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Big Game Hunting What’s important?

What’s important?

This report covers:

  • Why?
  • Air pistols
  • Barrel length
  • Spring piston
  • What do you want?
  • Can’t get there…
  • Rifles
  • Rifle power
  • Rifle accuracy
  • Other stuff
  • What shouldn’t matter
  • What I’m saying

Today I want to discuss what matters in an airgun. And I hope to cover both rifles and handguns.


Why am I writing this? Well, the number one reason is to get all of you commenting because what you have to say is often more important than what I write. And the second reason I’m writing this is for the newer airgunners. Some of these guns are frightfully expensive and how can you know what you don’t know about them unless someone tells you? Let’s start with handguns.

Air pistols

Like air rifles air pistols have the same three powerplants — spring, pneumatic and CO2 — and they operate in the same general way with an exception that I will note. Because they have to be smaller to be able to be held easily, air pistols tend to be a lot less powerful than air rifles. But there is an exception. The single stroke pneumatics that I will now shorten to SSP are a big exception. The SSP powerplant is already the weakest of all airgun powerplants. Only the catapult powerplant that really isn’t an airgun is weaker.

But SSP pistols are not that far behind SSP rifles. For example, an AV-46M will put a lighter .177 pellet out at 500+ f.p.s. An SSP rifle may get over 600 f.p.s., which isn’t that much faster when you compare them to spring piston or precharged pneumatic powerplants. A spring piston pellet pistol might get up to 600 f.p.s., while a rifle can go over twice as fast with the same pellet.

AV-46M SSP target pistol.

Barrel length

When you get into pneumatics and CO2 guns it’s mainly the barrel that determines the power. As long as the firing valve takes advantage of it, an 18 to 19-inch barrel will be the most powerful and it really doesn’t matter whether it starts life as a handgun or a rifle. Of course a handgun with a 19-inch barrel isn’t really a handgun anymore. That’s when people start wondering if there is a buttstock that attaches to this pistol? It would sure make a nice carbine. And that’s when the pistol goes away.

Spring piston

Spring pistol air pistols are less powerful than spring rifles, but there are a couple that are very powerful. The Beeman P1 is one that shoots lightweight .177 caliber pellets above 500 f.p.s and as fast as 600 f.p.s. The Diana LP8 is even more powerful. When I tested it with extremely lightweight vintage Crosman Silver Eagle pellets I got an AVERAGE velocity of 755 f.p.s. — WOW! With 7-grain RWS Basics the LP8 averaged 581 f.p.s.

Beeman P1
Beeman P1.

Diana LP8.

Neither the P1 or the LP8 is cheap, but the P1 costs $210 more than the LP8. Is it worth it? Yes, if you like a nice adjustable trigger. As for power the LP8 is the winner by a small margin and for accuracy it goes back and forth. The point is — these handguns are worth the money if you can swing it.

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What do you want?

If you want an heirloom air pistol consider getting a P1. An LP8 is in the heirloom category, too, but the P1 is on top.

If it’s accuracy you’re after, get a Beeman P17. Yes, the German-made P3 is made better, but the difference is so small that I doubt it’s worth it. And both guns qualify for the heirloom status.

You want power in a “handgun”? Get an AirForce TalonP. I saw over 50 foot-pounds in a .25 caliber I tested, though the accuracy lived at around the high 20 foot-pound region. I put quotes around the word handgun because the TalonP is as much an air pistol as an AR “pistol” is a pistol. They are more rifles without stocks. But at 50 yards I put seven .25-caliber pellets into 0.577-inches with five in 0.246-inches.

Tom at bench
With the cantilever mount moving the scope forward, the eyepiece was positioned perfectly for a good cheek weld on the reservoir. The ear protectors are for the firearms that are next to me.

TalonP target
50 yards: Five JSB Exact Kings in the hole below and two above. The five-shot group was 0.246 inches between centers. Add the other two shots, and the group grows to 0.577 inches between centers. Even that is better than most .25-caliber air rifles can do at 50 yards; but the point (trick) is that I knew those last two shots were going to stray because of the pressure drop in the reservoir, and I didn’t have to shoot them.

