Airgun flaws to watch out for

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Spring piston guns
  • Thumb amputation
  • Not over yet
  • Arrow launchers
  • Breech failures
  • Mistakes happen
  • Triggers
  • Not just BSF
  • CO2
  • Finally

Today’s blog was suggested by reader RidgeRunner after we had a short discussion of the Modoc big bore rifle. Here is what he said.

“Perhaps you should give serious consideration to a blog about flawed designs for airguns. It could be most informative, most especially to the newbies. These episodes show much thought must go into the design of an airgun and also that care must be used when handling them.”

I didn’t want to write just about one airgun, and this seemed like the perfect way to address the issue. Additionally, there are many more shooters who are new to airguns, and this is a necessary safety topic for them.

Spring piston guns

The spring-piston airgun is the lowest-powered airgun powerplant. The most powerful spring piston rifles generate just over 30 foot-pounds, where pneumatics and CO2 have both topped 1,000 foot-pounds. But spring piston guns are the most common today and they are the type of powerplant the new shooter gravitates to. There are so many more of them that they are the best place to begun.

Thumb amputation

Maybe you are too new to the hobby to remember the 1970s, when the Chinese B3 underlever was cutting off people’s thumbs when it slipped off cock and the sliding compression chamber went forward violently? It was a big problem in the day and it turned out nobody was taking responsibility for the rifle, at first!

B3-1
This B3-1 is an updated version of the original Chinese B3-1 underlever air rifle.

I owned an original B3 that I bought from the fledgling Compasseco when they were just getting started. They put an ad in American Rifleman magazine and I couldn’t resist the promise of 800 f.p.s. for $39.95. Did I get it? Probably not, but since I didn’t own a chronograph we’ll never know.

The problem with this air rifle was the low quality of the powerplant parts. The steel parts were not uniformly hardened, so the sear wore until it would not hold the sliding compression chamber back. And there were no safety features to stop the chamber if that happened. If a shooter’s fingers were in the way when it let go, they got smashed or worse.

These rifles were being sold to anyone with money, so every gun dealer in America could buy them. I remember seeing them pile high on tables at gun shows. The dealers were dry-firing them to demonstrate their power, although I never figured out what that proved.

Compasseco did everything in their power to correct the problem — working with the Chinese airgun factories to get better materials, better quality control and better designs that were less prone to this sort of failure. Today’s airgun community owes a lot to their tireless efforts that eventually turned the Chinese airgun makers around. But there is still a problem.

Not over yet

There are still hundreds of thousands of these early unsafe airguns around, waiting for someone to experience the same problems I just reported. The fact that the Chinese makers now make quality airguns doesn’t do anything for the guns of the past. So the warning here is buyer beware. And NEVER let go of the underlever when you load a rifle that has a sliding compression chamber — I don’t care if it’s a TX 200 Mark III.

Now, the B3 had flaws, which is what today’s report is about. Other guns that don’t have flaws must still be handled with care while loading — and for the same reason. This lesson holds true for sidelevers and breakbarrels — any powerplant where your fingers are put into a space that can suddenly close with force. Any of them can close suddenly without warning, so always restrain the cocking lever or barrel as you load a pellet.

Arrow launchers

Big bore airguns that launch arrows are, by design, muzzleloaders. That means your hands have to be in front of the muzzle to load them. If they were to fire while you are loading the arrow that you plan to kill a hog or a deer with, that arrow can do the same to you! That being said, all muzzleloading firearms are dangerous in exactly the same way.

A black powder charge can be ignited by a hot ash or coal remaining in the gun after firing, so loading a muzzleloading gun is a dangerous process. I always swab the bore with one patch wet with water followed by two dry patches. Not only does that reduce (but not eliminate) the possibility of something hot remaining in the barrel, it also removes the majority of ash and soot from the last round. I can shoot indefinitely this way, where if I didn’t swab the bore the gun would be too gunked up to load after perhaps a dozen shots.

The owner of an arrow launcher needs to practice keeping his hands out of the line of fire as he loads. On some guns this is almost impossible to do, as the last part of seating the arrow requires that it be pushed in hard from the tip. Consider this when buying an arrow launcher.

This isn’t exactly a design flaw. Let’s call is a weakness, just like muzzleloading black powder arms.

Breech failures

Now let’s talk about the Modoc. I actually tested two different rifles. The first one failed to work altogether and the second had one cartridge out of three that did work and two that didn’t. The manufacturer, Air Ordnance, actually sent blank slugs with the second gun — to fill the three loading positions in the loading station. If one or more of the cartridges failed, the others could still be filled without all the air leaking off. Of course the slugs also allowed the filling of just one or two air cartridges instead of all three, which was the purpose for which they were created, I’m sure.

Modoc
The Modoc is a single shot 9mm big bore rifle that’s based on the Remington Rolling Block.

