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July 24, 2007

The Desert Eagle: A Big Handful of Fun!


The Desert Eagle from Umarex USA is a very close copy of the original firearm version from Magnum Research, Inc., started in 1979. This CO2-powered copy is a large pistol that really fills the hand. Featuring blowback-action during the firing process, it still manages to send pellets down range at over 400 fps. The 8-shot clip is easy to load and with the spare cylinder, you can get 16 shots off pretty quickly with a little practice.


The first thing I noticed when picking up this gun is that it is pretty much a match in size of the original firearm. I have average-sized hands, and this gun takes up all the room in my hands, and then some. If you have small hands, then this gun is going to require you to use both hands just to hold it. 

The safety is a clear, easily understood feature that is easy to use and intuitive. When the safety is on, you can still cock and squeeze the trigger, but the gun will not go off. However, practice safe gun handling and point it in a safe direction when your finger is on the trigger. The gun can be fired in both single and double-action, and the first shot of the double-action is much stiffer until the blowback action cocks the gun for you on subsequent shots.


I started my evaluation by inserting a fresh CO2 cartridge into the handle of the gun. Umarex provides a handy tool to open up the reservoir for the cartridge, but the groove is big enough that a coin could be used if you forget the tool. After inserting the cartridge, screw the cover shut, fire a test shot in a safe direction before inserting the magazine, and once you’ve determined you’ve got gas, you are ready for some fun.



The open sights on the Desert Eagle are quite accurate, and I began by bouncing an aluminum can across the backyard of my property. After one clip, I shot the gun over a chrony and was pleased to see 430 fps in velocity on an almost-fresh cartridge. Seven clips later, the CO2 began to run out, but that is after I fired over 50 shots from this gun. A quick switch to a fresh CO2 cartridge, and the can shredding began again in earnest.


The Desert Eagle is full of life-like features. When you depress the unlocking lever, the action pops open, allowing you to load your magazine.


There is a picatinny rail under the barrel for attaching accessories such as flashlights and laser sights, and another on top for red dot sights or other accessory.


I mounted a PS 22 electronic point sight from Walther on the gun and enjoyed shooting with this method, though there was a little side-to-side movement in the operation of the gun. This is due to the blowback action needing a little room for movement in order to work with a low-powered gas such as CO2 to make everything happen. I still had no problem whatsoever shredding a can with the electronic sight mounted, but preferred the open sights for my own personal pleasure.  The PS 22 comes with fully-adjustable windage knobs, and scope covers to keep the dust out. The covers to the windage adjustment knobs are thoughtfully tied to the sight so that you don’t lose them. Not a bad feature since I’ve lost a few covers in my time.


The Desert Eagle is currently retailing near $150.00, and it is an absolute blast to shoot. Remember that it is a full-size replica, so don’t buy it with a child in mind….their hands won’t be big enough to handle it. It is an adult-sized gun, with all the features that a grownup will enjoy. For a great recipe for fun, just look at the picture below, and you’ll begin to see how much fun I had reviewing this little gem of a gun!




July 20, 2007

The Beeman R-9: Every One Needs One!

Beeman R-9

The Beeman R-9 is one of those airguns by which other airguns are constantly measured. It has attained this particular status due to the inherent quality of the German-engineered pedigree that has given the airgun world an incredibly useful airgun for plinking, sport shooting, and small game hunting.

The R-9 I tested was a .177 caliber, and the velocity attained from RWS Superdomes, one of the favorite pellets this particular gun likes, was well within the stated velocity ranges that retailers like to post for marketing purposes. My gun was shooting in the high 800’s consistently, and lighter pellets break the 900 fps mark quite easily and regularly.

However, speed isn’t everything. If it isn’t accurate, all the speed in the world won’t do a bit of good. I have a swinging paddle target similar to one sold here at AirgunDepot with a ram, turkey, boar, and chicken on it. The chicken is the smallest, barely the size of  the end of your thumb, and at 20-25 yards, I can hit it 4 out of 5 times with a 3-9x scope mounted on the gun. The ram? Well, it isn’t even a contest….he gets smacked around 100 % of the time as long as I pay attention to what I’m doing. I have literally wore all the paint off of the swinging targets with this gun, and will have to put a new coat on them soon for those evening shoots when the sun is going down.


