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Now, it’s yours

This report covers:

  • What’s wrong
  • So?
  • Once upon a time
  • The point
  • But then…
  • Not done yet
  • Today’s lesson
  • Last word

You’ve seen that special air rifle for over two years. The ads say it’s great and you have read reports that say the same thing. One guy you trust says his is the most accurate air rifle he has ever owned. He is on one of the popular forums you read.

It was more money than you wanted to spend and it was a precharged gun that at one time you said you would never own, but gosh — isn’t it time you stepped into the 21st century?

It arrived yesterday and, after you figured out how to fill it and how to load the magazine, you took your first shots. And your best 10 shots went into 1.25-inches (31.75mm) at 20 yards. That’s not as good as several of your breakbarrels can do. So you go on your favorite forum and ask what’s wrong.

What’s wrong

Your trusted advisor tells you he gets the best accuracy with a certain German pellet. He gives you the head size. You tell him that is the pellet you are shooting. You’ve been reading his comments about this rifle for several months and you bought everything he recommends. He asks what size groups you get and you tell him the best so far is ten shots in 1.25 inches at 20 yards.

Oh, well, there’s your problem. He shoots five shots per group and his basement range is 17 yards long. He has put five into 0.75-inches with this same rifle, and he thinks that’s really good.

So?

So you believed the hype and you believed this guy on the forum and now you are an expert on just how not accurate this air rifle is. What do you do? Do you go on the forum and report your results? If you do you know what will happen. Your trusted guy will not comment and ten other guys will tell you that the rifle you bought is lousy and known to be inaccurate. I would trust what they say about as much as you used to trust the first guy.

Once upon a time

I had a subscription to “Guns and Ammo” when I was 13. In one issue they showed a Zimmerstutzen, often misspelled Zimmerschuetzen. The writer told of indoor rifle matches in Swiss Gasthaeuser (saloons with restaurants called guest houses) when it was too cold to shoot outdoors. The shooters competed on small paper targets and they shot like it was a darts match, only with more than two competitors. According to the writer these Zimmerstutzens were capable of extreme accuracy! Young BB loved accuracy.

Zimmerstutzen
Zimmerstutzen.

As a result, BB wanted a Zimmerstutzen all his life. When he was in Germany with the US Army he was stationed in northern Bavaria — the home of the Zimmerstutzen. They even had them for sale in the local gun stores, but they were bolt-action rifles. BB wanted a REAL one!

I finally got one and only then did my learning begin. I researched my Zimmer for a year, finally contacting the world’s foremost English-speaking authority who taught me a LOT more about Zimmers. Read about that here.

The point

The point is, Zimmerstutzens were not what I thought and I got in over my head. I documented my experiences, which was good, but Zimmerstutzens were not all that I thought and yet, at the same time, they were much more.

That was my experience with things I wanted and finally acquired. Now let’s get back to you.

Hunting Guide

But then…

You read about how wonderful everyone thinks the HW 30S is, and you have one. It’s not actually a 30S, it’s a Beeman R7 that everyone agrees is the same rifle in a different stock. It’s not an airgun you shoot because you think it’s too weak and buzzy. But then you read how to adjust the Rekord trigger and suddenly your rifle has the best trigger you own. You also read about how to tune it to shoot smooth and a You Tube video shows you what to do, step-by-step. You do it and now that little German rifle is your favorite.

Beeman R7 current
Beeman R7.

Not done yet

Now you read on another forum — it’s really a blog — that the PCP you bought is great if you will learn to shoot it single shot and also to only fill it to 2700 psi. What the heck? You already own the rifle and the pellets the writer recommends are pellets you also own. Now this disgusting PCP can shoot ten shots into 0.30-inches (7.62mm) at 20 yards. That was what you hoped for when you bought it.

Today’s lesson

Today we talked about you believing what other people say about certain airguns. When they become yours, the story often changes. You learn things you wish were not true.

This blog exists to help you — the guy who has too many of the wrong people giving him advice. The people on this blog who comment are solid airgunners. They certainly don’t all agree, including with me, and that is why you can believe what they say.

