John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Lil Duke and scope
John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

Will it shoot Marksman BBs?
The test
Air Venturi BBs
Hornady Black Diamond
Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot
Discussion
Smart Shot
Old Dust Devils
Dust Devil Mk 2
Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope. I will tell you right now that I read some online reviews and was thinking the gun might not be too accurate. The two reviews that are on the Pyramyd Air website don’t say much at all. Well, I’m telling you that the gun I have is quite accurate for a conventional BB gun. You just have to use the ammo it likes. Let’s get started.

Will it shoot Marksman BBs?

Somewhere online I read where one person was shooting his Lil’ Duke with Marksman BBs. He called them Marksman Golden BBs, which to my knowledge Marksman never made, so I wonder if was right about what he was saying. Anyway, I tried dropping a current Marksman BB in the Lil’ Duke’s bore and it didn’t fit.

Now, we know that the current crop of Marksman BBs measure 0.1765-inches in diameter — so they are a true .177 BB, rather than the 0.171-0.173-inches that all other steel BBs measure. That makes them too large for almost all BB guns on this planet.

Lil Duke muzzle
As you can see, the Lil’ Duke bore is too small for the current Marksman BBs.

The test

Today I will shoot the Lil’ Duke from 5 meters using the open sights. The gun came with a scope that I will mount and test in a future report, so this isn’t the last you will hear of it.

I’m shooting off the UTG Monopod while seated. I’m shooting 5-shot groups today so I can test more BBs.

Air Venturi BBs

Since the Lil’ Duke is from Air Venturi, I’ll start testing with their BBs — the Air Venturi Steel BB. Theirs that they offer now are zinc-plated but the ones I have are plated with copper. They used to offer them both ways but the copper ones are no longer stocked. I doubt it makes any difference to accuracy.

Five Air Venturi BBs went into 1.644-inches at 5 meters. It’s a very horizontal group and none of the shots were called as pulls, so I have to say that this isn’t the BB I recommend for this gun. Of course I didn’t know that at this point in the test.

Lil Duke Air Venturi BB target
The Lil’Duke put 5 Air Venturi Steel BBs into this horizontal group that measures 1.644-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Hornady Black Diamond

Next I tried 5 Hornady Black Diamonds. They are often the most accurate steel BBs in a test, and the Lil’ Duke seems to like them. The more circular 5-shot group measures 1.005-inches between centers.

Lil Duke Hornady
The Lil’ Duke put 5 Hornady Black Diamond BBs in 1.005-inches at five meters.

Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot

Now that the standard premium steel BBs had been tested, it was time to try several non-standard BBs. The first was the Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot that is made only for the Daisy 499 — the world’s most accurate BB gun. The Lil’ Duke did not care for this BB — putting 5 into 1.136-inches at five meters.

Lil Duke Avanti Precision Shot
Five Avanti Precision Ground Shot went into 1.136-inches at 5 meters. I know it looks like only 4 holes but there are 5 BBs in this group. I was unable to tell even from the back of the target paper where the other BB went, but it’s in there somewhere.

Discussion

With the buildup I gave at the beginning of this report I bet you are wondering where are the targets to support it. The Hornady target was a good one but none of the rest of them have been. Well, here it comes.

Smart Shot

Now it was time for the lead BBs from H&N — the Smart Shot. With the extra power this gun has the heavier Smart Shot are at no disadvantage. And I was unprepared for what they could do. The first two went into the same hole. I guess that shook me up a little because shot three was a called pull that went lower. But not very much lower! Shot four went back through the first two BB holes and shot 5 was a second called pull that went up and to the right. In the end I had a five-meter five-shot group that measured 0.763 inches. Three of those BBs are in 0.119-inches! I know that’s a fluke, but even looking at all five shots this is still a great group. 

Lil Duke Smart Shot
Five Smart Shot went into 0.763-inches at 5 meters, with three of them in 0.119-inches.

Old Dust Devils

Here we go! I told you I was going to test the new Air Venturi Dust Devil BBs in any BB gun I test. I knew that you would also ask me what the old ones did, so I tested them first. Five old Dust Devils went into 1.567-inches at 5 meters. It’s not the largest group of this test and yes, I see the three together in the center, but this time I was not as impressed. Maybe I should have been, but those three felt like more of a coincidence than something that was intentional. Perhaps because it was getting toward the end of the test I was relaxing a little more than I should have been.

