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Education / Training Sheridan Supergrade: Part 1

Sheridan Supergrade: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sheridan Supergrade right
My new Sheridan Supergrade is in fantastic condition, despite the wood check at the butt.

Sheridan Supergrade left
The cheekpiece makes the Supergrade stand out!

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The back story
  • Early reports
  • How many pumps?
  • So — how many pumps?
  • We’re just getting started!
  • Description
  • Why so much?
  • SO — why 12 pumps?
  • Summary

Awww! Not again! BB — you promised us something very special today. You have reviewed and tested the Sheridan Supergrade so many times on this blog!

Yes, I have. But this report will be different. This report will have a major impact on not just Supergrade owners, but on most multi-pump owners.

The back story

Several weeks ago a new reader posted that he had a Sheridan Supergrade to sell. I have to approve all new readers’ comments, so I approved and posted his, welcomed him to the blog and, because he included his email address in the message, I contacted him.

The rifle in question had been found in an attic, where it had been stored for years, and the owner only recently discovered what it is. He did some research and had a good idea of what it was worth, so when I contacted him he quoted a fair asking price.

Of course I didn’t know him at all, so I had to step out in faith. He sent me some pictures that looked good and he told me when he dry-fired it, it sounded good. While that is a good start, it’s not a lot to go on.

We negotiated a price I felt was both fair and also covered some of the risk I was taking in buying a sight-unseen air rifle, and we made a deal. He shipped the rifle and, when I received it, I was looking at the nicest Sheridan Supergrade it has ever been my privilege to handle. The late Ted Osborn once showed me a better one that was like-new in the box, but he was appalled when I mentioned I would like to shoot it. I was dropped from the list of buyers under consideration, which was good because I didn’t have the cash to buy it at the time.

That’s the back story, but like I said — this report isn’t just about Supergrades. Now I’ll show you what I mean.

Early reports

The Sheridan Supergrade came out in 1947. It was developed by Bob Kraus, at the request of his friend, Ed Wackerhagen, who wanted a good multi-pump pneumatic for his son. He wanted a gun that was clearly better than anything then on the market, which would primarily have been the Crosman 101 Silent Pneumatic and the Benjamin 312 multi-pump. Both of those rifles are considered fine airguns today and in that day they were the best money could buy. Wackerhagen wanted better.

I’ll continue with the description and history in a moment, but let’s look at some early reports of the airgun. Major General Julian Hatcher tested and reviewed the Super Grade in American Rifleman magazine in April of 1947. He reported the following velocities with a Sheridan Bantam pellet.


You’ll find that on page 254 in Smith’s Standard Encyclopedia of Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World, by W.H.B. Smith. That book, published in 1956, used to be the bible for airgun collectors, but the crop of collectors I grew up with is now long of tooth and vanishing rapidly. People don’t appreciate Smith’s book today, even though they all want the information it contains.

General Hatcher, by the way, is probably the single most important American name in the 20th century development of firearms. At the very least he is the equal of John Moses Browning. Hatcher is the man who changed the bullet for the .30 Government cartridge (30.06), taking it from 19th century performance into the 20th century and the equivalent of the then-best German 7.92X57mm Mauser.

W.H.B. Smith did his own testing of the Super Grade in 1956 and got the following results.


How many pumps?

Okay, reader Doc Holiday has waited patiently for me to address his concerns about pumping a multi-pump. This is the start of my answer.

Twelve pumps?!!! Are you out of your mind? If General Hatcher was a blog reader I would have to correct his confused approach to a multi-pump. You don’t pump them 12 times! But he did. And it worked. And Smith pumped his 10 times and that worked for him.

I pumped this new/old Supergrade I had just acquired 8 times and got 630 f.p.s. I was all set to call it macaroni when my research turned up these two tables. What I got from my first test of the new gun is the fastest, more or less, that I have ever seen a Supergrade shoot. How did these guys get so much more velocity, and who told them they could pump the rifle that many times?

Sheridan did, as it turns out. Oh, and by the way — this rifle is/was called a Super Grade by Sheridan from the start. I have a copy of the manual with that on the cover. Many airgunners think that title was invented by collectors along the way, but it original and correct. You just don’t see it in their advertising.

Sheridan Supergrade manual cover
The Super Grade manual cover from 1947 shows that Sheridan used that title. All we have done in modern times is condense it into one word, like the word airgun.

So — how many pumps?

But the question remains — what did Sheridan say about the number of pump strokes? Take a look at page 20 of the owner’s manual.

Sheridan Supergrade strokes
There it is — in 1947 Sheridan recommended a maximum of 8 pump strokes for the Supergrade. But the wording is not emphatic and it does allow for fudging up to 10 strokes, if you don’t read carefully.

I have not fully addressed why General Hatcher got to pump his test gun 12 times yet. I will get to it, but not yet.

We’re just getting started!

This manual is very detailed and not only explains what to do to maintain your rifle, it also tells you why. I will be exposing you to several more looks inside the manual as this report advances, but for now let’s return to the air rifle.


The Sheridan Supergrade is a single shot bolt action multi-pump pneumatic air rifle. It was produced in .20 caliber only and was made from 1947 to around 1953. In total, 2130 were produced, but the serial numbers got mixed in with the Model B Sporter (the Supergrade is the model A) serial numbers, of which another 1050 guns were made. The Sporter ran from 1948 to 1951.

