BB’s Christmas gift: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Happy New Year
  • If you see it, buy it
  • Buy it now
  • The gun
  • So far, so good
  • Saving everything for you
  • Seller has more
  • The rest of the report

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I promised you that today I would tell you what I got for Christmas this past year. You know that I bought the Sharp Ace Target Standard rifle, which you’ve already seen. We aren’t finished with that rifle yet, and, no, that’s not the airgun I’m talking about today. Let me set this up for you.

Right after I bought the Ace Target I got another alert from Gun Broker that another of my custom searches had a result. After just spending a lot of money on the Ace I was sure I wasn’t going to be interested, but I looked anyway. You never know when somebody is auctioning off a Sheridan Supergrade at a reasonable price.

And that was exactly what it was — a Supergrade was up for auction. This one was in very good condition and the seller said it functioned fine. Not only that — this was an early one — serial number 527. I thought it would go for a pretty good price, so I put in a bid at the highest level I was willing to pay and then sat back. However, before I left the website I noticed the seller had a “buy it now” price that was only $12 more than my high bid. Well, that was a no-brainer for me! I pushed my bid to the “buy it now” price and bought the air rifle.

Sheridan Supergrade right
Like all Supergrades, my new rifle is graceful and attractive.

Sheridan Supergrade serial number
The low serial number means the rifle was manufactured in the 1940s.

Sheridan Supergrade left
The Supergrade stock is well-formed.

Apparently this was one of those times you always hear about happening to other people, where the buyer hits the auction page just after something great has beene posted. I sent an email to the man whose Supergrade I tested for you very recently and told him what I had done. He had seen the auction, as well, but the gun disappeared before he could do anything about it.

If you see it, buy it

This is a pretty important lesson that I have learned recently. My shooting buddy, Otho, tells me that whenever he sees something he really wants in a pawn shop or at a gun show, he buys it if he can. He says things like that don’t pop up all the time. On television, Mike Wolfe on the American Pickers show says the same thing.

The problems is, most of us, like me, grew up with barely enough money to make ends meet (that’s the end of the paycheck meeting the end of the month). So we keep our money close and tight and we rarely venture too far from what we know. Well, here in the latter part of my life my finances have turned around, so there is enough to go around and some left over. But my head is still in the “poor me” posture. So, for several years I have let things like this Supergrade slip through my fingers.

Buy it now

But there is more. There was a “buy it now” price listed for the gun, and it was very reasonable. So reasonable, in fact, that unless something serious happens to the economy, I cannot lose money. I might even make a little. And bear in mind that this is a Sheridan Supergrade. It’s one of the most desirable airguns around! It’s money in the bank.

“Buy it now” prices are seldom given on guns like the Supergrade. Sellers know the market can go crazy, and if they want to make the most money from such a gun they put no reserve on it and start it for a penny. If the listing is for 14 days, they will probably make a lot more, because collectors will get into bidding wars. I have seen choice airguns vanish fast when they had “buy it now” prices.

The gun

As mentioned, this is serial number 527, so it’s a very early gun. I’m guessing it was made in 1948 or ’49. The first 200 or so had their serial numbers hand-engraved on the receo=iver, but this gun is a little too late for that.

It has the early long bolt handle that was changed sometime later in the production run. The original black finish on the bronze parts has worn down to perhaps 40 percent coverage that thankfully no one has tried to refinish. I say that because refinishing a gun like this takes away a lot of the collector value, although with a Sheridan Supergrade I don’t think it is as bad as with some airguns.

Sheridan Supergrade bolt handle
The long bolt handle of the early Supergrades adds a graceful line to the rifle.

The walnut stock and forearm are matching straight-grained walnut that has no real figure. I can tell that this wood has been refinished, because the finish looks too fresh to match the metal, and also because the stain is much blonder than a Suregrade is supposed to be. I don’t think it detracts from the gun’s appearance, but there are collectors who will shy away from a gun because of something like that. However, the low serial number offsets the refinished wood, in my opinion.

The overall length of the rifle is right at 37 inches, 20 of which are the barrel. The pull is a trifle under 13-1/2-inches. It weighs bang on 6 lbs. on my balance beam scale. When you look at a Supergrade in pictures it always looks larger than a Blue Streak, but when they are compared side-by-side there is very little difference in size.

So far, so good

Naturally I have pumped and shot the rifle, and so far it looks solid and good. The valve holds air for several days, which is all the time I have had to test it. The screw slots and pins all appear undamaged and there is very little evidence the airgun has ever been apart, even though the stock refinish required it. Only the slightest tearout of wood around one pin hole on the forearm gives any evidence of removal.

Saving everything for you

I’m purposely holding myself back from testing this rifle until I write about it for you. We will discover it together.

