2011 Malvern airgun show

by B.B. Pelletier

I missed the first running of this show last year, so I have nothing to compare it to except other airgun shows. Every show is different and almost all of them have at least one big surprise, and this one was no different in that respect.

The show opened on Friday, April 15. I’m used to seeing a number of older dealers at the start of the show, but we have either lost them in the past year or they didn’t make this show. While I recognized many of the dealers who were there, the veterans were mostly absent. In fact, Mac turned to me after the show was over and observed that we were now among the old-timers. I have no comment for that.

Manufacturers
It’s rare that a manufacturer or importer comes to an airgun show, but this show had several, including some pivotal ones. AirForce Airguns was there with owner John McCaslin showing several of his company’s new products. Among them were a new drooper mount from BKL that looks to be rugged as well as precise. Then there were new styles of camo patterns on the guns that included things like carbon fiber and skulls as well as the more traditional woodland and digital desert patterns. These will be special-order items for a while, to give the company time to assess the marketplace.


New camo patterns from AirForce put a different look on their guns.

But the big deal that I saw at this show was a new air tank that has both a manometer (pressure gauge) and a male foster fill nipple, allowing fills without removing the tank. There’s a new type of tank bushing in the gun that the new tank screws into and the factory will retrofit that bushing to all older models. So everybody gets to use the new-style tank.

Scott Pilkington, the owner of Pilkguns, had several tables of 10-meter guns and related parts and supplies, including all sizes of his famous American-made Vogel target pellets. The Vogel was one of the top pellets in the long test of the AirForce Edge, and Crosman also recommends them for use in their Challenger PCP.


Ten-meter rifles by the fistful! Pilkington bought over 200 vintage rifles and was blowing them out at the show.

Big deal
But Scott had one of those big deals that I mentioned happen at almost every show. He recently bought several hundred 10-meter target rifles and his table was loaded with FWB 300 and 300S rifles, Walther LGR single-strokes as well as a couple Steyrs and some others. Under the table were even more of these rifles, and Scott was really dealing on them! I saw a beautiful FWB 300 and another nice 300S go to new owners for $225 — and the guns had sights! In a year, just the sights will be worth more than that. Mac obtained a well-used FWB 300 for just $150, and another with sights for a little more. Both will need seals, but like the 150 you read about last Friday, that’s just a job that can be done. In fact, at the show I learned that Dave Slade at Theoben USA is also sealing these rifles. So, now there are two places to send your guns.

To he who has, more shall be given
So, Scott happened to be standing in the exact best place when a bluebird seller walked into the show with a small collection, wanting to sell the whole thing for one price. Scott bought it and immediately sold the key pieces to recoup the cost of the deal. I was able to buy three unopened tins of Japanese Mount Star pellets from the 1970s. Those were the pellets that Beeman branded as the Silver Ace and the Silver Jet, among others. But the story doesn’t end there.

At another table, a guy was selling a couple thousand dollars worth of vintage guns for $1,350. One price took everything, and even a newbie could calculate what a deal it was. That one didn’t last but a few hours before a buyer stepped up and bought it. And, as he was claiming his new possessions, the sales of individual pieces started immediately. Just ask our blog reader David Enoch about that.

Benjamin Rogue first sighting
Caught your breath yet? Neither did we, because Crosman Corporation had a table and were letting people shoot the new Rogue ePCP rifl. I shot it several times, and Lloyd, I have to say, Crosman has done you proud! When old B.B. can drill an X offhand with a .357 caliber big bore, we have an event worth noting. The trigger is a long single-stage that always releases at the same point, because it is really electronic. The software allows you to tell the rifle how to behave — whether it’s to act like a coyote-buster or a 100-yard turkey-hunter. Special Nosler ballistic-tip bullets and two new Benjamin lead bullets will also be available from major airgun retailers to augment the hundreds of different .357 lead bullets already available in the reloading market. Thank goodness Crosman was smart enough not to fall into the 9mm trap, which would limit the bullets their new rifle can use!

