Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Seneca Aspen PCP

The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Pay attention!
  • The .25 is different
  • The real reason to buy an Aspen!
  • A brand new gun
  • The manual
  • Physical differences between the rifles
  • Things that come with the rifle
  • Power
  • Description
  • Summary

Pay attention!

Read this paragraph, because I don’t want to have this discussion a hundred more times. The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen PCP with a built-in pump is a complex airgun. The complexity isn’t in the design or in the build — it’s in how the rifle operates. So I have provided the links to the first 5 reports on the .22-caliber rifle I already tested last year, for those who want to go back and see how I tested it. After today’s report I will only link to the test of this rifle.

The Aspen is a PCP that also has a built-in pump, so it can also operate like a multi-pump pneumatic. In my opinion, at least to this point in the testing, it makes more sense to operate the gun as a multi-pump, because you can then regulate the pressure in the reservoir. That gives you precise control over the velocity, where just filling it like a PCP will only give a handful of shots. All this is speculation, because I have not yet done the testing, but after seeing the pressure curves in Parts 2 and 3 of the test of the other rifle (in the links provided above) I am almost certain that I’m right.

The .25 is different

In talking to Tyler Patner at SHOT, I learned that the .25 Aspen performs differently than the .22, in that it comes on its power curve when closer to 3,000 psi is in the reservoir. We learned while testing the .22 that it likes 2,200 psi on low power and 2,000 psi for high power. And I told you that because this gun has a built-in pump, you become the regulator. If you keep it at the optimum pressure the accuracy will be superb — at least out to 25 yards.

That means I really need to go through all the Part 2 pressure over velocity testing again. If I didn’t own a chronograph I would only be able to read a test like this one that somebody else did and watch my onboard pressure gauge as I shot.

The real reason to buy an Aspen!

But yesterday, a reader named Mike Ogden gave me some surprising wisdom. This is a quote from his longer comment.

“I am going for the Aspen and i am not so much a nube that i don’t clearly see a scuba tank and a compressor and an FX impact or some such.”

Do you remember in Superman when Lex Luthor said that some people could read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe? I think Mike just did! What I got from his comment was a fellow can buy an Aspen and have a working precharged pneumatic airgun that he can shoot immediately without buying all the support stuff like tanks and compressors. In other words, the Aspen may be an ideal way to get into PCPs.

A brand new gun

The Aspen I will be testing for you here is brand new. The .22 I tested was one that was being passed around the shop at Pyramyd Air for their testing. So I am going to see some things with this one that I haven’t seen with the other one. The first thing is the scope that comes bundled with the gun. It’s a 4X32 scope with AO. I mounted a UTG Bug Buster 3-12X32 scope on the .22. I can now comment on the scope that comes with the rifle a little better because I  have one to examine.

The manual

The second thing about a new gun is it comes with a manual. For the other rifle I always had to look online at the Pyramyd Air library of manuals. All the information is there, but I find that a paper manual I can hold is more conducive to how I like to operate. I only consult the online manual to find the answer to a specific question, where I can read the entire paper manual at my own pace.

In reading the manual I have learned how and where to lubricate the Aspen, plus how to adjust the trigger. I had looked online for the trigger adjustment on the first Aspen, but it’s always easier (for me) to have the manual laying open when I do the job.

Physical differences between the rifles

Other than the difference in the diameter of the bore, there are no real obvious physical differences between all three calibers of the Aspen. It is offered in .177 and .22 right now, but .25 caliber is scheduled to become available in June. Other than the caliber, there isn’t any practical difference between the rifles in all three calibers.

Things that come with the rifle

Besides the rifle, manual and scope you get a fill probe, whose tail end (that sticks out of the gun) is a male Foster fitting. So, filling from an conventional air tank is straightforward.

They also included a small bottle of silicone oil for lubrication. I lubed the test rifle right off because it was bone dry as it came from the box.

One 8-round circular magazine was included, and the rifle had an aluminum single shot tray installed when it came out of the box. Both the .177 and .22 versions have 10-round magazines. And I never had the single shot tray to test.

The final item in the box is an Allen wrench to adjust both the trigger and the striker spring tension. The manual tells you that after about 3,000 shots it may be necessary to adjust the striker spring to maintain power. I know there will be some people who will want to crank the rifle up as far as it will go right away, but that’s not my plan. I am looking for the best accuracy with decent power.

The first rifle I tested didn’t seem to have a trigger return spring (or it was very weak) but this one does, so I may adjust the trigger. As it came from the box it is definitely two-stage.


The .177 is listed to deliver 800 f.p.s. on low power and 1,000 f.p.s. on high. The .22 lists 700 and 900 f.p.s. In my testing we saw a low velocity of 774 f.p.s. and a high of 946 f.p.s. with .22 caliber RWS Hobby pellets. Does that mean this .25 will also be faster than its rating? There is no rating for .25 caliber up yet, so I don’t know what we are expecting, and, since there is also no .25-caliber Hobby pellet, I need to test everything thoroughly — just so we’ll all know.


I put this at the end of the report because we have already gone through it with the .22. The .25-caliber Aspen is a PCP repeater with a built-in pump. It features a hollow synthetic Monte Carlo stock and a synthetic pump handle. The rifle weighs 8 lbs., even. It is 43.3-inches long and has a 21.5-inch barrel.

The pull is 14.25-inches. The black rubber buttpad is soft and grippy. The stock also comes with sling swivel studs.

The rifle is a bolt action and the bolt is operated by a sidelever. I found that very easy and convenient when I tested the .22.

The shroud is not baffled. The barrel seems to pass through a bushing, so it is not free-floating. The rifle has a two-stage adjustable trigger. There are no sights, so some kind of optics are required, and a scope and mounts come bundled with the rifle.


