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Competition Best equipment or the best training?

Best equipment or the best training?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Best equipment?
  • Why not cheap?
  • Airgunner’s dreams
  • Why?
  • One gun to rule them all
  • Thanks Hank
  • One final type of table saw
  • And one final airgun — is it a hybrid?
  • Summary

I almost titled today’s report as an open letter to the airgun industry, because I believe there is a lot for them in here. But there is also a lot for the average airgunner. Reader Vana should be flattered because his excellent report on stockmaking yesterday prompted all that I am about to say.

Best equipment?

As I read Vana’s report, I mused about making stocks myself. Like that will ever happen. It’s like watching a Fred Astair movie and deciding to take dance lessons, I guess. Only, when it comes to dancing, the movie I should watch is Godzilla.

But here is what I actually did. I went online and researched table saws. Yes, I really did! I discovered that table saws fall into several categories that range from cheap, through portable or jobsite, up to contractor and finally cabinet, which is the pinnacle. I discovered that I wanted to pay for a portable (usually under $400) but to get one with the features of a cabinet ($5,000 to $10,000). However I did not like the extreme weight of the cabinet models (450-600 lbs.) and wanted my saw to weigh more in the contractor range (225-250 lbs.). Hey! I’m an airgunner when it comes to table saws!

Why not cheap?

Why wasn’t I interested in the cheaper table saws? I learned my lesson about cheap table saws many years ago. I owned a Ryobi 10-inch table saw that turned its blade at 3,000 rpm. It was certainly cheap. Everything on it that could be made from aluminum and plastic was, and the saw blade didn’t so much cut through wood as gnaw and burn through it. That little machine whined, spit and walked around my garage floor as it vibrated whenever it was turned on. Yes, it cut wood and I suppose a skillful woodworker could even have made things with it, but as most of my readers know, that ain’t me! That cheap table saw was my Chinese ultra-magnum breakbarrel air rifle!

Having said all this I am sure there will be a host of readers defending the honor of Ryobi table saws. If I had criticized an ubermagnum breakbarrel rifle by name there would have been defenders for it. I won’t name names, but if I were to give you my opinion of All-You-Can-Eat steakhouses, I’m sure the jungle drums would start beating for them, as well. “Okay, the meat is tough and a bit gristly, but look at how cheap it is!” Indeed!

What I’m telling you is I have owned a cheap table saw and it was not for me. And I have both owned and tested a host of cheap mega-magnum breakbarrel spring piston air rifles that I didn’t care for, either. Only, I get to say that with less criticism because I am BB Pelletier. True or not, I am supposed to know something about airguns.

Airgunner’s dreams

So then I start on my journey in airguns. I want the accuracy of the FWB124/ TX200 Mark III, with the light weight and low cost of the Benjamin Maximus and the power of the AirForce Condor. Yeah — that’s a table saw that has a large cast iron table and a precisely adjustable rigid fence, yet weighs less than 50 lbs. They don’t make one yet, but when Montgomery Scott of the Starship Enterprise invents transparent aluminum, perhaps they will.


Why do I want all of these things? Well, I want the light weight for convenience, the low price because I’m cheap and the power because you can never have too much power. Most of all I want perfectly smooth cuts, no matter what wood I’m cutting.

In an air rifle I want light weight, easy cocking low cost and stylish looks. On top of all that I want accuracy, because I reckon that an accurate airgun will make me a better shot.

No — it won’t. An accurate airgun will not make me a better shot, any more than a $10,000 table saw will turn me into a woodworker. All it will do is expose to the world how lousy a shot/woodworker I really am.

One gun to rule them all

My next-door neighbor, Denny, owns a 37-year-old Shopsmith Mark V. And, by an ironic coincidence of fate, the house that backs up to his on the road behind us was selling a Shopsmith Mark V at a garage sale a couple years ago. That’s one guy for it and one guy against.

A Shopsmith Mark V is a combination power tool that is a table saw, drill press, disc sander, lathe and horizontal boring machine. Various optional attachments add capability like a band saw and a shaper. In short, a Shopsmith is a handyman’s Swiss Army Knife.

But — and this is the big but — that word handyman is the key. Denny is one. BB is not. BB with a Shopsmith is a man with something to pile things on until his next garage sale — the same as the man with the TX200 who refuses to learn to shoot. A bigger scope won’t solve his problem. Nor will a new magic pellet. Before you can shoot good, you must first learn to shoot.

Thanks Hank

So, I read Vana’s report and, like most of you, I am amazed at his skill. Thirty years ago I might have tried making a rifle stock, but today I know better.

I’m not telling you to give up your dreams, I’m telling you to get real and sort out the daydreams from the real dreams. Know your limitations and, if you want to change them, be prepared to invest — not money but time. For time is what it takes to become good at anything. Skill and a natural inclination will help, but time invested is your greatest chance for success.

One final type of table saw

Manufacturers — smart table saw manufacturers — realized that there are more highly motivated hobby woodworkers in the world than there are cabinetmakers. These are people who can use all the quality and precision that a cabinet-grade table saw can give them, but they don’t have $10,000 to spend. My neighbor, Denny, and our reader, Vana/Hank, are two such men. One look at at Hank’s work and I think you have to agree. I don’t think either man owns one of what I am going to tell you about, but there is a type of table saw made just for people like this. It is called the hybrid table saw. It has most of the precision and stability of a cabinet table saw but is priced much lower.

