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Ammo How do taploaders work?

How do taploaders work?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • More than just spring guns
  • What a loading tap does
  • How it works
  • Precision machining
  • Pick your pellets
  • Power levels
  • Don’t do this often!
  • Summary

Today’s report is historical, and also a lengthy answer to reader Brad’s question from yesterday. He said the following:

“Sorry, I’m going off topic but I have a fascination with this [Diana] model 50 I’ve been shooting. The tap loading feature of this rifle prevents any seating of the pellet snugly in the breech. Because of this I cannot consistently gage the depth. Does this effect it’s accuracy? And because it is not snug, does it allow the piston to slam into the end of the compression chamber like a dry fire? Love the rifle, just curious. Thanks again.”

Brad is shooting a Diana model 50, which is an underlever spring gun that loads through a rotating tap. We have looked at many spring guns over the years that load that way, and I have made comments about them from time to time, but I have never taken the time to fully explain everything I’m going to touch on today. It is time to consider the taploader.

More than just spring guns

First, let’s understand that loading taps are found on other types of airgun powerplants besides spring-pistons. There are pneumatic air canes from the 19th century that load through a tap. And the pneumatic and CO2 guns made by Giffard are taploaders.

Giffard loading tap
The loading tap of this Giffard CO2 pistol can be seen at the top of the receiver.

Airgun maker Dennis Quackenbush put a loading tap on the Liege Lock (same design as the outside lock) that he made in the 1990s. That gun ran on CO2 or air that was compressed to a lower pressure.

I bet if I thought about it more I could come up with other powerplants that have used loading taps. That being said, though, they are found on spring piston powerplants more often today than on anything else. So Brad’s Diana model 50 is the kind of airgun we think about when we consider taploaders.

Haenel 311 loading tap
Haenel model 311 bolt action target rifle has a manual loading tap.

BSA Stutzen loading tap
BSA Airsporter Stutzen has a manual loading tap.

Hakim loading tap
Hakim military trainer made by Anschutz has a loading tap that opens automatically when the underlever is cocked. After loading the shooter closes it manually.

What a loading tap does

A loading tap provides a means of loading a pellet without exposing the breech of the barrel. Therefore, the barrel in a taploader is fixed — it doesn’t move. The tap is a fixture that “taps” into the powerplant, allowing a pellet to be put in line with the air transfer port and the breech without exposing the breech. It’s not that the maker doesn’t want the breech exposed, but with the loading tap the barrel does not have to move.

How it works

The loading tap rotates 90 degrees to the boreline, exposing an opening for the pellet into which the pellet is dropped. The photos above show that clearly. All the taps I have seen require the pellet to be dropped in nose- (or point-) first. When the tap is rotated closed, the nose of the pellet is at the front, to enter the barrel and the tail is at the rear, to catch the blast of air when the gun fires.

Inside the tap is a conical chamber that’s smaller at the front (the part that ends up next to the breech) and wider at the rear (where the pellet is dropped in, and also next to the air transfer port when the tap is closed). The taper is slight. It has to admit the largest pellets in the caliber for which it’s made, but it also has to guide the pellet very precisely into the breech of the bore when the gun fires.

Brad noticed that he can’t control the depth of the pellet in the breech, because the tap is not the gun’s real breech. That is true, but he can try pushing the pellet as far into the tap as it will go. That controls where the pellet is in relation to the breech when the air blast hit it. I’ve had some noticeable gains in accuracy with some pellets in some guns when I do this. But I don’t want people to think it’s a fix, because it isn’t. I’ve also had guns that exhibited no difference when I did this. Try it and see. And shoot 10-shot groups when you do — it will save you a lot of time and guessing.

Precision machining

In contrast to a breakbarrel, a taploader is far more intricate. That tap has to be lapped perfectly with the receiver of the gun it fits into to prevent air loss around the outside of the tap when the airgun fires. And the chamber in the tap has to align exactly with the barrel’s breech when it rotates closed. That’s why you will probably never see a cheaply made spring gun that has a loading tap.

But the fact that the pellet is not in the breech when the gun fires is also a detriment to ultimate accuracy. The jump it must make when the gun fires is a little too much for the pellet. So taploaders are accurate, but they are not the absolute best, and nothing you can do will change that.

Pick your pellets

I saw some readers giving Brad advice about which pellets to use, and I think I saw some errors. For example, I have often mentioned that RWS Superpoints have very thin skirts that work well in many guns with loading taps. Readers see RWS and the word “Super” and they immediately think Superdomes instead of Superpoints. Superdomes are accurate, but they have thick skirts and don’t work well in taploaders.

RWS pellets
The .22 caliber RWS Superpoint on the left has a thin skirt that works well in a taploader (in any caliber). The .22 caliber RWS Superdome on the right has a thick skirt that doesn’t expand as readily. Please disregard the damaged skirt of the Superdome. I may have done that while setting up this photo.

