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Competition BB needs your help

BB needs your help

This report covers:

  • The new look of the blog
  • Keep on truckin’
  • Help!
  • The programs
  • What has changed
  • Video games
  • Lists are garbage!
  • Tricks
  • No candy!
  • Parents can watch
  • Special needs kids
  • Where I need your help
  • Marksmanship course

The new look of the blog

I know the look of the blog has changed. No, I didn’t request the change, but I’ll tell you why “they” did it. Pyramyd AIR always wanted the blog to be a part of their website, but the way it was formatted before, it looked separate. Now there is a hot link to the Pyramyd website at the top of the page. Click on it and you are there. It doesn’t open in a new tab, so you have to toggle back to the blog when you want to return. Toggling is done by an arrow on my Mac. I have no idea what it is on a PC or a smart phone. The links on the right side of the page are gone, but the ones people actually used are preserved somewhere else on the blog page.

No, the blog wasn’t “broke” but it also wasn’t doing all that Pyramyd AIR wanted. Just like their website, the blog took months to redesign and no doubt there will be some changes in the days ahead. 

I still link in the report to products Pyramyd AIR has in inventory (or on order), so you can still click on the links for those things in the report. The blog now has a place for an excerpt in the thumbnail you see on the home page. The software is set to collect the first few words I write, which in most cases doesn’t make a lot of sense. but today I wrote a specific blurb for this report. That one makes more sense to me, and you will be seeing it from now on.

We are creatures of habit, and I for one am hugely fixated on what I have known and have been doing. Obviously there are big changes in the new blog format, and they are changes I will have to get used to. I don’t know where everything is yet, just like you, and it will take some time to get comfortable. The last time the blog changed in a major way was when we went from Blogger to WordPress, and there were huge changes I had to learn.

Keep on truckin’

I plan to cooperate and graduate, which is to say I plan to learn how all this stuff works and how I can make the best of it. In the end, that plan has served me well throughout the years.


Today I am asking for your help. My church is activating a dormant Royal Rangers group and I volunteered to teach gun safety and marksmanship training. I have taught kids gun safety and marksmanship before, but so much has changed in the 20 years I have been away from it that I’m looking for some good dad and grandpa advice today.

The programs

The Royal Rangers is a youth program for boys from kindergarten to 12th grade, and is further divided into smaller age-appropriate groups. You can think of it as similar to the Boy Scouts that it was modeled after. We anticipate most of our kids in the first group will be in school grades 3-5. But this program will be open to kids from all over the area, so we could grow rapidly.

This is an activity-based organization and marksmanship training is one of the activities, so gun safety also has to be taught. Royal Rangers calls it firearms safety, but since we will also be shooting BB guns and pellet guns I have changed the name to just gun safety. I will teach firearm safety, to be sure, but my course will have to be about more than just that.

Build a Custom Airgun

What has changed

When I took a course on firearm safety and also learning to shoot, it was taught by the NRA in Akron, Ohio in the middle 1950s. In those days kids were brought up to respect policemen, teachers and all adults. If an adult you didn’t know told you to do something, you did it without asking questions. I’m not saying that we didn’t misbehave or act up, but when we did any adult could put us in our place and our parents backed them up.

That isn’t the case today. Without getting into a political diatribe I will just observe that today’s “little pictures” expect to be both seen and heard. And they also play video games.

Video games

The first thing I will impress upon my students is that a gun (firearm, airgun, airsoft gun, paintball gun, etc. should never be pointed at anything you don’t intend to shoot. That’s different from the standard “Always point the gun in a safe direction.” In my world, there are no safe directions! Determining what direction is safe is a judgement call, and in my experience people just learning about guns don’t yet have the background they need to make that call.

Beyond that, I believe some of their parents also can’t make that call, and yet they may have taught their kids certain things about gun safety. Some parents think that by hiding the guns or locking them up they are being safe, but I remember searching all over my house and even removing the hinges from locked doors to get at things I wanted to see. Where there is a will…

The last thing I want to do is criticize something mom, dad or the grandparents have taught the child. But there will be a lot of us when the shooting starts so I also want them to know how to be safe.

They play video games where shooting opponents is fun, and now I will be telling them to never point a gun at anything you don’t intend shooting. Some people think there is no conflict because in a video game you aren’t “really” pointing a gun. Their parents also play video games like this, so it’s not just the kids. I have to get my point across somehow.

I can’t tell kids most of my gun safety anecdotes. Like the time my first sergeant pumped the guard’s shotgun to eject the shell and then pulled the trigger, thinking he had made the gun safe. He put a hole in the ceiling of the arms room! Or the lieutenant who racked the slide on his 1911 sidearm and then ejected the magazine and fired into the sand barrel outside the building where he was picking up the payroll for the company. Just one step out of place made all the difference in the world! First you eject the magazine, or empty the shotgun’s tubular magazine, then you rack the slide/pump the shotgun. Then, before pulling the trigger, you inspect both the chamber and the magazine well/tube to make sure there aren’t any more rounds in the gun. Ready, aim, fire — not ready, fire, aim.

These are good anecdotes, but not for kids. I need something to impress them that doesn’t frighten some of them, yet is something they can understand and internalize.

Lists are garbage!

The Royal Ranger training materials has a list of the “11 safety rules for handling an airgun”. All that does is let the kids who can memorize lists get one up on the kids who can’t. I have just one safety rule — never point a gun at something you don’t intend to shoot. I can expand that into a short class on all the other safety steps, like how to handle guns, and so on. Instead of “assume every gun is loaded”, in my class every gun IS loaded. What I mean by that is, handle every gun as though it is loaded. Of course there will be no loaded guns until we are on a range and the shooters have demonstrated that they have learned the range safety rules.


I have a few tricks up my sleeve that most adults have never seen, but which I have learned work better than any lists. I tell the kids to call out “CEASE FIRE” whenever they see the muzzle of a gun about to point at someone, or when one is actually pointing at someone. I make them practice that one command over and over. And then, throughout my class, I occasionally do things that call for them to use that command, to see if they are paying attention. This gets those kids who are on the periphery paying attention to everything that’s going on.

I have heard stories of kids who called out “CEASE FIRE” at home, when one of their parents made an unsafe move with a gun. At first it scared the parent, then they got angry (why is my kid telling me what to do?) and finally they realized that their kid had internalized the most important rule of safe gun handling.

No candy!

My kid’s pastor who is in charge of the Royal Rangers group told me he uses candy to keep them focused. Not me! There won’t be any candy in my classes. The last thing I need when we are about to handle guns is a bunch of kids hyped-up on sugar rushes!

Parents can watch

I will invite the parents to watch the classes if they want. It wouldn’t hurt them to see their kid behaving responsibly, even if it’s only for a short time.

The kids who just can’t stay focused, and in my experience there is always one or two, won’t get to shoot or perform the scheduled activity for that session, when the time comes. I have seen this refocus a hyper kid who really wanted to shoot and was barred for the session. They can retake the training and demonstrate they have learned the skill during the next session, if they want. Some kids will drop out of the program because of this, but most kids will knuckle down and stop acting up. Either way I have a room of shooters who are paying attention.

Special needs kids

We do have kids with special needs. Autism in several forms is the leading issue. And because we are opening the group to kids outside our church I have little control over it. This is a situation that has to be dealt with one person at a time. The good news is parents or guardians with special needs kids know very well what has to be done and they come along with the kids to watch them.

Where I need your help

Guys, teaching gun safety is pretty dry. It’s not like I will be passing guns around the room or anything. I will have a few guns in class to demonstrate things, but that is as far as it will go. If this was one-on-one it would be much easier, but what it probably will be is me in front of 10 or even 15 kids this first time. What can I do to spice things up safely?

The one incentive they will have is that success in the safety course guarantees admission to the marksmanship course. If they haven’t taken the safety class they will have to demonstrate safety skill before they will be allowed into the marksmanship course.

