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Ammo Semiautomatics and accuracy

Semiautomatics and accuracy

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Trolling for questions
  • Why are semautomatic firearms less accurate?
  • Semiautos are accurate!
  • Why?
  • Matt’s Garand
  • My Garand
  • When you fire
  • Not even a Garand!
  • Why does it matter?
  • Airgun accuracy
  • Pellets are plastic
  • Seating consistency
  • Summary

Today’s topic was suggested by some comments from reader Matt61. He says, “The comparisons at the beginning of the post between firearms and airguns and semiauto vs. bolt-action raise a lot of questions for me. I take it that airgun repeater level accuracy is better than firearm repeater accuracy. Why? If it’s because the round is moved by air instead of a bolt, what difference does that make? The bolt seems like it would be more secure. This all has to do with the mechanism of operation so I guess it really is one question about the difference between semiauto and bolt actions. Once the bolt chambers the round into the chamber, what difference does it make whether the round comes single-shot or from a magazine or whether the bolt is operated by hand or by gunpowder gases (firearm) or air? This history would seem to be erased once the round is in the chamber. So why the differences in semiauto, firearm and airgun accuracy?”

Trolling for questions

I know that many of my readers have questions that go unanswered because they are never asked. So I sometimes put provocative statements into my reports, hoping someone will call me on it. And this time Matt did. Today’s blog should prove even more poignant for him, since he and I spent time together when he first started reloading.

Why are semautomatic firearms less accurate?

The first thing that must be asked is — less accurate than what? The answer is — less accurate than single-shot firearms that have been designed for accuracy. Notice I didn’t say all single-shots. There are a great many single shots that are less accurate than many semiautos. What I am talking about today is the ultimate in accuracy. A different way to view the question is to realize that all world records for pinpoint accuracy belong to single-shots. I’m not talking about hitting a gong at 1,000 yards. I’m talking about putting 10 shots into a group that’s smaller than a small dinner plate at that distance.

Semiautos are accurate!

Okay, I can hear your engines revving up right now! What do I mean by accuracy? A semiauto that can put five shots into a half inch at 100 yards is accurate, isn’t it? Yes, it is. But a precision built benchrest rifle can put ten bullets from the same caliber ammunition into less that one-tenth of an inch at the same distance. Ain’t no semiauto on this planet that can do that!


To understand why this is true we need to consider what Matt has said, “…Once the bolt chambers the round into the chamber, what difference does it make whether the round comes single-shot or from a magazine or whether the bolt is operated by hand or by gunpowder gases …”

If the cartridges were fluid (plastic is the correct term) instead of solid, Matt would have a point. The chamber would be the controlling factor and all cartridges would conform (be squashed) to its internal dimensions. But that cannot and does not happen. A cartridge is rigid and therefore HAS to be smaller in size than the chamber into which it is inserted. Otherwise, you will not be able to get it all the way in! The difference can be very small, and right there is where we get to the difference in accuracy between semiautos and single-shots.

Now, Matt also talked about bolt action firearms. They break down to repeaters and single shots. I’ll talk about both as we go.

Matt’s Garand

To function reliably in semiautomatic actions, the cartridge must be a LOT smaller than the chamber. Matt knows this better than most because he owns a custom-built semiautomatic M1 Garand that was made for target shooting. Its chamber and other mechanical dimensions (headspace being the primary one) are much smaller than off-the-rack Garands. Matt bought his rifle partly because of the Garand’s reputation for reliable operation under adverse conditions. Then he had it customized for match shooting, which did away with that hallmark trait. When he got it back it was very hard to disassemble — which is the complete opposite of the Garand. The gunsmith told him the rifle didn’t need to be taken apart, as long as he kept it clean and lubricated.

Matt’s Garand is extremely fussy about the ammunition it will accept. That’s good from the standpoint of accuracy, but not so good from the standpoint of overall reliability. Matt, tell them!

My Garand

On the other hand I own what I just referred to as a “rack Garand.” It’s a standard semiautomatic rifle, built from parts made by many different manufacturers to government specifications. In other words, it’s loose! The Garand rifle operates well under adverse conditions precisely because it’s so loose. By that I mean the parts have a lot of room where they need it, to be able to tolerate dirt and foreign material while still functioning.

My Garand is a nice example of that rifle. There is nothing special about it, though the condition is probably 85 percent or better.

My rifle would never win an accuracy contest against Matt’s rifle, so long as he was using ammunition prepared specially for it. My rifle, in contrast, will shoot almost anything you put in it because it so loose. My 3-inch 100-yard groups will not hold a candle to Matt’s 1.5-inch groups, but my rifle will shoot them with almost any kind of ammo.

However, if a 45 lb. single shot bolt action rifle were to be built in .30-06 (the Garand caliber) to benchrest standards, it would easily best Matt’s Garand. That will not happen, because .30-06 is not a benchrest caliber, but the comparison is still valid.

And, if such a benchrest rifle were to be built, it would be extremely particular about its ammunition, because it would have a match-grade chamber. Read that as a chamber that is cut extremely tight! That chamber would still have to be larger than the cartridges that are loaded into it, but the tolerances would be small enough that you would probably notice some resistance as each cartridge was chambered. You might not remember this but my single shot Hammerli model 100 free pistol has a chamber so tight that it will not chamber most .22 long rifle ammunition available today.

Those are the two extremes — tight and loose. All bolt action repeaters are somewhere in-between, with the more accurate of them closer to the tight end. But they cannot be at the extreme tight end because the cartridges have to cycle through their actions before being loaded into the chamber. Is this starting to make sense?

When you fire

When a cartridge fires, the expanding gasses generated by the rapidly-burning gunpowder (it burns so fast it sounds like an explosion) create great pressure inside the gun. The .30-06 we are discussing generates around 50,000 psi. The bullet seals these gasses at the front of the barrel, but it is so light and the pressure is so great that it shoots out of the barrel very fast. The cartridge case seals the gasses at the rear of the barrel, preventing them from going backwards, just as the bullet seals them up front. This is where the gun’s recoil comes from.

To seal the expanding gasses, the case expands to press tightly against the chamber wall. The bolt holds it from going backward, so it can only move to the side like a brass balloon, until it is pressed tightly against the chamber wall.

When the cartridge case is extracted from the chamber it retains most of the expanded dimensions, though not all of them or you wouldn’t be able to extract it. If the case is reloaded for a repeating rifle it must be squeezed back down (sized) to a standard size to feed reliably through the repeating mechanism. If the repeater is operated manually the case tolerances can be closer to the chamber specifications because it will be cycled through the action by hand, where some care can be given to proper feeding. If the repeater is semiautomatic, the tolerances need to be greater because the feeding will be accomplished at high speed by the force of springs.

If the rifle is a single shot, however, the cartridge case tolerances can be very close to the chamber’s dimensions, since it will be hand-fed with great care by a shooter who understands the gun. Cartridges for single shots don’t need to be resized if they are going to go back into the same gun. In fact, they seldom are. Their necks that hold the bullets have to be resized, but the rest of the case can stay just as it is after firing.

Not even a Garand!

If I was to try to shoot reloaded ammo that had not been resized in a Garand, even that great rifle would jam. So, the dimensions of the ammunition have to have enough clearance that the cartridge will enter the chamber fully and allow the bolt to close. Because, unless that happens, the rifle will not fire. It has been designed that way for safety.

