Posts Tagged ‘airgun shows’
by B.B. Pelletier
I keep forgetting to tell everyone that the April podcast is up.
I’ve heard that excuse for mounting a scope for the past 30 years, and for the first 15 years I bought it. Then I realized that I was wearing bifocals and still shooting fine with open sights. So I wondered, “What gives?”
Confidence is at the heart of this complaint about weak eyes. Most of those who blame their eyes are really doubting that all they have heard about open sights and target alignment really works.
Please understand that I’m not talking about people with really poor vision. I do know that there are those who absolutely cannot see the sights and target at all, and they are right to seek optical aids, but the guys who are like me with just tired old eyes are complaining without cause. I know this because of something that has happened to me within the past four weeks.
About one month ago my eyes suddenly started changing their prescription throughout the day. One moment they are 25/40 and the next they may be 30/60. One minute I have to wear my glasses and the next I can see better without them. But the near vision is now uniformly worse than it has ever been. I had to buy +2.50-diopter reading glasses just to see the computer monitor that a month ago was very clear. I could see it through my bifocals but that meant tilting my head back all the time.
So imagine my frustration when I tried to shoot a handgun with open sights. Those sights are now very blurry when the gun is held at arms length. Yet I found a way to do it, and even do it well. Want to know how?
I wear the new reading glasses when shooting and focus on the front sight. The thing I have said all along, and the thing that all champion shooters know, is that if you can see the front sight, the target can be blurry and you will still hit it. Oh, I can’t compete like I used to, and what was once a ten is probably now an eight or a nine, but they ‘e all still landing in the black.
Thanks to Edith!
I never would have believed this could be done, but one day recently when I had to stop a test because I couldn’t see the front sight, Edith asked me if wearing my new reading glasses might help. I thought she was crazy to suggest it because how in the world could I ever possibly hope to see the bull when wearing these glasses that focus so close? But having nothing else that was better, I tried it. And it worked! The front sight is now sharply in focus (more so than in several years) and the bull is only a little blurrier than it used to be with my unaided eyes. And I was able to group my shots as well as before.
Then it hit me. This is nothing new. It has already been done by optics manufacturers for the shooting sports. You can buy rear aperture attachments that have optical lenses to sharpen the front sight. In fact, they work just the same as my reading glasses, but are many times more expensive. Those attachments are for rifles, only, but my glasses work well on both rifles and handguns. You don’t need to stop shooting or to use a scope just because your eyes are going south.
If my prescription were stable, I would get a set of prescription glasses for this, but in the current mode, where my prescription is changing every hour or two, I can’t be sure of anything. So I’ll just continue to use these El Cheapo reading glasses until things settle down. It works well enough that I’ll be using it for precision shooting in my tests in the future.
Now, I’m probably the last person to figure this out, but I never got the memo that you guys must have read. So, to me, this is a brand new discovery. Maybe, one of you didn’t know it also, and I’ve helped out someone else.
Update on the Malvern airgun show
Kevin correctly identified a nice BSF S70 on my table at the show, and I thought I would tell you about it. Three years ago, I spotted that rifle at the old Little Rock airgun Expo that was the forerunner of the Malvern show. I didn’t have enough money for it after buying a Weihrauch HW 55 SF that I really needed, so I sat on my hands and waited to sell some guns. Finally, on the second day of the show, a big deal brought me the needed cash and, as Mac can testify, I actually ran over to the table where that rifle was, only to see cash changing hands between a young man and the dealer. My S70 had just been sold.
Just like you read about in the magazines, I went up to that young man and went through the “If you ever decide to sell that rifle…” speech. And, being a polite lad, he “Yessir’ed” me right back, which is usually all she wrote…or ever writes.
However, this time was different. While I was out of the Malvern show building getting a Subway order for Mac and me, the owner of the rifle walked in the door and Mac spotted him. He then song-and-danced for 10 minutes, stalling the seller for me to return. When I did and I saw the rifle, the youngster quoted a price range for the gun, and I immediately paid his highest asking price. The price I paid was substantially less than the rifle had on it three years before.
So, Kevin, you can see that that S70 was always meant for me. But the price needed some tenderizing, so it marinated in someone else’s closet for a few years. That young man is now of an age where pretty girls and cars are probably more interesting, but I find that I still like S70s, having already gotten the pretty girl.
by B.B. Pelletier
I missed the first running of this show last year, so I have nothing to compare it to except other airgun shows. Every show is different and almost all of them have at least one big surprise, and this one was no different in that respect.
The show opened on Friday, April 15. I’m used to seeing a number of older dealers at the start of the show, but we have either lost them in the past year or they didn’t make this show. While I recognized many of the dealers who were there, the veterans were mostly absent. In fact, Mac turned to me after the show was over and observed that we were now among the old-timers. I have no comment for that.
It’s rare that a manufacturer or importer comes to an airgun show, but this show had several, including some pivotal ones. AirForce Airguns was there with owner John McCaslin showing several of his company’s new products. Among them were a new drooper mount from BKL that looks to be rugged as well as precise. Then there were new styles of camo patterns on the guns that included things like carbon fiber and skulls as well as the more traditional woodland and digital desert patterns. These will be special-order items for a while, to give the company time to assess the marketplace.
New camo patterns from AirForce put a different look on their guns.
But the big deal that I saw at this show was a new air tank that has both a manometer (pressure gauge) and a male foster fill nipple, allowing fills without removing the tank. There’s a new type of tank bushing in the gun that the new tank screws into and the factory will retrofit that bushing to all older models. So everybody gets to use the new-style tank.
Scott Pilkington, the owner of Pilkguns, had several tables of 10-meter guns and related parts and supplies, including all sizes of his famous American-made Vogel target pellets. The Vogel was one of the top pellets in the long test of the AirForce Edge, and Crosman also recommends them for use in their Challenger PCP.
But Scott had one of those big deals that I mentioned happen at almost every show. He recently bought several hundred 10-meter target rifles and his table was loaded with FWB 300 and 300S rifles, Walther LGR single-strokes as well as a couple Steyrs and some others. Under the table were even more of these rifles, and Scott was really dealing on them! I saw a beautiful FWB 300 and another nice 300S go to new owners for $225 — and the guns had sights! In a year, just the sights will be worth more than that. Mac obtained a well-used FWB 300 for just $150, and another with sights for a little more. Both will need seals, but like the 150 you read about last Friday, that’s just a job that can be done. In fact, at the show I learned that Dave Slade at Theoben USA is also sealing these rifles. So, now there are two places to send your guns.