Modoc fill station
The fill station fills up to three cartridges at a time to 4.500 psi. Each cartridge dumps its entire charge when fired.

Let me set the record straight. I never had a safety problem with either of the two Modocs I tested. Both had cartridges that leaked air, which is why I cancelled the test, but there were no safety problems with the guns. However, if an air cartridge were to suddenly discharge after being loaded into the rifle but before the breech is closed, the bullet would stick in the bore, sealing the air behind it and propelling the cartridge out of the back of the gun at high velocity. It’s the same problem as the arrow launcher, only at the breech instead of the muzzle. It’s not a flaw, perhaps, but certainly a weakness that should be recognized and handled accordingly.

Mistakes happen

It may sound like I’m too hard on airguns that fail, but I assure you I’m not. I remember when Crosman sent me a prototype of the Benjamin Maximus that was just a mule for things like stock dimensions and catalog photography. It had a mule barrel (a non-working item that stands in but isn’t representative of the finished product) they knew wasn’t accurate and soon after I received the rifle they emailed me to disregard that rifle because it wasn’t meant for my testing. I did and never wrote a word about it until today, because I realize that mistakes happen.

On the other hand, when a manufacturer sends me a sample gun they think is ready to go and it fails, I treat it differently. And, after they send the second one that also fails, I close the book. I usually don’t write about it, because that doesn’t help anybody, but I will never test that item again. The saying goes, “Fool me once, …”

Triggers

My house is full of holes from pellets that hit the wall or ceiling when the trigger failed. I also once shot my couch, but that wasn’t due to a faulty trigger. That was a faulty Tom! The point is — triggers can fail.

I remember one time that happened while hunting in Germany. I was walking to my high seat and loading my Sako rifle as I walked. Yes, I said Sako — as in a high quality firearm. When I closed the bolt the rifle fired, sending a .222 Remington bullet into the ground three feet in front of me. It certainly caught my attention! I had adjusted the trigger too light and it was a direct contact sear whose contact area gets smaller and smaller as the trigger is lightened.

Another time I was in my office testing a BSF S55N spring rifle for this blog. Robert Beeman wrote long ago that BSF triggers wear in until they become almost too light to hold. This one didn’t hold, and it put a nice round hole in my ceiling. Until it happened I doubted what Beeman had said. I just thought BSF triggers were good.

Not just BSF

Other triggers can fail, too. I have seen Rekords that were adjusted too light and would only hold occasionally. Their owners treated their guns like they were nitroglycerin after they were cocked, instead of adjusting the triggers to be safer.

CO2

What can I say about CO2, other than to handle the guns that use it with care? Things to watch out for are guns that allow you to exhaust the gas at any time. If there is a lot of gas still inside, the rapid cooling of your hands can promote frostbite. Not a flaw, but certainly a caution.

Finally

And my final one is a safety tip for all airguns and powerplant. These guns launch projectiles without gunpowder. One way or another, the power is contained inside the gun. Anything that is loaded into the barrel will come out at high velocity if the gun is discharged. I will not name the things that might be used for fear of prompting a misdirected science experiment.

Now, RidgeRunner, I probably missed a couple things you hoped for. Tell me what they are and there can be a Part 2.

102 thoughts on “Airgun flaws to watch out for

  1. When I was a kid, I noticed that the small, red firecrackers known as lady fingers fit nicely into the end of the barrel of my Red Ryder BB gun. You bent the fuse at a 90 degree angle, inserted the firecracker into the barrel of the empty gun, lit the fuse, usually by another kid helper, and pulled the trigger. The firecracker was catapulted into the air higher than it could be thrown by hand and resulted in an aerial blast. Fun. Occasionally you’d get a fast fuse and the firecracker would explode before you could pull the trigger, but as long as you kept your face away from the end of the barrel you were safe.


  2. B.B.,

    Nice article. A Part 2 might be nice, but I am not sure what it may include. You covered the bases well. I am sure with the resourceful bunch we have here, that something else will be offered. Joe’s comment above may offer a bit of topic fodder, but different than your topic. Perhaps we will end up with a Part 2 that falls more in line with,…….. ” Everything is fine,… until it isn’t”.

    Good Day to you and to all,…. Chris


    • Chris,

      I am not sure where you are on your order for parts now. I just put in an order for some parts and ordered two Crosman Maximus barrels. I was pleasantly supprised to learn the Hunter/Euro model .177 caliber barrel is $10 less than the .22 caliber barrel. Not sure why maybe it does not have the extra processes in the construction as the .22 caliber barrel. Might as well get one of each.

