by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: Pyramyd Air has asked me to announce their Memorial Day Madness sale, which features some sizable price reductions.
This report covers:
- Design parameters and constraints
- Pivot joint
- Coiled steel spring items
- Spring guides
- Gas-spring items
- Piston bore
- Trigger and safety
- Scope base
- You do the rest
I used to teach a subject called Value Engineering to Department of Defense procurement personnel. Value Engineering was a U.S. Army initiative from World War II, where a design was examined by not just engineers, but by all the disciplines that dealt with the product. The goal was to create the function of an item at the lowest cost.
They discovered, for example, that a maintenance man could make a small change that saved the Army millions of dollars by either making the item easier to maintain or making it so it didn’t require maintenance at all. On the other hand, a production manager might make a change in the design that dropped the cost to produce the item from $2000 to $3.00 by simply changing the way it was produced.
What I’m going to do today is start a multidisciplinary design review of an inexpensive breakbarrel spring rifle — the most popular airgun sold in America today. Blog readers can participate through the comments. I can assure you of one thing — nearly all airgun manufacturers have at least one person reading this blog every day. So, let’s give them some food for thought.
Design parameters and constraints
- The rifle we design has to cost very little to manufacture. Nothing that costs extra money will be included in the design.
- We’re building a rifle for the broadest possible use. That means it must be accurate, easy to cock, easy to maintain, have a good trigger and good sights, and a stock that adapts to the broadest possible shooter base. Power will be secondary to all other constraints, but we won’t do anything to limit the power of the gun. It’ll be whatever it must be — in light of all aspects of design.
- Fewer parts means a simpler design.
- The broader the appeal, the more we’ll sell. The more that sell, the lower the development costs per gun.
- Maintainability builds customer confidence.
- Accuracy is the most important aspect.
- Smoothness of the firing cycle takes precedence over everything except accuracy.
The rifle must have a good barrel, capable of producing good accuracy. That would be 10 shots grouping in less than one inch at 25 yards. We have learned in this blog that good barrels don’t have to cost a lot of money. Look at the accuracy we got from a thin-walled steel barrel in the $100 PCP — (read Part 4).
Because this is a springer, we can keep the barrel short. Ten inches is all that’s needed. That keeps the cost down, because short barrels take less time to rifle. The rest of the tube that appears to be the barrel can be hollow. We need the extra length for cocking and separation of the open sights.
The barrel needs to have a good, clean crown, so special attention will be paid to each crown produced. The barrel needs to be mounted solidly in the jacket or shroud so there’s no chance for movement.
The pivot joint must be a bolt or other means of attachment whose tension can be adjusted when the barrel becomes loose. A locknut is required unless the pivot bolt can be designed to not loosen with use.
The pivot joint shall have a design that reduces friction to the maximum extent. Washers on either side of the baseblock are in common use for this today, but they’re not mandated.
Coiled steel spring items
The following items apply if a coiled steel mainspring is used in the design.
The piston must have a seal that’s easily replaceable when needed. The piston must also serve to guide the mainspring to reduce vibration. The piston stroke should be long to give maximum power with the lightest spring tension.
Some method of guiding the mainspring shall fit the mainspring tight to reduce friction. It should be incorporated into the design of the piston without adding additional parts.
There shall be a means of eliminating the rotational torque from the mainspring at both ends. A plain washer is sufficient for this. The finish of the washer shall be as smooth as is economically feasible in a high-rate production scenario.
The mainspring shall be a strong yet light coiled wire spring. It should be under minimum load when at rest. Before installation, it shall be lubricated inside and out with a low-friction, high-viscosity grease.
If a gas spring is used, it should be very easy to cock. Use of a long piston stroke allows for lower gas pressure in the spring and also reduces the cocking effort through optimum cocking linkage design. The piston weight should be kept as low as feasible with longevity to reduce forward recoil with the shot.
This applies equally to steel mainspring and gas-spring guns. The piston bore size should be as small as possible to keep the overall size of the rifle in check. Use piston stroke rather than bore diameter to generate power.
Trigger and safety
A two-stage trigger with an adjustable first stage should be used. It should be possible to adjust out the first stage — making the trigger single-stage.
The trigger should work through geometric design (over-center release) rather than sear slippage. If a sear is used, sear contact should not be adjustable.
There should be a manual safety that blocks the trigger.
The stock should have an adjustable length of pull that ranges from 12-1/2 inches to 14-1/2-inches. The stock line should be as straight as possible, negating the need for an adjustable comb.
The sights should be adjustable in the rear and a hooded post on a ramp up front. The adjustments should have a means of determining where the rear sight notch is and where is is being adjusted. There shall be markings on the sight to indicate which direction to turn the adjustments to move the strike of the pellet.
A Weaver-style scope base should be permanently attached to the spring tube.
The rifle shall be designed with ease of disassembly in mind. The mainspring will not be under great tension, so a mainspring compressor shall not be needed for this.
Try to apply any one of these design features to a rifle that’s currently being made, and you incur considerable cost. Therefore, this rifle must be designed from the ground up. Airgun companies today are fearful of a clean sheet of paper because of the engineering time they think it entails. However, if they would just hold a couple preliminary design reviews of these features, they would save thousands of man-hours by finding the simplest solutions to every feature.
This is a process in which you “make haste slowly,” as Benjamin Franklin once said. You put the descriptions of the features up on the walls of the conference room and let them soak into everyones’ pores over time. You don’t set deadlines in the beginning, like, “We want to roll this out at next year’s SHOT Show!” In the world of software design, there’s a saying: “You want it bad? It’s bad right now!”
The company comptroller is just as welcome to contribute as the lead engineer. Remember that actress Hedy Lamarr co-invented the spread spectrum and frequency hopping communications technology that was first used to control torpedoes in WWII. For her efforts, she was inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Avoid absolutes in the beginning. Saying the gun should retail for $175, or weigh 6 lbs. or achieve 900 f.p.s. in .177 caliber eliminates 98 percent of the design possibilities.
You do the rest
That’s my contribution. Now, you do your part and help design this spring rifle farther.
183 thoughts on “An open letter to airgun designers”
This is going to be a great weekender.
Start with the Bronco?
When we “designed” the Bronco we took an existing rifle and modified it. That’s almost always how it is done these days, which is why so many air rifles look alike.
There were features on the Bronco I didn’t care for, such as the globe over the front sight that was open to admit light for fiberoptics the Bronco never had, but when you work with a project that is held to a cost, that’s what happens.
If I had a clean sheet of paper I would try to use a trigger like the Bronco has and I also liked the way the barrel fit in the gun. And the straight stock line is already in the Bronco.
Everything else would be changed.
What a fabulous idea! Build a springer designed by a consensus of “We The People” [who use airguns].
As I read through the Design parameters and constraints at the head of this blog, so many air rifles passed through my mind.
Before us “engineers” [just kidding] begin, we mush most certainly put a cap on the price of this “PeoplesGun”. Having paid as much as $800 and as little as $219.99 for the guns I own, gave me an answer to this topic of price. $10 gun – $10 results. I’m not, by any purpose, suggesting that if we want a rifle that is our ‘dream piece’ that we should pay exorbitant prices. Just look through the Pyramyd Air catalog [just out] and then visit GTA to see what the people think. I’m not by any means, made of money, though i’ve spent lots of it to make my ‘affordable’ airgun ‘workable’ so, I think that if I saved up a few months of pocket money, I would gladly spent from $300-$500 for my ‘dream rifle.’
I’d like to think of my dream-rifle as a compilation of all the “goods” I have in my collection, without any of the frustrating “that’s gotta go” parts that are also, in my collection. Chinese, Turkish, British, German… Not likely! American! That’s what I want.
We have the technology [hmmm I’ve heard that before]. We need to fabricate this “In country” and the world will come knocking on our door. Henry Ford did it! Lee Iaccoca did it with the Mustang!
I’m not gonna give my list of criteria but just indicate all the things I want to see on this rifle:
Accuracy; of course!
Light cockability: I want my wife to share my hobby!!!
Power: Make two versions; [gas or spring] that can be interchangeable if we prefer. Not both included though! You buy it like you want it, you pay for the other if you decide to change it!!!
Barrel: I do like BB’s idea of a 10″ barrel but with the extra part [for cocking] to be baffled for low noise.
Stock: This too, should be made in two or perhaps three versions. Wood, with thumbhole or not, and Synthetic, also with thumbhole or not. Yeah the tooling initially will be covered when the first years profits pay for everything and then some!!!
QD Swivel points: I removed the 1″ sling swivel off one of my Magnum rifles, and fabricated a hanging QD connection point. That way I don’t have to have my sling in the way while I remove the stock for service.
Weaver-style base: Just the way BB said [permanently attached to the spring tube.
No scope: I want to buy what I think is best. I also want to choose one for the use I have for it!
Iron sights: Adjustable rear and covered front. I don’t particularly like glowing sights.
Trigger: Yes, BB, I do like your idea of being able to adjust out the 1st stage, but I’d also like to be able to micro-adjust for pull-weight [Rekord-like] or [Quatto-like]. Like barrel accuracy, a quality trigger is also vital. It’s worth it to me!!!
Screws: Let’s make them all ‘Allen heads’ so no screwdriver slippage will occur. Just like our scope mounts and rings.
I’m done I think… Sorry for being long-winded here, but this is gonna be the rifle to replace all the others.
Thanks for the opportunity BB.
Welcome to the blog.
I’ve owned over 300 air guns and agree with the above “broad brush strokes” for designing a new model of airgun that would be widely accepted.
I’d suggest that the stock be wood on this new springer. Wood helps harmonics and recoil absorption in springers. Adjustment for LOP (Length Of Pull) can easily and economically be achieved by including spacers that fit between the stock and the Buttpad. Make them plastic if you wish.
Start with the basic Bronco design.
Replace the stock with a synthetic with adjustable AR15 type so that length of pull can be adjusted and to keep weight down.
Add a Weaver rail on the top for optics of choice.
BB, would that meet most of your criteria?
I’d suggest having the stock not cover the ivot bolt for easy tightening if needed. Doesn’t really cost anything to do also.
‘Pivot bolt’ 😉
I would suggest that the stock be solid and not hollow.
Also I would like to see a material with a lot of rubber like
qualities to help absorb vibration and aid in reducing
hold sensitivity.If it’s just flexible enough it could act as
a sledge system to reduce or eliminate the need for a
special hold (artillery hold).