Dennis Quackenbush
I’m not done with the manufacturers because my tables were in the same room where Dennis Quackenbush was selling his big bores and talking to interested potential buyers on both days. Mac scored early on Friday by buying one of the few .458 Long Action rifles Dennis actually had available to buy at the show. For those who aren’t familiar with Dennis’ work, a Quackenbush big bore rifle doubles in value the moment the initial owner takes possession. It’s hard to lose money that way!


Mac scores a Quackenbush bog bore! Believe it or not, customers don’t like this black laminate stock!

You have to have your money ready, though, because Dennis always has ten times as many buyers as he has new guns to sell. That’s because he’s also faithfully filling airgun orders from his order book and doesn’t make rifles to sell at the shows. When a customer backs out of a deal or a gun isn’t what they wanted, or heaven forbid there’s a blemish, Dennis brings it to the show.

Next to Dennis, big bore hunter Eric Henderson was talking about his guided hunts and generally stirring the pot of airgun hunter interest. On Saturday, the local hunters flocked in to meet and talk with him and to watch him film his next YouTube video.

Shoebox air compressor
My two tables were next to the Shoebox Air Comressor, which I have to say was one of the hits of the show. For one-tenth the cost of a regular compressor, you can add the Shoebox inline with your shop air compressor to get 4,500 psi output. The guys buying them seemed fixated on filling carbon fiber tanks, but to my way of thinking that’s too much to ask. The compressor can do it, but it takes too long. To fill a single gun, this is the ideal way!


The Shoebox air compressor was a hit at the show. This is the model with the cogged belt drive that’s very quiet.

I heard others talking about making similar compressors; but from what I can see, they will fail because these guy have done it right. As long as you maintain the machine, it looks robust enough to last a very long time. I watched two of them operate the entire show, filling tanks and guns in demonstrations.

Collectible stuff
Although this was a small show, there were many collectible guns there, too. Maybe there weren’t as many of each gun to choose from, but the range of collectibles was broad.


A beautiful Schimel pistol that still works! It’s for sale.

Mac and I had two tables with some interesting guns to sell. I had thought Mac would sell all three of his FWB 150s; but with Pilkington’s pile in the next room, he didn’t have a chance. This was the show for 10-meter stuff.


Mac and I had two tables. Look close, because there are some future blogs there!

Tom Strayhorn is an advanced collector who usually has an educational table at every show he attends. This one was no exception, and I’m showing you his table to drool over.


Tom Strayhorn had his usual table of beautiful vintage rifles.

End of the show
The show ended on a high note. Three teenaged boys came to my table to buy two airsoft rifles I had. Grandpa went out to find an ATM to get the cash, and Mac noticed that the one boy wasn’t getting anything, so he gave him a nice breakbarrel pellet rifle. The boy was flabbergasted, and when grandpa returned we asked him to clear the gift with mom. What a wonderful way to end a very exciting airgun show.

34 thoughts on “2011 Malvern airgun show


  1. B.B.,
    I’m glad you and Mac got to “really” attend a show like you are supposed to. Sounds like you both had a great time, and that Mac is darn nice guy, too.
    B.B., you are one of the first “civilians” to shoot the Rogue, and I’m glad it was a good experience. I knew it would be. I guess I’ll have to wait my turn in line, but I have to find the line first, LOL. Thanks for a great report on the show.
    Lloyd


  2. Outstanding!

    Mac seems to be a prince of a guy. That youngster will not soon forget such a sterling act of generosity and kindness.

    Great post, thanks for taking us there.


  3. I want to tell you guys that having Tom back at the show was the highlight for many of us. The way things were going last year you just had to wonder. Tom did several videos at the show. He did one on the Rogue, one on the Shoebox, and one for Air Force. It was neat to see him do them. That is definitely a talent. What impressed me was when the Crosman rep asked Tom to explain the safe carry feature of the Rogue. He spent 30 seconds explaining it to Tom and then Tom did the explanation on film like he had been using it for years.

    My next highlight was getting to shoot the Rogue. It is an awesome gun. It is really big but balances well and it was fun to shoot. That is one gun I really like. The technology in the gun is really going to change things.