      I have been working on my Crosman 101 and finally removed the barrel. I thought it was not going to come out without being destroyed. I built a punch that was the same size as the bolt and drove it out from the breech end. I thought the new Crosman barrels would be a direct replacement. It turns out the barrel in necked down where it fits into the breech at the transfer port. I could drill out the breech to match the new barrel but I do not want to make it any thinner than it already is and I want to be able to return it to stock if I wish to. So now I need to get someone to turn it down. The old barrel is necked less than .10 inches. The barrels don’t cost too much so I may try in on my drill press. If I don’t get in a hurry and build a roller to keep the end from whipping around I can probably get it good enough. I can probably find a live center from a lathe to use on the drill press and that would hold things in place. Then I will use a file to remove the material. That will be a slow process but should work. I have done that before just not on anything this long.

      I have plenty to do while I wait for the new barrels. I need to make a new set of pump leather pump seals.

      The valve seems to working very good and the trigger is already as good as any of my single stage triggers on my 13xx or 2240 guns so no work needed on the valve or trigger so far.

      I did some shooting with different pellets at 10 yards with the original 101 barrel and did not find any 5 shot groups that were under 1.5 inches. I was able to count the lands on the original barrel it has 6. The rifling is not visible from the breech and also not visible past the crown at the muzzle. There are some very close spiral kind of wave patterns in the barrel that are not rifling they are about one revolution in .25 inches. I pushed a pellet through the barrel and it did not show any marks from rifling even under magnification. Not sure what the story of the barrel is.

      Back to tinkering

      Don


      • Don,

        Interesting on the “wave patterns @ 1 turn in 1/4”. The pellet showing no rifling marks is interesting too. You will have to keep us posted on that mystery. No parts ordered yet. I will be doing more review over the weekend. My gut is to order a custom shop gun, then swap the barrel to Maximus. .22 is my guess at this point. I’m in no rush, as you suggested. 😉 I think that Hiveseeker was right and just order a custom shop gun and then go from there. Prelim. cost data at this point supports that.


      • Benji-Don,

        In my opinion, this is a very bad idea to attempt to fit a new barrel .1″+ oversize to a receiver with a drill press, file and live center. This REALLY needs to be done on a lathe. I am sure that you will eventually be able to assemble the two but the fit will not be very good and I do not believe that you will be satisfied with the end result. Just trying to save you some money and a lot of frustration.

        If you would, please give me the dimensions of the new barrels when you receive them, length and OD at muzzle and breech.

        Bugbuster


        • Bugbuster,

          I am sure you are correct. I hate to spend $50-100 to machine a $28 dollar barrel down. I have a friend that will do it and if that works out great. I may be going his way in the nest couple of weeks.

          The OD of the both Barrels are 0.433 to 0.438 inches they are nominally 7/16 inch. I think 0.435 is about average. The Maximus barrels are about 26 inches long. The new barrel needs to be necked down to 0.375 inches for 0.815 inches. So it is a relatively short length. The transfer port hole will match up although the one in the old barrel is larger than the Maximus barrel so I will ream the new one out to match.

          The Crosman new barrels for the 13XX, 2240,,, and the Discovery and Maximus are all the same OD from muzzle to breech.

          This is a picture of the Crosman 101 barrel at the breech that I need to match.

          Thanks for the advice and interest. I will let you know how this works out.

          Don


          • Benji-Don
            Your machinist friend should be able to do it literally in 10 minutes if he has a lathe. And that’s including putting it on a Bridgeport and drilling out the transfer port hole and deburring all the machine work.

            That would be the right way to do it. Just make sure you bring the breech with you so he can size it to it to get a precise fit.


          • Benji-Don,

            Sorry for the LATE reply, as you have probably noticed, I do not post many comments on the blog.

            Thank you very much for the Crosman barrel measurements! My only concern with what you are doing is the very thin wall thickness of the barrel shank, especially in .22 caliber. You will end up with a .099″ wall in .177″ and only .079″ in .22″. With any substantial amount of 7/16″ diameter barrel hanging out of the breech the undercut barrel shank could be easily bent.

            I believe that you did not wish to modify the breech (receiver) BUT what if you were to tap the breech to a 7/16″-20 TPI and single point the same thread on the barrel concentric to the bore? The 3/8″ bore diameter of your breech is ALMOST the ideal size for this thread (7/16″-20) and if done this way the barrel length would not matter. The whole assembly would be “bomb-proof” so to speak, however the breech will now be a dedicated one, no going back. Just a suggestion.

            Have you ever posted your personal email address on the blog? If so can you tell me where to locate it?

            Bugbuster



            • Bugbuster,

              I have not seen an email yet. Maybe I was too tough with the riddle.
              My email is benji-don with the @.comcast,net.

              Looking forward to hearing from you.

              I should be getting my two barrels (.177 and .22) in a day or two. I have decided to have them machined as long as the price isn’t too high. I have not found a used lathe cheap enough that looks like it would be useable. I haven’t used a lathe since metal shop in high school. So I would be on a big learning curve.

