Posts Tagged ‘CO2’

There is a part of me that never got over being ten years old, roaming the summertime woods and fields of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with my BB gun and the neighbor kid and his BB gun. Those were golden times. It was Big Time, Big Deal to walk over to the general store in Evansville (it was, in fact, the only store in Evansville) with a coin in our pockets to buy a fresh tube of BBs and maybe a Popsicle.

Those were golden times. I’ll never forget them, and they left me with a distinct soft spot in my heart for BB guns. Recently, the folks at UmarexUSA sent me one of the most unusual airguns that I’ve seen in my career as an airgun writer – the Morph.

The Morph in pistol configuration.

What’s a Morph? It’s a CO2-powered repeater BB pistol that morphs – changes – into a rifle and while it does that, it gain some speed and power and gets quieter. Neat trick, no?

The Morph is quite a stylish piece of goods. The heart of it – the pistol, fashioned to look like a semi-automatic – has a kind modern, semi-futuristic look to it that reminds me of a firearm I saw once, but I can’t recall the name. The entire Morph pistol is just 11.5 inches from end to end and appears to be constructed mostly of a matte black engineering polymer.

The piercing screw at the bottom of the pistol grip.

At the top back end of the receiver is a notch type rear sight with a green fiber optic dot on either side. Below that, on the back of the “slide” is a soft rubber flap that can be opened to access a velocity adjustment screw. The pistol grip is nicely tucked under the rear of the receiver and slanted. The rear of the pistol grip – the backstrap – can be removed to insert a 12-gram CO2 cartridge and the front of the ambidextrous pistol grip has finger indentations. On the bottom of the pistol grip is a piercing screw. More about this later.

On the left side of the receiver is a slot for loading BBs. Forward of the pistol grip, a black polymer trigger guard surrounds a non-adjustable black trigger. Forward of the trigger guard, the bottom of the receiver is fitted with a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories such as a laser or flashlight.

The front sight.

At the front of the pistol you’ll find the muzzle and above that, a red fiber optic front sight that is mounted on a dovetail on the top of the receiver. Behind the front sight is a long Picatinny rail that can be used for mounting a red dot, scope, or whathaveyou. Finally, on right side of the Morph pistol, just above the trigger guard, you’ll find a switch type safety.

You remove the backstrap on the pistol grip to gain access to the chamber for the 12-gram CO2 cartridge.

To get the Morph pistol ready for shooting, remove the backstrap by pressing the backstrap release button and sliding the backstrap down. Slide a 12-gram CO2 cartridge into the slot and tighten the piercing screw until you hear a hiss. Squeeze the trigger once and you should be rewarded with a loud POP. If you don’t hear a pop, try tightening the piercing screw to make sure the cartridge has been pierced and is releasing CO2.

You can see the BB loading slot on the left side of the receiver just below the top rail.

Next, put the Morph on SAFE and slide the BB follower (in the BB loading slot on the left side of the receiver) all the way toward the muzzle until you can push it down and lock it in the retention slot. Pour up to 30 BBs into the loading hole and gently release the BB follower when you are done.

Take aim at your target, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. At about 7 lbs of effort on the trigger, the shot goes down range with a pop, launching BBs at around 418 fps average. That’s enough speed to punch through the side of a soup can at 7 yards and split the other side. Keep squeezing the trigger and the Morph pistol will keep sending BB down range until the magazine is empty. I estimate that you’ll get about 40-45 shots per cartridge.

As a repeater BB pistol in and of itself, the Morph acquits itself well. It’s a lot of fun to shoot for bouncing cans or whiffle practice golf ball around the yard.

But the Morph isn’t done. As they say in the informercials: “But wait, there’s more!”

The Morph also converts into a long-barrel pistol or a rifle.

The Morph with the forearm in place.

There are actually two ways to convert the Morph into a long-barrel pistol. The “Official” way is to slide the red fiber optic front sight out of its dovetail on the pistol, slide the forearm over the front the Morph pistol (the forearm has its own fiber optic front sight), and then slide the long barrel down the hole in the forearm and screw it into place.

