Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, May 29, 2006

CO2 techniques

by Tex Force

A lot of shooters find CO2 guns fun. There are a few tips and techniques, though, that can extend your fun and keep those guns working a lot longer.

Buy some Crosman Pellgunoil
This stuff works like magic and every airgunner who shoots a CO2 gun has a supply close by. It doesn't take much, but Crosman Pellgunoil helps your seals do their job a lot longer. In fact, if you use it regularly, a CO2 gun can last for decades - as long as it isn't abused in some way. Put a drop on the tip of every new powerlet or AirSource cylinder (bottom of the page) you load. Crosman says to oil every third powerlet or cylinder, but I have NEVER seen Pellgunoil do anything harmful to a gas gun. I use it every time.

What's a good substitute for Crosman Pellgunoil?
Well, here is what NOT to use: 3-in-1 Oil and other household light machine oils, which are too thin for this job. They will actually make your CO2 guns leak. WD-40 should never be used on any gun - air or firearm - for any reason. It dries to a varnish that gunks up the mechanism. Some shooters say automatic transmission fluid (ATF) can substitute for Pellgunoil, but why buy a quart of that when a small container of the right stuff costs very little? Besides ATF, there is very little that can reliably substitute for Pellgunoil.

Not too tight!
When installing a new powerlet or AirSource cylinder, tighten the screw that holds the powerlet or cylinder just enough to pierce the tank - and no tighter. If there is a leak, no amount of extra tightening will seal it. It's Pellgunoil that seals leaks, not pressure! The seals can do their job without the screw being tightened overly hard. The seal that seals the powerlet or AirSource cylinder is usually a thin synthetic membrane that compresses and tears if the screw is too tight. Better to oil the tip of the tank that abuts this seal and tighten only enough to pierce it. When you hear the gas flow into the gun, stop tightening!

Can you leave a gun charged?
This question comes up all the time. Modern Crosman owners' manuals tell you not to leave the guns charged, but this is often because of safety - like leaving a gun loaded, which a charged CO2 gun is, in effect. While removing gas cartridges may not present a problem for a powerlet user, when an AirSource cylinder has to be removed, it's an expense you don't like to incur. I just tested a Crosman NightStalker that has had a charged AirSource cylinder in it for six months, and it's still holding fine. I have been told by an airgunsmith that some pellet guns are made so that leaving them charged puts a strain on the gas system, so those guns would have a problem staying charged. I guess it's up to the owner to decide what to do, and lacking specific knowledge to the contrary it's always best to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. If there are no instructions that tell you to remove the source of CO2, it's best to leave the gun charged to keep the seals fresh and protected from airborne dirt.

These are some of the basic care tips that can prolong the life of your CO2 guns.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Collectible airgun condition - don't get swindled!

by Tex Force

This is based on a true story that was reported on one of the forums.

Airgun condition: Is it in the mind of the beholder?
A well-known airgunner recently sold a valuable gun. Naturally, he said the condition was excellent. Isn't it always? The seller packed the valuable gun poorly, and it arrived at the buyer's house in sad shape. However, after closer inspection the buyer decided most of the "damage" was on the gun before it was shipped! This so-called excellent gun was in about good condition at best. Who's right in a case like this? Isn't gun condition too subjective to really determine?

Wake up and smell the coffee, Virginia!
Guns are no more subjective than houses or used cars. There are always ways to determine what shape the item is in. There are also many ways to disguise faults in used guns, and you'd better learn them first. The biggest scam is the refinished gun.

No collector value
A refinished gun may look good, but a legitimate collector wants nothing to do with one. There are exceptions, however, and because there are, the scammers contend that refinishing is a personal choice. For collectors, it's not. Just try to sell a refinished Crosman 600 or Daisy Red Ryder, and you'll quickly learn that no real collector will touch them. What you will attract are unknowing newcomers who haven't learned the ropes.

The Plymouth Iron Windmill gun was Daisy's first-ever BB gun. A complete one in fair condition is worth about $10,000. Even a junk parts gun has value if it's this rare and desirable. Refinishing does not increase the value.

The real exceptions
A Plymouth Iron Windmill gun (the first model Daisy ever made), however, is extremely rare. Fewer than 30 are known to exist. A refinished Iron Windmill gun has about the same value as before the refinish job. Because a nice unrefinished one brings well over $10,000, a refinished one might be worth as much as $5,000. While veteran collectors won't touch most refinished guns, a buyer for a gun this rare can be found for an example in almost any condition. There are collectors who absolutely HAVE TO fill that hole in their collections.

Beware of the sharpies!
There are a few sellers of rare airguns who have earned themselves reputations as swindlers. They sell on the auction sites using out-of-focus pictures and lying descriptions. They count on buyers rolling over when they take delivery. Others are fly-by-nights who sell and then are suddenly gone. I got taken on by one of them. He described a gun as excellent when it was actually highly modified by a home gunsmith with a file! The pictures didn't show the "work," and the seller was no longer there when I complained. Complaining to the auction site is useless, unless you want sympathy.

