by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- A common question
- How do you shoot?
- Target shooter
- Scope? Just say no!
- Starting out for less than $300
- How about less than $100?
- A nice multi-pump pneumatic
- Great finds
A common question
“Dear BB, I have been reading about airguns for several years and now I want to get one. After reading your blog, plus some of the comments on the forums, I realize that the guns I see at discount stores are probably not the way to go. I have heard too many horror stories about those guns, and I understand that they are sold on the basis of their low price and nothing more. But now that I’m ready to take the plunge myself, suddenly I find that the world of airguns has grown quite large. What would you recommend I do?
“So far it seems to me like there are two good kinds of guns to get. I either get a spring gun, or take the deep plunge and get a PCP. I know there are good guns in both categories, but I’m overwhelmed with all the choices. Can you make a recommendation?”
How do you shoot?
My answer? Well, price has to enter into the discussion at some point, because ultimately that is where this is headed. But let’s table that for now. I think that’s the wrong way to begin looking at it. Instead, let’s go a different way.
1. How much do you like shooting? Or, how much do you think you might like it, if you aren’t a shooter right now?
2. Is your life so packed with other things (you’re a doctor, attorney, etc.) that you can only carve out 30 minutes here and there perhaps a couple times a week? Or, are you retired and living the dream? Is your biggest decision whether to fire up the bass boat and make a day of it or just drop your line in the water off the end of the dock? (Substitute golf, kayaking, woodworking, etc. as appropriate.)
3. Do you like to hit what you shoot at, hit in the same place every time or see things fall down and go boom?
4. Do you want to shoot with your buddies or just by yourself?
5. How much do you hunt right now? Are you an anxious bird hunter who waits with anticipation for the start of dove/duck season? Do you like getting up at 3 a.m. to drop a few feral hogs on your friend’s farm? Or, are you not a hunter because there is too much to do to go hunting (licenses, gear, time away from home, dealing with the kill etc.)?
Now, we are ready to consider the money. I recommend that your first airgun costs no more than $300. To which you respond, “I only want to spend half that much (or plug in your own number).”
Fine, that’s a path we will explore. But first — to the guy (and it’s always a guy) who wants to spend more than $300 because he saw where folks on the forums are raving about the new .25 caliber Mashemflat Magnum. Its street price is $475, but they say it’s the best thing since sliced bread. To that I say — fine, buy one! Just don’t buy it as your FIRST airgun. You came to me asking what your first airgun should be, so listen to what I’m telling you.
I want you to discover airgunning first before you go off and create a new life for yourself. Doing that is not expensive, nor should it be. In fact, I will even tell you how to get something nice for less than $100. Read on.
The kind of shooter you are, or think you might be if you had the opportunity, is a big determiner of what kind of airgun to buy. Let’s see why.
If you like shooting, or think you might like it, then I recommend you get something that’s easy to shoot a LOT. So — .177 or .22 caliber, only. No .25s because the pellets are too expensive to allow a lot of shooting. No .20s because there just aren’t that many pellets to choose from. So, it’s a.177 or a .22 — period!
If you like shooting with other people, consider getting a gun that repeats. If you like shooting one pellet after another into the same hole DO NOT consider a repeater! Yes, there are accurate repeaters, but they are not first guns!
If you are a guy with just a few precious moments to spare in your busy life, consider a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle. Why? Because that is the kind of rifle that teaches a lot of things.
2. Sight picture
3. Trigger control
Why do I want patience? I’m too busy to bother with patience. That’s why I want a PCP that’s a repeater.
If that is the case you may be too busy to be an airgunner, too. Remember — this is your first airgun. Are you really suited to be a shooter?
Seriously, shooting is not a pastime to be rushed. Most pastimes shouldn’t be rushed if you really want to find out about them, but we are talking about shooting airguns today, so that’s where I’ll stop.
You like hunting a lot? Then let’s get an air rifle that is also a good hunter. For this I would lean more toward the .22 than the .177. We can argue the issue all day but in the end the .22 is the better choice FOR A FIRST AIRGUN that’s going to a hunter. That’s especially true if the muzzle energy is 20 foot-pounds or less, because the .22 causes greater blood loss.
No, an 18 foot-pounds air rifle isn’t for hunting hogs. But it is great for squirrels, rabbits and most small pests. If you are a hunter this should appeal to you.
If you like to shoot targets, go with a .177 and a single shot. The .177 is to save money (pellets are cheaper) and you don’t care how large the holes are. The single shot is for your best chance at accuracy. Get a rifle with good adjustable open sights and a good trigger. Think you can’t do it for under $300? I will prove that you can in just a bit. Hang in there.
Scope? Just say no!
Okay, I’m a dinosaur and everybody knows it. You aren’t going to listen to me on this, and you really don’t have to, but I do believe that it’s best to learn how to shoot before you start shooting. With open sights you are learning to shoot. With a scope you are just playing a mechanical video game.
Don’t listen to me on this, but when you come crying that your scope won’t hold a zero or can’t be sighted in and I explain why, you probably aren’t going to understand my explanation. Why? Because you don’t know how to shoot.
Starting out for less than $300
The operative word here is “used.” I can go to almost any airgun show and come away with several good first airguns for this little money. For starters you can buy a Diana breakbarrel. A very nice 27 will be less than $300 and a 25 with the ball bearing trigger will be a lot less. You get great accuracy, a great trigger and a gun that is ideal as a first airgun. But it doesn’t end there. I have seen good used Diana 48s and Diana 52s go for less than $300 — along with good Beeman R7s, HW30s and so on.
How about less than $100?
Now I am appealing to the guys who are either on a very tight budget or just don’t want to spend that much before discovering whether airgunning is for them. Can you get into airguns with a good one this cheap?
