The FP-45 Liberator pistol

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The Liberator pistol was a strange chapter of World War II.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The idea
  • Not well made
  • Actual use
  • How it works
  • Valuable
  • Buy one today
  • Why?

I have to punt today. A rifle I was trying to scope gave me fits for hours and I lost the window of opportunity for the test, the photos and the writeup. So I’m writing about a firearm that I have actually owned that many people don’t know about — the FP-45 Liberator pistol from World War II. The official title was “Flare Projector 45,” to disguise the real purpose of the gun. Bascially this is a zip gun for military use.

The Liberator is a single-shot pistol chambered in .45 ACP — the same cartridge that’s used in the M1911A1 pistol carried by many American forces during the war. It is a smoothbore, which raises a lot of questions that I will address in a moment. American troops were not issued this gun. A million of them were produced in 6 months, which tells you a lot about the lack of precision in the design. read more

Using peep sights: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Announcement
  • Bad eyes — can’t use ‘em
  • Have to sight-in!
  • History of peep sights
  • The message?
  • Not just for military use
  • The image
  • Don’t over-think it!
  • Using peep sights
  • The BIG deal!
  • The rest


The Vortek Center-Latching Air Piston that I have been testing in the Beeman R9 has leaked down all the way. This is what I was concerned about at the end of Part 4. The leakdown took two weeks. I’m sending it back to Vortek and they will be sending me another unit to continue the test, and I will test that one for its ability to hold over time.

Today’s report is for those readers who have asked about peep sights.

Bad eyes — can’t use ‘em

Many shooters think their eyes aren’t good enough to use peep sights, but they have it backwards. Peep sights improve your sighting precision, which is why many armies have used them for the past 140 years! read more

Gimmicks — what works, what doesn’t and why?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Takedown rifle
  • What am I saying?
  • Whiscombe
  • Takedown guns that work
  • Same caliber for pistol and rifle
  • The truth
  • Dual fuel airguns
  • Cocks on opening AND closing!
  • What else?

Sometimes an idea for a blog just overwhelms me. Today is such a time.

Takedown rifle

I was reading about a takedown AR in the May edition of Firearms News. This 5.56mm rifle breaks down to three pieces that are less than 18 inches long, and it even comes with a backpack to carry it. I scanned the article and it seemed like a great idea — until it hit me. I have been down this road before and it leads nowhere! Takedown rifles do not function the way most people think.

The author showed several targets that seemed reasonable for an AR. Now, ARs are not that accurate, as everyone who shoots them is aware. They are good for five shots in 2 inches at 100 yards and good ones can do a little better, but accuracy is not their strong suit — anymore than it is the strength of an AK. The author showed a 4-inch group of five at 200 yards, which is very good for an AR. He also showed a 1-1/4-inch group of three at 100 yards. Okay — three shots is a modern gun writer’s way of fudging the truth. A rifle that can put 3 in to 1-1/4-inches will put 10 into 2.5 inches. That is the real accuracy of the rifle. Still, for an AR it’s not that bad. read more

How airguns are made

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The order-takers
  • Little Joe
  • Kartoffelwaffen
  • A gun of their own
  • Home grown
  • What about a great idea?
  • Huh?

Today I will address a question that has come up several times in recent times. How are airguns made? For a number of different reasons, I have been exposed to a lot of this over the past 25 years and today I would like to share it with you.

There are a number of different ways guns get made, so let’s give each of them a name to keep them separate. These are names I am dreaming up as I write. No one in the industry refers to them this way and most people don’t even think about it.

The order-takers

The order-takers approach other companies with catalogs of things they are able to make. Most of these things are already being made, but each year they will add a few new things to their catalog. read more

The 2018 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The nature of the show
  • A chance to test a gun
  • Airgun Range
  • Crosman DPMS
  • What’s new?
  • Kahles scope
  • Sig
  • The big deal
  • Things you never see
  • John Garand’s Garand
  • Worth it?

The 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits was held in Dallas, Texas, on May 3-6, with the exhibit hall open May 4-6. For the bulk of Americans, the exhibit hall is the show, because it’s the thing they come to see. They are not aware of the numerous symposiums that are being conducted in meeting room throughout the convention center, and only because of the media coverage are they aware that both the president and vice president were there, speaking in person.

I did not attend the meeting at which the president spoke. To do so would have meant being locked in an auditorium for several hours, and I wanted to spend my time in the exhibit hall, instead. Besides, his speech was broadcast live inside the exhibit hall, so I did get to listen to what he said. read more

Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole pellet revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Legends Ace revolver
Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole revolver.

  • History of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver
  • Buntline Special
  • Sheriff’s model
  • The Shopkeeper’s model
  • Ace in the Hole
  • Fanning hammer
  • Don’t fan!
  • Removable front sight
  • Weathered finish
  • Pellet pistol
  • Heavy
  • Safety
  • Evaluation

Today we begin our look at the Umarex-Legends-Ace-in-the-Hole-revolver. This Legends airgun is different from all others because it does not attempt to copy the firearm exactly. It takes the kind of license you would expect from a person who wanted to customize his sidearm. To appreciate today’s report we’re gonna need to know some history of the Colt single action.

History of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver

The SAA came into being in 1873, two years after the expiration of S&W’s patent on revolver cylinders that were bored though, front to back. Colt started by modifying their 1860 Army cap and ball revolver to become the Colt 1871/72 open top cartridge revolver, but in late 1872 they began producing what would become the most famous revolver of all time, the 1873 Single Action Army. read more

How to treat a new airgun

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • New airgun — what do I do?
  • Be careful!
  • Lube it?
  • CO2
  • Pre-charged Pneumatic (PCP)
  • Multi-pumps and single strokes
  • Spring piston guns
  • Do I need to clean it?
  • What about disassembly?
  • How should I protect my new airgun?
  • The most important thing

Every so often I am inspired to stop and cover the basics for our readers. Many of you who have been with me off and on over the past 13 years (yes, this blog turned 13 this month) will find the things I am about to say rudimentary, but each of you went through them in your own way. My recent encounter with the Sub-1 crossbow made it clear to me what it’s like to have something about which you know very little. And, as I was in the midst of my discoveries, reader Johncpen asked this.

“When lubing the bolt of a PCP like a Benjamin Maximus would you use silicone oil on the O-ring and Remington oil behind that or just silicone oil on the whole thing?” read more