Vzduchovky, plynovky, větrovky a další neprachové zbraně
Syndikovat obsah
Daily Airgun Blog by PyramydAir.com
Aktualizace: 19 hodin 24 min zpět

Sheridan Supergrade: Part 2

Pá, 10/21/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sheridan model A, also called the Supergrade.

Sheridan Supergrade: Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Test 1
  • Unscheduled test
  • Test 2
  • Test 4
  • Pump effort
  • Accuracy next

I was able to borrow a Supergrade Sheridan for today’s test. Since we all compare this rifle to the Blue Streak anyway, I decided to run the same test that I did for my recently rebuilt Sheridan Blue Streak.

This rifle was made in 1948 and as far as we can tell, it has never been rebuilt. When the owner received it, the valve wasn’t operating correctly. So he opened up the rifle and cleaned all the parts he could see. The valve was not disassembled. He also lubricated the gun, and it started shooting for him.

I have to tell you that I experienced the same thing with my Supergrade. They don’t like to sit around. If you own one, it’s best to shoot it often, just to keep it operational.

Test 1

This will be a test of the velocity when shooting Crosman Premier pellets on variable pumps.

Pumps……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)
8…………………………602 (air left over)

This first test shows that this rifle is faster than my Blue Streak. My Blue Streak got 373 f.p.s. with this pellet on 3 pumps, where this one is almost 100 f.p.s. faster. But this rifle did top out on 6 pumps rather than 8, and the top velocity of 609 f.p.s. is identical to my rifle on 9 pumps. Mine had air remaining after 9 pump strokes, this Supergrade left air in the reservoir after 8 strokes. If this was my rifle I would stop at 6 pump strokes, because that’s all that’s needed.

Unscheduled test

I wondered about those 6 pump strokes, so I went back and did an additional test — one that I didn’t do with the Blue Streak. How would this rifle do on 6 pumps all the time? These next shots were all with Premiers fired on 6 pump strokes.

Shot……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)

This tells us that the valve is still acting up a bit. Probably with more shooting it will settle down.

Test 2

For the second test I pumped the rifle 5 times and fired a string of 5 shots. Let’s look at those velocities now. Remember — I’m running the same tests I ran with my Blue Streak.

Shot……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)

The average for this string is 552 f.p.s. That’s 40 f.p.s. faster than the average for my second test with the Blue Streak, but only 9 f.p.s. faster than the second string I ran with the Blue Streak on 5 pumps. I said in that report I thought the Blue Streak valve needed to be warmed up, but this Supergrade valve which is different doesn’t appear to need that. Because it was up to speed already, I’m not going to run another test with 5 pumps. So, Test 3 of the Blue Streak will be skipped.

My Blue Streak varied by 19 f.p.s. for 5 shots on 5 pump strokes with Premiers. This Supergrade varied by only 8 f.p.s. That is so tight! It tells me that 5 pumps is what this rifle likes.

Test 4

I’m skipping Test 3, which is just a repeat of Test 2. Test 4 is the rifle shooting vintage Sheridan cylindrical pellets with variable pump strokes.

Vintage Sheridan Cylindrical pellets.

Pumps……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)
7…………………………582 (air left over)

This time the rifle performed strangely. It popped air out after three of the five shots. This happened without me doing anything. Apparently not all the air was exhausted with the shot, because it did this after the shots on 4 and 5 pump strokes, as well as after the shot on 6 pumps. When I set it aside after this test I filled it with 2 pumps and then uncocked the striker, and it popped air again about a minute later. It’s like there is a bubble of air leaving the valve on its own.

On 7 pump strokes the rifle did not fire the first time. I cocked it again and it did fire the second time. But there was a good amount of air remaining in the reservoir after this shot.

Pump effort

Let’s see what effort it takes to pump the Supergrade for these shots. I do this by placing the end of the pump arm on a bathroom scale and pressing down until the arm closes.

Pumps……………….Effort (lbs.)

If you compare this to the Blue Streak test, you’ll see that the Steak pumps easier than this Supergrade.

Accuracy next

Now that we have baselined the Supergrade’s performance, the next step is accuracy. The owner says the rifle is zeroed, so this should be fun!

Teach me to shoot: Part 14

Čt, 10/20/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13

This is the continuing fictional saga and guest report of a man teaching a woman to shoot. Today Jack continues to teach Jamell how to shoot a muzzle loading fowling gun.

Our guest writer is reader, Jack Cooper. Take it away, Jack.

Teach me to shoot

by Jack Cooper

This report covers:

  • How a flintlock works
  • The vent or flash hole
  • Tow?
  • Not a rifle
  • Her reactions
  • Jamell’s turn
  • Not accurate

DANGER: Today’s topic talks about loading and shooting a black powder firearm. Black powder is explosive, even in the open.

I haven’t written about this subject for a couple months because BB was having problems with a video I wanted for today. He has it finished now, thanks to blog reader Kevin in CT who edited three video clips into one movie. The edited video is online today!

How a flintlock works

A flintlock works the same as any firearm — burning gunpowder creates expanding gas that propels the projectile. It’s the ignition of the powder where the difference lies. I asked BB to film several things for me to show you today. These are the same things I showed Jamell, and indeed they are the same things I would show anyone who I was teaching to shoot a flintlock.

The video you are about to see has three parts. First BB cocks and fires the gun to show how the flint sparks against the frizzen. Next, he primes the pan with black powder and repeats the cocking and firing. When he does that, the sparks from the flint ignite the black powder in the pan and you get a small explosion. There is almost no sound when this happens, because the powder is not contained. This small explosion is what ignites the main charge of powder that’s in the barrel.

The vent or flash hole

I showed you the vent or flash hole in Part 13. When the powder in the pan explodes, the hot gasses go in all directions. Some of them hit the vent and actually go through the tiny hole. At the other end of the vent hole is the main powder charge, waiting for the spark that starts it burning. Only now the gasses are contained, except for the tiny open vent hole. Black powder is a low explosive, and the main charge now “burns” so fast that everyone calls it an explosion. This time, though, because they are contained, the expanding gasses can only go in one direction — behind the bullet (or shot charge) and out the barrel.

It took you a couple seconds to read that paragraph. But the black powder that’s burning at 11,000 feet per second burns in a few milliseconds. To our eyes, it’s an explosion. And because of the gun’s barrel, the explosion is both powerful and directed. This will all happen quickly in the video, so you might want to watch it several times.


One more thing before you watch. BB talks about using a pinch of tow several times. What is tow? Tow is/are the fibers of the flax plant, before they have been spun into something useful. They are fibrous, cottony and bulky, so they make a great natural stuffing for a black powder gun.

Not a rifle!

In the video, BB refers to the gun as a rifle, but it’s not. It’s a smoothbore — a fowling piece that is a primitive shotgun. BB loads it with a single ball instead of shot, but I told Jamell that I would teach her both loading processes — ball and shot. A fowler is what she has, and it’s the principal gun that Americans used in the 18th and early 19th centuries. She got it both because it is historically authentic and also because the one she got is a work of art in her eyes.

Her reactions

Now that you have watched the video, let’s see how Jamell accepted all of this. First, she immediately comprehended how the lock works. She only needed to see it one time and she remarked, “It’s like a lighter!” Which it is. In fact, in the day when flintlocks were the principal firearm, people started fires with their gun locks. That small explosion will catch anything that’s combustable on fire right away. But there were also purpose-built mechanisms that had just the flint lock but no barrel. They were called fire starters.

The real deal! An antique fire starter that uses a flintlock.

Now that you have seen the small noiseless explosion of the powder in the pan, you understand that it can start anything on fire. It isn’t limited to gunpowder. Anything that will burn readily can be set on fire this way. Or, lacking a fire starter, a flintlock firearm can also be used. It’s clumsier, but will work if you handle it right.

Jamell’s turn

Now it was Jamell’s turn to try shooting her new gun. You saw how the gun performed when BB shot it. I watched as she loaded it, step-by-step. Then she shouldered it like BB did and fired.

Her first impression was that the explosion in front of your face is startling, but the gun fires so soon thereafter that you don’t have time to react. She said she thought she might flinch on the second shot. Most shooters do. In fact, it takes a lot of practice to hold a flintlock steady when it fires. Some never get it right. The way that a percussion gun operates is so similar to any other kind of firearm that experiencing a flintlock for the first time is usually startling. Shooters think that because they are loading their percussion guns from the muzzle they are Daniel Boone. In fact, they are nothing like Boone until they feel the fire from the lock on their face and experience the double pulse of a well-managed flintlock.

Not accurate

Jamell missed the 50-yard target altogether on the first shot. On shot number two she landed on paper, but about a foot from her aim point. We have to remember her gun has no rear sight. She is using part of the barrel aligned with the front sight as a reference.

I told her that accuracy wasn’t important at this stage. She was learning how to manage a flintlock, which takes some skill. And each lock operates differently, so you really do have to learn your gun. Her third shot was a misfire that caused her to clean out the vent with a pick before priming and trying again.

In all Jamell fired about 10 rounds in one hour. That averages out to 6 minutes a shot, which is pretty much par for the course for a new shooter. In the future she has to play with patched balls, setting flints in the cock, increasing the powder charge and several other things. All of this to both learn her new gun and to learn how to shoot it accurately

Next I will teach Jamell how to adjust her techniques for accuracy.

UTG 4-16X56 Bubble Leveler scope: Part 1

St, 10/19/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

UTG 4-16X56 Bubble Leveler scope.

This report covers:

  • What is a bubble level scope?
  • Bubble levels in scopes are not new
  • Many years in the works
  • See the bubble
  • What do you have to do?
  • Great optics
  • So far
  • The test

Today I start reviewing my dream come true — The UTG 4-16X65 Bubble Leveler scope. It isn’t in stock yet, but the first shipment is in transit and Pyramyd Air is expecting them soon. Guys — this scope will rock the airgun world!

What is a bubble level scope?

A level on the gun allows you to put the barrel and action in the same orientation for every shot. When you do that, the sights that sit above the barrel are also in the same place every time. With scopes that sit far above the bore, this is very important, because tilting the reticle by just a few degrees (called canting) will throw the shot wide. At 50 yards I have moved a pellet as much as 6 inches, based on the orientation of the rifle. Read the report titled Why do you need a scope level? to find out more.

There are levels that attach to the outside of the gun. To use them you have to divide your vision between the sight picture and the bubble level. It takes two eyes to use one. Then there are levels that are built right into the scope, itself. With these you can see the bubble without taking your eyes off the target. For absolute accuracy, this is one of the best sighting tools to come along.

Bubble levels in scopes are not new

This scope is not the first scope with an internal bubble level to hit the market. I remember seeing one in the ’90s in field target matches. That was a Hakko brand scope, modified by a gentleman in Florida.

Several years ago Sun Optics came out with their own scope with an internal bubble level. I saw it at the SHOT Show, but have never actually tested one. At least one of our readers owns one, and perhaps he will give us his impressions.

Many years in the works

I talked to Leapers owner, David Ding for many years about producing a scope with an internal bubble level. About 5 years ago he told me they were starting the project. Veteran readers have read about this several times over the years.

David brought prototypes to several SHOT Shows, but he was never satisfied with the quality of the image or the visibility of the bubble. Then, at the 2016 show, he told me he had one he was finally proud of. For some reason I didn’t include that information in my SHOT Show report. It might have been because I have been telling you about it every year and I didn’t want to disappoint you if it didn’t come out.

But at the Pyramyd Air Cup last month Leapers brought it and I got to look through it! So did several readers of this blog who also attended. We all agreed — the optics are superb! And the bubble is quite easy to see when sighting.

This is what the shooter sees when looking through this scope.

See the bubble

The reason to have the bubble built into the scope is to be able to see it when you are aiming at the target. With an external level you have to switch between eyes to see if the bubble is level. Theoretically, a bubble that’s in your sight picture should be easier to see and also to watch while you aim the rifle. I say “theoretically” with good reason.

Scopes with internal bubble levels have not been that clear or bright in the past. They have been dark and muddy and the bubble is only visible when the target is brightly lit. This new scope and bubble is very bright and visible! That’s what makes it stand apart from the rest of the crowd and that’s why I am so excited.

What do you have to do?

How does a scope with a built-in bubble level work? What does the shooter have to do? Well, relax. There is almost nothing to do except tilt the rifle until the bubble is bisected by the vertical reticle. Do that for every shot and you know the rifle is always firing in the same orientation.

Great optics

The scope we are looking at is a UTG (Under The Gun) scope from Leapers. That tells you the quality is already there. Besides the bubble it offers an illuminated etched-glass mil dot reticle with their EZ-TAP switches, a parallax sidewheel adjustment from 10 yards to infinity, emerald-coated lenses for superior light transmission and flip-up lens covers. The scope tube is 30mm, so the optics are large — again for optimum transmission of light.