To he who has, more shall be given
So, Scott happened to be standing in the exact best place when a bluebird seller walked into the show with a small collection, wanting to sell the whole thing for one price. Scott bought it and immediately sold the key pieces to recoup the cost of the deal. I was able to buy three unopened tins of Japanese Mount Star pellets from the 1970s. Those were the pellets that Beeman branded as the Silver Ace and the Silver Jet, among others. But the story doesn’t end there.
At another table, a guy was selling a couple thousand dollars worth of vintage guns for $1,350. One price took everything, and even a newbie could calculate what a deal it was. That one didn’t last but a few hours before a buyer stepped up and bought it. And, as he was claiming his new possessions, the sales of individual pieces started immediately. Just ask our blog reader David Enoch about that.
Benjamin Rogue first sighting
Caught your breath yet? Neither did we, because Crosman Corporation had a table and were letting people shoot the new Rogue ePCP rifl. I shot it several times, and Lloyd, I have to say, Crosman has done you proud! When old B.B. can drill an X offhand with a .357 caliber big bore, we have an event worth noting. The trigger is a long single-stage that always releases at the same point, because it is really electronic. The software allows you to tell the rifle how to behave — whether it’s to act like a coyote-buster or a 100-yard turkey-hunter. Special Nosler ballistic-tip bullets and two new Benjamin lead bullets will also be available from major airgun retailers to augment the hundreds of different .357 lead bullets already available in the reloading market. Thank goodness Crosman was smart enough not to fall into the 9mm trap, which would limit the bullets their new rifle can use!
I’m not done with the manufacturers because my tables were in the same room where Dennis Quackenbush was selling his big bores and talking to interested potential buyers on both days. Mac scored early on Friday by buying one of the few .458 Long Action rifles Dennis actually had available to buy at the show. For those who aren’t familiar with Dennis’ work, a Quackenbush big bore rifle doubles in value the moment the initial owner takes possession. It’s hard to lose money that way!
Mac scores a Quackenbush bog bore! Believe it or not, customers don’t like this black laminate stock!
You have to have your money ready, though, because Dennis always has ten times as many buyers as he has new guns to sell. That’s because he’s also faithfully filling airgun orders from his order book and doesn’t make rifles to sell at the shows. When a customer backs out of a deal or a gun isn’t what they wanted, or heaven forbid there’s a blemish, Dennis brings it to the show.
Next to Dennis, big bore hunter Eric Henderson was talking about his guided hunts and generally stirring the pot of airgun hunter interest. On Saturday, the local hunters flocked in to meet and talk with him and to watch him film his next YouTube video.
Shoebox air compressor
My two tables were next to the Shoebox Air Comressor, which I have to say was one of the hits of the show. For one-tenth the cost of a regular compressor, you can add the Shoebox inline with your shop air compressor to get 4,500 psi output. The guys buying them seemed fixated on filling carbon fiber tanks, but to my way of thinking that’s too much to ask. The compressor can do it, but it takes too long. To fill a single gun, this is the ideal way!
The Shoebox air compressor was a hit at the show. This is the model with the cogged belt drive that’s very quiet.
I heard others talking about making similar compressors; but from what I can see, they will fail because these guy have done it right. As long as you maintain the machine, it looks robust enough to last a very long time. I watched two of them operate the entire show, filling tanks and guns in demonstrations.
Although this was a small show, there were many collectible guns there, too. Maybe there weren’t as many of each gun to choose from, but the range of collectibles was broad.
A beautiful Schimel pistol that still works! It’s for sale.
Mac and I had two tables with some interesting guns to sell. I had thought Mac would sell all three of his FWB 150s; but with Pilkington’s pile in the next room, he didn’t have a chance. This was the show for 10-meter stuff.
Mac and I had two tables. Look close, because there are some future blogs there!
Tom Strayhorn is an advanced collector who usually has an educational table at every show he attends. This one was no exception, and I’m showing you his table to drool over.
Tom Strayhorn had his usual table of beautiful vintage rifles.
End of the show
The show ended on a high note. Three teenaged boys came to my table to buy two airsoft rifles I had. Grandpa went out to find an ATM to get the cash, and Mac noticed that the one boy wasn’t getting anything, so he gave him a nice breakbarrel pellet rifle. The boy was flabbergasted, and when grandpa returned we asked him to clear the gift with mom. What a wonderful way to end a very exciting airgun show.
by B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: Pyramyd Air recently got in three new Sam Yang PCP air rifles. One is the Recluse, which is a 9mm (also shoots larger .357 bullets). The other two are Dragon Claws, and both are .50 caliber. One has a single reservoir, and the other has two air tanks. Now, on to today’s blog.
Last weekend, Mac and I had tables at the Dallas Arms Collectors Gun Show. I didn’t think I would get a blog out of that experience because they prohibit the use of cameras at the show, which is common at gun shows. But as things turned out, I saw so many airguns and related things that I just have to tell you about it.
Right off the bat, I noticed that gun buyers are freer with their cash. While they bargain just as hard as airgunners, they pull out their wallets when it comes to the end. At airgun shows you see a lot more tire-kicking, and sometimes over ridiculous things like a $15 accessory. Firearm buyers don’t seem to clench up much before the $200 mark. So, by the end of the show, I had a real bundle of cash for the items I’d sold.
While some gun shows are still as small as airgun shows (75-125 tables), this one had over 800 tables. And the weekend before there had been a 4,000+ table show up in Tulsa, which is a four-hour drive from Dallas. More tables mean more people. Yet, that’s a very sad thing, because at an airgun show you will see more collectible and new airguns than at 20 gun shows — this big one included. To my way of thinking, it’s worth a thousand-mile drive with $4 gas to go to one airgun show. At least it is if you want to see some interesting airguns. But, I discovered that gun shows can also have their unique finds.
The last gun show I was at where I sold firearms was over 30 years ago, and I was completely unprepared for the level of thievery that goes on today. Losing something off a table back in 1980 was so uncommon that the whole show talked about it when it happened. At this Dallas show, I was advised to watch my table like a hawk. And, sure enough, I did have a revolver cylinder stolen on the first day. It was priced at just $50 and the guy who got it will be surprised to discover that it doesn’t fit any cartridge, yet, because it was in the middle of conversion to .44 Special from .357 Magnum. But there you are. We had to lock all the guns to the table with cables — rifles and pistols alike! At an airgun show you can go out for lunch for an hour and just ask your tablemate or even the guy at the next table to watch your table in case someone wants to buy something while you’re gone. When something is stolen at an airgun show, the whole show still talks about it, so in that respect an airgun show is like a gun show of 30 years ago.