Can’t get there…

And then someone says he wants the power of the TalonP, the size of the P1 at the cost of the P17. Yeah — right! Welcome to the blog. Search the past reports to learn why this isn’t possible, any more than you can have a firearm pistol that’s as powerful as a .357 Magnum with a kick like a .22 and a size like a Walther PPK.


The same things that hold for pistols are also true for rifles. The three types of powerplants work the same and the 18 to 19-inch barrel limit holds for CO2 rifles just like pistols. But with rifles the limits of power and accuracy go a lot farther than they do for handguns. Let’s look.

Rifle power

Where air pistol power cuts off just below 60 foot-pounds (with the exception of specialized air pistols such as those made by Dennis Quackenbush), air rifle now exceed 800 foot-pounds (.50-caliber AirForce Texan) and smallbores (.177 to .25 caliber) top out at just above 100 foot-pounds (AirForce Escape). And both of these rifles are very accurate.

Personally I prefer power down in the 500+ foot-pound range for a big bore and around 30 foot-pounds for a smallbore. They just seem to operate better for me there. And by operate better I mean several things including accuracy, conservation of air and stability.

What about the .30 caliber and .35 caliber pellet guns? Where do they fit? Well, in my opinion they are in the big bore category. Just remember that nobody made BB Pelletier the Full Ruler and Controller of the universe. So what I just said is my opinion and not fact.

Rifle accuracy

From yesterday’s report you know I am not talking about the so-called “extreme” airgun sports. I mean real-world accuracy — the kind most airgunners consider, which I will define as about 50 yards for long range and 25 yards for the smaller rifles.

The recent work I’ve done with my TX200 Mark III that I tuned with Tony Leach’s 22mm piston kit has opened my eyes to the accuracy potential of a springer. This is an area I want to explore farther with you. Remember the Meopta MeoSport 3-15X50 scope I’m testing? Well I’m thinking of purchasing it (it is so good for such a good price) and mounting it on my Beeman R8 Tyrolean. That is another extremely accurate springer and I bet that scope will bring out its best.

Other stuff

In this category I will address fit and finish. These days manufactures are addressing the fit issue with ergonomics — adjustable combs, buttplates and so on. When I say “and so on” you may think there isn’t anything more but we now have combs that rotate front to back to cup your face differently and there are triggers that move around a lot. So there are other things.

As for the finish aspect, as the price increases the finish usually does, too. My Air Arms S510XS with Laminate Stock costs several times more than my Marauder. It shows in the finish and a little in the ergonomics — not in accuracy.

What shouldn’t matter

I called this the “shouldn’t” matter section because to some folks it still does matter — a lot. In my opinion it’s the “doesn’t” matter section. If the air rifle or pistol looks like it came straight from a Star Wars movie set or from a Hollywood battlefield it doesn’t add anything to the performance. I know a fellow who owns Old Blue from the movie A Christmas Story. There were actually several of those BB guns made and, to the owner of this one, where it came from matters a lot.

I do understand collecting famous memorabilia, but it isn’t in my nature to do so. I get asked all the time whether I know if I ever owned this or that airgun, because in the owner’s eyes that puts a premium on it. Like I said I do understand collecting famous stuff, but I ain’t famous and no amount of hoopla will make it so. If you get an airgun from me at a show make sure what you get is something you want, because that’s all the real value it should have. Winston Churchill is famous — not BB Pelletier.

That said, I do think the special weathered or battlefield finishes we are seeing on some airguns do add to their desirability. They add a sort of, “If only it could talk” panache. But John Wayne’s Colt SAA that he carried in several films — now THAT is collectible. If a first generation SAA in nice shape is worth $5,000 you can add at least one zero for his, and probably several times that.

What I’m saying

I’m saying don’t buy airguns on the basis of velocity and power. Buy them after SEVERAL different reports have conveyed they meet your needs in the categories that are important to you.

Your wives think I’m the Great Enabler. If I am I only enable you with the things with which I think you should be enabled.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

79 thoughts on “What’s important?”

  1. B.B.

    Boy am I glad you like pistols. I have a Diana 5G, 10M, and LP-8. Love them all.
    What I want in an airgun is consistent power-any level really, a good barrel, and a good trigger. You often say, “trigger is not great, but I can work with it.”. Not me! Give me a great trigger or don’t give me anything.

    The guys at the range who shoot “big bore”, I consider .25 cal and up bb. They all say pellets are accurate outt o 100 yards, after that you need slugs.