A nice multi-pump pneumatic
Yes you can. Maybe you can’t buy a Sheridan Blue Streak with the rocker safety for this little, but that just keeps you out of the .20-caliber closet I warned about earlier. But I can also tell you that over the years I have bought several, and turned down several more, working Benjamin 397s in used condition for $75 and up, but not over $100. We have not talked about a multi-pump pneumatic as an ideal first airgun, but it really is. Is a 397 the accuracy equal of a Diana 25/27? Pretty much — at least out to 25 yards.
The Benjamin 392 pump-assist rifle is on the left. A modern 397 would look similar. The shorter 397 Carbine that’s no longer made is on the right. Either one would make a good first air rifle. I paid $75 for the 397C.
A Benjamin 397 put 5 RWS Superdomes in 0.24-inches at 25 yards with open sights. Kowabunga!
Does it have adjustable sights? Yes again, though they are quite crude. Is the trigger as good as a Diana ball bearing trigger? Not even close! But a Benjamin 397 trigger can be made very tolerable, and the experience of learning to use one will make you a better shooter.
Today the 392 and 397 seem to be gone from the marketplace, but they have been replaced by the Benjamin Variable Pump that is essentially the same rifle in a synthetic stock — I think! I have to test one to know for sure.
I have purchased fine used airguns over the years. In the 1990s I bought an FWB 124 Sporter for $35. A couple years ago I bought a 124 Deluxe at a gun store for $200 out the door. The great buys are out there; you just have to look for them. If you don’t want to do that I have given you enough information in this report to go the way of purchasing directly.
My advice for a first airgun is to get something that is fundamentally solid with great potential. Don’t chase the power/velocity curve. Chase good accuracy and a good trigger. After you know that you like about airguns you will be far more prepared to select your second one.
113 thoughts on “What airgun should I buy first?”
All great suggestions.
How is your eye sight?
What distance do you anticipate shooting at?
Very good points Yogi. I’m 57, bifocals, unsteady hands etc etc. But I love shooting. So I find any help useful, that is red dot and low power scopes. And I keep the distances short, maximum 20 yards, although for regular training with the HW 45s I can have nice sessions in 5 yards, without feeling guilty or underrated as a shooter.
I am a fat, bald, half blind, old geezer. Most of my air rifles will not accept a scope. I have found that with practice, I can use the open sights quite nicely. It is in fact now my favorite type of shooting. I do have some nicely scoped air rifles, but the old gals usually come out first.
O.k. You got me.
I confess guilty of not telling the whole truth. As long as I can focus on the front sight, open sights on the pistols will be my choice… But I wholeheartedly support the optics for being able to bring easier results. Being able, and not certain, is a key expression.
The scoped air rifles are still in my repertoire. When the range extends beyond fifty yards, these old, tired eyeballs can use all of the help they can get.
An excellent article. One of your best.
Off topic and not sure what made me think of it,… but,.. whatever happened to the gun you picked up that had all of the homemade inlays all over the stock and looked to be 100% hand built?
Good Day to you and to all,……… Chris
I still have that gun. I just haven’t acquired the correct blanks to try it out. But it’s on the list.
Excellent, almost all my guns are second-hand. First, because I love the spring match guns and pistols (Diana, 6, 10, FWB 65, 80, FWB 150, 300, 300S) and they do not cost any money over here. Paying more than 200 euro is exceptional.
If you buy that sort of guns and you are not experienced, send them to a good gunsmith for an overhaul. That gives much less frustration. If you are an good technician, do it yourself.
Or live with the faults. I have a Diana 75 without an trigger and it shoots perfectly without it. (For the experienced, figure that one out over the weekend!)
This week I bought part of a defunct shooting club. Only the paraphernalia (gun rack, some mechanical shooting cards movers) When I said that I only had older guns, the owner said that he had thrown away some old guns as they had no value. The whole way home (140 km) I was miserable over that!
Oh I feel your pain so much. What kind of guns where they? I actually got a HW55 from a trash bin once, lol.
Any advice regarding an air pistol as a first airgun?
On the one hand I do understand it is not advisable for a newbie to start with an air pistol (I’ve got the scar to prove it!) On the other hand for the those familiar with firearms already (and hopefully aware that airguns can still cause harm) what would be a good starter pistol? How does one go about selecting it?
I am giving it much thought today, as I test the Beeman P3 for Monday’s report.
I am probably not a good one to ask that of. Until I acquired BB’s Webley Senior, I have owned only one air pistol, an Izzy 46M. This pistol can shoot better than I can ever hope to, so why should I bother with anything else.
Actually, it is probably a good air pistol to learn with. Due to the size and loading/firing cycle it would be difficult to handle unsafely as shooting it requires most of your attention. Also, if you miss it is you.
The truth is I have had other air pistols visit RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns, but they did not stay very long before they moved on. I wish the UK Webley Tempest had stayed, but she just did not measure up to the Izzy so she left to find a new home.
I understand where RidgeRunner is coming from, and B.B. will have some good advice, too. That being said, I have 5 air pistols at the moment, and I love them all for various reasons, but I will try and look at things from your perspective.
I had a Beeman P17 (cheaper version of the P3); B.B. blogged about it, and it is a great gun; it’s very easy to wring accuracy from it; however, I am older and weaker now (hahaha! really =>), so that was given to a younger stronger friend, who has no problem cocking it.
My wife bought me an NRA Umarex Colt Peacemaker with a 7-1/2″ barrel; it’s quite accurate, and is a great replica, but the sights are hard to see; hence, I would not recommend that as a first pistol.
My first air pistol ever was a Beeman Webley Tempest, built in the UK; no, it is not a tack driver, but it is a great plinker, and, due to the reward recoil, an excellent firearms trainer; seriously, where you can shoot this thing well, ANY firearms pistol will seem very easy to shoot. I got stupid and sold that first air pistol; but fortunately, I inherited my Dad’s, which is a bit more accurate than mine and has a nicer trigger; plus, it was my Dad’s, so it is a keeper.