Marksmanship course

After the safety course I will start the marksmanship course. This is where I teach the kids to shoot. I’m starting them with the Daisy 499 at 5 meters and then moving on to 10-meter target pellet rifles.

The Daisy 499 will be used to tech kids how to shoot.

Royal Rangers is activity-based. I am not starting a youth marksmanship team. This is just an activity that lasts for three months each year. As the size of the group grows, kids may participate in other activities that will be held at the same time. It’s an either/or situation, so they will have to select what they want to do.

The Royal Rangers is a boys-only group, but there is a female group that used to be called Missionettes and is now called Girl’s Ministries. We will also start that group and we will try to have many activities together. Gun safety training and marksmanship training will be boys and girls, combined.

I look forward to any tips or advice you have to offer

99 thoughts on “BB needs your help”

  1. Very cool, and a worthwhile mission.
    It sounds like you are going to have your hands full.
    But very rewarding…

    I bet $10 that the girls will be better students, and out shoot the boys when competition time comes..


  2. B.B.,

    I wish you the best. I have one grandkid that threw down the safety list and had no inclination of learning safety or marksmanship. We did not even get to handling the Red Ryder. I shut down the whole idea of him learning to shoot under my guidance. He is into rc cars and driving quads and has played video games since he was a babe. I have not give up but don’t know where to start.

    My wish would be to take him on a week long live off the land hike with no outside communication. Don’t think he could handle it at this time. I think neither of us would make it, if he did not carry some of my weight.

    I hope to also learn some teaching skills from this report. Let me just say beware of the parents, as you know they have brought the kids up to this point.

    I wish you the best again, and the patience you will need. Times have changed. I grew up treating all guns as loaded because they were.

    I know you are asking for help but so am I.


    • I say this as a father and hopefully one day grandfather, not as an airgun/firearms enthusiast, why if he isn’t interested do you want to do this?
      Perhaps you could take part in some of his activities and build your relationship in the way so that then he will want to participate in activities with you that he may not enjoy.

      I have done what you are suggesting as an activity and frankly I hated it. I enjoy a great many outdoor activities, hunting, fishing and hiking, but at the end of a day I want a cold beer, a hot shower and a soft bed.

      • Steven,

        Thanks for your reply. As usual I wasn’t very clear. He did want to join his father and I when we were plinking in the back yard. He just did not take the safety issue seriously at all. I am sure my approach to the situation was not good. Hopefully next time I can do better. The other grandkids know when I am serious and listen to what I say.

        I am not sure if he would like living off the land, maybe not. It was my favorite thing to do when I was younger. Not starting out with nothing but supplementing a basic food supply with hunting, fishing and gathering.


        • Benji-Don,

          Maybe you can start him with one of the Classic movies about survival or frontier living and/or books about Survival and survival stories. Perhaps a brief discussion about where food comes from and what could be done by him/her if that source were disrupted.
          Lots of possibilities on why he is opposed to learning a few basic rules. My wife taught Special Ed. K-12 and had each of her classes/groups draft a set of class rules (after telling them that the basis of their work should be the Golden Rule) they made good short lists that they could abide by. They invariably took ownership and did a good job of creating a peaceful and productive classroom.

          Might work with you grands.


  3. I just checked the comments on yesterday’s report and it looks like IT has it working better. Now I can finally read the comments. Glad of that. It was terrible before yesterday’s fix.

    • Gunfun1,
      I appreciate all the conversations and advice that you’ve shared with me over the last couple of years on this blog. I’ve followed this blog for the last 6 years and have really grown to appreciate its unique style. For the bean counters to throw all that away so customers can have better links to the bean pages is just unconscionable to me, it’s almost an act of violence against the creator of the page to not preserve the original format of the page. Literary freedom is so important to me that I’ve decided to take permanent vacation from the new spaghetti blog. I’m probably also going to do so from the air gun distributors who pepper me with daily ads and especially if I look at anything on their page.
      Best Wishes,

      • Brent
        I appreciate the words.

        And yesterday before they got the blog straightened out I was about done with it. Heck I couldn’t read anything anyway.

        But today it seems better. And I agree with the things you said except for one thing. The permanent vacation. Hang in there with us and give it some time. Hopefully it will all smooth out.

    • Gunfun1,

      I fixed my SAM and it’s now working perfectly again with the original charging handle. It’s tricky to get the clearance between the bolt and striker pins just right (and precision is pretty darn critical too)!

      Did you see my latest comment in yesterday’s blog? A SAM’s bolt pin should never contact the striker pin. There should be a few thou of vertical clearance between them.


      The test to see if there is contact (which will work in your side charger too) is to cock the gun. Then pull the bolt back against the bolt springs until you feel the the heavy resistance of the striker spring. You should be able to pull the bolt back this far with only one finger. Then look at the position of the end of the bolt pellet probe. It should be about 1/4″ inside the bolt’s bore and completely clear of the magazine slot’s aft face (you could insert a magazine at this point because the bolt probe has cleared the slot–all while using only single finger pressure to retract the bolt).

      It the probe is still sticking out into the magazine slot at all, your bolt pin is contacting your striker pin. I think that’s the way you setup your side charger, but Phillip Guadalupe explained how it is incorrect to me. (Again, see my last post in yesterday’s blog.)

      I setup a dial indicator to measure the distance from the face of my pins to the tank/regulator tube surface. I had positioned my bolt pin too proud and was getting the contact problem. Starting with my pin proud, I used the breech screws to figure out how much I needed to drive the pin deeper into the bolt. The screws are 40 tpi so turning out all four screws one turn and pulling the breech away from the tube results an additional 0.025″ clearance between the pins. I simply slowly backed out the four screws and counted the turns until the gun passed the bolt clearance test I described above. Also, I found that, on my rifle, pushing the pin using a punch in my hydraulic press resulted in the pin moving in steps–with a very audible click every time it moved. I found that each “click” was always almost exactly 0.010″ of movement of the pin, but of course it might vary with the fit of the pin in the bolt too, but knowing how much it moves can be a time-saver during the adjustment procedure.

      Phillip said there should be only something like 0.003″ clearance but my pins originally had much more, which may be the reason my breech was getting peened and my charging handle started sticking (just my theory and Phillip didn’t speculate what the root cause of the pin peening my breech might be). Now I have less clearance than I had originally but still a few more thou than 0.003. Anyway…I hope the peening doesn’t come back on my SAM!

      Just FYI for ya’, FWIW!


      P.S. I remembered one more thing. It was easy to make my bolt pin more proud, because there is a hole in the Picatinny rail to drive the pin out. Phillip said the first guns lacked this access hole so I guess you have to carefully drill a hole to remove the bolt. My factory hole is larger than the punch diameter required, which must fit in the hole in the bolt. A 1/8″ punch works well, as I recall. Driving the pin the other way is no problem, because there is access from the other side.

        • Gunfun1,

          With my bolt pin set proud, I had both pins contacting each other too and, yes, it worked great–at least with Premiers. From the standpoint of the rifle’s internals and timing, my rifle matched your setup. I simply continued to use the charging handle pull the bolt aft instead of a side handle but the internal mechanism was the same as your side charging gun. However, when the pins contact each other (rather than the bolt pin being able to slide past the striker pin) it partially couples the striker cocking and the bolt cycling actions. The SAM designers intended for them to be totally independent and timing problems could occur as a result of, at least partially, “coupling” them with this pin to pin connection. For example, what happens if the bolt blows back before the striker moves aft enough (powered from its bounce off the valve) to get its pin out of the way of the bolt pin? What happens is the cycling of the bolt pin will be cut short by the interference of the striker pin and the next pellet might not be captured and chambered by the bolt. I’m sure there are other potential timing failure examples but, again, I’ll admit that the setup cycled fine for me. If it’s working for you, great! I just wanted you to know that Phillip told me that the rifle wasn’t designed that way and there could be problems so I pressed my pin back into the bolt more to decouple it from the striker pin. From my conversation with Phillip, it seems they tried a side charger configuration (there were some leaked photos that I recall) but the charging handle provided a way to decouple the bolt and striker/cocking functions.