Power levels

Brad was concerned that his piston might be slamming into the end of the compression chamber, because the pellet doesn’t stop the air as effectively as it would in a breechloader. This is why I say to use pellets with thin skirts. They will deform more readily when the compressed air hits them. But there is more.

This is also the reason that taploaders are never magnum airguns — or they shouldn’t be. They should be moderately powered guns whose pistons will decelerate properly when they encounter the compressed air that a thin-skirted pellet can generate in a loading tap.

Don’t do this often!

Years ago I wondered if I was right about the thin skirts and soft lead doing what I said they do in a loading tap, so I did an experiment. Brad, if you wonder too, this experiment will show you exactly what I’m talking about. Try Superpoints in your rifle. Then contrast them with pellets that are the exact opposite. I tried Crosman Premiers in a Hakim. All it took was one shot to tell me Premiers are not right for that rifle! In contrast to a smooth firing cycle with the Superdomes, the Premiers gave me a jarring cycle that I knew instantly was the piston bottoming out. Brad, that is the answer to your question.

Right now you don’t really know whether the pellets you use are good or not. You need to try a pellet that the rifle seems very calm shooting. It doesn’t have to be a Superpoint. Plenty of other pellets will give the same results. Superpoints are simply a good place to start. Your goal is to find the most accurate pellet with the smoothest firing cycle.


My thanks to Brad for giving us a subject I have wanted to write about for years. I probably have said all of these things over the years, but this may be the first time they have all been in one place.

126 thoughts on “How do taploaders work?”

  1. B.B.
    Do you ever miss a beat? Seems like I learn something new every day here on the blog!
    Just this afternoon I was out back doing a little practice when my cheap old Gamo springer suddenly changed tone and recoil pattern. It didn’t seem to have broken a spring but something is definitely wrong. Also, it seems the pellet isn’t flying nearly as fast(no chrony, just sound as it hits target). I couldn’t figure it out at the time and it was getting dark so I packed it in. When I read your post I noticed when you discussed the problem of the piston possibly hitting hard in the cylinder due to lack of air seal by pellet. I thought about the concept and I think I might just have blown out the piston seal! That would account for the change in harmonics. I just had the spring and seals replaced by Gamo 1300rounds ago. Oh well, I guess I will just have to wait to shoot any more till next week. I just ordered my first pcp yesterday. Getting a Discovery and things to make it go poof! I’m almost as excited about getting a chrony as I am about the rest of the stuff.
    Thanks again for making it easy and fun to be here

      • RR
        Would you happen to know what page the light sabers are on? PA’s web site is so poorly set up I can’t find any thing!(insert one very large winky smiley face here). I didn’t order a pump ,I thought I could do better with a 90 cubic inch cf tank. Dive shop is 7 min. away and he keeps his resavoir( don’t know that word) @4500 psi. Takes longer to hook up tank than to fill it. Cost was only about 25$ more than a G 6 pump.

        • The Benjamin pump is what I’ve been using to charge my 2400 and does so quite well but I have no basis for comparison and wish I had a bottle to charge to be able to leave my pump at home.
          How much does the dive shop charge?

          • REB
            The gentleman at the dive shop said he would fill a 98 cu. Ft. for 7$ but the smaller tank would be less because he wouldn’t even have to fire up his compressor to fill it. Someday I will get the bigger tank but for now, I’m very happy to be getting what I am now. I’m expecting to get at least 20 fills or more on the little 130 cc. Discovery. I’ll keep track and see how many I can manage.

            • I have a dive school about a mile away but finding someone to talk to is the problem. No one answers the phone or returns calls
              There’s also a paintball shop across from the courthouse downtown but same problem there so I just went with a pump and it’s not so bad. About 15 minutes work lasts a month or so with my current range.

        • I myself am considering the Discovery and / or the Marauder because I use a hand pump and the 2000 PSI fill pressure is easy to reach with such. As for a dive shop, there are not too many in the mountains. Also, I think the “local” dive shop just closed their doors.

            • B B B,

              I am with you on the pumping bit. I looked for dive shops in OH. and had little luck. If I had found one I would most likely have gone the PCP route. Fire houses can be good if they fill their own breath tanks,…so I have heard. Congrats again,…. chrony, PCP, tank, fixing springers, spring compressors, etc…..you really jumped in “head first”! 😉 Have fun. 🙂 I can relate.

              • Chris
                Can you think of anything that can be more fun and challenging than airgunning! I was close to just laying down and waiting to die but I now have a purpose again. And it is just for Me!

                • BBB,

                  How can it get any better than that!? I will say, the more you learn, the more you figure out how far you can go and what little you know. Like many hobbies, it’s all about how deep you want to dig. Local Field Target competition seems to be the next step up for those that want to take it to the next level. I am super happy for ya’,….for real.

