by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Everybody’s a prepper — let’s get an airgun!
- What you know
- The BIG one!
- Clean that barrel
- You can shoot quietly at home with the right airgun
- A powerful air pistol
- Bullets have to fit the barrel
- A cheaper way to shoot at home
- How did you know that?
The current world situation in the year 2020 has caused many people to become preppers. People who are not mentally suited to preparedness are doing things these days that they have never done before. I saw the same thing happen in 1977, when I returned from Europe and watched the aftermath of the 1973-74 gas crisis. People were eschewing land yachts in favor of more economical automobiles that they could sustain in times when there wasn’t enough gas to go around.
Everybody’s a prepper — let’s get an airgun!
Now that ammunition and even reloading supplies are unavailable (in the United States) I hear people talking about getting an airgun. But what they don’t know, and you do, is going to hurt them!
What you know
You know instinctively that higher velocity is meaningless without accuracy. Those new to airguns are attracted to the velocity figures, and the highest one must be the best. You know that if your pellet doesn’t hit the target, all the velocity in the world is meaningless.
You know that breakbarrel springers can be extremely accurate. The uninitiated think that because the barrel moves when the rifle is cocked, it must be less accurate. And the kinds of breakbarrels they buy at the discount stores will only confirm their beliefs! You know that a SIG ASP20 can have the same high velocity they seek, yet also outshoot anything they can find in the big box store. See what you know?
The BIG one!
You know that ALL rifles, both air-powered and firearms, are very subject to barrel droop. These new guys don’t. They buy their $1,500 AR-15 and then go through scope after scope and mount after mount until they either give up, or resign themselves to the fact that an AR-15 isn’t accurate, or they blunder into one of the drooper scope mounts made for AR-15s and they correct the situation.
At present these “downward-angled” scope rings are being sold under the auspices of making rifles that are sighted for 300 yards suitable to shoot 1,000 yards — you know — macho stuff! The truth is, guys are using them to correct barrel drooping (and scopes not holding zero) issues a lot closer than that. They just don’t like to talk about it in public. But you guys know all this and don’t have to pay the price that the newbies pay! See what you know?
Clean that barrel
B.B. Pelletier is a proponent of never cleaning an airgun barrel — unless it needs it! When does BB say to clean a barrel? When accuracy drops off. Now, I would love to pretend I’m Mr Miyagi and that I was just testing my students, but the real truth is — reader Yogi recommended that I clean the barrel of the Beeman 900/Diana 10 target pistol with a brass brush and JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound! Good work, Yogi. I needed to be reminded of that. I will clean it before the next shooting session. See what you know?
You can shoot quietly at home with the right airgun
Think this is a well-known fact? Think again. The others go to the box store and choose a rifle from the three or four on the shelves. They choose it on power (velocity) and price. You know they do because that was once you and me. Then they discover that all that power brings on vibration, hard cocking, loud noise and horrible accuracy. Oh, you could teach them the artillery hold and cut the size of their groups dramatically, but even more so by showing them your Price-Point PCP. Your rifle is more powerful, more accurate and quieter than theirs. They complain that they don’t want to buy all the other stuff that your rifle needs to work and you teach them about 2,000 psi being just as capable as 3,000 psi, and what a hand pump can do. See what you know?
A powerful air pistol
“They” want an air pistol that’s just as powerful as their air rifle. All they know about are the few CO2 pistols they’ve seen at the discount store. You show them your TalonP pistol in .25 caliber and tell them that it’s 2-1/2 times more powerful than their .177 Gato Buzzalot breakbarrel. They say that’s fine, but can they get one that powerful that also fits in their pocket? Sure. Have them transport to Jupiter Station and the replicator there will build it for them.
You try to explain that with pneumatic and gas guns, the length of the barrel plays a huge factor in determining the velocity. They wonder why, because they have read that a Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum revolver produces the same energy as a 30-06 rifle (2,800 foot-pounds). And “they” can get one with a 3.5-inch barrel from the S&W Custom Shop. You ask if “they” have ever fired one of those revolvers and they start giggling. They haven’t, but they’ve watched several videos on You Tube of people shooting them.
Then you inform them that a 3.5-inch barreled revolver won’t get anywhere near the power that the standard 8.38-inch barrel will — probably less than half as much. They want to know how you know that and, because you are an airgunner, you can explain it to them in detail. See what you know?
Bullets have to fit the barrel
A buddy of yours just found an almost-full box of 130-grain .30-30 bullets. He sold his .30-30 ten years ago, but he has a 7.62X39 upper for his AR. He reloads for that caliber but these bullets turned out to be lousy in his gun. His five-shot groups at 100 yards are larger than 12 inches! You told him that the .308-caliber bullet for the .30-30 couldn’t possibly be accurate in the .310-inch bore of his upper. He asked why. Aren’t they both .308s? You explained that not all 7.62 mm cartridges are .308, just like a .38 Special is really smaller than .36 caliber and a .38-40 is really a .40 caliber.
You know this because you know all about the fit of the pellet to the bore. You even sort pellets by head size with the Pelletgage. See what you know?
A cheaper way to shoot at home
A guy at work told you he wants quieter .22 ammo so he can shoot his pistol in the basement without disturbing his family. You made him aware of the Beeman P17 and then turned him on to the 2-part resealing series for that pistol. He was able to buy a pistol and 500 pellets for less than what he would have to pay for a brick of .22 CB caps on Gun Broker. He’s shooting again very safely in his basement and having the time of his life! See what you know?
How did you know that?
Your brother-in-law showed you his aging Benjamin 392. He said it doesn’t work anymore and wondered if you would take a look at it. He said he has always pumped it 18-20 times for more power. The manual said to stop at 10 pumps, but that was just lawyer-talk to keep it safe. He knew what he was doing. The last time he pumped it he was watching TV and lost track of the count. But it had to be 25 pumps or more. When it didn’t fire he pumped it 10 more times, but nothing came out. So he brought it to you.
You asked him when was the last time he oiled it and he told you that nothing squeaks. The felt ring in front of the pump cup is bone dry. You partially disassembled the action and tapped the valve stem with a fat punch and a plastic hammer to release all the air. Then you oiled the pump cup and pumped the rifle 8 times and voila — it shot like new. All the while you did this you instructed your brother-in-law on the fine art of operating a multi-pump. See what you know?
You may not consider yourself to be an expert on airguns or on shooting in general, but through this blog and the comments we read every day, you really are!