Lil Duke old Dust Devils
Five of the old Dust Devils went into this group that measures 1.567-inches at 5 meters. It’s not the worst group of the test, but it’s close!

Dust Devil Mk 2

Now it was time to try the new Dust Devil Mark 2 BBs. Five went into 1.348-inches at 5 meters. That’s a little better than the old ones, but with only one group of each it’s too soon to say much more. At least we know they work, and in the Lil’ Duke they beat at least one premium steel BB.

Lil Duke new Dust Devils
Five new Dust Devil BBs went into 1.348-inches.

Did I try harder with the new Dust Devils than I did with the old? Who can say? That’s bias and it’s why real tests are structured to eliminate any possibility of it happening. 

But one thing I did not do is shoot with the Lil’ Duke in a vise. I know many of you think that is the right way to test, but in my experience it isn’t. As long as the shooter knows how to shoot, the vise can often be beaten — especially when the gun is a springer. I have done it enough times to know for sure. I even did it when the pneumatic AirForce Edge was being developed.

Besides — the Lil’ Duke is gravity feed, so you can’t shoot more than one shot in a vise before the muzzle of the gun has to be elevated to feed the next BB. So, there!

Summary

This test did not turn out the way I expected. This Lil’ Duke is a small but powerful BB gun that’s also quite accurate with certain BBs. And I shot it for this test with open sights. Next time I will mount the scope and try again. Will it do even better? We shall see.


Air Venturi Dust Devil Mk2 Frangible BB: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dust Devil
Dust Devil Mk2.

This report covers:

  • Dust Devil
  • The Mark 2
  • BB weight in grains
  • Smaller belly band
  • Production is up to speed
  • How can I test them?
  • 499
  • Legends MP40
  • Future BB gun tests
  • Impact tests
  • Bada Bang
  • Is that all?
  • Old Dust Devils
  • New Dust Devils
  • Daisy Premium Grade BBs
  • Summary

I have been waiting for this day for a long time. The new Air Venturi Dust Devil Mark 2 is finally here! And that begs the question — what makes it a Mark 2? In recent years we have become used to companies launching new but not fully developed products, in a rush to get them to market. Then they bring out the improved Mark 2 version the following year, after all the fatal flaws have been found and fixed. Hard goods are now being treated like software releases!

Dust Devil

Well, not so, the Dust Devil. It has worked as advertised from day one. It’s a steel BB made from steel dust, so it fragments back into into dust on contact with a hard surface. I have tested it in dozens of different BB guns over the several years it has been around. Which begs the question — why is there a Mark 2?

The Mark 2

According to the Pyramyd Air website the Mark 2 Dust Devil has a tighter weight tolerance, BB to BB. Is that really the case? I weighed 10 of each BB for you and provide the following.

BB weight in grains

Old Dust Devil………Dust Devil Mark 2

4.3………………………….4.6
4.4………………………….4.6
4.3………………………….4.6
4.4………………………….4.6
4.3………………………….4.5
4.3………………………….4.6
4.3………………………….4.7
4.4………………………….4.5
4.4………………………….4.7
4.4………………………….4.6

Okay, that’s 10 of each BB straight from the container. It’s not scientific and the sample size is too small, but it’s what came out of the packages. The old Dust Devils had five that weighed 4.3 grains and five that weighed 4.4 grains. The new Dust Devils had six that weighed 4.6 grains, two that weighed 4.5 grains and 2 that weighed 4.7 grains. So the old Dust Devils varied less, light to heavy, and the new Dust Devils have more that weigh the same. Incidentally, these are the same ranges of weight variation seen in most premium BBs today, only the solid steel ones all start at around 5.1 grains.

The second thing we learn from this is the new Dust Devils are heavier than the old ones. The difference is small, but at that low weight it is significant.

Smaller belly band

The description also says the new Dust Devils have a smaller belly band that aids in accuracy and in feeding in certain spring-loaded BB magazines. I will test the BB magazine feeding later, but today let’s look at the belly band.

Dust Devil old and new
It’s easy to tell the difference between the old Dust Devils and the new ones. Not only is the belly band reduced in size, the new ones are much shinier.

Production is up to speed

The first time Dust Devils were launched they sold out in a couple days and people had to wait for production to catch up. With this launch Pyamyd Air has waited until they had a large stock of the new BBs before announcing it.  I knew they were coming a long time ago and kept my mouth shut until production was fully ramped up.

How can I test them?

I have many things I want to test for you. I think first I will start with the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine that is my most accurate general-purpose BB gun. I will test the old Dust Devils, the new ones, a standard premium BB and maybe a BB that my Carbine found the most accurate.

499

Of course I will also test them in the Daisy 499 — the world’s most accurate BB gun. And there I will pit them against the Avanti Precision Ground Shot that I expect to be the most accurate. But I will also shoot the old Dust Devils for comparison. I will try to test both the Carbine and the 499 in the same report. I think once it is established these are accurate you don’t need to see more testing to make your decision to purchase. But I will continue to test.

Legends MP40

For feeding reliability I will test them in the Umarex Legends MP40 BB submachinegun. I have so much wanted a safe BB for that gun!

Future BB gun tests

And of course I will shoot them in most future BB guns tests I conduct. I like to test all the types of BBs in most guns and these are definitely one type that has no equal anywhere.

Impact tests

I plan on shooting them at a concrete floor and also into a steel pellet trap. For this test I will use a lower-velocity BB gun so we see if they really do break apart as specified. The old ones did, so let’s see about these.

Bada Bang

I’m about to start testing the Bada Bang electronic target for you and I waited until I could test it with the new Dust Devils. The Bada Bang is a very rugged target that will stand up to 12 foot-pounds of energy, but it will also function with much lower-powered BB guns. It is a steel target, so of course the BBs have to be safe from rebounds.

Dust Devil Bada Bang
The Bada Bang electronic target begs to be shot fast with an accurate BB repeater!

Is that all?

I weighed and photographed both BBs today. Let me now test their velocity for you and give you a standard premium steel BB for comparison. I will use a current Red Ryder to test both velocity and feeding reliability in a gravity-feed BB gun.

Old Dust Devils

Old Dust Devils averaged 303 f.p.s. from a modern Red Ryder. The low was 283 and the high was 312 f.p.s., so the spread was 29 f.p.s.

New Dust Devils

New Dust Devils averaged 274 f.p.s. from the same BB gun. The low was 261 and the high was 284 f.p.s., so the spread was 23 f.p.s.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs

With Daisy Premium Grade BBs the Red Ryder averaged 282 f.p.s. The low was 274 and the high was 286 f.p.s., so the spread was 12 f.p.s.

Summary

We have a new Dust Devil to test. I will keep after them, but you should know if they are what you want after the first accuracy test. That will be next.


IZH MP-656K or TT33 BB pistol – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier
Testing and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today, I’ll cover the accuracy of the TT33 Tokarev BB pistol. I spent a little more time describing this gun for you in Parts 1 and 2 because of the exceptional realism it brings to the sport. However, as a shooter, the TT33 is very deliberate. The hammer must be cocked manually for every shot.

The sights
As I mentioned in Part 2, the sights on this pistol appear to have been specially milled lower to adjust the point of impact with BBs. Today’s report will show how well that worked.



The sights on the pistol have been milled lower than the firearm sight specifications. The point seems to be to get the BB pistol shooting to the point of aim.

BB guns are usually sighted to hit the point of aim between 15 and 25 feet. Today’s test was done by Mac at 15 feet. The pistol was aimed with a six o’clock hold in traditional target style (one-hand). He used Daisy zinc-plated BBs.

The pistol’s trigger is stiff and somewhat creepy. Mac said the trigger started to break in as he shot more, so perhaps you can expect a drop in pull weight over time.


The pistol shot exactly to the point of aim. Accuracy was acceptable.

As you can clearly see, the pistol shoots to the point of aim at 15 feet. Not many BB pistols do, so this is a happy discovery. The sights are not very adjustable, so this is a real blessing for those who shoot the gun.

The bottom line
What an airgun! For those who love realism, it doesn’t get any better than this. You can own what was once a firearm and disassemble it in the same way. You get the real Russian dated and marked parts from a pistol that is now quite expensive and collectible in its firearm form.

On the other hand, this is a not an action pistol. The single-action-only operation will slow you down and make you very deliberate. You must decide if it is for you.

My advice is to act fast before anyone changes their mind about the gun coming into the U.S.


IZH MP-656K or TT33 BB pistol – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Today we’re going to look at the velocity of the TT33 BB pistol. This gun was tested by Mac McDonald, and I’m reading from his notes. Before I get to the velocity, a reminder is due. This is a single-action-only pistol. That means the hammer has to be pulled all the way back before the gun can be fired. The slide will cycle, but the gun does not have blowback. The hammer has 3 positions: all the way forward (or fired), half-cock and full-cock. The gun will fire only when the hammer is on the full-cock position. Then, the trigger needs to be pulled and the hammer will drop forward, firing one shot.

The trigger is creepy, according to Mac, and breaks at around 8 lbs. He DID note that it had improved as he shot the gun. So, it might be a little lighter than that after a break-in.

Velocity
Mac recorded a velocity of 321 to 383. The average velocity of the test gun was 352 fps. The extreme spread is 62 fps, and the average muzzle energy is 1.40 ft-lbs. Mac used Daisy zinc-plated BBs for his tests.

Because of the deliberate way this BB pistol functions, it’s not for those who want an action pistol. They would be better served by any number of less-expensive and faster-firing BB pistols. The TT33 is an extremely realistic handgun. In fact, the realism is over the top. Order it if you want to own a genuine Russian Tokarev without all the registration nonsense.

Pyramyd Air is the exclusive importer of the TT33. Because of its firearm origins, they ran a sample past BATF&E, who did not seem to have a problem with the gun. But, remember, the government can change its mind in a heartbeat. They withdrew the Junker carbines, which were made from real AK carbines, and they could decide to do the same with this pistol. Therefore, if you want one, and I mean REALLY want one, the time to act is right now.

Next time, I’ll cover accuracy and wrap up this report.


Umarex BB speedloader

by B.B. Pelletier


Umarex speedloader: shoot more, load faster.

We’ve been testing a lot of BB guns lately, and all of them have magazines that need to be loaded. Some of those magazines are like the straight stick magazine in the TT33 Tokarev pistol. They’re usually loaded one BB at a time, which can be tedious. The Umarex speedloader was designed specifically for this job.

There’s really nothing new about the speedloader because it descends almost directly from the airsoft world. But this application is for steel BBs, and that crosses the line into airguns. Mac used the speedloader in some of his tests and was very pleased with its operation. Simply connect the loader with the magazine, press down on the plunger and load 8 BBs. It’s that fast. If your mag holds 17 or 22, you’ll have it loaded in seconds.


Comes with 3 adapters to fit almost any BB gun.


Speedloader output port will connect to some BB mags without any adapter.

Adaptable
Not all BB guns are made the same, so the Umarex speedloader comes with a complete package of adapters that allow it to be connected to virtually all BB guns. When Umarex USA tested it, they couldn’t find a single BB gun it wouldn’t connect to.


To refill the speedloader, flip open the door & fill with BBs.


When the speedloader is not in use, the plunger can be locked down.

Easy to fill
The speedloader is made mainly of synthetics and holds a large reservoir of BBs inside. It’s easy to refill by just dumping the BBs in the open loader door.

This is another piece of equipment that isn’t sexy by itself; but if you’re a BB pistol enthusiast, then you really need this speedloader.


IZH MP-656K or TT33 BB pistol – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Pyramyd Air’s 3rd annual airgun garage sale is on June 5 from 10 am to 3 pm. There will be discontinued, blemished and used guns, scopes and other accessories — plus dented tins of pellets. John Goff from Crosman will be flipping burgers, and Pyramyd Air’s technicians will be on hand to help with any questions you might have. Come early for the best selection!

Correction: There’s an error in part 3 of the 655K blog, where we state that it has blowback. It does not! We’ve corrected the blog. There was a miscommunication, as we state quite clearly in the part 1 that it the gun doesn’t have blowblack. Sorry!

Part 1


The IZH Baikal MP656K, which is the BB gun version of the Tula Tokarev…commonly called the TT33 Tokarev.

I told you in part 1 that the TT33 was so unique and remarkable that it was going to take two reports just to cover the basic gun. This is the second report. First, I’d like to show you something from the firearm.

The Tokarev, which is what this is called, is a novel pistol that borrows from John Browning’s 1911 but also incorporates its own unique design. The action lifts out of the receiver as a module.


Firing mechanism lifted slightly in the frame.


Modular firing mechanism removes completely from the Tokarev.

Not all parts were used
When they built the BB pistol, not all the Tokarev firearm parts were necessary. Since no metallic cartridges were used, the extractor and ejector were never required. With typical Russian economy, they simply left them off the gun. So, when you take your TT33 out of the box, don’t be shocked to find some parts missing from your gun.


That slot is where the firearm extractor goes. Obviously, it’s not there. It doesn’t mean your gun is incomplete. That’s the way they come.

Another area we’ll look at is the BB and CO2 magazine. It’s similar to other BB gun magazines that also contain the CO2 cartridge. But there’s one surprising difference.


The CO2 cartridge is not inserted at this time, but you see how the BBs are stacked. The follower is run all the way down and locked in place to load the magazine.

So, what’s this big surprise? Look carefully at the top of the BB magazine, and you’ll see dovetail slots. When you insert the magazine, those slots interface with the rear of the barrel, aligning the BBs in the magazine with the BB barrel.


This closeup shows the magazine interfacing with the barrel.


The clever engineers at IZH used the original firearm barrel to align the BB barrel in the gun. This is a practice now being used by larger manufacturers such as Remington. This is called “stubbing” the barrel. It guarantees alignment of the smaller caliber barrel because it’s centered inside the already-fitted barrel.


The 1911-style link pin is welded in position to make assembly and disassembly much easier. On the BB gun, it has no function.

The barrel installation is an extremely clever step and worthy of any advanced airgun collector’s attention if fine design is of interest.


Original rifled barrel adds realism to the BB pistol.

Gas sealing by a special seal
To seal the rear of the BB gun barrel against the BB gun magazine, which contains the firing valve, the engineers designed a very special o-ring. It has a flange that spreads and digs into a groove cut in the rear of the barrel. This isn’t something you can buy at a hardware store.


This o-ring is unique in its shape — it seals the joint between the barrel and the magazine. You can also easily see the clearance for the BB magazine.

Sights
The sights were modified by milling down both front and rear sights to match the BB trajectory at close range. When we test for accuracy, we’ll see how close they got it.



Both front and rear sights were milled down to adjust for the BB’s trajectory.

That ends our general tour, and I think you’ll have to agree that the TT33 or Tokarev pistol is unique. If you’re a serious BB pistol collector, this is one to get. Next, we’ll look at velocity.


IZH MP-656K or TT33 BB pistol – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


The IZH Baikal MP656K, which is the BB gun version of the Tula Tokarev…commonly called the TT33 Tokarev.

I always like to give you guys something to talk about over the weekend. Today’s pistol should generate a lot of conversation. Not only is it a BB pistol made on the TT33 Tokarev styling, this one is made out of a real Tokarev.

Back during the Vietnam War, I owned two of these. Each was a Norinco Chi Com variant of the Russian Tokarev. I learned then what a novel little pistol this is. It fires a .30 cal (7.62mm) bottlenecked cartridge that closely resembles the .30 cal. broomhandle Mauser round. I fount it possible to make reloads from highly reworked 5.56mm brass. But the brass swelled, and I don’t recommend it to anybody. Ammunition was impossible to come by in the 1970s, but it’s pretty common today.

This BB pistol is so remarkable, that I’m going to expand the introduction to two reports so I can show you details of the gun. Today will be a general intro.


Just like the firearm, all the controls work on the BB pistol.

Tremendous realism
There are no compromises in this gun. It’s made from a genuine Russian Tokarev pistol. That means it’s all steel, and the black plastic grip panels have CCCP next to the Soviet star. The pistol I’m examining has a frame date of 1950.

In the past, guns made from firearms have been problematic and often removed from the market. As soon as these are in stock, buy one. Do not hesitate!

Single-action only
The Tokarev firearm is a single-action pistol, and the BB pistol is also single-action. To fire the gun, you must cock the hammer each time you shoot. That may slow down you down because you can’t fire the gun by simply pulling the trigger. So, this is more of a collector’s gun than an action shooter’s gun.


The MP-656K uncocked.


The MP-656K half-cocked.


The MP-656K cocked.


Field-stripped, if you want.

Field-stripped
Just like the firearm, the TT33 field strips quite easily. In my second report, I’ll have more to say about the internal parts since some of them are novel and require an explanation.

Realism, realism, realism!
Several years ago, we had some Kalashnikov BB guns called Junker models 1, 2 and 3. Not only did they resemble an AK47, they were made from the same parts. The Junkers were taken off the shelves quickly and are now quite scarce in the United States. While we don’t believe the same thing will happen with this pistol, true collectors should order one right away. Like a Makarov, this is real deal!