Why can’t “they” do it? + SHOT Show 2014: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Before I begin today’s report, there are a couple SHOT Show updates. First, there were numerous inquiries about Crosman’s butterfly hand pump. Are they going to build it? Is it dead? Stuff like that.

They told me the pump is still an active project. The problem is that they’re trying to find a manufacturer that can build it to the quality they’ll accept. They keep getting samples from different companies, but there are always problems. They’re not going to put it on the market unless it’s fully developed. So, there’s no date when the pump will come to market.

Why don’t they build it themselves? Read today’s report to answer that question.

A couple folks wondered about the Chinese-made TX200 copy that Crosman has shown at past shows. That project is dead. Crosman told me they weren’t satisfied with the quality of the gun being made, specifically in the area of the safety. They feel it cannot be made to their standards, so they aren’t going any farther with it.

I was asked specifically by blog reader Ariel if I’d seen the Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter. I hadn’t, so I went back to the Air Venturi booth and looked for it. They had it sitting on a counter, so I took a photo and here it is.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter
The Air Arms Ultimate Sporter was featured by Air Venturi at the SHOT Show.

Simon Gibbon from Air Arms wasn’t in the both when I was there, so I don’t have an answer about Canadian importation. I will continue to work on finding out.

Next, I stumbled across a Pardini dealer right here in the United States! Pardini is an Italian maker that makes both firearms and airguns. I’ve tested their 10-meter target pistols in the past. They’re in the same quality category as Walther and Steyr, but they don’t have quite the ergonomics. They offer both electronic and mechanical triggers on their guns, and the grips are either designed by Morini or heavily influenced by them.

Parditni air pistol
Nice to know there’s a Pardini dealer in the U.S.!

Incidentally, the man in the booth was not the Pardini dealer, but his friend. This man custom builds handguns and showed me a 9mm pistol that shot a 1.8 inch 10-shot group at 100 yards! He also showed me a rifle he makes. He builds the action and it’s rigid as any sniper rifle. The 100-yard groups were 0.3 inches!

Big news!
The last find at this year’s show may prove to be the best one if things pan out. It’s a new type of sight. When I walked up to the booth, a woman was standing in the aisle asking if people wanted to look though the sight, which attaches to the rear of a rifle. Since it was mounted on a Gamo breakbarrel, I decided to have a look. Lo and behold, this is an optical type sight that uses passive light! Think of a dot sight without any batteries!

That’s an over-simplification and also somewhat misleading, but the See All Open Sight appears to have the precision of a dot sight and the size and light weight of a peep sight.

SeeAll sight
See All Open Sight may be just what the doctor ordered for all who want open sights on air rifles that are currently without them.

I have to give Edith credit for making the connection for me. I saw in general terms how useful this sight might be; but when she mentioned that it could be put on a TX200, the lights came on! How many times have I had to explain to people that guns like the TX simply cannot have open sights installed. Well, maybe now they can!

Why can’t “they” build it?
Today’s report seems very appropriate in light of the Crosman butterfly hand pump and underlever spring rifle projects. As consumers, we usually see new products after they’ve gone through a long development process — only some of which we understand. Today, I’d like to talk about what goes on behind the curtain.

When we think of a certain product, we think in terms of performance. If we have some experience, we may lump things like reliability and maintainability into our definition of performance. But that’s as far as it goes.

We don’t think about what it takes to make the things we desire. That’s all hidden from view, but it’s at least as big and important as performance and can spell the difference between success and disaster for a product.

We think products are in the U.S. Space Program, where billions of dollars are available to support them. So, if something is possible, we expect every new product to have it. Let’s look at a few examples to see how it works.

Materials
Let’s start with materials. Fussybritches LTD builds cool precharged rifles that look gorgeous and shoot quite well. The only problem is that they’re expensive! You’ll pay over $2,000 for one of their FoxxxHunter Premium guns. But Cool Cal Eber out in Portland sent a FoxxxxHunter Premium over to his contact in China, Mr. Har Lee, and he found a factory that can make it for $560, retail. They can even replicate the beautiful walnut stock for that price, which isn’t surprising since Fussybritches buys their stocks from them already! The only thing is that Factory 12 cannot get the correct seal material for the valve seats and o-rings. Also, the metal finish isn’t quite as nice, and there are divots in the wood stock — only some of which are filled with putty. The Chinese guns are known to leak down over time, and the stocks are often filled with blank spots that are wood putty over holes.

