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.


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

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

The importance of bullet-to-barrel alignment and fit: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Balls
  • Patched balls
  • Results of patching
  • Conical lead bullets
  • Pellet head
  • An experiment
  • Pellet skirt
  • Summary

Before I begin, I am enroute today to the Sig factory, here in America. They are bringing in a number of writers to show us their airguns and see their factory. I will take lots of pictures and tell you all about it when I return.

But I will not be able to attend to the blog the way that I normally do. I ask those readers who have been here awhile to help the new readers, just like you always do. I will be back in my office in Texas on Friday and things will hopefully return to normal.

Today I will finish the discussion of bullet-to-barrel fit and alignment. I will begin with bullets and then transition to pellets. 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

They have the wrong twist rate!: Part 2

usby Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Been awhile
  • New airgunners
  • A better way
  • Doing what works
  • The point
  • Sharpening straight razors

Been awhile

Part 1 of this report was written way back in the beginning of February. I think the reason it’s taken me so long to get back to it is I titled it wrong. I will discuss that as we go, but first let me define who “they” are. In the words of comedian, Red Green, “They” are everybody who is not us. Now that that’s clear we can continue.

Part 1 was a treatise on twist rates and how they affect accuracy. As many of you are aware, I use this blog to school both new airgunners and also airgun manufacturers — who are often as ignorant of the facts as new airgunners, but cannot or will not admit it. No engineer who has just been hired by an airgun company is going to admit there is something he doesn’t know about guns! Heaven forbid! And neither is any CEO or owner of a company, because in their minds they are in a position of authority and should therefore know! read more

Answering GrandpaDan — the biggest blog ever!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

    • GrandpaDan
    • BB’s response
    • What can you do?
    • Velocity is not at fault
    • GrandpaDan continues
    • Staying with the brand name doesn’t always work
    • Back to GrandpaDan
    • BB responds
    • The solution?
    • GrandpaDan concludes
    • BB sums up
    • Geo791
    • BB’s last word to GrandpaDan

    You readers tell me you like it when I write about general topics. So, when I get a question from a reader, I try to answer him in this blog. Today’s report will be the biggest report I’ve ever written, because I’m going to include much of what the new reader has asked as the lead-in to my answers. I’ve also included another reader’s comment from the experimentation he has done to achieve more-or-less what the new reader is asking.

    Here we go.

    The new reader’s handle is GrandpaDan, and he signed-into the blog this past Monday. Here is his situation.


    “I’ve been reading and researching airguns for a while. This grows out of frustration with my Gamo Hunter 440 in .22 cal. that I bought about 4 years ago to kill chipmunks. That year we were overrun with the critters. I had been running a trap-and-release program and had trapped 21 chipmunks when the state game folk told me that was illegal. Oh well, I’ll just get a spring gun and shoot the pests. read more

Long-range handgun shooting

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Sixguns
  • Artillery
  • A snubnosed .38
  • It’s easy!

I was asked to write this report, and I’m glad to do it. I made the statement that I shot Colt Single Action revolvers at 300 yards and apparently some readers were intrigued. Actually, that wasn’t the whole story, so today you’re getting the rest of it.


I acquired the book Sixguns by Elmer Keith when I was a stunt gunfighter at Frontier Village amusement park in San Jose California in the late 1960s. I was young and impressionable at the time, so I didn’t know that Elmer Keith was widely held to be a liar. He reported taking several long-range handgun shots that got him game and the couch reporters of the day didn’t believe him. But I did, so I tried what he wrote and discovered that it does work. I guess I’m a liar, too! read more