Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1 of 2 today-guest article

( This is not the same author that has been doing the last few weeks three articles at a time.  Those appear this week the next three days )
Air Rifles For Survival

Some of you may recognize from reading some of my previous comments, that I'm a big proponent of Archery gear, Flintlock Muskets, and other low tech weaponry.

I recently read a good article over at Willow Haven Outdoors on Survival Air guns that made a good case as to why every survivalist should have one.

The article went on to state that for around $50.00 spent in pellets, that they would provide for a lifetime supply of small game hunting. That was all that it took to sell me on this concept, especially considering that the once very affordable .22 LR is now going up in price as availability decreases. Stealth, as always for me, was also a consideration, and my preference for an additional method to aquire small game in a survival situation without broadcasting my locale to anyone in the local area, became an important issue.

I was in no hurry to acquire a pellet gun, and had just decided to wait until next years tax return. I had began looking at a variety of guns in anticipation of what one I might choose when the time came? I was interested in the Gamo Whisper, but many of the reviews claimed that the silencing features of this gun was really more of a gimmick, and that this feature was a little overrated? Other reviews seemed to be less than stellar, but the gun had a good overall rating. The Crossman Venom was also a gun that seemed to come up frequently on the airgun forums, and came with a high rating. None the less, I continued browsing through reviews and came across these Shanghai Chinese airguns (See links below).

I was surprised that an airgun that was made from actual wood and steel could be so inexpensive, and therefore any good? But the reviews, while there were a few bad ones, seemed to indicate that these guns, with a little tinkering, can be turned into fine little shooters. They appear to be built strong, and are very simple, and low tech to maintain.

Now these do appear to be guns from an older stock, that were tucked away in warehouse somewhere, and are still being sold as of today at Amazon, as well as a few other places. So parts availability may be a little sketchy? I did notice that parts for the B3 seemed to be more available than the B1? If you type the keywords “shanghai air rifle parts” some suppliers do come up.

For $30.00, I felt that the B1 (The B3 is $40.00) in the top link below was worth giving a try? And so I ordered one (Through Jim's link of course) and will be getting it hopefully within the next week? I am looking forward to it, and am hoping that it shoots decent with a minimal of tweaking? I will provide an update on what my thoughts are on this gun after I've had it for a while. If it does not work out, I will hold out until my next tax refund and spend in the neighbourhood of $150.00 to $200.00 for a better model.

A few important notes of interest.

You must learn the Artillery hold in order to accurately fire a spring powered pellet rifle. Any other hold does not allow for the gun to have consistent shot placement.

The B1 is said to be 400FPS, but reviews said that it was more than powerful enough for small game. The B3 is said to be in the 600FPS range.
If you decide to get one of the Chinese spring guns (or any spring gun for that matter) and maintain it yourself, you must exercise caution here, as the springs are under a lot of pressure, and can be very dangerous, if not fatal without the proper safety precautions in place.

Regardless of what model gun that you go with, I would recommend a .22 Cal air rifle vs a .177. I say this based on some bad experiences with taking game with the lower weight .177 Caliber pellets.


