My trip to Camp Stogie & Crosman

by B.B. Pelletier

Hello, everyone. The filming trip last week was successful and we now have several show episodes in the can. I got to see Arkville Productions’ Camp Stogie and the Air Lodge and actually got to to work in them for several days. Paul has the ideal airgun testing setup on that property. I’ll show you a little of it today.

Before I do, I want to thank everyone who stepped in to answer blog questions for me. Edith sent me only those comments I absolutely had to see, but I peeked in on the blog in the evenings and saw that the readers were well cared for.

Camp Stogie is on a piece of property Paul’s brother bought across the road from his house. The location is 2000 feet high in the Catskills in Arkville, N.Y., and you couldn’t wish for a more picturesque place to shoot airguns–at an altitude at which springers still work fine.

The studio and one editing suite are housed in an historic farmhouse on the property. For an old house, it has a surprising amount of electricity, as any film studio must have.

Somebody asked to see Paul’s Air Lodge, so I’ll show that now. The lodge is a quonset hut made of tough fabric over a metal frame. It’s insulated so well that, when it was 35 degrees and snowing outside, we were sweating inside from just the heat of the lights.


The Air Lodge is 80 feet long, with end panels that roll up to allow unlimited distance. It’s insulated, so it’s always comfortable inside. A great place for testing airguns!

There’s also a small pond on the property stocked with three kinds of trout! The pond is fed from a year-round stream on the property, and the fish have grown to 12-18 inches! Paul’s brother catches them and has special recipes for the barbecue.

We filmed for 3.5 days at the studio in Arkville before driving up to see the Crosman plant. We then spent two days looking into every aspect of their operation. They opened the entire plant to us, and we filmed things that no airgunner has ever seen. The show episode that features this visit will be pretty informative! I will tell you about a few of those things here. When the episode comes out, you’ll get to see the plant in operation and hear the machines as they do their work.


Crosman’s sign on Routes 5 and 20 is impossible to miss.


The Crosman campus is large, green and beautiful. The plant is huge and houses up to 350 employees, depending on the season.

We also got lots of footage that won’t make it into the half-hour show, so I’m sure the website will run some of that as additional interest items. Of course, we have to give Paul and his editors some time to massage everything we did, so it’ll take a while before things start showing up. Please be patient.

I won’t show pictures from inside the plant, because you’ll see them in the plant visit–either on television or on the American Airgunner website. I will, however, answer several questions I’ve been asked about Crosman over the years.

Barrels?
Yes, Crosman does make their own barrels. They rifle them right there in the plant on a conventional button-rifling machine. In fact, they must have more than one because they use so many hundreds of thousands of barrels for their guns.

We saw the 88-gram AirSource cartridges being made. They went from raw steel plate to fully formed, plated cylinders that were filled and welded shut. That should make it to the episode for you to watch.

We saw something very few airgunners have ever seen–how Crosman solders the barrels to the pump guns! They were running a batch of 392/397s while we were there. It’s an interesting semi-automated process that requires one worker on the station.

History?
I was told Crosman got rid of all their old guns in the 1990s, but Paul and I stood inside the Crosman morgue. You won’t believe what we saw! Hundrerds of airguns from the 1700s up to today.

The model shop
We were shown the model shop where a lot of prototyping is done. For most other airgun manufacturers, it would be large enough to be the machine shop, but at Crosman that place is ten times larger.

They do test ‘em!
We saw the quality control test shop where airguns go to be tested to death or for several hundreds of thousands of cycles–whichever comes first. The test robots exercise the guns day and night–sometimes for months on end. When you see the program, you’ll see what I mean. I will never look at a 760 the same way again!

We were also let in on a couple projects that are a secret right now but will be coming to market very soon. Because the episode will air after they have gone on sale we were allowed to see and film them! I can’t wait to share what’s coming.

