by B.B. Pelletier
Guest bloggers Earl “Mac” McDonald & Edith Gaylord
Before we get started, we have a couple announcements.
Discounted S410 rifles: There’s a special deal on the Pyramyd Air website. It’s a left-hand, walnut-stocked Air Arms S410. It’s marked down from $1299.99 to $999.99 — a $300 reduction! Get them now before they’re gone!
Now, on to today’s report. Kevin asked if Mac could tell us his favorite airguns and several people, including me, thought that was a good idea. So, the first part of today’s blog is written by Mac.
My favorite guns
by Earl “Mac” McDonald
I cannot remember a time when I did not have a gun. Some will cringe at that thought, but in rural Tennessee, where I grew up, every household had a .22 rifle and a shotgun of some sort standing behind the stove. There were no trigger locks or ammo safes, just the safety that comes from being taught well and reminded often of responsible gun handling.
My Dad was half Cherokee, an excellent hunter and loved to shoot his single-shot .22 Winchester. I spent ALL my allowance money buying 22 shorts, and by the age of 6 or 7, I was shooting lots of rabbits and squirrels. I believe that first experience with .22s is why I enjoy them so much today. That little Winchester rifle has now been used by 4 generations, as well as a trainer for countless neighbor kids when my own children were growing up. When I turned 12, I got a Winchester 37, a sleek, single-shot in .410 bore. I still have both guns.
I believe that positive early experiences with particular gun types and calibers sort of set the course for us, at least it did for me. Airguns, being much like .22 rimfires, in that you have to get relatively close to your target, know your trajectory and sensitivity to the wind, as well as other things I’m forgetting, seemed like a natural progression for me.
Early Beeman catalogs described the FWB 300 as so incredible that I just had to have one. It did not disappoint! Of all the airgun types, I like this model the best. I don’t shoot the same one often as I have several similar versions: a 150; a 300; and the 300S in Match, Universal, Tyrolean and Running Target types. Some are scoped and others have the original aperture sights. One of my favorites is a really beat-up 150 with a very small, 1.80mm front disc and a 1.5x diopter rear sight. That combo makes it possible to “mini-snipe” empty 9mm cases out to around 25 yds, even with my old eyes!
Second on my list of favorites are the little Dianas, specifically the models 16 thru 28. I have the ability to shoot 3 days a week, and I try to put a few rounds thru at least a few of them whenever I can. I like the inherent accuracy, simplicity and light weight of these sleek German guns. Their simple open sights bring me back to that first little Winchester .22. I also like to pick up inexpensive spring guns when I can. I use them as guest guns, especially for kids. If they really take to it, I usually send them home with the gun. That may be the most fun of all.
My son, Jason, shot the Quackenbush big bore that I got last year and had to have one of his own. Well, that’s like pulling a loose thread from a sweater — there’s no good place to stop! First, it’s carbon fiber bottles, and then you need the compressor to fill them! Fortunately, I’m already casting my own bullets, so making up the several pounds of lead to throw downrange every week is already a familiar task.
Love the big bores! We shoot them most weekends, and my guns have put a lot of lead downrange from firearm shooters who were unfamiliar with big bore airguns until they met me. Making converts is lots of fun. Seeing the smiles on their faces after that first shot is priceless.
My favorites in firearms usually go by caliber rather than action type. Going back to my first shotgun, a .410, I now have several — one side-by-side, several singles and a really nice over/under. I use them all for trap and skeet, however inappropriate that may be.
The .22 Hornet has been another long-time favorite of mine. Most of them do not disappoint! If they do, I usually do a bedding job or work up a load they like. This inevitably leads to a gun that I keep!
Also on my firearms list of faves is anything rimfire in .17 Mach 2 or .22. I’m particularly happy when I find any of them in H&R or Rossi single-shots. Our local gun club has a 300-yard range; and, yes, thanks to mil-dots, soda cans are not safe — even at that distance!
Now, on to the next topic
Well, folks, that’s what Mac thinks about when it comes to airguns and firearms. I feel very jealous about all the shooting he did as a kid, when I practically had to pull teeth to get to shoot at all. I read about guys like him who spent all their money on .22 Shorts and I think about how all I spent money on was issues of Guns & Ammo. Print was as close as I ever got to shooting, except on rare occasions.
Now we come to a topic Edith wants to cover. She was talking about this with me this week, and I asked her to make a blog out of it. So, here you are. Today you get a twofer!
Why don’t my items get shipped on time?
by Edith Gaylord
You can thank our good friend and fellow airgunner Earl “Mac” McDonald for this peek behind the curtain of the airgun retail trade.
Mac recently ordered an item from Pyramyd Air. It was brand new but was not in stock when he ordered it. He assumed it would be shipped on the in-stock date posted on the product page. As luck would have it, the posted in-stock date was changed and delivery was postponed. Has this ever happened to you?
Some time ago, I posted a blog comment about the process Pyramyd Air uses to determine in-stock dates for out-of-stock products. Here’s how it works:
1. We place an order with a supplier (a supplier can be a distributor, importer and/or manufacturer).
2. The supplier gives us the expected ship date. We calculate how long it’ll take the truck to hit the dock doors and add a few days for good measure. That becomes the in-stock date that you see posted on any product that has no inventory.
3. As the shipping date gets closer, an employee calls the supplier and verifies that we’re still on target. If not, we ask for another date. This step can be repeated once, twice or even more often. If it happens frequently enough, Pyramyd Air removes the order button for that product so no one can pre-order it. This step avoids the ups and downs you’ll experience when you think something is coming…and then it’s not.
