Collecting airguns: What is collecting? 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Scarcity Part 1
Condition Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Collect anything
  • Old airguns
  • Constant upgrade
  • New collectible airguns
  • A long story
  • Collecting as an investment
  • The eclectic collector
  • The accidental collector
  • Desirability
  • Finally — an attempt to define collecting

Part 2 of this report got over 125 comments on the first day it was posted. I would say this is perhaps the most popular series I have ever written.

Reader Toto@F52, who goes by the name of Dan, inspired this report. He wondered what makes a collectible. And a lot of other readers asked the same thing. Many readers want this definition before they read anything further about collecting. I think they believe that once we all agree on the definition, then the rest of it will make more sense. But that’s just it — we will never agree on a definition! I hope to illustrate a little of the reason why today.

I’m not going to define collecting right now. I think that is too short-sighted. Instead, I’m going to attempt to show some of the directions a collector (and the collection) can take.

Collect anything

Nearly everything is collectible. With perfect certainty there will be disagreement as to whether a thing is interesting enough to be collected, but that’s only our personal opinion. In this report I am primarily focusing on airguns, but I will mention other things to illustrate some points.

Old airguns

When I was new to airguns I imagined collectors were primarily interested in older airguns. We know that there are about four solid centuries from which to choose, and I know a few collectors that span all of them (1600-1999).

Some collectors specialize in a certain era, like the first half of the 20th century, while others concentrate on specific types of airguns (military trainers) or makers (Daisy). And some collectors get really specific, in an attempt to narrow their field (19th century cast iron BB guns).

Collectors that fall into this category usually collect things associated with the guns they collect — like paper (ads, catalogs, promotional materials), ammunition, store displays, related items like holsters, gun racks and so on. A collection like this soon begins to resemble a museum, and I find it fascinating to see what they have. If and when they sell a gun, they have bigger decisions to make — do I sell that Daisy Model 40 military model with its bayonet and sling, or do I keep them all separate?

Constant upgrade

Collectors like this are always on the lookout for a model they don’t have. But, after they have a good start on things, they just as frequently watch for a model they already have, but one that’s in better condition. You and I may think they are finished when they get all the models in their sphere of interest, but for them the game is only half over.

New collectible airguns

Can there be such a thing as a collectible that’s new? This is where a lot of discussions get heated, but yes, there can be new collectibles. Ask any coin collector or collector of Hummel figurines, for that matter. But when it comes to airguns you need to know a few more things.

A long story

Winchester made several “collectible” lever action rifles, starting with the Centennial model 66 Rifle and Carbine. Made in 1966 to commemorate 100 years in business, these rifles are Winchester model 94 lever action rifles whose metal parts have been plated with gold. They have been given upgraded walnut stocks and forearms. I bought both the rifle and carbine in 1971 from a guy who bought them new in ’66. I paid exactly what he paid. I later sold both of them for exactly what I had paid. As long as you have them in the box with all the paperwork and the guns are never fired, they hold their value well. Today, 51 years after they were produced, you can still buy both rifles for about twice what they originally sold for in 1966. As investments go, these are the kind the government makes — staying at the same value and loosing all the time through inflation.

Winchester then went on to create many “collectible” lever action models. Each of the celebrated some historical fact or group. And they sold pretty well for many years. But if you understood collecting you knew they were a poor investment, because they were manufactured, rather than desirable on their own merit. They exist as a semi-stagnant pool of Winchesters today that have a book value, as long as they are complete and in pristine condition. The value does go up, but far more slowly than the value of what I would describe as a natural collectible.

So, buying something that is “collectible” is a risky move. It better be regarded as collectible by a lot of other people with money, or you may have lost your investment. If, on the other hand, it’s something you really like, what does it matter, what it’s worth?

Collecting as an investment

Investment is a poor reason to collect, but that doesn’t stop a lot of folks from doing it. I say it’s a poor reason because when it comes down to acquiring something they like versus something they believe has greater potential to increase in value, they make their decision from the spreadsheet. They wind up collecting money instead of airguns, and that is a sad thing.

The investor can just as easily collect those things that thrill him and are also good investments. I think that is the better way to go, because the collection then means something beyond its resale value.

The eclectic collector

We have a reader who can be described as an eclectic collector. Our own RidgeRunner started out by buying a tired-looking first model BSA underlever. The seller was honest about the condition, which was NRA horrible and fooled-with on top of it, but RR took a chance. He did because this old workhorse air rifle thrilled him more than the beautiful FWB 601 (as I recall) that he brought to the show to sell. I will let him finish that tale.

I am an eclectic collector. If it’s weird, I want it. That’s why I collected Wamo cap-firing BB guns at one time. All 6 (or are there even more?) together aren’t worth $300 in the boxes, but I had to have them all. As a result, I was able to write a feature article for Shotgun News about Wamo and its BB guns. I even included the three .22 rimfire firearms they also made. You can’t even get the Wham-O company to admit they ever made airguns or firearms! Hula Hoops and Superballs, yes, but never guns! But I was able, through patent research, to prove beyond a doubt that they did. Let me link you to several past reports on the subject.

Airgun bloopers!

What IS an airgun?

Why do we collect airguns?

The Western Haig The stuff of little boys’ dreams

Nothing new under the sun What’s the problem with primer-powered pellets?

The accidental collector

Some collectors start out by simply accumulating things. My mother liked turtles, so she saved them. She even liked the chocolate candy called turtles, and she saved the boxes after they were eaten.

When she became a receptionist for a doctor in the late 1950s, she put her turtles on her desk. Patients saw them and they brought her more turtle figurines as gifts. Her desk filled up to overflowing, so the turtles spilled out into the doctor’s waiting room. The “collection” grew. It was about 10 years before she finally admitted that she collected turtles, but once she did the collection really took off. When she passed away in 1989 she had over 3,000 turtles! My mother was an accidental collector.

The strangest turtle in her collection was a brass Chinese candlestick that resembled a menorah. She had owned and  loved it all her life, but it wasn’t until she was in her 60s that she finally noticed there were engraved turtles holding up each candlestick.

