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


Daisy Targeteer shooting gallery: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Maintenance
  • Success!
  • Lead shot is not consistent
  • Sorting shot
  • Loading technique
  • BB rollout
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy testing
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Maintenence

The last time I looked at the Targeteer I lubricated it with a lot of Crosman Pellgunoil. How many drops, you ask? Maybe 50. It’s still oily a week later, which a BB gun needs to be, to work its best.

paper
I just thought you would like to see the cover of the manual.

Success!

And they all said — whaaaat?

A couple readers knew I was having problems getting either of my two Daisy Targeteer pistols to shoot. I was working on the problem, but last week I was stumped. Fortunately this ain’t my first rodeo and I finally remembered what I used to do.

Lead shot is not consistent

We know that lead birdshot is not of consistent size, regardless of how it is made. That had to be the problem. When I looked through the barrel I saw nothing. There should have been light shining through, so the barrel was plugged. I found something to ram through the barrel — turned out to be one of those thin plastic spray tubes that come with many aerosol cans. Remember — this Targeteer is .12 caliber, not .177! read more


The Stiga Zenit – an EM-GE Zenit clone: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

A history of airguns

Today’s report is the completion of a guest blog from reader Paul that began last Friday. He is telling us about his Stiga Zenit — an airgun not many have heard of.

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

This report covers:

  • Firing behavior
  • Power
  • Accuracy
  • Wrapping it up

Okay, Paul, finish what you started.

On Friday I showed you the basic construction of my Swedish Stiga Zenit pistol that closely copies the EM GE Zenit made in Germany. Today we will look at its performance.

When the cocking lever is first pulled upwards the spring loaded barrel will also tilt up about 15 degrees; this makes it simple to inspect or clean the barrel from the rear and also serves as a sort of “safe mode”. Swinging the lever through its arc completes the cocking action and requires about fifteen pounds of effort. read more


The Stiga Zenit – an EM-GE Zenit clone: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is Part 1 of a guest blog from reader Paul. He’s going to tell us about his Stiga Zenit — an airgun that many will not have heard of, including me.

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

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • What is it?
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • Too perfect a copy
  • Editor’s note

Over to you, Paul

Zenit right side
The Stiga Zenit is a close copy of the pre-WWII EM-GE Zenit pistol from Germany.

For some reason I have a soft spot for offbeat airguns, and the Stiga Zenit is a good example. The Swedish-made Stiga Zenit is a nearly identical copy of the original, EM-GE Zenit from Germany. The EM-GE pistol was made from 1936 until 1939 or 1940, its production being ended by the start of World War II. Stiga’s version had a much longer run, from 1949 until 1969. Milbro also made their copy of the Zenit, called the Diana Mark IV, and the Milbro G4 and G4S (smoothbore), from 1950 to 1977. Fortunately Chambers of England still sells a number of parts that work in all Zenit variants. The original EM GE Zenit is not terribly common in the USA, but one or two come up for sale on the usual auction sites each year. The Stiga copy is rarer, still. read more


Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Benjamin Trail NP MkII
Benjamin Trail NP Mark II air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Adjustable trigger
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Aiming
  • RWS Hobby
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Additional testing
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II with the factory-mounted open sights. But before we get to that, there is some old business to clear up.

Adjustable trigger

There was quite a bit of interest in the adjustable trigger last time — mostly because I showed that I could not get a screwdriver on it to adjust. There was so much interest that I vowed to try to adjust it for this report.

I removed the barreled action from the stock. All it took was removing the 4 stock screws and lifting the action out of the grip/stock. The safety button fell out at the same time. read more


Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Benjamin Train NP II
Benjamin Trail NP Mark II air pistol.

This report covers:

  • The detent and how I open the gun
  • Velocity
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Discharge sound
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

The detent and how I open the gun

I’ll start today’s report by answering reader Siraniko’s questions from the last post. He asked me to show the locking detent and how I manage to open the gun for cocking. Here’s the detent.

Benjamin Trail detent
The chisel detent is long and narrow. It’s not under that much spring tension, so it opens easily, but the shallow angle of the slope ensures that it locks the beech securely.

That detent chisel face is long and shallow but the spring is not that strong. I can push it in with my finger. So the long shallow slope of the chisel on the detent is what’s keeping the breech locked so tight. read more


Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Trail NP MkII
Benjamin Trail NP Mark II air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Easy cocking
  • Heavy detent
  • Large pistol
  • Sights
  • Scope rail
  • The manual
  • Adjustable trigger
  • Power
  • Talk to me
  • Summary

Today we will start looking at the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II air pistol. This is a single shot breakbarrel that uses a gas piston (Nitro Piston) as the source of power. Like all spring guns, the gas piston pushes a piston seal forward to compress the air for the shot.

I didn’t pick this pistol to review. Pyramyd Air sent it to me because they think it is unusual enough to warrant a review. After my first examination, I’m glad they did, because there are some different things I want to examine.

Easy cocking

Usually a gas spring or Nitro Piston means hard cocking, but not this time. This pistol is very easy to cock, which surprised me. It comes with a cocking aia extension that slides on the front of the gun, lengthening the barrel which is the cocking lever. The extension remains on the gun during shooting, so put it on and leave it. It’s tight. read more