As a parenthetical side note, there was/is one Supergrade in .22 caliber. It was the testbed gun Kraus used during development. The decision was made to go with .20 caliber because the pellets of the day were not precise enough to extract the gun’s full potential.

My rifle is serial 1099, and was probably made after model B production started. It has the long bolt handle of the early guns, and is probably one of the last that did.

Sheridan Supergrade receiver
My Supergrade has the graceful early long bolt handle. All Supergrades have a peep sight.

The two pieces of walnut on Supergrades are numbered, and Jeff Cloud told me Sheridan did that to keep the forearms mated to the buttstocks during production. That way the wood grain is matched, since both pieces were cut from the same piece of wood.

Sheridan Supergrade wood number
The end of the pump handle and buttstock have matching assembly numbers. That kept the wood together so the grain matched.

The rifle is 37 inches long, with a 20-inch barrel. This one weighs 6 lbs. 4 oz. and they all vary a little because of the wood weight. If you held it you would be surprised that it feels very much like a Sheridan Blue Streak and even like a Benjamin 392, for that matter. The size and weight are about the same.

Why so much?

So, why was the Supergrade retailed for $56.50 in 1947, at a time when a Winchester model 61 slide-action .22 sold for $44.95? The short version — time and materials. Time because the Sheridan company was a startup company and everything was done by hand — probably including the hands of the two inventors in the beginning. Materials because, where all other pneumatic rifles used red brass for their barrels and pump tubes, the Supergrade used phosphor bronze that’s far more expensive. Red brass is just as good from a performance standpoint, and a Blue Streak from 1952 can be just as powerful and accurate as a Supergrade.

But almost everyone who sees a Supergrade in person sees the quality right away. My rifle is especially nice in that respect because it has almost 85 percent of its original finish. So far every knowledgeable airgunner I have shown it to has had the same reaction as me.

SO — why 12 pumps?

Why did General Hatcher get to pump his Super Grade 12 times? Was he just ignorant? I don’t think so.

Look at the date his article was published — April of 1947. Sheridan started production just one month earlier. To publish in April, Hatcher’s article had to be finished by the middle of February or earlier, so he was testing a pre-production gun that was probably given to him in October of 1946. Pictures in those days took many rolls of film to take and weeks at the developer to see whether they came out.

Do you suppose the Sheridan folks built General Hatcher a rifle intentionally? In other words — a ringer? A setup? General Hatcher was the man who made America’s 30.06 bullet travel one mile farther than its inventors intended during World War I, so giving him an airgun to test for the most widely-read gun magazine on the planet was like giving Bill Gates a personal computer to test and then asking for his thoughts.

Now, W.H.B. Smith was just a writer schmuck like me. A far more famous writer schmuck, no doubt, but a schmuck, nevertheless. He pumped a Super Grade 10 times in 1956 and got just over 700 f.p.s. I will show you how that can happen in a future report.


I’m going to end today’s report here, but I haven’t even scratched the surface. Part 2 will be a continuation of the description of my new rifle, plus more information about Supergrades and pneumatics than has never been printed anywhere. Doc, I still haven’t answered your question about how long you can leave a pneumatic fully pumped up. The Super Grade manual tells you specifically how long and why you would do it. It also tells you in detail what happens when you oil a pneumatic, and even when you over-oil one.

I am going to test this new rifle for you in the conventional way and I have a mega-surprise coming in that respect. I’ll just put it this way — you don’t need a DeLorean and 1.2 gigawatts of electricity to go back in time!

Stay tuned!

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.

122 thoughts on “Sheridan Supergrade: Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    That is one fantastic rifle! How much would you estimate would it cost to manufacture one using modern tooling and methods? Definitely not going to be cheap, but it would make us appreciate how accessible other airguns are. That is what a Benjamin 39x can be upgraded to.


    • Siraniko,

      How much today? I would guess $600 or so. Because of CNC, the labor wouldn’t be as bad, but the materials would be shocking. If I’m wrong, I bet it’s on the low side.

      BTW, a $600 manufacturing cost would mean a retail price of $2,400, or so. Figure a 4X increase.


      • BB Gen Hatcher was a great gun guy but as far as the 30-06 was concerned he just copied the spritzer bullet from the Germans as the 30-6 round and springfield rifle was copied from the German mauser and 8×57 . I am sure US had to pay mauser a fee for every 03 springfield rifle

        • Mildot52,

          The U.S. did have to pay Mauser for copying the design. That was after the war. A very strange thing — don’t you think?

          As for Hatcher, yes, he did use the spitzer bullet (a French invention, I believe) as his starting point. But he conducted extensive testing before finalizing the weight, which the Mauser bullet exceeded.


  2. B.B.,

    I was hoping for a front pump Benjamin, but I am not disappointed. Congratulations. Please share some dimensions on the pump geometry. I will provide what I have for various multi-pumps over the weekend in these comments. That is one beautiful gun. I would say it is the best production multi-pump ever made.

    I can see a few possibilities on the difference in the pump vs velocity curve for the tow guns. Different pellets could be one reason but I think you would have told us if that was the case. I would say Hatcher’s gun was definitely a piece of art and was tuned like a Swiss watch. I would say the head space was minimized on the Hatcher gun to as small as possible. It looks like you could pump the Smith gun for a long time and not get to the velocity in the Hatcher gun.

    I made a plot of the velocity vs pump curves for both guns. Look at the smooth curve on the Hatcher gun.

