Lloyd’s report: SHOT Show 2011

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start, I’d like to congratulate Tom Harris, Pyramyd Air’s airsoft blogger. His blog has just been voted the best airsoft blog on the internet!

As you know, I didn’t get to go to the SHOT Show this year. Fortunately, blog reader Lloyd Sikes, who invented the Rogue ePCP rifle, DID go. Today, he’s giving us his report.

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by Lloyd Sikes

When B.B. asked me to report back on the 2011 SHOT Show, he warned me that it would be huge, but I guess I didn’t fully appreciate the complete WOW factor until we were already there — overwhelmed and overloaded. My wife and I had driven through freezing rain at 4:00 in the morning on Tuesday the 18th to the tiny Charlottesville airport and arrived in Las Vegas to 60 degrees, sunshine and major assaults on the senses. It seemed like almost everyone at the Palazzo was wearing a SHOT Show badge. As we walked through the lobby and casino toward the Sands Convention Center, the magnitude of the event started to sink in. The show is set up on two gigantic floors covering over 630,000 square feet, with 1,600 exhibitors and 57,000 people in attendance. It’s a trade show not open to the general public, and it’s where all the manufacturers spend lots of money strutting their stuff. Stimuli everywhere!

Before I continue, a disclaimer: if you’re looking for lots of detailed info about the new airgun products that were introduced at SHOT, I’ll probably miss the target. B.B., I’m sure you would have been in heaven! but I’m not a walking book of airgun knowledge like you and others here, so I have to apologize for not gathering the kind of field data some of you would savor. This will be more about how someone whose comfort zone is limited mostly by four workshop walls managed to survive the world’s largest shooting sports show — I hope that will do the trick.

The show website had a very neat planning guide where you could find all the exhibitors you wanted to see and check them off. I’d been to big machine tool shows in Chicago and Atlanta and knew that system worked pretty well. Ok. So, maybe not so much this time. After I picked out my 30 must-see exhibitors, I was presented with a handy map for each floor. Let’s see: two 8-1/2 x 11 pieces of paper, with 800 booths mapped out on each page, and some little specks of pepper to mark where I wanted to go. You get the picture — I never did get the hang of either the map or the layout of the show (more about that later).


I wasn’t the only attendee with a “deer in the headlights” look.

Instead of trying, we just went right to the Crosman booth where the Benjamin Rogue and Crosman’s top-notch staff were waiting. The booth was huge, visible from several aisles away and easily as impressive as any of the big firearm manufacturers’ displays. In fact, Crosman’s was the biggest airgun venue, by far, with lots of new products. My wife and I spent a good bit of time looking around and visiting with the Crosman folks. They, like many of the manufacturers, were still a bit giddy from the previous day’s media-only event at a local shooting ranges — it had brought the new Rogue so much positive coverage from writers, magazines, photographer, and film crews. I have to admit I got a little giddy, too, as crowds passed through the booth checking out the Rogue, the Marauder and all the other tempting goodies.

Time to do some exploring. I knew where I wanted to go but never could figure out the numbering scheme for locating the booths. The map was like a complicated 3-dimensional matrix, and I didn’t have my 3-D glasses. I finally gave up and handed it to my wife. After a quick roll of the eyes, she began to lead the way. I stayed a few steps behind so it wasn’t so obvious I’d actually admitted to being, well, los….


How hard can it be to find the escalators to the first floor?

First stop was the Pyramyd Air booth, along with Air Venturi and Air Arms. Whipped from the plane flight, I didn’t pick up much info, but the Pyramyd Air folks did relay a hello to all the readers. (So, hello!) I went by the Shooting Chrony booth to see if there was a limit on the number of times you could use their shot-up Chrony upgrade bargain feature. They said I still had a few more punches on my ticket.

Just about all the airgun manufacturers and distributors were there, and the diversity was obvious. Low-rent district, high-rent district, lots of new products, nothing new, crowded, deserted. But the floor was packed and no one was idle. Pyramyd Air, AirForce Airguns, BAM, Umarex, Gamo, Diana, Beeman Precision Airguns, Crosman, Falcon, Airguns of Arizona, B-Square, Leapers, Shanghai Airgun Factory…my eyes glazed over as my wife led me from booth to booth.


I was intrigued by all the optics. Gamo had the new Laser Genetics Sub Zero laser designators that work down to zero degrees F. Pricey but sweet.


Leapers UTG had a dizzying selection of scopes and optics including their new IE scopes. You can change the reticle to 36 different colors depending on light conditions or your visual acuity. A lot of men are color blind, and this will really help them.