          • Cal
            The blow back makes the bolt clear the mag and cocks the striker also as the bolt pulls back on my setup.

            Not worried about how it works with the charging handle. Been saying the whole time how my modded SAM works.

            I seen how it works from the factory and the aluminum charging handle is junk.

          • Cal
            I just looked at my charging handle.

            When you pull back on the charging handle it pulls back on the pin in the bottom of the bolt and then contacts the pin in the top of the striker and cocks the gun.

            If the bolt pin doesnt contact the striker pin like you say how does the striker get cocked back then?

            Remember you said the bolt pin shouldn’t contact the striker pin.

    • I can’t reply to your two posts further down, Gunfun1 (ran out of “reply depth”) so I’ll do it here. This is a whopper of a reply and I need the column width that I can’t get down in the nested replies either.

      I might use “hammer” and “striker” interchangeably in my text that follows. For any interested parties reading this, they are the same thing as far as I’m concerned (and even Crosman has often referred to their striker-shaped gun parts as “hammers”). After all, what does a “slide hammer” tool look like? Certainly it doesn’t look at all like a carpenter’s hammer!

      I’ve spent hours discussing the details I’m trying to relate here with SAM Sr. Product Manager, Phillip Guadalupe. I could write more than a blog just about the topic of how SAM charging and automatic cycling occurs and how and why the SAM was designed the way it was designed. The more I’ve learned about it while debugging my problem, the more I think the SAM design is brilliant!

      Gunfun1, I hope I can answer your questions effectively. If I don’t here, just keep asking them. I recommend planning on reading my dissertation more than once so you don’t get stuck on something you don’t understand. It will all fit together in the end (I hope). Have you ever watched the film, “Memento”?

      Now on to your questions….

      >The blow back makes the bolt clear the mag and cocks the striker also as the bolt pulls back on my setup.

      No. In your gun (as well as my gun when I had my bolt pin set too proud), blow back runs the bolt but the striker still gets cocked by a completely different and independent mechanism. It gets cocked via “hammer/valve bounce” (or striker bounce, if you prefer). The SAM design intentionally taps the energy of this typically undesirable gas gun phenomenon to cock the SAM whereas, in conventional gas guns, hammer “de-bouncers” are sometimes employed to reduce the bounce.

      I’m nearly certain that the bolt blow back force is nowhere near sufficient to even cock the SAM. The striker spring is far stiffer than the bolt springs. (I’ve had them out of my rifle and inspected them, but you can feel the difference when you cock the SAM too.)

      >Not worried about how it works with the charging handle. Been saying the whole time how my modded SAM works.

      As I mentioned previously, I inadvertently setup my charging to function exactly like your side charger when I set my bolt pin too proud. In either case, if the bolt pin makes contact with the striker pin, the gun is still being cocked by hammer/valve bounce and the bolt is still being cycled by blowback. The problem with permitting contact between the two pins (which is the only means you have to cock your side charger), is the striker pin can interfere with the bolt pin when the SAM cycles. The two formerly independent mechanisms (cocking and bolt cycling) are no longer completely de-coupled from each other and independent. Yes—I know it can work and my my gun cycled when it was setup that way too (at least with Premiers) but the timing is screwed-up when setup with pin contact such that timing errors might occur in what I call corner cases (as it was explained to me by SAM Sr. Product Manager, Phillip Guadalupe). The essence of the SAM design becomes compromised (fully independent cocking and bolt cycling mechanisms) and changing a magazine becomes impossible using only a one-finger pull with either your side-charge lever or the original aft-charging handle. It’s impossible to do with one finger (though it is possible on an already cocked correctly setup gun), because the heavy striker spring is encountered before the bolt pellet probe fully clears the magazine slot in the breech as the side lever or handle is pulled back.

      —Intermission Digression–

      >I seen how it works from the factory and the aluminum charging handle is junk.

      If a gun is not setup right, I can see how it might break. I think your charging handle problem might have been cause by an incorrect setup new from the factory. (I know they are having manufacturing teething pains just from a couple of problems I’ve had with my SAM and your SAM was manufactured well before my SAM.)

      The SAM designers first tried a side-charging configuration (there were leaked photos of it on the web years ago) but they adopted the charging handle because it was the solution they needed to decouple cocking from bolt cycling action, as I hope to explain after this brief Intermission. Even if deemed to be junk, it’s brilliant junk and essential to the SAM design!

      Back to the main feature now….

      >When you pull back on the charging handle it pulls back on the pin in the bottom of the bolt and then contacts the pin in the top of the striker and cocks the gun.

      This is an incorrect configuration. Think about the charging handle design (forget about your side charger for now). The charging handle has a channel in it in which the bolt and striker pins run. The channel is about 0.160” tall. Roughly half of the channel height is dedicated to each pin. (Actually, Phillip told me that more of it is dedicated to the much stronger springed striker pin than the bolt pin and you’ll hopefully soon understand why and why the setup of these pins in a SAM is nearly to-the- thousandths-critical!)

      I’m going to refer to “top” and “bottom” with respect to how the SAM is “presented” by the shooter (NOT how you might visualize it from looking at an upside-down breech after you’ve removed it). Similarly “forward” means towards the muzzle, and aft/rearward means toward the butt pad and shooter.

      When you start to pull back on the charging handle, it only contacts the bolt pin in the upper half of the semi-circular (matching the radius of the pin) forward wall of the charging handle slot. The bolt pin must NOT make contact along anywhere near the full height of the forward wall or it is set too proud and will interfere with the striker pin.

      As you continue to pull the charging handle aft, the bolt pin must override (pass above) the striker pin instead of making contact on the pins’ sides. There must be clearance between the top and bottom faces of the pins for this to happen. I recall that Phillip said the manufacturing clearance spec is 0.003”! (Without building some fancy fixtures, I sure can’t hit 0.003 on that assembly, so I shot for 0.010” and it’s working.) As the bolt pin passes over the striker pin and the pins become co-axial, the striker pin is contacted ONLY by the LOWER half of the same forward semi-circular wall of the charging handle channel that is pulling the bolt pin aft. (Keep in mind that Phillip tole me the split between what I’m calling the upper and lower “halves” are actually not quite 50/50 “halves” and more surface area is dedicated to the striker pin than the bolt pin but it’s easier for me to simply refer to them as halves.)

      The key point is the bolt pin and striker pins should never touch..never..not when cycling automatically and not when manually being charged. When the gun cycles automatically, the bolt and striker pins move in the same charging handle channel and never touch each other either—at least they should never touch each other—their motions, like their power sources, are completely independent of each other. If they touch, the timing becomes less tolerant of changes in things like pellet weight, air pressure, striker preload setting, and maybe things I’m missing (air temp and pressure?? ;). During manual charging, both pins are displaced by the charging handle only—bolt pin being engaged by the top half of the charging handle and the striker pin being engaged by the lower half of the charging handle. There is no way your side charging handle can accomplish this feat. If you set your pins to not make contact, which would correct the timing jeopardy, you’d have no way to manually cock your SAM. I also think things can break or be quickly wear due to the timing change too. Did you read about how much time the SAM team spent using high speed video during development? They really put a lot of engineering time and effort into this gun!

      >If the bolt pin doesnt contact the striker pin like you say how does the striker get cocked back then?

      Hopefully I adequately answered this question above—by the striker pin contacting the charging handle instead, which requires vertical clearance between the two pins.

      >Remember you said the bolt pin shouldn’t contact the striker pin.

      Emphatically, YES–that’s the requirement, per the SAM design concept and SAM specs.

      Like I said in one of my emails to Phillip (and also somewhere in my posts here on B.B.’s blog), sorry about the lengthy text, but this not like describing how to screw in a light bulb!

      Actually, I’ve left out some nuances here that you might contenplate in your own mind, if I made the above clear to you and you continue to study the SAM internals.

