Sighting in a big bore airgun — the TexanSS: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

TexanSS
TexanSS big bore air rifle from AirForce.

Part 1

  • For Aaron
  • First thing
  • Size matters
  • Look around for bullets
  • Setup
  • Why start at the low end?
  • What about the power you give up?
  • Physician — heal thyself!

I’m getting an increasing number of direct contacts from my web page because people apparently don’t want to ask their questions in front of this crowd. I hope that changes, because with all the readers we have, the answer is almost always here.

For Aaron

Today’s report is for reader Aaron who just got an AirForce TexanSS and isn’t satisfied with his groups. Fortunately for him I used to work at AirForce, so I know what he probably isn’t telling me and that helps me cut to the chase. How should you sight in a big bore air rifle that has adjustable power? read more


Using air pistols for defense training

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

  • Why the pseudonym?
  • Defense shooting
  • The ideal airgun
  • The training
  • Action targets
  • Holster?
  • Evolution
  • Suggestions

Why the pseudonym?

Some new readers may wonder why I still write as B.B. Pelletier, even though I put my real name above. Well, it goes back to the 1990s, when I was writing The Airgun Letter. My style of writing that you all feel comfortable with today was unheard of in 1994, when the newsletter started. At that time the world of airguns was full of cliques that tried to exclude others, or if they couldn’t keep them out they tried to ridicule and discourage them. The internet just gave them a larger overpass to spraypaint. Edith and I didn’t allow that on our Airgun Letter Forum, and it drove these guys nuts! We were hacked and spammed and everything else that’s bad, even though many of our detractors were also living on our forum! read more


The development of the .22 rimfire cartridge: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • .22 Magnum
  • Revolvers first
  • Longer range
  • Accuracy
  • Cost
  • Advances
  • .22 hyper velocity rounds
  • Specialty rounds
  • Summary

Today we will look at the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR). round. An argument can be made for it advancing the rimfire cartridge in significant ways. Then I will address the hyper velocity rounds in the Long Rifle class. And finally I’ll give a quick nod to some specialty rounds. Let’s begin.

.22 Magnum

This cartridge was launched in 1959 by the Winchester corporation. It received a lot of immediate attention from the gun press, as well as from little boys like me. I wasn’t able to buy firearms in 1959, so it would be a couple decades before I actually shot a .22 Magnum, but all the gun journals were loaded with stories from guys who could and did shoot it. So, I read and dreamed. read more


SHOT Show 2018: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Meopta
  • Leapers
  • P.O.I. Airgun Rings
  • Vanquish 700
  • Air Venturi Hellboy
  • ASG
  • AirForce
  • Are we done?

Before I start I want to say a word about who I cover at SHOT. There are plenty of airguns I never look at, for reasons I think are good. These are the fringe companies that have no representation in the U.S., or they have a couple of shyster dealers with bad reputations. I don’t want to give them any attention. The other people covering the show can “scoop” me on these. Yes, I miss a few things, but I also avoid giving credibility to guns that will only break your hearts.

That said, why do I cover Leapers and not other scope companies? Am I getting a kickback? Well, there is a story here. I used to go to Burris, Leupold and many other scope manufacturers, and they all received me the same way. “Airguns? You write about airguns? Sure, we have a couple scopes that could be used on an airgun, I guess.” read more


The development of the .22 rimfire cartridge: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • .22 WRF
  • Not a magnum
  • The .22 Winchester Automatic
  • Corrosive priming
  • High speed
  • Splatter-Less
  • Summary

We are back with the .22 rimfire cartridge. We left it in the 1890s, as smokeless powder was just starting to be introduced. I will talk about that in a moment, but I want to start with another cartridge that lasted for quite a while but is obsolete today — the .22 Winchester Rimfire, or .22 WRF.

.22 WRF

This cartridge was introduced with the Winchester 1890 slide-action rifle that was also called a pump gun. I have owned 2 1890s in this caliber, and in the 1960s I thought this cartridge was the bee’s knees! It uses a 45-grain flat-nosed lead bullet that is not heeled like the .22 Long Rifle bullet. The diameter of the bullet is 0.224, so it’s also larger (.22 LR bullet is 0.2225”-0.223”). The barrel twist was increased to 1:14” to stabilize the heavier bullet. read more


The development of the .22 rimfire cartridge: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Maynard tape primer
  • .22 Long
  • Rifling twist rate
  • Why change the twist?
  • Time of flight
  • But…
  • Inuit and the .22 Long
  • .22 Extra Long
  • The big change
  • Smokeless powder
  • Smokeless powder
  • Smokeless powder
  • The bleeding obvious
  • A lot more to tell!
  • Not even halfway!

Maynard tape primer

A reader asked about toy caps last time and I said I would show some roll-type percussion caps that were used in the Civil War. The Maynard tape primer was a mechanism that held a paper roll of percussion caps and fed them over the nipple when the gun was cocked. It actually worked and was just one of several automatic priming systems that were just ahead of the metallic cartridge era.

Maynard tape primer
The Maynard tape primer fed percussion caps automatically as the gun was cocked. It could be incorporated into the design of the gun or added on.

I ended the first report with Smith & Wesson’s launch of the .22 Short in 1857. At first it was just called a .22, but the introduction of the .22 Long in 1871 caused them to rename it the Short after that time. I didn’t mention it in Part 1 but the chamber pressure of the Short cartridge as it’s loaded today is 24,000 psi, and the bullet diameter is 0.225-inches. read more


The development of the .22 rimfire cartridge: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Two centuries?
  • Reverend Alexander Forsyth
  • Maintainence
  • Danger
  • Percussion cap
  • Flobert
  • Gallery guns
  • Galleries again
  • Recap

Today we begin a subject that lies at the heart of the airgun. Rather than try to defend that statement at this time, I will present evidence as we go, because the body of evidence is both large and spans much of the over two centuries of the rimfire cartridge history.

Two centuries?

Wait a minute, BB. I just read on Wiki that the .22 Short — the first .22 rimfire cartridge — was patented by Smith and Wesson in 1854 and launched to the public in their new revolver in 1857. Today is 2018. That’s only 161 years. How can you say the rimfire cartridge has been in development for over 2 centuries? read more