saying we all have heard when we were kids.

              Practice makes perfect.

              • Gunfun1,

                Yep,…for sure.

                Being tired after a long day also affects performance. AM is best for me, assuming that not too much coffee is involved.

                Odd as it may be,…sometimes dead tired can be the best shots,..as long as the ol’ eyes will cooperate.

                Speaking of tired and long days,..I’m outa’ here.

                Till tomorrow….

    • There is a method, using a mil dot scope, assuming you know or have a good estimate of the size of your target. It works with hunting, but you need to be good with math in your head, and good at estimating the size of what you are looking at.

      Maybe not terribly precise, but if you can’t tell the difference between 50 and 200 yards it could help.

      Other than that it’s like other things, practice.

    • Chris,

      Yes there is a method. It required spatial visualization and a memory for it.

      Start with short distances and increase as you learn. 100 yards is probably the most you will ever need.

      Take something of known size and place it at an unknown distance, then estimate how far it is. Measure and do it again, and again…

      When I shot field target I was estimating the distance to target to within 2 yards out to 55 yards. Didn’t miss too often (on the distance, I mean). Missed the kill zones more often.


      • B.B.,

        Thank you for the reply. That sounds good, if not a bit of exercise at the same time. Bottom line I guess, is practice, practice. And 2yds. for 55yds. gives me something to “shoot for”.

        To give you an idea of the kind of answer I was looking for was…….many years ago I read where you could estimate the height of a tree by stepping away from the tree and bending over, looking through your legs. At whatever distance you could see the top of the tree…..you could take your inseam and distance from the tree,….and through some calculation,….estimate what the height of the tree is. I forget the specifics, but you get the idea. I’ll be REAL surprised if anyone has ever heard of this. But then again, we got some real smart people here and some real math wizzes as well.

        And as Gunfunn1 mentioned,..mill dots with a known target size. This I know, but have yet to put it to practice.

    • I walk mine with 36″ steps like they taught us in Basic training. It’s become more difficult since my left leg doesn’t really want to but I’ve got it back down again already, 1 step = 1 yard I also used this technique to spot trailers on location when I was working on the carnival midway.

      • Reb,

        Yep, “stepping off” is another way. I may check into range finders as a “cheat”. It would be interesting to know how well they do at the shorter air gunning distances, 25-50yds.

        I’m SURE someone here has tried it…….

        A.O. with dial readings VS actual distance, with tape corrections, would be another.

          • Twotalon,

            Thanks,..I will start checking into them. Also, I have a mil-dot scope, so it will be interesting to see how that works out with actual target shooting and hold under/ hold over data as well.

              • TT
                I got a little range finder I keep with me too.

                But rember if somebody was to compete in Field Target you can’t use a laser range finder.

                So a different method would have to be used.

                Just saying. And I do like my rangefinder for sure.

                • GF1

                  I don’t do ft . I shoot targets, plink, and I kill things. Competition is not a matter of interest.
                  Targets and plinking are only means to an end…..killing something.

                    • GF1

                      There was one time that a plinking session turned into a bug hunt for me. Wish I had it on video. Hard to believe. I have the equipment to do it with now, but it is hard to plan these things.

                      I set up to do some apple plinking. Pick an apple in a tree and shoot a hole in it. It sometimes cracks a bit, but stays there.
                      Then shoot a row of holes until a piece of it falls away. Now you have a smaller target. Trim that one down. Then trim what is left. Do it very deliberately.
                      One day the yellow jackets were thick. I picked out an apple and shot a hole in it. I had one YJ after another fly up and stick their head in the hole for a sweet treat. I just kept putting one pellet into the hole after another. I dropped so many of them that I got tired of it and went home.


              • But it may be worth checking the nominal sport it was designed for.

                Archery models may be more precise in the 25-75 yard range, big-game models may not measure anything closer than 10-20 yards. (My Bushnell Yardage Pro Sport won’t read anything closer than 6 yards, and is in whole yard increments)

                Some models also have a level sensor built in, and will not only give you the straight line distance to the target, but also the actual horizontal distance (when aiming at something in a tree, or down from a tree).

                • Wulfraed
                  Dead on with what you said.

                  I have the same laser rangefinder as you I think. Mine is the 400.

                  And yes I have been thinking about getting a new one that gives incline readings.

                  And that’s not only good for up in trees but also good for ranging up a hill or down in a valley too.

                  • Gunfun1,

                    Good advice per “the Baron”. I do not think that one made for 1000+ yds. would be made the same as one for archery. And laser.

                    I have yet to look, but what does one cost like what I would want? You mentioned a “400”. My property is hilly, so only cross hill shots would be considered straight/level.

                    On a side note, your “handle” always had 2 “n” at the end, now one….or was that your smart phone “fixing” things for you?

                    • Chris, USA
                      I don’t even remember what mine cost. I got it probably about 6 or so years ago when I got back in to airguns.

                      And my handle has always had one N at the end before the 1. I saw you were using two N’s in your replies and I just didn’t say anything.

                      Always one N before the 1.

                      I promise. 🙂

                    • In 2011, I paid $260 (via Amazon) for a Nikon RifleHunter 550.

                      11-550 yards (yes, 11 yards is the closest!) The “Archers Choice” model was 5-100 yards.
                      Linear distance is 0.5 yards out to 100 yards, then in 1.0 yard.
                      In ID (Incline/Decline) mode, it displays to 0.2 yards out to 100, and then in 1.0 yard (turns out it has a 3 digit LCD read-out, at 100 yards it turns off the decimal point)

                      The RifleHunter has 1st and distant target priority modes (Archery model is always 1st target mode). Distant target mode attempts to ignore intervening brush or twigs to report the “wall” (side of the deer?) distance. 1st target mode always returns closest reading.

                      The RifleHunter has been discontinued; the ProStaff 3i is likely the closest… 8-650 yards, displays 0.1yard with accuracy of half a yard (4 digit display) {the 3i is new — Amazon has the 3, which had only 3 digit display, for $240)

                      My Bushnell appears to predate my Quicken accounts.

                • Baron W,

                  Thanks for the $$$ and model info. (below). That $ range is probably more than I want to spend for something that. If I was hunting game at long distance with rifle, I could justify it.

                  I swear I used one,.. that blurred 2 images and you adjusted it until the 2 came together into 1 clear picture, then read a dial that had yardage on it. Maybe something like a golfer might use?

    • Chris:

      There a number of ways that archers use to estimate distance. Most of those methods require demonstration and involve gap shooting. However, here is one that works for everyone: Stand up straight, hold you dominate arm straight out in front of you. Sight over your middle finger and note where the sight picture touches the ground. The goal is to get the same sight picture every time. It helps to use a tree to sight at. Move forward or backward until you are sighting in exactly at the base of the tree (ground level). Mark where you are standing and measure the distance. That will give you a known distance that should be the same every time (as long as you keep your arm in the same plane). With a little practice you can then estimate closer and farther distances by the relationship between where the point touches the ground versus your target. This technique only works on level ground.

      It is easier to do it than explain it. Try google. There is probably a video on the internet demonstrating this technique and others. BTW, archers, especially using a compound bow, can use this same technique using the tip of the arrow.


      • Reb
        I don’t know where my unaccurate guns are anymore.

        Because I got rid of them. I guess somebody might think they are accurate but they weren’t my kind of accurate.

