Product management

by B.B. Pelletier

Today was supposed to be a report on a vintage airgun — the Falke model 70; but over the Christmas holiday, something came up that I have to address: product management. It came to me from several directions. First, blog reader John, who is not afraid to tell us how he feels about anything, unloaded on the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic. He pointed out that it could have had a removable fake magazine that would at least serve as additional storage, and the stock could have been minimally adjustable if a little thought had gone in before the molds were machined. I like the MK-177, but I have to agree with John on this. Crosman has shown that they know how to innovate with guns like the M4-177, so why couldn’t they do the same with this one?

Another thing that got me thinking about product management is the current sci-fi battle between DC Comics and Marvel. When I was a kid, DC Comics ruled. They had all the best superheroes such as Superman and Batman…while Marvel struggled along with lame characters like Spiderman and Thor. You may love them today, but that’s my point. Good management by Marvel raised these weak characters up to the point that they now have smash hit feature films and a top-rated one-hour television series, while Superman continues to be revived in the movies in increasingly embarrassing treatments that always miss the mark. And Batman? Let’s not even go there. The only thing DC hasn’t done yet to destroy Batman is to set it to music!

My point is — Marvel managed what they had and turned it into a giant success. DC, on the other hand, took world-class personalities and watered them down until not even their focus groups can tolerate them anymore. These are 2 stunning examples of what product management can do.

Sure, I could have picked on the American automobile industry that once ruled the world, but today is subservient to foreign technology. But that would have been unkind. Besides — we still do make good pickup trucks, though looking at the most recent offerings from Toyota, Nissan and Honda, I don’t know for how much longer. Only Harley Davidson has managed to pass through the netherworld of corporate death to be reborn in products that the world still idolizes.

These examples are all about product management. And airguns are no different.

Here we are on a blog that celebrates daily the best airguns the world has to offer. When a modern airgun is good, such as the TX200 Mark III and the new Walther LGV Challenger, we give it all the credit it is due. In fact, with the Air Venturi Bronco, we demonstrated that an air rifle can be both good and inexpensive. But when airgun companies try to pull the wool over our eyes by telling us that  velocity is to be prized over accuracy, or when we have to live with lousy triggers because that’s the way the world turns, we don’t have to take it.

I am the poster child of not taking it! In all my former careers where I worked for others, I rose to a certain level at which I was given a voice, then torpedoed any possible future I had by using that voice. Most people in management do not want to hear the truth. They want to hear that the emperor has beautiful clothes, even when he’s naked. And then they want to get right back to their golf games and whatever else really matters.

The Benjamin Discovery came from my frustration at precharged guns costing too much for the average shooter — especially one who is new to airguns and doesn’t want to make a seriously wrong decision! The Air Venturi Bronco came from a sense of loss of the Beeman C1 carbine and recognizing that an unpopular Mendoza youth rifle contained the seeds of greatness.

Then, there were the UTG drooper scope bases that corrected the severe barrel droop that all Diana rifles (except the model 350 Magnum) seem to have. Before taking that idea to Leapers, I’d discussed the barrel droop issue with the Diana vice president of marketing, who advised me her company saw no problem with how their air rifles were designed. I noted, however, that after several years of having the UTG drooper scope bases correct their droop problem, Diana redesigned all their airguns so the corrective bases no longer fit! Apparently they were paying attention — just not to what mattered!

I always thought that it would have made more sense to just correct the droop problem. People are now scoping their air rifles — something they didn’t do in the 1970s when the groundwork for most of the current Diana breakbarrel rifles was laid.

I could go on and on with more examples, but those of you who understand what I’m saying, get it. And the ones who don’t understand, never will.

But wait — there’s more!
I’m not finished. Because every so often, another really good idea pops to the surface. We have a couple of those bubbling up right now. I’m sworn to secrecy on the details, but there are new things coming out that will set the airgunning world on fire. In fact, these things are so big that they don’t transcend just airguns, they move into the million-times bigger world of the general population. That’s all I’ll say now; but on January 14 — the opening day of the 2014 Shot Show, I’ll show you something brand new. And here’s a really big hint: Some of you will be shocked to learn that you may already have it!

Item 2 is something new from me. A month ago, I was whining to Dennis Quackenbush about my $100 PCP idea and he said, “Let’s do it!” So, we did! And when I say “we,” I really mean him.

I told Dennis I was so tired of pitching my idea for an affordable precharged air rifle to one company after another, only to be smiled at and dismissed, that I wanted to do something about it. And again, it’s Dennis I’m talking about when it comes to the doing part. He caught on right away. Inside of 30 minutes, we designed the gun I’d dreamed about for so many years. A report on that one will be coming up very soon.

There are other projects that are perking along slower; but so far, 2014 is stacking up to be a pretty amazing year for airguns!

145 thoughts on “Product management

  1. I’ve been wondering when we would hear something about your $100 dollar PCP idea! I think its great that Dennis has taken that challenge up! I’ve mulled over that idea myself for quite awhile.

    I do wonder how your other new thing is something that some already have? I guess I’ll have to wait until Jan. 14!

    Daniel


  2. BB,
    I wish the world had more people like you, you listen to us the consumer these companies bread and butter and you push to put us at the top of these companies lists and I thank you very much for it.



    • Simply put, as you increase in altitude, the air becomes thinner. As the air becomes thinner, it becomes less efficient at transmitting sound. Once you achieve a certain altitude, it becomes a vacuum and will not transmit sound at all.

      They like the good life that upper management positions provide and fear those that show they are flawed and can be replaced.


      • RR your saying should go down in history. It should be on the cover of Time Magazine when they do a cover story on the fall of the modern day business world.

        I read it but it didn’t click at first. But the more times I read it the more clear it became.


  3. Dennis Quackenbush is a class act. He could easily charge hundreds more for his guns. They are so popular that you must get on a list to buy one. But instead of pricing his guns at the top of the market, he charges what he thinks is a fair price, essentially leaving money on the table. Truely a rare breed I fear is going extinct.