    Now, to the “buy all the guns on the table for $1,350 deal. I really wish I could have swung it. I think I could have doubled my money on it. There were three like new Crosman Mk1 pistols in boxes, two Crosman 600s in boxes, a like new P1 plus walnut grips, three Crosman 150s including one with the metal box, two Tempest, an old vintage break barrel, plus a couple dozen more pistols to boot. Bob Kelly from Oklahoma was the one who pulled out cash and made the deal. I later bought the old break barrel rifle and a Tempest from him as he was loading them into the car.

    I missed Randy Mitchel and Ron Sauls who were not able to make it this year. I especially missed Willard and Mardell Johnson who had to miss for the second year in a row.

    I went home with a left handed Mac1 Hunter from Arnold Smith’s table. I think Arnold had sprayed it down with some kind of David attractant that I was not able to withstand. I am going to have to sell some guns quick to recover for that unexpected purchase.

    I hope to see more of you guys there next year.

    David Enoch


  4. There was an interesting diagnostic test mentioned for the theory about the barrel on the Gamo Whisper CFX possibly being “loose” (assuming ever-so-slightly oversized bore for most pellets). It makes perfect sense to try, but the way the rifle is made I’m not sure how you’d push a pellet through the barrel to check it’s resistance. The weapon doesn’t break in the middle to expose the chamber. In fact, the rotating breach mechanism is curved to form a ramp when the pellet is inserted. I can’t figure out how you’d use anything (presumably a cleaning rod) to get directly inline with the bore and clear to push a pellet through from breach to muzzle. You can insert the rod from the end of the barrel to the breach and then attach a cleaning pad and pull it out, but I don’t know how you could otherwise pull a pellet through. A coat hanger might work, but the idea of trying to ram that through the breach just doesn’t seem like a good idea. Maybe if you drilled a tiny hole in the nose of the pellet, threaded some fine wire (thought of monofilament first, but the stretch of the line may not allow you to get a good feel for pellet resistance), pull it through and observe the relative tension of the wire as you pass through the bore. What do you think?

    As for the problem possibly being with the breach’s bigger ring – with this weapon, you never see the face of the breach. The way the rotating mechanism works, the face of the breach is hidden when it’s rotated open by the curved feed ramp design. It seems to me that the only way to access this ring is to do a complete tear down. It’s not that I’m averse to trying such a thing, but I’d need good documentation/drawings to attempt it. I’ve ended up doing a lot more gunsmithing on all my weapons than I ever planned, but with greatly satisfying results. Is there anything like a take-down manual for this rifle, something other than an exploded parts diagram? Does Gamo or anybody else have something like that? I’m also interested in any trigger adjustment procedures or mods to swap it out with whatever (any recommendations appreciated).

    For whoever mentioned the possible flexing of the stock during recoil due to it’s design and imparting vibrations that are affecting the precision, I think that’s possible – but not as likely as some of the other considerations that have been raised here. Note that Gamo did go to some effort to modify and improve the recoil pad, for whatever reason.

    The bore-paste idea sounds interesting, but I’ve never used it. How do you apply it, and how often? Is this some sort of viscous goo that’s a little heavier than oil that leaves some sort of coating in the bore?

    Regardless of the relatively skimpy info and scarce user reviews on this new rifle, I think I’m going to go ahead and try it. I’ve got a great coupon and some points from Cabela’s, and can get this rifle for about $200. I’m pretty convinced that the fixed barrel is a better design and will be more accurate over time than a break-barrel, and that with some tinkering and lots of experimentation with pellets (figuring that maybe heavier is in fact better) I can get a more precise grouping than what Mac was able to obtain. No offense, Mac!

    The best grouping I obtained on a friend’s Gamo Big Cat was actually using some very cheap Copper Head pellets. Both the included Gamo PBA pellets and the fancy ones my buddy had bought on recommendation from the guy at the store couldn’t be patterned for love nor money. I seriously thought that he had a scope or rifle defect, then I remembered these that I’d brought these to just plink around with and decided to try them – and the difference was night and day. I’m talking about a 2-3 inch wild and varied grouping (using sandbags) dropping down to a dime-sized precision cluster at about 20 yards. It made a believer out of me in trying different ammo – I just never thought that the cheapo pellets would have been the hands-down winner.


