My best lesson

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Valuable lesson
  • Sighting
  • Multi-tasking
  • Student behavior
  • Sign’s up!
  • Why this is so important
  • History?
  • Bottom line
  • Why airguns are important
  • And why today?

When I was a kid I knew everything there was to know about guns. Just ask me; I would tell you. I read Guns & Ammo and was learning the ballistics of popular cartridges like other kids were learning baseball stats. I didn’t own a gun, which in retrospect was a good thing, but I knew all about them.

Valuable lesson

Then my mother sent me to an NRA basic marksmanship course. Over the course of three weeks they taught me how to shoot. I wish I had been more observant because those gentlemen really knew what they were talking about.

Sighting

We started by everyone learning how to sight. We did something they called triangulation where we learned the proper sight picture with target sights. It involved getting down on the floor and sighting through a homemade set of “sights” that rested on a box at a target that was 40 feet away. The object was to watch the instructor move the target and tell him how to move it. When you got it perfectly aligned in your “sights” you told him to mark it, and he marked through the center of the bullseye with a sharp pencil on a sheet of plain paper behind the target. This was done three times. If you did it well you got three pencil dots on the plain paper that were very close to each other. The goal was to get the dots as close to each other as possible read more


DIY Rifle Stock – Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is Part 5 of reader Vana’s excellent report on stock making. This one was delayed because of the SHOT Show, followed by my need to catch up on reports followed by my forgetting I had it — and Part 6 that’s still to come.

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

And now, over to you, Hank.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Slavia 618
This is my original 55 year old Slavia 618 in its new “firewood” stock. I made this one in a “camo” style, using cherry and maple blocks in a random arrangement of the pieces.

This report covers:

  • Preparing for finishing
  • Cabinet Scrapers (aka Card Scrapers)
  • Sandpaper and sanding
  • Steel wool
  • Preparing the surface
  • Smoothing the wood
  • Fancy it up
  • Checkering
  • Stippling
  • Carving
  • Accent pieces
  • Accessories
  • Summary

Preparing for finishing

In this part I will discuss the hand-tools that I use to finish the stock and how I use them. The stock, having been shaped with rasps, files and coarse sandpaper, will have scratches, bumps and flats that need to be smoothed out before I can even think about applying a finish. Electric sanders are useful time savers but you can easily get by without them. In truth, I like sanding, and find the quiet time I spend working on the wood relaxing. read more


DIY Rifle Stock – Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is Part 4 of reader Vana’s excellent report on stock making.

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

And now, over to you, Hank.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Slavia 618

This is my original 55 year old Slavia 618 in its new “firewood” stock. I made this one in a “camo” style, using cherry and maple blocks in a random arrangement of the pieces.

This report covers:

  • The Firewood stock
  • Why firewood?
  • How do we do this?
  • Some design considerations
  • Is your wood dry enough?
  • What if I want to start right now?
  • Microwaving wood – how does it work?
  • Art or science?
  • Microwaving wood summarized
  • Working with the blocks
  • Summary

The Firewood stock

And now for something completely different – an additive construction stock made from firewood. I’ve made a couple of these and have been pleased with the results — there’s lots of artistic opportunity to make a stock that is special. read more


DIY Rifle Stock – Part 2

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Today’s report is a continuation of reader Vana’s excellent report on stock making.

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

And now, over to you, Hank.

Slavia 618
This is my original 55 year old Slavia 618 in its new “firewood” stock. I made this one in a “camo” style, using cherry and maple blocks in a random arrangement of the pieces.

This report covers:

  • Stock Layout
  • Let’s get started!
  • Putting pencil to paper
  • Two approaches to stock making
  • Which way to go — subtractive or additive?
  • Before we start, tune your tablesaw!
  • The forend block
  • Machining the receiver mounting points
  • Bedding the receiver
  • Cutting out the spacer
  • About gluing…
  • The “spring retention cap” retainer
  • Cutting the forend profile
  • Summary

Stock Layout

Stock layout
This is the layout for a new Slavia 618 stock with all the important details drawn in.

I will be using datum points and datum planes to work from. These are the reference points and reference surfaces used to measure from, to locate features on our template and our material. All dimensions are taken from the datums. The stock mounting holes are ideal datum points and I will use the top edge of the original stock for my datum plane. In this instance we will use them to relate the features on the receiver to the stock. read more


The airgun market in 2018

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Serious airgunner
  • The market has exploded
  • No more cheap
  • The gun crisis
  • Where were airguns?
  • Firearm crossover
  • Airguns — cheap???
  • Is that all there is?
  • The future
  • The point?
  • Summary

When I started writing about airguns in 1994 there weren’t but about 5,000 to 15,000 serious airgunners in the U.S. No one knew for sure how many there were because there was very little data about this market. There may be disagreement on just how many there were but everyone agrees that the American airgun market was small.

Serious airgunner

Let me define what I mean by “serious airgunner,” because that has a bearing on what I’m saying. Airguns are very prevalent in the United States. I would estimate that millions of homes have at least one airgun, but that ranges from the family who just inherited their parents’ home and are unaware of the old Benjamin that’s stuck up in the rafters of the garage to homes like mine, where the number of airguns is greater than 50. There are a huge number of families with airguns, but most of those people cannot be considered serious shooters. My definition of a serious airgunner is someone who owns and shoots an airgun at least once each month. My experience is that if they do shoot an airgun that often, they shoot it a lot more than that! read more


Chinese B3 underlever: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

B3
The B3 underlever from China.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Pre-work baseline
  • RWS Hobby
  • Harsh firing cycle
  • Rifle is breaking in
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS Hobby again
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today I will test the velocity of the B3 underlever that we cleaned and lubed on Friday. This will be a fantastic learning lesson for all airgunners, because the results are most informative!

Pre-work baseline

If you have been following this report you know I discovered in Part 2 that the rifle wasn’t performing to expectations. In Part 3 I replaced the breech seal and tested the velocity. That gave us a baseline we can use today for a before and after comparison. Let me get to the tests right now.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet to be tested was the RWS Hobby. In Part 3 Hobbys gave an average 617 f.p.s. with a 24 f.p.s. spread. read more


How to treat a new airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • New airgun — what do I do?
  • Be careful!
  • DO NOT GET IT “TUNED” FIRST THING!
  • Lube it?
  • CO2
  • Pre-charged Pneumatic (PCP)
  • Multi-pumps and single strokes
  • Spring piston guns
  • Do I need to clean it?
  • What about disassembly?
  • How should I protect my new airgun?
  • The most important thing

Every so often I am inspired to stop and cover the basics for our readers. Many of you who have been with me off and on over the past 13 years (yes, this blog turned 13 this month) will find the things I am about to say rudimentary, but each of you went through them in your own way. My recent encounter with the Sub-1 crossbow made it clear to me what it’s like to have something about which you know very little. And, as I was in the midst of my discoveries, reader Johncpen asked this.

“When lubing the bolt of a PCP like a Benjamin Maximus would you use silicone oil on the O-ring and Remington oil behind that or just silicone oil on the whole thing?” read more