              Don


            • Ok I will try again. My last reply had some punctuation I did not see. Sorry. I don’t like to put my email address out on the web I get too much spam already.

              Ok here it is use what is in quotes with no spaces

              “Benji-Don” “@comcast.net”

              Hope this works
              Don


  3. BB,

    I was wanting this topic to be in the main blog rather than buried down in the discussion section where someone new to airgunning was more likely to see it, especially if they happen to run a search.

    Everyone needs to understand and keep in mind that these are not toys. A loaded airgun should be handled as a loaded firearm. When you are handling an airgun you are unfamiliar with, extra care must be taken until you learn how to handle it safely. Then once you learn how it operates, you need to take care you do not become lax in your safe handling of it. I often tell those who are new to motorcycles that once you figure you know how to ride one, it will bust your pitooty.


  4. BB,

    This is an interesting and timely article for me. I own a RWS/Diana 48 which from most accounts is a quality air rifle. Last week while on vacation I was shooting my 48 and experienced a failure of the piston where the spline let go. The darn thing just slid out!

    I probably had shot a couple thousand pellets through the rifle. I bought the rifle used and I’m not sure how much the previous owner might have shot it.

    The kicker is that another 48 owner documented the exact same failure of his piston JUST ONE DAY BEFORE MINE FAILED. (Check out the German gate for my experience and AGN Springer forum for the other guy’s experience.)

    Since I purchased my 48 used I don’t know what Umarex will do for me. I’m still waiting to hear back from them…

    – Matt



      • Sorry, I should have used the word rod instead of spline (writing needs to follow coffee). The rod that is held back by the trigger group when cocking the gun is what I am referring to.

        It’s painfully obvious now that the piston and rod should not separate, but when I was making this video below I was under the incorrect assumption that the reason my 48 would not cock properly was that my trigger group had failed somehow and was not properly latching onto the rod or something was getting bound-up during the cocking that was preventing the rod from fully reaching into the trigger group to be caught.

        https://youtu.be/IyNXIpYm7zc?t=129

        As you can see the piston and rod (with its splines) are in quite good shape.

        Fortunately for me, nothing bad happened when the rod separated from the piston when cocking the rifle!



          • B.B.,

            This is a forehead-slapper! Matt’s video shows (at 2:11) that just light pulling by hand causes the piston rod to pop out of the piston. His is a Diana 48, but that rod looks like the one Walther (also an Umarex) used to replace the problematic threaded piston rod in the early LGVs. If it’s threaded, Red Loctite will remedy the problem, but what remedy is available to Matt?

            Umarex’ warrantee is not an option for Matt as his 48 has been opened. But barring an outright failure even an unopened air rifle will simply be sent back, unopened by Umarex, to the owner as performing up-to-spec, as mine was, despite mine sounding and vibrating such that there is certainly a mechanical issue.

            Should all Umarex springers be suspected of piston rod issues? Umarex has not issued a recall of any sort since 2011, but perhaps it is time.

            Michael



          • I am unable to credit the photo or direct anyone to the air gun blog thread that discusses this. But study the photo. It is of the innards of an “early batch” Walther LGV. Note the threads on the end of the piston rod. Those threads screw into the piston directly and with no other method of fastening, such as a nut. The poster reported that it was easy to unscrew by hand!

            What would happen if the rod came completely unscrewed while the rifle is cocked?

            Umarex eventually corrected this design flaw, but the early rifles are still out there with no recall I’m aware of. Some retailers might even have unsold early ones in stock.

            Are early Walther LGVs death traps?

            Another potential design flaw: “The only thing holding the shoe in the piston is a thin plastic plate on springs in the stock so that the piston can rotate, this is different to all other break barrels. It might be all fine but there has been few details given out about its robustness, no one seems to know how the metal to plastic set up will stand up to long term wear.” Followed by, “Do you think that the plastic plate could wear a groove in time and the shoe slip out of the piston as there is only a few mm catching in the piston ? it probably is ok but it looks a bit like it could, this is a different set up from the others because of the rotating piston the shoe cant hook inside of the cylinder.” http://www.airgunbbs.com/showthread.php?622159-WALTHER-LGV-What-are-your-opinions-of-it

            Michael





                  • Michael,

                    I am pretty sure that smaller plastic piece is just a retainer for the tube and does not move. The rod you showed above with the “button” on the right side end, is what catches that larger trigger piece with the hook on it. It passes through that tube/guide.

                    I am assuming that there is a cut out in the bottom of the tube that allows the hook to come up and latch the rod.

                    I could be wrong, but it does look familiar from past studies.


                    • Chris,

                      The trigger unit design aside, from what I have read on various boards Umarex eventually started applying Loctite to the piston rod threads. The early batch(es) of LGVs had a potential for the piston rod to unscrew from the piston. The rod can rotate as it has a 360 degree catch a la Air Arms piston rods, not a simple hook on one side, so with early LGVs this is a real danger.