Just like airgunners, firearm buyers often shop the entire show before making a decision to buy, and therefore they often miss the better deals. One man brought only checks and credit cards to the show, so after he bargained for a price of $450 on a gun he was surprised to learn that I only accept green cash money. He had to go out to an ATM, during which time another buyer slipped in a bought his hard-negotiated treasure. And, no, I don’t hold guns for anyone. A long time ago I would hold a gun, but so often I was often left holding the bag at the end of the show. These days it’s the first cash that buys it. That’s pretty much the norm at airgun shows as well. Forget your credit cards; take cash. And, pull the trigger on those great deals when and where you find them!
The prices for airguns are all over the place at gun shows, which is something I was prepared for. Although I haven’t sold at a show in a long time, I’ve attended them often enough to know about how airguns are priced. Let me give a couple of examples to illustrate.
Diana model 35
There was a very nice-looking Diana model 35 breakbarrel on one of the tables. A nice 35 should bring $150-175, but this one was priced at $650. Oddly enough, the fellow who had the table was a semi-airgunner! He loved to shoot his vintage Sheridan Blue Streak, but he didn’t know that pellets were still being made for it. I told him about Pyramyd Air and how accurate the Benjamin domes are (they look like Premiers, but are less expensive) but he was convinced that vintage Sheridan pellets from the 1960s red tins were the most accurate pellets in his rifle. I bought an H&R Topper with a 20-gauge barrel an a .30-30 barrel from this guy for $105, so he wasn’t pricing his firearms out of sight, but he was way over on the one airgun.
On another table, a fellow had a 95 percent model 112 Benjamin transitional pump pistol for sale in the box for $165. That one was right on the money for a nice gun in non-working condition. Spend $40 for a reseal, and you have a fine collectible airgun from before WWII. That guy was also an airgunner who knew what things should go for. I could have bought it for $150, which would have been a pretty good buy.
Elsewhere I saw a zimmerstutzen that came out of an estate recently. It was missing the spoon that serves as the breech, but the man sold it for $350. It was a beautiful rifle, with flawless bluing, silver furniture and carved animal faces in the stock surrounded by acorns. The octagon barrel was swamped (tapered larger at the muzzle). There was silver or platinum lettering set into the barrel. So it was a quality gun. Fix it up to shoot and resell it for $800.
The really nice thing about this zimmer is that it takes a No. 9 ball. Neal Stepp, the 10-meter supplier from Ft. Worth, happens to stock them. I steered an airgunner to this table, and he was fortunate enough to buy this rifle. It should be back in action soon.
Also at the zimmerstutzen table, I mentioned what I did for a living and the guy pulled out an air rifle with a broken stock from under the table. It was a BSA Supersport Mk II (think Falke 90). I got it for $75, and it’s worth $100-125 right now. With another stock, it’ll be worth $275-300. This is a very collectible airgun, plus it’s a really nice shooter. I’ll blog it for you some day. My point is that the airgun was priced right.
Mac bought an FWB 150 that turned out to be very nice and just had a Beeman reseal a year ago. I’ll tell you in a few weeks why that’s so important for a 150, but for now take my word that it is. He’ll take it to the Arkansas show this weekend and put it on the table alongside the other two 150s he brought from home, so the guy who comes looking for a bargain 10-meter rifle should be able to score this coming weekend.
The interesting thing about this rifle is that once Mac saw it the first time, the guy kept after him to buy it. At the end of their tarantula dance (where two negotiators dance back and forth over a deal, and the first one to blink gets bitten), I had to flip a coin to see what final price the gun would bring. The other guy called it and won, so I cost Mac $25 extra on the deal. What fun!
Sheridan CO2 rifle
At another table I saw a vintage Sheridan CO2 pellet rifle that is somewhat collectible and goes for $125-150 in working condition. I wanted to pay $50 for this one of unknown operational readiness, but they thought it was worth $350, so we never reached an accord. At an airgun show, that person would soon discover that they were out of line and either change their price or leave. But at a gun show, these are all BB guns and who cares?
Then, I was offered a Marksman 1010 in the box, but it was no more than 20 years old and all I offered was $10. They just aren’t collectible when they’re that new. Somewhere else I saw an original Marksman made in Los Angeles in the ’50s. That one was marked $10, but I didn’t know if it worked. If it had been in the box, it would have been a $75 value. By itself, it can take a long time to sell. Because this was a gun show, there was no possibility of checking the operation without getting kicked out of the show.
The ones that got away
The real deals of the show were the ones I didn’t see. On the drive home after we packed up, my other tablemate asked me what I thought of the two tables of collectible airguns that were at the show. Well, of course, I had never seen them (this was a huge show and most of the time I was at my table), and he neglected to mention them to me while the show was still going. “I thought you would have seen them!” he said. The widow of an airgunner had two tables of Daisys that included some cast iron guns, but I never saw them.
That sort of thing happens at large gun shows, and I’ve even had it happen at a couple airgun shows. I’ll be walking out to my car with the last load of stuff and someone will ask me if I found everything I was looking for at the show. I’ll answer yes, except for that Sheridan Model B. And he’ll say, “You mean you didn’t see the gorgeous one Bill Breechclot had on his table? He wanted only $800, and it was worth twice that, if it was worth a dime! It sat on his table for the whole show, and he took it home half an hour ago!” That kind of stuff does happen to me, I will admit.
I’m going to start doing the larger gun shows again, because there were enough airguns at this one show to interest several airgunners. A real airgun show would have as many airguns on three tables as were at this entire show, but there are precious few airgun shows happening. Besides, at a gun show there’s always the chance of scoring big, because, as I’ve tried to point out, firearms dealers simply do not know what airguns are worth.
by B.B. Pelletier
2011 airgun show calendar
Before I get to the report, here’s a calendar of all the 2011 airgun shows I know of. If you want to go to an airgun show, here they are.
