Walther LGV Challenger: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGV breakbarrel air rifle
Walther’s LGV Challenger breakbarrel was a short-run success in 2013.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Firing behavior
  • Sight in
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Discussion

Today we start looking at the accuracy of the Walther LGV pellet rifle. We know from past reports that this rifle is stunningly accurate. And this isn’t the last we will test the rifle. There is more to come.

The test

As I said in Part 2 I knew this rifle was accurate, so I started today’s test at 25 yards. I shot with open sights. I didn’t remember that last time I struggled with vertical groups when open sights were used. It would have been better to mount a scope right up front, so that’s what I’ll do for next time

I shot off a sandbag rest, but I used an artillery hold, because in 2013 it worked best. The rifle floated on my off hand with the heel of the palm touching the triggerguard.

Firing behavior

The rifle is now shooting dead calm — no vibration that I can detect. The trigger has two spots of creep and then it’s ready to break.

Sight in

I had no idea of where the open sights were adjusted so I took it slow. One shot at 12 feet and another at 10 meters. I sighted in with Falcon pellets from Air Arms, so they were the first I shot for accuracy. It took 6 shots in total to get into the center of the bull at 25 yards.

Air Arms Falcon

Ten Falcon pellets went into 2.214-inches at 25 yards. Yuk! The group is very vertical, so I went back to the 2013 test and discovered that these open sights have that tendency when I shoot them.

Falcon group
The LGV Challenger put 10 Falcon pellets into 2.214-inches at 25 yards when fired with open sights.

JSB Exact RS

Would JSB Exact RS pellets do any better? I sure hoped so! They did do better but still not good. Ten pellets went into 1.207-inches at 25 yards. As before the group is vertical.

RS group
The LGV shot 10 JSB Exact RS pellets into 1.207-inches at 25 yards.

RWS Superdomes

Ten RWS Superdomes went into 1.261-inches at 25 yards. It’s a strange U-shaped group with a lot of verticality in it.

Superdome group
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 1.261-inches at 25 yards.

Discussion

It’s obvious that I need to mount a scope on this LGV. I think a small one will be perfect.

I have to do another 25-yard test with these same pellets.

The powerplant is now entirely stable. And I am assembling my grease gun though the job on the LGV to apply Tune in a Tube more precisely is done.


LGV Challenger: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGV breakbarrel air rifle
Walther’s LGV Challenger breakbarrel was a short-run success in 2013.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Tune in a Tube
  • LGV improperly greased by factory
  • Moly used improperly
  • Cocking effort
  • Firing behavior
  • Summary

Today I test the velocity of the Walther LGV Challenger. This modern classic breakbarrel has a lot to recommend it, but it does shudder with mainspring vibration. I will see if I can fix that today and what it will cost in terms of performance.

Tune in a Tube

Out comes the Tune in a Tube applicator. Mine was almost empty, so I refilled it from a 14-oz. cartridge of Almagard 3752 grease, which is what it is. But when the pistol was pushed the grease would not come out of the spout. The grease was migrating back around its internal piston and coming backwards, so it was clear this applicator was shot.

I used a cotton swab to spread the grease around the mainspring, but before we get to that I have some other things to tell you.

LGV improperly greased by factory

To grease the mainspring I had to remove the barreled action from the stock. When I did that I discovered two interesting things. First, there is a spring-loaded plate in the bottom of the stock to keep the articulated cocking link aligned. The end of the link passes through the cocking slot to connect with the piston, but it isn’t retained inside  the spring tube.

stock plate
The spring-loaded plate inside the stock channel keeps the two-piece cocking link aligned.

plate in stock
The spring-loaded plate (arrow) holds the cocking link against the piston.

Moly used improperly

The factory greased the mainspring with moly. That was the last thing I expected to see in this powerplant. Moly does nothing to dampen vibration and should only be used for friction reduction. It isn’t correct for this powerplant that has some looseness.

moly
Moly grease does nothing to dampen vibration. It is incorrect for this application.

As I said I used a cotton swab to apply some TIAT to the mainspring. Then I assembled the rifle and test-fired it. It was better but still not what I wanted. So out of the stock came the barreled action once more and I put in more TIAT. This time I was successful.

Velocity

Back in 2013 the LGV shot RWS Hobbys at an average 664 f.p.s. Today after applying the TIAT grease the average wa 631 f.p.s., but I want to show you the string, so you can see what I saw.