Edith and I even called her “the turtle!” The day she passed away, I was at a restaurant eating a fortune cookie and my fortune read, “The turtle has gone home.” Sometimes your collection defines you.

Desirability

The eclectic collector likes strange airguns. There is another kind of attraction that is similar, but not quite the same — desirability. We read about certain airguns, and the things that are said invoke a desire to at least try them, if not actually own them all. Take the FWB 124. So many nice things have been written about this air rifle that people find themselves drawn to it, eventually breaking down and getting one. They then start saying more good things about the item and the process continues.

Airguns in this category include:

Crosman Mark I and II pistols

S&W 78G and 79G pistols

FWB 300 rifle

Crosman 600 pistol

Crosman M1 Carbine BB gun

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun

Finally — an attempt to define collecting

I have thought about this for several weeks, and there is no guarantee that I won’t change my mind as more time passes. But I think I have a start at defining a collector. If we can do that, the collection is whatever he has.

A collector likes something a lot. We’ll call that something airguns. Some airguns slip through his ownership grasp rather fast, while others stick and don’t seem to go away. Sometimes they do and he has to go out and get another one to fill the void. Those things he likes are what he collects. He may not fit into a well-defined niche and his collection may not resemble a museum, but these are the things he wants around him.

There is an anal type of person who cannot let anything go. That’s not a collector — that’s a mental condition called hoarding. You can see it on television shows like American Pickers.

But what about the person who isn’t a hoarder, because you can walk through his house without turning sideways to fit through the pathways? But when it comes to airguns, he just can’t seem to let go. We can talk about this kind of guy all day long and never agree about what he is — collector or madman. But he is more the collector than anything you can fit into a neat definition.

108 thoughts on “Collecting airguns: What is collecting? 3



    • Thanks for the link to the John Wick interviews. At least we can say that these artists are trying to get the right information about guns, and we can’t blame them if there is disagreement among gun users. I have it from some powerful authorities that punching out the handgun with two hands is the way to go. This comes from, among others, Robert Taubert, published author and former FBI instructor, and an online character named Instructor Zero. He seems to be trying to conceal his identity with that name and a heavy beard, but he can certainly shoot.

      As for one-handed versus two-handed shooting, I’ve never been much moved by the semantics of a “handsgun.” It can go by any name as long as it is shooting well. And while I get that, with certain techniques, like the cantilevered body and arm position that you can shoot with one hand equivalently with two hands, isn’t it just a lot easier to use that second hand? That gun floating way out there away from the body just cries out for extra support. In fact, I’m wondering why the two-handed hold took so long to appear. Perhaps some basic history (of which etymology is one part) can shed some light. As I think of the development of firearms, miniaturization was always a problem as it is now. It took a lot to reduce firearms from giant cannons to designs that could be held by an individual soldier. (Incidentally, I understand that the Humpty-Dumpty of the nursery rhyme was actually a giant siege cannon.) Making it even smaller was a bigger challenge which could only have been driven by the need to equip cavalry which was a major weapon system of the time. If you are riding a horse, you cannot spare a second hand for holding a gun. That is even with acknowledging John Wayne in the original True Grit film where he holds the reins in his teeth, firing a handgun with one hand and firing and reloading a lever action rifle with the other. The Western gunfighters, notwithstanding their iconic standing duels, were actually cavalrymen. Also handguns of the early period seem to have been favored in close melee type actions aboard ship or on land where you didn’t want to commit two hands.

      Maybe that has something to do with handgun shooting methods. But for plinking away at a target range, I haven’t found any reason to prefer one hand over two, except for the extra challenge.

      Matt61


      • “I have it from some powerful authorities that punching out the handgun with two hands is the way to go.”
        Are they using the sights? I would imagine that it is an aspect of “point shooting”, taking advantage of the bodies natural alignment as moving sights is sub-optimal.

        I agree it is really weird that 2-handed shooting (when both hands were available) took so long to take hold. I understand the attraction of a side-on duelists/rapier stance (smaller chance of getting hit), but as I understand it, an awful lot of people used to shoot square on with their shooting hand waving around unsupported and their off-hand doing nothing. Madness.


        • As I understand the latest shooting doctrine, the goal is to get a flash sight picture, but exactly what this is depends on the situation. In some cases, it is pure instinct shooting where there is no sight picture. In other cases, they look only for the front sight expecting the eye and the body alignment to take care of the rest, and in some cases, I believe that they really get a full sight picture. Perhaps the last is what allows Delta Force to get their pinpoint accuracy with rapid fire. One of the founders described how they practiced live-fire room clearings while playing the roles of both shooters and hostages. (This was apparently pioneered by the Special Air Services (SAS) from which Delta Force was largely copied.) And the author said that while playing the hostage, he could feel the bullets whizzing millimeters from his head–while shot from an M3 grease gun!

          Pistol duelling is a hugely important historical use of handguns that I completely overlooked, and the bladed posture makes perfect sense. You can see it dramatized in the film Barry Lyndon which I recommend. The scene in question reminds me of a comment by Ulysses S. Grant on duelling: “If I hated a man so much that I wanted to kill him, I wouldn’t let him take a shot at me first.” That makes sense to me. Unfortunately, someone tried this on Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. One of his fellow-soldiers took a dislike to him and foregoing the custom of duelling, just shot him by surprise while he was sitting down. Forrest roared, “No man shoots me and lives,” and shot the other guy who died while Forrest survived. He was preternaturally lucky that way, but it’s clear that your odds go down if the other person gets the first shot.

