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Education / Training A safe strategy for no-loss – mostly gain – airgun collecting – Part 1

A safe strategy for no-loss – mostly gain – airgun collecting – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

I apologize to the hundreds of readers who don’t live in the U.S. for what I’m about to do. Today’s blog is very strictly limited to the U.S., though I imagine a creative person could adapt it to almost any country easily enough.

I’m going to show you how to collect airguns that either always appreciate or at the very least never lose their value. That’s what I try to do, and it has worked well enough that I know what I’m talking about.

I’ve recently applied this same strategy for collecting firearms, and it works just as well for them. I supposed it would work for almost any commodity, and the proof I offer is in the form of a popular U.S. cable TV show called American Pickers. This show started out as an internet broadcast and gained enough popularity that it was picked up by real advertisers. It’s now among the top cable TV shows in the U.S.

The pickers are two guys — Mike Wolff, who owns the company Antique Archaeology, in Le Claire, Iowa, and his lifelong buddy, Frank Fritz. The two of them ramble, Laurel-and-Hardy-style, across the country in a Mercedes van buying rusty old junk that they know their customer base will buy. Often the purchase is just $10, but it has been as much as $20,000 on the show. They deal in green cash money, which means the tax man isn’t as able to snoop into their private business. That’s not to imply they they cheat on their taxes, but rather that their losses are much easier to incorporate into the business. I’m getting off the track here, but my point is that these two guys do this for a full-time job, and they employ at least one other person, a saucy lady named Danielle, who minds the store and does the research for them to find their next place to pick.

Okay, back to airguns. You can do the same things that the American Pickers do, and you can even make some money at it if you want to. You don’t need a lifelong buddy, nor a Mercedes van. I don’t care if you haven’t got two cents to rub together, because the truth of it is, in the U.S., there are very few people who don’t have at least two cents. I’m saying this is a fun enterprise that can be initiated at a very small level and can grow at your own pace. Believe me, if you apply what I am about to tell you, the day will come when you have several thousand discretionary dollars in your pocket and can make the larger purchases that you see being discussed on this blog.

Now, I have been down and out many times myself, and I know when the wolf comes to the door you often have to eat your seed money, to mix a metaphor or two. So, this process does not guarantee freedom from life’s challenges. But the principles always apply, so you can always put them into practice again, once you have recovered from whatever bad news has beset you.

The secret of the American Pickers is that they buy only what they know sells. And a second secret is that they always buy at a price they know will guarantee them at least a small profit. Here’s their philosophy put into action for airgunners. An air rifle that will always sell is a Feinwerkbau 124. If you’ve been reading this blog, you should know that by now. But there are all sorts of prices on these rifles. One person I recently read online valued his excellent condition FWB 124 with scope at $800. Well, sorry folks, but not only is that pure fiction for those wanting to make a buck, it’s grossly over-inflated for the retail market.

However, an FWB 124 deluxe model in excellent condition being offered for $350 is a gun that will probably never lose money. And the same gun selling for $275 is a no-brainer. And, if you’re as lucky as I once was to find a worn 124 standard model in need of a rebuild for $35, you’ve just made at least $100 — and probably closer to $150. You may think such finds could never happen to you, but they can if you know where to look and if you start looking. I’ll admit that in my position, the good buys find me a lot of the time, but I’ll give you a hint of what can happen.

An FWB 124 rifle is a classic that always holds its value.

Just yesterday, one of my gun buddies was out and about and called me on my cell with a possible find for me. Did I know what a Crosman I-350 was? Well, I was confused for a long time before puzzling out that he had found a V-350 BB gun. The fellow wanted $50 for a dog-ugly gun in working condition. I told my friend that it was a $10 to $15 purchase in that condition, because I would put $25 on it at a show (Roanoke is coming) and probably take $20. Yes, my profit would be negligible, but that’s the kind of stuff that happens more often than not. The seller was firm at $50, so I advised my friend to walk away.

One key to this process is to walk away more often than you buy. You buy only when it makes no sense not to buy. The rest of the time you walk away. That’s how the American Pickers do it, and that’s how you must do it if this plan is to succeed.

