Does “better” cost more?
by B.B. Pelletier
“You get what you pay for” is a quote you hear when talking about the prices of things. But is it true?
Not always! Sometimes, things that cost more are no better than other things, but how do you know for sure? Today’s blog was prompted by a comment Matt made a couple months ago, “The Shadow is obviously a better gun because it costs more, but is it worth the $40 price difference?”
Don’t assume that $40 makes any difference at all. I will explain with brutal frankness. You probably know that Beerman has its R-series spring rifles made by Weihrauch. And, the Beeman R1 retails for about $150 more than the Weihrauch HW 80. There are differences between these two models, but in this case, the stock is the biggest one. If that isn’t a big deal for you, then go for the less expensive gun.
People used to say to me, “I bought the Beeman gun for the lifetime warranty.” Well so did I, and when SR Industries took over the company, they lost little time changing that “policy” so the lifetime warranty became void. Apparently, the “lifetime” it referred to was the span of the warranty, itself, (he said, with a tear in his eye). In other words, when it’s over – it’s over! I’m sadder but wiser, as they say. I learned that my own ability to make repairs to my R1 is more important than any paper issued by a company that can change their policy at a moment’s notice.
Price doesn’t always mean quality, either. I bet you know of many products that sell the “sizzle” without the substance. That’s what brand positioning is all about.
Sometimes, there are tremendous bargains buried among the cabbage leaves. When I find one, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I want to be sure you get in on the good deals. I have done that in this blog whenever possible. For example, the BAM B40 is a super gun for the money. The Gamo CF-X is another great buy. In the used gun department, an FWB 124 is one to watch for, as is a BSF 55N. And, the Hakim military trainer should also be considered if you want a nice accurate .22 plinker.
Except for the used guns just mentioned, this is only about new guns. And I’m not just talking about model cross-comparisons, either, though the R1/HW80 story was about that issue. I’m talking about guns that have higher prices and aren’t necessarily worth it, while others with lower prices languish because people can’t believe anything so inexpensive could be that good.
That’s exactly where the Mendoza RM-200 falls. The more powerful RM-2000 is an okay airgun, but the RM-200 is a tremendous bargain if you ask me. I think it’s underpriced by $50, and I hope Pyramyd Air leaves it right where it is. Thirty years ago, the Diana model 27 was in the same place, and they now command $250 in fine condition (up from a retail of about $69 when they were new).
But here’s the deal. Just because the RM-200 is a super bargain doesn’t mean the rest of the Mendoza line is. Another incredible bargain is the Marksman 2004, which has just recently started selling as the Beeman P17. The guns are identical and made in China. The Weihrauch HW 40 PCA that they copied is almost three times the price. Another super buy is the IZH 61. While it may be funny-looking, it’s as accurate as any inexpensive target rifle. How can you go wrong paying $100 for that kind of quality?
You have to turn over a lot of rocks to find the gold. Sometimes, all you find is slithery! Just because something’s new or you haven’t heard of it before, doesn’t mean it’s a great gun…or a bad one. You have to know what to look for, which is what this blog is all about.