Are we finished?

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

In almost every field of mature consumer technology, there’s a sense that the science and achievement have gone as far as they possibly can. The days of innovation are over and, from this time forth, all new models will be repaints and reskins of what’s gone before. So it is with airguns.

So the question must be asked, “Is this all there is for airguns?”

Today, I’m going to try to hopefully restore your faith that airgun technology still has new frontiers to be explored. There are still new things yet to come; we haven’t opened the last of our presents, yet. In fact, in my opinion, there’s more that lies ahead of us than all that’s happened so far.

I periodically give new ideas to several companies just to gauge how quick they are to grasp the possibilities. Often, they give lip-service to ideas that sound like they want to advance the technology; but in over 95 percent of the cases, my ideas remain unexplored. In the few cases that do get developed, over half veer sharply off-course during development and end up as hopeless failures. In terms of what’s possible, I think there are a thousand acres of fertile land lying before us and, at present, we only have a hoe — or at best a rototiller — to work the soil.

Spring-gun technology
Some folks may think we’ve gone as far as we can go with springers because we’ve hit the maximum velocity barrier. They think that nothing is left for airgun companies, short of reskinning existing models and coming up with new buzzword names and bizzare camo paint patterns for the stocks! But they’re missing the boat. No one yet has built a spring rifle that is easy to cock, yet produces over 20 foot-pounds. I’m talking about a rifle that cocks with 20 lbs. of force, and delivers a medium-weight .22-caliber pellet out the spout at 850 f.p.s.

Can it be done? Of course! I’ve even given the concept of how to do it to one company, where it’s currently lying on the floor, getting trampled by engineers who are busy designing great new ways to encapsulate 30 foot-pounds into ever less-expensive envelopes.

How about a spring gun that can put 10 pellets into a dime at 30 yards? We know that’s possible because there are several such rifles already in existence. The FWB 124 is one, and the TX200 is another. But the bulk of the new models coming out today are hard-pressed to keep 10 shots inside an inch-and-a-half at that distance. We’ve explored the very way to make a rifle shoot that well here in this blog, yet we keep getting new spring guns that are designed as exercise machines, rather than for shooting. If you want to know how to make a spring gun more accurate, refer to this blog report.

Precharged technology
Surely, we’ve seen the ultimate in PCP possibilities? The answer is “Yes,” if by ultimate we mean finding out how much the market is willing to bear in terms of cost. But there are places the PCP technology has yet to go. How inexpensive can a gun of reasonable quality be? Can we make a PCP that can sell for $150 and still return a reasonable profit? I think it’s possible. Maybe not under the existing manufacturing paradigm; but if a new process of building was created at the same time as the design, then, yes, I think it could be done.

But, the marketeers all shrink from such thoughts. Where’s the profit in a low-cost air rifle? A century ago, a man asked the same thing about automobiles. He took the average price for an entry-level car from over $800 to under $400 inside of 15 years. In the process, he created the world’s first vertically integrated manufacturing plant and also put humanity on wheels. I’m speaking of Ford, of course. I understand he was able to make a few dollars along the way.

Optics
Leapers will bring out a scope with an internal bubble level in a few months. That’s an idea that’s been bubbling along for years, pun intended. Such scopes were hand-made in the 1990s and Sun Optics makes them today, but their models don’t achieve their rated magnifying levels. Leapers has worked on this idea for several years, and they’re close to bringing a quality optic to market. The bubble level will end the problem of canting, which is extremely important to accuracy for airgunners.

Are we finished with optics? Never! There are still so many things to be done. Where is that great air pistol scope, for example? And where’s that scope base that makes mounting a scope easy? Benjamin uses Weaver bases on many of their springers, which is a step in the right direction. We need more of that.

When Leapers made the drooper mount bases for Diana rifles, they solved a decades-long problem for airgunners. However, they did even more than that. They focused Diana’s attention on the problem and the need to end the drooping barrel problem. If airgun barrels didn’t droop, drooper mounts wouldn’t be required. The Diana 350 Magnum proves that it’s possible to make breakbarrels that don’t droop.

What about a simple, foolproof scope-mounting system? Where’s that? When the market supports people paying money to have their scopes mounted by someone else, you know there’s room for improvement.

