by B.B. Pelletier
Matt61 asked how many Beeman R-type airguns there were last Friday, because he’d never heard of the R8 model I’m currently testing. His question reminded me how Dennis Quackenbush is always going on about the lack of historical documentation of the airgun hobby. Matt’s question epitomizes this. So, I figured a short history was in order. This should also prove interesting to our readers outside the U.S. who may not know the Beeman name as well as we do. I can’t tell the Beeman story without including the history of Air Rifle Headquarters, which preceded it by a decade. This is really the story of the beginning of precision adult airguns in the U.S.
It began in the 1960s
The importation of European airguns and ammunition into the U.S. had been spotty up to the decade of the 1960s. Back in the 1930s and ’40s, Stoeger had imported J.G. Anschütz, Haenel, Diana, Webley and perhaps a few others, but they lacked the marketing push to popularize them. Who, in 1940, was going to spend $70 for a single-shot Peerless (Diana model 58) air rifle they had never heard of when a sleek Winchester model 61 pump .22 cost just $24.87? Besides, in 1940, war loomed on the horizon and German products were not that popular in this country, so the time was not yet right. After the war was over, though, was a different story.
In the very early 1960s, Robert Law became aware of the high quality of European airguns and pellets. He formed the company known as Air Rifle Headquarters in Grantsville, West Virginia, and started importing and selling these products through the mail.
But he did something extra that Stoeger never attempted, and it made all the difference in the world. He borrowed a page from the marketing plan of George L. Herter and told the detailed story of the airguns he was offering. He told you why his $150 FWB breakbarrel was far superior to the Sheridan Blue Streak, which he sold for $42.00. He gave you numerous reasons to spend almost four times the money for the same type of product. If he were still in business today, I bet he would have a blog very much like this one.
Law produced a catalog and other printed materials that showered the buyer with interesting information about fine European airguns and pellets. His catalogues are collector items today, selling for $20 and up. They still fascinate the collector with the history of the first real sales campaign for precision airguns in the U.S.
These catalogs were loaded with articles — not touting any specific airgun but, instead, educating the airgunner in general. Another product he produced were Air Rifle Monthly pamphlets that dealt with specific airguns. How he managed to find the time to do all he did I will never know, but from the volume of publications his company published, it’s clear that the man with the Mo Howard haircut knew how to prioritize.
Law also created better owners’ manuals than those supplied by the manufacturers, and his were supplied with the gun at the sale.
Of course, all these educational materials were also selling products, as the enthusiast learned more and more about his airgun. Eventually, he became hooked and had to try the tuneups he read about in the pamphlets.
In the early years, Law also included a lot of sex in his catalog. There were many pages of scantily-clad lovelies touting the guns. There were also several photos of the pretty ARH female employees in miniskirts filling orders in the shipping department. There must have been complaints, though, because by 1974 the catalogs dropped this practice entirely.
The vision of modern airgunning
Law was also a visionary. He coined the term “accurized” and added value to his guns through tuning both before and after the sale. He also mounted scopes on airguns at a time when it was considered very problematic. The scopes of his day broke from the recoil of the spring rifles he sold, so he searched far and wide for models that could take the strain.
ARH, as it was known, had some special models of its own. These were guns that they customized to the nth degree, including fancy stocks, scopes, accurizing and other added perks. The Feinwerkbau F12 came before the model 124 and was a model 121. ARH sold it as-is for $144.50 in 1973. But when they accurized it and added their own electric guitar-style walnut stock, it became the model F120 and the price went to $234.50. I have seen but one of these rifles in my life. It was at the Roanoke airgun expo a few years ago, and I was stunned by the sheer size of the wood stock. They made the forearm so deep that there’s no longer a cocking slot. There is sufficient room inside the forearm to contain the cocking link as it cycles through its arc.
They also sold some American airguns. For example, they sold the Smith & Wesson 78G and 79G, and they did it their way. They boosted velocity to a guaranteed 500+ f.p.s. in the .177 79G.
Air Rifle Headquarters lasted from about 1963 until 1979. Then, it closed its doors and has been talked about in airgun circles ever since. Probably one reason they folded their tent was that a new company — Beeman Precision Airguns — started in California in the early 1970s. However, the name lives on, as Jim Maccari calls his company Air Rifle Headquarters.
Next time, I’ll cycle you through the Beeman history and finally answer Matt’s question of how many R-type guns there are.