                      Michael


                  • Michael
                    I have ran into other guns that also thread the piston latching rod into the piston.

                    Loctite is the way to go. It’s your decision on what type of Loctite though. Just depends on if you want it permanent or to we’re your u might want to take it apart again at some point in time to replace parts.



  5. BB,

    On Paul Harrel’s YouTube channel, which is about firearms comparisons, for the most part, he fires into a target medium of his own creation called a ” Meat Target”. It is a pack of boneless loin chops to represent pectoral muscles backed up by a slab of pork ribs to simulate ribs, followed by a sack of oranges to simulate soft lung tissue, then another slab of ribs for the back. The whole sheebang is duct taped together and covered with several layers of denim. He fires defensive arms and loads into this to illustrate the potential stopping power of the various gun/ammo combos. Have you ever done anything similar to this or read any report where it might have been done with small bore airguns ( I think the danger in mishandling a .45 airgun with 400 ft lbs of energy is obvious even to newbies) in order to drive home the point that airguns of today need to be treated EXACTLY like a firearm.?


    • Halfstep,

      We did that in 2010, on American Airgunner. We shot big bores into large roasts at 35 yards and then examined the damage in detail on camera. I don’t think they rerun the first three seasons though. Might be on You Tube, but I don’t know where.

      B.B.




          • well at least you learned a lesson and nobody got hurt. I remember a guy had a mauser turned into a sporter and same thing happened to him. I am no gunsmith but I took it apart looked at the trigger saw there were 2 adjustments. played with one and saw the hook that catches the groove in the firing pin move away from it hardly engaging. he brought it to a gunsmith and he adjusted the wrong screw making the trigger harder to pull but it still had hardly any sear engagement. so afterwards with the rifle cocked I slammed the rifle vertical on the recoil pad 10 times and the sear did not let go. the guy was still leary of the rifle


          • B.B.,

            From much of what you have written here regarding triggers, that seems like it might have been a failure/mistake from which you learned a lesson. As most of us know, we learn much more from failures than from successes. (Note: I HATE the word “fails.” “Fail” is a verbal/verbid. The nominative is “failure.” :^)

            Michael


  6. Excellent blog!!

    Having been around airguns for most of my life I have seen many people do dangerous things with them out of ignorance.

    The stupidest was a guy who cocked a break barrel and “tested” the power by putting his finger on the transfer port and pulling the trigger. Mashed his finger pretty good but didn’the break anything.

    Won’t talk about “science experiments” – seen enough on you-tube to scare the heck out of me! Makes you wonder about the experiments where the guy didn’t live to post the video.

    Hank



      • B.B.

        I thought about that before posting.

        The guy who mashed his finger did something stupid – and he was the first to say how stupid he was. He knew better because he usually carried his rifle with a pellet in the barrel but uncocked so he was aware of the spring tension when the barrel was down.

        I figured that posting the danger might save some accidents and for those who would try it anyway, well you can’t protect people from themselves.

        Hank


  7. B.B.,

    The other side I see in this article is that of the end users who will do things without fully understanding the potential danger they are in. Two incidences stick in my mind. The first is the widely circulated story of the one who worked on a pressurized PCP and got himself stabbed in the thigh when the pressure suddenly let go and the pressure vessel entered his thigh. The other is that of a few years ago somebody made an AirForce replica powered by CO2. Unfortunately the user apparently thought it was safe to fill the pressure vessel with HPA. I will leave it your imagination what happened when the tank blew up on his cheek. The last we heard he was having plastic surgery.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      Yes! That is what is bad about those Chinese copies of the AirForce guns. They have no controls and their manufacturers are impossible to find when things go wrong. I see these knockoffs at the SHOT Show every year and wish they would just go away. They do, of course, but are replaces by others who try the same thing.

      There is no cure for stupid!

      B.B.

      B.B.



      • BB
        The main point I think Siraniko is trying to make is they filled a Co2 bottle that usually has around a 900 psi or so working pressure to a HOA working pressure of say 3000 psi.

        Yep that’s not good either.

        The whole thing on those situations is if you don’t know what your doing don’t do it.

        And even if you do know what your doing things can go wrong.

        And speaking of Co2 in this report. A valve in Co2 guns could let go and dump the cartridge charge into the barrel. And if you got a pellet in there it’s coming out rapidly. And a sear could still drop off striker so that could also accidentally fire a pellet.

        Main thing is use comment sense.