I was in a pawn shop in Radcliff, Kentucky, and found a Hy Score model 807, which we all know is really a Diana model 27. It was in .22 caliber and was rusty but complete and functioning. I bought it for $18 with no attempt at negotiation. I took it home and just oiled the leather piston seal and shot that gun for many years. Then, I gave it to a friend who admired it and would never buy one for himself. And that’s another secret to this process. The secular world calls it Karma, but everyone understands the principle. You sometimes just give things away when it feels right to do so. And the other side of giving things away is that they come back to you in numbers greater than you can imagine! You give, you get, but only when that is not your intent. I think it takes wisdom to understand this principle, so pray for wisdom and forget about working the system.

“Once in a lifetime” opportunities happen with increasing frequency when you start looking this way in earnest. I’ve heard that they come along about every 18 months, but in my experience, it’s more often than that. Of course, there’s also the old salesman’s adage, “If you want to make the sales, you have to make the calls.” So, don’t expect to find anything if you’re just sitting on your TV muscle.

I daily peruse certain websites looking for deals. I stop at pawn shops, yard sales and consignment stores. I once found a copy of my R1 book for $10 at a local Half-Price Books store. I resold it at Roanoke last year for $80 to a shocked buyer who had no idea it was normally going for over $100 on eBay, and that I was giving him a heck of a deal at $80. That was a bookstore find, folks! A bookstore. So, don’t tell me there are no gun stores in your neighborhood. You don’t need gun stores. You need to keep your eyes and ears open and be receptive to what comes along.

Here you sit astride the internet, which is the largest rolling garage sale in history. Stop whining and start searching. And buy the kind of guns that you KNOW you can sell. Don’t look for modified guns. Buy solid desirable models in excellent condition, or know how to fix them if they aren’t in excellent condition. And know what the market will bear.

You can even make money by shopping here at Pyramyd AIR, if you know what to look for. For example, several years back when Weihrauch would not sell to anyone other than Beeman, Weihrauchs were coming into the U.S. through other channels. A gray market, because Weihrauch was aware of it, only they turned a blind eye. They did so because Beeman wasn’t buying all Weihrauch models. For example — and this is my point — the HW 55 was still being made and Beeman was ignoring it. But Pyramyd AIR was selling them. That was a rifle that could be purchased at full retail and never risk losing a cent! Look for opportunities like that.

English-made Webleys, are another example. Buy them when you see them for a great price. What’s a great price? You must spend the time and energy to find out for yourself. Don’t ask anyone’s opinion on this, because it’s your money and not theirs on the line.

I was in a local pawn shop several years ago that I checked every six months to a year. I hate this place because the owner is a gun nut and he cherry-picks the incoming stuff, then displays it on the walls of his store as not for sale. Well, this time he had a Daisy Texas Rangers model 1894 BB gun that was new in the box with the owners manual. He wanted $100, but I talked him down to $80. I later discovered that this is the most desirable of all the 1894 Daisys, and it’s worth more than the $500 cash I got for it at the next airgun show. When I bought it I didn’t know all that, but I had a strong hunch that it was worth well over $80.

But I do make mistakes and some huge ones, indeed. Last year I swapped two guns worth $1,200 for one worn-out Winchester lever action that I finally let go of for $650, just to get it out of my sight. Can’t get rich doing business like that. But I don’t obsess over it, either. That loss is the cost of my education, and I’m still paying tuition after all these years. Even the American Pickers sometimes have a bad day.

So, let’s say you own just one airgun and it’s a $50 gun at that. You’d like to own some of the wonderful guns you read about, but the finances just aren’t there. Instead of sitting and cursing the darkness, you decide to do something about your situation. So you start watching the Yellow Forum classified ads regularly. You go there five times a day looking for that hot bargain. One time you see a Marksman model 61 that’s missing its front sight. The guy wants $175, but he agrees to sell it to you for $150 shipped.

A Marksman model 61 is simply another name for an HW 77. It’s the same gun made the same way and every bit as good. But you often find them for less money because of the Marksman name.

