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Optics Christmas gifts for the airgunner: Part 1

Christmas gifts for the airgunner: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Gifts for $25 and under
  • Gifts for $100 and under
  • Gifts for $250 and under
  • Gifts with no price limit

First of all, to my American readers — Happy Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I hope you do, too.

With the holidays fast approaching we sometimes need help finding those perfect gifts. This blog offers some of my personal picks this year.

Gifts for $25 and under

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my book, BB Guns Remembered. It’s the perfect short story collection bathroom reader for someone who enjoys nostalgia. And this book makes the B.B. gun the star. At $10 it’s the perfect stocking-stuffer. If your airgunner likes to read, this is a good one!

Your airgunner may like a tin of Smart Shot Lead BBs. These BBs are on the large side and tend to be more accurate than steel BBs in many guns, plus they are much safer. Before ordering these, be sure to ask your airgunner if he has guns that can use them.

Shooters always need targets to shoot at and the paper ones your shooter copies are lousy. They tear and don’t give a good impression of the shots. He would probably love to have a stack of good paper targets, but will never order them for himself. Be a hero and do the deed!

Many shooters can use the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater. It comes in 177 and .22 caliber, with .177 being the most popular. The seater is adjustable for seating depth. It helps those shooters with fat fingers and anyone who shoots a breakbarrel really needs one!

Gifts for $100 and under

First up in this category is the Beeman P17 air pistol. It’s only $35, yet it shoots like airguns selling for many times as much. It’s accurate, has a great trigger, adjustable sights and it feels great in the hand. What’s not to like?

Every shooter needs a bullet trap that will last and not get shot out, and the Do-All Bullet Box does just that. This is another item an airgunner won’t buy for himself, yet every one of us needs one. He’ll thank you every time he uses it!

The Tech Force M8 is priced right at $100, but as a breakbarrel spring piston rifle it offers value that other low-priced spring guns cannot give. Maybe your airgunner missed his chance to own an Air Venturi Bronco. The M8 is the next best thing for even less money!

For a great single-shot pellet pistol it’s hard to beat the Crosman 2240. It’s accurate, powerful and very ergonomic. It runs on CO2, so be sure to buy some 12-gram cartridges if you buy the gun. And don’t forget that it’s .22 caliber.

Gifts for $250 and under

My top recommendation in this category is the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. At $140, it represents the best value in a target airgun. And be sure to buy some Avanti Precision Ground Shot which this gun needs to do its best. Better get some 5-meter targets, too, as they are not common items for airgunners to have.

Does your airgunner want a good accurate spring rifle? I recommend the Walther Terrus. It’s not overly powerful, but it is deadly accurate and a great value in a spring gun. I’m recommending the model with the synthetic stock because it works well with this rifle, and it’s less expensive.

Got a cowboy? Get him a John Wayne Duke Colt BB revolver. He’ll be proud of it and surprised by the accuracy, too. This family of airguns also comes in identical models that shoot pellets, if he doesn’t want a BB gun. I like the BB gun models best, but that’s just a personal preference.

Every dedicated airgun shooter needs a chronograph. They measure the speed of the pellet or BB coming out of the airgun and are useful in many different ways. But most shooters won’t buy one because of the cost. What a wonderul gift to give — one that he needs but would never buy for himself! I recommend the Shooting Chrony Alpha Master, because it has the remote display with controls that allow you to be up to 15 feet away from the skyscreens. That’s most useful on a crowded public range. He’ll love it!

Gifts with no price limit

These are the things most airgunners want, but probably have to wait for a birthday or Christmas (and maybe more than one) to get. I’ll start with the finest spring piston air rifle made today. That would be the Air Arms TX200 Mark III. This is an air rifle I have no reservations about recommending, because I know it performs. It needs no tuning, because it’s fine just as it comes from the box. Just mention it to your airgunner in a casual conversation and listen to see whether he wants one. I’ll bet he does! This rifle comes without sights and will need a scope and mounts.