March 5 & 6
Pacific Airgun Expo
Placer County Fairgrounds
Contact Jon Brooks @ 707-498-8714
Flag City Toys That Shoot
Lighthouse Banquet Facility
10055 S.R. 224 West
Findlay, OH 45840
Duane Shaferly @ 419-435-7909
Dave Barchent @ 419-423-0070
Dan Lerma @ 419-422-9121
To register contact:
April 15 & 16
2nd Arkansas Airgun Extravaganza
Fairgrounds, Exit 98A on I-30
1605 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Malvern, AR 72104
Contact Seth Rowland
June 11 & 12
5th CT Airguns Airgun Show
Windsor Elk Lodge
Contact Kevin Hull @ 860-649-7599
July 15 & 16
Airgun Show and Shoot
American Legion Post 113
Contact Larry Behling @ 315-695-7133
Daisy Get Together
Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds Expo Center
Wes Powers @ 517-423-4148
Bill Duimstra @ 616-738-2425
St. Louis Airgun Show
Stratford Inn Garden Room
800 S. Hwy. Dr.
Fenton, MO 63026
Contact Gary Anthony @ 636-861-1103
This is the 14th report I have made on the FWB 124. In all that time, I was mostly tracking a single 124 — the one I obtained that had been packed for eternity in a wooden case like an Egyptian sarcophagus. We went through many tunes with that gun and saw what each one did. Then, I tuned a 124 for Mark Taylor, a shooter I met at Roanoke. That one wasn’t planned, but it did give us a look at a later and different rifle.
Today, I’m reporting on the bluebird buy I happened upon while registering a firearm several weeks ago. The guy at the gun store owned this 124 that had suddenly stopped shooting, a fault that is common with this model because of a bad formula of synthetic used in the piston seal. You’ll also see it in FWB 150 and 300 rifles, Walther LGV air rifles and probably a lot of other airguns made back in the 1970s. The fix is to install a new seal. You’ve already seen me do this several times in this series, but the one thing I haven’t shown you is what the old seal looks like when it’s broken up inside the gun, and that’s something all airgunners should know.
I originally thought I was going to tune this for the guy at the store, but he wound up selling me the rifle, so I’ll do both a velocity test after the tune and an accuracy test using the curious little Bushnell scope that came on it.
How the new gun differs from the old
Before I tear into the action, let me report on how this later 124 differs from the ones I have already shown you. The Deluxe models weren’t made when this one was built. It’s called a Sport, but it has a checkered grip and sling swivels, two features from the older Deluxe class. Gone, however, is the Wundhammer palm swell, and the cheekpiece that’s on the left of the butt of this later rifle is so small and ill-formed as to make the rifle nearly ambidextrous. With the ambi-style safety and the ease of breakbarrel loading, it should have been an ambi from the start.
When I tore into the gun, I initially wondered if it had ever been apart. The serial number is 42,648, which places the gun very late in the production cycle. So, it could have been a virgin rifle, but it wasn’t. The mainspring was coated with moly grease, a sure sign that someone has been inside, because the factory used only clear grease. From the look of the tune — moly on the mainspring, an FWB mainspring instead of an aftermarket spring, a replacement FWB piston seal (a Beeman trademark, even though they knew about the disintegration problem) and the trigger adjusted very nice — I believe this rifle was last tuned by Beeman. All those characteristics are the ones Beeman would do. As good as they were, even Beeman could not prevent that piston seal from decomposing. And, that’s what I want to show you.
This is what a decomposing FWB seal looks like. The brown particles you see used to be hard, tough synthetic. Now, they’re soft, waxy particles that break apart easily.
In this view, you see hundreds of smaller particles in the tube; and at the bottom (the end farthest from you in this picture), the top of the piston seal has broken off and wedged itself against the end of the compression chamber. The small hole at the lower right inside the compression chamber is the air transfer port. All of this mess must be removed before the rifle can be tuned.
There isn’t much left of the piston seal after it disintegrates. Most has been left inside the compression chamber, but this root has to be cut out of the piston top. Like most of them, this one popped out easily.
I won’t say anymore about disassembly and reassembly except for one thing. Installing the bolt that holds the trigger assembly in the gun is a tricky job. The trigger assembly has the spring guide and is what keeps the whole powerplant together. The bolt is hardened steel, but the trigger housing into which it threads is softer aluminum. You can easily cross-thread the bolt if you aren’t careful. If you do, the trick is to remove the trigger housing from the gun and carefully thread the bolt into the hole, keeping the head aligned straight. It’ll reset the threads in most cases and you’re home free. You can then assemble the gun, and the bolt will not cross-thread anymore. This is the biggest reason you need a mainspring compressor to do this job.
This large bolt with the two flats for gripping is what holds the 124′s powerplant together. It threads into the soft aluminum trigger housing and can easily be cross-threaded. This photo shows an older 124 trigger assembly, not the one from the newer gun I’m testing in this report…which has an aluminum trigger blade.
Many tunes — final satisfaction
I tried several combinations of springs and piston seals until I settled on the Maccari Mongoose spring and seal. At first, the seal was way too tight, as it’s supposed to be, so I sized it by hand-sanding until it had just a little resistance in the compression tube. The spring was lightly lubed with moly grease, and the seal also got a coat of moly before going back into the gun.
Crosman Premier 7.9 lites
The first pellet I tried with the new tune was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain “lites.” They’ll be among the most accurate in this rifle; history has proven many times. They averaged 761 f.p.s., with a spread from 752 to 770 f.p.s. The average velocity produced a muzzle energy of 10.13 foot-pounds. All pellets were tight in the breech
Next, I tried RWS Hobbys, a 7-grain pellet that’s the speed-demon of the lead pellet world. They averaged 821 f.p.s., but a curious thing was happening as I shot them. The velocity kept increasing! Shot one went just 767 f.p.s., but the fastest shot among the 10 I fired went 832 f.p.s. With the average working out to 821, you can see that velocity was climbing all the time. I think this tune will wear in to the point that the Premiers will go about 800 f.p.s., and the Hobbys will get up to 860 or so. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 10.48 foot-pounds.
Beeman Silver Jets
The last pellet I tested was the vintage Beeman Silver Jets that are no longer available. They were the No. 1 go-to pellet when the 124 was in its heyday. Back in Part 10 of this report, I tested them against the best of today’s pellets, with the result that they weren’t far from the leaders.
The 8-grain Silver Jets averaged 732 f.p.s., with a range from 721 to 747 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they were generating 9.52 foot-pounds.
I mentioned that this rifle has a nice trigger. It’s sort of a single-stage, by which I mean that pressure is there immediately when you begin the pull, and there’s no obvious hesitation. It breaks with only 26 oz. of pressure, and it feels like less than a pound. I have to be very careful, because I’m used to three-to-five-pound triggers on the rifles I shoot the most. This one feels like nothing to me.
Most 124 triggers have more creep in them than this one. When I owned Mrs. Beeman’s personal custom 124, the Queen Bee rifle, I found that the Beeman company could really adjust a 124 trigger very finely. Whenever I feel a good one, I always suspect someone from Beeman has been inside.