Why does it matter?

What does the fit of the cartridge have to do with accuracy? A lot! The alignment of the bullet with the bore is what’s at stake. The more in line the bullet is with the bore on a repeated basis, the more accurate the gun is. Harry Pope shot 10 lead bullets into 0.20-inches at 200 yards once (and only once!) with a rifle that loaded the cartridge from the breech and the bullet from the muzzle. By pushing the bullet from the muzzle down to the breech, Pope ensured as perfect bore alignment time after time. It was a great amount of work for a very small improvement, but Pope guns were built that way and they held world records for years and decades. They even had a name for guns using that method of loading. They called them muzzle-loading breechloaders!

Alignment of the bullet with the bore is the critical element that marksmen chase for ultimate accuracy. And, if you understand what I have tried to explain, you now understand why a semiautomatic can never be as potentially accurate as a single shot, when everything that can be done for each of them is done. And bolt action repeaters fall somewhere in-between. We are talking potential now — remember that. This is why snipers, real snipers and not just mall ninjas who call themselves snipers, still use bolt action rifles.

Airgun accuracy

Matt grouped firearms and airguns together in his question, but they are not the same. They aren’t because pellets don’t normally fit in chambers. There are a few exceptions, but in the majority of cases, pellets start out inside the bore — no chamber involved. So, everything I have carefully explained above that relates to firearms is irrelevant when we talk about pellet gun accuracy.

Pellets are plastic

Pellets are also made from lead that is very malleable. They conform readily to the shape of the bore they are loaded into. To use the term I used when talking about firearm cartridges, pellets are indeed plastic. I’m not saying they are composed of plastic. I’m saying their properties of solidity are such that they can shape themselves to fit a rifled bore. They are plastic in that sense. Plastic can be an adjective as well as a noun, as in — “…capable of being molded or of receiving form.” Plastic like modeling clay!

In Harry Pope’s day (late 19th century) rifle bullets were mostly made from very soft lead alloy. They were plastic, just like our pellets. Today’s most accurate bullets are not made from soft lead. They are made from multiple metals and are held to incredibly tight manufacturing tolerances, rather than relying on the plastic property of lead. That’s all I want to say about that, because I want to focus on pellets.

Once the pellet is in the breech of the gun, it does conform to the rifling in the bore, similar to what Matt said about a cartridge inside a firearm chamber. If the pellet has entered the bore without damage and if the fit of the pellet to the bore is close, the pellet has a good chance of being accurate, as long as the pellet itself is made to very tight tolerances. Each pellet must be identical to all other pellets of the same type.

We have all seen what a wonderful job the PelletGage does. So the importance of pellet fit and consistency, as far as accuracy is concerned, is understood. What that means is use premium pellets for premium accuracy. And get them seated in the bore the same way every time.

Seating consistency

So, if a semiautomatic air rifle (or pistol) will seat a pellet the same every time and not damage it in the process, there is a good chance for accuracy. Of course with a bolt action rifle the pellet is seated by the bolt nose and the bolt is operated manually, so the chances for consistency are even greater. That’s because the shooter can pay more attention to how he seats each pellet.

But the single shot air rifle has the best potential of all. If it is a bolt action, the potential is about the same as for a bolt action repeater, because both use a bolt to seat the pellet. In really accurate air rifles extreme care is takes to how consistently the bolt seats the pellet. If the pellet is seated with the greatest care, the potential for consistency is also the greatest.


So, Matt, a semiautomatic firearm has a problem with ammunition. A semiautomatic pellet gun has more of a problem with pellet seating consistency than a manual bolt action pellet gun. That was what I meant by my remark.

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.

126 thoughts on “Semiautomatics and accuracy”

  1. B.B,


    One of those questions solved which circulate in the back of your brain without knowing it. The way you put it makes it immediately completely apparent why the difference is there and also why the old buffalo shooters had such amazing results.

    Thanks Matt for voicing something which hindered me all along,



  2. BB,

    Wow! What a wonderful blog! You have managed to bring together into one blog almost my entire philosophy regarding shooting. These are the lessons I learned in my youth and have tried to pass on to others who wish to enjoy shooting.

    In my teens my father had a Remington 700 Varmint Special chambered in 25-06 that had the action glass bedded and the barrel free floated. We worked up a load for it and it was zeroed at 300 yards. At that range we could put five rounds into a one inch circle. The only time we would resize the entire casing was when we would take 30-06 casings and resize them to 25-06.

  3. BB,

    Outstanding post. Loved reading it.

    Perhaps you or others have some thoughts on an issue I have been chasing with a .22 Air Ranger that I have. When shot with either the factory single shot tray or the Rowan single shot flip out loader, the gun simply stacks pellets – 80% of benchrest shots at 50 yards are within about 3/8″ ctc or better, and the others are inside a max of 3/4″ (my best group with it that way was 9 shots in 0.25″ with one shot opening it up to just under 0.5″).

    But with a mag, it degrades to about 0.6″ average over ten shots, and the “bad” groups are a bit over an inch. I have three different mags from three different design generations, and all three have been disassembled and deburred / cleaned up. This improved things to where they are now (they were worse before) but I just don’t get it.

    I have even chambered pellets with the mags and have pushed them back out with a rod to compare to single loaded chambered pellets, and I see no signs of damage or other issues.

    I know others have reported this with Daystates, so I thought I would ask since it is so relevant to the topic.

    Thanks for everything you do for our sport.


    • Alan,

      Wow! What a pertinent question!

      If I said I knew the answer I would be lying, but you have narrowed it down to the mag, and that would be my assumption. Perhaps the mag itself is not aligning correctly with the breech and the pellet gets deformed as it is loaded? That would be more of a fundamental problem with the build of the rifle, and not with each individual mag.


    • AlanMcD,

      Is there some way that you could fabricate some mock pellets from sections of bambo skewers or wooden dowels that could be loaded from you mags. Because they would be less plastic( see BB, we do learn) they might give enough resistance to provide better feedback from a misalignment issue.

      Another thing you might be able to experiment with is spring tension inside the mag ( assuming it has a spring). If the pellet is being pushed too hard to the side it may be canted at a critical moment in the loading process.

      These are just some thoughts, not things that I have done or read about, just so we are clear. I wouldn’t want you to waste time on my idol ruminations thinking they are tried and true solutions

    • Would check if mag or mag to chamber transition is swaging and resizing the pellets. Measure pellets accurately before and then after being cycled through the mag. Bolt itself might be forcing them in to the chamber cockeyed. Mag to chamber alignment might be slightly off.
      That is a few things to check.

      Silver Eagle

  4. B.B.
    Great topic for a weekend blog! The variables involved with something as simple as loading a pellet are astounding. The thin band of contact at the pellet head coupled with the frailties of the skirt (compared to putting a cylinder into a bore) just add further to the equation. Then there are the different radius’s manufacturers use inside their pellet skirt, mating with whatever radius the bolt face is manufactured with and you have the perfect scenario for the chaos theory.

  5. B.B.,

    An excellent subject! Even though my knowledge is severely limited on mechanics, I can’t get enough of these lessons and discussions.

    The human element is always a factor in accuracy, and I am curious what folks here think about the idea that the slow and deliberate shooting required by a single-shot fosters concentration and patience, but, while the semi-auto can be shot slowly and deliberately, its design does not encourage it.


