The BB-gun dueling tree from New to Old Guns: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

dueling tree
NTOG dueling tree made to handle low energy. NTOG provided the photo.

This report covers:

  • From NTOG
  • Interested
  • Some assembly required
  • Yes, it really works!
  • M1 Carbine
  • Testing with steel BBs
  • Target operated perfectly
  • Testing with Dust Devils
  • Smart Shot
  • Modified target
  • Summary

Several weeks ago, reader New to Old Guns (NTOG) contacted me with a new project he was working on — a dueling tree for lower-powered BB guns.

Today’s target is an action target, but it’s one with a big difference. I’ll let him tell you what he first told me.

From NTOG

“It is a “down to about 1ft-lb capable shooting tree”.  Yes, you can have fun with a shooting tree with the Red Ryder!

“The short version — I realized I was having a ton of fun with the big tree “dueling” and “racing” guns like the Vectis, Sumatra, Nova Freedom, and AT44But I couldn’t shoot that tree with my son, as he’s 12 and doesn’t have anything near the about 18 ft-lb needed to flip those paddles.  I remembered a bud talking about bending and flattening cheap spoons for use as targets, and, well, one thing led to another.  Good shooting with the Red Ryder is enough to flip it.  So any BB gun shooting in the neighborhood of 300 fps will work.  That means training pistols like the Sig P226 should flip it too.  Doesn’t that open a world of entertaining practice?

“The BB ricochet problem is of course not to be ignored, but I have two observations regarding that: a) frangible BBs do exist, though I don’t know if they’ll transfer enough energy to flip the paddle b) momentum laws would say that as long as the spoon is free to spin, half the energy goes to moving the spoon.  That means any potential bounce back has already lost about half of its energy.  In our enjoyment, we’ve yet had any bounce back that we’ve noticed.

“I’d also add, it is really shines with guns like the Crosman 73 Saddle Pal, and Walther Lever ActionHonestly, the 73 was probably the most fun of them all.  Pity those aren’t still made.”

Interested

I was interested because I am working on a project to bring some informal shooting competition to the Pyramyd Air Cup next year. Out of the hundreds of people who attend, only the semi-professionals and highly advanced amateur shooters actually get to compete. Doesn’t that seem reversed? Could this dueling tree be the answer? Is it reliable enough and rugged enough to stand up to a lot of shooting? I needed to know, so I asked NTOG to send one for me to test.

Some assembly required

As you see in the first photo, the target is mounted on a long section of 5/16-inch threaded rod. He didn’t want to ship that, which I understood completely. I can buy the same rod at my hardware store, so he sent 6 of the paddle mechanisms. I bought an 18-inch length of rod plus the channel material for the base and a couple other things like washers to get started. Once it was assembled I did some testing right away.

Yes, it really works!

The first test was successful. This target really does work. The spoons have to be loose enough to swing freely but not so loose that they wobble and rob energy from the shot. Let’s look at some detail.

dueling tree detail
This photo shows a lot of detail. You can see the bent wire that stops the paddles when they swing around. But it also made me wonder about the yellow standoff rod that holds the spoon mechanism away from the threaded rod. Is it necessary? The yellow paddle at the top is not a part of the target I am testing. NTOG provided the photo.

When I assembled the target I put just three spoons on my 18-inch threaded rod, as I was only testing the concept. And that got me shooting right away.

M1 Carbine

I chose the new Springfield Armory M1 Carbine to test the target. I wanted accuracy which that gun has in spades and I also wanted a semiautomatic because, let’s be honest — that’s what this target is all about.

Testing with steel BBs

My first test involved shooting steel BBs, because I wanted to know about bounceback. Steel BBs do bounce back from hard targets, and that’s a safety issue. I shot from inside my small patio slab that opens on the back yard and, because the threaded rod I used was low. I was shooting into the ground behind the target.

Out of about 30 BBs that were shot one did came back. It didn’t come straight back at me, it veered off the the side about 10-15 feet, but it did return. I could hear it hit the house at low velocity. So NTOG is right about the bounceback issue; it is greatly reduced. But it isn’t eliminated, and that’s what I wanted.

Target operated perfectly

I was shooting 12-15 feet from the target and the paddles operated perfectly. I had to loosen the nuts on one of them a little, but after doing that, that paddle functioned like all the rest. The paddles came to rest against the wires on either side and didn’t rebound from them very much. The worst that can happen is all the paddles rebound off the wires and swing back to the center of the target. Then you have to manually reset them to see them again.

The M1 Carbine shoots steel BBs at about 420 f.p.s at the muzzle. That’s quite a bit faster than the 275-300 f.p.s. of a Red Ryder, so now we know a range of power that this target works in.

Testing with Dust Devils

NTOG mentioned frangible BBs, so they were next. I have good news and bad news. The frangible Dust Devils did break apart on the paddles, but that pushed each paddle straight back so it wasn’t visible anymore (it was in line with my sight and too thin to see). I thought it might be just a random thing, but after 15 shots did exactly the same thing I knew this target doesn’t work with Dust Devils. Ah, but we are not out of safe BB options yet!

Smart Shot

I tried Air Venturi Smart Shot next. These lead BBs don’t bounce back, either, because lead is soft and deforms when it hits a hard target. Being non-magnetic Smart Shot doesn’t work in every BB gun, but the M1 Carbine handles it fine. Better yet — it works! It moves the paddles and it doesn’t bounce back — at least not from 100 test shots.

