Readers make a difference

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Loose scope
  • Oh, oh!
  • Bob’s drone
  • Nope
  • And?
  • No blog
  • Best for 2019
  • On to the reviews
  • You Tube videos
  • Reviews still important
  • Why I wrote today’s report
  • BB is moving toward You Tube videos
  • Summary

To our readers in the UK, happy Guy Fawkes Day (actually Guy Fawkes Night, but who’s looking?)!

My brother-in-law, Bob (blog handle B-I-L), came up for a visit last Friday and we shot the Umarex Synergis rifle in which he was interested. We shot and shot, but for some reason he just could not get the rifle to hit the bull. It was grouping to the right. Even when I shot it, the pellets still went to the right. No scope adjustment seemed to work, though I did raise the impact point with the adjustments, so perhaps that concealed what was happening.

Loose scope

After maybe 15 disappointing shots he asked me if the scope was tight. Well, of course it was! I’m the Godfather of Airguns, Bob. Would I hand you a rifle with a loose scope?

Oh, oh!

So I grabbed the scope to show him how tight it was — and it rattled! Oh! The bases of the mounts were loose on the rifle. A quick turn of the base screws with a quarter and Bob started shooting dime-sized groups in the bull at 20 yards. It just goes to show you that it’s always something.

Bob’s drone

After we finished shooting Bob pulled his drone out of the box and asked me if I wanted to look at my roof. Then he installed the batteries, paired the drone to the controller, stabilized the gyros, aligned the compass, found the satellites and — nothing! He played with it for many minutes, rebooting it several times and trying to get the darn thing to work, but it just refused. So back in the box it went and Bob said, “I guess I’ve just soured you on drones.”

Nope

Not at all! I didn’t know they were so affordable and that guys like Bob and I could operate them. On Saturday I cruised the web looking at drones priced from $90 to $1,100, thinking I might find a use for them in some of my videos. Bob actually put that idea into my head, so I’m not the only Enabler on this blog.

And?

Here is what I found. Every drone on the market is wonderful, except for the ones that aren’t. It doesn’t matter what they cost — they all work great until they fly away and get lost or fall in a lake. That doesn’t count the ones that crash into trees and houses, fall on people or stop accepting commands from their controllers. The support teams at the companies that make the drones are extremely helpful and quick to respond, except for the ones that laugh at you. When your drone goes rogue (flies away to who-knows-where) the support team asks you to return it so they can examine it. Duh! And, there are no blogs for drones.

No blog

Whaddaya mean, BB? There are hundreds of blogs about drones. Yes, there are hundreds of commercial advertising pages that CALL themselves blogs, but each one I examined is either a thinly disguised sales platform, or an outlet for some esoteric drone research project.

What I mean when I say there are no blogs is I couldn’t find any blogs like THIS one! Places where those new to drones can go and ask fundamental questions and also where drones are tested without regard to who makes them. The “tests” I read about some drones were a joke — obviously written by someone in marketing.

Who are the Weihrauchs and Air Arms of drone makers? And who are the makers to avoid?

Best for 2019

So I did some research of my own. First I looked up the best drones of 2019 and discovered that, of the 10 listed, four were no longer available. The next day I tried that site again and found those four had been removed from the test results, replaced with 4 different drones that were available. Okay — that is not a “10 best” page. That is a “Here is what we have on hand today” page! Since one company’s models were rated best over most others, I have to assume their marketing department runs that “test” page.

So, I searched to find the 10 best drones of 2017. Here is a quote I pulled from from that page.

“This article will be continually updated as new drones are released and reviewed, so be sure to check back if you’re not buying a drone right now.”

They admit they are changing the page of the “best” drones for the year, as it suits them. That is as close as it comes to an admission of soft marketing.

Another “blog” website claims they are just in it for the fun. They test nothing but drones from a single manufacturer. It’s like asking me what is the best air rifle for hunting large game like deer and me responding that Weihrauch doesn’t make a big bore airgun. That wasn’t what you asked.

On to the reviews

So, as a last resort I started looking at the reviews of several different models. They were all over the board as you might expect, but I have a way of interpreting what they say. For example if somebody gives a drone one star, which is the lowest you can go, I read what they said. If their complaint is that the app to control the drone wouldn’t upload to their pre-Columbian kerosene-fired smart phone, I disregard it. If, on the other hand, they complain about performance, I then compare what they say to all the other one-star reviews. If they all say the manufacturer’s claim for 20 minutes of battery life is grossly inflated, I give them credence.

The five-star reviews are not nearly as valuable for several reasons. First, I don’t know if the manufacturer has paid someone to write the comment. Second I have discovered that if the writer is having a good life (he’s in love, just got a big promotion, etc.) the whole world seems rosy and he will forgive a lot of faults.

I also look at the number of reviews. When comparing a drone with 1,463 reviews to one with 29 reviews, a 7 percent one-star rating means a heck of a lot more on the greater number than on the lesser.

You Tube videos

Then I discovered why the written blogs may not be so good. Drone users don’t seem to work that way. They go in for videos. That makes sense, since the drones themselves have both video and still picture capabilities.