I have a Crosman 38T, in .22 caliber with a 6″ barrel; pellets must be loaded singly, and it takes some getting used to; if I want to blast spinners on my 5-meter range, this is the gun for which I reach. I’ve owned three so far; they are a classic; but I would not choose this for a first pistol.
I have an old Crosman 130 in .22 caliber that is a great plinker, and easy to pump; this gun gets a lot more use than I thought it would; it is way cool, but an older model, and it’s getting harder to find a good one.
My go-to pistol for close or longer range is my Crosman 1322 with a 12″ barrel in .22 caliber. I put hundreds of dollars into this gun, and I consider it money well spent. When .22 LR ammo was not to be found, I was shooting this “.22” every day. This gun started life as a Crosman 1377 from Pyramydair. It was already a nice shooter, and pretty accurate, as it came from the factory. I also ordered the steel breech from PA, as well as the steel rear sights. To tell you the truth, I could have just stopped right there, and had a really nice gun. These guns are very popular, and I have owned 3 of them so far. For $60, you cannot go wrong with one of these (in my opinion). They are accurate, easy to shoot, and you can modify them to you heart’s content, should you so desire. I think one would make a decent first pistol. This is the one I bought:
Or you could get the .22 caliber:
Notice, there are tons of reviews, and they average out to 4.5 stars; hence, I think it would be hard to go wrong with one of these; it was the best $60 I ever spent (even though I got crazy and spent another $400 on barrel, breech, sights, trigger mods, and the cool stocks =>).
Anyway, that’s my 3 cents on air pistols. =D
P.S. The piece at the front end of the pump tube is an aluminum replacement for the original plastic piece; it also had a fiber optic front sight in it, which I had chopped off to turn that front sight into an expensive barrel band. *shrugs* Mountain Custom Air did the work, and I am very pleased with the result. But this gun stays in the house of the yard; if I wanted a pistol for going camping, I would buy another basic Crosman 1377, or 1322, in a heartbeat.
A very good reply to my question. That is certainly a deep rabbit hole that a newbie should be made aware of. I did not realize that the P17 would give some difficulty for those with limited upper body strength. I did ask the question forgetting to frame it properly. I should have asked with the intended end user to be familiar already with firearms and thinking of using an air pistol for backyard practice. A 1322/1377 does make a very good starting point. Just watch out for that rabbit hole.
Yes,…. by (all) means be aware of the proverbial “rabbit hole”! 😉
10′ row boat,… 14′ out board,… 22′ bass boat,……….. what is next? A 60′ yacht? 🙂
I also have arthritis in my right hand to the point where I had to sell my bass (just couldn’t play it any more). If not for that, I would have kept my P17, since, as B.B. has pointed out in a previous report, it is a really accurate gun. For a firearms trainer, the Tempest makes a great backyard shooter. When I go to the range with my friends, they are surprised I can shoot so well compared to them. The “secret” is that they only shoot every 3 months or so, whenever they can get to the firearms range, whereas I shoot the Tempest all the time. With pistols even more so than with rifles, you have to shoot a lot to keep your capabilities up.
Please let us know what air pistol you choose, as well as how happy you are with it. =>
The pistol is not for me. I asked the question actually for a friend of mine living in Canada who wishes to practice using an air pistol in his backyard. He recently got his license and owns firearms, but I’m steering him towards the use of air pistols for practice at home.
Everybody, thanks for your suggestions!
“… I’m steering him towards the use of air pistols for practice at home.”
That is a very wise suggestion! =>
As I wrote today’s report I thought of that. I don’t recommend a handgun as a first gun, but there has to be a first handgun — right?
I guess another report is in store for us. 😉
I would suggest considering the Crosman 2240 (.22 cal) or the Diana Chaser (both .177 and .22). They run off of 12 g CO2, are reasonably priced, and reasonably accurate with the open sights at 10 yards. They are quiet enough that you can shoot them indoors. I shoot mine in the basement. Both are bolt action. The 2240 is single shot only. The Chaser is single shot and has the option to use a magazine.
Excellent! A must read for everyone, not just newbies!
When I first discovered the world of modern airguns, I explored the newly forming internet to find all I could about them. Along the way I discovered Gary Barnes and his creations. I then learned of the upcoming Roanoke airgun show and that he would be attending.
I went to that show with checkbook in hand to order one of Gary’s air rifles. We sat and talked for a good bit and then he asked me “What are you going to do with this air rifle?” I guess my answer was not satisfactory enough for him. He showed me around the show some and pointed out various dealers I should talk to.
I did not buy an airgun that day, or for quite some time. First I had to answer that question. Every time I seriously consider buying another airgun I ask myself that question. If I do not have a satisfactory answer, I do not buy it.
“What are you going to do with that airgun?” Thank you Gary.
The Bronco would be a good choice for first timers who don’t know enough to know what their purpose is. Nice sights, accurate, easy to cock and just fun to shoot. No longer made but are they traded at shows?
I have never seen a Bronco offered at a show. I suppose they are — I just haven’t seen one.
I just do not enjoy shooting with open sights. So, I probably would recommend a low power scope like a Bug Buster. I would recommend a spring piston airgun that you can shoot a lot, so nothing over medium power. I personally would recommend staying with old school British or German manufactures like HW, BSA, and Diana. Specific guns I would recommend are the R7, HW50, R9, BSA Supersport, Diana 24, 27, 34, 36, and 45. The only other gun I would recommend would be a Slavia 630, 631, or 634.
I also recommend buying used.
The air rifles you recommend are all excellent choices for first buys, but I think there is one more you could add to the list: the Diana 240 Classic.
It has great accuracy, a very good trigger (T05), decent open sights (albeit fibre optic ones), is quiet and easy to cock and shoot all day. Perfect air rifle for a beginner. Best of all, it only costs $150 new at present, so it won’t break the bank. It has a good resale value too, so it’s by no means a risky investment.