But Cool Cal isn’t worried. He says, “Anyone who wants to save that much on an air rifle has got to expect to do some work on their own.” The problem is that Bob Sixpack bought one thinking he was getting a heck of a deal by cutting out the middleman, only to discover what the term support really means. Now, he has a rifle that doesn’t hold air, and Bob is no mechanic.

Size
Mammoth Air, Incorporated makes some of the best airguns for the money. But Mammoth has expanded their production capacity to the limit. They run 2 shifts a day, 6 days a week, with factory maintenance, cleaning and machine repairs accounting for the additional time. The cost to build another 50,000 square-foot factory building (which is the cheapest structure per square foot they can build and still get all the power, OSHA, floor loading, cooling, waste removal and additional requirements met) is $7,500,000. Then, there’s the additional workforce needed to staff the extra capacity, plus the machinery to fill the building.

Mammoth has 27 fabrication centers and 3 process lines in their current 350,000 square-foot plant, which all need upgrading. Their CNC machines are 14 years old and have reached the end of their expansion limits. They can continue to do what they’ve been doing for many years, but they can’t make more parts, nor can they do many of the complex operations that Mammoth would like to take advantage of.

New machinery and upgrades to the existing plant have been estimated at $43,000,000 over the next 7 years. Mammoth is doing great right now, but there isn’t enough money in the budget to build the new plant, to say nothing of tooling it and still upgrade the current production capability. And the additional workforce has to be factored in, including the cost to train and maintain them, as well as the loss of productivity over the period they’re introduced into the current workforce.

So, Mammoth has been looking outside their plant for additional production capacity. They don’t want to do it, and their customers hate it when they learn some products aren’t really made in the Mammoth plant, but what can they do? They can phase out older products that don’t bring in the revenue they used to; but when they do that, the diehard supporters of those traditional products go on the warpath — claiming Mammoth is loosing sight of their heritage.

Mammoth appears to be a giant, and it really is. But what you don’t see is that the giant is spinning 30,000 plates at the same time over a concrete floor!

Sources
Instant Airguns is just the reverse of Mammoth. They’re small and light on their feet. They can make changes fast, but what they can’t do are some of the more exotic steps to make their own parts. I will choose just one — barrel making. Making barrels is a specialty trade, much the same as optics. It takes a huge investment in both machinery as well as skilled people to make good barrels. Sure, one craftsman can hand-rifle 120 good barrels in a year and still do the other things needed to make airguns. But Instant Airguns makes over 7,000 top-quality airguns each year. They make most of their guns, but the barrels they buy for the reasons mentioned.

Let’s say you’re a well-known barrel maker who knows the market. You know that Instant Airguns is renowned for using your barrels. In fact, they tout them in their advertising! So, if you want to charge a little more for your barrels, don’t you think Instant Airguns will pay? Of course they will! If they could make their own barrels they would, but you know it would cost them a bundle just to get started. You’re in a comfortable position. And Instant Airguns customer will just have to settle for periodic price increases.

Capital equipment
You’re a medium-sized airgun maker who makes a fine sporting rifle. It’s accurate and beautiful, but you take a lot of criticism because your triggers are creepy. The reason they are is that you’re drilling the pinholes on a drill press with an indexing bed fixture to hold the receivers. The best tolerance you can hold that way is a maximum of 0.005 inches in the plus dimension between all the pinholes. To accommodate the variation in the pinholes, you have to drill the holes larger than the pins. There’s a 6-axis CNC machine that could hold the tolerance to +/- 0.0005 inches, but it costs $450,000, and you just don’t have the money.

A number of disgruntled customers have reamed the pinholes of their triggers and installed larger diameter pins. They berate you on the chat forums for being too stupid to realize this is the simple solution. What they fail to understand is that hand-reaming adds a half-hour to the build time and approximately $130 to the retail cost. It seems easy to them to do one rifle this way, but it’s a killer to do 340 of them in each 8-hour shift. And it would kill about 80 percent of your sales to charge that much more for your gun.

The list goes on and on. When I meet with industry executives, owners and engineers, they tell me my blog reports like this one read like the history of their company. But no matter what they do, they can’t get most of their customers to understand these problems. And perhaps they shouldn’t even try. This is business, pure and simple. It’s their responsibility to wade through the jungle of problems and wind up with a great product.