    • geekdout,

      Edith and I both answered your questions were you posted this comment the first time. On this blog you usually only have to ask one time, then remember where you asked, because that is where we answer you.

      B.B.


      • BB,
        I might have encouraged this guy to repost on a more current blog. Not sure. So you can blame me. In my whirl-wind of playing catch up I frequently forget what I did. The comment looks familiar but I don’t recognize the byline on this one. If I see a comment pop up from an old blog topic I (and others I notice) always suggest for them to repost on a more current one so more people can see it and respond to it. So I apologize if this is making more work for you.
        -Chuck


  5. Didn’t know it was possible for me to have even more regret for not making the Malvern show but after reading this I certainly do.

    In looking at the photo of B.B’s table I see a very nice BSF S70 on the end. I wonder if it’s marked made in “West Germany” making it even rarer. I don’t see an LGR on that table and at Scott’s prices that surprises me. I give up…..would someone please identify the gun that sits between the Lurch and the Falke? Some kind of airgun/pogo stick combo?

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      That “pogo stick” is an airgun that nobody has seen. It will be the subject of a future blog. 🙂

      And Larry Hannusch took my gallery gun (also in the picture) apart, so I will be fixing it and shooting it in a future blog.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        What a tease. I’m very curious.

        Wonderful news that the gallery gun can be fixed and you’re willing to shoot it. I have really enjoyed reading Laryy Hannusch’s contributions to Airgun Revue. Yours weren’t bad either. 🙂

        kevin


  6. BB,
    About this blog topic: thanks for getting your report all done in one sitting. I don’t think I could have endured more than one day of such breathtaking news. Seriously, I really regret not attending that show.

    BTW, Where is the placement of the air fill nipple on the new AirForce tanks?
    -Chuck


  7. What a wonderful airgun show and a way for B.B. to return in style. Great job, Mac, with the gift of the rifle. I hope to find an opportunity to do something like that one day. Never underestimate the almost mystical power of guns. I’m sure that gift had an impact way beyond the price of the gun, and that is the sort of thing, the young boy will tell his kids at an advanced age.

    That passage about those with much being given even more is another one of those passages in the Bible which I haven’t quite figured out, but it does seem to support the spirit of free enterprise. 🙂

    B.B., at what distance did you shoot your offhand X?

    Slinging Lead, you have impugned the RWS 48! …Actually, I know you didn’t, and I do agree with you about the TX200 from everything I heard, but I couldn’t help a visceral reaction about the outstanding 48. 🙂

    Duskwight, if your female friends looked like the Red Army snipers as well as shot like them, I’d say you are a lucky guy. You’re lucky anyway. That sounds like a great time and a productive range session. I’m not sure that I see how women’s bodies make for a less stable gun platform. Their hips give them a lower center of gravity which seems to be important if not decisive. In assessing women’s shooting ability, if I’m understanding the Red Army sniper doctrine of WWII, they are inherently better than men. I suspect their lower performance in competition is due more to lack of opportunity than anything.

    Victor, great job with your efforts to build a shooting program. I can tell you from my experience that good coaching at a young age is all-important. While non-shooters can seem cautious about the shooting sports, you can’t entirely blame them. I’ve found a new term on You Tube: the “safety Sally.” This is used to make fun of ordinary safety practices like checking the chamber. The rest of the behavior of these people generally confirms them as idiots. They are the ones who give girls and young kids high-powered guns with no training and make fun of them and laugh at them when they can’t handle the recoil. Normally, you can just ignore people like this, but combined with the power of the gun and its irretrievable results, you can understand non-shooters who see this wanting to give the whole activity a wide berth.

    On the subject of teaching females non-traditional sports, I had a similar experience teaching martial arts. You would think that this population is the very one that needs this kind of training. However, I found that teaching grappling/wrestling techniques that are the big area of growth in martial arts now can be awkward–if not for the women–then for their fiances and boyfriends…. Of well, one of my students encountered a guy who was extremely fresh if not embarked on a genuine assault, and she threw him off with a move that I taught her which made me extremely proud. So, if you can change the life of one person I suppose….