    I need to complete my work on combining the calculations of the valve/reservoir pressures to the pump force on multi-pumps. My vector mechanics are rusty and I haven’t got up the gumption to get started yet. This may do it. I do see now why the pump effort pretty much tops out as you keep pumping. That last bit of air added to the reservoir from the pump is when the pump leverage is highest. That is when the pump stoke is almost competed. The highest pumping force is reached before the highest pump pressure is reached.

    And why don’t we just call them multipumps if they are airguns.

    Below is the graph of the Hatcher and Smith pumps vs velocity.


    • Benji-Don,

      Considering manufacturing tolerances and the variety of chronograph at the time, I would consider the velocities obtained within acceptable SD. How should B.B. go about measuring the pump geometries do that his measurements will be consistent with yours? Looking forward to your work on combining the calculations of the valve/reservoir pressures to the pump force on multi-pumps.

      I wouldn’t worry much about B.B. taking too long with the next part. I expect him to present it on Monday. The one after that might be next Friday.


      • Siraniko
        That is a very good question.

        How did they measure speed back then.

        Maybe both people used different methods. That then making different velocity’s for amount of pumps. Or maybe their equipment didn’t read the same from one unit to another. You know kind of like the gauges on our pcp guns and pumps.

        Kind of reminds me of when Buldawg got slower readings then I did on some guns we both owned.

        I would like to know more about the equipment they used back then to measure velocity. And I would like to know if the one gun was indeed built different than the other. Or if it was the area they lived in that made for the differences in air pressure and flow. Pretty interesting stuff though.

        • GF1,

          I think one device that was used, for more powerful guns, generally, but not exclusively, was a ballistic pendulum. A projectile of known mass was fired at a block of known mass that was suspended front and back from free hanging cords. How much the block was deflected backwards by the projectile could be plugged into a formula that would reveal the velocity of the projectile. At least I thick it was done that way. I learned about it in some Physics classes I had and have always assumed that it was a real device and not just some theoretical machine used to illustrate kinetic energy. We used a small mock up of one back when they still had students actually performing experiments in a lab setting rather than watching a video of someone doing the experiment, as my kids did in all of their Physical Science classes( I not bitter… I not bitter…)


          • Halfstep
            Yep I know of the pendelum. I’m thinking BB did a blog on it if I remember right. Also on splatology too. If not I know it was definitely talked about here.

          • Hi half step. I got the guy at my local airsoft place to chrony my Gamo Urban with four turns. I just wanted to let you know it chronograph at 704 FPS. That was with 2000 PSI and compares to your results at two turns with Urban one. Maybe that’s why mine came from the factory at 13 and a half turns to get the power right.

            • Johncpen,

              Was that a 10 shot average? That’s what my numbers represent and if your velocity is for 10 shots then that probably does explain the 13 1/2 turns. My guns were set at around 11 1/2 – 11 3/4 turns from the factory.That would indicate stronger hammer springs or weaker valve springs than your gun came with. I guess that would mean the adjustment was more for factory tuning than user tuning. Did you see the post on my mod to make the adjustment available without disassembling the gun?


              • Halfstep,

                Good observation. The factory cranks out, let’s say, 100 air rifles, but they have varying fps due to the performance variance of the internal components. How do they fix this? Adjust the hammer tension. That way the customer gets a consistent product,.. within a certain parameter. That might explain the reporting of different factory hammer tension settings as you and Johncpen noted.

                It sounds good and makes good sense to us, the end user. That is also running under the assumption that they (actually test) each rifle. Being a Gamo, I would have to be somewhat skeptical of them doing that.

                Another way, that I have never heard of, but may work,…. would be to hold the muzzle up to a gauge of sorts, solid, and measure the pressure of the exiting muzzle air. No pellet. Something like that makes more sense for a in-factory test. Safer. In the case of a Co2 or PCP, single pump or multi-pump,… at least a pressurized,no pellet firing to assure functionality.

                That brings up another interesting question,….. How much (of everything, all brands) sold,.. actually gets any sort of a live fire test, pellet or no pellet? {Perhaps B.B. might have an idea of that?}

                I think we kind of expect that of higher end makers, but what do the rest of them do,.. or not do? Interesting to ponder.

                • Chris

                  I can’t take credit for that. It was Geo791 that suggested it to me, based on something he found on the internet.

                  I have seen videos of the BSA plant in Birmingham- which is where Urbans are most likely manufactured -and they were testing every gun for function, including velocity and accuracy. They were clamping springers upside down by the barrel to a bench mounted fixture. The tester would then lift up on the stock to cock the gun then load a pellet and fire through a window into a room with the instruments. He had a display in front of him that provided the information on the shot. As I recall, it had a computer generated image of the impact point rather than a video image.

                  If I can remember the channel, I’ll post it. It was British in origin and was very interesting.

                  • Halfstep,

                    Thank you for that added insight. I for one at least hope that all air guns are live tested in some manner. Today, you never know.

                    Would you agree, disagree, ?, on if the Urban’s are “tuned” to be within a certain fps parameter by adjusting the hammer spring tension? If not, how do we explain the different settings? If under fps,.. let’s say for example,… it would require 1,2,3? adjustments to bring it up to par.

                    It would seem quite easy that (any) air gun manufacturer would add in some data sheets with each air rifle,.. at least those that do test. To me, that would add to the all important “trust” factor and also marketability.