We saw and filmed for the first time ever the making of pellets and BBs. Crosman has always been protective of how they do this, but they allowed us to film the processes, so you can see how they’re made. I can tell you that just making BBs requires millions of dollars of equipment and a huge space, so it’s not like they will be threatened by a little guy. But they must think of the big guys, too, and some of them may not have figured everything out yet. The BB line runs around the clock and pumps out 4 million BBs every day!

After those six days I was a worn-out dishrag! Naturally the return flight was the one during which the Atlanta airport shut down and diverted flights all over the southeast. It took a lot longer to return than anticipated, and my home office sure looked good again! The cats knew I was coming home. About 5 minutes before I pulled into the driveway, one of the cats woke up Edith and then sat in the living room and stared at the front door. It was 3:30 a.m. It was great to have a welcoming committee of cats and wife!

There are several more trips planned, and the TV show looks like it will be a first-class program. The hunting and fishing shows had better move over, because we’re going to blow their socks off!

49 thoughts on “My trip to Camp Stogie & Crosman


  1. Morning B.B.,

    Welcome back sir. Does this mean that we won’t be hearing as much from Ms Edith? We all hope not.

    Isn’t Upstate beautiful. I grew up in Auburn and our summer cabin is on Cayuga Lake. What’s Crosman’s policy on visitors?

    How about soliciting your loyal readers for topics for the show? A contest with winner being flown to the Air Lodge to appear on a show.

    Mr B.


  2. B.B.:

    Boy…you really know how to make all of us who will not be able to get the Sports Channel feel empty and left out!

    PurcHawk


  3. I can’t get the sportsman channel either. My canadian provider as no idea what it is. But I’d be more than willing to buy the DVD at the end of the season with some cool extras. I’ll be able to watch and rewatch it whenever I want.
    I can’t wait to see the insides of the crosman factory, when will the DVD come out?

    Is it out yet?

    How about now?

    J-F



  4. BB,

    Looks like quite the trip. 350 people working at Crosman? Another reason to buy their stuff. They must be one of the largest employers in the area.

    CJr,

    The larger spring guide for the IZH-61 will better support the spring and make it compress in a straighter line. The hope is that it will reduce the spring’s tendency to cant when compressed unsupported, or on a poorly fitted (like the factory) guide. In theory it should extend the spring’s useful life. But, as you read, it sure didn’t net any velocity gains. The other benefit is vibration reduction or elimination. A tight fit of spring to guide means the spring can no longer to “booooiing” at the moment of firing as the snug fitting spring guide damps out the twang. Sadly, as I found out, the tighter fit also induces spring torque. There’s ways around that (thrust bearings?), but there’s only so much to be gained on such a low-powered platform–and a lot to lose. There were a few moments of “Why on earth am I doing this to a $100 gun? I’ve got “real” airguns that can beat this thing in every parameter”. Then I slapped myself in the forehead and remembered that I’m an airgun addict and shouldn’t question these things. Sorry for being so long winded.

    MrB,

    I think I missed my shot. If the Three Stooges were still in production, I might be the guy for the job. With BB, I’d just hold him back. Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk.

    Derrick



  5. BB,

    Thanks for going to see Crosman. I grew up in the next little town down 5&20 but didn't get into airguns until I left for college. Does Crosman ever give tours to the general public? My son and I would love to walk through sometime when we are back visiting the grandparents.


  6. Calvin,

    I don’t know if Crosman gives tours or not, but it would be hard for them. The plant is very noisy and your guide has to shout in your ear in some places for you to hear.

    The assembly floor also doesn’t have a lot of free room to walk. There were four of us and we were constantly getting out of the way of trucks, carts and pallet jacks.

    Hopefully the TV program will show a lot of what you want to see.

    B.B.


  7. Welcome back BB,

    I want to hear more about the 760. You got me intrigued with what you said.

    Also, do you know if the wood stocked version has a metal receiver?

    Thanks.



  8. B.B.,

    Do you really expect us to believe that the Sportsman Channel’s newest star flew back home commercially?

