Posts Tagged ‘Beeman Precision Airguns’

The 2010 Roanoke Airgun Expo – Day two

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The airgun show continued on Saturday, and a firearms show opened in the same civic center complex. Paying admission to the firearms show also got you into the airgun show, so we saw several of those buyers walking in our aisles. It’s odd to see a guy carrying a firearm at an airgun show, but that’s what happens when two shows are run at the same time.

On this day, I got a first-time attendee’s appraisal of the show, which is always interesting. He said he came to the show with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I guess that about sums it up for most of us. If you came to buy just a Beeman R11 and didn’t find one, you might think the show was a bust despite being in the presence of some of the rarest, most collectible airguns ever assembled. If they didn’t have what you wanted, for you the show was bad.

No expectations
But arrive without a preconceived notion of what you might find, and a show like this can bowl you over! For example, I’ve been wanting a Sheridan Supergrade multi-pump pneumatic to replace the one I had to sell years ago when The Airgun Letter went out of publication. Money was tight, so a number of firearms and airguns were sold. That was back in the days when a Supergrade in nice condition would bring $600. Only two years ago, the same gun might have brought $1,500-2,000. But at this show, I sat just 10 feet from a beauty that was listed at $1,300 — a very good price for a nice Supergrade. I’d just enough to buy it at one point, but it would have tapped me out completely, so I had to let it pass. That is the agonizing that Lloyd wrote about yesterday.

This very late model Sheridan Model A (called the Supergrade) was only a few feet away. The price was as nice as the gun!

A Sheridan Supergrade doesn’t shoot any harder or more accurately than a Blue Streak, but it does it with style.

I told you yesterday that reader and guest blogger Paul had found a special air rifle at the show. What he found was a boxed Walther Lever Action rifle, the one that looks like a Winchester 1894, that impressed him very much. In person, the Walther is quite stunning, with only wood and metal touching your hands. I could tell by his smile that this rifle made his day.

But, as he was telling Mac and me goodbye, he kept eyeing a Beeman C1 of Mac’s on the table. I think he expected his wife, who was with him, to talk him out of it, but when he returned to the table a short time later, he mumbled something about her being an enabler. In other words, Paul’s wife is a lot like my Edith! Long story short, he went away with another fine air rifle.

Fabulous Hakim
Remember me telling you yesterday about the Falke 90 rifle and how it may have been the gun from which the Hakim was copied? Well, I wanted to show Mac why I thought that, so I glanced around for a Hakim to use in demonstration. And there, in a rack close by, was the finest Hakim I’ve even seen — short of one that Larry Hannusch completely refinished! Its owner/seller said he had hand-picked it from a Navy Arms pile back when they were first imported to this country back in the 1980s. There was at least one other Hakim at the show, and it wasn’t too bad, but this one was exceptional.

More fine vintage stuff
Over at Davis Schwesinger’s table, I spotted not one but two rare Winsel bulk-fill CO2 pistols. I recently used one of these as an example of a rare airgun, so seeing two of them in one place is similar to seeing two Stradivarii at a fiddlefest.

The Winsel was a bulk-filled CO2 pistol that required the owner to mail in the reservoir for refills. The gun on the left is missing its reservoir.

Nearby was a beautiful Warrior air pistol. These are quite rare and very beautiful examples of a quality-made handgun. The bluing and heft of the gun is very firearm-like.

The Warrior is a heavy, all-steel sidelever air pistol that’s worth a used car.

But, perhaps, the best thing I saw on Dave Schwesinger’s table was a collection of old Beeman catalogs. Among them was a super-rare first catalog with a San Anselmo address. If you’ve followed my report on the history of Air Rifle Headquarters and Beeman you know that San Anselmo was the Beemans’ home, and they used a P.O. box for the business. Inside this catalog was a price sheet that reveals all the retail and dealer pricing for cataloged items in the first catalog. So, now I know how much my San Anselmo FWB 124 sold for in 1973. I’ll be covering that in another report very soon, as I have a little surprise for you coming in the 124 series.

