Haenel 310 – Parts 1 & 2

by B.B. Pelletier

First things, first. Two days ago, I showed you a teaser photo of the new PCP from Pyramyd Air. I said it is a derivation of the Benjamin Discovery, and in fact I was shown an early prototype of this rifle very early this year when the American Airgunner TV show visited the Crosman factory. At that time, they were toying with the idea of an upgraded Discovery, but since then the marketing plan changed.

The new rifle is called the Katana–named by Josh Ungier, for whom it was ultimately built. Actually, that name is attached to the blurred photo we teased you with on Wednesday. Paul Capello caught it, and I wonder how many others did without saying?

Follow this link to the Katana page. As soon as I get one, I’ll review it for you. The low price puts the new rifle in a very good position among the new crop of high-value PCP rifles.

Now, on to today’s blog report. Yes, this really is both Parts 1 and 2. I’m doing this because this is Friday and I like you to have something you can chew on for the weekend.


Haenel 310 is a bolt-action round ball rifle.

The Haenel 310 is a curious airgun. It shoots 4.4mm round lead balls instead of BBs or pellets. Before you get your knickers in a knot, 4.4mm lead balls are easy to get. Just contact John Groenewold. He sells them by the pound. He hides them on his website under “Shootable Ammo” and further under “JG Ammo,” but here’s a link to the exact page. Just buy 5 lbs., and you’ll wind up with a lifetime supply. You can use them in a variety of other airguns and BB guns, so it’s a long-term investment. I figure that if you’re going to shoot a Haenel 310, you’re going to be involved with a lot of oddball airguns in your life.

I reported on this model back in February 2007. That gun was different than the one I’m looking at now, but the layout is identical.

Haenel was a German company that wound up in East Germany after the war; and, when the Iron Curtain dropped in 1989, tons of airguns came out of there. A pawnshop located in South Carolina bought several containers of surplus stuff in the mid-1990s from the East German secret police (Stasi), among which were several thousand airguns. Most of them were Haenel 310, 311 and 312 models. The pawnshop contacted us at The Airgun Letter, and we helped put the word out about these guns. We bought several, as did many of our subscribers.

One person who bought many of these 310s was my good friend Earl McDonald. Over the years, Mac gave some away and traded others until he was down to his last example, which he took to the 2009 Roanoke Airgun Expo to sell. Several times people had the rifle in their hands but always they laid it back down again. The rifle was still with us at the end of the show, when Mac gave it to me to test for you.

Mac kept this one because it was the best one he saw out of those he received. It’s a far better example than I ever saw from this source, so I’d agree that he got lucky in the surplus lottery.

The 310 is a spring-piston rifle that cocks via an articulated bolt. By articulated, I mean that it’s hinged to stick out to the right side of the “receiver” when at rest, but it flips up to become part of a longer cocking lever. You pull it straight back to cock the rifle, but what really happens is the lever pivots at its base, inside that triangular metal cover under the stock. At the top it pulls the piston straight back against a powerful mainspring. It’s not an easy rifle to cock, taking 29 lbs. of force according to my scale. While that doesn’t sound too bad, you’re doing is with just your hand instead of your entire arm. Adult men will find it difficult to cock. Most younger teenagers may be challenged.


When the bolt is down like this, the rifle looks conventional.


Flip the bolt up like this to make a handy cocking lever.


The bottom of the bolt is anchored deep under the stock in this triangular metal cover. When you pull the bolt back, it rocks in this fulcrum.

The rifle is 40.25 inches long with a fixed 14.25-inch rifled barrel. The length of pull measures 13.5 inches long, so a larger-youth-to-adult size, but trust me– smaller kids aren’t going to be able to cock this one very easily. This one weighs 5.75 lbs. That’s 4 oz. less than the other one I tested, which could be the weight of the wood. Since I now use a balance beam scale to weigh guns, I’m inclined to think it’s due to the better accuracy of the scale.


The rear sight adjusts for elevation, only.


The front sight is a simple barleycorn covered with a globe. It can be adjusted sideways in a dovetail.

It’s a repeater!
While the triangular metal cover under the stock looks like a magazine but is not, there’s a tiny magazine located under the stock directly under the rear sight. The normal removable magazine holds 6 balls, but there are also 12-shot magazines around. I used to own one. They’re not as reliable as the 6-shot mags.


