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Accessories John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 5

John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 5

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
Part 4

This report covers:

  • What happened?
  • I thought I knew better
  • Is it really tight?
  • The scope
  • The test
  • Air Venturi Steel BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot
  • Smart Shot
  • Old Dust Devils
  • Dust Devil Mark 2
  • What have we learned?
  • Summary

I tested the John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope in Part 4, but if you read that report you’ll see that the scope base was a little loose. Today’s report clears that up.

What happened?

Reader Chris USA asked me if I read the instructions that came with the scope base, Of course I read them. The better question to ask was when did I read them? I read them as I was editing my report and wondering why Pyramyd AIR would let a scope base this flimsy go out. That was the reason for the Oh, fudge! title at the end.

I thought I knew better

You see, I tested a BB-gun scope base like this back in 2016. You may remember the Brice scope base for the Red Ryder BB gun. That was years before this base hit the market and I thought I knew everything there was to know about BB gun scope bases.

And, by the way, Chris, that is the scope base Tyler shows in his video. He is mounting a scope to a Red Ryder — not the Lil’ Duke. That base has the acorn nut. This one for the Lasso scope on the Lil’ Duke does not. Nor does it have two screw holes in back for mounting the scope that are shown on the description page. Look at the picture I showed you in Part 4. That is the base I am testing. It has one screw hole and no acorn nut.

Duke scope base
This is the scope base that comes with the Lil’ Duke. It has a single screw hole.


I told you the one screw that screws into the top of the pistol grip and holds the scope base tight is important. It’s a machine screw — not a wood screw like you might assume. I had screwed it in many turns and it never got tight. I thought it was not long enough to grab the threads in the stock, but now that I was fiddling with the base again I turned it many more revolutions and it finally tightened. I just had not turned it in far enough! That’s the difference between a wood screw with fast threads and a machine screw with finer threads. With the screw tight the scope base also got reasonably snug, though not what would call tight.

But there is more to it. I showed you a picture of the scope base installed without the rear sight elevator back in the sight. In the caption I said the elevator is supposed to be in the sight. When do you think I wrote that caption? That’s right — after writing the Oh, fudge title for that paragraph! Yes — as difficult as it is to believe, even for me, old BB Pelletier messed up big time!

As it turns out, that elevator is very important to the mounting of this scope base. It raises the rear sight leaf, putting downward spring tension on the scope base. Voila — the scope base is now tight!

Duke elevator
The rear sight elevator puts downward pressure on the scope base, tightening it when the rear mounting screw is tight.

Is it really tight?

Now that I have corrected the scope base, is it really tight? Yes and no. It’s tight if no pressure is put on the scope tube. But it is still possible to wiggle the scope from side to side just a little. The base is plastic and I see no way around some movement because plastic flexes. But it seems to return to the same position after each wiggle. I think the accuracy test will determine whether it is solid or not.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

The scope

Since I was perfecting things I also spent time with the Lasso scope. I unscrewed the eyepiece close to a half inch and finally got the reticle lines sharp. The target is still not in focus, but that is a problem with the fixed parallax that I will live with. It isn’t that bad.

The test

I ran another accuracy test from 5 meters, resting the BB gun on the UTG Monopod as before. I shot 10-shot groups as before and I shot the same BBs that were used in the first scope test in the same order, so we can compare groups.

Though the scope has been taken off the gun and the mount tightened, I still sighted in from 5 meters because that is very close. I shot the first group that landed low and right. I attempted to adjust the scope up, but it was already up as high as it would go. If I really wanted to use it I would put a thin washer under the base before screwing it tight. A shim under the rear might raise it up to the aim point.

Air Venturi Steel BBs

At 5 meters 10 Air Venturi Steel BBs went into a horizontal group that measured 1.905-inches between centers. In the previous test the group size was 2.385-inches, so this is 0.48-inches smaller. It’s a good start.

Duke Air Venturi group
Ten Air Venturi Steel BBs made this 1.901-inch group at 5 meters.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs

Hornady Black Diamond BBs were next to be tested. In the previous test ten BBs went into 1.814-inches. This time ten went into 1.662-inches — a difference of 0.152-inches. That’s really too close to call.

Duke Hornady group
Ten Hornady Black Diamond BBs went into 1.658-inches at 5 meters.

Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot

In the previous test ten Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot made a 1.711-inch group at 5 meters. In this test another ten of the same BB went into 1.096-inches. That is 0.615-inches smaller, which is significant. It’s less than half the size of the previous group.

