Marksman Premium Grade steel BBs and speedloader: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Marksman BBs
Marksman Premium Grade steel BBs and speedloader.

This report covers:

  • Steel BBs
  • Steel doesn’t give!
  • Will they fit any BB gun?
  • Do I have a BB gun with a big barrel?
  • Loading through the magazine
  • What now?
  • Benjamin 700
  • More testing
  • Weight
  • The speedloader
  • Summary

No history report today, but there will be a lot of history as the report unfolds.

Steel BBs

If you are a veteran reader of mine, you know that I have harped for many years on the fact that steel BBs are labeled as 4.5mm, when they are really 4.3mm or so. Steel BBs range in size from 0.171- to 0.1735-inches in diameter. If you are curious about where the BB came from, read this report.

And then came the Marksman Premium Grade steel BB. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only steel BB in the world that comes close to 0.177-inches in diameter. read more


Diana 35: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 35
Diana 35 pellet rifle.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Older 35
  • What was the 35?
  • Soup-up
  • The spring isn’t the thing
  • Back to the Diana 35
  • This Diana 35
  • Trigger
  • What to do?
  • Summary

Today begins a long report on the Diana 35 air rifle. If you just found this blog, here is how we came to this point. Several months ago I tuned a Winchester model 427 (really a Diana 27) breakbarrel air rifle for reader Michael. That 9-part report is pretty thorough and worth a read. At the end I told everyone that Michael’s rifle is now the smoothest spring-piston air rifle I have ever experienced and I thought it would be nice to acquire the larger Diana 35 and tune it for smoothness. That would give me an adult-sized breakbarrel that was as perfect as can be — or at least I think so. read more


What’s in a picture?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What is important
  • Opportunity seized
  • All is not lost
  • Bad picture — something’s wrong
  • What to do?
  • Lit the fire
  • Poor descriptions
  • Bad description
  • Blessings in disguise
  • Summary

Today will be different. It’s sort of a guest blog, with help from me. I’ll explain as we go.

Several years ago I wrote two multiple-part blogs about taking pictures of airguns. Several readers were having difficulty taking the pictures they wanted, and I tried to coach them a little. The most recent report is a 2-parter from 2014. It’s okay and even has a few useful tips, but the first report from 2008 is more detailed. I think it’s the better one.

What is important

Taking good pictures is indeed important, but it’s not the subject of today’s report. Today I want to discuss how a bad picture can cost you a fortune! I have addressed this subject in the past, but there hasn’t been a specific blog devoted to it. So, here we go! read more


Pioneer model BB76 BB gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pioneer BB gun
Pioneer BB76 BB gun.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • More about the gun
  • Feeding
  • Velocity
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Dust Devils
  • Air Venturi H&N Smart Shot
  • More ammo
  • Marksman Premium Grade steel BBs
  • Cocking effort
  • Anti-beartrap
  • Summary

Well, well. I finally found something to write about that a lot of you didn’t know about. You guys are getting so savvy that it’s harder and harder to do. I actually did write about this BB gun back in 2005 when the blog got started, but that was a one-time report and this will be a full test. So, it’s the same gun but different stuff being reported, and a whole lot more this time.

More about the gun

I said I’d have more to say about the gun as we went, so here are a couple new things. The first is that the rear sight is adjustable — sort of. It slides up and down on an inclined ramp, and, because the notch is only fastened by a single screw, you can also swing it to the right and left — a little. read more


Pioneer model BB76 BB gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pioneer BB gun
Pioneer BB76 BB gun.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • 1976
  • Getting ready to shoot
  • This is a big gun!
  • The firearm
  • And the key!
  • Look for them new in the box
  • Broken
  • Summary

I’ve got a strange one for you today. It’s a copy of a copy! This must be one of the strangest lookalike airguns ever made. And it copies a firearm that is itself just mimicking an era, without copying anything in particular.

1976

The American Bicentennial in 1976 was a gala year-long celebration. Grand parties were held and everyone was euphoric that the nation held together for 200 years. There were no end of special bicentennial commemorative items available. Even the airgun community had one — today’s topic gun, the Pioneer model BB76 BB gun. It is a 50-shot repeating spring-piston BB gun that cocks via a concealed underlever. It looks like a percussion rifle from a century earlier, and I think it was supposed to resemble a flintlock rifle of one additional century earlier. I guess most people don’t know the difference between a flintlock musket and a percussion rifle. read more


Tuning BB’s Diana 27: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Tuning time
  • Flat breech seal
  • New breech seal
  • Big lesson number one
  • Was there any change?
  • Oh, my!
  • Smooth
  • But wait…
  • Smoke tripped the chronograph start screen
  • Summary

What a story I have for you today! Talk about a trip to Serendib! I started writing before something incredible happened, so I will leave the start of the report as I originally wrote it and realign things when we get to the good part.

Tuning time

We learned in Part 2 that the Krytox grease that many people tout is no good for dampening vibration. After tuning Michael’s Diana 27 I wanted mine to be as smooth, so in Part two I cleaned out the 20+-year-old lithium grease from my rifle and applied Krytox, as several people have recommended over the years. But no dice. With Krytox my 27 buzzed again, though not as bad as a factory gun might. It also shot a little slower, though I think that might have been due to the breech seal and not the lube. read more


Diana model 26 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 26
The Diana 26 air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Falcons
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS Superdome
  • Trigger is great!
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • JSB Exact RS
  • H&N Match Green
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 4.50mm head
  • The final test
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Diana 26 I have been testing. Two things are different about this air rifle. It’s a Diana 26, which I didn’t hear of until recently and it’s a .177, which I haven’t had much luck with. So I chose 7 different pellets, in hopes of finding one or more than were accurate.

The test

I shot from 10 meters off a bench using the artillery hold, though I had to hold the rifle tighter than normal because the butt is so slippery against my shoulder. I shot 5-shot groups to speed things up, but decided I would shoot a final 10-shot group with the pellet that was most accurate. read more