The 6-shot magazine is another engineering marvel. Just press down the lead balls from the top.

Prior to starting
First thing–I oiled the piston seal. I believe it’s leather, which is consistent with the time and place of the gun’s manufacture. And, once it’s oiled, it responds in the same way as other oiled leather seals. I put 10 drops of Crosman Pellgunoil down the muzzle of the rifle and stood it on its butt for 30 minutes. Then, I worked the piston back and forth with the cocking lever and a slurping sound came out of the muzzle, which is what leather seals do when they’re absorbing oil. Thirty minutes after that, I loaded the 6-shot magazine and shot the first rounds–being careful of the carpet because I knew oil droplets would be coming out of the muzzle. Kind of like a sneeze.

The oiling was to refresh the leather seal, of course, and also to get it ready for velocity testing. Leather seals tend to last a very long time and keeping them oiled is one thing that helps preserve them. Just use a good petroleum oil. Pellgunoil is made from 20-weight non-detergent motor oil and works fine.

Talk about quiet!
Apartment dwellers and others who are concerned about sound, the Haenel 310 was made for you! This little rifle makes a Benjamin Marauder sound loud. One of these coupled with the Air Venturi Quiet Pellet Trap, and you’re rigged for silent running! And it’s the perfect scale (velocity, range of accurate shooting) for indoors. What a wonderful house gun it makes. As for critters, it might take a small mouse or perhaps a bad insect, but don’t even think of it for general hunting.

Velocity
Okay, not a lot of different 4.4mm lead balls to check. And a certain-sized sphere made of pure lead tends to be pretty much the same from brand to brand. Mac gave me a container of lead balls that I assume came from John Groenewold, so that’s what I used for this test. The average was 345 f.p.s., but one low shot of 303 brought that number down. Without it, the average was 351 f.p.s., with a spread from 325 to 362.

The other 310 I tested in 2007 averaged slightly over 400 f.p.s., so this one is obviously a little slower. That happens with spring guns.

While all lead balls of the same size and purity may weigh the same, they aren’t necessarily all uniformly round. I had one jam while firing–something that’s never happened to me with this model before this test. So, using good undamaged ammo is a real plus.

Of course a 4.4mm lead ball weighs more (7.6 grains) than a 4.3mm steel ball (5.1 grains), so this rifle is a little more powerful than the average Red Ryder. It should also be a lot more accurate, but we’ll look at that in Part 3.

61 thoughts on “Haenel 310 – Parts 1 & 2

  1. BB

    Nice article. Its always interesting to see what exactly they were up to behind the iron curtain instead of providing food or basic human rights. The low muzzle energy doesn't seem to jibe with the powerful mainspring mentioned earlier. Is it because the magazine is mounted so far forward? How long is the barrel from that point?


  2. To all,

    I think it would be appropriate for us to say a prayer for the victims and their families of the Fort Hood tragedy. These people have been through enough without this.

    The irony is that the gunman was safer inside a military base where only MPs have live weapons (unless in training exercises) rather than out in public where thousands have CCPs and could have taken out this contemptible sack of meat.


  3. Kevin,

    Do you recall asking about the weight of beech & walnut stocks of the Air Arms S410 & S400 rifles? Pyramyd Air's tech support has weighed them, and the results are quite surprising:

    S410 beech weighs 7.40 lbs., but walnut weighs 7.65 lbs.

    S400 beech weighs 7.70 lbs., but walnut weighs 7.85 lbs.

    When I questioned these weights, he went back & weighed two other S410 beech rifles and one weighed 7.40 lbs. and the other 7.55 lbs.

    While wood weights can vary somewhat, the facts show that the walnut stocks weigh more than the beech stocks.

    The product descriptions for each of the Air Arms models have been updated with the beech & walnut weights.

    Edith



  4. B.B.,

    The Katana looks like a buy for me. I was considering a Disco since I don't like dealing with magazines, rotary or otherwise. But the Marauder has the better stock and trigger so I hadn't putchased either one yet. The noise level doesn't matter to me either way.

    Now Katana comes along with the upgrades that make it really tempting. And I was looking at the .22 caliber anyway. There were three guns on my "to get" list and now there are four! Lucky for me I have an understanding wife.

