What is it about old guns?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • I like old airguns
  • Garand
  • Peabody
  • What about old airguns?
  • Hakim
  • Falke 90
  • FWB 124
  • Summary

Today I am writing about something that moves me as a shooter and as a writer — old guns. Because this is an airgun blog I will talk about old airguns, too, but even old firearms really get me excited. Why is that?

I like old airguns

I have been holding off on a special blog series about a Webley Mark VI pellet revolver with a battlefield finish that I have had on order since June. See — BB has to wait, just like everybody else. This revolver also comes in a plain blue finish and a silver finish that I guess passes for nickel, but it’s the battlefield finish that I want. Guns with the two other finishes are in stock and have been for months — only the battlefield finish is backordered. Why is that? Why is it that more people want something that looks worn and used, rather than something brand new and pristine? read more


Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Pyramyd Air Cup Part 2

Hatsan 135 30 caliber rifle
Hatsan’s .30 caliber 135 QE Vortex is a large breakbarrel — both in size and caliber.

This report covers:

  • Today
  • The range
  • The test
  • Pellet drop
  • Predator Polymags
  • Shooting form
  • JSB Exact 50.15-grain domes
  • Discussion
  • JSB 44.75-grain domes
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

A lot of time has passed since I did the Part 4 report of the Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle. I also linked to the Pyramyd Air Cup, Part 2, because that’s where I got to see and shoot Rich Shar’s highly modified Hatsan 135 that’s also a .30 caliber spring rifle. If you don’t read any of the other previous reports I linked to, read that one, because his rifle is the highest evolution of the one I am testing today. It could probably be made as a custom modification, but given what Rich had to do to build it, I think it would cost more than the original rifle by a significant margin. read more


Tin can chronograph

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • How powerful is it?
  • Tin cans are not tin!
  • SAFETY!
  • Aluminum cans
  • Hickory tree chronograph
  • Back-door-to-hickory-tree chronograph
  • Leaf chronograph
  • The house silencer
  • Out of BBs
  • We were soldiers once, and young
  • Out of matches

No, this isn’t a “how to” piece about making a chronograph from a can. It’s a story about the past. For some of you it’s a story about “the old days” when we were kids and life was still fun. For others it goes back before you were born. But for all of you it should be interesting. So grab your coffee and let’s reminisce!

How powerful is it?

When I was a kid in the 1950s we all coveted the BB gun. As with all things in life, there were the “haves” and the “have-nots.” I was a have not, but I lived next door to a kid who was a have. Duane had a Daisy BB gun. It was some sort of El Cheapo model that didn’t come with a forearm, and it also shot to the left, but he knew exactly how much to hold off and was pretty good with it. The ownership of that small gun made him the Alpha in the neighborhood. read more


A vintage FWB 300S tests new pellets

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

FWB 300S
My FWB 300S is the most accurate 10-meter target rifle I own.

This report covers:

  • Background
  • Essentially sighted in?
  • The test
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic pellet
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet
  • Sig Match Pb pellet
  • Sig Match Alloy
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic
  • Sig Pb target pellets
  • Summary

Before we begin I need to explain why a test of three current pellets is in the history section. Besides airguns I have a lot of other things I need to test and report, and pellets are one big category. I also have some .22 caliber pellets from Sig that need a test, as well as those samples of the new Baracuda Field Target that I received at the Pyramyd Air Cup. If I don’t stop and make the time for these tests, they will never happen.

When it comes to target pellets, my most accurate 10-meter target rifle is an FWB 300S — a spring-piston target rifle that is decades out of date. But it’s the best I have, so I used it. Since it is no longer made, I put the test that used it in the History section. read more


Piston seals: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Importance of round air chambers
  • My best advice
  • Out of round pistons
  • The deal
  • Plain seals
  • Leather piston seal assemblies
  • Parachute seals
  • The PTFE seal
  • Last subject — seal materials
  • Piston rings
  • Summary

Today we will continue our discussion of the piston seal. This report was prompted by the comments of new reader Arvizu, who said, “ I noticed, too, that the seal plays an important role to define performance (sometimes small variations in diameter makes the difference). I would like to clarify that this is only my appreciation and limited experience with airguns.”

In Part One I attempted to show how a piston does its job. Arvizu’s question seemed to imply that he thought there might be an unlimited horizon for the piston seal, if only the technology could extract it. I tried to show that a piston is limited by the volume of air it compresses and improving piston seals is asymptotic. In other words there is a limit on the power that’s possible and we are now shaving small percentages as we approach that limit. To put it bluntly, we will never see the power of a spring piston system doubled by the seal. Never! read more


What’s in a name?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Luck?
  • The name means everything!
  • They rushed!
  • You want it bad?
  • No time to do everything
  • Sig ASP20
  • Launch of the Benjamin Discovery
  • Let’s keep the name and change the product!
  • Let’s keep the product and change the name!/li>
  • The lesson?

I apologize to reader RidgeRunner. I had planned to start the test of the replacement Benjamin Fortitude rifle today and I told him so yesterday. But a comment from reader Geo791 changed my mind and got me thinking about today’s report. Here is what he said.

“B.B.
Wow! You are certainly unlucky at getting good PPP airguns to review. The Urban had accuracy issues due to flashing on the baffles in the moderator. The Gauntlet has poor accuracy for some unknown reason. The Fortitude leaked air and had to be sent back. Don’t remember now what the issues were with the Stormrider but as I recall it had problems too. It’s not looking good for these price point PCPs, and the chances of getting a good one don’t appear too good either. Well, as they say, it is what it is. Too bad the Gauntlet you received was not good. Based on your findings, I would not take a chance on one. I would add that my Urban has been excellent so far.
Geo” read more


Piston seals: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Updates
  • Early leather seals
  • What’s next?
  • Now that you understand…
  • No magic
  • Don’t be depressed!
  • Leather piston seals
  • The better way
  • It’s all the same
  • Leather’s shortcoming
  • Summary

Updates

Pyramyd Air has shipped me the replacement Fortitude, so I will be restarting that report soon. Leapers is sending me a micro dot sight that I showed you recently. I wanted that to test on the Beeman P1 pistol that I stopped testing months ago, but now I also want to put it on the Chaser pistol and perhaps on a rifle or two. And yes, GunFun1, I am going to test the Gauntlet at 50 yards with the tightened shroud/barrel.

But today I want to talk about something different. As you are aware, this blog gets many new readers all the time. Often when they come in they have a question about a topic I have addressed in the past. If their question is easy to answer I will often just give them the links to the past report — if I can find it. But sometimes their question isn’t so easy to answer, and when that happens and I know that I have many other new readers who might perhaps benefit from it, I will write a special blog. Today is such a day. read more