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Education / Training Little Rock Expo 2009 – Part 2

Little Rock Expo 2009 – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

First, the letters about the wire-stocked Daisy first model guns are going out this week. The Friends of the Museum will probably buy up all thousand guns, so if you didn’t join when I told you, you probably missed out on a great opportunity to buy a collectible that will appreciate overnight.

Okay, round two of the show. I told you yesterday that I saw several strange things at this show. How about an adjustable rear sight made from scrap parts? Roger Yost showed me this strange item. A man made it many decades ago, and Roger was lucky enough to acquire it through his airgun repair connections. A bottle cap is the adjustment knob for windage, and the unit looks like something comedian Red Green might have made on his show.


We don’t know the name of the man who made this rear sight, but he was an airgunner for sure. This is a top-down view. The thin notch is in the center of the blade.

In the past, several of you have asked about the vintage Crosman AIR 17 multi-pump pneumatic rifle. They’re uncommon, but this was the show where they came out in spades. I saw no less than 4 of them, where most shows don’t have even one.

There were also a couple HW 55 rifles in the room, including one Tyrolean! And there was another HW rifle that’s even rarer—an EL-54, which is an HW 35 with an ether injector on the side. Made to get a .22 pellet up to 1,000 f.p.s., the EL-54 was never very popular, and examples are now quite collectible. The Baracuda pellet was created for the rifle because it blew the ends off lesser pellets with the pressure generated by the exploding ether gas. Until it was available, the rifle shot round lead balls.


I’m holding a Weihrauch EL-54 ether-injected air rifle. Except for the ether tube on the right side of the compression tube, this is an HW 35 breakbarrel. A glass ampule of medical ether was crushed in the tube and injected into the compression chamber just before each shot.

The big bore crowd gathered around Dennis Quackenbush and Big Bore Bob Dean. This year there were many cast lead bullets available for the first time. Also, there were examples of the big bores Pyramyd AIR sells, as well.

One shooter managed to get his Dragon Slayer up over 400 foot-pounds without making major modifications to the rifle. He also had a pistol with a 12-inch barrel that he said was making well over 300 foot-pounds. I don’t have any chronograph results to report, but I watched a couple people shoot it and the recoil was quite significant.


Lots of big bore bullets to buy this year.

Dennis Quackenbush was delivering rifles to buyers at the show–and I was among those taking delivery of a new .308. I’ll be testing it for you later this year, and I plan on testing it for the television show as well. You’ll be amazed at the nice figured wood Dennis had to call standard on my gun because it had a repaired crack.

Quackenbush also had six pistols laying on his table, and a single buyer bought four of them in one pop. The big bore pistols are not as powerful as the rifles, but some of the larger calibers develop 100 foot-pounds, which is more than enough for medium-sized game.


This new action target works for air pistols and rifles, alike. The developer is seeking industry support.

Another curiosity at this show was the new electronic action targets brought and shown by Rocky Mraz. The target is computer-controlled and it scores the shot as well as times the shooter. Three targets took on all airguns during both days and never suffered a bit. We will probably be seeing more of this target at the club level in the future if the right competitions can be developed for it.

The show broke up early–just after noon on Saturday. The inclement weather no doubt had a lot to do with that. But from my perspective, this was still one of the great airgun shows. The unusual and desirable airguns were present; there were bargains for everyone and just meeting old friends made it worthwhile. I hope to see more of you there next year.

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.

20 thoughts on “Little Rock Expo 2009 – Part 2”

  1. Good morning B.B.,

    Congrads on the 308! We’re going to be patiently waiting for your review of it.

    A Marauder question please and thank you. What is it’s velocity running on CO2 shooting CP’s or JSB Exact Jumbo’s?

    Mr B.

  2. Good report!
    What are the chances of getting an ether ampule today?

    Glad to see new targets emerge. The 1 pound Pugs are working extremely well for me but there is no personality in them. Something low cost (therein lies the rub) with flashy lights and ringing bells would be great for basement use. Spark new interest for the g-kids. I can hear the wife now, "Turn that @#$%^ thing down! I'm trying to watch Idol!" OK, AND a volume control for the audio "graphics". All for less than $35 plus S&H.


  3. There was an airgun show in Reno that attempted to service California, but it didn’t last long.

    The problem everybody says is that California doesn’t have a lot of collectible airguns. While that may be true for BB guns made in the 19th century, it shouldn’t be true of airguns made in the 20th century.

    The success of any show depends on the number of collectors it attracts. People who are only interested in newer airguns don’t seem to attract the public as well.


  4. B.B.

    That is a pretty strange-looking sight, but ingenious.

    As for the computerized target, I like seeing those bits of paper fly from a regular target!

    It’s nice to hear reports of the airgun shows, but as for participating in them by buying and selling, I seem to have developed a very acquisitive attitude towards my collection. They are all mine, mine, mine. 🙂

    All, I had a strange shooting experience. I thought that skill was acquired very gradually over time, and I had resigned myself to the regular flier from the B30 because of its trigger. It’s crisp enough, but as Rich from Mich told me, it tends to be a little stiff which seems to be something different from trigger weight.

    Anyway, about a week ago, the fliers suddenly disappeared and haven’t come back. I’m reminded of a famous psychology experiment about learning. A banana was suspended in a monkey cage just out of reach of the monkey and some boxes were also placed there which, when stacked up, were high enough to reach the banana. The monkey did not do any trial and error, playing around with the boxes. He just sat there observing for awhile. Then, he just stacked the boxes and grabbed the banana. I guess I know what the monkey feels like.


  5. I can see using that electronic target making scoring easier. Does it measure group size, or hit’s in the middle only?

    There’s an airgun show in Connecticut coming up next month, June 6-7 2009, so if you are near the state, you should check it out. The guy who runs it is a nice guy.

  6. Scenario: squirrel survives two consecutive head shots from a 22 disco and 16 gr jsb. First from forty yards next from 20. This was my first hunt with this gun and had never seen anything like it.

    Explanation: how the…? Anyone know?

  7. Anonymous,

    You need to wait for Brodie’s study and resulting blog about skull shots and crows. His data with a little work on your part should answer your questions about your squirrel hunt.:)

    Mr B.

  8. BG_Farmer,

    Nice picture, but it looks more like a Ruger 10/22 than an M1 carbine.

    That reminds me that I finished the book of oral histories on American infantry weapons of WWII. The M1 Garand was universally praised. The reaction to the M1 carbine was evenly split between those who loved its light weight and those who hated its lack of power. The 1911 .45 auto also broke even. The criticisms were not about its mechanism but about the difficulty of hitting anything at over 25 yards. The big surprise was the BAR. The conventional wisdom is that the magazine was too small, the mechanism overly complicated, and the rifle too heavy at 25 pounds. However, the soldiers universally praised it for its reliability and no one complained about the weight. Kind of odd, but maybe when you’re charged up with adrenaline, you don’t care.


  9. BB, A while back on the blog you did a report on the RWS 34 panther. I myself don’t entirely like plastic stocked guns. Would it be possible to take a model 34 premium stock and put it on a model 34 panther?

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