So, I’m looking at this catalog that was valued at $500 about five years ago — and who knows what today — and Dave tells me, “They told me I should get $425 for that catalog, but if someone gave me $200 for it, I’d foxtrot around this hall.” So I gave him $200.

Davis Schwesinger dances with his wife, Luba, to honor our deal.

I know that seems like a lot for just a paper catalog, but this is the very hard-to-get first edition, and I’ll be using it for the rest of my life. And that, more than anything, is why I felt I could not spend all of my money to buy that nice Sheridan Supergrade. Because you never know when something pivotal, like this catalog, will pop up.

Rarest of all Beeman catalogs, the first edition was mailed from San Anselmo.

Elsewhere in the hall, I encountered still more fabulous deals on collectible vintage guns. One that really tickled me was a Crosman 150 pistol kit. The 150PK consists of a pistol in a metal case that doubles as a pellet backstop. In years past, these were always going for $150 when in good condition, but I found one at this show for only $100. And the pistol was a beauty!

Of course, there are always the bizarre guns, and this show had plenty of them. I saw things that nobody could guess what they were or how they worked. But collector Larry Behling probably sums up this category best with his bazooka.

No, it’s not a target gun. Collector and author Larry Behling holds his new acquisition, an air bazooka.

Vintage target rifles
Usually, there’s a theme to an airgun show, but I couldn’t see one this year beyond the memorial to Fred Liady. However, if I were forced to pick a theme, it would have to be vintage target airguns. I saw more of them than I think I’ve seen in many years. On my table, alone, Mac had two FWB 300s, an FWB 150 and an NIB RWS Diana 75. I’ve already mentioned some of the other great ones, such as the NIB HW 55.

Ten-meter target rifles were all over this show. Mac had four on his table, alone.

I managed to snag an HW 55 Custom Match that I’ll be showing you in the days to come. That’s a pretty nice version of the HW 55 that’s fairly scarce, considering the rifle’s long production history.

As Saturday grew old, people were asking whether the show would run again next year. Dee Liady told me right at the end of the show that her brother and Davis Schwesinger are planning to hold the show again. So, apparently there will be a 21st year gathering at Roanoke. I hope that many of you will be able to factor this into next year’s plans and join us in this beautiful southern Virginia city for the world’s largest and oldest continuous airgun show.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 9

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Getting ready to test
Today, I want to mount a scope on the 124 to get ready for the long-range accuracy test. Normally, I would just mount the scope and gloss over it in the report, because scope mounting is usually not a big deal; but the 124 is a special airgun that needs special scope mounting considerations. So, I’m making a separate report about it.

A strange scope stop
What makes the 124 special is the way Feinwerkbau went about providing a scope stop. You must understand that Feinwerkbau is a target gun company. They understand rear aperture sights very well, but they don’t appreciate scope sights nearly as well. And, in the 1970s — when the 124 came out — scope mounting was still very new to the hobby. They provided a scope stop system that works well for rear aperture sights but not so easy when working with scopes.

Their system consists of half-round grooves cut across the 11mm dovetail scope rails. The plan is for a round steel pin in the base of the rear scope mount or in the rear of the one-piece scope mount, if that’s what you use, to fit into one of those grooves. Once it’s in, the scope mount will stay put under recoil. It’s a simple system, but not one that’s widely used. Webley used it on the Patriot, and CZ used it on some of their rifles. Most airgun manufacturers use something else.

Pick one of those four grooves to accept a steel crosspin from the base of one of your scope rings or the rear of your one-piece scope ring. Once the base is tightened on the dovetails, the groove and pin prevent the base from moving under recoil.

Because of the low usage of this kind of scope stop system, there aren’t a lot of scope mounts with the necessary crosspin. Beeman sold them while the 124 was selling well, but they stopped offering them in the late 1990s. B-Square also made some just for 124s, plus they made a mount with two crosspins that was to be used on a Webley Patriot. You could always grind off or remove one of those two pins to make their mounts fit the 124.