I’ll remind readers you did a very thorough 5 part report on the 240 Classic a couple of years ago.
Thank you for reminding me of that. Readers can see Part 5 here:
The link says Part 4 but it links to Part 5.
Prospective hunters should take a look at the Diana 34P. It’s an outstanding bargain at just $230 at present. Highly accurate, powerful and has an all-weather stock. A great, no nonsense, grab-and-go, medium range hunting tool with just the open sights.
I have this exact rifle which I sent to B.B. to review in June-July 2017. There is a six part review, here is the link if you are interested. https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2017/07/checking-out-a-diana-rws-34p-part-5-2/
Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! All of your blogs that discuss topics which are not ” reviews”of airguns are Excellent! Don’t get me wrong,they are great. I read every one. I started with a friends 1894 bb shooter and 880 pumper that used bbs or pellets. Then bought my own Sheridan 20 because at the time it was the best I could afford (teenager). After a couple years and higher finance; a Beeman VulcanII, R1, Webly Hurricane and finally a P1. These covered everything I needed until 25 years go by and I find this blog and hear about PCPs. “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.”
I’m glad you commented because you illustrate the reality of how things can go.
Thanks to you and everyone else for keeping the tradition alive and passing it on to those of us who care about it.
When I shoot, I first had to teach my German Shepard dog to come find a spot behind the muzzle, next to me.
That was easy.The cat, however, requires that I manually secure her in a room. She has a nasty habbit of lurking around the target box, indoors and outside too. Maybe the cat brain is not so big? Situational awareness always!
And if it requires good optics, spare no expense. Small details can be crucial.
Looking forward to some more of your good work,
I had similar problems with my cats when I lived in Maryland. Yes, their brains are smaller, but I think the sound of the pellet hitting the trap attracts them.
Oh I had a few dogs with small brains.
Kind of like RidgeRunner’s home for guns. Some stay and visit for a while but move on. Yep that’s what those dogs did. And no regrets at all that they went on thier way. Just like some guns I owned.
$300 and $200, as you point out, can purchase a quite good used adult airgun. I consider $100 to be just barely too low for one to find such an airgun, barring the incredible garage sale find. If someone had a budget of just $100, my advice would be to save up a bit more to get into the $150-$200 realm.
If the buyer is a strong young person, a lightly used Benjamin 392 is an excellent choice. Even better, the Diana 34 in .22 is an excellent adult airgun that a shooter will not likely outgrow and can be found used for $200 or perhaps slightly less. I think a lot of beginning folks might look at the PCP world and become quickly confused by the technology and terminology and intimidated by the cost of PCPs and their necessary accessories. A quality used air rifle and a tin or two of pellets for under $200 would be inviting to a lot of people.
Hey, a nice Diana 34 for under $200 (they do retain their resale value) is inviting to ME. :^)
Do you think he QB-78 and related CO2 rifles would make sense? Particularly if the shooter wants to buy new?
Since you bring these up I would add the Beeman AR2078A to the list. Mine is not yet as accurate as those on David Enoch’s list but I’m still looking for the right pellet. There are so many positive features on this rifle it is becoming my favorite gun to shoot even though accuracy is my primary objective. They are: handsome rifle, 50 plus shots for each CO2 powerlet, can use either one or two CO2 powerlets, excellent bolt and loading design, globe front and both aperture and open rear sights, surprising nice trigger, ergonomics, weight and price. This $190-200 rifle looks like a much more expensive 10 meter gun. The stock alone looks like $200. Shoot it all day without getting tired.
Well I have often referred new and low budget shooters to Mike Melick who tunes budget guns like the 78 rifles very sweetly. His deals are often a bargain at half the price
RE: a pistol as a first airgun and in response to Siraniko and RidgeRunner’s previous comments.
I wasn’t even thinking about getting into airguns back in ’77. I was working 2nd shift in IT at Parris Is. and living in the Staff quarters. I never could sleep right after work so I had to find something to do after midnight until I could go to sleep. One day at a local store, similar to a Target, I saw a cheap Chinese pellet pistol that came in a box that could be set up as a target trap. I got that and started plinking cross-ways in my room, about 10′. The pistol was not a tack-driver and I quickly learned that I had to bend the front sight to be able to be on target. However, I spent many an enjoyable night plinking with that pistol until the point when I wanted to be able to hit the target with more accuracy. I started exploring my gun magazines and found ARH. I wrote and requested a catalog and by way-of discovered the world of well-made accurate airguns. I decided on buying a Webley Premier. When it came I found it was too powerful for the Chinese backstop and I had to take my plinking outside. One good target was fiddler crabs when P.I. was at low tide. I found the Webley was very consistent at hitting those 1″ crabs at about 10 yds. The accuracy of an airgun bug bit!
Robert Law became my mentor. I read all his booklets and learned everything I could. I took stock of my financial situation and realized I actually had no overhead – I was single with free room and board, clothing allowance, vacation pay, free medical/dental and my car was paid off. I ordered a FWB 124 with a custom stock with a Tasco scope rated for airgun use – I had already learned about how such a “high-power” rifle could destroy any scope not so rated.
I had another problem that arose in the Spring of ‘78. There was a tree about 30 yds right outside my window and the crows loved to sit in it around sunrise. That was usually about the time I was ready to go to bed so we went to war. The Staff barracks was very old and the screens attached at the top. I propped the screen open just enough to get a good picture of that tree. Using the Japanese made Silver Jets I could pick them off without really disturbing the murder until they finally figured out it was not healthy to stay there.
Continuing thru the years that rifle has accounted for a goodly number of rabbits and squirrels. I still have that rifle to this day tho it’s lost a lot of its original flair.
So, having said all that, at least in my case, a pistol was the perfect into into airgunning. I think I would recommend a Beeman P17 as a starter and you can’t beat the price.