  8. BB

    Timely warning for us all. I don’t always hold on to the barrel of a springer when loading. I’m betting some of you veterans don’t either especially if convenience is a bit compromised. I shoot while seated at a deck corner. Pellet trays need to be to my left. Cocking is much easier using the left hand and so is loading a pellet. Problem is it is impossible to load a pellet with the left hand while holding on to a cocked barrel unless I switch hands. I have been around firearms all my life and was taught gun safety before I was ever allowed to shoot one. Nevertheless I stand (sit) guilty. Just because I have never had a springer’s sear to let go while loading doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

    Thanks!

    Decksniper


    • Good point. I constructed a shooting table which is cut out on the left side for a right handed shooter. I am ambidextrous but do shoot right handed. I sit on a Harbor Fright stool which is adjustable for height. My Diana RWS34P had a 35 pound cocking force. It’s no problem for me to cock it with my right hand while sitting the stock my left thigh. I hold the barrel and insert a pellet with my left hand using a pellet pen. I normally always hold that barrel though. I can do this for a hundred shots or more with no problem.

      My first breakbarrel was a Crosman Nitro Venom gas piston rifle. The trigger was so bad that I purchased a Charliedatuna.com GRT-III trigger for it. Well, that didn’t work out well. When I shot the rife for the first time with the new trigger, the rifle shot before I released the safety! I loaded another pellet and did not know about the need to hold the barrel. I cocked the rifle and inserted the pellet and WHAM, the barrel slammed shut. Luckily my finger was not in the way. I reinstalled the old trigger and when I shot the rifle the POI was 6″ high at 10 yards. The barrel had bent from the slamming shut. I sent this rifle back to Amazon and it was replaced with another. Again, very bad trigger. So again I installed the GRT-III trigger but was very careful not the allow the barrel to slam shut. Something was very different about this second Crosman Nitro Venom as it worked perfectly with the GRT-III trigger and I was able to adjust it to a very nice release. Unfortunately I can not hit anything with it, thus the new Diana RWS34P, which I can not hit with either.

      Moral of the story is…ALWAYS hold that barrel when loading pellets on a breakbarrel rifle.


    • Decksniper
      You know what I actually do hold on to my break barrels when I load a pellet. Even under levers.

      But I don’t on my FWB 300. Reason being it’s on the right side of the gun when cocking. I load with my right hand even though I’m left handed. Just feels awkward to load a pellet left handed. Plus there’s not much room to load with a scope mounted.

      That’s going to be a tuff one to figure out. Guess I could reach over the gun with my left hand to hold the cocking arm while loading a pellet.

      Hmm maybe that’s a design flaw. Looks like they was designing for a right handed world to cock on that side but forgot about the loading the pellet and safety of holding the cocking arm. Maybe they didn’t figure that could be a issue with the bear trap. And come to think about it also the 54 air king and 48 and those other sidelever out there.



      • Gunfun1

        Are you as accurate at 25 yards and under with a peep sight as with the scope? This may be a way around the pellet loading issue while holding the cocking lever on the FWB300. No scope to reach over. I use a large felt tip magic marker inside an adhesive tape circle to put black round spots on targets. They can be easily seen at 25 yards even with my old eyes providing I am looking through a peep.

        Decksniper


        • Decksniper,

          Peeps work better than opens for me too. I flipped over the sight on the new 2240 and the peep did better for me. I love the 499. I am sure they have their limits on distance though. Still, they work better for me.


        • Decksniper
          I don’t use peep sights. I like to see the shooting area around the target I’m shooting at.

          Same reason I like a dot or open sights. I can get on a target quicker. For the most part anyway quicker than with a scope.

          And with the FWB 300 and most of my guns. I mostly shoot at 20 yards and out. I only have two targets in the yard that are under 25 yards. One at 10 and one at 20 yards.

          So the peep sight no for the 300. It a dot sight I could live with. But in reality my 300 and Maximus are my two most accurate guns that I own. Shooting them both with scopes usually consists of gaurenteed hits at distances even out past 70. So nope I’m stuck with the way BB suggested for the 300. I don’t want to touch that gun the way it is set up now.


          • Gunfun1

            Just curious if you got around to trying a ghost ring rear sight. Field of view is not an issue. Fast focus on targets is the advantage. Won’t compete with a scope at long range but wonder how far the FWB300 can reach out?

            Decksniper


            • Decksniper
              The FWB 300 I have now I modified. It will consistently hit a tin can at a hundred yards using JSB 10.34’s once I figure out what windage hold to use for that day.

              I already know I can shoot better groups with a scope on a gun than I can with red dots or open sights. So no need for me to try the peeps. Plus I shoot with both eyes open. Not only with a scope but also red dots or open sights.

              Believe it or not. I can look through my scope out at a hundred yard target and see my wind sock at 50 yards out of my off eye. It’s just the way I have shot for years and I guess I’ll say I have my eyes and brain trained that way.


