About Gordon Smith

By day I’m a mild-mannered manager of Critical Accounts at a large Enterprise Resource Planning company. By night I use my cat-like reflexes and Ninja skills to fight crime. No – wait, I’m exercising poetic license here. I don’t actually fight crime. Truth-be-told, I never had cat-like reflexes and no Ninja skills either. What I do have is a passion for all things airgun related. Over the past several years I have been dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming, but now it is time to expand my comfort zone and jump into this whole blogging/social media business. My plan is to inform in an entertaining and enlightening way while adding to the general body of knowledge involving airgunning. A little background: My older brother had a Daisy model 25 that was well broken-in and he was an excellent shot. He taught me the basics and I coveted that rifle of his. My folks finally thought that I was mature enough to have my own air rifle by my 13th Christmas and so I became the proud owner of a Daisy model 1894 “Spittin Image”. Those were the beginnings of my life-long love affair with contraptions that sling projectiles downrange. I’ve now logged over 60 years on the planet and still have that Daisy. Actually, I believe it is in better shape than me, although it is 13 years younger… I enjoy the technical aspects of the airgunning game and tend to write from that prospective. I’ve competed in organized events a few times; however, the chance to attend formal matches is limited in my neck of the woods so competition will never become a forte of mine. Long ago and far away I taught Industrial Arts – yep, a shop teacher. I left the education game with all 10 digits intact and with my mechanical aptitude/curiosity alive-and-well and that is where my penchant for the technically oriented writing comes from. It has served me well as it led to a position as the Field Editor for Airgun Hobbyist magazine, currently the only hard copy and color format airgun magazine of U.S. origin. My articles have also appeared in a few other national publications in recent years. I appreciate the opportunity that Airguns of Arizona is entrusting me with and hope that you enjoy my humble contributions. Until next time, get out there and exercise that 2nd Amendment right! Regards, -Gordon

Posts by Gordon Smith

The Crosman brand of Velocity Outdoors Corporation released this licensed copy of the iconic Remington 1875 a couple of years back. Officially titled: “Remington 1875/Sheridan Cowboy CO2 Powered, Single Action Revolver”, and listed under the SKU of: “RR 1875”.

The 1875 uses replica cartridges to hold BBs or pellets

I wanted one as soon as I laid eyes on it at the SHOT Show and although it took a little while, it is now in my possession. An all-metal replica in a bright nickel finish with faux ivory grip stocks it has all the classic lines and heft of the original. In deference to modern requirements and lawyers, there is a slide safety switch on the underside in front of the trigger guard and the hammer doesn’t sit flush when at rest. My understanding is that’s related to drop safety.
The hammer must be placed at half-cock to load and unload as on the original. At half-cock the cylinder can manually be rotated to align the replica cartridges with the loading gate on the right side of the gun. An ejector rod is also on the right side and although it functions like the original, the cartridges easily slide out of the chambers when the revolver is tipped up for unloading. A dual ammo gun, it comes with 12 brass colored cartridges; six hold regular BBs and six hold .177 pellets. Ammo is loaded into the back of the cartridge where soft rubber holds it. Make certain the ammo is flush with the back of the cartridge so cylinder movement isn’t hampered. Faster reloads are accomplished by simply placing the ammo into the cartridge without even removing it.
Made in Taiwan for Crosman, the fit and finish are top notch. The plastic grip stocks have a slight yellow caste to resemble aged ivory. They nicely fit the frame with tight joints that don’t belie the fact that the left grip panel pops off for inserting the 12-gram CO2 capsule. Conveniently clipped inside the grip panel is a small hex wrench used to turn the piercing screw.

The 1875 is a dual ammo CO2 revolver

Holding the gun upside down reveals the nail nick and allen screw. The metal was also nicely done all over in a bright nickel finish that makes this a great display piece when not being used to defend the homestead from tin can desperados.
Another touch of realism is the cylinder pin (called “base” pin in the instructions provided) can be released by pressing the black “base” pin screw on the right side, then withdrawing the pin as far as it will go. Caution: it locks when fully withdrawn and the screw is released, but is under spring pressure and will snap back if the screw is pressed. Doing so could possibly damage the pin. While it won’t need much in the way of maintenance requiring cylinder removal, the instructions do cover this in case of a jam. Cocking the action is also authoritative and makes the satisfying three distinct “clicks” like the old Remington revolver.
As it has been extremely cold for some time where I am located and I don’t have an indoor range, the 1875 has not been shot yet. Since I acquired it more for a wall hanger and collectable, I’m in no real hurry. It is not expected this gun will be highly accurate, just a fun plinker for lazy afternoons. Besides, it displays beautifully next to my nickel finish Peacemaker CO2 replica.
Specs: This hogleg weighs 2.3 pounds and is 13.25-inches long. The smooth bore steel inner barrel is 6½ inches long and the advertised velocity is up to 450fps. The gun comes with a one-year limited warranty and has an MSRP of $149.99. My friends at AofA don’t list this particular model on their website, but they do handle Crosman products and I’m sure could order ya one pardner, in case you have the same hankerin I did when I saw this shootin iron. www.airgunsofarizona.com