          One thing that the sideways duelling stance cannot do is to rotate the body which is necessary for a combat situation. But since you mention it, there actually is a model for handgun shooting while squared up. This comes from none other than W.E. Fairbairne who developed a method of point shooting for the O.S.S. in WWII. It involved crouching squared up to the target with the pistol hand extended at the low ready. When shooting, the arm was swung up like a pump handle until the bore broke the shooter’s line of sight with the target at which point the gun was fired by convulsively clenching the hand. Fairbairne invented the modern SWAT team along with his point shooting methods while leading the Shanghai Municipal Police in the 1930s and, along the way, he developed his own combatives methods while winning 500 fights with Kung Fu gangsters and getting almost his entire body covered with scars. When WWII broke out, he developed combat methods for the British commandos and the O.S.S. It would be hard to beat that resume in modern times. In person, he was unprepossessing and looked like an English don with a thin, ramrod profile, but in one of the old film demonstrations, you see the mask slip briefly, and he looks like a homicidal maniac. Suffice to say that his techniques worked.

          Still, even his technique has some drawbacks in swiveling to engage targets from different directions. You could leave your extended arm out and swing sideways like a turret. However, the inertia will slow you down just the way that ice skaters spin slower with their arms out and speed up when they pull the arms in. If moving through a sufficient angle, one could lower the pump handle and then raise it back up to engage, but that is awkward. Here is where I think the punch out method comes into its own. Not just for rapid acquisition of a target straight ahead but for turning right and left. By bending the arms, you can rapidly pull the gun back in for faster rotation, then punch it out again. I suppose that with the Fairbairne method, you could pull the single arm in at the elbow. But while turning and pushing in and out, a second arm will help align and stabilize better than one I would think.

          Anyway, it is probably futile to come up with a determining history of handgun technique. As one military historian has said: “Militaries are inherently conservative because their survival is at stake, but over time, enough people have been left with nothing to lose that just about everything got tried sooner or later.” No doubt there have been many other historical uses of the handgun in addition to duelling that I don’t even know about. But at least there does seem to be some rationale for the punch out technique.

          Matt61


          • I liked how Fairbairn came up with his crouched stance. Noticing that after a raid he and his men had to duck under a line that they had not seen in the dark, or run into, on the way in. He of course concluded that men naturally crouch in danger and in a fight for your life you shouldn’t fight your natural instincts.


      • Matt61
        I once had a neighbor who did a lot of muzzle loader and cap and ball shooting at his range next door to me. He also shot some centerfire rifles and other pistols. I could always tell when he was shooting his S&W .357 magnum. I was louder than any of the other guns he shot. He was older but a pretty good shot. He was shooting walnuts at 40 yards with his muzzle loader.

        One day he invited me over to shoot one of his cap and ball revolvers. I don’t recall the caliber, maybe a .44 or .45. It was a pretty heavy gun and was a western frame design. I shot it using a two hand hold. Big mistake! The black powder flashed out the side of the cylinder and burned the crap out my hand. I was picking black powder out of my hand for a week. Lesson learned, the neighbor never warned me about using the two hand hold on that pistol.


        • Now that is one great reason not to use a two-handed hold. Actually, you have to watch the two-handed hold even for modern revolvers, but it can be done safely. Was the problem that you were not using this safe hold with the off-hand wrapped around the shooting hand or that you can’t use any two-handed hold with the muzzleloaders?

          Your friend may be very good, but he shouldn’t get all the credit for the .357 magnum which I’ve found to be extremely accurate despite its recoil. And I’m amazed at the holes which are punched so clean that they look like they’ve been made with a hole puncher. They are significantly different from the .45ACP holes which tear the paper.

          I can believe that the .357 magnum is exceptionally loud, but I wouldn’t know it thanks to a new advance in my hearing protection. I’ve always used double protection which is deformable foam earplugs inside the biggest earmuffs I could find. I introduced triple protection by adding a single wad of cotton on top of each earplug. But then I filled in each earmuff with cotton giving me a true third layer, and I can hardly hear anything.

          Matt61


  1. B.B.,

    I just had to look up what Hummel figurines were in the first place. They do have a certain attraction to them. A must have for a collector is space for his collection unless the collection consists of very tiny objects or a very narrow spectrum.

    Siraniko


  2. BB—I think that there is another kind of collector. The accidental collector. He ( or she ) lives in a place where there is no access to airgun shows. This person is only able to buy vintage or used airguns at regular gunshows, pawn and antique ( Junktique ? ) stores , flea and gun club market and garage sales. Although this kind of collection looks like it is eclectic, it really is an accidental collection. Usually the accidental collector will not buy a gun from the internet, and does not know that they want a particular gun until they see and hold it in their hands. I know all about this kind of collector because I am one. ——Ed


  3. BB—Sorry, I wrote my post before I read all of your article. When I re-read it just know , I saw that you had already mentioned the accidental collector.——Ed


  4. Is it easier to define a collection than a collector? Perhaps what separates a collection from an accumulation is a theme or some sort of meaning behind it.

    I agree about “collectors items”. If a book says “collectors’ edition“ then you know that it isn’t!

    By the way, I can’t find the BB gun book you mentioned. You weren’t kidding about it being collectible!



  5. I actually sold the FWB601 the previous year. It was in almost NIB condition, but it was just not what I wanted.

    From the moment I saw that BSA, I knew I just had to have it. It was non-functioning, but because of how well it was made I was able to get it shooting again. It now hangs on the wall in the great room of my log house over the kitchen entry where I can easily take it down to fend off the wild packs of feral soda cans.

    It is also very accurate. It was meant to be a competition air rifle. I can consistently hit a 3/4″ spinner at 10 yards from a standing position.

    As some of you may know, I recently acquired this air rifle.

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/?s=millitia&btnGo=

    It looks as though it is going to be quite a little shooter itself. It also will soon have a place of honor on the wall.

    Now, if someone would just find me a Lincoln Jeffries pistol I would be in eclectic heaven.



  6. This series has gotten me thinking about my “collections” and trying to figure out what type of collector I am.

    I usually collect/keep items that have a specific use – like airguns and fishing rods, I have over a dozen of each but while their functions overlap, each one is optimum for a specific application. Ditto for tools and my collection fly tying materials is sufficient to tie a million or so files.

    I am a hoarder of hardware (say that fast ten times 🙂 ) as I will strip the screws, nuts bolts, washers, brackets etc. from old appliances and squirrel them in my “good for something” boxes for future projects.

