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Plan B

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

  • DB Cooper
  • What does this mean to you?
  • Range bags
  • How to spot a newbie
  • Riddle
  • The moral

I started writing today’s blog at 6 am, and three hours into the test I encountered a drop-dead fault with the rifle — something that has to be repaired. So, the test had to end and I was already well into my work day. What to do?

I’ll tell you about the problem when I finally do the review. Today I want to talk about having backup plans.

DB Cooper

When DB Cooper hijacked the airplane and bailed out over southern Washington state, he must have known the FBI would fool with the four parachutes they supplied him. My squadron of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (over a thousand men), spent a month searching the probable impact site with the FBI. The airplane’s flight recorder told us when he left the plane (time, altitude and airspeed) and the weather data for that evening told us the trajectory. We searched for a small crater in the steep mountains and discovered very little of him. If he did crater, it wasn’t inside the search area. We did find the remains of another possible homicide, though, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

Either DB Cooper had a plan B, or a thousand men searching for a month missed him, altogether. I think he had a plan B. And so, I believe, did Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who filed a flight plan from New York to Long Beach, California, but landed in Ireland, instead! Said his compass was reading backward, but very few believed him, since his airplane was prepared for a long flight over the water and he had been officially denied permission for the transatlantic flight. Better to get forgiveness, I guess.

What does this mean to you?

Plan B is important to the guy who gets to the range only to discover that his scope is not fastened tight to his rifle. Plan B is carrying a universal set of tools to tighten scope rings anywhere. Or removing the scope and using the open sights. Plan B could also be taking a second rifle to the range in case something goes wrong with the first one.

Range bags

People always ask me to show them what I carry in my range bag. Instead of doing that I will tell you. I carry plan B. Every embarrassing adventure adds one more thing to that range bag. Those who shoot from their keyboards and couches need a list. I appreciate there are new shooters who want suggestions for a basic kit of stuff to always carry, but believe me — experience produces the best list. As a result, veteran shooters have heavy range bags!

How to spot a newbie

Newbie airgunners usually want everything in one airgun. They want velocity, accuracy, looks, convenience — oh, and could we please get that at a really good price? It’s as if you think Sophia Vagaras is somehow seeking a rustic redneck gentleman with a beer belly — a man who thinks fine dining means going inside instead of yelling into the clown’s mouth. Haven’t you noticed that there are lots of them around? Like the Chicken Man — they’re everywhere!

What these new airgunners are doing is selecting a fantasy airgun. It’s like a fantasy prize fight. “I’d like to see Muhammad Ali go up against Rocky Marciano!” Dream on, friend, because it never could have happened. Any more than a .22 caliber TX200 Mark III can be tuned to deliver 30 foot-pounds, give half-inch groups at 50 yards and sell for $300. You can have any one of those three, but none of them go together. And complaining about it on a chat forum is not going to wake up the sleeping engineer at Crosman who has just been waiting to hear what you want!


What you need is plan B. Solve this riddle — what can you sit on, brush your teeth with and drive to work?

ANSWER: A chair, a toothbrush and a car. Sometimes the answer (plan B) is that you have to shoot more than one airgun to get all that you want. For fun and accuracy at home I shoot either a Diana 27 or a BSA Meteor Mark I. For power I shoot an AirForce Condor. The Condor is more accurate than either of the first two air rifles, but it’s not the airgun to shoot inside the house!

The moral

What I’m saying is be flexible, and be able to change. Because sometimes that’s when the best stuff happens!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

48 thoughts on “Plan B”

  1. Yes, just like a woman’s shoes, and a man’s golf clubs.
    One gun does not do every job well.

    One pair of her shoes does not go with every dress she has, and you don’t drive a ball 200 yards with a putter.

    BUT, You can shoot a mouse with an elephant gun, but it’s not wise to shoot an elephant with a mouse gun.

    • Hi SL
      Long time no see! Welcome back! Hope to see your very witty comments again. Have read about the Cooper hijack. Very interesting reading. Amazing he was never caught/found. Maybe his meticulous planning did the trick.

