Posts Tagged ‘Daisy’

Just last night I had an encounter with a fellow who is an experienced hunter, firearms user, and sportsman, and he knows very little about airguns. His lack of knowledge of about airguns about airguns isn’t a rare thing. Most of the experienced sportsmen that I know have very little conception of the world of adult precision airguns. Their knowledge is pretty much limited to what can be found on the shelves of the big-box stores, and there the packaging screams: 1200 feet per second, 1300 feet per second, 1500 feet per second! This leaves the consumer to assume that more feet per second is somehow better, and it does the consumer a gross dis-service in making a buying decision.

So let’s suppose that you think maybe it would be neat to try airgunning, but you really don’t have a clue what to buy.

392-397

First on my list would be a Benjamin 392. This is a solidly made single-shot, bolt-action, .22 caliber, multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It is easy to shoot well, delivers enough power for small game hunting or pest control, and with care should last for decades. I would buy one with a Williams peep sight. Scoping the 392, or its .177 caliber brother the 397, is difficult.

Model-34

Next up would be the highly respected RWS Model 34. This is a single-shot, break-barrel air rifle available in .177 or .22 with power enough for hunting or field targe. Like all spring-piston air rifles, it requires some care to shoot well. The build quality is excellent, and the trigger is far better than you will find in the typical big-box break-barrel springer. In addition, the Model 34 is easy to mount a scope on.

HW30S

Third is the Weihrauch HW30S. This is a lower-power break-air rifle that is easy to cock, offers excellent accuracy, and is perhaps the easiest springer to shoot well. Many airgunners I know say it is the last air rifle they would sell. It can be readily scoped, the build quality is outstanding, and it will deliver decades of service with the occasional rebuild. It can be used for pest control and garden defense with careful shot placement at close range.

WAL-LGV-Master

My favorite springer is the Walther LGV. These are break-barrel, single-shot spring-piston air rifles that are easy to cock and incredibly smooth to shoot. With a scope mounted, you could hunt, plink, shoot field target with a huge grin on your face. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one to a friend.

When it comes to pre-charged pneumatic rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. Virtually all of them will deliver one-inch groups at fifty yards under good conditions with the right pellet.

L1377C

Turning to air pistols, the Crosman 1377c is an excellent starter pistol that people love to customize. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, .177 caliber pistol that is fun to shoot and can be used for small pest control at close range. The rear sight, however, requires a safecracker’s touch to adjust.

Triumph%20747

If you want pure, accurate, air pistol shooting fun, the Daisy Avanti Triumph 747 http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/Daisy%20Triumph%20747.html can’t be beat. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that’s wimpy in power and no good for pest control or hunting but highly accurate, and people use them all the time in air pistol silhouette matches.

HW45

If you want more power and a challenge, I suggest any of the Weihrauch HW45 pistols. These are spring-pistol air pistols that are tricky to shoot well but are fun to shoot and master. They also offer enough power for defending the birdfeeder at short range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

 

 

 

Total weight: 3 pounds, 14.9 ounces.

Total weight: 3 pounds, 14.9 ounces.

For me, one of the best ways of spending an afternoon – besides shooting airguns with a friend – is reading, or watching, a man-on-the-run thriller. I have a particular fondness for some of the older ones, like The 39 Steps by John Buchan which first appeared as a magazine serial in 1915. In it, an ordinary guy – Richard Hannay – finds himself thrust into international intrigue and on the run from sinister forces. Buchan was both the 15th Governor General of Canada and the author of dozens of books, both novels and non-fiction. Talk about an overachiever! The 39 Steps is available as a book and has been turned into a film several times. I recommend it.

RogueMaleNovel

Recently I had the opportunity to watch another man-on-the-run thriller that I had not seen in several years: Rogue Male. Based on the 1939 novel by Geoffrey Household, the 1976 film stars Peter O’Toole as Sir Robert Hunter, a British sportsman who stalks and takes aim at Adolph Hitler with a high-powered rifle. He misses and is captured and tortured by the Gestapo, who make up a fanciful story about why he is missing, throw him off a cliff, and leave him for dead. But Hunter doesn’t die, and he makes his way back to England only to find that the Gestapo is still after him. To escape his pursuers, he literally “takes to ground,” burrowing into a hillside in far out in the countryside.

As I watched Rogue Male, I couldn’t help but think, “Sir Robert really would have benefitted from having a small, light air rifle for collecting small game. And that’s where the trouble began.

