Smell the roses!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Price-Point PCP
  • Silencers
  • Lookalikes
  • More lookalikes
  • $100 PCP
  • More than just guns
  • Hand pumps
  • Compressors
  • Airgun technology
  • Big bores
  • There’s more

Today’s report came to me as I was planning to test the accuracy of the Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole revolver. I have so many tests waiting for my time, but today’s report had to come first.

Gentlemen — we are living in airgunning’s Golden Age. I know I have written that many times, but today I would like to reflect on all the good things that are happening in our world. Let me start with the Price-Point PCP.

Price-Point PCP

When I got into precharged pneumatics in 1995, I was dragged into it kicking and screaming. No PCP rifle cost less than $600 in that day (think $900 today) and the high-pressure hand pump had just been invented. I had to use a 3000 psi aluminum scuba tank that cost an additional $120 and I had to beg the local dive shop to fill it for me. I actually created a release form that I signed and left on file with them to absolve them from all risk of selling air to a non dive-certificated person! That might sound extreme in 2018, but in 1995 that was the way it was done, and plenty of dive shops refused to sell us air. read more

Beeman R9 with Vortek center-latching air piston: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Today’s fill
  • JSB Exact
  • Predator Polymag
  • H&N Field Target Trophy
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Benjamin Cylindricals
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Firing behavior
  • Summary

Today is velocity day for the Beeman R9 with the Vortek center-latching gas piston that I’m calling the center latching unit (CLU). Bear in mind as you read today’s test, that this unit allows the owner to adjust the pressure inside the gas piston — raising or lowering the velocity and cocking effort. So, this is the first of several tests of the unit.

Today’s fill

I filled the CLU to 675 psi when I installed it. So that’s how it’s set up today. I will test it with 6 different .20 caliber pellets — one more than Pyramyd Air carries, if you don’t count the felt Beeman cleaning pellets. Let’s get started. read more

The world’s best airgun doesn’t exist…

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The start
  • The deal
  • The challenge
  • It is achievable
  • The Marauder
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Bronco
  • The world’s best air rifle
  • Synthetic stock
  • The deal
  • History?

…but it has in the past. Or parts of it have existed. They are very rare today, but at one time there were many airguns that were 80 percent of the way to being great.

The start

This report started this past Wednesday in an archery store. Next week I will mention why I was in the store, but here’s what happened. The older man behind the counter, after learning what I did for a living, asked me what would be a good airgun for him to get. I stood there like a deer in the headlights, running through a half-century of experience and trying to boil it down to one sentence, when he added, “…and be able to take out a squirrel once in awhile.” read more

Beeman R9 with Vortek center-latching air piston: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The Vortek unit
  • Filling the unit
  • How it works
  • Spring guide
  • Installation
  • Disassembly
  • Piston
  • Barrel goes back
  • End cap in
  • Compressor
  • How long and how difficult?
  • Summary

I try to stay away from products that are not available, but today I’m starting a look at a new gas piston unit for the Beeman R9/Weihrauch HW95 breakbarrel rifle. This report will be unique in several ways. First, it is the first look at a new Vortek gas spring unit that may either be available from Pyramyd Air or from Vortek directly. Second — the R9 I’m using for this test is in .20 caliber. I know there are many shooters who favor .20 caliber, but many more who don’t. I will address that as the report unfolds, but let me state for the record that, except for testing a Sheridan Blue Streak or Supergrade, I haven’t tested another .20 caliber air rifle in many years! read more

The Right Now pellet and BB trap

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier*

This report covers:

  • The project
  • Attach the pan to the board
  • Now the duct seal
  • Finished trap
  • Put trap inside a box
  • Time?
  • Bottom
  • Future of the trap

I know that many of you readers are craftsmen, so today’s blog may disturb you a bit. You see, old BB is going to build something. I had a problem and found a very good (read that as cheap) way to solve it. I call it the Right Now pellet and BB trap.

One of the pastors at my church has a 9 year-old son who is very interested in guns. He’s a shy kid until he starts talking about guns. Then his eyes light up and he gets excited. I feel like I am looking at myself, threescore years ago.

I have been giving the boy my old gun magazines and he is soaking them up like a sponge. I also gave him a couple gun books that he and his father read together. His dad is not a gun guy, either, so I’m really working with two pupils here. read more

Old versus new

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

  • Wait
  • Old airguns
  • Pistols?
  • Broomhandle Mauser M712
  • Lookalikes
  • Get it?
  • The moral

Are old airguns better than new ones? “Yes!” says the guy who likes them for their wood and steel. He doesn’t want any plastic on his guns. It bothers him that the firearm handguns of today are made from as much plastic as steel.


Hold on, brother! That plastic Glock that offends you so much has been test-fired 30,000 shots without a major failure. The 1911 you love so dearly was praised in 1910 for shooting 6,000 shots  with the same results. The Glock endured 5 times the punishment as your venerable Browning design.

The Glock is also built for ease of manufacture. It’s so simple that a guy can build one in his workshop, starting with a plastic frame that’s 80 percent finished. All it takes is a file, a drill and some time. Oh, and a lot of money! When it’s finished he will have about as much tied up as if he had bought the gun over the counter. But it is possible. read more

“Spring Doc” Spring Compressor Review

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

I am not running an historical report today because we have two guest blogs this week. Today I’m running the first of them. This is a guest blog from a reader who goes by the name Motorman.

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

“Spring Doc” Spring Compressor Review
By Dean Speidel, alias “Motorman”

This report covers:

  • Decisions
  • “Spring Doc”
  • Diving In!
  • Flies in the ointment?
  • Wrap-Up


For some time I’ve been thinking about learning to disassemble, repair and, perhaps most importantly, re-assemble spring piston airguns. Making or buying a spring compressor is the first and unavoidable step.

I’m reasonably good with my hands, so I searched the internet and found a number of plans for build-it-yourself compressors. Some were pretty crude and, frankly, looked dangerous! Some were better, but I just never found one that I liked well enough to put the money and effort into building it. read more