Pioneer model BB76 BB gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pioneer BB gun
Pioneer BB76 BB gun.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • More about the gun
  • Feeding
  • Velocity
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Dust Devils
  • Air Venturi H&N Smart Shot
  • More ammo
  • Marksman Premium Grade steel BBs
  • Cocking effort
  • Anti-beartrap
  • Summary

Well, well. I finally found something to write about that a lot of you didn’t know about. You guys are getting so savvy that it’s harder and harder to do. I actually did write about this BB gun back in 2005 when the blog got started, but that was a one-time report and this will be a full test. So, it’s the same gun but different stuff being reported, and a whole lot more this time.

More about the gun

I said I’d have more to say about the gun as we went, so here are a couple new things. The first is that the rear sight is adjustable — sort of. It slides up and down on an inclined ramp, and, because the notch is only fastened by a single screw, you can also swing it to the right and left — a little.

Pioneer 76 rear sight
The rear notch slides up and down and can be swung to either side a little. So much for adjustment!

Feeding

The second thing I want to report is how the Pioneer’s forced-feed magazine feeds. What I’m about to tell you is typical of how all these 50-shot forced-feed magazines work.

The magazine has to be removed from the gun to be loaded. You unscrew it and pull it completely out of the gun. After loading, when you install it again, the air tube on the end of the plunger (called the piston in a pellet gun) enters and sticks up into the shot tube breech. The magazine will stop going into the gun about two inches from where it can be screwed down and you have to wiggle it around until the air tube enters the rear of the shot tube. A second way we did it when I was a kid was to cock the gun before inserting the magazine. The air tube was withdrawn all the way then and the shot tube went in all the way to the threads, where it could be screwed down. That usually worked, but if the air tube wasn’t aligned with the rear of the shot tube you could wreck your gun when you fired it. I don’t recommend doing it that way.

Most Daisy 25 guns will have a BB pushed out when the air tube goes through the base of the shot tube. They are designed that way. This Pioneer looses two BBs this same way almost every time.

You can shoot this loose BB (or BBs) out if you like, but that means your first shot will always be a multiple shot (two or three BBs will come out). The BBs will be slower and far less accurate. You can also point the muzzle down and let the BB roll out. Then your first shot will then be just a single BB as it is supposed to be.

Pioneer 76 BBs
When I tipped the muzzle of the Pioneer down after loading the magazine into the gun, two BBs rolled out almost every time.

I didn’t show you the small differences in the Pioneer mag in Part 1, but they are there. If you look at the picture below you’ll see that the spring tube for the BB follower does not go all the way to the muzzle like it does on a 25 magazine. The space in which the follower spring is fully compressed is the same in both magazines, so Daisy’s shot tube is shorter overall. Even so, this follower spring is weaker than a typical Daisy 25 spring.

Pioneer 76 magazine
The spring that powers the BB follower is compressed to fit into the portion of the tube that’s between the two arrows. Even so, it doesn’t push as hard on the follower as a Daisy 25 spring pushes.

I have to say the Pioneer magazine does not appear to be as well-made as a Daisy magazine. Daisy was the top BB gun maker in the world, so they naturally engineered all their parts quite well. Miroku, on the other hand, is a firearms manufacturer who made just this one attempt at a BB gun, as far as I know. It works as it is supposed to, where a Daisy is over-engineered many times.

Velocity

Okay, let’s get into the velocity test. I will begin with a conventional steel BB. Reader Siraniko wondered if the Pioneer, having the same 50-shot forced-feed magazine as the Daisy 25 “pump” BB gun, would be just as fast. The older 25s will push a BB out at 350-375 f.p.s.

Hornady Black Diamond

I chose the Hornady Black Diamond for no particular reason. Ten of them averaged 350 f.p.s. but the spread was larger than I liked — from 341 to 363. That’s 22 f.p.s. I would expect about 10 f.p.s. or less for a BB gun.

Dust Devils

I tried Air Venturi Dust Devils next. But they gave me all sorts of problems. They didn’t feed right (often shot 2 instead of just one) and they also didn’t want to register on the chronograph. I shot perhaps 20 of them and got only 3 recorded velocities — 285, 331 and 339 f.p.s.