    Guess that I am a “personal collector” as I collect things that have a value to me and the actual dollar value is not relevant, as long as I have a use for the item, it’s not for sale.

    Done rambling. Happy Friday all!!!

    Hank


  7. I don’t have a lot of air guns. But I have had a lot over time. I get them cause I like to see how they shoot. And I don’t just mean about how accurate they are. Kind of things like their shot cycle and how they function. So don’t know what kind of collector that is.

    Maybe I’m a crazy collector. 🙂


  8. BB,

    What defines a collector is (mostly) his passion for a subject, be it books, airguns, matchboxes, stoves or whatever is available. The rest is detail: Interesting but detail.

    The economics of collecting are fascinating because that defines the Holy Graal in a collection like your Colt Walker and that defines status in a group as collecting is a social behaviour (Hoarding not, that is in essence asocial behaviour)

    So for me the collectors fall apart in three groups along a gliding social-asocial scale; the social collectors which value value as main point, the collectors who collect for the beauty of the object and the hoarders.

    We, as collectors will always vacillate between different groups as every collector is a mix of these archetypes.

    Regards,

    August


  9. B.B.,

    An excellent series of reports keeps getting better!

    I am a Desirability collector. (As all collectibles are desirable to those who collect them, may I humbly suggest an edit to rename them “Classics Collectors”?) I am drawn to consensus classics. I have one of each of the desirability examples you listed above except for the Crosman 600. I also have, for example, a Webley MK I and Sheridan Blue Streak. I have classics that are not yet vintage but have already achieved icon status, such as a TX200. Not all classics are expensive. I consider the Daisy Model 25 and 179 to be classics. And I have airguns that are not classics but are simply fun to shoot, such as a Crosman Nighthawk.

    Well, now I’ve got to go. I have a Crosman 600 to look for!

    Michael


  10. Mr. Gaylord:

    Thanks for mentioning the Avanti Champion 499. Even thought it’s a 5 meter rifle, it has a place in my 10 meter rifle collection. It’s useful to demonstrate to cub scouts and their parents where they (youth and parent) can begin their shooting sports training.
    I’d like to suggest adding “utility collector” to your list. A utility collector is a person who has a collection (accumulation??) of air rifles to achieve a specific secondary purpose.
    For example, with Crew .357, I stress the availability of collage scholarships to juniors and their parents The rifles I possess, and the ones in the crew rifle safe, have value to the extent they are able to develop marksmanship at a price which a junior shooter themselves can afford.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Wm. Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Crew .357
    Chelsea, MI


  11. Well done! What about the “INSIDER”? “The inside collectors”, that collect, to keep, to hold out, to resale? The one that really gets info from inside major markets or small markets and the go to person of airguns in their immediate world, where airguns are not common or even known or even heard of until someone says go see ?, is an airgun or he or she knows BB guns? The airguns or BB guns, the one’s laid back or under the table till that right person shows? And we never get the chance to purchase or much less see the collectable’s, whatever it may be? Semper Fi!


  12. We was talking about this the other day and figured I would show these results. Using a Crosman smooth bore 760 as bug salt shot gun. That’s what I got some pictures of. And going to get some #7 or 8 birdshot with a cleaning pellet to keep the bird shot from falling into the transfer port hole.

    Anyway I did not get the cleaning pellets ordered yet. So used a peice of paper towel tore off into a 1/2″×1/2″ square then rolled up into ball. Probably a little bigger than the size of a steel bb. I loaded with the bolt just like you would a lead pellet. Then used about a 1/8 th of a teaspoon of salt and poured it down the barrel.

    Tryed pumping 3 times and it blew a hole in the peice of aluminum foil I was using to pattern it. And then you could see the salt splatter around the hole.

    So I loaded the same way and used the same amount of salt with one pump. This time a much bigger pattern and no hole blown out in the center. The pictures are below. But the one pump will be what I use. Oh and that was about 6 feet away. And was very easy to aim by just pointing the barrel with both eyes open. But I was happy that I could be 6′ away incase I miss one of those wasps or horsefly’s. 🙂

    And the one picture has a spoon with how much salt I used and the paper towel wadded into a ball setting in the spoon with the salt. Also there is a red circle I drew around where the tissue wadding hit. That is the shot taken with one pump. Here’s the pictures.



      • And I didn’t finish my comment above about the #7 and 8 birdshot. That will be used outside at 10 pumps. Will have to mess with how much shot to load. And I think I will roll up a peice of the paper towel and load it from the muzzle after the bird shot so the birdshot don’t roll out when I point down. I would like to use it for feild mice at around 5 to 10 yards away out in the yard. But that will be next after I get the cleaning pellets and birdshot.



          • If anyone is interested I did just order the Air Venturi .177 cleaning pellets and some #8 lead bird shot.

            So soon as it gets here I will do the outside shooting at 5 and 10 yard test patterns and loads.



          • Chris U
            Thanks and I will post results when I get the birdshot and cleaning pellets.

            That’s what I hope will work out for those feild mice. At least it’s kind of sporting. If I do miss one they will at least have the chance to high tail it outta there while I’m reloading. 🙂



              • Rambler
                Cool. If you try it out let me know how it goes.

                And I really hope the birdshot works out at the 10 yards.

                But I know for sure the salt will work for my pest bugs inside. Heck look how big that one pump pattern is. Should take out a horse fly no problem even if my aim is off a little.

                And I think the 3 pumps would work out farther than the 6 foot I shot at. Maybe it would spread out enough without poking a hole in the middle at 9 feet? Something I need to try also.

                But definitely fun seeing what happens. 🙂


      • Awesome gf1 great idea. So I just went to speedway gas station got some of those coffee stir straws (not the double barrel type). They are around .150 dia, i then sealed the ends with a lighter and my fingers, and cut the ends off about 3/4 of an inch long. Filling them 3/4 full of salt and using a bit of cotton as wadding finished the job. Loading the homemade shells sealed end first, wadding to the rear into my Umarex Browning Buckmark URX worked awesomely the shell flys off to the side almost instantainiously, leaving a nice pattern at 3 ft. I think the results would be better with just a little more power.