    How about a bit of chemistry? As my mind races ahead to using corrosive surplus ammo to save money on a possible Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle, I see that flooding the gun with oil after shooting is not enough. Apparently the corrosive salts of the ammo attract moisture, and the gun will rust under the oil. How can this be? Rusting is a process of oxidizing iron with oxygen, and doesn’t the oil keep out the oxygen? Is the oxygen for the process found in the moisture? Secondly, I’m thinking of ways around disassembling the very complicated Mosin bolt for purposes of cleaning it of corrosive ammo. Supposing I had dunked the bolt in an ammonia solution, could I remove the water residue by flushing it with oil? Oil and water are immiscible liquids right? Does that mean that oil will remove the water or not have any effect on it?

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      while I’m not a chemist and can’t tell you with authority how to neutralize the salts, I can tell you that in the salt mining industry, once a piece of equipment is brought underground, it can never be brought back up to the surface and operated. The salt dust gets into every microsopic pore of the equipment and upon it’s return to the surface, the moisture in the atmosphere immediately starts the oxidation or rust process to the point that within 24 hours, the doors can’t be opened! The salt mine has zero humidity so it isn’t a problem underground.

      As for women and big hips, I know one (fortunately she doesn’t read this blog) that should have the stability of a 155mm howitzer. I haven ‘t convinced her to try any of my air rifles and I’ll never tell the name…..

      Fred PRoNJ




    • Matt,

      Trust me they look better 🙂
      As for assessing shooting ability and sniping Soviet manuals say – women and men are equal. Advantages are counterweighted with disadvantages making neither sex better than the other. One particular female disadvantage named there is inherent curiosity. That’s what I believe in much, because that curiosity could be fatal to my Grandpa.

      Grandpa told me once that he as a part of three-man recon team worked together with a female sniper pair, tasked with capture/elimination of Finnish sniper and his partner. Those two were a pain in the side just like Soviet snipers were to Germans and Finns, they acted impudently, terrorizing Soviet troops

      In two days they tracked sniper and set an ambush in abandoned trenches, just before dawn, almost 90 degrees to his position.
      A girl made her shot and she was precise. However next moment she decided to raise her head to see the result and that was her first and final mistake.
      Sniper’s partner saw her movement and shot her, killing almost instantly. Her partner tried to pull her down the parapet thinking she was alive and second bullet wounded her, travelling through shoulder into lungs. They heard shots and crawled towards them, hoping to save at least one.
      It took them a minute or so, sniper missed once and then they lost another man. He rose too high trying to put some bandages on a girl’s wound, third bullet hit him into side. The girl was dead by that time, she bled to death.
      Sniper kept them down in the trench for an hour or two, firing a single round twice when they tried to escape and moved closer. Sun rose but the temperature was around -30.

      Finally they decided to split and to try to kill a sniper, as there was no other choise – it was him or them. Grandpa swapped his SMG for a rifle that belonged to his dead partner as he was a better shot and moved along the shallow trench to the side of a shell crater carefully looking through.

      His friend took off his coat and swinged it once above parapet, as if someone was trying to sneak from the trench. Finnish sniper reacted and made a hole in that coat. Grandpa couldn’t see him, only the dry grass moved with shot, so he estimated sniper’s position and made his shot. The second he was pulling the trigger, Finnish bullet flew through his left forearm, luckily shallow, through the flesh lengthwise, no bones hit, but that was a lot of blood. His bullet hit sniper into shoulder – they saw him trying to crawl away with blood trail behind, so they spent some seconds for a makeshift tourniquet. Then they took their knives and as it was said “gave that Finn another brush”.

