An air rifle for a new airgunner

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Accurate gun
  • Who you gonna call?
  • Maybe this isn’t for you
  • When airgunners mature
  • What brought this up?

Today, I want to talk about air rifles that I recommend for new airgunners. Young or old, these people all want the same thing, whether they realize it or not. They want an air rifle that’s fun to shoot. They want a springer for the simplicity, even if they don’t know what that means. And, they want a rifle that’s relatively accurate.

Accurate gun

Some of you probably think I’m an accuracy snob — that small groups are all that matter to me. It’s true — I do like to see small groups. But do you know what my favorite air rifle is? It’s a Diana model 27 in .22 caliber that probably can’t shoot better than three-quarters of an inch at 10 meters on its best day. For the new readers, that means putting 10 shots into a target 33 feet away, in a group that can be covered by an American quarter. I have air rifles that can do the same thing at 50 yards — 10 meters isn’t that far.

Given that it has shortcomings, what makes the 27 my favorite? Because I can shoot it all day. And, for what I like to shoot, it’s accurate enough. I can clip dandelion blossoms off their stems offhand at 10 feet. Yes, I said feet. I can roll a soda can at 20 yards. I can hit that dirt clod out on the 50-yard berm — just watch me. Okay, that was just a warm-up shot. Now, I’m serious. See? I hit it.

I like an airgun that’s accurate enough to hit whatever I’m shooting at, whenever and wherever I happen to be. When we filmed American Airgunner this year and I brought out the Diana 27 as my favorite air rifle, I saw the looks of disbelief from the entire cast. It was as if Enzo Ferrari had revealed that his favorite car is a VW Beetle! Everyone else had modern airguns costing hundreds of dollars on the set, and there I was with my $39.95 (1969 price) budget gun. Yet, I somehow managed to hit the same MegaBoom targets they did, and I did it without a scope.

I can hold that rifle all day long, and it cocks with very little effort. So — at the end of the day — yes, it’s my favorite airgun.

Who you gonna call?

Diana 27s aren’t made anymore, so where does that leave us? Well, it leaves me looking for airguns that are still available and just as easy to shoot. That’s why I was so excited about the Air Venturi Bronco. It was easy to hold and shoot and accurate enough to do all the things I wanted to do. And, during the time it was available, I could just tell someone to get a Bronco and be done with it. I knew that rifle would not disappoint. But the Bronco’s no longer available, and it isn’t coming back. Which leaves me looking for a replacement.

That’s why I got so excited about the new Walther Terrus. I even bought the one I tested! The Terrus costs $100 more than the Bronco sold for, but at this time it’s the lowest-priced spring gun I can recommend without any reservations. Yes, there are a lot of springers selling for less than the Terrus, and what does that tell you?

Please don’t get angry. I need a rock-solid spring gun I can recommend to anyone without reservations. I don’t need a gun that needs apologies and a boatload of tuning and special understanding before it can please its new owner. The Terrus pleases people right out of the box with no excuses. Show me a gun that’s as good for less money and I’ll recommend it.

Maybe this isn’t for you

Some of our blog readers are extremely well-versed on the airguns that are out there. You know how to find a Diana 27 (or a BSA Meteor, Falke model 60, or an FWB 124) on your own. You don’t need my advice. But I talk to brand-new airgunners all the time, and I’m darned if I’m going to spend 30 minutes with each of them, trying to explain why such-and-such an airgun is fine, if you only do this and that to it! So, at this time, the Terrus is it. If they have a little more money to spend,  or if they just want something that’s more powerful, I keep the Diana 34P in my back pocket.

When airgunners mature

After they get into airguns with both feet and learn what’s out there, we can discuss the merits of the TX200 Mark III versus the HW 97K. If they slip over to the dark side (precharged pneumatics), I can go there, too. And, if they just want a warm old-school rifle crafted from nice wood and finely blued steel, we can talk about the advantages of the Webley Osprey and the BSF S55. But that’s after they know something about airguns.

In the beginning, a lot of them don’t know anything beyond what they’ve seen at the local discount store, which is where I have to begin. Discount store airguns have put them so far behind the curve that we have a long way to go just to get them back to the starting point. A lot of them, for example, think that 1400 f.p.s. means something good.

What brought this up?

Why am I writing about this subject today? Because yesterday I told you about a rifle I’m evaluating that has many of the positive attributes I’m discussing here. It cocks easily, fires smoothly, is lightweight and, from the evidence you saw on the final target, is relatively accurate. No, it won’t shoot alongside my TX200; but, as I explained up front, it doesn’t have to. It just has to be a decent airgun according to my definition. It needs to have certain characteristics:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Easy to cock
  3. Good open sights
  4. Accurate
  5. Smooth-shooting
  6. Good trigger
  7. Good price

I want a gun that’s so good that its positive points continue to reveal themselves to its owner years after it was purchased. As they mature in the sport, they see their gun in a renewed and increasingly more critical light — and it continues to amaze them. If you haven’t yet had that experience with an airgun, you either haven’t shot them long enough or you have the wrong guns. You certainly haven’t owned a Diana 27.