I got to thinking about what would be the smallest, lightest air rifle that could be reasonably counted on for taking small game, at say, 20 yards. I’m not aware of any really featherweight springers. The venerable Benjamin 392 tips the scales at 5.5 pounds. The Crosman 2100 weighs 4.8 pounds. The Crosman 760 weighs only 2.75 pounds, but I would want something that breaks down easily to a smaller size for easy transport. The 1377 pistol with a steel breech and red dot weighs 3 lbs. 6 oz., and as I have written before — http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2013/08/various-and-sundry.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=various-and-sundry — can be challenging to shoot accurately to harvest small game (even though it is a lot of fun to shoot).

The Kip Karbine in its original configuration.

The Kip Karbine in its original configuration.

Then it came to me: what about the Kip Karbine? Some years ago, Kip at www.airgunsofarizona.com built for me a tiny air rifle based on the 1377 multi-stroke pneumatic pistol. It featured a pumping forearm from the backbacker rifle, a plastic detachable shoulder stock, a steel breech and a .22 barrel. When it arrived at El Rancho Elliott, I mounted a muzzle brake from a Daisy target rifle (mainly because I liked the look of it, and it protected the muzzle) and a diminutive Bug Buster scope. The whole rig weighed about five-and-a-half pounds, and I used it that way for some time.

 

I mounted a globe front sight.

I mounted a globe front sight.

But as I looked at the Kip Karbine and thought about Rogue Male, I wondered what I could do to reduce the weight even more. I took off the Bug Buster scope and mounts. They were surprisingly heavy – 1 lb. 5.8 ounces. The Daisy muzzle brake already had dovetails for mounting a front globe sight, so I clamped one to the rail with a post-and-bead insert mounted inside.

The rear peep sight clamps to the scope rail.

The rear peep sight clamps to the scope rail.

The rear sight was more of a problem. I couldn’t use any sort of peep sight that hung over the rear of the breech because a screw got in the way. A Williams peep sight looked like it would interfere with the operation of the bolt. But while rummaging through my parts drawers, I came upon a peep sight – I believe it is from Mendoza airguns – that looked like it would clamp to the dovetail on the breech. It worked! Even better, when I went outside, I found that it had sufficient vertical travel that it would sight in.

Here's what the finished Kip Karbine Ultralight looks like compared to a Sheridan (the same size as a Benjamin 392).

Here’s what the finished Kip Karbine Ultralight looks like compared to a Sheridan (the same size as a Benjamin 392).

The final question was: would it generate enough power for reliably taking small game at 20 yards? I began banging away at a tin can at 20 yards, increasing the number of pumps until it penetrated both sides of the can. At twelve pumps, the Crosman Premier pellets punched through with authority. I chronographed the gun – which I have no dubbed the “Kip Karbine Ultralight” – and found that it was launching 14.3 grain .22 caliber Crosman Premier pellets at 484 feet per second. That works out to 7.4 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, and ought to be enough to get the job done. I really like shooting it, and since there are no custom parts, it ought to be possible for readers of this blog to put together their own version of the Kip Karbine Ultralight if they so desire.

Kip Karbine Ultralight 007-001

For those who would like a much higher quality way of traveling light, I understand that FX airguns makes a sight attachment accessory which allows most FX’s (or anything with a standard threaded muzzle) to have a front sight rail: http://www.fxairguns.com/2011/09/foresight-mount/

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

If I had any useful advice to offer anyone, it would be this: marry a smart woman.

Here’s why: I was musing aloud the other day about what I was going to write about for upcoming topics, when my better half jumped on her laptop and began clicking and typing. A little while later, she pushed the laptop in my direction and inquired: “Have you ever heard of this?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What I saw on the screen was a computer game entitled “Daisy Air Gun Fun.” The cover showed two people shooting an air rifle. It was rated E 10+ and available for the princely sum of $6 plus shipping from one of the third-party sellers on Amazon.com. Hmmm, I thought, I bet I could write about this. I click the right buttons and place my order.

Fast forward a few days and a copy of Daisy Air Gun Fun shows up in my mailbox. I waste no time installing it on my computer and discover that it really is a fun, if a little dated, computer game that actually has quite a lot going for it.

safety

The first thing that I discover, after installing the game, is that you can’t do anything without first reviewing the rules of airgun safety as defined by Daisy’s Take Aim At Safety program. These rules include:

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  • Only load or cock a gun when you are shooting.
  • Check your target and beyond your target.
  • Anyone shooting or near a shooter should wear shooting glasses.
  • Never climb or jump with a gun.
  • Avoid ricochet. Never shoot at a flat hard surface or at the surface of water.
  • Keep the muzzle clear. Never let anything obstruct the muzzle of a gun.
  • Guns not in use should always be unloaded.
  • Respect other people’s property.