Dust Devils are lighter than conventional steel BBs, so we would expect them to go faster, but instead they go slower. I think that’s because they are smaller than the bore and allow more air to pass. The fact that they often shot two at a time reinforces that thought. They apparently slip through the base of the magazine and pop into the breech of the shot tube two at a time.

Air Venturi H&N Smart Shot

In 2005 I tested the Pioneer with some 4.4mm lead balls. Since then Air Venturi H&N Smart Shot has come to the market. They are essentially the same as those 4.4mm lead balls and they are much easier to buy, so I tested them.

They averaged 270 f.p.s. with a spread of 74 f.p.s. The low was 220 and the high was 294 f.p.s. That’s huge for a BB gun. I don’t expect them to be accurate.

More ammo

I could have tested other BBs, but I think we have learned what we need to know. The Pioneer is indeed a powerful spring-piston BB gun, but from careful observation we see that it is not made to the same tight tolerances as a Daisy. I don’t expect it to be very accurate. My 2005 test showed the 4.4mm balls were the best, but I only tested the gun at 12 feet that time. I also got three-inch groups from conventional steel BBs, which leads me to wonder what I need to do in the accuracy test. I’m not as concerned with accuracy as I am with safety. I might miss the trap altogether at 5 meters!

Marksman Premium Grade steel BBs

I was contacted privately by a reader who told me that the new Marksman Premium Grade steel BBs measure a true 0.177-inches in diameter. I find that astounding and a little hard to believe, because that would make them too large for many BB-gun barrels, I would think. They should also weigh more than 5.1-grains if they are really larger.

I ordered some and Pyramyd Air was good enough to expedite the order. I hope to have them for the accuracy test. I may even do a special blog on that BB, if it turns out to be what I was told.

Cocking effort

The Pioneer has a short underlever that you can see in the picture in Part 1. The cocking effort is 15 lbs.

Trigger pull

The 2-stage trigger (yes, it really is 2 stages) breaks at 8 lbs. 6 oz. There is considerable creep in the second stage. And, while examining the trigger I discovered a screw through the trigger blade that apparently is there for some sort of adjustment! I’ve owned this BB gun more than 20 years and this is the first time I have noticed that little screw. And I know what it does!

Pioneer 76 trigger
That screw pushes the sear out of engagement to fire the gun.

When the gun is cocked it won’t fire until the plastic hammer is pulled back. When that happens a metal plate inside the gun flips in place so that the end of this screw can contact it when the trigger is pulled all the way. That plate is either the sear or a lever that contacts the sear and it connects the trigger to the sear via the action of the plastic hammer. Adjusting that screw won’t make the trigger pull lighter, it could only affect how far it has to come back to fire the gun. But there is no hole through the plastic triggerguard and trying to adjust that screw without a direct link to the thin slotted head is a guarantee of disaster.

Anti beartrap

I wondered whether there was an anti-beartrap device to prevent shooting the gun with the lever extended. Yes, there is. I wouldn’t trust it for a second, but it is reassuring that Miroku put it on the gun!

Summary

This has turned out to be a more interesting report than I expected. I discovered a lot about the Pioneer magazine and the trigger. I also gained considerable respect for the engineering Daisy did on their BB guns. Can’t wait for the accuracy test!

41 thoughts on “Pioneer model BB76 BB gun: Part 2

  1. When I read Friday’s blog, I thought to myself that you had covered this gun before.

    But then I went to work, and forgot about it until today.

    I wasn’t imagining things..

    I look forward to seeing you again at the Texas airgun show in June.


  2. B.B.,

    The Blue Book does state the bore is 4.4 mm and too large for American bb’s. It also mentions a (3) stage adjustable trigger? Huh?

    Also, how is the lever accessed? Is there a cut out somewhere for a finger to get in on? Pic?

    Looking forwards to the accuracy test of this,.. exclusive to 1976,.. bb rifle.

    Good Day to you and to all,…….. Chris


  3. B.B.,

    Thanks for testing this oddity. I suppose you already oiled it will before using. Maybe you can try comparatively dropping each brand of BB to compare how relatively loose they are in the barrel. I don’t suppose you can remove the trigger guard to adjust that trigger?

    Siraniko

    PS Section Trigger Pull Second paragraph last sentence: “But there is no hole through the plastic triggerguard and trying to adjust that screw without a direct lint (link) to the thin slotted head is a guarantee of disaster.”


