Smell the roses!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Price-Point PCP
  • Silencers
  • Lookalikes
  • More lookalikes
  • $100 PCP
  • More than just guns
  • Hand pumps
  • Compressors
  • Airgun technology
  • Big bores
  • There’s more

Today’s report came to me as I was planning to test the accuracy of the Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole revolver. I have so many tests waiting for my time, but today’s report had to come first.

Gentlemen — we are living in airgunning’s Golden Age. I know I have written that many times, but today I would like to reflect on all the good things that are happening in our world. Let me start with the Price-Point PCP.

Price-Point PCP

When I got into precharged pneumatics in 1995, I was dragged into it kicking and screaming. No PCP rifle cost less than $600 in that day (think $900 today) and the high-pressure hand pump had just been invented. I had to use a 3000 psi aluminum scuba tank that cost an additional $120 and I had to beg the local dive shop to fill it for me. I actually created a release form that I signed and left on file with them to absolve them from all risk of selling air to a non dive-certificated person! That might sound extreme in 2018, but in 1995 that was the way it was done, and plenty of dive shops refused to sell us air. read more


Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole pellet revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Legends Ace revolver
Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole revolver.

  • History of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver
  • Buntline Special
  • Sheriff’s model
  • The Shopkeeper’s model
  • Ace in the Hole
  • Fanning hammer
  • Don’t fan!
  • Removable front sight
  • Weathered finish
  • Pellet pistol
  • Heavy
  • Safety
  • Evaluation

Today we begin our look at the Umarex-Legends-Ace-in-the-Hole-revolver. This Legends airgun is different from all others because it does not attempt to copy the firearm exactly. It takes the kind of license you would expect from a person who wanted to customize his sidearm. To appreciate today’s report we’re gonna need to know some history of the Colt single action.

History of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver

The SAA came into being in 1873, two years after the expiration of S&W’s patent on revolver cylinders that were bored though, front to back. Colt started by modifying their 1860 Army cap and ball revolver to become the Colt 1871/72 open top cartridge revolver, but in late 1872 they began producing what would become the most famous revolver of all time, the 1873 Single Action Army. read more


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