    Please convince Meopta to come up with good hold-over reticles. Most of there are just for CF.


    PS just below the LP-8 photo you say, “but the LP8 costs $210 more than the LP8”

  2. BB,

    Thank you so much for publishing these articles, although I think yesterday’s article in hindsight fits in as follow up to this article.


    PS Section Spring Piston 2nd paragraph 1st sentence: “Neither the P1 or the LP8 is cheap, but the LP8 (P1) costs $210 more than the LP8.”

  3. What matters.
    Hmm, to me, that depends on what gun it is, and it’s intended use.

    Air rifles? To me, Accuracy comes first, power comes second.
    A weak hit is better than a powerful miss…

    If I am building a firearm to protect my family, life or home, different story.
    Reliability above all else, accuracy is second.
    If it don’t function, you have an expensive short range club.
    If it shoots, you can put enough rounds down range to hit your target, or deter them from continuing what they started (that door was locked for THEIR protection as well as mine.)

    Air pistols?
    Accuracy and a good trigger are almost on even footing in my opinion.
    An accurate pistol with a horrible trigger is working against itself, because you may pull the shot fighting the trigger.

    But a decently accurate pistol with a GOOD trigger is not that much of a detriment because you can predict the break of the trigger, you just have to fire when the sights are in the same place every time.

    Fit and finish?
    Everyone is proud of their airgun, from the 9 year old with his new Daisy that was given to him by his grandpa,
    To the person who scrimped and saved and bit the bullet and bought a new AirArms Tx200 in walnut.
    What’s important is does it meet your level of fit finish, looks and aesthetics.
    Some people like nice polished wood and blued steel, others like black plastic low maintenance stocks, and painted camouflage.

    Never disparage some one for their choices in women, cars or guns….


  4. Very busy bee Senor B.B.,

    If a pistol in 357 the size of a PPK that kicks like a 22 is ever built, I want serial #1

    Like many others, trigger and accuracy are paramount. Astherics second. I have an HW 50s from the late 60’s. Lots of dings and scratches on the stock. Also the finish is gone. Much of the bluing is gone, but no rust or pitting (after cleaning). Was stored in my neighbor’s garage for decades. Traded for it and rebuilt it myself (lol). Has original iron sights and the original 13mm target rear peep. A treasure to me. A classic rifle that I probably saved from the trash bin and resurrected. A miracle given my limited skills.

    In my eyes you are a Rockstar Senor B.B. Would jump of joy if I were to own your HW 55SF and the Beeman R8 you acquired at Fidlay in 2017. Not just because ( in my opinion) nothing built before, now ,or in the future will match the accuracy, trigger , beauty or elegance of these two rifles. But also because they were tunned by you and because you own them. A sincere heart felt sentiment.

  5. “…discuss what matters in an airgun…” Ok, I scratched my head multiple times, and here’s what I think:

    I imagine, in an ideal world, what matters in an airgun is, that it satisfies.
    However, I also believe, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to please everyone.
    Therefore, what really matters, I think, is, that it does not disappoint.

    Put another way: I think what matters in an airgun, is the truth.

    Why do you think I’m here? 🙂

      • Yes Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), I think the truth in an airgun matters.

        I have confidence in your airgun reviews which makes them interesting. Besides, you always include detailed pictures! 🙂

        I also like gleaning the often available extra, in the comments.

        Sometimes I really like what I see, and trusting that (!), is what “enables” me… 🙂

      • Amen! 🙂
        B.B., you brought to mind my preface on Truth at the beginning of one of my old blogs:

        “At all times, in all places, for all peoples, whether or not they can perceive it or believe it, the truth remains the truth.” — dave

        “And what is truth?” — Pontius Pilate

        Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” — John 14:6

          • I see in these comments many requests to avoid politics, yet this never comes up with those kinds of posts.

            It is your personal blog, but it is deeply disrespectful to ask others to be considerate of your beliefs without giving the same in return.