Well, that’s it for this test. Next time, I’ll see about sighting-in the rifle with that unusual scope.
by B.B. Pelletier
In case you haven’t had a chance to view Pyramyd Air’s 2010 Xmas video, here it is!
Before I start today’s blog, please note that I’m undergoing another outpatient procedure this morning and will be out of the loop much of the day. Edith will monitor the blog and answer comments as she’s able. I would appreciate it if the blog readers could help out by answering the comments from new people and others who might usually get an answer from me.
The covert deal
I call this report the covert deal because that’s what it’s about. I’ll explain a few of the uncommon deals I’ve made as an airgun collector/buyer and seller. I’m doing this to encourage those among you who want to get out and try this for themselves but haven’t gotten up the courage to try it, yet. Hopefully, you’ll see from what I am about to tell you that there are plenty of great airgun deals still to be made. Okay, here we go.
While you’re standing at your airgun table at an airgun show, someone comes up and offers you a firearm. He tells you that he knows nothing about firearms and he recently inherited one that he wants to get rid of right away. Without saying so, you gather that he is uncomfortable around firearms, and he sees you as his chance to get rid of this one.
Think it can’t happen? I’ve had it happen many times at different shows; so much so, in fact, that I am now prepared to talk to this person, because I know exactly what he wants and where he’s coming from. I won’t bore you with all the details; but the quick and dirty is that he somehow feels owning a firearm makes him a marked man, and he wants to keep this transaction as quiet and private as possible. That’s what you need to know — keep things quiet and private and let this fellow go his way, unencumbered by any firearms.
He says he has in his car what looks like a Civil War musket, and the plate on the right side just says Springfield with an eagle and the date 1873. There appear to be additional words on the gun, but they’re impossible for him to read. You can relax, because what he has is not considered to be a firearm by the ATF. It was made before 1898 and is classified as an antique. This is no M4 that was used to rob a liquor store last week, then thrown into the bushes during the getaway.
Also, if you know that the American Civil War lasted from 1860 until early 1865, you know that this isn’t a Civil War gun. With that date of 1873, it’s most likely a Trapdoor Springfield.
Now, this could either be the real deal from the late-19th century, or it could just as easily be a modern reproduction. You won’t know until you see it. The genuine rifle in overall good condition should be worth about $700. A modern replica in excellent condition is worth about $800-900.
You wander out to his car which you notice he’s parked far from the show entrance. He asks you to get in the back seat, where you find the rifle wrapped in a dirty beach towel. It turns out t0 be the real deal, so you ask him what he wants. “I saw something on your table that I’d like to trade for, if that’s okay. He describes it and you know he’s interested in an IZH 61 that you have priced at $75.
This is a real Trapdoor Springfield.
The nickname “Trapdoor” comes from the way the breech bolt operates. This one is in just good condition, because all original finish is gone. But, the barrel is clean and shiny with sharp rifling. That means that if the rest of the rifle is in good condition, it’s safe to shoot with vintage-powered ammunition.
You answer, “Sure, I’ll do that, plus I’ll throw in some pellets and targets to get you started. Let’s go back inside, and I’ll show you how it works.” You take the Trapdoor over to your own car and lock it in the trunk. Then the two of you head inside to finish the deal.
Have you just taken this guy to the cleaners? I used to think so, until I came to realize that he has absolutely no interest in guns, and you’ve just done him a big favor. That Trapdoor Springfield is worthless to him, and every time he has to venture out in public with it is a big risk, as far as he is concerned. Besides, you may not get a fair market price for it if you decide to sell it, because the market is severely depressed these days. Yes, you’re going to make money on the deal, but since you didn’t define the terms of the deal and, indeed, didn’t look for the deal to begin with, accept what has happened as a little windfall.
Now, had the gun been a prime German Jaeger hunting rifle with engraving, gold inlay, fluted barrel and bas-relief carving on the wood, it would have been worth four times as much, and then I think you should have given him some money to boot. But the point is, you didn’t seek this deal out. He came to you, and if you have satisfied his needs, then you have done him a kindness.
Here’s the big question. Why did he come to an airgun show? The surprising answer is that people who don’t like firearms also can’t discriminate between them and airguns. Everything at your show looked like a firearm to him. He doesn’t know exactly why airguns are not regulated the same as firearm, but he does know that they aren’t, and he just felt under less pressure at your low-profile airgun show. Bottom line, he had a gun to get rid of and he knew that you were the right guy to turn to.
The desperate seller
It’s getting on toward the end of the airgun show and a man you don’t know walks briskly up to your table. He’s holding several boxes, plus a nickel-plated Daisy Targeteer. “I want to sell you all of this stuff and I’m going to price it right. How about $100 for everything?”
“That’s all the money I have at the moment. I’m flying home in three hours and I’ll need some money in my pocket for that,” you respond.
“Aww, you can probably resell this for three times a hundred dollars in the remaining time the show is open. Come on!”
What he is offering you is a nickel-plated Daisy Targeteer in 98 percent condition, a blued gun that’s in 80 percent condition and a very early 100-percent blued gun in the box with everything. On top of that there are seven red-white-blue metal tubes of Daisy .118 copper-plated steel shot. Each of the shot tubes is worth at least $10 , the boxed gun is worth $150, the nickel-plated gun is worth $90 and the other blued gun is worth at least $50. This whole package is worth $360, or just a little more than he estimates.
You pull out all your money and buy it. He is happy because he needed gas money to get home. And you now have a quick sales job to do. Just because something is worth a certain amount doesn’t mean that anyone at this show wants to buy it. Mr. Desperate knew that when he came to you.
So the safest thing to do is lowball the whole deal away. You sell the Nickel Targeteer, the 80-percent Blue Targeteer and six tubes of steel shot to a Daisy collector for $100. You keep the boxed pistol and one tube of shot for yourself. Mr. Desperate hasn’t left the building before you have your money back and people are wondering why you are selling so cheap.
The boxed Targeteer is worth more than the asking price for the whole package.
The buyer with specific tastes
Here’s another one that I don’t have a picture for. A guy comes up to your table and offers you a Weihrauch HW 55 target rifle for your Diana model 24 youth rifle. You tell him that his gun is worth five times what yours is and he responds that it’s okay, because he still has three more 55s and he has been searching for a 24 like yours all year. You do the trade and everyone is happy.
Sound impossible? I can assure you it isn’t. Sometimes having a surplus of certain models can devaluate them in the owner’s mind. Familiarity breeds contempt.
