Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, September 25, 2006

Get those old CO2 guns running again!

by Tex Force

If you attend guns shows, flea markets, garage sales, or you go to thrift stores and pawn shops, you have undoubtedly seen airguns for sale from time to time. If they were CO2 guns, they were often not working, which makes your bargaining position quite strong. You can buy these guns for a song, but do you know what to do with them once they're yours? I do, so let me tell you what a great store of inexpensive airguns awaits the careful shopper.

CO2 guns are the best bargains
Spring air guns are so simple that even the most casual person can figure them out. The old ones can often be gotten working again for almost no investment, so I find that they will usually be the hardest guns to really bargain for. Pneumatics will also be hard because they can often be made to work again with just proper lubrication, so once again, the bargains will be fewer. But CO2 guns are held in distrust by the general public. If there are any great bargains to be had, this is where they are most likely to be.

The miracle of Crosman Pellgunoil
Using Crosman Pellgunoil is a tip I've used to buy a great many airguns at bargain prices. The seller has a CO2 gun, but he knows very little about it. You can't ask him if it works, because he says he doesn't know. That's why I like to carry a powerlet with me when I go to these places. If you install it and there is a fast leak, the gun needs to be resealed. Having demonstrated that to the seller, you can then tell him it will cost you approximately $50 to get the gun resealed. That's transportation both ways and the cost of fixing. Try to get him to come that far off the price, if there is room. For guns like a Benjamin 262 or a Sheridan model F, this is a good strategy. For a plastic cheapie like a Crosman 454 that shouldn't have more than $25 on it to begin with, it isn't worth the trouble.

If, on the other hand, the gun has just a slow leak, you may be in luck! It still leaks, so you can still ask for the discount, but putting a drop of Pellgunoil on the tip of the next powerlet will fix about 75 percent of these guns! I once bought three Crosman rifles for $45 this way - two 180s and a 187. They were all fixed by the Pellgunoil. I sold the 187 for $100, the other 180 for $60 and I still own the third rifle.

Crosman 180 is a nice old gun that can still be found.

CO2 treasures
There are a few CO2 guns that command a lot of money. The Crosman 600 is well-known to collectors and to the general public. One in shooting condition is always worth $175 these days. A nice one in a box will bring upwards of $250. But, the 600 is just the beginning! The rarer 677 BB pistol is worth another $50. Most of the time you'll find the 677 in the box in nice shape, because back when it was new all the Powerlets leaked. After a kid shot a couple hundred rounds and found he was paying more to shoot BBs than if he had been shooting .22 long rifle shells, the gun was put away to be found a generation later.

A 10-shot semiauto Crosman 600 in its box is a nice find.

Above the 600-series guns is the Crosman 451, a copy of the Army Colt .45 that has a strange revolving cylinder that operates horizontally instead of vertically. A nice working 451 in a box will fetch $300-350. Above that is the Challenger Plainsman gas pistol. While the Blue Book top price of $750 seems a little high, I've seen non-working beaters bring $200, and a nicer working gun with some black paint remaining will go for $500, or so.

The treasures keep mounting from here. While the common Schimel CO2 pistol only brings $150 in the box, the much rarer American Luger (the same gun by another name) will fetch $1,000. The bulk-fill Winsel goes for even more than that.

Schimel .22 caliber single-shot is common; but, if it says American Luger, it's worth a lot more.

Yes, there are a lot of older CO2 guns still around and a sharp-eyed buyer can often find a diamond in the rough. All it takes in knowing what to look for.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Red dot sights

by Tex Force

A reader named Pete asked for this, and I apologize for being a week late with it. He wants to know how accurate dot sights are and if they can be damaged by spring-piston rifles. I'll do my best to answer.

Originally known as infinity sights
The dot sight concept has been around for the better part of a century, now. They were first used by sportsmen on shotguns in the 1920s and '30s. Then they were applied to battle tanks and possibly aircraft. Tank gunners would sight through what was called the "infinity window" of their M60A1 tanks and whatever came inside the "ghost ring" circle of light was within the circular error of probability of their .30 caliber coaxial machine gun. In other words, you could hose 'em down!