Tis the season to discuss all things SHOT – the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Sports trade show held in Las Vegas. A gigantic celebration of all things related to guns of all manner as well as anything else related to hunting and the outdoors lifestyle. This year’s show was another amazing spectacle of what’s in store for the consumer in the coming months.
Highlights include: modestly priced “entry level” PCPs are continuing to enter the market with Beeman bringing out a rotary magazine fed repeater version of their “Chief” model that was introduced last year. Umarex is releasing the Gauntlet in .25 caliber and Diana will offer a PCP version of their vintage military styled Mauser K98 air rifle, which was introduced last year as an underlever cocking design. The SIG Advanced Sport Pellet line, recently re-branded as SIG Air, will have a semi-auto PCP copy of their Virtus firearm. Higher end models include the Crosman semi-auto version of their popular Marauder line and Hatsan USA is introducing a lever action PCP repeater called the Vectis. Brocock America is expanding their Bantam Sniper line and introduced a copy of the rifle that was modified by competitor Claudio Flores, who used it to take top honors at the 2018 Extreme Benchrest competition in Arizona. Airforce Airguns now has Rapid Air Weapons coming off the assembly lines in Texas to begin meeting the demand. The RAW H1000 now sports a carbon fiber shroud and moderator to go with the very sleek laminated wood stocks. While not an “entry level” PCP airgun, after overcoming the issues that have delayed the .50 caliber Umarex Hammer, it will be entering production in their Arkansas plant this quarter.
Multi-shot break-barrel air rifles continue to roll out as well with Benjamin now entering that arena. Gamo showed off their new Swarm Fusion Gen.2 which has literally turned the multi-shot break-barrel world on its side! By laying the rotary magazine horizontally, the platform is more scope and iron sight friendly. Upon breaking the barrel, the Gen.2 pivots the magazine so pellets are in the proper alignment for feeding. It appears to be quite a slick system.
To go along with the K98 Mauser firearm replica mentioned above, Air Venturi has the first replica models coming out from their license deal with Springfield Armory. An M1 carbine .177 caliber BB CO2 repeater will be followed later in the year by the XD(M) CO2 BB pistol. SIG Air launched the pellet firing replica of the U.S. Army’s new sidearm, the M17 in the last half of 2018. For 2019 they followed up with a replica of their very successful P365. Both pistols have blowback action, the “Rapid Pellet Magazine” belt feeding system and are field strippable. Not to be outdone, Umarex is releasing the Ruger 10/22 air rifle. This .177 CO2 powered pellet repeater uses a rotary 10-shot magazine that then fits into a carrier the size and shape of a real 10/22 magazine. This unit then installs into the polymer stock just like on the firearm. I predict this one will be a big seller for Umarex.
A new kid on the block was exhibiting in the temporary area called the “Next” section. Exhibitors here will have a booth on the regular show floor next year. APS Limited is not a new company, having made airsoft and paint marking guns for almost two decades, however, they are new to producing BB and pellet guns. They showed off a nice looking CO2 BB firing replica along the lines of a 9mm striker-fired polymer pistol. Called the “S. Shark”, the twist with this pistol is the “happy switch” on the side that lets the shooter go full auto. Additionally, they showed their RAR, or “Real Action Rifle”, which resembled a high power, bolt action, magazine fed rifle. It uses 5 pre-charged HPA cartridges with .22 caliber pellets loaded into the nose of the cartridge. The metal box magazine holds the 5 cartridges and cycling the bolt feeds and ejects the cartridges.
This was just a taste of the many interesting and exciting things seen at SHOT that are scheduled to arrive in 2019. To keep abreast of the latest news, keep checking back here on the AofA blog.