    Come clean. How is it traveling on the corporate jet? Since I hear private jets still have gorgeous stewardess’s you need to keep this a secret from Edith?

    The progress of production is exciting. It’ll be difficult to wait until it airs in July but these tidbits help.

    kevin


  9. Derrick,
    Thanks for the reply.

    One thing I learned is, never go back and read my own comment after I have published it. It’s embarrassing sometimes and comical others. Let others point out your fat fingered goofs. It’s more fun for them and for you. (Please be advised…I’m so ego centric I do not follow my own advice).

    I have four 61s. One of them needs dismembered just because it’s there. And now I have the road map. Thanks for that.

    -Chuck


  10. BB the envy of all airgunners,

    Nice job.

    I saw 12g CO2 cartridges being made on the “How Things Are Made” show. I don’t remember the brand and it may have been in Canada. It was interesting to see and I wish I would have recorded it now.

    Did you and Paul and Heather put on camos, paint yourselves up and take Talon SS’es out in the woods to shoot cans in trees?

    -Chuck



  11. BB,
    I’ll bet the 88′s will be fun to watch.

    I just asked Comcast to include the Sportsman Channel in their sports line up. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from them soon. You say they carry hunting, fishing, and shooting? Do you have any words I can use to help build my case?
    -Chuck


  12. I sent my request to Comcast requesting they add the Sportsman Channel to their lineup and here is what they sent back:

    “Dear Charles,

    Thank you for emailing us with your concern.

    We really do apologize for the inconvenience, however, with regards to your request, there is a need for you to contact our Live chat support since you have to provide necessary information and for you to be able to chat with one of our Cable Specialist.”

    Personally, I don’t know what is on the Sportsman Channel except I want to see American Airgunner. I’m not sure this is a convincing enough argument for them to allocate the resources for that.
    does anyone get that channel today and can you give me a list of the programs there?

    Also, any help from any of you to come up with some good words would be really appreciated and could be used by us as a community for contacting our respective cable companies.

    -Chuck


  13. Welcome back, BB. I’m very pleased to see that our DirecTV package includes the Sportsman Channel (the abbreviation is SPMN, channel 605), and I’m looking forward to the show.

    Quick question. While cleaning out the garage, I found an “old” Crosman Powermatic Model 1800 semi-auto BB pistol. A brief search in your blog and at large turns up very little on this gun, which is a bit surprising since its obviously mass-produced. Have you ever reviewed it or, if not, is there anything you can tell me about it?

    Thanks,

    Brian



  14. I did it!!! I’m watching fly fishing right now on the Sportsman Channel.

    Following the link I just sent I found out that Comcast does carry the Sportsman Channel in my area.

    Go here:
    https://www.comcast.com/Localization/Localize.ashx?Referer=%2fCustomers%2fClu%2fChannelLineup.ashx%3farea%3d0

    and enter your street address and zip code to see if it’s available for your address.

    I even save $4 by dropping the Family Pak and adding the Sports and Entertainment Pak. Bonus!!!

    -Chuck



  15. I think the Sportsman Channel also runs "Guns & Ammo" TV on firearms, which as I remember it, is a lot better than those goofy NRA-sponored shows on Outdoor Channel (terrible journalism, in my opinion).

    I used to get Sportsmans Channel where I previously lived, but I was not a shooter then, so I didn't pay sufficient attention.

    I guess those of us currently out of the satellite loop will just have to make do with waiting for the DVD.

    PurcHawk


  16. You’re right, it is a 1600. The type face used in the casting made the 6 look like an 8 to my feeble eyes until I got it into a strong light. That explains why there’s no information on the 1800! Thanks for the information.

    Brian


  17. PurcHawk,
    I'm getting the Sportsman Channel on Comcast cable not satellite.

    You are correct. The Sportsman Channel does carry Guns & Ammo. I have it set to record. I subscribe to the mag so it will be interesting to see what the show is like.

    Right now I'm watching two guys hunt turkeys and listening to their Wacky Wayne scratch calls. They're shotgunning but they're not hitting anything. They're shooting way too low and they're allowing that to show on TV.