    • A big +1! I’m sitting here with goosebumps……and wondering if that means a “flare-up” of my airgun-itis.Your cryptic writing style would make ol’ P.T Barnum smile…at how you work us all into a lather.LOL



    • RR,

      I guess I learned that lesson when I helped Walther develop their Dominator 300 field target rifle in the 1990s. I kept telling them they had to boost the velocity to get the 50 meter accuracy and they stalled for a year before doing it. Then — suddenly — the gun worked as it was supposed to. That was the last time I did anything as a favor.

      I started charging money to help companies develop products. Now, they listen.

      B.B.


      • I got one I’m working on I’d love to see an airgun company start making. It’s a beautiful adjustable power dual tank .22 with shrouded barrel. It’s a pure class act powerhouse. I just don’t know how to shop this around.



          • When it is ready I will show it. Right now it’s only 2/3 done. It’s quite a show stopper already, but I won’t show it until I got it complete and test fired.


            • That makes sense.

              And I my self like to see what I’m buying and to talk to the person that has the product for sale. You cant imagine how much difference that makes. Usually I can tell about the product by talking to the person that is selling. But that’s one of the ways to push it is to show it.

              And yes that is smart don’t show it until its ready. I really hate when they say they got something for sale but it wont be ready or we have to make changes. I’m pretty sure I wont buy it from them.


              • A few people close to the project have seen what I’m doing, but I never show a product until I have it finished. I have to set up the top of the gun yet and hydro dip the air tubes and shroud. After I put it through it’s paces I need to shop it around a bit and see if there is any interest in one of the big companies to produce it. I believe I have an excellent product and if some company builds it exactly the way I built it they will have a fantastic gun on their hands. Failing that I might sell my one off so I can build another.


                • And now days when you have a product like yours it is very difficult to get somebody to take it on. People are more skeptical now days and money is harder to come buy.

                  So if I was in your shoes I would be putting it to it hard when it is time for it to be ready for the sale. But you better have a bunch of specs and technical details available right on the spot and the gun needs to be proved to me if I was going to be the one investing in making the gun. That’s not a easy thing to do now days.

                  Unless (here is a very important word) you have a known REPUTATION. And I’m not hollering I just wanted to make sure I stressed that word. So yes maybe that’s why the consumer feels let down on products. Especially even more when it is a company that has a reputation. They really do need to get there acts together if they want to make there business work into the future.


                  • That’s the thing. I know every last pin and spring of this gun. i know exactly what it can do and what each part is supposed to do. When I say it will do “X” it will do that. I’ll have plenty of test data to show and i will have a great looking and great functioning prototype to show. Since I know every single part I can easily make more like it. This is all I have left to do. So I continue to build a better and better air rifle. After this one I’ll start again and build an even better one. And I’ll have specs and stats on that one too. I don’t do like some companies I won’t name (like crosman) and mold in features that don’t work.


  4. Also, you talked to the VP of Marketing. Her job is to trumpet to the world how great their present product is, not to correct design issues.

    At the 2012 Roanoke show, I had a conversation with John McCaslin (Mr. AirForce) concerning introducing design changes into a production line. Basically, you have to stop production to introduce a change. You may have noticed how the supply of the old models seem to dry up before the new ones come out. The more drastic the change, the more down time involved. The more down time involved, the more profit loss. He set up a whole new production line to bring out the new Condor SS and the new trigger assemblies because the old equipment could not handle the longer extrusion. Once it was up and running, he could switch the old lines over.

    I hope he will be bringing out the new model he told me of during our conversation. A few months later I sent him an idea for another “new” model he could introduce that would have minimal impact upon present production, but I never received a response from him. Don’t be surprised if you see a carbine this year.


    • RidgeRunner,

      But it sounds like Diana went through the trouble to change their production line to make a fix NOT work! They wouldn’t do the same to actually fix the problem?!!

      Am I interpreting you correctly BB?

      Daniel


  5. Sounds like the airgun industry isn’t immune from the “Peter Principle”. The Peter Principle states, in short,

    “The Peter Principle is a proposition that states that the members of an organization in which promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, “Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.” In more formal parlance, the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given increasing responsibility and authority until they cannot continue to work competently. It was formulated by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle, a humorous[1] treatise, which also introduced the “salutary science of hierarchiology”. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle ).

    Don’t give them what they want, give them what we think they should have.

    I always wondered why Diana never addressed the droop problem inherent in their guns. Although I once had a late eighties Model 34 (lost in a divorce in the 90′s), I never replaced it based on the droop problem. There are other more or as accurate guns out there without having to fiddle with shims in a scope mount.

    In the meantime, I’m anxiously awaiting the Shot Show news.


  6. Just a few responses to your article:
    Management – Crosman +1. I recently tried to order a custom shop 2300TK. When I put in my rural IL zip code during checkout, I couldn’t buy the gun. I emailed customer service about how they needed to update their granular-but-wrong checkout system, and they kindly suggested I use a different zip code. Argh!

    Droop – the 350 magnum doesn’t need a droop mount?? I put one on mine – in my defense it was my first quality airgun so I didn’t know any better. But maybe that’s why the Centerpoint scope when whacko in about two weeks…

    Quackenbush – Awesome!!! My big question is, will this be a gun available to the masses or by lottery only? I sure hope it comes in .25!!

    Keep up the great blogging!


    • Mark

      The droop mount is not what broke your scope…..the rifle did it. I broke two centerpoints on springers myself. They did not take the recoil . Both were the 4-16 Wallymarts.

      As far as no droop on the 350, I am inclined to believe that I would have to see at least 100 of them to see if this is a valid statement or not. It would probably be a matter of luck of the draw.

      twotalon


    • I tried to order a custom gun from Crosman too. I had everything on it I wanted. I made sure it complied to Michigan airgun laws. When it came time to pay the system rejected me. I called Crosman about this and they told me that was just how it is and they weren’t going to change their system. That has been costing them money too since I got mad about that and started building the custom guns crosman refused to sell and selling them to those that want them but can’t get them there. I actually make a superior gun to crosman’s stuff because I listen to the customer.