If we’re going to keep the rifled part of the Bbl.to 10″
with a shroud type devise to add length,lets thread the
end of the Bbl. so that the shroud can screw on and contact
the base block to remove as much vibration and barrel whip
(as seen in many slo mo vids on youtube etc…) as possible to
Probably a silly question… If you intend to adjust the first stage out of the trigger, why not simply make it a good single stage trigger to start with.
Another thought why not use a simple peep sight for rear sight. Its going to be easier for the shooter to use and you could probably make something like the M1 Carbine’s rear sight as easily as a more conventional iron sight.
Your thoughts concerning the peep sight is an excellent choice.
I have yet to experience a truly good single stage trigger. The trigger itself is holding back the force. Single stage triggers tend to have long, creepy pulls with high pounds. If they are adjustable, you are adjusting the amount contact and can easily adjust them to the point of being dangerous.
With a well designed two stage, the first stage length is adjusted to suit the individual shooter’s preference. If this trigger is adjusted too far it will just not engage instead of being easily released by a bump or vibration.
I did that (the trigger) to satisfy those who want single stage triggers. Most riflemen seem to prefer 2-stage triggers, so I didn;t want to overlook that.
Some users like a 2-stage trigger; others like a 1 stage trigger. The idea here is, make it adjustable so that those wishing a 1-stage trigger can make that happen with adjustment, while those who want it as-is just leave it alone.
the relationship between durability and production costs might be an interesting wrangle.
DO NOT TRY TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A MATTELOMATIC!!!!!!!!!
I do understand there are many out here who have no experience with anything but, however the ergonomics of a more traditional sporter style stock would serve better. I for one want to be looking at my intended target and bring the rifle to my shoulder and have the sights seem to automatically align with my vision.
The material of the stock can be either wood or synthetic, however if it is a polymer it should be strong and inflexible as much as is possible and not serve as a resonant chamber.
As for open sights, they should not be the glowy thingy fiber optic type. Although in certain situations they may aid in a quick shot at close ranges and are usually made from cheap molded plastic thereby reducing cost, they are a hindrance to accuracy. If the design is well thought out, they can still be made from plastic. By removing the fiber optic you also remove additional production steps and eliminate the issue of broken fibers. It would also be nice if they were easily removable.
As has been pointed out, the front sight should have a hood to protect and shade the front sight. If the front sight was made along the lines of the European air rifles with an interchangeable front post to suit the shooter, that would be the ideal.
No matter what the material, make the stock ambidextrous. I’m right handed but many shooters are not.
Also make the safety centrally located like the Diana 34, and an auto-set with the ability to be reset, or a manual type in the trigger guard like Crosman. As much as I love my Weihrauch rifles I think the safety setup is lame.
Use an attached scope rail, whether 11mm dovetail or Picatinny type, like Diana or Crosman.
Make available a good steel sporting aperture sight that would integrate into the rail with a positive stop. This could be an option, but also make it with standard metric industry threads so an Anschutz or Gehmann adjustable iris can be fitted.
Make it as accurate, smooth and quiet as my Walther LGV out of the box, only lighter in weight. Also have the option of a walnut Minelli stock for us wood lovers, with nice polished and blued finish on the metal.
Obviously I’m not as much concerned with price as I am with the quality and performance.
very interesting as always…
Why do you favour a long stroke and small diameter piston? Isn’t the short stroke what makes the HW35 fire so smoothly? I thought a long stroke was mostly good for high power which isn’t the priority here. What does the Bronco use?
I was trying to keep the mainspring as weak as I could and still get power. Like the FWB 124 does.
The Bronco has a short stroke.
No one’s mentioned it, but would this have to be a “Made in the USA” gun? Or would a (most likely) Chinese manufacturer be willing to retool that much of their assembly line for a big customer?
In my experience with them they are willing to do whatever you want to pay for.
They will make beautiful complicated electronics, right next to the dollar store off brand stuff.
People negotiate prices with these factories and what they don’t get is you are not negotiating the price you want to pay as much as the quality you are ok with. If they want $100 per unit and you will only pay $50, the quality is going to go down. Mind you the volumes I was exposed to were tiny, but from what I have heard the same concept applies with bigger contracts.
Another issue that GE discovered is they will change the original design and materials to reduce their production cost and increase their profit margin. That and other overhead costs are why GE has started to bring some of their products back to the USA. It was actually cheaper to build it here.
Yup, every supplier under the sun does stuff like that. I know a local company famous for letting tolerances slip until the customer complains. The Chinese companies sure do seem more bold about it though.
China is getting to expensive.
(Or: Made in Germany, England, etc. in lieu of the USA.)
Make it so that it can be un cocked and no barrel drop so that scope mounting would be simplel
Good morning to all! Sorry this os so far off topic but I had to share my good fortune with you guys. I worked in a guns shop for many years and my biggest regret was in not buying a colt Python or two. The Python has been called “The World’s Finest Production Revolver” and with good reason, all you need do is cock the hammer once and feel that glass on glass action to understand.Anyway, a former colleague of mine has become infirm and is in a nursing home, he asked me to drive him to his former home where he pulled this out of a desk and said “it’s yours”. 4″ polished stainless steel with Hogue grips.
Kevin in CT,
The Colt Python is a fine gun. Congratulations on your good fortune to have such a great friend.
Kevin in Ct.
I once owned a Python and have regretted selling it for 40 years. I no longer shoot .357 Magnum cartridges in anything but a Desert Eagle, but of all the wheelguns I have known, the Python was one of the 3 best.
I still own the other 2 which are both S&W early hand ejectors from the days when Smith hand-aligned each chamber before the gun went out the door.
The Python is a lot like that.
Just be sure it can be decocked so ya don’t have to fire it to remove the spring tension when done shooting. And maybe a hollow plastic stock that even floats.
I remember that the old versions BSA Meteor saved the use of an additional screw to hold the trigger guard in place. The front of the trigger guard has a tab on it that goes into a slot so only one screw is needed.
Make sure the rifle does not have much, if any barrel droop.
It needs to work well out of the box, quality control is very important.
That would be expensive to machine and inspect.
Cheap fix, Bend the barrels after installation, but before the plastic shroud is attached.
Wow, so many fantastic comments already I hardly think I can add to the discussion. It seems like the seedbed of a crowd sourced (and possibly a crowd funded?) air gun experiment.
It seems that this discussion really can benefit the existing manufacturers and I hope we will see comments from them in this thread.
If the major and minor airgun manufacturers are listening, it is my bet the Chinese will be the first to produce what is being discussed. But hey isn’t Weihrauch making this rifle already? Hw 30? Diana bring back the 27!
Marketing can be done by actual shooting clinics. It’s easy to understand the qualities discussed while actually shooting and hitting the targets.
The Sport Clay range I go to teaches youngsters and women by loaning them a moderate gun tailored to smaller frames. They instruct them personally with easy targets. They say if you are intimidated or don’t break targets you won’t be back. There are a lot of boys and girls shooting there. So sell one accurate pleasant shooter you will most likely sell many more to the same person who wants the next level later.
Value engineering class must have missed the $900 toilet seat
from the seat of their pants. Pun intended.
Careful with those numbers, often government contracts require costs like research, transportation, development, etc to be spread across all items in the contract. That means if you spend million designing a part for a jet, but it was on the same order as toilet seats for a bomber, you get some odd looking line item costs.
Not saying that was the case here, just a lot of those numbers are nothing more than folks looking to sell newspapers and website clicks.
The extra money goes to black projects.
I agree, a hooded front sight with inserts. Inserts should include narrow and medium width posts plus rings for target shooters. And your choice of standard rear sight or just a peep sight. Peep sights are more accurate and the aperture helps sharpen focus of both target and front sight.
Also, it should be possible to come up with a setscrew arrangement or otherwise adjustable barrel lockup stop that allows adjustment of the locked position and thus control of barrel droop. Aren’t we always having to deal with that issue? This would eliminate having to shim scopes or trim stocks to allow peep sights to be dialed lower than they want to go.
I suppose standard ‘airgun’ dovetail is OK for receiver mounted scopes and sights as long as there are holes for stop pins.
For the piston, go ahead and add a delrin bushing on the rear in an oring type groove, like the tx200 has. Maybe even a simple oring would do the job.
Is anybody ready to switch to simple, easy-to-replace o-rings for the forward piston seal, like the Vortek conversion kits? Front of piston can be solid steel to handle the high heat right at the transfer port hole. I have put in two of these in springers and they seem to perform well.
If disassembly does not require a spring compressor, as B.B. is asking, and again like the tx200, replacement of piston oring seals is a snap for all!!
Spacers for adjusting butt pad and length of pull is a good idea.
Use simple pins and ‘E’ clips on the cocking linkage where appropriate for easy disassembly.
Use a standard oring size for breech seal for quick, domestic replacement.
Brush the bore at the factory and choke the barrel. We’re always having to swab new bores.
Isn’t that because of the grease used for storage and transport?
Is there any that we would not have to clean out, but would still function just as well?
Not from preservative grease. I think there’s more of a roughness in non match grade barrels that gets smoothed out after 20-30 passes with a bronze brush and JB bore paste.
Nice ideas, but good QA and low cost are at odds unless a lot of units can be sold. Human inspection is expensive for each unit, machine optical inspection is cheap per unit but very expensive to install and setup so it only works for many units.
So many units it needs to be, which means day 1 the marketing guys have to be on board. So they need an angle, since we lose high FPS, low noise needs to be it.
You are absolutely right! This gun needs to sell very well to make the investment of development time worth it. And the future is difficult to see. But it can be done.
I remember standing in Ken D’Arcy’s office (the president of Crosman at the time) and him asking me if I thought the rifle we were designing (the Benjamin Discovery) could sell 1,000 units in the first year. I had no idea, but I believed in the gun so I said I thought we might sell 2,000 guns that first year.
I was never told how many Discoveries sold in the first year, but I do know that the 4,500 walnut stocks they had designated for the first Discoverys (left over from a previous 2260 project) were exhausted and they had to start shipping beech stocks before year one was over.
I always warn any company I am consulting with that when I plan, I swing for the fence. I am a risk-taker, but I do understand manufacturing process, and I try to make very calculated risks.
This has stood me well over the years. I’ve had a few failures but my successes have obscured them, for the most part. And I keep the failures on the wall of my office, as reminders that sometimes stuff happens.
I think that there is a gun that comes very close to filling the bill at less that $200 and it is not made in China. I think in general, it is better quality that what you are specifying. The only things that don’t fit your list are the adjustable stock length and Weaver scope base. I will not mention it here since Pyramid does not carry it.