Last word

Some of you may think today’s report should be a Friday blog. Did BB miss it? 

No, BB has a report for tomorrow that will blow your minds. At least it blows mine. Call in sick and buy a dozen doughnuts, because you are going to want to spend some time on this blog tomorrow!

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.

38 thoughts on “Now, it’s yours”

  1. B.B.,

    An enjoyable read.

    We also shot wooden plates (roundels) as targets in Stuttgart. Not the really fancy painted ones from earlier days but they still had small game animals, figures, or other shapes either painted or decaled.

    Zimmerstutzen does not need an s on the end to make it plural.

    In Once Upon a Time: “The shooters competed on shall (small) paper targets and they shot like it was a darts match, only with more than two competitors.”

    shootski

    • shootski,

      You are correct about the plural of “Zimmerstutzen” of course. But I think it’s fine to create the plural form like that if you’re writing English. It might even help with clarity – English does have words without a separate plural form (“fish”, “news”), but a reader will probably not know “Stutzen” is one of those words in German.

      Stephan

      • As a native English speaker that has had a few years of German, I understood immediately what Shootski was saying. I once tried to make the plural of “Apfel” by saying “Apfeln”. German speakers may get a chuckle out of my error!

        That being said, I agree with Stephan that English speakers will do better with an “s” on the end of “Zimmerschutzen”.

        Shootski, you mentioned Stuttgart. Bist du Schwabisch?

        Motorman
        Eastern MO

        • Motorman,

          In a roundabout way. My family stemmed from knights who moved to the Schwabenland. They eventually traveled down the Danube to lands promised by the Pope and became Donau-Schwaben. Then good and bad history took over and i was born in Vienna. My time in Stuttgart was caused by the US Navy making me work at a Joint Tour at HQ Europe.
          I can speak Schwäbisch almost like a native…only occasionally sounding more like a Wi-eh-ner.

          shootski

  2. Tom,

    I’ve faced this several times with bad choices (e.g. Why ever did I think converting a CO2 rifle into a bullpup PCP was a great idea?) The only thing to do is to make some some form of lemonade out of it. Although it was never so bad that I couldn’t learn something from that bad choice.

    Siraniko

  3. There is “I believe” and there is “I know”. The first one is mostly a very beautiful and optimistic, the second one usually has some grey color inside.
    I remember the times without internet. It was a very difficult time to search for air gun at all. You could go to the special store (if it was at your location) and ask, check, perhaps take few shots at short range. Usually, the guy there wanted to sell you stuff, the highest priority was not to sell the best one for you…
    Today you can check stuff. You can read a famous guy blog and believe him, in parallel you can find some more opinion on same topic somewhere else. Today you can also choose from so many manufacturers. Is it easier as it was? There is no clear answer to this question.
    My dilemma, please tell me more about it, yesterday going through my head all the time:
    Should I buy Hämmerli AR20Pro (entry level PCP match rifle)? Is the pimped FWB300S not enough for the match training? Does it make sense at all to buy something which is not high end for the match at all?…The AR20Pro is a very good price-performance rifle, actually almost same as Walther match pro… almost. I can’t spend 2,8kEUR for Feinwerkbau X800… but in 5 years shooting AR20 will I still be satisfied with its “almost”? If I ask the question there will be a mass FWB300S-church guys telling me how wrong my thinking is, and there will be huge feedback from people telling “you can’t come up with some airgun which is older than you for 10m match nowadays”. Before I asked this question, I already know the answer. Sometimes to get from “I believe” to “I know” you have to spend money and your time = your energy and nobody can help you.

  4. It’s just the way life is. One can’t be born knowing how to do cartwheels and flips. One must learn to roll over onto their tummy and crawl first. One must walk before one can run.

    I started my airgun journey with an inexpensive Kmart (our town had no Walmart at that time) Crosman (Coleman) 760 multipump, and I learned to terrorize the local songbird population, but I leaned how to shoot that rifle as well as it could. The Hamerli sounds like a great place to start.

    Then I grew up and got an Umarex Embark, then a Beeman R7, which is the benchmark against which all are judged (until the TX200 Mark III came home) and now I suddenly find myself collecting vintage Winchesters (Dianas) and peeking over the cliff at the dark side!

    It’s a journey!

      • RidgeRunner,

        MightCould it have something to do with the fact that magazines have vastly improved (some manufacturers) but even then magazines of and by themselves don’t improve accuracy but rather only the opportunity for worsened accuracy?

        A mindfully loaded projectile is a wonderful thing at many levels!

        shootski

        • shootski,

          I have always been a single shot kind of dude. Over the years I have learned to make the one shot count. I have almost always missed with the follow up shot as it is usually rushed. As you have said, “A mindfully loaded projectile is a wonderful thing at many levels!”

  5. Tomek,

    interesting questions… This is what I would answer, based on experience and common sense:
    (Please note that I don’t have experience with PCPs)

    1. Is the pimped FWB300S not enough for the match training?

    It probably is if you can live without a dry fire mechanism *and* if you’re competing at normal club levels.

    Personally, I have a *long* way to go before I can shoot more accurately than a 300, if that ever happens.

    2. Should I buy Hämmerli AR20Pro (entry level PCP match rifle)?

    I would expect it to be very good and more ergonomic than the FWB300.

    3. But in 5 years shooting AR20 will I still be satisfied with its “almost”?

    Unless you are competing at top levels, it will probably be totally sufficient.

    But then, if you really want the Feinwerkbau, for whatever reason and you can save up the money to get it, go for it.

    It is probably among the finest air rifles money can buy and you can admire that even if you’re not nearly using its potential. I suppose some people might enjoy just having it for the craftsmanship, even if they don’t shoot at all.

    I am sure people have spent a lot more money for purchases that make a lot less sense. Who really needs a Ferrari or a Rolex watch?

    I think if I really wanted an 800 X, I would train with the 300S until I have saved the money to get the 800 X.

    In the end it comes down to preferences and you can’t argue with those.

    Stephan

    P.S.: They make a 900 now, so the 800 is officially old news. Maybe your opportunity to get one used from the people who always need the latest and greatest 🙂

    • Stephan – thank you. 🙂 The pragmatic side of me stand against to buy a tool which I’m not able to use optimally (this price – performance ratio). To be honest I think that the old good 300S is and will be no blocking point to my results 🙂 It is this feeling you would like to have at the end, that the equipment had almost nothing to do with this bad picture on your target 🙂

  6. BB,

    What an awesome blog. This is one all should read (including myself) over and over again.

    Tomek,

    If I am not mistaken, in 2002 a young lady from Cuba won the Pan Am games with a FWB 601.

    • Ridge – I think you would be able to win some real contest also today with it 🙂 At the bench almost all of them do not have any groups, just one hole. I think there is the difference only in how you can handle it at the end as the weakest link between rifle and the target 🙂

  7. “You read about how wonderful everyone thinks the HW 30S is…that little German rifle is your favorite.”
    BB,
    Yes, she is a great rifle; and I must have lucked out, as she came sweet and smooth from the factory. 🙂
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s report,
    dave

  8. Stay A Few Years Behind

    I have a strategy that has worked well for me over the years. If truth be told, it is done out of necessity since I cannot often afford the latest and greatest.

    My strategy is to keep informed of the latest and greatest and continue to stay informed throughout the new guns cycle from latest and greatest to yesterday’s best. I find that most of the airguns I lust after are “flashes in the pan”, so to speak and turn out not to be so great. BUT,,, there are certain airgun and airgun platforms that maintain a good reputation by discerning airgunners. These are airguns I target. I am patient and keep an eye on the classifieds for these airguns at a good price.

    These airguns are tried and true and tend to keep their value. This tactic has allowed me to stay in the hobby with little money out of my savings.

    David Enoch

  9. Being late to the scene I’ve only been reading this blog for eleven years. Wish I had happened upon it much sooner. The only reason it has held my interest and keep reading it everyday is the subject and the reliability of commenters including of course Mr Gaylord. There is much so stuff you shouldn’t believe on the internet and being reported as news it is a relief to find a blog where sometimes humorous but always sincere enablers have gathered.

    As for which airguns to buy, I like them all. I do want each one to be different. I Accuracy potential dramatically improves the odds for making my wish list.

    Deck

  10. Tom,

    I am a collector, not a shooter. That is true of me with guitars as well, a collector not a player. I am proof that very high quality toys do not make you a better player with them.

    I think some dialogue in the old movie “Body Heat” applies to me:

    “I hate people like that.”

    “Me, too. I’m a lot like that! [laughs]”

    As I have grown older, I have come to envy the person who buys one guitar and plays just that one his whole life. Likewise, I envy the airgunner who bought a mid-level Diana at the age of 20 and still shoots only that. If I could do it all over again, that is the person I would strive to be.

    Michael

  11. Tom,

    Actually, it just dawned on me that the beginning scenario you wrote above is happening to me just now with a particular piece of classic vintage audio gear. Rather than being specific, I’ll fashion an analogy to make it air gun oriented.

    Imagine an air gun every expert, and I mean EVERY expert on earth, has hailed as the greatest of all time for its particular niche. And all the experts have agreed on this for the past 48 years.

    So you get one. and it isn’t just any one of them, but it’s one restored to factory new condition by the best air gun restorer in the world, who checked and fixed everything, tuned it to the best that one of these best air guns can be. You pay top dollar for it after researching it all thoroughly.

    But as soon as you start shooting it, it turns out that it’s merely average and not at all what for 48 years the experts have said it is, the best. Every expert on earth was wrong all that time.

    That happened to me yesterday. Your essay is rather timely.

    Michael

  12. B.B. and readership
    Today’s blog came exactly when I need some help/info on a find; it is a 5mm Benjamin c series, nickel plated except for a black section on the rear of the receiver. From the serial number it was made in 1982. Is it a Silver Streak? Is it worth $250?
    It looks to be in good condition and I will find out if it works tomorrow but I could use your thoughts before going for it.
    Thanks a lot in advance.

  13. Readership,

    B.B. has embedded in todays weekend blog a (STEALTHY) link to a Blog copy of an article from his Airgun Review #2: https://www.pyramydair.com/article/Zimmerstutzen_February_2011/82
    Best i can tell it is an electronic equivalent to my hard copy. Although one of his longest ever worth a read.
    It is well researched and written; you can tell Tom was firmly bitten by the world of Zimmerstutzen.
    The place i got to eat, bowl, and shoot was a Kegelbahn/Shooting Range/Bunker in E. Rommel’s former Hunting Lodge (back then and until very recently Hotel Dachswald) a short walk from our house in Kaltental.
    Keglebahnen (similar to 9 pin bowling) were often also indoor 19-20 meter shooting ranges.

    shootski

  14. All FM has to say here is this blog and all who contribute to it greatly helped in his return to airgun world after far too many years’ absence from it. None of the acquisitions made based on research and advice found here are regretted.

  15. When I was a kid in the late 90s, I shot airgun in a small airgun club in Bavaria. This was tremendously popular, second only to soccer.
    All these small airgun clubs shifted from the old spring powered airguns towards the single pump pneumatics (FWB601 and the like), and Zimmerstutzen were sitting in the closets, gathering dust.
    In this period, one could have purchased thousands of vintage airguns and Zimmerstutzen for pennies, and could have made a fortune by simply exporting them to the US.

      • There has always been the niche of accurate target/parlor/pest control shooting devices.
        There are hundreds of solutions ranging from arrow shooting slingshots, crossbows, rubber powered guns, small calibre firearms, dart shooting airguns etc.
        When the BB&Diablo shaped lead pellet became available in good quality, and later when the recoilless match airgun hit the market, Airguns were able to totally dominate this niche.

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