Shot……..Average
1…………..628
2…………..625
4…………..623
5…………..632
6…………..626
7…………..644
8…………..631
9…………..650
10…………625

The velocity spread went from a low of 623 to a high of 650 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 27 f.p.s. In 2013 the spread for Hobbys was 21 f.p.s.

What I see in the string is the velocity is increasing the more the rifle is shot. It may not return to 664 f.p.s. with Hobbys but an average of 650 might be possible.

Cocking effort

In 2013 it took 33 lbs.  to cock the LGV. Today it takes 32. That’s too close to call. I’d like to add that the barrel lock means you don’t have to slap the muzzle to break the barrel down for cocking.

Firing behavior

The rifle is relatively calm now. It isn’t the best I have shot but it’s ahead of where it was. It should feel good when I shoot for accuracy.

Summary

As far as I’m concerned, the LGV Challenger hasn’t changed that much since I last tested it. Therefore I plan to bypass the 10 meter test and go straight to 25 yards


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Sig Romeo5 XDR red dot sight
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sig 0.20-gram BBs
  • Discharge sound
  • TSD Tactical black
  • TSD Tactical white
  • Summary

Today is the final test of the Sig ProForce MCX Virtus airsoft gun. So far we have tested the velocity and accuracy of 0.20-gram and heavier BBs with the 120 mainspring the gun came with. Then we swapped in the 110 mainspring that was also included and tested the gun all over again.

Today we test the accuracy of the gun with the 110 spring and 0.20-gram BBs. Let’s get right to it.

The test

I shot outdoors at 10 meters. The gun was rested on a sandbag. The Romeo5 XDR dot sight is still zeroed from Part 4.

Sig 0.20-gram BBs

I started the test with the 0.20-gram BBs Sig sent with the gun. They don’t have a BB of their own, and I don’t know whose BBs these are. Ten went into 2.151-inches at 10 meters. The group is centered on the bullseye very well, but it is a little high. So I adjusted the dot sight down several clicks before shooting the next BB.

Virtus group Sig BBs
Ten Sig 0.20-gram BBs went into 2.151-inches at 10 meters. The group is high, so the sight setting was lowered.

Discharge sound

Now that I have a sound meter I tested the discharged noise of the gun. I put my phone 4 feet to the left of the muzzle and pointed the microphone at the muzzle. I write that as a note to myself for standardizing future sound testing. A shot registered 89.1 on the meter. The only comparison I can offer is the .22 CB cap I recorded last week. The phone was farther away for that test and not pointed at the muzzle, and the discharge registered 88.2 decibels. No doubt it would have been a lot louder if tested under the same conditions as the Virtus.

sound meter
The Virtus registered 89.1 decibels Number on the lower right) on the sound meter.

TSD Tactical black

Next I fired 10 TSD Tactical black 0.20-gram BBs. They grouped in 2.565-inches at 10 meters. They are lower on the target and centered very well but still a little high. After this group was completed I adjusted the Romeo5 down 3 more clicks.

Ten TSD black 0.20-gram BBs went into 2.151-inches at 10 meters. The group is well-centered but still a little high, so the sight was adjusted lower again.

TSD Tactical group black BBs
Ten black TSD Tactical BBs were more centered on the target but were not as tight as the Sig BBs.

TSD Tactical white

Next up were TSD white tactical BBs. By this time in the test the sun was behind me and I could see each BB flying toward the target. They seemed to fly in an arc that peaked 3 to 5 inches above the bullseye. But when I collected the target I saw that the BBs had struck in the black or just above. One shot was off the target paper on the high side and the group measures 2.004-inches between centers at 10 meters. It’s the smallest group of the test.

TSD Tactical group white BBs
One BB hit 1/2-inch above the target paper, making this a 2.004-inch group of 10 at ten meters.

Summary

Well that is the complete test of the Sig ProForce MCX Virtus airsoft gun. Based on what we have seen the heavier BBs (0.28-gram and 0.30-gram) are the most accurate, but the 0.20-BBs are not bad, either. Maybe if I had adjusted the Hop-Up for each BB we would have seen something even better. The gun handles the 120 spring readily, though I like the 110 spring for the lower strain it puts on the gearbox. The trigger is great and there were no problems with feeding, once I learned how the magazine operated.

This is a serious gamer’s close quarter battle gun. It’s rugged, reliable, accurate and works exactly as it should. The battery has lasted for all testing on just a single charge.

