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Air Guns Make haste — slowly

Make haste — slowly

TOZ-35M grips rear
The TOZ-35M free pistol came with unfinished walnut grips. RidgeRunner said I didn’t show the palm shelf yesterday, so it is included here.

This report covers:

  • Definition of make haste slowly
  • What What making haste slowly means for airgunners
  • Pondering
  • Another example
  • Hack watch repair
  • Things become easier
  • Way one
  • There is more — way two
  • Summary

Today I want to address a situation that many readers face. It’s one that has come up several times in the past few months but I have never addressed it directly. Today I plan to. Today I will talk about tackling those jobs, big or small, that you avoid because the work isn’t in your wheelhouse.

Definition of make haste slowly

I thought this phrase was originally said by Benjamin Franklin, but it’s actually centuries older. It comes from the Greek, festina lente. The Free Dictionary defines it:

To act with due diligence, focus, and attention to detail in order to avoid mistakes and finish a task more expeditiously overall.”

What making haste slowly means for airgunners

What making haste slowly means to me is to focus on a job, but to not start until I’m sure of what I’m about to do. Yesterday’s report on the grips for the Russian TOZ-35M free pistol is a perfect example. I knew I had to do something with those wood block grips, but to just tear into them before I was ready wasn’t the right thing to do. So I pondered the situation. I’ll get back to that word, ponder, soon enough, but for now read the story.

I sat on that pistol with those huge unfinished walnut grips for many years — nearly four, to be exact (November, 1919 to June, 2023). I wanted to shoot the pistol but with those blocks of wood in the way it was impossible.

While I was searching the Internet, looking for tips on carving those wood grips I stumbled across Precision Target Pistol Grips.com. That was where yesterday’s report came from.

After reading yesterday’s report reader RidgeRunner said, “Awesome! I have been thinking of contacting Steve Corcoran about some new grips for my Beeman 800/Diana 6G. I guess I will contact this dude also.

I am so glad you did not bugger up the original chunk of wood for the TOZ. I just noticed you do not have the lower piece for the wood TOZ grip in your picture.

Yes, please do leave that beautiful Hammerli grip alone.”

So, nearly four years of waiting, then one month of “pondering” and nearly another month of waiting for my new custom grips to arrive. How long did it take? Well, you could say it took four years. But, if I had waited those same four years to purchase a completed pistol with finished grips:

1. U.S. sanctions stopped all Russian shipments from military arsenals (where the TOZ-35M is made — along with the IZH 46M target air pistol and the 60 and 61 air rifles). That made all those airguns and the TOZ-35M scarce in the US. Because of that,

2. Scarcity drove the price of the TOZ-35M up from around the $500 and change I paid to $1,600. And you still get one with unfinished grips.

Oh, and by the way, there is a complete TOZ-35M available locally with gorgeous carved walnut grips. For the price of a good used car you can own this gem. I don’t think so!

If you wanted a TOZ-35M (and I did), the time to buy was 4 years ago when the price was right but the time to fix the grip situation is now. And that leads me to discuss pondering.


To ponder means to consider something thoughtfully, but let’s look at another definition. Once again, this is from The Free Dictionary.

To give great consideration to something; to ruminate or think about something very deeply.”

So I had a problem, but I didn’t rush to solve it. Instead I waited and considered it thoughtfully over time. Then, when a brilliant solution presented itself, I immediately struck!

Another example

I have written several reports about tools. These reports feed into the sort of work I am discussing.

Special tools for airgun repairs
The tools you need Part One
The tools you need Part Two
The tools you need — lubricants Part Three
Good tools are important
More on tools

Hunting Guide

Hack watch repair

And I have told you that I have recently taken an interest in repairing watches. Watchmaking, which is what watch repairing is called, is a field that’s larger than airguns! Ham-fisted BB Pelletier has no business getting involved in such an endeavor — except that he wants to. He believes it will help tame his ham-fisted-ness (a tendency to rush intro a project, tear something apart halfway and then give up).

I will never be a good watch repairman. But I do believe I will be able to repair watches. I recently purchased a US military wristwatch from World War II — one that soldiers, marines and airmen carried into battle. It has a hack feature that BB saw in war movies whenever some guys were together, going over their battle plans. At the end of the discussion the leader says, “Let’s synchronize our watches, men. It is 0235 on my mark. Three, two, one — mark!” When he told them to synchronize the watches they waited until their second hands were at 12 o’clock, then they pulled out the winding stem to stop the watch. When the leader announced the time they set their minute hand to that minute and awaited his countdown. When he said, “Mark” they pushed in the winding stem of their watch, it started again and they were synched to the leader’s watch. They would stay within a few seconds of his watch and all the other watches in that group for the rest of that day.

Elgin A11
This Elgin A11 watch was made in 1943 for the US Army Air Force. It has a hack feature that allows synchronization with other watches. BB plans to clean, lubricate and restore it to perfect working condition. Yes, the crystal will be replaced.

My neighbor, Denny, made me a workstation table that stands on my dining room table. It brings the work up to within about 9 inches of my eyes so my loupes and headset magnifier are close enough to the work and I don’t have to bend over. Those screwdrivers you see on the table are a Swiss set that are wee-teeny and cost the price of a Chinese breakbarrel air rifle.

BB's watch workstation
My watch repair workstation that Denny made. The blue silicone mat stops small parts from bouncing.

Today every morning BB synchronizes the mechanical wristwatch he wears with the atomic clock in Denver. Each morning his watch will be 6-8 seconds fast and he will stop the second hand with the hack feature until the Denver time catches up.

Okay, you don’t wear a watch. You keep time with your cellphone that’s far more accurate. I understand that. But can you build a cell phone? Of course not. When he is done learning, BB Pelletier will be able to disassemble, clean, lubricate and repair a wristwatch. Remember, ladies and gents, we are talking about learning how to make haste slowly. And I have just told you my path.

Things become easier

As you proceed the way I’m describing, the things that have challenged you start to become easier or more possible. For instance, many of you have told me that there is no way you could ever take a spring piston airgun apart and overhaul or modify it. I get that. But I have also provided multiple ways for you to overcome it.

Way one

Obtain an Air Arms TX200 air rifle. I don’t care whether it’s an original, a Mark II or even a Mark III. Just make sure it is your own air rifle — not someone else’s. The TX200 is the simplest spring-piston platform I know of to take apart and to assemble. No mainspring compressor is required. You will need GOOD tools — not special tools. That’s what all the links above to tool blogs is about. Then read all I have written on taking this rifle apart and tuning it.

Read and reread my stuff and then go online and read what others have done. Watch all the videos. But as you do, also do this. Don’t believe anything anyone says — not even me! Instead, as you read the articles and watch the videos, look for areas of commonality. If everyone says the same thing about some procedure you can pretty much bet that’s the way to do it.

That, my friends, is how you ponder. But that’s not all.

There is more — way two

Maybe you know darn good and well that what I’m talking about is still beyond you. That’s wonderful, because you know your limits. But you don’t have to stop there. You can still lubricate your airguns the ways I have described in this blog. And you have learned that red grease (or Tune in a Tube) can be applied without disassembly in many situations. You know that automatic transmission stop leak works best to seal slow leaks in multi-pump pneumatics and CO2 guns. You know what moly grease works best on. You know about Crosman Pellgunoil. You know about silicone oils for the piston seals in springers. You see? You have skills, too!

Reader Jerry Cupples told us about the Vessel brand screwdrivers from Japan. Are they the best? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But they are a darn sight better than the screwdrivers that came in the $20 tool set you got for Christmas two years ago! I thanked Jerry for the Vessel hint when I recently took reader RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 apart.


We are all skilled at one thing or another. Some have more skills than others. Some are masters at certain things. The key is to find out where you are and to either seek to improve or to tool up for the things you do best.

And also — PONDER!

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.

39 thoughts on “Make haste — slowly”

  1. B.B., I agree 100%. I should have documented the Winchester 416 for a guest blog. Instead, I took it apart and cleaned it all up without breaking it or ending up with extra parts, but without taking any photos. It was filthy, but it shined up pretty well. It will need a new spring to put it back to full strength. But everything else seems to be fine. H&N Sports turned in a respectable performance. When all the other pellets I tried went high and right, all the H&N Sports stayed in the black of a 10 meter bull. If it can do that consistently, I think I found the ideal youth gun.

    In your fourth paragraph, you pondered for 4 years, but then you say from 1919 to 2023. My math puts that at 104 years, Rip Van Winkle!

  2. I have been pondering for a long time. Started out with Navy Mechanic Fundamentals, and Aviation Fundamentals training over 50 years ago and it ended with me standing alone in front of a Boeing 767 daring it to break down on engine start up prior to flight.

    Sometimes being able to fix just about everything from flat tires to financial disasters can be a curse. You hate to pay someone else to fix what you can, if you have the time!
    And you get a lot of, “Can you help me with …”, “Are you busy?” and “What are you doing next weekend?” A lot of people want to take advantage of you, in the name of friendship of course.
    Be careful what you wish for.

    Bill mentioned the Evanix AR6 Pellet Pistol and I realized I had one but forgot about it and have no idea where it is. Wanted to see if the pistol grip needed any improvement.

    Went online to find a picture and came across this. “Our 10 Best Pellet Pistols in the US” Had to look into that, right? (Not sure when it was determined)
    Happy to find out I had 7 of them. 8 if you add a few inches to a revolvers barrel.
    So, which one was considered the best? …. The Nickel Beretta 92FS with wood grips. Might be a good candidate for custom grips? It is a handful of air pistol.
    Glad I did not have to make that determination.

    • Bob M,

      I tried to find that particular video, but what I came across was a whole bunch of other people’s opinions. I have measured every air pistol that has tried to move into RRHFWA against my Izzy. I have discovered that I needed to stop doing that as each has its own value. My Izzy is still at the top of the heap, but now there are others allowed to live here.

      • RR It was not a video, but a list from some entity that records 5-star items? Should have paid more attention. It was just there on the search page. Can’t find it myself now.
        From what I remember it had nothing to do with the fastest, most accurate or whatever. It was in general and overall performance and features. They counted ‘Likes’ I guess and how many gave it 5 stars. I think it was not even an airgun company. Strictly by the numbers thing.

    • *** Sometimes being able to fix just about everything from flat tires to financial disasters can be a curse. You hate to pay someone else to fix what you can, if you have the time! ***

      Truly said Bob! Fortunately I like tinkering and fixing almost as much as fishing and shooting.

      Retired now. Funny how projects and tinkering have expanded to the point that I still don’t have time to do all I want to.

      About the neighbors who need help, I don’t mind if it’s a real problem and something needs to be fixed. But, I won’t do “routine maintenance” for them.


  3. Hi, my name is RidgeRunner. I am a procrastinator.

    When I am not busy procrastinating, I make haste slowly. I am also someone who will ponder a certain task until I am certain I can do such. I prefer to do all things myself, but I also prefer for it to be done right. Over the years I have learned that though I am sure I can do just about anything, the investment in what I would need to do a particular “job” very likely would be far beyond what it would be to have someone else do it. Does any of that make sense?

    Near the end of 2010 I purchased my Izzy from PA at the Roanoke Airgun Show. BB and Mac were there and I proudly showed it to them and talked to BB about which pellet would likely be best in it. It came with this enormous block of wood for a grip. It was usable if you had a big hand, but it was one bugly grip. I procrastinated reshaping the grip for several years and finally started to ponder what it would take to make it fit me correctly and comfortably.

    After I collected everything I needed for this task, I began. It took me several days to shape, stain and poly that block into something that fit my hand properly and I could stand to look at it. I have not found anyone else whose hand it fits properly and comfortably. It is mine.