What happens next is that you are forced to take a Safety Quiz, which is a series of true or false questions that basically review the safety rules that had been displayed on the screen at the beginning of the game. Upon successfully completing the Safety Quiz, a Take Aim At Safety Certificate is displayed. The screen also says “Get your safety certificate from Daisy.com” I doubt that the safety certificate is still available, but Bravo! to Daisy for drilling airgun safety into the players of the game.

Daisy character screen

Once you get past the safety lesson, you get to the main screen which allows to play the game, access the manual, set various options, and set parental control.  The next screen allows you to enter your name and create your character, which includes your gender, age and appearance.

Select Level and rifle

The next screen is where the fun really begins because it features a variety of shooting venues, including a shooting gallery, a 10-meter range, the backyard, a silhouette range, and a – believe it or not – Martian shooting venue. For each of the venues, you can choose from a selection of Daisy air rifles that are appropriate that venue. For example, for the backyard, you can choose from a Daisy Buck, Daisy Red Ryder, Winchester 1894, or a couple of different models of Daisy Grizzly, but for the 10-meter venue, you can only choose among different Avanti target rifles. And, for the Martian venue, you can only select the CO2 powered target rifle because there is no atmosphere on Mars!

10-meter

In addition to what gun you want to shoot, the backyard venue lets you choose among six different kinds of targets – soda cans, Daisy Shatterblasts, game pieces, etc – and also adjust the range at which you shoot. While I was fooling around with this game, my college-age son asked me the obvious question: “What do you need that for? You have real airguns.”

Three answers occurred to me. First, Daisy Air Gun Fun really is fun to play, particularly on a rainy day when you can’t get out to shoot. Second, it’s an interesting way to introduce youngsters to the idea of what airguns are all about, particularly the ones who are focused on video games. And third, you actually learn some stuff about safety but also about shooting – when you’re shooting silhouettes at 40 yards in the game, you get “the wobbles,” and the target swims around in your scope. You have to learn to deal with the wobbles, just as you do when you’re shooting for real. It’s also fun to experiment with different distances to targets in the backyard venue. The outdoor venues also feature variable wind that you have to deal with.

Unfortunately, there is also bad news. I spoke with Joe Murfin, VP of Marketing at Daisy, and he said that Daisy Air Gun Fun is no longer an active product. It was the result of collaboration between Daisy and ISE (Interactive Sports Entertainment & Marketing Inc.) in 2005. The game sold well for a year, placed on the shelves of big box stores by ISE, and then gradually faded away. As I can attest, though, new copies are still out there, and if you can pick one up for a modest price, I recommend it.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Back in 1974, your Humble Correspondent was recorded picking his banjo on an album entitled “Alternate Plan B” recorded by Bert Mayne. I remember there was a line in the album notes that stuck with me: “Winter has been too long in my hills.”

I can relate. Despite relatively low snow fall, winter has, indeed, been too long in my hills this year. Maybe you have a case of the I-can’t-wait-for-spring mullygrubbs as well. If you do, don’t despair, help is just around the corner.

What you – and I – need is a little quality trigger time with an airgun. And if the weather outside is inclement (here is upstate New York, it has been just plain cold and damp), no problem . . . here’s your recipe for putting a smile on your face.

What you need is an air pistol, some pellets, some paper targets, and a pellet trap. (If you live someplace where folks might complain about noise, get a pellet trap that is lined with putty at the back to absorb the sound of the pellets hitting the trap).

The lovely thing about shooting an air pistol is that you don’t need a lot of space to provide a challenge. If you only have 15 feet to shoot in the basement (or even a hallway . . . make sure that no one can walk into your line of fire), that still can be mighty entertaining. Print out some ten meter pistol targets at half scale, and you’re all set.

What’s that you say? Shooting at 5 yards would be just too easy? Okay, try this: try shooting one-handed with your non-dominant hand. That’s right: if you normally shoot right-handed, try left left-handed. If you want to turn it into a game, try fanning out some playing cards on the face of your target so that only the corners are exposed and now try shooting a winning poker hand for yourself. Or fan out two sets of cards and turn it into a contest with someone else.

The Browning Buck Mark URX fills the bill for a basement plinker at a very reasonable price.

The Browning Buck Mark URX fills the bill for a basement plinker at a very reasonable price.