Saw manufacturers often label their hybrid saws as cabinet saws, but the industry knows better and separates them out as hybrids. They aren’t as heavy as cabinet table saws, but they are more precise than contractor saws. Expect to pay $900 up to $1,800 for one.

And one final airgun — is it a hybrid?

Has the airgun community wised up as much as the table saw community? Perhaps so. The new Sig ASP20 breakbarrel rifle from Sig Air is one example that may qualify as a “hybrid” spring piston air rifle. It’s very accurate, doesn’t vibrate, is very quiet, has a wonderful trigger, cocks easily and has super power for a breakbarrel air rifle. Yes, it does cost more than a meal at Sizzler, but it’s nowhere near the cost of a meal at a five-star restaurant.


I jumped at the opportunity to label the new under-$300 PCPs as price-point PCPs, but I’m not quite ready to call the ASP20 a hybrid. I guess that’s because there is only one like it in the world and it’s the one. With the PPPs we were inundated by a tidal wave of offerings. If the same thing happens with high-quality breakbarrels that sell at a reasonable price I might have to start using the term, but for now I’ll just say Sig is out there leading the pack.

So, what is the answer to today’s unspoken question, “Should I buy that super-accurate airgun that I want so much?” The answer is you! Are you going to shoot airguns? Are you loving them so much that you can’t stop shooting them? If that is the case then I would advise you to set your sights high and get the airgun(s) you want, instead of the ones you think you deserve (because you aren’t that good a shot yet) or the airguns you think you can afford. Years ago when I didn’t have the money to buy what I wanted, I learned to subordinate my desires to reality. What would make me the happiest the soonest? I couldn’t have it all but I could certainly have things that made me happy.

Oh, yes, I’m the Great Enabler! But only for those who wish to be enabled!

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

64 thoughts on “Best equipment or the best training?”

  1. Sometimes buying cheap products ends up actually costing more than higher priced products. Over the years I have bought several battery operated drills and screwdrivers. They were basically all junk. They didn’t last and when I needed to use one for a project it would always run out of juice before the task was completed.

    When I retired my first project was to install new laminate flooring in the kitchen, dinning area, and hallway. I also replaced all of the pine base moldings with new oak base and quarter-round moldings. I had several door openings and thresholds to install transition moldings into as well. I was going to be driving a lot of screws and nailing a lot of molding. I was done buy cheap junky battery operated drills so I purchased a nice 12V DeWalt lithium-ion drill and a 12V DeWalt Impact driver. Best investment in tools I ever made. Either tool had enough power to twist the head off from a #10 screw. The charge on those tools will last for hours and when needing a charge, they charge up in 30 minutes. I love them and wondered why I had never spent the extra money a these high quality tools. I also bought a refurbished Bostich compressor and brad nailer. That made the job of attaching all the moldings very quick and easy, what a nice tool to own. It’s great for make bird nesting boxes as well.

    My dad was a professional auto mechanic and he always told me “never buy a cheap tool”. I have come to learn how very right he was about that. It doesn’t have to be Snap-On tool, just not a cheap tool. When I married and moved out of my parents home one of first things I did was buy a S-K Wayne tool box and tools. That was 48 years ago and I still have every one of those tools with the exception of a couple of broken sockets which were replace under a lifetime warranty. If one of those tools is missing from my toolbox, it’s like a lost child.

  2. BB
    I got tired of burning my way through plywood with my hand held circular Skill saw so I went out and got an expensive carbide tip blade. It now cuts faster then I can keep up with it crawling along the 4×8 sheet. Definitely no regrets there. Like cutting butter. The cut is a little wider and needs proper alignment compensation but much cleaner.

    I may have too much of a good product with my FX Independence. I have accidently fired it prematurely while attempting to pull the trigger, three times so far. Me thinks it’s set a little too light. Either that or magic happens when I line up the reticle because I always hit what I intend to.

    Fired off a question to Umarex USA today asking about any future plans to issue the shell ejecting Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle in any of the Colt SAA pistol finishes. I’m expecting a “Not at this time” generic answer. We shall see.
    Evidently Europe has it in a sort of cleaned up weathered silver-ish finish and we will probably never get the break barrel version of the Colt M4 carbine with the quad rail and adjustable stock they have there too.
    We will have to settle for the MTR77.
    Bob M

  3. B.B.,

    Spot on,… as usual. Buying well does matter, but you won’t realize the full benefit without lot’s of use and practice, whatever it is. At the least, buying well should provide less frustration along the way and may shorten the learning/practice curve a bit.

    Good Day to one and all,…… Chris

  4. Tools do make a difference.

    But you never know till you try. We get that at the machine shop I work at all the time. They always seem to have this fantastic cutting tool that will hold tolerance good and last 5 times longer than such and such tool. But it does cost more than the ones that are already being used.

    Guess what comes next. They don’t last as long as the cheaper tool we are already using, they do burn up or break earlier. And they don’t hold tolerance as well.

    Here’s the the thing. Even though something looks good and costs alot doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.

    Usually exsperiance pays off there. That is in what to look for in that given product. And that don’t happen overnight. And not only with saws or air guns.

    Cheap can be good and expensive can be bad. You never know.

