by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • US Army pocketknife
  • Supergrade safety installation tools
  • Crosman Pellgunoil
  • Pelican light
  • Midnight Manager
  • ATF Stop Leak
  • Scragging tool
  • Over to you

Before we begin I want to wish all of the United States a happy Memorial Day. This is the day in which we remember all those who have died for our country. I remember Grady Triplett, who died in Viet Nam far too soon. We were cadets together at San Jose State College in the 1960s. I have visited his name at the Viet Nam memorial several times, and I always think of the sacrifice he made.

Today’s report will be very different. I have wanted to do it for years and just never found the right way, but today I believe that I have. I am going to share with you a few (and I mean a very few) of the tools I use all the time. Then I want you to share with us those special tools you use and why they are so special. Once you read the report, I think you’ll get the idea.

US Army pocketknife

My most valuable tool is with me all the time. It’s a camp knife made for the U.S. Army and issued during World War II. It was made by Camillus and the USA on the escutcheon stands for US Army. There is also a Navy version that says USN.

My WWII camp knife was made for the US Army. When I started carrying it 30 years ago it looked like new.

I use it to tighten screws, ream holes, pry can lids open and cut things. I can’t imagine my life without it. I even bought an identical one from Ebay in case something happens to this one.

Supergrade safety installation tools

The safety on a Sheridan Supergrade is easy to install but you can’t hold it as you install it. And you need to. Somehow you have to hold on to a tip of the safety that’s about 1/16th of an inch long. I tried needlenosed pliers, but there isn’t enough to grab onto.

Then I found a small hollow bit of rubberized plastic that fit over the tip of the safety, and I had success on the first try. Sheridan Supergrade owners need a “tool” like this one! Jeff Cloud used painter’s tape, wrapped around the safety until it was strong enough to put slight downward pressure on the safety, which has to be done during the assembly. You don’t need a tool like this until you need it, and then nothing else will do.

Supergrade safety
So little of the safety button sticks up that a special tool is needed to hold it and push down slightly for installation.

Crosman Pellgunoil

You may not think of oil as a tool, but I have “fixed” more CO2 guns with Crosman Pellgunoil than I have by any other means. This stuff is magic! Buy some, don’t worry about the price and use it.

Crosman Pellgunoil
I harp on it all the time, because this stuff is good health for your gas guns!

Pelican light

I own over 50 flashlights, but the Pelican 1920 is my favorite. It runs on two AAA batteries, which I am converting to rechargeable. I have three of these because they are so great (small, bright and light) that they fit into spaces other flashlights won’t. I gave one to Otho that is now his favorite flashlight. Get one and see.

Pelican 1920
The Pelican 1920 is the handiest flashlight I own, and I own a bunch of them!

Midnight manager

This Swiss Army Knife has every tool I really need and it’s so small that I carry it all the time. It has a flashlight that I use all the time. It has a ballpoint pen! It has scissors. And, yes, it has a pen knife blade.

I have bought several of these used from Ebay and give them as gifts. Instead of $42, they cost me $10-20, and often look like new. As I tell everyone — I use the flashlight on my Midnight Manager to help me find my other flashlights!

Midnight Manager
The Swiss Army Midnight Manager has every tool I need — including a small light (press on the logo) to help me find my other lights!

ATF Stop Leak

This is my new Pellgunoil! It works in those older CO2 guns where the seals have hardened. When Pellgunoil won’t do the job, this often will. I bought 20 eye-droppers off Ebay, just to dispense this stuff!

stop leak
Automatic Transmission Fluid stoip leak fixes old hard seals.

Scragging tool

I made this simple tool 25 years ago for spring gun jobs and I still use it. Instead of me telling you about scragging, you can read about it here.

scragging tool
My mainspring scragging tool is easy enough to make…

scragging tool at work
…and, it works!

Tota light

I have used my Tota lights for more than 20 years. Tota lights are incandescent photographic lights that are so rugged the U.S. Navy used them to film the interior space in a submarine that was hit by the shock wave of a nuclear explosion. The sub was pushed 20 feet to the side but the Tota lights continued illuminating through the blast.

I use them to illuminate all indoor targets, plus the ceiling above my chronograph when I’m testing velocity. I also use them for photography, though the newer digital cameras don’t need much light like the older film cameras did. The bulbs last a very long time, despite burning with 500 to 750 watts of power.

Tota light
This Tota light has been my friend for several decades.

Over to you

That’s my list. I left out my regular tools because everyone has tools like that. I gave you a few of the most indispensable tools I own.

Now it your turn. Tell us what you have and why it’s good.