              • Gunfun1

                100 yards with accuracy! Wow, to put it mildly. Blowing air seriously. Reminds me of the famed Novi V8 that Lew Welch and Bud Winfield built for Indy in the 1940’s. It had a supercharger (blower) so loud it could be heard from every seat on the 2 1/2 mile track. You being former hot rodder, I couldn’t resist.

                Enjoy the FWB300
                Decksniper


                • Decksniper
                  This isn’t the best looking FWB 300 that I have had. But it’s a shooter. That’s the guns that I’m trying to hang onto from now on.

                  And thanks for the hot rod stuff. Always interested in hearing something on that subject.

                  Have fun shoot’n. 🙂


  9. I, too, have a hole in my couch. It happened when I was adjusting the wonderful ball-bearing trigger on the early Diana 27 models. I learned that if you set the trigger adjustment screw too light the gun can discharge after simply closing the barrel.

    That .177 hole in the couch has been there for about 3 years now and the spousal unit doesn’t know about it. I’d like to keep it that way.


  10. We discussed the loading of the Arrow gun at the 2016 Texas Airgun Show about placing the hand over the end of the arrow while seating the arrow. Seems we still have that problem. What is the preferred method for seating the arrow?

    On another topic. Now that many of us have our Umarex Gauntlets, when will you give us one of your great reviews? Hint, hint.


  11. For my collection, I was given a B-3 by a dear friend after her father passed away. She is deathly afraid of anything that resembles a firearm. I refer to it as The Amputator. Thanks to your and past blogs, I always held the cocking lever while loading it. This one example is fairly accurate, surprisingly.

    Fred formerly from the DPRoNJ now in GA



      • Ha! No – it has a brown shellac over mystery wood that shows significant wood filler. The shellac was put on by a brush, not sprayed. The action is also painted with a brush. All steel, where ever they could get away with it, is stamped sheet metal. It has buckles, one on the stock and one on the pivot bolt for the cocking lever on the right side, to accept a sling. Plastic parts are restricted to the spring tube end cap. As for the smell, it’s been a while since I shot this so can’t remember if the Chinese used animal fat for their grease. Hey, back in the sixties when we would change the oil in the suspension forks on Japanese motorcycles, it always smelled like fish so we always thought the Japanese were using fish oil in the forks. As for the shocks back then, we figured they only put oil in them so they didn’t squeek. Boy how things have changed for the better!

        Fred former of the etc., etc.


  12. B.B.,
    One thing that comes to mind is leaving a C02 gun or cart./bottle/tank in the sun. I’ve seen/heard lots of them “blow”. I’ve never seen one hurt anyone, but it sure wakes you up as it is loud. Would HPA do the same?

    Doc



    • Doc
      That’s a good point.

      They are suppose to have the burst discs if they are over pressurized in some way or another. I never have had one blow yet on HPA bottles or tanks. But I have had one blow in the pits on a drag car that I was using nitrous on. Yep hot hot sunshine day in the back hatch of a 97 Z/28. I wasn’t in the car but it does let go violently. They have what they call a blown down tube that exits on the bottom of the car. Put it this way. You couldn’t see the back half of the car from all the white nitrous in the air.

      But I always try to keep my HPA buddy bottle and pcp guns in the shade as much as possible.


  13. Chinese B3’s have been not so affectionately referred to as an assembled collection of unfinished parts.
    Friend of mine bought one at a “truck” sale. He went through a bunch of boxes til a decent looking one was found. Many had various problems. Then found out that the one he did find that looked nice would not work with a scope. Receiver and barrel were not in alignment! Iron sights were fine as they were on the barrel only. But, aged eyes and iron sights do not get along.

    A number of people have been injured by an airgun even without a BB or pellet loaded when the air charge gets injected under the skin. Mostly by putting a body part over the muzzle and pulling the trigger.

    Silver Eagle


  14. Gunfun1—I have 2 old Chinese air rifles, a side lever and an underlever. Each one has a short wood dowel that fits in the open action while I am loading the pellet. A short piece of string connects the dowels to the trigger guard. They protect me from the beartrap problem. It takes only a short time to drop them into the open action, and a tug on the string flips them out of the action after I load the pellet and my fingers are in the clear. ——-Ed


  15. B.B.,

    Have you ever heard of an under lever letting go at either the (under lever/linkage point) or the (linkage/piston point)?

    Should that happen, no amount of holding the under lever is going to prevent that piston from coming forward.

    I am thinking of something just plain breaking or wearing to the point that it just slips.

    I have 2 under levers and always hold the under lever. LGU and TX, so no “cheap” issues. I was thinking cheap/Chinese under levers.

    Chris



      • B.B.,

        Yes, I have. From that, I would presume the answer is yes and still a good idea to do on quality spring underlevers. I would agree, but have yet to ever do it myself, I must confess. I remember Ed offering that tip over several years. Good advice,.. I would however be concerned that the sliding breech could then become a “wood/dowel splitter” in such an unfortunate event. Still, advice worthy of heavy consideration.