Open sights
There’s plenty of room in the world of open sights for improvement. For starters, how about a muzzlebrake that incorporates a front sight post, or even a selection of front sight elements that can be folded out of sight and stored when you want to mount a scope? Wouldn’t that be welcomed by a lot of shooters?

Triggers
While the technology has advanced in so many areas, the one place it has actually gone in retrograde is the trigger. There were better triggers in the 1880s than exist today. We still rely on the simple sear with a small contact area, when there’s a universe of mechanical possibilities yet to be explored. An over-center geometry that collapses when pushed past center is just one way to build a reliable adjustable trigger. And people make so much of triggers that I’m certain there would be a small but profitable market for a single-set or double-set trigger as an upgrade on certain premium airguns.

Borelines
Chiappa figured out that if the barrel of their Rhino revolver was lower, the perceived muzzle jump would be less. We need air pistols that do the same.

Sling anchors
Hunting is growing fast these days, and everyone who goes afield knows the value of a sling. There’s certainly a market for a easy-to-use sling swivel attachment that could be conveniently installed on an air rifle. Mossberg had them in the 1940s, but nobody ever looks to the past to find the things we need now.

Things to avoid
While thinking of the things we need, there are some things that must be avoided….

More power in spring guns
The horsepower race among smallbore spring-piston airguns has painted several companies into the corner. They can’t find enough adjectives to describe their next new magnum gun. What they fail to realize is that the parade has already passed by the power race. The max velocity possible is well-known and now shooters are looking for a gun with adequate power that can also hit what they shoot at. I’ll agree that the uneducated buyers don’t understand this yet, but the moment they get saddled with a jackhammer that takes 50 lbs. to cock and removes their fillings when it fires…they will. They’ll also leave airgunning, never to return!

Higher fill pressure
The usefulness of higher fill pressures has peaked and gone past the optimum, into the weeds of excessive pressure that offers no benefit. We thought that 3,000 psi was necessary until Tim McMurray and Crosman showed us different with the USFT and Benjamin Discovery rifles, respectively. Going higher than 3,000 psi is the marketing kiss of death, because nothing in this nation supports such pressure.

Scopes of higher magnification
I used to shoot field target, and we thought the higher-powered scopes were necessary for success. We thought that because we wanted to be able to see blades of grass at 55 yards, so we could focus on them and be able to determine range. When the magnification passed 40x, the scopes started getting darker because the optics inside couldn’t support that great power. And we were unwilling to pay the $2,000 required to buy the kind of optics that could. Instead of chasing magnification or objective lens size, what the optics companies need to do is come up with an erector tube that doesn’t float when it gets too high or right in its adjustment.

In summary
These are just a few of my thoughts. I think there has never been greater opportunity for new airguns than right now. There’s an established base of educated shooters who understand airguns well enough to accept a good new gun and make it profitable for the builder. In that respect, we’re much better off than we were a decade ago. But are the airgun makers in the same position? Only time will tell.

62 Responses to “Are we finished?”

  • Wulfraed Says:

    When Leapers made the drooper mount bases for Diana rifles, they solved a decades-long problem for airgunners. However, they did even more than that. They focused Diana’s attention on the problem and the need to end the drooping barrel problem. If airgun barrels didn’t droop, drooper mounts wouldn’t be required. The Diana 350 Magnum proves that it’s possible to make breakbarrels that don’t droop.

    I can still see a slight need — especially if the scopes being used were designed for centerfire cartridges. Unless the airgun barrel is actually rising relative to the line of the receiver the scope will need to be adjusted downwards more to achieve a 30 yard zero than a centerfire may need at 150 yard zero (especially if one needs to use high mounts to clear the objective bell).

    Triggers
    While the technology has advanced in so many areas, the one place it has actually gone in retrograde is the trigger. There were better triggers in the 1880s than exist today. We still rely on the simple sear with a small contact area, when there’s a universe of mechanical possibilities yet to be explored. An over-center geometry that collapses when pushed past center is just one way to build a reliable adjustable trigger. And people make so much of triggers that I’m certain there would be a small but profitable market for a single-set or double-set trigger as an upgrade on certain premium airguns.

