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DIY Should I?

Should I?

early BSA
Early BSA.

This report covers:

  • RidgeRunner
  • The point
  • More points
  • Lower power
  • This is why…
  • Summary

Today we look at YOU! Well, some of you, not all. Today we look at you through my eyes and you will see what matters and what doesn’t. I’m talking to those of you who are interested in maintaining, modifying  and even fixing airguns.

What I’m about to tell you happened many years ago at an airgun show in Virginia. The show I refer to used to be held in Roanoke and before that in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The Roanoke show promoter, Fred Liady, had passed away and Davis Schwesinger from Pine City, New York, had taken over. The show was held in the Moose Family Center, just southwest of Roanoke.


It was this show at which reader RidgeRunner and I met. He had to drive all the way from his home in western Virginia while I just breezed in from Texas. His trip took four whole hours, as I recall. Mine took 17 hours over two days.

Anyhow this big guy walks over to my table and introduces himself. He wants to park his FWB 600-series single stroke target rifle on my table to try and sell it because it was just too nice for him to have. My buddy, Mac, looked at that rifle and knew he had to have it, so he sold a bunch of FWB 300s to raise the cash. I don’t remember all the details of that deal but I’ll never forget the details of the one RidgeRunner made. He saw a strange underlever air rifle on a guy’s table and would I please go over and look at it for him? I did and I saw an early BSA underlever. What did RidgeRunner want to know?

Well, the owner was selling it for a very low price but he told RidgeRunner that it needed some work, which I thought was perfect because so does RidgeRunner! That’s a joke, Yogi.

He asked me if I thought that he (RidgeRunner) could work on this rifle successfully? Well, let me see. How do I say that I haven’t got a clue without insulting him? Oh, wait, I’ve already done that, so no problem.

I said two things. First I asked if he could change the batteries on a flashlight. And second I said if he couldn’t fix it, I would buy it from him for what he paid for it.

Well, he went back to that table many times at that show and he negotiated with the dealer quite a bit. And FINALLY he bought that air rifle. My gosh, you would have thought he was at Starbucks, trying to decide between a tall and a grande.

Fast forward a couple years and old Ridgie will tell you, “Yeah, fixin’ those old BSA’s isn’t hard at all. The things are made to be worked on.”

The point

And that is my point today. Most of the older airguns are made to be worked on. They are the tractors of the airgun world, and I don’t mean the turbocharged diesel tractors with air-conditioned cabs and GPS controls. I mean the Farmall F20s and the Fordsons.

Another air rifle that’s quite easy to repair is the TX200 from Air Arms. Oh, yes, it is frightfully expensive. You’ll probably have to give up eating to get one. Or, you could listen to BB Pelletier and look for one at an airgun show. “But BB,” you say, “the closest airgun show to me is over 100 miles away!” Oh — poor you! Why don’t they have airgun shows at the mall?

TX200 Mark III
TX200 Mark III.

Just for the record I have advised literally hundreds of people to buy a TX200 and of those that did only one in all that time was dissatisfied.

More points

There are more points to be made today. Many air rifles being sold today are not made for easy maintenance. Those gollywhompus breakbarrels that break 1,400 f.p.s. sure aren’t. They are made to injure and maim — at both ends!

But there are some that are made to be maintained. They do tend to be the expensive ones. So, when I’m showing you how to jazz up an HW 30S, I’m doing it so you will appreciate how that rifle is constructed.

Then along comes the Diana two forty that we are now looking at. If you have breathed on the internal parts of an airgun you will be able to appreciate what you have seen so far in the two forty. It’s a 1905 BSA underlever with the lines of an HW 30 and a price that’s lower than both.

Lower power

Speaking of things that are lower, the power is lower on the most of the classics that are maintainable. Many think that’s a bad thing until it isn’t. It isn’t when they finally decide to work on one.

But not all classics are maintainable. And not all classics have lower power. The power of an FWB 124 isn’t that low, nor would I pick it as a first airgun to work on. So the world of classic airguns has some to stay away from if you’re looking for an airgun to fix. But the modern el-cheapos are nearly always airguns to avoid, if fixin’ is on your mind — at least until you have some time on a mainspring compressor.

FWB 124
FWB 124.