84 thoughts on “A brief history of Beeman and Air Rifle Headquarters – Part 1”
Good morning B.B.,
What a finish on that stock, even with it being such an old photo! You’re telling a story that alot of us have never heard. Thanks
Thanks for the history lesson. Very exciting stuff. I can hardly wait for more.
R.I.P squirels not a pretty sight i prefer catalog 1973 😉
A great article BB.
It must have been quite a hard sell back then to get folk in the USA to spend a lot of money on an Air Rifle,or buy air guns of any description for that matter.
On paper,cartridge guns and there availability in the US should have buried any competition but they didn’t.That is the most surprising thing.
By the way,I think that lass in the catalog needs to taught the ‘Artillery hold’otherwise she won’t hit a thing like that 🙂
Apart from air rifles what else are the Germans good at?
Just about everything I think 🙁
Come on Dave win some lose some!They are not that good couse “mighty” Serbia defited them 🙂
So glad you can be at home doing at least some of what you love
while you get better and healthier.
Kudos to you and Edith for your dedication,and our thanks to Mac
for his help and friendship.
It’s amazing (and depressing) that there were such fine AR’s and
information out about them,yet I never saw or heard about them
(except for BB guns)until the mid 80’s.
The men (and some women) from both sides of my family have
been hunters and sport shooters for generations,but I doubt that
any of them would have even considered a pellet gun even if they knew
about them.And some of them must have!
I’ll be following along to see how much I can learn about things
that I would have otherwise missed out on,again!!
Thank you again for all you do.
JT in AL,
I didn’t find out about ARH until I already knew about Beeman. I first discovered Beeman while I was serving in Germany and bought Airgun Digest Vol. 1, edited by Robert Beeman. I already owned a Diana model 10 pistol and had seen the quality of German airguns in person, so I knew what Beeman was talking about. But it took a full year back in the States before I stumbled across ARH.
They were about to shut down and Beeman was out-marketing them on a national scale, so my discovery was through a tiny ad in a sporting goods magazine. Beeman was already in American Rifleman, I believe. Advertising won out again.
My knowledge of ARH has come after the fact, by interviewing customers, buying catalogs and seeing and owning a few of their airguns.
We’ve come a long way baby!
Until recently I was unaware of how big the airgun world really was and is. I sure enjoy these glances back in time with the exception of the hammer coming down on what looks like a HW55. Amazing that any vintage guns survived this period when official bubba techniques like that were touted.
This history lesson not only points out where Maccari got his website name, but also the marketing campaign of Best Airguns. I always wondered what in the world they were doing. Now I know they are merely maintaining a historical context!
Kidding aside, this is a very interesting blog. I look forward to the next installment.
Great story, i was woundering why the rws 52 is missing do you know
Undoubtedly due to low sales.
So no replacement?
The 48 is the identical gun with a different stock. I think the 52 failed because many buyers didn’t think its stock was worth the extra money. So if you want a Diana sidelever, the 48 is still available, and a custom stock could be made.
I think it’s kinda sad that so many shooters think the big box stores
have the best AR’s available and believe the hype that a 1400 fps
gamo is where it’s at.I suppose marketing of the higher end stuff
just doesn’t make enough profit when the average customer still believes
speed rules.It seems a shame that in the so called information age,
the best way to reach what seems like our largest group of backyard and
garden pesters and plinkers,is still word of mouth.
JT in AL,
Don’t discount the internet. It is a marketing resource far more powerful than print advertising, and those who invest it it are growing their business.
There are 6 of us in our little group of AR shooters. Probably my favorite gun of the 7 I own is my Slavia. At 550 fps it isn’t a poweful gun. But you can shoot it all afternoon without wearing out your arm, and at 10m it is very nearly as accurate as my Avanti 853c. At 30 yards I can place 5 shots in a two inch circle, offhand, with the open sights with no problem.
The wood is beautifully figured (on my sample anyway), the bluing is deep and even…just a real nice gun.
But at $189 (CDN) it just doesn’t sell.
What I most often hear from newbies I meet runs along the lines of…”gee, for $125 I got a great gun from WallyMart that is 900fps.
The fact that it looks like crap, has a lot of plastic and a 10lb trigger release is lost on them.
’cause it has 900fps!!!
Slavia 631 lux ,or 634 !634 will be my next gun to buy ,what s not to like walnut stock accuracy mean as hell….