I found excellent test videos that are clearly made by private owners who test the drones in ways their viewers want them to. That makes a lot of sense because, not only does the drone film things, it also moves and can be filmed while in flight. It’s not like watching a 10-meter target match that’s as exciting as watching paint dry.

Reviews still important

Those written reviews are still important, because they reveal details about the product that you would not think about if you are new to the technology. For example, the battery life of the drone restricts how far it can safely fly and still safely return to home. The battery recharge time plus the cost of extra batteries is a second bit of information that goes along with this, as it all determines your flight time.

The object avoidance sensors are another key point. So are the camera controls, the gimbal function and even the Return To Home function that not all drones have. You will get a lot of great information from reading the better reviews. By better I don’t mean those reviews that praise the drone — I’m referring to the reviews that explain what they are talking about and why they say what they do.

Why I wrote today’s report

Some of you readers who have been with me for a couple years know that I sometimes stray way off topic to get a better feeling for what it looks like to be new to airguns. I have been around airguns so long that it’s easy for me to slip into a lot of jargon that a new person won’t understand.

Several years ago I learned how to shave with and eventually how to sharpen a straight razor. From that experience I learned to avoid jargon in my reports. New readers may not understand what “barrel droop” means unless I explain it. It sounds like a barrel that is not straight (i.e. it droops down in a curve), when it really is a barrel that is mounted in the receiver pointing slightly down. It’s extremely common to airguns and firearms, yet you almost never hear it explained, nor read about the common solutions to correct it.

BB is moving toward You Tube videos

Several months ago I was browsing around You Tube and noticed a video where a violin teacher had made a video about the performance of the cheapest violin she could find. That video is what convinced me to start adding videos to my blogs, and her presentation is so straightforward that I wish I was as good. Oh, well, it’s good to set the bar high!

Summary

So, Bob, you didn’t ruin my drone experience at all. In fact, you whet my appetite. And here is what I expect to happen. I’m betting we have dozens of registered subscribers who also fly drones and I have just given them a new topic to talk about. When I baffle them with free-floated barrels or second focal plane reticles they can respond with gimbal lock and loss of GPS signal.

Oh, and I may not have determined which is the TX200 Mark III of drones yet but I did find out who is Air Arms and who is Weihrauch. I’m learning.

74 thoughts on “Readers make a difference

  1. Your comment about the scope coming loose reminds me of my 10/22 (the M1 carbine lookalike model). It’s great fun, the fit and finish of the metalwork is generally better than my Savage Mark II bolt guns, but… but! The bolt slamming back and forth with every shot, especially with high velocity ammo, and especially with the stock steel pin recoil buffer shook all the screws loose – something that obviously didn’t happen with my bolt guns.

    The first trip out, the combination rear sight/sight rail worked loose. The next trip, the rings starting coming loose. The trip after that, it was the stock’s turn!

    Now, I make sure there’s a hex wrench in my range bag, and check the rifle for rattles after every magazine or two. It definitely helped when I took my newest toy (an open-bolt Voere – a lot like the French Gevarms only German and blued instead of covered in oven paint). During my cleaning, I cleared the remnants of plumber’s tape from the bolt handle’s thread, so I suspected it loosening would be an issue – I just didn’t expect it to need tightening every 5-6 shots!



  2. B.B.

    What will be next, a blog about cell phone and how much better their cameras than even 3-4 years ago…..
    Yes technology is great, yes technology sucks…when we rely on it to much we forget how to do it when the technology doesn’t work. May the next blog please be about airguns?

    -Y


    • Yogi
      Agree with you on technology. I hate it when you have no choice about using it. Take a car for example. Wonderful when it works but dreadful when you receive a P0300 malfunction code. Multiple random misfires. And hope you never get a shut down lock out if you screw up trying to enter your car or keep a battery out too long.
      Might as well junk it instead of trying to find the cause by replacing all the parts that may cause it. Air fuel and spark days are over. A computer throws in over 20 sensors that can cause it without being detected. Especially on earlier models.

      U Tube and blogs really work for us, unless it comes buffered when you run out of limited satellite dish time.

      Then I suppose it helps get airguns to us faster. Just received a CZ-75 BB pistol shipped from UT that I ordered from OH.
      Bob M


  3. I have wanted a drone for some time i have not bought one yet, but if you don’t know by now i have researched them and reviews well you know how to sift through them. Me personally i look at only bang for buck $200- $300 as a rule. Here is one thing i have found many drones in this price range by many companies under different names look and are the same models and the cameras and electronics as well as motors go through generational upgrades. You will notice the more recent models have GPS that uses US and GLONASS or soviet GPS only lagging behind cell phones and tablets by about 9 years it is one feature you need as well as brushless motors and the highest resolution camera model or one made to carry a hero cam.