The Morph with forearm and long barrel mounted.

The unofficial Uncle Jock way of creating the long barrel pistol is to skip removing the front sight and mounting the forearm and simply screw the long barrel into the muzzle of the Morph pistol. The result looks like some sort of assassin’s pistol with the world’s baddest silencer. (A little voice in my head kept saying, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”)

The Uncle Jock version of the Morph long barrel pistol.

Whichever method of creating the long barrel pistol you chose, the effects are the same: the loudness of the report goes down, and the velocity goes up, to around 584 fps average. As you might imagine, with the rise in velocity also comes a rise in penetration. The Morph now easily blows through both side of a soup can at 7 yards.

The Morph fully morphed into a rifle.

Finally, you can remove the backstrap on the pistol grip and attach a shoulder stock, fully converting the Morph from a pistol into a rifle.

The bottom line: I think the Morph is a whole lot of fun. I believe the Uncle Jock version of the long barrel pistol is the cat’s meow for hunting hornets in the back yard. The Morph combo would be a fun gun to use to teach a youngster to shoot. Just make sure that everyone is properly supervised (you have to be close enough to re-direct the muzzle if necessary) and that everyone wears eye protection (because BBs tend to ricochet more than pellets).

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Industry Brand 2078A, an excellent rifle for plinking.

I like plinking. Some of the happiest afternoons have been spent shooting targets of no great consequence — cheese puffs, spinners, little green army guys, bottle caps, tin cans, acorns and the like – in the company of my brother in law.

Now, a plinking rifle must have certain qualities that are different from what I would look for in a hunting or pest control gun or an air rifle suitable for, say, field target competition.  It must be easy to shoot, not have any bad habits, such as heavy recoil or heavy cocking effort, and not require frequent fill-ups from a tank or pump. It must also be reasonably accurate. Power, frankly, isn’t all that important.

The Industry Brand AR2078A pretty much fits the definition of a plinking rifle.  It measures 39.5 inches from buttstock to muzzle and weighs just a couple ounces shy of seven pounds without scope. The fit and finish of the wood and metal on the AR2078A is commensurate with an air rifle that costs only about  $200, base price.

The 2078A has the looks of a target rifle.

At the aft end of the AR2078A, you’ll find a rubber butt pad. The hardwood stock is setup for a right hander and has a deeply sculptured stock and nearly vertical pistol grip.  Moving forward from the pistol grip, the trigger guard is metal and so is the trigger.

The globe front sight has interchangeable inserts.

Moving forward again, the forestock is nearly flat underneath, the rounded edges. This makes the AR2078A easy to shoot from a rest.  At the end of the forestock is the CO2 reservoir and above that, the barrel which has a tapered muzzle weight and a bracket that includes the front sight.

I mounted the peep sight for testing.

The AR2078A is a bolt action single shot, and the sample that was sent to me was a .177 caliber. The receiver has dovetails for scope mounting to the rear of the breech. The AR2078A comes with two rear sights: a notch-type sight and a peep sight. I mounted the peep sight for my testing. At the end of the barrel, the globe-type front sight features interchangeable inserts.

To ready the AR2078A  for shooting, cock the action, unscrew the cap on the reservoir at the end of the forestock and drop in two 12-g CO2 cartridges; the first goes in nose-first, the second nose out. Screw the cap back down, fire the gun once, and you’re good to go.

When you lift the bolt handle, you’ll find that the bolt jumps backwards a little bit, driven by a small spring. Pull the bolt all the way back, drop a pellet into the breech, and return the bolt to its full-forward, closed breech position. It takes a bit more effort to return the bolt to its original position because you are working to cock the action. Ease the slack out of the trigger’s first stage, now squeeeeeze the trigger. Pop! The shot goes down range. Coming out of the box, the first stage is extremely light at about 10.3 oz, and the second stage measured about 1 lb. 14.9 oz.