Larry from Algona
What a great comment. And you are going to enjoy Monday’s blog.
Reminds me of when I was a kid. Couldn’t wait to get out of school to shoot. And I’m talking plinking.
I don’t think target shooting or hunting or even pesting has to be the criteria to get a airgun.
Most of my shooting now days is kicking back and shooting cans or spinners. Kind of like you mentioned. Something to do to unwind. A part of the day I definitely look forward to. No matter if I take 10 shots or a hundred. It’s usually always a fun time. That’s really what I enjoy about air gunning now days. Even more than modding them. Imagine that coming from me. 🙂
And I need to comment about the pistol air gun as a first airgun.
I say why not. I admit I never have been a good pistol shooter. Compared to my rifle shooting anyway. But they can be fun.
Heck I’m ordering one of these right now.
I had a all black one some years back while I was already a serious air gun pellet shooter. It was a fun gun for some indoor family fun time shooting. Both of my daughter’s where young at that time. All I can say is we had a blast shooting it down in the basement at our other house we lived at.
But have to say the 1322/77’s are great guns to start with. As you grow you can upgrade.
First a 1399 stock then maybe a steel breech. Then add dot sight after the steel breech. Then comes a big assortment of barrels that Crosman has that will fit that gun.
The best quote I have heard yet is “How are you going to use the gun?”
Maybe multiple ways instead of one way. As the anonymous reader commented that BB posted at the beginning of the report. Looks like research is a big thing (after) you figure out what your going to do with the gun.
And to say. Why wouldn’t a air soft gun be a good way to evolve into air guns?
WOW, thanks for that link. I didn’t even know these existed. At that price, I also just ordered one. I have a sister-in-law and nephew that have had their own battles with airsoft guns. Now, I will be able to join in.
I do have a 1377 that I really like. You may remember when we were messaging about using make shift salt shot shells (say that 5 times fast). I think you are right about a good place for a newbie to start. I picked the P17 due to how much cheaper it is – if they don’t stay with it, they aren’t out that much.
As for “How are you going to use the gun?” My answer would be that I wanted to shoot and be able to hit as close as possible to what I am aiming at. Sometimes that would be paper, sometimes that would be a tin can, and sometimes it might be a rat or a starling. Exactly the same answer I would have used for every firearm I ever purchased. Doesn’t take any research after that.
You’re right on the money with starting out with airsoft. It certainly would be a good way to start. Again, I was a little different. I just liked to aim at things, so I started with a S&W Mod 27, throwing darts, archery, slingshots, and did hand-loading to see how accurate a load I could get for my Springfield ’03A3 ( .75″ @ 100yds)
When you get that pistol let me know what you think. The one I use to have was a nice little gun. Actually very reliable.
I think air soft is a great way for a family to get started shooting. Heck they will knock over those little plastic soldiers too. And you could shoot indoors or outdoors and nobody would probably even know it if you wasn’t out in the yard flashing the gun around.
Will do. Did you not order yours? Oh, I’m also waiting on a P365 to be back in stock since I have the firearm as my EDC.
Yep I had already ordered mine before I posted the link. There was 3 left when I ordered mine. I see there is now only one left in stock. So I guess that means you ordered yours. Right?
My other one was all black. That’s what I really wanted but can’t seem to find them. I guess the clear one is kind of alright though. Maybe it will show how the insides are working.
And I don’t know if you caught it but the gun is battery operated. From what I remember the batteries lasted a very long time on that gun too. Which I thought was nice.
LOL. Yeah, there were two left when I ordered so we got two out of the last three. I kinda like the clear one. And, yeah if it shows how it works it would really be cool. Sort of like with X-Ray vision. And, I just thought it really reminds me of the squirt guns we used to buy as kids – especially in Lubbock, TX where sometimes you needed a little extra to cool off in the summer.
Yep the squirt guns.
Well dog gone it anyway. I guess I am guilty of shooting at a person with a gun. Be it a squirt gun.
But yep we definitely did that as kids along with water balloon fights. Heck both of my daughter’s have those super soaker water guns you pump up wit the built in air pump. Those things are actually pretty strong and accurate.
Now I wonder if they even still make the older see through water guns. Shows you how long it’s been since I been down the toy isles at the stores.
I did not comment much this morning (1/2 hr. to read and comment) but I have thought about the blog all day. What would I say to that question?
A) If a (new) shooter,… adult or youth, I would recommend an 880. Cheap and readily had. Scope combo if offered. Learn opens and the principal of that. Learn scopes as well. No recoil with a pumper to overcome as with a springer. Shoot that, pump that,… and (stay) with it. In the meantime,… ask (lots) of questions and learn (everything) you can on the principals of shooting. Now a days,… that is easier than ever. Did you stay with it,.. no matter what? = (commitment/dedication to the sport)
B) As for experienced shooters of firearms,.. but getting a first airgun,… today’s article/comments stand as good advice.
C) For those that KNOW they like shooting and want to get into airguns,… but may have not shot anything in years,…. stop, take a deep breath and put your “learning cap” on. Take your time! (Enter,… ME) There is SO much out there now. Advice in A),… also applies. Learn everything you can and ask lots of questions,.. and,… continue to do so! Second,… C.1,… spend the most you can afford. Do these and you should be rewarded.
Summary,.. PCP’s are easier to shoot well,.. quickly. BUT,… you will be “paying up” for that ease with the cost of added support equipment. That can be minimal,.. or a lot. Springers are fine and a great start. They are self contained and have little added cost. There is some very fine ones. A multi-pump will expose you to what a PCP would act like and also self contained. Personally,.. I would never recommend a pistol as a first airgun.
Lastly,… like any hobby,…. expense could be/can be/will be,… unlimited. That is up to you and your wallet.
