Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1A
Springfield Armory M1A.

This report covers:

  • What is the  M14?
  • M14 magazine 
  • M1A
  • The pellet rifle
  • Underlever
  • Cocking and the safety
  • Safety is manual
  • Loading
  • Summary

The Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle is here! This is the air rifle many of you have been waiting for, and mine just arrived. Let’s take a look.

What is the  M14?

The M14 is a U.S. battle rifle that was the primary personal rifle from 1958 until 1968. It was the successor to the M1 Garand (U.S. Rifle caliber .30 M1) that was the U.S. battle rifle from 1936 until being replaced by the M14 in March of 1958. Where the Garand was semiautomatic only, the M14 was made to be a select-fire rifle, though not that many of them were ever set up that way. It took some training and skill to control the rifle in the full-auto mode, because the recoil of the 7.62X51 mm cartridge was substantial. Because of the rifle’s look many assumed it was another BAR, but at only half the weight, it wasn’t. read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 3

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Straightening the barrel
  • 4.55 mm BBs dropped to bottom
  • It also shoots 4.5 mm balls
  • 4.55 mm lead balls
  • Velocity
  • Muzzle energy
  • Oops!
  • 4.50 mm lead balls
  • Discussion
  • What does today’s test give us? 
  • Summary

Today I tell you how straightening the barrel of this century-old BB gun went and then we look at its performance. Last time I shot a single BB out at 157 f.p.s. What will she do today?

Straightening the barrel

Boy, did I ever have a lot of helpers ready to school me on how to straighten this solid brass shot tube! The way some of you talked you would think this thing is going into a NASA satellite!

I straightened the shot tube exactly as I described to you in Part 2, by laying it on a flat steel table (on my vise) and tapping it gently with the wide head of a plastic hammer. read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 2

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Design an Airgun contest
  • The bear
  • However!
  • Tapered breech
  • Something else
  • Clearing the barrel
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Design an Airgun contest

Today is the last day of the Design an Airgun contest, and we have several interesting entries. I will announce the winner next week.

The bear

Sometimes the bear eats you! That’s almost what happened to the 1896 New King single shot BB gun today. I got one shot out the muzzle at 157 f.p.s and the next BB didn’t come out. I was still inside the gun, along with a second BB I loaded, thinking the first BB had rolled out. At least that’s what I believed at this point.

It will be hard to say what happened exactly before I get this gun running again. That’s assuming I can even do that. I will try, and I will document what happens so I can report it to you. But for now I was sure Part 2 of the 1896 New King Single Shot, the velocity test, was over. read more


1896 New King Single Shot: Part 1

Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

1896 King
1896 New King single shot BB gun.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • How this happened
  • Detailed history
  • Pop quiz
  • BB shot and air rifle shot sizes
  • Getting ready
  • Good news!
  • Summary

Sometimes we get the rare opportunity to examine something that’s really from the past. Today is such a time. We will begin looking at a New King single shot BB gun from Markham. It is the 1896 model that was made from 1896 until 1905.  Mine was made in either 1900 or 1901, as I will explain.

How this happened

Periodically I look at eBay to see what sort of antique airguns they have and a couple weeks ago I saw this listing. So I went to the Blue Book (the new edition of which should be available by this Christmas) and saw that in 95 percent condition this was a $1,950 BB gun. In 20 percent condition it is a $400 gun. This one is 10 percent at best, which meant that the opening bid of $150 was reasonable. But oddly there were no bidders. So I bid on it and won it without opposition. The listing said that it works, which is far more important to me, and I took a chance that it did. So far — it does! read more


Tell BB gun: Part Two

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BB gun
This military-looking BB gun is large and good-looking!

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
4.4mm lead balls
4.4mm copper-plated lead balls
H&N 4.45mm
No more steel BBs
Trigger pull
Cocking effort
Summary

Today we test the velocity of the Tell BB gun. There was a lot of interest in this strange old BB gun in Part 1. Let’s get right to it.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs

First to be tested were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. They averaged  275 f.p.s., with a 21 f.p.s. spread from 266 to 287 f.p.s. However I noticed something very strange when testing them. Although my backstop was only 2 feet from the muzzle, BBs were hitting 3 inches apart. Several BBs went high and to the left after exiting the nuzzle. That led me to believe that smaller steel BBs might not be the right ammunition for this gun. Reader Brent suggested I try 4.4mm lead BBs. At 0.173-inches in diameter, as opposed to 0.171-0.172-inches for the Daisys, they should have fit better. read more


Tell BB gun: Part One

Tell BB gun: Part One
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BB gun
This military-looking BB gun is large and good-looking!

History of airguns

This report covers:

What is it?
Bolt action
Shot tube
Lange Vizier
Safety
Summary

Tell him what? (ba-dump bump!)

I’ve been sitting on this Tell BB gun for two years. I got it at the Texas Airgun Show from Larry Hannusch. I had my eye on it all show long and as everyone was packing up I saw that it was gone from his table. He hadn’t sold or traded it — he had just packed it away. Yeah, I’m one of those guys!

I had some last-minute cash in my pocket, so we came to an agreement and it came home with me.

What is it?

So,  what did I get? Well, it’s a bolt-action spring-piston BB gun that looks like a military rifle And, for a BB gun, it is huge! The gun is 43.5-inches long and has a full-length wood stock. I wish it was walnut , but the grain looks a lot more like beech to me. The gun weighs 6 lbs. 6.7 oz., which is very heavy for a BB gun. read more


Walther LGV Challenger: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGV breakbarrel air rifle
Walther’s LGV Challenger breakbarrel was a short-run success in 2013.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Firing behavior
  • Sight in
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Discussion

Today we start looking at the accuracy of the Walther LGV pellet rifle. We know from past reports that this rifle is stunningly accurate. And this isn’t the last we will test the rifle. There is more to come.

The test

As I said in Part 2 I knew this rifle was accurate, so I started today’s test at 25 yards. I shot with open sights. I didn’t remember that last time I struggled with vertical groups when open sights were used. It would have been better to mount a scope right up front, so that’s what I’ll do for next time read more