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Ammo John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 4

John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Lil Duke and scope
John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The scope base
  • Mount the scope
  • The test
  • Sight in
  • Air Venturi Steel BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs|
  • Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot
  • Smart Shot
  • Old Dust Devils
  • Dust Devil Mark 2
  • Discussion
  • Oh, fudge!
  • Summary

Today I mounted the scope on the Lil’ Duke BB gun and tested the gun for accuracy a second time. This was an interesting test! Read all of it before you form any lasting impressions, because there is a surprise coming at the end.

The scope base

The scope base comes in the box with the Lil’ Duke. It’s in a plastic bag and the instructions how to attach it to the BB gun are in the owner’s manual. I have used BB-gun scope bases like this before so the the job went quick.

The base itself is plastic and attaches to the gun with a screw in the back and by fitting the front end under the rear sight. The screw comes out from the top of the pistol grip. Remove it, attach the mount and screw it back into the hole. It has machine threads and I could never get it tight with the mount installed.

Duke scope base
The plastic scope base attaches with one screw in the rear (left in this photo) and by sliding the front under the rear sight leaf.

To mount the scope base the rear sight elevator must be removed. Lift the rear sight leaf and the elevator comes right out.

Duke rear sight
The elevator must be removed to install the scope base.

Duke elevator out
The elevator has been removed. To install the scope base lift the rear sight leaf and slide the base underneath.

Duke scope base installed
This is the scope base installed. This photo doesn’t show it but the elevator goes back in after the base is under the rear sight. That tightens the base up, but not perfectly.

I could not get the scope base tight on the BB gun no matter what I did. The rear screw would not tighten past a certain point but it was the front part that’s the real issue. With the elevator installed it is fairly tight, but it does still wobble from side to side. That allows the scope to rock side to side. I see no way to tighten it further without damaging the gun. Sure I could epoxy it to the gun, but that’s pretty drastic.

Mount the scope

When the scope base was attached to the gun as best it could be I mounted the scope. While the scope base came in the box with the BB gun, the scope and its mounts came in a separate blister package. The scope is 4X15, with a small-diameter tube and comes with the two-piece rings attached. The claws on the base of the rings slide into the 11mm dovetail on the scope base, then a screwdriver tightens them to clamp to the base.

I got them tight in the dovetail, but because of how the base was attached, the scope still rocked from side to side a little. Would there be any accuracy? I felt there could be, because after each rocking the scope seemed to return to the same upright position. The elevator was putting tension on the base to correct the wobble. But shooting was the only way to tell for sure.

The test

I shot from 5 meters using the UTG Monopod as my rest. Today I shot 10-shot groups where I only shot 5 shots with the open sights in part 3. That was just my mistake today, and once things started I followed through that way for the entire test. I shot the same BBs as before, so a direct comparison can be made, except for the number of shots in each group.

Sight in

I decided to try to sight in from 5 meters, because that is already pretty close to the target. With optical sights I usually get a little closer, but 16 feet isn’t that far. And the first shot landed on paper, low and right.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

Air Venturi Steel BBs

On the target you are about to see are ten Air Venturi steel BBs in a group, and two sighters a little farther away. I marked the sighters so you can distinguish them from the group. After firing both sighters I adjusted the scope up and to the left. There are no clicks on the adjustments — both adjustment screws just move smoothly. Ten BBs went into a horizontal group that measures 2.385-inches between centers.

Duke Air Venturi group
The scoped Lil’ Duke put 10 Air Venturi Steel BBs into 2.385-inches at 5 meters.

In the Part 3 accuracy test with open sights five of the same BBs went into a 1.644-inch group at the same 5 meters.

After this test I adjusted the scope up and to the left — a lot! The elevation screw came out pretty far.

I also have to say that at 5 meters the image through the scope is fuzzy and out of focus. Maybe it will clear up at 20 yards, but BB guns are not for shooting at 20-yards!

Hornady Black Diamond BBs

Next up were Hornady Black Diamond BBs. Ten of them went into 1.814-inches at 5 meters. I will say that the first shot is the hole farthest to the right and there are 7 shots in the smaller group you see to the left. But those 7 shots were not shot in succession. I did try one more time to adjust the scope up and to the left after this group.