BAM had a mix of their standards plus some new variations. B41, Vince?


Beeman and Shanghai Airgun Factory


The gigantic back side of the Real Tree lodge shows the magnitude of the some of the exhibits.

The exhibitors have to pay an obscene amount of money for their little spots of real estate (anywhere from about 10’x10′ to 60’x60′). All were well staffed and eager to talk. Except at the very busiest booths, if you looked interested, someone was happy to engage. A lot of the attendees were gun shop or sporting goods shop owners, and they were making lots of contacts and on-the-spot deals. There was never a better opportunity to see whatever you wanted under one roof, provided you had the stamina. The biggest exhibits actually had meeting rooms for the arm wrestling that happens before the signatures go down.

Everything you can think of was on display — from clothes and tents, to handguns and shotguns, police and tactical equipment, knives and ammo. There were also numerous groups and organizations, most of which were new to me. There were live demos and big (10’x15′) TV screens to grab your attention.


There were surprises around every corner.

B.B. told me to be on the lookout for celebrities, and I managed to snag a few pix once my wife reminded me that the casino cocktail waitresses were NOT considered appropriate photo opportunities for a professional blog. However, I managed to snag photo ops with Travis Turner of Bone Collectors and professional hunter Jim Shockey. I also had a nice conversation with big bore airgun hunter Jim Chapman and his cameraman and fellow hunter Eric Henderson. Jim confessed that he still found it hard to believe the great hunting opportunities presented to him. Sigh! I did feel better when he told me has a real day job, just like the rest of us, and has to burn his vacation time on hunting trips.


Here I am with Travis Turner of the TV show “Bone Collectors.” (Is everyone more photogenic than me?)


Jim Shockey and I scuffled for possession of the new Benjamin Rogue. I was a good sport and let him win.

Our second and last day at the show was equally fantastic and stimulating, but I have to admit that continuing on to Sonoma, California, on Thursday was a welcome breath of fresh air as well as a much needed vacation after three years of working every spare hour on the ePCP in my workshop and on the computer. Our last day before heading back east, we went to Point Reyes National Seashore Park, a 100 square mile almost-island populated mostly by those happy California cows you see on TV, but also by black-tailed deer and Tule elk.

You have to take a bus with the rest of the nature lovers down to the lighthouse and to an overlook of the beach where elephant seals stake their claim as pup season approaches. On the sunset bus trip back to the parking area, three elk with four-foot racks were standing less than 40 yards from the road. I guess I was lucky most of the people on the bus had cameras handy when I blurted out, “What a perfect shot!”

46 thoughts on “Lloyd’s report: SHOT Show 2011

  1. Hi B.B.,

    I wish that as well as lots of color possibilities, Leapers would also offer a scope with the ability to change reticle sizes for different targets. Is such a thing even possible, do you think? Seems to me to be a good idea.



    • Joe B,

      I purchased one of those scopes with the 36 reticule colors this week from PA. The scope is fantastic. Especially the colors for the reticule. It allows me to pick a color that is perfect for what ever target bull I am using. And in low light it would be a great help for hunting as some of the colors are subdued and won’t affect your night vision.

      It does have two minor annoyances though. The reticule is too large to do your best long range shooting. I wish they had made it about half the size it is now.

      Also, I really don’t like the “zero reset” feature or the way the turret clicks feel. They have a really neat method for unlocking the turrets which ALL scope makers should mimic. You simply rotate a ring below the turrets 40 – 70 degrees counter clockwise to unlock the turrets. In my experience it takes about 90 degrees to unlock them. Once unlocked the turrets have a very bad tactile feel with the clicks being imperceptible. So most of the times you cannot even feel the clicks meaning you must rely on the marks on the turrets for adjustment. Once you set the zero and lock the turrets you then must use the allen wrench supplied to reset the marks on the turret back to zero.

      Other than that the scope seems well built and the side parallax focus is very smooth and easy to adjust. It seems very well built and optics are clear and bright, though the scope is heavy at about 24 ounces.

      One other thing it has in it’s favor is the price. Only $100 for a 3 – 12 X 44 rgb (red, green, black) reticule. The same scope in IE 36 color reticule is only $110.

      It seems center point has what appears to be a very similar scope without any color reticule for $189. It is also lighter at 17.4 ounces.

      I will be interested in how much of the bull the reticule does actually cover, but with 9 – 16 inches of snow forecast today, it won’t be today that it is tested at longer range outdoors.



