What is the attraction of replica airguns?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Today’s report
  • HOWEVER
  • Taste
  • Replicas used for training
  • And, there is more!
  • Engraved Colt Single Action
  • And then…
  • One more reason
  • Summary

Before I begin let me tell you that I won a Slavia 618 in an Ebay auction and it is on it’s way to me now. I bought it because so many readers have talked about that model over the years and I have never even shot one. In my youth I owned a Slavia 621 (622?) breakbarrel for a short time. I found nothing outstanding about it and it eventually got away from me.

Many years later I acquired a Slavia 631 that I did like and shoot a lot. But it had a hinky automatic safety that turned me off so much that I — well, the truth be told, I don’t know what happened to that rifle. For all I know I may still have it laying around somewhere. You can read about it in a 2011 two-part report than was supposed to have a part 3 that never got written. read more


Sig Sauer P365 air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig P365
Sig Sauer P365 BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The first shot
  • Sig BBs
  • Discussion
  • New CO2 cartridge
  • Crosman Black Widow BBs
  • What I’m up against
  • The trigger
  • Dust Devil BBs
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Sig P365 BB pistol. So far this gun has been performing as it should. I just hope it will stay on the paper at 5 meters. There are two reasons I say that. First, with guns that have a short barrel, ANY movement of the gun/barrel causes large movements of the shots downrange. Short-barreled handguns are just as accurate as handguns with long barrels — they are just harder to shoot accurately. And second, with a sight radius (distance between the font and rear sight) of just a few inches, ANY amount the sights are off will be exaggerated downrange. read more


Gletcher Nagant pellet revolver: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gletcher Nagant pellet revolver
The new Gletcher Nagant pellet revolver comes in both silver and black. I’m testing a silver gun.

Part 1
Part 2

Before I start the report, here is an update on Edith. This thing she may have/probably has is called Guillian Barre Syndrome. It does in hours what MS does in years. It is very rare — only one case in 100,000 they say. But it is curable, where MS isn’t. Or at least if the disease doesn’t go away, it stops bothering the patient.

Edith has been having waves of pain and weakness attacks, followed by short recoveries. Last evening she was in a lot of pain and could not get out of bed. But her doctor is optimistic that the treatment she is undergoing will work and she’ll have a full recovery. I took her computer to the hospital, but she wasn’t able to look at it last night. I will see her again today and hopefully she’ll be much better and able to read all you have written.

Now, let’s see what we have today. This report covers:

  • First group
  • Second group
  • Third group
  • Fourth group
  • What have we learned?

Today we look at the accuracy of Gletcher’s Nagant pellet revolver. After testing the Colt Single Action Army recently, I suspect a lot of you expect big things from this air pistol. I want to remind you that I shot the Colt smoothbore at 25 feet and today I’m shooting this pellet revolver at 10 meters, which is 8 feet farther. Yes, this one does have a rifled barrel while the BB gun has a smooth bore, but those 8 additional feet can open the group a lot with a handgun.

I shot with the gun rested on a sandbag. Right away I noticed a couple things. First, the Gletcher’s trigger pull is much heavier than the Colt. It is also more positive. I felt the two triggers were equal between the 2 guns. I shot single action only, since this was target work and double action is usually reserved for action shooting.

Next I noticed the Gletcher’s sights, while fixed like the Colt’s, are much better for this kind of shooting. The front blade is very thin, compared to the Colt’s blade that fills the rear sight notch. I felt aiming with the Gletcher was much more precise. The target was lit brightly and I was in the dark, so the sights were a perfect dark silhouette.

From Part 2 I remembered that the pellets have to be seated into the cartridges or they may fall back out. So each pellet was seated deep with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen.

First group

The first group was shot with 7 H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. They impacted level with the aim point, which was the 6 o’clock spot on the bullseye. But the group was centered an inch to the left — a fact that carried through with all pellets in this test. Seven pellets landed in a group that measures 1.805 inches between centers. Not a good showing!

Gletcher Nagant pellet revolver HN Finale target
Seven H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made this 1.805-inch group at 10 meters.

Second group

We’ve all seen dramatic differences in accuracy between different pellets, so I was hopeful the second pellet would surprise me. I also needed to know that my shooting was up to par, and a tighter group would do that. But it was not to be. Seven Qiang Yuan Training pellets made a 1.799-inch group that was nearly identical to the first group. If there was a difference, these pellets were spread horizontally while the Finale Match were more vertical.