  4. BB,

    I suggest that you consider Siraniko’s suggestion about dropping the bbs down the barrel, at least in the case of the Marksman bbs. If they are the variety that I have, you will find that they won’t even start into the barrel of a typical , modern bb gun. I’ve tried them in half a dozen of my co2 blowback replica guns and they jam in the breech on the first shot. Sometimes it takes considerable effort to remove them. The type I have came in a package that contained a rubbery speedloader and a ziplok bag of loose bbs and they are plated a gold color. They are pretty much worthless in my book. If you can find out what they are intended for I would like to know.

    I have the same luck with the Dust Devils that you had here. That Tootsie Roll Pop band around their equator just about guarantees that air will pass around the bb in most of the orientations that it will present itself inside the barrel. If air leaks in varying degrees it has to affect velocity. I always test my bb guns at 12 yards and these bbs present a shotgun pattern at that distance in everything I have fired them from. They may remain stable over a short distance, I don’t know, but they aren’t any good for what I do with my bb guns.

    Half


    • Halfstep,

      That rubbery speedloader is worth the price one pays for it and the BBs combined, in my opinion. It is my favorite BB loader by far. Some do require a knife tip worked in the end to make it just slightly larger.

      Michael




      • RR

        As has been noted by others here, the Marksman bbs are .177″. They are rather expensive IMHO and have that unusual gold colored plating. At the same time I ordered them I bought what I thought might prove to be the same thing in a cheaper branding. Remington markets a gold bb and they are cheaper but I was wrong about them being the same as the Marksman under a different brand. They measure .173″.

        Here is the packaging for each. Hope this keeps others from buying them, thinking that one is the same as the other. The Remingtons have much better utility than the Marksmans, due to their diameter, But haven’t proven to be the best bb for any of the guns that I have tested them from.

        Half


        • Halfstep,

          I bought one of those bottles of Remingtons thinging the same thing. Now I know I wasn’t the only one. They might be the same as the Lasermarks, but then why would it matter? Good for killing aluminum cans at 15 feet, anyway.

          FWIW, I remember when both brands of BBs, Daisy and Crosman, were gold colored.

          Michael



          • RR,

            About two winters back I found a real deal on Remingtons online for under $4.00 per tin in .22 and .177. I bought several tins of each caliber and variety( HP,WC.RN) and tried them in some of my guns. I had good enough luck with the HP and WC in .177 and the RN and HP in .22 that I bought more. The online store had a Chistmas deal by that time that gave you a $20 gift card if you spent $50 and picked your order up at the store. I bought all the pellets that they had in stock. It worked out to under $2.50 per tin. I didn’t mind that the discount was in the form of the gift card since it was a large national big box sporting goods store that is a short drive from my house. The package weighed so much that the lady at the pickup desk had to get help lifting it onto the counter. LOL

            I feel like they are made very cleanly and to the extent that I’ve used them, they outperform most of the Crosman varieties and all of the Daisy pellets and I have a lot of the gimmickier H&N stuff that cost much more and doesn’t shoot as well. I’ve since seen them for $9.99 online and they are not worth that, by any means, IMO.

            Half


            • Half,

              Awesome! I am glad they worked for you and I do agree they are of better quality than Daisy and I have never had much luck with Crosman. Being one that takes his plinking VERY seriously, I demand the top performance from all of my gear.

              As for the gimmick pellets, I stay away from them. They are like fishing lures. They are designed to catch the eye of the fisherman. Camo is like that also.



      • I used to like Marksman BBs. The original lot I purchased several years ago with the rubber speedloader and bag of BBs worked very well in all of my BB guns. However, a lot I purchased recently, as in within the last two years, jammed in the Cowboy Lever Action and other BB guns badly.

        I threw out every last Marksman BB I had. I won’t buy them again.


    • “…but they aren’t any good for what I do with my bb guns.”

      Half, so now I have to ask the question, “What do you do with your bb guns?”
      I’m guessing it’s plinking at more than the customary 16-foot range…and I’m guessing that because that’s what I use mine for, heh. =>


      • Thedavemyster,

        You got it!