Awesome shooting. I can’t even see a two inch circle at 30 yards, much less put 5 shots into one offhand. The Slavia sounds right up my alley, but I can only find overpriced used ones down here.
LEAD-what IS overpriced to your opinion ,down here Slavia 631 is 187,94,slavia 634- 221,94 dollar…..
How can Diana or CZ gun be cheaper in Amarica then in Europe,it defes logic
AMERICA not amarica sorry typefeller
Fascinating story. This is the stuff 90% of us never hear of.
Yeah, I understand the comments about the 1,400 fps gamo that captivates everyones attention initially. The airgun learning curve for me was less is more when it comes to a springer.
I’ve had fun putting a tuned springer in the hands of friends that have only shot powder and maybe a gamo. The look on their faces is always similar when they hold and then shoot a quality airgun. “Wow, I didn’t know these were so accurate” is a common comment.
I think we were all there at some point. Then came enlightenment and smaller bank accounts. Along these same lines, has anyone ever read the first comment posted on this blog under the first article written by B.B. on March 31, 2005?
“how can you try to do your scope accurate and better”
I recognize that dialect. Those are obviously the gruntings of upper-management.
I am having growing pains. I have finally gotten to where I am satisfied with my 10 yard performance. I’m consistently shooting 10 shot groups that are very, very small. The outside diameter of single hole groups is 1/4″. Even off hand I can keep them within 1/2″. So, feeling cocky I tried to increase the distance to 20 yards. Well, let’s just say that it knocked me back down a few pegs. I don’t really understand what the problem is. If you would have asked me what I thought my groups would look like, I would have said about twice as big as at 10 yards, so 1/2″… not even close. Why would my consistency fall so far? I am trying to maintain the same shot to shot rhythm and hold, but it’s really beating me up. Almost makes me want to turn to the darkside, but fortunately or un-fortunately the budget still won’t allow.
Errors multiply as distance increases. While it is logical to think you 20-yard group will be twice as large as the 10-yard group, it doesn’t work out. That’s why I use 50 yards as a long-range test. It is way more than twice as hard to shoot good groups at 50 yards as it is to shoot them at 25. And I also enjoy watching people try 100 yards for the first time. It is a rude awakening.
So can you walk me back through the basics? What should I be paying closer attention to when incrementally increasing distance? Or perhaps it’s just more practice time… Thing is 20 yards is more difficult to practice because I can’t do it in my basement at odd hours.
The more I reflect on my experience, it seems that trigger pull is one downfall, I know that I am pulling the rifle to the side and I think that its now showing up at the greater distance. I am keeping my thumb off the back of the pistol grip, but still am pulling to the right. Even when being mindful of the pull, the groups are only slightly better.
One other observation is that parallax error is definitely there. I set the rifle still and moved my head around while not touching the rifle and I could see the reticle moving around on the target. I am trying to keep my head and cheek consistent from shot to shot which I understood to keep the parallax error to a minimum, but wonder if this may be adding to the problem anyway. I have an AO scope, and it seems like the numbers on the bell are just a very rough suggeston. Is it true that if the AO is adjusted properly that the parallax head bob will keep the reticle on target, and therefore I need to step by step adjust and re-index?
What gun are you shooting? Are you shooting offhand or benched?
For trigger pull why not try putting your thumb on your trigger hand behind the trigger guard when squeezing?
The AO adjusted correctly on your scope will minimize parallax but not eliminate it completely. Have you adjusted the eyepiece (ocular) for minimizing parallax?
Here’s a good tutorial:
RWS 94, .177 w/Leapers 3-9×40 Rested.
I’ll try that, I actually remember that suggestion from some time ago and it did work well while rested, but I did not pursue long term because my goal is to shoot offhand and I couldn’t hold up the back end of the rifle very well with that technique.
I’ll look into that scope procedure. I did not do a step by step set up like they outline.
Find the point that the gun balances on the flat palm of your non shooting hand. Then place the gun lightly against your shoulder. You should not need any help from your shooting hand to hold/support the gun and can therefore shoot the gun with your shooting thumb on the back of the trigger guard.
If you’re not shooting with a zoomed scope, then the target will be significantly smaller than at, say, 10 yards, and so your aiming precision will go down rapidly. That factor of roughly 2 (20 yards to 20 yards) multiplied by the 2x longer flight distance over which the pellet can deviate from the target would make me guess your groups will be 4x as large.