                    • Chris U,

                      I’m dubious because, between my Urbans, Gun1 was adjusted at 10 1/4 turns and Gun2 was set at 10 3/4 turns from the factory. Gun2 shot harder out of the box and at all adjustment levels and with all the pellets that I tried during that part of my testing.

                      I would have expected #2 to shoot slower at equal hammer adjustments if the factory had added that 1/2 turn to make all of them equal. #2 shoots faster by different amounts based on how many turns I look at and what weight pellet I use. At near maximum turns and with 25+ grain pellets it’s around 35 or 40 fps. The smallest difference was around 15-18 fps, something like that.

                      No matter how I adjust either gun I am unable to get Gun2 to match Gun1 in efficiency. I can get them the shoot at the same average velocity but #1 always has the lower and better stats in all other regards. I keep hoping #2 will come around in time.


                    • Chris U,

                      I found that video.


                      My memory was a little off. In this video at 10:05 they discuss and show the testing done on a Buccaneer, which is the Urban in a different stock, and is a PCP and not a break barrel. The accuracy testing is a video feed of a paper target down range, not a generated image as I initially stated. The Barrel making process is from :40 to 5:00

                      I confused it with another video ,I guess.


                  • Halfstep
                    That means the machining process is more than likely not able to repeat the process that is needed to make a consistent shooting gun.

                    But then again. What we think is consistent might not be what the manufacturer thinks is consistent.

                    They probably think they are making a accurate gun that everyone wants.

                  • Halfstep,

                    Thank you for your observation and guess. I figured that with your excellent data collection and charting, that you would know as well as anyone as to what may be,.. or not may be,… happening behind the scenes.

                  • Halfstep,

                    Thank you for your efforts on re-finding the video’s. That at least explains how BSA does their testing. 100% top notch.

                    I for one find it hard to remember who owns who now,.. and who is getting into the Chinese market. One thing that is good is that if you are willing to pay for quality,.. you are likely going to get a well tested and quality product.

                    Thank you again.

                    • Chris U,

                      Sometimes you don’t even have to pay for Quality. An Urban really is the same as the Buccaneer in the video and it can be had for around $200.

                      The first video makes it clear that the guns are adjusted for power and they probably secrete the adjuster out of mind inside the stock to prevent their restricted customers from being able to illegally adjust the power up without some disassembly. Just a guess.


                • Chris
                  My problem with the different settings is. Why.

                  How come they have to set the striker pressure at different settings to achieve the same velocity.

                  Is there that much variation when they make the parts in the gun? Or maybe they have people assembling the guns and they don’t count their turns from the same starting point or whatever.

                  And I’m betting production guns in the lower cost range don’t get test fired as much as the higher cost guns.

                  Then I also wonder if they have a standard weight and brand pellet they use when they test.

                  And another thing is I guess a gun that doesn’t show in a users manual a way to adjust means they want you to leave it alone and they (try) to get them close from the factory. And then there is the other manufacturers like Crosman with the Marauder that sets them so they come from the factory at a close setting to one another but know the gun will more than likely get adjusted to the owners liking.

                  To me it boils down to different thinking from the manufacturer. Could that be because of where the maker originates from?

                  • Gf1,

                    Yes!,…. on all of the above. Perhaps B.B. could give us some insight on the topic of factory testing/settings among the different air gun manufacturers?

                    I mean really,… that is what it all boils down to. 1) You get an air that functions 2) You get an air gun that performs as advertised. (fps and accuracy being tops)

                    Oh wait,.. pardon me,…. most air gun manufacturer’s post 0% accuracy claims prior/during release.

                    • Chris
                      You know what.

                      The thing we are worried about the most seems to not even exist in their minds.

                      Why in the heck do they think velocity is so important!

                      I’m telling ya now. The power wars means nothing to me. Power isn’t everything.

                    • Chris
                      What I mean is what’s important.

                      Fps the guns making or accuracy.

                      Accuracy. How often in production do they test for that.

      • Siraniko,

        I will provide a table of what I have soon. My measurements are not made with a high degree of precison. I have not been taking the guns apart for the measurements. The purpose is to compare the general design features of different multi-pump pumps.

        Obviously B.B. has a lot behind the curtain on this gun and is going to take this report to the next level. It will be a fun look into a great gun.


        • Benji-Don,

          I don’t think anybody will be measuring using a micrometer. 😉 I’m just thinking for consistency that if you want B.B. to provide measurements what should be measured? The length of the handle? The angle made on full opening? Is there anything else that should be measured?


  3. B.B.,

    Oh, and I forgot to say; it looks to me like you have already got your moneys worth on the Super-Grage. You sound elated. Don’t take too long before the next part.


  4. BB,

    In your pics it looks as if the stock tapers down to a smaller thickness just in front of the receiver. If that is true, was it done for appearances or for a more practical reason. I think it is a nice look, myself. Also, reader Thedavemyster just made me aware that older 392s have a guard over the barrel to ease the strain on the hand used on the barrel during pumping. I see a metal (I assume) band over the barrel just short of the pump arm and am curious if it was to anchor a similar guard on this gun or did it serve some other purpose?

    I’m left with some questions about the sights on this gun as well (especially since I’ve been having sight issues on my 392 lately) but I’m guessing you will answer them in your next installment so I’ll keep them to myself for now.

    It is a beautiful gun and you are a lucky man to own it.