109 thoughts on “An air rifle for a new airgunner

  1. I will have to say that is hard characteristics to find in a spring gun.

    A easy to carry, easy to hold, easy to cock and fairly accurate. And a good price. And I see the need for that gun for a beginner or advanced shooter.

    I just had a conversation yesterday about a spring gun and how it was the worst spring or nitro piston gun I have ever tryed to cock and shoot. I could hear the spring rubbing and feel the spring stacking and it bucked like bull. But the point about the conversation was that they mentioned that a new gun shouldn’t of slipped by quality control that way and it probably should be sent back. What I mentioned was that a new shooter probably wouldn’t of known that it wasn’t a normal spring gun and the manufacturer probably new by the way it was designed that it in fact was ok with that gun and the characteristics it had.

    That gun was no way a beginner’s gun. I would have to say that my HW50s was pretty close to a nice to shoot spring gun but hw 30 that makes less power would even be nicer. But one characteristic that was there with the 50 is it was a pretty accurate gun. So I guess I could definitely be called a accuracy snob. I have that 1077 and it is a nice to shoot little gun also for the price. And it’s a very accurate gun out to a certain distance and about 40 yards is it. The thing is if your introducing a new shooter to a gun I don’t think they really know what distances mean. Well I guess younger shooters anyway that are just starting.. I think I would stay away from saying this gun shoots this many pellets in this size on a target at such and such distance. Tell them this gun will be fun to shoot and put some things out at different places and shoot.

    But they better be able to hit those targets becuse if they aint hitting they aint having fun. That brings me to when I said to myself many times I was going to order a Bronco when they were available and never did. I think if I would of got one I would of grabbed my most favorite JSB exact 10.34 grn pellets and shot at some cans placed out in the yard. And yes that big heavy .177 caliber pellet in that low powered gun just because I wanted to see if the gun would hit. But if it was accurate and I did just keep hitting for some reason I would know I could put that gun in anybody’s hands and they would be more happy than if they couldn’t hit. So yes there’s that accuracy snob comming out in me again.


    • Speaking of JSB10.34’s in cheap guns, I put a dozen or so through the QB-36 today and they hit what I was aiming at. It was fun!
      I’m looking for a lightweight Springer with enough power to hunt with, which brings us back to B.B’s 27. I hope this secret gun is affordable.
      like you, I missed the Bronco by about 2 weeks.



    • Reb, I took another look at the TS-45. I think all the parts are there. I would sell it really low but it would require time to put back in order. I took it apart because the sear wasn’t holding well. It is what it is.

      Mike


  2. B.B.,

    I can relate to the article on several levels.

    1) Being new, 8-9 months
    2) Jumping in with “both feet”, up to my neck. 😉
    3) Quality. Got a quality pellet gun than out shoot me based on advice that I found here.
    4) “mature”, mid 50’s
    5) Fun. Got a Daisy Red Ryder 75th. for the fun and nostalga factor, and indoor winter plinking.
    6) Accuracy / Fun. And also got the the Avanti Champion 499 for the same reasons, but learned, through (here), that the 499 is must have with the pedigree for serious plinking.

    And yea, the search for an “accurate” entry level pellet air rifle should always be up front. That’s the kind of thing that will keep this whole sport going well into the future.

    From paper punching to “ferral can” hunting, it’s all about hitting what you are aiming at, and, at the end of the day,…having fun .

    Chris


  3. BB,

    Excellent article! A federal law needs to be passed that newbies cannot buy an airgun until they read this.

    I understand about the “favorite” air rifle. Mine is my 1906 BSA. It hangs on the wall of my great room with a Wilkins pellet pouch, ready to go.

    Sometimes I will pull out a bunch of different pellets and spend two or three hours trying to find “the pellet”. Other times I will spend the afternoon thinning out the pack of feral soda cans. I have dropped them buggers at over twenty-five yards with that rifle.

    Now I am in search of a sproinger for the 25-50 yard range. It will be more powerful and It will not be as easy to shoot and I will need to have a thick wallet, but I am experienced enough to know what to look for to be satisfied with my purchase.


  4. I just received my new Walther Terrus .22 yesterday and have only put 30 pellets through it so far. It wasn’t something I needed but I wanted to get a comparison to my LGV. Visually it has very nice metal work, but the wood stock is a disappointment, with cheesy pressed checkering and a finish that looks like a thin wash of pinkish color. But it does feel good and balance well, so that’s the main thing I guess.