There are a bunch of pistols that will fill the bill for satisfying indoor shooting at close range. The Browning Buck Mark URX immediately comes to mind. It’s a break-barrel, spring-piston, .177 caliber air pistol that looks like the powder burning Buck Mark URX offered by Browning. You can read my full review of it here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2012/07/browning-buck-mark-urx-the-plinkmeister.html It is a relatively quiet, slow pistol that is just perfect for messing around indoors.

For some additional pistol suggestions, check out this blog: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2012/12/the-greatest-christmas-gift-part-ii.html  The Daisy Avanti 747, the Crosman 2300S, the RWS LP8, and, of course, any of the Weihrauch HW45 series pistols are all excellent candidates for indoor practice that will help to cure those –end-of-the-winter blues.

In addition to a pistol, pellet trap, and some pellets, you will also need some eye protection in case an errant pellet ricochets. Finally, as always, you need to keep safety first and foremost. If you are shooting indoors, take care that no person or pet can inadvertently come between you and your target. I sometimes shoot in the basement at El Rancho Elliott between the washing machine and the workbench. I put my pellet trap on top of the workbench, and everything usually works just fine except one day when I triggered a shot before I had carefully taken aim. One of the drawers in the cabinet where I keep nuts, bolts, and screws now has a .177 caliber hole in it! So be careful . . . please.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Last time I suggested that if you really want to put a grin on someone’s face this holiday season, you might want to make them the gift of an air rifle, combined with the gift of your time shooting with them.

The excellent Daisy Avanti 747 pistol.

But for some folks, an air pistol might be a better choice. If you want an air pistol that is suitable for casual plinking and backyard shooting yet could be used for silhouette competition or club-level ten-meter competition, the Daisy Avanti 747 is an excellent choice. It is a single-stroke pneumatic that is completely self-contained, is easy to cock and shoot, make a mild “pop” when it goes off, has virtually no recoil, and is wickedly accurate with the right pellet. The 747 is so mild-mannered that it probably could be shot in an apartment with a silent pellet trap and a little covering music. About the only thing that the 747 is not good for is pest control. It is simply too low powered to be used for humane pest control.

The CO2-powered Crosman 2300S has excellent sights.

If you want an air pistol that doesn’t even require a cocking stroke, consider the CO2-powered Crosman 2300S. It has a Lothar-Walther choked match barrel and meets IHMSA rules for “production class” silhouette competition. It uses 12-gram CO2 cartridges but delivers around 60 shots per cartridge. This pistol features a Williams rear notch sight with target knobs for easy adjustment and is extremely accurate with the right pellet. I would not recommend the 2300S for pest control, except for very small pests at close range.

An LP8 pistol equipped with an optional red dot sight.

If you want an air pistol that recoils, there are two really good choices that immediately come to mind. The RWS LP8 is a break-barrel springer pistol that can be readily fitted with a red dot, and is powerful enough for defending the bird feeder at close range.

An HW45 in the Black Star configuration.

Any of the HW45 series of pistols are also excellent. They are slightly more difficult to fit with a red dot, but they are extremely well made and deliver enough power for pest control at close range. I have personally terminated a squirrel using a .177 HW45, and I have heard stories of folks killing much possum-sized game with an HW45 at close range.

One of the interesting things about the HW45 is that the piston works backwards. A pistol like the RWS LP8 is like a scaled down breakbarrel rifle. You crank the barrel down to cock the gun, and you’re driving the piston and spring back, toward the palm of your shooting hand. When you trigger the shot, the spring and piston rocket forward, just like a break barrel rifle.

But cocking the HW45 is totally different. You pull back the ‘hammer’ to release the rear of the upper, and then you pull the rear part of the upper up and forward to cock the pistol. While you’re doing that, you’re actually dragging the spring and piston toward the muzzle of the pistol until they latch. When you trigger the shot, the spring and piston leap toward your hand. The shot cycle feels different than the LP8, but both the LP8 and HW45 are a lot of fun to shoot, and I have spoken to several airgunners who really enjoy the challenge of learning to shoot these spring-piston air pistols well.

With any of these air pistols, you’ll likely need a pellet trap, a selection of pellets, some eye protection, and perhaps a red dot sight. Ask the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com, and they’ll fix you up with what you need.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

My first job was to check out the guns for 10-meter accuracy. While all of them come equipped with iron sights, I decided to test them with optional scope or peep sight mounted. As you might expect from telescopic sights that cost less than $30, neither the Crosman nor the Daisy scope would make any of your shooting friends insanely envious, but at the same time, if what you are looking for is a sighting device that is adequate to the task of removing vermin from the garden at relatively short range, these scopes are up to the job.