I have more to say but now I want to show you the target in action. Here is a little video I put together to show it. In the video I mention that Codeuce made the target, but it was really New to Old Guns.

 

Modified target

I haven’t told NTOG yet about the modifications we made to his design, so he is seeing this at the same time as you. We (my neighbor and I) were looking for ways to build the target for even less money than NTOG spent. Getting rid of the long threaded rod was a big start. If you have scrap wood lying about this target could cost you very little. But more importantly, it still works exactly like NTOG designed.

Summary

I made this report Part 1 because I think there is more to test. For example, does our modified target still work with a Red Ryder, and so on. I’m sure you readers will have more things to check.


Sig Sauer P365 air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig P365
Sig Sauer P365 BB pistol.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Realism
  • Fresh CO2
  • Oiled the pistol
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Sig BBs
  • ASG Blaster BBs
  • Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision Ground Shot
  • Nature of CO2
  • Shot count and blowback
  • Trigger pull
  • Installing the CO2
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the Sig P365 Air Pistol. If you’re new to airgunning you need to know that CO2 responds best to two things — high temperature and a long barrel. The temperature was fine when I tested the gun (74 degrees F) but we are dealing with a compact pistol whose barrel has to be short. That will affect the power of any CO2 pistol, regardless of the maker.

The test

I shot through the chronograph at 2 feet distance from the start screen. I waited a minimum of 10 seconds between shots in today’s test. Sometimes the wait was much longer but it was never less. Later in the report I will address why this is necessary.

Realism

I have told you how realistic this pistol is. I still have to check the gun every time I handle it because my 9 mm P365 that is always loaded is in my office all the time. It would not do to pick up the wrong pistol!

 

Fresh CO2

For this test I loaded a new CO2 cartridge. I always put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge before piercing it. When the cartridge is pierced the oil is blown into the valve and it gets on all the o-rings and seals inside. It keeps them fresh and doing their job. At the end of the report I have an important message about piercing this pistol, so don’t miss it.

Oiled the pistol

I talked to Ed Schultz of Sig regarding the P365 and he told me this BB pistol tends to run dry. Oiling some key points will help ensure smooth reliable operation. Just pull the slide as far back as you can and hold the pistol upside-down to access the oiling spots under the slide, as shown in the photo below that Ed sent me.

P365 oil
From Ed Schultz to you. These are the 4 places to oil the P365 slide periodically. Also oil each new CO2 cartridge.

Ed says Sig is looking into an oil they can sell for this purpose, but for now you can use a 20-weight non-detergent motor oil that has an o-ring conditioner in it. Crosman Pellgunoil is a good choice!

Hornady Black Diamond

First up was the Hornady Black Diamond BB. The P365 magazine holds 12 BBs, but I loaded just ten for this test. That way I can test the magazine hold-open function as well.

Ten Black Diamonds averaged 298 f.p.s. Since these were fired first there was a broader spread of velocities. The low was 287 and the high was 319 f.p.s. — shots one and two, respectively. That’s a spread of 62 f.p.s. The average was pretty close to where it should be, even though the extremes are far apart. It’s listed at a maximum of 295 f.p.s. and that’s what this one gets. And, the magazine hold-open works exactly as it should. I will tell you in a bit why the spread was so large.

Sig BBs

Sig doesn’t make BBs — yet. So they don’t have their own brand of BBs to sell, but they do include a small plastic packet of steel BBs with each gun. So I tried them. They averaged 299 f.p.s. with a spread that went from 293 to 305 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 12 f.p.s. Now that the CO2 gas in the cartridge is being used the gun is settling down. Often the first couple shots after piercing a cartridge have liquid CO2 in the valve that bollixes up the velocity, as you saw in the first string.

ASG Blaster BBs

Next I tried 10 ASG Blaster BBs. They averaged 299 f.p.s. with a low of 293 and a high of 304 f.p.s. The spread was 11 f.p.s. That’s close to the Sig BB performance. I’m not saying Sig rebrands those particular BBs — just that all steel BBs perform about the same in this pistol, once it settles down. So the Hornady BBs would also be like these is I hadn’t fired them first.

Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision Ground Shot

The last BB I tested was the Daisy Match Grade Avanti Precision Ground Shot. For this one I am going to show you the entire string — shot-by-shot.

Shot……..Vel.
1…………301
2…………did not register
3…………290
4…………289
5…………291
6…………293
7…………285
8…………285
9…………278
10………..271

It’s pretty obvious what happened in this string. These BBs started out just as fast as the first three, then around shot number three the liquid CO2 ran out and only gas was left in the cartridge. That’s when the velocity starts to drop. Let’s see why.

Nature of CO2

CO2 develops pressure when the liquid inside the cartridge flashes (evaporates rapidly) to gas. At 70 degrees F its pressure is around 850 psi when it is contained in a vessel with no escape. But, as it evaporates while the gun is shot, it cools the surfaces of the gun that it comes in contact with, which is all of the gas chambers and ports inside the gun. In turn this lowers the temperature and also the pressure of the CO2 gas, resulting in lower velocity. That’s why I wait at least 10 seconds between shots — to allow the gun to normalize and not cool down too much.