But just for today, I thought you’d like a look at the other side of producing airguns.

76 thoughts on “Why can’t “they” do it? + SHOT Show 2014: Part 4

  1. Please don’t try to confuse or deter me with the facts.

    I’m a passionate airgunner and therefore deserve the best and can’t be bothered with price point. If you don’t deliver a problem free airgun my passion has lead me to multiple airgun forums where I will unload on you with both barrels.



      • GF1

        Kevin was being scathingly sarcastic. He was making BBs point by playing the part of the bullheaded consumer. His grasp of sarcasm may even surpass my own. But if it is the last thing I do, I will lift my sarcasm skills to a level that makes his look like utter sincerity.


        • All I can say is I think I have been behaving myself pretty good here on BB’s Blog. I HAVE refined my personality. There were darker times for me in the past but I over came that evil time. All I can do now is force myself to fight off those sarcastic thoughts and force myself to enjoy things and have fun. You know Gunfun1.

          Did I have you going there! :) But seriously I write down in my comments usually things that I have experienced. And sometimes I don’t think it all the way through about what somebody else’s point may be. Or Like with the new AirForce Escapes that just came out. I was just pointing out the differences and not doing it to embarrass BB. Mr.BB just knows way to much stuff. And you just cant catch all the details with a hundred things going on around you. And besides that even makes him a bigger and better person by telling us about what he found out when he talked to AirForce about it. Some people I know would try to cover it up and not admit anything.

          So my little article I just wrote about the production world is what I have delt with for the last 30 or so years. And I was expressing my point of view about things I have seen. And there are more aspects that can just make things more difficult than need be when your try to accomplish something on a project.


      • Gunfun1,

        ????????

        My comment wasn’t directed at anyone. I was playing the role of many airgunners I read about especially on other airgun sites.

        Slinging Lead knows me well. It was one of my sarcastic moments that has been honed by years of reading airgun forums.

        kevin


        • I figured you were being sarcastic. And I thought maybe what I wrote could offend somebody.

          Alot of things go on behind the scenes that are invisible to some people. And I wanted to show some of the craziness ( and notice I said some ) that is involved and why some projects take longer than others. Most of the good company’s will not release a product unless it will be a good product. And sometimes that takes more time than everybody would like. But that is why those company’s are still in business.

          And ain’t that funny how the other forums will do that to you. Make you sarcastic.


  2. BB you did bring up a lot of good points. As you already know you just scratched the surface with the things you just talked about.

    One of the biggest things we deal with at work is process improvement. We have to maintain our normal production that has to be met for the day. But we also have to implement the changes to the process for the improvement. And that has to be scheduled in after multiple people from different aspects of the company decide if it is good to do.

    Some are simple like changing the way parts are received and delivered from one work station or area to the next. So that can happen pretty fast and efficiently. All the way up to a different piece of equipment to do the job. But the new piece of equipment has a learning curve involved not only for the person operating it but the person that has to learn to set it up. That usually does not happen very fast. Some times it does. But not usually.

    And with each new job before the cutting tools start cutting the metal somebody has to bid the job. Its got to have a layout made for the machine or machines it will run in. Then cost of holders and tooling has to be priced. Somebody has to see and find out if that tooling can be made or holders for the tooling is available. Material cost has to be figured. And labor cost and shipping costs. All that has to be accounted for when a person or persons write up the bid.

    Then you see if the new part is even worth investing in to make. Then when somebody says yes the new product is a go. Then you can start finding out when and how soon you can start getting the pieces together to set up the machine or machines to produce the part.

    Once the machines do get together and the setups are done and you run the first piece off that’s when you finally start to see if the design is good. Then comes the R&D (research and development). That’s were things cost money and are time consuming.

    Something as little as a hole going through lets say the hinge point on a break barrel. Say it needs to have a bigger hole on one side so the head of a bolt can be flush instead of sticking out. And this is something that wasn’t bid into the job so you just raised the cost. Sounds simple. Before you just drilled straight through with a drill and all they want now is a bigger diameter hole drilled also deep enough for the head of the bolt to set in. Now you have to have a step drill or counter bore tool made that costs way more than your regular drill or you have to add another operation to the machine if the machine has another position open to accept another tool. If not it has to be added in at another spot on the manufacturing line.

