by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Not the big stuff…
  • Let there be light!
  • Tools
  • A magnifier
  • Electronic dial caliper
  • BB trap
  • More light on the subject
  • Are there other things?

Yesterday I used my Benbo 2 tripod for an extreme overhead shot and it brought to mind just how important that piece of equipment is to me. It’s a major part of my work, yet I seldom give it a second thought unless I’m using it. How many things are like that in an airgunner’s life?

Not the big stuff…
I’m not talking about the big obvious stuff today — stuff like chronographs and spotting scopes. Every airgunner needs them and you will too, once you see how well good ones work. The things I will talk about today are the little things — not necessarily cheap things, but things that are probably insignificant on the radar of your life.

Let there be light!
Every time I examine a gun and every time I work on one I have a small powerful flashlight with me. It’s as essential as any other tool. After all the problems with my eyes over the past few years, I find I need more light to see things in general, and airgun things in particular.

Now, Pyramyd Air has lots of flashlights for sale and these days it’s hard to go wrong with any one of them. I try to avoid the ones that use the CR123A batteries, simply because they are so expensive. I do have a couple, like the UTG Compact Defense LED Light, but that one’s for defense and I don’t think you can get a 400-lumen light that runs on AAA batteries. But you can get a Pelican 1920!

Pelican 1920
My favorite flashlight runs on 2 AAA batteries and has twin power modes — up to 120 lumens!

The Pelican 1920 is so great that I have two around at all times. There are twin power modes — 20 lumens for seeing in the dark and conserving the batteries and 120 lumens for really lighting up your work. It’s the size of a fountain pen (just lost all those readers under the age of 50) and as rugged as you might expect.

Tools
I could not get along without my Weaver tool kit. I use it several times each week and every time I dive into another airgun. It isn’t the only such kit I own — I have 5 or 6 that I’ve acquired over the years. The Weaver is just the one that is always on my desk at the ready.

Weaver tool kit
My Weaver tool kit is an essential item on my desk.

To be perfectly honest, there are jobs the tools in this kit cannot handle. Trigger adjustments are one, because the shaft of the screwdriver is too fat to fit through the hole in the triggerguard. And the deep holes in buttstocks that are attached with large screws to the backs of actions are too deep for a set like this. So you keep specialty screwdrivers for those purposes and use this for everything else. Ninety percent of the time, a kit like this is all you need.

A magnifier
I use magnifiers every day! To be sure, my eyes have caused some of this, but even when they were perfect I kept a large magnifying glass, a magnifying headset and a jeweler’s loupe on my desk. There are times when it becomes essential to see whether something is a scratch or a crack in the metal. And, is that another number in the serial number, or just a small nick in the metal? You need to magnify it to see for sure.

This is where a smart phone comes in handy. Several times at gun shows I have used mine to magnify something 10 times so several people could see it at the same time. I recommend that you look into a phone app that magnifies. I may always have my Pelican 1920 at a gun show, but I never had a magnifier, until now.

Electronic dial caliper
Years ago I broke down and bought an electronic dial caliper. I suppose I’ve owned it for about 10 years and I have replaced the battery just one time. Every group I report gets measured that way. And that’s how I measured thos BBs in yesterday’s report. Some of you know what I mean and cannot live without your dial calipers, either. The rest of you need to start looking for one!

Electronic dial caliper
My electronic dial caliber is indispensible!

Yes, mine was made in China! Listen — years ago when these things were analog, that mattered. Today they are electronic and I think all the precision and reliability is there regardless of the name on the box. Okay, I just painted a target on my back — have at it!

BB trap
Yesterday I set up a 5-meter range in my bedroom to test the Stechkin pistol. That was much easier because of the UTG pellet & BB trap. I have several pellet traps, but stopping steel BBs has always been a problem until this trap came along. The ballistic curtains inside stop the BBs from bouncing back out and getting all over the carpet. Sure, a few still escape, but this trap makes my life so much easier!

UTG BB trap
The UTG BB trap makes setting up a BB range quick and clean.

More light on the subject
I’ll finish with another light. This one is a Tota Light. It’s for photography, but I also use it for lighting the chronograph indoors by reflecting off the white ceiling, and for illuminating the target when I shoot indoors. It has a 500 watt halogen bulb

Tota Light barn doors open
Here the reflecting “barn doors” are open, to spread the light as much as possible.

Tota Light barn doors closed
The barn doors are closed to concentrate the light.

Tota Light off ceiling
To get even light on the floor or table for photographing a gun, the Tota Light is reflected off the white ceiling.

The Tota Light is rugged. The U.S. Navy used a bank of them to illuminate the interior of a submarine that was in a nuclear test. They filmed the inside of the sub, which I am told was blown 20 feet sideways when the blast hit. All the Tota Lights survived the blast!

Are there other things?
You bet there are! The binoculars that I use as a spotting scope inside the house is one thing. The ammo box I take to the range is another. There are a lot of things I never give any thought to — until I don’t have them when I need them. They are as much a part of my airgunning adventure as any airgun.

You may not be thrilled to get things like this, but when you need them and have them, they will make your life so much easier.