You know that a Marksman model 61 is really a Weihrauch HW 77 carbine under another name. You buy the gun and then give it a simple lube tune and discover that it’s one of the finest air rifles you’ve ever shot. It will be, because you haven’t shot anything nice yet. You adjust the Rekord trigger and decide that as nice as this rifle is, it’s worth at least $200. So you invest $30 more and scope it and now you figure it’s worth $250. You advertise it as an HW 77K, marked as the Marksman model 61. You’re telling the truth and simply doing more than the previous owner did to move the gun. You end up accepting $225 for the rifle, which puts a $45 profit into your pocket. That’s enough to pull the trigger on the Marksman model 70 the same guy told you about, and you’re now on the road to making money from your hobby.

The reality of the thing could unfold a thousand different ways, but there are some huge pitfalls. I’ll cover them tomorrow.

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.

83 thoughts on “A safe strategy for no-loss – mostly gain – airgun collecting – Part 1”

    • HA….I thought BB was writing this to get me to stop loosing money! I can definitely second the part about paying for my education.I think I’m almost to the point where my collection is worth what I paid
      for it?! I can tell you there are many wonderful people out there in this hobby.
      I will share with you guys a couple lucky finds at the flea mkt.I bought ,of all things,a broad axe that was a magnificent forging for 90$,down from 125$ (karma)The head was marked “gransfors bruks”.Believe it or not,that axe is a masterwork from Sweden worth $450 at retail! SCORE! The same vendor had a pristine 4″ sqare heavy steel BSA target holder with 5 original paper targets that read
      “use BSA Pylarm pellets” that I bought for 5$!He also sold me a Mossberg 4x scope No.M4 (d) for 8$.These prices are karma because this guy has known me for years and I have overpaid him when his price is too low.He often asks me to set the price,but only because I BUY and I am FAIR…..now ,where to put it all?

  1. Buying and selling is fun! This is the way I have seen many people in many hobbies make the hobby pay for itself, and often a bit more.

    Perhaps the greatest part about it is, that $50 “sleeper” gun you buy at a garage sale and lube, tune, and restore, is going to go to someone (you, or someone you sell it to for a hefty price) who will care for it and appreciate it.

  2. Speaking of US only… you guys really have good.

    We (in Canada) must have the dumbest most ridicule airgun laws on the planet.
    I’m leaving for your beautiful country in a few minutes but I had to abandon my project of illegally importing the marauder here, as I don’t think any air rifle is worth jail time.
    I made a little research last week before buying the marauder to see what I was up against exactly.

    First of all if it shoots over 500 fps, no matter what the caliber is or the energy transferred it becomes a firearm.
    So it becomes a real hassle to import with forms and permits and the usual gov paperwork.
    BUT where it becomes a real problem is if the rifle has more than a 5 shot mag (10 shots for handguns) it becomes a RESTRICTED firearms!
    Now it’s not clear since you have to use a bolt to work the marauder if it fits that category or not but I’m not about to leave that interpretation and a jail sentence in the hands of somebody else.
    SO to recapitulate… bringing a low powered (650 fps) crosman 1077 with it’s nice 12 round mag is the equivalent of trying to sneak an semi-auto assault rifle at the border… makes sense doesn’t it ?

    Sorry… I’m stepping down my soap box now. Maybe I’ll try to find a pea shooter I can bring back next week. Maybe I would be allowed to bring back a slingshot if it has a really weak rubber band. 😛 🙂


  3. I read something not long ago about a kid who started with a cell phone (I think) and started trading even up. Ended up with a Porsche after a few trades. He is not old enough to drive yet.
    The idea…find someone who wants what you have, and always trade for something of more value.


  4. Everyone,

    So, to prove my point, this morning I offered to buy a Walther LGV Olympia target rifle off the Yellow Forum classified ads from Tom Strayhorn. Tom is a recognized collector who can be trusted and the price was way more than fair. The LGV is a bulletproof airgun that will never depreciate.


      • twotalon,

        Well, here’s the deal. I paid more for a non-working LGV ten years ago than I will pay for this. And I wrote about that gun for several years, then sold it for more than I had in it. Here is a chance for me to do the same again.

        Plus, I know Tom Strayhorn is an honorable man and I can trust his word on this gun. So that combination–low price for a highly desirable item plus a seller who has impeccable credentials–makes this a no-brainer for me.

        I can write about this rifle for a couple years and then, if it hasn’t worked its way into my inner sanctum, I’m certainly not going to lose anything.


