by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Maintenance
  • Success!
  • Lead shot is not consistent
  • Sorting shot
  • Loading technique
  • BB rollout
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy testing
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Maintenence

The last time I looked at the Targeteer I lubricated it with a lot of Crosman Pellgunoil. How many drops, you ask? Maybe 50. It’s still oily a week later, which a BB gun needs to be, to work its best.

paper
I just thought you would like to see the cover of the manual.

Success!

And they all said — whaaaat?

A couple readers knew I was having problems getting either of my two Daisy Targeteer pistols to shoot. I was working on the problem, but last week I was stumped. Fortunately this ain’t my first rodeo and I finally remembered what I used to do.

Lead shot is not consistent

We know that lead birdshot is not of consistent size, regardless of how it is made. That had to be the problem. When I looked through the barrel I saw nothing. There should have been light shining through, so the barrel was plugged. I found something to ram through the barrel — turned out to be one of those thin plastic spray tubes that come with many aerosol cans. Remember — this Targeteer is .12 caliber, not .177!

When I pushed the stick through the bore I found a jam in the middle of the bore. Four lead shot poured out and the one in front was the big one. The others fit fine, but with the one blocking the way they couldn’t move.

Sorting shot

Most number 6 birdshot is small in the Targeteer bore. But the ones that are too big will stop the show every time. So you need to sort the shot before shooting.

Remove the shot tube and drop each shot through the muzzle. It should drop out of the breech on its own. I put a cloth with a thick nap behind the breech to catch each shot as it fell through. The nap keeps it from rolling. Doing this I found about one shot in 10 was too large for the bore. Those you get rid of; the others can be shot.

shot
These shot have been sorted for size. There is the end of the spray straw I use for ramming.

Loading technique

The most effective way to load a Targeteer is to cock the pistol, then drop a shot down the muzzle with the muzzle pointed straight up. I like to ram the shot after that with the spray tube. Ramming pushes the shot into the breech where it is held until the shot. I will explain.

The reason you cock before loading is to retract the pusher air tube on the end of the piston. You may recall that a BB gun uses both a catapult push on the BB by means of this tube, which also contains the air transfer port. Then the compressed air rushes through the tube to boost the velocity. If the gun just used the spring force to catapult the shot, the velocity would be around 50 f.p.s. It is that air boost that gives the BB gun its velocity.

If you loaded the shot and then cocked the gun, the air tube on the end of the piston might retract, leaving the shot in the bore where it was, until the air blast hit it. The velocity would suffer. There is also a second reason to ram each shot.

BB rollout

When a BB gun is cocked, why doesn’t the BB just roll out the barrel when the muzzle is pointed down? The reason is because there is a spring in the breech of the shot tube that holds the BB in place until the air tube on the piston pushes it past this barrier and down the bore. If you ram the BB into the Targeteer barrel it will engage this spring and remain in the breech. If you don’t, it will roll out when the muzzle is depressed. I tried this several times both ways to prove it.

Velocity

The small caliber of the Targeteer made recording the velocity tough. I told you that would be the case. But I did manage to record the velocity for one of each type of shot — the number 6 lead birdshot and the Daisy steel BB. The birdshot went out at 106 f.p.s. and the Daisy BB went out at 119 f.p.s. Obviously this ain’t no magnum!

Accuracy testing

That will make testing accuracy difficult, as well, because the Targeteer shot bounces off a paper target. But it does go through Post-It note paper at close range. That gave me an idea! What would it do to aluminum foil? So, I tried it.

foil
The slow Targeteer shot tears through aluminum foil well enough.

As you can see, the shot passes through the foil readily. If I construct a target of aluminum foil I should be able to get a pretty good idea of the gun’s accuracy. I may even try it with some vintage .12-caliber Daisy Steel BBs, as well as lead shot.

Cocking effort

The pistol cocks with 15 pounds of effort. I am sorry but the slide is too slippery for me to pull back — I have to push the muzzle in with the heel of my hand.

Trigger pull

The single-stage trigger breaks at a consistent 3 lbs. 6 oz. The blade is very thin so I’m glad it isn’t any harder than this.

Summary

So far the Targeteer has proven fun to test. It will be fun to compare it with the Sharpshooter pistol that I know is both more powerful and more accurate.

Is this an air pistol I will shoot a lot? Not really. It’s a curiosity more than a successful shooter. Still, I do want to give it as complete a test as I can!