The AR2078A launches 7.87 JSB pellets at an average of 571 fps and 5.5 gr. JSB lead-free pellets at 627 fps. JSB pellets produced roughly half-inch groups at 10 yards. In my view, that’s good enough for casual shooting at informal targets in the back yard. You can probably expect 60-70 shots out of two CO2 cartridges.

I found the AR2078A extremely pleasant to shoot.  With the globe front sight and rear peep sight, I think this would be an excellent rifle for a kind of casual “air Quigley” which would involve seeing what’s the maximum range at which you could clobber a 12 oz. beverage can. It’s a pleasant, solidly-built air rifle that delivers a lot of fun for anyone who wants to have while away some pleasant afternoons shooting with the family in the back yard.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

There is now incontrovertible evidence that I should not be allowed to watch television late at night. And certainly not without serious supervision, the kind of high-level supervision that involves electrodes, neurologists, and technicians squinting at readouts.

Why? Because I blew the hindquarters off a camel today with an air pistol, that’s why. But I get ahead of myself. Let’s hit the rewind button for a minute and get back to the beginning.

It all started innocently enough. Some months back, El Rancho Elliott decided that we would subscribe to the online streaming version of Netflix. Then one day my Better Half discovered that the first season of Top Shot was available for instant viewing.

If you’re unfamiliar with Top Shot, here’s a quick synopsis. It’s a History Channel show that each season brings together 16 shooters to compete in a series of challenges. The challenges might involve shooting a .50 caliber Barrett, a .22 Ruger, throwing a tomahawk, shooting sporting clays, popping balloons with a blowgun, or nailing targets while hanging upsidedown. The challenges are fun, often difficult, and frequently involve not just accuracy but strategy. Week by week competitors are eliminated until there is just one remaining – the Top Shot – and he or she goes home with $100,000

Both my wife and I got hooked on Top Shot pretty quick.  By the time we had finished watching the second season (I had been staying up late so I could see what happened in the next episode, and the next, you get the picture), my wife asked if we couldn’t create some similar challenges using airguns. Sure, I said.

Then, for some reason known only to the Powers That Be, the following popped into my head: why not go to the grocery store and buy some targets that the wildlife in the neighborhood could eat when we were done destroying them?

So I trundled off to my local supermarket and purchased the following: some big round crackers, some medium-sized round crackers, some cheese puff balls, and some animal crackers. I was on a roll now, but how was I going to secure the aforementioned targets to a board in front of my pellet trap?

Out of my fertile brain came the answer: frosting! Spread a generous portion of frosting on the edge the board and then stick the crackers into it. It would work, I thought; it had to work. I decided to get chocolate frosting for contrast in the photograph and also because I like chocolate frosting.

Arriving home with the goodies, I clipped a fresh target into the holder on my pellet trap and grabbed a hunk of 2 x 6 board that I usually use to support cans in front of my pellet trap. I buttered the thin edge of the board liberally with the chocolate frosting and then began sticking crackers into the goo. They stood up pretty well. You can see the results in the picture below.

The scene of the great grocery store shootout.

Next I needed to select a pneumatic weapon. I didn’t want to make it too easy, but neither did I want to make it too difficult either for my first experiment.  So I chose the Smith & Wesson 6” revolver in black. Mine has a red dot mounted, I figured at 10 meters, I ought to be able to hit the large round crackers easily, but the cheese puff balls and the animal crackers might be difficult.

My weapon of choice: the Smith & Wesson 6" revolver with a red dot..

I inserted a fresh CO2 cartridge, loaded Crosman 7.9 Premier pellets into the rotary magazine, and let fly. Bang! My first shot was obviously high. I steadied my grip and fired again and again. No telltale holes appeared in the paper behind the targets, and none of the edibles had moved.  I strolled up to have a peek, and I could see there were holes in the big crackers.

Aiming a bit lower, I knocked one of the big crackers off its perch. Next, I blew the hindquarters off one of the animal crackers, the camel. Aiming lower, I found it was easier to break the targets or send them flying.

