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My perfect airguns

Johnson target gun
Johnson Target Gun. It’s not even an airgun; it’s a catapult. Why would anyone want one?
Nope! This one isn’t perfect.

This report covers:

  • Diana 27
  • Air Arms S510XS
  • Air Arms TX200 Mark III
  • Are you getting this?
  • One final air rifle
  • Beeman P1
  • Over to you
  • Summary

With Christmas fast approaching we airgunners must pause to reflect on our blessings. In the world of airguns I have several, though they are far from all.

The title of today’s report is misleading. The guns I’m going to talk about aren’t perfect. Instead, they are perfect FOR ME! And I know that many of you have the same affection for these sometimes crude launchers of plumbum. I will get to that, but for now let me tell you about the airguns that I find perfect.

Diana 27

I know many of you guessed this would be one of them. The Diana model 27 is a breakbarrel springer that’s neither powerful nor accurate, yet I love mine. Why is that? Well, it began about 45 years ago when I bought a neglected one in a pawn shop in Radcliff, Kentucky. That gun was rusty, the wood had no finish and in general the rifle looked like it had lost a fight with a chainsaw, yet it cocked easily and when I shot it all the pellets seemed to go to the same place — more or less.

Diana 27
This is NOT my first Diana 27. It’s my second one.

I gave that first 27 to a friend when I left the Army and it was many years later before I acquired another. That one I still have, and it’s been tuned many times over the decades.

Air Arms S510XS

The next perfect air rifle I have is the .22-caliber Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock that I talked myself into back in 2019. Well I didn’t exactly talk myself into it. This rifle was the first time I tested the very best Pyramyd Air had to offer. I scoped the rifle with a Meopta Optika6 3-18X56 RD SFP scope, mounted in Sportsmatch 30mm high adjustable scope mounts. The combination wasn’t the most expensive combo on the market, but it was so darned nice that I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t send anything back after testing. I ENABLED myself into a rifle/scope/ring combination that I couldn’t let go of when the time came. If I am the Great Enabler as so many of you think, then know that it works on me, too.

S510XS
My Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with laminate stock is perfect — for me.

Oddly enough this is the only air rifle I own whose scope and mounts have NEVER been removed, once installed.

Air Arms TX200 Mark III

My TX200 Mark III is perfect for me. I used to compete in field target with a TX200 Mark II, but when I got this one I sold that one. At that time I said that I didn’t need to own two perfect air rifles — yes, I did! This one is still perfect and, if you have followed me installing the Tony Leach 22mm tuneup kit, you know that it is now perfect-er.

Oh, the stock now looks like it’s been gnawed on by a rabid beaver, but I have mounted a Meopta MeoPro Optika5 4-20ร—50 RD BDC3 scope on it and I think this is another rifle whose scope is going to remain. BB has to stop testing Meopta scopes because he buys every one that comes his way. There isn’t enough money! Talk about enabling! I guess the lesson here is if a company makes a superior product it’s difficult to let it go after sampling it. Leapers is the only other scope maker that’s done that to me.

TX200 Mark III
This isn’t BBs TX200 Mark III. This is a pretty one.

Are you getting this?

Are you beginning to see why these airguns are perfect — for me? It’s not their looks, though one is gorgeous. For me it’s the performance — mostly. And then there is that Diana 27 that looks average and isn’t that accurate. But at least it’s not powerful. I don’t know what it is about that one that holds my fancy, but it sure does.

Shop Benjamin Rifles

One final air rifle

While there are several more air rifles that I think are perfect, there is one that stands apart from the rest. It’s the Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 multi-pump pneumatic.

Dragonfly Mk2
Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2.

I find this rifle perfect because it takes a novel and previously unaffordable technical advancement — easy pumping — and puts it into everyone’s hands. Oh, and they made it accurate and pretty to boot. Not much to complain about. Sorry, Yogi.

Beeman P1

Gotta have a pistol on the list and the Beeman P17 certainly deserves a mention. But for me the Beeman P1 is the one. I’m sorry that it’s expensive; I don’t make the prices. It’s not that pretty and it’s somewhat difficult to cock, but the P1 can be quite accurate. And it’s on the powerful side for an air pistol.

