Why collect airguns?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Covered this subject before
  • How to begin?
  • Because I couldn’t have them
  • I couldn’t afford them
  • Got a paper route
  • The point
  • Why do this?
  • Not the only reason
  • Summary

Reader William Schooley requested this report and I need to do it today for a special reason I am going to explain. On Wednesday I go into the hospital for surgery, so I am writing a lot of blogs to cover the time when I can’t be online. When Edith was with me, something like this was seamless, but now I am the only guy in town and I have to do things differently. Therefore, this week’s blogs will be shorter and, starting Wednesday, I won’t be able to answer comments for awhile. I’m supposed to be home on Thursday sometime, but we’ll see how that goes. Now let’s get into today’s report. read more


Johnson Indoor Target Gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

  • Johnson Indoor Target Gun
    The Johnson Indoor Target Gun is a catapult BB gun that was made in the late 1940s for youth target practice.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Operation
  • Cocking
  • Trigger
  • Serendipity
  • Pat is not pending
  • Adjustable sights
  • Repeater
  • Summary

I was going to write about something else today, but the response to Friday’s report convinced me to stick with the Johnson. Several of you said that you enjoyed the detailed photos. Today I will tell you about how the gun is constructed and how it operates, plus some special features. Grab your coffee cup and let’s go!

Operation

The Johnson gun is a catapult gun, and in Part one I showed you the broken surgical tubing in my new gun. Now, take a look at a gun with tubing in working condition.

Johnson rubber working
This is how the rubber is supposed to look when it’s properly installed. The ends of this surgical tubing are held together with small cable ties. We are looking at the inside of the top cover of the gun. read more


Johnson Indoor Target Gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Johnson Indoor Target Gun
The Johnson Indoor Target Gun is a catapult BB gun that was made in the late 1940s for youth target practice.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Who was Johnson?
  • The M16
  • Airgun
  • The gun in hand
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Yes, I’m reviewing a Johnson again. For some reason I keep coming back to this one. I did a short piece on December 28 2015, and before that an article on December 22 2005. Finally I did an initial very short introductory piece on October 2, 2005. That’s a lot of articles. So, why am I writing about it again? Well, the gun we are looking at today is a nearly-new Johnson that I got in the box at the Texas Airgun Show this year. It has many thing that I can show you, plus I will do a complete report on this one. So grab your coffee, boys — this series should be good. read more


Tin can chronograph

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • How powerful is it?
  • Tin cans are not tin!
  • SAFETY!
  • Aluminum cans
  • Hickory tree chronograph
  • Back-door-to-hickory-tree chronograph
  • Leaf chronograph
  • The house silencer
  • Out of BBs
  • We were soldiers once, and young
  • Out of matches

No, this isn’t a “how to” piece about making a chronograph from a can. It’s a story about the past. For some of you it’s a story about “the old days” when we were kids and life was still fun. For others it goes back before you were born. But for all of you it should be interesting. So grab your coffee and let’s reminisce!

How powerful is it?

When I was a kid in the 1950s we all coveted the BB gun. As with all things in life, there were the “haves” and the “have-nots.” I was a have not, but I lived next door to a kid who was a have. Duane had a Daisy BB gun. It was some sort of El Cheapo model that didn’t come with a forearm, and it also shot to the left, but he knew exactly how much to hold off and was pretty good with it. The ownership of that small gun made him the Alpha in the neighborhood. read more


Benjamin 310 BB gun: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

Benjamin 310
A Benjamin 310 multi-pump BB gun from 1952.

This report covers:

  • How to test?
  • RWS Hobby
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • One pump
  • Another test
  • Fastest shot
  • Pellet tests coming
  • One final test
  • Summary

Today is our final day of looking at the velocity of the Benjamin 310 multi-pump BB gun. You will recall that the reason this has taken so long is because this gun is very flexible about the ammo it accepts. If it turns out to be accurate, this gun may well be an all-time best airgun to own — right up there with an FWB 124 and a Diana 27..

Today we will look at the velocity with pellets. Since the gun is smoothbore I don’t expect it to be accurate past 10 meters, but I will reserve judgement until we test it. If I get nothing better than 2-inches at that distance, though, I won’t be testing it at 25 yards. There are already enough holes in my walls and woodwork! read more


Sharpshooter rubber band catapult gun: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

Sharpshooter pistol
The Sharpshooter catapult pistol was made from the early 1930s until the 1980s by as many as 5 different companies. This one was made in the early 1940s.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Test 1
  • Test 1 continued
  • Discussion
  • Firing behavior
  • What’s next?
  • Test 2 — A modern Sharpshooter
  • More discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Sharpshooter catapult pistol. Since there is only one type of ammo for it, I have added something additional to spice up the report. Let’s get to it.

The ad from 1948 said the pistol could hit a fly at 16 feet. Dean Fletcher tested his at a more reasonable 10 feet, which is what I will do. Readers asked me what kind of target I used and today I will tell you. Using a coat hanger, I made a wire target holder that stands up, and wrapped a single sheet of aluminum foil around the edges of the loop at the top. It’s the same target I used for the Daisy Targeteer test. read more


Benjamin 310 BB gun: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

Benjamin 310
A Benjamin 310 multi-pump BB gun from 1952.

This report covers:

  • Smart Shot
  • 4.4mm balls
  • 4.45mm balls
  • Beeman Perfect Rounds
  • Darts and bolts
  • Airgun darts
  • Bolts
  • Airgun bolts
  • Bolt extraction
  • Not finished yet

Today I will almost complete the velocity test of the Benjamin 310 BB gun. Today we look at the velocity with lead balls and also with both kinds of darts. Lead balls are first.

I don’t plan on testing each lead ball exhaustively. If I find something interesting I can always expand that particular test. And I will exhaust all the air before each shot I record, so you know it is moving that fast on just those pumps.

Smart Shot

H&N Smart Shot measure 0.1725-inches, nominally. Here is their performance. read more