  6. BB,

    Thanks for this great article!

    I have no knowledge of firearms, so all of the information in that regard was new to me. Very interesting. As I read along I kept thinking, “Yeah, but … pellets deform when inserted … ” So I’m glad you got to that part!

    I used to use seating devices to seat my pellets, but I never seemed to observe any improvement by doing so. I now just us my finger to seat the pellet. Perhaps at my level of expertise, other factors dominate?


    • Dennis,

      Yes! My HM1005 (Stormrider) likes it when I push the pellet into the breech with my finger before seating it with the bolt. In my experience, most failure-to-feed malfunctions in bolt-action repeaters occur because the pellet somehow moves out of alignment on its way to being seated. This must also affect accuracy.



      • Hey Walt,

        I am intrigued by the Stormrider. I have not yet made the leap to pcp, but am tempted by several guns, the Stromrider being one of them, especially as it has a lot of capability for such an inexpensive option, and seems to be quite accurate.


        • Dennis,

          I have a stormrider and I am not getting the accuracy that the preproduction guns were getting. My 50 yard groups are more in the 1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″ range with a wide variety of pellets, including the ones that gave good results in the reviews.To get reasonably consistent groups at right around 1″, among several pellets, I had to limit shooting to 35 yards. I also had mechanical issues with the gun. Actually, it has been two guns, because I returned the first one. The original and the replacement both started shooting the guts out of their suppressors after several hundred rounds. Several pellets were so hard to load ( with both my guns and as reported in BB’s review ) that I broke the bolt handle off one of them after repeated firing over time ( the handle is quite thin ,so that doesn’t help matters) Also the suppressor is not very quiet. I made my own repairs to the replacement gun to save the headache of another return. My gun also shoots a bit faster than some of the reviews and, therefore gets the expected fewer shots.

          I recently took delivery of a Gamo Coyote Urban PCP that I bought new and delivered to my door for for $220. I haven’t shot it yet but if it is anything like my Gamo Coyote Whisper, I expect that it’s better made and a better bargain than the stormrider. I can’t say for sure yet because I haven’t fired it.

          The stormrider is a nice little gun once you make the necessary repairs, but not everyone is willing or capable of doing that. It is absolutely a perfect sized gun for a young or small framed shooter. I’m older ( well, to most people that don’t live in this blog) and one of the big draws to me was the compact size and light weight. It even has nice figuring in the stock for being beech. So they delivered there, for sure.

          I hope I’m not coming off as some disgruntled know-it-all, but I was caught up in the pre-release fervor, too, and I just want to present other folks with the POTENTIAL problems or disappointments that they MAY face, now that the gun is available from Diana.

          • Thanks Halfstep!

            Really good information. As I am not experienced enough to mess with modifications, it is probably best that I sidestep the Stormrider.

            I also like the Urban and Coyote – based solely on what I’ve read about them. As you know, I own the BSA Lightning, so I’m attracted to the BSA Buccaneer, too – although I am a bit bothered by the reports about the trigger. And, if I up the game a bit, I’m kinda partial to the Air Arms S510 Carbine. But I’m not yet ready to pull the trigger – for now, I’m just looking around.

            Anyway, thanks for your input!


            • Dennis,

              I have to agree with Halfstep that the Stormrider might not be a good beginner’s PCP. Mine has some of the unruly characteristics that he describes, particularly difficulty with loading. This is why I finger-seat the pellets. Also had to use a lot of Ballistol on the action. But I have not had quite the level of difficulty that he reports. We’ll see how long mine operates before breaking…


              • Walt,

                If you are comfortable taking the barrel out of your gun, you can fix the loading issue by using a bullet shaped Dreemel grinding stone to open up the lead-in at the breech. It is too small and forms a step when mated to the hole in the breech block. The pellets hang at this transition point and are probably being shaved, as well.

                I’d like to know what sort of accuracy you’re getting. If it’s poor, remove your silencer ( If you can. They hold the dang thing on with 3 set screws and I couldn’t get any of them to loosen ) and see if it shoots better. I’m pretty sure that the pellets were clipping the baffles in both of mine because eventually chunks of them started flying down range. When I picked all the pieces out it shot better, although just to the level that I reported above. I suppose there was nothing left in the way of the pellet’s path out of the silencer.

                • Halfstep,

                  Thanks again for the help! Good to know there is a fix for the loading hang. BTW, I am giving my brother and my son each a Maximus for Christmas. Had thought about giving them the Stormrider, but not after using one myself.


                  • Sorry, but my keyboard deleted most of my previous post. As far as accuracy goes, I can’t tell you precisely, as I have been breaking it in before looking at that. So far I’ve shot about 300 rounds at 1-3 inch targets at 10 – 20 yrds. using the open sights and I hit what I’m shooting at most of the time, which is fine for just plinking. If I want to hunt with it, I’ll have to get more rigorous. I’ve killed hundreds of squirrels with air guns over the years, so I know what to do. Hate seeing or hearing them suffer, so I like to get it over as quickly as possible.



  7. B.B.,

    As always, both interesting and informative. It may be a loose association, but reading this I am reminded of your test of the Evanix Conquest PCP. I will always wonder why the full auto was canned (at least in the U.S.), but I expect safety and liability are issues.
    Also, when it comes to pistols, a few decades ago the target .22 auto was very accurate, but in large calibers revolvers out shot auto handguns. I expect progress has been made during the ensuing years. Of course, handguns are different than rifles.


        • Yogi,

          Olay, I understand. You are referring to the way the bolt is withdrawn the first time. Using that description, the Garand would be bolt action.

          How the bolt is withdrawn the first time has next to no impact on accuracy in a semiautomatic airgun action. What affects accuracy is how the bolt works in the semiautomatic mode. A manual bolt action airgun is potentially more accurate because the shooter controls the speed of the bolt. In a semi it’s blown back by air or CO2, and it moves forward by springs. Those speed up the movement of the bolt, so if the pellet isn’t aligned quite right, they don’t stop to correct it. They just jam it through.


  8. B.B.,

    Recently, you tested the Hatsan Bullmaster. Tomorrow, I will have an opportunity to see and perhaps shoot a few rounds from a Hatsan BullBoss. Jerry, our host, says it is a great rifle. Considering the rifles he has purchased and shot, I expect he knows what he is talking about.


  9. B.B.

    Super blog! Really enjoyed it and learned some things, too
    Also saw your interview on iraqvet8888’s channel. It was a wonderful condensation of the history of airguns, and I commend it to anyone who is curious about the subject. One can also dig into quite a lot of related history, such as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, so there is a lot there besides the nuts and bolts of airgun design evolution.
    Thanks for all you do!


        • Hi Tom,

          I have a hard time not to give an overtly political answer to that. And though I don’t think this is the place for that I will just say two things about the Netherlands (because this may be of some interest) and one wink to the US situation.

          Legislation just passed in the Netherlands to give tax breaks to the very rich and at the same time increase tax on basics like food and clothing.

          Under strong opposition, we are seeing an ever advancing encroachment of our rights and liberties. (for instance in the Dutch ”dragnet surveillance bill” about to be passed).

          So in some ways things are about the same here as over there in the US 😉

          I know, I know; touchy subject. Here is a picture of a nice airgun to make us all feel better.