So far

Up to this point I have not mounted the scope on a rifle. I’ve only held it in my hands. The bubble moves pretty quickly when you just hand-hold the scope. But, when there is a rifle underneath it I am thinking (and hoping) the bubble becomes more stable. That will be in my report, because this is the first time I have actually tried shooting with an internal scope bubble level. I did have a bubble level on my Ballard, though, and I found it relatively stable.

The test

I just had my second-generation .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder tuned for maximum shot count, and I’m planning to test it for you. I have decided to mount this scope on the rifle for this test. We already have a good accuracy baseline for that rifle, and this test will possibly show us if there is any improvement. The tune is not contributing to accuracy — it just gives many more shots per fill.

Mosin Nagant M1944 BB gun: Part 1

Út, 10/18/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Mosin Nagant M1944 BB gun.

This report covers:

  • Extremely realistic!
  • Can she cook?
  • Description
  • Dog collar sling
  • Sights
  • Operation
  • Best for last


Okay, that’s Part 1 of the report. I can quit for the day. But I won’t. Today I’m showing something very special and you have to read the entire report to find out what it is.  It isn’t what you think.

I’m looking at the Mosin Nagant M1944 BB gun that several readers goaded me into testing. Two days ago I was sitting at my table at a gun show, and the guy next to me had the firearm equivalent of today’s BB gun on his table — a genuine M1944 Mosin Nagant carbine.. It was so attractive and compelling that I considered buying it! But you don’t buy an M1944 Nagant without a lot of thought. They chamber the massive 7.62X54 rimmed cartridge that’s the Russian equivalent of our own 30-06 round. In a standard rifle it’s a kicker. In a carbine like the M1944 that also has a very short pull and a large drop at the comb, an M1944 is the firearm equivalent of allowing a prizefighter to punch you! He might not knock you down, but he’ll definitely ring your bell! Knowing that, I kept my wallet safely in my pocket.

Extremely realistic!

The first observation is that this BB gun is a very realistic copy of the firearm. When I first saw it in the box I was taken back to the M1944 I had seen at the gun show. The looks alone are enough to make it worth the price. Yeah — but can she cook?

Can she cook?

According to the readers who asked me to test this BB gun, it is very accurate. One guy said it’s almost as accurate as a 499 — the world’s most accurate BB gun! That would be something. If it tests that way for me I can see this BB gun becoming a favorite.


The description online, says the M1944 BB gun weighs 8.21 lbs., and my balance beam doctor scale agrees with that. Wiki says the firearm weighs 9 pounds, even. Of course that will vary with the density of the wood. This one should not vary too much because the stock is synthetic.

The overall length is 40.5 inches and the barrel, which looks full length, is really just under 5 inches long. There is a long freebore (space inside the barrel that’s larger than the actual bore) extending out to the muzzle. It makes the gun appear realistic at the muzzle, plus it keeps the weight down.

The gun has a realistic folding bayonet. It’s the most useless and yet intriguing feature of the M1944 carbine, and the BB-gun maker, Gletcher, was wise to include it. It probably detracts from the accuracy, because attached bayonets often do. But from the standpoint of realism, it puts the BB gun over the top.

The folding bayonet looks and performs just like the one on the 1944 firearm.

Dog collar sling

The gun comes with a realistic web sling that’s as stout as anything the Soviets ever put on a firearm. It attaches to the gun by means of two genuine leather “dog collar” sling attachments that are perfect imitations of the genuine article. If they weren’t brand new and fresh I would swear they are military surplus.

The two leather dog collars are used to attach the web sling to the M1944.

I’m going to attach the sling in a future report and show you what it look like on the gun. If you are fascinated by Mosin Nagant rifles, this feature will bring tears to your eyes!


Mosin Nagant sights are rugged and utilitarian. And they work well. There is no windage adjustment beyond drifting the front post sideways, and I’m not certain that can be done on this BB gun. But in my experience, Nagant sights are usually spot on for windage. Unlike military rifles from some other countries, including the U.S., the Soviets paid attention to their sights. I bet that is a remark very few of you have ever heard, but I once owned a arsenal-refurbished 1917 American Enfield whose sights were off by several degrees — rotated by the arsenal after refinishing and reinstalling the barrel.

I have never seen a Nagant that wasn’t arsenal refinished — some repeated times! Yet all of them had sights that were spot-on. This BB gun is just copy, of course, so we will have to wait and see.

The rear sight adjusts just like the sight on the firearm. A slider runs up an inclined ramp to change elevation.


This BB gun is a CO2-powered repeater. It uses one 12-gram CO2 cartridge. Like many such airguns, most of the action (the parts that feed the BBs and the valve that powers the gun) resides inside this removable magazine.

The removable magazine is the heart of the BB gun.

The bolt cocks the gun, just like on the firearm. But it is FAR easier to operate! You aren’t fighting a massively powerful firing pin spring and cammed bolt lugs. All who have fired Nagant rifles know what I’m saying. Just know that this BB gun is very easy to cock.

This rifle even comes with what appears to be a cleaning rod — just like the original! This one doesn’t seem to want to come out, though. It’s cosmetic.

Best for last

Here is the best part of today’s report. There are only 200 of these guns in existence! Only 200 were made. Yes, it’s a $300 BB gun now, but if they don’t make any more, how much will it be worth in 10 years — or 20? I come across things like this occasionally and experience has taught me to act when the opportunity presents itself. In 6 months you may not be able to get one.

There are more than 30,000 registered readers on this blog and easily many times that number are not registered. That many people can be reading this report. So if you want one, act now. That’s the very special thing I mentioned at the beginning.

I haven’t tested the gun for accuracy yet. If it tests as good as our readers say, then it’s worth the price right now. I promise you nothing, but watch this blog to see how it goes.

Mauser 300SL target rifle: Part 1

Po, 10/17/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Mauser 300SL. There are three finger scallops along the cocking lever.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Description
  • Sights
  • Taploader
  • Trigger
  • Not much information
  • Summary

Here we go! I told you I would be reporting on those airguns I acquired from the Gun Broker website. This is the first of them. The Mauser 300SL is an underlever spring-piston target rifle that is almost a 10-meter rifle, but not quite. After examining it, it appears the people who made this rifle were concentrating more on the style of the zimmerstutzen, rather than a modern 10-meter target air rifle. I’ll explain as we go along.


The 300SL is an underlever that looks something like a Feinwerkbau 300. But there are many differences. For starters, this is a recoiling air rifle. No attempt was made to cancel the recoil. Given that it was sold in the 1980s, that takes it out of the running for 10-meter competition. The FWB 300 was already obsolete in the ’80s.

My example weighs 8 lbs, 6 oz., so it’s no youth rifle. The large beech wood stock is evenly stained a dark brown and has three cutouts on either side of the forearm, similar to some versions of the Diana 75 match rifle. The stock is tall and squared-off like an FWB 300S stock. The cheekpiece stands away from the buttstock and is sharply contoured. The pistol grip is vertical and deeply stippled for better gripping. There is no accessory rail under the forearm, which is another departure from a true 10-meter rifle.

The barrel is just under 19 inches long. The overall length of the rifle is 43 inches, measured at the center of the buttpad.

The most different feature of the stock is found at the butt. As the photo shows, the butt pad is angled to the left by the shape of the stock. It’s done for a right-handed shooter. Even in the 1980s that was radical, because it eliminates a large number of potential customers. But it’s cheaper to shape the buttstock this way than to add an adjustable buttpad that does the same thing.

You have to see it to believe it! The shape of this stock is an example of hard-wired ergonomics from the 1980s.


The 300SL has a target globe front sight that accepts different inserts. I haven’t checked the size of the inserts yet, but I think the maker would have been smart to make them one of the common sizes. We shall see!

The front sight is a target globe with replaceable inserts. At present there is a post and bead installed.

The rear sight is where the zimmerstutzen influence really comes to light. My rifle has a factory sporting rear sight! Some zimmerstutzens also have this intermediate sight. I don’t know the purpose, but I suspect there are matches for it. The Germans seldom do anything without good reason. The Haenel 311 bolt-action target rifle also has such an internediate sight, though it is quite scarce.

The rear sight is a sporting sight that adjusts in both directions. Note the manual loading tap.

There is also an 11mm dovetail where an optional Mauser rear peep sight can be mounted. According to the Blue Book of Airguns, this sight adds 25 percent to the value of the rifle today, but that would only be true if it was an original.

This 300SL appears to have a Walther peep sight. If it is original, the Walther sight was copied.


This rifle loads from a manual tap. After cocking, open the tap, drop in a pellet nose-first, close the tap and fire. Loading taps are seldom used on target rifles because the pellet skirt can be damaged when it jumps from the tap to the breech of the barrel.


The trigger appears to be adjustable. As it came to me it was single-stage and creepy. The pull is too heavy for a target rifle. An automatic safety button on the right side of the receiver must be pushed forward before shooting every time the gun is cocked. I will look at the trigger more closely in Part 2, but from what I have read on the internet, I don’t hold out a lot of hope.

Two screws and an access hole indicate some sort of trigger adjustability. We’ll see.

Not much information

I did a quick search on the internet and found there is very little correct information about the 300SL. This series will probably become a resource for airgunners in the future. Mauser didn’t make it. Our reader, Mike Driskill, provided as much information as the Blue Book. He says the rifle was made for Mauser by the same Hungarian factory that made the Relum Telly and similar airguns. And the consensus of those who have seen the rifle agrees with me that it appears similar to an FWB 300S, though it’s not up to the same quality standards.

When they were new I saw one in a gun store selling for $375, as I recall. That would have been around 1988-90. At that time the FWB 300S was selling for at least double that price, and was well worth the difference. The Mauser 300SL is one of those airguns you buy for the looks, then discover that what you have is just a nice-looking plinker. I am tempted to make an inappropriate remark here, but instead I will just ask, “But, can she cook?”


That’s all for this report. Because the Mauser 300SL is so unknown, there will be more description in every report to come.

BSA Meteor Mark I: Part 6

Pá, 10/14/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Meteor Mark I.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Front sight hood
  • The test
  • RWS Hobbys
  • Sights don’t adjust for windage
  • RWS Superpoint
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the accuracy of the BSA Meteor Mark 1. I will just shoot with open sights today, and to do that I had to remove the hood over the front sight. It doesn’t provide enough clearance to see the bead otherwise.

Front sight hood

The hood is a stamped steel part that slips over the muzzle and slides over the front sight bead. It removes easily. I think it is amazing that it’s still with the rifle after a half-century!

The hood that fits over the front sight is too low to see the target well. It slips off, so I removed it.

The test

I shot the rifle from 10 meters off a rested bag, using the artillery hold. This rifle might also shoot directly off the bag, but I didn’t try that today. I used a 6 o’clock hold on a 10-meter pistol target.

RWS Hobbys

RWS Hobbys were the first pellets I tested. Shot number one went high so I lowered the rear sight leaf. The next 10 shots are the group I will show. They landed to the right of the bull, at 3 o’clock. Ten Hobbys went into one hole that measures 0.585 between the centers of the two pellets farthest apart. That’s a great start!

Ten RWS Hobby pellets made this group at 10 meters. It measures 0.585-inches between centers.

Sights don’t adjust for windage

After such a good start I expected great things from this rifle. The one drawback is the sights do not adjust for windage, other than by drifting the rear sight sideways in its dovetail. That may be why the rifle come with a scope. At any rate, I left everything where it was for the rest of this test.

RWS Superpoints

Next I tried some RWS Superpoints. I believe reader Dom said these would be great. And they were. Ten went into 0.615-inches, with 9 in 0.311-inches. That’s phenomenal!

Ten RWS Superpoints went into 0.615-inches, with 9 in just 0.311-inches at 10 meters. A great pellet for the Meteor!

I will say that when I shot the Superpoints, the rifle jolted forward with every shot. There was no vibration, but the extra jolt was noticeable.

JSB Exact RS

The next pellet was also the last. The JSB Exact RS pellet is also supposed to be good in the Meteor. Ten of them made a group measuring 0.674-inches at 10 meters. It’s the largest group of the test, but also very close in size to the other two!

Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 0.674-inches at 10 meters. This is the biggest group of the test.

I noticed a lot of vibration with this pellet. The forward recoil that was there with the Superpoints was gone, but vibration that I hadn’t felt since the gun was cleaned and lubricated was definitely back when RS pellets were shot. It was not as bad as when the gun was not lubricated, but it had been some time since I felt any vibration at all, so it came as a surprise.


I am very pleased with how well the Meteor Mark 1 preformed. As mentioned, the next test will be with the scope mounted, and perhaps after that I will back up to 25 yards.

The cobbler’s children have no shoes!