    P.S. I could not help but notice how the conversational tone of the over pumping warning in this manual compares to how one would expect to see it written up in a modern manual. You could almost call it “folksy”


    • If you want folksy try reading the directions to products from a site called Mancave or Men’s Fitness magazines. On the subject of relations with the opposite sex, one writes: “Beautiful women are high maintenance like sports cars, gents. Unless you want to fly your mate out to Bali every weekend or have everyone in the world hitting on her, you best lower you sights.”

      Thanks for your kind thoughts on my broken arm and so sorry to hear about your grandson’s accident in basketball. Danger is lurking everywhere. I actually was lucky. I didn’t break any of the small and very intricate bones of the wrist and hand that I saw on my x-ray so my recovery will be fairly quick. And who knows what might be possible with one arm. I was reading a rivetting novel about adventurers in Italian-occupied Ethiopia on the eve of World War II. A lovely heroine is staked out and prepared for execution by a perverted and sadistic hill tribe of Deliverance type characters. But at the last possible moment, a jaunty Britisher shows up in an armored car. Putting his Lee-Enfield over the crook of a gangrenous arm, he works the bolt one-handed taking out the executioners. Then, he puts the heroine on a plane with her true love, a studly American, and stays behind in a suicidal rearguard action. There’s plenty to occupy the mind while my arm heals.


      • Matt61,

        That 1st paragraph is priceless! 🙂 I knew there was a reason I did not read such publications. Exceptions aside,.. that can happen at all levels of the social/beauty “ladder”. If your work out buddy tells you to avoid that particularly lovely lady at all cost,… there is probably a good reason for it. Quite ruthless they can be. Personally,… I find that “ladders” can have a particularly nasty downside. Climb with caution. 😉


        • Yes, there are gems of in the men’s magazines. But you should avoid the bodybuilding magazines which operate at a lower level. One article began with an anecdote about scoping out young women at a grocery store. The writer had fulsome praise for their bodies but harsh criticism of their arms which he analyzed with the meticulousness of an airgunner right down to their “flabby, balloon-like flesh.” It was a bodybuilding magazine after all.


          • Matt61,

            It all sounds quite shallow. On a different, but similar note,… I read Bon Appetite for culinary inspirational purposes and to stay up on new trends, ingredients, etc.. However,… read a few articles in depth at all and it soon becomes quite clear that these people are operating on quite a different level. (not bad, just different) When the pictured dish is described,… and also the dress and shoe designer,.. are all mentioned in the same sentence,… I find that I have to pause. But hey,… they sure do make it look all good!,.. and expensive. 😉 A $325 serving platter anyone? A $15 bottle of brew? The word “Yuppie” comes to mind,… but no doubt that word is long out dated,… like me I suppose! ; Hey,.. for $10 a year,…. I will take it and read,.. between the lines.

            Thanks for the added insight,….. Chris

            • It’s easy to dismiss such things as decadent, but that might be short-sighted. There’s an art to this like anything else. Once, I went to a Japanese spa (onsen). The food was terrific. Then, I froze in the unheated building until I crawled into a hot bath that was pure bliss. I froze again on the way up to the room until I crawled into a cocoon of comforters and dropped into oblivion. The next morning I took an early morning bath in a room with a glass wall that showed snow covered mountains blushing with the rising sun. It was a roller coaster of sensations and I came away thinking that the Japanese know a thing or two about relaxing.

              So, you’re a cook. I was surprised to find that I can enjoy it, but time does not permit. If I had time, I would explore some of these historical cookbooks they have put together all the way back to ancient Rome. History was never so much fun.


              • Matt61,

                🙂 True. My short sighted view is really more of a short funded view. I can do decadent. It is nice to know how the other half lives,.. just in case I hit the lottery someday. At least this way,.. I won’t be a complete newbie! 😉

                My 1 year younger brother fits that bill rather well. Well educated, excellent job, extensively traveled and well paid. But hey,.. he has earned it. Still, humble and practical.
                That would be the trick,…. to not let the finer life go to your head.

                I’m a cook? Let’s just say (that I) cook. I try to learn and practice and do well. What Chef’s do is based on science to a large degree. Toss in some technique and one can do quite well. Not too hard really.

                As usual,.. thank you for your insightful perspective,….. Chris

  5. This rifle illustrates how and where the Crosman 101 pumper part ways, and I’m not knocking my Grandads rifle
    (that i lost, arrgh). It’s just gorgeous folks, friendly to the eye and hand, lots of curves. A wonderful example of American design aesthetic and sensibilitys. ” If you need more power, use a .22 long rifle or 30-06″ Thank you,R

  6. Wondering about the Dragonfly and the pumping effort. The pump lever appears to be pretty far down from the trigger. Could they have made the pump arm longer to decrease the effort? Does the Dragonfly have a larger pump tube diameter that might make the pumping harder?

      • Chris,

        That is why I do not own very many airguns. Quality can be right expensive and I refuse to settle for less. Besides, how many can I shoot at one time? I have some I am wanting to sell now so as to make room at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns.

  7. Below is the data I have measured on the multi-pump pumps I have.

    Seven Multi-Pump Bore, Stroke and Lever Measurements:
    Measurements are not exact, they are taken with the guns assembled.
    They are listed from smalest pump volume to largest.

