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Air Guns Beware of the man with one gun…

Beware of the man with one gun…

This report covers:

  • November, 2011
  • Airguns are no different
  • All is not lost
  • Back to 2022

When I started this morning I didn’t know what this report would be about. I have a cool rifle test I want to do, but I have done so much testing recently that I thought we needed a break. I sure did! So let’s start out back in 2011 with a report that is as pertinent today as it was then — especially after I asked you to tell me what your favorite airgun was and why. What follows comes from November, 2011. It goes with today’s title.

November, 2011

… and laugh at the fool with too many! That should be the ending of the famous statement, as I discovered suddenly this week.

I live in Texas, which is a pretty large state as most of you know. However, unlike many other states, Texas has very little open hunting ground. Most of it is owned and posted. Just like in feudal Europe, if you want to hunt in Texas, you either pay thousands per year for a deer lease or you know someone who owns one and get an invite.

So, I got invited to hunt for mule deer this year on 45,000 acres of open country in the western part of the state. Knowing what a rare opportunity this was, I accepted and then thought about what gun I would use. I went to my gun closet and behold — there was nothing. Oh, there are plenty of suitable guns in the closet, but every one of them is in some state of setup for a different, arcane purpose. There’s my Ballard, which is deadly accurate at 100 yards, but which I haven’t begun to try out at 200 yards. The bullet travels so slow that unless I get it sighted in, shooting that far would be chancy. And, in western Texas, long shots are the rule. Then there’s the fact that I now only use a single cartridge and it takes the better part of five minutes to reload it; but, hey, the deer will wait, won’t they?

Then there’s a 30-30 bolt-action that would work except that it isn’t really made for these distances. Besides, I haven’t got an accurate load worked up yet. My M1938 Swede Mauser is right on at 100 yards, but I have such a pansy low-recoil load worked up that I doubt it will even go 200 yards.

On and on it goes. Nothing in my closet is quite right for mulies at 200-250 yards. So, I recently traded for a 1920 Savage in 250 Savage. I reckon I can also use it at my friend’s place in the Texas Hill Country, where whitetails abound. There, the land is so crowded with brush, that the longest possible shot is 100 yards, so no problem. All I have to do is cook up an accurate load and get it sighted in for about three inches high at 100 yards. That puts it dead on at 200.

This past Wednesday evening, my friend told me that hunting season opens tomorrow, and suddenly I find I have nothing to use. Nothing that’s sighted-in, and nothing that has a useful load cooked up. Oh, I could shoot my Garand, but I don’t have any softpoints loaded for it. I could borrow a rifle from my friend, but out of more than 50 centerfires in his closet, he also has nothing that’s sighted-in.

What we have are closets full of works in progress. Why is that?

Airguns are no different

Contemplating that thought causes me to shift over to airguns, where I discover similar circumstances. My Whiscombe is in the middle of a test, so it can’t be disturbed. My TX200 Mark III had its scope stripped off for the test of another airgun a long time ago and sits in the closet in forlorn anticipation of some day when I will love it again. My TalonSS is currently set up for the CB cap test I just finished and is probably the closest thing I own to something that’s sighted-in, but I would have to read the Shotgun News article I wrote with it to see where I last adjusted the scope.

I don’t have any airguns that are ready to go, either. You see, my philosophy is, and I think I speak for all of us armchair adventurers now, that when the comet finally does crash into the Earth, ending civilization as we know it, there will be an announcement and plenty of time to get out to the range and sight things in.

All is not lost

All my .45 pistols are sighted-in and I have a handload cooked up for them that is so good it is locked into my Dillon Square Deal B press. A ton of lead, ten thousand primers and 24 pounds of powder stand at the ready for the day Edith and I have to shoot our way out the front door.

But I don’t have a hunting rifle! Plenty of potentials but nothing ready to go.

