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Education / Training Something from nothing – Part 3

Something from nothing – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Before we begin today’s report, I have an announcement. Actually, I’m announcing that on Friday there will be a special announcement about the rifle I have alluded to several times. Crosman is making an upgraded version of the Benjamin Discovery. It’s highly exclusive and designed for Pyramyd AIR. They’ll be selling and distributing the rifle, too. I’ve seen it at Pyramyd AIR, but I haven’t tested it yet. On Friday, you’ll be given the details about this new PCP. They should be in stock very soon, and I’m scheduled to get one as soon as it becomes available. I’ll rush it into testing for you.

On Friday, everything will be clear.

Today’s report started as something simple I could write while on the road, but it has evolved into something much greater. Writing it and thinking about what I’m saying has reminded me of things I had almost forgotten about dealing in guns. And last Saturday that knowledge came in extremely handy when I was in a favorite local gun store. By telling you the story, I can illustrate how research helps you as a collector.

The dealer doesn’t know what he has
So, I’m in the store looking at the used long guns in a glass case when I spotted a Savage over-under rifle/shotgun combo gun. It’s model 24, and the gun I’m referring to specifically is the model 24B-DL. It was listed on the tag as .22 LR over 20 gauge and was selling for $200.

This Savage was found in a gun store last Saturday.

The Savage 24B-DL is the deluxe version of the combo. It has upgraded features.

I’ve long wanted a Savage model 24, but at the gun shows they seem to ask $425 for good used ones. I have that much, but it just seems high to me. They come in many rifle calibers, and the shotguns are either .410, 20 gauge or 12 gauge. The most popular two calibers found in the model 24 are .22 long rifle over .410. From perusing Gunbroker.com, I know that Savage 24s most often sell for $375 to $425. Some of the rifle calibers, such as .357 Magnum, are considered extremely desirable and command much more money, but I thought that a .22 Magnum over a 20 gauge shotgun would be ideal for me.

Wrong caliber!
Well, they pulled this one out of the glass case, and, lo and behold, it was mislabeled! It was a .22 Magnum over 20 gauge–exactly what I wanted. And it was the deluxe model with checkered walnut stock and forearm and a nickelplated, engraved receiver! The barrels were coated with rust and grime but seemed to have pretty good bluing underneath. I knew steel wool and Ballistol would clean it right up, which they did.

Long story short, I bought that combo gun fast, because at $200 I reckoned it was undervalued by about half. Nothing I have discovered since then causes me to change that assessment.

Why was it so cheap? The rust, for starters. Many buyers could not look past it to see a great gun. Also, some former owner had attached an aftermarket recoil pad and his work looks about as good as mine, which is to say something from the early hobo movement. While not quite as primitive as rice-paddy chic, early hobo displays a blatant disregard for style, good work or coloring within the lines. I, however, was armed with the knowledge that I could easily source a replacement buttplate for very little, if I ever felt the need for style closure–which I never will. Again, my research paid off.

Here’s the lesson to take away: If you study the airgun market and know what to look for, you’ll be prepared to jump on a real bargain whenever it presents itself. Yes, you may be looking for a Diana model 27. If, instead, you stumble across a Hy Score model 807, you’ll know that it’s really a 27 and know what it should cost. And if, instead of the Hy Score 807, you encounter a Hy Score model 801, you’ll also know that it’s a superior model because you have read David Enoch’s remarks about them on this blog. I guess the bottom line is this: knowledge is power.

Here’s some more knowledge
This next point is one I have wanted to tell you about for a long time, but other things kept intruding. This may not sound like a big deal, but I have another story to illustrate just how important it is.

The dealer isn’t interested in the same things as you
Dealers sell what they are familiar with and discount what they’re not familiar with. That is the nugget I’m giving to you. What does it mean?

It means that I can go to my CO2 repair center and spot an FWB 124 standing in a rack of used guns with a tag on it for $35. Yes, that really happened to me. Oh, the gun was rusty and missing its sights and it was the standard model–not the deluxe. But still–$35 for what should have been a $200 air rifle AT LEAST! I bought it, took it apart, cleaned it, installed a Maccari seal and mainspring and a cheap scope and sold it for $250. I did so because I knew what I was doing. Of course, I had to find the rifle to begin with; and if you live in Port Radium, Canada, (or Hilo, Hawaii), you might not have the same opportunities as I do. But you’re on the internet, right? Yesterday, I did a special search on Gunbroker.com. Instead of looking for guns by their model names I looked for them by their attributes.