In all, I used up some 40 pellets before just one of the cheese puff balls and some fragments were left.

The aftermath of the great grocery store shootout.

Who knew that chocolate frosting splattered so easily? It cleans up fairly easily with a little soap and water. Maybe peanut butter will work better next time.

Still more evidence of the carnage.

Bottom line: It was a lot of fun but messy, and definitely worth doing. And it wasn’t bad eating the leftovers.

So now, dear reader, it’s your turn: how about sharing some of your favorite fun targets? You can post a response to this blog or email

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Desert Eagle is a CO2 repeater pistol that just begs to be shot fast.

As a fulltime freelance writer, I occasionally get some really neat assignments. Recently I interviewed a dozen NRA national champions about how they prepare for and handle pressure in competition.

Among them, I got to interview several action pistol shooters. And that got me to thinking: man, I would love to have a good game that I could play with rapid-fire air pistols – a game where I could shoot turning targets, falling plates, and the like, all against the clock. If you would like to get an idea of what might be possible shooting action air pistols, check out these videos of airsoft IPSC shooters here and here

Recently, the good folks at UmarexUSA sent me an air pistol that I think would be a prime candidate for shooting an action air pistol game: the Desert Eagle. The Desert Eagle is a big, beefy pistol constructed primarily of matte black engineering polymer. It stretches about 10.5 inches from end to end and weighs 2 lb. 10.9 oz. Like most of Umarex’s action pistols that look like a semi-automatic, the Desert Eagle is actually a single-action/double-action revolver. .177 caliber pellets are loaded into an eight-shot rotary magazine that, when in use, is hidden by the receiver of the “automatic.” What sets the Desert Eagle apart from the others is that this is a blow-back pistol. We’ll find out why that is important in just a little while, but first let’s take a tour of the Desert Eagle (DE).

Here are the beavertail, the hammer (cocked), and the safety.

At the back end of the DE, you’ll find a pronounced “Beaver tail” that curls back over the shooters thumb. Above that is the hammer, which can be pulled back to put the DE into single-action mode. Just forward of that is the portion of the upper receiver that blows back when the DE shoots. On either side of the receiver are safety levers – pull either one down to safe the action, push either one up to allow the DE to fire. On top of the receiver is the notch-type rear sight which can be adjusted for windage only by loosening a screw, manually moving the sight, and re-tightening the screw.

Underneath this big brass screw is where the CO2 cartridge goes. The Desert Eagle comes with a wide flat screwdriver that fits the screw.

Forward of the beaver tail is the pistol grip which is lightly textured for better adhesion in the hand. On the bottom of the pistol grip is a large brass screw which is removed for loading a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge. Forward of the pistol grip, a molded polymer trigger guard surrounds a molded polymer trigger. Just above the trigger on the left side of the DE is a lever. Pull it downward, and the barrel sleeve, which houses the 5.7-inch .177 caliber barrel, is released to move forward so that the rotary magazine can be inserted into the breech.

Forward of the trigger guard, underneath the receiver, is a flat spot. The DE comes with an optional Picatinny rail for accessories that can be attached to the flat spot with a couple of screws. Moving ahead again, you’ll find the muzzle of the DE and above that, the blade-type front sight. To the rear of the front sight is another Picatinny rail on top of the DE.  That’s all there is to the Desert Eagle.

To ready the DE for shooting, take the wide, flat screwdriver provided with the pistol and remove the large brass screw at the bottom of the pistol grip. Drop in a 12-gram CO2 cartridge nose first and replace the brass screw snugly. Load eight flatnose or roundnose pellets into the magazine from the rear (the front of the magazine has a flat face). Do not use pointed pellets.

The barrel sleeve is in the forward position, showing the gap where the 8-shot rotary magazine is inserted.