Čt, 10/13/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • B.B. needs help!
  • What about my Diana 27?
  • Ten yards
  • We have lost 95 percent of shooters!
  • Blue Streak
  • Spoiled?
B.B. needs help!

Before we begin today’s report, I need to ask for some help. In fact, today’s report drove this request. I was going to write about the Rockin’ Rat target, Part 2, and I wanted to show you a short video of how it works. The main thing about this target is the way it works, and trying to tell you about it is like trying to describe the taste of salt.

I can film the video, but I’m not yet familiar enough with the editing software to edit it efficiently. Pyramyd Air can’t help because they are working full time on their projects.

What I need is someone who can edit short videos for me. If I could find someone to do that there could be a lot more videos on this blog. The person should be familiar with the requirements of You Tube, because that’s where the videos are hosted.

Okay, on to today’s report! What’s with the title? Because the cobbler is so busy making and repairing shoes for others that he has no time to make them for his own family. I needed to shoot the Rockin’ Rat target with a pellet gun and realized — I don’t have a gun that’s sighted in for something close!

Sure, I can sight in a rifle for a 50-yard target. But after I shoot it and get the results, the scope comes off and I move on to another airgun. There are no airguns in my closet that are sighted-in for just hitting targets at 10-15 feet. That’s an ideal video distance, by the way. If I want to pick off a wasp sitting on the fence 15 feet away, I don’t have a gun for it. Back up to 50 yards, give me a couple hours and I’ll be good to go. Just get the wasp to park awhile. Do you see anything wrong with this?

What about my Diana 27?

The one airgun that comes closest to meeting this requirement is my Diana 27. So I took it out to the garage to see where it’s sighted-in. At 10 feet it was right on the money. As long as the target is large enough to hit with open sights offhand at 10-15 feet, that will be my go-to air rifle for targets at that distance. But what about that armadillo in the back yard, ten yards from my back door?

Ten yards

Here we go again! Shooters who shoot a .22 rimfire simply do not understand what I am talking about. They hold on target and squeeze the trigger. If their 40-grain lead bullet misses where they aimed by 3/4-inch, what do they care? Their bullet is packing 100 foot pounds of energy at the target, so a miss of less than an inch is trivial. On the other hand, my 14-grain pellet is carrying maybe 8 foot pounds of energy at the target and a miss of 3/4-inch can put me out of the game.

My Diana 27 is sighted for 10 feet, so it’s going to be off at 10 yards, or 20 yards or any other distance I care to use it beyond about 15 feet. Go ahead and ask why that is if you want, but my veteran readers already know what I’m going to say. It has to do with the trajectory of the pellet and also with adjusting the sights to hit things that are very close.

We have lost 95 percent of shooters!

By this point in the report we have lost most of the shooters. Either they are rimfire guys who haven’t a clue what I am taking about (the trajectory and low power of a pellet rifle) or they do most of their shooting in their heads, while sitting in front of the tube. Until you try to nail a half-inch target at 40 feet with a pellet rifle, every shot seems possible. Jason Bourne can do it with a pistol while falling down a stairwell!

So, poor me! I’m the guy with a hundred nice airguns and not one to shoot. Do I need a golf bag filled with rifles of different calibers, sighted-in at different distances?

Blue Streak

Or, maybe you figured it out for me. If I just shoot my Blue Streak that you all saw was incredibly accurate, I could vary the number of pumps and meet any challenge. And you would be right except for one thing. The Blue Streak takes time to cock, load and pump. When I want to shoot three aimed shots in 20 seconds for a video, it’s not the best gun to choose. Sure it’s possible, but you have to move at a frightening pace! So, for some things the Blue Streak works, but not for all things.


The Brits have a phrase that covers this problem — spoiled for choice! It’s the antithesis of the man who owns just one gun and has to do everything with it. Laugh if you must — this is a real problem. I’m like a guy in the pits at a NASCAR race whose group has asked him to go get pizza! He’s surrounded by several 200+ mph cars and no real transportation!

And I still do need some help on those videos. As a reward I will offer a free lifetime subscription to this blog — or as long as it lasts! (insert smiling emoji here)

Walther Parrus with wood stock: Part 4

St, 10/12/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther Parrus with wood stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Sight-in
  • JSB Exact Jumbo 15.89 grains
  • What to do?
  • Changed my hold
  • H&N Baracuda Match 5.53mm
  • Evaluation

It’s been a long time, but today is the 25-yard accuracy test for the Walther Parrus with wood stock I’m changing things today, so try to keep up.

I installed the Sun Optics Tactical Hunter First Focal Plane Scope in BKL 30mm Double Strap high rings. I looked at the Parrus barrel alignment before mounting the scope and noted that the test rifle has a major barrel droop. I therefore shimmed the rear ring, but I thought that would not be enough, and I was right. This Parrus I am testing droops as much as any Diana breakbarrel I ever tested, so consider that when you select a scope mount.

I mounted the first focal plane scope for this test.


I knew during sight-in that I was going to have a problem zeroing this scope because of the barrel droop. I shot at 12 feet, followed by 10 meters and finally at 25 yards/ I zeroed with RWS Superdome pellets that I thought would be accurate because of the 10-meter test results. That proved incorrect. I even missed the backstop once while trying to zero the rifle. When I did get this pellet zeroed, I put three shots into 5 inches. No wonder I was having a problem!

JSB Exact Jumbo 15.89 grains

Next I tried some JSB Exact 15.89 grain domes that were thankfully hitting close to where the Superdomes were. But when 3 shots landed in almost 3 inches, I abandoned this pellet, as well.

What to do?

That was what I feared about the powerful Parrus from the beginning. Powerful breakbarrel air rifles can be a challenge to shoot accurately. What I do when that happens is shoot a heavier pellet. That seems to slow things down. And this is where this test went in a different direction, because from this point on, all testing was done with a single brand and model of pellet.

Changed my hold

I also changed the way I held the rifle at this time. Naturally I’m using the artillery hold for this recoiling spring-piston air rifle. My off hand had been back by the trigger guard up to this point, but I now slid it forward to the back of the cocking slot. The Parrus is a large heavy rifle and this hold helps steady it noticeably.

H&N Baracuda Match 5.53mm

I selected the H&N Baracuda Match pellet with the 5.53mm head next. It was the last pellet I shot on this day.

The first group hit the bullseye right away. But not every pellet landed where I aimed. There were no pulled shots in the 1.565-inch group of 10 shots. The group is not very impressive until you notice that there are 3 outlying shots and 7 that are 0.593-inches apart. Something told me to stop chasing the best pellet and just stick with this one for the rest of the test.

Ten Baracuda Match in 1.565-inches. Seven are in 0.593-inches.

The second group of Baracuda Match pellets landed in 1.757-inches, with 7 of them in 0.595-inches. I felt the rifle was trying to tell me that I hadn’t yet found exactly what it wanted, but I was getting close.

Ten Baracuda Match in 1.757-inches. Seven are in 0.595-inches.

I was about to quit but I thought I’d give it one more try. Same hold. This time 10 Baracuda Match pellets went into 1.892-inches, with 7 of them in 0.763-inches. Something is definitely happening, am I am not understanding it entirely.

Ten Baracuda Match in 1.892-inches. Seven are in 0.763-inches.

Things I noticed during the test

The trigger became lighter and more positive as the test progressed. I could feel it moving through stage 2 to the release point, but the move was perfectly smooth.

The rifle became easier to cock as the test progressed. The total force may not have changed that much, but the cocking stroke was smoother. All my shots for this test were cocked one-hand, where I had been using two hands to this point. I think the Tune in a Tube is responsible for that.

The BKL scope mount slid back about one-eighth inch during the test. That’s obver 40+ shots. I had the base clamp screws as tight as they would go without stripping, so I think the Parrus needs a scope base that has a positive mechanical stop. There’s just too much recoil.

Using the first focal plane scope was no different than using any other scope. I never changed the magnification, so the primary benefit of this type of scope wasn’t tested. I think it will be of use to hunters who change scope magnification a lot, but for shooters who always shoot at the same distance, I see no advantage. I will say these optics are clear and bright, though.


The bottom line, I think, is that this rifle needs to be broken in. It needs about a thousand shots for things to smooth out and settle down. And, given the way I test things, we’re never going to see that.

I do want to remount the scope in a better droop-compensating mount that has a mechanical scope stop and give the Parrus another try. I have a gut feeling that this rifle might be capable of shooting 10 shots into sub 3/4-inch groups at 25 yards under the right conditions.

Time out with B.B.

Út, 10/11/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • New old airguns
  • Tune in a Tube
  • Serendipity
  • More serendipity
  • More stuff
  • Parrus inletting is tight!
  • Summary

I needed to pause from testing airguns and related products today to tell you about some real neat things that are happening in my world — and by association — in this blog.

New old airguns

I guess it’s no surprise that the blog’s history section is very popular with a lot of readers. It is for me, too, because I get to see airguns I have only seen in the Blue Book of Airguns or in old references. I now watch Gun Broker and some of the online airgun sales sites, plus whenever I go to an airgun show I’m always looking to buy something we haven’t yet seen. The Crosman 600 pistol and the BSA Meteor Mark I both came from the recent Texas Airgun Show, and you have seen what’s been done with them.

A couple weeks ago one of my Gun Broker searches paid off when I was alerted that a BSA Airsporter was up for auction. The Airsporter is BSA’s underlever that spawned other classic underlevers like the Hakim and the Falke 80/90, so it is a landmark rifle. I have actually tested an Airsporter for you when we looked at the fabulous Don Robinson BSA Airsporter, back in 2014. I just looked at that report and saw that I was supposed to do a Part 4 of that test with an upgraded scope, but that hasn’t happened yet, so there’s another one on the stove.

People ask me how I can think of all these things to write about, but it’s actually backwards. I’m never going to catch up with all the wonderful things there are in the world of airguns. Edith started me on this journey in 1993, and it’s still building steam!

Anyhow, The Robinson gun is a later Airsporter model and, as always, people were telling me that I really should try to find an Airsporter Mark I or Mark II. The seller didn’t mention which Mark his rifle was, but I took a chance anyway, because the caliber was/is .22. The Robinson rifle is in .177.

The gun arrived last week and it turned out to be a Mark I — the most-prized of all the common Airsporters. That was nothing but good fortune for me, and also for you because I’m going to test this rifle for you. It also means if I decide to sell it after I’m done with it, a Mark I commands a nice premium, so I will make some money on the deal. I usually feel good if I don’t lose much money, but when one of these bluebirds comes along I take it to cover the losses.

Tune in a Tube

But, guess what? The Airsporter had a small problem. When cocked, the piston pulled back very hard — like there is no lubrication in the compression chamber. The mainspring looked dry through the cocking slot. Well, we all know what to do about that, don’t we?

Yes, I applied Tune in a Tube and, while it took a number of shots (20?), the rifle now cocks easier and doesn’t twang. But it was pretty quiet before, so I can’t really say Tune in a Tube did anything but loosen the piston.


While on the Gun Broker site I looked at the dealer’s other airguns and saw he had a Mauser 300SL target rifle for auction. I actually saw one if those for sale in a gun store in Maryland back in the 1980s and was always curious about the performance. So I put in a bid on that one and won it, too.

To envision a Mauser 300SL, think of an FWB 300 that recoils and costs half as much (when new). Today they are scarce and desirable. And I will be testing one for you. Oh, and guess what? It buzzes when it fires! Whatever shall I do?

More serendipity

At the same time these two rifles were being auctioned, another dealer was selling a BSF S20 pistol for way less than market value. True, it is missing one grip screw, the rear sight notch and an escutcheon on one side of the grip, but those are all things I can fix. I tested an S20 Match pistol for you back in 2008. This gun is the sporter version of that one and is somewhat smaller, but no less powerful.

I won this one, as well, and I plan to give it a complete tune and test. By pure luck my Match pistol has a small bag of parts with it and one of them is a grip screw, so that problem is now solved.

More stuff

The future looks bright for our history articles. But that’s not all I am doing. Remember the Walther Parrus rifle
I have scheduled for accuracy testing at 25 yards? Well, It kicks hard, though it doesn’t vibrate very much. I pulled the stock off and saw that the piston and mainspring were pretty dry, so I gave them an application of Tune in a Tube.

The mainspring in the Parrus is pretty dry.

I wish I could say the kick was reduced, but it wasn’t. There was little vibration to begin with, and I can’t detect any difference after the application. The only thing I can detect is slightly smoother cocking, which I think comes from the fact the piston is now lubricated. I’ll continue to observe this rifle as I test it further, but for now I have to say Tune in a Tube didn’t do much, if anything, to the shootability of the Parrus. Maybe reducing vibration is its best feature.

Parrus inletting is tight!