        Hopefully I’m on the right track now with the guns I have.

        • The Regal’s still coming along well and I think I’ve gotta buyer for it when we get it finished. He’s able to hit that coffee can out to 60 yards offhand as it is now but I don’t wanna frustrate him with a gun that’s not done yet and it’s gonna be hard to give it up but it’s too heavy and hard to cock for me to use in the field. I’m thinking about getting myself one of those cheap 2240’s with the proceeds when I get moved.

        • I looked everywhere I could think of for my extra scope yesterday but had loosely installed it on the QB-36 before dropping it over at my brother’s place. Got a little frustrated and creative when I noticed my 760 has the spring clamp rear sight on it and tapped it on the 2400. I bought a set of see through rings that require tapping the receiver to install and if all goes well I’ll have both irons & a scope on it. It goes through one side of the can and leaves a dent in the other side at 15 yds( didn’t have enough daylight to chrony it after the basketball players were done on the other side of the privacy fence)

        • Spot on Gunfun, I takes me a while to give up on a gun but if I can’t get it up to snuff, it’s out the door. Also I much prefer good gunsmithing to buying aftermarket parts to make a good shooter.

            • Absolutley things can be made better. It takes me quite some time to get something shooting just how I want it. But once I get the it to fit just right, find the perfect sights and find a load that the rifle shoots better than I do, it joins the rank of the very few I practice with regularly and will never part with. Gunfun, you seem to like to tinker and tune even more than I do, and I really enjoy that.
              I am far from a gunsmith but I improving guns is a hobby of mine. I have had some really good results for an ameture over the years once I adapted an approach of changing one thing at a time in very small increments and adjustments.

              • Ben
                Yep no matter what I have owned it seems to get messed with some way.

                And the one step at a time approach works good. And once you get the different things in the combination figured out as to what they do to the system. It makes it a little easier to do to the next gun or whatever it may be that your trying to improve.

                Once they are right it definatly makes them more enjoyable to own.

  6. >Curiously, the distance at which the target was shot is missing from the target.

    I noticed that on Cooper targets too, B.B.! I also contemplated the likelihood that it is not the only target shot by the tester with the associated rifle and it might not be representative of the rifle’s accuracy at all. You probably know better than I that a centerfire rifle that typically puts 10 shots into 3 inches (so-so accuracy for anything but a battle rifle) at 100 yards can be relied upon to put three shots into an inch fairly promptly. The tester just lines up some targets and starts shooting. Targets are abandoned immediately if the second shot moves more than an inch from the first shot and it is obviously discarded if the final 3-shot group is larger than 1 inch. This routine would usually also provide a zeroing opportunity to get the groups very close to the bull, as you observed. The very first discarded target would provide enough information to get near the bull next time. Yes–this is what I think Cooper Firearms is doing.

    10-shot groups are valuable. (Thank-you B.B.!) 5-shot groups are marginally useful. 3-shot groups are worthless, except perhaps to confirm that a gun does NOT shoot well, if the group is honestly produced.

    • Cal
      Yea you know that little target deal I talked about with shooting to see trajectory.

      I was shooting 10 shot group’s when I plot the trajectory. You circle each 10 shot group and lay your targets on the table then draw lines to connect the groups.

      Its pretty cool it is basically like what a ballistic caculater shows when you input the data but your actually shooting the gun and the targets show the trajectory by the group’s you shot.

  7. B.B.’s been around the range a lot longer than I have, but I think most gun owners expect their guns to be accurate–based partly on ridiculous movie gunslinging heroics–and are disappointed when they discover they are not. Sometimes the gun is not accurate, but often the gun owner is just not a good shooter. Given these two choices, which one is the average James Bond wannabe going to pick? Door Number One, please!

  8. The Air Force Talon’s ability to swap barrels, high vs low flow tanks, and power settings easily seems convenient.

    But for does its accuracy and trigger compare to the Benjamin Marauder ?

    • John,

      Yes, it does compare. In fact, the average Talon SS will outshoot the average Marauder.

      The Talon’s accuracy is consistently high. The Marauder has more variation.

      All Marauders are accurate, but all Talon SS have gilt-edged accuracy. Sometimes an extremely accurate Marauder comes along, but on average, the Talon SS has the edge.

      Now triggers are different. The Talon SS trigger is fine, but the Marauder’s trigger is better. It is very adjustable and can be made to do almost anything within reason. The Talon SS trigger is just a very fine non-adjustable trigger.


      • Thanks. I’m thinking of getting a PCP for Field Target. I like my R9’s Rekord trigger – easy to feel 2nd stage that breaks at about 1.5 lbs. I’ve shot 1 lb triggers and liked them even better, but 9 oz was too light for me.

        Will the Talon trigger get into the 1 to 1.5 lb range after it breaks in ? If not, is there an easy way to lighten it ? I read your cautions against stoning the trigger, but what would swapping or shortening a spring work ?

        Thanks for your help !

        • John,

          I would not recommend a Talon SS for field target. It’s much too light. Shooters who use them usually add 4-6 lbs. of weight to stabilize the rifle when they hold on the target. Hitting something a half-pellet diameter in size take an incredibly steady gun.

          I doubt the trigger will ever wear in lighter than 2 lbs. but that is perfect for a sporting rifle. While you may like a lighter trigger in warm weather, they become impossible to use safely when it turns cold and the feeling leaves your fingers.

          Just my thoughts.


          • Thanks.
            If I get a marauder, and it turns out to be one of the less accurate ones, is it likely that just replacing the barrel with another barrel from crosman will fix it ?

            • John,

              First, let’s define what we mean by “less ac curate. In my experience that would be 10 rounds in 1-1.125-inches at 50 yards instead of 10 in 0.75 inches. The difference really isn’t that much — just over half the width of Roosevelt’s head on a dime. So the question is — are you able to shoot such groups? Not everyone is.

              What I’m saying is that you should get the rifle and work with it for a while until you can establish that it is the rifle and not your technique that’s lacking. If that comes to pass, the a substitute barrel will change the accuracy.


  9. B.B.
    Only accurate firearms are intresting to shoot.
    All else is like popping firecrackers.

    How is the diana 45 coming along? Gave my hw35 a Maccari tune kit it’s super sweet.

  10. B.B.,

    I read your comment yesterday about possibly writing a report on the Daystate Sportsman Mkll, and found your mention of it in a 2010 blog. Its a rifle I’d like to learn more about.

    Thanks for a great series of articles this week.


  11. This is an article that could potentially shatter the vacuum tube existence that many shooters live inside.

    Accuracy is relative to them. Tin cans at 20 yards is ok. They’re happy with that. Their world of accuracy is easy to find and they have many blissful shooting sessions because of this.

    I’ve “aided” some of these shooters by shooting at smaller targets at longer distances with more accurate guns. Not sure leading many of them to this “enlightenment” and heading them down the path to ultimate accuracy was doing them a favor.

    Spend some time on this path and you come to realize that the title to todays article could also be “Few guns are accurate”.


  12. Tom,

    On TV and in film the good guy with a handgun ALWAYS takes out four guys with semiauto rifles, and he doesn’t miss once while they don’t connect once.