Release the barrel sleeve, place the magazine in the breech, and push the barrel sleeve back into position until it latches. Take aim at your target, flick off the safety and . . . now, at this point, you have two choices: you can shoot the DE in double-action mode or single-action mode. In double-action mode (in which you do not pre-cock the hammer), the trigger pull is 8 lb., 1 oz., but in single-action mode (with the hammer pre-cocked), the effort to pull the trigger drops to 4 lb. 9 oz. 

Now, here’s the really cool part. The DE is a blowback pistol, so as soon as you trigger the first shot, the slide blows back and automatically cocks the hammer for the next shot. With the hammer pre-cocked, that makes it much easier to fire each following shot and to shoot a magazine-load of pellets quite rapidly.

The specifications for the Desert Eagle claim 425 fps, but I found it would launch 7 grain RWS Hobby pellets at 469 fps (average) in 80 degree weather. UmarexUSA tells me you can expect about 50 shots from a fresh CO2 cartridge.

Here's the Desert Eagle, tricked out with the Walther Top Point II on the top rail and the Walther FLR650 flashlight/laser combo on the lower rail.

I mounted a Walther Top Point II red dot on the top rail of the DE, and it really helped me to aim and shoot at targets very quickly. I also tried mounting a Walther FLR650 combination flashlight and laser on the lower rail, but I found I couldn’t see the laser in full bright sunshine, although it works quite well in dimmer conditions.

The bottom line: I give my hearty personal recommendation to the Desert Eagle, with an extra hearty recommendation to the Desert Eagle with the Walther Top Point II red dot sight. Now, if somebody would just invent a really good action shooting game for air pistols . . .

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott



The Steel Storm packs a lot of rapid-fire fun into an air pistol.

The thing in my hand chattered off six shots faster than I could blink, faster than I could think.

Holy BLEEP, I wasn’t expecting that.

I squeezed the trigger again. Braaap. Six BBs punctured the target with the speed of a lightning stroke.

Braaap. Like Dr. Jeckyll’s potion, I could feel the object in my fist working a change within me. Sure, I was gripping it, but it was definitely exerting some sort of power over me. I was beginning to like this power in my hand.

Braaap. A fiendish chuckle issued from my lips, and I began to look for things I could shred.

At the back edge of the lawn I found a tall weed, and I didn’t like the way it was looking at me. Braaap. It won’t be doing that again for a while.


Normally, I think of myself as a mild-mannered marksman who enjoys the challenges of shooting well and who prefers slow accurate fire over a torrent of projectiles. The Steel Storm from Umarex, however, has opened my eyes to the pleasures of an area of airgunning I hadn’t considered before: extreme rapid fire.

The Steel Storm Tactical BB gun is really an air machine pistol. About 15 inches long and weighing about 2.7 pounds, it is powered by two 12-gram CO2 cartridges and can fire either single .177 BBs or six-shot bursts.

Made mostly of matte black engineering plastics, the Steel Storm looks like an elongated brick with a pistol grip attached. The aft end is squared off and unadorned. On the left side, a couple of inches from the end, is a rotary switch for selecting single shot mode or six-shot burst. Forward of that is a slide switch that can “safe” the trigger.

The magazine drops out the the pistol grip to reveal a holder for two 12-gram CO2 cartridges.

Below that is the pistol grip that houses the twin CO2 cartridges. A button on the left side of the grip near the trigger guard releases the CO2 carrier, and another button on the “heel” of the pistol grip allows the CO2 magazine to be removed completely.

That long slot above the trigger is for the BB magazine and BB follower.

Forward of the pistol grip, the black plastic trigger guard surrounds a black plastic trigger. Moving forward again, the underside of the Steel Storm is fitted with a Picatinny rail for mounting a flashlight, laser, or other accessory. Above the Picatinny rail on the left side is the BB magazine with a sliding BB follower. Forward of that, the muzzle is surrounded by a short, fat cylinder that looks like it could be fitted with an ersatz “can.”

Above the muzzle, at the top front edge of the receiver is the front post-type sight. To the rear of that is another Picatinny rail, running all the way back to the fixed, notch-type rear sight. Finally, at the top rear edge of the receiver is the cocking lever.