This old B-Square one-piece scope mount has two crosspins to interface with the grooves on a Webley Patriot rifle. By removing one of the crosspins, this mount can be fitted to a 124.

Forget this!
Forget trying to just tighten the base screws to hold the mounts in place by friction. The 124 is a long-stroke spring-piston rifle that will walk any standard mounts — aluminum or steel — that you try to do this with. And, you can forget something else, too.

Some guys get the bright idea of taking a standard vertical scope stop pin and rounding it to a crosspin profile. Forget it. It doesn’t work. All it does is rip a wide groove straight back through the top of the steel receiver tube as the mount slowly walks backward under recoil. It may take six months of steady shooting before you notice it, but you’ll ruin your gun this way. There’s just not enough bearing surface on a single, thin vertical stop pin that’s been profiled in this way.

I have been testing airguns for a very long time now, and I have a drawer filled with exotic scope mounts, including some prototype units that never made it to market. There aren’t many airguns that I can’t scope, but my situation is not the norm. Most guys have to find a mount that works from what’s available today, and that can be daunting when the gun is an old-timer like the FWB 124.

Bring on the BKLs!
There may be a bright light on the horizon, though. Back when I was messing with 124 rifles, BKL mounts didn’t exist, but they do today and we’ve tested them on other spring rifles that recoil a lot harder than the 124. For those who aren’t aware, BKL mounts are the one mount on the market that can hold tight by just clamping pressure, alone. And, here’s the best part — they’re made from aluminum! So, as tight as you can make them, they’ll never damage the sharp edges of your rifle’s dovetails the way they would if they were made of steel.

For this test, I’ve installed a set of BKL-363H-MB scope mounts with double straps. Man, I wish these things had been around in the late 1970s!

I also found out something extra-cool about these double-strap BKL mounts. There’s no special torque pattern to be followed! Instead of tightening the scope caps by a prescribed pattern like you would the main bearings on a crankshaft to get the force evenly distributed over all four screws, these caps go down in a straightforward way. Tighten one side and the other. As simple as that. Because each strap has only two screws, there’s no way to screw up — pun intended!

I’ll watch the mounts to make certain they don’t move, but the groups I get should pretty well tell the whole tale without the need for any special testing. If I shoot tight groups, there can’t be any scope movement.

Leapers scope
I chose a Leapers 3-9x50AO scope with illuminated reticle. I didn’t need the illuminated reticle, but this particular scope comes with a fine crosshair that will aid in getting a refined aimpoint. As long as the light’s good, I should be able to get great results with it.

The 124 accepted the Leapers scope with ease. I could easily have installed a much longer scope on the rifle, but I wanted to keep the weight down.

So, that’s the saga of mounting a scope on a 124. It’s not any harder than installing a scope on any other spring rifle, but the mount situation is different enough to cause concern. Remember this — the FWB 124 was the very first air rifle to get a reputation for scopes slipping and even breaking. Though we have much more powerful rifles today, don’t underestimate the 124.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 8

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Okay, you were very patient; so, today, I’ll show you the early results of pellet testing with the FWB 124. Remember, this testing is done with open sights at 10 meters, and it was done just to narrow the field of the new pellets that will compete with the vintage Silver Jets at 25 yards from a scoped rifle. You can’t really test a rifle’s accuracy potential at just 10 meters unless it’s a 10-meter target rifle.

Before we begin, though, I must thank Volvo for these pellets. Earlier this year, he generously donated several tins of odd and exotic pellets to my collection. Among these were several boxes of Beeman Silver Jets. So, thanks to him we are able to have this test series.

Many of you said you thought the Silver Jet pellets were well made and you predicted they would do very well against the best modern pellets. As it turns out, all of the modern pellets I selected to test are domes, which seem to be the most accurate pellets around. We’ll be pitting a pointed pellet against a dome, which under most circumstances I would say is unfair, because pointed pellets cannot keep up with domes as the range gets longer. But, in this case, all bets are off. We’re going to see what actually works the best.

The 124 is a little buzzy when fired. I don’t really like it, but I guess I left it that way to get the maximum velocity from the rifle. The trigger is adjusted to break crisply, though it’s certainly not a Rekord by anyone’s definition.