    I think what I’d like to see in utility guns is something like the trigger of the T/C Contender; especially for spring-piston models. That is, a separately cocked striker — this striker wouldn’t need a heavy sear as it doesn’t have to hold against the main spring; instead, on release the striker would be driven up (down, forward, whatever) to hit the sear that IS holding the main spring.

    Higher fill pressure
    The usefulness of higher fill pressures has peaked and gone past the optimum, into the weeds of excessive pressure that offers no benefit. We thought that 3,000 psi was necessary until Tim McMurray and Crosman showed us different with the USFT and Benjamin Discovery rifles, respectively. Going higher than 3,000 psi is the marketing kiss of death, because nothing in this nation supports such pressure.

    Getting pressure regulators into all the guns first could be of use… As the recent test showed, having a regulator running at, say 2250-2500, in a gun with a 3000psi reservoir, is likely to give lots of full-power (ie; the regulated pressure) rather than the current valve response: the “bathtub” wherein the highest pressures result in closing the valve before full velocity is achieved, then a spread where the valve inertia and pressure balance out to produce flat velocity, followed by a continuous fall-off in velocity.

    Maybe the next generation of the Talon/Condor line. Now that they have the spin-on system with gauges and fill ports, maybe they can fit a regulator module between the reservoir valve module.

  • kevin Says:

    This optimistic view for the future of airgunning is greatly appreciated.

    I’m an optimist by nature. Nonetheless I have little evidence that the overwhelming majority of current airgun and scope manufacturers are listening to consumers like me. I want wood, metal and accuracy in an airgun. I want short, lightweight optics that can focus to 10 meters and have a mil dot type reticle.

    It seems that my needs are in the minority since there are so few new introductions that meet my minimal requirements.

    These are the reasons that I spend most of my time looking in the past for airguns and optics. Would be nice to be able to buy new, with a warranty, without a great searching effort for what I want.

    kevin

  • Bob from Oz Says:

    G’day BB
    After my education course in shotguns, how about plastic fully adjustable stocks. High mounted scopes leave little area for cheek support and repeatable accurate eye alignment without moving ones head.
    It would also help to overcome canting.
    Adjustable combs, LOP and butts are not difficult.
    Cheers Bob

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    There is much room for improvement, but as you have said the marketeers have to be convinced there is enough profit in it.

    AirForce seems to listen to an extent. They finally decided that a gauge and Foster fitting was a good idea after seeing a boom in adaptors.

    Crosman was finally convinced that an inexpensive PCP was a good idea when a cottage industry seemed to explode into existence.

    Would it not be great if someone was to make a multipump of the Katana? ;)

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      RR,

      Yes to the upgraded multi-pump! That seems so good that I wonder why it hasn’t been done.

      Of course Daystate did do it a couple times with their Sportsman guns, but they priced it out of reach for most airgunners. What we need is a Discovery multi-pump.

      B.B.

      • Ridgerunner Says:

        A Marauder built along the lines of the FX Independence is very feasible and could likely be sold at a much lower price than the Independence.

  • /Dave Says:

    While I love nice woods and metal, I think there’s a lot of possibilities left for other materials. Engineering plastics for one. I have an FNH PS90 that uses an all plastic trigger unit. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but it’s still going strong after a few thousand rounds and still shows no wear or rounding of critical edges. Doesn’t feel half bad either for what it is made of. Electronics and electronic valves in airguns have a lot of possibilities left. How about an electronic level that indicates through a green LED when your gun is not canted? Built in lasers and laser range finders anyone? I haven’t seen one as part of an airgun yet, but we know these can be manufactured and incorporated into one cheaply (as part of the gun, not as an add-on). And on and on….

    /Dave

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      /Dave,

      The red, yellow green tllt device has been tried already. I tested one about 12 years ago. It was too close to the sighting eye to work well, but that could be changed.

      B.B.

  • Robert from Arcade Says:

    I for one, am of sick of the tactical cool look , the fiber optic sights, picatinny rails and the many other assorted “design inovations” that have been inspired by the mall ninjas who seem to have taken over quite a bit of the recent airgun manufacturing business and design. Zombies are scarce aroud here, and airguns are not suitable for them anyway.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Robert,

      You’re preachin’ to the choir, guy! I’m a single-shot shooter from way back, and the current “way cool” look curdles my blood.

      B.B.

