by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The artillery hold
  • Who makes it?
  • Does it have a Lothar Walther barrel?
  • Strange questions
  • Passion
  • More in me

Today, I’m taking time to address some of the many things that I want to talk about that don’t add up to a whole report by themselves. I’ve wanted to do this for several years and never took the time to do it, but today I’m just going to do it.

The artillery hold

If you don’t know what the artillery hold is, please read this and watch the short video. Blog reader Chris USA asked me how I approach shooting spring guns. He assumed I started with a firm hold and then went to the artillery hold when that didn’t work. I don’t. I start with the artillery hold first; because over the past 20 years, I’ve leaned that most recoiling spring guns need it.

But in recent years, I’ve also discovered that the number of springers that don’t have to be held that way is larger than I had assumed. I think I can boil it down for you this way. When a spring gun seems to scatter its shots unless you pay careful attention to the hold, you have to use the artillery hold. But when a spring gun seems to want to put all the pellets in the same place, that’s one that can probably be rested directly on a bag.

Until I shot the Diana 340 N-TEC in yesterday’s test, I would have told you that only smooth-shooting low-powered guns would do that. But the 340 disproved that. It’s smooth, even at great power, which is why I tried it on the bag.

I still don’t know everything, despite what you may have have heard. Like all of you, I’m still learning this stuff as I go. Whenever you find a stable springer, try resting it on the bag. The artillery hold is a wonderful technique, but it isn’t always needed.

Who makes it?

In recent years, people have become obsessed with the origins of airguns. I guess the Diana situation is a good illustration. One person wants only a Diana-made airgun because he insists that only German-made airguns are worthwhile. The next person wants a Diana that has been made in Rastatt, before the company was moved by the new owners. Then there’s a guy who doesn’t want a Diana at all. He wants the Chinese copy made by Factory Number 2, because they make a product that’s just as good as Diana, but they don’t charge an exorbitant price for it. A fourth fellow then chimes in and tells us that the White Stag company is copying the rifle made by Factory Number 2 and giving it a superior trigger. And, finally, a guy asks why Diana doesn’t just copy the rifle Factory Number 2 builds, and give it the White Stag trigger?

Folks, this stuff is gettin’ too heavy for my head! I just test them and report what I find. You have to sort them out yourselves.

Does it have a Lothar Walther barrel?

Close on the heels of who makes the gun comes the question, “Who makes the barrel?” As if only one company in all the world knows how to make airgun barrels. Then, I see comments about why certain airguns are so accurate. They all seem to say that it’s due to their Lothar Walther barrels. I keep my mouth shut when this happens, even though I know some of those guns people are bragging about use barrels made by Anschütz and even BSA. Heck — that’s where John Whiscombe went for his barrels!

Lothar Walther makes fine barrels, I will give them that. But so does Crosman. Yes, I said Crosman! I have seen Crosman barrels that will shoot just as well as anything Lothar Walther makes. There are two distinctions that separate Crosman barrels from Lothar Walther barrels. First — Crosman doesn’t put the effort into barrel-making that Lothar Walther does. That’s not a criticism of Crosman. They are simply making a lot more things than just barrels.

And second, Crosman is not known for their barrels. They should be, in my opinion, because they’ve made some darn fine barrels. But at the rate they manufacture airgun barrels, it’s impossible to hold the same level of consistency that Lothar Walther holds. You will pay 10 times as much (and a heck of a lot more, truth be told) for a Lothar Walther barrel as you will for a Crosman barrel, so there isn’t the time in the process to maintain the same level of consistency.

As far as I know Lothar Walther doesn’t make:

Pellets
BBs
CO2 cartridges
Complete airguns

…and a great many other products. Each of these (pellets, BBs, CO2 cartridges and whole airguns) are entire industries, yet somehow Crosman manages to do all of them well, while still making good barrels.

If there’s a chink in their armor, it comes from the guns they don’t make — the guns they buy from Wang Po Industries, as blog reader RidgeRunner refers to them. I’ll agree, those guns are the Achilles Heel of the Crosman product line. They’re what they are — some are okay and others are not so good, but Crosman receives them in 40-foot containers and whatever comes out has to be disposed of, one way or another. But don’t tar the entire company with this one brush, because Crosman is still a leader among airgun manufacturers.

I think the globalization of airgun manufacture disturbs our conservative natures. We don’t all vote the same way, but when it comes to airguns and shooting, we have a lot more in common than most of us would care to admit.

Strange questions

I read every question this blog receives. Even though I don’t always answer them (I have no time), I read them all. Along with the regular questions, there are a few I find strange.

One that I get a couple times each year deals with using air pistols to kill pests. Now an AirForce TalonP air pistol can easily take small and even medium-sized game. It produces 50+ foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. But a TalonP pistol doesn’t exactly fit in your pocket. It’s not a pistol in the same sense that a Walther PPK/S is. And that’s what these questions are asking: “Can I kill rattlesnakes with a Walther PPK/S BB gun?”

NO — you can’t!!!!!

Don’t even think of trying, because if the snake finds out what you’re trying to do (and they will), then it’s YOU who are in trouble.

Then there’s the guy who has disassembled his Rolex watch and wants me to provide step-by-step instructions and preferably a short video to help him assemble it again. Did I say Rolex watch? I’m sorry, it was his multi-pump pneumatic, but it might as well have been a Rolex.

Okay — here are the instructions. Set the parts of the airgun on the kitchen table. Raise your left hand and place your right hand over your heart and swear you will never take apart another airgun. The bill for this lesson is the cost of your now-destroyed airgun. If you want an advanced degree, pack as many of the parts as you can find into a box and ship them to a repair center like Pyramyd Air. That costs more, of course. Education always costs something.

“Well, heck, Tom — I could just not take the next one apart at all — just send it in for repairs when it needs them.”

See — you’re smarter already!

The final strange question is one I wrote. I never got one just like this, but I get a lot of them that are similar:

hello i have a airgun that my father got as a kid for me it worked until a few years ago then stopped one day it looks simple to take apart and i would like to learn to fix airguns as i am planning on starting a repair business when i retire next year what do you think is the best book to learn how to repair airguns and can you please tell me the schools that have airgun repair training programs

I don’t know what you want, because I could read these thoughts many ways. Please try to break up your thoughts into sentences so I give you the right advice.

Passion

I am passionate about the subject of airguns. But I don’t “hype” guns, like some new readers suppose. In fact, I do the opposite. An airgun has to please me before it gets my approval, and not too many do. Yesterday, you saw one in the Diana 340 N-TEC.

Just because I don’t mock certain manufacturers or use foul language, never suppose that I don’t care. My big fear is that people will act on my recommendations and be disappointed.

More in me

I’m sorry, but I needed to do this today. I guess I reached critical mass. There’s a lot more, but I promise to parcel it out in small amounts.