      They bandaged Grandpa’s wound and hid their friends’ bodies in the trench to bury later. They brought back four sniper rifles. After debriefing, they were approached by a sniper group commander (also a woman). She told them that first girl’s death was typical and she lost two of her sniper school mates this way. She told them women must learn to control their curiosity to be a successful sniper or that’ll kill them just the way it happened.

      duskwight


    • Matt61,
      In my personal experience, women are at least the equal to men when it comes to rifle competition. Again, Karen Monez dominated CA in 4 position for many years, and usually cleaned offhand. Sherri Lewellen, also from CA, dominated 4 position at the nationals for many years. In state rankings, there was only one shooter that I was never able to beat over the course of the year, Cindy Henderson. Some of the best head-to-head matches that I’ve seen, pitted a women against a man, day-after-day, the lead switching. Trouble is, the general populace isn’t aware that a 100 pound women can shoot a gun better than a 200 pound man. Shooting guns is NOT a macho thing, it’s about skill.

      Regarding utube, yes there are lots of idiots who own guns. But I’ve always known that. Before we were well trained to compete, we were well trained in hunter-safety. Except for those trained as I was, no one that I’ve witnessed will hand you a gun AFTER they’ve demonstrated that it was NOT loaded. The list of people that I will shoot with is very short. I’ve been invited to go out shooting with “the boys” many times, and have refused. In two such outings, there was “an accident”. This, by the way, is a point that I’m making to City officials, gun safety is not common knowledge. I tell them that lots of residents of most cities buy guns, but never learn how to use them safely. People leave loaded guns sitting around where very young children will get to them. Guns go off because someone “didn’t know the gun was loaded”. The list of things that people do wrong, because they aren’t safety-minded, is endless. Utube just provides video evidence of this. THAT is a world that those of us in competitive marksmanship are not familiar with.

      Victor


      • Victor,
        It galls me to no end that government officials at any level can be pressured into allowing us to own guns but at the same time make it nearly impossible for us to learn how to shoot them. No wonder there are so many accidents. And you know what? I think they like it that way. It provides false proof for their ignorant stance on gun control. It is so difficult to establish and keep good firing ranges, obtain ammunition, find AFFORDABLE ammunition, and find proper training. It borders on criminal. I believe this is so to discourage gun ownership in the first place.

        OK, here is my soap box. Someone elses turn on it.

        -Chuck


        • Chuck,

          I think that a lot of what you say is true. However, it’s hard for most to think straight about guns when ignorance is the rule. I keep going back to the fact that almost everyone has enjoyed firing a gun at one point in their lives, whether at a carnival, or trying a family members new air-gun.

          At the time that we (literally just a few of us) were fighting to keep the range open, we found that the annual Turkey Shoot was a HUGE success. Literally thousands of residence visited the range to try to win a Turkey. We used a Target with a visible picture of a turkey, and a small squared grid of numbers. Each participant was allowed to take several shots. The person with the highest score (usually hitting corners that touched 4 squares) won.

          Again, if not for organized baseball, and parks, kids would feel that they out-grew their baseball gloves and bats. People love their guns. There just isn’t enough support for them to be used, and taken to the next level. I think that it’s important for everyone to realize that most really love to shoot, and that this is reason enough to provide at least one facility within the city.

          Victor


  8. Hey Tom, not to swell your head, but if you check the yellow there’s a thread about you.
    Basically just a lot of people saying what a great guy you are 🙂
    Like we don’t know it.



  9. Mac,
    I think I read somewhere that you don’t participate on this blog. Well, you deserve a huge round of applause from this blog anyway for your kindness and generosity. You already had the respect of all of us on this blog but now it is ten-fold. If you listen closely you might be able to hear us applauding. I know that right now there are people walking by a lot of occupied computer terminals wondering what the heck is going on with the clapping guy/gal.
    -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      I will have to tell Mac what you said, because he doesn’t read the comments.

      He has been quietly doing this thing for many, many years. he gets joy from seeing the face of a youngster who has just received his or her first airgun.

      He often invites the parents and kids to his house to get them started shooting safely, and that’s when he gives the kid the gun. He has cleared this with the parents beforehand, of course.

      He is a great guy, but to hear him talk, he’s just another average Joe.

      B.B.


    • Chuck,

      I asked him last week if he read the comments, and he said he does not. I think the reason for that is simple: He would get so deeply involved that he’d get sucked in and not have time for anything else.

      He usually reads the blog, though. If there’s anything particular that I think he’d like to see, I forward it to him.

      Edith



Leave a Reply