      • cowboystar dad Says:

        On the one hand I tend to disagree with the ‘tactical-cool’ comment.
        ‘Different strokes for different folks’…at the dealer I frequent in Canada (one of the best up here), wood and steel still outnumbers tactical about 10-1, so I don’t have a problem there.
        But…the Zombie craze…now this is a fad that needs to go away…really.

        • Matt61 Says:

          Have never figured out the whole zombie thing myself or taken it seriously. I have a suspicion it’s a way to talk about extreme violence in a socially acceptable way. You can do anything to a zombie since they are not human and intrinsically evil. In a film called Night of the Living Dead, they go whacking the zombies with sledgehammers and send them flying.

          Matt61

          • J-F Says:

            I don’t mind the zombie stuff at all, I don,t really see it as uber violence but more as entertainment.
            They don’t exist, everyone knows they don’t exist and never will. I bought a zombie mag a few weeks and it’s very tongue in cheek and to me that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s more of a being prepared thing as much of the stuff applied to zombies can be applied to hurricanes, floodings and other natural disasters.
            Having secure shelter, water, food and a way to defend yourself and your loved one.
            As for the targets it’s just another kind of reactive target, the life size zombies targets that “bleed” (more like ooze) are actually made with one of airgunners favorite reactive targets… paintballs.
            I don’t see a problem there.
            Maybe one day it’ll be like the old vampire killing kits that show up once in a while at auctions.

            Now the tactical stuff… I don’t like it personnaly as I have no use for it but understand why some people like it, to each his own.

            J-F

            • Wulfraed Says:

              It does take some study to explain Hornady’s Z(ombie)-max ammo though…

              Close study of specifications leads one to the conclusion that the Z-max ammo is just their Critical Defense load with a green (rather than red) polymer insert, and using plain brass (rather than nickel) cases. Lists for about $2 less a box. Probably justifiable for training round at a CCW course, if one swaps to Critical Defense load for actual carry (since nickel cases are less likely to corrode near sweaty skin )

      • pete zimmerman Says:

        Absolutely, and it scares me silly. Forget “Second Amendment” fights; many, many mothers don’t want junior to have a gun that looks like an assault rifle. That is likely to push real airguns (not airsoft) out of the market for kids, and frankly, if we lose the youth market, in half a generation the adult market will vanish too because nobody will remember how much fun shooting can be.

        Heck, I cannot buy a decent airgun or even good pellets within a 10 mile drive of my home. That’s good for PA, of course, but it takes away spontaneity and the occasional impulse purchase of a gun that might lead to a new hobbyist or competitor down the road. And as you know, I live in Virginia!

        been very busy with medical trivia and writing; hence my silence last week.

        pete

  • TC Says:

    BB,
    Are we finished? Heck No!!! Step up quality control and refine the products already available. I would suggest the number of product returns and unhappy buyers would drop significantly. This is good for the sport and manufactures.

    I applaud your efforts.

  • caveman Says:

    Pellets,especially green ones. I’m not paranoid about lead but I also don’t make all the rules.

  • Pete in the Caribbean Says:

    B.B.
    How about:-

    A red LED display within the scope that tells you when the erector tube is floating.

    A 20 Ft lb springer with minimal vibration and weighs 7 lbs

    An after market Nitro Piston kit for under lever springers & break barrels ( sold to customers outside the USA-fewer ambulance chasers to take PA to court if anything goes wrong LOL.)

    I agree with you that we should look to the past to help us move into the future. Correct me if I am wrong. The Lewis & Clarke air rifle gave 40 good shots on an 800psi fill. If that is true, why do we need 2000 to 3000 psi in modern guns and would it not be easier to use a modern hand pump to refill to 800 psi??

    • J-F Says:

      ” I agree with you that we should look to the past to help us move into the future. Correct me if I am wrong. The Lewis & Clarke air rifle gave 40 good shots on an 800psi fill. If that is true, why do we need 2000 to 3000 psi in modern guns and would it not be easier to use a modern hand pump to refill to 800 psi??”

      That multiple shots OF BIG BORE with 800psi!
      I totally agree with you, we need one of those.

      J-F

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Pete,

      You are right about the Lewis & Clark rifle, but “good” shots were under 500 f.p.s. That’s what most people don’t appreciate.

