These Aren’t Your Dad’s BB Guns!
By Aimee Grant
Regardless if you were shooting cans or hunting the mighty grasshopper I’ll bet you’ve had some fun with a BB gun. These guns have come a long way and the sometimes high-tech ammo to feed them has too! Today’s breed covers training, hunting, target shooting and just plain fun. Use them to hunt vermin, practice your draw or have some fun with new shooters. They’re a perfect way for you urban-assault residents to get some “garage or back yard” shooting in, without the big noise and neighbor calls to 911!
The new “airbow” technology is amazing and we’ve touched just a tad on it here. Basically, think: crossbow or “arrow launching” platform — but using airgun technology. We’ll be covering it a bit more later. Meanwhile, dust off your “I’m a kid again” thinking and don’t be afraid to spend a few bucks to have some fun. Keep in mind the four firearms safety rules still apply as these are loads of fun, but they’re not toys. And hey — don’t shoot your eye out!
Modeled after the 1911 Max centerfire pistol designed by World Speed Shooting Champion and Team SIG Captain, Max Michel, Jr., this CO2-powered, semi-auto 1911-style BB pistol is a fun and useful training tool for shooters of all skill levels. SIG calls this a training gun but on a good day it can throw a pellet 410 feet per second which to me spells the bitter end for pesky small varmints in the barn! This gun gives you all the features of a 1911 in a CO2-powered gun. How cool is that?
The SIG SAUER P320 ASP is the newest in SIG’s “Advanced Sport Pellet Air Pistol” line-up. It should be called “Almost Same Pistol” because it’s that close. This mirror image of your EDC can help hone manipulations, drawing and everything you should be training about. But P320 ASP ammo comes at a fraction of the cost. Basically the P320 ASP is like a stunt double for your everyday carry “real” gun. Perfect for teaching brand-clean new shooters too.
H&N Sport Terminator has hunters in mind with this pellet. The Sport Terminator has packed two deadly components into this pellet, penetration and expansion. The welled pointed tip aids in penetration through thick hides and fur, while the hollow tip provides expansion petals upon impact. Coolest thing yet? The Sport Terminator claims to be the only partitioned pellet in the world. I like the “flower power” of these expanding “petals” on impact. It always pays to use the best quality pellets if you’re hunting small game. Target pellets just don’t always cut it.
Hatsan USA isn’t new to the airgun market. If you’ve ever shot one of their guns you know the worksmanship and reliability they are famous for. Vortex pellets are available in three standards: Supreme, Express and lead-free Eco. Hatsan isn’t cutting corners on weight and this allows them to reach up to .35 Caliber and 1,170 fps! HatsanUSA is combining Turkish craftsmanship with German engineering to deliver these pellets which are just as amazing as their guns!
The Air Bolt by Air Venturi isn’t an air rifle or pistol but “ammo” in the form of an “air bolt.” The Air Bolt is a new 430-grain carbon fiber bolt (kind of an arrow) turning any .50 cal pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle with a barrel of 22″ or longer into a powerful archery tool. This bolt makes the existing rifle accommodate standard broadheads and brings shooters into large game hunting without the cost of having to buy a new archery platform. This is new technology and some states are changing laws to adapt to this concept. Make sure you know your local laws before you venture afield with an “airgun” bow of any sort.
Umarex’s Multipurpose Spinning Airgun Target System is just that. A fixed paper target bracket up top allows you to attach your favorite target for zeroing or plinking. Then, the six spinning targets allow plenty of opportunity for family or group shooting fun. Make up your own games or try to get them all spinning at the same time. They’re heavy steel construction and come with 80 paper targets and simple stake-in-the-ground set-up.
The Beretta APX semi-auto blow-back is a clone of their “real” APX design submitted for the military but later withdrawn from the new-gun competition when the DOD thought it would cost too much. This air-gun version of the very high-tech real model has a polymer frame, metal slide and true double-action trigger. The Picatinny rail allows lasers or lights and the overall package is so realistic it’d be perfect for training for cops, soldiers or even us regular shooters too! It’s got a 19-round drop-free magazine, is smoothbore and uses standard CO2 cartridges.
Umarex’s 12-gram CO2 cartridges are high quality and come in a handy 12 pack so you’re never out of “go-power” for your favorite CO2 air gun. I’ve found buying “el-cheapo” CO2 cartridges are pretty much a waste of your time. They are unreliable, usually deliver poor performance and run-dry fast. You “get what you pay for” applies here for sure and the Umarex line always delivers solid service.
Hornady branded .177 Black Diamond Steel BB’s (3,000 count) are black anodized and manufactured by Umarex specifically for Hornady. The anodizing offers less friction, translating to higher velocities, distance and accuracy. And, through some magic, they are 100 percent inspected for over-all quality and finish. Like the CO2 cartridges, using top quality BB’s pays dividends with higher accuracy, consistency, fewer jams and less wear on your guns. But being steel they bounce like crazy off of steel or concrete/rocks so wear that eye protection!
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