Here's the small hex wrench inserted into the righthand piercing screw.

To ready the Steel Storm for shooting, put the action on SAFE, drop the CO2 magazine out of the pistol grip and remove the front cover. Inside the front cover, you’ll find a small hex wrench tucked into a small compartment provided for it. Use the hex wrench to turn counterclockwise the two piercing screws at the bottom of the CO2 magazine. 

Put one CO2 cartridge in each of the slots (having anointed the small end of each with one drop of RWS Chamber Lube), and turn the piercing screws clockwise until the cartridges are pierced. Replace the hex wrench and front cover and slide the CO2 magazine back into the pistol grip until it clicks in place.

The front sight pulls back to open the loading port for the BB reservoir.

Next, pull the front sight back toward the rear of the receiver to open the loading port for the BB reservoir chamber. Pour in up to 300 BBs and slide the front sight back to its original position. Next, slide the BB follower toward the muzzle and lock it into place. Now shake or rock the Steel Storm until 30 BBs load into the BB magazine. After that, gently release the BB follower.

Pull the cocking lever all the way back and release it. Put the selector on single shot or burst. Move the safety to FIRE. Squeeze the trigger and let’er rip. At 4 lbs. 13 oz., the shot goes off, launching RWS Match Grade Precision Steel BBs at about 420 fps.

Here's the Steel Storm with a Walther Shot Dot green dot sight mounted on the top rail.

At seven yards, I found the Steel Storm would put at least some of the BBs from a burst through the side of a soup can. I shot it only a few times in single shot mode, mostly when I was adjusting the Walther Shot Dot green dot sight I mounted on the top rail. I also tried the FLR 650 flashlight/laser combo on the bottom rail and found that the combination of the green dot and red laser made a neat sighting duo.

The Big Fun with the Steel Storm is the burst mode. It made me feel like a ten-year-old boy on the first day of spring, ready to go out and conquer the world, or at least the neighborhood.

Is this rapidly firing BB gun actually good for any practical use? Perhaps for shooting mice or rats in a warehouse.

But really, after you fire that first burst, you won’t care . . . you’ll just know that it is fun.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

A BB gun for adults. It's on steroids!

There have been times when I’ve wondered if I would ever discover an air rifle that would be as much pure fun as my very first BB gun.

With the Marocchi SM45 HP, I’ve found a strong candidate. Think of the SM45 as a BB gun for adults or perhaps a BB gun on steroids.

The SM45 stretches 37.5 inches from end to end and weighs 4.4 lbs. empty. There are two versions, the synthetic and the wood look. I tested the synthetic. At the aft end of the buttstock you’ll find a soft rubber butt pad. Moving forward, the ambidextrous butt stock has a slight cheek piece on either side. The pistol grip has a soft rubber gripping surface, and the Marocchi emblem is displayed in silver on the end of the pistol grip.

The forestock opens to insert an 88-gram CO2 cartridge.

Moving forward, the trigger guard is molded of the same synthetic as the stock and houses a black plastic trigger. Forward of the trigger guard is a knurled wheel that can be unscrewed to open a hatch in the forestock that houses an 88-gram CO2 cartridge. Forward of the forestock is the .177 caliber Lothar-Walther barrel.

This shows where the forward end of the magazine fits into the muzzle brake.

At the end of the barrel is a plastic fitting that serves as a mount for the red fiber-optic front sight and also has a fitting into which the magazine snaps. Moving rearward along the barrel, there is a barrel band, the rear notch sight, and the receiver proper which has an 11mm dovetail. (When I tried to mount a scope on the SM45, I found the rail a bit flimsy. I would suggest using only the lightest scope if you think you really need one.) The rear end of the magazine, which runs the length of the right side of the barrel, snaps into the receiver on the right side. On the right side of the receiver at the rear is a slide safety. Move it right to safe the SM34. Move it to the left position to allow the gun to fire. Finally, at the rear of the SM45 receiver is a knob that can be used for adjusting the power.