A dot sight is a simpler optical sight that projects a dot at infinity.

In the 1980s, several companies revived the sporting use for the dot sight, only this time for rifles and handguns. Instead of a ring of light, they used a 5 mil-dot that was collimated (aligned) to a point where the bullet would strike. Since the dot is optical, it is easy to adjust where it appears, which results in adjusting for windage and elevation.

A dot sight is about as accurate as open sights. BUT, it's easier to use, because the shooter doesn't have to focus on multiple objects at different distances. As a result, there are certain handgun target disciplines that permit the use of dot sights in order to encourage shooters with imperfect vision to enter the competition. Adjustment of the sight is identical to adjusting a scope, with windage and elevation knobs located in the same place. Because of the dot's lower precision, the adjustments may be larger than those made on a scope.

A dot sight is simpler and built somewhat more ruggedly than a scope, in that it has no erector tube mechanism. It should, therefore, be somewhat more rugged. Indeed, I have never heard of one breaking from a spring gun's recoil, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

A dot sight gets you on target faster than a scope. Because there is usually no magnification, the view through the sight is exactly how the target would appear to your eye. Also, both eyes can be left open, which increases the shooter's depth perception. Parallax is nearly eliminated, too. However, the downside of a dot is the precision, which is lower than that of a scope. That makes the dot sight better for fast hunting situations, while the scope is better for precision shooting - though, the closer the target is to the gun, the more the balance tips in favor of the dot sight.

Not as easy as it looks!
The dot is not always easy to see - especially on a handgun! Unless the gun is pointed in close proximity to the target, the dot will be impossible to see. So, it takes some getting used to. Once you get the hang of it, it's much faster to line up than a scope.

Modern advances
A modern dot sight has variable levels of illumination, so it can be adjusted to the shooting situation. The brighter the dot, the larger it appears and the less precision you have, so the rule is to go with as little illumination as possible. Dots can also be varied in size in some sights, and some have more than just the red color, with green being the overwhelming second choice. The finest dot sights have different reticle types for different shooting situations, and they can cost upwards of $300.

Compasseco sells three models of red dot sights under the Tech Force brand name: model 47, model 90 and model 96. These are all great values that are built to the most rugged standards possible. The 90 and 96 are actually built to military specifications.

A dot sight is a different way to enjoy shooting. It offers fast target acquisition and ample precision for hunting. You might want to give them a try!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Benjamin AS392T

by Tex Force

Some shooters would like the inexpensive power and accuracy they can get from a .22 caliber Benjamin 392 multi-pump, but they don't want the hassle of pumping for every shot. For them, Benjamin has created the .22 caliber AS392T. It's very similar to the 392 multi-pump but uses an 88-gram AirSource cylinder to deliver hundreds of powerful shots without pumping.

Similar, but not the same
There are some differences between the AS392T and the 392. The stock, for example, has a shorter forearm to allow the AirSource cylinder to be attached. The aluminum cartridge has a foam sleeve cover that provides a warm handhold in all weather. Unlike the multi-pump, the dovetailed receiver is longer and adequate for mounting a scope. Regular scope mounts that clamp to an 11mm dovetail are all you need. The bolt, which cocks the rifle and also opens the breech for loading, has two positions at which it stops. The first gives you a low-power shot, while the second gives full power. The power level is lower than what the 392 offers, but still in the respectable range, with a stated top end of 610 f.p.s.

Other than those few differences, the AS392T is virtually the same as the 392 pneumatic. To shoot the gun all you have to do is cock the bolt, load a pellet and fire. This is a faster-firing air rifle than the multi-pump, and hunters can take advantage of that. For everyone else, there is the sheer ease of not having to pump.