    Paul


  5. B.B.,

    The Haenel 310 seems like alot of gun for the velocities you're getting. Would you hazard a guess what it's velocity might have been new?

    Mr B.


  6. Slinging Lead,

    I gave the actual barrel length in the report.

    With spring guns the barrel length isn't that important, so this is more than enough to achieve max velocity.

    The spring isn't that powerful. The geometry of the cocking link is not optimum, so it's harder to cock than it should be.

    B.B.




  7. Mrs. Gaylord,

    Thank you for the follow up.

    That's shocking. Although I believe the PA tech person that weighed multiple guns, that's contrary to my experience.

    kevin



  8. B.B.

    Katana no doubt has its point, but I'm a quiet magazine person myself so the Marauder is still king.

    The big news for me is that I tried out the 6m targets from your ematch website the other day. Fantastic. There's a whole new dimension in scoring bulls. I scored an 86% on 8 offhand targets. I guess that would be an NRA sharpshooter or maybe even a marksman. Anyway, it's a lot of fun. It might even justify the purchase of an AF Edge–although that would depend partly on the review. :-) The Crosman Challenger looks good and Crosman seems to be in the lead with pcps.

    Matt61


  9. As you may know, I'm a fan of things Haenel. I've seen 311s at several shows, usually priced pretty reasonably, but I've always shied away from them, based on the ammo issue. Now that I know it's available 5 lbs at a time, I may reconsider.

    I had a 312 that I picked up at Roanoke one year as a cosmetic basket-case, but a functional shooter. I gave it my best spit and polish and shot it indoors for a whole winter before selling it. Never should have sold that one, and have been looking for one ever since. I didn't realize they were imported in any kind of numbers. It's good to know that there may still be some out there.

    Keep up the good work. I really enjoy the articles on some of the lesser-known rifles. Got a Relum Supertornado to review? If not, I'd be happy to loan you one.

    Jim in PGH



  10. Is that a marauder stock on the Katana? How about the barrel and trigger? Very sweet!!!!!

    My modified Disco came with a .177 and .22 barrel, but I shoot the .22 the most, because I like to hunt.

    It list the Katana barrel as choked. I wonder if it will fit directly on a Disco? The last missing desire for my Disco. But something I can live without as the right pellet does wonders.



  11. Hi BB,

    I hope you and your wife are well.

    I scoped my Fwb 124, but the rifle with the scope and the front sight looks rather odd.

    I am thinking about ordering a muzzle brake from PA, (my brother lives in Puerto Rico and is coming out soon); but I dont know if the Beeman Ported Muzzlebrake for .568" Barrel will fit it. The barrel has some 15mm of diameter. Should I order it?

    Thank you!!

    Anthony from Gdl


  12. Hi BB.
    Actually, the Relum Supertornado is just about as UN-British as you can get, made in Hungary by the FEG airgun works. It's an underlever tap-loader with two counterwound mainsprings and looks only a mother could love. Mine is stamped Precise Minuteman. It has the look and build of good solid Hungarian farm machinery, but it's one of my favorites. I'm serious about sending it to you for testing and publishing if you're interested. You're familiar with my packing, so you'll be able to return it in the same box. Let me know if you're interested.

    Jim in PGH



  13. Kevin,

    Well after 2 attempts I think I am on the right blog… Turns out I know about as much about blogging as I do of shooting airguns… ha.

    Thanks for the info. I hadn't thought of foregoing with the scope and shooting with the irons. I'll admit I am having so much fun with this I am having a hard time slowing down and being methodical. In answer to your question & per part III of the review the exacts are one the pellets I am shooting. What do you think of the H&N? I watched the video (http://www.pyramydair.com/video/video.shtml?vidego_video_uuid=y8t5xf36) and have to admit for a novice such as myself, having that info on the outside of the tin is very helpful.

    Thanks,
    -Schroeder


  14. Schroeder,

    Well done. You made it to todays comments.

    To answer your scope shim question please think about always wanting to adjust your scope to where the pellet impact is on your target (POI=point of impact) not the point of aim (POA).

    The quickest way to adjust your scope (whether you're using the scope knobs for adjustment, shimming or an adjustable mount) is to put your gun in a vise. The gun doesn't move after firing.