Last comment on the Parrus is that its stock inletting is the tightest I’ve ever seen. Removing the stock on the test rifle is similar to removing a stock that’s been glass-bedded — it’s that tight. While that doesn’t guarantee that the rifle will be accurate, it sure doesn’t hurt! We will find out soon enough!


That’s what’s been cooking on the back burner for the past several weeks. I have more modern airguns coming to test for you, too, and I have quite a few action targets — including the Rockin’ Rat that I have to finish. I would say the future of this blog looks bright!

BSA Meteor Mark I: Part 5

Po, 10/10/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Meteor Mark I.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Disassembly
  • Mainspring compressor
  • The trigger!!!
  • Rust!
  • Other parts
  • Trigger parts
  • Mainspring
  • Lubrication and assembly
  • Trigger
  • Cocking effort and trigger pull
  • RWS Hobbys
  • RWS Superpoint
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Discussion

Today I am disassembling the BSA Meteor Mark I for cleaning, inside and out. I’m going to get rid of that pesky rust, plus all the grit I saw when the gun was apart last time. I’ll also be able to tell you how well Tune in a Tube had spread throughout the action,. which is something most owners will never know. There is a lot more to today’s report, so let’s get started.


This time I knew exactly how the Meteor would come apart. Even the trigger that I told you is different from the trigger in my Meteor Mark IV was easy to disassemble, although I will come back to it at the end of the report.

Mainspring compressor

I used the new mainspring compressor from Sun Optics to disassemble the rifle. It only comes into play for about 8 minutes, but it is essential to have. This time I knew the compressor better and was able to install the rifle quickly. I needed it for 5 minutes for disassembly and about 3 minutes when the gun went together again. It worked perfectly and I have to give it a good rating as an essential piece of equipment for spring gun disassembly.

The trigger!!!

The trigger in the Mark I (and I believe the Mark II, as well) Meteor is different that the later triggers and a bit more complex. This trigger is held in by three pins, one of which doesn’t hold anything, but does serve as a spring anchor point.

The trigger blade is held by the lowest pin that passes through the walls of the trigger assembly box. That pin is easily pressed out with finger pressure. When it comes out, the trigger blade and the separate trigger return spring come out of the trigger box.

BSA Meteor Mark I trigger blade out. The pin above and to the right of this one holds no parts in the assembly. It anchors two wire springs and keeps the sear positioned at the top of the trigger.

Once the trigger blade is out, press out the pin above it and the sear will flop down. Press out the larger sear pin at the front of the trigger box and the sear comes out of the rifle with its spring. All pins came out with little coaxing.

When the second pin is out the sear drops down, away from the piston path. Its wire spring tip, seen here, was resting on top of the second pin when it was in the trigger box. It kept upward pressure on the sear, to pop it up into the piston’s path when the gun was cocked.

Once the sear is removed set all the pins and parts aside for cleaning. The mainspring and piston can now come out of the spring tube. Since I covered that in detail in Part 2 of the Mark IV report, I’m not addressing it today.

The internal parts were all well-coated by the Tune in a Tube grease, except for the outside of the piston body. That was relatively dry. I think the ridges on both ends of the piston scrape the inside of the tube wall dry and don’t allow the grease to get on the side of the piston. But since that part never touches anything, it can be as dry as a bone.


The piston body was covered with some deep rust patches, though. I showed you a picture of that in Part 3. I had to get rid of the rust because it was preying on me, so I started with steel wool but wound up using a sharp knife to scrape it off. I thought it would leave a deeply pitted surface, but it proved to be surprisingly smooth after all the rust was gone. For the future I wiped the piston body with Ballistol. I then cleaned the inside of the piston body with a paper towel and cotton swabs.

A quick scrape with a sharp knife, followed by a rub with 0000 steel wool and Ballistol and the piston is rust free.The clean piston is on the bottom.

Other parts

The inside of the spring tube was relatively clean, but I wrapped some paper towel around the end of a dowel and wiped it dry. I then turned to the barrel and cleaned the breech pivot area and the detent and spring. I oiled the detent spring with Ballistol and lubed the outside of the detent body with moly grease.

That cutout in the detent allows the barrel pivot pin to pass.

The sides of the breech were lubed with moly grease. They have some places where there is galling and this will hopefully end it.

Trigger parts

The trigger parts were all covered with grit, but no rust. I brushed them with a steel wire brush, followed by steel wool and then a light coat of Ballistol. The sear and trigger contact points got a smear of moly as the trigger was assembled.


I threaded a paper towel through the mainspring coils and threaded it along the entire length of the spring. This removed the excess grease from Tune in a Tube, but left a thin film.

Lubrication and assembly

A spring gun gets lubricated as it is assembled. Depending on the design of the gun, lube is added just before the parts go into the gun. That keeps them clean and also prevents spreading grease around the workspace.

The piston went in first. The front and rear rings were lubed with moly grease and then inserted into the spring tube. The barrel must go on after the piston is installed because the cocking link interfaces with the piston. The tip of the link that connects to the piston got a dab of moly grease and the pivot pin was lubed with moly before it was slid through the hole. The detent must be pressed in for the pivot pin to clear it. Then the pin slides all the way through the breech fork and the barrel is on!

Now the mainspring can be slid into the piston. I lubed it lightly with some black tar grease I have had for years and was careful to slide it into the gun as it was greased. That kept the outside of the gun as clean as possible. With the spring guide back in the spring (black tar on the outside of the guide), the action is ready to go back together. That went quick.


I assembled the trigger in the reverse order from disassembly. First the sear and sear pin go in, then the anchor pin slides in place and finally the trigger blade with its return spring and pin go into the trigger box. But, when the rifle was back in the stock, the trigger was difficult to pull and the blade didn’t reset after firing. I had not gotten the trigger return spring back in the right position. When I removed the stock again to look, I saw that the end of the trigger return spring was not anchored by that middle pin I showed you.

The end of the sear return spring goes above the anchor pin, and the trigger return spring hook goes below the anchor pin. Each spring keeps their respective part tensioned correctly.

That short leg on the trigger return spring sticking out of the blade has to be hooked beneath the anchor pin to work.

There is nothing online that shows this, but if you don’t do it this way the Meteor’s trigger cannot function. This is what I was referring to when I said this trigger is complex. It isn’t difficult, but all the parts have to be in the right place for the trigger to work. You don’t have to force anything into place; it all fits as designed.

That done, the rifle went back in the stock and now functioned perfectly. Except for one small thing. The rifle now buzzed just a little with each shot. It was much better than before we began, but not as good as it was following the first application of Tune in a Tube.

I wasn’t going to allow that after all the work I’d done, so the rifle came back out of the stock and I applied some Tune in a Tube without further disassembly, just as I had before. Then back into the stock and this time the action was dead calm with each shot. That’s real irony for you!

Of course I could have stripped the rifle a second time and put more black tar on the parts. That would have made it dead calm upon firing, but from past experience I knew it would also slow the rifle down by 20-30 f.p.s. or more. In the past I would have accepted that, but after seeing what Tune in a Tube can do I knew I didn’t have to. Of course the question remains, what does the velocity look like right now?

All the parts are clean, and that shouldn’t slow the rifle by any amount, but it also might not speed it up. Moly was used on those parts where the reduction of friction was important. I applied black tar to the usual places — mainspring and spring guide — but I kept the amount very light, so not too much velocity should be lost, if any.

Now I applied Tune in a Tube on top of the black tar, because I didn’t disassemble the rifle to apply it. What did that do? It got rid of the last bit of vibration, but what about the velocity? Only one way to find out!

Cocking effort and trigger pull

I will show today’s velocity test in the tables below as test 3, along with tests 1 and 2 from before. First, though, let’s establish the cocking effort and trigger pull — neither of which has changed much since I started the report.

The rifle cocks with 14 lbs. of effort. That makes it one of the lightest-cocking spring guns I have ever tested.

The trigger breaks with 3 lbs. 3 oz. of effort. The pull is single-stage and the break is crisp and clean.

RWS Hobbys

The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby.

Test 1…………………………Test 2……………………………Test 3

Test 1…………………………Test 2……………………….Test 3

As you can see, there is not much change from either previous test. The rifle still performs much as it always has, though the extreme spread is still tighter than it was before any lubrication was applied.

RWS Superpoint

Next up were RWS Superpoints.

Test 1…………………………Test 2……………………………Test 3

Test 1…………………………Test 2……………………….Test 3

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet tested was the JSB Exact RS.

Test 1…………………………Test 2……………………………Test 3

Test 1…………………………Test 2……………………….Test 3


The test reveals that the rifle is firing as good as ever. In some cases it’s slightly faster, but it’s still almost exactly where it was before I started tuning. So, what have I accomplished?

First, We now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Tune in a Tube works well in this air rifle. It ends all vibration and doesn’t slow the gun down.

Next, we saw the insides of the rifle — how dirty and rusty the parts were after a half-century of sitting around. From the condition of the rifle we can safely assume it hasn’t been shot much. The wear and dirt are mostly due to the passage of time.

Next, we learned that the old way of tuning, namely a thin coat of black tar grease, isn’t as effective as Tune in a Tube. Black tar works, but it doesn’t go all the way. But when Tune in a Tube was applied on top of this thick grease, it smoothed the action the final amount. And it did it with no loss in velocity.

The rifle is now clean inside and out. It’s ready to continue testing, and accuracy comes next. While I will test it with that cheap BSA scope, I plan mostly to shoot it with open sights, so that will comprise the major portion of the test.

I checked back for a report of the .22-caliber Diana model 27 rifle (it’s actually a Hy Score 807) that is my most favorite air rifle of all and was unable to find a report that had velocity. As best I recall, that rifle is lubed with lots of lithium grease and puts medium weight pellets out in the lower 500s. It might be time to disassemble that one and give it a Tune in a Tube treatment as well.

Sheridan Blue Streak: Part 4

Pá, 10/07/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

My Sheridan Blue Streak was purchased new in 1978.

This report covers:

  • The trigger
  • The test
  • Beeman Silver Jets
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Sheridan Cylindrical pellets
  • Final assessment

Time to test the accuracy of my 1978 rocker safety Sheridan Blue Streak. You may recall that in Part 3 we paused to get the rifle powerplant rebuilt and then retested the velocity. It is now performing like new. Today the question is, how accurate are these things?

The trigger

The trigger on a rocker safety Blue and Silver Streak is single stage, but can be pretty crisp. The one in my rifle certainly is. I guessed it was breaking at around 2 lbs., but was surprised to see the electronic scale go all the way up to 4 lbs. 6 oz. It sure feels lighter than that.

Keep your files and stones away from these trigger parts as they are just low carbon steel that’s been casehardened for wear. The trick with one of these is to shim the parts to cancel any sideways wobble and lubricate the contact area with moly grease. My trigger benefits from 38 years of use, which means it’s been broken-in.

The test

We looked at power last time. Let’s now look at accuracy. I shot the rifle rested on a bag off a bench at 10 meters. I decided on 4 pumps per shot for all pellets. Wearing my new glasses, I was able to see the front sight blade sharply against the rear sight notch. The bull was a little fuzzy, but nothing too dramatic.

Beeman Silver Jets

I started the test with Beeman Silver Jets that were popular back in the 1970s and ’80s, when this rifle was new. I assumed the sights were on and used a 6 o’clock hold on the 10-meter pistol target. Within three shots I could see a dark pellet hole appearing in the orange (?) paster in the center of the target. I never looked through the spotting scope. Just shot my 10 shots and walked down to change the target.

Ten Silver Jets went into a single hole at 10 meters. The group measures 0.519-inches between centers. I can’t even do that well with some modern sporting rifles! I was more than satisfied.

Ten Beeman Silver Ace pellets went into 0.519-inches at 10 mewters. Not bad for an obsolete air rifle shooting an obsolete pellet!

Crosman Premiers

Next up were Crosman Premiers. Until recently Crosman made this wonderful pellet in .20 caliber, but it is no longer around. I have a stash of them, though, and since I don’t shoot .20 caliber that often, they should last a long time. That’s good, too, because 10 Premiers from this Blue Streak went into 0.322-inches at 10 meters. This is almost getting to the level of accuracy seen by target air rifles. Remember that I’m shooting with the open sights that came on this 38-year-old multi-pump.

Ten Crosman Premiers went into 0.322-inches at 10 meters. This is fantastic. The next stop is 10-meter target rifle accuracy.

Sheridan Cylindrical pellets

I would like to be able to tell you that the vintage Sheridan Cylindrical pellets made the smallest group of all, but they didn’t. In fact, it was the largest group, as I imagined it had to be. It is well-known that Sheridan Cylindrical pellets are just not as accurate as good diabolos. So let’s see how they stack up.

Ten Sheridan Cylindrical pellets made a group that measures 0.872-inches between centers. That’s over twice the size of the group made by the Premiers, but it’s still not that bad.