Duke Avanti Shot group
The scoped Lil’ Duke put 10 Avanti Match Grade shot in 1.096-inches at 5 meters.

Smart Shot

Now we come to the BB that has proven itself to be the most accurate one in this gun — the lead H&N Smart Shot. In the previous test 10 made a 1.148-inch group with one shot that was a pull. This time 10 went into 1.327-inches at the same 5 meters. Yes, nine of them are in a much smaller 0.952-inches, but the shot that is out to the right was not a called pull, so it is a legitimate part of the group. In this case, the previous group was better than this one by 0.179-inches. That is almost enough of a difference to be meaningful.

Duke Smart Shot group
Ten Smart Shot lead BBs made this 1.327-inch group at 5 meters.

Old Dust Devils

Next to be tested were the Old Dust Devils that are no longer available. In the last test ten made a Ten of them made a 1.147-inch group at 5 meters. This time ten went into 2.128-inches at 5 meters. That is considerably larger by 0.981-inches! I cannot explain why this group is nearly twice as large as the one from the former test.

Duke old Dust Devil group
Ten of the old Dust Devils went into 2.128-inches at 5 meters.

Dust Devil Mark 2

The new Dust Devils did okay this time. In the previous test 10 went into 1.345-inches at 5 meters. In this test ten made a 1.469-inch group at 5 meters. That is a difference on 0.124-inches in favor of the previous test. Once again, not a very significant difference.

new Dust Devil group
Ten new Dust Devils went into 1.469-inches at 5 meters.

What have we learned?

I hope the big lesson today is to both read the manual and also spend time with the gun as you mount the scope base and scope. I don’t care for scopes on BB guns, yet this one seems to do okay except for being out of focus and shooting too low.

I think all the testing has proved beyond any doubt that the Smart Shot BB is the most accurate in this gun. It has also demonstrated that this little BB gun is remarkably accurate with many BBs, and should be on your short list as an ideal kid’s BB gun.


The Lil’ Duke is a winner! With the open sights it’s the most accurate lever action spring piston  BB gun I have ever tested besides the Daisy 499. If you need a BB gun, this is the one to get.

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.

32 thoughts on “John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 5”

  1. BB,

    All in all,…. interesting. The scope elevation being all the way up may have contributed to the unexplained larger groups. I would be suspect of any scope that cheap no matter where in the elevation it was. Like you said, shimming the rear of the base/rail and getting that elevation down some more would be a good thing.

    On the focus,… when I had the 880,… it came with a scope. I adjusted the objective lens out or in?, I forget now which way,.. but it worked great at 24′ and 41′ after that. It made a huge difference. You may have suggested that or someone else here,… but it’s well worth doing.

    Thanks too on the further clarifying the rails/base differences.


  2. BB,

    A scope? Really? Seriously? C’mon man! It is not even worth using elsewhere.

    Too late for the bb gun. I bought him a Buck a while back and his uncle bought him a Red Ryder for Christmas. I would have liked to have picked this up for him back then.

          • BB and Chris,

            I really seriously doubt it. My 99 shoots real nice. Also, when you have a yard full of carpenter bees it is really fun to just cock and shoot as fast as I can work the lever. Like I was saying, I can take hundreds of shots before I have to reload. Most of the time I get tired of shooting it long before I need to reload it.

            I know the 499 is accurate, but it is a target gun, not a hunting gun.

            • RidgeRunner,
              I passed on a good 99 a couple of years ago; I was right on the edge of buying it; and now you are making me want to kick myself for not buying it! =)~
              Take care, and thanks, I guess,

  3. I love BB guns. No lead pollution, reasonably accurate on short ranges, silent..
    BB guns are held back by their small calibre. A .25 BB gun would have a higher inherent accuracy – though problems such as ricochets and a higher power necessary would make such a large calibre BB gun a bad idea to sell to the public.

    • Mel83,

      I have lead balls for .177 air rifles. Not good. The issue is the twist rate is all wrong for them. I may have to try ball in my HM1000X. It is 1:26.

      A friend of mine shoots paint ball. With the sniper rifles they can reach out 100 yards. They are rifled, but nowhere near MOA.

      Large bore, long range bb gun. Giant Dust Devils might work. Pre-frag ball. Hmmm.