    -Chuck


  18. OT…okay, I know how different guns like different pellets. When I started seriously(??!!) shooting last year after an absence of 15 years I tested 8 or 10 pellets in my new Avanti 853 and came up with RWS Meisterkuglen…a good premium pellet. I found that the lighter pistol variant worked well in my Gamo Compact and have been happy with them for the last year or so.
    Anyhoo…I just finished a book on the history of Snipers in the U.S. armed forces. I found it interesting how many sharpshooters in the military eschew the ammo they are given and purchase their own match ammo.
    Which of course makes sense.
    So last week I sprung (sprang??) for a couple of tins of RWS Match (at a $5/tin premium over the Meisterkuglen).
    Spent an afternoon sighting in both guns and am amazed at the results.
    You know that little . that is the 10 ring on a 10m rifle target. I can’t seem to miss it now. I use the 5 bulls per page target and where as I was hitting the . 2 or 3 bulls/page, now I’m easily getting 4 with more than a few where I’ve hit all 5.
    And the Gamo has gone from what I would say was a 1″ spread with 5 shots to now being covered by a nickel, quite easily.
    I am somewhat astounded.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  19. We knew you had it in you, CBSD! Look forward to seeing you at the 10M competition line.

    Brody, if you still can’t access that website, have you tried calling the trouble number for your Internet Service Provider and asking them for help?

    Turkey calls? On my Saturday morning bicycle ride, I heard a bunch of turkey calls from the real thing. At least I didn’t see any skunks on this ride…


  20. Chuck,
    there are advertisements for the sportsman channel in American Hunter Magazine. If you want, i can email you some of the shows it has listed. I personally dont have the channel though. I wish.
    Brody


  21. BB – Getting to visit the Crosman plant must have been a semi-religious experience. It’s got me thinking; you should whisper in someone’s ear at Crosman that they should have a yearly “Shooter’s Festival”. Visitors could buy, sell, and trade, participate in shooting competitions, etc., and Crosman could promote new products etc. Perhaps I’m just fantasizing.


  22. CowboyStar Dad,

    And that, sir, elevates you to the next level of shooter. You now understand why top shooters only use one type of pellet.

    The Jedi Council is ready to confer the order of knighthood upon you and your house.

    B.B.


  23. Brody,
    Thanks but I’m happy now. I happily have the Sportsman Channel. I have digital cable so I can scroll through all their programs and make couching my new sport. Keep your eye on the obits. Now that I can enjoy my sport without moving a muscle (except one finger) my name is more likely to show up.
    -Chuck


  24. CBS Dad,
    Did you mean the RWS R-10 Match? That’s the only RWS Match I saw on PA. There are two weights on them 7.0 and 8.2. Which one did you get?

    -Chuck


  25. Thanks Fred and B.B. BTW did anyone notice that in some of the Star Wars prequels the clone warriors blasters are actually IZH46′s?
    I await my knighthood.
    Cjr, yes those are the pellets.
    I purchased both, the 8.2′s for the Avanti rifle and the 7.0′s for the Gamo.


  26. B.B.

    That must have been an amazing journey through the Crosman plant..
    It’s a real good thing to have at least a small part of this U.S. economy doing well.. Air guns and Gardening!!

    Traveling ain’t all it’s pumped up to be… is it? … I’ve traveled 3 million miles or more by car/truck, mostly delivering to stores, the “Pagoda” bird feeders I/we use to make..
    I’m so glad to be done with that!!
    I still travel to Portland and the bay area when I want to do the trip… but I don’t have to if I don’t want to.. and that’s a big difference!!

    But at least you travel in style, like Kevin says.. the PA corporate jet and all.. oops.. I wasn’t supposed to tell Edith…

    by-gones..

    Wacky Wayne


  27. Chuck,

    Wow, I can't believe they didn't "pattern" their shotguns, before going out to hunt..