      B.B. Have I set any blog reply records here? 😉 I think I’ve gone beyond my typical mini-blogs! Just think of it as a stress test of the new blog format and website.

      I think I’m going to go shoot my SAM now, before the sun sets. Rain is coming tomorrow.


      • Cal
        Take your breech off your gun and show me pictures. Then maybe I’ll see what you mean.

        Right now I don’t see it happening with my gun or a stock SAM.

        Pictures will tell a 1000 words. No need to try to explain anymore till I see pictures.

        And the striker bounces off the valve to cock the striker? I just don’t see that happening since the striker spring adjustment can get set down at zero turns out. Not very much spring pressure at that adjustment to hit the valve and make it bounce off.

        The blow back of the bolt cocks the gun when firing semi auto not the bounce off the valve.

        Lets stop waisting time ok. Show the pictures of what you mean.

        And yes your repeating yourself again. Way to long of post. Pictures please !!

        • I have a couple of photos but they are not great. I still might post them later tonight. My gun is working now and scope mounted and sighted-in so I don’t think I’ll be removing the breech anytime soon. I could maybe make some drawing or a little rough CAD.

          >And the striker bounces off the valve to cock the striker? I just don’t see that happening since the striker spring adjustment can get set down at zero turns out. Not very much spring pressure at that adjustment to hit the valve and make it bounce off.

          If the hammer spring pressure is reduced, due to a low preload setting, then it will resist that lighter bounce less too and still cock the gun. If the hammer strike is strong enough to deliver enough air to the gas port to send a pellet on its way, and deliver enough blowback air to cycle the bolt, then there’s enough bounce to cock the hammer too.

          >The blow back of the bolt cocks the gun when firing semi auto not the bounce off the valve

          I disagree. The bolt motion does not cock the gun–it is hammer bounce that cocks it–even on your gun. When your gun cycles automatically (as my gun did when I set its bolt pin too proud), the timing is such that the hammer pin has already been driven aft by the force of valve bounce by the time the bolt pin “arrives” at the hammer pin’s formerly occupied position. They never touch, as they must do when manually cocking/charging an incorrectly setup gun. On a correctly setup SAM, the pins never touch, period, not even when being manually cocked via the charging handle.

          I just invited Phillip Guadalupe to check my post for accuracy here and comment. I hope he does so and perhaps he can explain things better than I (or maybe I’m wrong and he’ll correct me).

          I’ve already spent hours on this post and I’m not tearing down my gun right now, even if doing so would take less time, because my SAM is now running great. Also, my good camera isn’t working and I need to do some surface mount soldering of very tiny parts in it to repair it. Someday, if there’s proven interest here (and your suggestion that I should “stop wasting time” is certainly not motivating me to invest more time, regardless of how I spend it / MY time), perhaps I’ll have other reasons to remove my breech again and remount my scope afterwards, etc. I agree that a picture is worth a 1000 words, but words can work for communication too.

          Maybe the photos I already have will be good enough.

        • Gunfun1,

          Can you explain this interesting phenomenon:

          I loaded an empty mag in my cocked gun (or one could simply run a mag empty). The bolt probe is blocked aft of the empty mag and so it cannot move forward into “battery.” There is also no way any blowback gas can get past the “0th” shot barrier in the mag and contact the bolt.

          Now pull the trigger, Pull it several times, if you wish. The gun will keep firing and cocking, but there is no blowback or movement of the bolt.

          How does the striker keep cocking and keep hitting the valve to discharge a “bang” of air with every pull of the trigger, if the bolt is not moving? It can’t be cocking because of bolt blow back, because there is no bolt blowback with an empty mag in place.

          No pictures but start reading this article at “And here’s an interesting phenomenon..”


          Hope it helps.


        • Oh…and if you keep reading the Hard Air article, it describes how not just typical valve bounce is used, the air discharged by the bounce is actually channelled to the striker, which acts like a piston and is driven to the cocked position via bounce and air.

          Keep reading the article through: “Using Hammer Bounce Productively” in that article (https://hardairmagazine.com/news/exclusive-first-in-depth-look-at-the-benjamin-marauder-semi-auto-air-rifle-2/)

          Again, I think the SAM is brilliant!


          • Cal
            Here is something for you.

            If I fire all 10 shots in the mag then pull the trigger again like if I miss counted my shots rapid firing my gun it won’t recock itself on that 11th shot. I have to pull my bolt back to cock it. And it worked the same way when my gun had the factory charging handle. And forgot if the mag is out of the gun it will recock the gun. The way I see it is the transfer port air blows the bolt back to cock the striker.

            Kind of strange huh compared to what your saying.

        • >…. it won’t recock itself on that 11th shot. I have to pull my bolt back to cock it. And it worked the same way when my gun had the factory charging handle.

          Hmm. That is strange and different! It’s not how my gun behaves and also different from the behavior reported in that HardAirMagazine.com “In Depth Look” article I linked. I only fired one magazine of pellets from my gun when I setup my pins to touch so I don’t know if my gun failed to cock itself for its “11th shot” too. I didn’t check. Now my pins have 0.010” vertical clearance and they don’t touch. I just confirmed that it cocks itself for the empty 11th shot…and 12th, 13th, 14th, etc. shot, if I keep pulling the trigger. My gun will keep discharging air and keep cocking after each trigger pull with an empty mag.

          >The way I see it is the transfer port air blows the bolt back to cock the striker.

          I agree that it is possible that your gun might get an extra push from the bolt. My gun, as it was delivered to me, can’t possibly receive a push from the bolt motion, because my bolt and striker pins never touch.

          Given that your pins must contact each other, I think this is what is happening on your 11th shot:

          The bolt is blocked by the magazine so, in both our guns, the bolt pin is positioned much closer to the hammer pin when it comes to a rest than when the bolt fully closes into the barrel but your gun’s hammer pin cannot pass under your bolt pin on the hammer’s journey towards the valve. Your bolt pin blocks the hammer from hitting the valve–or perhaps the hammer just barely hits the valve and the hammer bounce and valve “blowback” is impaired. From your history of your gun and its behavior, I highly suspect that your gun was delivered with incorrectly overlapping pins (probably with your bolt pin set too proud in the bolt) and this assembly defect was the root cause of your charging handle failure.

          I also don’t know exactly how the hammer air ports the HAM article reported work to channel valve bounce air to the hammer to cock it work. Perhaps, because the travel of your hammer is blocked by bolt pin contact, the timing and operation of those air ports is affected in your gun. Do you get a full discharge of air on the 11th shot? I do. It sounds different (as also noted in the HAM article) but produces a good burst of air.

          Here are the photos I sent to Phillip Guadalupe when my charging handle was jamming.

          It’s difficult to see how little my bolt pin protruded from the bolt surface in the photo, but I had way more than 0.003 inches of bolt pin to hammer pin clearance ( I suspect the opposite problem of how your SAM was delivered). When assembled with the SAM’s tank/valve tube, the hammer pin lies somewhere in the region of the bolt spring in the photo, which you probably recall from you charging handle. In a stock gun with a charging handle, the two pins both move independently along this channel (and also along the charging handle channel). The are independent because there is vertical clearance between pins.

          In the charging handle photo, you can see that my bolt pin was only contacting a very small part of the forward end of the charging handle slot. The contact area is the bare silver aluminum spot and it is also peened back a little. The bolt pin contact was mostly on the machined chamfered edge of the charging handle slot, which I think didn’t provide enough engagement (though Phillip said the bolt pin requires very little engagement because its springs are light). The bolt pin is supposed to contact less than half of the height of the charging handle slot (more than half being devoted to hammer pin contact) but I think this was too little contact and it resulted in the peening that jammed up my charging handle that’s visible in the first photo. After measuring and setting up my pin clearance at 0.010″, my bolt pin is now somewhat more proud than shown in the photo.