When it got down to the actual evaluation, I decided to test the air rifles at two pumping strokes less than the maximum the factory allows. Experience has shown that the extra two strokes add only a little to the velocity. Incidentally, despite what you might have heard from other sources, pump up airguns are extremely consistent in their velocity. You can even pump one up, let it sit for half an hour or more, and still get very consistent results.

At eight pumps, the Daisy 22X happily shot 1-inch (edge-to-edge) groups at 10 meters with most pellets, including Daisy MaxSpeed .22 wadcutters and Crosman .22 Premiers. Group size dropped to 3/4 inch with RW Meisterkugeln flat-nosed .22 pellets.

At 8 pumps, the Crosman 2200B was extremely finicky about pellets. It shot huge groups – some over three inches — with every pellet but the RWS Meisterkuglns. With these pellets, groups settled down to 1 1/16th inch, not a great showing, but sufficient to the job. (Crosman tells me that its quality standard for the 2200B is 1 1/2 inch groups at 10 yards, with 1 inch being typical.)

The Benjamin 392, at 6 pumps, was the least pellet-sensitive gun tested, shooting half-inch groups with almost any pellet I fed it.

Then it was time for the can test. Shooting from a sitting position at 20 meters, I shot at steel soup cans with each gun, using Meisterkugln pellets and the same number of pumps as I had used at 10 meters. All three guns easily hit the can in the center mass and punched through one side. The 392 dimpled the backside of the can trying to make an exit hole.

At 15 meters, the Benjamin 392 went in one side and out the other. The Crosman 2200B went in one side and made a large dimple on the back side. The Daisy 22X pierced on side and made a smaller dimple on the back side.

At 10 meters, both the 392 and the 2200B blew through both sides of the can like a hot knife through butter. The Daisy 22X pellet lodged in the exit hole on the backside. Note well: these shots were made with wadcutter pellets. They generally do not penetrate well, but when they do, the typically leave large wound tunnels. Dome-headed pellets certainly would penetrate more efficiently.

It is also important to note that two air rifles of the same model, but two serial numbers apart, can perform better with radically different pellets. So, just because my Crosman 2200B achieved a certain level of performance with Meisterkugln pellets, that doesn’t mean your 2200B will perform similarly with the same pellets. Testing with different pellets is the only way to find out what works in your gun.

The bottom line: The Daisy 22X pumps the easiest, offers moderate accuracy, but penetrated the least on the can test. The Crosman 2200B offers moderate pumping effort, good penetration in the can test, but the lowest accuracy. The Benjamin 392 pumps hardest, hits the hardest, and offers the most accuracy, but costs nearly twice as much as the others. As the man said: “Ya pays yer money, and ya takes yer choice.” Any of these guns could be used for defending garden at 60 feet or less, but my first choice would be the Benjamin 392 if my wallet could stand it.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

But before I get to my take on the actual air rifles, some words about my selection. I decided to go with American pump-up .22 caliber air rifles for several reasons. The first, quite frankly, is that I have a weak spot for pump-up air guns. I own several, and I enjoy shooting them frequently. In addition, pump-up guns are generally easy to shoot; they don’t jump and buck the way many spring-piston air rifles do. Pump-up rifles are also typically less expensive than their spring-piston counterparts, and they are usually a fraction the cost of pre-charged air rifles which are filled from a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump.

Lastly, I was inspired. Recently I received a copy of an excellent book American Air Rifles by James E. House (Krause Publications). In it, he evaluates more than a dozen American-made air rifles. His words reminded me that you don’t need an expensive European or Asian model to enjoy a great deal of shooting satisfaction – and utility — with an air rifle. Thanks, Mr. House.

One of the first challenges that I faced was generating some sort of performance standard. What kind of performance would be necessary to send Jabba the Chuck to that Big Salad Bar in the Sky? Since I didn’t have three equal National Institute of Standards-certified pest animals lining up to be shot for evaluation purposes, and at that time I did not have a chronograph, I chose the next best thing . . . soup cans. Yup, good oldCampbell’s to the rescue.

My reasoning was thus: a steel soup can is small enough and tough enough that, if you can hit it and cleanly pierce at least one side, you can probably hit and punch through the skull of a varmint. I have killed animals with air guns that wouldn’t pass this test, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If possible, I prefer to drop ‘em where they stand. (I chose .22 caliber for all three guns for the same reason.)

So let’s have a look at our three candidates.

Daisy 22X.