    • Joe,
      At the show I was able see the depth of many of the mfgs product lines. Leaper’s probably has 4 times as many scopes as shown on the PA site. Don’t know about an adjustable reticule, but sounds nice.
      When I was driving north of San Francisco in Marin county, I remembered your login and wondered if I was in your neighborhood.
      Lloyd


  2. Just dropping by to say I’m still around, health seems to be improving. I know you’ll miss it if I don’t leave a quote 🙂

    “Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.”
    Robert Frost

    rikib 🙂


  3. Morning Lloyd,

    Thank you sir for your coverage of this year’s Shot Show. Hearing about it from a first timer really gives me a feeling of its immense size.I wonder how much Real Tree spent on their “booth?” Packistan Hunting and Shooting Sports who would have figured? I won’t say a word about guided hunts there.for a 25 million dollar trophy.

    Actually sir we all owe you a huge thank you for your contribution to the air gun world. It will never be the same.

    Bruce


    • Bruce,
      Thanks. It was visiting a foreign country. The first time you are just getting your bearings, the second visit is when you really have fun.
      Regarding the new technology, when I first showed it to BB, I really wasn’t exactly sure what I had. I knew what it could do, but not what to do with it. He had the vision. Seriously, this might have still been in my workshop had it not been for BB.
      Lloyd



    • Brian,
      I haven’t had a chance to shoot the version in the videos. That was pretty much reserved for the folks at media day on the first day of the show and is now being worked hard at Crosman, I am sure. But I have put 1,000’s of rounds through my protos, everything from .25 to .510 cal, all with numerous barrel lengths and grain weights and tank sizes and pressures. The adaptability is pretty broad.
      Lloyd


      • I sure hope Crosman fully realises what they have and will bring the technology to more airguns in the future and not only in big caliber hunter rigs but also in smaller caliber guns.
        Maybe it would allow more guns to be exported to Canada this way.

        Oh and great blog too 😉

        J-F


        • J-F,
          I would think that if the first release is succesful, other variations will follow. Look how BBs idea about the Disco has grown and morphed over the past few years. Everyman’s PCP; Marauder; Marauder pistol.
          I know many of the Canadian folks are bummed about their velocity and shroud restrictions, plus other’s I’m probably not even aware of. I think the opportunity for complying to Canadian restrictions might be quite possible, at least regarding velocities. Shroud? not sure.
          Lloyd



  4. Lloyd

    Thank you for acting as BBs surrogate on this one. The SHOT show blog is always one to look forward to. It would be a shame to have missed it.

    Let me say that you are a bit of a celebrity. Your invention, and years of hard work to bring it to fruition are inspiring. The Rogue is just the beginning of course. The applications of this design will surely send other manufacturers scrambling to try and keep up. I can easily see this platform taking ground previously held by firearms. The possibilities to use up my expendable income are boundless.

    Your creative inventiveness allows me to forgive you for getting lost at the SHOT show. I know how engineers are. But admitting you were lost? To your wife? Come on man, we have a rep to protect! 😀

    I am looking forward to part 2, in which you show next years hottest guns, brandished by Vegas’ most attractive cocktail waitresses. Thanks Lloyd.


  5. Lloyd,

    Really enjoyed your article. Thank’s so much.

    Not only do I like your revelation of the new products you saw at SHOT but appreciate the insight you offer from a SHOT Show virgin’s perspective.

    630,000 square feet and 1,600 exhibitors??!!! That’s over 14 acres! Almost 11 football fields of exhibition space. That would be impossible to cover in depth given a week. Your strategy of picking 30 must-see exhibits was smart. You shared a few;

    ” Pyramyd Air, AirForce Airguns, BAM, Umarex, Gamo, Diana, Beeman Precision Airguns, Crosman, Falcon, Airguns of Arizona, B-Square, Leapers, Shanghai Airgun Factory, Air Arms and Air Venturi. If you have time and the inclination it would be interesting to know about a few of your other “must-see exhibitors” during this once in a lifetime opportunity.

    kevin




  6. Lloyd, thanks for the trip. So, BAM is hanging in there. They haven’t disappeared from embarrassment after getting dropped by PA for their quality control. What’s the story on Jim Shockey? He must hunt with firearms to be famous, so why the interest in airguns?

    Victor, wow so much for theory. Those offhand scores you mentioned look like they would qualify for master-level in prone. The analysis of the theoretical limit to shooting seems pretty shaky since its various terms seem ill-defined. I don’t know that anyone fully understands just how the eye works or how it coordinates with the nervous system.

