Friday, March 18, 2005


Custom Stocks

One of the easiest ways to customize an airgun is to make a custom stock for it. I have made or finished several stocks in my airgunning life, most of them were match style stocks. I currently have two match stocks that I bought from Jim Macarri Jim has always been easy for me to work with. Normally when I buy stocks from him I have him leave extra material on butt and forearm areas so I can custom finish the stock to fit me a little bit better. The only drawback to the CS1000 HW97 match stocks that I have is that the grip is cut too far rearward so it makes it a bit of a reach to the trigger. Even with the the match stock make the rifle much easier to shoot accurately under match conditions.

I bought a reddish match stock for a TX200 from Airguns of Arizona a few years back and got the basic inletting finished but found that the length of pull of the stock without the buttplate on it was already a bit long, I need a 13.5" length and this with a buttpad would be around 14.5"-14.75". I put it on the back burner since I was going to have to modify the cheekpiece in order to get the length of pull right. I think I may just sell it since I don't plan on shooting a TX for FT anymore now that I have my new HW97 trigger blade.

I decided that I would try one of DaveG custom stocks for my HW97 since it looked like it was fashioned after the FWB 600 series 10 meter match stocks. I ordered it now over a year and three months ago. How did I like it? I don't know, I still haven't received the stock or a refund of my money. I have called Dave many times over the past year and every time I talked with him I got the same old story, it will be done in a few weeks. I few months later I would call him back and still the same thing. I fear that my $250 is gone and I will never see it again or a new match stock either. I have heard similar things from others but most of them did receive what they ordered at some point. I guess the lesson here is don't buy anything from him unless you see the product first. In my ten years of dealing with airgunners on the internet this is the first time I have been burned, it is a shame too since many of the stocks I have seen were pretty nice.

A shooting buddy of mine has bought several custom stocks from Mike Abernethy at Customwerks for his R9 and HW97. These stocks are truely beautiful works of art. They came finished so there wasn't any work to be done to them, just drop in the action and shoot. I would bet that Mike would leave them unfinished if you asked him but he does such a nice job on the finish I don't know if I would want to go that route.

I guess my favorite custom stock was one I made from scratch for a CR97 that was my first PCP rifle. I made it from a custom laminated wood and fashioned it much like a three position rifle. It was a lot of fun for me making it from scratch since I like working with my hands. It took me about two weeks to finish it but it was pretty nice. I even rigged up an adjustable cheekpiece out of aluminum and some hardware. I ended up selling the stock after I sold the CR97 to finance other airgun endeavors. I still have fond memories of it and enjoyed shooting the CR97 in its custom stock.

I reallly enjoy the custom stocks that I have made for my rifles. My current match rifle, an HW97 with a Maccari match stock, is painted a ruby red. I always wanted a deep red stock and since I couldn't find a nice red stain and the figure on this particular stock wasn't all that great, I decided to paint it and I really like the results. Whether you finish the stock yourself or buy one prefinished, a custom stock can really enhance the looks and performance of your favorite air rifle.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Gamo Airguns

Gamo has for years produced value priced air rifles and pistols. They cater to the average guy who wants a low cost air rifle for shooting in the back yard or hunting tasks. I started my adult airgunning life with a Gamomatic 2000 back in the early 90's. I have had several Gamo products over the years and I have to admit, even though they were mass produced, they were pretty good quality. I have heard that Gamo tests their rifles designs by taking them and dry firing them for some high number of shots and then test fires the rifle to verify proper operation. I don't know if that is try but if it is then that really say something for the ruggedness of their rifles.

I have been able to test the CF20&30 and a Hunter 440 and found that they are accurate rifles, certainly more so than most of the shooters who buy them. The accuracy didn't measure up to the more expensive British and German rifles but for the money it wasn't that far off. The biggest downside with the Gamo rifle is the recoil&vibration and the trigger unit.

With the rifles I have tested the one biggest problem to getting repeatable tight groups was the recoil and vibration. The Gamo rifles I have shot recoiled more than they needed to. The recoil caused a lot of flyers in groups that would have otherwise been quite good. It also rattle a few of my fillings loose which I had to have tighened later, well not really.

The trigger is the other weak point of the Gamo rifles. Although Gamo advertises their trigger as having two stages, it really is only a one stage trigger. The "first" stage doesn't actually move the sears as the the trigger travels through the stage. The sears only move during the second stage. They also have a abnormally long first stage, so long that the trigger actually starts to roll upwards which causes the blade to contact the top of the trigger finger instead of the pad. It is a shame to since I think that if they would just fix the long first stage the trigger wouldn't be half bad. Theoben used the same trigger design without the long first stage and it worked really well. I had a Gamo rifle when I was testing a Super17 and took the two triggers apart to compare them and found that Gamo cuts a half moon out of the sear that contacts the top of the trigger blade and it causes the long first stage travel. The Theoben trigger had a short first stage and a nice letoff and the Gamo didn't. They could fix is just by not cutting material off of the lower sear arm. I have email and called them over the years about this but they pretty much ignored me.