Use the Blue Book!
When you buy used airguns, MAKE the seller describe its condition by the Blue Book of Airguns, Fifth Edition (third book down) grading criteria. If he can't, because he "doesn't have a Blue Book," don't do business with him. The Blue Book is inexpensive and is widely used by legitimate dealers. Anyone who doesn't have one isn't in business for real.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tech Force optics: Built to a higher standard

by Tex Force

Is there anybody left who doesn't know that nearly all riflescopes are made in China? This has been true for decades.

It began in the 1970s
In the '70s, Europeans had a booming economy and labor costs soared. Remember, many of these countries struggled after World War II, and for nearly a decade after the war it was pretty much "Anything for a buck." People were hungry and in need of basic necessaries, so they sold their labor cheap. But eventually businesses rebounded and began to prosper and there was no looking back.

Lens-grinding moves from art to industry
For a long time, certain German, Austrian and Swiss manufacturers had a lock on the optical market. Their products were so good that often they were as heavily advertised as the items they were in - for example, Zeiss camera lenses in non-Zeiss cameras. But in the 1960s, labor costs began putting pressure on manufacturers. Fortunately for them, the lens-grinding machinery had improved to a high degree, making it possible to send machines to other countries where labor was still cheap and hungry.

Japan was a center for optics in the 1950s and 60s, but they, too, surged ahead and their labor costs increased. However, in other parts of Asia, the cost of labor did not rise nearly as fast. So in the 1970s both Europe and Japan began exporting their manufacturing capability to China and the surrounding region.

Lens-grinding moves from art to industry
As the lens grinding machines became more capable, the level of training and experience the operator needed decreased. Automation took the place of experience. This allowed the exportation of lens-grinding to countries with lower levels of industrialization. China, having a nationalized economy, used this infusion of technology to further her military industrial base. And that is where Compasseco comes into the picture.

Compasseco found the BEST Chinese companies
When Compasseco decided to move into optics they realized that all Chinese factories were not capable of producing at the same level. While other American scope manufacturers were contracting with companies that had found them at the SHOT Show and IWA, Compasseco turned the process around. They went to China looking for the best optics factory, rather than accepting a factory who had found them by chance at U.S or European trade shows. They settled on a maker of Chinese military optics, so they were assured of quality at the military specification level, not the commercial level! That's why Tech Force optics are head and shoulders better than other brands costing the same.

Better specifications
But a good maker isn't the whole story. You can choose the level of materials used in your optics, so Compasseco raised the standards for optical glass and lens coatings. They found the cost of better materials was not much higher, yet it resulted in a product that was clearly superior to the competition. That's a big reason why Tech Force optics are among the sharpest on the market at almost any price.

The first project was the Tech Force 96 red dot sight (eighth item down on the page), but once the contract was running smoothly, the line was quickly expanded to scopes, as well. A Tech Force sight means great quality at an affordable price.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Single-shot or repeater: Which is better?

by Tex Force

This post should start some arguments, because this subject has been discussed since the first repeaters were made. I could do a review of the good and bad points of each type of system, but I already have a favorite, so I'll try to defend it for you. In my opinion, a single-shot rifle is always better than a repeater for a hunting gun. Allow me to explain.

This is the No. 1 reason for choosing a single-shot. You decide to make every shot count. This mindset is accurately portrayed in two movies - Quigley Down Under and Patriot. If a shooter has just one shot, he'll make it a good one. If he has a repeater, he may get caught up in the "spray and pray" routine of shooting fast, multiple shots with the belief that one or more is bound to connect. There is a very famous analogy to explain what I mean by mindset.

Working without a net!
If you work without a net, everything has to go right or there will be disaster. I recently stayed at Circus-Circus casino in Las Vegas and saw several trapeze and acrobatic acts. In one of the acrobatic acts, one of the tumblers was thrown nearly 20 feet in the air and landed on his feet on a flexible balance beam held by the throwers. There was no net. The trapeze act had several performers who were performing much higher above the floor, but they had a net. I watched both acts a couple of times and the acrobat never missed his landing. The trapeze act, however, did suffer a missed catch on a double flip and the guy fell into the net. The same guy hit a triple flip the next evening, so he was no slouch! But his focus may have been affected by the presence of the net.

When I hunt, I learn the anatomy of my quarry and where a shot will be most effective. If I can't make that shot, I don't take it. My goal is not to just hit the game, but to have it fall immediately and not move for long. That's why anatomy is important.

Know your gun
I also know my rifle. If I am not certain of placing my shot inside the area of a quarter (with a pellet rifle), I don't take the shot. That means being sighted-in BEFORE going hunting! It also means knowing the trajectory of the pellet at all ranges AND the ability of determining range accurately. If I need a rangefinder to determine the range for a shot, I wouldn't take that shot. That's for pellet-gun distances. For long-range firearms distances, it's a different story. I have passed up many shots that other riflemen have taken. But when I do take a shot, I expect the results just described.

One pellet per gun
I shoot only one type of pellet in each of my hunting guns - be they firearms or airguns. The fact that there are numerous loads available in every caliber and numerous pellets only means there are a lot to choose from. I reload nearly all my firearms ammo because the factories don't make the loads I want, and I hand-sort my pellets by weight when the ultimate accuracy is required. Hand-sorting can mean the difference between a group that can be covered by a quarter and one that can be covered by a dime.

I know there will be different opinions on this issue, and I welcome them.