          Best regards,


  10. Mr Gaylord:
    I truly enjoyed today’s blog posting. It brought to mind a couple of ideas I try to stress with junior shooters.
    First, get to know your specific rifle and what you have to consistently do get your rounds into the X ring. Standing knee deep in brass with your ($525 rifle) does a lot more to put you on an equal footing with someone with (a $5,000 rifle) but who rarely practices.
    Second, when you can shoot up to the potential of your rifle, only then get a new rifle and let me help find you your new level 2 coach. (I’m a level 1 coach and I’m thrilled when one of my juniors can move up to a level 2 collegiate coach. Maybe someday I’ll even have a junior who needs a level 3 Olympic coach)
    Third, what you’ve describe today in your Garand’s comparisons seems to encapsulate the principle of good enough Good enough has to do with the rational choice of a rifle having sufficient benefits in a given situation that outweigh known problems, limits or short comings.
    William Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Crew 357
    Chelsea, MI

    • William,

      Thank you for your observations of what I said about the Garand. That was exactly what I was trying to say, without beating the reader over the head with the bleeding obvious!

      Icons like the Garand get mythologies built up that are other not quite true. The Garand is accurate — enough. But it’s not a target rifle unless it has been modified that way.

      I also agree that the target shooter should shoot until they reach the accuracy potential of their gun. I was almost there when I competed with a Czech target pistol. The trigger was beginning to get in my way, but I stopped competing. Had I gone on, I would have wanted a better pistol.


      • BB I have a “loaded” M1A with a stainless barrel and it is 1 1/2 at 100 yds. But I can shut off the gas system and fire it single shot like a bolt repeater with the mag. groups shrink and is more tolerant of different loads. inaccuracy from semis comes from the violent thrust of the operating rod vibrating the barrel different ways. that is why the super match M14s isolate the OP from the barrel and use a heavier rod and guide. the reason the AR can shoot like a bolt is no OP -operating rod, the gas can be turned off on the FN FAL which I have and some other semi’s

        • Yes, I have wondered about the special accuracy of the AR which even its detractors will concede. There’s a lot of talk about the “inline” design of the gun which routes the recoil directly back. But I suspect this is more of a factor in rapid fire shooting than target accuracy. Removing the piston does make for an obvious similarity with the bolt guns. Maybe this is why when the SR-25 rifle appeared some time ago, it was hailed as the ultimate evolution of rifle design with both accuracy and firepower. I suspect that Eugene Stoner’s reason for this was not accuracy for the automatic weapon that he was contemplating but for lightness. But this would be an example of how features can be repurposed in design for significant effect. To the degree that removing the piston does improve accuracy for semiautos that does seem to displace, somewhat, the feeding issues as the key factor.


          • did you ever see the size of an operating rod in a garand lol. it is pretty big. the gas piston on an M1A is about 3 inches long and it impacts on the operating rod which is smaller then a garand but pretty big. the rod being blown back riding in a guide attached to the barrel caused a problem of whipping the barrel slightly different for each round.
            the stoner idea of straight recoil was to try to defeat the law of physics to be able to fire full auto and stay on target. also combined with the straight recoil was the tiny 5.56 rd.

            • I’ve only seen the op rod in pictures, but with its slim diameter and bend, I can see why it has been called the rifle’s Achilles heel. It would appear that the short stroke piston has supplanted the long stroke, but I wonder if that was such a great idea. The AK adopted the Garand long stroke piston and has done just fine, and Garand himself does not seem to have been convinced by the short stroke piston developed for the M14. I also understand that many attempts to fit a piston to the AR have failed because unlike the long stroke version which provides a push, the short stroke strikes a small part of the bolt carrier group causing “carrier tilt.” One of the most successful piston modifications appears to be the PWS version which uses a long stroke that has received rave reviews.

              I think Stoner’s AR design had some great ideas when it first appeared, some of which have borne the test of time and others which did not. Removing the piston had the potential of increasing accuracy and lightening the gun. But it seems to me that this came as part of a devil’s bargain to blow debris into the action which should have been recognized at the time. If you could think to put a dust cover on the ejection port it would seem to follow that you don’t want any dirt in the action. The reliability of the AR design has been endlessly discussed, but I’ll make just one observation that I have not seen yet. In defense of the design, many claim that it is the army that is at fault for substituting a different powder than what Stoner specified. But to my mind, getting so badly disabled by a mere change in powder reflects on the design. You don’t see these kinds of problems with the AK or other semiautos.

              The small caliber is another complex subject. The small bullet had a lot of benefits including destructive performance and controllability among other things. On the other hand, messing with the velocity and spin rate, seems to have been a bad idea. You could have developed the same terminal effects by changing just the bullet design as did the Russians and the British with the .303. The original Stoner design produced poor accuracy and only erratic terminal effects. The high cyclic rate of the AR, enabled by the small caliber, was not the best idea either. I was very intrigued to read that the Germans who designed one of the fastest-firing machine guns of all time, the FG 42, designed their assault rifle, the STG44 to have the relatively low rate of 600 rpm. This same rate that has been scorned in the M3 grease gun as put-putting. That is a drawback for a pure spray weapon like a submachine guns. But apparently, the Germans set the low cyclic rate to allow a degree of controllability and accuracy. They were really trying for the right balance between accuracy and firepower which makes sense to me. I don’t know that we’ve found the right combination yet. The original vision of the AR as a machine gun didn’t work out. Then they substituted a three-shot burst capacity which seems reasonable but apparently did not work either. Now the pendulum is swinging back with the Marines getting a full-auto capability with the M27 and maybe the army too with upgrades to their M4. But I wonder if a slow-firing full auto is the way to go. I think some versions of the BAR might have had this capability.


              • Matt61

                Did you mean MG 42 rather than FG 42? They both cycle fast but as you well know the MG 42 machine gun was 300-400 rounds per minute faster than the FG 42 selective fire rifle.

                Thanks for sharing your comments.


                • Yes, I was thinking MG42. Why did the Germans number so many things 42 or close–43 and 44? It’s like the American army calling everything M1 from its rifles and carbines to its helmet.


                  • Matt61

                    Just guessing Germans used the year of adoption after the 1930’s but their MG 34 machinegun may be a 1934 too. As for our country we did whatever came to mind without rhyme or much reason. Betting BB could do a lengthy report some Friday but not sure it belongs on his website. Some of us would wax and wane all weekend on it without buying that next airgun.


              • yes the later BAR’s had a switch for slow rpm and faster rpm. slow cycle of fire is the best. shot the junk british sten gun full auto and it was very slow but very easy to control and to put the rounds where you wanted. the AK and SKS have a 6 inch piston head and the rest is like 1/8 inch diameter like a nail way smaller then the gigantic operating rod on a garand. the FN Fal is similar piston as the AK and SKS. DI is ok like in the MAS 49 where the gas blows onto a gigantic rear locking bolt and cannot foul it whereas the AR blows the gas on a front locking bolt with a bunch on tiny lugs but guys torture test it over 1000 rds and it works except it looks like a BP revolver afterwards and you need a dental hygienist to clean it lol

                • Mildot52,

                  I usually go 300-400 rounds between cleaning of my AR-15. But I shoot every round single shot because I load each cartridge too long for the magazine. I have the ogive of my 69-grain spitzer bullet very close to the start of the rifling, which gives me superior accuracy. Shoot through the mag and I’m lucky to put 10 in 2 inches at 100 yards.