To ready the SM45 for shooting, first put the gun on SAFE, then unscrew the knurled knob just forward of the trigger guard. The hatch will automatically open. You can then insert an 88-gram CO2 cartridge into the hatch with the threaded end toward the trigger guard. Screw it in until it is snug.

A partially loaded magazine in position. On the left end, the magazine fits into the magazine housing on the receiver. On the right side, the BB follow provides tension to feed BBS into the SM45.

Next remove the magazine by pulling the knob at the muzzle end of the magazine back toward the receiver until the muzzle end of the magazine can be slipped out the muzzle fitting. Pull the free end of the magazine toward the muzzle, and the other end of the magazine will slip out of the magazine housing on the receiver. Next, push the knob – the BB follower – at the receiver end of the magazine forward in the long slot on the side of the magazine until it can be hooked into the notch at the far end of the slot.

Next, point the muzzle end of the magazine toward the floor and inert up to 80 Marocchi copper-coated lead balls into the magazine. With the muzzle of the SM45 pointed toward the ground, slide the receiver end of the magazine back into the magazine housing on the receiver. Snap the muzzle end of the magazine back into the fitting on the muzzle. Now all that remains is to unhook the BB follower the notch so that it can put tension on the BBs in the magazine.

To fire the SM45, take aim at your target, slide the safety to FIRE, and squeeze the trigger. The trigger pull is long and rolling and tops out at more than 10 pounds, put it feels like the trigger pull in a revolver and is very predictable.

The SM45 launches lead BBs at nearly 650 fps on high power and at around 500 fps on low power. At 88 gram CO2 cartridge will deliver around 200 shots, or about 2.5 magazines full of BBs. With open sights, I found I could easily keep shots inside a 1.5 inch circle at 10 yards.

I went to war on this can with the SM45.

It was wounded in action.

But the real fun came with out-and-out plinking. I dropped a tomato sauce on the ground and absolutely shredded it. The first few shots passed completely through the can. Then it fell over, and I bounced it this way and that, spinning it left and right until it looked like something that been through a war. I suppose in a way it had!

Would I recommend the Marocchi SM45? Absolutely – but only if you want to let the little kid in you out for some can-busting fun.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The left side of the Crosman 600, showing the built-in magazine just forward of the rear sight and the cocking slide just below the magazine.

For years I had been hearing about the Crosman 600 pistol, how neat it is, how it is a classic. I had seen pictures of the 600, and I had read rave reviews of them in the online forums, but I had never shot one until just the other day.

The good folks at Airguns of Arizona had picked up a 600 as part of a massive buy of vintage airguns. This particular 600 had some seal problems that needed to be sorted out. When the repair was completed, AoA asked me if I’d like to give it a try before it went on to its rightful owner.

Sure, I said, and a few days later Brown Santa delivered a box containing the Crosman 600. The 600 stretches about 9.l75 inches from muzzle to the end of the receiver and 5.5 inches from the top of the receiver to the bottom of the pistol grip. The sample I played with weighed 2 lbs 10 oz unloaded. The entire 600 is amazingly solidly constructed out of metal. The only plastic that I could detect are the target-style grips.

The 600 was introduced in 1960, and, according to DT Fletcher’s book, 75 Years of Crosman Airguns, was produced until 1970. A flyer or advertisement from 1960 reproduced in his book calls the 600 “the world’s most advanced pellet pistol. . . Revolutionary! . . . 10 shots in less than 3 seconds . . . with match target accuracy.”

It goes on to say: “Patented, fast, boltless Swing-Feed loading . . . Gun holds on target; no lag, no sticking, no jump . . . Top target accuracy.”

The built-in magazine with the slide back, reading for loading.

