Sharpshooter pistol resurrection: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sharpshooter pistols
The Bulls Eye pistol (left) came first. Manufacture started in 1924 in Rawlins, Wyoming. The smaller Sharpshooter pistols at the right were made in Rawlins until sometime in World War II and then manufacture moved to La Jolla, California in 1946.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • 1938 prices
  • Prototype Sharpshooter
  • Did you notice?
  • Stamp pad to make targets
  • Size
  • Oil the rails
  • Oh — my gosh!
  • Shot may be reused
  • But wait!
  • Accuracy
  • Velocity
  • Summary

Well, I just can’t put them down! I own four Sharpshooter pistols and one Bulls Eye and I’m finding them so much fun to shoot — now that I have a target that traps all the shot and shows all the hits. And, there is so much more to tell you!

I wrote about the Sharpshooter being the darling of the pistol shooting world. The French especially liked it so much that it was a featured product in World and Olympic champion Leon Johnson’s Paris catalog. Apparently he bought a lot of them because Dr. Bunten of Rawlins Wyoming went to the effort to apply for a French patent! In my research I discovered French markings on one pistol, and also found them on the box! All pistols made at a certain time probably had them, because that particular pistol was sold by a sporting goods store in Pennsylvania in 1942. read more

Peep sights: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • First encounter
  • The front sight
  • HOWEVER!!!
  • Irony
  • The deal
  • Problems with the post sight
  • Other front sights
  • Contrarians
  • Dial-a-sight
  • The best front sight insert
  • The clear aperture front sight
  • Summary

Today we will look at the front sight that works with the peep sight. Remember, the whole purpose of the peep sight is to eliminate the rear sight from the equation. So the front sight is of extreme importance.

First encounter

The first peep sight I even looked through was on a Winchester model 52 target rifle in an NRA-run course that taught me how to shoot. While other boys my age (10) were interested in baseball and football,  I was only interested in shooting. So I listened to every word the instructors said and I tried to do what they told me, to the best of my ability.

Winchester 52 rear sight
The Marble target sight on the Winchester 52 seemed remarkable to a 10-year-old boy!
read more

Stop that pellet!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Traps
  • Jim Contos trap
  • Materials
  • Getting more use from a trap
  • Affixing targets to the trap
  • What else can you use?
  • Duct seal
  • Good news
  • Clean the trap
  • Reason for the steel plates
  • Putting the new stuff in
  • BB trap
  • Airsoft trap
  • Summary

Today’s report is a basic one on pellet and BB traps. I thought it was time to cover this subject again because of all the new readers we are getting. You guys don’t see it because they don’t sign up for the comments, but we are getting 10-20 new subscribers each day, 7 days a week. That is over and above the fake ones I see that number even more. Well, those new folks need to know how to build pellet traps like the rest of us. And I know the comments to this report will be even more valuable to them than the report itself.


I use several different traps that I will mention today. But one trap gets used more often than all the others and that is the one I’ll show you how to build. I’ll start with that one. read more

Sen-X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sen-X AR-6
Sen_X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow.

This report covers:

  • What I got
  • What it is
  • Whaaaaat?
  • Robin Hood?
  • Some assembly required
  • Laser designator
  • Operation
  • Cocking
  • How powerful is it?
  • The arrows
  • The story of the Robin Hood
  • The sound
  • Why?
  • The plan
  • Show us what you got
  • read more

    Crosman 760 Pumpmaster Classic: Part 3

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Crosman 760 Pumpmaster Classic
    The new Crosman 760 Pumpmaster Classic.

    Part 1
    Part 2

    This report covers:

    • BBs today
    • Hard to scope
    • The test
    • Sights
    • Air Venturi Steel BBs
    • Kruger targets
    • Hornady Black Diamonds
    • Crosman Black Widow
    • Dust Devils
    • See a pattern?
    • Smart Shot
    • Summary

    Today I start testing the accuracy of the 760 Pumpmaster. I say start because this airgun shoots both BBs and pellets and I don’t want to shortchange either one just to finish a test. The 760 is an important airgun that deserves a long and thorough look.

    BBs today

    I’ll test it with BBs today. Since it is a multi-pump I decided to shoot 5-shot groups with 5 pumps per shot. And before I move on there is something I need to say.

    Hard to scope

    The 760 I’m testing does have an 11mm dovetail atop the receiver. I know a lot of you would think of mounting a scope there, but you have to think differently with multi-pumps. The scope goes right over the receiver, where your hand wants to be when you pump the gun!

    Well, can you hold it someplace else? You can hold some multi-pumps like the Benjamin 392 at the pistol grip if they are scoped, but the 760 has a plastic stock that joins the receiver right at the pistol grip. I think it would be tantamount to disaster to hold it there while you pump it.

    I would not recommend scoping this airgun, but rather using a small red dot sight like the UTG Micro Reflex dot sight. In fact, I plan doing that when I test with pellets. You can still hold the gun in the conventional way with that dot sight mounted.

    The test

    For today’s test I shot from 5 meters while seated and used the UTG monopod as a rest. I shot 5-shot groups and pumped the gun five times for every shot.


    I will say that the 760’s open sights are perfect for this sort of shooting. The front sight appears square and crisp in the rear notch. And the rear notch is a semi-buckhorn, whose wide Vee directs your eye to the center notch. It gives one of the nicest sight pictures I’ve seen in a long time. The lack of fiberoptics makes it ideal for target work.

    The one thing that’s missing is any windage adjustment. Elevation is adjustable, but windage is not. I didn’t miss it today but if some pellets prove accurate but land off to one side, there is no good way to bring them back. However, I will be testing with the dot sight as well and it has plenty of adjustment in both directions.

    Air Venturi Steel BBs

    I tested the steel BBs first, because I think most buyers will choose them. They are made to feed through the magazine.


    Air Venturi Steel BBs read more

    The BB-gun dueling tree from New to Old Guns: Part 1

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    dueling tree
    NTOG dueling tree made to handle low energy. NTOG provided the photo.

    This report covers:

    • From NTOG
    • Interested
    • Some assembly required
    • Yes, it really works!
    • M1 Carbine
    • Testing with steel BBs
    • Target operated perfectly
    • Testing with Dust Devils
    • Smart Shot
    • Modified target
    • Summary

    Several weeks ago, reader New to Old Guns (NTOG) contacted me with a new project he was working on — a dueling tree for lower-powered BB guns.

    Today’s target is an action target, but it’s one with a big difference. I’ll let him tell you what he first told me.

    From NTOG

    “It is a “down to about 1ft-lb capable shooting tree”.  Yes, you can have fun with a shooting tree with the Red Ryder!

    “The short version — I realized I was having a ton of fun with the big tree “dueling” and “racing” guns like the Vectis, Sumatra, Nova Freedom, and AT44But I couldn’t shoot that tree with my son, as he’s 12 and doesn’t have anything near the about 18 ft-lb needed to flip those paddles.  I remembered a bud talking about bending and flattening cheap spoons for use as targets, and, well, one thing led to another.  Good shooting with the Red Ryder is enough to flip it.  So any BB gun shooting in the neighborhood of 300 fps will work.  That means training pistols like the Sig P226 should flip it too.  Doesn’t that open a world of entertaining practice?

    “The BB ricochet problem is of course not to be ignored, but I have two observations regarding that: a) frangible BBs do exist, though I don’t know if they’ll transfer enough energy to flip the paddle b) momentum laws would say that as long as the spoon is free to spin, half the energy goes to moving the spoon.  That means any potential bounce back has already lost about half of its energy.  In our enjoyment, we’ve yet had any bounce back that we’ve noticed.

    “I’d also add, it is really shines with guns like the Crosman 73 Saddle Pal, and Walther Lever ActionHonestly, the 73 was probably the most fun of them all.  Pity those aren’t still made.”


    I was interested because I am working on a project to bring some informal shooting competition to the Pyramyd Air Cup next year. Out of the hundreds of people who attend, only the semi-professionals and highly advanced amateur shooters actually get to compete. Doesn’t that seem reversed? Could this dueling tree be the answer? Is it reliable enough and rugged enough to stand up to a lot of shooting? I needed to know, so I asked NTOG to send one for me to test.

    Some assembly required

    As you see in the first photo, the target is mounted on a long section of 5/16-inch threaded rod. He didn’t want to ship that, which I understood completely. I can buy the same rod at my hardware store, so he sent 6 of the paddle mechanisms. I bought an 18-inch length of rod plus the channel material for the base and a couple other things like washers to get started. Once it was assembled I did some testing right away.

    Yes, it really works!

    The first test was successful. This target really does work. The spoons have to be loose enough to swing freely but not so loose that they wobble and rob energy from the shot. Let’s look at some detail.

    dueling tree detail
    This photo shows a lot of detail. You can see the bent wire that stops the paddles when they swing around. But it also made me wonder about the yellow standoff rod that holds the spoon mechanism away from the threaded rod. Is it necessary? The yellow paddle at the top is not a part of the target I am testing. NTOG provided the photo.

    When I assembled the target I put just three spoons on my 18-inch threaded rod, as I was only testing the concept. And that got me shooting right away.

    M1 Carbine

    I chose the new Springfield Armory M1 Carbine to test the target. I wanted accuracy which that gun has in spades and I also wanted a semiautomatic because, let’s be honest — that’s what this target is all about.

    Testing with steel BBs

    My first test involved shooting steel BBs, because I wanted to know about bounceback. Steel BBs do bounce back from hard targets, and that’s a safety issue. I shot from inside my small patio slab that opens on the back yard and, because the threaded rod I used was low. I was shooting into the ground behind the target.

    Out of about 30 BBs that were shot one did came back. It didn’t come straight back at me, it veered off the the side about 10-15 feet, but it did return. I could hear it hit the house at low velocity. So NTOG is right about the bounceback issue; it is greatly reduced. But it isn’t eliminated, and that’s what I wanted.

    Target operated perfectly read more

    2019 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Vendor's Row
    There were more vendors than ever this year! They were arranged on streets under pop-ups.

    This report covers:

    • Big
    • Downrange
    • Down to the public ranges
    • Repeating crossbow pistol
    • American Airgunner
    • Air-air-air!
    • Gee whiz!
    • Summary


    I knew it was going to be good when I first saw it driving up. I saw rows of colorful tents arranged like a country fair. They turned out to be several streets with vendors on each side, and as the morning advanced they were filled with representatives from their companies. We had been told that the Pyramyd Air Cup site was bigger this year and I have to report that it certainly was!

    In fact, on day two I was shown the other side of the facility and discovered that what I was on was the small side. The real facility is several times larger than what I had seen on the first day. And that other side includes a clubhouse/event center that has an indoor swimming pool! The banquet Saturday evening was held in that facility.

    Camping sites were in the woods on this side of the road and equipped with everything a RV or tent camper could desire. You guys who camped there please correct me if I’m wrong, but I saw hundreds of well-equipped hookups.

    The Cup started on a Friday with competitors shooting in both the inaugural benchrest competition and the Gunslynger that has run for many years. There were a large number of competitors on the line when I arrived at 8:30.

    Benchrest briefing
    I’m looking at half of the benchrest competitors. The other half is behind me. This is the pre-match safety briefing.


    The benchrest targets were 100 yards downrange and the wind was blowing 10+ m.p.h. with frequent gusting. Everyone was having their pellets blown to the left — sometimes by several inches.

    The range flags were blowing right to left at 100 yards!


    I stopped by the Leapers booth and saw a new 4-16 scope with improved light transmission. It has an etched-glass reticle and the adjustment knobs are calibrated in the same increments as the reticle lines. This makes adjusting the scope easier, as no mental conversion is required. They are sending one to me to test for you, and I can’t wait. Did I mention that it is very compact — only a little longer than a Bug Buster.

    I also saw a new high-tech bipod that I will soon be reviewing for you. This one is really slick and after my experiment with the Daisy Buck a few weeks back, I’m excited to try it

    Down to the public ranges

    This venue is huge! I bet the public shooting ranges are a quarter-mile from the competition and Vendors’ Row. Pyramyd Air had several range carts to ferry people, so I hopped on one and went down to the public ranges. These are where you can try many different airguns that Pyramyrd Air and some of the other vendors provide. The also had a sales office down there and everything they sell was marked down by 20 percent with free shipping! But I also saw some things that hadn’t yet been seen by the public.

    Repeating crossbow pistol

    The first new thing was a 6-shot repeating crossbow pistol from Europe. It is way cool and so new that it doesn’t have a name yet, but it sells in Europe under the name Steambow. I was surprised by how accurate it is and also by the power — 16+ foot-pounds!

    This crossbow pistol is every bit as much fun as it appears in this picture. BB wants to to test one! Heck — he wants to own one!

    The real news with the Steambow, however, is not the pistol. There is also a full-sized crossbow that is cocked buy CO2 pressure! I saw it cocked and shot several times, and I even shot it myself a couple times. It is supposed to be highly accurate. I don’t know how long we will have to wait to see this reach the market but I can tell you that Pyramyd Air is working on it as fast as possible.

    big Steambow
    The full-sized bow is cocked via CO2 pressure. This is a bow that will compete with top-quality crossbows like the Sub-1 and the Ravin.

    There is more than one version of the full-sized bow coming to market, so there will be more to say as the details are refined.

    American Airgunner

    The American Airgunner television show was at the Cup and host Rossi Morreale was competing in several events. When he wasn’t doing that he was interviewing people all around the event. You’ll get to see parts of the Cup online and in next year’s show.


    The guns at the Cup run on air and Pyramyd had several of their compressors going all the time, filling large tanks. Even so, they were hard-pressed to keep up with the demands of so many shooters.

    These Air Venturi compressors were going most of the day, filling dozens of large carbon fiber tanks. read more