One of the Daystate displays at 2019 SHOT Show

New to the Benjamin line up of break-barrel rifles this year is the Vaporizer from Crosman, now part of Velocity Outdoor.  Fitted in an ambidextrous black polymer pistol grip stock, it offers clean lines with grey soft touch stock inserts at various grip points for good purchase and control.  Molded into the stock is a raised cheekpiece and a thick, dense rubber buttpad plus two sling attachment points.  Topping it off is a set of barrel mounted sights with the rear being adjustable, and a picatinny rail for attaching the included Center Point 3-9x40mm AO scope.  Crosman also included their market leading sound suppression SBD/Gold unit to the 15-inch barrel which, as a bonus, gives additional leverage when cocking.  The report was relatively mild, so the SBD was doing a good job.  The Vaporizer weighs 8 pounds 9.5 ounces with the included scope and is 46.5 inches long; balancing well in the hands so the weight is not an issue.

Benjamin’s new Vaporizer

Definitely an adult air rifle, the cocking force on this rifle is stout.  Although it has become easier to cock after an initial break-in period, it can still be a workout for the average adult.  Of course, that strong, proprietary Nitro Piston Elite gas ram you are cocking translates to adult power as well.  My location is above 6000 feet and the average velocity of 14.66 grain pellets was a respectable 700 fps, yielding almost 16-foot pounds of energy.  Plenty of power for pest control or small game hunting at air rifle range.  Crosman rates the Vaporizer as capable of 950fps and 29fpe.

The 2-stage “Clean Break Trigger” was heavy at approximately 6.5 pounds out of the box with a long first stage take-up.  The trigger is adjustable via a small hole in the trigger guard, but even with that, I found I could not adjust it lower than 5 pounds without approaching what I felt was a danger threshold.  It wasn’t a bad trigger, but there is room for improvement on a gun in this price range.  The manual safety is a lever located directly in front of the trigger and it does not automatically engage upon cocking.  Unusual to my thinking in this age of rampant lawsuits, yet the lack of an auto safety engagement will no doubt be lauded by some.

The Center Point scope appears to be of good quality with a clean image from edge-to-edge and the parallax adjustability from 5 yards to infinity via the Adjustable Objective bell.  Elevation and windage adjustment turrets are calibrated in ¼ MOA.  Most shooters should find this included scope adequate for the capabilities of this air rifle.  Accuracy-wise the Vaporizer did well after it settled down from running the first 100 or so pellets.  Taking time out to tighten all screws occasionally is always good practice as well as using Tom Gaylord’s recommended “Artillery Hold” when shooting break-barrels.  At 20 yards the shot groups with H&N and SIG pellets could be covered by a U.S. quarter.

I experienced dieseling for the first 40 or 50 shots before the manufacturing oils/solvents worked their way out.  That is a concern, but Crosman’s new 5-year limited warranty on materials and workmanship should have you covered.  MSRP on the Vaporizer is $259.99 and if you have questions or desire to obtain the Vaporizer or any of Crosman’s other fine products, reach out to our friends at Airguns of Arizona.

On a side note and in the spirit of the season, to help prevent someone from “shooting their eye out” check with AofA regarding new shooting glasses from Howard Leight Shooting Sports.  Named Genesis, these are lightweight, extremely comfortable, and have adjustable temples for ease of fitting the adult face.  You forget you are wearing them – always a plus when out shooting for any length of time – and when coming from the cold outside to a warm room, you still won’t think about them because they won’t fog up!  Their Extreme Anti-Fog treated lenses eliminate that annoying problem.  They also provide 99.9% UV protection and for an MSRP of $18.99, they are a bargain.

Happy Holidays to all and remember:  Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out!!!

Springer air rifles can be very accurate and versatile for uses ranging from plinking to hunting.  However, loading pellets singly for each shot can be a bit of a fumble-finger exercise, especially when needing to make a follow-up shot on a wounded animal.  The Turkish company of Hatsan offers their solution as the new SpeedFire Vortex, a multi-shot break-barrel utilizing a 12-shot rotary magazine in .177 caliber. The mechanism used to automatically load a pellet during the cocking cycle is called the EZ-Load Action System.  It sits above the barrel/receiver joint, adding enough extra height to force the use of a high front sight.  The front sight consists of a U-shaped saddle with a bright orange TruGlo fiber optic rod in the center.  When optics are used, or to protect the front sight when it is not in use, it folds down into a protective channel.  The rear sight has green TruGlo fiber optics to help with obtaining a quick sight picture and it is micro adjustable for both windage and elevation.  The SpeedFire also comes equipped with a picatinny rail, which interestingly incorporates an 11mm rail running along the top.  The rail features a dampener technology designed to absorb some of the shock generated by springers, helping to protect optics mounted to the rifle.  Additionally, the SpeedFire ships with an Optima 3-9x40mm scope and rings.

