How the Price-Point PCP (PPP) has changed the face of the airgun world

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gauntlet
Umarex’s Gauntlet was the first PPP to be announced, but several others beat it to the marketplace.

This report covers:

  • Gauntlet dropped!
  • For Hank
  • For the manufacturers
  • What is a PPP?
  • Cost
  • Required features
  • Nice features to have
  • Caliber
  • ALL BOATS ARE FLOATED!
  • Compressors
  • Other PCPs
  • Sig
  • AirForce Airguns
  • On and on
  • Summary

Gauntlet dropped!

When Umarex announced the new Gauntlet air rifle the savvy airgunning world was stunned. A precharged pneumatic (PCP) that was a repeater, was shrouded with an active silencer, had an adjustable trigger and stock, was accurate and came with a regulator — all for less than $300. They named it appropriately, because it was a huge gauntlet to drop on the airgun community. I’m sure this is exactly what Umarex had in mind, though the particulars of how it has and still is unfolding I’m sure have been as much of a surprise to them as they have been to others. read more


Beeman R9 with Vortek center-latching air piston: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The Vortek unit
  • Filling the unit
  • How it works
  • Spring guide
  • Installation
  • Disassembly
  • Piston
  • Barrel goes back
  • End cap in
  • Compressor
  • How long and how difficult?
  • Summary

I try to stay away from products that are not available, but today I’m starting a look at a new gas piston unit for the Beeman R9/Weihrauch HW95 breakbarrel rifle. This report will be unique in several ways. First, it is the first look at a new Vortek gas spring unit that may either be available from Pyramyd Air or from Vortek directly. Second — the R9 I’m using for this test is in .20 caliber. I know there are many shooters who favor .20 caliber, but many more who don’t. I will address that as the report unfolds, but let me state for the record that, except for testing a Sheridan Blue Streak or Supergrade, I haven’t tested another .20 caliber air rifle in many years! read more


“Spring Doc” Spring Compressor Review

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

I am not running an historical report today because we have two guest blogs this week. Today I’m running the first of them. This is a guest blog from a reader who goes by the name Motorman.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me. Now, over to you, Motorman.

“Spring Doc” Spring Compressor Review
By Dean Speidel, alias “Motorman”

This report covers:

  • Decisions
  • “Spring Doc”
  • Diving In!
  • Flies in the ointment?
  • Wrap-Up

Decisions

For some time I’ve been thinking about learning to disassemble, repair and, perhaps most importantly, re-assemble spring piston airguns. Making or buying a spring compressor is the first and unavoidable step.

I’m reasonably good with my hands, so I searched the internet and found a number of plans for build-it-yourself compressors. Some were pretty crude and, frankly, looked dangerous! Some were better, but I just never found one that I liked well enough to put the money and effort into building it. read more


Where are airguns today?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Spring-piston guns
  • The price-point PCP
  • High-pressure air compressors
  • Action air pistols
  • It’s been done before
  • Airgun shows
  • Hunting
  • They’re listening now!
  • Summary

After writing 6 reports on the SHOT Show I thought it was time to look at all that has happened in airgunning in recent years. We are in a golden age of experimentation and refinement, and it’s good to stop and reflect on that for a moment.

Spring-piston guns

If you had asked me what the future of the spring gun was before I attended this SHOT Show I would have told you that everything that could be done had been done. Then, at the show, I saw not one but two novel new breakbarrels.

Crosman has their new Akura breakbarrel with the Precision Barrel Lock or PBL. It is a novel new way of locking the breech at the shot by using some of the compressed air to push a pin back into the spring tube. The rest of the rifle is a straightforward gas spring breachbarrel, but the question we have to ask is why they felt it necessary to lock the breech this way. A few other airguns use mechanical locks that are operated by the user, so there must be an advantage to locking the breech, but will we see it when I test the Akura? read more


SHOT Show 2018: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The big news
  • Benjamin Fortitude
  • Marauder Field and Target
  • Akura
  • Traveler
  • SigASP20
  • Tight breech and no droop
  • The trigger
  • AirForce E-Pump

I will start the third day on the SHOT Show floor with Crosman. They always have loads of new products and this year was no exception. I actually had to visit the booth two separate times to get what I am about to tell you.

The big news

So — what’s the big news at Crosman? I guess that depends on what interests you, but since I am defining this year’s show as the battle of the price-point PCPs (precharged pneumatic rifles with upscale features selling for under $300), let’s start with the Fortitude.

Benjamin Fortitude

Benjamin’s new Fortitude PCP is regulated, a repeater and has a shroud. It is positioned between the Discovery and the Marauder. read more


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


Hatsan Bullmaster PCP: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Bullmaster
Hatsan Bullmaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Comments
  • New Bug Buster
  • Power
  • H&N Baracuda 5.50mm head
  • H&N Sniper Light 5.50mm head
  • H&N Field Target Trophy with 5.53mm head
  • Shot count
  • Trigger
  • Sound
  • Summary
  • Next

Comments

I’ll start today’s report by listing some of the comments you readers made to Part 1. Several of you don’t care for the Hatsan BullMaster’s looks. That’s why I show a picture of the gun at the top of each report. You have to be satisfied with the appearance if you’re going to buy an airgun this expensive.

Next, several of you commented on the weight. At more than 10 pounds before the scope is mounted, this is not a lightweight airgun. Bullpups are small, but not necessarily light.

Then there is the size, itself. For a bullpup, the Bullmaster is on the large side. The overall length of just under 31 inches is very short compared to a conventional air rifle, but for a bullpup it’s on the long side. That length does give you a fully shrouded barrel that’s just under 20 inches, and you need the barrel length for power, but the point of a bullpup is its compact size. read more