  1. I have both chinese air guns mentioned (in.22). The b1 is a bit heavy, has a nice wood finish, and seems to be built like a tank. Although my sister and her friends managed to break the stock and knock the sights way off during a campfire that involved consumption of certain beverages. She also tried to shoot a pair of racoons that were stealing chicks with the B1 (actually pulled the chicks through the chain link fence). Put about 10 rounds onto the one before it died, and managed to get a few shots off at the other. I hear that coons are hard to kill even with a .22 lr. The gun seemed to be accurate up till that point. The b3 is a side lever AK knockoff. It definately hits harder than the b1. (although I have not been able to hit any small game due to the sighting issue). I would say the fps in the article sounds about right. I could never get it to maintain zero-ed in sights though. It also seemed to have more pinch points. The folding stock was too short and shooting it like a pistol was not accurate at all. I have noticed that the price of pellets have gone up over the last couple of years. "You must learn the Artillery hold in order to accurately fire a spring powered pellet rifle. Any other hold does not allow for the gun to have consistent shot placement."-true-you must use a "looser" hold to allow for the spring action. The do make some noise, but not as loud as a .22lr. The recoil is almost the same though. I would say for cheap target practice and maybe (at close range-like under 30 ft you may be able to get a good kill shot on small game) you may want to consider these guns. You could probably sell them again for what you got them for. I did not try to take anything apart to make the guns shoot any better due to not having proper tools to contain the spring. You also want to make sure you don't have your fingers near the breach or trigger when cocking the gun (or you may be called "stumpy" after loosing a finger). Also I found the trigger to be very heavy on both (trigger control/aiming issues). Definite learning curve if you are used to shooting a ruger or savage .22lr rifle.

  2. hate to burst your bubble,but you are going to be disappointed.400 fps will take out sparrows and robins,but you'll need a great shot for a rabbit.I took out a quail with a bb gun that was so wimpy,you could SEE the bb come out! But it was a lucky head shot.I have a crosman break action,1000 fps .177,and it will penetrate 3/4 the way thru a 2x4.Maybe a lucky eye shot it could drop a deer,but easily will stop something smaller.At 1000 fps,your pushing the .22 speed,so it could still put a world of hurt to a bad guy!

  3. I found that article pretty informative and interesting. It opens up perspectives, especially the Artillery Hold.

    If somebody is serious about hunting very small game (birds, rats etc.) for survival then IMHO he should investigate further.

    As for larger game, well I remember the night guard's poisonous arrows in the documentary "Darwin's Nightmare" . I wonder if dart-like projectiles (balsa-wood with cotton obturation, pointed pellets) would have a similar effect.

    By the way, using it such things on humans would be qualified murder, just to put the record straight. But even if I'm armed with an humongous caliber, if I find myself stung by such a poisonous dart I'm going to go into some bad panic.Panic is always bad for business.

    A parallel to this would be the poisonous darts south american indians will shoot from sarbacanes.

    Anyway, food for thought, and I'm always happy to read good articles.

  4. I've been thinking about a pellet rifle for the collection. I do have an old pump pistol. Yes for small game, especially birds it would be a cheap way to fill the pot. Other small game will become scarce from over hunting but a few birds in the post will add much needed protein to a meal. Look forward to your review.

    My old captain had a BB gun target in his office. The old pot metal type that spun when you hit the mark. He used his cheap Chinese spring gun one time and it shattered. I think it was a 600 fps gun.

  5. Thanks for the kind words and comments gentlemen; much appreciated! I learned a few new useful tips as well, among them, how to avoid being nicknamed stumpy; lol!

    Will provide an update on the B1 after I've had a chance to put it to the test. If it works out, I might be getting a B3 in the near future? Haven't decided whether I really want to open it up or not for a performance upgrade, but would prefer not to, and hope that performance is decent as is?

    I would also prefer to stay away from gun/pellet combos that break the sound barrier if at all possible for obvious reasons. I really like the Beeman R7, but with a $400.00 price tag, and non-standard pellets, I'll have to pass.

    On a somewhat related note, my mother was at Walmart the other day, and was going pick up some pellets for me. The man working the counter mentioned that they had a limit on the sales of the .22 LR; two boxes per customer. (Not sure on the quantities here?) Not a good sign? Time to prepare gentlemen! Even the majority of pellets displayed at the website are not in stock at the store, but can still be ordered and will arrive within the day. Good pellets are also pretty costly these days, as mentioned in the comment above.

  6. Pellet guns will be very valuable when removing vermin around homes / outbuildings where vital equipment or livestock is nearby and you don't want to damage it / them. The pumps kill mice INDOORS (1 pump) with minimal danger of richochet. I think these are valuable enough to have a few multiples - for the money, they are gold.