Oh, woe is me! Back when I was a lowly lieutenant in the cavalry in El Paso, in the early 1970s, I only owned one hunting rifle. It was a .270 Weatherby and was sighted-in and I had a good handload cooked up for it. When I went to Germany for four years and had to leave my guns at home, I bought a Sako Vixen in .222 Remington in Germany. Using factory ammo, I dropped 13 deer in 18 months of hunting.

Those were the days when I was young, stupid and broke. Now I’m older, still stupid and, thanks to Edith, have enough money to indulge many of my gun fancies. But nothing I own is sighted-in nor are any good hunting loads cooked up. Everything is a work in progress.

I think I know what’s happening. I think I acquire each new rifle in the hopes that it will solve all my shooting problems. It will get me invited to hunts, it will always be the right caliber for whatever I want to hunt, and it will remain permanently sighted-in with each and every imaginable load. And, after all, there will be time to get everything done before the comet hits.

I’m like the guy who buys the air rifle that comes with two barrels, hoping it will be the only gun he’ll ever need. But heck, my Whiscombe came with four barrels, and the one I need is never on the gun when I need it.

I can remember a time when I had my stuff together, as we used to say. I may have had fewer guns back then, but each was ready to go. Part of my problem now lies in the fact that I write about guns and, therefore, am always tearing things apart while searching for the next article. But both of my gun buddies — Mac who lives in Maryland and Otho who lives here in Texas — have the same problem I do and neither of them writes about guns.

I wonder if this is a normal kind of thing. As your acquisitions grow in number, does your familiarity with each diminish?

I can now understand why Imelda Marcos had all those shoes but nothing to wear.

Back to 2022

Okay, we’re back in the present. I still have no hunting rifles that are ready to go. My Savage 1920 in .250 Savage caliber is the closest I have to a deer rifle that’s sighted-in, but it’s on the light side for big mule deer.

Edith, Mac and Otho have all left the range, so that dynamic has changed over the past 11 years. My TX200 Mark III now has the 22mm Tony Leach kit installed, so for grasshoppers at 35 yards I’m in business. Otherwise, not so much.

I no longer have the Ballard. It has moved on to another collector.

The Whiscombe still has the wrong barrel installed, so don’t tell me how flexible multi-barreled air rifles can be. And my TalonSS that has a 24-inch .22 caliber barrel installed (speaking of multiple-caliber air rifles) has no scope. I stripped it off for a test for you and haven’t gotten around to mounting and zeroing another one yet. Flexibility, schmexibility!

I even pulled the Burris Timberline 4.5-14X32 scope off my Tyrolean Beeman R8 — a thing I said I would never do — just for a test for you! Oh, what a nice boy am I!

In fact, of all the air rifles I own, only my Air Arms S510XS with laminate stock is still sighted in with the Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56 scope. I bought the rifle after testing it and I also bought the scope. You don’t wanna know… Oh, I know that you really do — I just don’t wanna tell you!

I made a pledge to myself that I’m keeping this one for myself. Right now it’s sighted to shoot slightly low at 25 yards, to preserve my aim point. But the last time I shot it, which was February 14 of 2022, I said I would be shooting it more and with other pellets. So maybe BB does have an air rifle that is sighted in and ready to go.

In my next report with this rifle I’m gonna test other premium pellets that I know are good and then I will try it again out at 50 yards. And not on a range with swirly winds. Whoopie!

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

23 thoughts on “Beware of the man with one gun…”

  1. BB,
    This particular misery is not only visited on those with multiple firearms or airguns! I am pretty sure that it just a part of what, for lack of a better term is the “human condition.”
    A good friend of mine, who rode classic British iron (in his case, a Velocette) commented after returning from a rally “The number of running motorcycles a collector has is the proportional inverse of the motorcycles in his collection!” What I took from this was that if you only had one bike, it most likely ran. As the number went up, the likelihood of any of them running was small.
    What could you call that? A poverty of wealth?
    You will have to excuse me, as I am headed out to the garage to see if I might get something running, before summer arrives.