    I wish you were around for some high school competitions I was at that did not involve shooting. When an announcement was made of the winners after a lengthy scoring process, it was the custom for the winning team to screech at the top of their lungs. It made my flesh crawl. The person I blame for rudeness in sports behavior is Muhammad Ali with his calculated insults and in your face style. It is ironic to me that he has been elevated to a sports icon and model of compassion. Much of this, I think, is due to his Parkinson’s disease induced from all the punishment he took. It is not uncommon for boxing champions who were perceived as arrogant and cruel to be embraced by the public after some reversal or after their careers; that was true of Jack Dempsey as well. Ali is actually not a bad guy. They said that he never bullied people in his personal life which is not true of many boxers. But I think his manner really corrupted the public discourse of sports. I never thought it was that funny although he did have a certain style. But the bragging and insults were uncomfortable to watch, and in the hands of lesser personalities, the manner became purely obnoxious.

    Matt61




    • Agreed on the sports comments.

      Just watch the Super Bowl this week (or any NFL week) to see defensive linemen posing, screaming and pounding their chests after they make a tackle on a wide receiver who just beat them by 20 yards down field before the tackle. Same for the offensive backs who get 2 yards on 3rd down and 10 to go, c’mon man, 2 yards and no 1st down and you are proud of that!?

      It’s all about me, or as they say… “there is no I in team”.


    • Matt61,

      Yup, so much for theory. Again, the one thing that changed everything was the new shooting clothes. I have a new ISU jacket, and I can tell you, it is INCREDIBLY stiff. You can hardly move in it, so your offhand and kneeling solidify like nothing I have ever known before. I don’t have the pants, but I’m told that they are equally restricting. When my son first tried on my jacket, the first thing that came out of his mouth was “CHEATING!”. He’s a bit of a purest, like I was, so he also prefers iron sights.

      Most boxers are actually very gracious, both after winning or losing. Can’t always say the same for the promoters, corner men, or family. I know a guy who is a sports announcer/reporter, who says that the on-camera persona of lots of fighters is the opposite from their off-camera persona. They do whatever it takes to sell tickets. Yes, Ali was extremely annoying. The guy I know speaks highly of boxers, but not so highly of athletes from other sports, like basketball.

      In shooting, we were taught to play everything cool, including while on the line. Shot’s already fired were down range, so they didn’t matter (good or bad). Shots to be made also didn’t matter. They didn’t exist. The only shot that mattered was the one you were working on. Emotions are a distraction, so it’s best to stay focused. My coaches didn’t allow us to look at our scores between relays. They looked at them for us, and consulted with us if they thought that a “challenge” might be in order. You pay your buck, and accept the result.

      Victor


      • I can second what Victor says. I was fortunate enough to meet Ali in person back in 1968, shortly after he was stripped of his title by whatever boxing association was in charge. He came across as very quiet and reserved – even playful at times (tossed three jabs at the fellow I was with when we went into an office to meet him – I can’t describe how fast his hands moved when in person! He didn’t hit him). Then he went out to give his speech to the College body and was completely different. In 1968, there was not a mark on his face and when we shook hands, his hand dwarfed mine. Huge hands.

        Fred PRoNJ


        • Fred,
          You were a pretty young guy when you met him and I can tell he made an impression on you. Its intersting how such memories are stored away and brought back in such a positive sense when that meeting is with the “person”, rather than the persona.
          Lloyd


    • Matt61,
      The BAM display was rather sparse, with what looked like the old standards. It was staffed by Jane Wang, whose name I recognize from BAM, and one other person (at least). There catalog has a nice slick look with lots of nice large pictures of the guns, but not much technical info. It appears that the models have been updated with new numbering, i.e., the B40 is now the B41. I guess that would imply internal changes/improvements, but I can only guess.

      Regarding Jim Shockey, ask your PB friends, especially the avid hunters who watch the Outdoor channel. When he was doing autographs, the line was always very long.
      Lloyd



  7. Lloyd,
    Thanks for taking the time to write this up. Its more fun in most cases to look at pictures and read the trip reports than to actually travel to such a show, at least for me :).

    Matt61,
    Being more of a simple “wrassler” than a karate guy, I didn’t understand your comment at first (on my rambling contribution to yesterday’s blog), but after a little reflection, I think that’s exactly right. You could also relate it to the Wordsworth poem, “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room/…” One of the few of his I like — if you haven’t read it you should look it up.


  8. Lloyd, thanks for the report. It looks like the SHOT Show is even bigger than Roanoke (LOL). I ran into you there a few years ago. Now I can say that I’ve met two real live airgun celebrities. (You and BB.)

    BB, nice score on the FWB 124. Mine is not tuned and looks like heck, but it will put ten pellets through a bottle cap at ten yards without trying hard.