Seller has more

I discovered while talking to the seller that he has more Sheridans to sell and I’ve already arranged the sale/purchase of a Model B Sporter to another collector. The model B Sporter was Sheridan’s first attempt to lower the cost of the model A Supergrade. Instead of $56.50, the model B sold for $35.00. That still wasn’t enough off to stimulate sales when a .22 caliber Mossberg model 44 US bolt action repeater with a rear peep sight was selling for $27.90. So the model B Sheridan was made in about half the number as the model A (about 1100 compared to around 2200).

Model Bs don’t change hands as often as model As, so coming up with a price for one is hard, but expect to pay more for one than for a model A. That’s just for the rarity.

The rest of the report

I will test this rifle the same as any other multi-pump. Since I plan on keeping this one, I want to know how well it performs, the same as you.

I had to sell my first Supergrade years ago to pay bills, so hopefully I can keep this one.

46 thoughts on “BB’s Christmas gift: Part 1


  1. Happy New year to all blog readers, a great find and in such neat condition for its age .I assume you need the Sheridan .20 pellets for these rifles, I treated myself to an air rifle I have always wanted an HW77



  2. B.B.,

    Congratulations on your fine acquisition. You mentioned matching forend wood,…. which got me thinking,…. how often does the wood on the forend and the stock (not) match?

    Chris


  3. B.B.

    Thanks for all the info about gun auctions. Do you ever see Pardini 58’s that way?
    The American Picker’s show, let see, that is the show where Mike Wolfe rips people off and only pays them $.30 on the dollar. I hope most gun brokers are more ethical then that!

    Happy New Year everybody and I hope good wishes for the new year…

    Yogi


    • Yogi,

      You could say the same thing about BB. He will not buy at full value, most especially if he plans on resale. He has to allow for expenses, etc. It may take some time to sell at a profit. Those people probably have a pretty good idea what something is worth. They also know they can sell it now or maybe sell it before they die.

      Also, the AP show may say something is worth this much more, but the question is to whom and did they pay such?





    • I guess you grew up in a communist country where you don’t have to make a profit. Mike has to worry about making enough money to pay the weird tattoo girl and pay building leases and utilities for his stores (not really since he’s a TV star now, but he used to, LOL )

      But anyway, I actually saw an episode today where the owner offered him some scooter parts for $100 but he actually paid him $200 because he thought that was the fair price. I’ve seen him do that on other occasions too, although I’m sure back in the pre-TV days when he had no internet trolls watching over his shoulder and he actually had to worry about paying weird tattoo girl he would have taken a low offer.


      • Thanks for the comments, 6.5, Scott80, RR.

        When Mike Wolfe rips people off, he is considered a pop icon.
        When Wall Street Rips people off, it is considered criminal activity.
        When China rips people off, it is unfair trade.

        What a world we live in.

        Happy New Year!

        Yogi

        PS the weird tattoo chick is his wife.



  4. Happy New Year to all! Glad you were able to pick up such a great piece. I’m hoping that 2017 brings more wonderful acquisitions and reviews.
    My new Throttle arrives Weds., along with a chronometer, so I can report data and not just impressions. Can’t wait.


  5. B.B.,

    Congratulations! I know how badly you’ve wanted to get another Supergrade. And this one looks so clean!

    Now that I think about it, there is a decent chance an uncle or cousin of mine was personally involved in the manufacture of your rifle. Several of them worked at Sheridan in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. I like to think perhaps one of my cousins was one of the folks who assembled mine, an early rocker-safety Blue Streak from the mid-60s.

    Very nice air rifle you have there, Sir.

    Michael


  6. B.B.,

    You are right about “buy it now”. I have been able to get several interesting airguns from Gun Broker that had reasonable “buy it now” prices, including a Haelen 28 repeater model with a serial number under 100 and a Plainsman air shotgun.

    Your Supergrade is a wonderful rifle. I doubt that I will ever have one due to their rarity and that the collectors seem to always want to pay more than I am willing to. Congratulations!

    Pul in Liberty County



  7. Terrific find indeed. It is a joy to have one special anything and this jewel would be on anyones short list. Thank you Tom, for a great 2016, looking forward to another year of reading your deligtful blogs !
    Pete



  8. The “poor me” mentality. The first time I ever remember asking my mom to buy me something, we were in a little TG&Y type shop, the ca1947 equivalent of a 7Eleven i guess without the fast food (well, a candy bar was a nickle) and I fell in love with a toy pirate gun. She had read “Treasure Island” to me, Long John Silver, Little Jamie Hawkens, etc. She grew up in the Depression, yeah, the real Depression. She said “We will start giving you a weekly allowance. Half of your allowance will go in a Piggy Bank to save up for college and you can save up the other half until you have enough to buy the gun.” Needless to say I ended up treasuring that gun and being a life long saver, never spending as much as I earned and now am not amongst those who have no retirement. I can’t imagine being one of the average credit card holders who apparently run $8,000 unpaid balance; how do they sleep at night? Parents, read to your children and teach them money manners. Happy New Year, B.B. et al. 🙂


  9. Pingback: BB’s Christmas gift: Part 1 | Airguns: Air Rifles and Pistols

  10. John, maybe 1948 or so Dad gave me a choice between a cap revolver and that double barrel PIRATE pistol. Still have my PIRATE. Along with my 1947 (?) Red Ryder birthday present.


    • Amazing, JC! Mine is long lost but, as I vaguely remember, it was a shiny-as-opposed-to-black side-by-side double barrelled double triggered single action(s) with white plastic (maybe pearlescent-like) grips?




  11. Happy new year BB and all other fellow airgunners.
    BB this new year a PCP has been launched here.!!.
    Still can’t believe it! BB, I shoot a lot in fields, and I have heard that PCPs get damaged and jam very often due to dirt. Can I disassemble and repair PCP rifles at home like the springers?
    Any extra safety measures I should pay attention to while dealing with high pressure air and PCPs?


    • Riki,

      Unless you crawl through the mud with your rifle I don’t think a PCP is any more vulnerable to dirt than a springer. I haven’t really seen a PCP jam yet. Whoever is telling you these things may be playing with a cheap PCP, or they are very careless.

      Also, PCPs are simpler than springers to disassemble, So unless this new rifle is complex for some reason I don’t know you should have no problem with it.

      The danger is that air reservoir. Make certain it is empty before you start disassembling the rifle.

      B.B.



  12. Thanks BB, that’s comforting. Is this the same gun you sold with the R1 and the Whiscombe?
    Chris, first I have to find the hose pipe for connecting the gun with a tank. Carbon fiber tanks are available here which are sold by select few shops selling equipment to national and international shooters. Enquiring from shooting clubs I will have to find some facilities which will be willing to fill my tank.
    But in all honesty I prefer a handpump, its simple and easy to use and saves a lot of hassles, but that is a little hard to come by here.


  13. BB and Fellow Airgunners
    I hope everyone had a safe, festive holiday, and that 2017 brings health and happiness
    to you, and your loved ones.
    Thank you BB for purchasing these wonderful older airguns for us to learn about, and increase our knowledge of this wonderful hobby. The Sheridan Supergrade has what I refer to as a timeless beauty. The equivalent of a 1961 Jaguar XK-E that even Enzo Ferrari admitted was one of the most beautiful cars ever designed. If Crosman decided to make them today, I do believe they would sell like hotcakes, but only if the price could be kept reasonable. However, I presume the tooling, and such would have disappeared long ago. Evan a limited production run would put the final sticker price at a level most of us would be unwilling to pay. It is a multi pump after all. I’m looking forward to seeing this beauty in action though.
    Ciao
    Titus


  14. I’m glad you a finally the proud owner of a Supergrade, BB. I remember you eyeballing one at the Findlay, Ohio show a few years ago, seems this one is much nicer. I bet you’re flying on a cloud now, a Sharp, and a Supergrade?




      • B.B.,

        My understanding of them is that they remove/reduce the turbulence of exiting air from the muzzle that may otherwise disrupt the pellet upon exiting the barrel. From what I have seen, this would be applied directly to a barrel with no “silencing” in between. As far as “working” goes,….. I guess that would boil down to accuracy testing.

        Chris



          • B.B.,

            Thank you. Some of the (really high end) air rifles have them and I just wondered. The theory makes sense. Perhaps some would argue the slower the projectile,…. the more it applies. If not mistaken,… in general,…. while the projectile may show some instability initially at muzzle,…. the spin takes over and stability is restored. Still,… a very interesting topic. Perhaps a bit tuff to prove though. At least you did with your 22/250.

            Chris


  15. Happy new year everyone. May to 2017 be prosperous and healthy.

    BB, Congratulations on your Supergrade. Enjoy it. You deserve it.

    If I used emoticons or whatever they are called, I would have to find a drooling happy face.

    Jim



  16. Congratulations on your new acquisition. That is certainly an air rifle that would be at the top of any collector’s list. I can’t wait to see the accuracy and power tests. Considering that it is a rifle that was made over 66 years ago it is amazing to me that it even works.

    It’s funny how we all seem to lust after things that were around in our youth. When I was a kid the Crosman 140/1400 pump up .22 air rifle was like the king of the forest and I always wanted one. I finally bought one myself the last year they were made I think 1978. This year for Christmas I bought myself another 1970’s classic a Webley Tempest pistol. Happy New Year everyone and keep putting the lead down range!


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