          • B.B., if you google search on “The Ever Encouraging Word,” it should be the first thing to pop up; it is here:

            StevenG, my old blog had nothing to do with politics; originally, I ran a poetry page for budding poets; people would sent in their poems, and I would create a page for them. Then, some of the young people started sending me pics showing them cutting themselves. These were examples of “small cutting ” (attempts to externalize internal pain), but I did not know that at the time; I thought they were trying to commit suicide; and even after I found out what it meant, I was of the opinion, “OK, these young folk need help.” Hence, I started the blog “The Ever Encouraging Word” to give these young people some hope, by persuading them that God loves them more than they could ever possibly believe, thereby showing them that their lives are of infinite value.
            I meant no disrespect to anyone here; I LOVE this airgun blog! There are many here from differing places with different outlooks on life, but we all share a passion for airguns. And, unlike many other forums I’ve seen, this is one where people listen to each other and treat others with respect, thanks much to B.B. and Edith who created the great family-friendly atmosphere here. 🙂
            Peace, and good shooting to you,

    • Agree. Nothing disappoints like promises broken. 1600 fps? Sorry, only can muster 1190. Scope included? But it breaks after 50 shots of punishing recoil. Silencer? But the sound of the stock smacking you in the cheek is louder than the hypersonic report. Accuracy? Never mentioned on the box.

  6. Oh boy, B.B. – if you or anybody else wants to go down an infinite Rabbit Hole for delving into Truth, you should check out Father Spitzer’s Universe. Back to airgun matters – because they do. The truth is FM regrets working his way back into this very entertaining and pleasant interest sorta late in life but better late than never. So his parameters in an airgun are (1) accuracy, at least at a “good enough” (for FM) level, (2) definitely a decent trigger coupled with – preferably – good “open” sights, (3) simplicity in maintenance and operation and, finally, (4) pleasing to the eye design and materials. In other words, “purty” enough to display.

    And then there is the problem of so many choices…limited budget…so little time, or so it seems. If ya wanna know, and likely you don’t, since choices have to be limited, at least for old FM, the goal is to acquire one more springer – an HW30 – and one more PCP in .25 caliber. In your prior article or post 45Bravo brought up the JTS Airacuda Max; that seems an interesting possibility but FM is going to wait for your review before even thinking of getting one.

    To you and everyone else into this – keep having fun, keep on trucking! That’s the truth.

  7. Alex2no, BB is not a Rockstar, he is the Godfather. He is not a brief, bright flash in the pan. He is here to help teach, guide and sometimes even enable us in the world of airguns, often unseen and unnoticed by others.

    A good part of my “collection” was once owned by BB. So much of what I know of airguns, I have learned from him and others here. When I journey too far astray, he is quick to chastise me. That is fine by me. I have learned that many pay attention to my words, therefore it is important that my words be true.

  8. Readers

    I shoot everyday that weather permits. Here is my top 10 listed in order of the most important features of my airgun hobby.
    1- Accuracy and precision
    2- Trigger pull quality
    3- Aesthetics
    4- Smoothness of shooting cycle
    5- Piccatiny or dovetail with scope stops
    6- Ergonomics
    7- Single shot loading capability
    8- Trays for extra scope rings, adaptors, elevation compensators and scope screws
    9- Keep a “docs” record of every shooting session
    10- Smoothness of cocking/pumping cycle

    One comment about accuracy and precision. If 9 shots cluster in a tiny group and one shot doubles the size repetitively it is accurate but not precise.


    • Deck,

      This IT of which you speak will be the shooter and rifle as a system in 99.9% of cases where extreme accuracy is blown by one outlier; in my opinion. The prescription i have written for myself is invariably to Dry Fire more…NOT that that practice will cure the IT so much as teach me how to recognize the why of the outlier removing the miss-tery!


      • Shootski

        Good advice. The “it” flier indeed happens more with triggers that are less than ideal for me. Almost never happens with my FWB300S, Ataman or Walther LGV Olympia. Not an issue with my Weihrauchs and Diana’s either. Flier seems to occur somewhere during shots 6 through 10. I can’t dry fire the springers but there are guns that allow it.


        • Deck,

          I would love to be able to dry fire/or airgun blanks with my SIG break barrels.
          I keep thinking that there should be a way to insert a metering jet or valve of some design into the loading port/breech that would provide an economical and safe way to dry fire not only gas springs but coil spring powered spring piston airguns. I’m not just talking about break barrels it should work for under and side levers with fixed barrels. With some of the single/multipumps/PCP you can just cock the trigger and do a dry fire but with the spring piston it would be great to get the full effect of the piston doing the double recoil too.
          I know there are manufacturers that claim you can dry fire their spring powerplants but i’m not interested in most of their products.
          So I guess this is another item for me to add to WHAT’S IMPORTANT, LOL!