          I still think (hope) that too much vertical pin clearance was the root cause of my peening and resulting charging handle binding, but it’s just my unproven theory. In the breech photo, you can see the silver (devoid of anodizing) peened aluminum surface that is bulging-up about 0.010 from the breech slot next to the pin. I think it peened because of heavier than normal bolt pin strikes because, due to insufficient height above the bolt surface the pin was not fully supported by the forward wall of the charging handle slot. That’s the bulge I milled away to fix my jamming charging handle.

          I probably reported most of this stuff about my gun yesterday, but now there are a couple of crappy photos for reference too so it’s sort of a re-do. Someday I’ll have the breech off and I’ll get my good digital camera working again. (It’s a not a crappy “smartphone” cam!)


          • Cal
            The picture you just posted is the bottom of the bolt. Correct?

            So how far out of the striker does the pin stick. My striker pin is 8 mm out of the striker. So when the bolt pin pulls back it contacts the striker pin and pulls the striker back to latch the sear.

            So your saying your pins don’t contact and the valve bounce knocks the striker back.

            So then when you pull your charging handle back and its pulling the bolt back how does it pull your striker back?

            That’s how the charging handle should work. If the gun was new out of the box and had no air the charging handle would cock the gun for the first time. Even if the gun was full of air and never cocked before (the striker forward against the valve) your guns charging handle would never pull the striker back and latch the gun on your set up.

            So how is that working then if the pins don’t contact?

            Something has to pull the striker back for the first time. There would be no air if you pulled the trigger for the valve bounce to cock the gun.

            How about doing that cad drawing. I’m sure that will help. Or even a pencil drawing.

        • Note: I had to put my new annotated charging handle photo lower down in a reply to myself.

          >The picture you just posted is the bottom of the bolt. Correct?

          Yes, Gunfun1. The photo shows the bottom of the bolt and the bottom round end face of the bolt pin. That pin face must have clearance with the striker pin face that is pointing up from the striker below, if the gun is to be assembled correctly.

          >So how far out of the striker does the pin stick. My striker pin is 8 mm out of the striker.

          I took a lot of measurement on my mill table using a dial indicator and also my DROs (touching off surfaces) but I did not measure that dimension. I will tell you what and how I measured instead:

          The photo shows the bottom anodized semi-circular cylindrical surface of the breech that matches and fits against the tubular surface of the valve/tank body tube. When I was re-adjusting my bolt pin to obtain the desired clearance with the striker pin, I used that mating surface of tube and breech as the reference for all my height (and indirectly, pin clearance) measurements.

          As an example, I squared up the breech in my milling machine’s x/y table and touched off of point “1” (shown in the new annotated photo below). Then I touched off of the pin face at point “2.” (Actually, I found the most proud point on the pin’s face, but the face was pretty darn flat!) Keep in mind that this photo is looking up from the bottom of the breech so the difference between these two “Z axis” measurements on my lathe table told me how far my bolt pin face was set above the reference surface at point #1. I don’t recall what I measured. I wish I had written my measurements down but I just juggled the numbers in my head and did the arithmetic in my head while I was figuring out how much I needed to move my bolt pin.

          Similarly, I next took the equivalent measurements of the striker pin and valve/tank body tube. (I measured the end face of the striker pin height above the tube reference surface) The tube reference surface matches the breech reference surface and mates with it in assembly with a zero clearance fit, once the four breech screws are tightened. I think the striker pin face extended 0.040” below the tube (my reference) surface (again, “below” is with respect to the orientation of a presented gun). Of course this is much less than the dimension you measured from the striker pin to the striker because the striker is in the tube! I chose my reference points because their surface is common to both the breech and the tube.

          So given that I’m remembering that 0.040” correctly (it think it might have been 0.039 or 0.041), the number requires that the bolt pin height I described above with the new photo must be greater than 0.040 to provide clearance between the pins. Phillip said 0.003” is the clearance spec but that’s not easy for me to reliably hit, given the extra “guardband” that’s motivated by the nature of home-smithing rather than factory assembly precision! I used 0.010. I don’t know my original clearance, as shipped, because, when debugging my jammed-up charging handle, I first set the pin like you have your set—with contact. Then I realized the error and set the pin back. I know my gun shipped with more than 0.003 clearance. Actually, it was more than the 0.010 clearance I have now.

          >So when the bolt pin pulls back it contacts the striker pin and pulls the striker back to latch the sear.

          No! I’m saying the bolt pin must NEVER contact the striker pin and that’s why 0.003” clearance between them (or something a bit more than 0.003 is okay too, I think…but not TOO much more, if my theory about why my breech became peened is true. The key point now is the bolt pin pushing against the striker pin (directly) is not the way the striker is intended to be moved back to latch the sear. (More about this in just to more of your questions….)

          >So your saying your pins don’t contact and the valve bounce knocks the striker back.

          Correct. My pins don’t make contact and they must not ever make contract for the gun to be setup correctly. They didn’t make contact as delivered to me either. The only made contact after I set the bolt pin incorrectly and, upon test operation, I suspected how I screwed it up and then had lengthly communications with Phillip Guadalupe that confirmed my suspicions so I corrected my error.

          And further correct, I’m saying that valve bounce and that wasted valve bounce air that the HAM magazine article talked about is what knocks the striker back. Well, maybe there’s some fairy dust involved but the bolt pin is definitely NOT involved, because it causes problems when it gets “involved” (despite being able to cycle) like faulty timing, more difficult mag changes, and I also thing it’s why your gun doesn’t cock automatically after the 10th shot or continue cycling for “11th”, 12th, 13th, …etc. empty mag shots, but I’d have to take more internal measurements to confirm my theory about that.

          >So then when you pull your charging handle back and its pulling the bolt back how does it pull your striker back?

          Take look at my new annotated charging handle photo now. Zoom-in if needed, but can you see that the forward end of its slot has an small shiny sliver of bare aluminum? That’s where the anodizing was worn off from the bolt pin engaging against only that small area of the charging handle. The bolt pin is driven only by a fraction of the forward end of the charging handle slot. (Phillip says it’s less than half, because the bolt springs are much lighter than the striker springs.) The striker pin is driver by the other something-more-than-half part. Then there’s a small part in the middle (denoted by a yellow line in my new photo) that is the clearance between the pins. Hopefully my new photo “says it again” but this is why I said the charging handle pulls on BOTH the pins when manually cocking the gun—when the charging handle is first pulled out of stowage, it’s only pulling on the bolt pin and is easy to pull. When the end of the charging handle reaches the striker pin, the striker pin engages its part of the slot and comes along for the ride on its way to engage the sear and be cocked, but that’s also where the spring force of the striker spring is felt on the charging handle too but, because the pins are NOT touching and they are “stacked” co-axially, one on top of the other at this point, the stiff striker spring force is encountered AFTER the bolt probe has cleared the mag slot. If the bolt pin incorrectly contacts the striker pin, this point occurs sooner—one bolt pin diameter sooner (1/4”) in fact, which is before the bolt probe has cleared the mag well and that is a PITA (because you have to pull extra hard for that last 1/4” to get a mag in or out of the gun, even if the gun is already cocked! In other words, the striker pin is interfering with the bolt pin and you have to “over-cock” the already cocked gun every time you want to change a mag. Your side charging lever is more ergonomic than the stock charging handle but it still requires the same extra force to change a mag—plus, when you empty a mag, it’s even worse, because the gun isn’t automatically cocked after the last shot!

          Funny how 0.040, or thereabouts, keeps popping up but that’s what I measured as the engagement height of my bolt pin with my charging handle slot. I think 0.040 is actually less than spec and I know I have a little more now with 0.010 clearance between the faces of my pins.

          >That’s how the charging handle should work. If the gun was new out of the box and had no air the charging handle would cock the gun for the first time. Even if the gun was full of air and never cocked before (the striker forward against the valve) your guns charging handle would never pull the striker back and latch the gun on your set up.

          I’ve explained how the charging handle DOES pull the striker back above.

          >So how is that working then if the pins don’t contact?

