Hammerli Trainer: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hammerli trainer
The trainer is a complete spring-piston air rifle that slips inside the K31 action and barrel. It interfaces with the K31’s trigger, but uses its own self-contained cocking system.

A history of airguns

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Description
  • Spring-piston
  • Installing the trainer
  • Maintenance before operation
  • Barrel bushings
  • It doesn’t work — yet
  • Construction

The Hammerli trainer arrived this week and I want to tell you about it. This will be the first detailed description I have ever seen of this rare and interesting military trainer. For me this is the airgun equivalent of seeing the dark side of the moon for the first time!

I was surprised how small the box was. And it is very good condition. There are no markings on it beyond what you saw in Part 1, but on the inside there is a cardboard insert to hold the trainer securely. The man I bought it from packed everything very well, and nothing was damaged in shipment. When something is as rare as this, having the box adds a significant amount of value, so I was thankful that the seller went to as much trouble as he did. read more

How technology helps and hurts

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Technology
  • When I was a boy
  • Golf drivers
  • Better golf balls
  • New cars
  • Hand(s) guns
  • Sights
  • Today’s message


I’m departing from my usual test reporting today because I want to address a topic that I believe affects all shooters. The topic is technology. Technology has changed the way we shoot, though a lot of people who are new to shooting aren’t aware of it. Like kids with cell phones have no clue what telephones were like before, so new shooters lack all grasp of the fundamentals.

When I was a boy

When I was a kid in the 1950s the world seemed to move too slow. There never seemed to be any new advances in anything. Cars were the same; television was the same — things were what they had always had been. That observation was incorrect, of course, but my limited experience didn’t allow me to see the big picture. read more

2016 SHOT Show: Day 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Shot Show Media Day
Shot Show Day 1
Shot Show Day 2

This report covers:

  • Not just airguns
  • Galahad
  • RWS USA (Umarex USA)
  • Beautiful breakbarrel
  • Walther Maximathor and Rotek
  • Brodax
  • AirForce Airguns
  • Crosman
  • More to come

Not just airguns

SHOT is a trade show, but that’s not all. It’s also a place where old friends get to meet and chat at least one time each year. Some of these folks only see each other at SHOT. I was walking up an aisle on day three and someone called my name. Now, I have visual agnosia, which means I can’t recognize faces. I even couldn’t recognize my wife unless I knew what clothes she was wearing that day. Sounds funny, but it’s not when you live it.

So this tall gentleman calls my name and steps up to shake my hand like we were old friends. After I saw his nametag (thank the Lord for them!), I knew that we were. It was Wes Richardson — the guy who developed the Walther Dominator field target rifle with me back in the 1990s. He had been seriously ill and it showed, but he was upright and taking nutrition, as they say, so the news was good. Meeting old friends is a big part of attending the SHOT Show. read more

Dan Wesson model 715 BB revolver: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dan Wesson BB revolver
Dan Wesson nickel-plated BB revolver.

Part 1

This report covers:

    • What I think
    • Speedloader
    • Installing the CO2 cartridge
    • The test
    • ASG Blaster BBs
    • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
    • H&N Smart Shot copper-coated lead BBs
    • Shot count

    Trigger pull

    Today we look at velocity for the Dan Wesson model 715 nickel-plated BB revolver. As fate would have it, I had dinner in Las Vegas with the staff of Action Sport Games where I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with their CEO, Johnny Pederson. Mr. Pederson is an engineer, and when the discussion turned to the Dan Wesson model 715, he became very interested in what I thought.

    What I think

    I told him the pellet revolver had tested quite well when I recently shot it. See my 3-part report on that revolver. And that is significant, because that revolver is priced at more than a hundred dollars less than the other pellet revolver of the same accuracy — the Smith & Wesson 586. Both pellet guns offer realistic weight, adjustable sights and good triggers. So for once there is a real choice available to airgunners. I think he was surprised to hear me say that. Surprised but pleased, because his company invested a lot of time and effort on that airgun. read more

Catapult guns and velocity

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

Sharpshooter pistol uses rubber bands to launch a .12 caliber lead ball. Other catapult guns were as large as .43 caliber!

This report covers:

  • You know catapults guns
  • More power doesn’t mean higher velocity
  • Why a limit?
  • What is the limit?
  • Crossbows may be faster — but…
  • What about stonebows?
  • Conclusion?

You know catapults guns

Over the years I have written several reports about catapult guns . The Sharpshooter shown above and the Bullseye pistol that proceeded it used rubber bands to launch their shot. But the Johnson Indoor Target gun used surgical tubing. And a don’t really know for sure what the .43 caliber Hodges gun of the 1840s used but I suspect it was natural rubber bands. The point is, catapult guns have used many different power sources.

Johnson Indoor trainer
Johnson Indoor Trainer uses surgical rubber tubing. read more

VZ 47 — after the war

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The VZ47 is a large military trainer.

A history of airguns

VZ 35 — another airgun trainer

This report covers:

  • The rifle
  • Cost controls
  • Finish
  • Loading
  • Cocking
  • Power
  • No bayonet lug
  • Overall impression

We started the week with a report on the Hammerli Trainer. We’ll end it with a look at the VZ-47. This ball-firing spring piston air rifle is a later version of the VZ 35 that we looked at in December. That’s why I put the link to that report at the top of this one. You might say the 47 is an updated model 35, only the updates were mostly ways to reduce the cost to manufacture.

The rifle

Like the VZ35, the VZ47 is a very large air rifle. Most people seeing one for the first time would think it is a firearm. It weighs 8.5 lbs. and has the same rugged look as a 98K Mauser that it’s meant to copy. All you see on the outside is wood and steel, as this is indeed an old-school military trainer. read more

2016 SHOT Show: Day 2

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Shot Show Media Day
Shot Show Day 1
Shot Show Day 3

This report covers:

  • Back on the floor
  • Ataman
  • Leapers
  • New scope
  • Folded prism
  • American-made scopes
  • New premium mounts
  • Sig Sauer
  • Umarex USA
  • More to come

Back on the floor

We’re back on the floor of the 2016 SHOT Show today. The next booth I’m stopping at is Air Venturi. The first guns were from a new line that Air Venturi will be importing from Russia.


I saw several Ataman rifles. Tyler Patner, who you all should know from his several guest blogs, showed me the rifle he feels is going to be the most desirable. It’s a tactical carbine called the M2 and features an extendable buttstock on a wood-stocked rifle. He says it fits just about everybody, so naturally I tried it. He’s right about the fit. read more