    The first time I went to open the action I thought it had been glued shut; this thing is harder to break than my HW50s which was initially a real pain. The barrel is loose and will drop easily after cocking, but the lock up is very easy and takes no effort to click closed and locks up tight.

    I also don’t care for fiber optic sights, but I think these are some of the better ones I’ve used, although I would prefer a traditional globe front. I was surprised by the trigger, which has a light first stage but then hits a wall. I thought the safety was on because it was so heavy to release. I haven’t had a chance to measure it but it’s the heaviest airgun trigger I have, and reminds me of my old Remington Model 7 and 700 rifle triggers. It shoots with a solid thunk followed by a very slight twang.

    I’ve only shot it in my garage at seven yards off a card table using the artillery hold. Being near sighted I shoot without my street glasses which allows me to focus the sights but the target is a blur. At this spitting distance I’m getting a ragged hole about a half inch or so across with RWS Superdomes. This thing would definitely warrant a scope because it really shows potential.

    So far I think it’s a good rifle and hope after use it will break open easier and the trigger lightens up. I think Walther needs to rethink the wood stock, and eliminate the pressed checkering completely and give it a better finish. So far that’s my impression although I know it differs from Tom’s assessment.


    • Christoph,

      I appreciate your views on the Terrus. I was talking about the one with the synthetic stock. That’s the one I tested, bought and linked to. Of m,y criteria for a great gun, my Terrus is

      Lightweight
      Accurate
      Easy to cock
      Priced well

      It isn’t perfect. I want to tune out the small buzz and perhaps lighten the trigger, though this one is certainly crisp. But I don’t know of another springer in this price bracket that does as well.

      B.B.


      • I recently bought a .22 woodstock Terrus recently as well. Honestly I love it. The first time I was trying to break the barrel I couldn’t (trust me, its not cause I’m weak). So I gave it a gentle bump across my knee at joint and it released nicely. It cocks very nicely as well once it’s broken. My trigger seems to be very light in both stages, but it could be I’m just used to different guns. This is my first air gun in probably over ten years, and the only one where I shopped around a bit before buying.

        It groups nicely about the size of a quarter with the JSB exacts at 20 meters or so, but I’m far from a crack shot right now, and that’s honestly why I bought a new pellet gun. I wanted a gun I could shoot for practice on the cheaps, quietly, and could take down a rampaging squirrel or cow bird or three.


      • Yes, I agree with your assessment on those four criteria. I’m sure the effort needed to open the action will improve with time like my HW50s did. The one thing I find strange is the trigger. I don’t expect it to be the equal of a Rekord, T06, or even my LGV, but this second stage is definitely heavier than I’m used to. I’m not a trigger fanatic and simply adapt to the situation, so I’m not too worried about it. And since the second stage supposedly can’t be adjusted so be it. But I do wish they’d put more effort into the wood stock; I think this rifle rates one as nice as the Minelli on my HW50s or the one on my Diana 34 Premium. I’d pay $50 more for a nicer one in a heartbeat.


  5. Hi folks…

    Great article, as always…

    I think I might add a few things:

    I have the Diana 31P (=34P) and I like it. Some people think it’s a little heavy. Maybe they would be better served by the 21 or the Eleven (which still have enough power for most target shooting at home). This brings me to the next point: The 34 is already quite powerful. I think it still cocks easily enough but it can be a little loud for indoor use. The 7.5 joule spring will fix that while still giving you the feel of an adult-sized rifle.

    Gunfun has mentioned the Weihrauchs and they are probably well worth considering too. Here in Germany, the HW35 and HW50 are in the same price range as the Terrus and the 34. They have an exchangeable front sight. That means, you can add a diopter sight and ring front sight and have a target rifle on a budget.
    The HW30 and HW25 are probably also very good for people who like something lighter. I’d go for the 30 because it can be had with a Rekord trigger and the exchangeable front sight.

    I wonder if the Baikal IJ61 would be worth mentioning. I haven’t shot it, but it seems to be lightweight, easy to cock and accurate. The repeating mechanism must be a blast. So, how about that one?

    Stephan


    • Stephan,

      I would have mentioned the IZH 61 if my tests of the current models had gone well. The old 61 with the steel receiver was a real joy, but I haven’t had the same experience with the newer plastic receiver and plastic clips.

      B.B.


      • That is, of course, a consideration.

        When you recommend something, you don’t want to make people buy something they have to return twice or tinker with before it works as intended. Unless they *like* to tinker 🙂

        The Baikal 61 can be found for around € 100,- here while the Diana Eleven and 21 and the HW 30 S are around € 160,- to 170,-

        What I don’t get is the price of the HW25. It’s almost expensive as the 30 but doesn’t have a Rekord trigger or the fancy front sight. Doesn’t seem to be the best buy then unless the 30 is still too large and heavy for you…

        I guess if you are going to buy just one airgun, the Dianas and Weihrauchs are the “safer” choices. Still, at that price, the Baikal seems hard to resist 🙂

        Stephan


        • Stephan,

          That “hard to resist” thing is what causes all the problems. I have done it too — bought an airgun based on the price and hoped it would deliver. Sometimes they do, but most of the time they don’t.

