I invite you to sign The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Tale of Two Stutzens

You probably wonder, as I sometimes do, which Stutzen is better: the Gamo Stutzen or the RWS Diana Stutzen? Tonight, before dinner, I had a hankering to figure out what the differences are between the two air rifles.

Below are the two air rifles; the Gamo Stutzen is above and the RWS Diana is below. The Gamo is a Spanish airgun; RWS Diana is German. They are both 0.177 caliber, single stroke underlever spring air guns. This means that cocking a lever beneath the barrel will pressurize air which is released when one pulls the trigger. The rifles shoot 0.177 caliber pellets, which are shaped like a badminton 'birdie.' Like the beloved 'birdie' of elementary school physical education, most of the weight of the pellet is in the tip of the projectile. The tail end consists of a cup shape, with thin walls, so the air is trapped when released by the air rifle to send the pellet downrange. Air gun pellets are made of lead, so they flatten when they strike an object rather than ricochet back at you. BB's do that, and we avoid them and any air rifle which fires them.

The badminton birdie is not the most aerodynamic projectile; neither is the airgun pellet. This means that at velocities greater than 1,000 feet per second the pellet tends to wobble and lose accuracy. Most manufacturers know this and try to keep the maximum velocity of their air rifles under 1,000 feet per second. Both of these rifles claim to shoot 0.177 caliber pellets at 900 - 950 feet per second.

These rifles are heavy, about eight pounds. I would not want to use one for hunting. They are very well made, with a full length wood stock which is referred to as the 'Mannlicher' style. They both have cheekpieces for right-handed shooters. The finish is good on both of them, with the wood stained a bit darker on the Diana. They are both nearly all metal construction. They weigh more than conventional firearms because of the spring mechanism, and I installed a scope on each because I can shoot better with a scope than with iron sights.

They cost more than a lot of firearms, but they have one trait which makes them very desirable where we presently live: they can be shot on our property without having the pellets leave our property. This means we can shoot at any kind of target in our own back yard.

The grip and forearm of the Diana have very fine checkering, while the Gamo only has it on the grip. This makes holding the Diana a little easier. I think it is peculiar that I prefer air rifles with wood stocks, but I insist on synthetic stocks on my conventional firearms.

The RWS Diana Stutzen was up for testing first. As one can see above, the goddess of hunting, Diana, is shown discarding her trusted bow and arrow in favor of this excellent air rifle. After shooting it, I can see why.

I must have sighted in the rifle in the past, because I put about 10 out of 10 pellets into an empty Coke can. I was firing at the target at a distance of 50 feet. The sun had set long before I came outside, so I only had the light from one of our outside floodlights to guide me. Unfortunately, none of my shots knocked over any of the cans I hit. This is one of the biggest problems with the 0.177 caliber pellet: it is fast and accurate, but its light weight means that it does not have the kinetic energy needed to knock things down. This goes for varmints shot with the 0.177 pellet as well. The small pellet will not kill them immediately, but will likely set them up for a slow death instead.

The Gamo logo is not as exciting to look upon, but shooting it was a bit more fun. The first few shots were as loud as the crack of a rifle, and I noticed that this Stutzen got all the dogs for miles around barking. I asked the children who had gathered if they noticed any flames coming out of the end of the barrel. I was concerned about this because I remembered that my oldest son had shot this gun while he was home for Christmas break. I know this because he was cleaning the rifle while sitting on the floor of my closet when I got home from work one day. I figured he had left a little bit of oil in the barrel or mechanism of the rifle, and the rifle was 'dieseling.' Dieseling is a process where oil in an airgun can actually ignite when subject to the sudden compression of air behind the pellet. This ignition can actually increase the power and velocity of the pellet, so some people actually add a little oil to each pellet to make them go faster. THIS IS A VERY VERY VERY BAAAAAD THING TO DO, because it can also make the mechanism of the rifle blow up in the face of the operator. I have no desire to become permanently disabled, so I looked over the rifle for any signs of excess oil.

While inspecting the Gamo, I recalled that this was actually my second Gamo Stutzen. Shortly after buying my first one, I had to return it for repairs. This was back in 2005. I sent it to an address in Miami, and around the same time it arrived at the repair center a hurricane struck the city. A couple months passed, and I had not heard anything about this gun. When I called them, they tersely informed me that there were some other things going on in Miami after that storm, and my air rifle was very low on their priorities. Within a week they sent me a new rifle.

As I mentioned above, I was soon joined by a group of children wanting to participate in my testing. I did not want to let the younger boys shoot the big Stutzens, so I promised them that after dinner I would let them shoot if they got their cleaning done quickly.

I picked two smaller air rifles for their shooting. One is the Crosman 2100 in 0.177 caliber. This gun shoots BB's or pellets, but we only use pellets for it. It has a metal receiver and tough plastic for the stock. It is the gun in the picture below which has the iron sights. I like to shoot it too.

The other rifle is a Daisy Powerline S22 in 0.22 caliber. It has a cheap sight on it. It also is well built, with real wood for the stock. Another fun gun to shoot.

Both of these guns have the same drawbacks. One is that they are pump rifles. It takes ten pumps to fully charge them, and for a little guy that is a lot of work. It's not as hard to pump as a Benjamin Sheridan Blue Streak, though. The other problem is that dropping the pellet into the chamber in the correct orientation can be challenging, especially if one has fat little fingers like me.

The antique pistol in the bottom of the pictures is just a toy; Zelie insisted that I include 'her' pistol in there.

So the testing became a family shoot. Here Gus shoots the RWS Diana:

Bernard even got into the action, shooting a toy gun with Zelie coaching him.

Cornelius loads up the Daisy Powerline 22:

Zelie shoots her 'sword gun:'

Max is all elation after shooting a bottle full of water with the Daisy Powerline 22:

Here is his winning stance for target practice:

Marc shows off the Crosman 2100 for the camera:

One of the boys brought out their air shotgun. This is a Gamo air shotgun which can shoot either 0.22 caliber pellets or little shot shells. We started loading our own shells, using toilet paper and some #9 shot. One puts a wad of toilet paper into the cartridge, drop in some shot, and then cap it with another bit of toilet paper. It is neat to see the toilet paper shoot out of the end of the barrel. Here I am holding the air shotgun. It has a single bead at the end of the barrel, but it still can hit target with pellets very well.

Before this test of the two Stutzens turned into a family shoot, I had already decided that I like both guns. Both were fun to shoot, and target practice is one of those things which the boys and I always like to do together. While I wrote this, I looked up information on these two guns online and found out that they are both discontinued. It reminded me that my sons won't always be here to join me in a little bit of backyard plinking, and that I have to spend more time with them while they are still around.


Anonymous said...

Another geek post if I ever saw one.

James said...

You have taken a good care of both of them.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

I am An Amateur Catholic Blogger!

Amateur Catholic B-Team Member