  7. B.B.,
    I understand your frustration my Brother. Just before Christmas I went on line to buy a new gas powered weed trimmer from a very well known American Co. I have been a customer of this Co for close to 40 yrs both in the USA and in Canada. The transaction went through quite fast and a few days later as I was waiting for the shipment details I got an e-mail saying that my refund request was being processed and that my credit card would receive the funds within 5 days. Say what?
    1st lie… I never asked for a refund.
    2nd lie…Oh! We were out of stock of that item but we can offer you another one at a higher price and we will give you a 10% discount.
    At this point my wife got involved(girl power) and demanded that they fork over the item at the same price. So up the complaint chain she went right up to their international desk where she was quickly brushed off by a very arrogant young lady who told her that because we used a Canadian credit card we would have to purchase the item from their Canadian operation.
    With the ball back in my court, I sent them a nice letter telling them that this new policy was foolish and that I will no longer shop at their stores, either in Canada or in the USA.
    I am that customer that votes with his pocket book. When you want to effect change you have to be prepared to hit them where it hurts the most.. their bottom line.
    And the world turns…….
    Pete


    • Reminds me of when I tried to deal with Palco Sports because the front sight flew off of my Tanfoglio Witness 1911. I wasn’t asking for a new gun for free, I wanted to buy a spare fron sight… nope, no spare parts is carried by Palco Sports.
      OK, where or how can I get one then? They had no idea! So after more letters nothing was happening, so I went straight to their facebook page. My complaint was quickly followed by 2 more complains from other customers who were not able to get any service, 2 days later I was talking to someone else (hey I’m talking to someone, it must be an improvement right? WRONG) I was getting a LOT of help and suggestions in airsoft stores! NOTHING for me. I must have echanged over 30 emails in total with them, I even wrote to CyberGun in France in English AND French with a claim number from Palco, never got an answer.

      At the number of returns they’re getting how would it have been to take the slide off a pistol and send it to me or just send the whole broken gun to me and I’ll manage to change the internals… NOTHING is the help I got.
      I was able to buy a spare slide from a broken gun from a Canadian retailer who kept a few returns because he saw Palco wasn’t giving us consumer any help. He was selling parts to poor guys like me who needed them.

      J-F



        • I was!
          I forgot to answer you about the spring airsoft pistols, sorry. They’re pretty crappy. You have a full mag but you have to rack the slide for each shot, so it’s slow, a bit noisy, far from convenient and far from fun.
          They do look extremely good! They have a working slide so you can cock it and usually have working safeties and other switches.

          J-F


          • J-F no apology needed.

            But the spring gun was kind of a drag to mess with then I guess. That was a pistol right?

            How was the green gas gun performance wise. You said it leaked or something. But I just wondered how they performed. I thought about getting one. But like you said just another expense.

            That’s another thing. Paint ball guns. That’s why I haven’t really never tryed paint ball guns yet either. Another expense. A guy at work messes with them. But I haven’t touched one. And like you I already got to many things going on. But I would like to learn about them.

            My best bet is to just not touch another gun because knowing me I will want it.


            • Yes spring piston pistol.

              The green gas was great, it worked for a few years. It’s the same thing as a CO2 gun, the green gas is filled in the mag. Since it works with propane or butane, the fill hole is the same as rechargeable lighter but green gas is supposed to have a lube in it but when I bought it green gas was hard to get so I used propane and butane which is probably why the seals failed.

              I tried paintball guns just like I did with the airsoft just to try it out and plink, so I got a cheap CO2 gun, it used the same powerlets we use in our airguns. It was a pump action, no semi auto fancy stuff. It was fun and made a good satifying SPLAT with each shot but it’s made to get a hit using the spray and pray method. It’s a quantity over quality issue. There’s no real sights you can actually use, you shoot, watch where the ball goes and try to aim towards your target.

              J-F


              • Could you get a fair amount of shots out of the green gas gun on a fill. I may be wrong but I thought the green gas containers were kind of expensive if I remember right.

                And I really don’t know why but paint ball has never really been appealing to me for some reason.


    • I’ve been doing that too. I’ve closed my wallet and refused to buy airguns I consider substandard junk, made in china, or all plastic. Instead I have been looking for guns made in America with great customer support and stand behind their product. That means I only use airforce guns now. They do things like I do things. That makes me very happy. That also means Crosman, Umarex and the rest of them are all losing money now.



        • I was doing that but I demand quality and accuracy that I just can’t get anyplace else. To me it is all about a company that stands behind their product and a product that exceeds my expectations over a variety of guns. I heard it said “Beware the man with one gun. He knows how to use it well.”


          • Hmm somebody did say that before didn’t they. But what is hard about that is how can you trust a company or product if you never dealt with them before.

            I always wanted that semi-auto FX Monsoon for the longest time. And I didn’t want a battery powered 1700 dollar gun. And I heard people say that cycling a action in semi-auto on a air gun didn’t work to good using the recycled air. But I figured that it was probably a good product because of where it was made. But I really didn’t know for sure. The only reason I did end up with gun was because my buddy got it. After I seen it and shot it I new that was the gun that I should of bought a long time ago. I would probably have less guns right now if I would of bought it first.

            But the big question is how would I of really known that gun was going to be what it was hyped up to be.

            Really how would I of known!