    Then what happens when the design isn’t working out. Then in a sense you have to repeat the process and make the changes where needed and see if the current setup will be able to adapt to those changes. Then try again. You wouldn’t believe how aggravating it is to work hard on a setup then find out it has to be changed all around again. Sometimes it goes smooth and sometimes it don’t.

    And sorry BB another one of my comments that is long as your article. But I stopped here. I have seen some crazy things done and crazy decisions made through out time. Production is a hard business to be in. And then to break even let alone make a profit when you own a business in this day and age.


  3. In an effort to show how complicated things are for businesses you have oversimplified.

    Take Mammoth Air Inc. for example. Before they can even build their 50,000 square foot plant at a cost of seven and a half million dollars they will probably be required to have an environmental impact study performed. The study can cost as much as $500,000 or so. Ignorant bureaucrats will analyze the results of the EIS and arbitrarily decide if you are allowed to build your plant, or if you have just thrown $500,000 into the wind. Bribes will expedite this situation.

    If the plant is built, the waste stream generated will be carefully scrutinized. The cost of maintaining the wastewater treatment system alone has the potential to put you out of business.

    To give you an example, I used to work for an environmental Engineering/Consulting company. We were hired by a technology company, lets call them Lou Cent technologies. The wastewater discharge from the factory was ordered by the government to be redirected from a very large treatment plant accustomed to treating industrial waste, to a much smaller municipal plant with little capacity to treat chemical waste. To comply with the new standards set by the smaller plant, a very obscure chemical compound had to be removed before the water could be legally discharged. The tech company built a new building, and hired a slew of engineers to design a treatment system to remove the compound. The thing is, most of their engineers agreed that it wouldn’t work. So they hired a consulting company (ours) to take on the impossible task of operating it, so they would have someone to blame when it failed. Long story short, after 2 years of futile effort, the system didn’t work, and the entire factory was sold to the Japanese, then our company was let go, and after 1 more year, the new consulting company walked off the job. The Japanese company then had to shut down the production process that was creating the offending waste stream.

    The moral of the story is, things are a million times more expensive and complicated than meets the eye.

    Sorry to bore you to death.


    • You are correct when you stated “bribes will expedite this situation”. Either through a lobbyist or flat out bribe is how our government operates currently. I’ve been a general contractor for 16 years and red tape and bureaucracy is all but destroying my trade. In Alaska workman’s comp insurance alone runs me about 35.00$ an hour per employee for my framing crews. I was doing some reflecting on my Early days of building homes when I had an unsettling epiphany. I don’t think a young man could possibly make it starting up a residential contracting company these days even if he worked from the time he woke up until the time he went to bed, ate peanut butter sandwiches, drove a rusty but reliable pickup, lived in a dump of a shack that he owed little to nothing on and was very competent in his trade. I believe our senators and house of congress are starting to make Tammany Hall look like UNICEF.


      • Ben

        Tammany Hall makes our current government look squeaky clean by comparison. Back then you could start a business and have a reasonable chance of succeeding. The founder of Home Depot stated that he could never have created his company in today’s climate of hostility and regulation.

        The ticket nowadays is to start up a “green energy” company. Then you can get a half billion dollar government loan, and then go out of business a couple of months later without paying back the taxpayers a dime. See “Solyndra”. Normally the liquidation of a bankrupt company would reimburse the government loan first. For some strange reason, that did not hold true in this case.



  4. I have enjoyed your Shot Show blogs. I must say that your description of behind the scene business issues and challenges can relate to manufacturing many other products as well.
    I started reading your blog every day last December and like them so well that I also started reading all of the archives from the beginning. I am up to February 2008. I have a question that I hope you will forgive if I haven’t caught up to the answer yet.
    This is regarding the lack of a good scope stop provision on Diana springers. What do you think about drilling a hole for a scope stop pin if the gun is already out of warranty? Mine is a 1986 vintage Diana model 45. Thanks


    • And a related question from me: has Diana started incorporating a provision for a good scope stop (and altered the design to remove the need for a droop-compensating mount) from the most recent versions of their springers? If not, is the reason one of the ones listed in the post?

      I’m going to get a recoiless Diana one day and it would be nice if they manage to make scoping it as easy as a Weihrauch or AirArms.



        • I’ve had two and neither needed compensating mounts… I guess I better quit while I’m ahead – maybe the next three would have needed them :-)


      • nowhere,

        The recoilless Dianas (the 54) do recoil. The shooter just doesn’t feel it. So they need the same recoil scope stops as the other models.