Ten Sheridan Cylindrical pellets made this 0.872-inch group at 10 meters. It’s larger than the first two, but still not that bad for open sights.

Final assessment

This 1978 Sheridan Blue Streak is is pretty fair shape for its age. I know a lot of airgunners who would like to have a multi-pump gun this powerful and accurate today.

After its first overhaul by Jeff Cloud, my Blue Streak soldiers on. It will probably go strong for another 30 years, at which time it will be another airgunner’s job to restore. Normally I test guns I acquire used for the history section, but this one I bought brand new.

Now that you know what a Blue Streak can do, you can make a direct comparison with the Sheridan Supergrade I am also reviewing. That should prove interesting.

In the future I plan to review the Benjamin 392 pump-assist air rifle for you. I won’t tell you about it now, but rest assured, it’s an interesting air rifle that’s no longer available.

Some talk about airgun lubrication: Part 1

Čt, 10/06/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Why do we lubricate?
  • The Meteor’s needs for lubrication
  • Leather piston seals
  • Velocity
  • Watch the performance
  • Synthetic piston seals
  • Summary
  • Other lubrication requirements

Yesterday a reader asked why I bothered with Tune in a Tube. Why didn’t I just clean the Meteor Mark I when I had it apart, lubricate with moly grease and be done with it? That tells me there are a number of readers who don’t really understand what is involved with airgun lubrication. So today I thought I would discuss it a little.

Why do we lubricate?

This is a good place to start. In fact, from the reader’s comments, it seems to be at the core of misunderstanding. Don’t we just lubricate to reduce friction?

Friction is a principal reason for lubrication. But there is more to it than that. Sometimes we want to reduce friction by a certain amount, while retaining some part of it that’s needed for proper operation. Otherwise, moly (molybdenum disulphide) would be the answer to everything. Some airgunners think it is. The reader who wrote the comment that got me started on today’s topic said that very thing — that I should just clean the Meteor’s parts and lube everything with moly and be done with it.

That would be a disaster! Let’s look at that airgun and see why.

The Meteor’s needs for lubrication

The Meteor was buzzing when it fired. Buzzing is caused by excessive tolerances that allow the powerplant parts to vibrate when the gun fires. Moly will have no affect on that. The parts may move faster than they did before when lubed by moly, but they will still bang together and vibrate in an annoying way.

What is needed is one of two things. Either the parts must be tightened in some way so there is less sloppiness or they must be surrounded by a material that causes the vibration to stop quickly. Tune in a Tube does the latter. While it does provide lubrication, the ability to stop vibration is its principal feature. Add to that the fact that it can be applied to a gun without disassembly and you have a wonderful product for a spring piston airgun. And a mediocre one for a CO2 or pneumatic gun, whose needs for lubrication are different.

I will address those other powerplants later in this series. Let’s stay with the Meteor for now. The Meteor is made as cheaply as it can be. Its piston is sheet metal that’s formed into a cylinder and welded, top and bottom. That kind of construction does not lend itself to the attachment of synthetic bearings called buttons, which are the number one way to eliminate slop for a piston . You saw me use buttons on the piston of the Diana 45 I tuned in the special 10-part series I did last year. Part 6 of that series shows most of the tricks I would normally use to tune a spring gun, but the Meteor’s thin metal construction doesn’t allow most of them. Because of that, Tune in a Tube is an ideal product for the Meteor. The intended use is a large part of selecting the correct lube.

For the Meteor piston, piston seal and mainspring I need a lube that will dampen vibration, reduce friction and also seal the compression chamber. Tune in a Tube with do the first two, and oil will seal the compression chamber. But — what kind of oil? The Meteor has a leather piston seal, so let’s discuss that first.

Leather piston seals

Leather piston seals need to be flexible to seal the compression chamber. That takes oil. Is the oil a lubricant? Yes, but in this case it’s being used for three good reasons. First, because it keeps the leather seal pliable, allowing the leather to flex and to therefore seal the air in front of it. Second, being oil, it lubricates the seal, reducing friction so the seal and the piston it’s mounted on will move as fast as possible. And third, being oil, it evaporates slowly, which means the seal will stay pliable longer. But longer than what? Well, longer than water, for example.

Water will lubricate the leather and make it pliable. A water-soaked piston seal will seal the compression chamber about as well as one soaked in oil. But water evaporates rapidly and will dry out. When it does, the leather will shrink and harden. If left that way, it will break up in small particles every time it is moved, as in firing. And, if left for long enough it will eventually dry completely, allowing the leather to deteriorate by a process we call dry rot. Oil may dry to a point, but even when appearing dry some will remain for years, preserving the leather if it isn’t worked too hard. I have seen the leather seals in airguns that were over one-hundred years old, and they were still in working condition because they had been oiled.


The velocity of the airgun also plays a factor in the choices for lubricants. The Cardews showed in their experiments that were documented in the book, <i>The Airgun from Trigger to Target</i>,       that when a spring piston airgun approaches 600 f.p.s. muzzle velocity it starts burning some of the lubricant in the compression chamber. That is called dieseling. Like any other internal combustion engine, this burning of oils generates energy of its own. In an experiment the Cardews shot a 14.4-grain .22-caliber pellet in an HW 35 at 636 f.p.s. when the gun was properly lubricated. When the same gun was fired in a pure nitrogen atmosphere where combustion was not supported, the same pellet only shot 426 f.p.s. This proved that combustion was generating part of the energy in that airgun.

My BSA Meteor Mark I shoots light lead pellets at greater than 600 f.p.s. So it is safe to assume that it, too, is dieseling with every shot. If water was used on the leather seal, the gun couldn’t diesel and the resulting velocity would be much slower. But consider this. If I used a type of oil that combusts readily, such as one made from petroleum, the gun might go from dieseling to detonating, which means exploding with every shot.

Therefore, for guns that shoot in the high 400s to the mid-500s, like Diana 25s and 27s, I recommend a piston seal oil that’s petroleum-based, like Crosman Pellgunoil. For guns that approach 600 f.p.s. and more I recommend high-flashpoint silicone chamber oil. Now you know the answer to what oil to use in a spring gun that you suspect has a leather piston seal. It’s based on the gun’s potential velocity, and if you don’t know what that is, watch the performance of the gun after you oil the piston.

My final comment about water on leather seals — don’t do it! That was mentioned for the purpose of discussion, only. Water inside a spring gun would rapidly oxidize and cause the gun to rust.

Watch the performance

If the gun you have oiled smokes after each shot without any noise, you are using the right type of oil on the piston. It may detonate a few times at first, but two or three explosions is all you should hear. If it keeps on exploding, you used the wrong type of oil. Since the seal is leather, just wait a few months, then oil it with silicone chamber oil from then on.

Synthetic piston seals

The oil for synthetic piston seals does something different than the oil for a leather seal. A modern synthetic seal is self-lubricating, which really means that the seal material has a very low coefficient of friction. It doesn’t need oil to work its best — at least not from the standpoint of friction.

A synthetic seal uses oil as an additional air barrier between the edge of the seal and the compression chamber. Like the oil in your car’s engine, the oil in your airgun compression chamber just makes the piston seal better. Don’t use too much oil, though, because the act of firing will vaporize some of the oil and cause it to detonate inside the compression chamber.

Synthetic seals come in all modern airguns, but since most of them shoot faster than 600 f.p.s., I advise everyone to use silicone chamber oil for their seals. It saves me having to explain all that is in this report, every time I talk to a new airgunner.


Today we have discussed lubricants used for two purposes. The first is to reduce vibration between moving parts in a spring-piston powerplant. And the second is to lubricate the piston seal.

When it comes to the piston seal we discussed the three purposes for oiling leather piston seals, and what types of oils work best. We learned that it depends on the power the gun produces. We also discussed what lubrication does for synthetic seals, and how that differs from the needs of leather piston seals.

I held nothing back today. If this report put you to sleep, my advice is to have someone else tune your spring guns. And, I’m just getting started. There are other lubrication requirements that deserve a thorough presentation as well.

Other lubrication requirements

Sealing pneumatic and gas reservoirs and valves
Reducing friction on metal parts
…heavy wearing parts like linkages
…piston bodies and spring guides
Oiling pellets

As you can see, there is a lot to lubricating airguns, and I plan to tell it all.

Daisy’s Red Ryder: Part 5

St, 10/05/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

Daisy Red Ryder.

This report covers:

  • Scoped
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Avanti Precision Ground Shot
  • Discussion
  • Umarex Precision Steel BBs
  • Results

I said I would come back to the Brice scope base for the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, and today is the day. As you may recall from Part 4, the spacer under the rear of the base I am testing is too tall for the gun and it makes the gun shoot too high. I trimmed about a third off the height for today’s test.


I also mounted a vintage Leapers Accushot 3-12X44 SWAT mil dot scope that looks like the scope I linked to, except it doesn’t have the etched reticle or illumination.

This Leapers scope is an oldie, but it still works great. Looks big on the Red Ryder, doesn’t it?

The gun still shot high, but I was able to use the mil dots in the scope’s reticle to hold under and get a good point of aim. I also understand that the Brice bases that are being sold now have much lower spacers, so you shouldn’t have this problem.

I shot from 5 meters, seated and using a UTG Monopod rest to steady the gun. I was able to shoot right-handed today, which made this test go easier.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs

First to be tested were 10 Hornady Black Diamond BBs. They were the most accurate in the last test and I thought they would be a good place to start.

In Part 4 with a red dot sight, 10 Hornady BBs went into 1.867-inches at 5 meters. Today, 10 went into 1.272-inches. That looks significantly better and I will say that the scope did make it easier to see the target and to hold more precisely.

Ten Hornady Black Diamond BBs went into 1.272-inches at 5 meters.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot

For the second BB I loaded 10 Avanti Precision Ground Shot. I secretly hoped they would do surprisingly well. Nine of them did — going into a group that measures 0.991-inches between centers. But that last shot, which came in the middle of the string, opened the group to 1.768-inches. I’d like to say it was a pulled shot, but I can’t. I did have one pulled shot that I called, but not in these 10.

Ten Avanti Precision Ground Shot went into 1.768-inches at 5 meters. Nine of them went into 0.991-inches.


From the results of these first two targets I am seeing that the Brice scope base and a good scope really do help the Daisy Red Ryder shoot more accurately. But I wished it was better. And, then it was!

Umarex Precision Steel BBs

Sometimes you luck into the right ammunition by accident. That’s why we try so many different rounds when testing for accuracy. Apparently this Red Ryder loves the Umarex Precision Steel BBs, because it put 10 of them into 1.327-inches at 5 meters. Nine are in 0.925-inches and 8 are in 0.61-inches! This is the BB for this gun.

Here we go! Ten in 1.327-inches, 9 in 0.925-inches and 8 in 0.61-inches at 5 meters.


What this demonstrates is the modern Red Ryder can be reasonably accurate. It’s hard to hold such a light gun steady, and the overly heavy trigger doesn’t help matters, but the Brice scope base does bring out the accuracy potential. It’s no Daisy 499, but we never expected it to be. This one is shooting better than I thought they ever could, thanks to the Brice base.

I will do one more report on the Daisy Red Ryder. That one will be a velocity test of this new gun. I tested the velocity of my vintage model 111-40 in Part 2 of this report, but switched to the current Red Ryder when I discovered the Brice base will not fit a vintage gun. So I will close the loop by testing the velocity of the current gun and comparing it to the vintage gun. It should be interesting.

Sun Optics 4-14X44 Tactical Hunter First Focal Plane scope: Part 1

Út, 10/04/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sun Optics 4-14X44 Tactical Hunter First Focal Plane scope.

This report covers:

  • What is a first focal plane scope?
  • Second focal plane scopes
  • First Focal Plane
  • So what?
  • Last comment before we look at the scope
  • The scope in question
  • Clear optics
  • Focus
  • Parallax adjustment
  • Windage & elevation
  • I am impressed
  • First test

I saw this scope at the 2016 Texas Airgun Show. It was on the Sun Optics table, along with that mainspring compressor I have already shared with you. Duane Sorenson from Sun Optics told me his company had this line of first focal plane scopes that were being made for them in Japan, and i really should look at one. When I looked through the scope I’m reviewing for you today, I knew I had to tell you about it. The optics were stunning! That’s why I’m reviewing it — not because it is a first focal plane scope, though I have wanted to review one of those for a while, but for the sharpness and clarity. But let’s talk about that first focal plane feature first.

What is a first focal plane scope?

This is a feature we are starting to hear a lot about, but what does it mean? It refers to where in the optical package the reticle is placed. Reticle placement affects how the reticle appears at differing magnifications in a variable scope.