    Bore………Stroke…….Area…….Volume…….Arm……..Link……to Link
    Inches……Inches…….sq. in…….cu. In……..Inches….Inches….Inches

    Crosman 13XX newer version


    Crosman 101
    Benjamin 310 through 312

    Benjamin 347 through 342

    Benjamin 397 through 392

    Apache Fire Ball

    Pump Arm length is from the pivot pin to the farthest lower end of the pump handle.
    Link length is pin to pin.
    Pivot to Link is along the Pump Arm from Pivot Pin to Link Pin.

    The stroke was sometimes measured directly and somtimes like on the 13XX it was taken as the Link length plus the Pivot to Link length minus the Pivot Pin to Link Pin when the handel is in the fully open position. Once I get more information on the valve/reservoir volumes I will include that.


      • Half,

        I made a mistake on the Benjamin 392 pump arm length. It should be 14.5 inches. I don’t know where the 15.25 came from unless I measured from the wrong pin at the muzzle. I was studying the table and the length did not seem correct.

        I need to check my numbers better before I post. That is not the first time I have had my numbers wrong.


        • Don,

          As they say, “If you never made a mistake, you obviously never DID anything”. Maybe some Saturday night you’d like to sit down with a 5th of Jack and play ” Who Messed Up Worse”. I have to warn you that I’m undefeated within the crowd I hang with!


          • Halfstep
            Growing up I was big into muscle cars and going quick. Notice I say quick. Not fast. Do you know the difference?

            Anyway back to your comment about making mistakes. Made many myself in more ways than one growing up. But the mistakes that are made and learned how to make something better are the important ones.

            And yep. How about this. I had quick and fast muscle cars. When that happens it’s a hard combination to beat.

            In other words. The combination has to be right.

  8. BB et al..
    An off topic question.
    I’m in the process of converting a Daisy Winchester M14 co2 rifle to HPA. I recently converted it to bulk co2 from a 12oz paintball tank and have ordered one of the Air Venturi 3000 psi 13ci HPA Tanks regulated to 1100 psi.
    On bulk co2 I lubricate with a drop of pellgun oil on the top of the mag where it plugs into the gun.
    Once converted to HPA can I still lube with pellgun oil due to the lower regulated pressure of 1100 psi or would that be too dangerous and require a silicone type oil.
    The reason I ask is because the one multipump I own requires the piston to be drenched in pellgun oil about every 15 or 20 shots to keep it shooting at good velocity. I’m guessing the multipump, on 8 or 10 pumps, is close to the same pressure (1100 psi) as the AV tank.
    The main reason for the conversion to HPA is because of the cooler weather here, although the forecast for tomorrow is in the low 80’s, its’ not normal. Even with the bulk tank, cooling and shot dropoff is very noticeable.

  9. Folksy indeed describes the tenor of the Sheridan manual. I find early manuals inspiring in the assumption of a brain and common sense on the part of the owner. It’s my opinion that current manuals supply as little information as possible so to avoid making a statement that could attract a lawsuit.

    In the era when tractors were replacing horses on American farms, the tractor did not come with a set of implements. Horse-drawn implements were adapted and owner ingenuity created some new ones. Manufacturers encouraged down-home inventors to share their successes with them and they in turn would pass the designs on to other owners of their brand tractor. One early tractor manual called this owner invention “rough and tumble engineering.”

    Now that practice would be anathema, a sure lightning rod for multiple lawsuits.

    I think that it would be such a boon if some of the experienced members of this community would write some how-to and introductory manuals capturing the fruits of their work, experience and discovery. Such as How to Choose a First Airgun or The Care and Feeding of a PreCharged Pneumatic Airgun (PCP). (No abbreviations or acronyms allowed without an explanatory parenthesis.)

    To be sure there are snippets of this information sprinkled through the archives of this blog in the main post and in the discussion/comments. For a newbie the process of discovery contains elements of gold mining and picture puzzle assembly. It would just wonderful to have the “gold” refined and assembled. Who knows, such a set of pamphlets might help to resolve some of the frustrations inherent to the sport and so bring more fans.

    • Speaking of old tractors I have an inop late 20’s McCormick Deering track crawler in need of lots of TLC I need to pass on, came with my property. Anyone interested?
      Bob M

    • Grandpa Dan,

      Those are good ideas. There is nothing wrong with knowing (why). Ever since I was a wee tad,… if I was not asking “how?”,… I was asking “why?”. 🙂

      And,.. if I did not get the answers that satisfied my curiosity,…. I commenced to tearing into it.

  10. BB
    Just did a reply to Halfstep in the Ace in the Hole blog and something odd happened. The page jumped and all of a sudden a complete blog line became highlighted blue with a single word highlighted yellow. Then the yellow moved on to the next word paused and moved on again. This continued to the end of the line then moved down to the next line and continued down the entire blog. Any idea what happened? Had to clear the page to stop it.

    Wonder if I accidently hit a voice reader or something but I had my volume off.
    Bob M

  11. Well, this blog is full of bold and provocative statements but one jumps out from the others. Julian Hatcher is at least the equal of John M. Browning in 20th century firearms?? That is hard to believe. On the one hand, you have the inventor of the 1911 handgun, America’s air and water-cooled medium machine guns of WWII, the .50 caliber machine gun still in service, the BAR whose long stroke piston was central to the M1 Garand and which lives on in the AK47, not to mention the designer of the most popular hunting rifle of all time and much more. And on the other hand, you have someone who improved the 30-06 cartridge? Even that achievement is hard to evaluate since the 30-06, like the Springfield rifle that fired it, was a close copy of a German invention. I don’t know much about Hatcher, having heard his name only in passing, but he needs to have done a lot more to challenge the incomparable John Browning.