  5. Forgive me for not being super impressed by the Sig ASP20.

    For starters, it’s a gas ram break barrel pushing 1000 fps in .177. Is there anyone out there who isn’t selling the same thing?

    Second, it’s clearly a benchrest stock and length. I’m not sure that’s innovation when breakbarrel means you have to pick it up to cock, load and charge the gun between every shot. Kind of defeats the concept of benchrest.

    Third, as much as the trigger is talked up in reviews, posts by owners list the heavy trigger as the main impediment to consistent groups.

    Fourth, for the money I don’t know why you wouldn’t go with Diana or Weirauch. Both feature triggers that garner nothing but praise, coupled with barrels and actions that make the shooter the limiting factor rather than the gun.

    I could probably go on, but why buy the Sig Sauer with an inferior trigger, poorly conceived stock, and a largely unjustified price tag? I can see it if you already have better airguns and simply want to try it out – I get it.

    I was expecting to buy an ASP20 at first. At this point I’m spending my money on an HW50 and not even looking back. The Sig is a fine offering but certainly not the pinnacle that has been hyped. Hell, the “Ballistic Computer” scope is simply a standard scope with tape on the turrets. So not impressed.

    YMMV 😀

    • Onegear,

      LOL! Let the flaming begin!

      Seriously though, you do bring up some very good points.

      Let us start with the stock. It is indeed a big chunk of wood or if it is a synthetic stock, it is indeed a big chunk of plastic. It would not be fun to carry this thing around all day, but all of that mass helps to tame the gas sproing recoil and also help make it less hold sensitive.

      Speaking of gas sproings, I cannot honestly say I am sold on them. I have some experience with them and I was not impressed. They do not vibrate I will give them that, but the recoil is usually quite harsh unless you have a lot of mass to help absorb it. As far as the myth that they are not affected by the cold…


      I have a few air rifles and an air pistol that are much older than I am. They use metal sproings. How long is that gas sproing going to last?

      Now as for the trigger, I do not know. It is probably much better than a TCFKAC sproinger trigger, but I do not own one of those either. My antique airguns have superb single stage triggers and my PCPs are awesome.

      I do applaud your choice of the HW50. I just purchased an HW30 for my grandson. What a superb air rifle. My next “new” sproinger will be a Weihrauch.

      • RidgeRunner,

        I read the Hardair magazine piece and found it wanting; not typical for them…holiday malaise? As you well know there are many factors that effect performance beyond temperature variation…I saw nothing in their piece that indicated that they controlled all of them and just changed the temperature. I’m not happy with that quality of writing especially when the given change is within the small limits that most all factors could have caused or at a minimum contributed to. Was it ambient air temperature or actual temperature of the gas ram? I can’t even tell that…factual rigorousness and testing not FACTOIDS please.


    • We just wrapped up our review of the ASP 20 in .177….not sure when that means you all will actually see it, but my thoughts:
      I agree, a 1000 fps .177 gas ram break-barrel really isn’t that interesting in the current airgun market. But the Sig Sauer name is of interest both when it comes to airguns and more so when it comes to firearms. I too questioned “why” at SHOT show last year, but then I shot one at the PA Cup. Let me preface this by saying, I am no fan of gas rams, give me a coiled spring any day of the week. I don’t care for the harshness of most gas rams. Sig’s piston feels dampened compared to most but still maintains the quicker shot cycle you get from a gas ram. So I give them props on that. The other thing I like about it is the keystone breech locking system. It’s a novel idea and appears to be working in the gun we tested. Once I zeroed the scope I used in the review, the zero never shifted and I put well over 1000 rounds through the gun. And all in all, I didn’t find the gun terribly hold sensitive.

      Stock wise, I personally like the feel of the stock. I’m a big fan of vertical grips though. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though.

      I think using the word “match” in the name of the trigger is the real hang up. It gives the impression that the trigger is on par with the Rekord and Air Arms spring gun triggers. It is not that good. BUT, it is a very nice trigger none the less. Mine had a very clean break and an easy to discern 1st/2nd stage wall. It’s a 3 lbs trigger out of the box. If that’s not for you, I get it. But coming from someone that shoots true match triggers (talking 3-5 oz range) this is definitely not a match trigger. It’s a fantastic hunting trigger though.

      Depends on what you want IMO. If a gas ram is a must (believe it or not, for some people today it is a must) your options on the high end are limited. You have one Weihrauch option (which has a cocking effort of at least 10 lbs more than the Sig out of the box) or Diana’s N-Tec guns. Like the N-Tec stuff a lot, but they are definitely harsher shooting than the Sig. All of the above (including the Sig) are accurate guns. And none of the above compare to an R9/HW95 in my opinion. That’s just the way I see it, but as I said, I will take a spring over a gas ram any day of the week.

      The gun is Built in America, which is something that a lot of folks will like and has a lot going for it. While I may not be as in love with it as others, the one I’ve got is definitely a winner. Pretty sure Sig is/was aware that this rifle wasn’t going to be as big of a seller as their other current offerings, but I think that shows they are more interested in building their brand name on the airgun side of things just as they have done on the firearm side. I can respect that. And if nothing else, they definitely knew they weren’t going to please everyone with this gun…and that’s okay too. The HW50 is a fine gun and I am sure you will enjoy it.

      • Tyler
        How did the Whiskey scope do with the .177 caliber? Or did it have that scope. It’s a ballistic scope supposedly for .22 caliber so far is what I’m getting. So I’m sure that scope is not matched up for .177 caliber pellets. If so what pellet does Sig say they used?

        And they didn’t know they wasn’t going to please everyone? They don’t have to. They just got to make product that works as they claim it will.

        And this is usually what happens when a gun gets hyped up in reviews. Even if a gun is good talking it up could end the wrong way. I say let the gun be what it is and let the consumers start telling how it is. And as it goes again. Time Will Tell.

        • GF1,

          The Whiskey3 scope isn’t just for .22 caliber. It is calibrated for velocity. All pellets drop at the same rate when going the same velocity.

          The scope, as I said much earlier, is calibrated in MOA. The ring Sig has put on it is similar to what many field target competitors put on their scopes and it works the same way. There is no magic.


          • BB
            No magic. I know.

            But what about coefficient of drag. Then weight.

            So two different diameter pellets that are different weights will still impact at the same place at a given distance without changing clicks or hold over or under.

            Yep now I know why I said throughout time that Chairgun was a ballistic estimating tool to use. Not a exact real world result.

            Heck you got the Sig asp and scope. Do a report and show us what the scope does at 10 yard increments from 10 yards to 50 yards.

            Then have Sig send you a .177 gun or borrow Tyler’s .177 Sig asp and put your scope on it. And use whatever pellet Tyler used in .177 or what Sig recommends in .177 caliber. Then do some shooting and let’s see what the 2 calibers look like on paper with the Whiskey scope and the two different calibers. Then we don’t have to discuss it anymore.

            Until then. What

        • Didn’t have the scope, it’s not available yet. I know Sig did their testing with their pellets (I think their lead Crux, PA does not sell the lead version), which I believe H&N makes so they are likely close with H&N pellets. We had great luck with H&N Baracuda’s, and reasonable accuracy with JSB Heavies and Monsters. Everything I tried that was under 10 grains did not shoot well in my gun.

          I said “they definitely knew they weren’t going to please everyone with this gun” so yes, you’re correct, they don’t have to.

          I’m not necessarily talking it up, but it’s a little unjustified to talk it down at this point unless you’ve put rounds through one. I can tell you that the return rate thus far certainly doesn’t justify talking it down. I like to root my opinions in personal experience, because as we all know, everyone looks at this world differently.

          My belief is that the gun is on par with others in it’s price range. Some aspects are better, some are not as good. But at the end of the day, the gun I tested performed well for me. I can’t say too much negative about it outside of the “Match Lite” trigger not actually being a match trigger. But that’s my opinion. Some people call my definition of a match trigger unsafe. I suspect Sig’s definition has a lot to do with the ASTM standards regarding triggers, though I could be wrong.

          Regarding the Whiskey scope: At the end of the day, Sig is estimating based on velocity performance with certain pellets. But even then, there will be variance based upon what pellet you actually end up using (inevitably, their recommended pellet will not be most accurate in every barrel, certainly wasn’t in my gun) and further, things like air density and elevation. There are so many factors involved, the best they can do is give you a rough estimate…and that will likely be close enough to get you on the bull. They’re trying to make the end user experience a little easier for the average shooter, not necessarily trying to please the most anal retentive shooters out there (and no, that’s not a knock on anyone, as I myself fall into that category most of the time). There’s a LOT of experience in the airgun industry over at Sig right now, so I trust they know exactly what they’re doing and taking the feedback that they’ve received very seriously. And since there is so much experience, I am also excited to see where they are going next. Making a quality break barrel is cool, but there is so much more to come that’s going to continue to push boundaries and grow the sport of airgunning.

          • Tyler
            Yep agree. I say they often. How do you know unless you actually have tryed something yourself.

            And I’m not talking the gun down or the scope for that fact. What I want to see is the gun tested like they say the scope and gun works. Shoot the gun at different distances and show some targets and what clicks were used for those distances. And in both calibers they offer the gun in.

            And you already answered some of the question. There will be pellets that group better than others. But will those pellets that group good work with that scope.

            That’s what I would like to see tested. And if it don’t work. That don’t mean it’s a bad gun or scope. It’s just what it is. And sooner or later we will know those answers. Wether it’s you or BB or the consumers that show the results. Then long term shooting will be next. I think they have a nice design with the lock up on the barrel. But as it goes. Time Will Tell.

    • Onegear,

      🙂 Come on now. Don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think. 😉

      I was hoping for a rebuttal from B.B., but I guess not. So far, it seems accurate. The shot cycle is smooth. The stock I still do not get, but B.B. says to look for more styled this way.

      Other than that,… I like to see new things and innovation. It is a mid priced option for most. Options are good in my book.


      • I don’t dislike the gun, it’s just Sig put out the same gas ram rifle everyone else is selling. I’m all for “made in USA” as long as I’m not being penalized by the manufacturer’s inexperience. Crosman doesn’t charge a premium for their superbly engineered airguns made in USA, so why is it OK for a Swiss maker to charge a premium for US production? Gas rams are a dime a dozen on the market, so really no excuse on that front either.

        I thinking when an imported German-made air rifle is a screaming bargain in comparison, you’ve got to seriously consider asking the Sig Sauer emperor where he left his bathrobe. Don’t you?

        I must thank Mr. Pelletier for his thorough vetting of the product to allow me to view it in context of the other offerings on the market. I gain more from his positive-leaning elaborate breakdown of the product than I would from a dismissive panning. Even if I chose to go another route for myself.

        So yeah, I love this blog and this is the first gun I’ve been compelled to comment on 😀

  6. BB,

    Hi, my name is RidgeRunner. I am a tightwad.

    The truth is I can spend money all day long if the price is pretty small. Now when the price starts approaching $100, I find it more difficult to let go of the greenbacks. That is when I start shopping around for not just price, but quality also. I want the best for my hard earned bucks.

    When it comes to my shooting skills with airguns, well you are not likely ever to see me on the Olympic Team. But if you are shooting an air rifle from Wang Po Industries that at best is going to give you a 3 inch group at 10 feet, that is as good as you are going to get no matter how much you practice.

    You do not necessarily need to spend the absolute top dollar. My Izzy is not the most expensive 10 meter air pistol there is, but it will shoot better than I can ever hope to. When I shoot her, if I miss I know it is me.

    • RR
      I too have been called a tightwad but if I was how could I have so much stuff. It’s a term used by poor money managers to insult “Outstanding money managers” and save face. Hold your head up high and reply “You betcha ! I spend wisely.” 🙂
      Bob M

      • Bob M,

        Agree with your comments. As they say “a fool and his money are soon parted”, being a tightwad indicates that you are not a member of that group. Another thing I learned by the time I had reached my 30s was to “never invest in a depreciable asset”. Buying new cars or trucks is a perfect example, might as well flush the money down the toilet. Now a real nice airgun…that’s a different story 🙂


        • Geo791
          Heck, a real nice airgun could turn out to be an appreciating asset. Putting a value on the enjoyment you receive from using it and money saved from avoiding other costly ventures to entertain yourself probably make it an investment, sort of speaking.

          We certainly think alike. I never owned a new car, that I really wanted, for most of my life even though I very well could have. Being a mechanic certainly made that an easier decision. I got a new 96 Hyundai Accent for cheap dependable transportation to the airport every day.

          Nearing retirement I moved to the country and had a 45 mile drive, one way, to work for a few years I needed a dependable economy car. So I picked up a new stripped down, no radio, stick shift 05 Hyundai Accent.. It had a 10 yr warrantee and got over 40 MPG as my previously one. Savings in gas and repairs paid for the car in a few years and now it saves in having no car payments. It definitely did not go up in value but it really helped me save money in the long run. There is always exceptions.
          Now that ’02 Twin Turbo Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 I have in the garage …. Well that’s a different story too. It was used, half priced and in need of a transmission. A fun thing there I lusted for at the time.
          By the way, I purchased that new 05 Hyundai in 06 to save even more. a left over.

          Bob M

  7. B.B.,

    Thanks to you and all the readers for your compliments, I’m a bit overwhelmed by them… I’ve never considered myself to be more than an average wood worker.

    I agree with your comments B.B. – be realistic in your goals/expectations and be willing to put in the time, effort and practice to attain them. Most importantly, enjoy the learning experience. I usually “discover” several ways of NOT doing something before I find a way that works.

    I have always said that a quality item (tool, gun, fishing rod… whatever) exactly meets the users needs. A $3 hammer is a quality tool for an apartment dweller who only needs to hang a picture; a $30 hammer is a quality tool for a person framing a house.

    My point? As B.B. suggests, buy the best you can afford that suits your needs and work with what you have; develop your skill to get the most out of your purchase. I have a Dewalt DWE7491 “job site table saw”- it’s exactly what I need. A cabinet saw would be nice but I can’t justify the cost or the space for one for how much I would use it.

    Done rambling, have a great day!


    • Hank

      I think B.B. can vouch for this, as he was also a victim of government issue tools…
      Purchased from the lowest bidder. Cheap stuff that not too many would want to steal . Talk about trash .
      Supposed to be cheaper to replace junk tools (broken/worn out) than to replace good stuff that worked that had been stolen.
      SAC was just starting to get onto “warranty” tools when I left that command. I think they were going to Snap On tools. But just for the engine shop to start with .


  8. B.B. and all,
    Last week I read in my local paper that a former sporting goods store here is reopening at the end of the month as a ‘makerspace’. It is described as space where a member will have access to the tools and training to do their wood projects. I’m not rushing to join but I will be watching to see if this makes a go of it.

  9. B.B.,

    In many things I am, uh, an exception. :^)

    As a careful deal-seeker, I have come to own air guns that are about as accurate as air guns can get (a Feinwerkbau 601, for example). I will never improve my technique enough that their level of accuracy is fully or even mostly taken advantage of. I also have top-of-the heap springers, including an FWB 124 and TX200 MkIII. The same holds with them. I will never “out-shoot” them, either.

    And yet I, a mediocre shooter at best, still find that I am significantly more accurate with, say, my 601 than with my Avanti 750. I am more accurate with my FWB 124 than with my Crosman Vantage Nitro.

    I know my experience goes against the experience and wisdom of virtually everyone else. But a high-end airgun in my inexpert hands is more accurate than a cheap airgun in my inexpert hands. Would a very good shooter do better with my Vantage than I do with my TX? Probably. But with this mediocre shooter, significantly better equipment makes a difference.

    (That cabinet table saw would cut my thumb off far more cleanly than would a store-brand from a big box! :^)


    • Michael
      You think so. Neither one will do a good job at cutting your finger off. Both blades will tear your finger apart.

      That is definitely the wrong tool for cutting your finger off.

      If you want to do that you need a very sharp knife that has a heavy blade. And a good fast swing and you won’t fill a thing.

      Hey you brought it up about cutting your finger off. Dull that blade up and see what happens. You won’t like that tool either.

      And ok I’ll stop messing around. All bad examples of how to use a tool. But I’m sure you get what I mean.

      • Gunfun1,

        In Japanese organized crime, the ritualistic self-amputation of a finger is a way a “soldier” who has disappointed his boss can make amends for the insult of his failure. It sounds (and is indeed) awful, but when one considers the alternative . . .

        On this side of the Pacific the legendary bluesman Hound Dog Taylor was born with an extra pinkie on each hand (polydactylism, a pretty common congenital abnormality), so he decided, after a childhood and young adulthood of suffering cruel jokes, that he would self amputate the two appendages. He sat at a kitchen table in his tiny room on Chicago’s South Side, drank two whole bottles of Mad Dog 20/20, waited for it to kick in, took out his straight razor, and quickly removed the sixth finger of his right hand and stuck the hand into a bucket of ice water.

        He never did finish the job and repeat the process with his left hand’s sixth finger. Why not? Because he cut off the one on his right hand! =8^0

        True story.


  10. Hi BB and readers, this is my first reply since I began reading this blog in the summer of 2013. Today’s blog is such a good one that I had to risk international exposure to tell you so. From this blog I have learned terminology, how the various types of air guns work, how to shoot them, to troubleshoot and repair problems with each, pellet selection, more valuable information than I can mention falls not only out of your blog, but also from the discussion section after. Thank you for all you do for our community and thanks also to the fine thinkers who add to the fray.
    Today’s thoughts on setting realistic expectations for that one Ultimate Airgun, understanding what it’s made of and being prepared to pay for it was typically fun to read. What I’m taking away is, “You can want it all, but you can’t even get close without putting the work in.” This lovely bit of wisdom applies just as well to life in general as it does to air guns. And it goes great with a hot cup of coffee every week day.

  11. “Best Equipment?”

    B.B. & Hank,
    I hear you on using good equipment (and Hank you are way above an “average wood worker” =>).
    Below is a picture of what happens when you use a mediocre saw and hand tools to whip out a prototype quickly.
    The inside of this thing is sad: glue marks, divots, and sad-looking butt joints abound.
    (i.e. no craftsmanship…it is the polar opposite of a Hank-made stock!)

    To relate it to airguns, if this were an air rifle, it would be…one of those Pangean air rifles, hahaha! =)~

    (To those not up on Pangean air rifles, please see this report from B.B. back in 2014:
    /blog/2014/10/starting-your-own-airgun-business/ )

      • Thanks Don,
        Yes, it actually worked very well; the two end braces push the sides out, and the center brace pulls them in (the hull is under a lot of stress); the footprint on the water is huge, so it floats in less than 3″ of water.
        In the pic below, my California-kayaker friend, Rodney, puts it through its paces (in Florida). It’s also quite stable; I stood up in it once, just to show that I could, and I had it out in some 2-foot chop on a windy day.
        This was the first prototype for “Ultralight Boats” (24 lbs at 10 feet long); sadly the company went out of business after just a year, basically for ALL of the reasons B.B. outlined in his report, “Starting Your Own Airgun Business.” B.B.’s advice was spot on, and could apply to any business.

        The only bright spot is, when I closed, I gave the half dozen of these I had on hand to a youth pastor friend, and he used them to take troubled teens on kayaking trips; so it wasn’t a total waste.

        Plus, I did have some fun; it’s cool to pick up your boat in one hand and your paddle in the other as you walk back to your truck…it turns heads…but did NOT create enough profit, hahaha!

        If you shoot me an email at thedavemyster@gmail.com I’ll send you a set of the detailed plans in case you ever want to make one. =>

        take care,

        P.S. If only I had read B.B.’s report, “Starting Your Own Airgun Business,” before I launched that venture…I would have saved myself a lot of heartache!

  12. BB
    In an effort prevent the newest most expensive aircraft at the time, the F-14 Tomcat, from crashing into the sea from a tool left in a flight control area the Navy came up with “Tool Control”. No more personal tool boxes issued. Everything was checked out of the tool room for each repair job and inventoried on return, using boxes with a designated spot for each tool and for the most part job specific tool boxes were used.
    No more ‘misplaced or lost’ tools and no more aircraft lost to FOD (Foreign Object Damage) If so much as a 3/8″ socket was missing ALL the squadron aircraft were downed till it was found. A maintenance shut down. After all, someone else may have ‘borrowed it’ to work on another aircraft.

    About that time we started to receive Craftsman tools for use. We all thought that was great until we found out Craftsman just happened to be the lowest bidder for a government tool contract and we were issued substandard Craftsman tools with an ‘X’ in the part number and they were not replaced for free.

    Hence the term, “Good enough for government work !”

    Cheep tools have a place. Especially for very limited or occasional use. A China made Sliding Compound Miter Saw sure beets the hell out of using a hand saw for cutting rough lumber to build a shed…while it works.
    Never had any plans to be, in Navy terms a Jesus Striker (Carpenter)

    Magnum springers or gas pistons surely satisfy some people, even if it’s for bragging rights. People who ‘hope’ to hit something with a powerful airgun every once in a while or who seek revenge on pests seem happy with them.
    Bob M

  13. Folks,
    Middle of the road equipment is where the action is, in my opinion. Bike racers know this on an molecular level.
    If the bike industry was like the airgun industry, we would all still be using friction shifters and rim brakes. Sig has made a nice sporter rifle that apparently shoots well, and should be recognized for it,
    I keep my eyes peeled for what I refer too as milestone designs, and it is not that. The Weirauch P1 shows shows much more creativity and risk as a design, than the ASP, and I bet it was not designed on a computer.
    The ASP may be more powerfull than my de tuned R10, but the old Weirauch can shoot out 3/8 bulls at 40 yds if I’m in the groove. Waiting for that breakbarrel bullpup, with two stage cocking, multilever trigger, but not holding my breath. I bought the Diana Chaser for my bro, we can compare it to the Bandit I have. Maybe he’ll want to go to the “dark side” or not.
    Great shooting B.B.!

    • 1stblue,

      Your dream of a sweet breakbarrel bullpup has one big challenge to it: a nice trigger. PCP bullpups can be designed with good triggers, and I have a side-cocker springer bullpup with a single-stage, crisp, HEAVY trigger, but a springer bullpup with a crisp, light, multistage trigger is a tall order. That would be a milestone indeed.


    • 1stblue,

      I almost forgot, I very much agree with your philosophy.

      “The middle of the road is trying to find me / I’m standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me.”


    • 1stblue,

      I agree. The middle is the sweet spot. Catch the (up and comer’s) while they are still getting a rep.,…. before they get a rep.,….. and then jack up the price to what their product is worth/competes for.

      🙂 Chris

  14. Magnum air rifles
    Look at it this way. If you want a “Simple” high powered air rifle with power enough to reach out and dispatch any pest you get a magnum. The heavier the better. WHAT? Recoil is much easier to deal with.

    I have a Black Ops Tactical Sniper Rifle and a Valken Infiltrator among others and they are almost comfortable to shoot. Not repeatedly off hand, they are heavy but how many times do you shoot a critter repeatedly? A little support from a tree or building really helps there.

    “But they are not all that accurate” True sometimes but you wanted a simple relatively low cost airgun. You can’t have it all in one gun.

    Once you get used to it you will figure out how accurate it is and what your chances of hitting what you aim at are.
    Sometimes luck is on the side of the critter and once you figure that out missing is not that serious. There is always another day. But when you do hit your target it’s all the more satisfying because luck was on your side today. One shot , one kill all the time can be boring. Same for target shooting. There is no sport in “Winning all the time.”
    So what good is an inaccurate airgun? It can actually be fun to try and hit something on the edge of a guns accuracy. With a magnum you can shoot targets much further away for an even greater challenge.

    “But I love hitting the target ALL the time” Now that’s a big problem and I will work on that solution for about a half a second,,,, Get a bigger target !

    Keep the fun in shooting airguns once in a while.
    Bob M

    • Bob M,

      For shooting those wile cans it is hard to beat a Red Ryder. The challenge is easy to adjust with distance. I grabbed mine yesterday when a small pack cans came into my back yard.

      I agree that accuracy is not required to have fun. Although most of my airgun shooting is on paper and there accuracy matters to me.

      For shooting critters understanding your guns range and killzone is required for humane shots.


      • Don
        I agree with you on doing all you can to achieve a clean humane shot and a magnum may help with that if you are not dead on and a quick follow up to end any suffering is always called for.
        But humane shots are not always possible to achieve with fast moving critters no mater how hard you try.

        Humane killing is kind of an oxymoron. Is any killing humane? Most of us have a good reason to hunt something. A supply of food or putting an end to property destruction. Is it really better for an animal to be subject to getting ripped apart alive by a predator? Is it humane to let an animal bleed out after being hit with an arrow or 50cal pellet? You know pain is involved.

        I never liked hunting and shooting anything for fun and discarding it. Always have a good reason and get it over with ASAP the best you can.
        Bob M

        • Bob M,

          I don’t always elaborate enough. Sorry I came across that way. Even with a good shot sometimes it takes a followup. And more power can make up a lot on shot placement.

          I think it is a the degree of accuracy of the gun. I was thinking of a couple of my airguns that are just not accurate enough to use on critters.


          • Don
            I’m working on the assumption that ‘most’ magnums were created to hunt with. They may not be tack drivers but are reasonably accurate out to a reasonable distance. Especially with the right pellet. And I’m sure there are some ‘Not so accurate’ ones out there. As I said, once you get used to your rifle. Like you did.

            Magnums are popular with the general public just because they are so powerful and they know next to nothing about airguns. Like my brother in law whos first airgun was a Umarex Octane.

            No harm done I was more or less elaborating on it myself.

            Bob M

  15. B.B.,

    Where’s the BEEF!
    I read the title of today’s blog and thought great! B.B. is going to tackle the 800 pound/foot Gorilla on the line…”Best equipment or the best training?” Most of what followed was an outstanding exploration of equipment limitations and impact on woodwork and shooting results. With only a tangential nod given to best training! Hank (Vana2) calls himself an average woodworker…in baseball is batting 500 average?

    Tom are you going to bat cleanup?
    Is there a Part ll in this?


  16. Chris USA,

    Actually Chris I’m on both sides of the equation.
    The issue is as many have discussed above that buying the BEST that you can afford is a good start but it needs to be both training and equipment that you are spending your money and time on.
    Good training teaches baseline skills and avoids ingrained…I’m going to stop now and wait to see if there is a part 2 in B.B.’s vest pocket.


    • Shootski
      Sometimes it’s hard to amplify on something BB brings up and he certainly touches on a broad range of topics in some blogs like today. In an effort to contribute to the blog I believe we try to pickup on some part of his blog we are somewhat familiar with. The informality is very contagious and seems to spread as the discussions diverge. You can’t say things don’t get interesting here.

      As for myself I at least try to incorporate something pertinent to airguns some where along the way even if it’s off topic. Only fair for an airgun blog.

      I don’t think too many airgunners are looking to become log book toting professional target shooters or sniper like marksman. Sure we will listen to all the advice and information that will help us shoot better but I doubt too many will be seeking out professional training. Practice makes perfect seems to be the acceptable path for success with hobbyists. Achieving real perfection is probably restricted to those with an overwhelming desire to do so and having the ability to achieve it.
      Bob M

    • Shootski,

      I have thought about your comments (to me, and others) ALL DAY. You are right. We at AA (do) want the best knowledge and guidance to get the best from our air guns. You have extensive knowledge and practice and are willing to share,…. to hopefully benefit those that are interested.

      Training? I am not even sure what that would entail,…. to be quite honest. I do have a rough idea. I have seen PB sites that offer a week’s “vacation” to do just such,… (learn to shoot proper).

      I am not sure where this all fits into your base stance and BB’s blog,….. but there (is) a fit there somewhere. (BB?)

      Mr. Schooley,… as an instructor,…. might have an opinion on the matter,… regarding instruction?

      Maybe,… in the end,… as hobbyist here,.. for the most part,…. we want “it”,… but are we willing to go the full measure to get “it”?

      Just some thoughts,…


      • Chris USA,

        B.B., has given his answer. It should have been obvious when he spoke of actually having a different tittle in mind for the piece. B.B. has slipped in some excellent instruction from time to time. I especially liked his GUEST blogger teaching the woman to shoot series. I suspect he knows his audiences pain tolerance better than I do. Learning to shoot well is a great deal of WORK; but then you already are clued in on that fact.
        Keep reading good sources, VISUALIZE, DRYFIRE, have a few (or just one) planned item(s) to work on for LIVEFIRE, review basics over and over and video yourself and review your videos as a substitute for a live coach/instructor.


  17. Bob M,

    I really get that most Airgun Academy readers don’t want to become shooting log toters or snipers…but then again reading the accuracy and repeatability goals and equipment specifications of many readers I do wonder. When folks talk about HEAVY triggers and want sub 12oz triggers isn’t that in the range of serious shooter? How many readers have spent a great deal of cash on equipment upgrades looking for accuracy and repeatability when that same amount spent on a coach/hands on course(s) could bring them the joy of better shooting at whatever level they choose. In cross country skiing I have heard it said if you can walk you can cross country ski. Yes! If all you want to do is walk around on (long boards) skis; that’s inefficient snowshoeing in my book and better done on snowshoes.. You can fly over the snow and even up hills with a few lessons on basic cross country skills and some practice. Walking on snow is fine! Use snowshoes it proves to be safer and more efficient. So with adult airguns if you are a shooter practicing proper skills is important in person coaching will advance a shooter much quicker. If your a plinker and that is all you want to do and always have fun doing that…knock yourself out. If you like modding airguns most of all, so be it, no real need to shoot like a champion. If you are a collector, if you like the Airgun(s), buy cheap sell dear is all you really need to know.
    I’m only one reader and I’m all about the art and science of shooting with precision and accuracy along with deep understanding of the sport. Hopefully I can fit in this Academy of Airguns and help those wanting to improve and not ruffle all to many feathers in the process.
    I like airguns and I like the Airgun community. Just understand what shooting is for me I will redouble my efforts in the New Year to see all the other reasons and approaches to airguns and airgunning. Getting over the instructor that lives inside me is a lifelong challenge.


  18. Shootski
    Gotta laugh. I was a trained instructor also. Trained Weekend Warriors for ten years. It will never leave you, embrace it and make the most of it. Helping people learn is very rewarding, especially when they figure it all out.

    Like I said most airgunners would probably listen, or read information that is presented in an interesting attention retaining way. I’m sure some bloggers here are totally committed to becoming the best they can.
    Training aids help a lot so plan on lots of pictures if BB agrees. I would say have at it in short bursts. It’s easy to lose a students attention with a lot of math and technical information without a visual aid. I’m sure you know this all already. We are all hear to learn, teach and share. Thanks for joining in.
    Bob M

    • Bob
      Yep know what you mean about training. Been doing that for years at the machine shop I work at. And we had weekend warriors also. It is rewarding when you see people accomplish things. That’s probably one of the best parts of my job. But I still enjoy making stuff out of metal. And other materials as well. Fun stuff.

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