I meant to write “target would appear smaller at 20 yards than 10 yards.
sorry for confusion.
Something else to keep in mind. As distances increase, the relative accuracy of the pellet you’re using becomes more critical. Grab a couple tins of pellets (JSB’s, Crosman Premiers, H&N Barricudas, RWS Super H Point or dome – whatever you have handy) and start shooting groups of 5 and see what gives you the best results. Shoot from a rest position – artillery hold with your hand or arm resting on something soft, like a rolled up blanket and the rifle resting on your open hand or closed hand or back of hand – whatever works for you. Have fun – now you’re really into this sport.
Could be your pellets too. Almost any pellet can be accurate to 10 yards.
I’d try different pellets. I’m also one to blame my equipment first.
Thanks for the responses, I already went through the pellet search, but at 10 yards. RWS Superdomes was the winner, but I never did try JSB exacts – they always seemed to be out of stock on ordering day. Perhaps they would perform just as well at 10 yards, but better at 20. I guess it’s worth a shot, or two, or 250!
Glad you are back among the living! I can’t wait to see the skinny version of you. I would like to be skinny too, but non by your route.
I really enjoyed today’s post. I have read a copy or two of the old catalogs and your old Airgun Letters. I really enjoy that stuff. I used to love the Herter’s Catalog too. Don’t leave out your contributions when it comes to airgun history.
BB: Really enjoyed the blog today as it was my father’s ARH catalogs that sparked my interest in airguns . I still have a 1966 publication of Robert Law’s , which is really a 30 page advertisement filled with owner testimonials of the air guns he sold back then. The Weihrauch HW 35 series was listed . Also, the HW 30 and 50 series and the FWB 150 were also mentioned. Diana 5&6, as well as the BSF and Fienwerkbau F-65 pistols are listed as well.
Apparently, the most powerful sporter air rifle was the Bavaria/Wischo 55-N , which was listed as developing 728fps, in .177 cal. There is one story in the catalog of a bobcat being killed with the 55-N. H&N pellets and the Lion Zet(Jet) pellets are also discussed, with comparisons made to other pellets available then. Folks looking for the best accuracy beyond 10 yards ,were weighing their pellets and measuring head size, back then as well. Take care ,Robert.
I reviewed the BSF 55N a while back. Mine was purchased from ARH. Perhaps you would be interested in the report:
OK, I know I am going be called a pig at this point, and lose whatever frail credibility I once held on the blog, but I must say as a person who is the ideal marketing demographic for airguns, there is something about that cover of the 1973 catalog that held my attention for just a teeny bit longer than if it were a photo of a gruff, bearded guy in a flannel shirt kneeling in tall grass with a springer spaniel next to him. Call me a pervert.
Sex is used to sell everything, including denture adhesive, dog food and hemorrhoidal medications. My beef is when they use sex to sell to kids, or try to sexualize kids to make them seem precociously adult. Sometimes the ads are so ridiculously out of context that it just becomes confusing. Interesting that ARH was cutting back on the scantily clad models, as the rest of the advertising world seems to have been starting to ramp up. Perhaps that is how Beeman put them out of business. 😉
I don’t think she is trying to shoot from that position. She is either about to brake the barrel, or use the little-known HW bayonet accessory from the 70s.
Also the comely model on the catalog cover may seem under-dressed from the back, but I am sure with all the pellet pouches and other accessories mounted to her gun belts, she appears prudently dressed for an afternoon of airgunning from the front. Lets not jump to conclusions.
I think these “airgun history lessons” are great. Priceless. in fact.
Also, I would rather look at the leather babe than the dead squirrels any day.
But then, I’m 61 years old. Maybe the younger guys would rather look at the dead squirrels. But somehow, I don’t think so.
I also doubt that an airgun is a good weapon to use for killing bobcats. But then, maybe I just love cats.
I, too, think these “history” lessons are great. I hope you have more up your sleeve (or wherever you keep this stuff).
You can t be more wright i submit to everything you said 😉
Edith and I love cats, too. And no, a BSF 55N is completely inappropriate for taking bobcats, just as a Gamo Hunter Extreme is in appropriate for taking wild pigs.
Had they not dropped the sexy models, I bet they’d still be be in business. LOL!!!!
ajvenom -they use models to sell the cars so what s a big deal,you are absolutely right!