When I first opened the box to my R-9, I was struck by how nice the stock was. My R-9 happens to be one of the deluxe versions, with factory-cut checkering on the forearm and grip area. It is a really nice stock, complete with a rubber pad on the butt that dampens what felt recoil is generated by the snap of the spring-piston powerplant. As you can see from the pictures below, the finish and fit of the R-9 is very nice.

With an adjustable rear sight and a globe front sight that allows interchangeable front sight blades to be used, you can tailor the open-sight picture to your liking. I enjoy scopes quite a bit, so I mounted a variable 3-9 power scope on the provided dovetails, and haven’t moved it since. It keeps hitting what I point it at, and there isn’t a tin can in range that doesn’t fear for its life! There are even scope-stop holes milled into the top of the receiver to accommodate scope rings that use a stop-pin to prevent scope-creeping, a not-uncommon problem with springers of this power level.


In addition to plinking and target shooting, the R-9 is quickly attaining a favorite status with me as a hunting gun. Pest birds such as starlings and sparrows are put down with serious authority, and larger game such as squirrels and rabbits are easily taken. I even succeeded in disposing of a pesky raccoon that wouldn’t leave the bird feeder alone. All it took was one shot in the right place, and the problem was solved. This is a very useful airgun!


Some features I really like are the automatic safety that resets upon cocking the airgun, and the ability to uncock the airgun in the event you decide not to shoot at your selected target. When hunting, this is an extremely useful feature that helps me stay hidden without giving away my presence as I take the load off of the spring, giving it a longer life.

I have been looking at getting an R-9 ever since I started enjoying airguns, and now I see why so many airgunners around the globe tout this airgun as a must-have. With numerous after-market parts and upgrades available, this gun is a tuner’s dream, and I’ve seen many R-9’s that have been given custom stocks and upgrades, putting them into the collectors category for the airgun enthusiast.

So as the title of this article indicates, I honestly think everyone needs a Beeman R-9. It will quickly win a place in your heart as the go-to gun in a number of situations, from target shooting when you just have to prove to your neighbor that you're a better shot than they are, to controlling the myriad number of pests so many of us have to put up with. Available in .177, .20, and .22 (by special order), the gun that will last long enough to pass down to your kids one day is indeed, the Beeman R-9.


July 09, 2007

Hunting Season is Approaching

If you enjoy hunting, then realize that it isn't too early to begin your planning for the upcoming hunting season. Small game seasons are just around the corner, with squirrel season for the Eastern grey and fox squirrel opening up as early as late August in many states east of the Mississippi River. Here in Kentucky, where I live, opening day is just 5 weeks away as I write this article.

When you prepare for the hunting season, make a list of what you need to have on hand in order to enjoy your sport. Here is a short list of things you need to make your airgun hunting a more enjoyable experience.

1. Your hunting airgun of choice in good working order.

Hopefully, you've been enjoying one of the greater advantages that airguns allow us as hunters....the ability to shoot year-round at pests and varmints, as well as plinking in order to keep your shooting eye tuned and ready for the "serious" pursuit of small game. If you haven't picked up your airgun in a few months, then check it out NOW in order to make sure it is in good firing trim.

2. Ammunition

Stock up on the ammunition of choice that your particular airgun shoots the best. If you are planning on hunting with a new airgun this year, put it through its paces and shoot some groups at different ranges with different pellets to determine the best ammo. Then purchase enough to get you through the season.

3. Sights

If you are like me, I wore glasses for 30+ years before undergoing Lasik surgery to correct my vision. I remember that when I would get a new pair of glasses, there was an adjustment period when shooting since my field of depth would change with the new prescription. Make sure your eyes are up to the task required of you when hunting.

Perhaps you are going to scope a gun that you've always shot with open sights in years past. Now would be a good time to get used to the new sighting routine with that particular gun.  

4. Airgun Accessories

Sometimes we find we need a new muzzlebrake, pellet pouch, an extra magazine for a certain gun....just that little something extra to make our hunt more enjoyable. Order your items early so that you have them in time to test and enjoy. Nothing spoils a hunt more than to take a new item out on a hunt to find that it doesn't work quite like you thought it would.