I found the SpeedFire to be a soft shooter for a springer, no doubt partially because of the proprietary SaS, or Shock Absorber System, built into the gun.  However, the cocking force is such that this would not be a rifle for a youngster.  Having twelve pellets at the ready is a great feature but can be a workout when firing all twelve pellets quickly from the Rapid Performance Magazine (RPM).  An automatic safety/anti bear-trap mechanism activates each time you cock the SpeedFire, but unfortunately this multi-shot technology does not protect from double loading pellets if there is an attempt to cock the gun a second time.  If you experience this condition, then you must remove the magazine and gently push both pellets out with a cleaning rod.  The Owner’s Manual does not go into any detail on how to safely remove pellets from the barrel, which would be helpful, since the multi-shot mechanism covers the breech during the cocking cycle in its process of automatically loading a pellet.

Hatsan technologies such as the Quattro adjustable match trigger, Vortex Gas Piston, and SaS are all built in to this rifle.  It also sports some suppression, although it is not the “Quiet Energy” suppression found on other Hatsan guns.  It is lightweight at almost 6 ½ pounds without a scope, but it is a long gun at 47 inches.  Trigger pull out of the box was about 5 ½ pounds and is fully adjustable with the included allen wrenches.  My sample rifle shipped without a scope and I haven’t had it long enough to fully break it in.  It still produced good groups out of the box even though I was using open sights with aged eyes.

Hatsan rates the velocity of the SpeedFire out of its 14.5-inch barrel at 1000fps and it lists at an MSRP of $199.99.  The warranty on the SpeedFire is a one year limited.   It is also available in .22 caliber and if you’d like more information, please contact our friends at Airguns of Arizona.

The SIG Sauer Advanced Sport Pellet (ASP) line was launched in early 2015 and has now been rebranded as SIG Air in a move to better reflect Sig Sauer’s commitment to become a major player in the airgunning arena.  SIG Air released this .177 blowback version of their P320 in early 2017.  This is the pistol selected as the new sidearm of the U.S Army (as the M17).  Available in black or Coyote Tan, this 1-to-1 replica will not only appeal to collectors, but shooters wanting an inexpensive training companion to the actual firearm.

SIG Air P320 with 30 round belt magazine

Manufactured in Japan to exacting SIG Air standards, it is designed to be close to the weight of the original and have a similar trigger pull weight (about 6.75 pounds on the trigger pull and overall weight of 2.2 pounds).  The realism and build quality of this pistol is very good with a nice, wide polymer trigger, non-adjustable white dot sights and 2 ½ inch picatinny rail section on the underside suitable for adding flashlights, etc.  It lends itself as a training tool for breath and trigger control as well as re-holstering drills, etc.  The drawbacks would be the non-functioning slide lock and take-down lever and this model is not field-strippable.  Also, the actual P320 provides interchangeable grip panels for adjusting the pistol’s width to fit the owner’s hand.  Not so with the SIG Air P320.

The stick magazine rides in the front of the grip ahead of the CO2 cartridge chamber.  It springs out smartly with a press on the magazine release found in the same location as the firearm.   The unique thing about this magazine is that it is belt-fed and holds 30 rounds of either pellets or BBs.  The Double Action Only trigger exhibits a definite “stacking” feel through the firing cycle due to the process of advancing the belt-feed mechanism, but this subsided slightly as the pistol and magazine went through the break-in period.  The P320 sports a rifled 4.75-inch barrel and I prefer not to shoot BBs through rifled barrels, but this is a dual ammo pistol if you prefer to shoot both.  BBs would definitely be easier and faster to load, but at least you have 30 rounds available before you have to think about reloading.  I put both flat-nosed wad cutters as well as pointed pellets through the P320 and other than leaving a couple of “failures to launch” behind in the magazine, it fed well.  Testing on a 75 degree day at 6200 feet in altitude, I was getting around 80 shots per CO2 capsule.  A big cautionary note here: the all metal slide blows back with authority, however, by using a portion of the CO2 to cycle the action it lowers the shot count per CO2 cartridge.  As with any CO2 powered airgun, too low a pressure will cause a pellet to lodge in the barrel leading to a condition that could prevent removal of the magazine.  Since this gun is not field-strippable, a serious jam could require the pistol to be shipped back to SIG Air for repair.