    That just goes to show what a master guide Kevin is!!

    I'm so glad to have the knowledge of how and where, and what pattern the shell is going to give at different distances..

    I was out there at dawn this morning again..
    I tried something different today.. no blind..
    I arrived at first light, long before sunrise.. this time I was totally ready to just grab my shotgun and close the car door.. (no fumbling around getting stuff together for 10 mins).. so I just sat down 20' from the car and listened…

    Before my butt got cold from the frosty grass, they were answering my poor quality hen calls.. 5 or maybe 6 jakes & toms.. Josh can tell the difference by the tone of their goobbles.. I can't tell a difference, but he says "that one is a big tom", then… those are Jakes.. I was by myself this morning, so I don't know for sure.

    But anyway, I waited for a car to go by and moved closer every time one did.. pretty soon I was within 40 yards or so of two of them, and they were all still calling back and forth with me and each other..

    So, I hunkered down, and waited and called.. I looked and looked and looked for any movement.. none.. and then the calling stopped.. the sun came up, and I decided to try to flush them out.. so I went tromping about through the small firs, scrub oak, thimble berries, under the canopy of tall pines and firs, along the creek..

    but to no avail.. all I got was a cold butt and fingers… and a little exercise.. which is enough.. the bird will come when it comes.. getting out in the early morning and late evening is a very good thing in itself!!

    Still a turkey virgin..

    Wacky Wayne


  28. Wayne,

    Great turkey story.

    You’re getting close. 40 yards? Your calls are working well enough to engage them just not make them mad enough to seek you out. Have you tried placing a few decoys on the opposite edge of the clearing from where you’re hunting?

    kevin


  29. Kevin,

    No, I haven’t got any decoys.. should they be female? or males to make them mad?

    Is the idea to put them close to where you want to shoot your bird?

    Do you place them the day before… hours before?

    Wayne


  30. Wayne,

    If you only want to deal with a few decoys make them hens. In the alert position and feeding position both. In the spring especially, hens are the “sentry’s”. It’s rare to see one hen alone so several are more realistic. If it’s early enough in your season and the Tom’s are still agressive, positioning a jake near the hens will infuriate a mature tom.

    Get there very early and set them out on the morning of your hunt (before the birds come out of roost). Setting them up a day or two before gives the turkeys time to discover them for the fakes they are. Wild Turkey’s are smart.

    Here’s a tip: tie some fishing line to a few of the decoys so you can twitch them when a tom get’s in sight of them. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get him out of the brush and into the open. Early season is easier to decoy since this is the only time of year the tom’s act like teenage boys (have one thing on their mind). They’re still wary, just not as much.

    kevin


  31. WW,
    One of the things I noticed on TV on the segment where a guy successfully shot a turkey was that his clothes and his gun were similarly camouflaged and on top of that he had a camo “curtain” with eye holes that he wore over his face so his skin was not visible ruining the camo effect. Does this sound like your setup?

    He nailed a big tom with a 10 inch beard.

    -Chuck


  32. Wow, I never have use much camo before…..living in the country you just knew where to hunt and stalk your prey. The woods had excellent coverage, so we never had to make too many long shots.

    I’ve stalked a few wild turkeys for fun, but I always forget to bring my camera. Until wildlife management programs and game preserves became more popular, we never saw too many wild turkeys. I think they’re pretty fun to watch sometimes. But you have to keep your distance, incase they charge.


  33. Kevin,

    Wow, thanks for that great vision of the decoys and the thinking of the toms…

    I’m getting it now!… but…

    This could be a little difficult though.. it’s very rough and steep terrain and there isn’t many openings where I’m hearing the birds…

    There are dry creek run off gullies about every 80 yards or so along this pretty steep slope to the creek.. it’s a mix of scattered large cedars, pines and firs with a understory of oaks, then the small firs, brush, scattered tall grasses and berries…
    the openings are 10 to 50 yards at best, and where I’m hearing the birds, it’s the thickest of course..
    I hear them calling from their roost in the tall pines along the creek, very early in morning… then the calls are lower as the morning develops.. then they stop… and I guess they start moving somewhere..