    Once you see where the pellet struck the target, you adjust your scope, using any one or a combination of the above methods, to move the crosshairs to where the pellet actually struck the target. Once the scope is adjusted to where the pellet actually hit the target, the pellet will strike the target wherever the scope is aimed from thereon.

    H & N pellets are top notch. Good quality. Your gun may or may not like them. You can't force your gun to like a pellet no matter how well it's made.

    The super streak is a powerful/fast shooting gun. I would look for heavier pellets, even beeman kodiaks (which are also sold as H & N Barracuda's. same pellet). Very heavy pellet but sometimes the most accurate in powerful guns. Look for heavier pellets to test in your gun.

    The style of pellet depends on the range you're shooting. Most pellets do well at short range (wadcutters, flat topped pellets, are used in the olympics for 10 meter shooting). At long range domed pellets (not pointed, not hollow points) usually do best.

    kevin


  15. Kevin,

    Thanks once again for the information. My only reiteration is towards the Kodiaks. Do you see any reason not to shoot such a heavy pellet through a springer? I purchased a GRT-III trigger upgrade, and while browsing his suggestions on springers he mentions the possibility for excessive wear or damage from shooting anything over 14grains. I certainly don't mind rebuilding the Streak every couple of years if the cost is accuracy.

    Thanks,
    -Schroeder


  16. dear all,

    anybody know how to remove the Benjamin Super Strike front sight?
    I removed the screw but its still too tight for me to pull.



  17. Schroeder,

    I don't know the elevation/altitude you're shooting but listen to and pay attention to the firing behavior of your gun.

    If it's too harsh you need to move to a lighter weight pellet.

    I know about charlies's advice. Generalization.

    Use B.B.'s article for guidance on pellet selection but I wouldn't hesitate to try heavier pellets like the kodiaks/barracudas in a gun as powerful as the streak.

    kevin


  18. luke,

    Do you see any small allen screws that were used to attach the muzzle brake?

    If not it is probably glued on with epoxy. You may want to try to heat it to loosen the epoxy but what will it look like after you remove it?

    Why do you want to remove the muzzle brake?

    kevin


  19. I'm probably going to catch hob for this but seeing the price of the Katana was actually a huge disappointment for me. (Especially after a previous blog entry (?) hinting that it was possible that Crosman could make a lower cost pcp.) I figured someone had actually noticed and told the folks at Crosman that the #1 reason listed on Pyramid Air's poll for folks not buying a pcp was cost… And I was hoping this new pcp was a low cost model that would retail for around $150 instead of the $260-$400 of the current Discovery.

    After all its kinda hard to scrape together the money for a pcp when you're working at a minimum wage job because its all you can find…


  20. Kevin,
    I already remove the allen screw but still cannot remove the muzzle break, it won't move at all! I'm begining to think that you're right, they probably glued it…

    I want to remove it, because the sight that attached to it, obscure my line of sight while I'm using scope, especially on lower magnification. And I was hoping that I could attach a silencer (yes, its legal on my country). But most of all because it get in the way when i'm hunting in the forest.


  21. Disappointed Anonymous Katana hob catcher,

    I share your disappointment and now I'll share your hobs. The basic gun may be considered by some to be priced low but then add the necessary items to put air in the thing, not to mention adding a scope (what, no sights?) and you've broke your bank. This gun is actually more expensive than the Discovery by at least $200 after buying the necessary accessories. Then, if you want to use CO2 also you gotta buy a degassing tool! Come on Benji, throw us a bone once in a while.

    I've heard a lot of good on this blog about the Discovery (which comes with sights), so I don't know why anyone would want to pay $200 more for the Katana. Maybe it was designed to spur Discovery sales :)

    OK, bring on the hobs.

    -Chuck


  22. Katana Hob Catcher and CJr,

    The Katana is an UPGRADED Disco, so how could it possibly sell for LESS than a Disco? It sells for less than a Marauder, while containing some of the important Marauder features the Disco doesn't have.

    Consider that to be the hob that you will catch.

    Now, as to the business of a $150 PCP. Is it possible?

    I'm not sure, but I think it MIGHT be.