            • At the moment I’m being cautious in what I buy. I’m looking at reviews from several sources on any gun I get a lust for and see if it is a decent gun or if it totally is cheap trash. Then I make an educated decision based on information I have. I have gotten several guns before I thought would be good only to find that it is all advertising and little substance. I have learned by experience what I like and don’t like by trying different guns, I discovered I don’t like springers all that much. I think of co2 guns as more of a novelty but I like pcp guns. So I look at those. Of the ones on the market I look at first where they are made. Chinese products are out of the question. So I then look at power, accuracy, price, and versatility of what is not made in china. I know I can’t afford a $2000 10 meter gun which wouldn’t serve my purposes so I eliminate those. I am a hunter. So I look for guns designed for hunting. Of those I then look at who backs their product. The winner was Airforce. So I saved up and bought one. After I saw how accurate it was an just how adaptable it was I never wanted any other air gun. For me it is a perfect gun. So how would you know? Research and process of elimination. And you must know what you like and don’t like. It’s a bit of a journey. I spent some big bucks on lots of air guns to arrive at what I like. I have a closet full of regrets that I had to go through to find that one perfect gun for me.


              • Well that sums that up pretty good.

                And I bet we ain’t the only two people that took that journey.

                How do they say that. Live and learn.


  8. Well, this sounds like one of your April Fools spoofs, but, it is too early for that. I look forward to seeing what is coming out.

    I have a guess on the first item you suggested: I higher power PCP upper for an AR15.
    I know Crosman has been working on that. With the current price of ammo, that might be a hit with the AR crowd, especially if it were semi-automatic.

    I would guess that Dennis would start with a Crosman 2240 but even then, it would be hard to add an air reservoir and steel receiver and be in budget. If you stuck with C02 pressures, all you would need was a HPA tank and adapter.

    BB, what did you get for Christmas?

    David Enoch



      • I got the A Christmas Dream Red Ryder from Daisy Museum also for my 8 year Son. It was a great price. Also the Historical Downtown 25 pump bb gun
        My has no serial number just 273 of 2500 on the wood stock.



  9. An RWS 34 was one of the biggest disappointments in air gunning that I have experienced. It honked, creaked, the trigger was not that good and I could not shoot it for beans. At the same time I had a Crosman Phantom with a self tune and a Charlie trigger that cost much less and shot much better. I see that I might as well save my money instead of trying another RWS.
    Some of these companies need to realize that R&D means Research & Development. It does not mean Repeat and Disappoint.


  10. Maybe you should say something to Leapers/UTG about product management. I bought my first ever scope from them based on all the infectious hype you gave the product. The swat failed @ around 1k rounds and I’ve been waiting over a month for a replacement. What kind of company allows their inventory to fall so low at Christmas time ? Ans: A Chinese company who couldn’t care less about Christmas, Americans, or making a quality product. They don’t have to make a quality product as long as there are salesmen to push it and nimrods on the forums who will give an opinion even though they’ve never owned the product.


    • Tom Swift,

      Leapers is not a Chinese company. It’s an American company with production facilities and worldwide HQ in Michigan.

      Why did they run out of stock around Christmas? Because they had greater demand for their products than they ever could have imagined.

      While other companies end up with a glut of products they have to discount and clear out after Christmas, Leapers does not. In fact, they keep adding more and more production facilities in order to keep up with the demand. But, the demand just keeps exceeding their capacity no matter how much they add. It’s a good, old-fashioned American success story :-)

      Edith




        • Frank

          I have been thinking of hiring a drummer to follow me around and make rimshots whenever I make cutting observations.

          I would like to catch up, but I am too busy writing opinions for products I have never used, to impress people on the internet. You know what I’m talking about.

          Happy New Year my friend.


    • “What kind of company allows their inventory to fall so low during Christmas time?”

      Only unheard of companies like Microsoft, Sony, Mattel, Kenner, Coleco, Fisher Price, EA, Atari, Sears, Macy’s, and Nintendo.

      Congratulations on coming under the wire as the most ridiculous post of the year.


  11. Wow, BB!

    You musta been pretty cold to pour that much fuel on this weekend’s fire! I’m with Pete. I vote with wallet! I can’t wait to see the $100 pcp! And I’ll second David Enoch’s desire for a high power version of the AR upper, but please… keep the Lothar Walther barrel!

    /Dave


    • And please make it semi-auto.

      And if the semi auto happens please don’t let it be battery powered please. If somebody important is listening. And again No Battery’s Please.

      Make this one work for real. Fx did it with the Monsoon and Revolution. So please don’t say it can’t be done. Thank you to whoever may be listening.


  12. Great report BB! Things to come! BTW, my Diana 34 in 22 cal. shoots RWS Superpoints the best with RWS Super HP’s a close second. I understand that Superpoints have a thin skirt. What other pellets would you suggest? JSB Exact Jumbo and Crosman Premier HP’s don’t group well at all.

    Mike


  13. Can I say something my RWS DIANA 34 has no barrel droop. When I bought my Beeman R1 the salesman opened 4 new boxes of R1s(he let me cherry pick)only one had perfect barrel alignment (no barrel droop).All my Hatsan break barrels have barrels pointing up (opposite of barrel droop)So barrel droop is not a Diana characteristic only.And could it be true that RWS Exclusive Rights for Diana air guns are up.And now DIANA could do business with any company. I saw a”Diana 34″T05 trigger only$199 on some web site ,and I think we can now get the better stocks maybe even the carbine models or the Exklusive engraving stocks for a reasonable price.


  14. I just got asked this question at work a while back.

    How come when you see something that needs changed to help the situation out you don’t go argue with them anymore? (them meaning management and the engineers)

    First off that is part of my job to let them know if something needs to be changed in the process or ordered for the job we are setting up or working on. Second that is who I’m supposed to communicate with. But here is the big one. Why do I have to argue with them kind of people to make something happen. And it ain’t only me. The guys on the other shifts that are in the same position as me say the same thing.

    This is the part that’s a shame. We backed out of it and had to let them start making the calls. That was a big game changer. They didn’t have anybody to blame then if something went wrong or didn’t get finished in time. Finally the owner of the company saw it. Now we (we meaning me and the other two guys in my same position at work) have a meeting at least once a week with the owner which is involved everyday with the company and hands on at times and the manager and the engineers. It has helped because the issues now at least get addressed.

    That is the quickest way to run something down is when somebody doesn’t listen.