Second focal plane scopes

To explain first focal plane scopes I have to first explain the second focal plane scopes that are so common to us. Americans are quite used to second focal plane scopes in which the reticle always appears to the user to be the same size, as the magnification of the scope is changed. BUT — now stay with me here, because this is a big deal, but it’s also a little confusing — if the reticle always appears to be the same size regardless of the scope’s magnification, it actually covers more or less of the target as the magnification changes. It therefore grows and shrinks as power is changed. It doesn’t appear to, but in reality, it does.

When the target appears small because the scope’s magnification is low, the reticle covers a certain amount of it. If you increase the magnification the target grows larger in apparent size, but the reticle stays the same size as it was. When the target appears larger, the reticle that never changes size covers less of it. Let me illustrate.

The second focal plane reticle remains the same apparent size as the magnification changes. That means when the target appears larger, the reticle covers less of it.

First Focal Plane

In a scope where the reticle is placed in the first focal plane, you will actually see the reticle change in size as the scope’s magnification changes. Since the target also changes in size that means the reticle stays the same size, in relation to the target, at all magnifications.

With a first focal plane scope, the reticle appears to grow in size (thickness of the lines) as the magnification increases. It is actually remaining constant, relative to the target that’s also increasing in size.

So what?

What’s the big deal, you might ask? What is the benefit, if any, of the first focal plane scope? You understand that the reticle grows and shrinks as the magnification changes, but why is that a good thing?

Maybe it’s not a good thing at all. But that’s not the advantage of this kind of scope. The big advantage of a first focal plane scope is that, as the magnification changes, the scope’s zero remains constant. With a second focal plane scope the zero can wander a little as the power is adjusted.

Last comment before we look at the scope

There is a lot more more to say about first focal plane scopes, but I will save that for later. The last thing I’ll say today is that if you own a second fiocal plane scope — and most of them in this country are second focal plane — all you have to do is keep it set at one magnification and the problem of a wandering zero goes away. There’s no need to throw all your scopes away — they still work fine. Now, I want to look at today’s scope

The scope in question

I told you I was impressed when I first looked through this scope at the show. That hasn’t changed. This is an expensive scope, at nearly $500 retail, but all first focal plane scopes tend to cost more. Actually, in terms of the market, this scope is a bargain! It runs about half of what other similar scopes cost.

Clear optics

The optics in this one are as clear as crystal. In fact, I doubt that even Meopta could do much better than what I see here!

The reticle is one I haven’t seen before. It has a lot of ways to measure things downrange.

This is the reticle in the scope I am testing.


The focus looks sharp to me, but it’s difficult to tell without mounting the scope on a rifle. The exit pupil is fairly critical and if your eye isn’t aligned well the image goes dark — especially on higher powers. That is usually the sign of a high-quality scope.

Parallax adjustment

The scope adjusts for parallax from 10 yards to infinity. The adjustment is a side-mounted knob located on the left side of the turret, opposite the windage knob. Over half the adjustment range is given to 10-50 yards which makes this a great scope for airgunners.

Windage and elevation

The windage and elevation adjustments are clicks in 1/10-mil increments. Think 1/10-inch at 100 yards. That’s not exact, but pretty close. The adjustment knobs are target knobs (meaning tall knobs with markings on their exterior) and they pull out to unlock.

I am impressed

Given the price and quality, I am impressed with this new scope. Would you be interested if they were available here?

First test

I think I will mount this scope on the Walther Parrus rifle that has been sitting patiently, awaiting my 25-yard accuracy test. As strong as that springer is, it will give this scope a good test! I may even give it a dose of Tune in a Tube to mellow the powerplant more.

So, you are going to hear more about this scope!

BSA Meteor Mark I: Part 4

Po, 10/03/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Meteor Mark I.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Applying Tune in a Tube
  • Not greasing a tractor
  • Well?
  • The test
  • Hobbys
  • RWS Superpoints
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Shut my mouth!
  • Next

Today we find out whether Tune in a Tube works on my BSA Meteor Mark I. Before we get into that, though I want to say a couple more things about the rifle. Reader RidgeRunner asked if the detent has a groove cut into it for the pivot pin. Yes, it does. And the trigger of this Mark I is significantly different than the trigger on my Mark IV Super Meteor that I showed you.

I plan to photograph both items in the report when I clean and re-tune the rifle, just so we have a good record, because this trigger is not that simple to assemble. Or perhaps it is simple, but it only goes together one way, which is not completely obvious. So I will document that in the next report.

Applying Tune in a Tube

The directions for Tune in a Tube are very simple. Pull the barreled action out of the stock and apply several thin lines of the grease on the coils of the mainspring through the cocking slot. Sound simple — right? It is simple, until you go to do it. I am so glad this test was on a Meteor, because the cocking slot on a Meteor is not that exposed. Here, let me show you.

Here is the cocking slot of the Meteor. The mainspring is not as exposed as you might think. Not a lot of room to apply the grease. Look at the extreme left of the picture. See the small window where the spring is exposed? The spring guide isn’t blocking it there, either, so you have good access to the entire inside of the spring cylinder in that spot.

Not greasing a tractor

Okay, guys, time to grease the gun.  This is where the term “sparingly” comes into play. We aren’t greasing a tractor! The directions say to apply several thin strands of the lube both on the mainspring coils you can see and also reach the applicator tip through the coils to get to the inside of the spring and the other side of the spring tube. But look at the small space you have with the Meteor. Most of the spring that’s visible has the spring guide inside it, so there will be no reaching through the coils there.

You have to use common sense. What you are doing is putting some grease inside the spring tube. The actions of cocking and firing the gun several times will spread the grease around the spring and the inside of the tube. Just do your best to put enough grease in there. If you err, do so on the side of putting too little grease on the spring. You can always put more if you have to. It’s hard to take any away. Let me show you what I did — and given the small space you can forget the “thin strands of grease” in the instructions. I just put in what I thought was the right amount — again trying to err on the side of too little.

This is (almost) how much Tune in a Tube grease I put on the mainspring. Notice that I put some on the body of the piston, too. Since the piston slides in the spring tube, it will also distribute the grease as the gun is cocked and fired.

Remember that tiny window that was to the left in the first picture? I told you that was the one place where there is access to the opposite side of the spring and spring tube. So I squirted some grease in there, as well. I can’t show you how much because it’s deep inside the gun, but trust me that I put about the same amount of grease there that you see in the last picture. I also greased the tiny bit of spring that is visible through that window.

This small window (arrow) gives the only access to the inside of the spring tube that isn’t blocked by the spring guide. I squirted some grease deep inside this window, plus I put some on the few coils of spring that are visible.


I noticed that the grease was thinner than I anticipated. It also looked reddish, but since I’m colorblind how would I know? It reminded me of the Spring Gel product Beeman used to sell. I never had much success with Spring Gel and thanked them for bringing out the much thicker Mainspring Dampening Compound several years later. That thought left me wondering if this product would do anything.

I then assembled the action into the stock, cocked and loaded the rifle and fired the first shot. My gosh — it works!

Shot two was even smoother and I noticed over the first 10 shots that the rifle was smoothing out with every shot. That is exactly what the directions say! I then settled down to break in the new “tune.” After about 15 shots I remembered the dry piston seal, so I oiled it through the transfer port. Then I shot maybe 15 more shots and endured a couple detonations — perhaps three in all. After that the rifle seemed to have settled in and was ready to test.

The test

To test the rifle I decided to use the same pellets that were used in the velocity test in Part 2. I even shot them in the same sequence.


First up were RWS Hobbys. I’ll show you the results of the two tests (before and after the tune) side by side. Today’s test is Test 2.

Test 1…………………………….Test 2

Test 1…………………………….Test 2

Pretty close, eh? That is exactly what the directions said to expect — slightly slower with a tighter spread.

RWS Superpoints

Next came RWS Superpoints. They are now called Superpoint Extra, but the weight is still the same, at 14.5 grains.

Test 1…………………………Test 2

Test 1…………………………….Test 2

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome.

Test 1…………………………Test 2

Test 1…………………………….Test 2

There you have it. In every case the velocity spread was smaller after Tune in a Tube was applied. Two of the pellets went slightly slower after the application and the last pellet went slightly faster. In practical terms there is no difference.

Shut my mouth!

I never imagined this test turning out this way — especially after seeing the low viscosity of the product. I thought we were in for a big disappointment. Well — I WAS WRONG. This stuff really works. In fact, if I had cleaned the parts of the powerplant before assembling it, I would leave the Meteor just as it is. I can’t do that, of course. I have to clean everything, just to ease my conscience if nothing else. But Tune in a Tube really does work.


My thanks to all you readers who prompted me to test this product. It’s almost too good to be true, because this is exactly what airgunners have been asking for, for the past two decades. Tune in a Tube — get some!

My next step will be to disassemble the rifle and clean all the parts, including the interior of the spring/compression tube. Then I will lube it again (maybe with this stuff!) and assemble it once more for a final test. There are several additional places I want to lube with different products, plus I want that rust out of there. And I want that piston seal lubed properly! So, stay tuned.

BSA Meteor Mark I: Part 3

Pá, 09/30/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSA Meteor Mark I.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Tune in a Tube
  • Baseline the Meteor
  • A second tune?
  • Disassembly
  • The compressor
  • What did I find?
  • The rest of the powerplant
  • Offset transfer port
  • The pivot point
  • What’s next?

Ho ho, hi ho; inside the gun we go! Today’s report brings a lot of topics together on one stage.

Tune in a Tube

One reason I’m doing this is because reader RidgeRunner has been touting Tune in a Tube — or at least I think he’s one. This is getting confusing, so please bear with me. Tune in a Tube is a tube of viscous grease that comes in an applicator that makes it easy to squirt the grease into the spring gun powerplant. It’s a type of lube tune that is simple and supposewd to be very easy to do. I want to find out if it’s a product that does what it says, because if it is there are quite a few spring guns that could benefit from it.

Tune in a Tube looks simple and straightforward. Let’s hope it works!

Baseline the Meteor

Before I start working on the Meteor Mark 1 though, I thought it would be nice to establish a baseline of performance. I’ve done some of that already. In Part 2 of this report I tested the velocity. We know my rifle is very powerful for a Meteor and that it is also very buzzy. We don’t know anything about the accuracy yet, but as I have said many times, a tune does not affect the accuracy. Maybe it makes a gun more pleasant to shoot, but that’s all.

Today we’ll have a look at the parts of the Mark 1 powerplant, so we know the condition of the gun before I apply the grease. After we look at them I will assemble the gun again and apply Tune in a Tube — following the directions to the letter. I have to tell you that I have already read them and they are both simple and straightforward. The manufacturer doesn’t make any outlandish claims. So far, I am impressed by the product.

Then I will test the rifle after Tune in a Tube has been applied and give you a complete report. Except for accuracy. I won’t test that just yet.

A second tune?

After that I may tear the rifle apart again, clean it and do a more thorough tune; one like I did for the other Meteor in that 9-part series. I must tell you that this Mark 1 is quite a bit different than that Mark IV Super Meteor. We may be comparing apples to oranges. I’l know more after we look inside this gun today.

So that’s the plan. At least to this point. Let’s get started. Oh, and I will be using the new Sun Optics mainspring compressor that I reviewed for you yesterday to take the gun apart. If there is anything noteworthy there, I will mention it.


Before I started I read Part 2 of the Mark IV report. That was most helpful! It cut the time to do the job to a minimum and also saved some embarrassing missteps. The Mark IV and Mark I are different in some ways, but they come apart the same way.

The first step was to install the barreled action in the mainspring compressor. That took 5 minutes of adjustments. Then I was ready to begin.

I will cut to the chase and tell you to read that Part 2 I just linked to, because everything I did to this rifle is in that report. It took me 15 minutes to completely disassemble the rifle — including photography! With this new mainspring compressor the job is a snap, though I will now note some things about the compressor.

The compressor

It would have been better to have been able to use the new pusher block that has the pin, because my plastic pusher block walked around the headstock cup a lot. Also, I do lament the lack of a locating bump in the center of the tailstock to anchor the muzzle. Other than that, the new compressor works beautifully. The bridge bolts work a lot better than the leather belt I have to use with my older B-Square compressor. I’m going to look for some plastic cap nuts for my bolts.

What did I find?

Can you say “dry as a bone?” And rusty! I don’t think this rifle has ever been apart. The mainspring appears to be a stock one and it’s still very straight. There is some wear on the coils from rubbing over the years, but overall it’s in fine condition.

The spring is straight and dry. The trigger parts are dry and gritty.

I was surprised to see that the construction methods of the Mark 1 piston, i.e. folded metal that’s welded top and bottom, are identical to the Mark IV Super Meteor piston I worked on. That one was just broken in several places from a lot of abuse. This one seems to be fine and intact, but dirty and rusty!

This is the top of the piston, where the seal attaches. The spot-weld is visible.