      B.B.

      • J-F Says:

        I could live with a sub 500 fps big bore repeater airgun. I fact I could live quite well with it as it would be legal here :-D

        J-F

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    All very true. I don’t think airguns have even scratched the surface of the mainstream shooters. Boutiquey springers that need a tune out of the box and PCP’s that require profiling with a chrony just don’t cut it for the masses. My brief and ultimately ill-fated experience with the Ruger Blackhawk gave me a glimmer of hope, though, if the Chinese continue to improve. I also think the Diana 34 is good, but I fear that people who don’t know springers well enough to either tune it or stick it out through the break-in won’t ever know it. I know the serious airgunner mantra is that people should start with a low-power springer, but I think the “1000fps” ones could be a lot better than they are now.

    By the way, the front sight/globe assembly of the D34 I have is socketed into the muzzle piece and secured with a set screw. Good idea, might allow customization and definitely facilitates repair/replacement — just wish the whole thing was metal. The Ruger Air Magnum (which I noticed when researching the Blackhawk) has the best idea for a scope mount for people who use scopes! The 3/8″/11mm “standard” is a joke on springers, though it makes a good deal of money for one-piece mount makers. I also have a couple of applications in mind for good, fixed-power, low-mag. scopes with AO, but they aren’t overwhelmingly numerous to find at a reasonable price.

  • Jim Says:

    Amen on the triggers! Good triggers are possible, they’re just not too easy to stamp out by the thousands. And then there’s the lawyers, trying to blame the manufacturers because “little Johnny” wasn’t correctly trained or was just too stupid to keep his finger off the trigger until he was ready to shoot.

    The best trigger I’ve worked with was a 4-lever set trigger on a System Aydt Schuetzen rifle. Safe, reliable, with a crisp letoff of about 4 ounces. Something on that order would make just about any air rifle (other than the Olympic class guns) a lot more pleasant to shoot.

    Jim

  • Gene Says:

    How is this for silliness? You have a spring piston rifle. Cock it, pull a “trigger” that releases the spring piston. There is another valve that holds the high air pressure until the true trigger is pulled. It is kind of a springer-PCP rifle. No vibration, no external pump.

    • BG_Farmer Says:

      Not too silly, since I know one person at least already did it (on one of the forums), although I don’t know what happened to it. Efficiency might go down, due to cooling in the reservoir, but it would also allow design modifications (such as piston weight) that would be unacceptable in a “normal” springer due to adverse effects on firing behavior.

    • Gene,

      Making sense will get you nowhere. Please re-read today’s blog & write 10x on the blackboard:
      I will not make good suggestions.
      :-)

      Edith

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Gene,

      Yep, it works, too.

      B.B.

    • Victor Says:

      Gene,

      I really like this idea. I’m not a mechanical engineer, so I don’t know how feasible it would be to make one that effectively solves whatever problems might be present with current prototypes. However, this technology would be worth a premium. I figure that if airgun manufacturers are so Hell-bent on making powerful spring-piston guns, and thus buying powerful springs, then use those springs to charge a piston as you described. If that 1200 fps spring-charge can down-convert to 800 fps without recoil, it would be well worth it!

      Victor

      • Gene Says:

        thanks all, I have not spent much time thinking about this, but I hope someone can run with it. The piston can also be pointed to the rear of the gun if that will help.

  • Eric Says:

    As for optics, what we really need is a scope with a laser rangefinder built in. If we really wanted to take all the elevation work out, have a computer program come with it to program your guns ballistics into the scope, so that the reticle automatically zeros for the range at the press of a button. I would be content to have a range readout in the scope, and adjust my hold over/under manually.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      Not laser based, but have you ever seen the old Leatherwood CamPuter Sporter?

      Would need to be reworked to handle pellet ranges and trajectories — and maybe redo the internal scales to handle airgun size targets (rather difficult to scale for a squirrel when the scale spans 72 inches).

      The old style is shown http://www.midwayusa.com/product/444475/leatherwood-hi-lux-camputer-art-sporter-2-rifle-scope-3-9x-40mm-m-600-auto-ranging-reticle-matte

      System worked by a “snail spiral” cam locked to the zoom ring. As one zoomed to fit the known target dimensions into one of the scales, the cam would lift the rear of the scope, adjusting elevation for distance. The cam is independently adjustable for the trajectory of the load.