Beeman P1
Beeman P1.

Over to you

I’m not alone in this, am I? Some of you are just as loopy as me. For example the reader RidgeRunner has many older airguns at RidgeRunner’s Home for Wayward Airguns, but I’d bet a cookie one stands out from all the others. It would be his 1906 BSA that I watched him agonize over at an airgun show many years ago. He asked me how hard it was to work on one and I, not knowing if he could change the batteries in a flashlight or open a jar of pickles, assured him that it was easy. It turned out I was right. In fact I think he was surprised to discover how easy it was.

BSA
This is not RidgeRunner’s 1906 BSA. In fact it may not even be the same model. But it does give you an idea of what his favorite airgun looks like.

Then there is reader RobertA, who spends his time reinventing his Gamo CF-S springer. Like Dr. Frankenstein, he seems to want something other than what the manufacturer intended. And he’s willing to put in the time to get what he wants. So that rifle is perfect for him.

And finally there is, or was, reader Duskwight. He lives in Moscow and became enamored with my Whiscombe recoilless rifle. For whatever reason he decided to build one for himself, and before our eyes he built not one but the major part of two recoilless spring-piston air rifles. The cost? Well, it wasn’t cheap. He jobbed out the manufacture of his parts to several machine shops in Moscow. Based on what I know he had built, he probably could have bought a couple Whiscombes. But then they wouldn’t have been made by him, would they? What he wanted was an airgun he knew was all his design.

Summary

Perfection goes in all directions, doesn’t it? This guy likes ’em pretty. that guy likes ’em powerful and the other guy wants ’em old and crusty. And then there is you., You may own several airguns but one of them lives in a large soft spot in your heart. What is it and why do you care so much?

44 thoughts on “My perfect airguns”

  1. Friday morning?
    The HW45 STL is an absolute keeper for its character and looks. The D54 T01 and the LGV for their internal perfection and accuracy but certainly not the looks. Just for the beauty I will keep trying to find an STL HW 35E with the finger grooves.

  2. B.B.,
    Great topic for a report!
    The guns that are perfect for me are the .22 HW30S and Crosman 1322 Custom; both are perfect plinking tools; they are very accurate and easy to use, AND they were gifts from my wife…so yes, I love them both.
    Also, the new Dragonfly Mark2 rifle (even though it was a gift from me to me, LOL!) is also the perfect pesting rifle; it’s accurate, and EASY to pump, even scoped; hence, it’s perfect…for me. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Blessings to you,
    dave

    • Ah, yes…the favorites in my locker. For long guns it would have to be my first adult air rifle, an RWS Model 36 in .177. It was purchased in ’89 and rebuilt by UMAREX about three years ago. It has gone through three mainsprings. I think that if one can fit a projectile in the breech it will shoot it dead center in the X ring from the muzzle.

      My pistol choice is that of Tom G’s, my equally venerable and faithful Beeman P-1 in .177. It now sports a pistol scope due to presbyopia (literally, in Greek, “Old Eyes”), but that only kept the shooter accurate – the gun always has been.

      I may have a new addition in a Diana 430L underlever in .177. It has less power but that translates into better sight picture retention and accuracy due to less rock-and-roll “music” in the firing cycle. I also own a pistol “newbie,” an Hatsan Supercharger in .177. It is a gas ram pistol packing a good punch, but is smooth as glass. This is what the Benjamin Trail should have been but isn’t, in my opinion.

      I just received the Oktoberfestgehwer, gallery gun in .177 (BB). We are just getting to know one another and it will never be as accurate as the pieces mentioned above, but it is fun to shoot. Maybe I’ll figure out how to put a decent rear “iron” (actually thermoplastic) sight on the thing and it will improve? That will prove a challenge given the “topography” of the cocking handle mounting and the small size of the supplied sight.

      So what is a favorite? A piece associated with a long history and familiarity? A memento of past favorite and good times? Technical “perfection” (as allowable in this creation? An heirloom piece revered for its ancestral significance? A piece so familiar and consistent that it is a literal extension of the eye and mind and almost is cheating when facing targets?