    I actually learned that not all guns are accurate at an unusually early age, probably about five or six. My father was restoring a cracked and dried out buttstock of his childhood (and, I think his father’s childhood) rifle, a single-shot 22LR tip up Stevens with a very short barrel. While the stock had suffered dozens of Wisconsin winters in an unheated summer cottage, many years earlier when my dad had put the gun away, he must have cleaned and oiled it well for storage, because the metal seemed pretty darn good, and with a flashlight he showed me the bore, which was as shiny as a Cadillac bumper right off the line.

    I asked him if after he restored the stock if he planned to shoot it. He said something like, “Naw. This’ll go up on the wall. It could never shoot straight, anyway.” Then he explained to me that even in expert hands the rifle could hit the broad side of a barn only at ten or fewer paces!

    As for small handguns, a colleague of mine once asked me if I was familiar with handguns. I said yes and no. I had read about them extensively but had never shot one. He responded that he had shot over 10,000 rounds from handguns and was a decent shot. He then told me that at 15 feet, in the heat of a gunfight, with a snub-nosed .38, he would have about a 50-50 chance of hitting the chest of a man with the first shot.

    Years ago Ted Nugent was on Bill Maher and stunned everyone when he said, “Don’t plan to defend your HOME with a handgun. That’s what shotguns are for!”


  13. I just had to comment on your mention of peoples claim vs reality.
    I really don’t have any airgun stories…I either shoot in my basement range or with an informal target group of which my Avanti 853c would be in the budget class…in other words most of the members know their stuff.
    But….the range I am a member of.
    Myself and my two sons (now 11 & 14…man they grow upfast) usually can be found on the 100 or 150 meter rimfire ranges.
    At 100m the boys can now shoot a fairly consistent 2″ group off a bi-pod with their Marlin XT-22’s, nice rifles with good scopes, bi-pods and rear bags.
    So often some one shows up, watches a while and then pulls out their rifle and tell us how they can easily shoot sub 1moa with their .22lr at this distance, 100m (110yds).
    They then proceed to shoot a 2″, 3″ or even 4″ groups…but definitely not sub moa.
    I’ve come to love the exuses:
    -gee, that’s some wind!
    -barrel needs a good cleaning!
    -must be having scope problems!
    -shouldn’t have had that 2nd cup of coffee!
    Just because you’ve put together one .75″ group in the last 10 outings don’t mean you’re a sub 1moa shooter.
    Not as I see it.

    • Cowboystar Dad, that’s fantastic rimfire marksmanship from your boys. I really like my .22 but past 75- 80 yards it starts to open up. It’ll do sub moa at fifty more often than not if I do my part. I only have 2 centerfire rifles that’ll shoot sub moa at 100 or better.

      • Ben…just a thought, are you using HV rounds (CCI MiniMags, Blazer, etc) by chance.
        These rounds transition from super to sub sonic at about 75 yds and they become very unstable when doing so.
        If you haven’t, try something like CCI SV or RWS Club (or anything around 1050fps). Because these start out subsonic they stay stable all along their flight path.
        We started out using CCI Mini and had the same issue you have…deadly accurate at 50 or 75m, turning into 4 and 5″ groups at 100m.
        With the RWS Club or CCI Greentag they are able to shoot consistently 2″, and throw in the odd 1 or 1.5″ group on a real lucky day.

        • CCI standard and green tags(I’ll pay the higher price when I can’t get enough standard) are my preferred load. However a good friend of mine loves mini mags and high velocity in general. I just might have been running his ammo or even clips last time I seriously shot past fifty yards. Thank you, as soon as it warms up a bit, I’ll break out the green tags and see if that helps.

  14. Yes, 10 shot groups are useful.
    And less is not always more..

    One of the guys at our range bought a new wiz bang ar-16.
    About 10 rounds into shooting it after doing the BZO at 25.

    One of the other guys put 2 shots touching at 100 yards with iron sights with the new rifle.

    The owner was going on and on about the one hole group at 100 yards.

    When I tried explaining about the error in iron sights at 100 yards, and the errors of the inaccuracy of the rifle at 100 yards canceling each other out to make a 2 shot group,look good.
    He wouldn’t hear of it..

    A week later, he had a new optic on the rifle,figuring he could get even better groups, now he is finding his rifle shoots about 3-4 moa at 100, and has come to understand what I was talking about.

    The man has been around guns of all types his whole life, and been a shooter his whole life, but actual knowledge of firearms is very shallow.

    (He doesn’t do airguns so it’s safe talking about him here)
    To him, a FX Royal, or a Rapid Air Weapons are still just a BB gun..

  15. Never a truer word said about accuracy, I weigh things heavily in my favour, my rifles are a known quantity and every bit as accurate as I am, an inaccurate rifle is like a blunt knofe, an object without use, I use the ammo that suits each rifle, and, still, when I hunt, I don’t take a rabbit past 35 yards, sure I’ll take a punt at a 60 yard target on the HFT course, and 7 out of 10 times, on a still day I’ll drop it, but that is critically too inaccurate for ethical hunting.
    Out in the field I will let almost every freehand shot go, if I can’t lean against a barn, a tree or a tractor, well it had better be 15 yards away or it can walk.
    I read so often of pigeons head shot at 50 yards and I always call either BS or a lack of morals, a pigeon’s brain is as big as a hazlenut and is constantly moving, and I’ve certainly not seen anyone shoot shelled hazlenuts off a wall at that range reliably.
    And here’s the odd bit, I sound a dismal shot, but after 30 years of FT, 10 metre and 30 or so quality rifles. I rarely meet anybody better….but, boy, do some people talk a good shot, the amount of guys with Hatsan springers and a tin of no name pellets who can take a rats eye out at 70 yards is amazing.

    • Dom,

      I am not a hunter but I have always understood that one of the great skills in hunting is the ability to get yourself within your range of accuracy without scaring your quarry off.


      • A good hunter never tracks a wounded animal.
        Or if they have to it’s with a sense of failure and a resolve to practice.
        I find it depressing that it seems an acceptable way of hunting Stateside.
        Just too easy to shoot a hog or whitetail vaguely in the chest area then get a buzz out of following a blood trail
        Get in 20 yards closer and put it through the heart or the brain.
        Can’t get that close, let it be.
        I’ve seen a Kenyan drop an impala in it’s tracks with a spear as thick as your little finger, got a 308 win mag? and have to torture the animal because of some sense of entitlement?

    • Dom, I excellent advice for all hunters, There is almost always something to rest on and taking game offhand is bad practice in my book as well. l really like a loop sling for hunting. Just find a solid rest for your elbow and a clean kill will follow.

  16. My fellow bloggers, If you have (or can get) a copy of Phil Sharpes classic book, The Rifle in America, please read what he had to say regarding accuracy and the standards that different shooters used to evaluate their rifles accuracy. If needed , I can go to my archives and put in some direct quotes from Mr. Sharpes book. Ed

    • Though dated,that book ,and his book on handloading are must haves for any shooters library. Also, Harvey Donaldson, Ken Waters, and Paul Matthews books offer very good information. Paul Mathews books are the best in regards to loading , and using rifles for hunting by ordinary folks like myself.

  17. B.B., what instrument did you play in your HS marching band? I played clarinet in mine. Hated it. I wanted to learn the guitar, but my dad loved Benny Goodman, so it was years before I could drop the clarinet and get a guitar. I carried that clarinet from house to house out of guilt for many years before someone was finally kind enough to steal it.