      Drawbacks — you can’t just crank in a zoom factor for sighting. As is, one get 3X at 100 yards, and is at 9X around 500 yards. For an airgun, we’d need adjustable objective for parallax and focus correction, probably a 4-16X zoom range, with a cam calibrated for 10 to 50 yards…

    • Scott Anguish Says:

      You can buy scopes with rangefinders in them now. I think Nikon has one. But with no adjustable objective. Do a google search.

      Do I want a computer to make the adjustments for me? that does take some of the fun out of learning to shoot as a skill.

  • Pete Hallock Says:

    This may not have been in the loop, but we all know that big, faster and more expensive always sells. Egos rule, not common sense. As the wrist watch collectors say, “If you spend more than $50 for a wrist watch, you are buying more than telling time.” Witness a Rolex Gold President. Rolex’s are fine watches, but can not hold a candle to others ( Patek, etc..).
    That said, if i could handle the weight of a TX200, and others, I would buy that and it is really not expensive vs. return for your dollar. Standing by for the Flack to follow..
    Pete in California

    • J-F Says:

      Of course I’m buying more than just time, my phone can give me time.
      But my phone doesn’t look as good, isn’t made of stainless and I can’t dive with my phone.
      My watch cost more than my phone did but it’s also going to last me far longer.
      My iphone wan’t working as good and as fast as it used to 3 years ago (that’s why I changed it last week). My watch on the other hand is almost 10 years old but still looks as good as when I bought it, I had it serviced by the licensed jewelers where I bought the watch every time the battery died and I won’t be buying a new watch until I can afford an automatic one that I can dive with.

      And a 50$ watch doesn’t make as nice a gift as a swiss made watch.

      J-F

      ps It’s personnal taste but to me jewels should be INSIDE the watch not decorating it

      • Wulfraed Says:

        Careful there…

        Swatch is (or was) a Swiss made watch…

        Agree on the jewels, but I suspect the only jewel in my watch is the quartz crystal (and even that may not be the most precisely cut, since the watch performs automatic radio synchronization with the strongest of WWV-B, some European standard time broadcast, or a Japanese standard time broadcast)… Watch could be off a minute a day, and as long as it can radio sync each morning that minute is all the error you’d see.

        I still remember the salesman trying to sell me a multi-year battery agreement — for a watch that recharges via solar panels! (Full charge in 6 minutes of direct sunlight, or something like two days under an incandescent light bulb).

        • pete zimmerman Says:

          Virtually all analog watches, even quartz regulated ones, have jewels. They serve as bearings in the gear system. Of course, if you get cheap enough the bearings aren’t jeweled. Swatch is still Swiss-owned and manufactured; it’s the watch that rescued the Swiss time industry.

          • Wulfraed Says:

            If my watch used a normal gear train (motor driving second hand, minute and hour hand driven by reduction gears from that) I’d admit to a chance for significant jeweled bearings…

            But on this watch, each hand is driven independently (there are certain operations which will have one hand moving backwards while the other is moving forward — and at rates not related to normal usage).

            There may be jewels on the ends of the motor shafts, but there sure aren’t the number commonly found. Consider it a digital watch with analog hands and servo motors and firmware (no joke there — I had to send it in for a warranty update; it didn’t handle a leap year correctly, {Frith preserve us — the watch is 11 years old this December} jumping from Feb 28, 2008 to March 3, 2015… And since it was radio controlled, resetting by hand wouldn’t stick).

  • Colt Says:

    “spring piston rifle that’s easy to cock but produces 20 fpe”

    What about a special cam design? To somehow maximize your effort?
    I will think about that, big chalkboard next to me…….

  • Matt61 Says:

    Well, it is interesting that in terms of basic design, firearms have changed very little since the 1890s. The advances seem to have come in manufacturing technique and materials. And the same could be said about automobiles with the exception of the hybrid technology.

    Still, I like to think that there is plenty of room for change with airguns. As B.B. mentioned, they could start with finding cheaper ways to produce the performance they have now.:-) Also, I was reading the other day about how they are trying to build a starship with warp drive. You can’t go faster than the speed of light. So, this ship has a large ring around it that distorts space-time. The possibilities are endless.