      I suspect it can be many, many different things. A former client of mine at our state veterans home once put it colorfully, “To each his own, said the farmer as he kissed the cow!” We all have our personal sacred cows, I think…

  3. Quick list
    Benjamin 347, I’ve had for 50 years. It wears the original factory optional peep sight.
    Walther LGV Master .22, 2014 addition wearing a Williams deluxe peep sight.
    B-3 “Deluxe”:) bet some of you did not know they made such a thing. Tuned by me with steel spring guide and of course a peep sight. Smooth shot cycle,light and a joy to shoot. best one of elventeen million B-3;s I’ve tuned.
    Beeman P17 and Crosman 2300S tie for “perfect” air handguns of mine.

  4. BB,

    Oh yes, it is more than one airgun. That is why there is a RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns. I have several that are “hanging around” on the walls of our great room. One of them is an old Webley Senior.

    By the way, the 1906 BSA is still my favorite.

  5. I have only one airgun that kinda fits today’s criteria of personal perfection. In my collection of airguns there is one that really stands out. It has the quality or distinction that I shoot it significantly more often than any other. And I do so in many more locations too. However,…

    It is ugly.
    It is weak, yet requires surprising effort to cock, which it does noisily.

    Operating it and shooting feels unpleasantly agricultural. The trigger is heavy, I mean, heavy. Shooting is a bit like deliberately breaking a pencil.

    The shot itself is surprisingly loud and sounds awful.
    I can’t use the word ‘accuracy’ because that implies controlling the projectile to land on or very near the target. But, thankfully it’s like a shotgun, and easily covers the whole vicinity of the target.

    After all of the above, it still has another shortcoming and that is, the very limited range. I’d say, this is a gun where the length of one’s outstretched arm makes a significant difference.

    It looks like a toy but I only (!) like it as a tool.
    I wish I didn’t need it.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the bug-a-salt. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. BB,
    Let me sleep on it before I have a mental breakdown trying to decide. I need subcategories. For instance. Great looks… Is that Tactical or Aesthetic. My full metal Ares DSR-1 or MSR Airsoft Sniper Rifle or my Custom Heavy Metal or Full-Dress RAI Marauders. Then there are the Evanix Snipers. But, what about great looking … replicas? The M1 Carbine with wood stock.
    On the other end I have the Diana 350 Magnum and a Gold Tone Walther Wells Fargo Edition lever action rifle.
    Then it starts all over again with pistols. An engraved silver Colt SAA with gold plated accents or the beautifully engraved silver Schoefield No3. Not to mention the silver airsoft Artillery Version Luger with a drum mag. Opposites of all the fine tactical pistols I have.

    For shooting well, forget it. Too many. Matter of fact I will have to decline from making a decision. My FX Independance will remain my favorite go to Airgun, but I really like the shorter FX Indy and my other bullpup PCP’s.
    I really like the feel of my AR6 PCP Carbine, but the new Dragonfly Mark 2 feels right too.
    You’re killing me. I just can’t decide.