5. Scout your territory

Take a day or two and walk the ground where you are going to hunt at the time of day you intend to hunt. Don't wait until opening day to go to your hunting spot to find that the land owner had it logged, or perhaps there is a subdivision built there now. Weather and mankind can alter the terrain of your hunting area in just one season, and if you haven't been out to look around, do it before the season begins. Also take the opportunity to talk to land owners and secure additional territories to hunt in so that you aren't tied down to just one venue for your hunting enjoyment. Find out the public hunting areas available in your area and take a walk through them. Your pre-season scouting will increase your enjoyment and success. 

Using the product finder here at Airgun Depot, find the right item for your hunt, get it in your hands, and enjoy a great hunting season to come.  

July 03, 2007

So Just What is a "BB"?

So just what is a BB?

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->The airgun projectiles that we commonly call a ‘BB’ have an interesting history. Over the years, the ‘BB’ has undergone several refinements and adjustments in size, but it originally started life as actual lead shot for shotgun shells and was designated as sized BB. If you put a caliper to it, it came out to about 0.180-inches in diameter. It makes sense that inventors of early BB guns used a commonly available round for their guns, freeing them up from having to make the projectile for themselves. <!--[endif]-->

Tom Gaylord wrote an interesting article for the Shotgun News that traced the development of the modern-day BB, and I am borrowing freely from that article. According to Mr. Gaylord, it was early in the 20th<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> century before Daisy started making their own shot, partly for quality control, but also in order to develop more sales. They down-sized the shot to around 0.175-inches which allowed them some advantages in making their guns easier to cock, yet still capable of higher velocities. Since Daisy was the predominant manufacturer of airguns, other makers went along with the size change in order to maintain sales. <!--[endif]-->

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->Since boys will be boys, enterprising youngsters started trying to find other projectiles to use in their airguns, and steel ball bearings started showing up as ammo. However, due to the size differences, the airguns were beginning to break down and the Daisy company took notice of the returned guns with steel bearing stuck in them. They further investigated the problem, which lead to the deal made with the American Ball Company, a manufacturer of steel ball bearings to produce a standardized steel ball to be used as ammo in the Daisy airgun. Eventually, Daisy ended up purchasing the company to bring them into the Daisy fold, thus assuring additional control and profits. <!--[endif]-->

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->Time went on, WW II came along, and lots of different ideas were tried, from aluminum BB’s to different airgun designs that assisted with holding a steel BB in place versus the lead BB shot of the past. Competitions started that boosted the cause of accuracy in BB guns, and even the BB itself underwent design changes to assure the utmost accuracy possible from a round projectile. Competition BB’s were ground to a uniform finish instead of being pinched off of steel wire as in the past. And Daisy introduced competition-quality BB guns to make the most of the budding competitive shooting arena for kids and youth groups of all kinds. Even today, my children in our local Boy Scout troop enjoy shooting the BB gun, and it is as popular with them as it was with me when I was a young boy.

The history behind much of our enjoyment with airguns can be a fascinating study. With the advent of the internet, there is an incredible amount of information available for the airgun enthusiast who is interested in the development of the airguns and projectiles that form the basis of our great hobby. So take some time if you are so inclined, and learn a little more about how your particular airgun or favorite ammo came to be.

July 02, 2007

New Drozd Video Review!


Drozd Video


See the EAA DROZD in action.  The Drozd is good at blowing up all sorts of stuff.  Check out the video to see it easily shred glass, full pop cans, glass plates, jars etc. For those that don't know the Drozd is a automatic bb gun that shoots steel bb's at a rate of 600 rounds per minute. It fires in 6 round bursts and as the video shows absolutely destroys objects of all shapes sizes and materials.

The video also features our exclusive custom made mock suppressor kit and extended barrel. When added, not only does it make the Drozd look awesome, but it also adds velocity (about 100 FPS) as well as improves accuracy. A longer barrel means more power and more accuracy and our custome barrel is about 4 times as long as the stock barrel.

Click here to watch the Drozd Automatic Machine Gun Video .

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