Shot count and blowback

I had heard somewhere that the P365 gets about 40 good shots per CO2 cartridge and this test bears that out. The slide is small so it’s also light, so the blowback isn’t as strong as with some larger pistols. Still the slide does move all the way back and you do feel it.

Trigger pull

The trigger has a light pull with some travel. It feels like a double action pull because of the travel. To begin shooting you have to cock the hammer by pulling back the slide unless the slide is already locked back and you just release it after loading a fresh magazine. The trigger pull is a surprisingly light 3 lbs. 13 oz. Several times the pistol surprised me by firing before I was ready. I’m glad that happened when the BB trap was only three feet away and not when I was shooting at a target! I’m making a note to myself to respect this light trigger.

Installing the CO2

I purposely waited until now to discuss this procedure so it doesn’t get overlooked. The P365 pierces the CO2 cartridge when the magazine cap is screwed down, like many gas pistols. But, there is a thick face seal (where the flat end of the cartridge bears against as it is pierced) in this magazine and the CO2 will leak out until the cap fully compresses it — so there is a special knack to piercing the CO2 cartridge in this pistol. The first couple cartridges I installed lost a lot of gas before I got them sealed.

The trick is to screw the magazine cap down until it’s tight against the cartridge. Then hold the magazine body in one hand and the Allen wrench in the other hand with the hands rotated so that relaxing them would give the end cap almost a full twist. When you do this, just let each hand go its way and finish screwing the end cap down. The CO2 will hiss for an instant if you do it right and you won’t lose much gas, if any.

P365 gas
To pierce the CO2 cartridge quickly, hold the magazine in one hand and the Allen wrench in the other in such a way that the hands move in opposite directions to screw the cap down rapidly.

Once I did this, the cartridge was pierced just as quickly as any air pistol could. When I did the velocity and shot count test the cartridge was pierced this way, so no gas was lost.

Summary

It’s been fun getting acquainted with this little BB pistol. Because I am so familiar with the firearm already, I felt I was shooting with an old friend.

Accuracy comes next, but that isn’t the final report. I then want to talk about using this airgun and others as a self-defense training tool. I will show you my carry holsters and discuss how I use the gun to train. Until then!


Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy Buck
Daisy Buck BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Bipod
  • The test
  • First up — Daisy Premium BBs
  • Black Widows
  • Air Venturi Steel BBs
  • Dust Devils
  • Hornady Black Diamonds
  • Discussion
  • Grandpa gun
  • Summary

Today we see how accurate the Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun is when it’s scoped. You may remember I installed a Bug Buster 3-12X32 with an optional UTG 80mm Sidewheel on the gun in Part 3. And, as I closed that section I told you there was one more thing I wanted to show you. Let’s do that right now.

Bipod

Besides the Little Buck Rail, Buck Rail.com also offers a 7-inch bipod for the gun. It sells for $16 as of the date this report was published. Wow! Not only are we scoping this Buck BB gun, we’re mounting a bipod. What will that look like?

Daisy Buck bipod
Yes, it looks silly, but read how the test went before you decide!

The test

I shot from 5 meters and all shots were taken with the bipod attached. It took 5 rounds to sight in and I recommend to Terry Harman, the maker, to build some droop into your base, because at 5 meters the first shot hit 3.25-inches below the aim point. Even BB guns have drooping barrels!

First up — Daisy Premium BBs

The first BB I shot was the Daisy Premium Grade BB. In the last test from the same 5 meters and using open sights five of these same BBs went into a group that measured 2.808-inches. Today with the scope and bipod, The Buck put 10 into 1.391-inches. That’s twice the number of shots going into less than half the area! I would say that’s an improvement!

Daisy Buck Daisy group
When scoped and sitting on a bipod the Daisy Buck put 10 Daisy BBs into 1.391-inches at 5 meters.

I was shocked, to say the least. This is such a dramatic improvement that it bears consideration. The bipod is rock-steady and the Bug Buster scope, with it’s 9-foot focus, is perfectly suited to this gun. Could this level of improvement continue? I went to the BB that was the most accurate in Part 2 — the Crosman Black Widow. In Part 2 five of them made a group measuring 1.341-inches.

Black Widows

Ten Crosman Black Widows made a group that measures 1.079-inches between centers. Eight of the 10 BBs are in exactly one-half-inch and almost perfectly centered on the bullseye! Once again, 10 BBs shot with the scope grouped tighter than 5 shot with open sights!

Daisy Buck Crosman group
What a group! Ten Crosman Black Widows are in 1.079-inches at 5 meters with 8 in 0.5-inches! In Part 2 five of them made a 1.341-inch group.

Wow! This was getting good. Next up were Air Venturi Steel BBs. What would they do? in Part 2 five of them went into 2.409-inches at 5 meters.

Air Venturi Steel BBs

Today 10 Air Venturi Steel BBs went into 1.886-inches at 5 meters. Once more twice as many BBs went into a much smaller group. I’m starting to see a trend!

Daisy Buck Air Venturi group
Ten Air Venturi Steel BBs went into 1.886-inches at 5 meters. Once again the Buck is more accurate with the scope and bipod.