    The gun would have NO special features, but it would have to be accurate, reasonably powerful, which I define as 20 foot-pounds or greater, and reliable.

    I'm working of such a project right now.

    But here are the problems. You can't build it in China, because, unless you hold their hands 24/7, the Chinese back down on the quality before long. So you have to hire separate inspectors and place them inside the Chinese plant and do what amounts to 100 percent inspection. That costs money and blows the budget.

    Other counties can build reliable, accurate PCPs, but once again there are problems. The Russians all want to become Americans, so their work costs more every day. They can do a marvelous job of building the gun, but it will wind up costing $500 by the time is gets through customs and has enough margin tacked on so dealers can make a profit.

    Maybe the Turks can build it, but you have to coordinate closely with them and force your will or the gun will look like it was made by Klingons.

    Countries in Central Europe can build it, but they are more like the Russians, so getting the cost down is a problem.

    The Brits cannot build to this low a price.

    The Argentines can build it, but the politics of their country makes doing business a risk.

    The Koreans can build it, but price will be a problem, as they have become the new Japanese.

    Forget the rest of Asia because of the China syndrome.

    Germany is priced out of the ballpark.

    Americans CAN build such a gun and may be able to build it for that price, but why would they want to? They already cannot keep up with current demand, and they are looking to a brighter future in the higher-end PCPs. Who wants to be the one to build a Volkswagen when your Chevies are selling so well? When I say Americans I'm talking Crosman and AirForce. I do not mean the boutique makers operating at the hobby level–though they may be the best ones of all to do such a project.

    I have told you all of this because this is what I went through in planning this project. As it turns out, the project is "Build the $150 PCP," so your estimate coincides with what I was thinking.

    However, the world has become a tougher place to do business in the past 5 years. So, this is a serious challenge.

    B.B.


  23. CJr,

    I've got a Disco and it's a good gun–not up to Ms M of course. My biggest complaint with it is the stock. It looks and feels too small for the gun. A better stock and shrouded barrel sure would have gotten my attention.

    I cann't remember if Ms M is .22 or .177. Have you ever shot her running CO2 and if not why not?

    Mr B.



  24. Jim,

    You tug at my heartstrings. Precise (an import company) was the model of the first pellet rifle I ever owned. I think it was a Slavia 620 or so.

    Anyway, yes, your offer sounds intriguing. I have never seen this rifle.

    Do you still have my info?

    B.B.


  25. BB,
    I saw the PA commercial on Sportsmans channel with american airgunner. Great show, but the commercial was kinda weird (IMHO, the computerized graphics was used too often). Good job and keep it up.

    Legacy sports is selling Webelys (including the tomahawk) for 150$ new. Pick up some before they go.

    Shadow express dude



  26. Mr B,

    Ms. M has a svelte .22 waist and 43 br…well, never mind that attribute.

    I got the .22 because I had not had one yet and if I ever got the hunting bug I wanted Ms. M to go with me.

    I have not taken her dancing at the CO2 club. I spent so much money on her putting on airs that I want to get my money's worth out of that. I think air is best for hunting ft/lbs also, isn't it?

    Mr. T. SS is set up for CO2 at .177 and that's enough CO2 for me. Since I have air capabilities with a scuba tank now I thought about fitting Mr. T for air but then asked myself why since Ms. M is all I need for that breath of fresh air.

    Maybe I was too hard on the Katana this morning (I got up way too early) but I hope the "upgrade" is really worth the extra $200 over the Discovery.

    WordVerify: calmodon (I think I have calmed down now)

    -Chuck


  27. I think the Discovery is still the undisputed king of the heap for value and for people who don't mind tying up a few loose ends. You can get the Discovery and a pump for the same price as a Katana. The lack of a shroud is perplexing — perhaps Crosman is also working on single-shot Marauder for the $449 price point:). There have been rumors of something for FT (which requires single-shot), but that may be $599.

    From my perspective, PCP's don't compete with springers; they compete with rimfires. The two advantages they potentially have are safety and quietness. An unshrouded rifle should be fine for occasional target use or hunting, but the shroud is a key feature for regular target use, to have any advantage over a .22LR for those of us who don't have restrictions on firearms use aside from our own discretion.

    As far as repeater capability, I wouldn't want it. Too much risk to accuracy and reliability. Maybe not now, but some time in the future, as the tolerances get sloppier.