The Romeo5 XDR dot sight was a real treat to use! It adjusts precisely and I like that 50,000-hour battery life for the ONE AAA battery this sight uses! I will be sad to see this one go home.


What’s wrong with solid “pellets”?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Diabolo pellet
  • The couch coach solution
  • Tradeoffs
  • Summary

Today’s report was engendered by yesterday’s report about the AirForce Texan big bore air rifle. Many of you have been discussing the advantages of solid pellets over diabolos

Today I’d like to look at this question a little closer. For starters, let’s call solid pellets what they really are, which is bullets.

pellet bullet
A diabolo pellet on the left and a bullet on the right. Let’s call them what they are!

In the 1880s pellets were either solid lead or they were lead with felt glued onto their bottom. In flight the felt caught the air and slowed the slugs down, keeping their nose pointed  forward. Just after the turn of the 20th century the invention of the diabolo pellet changed pellets forever.

felted slugs
A felted slug has a small piece of felt glued to the bottom to provide air drag in flight.

Diabolo pellet

The diabolo pellet was named after the diabolo — a European juggling device.

diabolos
A diabolo is an object jugglers use. The pellet takes its name from them.

diabolo pellet
The diabolo pellet is far better ammunition for a pellet gun.

The wasp waist and flared hollow tail of the pellet create drag and push the weight forward — all to increase stability in flight. Bullets don’t do that. To stabilize a bullet you have to spin it on its long axis. The longer the bullet is, relative to its width (caliber), the faster it must be spun.This can be done in one of two ways. Either push the bullet faster or increase the rate of the rifling twist.

A .223 bullet weighing 55 grains and fired at 3,000 f.p.s. through a barrel with a 1 twist in twelve inches leaves the muzzle spinning 180,000 rpm. (that’s 3,000 times 60 seconds)That turns out to stabilize the bullet good enough for a couple seconds of flight to perhaps 300-yards. Now, to drive a bullet of that caliber and weight that fast takes a cartridge that produces about 55,000 psi of pressure. 

But a longer bullet of the same caliber that weighs 69 grains will need a twist rate of one turn in 8 inches. That’s one and one-half revolutions for every foot it travels. There is no way you can drive a bullet of that caliber and weight to 3,000f.p.s., so the twist rate needs to be increased to compensate for the loss of velocity. Pushing it out the spout at 2,700 f.p.s. gets a spin rate of 243,000 rpm, which stabilizes the bullet long enough to fly for almost 6 seconds. The heavier bullet goes slower but remains stable longer and is thus accurate even farther.

These are the games you play with bullets. And you want them to work in airguns?

The couch coach solution

Okay, someone says. If that’s that case I want a .357 big bore with a twist rate of one turn in one inch! A 700 f.p.s. rifle will get the bullet spinning 700 times 60, or 42,000 rpm.

No — it won’t. If an air rifle operating at 3,000 psi can push a 158-grain lead bullet out the muzzle at 700 f.p.s., it does it through a barrel that has a 1:16″ twist. Go to a 1:1″ twist and the exit velocity drops to 250 f.p.s. — if the gun even works at all! To go out at 700 f.p.s. you need 11,000 psi behind the bullet. Try to find that!

Tradeoffs

This is where a knowledge of black powder shooting really pays off. You soon learn there are limits you can’t get past and you have to learn to operate within those limits. Want to take bigger game? It may not be with higher velocity but with a heavier bullet of larger caliber. Well — isn’t that a lot like airgunning? Sure you can shoot a pellet at 1,300 f.p.s., but it gets you nothing because you can’t hit what you shoot at! But if you shoot at 850 f.p.s. and learn to hit everything, then you have the world on a string!

Summary

It’s easy to design the perfect universe where the $300 air rifle puts 10 pellets into 0.15-inches at 25 yards and therefore 0.30-inches at 50 yards and 0.60-inches at 100 yards and so on… But that ain’t the real world.

Said another way, leave the solid pellets to the big bore airguns and firearms.


AirForce Texan: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Texan
AirForce Texan big bore.

This report covers:

History
Here is the deal
No more energy is needed
The TX2 valve
Summary

Twenty-five years ago big bore airguns were the stuff of dreams. They existed as antiques in collections, but for those who lacked big cash, they were unapproachable. Then, in 1996, Dennis Quackenbush did something about it. He started building the .375-caliber Brigand. It shot .375-caliber round balls and was a bolt-action breechloader. It was powered by bulk CO2 gas and put the ball out the muzzle at around 675 f.p.s. I tested mine on 1100 psi air and got velocities of 800 f.p.s. and more.