Duke Hornady group
Ten Hornady Black Diamond BBs went into 1.814-inches at 5 meters with the scoped gun.

In the Part 3 accuracy test with open sights five of the same BBs went into a 1.005-inch group at the same 5 meters.

Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot

The third BBs I loaded were 10 of the Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot. They made a 1.711-inch group at 5 meters.

Duke Avanti group
Ten Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot made this 1.711-inch group at 5 meters.

In the Part 3 accuracy test with open sights five of the same BBs went into a 1.136-inch group at the same 5 meters.

Smart Shot

Now for the Smart Shot that had been the best BBs in the previous test. Either they would group better than what we have seen so far or that scope mount is letting us down! But they did come through. Ten Smart Shot BBs made a 1.148-inch group at 5 meters. And one of those shots, the one farthest away from the rest, was a called pull. The butt slipped on my shoulder and the muzzle went up just as the gun fired. I called it and, sure enough, it was there on the target.

Duke Smart Shot group
Ten Smart Shot lead BBs went into a 1.148-inch group at 5 meters. I marked the shot that was a pull.

In the Part 3 accuracy test with open sights five of the same BBs went into a 0.763-inch group at the same 5 meters.

This target gave me confidence that the Lil’ Duke was doing okay with the scope. I could not adjust it up enough or to the left enough to get it on the bull, but it seemed very consistent otherwise.

Old Dust Devils

Next up were 10 of the older-style Air Venturi Dust Devils. I was amazed as I watched this group grow! In the end they gave me a 1.147-inch group of 10 at 5 meters. This is the best group of the test! However, it is only best by one thousandth of an inch, which is way beyond the real precision of my measurements. Let’s call this group equal to that of the Smart Shot.

Duke old Dust Devil group
Ten of the old-style Dust Devils went into 1.147-inches at 5 meters.

In the Part 3 accuracy test with open sights five of the same BBs went into a 1.567-inch group at the same 5 meters. So for some reason these BBs did markedly better today.

Dust Devil Mark 2

The new Dust Devil Mark 2 BB gave an odd result. I got two groups! Seven of the BBs are in 0.433-inches on the left, and three BBs are in 0.625-inches on the right. All 10 BBs are in a group that measures 1.345-inches between centers. Odd.

Duke new Dust Devil group
The group of 7 Dust Devil 2 BBs on the left measures 0.433-inches between centers. The three on the right measure 0.625-inches. The whole group measures 1.345-inches between centers.

In the Part 3 accuracy test with open sights five of the same BBs went into a 1.348-inch group at the same 5 meters. So here are ten that almost the same distance apart.


I don’t care for the scope and mount on the Lil’ Duke. The scope is hard to see through at BB-gun distances, and there is no good way to adjust it so the gun hits what you shoot at. It also wobbles around too much for me to have any confidence. And, as flimsy as the mount is, I would fear knocking it off zero by just handling the gun.

The Lil’ Duke, on the other hand, is the finest youth BB gun I can remember testing in many years! I think it is a great bargain for its power and accuracy. This is one I recommend. And buy some Smart Shot and Dust Devils while you are at it!

Oh, fudge!

And that is when I did it. I got to the end of editing this report and said to myself — Air Venturi wouldn’t have shipped this gun with a scope base that’s so loose. So I spent another 10 minutes fiddling around and finally got the base almost rock solid. It’s impossible to get a long thin piece of plastic rock solid, but I came very close. And that can only mean one thing.


I’m going to test this gun again — this time with a scope base that I know is solid. It was that group of new Dust Devils that prompted me to experiment with tightening the base. Whenever you have two small groups instead of one there is usually something wrong with your sight. I already did not trust this one, so I played with it some more and got it tight. Now I have to know if that did the trick.

I don’t like scopes on BB guns, but even more I don’t like reports that go out half-baked. We gonna get to the bottom of this one. And I will tell you all the little things I did to tighten up the base. Next time!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

50 thoughts on “John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 4”

  1. Everyone,

    I guess you are all sleeping in late or you haven’t thought of the best way to scold me for my fudge title!

    I had considered running the next test tomorrow, but now I have rescheduled it and will run something else.