Gletcher Nagant pellet revolver Chinese target

Seven Qiang Yuan Training pellets made this 1.799-inch group at 10 meters.

 We know from my earlier test that these Chinese pellets are high quality. So at this point I asked myself if perhaps the Nagant revolver just doesn’t like wadcutter pellets at all! Maybe I should try a dome?

Third group

The next pellet I loaded was the RWS Superdome. This time I couldn’t see the group as it formed — because the domed pellet cuts a smaller ragged hole. But Superdomes are the pellet for the Nagant. Seven of them went into 1.323 inches at 10 meters. That’s right there with some of the more expensive pellet revolvers.

Gletcher Nagant pellet revolver HN Finale target
Seven RWS Superdome pellets made this 1.323-inch group at 10 meters. Now, this is a group!

Of course the sad thing is the Nagant’s sights aren’t adjustable, so to move this group requires some Kentucky windage. The groups will open up that way. But for the money, the Geltcher Nagant pellet revolver is a real value. And please remember that this is shooting at 33 feet rather than 25 feet.

Fourth group

I thought I was on a roll after seeing how the Superdomes grouped. Another premium domed pellet would surely do as well, if not better? Not

Air Arms Falcon pellets read more


Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a competition airsoft gun in a box!

Today is the day we adjust the BAXS in the Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback airsoft kit gun to see how it affects the gun’s ablity to group. Remember, the BAXS is another form of hop-up, which is the generic name for a rubber bumper that puts a backspin on the airsoft BB as it exits the bore. That causes the BB to fly straighter and farther than it would if it were not spinning, or if it were allowed to spin randomly.

So, the first thing to do is to get to the BAXS adjustment wheel, which is located deep inside the gun’s slide. The gun must be partially disassembled, and therein lies a problem. The manual is poorly written and illustrated with confusing small photos that don’t depict what you actually must do.

To remove the slide of this pistol, the slide stop, or what the manual called the slide stopper, must first be removed. There are 2 different things that must be done precisely to get the slide stop out, and the manual doesn’t cover them. First, the slide has to be pushed back only about a quarter inch to release the slide stop. If you see the rear of the barrel dive down as you push the slide back, it’s moved too far. Second, there’s a very small clearance hole for the large end of the slide stop on the left side of the frame. Once again, pushing the slide too far back will cause the stop to pass this clearance hole, and the slide stop cannot be removed from the gun.

Of course, you don’t find out any of this until the slide is off the gun, which is too late. And the instructions are one sentence long. If you don’t know how to remove the slide, the instructions will not help you!

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol slide off
The slide must be removed to adjust the BAXS wheel.

Once the slide is off, the BAXS adjustment wheel is located on the underside of the slide and barrel assembly. It’s a small plastic wheel that’s turned by a small thin blade, such as a tiny screwdriver. A pin in the wheel limits its travel to less than half a turn, so the amount of adjustment is small. But if the gun was designed right and manufactured carefully, it should be enough to make a difference.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol BAXS wheel
The BAXS wheel is turned to adjust the amount of backspin put on the BB. The adjustment is limited to less than half a rotation of the wheel.

I noted where the adjustment wheel was when the gun was disassembled. It was close to one end, so I moved it to the other extreme end. If there was going to be a difference, I wanted it to be immediate and visible. And it was — as I will now show you.

I decided to begin with the Air Venturi Pro CQBBs that weigh 0.25 grams because they were the most accurate in the previous test. When you adjust something as finicky as hop-up, stick to one BB whose performance you know. To do otherwise would just waste your time because you would never know if it was the particular BB or the gun’s adjustment that was right or wrong.

I shot a lot of targets in this test, but I’m not going to show you all of them. For the first couple, I was just getting the BBs back on target at 10 meters. The BAXS adjustment moved the point of impact several inches higher than it was the last time. But as I adjusted the dot sight and brought them back down onto the paper, I noticed something. They all tended to be strung out vertically, but were very tight horizontally. And each target, of 5 that I shot, had 4 BBs tight together and one that was apart from the group — a flier. Only there was no reason for the flier that I could see.

So, there were 4 BBs grouped together and the fifth BB would be more than one inch away from the main group. I adjusted the BAXS a couple times to correct this, but it persisted with this BB.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Air Venturi CQBB target 1
This 5-shot group measures 3.197 inches, but the lone shot at the bottom opens it up by more than one inch. Notice how narrow the group is.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Air Venturi CQBB target 2
Another 5-shot group of 0.20-gram Air Venturi CQBBs is also tall and even narrower. This time, 4 BBs went into 1.08 inches, and the fifth shot opened the group to 2.26 inches.