      • B.B.,

        Did you know the reason Bach had so many children is that his organ didn’t have any stops. You sure you didn’t play this instrument with your devilish good looks? I hope I can say what I just wrote. Oops. I’m giddy cause tomorrow is match day.


    • I played clarinet from 5 th grade to 11th. Couldn’t take it anymore. Seriously started getting to involved in cars. And girls. You know how all that goes when your young.

      • When we moved from TX to KS the school there required all students to participate in band, I’d never played anything at the time and still have no idea of how to read sheet music so as a senior I pulled a bye but was required to sing in a class they called Vocal in order to regain the credit missed from not being in band and graduated 3rd in a class of 13.

          • No way! But I did learn a lot that last year. When I went on the road I had to learn how to read tableture if I wanted to learn how to play tunes on my guitar because my ears are tone deaf and the teacher (my other guitar playing buddies) don’t like it when the student makes their newfound tune sound better than who taught them. I had dreams of rehabbing by playing again but now it feels so alien. “Over the hills & far away” was a long time favorite riff that would undoubtedly turn heads but I’d get lost sometime after the second chorus. I’d stay up playing that thing ’til 5:00am only to have to get up @8:00 am.

            • Reb
              My dads hobby I guess you could say was playing and making guitar’s.

              He could pick up a guitar and just start playing along with the music.

              I tryed to play the guitar but could no way play anywhere near like he could.

              Again cars seem to always keep me occupied more than anything else when I was growing up. I did mess with motorcycle’s, RC airplanes and guns. But it always was cars that overrided the other things.

              Well at least it was fun is the best I can say.

              • I was jealous of my friends’ ability to pull a song outta their head and perform almost flawlessly but some would get lazy on the fretboard and that’s where I excelled. I’m sure those days are gone forever. I have considered trying Bass again as it doesn’t require as much intricacy. Ever see the video for “Dig” by Mudvayne?

                • Reb
                  Nope I grew up listing to the old rock.

                  Like Ozzy,Black Sabbath,Blue Oyster Cult,Rush,April Wine,Sammy Haggar,Leonard Skynerd,Charlie Danials,pink Floyd and all those others of the day.

                  But on the weekends when my dad was BBQ’n I was listening to him play his Italian folk music.

                  Oh and I do mix in some country music here and there.

                  • Had to ditch country about junior high(hometown doesn’t allow anything but country, oldies or elevator music) but that list up there sounded good for many years until I realized it was either something new or the same old songs over &over.

                    • Reb
                      The old rock station in are area is KSHE 95. They are still playing tock from old and new.

                      That’s pretty much the station I listen to all the time still. Even when I’m shooting my air guns. Like right now.

                      And you can’t believe how many of them groups I seen in concert back when I was a teenager in the mid 70’s to early 80’s when I was in my 20’s.

                      I think a ticket for a floor seat by the stage back then was about 6-10 bucks depending on the group playing.

                      How much are they now for floor seats?

  18. B.B.

    Not all guns are accurate is actually an understatement. My checking account is still bleeding from that little fact. That and the search for the most accurate gun, for me, I could find. That makes for two issues with accuracy on any given gun. The first is whether it is accurate at all, for anyone. The second is whether it’s the “most” accurate for me.

    Finding both types of guns is expensive. My lawyer says the same thing about justice.

    Ouch, I don’t believe it’s possible to stop the bleeding. But it hurts oh so good.


  19. BB was talking about the tracking element in one of the recent posts, making the point it was usual practice, if it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the hunt, why do it, you can watch any number of hunting videos, especially with Bows and big bore airguns that they enthusiastically approach with this method an accepted fact.
    People wouldn’t do it if they weren’t getting some enjoyment?
    I’m not a sport hunter though (an oxymoron until Whitetails develop the ability to shoot an AR15 or pheasants start buying 12 bores) and all hunting I do, and will ever do is pest control and for the pot.
    Fence hunting with a bow, for instance, for me, is a needless and somewhat spiteful indulgence, and I’m afraid that big bore airgunning, isn’t far off….there are more effective devices and that is where your own ethics come in, I think you owe it to the animal to buy the gun that is amply capable of causing very sudden death and getting yourself to the range that you can do it.

    • Dom,

      Wow! You’ve extrapolated info based on what YOU think, not reality.

      People get colonoscopies, but they don’t do it because they get a buzz out of it. They do it because it’s part of life or needed. Tracking an animal to ensure that it has died is a duty — not an adrenaline rush or some perverse thrill.


    • Dom,

      An instant kill is always the goal of any hunt. But shots do miss — even those from famous sportsmen. So the hunter has to be prepared to do something about it when it happens. It is unreasonable to think that all shots are instant kills. If you hunt, this is not a question if “if” but “when.”

      No one I know has ever taken pleasure from tracking a wounded animal. The chief concern is to locate the animal and finish the job.


        • Edith, I would agree with you and then some on t.v. hunts. I’ve watched more than a couple animals take a poor hit followed by celebration and footage of the downed game. There most definetley was either some follow up shooting or a long time consuming search edited out. I hope these shows are a fad and one that ends soon.

    • Dom
      Try hunting Wild Boar that get as big as bulls at 700 to 800 pounds and you will soon learn that the hunt is truly exciting when you shoot one and it just pisses it off and then you become the hunted as I have hunted with an old man as I was 21 at the time and he was in his forties that had hunted them all his life and came to the realization that they were easier to kill with a tem inch bowie knife and 10 to 12 pit bull dogs and a couple Air dales to howl when the hog was captured by the pits.

      These boar would have 10 inch tusks that were razor sharp and would hunt you down and tree you if you had shot them and pissed them off and they would spend all night trying to uproot the tree so he finally realized they would suffocate in their own blood when he stuck that bowie knife in their throats as the dogs held it to the ground in 5 minutes but he also lost a lot of dogs to those boars as well.

      It is a whole different experience when you know the prey you hunt will hunt you also.


  20. It is, but, will you accept that you weigh things more in favour of ethically killing a hog with a 308 WM than you do with a Benjamin Rogue or compound bow?
    And therefore you are making a choice, that may not be in the best interest of the quarry?

    • Dom,

      You are trying to lure me into saying that bow hunting is unethical?

      I won’t say that. But I did do my best to describe how it differs from hunting with a high-velocity centerfire firearm.

      I am sorry that this discussion offends you. I think we better leave it where it is, because there is not going to be an agreement.


    • Dom, I believe an arrow to be the most humane way to harvest big game. The broadhead of any respectable bowhunter is extremely sharp and tends to lacerate where a bullet punctures. And with my high power rifles, I abandoned heart shots long ago. A double lunger placed above the heart is a far better shot from my experience. A heart shot isn’t an instant death.

  21. I think you are probably aware that is not my point Edith 🙂
    My point is that you should use the weapon best suited to the task, a 1700ft/lb hydrostatic impact as opposed to awaiting a bleed out from a 200ft/lb big bore airgun or an arrow is, clearly, if an option (which it is), the way to go if a humane kill is the priority.
    Isn’t this obvious?
    Getting close enough to minimise missing the heart and brain is also a choice…one that seems to get ignored more than it should
    My opinion.