The bottom of the piston may or may not be welded. If it is, it’s a very precise spot-weld. It may just be punched into shape.

The piston body is rusty!

The piston seal is leather and did have a little oil in it when I took the gun apart. It needs a lot more and I think I will oil the rifle through the transfer port after the rifle is assembled — just as I would if I never took it apart.

The piston seal is leather and looks good. It has a little oil, but needs more. A good cleaning is also in store — but after the Tune in a Tube.

The piston head is keyed into the top of the piston. And that’s not an optical illusion. The piston top is really out of round. The head is larger than the piston and that’s all that’s necessary to keep the seal centered in the compression chamber. This is mid-century economical engineering at its best!

The rest of the powerplant

The trigger parts are dirty and gritty and desperately need a cleaning. The mating sear surfaces seem to be shaped well and they seem to be properly case-hardened. I can tell that because they are not overly worn from use. I will NOT stone them! Case-hardening is too easy to remove with a stone — I don’t care how careful you are. Besides — I already told you this trigger is very nice. I will lubricate it with some moly grease, and I’ll also oil all the pivots.

Offset transfer port

I peeked inside the compression chamber to confirm that the walls are smooth, which they are. I also wanted to make sure there wasn’t any excessive dirt or smashed pellets that dropped through the air transfer port. People will sometimes load a .22-caliber pellet rifle with .177 pellets and you’ll find them at the end of the compression chamber, smashed into a wad. Thankfully the chamber was clean and clear. But what’s this? The air transfer port isn’t in the center of the chamber!

I guess I never paid attention to the Mark IV, but the transfer port has to be offset to align with the rear of the barrel. According to airgun tuners, that lowers the rifle’s power potential just a little. Nothing to do about it — I’m just pointing it out.

From the front the offset transfer port is obvious.

The pivot point

Remember that I had to repair the barrel pivot joint on my Mark IV? Well, this one seems fine, even though it’s the same construction. It’s dry, so I will moly it after this first test. For now I’ll just oil it.

The pivot point is plain and has no washers. It needs some moly, but it seems tight. Look at that detent that has popped out!

What’s next?

The rifle is assembled just as it was before. I will oil the pistol seal and the pivot point, but the next big thing will be applying the Tune in an Tube. The next report will be immediately following that, and I will give you velocities to compare as well as my impressions of the smoothness of the shot cycle.

I will definitely tear this rifle down a second time, to clean out all the rust. Yes, I left it all in the gun, except for a little that flaked off when I touched the parts. It felt like fingernails scratching a chalkboard, putting those dirty, rusty parts back in the gun, but how else am I going to test Tune in a Tube fairly?

Mainspring compressor

Čt, 09/29/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Mainspring compressor.

This report covers:

  • Can you make a mainspring compressor?
  • BSA Meteor
  • Description
  • Bridge
  • Headstock
  • Tailstock
  • Legs
  • General

Today I’m going to show you a mainspring compressor that I will use in tomorrow’s blog. I was asked this week by a new reader to show the tools needed to safely disassemble a spring-piston airgun. Here is the request.

Great web sight!  As a “newbee” to air rifles, I find it a wealth of info!  Having a hard time trying to start a new post in the blog forum..  Specifically, I’m looking to find out if anyone makes proper tools for the correct disassembly of the Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500.. Looking for a proper end cap removal tool, and a spring compressor.  I was an armorer for years in LE, with an incredible amount of proper tools for “firearms”.  Just want to make sure that maybe there’s a place to purchase proper tools for air rifles out there.


I didn’t answer him that gas springs, which the Crosman/Benjamin Nitrop Piston is, usually do not require mainspring compressors, because I knew this blog was forthcoming. I wanted to work it in, so I told him I would answer him in a blog later in the week.

The truth is, gas springs — and, yes, that is the correct generic name for all of them, be they Nitro Pistons, gas rams, gas struts or anything else — are usually under no preload when they are in the rifle. If there is any preload (spring under pressure when it is in the gun) the travel is no more than 1/2 inch or so. So usually you can just drift out the pin or remove the bolt that holds the end cap in the spring tube and the gas spring drops out as a unit. Don’t disassemble a gun unless you know for certain how it comes apart, but this is what you will usually find.

We are here today to learn about a mainspring compressor that can be used to disassemble almost any spring-piston airgun that has a conventional coiled steel mainspring. I have been using a compressor like this one for over a decade and in fact I helped with its development. This compressor was invented by B-Square, under the direction of the company owner, Dan Bechtel. I consulted with him during its development and the result was a tool that hundreds of airgunners now own. But to be honest, mainspring compressors are not very exciting, so airgunners tend not to buy them. They tell themselves that can make one if need be, and then I hear all the whining and crying when the day finally dawns that they really do need one.

Can you make a mainspring compressor?

Yes, you can make a mainspring compressor. In fact building a mainspring compressor is so easy that hundreds of them have been made by shooters over the years. Some guys have even made them for resale, but every one of those guys stopped when they discovered how poorly mainspring compressors sell. A mainspring compressor is like a good pair of pliers. When you need a pair almost nothing else will suffice, but when you don’t need them you never even think of them. No, I will go even farther. To a person about to disassemble a spring gun a mainspring compressor is like a bench vise. It is absolutely essential.

Don’t get me wrong — airguns can be disassembled without using a compressor. Some guns, like the Air Arms TX200 Mark III, are so easy to disassemble that a compressor is never used. But they are the exception. Most spring guns do require a compressor if you want to be safe and have no more than two hands.

BSA Meteor

Tomorrow I’m going to use this new compressor to disassemble my new BSA Meteor Mark I for you. This is so you can see what the innards look like before I start the Tune in a Tube test. That test will be followed by a real tune, so we can compare the results after each tune. If you want to know more about how a BSA Meteor comes apart, read the 9-part report.


This new compressor is sold by Sun Optics. It is fully adjustable and is designed to disassemble the barreled actions of spring rifles and pistols that have been removed from the stock. The parts that contain the action (called the tailstock and the bridge) adjust up and down stainless steel tubes which is what all the holes are for. Sun Optics has even made some improvements over the compressor B-Square made. The B-Square compressor used steel conduit for the legs instead of tubing. The holes in the legs of the Sun Optics compressor are all chamfered for smoother adjustability. I noticed the difference right away.

The new stainless steel tubes (top) have chamferred adjustment holes. I had to grind the burrs around the holes on the old compressor myself (bottom).


The bridge is the part of the compressor that keepss the spring tube from flexing to one side when the mainspring is no longer trapped. This flexing is the second biggest problem you’ll have when you disassemble spring guns. Controlling the end cap is the only task that’s more important.

The bridge has screws that adjust to center the spring tube in line with both the headstock and the tailstock. That gives you the most working room around the barreled action.

On the old compressor the bolts on the bridge were all left raw. I protect the finish of my guns by wrapping the gun’s spring tube with a heavy leather belt that the screws cannot scratch through. The new compressor has plastic tips on each of these screws.

The tips of all the bridge adjustment bolts have plastic caps. No more leather belt to keep from scratching the spring tube!


One feature of the original compressor that made it the best on the market is the rotating headstock. It allows you to rotate the barreled action from side to side while still maintaining pressure on the end cap and therefore on the mainspring. This allows the positioning of the tube so pins can be aligned and/or drifted out. This is the key to the compressor, because many spring gun actions are held together by pins. The new compressor headstock rotates in the same way as the old one.

The new compressor headstock also has a hole in the center for a pin to a part the old compressor didn’t have. It’s a pusher block that’s used to disassemble certain spring gun actions, notably BSAs. Unfortunately this block is slightly too wide to fit inside my Meteor spring tube, so I will have to use the plastic pusher block I made when I disassembled my other Meteor. But if I owned this compressor I could easily shave the new block down to fit.

I will also have to enlarge the hole in the headstock, because the pin in the pusher block is too large to fit. It does fit the hole in the tailstock, but I don’t know anyone who would use it that way.

The headstock turns to allow access to different parts of the gun’s spring tube. This new headstock has a hole (arrow) for the pin of a new pusher block.

New aluminum pusher block comes with the new compressor. The pin at its base is too large to fit the hole in the headstock, so some drilling will be needed.


The tailstock is where the muzzle of the action rests. It adjusts along the two steel rods to fit the gun you are working on and give the headstock screw lots of room to travel. It also has a hole for the pusher block, though I cannot think of a reason to use it that way.

The new tailstock also lacks the raised bump the old tailstock had. That was inserted into the muzzle of the barrel, to keep it from walking when the action was under pressure.

The tailstock adjusts for the length of the gun. Hole is for the pusher block pin, but I don’t know how it would be used on the tailstock. Gone is the raised bump the old compressor had to keep the barrel from walking.


The new compressor can work like the old one, or you have the option of installing 4 longer bolts that also serve as legs. Two fit the headstock and two fit the tailstock. The compressor then stands up away from the work table. This gives even more access to the spring tube.

The longer bolts that serve as legs have been installed. See how they elevate the entire compressor?


The compressor comes with no instructions. Like a bench vise, you should know how to use it if you own it. That doesn’t mean you automatically have to know how to disassemble every spring gun mechanism. I doubt if anyone knows that. But spring guns belong to different groups that have similar features. With experience the worker learns what to do with any action to take it apart. The compressor is just a tool for a specific set of tasks within that body of work.

Is it “worth” it? This compressor retails for about $200. Is it worth the price? Pyramyd Air does not carry the compressor at this time, so you will have to go directly to Sun Optics. Pyramyd Air probably remembers how people complained about paying half the price of this one for the old compressor.

The thing is, if you work on a lot of spring guns a compressor of some sort is good to have. This is the best one I have seen, and I have seen dozens of different ones, besides designing and building one of my own that I documented in the R1 book.

For a few workers this compressor is worth the price. And you had better get one now, because who knows how long they will be available?

Tomorrow I’ll disassemble the BSA Meteor Mark I using this compressor. If anything stands out as I do that I will be sure to include it in the report for you.

Air Venturi Rockin’ Rat target: Part 1

St, 09/28/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Rockin’ Rat.

This report covers:

  • Knocked down
  • Together in 3 minutes!
  • Instructions
  • Three minutes and done!
  • Now what?
  • Directions
  • Why the Rockin’ Rat?

Say hello to my little friend! I saw the Air Venturi Rockin’Rat target at the 2016 Pyramyd Air Cup and asked to have one sent for evaluation. This is the kind of product I would like to write about more, but how can I make a story out of it? This one looks so interesting that I’m going to try.

Knocked down

The target comes knocked down in a lithographed box. As a man, those words “some assembly required” started screaming in my head. That’s what took the fun out of many Christmas mornings for me when my family was young. Everybody else was passed out from their sugar comas, listening to carols, while I looked at sheets of papertelling me to “press tab A into flange B”. My most memorable moment was when I bought a youth bicycle wrapped in plastic shrink wrap, and all I had to do was straighten the handlebars and tighten one nut. Hurrah!

But the Rockin’ Rat is more complex than that. Today I’m going to fool with tabs, flanges and fasteners. The box weighs 3 pounds, so you just know there’s a hornet’s nest of parts inside!

Together in 3 minutes!

Oh, phooey! This thing is so easy to assemble that I had it completely together in less time than I’ve spent complaining about it. But I have a report to write, so I’m going to drag things out in excruciating detail. First the parts.

The parts. Not too many, but there’s that bag of fasteners that no man wants to see!

And of course there is a spanner for all the fasteners. Or, if you are an American, you can call it a wrench, because that’s what it really is. It’s thin and small and you think it can’t possibly do the job, but like I said — three minutes and the whole thing was together. The nuts have lockwashers on one side, so you tighten the bolts from the head side, which is the outside of the target.


As a man I do not read instructions. Women don’t understand because they were never taught that in school. Some men missed that class, as well. They are the nerdy ones who always do things right the first time. How are they ever going to learn if they never make mistakes? As for me — I am a perpetual student! But the Rockin’ Rat is just too simple to fool anyone. Read the instructions and you’ll see.

This is not how to write instructions for anything that must be assembled! There are supposed to be three pages of gobbledygook words and weird names for all the parts. And there should also be a few fasteners missing! But when there are only 4 nuts and 4 bolts, it’s hard to be confusing. At least they called the wrench a spanner.

Three minutes and done!

I was all revved up to give you a long sob story about how difficult this assembly is, but I finished as soon as I started. It takes me almost as long to assemble a field-stripped Garand.

They even sent the crossbar with the nuts already in place. And their washers are attached to those nuts, so they cannot be misplaced. I don’t think the Air Venturi target designers went to design school. Either that or one of them is a former Ikea employee.

The nuts were already on the crossbar. Loosen the outer one (that contains the washer) and slip the bar into both sides of the target. This is really too simple.