There were 3 more groups just like these, and then I decided to switch BBs. The next BB I tried was the 0.20-gram Marui Black that Pyramyd Air does not stock. Being lighter, these BBs went faster than the others. The first group was really tight.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol Marui black BB target 1
Here are 5 shots in 0.847 inches at 10 meters. The Tanfoglio seems to like the 0.20-gram Marui Black BBs. This is what a good airsoft pistol can do at 10 meters. read more


Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a competition airsoft gun in a box!

Today is accuracy day for the Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback airsoft kit gun, but it’s just the first of many tests. An airsoft gun with adjustable Hop-up, or BAXS in this case, has to be adjusted to shoot its best. I’ve never adjusted a gun with BAXS, but I’ve adjusted plenty of them with Hop-up and that is how it always happens. The gun never shoots its best right out of the box. I’m assuming the BAXS is the same.

All I did today was find out which BBs are worth continuing with and which aren’t. As it turned out, I got good results with several 0.20-gram BBs, which is what the manufacturer recommends for this gun. I also did well with one 0.25-gram BB.

I’ll warn you right now, the targets you’re about to see are not very impressive. They look terrible, in fact. If you’re used to good groups from pellet guns, these are going to seem hopeless. But they do show small differences between the good BBs and those that aren’t worth pursuing, and that was all I wanted to do today.

I shot off a bag rest with the butt of the gun (the bottom of the magazine well) rested against the bag. I also tried holding it ahead of the bag and just resting my arms on the bag, but it moved around too much. Maybe next time I’ll play with some different holds.

I shot only 5-shot groups today because I was testing a large number of different BBs. In all, I tested over 10 different brands, but only the most promising will be shown here.

Sight failure!
Before I get to that, however, there was another problem not related to the gun. The Swiss Arms red dot sight that was bundled with the pistol quit working suddenly during the first session. It wasn’t the battery because that’s still good. So, I dismounted it and installed a Walther Competition II Top Point red dot sight that I got from Pyramyd Air for testing; but some funny-bunny at the factory had left the sight turned to high power, and the battery was dead. I replaced it with a fresh battery but the sight failed to respond. So — two red dot sights out of the running even before we start. That was what ticked me off yesterday and caused the rewriting of my blog.

Fortunately, I have an older Tasco Pro Point red dot sight that has functioned perfectly on many airguns over the past 15 years. That one went on for this test, and everything was good again.

Quick rundown
Sight-in was a bit frantic because I unknowingly chose the least accurate 0.20 BB for the job. The gun doesn’t like the

Air Venturi Pro CQBBs that weigh 0.20-grams read more


Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a competition airsoft gun in a box!

Let’s look at the velocity of the Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback airsoft kit gun. When I started the test, I discovered something unusual. The CO2 cartridge I’d loaded last week to test the gun initially had leaked down completely. That usually doesn’t happen until several months have passed, so it got me wondering. I’ll watch the gun and see if it happens again. I left the test today with a 75 percent filled cartridge; so if I test it again in a week and it’s out, I’ll know. And to answer your question, yes, I did use Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each fresh cartridge when I installed it.

Testing the velocity of an airsoft gun is a little different than testing a pellet gun. It’s more like testing a BB gun because the airsoft BBs come in specific weights. The velocities tend to conform to the weights rather than to the individual brands of BBs used. I’ll test the pistol today with the 4 most popular weights — 0.12 grams, 0.20 grams, 0.25 grams and 0.28 grams. And let’s get something straight right now. When we’re talking about airsoft BBs, we’re speaking in terms of GRAMS — not grains. There are about 454 grams in a pound, but 7,000 GRAINS per pound. So a gram is MUCH heavier than a grain. A gram is a decimal unit of the metric system. It’s one-thousandth of a kilogram. A grain is an apothecary (medical) weight from the old English system of weights — a system that is also used by jewelers. It was historically the weight of one barley seed, but has been standardized to one seven-thousandth of a pound.

Regardless of the weight of each BB, they’re all the same size. Their weight is controlled by the material used to make them.

