Basic airgun maintenance for beginners

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Good for everyone
  • Back to the LG55
  • Oiling the piston seal
  • How to tell
  • How to oil the piston seal
  • Other maintenance
  • Cleaning the barrel
  • What pellets?
  • Cleaning the outside
  • That’s it

I received this question on Tuesday.

“I just received an LG cal 4.5 mod 55 Walther’s patent air rifle. It’s a great gift, and I would like to keep it in good condition. I live in Europe though, And like most Europeans, I know almost nothing about guns.

Could you write an article about basic airgun maintenance and important things to check when laying hands on an old gun?
Thanks in advance for any help, Jean”

Good for everyone

With the enormous number of readers we have, I imagine Jean is not alone with his question. I put the answer here in the History section because his Walther LG 55 is a vintage breakbarrel spring-piston airgun that’s no longer made. It was made from 1955 to 1967, according to the Blue Book of Airguns. For some of those years (until 1963) it was Walther’s top target air rifle, and even today it has a smoothness and robust construction that cannot be overlooked. You don’t have to know airguns to recognize the quality of this rifle.

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The Hatsan Sortie PCP pistol: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Sortie
Hatsan Sortie semiautomatic pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Shooting with a scope
  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • RWS Superdomes
  • H&N Field Target Trophy with 5.53mm head
  • H&N Sniper Light
  • Last pellet — Baracuda with 5.50mm head
  • Summary and evaluation

Today we see how accurate the new Hatsan Sortie pistol is at 25 yards. Remember, this is a true semiautomatic .22-caliber air pistol that looks ideal for hunting.

Shooting with a scope

Several readers wondered how the pistol could be held to shoot with a rifle scope attached. I said I didn’t want to try a pistol scope and readers know the eye relief with a rifle scope is about three inches or less, so how can that work? I promised to show you in this report, so let’s do that now.

I mounted a UTG 10X44 Mini SWAT scope on the Sortie. That scope is either discontinued or out of stock, but it looks quite similar to the UTG 10X50 SWAT scope. All the features are identical.

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Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Stormrider
Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Rear sight comes off
  • The test
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Next up — JSB Exact Jumbos!
  • One more pellet
  • Conclusion

Let’s get right to it. Today we learn just how accurate is the .22-caliber Diana Stormrider I’m testing. In Part 3 I probably had difficulty seeing the open sights, but today I have scoped the rifle with a UTG SWAT 3-12X44 sidewheel scope. I have mounted it in BKL 30mm high rings. These are the thin rings with two screws per cap, because the Stormrider receiver doesn’t accept rings with a long base.

Rear sight comes off

The rear sight had to be removed for the bell of the scope to clear. The sight base, which is also the barrel band, remained on the rifle — just the adjustable rear notch had to come off.

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All American Target Concepts 503-1 action target: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

503-1 target
The All American Target Concepts 503-1 target is like nothing you have ever seen.

This report covers:

  • Big target
  • Tough
  • Safe
  • Portable
  • Assembles without tools!
  • Paddles of two different thicknesses
  • The secret
  • How large is it?
  • Knockdown
  • Many patents
  • Test

You may not remember me telling you about this action target in one of the reports on the 2017 Texas airgun show. Today I start my report about it.

Big target

The manufacturer does not call this a Texas Star, but they acknowledge that it works like one and most people will call it that. But if our sun is a star, this target is Betelgeuse! That’s a red supergiant start that, if it was in the same place as our sun, its rim would extend past the orbit of Mars! I’m saying the 503-1 is BIG. You might plink at regular Texas Stars at 35 yards — this is one you can move out to 75 and even 100 yards!

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Determining the age of a vintage airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • How old?
  • It starts with straight razors
  • Shape of the blade
  • Shape of the scales
  • Blade profile
  • Airguns
  • Generations/ages
  • Very old steel and wood
  • Seals
  • Spring guns
  • Funky parts
  • Other finishes
  • Post WW II steel and wood guns
  • Breech and piston seals
  • Look for plastic
  • Painted guns?
  • Summary

How old?

If you are new to the field of airguns there seems to be an ocean of things you need to know. If you want to become a collector, some of these things are crucial. Today I will explore how you can determine the relative age of a vintage airgun.

It starts with straight razors

Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about straight razors very long. But they were the thing I used to rediscover what it feels like to be a new guy in an established hobby. Although I am not interested in collecting them, I couldn’t help but pick up some clues to their relative ages (when they were made) along the way.

Shape of the blade

Before around 1800, straight razors had no real tang. That’s the skinny part behind the blade where you hold the razor to shave. Razors from 1800 and earlier simply don’t have one. They just end the sharp blade and remain almost as wide but become dull as they go back to the pivot pin on the scales.

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The Crosman 180: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman 180
My .22 caliber Crosman 180 is the second variation.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The acquisition
  • Quick fix
  • 180 variants
  • Trigger
  • The 180 valve
  • Adjustable power
  • Description
  • Sights
  • Summary

The acquisition

When my wife Edith and I lived in Maryland (1982-2003) we often attended the Columbia Flea Market. Once each month they held a Super Sunday when the market would expand by 500 percent. That was the day all the occasional dealers would attend, and bring the stuff nobody had ever seen. I found some tremendous air gun bargains there! Maybe I will write a report on just that — the deals I found and the deals I passed up. Today, however, I am starting a look at a Crosman 180 that came from that market.

We had been attending for more than a year and I believe I had started writing The Airgun Letter, or was about to. Because I was used to seeing vintage airguns at this market I carried several CO2 cartridges in my pocket, just in case. On this day one stall had this Crosman 180 and a .177-caliber 187 for sale. As I recall they wanted $40 apiece. I asked if they held CO2 and of course the dealer didn’t know. Then I asked if I could try my cartridges and she said yes.

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They have the wrong twist rate!: Part 2

usby Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Been awhile
  • New airgunners
  • A better way
  • Doing what works
  • The point
  • Sharpening straight razors

Been awhile

Part 1 of this report was written way back in the beginning of February. I think the reason it’s taken me so long to get back to it is I titled it wrong. I will discuss that as we go, but first let me define who “they” are. In the words of comedian, Red Green, “They” are everybody who is not us. Now that that’s clear we can continue.

Part 1 was a treatise on twist rates and how they affect accuracy. As many of you are aware, I use this blog to school both new airgunners and also airgun manufacturers — who are often as ignorant of the facts as new airgunners, but cannot or will not admit it. No engineer who has just been hired by an airgun company is going to admit there is something he doesn’t know about guns! Heaven forbid! And neither is any CEO or owner of a company, because in their minds they are in a position of authority and should therefore know!

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