One last thing,… have FUN along the way! 😉
My “2 cents” on the topic,……. Chris
Also,…. should you decide to get into airguning and are now eyeing your soon to be newest/greatest/latest “acquisition”,.. be it barrels, triggers, scopes, rests, guns,… etc., etc., etc.,…..
Do not forget about YOU. Why? You have MORE to do with accuracy of whatever you shoot than the gun,…. no matter what you shoot. Learn what is important into becoming a good (or at least a decent) shooter.
Maybe?.. that is THE question ,… to THE question? Do you even know the principals of shooting? Knowing (some) of that may be the best start. 😉
Wow, there is a whole series of chapters in ths subject that could go on for many parts of the blog.
If you are new to guns learn safety first. Take a class; read B.B.’s teach me to shoot: https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2016/10/teach-me-to-shoot-part-14/
I am against airsoft or paintball guns as a first gun because they are made to shoot people. I am not innocent, I was in many BB gun wars as a kid. That was breaking the rules I was taught and was more dangerous than we knew I see that in hond sight. I was taught to never point a gun at anything you did not intend to kill. To me that is the golden rule of all guns.
That said, I am not against airsoft or paintball guns, just understand the difference between them and a BB gun or a pellet gun. Everyone that shoots should learn powder burner gun safety first and respect for the gun.
I have followed a similar path in pellet guns as Chris USA, we have both shot pellet guns as a kid and have went into a series of upgrades over the last 5 years. We both have a top of the line pellet gun. I think the path we followed worked well for us, we had a background to rely on and a knowledge of guns to start with. The enjoyment I have from being able to shoot pellet guns in my back yard has been fantastic.
I guess here is where I was headed before I got on the soap box. If you are a newbie study up, before your purchase of a first airgun. A single shot is the best gun to start with, there is a zen in shooting one shot at a time. I suggest a single pump pneumatic, a multi-pump or a tried and true spring gun in either rifle or pistol.
I just got to comment. Is there somewhere on the box’s that say air soft is made for shooting people. I never payed attention to that to see.
I had some air soft guns and shooting at someone never even occured to me. I plonked and target shot with mine.
I was basing it on the airsoft war games and the limited energy of the guns.
You help make the point I was trying to make. You grew up with powder guns and airguns, you were taught the respect for them from the start. You would not even think about shooting at someone.
What about a person that starts out with airsoft and is shooting at people from the start. Will they learn the difference? I don’t know.
When I grew up all of my friends shot firearms, were taught by the grownups, and took safety classes. I don’t have a problem with airsoft, but am concerned that by themself airsoft paintball my not teach the respect we have.
I see what you mean. And I remember distinctly telling my daughter’s what some people use airsoft guns for. They already been shooting pellet guns by the time we messed with the airsoft guns. They already knew how to handle guns by then. And I’m talking firearms too.
So really I believe what it all comes down to is how someone is taught. And not trying to get that conversation going. And I know you know what I mean. But another point about getting into air guns and knowing how your going to use the gun. Probably that person wanting to get into air guns should hook up with a responsible person so they can be taught right.
Benji-Don and Gunfun1,
Sounds like there’s a lot of parents out there that should be very grateful for teachers and coaches training their children like Mr. Schooley.
Yep true too. But I think the parents being involved is where it starts. Then getting to the right places after that is important too.
And notice we have been talking about kids. Where does it start with a adult that has never shot before but wants to try air guns. Then maybe firearms somewhere down the line. How do they get coached?
Good point. I guess if they couldn’t reach out to an uncle, relative, or close friend, then they better start reading a lot to start with, like this blog. If we all here didn’t learn our original lessons about safety and handling, I’m sure we all picked something up along the way reading this blog.
I just posted a comment at the bottom about the blog and such.
Also threw in a picture of my HW30s s.e with a black laminate stock. Been wanting to post a picture of it and figured this would be a good a time as any. 🙂
I would love to see an instructor like Mr. Schooley with classes in the school curriculums. He deserves all our thanks.
Just ordered a new Hatsan Alpha. It’s a “youth” airgun, but adults like it. It was chronied with a 7.8 grain .177 pellet and was getting about 500 fps average. It’s a springer with open sights and a scipe rail. I have to use a scope. My open sight days are over. With my eyes, I see rhe front post as two posts.
I had tried a Ruger Explorer about a year ago, but it 1. Had mediocre accuracy, and 2. The auto saftey only workes about half the time. Got it for $46.00 delivered. I had really wanted a .22 break barrel, but when I stumbled on this one at that price, I crumbled and ordered the last one.
Please replace the two star washers under the screws securing the stock to the action as soon as possible with flat washers. They were responsible for the crack in the stock of the Hatsan Alpha I purchased for my father. He enjoys it very much.
Thanks for the tip! Are these the screws on the front sides of the stock?
Yes the two screws located up front. If left alone and allowed to be shot loose they also end up chewing the plastic stock.
Waaahhh! It is not fair! They are being mean to me!
PA sends me an email showing the new Seneca Eagle Claw and Eagle Claw Carbine and when I try to go to that page, it does not exist!
I got the same email and yep the same thing happened when I clicked on the link.
I checked with Kristen Coss, the Director of marketing at PA. Here is what she said.
“Hey Tom, as far as I’m aware, the Eagle Claw has only been up on Airventuri.com (never active on Pyramyd). But we should be launching on Pyramyd in the next few weeks I think.”
That was where I went after the PA site kept telling me “Oops”. I can’t find it there.
I’m letting you know right now that I am about to cry and it will not be pretty.
Are there any B.B. (sorry) guns out there that are notorious for over-sized barrels? I just saw that Ballistic Products is selling #BB steel shot (.180″ or 4.57mm) in 25lb bags for $36. Someone with a gun like that could shoot forever (well, almost).
BB shot (that is a specific shot size between B and BBB) is perfect for BB guns made from 1886 to around the year 1900, give or take. After that Daisy resized Air Rifle Shot to 0.175-inches.