    For those of you in less advances states (NJ, MI, etc.), Virginia is trying to restore common sense to the sport of airgunning. The State Senate passes Senate Bill 757 which “would allow private property owners to discharge pneumatic guns on or within private property as long as it is conducted with reasonable care to prevent the projectile from crossing the property’s boundary”. Now, it’s a mishmash of local laws. Richmond and some of the local counties treat airguns like firearms. The county that I cose to live in treats them like airguns. It’s already passed the House, so hopefully the Governor will sign it and resore a little bit of normalcy.


  9. Lloyd,I can’t wait to get my hands on your Rogue! I especially liked the comment at the end of the blog.Too bad you didn’t get to take “the shot”:) With everyone having cameras,you would have
    had excellent documentation!


  10. I remember my first shot show in Atlanta, Ga. many years ago and its unbelievable how big they are,you need a week to walk through. Thanks to you guys I am Finlay enjoying my FWB 124. I started with a $50 gun that would not shoot, started reading the blog and got a piston for it and put a scope on and asked questions and got the right pellets FTS’s. Now I can set up 5 shot gun hulls at 15 yards and hit where I want. Thanks for your help. Is there a way to buy bulk pellets cheaper? I like the Marauder, but wondering about the cost of every thing that’s is needed to go with it. ie, a fill tank , fittings and hose. How many times will a mini tank fill the gun?


    • John R.,

      I can’t answer the mini-tank question, because you do not state the specs. But I get over 50 fills for a Marauder on my 88 cubic foot carbon fiber tank filled to 4,500 psi. That’s when running the rifle at a 2,900 psi fill. Of course if you adjust it down to a 2,000 psi fill you will get more fills and retain the same power, though the shot count per fill will drop.

      Best bulk pellet buy would be to contact a small dealer and buy several sleeves (ten tins per sleeve) of the same pellet. But Pyramyd’s 4 for 3 deal is very good when you buy Premiers in the cardboard box.

      Good buy on the 124, by the way.

      B.B.


  11. Lloyd,
    I apologize for my late kudos, but thanks very much for the Shot Show write up and for your ideas and work on the Rouge. I was amazed to find out you had worked on it for three years. You really did need a vacation. I’ll bet you’ve got some more goodies up your sleeve, don’t you? Are you going to have that self filling PCP ready in three years?
    -Chuck


  12. I saw an old post about Daisy Red Ryder guns. There was a diagram of a dis-assembly tool that was a little vague. Is there a more detailed version? I am restoring my son’s old Red Ryder, Model 36, and Powerline 880.
    Thanks!


    • tdon,

      I already answered this question where you posted it earlier today. Here is my earlier answer:

      tdon,

      No, that is all there is. These tools are homemade and are drawn after the fact. If you were to disassemble several Red Ryders without as tool, you would see how the tool has to be made and could build it to suit yourself.

      All it does is take tension off the mainspring so the spring anchor can be pulled or inserted. But the pusher has to be forked to get around the end of the spring assembly.

      B.B.



        • tdon,

          No problem. We tend to answer questions so fast on this blog that it surprises newcomers.

          Anyway, welcome to the blog! I hope you will hang out here and have fun talking about airguns with us.

          We haven’t done a lot in the BB gun maintenance realm, but we have done tons on maintaining spring piston pellet rifles. I hope your interest extends to them, as well.

          B.B.


    • With something like a Red Ryder you should be able to get by without a compressor as such, those springs aren’t preloaded that heavily. Just a fork as BB describes that you push in with your hand should suffice.


  13. From what I have read on the net, it could be dangerous to disassemble a BB gun without a tool, so I was searching for a pattern to build one. The only thing lacking on the older one was dimensions.
    My son, who is 39, asked about his old BB guns a few weeks ago, thinking he might give them to his son when he is old enough (he is 4 now). I wasn’t even sure where they were, because we experienced a fire while he was in college. Surprisingly, I found them all…his first, the model 36, his second, the Red Ryder, and the pellet rifle, the PowerLine 880. I have already ordered the parts and am doing my homework on the disassembly.
    Thanks again.


    • tdon,

      One of the keys to safe disassembly is holding the BB gun down and in place when disconnecting the mainspring. So part of the jig is set up to do that. The other key is to leave one hand free to pull out the spring anchor. All the disassembly jig is, is a fixture that holds the BB gun in place, and has a lever to push the mainspring forward to take tension off the spring anchor. When tension is off, you can pull the anchor up out of the gun with one hand. A pair of pliers might help, since very little of the anchor sticks up to grab onto.

      The dimensions of the device depend on the length of the guns you want to disassemble. So by making everything adjustable for length, you can get a wide range of guns into the same jig.

      B.B.


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