                  • Chris
                    Yes, we do have some critters here to justify the ” cannons” of airgunning. Deer, cyote, prairie dogs,etc. I’m not sure if it would be practical to go after the Elk or
                    or moose here, the 1000# beasts might be just over the limits for most airguns. I was looking at ,357 as the caliber for the widest range of use. Could be used for prairie dogs in the wind! I like the repeater designs for the follow-up shots.

                    • BBB,

                      Moose and Elk,….now that’s a “critter”!!!! 😉 I’m with you on the repeater feature. Like the AF Condor, Escape and Talon. They pack plenty of small bore punch, but come on AF,…. a repeater feature would be nice. One of those might be my first.

            • Bruce,

              As you are discovering, the Marauder can be adjusted to operate on 2000 PSI. It does not take much effort to pump an air rifle up to that pressure. Your total shot count per fill does drop off, but it does not take much time or effort to top it off again.

              High fill pressures on PCPs is much like the velocity race with sproingers. You do not need 4500 PSI to send a projectile down range, most especially since physics is going to limit your maximum velocity to about 1500 FPS anyway. The Texan operates on 3000 PSI. In the 1700s and 1800s, the operating pressure of air rifles were in the 600-800 PSI range and they were shooting 9mm and bigger. Giradoni air rifle used by the Austrian army was .46.

              The trick is finding the balance between air pressure, volume of air used per shot and length of barrel which determines time the air has to transfer force to the projectile. There are other minor factors that come into play and I am certain the engineers will chime in with their formulas and such, but that is the main.

              I hope in the future to build a PCP, perhaps a .45 muzzleloader, with an operating pressure of around 1000 PSI. All I would need would be two decent shots per fill so I could have a quick follow up shot if I needed it. I could then take something like an AirForce bottle and set it up for field use and be able to refill the rifle a couple of times if I need it.

              Welcome to the Darkside.

        • Bruce,

          Unfortunately, since the light saber does not operate on air, PA does not carry them.

          I would however recommend that sometime in the near future you pick up a good hand pump to have as back up if nothing else. I would also recommend that you not be stingy in your choice. I have a Hill myself and I have heard good things about the G6. Something to consider when buying one is whether it can be rebuilt by the owner and is a rebuild kit available.

          • RR
            I had originally planned on getting a G-6 pump but decided to go with the small cf tank. Cost was $25 more than pump but I really wasn’t looking forward to having to pump up after every 20 or so shots. A backup would be smart,though. Like your idea of building a pcp! Would you use a rifled barrel and if so, where would you find one?

            • If you really wanted to go that far from scratch there are Rimfire relining blanks available to 26″ or better out there.
              Never really thought about looking for other than.22 cal but I have now and will probably get some searching done today but won’t be able to share any links but I’ll give you a good idea of what I learned.

              • RR
                I have been looking at “big bore” rifles and I saw the AV Wingshot. It is a smooth bore .45 cal and shotgun. If you went with a long enough barrel and 1000 psi would it be accurate enough to hunt at 35 or 40 yds?

                • I downloaded the manual to get a better look at the gun and it says it’s a .50 cal smoothbore and not to exceed 3000.
                  I’ll have to look at B.B’s test but it uses a lot of air and I’d probably start testing it at a higher fill pressure to pack as much air In the tank as possible

                  • I forgot that the wingshot was .50 cal! I had been looking at several different big bores, in both .357 and .45. The AV caught my attention because of shotgun capabilities as well as ,50 cal. I have been thinking about barrel length and and pressure and how they affect velocity and how much air it takes to achieve that speed. I have a bunch of questions about it but I still have to figure out how to word the questions in the first place. It’s easy to get side tracked!

                    • BBB,

                      Wow, you really are jumping off the deep end of the pool! (big bore PCP’s) 😉

                      While not sure of all the offerings out there, the Air Force Texan would be my first pick off the top of my head. I think it only got 3-5 shots per fill, but I could be off on that. I think I would get it for hunting and larger pest/varmit control. You start going that big and that gets to be a pretty expensive paper puncher.

                      You got critter’s out our way worthy of a big bore?

                • I wouldn’t say I’m recommending them,
                  Just giving an idea of what I found.
                  Many of the ones I found have grooves that would be too deep and twist rates that wouldn’t work well for pellets at subsonic speeds.
                  I just might try one of the .257 barrels myself to go along with the incomplete breech kit I picked up at the show, IF I can ever get this 1400 to break free it will be an interesting project on a powerful platform.

                  • Reb,

                    If you want to stay with pellets, you might think of looking here for a barrel.


                    If you are thinking of going cast bullets, you are going to have to go PCP and go big at that. You can get cast bullets in .251 which work in customized AirForce rifles. By customized I mean custom built valves and a minimum recommended barrel length of 24 inches.

                    There is no sproinger made with enough umph to pitch a .257 slug down range with any appreciable effect. It would probably take an Olympic weight lifter to cock it.