          Also as I explained above, the secret sauce is the charging handle!

          >Something has to pull the striker back for the first time. There would be no air if you pulled the trigger for the valve bounce to cock the gun.

          Charging handle again.

          How about doing that cad drawing. I’m sure that will help. Or even a pencil drawing.

          Hopefully my annotated photos did the trick.

          I’ve spent hours here. I honestly hope someone finds my efforts to be educational. I’d hoped Phillip would help me with the effort, but his email at work has been bouncing so he’s not aware that I “invited” him to help here.

          If you decide you wish to establish the correct clearance between you pins, I’ll take my breech off again to take measurements, but you’ll have to either totally re-design your side charger (and I haven’t had time to even think about how it might work), or reinstall a charging handle of some sort). As I mentioned before, the SAM designers previously prototyped a side charger but they adopted the charging handle because it provided the means to make the bolt and striker run completely independent of each other. The charging handle solved a problem for them!

          Also, I previously described how I did my final clearance checking by counting turns on the four 40 tpi breech screws and also how each “click” of my bolt pin was always about 0.010” of movement of the pin in the bolt. You may find those methods to be helpful, if you decide to setup pin clearance.


          • Cal
            All good info but I will leave mine as is.

            Right now I definitely know when my mag is empty and in reality my SAM is working like a true semiauto action. I’m sure the bolt is cycling the action on my gun. And if the striker bounce is there then thats helping my setup even more. Plus I have zero misfires the way my gun is setup now even with a factory SAM mag or the regular Marauder mag or Gauntlet mag without the mag mod I have done and showed on the blog. I can even run long pellets like the JSB 15.89 pellet without a modded mag with no misfires at all. My SAM is as close to 100% reliable as I’m going to get.

            That was my whole intention of what I was after with my SAM from the begining.

        • >I’m sure the bolt is cycling the action on my gun.

          I agree Gunfun1. It was cycling the action of my gun when I set it up with pin contact too, and I understand, “If it works, don’t fix it.”.

          I was primarily motivated to correct the overlapping pins because my BHO wouldn’t work with that pin spacing in the charging handle channel so I could not do a single-hand mag change. Even if another BHO design could be designed to hold the bolt (like a cocking slot for your side charger), the gun needs to automatically cock itself after the 10th shot to support single handed mag changes too, Appleseed style! 🙂

          >Plus I have zero misfires the way my gun is setup now even with a factory SAM mag or the regular Marauder mag or Gauntlet mag without the mag mod I have done and showed on the blog. I can even run long pellets like the JSB 15.89 pellet without a modded mag with no misfires at all.

          The larger JSBs and FX pellet occasionally didn’t feed right and fire when my gun and magazine were new either, but I mostly kept shooting Premiers. which always feed and fire. I was thinking about doing your mod but I held off and soon found that the mag broke-in and the larger JSB and FX pellets fed and fired perfectly too. I just received 5 new SAM mags from PA and I’m finding that they have the same large pellet break-in period as my first mag. I mostly shoot Premiers so I’ll let the Premiers do the work on the mags for me.

          BTW, I don’t know about brand new mags, but I recently did extensive accuracy testing on several pellets to compare the accuracy of my broken-in mag vs. a 3D-printed single shot pellet tray (looks just like the Air-Venturi tray) with 10-shot groups at 50 yards The mag and tray shot the same accuracy–0.74″ for Premier domes and 0.87″ for FX 15.9 gr., which is about twice the best 25 yard groups that BB shot when single-loading and as good as one might expect at twice BB’s distance! More FYI: I didn’t shoot my discontinued boxed Premiers in the above test but they shoot better than the tins at 50 yards, even though the boxed pellet velocities definitely have a somewhat higher velocity std. deviation than the tins. At 25 yards, current production Premier tin pellets and the old boxed Premiers exhibit the same accuracy. The boxed pellets only shine at long range. Sometime, on a dead calm day, I’ll try the boxed pels at 100 yards.

          Boxed Premiers are the most accurate pellets I’ve found for this gun at 50 yards. Too bad they no longer make them. I think I have 5 boxes left for special occasions!


  4. B.B.,

    I don’t suppose your previous series could be made into a reading assignment? /blog/2016/08/teach-me-to-shoot-part-13/

    Since the class will be divide into two Safety and Marksmanship, I don’t suppose a wooden toy rifle with a nail for the front post and an eyelet for a rear sight can be used as demonstration rifles and rewards in the classroom. They can even use it for shooting rubber bands at targets before going to BB and Pellet guns.


    PS Section The programs 1st Paragraph 4th sentence: “But tghis (this) program will be open to kids from all over the area, so we could grow rapidly.”

  5. BB.
    Kids love games and competition. They also like being real. So combine all this together. The “cease fire” command is a great! Anyone can call it. Everyone has to obey it. Just like a range officer. or “freeze”.
    A game of calling out unsafe actions etc either accidental or on purpose. What is wrong with what I am doing? What is right with what I am doing? Games that illustrate unsafe behavior and safe behavior. Not all people know or understand why some things are unsafe. Like resting your rifle muzzle on your shoe. Or resting your hand on your muzzle. or leaning a rifle against a fence as you climb over etc Unsafe practices have to be shown and explained. How do you make this a game? Can you identify the unsafe practice? Can you identify the safe practice? Scoring? Tests? Make a huge list of unsafe practices. Role playing is good. Hand me that rifle, here take this rifle etc.
    How to avoid mistakes : somethings that seem ok can eventually turn not ok, so that is why we never do the first thing. We avoid cascading events. ( just thow it in the ute and lets go, we are in a hurry…)
    Responsibilty: Some kids have never really had to take charge. Some kids have never done anything serious. How do you bring them in? How do you explain that they are expected to never make a mistake ever ? That they have to be on the ball at all times every time.
    I guess treating rifles etc as inherently dangerous is best practice. They are always not safe. If it’s not directly under your control and you know it is “safe” then it is not safe. I never trust anyone else with a rifle. Is it under my direct control ? No. So it’s not safe. If someone hands me a rifle and says it is safe, it’s not. If I make it safe and hand it to someone else I expect them to not trust me and to make it safe themselves. I guess that is the responsibility part right there.
    That there is the first biggest hurdle. If you pick up or are given a rifle, you automatically make it safe. Regardless of what you are going to do next.
    If the situation dictates that you can make it unsafe then you take the responsibility. But you have automatically made it safe first. ( Some people may take exception to this and have a counter discussion but we are talking about kids. )Safety come first. What ever comes next comes later. In my humble opinon.
    Avoiding an accidental discharge is paramount. and this can’t happen with a safe rifle in the hands of the person who made it safe. Safety is built into the operator.
    Well heck I wrote a book. Whoops. But I am not sorry!
    I will never be sorry about being safe. Safety is a really great thing to teach kids and rifle safety is a great way to teach them this. Even if they never go anywhere with shooting, the safety aspect is a really great education. Robert. ( let me tell you about the time when…. )

    • RobertA,

      Gamification of learning could work using an adequate reward system. Don’t know if it would work but if B.B. issued a wooden rifle to the top three in the class. Anybody else has the opportunity to “claim” the rifle if the one possessing it commits an unsafe act. The one who calls out “CEASE FIRE!” though would have to prove that it was an unsafe act before claiming the prize.


      • Siraniko,
        Interesting. I think the reward part is problematic. The real reward is you and your fellows are safe. This I guess is where playing and “adulting” part ways. In the adult world there is no real “reward” for being safe. Every time you chop an onion without cutting your finger do you get a reward?
        What are games? What is it we do when it’s a game vs real ? In the game if you make a mistake there is no major issue. You get to practice. The best reward is doing things correctly.
        A game of who can do the drill the best? Not the fastest but the safest.
        There is a lot to learn really. A game where you ( a fellow kid ) tell another kid what to do. They have to follow your exact words. Other kids scrutinize, if anything goes wrong they call it. you all take turns. You learn to say the right things, they learn to listen and the crowd learn to be vigilant. Maybe? Many games could be made to teach. It’s the tick of making a good game…. : – ) Robert.