    Sometimes it’s the failures that teach me the most. This one was almost comical, but it may make a big difference in how this combo functions.


    • BB,

      I have been on the case!,… hence no post. I am seeing differences in the product pictures among this blog, the PA product page for the gun and the product page (instructions) for the sight base. (4 sources) For one, there is supposed to be 2 shims available to use at the rear. The base instruction shows 2 holes at the rear (the most forwards being for the Duke). The gun page shows the step ramp not installed with the scope mounted.

      Here is the 3 links: (gun/mount/instructions)




      So,… I am a bit confused. Did you read the instruction that came with the rail? 😉


      • Chris,

        Great investigative research there, young man!

        I’d like to add this.

        Did you watch Tyler’s video that was posted on the LASSO Mount’s page? He is installing a completely different mount than the one they have pictured. The mount in the video has a stud sticking up on the edge that slides under the front sight. It then gets an acorn nut tightened down on it to lock it to the blade. The shims are for canting the mount downward by placing them under the rear of the sight. A lock washer is provided to keep the rear screw tight. Check it out if you haven’t already.

        Apparently, Air Venturi WOULD send BB a loose mount, but, to their credit, they would be redesigning it in the meantime! Maybe they can send him a newer one when they get back in stock.


        • Half,

          No, I did not watch the video,… but I just now did. Also note, the product page states that it is made of aluminum and the one BB mounted,.. he said is plastic. Front stud in Tyler’s video, none on the product page and none on BB’s. No shims with BB’s either?,…. or the product page?

          Also, BB said the rear screw was machined thread and could not get it tight,… while Tyler’s screw was long and went into the wood (wood thread). What’s up there?

          Something is awful fishy here! Is there 2 different mounts floating around out there? Have they cheapened them up to be plastic now and have dropped the stud and shims? Why is nothing agreeing with the other? What the heck is going on!!!!!?

          I did look at these when they first came out since I have a 75th Red Ryder. I am thinking they were made by some individual/side maker at the very start and then got picked up.

          I am more confused than ever now and maybe even a wee bit mad if they have gone from a nice, metal mount that worked to a junk plastic one.

          🙂 Chris

            • BB,

              I was not implying that you were wrong. I have noted your tip on that for years now. It is odd however that you got what appears to be cheaper version of what is currently on the PA site and further more,… not even like the one in Tyler’s video with the front clamping screw.

              Above all,… I would like to know what the heck is going on with all that. After some rememberer refreshing from looking at all this,… the one Tyler had seems to be the one I remember when this first came out. If I were to buy one, (and I would not mind it for the 75th Red Ryder), I would want the metal one with front screw and shims


              • ChrisUSA,

                Yesterday you wrote to BD, “That is getting pretty close to Shootski’s concept/actuality of igniting Helium.” Not Never said No such thingey. To make it perfectly clear the Arc used only HEATS the Helium To very high temperature and that creates an extremely high pressure in the barrel behind the projectile.
                To “burn” Helium takes something closer to a Sun/Star type environment.

                Since I have a minute or two I will add that the concept of equal pressure on all walls of a pressure container is a very misunderstood concept! That ONLY applies to a static containment. The key to even higher acceleration to the muzzle lies in the understanding that only the area immediately behind the rear of the moving projectile has anything to do with the speed of sound in that specific environment. If you can wrap your head around that you will see that we are no where near the possible accelerations that are possible.


                • Chris

                  Look up laminar flow to see that any gas flowing over a surface will tend to adhere to the outer surface while the layers closer to the center of the flow are moving faster than the layers the farther from the outer surface. There is what is called boundary layers in that the slowest flow is closest to surface the gas is flowing over or thru and fastest in area the farthest away from any surface.

                  That’s why intake manifolds in hot rods are semi smooth but not glass smooth so that some turbulence is created close to the surface to break the adherence of the flow of air/fuel against the intakes walls. It serves two purposes, 1. to increase air/fuel velocity in the intake for better cylinder filling. 2. to help atomize the air/fuel mixture into a smaller and better mixture of fine air/fuel particle so it ignites faster and burns more evenly inside the cylinder. The more of the air/fuel that burns in the cylinder the more power the engine makes.