                    • Thanks for the link! I’ll remember that I had no idea their barrels could be competitively priced but those weren’t so bad.
                      I’ve also been bitten by the PCP bug.
                      I have considered building a .25 barrel for the Regal before but something like that would require more equipment than I currently have.
                      A drillpress is on my list for next year but it’s gotta be very portable.

                  • Something to keep in mind when you think about going to .25 on a sproinger. Any sproinger with enough umph to pitch that much lead out there with any meaning is going to jump around like a kangaroo with a hot coal in it’s pouch. Sproingers are pretty much maxed out at .22.

                    • RR,

                      I would agree. Colorful description you painted there! While I have never had a “kangaroo”, the two .22 smooth shooters I have seem to max. at 15-18 grains. At 50 yards, that would be around a 1 1/4-2 dot holdover.

            • Bruce,

              I would likely get it from Green Mountain or some place that makes muzzleloader barrels, maybe with a 1:65 twist or similar. I would likely be shooting round ball so I would want a slow twist.

              • RR
                Have you figured out what kind of length you would need for the barrel? I would think the math to figure it out could be a challenge. What cal. are you thinking of working with?


                • BBB,

                  Actually the math is pretty straightforward. My friend Lloyd sent me a spreadsheet a while back for calculating pressures, volumes, velocities, etc.

                  I am thinking .45 or better. It is legal to hunt deer in Virginia with an air rifle of that caliber or larger. Also, if it is a muzzleloader, that opens up primitive weapon season to hunt with it.

                  I have not crunched any numbers yet, but I would want a real long barrel myself. I am thinking of 36 inch at minimum, more likely 42 inch. A long barrel will allow the time for the most efficient use of the available air.

                  The volume of air in the reservoir will be pretty small, so I will need to squeeze every ounce of force I can from it. I would be doing good to get two shots from a single fill. A third shot would be lucky to clear the barrel.

              • I think my idea of the screw on tips that have different rifle twist rates onto a smooth bore barrel could change things.

                How about a FX smooth twist barrel with a twist sound. You know a srew on tip.

    • Bruce,

      That is awesome that you are getting all of that,….a Discovery, a pump and a chrony. The chrony’s can (seem) finicky. Don’t be discouraged if it does not seem to get readings right away. Plenty of help here if you run into any issues. I was ready to shoot my chrony when I first got it, but it’s all about the lighting.

      Congratulations on your new “toys”……Chris

    • Sounds like you could be due for a teardown. Unfortunately you don’t have Chrony results from before.
      A broken spring can surprise you, sometimes the power remains really close and the firing behavior may even smooth out so check everything while in there but I’d Chronograph it first.
      Then it’s time to build a spring compressor and study up on your model.

        • I was felt safer with a screw type Jack that had 0 rotation of the head and had about 3 ratchet straps strategically placed to hold everything tight against the workbench surface which turned out to be a lotta overkill but I did feel safe and when it came time to install the trigger group I was glad I had it mounted so I could concentrate both hands on that without worrying about something slipping outta place.

  2. BB,

    You may be right about the RWS Superdome in most taploaders and I myself would recommend using thin skirted pellets, but of the pellets I have tried, my 1906 BSA seems to like the Superdomes best. This could be due to tight tolerances. Maybe my tap chamber is smaller in diameter than others. I do have to pay attention to whether the pellet drops in all the way sometimes.

    I can see right now I am going to have to have another shooting session and pay close attention to the vibration. I might as well do the same with the 46E while I am at it. 😉

    • RR
      You been getting any shooting time on the 46 since the last time we talked? Got a scope picked out yet?

      You asked if I was going to hotrod up this other 300 I just got from you. Well the answer is I have been messing with it.

      But first I will say that it cleaned up nice. And I used the right hand stock that looks like a junior stock. But I did put it back together with the longer single spring you had with all the parts. And here’s what gets interesting.

      Me and Buldawg both have been trying to come up with some ideas on how to get a better piston to cylinder seal. We found that the cast iron ring and even the gapless ring bleeds air past the ring. So thought about machining another groove in front of the factory one and run two rings. Then we talked about a regular o-ring in place of the ring. So he tryed some he had and I tryed some. Came up with a 015 size o-ring that gave the best seal and least amount of drag. Kind of got the idea from the Vortek kit I got for the Tx. They use a o-ring in a under cut behind the front seal to give additional sealing.

      So far so good. I fired it into my test wood and the pellet is going as deep as the Tx pellet which is the JSB 10.34’s. The other 300 that I got from you is not going in the test wood half as far. And I even have a heavier spring in it and shimmed for more spring pressure. So its definitely loosing compression with the gapless ring even. They say the gapless ring is suppose to seal better than the regular ring.