    Thanks for the good wishes about my arm. My recovery has been fairly pain free, but I am drowning in work with only half my typing speed. At least I am not like Bruce Lee who suffered a severe back injury as a result of an improper warm-up and went from being a hyperactive physical specimen to being bed-ridden for 6 months. It just about drove him out of his mind.

    Gunfun1, to answer your question, I won’t be shooting anything with one hand restricted for fear of mishandling the gun and having an accident. But now is the season for dry firing.


      • It’s possible that Wikipedia does not do the man justice. But what it says there reminds me of a definition of genius that I came across. It said in part, “high intellectual ability associated with the creation of new fields.” This doesn’t seem to describe Hatcher who, though obviously smart, seemed more of a technician and refiner. One of his achievements was helping to improve early versions of the Garand whose crucial piston was an offshoot of just one of Browning’s many inventions. Hatcher has unavoidable similarities to Frank Mann although not so quirky. It’s also possible that Browning’s achievements are deceptive because they seemed so effortless. There was no fiddling and theorizing. Just one paradigm-shifting creation after another. According to another theory, the hallmark of greatness is inevitability.

        Anyway, I’ll look to see how Hatcher came up with his 12 pumps. Based on the directions you excerpted, it sounds like he was abusing the mechanism, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.


      • You were asking about the guns I might practice on while recovering. My answer is handgun firearms for dry-firing. The injured arm cannot support the weight of a rifle. I suppose I could imitate Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, supporting his rifle in the crook of his arm in a field target position. But I think that might only work for kneeling. The offhand movie position might have been a fantasy.


    • Matt61,

      Just found out that my grandson broke his hand playing basketball in Gym( PE to you young’ons ) Gonna set back his shootin’ a little this summer, so I know where you’re comin’ from. Hope both of you heal sooner than you were told.


  12. BB
    I figured out the Blue highlighting with the Yellow highlighted moving words.
    Some how I right clicked my laptop pad and hit the ” READ ALOUD ” option. This time I had the volume turned on and sure enough the laptop started to read the blog to me. It highlighted the word it was saying within the blue sentence.
    I had no Idea what that option was. Now I can listen to the blog while doing other things !

    Bob M

      • BB
        Here is what you said at the end of report 6.

        I think I have done everything I can at 25 yards, so next up is the 50-yard test. The Umarex Gauntlet is proving to be an interesting air rifle!”

        Well. Is there going to be a 50 yard test of the Gauntlet. I know I would like to see it.

      • BB

        Aww, but you promised. I want to see how the Urban pans out because I have been such a staunch supporter, but the Gauntlet is my second request by just a nose, as we say here in KY, at Derby time, especially. Please ,Please, Please.


          • B.B.

            Thank you. You know, when one of us actually owns one of the airguns you review, or we anticipate purchasing one, we are especially interested those reviews. I am a new owner of the Gamo Urban and was excited to see your testing of it. It’s too bad that the baffles in the moderator disrupted the testing. In a way it was a good thing because it showed what could be done to correct a possible issue that we might experience. I am also glad to see that you are following through with the Gauntlet test.

            I read every blog you post, even though I am not much interested in the pistol reviews. I still read them and find them very much worth the read. Guess I’m hooked on B.B.’s airgun blog 🙂


            • Geo,

              I know what you mean. It was “some while” back that B.B. was doing a review on the M-rod. As it would happen,.. that is the same time that I was considering PCP’s. Long story short, I bought one in .25 along with a RAI stock and made it into a fine looking and fine shooting air gun.

              So yes,… the (current) offerings are of high interest to those of us considering (new) purchases. As air gunners, if we are in the “market”,…. we want to know (where) and (how) to spend our hard earned money.

              As for being “hooked” on the blog,… the M-rod review was shot by B.B on a 10? F degree day,.. on Jan. 1st no less. That,… along with me being in the market,… sealed the deal,… so to speak. 50 yards if I recall correctly.

      • B.B.,

        Good call,… without looking it up. 🙂

        Per Blue Book: Webley Mark 2,…

        Version 1, approx. 1000 made ’32
        Version 2, approx. 1000 made ’33-’34 (2000 of 1 and 2 made ’35-’38)
        Version 3, approx.. 13,700 made ’34-’45
        (no mention of a specific “Service” model, but it also mentions that there were many variations)

        A fine looking old air rifle by the way. I love all of the exposed gadgetry.


        (get ya’ a Blue Book ya’ all!) 😉

    • The Webley MkIII entered production (for export only) in 1947. I don’t think any of the German manners had rebuilt their air gun production lines in a meaningful way by ’47.

  13. The Super-Grade was first referred to as the ‘Model A Sheridan Pneumatic Rifle’. The cover of early hand books do not have ‘Super-Grade Model’ printed on them. Early ads refer to it as the ‘Sheridan Pneumatic Rifle’. I believe it was not until the Model B Sporter was introduced that the Model A was referred to as the Super-Grade. You are correct in that SN 1099 was probably made after introduction of the Model B Sporter and one of the last to have the long bolt handle. It was likely produced around November 1948. However, there is no supporting evidence that the Super-Grade serial numbers got mixed in with the Model B Sporter, which do not have serial numbers. There is a pattern of gaps in the Super-Grade serial numbers for reasons yet undetermined.

