Determining the age of a vintage airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • How old?
  • It starts with straight razors
  • Shape of the blade
  • Shape of the scales
  • Blade profile
  • Airguns
  • Generations/ages
  • Very old steel and wood
  • Seals
  • Spring guns
  • Funky parts
  • Other finishes
  • Post WW II steel and wood guns
  • Breech and piston seals
  • Look for plastic
  • Painted guns?
  • Summary

How old?

If you are new to the field of airguns there seems to be an ocean of things you need to know. If you want to become a collector, some of these things are crucial. Today I will explore how you can determine the relative age of a vintage airgun.

It starts with straight razors

Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about straight razors very long. But they were the thing I used to rediscover what it feels like to be a new guy in an established hobby. Although I am not interested in collecting them, I couldn’t help but pick up some clues to their relative ages (when they were made) along the way.

Shape of the blade

Before around 1800, straight razors had no real tang. That’s the skinny part behind the blade where you hold the razor to shave. Razors from 1800 and earlier simply don’t have one. They just end the sharp blade and remain almost as wide but become dull as they go back to the pivot pin on the scales.

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The Diana 27: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 27
My .22 caliber Diana 27 is actually a Hy Score 807.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Eye report
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Some questions arise
  • RWS Superpoints
  • The artillery hold
  • Summary
  • MP40
  • Second time was the trick

Before I begin, someone asked about Rich Shar. He’s the guy who smoothes the biggest spring guns like the big Gamos and Hatsans. Rich tells me he has not been working on guns for awhile, but he does have a project in the works. He promises to tell me more about it. Now, on to today’s report.

I have decided to take my Diana 27 apart and clean out the old grease, then relubricate it with Almagard 3752 grease, to see what difference it might make. But not today. Today will be a traditional Part 3 accuracy test.

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Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

MP40
Umarex Legends MP40 BB submachinegun.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • CO2 effect
  • Installing CO2
  • Loading
  • Umarex steel BBs
  • Fire control
  • The sensation
  • Daisy BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Shot count
  • Hornady Black Diamonds — again
  • Bottom line

Today we look at the velocity of the new Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun. Since it has a semiautomatic mode, this will be easier than expected. However, there are special considerations for a gun like this.

CO2 effect

Most of you know that CO2 chills the gun as it is fired. And CO2 loses pressure as the temperature drops. Will that affect the velocity of this full-auto airgun? I plan to test for it. My test will show the velocity you can expect from the gun at its fastest and also what will happen as the shots happen faster and the temperature falls. There are unlimited ways of doing this, and I have selected one.

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Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

MP40
Umarex Legends MP40 BB submachinegun.

Part Two: Umarex Legends MP40

This report covers:

  • Texas airgun show
  • Description
  • Rate of fire
  • Select fire
  • Magazine
  • Sights
  • Open bolt
  • Blowback
  • Folding stock
  • Why this airgun?

Here is an airgun we have all been waiting for since the SHOT Show — the Umarex Legends MP40 BB Submachinegun. PAY ATTENTION! There are two versions of this airgun at this time. One is the weathered one that comes with a leather sling. and the other is a blued steel gun that apparently has no sling. I asked for the weathered one because of what this is — a battle-ready WW II replica. Beautiful bluing belongs on replicas of Colt Pythons, not on guns that have served in war! There is a price difference of $50 between the two offerings as this is published (the weathered version with the leather sling is more), but I would watch them because I think that’s will change from time to time.

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Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Spartan BB pistol
Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol offers a lot of pistol at a budget price.

Part 1
Part 2 

This report covers:

  • The test
  • H&N Smart Shot
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • The trigger
  • Air Venturi Zinc-Plated BBs
  • Overall evaluation

It’s accuracy day for the the Sig Spartan BB pistol, and I have to tell you I am excited. The trigger on this pistol, while heavy, breaks so crisply that I am expecting good things.

The test

I shot from 5 meters, seated and resting my shooting arm on a UTG Monopod. The Spartan’s sights are fixed but they are wide enough for good accuracy and the front post is sharp. There was no problem seeing the sights on the target for a 6 o’clock hold.

H&N Smart Shot

I tried the H&N Smart Shot lead BBs first. I did that because the Spartan only got 40 good shots on a CO2 cartridge in Part 2 and I wanted the pistol to be as powerful as possible with this heavier BB.

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Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Spartan BB pistol
Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol offers a lot of pistol at a budget price.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Install the CO2 cartridge
  • Velocity with Daisy BBs
  • Recoil
  • Air Venturi Copper-Plated BBs
  • H&N Smart Shot lead BBs
  • Trigger pull
  • Shot count
  • Evaluation so far

Today we look at the velocity of the Sig Spartan BB pistol. The specs rate it at 410 f.p.s. Today we find out. I will also comment on things like the blowback and the trigger. Let’s get started.

Install the CO2 cartridge

The first step is to put a fresh CO2 cartridge in the gun. It goes into the grip, of course. Lift off the left grip panel and then pull the mainspring housing from the back of the grip. That is the lower flat part of the grip that’s has a coarse raised pattern in the metal for a better grip. In the 1911 firearm, it houses the mainspring, but on this BB pistol it’s the lever that pierces the CO2 cartridge.

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Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Spartan BB pistol
Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol offers a lot of pistol at a budget price.

This report covers:

  • Sig firearms
  • The airgun
  • Manual safety
  • Full blowback
  • Grips
  • Finish
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • Magazine
  • Light rail
  • Evaluation

Today we begin looking at Sig Sauer’s latest BB pistol, the Spartan. It’s a faithful copy of their Spartan 1911 firearm, which has upgraded features that put it ahead of many production 1911s. And it’s made in Japan.

Sig firearms

I will say this about Sig firearms — when they decide to make something they don’t cut corners. I never had much contact with them in the past, but since they have started making airguns I have been giving their firearms a look, as well. I am a died-in-the-wool conservative when it comes to firearms. Don’t try to sell me on a process like metal injection molding (MIM) unless it performs better than machining in some way other than just the cost to manufacture.

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