  2. BB and all.
    Right now I probably have the most guns I ever owned in my life. And what is funny is all of mine are sighted and ready to shoot. That being scoped or dot and open sights. Don’t ask why but I’m funny like that. For me it stems back to my muscle car days racing them at the local dragstrip. I did not like trailer queens that just sat and looked pretty. They better run and run hard when I owned them.

    Well here I am with guns. Oh and the three rc planes and two rc helicopters I have all are ready to fly at a moments notice. I like my stuff to work and be ready to use whenever I want. What can I say. 🙂

    • Hey GF1!

      Have you tried any of the drones/quadracopters? They are a bit different from RC in that you can see where you are flying.

      I’ve got a little DJI Mini 2 for photography work. The on-board camera is great for videos and pictures. Like the Mini because of its long range and 30 minute flight time.

      Thought you might like the high performance FPV drones with the “in the cockpit” view with their VR headset. DJI has got one that will do 80!


      • Hank
        Actually one of the 3 planes is a quad copter. It has a YF22 fuselage on it. Flying it I can tell that a drone would be fun to fly. The YF22 doesn’t have a camera. But I could see that being different to get use to too. Although one of my buddies put a camera on a rc plane. I flew it. It was different for sure. But not hard. Just like anything I had to get use to flying that way.

        • GF1,

          I have real world flying experience and I’ve found RC planes difficult to fly because, from my position on the ground, I find it challenging to see the actual flight path. Not a problem in open sky but definitely a concern when flying around obstacles.

          What I like about the Mini2 is that you can see where you are going and the drone pretty well flies itself. Without control inputs it just hovers wherever you left it 🙂 I often fly the drone around trees, through the bush and use it to inspect the 100 yard target – yeah, call me lazy. Depending on how you set it up it will “return to home” by itself.

          I’d call it a “neat toy” but find it to be extremely useful for my photography – it’s convenient to be able to position the camera at the height or location you want. Fun stuff.


          • Hank
            One day I probably will end up with a drone and camera. I could use it to see if any one was on the property. Especially if we are doing shooting and such. A extra eye so to speak.

  3. I have a lot in common with GF1 I guess. All of the gals hanging around the great room have a Wilkins pellet pouch with them filled with their favorite pellet. Most of the gals that are up in the loft have a tin of their favorite with them. I actually have more scopes than air rifles that will accept them, so they are already to go.

    Now, I have kept my collection relatively small, so all of this has not been too difficult to accomplish. There are a couple of more I would like to get, but I am going to have to sell some of these to keep the numbers down to a manageable level. I have seen and heard of collections that numbered in the hundreds. Huh? What do you do with them all? Let them get rusty and dusty?

    My first airgun was a Gamo CFX in .177. For two years it was the only airgun I had. After a bit, I could shoot a ten-shot group at 25 yards that would literally hide under a dime. Now at 50 yards the ten-shot group became a pattern. She is long gone now, but I still have the scope.

  4. There’s a Diana Mod. 75 TO1 in the far back corner of the safe that (I think) needs a rebuild. As far as I know, all the airguns are scoped, dotted or otherwise sighted, functional and ready to go. And a stash of pellets at the ready.

  5. B.B.,

    For one air rifle to do everything, remember Ron Robinson, from Dripping Springs, Texas, who shot Field Target with a Sheridan Blue Streak multi-pumper with a vintage scope. You wrote eight years ago /blog/2014/04/bb-visits-new-field-target-club/ ,

    “Ron grabbed the stock at the pistol grip to pump it. He told me that after estimating the distance to the target he consulted a cheat sheet for the proper number of pumps. “That looks like a five-pump shot to me,” he said with a sly grin. And then he dropped the target — shooting offhand…unsupported”.


  6. B.B.

    Yes, the shoemaker’s children syndrome!
    I thought people in Texas hunted with AR-15’s?
    And what about the Big Bore Air rifles, are they BB for nothing? lol.