Dust Devils

Next up were Dust Devil frangible BBs. In Part 2 five of them made a 3.233-inch group. With the scope and bipod the Buck was able to put 10 into 2.132-inches at 5 meters. It’s definitely better by quite a lot.

Daisy Buck Dust Devil group
The scoped Buck put 10 Dust Devil BBs into a group that measures 2.132-inches at 5 meters — beating the open sights yet again!

Hornady Black Diamonds

Up last was the Hornady Black Diamond. They were the least accurate in the Buck when I shot with open sights, putting 5 BBs into 4.508-inches at 5 meters. The scope’s good shooting carried over to this BB as well, and the Buck put 10 of them into 2.588-inches at the same 5 meters. It’s still a large group but it’s twice the BBs in almost half the space.
Daisy Buck Hornady group
Ten Hornady Black Diamonds went into 2.588-inches at 5 meters.

Discussion

This is probably the biggest advance in accuracy I have seen in many years. There was notable improvement with every single BB shot today.

Yes, it’s just a BB gun and no, the groups are not that small, but when you compare today’s results with those documented in Part 2 it’s amazing!

Grandpa gun

This scoped Buck would make an ideal grandpa gun for when the little boys and girls come over. Once sighted-in and with the right BBs it makes anyone a sharpshooter.

Summary

I want to thank Terry Harman for suggesting this test. This is something I would never have done on my own, and look at how good it turned out! Sure, putting a $108 scope on a $30 BB gun is crazy, but this is one time it really paid off.


Sig Sauer P365 air pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig P365
Sig Sauer P365 BB pistol.

This report covers:

  • My carry gun
  • The BB gun
  • Magazine
  • Sights
  • Blowback
  • Realism
  • Single action trigger
  • Ambidextrous safety
  • Controls work
  • Ergonomics
  • Loading
  • Summary

I’m suspending the history reports for a little while to catch up on the new guns. Today we begin looking at the Sig Sauer P365 air pistol. I have been waiting a long time to test this pistol for you — both as a BB pistol in its own right and also as part of a larger report on the use of lookalike air pistols for training.

My carry gun

The 9mm Sig P365 has been my carry gun for more than a year. I was impressed by its small size and big features. For example, from a handgun that’s the size of a .380 ACP this pistol offers 10+1 9mm +P rounds in a standard magazine! When you see how compact it is you immediately think shooting it will sting your hand, but nothing could be further from the truth! The P365 has very low recoil. Even with the +P ammo that it’s rated for, it’s a delight to shoot.

Sig P365 in hand
The P365 is very small for a 9mm. Yet in this size it holds 11 rounds!

Next, it’s accurate. I reported on this in the blog last year and showed you a young woman who had never shot a handgun before shooting my P365. She handled it with ease. I wondered if she could rack the slide (pull it back to cock the gun and chamber a round), because racking micro pistols is a problem for everyone. She did it readily, as did several other women and men that day.

Sig P365 woman shooting
She had never shot a handgun before this. She’s 10 feet from a no-bounceback rubber bullet trap and she’s keeping them all in about one inch!

I switched to the P365 as my primary carry gun in 2018. Since then it has been carried hundreds of hours and shot almost a thousand times. I carry it in an ankle holster if I’m wearing slacks and in a belly band if I will be carrying for several hours or if I’m wearing shorts. The belly band is more comfortable, but does take longer to draw the pistol. Neither holster draws fast but a backup gun isn’t for that.

The BB gun

Let’s switch now and talk about the new BB gun. Sig says it resembles the firearm more than a little and they are right. They also say it weighs the same as the firearm and I was about to take exception to that until I realized that my firearm is loaded with 11 rounds of heavy ammunition. Remove the magazine and ammo and the weight drops to 1 lb. 4 oz, or 20 oz. The BB pistol with a CO2 cartridge installed weighs 14 oz., so the difference is 6 ounces.

Magazine

The BB magazine holds 12 BBs, which closely resembles the 11 rounds that the firearm carries. There are larger magazines for the firearm that hold up to 15 rounds plus one in the chamber. The BB gun just has the single magazine size at present. It’s the same size as the flush P365 firearm mag that I carry.

Sights

The firearm comes with three dot tritium night sights. The BB pistol has three dots but obviously they are just paint and not radioactive. I doubt they adjust in any way. The manual makes no reference to it. The rear notch and front post are well-fitted to each other.

Blowback

The BB pistol does have full slide blowback, but the slide is small and therefore lightweight. The blowback impulse can be felt, but it’s not as snappy as on some larger BB pistols. Also, remember the ergonomic design of the 365 puts the line of the barrel close to the web of your hand which reduces felt recoil.

Realism

This BB pistol is so realistic that I have to confirm I am holding it and not my 9mm firearm that’s always loaded. Don’t want no stupidents!

Sig P365 two guns
Which is which? The BB pistol is on top.

Single action trigger

Both the firearm and BB pistol are single action, only. Of course when the slide comes back it not only loads the next round, it also cocks the striker.

Ambidextrous safety

The BB pistol has an ambidextrous safety. My firearm has no safety like most P365s. Sig does make a version of the gun with a manual safety for those people and jurisdictions that demand one. So the BB pistol copies that model.

Controls work

All the controls work on the BB gun. The slide even stays back after the last BB has been fired. The spring-loaded magazine follower pushes the slide lock up just as it does in a firearm.