    Personally i am not going to invest until a few things happen one an onboard cpu capable of independent of controller GPS navigation and better hardware and software than has been developed so far. You can spend more for a DJI and get more of the quality you need now at a much higher cost. Cheap phones for almost a decade as long as they have juice can be tracked via GPS so why is this not a cheap independent subsystem on like every drone for when they lose signal or just freak from interference and fly away or just crash? Another key indicator that the tech is very old is the max size of memory cards they can use though that is more an indication of primitive coding at this point. The apps i have seen for GPS waypoint flight path setup have all looked crude as well, but this is a fluid market and some of these problems i am sure are being addressed because though improvements are coming and the drones in the more affordable price points get better all the time.

    You all know the drill. So i just got sucked into buying a .25 Gauntlet and will be enjoying and upgrading my money away for the foreseeable future so no drones for me any time soon.


  4. In the UK, a hurdle to getting into drones is regulation. It’s a bit of a pain for airguns too.

    Ridgerunner and BB: I opened up my IZH 61, figured out the jamming problem and fixed it! It was a tiny plate metal pusher slide at the cocking lever pivot. The slide has a simple bend in it, but mine was too bent and fouling a pawl, not allowing the cocking lever to close. When working properly the slide is pushed by the rear edge of the piston cylinder so that the bent part pushes a pawl at the cocking lever pivot. The pawl rotates about its own pivot and releases the cocking lever ratchet teeth. That allows the cocking lever to close.

    While I was at it, I filed the spring ends flat, gave a general clean, lube (moly, normal grease and oil at appropriate places). I didn’t use my spring compressor because a twist is required at full compression. I donned full body protection and leaned it against a wall. It was nervy, but ok.

    Cocking is now smooth. Jamming problem completely disappeared. I’m using a Williams peep sight with your Air Venturi front inserts. At 10m rested, my best 5 pellet group yesterday was 10mm c-c with Milbro TR (a traditional domed pellet of which I have a big stash). But I also shot a number of 13mm groups with Weirauch F&T. Of the wad cutters I tried, JSB Sport target was best ~17mm, and seemed significant better than RWS Hobby and H&N Excite (the last of these are very good in most of my air pistols, so it’s pretty amazing how bad they are in the IZH 61). I discovered that this rifle is VERY pellet fussy!! Now I find myself wondering how hard it would be to make a wood stock for it. I need longer length of pull at both shoulder and grip-trigger…. Now, where are those guest posts on stock making…

    I found the repair immensely satisfying 🙂


    • Chuckglider,

      Our federal aviation administration requires a drone weighing over 0.55 lbs. (249.48 grams) to be registered. Your civil aviation authority requires the same for all drones that weigh over 250 grams, so the two organizations are either talking about this or one is watching the other and following. We don’t have to pay an annual fee yet, but your owners do. It’s 9 pounds a year.

      B.B.


    • Chuckglider
      Your user name makes me think you do radio control gliders or free flight.

      Probably that it don’t matter but that has been one of my biggest hobbys since I was a kid.


      • Yes indeed! Full size gliders originally, then free flight, and nowadays enjoying RC gliders. I’ve always had a special soft spot for chuck gliders though. Most memorable was the bitter sweet feeling when my new balsa creation flew away circling out out of sight on its very first hard throw launch. Months later a farmer called me (I always put my cell no on them). It was found about 5 miles away. Wing span 8″… 🙂


        • Chuckglider
          Cool full size gliders.

          We started out using the surgical cord with a parachute to launch our gliders. Had a latch on the bottom of the plane that was released by a servo.

          We even towed rc gliders in the air with a rc clipped wing Piper Cub.

          Then got into launching the rc gliders with a Cox 049 engine then ended up with a 15 size engine on the front.

          You know what made me change to flying the regular rc planes after I learned more. I got a aroebatic slope soarer and put a 15 size engine on the front. I flew that plane for a while till I started getting good. You know what happened next. That’s when you start getting to good for your shoes as they say. Yep that’s when I started crashing them. But there ain’t nothing like a inverted fly by at 1 foot off the ground. 🙂


        • Chuckglider,

          I have been fighting the urge to go over to the Blue Ridge Sailplane Society just down the road from me. I have enough expensive hobbies without picking up another. 😉


          • Don’t go for a flight unless you know you have the time and money to take it up. I went for a trial flight in an L-13 Blanik back in the summer of 1998… 1500 hours of flying time (and an instructor rating… and years as maintenance director for the club… and buying my own glider) later and the pull the sky has on me is even stronger than it was that first flight. We also shut down for the winter which means I had to go cold turkey with the flying at the end of October and won’t get to scratch that itch until around April.

            Good thing I have a place inside my house where I can shoot 10M during the winter!


    • Chuckglider,

      You might like to try BSA Storm and BSA Elite in your IZH 61 too. They are amongst the cheapest pellets you can get in the UK, but the IZH 61 (well, mine at least) loves them.


      • Thanks for the pointer Bob. I may already have a tin of one of those so will try it.

