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Education / Training Feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

Feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What do you want for Christmas?
  • What’s the point?
  • So — what do you want for Christmas?
  • You are the key
  • Speed sells
  • Accuracy
  • PCPs
  • Handguns
  • One last thing
  • Summary

Well it’s upon us, that time of year when everyone’s thoughts turn to… avarice! Last Friday was Black Friday — originally named for that shopping day when retailers count on their bottom lines turning from red to black for the year. In the beginning, it was whispered behind closed doors, to keep from informing the public of the delicate nature of business. Today it’s shouted through every advertising media channel for weeks before the day arrives — in the hopes of whipping up a buying frenzy. And it does. Some stores that are known for their deeply-discounted loss leaders have lines that form hours before the insanely early hour that their doors open.

Then there is “small business Saturday.” That’s the next day, when shoppers are encouraged to patronize the small businesses in their community. Small-business advocates like Yahoo and Facebook beat the drums to attract dollars to those businesses they steamroll the other 364 days each year.

The Monday after the weekend is Cyber Monday — the day when online retailers can expect to see an influx of traffic. And on and on…

In the 1947 hit Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus taught us all to avoid all the commercialism and concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas — the fact that he really existed and lived in the imagination (a nation like any other, he told a young Natalie Wood). He was institutionalized for his claims until the New York court, with the support of the Treasury of the United States, rules that he is the one and only Santa.

What do you want for Christmas?

In this movie Santa rebels when he is told by Mr. Shellhammer, the Macey’s store manager, to push certain overstocked toys if a child is unsure of what to ask for. We see the same thing in A Christmas Story, when Santa suggests a football to young Ralphie Parker, who is sitting on his lap and momentarily draws a blank.

What’s the point?

Why the rant today? Because yesterday the message in my church was how to maintain our joy during this stressful season. What? Christmas stressful? Yes, it is.

Christmas used to be a holiday, didn’t it? Presents were exchanged, but they weren’t the point of the celebration. Today Christmas seems to mean the time to hunker down and prepare to erase hundreds of bogus emails that try to entice you to buy something from stores who bought your address somewhere and have no idea who you are.

So — what do you want for Christmas?

Instead of the 1,400 f.p.s. buzzy megamagnum breakbarrel that some corporate veep thinks you want, what do you really want this year? They will still sell a lot of those in the discount stores to customers who don’t know much about airguns and to people who have to buy presents for their favorite airgunners. But you’re not those people. You are reading this blog, which means you are informed and thoughtful about your hobby. So, what do you want?

You are the key

If the marketing department knew what their buyers wanted they could stock up on those items and exclude the other things that take up space and bring little return. That knowledge would be extremely valuable. It is at the heart of all the things marketing departments discuss.

Speed sells

I have been in meetings where marketeers insisted that an airgun shoot a minimum of 1,000 feet per second. Any less, they thought, was the kiss of death. Before you criticize them, look back on your entry into airgunning. You may find that you were one such customer. But now that we have gotten you spun up on what’s neat about airguns, here are a few basic things I think educated airgunner might want.


The newbies want velocity. Experienced airgunners want accuracy. They will also take velocity when they can get it, but only if it is accompanied by accuracy. That makes the TX200 Mark III the most desirable spring rifle around, and the Diana 34P a close runner-up.

Are there others? Sure, and I have recommended them in reports in the past. But these two are my top go-to recommendations, because in all the years I have been telling you about them (we are coming up on 13 years), and the hundreds of them that you purchased on my recommendation, I have had only one bad report about a TX200, and the one I got about the Diana 34P I tested for you earlier this year.


What about precharged pneumatics (PCP)? Well, when we start looking at precharged guns the choice gets a lot more complex. Other considerations come into play; things like:

Styling (bullpup or conventional)
Sound suppression

I can recommend PCPs, but my recommendations are slanted by my tastes. If you don’t share my tastes you won’t like what I recommend. I will go out on a limb, though, and recommend two PCP air rifles.

If you want a PCP with a great trigger, good accuracy, and a repeating capability I recommend the Benjamin Marauder. This rifle has the features of PCPs costing twice as much and more, plus it has user adjustments that no other airgun has.

If you like single shot air rifles like me, I recommend the AirForce Talon SS. It was the first PCP to offer adjustable power and a shrouded barrel, and to date it is the only one that offers an easily changeable barrel in any of four calibers and three different lengths. Sure, if you get a barrel longer than 12 inches you’ll defeat the shroud, but there are aftermarket fixes for that. It’s Lothar Walther barrels will outshoot most PCPs or at least stay up with them. I run mine with a 24-inch .22 caliber barrel and an aftermarket bloop tube (shroud extension) that gives me quiet operation in the mid 40 foot-pound range and puts 10 shots into less than 3/4-inches at 50 yards. But that’s just me.


Air pistols run the gambit from action pistol lookalikes, to serious hunting pistols. And my universal choices are the handgun versions of the PCP rifles I just recommended. Yes, I’m talking about the Marauder air pistol, although in this case I think you ought to look at the Woods Walker version of this airgun, as well. This pistol is a repeater that puts out 16 foot-pounds of energy with heavy .22 caliber pellets, so it’s great for even larger sized small game.