                  • BB I have found the Lee factory crimp die is as good for accuracy as setting a bullet close to the rifling which raises pressure and premature wear. the Lee factory crimp die allows you to set to factory length which will work thru your mag. the reason accuracy is better when seated near the rifling is the bullet leaves the case at the same pressure. if you reload and use neck tension each seating is different some harder to seat some easy. this makes the bullet release at different starting pressure which is not good for small groups. since neck tension is the same with the Lee factory crimp die allows the bullet to release at the same time and starting pressure wise. try it I think you will like it

                    • Mildot52,

                      I have several Lee factory crimp dies in various calibers. They work okay but I’ve not foiund them to work as well as advertised.

                      It’s been two years since I’ve reloaded so I’m a bit rusty. I need to get back into it again.


      • One of my Dad’s memories of basic training is the sergeant on the rifle range gleefully telling the recruits to shoot because it was all on the taxpayer. There are also accounts I’ve read of machine gunners on heavy bombers in WWII standing in shell casings, and that was certainly on the taxpayer too.


      • Mildot52:
        Thank you for your response.
        I don’t necessarily disagree with your observation about who’s paying for 06 or 308 brass. I’m definitely aware that the cost of ammunition is a big factor in the crew’s operating budget.
        None the less, my core focus is on getting juniors into a position they can qualify for shooting sport college scholarships. And this usually means they’re shooting .177 air rifle, .22LR shotgun or archery. These are the disciplines where juniors find the greatest number of available scholarships.
        And I use the term “knee deep in brass” as a euphemism to encourage juniors to come to crew practices regularly.
        William Schooley
        Rifle Coach
        Crew 357
        Chelsea, MI

          • Mildot 52:
            I don’t want to hijack either Mr. Gaylord’s post from today or his blog, but I’d encourage anyone who’d like to help develop junior marksmanship to contact their local Boy Scout Council and ask about their shooting sports program/crew. Another good resource is the NRA-BSA national liaison Mark Belli at 703-267-1550 or mbelli@nrahq.org. You can also contact the local American Legion Post and ask the post commander about getting involved with the existing 3P program or setting up a 3P program at the post (full disclosure American Legion Post 31 Chelsea is the charter partner for Crew 357).
            The pay for working with juniors shooters is $0, and it’s a commitment of more than an hour a week. But the rewards received back are tremendous.

    • Mr. Schooley, I concur with your observation about B.B.s piece today. He seems to be moving the Blob goal posts a lot these days…I suspect the straight razor experience has had a much deeper effect on him than even he is aware of!
      But I have something to put to you kind sir; in my early days of marksmanship training long before I was permitted to touch a rifle I was required to do concentration drills untill I began to wonder if it was all worth it. My coach walked in and put a small black dot on the wall about the same time I was going to walk out of training. My coach allowed me to start work with a rifle. Did I get to shoot it? Not on your life! I learned process; to pick it up and shoulder it in exactly the same sequence and cadence every time. Then to point myself at the dot and eventually the rifles sights. It was at least six months before I ever was allowed on the actual range with a live round in the chamber. Quite a few of my new teammates had rebelled and went to other coaches who let them shoot almost from the point they could show they knew their safe handling rules. When we did finally get to compete I finally understood that my coach knew how to help develop a true Marksman. I’m wondering how much Joinior Shooting has changed in the last half century.
      Thank you for your devotion to the shooting sport!

      • Junior Shooting, at least in the BSA program, has changed tremendously in the last half century. Fifty years ago, even 25 years ago, (at least in the council I was then in) was on summer camp and earning the rifle merit badge.
        In 2011 BSA introduced a new broader vision of shooting sports, With the release of the then new BSA SHOOTING SPORTS MANUAL the concepts of “year-round opportunities” and its “five levels of shooting activities” became the national norm. It’s only since 2011, updated in 2015 that the BSA Manual on the shooting sports program focuses on so much more.
        This is a great time for juniors to be involved with shooting sports. And it’s not just limited to BSA programs. There’s American Legion, CMP, 4H, SAR and others.
        If you want to see where junior shooting sports is today, take a look at any or all of the following.
        or the
        CMP Guide To Rimfire Sporter Shooting
        The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program
        The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program
        Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation programs
        The Student Air Rifle Program

        Bottom line: Junior shooting sports isn’t just a merit badge shooting program any more.
        William Schooley
        Rifle Coach
        Crew 357
        Chelsea, MI

  11. Earlier this year, in order to join a local gun club, I competed in a centerfire benchrest competition. The only rifle I owned that I could use was a AR-15 variant (only rifle that could be scoped relatively easily). The competition, mostly had various, high end, bolt-action rifles, would take their brass after each course of fire was completed, walk to the back of the line and proceed to re-load those same casings. As BB said, only neck resizing was done on either small, single stage commercial presses or in quite a few cases, purpose designed and built presses that were even physically smaller! All had notebooks they referred to for the load and bullet seating specs (how deeply to seat the bullet into the case) they had developed for the different distances the competition consisted of. To say these guys were heart attack serious would not be an understatement. I shot what I bought and had on hand.

    My results will remain confidential but I’m a member of the club now and it is a marvelous club located in Northwestern Forsyth County here in the friendliest State in the country.

    Fred formerly of the Democratik Peoples Republik of New Jersey (DPRoNJ)

    • That is intense for a qualification to consist of a benchrest competition! I just pay a fee every time I shoot at my club. You are a stud for qualifying with an AR regardless, but can you say if you shot the AR by single-loading rounds or with a magazine? That would certainly bear on the blog today.


      • Matt, only allowed to single load so that’s what I did. Inserted .223 round into chamber and manually released bolt. I needed to do this competition so that the various members could get to know me and be comfortable with my safety on the line. I much prefer .22 LR bench rest competition. I have a CZ 452 which I recently purchased for this.


        • And did you use one of the heavy 77 gr. match bullets? I had assumed that the benchrest qualification was to test your shooting ability. If it’s to evaluate your safety procedures that makes a lot of sense to me based on what I see at the range. When I see little kids handling full-size semi-auto pistols, I start moving away. Lucky you to get a CZ 452 which seems to have been discontinued. I’m very impressed with the CZ line.


          • Pffft! I have to go out to the garage to see what bullet I used. It was several months ago and my mind is like a hard drive. It’s filled so in order to remember new stuff, older stuff has to be deleted. I actually said this to an attorney during a deposition as the reason I couldn’t remember something. The attorney representing our company castigated me for the sarcastic response. He said sarcasm doesn’t “read” well. Anyway, my point in competing was to let the members and the RO to get to know me so they would vote me into the club without any reservations. My AR (a Bushmaster) will do a 2″ group with my load at 100 yards. 3″ at 200 yards shooting 10 round groups using the magazine. Still not competitive with the regulars. Not even close. But it was fun and many of the guys were really friendly.

            Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now in GA

  12. BB,

    Great stuff ! I have always just took it on faith that semiautos were less accurate than single shots or bolt actions because my firearm shooting has been mostly with .22LR and, as a result, I’ve never been interested in or involved with handloading. Your thesis may have been obvious to folks involved in benchrest and such but not at all to my ilk.

    When I first got involved with “adult airguns” I developed ( and still have, I suppose )a greater respect for the gun makers in the air powered field than in the gunpowder arena. My thinking is that a firearm designer is only designing the launching platform. An airgun designer has to also design the propulsion system. With firearms that is a whole different problem, dealt with by dedicated cartridge designers.