    Wayne


  34. Chuck,

    I wear a brown cap or my black cowboy hat, a dirty brown coat and no camo.. I move in a squat, and lean against a tree when I stop.. I try to move only when there is other noise too…

    The blind we have is camo of course…
    so what I’m hearing is we set up the blind with the decoys on strings and stay put and quiet… except for the calls..

    Kevin,

    tell me about the calls.. Josh does 5 strokes.. starting slow and quiet with a squeak at the end..

    Wayne


  35. Wayne,
    i will tell you what me and dad do. I have yet to kill a bird, but he has yet to not kill one. We go in the night before a hunt, and go where we think the birds will be, at around 6:30 or 7:00 (est), and try and roost one. That way, we know exactly where they are at. If we cant do that, then will will go in about an hour before sunrise. We will find a good spot, and just stand and listen, till we hear one, or till its getting to the point we think they are starting to wake up. Then we will blow a locator call like a crow, or peacock or something, till we hear one gobble. The we move to maybe within 60-70 yards of where we heard him, the we set up two hen decoys, and one jake decoy about 25-30 yards from where we will sit. Then we sit, and start calling. Hopefully if all goes as planned,(it never does for me, and always does for dad) he will fly out of roost, hear you, come toward your, and challenge the jake for the two hens, and come right up to the decoys, and you drop him.
    Hope i helped.
    Brody


  36. Wayne,

    You're hunting turkeys the way I would in early spring. In a blind, calling with decoys in place. Not sure you're arriving early enough.

    Try to find a clearing. A small one surrounded by brush is best. I can't overemphasize how smart a bird they are. Camo is important as someone said earlier. Any movement they detect or view of something out of place (like something bright and shiny, i.e., gun, skin, watch, etc.) and they won't move in.

    Turkeys have a lot of calls. Here's a pretty good link. What they describe as a cluck & purr is a good call over decoys until you get a response. Then, what they describe as a cluck (but don't over do it as it sounds in their recording) is good to guide a tom in after he has answered close in. Wait to cluck until he's 40 yards or closer unless he calls and stalls coming in. These are guidelines. Turkeys don't always act the same. Keep a sharp eye out without a lot of movement or noise. No talking. No smoking. No strong odors. A tom can show up completely unannounced.

    http://www.nwtf.org/all_about_turkeys/sounds_of_turkeys.html

    kevin


  37. WW,
    I guess a white face stands out clear against the forest background which is the reason for the camo face curtain. If you don’t have anything to wear over your face then smear something on it like Paul did in his Talon video.
    -Chuck


  38. Chuck,

    My face is covered in gray beard.. really covered…
    I could cover my eyelids and forehead I guess.. but my hat comes over them.. soooo

    from the sounds of it I’ll be in the blind anyway..

    Kevin,

    That is a great link for me.. I be practicing the different ones.. Josh was pretty close on the tree call and cutting hen call.. but now I know what they mean.. very cool thanks so much!!

    now I know what I’m practicing and have 5 more calls to learn!!

    your the greatest Kevin!! now I owe you again… geesee will I ever get even with you:)..

    Wayne


  39. Bravo BB, Paul and all!So glad to finally see the promotion of this great sport starting to get the wheels turning!I truly believe that air gunning is a sport that will break wide open in the near future!
    High time someone took the bull by the horns and started the awareness of this great hobby!
    Regards
    Dave@vabch


  40. BB,

    The show is awesome. I have used airguns exclusively for hunting and my shooting fun for over thirty-five years. I have convinced so many people to buy well-made airguns I couldn't even guess a count.

    I have used airguns as a professional hunter of nuisance species. Usually the CA Ground squirrel. I prefer spring-piston but have a BSA Superten for serious down range work.

    I couldn't be more satisfied with the show.

    Thank you very much.

    Tim B.




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