      So if it chronys good and it looks like the o-rings going to hold up. Which I believe it will because it fits tight in the groove diameter and only sticks out past the piston diameter about .010″. Maybe it will need a couple drops of silicone oil every 500 shots or something I’m thinking down the transfer port hole. But if it works out the other 300 is definitely going to get a o-ring. Oh and the o-ring was a softer one which seemed to work the best. It was a 70 and I tryed a 80 and a 90 hardness but they didn’t seem to seal as well and caused to much drag on the piston.

      Well there you go you did ask me if I was going to hotrod it. So I guess the answer is yes. 🙂

      • GF1,

        I have not had any trigger time since Sunday. Hopefully I will be able to get some in this Sunday, although since we will have the grandson over this evening I might get some trigger time on the Nerf guns or the Daisy 99.

        You will definitely have to keep the seal lubricated on that 300, but I have to do the same on my BSA. No biggie. Is the cocking force greater on the “new” one? The “old” one is using original springs and they may be a little “tired”. Also, the new spring may have more force than the originals did.

        If it had been .22, you would not have gotten the 300. I have been ready to move into .22 sproingers and this 46E looks to be just what the doctor ordered. The TX may be a better air rifle and when I have about a thousand dollars to spend on a toy I will likely find out, but so far I am very impressed with this one.

        I have not put a scope on it yet. I may do that this weekend, but that will mean I will need a replacement. I have two of these that are in use right now.


        I really like these, but I have been thinking of replacing one of them with a BugBuster like you talked me out of or one of these.


        Either way, a new scope will have to wait until after Christmas. Our intent is to get through this holiday season without incurring any debt and so far we are on target. Unfortunately, that includes my toys. 🙁

        • RR
          Sounds like you have a plan anyway for the 46. Either scope should be nice.

          And I got that Bugbuster scope working again after I dropped it. It’s been back on the old 300 for some time now and working just fine.

          And I have a different spring in the old 300. And I have it shimmed to almost coil bind. So its got good spring pressure. The cast iron ring just can’t seal good enough. The air blows by it when it fires. The o-ring doesn’t allow any blow by that I can tell. It sends all the air to the pellet. Much more efficient with the o-ring. And I’m going to find out this weekend if it will hold up. Plan on shooting it today and tomorrow to see what happens.

          Oh and I guess I should say the “first” 300 and the “second” 300 I got from you. Their both older guns. You know that saying though. Oldy’s but goody’s.

          And ain’t we both lucky the 46e was .22 caliber. 😉

            • RR
              And likewise with the number two 300 I got from you.

              The o-ring mod is working out real good so far.

              Just have to see what time will tell still.

              But I’m liking the package so far.

              • The next time you tear into one of them you might try an idea I had. I was thinking of putting an o ring around the piston “seal” just a little smaller than the compression tube diameter, not to provide a seal, but to take up volume in the chamber when the air is compressed.

                Do you understand my babblings?

                • RR
                  Somebody already came up with that idea in a sense.

                  My 12 fpe Vortek tune kit I got for the Tx has a front seal like that with a o-ring between the seal and piston head.

                  Buldawg and I was going to make a seal to replace the front bump stop. Had a bunch of different ideas what we was going to use and how it was going to be.

                  The simplest thing we could come up with was replace the cast iron ring with a o-ring.

                  I shot it yesterday a bunch and its working out great so far. Making real good power. It’s ringing the steel spinners pretty much the same as my tuned up Tx. And has a pretty flat trajectory. It doesn’t need anywhere near the hold over/under that the other 300 needs either.

                  So far so good. Just got to see how long it endures.

                • RR,

                  Before I forget, the TX200 come in several variations. Right loader, right and left cheek. And, left loader, left cheek,… as mine is. You said that you were considering one, so I thought that I might give you a “heads up”. The LGU is ambi. and is a right loader, which works better for me, I shoot left but am right handed. The TX, I have to rotate 180 degrees to load. Just something to keep in mind should you get one. Not sure if PA even knows the difference. Well,….they do,….but ,…it should made clear when ordering as to what you will receive. Heck, there might even be a right, left loader.

                  • Right handed but shoot left handed? Now that sounds real awkward to me. I am left handed but shoot right handed.

                    I have had a TX200 MKIII in .22 with a right hand walnut stock in my Wish List for some time now. Now if I could just find a small fortune somewhere…

                    • RR
                      I really hope you get that Tx you want soon.

                      You will be amazed with it in ways words can’t describe.

                      I’m wishing for ya.

                    • RR,

                      Were the same, but opposite! 😉 It has been that way since my 1st bb rifle. Now pistols, I shoot right. Just wanted you to be aware of the options before you “pull the trigger” on one…….

                  • It will likely be some time before I can pick up a TX. Right now I have a very nice Diana 46E to learn.


                    This will likely keep me busy for a year or so.