    Oh, and by the way, I bet baiting this bunch into lengthy controversial discussions is about as hard as shooting fish in a barrel. And yes all the mixed metaphors and puns were intended ! 🙂

    P.S. Did you mean that you couldn’t win AGAINST Matt61’s Garand or that you couldn’t shoot his gun well enough to win an accuracy competition?

  13. Enjoyed the blog B.B.! Good to see comparisons between air and fire breathers. 🙂

    I have read a few articles that imply that the pellet skirt gets “formed” to the bore/rifling by the blast of air when the rifle is fired.

    One discussion was that deformed skirts did not (greatly) affect accuracy as long as there were no nicks or chunks of the skirt missing. That seems to hold true, I have a tin of .25 JSBs that must have seen some abuse and many of the skirts are bent but they shoot groups as nice as others straight from the can.

    Thinking about hand-feeding vs bolt-feeding pellets into the bore, that bolts would be more consistent. The bolt is (mechanically) aligned with the axis of the bore and applies a straight linear push to the center of the pellet to seat it to the same depth each time. Hand-feeding has lots of opportunities for inconsistent alignment and seating of the pellet.

    I’m wondering if a pellet inserted with it’s axis out of alignment with the axis of the bore would have it’s skirt reformed when fired creating “twisted” pellet that would be unstable in flight. Might be fun to experiment with.


      • B.B.

        I’ll plan on running some tests on mis-aligned pellets and writing a blog of my findings – but it will have to wait until more suitable weather. It’s well below freezing and snowing heavily right now.

        Have a great weekend!


  14. In another life I was given a .22 short revolver. I knew that it was junk as soon as I had it in my hand. Some research confirmed that it was, indeed, junk. More important, though was that the revolver was dangerous. It seems that that model could lose index and the cylinder could become slightly misaligned in relation to the barrel. Firing it in that condition could cause serious injury to the shooter and to those nearby. The revolver is resting in pieces in our landfill.

    Recalling that unhappy firearm brings a question regarding the accuracy of indexing in repeating airguns. An indexing error, however so slight, would cause all kinds of inaccuracy and I suspect, much head scratching.

    Random thought.


    • GrandpaDan,

      You are so right!

      I have a number of different BB and pellet Co2 rifles, revolvers and blowback and non blowback semi auto pistols. They use various types of magazines, rotary clips and belts to position the ammo into firing position and I have ended up with many extras of each as a result of owning several of each gun and by buying extras. As a result of this I can tell you that my findings have been that which mag or clip you use in which gun definitely makes a difference. It is a time consuming process to sort it all out, but I have the time and I enjoy the pursuit as just one more aspect of this hobby. Because of the time required, I haven’t worked it out with all my guns but I will admit that I have numbers engraved on many of my clips and records of which gun uses them to the most advantage. ( That doesn’t make me a bad person. Does it? ) My biggest fear is that once I get everything tested, paired up and documented, my disease will compel me to try to discover the tiny differences that cause this and I’ll have to try to modify them so everything is interchangable. Or I could go back to work.

      Random raving.


  15. Okay, folks, here is more proof that there are no stupid questions that can’t turned in interesting directions and used to answer questions that others might have. So, B.B. was fishing with his statement, and I bit hard. Now, I feel like I have been taken apart by some expert lawyer although in a completely positive way to inform me. No wonder I went into academics instead of the law. Okay, for firearms, I understand the importance of chamber fit which I was vaguely aware of before but didn’t fully appreciate. (I was startled and annoyed to find that some .22 rimfire ammunition did not fit my Anschutz and in some cases not even my Ruger Single-Six.) Since the same ammunition can be used for bolt-actions and semi-autos, it seems to be a case not of smaller ammunition for the semiautos but of larger chambers, but it amounts to the same thing. I guess what was throwing me off is that differences in fit and chamber size must be pretty small. Blog reader TPC was nice enough to send me a cutaway of the first section of a barrel from a Springfield 1903 rifle to answer some questions I had about rebarreling, and one of my Garand rounds fit in there perfectly. So, the variations between chamber sizes for different action types are probably not great from the viewpoint of human perception but still critical. I think that another thing that I overlooked is that even though a round might fit perfectly in a chamber it could get stuck on the way in if it isn’t oriented right, so you would need a lot of clearance to take that into account.

    I just have a couple of follow-up questions about this. If the fitting problems have to do with getting the round into the chamber, why couldn’t you use the tapered case design of the 7.62X39, 7.62X54R and even the .303 to an extent? The tapered case should slide into place even with the tightest chamber without getting stuck. The tapered case seems to appear with guns designed with extremely loose tolerances and associated with reliability, but it seems like it could also make a contribution to accuracy. I was also a little puzzled about the extra care involved in chambering cartridges in bolt-actions. Is this extra care from the user or intrinsic to the mechanism? If it’s the user, I’ve seen some very careless users of bolt-action rifles. Perhaps the prize goes to a person shooting a Savage BA rifle when it first came out. He was careful to eject each case carefully and set it upright. But to chamber the next round, he extended his right arm up and behind him. Then, he flung it down hard in a diagonal line, striking the bolt handle to drive it forward and rotate it in one motion. That is some way to treat a $2000 rifle. Even in a target competition, the winner was snapping the bolt of his Anschutz closed very rapidly. If the extra care is in the mechanism itself that is not obvious to perception. BG_Farmer once commented on how even the bolts of very accurate Savage rifles have some slop in them. Something worked by hand seems less secure than something that is completely machine-guided like the Garand. But this may be another case of misleading perceptions. And it is certainly clear that the Garand action, moving at 700mph, works with extreme violence.

    As for airguns, I can see how forming the pellet to the bore makes a lot of difference. It is completely consistent with the idea of fit. But I wonder if this paradigm fully explains the automatic airgun (was it Evanix) which fired five rounds into a single hole. Also, it seems like this kind of deformation of the pellet would cause a lot of leading in the barrel which doesn’t seem to be a problem. Not that I’m complaining.

    As for my Garand, I don’t want to bore the faithful readers who have followed the saga for 10 years, and I couldn’t encapsulate it all for newcomers. Suffice to say that when B.B. got me started in reloading for the Garand, it was like a whole new world for me, and I was extremely gratified and a little bemused that I actually pulled it off. Imagine my consternation when things didn’t work, and I had to get into the details of the gas system. I have more or less figured it out, but this rifle is not only fussy with ammo types but extraordinarily sensitive to the exact position of the set screw that controls the gas system. The storied reliability of the Garand is out the window. My gunsmith said that with this adjustable gas system, he had developed a new technology with the Garand. He was right, but I’m not sure if he fully appreciated that he was unraveling part of the design as well. I now shoot the rifle with my calipers handy to measure the gas settings. Ultimately, I didn’t quite get the legendary rifle I envisioned. But where the goal was to learn about the gun, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams! It’s instance of never knowing how your plans will work out. As Shakespeare says by way of the witches in MacBeth: “Lesser than MacBeth and greater. Not so happy yet much happier. Thou’ll get kings though thou be none. All hail MacBeth and Banquo.”

    And the saga continues. My last shoot with the Garand to tweak the gas settings was delayed and will happen tomorrow. This time I am fortifying myself with my amazing new paratrooper outfit complete with blousing bands, and we’ll see if that makes a difference. Incidentally, thanks Kevin for advice on treating my boots with sno-seal. The results are fabulous!