    Regarding Zulu, I preferred the singing of the British soldiers. That’s when I knew they would win. :-) I was very impressed with the athleticism of the Zulus and the way they could cover ground, but less so with their weaponry of the shield and the thrusting spear. Still, it is fair to them to say that the bayoneted rifle they faced was a terrific weapon that was supposed to be superior to a sword in hand-to-hand combat. The British did not win just because of their volley fire.

    Matt61

  • David Enoch Says:

    I would add some fixed powered adjustable objective scopes to the wish list. I usually set my scopes at their maximum power and leave them there unless I have to reduce the power for something like Hunter Field Target. I would like to see 9x, 12, 18, and 24x.

    Like you said there is a lot more power put into springers than is expelled. I think someone will have to figure out how to de-bounce a piston make very big gains.

    The e-valve technology that Lloyd designed is just in it’s infancy. I think it will eventually replace the regulator.

    David Enoch

  • Victor Says:

    B.B.,

    MY BIG WISH
    I too am not happy with the front sight shrouds found on most air-rifles. I too wish I could change the front sight. Why can’t they make ALL shrouds with a standard dovetail rail? If I had my way, I’d use target aperture sights on most of my air-rifles. For sure, all PCP’s should allow for the use of target aperture sights.

    ANOTHER WISH
    I would like to see a product like the UTG 3/8″ Dovetail-to-Weaver/Picatinny Rail Adapter
    ( http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/UTG_3_8_Dovetail_to_Weaver_Picatinny_Rail_Adapter_2pcs/4148 ),
    but with barrel droop compensation.

    I’ve never bothered to learn how scopes are constructed, but I wonder if barrel droop compensation could be built into a scope so that you don’t end up with the “floating erector tube” situation that you’ve described. I recently installed a scope that required some 80 to 96 clicks to get up into the bulls-eye. It seems to work fine and hold zero, but I’m a little uncomfortable having to adjust up that much. I sighted the rifle in at 10 meters, so I may not have enough head-room to go out to 50 yards.

    I used a UTG single piece set of rings, so I was able to shimmy the rear part of the base. It helped, but not as much as I would have liked.

    Victor

    • pete zimmerman Says:

      Stick a rotatable, adjustable, prism in the optical system. Aim the scope a few degrees that way for a gross correction.

      pz

  • pete zimmerman Says:

    What separates the Olympic class air gun from run of the mill and even a bit better PCP guns are two things:

    1) The regulator. An Olympic competitor has to get not 10 but closer to 100 absolutely accurate shots on a single fill, allowing for sighters. To be honest, it never dawned on my until about a year ago that anybody would try to get accuracy w/o a regulator.

    2) The adjustability of the stock and the sights (and the repeatability of the sight setting). I don’t see why one couldn’t make a reasonable copy of a competition stock out of engineering plastic and get the cost way down (oh, right; Steyr or Walther did it and in Germany they sell like hotcakes; PA has them in its catalog). Still too expensive, but if you sold a lot, you can build them cheaper. I should think Crosman or Daisy could gen up a design and get it built in a low cost country.

    But I grant you I don’t know how to get the cost of a good peep sight down.

    Yes, the Air Force Edge slipped my mind, but it’s still regulator-free isn’t it.

    Now if we could just get the NRA, the ISSF, and USA-Shooting to give us some push and TV to give some pull… Why not an air rifle event on the next Top Gun? I would just like to see some of those characters shooting at a 10 meter target; half of them wouldn’t find the black.

    • /Dave Says:

      Pete,

      TV….

      And give them a springer to do it with. Maybe they already considered it and found it too embarassing…

      • pete zimmerman Says:

        Why sure. There are lots of old Walthers and FWBs floating around that could be reconditioned. I just don’t think that half those people could hit a standard 10m target even with one of the multi-thousand dollar PCP guns. And when you look at some of those rifles, they are cool and science-fiction enough to appeal to the videoviewers.

        pz

    • pete zimmerman Says:

      The “inexpensive German” rifle I had in mind is a Haemmerli (now a part of Walther; sometimes brand mates come out these days like Chevy and Pontiac).

      http://www.carl-walther.de/cw.php?lang=en&content=products&sub=1&subsub=12&product=1313

      I’m sure PA put it in their catalog. A year ago you could buy a complete kit *including* competition jacket and trousers for well under 1000 Euros in Hamburg.