While this seems like a perfectly sound and reasonable system, it doesn’t always work. Here are some common reasons.
There may be a product design or function issue, and the supplier doesn’t know when it’ll be fixed. So, they just throw out dates in the hopes that retailers won’t cancel their orders…and customers who have pre-ordered the items won’t cancel theirs.
While most products arrive by their promised dates (and sometimes even earlier), some do not for a variety of reasons. Storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes are just some of the things that slow down transport.
Then, we have a secondary issue. To explain it, I’ll transport you to the 1950s in my virtual time machine and tell you a wonderful fairytale.
Airgun manufacturers often had leftover gun parts, and they made one-off guns from them. Frankenguns. They’re highly desirable, yet they don’t fit in with any other species of airgun. A collector’s dream! The end.
When recreated today, this fairytale becomes a logistical nightmare from which no one can wake up. Here’s how it works in the 21st century.
A manufacturer decides to create a new airgun, but no gun has been produced to-date. Before they even crank up the production line or buy materials to make the gun (no, I’m not kidding), they send out flyers asking retailers to order it. Pyramyd Air orders it because they don’t know it isn’t a production gun, and they expect it to be delivered exactly as pictured on the flyer. Do I even have to tell you what happens next?
So, the specs have been released, people like me write up the gun for the product page (with as much info as I can eke out of the manufacturer’s flyer or my contacts) so airgunners will be enticed to order it.
When the gun finally arrives, Pyramyd Air’s photographer takes a gun and snaps and uploads the images. We’re fortunate because our photographer (Allison) is sharp as a tack, notices every little thing and alerts me when the product she’s photographed doesn’t match what I’ve written. As nice as that sounds, there’s a problem with that. Allison has seen only one gun. And there’s the rub!
The manufacturer has kept the gun’s original name and possibly even some of the basic specs and features, but they’ve changed a whole bunch of other stuff about the gun. They did that because they were unable to get certain parts or they found a cheaper way to make something work or…(you fill in the blanks). Sometimes, the gun arrives in two or even three versions! So, as the production was finalized, the incarnation of the gun changed. They may have bought materials from a certain supplier, the supplier jacked up their prices and the manufacturer then ordered new materials from another supplier with slightly different specs. They didn’t toss the guns that were made from different materials…they shipped them to retailers. Because we don’t open every box, we often don’t find out there’s more than one version or even that the gun has changed radically until a customer tells us or we’re asked to run a 10-for-$10 test or a customer asks tech to mount a scope for them.
More than once, I’ve ordered a gun for testing and discovered that it doesn’t resemble the description…or even the photos! The manufacturer has changed the gun, again. In some cases, they’ve changed it several times since we opened that first box and snapped the photos. Our next shipment could have all types of guns, and none of them look alike or have the same attributes. That’s why you’ll sometimes see several versions of a gun showing up on different product pages. We can’t list all the versions on the same product page because the specs are different, and customers will either get confused or they’ll expect to get what the specs state.
I’m sure some of you are now thinking that the airgun manufacturing world is run by monkeys who pick up random parts and assemble them into guns. While 99% of our products have none of the issues listed in this report, the remaining 1% make me wonder if the monkey assembly line really is in place.
That 1% causes more headaches than anything the editorial and photography team has to deal with. As you can imagine, it’s pretty embarrassing when we find out from a customer that we’ve been selling the wrong gun with the wrong specs and the wrong attributes. When that happens, we contact the manufacturer and are sometimes told that what we’ve got is actually one rendition back…and a brand new replacement model is going to hit us in the next shipment. Can you hear me screaming? (If you worked at Pyramyd Air, you’d hear me ask that same question several times during a year.)
I could go on and on, but I think you’ve got the picture. Pyramyd Air can truthfully say, “It’s not my fault.” But they don’t. They do whatever they can to make things right. You got the wrong gun? Send it back, and we’ll replace on our dime. Our description says it comes with a scope but your gun didn’t? You can either send the gun back (on our dime), or we’ll ship you a scope and mount equal to or better than the one advertised on our product page.
Why does Pyramyd Air do that? Because the customer is No. 1. They don’t care what the supplier did…THEY will make it right. They actually care about the customer.
So, the next time you feel things are messed up beyond all recognition and you call to complain to Pyramyd Air, remember that they will take the fall for anything that went wrong anywhere along the way.
I’ve seen ample quantities of emails fly back and forth between departments to determine what we actually have in stock. I’ve seen email threads with well over 30 responses. Everyone chips in to make it right. The customer doesn’t see this activity. All he knows is that Pyramyd Air will take care of him. What I want you to know is that the company goes more than the extra mile in spite of things being messed up by another company. Instead of using their slogan “The airgun experts,” they should say, “We’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy.” Corny but true. If it weren’t, Tom and I wouldn’t be doing this. I couldn’t work for a company that doesn’t give a flip about the customer. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. (And wore it out — Tom).
Back to the out-of-stock dates. Unfortunately, we can’t make things right when we don’t have a product because the manufacturer hasn’t shipped it. We can suggest replacement products, but there isn’t anything we can do if the product doesn’t exist in our warehouse or the supplier’s warehouse.
Our blog readers come from all walks of life, and I’m sure they can tell similar stories about their industries. I hope this brings greater understanding to these situations. If you ordered something and the stock date keeps changing, you can still complain to Pyramyd Air…but we can’t do anything about it if the supplier can’t ship the product. If the supplier sent us something that didn’t meet our stated specs, Pyramyd Air will make it right. That’s how we do things!