I have also shot some of the Gamo pistols too and really liked the Gamo PR-45 and Compact. Both are fun to shoot and have reasonably good accuracy. I don't have my Compact any more but I do have the PR-45 and it shoots great. It is easy to cock and I think it has as good a trigger on it as the Compact I owned. I bought my used from Anthony Storey and get it out to plink from time to time. The Gamo products are bad for the money. I would still advise most serious shooters to buy a Beeman R9 as the best value 0n the market butfor a guy who wants good quality and accuracy for a bit less money they are hard to beat.
Gamo Homepage

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Watts HW97 Trigger Blade

A couple of weeks ago I was looking over a few airguns sites on the web and one that I like to stop in at every so often is Paul Watts page. Paul is a master tuner when it comes to airguns. He has tunes several of my spring guns including my main compeition HW97 and they all shoot great (as long as I keep my grubby hands out of them). Anyone that knows me knows that I love my HW airguns, especially the HW97. I have felt for years that the only real shooting advantage that the TX200 had over the HW97 was the trigger adjustments. The TX had two additional screws in the trigger blade that allows for much finer adjustment of the first and second stages. I worked around it for years but now I don't have to any longer.

As I purused Paul's page I saw that he is now making a setback trigger for the Rekord trigger unit. This trigger reaches rearward a bit more than the standard trigger blade but, and here is the big news, it has the same to trigger adjustment screws in the trigger blade. Now I can set the first stage and second stage travel to whatever I want. I have found this especially useful on my match rifle as now I can have a short first stage and just a hint of pressure on the second stage will fire the rifle while still keeping it safe. I don't know why HW hadn't done this years ago.

I ordered a strait blade trigger since it was going on my match rifle. I also asked Paul if he would turn the face of the blade 5 degrees so that my finger would set more flat on the blade. It arrived at the end of last week and I couldn't hardly wait to mount it on my rifle and give it a try. I didn't have time to get to it until Sunday night.

It was easy to install, just one pin to push out and then back in again. I took the action out the garage to peform my initial adjustments and found that I had turned the sear in too far. I turned it back out and made a few adjustments.It was time to put it back into the stock and try it for real. Luckily I decided to keep the barrel pointed into my trap as when I let off the safety, bang! With the rifle in the stock the rear trigger guard screw assert some stress on the trigger unit and affected the sear engagement. I took the action back out, readjusted the sear somemore and this time I didn't tork down on the rear screw, instead I used a bit more Loctite and just snuged it. That did the trick.

With a few more fine adjustments I now have what feels like a true match trigger on my HW97. I have wanted a trigger like this for a long time and now I finally have it. Pauls trigger also comes with a recessed pull weight screw which I didn't install. The trigger and screw costs $65 but is well worth the money spent. You can visit Pauls page at for more information on the HW setback trigger and the other fine products that Paul has.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Well Rounded Hobby

Airgunning is such a well rounded hobby for me. Within this one hobby I can do so many of the things that I like to do. Obviously shooting it the cheif amoungst them but there are so many other things that one can do in addition to that. I have always loved working with my hands and throughout my life I have made things out of wood and more recently metal. When I started out in Field Target I made a bunch of target from wood and then graduated into metal. About 4 years ago I bit the bullet and bought a Lincoln wire feed welder. I thought I might get some use out of it and boy was I right! Along with a grinder and a benchtop drillpress, I don't know what I would do without them. Now I can make all sorts of metal targets and other accessories for my airguns and for the range.

I enjoy woodworking as well and have made and/or finished several stocks over the years. Most were match stocks that were generally formed but left rough for me to custom finish. With the right tools, it doesn't take a lot of time to get the stocks just the way you want them. I know that it definitely improved my scores over the years.

My technical side is also satisfied by working on my website. Developing and editing my airgun pages appeals to me because of my trainging as an engineer. I have also written some articles over the years for my site and for reprint in magazines so airgunning is an outlet for that creative part of me as well.

I have also been a match director for most of the past nine years and that has allowed me to express my creative side by designing field target courses. I really enjoy being out in the woods thinking about lanes and where to place targets, looking for really cool shots and trying to create cool shots when their aren't any obvious one around. Sometimes it is tough but that just makes it more satisfying when you can think up something fun.

Fun is reallly what a hobby is all about. We have hobbies because they are usually fun things to do and for me airgunning includes nearly everything I like to do.

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