History

What followed is history, First the Koreans jumped on the bandwagon, followed by the Turks. They made high-caliber big bores, but in terms of energy they put out half or less of what a really powerful big bore did.

Back to Quackenbush — his .457 Outlaw produced over 500 foot-pounds (mine got 539 foot-pounds) and became the industry benchmark for a powerful big bore.

Big bores captured everyone’s attention.  We even had an annual shoot at targets out to 300 yards.

In 2014 I was invited over to AirForce Airguns to see something new. It turned out to be the rifle we now know as the Texan. It was initially built in .458 caliber, and now exists as a .257, .308, .357, .458 (AirForce calls it a .457, but that size bullet is hard to find. They also make it in .50 caliber! All barrels are Lothar Walther.

Here is the deal

Many big bores these days require being pressurized to 4,500 psi. That means after the initial fill even your large carbon fiber tank will no longer fill to capacity. The Texan only fills to 3,000 psi, and it gets three powerful shots on a fill. And it is accurate.

In 2015 I shot five 215-grain semi-wadcutter bullets into 0.762-inches at 50 yards and six of the same bullet into 1.506-inches at 100 yards! That, my friends, is some shooting!

Texan big bore best group 50
At 50 yards, I managed to put five 215-grain bullets into 0.762 inches. This was clearly a good bullet!

https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/AirForce_Texan_Big_Bore_Air_Rifle/3575Texan big bore best group 100

Remember, we measure from the center of the 2 holes farthest apart. That equals 1 bullet radius (center to edge equals one radius). So, subtract one bullet diameter (.458″) from the measurement shown on the calipers.

Texan big bore Tank
Tank Fisher gets down on the Texan at 50 yards. Off to the right of the 50-yard berm is the 100-yard target berm, and to the right of that you see the 200-yard berm.

No more energy is needed

A .22 Hornet cartridge produces just under 700 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Would you shoot an American bison with one? I hope not!

But Stephan Boles shot and killed a bison with a souped-up Quackenbush .457. The bullet went completely through the side of the animal and was lost.

So — here is the deal. we don’t need big bores with greater muzzle energy. They shoot through the largest animals already. More energy will just be wasted.

Big bores kill game through bleed-out. The animal bleeds until it expires. A larger caliber means faster blood loss. But more energy is meaningless.

AirForce Texan buffalo
in 2007 Stephan Boles killed an American Bison with a Quackenbush .457 Long Action.

But numbers sell airguns and in the big bore game the number is foot-pounds. So, even though it was already the world’s most powerful production big bore, AirForce upgraded the valve for greater power.

The TX2 valve

The TX2 air valve is found on the .50 caliber and .45 caliber Texans. With a carbon fiber reservoir filled to 3,500 psi a .50-caliber Texan with the TX2 valve will get three shots at over 700 foot-pounds and the first one will top 800 foot-pounds. And that is with a rifle that weighs less than 8 lbs. 

Texan splats
Two .50-caliber bullet splats taken from the steel trap at AirForce.

Summary

I haven’t even finished introducing you to the Texan yet but I have to end it here. I have an eye doctor’s appointment and when both eyes are dilated I can’t see the computer screen. Just know there is a lot more to come.


Walther LGV Challenger: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGV breakbarrel air rifle
Walther’s LGV Challenger breakbarrel was a short-run success in 2013.

History of airguns

This report covers:

I have been thinking about doing this report for several years. The Walther LGV Challenger is an air rifle that went extinct just after I reported on it in 2013. There was an entire range of modern LGVs. Many had wood stocks and upgraded features and they are all gone now, but it was the Challenger in its black synthetic stock that caught my eye at the 2013 SHOT Show.

The one I am reporting today retailed for $566.10 in 2013. Others in the line went up into the $600s.

The first LGVs

There was an old LGV, of course. Several of them, in fact. They represented Walther’s high-water mark in the 1970s with breakbarrel recoiling spring-piston target rifles, coming at the end of a long line of developments in that field. They were contemporary with the LGR Universal I tested for you last month.