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This is why…

This is why I have been showing you the insides of certain airguns recently. I can’t meet all of you at airgun shows or oversee your purchases elsewhere. But I can darn sure show you what I would tell you if I could. And that is what these recent reports have been about.


If you hang around here you might learn something. It could even be something you need to learn!

42 thoughts on “Should I?”

  1. Hey B.B.
    No Joke! lol.

    How about some expensive PCP action. Maybe even change your nom de plume to R. S. Sluggo.
    Pick any PCP that PA sells over $1,000+ and tell us what we are missing. Most of the guys at my range shoot at 200 yards, and want to extend the range even further. Long Range shooting is the future, ie $$$, of airguns, IMHO.
    Rant over,


    PS one of the few things left on my “bucket list” is the 1,000 yards sniper shot.

    • Yogi,

      :^) DITTOS “Long Range shooting is the future, ie $$$, of airguns, IMHO.”

      Have been shooting at moderate 200 ranges with Big Bore airguns for the fun of it. The current crop of small caliber airguns shooting 200+ is something that has been a long time coming.

      The 1,000 shot is doable but not easy even with a firearm.

      THE DARK SIDE is not POWERFUL in that one…


  2. BB,
    After reading this report, I, for one (and I’m sure I’m not the only one with this thought), would love to see a list of the low-to-mid-power classics (the ones that fall between RidgeRunner’s BSA and the TX200) that you consider to be sweet shooters, as well as being easy to work on…and I thank you in advance for that laundry list. 🙂
    Blessings to you,

    • OhioPlinker,

      I am a lefty, I shoot lefty, and I have a few classics in lefty, including a TX200 MkIII. I also have a TX200 MkIII RH I earlier acquired. There are some ergonomic factors of the TX200 that might make you prefer shooting the righty version over the lefty version. Most of this has to do with the handed-ness of its loading port. Look at photos of each, and I think you’ll see what I mean.


      • Michael, I saw that on an airgun forum. Someone had bought a lefty TX200 in a righty stock. One comment was they are a lot easier for a righty to load.
        Then again, buying the gun and a lefty stock will get pricey!

        • OhioPlinker,

          No, no, no. I’m suggesting that many lefties (including me) prefer to shoot a completely right-handed TX200 to shooting a completely left-handed one. That is also generally better than putting a right-handed action into a left-handed stock because the loading port access would be reduced by some of the wood of the stock. Reversing that would create the same problem, just on the other side of the rifle.


  3. Tom,

    Somebody really ought to shake the tree at Velocity Outdoor (TCFKAC) to offer a moderate velocity gas spring instead of the high velocity face slappers they are marketing. Hopefully Mr. Ed Schultz can exert his influence over there to make a controllable gas spring rifle.


    PS: Section Lower power 2nd paragraph 3rd sentence: “So the world of classic airguns has (have) someto (some to) stay away from if you’re looking for an airgun to fix.

    PPS TCFKAC The Company Formerly Known As Crosman

      • Tom,

        Ah, Siraniko fell into the old “object of a prepostitional phrase” misdirection hole.

        I usually don’t do these, but since a correction was suggested already . . .

        “It’s a 1905 BSA underlever with the lines of an HW 30 and a price that’s lower than both.” I presume you meant “either,” not “both.” :^)


    • Siraniko,

      Once upon a time TCFKAC did offer a lower powered gas spring air rifle. It did not sell well. We will see if such happens again.

      Weihrauch does offer an adjustable gas spring air rifle. It is not cheap.

      • It is not cheap. However, FM confesses when recently reviewing PA’s 12% discount offering, “stumbled” on an HW90 .25; it was not a refurb but it was in stock…the Devil of Enablement and Discount bit FM’s wallet and now it resides in Casa FM. It still needs zeroing-in and yes, it is kind of a “slapper” but cocking it provides some good exercise and it is not as bad as FM feared though definitely will need to continue the gym sessions. Maybe later will get hold of the tuning kit but for now leaving it at the 26 bar factory setting. It should be a good pestie slapper-downer.

  4. BB
    I have only taken apart two springers my Daisy Model 1894 Lever action bb rifle and a seriously bad Winchester copy used for repair parts. I had no spring compressor but had no problem releasing spring pressure one coil at a time using two screw drivers in rotation to hold the spring back. Did the same to reinstall the spring. Only using them as levers.
    Eventually I could simply unscrew the spring by hand as the preload decreased.
    Are the low to average power break barrel springers that much harder to work with, or is that considered a highly dangerous procedure and simply not recommended? It may have to do with spring access?
    I guess someone unaware of the danger could get in trouble.