Having now shot the Crosman 600, I can only say that it lives up to the marketing material. To get it ready for shooting. Unscrew the cap on the end of the air tube under the muzzle. Insert a CO2 powerlet with the neck facing outward. Screw in the cap which has a piercing pin. Next, push the slide on the built in magazine all the way back and lock it in place. Carefully feed in 10 .22 caliber flat nose pellets (I used Beeman .22 H&N match wadcutter pellets) so that the head of pellet faces toward the muzzle. Release the magazine slide and pull back the cocking slide just below it until it latches.

The righthand side of the Crosman 600.

Now you’re good to go. Ease the first stage out of the trigger. Squeeze a bit more, and at 2 lbs 3 oz, the shot goes down range with a solid “Pop!” In the same instant, the action cycles, readying the next shot and cocking the action. Squeeze the trigger as fast as you like, and the pellets go effortlessly down range. This is quite simply the fastest, easiest rapid-fire air pistol I’ve ever shot. (Although, of the modern crop of repeater air pistols, the Beretta PX4 Storm acquits itself very well. I’ll be writing about it in another blog.)

The Crosman 600 truly is a classic. If you are luck enough to own one, take good care of it and enjoy it often, because it is absolutely a pleasure to shoot.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

Before we get started this time, there is a new video in the Airguns of Arizona video showcase. You might want to check it out.

Okay, now down to business. Brown Santa (the UPS guy) showed up the other day with a small box. In it was a Benjamin EB22 air pistol, and I’ve got to tell you that after playing with it for a little while, it is my new favorite pistol.

The EB22 is a .22 caliber, single-shot, bolt-action, CO2 powered pistol. Overall length is just nine inches, and the weight is 28 ounces. Let’s take a brief tour. The fit and finish are, I think, just right for a pistol in this price range. All the metal is black with the exception of the silver metal trigger and silver bolt at the back of the receiver. Under the receiver is the metal pistol grip frame, which is fitted with a couple of dark-colored hardwood grips. Ahead of the grips is a safety button. Push it full left to allow the EB22 to fire. Just forward of that is the silver metal trigger inside the black metal trigger guard.

Above the trigger guard is the tube that holds the 12-gram CO2 Powerlet that powers the EB22. At the end of the tube is a black knurled metal knob, the filler cap. Above that are the muzzle of the 6.38-inch brass barrel and the front sight. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the breech and the loading port. Behind that are the rear sight and the bolt.

To get the EB22 ready for shooting, remove the filler cap and insert a CO2 Powerlet small-end-first into the tube under the barrel. To ease removal of spent Powerlets, it’s helpful if you smear a dab of Pellgunoil on the end and around the neck of the Powerlet. Replace the filler cap and make sure it is completely screwed into place. Cock the action by rotating the bolt knob ¼ turn counterclockwise and pull it full back until you hear two clicks and it stays back. Put the EB22 off “safe” and pull the trigger. This should puncture the CO2 Powerlet, and you should hear a “pop.” If not, reactivate the safety, tighten the filler cap, and repeat the procedure.

Once the CO2 cartridge has been punctured, safe the pistol, cock the action again, insert a pellet into the breech, close the bolt and rotate it clockwise until it locks. Now you’re good to go. Take aim at your target, click off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. At around 2.5 pounds pull, the shot goes down range at velocities up to 430 fps, depending upon the pellet weight. You can expect 25 to perhaps 35 shots per cartridge before the velocity really starts to die.

There a bunch of things I like about this pistol. First is how well made it is – it’s all brass, metal, and hardwood; you won’t find a scrap of plastic on it. The second is its handy, compact size. Third, the EB22 appears to have sufficient power for defending the bird feeder or garden at short range. Crosman rates the EB22 as useful for target shooting, small pest control, and large pest control. Based on my casual tests on inanimate objects, I believe it. Fourth, the accuracy is decent – a bit better, at 7-10 yards, than what I can achieve shooting a Beeman P1 standing and two-handed. Fifth, the EB22 is just plain fun. Thanks to the CO2 powerplant, it’s a low-effort pistol. No pumping, no heavy cocking effort; just load and shoot.

To me, it’s a wonderful pistol for an afternoon of “competitive plinking” in the back yard.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott