Bully pulpit and the future of airguns

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Bully pulpit
  • Closed ranks
  • Lead, follow or get out of the way
  • A new dynamic
  • The stalwarts
  • Robert Beeman
  • What I did
  • Edith was the inspiration
  • I pulled the plug
  • The big push!
  • It’s not me

Bully pulpit

According to Wiki, “A bully pulpit is a sufficiently conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to.” The phrase was coined by Theodore Roosevelt, who felt the White House was a bully pulpit. In his day, the term bully meant excellent.

Closed ranks

When I started my newsletter — The Airgun Letter — in 1994, it was in response to a lack of literature about airguns. There were only a couple books on the subject at that time, and it seemed as if the serious airgunners wanted to hide their passion. Advanced collectors told me what a shame it is to have a reference like the Blue Book of Airguns, because now everybody can know what they know. In the past, they relied on ignorance to grow their collections at low prices. But when everyone can know that a Winsel CO2 pistol is ultra-rare, they stop selling them for $50, and the price climbs to over $1,000. read more

Writing this blog

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • It started small
  • No stinky
  • Best possible pictures
  • Colorblind
  • Bully pulpit
  • The dime
  • Teach me to shoot
  • That’s all, folks

This morning I took a nap after feeding the cats and having my own breakfast. As I slept, Edith came to me in a dream and said, “You should write about what it has been like to write this blog. I think a lot of your readers would like to know how you feel about it.”

When I woke up I thought, why not? I can’t test any airguns today, and maybe there are few things you guys would like to know about the eleven years this blog has been active. So, here goes.

It started small

The blog was Edith’s idea from the start. She told me what a web log was, and said instead of just writing a public diary, I could write articles about airguns — just like when we published The Airgun Letter. She told me I should try to limit the words to around 500, to make it possible to get out a blog 5 days a week. read more

2015 Texas airgun show: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Setup
  • Big bore draws a crowd
  • The match
  • Texans galore!
  • What about the show?
  • Vortek and the Diana 34
  • More to come


The Texas airgun show is a one-day event. Everyone knows they have to get in quick, set up quick and get everything accomplished in one short day. The Parker County Sportsman Club that hosted the event provided dozens of volunteers to run the ranges, park cars, sell tickets, prepare and serve food and drinks, and generally help anyone who needed it. As a result, the event was set up and running smooth when the doors opened to the public at 9 am. But, unlike last year, there was no line at the door. The tickets were sold at a gate outside the compound because we had vendors in two different buildings this year. Even so I was surprised and a little disappointed when I didn’t see the immediate crush of people at 9. read more

They overstepped the line!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • What “they” did
  • Rocky Mountain Arms Corporation
  • Young minds go astray
  • Bad ideas abound!
  • Percussion cap guns
  • What about cartridge primers?
  • Summary

What “they” did

The history of airguns is fascinating to those who enjoy applied creativity. But sometimes when creativity is carried too far it becomes a liability. And that’s the case with today’s guns.

Rocky Mountain Arms Corporation

In the 1970s the Rocky Mountain Arms Corporation (RMAC) created a little gun for kids who wanted to shoot with their fathers. They referred to it as a .22 caliber, though it shot a number 4 buckshot that is really 0.24 inches rather than 0.223 inches in diameter. That didn’t matter because a 5-pound bag number 4 buckshot was available for a few dollars. For that you got thousands of shots.  Nobody worried about the size of the ball that much. read more

Who was Edith Gaylord?: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Edith Gaylord — 1948 — 2015

This report covers:

  • Edith learns to shoot
  • Home protection
  • The Airgun Letter
  • Field target
  • BRV
  • The Pyramyd Air Blog is born
  • Edith the huntress

Edith learns to shoot

Today I’ll talk about Edith’s shooting. When I met her in 1982, she wasn’t a shooter. She was very neutral on the subject of shooting. When we started talking about marriage I told her I was an active shooter and there would be guns in the house. She said she didn’t mind, but I had to teach her how to handle them safely. She told me the only shooting she had ever done was with a .22 rimfire Ruger  pistol owned by her first husband. She said she didn’t feel one way or the other about the experience, but the little shooting she had done seemed like fun. So we started slowly on my Sheridan Blue Streak, learning the basics of safe gun handling. read more

The timeline of airguns

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Table of contents
  • What is an airgun?
  • The first airgun
  • What we do know
  • The load-compression airgun
  • What came next?
  • Bellows gun
  • How rare were they?
  • Multi-pump pneumatics
  • Spring-piston airguns
  • Catapult guns
  • CO2 guns
  • Single stroke pneumatics

Table of contents

Before we begin today’s blog, I want to tell you there is a link to the History of airguns table of contents at the top and bottom of this pager. Go there and you will see all the historical report linked.

Today’s report will sound like a continuation of Friday’s report on the power of big bore airguns of the past, but that is just a coincidence. Today we look at the timeline of airguns.

What is an airgun?

Before we proceed we need to agree what an airgun is, or the rest of the discussion will be meaningless. Most books about airguns start with the primitive blowpipe, which is also called a blowgun. Does that make you think of natives on tropical islands, hunting birds and monkey in the trees? Would you be surprised to learn that the blowgun was also very popular in Europe during the middle ages? There are tapestries that show hunters using blowguns in exactly the same way as the islanders in the tropics, only they are doing so in European and English forests. The blowgun has been a very popular air-powered weapon all around the world. read more

How powerful were the big bore airguns of the past?: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • New blog section — History of airguns!
  • How powerful?
  • Wood was first
  • Iron and steel
  • How fast — Spaltology
  • Velocity of the big bore airguns of antiquity
  • Available air pressure
  • Why this is important

New blog section — History of airguns!

Today I announce a new section of the blog that will be dedicated to the history of airguns. Monday’s posting about the Rise of the BB gun was the inaugural report for the series — History of airguns. Today is the second in what Pyramyd Air and I hope will become a favorite of blog readers.

My goal is to document the history of airguns in these reports, and the really neat thing is, we will keep track of all these reports on a special page that holds the table of contents. The articles listed will be links, so all you need to do is hover your cursor and click to get there! read more