    • Bob M,

      Oh yes. Just look at the springs in BBs reports versus the springs in the air rifles you have disassembled. Most airguns have a certain amount of preload on the spring. Some have quite a bit. If you are not using a spring compressor when you disassemble or assemble most sproingers, you are risking serious injury. Even then you should be very careful.

        • The energy that propels the pellets at their velocities and which provides the jolt and sting to the shooter in any springer ALSO WORKS IN REVERSE, that is, it will seek to free itself from its confinement in a violent way.

          Think of it as if it were a coil spring on a corner of your automobile, You DO NOT want all that energy released in your direction. It is the same process – just a matter of proportion.

  5. Hi everybody,

    I hope you are all well.

    I haven’t been posting much since I was busy with my other hobbies (old computers and loudspeakers).

    BBs review of the Diana Two-Forty is going to be interesting. As far as I can tell, the action is very similar or identical to the Twenty-One I tested.
    I’m curious to see how BB will be able to handle the trigger (it DOES improve a lot, but it was still unpredictable to me) and what kind of accuracy he’s going to get out of this thing.

    As far as the HW30S stock issue goes… For me, it’s perfect with a small scope and still good with open sights. It does look funny when a big guy like me is shooting it, but who cares when it’s so much fun 🙂


  6. BBs analogy of these old airguns being like old tractors is quite apt. This is why I own a 1906 BSA. These old gals were made to be repaired and restored.

    Are the new ones made to be repaired? Not the cheap ones. They are made to be thrown away, much like modern electronics which I happen to know a good bit about. Why do you think most dealers, distributors or manufacturers will just replace something that is broken than fix the old one. It costs too much to do so. That is why I have a brand new Hawke Optics SF 3-12X44 rifle scope.

    • Hope FM’s springers outlive FM so he won’t have to experience repair anxiety when the time comes for the springs to give out and require replacement. Maybe there will even be skilled people still around to do the work; fingers crossed!

  7. Have fond memories of the Roanoke airgun show. That’s where I met B.B. for the first time. Can’t believe it’s been 13 years ago.


  8. Talk about internet ‘Surfing under the influence’, or it may be ‘non-Compos Mentis’, but I now have three Crosman 100YR Anniversary 362’s on order. Evidently, I pre-ordered 2ea directly from Crosman over a month ago and forgot about it and then one from P/A with a scope and all.
    Well, if they run out of the limited edition someone may get lucky and find one for sale in the future.

    I’m gaining a new appreciation for traditional wood stocked airguns. Not counting the PCP’s. The Dragonfly II, TX200 and now this Crosman 362 100YR.
    Have to admit the Diana 350 Magnum was the first to win me over. Or … was it the 1077W with “From my cold dead hands!” engraved on it? Wait, maybe it was the Tech Force TF-78 Gold? Anyway, “Wood is good” for me these days. Must be getting old or starting to grow up at 75. Hope not!

      • Fish, still in transit to me should be in Wed. It was in Phoenix but then went east to Texas instead of west to CA?
        Looks like the small forward hinge section is still original plastic but I really doubt they would cover the rest instead of replacing it. It would be too fragile?

          • Fish, I see what you mean. Hopefully I will find out …. Wait … Wait, they are being returned to sender from El Paso TX. after an address correction? IAW Crosman shipping tracking.

            The two air rifles went from NY > OH > MO > NM > AZ > TX and are now being returned to sender?
            This should be interesting. They never made it to CA. Perhaps it was never meant to be. And ordering three saved my butt.
            Let’s see, In El Paso TX they decided the bar code was unreadable. Perhaps why it went east to TX instead of west to CA. At that point they decided to send them back to Crosman.
            Now I reviewed an actual FedEx tracking number that says it’s in transit from El Paso to me again and scheduled to arrive on Thursday. First Monday, then Wednesday now Thursday?
            Can’t wait to see what they look like when they arrive. May actually have to be returned to Crosman if damaged from all that handling.