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 10-22-10-01-Walther-LGV-Olympia Walther LGV Olympia was a top-quality 10 meter target rifle from the 1970s. The weather cooperated yesterday and gave me a perfect day at the range, so I was able to shoot the Walther LGV Olympia at 50 yards. I also shot the Talon SS with the 1:22" twist barrel before the wind kicked up and stopped all airgun shooting, so I'm on the way to the final test of the different twist rates. I knew the LGV Olympia was never going to hit the target, no matter what I did to the rear sight, so I placed two 3-inch bulls on a 2-foot by 4-foot piece of target paper and used them for sighting. The shots landed far below these bulls, of course. How far is an eye-opener, so I took a picture of it so you could see. 06-22-13-01-Walther-LGV-Olympia-50-yard-groups The pellets landed about 18-inches below the aim point at 50 yards. The sights had the pellets hitting the center of the target at 25 yards, so this is how far they drop in the second 25 yards. Notice that the center of the group of JSB Exact Jumbos on the right is about 2 inches lower than the center of the RWS Superdomes on the left. I fully expected this to happen, so I stapled the bullseye targets to a huge piece of target paper, so the pellet holes would show. Knowing they could well go to the same point I used two separate bullseyes as aim point, and from the picture you can see that was a good idea. I selected the two best pellets from the 25-yard test for this. They were the JSB Exact Heavy, which was the best pellet at 25 yards, and the RWS Superdome that took second place. I shot off a sandbag with the rifle rested on the flat of my hand in the classic artillery hold. The flight time of both pellets was extreme. Although I couldn't see them in flight, the flight time told me they were dropping rapidly as they moved downrange. JSB Exact Heavy The first pellet I tried was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy. It is far too heavy for the LGV Olympia powerplant, but in the 25-yard test 10 Exact Jumbos went into a group that measures 0.354-inches between centers. So a novice might expect that since the range was doubled, the group size would be as well. That would give us something like a 0.70-inch group for this pellet. 06-22-13-02-Walther-LGV-Olympia-50-yard-group-with-JSB-Exact-Heavy The 50-yard group was larger than expected. Ten JSB Exact heavys went into 2.285-inches What I actually got was 2.283-inches between the centers of the two pellets that were farthest apart. Thats roughly 6 times larger than the 25-yard group and more than 3 times the expected size, if you simply try to extrapolate from 25 yards to 50 yards. This is why you have to be careful when making generalizations about accuracy. The shooting conditions were perfect for this test. There was no breeze to speak of and if I felt something I always waited it out. I also had no shots that were called as anything but perfect. So what you see here represents the best I was able to do with the LGV Olympia at 50 yards with this JSB pellet. RWS Superdome The second-best pellet at 25 yards was the RWS Superdome that gave me a 10-shot group measuring 0.695 inches. Multiply that by 6 and you get an anticipated group size of 4.17-inches. I'm doing that because of what happened with the JSB Exact Jumbos. 06-22-13-03-Walther-LGV-Olympia-50-yard-group-with-RWS-Superdomes RWS Superdomes opened up even more than JSB Exact Jumbos. This group measures 3.062-inches between centers. What Superdomes actually did was put 10 shots into 3.062-inches -- so it was better than predicted (if you use the 6-times predictor) but was certainly much larger than simply double the 25-yard group size. The lesson here is that group size does not simply increase linearly with distance. We hear that all the time. If a certain gun shoots 1-inch at 100 yards we say it should shoot 2 inches at 200 yards. I'm saying that rarely happens. Usually the group will open faster as the distance increases. Not always, but usually. Evaluation The Walther LGV Olympia is a remarkable airgun. Out to 25 yards it is extremely accurate, plus it is very easy to cock and quiet to shoot. Beyond 25 yards, though, the LGV Olympia quickly gets outside its comfort zone. There just isn't enough power pushing the pellet to hold the group size to what you might expect. These results are consistent with the results I got when shooting the FWB 300S at 50 yards. Installing a scope helped, but only marginally. So I'm not going to put a scope on this rifle. I'm satisfied with this test and that's as far as I'm going in this test.
Walther LGV OLympia.

Why the Challenger?

My LGV Challenger has several features that I like. It is quite accurate. It is easy to cock — at least for the first part of the stroke. It is .22 caliber, which makes it easier to load. The pivot joint is very tight which contributes to the accuracy — or at least we all feel that it does. And it has a barrel lock that helps keep the breech sealed tight. It shoots most pellets well, which makes it a real plus for the guy who doesn’t have a lot of different brands on hand.