The Supreme Court made a very important decision today regarding gun ownership. They came out on the side of gun rights! This is cause for rejoicing. Chicago’s handgun ban is unconstitutional and will hopefully be repealed as such. Doesn’t D.C. have a similar ban? Maybe they will get around it because they aren’t a State.
As with many or most decisions it went 5-4. It is troubling to think that 4 out of 9 supreme court justices have trouble discerning the very simple language that the 2nd amendment was written in.
Kagen’s appointment is a shoe-in of course. No chance she will be Robert Borked as Judith Ginsberg should have been. Thank goodness she will merely be replacing someone else who also completely disregards the constitution. (Stephens) Think of all the ridiculousness you could indulge in if YOU had a lifetime appointment!
Yes! Hope for the free world!
According to csmonitor:
After their gun ban was struck down, Washington lawmakers adopted tougher requirements for anyone seeking a gun license, including a four-hour class on firearm safety and passing an exam. It also enacted an assault-weapons ban and required registration of all firearms in the home.
I think the fundamental idea is good but it doesn’t account for everyone in the house (being trained) that has access to the firearm.
I’ve been away from the news for a couple days. The last I heard it was Mayor Daley who was reported to have mentioned the new restrictions and not Washington. Maybe Washington, DC did, too. When you say Washington I was thinking the federal government not the city. Did you mean the city? BIIIIG Difference! As Capt’n Ron said about Gorillas vs Guerrillas.
Daley said he wasn’t going to take it lying down and is purported to imply that he was going to make it as tough as possible for anyone in Chicago to own a gun, i.e.; lots of paperwork and gun classes. He’s not trying to make it safer with the classes just make it more difficult. He used some drug gang shooting examples to illustrate his position against guns.
I guess I should have just kept my mouth shut. I read and reread the article and it does not say anything but Washington, does not note whether city or state.
In my opinion gun laws are rather stupid. Criminals don’t care about the law or they would not be criminals. They will get weapons regardless of what bans are in place.
B.B., thanks for the history lesson, and you can take your time getting to the R8 question with this kind of material. That woman with the belts on is pretty intense. That’s the sort of thing you see all over the internet. But I can see how that is not the way to attract our single Mom clientele.
A trivial aside, the background architecture for the Airgun Academy site was taken from my old college I believe. I feel right at home.
Well, here I am in Hawaii, recuperating from my plane flight. Chuck and Slinging Lead, you were so right and right again not to want to travel with me. What a disaster. In preface, I will say that I was especially pleased with my packing job: Anschutz rifle with which to freak out my parents, Savage 10FP, my two scopes, Allen wrenches for adjustment, spotting scope, slings, four calibers of ammo, safety glasses, targets. All went well until I passed through security at the San Francisco airport and the fellow on the x-ray scanner began waving people over saying, “sniperscope.” I had packed my scopes in my carryons, so they wouldn’t be banged around in the checked baggage. There was a language difficulty. The TSA workers asked me several times if I wanted to check the scopes. No, I didn’t that’s why I had them in carryons. Then, they started getting ugly and saying that I had to check the scopes or they would call the police. It turned out that there was some rule that scopes were not allowed because they are considered part of a gun, and they were really asking whether I would voluntarily check the scopes or be arrested by the police. Once this was established, of course I said I would check them, but they called the police anyway. Then they made me sit down and started narrating a detailed description of me over the telephone: shorts, blue shirt with stripes, green hat. And when the police showed up, there was a whole squad of them–about five or six.
When I saw that wall of black turning the corner, I had an instant flashback to the novel 1984 where the hero, Winston, is finally discovered by the government’s secret police. He says, approximately, that the room was suddenly filled with solid men in black uniforms. Winston watches one of them licking very thin lips with an almost white tongue while meditatively balancing a billy club in his hand. Then, this character and another clobber Winston and his girlfriend in the solar plexuses and leave them writhing on the floor.
As the police arrived, a TSA person proudly displayed my Leapers and Centerpoint scopes to them. The first thing the police said was, “Gee, those are some nice scopes.” They were bemused and didn’t take the whole thing seriously. I decided to make use of my teachable moment to tell the police that they were airgun scopes for only $100 and that airgunning was great fun with pellet velocities of 900 fps and a price of 2 cents per round. They seemed to be intrigued. Let nothing be said against the SFPD! My only impressions of them were from the old series The Streets of San Francisco which made the place look like a war zone. The officers were a model of friendly professionalism and fine examples of how our men and women in uniform are keeping the country safe from all threats internal and external.