I will give it a name, because you emailed me. We are talking about the Slavia 634. Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry them because Slavia refuses to deal with them. The other dealers who sell them in the U.S. get them through gray channels, I believe. I don’t think Slavia has an official U.S. importer.
It’s the same as Eley pellets. Eley refuses to ship pellets to the U.S. because they feel it will hinder their rimfire ammo business. Since the quality of Eley pellets has dropped very far, I can’t argue with that logic.
That’s a pretty little rifle.
You said “There shall be a means of eliminating the rotational torque from the mainspring at both ends. A plain washer is sufficient for this. ”
How does a washer eliminate rotational torque?
It doesn’t eliminate it, but by providing a smooth platform that also rotates, it does reduce it. Polishing the washers on both sides makes them work even better.
By reducing rotational torque, is the airgun less “hold sensitive”?
That’s the theory. I think there is more to it than just that, like vibration, but it’s certainly one of the factors.
As a spring expands, it wishes to uncoil, in an airgun by approximately quarter of a turn (varies depending on amount of coils etc)…..combine this with unspent energy from a highly preloaded spring and you have a lot of residual energy that tends, if the ends of the spring are fixed, to personify itself in vibration…or boing as it’s known…there are two ways to fix this, one is to cure the disease by allowing free rotation of the moving parts…spring or piston, or both and minimise the preload to the point it’s just enough to provide some vibration damping, or the other is to treat the symptoms by having force fit guides and putting some heavy gloop on the spring to damp out this reaction.
My HW35 has an inch of preload, so easily compressed by hand, a Delrin guide and Top hat, and are both a sliding fit with almost no lube at all, however both ends have two half mm custom washers that are mirror polished with light smear of a cycle specific ptfe light white grease between them and the ends of the spring are further flatted and polished bright…..my spring has a light coat of Castrol chain wax, and I mean light….mainly to halt any corrosion.
Others will disagree with method…..and it wouldn’t be fun if we all had the same ideas….but I have the luxury of being able to just hand my HW35 and a handful of pellets to any local doubters.
There’s more to a smooth rifle at the design stage than this, swept volume and transfer port size have to be carefully matched to piston weight and desired power output to get the best results (read some of Airguntech’s site or add him on FB).
for instance the HW35 is a flawed in this respect….oversized TP, needlessly heavy piston for projected power output….both can be reduced radically without affecting power at all
The gun should have 11mm/3/8 dovetail running completely to rear of compression chamber to allow any of the current receiver sights to be used.
Front sight should be easily replaced to be either higher or lower as required. Plastic would be ok.
Caliper should be .22 or maybe 5mm.
NO fiber optic sights.
Ideal power should be about 12 fpe.
Breech seal should be easily available at any hardware store in the o-ring selection bin.
Piston seal should be o-ring also.
No automatic safety, but one that’s easily applied if needed for liability reasons. Safety not really needed on a break barrel springer. Maybe ok on a piston gun.
Rubber butt pad to allow standing gun against wall without the butt sliding out.
Standard blade front sight, fully adjustable peep rear sight (no fiber optic sights)
Short overall length like the BSA Lightning XL
Wood stock to help cancel harmonic noise/vibrations
Light enough to pack in the woods all day and pretty much everything else Mr. Roach mentioned
For some (unknown) reason I have a very strong negative reaction to the thought of a short 10” barrel on a rifle.
Could you please comment on the advantages/disadvantages of barrel length relative to performance/accuracy and whether these factors apply specifically to springers or also includes SSP, PCP and Multi-pump rifles.
A Spring-powered air rifle compresses a rather small amount of air to a relatively high pressue. Most of the pellet’s acceleration happens down the first few inches of the barrel. After about 10″, the pressure has fallen so much that friction between projectile and barrel eats as much energy as is provided by the remaining pressure. By the way, a normal (non HV) .22lr cartridge also develops full energy after about 11″.
PCPs and pumo-up pneumatics use a significantly larger amount of air, but operate at lower pressures. these rifles profit from a longer barrel, as their (initially lower) pressure does not decline as much as the projectile travels down the bore.
Hope this helped!
Thanks Mel !
I was thinking that volume and available pressure would define the barrel parameters.
Guess that the shorter barrel would have an accuracy advantage of having the pellet clear the barrel sooner and be less influenced by vibration and shooter wiggles & wobbles.
Yes, it has. As long as it is not too short. For example, the FWB match air rifles have (despite being PcPs) short barrels, housed in long metal sleeves.
The TX200 has such a barrel.
Spring guns don’t need long barrels for anything.
The rest of your question takes this entire blog to answer.
I remember your blog on the TX200 mentioning the short barrel which is why I commented here.
My interest in the TX200 caused the question, I but have to admit that the short barrel has kinda put me off a bit.
I realized that it was not a brief answer I was asking for. I checked the files, guess I was hoping you had covered this topic in a previous blog that you could point me at.
Great subject today!!
What do you think a longer barrel will do for the TX200 that the current short barrel cannot do?
The problem is not with the short barrel on the TX200 – they are excellent rifles with a proven track record.
The problem is with me and my silly notion that the barrel “should“ be longer. I have owned and used many springers and they all had longer barrels so that is what seems “right“ to me. I have never tried a TX200 so I have nothing to relate to.
I asked the question to help me adjust my thinking. The TX200 is still on my “want list”. 🙂
Have a great weekend!
Vana, your reservation agains short barrels is totally understandable. And in fact it was shared by most airguns makers before chronies and scientific approaches towards engineering existed. I have a Slavia 631, its barrel is 20″ long. Many older airguns, even the low-powered models, came with such long barrels..and I doubt the length was just chosen to give you a better cocking lever and increase distance between front and rear sight.
I just checked the barrel lengths on my springers and they range from 14” on the Slavia 618 to 18” on the FWB 124. Since the 124 is my go-to springer it makes more sense to me that I am thinking 10” is “short”.
Twenty-inch barrel on the 631 – WOW! I have had my 618 for 50 years – still shoots great! Going to keep my eyes open for some of the other Slavia models – would like to see if I can find a 631.
I have been wooed by the dark-side but I still love springers. Too many on the wish-list, have to win a lottery or something.
I don’t play by that 10″ rule for springers.
Piston diameter, stroke, transfer port size, pellet weight and fit all play a part in the performance of a gun.
Why would 10″ barrels be set as a rule. Why can’t we say a barrels rifling and lands need to be held to a specific dimension. What about twist rate of the barrel.
Just because a barrel legnth is set at 10″ doesn’t mean that another variable can be changed to compensate for a longer barrel.
In theory, this is correct. However, you had to come up with a very unusual airgun design to require a long barrel in a springer. It is even safe to say that most current springers would get away easily with 7″ barrels.
Your right a 7″ barrel could be used or any other legnth. I shouldn’t of said longer barrel.
But i think you know what I ment.
Anything over ten inches in a spring gun barrel only serves to create drag on the pellet as the air pushing on the pellet has lost enough energy in ten inches of barrel that it is no longer providing any further increase in the pellet velocity so it is just wasted metal that cause more drag that slows the pellet down before it leaves the barrel.
It a different story in a PCP gun where you have a larger volume of air at a much higher pressure continuing to expand and apply forward energy to the pellet till it leaves the barrel so they do benefit from longer barrels as compared to spring guns.
Have you ever been to a rifle range and heard a pistol caliber carbine shooting .45acp or subsonic 9mm? They are much quieter than centerfire rifle rounds, for the same reason- the expansion of gas is pretty much finished by the time the round leaves the barrel.
I haven’t been around pistols much. I am more into casual shooting and pistols, being restricted weapons in Canada are constrained to formal shooting ranges.
What you say makes sense about the report and the gas expansion. I used to have a VERY long barreled .22 rimfire (think it was a black-powder rifle) that was quiet to shoot. Regular long-rifle bullets were being slowed down to sub-sonic speeds and it was extremely accurate to shoot.
Yea, same idea. Pistol rounds out of rifles are fun, relatively quiet, cheap, low recoil, 3 points contact, longer sight radius. Sorry, I’ll stop drooling now.
That holds if shooting factory (pistol-optimized) ammo with its fast-burning powder… Though everything I’ve read indicates that .44Mag tends to pick up an extra 300FPS or so between longer barrel and no cylinder gap…
However, a hand-loader could potentially come up with a safe pressure limit load using slower than normal powder, such that it is still under pressure as the bullet leaves the muzzle.
Yes, but I don’t load. One more REALLY involved thing to get into.
I don’t own a PCC, but have shot other peoples- they are fun. Need to get one.
I guess if I get one I would have 2 glass setups for 2 loads? Like one quick disconnect scout scope for .38 plinking and one for .357 hunting loads?
Just an idea.
It’s been one of my dreams to have a gun collection and have both pistols and rifles in the same calibers. This is easy in .22lr, but I also want .45 acp and .380 carbines to go with my existing pistols, and AR and AK pistols to go with my AR and AK rifles. And I guess later expand into more rifle/pistol combos in perhaps 9mm, .38/.357, .308, .45LC etc, etc…
Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?
You might find the .45ACP carbine, but not a .380ACP… Anyone making a carbine would have picked 9mm Parabellum over 9mm Kurz (Well, I need to modify that statement — apparently the MAC-11 used the .380ACP).
Not much for 5.56 and whatever the AK uses… Possibly a custom Contender barrel.
.357RemMag is likely available somewhere in the Henry lever action line-up. .45 Long Colt may also be a possible lever action load (along with the .44-40, .38-40, etc.)
Yeah, there’s quite a few in .45 acp, ranging from the expensive (Thompson, Kriss) to the cheapo (Hipoint, Masterpiece). I’m leaning towards something like either a .45 upper for an AR like from Olympic Arms, or something that uses Glock mags like the TNS Aero or Just Right Carbine. If all else fails, a 16 inch barrel and shoulder stock for a 1911.
As for .380, Hipoint just came out with one, and I think Masterpiece, Cobray or someone else made ones based on the Mac-11 style.
As for AR-15 pistols, I am seriously planning on getting an Extar EXP-556. It has no buffer tube, and even though it is mostly polymer, I’ve seen NO complaints from anyone who has actually tested or owned one, and best of all, they only cost about $449!!!
For an AK, in 7.62×39, probably a Romanian Mini Draco, about $479.
If accuracy is the most important aspect and you wan’t broad appeal, make it so it doesn’t require the artillery hold. And put sights on it, don’t care what type. Selling a gun without sights is just stupid.
I just have 4 requirements of a desirable airgun:
(2) A lot less “Hold Sensitive”.
(3) Near Match trigger
(4) Peep/Aperture sights
This is almost my list exactly.
