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

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

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
  • 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

Seneca Double Shot air shotgun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Seneca Double Shot
Air Venturi’s Seneca Double Shot air shotgun.

This report covers:

  • Fast second shot
  • Let’s review
  • Sub-1 crossbow
  • Reality of bow hunting
  • Description
  • How many shots?
  • What it shoots
  • Is this for you?
  • Summary

I usually just review the products and leave my personal opinions out — or I try to weave them in under the radar. Not today. I first saw today’s subject airgun, the Seneca Double Shot air shotgun at the 2018 SHOT Show. I looked at it and then showed it to Rossi Morreale on American Airgunner, all the while wondering — WHY? What possible use is there for a double-barreled air shotgun? Then Val Gamerman, the president of Pyramyd Air, told me. The extra barrel gives you a fast second shot.

Fast second shot

That second barrel gives you a quick second shot at a deer or other large game animal, when you are using Air Venturi Air Bolts. Nuff said! That is a real reason for owning a double-barreled air shotgun. read more

Piston seals: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Updates
  • Early leather seals
  • What’s next?
  • Now that you understand…
  • No magic
  • Don’t be depressed!
  • Leather piston seals
  • The better way
  • It’s all the same
  • Leather’s shortcoming
  • Summary


Pyramyd Air has shipped me the replacement Fortitude, so I will be restarting that report soon. Leapers is sending me a micro dot sight that I showed you recently. I wanted that to test on the Beeman P1 pistol that I stopped testing months ago, but now I also want to put it on the Chaser pistol and perhaps on a rifle or two. And yes, GunFun1, I am going to test the Gauntlet at 50 yards with the tightened shroud/barrel.

But today I want to talk about something different. As you are aware, this blog gets many new readers all the time. Often when they come in they have a question about a topic I have addressed in the past. If their question is easy to answer I will often just give them the links to the past report — if I can find it. But sometimes their question isn’t so easy to answer, and when that happens and I know that I have many other new readers who might perhaps benefit from it, I will write a special blog. Today is such a day. read more

Beeman R9 with Vortek center-latching air piston: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Adjust the pressure
  • Filling
  • R9 disassembly and assembly
  • JSB Exact
  • Predator Polymag
  • H&N Field Target Trophy
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Crosman Premier
  • Benjamin Cylindrical
  • Discussion
  • Trigger
  • Cocking effort
  • Evaluation

Today we look at adjusting the Vortek Center Latching Air Piston, which I refer to as the center-latching unit (CLU). It went faster and easier than I imagined.

Adjust the pressure

To adjust the air pressure in the unit I had to disassemble the Beeman R9, to get the unit out. That procedure is described in Part 1. Once the unit is out, the piston seal has to be removed to reveal the air port.

Beeman R9 CLU port
Looking down into the fill port of the CLU we can see the ball valve.

To adjust the pressure in the CLU, first release all the air. That way you start from zero. The unit fills very fast from a hand pump and this is the best way to ensure accuracy. read more

Gamo’s Urban precharged air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Gamo Urban
Gamo Urban.

This report covers:

  • Fill probe
  • Pellets
  • Shot count
  • Air Arms Diabolo Field
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads
  • Evaluation
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the .22 caliber Gamo Urban. And the first string will be an interesting test, because I know the Urban is a BSA design. BSA PCPs do not use their air the same as other precharged air rifles. The Urban fills to 232 bar, which is 3365 psi. Normally that would present a challenge to anyone wanting to use a hand pump, because pumping to that pressure level is difficult for most adults. But testing done by Tyler Patner (watch his video on the Urban webpage) confirmed what I suspected from the start — the BSA-based powerplant in the Urban doesn’t use the pressure above 3000 psi efficiently. It only becomes smooth when the pressure drops below 3,000 psi — the same as the BSA Hornet I used to own. Tyler found the best string of shots was between 2900 psi and 1500 psi. If I find the test rifle performs similarly I will constrain all my tests to that lower maximum pressure. It won’t make much difference at 25 yards, but it will at 50. read more

Umarex Gauntlet: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Gauntlet.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The Gauntlet
  • Test 1 — shot count and the power curve
  • Power
  • Impressions
  • Frequent pellet jams
  • Test 2 — different pellets
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Discharge sound
  • Evaluation

Today we will look at the Umarex Gauntlet’s velocity and shot count, but before we start I have to tell you something. Yesterday I started shooting the Sub-1 crossbow. It was fantastic! I wanted to report on it this week, but I can’t allow the week to pass without doing the Gauntlet. So many readers are awaiting my findings. And, as I told you on Monday, we have two guest blogs this week, so the Sub-1 report will wait until next week.

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet accepts a fill to 3000 psi, which makes it sort of friendly to hand pumps. The manual doesn’t mention cocking the rifle before starting to fill, so I filled it from empty to 1000 psi with a prototype Hill hand pump. The rifle was uncocked at the start and filled immediately. I stopped at 1000 psi because this pump has no pressure gauge and it was too difficult to tell where I was. The fill nipple is opposite the pressure gauge, so I had to pick the rifle up and turn it over to see the pressure. Too much bother! read more

Hatsan BullMaster PCP: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan Bullmaster
Hatsan BullMaster semiautomatic bullpup PCP.

This report covers:

  • Like the Sortie
  • Comparisons?
  • Companies change over time
  • Description
  • Fill
  • Pressure gauge
  • Magazines
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • So much more to tell
  • Next

Today I start my review of the Hatsan BullMaster precharged pneumatic air rifle. This is a repeating semiautomatic air rifle in bullpup configuration. It is available in both .177 and .22 calibers and the published energies, 21/31 foot-pounds, respectively, are right where they should be for a handy hunting air rifle. I am testing the .22, but since it was sent directly from Hatsan, I won’t publish the serial number. Your chances of getting this particular airgun are slim.

Like the Sortie

I tested the Sortie semiautomatic air pistol for you in a 5-part review back in September and October, and I did it intentionally. I had this BullMaster at that time, and since the actions of the two airguns are so similar, I wanted to start with the smaller one first. Testing the Sortie got me ready for the BullMaster. read more