    And BB you went and done it again. You know I cant stand to wait to hear about something. Especially good news. I could kick the bucket or something and never know what these things were. Then I would be a very upset dead person.

    But seriously I’m glad you got to do that with Dennis and I’m way interested in the $100 PCP. And the other thing you said some of us have already. Now you got my mind thinking all kind of thoughts.

    And if Dennis is going to only make so many. Then BB you got to hook up your blog readers first ok since your spilling the news here first. :) And you know you have to watch how you answer that. If you say Ok I will do that. I bet the number of blog readers will increase if the news was to get out. ;)


  15. Hi BB,

    I wish I could remember the post where you first mentioned the $100 PCP, but in any case, here are my ramblings about the $100 PCP.

    It seems like some of the barriers to $100 PCP are:
    1) high pressure
    i) have to use higher cost materials
    ii) cost of testing for liability reasons
    2) support
    i) pump/tank
    ii) refill station for tank
    iii) hydro testing for tank
    3) time spent filling the PCP (with hand pump)
    4) limited PCP market

    The 1st problem could be overcome by using shop compressor pressures (100 – 200PSI). The lowered pressure could overcome the 2nd and 3rd problems too, if you can use a shop compressor to fill the gun. The 4th problem should be overcome by lower cost. Given these assumptions, going to a lower pressure should fix everything.

    Now we run into other problems. Going to a lower pressure means you need a larger volume to achieve the power, and a longer barrel. The vintage PCPs used pressures in the 700PSI range, but we need to go down to 100 – 200PSI (probably 100 – 120PSI to include lower cost shop compressors). It seems like that would require a large air storage tube/tank and would make things bulky. The most logical thing then is to go to higher pressure for storage (1000 – 1500PSI) and drop that down (i.e. regulator) to a lower pressure in a larger volume valve with a long barrel (similar to the US FT/paintball guns?). If you could make an inexpensive pump for 1000 – 1500PSI you might have a lower cost combination, but I’m not sure if you could hit $100. You could also get around the hydro and refill support problem.

    Thinking about it all, I came up with an idea a couple of months ago that starts at the point above, but adds something. I am currently building a proof-of-concept to test it, but am still designing with at least a 1000PSI storage pressure in mind. So my curiosity is really peaked – I’m looking forward to your report next week!

    Thanks,
    Daniel


    • Daniel,

      Well, you certainly are giving this some serious thought! Good! That’s what this sort of thing should do.

      I don’t want to give away any surprises before the first report next Tuesday, but I will say that you have touched on several of the important points. There is so much that can be done when we start thinking like this!

      B.B.


  16. Proof of concept is cool that you made it happen with the 100 dollar pcp.

    But then if it was to go to production. Even if it wasnt high volume. Why wouldnt Dennis be the person to do it?

    And this is just one of my thoughts. You could use a shop compressor or even a bicycle tire pump with this idea.

    Use a bladder inside of the air tube on the gun to store the air. Everytime the air was released for the shot. The air discharge would stay the same from start to finish.



      • BB
        What part do you mean you will discuss? If you mean the mechanics of the gun ok I can wait.

        So if this design went somewhere and somebody did start making the gun. Wouldnt you and Dennis get something out of it?

        Im starting to sound like a news reporter now.

        But one more thing how come when you start talking about something sometimes you give out a bunch of info and other times you want to shut it down till the next report?


    • GF1

      I just did a little bit of figuring.
      Let’s say that a .177 running on 100 psi of air…..
      There would be a maximum theoretical force of a whopping 2.459 lb of pressure applied to the base of the pellet. Some pellets may get stuck in the barrel .

      A .22 running on 3,000 psi would only be pushing pellets with 111.9 lb of force . Again, with a theoretical unrestricted pressure supply.

      twotalon


      • TT
        Since you said a .177 cal. pellet at 100 psi would only have about 2.5 pounds of force.

        Lets just say that’s what it took to get the pellet moving. Now what needs to happen to maintain that initial amount of movement? Does it need to maintain that 2.5 lbs of force the distance of the barrel or does it need to increase in pressure because its farther away from the original place the force started from and you now have more volume in that cylinder/barrel? And how long does the barrel need to be?

        I’m just going to bring this point up also. I don’t remember any body saying what the projectile was going to be. But I hope the $100 pcp will shoot pellets. And maybe the gun will only get one shot per fill like the 1377′s do. I do remember BB saying that he wished he could get people/company’s to recognize pump guns as self contained pcp’s.(correct me BB if I mis-spoke) So there is something else to look at.

        And back to the bladder Idea. I have delt with bladders with two different objects. One was fuel tanks for our racing R/C planes which was liquid instead of air so a little different circumstance there. But the second object which is the accumulators on the hydraulic system on some of our machines at work.

        What that does in the system at work is it adds a boost of energy to the hydraulic pressure to maintain that given boost in pressure for a longer duration of time. The accumulator has a bladder inside that is filled with a nitrogen charge which is 60 to 80 bars for our systems at work. The hydraulic pressure needs to maintain 900 psi for at least 4 or 5 seconds or certain things wont function right. So that’s what the bladder inside of the accumulator does. It gives a boost in pressure when something triggers it to let go.

        I know the hydraulics is liquid also and the nitrogen is in the bladder but maybe that could be a way to boost compressed air. The nitrogen in the bladder could act as a gas spring. Which could be good for one shot. And no you don’t have to recharge the nitrogen in the bladder each time. It is contained in itself. You would only have to add compressed air to the chamber that it is in also. That way you wouldnt need a break barrel. You would only need to add air to the chamber that the bladder was stored in.

        The other thing was the bladder for the racing planes. We would take a syringe filled with fuel and fill the bladder up like a water balloon. That’s were I think this would work based on your figures above TT.
        If I released 200 psi from the bladder through the transfer port all at one time it would have a constant push on that pellet for that amount of time the air was releasing at one time. Nobody said how many shots it was going to get from one fill.