      • RidgeRunner,

        “Large bore, long range bb gun.” Already exists!
        I think my 58 cal (.575) DAQ Shortrifle and Pistol fill the bill; Lead bbs only though. Both are able to shoot at least two MOA groups out to 100. I suspect the extra 6″ of barrel on the rifle might extend that to 135+ or so given the LabRadar numbers.

        That also supports the idea that larger caliber solid copper bbs might be capable of much better performance.
        Rifled? Is that still a bb gun? I sure don’t know!


    • Maybe?

      I wrote Gamo, who owns Daisey, and suggested that they should consider a Magnum Model 25 (if the leverage math would work out) that would be upscale and for adults shooting LEAD SHOT somewhere between 500 and 700 fps. A Daisey Model 25 Mark II?

      Retaining much of the Model 25 but with no take down ability to retain accuracy and forged parts would raise the cost, but adults could afford this kind of thing. My Model 25 is jus a disappointment for accuracy; there is too much capacity for cumulative errors because of the flex points and stamped metal construction.

      Imagine a Smart Shot Model 25 with enhanced performance and still some form of 50-or-so shots. It would be great if the barrel could be fixed in place and the magazine mechanism still had its capacity, too.

  4. B.B.,

    I have a question about cheek weld. Before the Marauders I had no option but to work with what the stock offered. Now, I can adjust the cheek weld, but I am not sure how to get the best cheek weld. Mine is more of a jaw weld.

    Any pointers, articles or videos will be most welcome, from both you and your readers.

    My time on line is sketchy right now but I will check and read every item that reaches my email.

    This weekend I shot both the .177 and the .25. I still felt like a cat on catnip. I can’t shoot this well with any spring piston rifle I own, but perhaps my efforts at sighting and trigger pull were not in vein.

    Thank you,

    • Ken,

      For me,… it is cheek (bone) weld,… not cheek in general. It is all about repetition and being able to come back to that same point every time (reducing the need to get lined up with the scope). One method for setting up a scope for eye relief is to bring it to shoulder with your eyes closed,.. then open them. You want the picture to be clear naturally. The riser will help you achieve both.

      You also get something like a stick on cabinet door bumper, chair leg felt disk,.. or even just tape something to the riser. Something that your face will recognize. Those are the basics,… then just fine tune it to what works for you.


  5. B.B.,

    I boxed all your groups and the vast majority of them are horizontal rectangles. What do you suspect? My thought is the scope mount is still moving side to side from shot to shot.

    under HOWEVER 1st para., last sentence: “snug, though not what (I) would call tight.”


  6. “With the open sights it’s the most accurate lever action spring piston BB gun I have ever tested besides the Daisy 499.”
    I think you nailed it with that statement; this series of reports makes me lean toward the non-scope model for the grandkids: /product/john-wayne-lil-duke-bb-gun-rifle?m=4227#8113
    And should they not make it out here due to travel issues, I may just have to get one for the little kid in me. =>
    Thanks for another great series of reports; this is the only blog I read on a daily basis.
    Take care & God bless,
    and a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all,
    P.S. Here are 12 historically proven facts about the life of this legendary man:

    • Mel,

      That would be pretty wicked! The fps would be up (lighter than lead),… the fpe would be down (lighter than lead),….. expansion at target (forget about it). I would like to see it tried. If I had to guess,…. it has already been tried in rifled barrel with something like a ball bearing. Don’t know,………. 🙁 What caliber ya’ thinkin’?,……… .25 + ? 😉


      • I know that a major German match airgun maker once created large calibre match guns that shot plastic bb ammo. The idea was to circumvent German age restrictions for airgun shooting. The whole idea fizzled because laser guns proved to be a better option for this purpose. But apparently these ” match Airsoft guns” were accurate enough for training young people in target shooting.

        • Mel,

          Now that you mention that I did see a 10-meter airsoft target pistol that Daisy was considering importing. I wanted to test it but they did not bring it in. It came from the Orient, and looked exactly like a 10 meter target pistol. I suppose it could have been shot at shorter range though.

  7. This is my airsoft/BB modification. I sacrificed the stock to another project. The barrel is from a junk Crosman 2100 I picked up in a pawn shop. It actually shoots better with a scope.

    • Brent,

      WHAT????,…. exactly is that again? The stock, action power source? It shoots air soft bb’s and (obviously) the equivalent sized steel ball too?

      I’m confused. 🙁


  8. Ten shot 35 yard group from my .177 Beeman R-1 with the new Winchester roundnose pellets from Spain. I had two flyers (one not pictured) that were me. Has anyone weighed the new Winchester pellets?

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