If you need even more power, though, I can recommend the TalonP from AirForce. In .25 caliber you’ll get close to 50 foot-pounds (I saw 57 in my test) from an air pistol, and that’s remarkable! This pistol will stack pellet on pellet at 40 yards, and AirForce makes a shoulder stock for it.

One last thing

There is one final thing I hope you are getting this year, if you don’t already have one — a chronograph. And I’m not recommending just any old chronograph. I am recommending you get a Shooting Chrony Alpha Master that has the remote control readout that separates you from the skyscreens by up to 15 feet. This is the one I use all the time and I have grown fond of it.


Well — there you have it! What began as a rant ended looking more like a Christmas Gift Guide, which I suppose was the intent all along!

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.

54 thoughts on “Feeling the Christmas spirit yet?”

  1. B.B.,

    I would like to experience and get a proper spring rifle that will deliver accuracy and power without undue detonation. There are lots of choices over there but on my shores the pickings are very slim. I know there are a few FWB 124 and 127 about. There are also Diana 54 and FWB 300s but none are available to me yet. One of these days though, maybe Santa will drop it into my lap although it might be a diamond in the rough from years of use or neglect.



    Section: Accuracy. Last sentence, “That makes the TX200 Mark III the most desirable spring rifle around, and the TX200 Mark III (same rifle?) a close runner-up.

    Section One last thing. Second Sentence, “And I’m not recommending just any old chronograph. I am recommending you get a chronograph” target=”_blank”>Shooting Chrony Alpha Master that has the remote control readout that separates you from the skyscreens by up to 15 feet.” probably have to clean the code from that sentence pointing to the Shooting Chrony Alpha Master.

  2. B.B.,

    Dang B.B.,…you got me looking up words before finishing my first cup of coffee! 😉

    Avarice: greed for money,….. at least that is what mine says. I suppose that fits, but an interesting choice.

    Me? I am happy for what I already have, the huge amount of choices in the air gun market today and the fine, fine crowd found here.

    Good Day to you and to all,….. Chris

      • B.B.

        I have a newer HW 50S. I can set it up either in .177, short stroked, mild spring, 7-8fpe indoor target, with peeps.
        Or, .22 full power Vortek, 13fpe. scoped.
        I do love it. What a versatile gun!!!!


        • Yogi,
          Fill me in on this, where did you get the mild spring? Where did you get your extra barrel? Was the gun .22 and you put a .177 barrel on it or vice versa? I would love to have that versatility with my .22 H.W. 50.

          • Coduece,

            I originally ordered a .177 from Europe, full power US. Then sent it to a tuner, ordered a .22 barrel from the Canadian place when they were cleaning out their HW inventory. Got a piston, and cocking linkage too. Easy swap…..0.177 spring had numerous coils cut off. Sent for the UK short stroke kit. CS stock. The only hassle is switching from peeps(Williams) to scope. In hind sight I should of gotten two guns. One in .177 and one in .22. Just do not have the storage space for a collection.


  3. BB,

    What I would like to have is a little more time. Time to play with the toys I already have. Time to rebuild my Crosman 101. Time to tune my Tomahawk. Time to send lead way down range with my HM1000X.

    This past year has been a very busy year for me. This coming year I hope to breath a bit, relax and enjoy the life I have been blessed with a little more.

    May all have a Blessed Christmas.

  4. You guys will shoot your eyes out! (Sorry….) Well, all except for those happy with what they’ve got, or asking for world peace or a little more time. What’s even more ironic is Black Friday follows the day we’re supposed to be grateful for everything we’ve got.

    I like the thoughtful responses (more time is what I need too), AND the solid product recommendations. A Marauder pistol is at the top of my wish list though that will probably happen next year. I do own a couple of B.B.’s previous gift suggestions and am pretty thankful someone is able to do all that field testing!

  5. I guess Christmas has already come to my house. I have lately found a Diana 25, a metal receiver Daisy 880 and a Grossman 1400 so I’m pretty well taken care of for this Christmas. Merry Christmas, everyone!


  6. B.B.
    Earlier this summer I got my new .25 Marauder and love it’s power and accuracy but I find I still need a lower powered gun for the pesting needs at less than 35 yds. Santa is going to have to decide wether I get a multi-shot breech and shroud for my Discovery or I get a new Marauder pistol setup.Ahhhhh! The choices!