        TT you remember when we talked about the potatoe guns and I said I would like to make one that works on air. Well here you go.


        • GF1

          I was just curious as to how much force could be applied based on supply pressure. How the pellet fits the bore for the full duration will have an effect. If it takes too much force to even get the pellet fully pushed in, then it is not going to move at all. No idea what barrel length would be required to get a decent velocity or how much air would be needed for a continuous force for the full length of the barrel. The pellet would have a very long barrel time and make a springer look like a varmint rifle in that respect.

          twotalon


          • TT
            If it is a pellet gun. Maybe it will have to be a precision barrel and special pellet only designed for this particular gun to shoot.
            You know like that 499 bb gun. Not like a 853 and a bb. I just threw that in to see if anybody winced again. ;)

            That’s part of the trick to a potatoe gun you know. The muzzle end of the barrel on a potatoe gun is chamfered to a sharp edge from the outside of the barrel to the inside diameter of the barrel. You put a potatoe on a hard surface then you push the barrel down over the potatoe to make a slug. Then you take and push the potatoe down the barrel with a broom stick close to the firing chamber. Just like a muzzle loader. But here’s the magic part of the potatoe gun. You automatically sized the potatoe slug perfectly to the barrel diameter. And yes I have messed with different length and diameter barrels on potatoe guns too.


        • I know the hydraulics is liquid also and the nitrogen is in the bladder but maybe that could be a way to boost compressed air. The nitrogen in the bladder could act as a gas spring.

          Won’t work… The key factor is that hydraulic fluid is non-compressible — so volume wise it is a direct replacement; if the bladder compresses from, say, one liter displacement to half a liter displacement, then a half liter of fluid has filled the space.

          But air will compress — the bladder wouldn’t compress until the air pressure around it matches the pressure inside of it. Might as well leave the bladder out and compress all the air into the space, providing a larger reservoir of air.


          • Makes sense.
            The air that was being pumped in wouldn’t know the difference of what was inside the bladder. It would just be like the air coming in trying to smash a ball. And all that ball is doing is taking up space for the compressed air we are trying to put in.

            But what do you think about the other way?
            What if you had a tube which we call the air reservoir and you put a rubber bladder inside the tube that was say half the diameter of the tube and half the length of the tube and filled it with compressed air.

            Do you think that would boost the performance of the projectile? Kind of like the air powered potatoe gun. It should help maintain that pressure till it is exhausted from the bladder. And that should help keep the volume in the barrel filled as the projectile moves down the barrel. Right? And Im talking about 1 shot per fill.


            • No difference… Regardless of where or what shape that bladder is, until the surrounding air pressure matches its internal pressure, it might just as well be a steel rod taking up space — reducing the available volume of air in the reservoir.

              Once the pressure matches, the outside air will be just as compressed as the inside air… heck, because the bladder has a limited expansion, it will actually reduce the net available pressure/volume of air.

              Consider the extreme boundary condition: the reservoir is empty, and your bladder with, say 800PSI is at maximum expansion. Can you fire the gun? No… but if that bladder took 50% of the reservoir volume, and you now poke a hole in the side, the reservoir will now have a pressure of 400PSI, possibly enough to do a slow shot or two. Accumulators only work to smooth out pulses when the “outside” is a non-compressible medium.



                • And you know what. You keep forgeting about the resistance of the projectile. You have to equalize the preasure behind the projectile. Then maintain that amount of pressure to keep the fps up on the projectile until it leaves the barrel.


                • The chamber with the bladder, and any air passages to it, ARE a reservoir.

                  Regardless of what you set the pressure at, the bladder does nothing until the outside pressure is as high as that inside the bladder — and for air, that means compressing the air to the same density as what is inside the bladder.

                  Any pressure that is in the bladder when the rest of the system is empty is pressure that is not available to propel a projectile; so again, just using the space for raw air storage at the same pressure gives you more air for propelling the pellet.

                  Super-soakers work on an air bladder system — except they leave out the bladder and just use the “bubbles” on top of the water-gun. They aren’t expected to function if upside down whereas your bladder in a chamber can buffer in any position. The super-soaker pumps water into the spheres where it compresses the air — but the water does not compress; the volume taken by the water doesn’t change except by compressing the air.


                  • You just reminded me of those plastic rockets from when I was a kid. You filled it up with water to a certain level then attached it to this little hand held pumped. You pumped it basically till it was to hard to pump any more. Well that’s what we did when we were kids any way. Them things shot pretty high.

                    Well I guess I will have to stick to good old fashioned air and a tube when I get a chance to make my air powered PCP potato gun. No bladders just a tube I guess. Hey wait a minute maybe I could power one with compressed air and a bladder and water. :)


  17. B.B.,

    A little clarification if you please. When you say a “$100 PCP”, do you mean that will be the end price the consumer pays? Or will it be the amount it costs the manufacturer to produce 1 unit? (Which of course they will sell at a higher price).

    David H




        • If someone else can do it, I can do it. That has always been my attitude in life. It is not always profitable for me to do such, but I can.

          Your biggest issue will be finding a source for a barrel that will fit the budget. That is not a problem with a large corporation. The biggest issue is whether they have a large enough profit margin to make it worth their while to produce it.


  18. Sorry to go off-topic, but I was just trying to post a comment on one user’s review of a gun @ PA and instead of posting immediately it just disappeared when I hit the ‘save’ button. Are comments now being reviewed before publishing?


    • If I am not mistaken, Edith looks them over first to filter out the garbage. You can well imagine what some will try to put out there. Some will even try to post reviews of stuff they have never owned or even tried out.

      Feel free to step in and straighten me out if I am off base Edith.


    • dangerdongle,

      Reviews are moderated before they’re posted, but the comments should show up immediately (I review them several times a day to make sure nothing bad or inappropriate is submitted).

      Which product is affected?

      Thanks,
      Edith




    • And BB. I hope the air powered potatoe gun ain’t the $100 PCP gun your talking about.