    • Dom

      I understand your” point is that you should use the weapon best suited to the task”.
      But also your weapon should be suited for the area being hunted, And what weapon is best suited for you. If you are not comfortable and confident in your weapon and your abilities for an ethical kill then you have no business hunting for that animal.
      I have hunted for more than 30 years and I never take a shot that I’m not comfortable with. I have taken animals with many different weapons. I can honestly say that the animal doesn’t suffer anymore from one weapon to the next.
      I have taken deer with a bow that when the shot was taken the deer jumped at the sound of the bow and looked around to see where the noise come from, Then walked 5 yards and fell over.
      I have also taken deer with a large firearm that have gone 100 yards or more with a perfect shot.

      I have never gotten a rush from killing an animal or tracking it.
      The rush comes from those few seconds when all those many hours of practice and patients pays off. And,I also get a rush when the meat goes on the table and I know I did it MYSELF and didn’t pay someone else raise it and kill it and process it for me.

      I do feel for every animal that I take. But I feel worse for the animal when I see it laying beside the road suffering for a long time from being hit by a car. The animal population is getting so high they have to cross roads and go into urban areas more frequently for food and habitat.

      The problem is NOT with the weapons. The problem is unethical hunters who don’t know their own limits with their weapons!
      I would have no problem hunting animals with a firearms,bows or airguns because I know MY limits.


    • My opinion: Judging by your your insistence that large bore air rifles and archery tackle are not not adequate for hunting deer and hogs and that you only use brain and heart shots when you do and never have to recover game, leads me to believe that you haven’t had much field experience. By your standards, perhaps only an RPG would meet your requirements of a “humane ” hunting weapon? I have put down two deer in my time that were head shot by other hunters at close range who shot for the “brain only”.One had been alive for days when we found it and it’s entire lower jaw had been blown away. By their reduced lethal effective range, ML, archery, and bigbore airguns , are a safer way in many heavily populated areas to control deer and hogs, where short range is the rule, and CF rifles are dangerous because of extended range in the event of a miss. I have shot some deer, and I miss once in awhile as I’m not perfect like you? Game recovery and processing the resource is part of hunting, and as BB says , the reality of the hunting experience. Your attitude towards this reminds me of many anti-hunters who demonize responsible hunters about the few deer lost and not recovered , or that do not instantly expire at the shot. What is sad is that most of these folks will drive by deer killed by vehicles and wasted, and not bat an eye. Your comments are offensive to me and do great dis-servence to all responsible hunters, because you dismiss a viable option of wildlife control, harvest , and the useful management tool that a bows or Big Bore air rifles are in the hands of responsible hunters.

      • If I recall, mention was also made of impala.

        Impala are open grass lands animals — even one that made it 100 yards wouldn’t require tracking per se; one likely had it in full sight the entire time.

        Much different from whitetail (at least in my area — which is experimentally permitting rifles in certain pistol calibers [.357Mag is about the lower limit — .38 Special is too short, .454Casull at the upper end IF one could find a rifle chambered for it] to be used; otherwise it is shotgun), which are more forest game, unless they are pests in a farmer’s fields. One is shooting through openings between trees or from stands clamped up in the tree, and an animal that only goes five yards might effectively drop from view.

    • One of my quicker and cleaner and quicker “kills” was on an armadillo with which I had only natural weapons to choose from, as it turns out a 3′ oak club to the base of the skull produces an instant kneeling effect with no holes or bloody mess and was probably much more than was necessary. Don’t take your shot, make your shot count!
      Aah, the good ole sheleili. What works for the pot works for me!

    • Dom,

      Read your comment last night and started to formulate a response. Determined I was too tired to type out the necessary lengthy reply since it appears from your comments that we have very different levels of experience in the field.

      I’ve been hunting small and big game for over 50 years.

      Robert in Arcade did a very good job of speaking for me. Would strongly encourage you to read what he wrote twice.

      The reality of hunting and killing animals in the slaughter houses where you get your beef/chicken/pork is that it doesn’t always go as planned. It certainly isn’t something you hope for but better plan for.


      • I must admit, I wasn’t going to respond, mainly because BB would like the subject dropped, however, I would like to suggest you read my posts twice rather than Robert of Arcade’s and see if you can home in on my point with rather more accuracy than he.
        Would you recommend a Crosman 2240 for 30 yard rabbits?
        With very correct shot placement it would do the job, you’d have to be Annie Oakley though.
        Bearing in mind we can’t be utterly perfect all the time, would you recommend perhaps a Benjamin Discovery instead?
        It would open the chances for well placed heart/lung shots and would create greater head trauma.
        Heck you could even go for a .25 pcp with 40 ft/lb…that’s going to smack a rabbit skull in two at those ranges
        Now scale that up to a deer or hog
        Would you recommend a 200ft/lb airgun, or a bow over even an 800ft/lb rifle.
        (Given we ignore Roberts urban hogs and assume an RPG could cause peripheral damage)
        Which do you think, most things being equal, would be more or less likely…sure not every time…but more likely, to cause a near instantaneous death, which would be more or less likely to have you poking about in the brush?.
        Hunting should be about weighing the odds heavily in favour of a clean,sudden, kill, by ALL means you can.
        Now, my point is, if you know, and I think we do, that a higher powered firearm is better at killing deer/hog/human sized things, then you have to make some assumption about the use of much lower energy airguns or bows etc for this purpose
        Outside of some unlikely scenario’s…it’s going to be a personal choice,,,because of a particular enthusiasm……not out of a desire to be as humane as possible, feel free to ponder the ethics of this.
        For BB this is my last word on this subject
        I didn’t expect to gain popularity for this particular train of thought…we can be quite logic blind if it suits us.
        Oh, and hunting, as I stand accused of naivety, stags once in Scotland, rabbits, rats, pigeon and crows….more than most of you.
        And never with a 2240

        • Again , you spin the reality based on your extrapolation of hunting reality as you have experienced,or would wish too, and this is based on, as you have acknowledged correctly ” your naivety”. “Stags in Scotland”, ONCE….! Don’t make assumptions that the use of the other tools for hunting is to be regarded as some sort of inhumane exercise based in depravity, and a lack of personal ethics on the part of responsible hunters. This is what I find to be offensive, and is the snarky attitude displayed by many anti-sportsmans groups. You know your limitations, your gear, your game, and your skill set, and act accordingly. That’s what the reality of hunting is, as BB’s article pointed out.

  22. BB–My copy of the American Rifleman (March 2015) arrived today . It has a very good article re metal fatigue. Can you get permission to put it on this blog? There may be bloggers who don’t get this magazine, or whose wives throw away once read magazines. I would like to be able to access it in the future when I do not have (or can’t find) this issue. Ed

  23. BB
    Townsend Whelen not Townshend Whelen.

    Did you say that the US Military continues to procure the M4 even if they deemed it completely unsuited for general battlefield use? Isn’t the M4 the standard issue of the US military?

    • Hi Ton,

      I know this is opening up that old can of worms, but I have to agree with .BB on the Mattelomatic. They have come a long way with improving this weapon from when it was first introduced, however If given the choice I would still prefer the AKM or even better, an AK-47.

      The tolerances of the Mattelomatic are so close that the slightest amount of crud will cause it to have operating issues. Changing the op rod design was an immense help, which by the way was copied from the AK and our older battle rifles, but they are still made with the bolt assist.

      The AK-47 has been shown time and time again to continue to function under conditions when the Mattelomatic would have been scrapped.