    • There are many different size chambers even for the 22 rimfire. A Bentz chamber is usually the “Match grade” chamber and is used on a lot of firearms. But, one will find out that certain manufacturers ammunition will not even chamber.
      The common 10/22 has a looser chamber. The advantage to this is that it eats anything. Getting a new barrel with a match chamber on the same 10/22 will (more than likely) improve accuracy. But, one may find out it no longer will chamber some ammo.
      22’s are also very finicky as to what they will shoot repeatedly with the accuracy desired.
      Higher end match shooters find a certain brand / style of ammo and then order cases to have the same lot number for the season. When that runs out they go through the process again.

      Silver Eagle

  16. Silver Eagle—- there is another advantage to the loose sporter .22 chamber . The extractor on the 10/22 ( and many other .22 rifles ) can fail to extract a tight fitting round. The average ( perhaps careless ) shooter may think that the rifle is unloaded and safe, BUT ( and this is a big but ), it is not !. I have seen shooters ( at many ranges) cycle their rifles bolt several times, and then case ( or worse place in their car without a case ) and never look at the chamber to make sure that there is no round in it. ——Ed

  17. Nice comments everybody. Good reading today. I didn’t get a chance to read yesterday. Had stuff going on at home and work was crazy. But I got something that might be interesting to some.

    As you all have probably read that I been wanting to get a Wing Shot air shotgun. Well I’m still wanting. No getting yet. But the air shotgun stuff keeps running through my mind.

    And if you might remember a while back I did some experimenting with my 1322 with a steel breech and .177 caliber 18″ barrel and the 1399 stock. Well I had nothing special with birdshot. But the steel bb’s did fairly good up close. But not as well as I would of liked.

    Power was the problem from what I seen today with what I tryed. First still no good luck with birdshot. But definitely good results with steel bb’s. I think anyway.

    I used my .177 caliber QB79 today that I have set up for the 1200 psi regulated Air Venturi 3000 psi HPA bottle. It’s making about 200 fps more power with pellets than the 1322 is with pellets. And just too say the 1377 still shot pellets good after shooting the steel bb’s. So figured I would try the QB without to much fear of messing up the barrel.

    But here is some pictures of 4 shots with 6 steel bb’s loaded by the muzzle and with the gun cocked first and safety on. Then took a 1/2″ square peice of paper towel and wadded it into a ball. Then pushed it down the muzzle till I felt it stop on the bb’s. That holds the bb’s in place nice.

    But if you look it looks like only 5 bb’s hit. But definitely loaded 6 bb’s each time. And looking at the group’s zoomed in I believe that two bb’s went through the same hole. I’m pretty confident that there was no fliers that totally missed the target.

    And this was shot at 25 yards. And have my scope on the gun that is zeroed at 35 yards with the JSB 10.34’s. Shooting the bb’s I aimed dead on at 25 yards so that was kind of nice to not worry about hold over when shooting the bb’s.

    And yes it’s keeping food energy at 15 yards. I know. We already got 3 starlings with it at 20-25 yards. And of course since the blog is family oriented I won’t post the pictures of the starlings. But notice I said (we). My 19 year old daughter got one of them. 🙂

      • And forgot to mention.

        You know how when you load a Daisy 499. The bb goes down the barrel slowly till it stops at the bottom. Well that’s how the bb’s did going down the QB79 barrel. They didn’t do that on the .177 caliber 18″ 1322 barrel. Maybe that’s helping the results today also.

        • TT
          Yes that IS a disgusting thought! Yuk for sure. What’s that kids rhyme. Something like 4 and 20 black birds baked in a pie.

          I didn’t even like that rhyme when I was a kid. 🙂

            • TT
              I know what you mean about putting that one pellet exactly where you want it. I’m all about that too.

              But here’s what’s crazy. You know how the starlings will show up in a big flock. Like hundreds of them. They are all over my yard from 20 yards out to a 100 yards. But I’ll shoot my known accurate pellet guns at them. and I’ll be darn if I’m lucky to hit one. They are constantly moving. It’s like a crap shoot to hit one.

              At least maybe with this QB set up shooting the multiple bb’s I might start making some hits. So far today it’s been 3 for 3 and that was shooting at single birds about 20 feet up and 25 yards away. I say that’s doing pretty consistent so far.

              And of course when I get my Wing Shot air shotgun I’ll retire the QB back to pellet plinking duty. Then if I miss them starlings I’m going to be upset. We’ll see.

              • GF

                Put a dish or cat food out there to get them bunched up good . I don’t remember the brand, but had gotten some from Kroger . Small round pieces that they swallow easily . Did some testing and sorted the cat food by color . Red works the best, but when the feeding frenzy starts, they don’t care .


                • TT
                  Yep dog and cat food. I never sorted for color or anything though.

                  But out here the corn feild is about 65 yards from my house. When the farmer harvests the combine don’t get every cob. So there is corn all over the place.

                  And like you say once they come and get at it they don’t even know your there. Especially when shooting air guns. I will shoot at them and they will fly up about 5 feet in the air and then right back on the ground and at it again.

                  • GF

                    Starlings are somewhat like red squirrels . Fast and unpredictable movement . You have to get on them fast, and get off a shot when they hesitate for a split second . Some will still move at he same time the trigger breaks and you miss them by a fraction of an inch .
                    Fight fast with fast if you want to score anything, or use a shotgun.


                    • TT
                      Yep all true.

                      And one thing about using a air gun it’s like they don’t even know your there shooting at them. Sometimes they don’t even fly when I shoot at them when they are on their feeding frenzy.

                      But now if I take my 20 gauge that’s a different story. When there going crazy feeding they are noisy as heck. Matter of fact that’s how I know their out there. But when I shoot the 20 gauge at them they are quiet and up in the air and flying out to the tree’s. They eventually come back again if it’s not getting time for then to fly off and roost.

                      With a air gun that don’t happen.

  18. Just thought about this bb shotgun stuff more.

    You know what this is very good results for shooting bb’s. And at theses distances most bb guns or pistols don’t group this good shooting single shots let along multiple bb’s in one shot.

    I think it’s a good pattern and good energy for this distance.

    I wonder what would happen with a higher power gun like a .177 AirForce Condor shooting multiple steel bb’s.

    I bet the distance could be stretched and pattern size would stay close to the same. Who knows maybe better.

    I really think I may take this farther. Maybe a Condor is in order instead of the Wing Shot. 🙂

    • GF1,

      I was about to pronounce you and your daughter the best wingshots I know. To take three birds on the wing at that distance with a six shot load would have been a jaw dropper. I see what’s happening now though.

      Did I ever tell you about the Bug-A-Salt repeater I made with one of my CO2 Pythons ?

      • Halfstep
        Right we didn’t get them flying. Matter of fact the 3 we got yesterday was up in a tree about 20 feet and we was about 20 to 25 yards away. They was sitting still on a branch. Later in the day we got 4 more. So we’re now 7 for 7. It’s actually working pretty good.

        And no you never mentioned that about your Python. Sounds like fun though. I would like to hear about it.

