What is it about old guns?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • I like old airguns
  • Garand
  • Peabody
  • What about old airguns?
  • Hakim
  • Falke 90
  • FWB 124
  • Summary

Today I am writing about something that moves me as a shooter and as a writer — old guns. Because this is an airgun blog I will talk about old airguns, too, but even old firearms really get me excited. Why is that?

I like old airguns

I have been holding off on a special blog series about a Webley Mark VI pellet revolver with a battlefield finish that I have had on order since June. See — BB has to wait, just like everybody else. This revolver also comes in a plain blue finish and a silver finish that I guess passes for nickel, but it’s the battlefield finish that I want. Guns with the two other finishes are in stock and have been for months — only the battlefield finish is backordered. Why is that? Why is it that more people want something that looks worn and used, rather than something brand new and pristine? 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 7

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

A history of airguns

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

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Avanti Match Grade shot
  • Hornady Black Diamonds
  • 4.45mm balls
  • Beeman Perfect Rounds
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the accuracy of the vintage Benjamin 310 multi-pump BB gun. I want to remind you that this is a smoothbore and not to expect too much accuracy from it. That being said, I remember that the ancient Benjamin 700 repeater surprised me. Let’s see if that trend continues with this single shot 310.

The test

I shot the gun at 10 meters off a sandbag rest. I used the one-pump system I developed that stabilizes the velocity around 390-400 f.p.s., depending on the type of shot. I tested both steel BBs and lead round balls, and, knowing that the larger shot were more stable in the gun, I tried to test with them. read more


Piston seals: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Importance of round air chambers
  • My best advice
  • Out of round pistons
  • The deal
  • Plain seals
  • Leather piston seal assemblies
  • Parachute seals
  • The PTFE seal
  • Last subject — seal materials
  • Piston rings
  • Summary

Today we will continue our discussion of the piston seal. This report was prompted by the comments of new reader Arvizu, who said, “ I noticed, too, that the seal plays an important role to define performance (sometimes small variations in diameter makes the difference). I would like to clarify that this is only my appreciation and limited experience with airguns.”

In Part One I attempted to show how a piston does its job. Arvizu’s question seemed to imply that he thought there might be an unlimited horizon for the piston seal, if only the technology could extract it. I tried to show that a piston is limited by the volume of air it compresses and improving piston seals is asymptotic. In other words there is a limit on the power that’s possible and we are now shaving small percentages as we approach that limit. To put it bluntly, we will never see the power of a spring piston system doubled by the seal. Never! 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