        I try to find the distance that my guns will put 80 of 100 shots into 2″ with their most accurate BB , when fired from a vice, and shoot from that distance at 2 1/2″ to 3″ reaction targets, such as tin cans and a dueling tree I built just for bb guns. ( It has 3″ square paddles) With the right BB most of the guns I own will do this at 7-10 yards and some out to 12 yards. The Dust Devils do well to hit a 8″ paper plate on my 12 yard basement range, so they are a no-go in my book.

        Have you tried them? When I saw how they were constructed I questioned how they could be accurate and after buying and trying them I found I was right. Additionally, for a product that is as expensive as they are, they have the most asinine “dispenser” I have ever come across. I think their only real market is the moms and dads that won’t let their kids eat dirt, or play anywhere that puts them out of their line of sight. Safety glasses provide all the protection that is actually required and is much cheaper by the second shooting session. My 2 cents.

        Half


        • Half,
          I have never tried those Dust Devils; I have a bunch of those Avanti Precision BBs made for the Daisy model 499, a crazy accurate BB gun I bought for our pastor’s son (our pastor is not a “gun guy;” I mean it’s not like he doesn’t like them, he just doesn’t know much about airguns, so he asked for my advice of what to get his son; so based on B.B’s review, I bought that gun and cut the stock down because Carter was 7 at the time; basically, the whole family had fun shooting it =>). A collector talked me out of my 1940s Red Ryder, but I have the Commemorative Edition and it shoots great…except my wife keeps taking it, LOL. But it and the little Buck both shoot about as well with regular Daisy BBs as they do with the precision shot. I like to use BB guns as “grillin’ guns,” as in, when I’m out back grillin’ something, I don’t want to be handling lead; so BB guns allow me to do a lot of plinking while I’m grillin’ burgers or hotdogs; I’m shooting downward from a deck into dirt covered with wood chips (no ricochets) at bottle caps and such that I have strewn about in there. That way, the wife is happy that I’m grillin’ and I’m happy that I’m shootin’ at the same time…win/win! =>


  5. B.B.,

    I have misplaced my cheapie micrometer, but two or three times I have read on discussion boards the Marksmans are .177. Halfstep is right to be careful, at first, with them They are huge, much too big for most BB guns. But The Pioneer has an oversized bore, so they might be the ticket.

    I am also interested in knowing what you think of the rubbery speedloader that comes with the Marksmans. I usually ream the spout slightly with a jack-knife blade tip and then use a .177 cleaning pellet as a plug when it is not in use. I consider it an unsung product.

    Michael


  6. B.B.
    Just a thought about the Marksman BB’s, they sound like they are sized to fit barrels made to shoot both pellets and bb’s. Are those barrels a larger bore to fit the pellets? I could be wrong about all of this.
    Gerald


  7. B.B.,
    Wow, this news about the Marksman BB could be a big bonus! I quickly went to PA’s site and read the reviews. Seems they are bigger per what I’ve read. Jammed in many people’s guns. But at least one I read praised it’s size. That person measured them at .176, putting it on the “larger” side. Strange they just weigh 5.1 gr though. Can’t wait to see what you discover. I too have some guns that shoot bb or pellet. Makes me wonder if these bb’s will shoot better in those guns. One is a smooth bore so this might be the ticket. I think you might just run into a new blog or at least another bb to test going forward.

    Doc



    • Ken
      Isn’t it just amazing all the stuff they are making now days.

      I don’t know if I would want to own any. But I sure would like to try them all out.
      🙂


      • Gunfun1,

        Innovation is amazing, although many things don’t work out. On the other hand, Buckminster Fuller said he deliberated designed his first geodesic domes to fail so he could learn from them.

        Although the website exists, complete with prices, I can’t see anything else that suggests they are still in existence. However, the main site is also the only one where I saw the 10/22 conversion. I expect there are others, but I don’t believe they are recent.

        ~ken



  8. I find it amazing that there can be 20+ different steel bb/lead ball selections offered at P.A.. How different can they be? From what I gather, ( other than steel, lead and fragmenting),…. size and size consistency seem to be the deal breaker. I just have one (the 499) and only use the Avanti’s in that. Oh yeah,… the Red Ryder 75’th,…. shot gun! 😉

    Compared to the 499,….. it for sure is!

    Chris


Leave a Reply