      But its the only thing I could think of right off hand with out costing a lot of money to make. And it works on low pressure air that everybody has access to. And you don’t have to shoot potatoes either. You could change barrels to shoot different size and types of projectiles.


      • That is how the old timey air rifles worked. They could only achieve 600-800PSI with the pumping systems available. The trick was to use enough volume of air and a long enough barrel to allow the air to transfer power to the projectile and increase the velocity to a usable level. If I can get my hands on a Liege lock rifle or plans for such, it is my intention to build one. The Liege lock opens the valve for a period of time, allowing the required volume of air through.


        • I would love to just see the plans. But to build one would just be way to cool.

          As much stuff that I do at work on the lathes and Bridgeport’s and cnc’s. And all the heads and intakes I ported on engines its funny that I never got my own equipment. But they always have let me do stuff at work when I’m off the clock and the equipment ain’t being used. So it has worked out for me.


  19. I’m looking forward to seeing something new, innovative, and that manufacturers have done right instead of making all those exciting innovative features nothing more than molded in empty promises. I want to see something like the MK-177 that has that switch that can close the bb magazine and allow pellet clip, I want to see ammo storage places that really are ammo storage places. I want to see something so new and innovative I’m excited and my wallet just magically opens up because I must have it, and above all I want to see stuff that isn’t made of the cheapest most toxic material that china can find. I want to see some really great guns that won’t just hide in my collection. I was all jazzed about the MK177 and that pellet rifle that looks mike an M16 that come to find out couldn’t shoot it’s way out of a wet paper bag. It’s really not that hard to build a very nice air rifle. I do it all the time right here with simple hand tools and parts I either find online or have laying around from old dead guns. I want to see these airgun companies razzle and dazzle me.


    • John
      We were talking up above and it was getting thin so I moved down here.

      There is some good things you got going on. First you know the gun your making. And you have confidence in it. And I tell you what you got to be way on the game if your going to sale a idea to somebody. So that will help you for sure.

      But here is another point about fake stuff that don’t function on a gun. I’m sure they could of done it with ease on that gun if they obviously did it on another one that was in the same category of guns.

      And we both talked above about our journey to find that magic gun or brand of guns that we have faith in. And you and me both researched guns when we are thinking about getting them to help make the choice.

      But how did you end up getting that gun that didn’t have the features in it that you thought should be there? And do you think that the company should of have the facts stated better.

      Here’s why I’m asking. What would you of done to make it more known about what that product was going to be when you purchased it? If you bought it at a department store I guess they wouldn’t let you open the box if it came in the box. And if it was in clear plastic maybe they should of labeled the package better.

      I guess a big thing also is why did they make a decision to not have them features work. And I bet if they did a better job of telling about those details you probably wouldn’t of bought that gun if they would of identified things about the gun better.

      So there’s another thing. Bad marketing can hurt a reputation too.


      • The gun in question I was feeling a bit shorted on is the MK-177. Crosman promised quite a bit on this gun I feel they failed to deliver. They said it would be easier to pump. I found myself struggling with the pump. So it was not easier. Crosman has traditionally made their military style guns with storage in the magazine, so I was expecting that. The magazine is a molded in false promise. They never said that it was just molded in. Then is the thing I was excited about, which is the selector switch that indicates bb or pellet in all the pictures I saw of the gun. I thought thought was a nice feature. Now I could shoot bb’s, flip the switch, close the bb magazine off and fire pellets. Again when I bought the gun it was a brand new product, never really reviewed yet. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered this innovation was another molded in false promise. It was at that point I flat out rejected this gun and it went into the closet of unwanted guns. Do I feel Crosman dropped the ball? Most definitely. They had a chance to do some very unique and cool things with this gun and they failed miserably. I see it again and again. A new promise of something new and wonderful and time and again it’s just an old product reworked and called new or a new product that had potential but the company just got lazy and failed to deliver on the promise.

        Then I got excited about the MTR77. But after being burned twice by crosman on new and wonderful innovations I waited, watched and read reviews. They all seem to say the same thing. Cheap chinese product, Can’t shoot straight. So I slammed my wallet shut and haven’t bought another gun since the quality isn’t there.

        I got all excited about the Winchester M-14 too. But when I found out it was all injection molded chinese plastic and it was fairly cheesy, I again slammed my wallet even though it was endorsed by a Top Shot season 2 winner. I want quality, not cheap plastic.

        I am much too far along on my journey to have the best air rifle I can get to start buying cheap injection molded plastic toys. That would be like finally getting that hand tuned Ferrari then stepping back into a 1976 Toyota Corolla. Not the least interesting to drive after the Ferrari.

        I saw quite a long line of break barrel guns this year. Some were fine guns no doubt, but to me they all looked the same, functioned the same. Internally they were all the same and in my stacks of guns they’d hide and likely be forgotten. I want to see guns that stand out and say “Here I am. Shoot me.” I didn’t see that this year. I didn’t see one impressive new break barrel that I wanted to open my wallet for. So this year I’m hoping to see something new that holds up to promises either spoken or shown.


        • Well that sure makes buying your next gun easier to pick. No plastic for John even if it has the features you want. And definitely not if it has never been reviewed. And as far as new gun designs; know telling how much time we got left to find that out. ;)


          • I like guns, but I never once heard any serious airgunner say “Oh, more plastic! I just love injection molded plastic! Please make the entire gun plastic!” But that is what we are getting. They feel cheap, look cheap, function cheap, and they are cheap. I want good quality stuff. I don’t want to be all jazzed about a gun finally get it and with my first look at it my jaw hits the ground. Not because I’m impressed but because I’m stunned that I just paid for a gun that is made 95% of injection molded plastic and I can’t locate a single hint of metal. When I was growing up this indicated the gun was a toy not a gun. So I want to see some innovative guns made from gun material instead of toy materials. I just don’t think any gun should be coming out of the box looking and feeling like a toy, plastic from muzzle to butt and every feature that would make up for that is all molded in and non-functional. That isn’t innovative no matter how you dress up the gun. It’s a gun that is lying to you. That’s all this is about. If a company is promising innovation and unique features even if the gun is mostly plastic, then deliver. Don’t just get lazy and mold everything in and dress up an old design in a new skin. That’s all these airgun makers are really doing. Just reskinning old gun designs. I don’t want that. The most innovative thing crosman has done lately is make a small viewing window on the bb magazine so you know when you have filled it. And even that is getting old now. That’s not what I want.