Another great air rifle is the Talon SS from AirForce Airguns. This is the airgun that accepts interchangeable barrels, so it’s not just an air rifle — it’s a whole system. It can be any of four different calibers in three different barrel lengths. I recommend getting the .22 caliber base gun to start with. This is one of my go-to air rifles. And this one has great power that the next rifle doesn’t have. This rifle comes without sights and will need a scope and mounts

If your shooter likes the classic look of a rifle, then the Benjamin Marauder might suit him better. You can’t change calibers of this rifle like the Talon SS can, and the power is lower (but still respectable), but the Marauder does have some unique qualities. The adjustable trigger is near-perfection, and the shooter can adjust the fill pressure and the rifle’s power for best accuracy. And Marauders are very accurate — often just as accurate as the Talon SS. I have no caliber recommendation for a Marauder, so ask your airgunner what he fancies. This rifle comes without sights and will need a scope and mounts

My final recommendation today is for an air pistol that many shooter will like, but not all. The Beeman P1 appeals to the shooter who’s after ultimate accuracy in an air pistol. It holds like a 1911 firearm and has a beautiful adjustable trigger, and adjustable sights. But it’s hard to cock, so check with your airgunner before buying one.

That’s it for today’s gift guide. I’m thinking of writing at least one more.

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.

43 thoughts on “Christmas gifts for the airgunner: Part 1”

  1. Hello BB and Fellow Airgunners
    What a wonderful Christmas tradition for us hard to buy for airgunners. Just print the list, circle the price category that pertains to you, and afix it to your fridge with a magnet. If any of you are like me, my own list might contain a meager 1-2 items per year. It’s a hobby most wives, girlfriends, and children know very little about. Besides, from the looks of your bulging airgun parts/products drawers, they probably think you already own at least one of every airgun product ever made.
    If I may make a suggestion, you could make the $25.00 and under, $10-$25.00, and have a $10.00 and under category strictly for stocking stuffers. This would be items like pelgun oil, a package of shoot-and-see targets, or the always handy magnifying glass to catch those pesky line cutters. Especially useful for younger children with a limited piggy bank.
    To all my American friends I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

      • BB
        Thanks for inquiring to my health. I’m able to be up and about for short periods of time now. It’s amazing how a couple of months lying in a hospital bed can weaken even the strongest person. I’ve heard that for every day spent in bed, it takes three to build yourself back up.
        I feel very fortunate as a few of my room mates (four to a room), are no longer with us. I’m greatful that was never an option for me. It may have taken longer to heal then I expected, but I continue making progress, and will make a full recovery with the help of a half dozen pills per day. I have no desire to return to the “good old days” when heart failure was literally a death sentence. I continue to stress the importance of a yearly checkup by your physician for those readers over 40 years old. Early detection can save you from months of slow recovery.
        On a lighter note, this blog has been a boon to me. Reading your blogs on different airguns, airgun products, and testing has solidified my interest in our ever changing sport. Also, I feel part of a family when I read the comments written by such familiar names. I may not contribute much as I just have my iPhone to peck out my own comments. I’m sure you iPhone users can sympathize.

        • Glad you’re on the mend. I know what you mean about recovering. I’ve had to drop the judo to nurse a knee injury for the foreseeable future. My doctor says that I’ve reached the age where I should not longer push it like a young person.


    • Titus,

      I understand. When I was in the hospital in 2010 I asked to walk several times each day. I got to be known as “the walker”. That bed seems to absorb you aas you lie there, and you need to do anything you can to get out. Even if it’s just to exercise while still in the bed, you have to do it.

      I pray for you every day and will continue to do so until I am told I no longer need to. Thanks for the good report.


  2. B.B.,

    Nice list of recommendations. It should also be noted that any PCP’s on the list will at least need a hand pump. A tank, compressor and fill hose would be the “ultimate” Christmas adding around 1500$ to the package. Yup on the TX, Marauder and 499.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all in the States. For the rest of the readers,… you got a free pass on eating a “bit too much” of all of your favorite foods for one day! 😉


        • Chris,

          Yes, I have already been told. I can get all of this stuff, but that had better be it for quite some time.

          This is going to be my Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, Happy Wedding Anniversary, Happy Father’s Day, etc. for the next couple of years I am certain.

  3. B.B.,

    Thanks for reminding me about your book; I will be getting a copy soon. I also have to agree with you on the P1 – I have one and they are wonderful pistols.

    My own gift to myself this year is the Diana K98 in .22 caliber – just placed the order for one yesterday. I have not wanted a new airgun this bad in a while.

    Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

    Paul in Liberty County

  4. BB, after yesterday’s blog, I thought something. Why does solid cast bullets work so well for big bore air rifles like .357 and above but not for the 4 smallbore calibers? Especially the 1400-1600 fps .177 springers where pellets normal pellets tend to get supersonic?
    I know the diabolo skirt is what provides stability to pellets, but then how do the big bores get their stability?