                    • RR,

                      Ewwwww,….that is nice! Thanks for the link. That always helps to figure out what you guys are talking abut sometimes. 😉

  3. I had a Discovery. Yeah, I no longer have it. My 12 year old son tested it, and he is not giving it back to me any time soon! So… I think I will need his permission to shoot it if I want. At least I can use the hand pump to fill my BSA R10.

  4. BB,

    Something you did not mention about taploaders is the fact that you can dry fire them. With the tap turned to the loading position, you can fire the air rifle and because the air cannot readily exit through the barrel, the back pressure will keep the piston from slamming into the end of the compression chamber.

    A word of caution though. Should you forget to turn the tap to the load position, your piston seal is not going to be very happy with you.

  5. B.B.,

    I realize now that when I recommended RWS Superpoints and RWS Superdomes, I was writing about the .177 versions, not .22 The .177 Superdomes do not have the thick skirts that the .22 ones have, at least not the .177 Superdomes I have and those that are pictured on the Pyramyd AIR site: /product/rws-superdome-177-cal-8-3-grains-domed-300ct?p=227

    If Brad’s model 50 is a .22 then yep, I was giving advice that was 50 percent wrong. My 50 is in .177, but it seems most are in .22.


  6. B.B.,

    In the last part of your article today you say,

    ” All it took was one shot to tell me Premiers are not right for that rifle! In contrast to a smooth firing cycle with the SUPERDOMES, the Premiers gave me a jarring cycle that I knew instantly was the piston bottoming out. Brad, that is the answer to your question.

    Right now you don’t really know whether the pellets you use are good or not. You need to try a pellet that the rifle seems very calm shooting. It doesn’t have to be a SUPERDOME. Plenty of other pellets will give the same results. SUPERDOMES are simply a good place to start. Your goal is to find the most accurate pellet with the smoothest firing cycle.”

    Didn’t you mean to say RWS SUPERPOINTS since they have thin skirts and SUPERDOMES don’t?

    You made several good points in todays article regarding tap loaders. Seating the pellet flush is critical so damage doesn’t occur to the pellets’ skirt. Using pure lead pellets, like jsb’s, is a good place to start with tap loaders since they have the ability to expand and minimize or eliminate blow by and thus piston slam/bounce.

    The other subtle point you made is to pay attention to what your spring gun tells you during its’ firing cycle. This applies to all spring guns not just tap loaders. This point can’t be over emphasized.


  7. B.B.

    As you know, I have restored Haenel 311 taploader.
    Despite being a rather modest-powered (partly due to the taploading principle itself) airgun, it’s very precise with different sorts of wadcutter pellets. I tried Geko, RWS, JSB and each of them dropped in perfectly and made good groups.

    Even if it didn’t make those good groups on the paper, I’d keep 311 for its unusual construction and amazing wokmanship. To test the tap, I cocked it and opened the tap, then pulled the trigger. The fitting of the tap is so precise and tight, that the piston travels three-quarters way and stops – no air escapes. Then I just catch the piston with the “bolt handle” to keep it from slamming front and close the tap – air escapes with a hiss/whistle.


      • As a slight addendum to your article, the seating problem with tap loaders is rather excaberated if the rifles DNA traces back to a British design, as per the Anschutz and Hakim, and rather obviously the BSA’s and Webleys, though the Hakim has a metric barrel, the tap, quite possibly is based on the original BSA drawings, that are a “full fat” 22.
        The Airsporter you tested last year would have been a case in point, my two fit vintage 22 pellets very snugly in the very top of the tap, whereas I resort to deep seating modern pellets and even compressing them a bit to get reasonable firing manners
        As for the Diana 50, it should have a 5.5mm tap, and, at least in theory, hold modern pellets as tightly as any breech
        The only metric taploader I regularly fire is a Relum Tornado (Hungarian F.E.G) that
        holds 5.5mm pellets reasonably tightly, or as well as can be expected from it’s budget manufacture.
        There’s quite a possibility that the tap is a little worn on this Diana 50, or that a little experimentation with 5.53 head sizes might give a slightly better seal, especially with a heavier pellet

    • SL,

      Yes, the HW57 is a tap loader.

      The HW57 uses the same powerplant as the Beeman R-6, HW-99 (aka current HW50S) and responds well to power tuning . On SOME HW57’s the pop up breech/tap doesn’t line up perfectly with the bore. I had a HW57 in .177 that wouldn’t group for this reason. Have a HW57 in .22 that groups well for a tap loader. Now- I said SOME.. because apparently MOST of them are just fine and shoot accurately, but if you’re ever going to buy one- have it’s grouping ability checked out and verified first.


      • Thanks Kevin

        In full disclosure, I own an HW57. It’s all Volvo’s fault, he put the bug in my ear.

        I just wanted to hear what BB thought about it, because in the article he discussed the tap as something that you drop a pellet into and then rotate it 90 degrees.