        • Gamification of adult work is common in 2021.
          Humans don’t sit around reflective of our general safety all day as a reward. You use the game to teach the good habits. Then later they are automatic.

          In the same way the game you propose for instructions is a lot of fun. We played it in college in a technical writing class. The assignment was instructions for a PB and J.
          The instructor then did each of them in front of the class. I have never seen so much PB and J smeared on an unopened loaf of bread, it was a lot of fun.

      • BB.
        You are welcome! I hope other people add in their ideas. For me it’s simply about safety culture. I just do not dig unsafe nonsense.
        How about a safety officer game? The kids take turns being it. They wear a vest or something. Everyone is subordinate to them. If they mess up they lose the vest. They can gain the vest by spotting something the S.O. has missed. I guess you will have to be the judge. and it starts as soon as the vest is on. No quarter. wooden rifles would be a fail safe way to get started. or chamber flags. Actually those daisy 499 look cool. how about a lock on the lever? Heavy zip tie? ok I will pipe down. : – ) Robert.

  6. BB,

    Best wishes with your new venture. Hopefully you will have other capable adults ready to help with the instruction.


    The new blog:

    1) As has been mentioned, the color of the font while typing a comment needs changed to something darker.

    2) I do not see a “Comment RSS” link anywhere. I use that almost exclusively. (!!!!) Also, make it last for for than 20 comments, if possible. Where is this?

    3) As for “log in”, I did that from here (at the comment section). As I type this,.. I see a “Howdy Chris USA” at the top with a people/profile symbol. Without trying it now, maybe this is where a person needs to log in?

  7. BB,

    After Robert’s book 😉 I cannot think of much more to add. I must say that I do not envy your task as I began learning gun safety at a very early age. The safe handling of firearms was ingrained into my early childhood. I was given my first .22LR when I was three. I was shooting by time I was six. By twelve I was allowed to take a firearm out hunting unsupervised.

    Probably the worst thing you will have to deal with is the child who has some experience handling guns and thinks you cannot teach them something they already know. The worst thing is it can be contagious. You are going to have to stay on your toes.

    You may also wish to contact SAR. Their curriculum will likely be of great assistance to you.


    I wish you well my friend.

    • RidgeRunner,

      I don’t know how you did it but your above post runs off the side of mt tablet screen regardless of Portrait or Landscape orientation or trying to move the block of text around my touch screen.
      I aslo tried changing my font size and page size; nothing got me to the “fallen into the Abyss text!


  8. hmmm… that Avanti line is pretty swish. The 753S in real actual wood looks awesome. and only $626.15 NZD !!!! May have to settle for a red ryder…. darn… Robert.

  9. BB-

    Welllllll, poop. After typing for the last 45 minutes about the topic, the blog just swallowed everything. The jist of things is- I was getting into youth training when you were getting out. 4-H Shooting Sports is for youth ages 9-18. We help youth develop into adulthood with life long skills. Our safety track record is exemplary. In fact, our insurers equate the shooting sports projects safety risk to sewing projects. Certified instructors coach and mentor tens of thousands of kids every year. I am such an instructor and I also train instructors.

    We have a safe use of guns training session that I use that would fit well for you and I am willing to share. I have to get on the road shortly. If there is a way to pm or phone, I would gladly discuss. By the way, are you coming to the Findlay show? I live about 6 miles away and would gladly invite you our farm range to witness the program in action.

    • ‘Safe direction’ is entirely locational. Always assume the worst case scenario of the gun discharging unintentionally. If carried upright and you are walking beneath a mirrored glass ceiling…..
      If you are carrying muzzle down and slightly forward across a concrete floor, a discharged pellet would ricochet. If you were walking behind your mother in law……

      All things require judgement. Good judgement is much gooder.

    • Yogi,

      When I hunted in Germany my Sako rifle sear slipped and the rifle discharged. I was walking to the high seat and wouldn’t have carried it cocked, but I was trying to load a round into the chamber so I could take advantage of an opportunity. The rifle fired as I closed the bolt. The muzzle was pointed at the ground, which meant the bullet did not go sailing all over the place, but stopped immediately.

      I recommend the ground.


      • B.B.

        My only annoyance with the new format is that I do not get e-mail notifications when somebody replies to my post. Please see if the IT guys can fix this. it is most annoying!



        • Yogi,

          I still get them,… so not sure what is up on your end. I did nothing different from before it was switched over. I think you have to “request” it,… so maybe re-request? That is all I got for ya’ bud.


        • Yogi,

          “request” was more of a,.. that you wanted it,.. or allowed it. Like a box that you would check. Sounds like you went direct to the source,… good for you. It has been so long since I did it,…. that I no longer have a clue of just what I did! 😉


  10. BB

    Hope your teaching catches on and spreads all over the country.

    Be sure to tell the kids early on that the girls will likely outperform the boys. That is an attention getter I’m thinking.

    Gun cleaning is one area where it gets to be a real challenge to never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Just as an example, bore inspection. On some guns it is all but impossible to examine a bore without looking down the muzzle. There are safe ways around this issue but gun cleaning is one of the first things served up, long before a newbie develops safe habits. You already know this. Just a reminder.


  11. B.B.,

    I very much like the categories box to the right. Perhaps as time goes on the larger categorties, say, those with over 500 articles, could have drop-downs added.

    I like the changes for the most part. In the spirit of your “Keep on Truckin” musical reference, here’s another: Like it or not we must “roll with the changes.”


  12. B.B.,

    I grew up with firearms. I had a .22 when I was about 10 years old. Went everywhere with me. Gun safety was drilled into us at very young ages.

    It’s been over 50 years ago but the law required that I attend and pass a Hunter Safety Course in order to purchase a hunting license. The course took several hours each night for a week or so and gun safety was the essence. The one thing I still remember from that course over half a century ago were the pictures shown of the results of a high powered rifles and shotguns hitting flesh. Pictures are one way to keep kids engaged. The pictures of what happens when you don’t handle a gun safely has stayed with me.

      • I was going to suggest something similar.

        People in general, but especially children, do not understand permanence. They think there is always a tomorrow, and have difficulty comprehending permanent damage.

        It might not be fun, but I think I would bring in a dead animal. Not a pretty fur, but a bloody roadkill. It is a tangible object that demonstrates pain and injury that will not end.

        Have the kids talk a little bit about what it means to shoot or injure an animal or a person. This will build empathy and enlarge their vision of reality. They will be more motivated to be safe if they can reckon fully why to be safe.

  13. BB, Shooting ettiquette and best practices is what’s missing to some degree. Shooting skill is something else.
    How to get along with folks safly who may also be handling guns at the same time.
    I know that when the hammer is back on the range marshalls hip carry .45 acp, he’s ready to go,
    and hopefully, well versed with it, and watching over the rest of us, while we are focused on other things. Some bosses it’s ok to take the guards off the grinders and stuff, leave them on, and don’t feel bad if you think you need to move on from that type of peer pressure. My fuddy duddy .02 cents.

  14. Wow, this brings back memories. When I first started reading your blog, about 2006 my boys had just received their first Red Ryders. Now they are young adults.
    Anyhoo…right from the beginning they were taught, with an iron fist about gun safety. I remember once, watching one of them (probably about 7 at the time) start to turn his gun around to look down the barrel because it hadn’t discharged the b.b.. He was awfully upset when he was banned from touching it for two weeks…but he learned his lesson.
    A few years later they got into the first person shooter video games…but not before a long discussion about how it wasn’t real…people don’t respawn in real life and not to think anything they do in real life is like a video game.
    As to your kids, my kids archery instructor had a great little game. He’d tack $1 bills to the target board. It is amazing how a $1 bill will focus a kids attention. If they put an arrow through it (or in your case a b.b. it was theirs.