The Daisy 22X is 37.75 inches long and weights 4.5 lbs. It is the lightest of the three guns. It has 20.8 in rifled steel barrel. The manual says it can be pumped up to 10 times and claims 530 fps with 8.6 fp energy but doesn’t specify what weight pellets are involved. The 22X is a handsome gun with a wooden buttstock (with plastic buttplate) and wooden forearm. The receiver is metal.

The 22X is loaded by dropping pellets into the breech on top of the receiver. The bolt is opened by pulling a plastic lever on the right side of the receiver. Opening the bolt also cocks the action. With a scope attached to the rail on top of the receiver, loading requires placing the pellet in the slot on the top of the receiver just to the right of the breech and rolling the pellet into the breech. The 22X is the easiest to pump of the three rifles, but, as we’ll see in a bit, it comes at a price.

In 2002, the suggested retail price of the 22X was $73.95. The Daisy 2-7x scope that I used for testing carried an SRP of $29.95.

Crosman 2200B

The Crosman 2200B measures 39 inches long and weighs 4 lbs. 12 oz., just a few ounces more than the Daisy. The 2200B has a 20.79 inch rifled steel barrel, and the factory manual claims 525-595 fps at 10 pumps with 14.3 gr. pellets. The buttstock and forearm are plastic, and the receiver is metal and is equipped with a scope rail. Overall, the appearance is clean and appealing, and it looks like a “real” rifle. The entire plastic forearm moves to pump up the gun, and the 2200B requires only slightly more pumping effort than the Daisy.

The 2200B loads by dropping pellets into the breech on the right side of the receiver. A plastic lever opens the breech and cocks the action. Loading requires tipping the gun on its side. The slot leading to the breech is somewhat deep, and there is no elegant way to control the descent of a pellet to the breech itself. As a result, sometimes nose-heavy domed pellets arrive at the breech sideways or backwards. Sometimes jiggling the gun or dumping the pellet out and starting over is necessary to set things right.

The suggested retail price of the 2200B was $69.95, and the 4x Crosman scope that was used during testing was $9.95.

Benjamin 392

Benjamin 392, manufactured by Crosman Corporation, is 36.25 inches long and weighs 5.5 lbs, making it both the shortest and the heaviest of our three candidates. The 392 manual states this gun will produce velocities of 685 fps at 8 pumps but does not reveal the weight of the pellets used in making that determination.

It doesn’t take Holmesian powers of observation to figure out the 392 is solidly built. The only plastic used on this air rifle is the buttplate. The buttstock is solid wood, and so is the forearm which also serves as the pumping lever. (The 392 is also the hardest of the three guns to pump.) The breech and bolt are made of metal, but unlike the Daisy and the Crosman, there is no scope rail on top of the receiver. Holes for attaching a Williams peep sight are tapped into the side of the receiver, and that’s what I used for a sighting system.

The 392 can be scoped using intermounts from Crosman for around $15.00 and attach a scope (or a red dot sighting device) forward of the receiver. In the case of a scope, this requires either a long eye relief scope (a la Colonel Jeff Cooper’s scout rifle concept) or putting both scope rings forward of the turrets and letting the body of the scope hang over the receive.

The suggested retail price of the Benjamin 392 was $149.95, and the Williams peep was $27.95, making this combo by far and away the most expensive of the three guns tested.

Next time, we’ll see how these three rifles perform.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Back in 2002, my wife and I decided that we would like to grow some fresh veggies. The next couple of blogs recall what happened then and make some recommendations in case you need to defend your garden.

There is no way to confirm this with rock-solid certainty, but according to my back-of-the-ammo-box calculations, it was the most expensive salad bar ever. And I had not tasted so much as a single bite of it – not a morsel of wax bean, not a sliver of tomato.

My wife and I had labored hard through sun and rain over the darn thing. We hired the roto-tiller guy (who showed up with a commercial-grade Troy-Bilt tiller and a business card that read “I dig my work.”) to pulverize a section of our lawn. Then we raked, picked rocks (lots of ‘em), ran strings and pegs, and planted: tomatoes, corn, squash, a couple of kinds of beans, peppers. It was a work of art. We were regular Arlo Guthries out there: “inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow . . .”

Then, by the sweat of our brow, we surrounded it with steel fence posts and sturdy critter-proof wire fencing. And we watched it grow and tended it. Then, just as the tender new plants were seriously establishing themselves, we went away for a weekend.

When we came back . . . someone . . . something . . . had given our garden a crew cut. Where once there had been vibrant plants bursting with the promise nature’s bounty, there was stubble. I was in utter shock: for the amount of money, sweat and effort we had put into this thing, we could have had veggies FEDEXed to us fromChile. Who was the culprit?