  28. MR.B,
    I bought a new shotgun news paper and it says in a ad that Legacy sports is having a "Airgun Blowout" and stingrays are 130$, Tomahawks were 150$, and there were a few others (no patriots, sorry).
    Shadow express dude.


  29. It took me 3 years to finally get a PCP…..Like most airguns, you get more options and most likely better performance with a higher price airguns.

    For those interested in a PCP, there are not too many options in PCPs under $500 so I feel the Disco is an awsome deal.


  30. I found a place that was selling the Disco NIB with pump for $249.99. That's like buying a Disco and getting the pump for free or buying the pump and getting a Disco for $50 depending on how you want to look at it. Deal of the century. Problem was, I had no money at the time. So I bought it anyway, problem solved.


  31. CJr,

    Yes I remembered Mr.T.SS being .177 and CO2 only. I haven't found anyone shooting A Marauder on CO2. I was wondering about some real world chronny numbers on one.

    Shadow express dude,

    Thanks for the info cause it isn't on their web site.

    BG_Farmer,

    Yes sir quiet is the name of the PCP game for me also.

    Mr B.


  32. Re Marauder on CO2… Is it fair to say that, if a Marauder owner wanted a higher shot count at lower power, he could achieve that by tweaking the power adjustment without switching gasses? Or is it a lot trickier to tweak a Marauder's powerplant than it is to de-gas and top off with CO2?

    I couldn't resist trying my Disco on CO2 over the summer. I didn't systematically count shots per fill or anything like that (who do you think I am – Tom Gaylord?), but it's safe to say that it yielded "a lot more" plinkable shots than air. I grok my .22 Disco at 42 plinking shots on air; 30 or 32 nice, consistent ones. It must have been north of 70-odd on CO2.

    -Jan


  33. GenghisJan,

    When you groked your Disco at 42 plinking shots did you feel like a stranger in a strange land, perhaps? My Disco dropped it's shot count to about 15 at 1800 PSI which got it a free trip to Crosman for repair. The one they sent back gets about what yours now does.

    After I got my Talon SS I switched to being a pumper for the Disco, full power for the possum or coon in the garden and run the SS on CO2 for plinking. I don't miss pumping that last 500PSI for the SS.

    Mr B.



  34. B.B.

    I was somewhat surprised the Katana doesn't have a shrouded barrel. I have a Discovery and my one disappointment is it's a little load for some applications.

    Bub



  35. I think building a $150 PCP is directionaly incorrect from a business perspective. The margin on a $150 PCP is going to be low, the product can only ever be mediocre, the Chinese are moving there and will drive the margins lower if you cut into their market segment, and the US product will struggle.

    If I were Crosman I would aim at the market segment that is still wide open. How about a $600 high-powered semi-automatic? Several companies are trying to develop one, FX commands an absolute premium price for theirs, and Crosman has all the expertise to so it.

    The key to success, I believe, would be for Crosman to use some of their expertise in electric air-soft, and power the bolt electrically instead of with air.

    They already have competency with barrels, actions, stocks, valves & pressure, and triggers. Couple that with their in-house rechargeable battery expertise, and develop an electromagnetic bolt retractor, and they've got it.

    A good high-powered true semi would have broad appeal to hunters and sport shooters, and if they ever get to a $500 compressor, then a high shot-count version will get the plinker market as well.

    Just my 2 cents..


  36. Ed Pikor,

    After reading your post, you should have said just my $2.00 worth.

    Your sure made alot of sense to me. Do you want my check, credit card, or a money orde?.

    Mr B.


  37. It's around 70 degrees here today. Unusually warm for this time of year. Just managed to squeeze in 200 rounds of target practice with a S&W 586 pellet gun in my backyard. All were shot at 25 feet at a 10 meter air pistol target. Some even hit the black. I've got to run, but I just wanted to remind everyone how much FUN airguns can be.

    Bub


  38. Ed Pikor,
    I respectfully disagree, no one should start making airguns like airsoft guns. EVERY airsoft toy I have ever had has broken, from the 20$ to the 150$.