The Seneca .25 is already of interest to several readers. I plan to test it just as thoroughly as I tested the .22, whose tests are not yet completed. But I think if this proves to be as accurate as the .22 the only choice you have to make is the caliber. I say that because the Seneca stacks up to be a best buy. And it may also be a perfect entry into the world of PCPs.

I don’t think about the money anymore

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Missed it
  • Been there, done that — got the tee shirt, wore it out
  • Joltin’ Joe
  • The savings?
  • Buy what you need
  • The point
  • My situation
  • Bottom line

Missed it

There was a man who served in the American Army, and from the beginning of 1974 until almost 1978 he was stationed in Germany. Toward the end of his time there, let’s call it sometime in the last year, he had the opportunity to purchase a new Mercedes Benz 300D sedan for $10,300. He had the money to finance the purchase, but at the last moment he thought to himself, what am I doing? I’m about to pay ten thousand dollars for a car! When I left San Jose, California three years ago, I could have bought any number of nice condominiums for $14,000, and in El Paso, Texas, where I last served, I could have bought a three-bedroom house for $12,000. What am I doing, paying this much for a car?

When he returned home from Germany in December of 1977, he had to buy a car, because he had been driving a used car in Germany that he couldn’t bring back. The same Mercedes Benz 300D that he passed on in Germany was then selling for $21,000 in San Jose! There weren’t any used ones to compare to because the model had just started importing into the States the year before.

Been there, done that — got the tee shirt, wore it out

You gentlemen of maturity (I won’t call you old, but you know who you are) have lived through this so many times in your lives that you are aware of how it works. Let’s transition over to airguns. Say you are interested in a PCP. You want to come over to the dark side, but you know there is more to it than just the gun. There’s also a scope and mounts, plus a way to get air into the gun.

Joltin’ Joe

Let’s look at another guy. We’ll call him Joe. Joe always shops for things based on price. He just heard about airguns and wanted to get into big bores, so he bought a used Benjamin Bulldog for $350. A nice used scope and rings cost him another $40. And he bought a Chinese hand pump off Ebay because it sold for less than $100 After a week of online research he had discovered that the hand pump was the cheapest way to fill his airgun. He laughed when told his friends that he would get his exercise at the range, filling that gun.

Well, Joe goes to the range and starts shooting his new toy. To his surprise, it runs out of air on shot number ten — in the middle of the second magazine, so he has to fill it again. He starts pumping. Fifteen minutes later his heart is pounding and he is out of breath, but the gun is ready to go for 10 more shots. Then it needs air — again! He goes through the pumping drill once more and decides to call it a day. That is the last time Joe ever takes that air rifle out. Joe is done with big bore airguns. In fact, Joe is done with airguns altogether.

The savings?

So Joe saved, let’s see — he paid $350 for the used Bulldog and $98 plus $15 shipping for the pump. And $40 for the scope and rings. There’s probably another $25 in bullets he hasn’t shot yet. That comes to — wait a minute — he’s no longer an airgunner, so he didn’t save anything! He wasted $528 that he now has to try to recoup by selling it to the next guy who’s trying to save money.

Here is the deal. Joe’s Bulldog still works. His no-name pump still works, too. However — I can’t think of a worse way to fill a big bore airgun than with a hand pump! Joe told his friends that if the balloon ever went up and he had to survive, that rifle and pump are all he needs, besides bullets. And, he is right! The thing is — and this is a major point — if the balloon never does go up, Joe’s setup is very poor for a guy who just wants to shoot, which is the reason he bought the gun to begin with. If you are getting into big bore airguns, buy some kind of air tank and carry it with the rifle to the range. Instead of 20 shots, you can shoot 100, and you might just have some fun!

Buy what you want and need

I remember the day Edith and I decided that an 88 cubic foot carbon fiber air tank was the way I should go. It cost over $500 back then. That was serious money for us. The same tank will cost over $700 new today — still very serious, in my world.

Here is the difference between Joe and me. Joe didn’t know what he didn’t know. He thought what he was doing was getting his feet wet in airgunning, but in reality he took a bath!

On the other hand, I was testing dozens of PCP airguns and was always running to the dive shop to get my 3,000 psi aluminum scuba tank refilled. I needed that carbon fiber tank, and indeed, I own two of them today. When I grab one to fill a gun I don’t think about what they cost anymore. I am just glad to own such a wonderful piece of equipment that allows me to do my job so efficiently.

I was in the NECO booth (ballistics software for cartridge reloaders) at the SHOT Show and one of our readers said to me, “When I get what I want I don’t think about the money anymore.” That floored me. Here I was at the SHOT Show, surrounded by expensive firearms, airguns and other accessories, and everything cost money. The most I saw was in the Perazzi booth.

Here are 4 matched Perazzi double-barelled shotguns for sale at one price.

Perazzi cost
Here is the price.

Don’t try to defend or refute the price of the shotguns. That isn’t the point of today’s report. The point is what I am about to get to.

The point

For the man who wants to experience precharged airguns for the first time, a big bore isn’t the best place to begin — any more than a Ferrari 812 Superfast is the right car for a teenager who has just gotten his license.

What the new driver needs is something reliable, safe and very easy to control, because he still has a whole lotta learnin’ ahead of him. The new airgunner needs pretty much the same thing. That’s why I always look for the best, cheapest and most reliable airguns as starter guns to recommend to new shooters. A guy can have 50 years in firearms and still be a newbie to airguns.

My situation

I want to drill out the pin in the Diana 27 piston that came out of Michael’s rifle. To do it right I need to both hold the piston steady and in the right alignment with the spindle/quill on the drill press. I could hold the piston with clamps attached to the drill press bed. I could even do it with wet rawhide wrapped around the piston and bed and allowed to dry. But little problems like this keep coming up every couple of months for me — some bothersome task that can be done right with the right tools or horribly messed up with the wrong ones.