    • Bob M, about your FX Independence, why is it your favourite go to?
      What is it’s long term ownership really like please? I’m happy to hear all sides of it’s use. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • hihihi
        Well, I remember waiting for months for it to come in. Being considered the “Holy Grail” of airguns but I think it has been dropped from production. Probably competition from the Seneca Aspen at a much lower price. I have two of those as well. One is the Nova-Freedom.
        My FX Independance PCP is always topped off, loaded and always at hand in my living room. I have a nice simple 4×32 Leapers UTG Golden Image Scope on it sighted at 30 yards.
        That scope is a dual reticle type with a fine inner mil-dot cross hair that does not obscure small targets at a distance. That comes in handy for the various distances I need to shoot at without any preparation. As in sighting a car wire eating, hole digging, tree killing furry critter on the move.
        The PCP has enough power and accuracy with its smooth twist barrel to easily hit anything on my 3+ acre property.
        The only problem I have with these rifles is with the hand pump. It occasionally goes dead. Nothing there.
        But I believe it is due to air leaking out of the pump assembly over a relatively long period of inactivity and it requires a few pumps to sort of prime up the pump to reach the pressure necessary to overcome the 2.000 psi already in the air reservoir. A little Silicone oil helps there sometimes when it refuses to cooperate. Once or twice the pump handle refused to return to the stowed position on the initial pump. It got too hard to pump. Only thing I can figure is that it was somehow passing through the pump and trying to work directly against 2,500 psi or something was stuck in there. Any way it always clears up with a little pumping and or help from oil.
        I don’t use the FX much, so it is definitely not worn out or displaying any other problems. It is precision made and quiet but heavy and bulky. I usually rest it on something, mostly my hand leaning against the side of my home. For better stability also.
        The Nova Freedom and I suppose the Aspen Senica being basically the same had an occasionally reported leak-down problem. The very reason I got the second one at a much lower price used. Well, I narrowed it down to a loose high pressure burst plug inside the pump handle housing. Tightening it up a little solved the problem. Make sure the air tank is empty before you do.
        Obviously, I never have to use my Nomad compressor or pump forever. Just a few pumps to top it off again and the long pump handle is very user friendly.
        I guess you could say mine is still in a break-in period after all these years and could only get better. I don’t plink with it. Unlike myself, keeping it well-oiled should give me many more years of service.

        One of the three had a loose hinge pin in the pumping mechanism but that was a simple fix,
        BB did an outstanding Blog on the Seneca Aspen if you want to look into this kind of airgun.

        • Thank you Bob M for your reply. I value your report as it describes real world ownership challenges. And, of course, your thoughts and fixes!

          That Seneca Aspen Blog was partly responsible for my wanting one.

          I hope someone will remake improved versions of, what to me also is, the Holy Grail of airguns… ๐Ÿ™‚

          Thanks again.

  7. I love a bargain (a good value)! Here is a Crosman Mark I pistol that I bought used and neglected for around 60 bucks and that I cleaned up and learned to reseal with the help of B.B. and Ian McKee. She shoots Meisterkugelns best, but will do almost as well with HN Plinking pellets. She’s a keeper!

    P.S. I’m always on the lookout for a good deal on a Mark I or a Mark II.

  8. BB

    More than half of mine are favorites and my love for this hobby just grows as 10 years have passed. Some of my favorites have been named by others but there is one glaring omission, the Diana 34. My Diana 34 Classic T06 delivers consistent sub 1/2โ€ ten shot groups at 25 yards with both JSB and AA 10.34 grain. Also I have never removed the CP 6-20×50 scope. My theory is the weight of this unusually clear scope made an already accurate rifle more so.

    Deck

  9. Awww BB, Don’t do this to me!

    Can’t decide because they’re all perfect in their own ways. The most “perfectest” one is the one that matches my current (fickle) mood and ends up in the coveted “airgun of the day” spot by the basement door. …Today it’s a springer (HW30), tomorrow it could be a PCP or a SSP or a MPP.

    My name is Hank and I’m addicted to airguns ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I caught a moderately severe case of Airgun Fever last year and bought a bunch of the things, all of them replicas of guns I either own or wish I owned. I like them all, but my three favorites–the ones I consider most “perfect”–all coincidentally carry Springfield Armory branding. These are the M1A underlever .22, the CO2/BB M1 Carbine, and the CO2/BB 1911A1 Mil-Spec. And what makes them “perfect”? Not only do they function and shoot well, but their triggers are nearly identical to the triggers of my real counterparts, making them especially useful for training and practice.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  11. My name is FM. My first “perfect” airgun was a Daisy Red Ryder model, even though mama & papa would not let me shoot bbs thru it Great pretend gun for playing “cowboys and Indians,” though. Then came cousin’s Crosman 38T which is fun to shoot and is a keeper for nostalgia reasons. He passed away unexpectedly in April; when FM can’t shoot no more, will pass it on to his son, my godson.