  5. Good morning guys. My strategy seems much the same as yours. There are a lot of airguns that I know enough about to make a quick decision on. There is not question at the pawn shop when there is an old rocker safety Sheridan, or an old 312 or 342 for $40 or $50. Or a Crosman Mark 1 for anything less than $100. Most of these guns I don’t keep but they do further my hobby by bringing in some cash for the hobby. I keep a copy of the Airgun Blue Book at home and at work. I also need to keep one in the car. With my i-Phone I can do a quick search of a strange airgun I see and at least get a quick idea of it’s collectability and value. If I am going to a flea market, I stick my blue book in my backpack. I have not applied my techniques to firearms. For me, firearms are harder to sell. I used to have my FFL and would regularly get a table at some of the local gun shows. Even then, it seemed harder for me to put the proper gun with the buyer. With airguns, I often know who I will sell a gun to or how I will sell it before I buy it. I don’t have those channels opened up for firearms.

    I would be interested in how you sell your firearms.

    David Enoch

    • David,

      You need to go to Texas Gun Trader. It’s here:


      I find the website quirky in Safari, so I use Firefox, which works the best.

      For the most part you are dealing with Texans who can buy and sell firearms in-state legally without any forms. I look at it twice a day, and I send any good finds I know my buddies are interested in to them, or I call them right away.

      I have both bought and sold there and all experiences were excellent.

      I also have a small group of gun buddies over here on the west side of the Metroplex. If you want to join us and represent the eastern side, please feel free. Email me with any potential trades or sale items you have, plus tell me if there is anything you are looking for.

      Several times each year a number of us Texans get together to swap our $5000 dogs for two $2500 cats. If you understand that analogy you’ll fit in fine.


      • Hi BB,
        Thanks for the link to Texas Gun Traders. I did not know about that. I don’t have many firearms anymore and right now I don’t have money to play in that pool.

        David Enoch

  6. BB

    I received the Beeman P17 on Friday from PA. As you noted, the trigger is not quite as crisp as the P3 but… at 75% less cost, who cares!?

    I put a short 4X scope on it and it pounds pellets into one, .375″ hole at 10 meters. Some other interesting notes about the P17 versus the P3.
    1) The hammer/release and the trigger are chrome plated. The P3 was industrial cad plate!
    2) The rear sight is a little cheaper and the retaining nut under the slide is gone and is now molded into the polymer (not as tight a thread fit for the elevation screw as the P3)
    3) Lots of goop and mfg residue on/in the piston and trigger (I hasten not to say machine particles, more like grease and alum oxide black)
    4) Instruction manual says nothing about the trigger weight adjustment in the trigger face. I knew it’s purpose due to the P3 manual and adjusted it down to about a 1.50 pound pull.
    5) Otherwise, metallic parts look identical to the P3
    6) Chrony’d at 420 fps after cleaning & lube with Crosman Silicone… shooting RWS R-10 Match, 7.0 gram wad-cutters

    This a great bargain as a one-hole, 10 meter pistol for $50 delivered!

    Brian in Idaho

    • Brian,

      Thank you for that report. As you well know, the P3/P17 debate is ongoing and will never be resolved, but as long as your P17 functions well, I say it’s the gun to get.

      Please keep us advised of any problems you have with your new gun.


  7. Hi BB:
    Very interesting subject although like J-F, I too would have problems with my countries regulations.
    pawn shops,organised garage and car boot sales or non specialised classified adds.None sell air guns I have found.
    Dealers and specialised publications do of course but then those guys often know what they are selling.
    Off topic a bit but have you found since the advent of ebay etc, second hand prices have been suppressed?
    More people selling stuff that would otherwise not have been on the market(Supply and demand).
    I have a Steve Austin ‘Six million Dollar man’ with all his bits intact.
    Checked it on ebay and there are dozens,only fetching about $20-25.Which in real terms is roughly what they would have cost new back then.

  8. B.B.,

    Great price on that LGV Oympia. The grain on that forestock is especially nice. The original sight set on that gun is worth $100-$125 all by itself. Out of all the vintage 10 meter guns they own the LGV Olympia is either Colonel Gaines Blackwell’s or Mike Driskill’s favorite gun (can’t remember which).