  • Ton Says:

    BB,
    I think the easy cocking powerful springer may already be here after reading your review of the Comete Indian.

  • /Dave Says:

    RE zombies…

    I had a friend explain zombies to me once. He says they are the people who are unprepared that are left after the upcoming holocaust/apocalypse/end of the world. Hunger drives them mad, and they’ll do almost anything to get food. Even cannibalism, hence the “zombie” moniker. Zombie guns are supposed to be the best military or self defense weapons that you can get. And enough ammo to hold them off for years to come.

    So, I suppose it’s bunker city for “prepared” people after 12/21 or whenever this is supposed to happen….

    /Dave

    • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

      Yep, when my son was 4 or 5, he was like that. When he was in the hospital having his tonsils removed and couldn’t eat before the operation, he actually grabbed his mother by the shirt collar and yelled, “I want to eat now!”. Of course he weighed about 30 lbs and stood 4′ tall. He was all elbows and knees.

      Fred DPRoNJ

  • dangerdongle Says:

    I certainly hope we’re not finished…I just got started!
    Personally I’d be happy with the current offerings if only the quality were better. To me part of the enjoyment of shooting comes from holding a finely crafted piece of equipment that was obviously built with pride.
    Of course, I have very limited experience, but so far I’ve yet to run across an airgun that one could deem ‘heirloom’ quality.
    As for my short list, I’d like to see more pcp pistols. Some standardization of fill methods would be appreciated as well; The array of gadgets/adaptors/dongles can be very confusing, especially to us new guys.

  • Scott Anguish Says:

    There is always room for improvement. It’s typically called innovation.

    The solenoid methods of releasing air by some manufacturers should become more prevalent. I hope that Umarex gets its crap together and starts making better quality and actual copies for replicas.

    I’d love to see Gamo go the way of the dodo. I’d love to see Crossman continue their innovative ‘uppers’ conversion system. I’d like to see more Bullpup designs available. More regulators built into guns as opposed to add-ons.

    Leapers Scope with a level in it will be an immediate buy for me. But that is just such a small thing to add. Accelerometers are so cheap now that adding that info to a scope should be much easier.

    The Marauder proves you can build and sell excellent quality shrouded PCPs for a reasonable price. Air Force is pricier, but similar.

    Shrouding and making guns backyard friendly is an absolute must.

    There is lots of room for innovation.

  • Urban Says:

    I’m thinking feedback and active control. An integral chronograph to tell you the velocity of pellets is an obvious idea, but a less obvious is to track it inside the barrel and make it go as fast as you want it. Possibly by having a second air reservoir feeding halfway up the barrel timed to release after the pellet has passed.
    Gyroscopes and accellerometers which control superfast adjustable muzzle brakes.

  • Primo Says:

    BB how about if they made an air filter for the discovery pump,a device that would avoid humidity from entering the rifle,and sold this part integrated with the pump or as an add on? The discovery & the marauder are good PCPs ,but in high humidity days the pump is going to pump the humidity in and later on create a mess.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      “Filters” normally only remove particulates from the air entering the pump.

      If you ever look at the compressors used for air-brushes, the moisture trap is on the outlet side of the reservoir — where the moisture condenses out as the air drops in pressure and cools off. They also have drain spigots on the bottom of the tank to release any moisture that condensed as the tank air cooled.

      Trapping moisture on the inlet side would probably require drawing the air through some fairly large silica gel canister (with said canister then needing to be purged by heating in an oven at regular intervals)…

      Or you somehow fit the inlet to a large powered dehumidifier which has chilled the air (causing condensation and moisture to drop off the chiller plates) before getting into the pump and heated (thereby becoming relatively dry).

      Maybe draw the air through a long copper coil immersed in a bucket of ice water, with a moisture trap between the coil and the pump inlet to catch anything that condensed out in the coil.

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        Wulfraed,

        That’s how the water trap works on a hand pump. It’s not a filter, it’s a large cannister of dessicant, just like industrial compressors use, only sized to the smaller hand pump.

        B.B.

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