        Chris


  16. I have a couple of stories/lessons.

    1) Put the action back in the rifle stock before testing something. The action, by itself can be a bit unwieldy and unnatural. After several successful tests, 2 shots into the walls. Put it back in.

    2) New 92FS Co2 pistol, target “gallery”. Back stop/trap very secure. 2×2 wood blocks to use as “action” targets. Pellet hits block and pellet rebounds to my right, off a wall,.. (onward) to a wall behind my head,.. and then (onward) to the kitchen floor. Lesson? Make sure that pellet is going to hit something solid. If it can move, it can rebound. OR,… hit it with enough FPE to blow it to smithereens.

    My 2 cents,…. 😉 Be careful ya’ all.


    • B.B.,

      Actually,.. there is a lesson there in that 2nd story,.. somewhere? Hit your target with enough energy that the projectile will keep moving forwards. The target will yield. Given equal resistance, a rebound can occur. Given slightly more resistance in the target, and the target can still yield,… then a rebound is almost assured.

      No doubt that my physics is flawed in some sort of way,.. but let me assure you that for what I tried,.. that is in fact how it went down.

      Chris


  17. News Flash: It is “raining Iguanas” in Florida,… per the news just now. It would seem that they are falling out of trees because of the cold. Per the report though,.. it is widely believed all Iguanas survived the experience. Stay tuned at 11 PM for further updates……..

    +4 F here now. 🙁


  18. I have for a flaw for you.

    I have a Stoeger X20 that shoots so erratically (all of that power!) that i missed my backstop for the first time. Put a hole through the wall. The pellet must have landed somewhere outside. I made my backstop twice as wide so that was the last time i missed the backstop. That rifle is not much of a shooter.

    I do have a question. What are the CO2 guns that fire at a 1000 foot pounds? I had no idea of such guns. Are they made by Stoeger? Hahaha. Seriously, i would like to know more about such airguns.


  19. B.B.,

    I have a Compasseco-purchased, “Tech Force,” perhaps, Chinese sidelever, the one that has the slight resemblance to “AK” style rifles. I developed a method for loading it that I find not entirely acceptable: I cock it, and then I switch hands for inserting the pellet into the breech. With my right arm bent at roughly a 90 degree angle, I situate my right elbow and much of the upper and lower arm between the cocking lever and the rest of the air rifle as I do so. Were the sear to disengage, I am confident I would suffer a broken thumb (visions of Fast Eddie Felson) but at least not a lost thumb-tip.

    If anyone here knows of a better method for being safe with a side-lever, please post it here. I have not acquired a Diana 54 only because it is a side-lever.

    My FWB 300s and 150 have such short levers that I can choke up on the lever as I load them. Besides, those levers are on such low tension that should the sear disengage, the worst that would happen is a bruise, pain, foul language, and early-onset osteoarthritis in that joint.

    Incidentally, Chicago Mayor Rahm “The Worst Mayor Ever” Emmanuel had a college summer job at a deli where he cut off the last three quarters of his right middle finger by not paying close attention while he used the slicer. As a former U.S. President once remarked, “In Chicago that is a speech impediment.” Heh, heh, heh.

    Michael


    • Actually, I just found Ed’s (Zimbabwe Ed) invention post above, and I will do it the next time (if ever) I decide to dust off the Tech Force “Revolutionary Model” in my stable.

      Michael


    • Michael
      I posted that earlier today about sidelever guns.

      BB replied with a very good way to hold the cocking arm on those gun’s.

      Here is his reply again to my question.

      “GF1,

      What you do is put your rifle upper arm in the way of the cocking lever as you load. It works well.

      B.B.”


  20. Chris—– You have a good memory. I make my dowels from a piece of oak that came from an old flag pole. There is
    very little clearance between the sliding chamber and the breech end of the receiver. If the sliding chamber moved forward, it would stop before it could have enough momentum to break the dowel. ——Ed


    • Ed,

      Thank you for the compliment,.. but I would say that “somewhat vague recall” might be more fitting. 😉

      I see your point on momentum,.. just so long as sliding chamber does not retract a substantial distance behind the opening. I would have to re-check the TX and LGU to see if that is, or is not, the case.

      Your idea did stick in my mind as I had just received the TX at the time, as I recall. (see above comment on recall). 😉

      Chris


  21. On the other hand, when a manufacturer sends me a sample gun they think is ready to go and it fails, I treat it differently. And, after they send the second one that also fails, I close the book. I usually don’t write about it, because that doesn’t help anybody, but I will never test that item again. The saying goes, “Fool me once, …”

    These are the the products we need to know about the most. Those that are already on the market or about to be released that don’t pass muster. The only one being protected by you not telling us about the failures in the manufacturer.



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