  15. BB, Just a few bits of feedback on the revised blog layout after having a couple days with it now:

    1) I don’t mind it and I appreciate the search tool being at the top of the page now
    2) It might be nice to still have the option to sort by date under the section where posts are sorted by category
    3) The sidebar takes up a lot of room with the result that below it, there is a lot of white space, with the rest of the posts (and the comments) no longer centered on the screen

    Regarding #3, I think the most common solutions are to either queue up more content down the side (maybe dynamically) or to move some of the promoted articles, etc. to the left side of the article (opposite the sidebar) to provide symmetry so that the main content (blog + comments) remains in centered on the screen.

    I think my personal preference might be both – move some elements to the left side, and throw in a selection of past articles (randomly chosen every day or every week) to bring some eyeballs back to some golden oldies.


  16. It surprised me that none of the comments here appear to be from professional teachers. By that I mean grade school teachers. The ones who learn how to deal with hyperactive or attention deficit kids. A couple of suggestions – if you have a student who is not paying attention or disrupting others, he may have A.D.D. He may or may not be on medication like adderall but only take it during school days. However, if you notice students like this, don’t let them sit in the back of the class by the window. You’ll never get their attention. On the other hand, if the subject interests them, they will hyper concentrate and be a tremendous student. Good luck!

    Fred formerly of the Peeples Demokratik Republik of NJ now happily in GA

    PS – blog background seems less intense today – either it’s been adjusted or my eyes are failing.

  17. IT

    Here is 2 things going on today. The blog is much better today then yesterday though.

    I can’t see the comment on the right side of my screen on my cell phone for some reason on these 2 comments. Part of the words are cut off.

    One is Siraniko’s comment and the other is RidgeRunner’s.

    Here is Siraniko’s.

    • Here is RidgeRunner’s.

      And see how there is a wide margin on the left side.

      It’s like the comment is not centered on the screen on thier comments. Oh and I can not scroll to the right to view the chopped off words.

        • Well, that was a little melodramatic of me!? Of course, a few bugs are normal after creating endlessly tedious codes; issue will be taken care of in time, I’m sure. I have to say, I like the look of the new blog better than the old one.

  18. B.B.,

    Toward the bottom of the page their are free downloads in English and Spanish for parents and the kids; to include a coloring book about safety around guns.

    When people both kids and adults don’t have a working subject mater vocabulary they most often remain SILENT. Start with having them learn the basic vocabulary! Their are many ways to do that but you already know most of them.

    Next you should cover what all you can do with airguns and firearms: Scholarships, Olympics, various jobs (to include Gunsmith,) Hunting (subsistence and Professional Hunter/Guide,) and just plain plinking fun!

    Use simple graphics of:

    The of general types of guns and their correct names.
    I’ll bet many of them (parents and kids) haven’t seen a muzzleloader or a Big Bore Airgun.
    The parts of each subgroup of firearms/airguns and their correct names.
    The types of projectiles and component parts.
    Places to shoot.

    Then you can talk safety and they will have a better chance of understanding of the whole.


  19. BB,
    I watched a video a while back about some goat shooters who were eradicating goats. In the video you clearly see them shoot up at goat on the skyline. No question at all. What went wrong here and what are the consequences. Was it macho nonsense? Peer pressure? Fear of looking weak? and what happens if they miss or it passes through ? The story that leads up to this is all too common and people get away with it because “nothing happened” they are literately playing a game of Russian roulette/Chicken and they don’t seem to care.
    I have seen what happens when bullets travel a long long way. The washing machine, the wall, the window etc. All felled by a long long shot from way way over yonder. No joke! This is where “actions have consequences” . That bullet came out of gun that discharged, who, what, why, how.
    At the end of the day people want to be safe , they want everything to be fine and that means the correct action for all given situations. In the case of the skylined goat: do not shoot. If you shoot and miss what could happen next? are you brave enough to tell your mates that is not safe to shoot? Do you want to get a knock on the door and an invitation to meet the family of the person who collected your “it’ll be fine…” projectile? The terrible curse of having done something incredibly selfish/stupid ? Time in jail?
    As users of projectile launchers we have a responsibilty to protect others from our actions. They unwittingly have to suffer our fools and our idiots. So it all starts with teaching the kids responsibility. I would surmise that those fool goat hunters have little awareness past their own selfish ends ( ie Brats ). Unfortunately we have lots of goats and lots of fool goat hunters. Where do they come from ??? Robert.

    • I did just that. Had a neighbor shooting up an incline, through woods, with a target hung on a tree. The line of fire was (clearly) over the horizon in the event of a miss. I said my piece and walked back home. They kept shooting. This was firearms, not pellet guns.

      • Chris USA,
        Is calling the Police on them going to do anything? Take pictures, video etc. as evidence. The mere fact that they have no backstop and show disregard for where their projectiles will land is a “revoked license” matter i.m.h.o. I know that bad blood between neighbours can be a pita but…. bullets don’t care where they land.
        In NZ there no way they would get away with that. License = gone. You could actually do some study and make a map of the beaten zone they are creating. and work out how populated it is. If they are shooting up then their projectiles will be raining down somewhere. Just stupid beyond words. I am not sure what the law is over there but here I think if you knowingly do something that results in a fatality it’s murder. If you do something not knowing it will cause a fatality it’s man slaughter. So in NZ those chumps are verging on murder. They know because you told them. In fact you can call the Police and tell them so. In fact you can video yourself telling them a second time and give that as evidence to the Police. I do not envy your position. or any one else that is down range. Heck. =( Robert.

      • Chris USA,

        Unfortunately some of the YouTube and other internet sources of “wisdom” provide mixed information at best and just wrong information; even the revered Myth Busters have messed up on this one.
        It takes approximately 200 FPS terminal velocity to break the average human’s skin. If a projectile is launched at an elevation of more than 45 degrees it will most likely destabilize before it becomes a SIMPLE falling object. ALL OF THE BALLISTIC RULES end at that point and the Newtonian Physics of a falling object take over. In short the object will never fall (tumbling) fast enough to break average skin. It could still wound or kill if it hits some body part which is unusually weak.
        When the elevation angle is depressed below 45° if the projectile remains stable all the above is NOT valid; the things downrange are at great risk and all life forms of injury or death.
        It is of interest to all of us to bring this stupidity to an end early and often! NEWS at 7 just loves to show bullet holes in things…especially houses and children’s bedroom walls and windows.


    • B.B.,

      In Video Games, 3rdRober
      paragraph: “But there weill(will)be a lot of us when the shooting starts so I also want them to know how to be safe.”


  20. Because of what I call the “video game fantasy syndrome,” where no one gets hurt and all characters which were shot, knifed, blown up and/or otherwise were subjected to mayhem during play magically come back to life healed and with no consequences when the game is replayed, FM thinks it might be a good idea to show the students the effects of a projectile on soft matter or tissue. For example, you could have them use fruits, or say paper cups filled with water and similar containers as targets which would leave an impression on their young minds and reinforce the concept that when you misuse a gun, a tool, knife, whatever, the consequences can be dire and permanent. Alternatively, you could show a short video of which there are plenty on YouTube, illustrating the effects of projectiles on ballistic gel or clay, watermelons, water-filled buckets and such. You could make your own illustrative video, but that is making more work for you. All this to be part of the first lesson in shooting training. I still well remember being in awe of the exit hole size in a large water-filled metal bucket shot with a .30 M1903 Springfield loaded with military-grade cartridges , thinking what a horrible exit wound that would have made in a human or animal body.

    If the consequences of gun misuse were graphically hammered home to our young shooters, you would see a decrease in improper gun handling and violence in our country and would take at least some of the steam out of individuals and groups pushing “one size fits all” gun bans and/or restrictions; wish more knowledgeable people would step up to do what you have volunteered to do, B.B; that would also help stop the demonization of shooting enthusiasts and their tools of the trade. Our young ones would learn to experience sports shooting as a fun, even wholesome activity. Beats being glued zombie-like to a “device,” at least in FM’s book.

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