    • Jo,

      It’s hard to cock because you have to turn one hand around backwards to do it. The motion is unnatural.I have great difficulty teaching someone who has never cocked one how to cock it. Once they learn it gets easier, but it”s never easy.

      Other P1 owners want to weight in on this?


      • Jo,

        Try the following:

        1. With one hand tightly hold the hand grip in a position that is comfortable.
        2. With the other hand (your cocking hand) unlatch the barrel housing and pull it up just to the point where it provides resistance.
        3. Move your cocking hand so that your palm is against the underside of the barrel housing.
        4. Continue to hold the grip tightly and with your cocking hand push the housing away from you to cock it. (We have much more leverage and muscular strength pushing than we do pulling.)
        5. Stop pushing once you hear and feel the pistol is fully cocked.

        That is how I do it. The process is just slightly rough on the palm of your cocking hand, but not too bad, in my opinion.


    • Jo

      I just went to the closet and pulled out my P1 and cocked it to refamiliarize myself with the cocking effort. It really isn’t too bad for an adult, but kids would probably struggle with it. It’s just that the cocking lever (the top of the gun) is so short, not that the spring is so stout.

      These things just scream “QUALITY!” They’re pretty impressive.

  5. I have to make this comment real quick.

    The .22 Maximus I changed around with the 1720T trigger grip assembly with the 1399 butt stock and tethered 3000 psi HPA 13 cubic inch bottle regulated at 1200 psi is amazingly accurate.

    I had to take the scope mounted bi-pod off because it was to muzzle heavy after I mounted the bottle because of the bi-pod location to far back.. And I lightened the trigger pull more.

    I did not shoot the gun before I took the stock off and changed the trigger and regulated bottle. So I have nothing to compare before and after results. But all I know this gun is crazy accurate. It is seriously making one hole groups at 50 yards. Best to date is a .450″ group at 50 yards with JSB 15.89 domed pellets.

    But here’s a short video of what the gun looks like now with the bottle attached. It’s crude but it’s solid. I can pick the gun up by the bottle and it doesn’t move. Made two little derlin wedges that go inbetween the bottle and gun resivoir. I hot glued the wedges to the bottle but not to the gun then zip tied the bottle to the guns air resivoir. But the gun now sets on my rest naturally. You’ll see in the video.

    Here is before I mounted the bottle and took the scope mounted bi-pod off.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving and great gift suggestions. I particularly like the bb gun book and the 5 yard targets. I’d never imagined that there was one for such a short distance. I take it that these are intended for offhand, right? I’m spending an enjoyable holiday loading up a ton of ammunition and practicing my knife and axe throwing and airgun shooting.


  7. Thanks for the great suggestions, BB. I’ve really liked the AirForce 4-16×50 AO Rifle Scope you recommended back on your 2014 Chrstmas list, been a nice complement to my Marauder.

      • BB
        Ok and this may sound silly because you would think I would know. But what was Chip’s title at Crosman anyway?

        I knew who he was but never thought about what he did there.

        • GF1,

          Chip was in marketing. Not sure of his title. He came to Crosman in 2010, when I was in the hospital. My first conversation with him was from my hospital bed. I didn’t know who he was, but with the last name Hunnicutt, I figured he was somehow related to Bob Hunnicutt who was my editor at Shotgun News at the time.


  8. In counting my blessings today I realized that this blog is one of the things that I am thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to Tom and all my other airgunning brothers.

  9. BB, do the barrels of big bores have twist rates for stabilizing heavy slugs, while small bores have lower twist rates?
    And the pellets from my smooth bore air ‘gun’ tumble after 7 m, why doesn’t the high drag skirt stabilize it beyond 7 m?

    • Riki,

      Good questions. For starters,…. type in ( twist rates ) in the search box. It pulled up 1 article and then another that had 12 parts. That should answer some of your questions.

    • Riki,

      Yes, big bore rifle barrels are designed with different twist rates for solid bullets. But this is challenging to airgun designers because many of them have never had to worry about twist rates before now.

      As far as your pellets tumbling after 7 meters — that’s not been my experience. You may not remember it, but I did a test of a Diana model 25 smoothbore and got fantastic groups at 10 meters.



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