Believe it or not, there are dealers who advertise things not by their model names but by their features. This eliminates from the list of potential buyers everyone who is looking for the item by its common name. Therein lies my second story.

I’ve wanted to buy a Sheridan Knocabout single-shot pistol for a couple of years. The name is not misspelled. Sheridan spelled it that way in the literature and on the gun. I have special alerts on all the popular gun auction sites set up to notify me when one of these guns goes up. And they work. I get notices almost every week of a gun for sale. Unfortunately, so does every other Sheridan collector. These pistols usually sell for over $300, despite existing in great numbers and not being that unique. I don’t want to pay that much, so I always get outbid.

But yesterday I found where a dealer on Gunbroker had listed one as a Knocabout .22 cal. single-shot pistol. I found it by looking at all the single shots. He said in his description, “Not the type of gun I normally sell, so $9.99 start price and $15 shipping.”

Oh, and did I mention that this is a boxed gun with all the paperwork and is in UNFIRED condition? So, it’s worth WAY more than a typical Knocabout, and we now know about what they go for. Here was an opportunity to buy something and make a little money.

Now, the last thing I do on auction sites is announce my presence. I don’t want the other bidders to get their panties in a knot and get into a bidding war with them over who is the most macho. I don’t bid until the last possible moment. On Gunbroker, they have a thing called the “15-minute rule” that says if a bid is received within 15 minutes of the end of the auction, the bidding time is extended by 15 minutes from the time of that bid. My strategy is to figure the most I will pay for an item and bid that much 15 minutes before the end of the general auction. If there’s a crowd of anxious bidders waiting until the end, this strategy doesn’t work very well; but if the item is flying below the radar, as this one seemed to be, there’s a chance I’ll get it.

When I discovered the gun with over a day remaining in the auction, the bid was $155.99. As the bid time expired down to 15 minutes, the bid didn’t change, so I was either watching it alone, or the other bidder was watching silently. I knew the pistol in this condition was worth well beyond $300, so I decided that that would be my cap. If I couldn’t get it for that or less, the other bidder wanted it more than I did. However, my study of human nature has also taught me that internet auction bidders never bid in even amounts, so my top bid would be $309.99

And here’s what happened
I was immediately out-bid by $5. So the other bidder wanted it more than me. His maximum bid was larger than mine and the aution software automatically advanced his next bid past mine. That’s okay, too. There is a saying in the buying business, “You win some and you lose some, but you suit up for them all.”

So, I didn’t get the pistol, but I did get a nice combination gun on Saturday. I’ll continue to look for that Knocabout and dozens of other things that are on my list. And the next time a good buy comes my way, I’ll recognize it.

45 thoughts on “Something from nothing – Part 3”

  1. That picture is cruel BB!! Definately looks like an upgraded stock but you can't decipher much else.

    I love the Savage 24. My dad has one in .22LR over 20 gauge. Ocassionaly I can get it out in the woods and it is in my opinion the "perfect" squirrel gun.

    Caught the new American Airgunner last night, and while Crystal said the boys were out hunting, we all know you were at Roanoke;)

    Looking forward to Friday.


  2. American Air gunner on Versus

    Today,I woke up at 7ET to the pleasant surprise of finding
    American airgunner broadcast on Versus, which is carried by
    Comcast. Up until now I've had a friend record the episodes

    I wonder if this was a one time deal or what


  3. Hi BB" Nice 24, and your comments about dealers are very true. I've have one store I frequent where the owner absolutely HATES Savage firearms. I've been able to buy a couple 24's and Savage 99's for about 1/3 to 1/2 their value, all due to his bias. One time, I was at a sportsman show and spotted the .357/20 ga. variation of the mod 24 you mentioned in the blog today. Thing was , I had to leave it there because I had spent the $200 they were asking for it on another that you might recognize as scarce. It was a mint 24 in .22Hornet/20ga with the walnut stock, case colored receiver, and solid rib between the barrels. Also these were bought before 24 's became collectable, which was only about 15 years ago. My tip on gun buying for today is to not only look for what you know are collectable bargains now, but also look at what will be popular collectables in the future. Study guns and learn to recognize features that set one model apart from another. It's just like what some folks who like to play the market do. Only difference is that it's a lot more fun, and usually a better investment to subsidize your own risk. You end up something that you can actually see and use, and will always have some value . Take care, Robert.

  4. Hi BB,
    I love your Savage 24. I have never seen that deluxe version before. I have a 24C (Camper Model) with 20 gauge mag and 22 LR. It's a nice compact gun.