        BB, Gunfun1 and Ridgerunner, one word: PicaSim. Which free RC simulator not only allows you to fly a RC model inverted a few feet off the ground and crash it as many times as you like, but also has games like limbo, a RC drone simulator AND enables you to ridge soar sailplane as if you were piloting a full size one. Give a donation to the clever Danny Chapman who wrote it.
        http://www.rowlhouse.co.uk/PicaSim/index.html



  5. B.B.,

    Today’s blog entry is absolutely on the subject. You simply used the drone-flying hobby as an analogy for the air gun hobby.

    Regarding online user reviews such as those on the “rain forest site,” I always read reviews that give three stars out of five. They tend to offer useful details of the product’s performance and are unemotional. They lack the glow of the honeymoon period (five stars) and the resentment of a purchase gone bad (one star).

    The observation you made about drone blogs being thinly veiled advertising sites is dead on for blogs on many different subjects. I’ve even noticed that while many air gun blogs, such as this one, give products from all manufacturers a fair chance to succeed or fail in tests, there are nevertheless some air gun blogs out there that seem to be thinly veiled advertising. Or, if they are not that, many seem to like everything to one degree or another, which suggests to me the author feels an obligation to whoever is supplying the air guns that are tested.

    Michael


    • Michael,

      You hit the nail on the head! That is what I was trying to say. And your comment about the writers who never find anything wrong is also dead-on.

      I have never been asked to make excuses or even lie about a product here. If it ever happened I couldn’t do it because I think about that guy who only barely has the money for one airgun this year. I used to be that guy and I want him to know what he will be getting. And I am always looking for great buys for that guy.

      Both Captain Drone and Ready Set Drone are superb You Tube channels for drones. I will watch them and see what I can do to make my own videos more appealing.

      B.B.

      B.B.


      • “Today’s blog entry is absolutely on the subject. You simply used the drone-flying hobby as an analogy for the air gun hobby.”

        B.B., ditto what Michael said; no matter what you choose for a hobby, you should hope that there is a blog like this one where you can actually LEARN about that hobby! =>


  6. B.B.
    Check out Joe W Rhea’s You tube videos. Cyclops Videos. He’s says he’s from Texas and wears an eye patch. Comes off like the guy next door, plus, he’s all about spring guns. He has a self deprecating style that is just great.
    Best,
    Rob


  7. Hello all!

    There is another way worth mentioning in which drones resemble airguns.. the intersection of product intent versus user intent. Just what to you want to do with it?

    A couple of years ago I dipped my toes into the drone world, having flown all manner of rc aircraft before. I was quickly struck by the diversity of models available. There are big ones, “smart” ones, little ones, stable ones, fast ones, really fast ones, rather affordable to crazy expensive… pick what you want to do. I watched videos about people racing in their basements(!), back yards, in abandoned buildings, and just cruising the countryside ‘sightseeing’. I decided I wanted to be the one flying it (as opposed to a computer), went towards the direction of the small, agile, and kind of fast (Leader 120, if anyone cares).

    My point is, exactly like shooting, you should figure out what you intend to do.. at least pick a direction, before you start to really shop for which ship is right for you. A brilliant first person video race ship just won’t be right for videography, and vice versa.

    In the end, it turned out to be another fun hobby. I got my son involved in that too, and sure enough, we also got a pair of small ships with which to do first person races in the basement. Good times, till the next hobby. I still fly, but not nearly as often as I shoot. 🙂


    • NTOG (sometimes known as Codeuce, when BB hasn’t taken his medicine),

      I had no idea that major parts of feature films are now filmed with drones! They can keep up with speeding cars and fly into buildings where no other camera could easily go. And $12,000 to $37,000 without the camera does seem a bit pricy!

      B.B.


      • They’ve reached into so many areas, and I’m not just talking about the super expensive ones. Drone real estate filming and wedding photography is such a thing there are courses on them.

        Into cameras and video? Wait till you start investigating the consumer level camera systems that are available! There’s physically motion dampened, electronically dampened, even panorama cameras that you extract and flatten (if you want) the angle of the recorded image you decide you want to present, post production. And some have even gotten to the point where you can upload your entire panorama, and let the user decide the angle they want to view. So picture flying a drone through the Hawaiian countryside, and letting your vlog viewers view what ever angle they wish to view. That was pretty cool.

        Into computers? The flight control system on many smaller ships (especially towards the racing end) is open source! You can control the minuta of, well, just about everything that happens between the controller signal being received to a motor changing speed, complete with mixing in information about the attitude the ship is currently in, and the rate at which that is changing.

        It is a big world you’re dipping your toe into there 😉 . Thankfully, as with so many hobbies, you can learn just a little, take a little risk, and just go try it too.


      • B.B.,

        It does seem pricey, until one compares that cost to the cost of renting a helicopter and pilot for two days and attaching the film company’s camera to it. A crane rental would be prohibitively expensive, too. So, it’s all relative.

        My college has used drones for shooting TV commercials and website content for perhaps four years now. I imagine it has cost very little in the grand scheme of things, but it has increased the production values of the promotional videos incredibly. The school first looked into paying a production service with a drone, but it soon became clear purchasing a drone and training film production students to do the flying/filming was much cheaper before too long. Besides, it provides yet another content area for the students and educational program.