          • One can imagine instead of a silencer or moderator, a screw on regulator of sorts that will allow enough air to escape the barrel to prevent piston bounce but not enough to allow the piston to hit the front of the compression chamber and cause damage. Like a reverse valve.

  9. BB,
    I enjoyed this blog. You left out my favorite pistols, the BSA Scorpion and the Webley Tempest, but we all have our favorites.

    The things I have come to appreciate have changed over time. My most appreciated feature now is a gun that always works and always shoots to the same point, even if it hasn’t been shot for a while. My guns that fit that description best are a Mac1 LD pistol, my BSA Supersport, and my FWB 124D. They are always dependable.

    Right now, three of my PCPs are in need of repair. I am not as comfortable working on a PCP as I am a springer. I need to dig into PCP repair more.

    David Enoch

    • I am just the opposite with one caveat.

      I am not a springer guy and know there is some form of black magic that goes in inside that tube and there is a lubed black mamba that lives in there and will jump out and bite you in the forehead if you aren’t careful.

      Co2 and PCP guns are a different story, it’s a few hollow tubes, and a few rubber o-rings, and some small springs.

      The caveat is FX, how or why do you make an airgun with 43 o-rings?

      Do you know how hard it is to find THE ONE that is leaking?

      You have to go past 20 of them to get to that ONE that leaks..

      That’s why if I am going inside the gun, I just replace them all,


  10. Tom thank you for everything that you do.
    The wisdom at the end of the blog is 200 proof….. I have enjoyed your mentorship for 16 years. No not just enjoyed but benefited from…… I’d like to point out way back then, how many times you patiently explained to someone that their air gun was not actually owned or built by Benjamin Franklin. Good times!
    Thank you my friend.

  11. B.B.,
    another home run blog today. For me anyway but as people were saying, different strokes for different folks. Right off the bat you hit me with the Diana LP8 / Beeman R1 choice. I have mulled over buying one of these for a while. I prefer the more “compact” (length) of the R1. But so many love their LP8. I do have a question. I’ve read a lot in reviews, both on PA’s site and in air gun groups, of the R1 having rear breach seal issues (blowing out/cutting). But then I read maybe they had some bad batches (newer stuff). Have you heard this or if so has it been corrected?
    I know you own (or owned) an R1, how does in compare in power to the Crosman 2240 co2 (if they were both in 22 cal). I have air guns, but, other than my 1976 Red Ryder I got for Christmas as a child, I don’t own what I consider heirlooms that I can pass down and will be passed down.
    Lastly, on rifles, I’ve never owned what I consider a high quality springer. I’d love shoot one someday just to compare the difference to my cheap springers I’ve had. I think of the R7, R9 (and HW) as a fine machine.
    Thanks once again to you, the Great Enabler / God Father


    • Doc
      I am in no way an accomplished shooter like B.B. but you may have some use of my experience with HW45, HW75 and the 2240 modified. Note that I have used the 2 HWs with barrels in 4.5, 5.5, long and standard ones. The 45 is a 5 to 6+ fpe platform with lighter pellets. Accurate? Obviously yes with the right pellet but with the right shooter, not me yet, behind it. Longer barrel in.22 produced less power than the standard WH, probably because of the tighter bore. The HW75 is an absolute joy. Low power and quite hard pumping, relatively speaking, but easily accurate, even for me… The 2240 is a 6-8 fpe platform with standard barrel. It is also very accurate but noisy. I use a silencer on mine, a red dot also. By the way I always have to mention the Webley/Zoraki Ultra. It can do anything the three mentioned can but easier and with more authority if it is necessary.
      Finally if you ask me about my favorite, the HW45 wins every time. A true lady in attitude and aesthetics but very rewarding if you do your part.
      Hope I helped.

      • Bill,
        Thanks for sharing. I always liked the looks/idea of the Webley/Zoraki Ultra. Shame it didn’t go over better.
        I take it your HW45 is .177? I like the idea of the .20 cal.