          B.B.


          • Yeah, like the Crosman Recruit I had. It turned out to be a “castrated” Canadian version so you pumped and pumped only for half of the air to be blown out of a “detuning” hole in the compression chamber. It was also too light and too inaccurate for me and the trigger was terrible.

            I should have gotten the Diana in the first place 🙂


  6. My FWB 124 is my go-to rifle. An all day shooter with good weight, balance, power and accuracy – ideal for close to medium distances (25 yards or so). This is the rifle I use as a point of reference when comparing other springers.

    I am interested in getting a couple of fun-guns that meet B.B.s “requirements list” for family/friend get together shoots so I am curious about the new mystery-rifle.

    So far the HW 35 is the next rifle on the want-list.

    Vana2


  7. Just testin’ my new log in here…please forgive me.
    I was a textbook case of the “1400 fps at Walmart must be the best” guy, about 2 years ago…


    • Diaboloslinger,

      I was, too. Only in my day, 1400 f.p.s. didn’t exist. So I bought a BS-3 from Compasseco through an ad in American Rifleman, because they claimed it shot 800 f.p.s. Five-hundred was more like it, and you still couldn’t hit what you shot at.

      B.B.


  8. BB,
    Are you limiting your scope here to rifles that Pyramid currently sells? Some of the companies that make airguns that Pyramyd sells make airguns that would fit your list of characteristics but Pyramyd doesn’t currently sell those models. Maybe you could interest Pyramyd in selling one of those rifles.

    David Enoch


  9. Hey BB

    How about the Tech Force M8? I think that it is the same action as the Air Venturi Bronco, but it has a different stock.

    Even though it lacks the iron sights, it seems like it would be a good one to recommend.


    • That one doesn’t look half bad. Very nice stock.

      It seems to be more powerful than the Bronco, though (800 fps vs. 600). If that is the case, the shooting experience might be quite different.


    • SL,

      Thank you for pointing that out to me. If it lacks the oil hole that Mendoza puts in their other springers, you may have just found something. If it has the hole then it’s a no-go, because that hole is a serious detractor. We got rid of it on the Bronco. I will check today.

      B.B.


    • SL
      I just looked at the M8. It for sure looks like a good candidate for BB’s criteria.

      It looks like it has the same trigger as the Bronco also. That trigger reminds me of the Savage accu-trigger that is in the 93r I have in .17hmr and .22. The accu-trigger is a very nice trigger.

      I wonder how the trigger felt in the Bronco or the M8?


    • I’ve never really looked at it until now. Looks like a nice stock, good lines, easy cocking, not too heavy to lug around…..Really nice. But, for me, no open sights? What a bummer. B.B.’s characteristic #3. Good Open Sights. So if this good fails that, I don’t see how it could make it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the looks of it, but if it doesn’t qualify/meet B.B.’s definition, then it just don’t.


  10. This report cuts right to the bone! When I went to golf and got away from airguns, I unloaded some really nice and collectible guns? Airguns, powder guns, pistols, rifles, trap guns all types? Except one, my RWS Diana 24! When I started messing around with guns again it seem to be the one I wanted most for various reasons that have been mention by many of you. It’s good for target shooting, hunting, all day plinking and most accurate air gun I have ever owned! This Diana 24 meets the seven subjects mentioned in this report!! Don’t know what a Diana 24 rifle model is named in other countries? I have purchase the new gas guns just to see how they shoot? They all shoot different as you all know and I shoot all in my inventory weekly just to remember how they shoot! When I need the all day indoor/outdoor go to air gun! It’s the Diana 24! Semper fi!



  11. I agree with Stefan, I think the Baikal is the best bet in this price range. Now that I’ve got the trigger tamed somewhat, the B3-1 is my favorite gun to pick up and plink with even though I know the quality is too variable to recommend it. What we need in the 100 to 200 dollar price range is a springer that will shoot seven to eight hundred fps with a decent trigger. the only thing I see in that price range now is a Salvia 634,which you can get on the internet for a hundred fifty to two hundred dollars. A Mike Melick lube-tuned XS46U for $160 is a good buy but its too big for casual plunking.


    • I didn’t really say the “Izzy” was best at anything, did I? I said it was “tempting” at the price. That’s all I *can* say because I haven’t used the thing.

      All I know is that it looks cool, has a reputation for accuracy and many people seem to like it 🙂

      I can completely understand BB’s caution. In his position, you don’t want to recommend something that *could be* good. You want to recommend something that *is* good.