In fact, all of these stories are true ones and the guns shown are the very ones that came from the deals described. I have changed the description of the deals to disguise the other party, but these exact things have all happened to me.
Things like this can happen to you at an airgun show, so always be ready to step into prosperity.
Now for a small homework assignment. I’m going to show you several bad images that were recently used in auction sales. I want you to discuss them amongst yourselves, and be ready to critique them so we will be ready for the next part of this report.
I see three things wrong with this picture. It’s so insulting that it might stop me from doing a deal with this seller.
The photographer was so close on this one. He just missed one thing.
This photographer has made the classic mistake. Can you tell what it is?
Another classic gun photo mistake. What is it?
Alright, that’s a wrap for today. In the next report, I’ll get into the fundamentals of taking good pictures to sell airguns.
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we begin, take a look at Pyramyd Air’s holiday video. Let it download completely before you play it.
This report was recently suggested by Kevin and other readers as an adjunct to my report on The art of collecting airguns. And, with Fred from the People’s Republik of New Jersey telling us the tale of his recent acquisition, I see the time as ripe for this.
I know some of you claim to have no interest in vintage or collectible airguns, but every so often I see where one of you has been exposed to a fine vintage gun, and your attitude changes dramatically. When that happens, this report series will be waiting for you.
Pick a trusted dealer or become one yourself
The biggest obstacle to buying and selling used items is trust. Those who haven’t ventured forth feel they’re stepping into a minefield to start trading long distance over the internet. And, let’s be honest, there are unscrupulous dealers who lay in wait for the hapless, so let me give you some pointers to reduce your risk in this area as much as possible.
To begin with, deal only with people whose reputations you can either check or that you already know. For example, I bet there isn’t one of our thousands of readers who would have much misgiving if they found themselves in a deal with Kevin Lentz. If you’ve read this blog for longer than two weeks, you must know that Kevin is a saint. He’s the kind of guy who will bend over backwards to give the other guy a fair deal because he values his reputation above almost everything.
There was a Pawn Stars TV episode in which the owner, Rick Harrison, told a woman that her Faberge pin that she thought was worth $2,000 was really worth $15,000 to him. He could have remained silent and given her what she asked, but he said he had to sleep at night, so he told her what it was really worth. You can explain that away by saying Rick couldn’t afford to let the public see him take advantage of the woman on television, but I got the impression that he’s really like that all the time. He’s always out for a profit, but he’s also inherently honest.
In a recent American Pickers episode, the guys shared a $10,000 windfall with the person who had sold them the two items that netted that amount. They split the sales price with the seller 50-50 well after the fact. That is a pretty good assessment of how Kevin or many other guys on this blog will treat you.
In my position, I get to know hundreds of Kevins that I meet at airgun shows and read about online. If one of them is selling something, I know I can trust both the description and the price. Well, really, the price is what drives my buy decision, but only if I know the seller in some way.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a Primary New York City dart gun made in the 1870s. The seller asked me what it was worth, so I told him. Then he asked if I was interested. I answered yes, but at a price lower than the top of the range I had mentioned. I don’t collect these guns, but if there’s an opportunity to acquire one at a good price, I’m interested. He responded that he would sell it for my offer and we did the deal. Some time after Christmas, I’ll show the gun to you, because Edith and I agreed that it would be my big Christmas present this year.
The point I’m making is this. If I tell you something is worth as much as $800 to the right buyer but that I would offer $500, you know I’m not about to scam you. And if the seller had said he was hoping to get a little more than I offered, I would have been glad to help him find the places to sell it successfully for more money. After all, I’m going to own this gun for maybe the next several decades and then it’ll be someone else’s turn. Like Rick Harrison, I have to sleep at night.
So, point No. 1 is to buy from dealers with good reputations. And point No. 1A is to become such a dealer yourself. I don’t mean that you have to feel sorry for anybody, or help them out of a prior bad deal by overpaying; but as a deal comes together, you should know without conscious thought that you’re doing the right thing. If everybody wins, the deal is good.
Watch your descriptions!
Language is important, and too many people treat it as though it’s paint that can be slathered on the job and you’re done.
One of the most difficult things is to get an idea out of your own head and into the head of someone else so they understand what you’re trying to say. This is not the time to write conversationally, because writing lacks the tonal inflection of speech. Writing is too complex to discuss it meaningfully in a blog report, so instead I’ll give you some things to think about.
The following sentence makes me think the writer is dishonest: “This gun is in exceptional shape for an 80-year-old airgun.” The writer is asking the reader to agree to a standard that’s in the writer’s mind and impossible to convey. Here’s the honest way to describe the same gun: “The blued finish is worn until only 30 percent remains. Some old rust has left a pitted surface on the receiver, but the pits are small and smooth and look like patina. The wooden stock has small scratches and a couple dents from handling over the years. I’ve photographed the worst of these so you can evaluate them.”
The way to describe a gun to someone else is to act as their agent while describing the gun. Look for all the flaws and bring them to the attention of the reader. Your goal should be for the buyer to say something like this after he has seen the airgun, “You described it as much worse than it really is. I was pleasantly surprised when I finally saw it.”
Learn to punctuate! Failing to use the correct punctuation will confuse most readers. “The gun has been used very little after rebuilding which was done last year by a top airgunsmith who only works on this model when he has the time which is not that often unless you want one thats brand new get it.”
“The DRD is fitted tight to the muzzle and the de-pinger has increased the shot count by a lot. I’ve installed a 90-gram hammer that works really well with CPH.”
Instead, say that the silencer is fitted tight to the muzzle and a custom hammer de-bouncer has increased the shot count per fill. The gun likes 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers.
Use accepted terminology
Don’t call it a single-pump rifle when it’s really a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle. If it holds more than one round that can be fired without reloading the gun — it’s a repeater. Many newer shooters are calling these guns single shots because they have to do something beyond just pulling the trigger. In their world, only a semiautomatic can be a repeater.
Guns and airguns are never “mint,” so don’t use that term to describe the condition. That’s a phrase associated with coins, though it’s not precise there, either. Guns are poor, fair, good, very good and excellent. If they’ve never been shot and have everything they originally came with, they can also be classified as new in the box. The NRA determines what each of the conditions entails, and the Blue Book of Airguns goes the extra mile for those things in which airguns depart from firearms.
And, speaking of the Blue Book, if you plan to buy and sell airguns, you really need to own one. That way, it won’t take you three pages of description to describe that Red Ryder. You’ll know the difference between a No. 111, Model 40, and a Model 1938 Red Ryder. And, you can add informative things into your description from the Blue Book to help buyers understand what you’re selling.