I’d add: weaver mount and .177 cal 7.9-8.4 grain pellet 50 yard trajectory that matches up to mil dots well.
My intended uses are: American hunter field target with a 12x mildot scope, and 10 meter marksmanship practice with peep sights.
And I’m really tired of springers that need to be held loosely – since that doesn’t translate well into shooting recoiling firearms. If my backyard practice doesn’t make me a better shot at the range – then why practice ?
All great ideas. However, you should stress the trigger more! A rough, hard trigger pull ruins the shooting experience, even more than heavy cocking or poor accuracy.
Sell the gun with no sights! Most people will put a scope on it, and sights look stupid on a scoped rifle. Open sights should be easy to add however.
Spend 3% for quality control. On forum boards, I read all the time where people send stuff back because it is poorly made. This must cost(maybe Edith can find out what % of guns Pyramid sells are returned?)the retailers major $$ and piss off the customer to boot!
I understand what you mean by spending money on quality, but that doesn’t work. Both W. Edwards Demming and Joseph Juran disproved it in the 1960s and they are the co-fathers of what became Japanese Management. Before that it was called the U.S. winning the war though logistics.
Quality has to go in as the product is designed. It has no cost. What it has, and what 98 percent of American executives cannot understand, is an indefinable profit center. Indefineable, but absolutely demonstrable.
Kawasaki built a motorcycle plant in which it they can change bike models — without stopping the production like. American companies used to shut down for weeks to retool between models. This Kawasaki plant can retool on the fly in no time at all.
Oh, and this plant is in the U.S. It’s in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was built in 1974.
Who am I to argue with the “Godfather”, but Deming’s major contribution was to test ALL components before assembly because after assembly, diagnosing and changing a defective part is too expensive.
He taught the Japanese that when one light bulb in a factory burns out, change them all. The expense is in the guy getting the ladder and not the bulb. Sure efficient design is part of it, but if the cheap stamped cocking slot has burrs, it will never shoot right.
Demming came up with statistical operator control. Not every part was measured or compared to the engineered specifications but every tenth or hundredth. Further, the tolerance for missing the engineered spec was reduced to stay within that spec. For instance, if a widget could still operate with a dimension of 5 mm plus or minus 1 mm , the operator would check every 10th or 100th (whatever) part and when the parts differed by say half that or .5 mm, they would stop and re-adjust the tool back to the called for dimension of .5 mm. This is my understanding of what Demming brought to the manufacturing process.
Dr. Juran taught executives that their goal-oriented changes were destroying their company’s abililty to manufacture anything within tolerances. He had them stand on a chair and drop a pencil from their face to hit a target on the floor. When the pencil hit the paper, and “analysis group” measured how far away it landed from the target mark and reported their findings to a “correction committee.” They wrote instructions that the executive had to implement on the next drop — “Aim 4 inches to the left.”
The cumulative error built until there was no chance of hitting the target. All because of the way the problem was managed.
Absolutely. Out of tolerance compounding out of tolerance led to a motorcycle coming off an assembly line that didn’t run (one out of two for Harley in the days of AMF ownership). Same reason people would advise each other to avoid cars built on a Friday or Monday. Too many errors. This is also why you occasionally will hear about that lemon which suffers problem after problem – it’s a compounding of out of tolerance individual parts or assembly. As for why quality went out the window? My understanding is two different budget departments. Manufacturing can proudly show how much they save in producing the part. A different budget for assembly shows how they reduced costs. Repairs/warrantee/customer service departments have a different budget and Senior Management didn’t connect the dots.
I don’t know what Pyramyd Air’s return rate is, and I’m sure they don’t want to divulge that info. From what I’ve read and learned over the years, products with a 5% are considered a problem and not worth stocking. An ideal return rate around 1.50% is about what most retailers consider okay.
Thanks for your response. Maybe it is just the 1.5% that complain the most! Squeaky wheel….
Scopes return rate seems even higher
There are scopes and then there are scopes.
If you buy a scope as an individual item and you are unhappy with it for some reason you return it.
If you buy an air rifle with a scope included in the package, most people already know it is going to be cheap junk. They are not likely going to return the air rifle if they are dissatisfied with the scope. They buy a decent scope and put the junk one in the yard sale.
I hope my comment isn’t too much out side the design box. But, how much of a stock is really needed? The AirForce line of rifles, while they are PCP, has clearly demonstrated that the stock doesn’t NEED to be extensive, or wood or synthetic.
The AirForce design is a straight thereby meeting one Mr. Gaylord’s design criteria. And the AirForce design shows that it accommodates both hooded front aperture and scope sights. The carry handle could be milled into a “Weaver-style scope base” “permanently attached” thereby meeting two more of Mr. Gaylord’s design criteria
In a break barrel configuration, it should seem possible to engineer a rifle with a gas spring compression system to compress air into“buffer tube” reservoir. This buffer tube could then be used as an attachment point for an adjustable butt plate. Thereby meeting another of Mr. Gaylord’s design criteria. This configuration would have the advantage of a straight through air flow to take maximize advantage of the air pressure converting it into pellet velocity.
Because the rifle is gas spring not a PCP, the expensive air regulator is eliminated and they the production costs are lower. The AirForce Edge already has a very good two stage trigger.
There’s also the advantage that the “tube on a pistol grip” design looks cool. Or so I’ve been told by the youth in my venture crew.
Venture Crew 357
Wow! You have given this a lot of thought.
Not sure I agree with everything, but I do appreciate the thought that went into it.
Thank you for the response. Not being an air rifle designer, I would definitely defer to those with greater expertise and rifle engineering talent.
The clean sheet “concept rifle” I had in mind is a combination of a low pressure gas strut which is commercially available and could be a “drop in” component in an “AirForce Edge” like package. But without the expensive “bits” of an Edge. I’d like to see a break barrel design that shakes the air rifle would just as much as the Edge shook up the world of 10 meter competition when it first was introduced.
Have shot a “confiscated” sterling SMG. I think it had some type of wire stock- but because recoil was so lite the stock wasn’t bothersome.
And it was more accurate than what it had a right to be. Center mass of a beanie baby at 30 yards.
I’ve often thought about the physics of this concept, a spring piston firing the first compression into a chamber, the second cocked shot releasing that air while charging the reservoir for the next one…allowing the pellet to release at the moment of the sear and before piston momentum starts to affect hold.
I’ve also thought about adjustable pressure release valves in the TP tube, allowing tuning of the air buffer in front of the piston in a similar way to the size of TP does….it could be trimmed easily by means of an Allen key even for ammunition type….all off the shelf items from pneumatic machine control superstores.
As has been pointed out, there are air rifles already being produced that almost meet all of the above requirements. The RWS Diana 34 and the Weihrauh HW95 can both be had for under $300.
It can be done.
I try to keep an eye out for used quality air rifles. They can be like used compound bows, expensive to buy new, much, much, less on the used market. I bought my Diana 34 in .22 from an estate sale for $100.00. It had a junk scope on it which I sold cheap at the last local gun show. I replaced it with a UTG 4X with fixed 35 yd. parallax which is just great. While I have one, I didn’t even need the drooper mount. So far, it shoots best with RWS Superpoints.
Used are great! With the exception of my Izzy, I purchased all of mine used. My next one will probably end up being used if I can just get them to drop the “collector value” add on.
My whole point is that you can get a brand new top shelfer for what a top shelf Crosman will cost. If the Germans can do it, so can Crosman.
The main issue is Crosman is trying to play a numbers game. Make as many as cheap as possible and sell as many as possible to make as much as possible.
Why should I buy a Crosman and then fix the trigger and get a different stock for it when I can buy a Weihrauch for the same price and be done with it?
I second the motion for it being fully ambidextrous.
It should have a high comb and shoulder contact as close to in-line with the barrel as possible, to reduce felt recoil.
Of course it should come with high quality open sights, but it should NOT come packaged with a scope at an increased cost, unless the package option has a springer-rated AO scope. A junk scope for $20-$30 more reduces the value of the rifle, because the scope will go into a drawer. Either sell it scopeless or put a quality AO springer scope on it, but either way it must have open sights as well.
Open sights and a peep sight should be optional extras not a standard fitting. In this age of good value scopes, I don’t want to pay for open sights when I buy a rifle.
The issue there is when many companies market an air rifle without sights, they feel compelled to include a scope in the package. Far more often than not, it is something that is mostly worthless, yet adds to the cost.
On the flip side of that is more often than not, when they include sights they are of such low quality that they hinder the accuracy of the air rifle and they are not easily removable.
Most of the German air rifles have removable front and rear sights, which tend to be of very good quality, and/or they offer two versions with or without sights. Many also offer the version without sights with or without a scope, knowing a customer may desire to use their own choice of optics and not pay for something they do not want.
Great article by the way. You really are thinking ahead about how to design, make and sell guns.
I also think it should be ambidextrous. That’s more cost effective than having to build stocks for both handedness.
It should have one of two features. Either the barrel is designed and built to be as un-pellet fussy as possible or (probably more easily done), the barrel is designed and built to shoot one specific pellet only. Either can save time and money for the shooter, not to mention aggravation. I don’t know if this can be done cost effectively from the manufacturers viewpoint or not. I know some barrels are done the latter way already.
I would like to add another thing for us to ponder this weekend. I am close to buying the Air Arms S510 EXTRA FAC Limited Edition Air Rifle for primarily one reason. I think it is the most beautiful rifle (PCP at least) on the market today. I really love this rifle.
My question to all of you this weekend is: What do you think is the most beautiful PCP rifle, Springer Rifle and CO2 rifle on the market today (any manufacturer)? I have never purchased a gun primarily for the looks but I am set for the time being on super accurate rifles for the competitions I shoot. I want something that is drop dead gorgeous and I have fallen in love with the Air Arms S510 EXTRA FAC Limited Edition Air Rifle.
Let us know what rifles out there you have fallen in love with for the looks and design.
B.B., what are the chances that this rifle will become a serious Collector’s gun in the future. On top of the looks they made very few of them. The best number I can come up with reading the Internet is app. 250. This might be high though.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend y’all.
It;s difficult to say what will become a collector item, but these high priced models were all made in small quantities, yet only a few ever become collectors items.
A sidelever Titan multi-pump is an example of this. Very few made, but not any demand for them, either.
“What do you think is the most beautiful PCP rifle, Springer Rifle and CO2 rifle on the market today . . . ?”