        • Coduece
          Very cool. Try to pattern it with some aluminum foil or something and see what it does.

          Your idea just might be the ticket for my bird shot I want to try at the higher pumps and power.


        • Coduece
          Sounds like you need a little more power. Which of course the gun is making what it makes.

          Maybe you need to use a little less salt. That should speed it up a bit.

          But I think the big power reducer is that extra weight of the straw that you don’t need with your gun. I think the small wadded up paper towel down the barrel then the salt down the barrel. It will be lighter plus not fit the barrel as tight.

          I bet it will pick up velocity. And you really don’t need to penetrate the aluminum foil even. The air blast with the salt will have enough to smash the bug. It probably won’t look like it after you hit the bug. But if you filled the bug getting hit I bet it gets smashed against the window like a pancake. More like a freight train hitting a Volkswagen bug.


  13. Yes, I believe that anything can be collected after seeing the B-17 instrument panel on sale for $5,000. For myself, I have found a way to undercut the high prices. I don’t need the original artifact itself which is an inanimate object after all. I just want to recreate the historical experience which means that reproductions will do perfectly well. 🙂 At the moment, my re-enactment interests are focusing on hats. My new Marine utility cap has a very formal look that reeks of discipline. Through subtle changes it looks completely different from the baseball cap I used to wear for shooting. I’ve never been sure of what to make of the German WW2 service cap with its large brim and pointed peak. The German gear is very angular from the triangular front sight on the Mauser to the iconic German helmet. That society was all hard angles and points. But I’ve learned that the design was originally a ski cap for mountain troops that was more widely adopted because it was so popular and remains in use today. Anything issued for that long must be good, so I have one on order. I also see that the original had a kind of inside flap that could be rolled down to protect the ears during cold weather. This reminds me of an episode from a memoir where a soldier on the Eastern Front was accused of sleeping on duty and struck so hard by an officer that his cap with the flap rolled down was knocked off his head. Don’t think I will try to recreate that experience… And while watching the old movie, Midway with Charleton Heston, I had to laugh at the hats of the Japanese naval officers with their short visors and chin straps. They looked like little kids.

    Matt61


  14. Well If this was a multiple choice question as to what type of collector you are my answer would be D) All the above. and probable some not mentioned, like revenge collector. I was not legally able to own any airgun or real gun until I left NewYork



    • CONTINUED
      Well, tapped my laptop two times to put a space between New and York and it posted ?

      Anyway I was saying …. left New York City and joined the Navy. And I really wanted that black nylon stocked .22 Remington with the white diamond as a kid as well as an airgun.
      My problem is not saving for an airgun now, it’s restraining my self from getting any one I want and I don’t need to sell any off. I have none on display, but pull them out frequently. They are all neatly stored in lockers and a safe. In Brooklyn you did not display valuables, unless you wanted it stolen, old habits.

      I have collections within the collection. I kind of think of it all as a hobby, something I enjoy doing and having that may not make much money and may not lose any either. I can always sell them off and have planned to so with my diecast collection, real cars and motorcycles as well when I pass 70 years old. Perhaps not all but a significant amount. Really enjoy having and using some.

      I grew up relatively poor and also horde certain things, like car parts and hardware and yes money! :). When you can fix almost everything it saves you tons of time. That box of nuts and bolts I discovered in my first squadron was referred to as a “20 year box”. Left over bits accumulated over that period of time that was the first go to box when you needed something.
      Is there a mental condition involved, probably is but it certainly has not been to my detriment. There is one real sane man and one really crazy man and the rest of us all fall in between some place.



        • GF1
          You know I just remembered, I did indeed own a BB gun back then. I bought my 1894 Spitten Image Daisy on a family vacation upstate NY in my late teens. Still not legal to have in the city so I was restricted to using it in my bedroom. Had to reuse BBs too. Did not shoot it for long in the room, kinda boring and not so memorable.
          When I returned from overseas my two new step brothers in NJ had destroyed the insides. Kept it all these years and around 2009 I decided to repair it … and look what happened …. Think I got the bug from the internet !


  15. While we at it on collecting thought I’d send a pic of the 1894 I just mentioned above. It’s the darker early no saddle ring one on top with a Daisy scope. Then a ringed version, NRA 1971 Centennial, gold hex and the last short lived version with a wood stock that I modified and retrofit to operate like an original 60s model. Hope it shows up, first pic.
    Bob M



    • Bob M.,

      Very nice. Color me jealous. That was my first bb gun. Gold/brass-ish, hex barrel, ring.

      I need to just find me one and get it over with. Knowing me though,… I would tear it apart, retro fit it with a Maximus barrel and try to turn it into a PCP that will do 800 fps. Sometimes just looking should be enough! 😉

      Nice,… Very nice collection.


  16. Gunfun1 I used the 760 and took out about thirty wasps this afternoon. I tried doing the paper wrapped cartridge similar to that which muzzle loaders developed at one time but it wasn’t worth the hassle. Perhaps if I still had my grandpa’s papers for rolling cigarettes. Of course, if I were to go to the shop on the corner I might be able to find papers for rolling other things:)

    In any case, I muzzle loaded a wad of tissue paper, usually the length of a long pellet to keep the salt out of sensitive areas, then added a fair bit of kosher salt by way of a post it funnel and then cocked it and pumped ten times. It worked very well, I’ll upload some pics of the barked branches tomorrow.

    Best of all, my wife was thrilled I was doing it! The first time she hasn’t resented me spending time shooting! I almost hope we get more wasps because this was a lot of fun. The hunt was spiced up a bit by the always present concern that the wasps could fight back, and being able to shoot on the wing shotgun style was great. If I had a smooth bore pistol I’d definitely try it out, but I hate to use my 2240 and variants.

    I thought of trying the cleaning pellets but they get expensive fast and I like the harmlessness of the tissue paper. In the past, I tried shooting grasshoppers with cleaning pellets out of my 2240 (which works) and I knocked a hole in the siding of the house. Lucky for me it doesn’t look like a pellet hole! So now I am leary them, at least at close range.