Ergonomics

One thing reviewers have praised about all other things about the 365 is the ergonomics. They are why the recoil is so gentle, despite the light weight of the pistol. Well, the BB gun copies them perfectly, as well.

Loading

Sig has made the magazine follower lock in the down position so you don’t have to hold it as your load. BBs are loaded one at a time through the top of the magazine. A spring-loaded latch has to be depressed to load each BB and this one does have to be held down manually as you load. I found it easy enough to load, but it wasn’t that fast.

Summary

The Sig P365 BB pistol is an exciting new addition to the Sig airgun lineup. It’s the kind of air pistol that will make many people buy the firearm to go with it.


Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy Buck
Daisy Buck BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Little Buck Rail
  • Mounting the rail
  • MIL STD 1913 Picatinney rail
  • Weaver rings
  • Won’t the ring move around?
  • What scope?
  • Discussion
  • Summary

We have now looked at the Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun. We’ve seen its velocity and we have seen its level of accuracy with the factory open sights. Today we begin to look at the reason for the report. Today we look at mounting a scope on the gun, using the Little Buck Rail from Buck Rail.

Buck Rail
The Buck Rail is a synthetic adaptor that fits a Daisy Buck BB gun to provide a MIL STD 1913 Picatinney rail for mounting an optical sight.

Little Buck Rail

The Little Buck Rail is an adaptor that fits over the rear sight on the BB gun. It has a hole at the rear for the wood screw that fits the top of the pistol grip on the BB gun.

Reader Terry Harman asked if I would be interested in reviewing the scope base his company makes. I had already tested a scope base for the Daisy Red Ryder back in 2016, and there was enough interest that I thought I would see what Terry’s company makes. I’m glad I did because it is very different from the previous mount I tested.

When I first saw the rail I wondered how it had been made. It wasn’t machined yet the angles and cuts were precise. Then I read the website and discovered that it was printed on a 3-D printer. I think this is the first time I have seen a 3-D printed part sold for retail. I’ve seen plenty of them used for testing, but never as the finished product. Let’s take a look at the design.

One end fits over the Buck’s rear sight. But it isn’t a simple slip fit. There is engineering involved so the fit is solid, once the part is in place. Let’s look at it.

Buck Rail end 1
The Buck’s rear sight slides up into that slot you see here, but it isn’t just a simple slip fit. There is a ledge at the base that presses against the rear sight once it’s in the slot, so the fit is very tight!

Buck Rail end 2
You’re looking at the rail from the other side in this view. The rear sight fits into the slot (arrow) and here you can see the ledge (the arrow passes through it) that presses against the sight.

Mounting the rail

To mount the rail on the Buck you first need to unscrew the Phillips wood screw located at the top of the pistol grip. Remove the screw from the gun.

Next, the rail is positioned over the rear sight like a lever or a shoehorn and the rear of the rail is pressed down. That fits the rear sight into the slot at the front of the rail.

Buck Rail install 1
This is how the Little Buck Rail fits on the gun, but not how the rail is installed.

Buck Rail install 2
Here you see the rear sight slipping up into the slot on the front of the rail. Press the rear of the rail down and the slot fits tight around the rear sight.

Buck Rail install 3
The rail has been pressed down onto the top of the gun. Now the wood screw fits through the hole in the rear of the rail and screws back into the top of the pistol grip.

Buck Rail install 4
The hole in the rail that the screw passes through has a recess for the head. So when the screw is down all the way the head is out of sight.

The wood screw is not going back into the gun’s stock as deeply as it was before. But the taper of the screw shaft is very gradual, so there will be plenty of wood for the screw to grasp. Just don’t tighten the wood screw too much or the hole will strip out.

Buck Rail install 5
The rail is now tight against the top of the gun. It’s ready to accept scope rings.

MIL STD 1913 Picatinney rail

When I examined the rail I thought it was probably an exact MIL STD 1913 Picatinney rail — not a close copy that you see on many scope rails today. MIL STD 1913 is an interface MIL STD. It describes the fit that any scope or optical sight mount must attach to. The thing about it is you are going to need scope rings that will attach to a real MIL STD 1913 scope rail. Just be aware there are many that won’t do it — even though their packaging says they are for Picatinney rails.

To illustrate what I mean, I measured one of the slots that cut across the rail. It should be 5mm in width. Let’s see.

Buck Rail slot width
I’m measuring the width of one of the rail’s slots. They are supposed to be 5mm.

When I saw this measurement I figured the MIL STD specifications had been used in the 3-D printer to create this rail. That’s easy enough to do. Well, that is where some scope rings that don’t exactly meet spec will have problems.

The first scope mount I attempted to install on the rail did not have legs long enough on both sides to reach down over the rail and clamp. I spent 45 minutes with this ring set, thinking I was doing something wrong, before realizing the ring was not really produced to MIL STD 1913.

Oh no, the sky is falling.! Now we need an expensive set of scope rings!

No — you don’t. I decided to show you how easy this really is.

Weaver rings

I selected a set of medium height Weaver rings. Weaver rings have a specification that the width of the rail base is identical to MIL STD 1913. But the cross slot is 3.8mm — not 5mm. That means Weaver rings will fit a Picatinney rail or base, but the reverse is not true. So I took the El Cheapo ring set I found and measured its crossbar for you. Remember, the cross slot is 3.5mm.