    • Doc,

      welcome to the blog.

      Actually I did test the X5. You can read my test here:

      /blog/2010/04/stoeger-x5-air-rifle/

      If you read it you’ll see that I was very sick at the time I tested that airgun. I was in the hospital for April through the first of June, so I have forgotten all that I did back then.

      The X5 does look good, though as I recall the trigger is too heavy.

      B.B.


      • B.B., that You for responding. I did the write up wrong. I was thinking you was sick so someone else wrote it. And I’ve been no the blog before, This is Bradly. I just came up with Doc because when I registered for this “new” blog, it asked for a username. Bradly was my real name (very close-it’s what people called me) so I picked one of my fav. Western gun slingers from Tombstone. Now that you’ve told me it was you that wrote up the review, I’ll go back and read it again! Thanks again.



  12. By the way,

    it almost sounds as if the “accuracy snob” thing is a bit of a sore spot for BB lately, considering this report and the recent one about the BB rifle.

    I wonder what caused this. Angry manufacturers? Critical comments on the blog (I can’t recall any…)?

    Stephan


    • Stephan
      I’m sure there’s a few reasons why BB said that.

      And I just want to mention some of the reasons I got back into airguns. And that wa because ammo/pellets was cheaper than shooting firearms. And the air guns made it more convenient to be able to shoot everyday at home without having to drive 15 miles to go shoot firearms.

      But one of the other reasons as that I new from the past was that air guns are for the most part very accurate compared to other types of guns. And before somebody jumps in and says there are very accurate other guns or firearms out there. I say I know that. But add in convenience, cheap ammo/pellets and accuracy then the air gun becomes very appealing.

      But I just have to say again. The accuracy snob is definitely in me. I still say that accuracy will keep a new person shooting whatever type of gun their holding.

      Try putting a few guns out on a table and tell a shooter to pick up each gun and shoot it. If one of them guns is easy for that person to hit the intended target every time verses the other gun that hits the same target only one or two times out of so many shots. Which gun do you think they will probably choose?

      You got to keep it interesting or that person probably won’t stay interested. And I know the object of shooting is to hit a intended target. So accuracy snob me say’s keep them accurate. 🙂


      • Gunfun,

        I think our views on this are pretty similar.

        Still, saying a shooter is an accuracy snob is a bit like saying a race driver is a speed snob 🙂

        There are folks who like to blast stuff to pieces (and I admit I sometimes enjoy that, too). When that gets old, people will probably stop shooting or they will try to see whether they can shoot better today than they could last week. Then, accuracy will matter along with ease of use, pleasant shooting behaviour etc.

        I strongly suspect that the majority of readers here is out of the “blasting stuff” phase… I’m 34 and I guess I’m one of the younger readers here.

        It just sounded as if BB was a bit defensive about this lately.

        My opinion on reviews is usually “show me the numbers”. Of course I want to know how things look and feel. But I definitely want the available data because it is free of personal bias, subjective taste etc. Of course, measurements can be done badly, too, but that is a different topic…

        Stephan


        • Stephan
          I was just using the wording that BB used.

          I guess I really should be saying “accuracy obssesed” would be the words that would describe my feelings about guns. 😉


        • I’m only 25 Cpt. I agree though, shredding things is fun until you realize you just spent $200 making a pile of watermelons go boom. Its fun yes, but accuracy is far more important in a gun. If all I cared about was blowing that squirrel out of a tree a 12 gauge is without a doubt the superior choice almost 100% of the time. But a shotgun shell is like $1-.50 depending on type. A pellet is something like .02.
          I also dislike wearing hearing protection while I’m hunting, specially something like squirrels. Air guns are near silent compared to a shotgun. All around air guns just offer a better option in many ways. And since I’m using a single projectile, if I can’t consistently hit what I’m aiming at with my gun its basically worthless, frustrating even.

          My first airgun is a Gamo Sporter 500 in .177, and while its fine in many ways it has a lot of twang to it, hurts consistency, my new Terrus is much easier to shoot accurately. Its kind of like a car that isn’t always up for starting and when its rolling the brakes are iffy and the acceleration erratic. Even if its the faster car, if you have no idea what it’s going to do, I’d much rather have a vehicle that’s reliable with moderate performance.


    • Stephan,

      I get it from a lot of places. Some readers tell me I am too critical of the guns they happen to like. Then some manufacturers are afraid that accuracy is all I look for in an airgun.

      Truth be told, I like an airgun that has everything in one package. Hence the Diana 27.

      B.B.


      • BB,

        I think your reviews are quite balanced. The purpose of a review is not to please fans of a certain product. It should tell the reader whether a product is a good choice for him or not.

        Those “tacticool” black rifles you reviewed recently were probably about the last thing you would buy for yourself. But still you gave them a fair chance and looked at them for what they are.

