Media Day at the Range — SHOT Show 2018: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Media Day upper
The upper range at Media Day has about 50 ranges and vendors. Because of crossbows, the ranges go in both directions.

Media Day
On the lower range there are more ranges, also going both directions, with shotguns on the right.

This report covers:

  • SHOT Show
  • A great find!
  • My interest
  • My collection
  • This BB gun
  • Cocking
  • Takedown
  • Number 25?
  • Sights
  • Summary

Media Day at the Range is an event for gun writers and video makers, only. About 2,000 of us are taken to the Boulder City range where we are allowed to shoot and use some of the newest guns and accessories.

Umarex Hammer

We waited all last year for the Umarex Hammer to come out. From what I saw and sampled this year, I think we will see production guns by mid-2018.

The Hammer is a repeating .50-caliber big bore that gets 4 powerful shots on a fill ton 4,500 psi. The regulator drops the firing pressure to 3,000 psi, and the first 3 shots are all at the same pressure. Shot 4 drops below 3,000 slightly, but at 40 yards all the bullets should stay in a tight group. read more


Airgun flaws to watch out for

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Spring piston guns
  • Thumb amputation
  • Not over yet
  • Arrow launchers
  • Breech failures
  • Mistakes happen
  • Triggers
  • Not just BSF
  • CO2
  • Finally

Today’s blog was suggested by reader RidgeRunner after we had a short discussion of the Modoc big bore rifle. Here is what he said.

“Perhaps you should give serious consideration to a blog about flawed designs for airguns. It could be most informative, most especially to the newbies. These episodes show much thought must go into the design of an airgun and also that care must be used when handling them.”

I didn’t want to write just about one airgun, and this seemed like the perfect way to address the issue. Additionally, there are many more shooters who are new to airguns, and this is a necessary safety topic for them. read more


Niche market advancement

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Crosman
  • The $100 PCP
  • The bottom line
  • The legal silencer from AirForce
  • Air Venturi
  • Lloyd Sikes
  • This blog!
  • We are waiting for:

Reader William Schooley mentioned today’s topic in a comment last week. We were talking about how many airguns needed to be sold for a company to take a customer’s recommendation seriously. Here is what he said.

“I may be way over my head on this, but isn’t this just the type of situation which creates niche markets and micromarketing? It seems to me that where a small but specific group wants a product that’s not being addressed by other larger firms, smaller more specialized companies will develop products to fill the niche. What is your historical take on niche or micromarketing in the air gun community?” read more


2017 SHOT Show: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

  • Air Venturi
  • Lil Duke
  • New Air Bolts
  • Hatsan
  • Semiautomatics
  • Big Bore Carnivore
  • Sun Optics compressor
  • The year of the airgun

Air Venturi

This was the first actual day of the SHOT Show, and the crowd was excited! I stopped at the Air Venturi booth first, so let’s see what’s there.

Lil Duke

First up was the Lil’ Duke BB gun. As you can see, it’s styled after the model 92 Winchester John Wayne carried in a number of his most famous movies, including True Grit. This is the one he fills his hand with.

Lil' Duke
The Lil Duke is bound to become a favorite.

The John Wayne airguns have been quite successful for Air Venturi. They had a second booth upstairs this year where they showed a number of their other John Wayne handguns, including a 1911 that Wayne probably carried in the Sands of Iwo Jima! read more


Christmas gifts for the airgunner: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Gifts for $25 and under
  • Gifts for $100 and under
  • Gifts for $250 and under
  • Gifts with no price limit

This guide is to help those who must find Christmas gifts for airgunners. Of course you should check with your airgunner to make sure each gift you select is one they want or can use.

This is the second part of the 2016 gift guide. Be sure to click on the link to Part 1 to see additional gift suggestions.

Gifts for $25 and under


These are the stocking stuffer gifts. Some are considerably less than $25, so check them all.

1. The first recommendation is a jar of JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. This is for cleaning airgun barrels, and your airgunner will need bore brushes to go with it. These are items he probably already has, but check with him before you buy this item. The bore brushes might give you a couple gifts that are related, and I will list them for you next. read more


Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Air Bolts
Air Venturi Air Bolts turn a .50 caliber big bore into an air bow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Broadhead performance
  • How fast do broadheads fly?
  • Can a broadhead be stopped?
  • How to load broadheads
  • Robin Hood!
  • What about the Wing Shot?
  • Wing Shot accuracy
  • Summary

This is a continuation of the report I started last week. Although it’s titled Part 3, think of it as Part 2, because I’m finishing things I didn’t tell you last week.

Broadhead performance

We looked at the performance of the Air Bolt from Air Venturi with target points. Now let’s see what they do with broadheads. Last week I showed you those lethal points that open as they penetrate the target. When I was researching this report I heard all sorts of claims for them. First, that they penetrate so deeply that no arrow stop in the world can stop one — they will pass right through. Also, they are heavier and will drop a couple inches more as they fly. Also, they are less accurate because they have those razor blades hanging out in the breeze as they fly. And finally they are so sharp that there is no way to attach them to an arrow without a wrench. read more


Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Air Bolts
Air Venturi Air Bolts turn a .50 caliber big bore into an air bow.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Power!
  • Broadheads
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Penetration
  • More to come

Today we take our second look at the Air Bolt from Air Venturi. I may not have written much about it, but I have been demonstrating it to the public and shooting it much more, since the last report. Today’s look will be comprehensive, because I’m writing a feature article for Firearm News. This will be the material gathered from that testing.

Go back and read Part 1 to learn more about the Air Bolt. It’s an air bow system that you can own without buying a separate arrow launcher. If you already own certain .50 caliber big bores like the Sam Yang Dragon Claw 500cc rifle and the Wing Shot air shotgun, all you need are the arrows, or bolts as they are properly called. Instead of spending $900, you spend $120 for 6 bolts and you’re in business. And that’s not all! read more