    After a 50+ hiatus in airgunnery, the S Florida Reptilian Invasion led FM to once again delve into the world of airguns. Went on a trip of discovery and thanks to BB and all ye contributors, rediscovered that world and how much fun it was – and is. And so, for all those reasons and many more, all the pieces FM has been enabled into – and been enabled by – are perfect, as far as he is concerned. GF1 deliberately sought to hook me into PCPs – and he succeeded. The Benjamin Maximus .177 is still one of the “funner” ones to pump up ‘n shoot. And the recently-acquired .177 HW30 is a joy – the Rekord triggers are finger-silk for FM.

    FM’s take is each of the residents at Casa FM challenges him in a different – and good way – and mastering the challenge defines what is to him a perfect time with a perfect – for him – airgun. But wait! Hopefully there will be more! Be well, prosper and keep shooting.

  12. B.B., I enjoyed this morningโ€™s blog. I think many of us would have picked those airguns and optics as your favorites! And itโ€™s great fun to read about readerโ€™s favorite airguns.
    My favorites are a FWB 124, a Crosman 1377 and a R7. The scoped FWB 124 is easy to cock, accurate and is my all around airgun. I rescued the R7 from a used gun rack, tuned it, contributed a guest blog about it, and it is my โ€œjust for fun,โ€ lightweight, iron-sight plinker. The 1377 is a fine all-around air pistol and itโ€™s easy to mount different sights and optics, and experiment with aftermarket parts.
    Iโ€™m always on the look out for another favorite airgun.

    • Bob,

      Your last sentence reminds me of the line in the movie, Jurrasic Park, when Ian Malcom said, “I’m always on the lookout for the next ex-Mrs. Malcom.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      BB

  13. The Dragonfly was one I considered. but I finally decided on a 1960s Sheridan as the perfect multipump. The wood is beautiful, the metal is steel and it is made like a tank. The trigger is light and it is very accurate with its factory sights at least out to 20 meters, which is where my property border is.

    Its hard to pump past five strokes but me and my son shoot it at three or four pumps only for cans in the backyard. Six or seven pumps might be what I would go with for getting rid of the rats that sometimes gather on the ground under my bird feeder but thats it.

    This Sheridan is the perfect air rifle is one that is older than me and will probably be kept and shot by my son long after I’m gone!

    crackedshot2.0

    • crackedshot2.0,

      I once killed a cottontail rabbit at 35 yards with a heart shot. He jumped straight up and collapsed where he’d been standing.

      I shot offhand and that shot was a lucky one — lucky for me, unlucky for the rabbit.

      BB

      • My late great Dad kept my old Crosman M1 Carbine around to run rabbits out of his backyard garden. He told me that he actually killed one once, to his amazement and surprise. I assume it was a head shot.

        Here’s the Crosman M1 Carbine, along with a real Inland, an ERMA/Iver Johnson EM-1 .22LR, and the Springfield Armory/Air Venturi CO2/BB gun.

      • BB.
        Did the unlucky (chuckle) rabbit go home to be skinned, etc. in preparation for the duck cookpot … or was his lucky death just for “fun”?
        If my daring to ask such a question rains on anyone’s parade, please consider that not all blog readers
        applaud the “I killed 500 squirrels while seated at my kitchen window” type of air rifle “hunter”.
        This 500(!) squirrel brag was actually submitted on a different website, and has left me permanently infuriated at the attitude expressed, and the harm it does to the reputation of all gun owners! I could use some reassurance as to the type of people one sometimes has to associate with in order to share some gun related conversation.

        The post about the gardening father who was “surprised” at a rabbit kill begs the question – What was the expected (rather than surprising) result of the shooting, …a mere wounding/infecting/agonizing death-over-time? If killing is not intended and reasonably expected when shooting at living creatures, find some other way to compensate for your “short-comings” !

        Apologies for the sour note in an otherwise fun thread, …to those to whom my anger would be misdirected ( I’m well aware that there are plenty of responsible sportsman sharing this blog), but to the proud cavalier killers lurking about – Do I think I am better than you? Absolutely!