      • Errol

        Thank you for the kind words! My “wit” usually consists of me expressing my finely-honed grasp of the absurd for my own amusement, so I am always surprised and delighted on the rare occasion that people think that I am funny rather than mentally challenged.

        For a while I was working 70 to 80 hours a week, so even though I would read the blog, following the comments throughout the day (what I consider to be the icing on the cake) just was not possible. Hence my absence.

        There are a number of things about this blog that make me a lifelong addict. First are the reports on airguns that I have zero chance of owning, but I pine for them anyway because of BB’s reviews of things I never would have known existed. Like the Erma LG 10 for instance…


        I also cherished the rare but much anticipated guest blogs by Edith. I loved the way she wrote, and the subject matter was usually an eclectic mix of airguns, cars, cats, and the nefarious goings on in the Gaylord household. Like Tom shooting holes in the couch and co-opting Edith’s baking sheets.

        Then there are the posts by new members of the PA blog, brimming with enthusiasm for the airgunning arts they have just discovered… Such a breath of fresh air.

        Last but not least are the posts by the esteemed veterans of this blog who have been expressing their expertise long before I even knew this blessed place existed. Les, Genghis Jan, Mr B, Kevin Lentz, Matt 61, Orrin, Bobby Nations, Frank B, Derrick, Vince B, BG Farmer, Fred PRoNJ,

        I like to think DB Cooper got away with it. I don’t usually root for thieves or hijackers, but I think that Mr. Cooper was a thrill seeker who never really intended to hurt anyone. And he had huge cojones, for lack of a better phrase.

        • Slinging Lead
          I agree with all you said about the blog,Ms. Edith & all, but I also consider you as one of the Vets here & far from mentally challenged. You were one of the first to offer me help & advice when I first joined this blog. Take care and God bless

  2. LOL! I had to put into effect plan B with my new HM1000X.

    I was going to mount my new Leapers 4-12×44 SWAT on it this past weekend and shoot it some. I had seven sets of rings available but none of them was for a 30mm scope and 11mm dovetail and I had no suitable adapters. I did have a couple of ring sets for a 1 inch scope and 11mm dovetail so I ended up mounting my new Hawke 2-7×32 on it. This is a very nice scope and works fine for now, but for ranges out past 50 yards it is woefully inadequate.

    I am adding a couple of more adapters to my range bag.

    You can almost get away with having one air rifle that will do it all. It will not be cheap though.

    You can outfit an AirForce air rifle with a bunch of barrels of various calibers and several different valve/tanks and cover everything from indoor plinking to big bore blasting.

    You could also get the new FX Impact and get all of the barrel sets. That would cover small to medium bore shooting.

    It would be cheaper and easier to fool with to have several different air rifles.

    • Had posted at bottom but thought should askup higher. 😉 if and when you ship a pcp as in a Discovery you need to degass the gun for shipping. And this shouldn’t cause it to devlope a leak in the short time it’s being shipped would it?
      I purchased said gun and when arrived it leaked like a sieve now the one who sold to me says it’s my fault cause I told him ship it empty. He also didn’t even know what a degassing tool was. Went through paypal so in case need some technical back up I’m looking to this knowledge base.
      Rock. From Washington actually but stuck in TN. Not that has anything to do with my question lol just DB

      • Rock,

        No, degassing shouldn’t make it a leaker, and it really isn’t necessary to degass when shipping. Just draw down to a maintenance charge (1000 psi ot so) and it should be fine.

        Are you sure it leaks? Have you tried cocking it and then filling? Have you put silicone chamber lube into the fill port and blown it in?


        • I hooked it to my scuba fill and bled it slowly to to fill. Then it began to hiss at the pressure gauge or at least seemed where hiss came from. Guess I was wrong about remove gas but still hard believe would cause leak. I have not tried cocking and then fill nor the silicone into the fill port. Do you mean the connection where hose and gun meet? As didn’t hiss from there. Back at work will try them things in morn. Thank you for your help and as always a great read and flood of info here. Guess I should made sure needed degass.
          Thank you,

            • Ok it needs to be silicone chamber lube or silicone. As have silicone but not sure chamber lube. And yes I am goin to give this a try and keep fingers crossed doin it lol

              • Rock

                If that doesn’t work try removing the air pressure gauge and wrapping the threads with teflon tape. The leak at the gauge is not all that uncommon (happens on the Marauder too) and wrapping the threads with teflon tape is the usual remedy.