              • Reliability, dependability, quality. That is what my core needs are. If they say they are going to innovate, then I expect that too. I don’t want the innovation to be a lie. I will tear the gun apart to find out if it is innovative. I’ve done it before. So, to the gun makers….. don’t lie to me. I will find out if you did. I’m a gun maker too.


                • Better Idea. Buy the gun and give it to me. And I will write to you and let you know how it is after I test it. And I will even try my darnedest not to have to take it apart.

                  I think I will stop now. I see I’m on the way to the principals office.


                  • I’m simply calling all these big name gun makers on substituting toy quality and calling it innovation. That’s not innovation. That is trying to sell us junk quality and telling us how great it is. That’s why I’m sticking with what I know is a quality product. Seriously, why should I pay $180 for a gun skinned in plastic? (MTR177) when I already have guns skinned in plastic that cost me $70 and they just scream “TOY”? As a customer, I’m worth more than that.


  20. I’m guessing the new thing that some already have is a butterfly-style hand pump. Everyone has butterfly jacks (even if they only find out about it for the first time when they hit a nail on the road) so we all know they increase force easily. Crosman was working on a butterfly pump, maybe it went somewhere.


    • Well, my discovery pump is fairly worn out, so show me that unicorn and I’ll definitely buy one of those butterfly pumps. I do wonder why these haven’t been seen except at the yearly shot show. I suspect they don’t quite work as promised since they haven’t been put on the market in…what…. 3 years now?


  21. … better yet… the finally in production version of the Mav77 promised 2 years ago… and yes, some of us have them already… the B40.


    • So if some already have the gun under a different label, I wonder if this “new” gun is actually new or is it just another re-branded old gun which we have also seen done several times this year. One that comes to mind is the Walther SG9000 which got re-branded a Beretta 9000 or some such then called new even though it was not new. I’ve been keeping my wallet closed for this rebranding too.


  22. I took some time to do some number crunching and I couldn’t come up with a PCP gun for around $100 even if I stripped it down to bare bones and used found materials, and parts of old dead guns. So I’m really getting curious about just what kind of air gun you might have come up with. This is something I’m trying to do on paper as a theory exercise and I just can’t get the numbers anywhere under $200. At least not with keeping anything close to it being accurate or useful. I tried pistol versions, rifle versions, and can’t make it happen. So I’m very curios about this $100 pcp gun.


    • John,

      I share your preference for wood and steel guns. I have old school tastes and find the wood and steel guns are more pleasing to look at and are easier to hold on target.

      On the other hand, the plastic guns are more comfortable to carry on long hikes in the desert, and the finish on the stocks are easier to care for.

      Plastic guns have brought air guns into the price range where more and younger shooters can enjoy them. Some of these guns are pretty damn nice for their price. How many kids were introduced to airgunning by the Crosman 760? Or the Daisy 856 or 880? Which has a bigger impact on the hobby, an “adult” high-quality wood and steel gun, or a plastic and steel durable shooter?

      Not all plastic guns are entry. I have a plastic and steel Gamo that could be described as lower-mid-level that I think is pretty nice. Don’t forget the Beeman P17, a virtual copy of their P3 at a fraction of the price, both “plastic guns”.

      If you go to a gun show, you will find probably half of the new guns for sale are “plastic guns”. Every type of gun, except revolvers.

      I like the heft and solidity of wood and steel guns. Wood-stocked guns can be things of beauty that are worth the effort to maintain. But plastic guns do have their advantages and their place.

      Les


      • Wood is always nice and metal parts just seem to be a requirement to me. Plastic has it’s place in guns. My ar15 has plastic parts but I don’t like the cheap look and feel of a 95% plastic gun. I wouldn’t mind a plastic stock and steel barrel, but I really want to see something new. Not just a reskinned old idea or a rebranded old idea. I saw quite a bit of that in 2013 so I stopped buying guns and started looking at what I had and saying “I can tear this apart and make something as good as this new gun. And I do it.

        I started my journey with a Crosman 760 and I have gone far in that journey, I finally got my perfect airgun a few years back now but I always look for something interesting. Sadly what I find interesting has also let me down in a big way. What good is a new and exciting gun design if it doesn’t shoot straight? So I’m hoping to see something much better in 2014 than what was offered in 2013. I want to see more than just fake molded in features that could make a half way decent gun a great gun. I hope to see that happen. I’m always hopeful to see something new and exciting that I have to have.

        I know that there needs to be cheaper guns for new airgunners, but seems that was the majority of what was offered. Cheap plastic guns and a noah’s flood of airsoft. To me that”s very aggravating when I’m hoping for something I never saw before and most of it is airsoft or cheapies.


  23. BB,

    We just got back from being in the hospital for the past 24 hours. My wife has a large kidney stone and kidney infection. A stent is now in place and next is a lithotripsy.

    I think I know the secret behind the $100 PCP. If I’m correct, Gunfun1 is very close :)


  24. I can’t wait for the 100$ PCP either but I think people would complain after buying it “they have added this for a few bucks more” “they could have done that for a few more dollars” “I would have been willing to pay a few extra $$$ to get that”

    I think it’s a great idea and Crosman with their online custom shop could pick it up and run away with it.
    You pick the stock, the power, repeater or single shot, the length or the barrel, shroud or not, high velocity valve or a high shot count one, 2000 or 3000 psi fill etc…

    Don’t know what’s stoping them…

    J-F


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


8 + = 17

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>