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What’s your dream?

This report covers:

  • Springers
  • No challenge
  • Collecting
  • Big boars
  • Woody Woodward
  • Tim the tinkerer
  • HUH?????
  • On the road

Today’s title is the opening line in the movie, Pretty Woman. It came to me as I was about to start reporting on a very old airgun. I was wondering what people thought about that gun and it occurred to me that we are all airgunners for different reasons. I guess that report will start tomorrow.

Springers

Why do many airgunners like spring-piston guns so much? They will tell you it’s because they are so simple — the guns, not the people, but I think there is a lot more to it than that. How about because they are more difficult to shoot accurately than precharged pneumatics (PCP)?

True story — when I competed in field target there was a father/son team that drove down from New York to Maryland to shoot in a 60-shot match every month. They drove one way for 12 hours or more just to shoot 60 shots! Why? Well, to learn that you need to know more about them.

Ray and Hans Apelles started in airgunning about the time I started The Airgun Letter. They wrote to me (actual paper letters delivered by the U.S. Postal Service that we called the Post Office in those days) about the joys of shooting various Chinese spring-piston rifles. They even went so far as to tune them — yes, they did. In fact, I have written about a Chinese rifle for this blog that was not only inspired by them but actually tuned and even X-rayed by them! Read about that in the 2-part series, Tuning a cheap Chinese airgun.

No challenge

In those days either Ray or his father usually won the matches. Both men shot PCPs. Then a couple years later Ray stopped shooting PCPs and switched to springers because, in his own words, “PCPs are too accurate. They don’t offer a challenge. Springers do.” I last saw Ray at the Pyramyd AIR Cup shooting a highly modified Diana 54? that he had turned into a bullpup.

No challenge? Right! When I switched from shooting a TX200 Mark II to a PCP my score never changed. I guess it wasn’t much of a challenge for me, either. I could be mediocre with either powerplant.

Collecting

Then there is the collector. Larry Hannusch is one of the top collectors in the world, but Larry also shoots airguns. I know and have known collectors who weren’t interested in shooting. 

I would see them at airgun shows. One would bring out a gun case in which there was a heavy rusty wire, a piece of a wooden stock and a trigger blade. The other gent would sidle up to him secretively and say in a hushed tone, “A Frauhoken! Where did you find it?” The first gent then told him this ancient treasure had been found in London’s Denham Giant Car Boot sale. “It only cost me 19 pounds.”, to which the other gent whispered, “They must not have known what it was.”

Yeah, I bet they didn’t know what it was. To me it looks like a tire iron for a Model T and part of one of the wooden wheels. But it’s a treasure to these two, for whom the world of airguns ended approximately 150 years ago, and, can they please root around in the attic of your century-old farmhouse? I would tell them no, because they look like the kind of guys who will gnaw on the insulation of your electrical wires.

Big boars

Okay, there is a type of shooter who shoots a .458 Winchester Magnum only because Winchester never made a .459. Yes, he has heard of and even shot (once) a .460 Weatherby and his collarbone healed nicely, as you can see. But he’s not crazy. Stupid, yes, but not crazy.

He doesn’t shoot for accuracy. He hunts but he’s not strictly a hunter. This guy is in it for the bragging rights. When asked what rifle he plans to hunt Texas whitetail deer with this year he tells you he is considering a .338 Lapua Magnum. You ask him if he thinks that 4,800 foot-pounds of energy might be a bit of overkill for a 90-pound mammal and he responds that there isn’t such a thing as overkill.

When he learned about big bore airguns he looked around and decided on the .72-caliber AEA Zeus.  He figured 1,600 foot-pounds was sufficient for wild hogs, as long as they were not shot too far away. Besides, at just $1,200 it’s a real bargain! There is even a video on their website with a guy shooting it. Turn your speakers down before you watch it!

Zeus
.72-caliber Zeus is capable of 1,600 foot-pounds of energy.

And now you know why the title of this chapter is spelled the way it is.

Hunting Guide

Woody Woodward

This guy comes to all the airgun shows and displays his airguns, but he never sells anything. He could care less about the airguns he owns — except that they look beautiful. It’s wood he likes. He once sold off a one-of-a-kind air rifle that had been owned by a celebrity because the grips were checkered. You see, nothing should get in the way of, or interfere with, the wood.