        If that is not good enough, I don’t know what is. I guess there is just no pleasing some people.

        Stephan


  13. Hey All,

    I would like to add that really ALL of the components of fun must be there or an airgun really isn’t fun. Let me give you an example.

    I purchased a Stoeger X20s .22 because I liked the idea of it being powerful, accurate and quiet (especially quiet)–everything i thought i wanted. Well, it is all of these things EXCEPT I have to hold the thing TIGHT or it scatters pellets like a shotgun. Don’t get me wrong, it is accurate when I squeeze it with a death grip (the artillery hold will not work), but that is exhausting. I have to fight it and it kicks like a mule. And the trigger is terrible. To be honest, I’m surprised every time I hit what I’m aiming at. That’s been my experience anyway.

    Like I said in another post, I just puchased a Walther Terrus and I love it, but I would much rather shoot my Daisy than the Stoeger. My advise to newbies is to follow BB’s advise and get a pellet rifle that is easier to shoot than one that has too much attitude.


  14. BB—I bought the peep sight version of the Bronco soon after they were on the market. I love everything about it, except for the stock. ( I have the same comment about my Beeman C1). If they had an alternate style stock, I would own 3, open sight, peep sight and a 3rd with a scope (perhaps 4th with a dot sight). I wish that I could find a gunsmith who could alter my cut down type C 1903 stock to fit the Bronco. Ed


    • Ed,

      I am the reason for that stock. I was so tired of the same stocks over and over that I asked for a western stock. We even had a U.S. stock maker custom make a stock for the gun and then it was sent to Mexico for Mendoza to copy.

      B.B.


      • What would make the Bronco nearly the perfect rifle (IMHO) would be to slim that pistol grip down and make the stock, somehow, adjustable for length of pull, down to 10 inches or so–for working with kids. Good ergonomics are so important both to a fun experience and to hitting, and I think that there must be a market for an enterprising airgun manufacturer to produce a quality rifle and pistol that are truly scaled for kid-sized hands. The reduced-scale Bronco (short LOP, slimlined grip, and perhaps a shorter-reach safety if it could be done–the safety design itself is excellent) would be just about perfect for the rifle; the ideal pistol would be something the size of the brilliant little 85%-scale Browning 1911-22, and it wouldn’t have to be a fancy blowback or even a repeater*, either–just something that a kid can lift, hold, and hit with, scaled to her size, and something that she can learn and develop on.

        _____________
        Long as I’m daydreaming, how cool would it be to have it be precisely a variation on the 1911-22, with trigger, safety, and gripsafety operating the same, but have it be a rifled single-shot in which the “slide” is retracted, a pellet inserted into the breech manually, and the “slide” closed either with the slide stop or by tugging and releasing it to close (in the manner of many defensive shooting schools). Heck, it would be pretty realistic if the shot blew the action open each time, like a real 1911 at slidelock! The 1911-22 might perhaps be a bit too slim to permit a CO2 powerlet in the butt, but that would seem to be the natural powerplant if possible.

        Seriously, this would seem to be a splendid way to introduce a kid to the pistol, would it not? 🙂


  15. Actually, I was thinking that the groups from yesterday’s mystery rifle were about 5 MOA. That’s not that different from my Saiga/AK. I think we’re on to an important modification about the principle that only accurate rifles are interesting. Accuracy is not a function of the rifle intrinsically but of an environment where you can exert yourself and get results. As a matter of fact, B.B.’s requirements sound remarkably similar to my IZH 61. He he.

    But what’s this about the Bronco not being available? The link in the article seems to show that it is. The only thing stopping me from the Bronco has been the IZH 61, but I had never counted on the Bronco going out of production.

    Matt61


  16. It’s been nearly 10 years that I’ve been ‘attending’ this blog, and one of my first guns is still my favorite because it fulfills nearly all your criteria…my Slavia 630.
    It has a Hawke 3-9 scope mounted and at 10m will stack pellets one on top of the other.
    At 25m, if there is no wind it will keep everything in 1/2″.
    I too am an accuracy snob. My favorite guns (both air and powder) are the ones that I know can outshoot me. I’ve gotten rid of a number of guns because, off the bench they don’t group well…not because there is something wrong with them, but they have a reputation for not being very accurate. If I can be 1/2 asleep…my mind preoccupied with other things and still shoot it as well as if I am really alert and ‘trying’…that gun has no interest for me. These guns (there have been 3 or 4 of them in the last few years) get donated to our local Scout troop which is always appreciative.


    • CSD,

      You are right, of course. I just wish Slavia would agree to be represented in the U.S. so the guns could be sold outside gray market channels. I owned one and it was wonderful. But the price has edged upward of $150, I think.

      B.B.