  7. BB, I hope you deer hunt with a AirForce Texan. That’s what I want to read about.

    Your job puts you in a unique position because you are always having to rob scopes and other accessories to keep us satisfied. I hadn’t though about the way that multi section blogs ties up equipment for quite a while.

    I don’t have any expensive scopes but I have enough decent scopes to keep everything scoped. I have settled on a bunch of old front focus Bushnell Trophy scopes and a bunch of old BSA 44 Mags plus a couple of Burris Timberlines and a few Beeman Blue Line scopes. If I had more expensive scopes I would be having to swap them around pretty often.

    I am sorry to hear that Otho has passed. Last I asked he was in bad health. I know he was a really close friend and he was a neat guy. Tell his wife (Marsha ??) I am sorry too.

    David Enoch

  8. BB

    Have you just found a new place to shoot indoors? Does your pastor want to shoot too?
    A couple of years ago I seem to remember your looking forward to an indoor range being built. Maybe I dreamed it.


  9. B.B.,

    It all depends! Yea, the 250 Savage would be UNDERKILL with most conditions on the big male Mule Deer you would have wanted.
    I worked a great deal with the folks from USMC and other specialized outfits and the PPPPPPP formula I saw work time and again for those last minute “invitations” that folks throw at you.
    All my airguns are in an UP status but one; my DAQ .410 Camp and Garden pistol is awaiting 25-30 Brass Hulls to do some load testing. My firearms are on a scheduled rotation for PM (preventative Maintenance) but I need a 50 BMG or .338 Lapua Magnum in my gun room since I have a weak spot in my super longrange/anti-material arms.

    So did you go and get you your Mule Deer in 2011?


  10. BB,

    I have one gun for each category… just have a lot of categories 😉

    Yeah, keeping track of a bunch of rifles can be a headache – not complaining though! LOL!

    While there is some overlap in capabilities, every airgun I have has a prime use and is tuned, scoped and sighted in for that application. My “one gun”, the .22 HW100, is my favorite because it covers all of the categories I’m interested in very well.

    With the exception of the 10 meter stuff my rifles are usually sighted in for their best point-blank-range. After break-in, I set them up so that they are sighted in such that the point-of-impact is within +/- 3/8 inch of the point-of-aim which works well for the typical 20 to 35 yards that I do most of my shooting at. This keeps things simple because my rifles shoot pretty much to the same place. Each rifle has a range card detailing the near-zero, far-zero, mid-range and the trajectory out to its maximum-effective-range and for quick reference I keep a “scope cap” mil-dot chart in the pellet tin lid.

    To keep track of the maintenance schedule each rifle is assigned a can of pellets that has tin number and a simple code (e.g. 1/3; 2/3; 3/3 for a gun that has a 3 tin cycle) for the routine cleaning, lubricating and velocity check. That saves me having to remember all the details and I reference the tin number in my notes.

    Anyway, that’s the way I keep track of things as my “rememberer” doesn’t work as well as it used to. Things were simpler when the FWB124 was my only airgun.


  11. B.B. and Readership,

    Since we were on last minute hunting:. How many of you use or have used things like onX or Garmin inreach, Spot, ACR, other EPIRB, and Satellite Communication devices.
    One of the clearer guides I have found: https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/which-satellite-messenger-should-you-get
    Along with some of the comments (like on this blog) are very helpful.
    I use one of the sealed EPIRB in my kayak tethered to my PFD (Personal Flotation Device) and have used a few of the others for Backcountry travel. I also leave a Float Plan (use a search engine to find good examples) or a Trip Plan with a trusted individual with contact times and a notify the Authorities to send the Search & Rescue team.
    If you are wondering why not just use a good Topo Map or Chart, i carry those too! Along with a magnetic compass and a signal mirror. Just think of a walk in the woods with your favorite (ONLY)airgun with a fall or other medical condition and no cellphone coverage.


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