    After pondering what I have done, I find I am not done with it. There are a few more little tweaks I wish to do. Now I must ponder those tweaks and how they will affect my grip. Then I will stop procrastinating and make haste slowly.

    BB, I can hear your pondering gears grinding from here. Make haste very slowly on those chunks of walnut.

    • RR,

      Oh, I shall! I’m pondering the pondering right now. When the real pondering starts I will be so busy sitting in an easy chair that I might start to sweat! 😉


    • RR well at least we have procrastination in common. I may need a machete to cut parts of my lawn now. Need to make haste ‘quickly’ there before I start smelling summer smoke and see red sunsets, in the east, north or south as well as the west.

        • RR,
          And cement! Been thinking about letting an acre or two return to the wild like there is on three sides of the property, but then I would have the fire department to deal with.
          I have dozens of native high desert bushes popping up, 5′ wild grasses and Filaree taking over. It all wants to return to nature and confiscate cars. Beginning to figure out this is a young man’s property, and it may be time to move on. 🙁
          Not really a lawn. More a controlled wild environment.

  4. Yup – I ponder, too. In my case, it’s typically a month or two until I’m comfortable having thought through the procedure I will tackle. However, a comment on watches and cell phones. When my kids were growing up, they always used their cell phones to tell time even though I had bought them watches as presents. Guess what they wear on their wrists now all the time (hey, an unintended pun!)?

    Happy weekend, all.

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

  5. BB,
    I think that the plastic grips will be really helpful to you in crafting your wooden grips. They give you more or less a pattern, a place to start. A good vice and a set of files are what I would use. I suggest leaving the dremel or other power tools locked away. It is so easy to remove too much material. And, while epoxy fillers can be added back, a beautiful set of grips free of filler would be what I would want.

    I should take my own advice and use my 3D printed grips as patterns to make new walnut grips for my FWB 90.

    Have a good weekend everyone,

    David Enoch

  6. What a good read today, BB. Not that it is much different from your usual excellent product, it’s just that somehow you hit all the right notes and your timing was perfect. You must have been practicing recently with your Ukelele!
    Two days ago I bought a Crosman 600 pistol at a flea market and thought it looked like a fun piece. I had to pay a song and do a little dance for it, which I was willing to do ($20.00, no box or rod). The cocking lever was stiff and wouldn’t slide back with reasonable force, but it looked alright overall. It held CO2 overnight, but it won’t pass gas when you pull the trigger. I think the valve is gummed up. So I’m making haste slowly by watching You Tube Videos on how to disassemble it and synthesizing what I’ve learned (pondering) about how the internal pieces fit together before I start. There is one lever that requires that you squint one eye and hold your tongue just so before you’ll be able to take it out, which is good to know. Of course I read the coverage you gave it in September 2016, Crosman 600 air pistol: Part 3 | Pyramyd AIR Blog and I’m going to get started this evening after today’s Honey Do list is done.
    Pictures of the complex trigger group before I start will help to get things in the right place during reassembly. What a promising find, I hope it’s a good shooter!

      • Thanks Davemyster! I got it to shoot and I’m so pleased. CO2 is not in my wheelhouse and it was a fun investigation. There is no poppet valve, as in the front end of a multistroke pneumatic valve, it’s open at the CO2 end. Well of course it is! But I never pondered the design of a CO2 valve before.
        The piercing prong is in the cap, and the gas has to pass through a thick, felt disk that is held in place by a screen, and then downstream from there is the exhaust valve. Somebody we know always says to make sure there is Pellgun oil passing through the gun, so into the felt went four drops. After ten shots, I could see that the oil was blown throughout the gun. How nice! After 25 shots with sight adjustments I put it down, thinking all was well on this rainy afternoon. The accuracy is dependent unfortunately on me, but I’ll set up a nice rest, give it another try and see what happens. I’m hoping that it will hold CO2 while it rests. This is fun…

        • BB & Readership,
          Since this is a weekend blog, I hope it’s not too much to post the target, shot with the last of my three CO2 bottles, using the Crosman 600 pistol, just to show that it works. It is a gas hog at 20 shots per bottle! A box of 40 bottles and more pellets is on order from Pyramyd.
          The upper target was shot first and the lower, second, each with a 6:00 hold.
          I’m going to go through a lot of pellets and gas with this. No mods either, it will stay stock and reclaim it’s former job as a proper feral can and reactive target plinker.
          Happy Father’s Day!