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle barrel lock
Challenger barrel lock

The barrel lock makes the breech very tight.

The bad points

The LGV Challenger is not perfect, however. It has a slight buzz when it fires. In 2013 I could tolerate it, but in this day of Tune in a Tube there is no longer any reason to put up with it. It also has fiberoptic sights—boo! But I found they don’t gather light too well and they look dark when shooting — yea! The muzzle is threaded for an add-on silencer, which is next to useless with a spring piston rifle that generates all its noise in the powerplant. Still, it is there for those who want it.

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle rear sight
Fiberoptic sights!

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle threaded muzzle
A threaded muzzle — your call.

The rifle was advertised as having a match trigger. It does not. While the vintage LGV really did have a match trigger, just saying it doesn’t make it so. When are the marketing departments going to realize that calling something “match” only draws attention to it and makes everyone scrutinize it more closely? The second stage of the trigger on the LGV Challenger is somewhat creepy.

Power

The power is just under 11 foot-pounds. When I learned that in the last test I said, Ten years ago, that would be a suicide marketing venture, because the 1,000 f.p.s. mark was considered the gold standard (and 800 in .22). Today, we know better, and I’m here to tell you — this is a seriously classic air rifle. I can see a long and successful life ahead for the new LGV series, as long as it holds up in the accuracy department.”

Well — I was wrong. It was accurate, but the entire line was discontinued in about 18 months. I was so sorry to see what had the potential to become a time-honored classic disappear. You know FWB tried to resurrect the success of their 124 in the new FWB Sport and they missed the mark, but Umarex was sitting on a potential icon and they killed it. Well — I got mine!

This report

So, this will be a traditional report with a couple things added. I will inject Tune in a Tube into the mainspring to quiet the action and I will attempt to adjust the trigger to be crisper. At 1 lb. 10 oz. it’s light enough — just a little creepy. I will quiet the spring before testing the velocity — just so we know.

I tested the rifle out to 50 yards last time. That proved to be a bit too far, but at 25 yards it was really good.

Summary

What we have in the Walther LGV Challenger is a modern air rifle that has transitioned over to the historical section. If you sometimes wish you had been around when airguns like the FWB 124 and the Hakim were available, this is your chance to turn back the clock.


Writing a guest blog: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

Edith was my mentor
I will help 
Take the time you need
Photos and text
This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.
The rights
What should you NOT do?
Discovery writing
Summary

Every so often a certain blog will hit a nerve and you readers respond. I have seen this happen dozens of times over the 15.5 years this blog has run.  Maybe that is because over time all of our tastes change in a subtle way. One thing is certain, though — you cannot predict the topic that will cause this reaction. If you try, you will fail every time. So you watch for it and respond when it happens.

Yesterday’s blog by Ian McKee, or reader 45 Bravo, was such a report. I think what he did was touch many of you where you live when he said,”YOU know something about a subject that NO ONE else knows, and it is your duty to share that knowledge with someone.”

If you thought about that you knew it was true. I see it come through in your comments. Some of you are college professors with a great knowledge of the English language, yet you have the mature good sense not to confront someone directly and embarrass them when they make a mistake — me, included. So you come in obliquely and reveal what they need to know without pushing their nose in it.

Edith was my mentor

Many of you know that my wife Edith was my editor. When I lost her, I lost a critical part of what I need to write this blog. but reader Siraniko from the Philippines stepped in and started helping me with the editing. He had to do it after each report was published and some of you thought he was being nit-picky, but I welcomed his help and I still do. Typographical errors are very disturbing to me, as well as to many of you.

In 1994 when the only airgun magazine that was published in the United States went belly-up and took half my subscription money, I whined and cried for weeks! It wasn’t the money — it was loosing my only source of information about airguns — a subject I loved dearly.

One day Edith came to me and said, “Why don’t you write an airgun magazine?” I told her that I didn’t know enough to write about, which was very true at the time. So she handed me a 14-inch legal tablet and told me to write down the titles of the topics I knew enough to write about. Hours later I had filled almost three pages with topics, and some had subtopics under them. That’s how The Airgun Letter, a monthly newsletter about airguns, was born!

A year after we started the newsletter I got the idea to buy, test and tune up a Beeman R1 rifle. The installments in the newsletter became the basis for my first book! I certainly was no expert on the Beeman R1, but 25 years later the world thinks I am.

