The 788 project: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The Godfather’s Gold Gun giveaway
  • The rules
  • Design an airgun contest
  • The 788 project
  • Remington’s 788
  • First trip to the range
  • Free-floated barrel
  • Relieving the barrel channel
  • Ten-shot 50-yard group
  • Timney trigger
  • Glass-bedded action
  • So what?
  • Summary

The Godfather’s Gold Gun giveaway

Before we dive into today’s report I must tell you about a new feature on the Pyramyd Air website. It’s called Build Your Own Airgun. It’s an interactive set of pages that allows you to configure certain airguns the way you want them. Think of it as a custom shop where you are the builder. You put all the parts, features and finishes together for a certain airgun and then give your creation a name. Pyramyd Air will put your choices together and construct the airgun you have purchased. From that point on, every gun of that model with those same specifications will carry the name you have selected. read more


Reloading firearm cartridges: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Trimming the neck
  • Deburring the case neck
  • Uniforming the case neck
  • Primer pocket uniforming
  • Straight-wall cases
  • Tapered cases
  • How to save time
  • Mistakes
  • Summary

First I want to thank everyone who is taking the design an airgun challenge seriously. We are seeing some thought put into your designs. And remember, the contest is still running until the end of the month. Now, on to today’s report.

This report on reloading is starting to attract some attention, as I hoped it would. Your comments have been instrumental in determining what I write about. I’ll start with a comment by reader Brent.

So you don’t have to trim the neck with any tool separate than the Lee Loader?  I guess the only other things I would need to get are a tumbler with some stainless steel pins and perhaps a scale if I wanted to experiment with powder charges.  I do think you need to address leaving empty space in the case because that is a real no no with blackpowder because it tends to act as an explosive rather than a propellant then.” read more


Reloading firearm cartridges: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Military primer crimp
  • Almost done
  • Seating primers
  • Lee Loader
  • Summary

There was a LOT of interest in this report on reloading — more than I expected. And, believe it or not, I’m not finished discussing case preparation. Last week I offered to teach a man who attends my church and his son how to reload and said we would make 100 .223 Remington/5.56mm cartridges in the process. Well, that was cool, so I took my own advice and tumble-cleaned about 120 cases to get ready. Then I read the headstamps on the cleaned cartridges and saw a big problem. Most of the cases I had cleaned were military ones that I collected from my range after the local sheriff’s department went through qualification training. They get military ammo through government channels; I believe it is less expensive for them. read more


Reloading firearm cartridges: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • It costs too much
  • Case preparation
  • Cleaning detergent
  • At what cost?
  • Why reload?
  • No reloading equipment
  • Why tell you this…
  • Summary

One of the guys at my church asked me to show him how to reload cartridges and by the time everyone standing nearby had chimed in there were five guys on my list — including one man’s son. I remember many years ago when reader Matt61 asked me to teach him and we did it online through Skype. As we did I noted that Matt knew everything to do, but he wanted someone watching to make sure he did it right.

My brother-in-law, Bob, did pretty much the same thing several years ago. That tells me that a lot of people want to learn to reload! And why wouldn’t you want to learn? Ammunition is in very short supply at present, unless you reload. And the current situation has opened the eyes of a lot of people to the futility of depending on store-bought ammo. Yes, we shoot airguns, but there are some things that only firearms can do. read more


Pellet velocity versus accuracy test: Part 11

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Dammion Howard is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Christmas Big Shot on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card plus another $50 in goodies!

Dammion Howard (left) shows off some new airguns he found under the tree this year!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Happy New Year from Tom & Edith!
One nice thing about watching a TV program is that it only takes an hour or less to view. You have no sense of the man-weeks of work that go into a short production on screen. Sometimes, the same thing happens in the world of airgun blogs.

I won’t say I’ve been dreading today’s report; but from past experience adjusting the HOTS on the Whiscombe rifle, I knew it might take longer than anyone could imagine to get a good result. It’s easy to say, “Adjust the HOTS for optimum performance with a certain pellet.” Actually doing it is where you discover if it’ll be easy or hard. The report I have for you today was very hard.

I allotted several hours to the actual testing and adjusting that would have to be done. And with my past experience with the Whiscombe, I knew shortcuts the average shooter wouldn’t think of. Let me lay the groundwork so you understand what’s happening in this process

The HOTS
The Whiscombe harmonic optimized tuning system (HOTS) consists of a weight that can be adjusted in or out along the axis of the bore. A jacket around the barrel is threaded to receive this weight. The threads on the weight are very fine, and one turn of the weight moves it a millimeter in either direction. One complete turn of the weight constitutes 1mm movement of the weight.