        • GF1

          I used a 3/16″ drill to open up the holes in a BB clip (they are smaller than the pellet clips, as you know) Next, using a 3/16″ Harbor Freight hole punch mounted in a drill press, I cut out a bunch of little disks from some very dense, thin corrugated cardboard. It was the backing for a blister pack of GE LED light bulbs, but I’ve seen it used in lots of different packaging. I collect it and use it for making templates and such. Anyway, after you have the clip modded and the cardboard punched, you just push one of the disks, using an 11/32″ bit as the pusher, down the cylinder hole to the bottom. Now fill with Kosher Salt and push another disk on top to seal it all in. I keep the cylinder loaded and near the Python so I can grab it when I spot a spider in the basement.

          When you punch out the cardboard the disk will be cupped and you want the convexed face to go down the hole first. It seems to hold tighter that way. I have killed half a dozen spiders ( including two black widows) with this rig at 3 or 4 feet. Multiple shots on target is very rewarding. You can even fit 9 #9 shot in the cylinder. It makes a nice little pattern at about 6 feet, but I doubt it would kill anything though.( don’t shoot at drywall with the #9 shot)

  19. B.B.
    The delicate nature of pellets seems to require encapsulated containment for magazine design. The circular clip like the Marauder, or the horizontal stick mag as used in the Crosman multi pump m16, and the Sig belt mag, are a few ways to accomplish both protection for the pellet and reliable indexing for loading. Are there any other ways to both protect the pellet from deformation and provide positive reliable feeding? This is a major difference between fire arms and airguns and is a design consideration that firearms with their more durable cartridges don’t have to contend with.

  20. BB,

    Just ran across this in your July 11,2006 blog.

    “So, shooting single-action nets a little higher velocity than double-action, which is normal on Umarex airguns. The rated velocity of 393 is right on the money, although I tested the gun on a very warm day. The higher numbers with Raptors should be considered a benefit, as we sure don’t want manufacturers testing their guns with them and then using those numbers in advertising!”

    Now we now who gave them that idea ! 🙂

  21. Haven’t done one of these in a while. Here’s two short video’s with my Android razor smart phone attached to my IScope scope adapter.

    It’s my HPA regulated QB79 shooting 6 steel bb’s at 20 yards. And a front and back picture of the can.

    And after you watch the video’s pay attention to the spinner I have the can leaning up against. It’s still got enough energy after goin through both sides of the can to knock the paddle up.

    Here’s the pictures. Then I’ll post the video’s.

  22. Tom,
    Great article. Nice job of hitting the high points on a broad subject using good examples.

    My experience with reloading was love hate. The technical aspect is fascinating and endless. To the point where it can be too consuming to fit into the rest of life. I eventually got completely away from it.

    As I delve more into the airgun side of the accuracy game, I see a nice blend of similar application of technical knowledge and skills, with much less paraphernaiia (had to look up spelling), far less overall cost, and as you have noted, the freedom to shoot almost anywhere.

    My research (and overthinking but so be it) is ongoing regarding what will be the airgun that gets me into accuracy. A factor that is influencing my choice that may be worthy of more conversation (if not already well covered) is the interface between shooter and gun, meaning the stock.

    I had considered the Talon SS as an affordable entry point, but realized that the bottle as stock arrangement is an inherent weakness. While I’m sure remedies exist, it seems to me to be a weakness at a rather fundamental level if the game is accuracy.

    The discussion on magazines as a weak point is interesting. I’ve noted that extreme benchrest competitors are using guns with them. I wonder how many use them in single handload mode.

    • Idaho
      I have mentioned many times that single shot bolt actions always seem to shoot better.

      And I’m not talking magazine fed bolt actions. I’m talking single shots. Firearm or air gun.

      All the Marauder’s I had throughout time got single shot trays.

      I even prefer a single shot bolt action firearm or air gun.

      Don’t get me wrong. Semi-auto’s are cool. As well as repeater’s.

      But even hunting if you do something long enough you can still get back in the game with a fast action follow up shot. Again as it goes. Practice makes perfect.

      And even single action or double action I can do good at as long as I practice enough.

      And here is a twist. Some people think mag and clip guns get as good if results with mags in there Marauder’s. I guess that all depends on how precise you want to be.

      Next should I get into the loading mechanisms from clips and mags. Everything has it’s drawbacks. The question is how much inconsitency’s are you willing to put up with for the type of accuracy you want for the type of shooting your doing.

      Got to find that happy place.

    • Idaho
      Kind of tricky to make the shot.

      I’m looking at my phone screen which is not a problem. I see it clearly.

      The problem is I can’t hold the butt of the stock up against my shoulder and see the phone screen. It’s too close.

      So I have to actually hold the gun out away from me to make the shot. I was actually setting on the ground with the stock of the gun a bit forward of the trigger gaurd setting on my knee to support the gun. So if you could imagine it’s hard to steady the gun without the shoulder support.

      And on the other hand the IScope is a good training resource. That helped my daughter’s learn hold over and hold under. They watched the phone screen and the retical mildots when I shot. They was standing behind me. I could show them everything before I made the shot.

        • Idaho
          I could slow the video down more on my iPhone. But quality of the video starts diminishing the more I edit it slower. I could slow this video down two more times I think and still keep a good picture. I may try it after I get home from work and see.

          And never going to be able to do as well as a high speed camera with my iPhone on a still picture.

          I’m just glad I’m getting good results with the steel bb’s out of the QB79. I shot it more today at my steel spinners and was very easy to make hits out to 35 yards. Of course it was loosing energy out past 30 yards. It’s looking like 25 yards and in is where it’s making good energy.

        • Idaho
          If you watch the video’s again. In the top right corner of the screen you should have some vertical dots you can click on.

          Then there is a spot to click on that says normal speed. When you click on the word normal a list of times pop up where you can veiw the video in slow motion or even fast motion.

          If you watch my second video of the slow motion and click on that place I described you can slow the video way down. If you do you can see the bb’s fly and impact the can.

            • Idaho
              Glad the slow mo video worked for you. I got some other air gun shooting videos I did with the IScope adapter for my phone. I went through and watched them on the slow mo. Was pretty cool to see.

              And yes I’m really thinking the Condor and steel bb’s may work real good.

              And what is a Wolverine .22? Post a link if you get a chance.

  23. GF

    Daystate Wolverine. They’ve made some nice improvements in the hilite model. These include a Hugget moderator/shroud, and carbon fiber tank.

    My friend at Pomona convinced me to go with this over the FX Royale. He’s been working on all makes and models for many years.

    I have the scope that Tom noted as a favorite waiting for it (UTG 4 x 16 x 58). It’s a monster but I think will suit it well.

    Here’s a video. He starts talking about it at 2:00. I like his videos.


    • Idaho
      Nice video. I had a couple FX guns but no Daystate guns.

      I would like to try one no doubt. You will have to give a update on it once you get it. I’ll be waiting to hear from sure.

  24. The tank is delayed until after Christmas but I’ll give a report for sure.

    Here’s an image from my iPhone using slo-mo. My grandson and I blew up an apple with a small firecracker.

  25. Hey B.B.,
    I’ve been offline a few days, and just read this now.
    All I can say is, “Thanks!”
    This is a great tutorial; the Jell-O came to a gel on some things I thought I knew.
    Keep up the great work!
    take care & have a blessed Christmas,

  26. Hi BB,
    Thanks for the information on ammo and pellets react in their respective rifles. The easy to understand information is very helpful.
    Please keep up the good work.

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