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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.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

14 thoughts on “Does “better” cost more?”

  1. B.B.

    Great post, although I think it would have been great if you mentioned a couple more rifles. I just ordered the RWS 350 magnum kit, along with the dragon claw bipod. cost me a pretty penny…

    I notice you mention the Gamo CF-X a lot, you’ve just about convinced me to pick one up just for fun.


  2. The problem I’m having trouble with is the price difference between the same brand, just different models.

    I bought a GAMO Recon, and it does the job of pest control nicely even at only 525FPS. But it can’t compare to another model I’m looking at with 850FPS, the GAMO Nitro 17. Only problem is, it’s more expensive that the GAMO Shadow at 1,000FPS.

    While I doubt anyone needs that much power, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s CHEAPER & more powerful than the Nitro, even though they basically have the same innards, except for the newer plastic shrouded barrel, and lack of open sights with the Nitro. The Nitro comes with a scope, and that’s the only thing I see as a reason for the higher price while delivering less power.

    Would 150FPS more, or less, make that much of a penetration difference in a kill shot? I’d like to know the price of the Shadow if it came with the same scope as the Nitro.

    I was also looking at the Hammerli Storm, but read the trigger needed to be thwacked with Thors Hammer to make it fire.

  3. bb,

    its been a while since i last cleaned an airgun, and i recently purchased all of the things i need for it(dewey rod, tips, and jb bore compound)…could you just go over the process for me to help my memory?

  4. Thanks for the tip on the P17, best handgun I ever bought.

    Are you aware of any BB handguns or long guns besides the Daisy 499 which are suitable for serious target practice? Do any of them maybe group as well as a service grade firearm if maybe not as well as the 499?

  5. The only other “BB” gun that I know of that shoots well is only sold in Europe. When it sold here, the price was $1,000.

    I say “BB” gun because the Diana model 30 really shoots precision ball bearings, not actual BBs.

    Before the 499 came out, shooting coaches were ordering BB shot tubes in bulk from Daisy and going through them to find the few that shot well. The 499 makes that unnecessary, plus it is more accurate.

    I have several number 25 pump guns that I shoot with .177 lead balls. They are the pre-steel-shot models that can take a .175 lead ball, so a .177 fits very well. They will group in about one inch at 20 feet.


  6. ok….marksman2004/beemanP17.

    i’ve been trying to do my due diligence, and realize they are the “same”, right? P17 is the most recent version with Beeman name applied, and Marksman owns Beeman.
    but i have read about seals and problematic issues.
    even if they are considered the same, is one more reliable and trouble free than the other statistically. sort of similar to the relationship to the mercury tracer and ford escort years back.

    if you had to spend your money and could only choose one (even though they are considered the “same”), which would you choose?


  7. These guns are not just “considered” the same. They are identical. Wal-Mart prevailed on Marksman/Beeman to re-badge the 2004 as a Beeman gun because they can sell that name better.

    Same gun – exactly!

    What you have heard is the confusion of an older rumor started to avenge the Weihrauch HW 40 PCA, which is also the Beeman P3. You see, that gun costs three times what the 2004 costs, yet Weihrauch admits it is the same as their European-made model.

    So Beeman is in the strange position of knocking off its own brand name for better sales.


  8. HW40pca is made in germany.

    Beeman p17 in china.

    Never heard of errors on a HW40.

    I often hear the beeman is full of errors and bad workmanship, leaking seals and so on.

    The HW40 is made from polymerfibre, known from guns like glock.

    The beeman uses cheap plastic, known from toyguns.

    The HW40 is made by skilled workers in germany.

    The beeman is probably made by poor children, used as slave labour.

    That should explain the price difference.

  9. I’m new to Air guns (and the web – I’ve posted the same query on one of your old blogs). Can someone please tell me how to remove the front sight of a Crosman 2260 so I can fit a Kasu ESM9 sound moderator?
    Many thanks

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