    • Rambler
      So you was using 10 pumps with the course heavier kosher salt outside. At what distances away from the wasps was you able to get and still make a effective kill?

      And I’m only going to use the cleaning pellets with the lead birdshot when I shoot outside. I will be mostly pointing towards the ground so don’t have to worry about the cleaning pellet hitting something and poking a hole in it. And won’t be shooting wasps with the lead birdshot. Only the feild mice outside.

      And will probably stick to the small wadded up peice of paper towel and table salt for my indoor wasp and horse fly situations.

      And nice on all the wasps you got. You know I usually get 2-3 wasp and probably at least 4-5 horse fly’s in the breezeway when I’m doing a days shooting. So I had the 760 all loaded up yesterday and waiting to try it out. Guess what. Not one wasp or horse fly came in yesterday. Go figure. Maybe they knew. 🙂


  17. GF1, Rambler & everyone else,
    Just to let you know, you can kill off an entire honey BEE HIVE by spraying it with a solution of 9oz regular Palmolive dish soap to one gallon of water.. You must use a container like a garden sprayer that can be pumped up with the enclosed hand pump so the spray head can put out a fine mist spray. Sprayed them at night and hundreds fell to the ground dead. Spray any fliers and they immediately drop to the ground. Dressed up for safety but nobody was attacked or stung. It went down real fast.
    Need to clean out any honey ASAP or they will come back. I sprayed the area with bug spray to keep left overs away.
    Now I DO NOT know if it will work on wasps yet but now you can deal with a swarm of bees.
    Really had to muster up some courage to try it and was really surprised how uneventful and easy it was.


    • Bob M.,

      I forget who it was, but at the time they rallied against killing ANY bee’s and such critter’s. The reason being that there is less and less of them due to pesticides. You no doubt have heard this discussed on the news.

      That said, at the time I had an issue with Carpenter Bee’s making a feast of my shed. I showed no mercy. After some trial and error, I found a spray that foams that you shoot up into the holes. The bee’s get the residue on them and fly off and die. A powder was used in the past from what I was told. The foaming spray is common now and can be even bought at Walmart.

      Just some FYI in case you see some push back on wiping out an entire hive. Me personally, I leave them alone if they leave me alone. If they involve me,.. then it is all out war.


    • Bob M
      I only get the wasps and horse fly’s. The honey bees I leave alone. And we had Carpenter bees the first couple of years we moved out here. But have not seen any this year with is kind of weird.

      Oh and we bee hives when I was a kid on the farm. 5 of them to be exact. They where the white boxes that was around 3’×3′ square and about 4′ high. My dad use to get the honey from them. So bees usually don’t not bother me when they are around. I guess use to them when I was on the farm. Now a wasp or a horse fly flying around me makes my hair stand up on the back of neck. If you ever got bit by a horse fly you will know what I mean.

      So that’s pretty much what I’m after. The wasps and horse fly’s.


      • Me too. There are too few honey bees around to give them a hard time. But I hate wasps and hornets, and although we don’t see them often, horse flies. A few of the wasps flew off haltingly and I was able to knock them out of the air and stomp them. Wounded prey would normally break my heart but not in this case!

        I don’t really know the effective range because they were in a tree and my field of vision was obscured to the point that often I couldn’t tell if I had knocked it to pieces or just puffed it out of the way. I need to do some testing with consistent wads and salt loads to see the effective range and especially the optimum distance for spread and knock down power.

        This is fun! Especially because I don’t get the guilt trip from the Mrs, and in fact I get encouragement!


        • Rambler
          With you 100% with what you said.

          I been wanting to try it for some time now. Don’t know why I haven’t sooner.

          And a wasp came in the breezeway a bit ago. He was flying all around a closed window trying to get out. I was about 9 feet from it. Made the shot and got him dead on. Wings were gonna and no movement. Which means something. Because usually you can stomp on them and they will still be moving there legs.

          So definitely effective using the salt in doors on the wasps. I’m thinking the horse fly’s will be no problem. They ain’t as tuff as the wasps. But you know I’m gonna see soon as one venture’s in.


          • How many pumps did you use for the 9 foot shot?

            I’ve been wanting to do this for a year or two myself but I couldn’t think of a gun I’d risk until you mentioned the 760. Very glad you did! This is cheaper and more effective than a bug-a-salt sleigh not as quick and convenient.


            • Rambler
              Forgot to say. 2 pumps. I saw the salt blast off the window and the wasp fall.

              Maybe could of got away with 1 pump. And wonder what would be needed at 12 foot. Bet the amount of pumps needed for increased distances might be more than one or two additional pumps. Plus amount of salt needs increased too.

              So I think just like needing different hold overs for different distances when shooting a pellet is needed. The amount of salt to power is needed to make a effective group and hit as distance changes.

              The only true way to know would be shoot at the aluminum foil or something to show how the patterns are with the different amount of salt and power for a given distance.

              Wow and he we go again. A different type of ballistics.


  18. Well, I knew this was going to happen. The day before I left on my trip I thought about pleading with everyone to try real hard to not make things TOO interesting – except for B.B., of course.
    I’m on my way via Harley to meet my cousin in Dalhart, TX for a BBQ and rodeo. Been on the road for two days now and I’m WAY ahead of schedule. Decided to layover in Evanston, WY for a night and work out the kinks – not as young as my last cross-country trip.
    Anyway, Gunfun1, like I said, I’m am really following your comments with the 760, and now others! Cool!
    If anyone comments me, please be patient for a reply since my laptop battery goes depleted quickly.
    Larry in Algona now in Wyoming


    • Larry
      Cool. Nothing like a road trip.

      And yep the salt shot worked out good. Actually better than I thought it would. I just hope the birdshot works out good for my feild mice. I would think it should be effective to 10 yards. Hope anyway.