        The same thing, to an even greater degree, happened for independent film makers with the advent of pro quality, sub $3000 digital video cameras and affordable editing software. A feature length student film used to cost upwards of $8000-$10,000 for camera rental, film stock, film processing and an editing room rental. For many years now $8000 will buy a film maker all of the hardware and software as a one-time expense. After that each feature length movie has a production cost that is negligible.

        Add a $1500-$3000 drone to the film maker’s arsenal, and crane shots and helicopter shots are possible.

        Michael


    • NTOG,

      Thanks for your comments (I think LOL!), now I have something else to research and learn about.

      I have piloted small aircraft (Cessnas; Pipers) and love aircraft/flying. I can’t afford to fly so I satisfy my itch with a WWII flying simulator which is very realistic. Flying a drone sounds like it would be a lot of fun – especially racing through an obstacle course.

      My wife is not in the best of health so I need to be close to home these days – drones could be my next hobby.

      Hank


      • Hi Hank

        Nick Burns is my favorite vlogger on the subject, and a great place to start learning. First person flying has never been more affordable, and easy to get into. I think my son’s rig from last year (Tiny 6, transmitter, goggles, batteries) cost less than $200. That was plenty for basement flying, and even light outdoor flying.. with maybe 50 yards range. I made hoops to fly through out of florist wreath frames wrapped in crepe paper, some with Christmas lights wrapped around them, and hung them from the suspended ceiling. Bored of the course? Change it! Oh, and if you stay under 250 grams, no registration required. If you want to see what a bird sees, this is a great way to do it.

        I guess Tom isn’t the only enabler here… 🙂


        • NTOG

          Thanks for that – I’ll check Nick’s site out.

          Seems that the price of admission is quite reasonable. Will have to see what the Canadian regulations are.

          I fly my “WWII simulator” in the winter and have a pretty good setup. I use a TrackIR
          ( https://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/ ) which allows me to look around outside and inside the plane by moving my head in the direction I want to see – very immersive!

          Flying “first person” in a drone is something that I could really get into.

          Hank


          • Hank
            I got a RC flight simulator way later on in my RC flying endeavor. Probably early 30’s. I still got it somewhere. Wonder what it would be like on a big screen TV. Maybe good. Maybe not I know I didn’t like my driving games (Need for Speed) on the big screen. It just wasn’t right for some reason.

            But yep liked that flight simulator. I think I will have to dig it up and see what I think. Oh and it was a really nice day today. I have been keeping my transmitter and plane battery’s charged. I was going to fly but my daughter stopped by. All good though. Haven’t seen her for awhile.


            • GF1,

              Check out the more current flight simulators/games as the graphics and flight modeling are very realistic.

              Contact me off-line if you want to talk about these a bit.

              Hank


              • Hank
                The simulator I have is rc planes that was available at that time period.

                It has 3D flying and jets that hover as well as thrust vectoring.

                So probably different than what your talking about. It sounds like your simulator is for full size planes.

                And have to say. It’s a pretty common thing for a a RC pilot that flys rc planes can hop into a cock pit and fly a full size planes (from inside) by what they see and feel from a RC plane. It all still applies. You can feel a RC plane stall and tip a wing or stall flat and level depending on plane design. And the cool thing I like is you can feel the controls mush if you will (low air speed and slow prop speed) then start adding power and the plane starts flying again. Basically the control surfaces start responding again when you get the prop thrust happening over the control surfaces. But also ground speed comes into effect. Flying on the stall is one of my favorite things.

                And again. Isn’t it funny how just flying a RC plane sounds so simple.


                • GF1

                  Yes, (virtual) full sized planes that with flight models that simulate the performance of the real thing.

                  The software I like can be played at lower realism settings as a “game” or be cranked up to being a simulator where you are responsible for totally managing your engine (fuel mixture, cooling, turbocharging etc).

                  Range and trajectory aside, try resolving a firing solution (with guns, not heat seeking missiles) when both you and your opponent are maneuvering in three-dimensional space at several hundred miles an hour… and he is shooting at you LOL!

                  Each flying season (a winter activity for me) I spend a couple of days relearning my cockpits; brushing up on my flying; practicing aerial and ground gunnery and doing a lot of take-offs and landings.

                  Fun stuff.


                  • Hank
                    Yep fun for sure. I use to do mine on those cold winter days when I couldn’t go fly my RC planes. Maybe I will have to dig my simulator out. I already know where I’ll be headed if I start doing the simulator again. 🙂



  8. Interesting blog B.B.

    Drones are neat and you can get a different perspective on the world, not high on my “To Buy” list though.

    I have just finished going through the (stressful) exercise of deciding on a new rifle/scope/bipod to meet my “pigeon 100 yard sniper rifle” requirements. Spending days (weeks!) filtering through marketing hype and reviews is a lot of work!

    Agree that the reviews have to be viewed from the perspective of: is the reviewer competent; are they being paid by the manufacturer; do they have an axe to grind; do they have realistic expectations; did they buy the right product for their needs; are they naturally tolerant or are they critical people?