                I hope you enjoy the Discovery. It’s a fantastic airgun.

      • Rock,

        Like BB said, put a drop or two of silicone oil in the female foster fitting when you charge the air rifle and it will be blown into the reservoir and will migrate to the leak, likely sealing it. I had a leak develop with my Edge and this fixed it right up.

        A drop or so every so often (don’t drown the poor bugger) will help keep the seals lubricated so they last longer. It will also lubricate the valve mechanism. Do that every few months and you should be good to go.

        Now if it still leaks, it will need an overhaul.

        • Thanks yes gonna try one then the other till hopefully gets seal. Just gotta find silicone chamber lube locally or will need wait for order. I should have some I know and probably do just at work lol. Have a great day!

  3. Had to laugh ….

    When the range is 10 miles off road into the desert … the “bag” may include a fuel pump, oil pump, distributor parts, spark plugs, spare battery, starter, relay and cables. A case of engine oil, transmission, power steering fluid and water. A spare alternator and carburetor would help too.
    Assorted items to repair or replace all hoses, wires, fan belts and holes punched in oil pans, a tire repair kit and hand air pump. A few flashlights and a complete set of tools and sealants…. and some rope !
    The “Adventure” could be life threatening let alone embarrassing….. Tip, don’t go there alone !

    If you need any of the above to get out of the desert your airgun problems will fade away fast.

    BB is right, you won’t ‘need’ anything if you have it with you already and experience is the best teacher. Nobody listens to wisdom. As the saying goes, “Fail to plan, and you can plan to fail”

      • Jim,
        A 3 gal cooler jug … minimum !
        Walked out 7 miles with one, shared the load with a friend by putting a stick through the handle.

        Lost a fuel pump once on the Coyote Canyon jeep trail in Borrego Springs, Southern CA . Made it out by tapping an upside down 1 qt. plastic oil bottle to the windshield post and connecting it to the carb fuel inlet line using the radiator overflow tube and some vacuum lines connected together, after I syphoned some gas into bottles to pour into it.
        Had no choice, water was beginning to rise in the stream bed.

        Missed work the next day, took all night to drive out, when I explained they started calling me MacGyver !

        Nothing like an old Jeep,
        Bob M

      • Jan

        Usually involves a weekend camping trip to some BLM land between Ocotillo Wells and Plaster city near Navy Aircraft target ranges lots of ‘nothing’ out there. Mostly casual target shooting with real steel but you can surely go long distance and have a good dirt back stop, unless it’s so hot heat waves mess with your scope.
        Be prepared for some sort of border enforcement people to check you out. Everything in southern CA is under surveillance and you just interfere with their work. They may ask you to leave … for your own safety of course.
        Bob M.

  4. B.B.
    I usually have a plan B AND plan C. FWIW, There was a famous bicycle designer who said, light, cheap, strong; pick 2.
    I thought Sophia Vagaras did marry a red neck with a beer belly!


    • Heh. NASA had a similar one. For a few years in the nineties, NASA leadership straight-facedly used the slogan “faster, better, cheaper.”

      The veteran engineers always knew to append the “pick two!”

      They plowed a couple of expensive missions into things like the Martian atmosphere before the upper management realized that they were being ironic all along.


  5. I learned a couple of things today. I have seen several TV shows about DB Cooper but I never heard any discussion of the FBI sabotaging the parachutes. The other thing I learned was that our BB was involved in the search and that they were searching for an impact crater.

    BB, what do you think DB Cooper’s back up plan was?

    As for my range bag, I keep a small plastic tackle box with me. It is the smallest size. I keep a tiny brass hammer, punches, pliers, adjustable wrenches, a set of gun smithing screwdriver bits, allen wrenches, fill adapters, pellets, gun wipe, lens wipe, range finder, notepad and pencil, a pull through barrel cleaning tool, and small tube of lubricant. This little plastic box has gotten me and my friends out of a ton of jambs.