Weaver crossbar width
I’m measuring the width of the crossbar under this Weaver ring. It will fit into a Picatinney rail with room to spare.

Won’t the rings move around?

Since the crossbar is smaller than the slot, won’t the rings tend to move back and forth on the rail? No. In a centerfire rifle, recoil will keep the ring’s crossbar or key butted up firmly against the back of the slot. On a BB gun, the ring can be held in place by clamping pressure, alone, as it would be on a rimfire rifle. This is why you can use Weaver rings with Picatinney bases. I wrote a whole report on this 14 years ago.

What scope?

For this BB gun you need a scope that won’t be out of focus at close distances, because BB guns don’t shoot that far. That means either low power or a scope that focuses (parallax adjusts) very close. And we all know there is one scope that adjusts closer than any of them — the Bug Buster! It focuses down to 3 yards or 9 feet. I selected a Bug Buster 3-12X32 for the test. It had a UTG 80mm Sidwheel add-on already mounted and I thought, “What the heck? As long as we’re scoping a BB gun, let’s have some fun.”

The scope mounted in the one-inch Weaver rings easily enough and when I was finished I had something I never thought I would see — a scoped Daisy Buck!

Buck scoped
The Daisy Buck is scoped and ready to go!

Discussion

A lot of thought went into this scope rail, and while I do not believe new shooters should be allowed to use a scope until they can use open sights, that’s just my opinion. Plenty of people want to scope their guns, even their BB guns. I remember back in the 1960s, I would have scoped my BB guns if I had the money. I thought scopes meant more accuracy, period. I think a lot of people today believe they do.

In the test I did scoping the Red Ryder, the gun actually was more accurate with the scope. So maybe this is a good thing. All I can so so far is this Little Buick Rail is certainly well thought out and seems to be well made.

Summary

We have the baseline on the Buck with open sights. Accuracy with a scope is next. And given the scope I am using, I think the Buck is getting its best chance to shine.

There is one more thing I want to show you, but it will come in the next report. I can’t wait to hear what you think!


Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy Buck
Daisy Buck BB gun.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Oiled the gun
  • Daisy Premium BBs
  • Crosman Black Widow BBs
  • Dust Devils
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking effort
  • The test
  • Daisy BBs
  • Crosman Black Widows
  • Air Venturi Steel
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Dust Devils
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Velocity

Today we look at the velocity of the Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun. If you read Part 1 you know that Daisy advertises on the box that this gun develops 350 f.p.s., but I told you I didn’t think that was possible. The larger Daisy Red Ryder doesn’t even shoot that fast. Pyramyd Air says 275 f.p.s., which agrees with Daisy’s website. Today we find out what the one I’m testing will do.

Accuracy

I’ll also test the accuracy of the gun today with the open sights that came with it. I’m doing that now because I’m getting ready to mount a scope on the gun using a brand new scope mount, the Little Buck Rail, that reader Terry Harman has created. So I’m packing a lot into this report to get us to that point. Let’s get going.

Oiled the gun

Before I started the test I oiled the BB gun with Crosman Pellgunoil. That may sound odd (oiling a Daisy gun with a Crosman product), but Pellgun oil is just 20-weight non-detergent motor oil with an o-ring preservative added. Daisy has long recommended using 20-weight motor oil to lube their BB guns and they don’t have a product of their own, so it isn’t as strange as it sounds.

Daisy Premium BBs

First up were Daisy’s own Premium Grade BBs. The first 10 averaged 238 f.p.s. The low was 231, and the high was 244 f.p.s. However I think you should see the entire spread.

Shot…….Vel
1………..240
2………..244
3………..244
4………..241
5………..239
6………..238
7………..232
8………..233
9………..234
10………231

What is happening? Why is the gun slowing down? I think the oil is spreading around and slowing things down. Every time I oil a gun it either slows it down, or, through detonation, speeds it up. I’m telling you this because of what happened next.

Crosman Black Widow BBs

This time, when I shot a different BB, the reverse happened. Let’s see what happened with Crosman Black Widow BBs.

Shot…….Vel
1………..233
2………..239
3………..Didn’t register
4………..237
5………..242
6………..243
7………..249
8………..250
9………..251
10………251

The average is 243 f.p.s.. The low was 233 and the high was 251 f.p.s. That’s an 18 f.p.s. spread, but from looking at the string you can see that the velocity is increasing as the gun is shot. I think the oil is now spreading around and thinning out, and the gun is coming back to full power. To see if that was right I shot the Black Widows a second time.

Shot…….Vel
1………..252
2………..254
3………..252
4………..254
5………..258
6………..259
7………..254
8………..255
9………..258
10………259

The average this time was 255 f.p.s. The low was 252 and the high was 259 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 7 f.p.s.

See how the velocity is rebounding? Okay, let’s try a faster BB.

Dust Devils

Dust Devil frangible BBs are lighter so they will probably go faster. Only if too much air escapes around them will they go slower.

Shot…….Vel
1………..268
2………..261
3………..267
4………..276
5………..277
6………..274
7………..277
8………..274
9………..270
10………269

The average was 271 f.p.s. The low was 261 and the high was 277, so a 16 f.p.s. spread. There is Pyramyd Air’s 275 f.p.s. number.