    Take away the 5-star ratings from excited people who haven’t used the product yet and the 1-star ratings from disappointed people who just realized they bought the wrong thing. Yeah, 99 5-star reviews and 1 1-star …hmmmm makes you wonder eh.

    I’m not going to say much about bipods because it seems to be a VERY sensitive subject! A great many of the reviews were not about the quality/functionality of the product but about who made it. People seem to forget that a quality product is one that exactly meets the needs of the user.

    When buying something that is new to me (like a 3D-printer – thanks for THAT nudge GF1, LOL!) my modus operandi is to look at the most expensive products to see what features are available, determine what features I need/want, rate those features in order of importance and go shopping for a product that has the features I want that is within my budget.

    The product advertising can be useful in determining what is good or bad about the product – our product does “this” and doesn’t do “that” helps to point out things to watch for.

    Anyway, just gone through this and am glad to be done. The hard part is waiting for the rifle to be shipped to the Canadian distributor.

    Technology – love it; hate it! Still don’t know how to work 99% of the features on my new phone… can phone, text and take pictures so I guess that I got the important parts LOL!

    Cheers!
    Hank


    • Hank,

      Just FYI, I have a new bipod I will be testing for you soon. Bipods are difficult for airguns because so many guns either can’t accept them (underlevers and many breakbarrels) or the bipod messes up the accuracy. I have been so reluctant to test them and even to use them, but I need to get on board because so many people use them today.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        Bipods sound like a good chapter for the “Airgun Basics” blog series. I am new to bipods so I am looking forward to that blod.

        The PCP I am buying has a bipod mount picatinny rail built in to the chassis so I am good to go. Strange (for me) to say, that the gun doesn’t look “right” without one.

        Hank


    • Hank
      Every hobby and such I have been involved in can get pretty heavy if you know what I mean.

      It’s different levels. The trick is finding what level you want to start at and for some. How fast you want to advance.

      I’ll give a shout out for Chris here. He always does his research for the things he wants. That is important.

      But some of us don’t know what we want. Well let me rephrase that. Some of us have more wants than we know what to do with. That be me. When I get into a hobby or whatever I guess I’ll say I get fascinated by all the options. My problem is I like to experiance things. That’s why I try different guns or intakes and cams on a car. Or the latest electric out runner motor and programable speed controllers for electric rc flight. Now days there is just so much out there. And for the most part it’s all good products in all the scenerio’s I just mentioned. Finding out what you want to do and what you want is harder than it sounds sometimes.


      • GF1,

        Yes I do. I detest wasting money,…. though I will say that I have on occasion,.. despite best intentions. I am not rich by any means,… so my “disposable” income is limited.

        I like Hank’s approach in looking at high end things and to work/pare down from there. What are the limits? How much do I need/will use/will actually benefit me? I want quality, function and reliability. And,… if justified,… willing to pay for it.

        Buying your way up “through the ranks” is rarely the best choice. But,… commit to the new hobby before taking that “mid-range” plunge. Know enough,.. to know. Buying something and using it for 1 month and then never using it again is still wasted money,…speaking in general. In this case,… crashing it or never seeing again after it goes berserk might be prime considerations.

        I am glad that this blog exist as well as the people that post here. It is a REAL solid footing on getting information on air guns and “other” things. The worldly knowledge base here is truly vast.

        Chris


        • Chris
          When I get something I try to think about resale since I like changing up my guns. What I mean is not necessarily the value when resealing but if a majority of people would be interested in it. I done that with the muscle cars and even the RC planes. A lot of people were interested in the planes and cars I built. Heck we use to trade alot too.

          But yep many things to think about when you get something.


  9. BB,

    I recommend that you buy a very cheap, small drone to begin with. They come small enough to even fly in your house and that windless environment will help you get used to flying without fighting the elements at first. You will be able to master the art of switching left and right in your head as your direction of flight changes. Then you can worry about filming and such. And they’re fun. You will get good at obstacle avoidance, as well. (Depending on their nature, your cats may enjoy it too)

    One airgunning blog that may help you “justify” a drone would be to shoot at targets suspended from under the drone at differing heights to demonstrate the effect that shooting up into a tree will have on the point of impact. Maybe B-I-L will let you shoot at his until you get one. 😉 You could perhaps include “drop” testing in your scope reviews as further justification!

    Half


    • Half,

      Bob is giving me his HS700 to get me started. This one sat in a tree for several months and then got run over by a golf course lawnmower, yet it still flies.

      With GPS to stabilize the drone I plan on letting technology run things until I know how.

      B.B.



  10. I been thinking about going serious drones.

    And not like people are thinking here. I’ll say it this way. I been doing free flight and rc planes since I was a kid. Even rc helicopters.

    There is so many types now. Drones that is. Kind of sport flying. Racing and areobatics. And to note all drones that someone flys doesn’t have to be about filming. Or picture taking or videos.

    I have one small drone which has a YF22 light weight body on it. It’s very cool to fly. You can go into forward flight like a plane or hover and rotate left or right or hover front to back or anywhere inbetween.