        CBS
        PS: CBS represents “Crosman/Benjamin/Sheridan” – the quality guns I grew up with during my 80-something years ago introduction to guns, … conducted by my real sportsman father. More than a lttle nostalgia secures these brands/models (Blue Streak, etc.) places as my “favorites”, among my 30 or so air/fire arms

        • I can imagine that it may take a long while to kill 500 squirrels under any circumstances, so I will reserve judgment until all circumstances are known. In Pa., I would expect someone who publically brags about killing so much of any game animal would be inviting a knock on the front door from the Game Warden. For me, I was taught to never kill more than you are going to eat. I never ate a squirrel…. I guess there may be an exception for pesting since the pests are eating what I am going to eat or that livestock is going to eat, but again wild animals are regulated by the state, so unless there is an unlimited bag limit, like for starlings, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  14. B.B.,

    WOW! My airgun Life is difficult enough already without having to choose!
    So I will go by powerplant type and long or short arm.
    PCP: DAQ .308; that one was tough because the .458 is a sweet one too!
    Multi-pump: Mac1 STEROID .22 Cal.
    Springer: Actually the easiest since I own two ASP20 (.177 and .22 cal) of this “Millennium’s best Sporters” from SIG according to The Godfather of Airgunsยฎ But they are certainly bitter sweet possessions.
    Pistols: AVG-46M at least equal to the original! Single pump barely out did the SIG 210 (on looks) but the Russian product is much more accurate!

    I’m going to question these choices every time I pick up one of my other airguns and get that big SMILE!

    Shoot what you got! And don’t forget IT IS ALL ABOUT THE FUN!

    shootski

  15. Got home from work today got my Walther LGV Master out to play. Itโ€™s about two months since I have shot it. .22 Meisters in it are such a joy. I bought it in 2014 and immediately purchased and installed the metal โ€œ tuning โ€œ trigger , that made all the difference. It may not be a Reckord but itโ€™s close.. For me Walther discontinuing this model is like SIG discontinuing the ASP. I wish they would bring it back and sell it with the proper trigger installed, I think they would give the TX 200 a round for their money.

  16. I think there is no one perfect air gun. You need at least three … But it’s good to have 10, or even more. Hahaha.
    It’s a bit like ladies and shoes.
    At the moment I will take everywhere with me the FWB300s, HW30s, Diana Stormrider .22 and may be a cheap .22 brakebarrel which I tuned and it is just fun to shoot. Ok my full custom HW50 is the most accurate 50meter thing I ever had. MMMmmmm…. ok for just plinking the tuned Diana Pfive… hahaha you see where it is going to ๐Ÿ™‚

    • tomek, my one lady (and her shoes) is enough for me. I don’t need another nine or more, thank you very much!
      only kidding, I know how you meant it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Interesting to see that you list Feinwerkbau first, then Weihrauch and Diana last. I agree with that.

    • “Itโ€™s a bit like ladies and shoes.”
      Tomek, anytime my beatiful wife complains about the growing airgun collection, I mention that all in, my entire collection still costs less than her most expensive pair of shoes (the ones she never wears anymore) and then I say, don’t make me mention your collection of designer purses.

      If I wasn’t so thrifty (cheap), I would have gone to the dark side already.

      By the way, it is break-barrel. Break as in to break open. Brakes are what you use to stop your car at red lights. No offense, but I know you are working on your English, so you will appreciate the correction. Please don’t ask me to write the above in Polish. ;o) My spelling in Greek isn’t even good enough to understand.

  17. I have a categorical mind so I tend to have favorites of different kinds of airguns. I have around 30 total to mentally go through.

    Breakbarrel and probably my overall favorite is HW30s .177. CO2 is my modded Crosman 2240 with stock, scope and 14.6″ barrel, For PCPs, my Rolls Royce is my grey laminate BSA R10th SE .22, but my favorite to shoot is still my first, my AV Avenger .22 with CARM magazines. I am not much for multipumpers, as I have stated before and even though I have a DragonFly 2 in .22 cal, my favorite there would be a lovely gifted Crosman 102. Sidelevers? I only have one, a Diana 48 .177, still getting used to it but I am liking it a lot so far!

    I am not as picky with hand airguns.. Either my Beretta 92 with full auto option and wood grips or the good old P17.

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