Thursday, January 17, 2013


With the currently high price and low availability of both rimfire and centerfire ammunition, I’ve been taking another look at my neglected airguns for maintaining my marksmanship skills. The other night I went to the closest Walmart on the off chance they had any .22 LR in stock, but all they had was rat shot. So, I picked up a box of 40 Crosman CO2 cylinders, thinking I’d break out my old Crosman 38T .177 revolver. (There are some nice pics of a 38T here.)

Tonight after work I dug out the 38T and put in a fresh CO2 cylinder. As soon as I did, it slowly leaked out all the gas. Apparently, after 25+ years, the seals deteriorated. I’m going to look into having it fixed. I still have the original box with the price tag – it cost me $34.88 plus tax at K-Mart, sometime back in the early 1980s. I’m sure the repair will cost more.

Anyway, not wanting to miss a chance to shoot, I put away the Crosman and got out my Benjamin HB-17 that I bought in the late 90s. (Here’s a link to it at Pyramid Air, although they list it as currently unavailable. I paid about $90 for mine.)

The HB-17 is a multi-pump pneumatic pistol. While it does not require CO2, it does require you to pump it up between each shot. For paper punching at 25 to 30 feet, 2 or 3 pumps are fine.

I haven’t shot it in years, and now I remember why. Pumping it is a pain, the trigger sucks, and the sights aren’t very good. Despite this, I was able to keep about half of my 20 shots in a group the size of a 50 cent piece, with the rest inside a couple inches at 20 feet. This was shooting with one hand.

Since I now have a big box of Co2 cylinders and nothing to use them in, I may pick up something like a Crosman 2240. It seems to be getting rave reviews at both Amazon and Pyramid Air, and there are many aftermarket accessories available for it.

A few nights ago I put 20 shots through my RWS-24 break barrel spring piston air rifle. I bought this back when I was in high school, as an upgrade to a Daisy Powerline 881 that I got when I was 12, and put a lot of pellets through it in my parents’ home, shooting into a steel trap. It’s a nice gun for indoor shooting because unlike most modern air rifles, it’s not a “magnum.” It has plenty of power for paper punching but is much quieter than the magnum air rifles. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to see the barleycorn front sight now that I’m 44, than it was when I was 15.

In the back of my closet I also have a Chinese XS-B3 air rifle that looks like a folding stock AK. It uses a side lever to cock it and is fairly powerful for an older air rifle. I’ll probably dig it out and put some pellets through it.

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