      Also, there is the matter of the .223 cartridge. Really? As a teen, I hunted groundhogs with this cartridge and I can attest to how deadly it is. I had no problem hitting them in the head at 150 yards. I killed a deer with a head shot at over 250 yards. But I knew my rifle and I knew my load.

      Also, the 5.56 round weighs a whopping 60 grains while the 7.62 round is somewhere in the neighborhood of double that. Take a stack of 2x4s and shoot a Mattelomatic into it on one end and shoot a 7.62×39 into the other end and see which penetrates deeper.

      I would much rather lug a M-14 than a Mattelomatic, but it is cheaper to build a Mattelomatic and the 5.56 is cheaper than the 7.62. Only the best for our troops.

      • I’m with Ridge Runner, anything on the AK style platform would be my go to assault rifle. It’s reliable and recoil is easy to manage. However I like the black gun, tacticool fad because the AR 15 is a fantastic varmint rifle for my demands and good deals are fairly common. A DP MS or Bushmaster beats all but the best of the best Mini 14 for a wolf rifle out of the box in my book.
        However last summer an ex SEAL spent some trigger time at my place and his main combat weapon of choice was an M16 with a two stage trigger, selector switch and sheet lead weighting the barrel for closer quarters. I believe the SEAL trademark is one chest and one head shot kills and the sheet lead and over pressure rounds were an excellent combo. Also his side arm of choice is a .44 Desert Eagle so he is very familiar with a gas impingement action and skilled at maintaining them. In skilled hands it sounds like there is devastating potential in combat. But for the average Joe facing doomsday, strap on a Kalashnikov

        • Ben,

          I have owned a Dessert Eagle in .357 and .44 and I would never consider such a firearm as a battlefield weapon. They are way too large and heavy for the average person to handle. They can also be finicky and unreliable, once again to many parts and too tight tolerances. K.I.S.S.

          My sidearm of choice, which more of our special forces are returning to by the way, is the 1911A1 chambered in .45 ACP. There is a reason why our troops carried this pistol through four wars, it works.

          Once again, the 9mm is cheaper than the .45 ACP, it is the common pistol ammo of NATO and the pistol is a common pistol made by one of our NATO buddies. Only the best for our troops.

          • I wouldn’t carry a Desert Eagle either, for excactley the reasons you mentioned. My side arm of choice is a Super Black Hawk in .44. I spend my free time in the bush or I would carry something different. I like 9mm a lot on a carry piece, easier recoil to manage. I understand in the past 9mm stopping power has been qyestioned. I also believe modern hollow points to hit hard enough to make this a non issue. 1911’s are definetly battle tested and there are some really nice one ones around but I am not a fan. Every one I’ve seen come around has the occasional malfunction. Where every H & K, Sig or Glock that shows up shoots every time, clean or dirty right out of the box. However my opinion is worth about nothing when it comes to combat/defense weapons. The conversation I had last summer was fascinating to me. The man is both highly trained and battle hardened with scars from bullets and shrapnel and his top two combat weapons surprised me. And if you are a 1911 fan and enjoyed shooting your .44 Desert Eagle Ridge Runner have you got a chance to play with a Grizzly? It’s like a 1911 on steroids chambered in .44 mag. A prospector friend of mine carries one every where and keeps a second in camp.

            • The truth is I am not a fan of the Dessert Eagle.

              Most of the 1911A1’s that I have heard of or seen malfunction are the ones that have been accurized. I have had this discussion with those with such. By tightening up all of the tolerances, they are introducing some of the same issues that Mattelomatics suffer from. When I was in boot camp and they were teaching us to field strip and maintain the 1911A1, after reassembly the instructor had us to hold our pistols in the air over our heads and shake them. He told us that if they did not rattle, something was wrong.

              A properly tuned 1911A1 may not win a match, but after you have drug it through hell and back it will likely still save your life.

          • Beretta built a US facility in order to satisfy the military orders (and are moving it because Massachusetts would like to put them out of business
            http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/22/beretta-usa-announces-decision-to-move-its-entire-maryland-manufacturing-capabilities-to-tennessee/ ). The top offices are Italian, yes… But if you look at the overall mish-mash of gun makers, few of them can be considered “American”, and the ones that are probably don’t have the production capabilities any more. Winchester? The ammo and gun branches split up years ago, the gun branch turned into “U.S. Repeating Arms”, and THAT became part of Fabrique National — which has produced Browning products for decades (and a lot of the Browning production comes from a country that doesn’t permit civilian ownership of guns — Japan). Beretta also owns Sako (swedish). Remington and Marlin are both now part of one large company that also owns Bushmaster and DPMS as I recall.

            S&W used to be owned a UK company that made automotive and industrial parts… S&W also owns Thompsen/Center…

            Lets not consider Colt… Or, do… They split into military and civilian companies, only to have the civilian branch swallowed by the military branch. The only thing they have with the government is a contract for the M4; M16s have been made by Fabrique National for decades, and the military stopped buying 1911s back in the late 1940s.

            • My Dear Baron,

              I am well aware that they are manufactured here in the U.S. That has nothing to do with it. Very likely the 9mm ammo is also made in the good old USA. It is still cheaper and less effective a man stopping round than the .45 ACP.

              Springfield Armory is starting to remanufacture the 1911A1 for the USMC. UH RAH!

        • Ben,

          Very strange “weapons of choice” and modifications by a “combat veteran”. What was the purpose of the sheet lead and where and how was it attached to the barrel? I can see it helping with muzzle climb during full auto fire but would also make the weapon more difficult to traverse in a CQB situation. Don’t know how it would affect accuracy. What is with the “over pressure rounds”, was he shooting proof loads or hand-loading his own? Can a person really appreciate a two stage trigger when on full auto or three round burst? The ammunition carried by a squad, patrol, fire team or whatever should be interchangeable, I don’t believe his would be, interesting. It would be interesting to see a copy of his DD 214!


          • As I understand it, the two stage trigger was for finer work at longer ranges. When an operation is a little less surgical, time for burst. I’m not sure how the sheet lead fastens, I figured it was just folded around. They use the lead to tune the weight so the rifle delivers one to center of mass and one to the hard palet. He definetly loads his rounds. I thought the it was strange weapons of choice as well. It is a conversation we have had more than once. And the man definetly can shoot. And is definitely a combat veteran. I believe he was a seal medic. I’m not to sure because I never ask and even try to avoid combat stories. I do pick his brain from time to time for knowledge of demolition and a bit about marksmanship.

    • Ton,

      Thanks for the spelling correction.

      And, yes, the M4 is a standard issue weapon. It hasn’t replaced the M16 yet, but it looks like it is going to.

      Yes there are numerous side programs investigating other weapons, with the repurposed M14 being among the leaders. Why? Because it works for more battlefield situations that the M4 isn’t suited for. That was what I meant.


  24. I got Diana 460 for Christmas.I shot a three shot group all touching at 30yds.I stopped because I new i would mess the the rest up. Today i received a umarex octane .It has more play in the breech than my 33 year old beeman C1.
    ATB gaz.

  25. Perhaps i was lucky growing up, my air rifles were pretty accurate and of coarse i have been sorely disappointed inn my later adult life getting back into air guns. I had a Daisy 881 or 880 in 1979-80 & it was very accurate to 40yds but with a rock solid rest and more practice time than any adult could manage. Well i tried my dads gamo and hated the trigger so i bought another 880 in 05 and boy was i shocked by my lame shooting i was beginning to believe it was me and then i bought a Daisy 1000 break barrel with a 14lb trigger that had no predictability as to when it was going to break & i thought for sure Daisy would agree that it was defective, but they informed me that the trigger pull weight was within their specifications at which point i vowed never to buy another Daisy product. So short on cash and disgusted i gave up on buying a good one though i never stopped looking and researching and in 2010 i bought a Gamo big cat and 2 GRT 3 triggers one for me and one for my dad and they transformed both into rifles good enough to get 1.5″ groups at 35yds & perhaps a little better for my dads .22 Shadow supreme. Well i have poultry and developed a predator problem & they would not let me closer than 100yds so again i did research and ended up with a Savage 17hmr with a heavy barrel and i can shoot sub moa groups with that at up to 175yds and that rifle was $350 & the only reason it cost that was the heavy barrel and stainless finish. Only problem hunting with the 17hmr is the noise so i decided i need a something with about a 50yd range that i can make work for field, forest pest removal so i opted for the Bow of Hercules .25 [Just an FYI for those of you who don’t get it look at the Hatsan logo.] & yes i got unlucky as the first one seemed to have a few defects and was blowing the piston seal after 400 rounds, but i am pretty sure it was because the breech was bad. The second one i have and pulled around a 2″ at 35yds in a stiff wind and is doing quite well with heavy quality pellets. No a .25 break barrel is not a plinking rifle, it is a hunting rifle and i could have opted for an HW90 but with no all weather stock and no noise suppression, which i will admit was not a big factor in my purchase, but after experiencing the difference i am impressed & for a hunting tool and will not do without it in any future purchase. With the gas spring the shot cycle is better than any springer i have used and with my Leapers 4-16×56 it has met my needs and yes cocking this thing 50+ times in a day with the same arm at my age [51] is a bad idea at least for me, but i am learning to switch arms, also not easy for me. As i said this is a hunting tool for 50yds and it has the accuracy for perhaps 75yds as my skill with it increases using the 31gr pellets it still possesses the FPE to do the job. I am sure the HW90 is a fine gun but i also have an allergy to wasting money and i dont mind the idea of PCP airguns but i do not want to deal with all the scuba tanks & accessories and most do not have the self sustained capacity that i would feel comfortable with taking into the field for more than an afternoon. I do grow very weary of people dismissing magnum springers just because most of the manufacturers marginalize them by turning out a bunch of garbage, but when done right it is a fine tool. Airgun manufacturers have gotten away with selling sub par products at overinflated prices because of apathetic consumers who have had little choice. I look forward to the day when affordable versions resembling the FX Independence & Indy self contained PCP systems come on the market. I think i know why companies like Gamo spend time talking about looks ect. because if they were to start talking about the actual mechanics the public would see the emperor without his clothes and that is air gun power plants have existed in the same state with little innovation for a century or so.

  26. BB,

    Although this is a little bit off the subject line, it does have some bearing on long range accuracy for this particular air rifle.

    While checking out the Bulldog on PA’s site I noticed the specs state it has a 28 inch barrel. With an overall length of 36 inches, that would not leave much room for shrouding to quiet that thing down some.

    I contacted PA about this and they checked the manual and it states that the barrel is indeed 28 inches long. When you have the opportunity to do an extensive review of the Bulldog, would you check that for us?

      • BB,
        Thanks, but did you ever talked about bullets doing or not doing this same thing, spiraling? If bullets also spirals, do they have less tendency to spiral than pellets or spiral less?

        • They do indeed spiral, but to a lesser extent. It is not as noticeable until you reach longer ranges. One reason is they have slower twist rates in their rifling. Another is the average rifle bullet has far more mass than most pellets. Also, bullets tend to have better aerodynamics.

    • You are asking for a treatise on aerodynamics…

      Rifling induced spin will tend to keep the projectile pointing in the original orientation… That is, somewhat upward (since guns fire upward so the projectile crosses the line of sight [twice in most cases, once on the way up, once on the way down]).

      However, gravity is pulling the projectile downward. The projectile continues to lose horizontal velocity, while gaining vertical (down) velocity from the acceleration of gravity. So at the end of the range, the projectile is still pointing nose up, but air flow is over the side since it is “falling” toward the ground.

      Air flow over a spinning object leads to Bernoulli effects (curve balls in sports) – leading to the projectile shifting sideways.

      Add to this, pellets are also drag stabilized (badminton birds). The “lighter”/”more resistive” tail will tend to blow back away from the air flow. That is going encounter gyroscopic torques in the spinning projectile. Those forces will turn the projectile at a 90 degree angle to the spin axis and the drag axis.

      Firearm projectiles don’t rely upon drag stabilization (ignoring short range shotgun slugs, which don’t have spin stabilization normally, so no gyroscopic effect). Boat-tail rifle bullets, even if not designed for this purpose, probably have less drag effect on the tail, so less “tilt” in flight. Their velocities are also such that any effect wouldn’t be noticeable unless shooting horizontally from the rim of the grand canyon, A pellet (from Chairgun: .177 8.4gr 790fps, BC 0.021), from a gun zeroed at 35 yards, is a whole 28 inches below line of sight at 100 yards… A moderate pistol round from a rifle (Speer reloading manual short range, 50 yard zero, BC 0.17 [caliber doesn’t matter, only BC], 1500fps, is only 4 inches down at 100 yards).

      Hypothetical equalization (pellet at 1500fps, 50yd zero) is still 11 inches down at 100 yards. I suspect Chairgun may not be that accurate with firearm data… I just plugged in 240gr BC 0.175, 1500fps, and 50 yard zero, and it only shows 3 inches down at 100. With a 75yd zero, it is 0.6″ high at 50 yards, and has a first zero near 25 yards (if the gun can make 1600fps*, it has a +/- 0.5 inch point blank range from 18 to 85 yards — for a brush deer gun, forget hold over/under, since the target is what, 4-8″ diameter?)

      * Based on the reloading manuals, .44Mag in a rifle tends to run 300fps faster than the same load in handguns; and if factory ammo is listed at 1250fps, that should be about 1550 in the rifle.

  27. Anyone,

    Is there an advantage to a longer scope, all other things being the same?

    I noted the Leapers 3~12×44 models. One model is 11.1″ and another is14″. Eye relief is 3.4~3 and 3.3~2.8 respectively. Of course, tube in ring movement would be more flexible with the longer scope.

    On a side note, I was handling the TX this morning and noted some play in the trigger guard. A check revealed the front screw loose and the rear one tight. A check of the for-end screws revealed the left one loose and the right one tight. Since I shot around 60 recorded shots yesterday, it will be interesting to see if groups will tighten up today.

    Going to be getting blue Loctite for the afore mentioned 4 screws.

      • B.B.,

        Thank you. I was not sure, as I had never read of an advantage one way or the other.

        Of course, your photo of that long scope with no way to mount, speaks volumes as well.

        Off to shop. Just dug out the car. We got 8+” in central Ohio yesterday and the cold has not let up yet. We’re 20 degrees below normal for a long time now.

        What “global warming”?

          • Gunfun1,

            Changes you ask?,… slightly better I would say. I know for sure that I am not in the “zone” as good as yesterday. Had a few “pulls”,….you know the one’s that you (know) are off, even before they land? Could almost even tell ya (where) they were gonna land.

            Still gotta lot of work to do, on me. “Loctite” going on now. ( give it 24hrs. to set).

            I suppose I need to really put 200 rounds through it in 1 day just to have it be “second nature”. I only do, two, five shot groups daily on avg. during the week, and around 50 total shots on the weekends. I always shoot 5 shot groups.

            • Chris, USA
              I try to shoot some shots everyday through the week.

              But I have noticed that if I don’t shoot Monday thru Thursday and I do shoot on Friday I shoot my best groups.

              So there probably is right amount of time a person should shoot to keep in practice.

              And I would bet that varies from person to person.

              You know like some people have to study and study to pass a test. Where others just seem to only have to take a glimpse if something and they got it.

              But I think my biggest thing is fatigue. Not my muscles but my eyes. They tend to get tired. And it seems some days I can see better and I can concentrate more than other days.

              So I don’t think two people can train the same.

              • Gunfun1,

                All you said is very true,…”you just have to find what works for you”.

                And,…practice, practice, practice.

                And some people will naturally be a better shot than you, no matter how much you practice.

                Just push yourself on, knowing that someday you’ll get that six ,5 shot groups in a row that are “super sweet.” ( for me, that would be keeping it inside a 1/2″ at 30 yds. with the TX ).

                • Chris, USA
                  I don’t have a .22 cal. TX so I don’t know how well they can shoot.

                  But I do know my .177 cal. TX is good at 30 yards.

                  But again depending on what kind of day I’m having.

    • All else being equal, the longer scope may have better optics as the lenses don’t have to bend the light has severely, thus are easier to grind and polish.

      But that does assume same diameters, zoom range, adjustments, and price are similar.

  28. Baron,

    Very good point and makes sense. I wonder if it is a fact though?,…all else being equal of course.

    I’m sure someone on this site, has some scope mfgr. contacts at the ready,.. to pose such a question.


  29. I finally saw Showboat with the Old Man River song. That song is okay, but I thought the rest of the music was horrible. It seems to come from a time when people talked their way through songs with a heavy dose of melodrama. Much more entertaining, though, is Ava Gardner’s as-told-to autobiography. She says that when she was dating Frank Sinatra, he walked down a street shooting out the streetlights with a .38 revolver.

    Faulty perception is a widespread phenomenon. Where exactly has the army admitted that the M4 is not a suitable battlefield weapon? Everything I’ve read is that Colt and the Army stand behind their gun absolutely. As a related point, I read that the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) just allowed its troops to carry Glock pistols that they prefer over the heavily customized 1911s that are provided to them. Sacrilege! The report also mentioned that the 1911 design is prone to stovepipes and jamming which made even less sense…


    • Matt,

      Not once but numerous times the Army has said they need something more powerful than the M4, whose power seems to peter out after 300 yards. They have tried revitalizing the M14, after the Marines have done the same. That’s where the SOCOM rifle came from.

      They know the short barrel on the M4 is at fault. They now categorize the M4 as an excellent close combat weapon for clearing houses, but inadequate for general battlefield use.

      For many years they have been increasing the weight and length of the 5.56 bullets to compensate for the poor ballistics of the short barrel.


  30. B.B,

    An update on my HW 90 pellet search for you. I’m still looking for accurate pellets, and have just added one to the mix — the H & N Barracuda Hunter Extreme, 19.09gr. The head size is not given on the tin, or on PA’s site, but I mic’d a few and they seem to run in the 5.54 range. I just got these, and our high of 25 degs today is probably going to keep me inside — — but my first 10 shot group at 10m in my basement was .556″ CtoC, and after not believing how tight the first 6 or 7 were, I rushed the last shots, so believe they will do better. So far, this pellet and the Beeman Crow Magnums are lights out better than any other pellet I’ve tried at 10m. Finding those is like hitting that one good shot that makes you want to go back to the golf course.

    I don’t have the experience you do, but have shot all my life (including some decent training from Uncle Sam) and am amazed at how the same pellets that are incredibly accurate out of my RWS 54 give me 2″ groups out of the HW 90. I was thinking I just couldn’t get the artillery hold mastered, but I can go back to my Octane .177 and get very good groups with a variety of pellets.

    Jim M.

  31. BB:

    I think you wrote an outstanding article. This is the first post I’ve chimed in on since I got into Air Rifles this past month. As a little background, I grew up shooting my dad’s pump 0.22 LR and 410 shotgun. My brother and I shared a 760 BB gun. When I went in the Air Force in 1980, I got my expert ribbon and shot a score of 363 (don’t ask me why the number stuck in my mind). Being in the military, I learned how to shoot pretty well.

    When I decided to get into air rifle shooting a month ago, I did research on-line and went to Cabelas. I went into the bargain cave at Cabelas and it’s packed with returned air rifles. Almost every rifle was a 0.177 Gamo of about every model. That was a red flag to me about Gamo. I asked the worker behind the counter about the reasons the Gamo rifles were returned and he said the number one reason is they weren’t accurate enough for people and the owners didn’t fire enough shots to break in the rifles.

    I’ve read many posts by people claiming to shoot 1/2″ groups at 50 yards with a pellet gun. Under perfect conditions, with a PCP, maybe. I bought an 0.177 RWS Model 34 and it does really well at 10 meters but then falls off at 25 meters. My range is set up in my backyard and it’s usually breezy here in Utah. Also, I’ve sighted my gun at 10 meters and it shoots high and the windage is all over the place. I just bought a Benjamin Model 392 from Pyramid Air along with a Centerpoint Red Dot Scope and mounting rings. I don’t expect it to be accurate beyond 20-25 meters.

    Air rifles are fantastic. They allow one to keep up on their shooting skills, the shooting costs and maintenance are minimal, and the rifles are accurate at short ranges. I don’t expect anything better than 2-inch groups at 25 meters at my outdoor range. Too many variables affect the shots.

    Shooting air rifles is addicting. I’ve probably put 2000 rounds through my model 34 in the past 4 weeks. Boy is it fun.

    Thanks for fantastic articles you write BB and I look forward to reading your future articles.

    • Spidey,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Now, you are a smart man. You saw the situation and decided to go in a different direction. And by getting a Diana 34, you either lucked into, or chose correctly, one of the best guns there is for the money. Not that Gamo rifles aren’t accurate, but it often takes a lot to shoot them accurately — especially the powerful ones.


    • Hello Spidey,

      Are you still shooting your RWS 34? I don’t think I’ve seen any recent posts from you. I was reading this older blog and noticed your post. You make very good sense regarding your expectations about accuracy. I bought my RWS 34P .22 cal in March 2013. I have posted recently regarding my poor shot groups. I use my rifle to exterminate pesky sparrows from my bluebird nesting boxes which are 25 yards from my back door. My goal is to shoot 1″ or less groups at 25 yards. If I am unable to achieve this, I may as well throw rocks at them. B.B. has given me several suggestions on how to use the artillery hold as well as other hints. I have really practiced a lot with different pellets but as of now, have not achieved the goal. I’m still working on though and have not given up yet and gone to the dark side of buying a PCP. If you are interested, here is a post I made more recently:

      Hope you are still into airgunning. It is challenging to shoot a springer accurately.

  32. BB:

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I’ll dazzle in my brilliance. I’m really looking forward to receiving my Benjamin 392 and making a scout rifle out of it. Can’t wait to take it hunting. May even try it on turkey’s later this year during the turkey season.


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