      • I don’t understand this either. They are also very hard to get in Canada.
        It’s odd that CZ powderburners are so popular and sell very well on both sides of the border…but they choose to ignore the airguns.



  17. Mr. Gaylord:
    An Interesting observation you made there “slip over to the dark side (precharged pneumatics)”.

    Lots of juniors that start with the Daisy M853 and then go to something like the AIR ARMS T200, the Crosman Challenger CH 2009 or the Air Force Edge would see the transition to PCP’s as “coming to the light”. 🙂 🙂

    On the other hand, the M853 seems to meet most of your beginner springer rifle criteria. It’s lightweight, easy to cock, accurate, smooth-shooting, good (not great but good) trigger, good price ($100 reconditioned from the CMP to 350 new from Pyramid Air ). Rather than open sight, it has good (again not great) aperture sights. It won’t reach out to 50-60 yards and it’s not shooting at 1000 fps. But neither range or velocity were in the beginner rifle criteria.

    Respectfully submitted,
    William Schooley
    Rifle Coach/Instructor
    Crew 357
    Chelsea, MI


  18. Very good blog and some very good responses.
    I like my Cometa 100 as an inexpensive air rifle that is fun to shoot. However, I must find a way to keep the scope mounts from sliding backwards. Of I felt competent I would find a way to drill a shallow hole for the vertical screw; I tried tightening it down but using that one has made no differences. Of course, it would have helped if I had not removed the open sights. I don’t remember doing this but I know I did.

    Now, without regard to any particular criteria, I do want to mention that I have seen the NP2 in a couple of big box sporting goods stores. Based on my reading of your previous research and reporting, I will find it easy to recommend the NP2 rifles (being sure to show them the PA catalog).

    ~ken


  19. The closest you can get to a Diana 27 these days is Weihrauch’s lovely little model 30S
    Now I’ve had a Diana 38 (34 action) I can’t recommend one to anyone new anymore….they are HW95 priced over here in the UK anyway…so that’s where I tend to point people….or a BSA Lighting or Supersport if less well heeled, or a Terrus or Century
    I was shooting a late eighties British manufacture Supersport last week, a real plain Jane, but so light and hard hitting.
    I must get my mitts on a Spanish made one, if it compares well it may be my next rifle
    Has anyone else broken the sidelever on a Diana 48/52
    I’ve just managed to
    Oops


    • Dom
      I have never broken the sidelever on a 48/52 but have replaced two on the 54s from being broken as I guess if you get over zealous when cocking one the way it levers back you can apply more pressure than it is capable of withstanding and it lets go.

      I have a 48 and am very gentle when cocking it for just that reason.

      BD


  20. B.B.,

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the Terrus is of the highest quality, it is Walther after all. But I think if someone is an accuracy nut, which includes me, I might try to save up another $100 and go for the Weihrauch HW30. It is an exceptionally accurate gun. At least mine is anyway. Plus, it would have a wood stock. I might be a little bit of a wood stock snob. Although, the Terrus wood stock is only $20 more. But the accuracy………….. Just my thoughts on the matter.

    G&G


  21. Why limit the beginner air rifle choice to springers? Multi-pump bolt action pneumatics like the Benjamin 392 and 397 have been around for decades. Single shot. They are pretty simple and safe to operate. Accurate enough with moderate power. No CO2 to buy and deal with. Good enough for plinking and hunting small game. Will not corrode due to brass construction. Variable power option depending on number of pumps. Easy to pump and load. No bear-trap danger like on a springer. You can dry-fire safely without damaging the airgun. No problem if the newbie forgets to put in a pellet. Reliable and sturdy. Very affordable. Countless airgunners started on these types of airgun and have kept them for decades.

    The Crosman 1377 and 1322 multi-pump bolt-action pneumatic pistols would also be good choices. They have a bit less power, but similar attributes as the Benjamins I mentioned, but with the addition of the 1399 shoulder stock accessory, converts them into handy light carbines. Smaller statured beginners can handle these more easily. So the newbie gets to train on pistols and carbines (long guns) with the same airgun.

    Both these Benjamins and Crosmans also remain highly rated up to today.


    • Lioniii,

      You have a good point. My first air rifle certainly was not a springer. However, every time I recommend a multi-pump to somebody I get feedback that they don’t like to work so hard for every shot. So I put springers at the top of the list because in general that’s how the public reacts.

      B.B.


  22. Sorry to have missed this one yesterday, but I’d like to chime in anyway. B.B., I am absolutely one of those noobs you reached with this message, and I cannot say enough good about the AV Bronco with which I took my plunge into airgunnery. It is everything you said it was, for exactly those reasons, and I like it more and more every time I pick it up. (Sad to see it go, even if “I got mine!”)