Tim the tinkerer

Tim looks for bargain basement airguns that he can modify. He’s the guy who once put three reservoir tubes on a Crosman 150 and converted it to work with high-pressure air. He wanted to get 50 good shots on one fill. But, wait a minute, if those reservoir tubes were longer and if he sawed off the bottom of the grip frame he could put a shoulder stock on. And, if he drilled and tapped the barrel, he could attach a Picatinny rail for mounting a scope. Then he could get the same number of shots at even higher velocity.

But, hold on! There is a guy down in Georgia who will sell him a 24-inch Lothar Walther barrel in .25 caliber for just $375. He’ll have to modify the valve extensively for that one! With a barrel that long the velocity will be about the same as a .22 caliber in his current barrel, if the valve modifications turn out as he expects. 

But that big .25 is LOUD. A DonnyFL moderator that can be screwed onto his recently threaded LW barrel solves that. And on one of the forums there is a guy who is selling an adaptor plate that will allow him to attach a Benjamin Marauder trigger to his creation.

At the end of everything what does he have? He has a custom-made single-shot Benjamin Marauder that only cost him $2,800. Compare that to Crosman’s usurious retail price of $580 for the repeating Marauder and you will see the wisdom of what he has done.

HUH?????

All these people and many more like them are airgunners in one sense or another. They are having fun their way, which may not be your way but there you go.

Believe it or not, and if you are observant I know you will believe it, there are people in this world who do things and have to ask their friends, or worse, people on social media they don’t even know, whether they are having fun. At least you guys know. Remember, WE are everyone who is not THEM.

On the road

Just a reminder that I’m driving up to my sister’s in Tulsa today and I ask the veteran readers to look after the blog comments for me. I will look in from time to time, but my attention will be elsewhere.

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.

36 thoughts on “What’s your dream?”

  1. B.B.
    I haven’t been very active for a while. Pastor Jerry retired and became involved in other things, so we don’t have monthly meetings at the church anymore.
    I saw your BIL once with his Synergys, but he was gone before I could say hi.
    I have purchased a Nomad compressor I need to start using soon.
    I would like to shoot springers, but would like to get away from the low end ones. I would like an HW97 or TX200 for instance.
    I like the idea of the Dragonfly MK2 for multipump.
    That said, I am still happy with the .177 and .25 Marauders and the .22 Origin.
    Still, looking through the Volume 22 PA catalog does lend an air of excitement.
    It does my heart good to stop by and see you are still at it.
    ~ken

  2. “What’s your dream?”
    Easy:
    1. more time
    2. more energy
    3. world peace 🙂

    As for a dream on airguns:
    less cheap materials
    easily usable
    reliable…

    …but most importantly for me: freedom from airgun laws. 🙂

  3. BB,

    LOL! I think I am all of the above! I like the very old and rare.

    I just traded off my .357 HM1000X because it was so accurate, it was boring and acquired a .457 Texan LSS to shoot elephant should one escape from the zoo or circus. There is a sizable herd of bison just down the road aways. Maybe one of them will get loose.

    I absolutely drool over a fine piece of wood. All of the air rifles that are hanging in my great room have walnut stocks. Shoot, my kitchen table is solid walnut. My house is made from hand hued log. I have an affinity for nice wood.

    Tinker?! I absolutely dance with joy to go inside of an airgun and see how it works. I so enjoy “improving” some. You saw the Edge. 😉 I have a major sproinger project waiting in the wings.

    Speaking of sproingers, they are my favorite to shoot. Very likely because they are such a challenge to shoot accurately.

    I think what I like most about airgunning is there is so much to learn about the many facets of this subject.

  4. Hi Guys,

    I’ll start right from the grave: I believe that if someone doesn’t know how to shoot with a springer, he just doesn’t know how to shoot. PCP won’t help much in this.
    Is it fun to shoot a PCP from benchrest hole-in-a-hole all the time? It may be, but for me it is not.
    But I will never forget my grouping once shot at 50 meters from the benchrest with my full custom HW50. Never shoot such a 10-shot group from a PCP so far… and any other airgun. The satisfaction your tuning is ultimate – priceless.

  5. BB,

    This got me thinking about the “why” of airguns for me and I realized that I’ve had a passion for anything that shoots my whole life. From elastic & clothespin “rock launchers” to modern PCPs there is this desire to see how accurate I make it, how accurate I can be.