    David Enoch

    • David,

      DB would have been a fool to jump with any parachute the FBI gave him. He must have thought they would cut the risers or sew the canopy together or something like that. I think he had a good chute stowed aboard and just used the FBI chutes to obfuscate them. I think his chute was probably a rogallo wing, because where he bailed out was a death trap. He probably steered to a safer place.


      • You tell the FBI that you are going to make one of the crew(stewardess) jump with you.

        They will not sabotage the chutes.

        With todays miniature everything, they will sew a GPS transmitter into the harness inconspicuously,and will know where the chute(presumably with you attached) went.

        Even with GPS: If you open high, and have one of the extra chutes attached (trooper-style) and drop it immediately, searchers will have to search both the location of the straight-down falling dropped chute , and the spot to which you will drift before landing. Twice(at least) the work for searchers, ..better chance to escape before being located, no?

        Did you jettison the (open)first chute, with harness(and possible GPS unit), allowing it to drift while you free-fell and opened lower to land at GPS spot A, or did you drop the unopened chute first, and drift a good distance yourself to GPS point B? )

        Heck of a job, Brownie! A first class mystery, for sure.

        With a little sky-diving experience myself, I feel all of this would be possible for the right guy. A 3-chute version could be done with super-sized cajones 😉

        • Forgot to add- A fast(jet fighter) chase plane with observers, tailing the plane could observe the jump, and circle to try to see the chute open, and better pinpoint the landing spot.

          Use a fighter with a wider speed range, so it could slow to match the airliner’s jump speed(DB had the pilot fly slow) and be better able to circle tightly while observing post-jump.

  6. Owning multiple airguns hasn’t been an option for me, One is challenging enough, and I generally have a singular purpose. That said, 6 years after B.B. did his review, (and long after I sold my beloved Career Infinity), I finally bought an Evanix Blizzard, and I have a question..
    Just like the Infinity, this Korean gun does not seem to be valved for a “power curve”. Using 18gr pellets, the velocity starts high and drops linearly with every shot, almost 50FPS in a group of 10. That was not a problem with the Infinity – I had learned to nudge the power adjust wheel after every shot to keep the velocity constant.
    The Blizzard has no power adjust, but I did notice that with 30grain Eley magnums, the velocity rises slightly over 10 shots, and the spread in a group of 10 is only 4FPS.
    Why does a heavy pellet so profoundly change the performance curve, (and why can’t I find Eley magnums anymore – I friend sent me his last handful)?

  7. B.B.

    I see how the heavier pellet would hold the valve open longer, and let out more air, but , I don’t see how that helps develop a curve or flattens the sudden decline.
    I read that people try to weaken the hammer spring, to allow LESS air out, so that the first few shots are not so powerful.(an induced “valve lock” effect). Then as the pressure drops, the hammer spring starts to overpower the valve, and the gun displays a more typical curve.
    What am I missing..?

    Jane Hansen

    • Jane,

      I wish I could explain it but I don’t think I’m able. All I know is that there is often a flattening of the velocity curve when heavier pellets are used. This doesn’t hold true with all valves, of course, but those from Turkey and the orient seem to act that way.

      Sorry I don’t understand it better. Maybe it has to do with less valve bounce with the heavier pellet?


    • Jane,

      Knowing the “power curve” is good. But as Gunfun1 always told me,…. what does it do on paper? I have the .25 M-rod. PCP’s are tricky and I do not pretend to know everything. I ended up with a more powerful hammer spring,…. which just allowed a higher fill,… 3500 vs 3000. I can shoot from approx. 3500 down to 2500 with little to no drop in POI. 24 shots. Of course, the velocity is dropping as well. How much I do not know as I have not chronied it since the final set up of adjustments.

      Knowing your “partial” valve lock point/#’s is critical. Note the fill pressure at where the string goes from lower to higher. (That) is your high fill for (that) particular pellet. Just shoot until you see the POI drop off. That is now your high and low on fill pressures. Hammer, striker, port adjustments can change that,.. if you have them.

