by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
• This is about you
• Found information available nowhere else
• What’s it worth?
• You want the basic
• Kids are a major theme
• The zen of shooting
• Cars, cameras & guitars…oh, my!
• You have a dream!
• Ft. Worth airgun show
This is about you
Some months ago, I asked you to tell me how this blog changed your life. I was referring to airguns when I said that, and everyone seemed to get it. Today, I want to tell you what you told me. This is a profile of an airgunner — written by you!
Found information available nowhere else
A number of you said you were searching the internet for some obscure bit of airgun information and stumbled across this blog. You found what you were looking for — and a lot more. The blog was so interesting that you stayed, read and were fascinated by airguns you never knew existed. Some of them were vintage guns, but many of you found modern airguns you had no idea existed.
You stayed and browsed the archives and continued to find new things. Before long, this blog had become a daily reading experience. Many of you were already firearm shooters and thought of airguns as extremely short-range shooting toys. Or, you had heard of brands like Crosman and Gamo, which advertise a lot, but were unaware of many of the other brands that make up the airgun market.
Almost all of you had experienced airguns as kids but abandoned them when you started shooting firearms. Then, you read this blog and found out that there were many shooting challenges airguns had to offer that firearms could not match. Some of you noted that shooting an airgun at 50 yards is as challenging as shooting a firearm at 300 or even 500 yards. Since it takes so much time and effort to go to a firearms range, airgunning has increased your daily shooting many times.
What’s it worth?
Several of you found this blog because you had one or two airguns you were trying to value. I answered your questions, invited you to come to the current blog and you’ve been here ever since. This is the reason I often write about vintage airguns. It brings in people who have questions — even years after the report is published — and we get a continual increase of readers and new enthusiasts. Of course, I always advise you to buy a copy of the Blue Book of Airguns so you can answer your own questions in the future.
You want the basics
Many of you said you came to this blog searching for the basics of shooting. Either you were a shooter already and wanted to know more of the fundamentals that would help you improve, or you’d never shot anything and just wanted advice on how to get started.
The most important basics have to do with safety and handling guns in a responsible manner. I try to cover that as often as possible without getting boring.
After safety, most of you are concerned with how to become more accurate with your guns. Shooting techniques, pellet selection, the correct use of sights and even things as simple as cleaning the barrel (or not) are the subjects that interest you.
Many of you are interested in how to hold a handgun for accuracy. I can relate to this because I was taught by a Distinguished Marksman. Until I received his instruction, I thought the M1911A1 was inaccurate. After he taught me, I realized that the gun was accurate and it was all in the technique.
Kids are a major theme
Children are one of the biggest reasons many of you are reading this blog. You shoot with your kids and grandkids and want to find the guns, targets, pellets and accessories that they’ll find attractive. Guns like the Daisy 880, Crosman 760 and Air Venturi Bronco are of interest to you.
In a strange twist of irony, shooting airguns with your kids has lead many of you to also shoot more with firearms. In some cases you started shooting firearms because you saw that your kids could be responsible with airguns.
Here I must remember my good friend Mac, whose hobby was giving inexpensive youth airguns to children with their parents’ blessings. Mac would first talk to the parents, who he discovered knew nothing about guns of any kind. If they were open to it, he invited them to his home with their children, where he instructed both the adults and kids in safe gun handling practices. After that he taught them to shoot. By the end of the day, they were plinking at bottlecaps and plastic army men placed 25-35 yards away. Then he brought out a youth airgun like a Diana 23 or a small CZ breakbarrel and gave it to the child — with the parents’ okay. He started many families shooting under the guise of giving a gift.
The zen of shooting
None of you used the term “Zen,” but many of you described your favorite experiences in life as those times when you’re alone with nature and have a favorite gun or fishing rod in hand. Some of you are serious hunters, while many more are just glad to get away from the daily grind and have a few hours to yourself. It doesn’t seem to matter if you shoot or not — as long as you know you can.
Airguns have allowed you to do even more of this, and closer to home! Because they’re quiet and have a limited range, you’re able to turn even a walk through your backyard or the land at your vacation home into a mini-safari.
Cars, cameras & guitars…oh, my!
You tend to share similar interests besides airguns. Many of you are gearheads. I think the secondary communication threads on this blog proves that! But besides Detroit iron and motorcycles, you also like tractors, stereos, cameras, watches, machine tools, guitars — in fact, pretty much anything that’s mechanical. And that’s a fact that I think the airgun manufacturers need to recognize. You represent the vocal tip of their marketplace iceberg. What tickles your fancy will also be interesting to the hundreds of thousands of customers who speak only with their wallets.
You have a dream!
To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, you airgunners all share similar dreams. You desire to be fascinated by the products you buy. You look for innovation, and you bask in the glory of an elegant design.
Many airgun marketeers think that all you want is velocity, when all the while you’re hoping to be surprised. That’s why you anticipated the Benjamin Trail NP2 so fervently and why it disappointed you so much when the first batch of guns had faults.
You want an airgun to be even better than advertised and to have features you wish you had thought of. While some of you are concerned with quality materials and others are fixed on the bottom line, the great majority of you want your airguns to be better than you have the right to expect. And, by “better,” you mean smoother-shooting, quieter and having a very nice trigger. While you’ll argue that you want wood and steel, you really want a good design…and plastic is okay if it’s used appropriately.
You want open sights on rifles — even on those you’ll probably scope. You want that just to have the option. You want breakbarrels with breeches that can be tightened and adjusted when needed. You want adjustable triggers that really adjust. You want breech locks on breakbarrels. You want breakbarrels that open easily, yet stay closed positively
In short, you want airguns that look like they were designed and built by people who care. People who are shooters, themselves.
This is a first look at what you readers said about how the blog changed your lives. There’s more, but I don’t want to push too much at you at one time. If there’s any interest, I’ll write a Part 2. It’s up to you.
2014 Ft. Worth airgun show update
Here’s an update on the 2014 Ft. Worth airgun show that will be held on Saturday, September 6.
Here are some of the dealers and manufacturers that have reserved tables:
Flying Dragon Air Rifles (Mike Melick)
Pilkguns (Scott Pilkington)
The following dealers and manufacturers have been invited or have indicated they may attend:
Bryan and Associates (Ron Sauls)
Also attending will be:
“American Airgunner” TV
Steve Criner — TV’s “Dog Soldier”
Eric Henderson — big bore airgun hunter and guide
Jim Chapman — writer for “Predator Extreme” magazine and airgun hunter
I’m now making a big push to get the smaller private dealers. These are the guys who have vintage airguns for sale. The club has a communal table for members to display and sell their airguns. This club is where I recently purchased the BSA Airsporter Stutzen I’ve been reporting on, a BSA Scorpion pistol and a Schimel gas pistol from the 1950s.
I am going to really shake the trees, because I know there are many airgunners who will come to this one-day show. The sheer volume of people though the door will make it worth their while to attend. Who knows what unusual airguns are going to walk through the doors?
If you have some unusual airguns to sell, this show is the place to sell them! We should get a number of advanced collectors who are attracted to this brand new airgun show because of the curious guns they may find. We’re also attracting those who are new to airguning and are looking for the vintage guns they’ve read about but have never seen.
Don’t forget our door prize and the three major raffle prizes that have been donated:
Air Venturi Bronco
AirForce Condor SS
Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE
Walther LGV Master Ultra
Other drawings and freebies are also in the works. Lots of guns, lots of freebies, lots of fun!
Mark September 6 on your calendar. You’ll want to be at the Ft. Worth airgun show in Poolville, Texas.