    Started out as a kid that loved pellet guns and homemade slingshots, bows & arrows. Retired now and seven decades later I’m still making slingshots, bows & arrows and shooting pellet guns. Guess that it is pretty clear where my interests lie. LOL!

    So what categories apply? Yeah, wood is something special and I do like to tinker. I didn’t think of myself as a “collector” until I realized that I have a lot more .22 caliber plinking airguns than I really need so I guess that applies as well. Don’t care about “bragging rights”, everybody has their own niche and good for them, I buy “toys” that appeal to me.

    What’s my dream? Mild days with no wind and lots of pellets. 🙂

    Drive safe, be safe Tom, praying it goes well for your sister!

    Hank

    • Vanna2,

      Hey hank the snow is already blowing?
      I only DISLIKE the HUMID and hot.
      Dress right strap on some snowshoes or skis and get out there! Don’t forget those climbing skins for the skinny skis and the downhills on the snowshoes.
      I am always baffled by the wish for NO Wind among shooters, kayakers (small boaters) and aviators; a truly interesting phenomenon. As a shooter I love the challenge of the wind and wonder about all the talk of Spring vs PCP and which is more difficult to shoot accurately? When the wind gusts and swirls from all directions shoot as far as your airgun will make it and yard, range, field, desert, valley or meadow will allow and it will be challenging to shoot with accuracy enough for anyone me thinks!
      For kayaking I love the bumps (swells) and the waves”to ride especially on SCREAMING Downwinders!
      In flying crosswind is the nut of landings on the numbers with precision. But in Soaring the wind over the mountains provides the mountain waves that allow 1,000km out and back flights and if they stack the chance to fly the distance as a triangle flight all started by a short tow aloft or better still a really short winch launch.

      Fun!

      shootski

      • Shootski,

        We’ve had “woodstove” weather the past couple of days – rain, blustery winds and last night a dusting of snow… typical at this time of year.

        I don’t mind that kinda weather but I’ve been waiting to sight in my S510 so a bit of mild & calm would have been welcome. Just did a quick sighting in and it is shooting ok with JSB 18s but it will likely be spring before I can test for the best pellet. I definitely need to adjust the trigger though – the first stage is too long for my liking.

        Don’t mind a good breeze but too much wind can be a problem for many of my activities,

        Hank

        • Hank,

          I’m spoiled having an indoor 100 range available and not too far away. Okay i can see wanting No Wind and temperatures that allow for sighting in your S510 with a modicum of comfort.
          I’m researching canvas Wall Tents and wood burning stoves small enough to fit in my kayak hatches. Weight really isn’t that much of an issue even without going the Titanium route although the high temperature and anti corrosion properties makes Ti attractive. And, a lighter load allows more potable water to be carried not to speak of the box of wine and steaks.
          To bad I didn’t win that last US 2 Billion Lottery i would have come up and installed a 10′ concrete water pipe 100 range for you. I’m still going to get that done one of these days…right after I win the Lottery.

          shootski

  6. Good morning B.B. and all,
    B.B. best wishes for your sister’s good health after surgery. May her guardian angels be with her all the while.

    I like all the learning that comes with this hobby, it is very involved. My dream is to continue to learn more about how each type of airgun works, and apply what I’ve learned to making my guns better. A secondary dream is that I never to lose interest in this or my other hobbies, even after I’m too shaky to do them well.
    Will

    • Will S,

      Had a friend diagnosed with Essential Tremor. He shook so bad he couldn’t write his name! He had doctors say he needed brain surgery or medications (Meds didn’t work for him) but one doctor said he could try an special ultrasound procedure and it worked. He has been tremor free for most of a year.

      shootski

  7. Dreams change over time
    20 years ago I would have absolutely loved to have a fully adjustable pneumatic, and I would have adjusted pressure and hammer spring strength and would have shot strings over a chrony to fiddle around until I have the perfect setup.
    Today I’m doing this type of optimization every day as part of my work, and I have zero interest to spend my little free time to conduct optimization experiments on an airgun. The manufacturer must have done that for me, thank you very much. Instead I would cherish to find joy and peace in, well, shooting an airgun with a nice wooden stock and that’s it.