  14. B.B. and Chris, thank you for the welcome! I’ve enjoyed reading this blog.

    I learned a lot about Sheridan air rifles when doing research for my book and there is always something new to learn. Having handled many A and B Models I have a great appreciation for these rifles and the gentlemen that designed them.

    UJ “Jake” Backus

  15. Ok I’m going totally off subject here.

    Does anyone hunt morel mushrooms here?

    We like them. Well I should say love them. And they are out now. Well for the last week anyway. A little late this year but better than last year. Not many last year.

    Anyway thought I would post. Just wondering if anyone else likes them and hunts them. Nobody has to reply. I just thought I would bring it up to see if others mess with them.

    • GF1,

      I do, but never have much luck. I was not aware they were up yet. Usually, I hear about it through work where people that Facebook hear about it. I will be out today and will give the woods a quick look see.

      Since you brought it up, the biggest one I have ever seen (in person) was laid on top of a 10″x13″ manila envelope and it hung off both ends. A guy at work found it and brought it in. About 14″-15″ total height and the head was 5″-6″ wide and 7″-8″ tall. I would have never believed it unless I had actually not seen it myself.

      By the way,.. my 2 Cayenne pepper plants, from LAST year, that I trimmed down to about 8″ and kept alive over the Winter are now 24″+ tall. They do have/had buds and blooms, but no fruit. A pollination issue I would presume. This is Ohio by the way for those that may wonder.

      On the subject of pollination,.. a fellow at work that has 2 relatives that keep bees,… had both their (multiple) bee hives wiped out by some unknown source. They live about 20 miles apart. One has kept bees for 30 plus years and the other 10 plus years. They are contacting the local USDA branch to investigate.

      • Chris
        Yep that is a very big morel. Wonder if it’s a record.

        And that’s cool your pepper plants did good. Have you planned outside yet? Maybe still to cool out I’m guessing where your at.

        And speaking of cool. If so that might be why your not seeing the morels yet. We have been having upper 60’s to lower 70’s for about a week. So I think that brought the morel’s out. We usually see them earlier than this where I live anyway. And we usually have warmer temperatures earlier than we have this year. And we have had just the right amount of rain also probably right now. But here’s something to read for the heck of it about morel hunting. Oh and our front yard has woods and hill facing north so that’s why we probably seen them now. You’ll see what I mean if you read the articles.


        And that’s a bummer about the bee’s. If you hear what they found out I would like to know. My dad had be hives on the farm when I was a kid. Guess where they were placed. At the end of his garden. The bee’s definitely loved the garden. And I definitely liked the honey as well as the garden. And again I would like to know about what happened to the bee’s if you find out.

        • GF1,

          Still a bit cool here. 30F this AM and same tomorrow. Mother’s Day and/or Memorial Day (mid and end May) are generally considered safe/safe in Ohio. Thanks for the links. Saved. Heading out now to look. Did my first mow and cleaned the gutters this AM. Will do on the bee mystery. Hope to shoot here in a bit. 55 out, but fairly sunny,.. so it seems warmer than what it is. A black T-shirt helps. Wind is 0-light at the moment and should be coming out of the NW at 5-10 per weather reports. I shoot straight North, but flanked by hills (W+N) and trees (near 360 degrees). Later.

          • Chris
            Yep with the black T-shirt. That’s pretty much what I wear. Blue jeans and black T-shirts is me.

            And I’m getting ready to go cut grass right now. And this is actually my 3rd week cutting it. Things are growing fast so far this year here.

            And yep with the shooting. I had all my air guns out yesterday and going to be shooting them again after I get finished with the grass cutting. It’s about 65° here right now with blue sky’s and sunshine. And the wind is pretty calm too.

            And I figured you knew about the stuff in the articles about the morels. But I enjoyed reading it. Had some good info I never knew.

            • GF1,

              No luck (shrooms). Soil temp. 45 F (45-50+ recommended per link) with a digital instant read at 3″ soil depth, 20′ into woods on a South (best) facing bank. Did see some good trees with sluffing bark, but not sure of the species. In the past, dying (not fully dead) trees were always some of the best spots and mentioned in the link you posted. The May Apples are small and just coming up. 6″-8″ on average. That was always another tell-tale sign of the soon to be mushroom season, per folk lore. In my woods, they can be quite thick.

              I love the soil temperature tip! 🙂 You know me and my love of data and being able to quantify something? 😉 Yes, most tips I was aware of, but the temp. tip was a new one I do believe.

              • Chris
                Bummer no morals. Maybe early for you still since your a bit more north than me.

                We actually found ours on the north side of the hill which they say is late in the season. They say say the south side of a hill when it’s early in the season for them.

                We have both north a South side holes and didn’t even find one on the south hills. Maybe you should try the north side of a hill if you have access to it.

                Anyway getting ready to shoot. And just got through frying up the morals we found. So you know what I’m doing. Shoot’n and eating some morels. And of course a nice cool brew. 🙂

    • GF1,

      I don’t hunt them but I sure like eatin’ em ! Used to have a buddy at work that would bring me some when he hunted them each year and my step dad always hunted them and ginseng and bloodroot. Haven’t had any in a few years.


      • Halfstep
        We always hunt them. We have only lived out here for a bit over 3 years. The first year we didn’t find any. Last year some. But this year definitely good. Guess the conditions were finally right.

        But yep love them. We usually use the Andy’s fish breading and beer batter them then deep fry them. All that batter keeps the juice in and the outside is nice and crispy. Good stuff. 🙂

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