    What I’m after is a bigger drone or as most of hobbiest call them quadcopters. I have always liked hovering planes like the YF22 and Harriers. The quadcopters is the only thing from what I know bring that type of RC flight to hobbyists.

    And if I don’t find a bigger quadcopter that has a jet body shape. I’m going to make one. I done all kinds of rc planes including ducted fan Jets and lightweight profile jets with a propeller in the middle or center of gravity of the profile jets. It’s a very broad hobby. RC flight that is. To many things to talk about with this hobby.

    But here is a guy that has got into some cool stuff with RC flight. Gyros on rc planes and so much more. And what is even more cool is electric flight has taken over. It was unheard of when I was a kid.
    Here’s a video. And I didn’t put this here to advertise for him. I don’t know him any way. I just know he’s good. But I hope you all like the videos.
    https://youtu.be/1UHCmlyNvhU

    And here another.
    https://youtu.be/WaTSFXTs3DI

    And this one’s a little more serious.
    https://youtu.be/IhiUFCagFdI

    Had to get a full size fighter jet in the mix. Way cool thrust vectoring.
    https://youtu.be/2IFUxLhW4Sk


  11. You could segue in airguns into this post by writing about “best air rifles to down snooping drones flying in your private airspace.” No doubt you’d have to run it by the lawyers and the law-enforcement folks first, though. 😉


  12. BB, your blog hits very close to home on two counts. Last week as I was shooting the Sig ASP20, I saw my groups were not particularly tight and were vertical in layout. Being a self sustaining supporter of this blog, I immediately checked my scope mounting rings. Yep, they had loosened up. Again. This rifle does need to have it’s stock bolts checked before each shooting session and in particular, the scope mounts. This is a strong candidate for blue Locktite!

    Probably 6 years ago, when buying some nicad batteries on the web, the website in question was advertising battery operated toys including 2D helicopters (they go up/down and left/right only – no banking). For the price, I said “why not”. It was really neat until it hit a branch hanging over the roof of my house. After that crash, it would only go to the left.,Well, $15 was not a deal breaker. My wife felt sorry for me so without telling me, she got a really serious, RC helicopter. My first and last flight was maybe 5 seconds. The damage was severe but I was able to replace the broken parts and sell it.

    I’ll stick to air rifles for now, thank you very much.

    Fred now happily in GA


  13. Well folks, since I got mentioned, I better respond to protect my integrity. First to the Synergis. I really liked the airgun ergonomics and cocking it was a little harder than I anticipated but my biggest surprise is that it is HEAVY. About 9 pounds. I guess more weight will equal less recoil or bounce when trigger is pulled. I am going to totally not mention the scope that was packaged with the airgun as it had no parallax adjustment and was placed in the dustbin once I got home. I had already ordered another scope that was better suited to the Synergis for my use. When I mounted it, I took care of the loosing issue by putting blue Locktite on all the screws. This weekend i plan to take it to my local club range to sight it in. BAM!

    I originally purchased my drone to film a well we were drilling in South Texas to use as a sales tool for our investors. While the video was only 1080P, it was more than adequate for that purpose. I now have a “fleet” of 3 drones and mailed one to BB yesterday so that he can practice and learn on a used drone that once lived in a tree for a few weeks but was basically unharmed after it came back to earth. I made sure to include written instructions to remember to remove the camera lens cap (I once forgot) as well as properly calibrating the drone compass to prevent “toilet bowling”. See, every hobby has it’s own jargon.

    BB, enjoy making your new videos and I hope you learn to “fly” quickly.

    Bob


    • Bob
      I was going to post some drone racing but maybe I should save that for part 2.

      I done rc pylon air plane racing (Quicky 500 and 1/2A) and these little drones are some stuff if you no what I mean.

      Then you should see some of the formation flying the drones do. Like 50 drones to perform all together and separate and come back together while doing different minuvers. Who would of thought technology would become what it has.



  14. B.B.,

    If you’re looking for an excuse to justify getting a drone, here’s one: they can be used for rangefinding.

    One day during the summer I did some long range plinking with my HW77k, but had forgotten to bring a laser rangefinder or tape measure with me. No problem though, as once the drone was locked onto GPS satellites, I could use it to measure the distance to the target to within a couple of meters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aJVUuXv6FU&feature=youtu.be

    By the way, in case any readers are wondering who Guy Fawkes was, he was the last person in England to enter Parliament with honest intentions! 😉


  15. Drones are also used to assess farm fields (crop growth, weed control, water drainage issues, etc.). There is a company around here that has made a business of doing just that,… along with other farming tech.. Weed control here now,… not there. Poor growth due to poor water drainage? Tile that area next year,… etc.. I am not a farmer by the way.

    What better way to see how an entire (500) acre field is doing? Most will only see the “middle” of a huge field at planting time and then again only at harvest.

    Good evening to one and all,…….. Chris



    • Chris,

      I can understand that. There are tracts of land I thought I knew like the back of my hand, only to be amazed at how many topographical features I had never noticed before viewing drone footage of the same areas from a height of 120m.