        • Doc
          My HW45 was bought as a .22. That is the original barrel mentioned with the highest fpe output. Still it can be converted to whatever caliber barrel available in less than a minute, although I have never had a .20. Odd ball choice, for me that is. A .25 cal barrel wouldn’t fit in it but it does fit the Webley/Zoraki… Thumper.

  12. Note to new airgunners,
    Please read this blog…a LOT! Then, think about what you expect your new airgun to do. When you find one you think you might like, see if the comments from others bear out that it fits your intended role.
    Next, if you can afford the airgun in question, and you really, really want it, take the plunge, and buy it.
    Alternatively, you could do what I did. I had a Beeman P1, and it was powerful, but not as accurate (in my hands, anyway) as I wished it to be. I shot a friend’s IZH 46, and it was accurate, even in my hands. So I figured, “If only I could get the accuracy of the IZH 46, in a small handy format like the P1, I’d be all set. Oh wait, there is something like that, the Single-Stroke Pneumatic (SSP) Beeman P2…but she’s expensive…hmmm.”
    So, ol’ dave came up with a plan to buy an inexpensive Crosman 1322, and customize it into something as accurate as a P2, yet at a much cheaper cost (cuz ol’ dave is crafty, and thinks he’s smart).
    Four months and hundreds of dollars of custom barrel, custom trigger, custom sights, and custom stocks later, I had my lovely and accurate pistol…which, of course, cost more than the P2 I though to replicate “on the cheap.”
    Hahaha! Silly ol’ dave! 🙂
    Oh well, at least this pistol is also powerful (7 fpe), so it could be used for close range pesting; but, primarily, it serves as a very accurate plinker; and the variable power allows me to shoot her indoors as well. So, while spending more than intended, I ended up with an airgun that I love, and one that sees pretty much daily use. That’s more than I can say for most of my firearms. Welcome to the wonderful world of airguns;; it’s a wonderful and exciting place! 🙂
    Wishing good choices and good shooting to you,

  13. B.B.,

    In Rifle Power you got me Tom.
    “What about the .30 caliber and .35 caliber pellet guns? Where do they fit? Well, in my opinion they are in the big bore category. Just remember that nobody made BB Pelletier the Full Ruler and Controller of the universe. So what I just said is my opinion and not fact.”

    Before the new era of larger bore airguns the .30 and .357 caliber didn’t have line production PELLETS. Those calibers invariably shot BULLETS (now called SLUGS by airgunners) the dividing line is now totally blurred. I say that because a .25 caliber shooting bullets can potentially (and mine do.) deliver far more power on target at 100 than a .30 and even a .357 airgun shooting line produced pellets. The usefulness of those calibers shooting pellets, in my opinion, is really only for the manufacturer/retailer driven EXTREME competitions.
    Big Bores were developed for HUNTING.
    I believe you already knew that.
    Simply the historical TRUTH.


  14. I am not going to use the word need, because I don’t need an air gun. I just like plinking with springers. Sadly, what I love doesn’t exist anymore, a brand-new Diana 27.

    Here is a list of what I like so far:
    Diana 23 / 27 / 27 prewar
    BSA Model D

    I had only owned a couple of 27s in my life. The rest of the list is what I’ve learned here on this blog. You see I guess I am pretty selective; among all those air guns, these are the only ones I like. BB hasn’t reported on a prewar 27 yet, but we talked about it at least; it shall count, right?

    Kudos to Weihrauch. Hw30S is the last man standing. It’s just excellent for what I like.

    • Correction, I didn’t find out about the BSA here. I think I must have seen its photos somewhere else. My care for Diana 27 prewar and BSA Model D is solely based on their visual elegance anyway. I have no idea about how they would shoot or if they would even be fun to shoot.

      • So, considering today’s blog, it comes to this: Among all of the air guns in the world, in the light of what I look for in an air gun, I would pick, HW30S, Diana 27 / 23, or IZH-60. I’ve managed to find something wrong with the rest.

        When all is said and done, choosing which air gun to buy is easy for me. HW30S is the only one around in my short list.

        • I am with you on that one must let what they need to do determine what they need. I am not a target shooter, so my wants and needs Will differ from someone who is.

          • There are actually many air guns suitable for what I like to do – CO2s, multi-pumps, and such, but I tend to find something wrong with all. It’s either the trigger or the barrel or the sights; one component is always cheaply made nowadays. Hw30S’s quality, on the other hand, puts a check on every requirement I have, and it does that for only ~$350.