Besides the weight, there are two other metal parts. One is a short collar that locks the weight in position after it’s been adjusted, and the other is a much longer cover that encloses the entire HOTS from sight. This longer cap doesn’t need to be removed from the weight to make adjustments, just provide access room for the special wrench that moves the weight.


Here you see the HOTS mechanism. The threaded weight is turned in or out of the barrel jacket by the wrench. Once the weight is where you want it, lock it down with the knurled collar on the barrel jacket. Then, install the long cap, and the job is done.

Where to start?
The problem is always the same: Where do you start adjusting the weight? The simplest way is to start right where you are — with the HOTS in the last position it was set. Shoot a group at that setting and go from there. I had that data, of course, from the earlier part of this test, so that’s where I began. Because the last transfer port is still installed in the rifle, the Beeman Devastator pellet still develops about 772 f.p.s.

When I shot a group at this velocity in the earlier test, 10 shots went into a group measuring 1.073 inches between centers. I was looking for a group somewhere near that size this time, too. It might be a little smaller or larger; but if it was a quarter-inch group, there was a problem with the results of the last test. The same care was taken with each shot; to do any less would have skewed the results or made them unreliable at the very least.

The first group shot in this test, shot with the same HOTS setting, measured 0.953 inches between centers. That’s 0.12 inches smaller than the group from the last test. I would call that in the same ballpark and therefore a confirmation that the last test was sound.


Ten Beeman Devastators at 25 yards went into this 0.953-inch group with the original HOTS setting. It’s close to what the gun did in the last test on the same setting.

Adjusting the HOTS
Whiscombe says that there will be several sweet spots throughout a one-inch movement of the weight, which is approximately 25 full turns. He also says that one spot will be better than the others, and that’s the one to look for. He just doesn’t tell you how to find it, other than by adjusting the weight one turn at a time. But my experience told me that the sweet spot was probably not where the weight was at this time, so I turned it in (toward the receiver of the gun) four full turns and shot a second group. This is where my experience with the Whiscombe was supposed to pay off.

I wasn’t going to waste my time shooting 10 shots if the first 5 were spread out. Why bother? I wanted a tight group, and if inside 3-4 shots — or even 2, on one occasion — there was already a large separation, it was no use going further. I turned the weight in 4 full turns and shot another group. This group teased me with the first 5 shots in less than a quarter-inch, but the final 5 expanded that to 0.977 inches. Can’t be certain because of measurement errors, but no improvement at all.


At 0.977 inches, this group is slightly larger than the original setting. Obviously, the HOTS isn’t adjusted at this spot. read more


Pellet velocity versus accuracy test: Part 10

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Kevin Currie is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card.

Kevin Currie is shown shooting a tuned .177 Gamo CFX with his son and dog. He says his CFX is scary accurate!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

Merry Christmas!
For those who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas from Edith and me! This is our last opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas before Sunday, but I would like to hear on Monday from anyone who received an airgun, airgun-related gift or a firearm for Christmas. I’ll tell you what I got, too.

Today, we’ll look at the results of this test to see if there’s a direct inverse relationship between pellet velocity and accuracy. I’ll start with the results by pellet and see where that goes.

A word about the shooting technique
The first accuracy test I did was in Part 2 of this report. I found fault with that test, though, because of how I was shooting. I wasn’t using the scope level on the gun all the time, and I also wasn’t “seasoning” the bore by shooting several shots before starting a group. Some pellets seemed to need the seasoning, while with others it didn’t seem to matter as much. I reshot the entire first accuracy test and seasoned the bore for every pellet, plus I paid attention to the scope level.

The need for seasoning seemed to go away as testing progressed, but the scope level was always consulted for every shot. I know that the level improved the performance of every pellet that was shot. The jury is still out on the seasoning issue.

All the accuracy results seen here are not from the first time I shot the rifle, but the second. All were shot at the velocities indicated. Just the shooting techniques were adjusted as indicated.

Beeman Devastators
In this test, the 7.1-grain Beeman Devastator was the “little pellet that could.” From the start, when it was averaging 1,216 f.p.s., this lightweight hunting pellet produced 10-shot groups under three-quarters of an inch at 25 yards. That went against the popular belief that supersonic velocities are harmful to accuracy.

The Devastator turned in the following performance at 25 yards.