Silver Jets
The first group of Silver Jets was fired using the rifle resting on the backs of my fingers. I got a good group, but soon learned that the backs of the fingers was not the optimum way to hold the rifle. Instead, I went to a standard artillery hold, with the forearm resting on the flat of my open palm. The palm was touching the triggerguard, so the rifle was a touch muzzle-heavy, which stabilizes the rifle.

The first target with Silver Jets looks promising, but there are two shots outside the main group of eight. We’ll have to do better than that to beat the modern pellets. This was the target I shot with the rifle on the backs of my fingers.

JSB Exact RS
The next pellet up was the JSB Exact RS that performed so well in the R8 test. I expected similar results from the 124, though the velocity is, no doubt, at least 100 f.p.s. faster. But the group I shot wasn’t a good one. It showed a tendency for vertical stringing, which ruined the hopes for a nice tight group.

JSB Exact RS pellets strung vertically in this disappointing group of 10.

JSB Exact 8.4 grain
Next, I tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets. Almost a full grain heavier than the RS pellets, they seemed to calm down and group well. Are they worth consideration? Time will tell.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain pellets gave this fairly round group of 10 at 10 meters. This looks promising.

Beeman Kodiaks might be considered by some to be too heavy for a rifle in this power category. I’m not one of those who believes that. I’ve seen remarkable things from Kodiaks in low-powered spring guns, and I thought they were worth taking a chance with the 124. My hopes were vindicated by a very promising group.

Ten Beeman Kodiaks tore into this well-rounded group. Although it has a couple outside the group, it shows potential.

Air Arms domes
The next pellets I tried were Air Arms domes in the 4.51mm head size. These pellets are made by JSB, so why bother trying them? Aren’t they identical to the JSB Exacts in 8.4 grains? No, they’re not. Air Arms owns the dies used to make these pellets, and the word on the street is that they’re made to better tolerances than the JSB dies. I don’t know if that’s true or just a rumor. I DO know they perform differently.

The Air Arms domes ripped this very tight ten-meter group, earning a spot in the final test. This is exemplary performance.

Air Arms Falcon pellets
The Air Arms Falcon pellet is one I probably would not have tried, simply because I was unaware of it. But someone pointed it out to me and I got a tin for tests just like this. From the weight, I’d have to say it looks like a close copy of the Exact RS pellet, but once again there might be a significant difference. From the performance results, I’d have to say there is.

The best group of the test by a slim margin.

Silver Jets, again
And, finally, I re-shot another group of Silver Jets using the flat-of-the-hand technique, and the results were better than the first time. This time, the group was as encouraging as the Kodiak group and indicative of a possible screamer in the future.

Ten Silver Jets are looking mighty good on this target. That was using the standard artillery hold technique.

Summary to this point
Okay, I’ve tested the 124 with Silver Jets and 6 other pellets that all have a reputation for great long-range accuracy. Why didn’t I test Crosman Premiers? I can’t say. I just didn’t.

Of the 6 pellets I tested, 3 stood out for further testing at 25 yards after I scope the rifle. The Beeman Kodiaks look like they want to group. The Air Arms 8.4-grain domed pellets look very promising, and the Air Arms Falcon pellets were the best of this test. But the Beeman Silver Jets don’t seem to be out of the running. What I need is a good scope and 25 yards distance to shoot some more 10-shot groups. Then we’ll have something to talk about.

Important news for 124 owners!
Last Friday, I spoke at length to Geve Salvino, the Tech Service Manager at Pyramyd Air. One of the things he told me is that Pyramyd Air has gone out and had their own proprietary 124 piston seal made, and they’ve repaired 22 124 rifles as of our conversation. I asked Gene to send me one of the new seals, so I can blog it for you, and yes, once more I’m going inside my 124 to install this new seal and give you a report. For those of you who would like to be able to just send in your 124 for repairs, Pyramyd Air is now open for business…and the rates are low. I’ll tell you more about that when I show you the seal.