I plan to have a separate report on photos, alone, because that topic is too large to be stuffed in anywhere else. It won’t be a repeat of my 5-part series on photographing airguns. I also plan to discuss how and where to sell your airguns. I’ve bought and sold guns while thousands of miles from home on business trips, so unless you’re on an oil platform or in a submarine, there isn’t much excuse not to participate.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll fulfill my promise to tell you about the greatest gun deal I’ve ever made. Although the title says airguns, today’s article is about firearms. But the process by which I did what seemed to me to be impossible is the same one I described in Part 1 of this report series.
I’m going to have to give you some background information, which involves other gun deals, because without them I would never have been able to swing this deal. But first, let me tell you what I was up against. You are about to read the longest and most detailed single blog report I have ever made, so you’d better put on a whole pot of coffee and get comfy.
There’s a gun store in Ft. Worth called the Winchester Gallery, and it’s right out of the 1950s. Besides modern guns, they have a wide selection of fine vintage guns for sale. You all liked the looks of my Winder Musket when I showed it to you. The Winchester Gallery has two of them available!
The Winder Musket is a target rifle chambered for .22 Short and was sanctioned for NRA matches in the early part of the 20th century.
They also have a great number of other fine collectible antique firearms. About five years ago, my buddy Mac was telling me how interested he was in a single-shot rifle in caliber .38-55 Winchester. Well, imagine my surprise to find such a rifle on the wall at the Winchester Gallery. It was a Marlin Ballard Union Hill No. 9 rifle with tang sight and spirit level front sight with wind gauge (that means the front sight adjusts to either side for windage corrections). Don’t worry about all that terminology. I’ll show you everything and explain it today.
The only problem with this fine rifle was its price. They wanted $3,500 for it! I don’t look seriously at guns in that price range because, frankly, I don’t have that kind of money to spend. Life went on, I returned home and the beautiful Ballard remained on the wall at the Winchester gallery, where it had already been for many years.
I would return to the Winchester Gallery several times each year that followed and every time I would visit that rifle. I was drawn to it, even though I would never have considered it had Mac not been interested in the caliber. The wood was so beautiful that it looked edible and the color case-hardened receiver looked new! But at $3,500, it was all looky and no touchy!
Fast-forward to two years ago, when I acquired an unbelievable Winchester M1 Carbine in a deal that was the best firearms deal I ever made to that point. What I thought I was buying was a clean M1 Carbine that I could shoot. What I actually got was a highly collectible and rare first model spring-tube Winchester sitting in a presentation walnut stock.
This 100 percent spring-tube Winchester carbine was made in 1943, during the third month of production. It saw no service and was as new as the day it was proofed.
This Winchester was all that I wanted and more. Unfortunately, it was the “more” that broke my heart. You see, this was a rare collectible gun that was also prone to break early in its life. The spring tube that Winchester had used because they didn’t have the tooling to drill deep holes straight in the receivers was prone to crack the receiver at several weak points. I wanted something to shoot, but shooting is the last thing you should do with this particular model. What I really had was the famed Biblical pearl of great price — something so valuable that it could not serve its intended purpose.
After getting out of the hospital in June of this year, I engaged in a complex trade with a local M1 Carbine collector who took my Winchester and left me with a very shootable S’G’ carbine plus a rare 1862 Peabody rifle. The Peabody I have written about already. It’s a fine rifle but it had one fatal flaw, from my perspective. It was too valuable to modify in any way! Once again, I had a gun I could shoot, but not one I could put a scope on without destroying about a thousand dollars of collector value.
The Peabody rifle was a single-shot cartridge rifle that was purchased by three state militias and several foreign governments. This one is from Connecticut, the only state to rebarrel their rifles in .45-70 caliber with Henry rifling.
The Peabody has an outside hammer. When Martini of Switzerland modified it, he lost the hammer and went to an internal striker. The Peabody-Martini rifle design is known much better than the Peabody that preceded it.
Very few Peabody rifles are marked this clearly.
The Henry rifling in this rifle bore is close to pristine, despite use with black powder and corrosive primers.
You guys know that I ended up putting a scope on my Remington Rolling Block in .43 Spanish. And that rifle has met all my hopes for what it could be and do. Mac got to shoot it about a month ago and his first three bullets at 50 yards could be covered by a quarter!
This Remington Rolling Block in .43 Spanish caliber (the same as .44-77 Sharps) is now a real tackdriver.
So, I owned this nice Peabody in .45-70 caliber, but I already own a vintage Trapdoor Springfield rifle in the same caliber that serves me very well. I don’t need two rifles in the same caliber. Plus, I had to modify the sights on the Trapdoor to be able to see the front blade and also to be on target at 50 yards. The Peabody has sights that hit 14 inches high at 50 yards, and I can’t see its front sight blade anyway. Despite being a way-cool historical firearm, it wasn’t giving me a warm fuzzy as a shooter.
A second blue-chip trade
Now you need to know something else. A few weeks ago, I had a brief opportunity to purchase a Winchester model 55 takedown rifle for about half what it’s actually worth. The rifle is in very good condition, but I was able to acquire it for just $600, because the seller needed the cash to make his own incredible buy. I had about an hour to decide, but I knew I could always sell the rifle for a handsome profit. Even though it tapped me out of cash at the time, I bought it.
The Winchester 55 is a little-known cousin of the famed model 1894. Where about ten million 94s were made, Winchester made only about 35,000 model 55s. It’s three times rarer than the model 64, which is also considered to be a scarce cousin to the 94. This one is in caliber .32 Winchester Special.
The bluing has flaked off the receiver because Winchester used nickel steel for the receiver, which did not hold the blue. They even lose blue when left untouched. Later, they changed the alloy and the bluing stuck better. Oddly, the barrel retains about 98 percent of the blue, even though it’s also made of nickel steel. Apparently, the barrel alloy is different.
This rifle is a take-down design that worked flawlessly. They seldom, if ever, become loose.
This 55 is a takedown rifle, which is usually rare, but in a 55 it is the most common form. The solid frame rifle is the one you don’t see that often. This rifle is in .32 Winchester Special, which is ballistically slightly better than the .30-30.
The plot thickens!
Now, all the pieces of the puzzle have come together. I have two prime collectible firearms that I don’t really want, and I acquired them in either great trades or buys after June of this year. Together they’re worth — wait for it — between $3,000 and $3,800, though I didn’t pay anywhere near that much. Still, I didn’t put everything together until I wrote that airgun collectible piece for this blog. Then it dawned on me that I could take my own advice and get the gun I really wanted by trading the two I didn’t care about.