Accuracy of the P320 was reasonable for a gun in this price range.  I would call it “plinking accuracy” and totally suitable for keeping rogue soda cans from becoming a threat.  Rated by SIG Air for 430 fps, my results were more sedate at 340 fps using 8.5 grain H&N Excite Spike pointed pellets.  Still it was a great little plinker and appeals to the collector in me.

The MSRP on the P320 is $119.99 and it comes with a one-year warranty from SIG Air.  For more information on the P320  check out this page on the Airguns of Arizona website.

 

If you have an aversion to snakes I’m going to ask you to buck up and read on so I can relay info on one of the MTC scopes named after vipers.  MTC Optics is a British scope maker around for about a dozen years now and part of the corporate group that owns Breda shotguns and Daystate airguns.  It is a company that was started by shooters to provide optics for shooters by a man named Gary Cooper.  The model I’ve worked with is the Mamba-Lite in a 4-16x42mm configuration with a low-profile side turret for parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity.  The body is a 1-inch aluminum tube sporting a matte black finish and the scope weighs in at 20 ounces.  The Mamba-Lite offers multi-coated optic glass for brighter edge-to-edge viewing and a red illuminated reticle. The scopes are made to MTC’s exacting quality standards and designed for use with any caliber.  Normal scope care is all that is required for maintenance; such as cleaning the outside with a soft cloth and using high quality lens cleaning products.

The reticle design is called the SCB2 (mil) and stands for: Small Caliber Ballistic Reticle (type 2) but can certainly be used with larger calibers and is especially appropriate for long range applications as the reticle is in the second focal plane so the mil spacings remain “true” at the highest magnification.  Additionally, ½ mil aiming points have also been incorporated into the reticle.  Only the center of the reticle is illuminated and operated by a microswitch on the parallax turret under a waterproof rubber button.  Minor pressure on the button for 2 seconds turns on the power and there are 6 illumination levels that get brighter with each press of the switch.  Turning off the power is accomplished by pressing the button and holding for 2 seconds, retaining the illumination setting for the next time it is powered up.  Something they appear to have left out, however, is an auto-shutoff so remember to check illumination is off before you store your rifle back in the safe.

A feature I particularly liked were the Patent Pending spring loaded, rotatable flip-up lens covers.  Sometimes fumbling with lens covers that close by snap fit or friction fit can be frustrating and even require two hands to open in order not to pull the covers completely off the scope.  Not so with these covers.  They also stay open at your choice of 90 or 180 degrees and can be locked down in the position you choose.  Why this is important involves the other nifty feature incorporated into the rear cover – a magnifying lens.  When flipped to the 180-degree position, it provides an easy to read heads-up display of whichever turret markings you have it aligned with.  Of course, if using it on a center fire rifle you would be well-advised not to leave the rear cover open to the 90-degree setting as heavy recoil may lead to an unwanted scope bite.

Pricing from www.airgunsofarizona.com is $399.00 and the scope comes standard with a 1-year warranty.  That can be extended to Lifetime, per the U.S. website, by registering it with the manufacturer within 30 days of purchase.  AofA also carries the Sportsmatch scope rings recommended by MTC.  Sportsmatch U.K has been making scope rings for over 45 years and these aluminum rings retail at $37.00.

The Mamba Lite is a quality scope made by MTC Optics

If collectors and enthusiasts refer to the time of airguns crafted of German and British engineering with richly blued steel and top-quality hardwood stocks as the “golden age”, then what we are seeing now must surely be the “realism age”.  Case-in-point is the subject of today’s blog, the “We The People” Advanced Sports Pellet CO2 clone of the 1911 style .45 caliber firearm of the same name introduced by SIG SAUER a couple of years ago.

The new SIG SAUER “We the People” CO2 repeater

Part of the Advanced Sport Pellet line, this beautifully crafted air pistol is an exact replica of that firearm made in Taiwan as part of SIG’s “next generation of air pistols” to the exact specifications of the firearm.  It duplicates it in almost every detail, right down to the method of field stripping.  A portion of the CO2 is used to provide blowback action.