IMO, none of these is attractive as the most attractive candidates in my mind that are out-of-production, but my votes go to the Diana P1000, Webley Patriot, and Walther Lever Action (in black), respectively. The first two are not guns I would ever purchase (I am a Walther Lever Action owner), but on looks only, they are pretty classy. The Diana looks like a classic prison shotgun, and the Patriot looks like a classic deer rifle, at least to me.
A seriously detuned Patriot would probably be a pretty cool air rifle.
As luck would have it, (in more ways than one,) I’m one of the few that actually owns your (dream) of the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC.
It’s every bit as gorgeous in real life as the pictures show. The nickel finish and the walnut stock are beyond compare and when I take it to the range it nearly always draws at least several that want to try it out, particularly when its nearly silent discharge is noticed. (“What IS that thing you’re shooting? And why does’t it make hardly any noise?”) The kids in particular think I’m Bond. James Bond.
Don’t worry about collectibility. That will, (or won’t,) take care of itself. Little you can really do about it.
But as they say, “pretty is as pretty does,” and this one is a way better shot than I am. It completely has the absolute trait of stacking one pellet on top of another…as long as you do your part. And the rather eerie part about that is it WILL, all by itself, make you better.
Later in life, I’ve found this also applies life-partners.
BB regrets his Python, I’ve been lucky enough to keep my 3″. But he has his Edith, I have my Louise and we’re better for it. If you don’t believe it, just ask them.
(Still room for some improvement, according at least to Louise.)
Room for improvement? Absolutely. In fact, we are in a major reconstruction project at the moment. There is trash from reconstruction laying around everywhere and a big dumpster sitting out front.
But she promises me it will be better in the end. If it isn’t better, it’s not yet the end.
I feel your pain. We just finished the major kitchen remodel and we’re recovering from several months of having the ‘fridge in the living-room and the microwave downstairs in the garage. It was kind of cute, the way the power strip appliances plugged in went: microwave, toaster, Prius, coffeemaker, etc.
One unanticipated consequence was the ‘fridge had to be parked in front of and block our AM/FM radio. Somehow the remote was misplaced and we’d had it set to our local PBS station. So for three months the terriers had been exposed incessantly to only one side of local, state, and national politics.
So the poor impressional critters are now wild, frothing-at-mouth liberals.
I have to agree with you on the AirArms rifles being beautiful – especially the Limited Edition. I don’t think you would be disappointed with the S510.
I had to choose between the S510 and the Weihrauch HW100. Ended up choosing the HW100 because of the simpler low-profile magazine and that it is regulated.
Have to admit that I still have the S510 book-marked and look at it frequently, seriously considering adding one to my airsonal.
Have a great weekend.
Nearly all good design of this type of complexion is modular. When I read through this discussion you see this opinion crop up everywhere in the comments.
Therefore I want a gun in which the trigger, barrel, stock and sights are standardized modules and interchangeable with aftermarket parts or are options when you buy the gun. In this manner the basic parts (spring & compression chamber, barrel) can be made in good quality as it will be made in large numbers and other parts can be made according to what the customer is willing to pay for it.
The challenging part of this type of design is the choice of what is considered the basic modules and the place where to make the interfacing between the parts.For instance some will argue that compression chamber and barrel can be better one module while I prefer a separate barrel. Also you can place the interface between barrel and compression chamber so that it includes the pivot and barrel block with the compression chamber or make the pivot the place to interface between these parts. Both have design advantages and the choice for one can for instance make a rifle usable as a pellet gun.
So my return question would be:How can a rifle be split up in modular parts in such way that the modules leave as much room for variation in use as possible and where will the interface be placed between the parts? This with all the other design constraints which BB has mentioned in his blog.
I would call your idea a Lego gun. Thompson Center makes the Contender, which is a gun “system,” in that the barrels can be switched along with the stocks and forearms, but it isn’t quite a Lego gun. Not all the parts interchange and some parts require precision fitting.
A Lego airgun would be a winner, in my opinion.
I like your idea. Sounds like an AR15.
Crosman does this now to a certain extent. They build a compression tube and change barrels and stocks to present a wide variety of models. Unfortunately the trigger is part of the compression tube assembly and they have not as of yet figured out how to make a decent trigger.
Now if they were to take the Marauder trigger assembly and design a compression tube assembly to mate with it AND use a bolt instead of a pivot pin AND put it in a decent stock, they just might have a real winner.
I don’t consider that a modular approach. I think of it as a reutilization or a reskinning approach. Like when Oldsmobiles had Pontiac engines. Or the Firebird that was a Camaro with accessory parts bolted on.
Not to change the subject, but my Mike-Melick tuned XS46u(Browning Leverage) is on the way. I called Mike today to make sure he received payment and he was saying that it was shooting pretty nice 20-yard groups and I could shoot it right out of the box, he had cleaned the barrel. here’s a mechanically sound gun, tuned by a professional tuner, at big box store prices for an unturned gun. And since Mike is affiliated with Pyramid Airguns now, he even offered me a great price for a TX 200, that I regretfully had to turn down because I’m really strapped for cash right now and in the foreseeable future. I’m really looking forward to shooting it and will give you a report on it as soon as I am able to.
Does the Mike Melick XS46 have any work done on the trigger? I had a Browning Leverage for a while, it shot well but the single stage trigger was very heavy.
Part of the basic tune as Mike explained it to me was to go through the gun and debur and lube it so I’m guessing that the trigger is better than a Browning Leverage without a tune. Mike said it was shooting pretty nice groups so I’m guessing that you have to have a pretty nice trigger to shoot those. I’ll let you know when I get it
I was surprised by your statement that “Mike is affiliated with Pyramyd Airguns now.” So, I asked Pyramyd Air’s president about it. He said neither Mike Melick nor his company is affiliated with Pyramyd Air.
In some of the recent blogs, there were comments about medium power air rifles working better in 22 than in 177. How about adding an option to purchase a 2nd barrel in a different caliber at a reasonable price.
Most companies will indeed sell you additional barrels in other calibers if they are available. For that reason I have been tempted to buy some used air rifles I have seen that were in a different caliber than I desired.
Beeman/Wang Po Industries offers an air rifle kit with two barrels. What happens more often than not is one of the barrels ends up not being used because when you change the barrels you must change the sight adjustments.
How does a straight stoch line negate the need for a comb riser?
Ideal rifle to me is one which is not hold sensitive, not too long, easy to cock, picatinny rail, no droop, good trigger, choice of several different stocks and and available in a custom shop where you choose power level, stock type, caliber and sights. Much like you would choose and build a computer online.
A straight stock line elevates the eye . When the stock drops down, it takes the face with it. Straighten it and your eye goes higher.
AirForce guns are criticized because they put the shooter’s eye so high that a scope base has to be raised by a carry handle. Same for an AR-15.
If I’m not mistaken, AirForce’s elevated “strap” also serves the structural integrity of the frame, much like a hard-top car versus a convertible version of the same model. The convertible requires heavy fore-to-aft bracing on the frame to compensate for the lack of rigidity provided by the hard-top’s roof. This is why convertibles are heavier than the hard-top version of the same model. It would stand to reason that a Condor is lighter than it would otherwise be if it did not have that strap, and to take a hacksaw to the strap would make the rifle’s frame unsound.
No doubt it does that, but I don’t think it was put there for that reason. It was put there to elevate the scope.
And all that AirForce needed to do was put a adapter that offset the bottle down below the barrel line.
Then there would not of been a need for a elevated scope rail.
Then the scope centerline would of been closer to the barrel centerline.
That would make for a much more complex gun, meaning more $$$.
The striker system surrounds the barrel, and pushes straight to the rear on release where it bounces off the “top-hat” of the valve.
The valve and top-hat are part of the “bottle”.
To fit any type of offset to the bottle would require convoluted striker system and more seals (say the striker now hangs below the chamber sleeve, and hits a protruding pin that is just above the trigger; this pin then transfers the strike force inside to where it would hit the valve on the bottle — you now need good O-rings on the moving pin to seal the air in, yet not so tight as to prevent the pin and valve moving outward to close off the air flow) OR you need bottles with an exterior knob opening the bottle valve, while permanently fitting a top-hat valve to the frame. Fill cycle: Close manual valve, remove bottle from frame (this is pre-spin lock with side filler), attach fill adapter, open manual valve, fill tank. Close manual valve, remove fill adapter, attach tank to frame, Open manual valve to pressurize the space leading from tank to top-hat.
There’s a website out there right now that sells a adapter that is offset for the old style tanks. I don’t know if they offer one for the new spin lock tanks yet or not.
I’m sure AirForce could come up with something similar and the initial cost would be there but once in production it would pay off in time.
And it would make for a more enjoyable gun to shoot. Plus could even make the gun more accurate to shoot because it would be easier to repeat your line of sight.
And it would take less metal on the frame of the gun because the scope rail could be made lower.
All in all some cost for the adapter and some savings on frame material. But I’m sure they would just raise the price of the gun to off set the additional cost.
But I will say this. I would own a AirForce gun if it had the off set bottle adapter and the biggest thing the lower scope mounting.
So don’t tell me to guy buy a AirForce gun and then buy the adapter because it wouldn’t be the same gun I’m talking about with the lower scope mounting rail.
Additionally, if the rifle recoils, it is beneficial to have the end of the buttstock higher rather than lower, as long as one’s eyes are able to line up with the optics. The ideal is to have one’s shoulder inline with the barrel. This reduces the amount of recoil passed on to the shoulder compared to a buttstock that slopes downward.
To visualize the difference, look at Pyramyd Air’s profile pics for the Diana 34 Premium https://www.pyramydair.com/product/diana-34-premium-air-rifle?m=3310 which has a lowered shoulder pad, and the stripped-down Diana RWS 34 https://www.pyramydair.com/product/diana-rws-34-breakbarrel-rifle-t06-trigger?m=402 which has a higher shoulder pad because of its high, straight comb. The less fancy one will shoot with less felt recoil.
Tom has written about how his Ballard kicks like a mule because it forces one’s shoulder to be far below the plane of the barrel.
Thanks Michael for that piece of info.
So…..kind of like the Daisy Avanti of the pellet gun world, eh? This gun is a long list of compromises, but lets see. Wood or plastic? Hard to go wrong with the quality vs price of good plastic these days. I prefer wood, but happily shoot plastic if it is comfortable, accurate, AND saves a few bucks. Trigger. Adjustable two stage. I see this gun as a second pellet gun for people learning to shoot, after they realize a zillion fps means exactly nothing. Sights. A good hooded front sight, and an adjustable cheap rear sight. We all seem to want different sights in the back, so let the aftermarket feed that niche. How many of us have spent more on our Crosman 1322/1377 sights than we spent on the original guns? Speaking of sights, and this is out there, but could a scout scope work on a springer? Sounds like droop has been an issue for all of us.