When I read 45Bravo’s guest blog, I realized he was right! You do know things that we would all like to know.

I will help 

He was also right when he told you that I will help you. In that sense I become your editor. And, after you see what I do with your first article you will get better — which I am defining as more like what I want to see.

Take the time you need

I crank out a new blog five days a week. Some of you are amazed I can do that. But I am like Meadowlark Lemon, the center of the old Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. I can pass, dribble, shoot and talk smack at the same time, because I have been doing this for so long. You don’t have to do that. You can take a month to write about whatever you want, then set it aside as 45Bravo said, and when you come back to it a week later it will be easier for you to make corrections. Don’t give yourself some arbitrary deadline and then stress out when time passes and you have done nothing.

Photos and text

Here is what reader RidgeRunner asked. “BB,
Perhaps you can expound on what format, picture size, etc. you would prefer to receive blog submissions in.”

This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.

“Write your blog in a rich test format (.rtf) file, please. No word processors, because they embed formatting that takes me hours to edit. You put in an ampersand (&) and it comes across as four meaningless characters (:&,;) A rich text format program is the simplest word processor on your computer or tablet. Write something short and save the file. The file name should end with a .rtf designator.

Do not embed links to products like you see me doing in the blog. The way WordPress (the software I use to publish each blog) works, I have to remove those links manually and then do something entirely different in WordPress as I format the blog. This past January WordPress was updated to a version that works differently than it did in the past

Indicate where you want the photos to go in the text and give me a caption for each one if it applies, but please don’t embed the pictures in the text. If the photo needs no caption, indicate that, too. Send the pictures to me separately in the following format:

Images used in blogs must be .jpg images no larger than 560 pixels wide by 730 pixels high. They should be saved at 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Some of your cameras save them at 96 dpi. I will convert them to 72 dpi, but they will become smaller when I do.

Images must be rgb color, not cmyk If you don’t know the color specification, save the pic for the internet and that will format it correctly.” Does that help?

The rights

Here is also what I tell all who submit a guest blog.

To accept a guest blog for publication, you must agree to abide by the following 3 (three) rules.

1. Any blog content that Pyramyd Air accepts & publishes (text & images) is the sole property of Pyramyd Air and cannot be duplicated or reproduced in whole or in part in any form. Pyramyd Air is the sole copyright owner of all images and text it publishes in any media or form.

2. Pyramyd Air has the right to edit, use, or not use all or part of any guest blog submission. If we do not use your guest blog, then you retain all rights.

3. Submitted content and graphics must be free of any other copyright reservations.

What should you NOT do?

Don’t write me at [email protected] and ask me what you should write about. When someone does that it goes into the trash, because I know they haven’t got a clue. I get email offers for guest blogs all the time (a couple each week) from startup businesses that want the powerful fetch of the Pyramyd Air website to boost their online presence. Somehow they have discovered that this blog is read all over the world by hundreds of thousands of individuals, and they want in on it. It ain’t a-gonna happen. Years ago I allowed a writer for the New York Times to write a guest blog. She wrote a fluff piece that included the word airgun about 50 times — thinking that that is how I get the visibility I do. Sorry, lady but that ain’t the way it works and Google has algorithms that look at all new material (they call it organic, because it conveys something new) for things like that. It’s an easy way to get the blog barred from the internet for a season. When she worked there, Edith warned Cheaper Than Dirt, who hired an outside firm to boost their internet presence that way, and they were kicked off Google for two years! In other words, no Google search would ever find them! Edith contacted Google and explained what had happened, promising it would never happen again, and the exclusion was reduced to three months.

Discovery writing

When I started writing for The Airgun Letter I wrote like I was telling something to my best friend. Edith called it discovery writing. I knew I didn’t know everything, but I did know some things and that was what I wrote about. I may not know much about a faulty camshaft but I sure as heck know what one did to my engine when I installed it!

Some people mistakenly believe they must be experts in what they write about, so they labor over their words like a prosecuting attorney, trying to pick each sentence apart to find any flaws. If I did that you would get five blogs a year instead of five a week. In other words — I make mistakes!

A pastor I once knew and respected said, “A job worth doing is worth doing poorly.” In other words — GET ON WITH IT! Let that be the guiding principal for your guest blog.

Summary

If you have something to say, a guest blog is a great way to say it. Sure the comments are okay, but if you want others to know — do a guest blog.