The history of airguns is fascinating to those who enjoy applied creativity. But sometimes when creativity is carried too far it becomes a liability. And that’s the case with today’s guns.
Rocky Mountain Arms Corporation
In the 1970s the Rocky Mountain Arms Corporation (RMAC) created a little gun for kids who wanted to shoot with their fathers. They referred to it as a .22 caliber, though it shot a number 4 buckshot that is really 0.24 inches rather than 0.223 inches in diameter. That didn’t matter because a 5-pound bag number 4 buckshot was available for a few dollars. For that you got thousands of shots. Nobody worried about the size of the ball that much.
Before we begin today’s blog, I want to tell you there is a link to the History of airguns table of contents at the top and bottom of this pager. Go there and you will see all the historical report linked.
Before we proceed we need to agree what an airgun is, or the rest of the discussion will be meaningless. Most books about airguns start with the primitive blowpipe, which is also called a blowgun. Does that make you think of natives on tropical islands, hunting birds and monkey in the trees? Would you be surprised to learn that the blowgun was also very popular in Europe during the middle ages? There are tapestries that show hunters using blowguns in exactly the same way as the islanders in the tropics, only they are doing so in European and English forests. The blowgun has been a very popular air-powered weapon all around the world.
I made part 1 of the report on the Malvern airgun show about the 3 new products I saw. I did that because I’ve never seen 3 entirely new products at an airgun show before. I have plans to test each of these for you, because I think they’re all very important to the future of airguns.
Today, I want to tell you about the regular things that went on at this show. I will talk about the guns I saw and shot and some of the people I got to meet and know. Because Malvern is a small show, it does give you a chance to meet and talk to people. I had more people introduce themselves and tell me they read this blog or watched American Airgunner than at any other show I’ve attended. That’s nice, and I think it indicates that the airgun community here in the United States is beginning to open up. People are no longer surprised by what modern airguns can do.
Malvern is a show that has evolved over the years. Originally, it was the Little Rock, Arkansas, show and was held in Benton, Arkansas, inside an empty mall building for many years. Then, it moved a few miles to the west to the county fairgrounds for several more years before the promoter decided to give up the show.
Layers of intrigue
Seth Rowland, who makes bullets for big bore hunters, took over promoting the show and moved it to the old country fairgrounds in Malvern, Arkansas, about 20 miles further west on Interstate 30. Of all the airgun shows being held, Malvern is the smallest and the quietest, but it’s also one that has many surprises every year. This year, I’ll say that I saw layers of intrigue to the show. That’s what I’ll discuss today.
Today, I’m going to talk about some airguns I wish were made. I’m not talking about the fine guns of 60 years ago that were made of blued steel and nice walnut. I understand that level of hand work costs so much that it is practically impossible to build today — outside of a handmade proposition. What I’m taking about are airguns that could be made with very little risk or cash outlay by the manufacturers. The basis for some of these guns is in the inventory right now and require only minor changes to make entire new models that I believe shooters will embrace. This is how the Air Venturi Bronco was designed, and also how the $100 PCP was created.
• The shyster dealers
• Weasel wording
• Bad photos
• How to spot an honest dealer
• Honest vs. dishonest: What’s the verdict?
The shyster dealers
Today, let’s start out talking about those internet dealers who are less than honest. I’m not talking about the scammers who are certainly out there. They’re the people with nothing at all to sell. All they want is for you to send them money, and you’ll never hear from them again.
I’m talking about the dealers who do anything to mislead you about the real airguns they’re selling. They have actual guns to sell, but they describe them in dishonest ways. I’ve dealt with a few and discovered a great many others, so this should be interesting. Remember, I’m primarily talking about buying guns on the Gun Broker website, though this does apply to most websites where selling takes place.
• Tip 1: Commonly misspelled names
• Tip 2: Use an adjective
• Back to airguns
• Tip 3: What’s in a name?
I’m going to address a question that several readers have asked about: How to buy used and vintage airguns over the internet. I’ve wanted to write this series for some time now. While I titled it “…on the internet,” a lot of what I’m going to say applies directly to Gun Broker — a large auction website. I use a tablet to browse this site anytime I am away from my desk and, shall we say, otherwise occupied? That time adds up for an old man!