But NO BB gun can use steel shot!
Thanks for the reply, but now I’m a little confused. What’s the difference in steel shot and a steel BB? I can see that no modern BB gun could use it, but let’s say a Daisy Red Ryder had a very overlarge barrel, even too big for modern BB’s.
Okay, shot refers to shotgun projectiles. There are shot sizes from as small as dust (that is the name for it), to shot size 000, which is .36 caliber. So it isn’t B.B. shot — it’s BB shot, as in shot size BB.
A BB that you and I commonly shoot is a slang term that evolved from lead BB shot (birdshot) back in the 19th century. Here is a report I wrote on it years ago.
Edith created my pen name from the slang for the shot that BB guns shoot. She made the last name Pelletier to include the term pellet in the name. What she didn’t know is she named me with the same last name of the first man to die by the guillotine in the French Revolution — Nicolas Jacques Pelletier, on 25 April, 1792.
Maybe I didn’t answer all of your question, so here is the rest. BB gun barrels can be slightly too large, but even then they could never pass a 0.180 ball. Remember the test I did of the Marksman BBs that are only 0.176-inches.
Thanks, B.B. I guess this would have to be relegated to someone that always wants to be modifying their guns for something different. (GF1?)
Probably only certain things.
Usually when I modify something I have a belief it could be better. And I need to have a interest in the out come.
What I guess I mean is there are bunches of things I look at and say to myself yep that could be better.
But dog gone you can’t do em all you know what I mean. 🙂
Figured I would post a picture of my HW30s special edition since we was talking about what would be a first air gun.
Everyone for the most part here knows how nice the HW30s is to shoot and how well it shoots. We have talked about the low end guns as well as some of the guns that are a bit higher priced.
A regular HW30s can be got for around $290 or so. Of course my special edition black laminate stock HW30s costs a bit more. Around $350 which is still not a bad price for a quality German air gun.
I guess what I’m saying if a person wants to start out with a gun that has a little eye candy that there is good prices quality guns out there if you start searching.
I’m thinking bottom line is find a place (like BB’s blog) that has knowledgeable people that I have to say have been around the block. That being said in a good way of course. I would say that would be the most important thing to do and ask bunch’s of questions. I know everybody here has had bunch’s of exsperiances that they learned from and can pass on good information.
Maybe the topic should of been how to find the right place to be at to figure out what air gun would be the right one. Oh and of course the right pellet and so on. 🙂
Forgot the picture
Really nice, except it’s for someone wrong-handed. ;->
Don’t know what you mean. The stock is shaped the same as a regular HW30s. They are ambidextrous. Both sides of the stock has the same comb.
Oh, sorry. I was pulling your leg. I’ve never looked into HW30s that close and I was unaware that they made their stock like that. Good idea, tho.
All good. Yep I think it’s a good idea too.
I shoot right handed but I am left handed.
It would be a benefit to the gun makers to make ambedexterous stocks no doubt in my mind. I believe they would sell alot more guns if they did.
Ambidextrous?,…. I have been on that “soapbox” for a long time now. As I recall,… a thicker wood blank is required,…. so that ups the cost a bit.,… which if “they” are trying to hit a price point, that would hinder their effort. Even a plastic stock would have at least extra material cost.
True probably a little wider piece of wood. But I bet the wood blanks are made to a certain size (should I dare to say standard). And there is shaping involved.
I bet time and labor and cost of the wood is not much different on a ambedexterous stock verses a left or right hand stock.
I think some of it is that certian people want a certian type of stock. Like a left or right hand stock. It kind of makes it thier unique gun if you know what I mean.
Options always end up costing money. Maybe that’s why some of the air gun manufacturers do make the different type of stocks. That way they get to grab some extra money. I know the left hand walnut stocked Tx 200 I have is not a cheap gun new.
The Left Hand TX 200 Walnut was my first re-entry into airguning,… as you may remember. So yea,… that is one example of where you WILL pay up. We are a direct opposite. I am 100% right handed,.. but have always shot rifles left. To shoot right feels like I have 6 arms,…. or something totally weird. No, thank, you.
I am opposite as you say. I’m left handed but shoot right handed.
If I try to shoulder a gun to shoot it left handed I struggle to get my scope picture. It’s just no way comfortable.
And that makes me wonder. Do you think I’m shooting the left hand stock Tx I have left handed?
The answer is a big no. I’m shooting it right handed. In other words the left hand comb and other stock features of the left hand Tx stock does not bother me if I shoot it right handed.
What I’m getting at. It’s like you shooting a right hand stock Tx 200 but shouldering it left handed. I’m going to bet you could do it very easily.
Do you get what I’m saying?
Yes, I get it. I could shoot a right swell stock (shot left) easily,… but,… I would not have the added support/comfort as if it would have been a left swell stock.
Ok wanted to make sure we was talking about the same thing.
And yes shooting the opposite hand is very uncomfortable to me.
I hope it never comes to a time that I (have) to do it.
Rifle that is anyway. I can shoot a pistol left or right handed though.
You got me thinking about the cost of the extra comb. If they used laminates ambidextrous stock should be cheaper than a solid piece of wood. Well unless it is a very cheap piece of wood to start with or no comb for either side.
I’m thinking the stocks start out bigger than needed.
In other words a left or right hand stock could be made out of that blank of wood.
I think that the cost of sanding is more what it’s about..
Now take a monte Carlo stock and others with raised combs. Those are probably more expensive blanks of wood. Some of those are made Frome 2 pieces of wood if I remember right.
If you do not put a raised cheek rest on either side it can still be ambidextrous AND utilize a thinner piece of wood, saving more money (think baby chicks; cheap, cheap, cheap).