Then I saw him. Not one of the deer that wander through the yard. No, this was smaller, more insidious – good old Marmota monax, a woodchuck. And what a woodchuck this was! Round, firm, fully packed, he was so swollen and porcine he could barely wriggle through the hole he had dug under the fence. He was so fat he had a roll behind his neck. I had worked my butt off all spring so this groundhog could enjoy some mitey fine gourmet meals at my expense.

I wanted to shoot him so baaaaad! “Honey, call the supermarket and see if they got any Woodchuck Shake ‘N’ Bake, will ya?” (I never did terminate this particular woodchuck with extreme prejudice. Instead I took my revenge in laughter – he was so obscenely corpulent, likeGarfieldthe cat, his legs barely reached the ground. I referred to him as Jabba the Chuck.)

If you’ve got a problem with a woodchuck, a rabbit, a squirrel or other varmint munching on your garden or prize azaleas, and you live in or near a populated area, there is a problem. The law generally takes a very dim view of popping off any kind of firearm near dwellings, and many jurisdictions have specific prohibitions about shooting guns. Besides, any reader of this blog worth his or her salt will naturally be conscious of the safety of neighbors and their property.

In my case, I live within one-half mile of a major technical university. Shooting any kind of powder is strictly verboten. There is hope, though. Many places have absolutely nothing to say about shooting airguns. Recently, I’ve had my hands on three vintage American .22 caliber pump-up airguns that will dispatch vermin quite well at short ranges.

Next time, we’ll talk about them.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

It all started innocently enough. My wife noticed me staring into space with a distant look in my eye and asked what I was doing.

“Well, I’m trying to come up with a topic for the next blog,” I said.

She replied, “Why don’t you go for something that is just pure fun?”

I looked out at the growing twilight. January in upstate New York and still no snow on the ground . . . hmmm . . . I know: a BB gun, some BBs and some tin cans! Tomorrow I’ll go outside and see how much fun it is to bounce some cans around the yard. With steel BBs, I don’t have to be concerned about capturing lead pellets. I bet it will be a blast!

At this point, if I had been listening carefully, I could have heard Mr. Murphy sniggering in the background. Who’s Mr. Murphy? Why, the owner and originator of Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law was explained to me some years ago in a concise volume entitled The Official Explanation. Published by the Murphy Institute for the Codification of Human Behavior, it explains, in pithy aphorisms, why things so often turn out so badly.

Here’s what you need to know. Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. Murphy’s Law 1st Corollary: Even if nothing can go wrong, it still will. Murphy’s Law 2nd Corollary: When it goes wrong, it will do so at the worst possible time and place. There are a lot of other corollaries, but those are the basics.

So by now I rather imagine you are ahead of me. Do you know what awaited me the following morning when I went out to knock some cans around with a BB gun? Of course you do. Snow, about an inch of it. Murphy clearly had me in his sights. Undeterred, I set up the cans and a margarine tub as you see them below.

I then shot at them with two different BB guns: a Daisy Model 25 Pump Gun and a Model 105 Buck. I chose those two BB guns because there is a substantial velocity difference between the two (the Model 25 launches BBs at around 350 fps and the Model 105 manages a more sedate 275 fps), and I wasn’t sure which one would work better to get good “action” out of the cans.

The cans (and margarine tub) ready to be "danced" around the yard.

The answer, it turns out, was . . . neither. Try as I might with either gun, I could not get the cans to dance merrily about the yard. In fact, it was a bit of a struggle to even knock them over, a task at which the Model 25 did better than the Model 105. Both guns punched holes in the margarine tub but it wouldn’t dance or bounce around at all.

The cans, resolutely refusing to dance.

Okay, I said to myself, what I need is a lighter, more responsive target . . . I need to go shopping! So I took myself to the local big box store and wandered the aisles with a wild gleam in my eye, looking for Things to Shoot. Ten minutes into the mission I found it: a mesh wire basket containing 48 foam practice golf balls. They were even brightly colored so they would show up against the snow. I bet these would dance when given the Daisy treatment! With a fiendish chuckle, I headed for the checkout line.

My purchase.

The gray haired gentleman at the register greeted me. “You’ve got the right idea,” he said.

“Whaddya mean?” I asked.

“Golf practice,” he said, “I can’t wait.”

Glancing furtively about, I said, “You know what I’m going to do with these? Shoot ‘em . . . with a BB gun.” “I’m a writer,” I added, as if that explained something.

He gave me a dubious look and rang up my bucket of balls. Still eying me somewhat suspiciously, he handed me my purchase. “Your targets, sir,” he said.