A shrine built for a Feinwerkbau 124 – Part 7

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Before I begin, I have some announcements:

On Monday, I’m going into the hospital to have my gallbladder removed. It’s supposed to be an outpatient procedure, so hopefully I’ll come home the same day. I’ll have just a couple stitches in my gut (it’s laparoscopic, but they still make a few cuts) and will not be able to do strenuous exercise or lift more than a few pounds for 2-3 weeks. That’s going to cut into my airgun testing for awhile, so I’ll be writing about other things and testing some lightweight CO2 guns for you.

Pyramyd Air will be switching servers Sunday night. You may experience temporary issues on the blog. If you still have problems by Monday morning, please email Edith so she can help you. Monday’s blog will be posted 2 hours later than usual (at 2:00 A.M. Eastern) to avoid any conflicts.

This report series had a strange beginning. I originally meant to test this rifle with period pellets against the best modern pellets, to see what the difference would be. Of course, I started down the road to tuneups, but before I knew it I was deep into trying to tune the gun for 800+ f.p.s. It’s not unlike buying a new refrigerator and then spending $50,000 to renovate the kitchen around it.

Finally, Jim Maccari stepped in and put me out of my misery by telling me that the early 124 rifles have tapered compression chambers that will not give high velocity, no matter what you do, short of machining them. Well, I wasn’t about to do that, and, since Part 6 happened just after I came out of the hospital, I decided to put the series on the back burner.

Then, I had an occasion to shoot my wonderful new Beeman R8 and saw what a tackdriver it is. That got me thinking about the 124 again, which was the tackdriver of its era. Finally, a random comment made by a reader jogged my memory that I had really wanted to test the 124′s accuracy with vintage pellets compared to the best pellets we have today.

The R8 experience reminded me that you don’t need velocity to achieve great accuracy. With what Maccari said, my early 124 would never get into the 800s anyway. But, wait a moment. That R8 averaged 646 f.p.s. with Crosman Premier lites. My 124, in its present tune, shoots the same pellets at an average velocity of 764 f.p.s., or about 120 f.p.s. faster. I had said at the end of Part 6 that I was going to tear down the rifle again and attempt to retune it, but now I’m wondering “Why?” Why would I waste any more time trying to get some artificial number out of this air rifle, when I already have it moving very well for what it is?

Change of direction
So, I’m officially declaring the rifle tuned and am getting on with my overall plan. As you know from yesterday’s blog, this rifle was imported when Beeman’s (the correct name of the company in the early 1970s was Beeman’s Precision Airguns) was located in San Anselmo, which makes it a gun imported in 1973 or earlier. Because Beeman’s moved to San Rafael in 1974. There weren’t 124 rifles around much earlier than that, because back then they were known as the model 121. So, this 124 is a very early one. And, if Maccari says the early ones won’t do 800, I can accept that. But how accurate are they?

And, by the way, Frank B. asked me for the serial number on my 124. It’s 06825. And Robert from Arcade had found the Beeman article in the 1973 Guns Illustrated, where Beeman identified the FWB sporter as the model 12. He wrote that article in 1973, so my 124, which we’ve already established was imported in 1973, was most likely one of the very first 124 rifles ever made.

Vintage pellets
Ask anyone who knew the Beeman company — when Robert Beeman was at the helm — the best pellet for the FWB 124, and you’ll get a single answer: the Beeman Silver Jet. Back in the 1970s when I started my romance with 124 rifles, Silver Jets were so far beyond any other pellet on the market that there was no contest. In the early ’90s, the Marksman FTS domed pellet rose to challenge the Silver Jet, especially in field target, but other newer spring guns like the TX 200 had already pushed the 124 aside, so nobody paid any attention.

This is how they came — in a styrofoam box. Beeman stuck to the color-coded caliber sizes for as long as Robert Beeman owned the company and a few years beyond. The need to “dress up” packaging caused this system to collapse a few years ago.

They were never as pretty in person as the drawing on the package; but in the case of Silver Jets, they came pretty close.