        I wasn’t trying to be a smart-alec or play gotcha, I just always thought of it as a taploader and wanted to be sure I wasn’t wrong about that.

        Incidentally, mine is a .22 cal and the loading gate lines up perfectly.

        I think it is a real shame these aren’t sold in the US anymore, heck I don’t think they even have them in Canada anymore.

        The only thing that grinds my gears about it is the horrible front sight. It’s like they stole it off of a Diana Mod. 48. They should have just used the globe with interchangeable inserts like they use on the HW30 and HW50.

        Enjoy your weekend.

        • Reb

          My first ever airgun purchase was a Crosman 1377. Though it infected me with the airgun bug, I wanted something more.

          My second purchase was between my dream rifle, the TX200, and my second choice, the cheaper CFX.

          I saved for a couple months more and went for the TX200. It was a mixed blessing.

          It is the best rifle I own, but everything else I have bought since struggles to measure up.

          That said, I would like to try out a CFX someday, if just to find out exactly how right I was.

          • This harks back to the days of the epic blog controversy over the relative merits of the CFX and the TX200. Posts on that had record-settings numbers of comments then although they would probably be dwarfed by today’s standards. As I recall the discussion ended with B.B. saying that he would not endorse the lie that the CFX was as good as the TX200 for a cheaper price. And I thought they stopped making the CFX which is another surprising turn of fate. That is not the fate of classic guns.

            As for the taploader, I don’t quite see the purpose. Whatever you gain in shielding the breech face and holding the barrel steady would seem to be subtracted by the loss in accuracy. If reliability is the goal, I don’t know why you would need that kind of reliability unless you are going into combat with your airgun or hunting in the swamps with Buldawg,


  8. 499B cork shooter?

    Fido3030 mentioned (yesterday) that he had found one on a gun site, at least that is the way it was “touted” by the site.

    But, looking at the muzzle cap and the .453″ opening of mine,…I wondered? Since I had the day off, I thought I would find out. Why not?

    While out shopping, I picked some cork corks, some rubber corks and some bolt caps that are hollow inside and resemble bullets. The rubber and the cork corks would barely make it to a wall 24′ away. The hollow bolt caps on the other hand hit the wall with some “authority” 😉 and only dropped about a foot. Further testing is warranted!!!

    The test shall be at what range can I hit an aluminum can 5 of 5 times. I may even give some chrony results.. 🙂 How low will those things read anyways?

    I will do this, crazy at it sounds, but on the serious side, what would a better “first shooter”? And when ready, the youngster would have the “Most Accurate bb Rifle In The World” to continue with. Makes sense to me anyways.

    Stay tuned,……..Time to shoot some “real” air rifles.

      • Reb,

        Just tried it. Worked good but 5′ was it for 5/5 hits on a can. 10′ was 0/5. I spent more time trying to find the ammo., then shooting, after it bounced about the house. Power varied a bit because of variances in press fit. High, low, left, right. Oh well, it was a fun little experiment. The caps might be good to create a salt cartridge. Cut the tip on the cap, load in round side first, packing-salt-packing inside cap. Maybe good to 1′. Good enough for a fly. Maybe this Winter I will play some more. Back to the Avanti bb’s for now.

          • Reb,

            The muzzle cap on the 499 has a .453″ I.D.. I got 3/8″ bolt caps. The cap on the Red Ryder is much smaller. Not sure anything would work there, but they did have all sizes of corks and bolt caps, even real small ones.

            Outa’ here for now. Gettin’ outside to do some shootin’.

  9. My “treat” for the day,….

    Spent about 3+ hours outside with the TX and LGU trying different holds and rest and such at 25, 30 and 50 yds. Still need to analyze the data. Last up was the LGU at 50. Besides the target, is an 12oz. alum. can on one of those fluorescent driveway poles/markers. Because the target was right besides the can, I had hold over and hold off down good.

    First shot at the can sent it 3′ up and 10′ back off the pole. 🙂 Re-setting the can, I commenced to shooting the can with the remaining allotted 4 shots. (5 is usual). Hitting the can 5/5 I decided to keep shooting. First miss, and I quit, “I told myself”…….well I never did. Finally I quit after at least 20 more shots.

    So,….while the groups could have been better,….that was my “treat” for the day. 🙂

    • Nothing like the thrill of reactive targets. But don’t tell me you had to reset the can for every shot. I picture punching a hole in the can and fastening it with a string.


      • Matt61,

        No,…just the once. Can upside down, hit low and off to the side a little,….just perfect to send ‘er up and back. I have shot cans at 50 for 200-300 shots and never had one do that. Definitly one those, ” what the heck just happened?”, moments. Now,…ol’ BB,…back in the day at the fun park,…that would just be an “Awww,….I got to re-set the can AGAIN!”……. 😉

        • Chris USA
          There is nothing like wacking a can around the yard with a air gun.

          Especially if you got somebody shoot’n with ya.