          • Will

            A fun shooter for sure. I had one many years ago that got dropped breaking the rear sight assembly. After gathering dusk for more years I pitched it. Oh my my! Wish I had not done that.



        • Will S,

          Soma little more to ponder about CO2 valves: Does your guns valve fill with liquid CO2 or just gas?
          Some are designed to fill with CO2 gas excluding the liquid by design under normal operation and some others are specifically designed to be at least partially filled with liquid CO2.

          Have fun pondering how and why that design difference.


          • Hi Shootski,
            What loaded question you asked! Sorry, I couldn’t help that. The valve in the Crosman 600 is meant to pass gas and not liquid, under normal circumstances. The piercing prong is in the cap and there is a lot of volume upstream of the valve for liquid CO2 to boil off into a gas. The valve itself is tall and has a lot of internal volume.
            The application for a CO2 valve that passes mostly liquid, in say, a small replica pistol, would be designed so as to save space, but there has to ample volume between the valve and the transfer port for full expansion of liquid to gas during “lock time.” The valve would allow only a small amount of liquid out per shot, compared to the volume of gas that a dry valve would pass, both amounting to a similar volume of useful gas per shot.
            I wonder if there would be liquid allowed to remain, because space doesn’t allow, that will continue to expand while the pellet is still traveling down the barrel?
            I dunno for sure, but those are my first ponderings. Thank you for the good question, Shootski! As I see more CO2 systems, I’ll consider what phase of CO2 passes through the valve.

            • Will S.

              I do don’t I!
              Think about the CO2 powerplant as the bore size (caliber) increases and you might have a EUREKA moment. I have a few CO2 rifles and pistols that have the larger paintball bottles (with indexing marks) with a reverse syphon tube bent in such a way that it feeds liquid CO2 to the valve for as long as the bottle contains liquid state CO2 when the gun is held horizontal or muzzle down.
              The volumes and heatsink effect of the larger bores provided more power and avoided the much slower transfer of the Large CO2 gas molecules through the valve to projectile base. I suspect that the flash to gas was still happening as the projectile traveled down the bore…no way of knowing for sure!
              But they did, in fact, provide better power compared to just using CO2 gas in the same valve. The problem was that the valves for gas only and liquid only required different volumes as well as spring rates. The energy budget per ounce (weight) of CO2 seemed to be better for the liquid CO2 valves. Most of those guns were modified to use hpa since they are far better on the power curve and consistency; just not on shot count per unit volume of the bottles.


  7. I have a handful of old Crosman MkII target pistols and a reseal kit, but they haven’t been properly introduced or something. They are still sitting alone in a box. Bet they are waiting for a project number and year assigned before a Round-Toit does the honor.
    Where’s my project logbook? Gotta start someplace.
    OMG, forgot about the inop Crosman 500 Power-Matic CO2 rifle I picked up for a few bucks in a small desert town junk shop, Hawthorn Nevada. But then again Baker Airguns has them for sale every once in a while, in working condition for around $49. OK, it was to be a wall hanger. Never mind.

  8. Pondering…
    Hmm, I’ve been doing a lot of pondering lately.
    I’ve been thinking about the airguns that interest me.
    My Umarex NRA Colt Peacemaker was something I just had to have.
    Looking at the 3 of my favorite firearms above it, you can see why that’s the case.
    My wife thinks I may have been born into the wrong century…
    …she may be onto something there…there’s something very appealing about the past. 🙂
    Blessings and happy shooting to all this weekend,

  9. B.B. and interested readership,

    Semi of topic.