            Funny thing is, this has happened before with another shipment from Crosman. Took a trip around the country before arriving in CA.
            Told them my street address is not in their data base and every check point verifies that and gets confused. But nobody ever calls!

  9. BB,

    What if the sights on the two forty damaged? Would it be easy to replace / repair them?

    I wonder if the basic globe sights on Diana 27 would be too expensive to produce in China. Would a set of traditional sights like that have increased the price of two forty way over $99.99?

    Two forty deserves parts being avaliable and a body without plastics or fiber optics, and I don’t think providing those will increase the costs terribly. This might turn out to be a springer to stay after all.


  10. Bob M,
    I am reminded of the field maintenance classes that I had in the Army. Recoil springs are not to be ‘trifled’ with! An M60 spring will launch ‘vigorously’ and if you ignore proper procedures while working on the Browning .50 cal, injury is quite possible. Be educated, aware and safe.
    (I think that BB has been doing a pretty good job at trying to keep us educated and safe)


  11. So, RR is in western VA? Part of my wife’s family is from Swords Creek near Richlands. Are you anywhere near there? We get back there a couple times per year to visit.

    I’ve been out of town, so wasn’t able to check my Two Forty’s breach seal until this evening. Mine is kind of ivory colored:

    (Can’t get photo of my breach seal to paste here)

    I’m curious to see what you find different about yourTwo Forty. I did the tissue test and there is no leakage. My FPS results are pretty close to yours (I used 7.0 gr. Hobby’s).

    On the subject of disassembling old springers, I’ve successfully tackled Diana model 5’s, a Diana 27, FWB 124, etc. However, I was able to find someone else on the internet to watch first. I recently found a pre-war Diana 48E which appears to be a close copy of the BSA Standard. I’ve not been able to find any directions yet, so I’m reluctant to tear into it completely without any idea of what I may be getting into. Any suggestions?

    Eastern MO

      • Fish:

        I wish I could claim some special trick to finding some of these old air guns, but the simple truth is that it’s just luck. I found the Diana 48E at the Columbus, OH, airgun show last month. Sometimes it’s an ad on some website. Occasionally it’s a pawn shop in the middle of nowhere. Persistence, time…and, luck!

        Eastern MO

  12. Many years ago I left a comment in response to your praise of TX200. I sent my first .22 TX200 back because the pellet loading area was pitted or peeling and my pellets were flying all over. The dealer (not PA) advised me to try other pellets. The replacement had a disappointing walnut stock, but I kept it because it was otherwise OK. I found the TX200 heavy and no more accurate (for me, of course) at 30 yards than, say, my little .22 Longbow. All in all I felt I could have spent my money better elsewhere. I also had, and still have, a very accurate HW97 in .117. No problems with it. Anyway, you replied that your praise was for the .177 version. Now, I mainly use an HW PCP in .22. Or, my first, an old Beeman R9 in .117. Others gather dust.

  13. “Should I?”
    Hey BB,
    I wasn’t fooling around, or trying to be snarky, with my previous comment.
    I think you brought up a great issue with this report.
    I believe there are many airgunners, like RidgeRunner (was), who are thinking, “I don’t like these big-box-store ultra-high-velocity springers with their harsh firing behavior and poor accuracy…I think I’ll go and find an old classic wood and steel springer and restore her.”
    These are the folk who would benefit from a list from you, something along the lines of:
    “BB’s recommended classic springers that can be restored with relative ease;
    A, B, C, D, and E (and here are some tools you will need)”
    …to be followed with a list of:
    “BB’s recommended classic springers NOT to try and restore till you have worked on some from the first list:
    F, G, H, I, and J (and here are the reasons why)”
    Just my 2 cents.
    I think it would be a great report for posterity; it would become reference material for years to come.
    And I believe it would generate a huge amount of excellent commentary.
    Take care & God bless,

      • BB,
        You are most welcome, of course.
        As you said, you can’t meet everyone, or oversee all their purchases.
        Yet you can use your superpower (knowledge and experience with a great many classic air rifles) to steer a lot of folk with only a modicum of skill toward something on which they can work without getting frustrated, as well as steering them away from air rifles they think might be easy to work on, yet actually are not.
        At the very least, they will be pre-warned, like, “danger; sharp learning curve ahead.” LOL! 🙂
        Blessings to you,

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