Impressive as the detailing is, this pistol is equally impressive in the styling department.  The original .45 is a tribute to America and the 2nd Amendment.  This BB pistol sports a metal slide marked on the top with a circle of 13 stars representing the original colonies, on the left side with 1776 in large numbers and on the right side with WE THE PEOPLE.  Each metal grip panel is decorated with 25 raised stars to represent the 50 states in the union, and overall the pistol is treated with a distressed antique finish.  The firearm has a skeletonized trigger and hammer, an extended beaver tail and grip safety, as does this BB firing replica.  The grip safety is functional along with an ambidextrous safety that locks the slide just like on any 1911.

As attractive as the pistol is, it is equally well done internally with an excellent fit and mechanical functioning.  No malfunctions were experienced unless the COdropped to a level where the slide would not fully retract and lock back on an empty magazine.

The drop-free magazine holds the 12-gram CO2 cartridge plus 17 BBs in a staggered column.  A supplied hex wrench is used to turn the piercing screw in the floorplate of the magazine.  Other niceties beside the already mentioned ambidextrous safety include a BB follower that locks back to facilitate loading, the face of the trigger is serrated and a clearly written owner’s manual with good black & white photos.  Instructions are included on removing the slide as a start to field stripping but should have gone further to describe removal of the barrel in case of a stuck BB.  SIG SAUER provides a one year warranty as well.

Other details that may be of interest:  the overall weight of the pistol out of the package is 2.2 pounds.  The specs indicate a trigger pull of 4 pounds but on my sample, I found it to average 5 pounds 10.5 ounces.  Though the pistol still needs to go through some additional breaking in which may reduce the trigger pull weight, I wouldn’t anticipate it coming down that far.  I averaged over 4 full magazines per CO2 cartridge (between 70 and 80 rounds) at a mile above sea level doing mostly slow fire.  However, I have to admit, with these CO2 repeaters I have trouble restraining myself from shooting rapid fire strings.  Accuracy was very good right out of the box up to 25 feet or so, making it a great plinker.  It is rated for a velocity of 340 fps and at my altitude, using Hornady Black Diamond BBs, I averaged very close to that with 332 fps.

Functioning is incredibly similar to the real thing

This model is not currently listed on www.airgunsofarizona.com  under their SIG page as it is so new to the market.  However, the great group of folks at AofA can certainly help to order one up for you.  The MSRP listed for this air pistol is $119.00 but check with AofA to discuss pricing.  Additionally, depending upon the political climate where you live there may be restrictions on shipping this air pistol.

Umarex is a leading purveyor of BB and pellet firing replicas of famous firearms and this example is a licensed copy of the popular P30 series from Heckler and Koch that is actually manufactured in Germany by HK for Umarex.  Like its firearm counterpart, it is a polymer pistol sporting a metal slide. However, this is not a blowback pistol as the slide is non-reciprocating.  It does separate, with the front section sliding forward upon depressing what would be the slide release lever on the actual firearm.  Once the slide is open, either a metal 8-round rotary magazine or a BB adapter can be inserted into the gun.  To shoot BBs, the plastic “BB adapter” supplied with the gun is inserted in place of the rotary pellet magazine and 15 BBs are loaded into the drop-free magazine.

P30 with magazine & accessories

This pistol operates in both single and double action modes and has a functional exposed hammer.  The P30 is listed as being a semi-auto because the internal workings line up the next shot automatically and ready the gun for firing, but to shoot in single action, the hammer must be manually cocked each time.

While the P30 is a faithful reproduction in looks and feel, right down to the picatinny rail on the dust cover, the only controls that operate as on the original are the ambidextrous magazine release incorporated into the trigger guard and the de-cocking button at the rear of the slide, next to the hammer.

To ready for firing, a 12-gram CO2 capsule is inserted into the drop-free magazine after rotating the magazine base plate 180 degrees clockwise.  A small knurled wheel at the base plate of the magazine is rotated to “snug up” the capsule and then the magazine base is rotated counterclockwise to pierce the capsule.  The gun would then be pointed in a safe

P30 Magazine with base plate in open position

direction and the trigger pulled to make sure that CO2 was flowing and the gun would fire before loading it with ammo.  Note that, with this gun, if the manual safety near the rear of the slide is engaged, it blocks the valve so you might think the CO2 capsule has not been pierced as trigger pull is not affected by the manual safety.