        As for why Diana changed their scope base on the rifle, there are many guesses, including the fact they just didn’t like another company (UTG) fixing a problem with their guns.

        B.B.


        • In one respect, the m54 may be even worse for recoil effects…

          Since the rearward impulse isn’t buffered by the mass of the stock and the shooter, it has both the forward shock of the piston stroke ending, but also the shock of a fast rearward impulse (remember Newton: while the piston is moving forward, the receiver/barrel are moving backwards — ideal would maybe be for the piston to bottom out just as the receiver reaches maximum rear travel)


    • tabbrown,

      Drilling the scope base does work. Make the hole wide enough that the pin’s load is spread out, because the base is aluminum.

      But won’t the UTG scope bases fit your gun? We made them for those Diana scope bases, and the recoil shock shoulder butts against the front of the scope base to hold it still. Since there are many iterations of the 45, I am not sure what your scope base looks like, so you will have to make sure these bases fit.

      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/UTG_Scope_Mount_Base_Fits_RWS_Diana_34_36_38_45_with_TO5_Trigger_Compensates_for_Droop_Stops_Scope_Shift/2298

      I linked to the base for the 34 and 45. If your rifle has a lot of droop, that’s the one you need. But if the droop is less, the base made for the sidelevers works better:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/UTG_Scope_Mount_Base_Fits_RWS_Diana_48_52_54_460_Magnum_with_TO5_Trigger_Compensates_for_Droop_Stops_Scope_Shift/2297

      B.B.


      • Thanks, B.B.
        Not knowing any better at the time, I bought a 6 screw one piece mount from BKL. My old model 45 does have a steel base though and, I expect, a leather seal. I will look into the UTG mount.


  5. Great blog as always! But that “see all open sight” caught my eye. I searched it on the net and found it. I read up on it and it was a decent price and seemed pretty neat. So I orderd one. For the most part I like open type sights so I’ll try this one out on my airguns that don’t come with open sights. It looks like it might be better than a red dot and no battery’s. Plus it’s under $100. It will only fit on a weaver or a pictany rail without an adapter.


    • Hey Greg,

      Please let me know what you think of it when you get your hands on it. I have been thinking of using a red dot or something on top of a scope for quick, close shots and this looks like it just might fit the bill.



  6. I hope you will review the See All Sight in the future. That looks very interesting. With the insert type Pica-tinny to dovetail adapters, this may be a great option for pistol format Prod or equivalent. It looks to be high enough to clear the mag, short enough to fit behind it, no front sight to mount to shroud or barrel band, and not too big to be a holster issue.

    I recently fit some Williams sights to a a custom Prod I made. Basically a Prod with a 1701P air tube. Shortened barrel and shroud and took about 3″ off the overall length to make it about the size of a 1377. About as long of a pistol as I can stand. Red dots didn’t do it for me, either. Anyway, if I known about this, might have given it a try.

    PS: Liked the company analogy/insight.


  7. B.B.,

    Excellent installment on the Shot Show. I can practically assure you I will purchase one, perhaps two, See All Sights.

    Michael


  8. B.B.,
    It seem like Daisy got the problem of buying outside vendor barrels, solved. The offered a gun with a Lothar Walther barrel (model 753 and 853), and then offer the same gun without the Walther barrel (model 953), and let the customer decide. I owned both and see no difference in accuracy, but other people must have that Walther barrel so they are willing to pay the extra $200, which I think is dumb for an inexpensive gun.


  9. I understand the thing B.B. I work in the Automation Equipment and have experience all phases of this, from both sides. It’s why I try to be tolerant. It’s hard sometimes. ;)

    Thanks for the insight!


  10. Interesting blog, BB!

    I work in power generation and am continually amazed at the lack of knowledge of what it takes for your lights to go on when you flip a switch. We deal with old equipment, the epa and a dozen other regulatory agencies that don’t necessarily agree with each other’s policies and decisions. Constant employee training, vendors who can’t deliver what they promised, old equipment for which no spares exist, budget magic, a generally clueless public who are our customers and did I mention old equipment that nobody wants to pay more on their bills so it can get upgraded?