    I’ll throw my two cents into the mix about todays topic. Don’t overlook buying and selling airgun accessories. Many vintage scopes, mounts, sight sets, pellets etc. have a strong market. If you start looking you’ll often come across a vintage gun with a vintage scope sitting on it. Usually the two sold separately are worth more than the package. Separating items when selling them usually maximizes value.

    Shipping costs can eat into your profits. Investigate cheapest shipping rates. Learn to pack guns well for shipping and insure them. A gun that’s broken during shipping quickly eats into your profits.

    Some of the best deals I’ve gotten on guns I had to buy sight unseen. Some sellers don’t have the ability/knowledge to email photo’s. Even when I get a few pictures of a potential gun purchase I still like to talk to the seller on the phone. Asking them to describe the gun while it’s in their hands usually helps to better understand the condition. Ideally you get to see the gun in person and shoot it prior to a purchase but this is rare for me.


  9. Forgot to add the most important suggestion to make money buying and selling airgun stuff.

    Become an airgun blog author then your airguns are tax deductible as a business expense.


  10. BB,

    Friday you wrote.. “She decided on the Daisy 953 for her boys and each boy has his own rifle, so the sights can be left set where he needs them. “….

    I have been thinking about that all weekend. Granted I have shot more shotguns than all my rifles combined, and with due respect, is that correct??

    My thinking is that when a rifle is sighted in, its sighted in, no matter who shoots it. I know that different people will hold a certain rifle differently, but the rifle doesn’t care who or what is holding it.

    What am I missing here??



    • Gene,
      I really don’t want to answer for BB but one difference I could think of would be placement for eye relief. Another would be ring height but I don’t think that came into play here.

    • Gene,

      my left eye is pretty much useless other than peripheral vision. If you were to shoot one of my rifles with the iron sights, you would find you would be shooting left, all things being equal for you. Both my father in law and my friend, who have better eyes than me, did that. In order to hit what I’m aiming at, I have to overcompensate to the left due to my dominant right eye. I guess when I sight down the rifle, I’m not exactly centering the front site in the rear sight. Another issue could be how the rifle behaves in your grip. I remember reading in a book on sniping that very few could shoot a rifle whose scope was zeroe’d for someone else. It was stated that you couldn’t really shoot someone else’s “zero” but I think that was more to do with how one held the rifle and reacted to the recoil or the rifle/gun reacted to the grip after being fired.

      Fred PRoNJ

    • Gene,

      It is the worst with scopes. No two people ever seem to see things the same.

      With open sights and peep sights there is enough slop that a single setting might work for two different people–especially identical twins like we are discussing–but there can even be differences there. So it’s always best for the shooter to sight in his own rifle and never let anyone adjust the sights but him.


  11. Arrrgghhh…the 9 year old started his archery course on Saturday.
    He had a bow and arrow (purchased at Canadian Tire…our WalMart) that had been recommended in Cubs that had cost about $60.
    The instructer had one look at it and pointed towards the bows that the class previous to my sons were shooting.
    I walked out of the place $275 poorer…for a ‘youth starter bow’.
    The sight on it rivals the Gamo sight on my Avanti in price and adjustability.
    Oh well….it’s all cheaper than hockey!!

    • There is a lot more to a bow than you would think.
      A hand grip that does not fit right, mismatched limbs, twisting riser, twisting limbs, wrong arrow spine or point weight, wrong draw length, wrong draw weight, wrong arrow length will severely limit the shooter. Not a lot of care is made by manufacturers for ‘starter bows’. You pay the big money for a bow that can be expected to work right.

      When you get the bow to match the shooter, and the right ammo setup to match the bow, it can be tuned up to shoot pretty darned good.


    • CowboyStar Dad:
      They are two lucky young fella’s 🙂
      My old man made me and my brother a bow and arrow set out of garden cane and fishing line.
      He meant well I suppose.lol
      The point is that good memories for tomorrow are being made by you today,like my dad made for me and my brother back then.Good times.

    • CowboyStarDad:

      Look at the bright side: You can always use that bow from Canadian Tire as a twirler to teach the kids how to start a fire with a fire stick in the back yard, like Survivor Man! 😉


      • twotalon…I was lucky, I got the ‘b.b. pelletier’ of the bow world I suppose. He weighed my son, took some arm measurements…he was pretty thorough before he suggested an actual bow…but you’re right, I was kinda surprised (guess I shouldn’t have been) at what a bow can cost. Seems if the boy keeps up with it $1K isn’t out of the question.
        Oh well…at least he’ll have many options to shoot things with 😉
        Dave…I joke with the boys that when I was there age I had a stick and a ball to play with 😉 It doesn’t really bother me (the money). I had my kids late so most of my needing to spend gobs of money on my ‘toys’ are past, so now I sorta live vicariously through the boys 😉
        Though I try to teach them the value of money, that it doesn’t grow on trees (they both have numerous chores to do), I’d far rather spend money on stuff like this than see them comatose behind a video game.
        On Sunday I got another reality check. The 9 year old wants a skateboard for Christmas. Again, his is a cheapy from WalMart and he’s outgrown his abilities. Turns out a new board will be $200 plus.
        Yikes!! Luckily for me and their mom the 7 year old really wants Lego 😉 (this of course is in addition to the Steel Storms.

  12. Dave,

    Yes, the American Pickers said the same thing about eBay. It suppresses values, because many things are not as rare as people think.

    But you do have an angle. The things that are common in the UK are rare here in the States, and vice-versa. And of course I am only referring to airguns that are legal in the UK. Those old Webley Seniors that probably bring a hundred pounds in the UK may be worth $350 over here. That’s 220 pounds.


  13. It seems you know bows twotalon and I have a question. (then I’ll stop posting about archery).
    I received conflicting answers at the archery range.
    I asked whether it was a good idea to destring the bow when not in use. My thinking being that the bow is just one big ‘spring’ and being under tension all the time would be bad.
    The sales person said ‘Yes’
    The instructor I asked said ‘it doesn’t matter’.
    Does it??
    Thanks for any input.
    (gotta find me the equivalent of this blog on archery)

    • Whats the Bow made of? That may have more to do with whether to leave strung or un-strung?

      My engineer mind says “leave strung” regardless of material. The material set-point is the point of compression when strung and further compression as pulled, so I can’t see any benefit in relaxing the bow beyond (less than) the as strung condition.

    • Compound bows…..leave them alone !!! They will injure or kill you if you don’t know what you are doing. At the very least you will throw it out of tune.
      Stick bows and recurves you remove the string. Particularly if it has wood in it. I would destring a glass or carbon fiber bow also if it had wood in it or not. Just in case. It’s not hard to do. If you leave the wrong kind of bow strung, the limbs will warp.

      Some hunting bows cost nearly a grand WITHOUT any accessories at all. You buy the bow, then the extra hardware.


    • Hm, it seems pretty intuitive to me to unstring bows to remove tension. Incidentally, you may want to invest in a bowstringing device, essentially a simple string; you can Google it easily enough. This will ensure that you are not twisting the limbs during the stringing process which can warp them.


      • Thanks guys…I’ll go with de-stringing. It came with a de-stringer but the instuctor said that was only for changing strings.
        It would appear to be a good thing that this particular instructor was not my sons instructor.

        • On a stick or recurve, you will notice that one end of the string has a larger loop than the other end.
          You unhook the larger loop and let it slide down the limb.
          To use the stringer/destringer, you hook it on both ends of the bow. You stand on the center of the cord and pull up on the bow far enough that you can get the large loop unhooked. Restringing is just a reverse process. Be careful not to add or remove twists in the string. It is part of the tuning process. Make sure the string is centered right on both ends after restringing to prevent limb twist.


  14. The cautious buying and selling sounds good. However, I’m reading an economics book and have learned about opportunity costs. I think here the application would be the cost of all the things you could have been doing while walking away from various airgun deals. I suspect it is really a matter of temperament. If you like doing something like this, then it will be worthwhile.

    Over the weekend, I realized something that I have insanely missed. I search for all sorts of things on YouTube but never airguns. Doing so yielded some very nice footage of the Marauder in action. What a beautiful gun and with sling swivels installed too. This is also a great way to connect with people from around the world, more than with shooting which is heavily restricted. It would be interesting to identify the centers of airgun activity. I saw a bunch of videos from Eastern Europe. I’m guessing Europe, Korea, and the U.S.

    I’m racing through the Yur’yev book to beat the interlibrary loan deadline which is one disadvantage of accessing the book this way. I see we were right in surmising that for the pistol-shooting posture, you want to lean away from the gun to balance your position.


  15. 97K …new hunting sport.
    Did some fine adjustment to the scope this morning and started plinking apples.
    Well, this time of year the yellow jackets are really on the prowl for some eats. When you shoot a hole in a nice juicy apple, the YJ’s come running. They land on the apple and stick their head in the pellet hole to suck up some nice sweet apple sauce. Just drop another pellet in the same hole.
    Don’t know how many I got. quit counting. Distance around 21 yds with some headwind. 8.4 exacts.


    • HW97K Forever!

      Next, try hanging a piece of rye-bread from the tree. When the ants go after the rye seeds in the bread, try killing them without hitting the seeds!

      Use a 50 power scope..ha-ha!

      • That is a bit too challenging for me.
        I had enough trouble on the benchrest this morning, but shooting at apples up in a tree from a different kind of rest worked much better. Was doing walnuts a few days ago.
        Found that Preds and this gun get along very well, too.
        That’s 4 different pellets that seem right so far…
        H&N FTT and Rifle match, Exact 8.4, Preds. Would say Exact heavy but do not way the gun sounds with them.


        • When you first mentioned shooting the apples,I almost chimed in about how little of a challenge that is for that rifle.Due to different folk’s vision and physical limits,I figured it would be bad form to mention it.But I secretly knew you would discover the insane accuracy possible with a HW77 or HW97!
          Wasp head shots at 20yds is awesome indeed!

          • Would have been hard to do with the Talondor. The apples would blow up with the first shot and the pieces would fall into the high grass. The YJ’s would have a field day and I would not score any kills.


          • Not much point in trying pellets that are tight enough to need a seating tool. Just another thing to fool with.
            Pellets that are too loose are not worth bothering with.
            Pellets that are too inconsistent in size are also off the list.
            Pellets that fit with slight resistance and a consistent fit make me and the gun happy.


            • Didn’t you mention polishing the breech lead-in ?If so,did that help with loading? Mine (HW77) really likes Premier heavies @ 10.3gr…..but loading seems a little funky.Maybe on the verge of a too tight fit combined with the feel of harder alloy.I don’t want to dis-assemble because it sounds like it wasn’t fun at all.Time to get out the JB non-embedding bore paste.
              unrelated:Just got back from sighting in my Airforce scope on a fully shrouded DAQ .308! Roundballs at
              50yds are a 1/2″ 5 shot group……Way better than I anticipated.Had to use very high rings to clear the
              1 1/8″ shroud from Pomona….and the vertical adj. is maxed so I will remount the scope with 2 tin can shims.Other than that,shooting groups like that on a gusty fall day is amazing to me.Shooting was done off a pick-up bedrail.

              • I did polish the inlead a little. Just enough to get the sharp edge off, but that is all. CPH, Kodiaks fit way too tight. Cpl fit awfult tight too, but can be managed. A little wax lube helps a lot with them.
                The gun is a royal SOB to get apart and put back together. I would suggest never attempting it unless absolutely necessary.

                That was some good shooting with the round balls. Would not have thought it possible. Buckshot??


                • No,blacpowder ….Hornady,I believe they are .310.I’ll remeasure next time I go out there.This DAQ has had lots of custom work….Bigbore Bob Dean had it for a year.I have 2 other .308 DAQ’s to compare accuracy with different configurations,actually 3 if you count the pistol! Dennis did lots of work (years) perfecting the rate of twist for roundballs.I also shot my 9mm DAQ pistol for the first time today.It needs a carbine stock,lots of muzzle flip!

                  • Unless quality has changed over the years, Speer made better balls than Hornady. You might check to see if Speer makes a .31. Squirrel rifle ammo. Also had a small .31 revolver at one time. I poured my own ammo most of the time.


        • twotalon.
          Ever try shooting a “mud dauber” nest? Can be quite challenging, needing to get the right angle so as not to damage material nest is attached to (or get a bad ricochet). 🙂 I have managed to hit a few shooting offhand, but did cause some minor collateral damage, oops!


          • I used to shoot them and paper wasp nests up when I was a kid, but did not use anything that was hot enough to cause any damage.
            Ever notice that the nests are packed with spiders? Food for their larva.


  16. I have not figured out how to make money at airgunning, but I have definitely got loosing money down pat. Here how to do it (and I believe that BB has also learned this one): Buy an old chinese air rifle, something like a RS2 for really cheap. Maybe a great deal on an old beater that has been bedlinered. Invest an inordinate amount of time cleaning and refinishing, polishing the trigger parts etc. Put it back together and break the spring while testing – buy an aftermarket spring and install. Test for accuracy to realize that you now have a very nice looking, easy cocking, smooth triggered but still inaccurate rifle. Why? because the barrel breech is buggered up so bad that it deforms the pellets when you insert them – 3/4″ groups at 10yds. So, in order to make it a good shooter, you have to buy a new barrel. YUP, sure to loose money! But still a lot of fun:)

  17. BB One last (I promise) late in the day question.

    My stock 2240 pistol (ie no power mods) only gets 20-25 shots per 12g Co2 cartridge. I looked for any pellgun oil blow-by around the mating surface of the barrel to transfer port area thinking that might be a leak path from that little brass fitting but, nothing seems to be evident. Anywhere else to look?

    Anyway, I think this gun shoots hard (wide open) in it’s stock configuration but don’t really know. Should I expect 40+ shots per cartridge like my Benji EB22?

    Art’s Power Adjuster next?

  18. Great article, BB! I too looked to AMerican Pickers this summer when I started my airgun hunting (restricted presently to my local metro area). It is fun but one really needs to know a thing or two about the item before buying it, even at a “great price.” Got burned once and hopefully learned my lesson. And there are a plenty wonderful guys out there to help you in getting to know the guns and real-world values better. (hats off to my couple of “mentors)
    I know it won’t become a family-business for me at this rate but it is fun and we have made a few bucks. I think one of the best parts is that I get my hands on guns for a little while that I wouldn’t otherwise want to or be able to justify keeping and then pass them along to other folks who really want them and will enjoy them.

  19. While I don’t consider myself an air-gun collector, yet, I have taken notice of the fact that some air-gun manufacturers are making modifications to some of their product that I think is less than desireable. For instance, Game and Crossman are switching their triggers from the original metal to plastic. Trouble is, the newer plastic triggers and assemblies cannot be upgraded to the GRT-III after market replacement. I’ve read so many rave reviews of certain products with the GRT-III trigger, that I don’t think I’d want the product without the original trigger, even if the newer trigger is better than the old. If I can believe what I read, the GRT-III is far superior than the updates from the manufacturers. Therefore, I would imagine, an older equiped gun with the aftermarket trigger upgrade would better retain it’s worth.


  20. To some shooters who do not know about trigger upgrades, the newer model with the ‘better’ trigger would produce a sale. Good for the manufacturer, not for the shooter.

    Those who know about upgrades would not buy the newer. Waste of money.

    If a gun is produced that sucks and can’t be un-sucked, then it will not be worth much to anybody but the manufacturer. The shooter will buy another gun at more expense to get something better. The shooter buys 2 guns. Good for the manufacturer, bad for the shooter.

    So what would be better from the shooter’s standpoint? A gun that would be easy to fix up rather than one that will always suck.


  21. This is totally off topic, but type in True Grit the movie and watch the trailer. At the end, when the screen is dark, there’s the unmistakable sound of a single action revolver being cocked. Great sound effect.

  22. I have seen FWB 124D’s sell regularly for $450-$550 just for the gun nothing else.
    I have seen Beeman/Hakko Blue Ribbon 66R scopes sell for $200-$250, in fact I cant think of seeing one sell for less than $175 and that was awhile ago.
    So a FWB 124D in perfect condition just tuned (usually cost around $200ish) with a Beeman Blue ribbon scope , leather sling, nice moderator, I could easily see selling for $750-800.

    I wouldn’t sell mine for less than that, in fact I could part it out and get more than that.
    So in fact it is NOT “pure fiction” nor is it over inflated for the retail market.

    Meanwhile I bet if a certain someone were to sell his Whiscombe JW75 I bet the price would be in excess of $4000. Talking about over inflated.

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