UHC Precision Ground BBs, 0.12 grams
First up are 0.12-gram (1.85 grains) UHC BBs. They averaged 417 f.p.s. in the Tanfoglio pistol. The range went from a low of 406 to a high of 425 f.p.s. That’s slightly slower than the maximum advertised veloicity of 453 f.p.s for this pistol. At the average velocity they produce 0.71-foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Given the design goals of airsoft, that’s fine, because much more than that will start to injure anyone hit by them.

Air Venturi Pro CQBBs, 0.20 grams
Next up were Air Venturi Pro CQBBs 0.20-gram (3.09 grains) BBs. These are value-priced BBs that come in bottles of 2,700 rounds, 5,000 rounds and, for the serious shooter, supersized bags of 125,000!

These averaged 333 f.p.s. with a spread from 315 to 346 f.p.s. This is the recommended BB weight for this pistol, which means it will probably be the easiest one to tune the BAXS (the trajectory adjustment in the pistol) with. At the average velocity, this BB produced 0.76 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I have other brands of 0.20-gram BBs, including competition BBs; so if this weight turns out to work well in the gun, I plan to give it the biggest test. As a final note, the velocity was right where the specs say it should be (320-350 f.p.s.).

Air Venturi Pro CQBBs, 0.25 grams
This 0.25-gram (3.86 grains) BB is a little heavier than the recommended weight, but sometimes that doesn’t hurt the accuracy at all. With the right BBs, it can enhance it — and this is where having several different brands of premium airsoft BBs is an advantage. I tested velocity with the Air Venturi Pro CQBBs 0.25-gram BB that’s the equivalent of the 0.20-gram BB mentioned above, but heavier. It comes packaged the same way, and I have the 2,700 BB bottle for the test.

These BBs averaged 296 f.p.s. in the Tanfoglio pistol. The range went from 282 to 304 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this BB produced 0.75 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

TSD Tactical, 0.28 gram BBs
The last BB I tried was the TSD Tactical 0.28-gram (4.32 grains) BBs. These are clearly too heavy for this gun, but they did produce velocity very close to the 0.25-gram BBs. The average was 289 f.p.s., with a spread from 274 to 302 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this BB developed 0.80 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Loading the magazine read more


Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a real competition airsoft gun in a box!

Well, here’s something different! I’m testing an airsoft gun — actually the Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit — which the distributor calls a softair gun. Many of you don’t remember this, but years ago I used to test airsoft guns for this blog from time to time. Then Pyramyd Air got a dedicated blogger for airsoft and I stopped reviewing them. Well, that blog is no longer active, so I told Edith I wanted to start testing them again, now and then. I don’t skirmish and I don’t shoot guns at people. So, my interest in airsoft guns is in their realism and how well they shoot. That’s how I’ll be looking at this one. Since realism was the original impetus behind the creation of airsoft guns, I don’t think my views are out of line.

This test is actually the first part of a twofer because there’s also a Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback BB pistol that I have. I’ll test that one after I finish this test, but I won’t link the 2 reports to keep the confusion down. The gun I’m looking at is serial number 12021442.

Today’s test isn’t just a gun — it’s an entire shooting kit that comes with a Swiss Arms red dot holographic sight. The pistol comes with a Picatinny sight base attached to the gun but no dot sight in the package, so this dot sight completes the ensemble. And it’s an all-metal gun that weighs 3 lbs., 4.4 oz. without sights, ammo or CO2! That makes it 2.5 oz. heavier than my Wilson Combat .45 ACP when it’s fully loaded! Nothing but metal touches your hand. Although the gun resembles a 1911 somewhat, it’s also clearly different. The grip frame reminds me of a Llama Max II 45L/F hi-cap pistol because it ‘s wider, more rounded and softer than a slabsided 1911.

This firearm is purpose-built as an IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) competition gun. It’s endorsed by 5-time IPSC world champion Eric Grauffel and is a copy of the gun he uses. Its purpose is to place as many shots as possible into the highest-scoring kill zone of silhouette targets in the shortest possible time. The slide has a cocking knob located on the right rear, so you don’t rack the slide to start the gun — you pull back on the cocking knob. Even though the trigger appears to be double-action, this pistol is single-action only. And the trigger-pull is to die for! I’ll get to that in a moment.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
A knob on the right rear of the pistol retracts the slide to cock the hammer. Blowback continues to cock the hammer after the first shot until the magazine is out of ammo, then the slide remains open.