    I have the opposite strategy on auctions. I have my saved searches also. But, when they come up, I normally bid a not to exceed amount at 1/2 or 2/3 of the normal going price. It always surprises me, but I get things that way. I just got a double bit hatchet I had been wanting that way. They normally sell for around $120. I bid $79 and the last other bidder backed out at $78.50. Everyone has busy schedules and people just forget to bid on items so that's how my strategy works. Your strategy will beat mine if you remember to bid. I guess you could combine both strategies and do even better.

    My best deals in Pawn Shops have been on broken guns. A pumper, C02 gun, or even a springer that doesn't shoot is impossible to sell. Pawn brokers will almost give a broken gun away.

    Good luck at the auctions,

    David Enoch

  5. Regarding American Airgunner and Versus:

    I didn't find an official announcement on either http://www.versus.come or http://www.americanairgunner.com. But the Versus schedule indicates that American Airgunner will be shown at 7am on the remaining three Wednesday mornings in November.

    This is good news for us: American Airgunner's normal location, the Sportsman Channel, is generally a premium offering that few of us have. Versus, however, is a standard offering on many cable systems. We should let Verus know much we appreciate this gift!

  6. Phil,
    I am told that outdoor sports programs have to buy the TV broadcast time from the cable companies. It is the sponsors of the show who have ponied up the money for advertising that are bringing the show to us on Verses. I don't know who all the sponsors are but I am sure Pyramid is one. So, thank you Pyramid.

    David Enoch

  7. B.B.

    well, thank you very much for that, even if it is only four episodes (or even four reruns of the same one). Nothing better than having breakfast listening to the show before heading to work!!

    It has been over two months since I went shooting last. Rain, work, travel, all got in the way. Last week,I was near Dallas for a meeting. A friend had invited to go Trap shooting, which I have never done before, but the weather kept me from doing that as well.


  8. bb

    hi, i just delivery of a nice new air rifle which my wife is buying me for Xmas. Its a PCP (the new Daystate Grand Prix) and as its an Xmas prezzie my wife wants me to store it without firing it until Xmas day. My question is, should i lightly oil the barrel? Its cold here now and when the gun was unpacked in my house, it was very cold to touch. Im concerned that the cold will attract moistue and rust the barrel.

    If i should oil it, is WD40 ok?


  9. aaron

    i have a spray can of Browning multi purpose gun oil, would this be ok then?

    Oils dont seem to state exactly what they can/cannot be used for and i obviously dont want to get it wrong


  10. bb

    i posted before your reply was refreshed.

    ok, so you think its good to just leave well alone? That suits me as i try to avoid spraying anything up the barrels unless i have to.
    Thanks for yur prompt reply


  11. BB,
    Good point about the rust and people's inability to see through it. Unless there is heavy pitting, it usually scrubs off. I bought a brand new plow one time for 1/4 its original price, because it had sat outside and there was moderate rust on the share and red paint had faded to pink. In that case, normal use in a patch of sandy loam removed the rust in a couple of minutes, and I could freshen the paint job in 10 if I cared — maybe if I ever sell it:).

    I like those Savage 24's. That's about the fanciest one I've ever seen.

    On the new Disco., from the blurry picture, I guess I liked the original stock design better for field use, but I'm still eager to see what PA is going to have.

    Should have American Airgunner on Tivo (haven't checked), thanks to Versus and your sponsors; looking forward to watching it.

  12. B.B.

    Got to love those Savage firearms. I wonder if their shotguns are as good as their rifles.

    I'll be interested to see the new Discovery, but I have a hard time believing that it will beat the Marauder.


  13. Frazzle,

    If your storage is inside and temperate, then yes, I wouldn't oil the bore. I don't oil the bores of any of my airguns and they don't rust.

    However, if the package will be stored in an unheated space, then a light coat of your Browning oil might be a good idea. Just don't store the gun in a case that has open-celled foam, as it absorbs moisture from the air.


  14. B.B.:

    I, too, got American Airgunner for the first time this morning on Versus.

    A terrific show!

    You and Paul are great on camera, and you dealt with real shooting issues instead of worthless repetitive emphasis on gun competitions that some shows are stuck on (which shall remain nameless, but you know who you are).

    Not only was the on-camera talent great, but the production values were super–far superior to any except the very best outdoor shows.

    It will be sad when the four-episode run is over.

    Congrats to you, Paul, and the entire team.

    And to Pyramyd, Air Force, Crosman, etc. who signed on as sponsors.

  15. Completely off topic, but I've got a question for anyone who knows. How is the rear sight on the IZH-Baikal MP-514K removed?