I raced home, tore open the package, and a thought occurred: I would spread some of the practice balls on the ground, lay the empty bucket on its side, and try to shoot the balls so that they would bounce into the bucket. What a great idea! I could call the resulting game “BB Gun Golf.”

Well, the theory might have been great, but the execution was not. No matter what the angle, hitting the practice golf balls with BBs did little more than drive the practice balls deep into the snow where they burrowed like groundhogs waiting for spring. I said several of the more interesting short words. Clearly Mr. Murphy was still hot on my trail.

Shooting the foam practice golf balls on the snow covered grass only drove them into hibernation.

Maybe my idea would work on snowy concrete front walk at El Rancho Elliott . . . and it did. The practice balls would indeed leap into the air when struck by a BB. I even managed to bounce one into the bucket.

On the snow-covered sidewalk, I managed to pop one of the balls into the bucket.

Even better, a couple of days later what little snow we had melted, and I found the balls were even more responsive when there was no snow to restrain them.

It worked even better without the snow.

So I give you, for your earnest and prayerful consideration: BB gun golf. Get yourself some practice golf balls, a bucket, and see if you can knock the balls into the bucket by shooting them with BBs. Make sure everyone involved wears eye protection because the BBs can bounce at crazy angles. For that same reason, you probably shouldn’t play next to your uncle’s newly restored vintage Ferrari.

Here's what you need for BB gun golf. Enjoy!

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott


As I explained some time ago, my very first airgun was not the legendary Daisy Red Ryder or a Crosman or a Sheridan. Instead, it was the Daisy Model 25, the pump-action BB that many of us older airgunners owned. It predates the Red Ryder by a good many years.

The Model 25 was first produced in 1914. Some fifty-three thousand were produced in that first year, and the Model 25 remained in continuous production until 1978, when it was discontinued. It was brought back briefly in 1986 as a Centennial Model, and then it disappeared again.

The first time that I spoke with Joe Murfin, vice president of marketing for Daisy, I waxed eloquently about how I loved my old Model 25. I remember him says, “Yeah, that’s the one rifle I really wish we had back in our lineup again, but the tooling was destroyed.” He and I commiserated for a while and then got on to other things.

Still, whenever I think of an airgun or mull over airgunning in general, almost everything gets measured against the yardstick of how much fun it was to shoot the Model 25.

So imagine my glee, my absolute joy when I found out that the Model 25 was going back into production. Even worse, I couldn’t tell anyone about it! No kidding. I found out in September, 2009, while preparing the airgun roundup for the SHOT Show Daily newspaper, but I had to keep it secret until the SHOT Show.


Now, of course, the reintroduction of the Model 25 is public. Joe Murfin from Daisy was kind enough to send one to me. It stretches 37 inches long and weighs just 3.1 pounds. Starting at the back end of the Model 25, there is a plain wooden stock that attaches to the metal receiver with several screws. On either side of the receiver is engraving depicting a hunting scene. On the left side of the receiver is a bolt (and a nut on the right side) which can be removed to break the Model 25 into two pieces. Beneath the aft end of the receiver is the metal trigger guard which houses a plastic trigger and push-button safety mechanism.


Forward of that are the various parts of the pump mechanism, which terminates in a wooden pump handle. Moving forward again, you’ll find the barrel. The muzzle has a knurled edge which is helpful in unscrewing the shot tube to remove it. On top of the barrel is the front sight. At the extreme aft end on top of the receiver is the rear sight, adjustable for elevation and windage, which can be flipped from iron sight to peep sight.


To load the Model 25, you unscrew the shot tube from the muzzle, push a slide down and lock it, and then pour BBs into the loading port until the shot tube is full. All that remains is to screw the shot tube back into the muzzle, and you’re good to go.

Pump the action once, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger, and the Model 25 launches BBs at around 325 fps.

I always thought that the Model 25 was better than the Red Ryder. It’s just plain easier to maintain a bead on the target while working a pump action than it is while working a lever action. Red Ryder enthusiasts point out, however, that the Red Ryder is shorter and lighter than the Model 25, and it holds more BBs. But for me, the Model 25 will always define what a BB gun should be.

I loaded mine up and strolled outside to take a few shots in the back yard. I brought the Model 25 to my shoulder and the years just fell away. Suddenly I was awash with memories of the grand times my buddy and I had roaming the fields and woods of northeastern Vermont with my trusty Model 25. It was, as Jean Shepherd put it: “The best Christmas present I ever got.”

This new Model 25 will enjoy a place of honor in my gun cabinet.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott