Writing this blog

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • It started small
  • No stinky
  • Best possible pictures
  • Colorblind
  • Bully pulpit
  • The dime
  • Teach me to shoot
  • That’s all, folks

This morning I took a nap after feeding the cats and having my own breakfast. As I slept, Edith came to me in a dream and said, “You should write about what it has been like to write this blog. I think a lot of your readers would like to know how you feel about it.”

When I woke up I thought, why not? I can’t test any airguns today, and maybe there are few things you guys would like to know about the eleven years this blog has been active. So, here goes.

It started small

The blog was Edith’s idea from the start. She told me what a web log was, and said instead of just writing a public diary, I could write articles about airguns — just like when we published The Airgun Letter. She told me I should try to limit the words to around 500, to make it possible to get out a blog 5 days a week.

I did try to limit the words in the beginning, which is why most of the early reports seem so short. But over time I realized that it was easier to just write what needed to be said and use as many words as it took. There have been reports that went over 3,000 words, and the average these days runs above 1,500 words. That may be too many for the smart phones and tablets people use, but I’m doing the best I can to keep them as short as possible.

I write in a stream of consciousness style and the words just pour out. As I write, I think about the questions people will ask about the technical things, and I try to include the explanations as I go. That’s why my writing seems so simplistic, and it’s also where all the words come from.

No more stinky

Early on, I learned an important lesson in writing. I was testing a certain breakbarrel I got from Umarex USA and it had a bad trigger. It was heavy and creepy. In most other ways I liked the rifle, but that trigger was bad and it pushed me over the edge. I called it “stinky” in my report and Edith and I had a long argument about that! But I was stubborn and prevailed. Or at least I did until the folks at Umarex read it! They took exception — not that I didn’t like the trigger, but because I called it stinky. It was exactly what Edith had told me, only now it was coming from other folks — a LOT of other folks. I resolved then and there to never use language like that again in my writing. I know a lot of people do write that way, but my writing has to appear professional.

Best possible pictures

In the Army we had manuals with pictures that were dark and without much detail. I hated them, because the captions talked about things you could not see in the pictures. The  detail was probably there years ago, before someone copied the photo four times, but now all that showed was a black smudge. I resolved to do better.

Colorblind

I’m red-green colorblind, so sometimes my pictures of dark subjects come out with a golden cast that offends some folks. Edith and I went around and around about it but this was something I refused to compromise on. If the color was wrong but the detail was there, I was happy. I still am. So, sometimes my photos look odd.

Bully pulpit

After the blog was running for a few years I learned that it is read by airgun manufacturers around the world. I will be somewhere foreign, like at IWA (the European SHOT Show) in Nuremberg, and a guy from Russia will smile and quote one of my sayings, like Stupident! He then tells me the blog is read by eveyone in his shop.

Okay, if they are reading it, I resolved to give them something to read. So I went on a crusade against unreasonable velocities in spring rifles, poor triggers and breakbarrels that are too hard to cock. I made writers get honest about the groups they shot by showing my own groups next to something that gave some scale. My dime became known the world over.

The dime

This was another of Edith’s ideas. I used the dime for awhile, but then she noticed a lot of comments about it and suggested the story. It turned out to be one of the funniest pieces I’ve ever written. I still go back and read it from time to time.

Teach me to shoot

My latest crusade is the series titled Teach me to shoot, where a man is asked to teach a woman how to shoot. I’ve written other series like this, but this time I decided to add a romantic twist — just like might happen in real life. Well, I didn’t expect all you hard-bitten old airgunners to get interested in the romance! I thought perhaps women might pay attention to the story because it could be their own. Didn’t turn out like that, though. It’s all you oldtimers who are gathered round to discuss the latest Jack-and-Jill episode. The women who read it just seem to relate to the training. I’ve even have a couple off-line comments from women that said, “Yeah — that’s what it should be like!”

The more I do this, the more passionate I become for the subject. We shooters really have not made it easy for most women to learn to shoot. I think this will be my crusade for the rest of my life. We have to take women into account when we design guns, ammunition, and training. Let’s stop this macho madness theme and let shooting return to being a civilized sport!

That’s all, folks

In the words of Porky Pig, I have come to the end of my remrks. Once again, Edith has stepped in to save the day!

32 thoughts on “Writing this blog

  1. Edith sure could put things into perspective. She always had a wonderful way of reasoning. Never got to meet her but from reading things she commented about you could tell she was a strong hearted person. Definitely miss her comments.

    And I can just imagine some of the little conversations you had when you was putting a report together. And the picture taking.

    And not to take away from Edith with the blog. But what about your buddy Mac. And I know Otho has saved the day numurous times throughout time.

    And then the other people like Lloyd and Dennis and the people of Pyramyd Air and all the others that I read about that you know. Would of probably never learned about them without the blog. And all the people I met through the blog and became freinds with.

    It’s just been a good place here. The blog. Can’t think of a place that I have learned about things in any better kind of way. Long live BB’s blog is what I know I can say without any hesitation.

    AND I JUST FIGURED OUT BB HOW TO GET MY CAP LOCK TO WORK ON MY PHONE. I KNOW YOU MENTIONED IT WAS EASIER FOR YOU TO READ THE BLOG WITH YOUR EYE ISSUE. I ALREADY HAD ALL THAT WROTE ABOVE BEFORE I FIGURED IT OUT.

    SEE I WOULD OF PROBABLY NEVER OF WORRIED ABOUT HOW TO DO CAP LOCK ON MY PHONE IF IT WASNT FOR THE BLOG. 😉

    AND MAYBE YOU CAN HAVE SOMEBODY COME OVER AND READ THE BLOG TO YOU. JUST A THOUGHT. AND HURRY UP AND GET BETTER SO I CAN STOP USING CAP LOCKS. IT JUST DON’T SEEM RIGHT USING IT AFTER I LEARNED YEARS AGO THAT MEANS YELLING WHEN YOU COMMENT ON THE INTERNET OR TEXT.

    OH AND GET BETTER. STILL PRAYING.



      • Reb
        Mine works by holding the arrow button that I normally hit for capital letters. It makes a click and vibrates when it locks.

        Never used successive capitals in a row so didn’t never think about it. But now I know.


        • Mine was a double click when I wrote that last one and I’ll see if your method may be more reliable since you told me and I’m having to keep capping occasionally, Thanks for the tip! I GOTTA BUNCHA OTHER THINGS I NEED HELP WIT TOO ESPECIALLY PICTURE MANAGEMENT!
          I SHOULDA SAVED A LOT MORE BEAUTIFUL WOMAN PHOTOS BUT MY MEMORY IS SO FULL I HAD A GREAT DEAL OF TROUBLE POSTING FRESH SELFIES DUE TO LOW MEMORY AFTER LOADING THE APPS TO MANAGE ALL THE NEW ACCOUNTS AND STILL CAN’T VERIFY ANY OF THEM BUT I GOT MY FOOT IN THE DOOR AND JUST NOTIFIED MY FANS ON ONE SITE THAT I HAVE A DATE IN NEW ORLEANS SCHEDULED BUT IG IF IT DIDN’T MAKE SPARKS FLY ID BE BACK TO THEM AFTER I MEET THIS ONE FIRST.



            • Wasn’t my intention to go off topic but I felt like some explanation for my extended absence might be warranted due to the fact that usually very active here just shifting gears for a bit. 🙂


  2. Hey BB. Amazed you have the blog out.

    Let me tell you that every time you talked against “unreasonable velocities in spring rifles, poor triggers and breakbarrels that are too hard to cock” I was with you a 100%.

    In the interest of making the sport more attractive to women-and everybody else, can we agree that airgun weights and dimensions have to decrease? Yes. I understand that weight adds stability in some rifles, but in others it just seems lazy. And I understand that some lengthy barrels conceal shrouds, but the barrels/tubes have gotten out of control! No one wants to admit that a 9 inch barrel can be accurate so they cover it with a 20 inch steel tube to look macho. It’s craziness.

    I have other complaints (as always) but I will leave your world audience with what I’ve already left.

    Thanks.
    Rob


    • Hey Rob,

      A couple of things that jumped out at me in your comments.

      On the barrel lengths, with break barrels you need the long length for leverage to cock those things. If it takes almost forty pounds of force to cock a sproinger with a twenty inch “barrel”, imagine how much force it would take if the “barrel” was only ten inches long. Many of them have caught on and save a lot money by making the barrel short and putting a long shroud, usually with baffles on the end to give more leverage or nobody could cock them.

      Losing the weight is another problem. My experience has been that generally the lighter a sproinger is, the more hold sensitive it is. If you are in pursuit of the super duper uber magnum, it is going to want to jump around like a bucking bronco. They have not quite figured out how to tame down sproingers yet, but the good news is they are working on it.

      Now as for PCPs, some of them are pretty light. There are quite a few nice ones on the market right now that are under seven pounds. The one problem with PCPs are that the barrel needs to be longer for it to have any power. Once again we are in pursuit of the super duper uber magnum. A powerful PCP can have a pretty loud report, therefore it usually has a shroud of some sort with baffling to quiet down the racket, but now it has your macho look.

      In both cases if we can learn to live with something less than the uber magnums, we can find some very nice sproingers and PCPs that are quite suitable for women, and not so macho oriented men, that are quite nice to shoot.

      Whew! That sure was a lot of rambling.


      • The thing is, Ridgerunner, is that those break barrels could be under or side levers. And they have learned how to tame springers to some degree. It’s just that manufacturers ignore the tech advances that Air Arms and others have pioneered-or don’t want to pay for them. As for the PCPs, I don’t know much about them. But I do know they can make them smaller/shorter. An example of a nice airgun gone wrong (IMHO) are the Crosman 2300kt and 2400kt. These pistols reach maximum fps and accuracy at a relatively short length yet many are modified beyond that for the sake of style. I’m all for style individually, but the manufacturers kind of get on my nerves with their Uber Assault style sub machine elephant-killing airguns.

        Haha. My rant.


        • The side and under levers are much better in accuracy, etc. than the break barrels, however they are also considerably heavier. I have a Diana 46E that is so sweet to shoot, from the bench. I would hate to lug it all day in the woods. The TX200, Diana 54 , Walther LGU and the HW 97 are the same way.

          As far as styling goes, I do not much care for the Mattelomatic look myself.


  3. B.B.,

    WELL, IT APPEARS THAT YOU ARE WELL ENOUGH TO DO THIS. I THINK THAT IT ( GIVES US ALL A GREAT AMOUNT OF COMFORT ) THAT YOU ARE DOING THIS WELL.

    ON THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT “DIME”,…… 😉 IT RAISES CONCERN THAT YOU ARE DOING TOO MUCH, TOO SOON.

    CONTINUE TO TAKE THINGS AT YOUR OWN PACE AND COMFORT LEVEL. IT CAN NOT BE EASY. WE WILL BE JUST FINE.

    CONTINUED PRAYERS AND BEST WISHES.

    CHRIS



      • GF1,

        NOT YET. JUST GOT THE “GOODIE” BOX YESTERDAY. ALREADY MODDING THE BIPOD. STILL NEED TO DO THE BOLT FLIP. WILL USE DAGASSER BEFORE. THEN THE SCOPE MOUNT. FRIDAY OFF. I WILL HIT IT HARD THEN. WILL KEEP ALL POSTED.



          • GF1,

            Pod modded. Sa-weet! The off set mount went Bye-Bye. The off-set mount was the only thing that allows the pivot. It mounts to a sling mount. The pod, by itself, is mounted to a P/W rail. No pivot. To get the pivot feature, the offset mount must be used. It does not mount to a P/W rail. Bad design. The modded one, mounts directly to a P/W rail and does the full 360 pivot. No slop. Quick disconnect. Oh,…. did I mention the 5/16″ Torrington? Did I mention smooth? 😉


            • Chris USA
              How far forward is the bi-pod mounted from the trigger?

              Was wondering how you got the front to back balance of the gun set.

              On my bi-pod mounted on the scope ring on the Mrod and Talon SS the gun is more nose heavy. That does two things. First it keeps more weight on the muzzle of the gun. Second when the gun is shouldered it makes the gun feel very light when your shooting.

              When I used bi-pods mounted in the normal forward position on the stock. It made the gun feel like I was holding all the weight of the gun on my shoulder and trigger hand.

              So thats why I asked where you mounted the bi-pod.


              • GF1,

                11 1/2″ from trigger blade. It is back heavy now without the scope. The rail will allow it to come back to around 7 1/2″.
                I will play with that as well. It will just replace the rest that I normally use with the springers.


                • Chris USA
                  Yep that’s how I do with the Mrod and Talon SS when I use the bi-pod. It replaces the monkey bag. The Tx and the 1377/Disco stock still use the bag.

                  But let me know if you try that with the bi-pod mounted back farther.



  4. HI BB,
    IT SOUNDS LIKE EDITH IS STILL KEEPING YOU IN LINE.
    I AM PRAYING FOR YOUR QUICK RECOVERY.
    I ENJOYED THE BLOG TODAY. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CURIOUS ABOUT HOW YOU PUT THE BLOG TOGETHER EVERYDAY. IT STILL AMAZES ME THAT YOU DO IT 5 DAYS A WEEK, AND DO IT SO WELL.
    DAVID ENOCH


  5. B.B.

    Edith will continue to inspire and motivate you, and through you, us.
    Wishing you a complete and speedy recovery.

    How else would you describe a “stinky” trigger, smelly trigger?

    -Y


  6. Good morning Tom;
    My only real regret is that I did not sign up to receive your blog sooner. It is not only educational but many times very entertaining, not just your words but also the Comments made by others. I must admit that I have not “met” my sister Edie in a dream yet but there are many subtle reminders of her presence. Judy and I were out for our usual Saturday evening “date” at a local restaurant last weekend when I reached for the salt to shake some on my meal. I looked at the label and it said sea salt. That immediately brought Edie’s face and voice into our conversation as she was a great proponent of using that condiment whenever we visited your home in Burleson. It is strange how something as common as a little salt shaker can bring back a flood of memories. Of course we have pictures, mementos and our memories but sometimes the most innate item can result in a flashback that brings a smile to your face.

    I have had the pleasure of meeting both Marsh and Otho. Let me say that they are they type of friends we all wish we had in life. They are reliable and always there when you need a helping hand. Marsha was an angel and stayed with Edie many nights when she was in the hospital. They continue to be supportive of you, and we are very grateful for that. I only met your friend Mac once via a Skype conversation, but he was the type of person that you only need to meet one time to leave a lasting impression. He is also missed.

    Well at the end of the day, many of us will end up at that great range in the sky. I guess if we do, all airguns will have amazing triggers and every shot will be a bullseye. Probably the face of Lucifer will be on the target???

    Later
    Bob in Pearland, TX


  7. B.B.
    YOU MENTIONED THAT YOUR WRITING IN SIMPLISTIC; WELL, THAT’S GOOD; I LIKE SIMPLISTIC! AND AS FOR MAKING IT EASIER FOR WOMEN TO GET INTO SHOOTING SPORTS, YOU’RE ‘PREACHIN’ TO THE CHOIR’ ON THAT ONE! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, AND I PRAY YOU’RE BETTER SOON.
    TAKE CARE & GOD BLESS,
    DAVE


  8. How the heck are you writing while looking down constantly? i suppose it is possible. James Joyce, as a result of bad teeth, almost went blind. Some of his greatest work was written with his face about one inch from the page with a magnifying glass that showed one word at a time. Then there is John Milton who went completely blind before writing his classic Paradise Lost. But he developed the ability to compose 30 lines of poetry and dictate them to his long-suffering daughters, so I suppose there is always a workaround.

    Umarex seems a little sensitive to be offended by “stinky.” I’ve heard worse in gun reviews. But whatever works that gets the point across. I will demure at the use of the dime just because it makes me curious to know the actual MOA in inches. A ruler next to the group would do the job. But I must admit contrary evidence. While browsing the PA comments for the HW30S, I met a like-minded individual! He shoots offhand at 5 yards just like me and claims that he gets dime-sized groups with the rifle, so the dime can be a striking visual.

    I think I might have missed the last installment of Jack Cooper but it sounded like things were heating up. Keep focused on that Bible. Anyway, I think this series is on to something important in addition to the practical tips. One thing that seems missing from the national debate about gun control is how much fun guns can be. It really is about the pursuit of happiness. Maybe this can be communicated more easily with airguns that don’t seem so threatening.