    I would buy a 150$ PCP based on a 2100 action. Can't be too hard can it. I guess you could do an electric gun, but it will never stand up to the durability (biggest factor for anyone) of a pump or springer.
    shadow express dude


  39. Shadow dude:

    I did not suggest making anything "like" an air-soft gun. I merely suggest that Crossman has airsoft competencies, (ie – the engineers that design electrical storage and discharge, electronic cycling, electomagenetic moevements, etc), that could develop a bolt that cycles under electrical power instead of people-power, or using air like FX does for their semiautomatic models.

    Durability is by design, and manufacturers can build in as much durability as they think they need. If the stuff you are buying is breaking after a few hundred cycles, you can be sure that was the intent. Very durable airsoft is out there, for around $400 – $600. You are probably not their target customer.

    An electrically cycled PCP would retain all of the durability of current designs, but add a battery and an electromagnetic bolt, (which could be as durable as desired – they already exist for other functions). The bolt would do nothing more than cycle the action, perhaps actuated by a contact in the trigger mechanism or a pressure-sensor on the transfer port.

    The problem with a cheap PCP, (or cheap anything, for that matter), is the manufacturer has to sacrifice both features AND durability to control his costs. The final product is for the low-end market, and that is a difficult market to play in – lots of players, no barrier to entry, and the low-cost countries invariably dominate. (and never with durable goods).

    I'd start with a Marauder and see if I could add battery and bolt for $200. I'd open up the valve and let it run about 12 shots per fill, (at about 45ft-pounds)
    Even if it took $300, I'd have an $800 true semi-automatic more powerful than a Revolution, for less than half the price.

    Sure would be a profitable pice of work – if you are first to market. Wait too long, and Shinsung or Evanix will be there first.

    Ed..


  40. The trade-in plan:
    The following idea would benefit:
    a.people who own a disco and are ready for the next step
    b. people who want to enter pcp but don't have the money
    c.PA (hopefully)

    Here is my idea:
    Bob sends his benjamin discovery in to PA. PA receives the rifle, deems it functional, and then continues to lightly asses the rifle to determine its condition and value. Nick at PA determines the value of Bob's used disco to be X ($200) based on a pre determined value chart. Bob then receives a trade-in credit towards a katana of X+$25($225). Bob is happy and purchases his Katana for 400-(X+25) ($175). Nick at PA then cleans the disco and lists it for sale as used for X+15($215). Joe comes strolling along and on PA's website sees a used disco in
    .22 in overall great condition for only X+15 ($215)!! Joe has limited funds, and up until now hasnt been able to purchase a pcp, but at X+15($215) he can afford it. But its a pcp, how can he fill it? Since Joe purchased the disco used, he will receive a special 1 time offer for 33% off a new benjamin pump ($133). Joe buys the disco and pump for only (X+15)+133 ($348). Joe can spend $52 less and still receive a great entry level pcp.
    Joe is Happy
    Bob is happy
    Nick is Happy (bc he works at PA and everyone there is happy)
    Hopefully PA is happy!
    everyone lived happily ever after including Tom and Edith Gaylord :-)


  41. Mr B/Jan – I've been shooting my Marauder on CO2 since I got it in July. (It's from the end of the may production run.) Idon't have a Chrony, so I've left it at the factory. I've gotten 60 shots on a fill from a fresh tank before the POI drops noticably. I have 4 mags, so I usually refill after 40 shots.



  42. Ed..

    My guess is in the US market an $800.00 Crosman semi auto pellet rifle is a losing proposition. The masses won’t buy it (for $800 they can get a shotgun, 22LR, and have money towards a .223 AR type rifle left over)

    The elite hardcore airgun crowd will find a reason not to be happy with it.

    That leaves about 147 interested parties. Not enough to be worthwhile.

    I would say a simple shrouded PCP rifle under $200.00 would be worth the effort. Also they need to get that $500 compressor out too.

    Volvo


  43. Volvo,

    I'm afraid I agree with Ed, at least partially. I've considered saving up for the FX Monsoon even though it is $1500. It is semi-auto, has a shroud and is powerful enough for hunting. If Crosman made a reliable semi-auto rifle like that I would put out $600 – $700 for it (I don't care for the electronic part though – it is an extra thing to go wrong). I think they could do it too. Look at their old 600 pistol!

    (Remember the advantages of pellet guns over firearms. It applies here.)