Velocity (f.p.s.)….Group size
1,216………………….0.743″
1,123………………….0.616″
973……………………0.724″
772……………………1.073″

Okay, you don’t need a graph to see a problem here! This pellet is obviously way more accurate at 1,123 f.p.s. than it is at 772 f.p.s. Theory says that shouldn’t be because the first velocity is breaking the sound barrier, which is where all the accuracy gremlins are supposed to live.

Looking at the group size in relation to the velocity, it appears that 1,123 f.p.s. is the most accurate velocity for this pellet in this gun. That would entirely negate the theory that velocity destroys accuracy. So, if there is such a relationship, it must be subordinate to and less influential than some other influence. I think that other influence might be vibration, but that’s just a guess.

Crosman Premier lites
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite was the next pellet I tested. Here are the results of all four tests at 25 yards.

Velocity (f.p.s.)…Group size
1,134………………….0.778″
1,057………………….0.754″
915…………………….0.747″
732…………………….0.593″ read more


Pellet velocity versus accuracy test: Part 9

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Joel Cole is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card.

Joel’s winning photo is of his niece, Paysen. He was teaching her to shoot a Crosman 66 over Thanksgiving weekend.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Today, we’ll complete the testing of the four pellets at four different velocities in the Whiscombe rifle. The premise of this test has been to explore the effects of velocity on accuracy by shooting the same pellets in the same pellet rifle at four differing velocities. I will make today’s report and comment on how the test went, but this will not be the final installment of this test. There will be at least one more summary report that puts all the data into perspective. And if there are side issues to explore, maybe there will be more reports.

At this point, I think I know what I’m going to find when I look at all the data, but there have certainly been a few surprises in this test. And the surprises continue in today’s report. Let’s get right to it.

Beeman Devastators
This time, the Beeman Devastators were averaging 772 f.p.s. Since this is a very lightweight lead pellet, at just 7.1 grains, I would have thought this velocity would be about as ideal as it gets. The pellets thought otherwise. Ten shots went into a 25-yard group that measured 1.073 inches between centers. You’ll have no problem counting all 10 shots, because none of them seemed to want to go to the same place.

However, I do want to draw your attention to the upper right portion of the group. There are 5 holes in a much smaller group measuring 0.399 inches. This is what the best 5 out of 10 shots looks like, and it’s a temptation to say that this is what the rifle/pellet can do. Think not? Well, in a national magazine, a popular gun writer who traditionally shows three-shot groups when talking about accuracy, recently published an article about .22 rimfires in which all the groups were 5 shots — very uncharacteristic for him. But when he reported the group sizes, he twice mentioned the size of 4 out of the 5 shots in those groups! In other words, he couldn’t resist the temptation to make the gun sound better than it really was — even when the evidence was right out in the open. That’s why I most often shoot 10-shot groups.


Beeman Devastators did not stay together this time. This group measures 1.073 inches between the two farthest centers. But look at the much smaller group of 5 in the right-hand corner. They’re both legitimate and a fraud at the same time. They were legitimately shot by the rifle in this test, yet they do not represent the true accuracy of the rifle at 25 yards at this velocity.

Crosman Premier lites
Next, I shot a group of Crosman Premier lites. They did just the opposite of the Devastators — grouping the best they did out of all four tests. The group measures 0.593 inches between centers. That says a lot for this pellet, but perhaps not everything. The velocity at which they traveled was an average of 732 f.p.s. Is it the velocity or something else that makes them so accurate? We shall just have to wait and see.


Premier lites turned in their smallest 25-yard group of the 4 velocity tests. It measures 0.593 inches between centers.

All shooting was done with care
Lest you think I relaxed at any time during this test, I assure you I did not. Each shot was fired with the same care as all the others. The bubble level was consulted each time just before the shot was taken. I now have the trigger breaking at less than 8 oz., so it’s perfection. I’ve even concentrated on my hold to make it as much the same from shot-to-shot as I possibly could.

Beeman Kodiaks
Next up were the Beeman Kodiaks. These were the pellets that had proved to be the most accurate up to this point in the test. This time, however, they opened up to 0.864 inches between centers. You can see that 8 of the 10 shots are in a much tighter group, but let’s not go there yet. The group you see represents how well these pellets did at an average velocity of 658 f.p.s.


Until this time, Beeman Kodiaks had been the most accurate pellets. This time, they slipped to second place, printing a 25-yard group that measures 0.864 inches. read more