                  Likewise the faster the gas used in airgun can expand and gain velocity the more energy it can impart to the projectile.


                  • BD,

                    Thank you. I understood that perfectly. So,… while we might like fine/refined rifling,… we might also like a rougher texture in the valleys?

                    Hey,… you ain’t too bad at this stuff! 😉


                    • Chris

                      Not real sure if a smooth lands versus rougher grooves will make any real difference over either the opposite situation or both being a smooth but not glass smooth surface. You will get some lead fouling that in theory should fill the imperfections in the bore to help keep the boundary layer as even and uniform the length of the barrel. The lead also acts as a lubricant for the projectile as well.

                      Just like to keep the mind and hands busy and never stop learning. Knowledge is power.


    • BB,

      Actually, I did sleep in late. I forgot to turn my alarm clock on and was in quite a rush to get out the door.

      I cannot say I am a big fan of a scope on a bb gun, I prefer peeps. As for the distance, to me that is mighty close. Maybe I should get me one of those mounts.

      • “I cannot say I am a big fan of a scope on a bb gun, I prefer peeps.”
        I’m with RidgeRunner on this one, and I’ll extend that to all leverguns; I can’t see The Duke ever mounting a scope on his lever action, nor will I, hahaha! =)~
        I am curious to see the resolution of the mounting issue; however, if I buy one of these (and I intend to) for the upcoming visit of the grandkids in May, it will be getting shot with open sights; and it appears you did quite well with them; hence, I expect the grandkids will as well. =>
        Thanks again for all you do,

  2. BB usually reads the instructions doesn’t he? I was hoping for better results. I keep forgetting this is a bb gun not a air rifle. I know, I know it is an air rifle. That is how I tell them apart in my head. I hate it when some one calls one of my PCPs or break barrels a bb gun! Just ONE of my pet peeves.

    • RR
      I believe the mount is plastic. Your not going to solder that.

      And I left a couple questions the other day about your RAW.

      I’ll ask again. Is it shrouded? How many shots per fill? And it is .30 caliber right?

      • GF1
        I left you a reply to your question for RR about the RAW that i guess you must not have gotten an email notice about.

        They are not shrouded but have a moderator attached to the end of the barrels. I cannot speak to a .30 cal but the .25 and .177 I have shot get very good shot counts. If memory servers me ( Not so well these day ) The 25 cal got around 60 or so at 40 fpe or so. My match directors Older RAW in .177 at 12fpe get 200 shots per fill of 250 bar and is whisper quiet. When we are shooting right next to each other on the sight in range i really have to listen to hear if he has shot or not.


        • Buldawg
          On which blog report are you talking about. Because the other day BB then I both left you a response about the RAW. So maybe alot of us ain’t getting email responses again.

          But BB mentioned the ones being produced now do have a shroud. And its actually carbon fiber. And it does have a moderator also.

          The reason I was asking questions about it is I talked about buying it in the past and was wondering if he still was interested in selling it.

          The reason I asked what caliber is because I want a .30 caliber. Not a .35 caliber. And I want to shoot pellets not bullets or slugs or whatever you call them.

          I guess I should email him directly off the blog. I still have his email. That’s what I really need to do.

          • GF1

            It was on the Diana 27s part 6 blog that I left tjhe reply to you about the RAWS. I have not kept up with newer RAWS Since they merged with Air force. All i have seen and shot were older RAWS when it was just Martin and his crew building one at a time to order.

            The newer one may very well be shrouded in the tactical lineup. The older version i know have a round moderator centered on the barrels OD, then the next iterations had the moderator biased to the lower side of the barrel so the top plane of the moderator was inline with the top plane of the barrel and the majority of the moderator was positioned below the barrel. All had carbon fiber sleeved barrels to stiffen and possibly tension the barrels to some extent.

            Yea the 12 fpe .177 will be quieter than a .30 cal but the .25 I shot was quieter than a .25 mrod at 40/45 fpe range.

            No I have not been getting any email responses to my blog posts in the last couple days since the Daina 27s part 6 blog. Last one was march 8th in 27s part 6 from RR that I received. Not sure if its on my end or on the blogs end possibly blocking reply notices.