            So, what do you do with air guns? Are you a hunter? Pest control?

          • old Bert,

            The HW30S is a superb feral soda can killer. You will also find that it will shoot with many target rifles and not be ashamed.


            I picked up a used HW30S for my grandson. I would not hesitate to buy any Weihrauch. As you and many others have noted, the quality is top shelf.

          • Fish I know HW30/R7 is the most beloved air rifle of all time. I’ve seen many impromptu polls on what air rifle people would keep and it’s always the HW 30/R7. I would love to see one. I live in the middle no where so chances of me getting to pet one is pretty slim. I have three pumpers I use for the pesting I need to do. They let me tailor my power so I have just enough power without having to much.

            But I would love to spend some time with a HW30/R7,

            Old Bert

        • “HW30S is the only one around in my short list.”
          Fish, I’m with you on that, as I love HW30S; but I would also love to see you post a pic of your Diana prewar 27. 🙂

          • I WISH I had a prewar 27. I only know it from the pictures and videos on the Internet. I haven’t even seen one in real life. There is something about the shape of Diana prewar 27, BSA Model D, and such air rifles from that era. I think RR also has something that looks like them in his collection; I envy him. I just love how those old air rifles look. They are truly elegant at every angle. I have no idea about how they would shoot, but I am guessing more than good enough for plinking.

            The only air rifles that I have ever owned are Diana 27s – none of them prewar. I have never come across a used Diana 23 on sale. Even if I found one, it probably would be sold at a ridiculously high price these days. I should have bought an IZH-60 back in time but didn’t, and now, I am about to make the same mistake with HW30S.

          • Fish, I had a really nice Diana model 23 in .22 caliber; the velocity was down in the 350 fps range, but she was a great close-range plinker; she wound up gifted to my nephew, my godson. 🙂
            Yes, that rifle that RidgeRunner has in his collection is extremely cool; needless to say, he is too wise to part with it!
            The only really old-time springer I have is the .177 Haenel model 1 (from 1938) that I got from Frank (thank you!); at 4.5 pounds, she’s a dainty little thing, and makes for an excellent plinker at 15 yards (with open sights; you can’t scope this old gal, and I wouldn’t even if I could).
            All I can say is, if you get an HW30S, you will not be disappointed; I’ve had one in .177, and currently have on in .22 caliber; both made for super-fun plinkers!
            As B.B. has mentioned before, light-cocking springers are under-rated; in the push for maximum velocity, people (not readers here, mind you, I meant the general population =>) miss out on a ton of fun! 🙂

          • I’ve just seen your comment. Thanks for the link. I have a Diana 27 in .177 at my summer house overseas.

            I’ve been postponing the HW30S purchase here. Long story short, I currently live in a condo and don’t have a practical place to plink.

  15. B.B. and Readership,

    In a discussion with Decksniper a few replies up i stumbled upon another What’s Important.
    The ability to conveniently and safely (without causing damage to airgun) dry fire spring piston airguns. Shouldn’t that be a fairly easy thing to do?


    • Shootski,

      With some it is not hard. You can do such with any tap loader. All you have to do is open the loading port and that closes off the transfer port. I can “dry fire” my 1906 BSA all day long. If I recall correctly, the FWB 300 series has the dry fire capability.

      The truth is you are asking the wrong question there. The real question is why someone would want to do that? Any airgun that is used in target competition, at least to my limited knowledge, has the ability to dry fire, whether it be SSP, MP, PCP or sproinger. The average Joe does not need dry fire and it would be a useless expense in most cases. I am VERY serious about my plinking and I do not use dry fire with the airguns I have that have such.

      • RidgeRunner,

        I understand your position on this.
        I have always dry fired and even now in more or less full retirement dry fire a great deal. It has always been part of my need to keep the gun handling at a level of automatic as if my life depended on it…. Many of us are fortunate enough to be able to shoot with live ammo and live airguns regularly. I was thinking of new shooters and those without the backyards and basements (Condo, Apartment, Retirement Home and other restrictive home environments) who could benefit from a small dot on the wall or a discreet target mounted somewhere to practice on. Maybe I’m off a bit on just how many shooters face those kinds of problems but i suspect it isn’t insignificant. I’ll add those with spouses, families, or house partners who don’t want to hear the bang and the thump/clang on the target/backstop.
        I’m lucky to have a wife that doesn’t mind my sitting on the loveseat or standing next to it with my pistols (AV 46M this evening) dry firing it at a target off to the side of the screen with or without a full pump stroke during commercials or other feature interuptions…just saying.