I am the same as you. I am left handed for some things, and right handed for others. I found at an early age that my right eye was much stronger than my left. I started right out shooting guns right handed. But, I shoot a bow left handed, again right eye being stronger. I’ve always written left handed, but could also write right handed. It just didn’t feel right using my right hand to write. Now I have incurred a tremble in my left hand that makes it very difficult for me to write.
Btw, great looking rifle with that laminate stock. From what I have read, the HW30s is about the ultimate spring gun for starting out. You have demonstrated it’s accuracy, and quality is unquestionably great.
Thanks about the laminate stock on the HW30s. And yep nice shooting little guns.
And yep I’m pretty much like you just said with shooting and other things.
And that tremble. How long have you had that? Have you talked to a doctor about it? If so what did they say?
I have had the tremble in my left hand since before I retired in 2011. It kind of bothered me to write back then, but it’s worse now. Over the past few years it seems to have gotten worse.
I brought it to my doctor’s attention a few years ago. He asked me to write something for him while he watched. Well, some days it’s worse than others and on that day I wasn’t having as much difficulty writing. He said to me, “I can give you something for that.” I told him no, I didn’t want to take any more meds than I absolutely had to. So it is, what it is, and I’ll just deal with it.
I’m lucky to go to a doctor but I do try to take care of myself. I try to eat and take stuff to help with particular things. Mostly I keep a eye on my blood pressure and take stuff to help and try to eat the right stuff.
And on the tremble thing. Does it happen only when the pencil or pen gets ready to touch the paper and it doesn’t happen after you start writing. Or does it continue the whole time your writing?
The reason I ask is that happens to me sometimes when I put my fingers on the sticks of the RC transmitter for the planes sometime before I fly. And I should say I’m a very confident flyer. Basically can do it with my eyes closed if you know what I mean. But for some reason I think it’s a uncontrolled nerve reaction. And this isn’t anything recent. It has happened in my late 20’s and on. It doesn’t happen all the time but it does happen. And I never see it happen with anything else I do. Kind of strange actually I guess.
Anyway that’s why asked what you have done when it happens to you.
Just looking at The Blue Book and I see no distinction is made for a rifle with Monte Carlo cheek piece and a comb. The terms appear interchangeable. I would think all rifles have a comb. Then,.. there would be a raised comb. And then further,… there would be a raised comb with a cheek rest “swell” on one or both sides,.. or,.. swell(s) with no rise in profile. Thoughts? I would think that there would be more of a distinction in terms.
By the way,… I like that tilt/swivel feature (after the height is adjusted) to the adjustable check rest that the AA S510SX Ultimate Hunter has,.. that you are testing.
Not all the Blue Book writers are shooters. I’m saying they got it wrong — or at least not precise.
That is interesting,… right eye dominate but shoot left (or opposite). I shoot with both eyes open,.. but shooting a pistol does pose some interesting questions when one is right handed and left eye dominate,.. (or opposite). How does that work? Do you bring the pistol (across) to the dominate eye?
Then again,… a laser sight solves all of that (pistol) quandary now then,… doesn’t it?
Right eye dominant. Left handed but shoot right handed.
Pistol I can shoot left or right handed.
And yes the dominant eye takes over pistol shooting.
Interesting. I am left handed, but both my father and grandfather who taught me to shoot were right handed. My left eye is dominant, but I have trained my right eye to dominate when shooting. I myself have extreme difficulty shooting left handed.
My dad taught me and he was right handed. But from what I remember I held my rifles right handed. I started out young though. Around 6 years old. Maybe my dad did start me out right handed shooting. I honestly can’t remember. But I know that’s the way I have shot a rifle all through time.
And yes left hand rifle shooting is not good for me either. It’s like my neck doesn’t work right even for left hand rifle shooting. My right eye wants to keep taking over and I have to fight myself to make my head stop turning to my right eye.
And here’s another thing which I believe contributed to me shooting right handed. I can’t close my right eye by itself. Only my left eye. And when I was young I shot open sights and with my left eye closed. So maybe that’s what made me shoot right handed too now that I’m thinking about it.
What once were habits are now vices.
For now anyway. You never know where you may need to go if something changes. God willing.
100% right handed, shoot rifle left (always have), can not close my left (dominate shooting eye without great awkwardness), only the right eye with ease. Writing left would be real awkwards.
I am sure that this can all be explained by some optometrist or brain doctor or,….. someone smarter than me! 😉
Ain’t that crazy how that happens.
Brain and muscle control I’m thinking. I don’t know.
Brain doctor probably. Who knows. All I know is what I see. Or try to see. 😉
I am right handed, maybe from early training. I can weight with my left hand but need to think it through, so it is slow. I am left eye dominant.
I usually shoot a pistol right handed but I need to squint my left eye to see the sights so they can be lined up. I only learned about eye dominance in the last 10 years. I now shoot pistols right handed but sighting with my left eye. That is better as I don’t need to squint my right eye. It is hard to break a lifetime of using my right eye though.
If I have both eyes wide open I see two rear sights and it is very hard to make myself use the right sight without squinting my left eye. It is not an issue if I sight with my left eye the left sight dominates.
I wish now I would have learned to shoot left handed. I bet I would have been better with a shotgun if I had learned to shoot left handed.
I know some of you have the Gauntlet PCP. Here is a YouTube video posted by Rick Rehm (Shooter1721) where he reviews a Gauntlet tuned by Hajjimoto. Rick is using the new JSB Hades pellets and the new FX chronograph. I think you will find it interesting just how well a Gauntlet can be tuned. Hajimoto made a ton of changes, both inside and out. It looks really cool and shoots even better than it looks. Wow! Is all I can say.
What 25 cal pcp’s are best for hand pumping?
The Benjamin Marauder.
Thank you those look like good option. The one’s I’m looking at yet haven’t decided on yet are Kral Puncher NP-03 Carbine, benjamin marauder, TalonP, hatsan flash qe, and AirForce EscapeSS. All those seem like they have smaller tanks that sounds like it would be good for hand pumps.