    It’s also hard for me to overstate the importance of this blog, at least for me. I look at it this way: my Bronco didn’t just come with an owner’s manual, it came with this blog and everything behind it, including a rich and vibrant commentariat. It was just a few days ago that I found myself in an off-grid-living blogger’s discussion about “I should probably add an airgun to my working toolkit”, and to my surprise people started asking me questions as though I had a great deal more experience than I really do. I suspect that was directly because of all that I have picked up from PA’s learning resources, far and away led by this blog. (I made sure to say that the single best thing I could suggest for anyone interested in things-airgun would be to come here and start reading.)

    B.B., your comment about people viewing you as an accuracy snob made me smile. You are an outstanding accuracy snob–and I hope you do not soon lose that. The meticulousness of your method in general is a large part of what makes your analysis so easy to follow–and so authoritative. And yet, where others may find it hard to believe that you ultimately prefer the delights of a simple, humble 27, I simply see a textbook yin-yang effect. 🙂

    Anyway, thank you for the effort you make to reach new airgunners. I can’t speak for everyone, but man, you made (are still making) a difference for me.


    • Kevin,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I guess accuracy does mean a lot to me. I like to hit what I’m shooting at. An accurate gun always make me excited, so yeah, I’m an accuracy snob. Can’t do it any other way.

      B.B.


  23. Hi B.B.

    I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Jim and I’m living in San Antonio, TX. I’ve been lurking and reading for a few months now since I discovered this blog. I finally had to write today because my first pellet gun was a Daisy model 230, given to me by my folks when I was 14, on the occasion of my birthday. I really liked that pellet gun, and would spend hours out in the back 40 dispatching tin cans. So when I looked at a picture of the Diana 27, I realized it was the spittin’ image (heh) of my Daisy, except larger I believe.

    I still have that Daisy, these many decades later, though it no longer works. And that’s the very reason I’m here. I have more time now to pursue some of the things that I enjoyed when I was younger. So I hope to learn enough to get my Daisy running again. In the meantime, thanks to you and Pyramid, I’m the proud new owner of an authentic looking Peacemaker BB gun. Thanks for your column. I’m learning a lot.

    Jim


    • Hi Jim,

      Yes, Daisy bought those rifles from Milbro of Scotland, who owned the Diana machinery as part of reparations after WW II. So, yes, your rifle is a Diana.

      Watch what I do to rebuild my Diana 23, which I am doing right now. There will be a close parallel to your rifle. And the parts are available — both here in in England.

      /blog/2015/07/testing-a-diana-model-23-breakbarrel-air-rifle-part-6/

      And you absolutely HAVE to come to the 2015 Texas airgun show on August 29. I know it is a drive for you, but people are driving and flying in from Arizona, North carolina, New York and Ohio. It will be the largest airgun show ever held, and you really should see it. Contact information is linked at the top of this page.

      You own a new Peacemaker? Well, you’ll like Monday’s blog, then.

      B.B.


  24. Hello! I’m new to the blog and everything however I’m not new to airguns. I’m also not a native english speaker so sorry in advance for some grammar mistakes. I’m only 17 y/o (I say only because everyone here appears to be over 30 y/o) but I’ve shot air rifles since I was a little toddler. I’m here today to talk about the diana 27 but I’ll get to that. My first ever air rifle was a norica 56 in .177. I have a farm and the damn sparrows ate all the food I was feeding my chicks with so they had to go. My dad borrowed a friend his air rifle which was the norica 56 he later offered me. That gun is probably in it’s late 30’s right now but still shoots as the day I first pressed it’s trigger. I was 6 at the time. When I was 12 I wanted a stronger air rifle to shoot at longer distances and take down some pigeons so I got a gamo shadow dx. My god was it terrible. From the stock to the trigger and the damn scope just wouldn’t stay in it’s place. I sold it 3 or 4 months later. Now I’m 17 and I got my first “good” air rifle which is an after war model diana 27. It looks brand new but I’m only going to shoot it in a couple of days when I go to my farm because I don’t want to risk shooting a gun in my apartment (that would be pretty dumb). I’ve read BB’s articles on the diana 27 but I still have some questions since I’ve never worked on any of my previous guns. I’ve not even oiled my old norica and still shoot a box of pellets through it every 2 weeks. First of all I dont think Im confident with cleaning the guts of the gun because I dont think I could put it back together… so my question is: I got a little 4×20 norica scope and I dont know if the diana 27 is good with a scope or worth to even put a scope on an air rifle with such great open sights. It has a dovetail and all so I’m not sure… I’ll probably have a ton more questions after I start shooting with it.
    – João


  25. João,

    Welcome to the blog.

    Please don’t scope the Diana 27. It doesn’t need it. It’s plenty accurate wit the open sights. You just need to get used to them.

    You have a wonderful airguns. Don’t forget to oil the piston seal and breech seal.

    B.B.



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