I went to Ebay and looked at drill press vices. They range from simple used vises that are no more than large clamps, to new vises that move in both axes with some precision. A new Chinese-made vise with a 5-inch jaw costs $60 shipped. A Wilton vise with a 4-inch jaw cost $140 shipped. If I was a machinist I would never consider the Chinese vise, because I know instinctively that it has some play. It has to at that price. Heck — the Wilton may even have a little play. If I want a real machinist’s drill press vise I better find a good used one for a deal or be prepared to spend a lot more money.

But old BB Pelletier don’t need no machinist’s vise, ‘cause old BB ain’t no machinist! What BB needs is something to occasionally hold something tight on his drill press table so he doesn’t screw it up.

Bottom line

In my world there are spring guns, CO2 guns and pneumatics. In the world of spring guns the quality ranges from something that barely operates all the way up to a Whiscombe. I own a Whiscombe. It is my finest spring rifle. But it’s not my best spring rifle. My best spring rifle is a TX200 Mark III from Air Arms. It’s my best because it’s always ready to go and I know what it can do. My Whiscombe has 4 different caliber barrels with a harmonic tuning weight on each barrel that is optimized to one specific pellet traveling at a specific velocity that I control with the interchangeable air transfer ports.

My TX is always ready to go — one caliber, always sighted in for only one specific pellet. My Whiscombe is a testbed. It can be almost whatever I want it to be — providing I spend the time setting it up that way.

And then there’s my Diana 27. It is also a specific caliber and it has many more limitations than the TX, to say nothing of the Whiscombe. But for fun, it is quick and easy and as forgiving as an anvil!

My goal is to obtain things that work the way I want them to, and then use them that way. If I succeed in getting what I want, I don’t think about the money anymore.

2019 SHOT Show: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Diana model 30
  • Leapers
  • The really big news!
  • The King Bug Buster!
  • UTG Micro Reflex dot sight
  • P.O.I. rings in 11mm
  • Hatsan Speedfire
  • Crosman Triple threat
  • ASG
  • Summary

Diana model 30

We were in the Diana booth at the end of Part 4. There is one more thing I want to show you in that booth. We talked about it last year, but when I tested a vintage one, it failed during the test. Last August I reported about the Diana model 30. I told you then that this was an airgun that was made from 1972 through 2000. Well, I learned from a Diana representative that the model 30 is still in production today, and that it sells to shooting gallery operators for 1,000 Euro, which is $1,141 as I write this. So the price of $1,000 back in the 1980s wasn’t as far out of line as I had thought.

The gun I tested shot proprietary 4.4mm lead balls. Diana is now working to convert one to shoot steel BBs for the American market. I have no idea what the price will be, but Diana and Air Venturi who will be distributing it both know that no American airgunner will pay a thousand dollars for one. I would expect it to be a quarter of that or possibly a little more.

Diana 30
Diana will produce a model 30 gallery gun for the North American market.

The model 30 is equivalent to some of the very fine historical gallery guns I have tested for you in the past — guns like the Hammerli trainer that fits inside the Swiss K31 battle rifle. I don’t know how long these new guns will be available, so when they hit the market is the time to act. I plan on buying the one I’m sent to test. I know I’m the Great Enabler, but I’m not trying to sell you anything right now. This opportunity is simply too good to pass up, if you want a quality gallery gun. When will they be available? I asked, and, if my memory is correct, sometime before this summer.


I stopped at the Leapers booth next. And that’s when the big stuff started happening! The first one is confusing, but I saw it and have photographic proof, for once. It is a 3-12X56mm scope with etched glass reticle! That’s right — three to twelve power with a 56mm objective lens! Talk about light transmission!

new scope
I can’t find this scope in their catalog, nor in my photos of their booth signage, but I held the scope, looked through it and it does exist — a 3-12X56 UTG scope. I believe it’s in their new Accushot OP3 Series of scopes.

Anyhow, the reticle in this one is duplex — heavy on the sides and extremely fine in the center. It’s an etched-glass reticle. This is a hunter’s scope! It’s what many of you have been asking for.

new scope markings
There’s the proof! This is an enlargement of the markings on the new scope I saw.

The turrets have been enlarged for easier handling. They still have the locking rings at the base of each adjustment knob, and you can feel each click of adjustment even if you can’t hear them. Well — I can’t hear them — maybe some of you can.

The really big news!

Here it is — the 2019 SHOT Show distilled into one product! The next scope I saw was a prototype crossbow scope Leapers is making for a certain client. Because I now own a Sub-One crossbow and because I may be writing about the new Ravin crossbows from Velocity Outdoors this year, I examined it — AND WAS BLOWN AWAY!

The King Bug Buster!

After some examination, I said to Tom Zue, the Leapers representative who was showing me the products, “This could be a Bug Buster! It’s the right size and it has an ETCHED GLASS RETICLE!!!!!!!” Tom then said, “Yes, but the scope tube is 30mm and Bug Busters are all one inch.” To which I replied, “Then call it the King BugBuster! All you need to do is leave off the velocity markings on the ring (for crossbow bolts) and you are done!”

King Bug Buster
Leapers is prototyping a new crossbow scope. If they just leave off the velocity markings for crossbow bolts (arrow) it could be the next Bug Buster.

Tom then smiled at me and said, “You know, David Ding (the owner of Leapers) said the same thing. He thought this would be a great new Bug Buster too.” Then David walked up and joined us, nodding his approval.

Right then Tyler Patner came by and I showed the scope to him. He liked the reticle and agreed that it would make a great new Bug Buster.

Then I saw Val Gamerman, the president of Air Venturi, sitting and talking to Lucy Liu from Leaper sales. So I went over with David Ding and showed the scope to him. He looked at it and turned to Tyler, who nodded his approval. I think we are going to get a new Bug Buster with an etched glass reticle, guys! Oh, and maybe I forgot to mention this — it has an internal bubble level!

All of this happened in just a few minutes. I was in the right place at the right time! That doesn’t happen that often.

UTG Micro Reflex dot sight

I have been reporting about the new UTG Micro Reflex dot sight, and they now have a Gen II version out. It’s more rugged, for law enforcement tactical use.

Gen II Micro Reflex
The second generation Micro Reflex dot sight from UTG (right) is built more rugged than the first one. It also has a larger viewing area, due to a more compact design.

The power button on the left side has been given metal “ears” to prevent it from being turned on when a rifle or pistol is laid down. The gen I sight doesn’t have that. It’s power button stands proud.

The real news here is the battery life. Improved LEDs and a new circuit board give the gen II sight a 30,000 hour battery life! If you leave it on it will continue to be illuminated for 1,250 days, or 3.42 years! The battery of the gen I sight I am testing lasts for 5,000 hours if left on, but Leapers is upgrading it to 30,000 hours as well. Both sights will continue in production, so I’m supposing the gen II will cost a little more.

Gen II side
The gen II Micro Reflex sight is more compact, yet has 6 times the battery life as the gen I! Metal ears now protect the power button (arrows).

2.5-inch Mini Dot Sight

The Micro Reflex isn’t the only dot sight that’s new from UTG. They are also offering a 2.5-inch Mini dot that looks more conventional, yet is still quite small. It comes with a red dot, only. Battery life is the same 30,000 hours runtime.

Mini Dot Sight
A little larger than the Micro Reflex, the Mini Dot is still quite small. Red dot, only.

P.O.I. rings in 11mm

The last bit of news at Leapers is the launch of their P.O.I. scope rings with 11mm bases for airguns. I have been using these mounts extensively (with Weaver to 11mm adaptors) in the past year because they are closer to true than any mounts I’ve used. Unless your rifle base is off or your rifle is a drooper, and many are, the P.O.I. mounts will get your scope aligned quickly.

P.O.I. mounts
UTG P.O.I. precision scope mounts now come with 11mm bases.

Hatsan Speedfire

A reader asked me if the shock-absorbing scope rail on the new Hatsan Speedfire was just rubber bushings for the screws or if it was more. I said I didn’t know but I would look and see. I went back to the Hatsan booth and talked to Hatsan representative, Cecil Bays, who told me the screws do pass through a rubber bushing, but the rail slot that the screws past through is oval. That allows the rail to move slightly under recoil.

Speedfire scope rail
The scope rail is held to the Speedfire by two screws that pass through rubber bushings. The holes in the rail that both the screws and bushings pass through are oval, allowing the rail to move slightly.

Coincidently, Cecil and I were on the same airplane flight returning from the show and I talked to him about your interest in the new Vectis lever-action PCP. He is sending me one to test right away — as well as a Speedfire.

Crosman Triple threat

Another discussion point was whether the barrel shrouds on the three barrels for the Crosman Triple Threat revolver are metal of plastic. At a retail price of $70 I thought they had to be plastic, but I went back and confirmed it. Yes, they are indeed plastic.


I stopped at the ASG booth next. They had told me there are no new airguns for 2019, but they have an airsoft pistol I might be interested in seeing. I used to write about airsoft, but it pulled me away from airguns and I decided I am not the gun for it. However, Bob Li of ASG is my Great Enabler. He got me to buy a CZ 75 SP-01 firearm to go with the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow BB gun he sent me for testing. Now there is a new CZ Shadow 2, and this one is airsoft.

CZ Shadow 2
The airsoft Shadow 2 from ASG is very realistic.

Shadow 2
The Shadow 2 firearm is a competition grade tactical sidearm.

I hefted the gun and it feels just like the firearm. The Shadow 2 is CZ’s further development of the Shadow SP-01. It’s a high-end tactical sidearm that’s been made for the USPSA, Product Division competition. It retails for $1,300. So don’t go ballistic when I tell you that the airsoft gun retails for $180. Yes, it has Hop Up and it can be fully disassembled. It can operate on either green gas or CO2, though the one that is imported into this country will be CO2. It shoots a 0.25-gram BB, which is on the heavy side for an airsoft pistol. Bob Li said he would send me one for evaluation and I will test it for you, though I have no idea whether Pyramyd Air will carry it.


I looked for FX at the show, but they didn’t have a booth this year. I know several of you are interested in the new Dreamlite rifle and I wanted to see it for you. But they did not display.

I just looked and there is enough for a Part 6. It will be things that Pyramyd Air may never carry, but I saw them and you might like to, as well.

Webley Mark VI service revolver with battlefield finish: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Webley Mark VI
Webley Mark VI service revolver with battlefield finish. This one is rifled and shoots pellets.

This report covers:

  • History and new together
  • The firearm
  • Field strip
  • Differences between firearm and pellet gun
  • Disassembly of the pellet gun
  • Loading the pellet gun
  • The rear sight
  • Summary

History and new together

This is Monday when I usually write an historical report about an airgun or something. Well this is about the pellet revolver called the Webley Mark VI with battlefield finish, which is a modern air pistol, but today’s report will also be historical. Remember — I own both the pellet gun and the firearm it is patterned after.

Normally Part 2 is the velocity report. Today, though, we will be looking at some things we don’t usually get to see in an airgun report. Let’s begin with one of the big ones — field stripping the revolver.

The firearm

The Webley Mark VI revolver was made for the military in World War I, which was 1914 to 1918. At that time it was considered essential for a military weapon to be two things. The first is rugged. It had to stand up to all sorts of abuse that might range from tropical heat and moisture, through desert sand and heat, arid mud and dirt and even polar cold. It isn’t easy for a firearm to tolerate all those environmental extremes and still function reliably. Guns like the P-08 Luger that were made at the same time were made from machined parts with tolerances so tight that they kept out a lot of the bad stuff, while guns like the M1911 were made purposely loose to function even when they were dirty. Both approaches work, though the guns with tight tolerances do tend to start failing when they get wet or dirty, and especially both. So you design holsters that keep them clean even in hostile environments.

Luger holster
The Luger holster surrounded the pistol, keeping dirt out to the extent possible.

P08 open
The design of the Luger with its tight tolerances makes it susceptible to any dirt that gets inside.

1911 slide back
The M1911 pistol was made with loose tolerances to tolerate dirt better than guns like the Luger.

Semiautomatic pistols were a pretty new technology in WW1, but revolvers had been around for many more years. Revolvers also have tight tolerances. In many cases, and certainly in a double action revolver like the Mark VI, they are much tighter than the parts in a semiautomatic pistol, but for wartime use they also had to be designed loose to handle the dirt. That’s hard to do with a revolver, whose chambers in the revolving cylinder have to align precisely with the breech of the barrel so the bullet isn’t shaved off on one side when it jumps the gap from cylinder to barrel. A semiautomatic has a barrel that the cartridge is loaded into, so misalignment at this point isn’t an issue.

Webley locks up the loose cylinder in the Mark VI by lifting the bolt and rocking it forward when the trigger is pulled. This jams the cylinder into a semi-locked state at the moment of firing. The rest of the time it rocks side to side loosely and feels sloppy.

Webley bolt
The Webley bolt (arrow) rocks up and forward a few hundredths of an inch to lock the cylinder in alignment with the rear of the barrel.

The pellet gun uses the same technique for locking the cylinder and indeed locks up even tighter than the firearm. Of course it isn’t more than a century old, either!

Field strip

The other thing a military sidearm must do is disassemble easily and quickly for cleaning and repair. It must not have any parts that can easily become broken or lost. The P08 Luger gets an F rating in this category, as it is not easy to disassemble. In its day the score would probably have been a C or better, because that was the state of the technology at the time. The 1911, in contrast, was rated an A back in its day and still gets a C today. Most double action revolvers were Fs for disassembly and haven’t improved much in the intervening century.

The Webley Mark VI, in sharp contrast to other revolvers, rates a A for ease of disassembly and cleaning, and a B for small parts loss, because one screw has to be removed from the gun. If you have a pocket or pouch to hold it while you clean — no problem.

Disassemble the gun any further and you are going where the designers never intended you to go. But for cleaning this is as far as you need to go because the barrel is already broken open for access.

Differences between firearm and pellet gun

The disassembly is one place where small differences between firearm and pellet gun show up. Once the disassembly screw is removed from the firearm the owner rotates the cylinder cam lever counter-clockwise (or anti-clockwise, as the Brits say it) and presses it against the cylinder cam that is spring-loaded. When the cam is moved slightly the cylinder becomes free and can be removed from the axis for cleaning.

Note the wide slot in the head of the firearm disassembly screw. It is slotted to accept a sixpence — which is one more item you’ll need in your kit if you want to remain true to form. If you want to be a yank, an American quarter or nickel works well.

Webley screw
The firearm disassembly screw was slotted to fit a common coin soldiers might have.

Webley sixpence
The old silver sixpence was 19mm in diameter — slightly smaller than an American nickel. An American quarter also fits the screw head nicely and gives you more to grab.

Webley disassembled
With the firearm disassembly screw removed, rotate the cylinder cam lever counter-clockwise until it pushes on the spring-loaded cylinder cam. Push the cam slightly and the cylinder lifts off the axis like this.

Disassembly of the pellet gun

The pellet gun disassembles in a very similar way, though the screw head no longer has a wide slot for a silver sixpence (that soldiers probably also don’t have). A screwdriver blade from a pocketknife works well. Once the screw is out the cylinder cam lever is rotated counter-clockwise and the cylinder is free to remove — the cylinder cam no longer has to be pressed.

Webley pellet gun disassembled
The pellet gun disassembles in a similar way, though not exactly the same.

Loading the pellet gun

We know that the pellet cartridges are lifted up for extraction when the revolver’s barrel is broken open, but they don’t fall out unless the gun is tipped. If the barrel is broken all the way open, they fall down flush again. So, with them sitting down inside the cylinder, they make a perfect place for loading, because the pellets go into their bases.

Webley loading
With the cylinder exposing the cartridges this way, loading will be easy.

The rear sight

I was asked whether the rear sight is adjustable and I said it isn’t. But from the pictures it sure looks like it is. So let’s take a closer look at it and see for ourselves.

Webley rear sight
As you see, the pellet gun rear sight is one piece and not adjustable.


There are some things I wanted to cover about both the pellet gun and the firearm. This is a different report because we have the firearm to accompany the pellet gun. Most who buy the pellet gun will never own the firearm, and I wanted them to get a closer look at what their pellet pistol copies.

2019 SHOT Show: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Synergis
  • Gamo USA
  • The story
  • It gets better
  • AirForce Airguns
  • Diana Mauser K98 PCP
  • Summary


We were in the Umarex booth in the last report, so we’ll start there. The one other airgun that caught my eye in that booth was the new Synergis underlever repeater. Yes, this is yet another spring-piston rifle that repeats!

Umarex Synergis
The Synergis from Umarex looks exciting. Photo courtesy Umarex USA.

This rifle has a gas piston/spring, yet is quite easy to cock. I am guessing it’s between 25 and 30 pounds of effort. It gets 1,000 f.p.s. with .177-caliber lead pellets and 1.200 with alloy pellets. It has a 12-shot rotary magazine, so it’s another spring-piston repeater. But this one has an underlever, so the mag is lower than usual with a springer that repeats. It has a shrouded barrel for quiet shooting and comes bundled with a 3-9X32 scope and rings. But wait for it — the really big news is the price. The Synergis retails for $169.95! When Umarex marketing manager Justin Biddle told me that I said, “What?” I expected $100 more.

Sure, we all know it’s made in Asia. It has to be at that price. But with all it offers I plan to test it and hope that it’s accurate. If so, it will be a new best buy!

Synergis mag
The Synergis uses the same type of rotary mag we have seen with other repeaters.

Synergis with mag
The Synergis mag lies low in the receiver!

Gamo USA

Okay, I told you there would be big news today. Here it is. I was in the Gamo booth, trying to photograph their new Gen II Swarm Fusion 10X that was sitting inside a locked glass case, when another guy caught the attention of Gamo representative, Brad Conley. Brad was very helpful and told the other man, who was a gun dealer, a lot about the new Gen II Swarm. I listened in and got more information than I have ever gotten in the Gamo booth.

After the man was finished, I introduced myself to Brad and asked if there was any way to take the rifle out of the case for photography. He didn’t have the key, but instead went into one of the upstairs conference rooms (their booth is 2 stories and it’s huge) and got another example to show me.

Gamo Swarm genII
Gamo’s Swarm Maxim 10X Gen II has the lowest magazine profile of any breakbarrel repeater on the market.

The story

Gamo may not have invented the repeating spring-piston air rifle (I don’t really know who did, but I’ve seen a Haenel from the 1950s) but they have been working with them since the 1960s. That’s half a century! But, until the Swarm came out a few years ago, they didn’t always feed pellets reliably. The Swarm took care of that. Using a reliable rotary magazine is so much easier than feeding lead pellets through a tube!

But the Swarm, and now the other breakbarrel repeaters that have come out at this show, all have very tall feeding mechanisms that force you to use high mounts for a scope. The Swarm Maxim 10X Gen II solves that with a horizontal magazine that reduces the height of the mechanism considerably. You can see for yourself in the photos. And, no, the horizontal mag is not compatible with the Gen I vertical mag.

Swarm mag closed
You can see how low the new horizontal magazine lies when the barrel is closed. This allows the scope to be mounted lower.

Swarm barrel open
The Swarm pellet feeding mechanism works well with the horizontal magazine.

Swarm cocked
Brad held the Swarm with the barrel fully broken so I could see how far it broke down. This is a long-stroke gas piston, which means easier cocking for great power.

It gets better

As I was talking to Brad, Gamo’s new vice president of sales, Joe Syring, walked up and introduced himself. Before coming to Gamo USA, Joe worked at Crosman for a number of years and we had met when he was there. We talked — and talked — and talked! Things have now turned around for me at Gamo USA. Joe is someone I can talk to, and he understands the American airgun market.

You know how we always say not to dry-fire a spring gun? Joe asked me about that and I told him that Gamo was the exception. They used to tell folks in their ads that they dry-fired their spring guns 10,000 times without any signs of damage. I thought I was impressing the new guy until he told me that, before one of their spring rifles goes into production, Gamo takes 10 and dry-fires EACH of them 10,000 times. That is 100,000 dry-fires before a gun comes to market. AND (but wait, there’s more) they pull a couple rifles out of each thousand in production and shoot them 10,000 times, as well! I don’t know why their marketing department hasn’t made more of this, but I certainly plan to.

AirForce Airguns

When you go to the AirForce booth, these days, you have to remember that they are also the BKL booth, the RAW booth and the AirForce International booth. The first thing I want to tell you is the RAW rifles are now shipping. Production is not up to full speed by any means, but guns are going out the door.

RWS rifles
Some models of RAW air rifles are now shipping.

The other new rifle in the AirForce booth was the new Texan LSS. The L stands for long, because this is a full-length Texan with a shroud. This way you can get the full 500 foot-pounds of power in a quiet (ish) rifle. But they did something more. They will take the final five inches of the shroud that contains the baffles removable, so if you want a shorter rifle you can have it. It doesn’t show in the photo, but that’s what it will be on the production gun.

Texan LSS
AirForce owner, John McCaslin, holds the new Texan LSS shrouded big bore air rifle.

Diana Mauser K98 PCP

I will leave you with this one to discuss over the weekend. The Diana Mauser K98 PCP is based in the Stormrider, so expect that level of performance — 20 foot-pounds in .177 and 26 in .22. The rifle is large and in charge, yet not overly heavy. As you can see, the appearance looks quite realistic. I expect this one to sell for less than $400 and you should see it by the summer.

Diana Mauser PCP
Diana’s new Mauser K98 PCP will be great for the replica gun guys, of which I am one.


I am now so full of secrets that if you opened me up I would look like a box of Raisin Bran. There is more SHOT Show report to come, but you all need to chew your cud on this stuff for the weekend. Old BB is finally going to get some sleep!

2019 SHOT Show: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Air Venturi TR5
  • Webley Nemesis pistol
  • Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup
  • Badabang!
  • Velocity Outdoors (Crosman and Benjamin)
  • Crosman Triple Threat
  • Ravin crossbows
  • Umarex
  • Ruger 10/22
  • Summary

We are still at the Air Venturi booth as we open today’s report, having just looked at the M1 Carbine. Let’s see what else they are showing.

Air Venturi TR5

The Air Venturi TR5 target rifle was shown and announced at the 2018 SHOT Show, but never made it to the dealer’s shelves last year. I was told we could expect it early in 2019. I think that means by April-May. That’s my fudge on their March stocking date.

The rifle will come in both the original black as well as a new bright green color that resembles the stock on the Umarex Embark more than a little! I asked if they were going to be targeting the SAR program and was told, “We’ll see.”

Air Venturi TR5
Tyler Patner holds the green stocked TR5 target rifle that he said is for parents who want something for their kids besides black.

Tyler told me the rifle is rated at 500 f.p.s. but is testing a little faster — up to 550. And it comes with adjustable open sights, but also has a muzzle piece with a dovetail for a target front sight and then an optional aperture rear sight can be used! And the forearm has an accessory rail underneath, so, despite the tactical look, this really is a little target rifle. Two of the same kind of 5-shot self-indexing magazines as the IZH61 had come with the rifle, and IZH61 mags will work, too. The adjustable buttstock has five different positions, plus the buttplate itself adjusts up and down for better fit. The new rifle will retail for $130, which is partly driven by the 2019 25 percent tariff increase on certain Chinese products.

Air Venturi TR5 both
The TR5 will now come in both black and green.

Webley Nemesis pistol

Next I saw the new Webley Nemesis CO2 pistol. Yes, the name has been recycled. This is a brand new airgun.

Webley Nemesis
Webley’s new Nemesis is a CO2 repeater. Look at the slot for the bolt. You can put it on either side!

A CO2 pistol isn’t that different, but a repeater is. The Nemesis comes in either .177 or .22 caliber, with velocities of 450 and 400 f.p.s., respectively. According to the website it is slated to sell for $120. The magazine is a tandem switchable affair with a total of 14 shots in .177 and 12 in .22. After the first half have been shot, you flip the magazine around for the next half. A second magazine stores in the grip, with the piercing tool. A single-shot tray is included.

Webley Nemesis top
This view of the top shows the fiberoptic sights and the dovetails for optics. That new UTG Micro Reflex dot would be great here!

Ataman BP17 PCP bullpup

Bullpups come in all sizes, from the Hatsan Bully to the new Ataman BP17 that is the chihuahua of PCP bullpups. I have read Tyler’s reviews of the gun and was intrigued, to say the least.

Ataman BP17
The Ataman BP17 is little, yet in .22 caliber it pushes 820 f.p.s.!

This is a hunter’s airgun. Tyler showed me how easy it is to cock by flipping the sidelever with the left thumb (or right thumb for lefties). Yes, at $1400 it’s not cheap, but for an exterminator, hunter or pest eliminator it might be ideal.

Ataman BP17 sidelever
The sidelever is right where your off hand rests. The thumb cocks the rifle and loads the next pellet without shifting grips!


Air Venturi is bringing out a new electronic target called Badabang. It consists of 4 steel paddles that react to being hit, and the whole thing fits neatly inside a steel case. The real news is this target is run by a smart phone app that and records the scores and tracks your data as you play.

The Badabang electronic target is scored by a smart phone app.

This target is scheduled to be available early this year (means a few more months) in its single user mode, but upgrades are in the works to allow two shooters to compete in the various games over their phones. So you can compete with a friend in another country, if you want. And upgrades to the app will allow the system to grow and morph as times passes! The possibilities are endless. There is already some talk about a rapid-fire competition at the Pyramyd Air Cup in August!

Velocity Outdoors (Crosman and Benjamin)

I’ve already shown you several new offerings from Crosman and Benjamin, but there are more that I saw in their booth at the show.

Crosman Triple Threat

New from Crosman in 2019 is the Crosman Triple Threat revolver. It’s the model 357 that we all know and love, only now it comes with three interchangeable rifled barrels — 3-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch. It has two cylinders to shoot either 10 pellets or 6 steel BBs. It shoots alloy pellets up to 465 f.p.s. and steel BBs to 425 f.p.s. I told their vice president of sales that this kit reminded me of the Dan Wesson Pistol Pac that was so popular several years ago. The suggested retail will be $69.95, which is a lot of gun for the money. It’s expected around the middle of the year.

Triple Threat
Crosman’s marketing director, Sara Calgagno showed me the new Triple Threat revolver.

Ravin crossbows

I know this is an airgun blog, but we have openly discussed the acquisition of Crosman by Velocity Outdoors. There are several other significant companies that are under the VO umbrella, including the Ravin crossbows.

You may remember when I reviewed the Sub-1 crossbow from Mission Archery last year. We were all stunned by the performance that can be gotten from a modern high-tech crossbow. Well, the Ravin is the other high-tech crossbow that the industry is talking about, and it is now a part of Velocity Outdoors.

Velocity Outdoors now owns the Ravin crossbows that are competing for the top tier among high-tech crossbows. Their 200-pound draw weight is cocked with just 12 pounds of effort, thanks to a built-in cranking mechanism! And, it launches a 400-grain bolt at 400 f.p.s.

Now that they own the company, Center Point, their archery company, can use the special Heli Coil technology that allows the bow limbs to be so close together. They can offer it in a bow that sells for a lot less money. Instead of $2000, you can get a lot of the same features in a bow for $800 and change.

Center Point crossbows
On the other side of the Ravin display were the Center Point crossbows that can now use much of the same technology, yet sell for a lot less.

I tell you this to show that the Velocity Outdoors acquisition was a good thing. Crosman is still Crosman, but they are now under the umbrella of a much larger sporting goods corporation. The people in the company care about what they do and they still want to make great airguns.


I didn’t go to Media Day at the Range this year, which was where Umarex once again showed the Hammer big bore and let the media shoot it. The gun I shot at the 2018 Texas airgun show was the same one from a performance standpoint, but marketing manager Justin Biddle tells me that the guns at this SHOT Show are made with production tooling. He gave me an estimated release of March, but I would plan on a couple more months to be safe.

Ruger 10/22

It wasn’t the Hammer that I went to see, though. I went to see their new licensed Ruger 10/22 pellet rifle! What it is, is a .177-caliber 10-shot repeating CO2 gun that has both a single action and double action trigger pull. I own a couple 10/22s and this is a dead ringer!

Ruger 10/22 pellet rifle
The new Ruger 10/22 pellet repeater from Umarex is a 10-shot CO2 repeater.

The rifle uses two 12-gram CO2 cartridges. You can shoot it as fast as you pull the trigger in the double action mode, or you can cock the bolt back manually and the trigger becomes a fine single-stage trigger that releases at about three pounds. The magazine looks just like a 10/22 mag and even releases and installs in the same way. It has open sights and an 11mm rail for scopes. This rifle will be perfect for the Badabang target from Air Venturi.


There is a LOT more to come, including some huge news from an unexpected quarter. And, for the first time in what seems like a very long time, I have been sworn to secrecy about an airgun that you’re gonna love. I know something you don’t know…

2019 SHOT Show: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Clarification
  • Hatsan Vectis
  • Nova Star
  • Hatsan Speedfire
  • Air Venturi M1 Carbine
  • The stock
  • The rear sight
  • Summary


This report is about the first day the SHOT Show 2019 was open. I must begin with a clarification. The Sig MPX PCP I reported yesterday has a name I never mentioned. It’s called a Virtus. I visited the Sig booth this morning because my pictures of the guns taken at the range weren’t that good, and that’s when I learned the name. So, It’s a Virtus that we are waiting for.

The new Sig PCP is called the Virtus.

Hatsan Vectis

I started the day at the Hatsan booth, where Hatsan’s Cecil Bays showed me the new Vectis lever action PCP repeater. It’s available in .177. 22 and .25 with magazine capacities of 14, 12, and 10 shots, respectively. The lever both cocks the rifle and advances and feeds the next pellet. It runs on 200 bar air pressure (2900 psi — hurrah!) and gets 29 foot-pounds, 38 foot-pounds and 40 foot-pounds, respectively.

Cecil ,Bays holds the Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP.

Although most shooters will mount a scope, the Vectis comes standard with flip-up front and rear sights. They can be removed for a cleaner look when using optics.

The lever has an amazingly short 45-degree throw for rapid fire. It will be almost as fast as a semiauto. And the safety is manual, so you really can move as fast as possible! The rifle can be manually uncocked, as well.

Vectis lever
The Vectis lever throw is short for fast recovery.

Nova Star

The Hatsan Nova is not new, but in 2019 the Nova Star will join it in the lineup. The Nova Star has a beautiful Turkish walnut stock, a manual safety a 480cc air tank that does not come off the gun and no silencer. NO SILENCER!!!??

Yes, Hatsan wanted to give you a rifle that is as short as possible, so instead of a conventional silencer or shrouded barrel they provided a 1/2-inch by 20 thread coupling at the muzzle to accept aftermarket silencers. Everyone doesn’t need a silencer. Hunters can either run it loud or decide which aftermarket silencer they want to attach.

Nova Star
The Nova Star is a new shorter Nova that has lighter weight and shorter overall length than the Nova.

Hatsan Speedfire

Hatsan also climbed on the repeating breakbarrel bandwagon with Crosman and Gamo by introducing their Speedfire rifle. The Speedfire comes in both .177 and .22 calibers and gets 14 shots in .177 and 12 in .22. The safety on this rifle is automatic, which is because even though your hand should not be exposed to any danger while cocking, the action still is open and Hatsan doesn’t want it closing unexpectedly. There is a shock-absorbing scope rail so medium-height rings are all that’s needed for the bundled 3-9X32 scope to clear the magazine.

What is really unusual about the Speedfire is the front and rear sight. The front sight tucks out of the way when you don’t want it and flips up when you do.

Hatsan’s new Speedfire breakbarrel repeater has a few new tricks! Photo courtesy of Hatsan USA.

Air Venturi M1 Carbine

Moving on from the Hatsan booth I moved over to Air Venturi who was just two aisles away. They have so many new products that I won’t get to all of them in this report. But let me get to the most important one first — the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine!

M1 Carbine
Air Venturi’s Tyler Patner holds the new super-realistic M1 Carbine BB gun from Springfield Armory!

Normally I am the one telling you about the airguns, but in this case you readers were ahead of me and had absorbed each detail of the press release like sponges. So I will get right to the stuff you care about.

The stock

The stock is synthetic, but it is extremely well done. It feels solid and the wood grain looks the part. I am a Carbine afficionado, so this is more than a fanboy opinion. Springfield Armory nailed it! However, for those who absolutely cannot touch anything that is not real, a wood stock is an option. And, may I remind you that Mr. Spock assures us that nothing unreal exists!

airsoft Carbine
The airsoft Carbine was in the genuine wood stock that will be an option for the BB gun.

The rear sight

You also wanted to know about the rear sight. Does it only adjust for windage and not elevation? Yes — only windage. Tyler assures me the one he has tested was on for elevation at a BB gun distance (16-25 feet). Why didn’t they make it adjustable for elevation, as well? We don’t know at this time.

Carbine rear sight dovetail
And here is that elusive picture some of you wanted — how the rear sight attaches to the Carbine.

It looks to me like the rear sight can be swapped for an original type II or III adjustable M1 Carbine rear sight that has both windage and elevation. They cost, so be prepared to spend some money to get one, but I believe it will work.

This Carbine also comes with the bayonet lug that only came later in the production run. Does it accept a genuine bayonet? It looks like it might, but as I had none to try we will have to wait to see.

I asked for a Carbine to test as soon as possible, but it will still be awhile. I told them I’m buying the one they send, so they won’t release the one sample they have! Shoulda lied, I guess. Tyler admitted to me that for the first half of Day One, the Carbine was their top attraction! Crosman did well in 1966. Springfield Armory has also done well in 2019!

Carbine blowback
The BB Carbine has full blowback, which just adds to the realism!


This is just the beginning. I left the show at 3:30 p.m. to get back to my room and have supper by 4:30. Then I massaged all the pix and wrote this report, scheduling it to publish just prior to 9 p.m. That is midnight on the east coast, where WordPress lives. So This stuff is hot off my fat little fingers.

Guys, there is a LOT more to come — I can assure you! All the airguns guys are running around this show, trying to scoop each other. It ain’t like the old days, when I was one of just a few who cared. Stay tuned!