  7. Well, the 45-70 Sharps that I bought for myself last Christmas is going to have to do me for this year as well.
    But…as the boys have really gotten into milsim airsoft. There’s a field in town that is build in an old Home Depot (don’t know if you have them in the U.S….a big hardware store chain up here) that has been completely rebuilt. Inside there is a compete recreation of a rundown Afghan village. They do a lot of training for military and the like but a couple days a week it is open to the public.
    Anyhoo…I’ve aready ordered from Pyramyd a couple of drop leg holsters, spare mags for their M4 and 1911 airsoft and a few other assorted sundries.
    So once again the bottom of our Christmas tree will be filled with shooting stuff.
    They’re 14 & 16 now…seems like only yesterday that they were 4 & 6 and there were two Red Ryders under the tree…which started this whole ride.
    And thanks B.B. for being their to answer to many questions…including how to get a proper edge on my straight razor 🙂

  8. B.B.,

    The 1947 Miracle on 34th Street is a perennial favorite of mine.
    In addition to the fine line up of air guns mentioned, I want to add one and that one for a specific reason. I held one in my hands a week ago. I could tell you where but it would only be academic. The box had a sticker that said, “DISPLAY”, so I may be placing an order to PA before long. I let someone else walk away with it because I knew the boss would be unhappy with me if I brought it home. It was one other than a Benjamin 392 and it was beautiful. No, it isn’t the only beautiful air rifle, but it is almost the only beautiful one of its kind. Not only that, but you mentioned in an article about air guns for survival that a good multipump would be your choice if you could only have one. I agree. Now, must check out some sight options. (I do hope Santa knows a 397 would be a reasonable option).

    I wish you Comfort and Joy this Christmas,

  9. Hopefully my new hpa compressor will be around for numerous Christmas’s.

    And a Wing Shot will be part two of that plan hopefully. Probably not till the beginning of next year though I’m thinking.

    But for sure happy with the guns I have now.

  10. Mr. Gaylord:
    For those of your faithful followers who may celebrate a winter holiday with an eight branched candelabra, here are my suggestions for gifts for each of the eight nights.
    🙂 🙂

    Pellgun oil
    Silicone Chamber Oil
    Metalophilic MP-5 oil
    Gamo Air Gun Oil
    Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil
    Birchwood Casey Aerosol Gun Oil,
    Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Oil
    Ballistol Lube

    Happy holiday to all, for whatever holiday you may celebrate.

    Wm. Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Venture Crew .357
    Chelsea, MI

      • Coduece:
        Oh Yes! Oil is at the very heart of Hanukkah.
        Hanukkah is the holiday that continues to celebrate the miracle of one day’s worth of oil which burned for eight days.It would have been a jewish holiday well known to the child jesus at the time of th eSecond Temple.
        .Today, it’s a time to play dreidels with children and grandchildren, eat latkes and doughnuts and maintain our “toys” with whatever “oil” suits them best
        Holiday Peace, whatever winter holiday you celebrate.
        William Schooley

  11. B.B.

    As I recall, it was the United States Postal Service that proved Kris Kringle was Santa Claus in A Miracle On 34th Street. My favorite scene is when the mail men dump all those letters to Santa on the judge’s desk in the courtroom.

    What airgun do I want for Christmas? I would like to see Gletcher bring back the M1944 BB rifle. After shooting the M1891 short rifle, I regret passing on the M1944 and would like a second chance to get one.

  12. Hey, B.B., I believe the “author” to whom this poster is referring must be you:
    “I’ve got the R7 in .177 caliber and like it a lot. I was reading an old article last night, about the Diana 27 and the author just loved it, but he really loved it, in .22 caliber. As I recall, the Diana 27 velocity levels, are pretty close to the R7 levels, so that got me wondering what an HW30 would be like in .20 or .22 caliber at closer ranges?”
    (posted 30JAN2011: http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/thread/1296408514/Anyone+here+own+an+HW30-R7+in+-20+or+-22+caliber- )

    That makes me want an HW30S in .22 caliber for Christmas. =D

  13. Trying to get that Christmas spirit going, so sing along if you can to this classic.

    Not going to put the whole thing in, just the last verse perhaps folks can help me with the lyrics as I do not think I got it quite right.

    Don’t forget to to sing the 5th loud.

    The Twelve days of Christmas

    On the twelfth day of Christmas
    my true love sent to me:
    Twelve Pounds of duct seal
    Eleven Record Triggers
    Ten Premire Boxes
    Nine Cal Air Rifle
    Eight Steel Field Targets
    Seven cleaning patches
    Six Tins of Pellets
    Five Golden Guns
    Four Pellet Sizers
    Three Full Tanks
    Two Cleaning Kits
    and a very fine dueling tree


  14. Just received on Sat. my first BB gun. A Umarex M-712 from PA. Bought it for my Bday and Christmas all rolled into one. What a blast. Set up target in my kitchen and had at it in full auto. As the video said, Gonna need a whole lot more CO2 cartridges.
    Now for the why of it being my first. My father was a Gunner’s Mate in the Navy and while he trained anti aircraft gunners with bb machine guns, he wouldn’t let me have one. Then when I was 10 years old I was enrolled in the Junior Marksmanship Program at MCS Quantico,VA. Got my first 22. rifle and 3 years later was named MCS Junior Champion/ Rifle and Pistol. Nothing quite like Marine marksmanship training.
    I just turned 72 and got the 712. Always wanted a broomhandle, but the prices kept escalating. And while I live in Idaho and can legally possess a full auto weapon, those prices are not accessible. So the bb gun, and as I said a real blast.

  15. No not feeling the Christmas spirit yet BB. I’ve noticed that as the years march on the faster time goes by which makes grabbing on to the Christmas spirit harder to grab on to.

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