    Right eye update: As you may, or may not, remember my Cataract Surgery in the Left eye was done at the end of December 2022. Walter Reed Opthalmologists and I declined doing the Right eye as it was correctable to 20/20 with eyeglasses. The lens used was the DISTANCE vision Toric version since i had a slight astigmatism. The J & J lens is able to give intermediate:

    Intermediate vision zone is defined as –2.00 to –0.50 Diopters (D), from 50 cm (approximately arm’s length) to two meters. It is needed to perform tasks such as using computers, viewing the dashboard of car, aisle shopping, applying makeup, playing cards etc. And, of course of great interest to most of us non optical sight rifle and handgun shooting.

    and distance vision unlike most other monofocal IOL. The improvement with Johnson & Johnson’s TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL : https://www.jnjvisionpro.com/products/tecnis-eyhance After the left eye stabilized i went back to shooting both left and right (i am left eye dominant although i can switch almost at will) with handguns and longarms.
    I found myself shooting Left far better than on the Right. I’m talking about off the bench and Off Hand with rifle and pistol in bright light a well as very low light.
    The correction on the Left eye is better than 20/12.5, contrast, clarity, and night vision is (comparatively) vastly better than in the Right eye. Although the brain is able to integrate most minor binocular differences this was at the limit for me even with progressive eyeglasses.
    Ophthalmology recommended a contact lens trial that also proved unsatisfactory over the past few weeks.
    The upshot is i am scheduled to have the Right eye Cataract done in mid July.

    I hope all of you that have developing Cataracts or other eye issues that are impacting your vision and shooting, don’t procrastinate…Make Haste – Slowly…to get to your Opthalmologist to find out what will work best for you!


        • Shootski

          Praying for successful right eye surgery.

          Off subject but this is a weekend. Back in 2020 I won BB’s golden gun, the Ataman P16. It being my first PCP you gave me some good advice on avoiding moisture corrosion.
          “Don’t forget to drip a drop of chamber oil (or other non petroleum based oil) in the fill port and you won’t have corrosion (based on 30 years of PCP experience) issues ever!”
          I have 3 PCP’s now and have followed this advice with no problems. My question today: When it is hot and humid is it okay to take a compressor and a PCP outside for filling? I’m hoping that non petroleum oil in the fill port does its job and any extra condensation gets blown out the barrel when shooting. The Mrs. may not be thrilled with me running the compressor in the bedroom.


          • Decksniper,

            Happy Father’s Day!
            Thank you for the prayers they are truly appreciated and most highly valued.

            Since you do the fill port drip of Chamber Oil and you know to not introduce salts or other organics into the pressure vessel you should be fine.
            But it will never hurt to limit water/condensate as another thing that is involved in the corrosion process…just not for the cost of products currently being sold and that are often exposed and/or outdated (wet) and therefore useless.
            As far as taking the compressor outside when it is hot and humid it can be done when the Relative Humidity is at the lowest point in a (almost) predictable daily cycle. Typically the Relative humidity is lowest during the hotest part of the day. You will therefore typically have the lowest amount of condensation collect in the afternoon. The NOAA NWS (see the attached) is a good source for the information on when in the day at your location will have the lowest amount of water vapor and therefore dry air.
            You could also run a vacuum hose or one of those black french drain pipes from your air conditioned house’s dry air to your compressor air intake.

            Please ask questions if some or all of this makes no sense; happy to simplify or go into greater detail as needed.


            • Shootski

              I just put the NOAA icon on my IPad. Will use it to lessen chances of condensate getting in the wrong place. Will also have fun comparing the detailed weather forecast to other sources.

              Many thanks,


  10. Happy Father’s Day to all Dads, all step-Dads, and anyone who mentored someone…you may not be a biological Dad, but if you were a role model to someone, then there may be someone out there who thinks of you as their father figure, and that’s pretty cool. 🙂

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