    I understand why Crosman and others will now and then drop a product that they were initially excited about…

    /Dave


  11. B.B. and everybody

    Right now I am in a middle of something, trying to choose a new scope for one of my PCP air rifles. So far I found 2 scopes that match my requirements: Bushnell Elite 6-24×40 and Leupold VX2 6-18×40 AO.
    I’ve got only 1 requirement: the brightest and clearest picture available at 16x.
    Your opinion and any other models you would recommend?

    Regards,
    duskwight



      • B.B.

        Thanks!
        So the Bushnell is the brighter one and that means my gut feeling was on the right wave.
        What I also like about it is smaller exit pupil – 1.7 mm vs 2.2 mm in Leupold case, and in my situation that seems to be critical for accurate shooting ( I can’t get myself to wear contacts, too afraid of something in my eye. Perhaps one day I’ll force myself to try, but for now I have to put glasses into equation and head positioning means too much to me).

        duskwight


  12. B.B.

    Excellent blog!
    Making airguns – my oh my, I know the process all too well. Every fact and scenario you’ve mentioned, with scratches and bruises all included. And that’s just what happens to 1 man making 1 test rifle, not the industry maker, who’s to see and control quality of thousands of parts and hundreds of workers, not to mention the machine and tools park, buildings, power, waste etc.
    That, I think makes 2 poles of airgun makers – those who make millions of el cheapo guns from raw iron costing a little bit more than their package (and promising 1600 fps with their SupaDupAlloy pellets) and those who make select hundreds, but top-notch, lasting for centuries, laser-precise and costing x8 of their actual price at the factory. However the actual margin is actually the same in both cases. The only gain in “select hundreds” is less time spent on answering support and repair calls and a good reputation.

    duskwight


  13. Can’t wait to see the review on that “See All” sight. I’ve seen battery free “Red dot” sights in the past, but some were very expensive. There is even Fiber Optic Battery-free Dot Sights out there that have 4X magnification on them. But this one is so light and compact, it looks very promising. Thanks for the great reports BB.


    • I just read on line about the “See All” sight (and watched a video of it). It kind of reminds me of an open sight in the fact that you can’t look “though” it, you look “over” it like a rear leaf sight. I still like it. Very compact, and very rugged.


  14. B.B.,

    Your comment about the guy in the pardini booth that makes rifles intrigues me:

    “He also showed me a rifle he makes. He builds the action and it’s rigid as any sniper rifle. The 100-yard groups were 0.3 inches!”

    I’ve searched for this rifle on the websites for the two pardini dealers in the USA. All I find are the 3 pardini built air rifles. Do you know that guys name or his company name?

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      You and Robert from Arcade are the 2 people I thought of when I was at that booth. I’m slammed right now, but this afternoon I will send you an email with photos that will astound you. I’ll also send the contact name.

      I’m thinking of getting a rifle from him.

      B.B.


  15. B.B.,

    I visited the See All Sight website after reading today’s blog. Compact, innovative, made in USA, and an inexpensive alternative for hunting and plinking. I’ll buy one.

    Consumer knowledge and expectation are the important part of “Why Can’t They Build It?” I recently purchased a Benjamin Discovery & pump combination. I was buying at a modest price point and expected compromises, and I knew what to expect. I’m very pleased. Crosman clearly made compromises to control costs, and delivered a traditional, quality product at a good price.

    I’ve thought a lot about your $100 PCP and hope it leads to a new family of less expensive, low pressure PCP guns and pumps.

    I’d like to see a variation on your $100 PCP concept. I’m interested in a rifle of price, quality and appearance similar to the Benjamin Discovery (higher quality and price than a 397/392), but that is a low pressure PCP with on-board pump, and a valve and air tube allowing a few shots before “topping off.” Could Crosman build that and make money?

    As always, thank you for writing this blog, and thanks for covering SHOT Show for us,

    RB


    • RB,

      Crosman could build it. In fact, Benjamin built at least 3 different models like that in the 1930s (700, 710, 720). But whether the buying public is receptive to something that involves thinking is the big question. I know Crosman has to really puzzle that one out before they build a new gun.

      B.B.


    • Two things can happen. Todays blog Tell you a lot. Crosman will develop a Benjamin Discovery with plastic receiver like on the 1377 or have the people who made the QB 79/78 with a larger reservoir.


  16. BB.
    Great blog as usual.
    I love your explanation of the manufacturing philosophy. I am trying to place Crosman into what you described. They are a large company and I am sure profitable. They make guns that so many people like despite the less that great quality. To improve quality would result in a corresponding increase in sales price of their product. They are happy to let the after market industry perfect their guns. I don’t mind that system at all, seems win win to me. At least one can get his Crosman exactly the way he wants it.



  17. Sounds like BB can be the one man to unite all of the above Company’s for the common greater good problem solved…(little humor ha ha .)


  18. BB,

    I’ll add to the chorus of admirers of today’s analysis of the manufacturing process! Very pretty work.

    I do have a problem: I’m trying to retrofit the new improved trigger from PA on my Izzy-46M and find that the set screw to hold the original trigger in place seems to either be frozen or loctited in place. I could buy a bigger diameter handle screw driver on the weekend when I finally get the dam cast off my leg and can walk a bit. And that might work. In a sense the screw is sacrificial in that neither it nor the threads on the trigger blade will be needed to secure the new trigger.

    But I’m usually not one for brute force on precision equipment. Does anybody have any better ideas for getting that screw to move? Solvent; limited heat (no more than from a hair dryer); cold?

    I’m a bit amazed at how much the new trigger assembly looks like one off of an FWB or other fine 10m pistol. Pretty much the same fitting and the same adjustments.

    pete



      • The notion of a left handed thread just completely slipped my mind. And the instructions are in the basement where I can’t reach them until I get the cast off and can walk again.

        Thanks, BB! I’ll give it a try, but gently.

        PeteZ


    • I use some valve grinding paste on the tip of the screwdriver. That helps the screwdriver grip better.
      Put the screwdriver in the head of the screw and give the screwdriver a tap on the top with a small hammer. Sometimes that helps free the threads. Then I give the screwdriver a quick sharp turn while pushing down.

      That will usually do the trick.


    • Pete,

      Loctite can be loosened with heat. I sometimes use a soldering iron on small ones like that with good result. No sense in chewing up the screw if you don’t need to, but I’m sure you can get a replacement if you do. Izhmash uses standard metric.

      /Dave



  19. Wonder if we can get Bob Taylor interested in airguns… Considering how much CNC related automation Taylor Guitars has innovated without losing quality…


  20. I don’t know that Loctite or similar was used, but I don’t know how or why the screw would be so firmly stuck otherwise. I’ll start with a good screwdriver, and if (when) that fails, I’ll try heat. I think the first source of heat might best be a good hair dryer. The only soldering iron I have is a 55 (sic) year old Weller soldering gun. Still works, but it’s a 1,000 watt gun. Bit of overkill, I think.

    pz


    • Pete Z
      Sometimes the side screws and bottom screws on the Crosman and Benjamin guns that hold the air transfer valve in place in the tube are real tight.

      I have ran into them with blue loctite or some thing similar on the threads or just torqued down real tight. If you know what type of thread it is (left or right hand threads) and you do what I talked about above it usually works.

      I try to stay away from any kind of heat especially on air valves because they have the sealing o-rings on them that you can damage. I don’t think a hair dryer would hurt but I don’t think that would actually be enough heat either.

      Here is some thing we do at work but it does require pretty good heat to do.So again I don’t think I would use heat. But any way we heat the head of the bolt up and then take wax and touch it to the head of the bolt and the wax will wick down inside the threads and free the bolt up.

      Its up to you. I just thought I would throw that out there.


      • As of now I don’t know whether that damned screw is left or right hand thread! I’ve tried it both ways with identical results: the screw does not move. I’m about to plug in a 1500 watt hair dryer; if that doesn’t loosen it, I’ll move on to the more powerful methods Gunfun and others have suggested, but that will have to wait until a) the snow stops and the roads a clear, and b) the cast is off my foot, and I can drive to Home Despot or Radio Schlock and get the needed supplies.

        Wax: will candle wax do, or do you suggest something else? Would a mini butane torch supply enough or too much heat?

        What about a droplet of graphite to penetrate and reduce the friction?

        I suppose I could pull out my small ratchet socket driver and fit a screwdriver tip. If the screw is just simply too tight, that will do the trick.

        I’m open to new ideas….

        pete


        • Pete,

          I have a IZH 46 as well but do not know where the screw is you’re trying to release. Give me a better description and tonight I’ll see if I can loosen mine up. As for lubricants, try putting some WD-40 or other rust release liquid such as rustoleum, on it. A great solvent to use is a drop of auto transmission fluid and several drops of acetone mixed together and applied – both the head and the screw hole would be a great idea if the hole is accessible.