    I really did not expect much from this rifle, but it surprised me with some nice groups. Curiosity got the better of me, but I really like it as a single stroke repeater. Anyway, how to get that rear sight off? Thanks for the help!

  16. BB,
    Yes, a rusty plow. And I got a 25% discount on a disk set one time, because the paint was faded:). Never understood what the fascination with a perfect paint job was — on an implement you drag through the dirt:).

  17. Anonymous,

    If you use the search engine you will find a 3 or 4 part blog on how to photograph air guns. Check it out and try again for the picture of the Discovery at the beginng of this blog.:)

    Mr B.

  18. B.B.,

    Got bloop tube back from AirHog. Just as quiet as ever without any more clipping. I'm a happy camper.

    Five pellets in a 1/4" hole at 16 yards with no noise except the sound of the pellet hitting the cardboard target.

    Thank you Van and Martin at AirHog.

    Mr B.

  19. Disco Deluxe?

    I think it should be affordable with a few minor changes. I could see a fuller stock or extra barrel band, sling studs, a power adjuster and perhaps more adjustability on trigger weight.

    Any more like match trigger and shrouded barrel would probably bring the cost upto the maurader and may defeat the purpose.

    I love my Disco. With the few simple mods and a custom stock, she sweet, simple and reliable. So I'm definately going to keep her a while.

  20. Mr B.,
    I'm not aj but IMHO the easiest adn most rewarding mods were the trigger and bedding the stock.

    My trigger is heavy but very crisp and predictable. Did the three screw mod and drilled the link to change the pivot point. You can also make it ultra light by using a different pivot point. But the pull is long and creepy despite being light.


  21. Mr. B- I have a .22 disco and couldn't be more satisfied. I got mine from mac1 so the trigger was decent and the accuracy was excellent. I added an extra barrel band to support the weight of the TKO muzzle brake that I added (it works extremely well). Depending on how your doing accuracy wise, i could maybe reccomend that you get the barrel recrowned. I can shoot 1/10" groups at 30 yards with 15.8 exacts, and might be able to do even better with the 18 exacts that I just got (pump troubles haven't shot recently 🙁 . So because I don't really know what I just typed, here's a summation of some of the best mods in my opinion:
    -recrown barrel
    -tko muzzle brake
    -extra barrel band (mine has an o-ring)
    -trigger work ( you can do the tko trigger exchange from tko, but i'd wait to see if the new trigger..or mdr.. is compatible with the old disco)

  22. Hi there. I have a Sheridan Knockabout. It's a tough, reliable, little gun. Mine was in pretty sad shape when I got it. Cosmetics only. It shot fine. I reblued it, and had to fix the front sight. If you know what an original one looks like, you will see a difference. But, most people can't tell. Anyway, I like to use it as a training gun. It has never miss fired on me. Blaine

  23. The Outdoor Channel on Comcast at my location was carrying American Airgunner at four different times/days. I think four. Anyway, it seems they are now down to just one show a week. I hope this is not a bad omen. But, did I hear BB say he just made some more episodes?

    PS, I'm assuming that Crystal does not read this blog. This is a good thing this time because I just wanted to say, the way her TV personality and natural demeanor come through she has a pretty good future in TV broadcasting. I didn't want to say this out loud because it might cause her to drive a harder bargain come contract renewal time and we'll lose her forever to some career stepping stone weather channel.


  24. BB,

    I LOVE my Savage Model 24C, 22LR / 20ga. The gun does everything from 22 CB caps (clean through a squirrel at 20yds) to the high speed stuff, and bird shot to slugs, all under the same cheap BSA red dot. Dove hunting with a single shot full choke is tough, but it certainly beats not dove hunting. If I had to hunt with only one, this would be it.

    The big flea markets are also good–if you've done some reading first–but I mentioned those last summer.

    Perra Dog

  25. Perra Dog,

    Good to hear from a 24 owner. I have some gunsmithing to do before mine shoots like yours. I need an extractor for the rifle barrel and the rifle firing pin doesn't strike the rim of the cartridge. The lockup is loose, which is what I think is the cause of the misaligned pin.


  26. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the Disco mods. Where did you get your barrel band? What signs told you that your barrel needed to be recrowned? Last but not least who is tko?

    Thank you

    Mr B.

  27. How do those Breaks from TKO stand up to the "No Silencer Allowed" rules in the U.S.? That's taken fairly seriously. Do these not offer any silencing capabilities? If not, what benefit do they offer? Always wondered what the were for actually. I've shot Avanti rifles with a weight on the end to help steady it, but that's all they did (I think).

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