Or at least that is how the story would have gone in a well-written novel or movie.
In my case, the idea of trading had to be suggested to me by a gun buddy, because I was too obtuse to envision it. However, once he mentioned it, I saw the possibilities. Mac, this other guy and I had just visited the Winchester Gallery, and I finally got to show both of them the Ballard rifle I’d been drooling over for the past five years. And that was when my other gun buddy suggested the trade. Only he told me to offer my Peabody and my Winder Musket. But I didn’t want to get rid of the Winder. I really like it. Then Mac said I should substitute the Winchester 55 for the Winder and suddenly the clouds cleared and the sun shown strong and warm!
They already had two Winder Muskets on their walls, but no model 55s. In fact, the guy who handled the trade for the gun store said it had been many years since he had seen a 55. So, from a desirability standpoint, this was the rifle they wanted and needed more than a third Winder.
Long story short, I made the trade and came home with a drop-dead gorgeous Marlin Ballard Union Hill No. 9 target rifle. Ballard began making their rifles in 1861, and Marlin bought them out in 1875. Ballard rifling was considered to be among the best in its day — the Lothar Walther of the 19th century — and custom barrelmakers like Harry Pope liked the actions above all others.
Marlin made the Ballard single-shot rifle from 1875 until 1890, and they made just less than 36,000 of all models. The Union Hill No. 9 was introduced in 1884. From the serial number of this rifle, it seems it was made around 1886, but it looks almost brand new. It has walnut that would be called grade four today. The bore is bright, smooth and fresh despite may decades of black powder cartridges. Whoever owned this rifle, in fact all of the former owners, took painstaking care of it.
Marlin Ballard Union Hill No. 9 offhand target rifle in .38-55 caliber. This single-shot rifle was probably made around 1886. Distinctive features are the pistol-grip stock, the cheekpiece and the half-round/half-octagon 30-inch barrel. The rifle weighs about 9.5 lbs.
Although the lever makes the rifle look like a repeater, it’s actually a single-shot. Just look at those bright case colors on the receiver!
When the lever goes forward, the breechblock and hammer drop down for loading.
When the breechblock drops down, the breech can be accessed for loading.
The rifle is in .caliber .38-55. Today, with smokeless power dominating all our loads, we think of that caliber as a good deer and black bear round, but in the black-powder days of the late 19th century when bullets flew at much slower velocities, this same cartridge was viewed as a good offhand round for 200-yard target work.
Not familiar with the .38-55 cartridge? In the middle, flanked by the .30-30 Winchester (left) and the .30-06 (right). The .38-55 is a blackpowder cartridge that spawned the .30-30, but also continues to live its own life today. It’s a little more powerful than the .30-30, but in the 19th century was considered to be a great offhand target cartridge.
After some internet research, I’m 95 percent convinced that what I have is a Ballard Union Hill No. 9 rifle. All the specifications, save one, fit perfectly. What doesn’t line up is that my rifle has a black flat gutta-percha buttplate, where the No. 9 usually had a nickel-plated butt hook. But customers could make changes to the base models, and in all other ways, my rifle aligns with the No. 9 Union Hill.
What thrills me to no end is the presence of both a tang-mounted diopter rear sight and a rare wind-gauge front sight with spirit level. Marlin made both of these sights, so there’s no maker’s name on them. The rear sight is graduated to 900 yards, but careful examination shows that only 800 yards of adjustment is possible, and that was what defined the No. 9 rifle. The wind-gauge front sight is unusual because it adjusts for windage. While we have plenty of these sights today, they were not that common in the 19th century, but a target rifle like this one needed to have one. The spirit level refers to a bubble level in front of the front sight, so when you take aim you are careful to also center the bubble before firing. That way, all tendency to cant is eliminated.
This Marlin flip-up rear aperture sight mounts on the tang and adjusts out to 800 yards. Actual sight settings should be found through shooting at the ranges you want and recording the actual Vernier readings from the sight post in a shooter’s notebook for the rifle.
The rear of the front sight (top) is facing the shooter, so he levels the bubble before shooting. The front (bottom) has a Vernier scale for recording windage changes. Notice the complete absence of any crowning at the muzzle. This was common in the 19th century and was considered the most accurate way to finish a muzzle. Just keep it safe from bumps!
This set of marks was applied to Marlin Ballards made in 1881 and later. The patent date is Nov. 5, 1861.
What attracted me to this rifle the first time I saw it on the wall at the Winchester Galley was the beautiful wood buttstock and forearm. The figure in the wood is so gorgeous that it appears to be chocolate! Both the pistol grip and forearm are checkered well, but not with fine lines. This checkering is meant to grip sweaty palms in the heat of competition.
This is what I mean by “edible” wood!
A fine gutta-percha buttplate is held to the butt with two engraved screws. Notice the screw slots are aligned with the bore — a sign of quality gun-making!
If you just have to know how much I am into this rifle, the total is $1,850, or a little more than half the asking price. But wait a moment — I said this rifle had been on the wall at the Winchester Gallery for many, many years. In all that time, the price tag had remained the same as the day it was put on. So, the gun’s price never appreciated through the years as it should have.
You can go on Gun Broker and find Marlin Ballard Union Hill No. 9 rifles for $3,500 from time to time. But look at them closely, because none of them will have this grade of wood and their case colors will not be as bright and vibrant as those on this gun. Some may even have double-set triggers or Swiss butt hooks, but they’ll lack the spirit level wind gauge front sight. Get all the attributes the same as my gun and the starting price will be closer to $5,000.
This story has a point. Besides my sharing the tremendous find with you, I also hope to encourage you to think bigger than you have been. If you want a certain airgun, make up your mind to get it. A year ago, I would have said there was no way I could have ever acquired this rifle. But by putting into practice several of the tips I have shared with you in this blog regarding acquiring fine airguns, I was able to swing the impossible deal through a series of other deals within the past five months of this year.
Not only have I told you a great story about a fantastic deal. I now find that my vision of what is possible has been expanded to larger than its former size. It will never again snap back to where it was before. Having done this, I know I can do other things equally large, so now I want to do more. Not spend more money, but take some of the things I don’t care about and turn them into things I can treasure. This means I have to be open to great buys when they pass my way, even if I don’t want them. Someone wise once said the deal of a lifetime comes by about every 18 months — more often if you are actively looking.