    A.R.


  44. Volvo,

    I like the way you put your argument. "The elite hardcore airgun crowd will find a reason not to be happy with it." Also, that crowd is only about 300-500 strong, so depending on price point, they aren't much of a factor in real sales.

    To sell the gun has to appeal to the masses, and an $800 airgun is not the way to go. That was what the Discovery was all about, and, although it never went truly viral, they did (and are) sell them in far greater numbers than any PCP that went before.

    The $150 PCP may be the 5-cent cigar.

    B.B.


  45. A.R.

    Ok, I understand what you’re saying.

    If you could, take an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and draw a line 9.5 from the top on it. Then make an X, 8 inches from the top. That X is you as it represents your $600 – $700 comfort level on the $800 rifle that Ed spoke of.

    Now draw a line up one inch from the bottom. Black it out as the rifle is not good enough for those folks, period.

    Finally, that little half inch space created by your two lines represents the people that will pay the $800 plus $200 more for the hand pump. Pretty slim pickings are my point here.

    As far as airgun vs. powder burner, that is why I suggested a lower price shrouded PCP. The quite report is an advantage the air gun can offer over a 22LR. That benefit alone could sell a bunch of rifles.

    Volvo



  46. Actually, in my opinion a $150 PCP is probably more of a stepping stone to the more expensive guns. Its way for people to get started with pcps, see the advantages, and decide if they're happy with an entry level gun or whether they want something more without breaking the bank. (Or is that what a $.05 cigar is BB? I don't smoke.)

    For those that care, here's my logic… Unless you're a hardcore airgunner you're not going to be shooting a pcp. They're just too expensive. Even the Discovery is too expensive for a casual shooter/new shooter. Those kinds of people are going to be shooting a multi-pump, springer, or maybe a co2 gun. The problem is each of those systems are a series of compromises.

    Multi-pumps are inexpensive and recoil-less, which makes them easy to shoot. However power usually tops out at 6-12 ft-lbs (depending on the gun). And you can't shoot them quickly since it takes nearly 30-seconds to a minute to pump them up and reload.

    Springers can be inexpensive and (relatively) powerful, but they're not easy to shoot (unless you've mastered the arcane art of the artillery hold).

    CO2 guns are easy to shoot (recoiless) and inexpensive. However they're temperature sensitive and the power (on most production guns at least) tops out around 12 ft-lbs. That makes them iffy for hunting (at least in cold-weather states).

    However a $150 pcp/dual fuel gun (even one without the bells and whistles) doesn't make nearly the compromises. For example, like the co2 and multi-pumps, its recoil-less and won't be hold sensitive. And with a pcp you've got the ability to push the power into the 14-15 ft-lb range which matches most hunting springers. And like the springers and multi-pumps it won't be temperature sensitive. And at the $150 price-point its still cheap enough that casual shooters can afford the gun. (Though that still leaves the question of the $100-$150 charging pump/fuel source, though even there I could see alternatives such as disposable tanks kind of like the bulk co2 tanks you can buy now.) So basically what you have in a $150 pcp is a gun which doesn't have to make the sorts of compromises as the other categories of guns casual shooters use. And that gives the casual shooters (who by default have to be the biggest single market) a taste of what pcps can do for them. Its for that reason that I think a $150 pcp wouldn't be competing with guns like the Discovery or Marauder which have the bells and whistles, but with guns like the Gamo Big Cat, Crosman 2260/2260SE/1760SE, Hammerli 850, Crosman 2100, Daisy 22SG and Benjamin 392/397.

    As for the comment about low profit margins… Yes and no. Yes you'd have lower margins per gun, but (if the idea works) you'd make up for it in the volume of guns sold. For example say you only make 1/2 the profit per gun of the Discovery/Marauder, but you sell 4 times the number of guns… You're actually making more money with the lower margin gun.


  47. You have stated the arguments well, but there are a couple more. Once a firearm shooter discovers that a PCP is as accurate as a .22 rimfire at close range, he's going to become an airgun shooter too. That means a broadening of the sales base for everything else.

    And if you make the inexpensive gun accept accessories, you can improve the profit margin on it, as well. People buy AEGs for $250, then spend another $800-2,000 modifying them.

    B.B.


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