Now, here we are in 2010, nine full years into the new century and millennium, and I’m going to pit the Silver Jet pellet against the best pellets on the market today. And the gun that will shoot them all is my FWB 124 from San Anselmo, which in its day was considered the most accurate sporting air rifle going, hands-down.

Make haste slowly
I’m going to proceed slowly in this test. The first thing I’ll do is try to select the best pellet from a large group of modern candidates by shooting groups at 10 meters using open sights. If I’m lucky, I will find one great pellet in the bunch. More likely, I’ll find several contenders that will have to be weeded out at 25 yards using a scope.

As nice as the Feinwerkbau 124 is, and as great a manufacturer of fine target rifles as Feinwerkbau is, they put a set of fairly rudimentary open sights on the 124. The reason they did it is because the rifle was made for “sport.” That word means something very special in the German language, and it does not cross over to other things like it does in English. So, a “sport” rifle must have “sport” sights, of course. And, “sport” sights are not precision sights because, well, you get the picture.

The plastic rear sight adjusts finely for windage, but for elevation it uses a slider, like a 98K Mauser service rifle. It’s not too precise.

The front sight is a hooded barleycorn, or, in German, a Korn sight. The element is not replaceable, but it works well with the rear sight notch.

These were the sights I had to work with. I had recently discovered that my aging eyes need to be partially closed to see the front sight as clear as it should be. I began the test using Silver Jets and tried to sight-in the gun on a 10-meter pistol target, but my groups were too open. Then I remembered the line Mel Gibson’s character said in the movie Patriot: “aim small; miss small. So, I switched to much smaller 50-foot smallbore rifle bulls, and the groups tightened immediately.

By the way, when sighting-in it’s appropriate to shoot five-shot groups and even three-shot groups, because all you’re doing is moving the point of impact around the target. That speeds up the process immensely. I soon had a good zero with the Silver Jets, and I figured the other pellets would be close enough. I wasn’t going for a score; I was looking for those pellets that tended to group closest together.

During this sight-in, I also experimented with variations of the artillery hold. Because the 124 forearm is flat, I initially thought that resting the rifle on the backs of my fingers would work best. I even shot the first group of 10 Silver Jets with that hold. Then, I switched to resting the forearm on the flat of my open palm, and that seemed to work the best. So, at the end of all the other pellets I returned and re-shot a group with Silver Jets. It was slightly smaller.

Kevin, this one’s for you. My target set up on my nightstand!

The test
The test will take another entire report to cover, so plan on reading it on Monday.

A brief history of Beeman and Air Rifle Headquarters – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Matt61 asked how many Beeman R-type airguns there were last Friday, because he’d never heard of the R8 model I’m currently testing. His question reminded me how Dennis Quackenbush is always going on about the lack of historical documentation of the airgun hobby. Matt’s question epitomizes this. So, I figured a short history was in order. This should also prove interesting to our readers outside the U.S. who may not know the Beeman name as well as we do. I can’t tell the Beeman story without including the history of Air Rifle Headquarters, which preceded it by a decade. This is really the story of the beginning of precision adult airguns in the U.S.

It began in the 1960s
The importation of European airguns and ammunition into the U.S. had been spotty up to the decade of the 1960s. Back in the 1930s and ’40s, Stoeger had imported J.G. Ansch├╝tz, Haenel, Diana, Webley and perhaps a few others, but they lacked the marketing push to popularize them. Who, in 1940, was going to spend $70 for a single-shot Peerless (Diana model 58) air rifle they had never heard of when a sleek Winchester model 61 pump .22 cost just $24.87? Besides, in 1940, war loomed on the horizon and German products were not that popular in this country, so the time was not yet right. After the war was over, though, was a different story.

In the very early 1960s, Robert Law became aware of the high quality of European airguns and pellets. He formed the company known as Air Rifle Headquarters in Grantsville, West Virginia, and started importing and selling these products through the mail.