Here is another idea. Build the rifle to maximize accuracy with WallyWorld ammo. For example, if Crosman builds the gun, I’d want to see decent accuracy from their store brand ammo. I buy my good stuff from pyramid, but if the twp kids and i are putting 500 rounds through the guns in a day, I don’t want to have to spend the cash like I would if we were burning powder.
The last issue is power. This isn’t a hunting rifle, and we dont need to blow through the neighbor’s fence! That shroud to help my ten-year-old grandson cock it should also help keep it quiet. . Accuracy, consistency, forgiving of inexperienced holds…I’d buy three or four to have around for the kids and grandkids
Interesting thought on the scout scope. You could do such if the mounts were of sturdy enough construction. I could see a section of heavy picatinny rail bolted to the barrel block where the rear sights are usually mounted and the other end fastened to the barrel with a sturdy band.
Such a mount would be of considerable cost, most especially when compared to two slots machined into the compression tube. However as an aftermarket product, it has enough merit to be worth considering.
As for using cheap ammunition, each air rifle will in and of itself determine what is the best ammunition for it. It is a very rare firearm that will give you superior accuracy with off the shelf ammunition. It will depend on what level of accuracy you are willing to live with. Is your desire to produce 10 shot groups at 25 yards that will hide under a dime or are you just hunting feral soda cans in the back yard?
You cannot reasonably expect pellets that the primary manufacturing criteria is that they are to be inexpensive to produce Olympian results. You can have a decent air rifle that with the right pellets will produce dime sized groups and when you need to kill off a pack of feral soda cans pull out the Wally World Specials. I do it all of the time.
I wasn’t too clear on my ideas for accuracy. I wasn’t trying to suggest that one could get same hole accuracy from a pack of Crosman hollowpoints, just that plenty of people, the unwashed masses of airgunning, would be reaching for those tins, and that the designer should realize that from the get-go. Minute of a two bit piece at 40 feet? That should be possible. You showed a cardboard shooting gallery a while back, aimed (pardon the pun) at shooting clubs or scouts or the like. The rifle should be capable of destroying those targets with cheap ammo.
The gun cannot be designed to do anything for the ammo. But a Pelletgage can sort the ammo to make it more consistent.
Build the gun to maximize accuracy with Wally World ammo requires a magic wand. The same as saying build 4-door sedans that can win NASCAR races.
Years ago the big three did just that as it was there motto to win on Sunday, sell on Monday. But once again the cars that NASCAR races now are nothing in any way resembling a car that can be bought today two or four door.
NASCAR is nothing more than an over glorified demolition derby today and is more of an money oriented sport than an actual racing sport. If it was truly a racing sport then they would race in the rain just as every other form of motor racing does including motorcycles.
So it would seem that NASCAR has done just that by waving a magic wand over what once was truly a AMERICAN STOCK CAR RACE but is now a international prototype car race as Toyota is not an AMERICAN car.
So I would say it should be possible to make a gun that indeed could shoot wally world ammo as well as the high dollar prototype ammo.
None of the cars on that track are even cars. They are all identical racing machines with the exception of the drive trains and there is not much difference there. As far as it being a demolition derby, it would be pretty boring if it wasn’t.
That is my point exactly as they are a true prototype car now that have absolutely nothing in common with their actual production cars of today. You are right in that the only two items different between so called makes are the drivetrain and the sheet metal bodies on them to designate it being a Ford, Chevy, Dodge and the non American entry Toyota.
I grew up in Cocoa Beach Florida 60 miles south of Daytona and was a diehard NASCAR fan until 1985 when the last of the true door slammers raced and after 85 when they became tube chassised one off race cars and not something that you could actually go to a dealer and buy a car that was as close to what they were racing as was legally possible to be street legal.
Then when they were going well over 200 mph and NASCAR put restrictor plates on them for Daytona and Talladega it was all over for me as it then became the demolition derby that it is now.
Two factors that totally turned me off from NASCAR is restrictor plates and the addition of Toyota as part of the car line up. Reason 1 being is that they can dirty the cars up aerodynamically to keep them below 200mph without restrictor plates and still allow them the horsepower to pull out and pass with out having to draft in multi car lines. and 2 Toyota is not an American car which is exactly what the abbreviation NASCAR stand for in North American Stock Car Auto Racing.
As far it being boring that is exactly what it is to me now with all the cars just rolling around the track one behind the other and it is the best afternoon nap show there could ever be as if I watch a race I am asleep in ten minutes.
Back in the late 60s and early 70s was at the high point of the NASCAR racing as I went to most every race at Daytona and the one that most stand out for me still today is the 1971 firecracker 400 ( which by the way is now politically incorrect to use the word ” firecracker when referring to a race) when at the last 15 laps all the cars came in to pit for tires and fuel for the last laps of the race and when Richard Petty pitted and went back out his left rear tires lug nuts did not get tightened completely so he had to pit again to get it fixed as he had been in and out of the lead the whole race so when they got the left rear tire replaced and the lug nuts tightened and he got back out on the track he was a lap and half down from the lead with 10 laps to go. We were parked right in turn three up against the fence and you would hear the announcer saying here comes Petty down the back straight at 210, 220, 230, and finally 235mph and when he would enter turn three you could hear him back out of the throttle just enough to get the car set out slightly sideways in the banking and put his foot right back to the floorboard as he was power sliding thru turns three and four with smoke rolling off the back tires and in ten laps he had passed all the other cars with his power sliding thru the banking at 200 plus mph and went on to win the race. So that told me that he had been playing with all the other driver for the whole race by letting them get the lead for a few laps and then just drive right by as he pleased with his 426 Hemi under the hood and had been sandbagging the whole race until it came to the end and he was down a lap and half and the time for playing was over and it was time to get down to business and he showed just what that hemi really had in it as he just drove by the other cars as if they were stuck in second gear.
That is what NASCAR was truly about and when it was Win on Sunday and Sell on Monday.
I think the Ruger Blackhawk is as close to perfect as it gets for handling and shooting purposes. If Diana would copy that clone and add back their TO6, better sights, and a scope rail like on the current 34s, it would be hard to beat, and there are not many unknowns involved in making something like that :)! A slim wooden stock possibly with metal reinforcement would be a nice optional upgrade.
Perhaps instead of metal reinforcement in the stock, you were to glass bed the stock? This would add strength and would be lighter and possibly less expensive than metal.
Since the Ruger “Hawks” are copies of the 34s why would Diana copy a copy of their own gun?
Because the blackhawks have several subtle improvements, including slightly thinner, lighter barrel, a rubber buttplate, an articulated cocking lever, and a sleeve on the mainspring. All that on the older 34 synthetic stock that is almost identical to a savage center fire.
The current synstock 34 feels like a 2×6 in comparison and looks like the graphics designer just got his degree via mail. Cocking is harder and behavior for the first tin or two of pellets is obstreperous :).
I have no experience with the Ruger, but I find the Diana’s synthetic stock to be very high quality. It’s one of the things that they got absolutely right. I even prefer the look to the older T05 synthetic stock since that sets it apart from the wooden stocks and gives it a style of its own.
The 34 is a very good product and could easily be turned into an amazing product:
-no fiberoptics and plastic sights; a front sight with inserts would be perfect
-rubber butt cap
-better scope rail
I think the quality and finish of the metal parts is already flawless and BB clearly demonstrated that this thing has amazing accuracy.
I hope GSG will build on the tradition and good genes of the Diana brand. If they keep the quality and fix some of the mistakes of the past, I will keep buying Dianas.
I will absolutely *not* buy some imported stuff that they slap the Diana name on. This is not because I am against foreign stuff (my old Toyota runs like a clockwork) but because a foreign gun is *not* a Diana in my book. I absolutely despise dishonest marketing.
I hope I don’t sound like a broken record, but considering the topic, maybe some GSG managers will read this and maybe they’ll be more open to suggestions than the old management.
I picked up a Ruger Air Hawk at a yard sale a while back. I was not impressed. I was thankful I did not have much invested in it. There is no way that it is an improvement over a 34. No one could possibly market something that bad.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on Mike’s guns the last few days for my air gun purchase and I thought I read it someplace but I could be mistaken. Don’t mean to be spreading any false rumors.
One cost saving measure production can adopt is the use of casting for the breech block. Would this be feasible? This would reduce the time used in machining out a part. A thin steel or brass barrel can be utilized with tension applied at both ends. The barrel extension is then screwed/attached to the sleeve to act as a moderator and increase leverage.
Hi BB, AGunners and Ms Edith.
I used to think i new a lot about AR,but after reading your Blogs daily,I know little.I know how to shoot them.Internally I am amazed how you strip,replace springs,lube,tune ups.In England the local gun shop will do it for 55 pound.Set @ 11.3 – 11.7.in Tpa Fl no such luck.My HW35 (1977)&BMen C1(1983) still have same spring.Untill i can replace my own springs I have no business designing a air rifle.
Welcome to the blog.
We all started where you are now. All it takes is one little project under the belt and you’ll be a tuneup artist in your own right.
Believe me — this stuff sinks in!
I was going to say that the trigger is very important but it sounds like a good two-stage trigger is required and that’s about all you can ask for at a low price.
I’m curious about the straight-line stock. You can adjust a stock higher but you can’t adjust it lower, so the straight-line stock leaves you no where to go. The only way you can lower your head down is by raising up the buttstock into a “bazooka hold” on your shoulder. Which brings up another point. For the AR with its fabled ergonomics, I see from photos that it is standard for offhand shooters to use a bazooka hold with only the very bottom of the stock against their shoulder. The AR is your limit of a straight line gun, and even with the high iron sights, some people cannot get their faces down low enough with the buttstock in the standard position. Is this really ergonomic? I thought ergonomic meant the rifle-shooter interface. The straight-line stock absorbs recoil well enough, but if it requires an unstable position on your shoulder, it doesn’t look like you’ve gained much.
On a different topic, what is the big deal with a bolt hold-open feature for a semiauto action? My Saiga does not have this feature. But one of my American-built spare mags that I bought separately holds the bolt open when the mag is empty. This is quite an engineering feat since to my eyes, this mag looks identical to the Russian one. Anyway, the bolt-open feature seems to be a drag because when I release the empty magazine the bolt will slam shut on an empty chamber. Holding the charging lever and releasing the magazine at the same time is quite awkward. All I can think of this feature is that it will prevent you from dry-firing on an empty chamber, but I don’t think that is any worse for the rifle than slamming the bolt closed.