Yes, they went considerably faster. Now I wondered where the Daisy BBs that I shot first would be. Let’s see.

Daisy BBs
Shot…….Vel
1………..260
2………..261
3………..261
4………..242
5………..264
6………..260
7………..265
8………..263
9………..263
10………267
11………266

I shot 11 BBs this time. But this time they averaged 261 f.p.s. where the first time they averaged 238 f.p.s. That’s a 23 f.p.s. difference in the averages. That’s what oiling does to this BB gun! I’m not telling you not to oil the gun. Just know what to expect when you do — and that holds for all BB guns with a similar powerplant.

I didn’t shoot Smart Shot because I think the Buck is too weak for them. If you don’t want BBs rebounding, shoot Dust Devils.

The Buck seems to be about where Pyramyd Air said it would be — 275 f.p.s. No matter what other BBs I try, if they are as uniform as these they will shoot at about the same velocity.

Trigger pull

The single stage trigger broke at between 5 lbs. 10 oz. and 6 lbs. 1 oz. It’s consistent but heavy for a child.

Cocking effort

Cocking is a kid-friendly 11 lbs. but the short lever makes it harder than it sounds. Little tykes will need to find their anchor points to cock this gun.

Accuracy test

Now let’s look at the accuracy. I will shoot 5-shot groups from 5 meters. If there are some tight groups I will also shoot 10 shots with that BB.

The test

I shot from 5 meters. I was seated and used the UTG monopod as a rest. I loaded 5 BBs of one type at a time, to keep all BBs the same for every target. I used a 6 o’clock hold with the fixed open sights. Let’s go.

Daisy BBs

I started with 5 Daisy BBs. Three landed in 0.476-inches but the other two opened the group to 2.808-inches at 5 meters. The group was fairly well centered on the bull.

Buck Daisy BB group
Five Daisy Premium BBs went into 2.808-inches at 5 meters, with 3 in 0.476-inches. Every shot was held perfectly.

Crosman Black Widows

The second BB I tried was the Crosman Black Widow. Five went into 1.341-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Buck Black Widow group
Five Crosman Black Widow BBs went into 1.341-inches at 5 meters.

Air Venturi Steel

Next I tried 5 Air Venturi Steel BBs. They went into a group that measures 2.409-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Buck Air Venturi group
The Buck sent 5 Air Venturi Steel BBs into 2.409-inches at 5 meters.

Hornady Black Diamond

The next BB I shot was the Hornady Black Diamond. It’s often the most accurate BB in my tests, but not this time. This time the Buck put 5 Black Diamonds in 4.508-inches at 5 meters. This is clearly the largest group of this test!

Buck Hornady group
Five Hornady Black Diamond BBs made this 4.508-inch group at 5 meters. It is the largest group of the test.

Dust Devils

Next to be tested were the Dust Devil BBs. They usually shoot into larger groups, and after the Hornady group, I was concerned they might miss the BB trap altogether. Well, they didn’t. The Buck put 5 of them in 3.233-inches at 5 meters. It is the second-largest group of the test, but still more than one inch better than the Black Diamonds.

Buck Dust Devil group
The Buck put 5 Dust Devil BBs in 3.233-inches at 5 meters.

Discussion

Well, none of the groups was very good. The Black Widow group was the best so far, at 1.341-inches, but even that wasn’t worth shooting another 10-shot group.

It seemed to me that the Buck liked larger BBs best. I even dropped an oversized Marksman BB into the muzzle, but it was too large to enter the bore. So the only things I could think of were the Daisy Avanti Match Grade BBs that we know are on the high side of the average BB size. They are also very uniform. The Buck put 5 of them into 2.2 inches at 5 meters.

Buck Daisy Match group
Five Daisy Match Grade BBs went into 2.2-inches at 5 meters.

Summary

Okay, we found out that the Buck isn’t as fast as Daisy says, but it does shoot around 275 f.p.s., give or take. That’s all the velocity you need to shoot at soda cans.

The accuracy seems a bit lacking, but we still have to test this gun with a scope. Remember — that was what motivated me to test it in the first place. I normally don’t care to scope BB guns, but when I scoped a Red Ryder a few years ago I actually got better groups! That will be next.


Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy Buck
Daisy Buck BB gun.

This report covers:

  • The plan
  • Blue Book correction
  • The Buck
  • Made in China
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • Power
  • Ratchet safety cocking lever — the anti-beartrap mechanism!
  • Common sense
  • Summary

Today I begin looking at the Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun. That’s quite a difference from $1,000+ PCPs — no? But this is a basic BB gun, perhaps the most basic there is. And I am testing it for two very good reasons. First, this BB gun is more suitable for younger kids than even that icon, the Daisy Red Ryder. It’s better because it’s smaller, shorter and costs less.

The second reason I’m reviewing this BB gun is because reader Terry Harman has sent me a scope base for one! It’s called the Little Buck Rail Scope Mount. Now, a scope on a BB gun isn’t a mainstream thing, but there are lots of people who like the idea of scoping them. You may recall that I reported on the Brice scope base for the Red Ryder back in 2016. And much to my surprise, using a scope on a Red Ryder did improve the accuracy measurably.