Nice features of this P30 replica include a 3.3-inch rifled steel barrel, vertical groves in the face of the trigger, front and rear sights that are drift adjustable for windage, a hard-plastic foam-lined case plus the inclusion of two 8-round pellet magazines and a small plastic tool for seating the pellets to the same depth.  Additionally, it is a quiet shooter compared to other CO2 pistols I own, making this model “backyard friendly”.

Umarex rates the P30 at 360 fps for pellets (grains not specified) and 395 for BBs.  Since I prefer not to shoot BBs through barrels with shallow rifling, I can only report my results from the pellets I used.  My findings are based on a 90+ degree day at well over a mile above sea level.  Using H&N Excite Plinking pellets weighing 7.3 grains the average fps was: 304.9 and with Predator GTO lead free wad cutters at 5.5 grains the average fps was: 278.1.

The P30 wasn’t stingy with the CO2, yielding only 45+ full power shots per capsule.  It was fun to shoot and with the two magazines provided, was quick to reload for a full 16 shots, however, keep the pistol level and over your shooting bench when opening the slide to insert or remove the 8-round pellet magazines as they will easily fall out otherwise.  The trigger pull averaged 3 pounds in single action and a very heavy 11 pounds in double action.  Not unmanageable, but it was more pleasurable to shoot by manually cocking the hammer for each shot.  Accuracy was acceptable for a nice plinking airgun at ranges out to 20 yards.  All-in-all, I liked the way it shot and the solid, comfortable feel in your hand.  If you are into the replica airguns at all, this one would make a nice addition to your collection.  MSRP on this model runs in the $225 range and it can be found on the AofA website www.airgunsofarizona.com

for a considerable savings.

For the plinkers in the audience I wanted to cover a fun little item that is an accurate enough replica to be valuable as a training arm as well – the Walther PPK/S from Umarex.  This is an all metal semi-auto replica of the pocket .380 firearm.  As Walther is part of the Umarex family, this little 1.2-pound replica BB shooter sports the Walther logos and is a pretty exacting copy.  The only deviations would be the non-functional safety on the left side of the slide (an actual safety is located on the right side of the frame) and in the case of my slightly older version, a protruding thumbscrew used to pierce the 12-gram CO2 cartridge.  Newer models no longer have the thumbscrew, replacing it with a threaded plug needing a hex wrench, and this gives a more realistic look.

Umarex Walther PPK/S with grip panel and magazine removed.

A 15-round drop-free stick type magazine forms the “pinky ledge” that would be part of the magazine on the real deal. The CO2 cylinder sits behind the stick magazine under the left grip panel which is held in place with spring clips.  The pistol operates by single action and Umarex rates the gun at velocities up to 295 fps.  I experience less velocity because I live at higher altitude but was unable to measure the fps due to a malfunctioning chronograph.  BBs still hit with some authority and in no way diminished the plinking fun that can be had with this little pistol.

The non-adjustable trigger was very nice with a smooth pull that averaged around 2 ½ pounds.  The face of the trigger is grooved like it is on the firearm and after a slight take up it travels about ¼ of an inch before dropping the hammer.  As this is a blowback action gun, some CO2 is bled off to cycle the slide and prepare the next shot.  After the last BB is fired, the slide locks back, but only partially.  Still, it is somewhat realistic and prevents the waste of gas by pulling the trigger on an empty magazine.  The pivoting safety switch on the right side is made of plastic and disengages the trigger when in the downward position.  There is a small cutout in the right grip panel so the lever needs to be slightly depressed to move upward, revealing a large red dot and readying the pistol to fire.

Sporting a 3.5-inch smooth bore barrel, a high degree of accuracy cannot be expected but if you keep your targets to within 25 feet or so, you’ll put plenty of BBs on soda cans, pinecones and other reasonably sized targets.  This pistol was pretty conservative on its gas use so I was able to get up to 90 shots before the pressure dropped to where the slide would not cycle.  It is possible to get additional shots with a fair amount of punch by simply manually cocking the hammer each time thereby getting the most of the CO2 cylinder.

Close up of left side markings on the Walther PPK/S.

Having excellent balance and feel in the hand, plus a very nice trigger for this price range, the PPK/S is a lot of fun.  The MSRP is around $85 and it comes with a 90-day limited warranty.  Umarex USA has a good reputation for warranty work should you need to make use of it.  Check out this model [http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/bb-pistols/walther-ppk/s-bb-co2-pistol/] and other licensed copy CO2 pistols which are available on the Airguns of Arizona website at: www.airgunsofarizona.com.