        • Larry
          We will see for sure. Won’t get the birdshot and cleaning pellets till the beginning to middle of next week. So probably won’t get to mess with it till next weekend.

          Definitely excited to try it though.


  19. Guys,
    I called all the bee experts and hive movers and nobody really wanted to drive out to my place and work ‘ under ‘ my home. Saw a few bees circling under the home and the next day there were thousands in a swarm in my driveway. I could not leave the house. After a few days they were everywhere and had established a few honey combs under the floor along the joists. Not really an oval type hive. One keeper told me they cant move this type and it had to be removed ASAP or I was in trouble if they get in the walls.
    This old timer told me there was not a bee problem but a “Bud” problem. No flowers, no bees ! The drought was the problem and it was over in CA and bees were everywhere now bothering people in San Diego.
    They showed up in a few other places out here. You could hear swarms moving in the background.


    • Bob M
      Yep there will always be instances where there is no choice like yours.

      In that case you do what you have to do.

      And look what happened from a draught as you said. Isn’t it amazing the chain of events that can happen when something in nature changes.

      And just to mention that’s why my dad had the beehives on the farm to help pollinate. Another one of the natural ways to grow that the farmers did when I was a kid. The garden and beehives were located in the same area.


    • Bob M.,

      I would have done the exact same thing! Sorry bee lover’s,… but there IS limits to tolerance. You did make solid effort’s to do otherwise.

      On the side, I went out last year to set up to shoot. I had a 8′ tall wild flowering bush 4-5′ behind me and a dozen or so BIG bumble bee’s all over it. None attacked me. I guess the bush was enough to hold their interest. At any rate, I shot nearly 2 hours with nary an issue. This is NOT typical me,… but I gave it a shot.

      I hope no offense was taken. I was just sharing a story that unfolded here on the blog. To this day, my first inclination is to do away “them”,.. but I approach the matter with a bit more reserve than before. Not much mind you,… just a “bit”.


      • Chris U
        That’s because they were doing their business they were suppose to. Wonder what would of happened if you went over and started swating at them with something. Bet it would of got interesting.

        Pretty much the way nature is. If you let it alone it will be fine. Bother it and watch out.


    • As long as you do your part, I don’t think anyone can fill to appreciate your circumstances. I am a bit of an activist about it because I live where the idiots that run the cities decided to misuse pesticides and killed a massive majority of our pollinators. We had very few bees at all last year, and need more this year. Bureaucrats should be held personally responsible for their decisions, just like us little people.


      • Qjay.
        I probably should have included some background as I did later but was trying to keep off topic entries short. We generally speaking don’t mess with nature out here in the desert. Everything is in balance. We even try not to kill rattle snakes unless there is a clear and present danger. They keep the rat population down and can easily be moved with a stick and plastic trash can. They are not much of a problem when you learn how to behave outdoors. We even put out water when the ponds dry up, keeps the bobcats around !


  20. I have been pondering what kind of “collector” I am? Or,.. am I one at all?

    I still do not have an answer to the above quandary,… but I have arrived at some rather concrete conclusions.

    1) I do my homework. I want to spend my money on something that will shoot well.
    2) I have to like the looks of something.
    3) I have collected things in the past and while I can say there was enjoyment involved, profit of any type seems to
    have eluded me.
    4) I am the frugal type, but when I want something, I get it. (It should be noted that being the frugal type allows
    one to do just that)
    5) All of my airguns are newer, but are held in high regards among follower’s of such things.

    In the end, I guess that I am just a smart consumer. Spend one’s given dollar’s wisely. If that makes me a “collector”, then so be it. (TX200, LGU, M-rod, Maximus, 499)


    • Chris U
      You are another type of air gun collector I believe. Correct me if I’m wrong. And I think other people are this kind of collector. As well as me.

      Accurate guns. 😉
      🙂




          • GF1,

            I am happy with what I am doing. Should I ever lose my frugal sense’s,… it would be interesting to shoot/own 2000$ PCP’s. But, you have been there,.. done that. That is good too. That allows us all to learn. On the above comment’s,….

            6) I like to see a well engineered air gun. Things that make sense. Things that function as intended. Proven. If you are going to try and sell me something new and “gadget-tized”,… you better darn well be to provide me with some pretty impressive testing results (up front).

            This blog helps to sort all of that out.



              • GF1,

                I am not even sure that makes any sense. One feature that I have come to appreciate is a more vertical pistol grip/finger grooved/thumb hole – ish. Cheek riser and length of pull. Adj. butt pad a plus. Lighter. Synthetic stock is fine. I doubt it would ever be a springer since I already have everything for PCP.

                That HW?, under lever? that you are looking at getting is a fine looker too. You posted a picture awhile back.

                I may get out to the 100 today with the M-rod after last weekend’s 9/16″, eight shot group at 70. I am not holding my breath, but we will see. Conditions look to be pretty ideal today.



                  • GF1,

                    You have far more experience than me.

                    Something new? Nothing really. A Maximus repeater kit would be nice. Though I have been able to adapt (quite well) to that insanely tight loading port.

                    Nothing spectacular to report on the 100. 6 targets. All within 2-3″,. but very unimpressive grouping/consistency. I finished with 3 ten’s at 30 with the Maximus in an attempt to save some of my dignity and self esteem. 😉


                    • Chris U
                      You know I just thought of something. It’s been several, several, several weeks since I shot some group’s at paper.

                      I have been shooting my steel spinners and sqerrial feild targets with the springers. And some occasional cans with them too.

                      But have been shooting my Wild Fire and Colt Python pellet pistol at cans mostly here lately.

                      Definitely more relaxed shooting. Plus getting pretty good off hand rapid fire shooting the Wild Fire and Python.

                      I usually shoot a few shots at paper when I open a new tin of pellets to verify how they shoot. But haven’t even been doing that. Just shoot’n and have’n fun. 🙂


  21. i have used cut in half cleaning pad in 760 then put alittle salt in palm of hand and poured down muzzle to shoot carpenter bees. I got five or six its been awhile since i did this. Dont remember how many pumps but was fun. Will b watching to see how well the birdshot works very interesting. never posted before have been reading for the last couple of years. lots of cool stuff.