But he did something extra that Stoeger never attempted, and it made all the difference in the world. He borrowed a page from the marketing plan of George L. Herter and told the detailed story of the airguns he was offering. He told you why his $150 FWB breakbarrel was far superior to the Sheridan Blue Streak, which he sold for $42.00. He gave you numerous reasons to spend almost four times the money for the same type of product. If he were still in business today, I bet he would have a blog very much like this one.

This later ARH catalog is a wealth of information about airgunning in the early 1970s.

Page after page of information educated Air Rifle Headquarters customers.

Law produced a catalog and other printed materials that showered the buyer with interesting information about fine European airguns and pellets. His catalogues are collector items today, selling for $20 and up. They still fascinate the collector with the history of the first real sales campaign for precision airguns in the U.S.

These catalogs were loaded with articles — not touting any specific airgun but, instead, educating the airgunner in general. Another product he produced were Air Rifle Monthly pamphlets that dealt with specific airguns. How he managed to find the time to do all he did I will never know, but from the volume of publications his company published, it’s clear that the man with the Mo Howard haircut knew how to prioritize.

Besides the catalog, ARH also published the Air Rifle Monthly, a small-format pamphlet that dealt with specific airguns. This 44-page pamphlet is a wealth of Weihrauch information and completely describes the accurization process.

The complete accurization process is described in this pamphlet, including the crude tools they used to do it. The R1 book shows a much better way of unfreezing the breech plug without damage to the rifle.

Law also created better owners’ manuals than those supplied by the manufacturers, and his were supplied with the gun at the sale.

Of course, all these educational materials were also selling products, as the enthusiast learned more and more about his airgun. Eventually, he became hooked and had to try the tuneups he read about in the pamphlets.

In the early years, Law also included a lot of sex in his catalog. There were many pages of scantily-clad lovelies touting the guns. There were also several photos of the pretty ARH female employees in miniskirts filling orders in the shipping department. There must have been complaints, though, because by 1974 the catalogs dropped this practice entirely.

The soft porn was dropped after this 1973 catalog.

The vision of modern airgunning
Law was also a visionary. He coined the term “accurized” and added value to his guns through tuning both before and after the sale. He also mounted scopes on airguns at a time when it was considered very problematic. The scopes of his day broke from the recoil of the spring rifles he sold, so he searched far and wide for models that could take the strain.

ARH, as it was known, had some special models of its own. These were guns that they customized to the nth degree, including fancy stocks, scopes, accurizing and other added perks. The Feinwerkbau F12 came before the model 124 and was a model 121. ARH sold it as-is for $144.50 in 1973. But when they accurized it and added their own electric guitar-style walnut stock, it became the model F120 and the price went to $234.50. I have seen but one of these rifles in my life. It was at the Roanoke airgun expo a few years ago, and I was stunned by the sheer size of the wood stock. They made the forearm so deep that there’s no longer a cocking slot. There is sufficient room inside the forearm to contain the cocking link as it cycles through its arc.

This FWB121 has been transformed into an F120. Look at the dramatic styling! I call this the electric guitar-style of airgun stocks. It was very popular in the 1970s and ’80s.

They also sold some American airguns. For example, they sold the Smith & Wesson 78G and 79G, and they did it their way. They boosted velocity to a guaranteed 500+ f.p.s. in the .177 79G.

Air Rifle Headquarters lasted from about 1963 until 1979. Then, it closed its doors and has been talked about in airgun circles ever since. Probably one reason they folded their tent was that a new company — Beeman Precision Airguns — started in California in the early 1970s. However, the name lives on, as Jim Maccari calls his company Air Rifle Headquarters.

Next time, I’ll cycle you through the Beeman history and finally answer Matt’s question of how many R-type guns there are.

Top-notch springer
Air Arms TX200 air rifle

When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

All the fun, none of the hassles!
Uzi CO2 BB submachine gun

You've seen tons of movies with guys spraying bullets from their Uzi submachine guns and probably thought it would be a blast. Except for the cost of ammo! You can have all that fun with this Uzi BB submachine gun at just pennies a round. Throw shots downrange for hours on end with all the fun, none of the firearm hassles and a fraction of the cost.