AirForce Escape: Part 2

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Tarzan! This weekend, a number of readers conducted a discussion of the fictional character Tarzan and the author who created him, Edgar Rice Burroughs. I thought you should all know an interesting connection of Tarzan to airguns. His grandson, J.R. Burroughs, was a big-time airgun importer in the 1990s. In fact, he imported many of the Korean brands that are still coming in today.

When I started writing about airguns in 1994, I got to know J.R. through my writing, and I eventually met him at one of the SHOT Shows. We continued to communicate about airguns and many other things well into the 21st century. I haven’t heard from him since I got sick back in 2010, so he may no longer be involved with airguns like he once was, but he was certainly a mover and shaker in the U.S. airgun scene during the time he was active.

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Why can’t “they” do it? + SHOT Show 2014: Part 4

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Before I begin today’s report, there are a couple SHOT Show updates. First, there were numerous inquiries about Crosman’s butterfly hand pump. Are they going to build it? Is it dead? Stuff like that.

They told me the pump is still an active project. The problem is that they’re trying to find a manufacturer that can build it to the quality they’ll accept. They keep getting samples from different companies, but there are always problems. They’re not going to put it on the market unless it’s fully developed. So, there’s no date when the pump will come to market.

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2014 SHOT Show: Part 3

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Mea Culpa!
You know, Babe Ruth was the home run king of his era. But he was also the strikeout king. Sometimes when you swing for the fence, you get fanned by the pitcher. I’ve done that a couple of times in recent reports.

The AirForce Escape SS has a 12-inch barrel. I said it was an 18-inch barrel, but several of you clever guys spotted why that could not be. And, while I was starting to redden from embarrassment in the AirForce booth, John McCaslin also took the opportunity to inform me that what I wrote about the Escape valve is also incorrect. It isn’t different than the TalonP valve — it is identical. So, gather a crowd and paint me red…I goofed!

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2014 SHOT Show: Part 2

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Here’s our second look at what’s new in airguns for 2014. Last February, while I was having dinner with Hans Wonish of Umarex, he told me about the upcoming Broomhandle Mauser I’m now testing. After we discussed that for a bit, Herr Wonish asked me if there were any other handgun models that I though might be well-received by airgunners. Several crossed my mind, but the one that really stuck out was the Colt Python! This year, I saw that revolver in the Umarex booth!

Umarex Colt Python CO2 BB revolver
BB gun shooters are going to love the new Colt Python .357 from Umarex. It uses real shells to hold the BBs!

Another new rifle from Umarex is going to have a lot of hunters excited because it offers something they’ve been requesting for a long time. The new Umarex Fuel breakbarrel spring rifle (with Reaxis gas piston and SilenceAir technology) has a bipod built right into the stock! That’s right — there’s nothing more to buy. Just pull the legs apart and rotate them down to make a solid field stand. Or flip them back up, and they’re just part of the stock.

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2014 SHOT Show: Part 1

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

I started my SHOT Show this year at the gun range on Media Day — held the day before the show opens. It’s an opportunity for all the companies to not just show you what’s new, but to actually let you shoot it.

The event is held at the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club range in Boulder City, Nevada. To call this place a club range is like calling Fort Knox a bank! The firing line is about a quarter mile in length and encompasses dozens of individual ranges sized from 25 to 800 yards. There are another dozen or so shotgun ranges! When I was in the Army, I saw tank gunnery ranges that were larger, but seldom anything else! Of course, the backstop is just miles and miles of miles and miles, so you’re pretty safe shooting anything up to but not including a .50 BMG.

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AirForce Escape: Part 1

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Today is Day 1 of the 2014 SHOT Show, and it’s also the day AirForce Airguns announces 3 new air rifles — the Escape, Escape SS and the Ultra Light. These air rifles, which come in either .22 or .25 caliber, are aimed at the serious survivalist — not just airgunners; so AirForce is envisioning a much larger market. That’s serious!

The Escape was the rifle that started the ball rolling, and it’s the brainchild of AirForce owner, John McCaslin, and Ton Jones, the star of television’s popular series Auction Hunters. John and Ton were on a road trip while hunting in Texas last year when Ton started talking about a survival air rifle. He wanted power, accuracy and light weight. But most of all, he wanted a pneumatic rifle that could exist off the grid — when the dive shops aren’t filling scuba tanks any longer.

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P-08 BB pistol from Umarex: Part 1

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by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Umarex P98 CO2 BB pistol
The new Umarex P-08 BB pistol is a stunning copy of the firearm.

When I first saw this gun at the 2013 SHOT Show, it changed my outlook on the show altogether. Up to that point, I was angry because the show had changed so much. Media Day, the day before the show opens and where members of the media are invited to shoot all the new firearms (and airguns!) at a public range in Boulder City, had tightened up because of past abuses, and it now took an invite from a booth holder to attend. Media credentials, alone, were not enough.

Besides that, the show planners did away with the gold carpet in the two large display halls that I have used for reference and navigation for the past 17 years. Now, the show resembled a bazaar in Mumbai, with crowded aisles and tall structures that limit the view of the surrounding countryside. Suddenly, you’re 5 years old and everything around you is tall, confusing and moving too fast.

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