          The idea of putting your old Weller soldering gun tip on the screw and trying to heat it up is a better idea, to me, than the wide open hot spray of a 1500 w hair dryer, which will heat a wide area up.

          Anyway, I leave work in about an hour and with the snow, should be home by 7 PM.

          Fred DPRoNJ

          PS – glad you’re back on the net and feeling “feisty”.


        • Candle wax is what we use. We drip it on the heated bolt head. I would try to stay away from the heat though. It could make it swell and get tighter while its hot.

          Im going to ask somthing silly. The gun is not cocked is it. That will put force on the trigger asemmbly.

          But if Fred has one he will have the best answer.


          • No, the gun is not cocked, and the bolt is open. Heat didn’t work. I’m going to try penetrating oil.

            I’m pretty sure that it’s a right handed thread; all the other screws are right handed except for the sight blade screw.

            And if I still can’t get the old trigger off, I guess I will have to send the new trigger back to PA.

            I guess I could take a hack saw to it, since once the old blade is off, I can discard it. But that seems rather much work for a marginal gain in the accuracy with which I can shoot it.

            PZ


            • Or drill the head of the bolt off with a drill bit a little bigger than the diameter of the threads.

              And also if you have the bolt open dont that latch th trigger?


              • GF1,

                I responded to Pete off line but I may as well keep you and everyone else in the loop. The screw is definitely right handed. The diameter must be 2.5 maybe 3 mm (very tiny) so it can’t be torqued that tightly. Mine came right off but the screw slot is very shallow. I had to look for several minutes before finding a good fitting bit. I told Pete to put a socket behind the trigger so he can bear down on the screwdriver. I also suggested trying some penetrating oil and to make sure he’s got a good fit between the driver bit and the screw head. WD 40 will do in a pinch as will transmission fluid mixed with nail polish remover (ATF and acetone – the answer!).

                Let’s see how he does now. You know, I never knew that darn screw was there or what it does? It allows one to slide the trigger forward or backwards to suit your reach! For me, it wouldn’t matter :).

                Fred DPRoNJ


        • I suspect I half-stripped the head on mine, loosening the screw enough to slide the blade all the way to the rear. Pretty sure it’s a normal thread.

          A drop of Liquid Wrench (penetrating oil) followed up by some sort of vibrator to work it in might help.

          If you don’t need the screw again (you are replacing with the PA trigger? I think that came with its own screw) trashing the head may not matter.


  21. Do you know if that sight could ever become legal for 10m competition? Probably not for AP since the rules say all metal or something like it.

    PZ


  22. Look up the Reuss mirror pistol sight and why it was banned. I would like to see a report comparing both sights. I think that they give the shooter a single optical plane to focus on.



  23. They also have another kind of maker. Me. I took the time to understand my product. I take the time to discuss an airgun with each customer. I ask them what their ideal airgun is. I then shop around to small machine shops around the country for exactly the parts I need. I then assemble exactly what my customer wants.I safety test it, tune the optics to the gun, and ship it all very carefully packed. My prices are about middle of the road and my profit margins will never put me in a fortune 500 list. But my quality and care I put into each gun is exceptional. I might make around 25 guns per year, every one exactly what the customer says is a perfect gun. Then they get rough with it, break it and it’s all my fault that such a fine precision air rifle no longer works. So I get it back, repair the abuse at my cost eating up my profit margin, and send it back. They are thrilled with it until they treat it like an M4 in a combat zone in the hands of a Nave Seal. At which point they bust up the fine craftsmanship and I insist I’m not going to fix it free again. Then I’m the bad guy because they abused my product and I expect the abuse, which I can fix, needs to be paid for.

    I have a custom gun now that UPS wrecked I have repaired. It took me about 20 minutes to repair, and around 1 1/2 hours to test and check over completely. I videoed the testing for the customer, All my time and parts came to $200. I had $400 insurance on the gun and UPS is saying that they won’t pay the entire bill for what they wrecked. Now this multi-million dollar shipping giant has eaten every bit of profit I had in this gun. Now I know why so many small businesses go belly up. The giant companies making millions of dollars per day and are filled with incompetence (UPS, but I don’t want to name a certain company. I had to schedule a pick up 3 times in order to get one package picked up.) prey on us smaller companies.


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