  8. Morning B.B. and All,

    I am fortunate enough to have a nice collection of springers. Nevertheless, I find I often return my attention to the one that is not performing as well as I would like. I keep putting more effort into trying to get the performance I am looking for. I guess I like the challenge of figuring it out.

    Tom, I am thinking of you and your sister today and sending positive thoughts. I wish her the best possible outcome.

    -Airman

  9. BB
    I’m still working like crazy at work. Not really liking it at all.
    I skimmed through your report today and I hope I can read it more thoroughly later and comment.

    But I’m going to comment on the important.

    Praying for your sister and you and all. Trust in God.

    And yes the blogs important too. I will make sure I read it today and comment. I’ll try.

  10. B.B.,

    First off a prayer or three for your safety on the highways (a place more dangerous than the Flight Deck of an Aircraft Carrier in wartime!) three prayers to go: the first one for the medical staff responsible for your sister’s treatment, the next for your sister’s full recovery; God willing. The final prayer is for you, may the good Lord bless you and keep you!

    shootski

  11. B.B.,

    I read the Blog today after having returned from the range. I was working on the DonnyFL with DAQ .308 which had been neglected for too long. I also needed to empty the two CF tanks for their 5 year hydro test cycle. So I will be back to the small bore PCPs, single/multi-pump as well as my two only springers until i’m back in 4500PSI air supply.
    As i was reading I thought okay, okay, okay and some more okay’s until I arrived at: “…there are people in this world who do things and have to ask their friends, or worse, people on social media they don’t even know, whether they are having fun. At least you guys know. Remember, WE are everyone who is not THEM.”
    That’s when I thought OKAY!
    The WHY I continue to read this blog of your’s.

    Take care of your sister and then come back to us when you are able.

    shootski

    • FM
      Your two sentences are, for me at least, including both the dream and the knowledge anyone of us should have.
      I wish everyone reads your post, realizes the meaning and understands the wisdom in it.
      Tace care my friend.
      Bill

  12. Tom:

    I will add my prayers for you and your sister. All things are in the Lord’s hands.

    I guess I’m a hybrid of the types you mention. I love to find some beat up, neglected classic for a few dollars then take it home and make it work and look as well as possible! I like a nice looking gun, but have never had the money (or allowed myself to spend it!) for real high-end guns. I shoot regularly, but I have more air guns than good sense, so am I a collector?

    So, what’s my dream? Although I grew up in the country, to make a living I’ve spent my adult life in the city.. I can’t shoot outside and the farthest I can conveniently shoot inside is 20’. That’s behind me now. About six months ago we started looking for 10+ acres about 30 to 60 minutes outside the metro sprawl. Not far from family, friends and familiar places, but being able to shoot outside (and maybe 33’ inside!) will be wonderful. Maybe a little more house, a place for a garden, and the quiet of a country night. We’re sure the Lord has a place for us in mind, we just have to do our part and keep looking.

    Motorman
    Still planning to be in eastern Missouri

  13. Tom
    I’m going to assume here a dream is something you desire but really can’t imagine ever acquiring. Otherwise, it would be considered a goal.
    I had a dream that my two daughters would eventually get married and have sons to make up for my decision not to have any more children after them.
    That was a decision made to help achieve my goal in life. To be a debt free, financially independent homeowner with a million dollars in the bank when I retired.
    I watched my mother do it starting out with less than a nickel in her pocket and not having a HS Diploma. She got one going to night school after work eventually.
    When I was a child, she cried when I asked her for a nickel because she did not have one to give me. Needless to say, I paid attention to her advice.
    Well, I retired at 62, but the Dream part I’m afraid has turned into a Pipe Dream and deteriorated into a Delema. They both never even married!
    Dreams have turned into things to do now.
    A prayer for your family will accompany my thanking Him tonight for the blessings I have received.

  14. I have fallen behind on the blog the past week or so but I am sorry I missed this one. My car lot is in Tulsa and although I know you came to visit your sister, I would have been honored to meet up and buy you lunch and chat a bit. Maybe next time.

  15. Shootski,
    Your comment about your friend who has Essential Tremor and whose ultrasound treatment was successful is a hopeful thought! I’m glad for your friend, it must be an incredible relief to him.
    Blessings to you Mr. S.
    Will

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