      As it turns out, I can shoot 25.39 and 33.95 grain pellets and still get 24 shots. The hold-over of course is different. As time has progressed, I can see the benefit of a regulated gun. Like I learned though,….. what is it doing on paper is all that really matters,…. regardless of the chrony #’s.

      I hope some of that helps.

  8. Mr. Gaylord:
    Enjoyed your blog post today on the need for an alternative plan B. Over the years, I’ve accompanied many youth crews to shooting and other outdoor events. One lesson I’ve learned as an adult crew leader is that having only one backup plan B is not really best practices BSA “be prepared” planning.
    When I’ve ask my crew leadership to develop their trip plan, I usually ask them to think about both a “plan B” and a second “alternate plan C” backup, just in case our first plan B falls through. This pre-trip exercise really helps develop their insights and long range planning skills.
    As an adult leader in a shooting sports crew, watching youth develop this life skill is sometimes more satisfying than their actual competition scores.
    Which is not t say that we don’t have tools, pellets/ammunition, at least one alternative competition rifle, a prone mat, a kneeling roll, and a shooting jacket stowed in reserve.
    William Schooley
    Rifle/Pistol Coach
    Crew 357
    Chelsea, MI

  9. If and when you ship a pcp as in a Discovery you need to degass the gun for shipping. And this shouldn’t cause it to devlope a leak in the short time it’s being shipped would it?
    I purchased said gun and when arrived it leaked like a sieve now the one who sold to me says it’s my fault cause I told him ship it empty. He also didn’t even know what a degassing tool was. Went through paypal so in case need some technical back up I’m looking to this knowledge base.
    Rock. From Washington actually but stuck in TN. Not that has anything to do with my question lol just DB

    • Rock
      I’m no expert on airguns, I collect them, and I don’t really get into the workings to modify or repair them but I read this blog and I’m really surprised nobody helped you yet? At the risk of sounding stupid I’ll ask if you have cocked the rifle to let the air valve seat so you can fill it ?

      Bob M

      • Hey evening or morning lol depending where your at. BB has given me suggestions one just like yours even lol. Had go work so no chance get to try till in the morn. Also gonna have try find silicone chamber oil for a diff fix he suggested. Not sure if have any know I had some but know how that goes.
        Thanks again for your help!


  10. Re:. The range bag. Hagar The Horrible (of comic strip fame) said to learn to live with what you’ve got. So be sure to get enough.

    I was in the Peace Corps, and standard kit was a Swiss Army knife, a roll of toilet paper, and a paperback book. The TP still goes with me to the range.

  11. How to spot a newbie.
    Really have no idea why i expected anything else, but who will make the affordable self contained PCP. If you don’t know what i am talking about well you might actually be new to air guns, so just imagine a Marauder with a pump on it and the only question you have to ask is which manufacturer is going to be willing to do it right and effectively incur the wrath of the rest of the industry. I think the real fear is that once Crosman makes one for $650 how long until the Chinese knock off becomes available for $400.

    I have so much more to say and none of it would go over well here as i have learned in the past.

    So go ahead and use the term “Newbies” in a passive aggressive way. If we all just want to blindly accept what an industry tells us we have the right to expect feel free to remove your seat belts and disable your airbags in your car. I would take this argument to a more lengthy and complete conclusion, but not only would that be perhaps insulting or even petty.

    Anybody here new to air guns well guess what you are a “Newbie” and you are the future of air guns and a lot of people will want to tell you how it is, perhaps it is time for us newbies to tell them how it is going to be. For those of you willing to let the industry dictate what we should accept i urge you in that spirit to remove the seat belts & airbags from your cars. Somehow i doubt this post will be left and if it is the reaction will be predictable to say the least. Go Cubs!!

    • Mike,

      Are you aware that B.B. did an article on that very subject awhile back? Lots of comments and ideas regarding the subject.

      Without going back and looking for the article and any comments you might have made,….. I just thought that I would mention it in case you were not aware.

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