With this gun, we have a dilemma. It has blowback action that drives the slide to the rear with each shot, cocking the hammer for the next shot. With most airsoft guns with blowback, you get the feel of recoil that a firearm would have. It isn’t exactly the same, but it’s a good simulation, which is the primary reason these guns have it. However, with this pistol, we want to recover from each shot as fast as possible, so any movement caused by blowback runs counter to the purpose of the gun. We have it and it works, but we don’t really want it — except to cock the hammer. Fortunately, the makers understood that, and the blowback of this pistol does not make the gun bounce in your hand. Throw in the safety, which is wide enough so you can rest your thumb on it, and you’ve got an action pistol that’s still very controllable.

Trigger
I don’t know how they did it, but the makers of this pistol gave it one of the finest 2-stage trigger-pulls it has ever been my good fortune to try. It’s not a glass-crisp release; stage 2 does have movement. You can feel the blade as it moves, but there isn’t even a hint of creep. I’ll test the trigger for you in Part 2 and give you the numbers. But I’m telling you now — this one is very good!

Safety
The gun has an ambidextrous thumb safety that can be used as a thumb rest for your shooting hand. The reason to do this is to reduce the amount of muzzle flip with each shot, allowing you to get on the next target faster. Since IPSC is a timed competition, everything that saves time is a benefit.

The forward part of the grip frame and backstrap are both finely checkered for a better grip. I would want even more checkering, but the gun still grabs your hand well. The backstrap is a full beavertail that goes way back over your shooting hand. The hammer is both bobbed and skeletonized for speed. This pistol showcases the type of race gun features competitors would spend thousands of dollars to get.

The magazine holds both the single CO2 cartridge and 17 6mm airsoft BBs arranged in a vertical double-stack column. The specs say this is an 18-shot magazine, so I will be checking that during this test. The extended magazine release on the left side of the frame cleanly releases the drop-free magazine, and the next loaded mag installs easily in the funnel-shaped butt…because, once again, time is the issue.

Of course, the gun’s caliber is 6mm. The lithographed box indicates the pistol does best with 0.20-gram BBs that are supposed to leave the muzzle at 350 f.p.s. Velocity is also given for 0.12-gram BBs that are supposed to go out at 450 f.p.s. Naturally, I’ll test both claims.

BAXS
This pistol has a proprietary version of Hop-Up called the BAXS shooting system. It puts a controlled backspin on the plastic ball, giving straighter flight over a longer distance. It’s adjustable and requires partial disassembly of the gun to access the adjustment. The slide has to come off. It’s held on by a disassembly pin, similar to the one found on a Beretta 92FS. I’ll test the efficacy of this for you when I write the accuracy test.

There are no open sights on this gun, as it’s a competition model. But it does come with a Picatinny rail for optical sights. The rail is attached to the left side of the gun’s frame by 4 Allen screws, and there are 4 more threaded holes on the right side of the frame, although the base isn’t symmetrical and cannot be switched over to the other side. The slide is free to cycle beneath the rail and is the reason there’s a cocking knob on the gun.

These days, dot sights reign supreme in IPSC competition, so that’s what’s provided in the kit. The Swiss Arms dot sight is a holographic-type red dot that has 11 levels of brightness and the off position. Naturally, the dot is adjustable for both windage and elevation. I see that the dot is very fat, which helps with rapid target acquisition more than precision; again, time is the crucial factor. So the choice of this particular sight was well thought out.

Yes, there’s a blaze orange muzzle to comply with U.S. import regulations. And, no, it’s not okay to take it off or cover it up. If you get in trouble with this gun and have altered the muzzle, you bear the full brunt of liability for the problems it causes.

There’s also a compensator on the muzzle of the gun. It would work if the gun had the volume of gas that’s generated by a .45 ACP cartridge. But with CO2, it’s just there for looks.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
This pistol is a serious IPSC competition gun.

Initial impressions
I know handguns, and this KWC (Taiwan) airsoft pistol blows me away. It isn’t just good — it’s great, and you can tell it was purposely made that way. There’s no luck involved here — this pistol is intentionally meant to be wonderful.

I know it isn’t a precision target pistol; but it’s made for a type of target shooting, so it has to be accurate. Right? I’ll try to test it in the way it was intended to be shot.

I didn’t select this pistol on my own. I asked Pyramyd Air’s airsoft expert, Sergey, to send me the best gun he has. And this was his choice. I haven’t fired one BB through it, yet I’m already inclined to agree with him!