Can you leave the AirSource cylinder installed?
This is a big question, because few shooters can shoot enough at one time to exhaust the AirSource cylinder. Hundreds of shots are available! The owner's manual recommends not storing the rifle with an AirSource cylinder installed. This doesn't mean you need to remove the cylinder after each firing, however. They say it to lower their liability; if there a cylinder is installed, the gun is always charged. I have kept my rifle for over two years with an AirSource installed, and it still holds perfectly and shoots strong. If I were going to store the gun with no possibility of shooting it, I would remove the cylinder.

Shooting a .22 caliber Benjamin diabolo domed pellet weighing 14.3 grains, which is the virtual twin of a Crosman Premier, my rifle gets about 480 f.p.s. on low power and 575 f.p.s. on high. That's entirely realistic with this medium-weight pellet. The AirSource cylinder used in this test was new.

Easily scopeable!
The dovetailed receiver allows the easy installation of a scope for better accuracy. I suggest two-piece medium-height mounts to increase your positioning choices, and I'd keep the scope small, such as the Tech Force 2-7x32mm.

Using good pellets, you can expect to shoot five-shot groups smaller than one inch at 30 yards. If you're really a great rifle shot, that distance might stretch out to 35 yards, and that's over 100 feet - about the limit for hunting small game with this rifle. This rifle is fine for squirrels, cottontail rabbits, gophers and small birds (such as pigeons).

Fine quality
The Benjamin AS392T is a rifle your children will leave to their grandkids. Though it's modern in every sense of the word, it's built of the same materials and with the same care that Benjamin has used for more than a century. I have owned Benjamin guns that were 60 years old and still operating like new, so this one's a keeper, for sure.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Anics Skif A-3000 CO2 pistol

by Tex Force

The Skif A-3000 from Anics is a unique air pistol that has never been copied.

Anics is a Russian airgun maker that rose from the ashes of the fall of the Soviet Union. Their first CO2 pistols were BB guns in the form of pistols and revolvers. They were moderately priced but among the most powerful BB guns ever to be sold on the American market. Velocities of over 500 f.p.s. were possible from the longer-barrelled models. Then, they hit on something so revolutionary that even those pistols were shoved to the background. They came out with the Skif A-3000.

28-shot repeater!
That's right, the A-3000 is a 28-shot repeater. It uses a special "chain" magazine that's actually 28 loose pellet-holders enclosed in a continuous track. Each time the trigger is pulled, the next loaded chamber aligns with the barrel. When it was introduced, it blew away all the competition in the pellet pistol world, because few other airguns have even HALF that capacity!

The downside of the 28-shot magazine is that somebody (you) has to load it! In all the action movies they never show anyone loading cartridges into the magazines, they just always have a fresh one when they need it. That's what you will want with a Skif. Fortunately, Compasseco sells them. Look for Skif magazines.

The Skif magazine has 28 pellet and BB holders (chambers) arranged in a circular track. It is unique in all of airgunning.

Both steel BBs and pellets
Although the Skif has a rifled steel barrel, you may shoot both steel BBs and any kind of pellets in it. You can even mix them all up in one magazine if you want. The way the movable chambers work, they don't really care what is loaded into them.

The magazine has a loading port in the back through which the pellets and BBs are pushed into the chambers. All you need to ensure is that the longer pellets are completely inside the chambers and not sticking out either side, so they will clear the walls of the magazine as they travel around.

Both single- and double-action
You can cock the hammer to shoot each shot single-action, or you can simply pull the trigger for double-action. The trigger is long and somewhat heavy in the double-action mode, because it has to advance the chambers and move the hammer at the same time. In the Skif, the barrel acts as the hammer, so it moves forward when the trigger is pulled, then releases to slam back onto a loaded chamber, which then bumps into the front of the valve, opening it. This is another feature that you'll find nowhere else.

Great feel in the hand!
The Skif is one of the best-holding handguns around! The grip has been carefully designed to fit most hands very well, and it is covered in a rubber compound that grips your hand right back. You will truly love the way it feels! The triggerguard is designed for a classic two-hand combat hold, which is in keeping with the action pistol design.

This full-featured action air pistol is for those who love to shoot and shoot without stopping. Finally, there's a pistol that can keep up with your greatest fantasies!