The plan

I want to report on the BB gun first of all, but that can go faster than a normal report. BBs don’t vary in velocity that much — certainly not like pellets, so I can combine the velocity test and the first accuracy test in one report. Then we will look at this new scope base and mount a scope.

Blue Book correction

I looked in the Blue Book of Airguns to find the history of the Daisy 105 because I thought it was generations old like the Red Ryder. What I discovered is there are several models of smaller BB guns and the 105 Buck is just one of them. The Blue Book also says the sights are fiberoptic, but thankfully that’s incorrect. The front sight is a squared-off plain post and the rear sight is a plain squared notch. More on the sights in a bit.

The Buck

The Buck is a very small lever action repeating BB gun. It holds 400 BBs in a gravity-fed reservoir that feeds BBs as the gun is cocked. The gun is 35.4 inches overall and the test gun weighs 1 lb. 13 oz. which is about 1.8 lbs. They do vary because of the variable weight of the wood butt.

The pull of the stock (the distance between the end of the butt and the trigger) is 10.75-inches. That measurement is the one parents deal with all the time when getting a BB gun for their children. As I recall, the Red Ryder comes with instructions for cutting off the buttstock to fit your child. I’m not saying the Buck will fit all children, but it will come a lot closer from the start.

The gun is blackened steel with a genuine wood buttstock. The front sight, lever, trigger and safety mechanism are black plastic that does not detract from the appearance, in my opinion. There is no buttplate — just rounded-off wood.

There is also no forearm, which seems like the cost-reduction step that it is. But this one isn’t new. It dates way back to almost the dawn of folded-metal BBs guns. Plenty of vintage and even antique (over 100 years) BB guns lack forearms.

Made in China

This BB gun is made in China, as many BB guns are today. The overall quality looks fine and seems no different than when the guns were made in America. We know that most of the world’s premium BBs are made in China, so it should surprise no one that the guns are made there, as well. Yes, the U.S. and China are in a tariff war right now, but the retail price of the Buck remains around $30.

Sights

The front sight is a squared-off post that at first glance appears to be attached with a Phillips screw. But that screw head is simply molded into the plastic sight that is itself a part of the muzzle cap of the gun.

Daisy Buck front sight
The Buck’s front sight is a crisp post that has a fake Phillips screw. The sight is actually a part of the muzzle cap.

The rear sight is an extension of the steel spring anchor of the gun. Lift it out and the mainspring can be removed from the gun — though a lot of other steps are necessary, before you get to that.

Daisy Buck rear sight
The steel rear sight is the top of the mainspring anchor. It does not adjust.

Trigger

The trigger is plastic, as mentioned. It is combined with the crossbolt safety that is entirely manual, thank you, Daisy! The listed pull weight is 8 lbs. and I can tell you that when a gun’s trigger pull is 4 times the gun’s weight, it won’t be easy to shoot with full accuracy. I’ll measure the trigger pull in the next report, but I can tell you right now it’s heavy. Many kids will need two fingers to fire this gun.

Daisy Buck trigger
The trigger is plastic and heavy to pull. Note the crossbolt safety behind the trigger. It’s 100 percent manual!

Power

On the outside of the lithographed box Daisy says the Buck is capable of 350 f.p.s. I really doubt that number. Pyramyd Air lists the velocity as 275 f.p.s. which I think is a lot closer to reality. Even the Red Ryder of today doesn’t get 350 f.p.s. I got 280 f.p.s. when I tested my 60-year-old Red Ryder with Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Then I got a brand-new Red Ryder and it averaged 281 f.p.s. with the same BB. I don’t think there is any way this smaller BB gun is going to exceed that!

Ratchet safety cocking lever — the anti-beartrap mechanism!

Uncharacteristically I read the owner’s manual for the gun, just in case they slipped in something special. “And after every 50,000 shots or every 5 years, whichever comes first, give the longevity screw a quarter turn clockwise. There is enough adjustment to prolong the life of the BB gun 2 million shots or 500 years before rebuilding.” And that was when I spotted the separate orange instruction sheet that tells how to cock the gun!

Daisy has installed a ratchet safety in the lever cocking mechanism. This does away with the childhood rite of passage of having the lever slap your bare knuckles. What some nasty little boys used to do was have another kid cock their gun, then leave the lever down and pull the trigger. It was sort of the kid’s “M1 thumb.” Ha, ha! Well the lever on the Buck has a ratchet mechanism that catches the lever 7 times through the cocking arc until the gun is cocked. Once cocked the trigger cannot fire the gun until the lever is brought all the way back home.

I am sure the design committee was proud of this change for the safety it brings. Little did they expect that buyers would pull the lever down until they heard a click and then assume the gun was cocked! Oh, my! Lucy, you got some ’splainin’ to do!

The current Red Ryder also has this ratchet cocking safety mechanism.

Common sense

Finally some engineer has used some common sense in the design of this BB gun. The screws that pass through the sides of the receiver all have nuts on them. Daisy always punched the sheet steel to form a screw thread on the side opposite the screw head, and when that failed, fathers all around the world found nuts that fit the screws. Now the factory is building them that way and there is no need to ever strip a screw again.

Summary

I am looking forward to this test because it’s one I never thought I would do. A Daisy Buck? Come on! That’s like taste-testing water!

But look at how water is sold today. I guess it’s past time for this test!