Owning vintage airguns

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Only new for me!
  • The RidgeRunner story
  • Kevin’s story
  • Whacky Wayne
  • Hey, BB — where are the airguns?
  • A lot of them can be fixed
  • Vintage pneumatics
  • Shaving is the best test
  • Blade shape and thickness
  • Don’t forget CO2
  • Summary

Reader Michael gave me the idea for this report when he made a comment to yesterday’s blog, referring to my discussion of the bent versus unscragged mainspring.

“I suppose, too, that if a particular air gun is firing or cocking abnormally, a bent mainspring is one of the usual suspects.”

That comment is so true that it started my brain firing on both cylinders! The bottom line is — what’s it like to own a vintage airgun?

Only new for me!

Some of you steadfastly refuse to look at vintage airguns, for fear you will encounter some problem that can’t be fixed. Does that ever happen? You bet it does! Have a look at my greatest failure — the pogostick repeater. Read that report and look at the pictures. After I wrote that I gave the rifle to former reader Vince, who attempted to put it back to being a vintage Diana. He failed, too, and today it’s just a pile of parts somewhere.

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The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Beeman P1
Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • The best laid schemes…
  • Strike while the iron is hot
  • Many stories!
  • The new spring
  • What is scragging?
  • Special note about the end cap
  • Assembly
  • Job done
  • Plans change
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

The best laid schemes…

…gang aft agley (often go astray). And so it is with my new/old Beeman P1 pistol. I’ll tell you about it after the report.

Strike while the iron is hot

I assembled the pistol for today’s report, wanting to work while it was still fresh in my mind. A box of parts looks different after you have set it aside for awhile — or at least it does in my house. Critical parts disappear and things you remember being easy are suddenly difficult. Let me start at the end. I timed the assembly and it took 90 minutes, or about twice what the disassembly took. I took far fewer pictures, so let me give you a breakdown of the times. The time to assemble the powerplant was 85 minutes and the time to assemble the remainder of the gun and test-fire it was 5 minutes. Obviously there is a story to tell.

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The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Beeman P1
Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Tools
  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4a
  • Step 4b
  • Step 5a
  • 5b
  • 5c
  • 5d
  • Step 6
  • A special tool
  • Step 7
  • Step 8
  • Release the clamp slowly
  • Step 9
  • The piston seal
  • Summary

Today is the day I disassemble my new/old Beeman P1 pistol. Several readers have been waiting patiently for this report.

Tools

The tools you need are:
12-inch/30-cm trigger clamp
A set of pin punches
2mm Allen wrench
2.5mm Allen wrench
Plastic/rubber hammer
Medium slotted screwdriver
A 5-inch length of clear vinyl tubing with a 1.25-inch (31.75mm) inside diameter

It will also help to have a couple small flat-bladed screwdrivers to help pry the piston out at the end of disassembly. Let’s go!

A lot of this will be pictures. The captions will explain what I’m doing.

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The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Beeman P1
Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • RWS Hobby
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • RWS Superdome
  • Getting tired
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • RWS Meisterkugeln
  • Something different
  • Summary

Today I will test the accuracy of my new/old Beeman P1 pistol.

The test

I shot from 10 meters and rested my hands on a sandbag, but the gun was hand-held. I held it with two hands for the greatest stability. My days of shooting perfect scores one-handed are about over. Instead of 10-shot groups I shot 5-shot groups, but I tried a lot more pellets than usual. I also did something neat at the end of the test.

Sight-in

When sighting in, I started out shooting on high power. The first pellet hit the target very low. I played with the sight adjustments until I got the pellets up into the bull, but a thought occurred to me. What if the pistol did better on low power? That might explain why there is a hesitation going past low power when cocking.

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Niche market advancement

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Discovery
  • Crosman
  • The $100 PCP
  • The bottom line
  • The legal silencer from AirForce
  • Air Venturi
  • Lloyd Sikes
  • This blog!
  • We are waiting for:

Reader William Schooley mentioned today’s topic in a comment last week. We were talking about how many airguns needed to be sold for a company to take a customer’s recommendation seriously. Here is what he said.

“I may be way over my head on this, but isn’t this just the type of situation which creates niche markets and micromarketing? It seems to me that where a small but specific group wants a product that’s not being addressed by other larger firms, smaller more specialized companies will develop products to fill the niche. What is your historical take on niche or micromarketing in the air gun community?”

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The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman P1
Beeman P1 air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Lots of reports
  • What is the Beeman P1?
  • HW45
  • Three calibers
  • Good 1911 trainer
  • Two power levels
  • Adjustable sights
  • Adjustable trigger
  • All metal
  • PTFE piston seals
  • Overall evaluation

As I was packing up at the 2017 Texas airgun show a man stopped by my tables and showed interest in a BSA Airsporter I had for sale. He asked if I would consider a trade. He then showed me a Beeman P1 pistol in near-excellent condition. The only real detractor is someone had tried to mount a scope on it and they screwed a scope stop pin down into the top of the scope rail, leaving a mark. I already owned a P1, but my gun has been highly modified from the days of The Airgun Letter, and I welcomed this chance to test a stock one.

Back in 1996 I modified the trigger of my P1 and got an extremely light and crisp pull. Ever since then I have had to try to remember what the stock trigger felt like. Also, I have tuned my pistol, making it’s pretty far from the gun it once was. I like the P1 and have recommended it for years to shooters who are serious about air pistols that can shoot, but in all that time I have been talking about a stock gun that’s getting harder and harder to remember. With this trade I can rectify that!

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How to sharpen a straight razor: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The goal
  • The proof
  • My mistakes
  • What had I learned?
  • Things to avoid
  • Sharpening a straight razor
  • Sharpening stone grits
  • After honing — the strop
  • What was wrong?
  • Research pays off
  • Summary

Note to readers: This report was written over time and I was learning as I went. Parts 1 through 3 were written before I had done enough research to know what is right and, more importantly, what isn’t. Read them for enjoyment, but begin with Part 4 for the serious information of sharpening straight razors.

I started this series so I could experience coming into a hobby as a new guy. That would make me more sympathetic to the thousands of readers who are either new to airguns or new to shooting altogether. It certainly did that, as you will learn today!

The goal

When I started this project, I had what I thought was a simple and straightforward goal — learning to sharpen a straight razor. That’s not any different than the guy who buys an air rifle to eliminate pests. But I completely underestimated the scope of the project — again, not unlike many new airgunners. And that’s a good thing because today you get to watch me make all the new-guy mistakes.

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