          Sure makes for a fun day. Never in my life when I was a kid shoot’n air guns I would of thought I would have the most fun of my life shoot’n with my daughters.

          Keep on can wacking is all I can say. And try it out ontop of the frozen crusted snow. The cans will also slide a mile when you hit them on top of the frozen snow.

          Well not quite a mile. But they sure will slide for a good distance.

          Oh and you don’t need a bench rest. Just some gloves and a coat. And a nice warm fireplace or a bonfire is nice too.

          Shoot n have fun. There’s more to air gunning than paper. 🙂

    • Reb
      I just love what you talk about all the time.

      I wonder if the cigarette butts helped as a pellet stop on this occasion.

      Well as long as you hit on the bottom half of the vegetable can anyway.

      • The impression I got was: not only did they stop the pellets before they hit the back side but dampen the harmonics enough to make penetration difficult. I had to get down on one knee for the first hole. It took a straight on shot.
        Had it reached 85℉ like the forecast said I think it would have been much easier.
        Still waiting for a notification from HIPac about the 2240 kit.

  10. LGU Trigger upgrade…..?

    I am having trouble finding a source to obtain the upgraded trigger, (1st/2nd/pull). Umerex has them but you must send the gun in for installation. I ran across some German sites but there was not any translation buttons I could find.

    So, anyone know of a 1 stop shop that is in English?

    On a side note, I tried Airgunelaces site that BD76 recommended and while it looked good and the first page allowed translation, the second page was a no go. Rowan Eng. offers a custom built one.

    Any help is much appreciated, Thanks, Chris

  11. Chris,

    Short answer, No, since Pyramyd AIR quit carrying the aftermarket “match” trigger for the LGU I don’t know of a source.

    Everyone had trouble adjusting the aftermarket trigger from Walther. The Rowan Engineering trigger gets great reviews.

    Have you tried adjusting the factory trigger in your LGU? Hector did a great write up and everyone’s results using his guide have been positive that I’ve read:



    • Kevin,

      Thank you very much for that info. and opinion. From the way you wrote it, it would seem that you have been around the proverbial block a time or two. 😉

      In fact I did do the ” Yankee Tune” and it made a nice improvement and also adjusted the pull weight. I wrote back and forth to Hector a few times. He is very nice and offered all sorts of ideas. I believe that he was the one to suggest that I weight the muzzle since the cap removes. I ended up with 4 5/8 oz. of steel weights. It really helped. (If) I remember correctly, he felt that the Yankee Tune solution was the best, even over the upgraded and the Rowan.

      The other thing I was considering was an adjustable butt plate. Being long armed, I have used the Limbsaver brand re-coil pad on the LGU and the TX to increase length of pull(1″) and they work great. However, the TX pad stays put while the LGU pad shifts left and tilts. As GF1 pointed out, the TX butt is offset depending on if you have a left or a right. I shoot left. Rowan sells these too, but I believe that they only adjust up and down. The LGU is ambi..

      Thanks again, Chris.

    • Kevin, (added info)

      Dutchjozef that comments here installed an “iron match” trigger and liked it real well. Not sure if that is the same one or not. I have heard of a “Match Azbug” trigger but again not sure if it is the upgraded one or a different one.

  12. B.B.

    I just purchased one of these for my P30 and thought you might be interested in purchasing one for yourself. It will fit your FWB Model 2. It comes in 4 colors so make sure you read the description, you have to specify your color when you order. The color is the inside of the ETA engraving, not the blade itself. These are very handy as the stock one on the FWB’s are very fragile and its very common for them to break.



    • Mitch,

      Thanks for the link. I was looking for the complete trigger mech. for an LGU though, not just the blade. The Rowan I mentioned above does have that type of trigger though and it comes in black, alum. and brass. I like the idea that the trigger can be rotated left or right. I think some even tilt fore and aft. as well.

    • Mitch,

      Thanks for the link. I think I will stay with the stock blade for now. These brass blades have some weight and that adds to the weight when they test the trigger before a match. The normal test is to pick up a 500-gram weight off a table, so a trigger like this could add 10 grams to the weight and throw me over.


  13. Only recent to this site. I am developing a temp regulated 2400kt. Progress improves every day. Would like someday to appear to demonstrate this airgun. Might have to go to china to be an American inventor.

    • Amateur4,

      Welcome to the blog. This is the place to discuss airguns with over 30,000 other interested readers.

      I understand your frustration at the rejection of your idea. Companies get many similar offers every year. Maybe one in a thousand works out, and even that one might not succeed.

      Keep working to perfect what you have and maybe some day it will be exactly what you want.


      • Thanks for the response. The 2400kt is the “poor man’s air gun”. If I can make it competitive with pcp guns in variable temps for less cost, I have succeeded. It is a short range airgun with excellent accuracy potential (pellet selection). The limited interest might require a different business plan…kit plans. Any takers?

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