  16. Mon ami, B.B.,

    You are always informative. Please report further on you drone experience.
    I just saw the Seneca Claw and Seneca Claw carbine lever-action rifles.
    I hope to learn more about them before long.

    I just watched a report of Umarex Gauntlet VS Air Arms S510 XS Ultimate Sporter. Unless something was doctored, this report showed the difference between the two shooting at 75 yards. As the fellow said, the closer the target the less the difference between the two, but at distance the difference becomes obvious.

    Regards,
    ~ken


  17. B.B.,

    In the opening paragraph last sentence: “No scope adjustment seemed to work, though I did raise the impact point with the adjustments, so perhaps that concealed when (what) was happening.”

    Good luck with drones B.B.!

    My personal view is that all that will be left of Aviators within the first 200 years after Orville and Wilbur’s Great Adventure with powered flight will be photographs, film, videos and a few flyers memories! I find us at the doorstep of the death of The Age of The Right Stuff! I count myself lucky to have participated in most of it’s brief moment in history.

    Bitter Sweet is the impending loss of The Aviator.

    shootski



  18. Hello B.B,

    I treated myself and purchased a DJI Mavic Air for myself back on Father’s Day. Looking at the flight record in the DJI app, I have had it in the air for 7 hours and 48 minutes of flight time, have traveled just over 28 miles of distance with it and have flown it on 48 occasions.

    FWIW, here was my thoughts in how I chose this particular model:

    1) Price & parts availability – I was either going to go very cheap (up to $200) and consider this first drone essentially disposable. If I went much above that I wanted to be sure to have parts available for it if (when?) I crashed it. DJI was the clear winner in parts availability.

    2) Price & performance – OK, what was I going to with the darn thing? Having been a photographer in the past, I appreciate a good camera and appreciate manual adjustments, histograms and the like. In reality, I am ONLY using this in a recreational capacity so expense of a model with the Hasselblad camera was VERY hard to justify. Likewise, the DJI Occusync connection technology is absolutely remarkable but given my NEEDS and FAA regulations of keeping the drone in “line of sight” it was not essential.

    This left me with a decision between the DJI Spark and DJI Mavic Air. A 24-hour deal that I saw from B&H Photo made this decision for me. They had a GREAT deal on the Mavic Air with the controller and one battery for $600 so I jumped on it! While the Air has 8GB of built in memory, I did of course add a good micro SD card (64GB) and this setup kept me flying all summer!

    Ultimately I am VERY happy that I chose the Air. The stability of the video from the gimbal operation is remarkable. Realistic flight times are less than advertised (no surprise there) but to me still perfectly acceptable at UP TO 18 minutes. I did add one battery to my setup as my wife and I took a trip to Maine. I knew this would only be a matter of time and honestly, I probably should have started out with having two batteries but I’m cheap!

    The Mavic Air is kind of loud buy having built and flown a few electric RC fixed-wing airplanes it does not seem that bad to my ears. I LOVE the compactness of the setup. The Spark is a bit smaller, but having the arms that fold up is great.

    If you have not done so already, I strongly suggest installing a couple of apps on your smartphone: Kittyhawk and AirMap. Knowing where you can fly BEFORE you buy your 1st drone is a good idea 🙂 Also, since you are planning to use this with your blog you’ll technically need to pass the “Part 107” exam to be a commercial pilot. There are TONS of great YouTube videos that can help you there!

    Also, don’t underestimate the time and resources needed to store and editing your video footage 😉 Here are a couple of links to some footage. I wish I had more time to create polished, more professional output but I don’t…

    Semi-edited:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMywrkAWWmivBvWXIgCOOCgY27f_yZpLv

    Completely raw footage:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9sQrfe0ves&list=PLMywrkAWWmivizIGvHbj-iYd3SchfKAxh

    EDIT… I almost forgot about this one! I did a fly-through on my “shootin’ shack”!

    https://youtu.be/3RyGQcPC0Q0?t=20

    Good luck with your future endeavors and I can’t wait to see what you choose to do!

    – Matt


    • Matt,

      That is one of the most helpful comments I have ever rear. And in my brief time of researching I’ve discovered that DJI is the Air Arms of drones.

      I’m not worried about the FAA requirements. Those regulations sound like good things to know anyway, so I want to learn them.

      I like your shooting setup. I was going to ask if you shoot into the woods until I saw a car drive up the hill. 😉

      B.B.


      • Thank you sir! We have all learned so very much from your postings, sharing the little bit I know about drones has been my pleasure. If you do go the DJI route, mavicpilots.com is a great resource.

        Oh, the Mavic Mini has recently been launched. From the reports I have seen I would still pick the Mavic Air over it.



  19. B.B.,

    One of the great resources for anyone wanting to do movies: The Five C’s of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques by Joseph V Mascelli. Many folks will overlook this resource because they equate the title with film ONLY. Don’t be fooled by that, this is the basis for getting any length, style, or medium MOVIE right from Concept to Cut.

    shootski


Leave a Reply