            • Buldawg
              That was the blog that both me and BB left you a reply.

              And the blog has just recently been having some problems where people didn’t get email notifications.

                • BD,

                  When working and getting my smart phone, I blocked/spammed most of the BS including PA. Now, not working,… I found a ton of PA stuff in the spam folder on the laptop,.. yet the spam folder indicated 0 spam. The latest batch, I marked them all “not spam” and now they are showing up in the inbox on the laptop and the phone.

                  My brother also said that on (getting stuff on your home device and your smart phone),… that once you take an action (like delete or reply) it with disappear from the other device. Not so sure that is the case, but if anyone would know it would be him.

                  I use the RSS and just ignore (delete) the laptop and phone on PA stuff.


                  • Chris,
                    Just to be clear, you are using web mail at Yahoo.com. All of your email resides on their servers, not on your laptop or phone. When you access your email, be it from you phone or laptop, you are managing your email on their mail server. So, if you delete an email using either device, it is removed or moved to the trash folder on Yahoo’s server. I hope this makes sense to you.

                  • Chris

                    I only do email and forums, blogs from my PC never from my phone. My phones is for talking, texting, taking pics and keeping a watch on my bank and credit card accounts.

                    Phone screen it just to small to be of any value to me for other uses.

                    I have checked my spam folder and trash and no blog notices at all since march 8th.

                    No clue as PCs are not my strong suit.


  3. BB
    How about hot glue to secure the mount to the gun. It drys fairly hard and can be removed if needed.

    I have used it for different things throughout time. It actually does pretty well at holding for a non permanent way of attaching something.

  4. B.B.,

    When you commented that you were trying to figure out how to stabilize the plastic mount, and then you wrote “Oh fudge,” my immediate thought was to your experience with your first assembly of a Paper Shooters Zombie Slayer Kit. The lesson you passed on was not to overtighten metal fasteners into plastic. I thought, “Oh, no, B.B. overtightened.”

    But obviously, your “Oh fudge” was a reaction to success. Ah, but your additional testing is our gain. :^)


    • Last week I shot the Dust Devil Mk2’s in a vised 499, distance to the target was 10 yards.
      A 5 shot group measured 1.004″.

      A 5 shot group measured just over .400″, target distance was 5 meters. Again, the 499 was placed in a vise.


      • Aspenparis,

        Why the change in appearance and (maybe?) manufacturing methodology?

        Also,… have you found the new version to be any more accurate?

        Thank you,……….. Chris

        • Chris,

          The new DD are cleaner, smoother, more compact and in initial testing more accurate. I still have a lot of testing to do.

          Given the scope base problems I had in this test I think the results are somewhat suspect.


          • BB,

            Suspect? Yes,… I suppose so. Yes,… I do agree that they look “cleaner, smoother and more compact”. Me,… being me,… always wants to know the how’s, what’s and why’s,…….. 😉

            The first version did GREAT on busting up! 0% complaint there. I would fire them (near) point blank with no fear.


  5. 1stblue,

    Anything other than Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision Ground Shot, which the 499 was designed for and vice versa, and the accuracy might be disappointing.


  6. While the fascination with this low-cost lever-action retro-replica is impressive, we know by now it won’t be effective on invasive rodentia, unless Shootski somehow figures out how to burn helium in it. So, considering the season soon approaches, and without the guidance of a B.B. Pelletier review, I ordered the slightly upscale Eagle Claw lever-action PCP.
    It arrived today.
    Not what I was expecting – but could be fun.
    I don’t think it will be as interesting as Lil’ Duke, however….

  7. Well I think I am glad that I purchased a few spares of the original metal Lasso mount now… lol

    What I found that seemed to work the best was to use a small neoprene fender washer as the bottom washer in the rear followed by one of the included washers and then the mount. When you tighten down the rear wood screw and compress the rubber washer it would form around the round shape of the receiver allowing the mount to essentially be more square to the receiver as well as the forward angle of the mount. Otherwise the mount would tend to teeter sideways on the roundness of rear end of the receiver.

    With the washer compressed it keeps constant tension on the screw and the mount. I wouldn’t say that it is as rock solid as welding it on to the receiver but definitely an improvement.

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