      • I have no experience with dry firing a springer other than by mistake. So if you completely cut off the air escaping from the compression chamber of a springer, there are no ill effects to the powerplant? Does the air slowly seep out from somewhere or is the pressure released when you open the action to re-cock?

        • Roamin Greco,

          I think cutting of the outflow completely would/might damage a coil spring and also the breach seal eventually. Gas springs might not be as bad but still not what I was asking for. I was asking fore something like an insert metering jet or a spring loaded valve kind of like a snapcap to release the compressed air while keeping the piston from slamming into the end of the compression tube.


          PS: locating the device at the muzzle end of the barrel allows too much volume to do the piston slowdown.

          • Shootski,

            The only thing I can think of that will safely allow dry fire practice in any spring piston powerplant would be an interchangeable transfer port that would limit the flow of air escaping into the barrel slow enough to prevent the piston slamming into the end of the chamber too fast. Unfortunately this is an expensive manufacturing proposition (especially for accountants) and was only done commercially (to my knowledge) with the Whiscombe. Dennis Quackenbush converted an R1 for Tom way back in 2008 to experiment with transfer ports in his report /blog/2008/11/the-air-transfer-port-part-3/


    • Shootski,

      Other than changing the transfer port which could cause a serious change in accuracy I do not see a way to easily setup a break barrel for dry fire practice. Given that airgun ammo is fairly cheep I would suggest that you just shoot live ammo at a cheep target and call it dry firing, that way you get the feedback of how well you are doing.

      One of the guys, I think Hank put up this printable target that might do well in that respect.


      • Mike,

        Thanks for your reply. I’m really not concerned (yet) about pellet cost. My interest is in not needing a pellet trap and the convenience of a quick practice session almost anywhere. I find it strange that I can do that even with my PCP Big Bores but not with the .177 & .22 SIG ASP20s. Some of the Big Bores only shoot LOUD air blanks unless almost empty which they seldom are.

        Thanks again for your ideas,


        • Shootski,

          The thing is that break barrel powerplants expect to see a resistance caused by the pellet blocking the exit of the compressed air, without that the piston will slam into the end of the compression chamber causing damage to the piston seal.

          Another thought if you were to place a wood dowel that fits very tight in the bore the air could only escape thru the groves of the barrel, do not know if that would be enough to make the power plant think it is shooting a pellet or not.

          The danger might be that the dowel might just be fired out, not a good thing, a dowel retention system would be advised.

          This would have to be tested to see if it does work by comparing it with the shot cycle of using pellets.


  16. I think the most important thing is that the airgun not disappoint. It has to consistently hit what it is aimed at and serve the purpose for which it was marketed. This must be especially true for new airgunners, so this is an indictment of the velocity races at the big box stores. You buy on velocity only, or on the glossy pictures on the box, and then you open a box full of disappointment. A great way to kill your own sport and drive away repeat customers. My son is an example. He wants to keep up with his older siblings but he’s too small for the stock and has a curious cross dominant eye issue that I am trying to help him solve, but he has not the patience to wait for the results. He just couldn’t hit what he aimed at. He gave up twice and came back again. I solved the stock size issue when I found a Daisy 230 with a cut down stock, but now I think I need a Williams peep sight with an extension to simplify his aiming. A regular peep is too high for the front sight. The good news is that using his sister’s Daisy 753 and a very unconventional left handed hold he was able to put 3 shots into a 1/2 inch at 5 yards. He was OK with that.

    This is why this blog is such a valuable resource. Because it is not a commercial for the newest airgun, but a resource for learning from the readership’s experiences with airguns of all kinds.

    As for me, I just picked up what seems to be a very lightly used (if at all) Walther Terrus .22 with the wood stock based on BB’s pronouncement in the past as a “world beater.” Even though it is no longer made, will report back to share my experience. So far, for $170, it is not disappointing me, but the trigger could use some work…. Hmmm.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Great Friday blog, BB!

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