I can’t say the same of that bunch from the TSA. Here is a stark example of how a lack of gun education can cost hard-working citizens $125 which I had to pay to check a third bag! I don’t think the TSA ever figured it out. They seemed to think I was some kind of villain who had put one over on the police. One of them holding my scopes mumbled something to one of the officers which I gathered was an attempt to get him to confiscate them. The officer replied that he was not going to violate my constitutional rights by taking them (hear, hear!). When the one TSA person shooed me out the security area to check my bag, he said, “We don’t want any trouble here”…
I thought the whole thing was bureaucratic nonsense initially. The thought had crossed my mind that scopes might cause trouble. But I was also packing my spotting scope, and I thought that seeing the scopes together would demonstrate irrefutably that the rifles scopes did not consitute a threat. Not so. Later it occurred to me that maybe the scenario they were defending against was a team of people each carrying an individual gun part onto an airplane then assembling it all in a bathroom. But I think that certain parts of firearms are designated as guns so that wouldn’t work, and my high powered scopes would not be useful on an airplane, but maybe that was their thinking.
Anyway, a word to the wise: Don’t take your scopes in your carryons.
Yay, I’m caught up. Did I miss anything?
Dis you in the end check the spotting scope or kept it in your carryon? I recently bought a spotting scope and it is my intention to travel with it in my carryon!! In my checked bag I am reasonably sure it will arive in pieces!
I ment “did you” not ‘Dis you’. I certainly do not want to dis you. LoL.
I’m gonna take a poll…
Does anyone see anything wrong with using that picture of the girl?
Let me just jot down the first three replies that come to mind…
1. Disgraceful. The young men targeted by the ad could not possibly don that outfit without suffering much ridicule. We’re talking hours of therapy.
2. False advertising. How many boys must have based purchase decisions on the superficial representation that “hot, scantily-clad chicks dig guns?”
3. Way too much clothing.
Vince i might be wrong but is that hippy symbol on her arm i newer seen hippy wearing a gun but then again i am young 😉
Remember the Snap On Tool Man calender or the adds that Kahr Arms is currently running? To answer your question, I think the picture of the girl is ok. Study your target market and run the adds that reach them.
PS Slinging Lead, what frail credibility are you talking about?
does any body her kniow if a rws 34 panther pro is any less acurate than the regular panther. could the muzzle break change the barrel harmonics posssibly. the weight dosnt bother me. or should i just stick with plaing rws 34 panther.
Sorry i have hit the wrong button 🙂
Only thing i could say to you is- IF you have 17 cal try with a heavyer pellets and if you have 22cal try HOBBY and enjoy
I have surf on our (croatian) sites and just found up that problem MIGHT be in mounts for optics …..
There should be no accuracy difference between the Meisterschutze Pro and the 34P. They all have identical barrels.
The 34 Panther is no longer made. It’s now just a 34P.
Jason -go for a newest blog and you will get lot more answers,i think that you don t have to worry 34 is accurate! Only name is different just join us on the blog up ;)!!!
Wischo 55N- You really have to own one of these fine air rifles to appreciate it’s quality.The trigger on mine is not all that bad.
I purchased mine from ARH back in the early 60’s [1964?]I opted for the 4 power Weaver scope. Bob Law was a fine man and was alway’s receptive to answering my questions.Great communication was part of his service.
copy of my original order for the 55N
First post should read Bavaria 55N [same gun].
The ARH catalog I ordered the 55N from [still have it]. Actually Beemans used ARH’s catalog before they came out with their own.
Wow, an early ARH catalog. I don’t even have one from the 1960s, but yours looks like one of the first ones!
BB asked how long the Beeman Airgun Journal was published. I subscribed to it.There were a total of 6 published from 1979 thru 1984 [1 ea.yr.] I have the first 3 or 4 issues some where in my pile of airgun material.I sold my complete collection of Bob Laws ARM about 10yr’s ago along with some other ARH publicatioins. I also sold off just about all his catalogs except for the 1st published catalog and about 5 or 6 others including the smaller size catalogs.[the sexy pictures wern’t started until the large format catalogs]I still have almost a complete set of Tom’s Airgun Letters [loaned a few out, never got them back]. Also have his complete set of Airgun Review.You save a lot of stuff over the years an my wife helped me get rid of some stuff, like the first 3 issues of Beeman’s catalog.I’ve been around long enough to remember getting a Red Ryder in 1946 so i’m not a youngster.
Can’t find part II…sure want to read more about the Beemanb history.
There are 3 parts to this series. Here’s part 3. Click on the link to part 2 inside part 3 & read on!
Great to find your article! I was first introduced to ARH in ~1970. In 1972 I had saved enough $$ from my paper route to purchase my Wischo Custom Match pistol from them. It is the very pistol shown in the holster on the catalog cover you show in the article–I also purchased that same holster. I still have & shoot that pistol 43(!) years later!!
Welcome to the blog.
Isn’t it great to find something that reminds you of your youth like this? I think the funky look of the pistol is half the attraction.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I loved ARH and read their catalogs and ARMs many times over. I still have them. I bought my first serious air rifle from ARH in 1976. It was an “accurized” HW-50 which I still think may be the smoothest air rifle I have ever owned, and I have quite a few. I had quite a serious squirrel problem back then and I took over 40 squirrels with it in less than a year. I traded that “50” to Jim Macarri back in the day and while I now wish I still had it, I suppose it is fitting that it went to Jim.
Yes — we all have guns we wish we still had! 😉
I also started out as a big fan of ARH.
Back in the latter 70’s, being a single SSgt in the Marines, given room, board and clothing, I found my self in possession of a fair amount of discretionary funds. That state was never to be repeated to this present day. Having said funds I proceeded to set myself up with what I considered the necessities of life. For my first rifle from ARH, I went all out. I started with their FWB 124 and spared no expense. I had any barrel droop removed for their top of the line Tasco scope, the best tune they offered, and a trigger shoe which Robert Law seemed to push for everything, and of course, one of their fancy stocks. After all the pellets and accessories were added in, I do seem to recall my bill was something over 600 1977 dollars. I shudder to think what that computes to in today’s dollars.
To come back around to your statement about the one that got away, a little later I also purchased another rifle that was considered almost right up there with the FWB as far as velocity. Over the years that one has long disappeared, probably being loaned out to a friend or family member for pest problems which I assume they are still working on. It’s been long enough that my memory only retains that it was a good rabbit gun, tho not as smooth and accurate as the FWB and didn’t have that unique trigger that to me felt like a set trigger. Included in the vagaries of memory I seem to recall it was one imported by Wischo which as I understand it did not manufacture but put their name to it much like Beeman, and the numbers 55 or 70 seem to ring a bell. Perhaps in your ‘76/’77 ARH literature you can spot the one I’m trying to recall and let me know. I would appreciate knowing anything you may find out.
Larry in Algona
I see the Wischo 55 and 70 in this ’76 catalog. I also have an ARM (Air Rifle Monthly from 1969 dedicated to the Wischo 55. I will try to scan them for you.
Hey, thanks a lot! I guess my memory hasn’t totally deteriorated yet.
So, wasn’t Wischo just an import or export company? What would that make the 55 and 70? HW or Diana? All I can recall is that the model I had compared favorably with both my FWB 124 and 127 for taking rabbits. It was in caliber .177 so the velocity must have been in the mid to high 700s (?). I would have been using the 8.6 gr Mount Star Silver Jet pellets in the orange box, made in Japan. I still have a few left.
On these pellets, I have a theory. They, (the Japanese version) are the ones that everyone was using as being the most accurate pellet available and then Beeman came along and got H&N to TRY to duplicate them in the Silver Arrow and Silver Point at 11.57 gr. The Beeman/H&N pellets never duplicated the performance of the Japanese Silver Jets being so much heavier at 11.57 gr.
This, of course, is all supposition about the average spring rifle at the time and may be a totally different story with the modern rifles that have an affinity for the heavier pellets.
Larry in Algona
Wischo was the exporter. BSF was the manufacturer.
Thanks! I DO seem to remember something about BSF.
I have scanned the pages from the 1976 ARH catalog covering the Wischo 55 and 70 models along with their pricelist. Not sure if this forum will allow a zipped file attachment which is almost 10Mb but I will try. The file is 9 or 10 pages from the catalog and also includes the HW 50. I purchased the HW 50 but with the select group, select stock,”scope angle”, and accurization options. All very well worth it. If it doesn’t work send me your email or you can email me at email@example.com.