And then the target was together! It was as if I was watching a television show about a guy assembling a car engine and they speeded up the film. Only it wasn’t speeded up and I was the one doing it. It just didn’t take long!

Like it or not, my Rockin’Rat was together in three minutes!

Now what?

I had hoped for a lengthy struggle with this target, so you could all praise me for hanging in there, but this was about as hard as closing a zipper! So, I thought I would take it out to its natural habitat and show you what it looks like.

Looking from the left front, you see how the target will rock when the face is hit.

This is how the target will appear to the shooter. The object is to hit either one of the yellow paddles.

When you see the target as it will be shot you see that when the paddles are hit they will move more than the rest of the target. But if the face of the target is hit (the body of the rat), the whole target will rock, alerting you to the miss. That may not seem like a big deal when the target is freshly painted like it is here, but after sebveral hundred pellet impacts, you will see why the Rockin’Rat is such a good idea. Anyone who has shot field target will get it straight away.


The directions for use are on the box. If you don’t understand how the target works by looking at it, they are just as straightforward as the assembly instructions.

If the target isn’t obvious, these instructions are on the box.

Why the Rocking’ Rat?

A lot of you tell me you would like to shoot field target. Well, the Rockin’Rat is a type of field target. But it’s one that doesn’t need to be reset after every hit. It takes care of itself by the way it works. You can set it out in the field and just shoot at it all day if you want to. There are no strings to break, no paddles to jam and you don’t even need to repaint it if you don’t want to. Just set it and forget it — except for shooting it, of course. This will be the best twenty bucks you ever spent on your hobby!

The instructions say to keep the guns you shoot at this target to under 22 foot-pounds. I’m going to revise that downward a bit. I’d keep them at 15 foot-pounds or less. More than that and the metal will bend with time.

I made this a Part 1 because I intend coming back and shooting this target for you. I know — it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 3

Út, 09/27/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Air Bolts turn a .50 caliber big bore into an air bow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Broadhead performance
  • How fast do broadheads fly?
  • Can a broadhead be stopped?
  • How to load broadheads
  • Robin Hood!
  • What about the Wing Shot?
  • Wing Shot accuracy
  • Summary

This is a continuation of the report I started last week. Although it’s titled Part 3, think of it as Part 2, because I’m finishing things I didn’t tell you last week.

Broadhead performance

We looked at the performance of the Air Bolt from Air Venturi with target points. Now let’s see what they do with broadheads. Last week I showed you those lethal points that open as they penetrate the target. When I was researching this report I heard all sorts of claims for them. First, that they penetrate so deeply that no arrow stop in the world can stop one — they will pass right through. Also, they are heavier and will drop a couple inches more as they fly. Also, they are less accurate because they have those razor blades hanging out in the breeze as they fly. And finally they are so sharp that there is no way to attach them to an arrow without a wrench.

How fast do broadheads fly?

I did chronograph one broadhead immediately following a fill. Where the target points flew 492 f.p.s. from the Dragon Claw following a fill, a broadhead went out at 445 f.p.s. Yes, they do fly slower.

Can a broadhead be stopped?

This was the one that really scared me, because everyone I polled said the same thing — arrows tipped with broadheads cannot be stopped by an arrow stop. I told you last time that I bought the best stop the archery store had, but it was only rated for target points at 400 f.p.s. But we have already seen that is stopped target points flying a good deal faster than that. How would a broadhead do?

This is the arrow stop I used for this test. It has stopped hundreds of arrows so far and not one has passed through. All 6 sides are usable, and I imagine it’s good for several thousand shots.

Yes, a broadhead can be stopped by this bag. They do penetrate deeper but they are also easier to remove. I think the people telling me they can’t be stopped are using inferior bags.

The arrow on the left has the broadhead. It went much deeper than the arrows with the target points, but it was stopped and did come out of the bag easily.

Broadheads do drop a couple inches lower at 35 yards, but that’s because of their lower initial velocity. The little testing I’ve done shows them to be just as accurate as target points.

How to load broadheads

Loading broadheads from the muzzle is simple and safe. Just don’t attach them until after the bolt is loaded in the gun. They screw in, so after the bolt is in place, just screw one down into the tip. I wouldn’t say it is completely safe and a head wrench would be a good idea. I plan to get one! Buyt be careful and you’ll do fine. If you are accident prone, use a wrench at all times!

Here is an arrow with a target tip loaded. In place of the target tip, screw in a broadhead. Remove the knurled cap for more access.

Rossi Morreale, the host of American Airgunner, showed me a neat trick about loading. Remove the knurled muzzle cap and get more access for loading. That will really help with broadheads!

Okay, that’s it for the broadheads. Let’s look at some other things about the Air Bolt.

Robin Hood!

I loaned the target and my arrows to Rossi Morreale at the Texas Airgun Show, so he could sight in his rifle for a pig he was going to the next day. I don’t know how many arrows he shot, but one of them was a Robin Hood. Naturally it was Rossi who did it and not me. Still, it does demonstrate the inherent accuracy of the Air Bolt.

This arrow hit the base of another arrow, sliding the rubber o-ring of the first arrow all the way up the shaft of arrow number two! You can even see some of the base of the first arrow still caught under the o-ring. A perfect Robin Hood.

What about the Wing Shot?

In Part 1 I mentioned the Air Bolt also works in the Wing Shot air shotgun. So I also tried that. Since the wing Shot is a smoothbore, the Air Bolts go out even faster. Here are some shots wirh target points.


As you can see, the arrows do go faster from the Wing Shot, but there is also one less shot because the air reservoir is smaller. Still, no hunter should need more than 3 shots for one animal. But what about accuracy?

Wing Shot accuracy

Pyramyd Air tells me they are getting better accuracy at close ranges with the Wing Shot than with the Dragon Claw. But after 30 yards the Dragon Claw takes over.

The Wing Shot I was sent to test came without the dovetail base, so I wasn’t able to attach an optical sight. I could have removed the base from the Dragon Claw and probably made it work, but since I was still testing it, I left the Wing Shot without a rear sight. So I moved up to 25 yards and shot using the front bead, only.

The aluminum head of the Air Bolt does not fit into the muzzle of the Wing Shot, so I shot with it sticking out of the muzzle. Even then I was able to put four arrows into a handspan of about 5 inches at 25 yards.

The high arrow on the right was fired from 10 yards, to make sure the gun was on target. The 4 arrows below were shot on a fresh fill from 25 yards offhand with a monopod rest.

The arrows from the Wing Shot dropped a lot more than those shot from the Dragon Claw. An optical sight would correct that, plus tighten the group a lot!

The UTG Monopod made offhand shooting a breeze!


The Air Venturi Air Bolt has no competition in the world of air bows. For no additional expense your big bore rifle or shotgun is turned into an accurate arrow launcher that is currently the most powerful one on the market.

In all my testing that included hundreds of shots, I never lost an arrow. One arrow was fired into a railroad tie at 100 yards by another shooter at the Texas Airgun Show and could not be pulled out! Rossi’s Robin Hood destroyed a second arrow and I lost one while pulling it too aggressively from the target bag. But I saw where each and every arrow went.

Would I buy a set of Air Bolts? Certainly — if I wanted an air bow and also a big bore air rifle or shotgun. This is a combination that has no rival. As an air bow it cannot be beat!

Sheridan Supergrade: Part 1

Po, 09/26/2016 - 01:01

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

Sheridan model A, also called the Supergrade.

This report covers:

  • What is a Supergrade?
  • First sight
  • Only .22 caliber airgun Sheridan made
  • My impressions before owning one
  • Materials
  • Must be cocked to accept a charge
  • Power and accuracy
  • I no longer own a Supergrade

For many years I lusted after the iconic Sheridan model A, which is known among airgunners as the Supergrade. It was the first Sheridan air rifle to be produced and production commenced in 1947 — the year of my birth.

What is a Supergrade?

I was unaware of the existence this fine multi-pump pneumatic at the time when it was being sold, which ran from 1948 until sometime in the middle 1950s. Production ended in 1953, but stores continued to sell guns until their stock ran out. Supergrades sold for $56.50 in 1948, when Winchester model 61 slide-action rifle were selling for $44.50. Today a 61 that’s excellent in the box will bring $1,800-2,500, and a Supergrade in the same shape brings even more. This is one air rifle that has appreciated in value. According to the book, <i>Know Your SHERIDAN Rifles & Pistols</i> by Ronald E. Elbe, 2130 model As were produced.

A Supergrade in working condition with some finish, and one that has not been hacked up in any way, will fetch $1,200-1,500 all day long. Unfortunately there are a lot of Supergrades that have been “customized” by former owners, and have been reduced to parts guns. Nobody wants a scope on a Supergrade!

I only became aware of the rifle in 1976, while serving with the Army in Germany. I bought volume 1 of Airgun Digest, by Robert Beeman, and my journey with the Supergrade began.

First sight

It wasn’t until my first airgun show in Winston-Salem in 1993 that I actually saw one up close for the first time. When I did, two different thoughts surfaced. First, the rifle is surprisingly small in person. It’s no larger than a Blue Streak. It’s bulkier, and the wood is shaped better, but the overall size of the rifle is about the same as a Blue Streak. However, the Supergrade is way beyond the Blue Streak in appearance. It has a real raised cheekpiece and all the wood is shaped better than the wood on the Blue and Silver Streaks. The rear sight was always a peep sight that sort of defines the airgun. And the large cast aluminum receiver really stands out from the gun, when contrasted with the Streak receiver that’s just s the pump tube.

Supergrade cheekpieces were raised.

The bolt handle is another place where the Supergrade stands apart from the Streaks. It is comparatively long and curved down, where the first Streak bolt were short and straight. Both of them operate the same though, cocking the rifle when lifted and pulled all the way back..

The receiver is a large part made from cast aluminum. Note the long bolt handle.

Only .22 caliber airgun Sheridan made

During the prototype period, the men who developed the Sheridan, E.H. Wackerhager and Rorert Kraus, used at least one .22 caliber barrel before standardizing on .20 caliber for the gun. There is at least one Supergrade in .22 caliber, if not more. There is no advantage to .22 caliber, but to a collector such a rifle would be quite valuable.

My impressions before owning one

You guys know how you build expectations of what an airgun will be like before you actually try one. That’s what I did with my Supergrade. As far as I was concerned, the Supergrade was the most fabulous airgun ever produced and nothing else could compare.

Sheridan used to show ads of their rifles penetrating up to one inch of wood with variable numbers of pump strokes, and at the time read those ads I was still shooting BB guns that bounced off any wooden surface. I was as yet unaware of the Supergrade model that was out of production by that time, so I assumed the ads referred to the Blue and Silver Streaks that were selling. No matter, though, because the Supergrade and Blue Streak are almost equal in power. If there is a slight edge it goes to the Supergrade, but the difference isn’t that great.


The Supergrade barrels and pump tubes were made from phosphor bronze, where the same parts in the Streaks were made from red brass. Knowing nothing about metallurgy, just the names of those two different metals make the Supergrade sound better. All Sheridan rifles had walnut stocks up to the end of production and sometimes the Streaks can have highly figured stock wood. I never saw a Supergrade whose stock had anything but plain grain, so this was the one area where the Streaks were actually better.

Must be cocked to accept a charge

One thing really surprised me when I finally got my Supergrade and that was the fact that it has to be cocked or the gun won’t accept a charge. This is not that unusual and simply relates to how the firing valve it set up to operate. It’s neither good nor bad — just different.

Power and accuracy

I know you want to know everything right now, and I’m going to give it all to you. Just not today. When I got my Supergrade all I had to go on was the writeup in Smith’s Gas, Air, and Spring guns of the World. Smith was able to get the Sheridan pellet up to 712 f.p.s. on 10 pump strokes. Well, the Sheridan pellet was all they had in .20 caliber in 1956 when Smith wrote his book and the “chronograph” he used for his test was a room full of electronic equipment that was run by a technician in the H.P. White Laboratories. A hundred-dollar chronograph today has much more computational power and precision than was in that entire room!

That peep sight gives the impression of extreme accuracy, and I will reveal in a future report what my tests showed. I envisioned that phosphor-bronze rifle barrel capable of infinite accuracy before testing one the first time. This should be a real eye-opener for you readers!

I no longer own a Supergrade

Alas, Edith and I fell on hard times when The Airgun Letter ended and we had to refund all those unfulfilled subscriptions. I had to generate some cash fast so I sold my Whiscombe, my R1 and my Supergrade. I have since bought back both the Whiscombe and the R1, but the Supergrade is still missing. So this repoort is based on the testing I did years ago.

However, there possibly might be a good substitute. A friend who is local just acquired a Supergrade and has asked me if I would like to test it. I jumped at the chance! He will evaluate his new rifle when it arrives and, if it is in good condition, I might actually be able to do an updated test for you. We shall see!