Choosing an airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What to do?
  • Electric bicycle
  • No idea
  • A bonus
  • My eyes were opened
  • The upside
  • What I learned
  • New eyes
  • PCPs
  • Get what you want
  • Summary

I was going to do a test today, but this subject popped up and I think it should be addressed. I recently started a review of the Benjamin Fortitude Generation 2 PCP air rifle. The Fortitude Gen 2 is a price-point PCP (PPP). So far the review of that rifle is going well.

On Tuesday of this week I started my review of the Air Venturi Avenger PCP air rifle, another PPP. From our first look at that rifle it also looks very promising.

Now, some comments have said that if the airgun is a precharged pneumatic, the rifle doesn’t stand alone. You need a way to get compressed air into the rifle, and that costs more money. So, the cost of the rifle is not the end of the story for PCPs. But with a spring-piston airgun, the rifle does stand alone. Except for the pellets that all pellet guns need, everything you need to shoot is there when you purchase a spring-piston airgun. With a few exceptions like some spring-piston rifles that come without sights, I have to agree with that reasoning. read more


Diana Bandit PCP air pistol: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Bandit
Diana Bandit precharged pneumatic air pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Set up
  • Adjusting the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight
  • The test
  • Hades pellets
  • First group
  • Refill the pistol
  • Second group
  • Not clarvoiant!
  • Next step?
  • Fill to 180-bar
  • Final group
  • Summary

Today I finish my report on the .22-caliber Diana Bandit PCP pistol. I had to relearn some lessons, even though I described them well in the past blog parts.

The purpose of today’s report is to shoot the pistol with the 7-shot magazine that it comes with. Until now I have been shooting it with the single-shot tray.

Set up

I had to remount the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight, so there was another whole sight-in. It took all of the 7 pellets in the .22 caliber magazine to get in the bull. The first three shots were from 12 feet and the last 4 were from 10 meters, which is the distance I’m shooting at today. read more


What makes an airgun “good”?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Soapbox!
  • Marauder
  • What makes an airgun good?
  • My list
  • Accuracy
  • A good trigger
  • Ease of cocking
  • Innovation
  • What doesn’t sell?
  • Price-point sales
  • Summary

Soapbox!

I’m on my soapbox today and I am preaching to the airgun industry, but probably also to some of you readers. I typed “what makes an airgun good?” into Google and came up with a list of retailers who all have lists of the “best” airguns of 2020. There were also some magazine articles with similar lists. I looked at all their lists. They had one thing in common. They were all bought and paid for! Every airgun on those lists was one that was either manufactured or at least sold under the name of a couple well-known manufacturers. Oh, they all had different-sounding product titles, but each of them was a subsidiary of a well-known airgun maker. read more


Springfield Armory XD-M Compact blowback BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Springfield-XD-M
The XD-M BB pistol from Springfield Armory.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Compact pistol
  • The grip
  • Installing the CO2 cartridge
  • Not a small pistol
  • The loading assist — doesn’t!
  • Velocity Air Venturi Steel BB
  • Dust Devils
  • Slide does not remain open
  • Smart Shot
  • Shot count
  • Blowback
  • Trigger pull
  • Evaluation
  • Summary

I don’t encounter many airgun copies of firearms that I am unfamiliar with, but the Springfield Armory XD-M Compact blowback BB pistol is one. So my report will be a first hand observation of all the features I notice about this handgun.

Today is the day I test the velocity of this BB gun and we will get right to it, but first I need to make a couple observations. They came from installing the first CO2 cartridge in the pistol.

Compact pistol

In Part One I told you I was testing the smaller version of the Springfield Armory XD-M pistol. There is a larger pistol whose barrel is 4.5-inches long. The pistol I’m testing has a 3.8-inch barrel. On the cover of the owner’s manual Air Venturi refers to this one as the Compact. The other one they call Full-Size.  read more


Diana Bandit PCP air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Bandit
Diana Bandit precharged pneumatic air pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Leaded muzzle
  • Removed the barrel
  • Removed the silencer
  • Natural healing
  • Proof of the pudding
  • JSB Hades
  • First target
  • Sound
  • Hades target with 185-bar fill
  • Hades with 190-bar fill
  • Hades pellets with a 170-bar fill
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Last pellet — RWS Meisterkugeln
  • Discussion
  • Warning
  • Summary

I have a lot to tell you today, so let’s get started.

Leaded muzzle

It has been almost a full month since I last wrote about the Diana Bandit PCP pistol, so let me give you a brief refresher. In Part Three I was getting horrible groups at 10 meters, and they were caused by the pellets hitting the inside the muzzle cap. Let’s look at the picture again.

Diana Bandit lead
That pile of lead told me the pellets were all smashing into the backside of the muzzle cap.

Any time an airgun is inaccurate at short range and it has a muzzle break or a silencer, you start investigating there. When I saw that mound of lead I knew I had found the problem. There is no way this pistol could be accurate with all the pellets hitting at that spot. read more


Range days at the 2020 SHOT Show

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

Sig Virtus

P365 BB pistol

Virtus airsoft

Smart Shooter

It’s over

Media day at the Range

Umarex USA

Air Javelin

Air Saber

Constant Acceleration Pneumatic Arms

Light gas

Not done yet

That’s all

I went to two range days this year. Sig Range Day was on Sunday and Industry Day at the Range was Monday. Both are for the media, so we get to see and possibly shoot the guns they are showing at SHOT. I say, “Possibly” because the guns don’t always cooperate. I have seen several that failed to function on range day. That’s either because they were rushed through production or sometimes it’s just bad luck. read more


Crosman Mark I and II reseal

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is a guest blog from reader Ian McKee who writes as 45 Bravo. He’s going to tell us about the Crosman Mark I pistol he recently acquired and what he did to fix the leak it came with.

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

A history of airguns

Over to you, Ian.

Crosman Mark I and II reseal

by Ian McKee
Writing as 45Bravo

This report covers:

  • Just kidding!
  • Four major changes over the years
  • I got this one cheap
  • It’s mine!
  • Bringing it back to life
  • BB’s end cap
  • Resealing both caps
  • How did it go?
  • Outer barrel removal
  • Wrong o-rings

Back in December 2018, and January 2019, B.B. reviewed a classic Crosman Mark I pistol in .22 caliber.

There were many comments about how it worked internally, and how the power adjuster worked, so today I thought I would give you a little peek inside the gun.

Mark II disassembled
Here is your peek of a disassembled pistol. This is actually a Mark II I photographed some time back. The parts of the two pistols are identical except for those pertaining to the caliber.

Thank you, that concludes today’s blog.

 

Just kidding!

I could not do that to you. Here is a synopsis to refresh your memory.

The Crosman Mark I and Mark II (.22 and .177 calibers, respectively) pistols are airgun versions of the classic Ruger Mark I and Mark II .22 rimfire pistols. They share the same grip angle, sight profile, and overall profile of the iconic Ruger rimfire pistol.

Ruger Marl 1
Ruger’s Mark I pistol.

All Crosman Mark air pistols retained an adjustable trigger throughout their production run, which was 1966 to 1986, but had other changes in their design over the years.

Four major changes over the years

The flip-style piercing cap was changed to a button-style piercing cap, similar to what’s found on the Smith & Wesson 78/79-series air pistols.

The metal bolt guide that was secured in the frame by a screw on either side below the rear sight was changed to a plastic bolt guide that is retained by 1 screw that’s hidden under the rear sight blade.

The power-adjusting screw that was located under the barrel was eliminated.

And to hold the grips they changed from using screws with countersunk heads to screws with flat heads, as shown.

Mark I grip screws
There are two different grip screw head profiles and grips that match them.

If you use the countersunk screws on grips made for flat-head screws, you will crack them, and it is not easy to find replacements.

There were some other minor changes over the years, but these were the big ones.

I have been a big fan of these pistols over the years, and have owned and resealed more of these than I have of the Smith & Wesson 78/79G series. In my opinion, the adjustable triggers of the Crosman guns are better than the adjustable triggers of the S&W guns. The engineer that designed these air pistols later had a hand in the design of the Smith & Wesson guns.

I got this one cheap

I saw this pistol online with a $50 or best offer price tag, and no photo. These two things together usually tell me to run away and let someone else take the chance.

I got to thinking I could always use it for parts, so I took the bait and contacted the seller. I found out he lived not too far away, and decided on a face-to-face look at the pistol.

He sent some fuzzy photos by text, that didn’t help my feelings about the deal.

In the ad he said the gun had leaks. When I finally saw it, it was one of the roughest Mark Is I have ever seen. It had been repainted several times, and at some point, someone had covered the bare spots with a permanent marker to make it all black again.

Mark I right
Right side.

Mark I left
Left side.

I put a CO2 cartridge in it and it vented all of the gas out of the piercing cap while I shot it a few times. [Editor’s note: Doing this in front of the seller is a big negotiating tip, because it emphasizes the fact that his gun doesn’t work!]

From this short examination I knew 3 things:

1. This was an early model Crosman Mark I in good mechanical condition.

2. All of the parts were there.

3. It did NOT leak out of the barrel, when it vented the gas.

It’s mine!

I made a ridiculously low offer, and he accepted. When I got it back home and on the bench, I started by cleaning off the permanent marker with alcohol.

I knew it was an older model, but did not realize how old, as in serial number 000659! There is not even a date code.

Mark I serial number
This is an early Mark I.

I now own one of the first ones made and also one of the last ones made.

Bringing it back to life

I put a second CO2 cartridge in it to check it out on the bench. It vented the gas in about 30 seconds and it all came from the piercing cap. That told me the valve seal was still good.

I shot it over the chrono as it was venting. The gun was cold from the CO2 cool-down, but it still registered 485 f.p.s.

Most times the leak is because the tiny o-ring in the piercing cap deteriorates. The piercing pin moves up and down in the older models by a lever. You flip the lever one way to pierce the CO2 cartridge, then return to its normal position to let the CO2 into the gun.

Some online disassembly guides say you have to remove the snap ring at the bottom of the cap and then drive out a roll pin. That is the hard way. The easy way is to use a 3/8-inch wide (9.5mm) screwdriver blade in the slot inside the piercing cap. Use it to unscrew the cover that contains the 006-sized o-ring.

This cover is threaded and acts as a screw to hold the small o-ring in place. It looks in the photo like the piercing pin will prevent unscrewing it, but the end of the pin is actually below the screw slots. Remove this cover. In a moment I will describe and show a newer style end cap that has some different parts and comes apart differently.

With the cover off, use a dental pick to remove the old o-ring. It is probably hardened and will break into fragments when you pick at it. It may not even look like an o-ring, but it is tight around the base of the piercing pin.

Once all the small pieces are out of the cap and the o-ring groove is clean, lightly lubricate the new o-ring with your choice of lube, center the new o-ring over the piercing pin, and push it into its recess. Then screw the cover back into place over the o-ring.

Mark I cap 1
The screwdriver fits into the slots on either side and unscrews the cover. The tip of the piercing pin is below the slots. The cap looks brassy in this photo but it is really steel.

Mark I cap 2
This picture with a different angle shows how the o-ring sits at the base of the piercing pin. read more