The bolt hold open is a military feature. It lets you know you are empty and speeds a reload. That said, not all military rifles use it. Since the AK was designed without one, a Mag that blocks the bolt just gets in the way, A trick that also works is to load a tracer as your next to last round. When you see the light, you know that the last round is in the pipe. Of course, this works better in lower light conditions.
I’m just back from the range……….it was a really great day! Shot my new Bulgarian Milled AK for the first time. I was surprised at a 100 yard 2 inch group (3 shots) with cheap Tula FMJ. Even some handloads with .308 bullets were doing about 4 inches. The muzzle brake is very effective. Mr. Kalashnikov said that the Bulgarian AKs were the best. He was right. The next step will be to shoot it with a scope.
Thanks, Mike. Now that I think about it, without a bolt hold open feature, your bolt will be slamming into an empty chamber at the end of each magazine which isn’t very good. I suppose I could load a snap cap as the last round. Still having the bolt held with the magazine is awkward to manipulate.
Glad you had a good time at the range. That’s a fine report of the Tula ammo. I’m glad that I have some on hand. The only head-to-head comparison that I’ve seen with the Hornady SSTP had them doing about equal. I’m surprised that your handloads didn’t do as well. .308 is the correct bullet size right? What is even more puzzling is that you did all this with open sights?!! Do tell us what happens when you mount a scope. If you haven’t picked one out yet, I believe the newest BugBuster with AO is worth it. Mine fits great. And with the focus down to 3 feet, I can dry fire all over my place with it.
I’ve heard that the Bulgarian AKs were good quality, but I haven’t heard that endorsement from Kalashnikov himself. I guess he would know. You hear good things about Yugo AKs and especially the Polish ones. No one seems to have very good things to say about the Romanian ones. But I thought the Russian AKs were the best, especially since Kalashnikov himself was in residence. Anyway, I’m glad that you are rewarded for putting out for an Arsenal. You’re still way ahead of most AR prices.
I am not familiar with the AK rifles but as Mike said, the bolt hold open feature is a reminder that your magazine is empty, a very important bit of information to be aware of in a life or death situation! The best designs cause the magazine follower to impinge upon the bolt release lever when the last round has been expended which locks the bolt to the rear, drop the empty mag, insert a full one, release bolt, continue firing.
I believe that the 98 Mauser of WW II did the same in that the magazine follower would prevent the bolt from closing on an empty chamber indicating that it was time to reload the magazine.
No, .308″ caliber bullets are not correct for the Soviet rifles, they were designed to use a .310″ to .311″ diameter projectile, the same as a 7.7mm Japanese or .303″ British, go figure.
Please tell me more about your reloading scale with +/- 1/20 grain accuracy which you had mentioned on a previous blog.
The Valmet AK manufactured in Finland was probably the “Cadillac” of all the Soviet clones.
Wow, I’m glad that I’m only reloading for one caliber and one gun. The various caliber numbers make no sense at all. So, .303 is really .310 and .311. Maybe that’s why the British military measure of 7.7X56mm is actually bigger than 7.62X51mm even though .303 is less than .308. And Russian 7.62X54R also takes .310 and .311 bullets even though 7.62X51mm does not. ??
BugBuster, you’re right that the Mauser 98K has a bolt hold open feature. It really puzzled me the first time I encountered it. Otherwise, the practice of the bolt hold open feature doesn’t seem to work as well as the theory. Once you click on an empty chamber you will know you are out. On a Mauser you will know as you try to work the bolt but with a semiauto you will know only by squeezing the trigger, same as if the bolt were closed. The alternative is to look to see if the bolt is open. And if you have time to do that you would have time to squeeze the trigger again or do a press check to see if you are empty or not. Regardless, you should be keeping some track of how much ammo you have and for everything to come down to the very last round in the magazine seems kind of unlikely. It’s a nice feature to have. But where it is not built in, like the AK, and enabled by the magazine, it just creates awkwardness.
As to my scale, it is the simplest and cheapest balance scale from Lee Reloading, and I think I made a mistake about its precision. The readout goes down to .1 grains. This is measured by a system where you slide a piece along a rail and see three white lines appear against a black background. When the center line lines up with the right .1 grain and the other two lines evenly bracket it, you know you are on the .1 grain. Going back to high school, I thought I remembered that the number of significant figures is the last one where there is uncertainty. The three lines seemed to represent a level of certainty beyond the .1 gr. which must be where I came up with .05 gr. or 1/20th. But that’s not right. For one thing, beyond .1 gr., the scale is not digital but analog. And if it were digital, it would be .01 or 1/100, not 1/20. I also seem to remember that the number of significant figures is one short of uncertainty, which makes more sense. So, it is probably fair to say that the scale is accurate to .1 gr. However, I am absolutely scrupulous about the reading for each powder charge.
The 7.62 X 51 mm (.308 Winchester) round obviously uses a .308″ diameter bullet and the 7.62 mm designation equates exactly to .300″ which is the nominal bore diameter of the barrel. As near as I can guess, the Russian, Japanese and British barrels probably have a similar bore dimension but a larger groove diameter which would equate to deeper rifling.
Here is a bit of trivia for you. In the original military loading for all of these cartridges with the exception of the 7.62 X 39 mm and 7.62 X 51 mm rounds, the bullet weight was approximately the same as a round ball for a .50 caliber muzzle loader. The original 7.62 X 51 mm National Match round would fall into this category also along with the 30-06 Springfield.
In a pinch .308″ caliber projectiles could be used in your rifle but I believe accuracy would suffer and the neck expanding button should be for that diameter bullet otherwise the neck tension may be too loose and not hold the bullet properly. A firm crimp is highly recommended! I personally do not like to seat the bullet and crimp in the same operation in any cartridge, rifle or pistol.
So what caliber are you reloading?
You have the original balance beam scale, no problem. I had used them for many years and they work. Some are magnetic dampened and my first, an old Herters, was oil dampened. It was built like a tank, heavy cast iron, four leveling screws, built in level and the beam pivoted on a very thin taut wire instead of a knife edge as most others use. It had a reservoir directly below the beam pivot point and a small paddle attached to the beam which extended into the oil which was optional.
And .38 Special is really .357, and .44 Special/.44 Magnum is really .429
History… They all derived from old black-powder era rounds using bare lead bullets (no jackets). Those bullets tended to be sized to the groove diameter — and stuck out over the sides of the cartridge case too; whereas the smaller diameter is that of a (jacketed) bullet that is sized to the inside of the cartridge case.
A split response…
There is a difference is reload time and effort…
If the bolt closes, and you “fire” on the empty chamber, not only do you have to swap out the magazine, but you have to cycle the bolt — including the mainspring since you “decocked” the action pulling the trigger.
With a bolt hold-open, you normally only have swap the magazine, and nudge the bolt back a short distance — the mainspring is already compressed, and pulling the bolt back a small distance allows the hold-open to fall out of the way (or you have a button/lever you press to move it out of the way and let the bolt close on its own).
.308 diameter bullets can work.
A western .30 cal has a land diameter of .30 and a groove diameter of .308.
7.62×39 and 7.62×54 are supposed to have the same land diameter, but the groove deepened to .310-.311 – but if the land diameter is .30 then .308 bullets will grip rifling and stabilize.
Thanks for the heads up on the Bugbuster scope. I was leaning that way so your comment confirms it. The correct bullet for the AK is a .310 or .311. The same size bullet as used in the .303 British. The handloads were loaded years ago when .310/.311 bullets in the 125 to 130 grain range were not available. Did I say years ago….about 30 years ago. I had dug these out of storage, it was about time to shoot them up…….ya think! The nice thing was that they all fired with no problems at all. They were loaded with IMR-3031 powder. I’m not the worlds greatest shot but I have used iron sights for a long time and I was shooting off sandbags. Like I said, I was surprised at how well it shot. The zero was even correct, I didn’t have to change a thing. I have never had that happen before with a new rifle with iron sights.
I got you on that. But won’t these stocks linked below negate the use of comb risers more?
You could slide your cheek and the scope back or forward until your sight picture is perfect.
The stocks you showed me are both on very expensive guns. One reason they are expensive is the extra cost for their stocks. Those shapes require a thicker wood blank to start with which costs more money. By keeping the stock like straighter, I can use lower-cost wood blanks.
I agree that the thicker wood for the monte carlo style would be more expensive but I am proposing a simple rise in butt height as you move back. There is no need to increase thickness with fancy wrap over cheek swells for right or left handers, just a plain ambidextrous plank higher at the butt end than at the hand grip. Adjustability would be almost infinite if shoulder spacer options are offered.
You still need a wider blank to cut that stock.
Lots of great ideas. All I have to say is I love my 12lb. spring rifles, really see no need for any more FPS/FPE for most people and most applications. Sure I have some “full power” spring guns, but the 12lb. rifles are the ones I shoot the most. Give folks an option, same rifle with 2 different power levels, buy which one they want………or both!
no one mentioned a scope stop on the 11mm groves. I would hope the recoil would be soft enough so as to not require a weaver rail which would be more costly
Wow! this blog has really taken off! You hit a nerve with this one BB!
I do hope that the airgun manufactures have taken note that there is a definitely a large market for an accurate, pleasant to shoot, reasonably priced product. When I find a rifle that meets these requirements I plan on buying four of them for “fun shoots” when I have friends or family visiting because my European rifles are not suitable for this kind of use.
Some interesting comments about quality. People equate cost and quality but I disagree with that perspective. I believe that A QUALITY PRODUCT EXACTLY MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS IT WAS DESIGNED FOR. (sorry to shout).
When I was teaching at college the subject came up frequently. I used a dollar-store hammer to make the point. I compared the $1 hammer to a $35 professional carpenters hammer and to a solid gold, diamond-studded very expensive hammer…
In spite of cost, the gold hammer was the worst quality because (if somebody hadn’t stolen it) it would be too soft to drive a nail without sustaining damage.
The $35 carpenter’s hammer is a quality product for a professional who could easily justify the cost for a well-balanced tool he used to make his living.
The $1 hammer is a quality product for an apartment-dweller who only need to hang a picture once in a while.
The point: quality is the measure of how well a product performs its intended task. (OK, I am getting off my soap-box)
So if I may add my vote (in order of importance) for the type of rifle I am searching for to the many entries above…
#1 – ACCURACY
#2 – Decent 2-stage trigger
#3 – Ease of cocking
#4 – Good balance
#5 – Moderate weight
Please include basic inexpensive sights that are easily removed, have target sights (replaceable inserts and peep – use standard threads!) available. The rifle should feature a dove-tail mount for scope mounting and be adjustable for length of pull.
