What’s it gonna be today?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The beginning
  • Walther LGR
  • HOWEVER!
  • Diana model 10
  • What is a Diana 10?
  • The grips
  • The top spacer
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • Power
  • Summary

Today is a special treat. We are going to go back into my distant past and see something that was pivotal in my life. It was, and yet this one wasn’t. This is something that made me the airgunner I have become, and I have been telling you about it on this blog for many years. I have and yet I haven’t. Read on, Grasshopper.

The beginning

The year was 1976 (I think), and I was walking with my first wife and son through Rothenburg ob der Tauber — a walled medieval town next to the Tauber river in northern Bavaria, Germany. Rothenburg is a tourist town today, because it is so well preserved and colorful. I enjoyed going there with my little family on my time off and just walking around seeing the sites! read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 4

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • 4.55 mm lead ball
  • Moved to 10 feet
  • The first “group”
  • Second thing I did wrong
  • Correction
  • 4.50 mm ball
  • Marksman BBs
  • Summary

I couldn’t resist! I just had to know how this old girl shot. So today we will find out together.

The test

I started the test at 5 meters, like all BB gun tests. I rested the gun on the UTG monopod and I sat in a chair. I vowed to push all the balls down the barrel with the cleaning rod, but I changed that one time while the test was underway. Let’s get started!

4.55 mm lead ball

First to be tested was the 4.55 mm lead ball that comes as close as possible to the 0.180-inch BB caliber. It measures 0.179-inches in diameter. I fired the first shot and the sound from downrange was not what I expected. So I went and examined the target. There were no holes in the target! read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 3

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Straightening the barrel
  • 4.55 mm BBs dropped to bottom
  • It also shoots 4.5 mm balls
  • 4.55 mm lead balls
  • Velocity
  • Muzzle energy
  • Oops!
  • 4.50 mm lead balls
  • Discussion
  • What does today’s test give us? 
  • Summary

Today I tell you how straightening the barrel of this century-old BB gun went and then we look at its performance. Last time I shot a single BB out at 157 f.p.s. What will she do today?

Straightening the barrel

Boy, did I ever have a lot of helpers ready to school me on how to straighten this solid brass shot tube! The way some of you talked you would think this thing is going into a NASA satellite!

I straightened the shot tube exactly as I described to you in Part 2, by laying it on a flat steel table (on my vise) and tapping it gently with the wide head of a plastic hammer. read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 2

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Design an Airgun contest
  • The bear
  • However!
  • Tapered breech
  • Something else
  • Clearing the barrel
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Design an Airgun contest

Today is the last day of the Design an Airgun contest, and we have several interesting entries. I will announce the winner next week.

The bear

Sometimes the bear eats you! That’s almost what happened to the 1896 New King single shot BB gun today. I got one shot out the muzzle at 157 f.p.s and the next BB didn’t come out. I was still inside the gun, along with a second BB I loaded, thinking the first BB had rolled out. At least that’s what I believed at this point.

It will be hard to say what happened exactly before I get this gun running again. That’s assuming I can even do that. I will try, and I will document what happens so I can report it to you. But for now I was sure Part 2 of the 1896 New King Single Shot, the velocity test, was over. read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 1

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • How this happened
  • Detailed history
  • Pop quiz
  • BB shot and air rifle shot sizes
  • Getting ready
  • Good news!
  • Summary

Sometimes we get the rare opportunity to examine something that’s really from the past. Today is such a time. We will begin looking at a New King single shot BB gun from Markham. It is the 1896 model that was made from 1896 until 1905.  Mine was made in either 1900 or 1901, as I will explain.

How this happened

Periodically I look at eBay to see what sort of antique airguns they have and a couple weeks ago I saw this listing. So I went to the Blue Book (the new edition of which should be available by this Christmas) and saw that in 95 percent condition this was a $1,950 BB gun. In 20 percent condition it is a $400 gun. This one is 10 percent at best, which meant that the opening bid of $150 was reasonable. But oddly there were no bidders. So I bid on it and won it without opposition. The listing said that it works, which is far more important to me, and I took a chance that it did. So far — it does! read more


Tell BB gun: Part 4

by Tom GaylordZ
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BB gun
This military-looking BB gun is large and good-looking!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • One more time
  • Comment 1 — clean the barrel
  • Comment 2 — try Marksman oversized BBs
  • Comment 3 — turn the shot tube to change where the balls impact
  • The test
  • Marksman BBs
  • 4.55 lead balls
  • Discussion/summary

One more time

I hadn’t planned to do a fourth report on the Tell BB gun, but several readers’ comments and questions changed my mind. This will be a short report.

Comment 1 — clean the barrel

Reader Feinwerk said this: “It sounds and looks to me like the barrel may be fouled. Look at the nasty dark rings around the target holes. And when you described having to ram 5 of the larger sized lead balls down, after which others rolled freely, it strongly suggested to me that you cleared some debris from the bore. Any way to pull some patches through this barrel?” read more


Tell BB gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BB gun
This military-looking BB gun is large and good-looking!

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Lead balls only
  • The test
  • 4.4mm copper-plated lead balls
  • Trigger pull
  • 4.4mm Punktkugeln
  • H&N 4.45mm lead ball
  • What we know
  • The last step
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Tell BB gun. I think this is going to be a very interesting report, so let’s get started.

Lead balls only

I waited to do this test because I was considering what to do about the inaccuracy of steel BBs. At two feet they were spreading out to three inches apart. That would mean that at 5 meters (16 feet) the spread would be several FEET. I thought about shooting them closer to the target but what’s the point? If they are that inaccurate I’m never going to shoot them anyway. So I decided to run this accuracy test at the standard 5-meter distance with larger lead balls. read more