  22. I’ve often wondered what a collector is, so this is a great topic for discussion.

    I think I’ll call my type of collector the “envious collector.” Someone else is shooting an airgun they love and shows it to me, or BB reviews it and approves, or someone blogs about how great it is. So then I have to try it, to see if it is really that good. I’m envious of what the other guy has. So I buy it and try it. Of course, I can’t afford them all, so I sell most of them off. I think of it as “renting” the gun. Or as serial collecting. Over the years I’ve discovered a very few that I will keep through thick and thin.

    Flintrocker


  23. I have been thinking about what type of airgun collector I really am all weekend and suddenly it hit me like a great revelation. I’m not a collector at all … no …no … I have moved beyond the status of an irrational, extravagant collector and shall in the future consider myself a modern day ‘Personal Museum Curator’ 🙂
    It all makes sense now and carries an air of respectability !

    Boy, glad that’s cleared up. Now I will just be adding to the museum guilt free !!

    One last word on pest control, field mice. Get the small battery operated black plastic mail box looking trap that electrocutes them. Just smear some peanut butter on the inside of the back plate and clear out the dead mouse every morning till they are all gone. A switch, needs to be reset after each kill. Not cheap but very effective.

    Have a fine Airgun Day !
    Bob M


  24. WOW! Hello All, No “failure to cummunicate here”!Such a great banter of discussion on a cool topic.I just got done reading all of it.Too bad others,couldn’t be more selfless and like minded / about things that count 🙂 so cool!-Dan


  25. Quick report on the Diana 34P. As I said earlier, I had to loosen all the screws on the BLK scope mount because one, the rear ring had been jarred way off position in shipping, and second, the mount as B.B. had it adjusted would not accommodate my Hawke HD Sport 3-9X50AO scope. The bell was touching the barrel. I had to lower the elevator screw about 1/4 turn to raise the front of the scope up for clearance. I did all of this in the late evening and left the screws only lightly snugged as I planned to take the rifle out to my range the next afternoon and fine tune the crosshair level.

    Okay, now it’s the next day. I place a piece of while paper on my target holder at 20 yards. I used a level and a felt pen and drew a thick black line level horizontally. Then I placed the rifle in my shooting bags and leveled the top. There is a flat area behind the rear sight that i could place the level on. When I looked through the scope the crosshair was perfectly level with the black line on the target. Wow! that was pretty lucky. I was good to go.

    I started shooting to align the scope. The first shots were about 3 1/2″ right and 1″ high. I kept shooting and adjusting the scope and finally had it close enough to shoot some 10 shot groups. My first few attempts were not the best. I was getting about 1.5″ but the groups were pretty symmetrical and I had no flyers. I kept shooting and my groups began migrating higher. I adjusted the scope again to bring the POI down. After a few more shots I was missing the paper totally. What in the world was happening! Then I looked at the scope in the mount and noticed that the scope had moved back and I could see daylight under the elevator screw. The scope had moved back and the flat on the scope tube was up against the elevator screw.

    Guess you have all figured out what happened, right? Yep, I forgot to finish snugging the mounting screws from the day before. So now I had to start all over and remount the scope in the correct position. This time after I verifying the crosshairs were properly aligned, the took the rifle down to my basement and tightened all the screws. The screws that hold the rings in position are quite small so I am hoping they hold the rings in position. I did not use blue lock-tite on them but if any start to loosened, I will at that point.

    It was getting late but I shot a few more groups to align the scope again. So it’s still a work in progress but I am encouraged by what I am seeing so far. The Vortek kit makes the shot cycle smooth as glass….very nice. Cocking the rifle feels as smooth as my gas-ram rifle. I shot about 70 rounds today and will soon be posting my groups for you. I’m still having a little difficulty with a consistent artillery hold. I bought 500 more Superdomes so more practice should help with that. Ooops…guess this report wasn’t so quick.

    Geo


    • George,

      Thanks for this report. I’m glad to hear that you like the smoothness of the Vortek tune. I knew it was better, but your rifle was already pretty smooth, so I wondered if you would notice. That old breech seal I returned is still good, so keep it.

      As the tune breaks in the velocity will become even more consistent. In another tin of pellets it should be a dream to shoot.

      Your trigger was adjusted perfectly, so I left it where it was.

      Good luck in your testing. I’m glad the fliers have stopped.

      B.B.


      • B.B.
        I am a little concerned with the size of the fastening screws on the BLK mount for the rings. Do these have a tendency to come loose? I was afraid to tighten them overly tight for fear they might break. I’m speaking of the small screws on either side that hold the ring in the elevated position.




  26. Geo
    Thanks for the update, I think all of us are looking foward to hearing your news. I have had to retighten scope mount screws after the first mounting. Even snug all around is what works for me.
    Gopher


  27. What about the “Organic Collector”?, like myself, over the years I’ve had many springers and PCP’s, if any have bored me, haven’t pleased me in terms of looks, have been inaccurate or difficult to shoot accurately I’ve moved them on, to my surprise this has left me with, on the whole, German rifles made between 1975 and 1995.
    I have
    Diana 52 in 177
    Diana 52 in 22
    Weihrauch HW35 in 177 (in a Hatsan AT66 stock)
    Weihrauch HW35 in 22
    Weihrauch HW95 in 177
    Weihrauch HW77k in 22
    Diana 27 in 22, (rifled with scope grooves)
    BSA Meteor mk4 in 22 (nostalgia and tin cans)
    Air Arms S400 Classic
    In my time I’ve owned a myriad of Webley, BSA’s, Gamo’s, Hatsans and even some American branded Chinese rifles.
    But, they’ve all gone, eventually, distilling down, eventually into well finished rifles that will group five pellets in half inch at 40 yards, no matter how they are held, I’ve no time whatsoever for guns that will only shoot well with one pellet, stood on one leg with a feather up my bum and a finger in one ear.
    So, golden era German sporters is how I’ve organically ended up.



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