I prefer a traditional style stock (wood if possible) that shoulders and points well. For the record, I would not consider a rifle with a Star-Wars or Military style stock.
You are one of the few commenters who have stayed away from details and remained focused on function, like I tried to in the report.
I note that you are an instructor. I used to do that, too. Perhaps there is something about adult instructors that makes us work well with the functional design aspect of a project, without delving into specifics?
How about incorporating Torx or Torx plus drive head screws in most if not all of the assemblies? They are the most positive, non slipping/stripping drive available, much better than slotted, Phillips and even Allen which have a tendency to crack or strip the hex drive when over torqued, especially if the incorrect size or worn Allen wrench is used. (operator error)
If we go Torx, it’s all or nothing. Nothing worse than an assembly held together by different types of fasteners. Better still to keep the drive heads all the same size.
Good topic. Lot’s of good ideas. While I have limited air gun experience,..I do have the TX 200 which I recently did a “tune” on with a Vortek kit,…with some “tweeks”.
At any rate,…back to the topic at hand….
-Spring Guides,…..Makes a HUGE difference.
-Main Spring load,…..No to 0 load WORKS !
-Spring Torque,….Various methods, but again,…makes a BIG difference.
-Trigger Adjustment,….While good already, backed the main pull tension off 1/4″ turn,..PERFECT!
-Dissassembly,…..The TX is stupid easy to tear down !!! Yes, I was “scared”, but with homework and finally diving in,…Why did I not do it sooner? All rifles should be as easy !
-Piston Seal,….While it may take a lot of shots to need one, I agree,…it needs to be easy to get to
-Length of pull,….at 6’4″ and long armed,…I would like some adjustment. (spacers)
-Cheek Rest / Comb,…..Ambi PLEASE. Too many rifles I would consider,…but,… I shoot left,.. and many are only offered in right.
That’s about it from my limited experience,….Chris
Sounds like you’ve been busy!
I didn’t quite get what you did with the preload.
So did you complete the tune on your TX and able to shoot it to see just what the difference actually is and if so are you pleased with the result.
Is it for the better and has your POI changed versus your POA and if so is it hitting higher or lower as that is a good indicator of velocity differences between the old and the new.
Yea,….messed that one up. Meant to say,… “none to NEAR 0” preload. The point is that it makes a huge difference in forward “thump”. Cut one or find one the right length.
Good, I was just wondering because the that’s the way my QB-36 went together and it felt a lot better than the broken one I replaced but I had no idea how to address the torsion at the time which has changed.
Just replied to BD76 and it did not post. I am “logged in”, and everything. Just askin’.
It’s not in the spam folder. And, I didn’t receive a copy of your comment to BD76 via email. It has vaporized. Sigh. It happens to everyone at some time.
Thanks as always. As usual, you are right on top of it ! 🙂 Yes, SIGH,…,..while I have been busy,..I did try to respond several times over a couple of weeks. No go.
Finally I did the log in thing and it did not work the first time out. Re-did it and it seemed to be ok ’till now.
As you say, it happens to all of us at one time or the other.
Thanks again, Chris
While we all are coming up with ideas,…..What about a muzzle break,….silencer if you will,….that is screwed on,…BUT,…. is also a “harmonic barrel tunner” ???
Just add a set screw, to an (already provided) silencer,….and I believe that you now have an adjustable weight.
It would up the “coolness” factor. And hey,…you can “tune” your own gun. (Marketing). Of course it would have to make a impact. It should. Unless I do not understand the tuning of barrel harmonics at all.
Just a thought,….Chris
That does work. Dennis Quackenbush made such a brake for a Webley Patriot in the late ’90s and I tested it in my newsletter. It did work.
Just avoid running into patent hassles… You’ve practically described the Browning Optimized Shooting System (BOSS).
And it likely would have to be simple muzzle break — any “silencer” on threads will run afoul of the BATF.
No threads? That would make it a bit harder. Plus, I thought that putting it on a shrouded barrel would (not) work either. It would have to be applied directly to the barrel.
I suppose an end cap on the break, that allowed access to the inside, that had heavy and light spacers/weights, that could be moved fore and aft in different cominations.
I’ve been mulling this one over for a while. I had an R7 for years and loved it; I sold it to buy an HW97 when I got into Field Target; I sold the HW97 to another target shooter when I got out of the game, since, in my opinion, the HW97 (while a great gun) is too heavy for a general-use rifle.
For years, I got by with no air rifle other than my trusty old C-model Sheridan Blue Streak (with a Williams peep sight…my first air rifle, and still a keeper). When I needed to do some stealthy pest control in a backyard scenario, I bought a Stoeger X20S from Pyramyd Air. It’s a great rifle, with plenty of power and good accuracy (once I tweaked the trigger). The more I shoot this gun, the more I like it; I use it mostly now for offhand target shooting and plinking.
I hear that the Stoeger X20 is an update of the Xisico BAM model 19. If so, I think the upgrade is a good one; and I think a slight upgrade to it would make it meet more of your criteria. You can already get it with sights (X20) or without (X20S), so the things to address are:
1) Fix the trigger!!!!!
2) The X20 has a nice stock; make the length of pull less with a couple of inserts to adjust it.
3) The scope it comes with is OK; it would be better with an AO scope, longer for better eye relief.
4) Smooth out the firing cycle (but if you de-tune it, don’t say you de-tuned it, you just “tuned it”).
It may not be a $400 Weihrauch, but it’s a great all-around utility rifle; it’s my go-to gun.
That’s my 2 cents.
A blessed Memorial Day to all, and a “thank God for your service” to all veterans who read this, and a prayer for all the men and women who gave their lives for our great country.
Take care & God bless,
The air gun industries need to get serious on innovative designs. There hasn’t been any innovations sense the Italian air rifle William and Clark took on their trip. We see reproduction of that design, but no real leap forward. As a retired engineer, maybe I’ll put my ideas into Autocad and jar the air gun industry. The hot button, I think, is a survival gun, with power, accuracy, and self contained, that would compete with the powder burners.
You mean like the AirForce Escape? It was specifically created as a survival rifle.
All “after market” items should give every airgun manufacturer a decisive suggestion (not a “hint”) for an improvement, like “depinging” done on new models of Marauder (bravo! Thanks!)….but what about hammer debouncing, trigger , etc?
A friend of mine installed a debouncer for me and my Mrod makes almost (almost, because I never charge it to 3000 psi) 100 shots at 900 fps from one fill – I would gladly, GLADLY pay Crosman for doing it. Then there is a myriad of triggers – make them available for extra charge, eg. Std Mrod and “our best”.
All I want on the rifle is a good set of non fiber optic sights and good wood stock. Now for my question should I start saving up for this rifle and how will we be notified of its production?
Roller bearings at each end of the mainspring to stop rotational torque instead of the highly polished washers
Excellent choice of articles. I wish I could be in more agreement with Tom. While Tom certainly has my respect from an experienced air gunner and product review writer, I can’t agree with many of design parameters, and especially his product market analysis basis. I own five air guns, some of which I have successfully customized to increase power and efficiency, and I’m a collector of antique firearms and a competent restorer of them.
Most of my contention is because a better gun than Tom’s criteria is already available at a lower price from Benjamin in the NP2 Trail ($179 on Amazon). With so little if any margin involved – no serious manufacturer would give Tom’s design project any thought at all. This is because the design parameters are essentially only sufficient to produce a paper puncher (900fps). If you aren’t going to produce an air gun with at least small game hunting capability (11-1200 fps in .22) – then why bother? You might as well stick with AirSoft products. Finally, the design specs not only offer nothing new or better, they don’t meet any of my needs. If I were going to write the same specs they would be more like this:
Barrel – Most studies show peak pressure development is reached in an 18″ barrel – which is why most mfgrs. use this length.
Pivot joint – The shear forces require harden steel. Use a quick removal hardened steel pin the female pin receiver hardened but with a lubrication ring cut into it. Additionally, if you use a hardened pin with quick pull connectors you can speed the take down and or come up with a compact folding option.
Coiled steel spring items – No longer a competitive or functional technology for airguns.
Gas Piston – The ‘Benjamin NP2 piston is adequate, but could be increased in power with little additional cocking effort – to better the capability as a hunting rifle.
Spring guides – NA
Mainspring – NA
Gas-spring items – Consider lighter housing material for piston and lower rifle wt. and price.
Gas Piston bore – Consider teflon coating or ceramic bore interior to increase impulse and reduce wear.
Trigger and safety – Personally, I prefer a push button safety and consider set triggers and unnecessary complication.
Stock – Airguns have minimum recoil, but have stocks as heavy as older military rifles. No need. Go to an adjustable folding stock or wire stock and have a lighter and more compact and comfortable gun to shoot and carry – that if designed right could fit folded (stock and barrel) in a large backpack. The folding stock would have to be adjustable tilt for individual fit and type of scope used. Of course you could offer both a standard fixed rifle stock or a folding stock.
Sights – I agree with an integral Weaver base and would encourage using a scope with a see through base that allows visibility of the fixed sights even with scope in place.
Scope base – (See above.)
Barrel shroud – Most modern commercial airgun designs are now including full barrel shroud noise reducers, and there is no reason why this gun would not have one.
Sling fixtures – Guns to be carried should always consider the needs for slings. This one should have them at the distal ends of the fixed hardware components of the rifle (side of trigger assembly and at the barrel hinge point).
Disassembly – Tech (star) screws through out because their heads are much less likely to strip and except at basic folding or take down points which should quick pull devices requiring no tools.
Dimensions – Form my hiking, camping and hunting needs this new design needs to fit – folded (stock and barrel) in a large tactical backpack (max length would 24″ – better at 20″ and the weight should be considerably less than conventional single stroke airguns – down from about 8 lbs, to 4-6 lbs. It would be really great to have a small game air gun in my backpack when camping and hiking. When not hunting it can be folded and protected in your backpack – out of the way of brush, rain, debris and dirt. Additionally, as our population density increases there is more and more concern about being seen with a “gun” even in a rural but public environment – even an air gun that is legally not a firearm.
Pricing – The market for this type of air gun covers not only the paper punchers, but small game hunters, campers, hikers, and survivalist – and any of those folks whom like me are all of the above. The cost of this gun would not have to be anymore than the better quality single stroke air guns of today, because it has a much broader market (with no competition) which would dramatically increase sales. Which would also have less materials in its mfg. by weight – thus lower production costs at scale, and again there is nothing in the market like it.