    I had a new chance to experience the joy of shooting since I am back! I picked up an airgun for the first time the other day in a month and a half. As the disembodied alien, Sargon, says in an old Star Trek episode, “Even for me (with his almost god-like powers) it was almost too long to stay confined in a bowl.” It turns out that I haven’t lost anything! My first session was 60 shots with the Daisy 747. It was the same as my rather unimpressive usual. My right shoulder hurt from supporting the gun, but the results were the same. Maybe that’s not a big surprise for a 6 week layoff after shooting almost every day for 10 years. Perhaps something has finally taken.

    I’m also getting ready to shoot firearms again, and here is a question. I have a ton of surplus ammo on my balcony that is under a roof but open to the air. Some of the ammo is sealed in spam cans and some of it has been opened so that it is only enclosed in a wooden crate. It doesn’t rain much in California but we had a few rainy days. The question is whether the moisture in the air will affect the ammo. I had thought not because of the way the ammo is enclosed and the way the powder is sealed within the cases. On the other hand, is it possible that the moisture in the air could cause condensation inside the case and wet the powder?

    Matt61


  9. TOM,

    IF YOU ARE USING A WINDOWS COMPUTER, IT HAS A BUILT IN FEATURE CALLED NARRATOR. I DON’T KNOW HOW IT WORKS, BUT IT WILL READ WHAT IS ON THE SCREEN TO YOU. IT MAY BE WORTH HAVING A TECHNICIAN SET IT UP FOR YOU AND SHOW YOU HOW TO USE IT.

    I BELIEVE MS WORD HAS A SIMILAR TEXT TO VOICE FEATURE BUT AGAIN I DO NOT KNOW HOW IT WORKS.

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO DO RESEARCH THESE FEATURES FOR YOU.

    OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. LISTEN TO THE DOCTOR.

    JIM



  10. BB

    ITS COOL TO SEE HOW YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS WORKS WHILE WRITING THE BLOG, ITS SOMETHING I READ EVERYDAY AND PART OF MY DAY THAT I REALLY ENJOY.

    IM PRAYING FOR YOU AND HOPE YOUR RECOVERY IS A SWIFT ONE!

    RPM


  11. My kids and I used to shoot Skeet every Sunday afternoon. One Sunday we were shooting with a man and his teenage daughter. He had her shooting a 12 GA with leftover high brass shells. The recoil was knocking her senseless. I suggested he buy her some target loads. I got back a glare and a “Mind your own business/I know what’s best” from the man. Then I offered her my son’s 20 GA. “No”, she said wistfully. “I’m just doing this for him. I’m never shooting Skeet again after this.”


    • Joe
      Glad you mentioned that. I taught my daughters to shoot with air guns. Then let them shoot the .22 rimfire rifles. Then came the shot gun.

      I knew if I was going to keep them shooting the shot gun I better make it a good experience for them. That’s part of the reason I got that Stevens 320 pump in 20 gauge. We use the low brass target loads also. Plus chose the 20 gauge so it would be easier to hit the target with. You know how that goes. If they ain’t hitting they ain’t having fun.

      They are 15 and 18 years old now. So now when we shoot we do air guns the .22 semi-auto and bolt action along with the bolt action .17 hmr. And of course the 20 gauge too. And I can say they never complain about shooting. Matter of fact they ask if they can shoot all the time. It definitely makes a difference how you start somebody out.

      And again that was a good example of what to do and not do when showing somebody about shot guns that you wrote.


  12. It’s neat to read how this all got started. Thank you SO MUCH for all that you do for this community. I’m sure your writing, reviews, tutorials, etc. have helped thousands of air gunners around the world.

    THANK YOU!!!


  13. TOM,

    YOU ARE CHOMPING AT THE BIT TO GET MATERIAL OUT TO US, AREN’T YOU? HA HA!

    THIS POST REALLY MADE ME SMILE. AS I READ, I COULD “HEAR” EDITH MAKING “SUGGESTIONS” — WHICH, OF COURSE, I AM SURE YOU FOLLOWED WHOLE-HEARTEDLY, RIGHT?

    I AM SAVING UP QUESTIONS TO ASK — BUT WILL WAIT UNTIL YOUR VISION RETURNS TO NORMAL.

    TAKE CARE AND GOD BLESS.

    JIM M.


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